Monday, December 05, 2016

A Seasonal Greeting 2016

Season's Greetings 2016 

1. Traditional decorated Christmas tree (December 2016)
'The Rum Story' courtyard, Whitehaven 
2. Thirlmere in the English Lake District (December 2016)
A source of fresh drinking water and timber
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  "Dear Christmas, here you are after such a long time
  It's been a whole year 
  That I've waited for you." 
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  Translation of a traditional French Christmas greeting: 
  Cher Noël, voici bien longtemps 
  Tout juste un an 
  Que je t'attends
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For many hundreds of years the darkness of winter has been lightened up by decorating greenery and lighting candles. Even during the Second World War an effort would be made to decorate homes with greenery and if possible a tree although perhaps not as decorative as the one seen in photograph No. 1. Even in these darkest of times there remained places where timber was felled for the war effort, such as near Thirlmere (photograph No. 2) which also provided an essential fresh water supply for Manchester and district. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

A West Cumbrian 'Living Memory' project

1. Commonwealth War Graves Cross of Sacrifice 
(Whitehaven Cemetery, Cumbria). 
[Similar to those found in war cemeteries around the world]
2. (Left): Wartime ATS recruitment poster
(Right): Front cover of booklet 'Life in the A.T.S.'
3. (Left): Wartime WRNS recruitment poster
(Right): Front cover of a booklet 'Life in the WRNS'
4. (Left): Wartime WAAF recruitment poster
(Right): List of WAAF wartime recruitment offices  
5. Cleator W.I. with local children : 
Placing tributes at Cleator Moor War Memorial
(In remembrance of seven local servicewomen) 
[Remembrance Sunday, 13 November 2016]
6. (Left): Cleator W.I. booklet ('Living Memory' project)
 (Right): Cleator Moor War Memorial (November 2016)
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Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Red Poppy and Remembrance

1. Poppy Appeal collection display 2016
(Bransty Royal British Legion, Whitehaven, Cumbria)
2. Large poppy on cemetery entrance gates
(Whitehaven Cemetery, Cumbria) 
3. The red poppy and the CWGC Cross of Sacrifice
(Whitehaven Cemetery, Cumbria)
4. Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cross of Sacrifice
(With poppy wreath and some war graves behind)
Whitehaven Cemetery, Cumbria
The red poppy of Remembrance 

The remembrance poppy was inspired by the 1915 war poem 'In Flanders Fields' by the Canadian doctor, Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae. In 1918 an American YWCA volunteer, Moina Michael, used John McCrae's poem to write one of her own ('We Shall Keep the Faith') and conceived the idea of wearing a poppy as a symbol of remembrance. She began selling silk poppies as a way to raise funds for disabled ex-service personnel.

In 1921 the poppy was adopted as the symbol of remembrance by the American Legion Auxiliary and also by the Earl Haig Fund which developed into what is now the Royal British Legion. Each year the R.B.L. has a poppy appeal at Remembrance time which coincides with Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday.

Many people still assocaiate the red poppy and Remembrance with the fallen of the two World Wars. Although this remains important to the R.B.L., for 2016 the Legion wishes to wants to raise awareness of a new generation of veterans and Service personnel that needs its support.

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Monday, October 31, 2016

Harding's Battery, Gibraltar

1. The restored Harding's Battery
(Europa Point, Gibraltar)
2. The 12.5" RML gun mounted at Harding's Battery
(Relocated from Dockyard South site in June 2013)
3. One of the restored former ammunition chambers
(These now host interactive information displays)
4. A WW2 soldier on lookout in one of the chambers
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Friday, September 30, 2016

A.J.R. honours Lord Frank Schon (1912 – 1995)

1. The A.J.R. commemorative plaque for Lord Schon
Unveiled at Corkickle, Whitehaven
(Thursday 29 September 2016) 
2. Lord Frank Schon of Whitehaven (1912 - 1995)
From: Cumbria County Archives
Whitehaven Archives and Local Studies Centre
(Daniel Hay collection) 
3. Group at the former Schon family home, Whitehaven
Unveiling ceremony of the AJR commemorative plaque

Those present at the ceremony included:  
Lord Schon's daughters, friends of the family, AJR representatives, 
the present occupants, political and community representatives, etc.
4. AJR commemorative plaque for Lord Frank Schon
Outside his former family home (Corkickle, Whitehaven)
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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Identifying the Missing of Arnhem Oosterbeek

1. Cumbria's Museum of Military Life, Carlisle
Located in Alma Block, Carlisle Castle
(Previously the Border Regiment & KORBR Museum)
2. Arnhem Block, Carlisle Castle, Cumbria
[Honouring 1st Bn Border Regiment at Arnhem, 1944]
3. CWGC Stone of Sacrifice,
Arnhem / Oosterbeek War Cemetery, Netherlands
4. Local children of Arnhem / Oosterbeek at the cemetery
Each year in September, local children lay floral tributes 
5. Graves of three 1st Battalion Border Regiment soldiers
After many years research the identities have been proven
After September 2016 they are not just 'Known Unto God'
For additional information click on 'Comments' below.
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Thursday, August 18, 2016

"High Flight" by John Gillespie Magee Jnr.

Red Arrows simulation booth (Royal Air Forces Association)
[Whitehaven Festival 2015]
On 18 August 1941 Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee Jnr., R.C.A.F., wrote the poem "High Flight" after being inspired by a high altitude training flight of a Spitfire. On 3 September 1941, Pilot Officer Magee wrote a letter home to his parents, enclosing the words of the poem: 

"I am enclosing a verse I wrote the other day. It started at 30,000 feet, and was finished soon after I landed. I thought it might interest you."

It would become one of the most famous poems of WW2 and has remained popular ever since. According to the Venerable (Air Vice-Marshal) Jonathan Chaffey QHC, Chaplain-in-Chief of the Royal Air Force: 


"It has significance for many members of the Royal Air Force, as they discover in its words an expression of the joy, spirituality and pathos of their own experiences."

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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Birth of the United Nations General Assembly

1. Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, London
Birthplace of the U.N. General Assembly 

2. Memorials for the U.N. General Assembly
Methodist Central Hall

3. Permanent reminder of the first General Assembly
4. 50th anniversary memorial of the General Assembly
The Secretary General at the time paid a visit
 For additional information click on 'Comments'. 
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Thursday, June 02, 2016

The North Coates Strike Wing memorial

1. The North Coates Strike Wing memorial
Cleethorpes promenade, Lincolnshire
2. (Top): Brief history of the North Coates Strike Wing
(Bottom): Remembrance citation for the dead
These are found on the plinth of the memorial
3. ‘The Beaufighter’ (“Beau”)
A poem by Gavin Ewart (1916 – 1995)
Also found on the plinth of the memorial 
4. ‘Extinction (The Airman’s Prayer)’
A poem by F/O E.R. Davey, R.C.A.F. (1921 – 1944)
Also found on the plinth of the memorial
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For additional information clock on ‘Comments’ below.

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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Trooper Tom Canning (1924 - 2016)

Wartime photograph of Trooper Tom Canning (1924 - 2016)
(Vaprio de Addio, Milan, Italy, 1945
[Photograph contributed by Ron Goldstein
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Second World War veteran Tom Canning, one of the founding members of 'Second World War Blogspot' has passed away peacefully at a hospital near his home in Canada. Tom was a 'Site Helper' for the BBC "People's War" project and also made several personal contributions about his wartime activities. Tom was also a member and regular contributor to the 'WW2 Talk' website. 

For further reading click on 'Comments' below.
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Monday, May 30, 2016

The Natural History Museum in the World Wars

1. Natural History Museum, London
[Originally a separate site of the British Museum]
[First opened at this site in 1881
2. Hintze Hall, Natural History Museum, London
[A replica Diplodocus (‘Dippy’) is displayed]
3. The 1914 – 1918 “Roll of Honour”:
Museum staff who served with the Armed Forces
[British Museum and Natural History Museum]
[Located in the entrance hall, Natural History Museum]
4. 1914 – 1918 and 1939 – 1945 memorials:
Museum staff who died in the World Wars  
[British Museum and Natural History Museum staff]
[Located in Hintze Hall, near the main entrance]
5. ‘Spirit of Resistance’ (S.O.E. WW2 memorial)
S.O.E. Station XVB was located here (1942 – 1945)
[Unveiled by H.R.H. the Princess Royal in 2004]
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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Pat O’Leary: “Bravest of the brave”

1. Dr. Albert Guérisse, wife Sylvia and son Patrick
[Albert Guérisse became “Pat O’Leary” in WW2]
(Image from DVD films featuring Dr. Albert Guérisse)
Courtesy of Dr. Patrick Guérisse, Belgium
2. Still from a 1963 BBC “This is Your Life”: 
Albert Guérisse / Patrick O’Leary was the subject
The programme’s presenter was Eamonn Andrews
Courtesy of Dr. Patrick Guérisse, Belgium
3. A man with more than one identity:   
(Left): Lt.-Cmndr. Patrick A. O’Leary, Royal Navy
(Right): Col. Albert-Marie E. Guérisse, Belgian Army 
Courtesy of Dr. Patrick Guérisse, Belgium
4. Traitors of the ‘PAT’ Escape and evasion network:
(Left): Harold (‘Paul’) Cole
(Right): Roger le Neveu (‘Le Legionnaire’)
Courtesy of Dr. Patrick Guérisse, Belgium  
5. Some guests on Pat O'Leary's "This is Your Life”
(Clockwise, from top left):
Fabien de Cortes, M.M., Croix de Guerre
Louis Nouveau, G.M., Legion d’Honneur, Croix de Guerre
Lieutenant Colonel James Maydon Langley, M.B.E., M.C
Lieutenant Colonel Ian Grant Garrow, D.S.O.
Original images courtesy of:
Dr Patrick Guérisse / Cumbria County Archives
6. Thomas (Tom) Groome, wireless operator
[He was imprisoned with Pat O’Leary in Dachau]
Courtesy of Dr. Patrick Guérisse, Belgium
7. An historic and enthusiastic surprise reunion:
Ian Garrow (left) meets Pat O’Leary (right)
It was the first time they had met since the war
Courtesy of Dr. Patrick Guérisse, Belgium
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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Personal memories of H.M.S. Fidelity

1. SS ‘Le Rhin’ / HMS Fidelity (D57)
[She was sunk at the end of December 1942]
Photograph courtesy of:
Imperial War Museum, © IWM (ADNO 5229)
2. Gibraltar from the Bay of Gibraltar
In June 1940 SS ‘Le Rhin’ sailed into Gibraltar:
A new chapter in the story of ‘Le Rhin’ / Fidelity
Photograph taken by the writer of this article
3. (Left): Commander Claude Péri (“Jack Langlais”)
[Self-appointed commander of H.M.S. Fidelity]
(Right): SS ‘Le Rhin’ (French merchant vessel)
[In 1940 she became H.M.S. Fidelity]
[Courtesy of Dr. Patrick Guérisse, Belgium]
4. Telling their personal memories of Fidelity
(Clockwise, from top left):
Commander Peter Painter, D.S.C., R.N.
Lt.-Cmndr. “Pat O’Leary” (Albert Guérisse)
Jean ‘Pipitte’ Peters (alias “Johnny O’Neill”)
Jack de Brabant
[Commander Painter was the naval attaché at Barry]
[The others were Belgians who served on Fidelity]
Courtesy of Dr. Patrick Guérisse, Belgium
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