Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The War memorials of Loweswater, Cumbria

1. Loweswater Parish Church, Cumbria
Dedicated to St Bartholomew 
2. Interior of Loweswater Parish Church
The WW1 memorial is the lectern near the altar
(Bottom left): The V.E. Day memorial prayer kneeler
3. Loweswater's WW1 memorial lectern
(It lists the names of five parishioners who died)
4. Prayer kneeler in Loweswater church
Remembering the 50th anniversary of V.E. Day
(8 May 1945 - 8 May 1995)
5. Headstone memorial for Rev. G.H. White 
A former Vicar of Loweswater (1945 - 1974)
He was also a P.O.W. of the Germans in WW2
 For additional information click on 'Comments' below. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

"When They Sound The Last All Clear"

When they sound the last 'All Clear'
Wartime music sheet
During the Second World War, the British singer Vera Lynn became known as "the Forces Sweetheart". As part of ENSA, Vera Lynn toured overseas to entertain the troops in Egypt, India, Burma and elsewhere. In 1941 she began her own radio programme, "Sincerely Yours", sending message messages to tthe troops serving overseas, The songs she sang on "Sincerely Yours" included requests for service men and women serving away from home. 

One of Vera Lynn's most popular songs was "When the sound the last 'All Clear'", which was first broadcast in 1941. An original wartime song sheet of this can be seen above. As with many Vera Lynn songs of the period, it was one of optimism, when sweethearts would be reunited at the end of the war and the church bells would once again ring out in peace time: 

"For the peace bells will ring,
And the whole world will sing,
When they sound the last All Clear."

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Season's Greetings 2017

Season's Greetings 2017
1. Christmas Tree, Covent Garden

2. The Cenotaph, London
Wishing all members and visitors to this site seasonal greetings of peace and goodwill. Regardless of Creed or nationality peace and goodwill are common to all mankind. They are surely better than war and hostility . 

During the six years of the Second World War there were many changes to the hitherto familiar wintertime festive rituals. Celebrations were largely scaled down due to restrictions and shortages in Britain and elsewhere. Nevertheless, for many it was still possible to collect greenery from the countryside and have a Christmas tree and other greenery such as holly, ivy and mistletoe continuing what seems to be a timeless tradition transcending international boundaries. 

A visitor to London's Covent Garden around Christmas time will see a large decorated Christmas tree [Photograph No. 1]. According to the Canadian writer and politician André Laurendeau: 

"Childhood is to believe that a with a Christmas tree and three snowflakes all the world is changed.

Can a simply decorated Christmas tree and a few snowflakes really transport young children into another world? It does seem so. During the war many children were set the task of collecting the greenery and the tree and perhaps make the decorations for the tree. With snow on the ground children can enter a new playground and perhaps build a snowman and in wartime spend a little time a long way from the war. 

While in London, a visitor can take a short walk from Covent Garden to Whitehall and in a central location will see the Cenotaph [Photograph No 2]. The poppy wreaths seen at the Cenotaph have been left here by Armed Forces Veterans and relatives of those who have died in wars and conflicts. Think of why the Cenotaph was built and why there should be peace and goodwill to all on earth. 
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Saturday, November 11, 2017

Is 'Armistice Day', 11 November, still relevant?

1. The Cenotaph, Whitehall, London:
Without any poppy wreaths of Remembrance!
2. Armistice Day at Keswick, Cumbria
The Last Post and 'Two Minute Silence' at the Cenotaph
'Remembrance' as part of everyday life of the town 
3. The 'Keswick Reminder' remembers the 'Fallen' 
A list of Keswickians who died in WW1 and WW2
Is marking 'Armistice Day', 11 November, each year still relevant to the modern world? What, if anything, is special about 'Armistice Day'? Does Britain and the Commonwealth not have Remembrance Sunday to remember the World Wars and other conflicts? Is Remembrance Sunday not sufficient? 

For additional thoughts and information click on 'Comments' below.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The passing of a French Resistance hero

André Heintz (1920 - 2017)

On 31 October 2017 the Memorial Museum at Caen, Normandy has reported the passing of Monsieur André Heintz at the age of 97. In the period before D-Day, 6 June 1944, André Heintz was a member of the French Resistance in the Caen area who was able to provide London with valuable information about the German forces in Normandy. He was also able to alert the Allies not to bomb the Abbaye aux Hommes (Men's Abbey) at Caen in the immediate aftermath of D-Day as this was where thousands of civilians had taken refuge. 

According to André Heintz, the greatest day of his life was 9 July 1944, the day the Allied soldiers were finally able to liberate his beloved, if battered, home city of Caen: 

"That day was the most beautiful of my entire life. I could hardly believe that I survived the German occupation and the battle, and I rushed to church as soon as I could to thank God for the privilege of being alive and being free again."
(BBC "People's War", Article ID 2524385)

Click on the following link to read André Heintz's personal account of his wartime experiences, as told to the BBC "People's War" website: 

André Heintz's D-Day: The Resistance in Caen

We salute the passing of this fine hero of the French Resistance of WW2. 
May he rest in peace. 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

War memorials of Murton-cum-Hilton, Cumbria

1. Entrance to Murton village from Hilton
[With Murton fell in the distance]

2. Murton-cum-Hilton parish church, Cumbria
[Dedicated to St John the Baptist]
3. Boer War memorial
[Found inside the parish church]
4. Murton-cum-Hilton WW1 'Roll of Honour'
[Found inside the parish church]

5. Murton-cum-Hilton War Memorial
[Found in the parish cemetery]
6. Murton-cum-Hilton World War casualties
[As listed on the parish war memorial]
(Left): The nine who died in WW1
(Right): The four who died in WW2
For additional information click on ‘Comments’ below.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The War Memorials of Culgaith, Cumbria

1. Culgaith Parish Church and churchyard
Culgaith village, Eden valley, Cumbria
2. Interior of All Saints Parish Church
Culgaith village, Eden valley, Cumbria
3. Culgaith 1914 - 1918 'Roll of Honour'
A list of locals who served in the Armed Forces
4. Culgaith 1939 - 1945 'Roll of Honour'
A list of locals who served in the Armed Forces
5. Culgaith Parish War Memorial, Cumbria
Located at a village crossroads
This face lists those who died in WW1
6. Culgaith Parish War Memorial, Cumbria
This face lists those who died in WW2
Culgaith, Cumbria and its war memorials

Culgaith is a civil and ecclesiastical parish in a mainly rural setting in Cumbria's Eden valley. There are four main village communities in the parish: Culgaith, Blencarn, Skirwith and Kirkland. 

Culgaith village is the largest of these four communities and is where All Saints church, the main church for the ecclesiastical parish, is situated [Photograph No. 1 and Photograph No. 2]. Inside the church is a 'Roll of Honour' listing the names of those from the district who served in the Armed Forces in the 1914 - 1918 war [Photograph No. 3] and the 1939 - 1945 war [Photograph No. 4]. 

At the main crossroads in Culgaith village is a war memorial in the form of a Wheel Cross made from red sandstone which remembers the locals who died in the two World Wars. It was originally erected to commemorate those who died in the 1914 - 1918 war and their names are engraved on the front face of the memorial [Photograph No. 5]. After the end of the Second World War the names of locals who died in that war were added to the rear of the memorial [Photograph No. 6]. 

For additional information click on 'Comments' below. 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Ste. Marie-de-Ré Communal Cemetery

1. Commonwealth War Graves Plot
Sainte Marie-
de-Ré Communal Cemetery
Île de Ré, Charente-Maritime, France 
[C.W.G. C. photograph]
2. Graves of three British soldiers of WW2
Sainte Marie-de-
Ré Communal Cemetery
[Jacques Lefebvre-Linetsky photograph
3. Graves of two British soldiers lost at sea
(Left): Pte Cyril George Worrall, RAOC
(Right): Pte William Sullivan, Pioneer Corps

[Jacques Lefebvre-Linetsky photograph]
The War Graves at Ste. Marie-de-Ré Communal Cemetery

Sainte Marie-de-Ré is a small commune on the southern coast of the Île de Ré, an island off the French Atlantic coast. Although far from the main battlefields of the Second World War, nevertheless the communal cemetery of the district is the final resting place of five British and Commonwealth soldiers and two airmen. Their graves are maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission [Photograph No. 1]. Photographs No. 2 and 3 were taken by Jacques Lefebvre-Linetsky during a visit to the Île de Ré in June 2017. Initial research for this article at the Île de Ré was by Cathie Fidler.

For further information click on 'Comments' below.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Sculptures of war (Břetislav Benda 1897 - 1983)

1. Czech sculptor Břetislav Benda
(Left): In his workshop studio (1956)
(Right): With his wife, Bohumila Bendova (1976) 
2. Two postwar sculptures
(By Břetislav Benda, 1948 and 1952)
3. "Victory at Stalingrad"/"Vítězství Stalingradu"
Sketch (left) and figure in bronze (right)
Břetislav Benda, 1943)

4. "Lidice Girl" / "Lidické děvčátko"
(Figure in bronze by Břetislav Benda, 1948)
5. Terezin Deportation Memorial 
[Terezin / Theresienstadt Concentration Camp]
Břetislav Benda, 1968)

Břetislav Benda (Biographical notes)
Born: 28 March 1897 
Birthplace: Líšnice, Austro-Hungarian Empire 
                    (now in the Czech Republic)
Parents: František and Žofie Benda 
Spouse: Bohumila Bendova 
Died: Prague, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic) 
Date of death: 19 August 1983


Břetislav Benda (1897 - 1983) was a noted 20th Century Czech sculptor and artist, seen in photograph No. 1 in his studio and with his wife, Bohumila Bendova. His elder son, also called Břetislav Benda (born 1925) became a Czechoslovak and Czech electro-technician, academic teacher and a Communist member of the Czechoslovak parliament (1986 - 1989) in the period immediately before the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia. 

Milan Benda (born 6 October 1941), a younger son of the elder Břetislav Benda followed in the footsteps of his famous father to become a highly respected sculptor of international renown. Milan Benda also collaborated with his father on a number of sculptures. Both father and son are primarily known for the study of the female form although some significant works are realisations of individuals or tributes to working craftsman. 

Examples of these are shown in photograph No.2. On the left is a sculpture in bronze by  Břetislav Benda of his wife, Bohumila and son, Milan (1948). On the right is another sculpture in bronze by Břetislav Benda honouring the skilled working man, in this case the 'Miner and Metallurgist' (1952). 

The artistic creation of Břetislav Benda also looked at various aspects of war, especially the Second World War. Examples of these can be seen in photographs No 3 - 5. The remainder of this article concentrates on this aspect of his work.

For additional information click on 'Comments' below. 

"First they came ..." (poem) by Martin Niemöller

1. Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892 - 1984)
2. The 'Star of David' and 'Hammer and Sickle'
3. Catholic church at Oberammergau, Germany

Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892 - 1984)
German Protestant Pastor Martin Niemöller [Photograph No. 1] was at one time a supporter of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. For some, he was even antisemitic. Yet, before WW2 he came to oppose the Nazification of Germany's Protestant churches and especially the Nazis 'Aryan Paragraph'. 

For his open opposition to the Nazi control of Protestant state churches, Pastor Niemöller was imprisoned as a political prisoner by the Nazis, being held in Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps. A survivor of the concentration camp system, Pastor Niemöller perhaps became best known in the post-war years for his poem, "First they came ..." which acknowledges people in Germany, including himself, had not done enough in the early years to oppose Nazism. 

In the English language there are slightly different translations and interpretations of Pastor Martin Niemöller's poem. Regardless of these slight variations, the themes of persecution, guilt and personal responsibility are evident in this poem. Intellectuals who were not Jews, or Communists, or Trade Unionists or Catholics, or other groups the Nazis opposed said and did nothing until it was too late ... 

To read a version of Pastor Martin Niemöller's poem, click on 'Comments'. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

"The Butterfly" (poem) by Pavel Friedman

"Only I never saw another butterfly"
(From 'The Butterfly' by Pavel Friedman)
Do Butterflies live in the ghetto?
Pavel Friedman, Jewish Czechoslovakian poet
Born: Prague, Czechoslovakia, 7 January 1921
Died: Auschwitz concentration camp, 29 September 1944
Pavel Friedman was one of many thousands from the pre-war Jewish community of Czechoslovakia forcibly deported from his home city of Prague firstly to the concentration camp at Terezin (Theresienstadt) and then to Auschwitz. It was at Auschwitz that Pavel Friedman was murdered by the Nazis - yet another victim of the Holocaust. 

While at Terezin concentration camp, on 4 June 1942, Pavel Friiedman wrote a poem, "The Butterfly", on a thin sheet of paper which was discovered after the war and donated to the Jewish Museum at Prague. Published in 1959, "The Butterfly" inspired the Holocaust Museum of Houston, Texas (U.S.A.) to create an exhibition of 1.5 Million paper butterflies, symbolising the number of children who died in the Nazi Holocaust. 

To read an English language translation of Pavel Friedman's poem "The Butterfly" and further information click on 'Comments' below.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Gérard Ménatory, and a life after Mauthuasen

1. Gérard Ménatory talks to some of the wolf pack
Le parc à loups du Gévaudan (July 1988)]
2. Gérard Ménatory feeding a 'friendly' wolf
[Le parc à loups du Gévaudan (July 1988)]
During WW2, Gérard Ménatory (1921 - 1998) was a member of the French Resistance, captured by the Germans in 1944 and deported to Mauthausen concentration camp. Although he was extremely emaciated when liberated from the concentration camp in 1945 he went on to make a good recovery and had an active and fulfilling life before his passing in 1998.

After the war Gérard Ménatory went on to become a journalist with the 'Midi Libre' newspaper. As a naturalist he founded the Gévaudan Wolf Park (in French. 'Le parc à loups du Gévaudan') located at Sainte Lucie, near the town of Marvejols in the Lozère department of southern France. The photographs seen above show Gérard Ménatory feeding some of the 'friendly' semi-wild wolves at the park in July 1988.

Today, there are more than 100 semi-wild wolves living and thriving in the park. The long term survival of these much maligned animals is a fine legacy for Gérard Ménatory to have left the world.

For additional information click on 'Comments' below.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

HMS Iron Duke, a dreadnought battleship

1. HMS Iron Duke officers and civic dignitaries
During a goodwill visit to Haig Pit, Whitehaven
Royal Navy Week' (June 1934) 

[Image courtesy of 'The Whitehaven News']

Those seen in the party above are (left to right):
Mr. T. Banks (agent), Mr. T.S. Durham, 
Engineer-Commander C.B. Evington, Dr. Henry Peile, 
Commander Crane, Mr Francis Priestman, 
Pay Lieut.-Cmndr. Brockman, 
Rear-Admiral Sir Noel F. Laurence K.C.B., D.S.O., 
Flag-Lieutenant Commander Crossman, 
Father T.A. Agius, OSB (Mayor's Chaplain), 
Mr. Haswell Peile, Surgeon-Commander Harkins, 
Mr. George Peile, Mr W. Morgan (Haig Pit manager)     
2. HMS Iron Duke off Whitehaven harbour
(While making  a goodwill visit, June 1934)
[Image courtesy of 'The Whitehaven News']

3. Hugh Cecil Lowther, 5th Earl of Lonsdale
Wearing the Mayoral chain of Whitehaven
(He sent a message of welcome to Iron Duke's crew)
Portrait by John Henry Frederick Bacon (1868 - 1914)

[Collection of The Beacon Museum, Whitehaven]
Photographs No 1 and No 2 above show HMS Iron Duke and some of her officers with local dignitaries from Whitehaven, Cumberland. These were taken during a goodwill visit to the port in June 1934 as part of 'Royal Navy Week'. HMS Iron Duke was commissioned into the Royal Navy in March 1914 and was scrapped in March 1946,  shortly after WW2.

Photograph No 3 shows a portrait of Hugh Cecil Lowther, 5th Earl of Lonsdale (1857 - 1944) wearing the Whitehaven Mayoral chain. Lord Lonsdale was the Lord of the Manor of Whitehaven, had been the first Mayor of Whitehaven (1894 - 1896) and was the Hereditary Admiral of the Coasts of Cumberland and Westmorland. Although the Earl of Lonsdale was unable to attend Whitehaven during HMS Iron Duke's goodwill visit he sent a message welcoming the crew to the town.

For additional infomation click on 'Comments' below.

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Royal Navy submarine HMS H50

Submarine H50 in Whitehaven harbour (1934)
[Image courtesy of 'The Whitehaven News']
Submarine H50 was laid down on 23 January 1918, commissioned into the Royal Navy on 3 February 1920 and scrapped at the end of WW2, in July 1945. The photograph above shows her during a goodwill visit to Whitehaven in 1934.

For additional information click on 'Comments' below.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Broughton Moor, Cumbria in wartime

1. St Columba's Parish Church, Broughton Moor
(The war memorial is in the churchyard)
2. Broughton Moor war memorial
Originally dedicated in 1921 for WW1
The WW2 names were added in 1947 

3. Names listed on Broughton Moor war memorial
(Left): The list of those who died in WW1  
(Right): The list of those who died in WW2 
4. Poppy wreath tributes remembering the 'Fallen'
5. Memorial for victims of a wartime explosion
It happened at a R.N.A.D. on 18 January 1944

Broughton Moor, Cumberland (now Cumbria)

6. Headstone for Mary Katherine Barnes
Kathie died in the R.N.A.D. explosion
(Buried in Wigton Cemetery, Cumbria)
[Photograph submitted by Michael Deacon]
For additional information click on 'Comments' below.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

The war memorials of Castle Carrock, Cumbria

1. St Peter’s parish church, Castle Carrock
(Where the parish war memorials are located)
2. Castle Carrock’s war memorials
(Left): The WW1 parish memorial
(Right): The WW2 parish memorial
[Located outside the main church entrance] 
3. Castle Carrock’s “Rolls of Honour”
(Left): The 1914 – 1915 “Roll of Honour”
(Right): The 1939 – 1945 “Roll of Honour”
4. Headstone of Marine Donald P. Armstrong
(Located in Castle Carrock churchyard)

 For additional information click on ‘Comments’ below.