Monday, September 13, 2010

A Re-dedicated WWII Memorial

The St Mary’s R.C. Parish, Cleator WWII Memorial
Rededicated in 2010 after being ‘missing’ for some years

For additional information click on ‘Comments’ below


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information

In 2010 the WWII memorial remembering former parishioners of St Mary’s R.C. Parish, Cleator, Cumbria was found stored in the presbytery and later re-dedicated and placed back on the wall in one of the side chapels in the church, next to the First World War Memorial for the same parish. The Gothic-style church, opened in 1872 and designed by the famous architect Edward Welby Pugin, had some major re-ordering done in 1978. It would appear that the WWII memorial was safely stored away but, in the way these things tend to happen, was then never put back in the church until it was fortunately re-discovered.

The memorial has been reframed and two names of former parishioners, originally missed off the memorial have been added (WAAF Ella Esterina Eldon and Private Michael Toman, a former professional footballer with Preston North End and Bristol City F.C. As with this war memorial, sometimes war memorials are taken down for safe-keeping while renovations are being done, or the building in which they were originally installed is being demolished. Then, with the passage of time there is a tendency the memorial, and perhaps even the people named on it, can be forgotten about.

Having researched WWI and WWII memorials for Cleator and Cleator Moor and the wider West Cumbria area for a number of years the names and many of the faces of the people recorded on this memorial are well known to me. The St Mary’s, Cleator memorial is not the first memorial to go ‘missing’ for a time. I know of a couple more in West Cumbria alone that have been re-discovered since 2008. One begins to wonder how many war memorials throughout Britain have also gone missing in the post war years.


Countries such as France, Belgium and the Netherlands where I have visited many war memorials I have always found there is a collective remembrance for the Fallen, for each community and all those who died ‘Pour la Patrie’. These nations even remember the Fallen from the other Allied countries of WWI or WWII who died far from home.

Until comparatively recently, I do not feel Britain has been as successful in passing on from one generation to the next a collective memory of the men and women whose lives were lost due to wars and conflicts. It is good to see that this situation is gradually changing, and people are still remembered in their own communities.

Monday, 13 September, 2010  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

IN WORLD WAR TWO 1939 – 1945

Names We Recall

Record the names as we recall
The reason why they gave their all:
In Khaki Brown – two shades of Blue
They gave their all for Me and You.
Those boys and girls of yesteryear
In memory still are very dear,
Their names are on no book or stone
Who will remember them when we have gone?
Let us record them while we can,
Who sacrificed their lives for Man:
Just stop – just think and say a prayer
To show that we still really care,
And that our prayers will never cease:
To find for the world Everlasting Peace.

[The above poem is written on the WWII memorial at St Mary’s R.C. Church, Cleator]

God grant them all Eternal Rest

Tuesday, 14 September, 2010  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

There are 22 names listed on the memorial – one served in the WAAF, one in the WRNS, one worked in an Ordnance Factory, two served in the Royal Navy, two in the RAF Volunteer Reserve, while fifteen served in the Army.

These are the details:

Women’s Auxiliary Air Force:
Ella E. Eldon (née Rossi)
Address: Birks Road, Cleator Moor

Women’s Royal Navy:
Catherine Williamson (listed on this memorial as ‘Kathleen’)
Address: Duke Street, Cleator Moor

Civilian casualty:

Drigg Royal Ordnance Factory (Civilian)
William Darby
Address: Bowthorn Road, Cleator Moor
Those serving in the Royal Navy were:

Bruno Darby
Address: Bowthorn Road, Cleator Moor

James McAvoy
Address: Duke Street, Cleator Moor

Those serving in the RAF Volunteer Reserve were:

Michael Gibbons
Address: Cleator

John Woods
Address: Moor Row
Those serving in the Army were:

William Reay
Address: Keekle

Louis Graves
Address: Goosebutts, Keekle

James Toole
Address: Frizington

Thomas Connor
Address: Wyndham Street, Cleator Moor

Laurence Nolan
Address: Duke Street, Cleator Moor

William Bateson
Address: Fletcher Street, Cleator Moor

James McAvoy
Address: Fletcher Street, Cleator Moor

James McFadden
Address: Aldby Street, Cleator Moor

Hugh Fleming
Address: North Street, Cleator Moor

Francis Doran
Address: Montreal Street, Cleator Moor

Patrick McCarron
Address: Keir Hardie Avenue, Cleator Moor

John McGrath
Address: Ennerdale Road, Cleator Moor

Denis McGrath
Address: Ennerdale Road, Cleator Moor

Eddie Burns
Address: Manchester (formerly Jacktrees Road, Cleator Moor)

Michael Toman
Address: Preston (formerly Bowthorn Road, Cleator Moor)

Tuesday, 14 September, 2010  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Of the casualties whose names are listed above – previously referred to elsewhere on this website – two of them are not commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission: civilian William Darby and James McAvoy, a former solider. Both of them were laid to rest in St Mary’s Churchyard.

So far as I am aware, James McAvoy of Fletcher Street, Cleator Moor is not listed because although he had been in the army he had was discharged during the war due to ill health. Therefore when he died a short time later, but still during the war, technically speaking he was a civilian. He died on 23 September 1942.

I know of another similar case of a former soldier (also a former Prisoner of War) who was released by the Germans, repatriated and subsequently passed away while the war was still on. Again, strictly speaking, he was then a civilian. This second former soldier (Rifleman John George Mossop) is buried in St John’s Anglican Churchyard, Cleator Moor. Rifleman Mossop died at Cleator Moor on 7 September 1944 of tuberculosis. His death certificate also mentions his pre-war occupation as a waiter.

Tuesday, 14 September, 2010  
Blogger Cathie said...

Joseph, my emails to answer your question re-memorial keep bouncing back - so I am using this instead. The letters T.O.E on French memorials refer to Théâtre des Opérations Extérieures. Check this site :éâtres_d'opérations_extérieures

(I was not more knowledgeable than you are, I just used French google!)

Tuesday, 14 September, 2010  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

(For information)

Looking at a couple of French war memorials in August 2010 I noticed some names were listed under the heading: "1939 - 1945 & T.O.E."

I was not sure what the abbreviation "T.O.E." stood for at the time. So, thanks very much Catherine (ou 'merci beaucoup')for clearing up this point.

Wednesday, 15 September, 2010  

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