Sunday, March 27, 2011

Just One Sad and Mysterious Loss

1. Sgt. Joseph Crawford, R.A.F., 113 Squadron (d. 1940)
2. St John's Church, Hensingham, Whitehaven (exterior)
3. St John's Church, Hensingham, Whitehaven (interior)
4. WW2 Memorial plaque, St John's Church, Hensingham

Sergeant Joseph Crawford, R.A.F., 113 Squadron

Sergeant (Wireless Operator / Air Gunner) Joseph Crawford, Service No 648647 [Photograph No. 1] served with  113 Squadron, R.A.F. died, aged 19, on 9 December 1940. At the time Sergeant Crawford was on active service somewhere in the Middle East. In early December 1940 he posted a photograph of himself to his mother at home in Britain. It has been posted here thanks to his nephew, Mr David Mason of Whitehaven. Sergeant Crawford's loss was just one sad and mysterious loss of the war. 

For additional information click on 'Comments' below


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information

Sergeant Joseph Crawford was the son of Mrs Mary R. Crawford and the late Mr Joseph Crawford of 120 Cambridge Road, Hensingham, Whitehaven, Cumberland (now Cumbria). Previously the family home had been at 3 High Scotch Street, Whitehaven. Joseph Crawford (Snr) had worked as a mining engineer but passed away in 1923 at the relatively early age of 38.

Joseph (Jnr) was born at Whitehaven on 20 October 1921 and had enlisted to the RAF before the war on 22 June 1938. In December 1940 his mother received word that her son had been posted missing on 9 December, although as was way with those days there was little other information about the loss. A few weeks later Mrs Crawford received word that her son was presumed to have been killed on that date.

At this stage of the war in the Middle East - between 1940 and 1942 - the fighting surged back and forth across the desert with RAF supporting the ground based troops. With no known grave, Sgt Joseph Crawford is commemorated on the Alamein Memorial, Egypt. After the war , in May 1947, Mrs Crawford wrote to the Borough of Whitehaven Town Clerk so that her son's name would be included on the WW2 Memorial Plaque and Book of Remembrance - something tangible to see for a young life given in the service of his country.

This was not the end of tragic news for Joseph Crawford's relatives. In July 1942, Joseph Crawford's sister Mrs Annie Robinson received word that her husband, Lancashire Fusilier Joseph Henry Robinson, had been drowned while on exercise in India. Like his brother-in-law, Fusilier Joseph Robinson has no known grave and is commemorated on the Rangoon Memorial, Burma (now Myanmar).

The WW2 Memorial plaque inside Hensingham Church, seen in the photographs above, remembers the many young men and women who gave their lives in the war.

"Some gave a little,
Some gave a lot .....
Some gave their all".

Parish of St John's, Hensingham, Whitehaven (Church of England)
Borough of Whitehaven Book of Remembrance
Cumbria County Archives (Whitehaven Records Office)

Tuesday, 15 April, 2014  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

In the BBC "People's War" archive is the story of another young RAF Sergeant, Bernard James Shelton who also lost his life while serving with 113 Squadron in the Middle East in 1940.

To read Sergeant Shelton's story, written by his nephew:
[Click here]

Tuesday, 15 April, 2014  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

CWGC citation

Below is the Commonwealth War Graves Commission citation for Sergeant Joseph Crawford:

Rank: Sergeant
Service No: 648647
Date of Death: 09/12/1940
Age: 19
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force, 113 Sqdn.
Panel Reference: Column 240.

Additional Information:
Son of Joseph Crawford, and of Mary R. Crawford, of Hensingham, Whitehaven, Cumberland.

Sunday, 29 June, 2014  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Remembered at the Yorkshire Air Museum

The Yorkshire Air Museum & Allied Air Forces Memorial is based at the former R.A.F. Elvington base near York. Among the various exhibits is a memorial room specifically dedicated to the Air Gunners of Bomber Commnand, believed to be the only one of its type in the world.

Sergeant Joseph Crawford is one of those commemorated in the Air Gunners' Room, contributed by his family. Click on the following link to see website of the Yorkshire Air Museum:
Yorkshire Air Museum

Sunday, 29 June, 2014  

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