Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Lt. Stanley T. Park: "A cheerful spirit"

1. Badge of the Border Regiment
Lt. S.T. Park served with this regiment (1937 - 1945)
2. Headstone of Lt. Stanley Thompson Park
Wreay (St Mary) Cemetery, Nr. Carlisle, Cumbria
Lieutenant Stanley Thompson Park served in the Border Regiment immediately before and during WW2. He served in France with the 5th Battalion in 1940 and was seriously wounded on the Dunkirk beaches in June 1940 during the evacuation of the B.E.F.

Lieutenant Park died on 3 June 1947 - the 7th anniversary of being evacuated from France. His wartime service was from 3 September 1939 until 30 June 1945.

For additional information click on 'Comments' below


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information

(a) Lieutenant Stanley Thompson Park
CWGC citation

Casualty Details
Initials: S T
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Lieutenant
Regiment/Service: Border Regiment
Age: 29
Date of Death: 03/06/1947
Service No: 72565
Additional information: Son of Mr. and Mrs. William Thomas Park;
Husband of Nancy Lena Park, of Carlisle.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Third row from East wall.

Thursday, 22 December, 2011  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

(b) Some biographical information

Lieutenant Stanley Thompson Park (Service No. 72565) was born in the Gateshead area (Co. Durham) on 17 July 1917. He was the second son of William Thompson Park and Nellie Park (nee Hunter) who had married in the North East in 1909.

In due course, Mr William T. Park took up the post of Bank Manager at the Whitehaven branch of the Midland Bank, 69 Lowther Street, Whitehaven. As a boy, Stanley Park early education was in Whitehaven, firstly at Ghyll Bank School, Inkerman Terrace and secondly at the Whitehaven County Secondary School (Grammar School) between 1929 and 1933. He was then educated at St Peter's College, York.

Upon returning to Whitehaven, in 1937 Stanley Thompson Park obtained a commission in the 5th Battalion The Border Regiment. This was the Territorial Battalion mainly recruiting men from the West Cumberland area. In 1939, Lieutenant Stanley Park was mobilised with the rest of the 5th Battalion, becoming part of the 126th Brigade (42nd Division).

The battalion crossed to France as part of the B.E.F., disembarking at Le Havre on 17 April 1940 before moving to the frontier area with Belgium. Following the German invasion of the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg on 10 May 1940, the 5th Border Regiment and the 42nd Division were involved in holding back the German advance before being ordered to withdraw to the Dunkirk beaches.

It was while he was on the Dunkirk beaches that Lieutenant Park was seriously wounded (head and face injuries). He lost his right eye and deafness in his right ear. However, he was evacuated back to Britain and eventually discharged from hospital.

Refusing to be completely discharged from the Army in this time of great need, Lieutenant Park was attached to the Border Regiment Depot at Carlisle for a time. He was then appointed Captain Adjutant of the Whitehaven Home Guard. His father, Mr William T. Park, as well as still being the manager of the Midland Bank at Whitehaven during WW2, acted as Treasurer of the 'Whitehaven News' Comforts Fund. This was a local organisation which sent presents, home comforts, woollen socks and copies of the local newspaper to service men and women all over the world. The 'Comforts Funds' in other parts of the UK undertook a similar operation for the troops from their district.

In his personal life, in 1942 Captain Stanley T. Park married Miss Nancy Lena Perry in the Cockermouth area of Cumberland. They then made their family home at Rosehill, Moresby, Whitehaven. Their daughter, Patricia Ann, was born on 17 January 1944.

Also in 1944, Stanley Park applied to rejoin the Regular Army. He was subsequently posted to the 7th Battalion The Border Regiment then based in southern England. The 7th Battalion of the Border Regiment was originally the 'reserve' battalion for the 5th Borders. While on manoeuvres the now Lieutenant Park contracted pleurisy. He had to be admitted to a sanatorium, made a partial recovery and was discharged from the Army in June 1945. Lieutenant Park's war was over - but the time of his trial and tribulation was yet to come.

After his discharge, Stanley Park joined the staff of the Folkestone Branch of the Midland Bank for a time but his health deteriorated once again. After long months of suffering, bravely and cheerfully borne, Lieutenant Stanley Park passed away at home: 'Derwent', Langdon Road, Folkestone, Kent on 3 June 1947. At the time of his death he was a month short of his 30th birthday.

Lieutenant Park's funeral, with full military honours, was at Wreay Church near Carlise, Cumberland on Friday 6 June 1947. He had certainly given his all for the cause of freedom.

Thursday, 22 December, 2011  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

(c) A father who was proud of his son

Lieutenant Stanley Thompson Park is commemorated on the WW2 War Memorial of St Nicholas' Parish Church, Whitehaven (his home parish) and also the Cockermouth War Memorial. In November 1947 the Borough Council of Whitehaven, Lieutenant Park's home town, decided to commission a memorial tablet listing the names of those citizens of the town who had died in the war.

Mr William Park, Stanley's father, who had retired in 1946 as Bank Manager at the Whitehaven branch of the Midland Bank wrote to the Town Clerk, Mr Vickerman asking if his son's name could be included on the memorial. Mr Park was rightly proud of his son's war record. He felt it would be an honour for Stanley to be commemorated by the town with which the family had had a long association. In spite of the suffering, Mr Park says that his son Stanley retained '"a cheerful spirit" to the end.

This is a transcript of the letter:

Old Church House,
Stanmore, Middlesex. Nov. 14th 1947

With reference to the announcement in the 'News' of the Memorial Tablet to be placed in the Town Hall, is the name of my son, Capt. Stanley Thompson Park, eligible? It may only include those actually killed in action.

He was very seriously wounded at Dunkirk from his many injuries: he lost his right eye and deafness in his right ear. He was offered his discharge and pension, which had he accepted, he would have been alive today. He accepted his discharge and after serving as Capt. Adjutant of the Whitehaven Home Guard he again volunteered for active service. He was transferred to the 7th Borders and whilst serving he contracted the illness that was to prove fatal.

After a long, harmful, illness he died on the 7th anniversary of Dunkirk and was buried with full military honours. In September last the specialists gave him three months to live, but through a cheerful spirit and sheer willpower he lived nine months. For eight months he was unable to speak and for the last month was unable to swallow a morsel of food. To see him suffering we often thought it would have been more merciful had he been killed in action. He certainly gave his life for his country.

I put forward his name for inclusion, but I do not press it to make difficulty for the Committee as I appreciate there may be very many cases if the Tablet is meant for those killed in action.

After my long association with Whitehaven, we feel it would be an honour if his name was included.

With kindest regards.

Yours sincerely,

W.T. Park,
Late Manager,
Midland Bank, Whitehaven.

Thursday, 22 December, 2011  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

(d) One who gave his all will not be forgotten

Despite Mr Park's request for his son to be commemorated by the Borough of Whitehaven there is no evidence it ever happened. At the time of writing this article the WW2 Memorial Tablet appears to have gone missing.

In 1953 Whitehaven Borough Council produced a 'Book of Remembrance'. For some reason this does not include the name of Lieutenant Stanley Thompson Park either. However, steps have been taken to include Lt. Park's details in this new 'Roll of Honour'.


Lieutenant Stanley Thompson Park
(1917 - 1947)

Trials were many, pleasures were few:
No-one knows what he went through;
He gave his body, his spirit, his soul:
It is true to say he gave his all;
Grateful thoughts, and deep regret:
At last we remember and not forget.

(December 2011)


Cumbria County Archives & Library Service

'The Whitehaven News'

Mr Stuart Nicholson, Archivist,
Parish of Whitehaven (Church of England)

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Thursday, 22 December, 2011  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Below is a transcription of Lt. Park's headstone in Wreay (St Mary) Cemetery, Nr. Carlisle, Cumbria:

In Loving Memory of
Dearly Beloved Husband
of Nancy Park.
Died at Folkestone, 3 June 1947.


Sunday, 10 February, 2013  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Below is a transcription of the newspaper article appearing in 'The Whitehaven News' reporting that Lt. Park had been wounded at Dunkirk:

'The Whitehaven News', Thursday June 6, 1940.

"Whitehaven Lieutenant Wounded

Second-Lieut. Stanley Park, son of Mr. W.T. Park, manager of the Midland Bank at Whitehaven, and Mrs. Park, is lying wounded in a south of England hospital.

Formerly in the Border Regiment, he took part in the retreat to Dunkirk with an anti-tank gun unit and was last reported lying wounded on Dunkirk beach.

Then came several days without news before his parents learned that he had reached England and was in hospital."

Saturday, 02 March, 2013  

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