Sunday, January 31, 2016

"Upon this Rock": Buttermere in WW2

1. Buttermere and St James' Parish Church
The church is built high on a rocky promontory
2. The wrought iron shepherd's gate of Buttermere church
Originally dedicated to former clergy of the parish

"The Good Shepherd guides his flock"
3. The nave of St James' Church, Buttermere.
The WW2 memorial can be seen on the left hand side wall
4. Buttermere's War Memorials found inside the church
(Left): The Buttermere WW1 'Roll of Honour'
(Right): The WW2 memorial for Alan Edmond Catherall
5. Buttermere village and valley looking south-west
Sourmilk Gill is the stream seen flowing down the fellside
The cloud covers the summits of Red Pike and High Stile 
 For additional information click on 'Comments' below.
=======================================

9 Comments:

Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information

Introduction: The valley of Buttermere

The Buttermere valley in the county of Cumbria (previously Cumberland) is a former former glaciated valley in the western Lake District. Buttermere was settled by the Vikings in the 9th and 10th Century and the name 'Buttermere' comes from the Norse meaning the 'lake by the dairy pastures'. Buttermere valley has two lakes: Buttermere and Crummock Water. A third lake, Loweswater, flows into the valley to join the River Cocker.

Either side of the valley are several well known high mountains, known locally as 'fells', such as Haystacks, Fleetwith Pike, Grassmoor and Melbreak. The latter fell gives its name to the local fox hunting pack, the Melbreak Hunt.

This is a vale that has attracted a number of noted writers and artists for over 250 years, including William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Robert Southey, Beatrix Potter, William Heaton Cooper and Alfred Wainwright. Probably the best known former past resident of Buttermere is Mary Robinson (1778 - 1837). Her beauty was written about by several writers of the era and she became known throughout the land as "Maid of Buttermere". Mary was a shepherdess and daughter of the landlord of the Fish Inn.

The story of how Mary was tricked into a bigamous marriage by a charlatan and forger posing as a Member of Parliament was reported in the national press at the time by none other than Samuel Taylor Coleridge. In the 21st Century a novel based on the story of Mary Robinson was written by Cumbrian author Melvyn Bragg ("The Maid of Buttermere"). A stage musical was subsequently written based on the book.

Settlement in the valley comprises of a village with a small church with isolated farms and houses along the valley. Farming remains an important activity in the valley as well as tourism. In addition there is still a slate quarry above the Buttermere valley on the Honister Pass route to Borrowdale and Keswick.
----------

Sunday, 31 January, 2016  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Buttermere parish and its war memorials

Although Buttermere has but a small permanent residential community of about forty dwellings, there are distinct civil and ecclesiastical parishes covering the district. However, the ecclesiastical parish of Buttermere (Church of England) is part of the United Benifice of Melbreak, together with the neighbouring rural parishes of Lorton and Loweswater.

On the higher land above the main village of Buttermere is a rocky promonotory. It is upon this rock that Buttermere's parish church, dedicated to St. James, can be found [Photograph No. 1]. This church building dates mainly from about 1840 when it was a chapelry for the ecclesiastical parish of Brigham and restored in 1930. The wrought iron gate at the porch entrance, known as the 'Shepherd Gate' [Photograph No. 2] was added a little later and is dedicated to the memory of Reverend Geoffrey Norman Orme, M.A. and Harold Lenox Thompson, M.A.

The interior of Buttermere church can be seen in Photograph No. 3, which is where the parish war memorials are found. These are on the left hand (north-facing) wall of the nave. Behind the altar, the stained glass windows are images of Martha and Mary.

Buttermere church has two memorials which can be regarded as war memorials [Photograph No. 4]. Firstly, there is a WW1 'Roll of Honour', listing the men of Buttermere who served in the 1914 - 1918 war [seen on the left of photograph No. 4]. Secondly, there is a memorial to the memory of LAC Alan Edmond Catherall, R.A.F.V.R. who died in the war in the Far East against the Japanese in 1943.
------------

Sunday, 31 January, 2016  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Buttermere's WW1 'Roll of Honour'

Let us consider firstly Buttermere's 'Roll of Honour' which commemorates the seven men of Buttermere who served in the Armed Forces during WW1 [Photograph No. 4, left-hand side]. Only one of these seven, David Vickers, lost his life in the war.

The memorial reads as follows:

"REMEMBER THE MEN OF BUTTERMERE
who fought for their King and Country in
the Great War 1914-1918
James Woodman Astley Cooper
Hugh Astley Cooper
Tom Edmondson
Robert Pearson
James Rigg
Joseph Walker
+ David Vickers +

The Gift of Mr and Mrs Nowell Richardson"
.............

David Vickers from Lanthwaite, Buttermere was the only one from Buttermere to lose his life in the First World War. Below are the details listed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission:

Name: VICKERS, DAVID
Rank: Lance Serjeant
Service No: 200690
Date of Death: 31/07/1917
Age: 23
Regiment/Service: King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment), 1st/4th Bn.
Grave Reference: V. D. 20.
Cemetery: DOCHY FARM NEW BRITISH CEMETERY, Belgium
Additional Information:
Eldest son of Joseph and Eliza Jane Vickers, of Lanthwaite Cottage, Cockermouth, Cumberland.

The epitaph on his headstone is as follows:
"Faithful unto Death".
--------------

Sunday, 31 January, 2016  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

A WW2 Memorial for Buttermere

Unlike for the First World War, there is no 'Roll of Honour' recording the names of those from Buttermere who served in the Second World War. However, there is a memorial remembering one local casualty of the war: Alan Edmond Catherall [Photograph No. 4, right-hand side].

The memorial reads as follows:

"They were lovely and pleasant in their lives
Alan Edmond Catherall, R.A.F.
Born Buttermere, 3 1921
Died Ambonia Island, October 23 1943
Esteemed in loving memory
By Cyril and Nora Catherall and his Civil Service friends."
.............

Below are the details listed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission:

Name: CATHERALL, ALAN EDMOND
Rank: Aircraftman 2nd Class
Service No: 1143771
Date of Death: 23/10/1943
Age: 22
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Grave Reference: 14. A. 2.
Cemetery: AMBON WAR CEMETERY, Indonesia
Additional Information:
Son of Cyril and Nora Catherall, of Loweswater, Cumberland.

The epitaph on his headstone is as follows:
"No gain of thine, O East, were as dear,
As this young life so mercilessly taken."
----------------

Sunday, 31 January, 2016  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Buttermere and district during WW2

Located in a relatively isolated part of N.W. England, Buttermere's main contribution to the war effort during the Second World War was the farming activity that continued throughout the war. During the war an important 'Driver and Maintenance School' was based at Portinscale mainly in what is now the Derwentwater Hotel. This was the base for the training of despatch riders (motorcycles) and frequently used the Lakeland passes and roads including those in the Buttermere area.

The Second World War is regarded as a "People's War". One national initiative by the British Government to strengthen the binds between civilians on the Home Front and those serving in the Armed Forces were annual fund raising weeks and districts 'adopting' an aircraft or a Royal Navy vessel. Thus, following 'Warship Week' in 1942 Cockermouth and the surrounding district, including Buttermere and Loweswater 'adopted' a recently launched warship of the Type III 'Hunter' Class escort destroyer: J4293.

When she was commissioned she was designated 'L73' and given the name of "HMS Melbreak", after the fell and fox hound hunting pack based in the Buttermere / Loweswater district. In October 1944, 14 members of the crew of "HMS Melbreak" made a goodwill visit to the district and accompanied the Melbreak foxhunter pack on a hunt for foxes. No foxes were found so Mr and Mrs Renard and their family could sleep easy that night. Nevertheless, the crew members of "HMS Melbreak" who took part in the hunt had a convivial time sampling the 'Cumberland Tatie Pot' and the local John Peel Pale Ale!

One of the locals who accompanied the crew of "HMS Melbreak" with the Melbreak Foxhounds in October 1944 was Gunner Johnny Richardson of Gatesgarth, Buttermere. He was on home leave following a recent successful escape from a P.O.W. camp in Italy, having been assisted by Italian partisans and country folk before making it back to the British lines.

After leaving the army at the end of the war, Johnny Richardson went on to become 'Whipper In' in 1946 with the Blencathra Foxhounds, the 'John Peel Hunt'. This is the neighbouring hunt of the Melbreak Hunt. After three years as 'Whipper In', in 1949 Johnny Richardson became Huntsman of the Blencathra Foxhounds a post he held until his death in 1988.

To read a previous article about the goodwill visit of "HMS Melbreak" to its 'adopted' area of Cockermouth and district click on the following link:
A welcome break from hunting U-Boats
---------

Sunday, 31 January, 2016  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

The loss of Wellington HZ715 (16 June 1944)

The S.W. side of Buttermere is a range of high fells with the summits of High Stile and Red Pike. Below these two summits is Bleaberry Tarn which discharges into Sourmilk Gill down the fellside into the valley below. Photograph No. 5 shows the village and valley of Buttermere with the High Stile / Red Pike range beyond. Sourmilk Gill is the stream seen flowing down the fellside. The summit ridge and the peaks of High Stile and Red Pike are covered by low cloud.

The air space over the Lake Distict was used as a training area by the R.A.F. during WW2 although the low cloud, poor visibility and high fell summits proved to be contributory factors leading to a number of air crashes. It is believed these factors contributed to the crash of a Wellington bomber (HZ715) on a cross country training flight close to the summit of Red Pike on the afternoon of 16 June 1944.

All eight of the crew of HZ715 were Canadians (R.C.A.F.) and they were all killed in the crash. Five of the crew were trainees, two were instructors and one was a passenger (also a trainer). Becaue of the local geology, Buttermere does not have its own burial ground even for locals and all eight casualties were interred at Chester (Blacon) Cemetery, Cheshire.
.........

Sunday, 31 January, 2016  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

These are the details of the eight crew as listed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission:

(1) Name: ANDERSON, GEORGE McCRIMMON
Rank: Sergeant
Trade: Air Bomber
Service No: R/168378
Date of Death: 16/06/1944
Age: 29
Regiment/Service: Royal Canadian Air Force
Grave Reference: Sec. A. Grave 896.
Cemetery: CHESTER (BLACON) CEMETERY, Cheshire.
Additional Information:
Son of William and Jonerah Anderson, of Kincardine, Ontario, Canada.

The epitaph on his headstone is as follows:
"There is one link
Death cannot sever
Love and Remembrance
Last forever."
............

(2) Name: COATHUP, GEORGE RICHARD
Rank: Warrant Officer Class I
Trade: W.Op./Air Gnr.
Service No: R/115256
Date of Death: 16/06/1944
Regiment/Service: Royal Canadian Air Force
Grave Reference: Sec. A. Grave 279.
Cemetery: CHESTER (BLACON) CEMETERY, Cheshire.
Additional information:
No additional information currently listed nor is an epitaph listed.
(However, according to research by the West Yorkshire Aircraft website, he was the on of Harvey C. Coathup and Eva P. Coathup, of Unionsville, Ontario, Canada and the husband of Mrs Betty Coathup (nee Burgoyne). His younger brother, Pilot (W/O) Clifford Harvey Coathup, R.C.A.F., 427 Squadron, age 21, was killed in action on 18 April 1944 (buried in Clichy Northern Cemetery, France).
.......

(3) Name: COOPER, ALBERT DIGBY
Rank: Pilot Officer
Trade: Pilot
Service No: J/18201
Date of Death: 16/06/1944
Age: 25
Regiment/Service: Royal Canadian Air Force
Grave Reference: Sec. A. Grave 1068.
Cemetery: CHESTER (BLACON) CEMETERY, Cheshire.
Additional Information:
Son of John Digby Cooper and Loren E. Cooper, of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada.

The epitaph on his headstone is as follows:
"He leadeth me
Beside the still waters."
.....................

(4) Name: DIXON, FREDERICK ALLEN
Rank: Flying Officer
Trade: Pilot
Service No: J/35425
Date of Death: 16/06/1944
Regiment/Service: Royal Canadian Air Force
Grave Reference: Sec. A. Grave 986.
Cemetery: CHESTER (BLACON) CEMETERY, Cheshire.
Additional information:
No additional information currently listed nor is an epitaph listed.
............

Sunday, 31 January, 2016  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

(5) Name: HODGES, CAMPBELL MCRAE
Rank: Sergeant
Trade: Air Gnr.
Service No: R/266186
Date of Death: 16/06/1944
Age: 34
Regiment/Service: Royal Canadian Air Force
Grave Reference: Sec. A. Grave 806.
Cemetery: CHESTER (BLACON) CEMETERY, Cheshire
Additional Information:
Son of John Campbell Hodges and Margaret Hodges, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada; husband of Jean Elaine Hodges, of Toronto.

The epitaph on his headstone is as follows:
"We think of him in silence
No eyes to see us weep
But still within our hearts
His memory we keep."
..............

(6) Name: SIMONSON, ROY EDWARD
Rank: Flying Officer
Trade: W.Op./Air Gnr.
Service No: J/19182
Date of Death: 16/06/1944
Age: 23
Regiment/Service: Royal Canadian Air Force
Grave Reference: Sec. A. Grave 149.
Cemetery: CHESTER (BLACON) CEMETERY, Cheshire.
Additional Information:
Son of Carl E. Simonson and Esther M. Simonson, of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan Canada; husband of Esther Simonson.

The epitaph on his headstone is as follows:
"He is not dead but sleepeth."
.................

(7) Name: TITLEMAN, DANIEL
Rank: Flying Officer
Trade: Nav.
Service No: J/38329
Date of Death: 16/06/1944
Age: 26
Regiment/Service: Royal Canadian Air Force
Grave Reference: Sec. A. Grave 63.
Cemetery: CHESTER (BLACON) CEMETERY, Cheshire.
Additional Information:
Son of Samuel and Sarah Titleman, of Montreal Province of Quebec, Canada.

The epitaph on his headstone is as follows:
"He always played the game."
............

(8) Name: UNTERSEHER, EMIL
Rank: Flight Lieutenant
Trade: Pilot
Service No: J/16129
Date of Death: 16/06/1944
Age: 28
Regiment/Service: Royal Canadian Air Force
Grave Reference: Sec. A. Grave 322.
Cemetery: CHESTER (BLACON) CEMETERY, Cheshire.
Additional Information:
Son of Charles and Lydia Unterseher, of Hilda, Alberta, Canada.

The epitaph on his headstone is as follows:
"I have fought a good fight,
I have finished my course,
I have kept the faith."
...........

For a more detailed account about the loss of Wellington HZ715 and short biographies of the crew on the Military Aircraft Crash Sites website, click on the following link:
The loss of Wellington HZ715 (16 June 1944)
-------------

Sunday, 31 January, 2016  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Conclusion

At first glance it may appear that Buttermere and district and its inhabitants had a relatively 'quiet' time during the Second World War, as during the First World War. While it is true that Buttermere's main contribution to the war effort was in the farming sector and food production, in what would be a "People's War" events in the valley and elsewhere had an impact on life and death in the valley.

The slate mine at Honister worked throughout the war and the district played its part in the raising of funds and support for those in the Armed Forces, such as for those serving on the district's adopted warship, "HMS Melbreak". Inevitably, the loss of Wellington Bomber HZ715 and all its crew was deeply felt by the local population.

Buttermere's parish church is where Buttermere's war memorials are found. The only Second World War casualty from the district lost his life on the other side of the world. in modern day Indonesia. The eight airmen who lost their lives when Wellington Bomber HZ715 crashed into Red Pike above the valley were all Canadians. Buttermere was certainly not isolated from the tragedy of the loss of war.
-----------

Dedication

This article is dedicated to the community and all those with a connection to Buttermere and district especially during the Second World War.

"I will lift up mine eyes to the hills, from whence cometh my help"
Psalm 121:1
============

Sunday, 31 January, 2016  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home