Thursday, March 08, 2018

"Until the day break ..."

1. Staff Sgt. William Fisher Birkett, REME
Known as 'Billie' to family and friends
"Died of injuries in a battle accident" 
Western Front, 18 April 1945

[Photo courtesy of 'The Whitehaven News']
[His father was killed in the 1914 - 1918 war]
2 .High Street, Cleator Moor Cumberland 
(Early 20th C postcard)
Birthplace and home of Sgt W.F. Birkett, REME
3. Cleator Moor Brass at a remembrance service
Cleator Moor Wesleyan (Methodist) Church
Billie Birkett was married in this church 
4. Cleator Moor War Memorial
Decorated with poppies of Remembrance
Billie Birkett died in WW2, his father Dick in WW1
5. 1914 Lonsdale Battalion recruitment poster
Dick Birkett, father of Billie, was a recruit
Dick Birkett was killed in action in 1917

[Photo taken at Cumbria Museum of Military Life, Carlisle]
"Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be thou like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether." 
Song of Solomon 2:17 
The Bible (King James Version)  

[The first part of this verse is the epitaph on Billie Birkett's CWGC headstone in the war cemetery at Becklingen, Germany]


Staff Serjeant William Fisher Birkett, REME (known as 'Billie') [Photograph No. 1] "... died of injuries sustained in a battle accident in a forward area on the Western Front ..." on 18 April 1945. Sgt. Birkett came from Cleator Moor, Cumberland in the N.W. of England [Photograph No. 2]. In life, Billie was a popular member of the Wesleyan (Methodist) church at Cleator Moor, a church which holds an annual service of Remembrance for all those killed in wars [Photograph No. 3]. 

The death of Sgt. Birkett in WW2 was a case of history repeating itself. His father, Pte. Dickinson Fisher Birkett ('Dick'), was killed on the Western Front while serving with the 11th (Lonsdale) Battalion of the Border Regiment in the 1914 - 1918 war. Like father, like son - both made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the Armed Forces. Billie Birkett and his father Dick Birkett are just of the war dead from the Cleator Moor district of Cumbria commemorated by the town's war memorial [seen in Photograph No. 4]. 


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