Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Coastal Defence of Whitehaven, Cumberland

Coastal Defence Battery, R.A. 422 Unit
(Wartime sketch by Army Cadet Frank Lewthwaite)
 Aerial view of Whitehaven (c. 1941 / 42)
Taken from Avro Anson based at RAF Millom
(Frank Lewthwaite collection)
 Aerial view of Whitehaven (c. 1943 / 44)
Taken from Avro Anson based at RAF Millom
(Frank Lewthwaite collection)
For information on the WW2 coastal defence battery at Whitehaven, West Cumberland click on 'Comments' below.


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

The sketch of the WW2 coastal defence battery at Bransty, Whitehaven, Cumberland was made by Army Cadet Frank Lewthwaite from his home at 51 Bransty Road, Whitehaven. This was Royal Artillery Unit 422 (561 Coast Regiment). Frank was still at school at the outbreak of war in 1939 but was able to visit the battery a number of times when he was in the Army Cadet Force (1943 - 1948).

In the top left of the sketch is the Snaefell (Isle of Man) and in the top right of the sketch are the Galloway Hills of S.W. Scotland. When two Nissan huts were being built on the Bransty British Legion ground (the seaward side of Bransty Road) two Royal Artillery soldiers were billeted with the Lewthwaites at 51 Bransty Road. They were Lance Bombardier George Tully and C/P Bombardier George Crane.

From December 1941 the guns were French 138mm M10s from the cruiser "Paris".! The original guns were 4" BL MkVII French naval guns which were sent to the Port Talbot battery on 1st December 1941 and then to Mumbles (Gower peninsula). The Whitehaven battery ceased to be operational on the 1 June 1945.

The two wartime aerial views of Whitehaven which are also in Frank's collection were taken during Avro Anson training flights from RAF Millom, S.W. Cumberland. During one of these training flights from RAF Millom, on Thursday 14 October 1943, Avro Anson R9780 developed structural problems over Whitehaven and crashed in the Arrowthwaite (Kells) district of the town.

All five airmen aboard were killed but fortunately there was no loss of civilian life. Many of the Whitehaven townsfolk saw the crash, including Frank Lewthwaite. The aerial views seen above would have been similar to the last view the five airmen of Avro Anson R9780 would have had before the plane crashed.

On Wednesday 10 September 2008 a memorial seat was unveiled to the memory of the five airmen who died in the plane crash on 14 October 1943. To read about the unveiling of this memorial seat click on the following link:
In remembrance of five brave airmen

Sunday, 17 June, 2012  

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