While researching one of our casualties, surnamed Prince, we came across this appealingly-named
casualty. Listed under "Prince of Wales" on the CWGC
site, he was Private B/321,
serving in the Inland Water Transport service of the Royal
He died on 6 September 1917, and is commemorated on the
Freetown Memorial, in Sierra Leone.
On Cromer, Norfolk, seafront is a plaque to
"The Foresters' Centenary", a lifeboat in service between 1936
and 1961. The lifeboat itself is now on display in Sheringham
museum. Known to her crew as "The Pea Pod", the lifeboat was
donated to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution by The
Ancient Order of Foresters' Friendly Society, at a cost of
£3,569. She was launched 129 times and saved 82 lives. During
World War II she rescued more airmen than any other lifeboat,
hence her commemoration as "The Airman's Lifeboat".
Visiting Brandwood End cemetery,
Birmingham, in search of the grave of our casualty Leonard John
"Billy" Bailey, we noticed this unusual headstone.
Shaped in the form of a tree-trunk,
it commemorates Frank Starkey Barnett. He was born on 26
January 1860 and died on 13 November 1915. Also inscribed
there is the name of his wife, Bertha Barnett (nee Harrison),
born 1 November 1863, and died 28 March 1940.
They married in 1885 in the
Solihull registration district.
At St Mary the Virgin church,
Lapworth, Warwickshire, amongst the graves, is this unusual
little memorial. The headstone reads:
"In loving memory of Frank Wise,
aged 13 years, Sidney Warren, aged 11 years, and Ernest Spight,
aged 11 years, who were drowned through the breaking of the ice
on Spring Pits on which they were sliding as they returned from
school and church on Ash Wednesday, February 13, 1907.. Also of
Arthur Wise, aged 10 years, who gave his life in a brave attempt
to save his companions. This stone was erected by the
parishioners of Lapworth as a token of sympathy with their
parents and as a warning to the children of future generations.
At St Martin's church, Cheriton,
while looking for war casualties we came across the grave of
Samuel Plimsoll, famed for the maximum loading marks on ships to
ensure safe buoyancy in various conditions.
inscriptions at the front of the grave have a representation of
a loading mark, and read, "Samuel Plimsoll "The Sailors Friend",
born at Briston Feb 10th 1824, died at Folkestone June 3rd
1898." Beneath is inscribed "He giveth his beloved sleep".
On the right face is written,
"Harriet Frankish, his wife. March 12 1851 - May 22 1911. "I
will lift up mine eyes until the hills from whence cometh my
On the left face appear the words,
"Enid Mary, dear wife of S R C Plimsoll, July 2nd 1893 - August
21st 1937. L.M.N.B.M."
Only Greek Soldier
From a visit to Botley cemetery,
Oxford, we learnt that there is only one Greek soldier buried in
the UK. His name was T, Lagos, and he died from wounds on 18
October 1944. His grave in the picture is marked by the cross.
In the same cemetery is a CWGC
headstone for Private H Gibbons, who died on 23 February 1919.
Unusually it has an inscription on the back, presumably
commemorating his wife.
Home Guard Loophole
is a look-out for the Home Guard at Newton Blossomville in
Buckinghamshire, at the junction of Hardmead Road and Clifton
Road. It is placed in the wall around the Rectory, and faces
south, directly down the Hardmead Road.
A plaque, dated 6th May 1995, reads, "This loophole was
constructed in 1940 for use by members of the Home Guard in case
of invasion by Hitler's Armies".
Anzac Graves at Harefield
There are 112 graves here, casualties of the Western Front and
Gallipoli and of the 'flu pandemic at the end of the Great War.
They were amongst thousands who were treated at the Hospital,
created when Harefield Park was offered for use by its
Australian owners for the convalescence of Antipodean troops.
The site became known as the Number 1 Australian Auxiliary
Hospital, and expanded rapidly, receiving a royal visit in 1915.
By November 1916, it became a general hospital able to undertake
operations and staffed by numerous specialised medical
professionals. By 1918, so large was the throughput of patients,
the hospital had become a complex including billiards rooms, a
library, a recreation room where concerts were held, and regular
recreational outings. The hospital seventy years later would
become internationally famed for pioneering transplant surgery.
graves lie in a dedicated section of St Mary's Parish Church. In
the centre of the graves is a memorial, inscribed, "To the glory
of God, who giveth us the victory, and to the memory of brave
Australian soldiers who having taken part in the Great War now
rest in Harefield churchyard".
On the reverse of the memorial are the words, "This memorial is
erected by Sir Francis Newdegate KCMG, now Governor of Western
Australia and formerly of Tasmania, Honorary Colonel Eleventh
Battalion Commonwealth Military Forces, and Charles Arthur
Moresby Billyard-Leake Esq of Harefield Park. AD 1921". The then
Mr Newdegate had arranged for the use of the churchyard and bore
the cost of the funerals.
The archway at the entrance to the Anzac section bears the
words, "Their name liveth for evermore" and on the side columns
the words, "Harefield Parish Churchyard, Australian Military
Cemetery". A ceremony of Remembrance is held here every Anzac
Day, 25 April, the anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli.
Flowers are laid by children on every grave.
Lymington is this plaque, unveiled on 21 June 2014, just after
the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
The plaque was laid by the Rotary
club, and reads, "From this river on the 3rd June 1944 sailed
the 2nd battalion of the Essex Regiment (The Pompadours) to take
part in Operation Overlord. They landed in Normandy on 6th June
(D-Day), liberating Bayeux on the 7th June. Lest we forget".
The Essexes had been traing in the
Beaulieu area since 25 May, and were brought to Lymington to
leave for Southampton. They sailed from Southampton on the
evening of 5th June.
The wreath was laid by the
Hampshire County Councillor for Lymington.
Below is the Lymington
River, leading onto the Solent. The names and ages of men from
the 2nd battalion, Essex Regiment, who died in the first week
after D-Day are listed.
Thomas Williams, 24
John Beeston, 31
John Clark, 39
Walter Spooner, 28
Alfred Andrews, 40
Richard Attwood, 34
Gerald Petre, 27
Albert Harrison, 27
Alfred Hollands, 30
Christopher Joslin, 20
William Lane, 37
Vernon Larter, 19
Patrick McGowan, 18
Arthur Morley, 25
Charles Randall, 23
John Allen, 18
Alfred Roberts, 24
Thornton Cannon, 29
Harold Colvill, 29
Alan Dodge, 19
At nearby Poole Harbour, on the Custom House at the Quay, is a
plaque commemorating the leaving of some 300 craft for Operation
Enemy Action that Wasn't
Amidst the many tragedies in Dover
owing to enemy action, one lady deemed to have died proved not
to have done so. Hetty Alexandra Lewis of 12 Malmains Road had
been in the ATS. A telegram, seemingly from the ATS, stated that
Mrs Hetty Alexandra Lewis of 12 Malmains Road had lost her life
in East Anglia. Subsequently the telegram was discovered to have
been made by her husband, who desired to marry another woman.
Special Operations Executive
In Gravesend cemetery, close to the
grave of Dover casualty Donald Boyd Heron, is this grave. From
Wikipedia is the information that, born in England, Pierre
Louis Le Chêne descended from a family that had fled the
French revolution; they moved to France shortly after the Great
War. Pierre, his brother, and his sister-in-law returned to
England as the Second World War began; all three joined the SOE.
Pierre trained as a radio operator and from May until 9 November
1942 he operated in France, before being arrested. He eventually
was sent to an extermination camp, suffering many privations
until liberation in 1945. After the war he and his brother and
sister-in-law ran a hotel in France.