Category: Military

S.A.S. Somerset

This post has been written many years after the fact and to be honest prior to today I have never really had much to add to a SAS Somerset post. However, I have recently found the handout I received when I visited the ship in 1993.

SAS Somerset

The one thing I do remember is how clean and well maintained she looked when I was on board, and the men in charge were rightly proud of her. Sadly as at 2019 her future is bleak and it is likely that she will end up being broken up. 

From the original handout that I received on the ship

Potted history of the SAS Somerset.

The ship was built by Blyth Shipbuilding Company and is listed as yard number 280, her machinery was built by Swan Hunter & Wigham Richards Ltd, Tyneside. Her keel was laid on 15 April 1941 and she entered service with the Royal Navy on 08 April 1942 as HMS Barcross.

HMS Barcross (1943) South African Military Museum. This photo was published in 1944 – 66 years ago – In South Africa, copyright prescribes after 50 years! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SAS_Somerset

HMS Barcross and her sister ship HMS Barbrake arrived at Simonstown, in 1942 and was transferred to Saldanha Bay for boom defence operations directly thereafter. In 1943 she was re-designated as HMSAS Barcross and transferred to the South African Naval Forces for the remainder of the war. In 1946 she was was purchased by the South African Government and was used for the dumping of ammunition off Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. On completion of these services, she was transferred to Salisbury Island in Durban and was subsequently laid up at Salisbury Island. In 1951 her name was changed to SAS Somerset.

During 1955 Somerset was brought back into service and during this period she was tasked in salvaging the remains of two Harvard training aircraft following a mid air collision over Table Bay. Six weeks later she recovered a third Harvard which had crashed into the sea off Bok Point. In 1959 during a refit, Somerset had her coal fired boilers converted to oil. 

In 1961 Somerset salvaged the South African Railways tug F. Schermbrucker which had sunk in East London harbour. In 1967 she was fitted out with new boilers and a reconditioned main engine. In 1968 her services were called on again to assist the cable ship John W. Mackay to raise and repair the newly inaugurated overseas telephone cable in the shallow waters off Melkbosstrand. During 1969 Somerset raised the old whale catcher Wagter 11 in Saldanha Bay and subsequently towed her back to Simonstown. During the same year, she salvaged a floating crane which had capsized and sunk at Port Elizabeth. In the early hours of 24 July 1974 Somerset was dispatched to Cape Agulhas to assist with the salvage of the Oriental Pioneer, poor weather conditions and bad luck rendered this effort unsuccessful.

In 1981 the fishing trawler Aldebaran was successfully raised in Port Elizabeth having laid on the bottom for over two and a half years. Somerset also acted as a standby vessel during submarine shallow water diving operations. In 1983 she assisted in the salvaging of a barge and two whale catchers at Saldanha Bay. In March 1986, Somerset was finally paid off. In 1988 she was donated as a museum ship, moored at the waterfront at Cape Town.  She is the only boom defence vessel remaining in the world.  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SAS_Somerset)

SAS Somerset on the synchro-lift 04/06/1988

SAS Somerset on the synchro-lift 04/06/1988

The following images were taken by Dylan Knott on 17 February and April 2019. Sadly it appears as if the Somerset is to be broken up. Images are used with permission and are copyright to the photographer.

DRW © 2019. Created 01/03/2019. Images of Somerset on the synchro courtesy of Brian Potgieter, images of Somerset in 2019 courtesy of Dylan Knott © 2019

Updated: 16/04/2019 — 18:17

Roll of Honour. St John’s College, Houghton

St John’s College in Houghton has a very strong connection to the military, and there are two chapels on the premises. The larger chapel houses the Roll of Honour, whereas the Crypt Chapel has the Delville Wood Cross in it. I have dealt with that chapel in a previous post and this post really deals with the Roll of Honour. Unfortunately my images are less than satisfactory, but I was pushed for time and was not able to concentrate on what I was photographing, which is probably why it has taken so long for these images to appear in the first place.

I really started working on the Roll of Honour as a result of my involvement with “Lives of the First World War”, and really looked at the 1914-1918 portion of the Roll of Honour and created a community for it (Community will be unavailable until July 2020). I had hoped to be able to tie a name into a specific record but I was not always successful. The problem really is that some names tie into a number of possibles, or don’t tie into anybody and without more details I am just unable to do anything except guess, and even then I cannot. The results here may not be correct and I do welcome any help with them.  

The inscriptions are on wooden panels and it was not easy to read them which is why I took an image with the flash and an image without one.  Images link to either CWGC or South African War Graves Project. There are 4 sections to this page: World War 1, World War 2, Post World War, Private Memorials

World War 1

V.L. Adams

CA Bailey (1)
R O Bettington
S. Dunstan (2)
A.Eastwood (3)
A Fraser (4)
W. Hirst (5)
R. Johnstone (6)
C.D. King (7)
H. Mallett DCM
S Marsh (8)
R. Martin (9)
J Peters (10)
B. Stokes (11)
W. Ware-Austin (12)

(1) CA Bailey. No possible candidate found

(2). S Dunstan. There are two possibles at CWGC but no way to tie either of them to the ROH.

(3) A Eastwood. No possible candidate found

(4) A Fraser. Possible candidate

(5) W Hirst. No possible candidate found

(6) R Johnstone. Two possibles but no way to positively tie them to the ROH

(7) CD King. Many possibles but nothing to tie them into the ROH

(8) S Marsh. Two possibles but no way to positively tie them to the ROH

(9) R Martin. Many possibles but no way to positively tie them to the ROH

(10) J Peters. Many possibles but no way to positively tie them to the ROH

(11) B Stokes. No possible candidate found

(12) W. Ware-Austin. No possible candidate found. 

World War 2

L. Adams (2)
P.H. Andrews (3)
H.C. Campbell (4)
G. Cherrington (5)
B.D. Havnl (1)
J.A. Hill (7)
R. MacDonald (8)
D.F. Murray (9)
B.P. Purves (10)
F.M. Reim (11.)

(1) Surname appears to be Havnl but this may be missing characters. 

(2) May be http://www.southafricawargraves.org/search/details.php?id=160

(3) May be http://www.southafricawargraves.org/search/details.php?id=537

(4) Two possibles but not able to confirm which it is

(5) No data on a G Cherrington

(6) Aka known as Baratt, Thomas Oxenham Gordon

(7) Two possibles but no way of checking which it is

(8) May be http://www.southafricawargraves.org/search/details.php?id=14221

(9) Two possibles but not enough information

(10) May be https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2239953/purves,-brian-percival/

(11) Initials are given as M.F on grave

Post World War 2

M.D. Reitz  (1952)

C.H.C.R. Stewart (12)

R.H. Mentis (1963)

P.N. Gettliffe (12)

D.A. Carshalton (1976)

D.R. Mitchell (12)

A Gordon-Bennett (1978)

A. De Kiewiet (12)

(12) No record found

Private Memorials.

I saw two private memorials amongst the panels.

 

Cyprian Ryland Jenkin
Tom Michael Glanvill Jenkin

DRW © 2018-2019. Created 15/11/2018, World War 2 names added 16/04/2019, added in links 18/04/2019

Updated: 18/04/2019 — 18:07

Sedgeberrow War Memorial

Sedgeberrow is a  village  and civil parish in the Wychavon district of Worcestershire, England, about 4.8 km south of Evesham. I first  spotted the war memorial from the bus en route to Evesham and in early November 2018 made a trip to photograph it.  

The memorial is next to the church of “St Mary the Virgin” and may be found at 52.045395°,  -1.965749° and it really comprises 2 entities:  A Crucifix, described as “Crucifix in stone under a canopy set on three steps. The inscription is on the risers of the steps.”

On the exterior wall of the church is affixed another plaque, and it is dedicated to those who served in The First World War. If I read it correctly there are 3 sets of brothers on the two memorials, although that would require additional research. 

Unfortunately I was not able to access the church to see whether there were any memorials within it, and there are no formal CWGC graves in the churchyard.

DRW © 2018. Created 06/11/2018

Updated: 02/03/2019 — 05:04

Kemerton War Memorial

Kemerton is a small village in a string of villages between Tewkesbury and Evesham. I visited the village to photograph the memorial on 20/10/2018.

The War Memorial is described as a “Latin Limestone Cross atop a tall shaft, which is on a 5 stage base. The design of the cross was adapted from an ancient village cross in the village of Laycock.” (https://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/32460). It was unveiled on 9 January 1921, and was made by Sir Herbert Baker RA (possibly the architect?), Messrs E T Taylor of Tewkesbury and Mr A Stanley of Kemerton. It is a Grade II listed structure. 

There are 20 names from the First World War and 7 from the Second World War on the memorial.

The memorial may be found at Google Earth co-ordinates: 52.033202°,  -2.079959°.

DRW 2018. Created 24/10/2018

Updated: 02/03/2019 — 05:05

Ashton-Under-Hill War Memorial

Ashton-Under-Hill is a small village between Tewkesbury and Evesham, and is one of a string of villages that I visited on 20/10/2018. The War Memorial is described as “Cross, with laurel wreath wrapped round the shaft, on a stepped square base,” it has 8 names from the First World War and 2 from the second. (https://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/52116)

The main inscription is as follows:

On each side there are additional inscriptions, and I suspect the World War 1 names may have been added at a later date.

Guy Lea is buried in the nearby churchyard of St Barbara’s Church.

The church has three private memorials and a framed Roll of Honour mounted on a wall inside:

(RAF Memorial text recreated because of reflections)

The War Memorial may be found at Google Earth co-ordinates:  52.039634°,  -2.005106°

DRW © 2018. Created 23/10/2018

Updated: 02/03/2019 — 05:04

Royal Naval Division Memorial in London

The Royal Naval Division Memorial is located on Horse Guards Parade in London, but unfortunately is almost lost in the space as it is such a modest structure. It was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and was unveiled on 25 April 1925.

The Royal Naval Division (RND) was created by Winston Churchill, the First Lord of the Admiralty at the time, and it was manned by sailors, Royal Marines, and naval and marine reservists who were not required at sea.  Although it was a land based division it  was known for its strong maritime traditions, including the use of naval ranks and terminology. After serving in the disastrous Gallipoli Campaign it was deployed to the Western Front in late 1916 until the armistice in 1918. It lost 10,737 officers and men during the war; while 30,892 were wounded.

The Admiralty Citadel partly obscure the poem by Rupert Brooke 1887–1915 which is inscribed on the one side of the memorial. Brooke, a member of the Hood Battalion of the RND, died of disease while en route with the division to Gallipoli in April 1915

Blow out, you bugles, over the rich Dead!

There’s none of these so lonely and poor of old,

But, dying, has made us rarer gifts than gold.

These laid the world away; poured out the red

Sweet wine of youth; gave up the years to be

Of work and joy, and that unhoped serene,

That men call age; and those who would have been,

Their sons, they gave, their immortality.

The memorial was removed from its original site when work was started on the citadel, and it was eventually erected in a number of places before being re-installed in its original site on  13 November 2003. It is designated a grade II listed building.

In my opinion the glowering and overgrown citadel really overshadows the memorial, leaving it to look more like a feature as opposed to a proper memorial. 

DRW 2013-2018. Created 14/10/2018

Updated: 02/03/2019 — 05:04

South African Heavy Artillery Memorial: Kimberley

72nd (Griqualand West) Siege Battery: Clyde ‘n Terry Museum Kimberley

These photographs of the South African Heavy Artillery Memorial 72nd (Griqualand West) Siege Battery: Clyde ‘n Terry Hall of Militaria n Kimberley were taken in January 2018 by Diane Van Tonder and are used with permission.

The inscription is followed by the names and ranks of the 167 men who died in the Great War.

This 6-inch 26-cwt howitzers is one of 6 brought back from France and Flanders to be part of the memorials to the South African Heavy Artillery that were established in major centres in South Africa.

The 6 Memorials to the Heavy Artillery can be found in: (Open in new page)

DRW © 2018. Created 14/09/2018. Images courtesy of Diane Van Tonder. 

Updated: 02/03/2019 — 05:04

Swindon Railway Works Plaques

The plaques in this post were photographed at Steam. Museum of the Great Western Railroad that I visited in 2015. Unfortunately my images did not come out well, it really has to do with camera shake and long exposures associated with not using a flash. I have sharpened them as much as possible. 

The Great Western Railway had it’s engine works in this railway town, and even built housing for its workers there, it was the biggest employer too and the Museum tells the story of the men and women who built, operated and travelled on the Great Western Railway. In wartime the works would have played a major part in maintaining the steam engines and in some cases using their heavy industrial facilities for wartime production. The labour force of men would have been affected by volunteering and conscription, and women began to play a role in keeping the works running. The carnage of the Western Front would have also affected the men who worked here, and a number of plaques have survived, commemorating those who never returned.​

 

DRW © 2015-2018. Created 27/08/2018

Updated: 02/03/2019 — 05:05

Frederick Hitch VC

Frederick Hitch (27/11/1856 – 06/01/1913) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions at Rorke’s Drift during the Anglo-Zulu War on 22–23 January 1879.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Issue: 24717, Page: 3178 reads:

“THE Queen has been graciously pleased to signify Her intention to confer the decoration of the Victoria Cross on the undermentioned Officers and Soldiers of Her Majesty’s Army, whose claims have been submitted for Her Majesty’s approval, for their gallant conduct in the defence of Rorke’s Drift, on the occasion of the attack by the Zulus, as recorded against their names, viz.:—

2nd Battalion 24th Regiment, Corporal William Allen and Private Frederick Hitch.

It was chiefly due to the courageous conduct of these men that communication with the hospital was kept up at all. Holding together at all costs a most dangerous post, raked in reverse by the enemy’s fire from the hill, they were both severely wounded, but their determined conduct enabled the patients to be withdrawn from the hospital, and when incapacitated by their wounds from fighting, they continued, as soon as their wounds had been dressed, to serve out ammunition to their comrades during the night.”

Frederick Hitch VC collapsed and died at his home whilst talking to a neighbour on the 6th of  January 1913 and he was buried in St Nicholas Churchyard, Chiswick.

DRW © 2018, created 26/08/2018. Image courtesy of Mark Green.

Updated: 26/08/2018 — 19:26

Bertram Stuart Trevelyan Archer GC

Bertram Stuart Trevelyan Archer (03/02/1915 – 03/05/2015) was awarded the George Cross for extensive work on defusing German bombs dropped on United Kingdom during World War II.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Issue: 35292, Page: 5653, reads

“The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the GEORGE CROSS in recognition of most conspicuous gallantry in carrying out hazardous work in a very brave manner, to: —
Second-Lieutenant (Acting Lieutenant) Bertram Stuart Trevelyan Archer (126305), Corps of Royal Engineers.”

Stuart  Archer was the only VC or GC (up till 03/02/2015) to reach the age of 100. He passed away on 3rd May 2015 and was cremated at the New Southgate Crematorium.

DRW © 2018. Created 23/08/2018. Image courtesy of Mark Green. 

Updated: 26/08/2018 — 19:26
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