Category: Military

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: 15/10/2018 — 06:07

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: 14/09/2018 — 08:54

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: 27/08/2018 — 07:41

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

Commando Winners of the Victoria Cross

The Commando Winners of the Victoria Cross Plaque may be found at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

Lt Col Geoffrey Keyes VC, MC.
Lt Col Charles Newman VC
Sgt Thomas Durrant VC
Maj Patrick Porteus VC
L/Cpl Henry Harden VC
Lt George A Knowland VC
Cpl Thomas Hunter VC
Maj Anders Lassen VC, MC**

DRW © 2018. Created 21/08/2018

Updated: 26/08/2018 — 19:26

James Hendry GC

James Hendry (20/12/1911 – 13/06/1941) was was posthumously awarded the George Cross for his self sacrifice  on 13/06/1941 Loch Laggan, Scotland.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Supplement: 35962, Page: 1511 reads: 

The KING has been graciously pleased, on the advice of Canadian Ministers, to approve the posthumous award of the GEORGE CROSS, in recognition of most conspicuous gallantry in carrying out hazardous work in a very brave manner, 
to: — B.28593 Corporal Jame Hendry.”

No.1 Tunnelling Company of the  Royal Canadian Engineers was tasked with digging the tunnel between Loch Spey and Loch Laggan to supply water to the British Aluminium works at Fort William, when a fire broke out in an explosives store near Loch Laggan.  Corporal Hendry  ordered his colleagues to run to safety and attempted to extinguish the blaze, rather than attempt to escape the inevitable explosion that would have killed more men and stopped work on the tunnel. However it was in vain as the ensuring explosion killed him and Sapper John MacDougall Stewart. Seven more were injured.

James Hendry was buried in Brookwood Military Cemetery (grave reference 31. F. 9.) in Surrey. 

DRW 2018. Created 16/08/2018, image courtesy of Mark Green.

Updated: 26/08/2018 — 19:26

William Hope VC

William Hope (12/04/1834 – 17/12/1909) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions during the Crimean War  on 18 June 1855 at Sebastopol,

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Issue: 21997,  Page: 1578, reads:

“7th Regiment, Lieutenant William Hope, Date of Act of Bravery, 18th June, 1855.

After the troops had retreated on the morning of the 18th June, 1855, Lieutenant W. Hope being informed by the late Serjeant-Major William Bacon, who was himself wounded, that Lieutenant and Adjutant Hobson was lying outside the trenches badly wounded, went out to look for him, and found him lying in the old agricultural ditch running towards the left flank of the Redan. He then returned, and got four men to bring him in. Finding, however, that Lieutenant Hobson could not be removed without a stretcher, he then ran back across the open to Egerton’s Pit, where he procured one, and carried it to where Lieutenant Hobson was lying.
All this was done under a very heavy fire from the Russian batteries.”

William Hope passed away on 17th December 1909 in London, aged 75. He was buried in the family grave in Brompton Cemetery.

DRW © 2018. Created 13/08/2018. Image courtesy of Mark Green

Updated: 26/08/2018 — 19:26

Lachhiman Gurung VC

Lachhiman Gurung (30/12/1917 – 12/12/2010), a member of the 4th Battalion, 8th Gurkha Rifles of the Indian Army, was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions in May 1945 at Taungdaw, Burma.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of 24 July 1945, Supplement:37195, Page: 3861 reads:
“No. 87726 Rifleman LACHHIMAN GURUNG, 8th Gurkha Rifles, Indian Army.

At Taungdaw, in Burma, on the west bank of the Irrawaddy, on the night of I2th/I3th May, 1945, Rifleman Lachhiman Gurung was manning the most forward post of his platoon. At 0120 hours at least 200 enemy assaulted his Company position. The brunt of the attack was borne by Rifleman Lachhiman Gurung’s section and by his own post in particular. This post dominated a jungle path leading up into his platoon locality.

Before assaulting, the enemy hurled innumerable grenades at the position from close range. One grenade fell on the lip of Rifleman Lachhiman Gurung’s trench; he at once grasped it and hurled it back at the enemy. Almost immediately another grenade fell – directly inside the trench.

Again this Rifleman snatched it up and threw it back. A third grenade then fell just in front of the trench. He attempted to throw it back, but it exploded in his hand, blowing off his fingers, shattering his right arm arid severely wounding him in the face, body and right leg. His two comrades were also badly wounded and lay helpless in the bottom of the trench.

The enemy, screaming and shouting, now formed up shoulder to shoulder and attempted to rush the position by sheer weight of numbers. Rifleman Lachhiman Gurung,  regardless of his wounds, fired and loaded his rifle with his left hand, maintaining a continuous and steady rate of fire. 

Wave after wave of fanatical attacks were thrown in by the enemy and all were repulsed with heavy casualties. For four hours after being severely wounded Rifleman Lachhiman Gurung remained alone at his post, waiting with perfect calm for each attack, which he met with fire at point-blank range from his rifle, determined not to give one inch of ground.

Of the 87 enemy dead counted in the immediate vicinity of the Company locality, 31 lay in front of this Rifleman’s section, the key to the whole position. Had the enemy succeeded in over-running and occupying Rifleman Lachhiman Gurung’s trench, the whole of the reverse slope position would have been completely dominated and turned.

This Rifleman, by his magnificent example, so inspired his comrades to resist the enemy to the last, that, although surrounded and-cut off for three days and two nights, they held and smashed every attack.

His outstanding gallantry and extreme devotion to duty, in the face of almost overwhelming odds, were the main factors in the defeat of the enemy. “

Lachhiman Gurung VC died at the  Chiswick War Memorial Homes on 12th December 2010  aged 92 of pneumonia, and was buried in Chiswick New Cemetery.

DRW © 2018. Created 12/08/2018. Image courtesy of Mark Green

Updated: 26/08/2018 — 19:27

Alfred Kirke Ffrench VC

Alfred Kirke Ffrench (25/02/1835 – 28/12/1872) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 16 November 1857 at Lucknow, India during the Indian Rebellion.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Issue: 22212, Page: 5513, reads:

“53rd Regiment, Lieutenant Alfred Kirke Ffrench. Date of Act of Bravery, 16th November, 1857.

For conspicuous bravery on the 16th of November, 1857, at the taking of the Secundra Bagb, Lucknow, when in command of the Grenadier Company, being one of the first to enter the building. His conduct was highly praised by the whole Company.
Elected by the Officers of the Regiment.”

He fell ill while on service in Bermuda in Autumn of 1872, and was invalided back to London to recuperate, but died on 28th December and was buried in Brompton Cemetery.

DRW © 2018. Created 11/08/2018. Image courtesy of Mark Green

Updated: 26/08/2018 — 19:27
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