Tag: Blitz

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

Bristol Civilian War Dead Memorial

Bristol has 3 churches that were damaged by bombs in World War 2, and two of them have been left as they were (with minor strengthening) as a memorial to the bombing of the city between 24 November 1940 and 11 April 1941. The “Bristol Blitz” helped fashion the city into what we know today, and I am sure that in my explorations in Arnos Vale Cemetery a number of the graves were of those who died in the bombing.

The church that this post is about is called St Peter’s and may be found in Castle Park.  (Google Earth co-ordinates  51.455358°,  -2.589682°). It is also where the memorial may be found affixed to the wall.

The interior of the church appears to be laid out as a garden but was not accessible and could only really be seen from two spaces unless you were very tall and could reach the window spaces.

The plaques.

(1500 x 820)

The images above are each 1024 high.

The area around the church has been made into gardens and quiet spaces and it was a very attractive space. Whether there is a graveyard I cannot say. 

The second church is at Temple Church and Gardens, and it too is a shell that has been propped up and allowed to become a recreation space. It is a very pretty area. There are more images of this church in my Bristol blogpost

The third church is somewhat of a disaster, only the tower remains and it can only be seen from one side otherwise it is completely hemmed in.  The church was called St Mary-le-Port,  and it is really just an oddity that happens to still exist.

Fortunately St Peter’s is still with us to remind us of what the Second World War wrought in terms of civilian war deaths, It is just a pity that often the real meaning gets lost as more people take these spaces for granted. How long before some group takes offence? who knows. But for the moment those who lost their lives are still remembered.

DRW © 2018-2019. Created 04/08/2018

Updated: 26/07/2019 — 21:02

Stoke Newington Civilian War Dead Memorial

The Metropolitan Borough of Stoke Newington Civilian War Dead Memorial may be found in Abney Park Cemetery in London (Google Earth co-ordinates: 51.564451°, -0.077899°).
The legibility of the memorial is poor though, with letters missing from the main inscription.

The inscription reads:

METROPOLITAN BOROUGH OF STOKE NEWINGTON

TO THE MEMORY OF THOSE WHO LOST THEIR LIVES THROUGH ENEMY ACTION IN THE BOROUGH

DURING WORLD WAR 1939-1945 AND IN PARTICULAR OF THOSE WHOSE NAMES ARE INSCRIBED ON THIS MEMORIAL

DEATH IS BUT CROSSING THE WORLD AS FRIENDS DO THE SEA – THEY LIVE IN ONE ANOTHER STILL.

Source: (https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1419855)

There are 113 names inscribed on the memorial, of whom 88 were as a result of a German bomb that made a direct hit on a crowded shelter at Coronation Avenue, just off the High Street on 13th October 1940,  Most people in the Shelter were killed and are listed on the memorial, the list shows that many of the people were Jewish Refugees, There were also 2 persons Unidentified. The memorial also includes the names of 7 of the locations in the borough at which civilians lost their lives during the Second World War. The memorial is listed as Grade II. 

The complete list of names is available on The Roll of Honour Website

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 6/01/2016

Updated: 11/01/2018 — 13:23

Kennington Park Civilian War Dead Memorial

Kennington Park (Google Earth  51.484066°  -0.108817°)  in South London has a Civilian War Memorial, and it commemorates the over 100 people that were killed in an air raid trench in the park on 15 October 1940. A 50lb bomb caused one section of the trench to collapse, killing mostly women and children. The memorial was unveiled in 2006 and was made of Caithness stone by Richard Kindersley.

The main inscription reads: “History, despite its wrenching pain cannot be unlived but if faced with courage need not be lived again.”
 

Very close to this memorial are all that is left of the Tinworth Fountain. It was erected in 1872, but damaged during the Blitz.  Possibly in the same incident.

© DRW 2013-2018. Created 21/12/2016

Updated: 11/01/2018 — 13:25

Poplar Civilian War Dead Memorial

During my visit to Tower Hamlets Cemetery in London I was hoping to get images of the Civilian War Dead memorial in the cemetery that I had read about previously. And while it was not my only goal I wandered around until I came to the memorial I was looking for. I never realised until now that the memorial is tagged to Popar; made famous by the TV series “Call the Midwife”. In the book and TV series they often mention the bomb sites and damaged buildings.   
 
 
The cemetery was bombed during the war, and a number of memorials and buildings were damaged by bombs, it is also probable that a number of graves were damaged too, and of course the dead are buried in this cemetery. The Docklands area is not too far away and that was a prime target for the bombers overhead, sadly, the civilians were caught in the middle.
 
© DRW 2014-2018. Created 21/12/2016
Updated: 11/01/2018 — 13:25

Camberwell Civilian War Dead Memorial

The Camberwell Civilian War Dead Memorial may be found in Camberwell new Cemetery (Google Earth co-ordinates:  51.452983°  -0.047741°). Unfortunately the day of my visit was a dull and miserable one and the memorial was being restored. There are two sets of name boards on two plinths. The first listing Southwark and Bermondsey

The second listing Camberwell

The memorial was unveiled on 8 May 1995

18291 tons of heavy explosives were dropped on London during 71 major air raids in the period known as “The Blitz” (September 7, 1940 – May 10, 1941) . 

Sadly the memorials often list the same surnames, indicating that in many cases a household was obliterated.  The memorials are for those who are interred in the cemetery and who have no marked graves.  

© DRW 2013-2018. Created 21/12/2016

Updated: 11/01/2018 — 13:26

Southampton Civilian Casualty Memorials

This memorial to Civilians killed during the bombing of the city of Southampton may be found in Hollybrook Cemetery. It is not a very imposing monument either, and if you did not know you would assume it is just a seating area.

It seems as if it was recently repainted, and in the repainting they really made the inscription illegible.

Inscription on the back wall of the monument

Inscription on the back wall of the monument

Inscription text reproduced

Inscription text reproduced

The monument has another inscription on it which advises that the rubble stonework was obtained from bomb damaged buildings in the city.

Many of the casualties from the bombing are buried at Hollybrook, and I heard a rumour that there was a mass grave in the cemetery for unidentified bodies, but was never able to confirm it.

I used to stay in East Street, next door to the Debenhams store which used to be Edwin Jones & Co., and there is an inscription on the building that states it is a replacement for the original building that was destroyed in the bombing.

Plaque outside Debenhams

Post 1959 Queens Building (now Debenhams)

Over the road from Debenhams, in Houndwell Park, there is another plinth with an inscription that very few people are aware of.

And finally, just outside the Bargate there is another memorial to those who died in the city during the bombing.

The bombing also damaged a lot of buildings, and one of the most obvious signs of the damage may be seen on the corner of  St Bernard (St Michael’s), and High Street where the ruins of the Holyrood Church stand.

Plaque at Holy Rood Church

Plaque at Holyrood Church

The ruins of Holy Rood Church

The ruins of Holyrood Church

Across the River Itchen in Woolston, the Supermarine factory used to be and it was targeted by the Luftwaffe, and large parts of the area were devastated too. A plaque commemorates the demise of the community known as “Itchen Ferry”.

Itchen Ferry Plaque

Itchen Ferry Plaque

Up in South Stoneham Cemetery near Southampton Airport is the a Roll of Honour commemorating the men and women killed in a bombing raid on 11 September 1940 at the Cunliffe-Owen Aircraft Ltd works nearby.  52 People were killed and 92 injured. 

Photographing war graves I often forget that amongst the many graves in some of these cemeteries there are many civilians who lost their lives in the cities due to the enemy bombing, and I find it sad that there is no real way to tell them apart from normal deaths.  Southampton is a city rich with history, and I often used to walk amongst the old buildings and wonder what it must have looked like before the bombers came. Sadly, the result of the bombers did not necessarily result in a better city, if anything development was stifled somewhat because so much had been destroyed, and the results were missing the unique touch of old Southampton. The city has a number of historical plaques pertaining to its past, and I have some of these on a page all about the plaques in Southampton.

© DRW 2015 – 2018. Created 13/03/2015

Updated: 22/04/2018 — 13:19

Portsmouth Civilian Casualties Memorial

I always keep a look out for these Civilian Memorials because it is very easy to find the military graves in a cemetery, but not as simple to find the graves of those who were killed during the bombing of the cities. Surprisingly there are not too many of them around, but I am hoping to expand on the few that I already have and to add them into this page too. This particular memorial is in Portsmouth Kingston Cemetery.

Civilian Casualty Memorial, Kingston Cemetery, Portsmouth

Civilian Casualty Memorial, Kingston Cemetery, Portsmouth

Portsmouth, because of its extensive naval dockyard was a target for the Luftwaffe during World War 2, and it was inevitable that bombs would fall on civilian areas.

There is no real way to know whether the people named here are buried in individual graves, there is however a large space behind the memorial, and it is possible that there is a mass grave there, or elsewhere in this sprawling cemetery. Sadly, many of those killed were not identified.

© DRW 2015 – 2018. Created 12/03/2015 

Updated: 09/01/2018 — 07:51

West Cowes War Memorial

This Memorial to the Residents of Cowes, Isle of Wight, is interesting because was damaged during an air raid on the night of 4 and 5 May 1942. This period is popularly known as “the Cowes Blitz“. A Polish destroyer, ORP Blyskawica was berthed at JS Whites’ shipyard on the Medina River and she helped defend the town against the incoming bombers. although she may have been the primary target. The memorial may be found in Northwood Park, West Cowes.

Information plaque

Information plaque

The Memorial

The Memorial

Roll of Honour

Roll of Honour

The Memorial

The Memorial

© DRW 2013-2018. Added to blog 21/11/2014

Updated: 08/01/2018 — 07:56

Women of World War II Memorial

The Women of World War II Memorial is within sight of the Cenotaph in Parliament Street in London, and  is very close to the Cabinet War Rooms and The Ministry of Defence.  It was erected to commemorate the vital work done by over seven million women during World War II.

The Memorial was unveiled by Her Majesty The Queen on 9 July 2005.  Google Earth co-ordinates are:   51.503579°, -0.126177°

©  DRW 2013-2018. Created 12/03/2013. Moved to blog 02/03/2014

Updated: 06/01/2018 — 13:06
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