Thursday, May 04, 2017

Gérard Ménatory, and a life after Mauthuasen

1. Gérard Ménatory talks to some of the wolf pack
Le parc à loups du Gévaudan (July 1988)]
2. Gérard Ménatory feeding a 'friendly' wolf
[Le parc à loups du Gévaudan (July 1988)]
During WW2, Gérard Ménatory (1921 - 1998) was a member of the French Resistance, captured by the Germans in 1944 and deported to Mauthausen concentration camp. Although he was extremely emaciated when liberated from the concentration camp in 1945 he went on to make a good recovery and had an active and fulfilling life before his passing in 1998.

After the war Gérard Ménatory went on to become a journalist with the 'Midi Libre' newspaper. As a naturalist he founded the Gévaudan Wolf Park (in French. 'Le parc à loups du Gévaudan') located at Sainte Lucie, near the town of Marvejols in the Lozère department of southern France. The photographs seen above show Gérard Ménatory feeding some of the 'friendly' semi-wild wolves at the park in July 1988.

Today, there are more than 100 semi-wild wolves living and thriving in the park. The long term survival of these much maligned animals is a fine legacy for Gérard Ménatory to have left the world.

For additional information click on 'Comments' below.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

HMS Iron Duke, a dreadnought battleship

1. HMS Iron Duke officers and civic dignitaries
During a goodwill visit to Haig Pit, Whitehaven
Royal Navy Week' (June 1934) 

[Image courtesy of 'The Whitehaven News']

Those seen in the party above are (left to right):
Mr. T. Banks (agent), Mr. T.S. Durham, 
Engineer-Commander C.B. Evington, Dr. Henry Peile, 
Commander Crane, Mr Francis Priestman, 
Pay Lieut.-Cmndr. Brockman, 
Rear-Admiral Sir Noel F. Laurence K.C.B., D.S.O., 
Flag-Lieutenant Commander Crossman, 
Father T.A. Agius, OSB (Mayor's Chaplain), 
Mr. Haswell Peile, Surgeon-Commander Harkins, 
Mr. George Peile, Mr W. Morgan (Haig Pit manager)     
2. HMS Iron Duke off Whitehaven harbour
(While making  a goodwill visit, June 1934)
[Image courtesy of 'The Whitehaven News']

3. Hugh Cecil Lowther, 5th Earl of Lonsdale
Wearing the Mayoral chain of Whitehaven
(He sent a message of welcome to Iron Duke's crew)
Portrait by John Henry Frederick Bacon (1868 - 1914)

[Collection of The Beacon Museum, Whitehaven]
Photographs No 1 and No 2 above show HMS Iron Duke and some of her officers with local dignitaries from Whitehaven, Cumberland. These were taken during a goodwill visit to the port in June 1934 as part of 'Royal Navy Week'. HMS Iron Duke was commissioned into the Royal Navy in March 1914 and was scrapped in March 1946,  shortly after WW2.

Photograph No 3 shows a portrait of Hugh Cecil Lowther, 5th Earl of Lonsdale (1857 - 1944) wearing the Whitehaven Mayoral chain. Lord Lonsdale was the Lord of the Manor of Whitehaven, had been the first Mayor of Whitehaven (1894 - 1896) and was the Hereditary Admiral of the Coasts of Cumberland and Westmorland. Although the Earl of Lonsdale was unable to attend Whitehaven during HMS Iron Duke's goodwill visit he sent a message welcoming the crew to the town.

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Friday, April 28, 2017

The Royal Navy submarine HMS H50

Submarine H50 in Whitehaven harbour (1934)
[Image courtesy of 'The Whitehaven News']
Submarine H50 was laid down on 23 January 1918, commissioned into the Royal Navy on 3 February 1920 and scrapped at the end of WW2, in July 1945. The photograph above shows her during a goodwill visit to Whitehaven in 1934.

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Saturday, March 04, 2017

Broughton Moor, Cumbria in wartime

1. St Columba's Parish Church, Broughton Moor
(The war memorial is in the churchyard)
2. Broughton Moor war memorial
Originally dedicated in 1921 for WW1
The WW2 names were added in 1947 

3. Names listed on Broughton Moor war memorial
(Left): The list of those who died in WW1  
(Right): The list of those who died in WW2 
4. Poppy wreath tributes remembering the 'Fallen'
5. Memorial for victims of a wartime explosion
It happened at a R.N.A.D. on 18 January 1944

Broughton Moor, Cumberland (now Cumbria)

6. Headstone for Mary Katherine Barnes
Kathie died in the R.N.A.D. explosion
(Buried in Wigton Cemetery, Cumbria)
[Photograph submitted by Michael Deacon]
For additional information click on 'Comments' below.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

The war memorials of Castle Carrock, Cumbria

1. St Peter’s parish church, Castle Carrock
(Where the parish war memorials are located)
2. Castle Carrock’s war memorials
(Left): The WW1 parish memorial
(Right): The WW2 parish memorial
[Located outside the main church entrance] 
3. Castle Carrock’s “Rolls of Honour”
(Left): The 1914 – 1915 “Roll of Honour”
(Right): The 1939 – 1945 “Roll of Honour”
4. Headstone of Marine Donald P. Armstrong
(Located in Castle Carrock churchyard)

 For additional information click on ‘Comments’ below.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Addingham / Glassonby war memorials, Cumbria

1. Glassonby village, Cumbria
Turn left at the next lane for the parish church
2. Addingham / Glassonby parish church
Dedicated to the Archangel St Michael 
3. WW1 parish war memorial inside the church
4. Beatham family headstones in the churchyard
Four brothers lost their lives in WW1
(including Robert Matthew Beatham V.C.) 
5. WW2 parish war memorial inside the church

For additional information click on 'Comments'  below. 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

“Romany” (Rev. George Bramwell Evens)

1. Romany and his dog Raq
Romany was Rev. G. Bramwell Evens
He was a children's writer and radio broadcaster

[Dust cover of the biography by Mrs Eunice Evens]
2. Dust cover of one of Romany’s books:
"Out with Romany Once More" (1940) 
Romany travels the countryside on his vardo 
3. Entrance to Glassonby village, Eden valley, Cumbria
The former Methodist chapel can be seen on the left
Rev. G. Bramwell Evens regularly preached here
His spirit and soul remains at Glassonby:
His ashes were scattered at the nearby Old Parks Farm 
4. Romany Society memorial plaque (2003)
At the former Glassonby Methodist chapel
Rev. Bramwell Evens regularly preached here
5. The former Central Methodist Hall, Carlisle
Built during Romany's ministry at Carlisle
Rev. Evens was at Carlisle (1914 - 1926) 
6. Romany Society Memorial plaque (2003)
At the former Carlisle Central Methodist Hall
Rev. Evens was responsible for its building
 For additional information click on 'Comments' below.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

A message from Maxi

Hi ! A little gathering to celebrate the 70th birthday of Major Carr at Browns Restaurant, Old Jury on the 24th of Jan 2017 It was a true Virginia Road members crowd. Some have not seen each other for over 10 to 20 years. I remember them in their younger years joining the club, a long time ago, as most of them are now 65 to 72 years old. Those presents were Danny Shaves, Tony Ring, Paul Marsh, Terry Bradshaw, Max Lea MBE, Michael Lowery and of course Major the birthday boy. Following the toast to Major we all settled down to chit chat and laughter over old times, and how much we all owed to the club for the friendship it gave to us all in those early years to become better men. After about four hours the time had come to depart to north, south, east, and west of the city and we made our goodbyes in good spirits and laughter. A good time was had by all and we send our regards to all. MAX LEA MBE.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Wartime events in Gretna and Gretna Green

1. The Old Blacksmith's Shop, Gretna Green
The traditional place for runaway weddings
(Now housing the Gretna Green exhibition centre))
2. The Devil's Porridge Museum, Eastriggs near Gretna
(Where the "Devil's Porridge" was made in WW1)
3. WW1 Quintinshill rail disaster memorial
Remembering a wartime tragedy with 227 deaths
214 soldiers and 13 others died here on 22 May 1915
(Located in the grounds of the Gretna Green visitors centre)

4. Gretna War Memorial Cross
Remembering local service personnel of WW1 and WW2
(Located near Gretna Old Parish Church)
5. WW2 Masonic Hall bombing memorial
Gretna was bombed on 7 April 1941
This remembers the 28 people who lost their lives
(Located in the Episcopal church grounds)
For additional information click on 'Comments' below. 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Remembering all who served in WW2

1. The Drigg Oak outside a former Ordnance Factory
[It commemorates all who served their country in WW2]
2. Memorial tablet for the Drigg Oak 
[Mounted on granite outside the former Drigg R.O.F.]
For additional information click on 'Comments' below.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Embleton & Setmurthy War Memorials, Cumbria

1. Embleton (St Cuthbert) parish War Memorial
[Lists three WW1 casualties and one WW2 casualty]
2. Embleton (St Cuthbert) WW1 parish war memorials
[Found inside the parish church]
3. Embleton (St Cuthbert) parish church, Cumbria
[The Celtic cross war memorial is in the churchyard]
4. Setmurthy (St Barnabas) parish church, Cumbria
[The WW1 war memorials are found inside the church]
There is one WW2 casualty buried in the churchyard

5. Setmurthy parish WW1 memorials found in the church
(Left): Brass plaque remembering three WW1 casualties
(Right): Stained glass windows for Nurse Dorothy Fisher
6. War casualties buried at Embleton and Setmurthy
(Left): WW1 casualty Pte. Alfred E. Watson (Embleton)
(Right): WW2 casualty R.SM. John Marston (Setmurthy)
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Thursday, December 22, 2016

"Disposing of the lie" about Marshal Pétain

Keswick Country House Hotel, English Lake District
[WW2 home of the evacuated Roedean Girls School]
At the end of WW2, the provisional French Government, headed by Charles de Gaulle, put Marshal Philippe Pétain (Chief of the French State 11 July 1940 - 20 August 1944) on trial. Marshal Pétain also signed the 1940 Armistice with Germany, rejected by General de Gaulle and the Free French. The trial took place France between 23 July and 15 August 1945.

Was Pétain culpable of signing the Armistice prematurely? Should France have continued the fight? These were two of the questions that were considered, not just in the French High Court but by French men and women in France and by those living outside of France.

One French woman with an opinion on these matters who was living in Britain was Dr. Aline Lion. She was working as a French teacher at Roedean Girls School which had been evacuated to the Keswick Hotel in the English Lake District (seen in the above photograph). Dr Lion even sent a telegram giving a witness statement in support of Marshal  Pétain which was read out in the High Court.

For additional information click on 'Comments' below. 

Monday, December 05, 2016

A Seasonal Greeting 2016

Season's Greetings 2016 

1. Traditional decorated Christmas tree (December 2016)
'The Rum Story' courtyard, Whitehaven 
2. Thirlmere in the English Lake District (December 2016)
A source of fresh drinking water and timber
  "Dear Christmas, here you are after such a long time
  It's been a whole year 
  That I've waited for you." 
  Translation of a traditional French Christmas greeting: 
  Cher Noël, voici bien longtemps 
  Tout juste un an 
  Que je t'attends
  + + + + + + + + + + + + + +   
For many hundreds of years the darkness of winter has been lightened up by decorating greenery and lighting candles. Even during the Second World War an effort would be made to decorate homes with greenery and if possible a tree although perhaps not as decorative as the one seen in photograph No. 1. Even in these darkest of times there remained places where timber was felled for the war effort, such as near Thirlmere (photograph No. 2) which also provided an essential fresh water supply for Manchester and district. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

A West Cumbrian 'Living Memory' project

1. Commonwealth War Graves Cross of Sacrifice 
(Whitehaven Cemetery, Cumbria). 
[Similar to those found in war cemeteries around the world]
2. (Left): Wartime ATS recruitment poster
(Right): Front cover of booklet 'Life in the A.T.S.'
3. (Left): Wartime WRNS recruitment poster
(Right): Front cover of a booklet 'Life in the WRNS'
4. (Left): Wartime WAAF recruitment poster
(Right): List of WAAF wartime recruitment offices  
5. Cleator W.I. with local children : 
Placing tributes at Cleator Moor War Memorial
(In remembrance of seven local servicewomen) 
[Remembrance Sunday, 13 November 2016]
6. (Left): Cleator W.I. booklet ('Living Memory' project)
 (Right): Cleator Moor War Memorial (November 2016)
For additional information click on 'Comments' below.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Red Poppy and Remembrance

1. Poppy Appeal collection display 2016
(Bransty Royal British Legion, Whitehaven, Cumbria)
2. Large poppy on cemetery entrance gates
(Whitehaven Cemetery, Cumbria) 
3. The red poppy and the CWGC Cross of Sacrifice
(Whitehaven Cemetery, Cumbria)
4. Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cross of Sacrifice
(With poppy wreath and some war graves behind)
Whitehaven Cemetery, Cumbria
The red poppy of Remembrance 

The remembrance poppy was inspired by the 1915 war poem 'In Flanders Fields' by the Canadian doctor, Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae. In 1918 an American YWCA volunteer, Moina Michael, used John McCrae's poem to write one of her own ('We Shall Keep the Faith') and conceived the idea of wearing a poppy as a symbol of remembrance. She began selling silk poppies as a way to raise funds for disabled ex-service personnel.

In 1921 the poppy was adopted as the symbol of remembrance by the American Legion Auxiliary and also by the Earl Haig Fund which developed into what is now the Royal British Legion. Each year the R.B.L. has a poppy appeal at Remembrance time which coincides with Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday.

Many people still assocaiate the red poppy and Remembrance with the fallen of the two World Wars. Although this remains important to the R.B.L., for 2016 the Legion wishes to wants to raise awareness of a new generation of veterans and Service personnel that needs its support.

For further information click on 'Comments' below