Sunday, July 04, 2010

WW2 Heroes of Frizington

Frizington Village War Memorial, Cumbria 

Frizington (St Joseph's) R.C. War Memorial
For additional information click on 'Comments' below

5 Comments:

Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

The War Memorial of Frizington village was initially dedicated to commemorate 55 casualties of the 1914 - 1918 First World War (the so-called 'Great War'). Subsequently, a further 23 names of service casualties from the Second World War and 2 names from the Korean War were added to the memorial. Elsewhere in Frizington, at St Joseph’s Catholic Church, is another War Memorial commemorating parishioners who lost their lives in both World Wars. Of the 11 names listed of those who died in WW2, 8 are also remembered on the village memorial. The slight discrepancy can probably be explained by the fact that the Catholic parish of Frizington serves some neighbouring areas as well as Frizington village.

In May 2010, to coincide with ‘Local History Month’ in the UK, the 65th anniversary of the end of WW2 and the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, Cumbria Library Service asked if I could provide information about WW2 casualties from the Frizington & Arlecdon areas. During May 2010 Frizington Library and Community Centre featured a display about WW2. Towards the end of the month I also gave an illustrated talk about the WW2 casualties from the area, as well as other largely unknown stories of what people from the area had done during the war, many of which have previously been posted elsewhere on this 'Second World War' website.

Sunday, 04 July, 2010  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

St Joseph's R.C. Church, Frizington War Memorial
WW2 casualties listed

James Toole
John Whitten
John Corkan
Andrew Nolan
William Dixon
Thomas Pratt
Rupert Kervin
William Taylor
John McCormack
Frederick Birrell
Sylvester Wollaghan

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Frizington village War Memorial
WW2 casualties listed

A/B A. Rudd, R.N.
A/B W. Sanderson, R.N.
Q/M.S. S.F. Garner, Border Regt
L/C W. Taylor, Border Regt
Pte A. Barnes, Border Regt
Pte. J.W. Gilpin, Border Regt
Pte. C. Corkan, Border Regt
Pte. J. Corkan, Border Regt
Pte. R. Kervin, Border Regt

Pte. J. Birmey, H.L.I.
Pte. J. Toole, K.O.S.B.
Pte. D.B. Denny, Irish Guards
Pte. T. Vernon, Gordon Highlanders
Pte. A. Nolan, Coldstream Guards
Fus. J. Hall, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
L/C F.I. Birrell, South Lancs Regt

Gnr E. Jemkinson, R.A.
Gnr. J. Prothero, R.A.

P/O T. Pratt, RAF
LAC J. Richardson, RAF
LAC W. Ashbridge, RAF
A/C R. Place, RAF

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Sunday, 11 July, 2010  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

An almost forgotten story of gallantry:
A Frizington Home Guard Corporal

During WW2 there were many acts of heroism and gallantry by modest and otherwise seemingly ordinary people. One of these was by Corporal James Clifford (better known as 'Jimmy') who served in Frizington Home Guard throughout the war while also working on the 'Home Front' as an iron ore miner.

In the early hours of Saturday 15 August 1942 a fire broke out at the home of Mr and Mrs John Watson, 13 Nook Street, Frizington. Evidence given at the subsequent inquest suggested the cause of the fire was due to a quilt and some linen that became alight while being aired in front of the fire-place. The alarm was raised by one of the sons of Mr and Mrs Jordan. These three and the youngest daughter escaped from the house. By now, the house was alight and beginning to fill with toxic smoke. The alarm was raised and the fire brigade called and the neighbours alerted. Still in the house in an upstairs bedroom was another daughter, Mrs Margery Jordan (née Watson), age 23, Mrs Jordan's husband Frederick William Jordan, age 26, and their two children Eric (age 3) and Patricia (age 2).

In August 1942 Jimmy Clifford lived at No 5 Nook Street, Frizington across the road from the Watson household. With the alarm raised, Jimmy Clifford assessed the situation and did what he could to help his friends and neighbours. Covering his mouth and nose with a handkerchief Jimmy Clifford entered the burning house, went up the stairs, found Mr Jordan and helped him out of a window at the back of the house, then made a valiant attempt to get to Mrs Jordan and the two children only to be beaten back by the smoke and flames and then had to make his own escape out of the same rear upstairs window. Sadly, the fire brigade were also unable to rescue Mrs Jordan and the children, who perished as the result of smoke inhalation.

At the subsequent inquest into the terrible tragedy the Deputy Coroner, Mr R.W. Varley made clear that the courage and self-sacrifice of Jimmy Clifford should be singled out for the highest praise.

Sunday, 11 July, 2010  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Jimmy Clifford's bravery was also praised in the editorial of the local newspaper, 'The Whitehaven News', which I presume was written by the Secretary / Manager Mr. J.R. Williams (August 1942). This is what was written in the editorial:

".... It is not the object of this note to apportion blame - no doubt when people awakened when their vitality is at its lowest ebb and dazed by smoke and fumes may well be incapable of clear thinking and virile action - but to add our mead of praise to the Coroner's commendation of James Clifford, a young miner, who displayed great coolness and courage in rescuing the husband, and subsequently made a gallant but unavailing effort to save the wife and children. Like a good soldier, he is a corporal in the Home Guard, Clifford sized up the situation in a trice and carried out a singularly bold and successful rescue.

All this talk about Britain becoming effete and decadent is so much balderdash while the country produces men like Clifford. The material is there to give us that better Britain which we have been promised: it only needs guiding in the right direction."

This praise was well-deserved, and it was written at a time just before the tide of war turned in favour of the Allies. Jimmy Clifford's wartime story tends not to be that well known even in his home village of Frizington. Perhaps this is because of what happened exactly 5 years to the day after Jimmy Clifford's brave rescue of his neighbour. On 15 August 1947 Jimmy Clifford, by then married with two young daughters was working as a coal miner at William Pit, Whitehaven when there was an explosion at the pit. Jimmy Clifford was one of 104 men and boys to lose their lives that day - another tragedy with far-reaching implications for many families in West Cumberland. In many instances, when writing about wartime, there is no happy ending. Nevertheless, the deeds of brave men and women during the war should not be forgotten particularly in their own land. These were the people who would give their all for family and friends. At the very least, we can always honour their memory.

Sunday, 11 July, 2010  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Corporal John ('Jack') Whitten
(United States Army)

The second WW2 name on the St Joseph's R.C. Parish War Memorial, Frizington is that of John Whitten. Corporal John ('Jack') Whitten served in the United States Army during WW2. For further information about him, click on the following link:
Corporal John Whitten, U.S. Army (1915 - 1945)
******************

Wednesday, 21 November, 2012  

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