Sunday, July 31, 2011

Lost in the sinking of HMS Matabele (Jan 1942)

(Top) Able Seaman Edward Anderson, R.N. (1916 - 1942)
[Courtesy of 'Whitehaven News']

(Bottom) Anderson Family Headstone
[Whitehaven Cemetery]

Able Seaman Edward Anderson was lost at sea when 'HMS Matabele' was sunk by the German U-Boat U-454 on 17 January 1942. The total ship's complement was 238. There were only 2 survivors.

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Greatest Personal Sacrifice

Photographs (Top to bottom):

1. Pte Thomas Quinn: "To Mother, From Tom"

2. Pte Thomas Quinn, 4th R.W.K., SEAC
(Killed in Action 4 June 1945)

3. Pte Thomas Quinn, 4th R.W.K.
(Memorial in Rangoon War Cemetery)

(Family photographs of Pte Thomas Quinn)

Private Thomas Quinn, 4th Battalion, Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment made the greatest personal sacrifice in WW2: he gave his life while trying to rescue two of his comrades. He was 23 years old.

According to his Commanding Officer Private Thomas Quinn's great gallantry and self-sacrifice had been an inspiration to his platoon.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

More about Giverny's Lancaster

One of my knowledgeable friends, Jean-Pierre Dubois, tells me that "this is one of the Lancasters overhauled and modified for anti-submarine warfare and maritime patrol
under a Western Union scheme and delivered to French Naval Aviation (AĆ©ronautique navale) circa 1952"

Another piece of info that he forwarded is the following :

"The Lancaster was a Mark 1 LL864 "A4-H" which took off at 0027 from RAF Witchford, Cambridgeshire to destroy a communications target at Chevreuse. It was shot down by a night-fighter and crashed 150-200 metres of the Giverny
to Vernon road at Giverny where the crew are buried in the local churchyard..

This was one of six lost by 115 Squadron that night, all shot down by night-fighter, all making for the same target. Bomber Command overall lost 36-37 aircraft that night.

Bill Chorley, the acclaimed air historian, whose book "RAF Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War" Volume 5 (1944) this information is taken from, also adds a note:

'It was to Giverny that the celebrated French impressionist painter Claude Monet moved in 1883. Today, his famous garden is synonymous with his life and work, which many regard as the ultimate experience in this genre.'

And I have to say thank you to all the other anonymous contributors who have enriched this post and made this encounter of mine a very special one indeed.

Friday, July 15, 2011

St Begh's,Whitehaven WW2 War Memorial

WW2 memorial at St Begh's Church, Whitehaven
(Photograph: J. Ritson)

The WW2 memorial outside St Begh's R.C. Church, Whitehaven, Cumbria commemorates 42 parishioners who made the ultimate sacrifice during WW2.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

More about Ronald Maude

Here is the information I received from my friend John Hook about Ronald Maude (called Ronnie by his friends).
I hope John will add more comments to this later on.

"He was 21 when he was shot down. It was immediately after D Day when the allies were busy landing on the Normandy beaches and the RAF etc were bombing and flying in, trying to break the German forces in land and make the landings safer and more successful. Apparently the village of Giverny was glad to look after their graves and kept that propeller hidden for many years until, relatively recently, they made a monument out of it."

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

An unexpected find near Monet's home in Giverny

While visiting painter Claude Monet's village in Normandy, I took a walk to the nearby church and saw this grave stone, next to Monet's.
A knowledgeable friend of mine tells the propeller displayed does not come from a Lancaster, but I am still waiting for him to tell me what type of aircraft it was!
Anyhow, what struck me afterwards was that one of the victims of that crash happens to have been the brother-in-law of a dear friend of ours in England, Mrs Joan Hook, from Gloucester.
Isn't it a small world?

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

First English Production of 'Dutch Family'

Photographs (top to bottom):

1. Memorial to the Jewish citizens of Amsterdam of WW2

2. The National Monument, Dam Square, Amsterdam.

3. Poster advertising 'Dutch Family' by A. Defresne (1946)

Courtesy of 'The Whitehaven News'
& Cumbria County Archives, Whitehaven

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Saturday, July 02, 2011

Stoker A. W. Litt, R.N. (HMS Penzance)


(Top): Stoker Alfred William Litt, R.N.
[Courtesy of 'The Whitehaven News']

(Bottom): Postcard of HMS Penzance

West Cumbrian sailor Stoker Alfred William Litt, R.N. lost his life when HMS Penzance was sunk by a German submarine on 24 August 1940. He was 22 years old. With no known grave, Stoker Litt is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent.

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