Harpenden’s Dambuster.

The featured article for May concerns Pilot Officer (Wireless Op/Air Gunner) Leonard George Weller who is one of the World War Two names listed on Harpenden war memorial.

Pilot Officer Weller was the radio operator in the Avro Lancaster piloted by Pilot Officer Burpee, which took part in Operation Chastise (16-17 May 1943). One of the aircraft in the third of three groups, the plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire shortly after crossing the Dutch coast and crashed killing all the crew; who are now buried in Bergen-op-Zoom War Cemetery.

My article is located at https://www.stephen-stratford.com/harpenden.htm

Updated Tower Hill Memorial Article.

I visited the Tower Hill Memorial for some photographs to update my Merchant Navy article: https://www.stephen-stratford.com/merchant_navy.htm

Some people fail to understand how you behave and treat a war memorial!

There is a notice by the memorial asking people to respect the memorial and keep it ship-shape and tidy, out of respect for the thousands commemorated.

There were crosses and poppies stuck to various points on the name panels. If you are commemorating a person listed on the memorial, you place your cross or poppy at the base of the appropriate panel. You do not stick the item to the panel!

Tower Hill Memorial.

Across the road from the Tower of London, there is the Tower Hill Memorial. The memorial commemorates Mercantile Marine sailors from World War One and the Merchant Navy sailors from World War Two who have no grave but the sea.

From its unveiling in 1919, the Cenotaph (the UK’s national war memorial) has carried the Red Ensign. In 1928 King George V announced that, in recognition of its service and sacrifice, the Mercantile Marine would henceforth be known as the Merchant Navy.

The First World War section commemorates one Victoria Cross recipient: Lieutenant Archibald Bissett Smith, VC, RNR.

The Second World War section commemorates one George Cross recipient: Apprentice Donald Owen Clarke, GC.

My article: https://www.stephen-stratford.com/merchant_navy.htm

The Guards Museum.

I made a visit to the Guards Museum. Situated between the Guards Chapel and Wellington Barracks, Birdcage Walk, London.

An excellent introductory video explains the precedence of the Guards regiments, the different arrangement of buttons and other uniform differences.

It contains a great deal of exhibits which document the history of the five guards regiments: Grenadier, Coldstream, Scots, Irish and Welsh Guards. The exhibits are very well lit and organised to present a chronological history of the five Guards regiments.

The collection of medals is excellent, with several Victoria Cross awards and the George Cross posthumously awarded to Arthur Frederick Crane Nicholls (Coldstream Guards).

The museum is well worth a visit, with a very reasonable admission price.

Harpenden War Memorial.

I have completed my article about Harpenden War Memorial. The memorial commemorates men and women from the town who died during the two world wars.

Commemorated on the World War Two panels are two sets of brothers and sisters who died during World War Two, one airman who was killed while taking part in Operation Chastise, and sailors who died during the sinking of HMS Royal Oak, HMS Glorious, HMS Hood and HMS Barham.

You can read my article on Harpenden War Memorial here.

Criminals listed on Brookwood 1939-45 Memorial.

The BBC web site has the an article about Theodore Schurch and his name being listed on the Brookwood 1939-45 Memorial. The BBC article can be found here.

My series of articles on Theodore Schurch can be found here.

The BBC article fails to mention that there are 17 (seventeen) murderers also listed on the Brookwood 1939-45 Memorial. These were soldiers convicted in normal civilian courts, before a judge and jury, of murder. Sentenced to death, they were executed by hanging in various British prisons and then buried within the prison grounds.

The 17 murderers and Theodore Schurch (tried by General Courts Martial in London during September 1945) are all listed on the memorial because the Army did not discharge them before their execution. Consequently, they meets the requirements for commemoration by the CWGC.

The Royal Air Foce (RAF) did discharge its personnel found guilty of capital crimes before their execution. In the case of Leading Aircraftsman Gordon Cummins, who was found guilty of the muder of Evelyn Oatley, he was discharged from the RAF prior to his execution on 25 June 1942 at Wandsworth Prison. Consequently, Cummins was a civilian when he died.