Posts Tagged ‘after’

War memorial has fake names after error

February 22nd, 2016

The memorial has 350 names inscribed on it - 238 from World War One, 106 from World War Two, two from the Northern Ireland troubles and four from the Falklands War. Initially there were thought to be eleven errors but now it’s feared the true figure could be ten times higher.

The memorial has 350 names inscribed on it – 238 from World War One, 106 from World War Two, two from the Northern Ireland troubles and four from the Falklands War.

There are two lists of the fallen soldiers from the area – one in the library, the other on the main memorial in Priory Park.

Ann Hicks, who runs the Cornwall Family History Society, said “It is hugely disrespectful.

“Residents have been paying their respects to people who in some cases done exist, and not honouring others because they are not listed on the memorial.

“I believe the errors originated when the names were transferred from the library to the main memorial, possibly by dictating them on to a tape recorder, and consequently names were spelled incorrectly and others were left out.”

Chris Wickett’s grandfather Christopher Frederick Ellis was killed in World War Two while fighting in Italy but he is not named on the memorial.

Mr Wickett obtained an official list from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission of casualties with a connection to Bodmin.

He said “I expect the missing names to total more than 100.

“I’m glad the council has agreed to investigate. This has been the case for so many years now, and something needs to be done about it.”

The council admits it will take months to sort out but has promised to ensure all the right names are now added.

It has received an estimate of £3,200 to produce corrected plaques but, before that goes ahead, a working party of councillors has been set up to investigate whether more names are missing.

Mayor Lance Kennedy said “It’s a hugely complicated process which is going to take the working party a considerable time to research, but we must get it right, there is absolutely no question about that.”


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Seven decades after Pearl Harbor, DNA testing used to identify remains

December 8th, 2015

Seventy-four years later, the navy is using DNA testing in hopes of at last returning the men’s remains to their families.

The bones of the unidentified crew members have been exhumed from a military cemetery in Hawaii and transported to a laboratory in Nebraska.

The righting and refloating of the capsized battleship USS Oklahoma was the largest of the Pearl Harbor salvage jobs

Seven men have been identified thus far, with 381 members of the Oklahoma’s crew remaining unidentified.

“We need to get these guys home,” Carrie Brown, the anthropologist in charge of the identification initiative told the Washington Post. “They’ve been not home for too long.”

Ms Brown said that while some people may wonder “who’s even alive” to remember the sinking of the Oklahoma, for some people it remains a seminal moment “in their family history”.

Second World War: The battleship USS Arizona belches smoke as it topples over into the sea during a Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Dec 7, 1941. The ship sank with more than 80 per cent of its 1,500-man crew, including Rear Admiral Is

One family from Wisconsin lost three brothers on board the Oklahoma.

Franklin Roosevelt, then-US president, declared December 7, 1941 “a date which will live in infamy”.

More than seven decades later, Pearl Harbor Day commemorations took place across the US on Monday to honour the 2,403 Americans killed in the surprise attack that prompted US entry into the Second World War.

The day after the Japanese attack in Hawaii's Pearl Harbor, young men line up to volunteer at a Navy Recruiting station in Boston, Massachusetts

Of those killed, 1,177 were on board the USS Arizona, which exploded during the attack. They remain trapped inside to this day.

Joseph Langdell, the last surviving officer from the Arizona, died in February at the age of 100. His ashes were interred in the ship during a ceremony on Monday.


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How Care packages sent by ordinary people helped save British lives after World War Two

November 16th, 2015

The shortages were so severe that to assist their allies over the Atlantic, the Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe (CARE) programme was established to allow US citizens to dispatch food and basic supplies to relatives – and strangers – living amid the rubble of Europe.

The programme was designed not merely to distribute luxuries, but life-saving necessities. During the first two years of operations more than 6.6 million packages were posted from America, 400,000 of which arrived in England – including several sent to the Anstis family by an uncle living in New York. The recipients say they have never forgotten those who reached out during their time of desperate need.

Seventy years on, Europe finds itself in the grip of the worst humanitarian crisis since the Second World War and once more CARE is working to save lives amid the chaos. The programme has grown into the charity CARE International UK which is supported in this year’s Telegraph Christmas Appeal.

Since the Syria crisis started, CARE has been working to distribute emergency food and hygiene parcels to the millions of refugees who have been forced to flee their homes.They are the victims of a very modern conflict, of course, but those British recipients of 70 years ago say they see close parallels between the plight of today’s refugees and that of their own generation.

“The refugees today are equally desperate to those poor souls who crossed Europe at the end of the Second World War,” says Mr Anstis. “Our job today is to accommodate them in all sorts of ways.”

Anstis, a retired architect and lecturer, grew up in Greenford in the West London suburbs and was six-years-old when hostilities erupted in 1939. His father, Herbert, a teacher and veteran of the First World War, remained in Britain working on the Home Front, but still the family found themselves constantly uprooted. In total, Anstis attended 13 different schools throughout the war.

“Our family was repeatedly evacuated,” he recalls. “Not in that picturesque situation of poor little toddlers with their gasmasks at railway stations. People were moved around with such rapidity.”

It was during a stay in one such temporary abode in Banstead, Surrey, in April 1942 that a bomb was dropped on an adjoining house during a Luftwaffe raid. “I woke to find myself covered in plaster and glass,” he says. “All the doors were gone and tiles and windows and ceilings. The rest of that night was spent cowering.”

It was not just food and safe accommodation in short supply but every basic necessity, including fuel. “Every winter during the war was very cold. We became used to chilblains and having frozen feet. When we got into bed we would put every available blanket and coat over us to make a sort of warm tunnel.”

The family only ate chicken once a year, for Christmas dinner, and even then it was an old broiler deemed long past its use. It is no surprise that Mr Anstis can still taste that tinned turkey today.

But the contents alone were not what made the packages so exotic. Similar to the modern refugees dreaming of a new life in Europe, America appeared to war-weary British eyes as a land of unimaginable plenty.

“It was very exciting to have these travel-stained parcels that had come all the way from New York,” he says. “At that time America was a great place of glamour and promise that was unrealisable.”

Tim Thomas, a now 73-year-old who was evacuated from Swansea to Wiltshire during the Blitz, can also still remember the excitement of receiving the CARE food parcels which were sent by a stranger in Boston called F. Prescott Fay. For his family, the steak and kidney pie, coffee, tea, powdered milk, tinned vegetables and peaches that came through the post several times a year were the pinnacle of luxury compared to the tapioca and corned beef they ate during rationing.

“We were very poor and very skinny,” Thomas says. “If that whole period has left me with anything it’s that feeling that a total stranger held out his hand in generosity when we needed help.”

Migrants and refugees prepare to board a train heading to Serbia from the Macedonian-Greek border near Gevgelija

Nowadays, the CARE packages being distributed to the never-ending lines of refugees snaking through the Balkans are rather more regimented in their contents. Each adult emergency package boasts 2,240 calories worth of non-perishable food items and high-energy sweet and savoury biscuits, as well as sanitary towels and basic first aid; with baby food, nappies, wipes and disinfectant distributed to young families.

Special winter CARE packages containing emergency shelter material such as sleeping bags and plastic groundsheets, warm clothes and waterproofs are also now being handed out as the cold starts to bite.

“I despair at the current refugee crisis,” says 79-year-old Janet Stevenson, a mother-of-two and grandmother-of-five who clearly recalls her own CARE packages which arrived at the school near Reading she attended as a child.

“It needs tackling at source but how you do it I don’t know. I just think it’s so tragic. I just want to help.

As Mrs Stevenson knows, it is not just the provision of basic items which makes the packages so important. The CARE parcel received by Mrs Stevenson ended up beginning a 60-year-long friendship with the US schoolgirl Shirley Meissner who helped send it over. The pair even met face to face in Virginia in 1986, before Shirley died five years ago.

Even during the greatest time of need, Mrs Stevenson – who nowadays donates to CARE through a seperate entrepreneurship scheme the charity runs – was never starving. Her father, a Gallipoli veteran tended an allotment throughout the war and could even on occasion venture to the end of the garden and wring a chicken’s neck – something the battle-scarred soldier loathed doing.

But she says her memories of such straitened times still stay with her today. “Even now I hate waste; I don’t waste anything – certainly food. Those are the values you learnt and they never leave you.”

There are other values, too, which those who experienced the kindness of strangers 70 years ago hold dear to this day.

“You can’t do much to help other people,” Mrs Stevenson says. “But you do what you can.”

To make a credit/debit-card donation call 0151-284 1927; go to telegraph.co.uk/charity; or send cheques/postal orders to Telegraph Christmas Charity Appeal, Charities Trust, Suite 20–22, Century Building, Tower Street, Liverpool L3 4BJ


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Store removes Remembrance Day display depicting dead soldier after complaints

November 8th, 2015

He told the Manchester Evening News: “As someone who is ex-forces, I found it in pretty bad taste.

“Everything done by the Royal British Legion is very professional and respectful.

“For someone who has served and seen casualties on the battlefield, or a family member who has lost someone, to walk and see that could really trigger stress. I’m glad it was changed.”

Another person tweeted: “How anybody ever thought this was a good idea at @asda needs their head testing. Absolutely disgusting.”

But some people thought it should have been retained.

Andy Kay wrote on Facebook: “Removed a fallen soldier poppy statue because it offended people. Well it’s removal offends me.”

The Remembrance Poppy by numbers

Prince Harry and Duke of Edinburgh visit Field of Remembrance

And Derek Hanstock said: “Cowards! It’s disgusting that you have removed the poppy display. I’ve spent my last penny in any Asda.”

An Asda spokeswoman said the display was intended as a mark of respects.

She said: “We’re proud to support the Poppy Appeal in our stores across the UK and have been welcoming volunteers from the Royal British Legion into our stores to sell remembrance poppies.

“Our colleagues have been holding fundraising activities in stores to support the Poppy Appeal and it was not our intention to cause offence with the poppy display at the Harpurhey store.

“There were a couple of complaints about the use of the mannequin within the display so a decision was made to remove the mannequin but leave the rest of the display and poppies standing.”


World War Two

Battle of Britain Spitfire flypast over London cancelled after Shoreham crash ramps up insurance cost

September 6th, 2015

A Battle of Britain commemoration flypast by 20 Spitfires over London has been cancelled after the Shoreham air disaster made the cost of insuring the event unaffordable.

The organisers of the flypast, which they had hoped would happen on September 20, were told they would need third party insurance cover of £250 million, which would have required a premium of around £50,000.

It raises the prospect that air shows scheduled for next year may find the cost of insurance prohibitive as a result of the Hawker Hunter crash at Shoreham, in which 11 people died.

Paul Beaver, who was organising the event, said: “The intention was that 20 privately-owned Spitfires would fly over London to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. We had started the planning in March, and had applied to the Civil Aviation Authority and even the Prime Minister to get the go-ahead.

“The route we were going to take would have made sure there was always somewhere for an aircraft to land if it got into difficulties, and usually the individual owners’ aircraft insurance, which provides £5 million of third party cover per aircraft, would have been enough.

“But after Shoreham we took soundings from an insurance expert who advises the air shows, and he said the feedback he was getting from underwriters was that we would need to take out £250 million of insurance cover, which made the whole thing untenable.

“I really hope the underwriters take a pragmatic view when the air show season starts next year, because if they don’t it will make life very difficult.”

An unrelated flypast of massed fighter planes will still go ahead on September 15 over the south of England which will be attended by Prince Harry.

Top (L-R): Matt Jones, 24, Matthew Grimstone, 23, Jacob Schilt, 23, Daniele Polito, 23, Mark Trussler, 49, James Mallinson, 72. Bottom (L-R): Maurice Abrahams, 76, Mark Reeves, 53, Richard Smith, 26, Dylan Archer, 42, Tony Brightwell, 52.


World War Two

World War Two hero’s wedding ring returned 70 years after it was lost

March 13th, 2015

The ring was presented to one of his surviving relatives, his 92-year-old sister, Dorothy Webster, along with a fuel gauge from the bomber and a rock from the mountain into which it crashed.

The inside of the gold ring is inscribed with the names John and Joyce – Flt Sgt Thompson had married a Londoner called Joyce Mozley in June 1944, before being sent off on active service. She remarried after the war but died in 1995.

His Halifax, part of 148 Squadron, crashed about 25 miles north of Tirana, the Albanian capital, while delivering weapons and other supplies to Albanian partisans fighting the Nazis.

In 1960 a local man, Jaho Cala, found the ring while out collecting wood in the mountains.

Nervous about informing the Communist authorities of the Hoxha regime, he took it home and kept it hidden for decades.

He later revealed its existence to his son, Xhemil Cala, instructing him to try to find out who it belonged to.

His son, who became a police officer, wore the ring for years and made several attempts to find out who it belonged to, but without success.

Two years ago he contacted the British and American embassies in Tirana, guessing that it may have belonged to an Allied airman flying missions over Albania.

In October, a team of British and US officials located the remains of the aircraft on the sides of a 6,000ft high mountain.

The British embassy were eventually able to confirm that the ring belonged to Sgt Thompson, who came from Darley Dale in Derbs. The embassy contacted his family and the relatives of the six other RAF crew members.

“Seventy years we’ve waited. We can’t believe that we’re here today celebrating this after all this time,” Mrs Webster, who was a year younger than her brother, told The Associated Press. “My father would have been thrilled to pieces with it all.”

She said she was “overwhelmed” to receive the ring and other items and that she still remembered her brother “very well, as if it were yesterday.”

She was accompanied by four of his nephews and other family members at a ceremony at the Albanian defence ministry in Tirana.

“Your brother helped to liberate my country. He will never be forgotten,” Mimi Kodheli, the defence minister, told her.

“All these years it has been a story of loss,” said one of her sons, Alan Webster. “We now know almost everything that happened. It’s a sense of closure. We know where John is. He’s over there in the mountain.”

His brother, Brian Webster, said: “Our grandfather and grandmother never locked the house in Matlock – (they were) waiting for their missing son.”

Another relative, Philip Thompson, said the family had struggled to obtain information from the War Office about Sgt Thompson’s fate “because he was part of a secret operation in Albania.”or a long time the family believed that he had crashed in Poland.

Presenting the ring, Xhemil Cala said he was relieved to have fulfilled his father’s wish that it be returned to the airman’s family. “I will go to his grave and say rest in peace for your dying wish has been fulfilled,” he said.

Arthur Gilbert, 91, a childhood friend of the RAF flight engineer, told the Matlock Mercury last year: “He was a cheery little lad and he came from a big family. It was very sad to hear that he had never returned from the war.”


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Allied soldiers ‘raped hundreds of thousands of German women’ after WW2

March 6th, 2015

“The saddest event during the advance were three rapes, one on a married woman, one on a single woman and one on a spotless girl of 16-and-a-half. They were committed by heavily drunk Americans,” wrote one of the priests, Fr Andreas Weingand, in July 1945.

She said she had also studied the records of “war children”, the illegitimate children born to German mothers and Allied fathers, and assumed that there had been 100 rapes for each birth, coming up with a figure of 190,000 rapes by American soldiers alone.

But Antony Beevor, the author of The Second World War, said Prof Gerhardt’s methodology was “ludicrous”.

“It’s almost impossible to come up with figures, but I think to say there were hundreds of thousands is a great exaggeration,” he said.

“If she’s doing it on the basis of illegitimate children that’s ludicrous,” Prof Beevor said. “There was a huge amount of voluntary sex. There were vast numbers of cases of genuine fraternisation. Many young women were hanging around outside the gates of American camps.” The most notorious instances of rape by Western Allied forces were by French troops during the sack of Stuttgart.

Of the Allies, British troops appear to have been responsible for the least rapes.

“Not because of any morality or respect for woman, but because the NCOs wouldn’t allow the soldiers to go off on their own,” Prof Beevor said.

He added that Soviet archives had confirmed that around two million German women had been raped by Soviet soldiers, while Prof Gerdhardt put the figure at 500,000.


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Watch: Holocaust survivor recalls life after Auschwitz

January 26th, 2015

70 years later, as the world marks International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Radil is among the dwindling population of survivors who was actually at Auschwitz, the most vivid symbol of Nazi cruelty, when the terror finally ended.

He said that he got through the nightmare thanks to a tremendous will to survive and an intense focus on returning home.

“Everyone wanted to survive and those who did asked themselves, ‘what do we do now?’ Your main and only goal was survival, so you had to look for another one,” he said.

“For me, it was to go home. But I didn’t know what or who I would find there. I knew that most of the people were murdered.

“So what really is home? It’s not a city, it is a family, but I knew the family would not be complete.”

In fact, only his father was still alive.

Radil, who has written a book about his life called “All Alone in Auschwitz at 14,” has also warned of a repetition of the kind of horror the Holocaust brought.

“It might be somewhere else, it may not concern Jews,” he said.

“It might be some different type of holocaust but when you have people that are unsatisfied, frustrated, who lack a lot and have no goal, and someone comes and provides them with a goal, some sort of goal, they can unite in hatred.”


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D-Day ‘Great Escaper’ Bernard Jordan’s wife dies days after him

January 10th, 2015

Brighton and Hove mayor Brian Fitch paid tribute to Mrs Jordan. He said: “They were a very close couple who will both be sadly missed.

“Irene went into the care home first after Bernie had looked after her at home, so it came as a bit of a shock that he died first.

“They had been married for more than 50 years and were a devoted couple. After he had gone, she probably gave up the will. They were religious people who are now reunited together.”

A ceremony celebrating Mr and Mrs Jordan’s lives will be held at All Saints Church in Hove on January 30 followed by a private funeral, Mr Fitch said.

A minute’s silence will be held at the next full meeting of Brighton and Hove City Council to remember the couple.

Mr Jordan’s disappearance sparked a police search last June 5 and his whereabouts emerged only when a younger veteran phoned later that night to say he had met Mr Jordan and he was safe.

Second World War veteran Mr Jordan, a former Royal Navy member and ex-mayor of Hove, told reporters on his return that his aim was to remember his fallen “mates”.

He had decided to join British veterans, most making their final pilgrimage to revisit the scene of their momentous invasion, to remember the heroes of the liberation of Europe.

Archive: June 2014

Some 156,000 Allied troops landed on the five invasion beaches on June 6 1944, sparking an 80-day campaign to liberate Normandy involving three million troops and costing 250,000 lives.

Mr Jordan had hoped to return to Normandy this June. Brittany Ferries, which carried him across the Channel last summer, offered him free crossings to D-Day events for the rest of his life after learning of his exploits.

Following his death, the Royal British Legion said Mr Jordan’s decision to go to France highlighted “the spirit that epitomises the Second World War generation”.

On his 90th birthday, days after he returned from his escapade, he was inundated with more than 2,500 birthday cards from around the world.

Mr Jordan was later made an honorary alderman of Brighton and Hove in a special ceremony at Brighton Town Hall.

He joined an elite list to receive the honour, including Burmese democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi, former Olympic champion Steve Ovett, and First World War hero Henry Allingham, who became the world’s oldest man before his death aged 113 in 2009.


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D-Day veteran Bernard Jordan dies after lifetime of duty and adventure

January 7th, 2015

Such was the respect in which he was held following his headline-generating adventures across the Channel that on his 90th birthday, a few days after his return, he received more than 2,500 cards from well-wishers around the world.

Mr Jordan died peacefully in hospital. In a statement by Gracewell Healthcare, which runs The Pines care home in Hove, East Sussex, where Mr Jordan lived, said he would be “much missed” by his wife Irene and many friends.

Amanda Scott, managing director of Gracewell Healthcare, said: “Bernie caught the world’s imagination last year when he made his ‘surprise’ trip to France and bought a huge amount of joy to a lot of people.


Bernard Jordan on the ferry with The Candy Girls

“Bernie was always insistent that what he did during the war was nothing unusual, and only what many thousands of others did for their country.

“That may well be true, but the little bit of excitement he gave everyone last June was typical of his no-nonsense attitude to life and is how he will be remembered by thousands of people.”

A month after his escapade in France, Mr Jordan was made an honorary alderman of Brighton and Hove during a reception at Brighton Town Hall.

Asked at the reception why he travelled to Normandy, Mr Jordan, former mayor of Hove who served as a councillor for 34 years, said: “My thoughts were with my mates who had been killed.

“I was going across to pay my respects. I was a bit off course but I got there.”

He added: “Britain is a smashing country and the people are smashing, and if you have to do something a bit special, then they are worth every effort.”

Bernard with his medals (GRACEWELL HEALTHCARE)

Mr Jordan did indeed do something special for his country, as his campaign medals testified.

As a 19-year-old junior officer in the Royal Navy he had been plunged into the thick of it on June 6, 1944.

His ship was one of a flotilla of 6,939 vessels assembled by commanders as part of the Allied plan to create a bridgehead to get thousands of troops and equipment into northern France, as the first step of pushing the Nazis all the way back to Berlin.

Men like Mr Jordan played a key role in that plan, providing covering fire for the thousands of troops and tanks wading ashore in the face a hail of machine gun and shell fire from the Germans dug into concrete bunkers on the cliffs above.

Mr Jordan had already taken part in the Battle of the Atlantic, which saw British ships engaged in a cat and mouse game with German U-boats in the struggle to keep vital supply routes from the United States.


Bernard Jordan surrounded by cards and gifts received for his 90th birthday (PA)

On one occasion Mr Jordan was part of a boarding party which captured one of the Enigma coding machines used by the Germans after his forced a U-boat submarine to the surface.

Mr Jordan also served in the Italian campaign, which saw British naval ships transporting and supplying the troops fighting their way up the spine of the Peninsula, as part of the Allied effort to drive the Nazis out of occupied Europe.

Brian Fitch, the mayor of Brighton and Hove, said: “He made a major contribution, but he was also just an ordinary hard-working bloke, an electrician by trade, and a lovely character. We will really miss him.”


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