Ormskirk Advertiser : 2020-07-23

Nostalgia : 21 : 21


The Advertiser Thursday, July 23, 2020 21 Nostalgia with Dot Broady-Hawkes The local men lost in the ‘forgotten’ tragedy of RMS Lancastria sinking ● W IRELESS Operator and Air Gunner Wilfred Brookes was killed on June 2 1942, aged 28. Wilfred had married Bradshaw two years earlier. Prior to enlisting in the Wilfred had been an apprentice trainer to renowned local greyhound trainer Houghton. The kennels were at cha Hall in Wilfred’s aircraft, one of 127 Halifax heavy bombers, took part in a 1,000 bomber raid over on the night of June 1/2. He and two of his crew from 78 were buried together in the Kranenberg Civic Cemetery. they were reinterred in individual graves next to each other in the Groesbeek Cemetery, Gelderland, Netherland­s. Cpl George Burrows, son of Alfred and Mary Alice Burrows, lived at 87 Wigan before enlisting in the 2nd Battalion, shire His civilian occupation was timber yard labourer. He was killed in action while serving in Burma on February 24 1944, aged 27. George had given his parents as his next of kin on enlistment and they are shown as such in the grave register for the Taukkyan war cemetery in what is now Myanmar, but both his parents had died before him, his mother in 1937 and his father on Christmas 1942. Both are buried in Ormskirk Parish Church graveyard. Felton of the 1st North cashire was killed on August 27 1944 aged 27. action in took part in the attack on the Arno on August 25, which caught the Germans as they were withdrawin­g closer to the Foglia As a result the Allies made quick progress, and were well establishe­d on the hills between the rivers by dawn on August 26. Over the next three days the Allies advanced to the Foglia, and were in place on August 29. the from 98 on board very early that day. The Cunard ship castria was ordered to France to evacuate soldiers in the wake of the retreat to Dunkirk. anchored some 10 miles off Nazaire at about 6am on Monday, June 17. Almost immediatel­y, exhausted troops and some civilians began to arrive. At about 1pm, the red alert sounded and a dive bomber was seen to attack the Oronsay which was some distance off. The bomber scored a direct hit on the bridge area, but it did not render the ship unseaworth­y. At about 3.50pm the enemy returned. Bombs were seen to straddle the one bomb exploding close to the port side, rupturing her almost full fuel tanks. RAFVR Squadron Sge ● Seeing Italy, Robert Line Lan- Elsie Line RAF, She St River. Richard La Scarisbric­k. Man- Essen was killed two days into the action. He is buried in the Florence War Graves Cemetery. Robert Squadron Robert Street lived at 29 Chapel with whom he married in 1941. He is remembered on the Ormskirk Parish Church memorial, the Comrades of Honour and the Memorial Plinth in the Coronation Park. years ago – on June 17 1940 – came the tragedy of the sinking of the with the loss of more than 5,000 lives, it is a hard reality and very difficult to hear the account of the sinking. Two Ormskirk men are known to have been lost on the ship. One was William Walsh Number 3380854, 30, of the 29 Company, of Patrick and Mary Place, Bicker- Later Elsie, The rescue began with all kinds of vessels – from small fishing boats to destroyers of the Navy – picking up survivors, more like oily flotsam than people. The bodies of those who died that day were washed up along the French coast during the coming months and were given Christian burials by the French people, who bravely ignored the German presence and cared for the victims as their own. Prime Minister Winston Churchill immediatel­y hid the news from the public. 1940, after Dunkirk, to reveal the truth would have been too damaging for civilian morale. He said: “The newspapers have got quite enough disaster for today, at least.” that time, the disaster has never been recognised for what it was – the greatest mari- time disaster in Britain’s history. More people were killed on the than on the and Titanic com- Lancastria Lusitania Roll Royal Edward Edward bined. William Walsh is recorded on the Anne’s Church War Memorial as being killed on June 2 1940; he was in fact lost on the on June 17. This suggests possibly that the Ministry of War staggered the telegrams to families to divert attention from the huge loss that day. Both men are on the Dunkirk War Memorial but there is no mention in the War Graves paperwork that they were killed on the The town lost many more men in the war years and there are men still unaccounte­d for. anyone is able to add detail on their family members killed in the war please get in touch by emailing: ormskirkin­ww2@ btinternet.com. Lancastria, Eighty St Road East Lanca- RMS Lancastria, Regiment. Lancastria Immediatel­y, the ship began a perilous roll from port to starboard and back again, further bombs struck home, one penetratin­g the holds crammed with troops. The ship rolled onto her port side, down by the bow. The ship’s siren wailed and by 4.10 – in just 20 minutes – the castria slipped beneath the waves. No one will ever know the exact number who died that Sapper Service Railway Royal Engi- day – some say there were as many as 9,000 men, women and children on board by the time the was bombed, estimate 7,000. All we do know is that about 6,000 were on board by 1pm, and that many more arrived after that. Only 2,447 arrived home. Survey Son In neers, Walsh, of staffe. The second was Ormskirk Grammar old boy Observer Walter Ardern, only son of Mr & Mrs Joseph Ardern, who had a newsagents at 4 He was one of Lancastria. Elm Lancastria others Eve School Sgt Lan- If Since Sgt Robert Loyal Regiment Btn Lan- Railway Road.

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