Military

Roll of Honour

Roll of honour  Edlesborough

The Monday Photo

This is a roll of honour, in Edlesborough’s church of St Mary the Virgin. It’s on a printed template, sold (I presume) to churches during the first World War.

Sometimes you can still find them, usually at the rear of the nave.

There are names from both World Wars here. The names from WW1 are of those who fought and survived, not those who perished; their names, along with those who died in WW2, are on the war memorial at the edge of the churchyard.

In contrast, far more names are listed for WW2, but the names of the relatively few who died are listed again. You can just see them, bottom right under “Departed”.

Four men who were prisoners of war are not in the main list, but are listed just above those who died.

There are very similar templates in at least two other churches in North Bucks. There’s one at Chearsley’s church of St Nicholas, and two at St Firmin’s church, N.Crawley. I’ve also seen other templates used.

Note:
I have to admit I got caught out today! As today is Boxing Day, It didn’t occur to me until late afternoon that it was also a Monday, and I should have put up a Monday Photo much earlier! Just the way my mind works, I suppose. Sorry folks!

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please leave a comment below.
If you liked this post and want to find out more about the North Bucks area, please
Subscribe


Another Look Underground

As Typepad is having technical problems after moving to a new server which mean I cannot upload photos until the problems are fixed, I thought I'd show you a post from the early days of the North Bucks Wanderer.

You may find that some of these photos when clicked on, do not produce an enlarged version. I can't do anything about that until the technical issues are fixed.

Since I wrote this in 2018, the shrubs and hedge that hid the top of the shaft have all been cleared away, and the hatch has been padlocked shut.

Underground in the Cold War

ROC post Bucks entrance shaftThe entrance shaft. The top of the shaft is about three feet above ground level, so the post is about 17 feet below the ground (I estimate)

In the mid 1950s, the threat of atomic attack by the Soviet Union was taken very seriously by the British government. The Royal Observers Corps were given the job, if an attack took place, of reporting nuclear bomb explosions and of monitoring radioactive fallout. Three men at a time crewed the post.

1,563 underground posts were built all over the UK for the ROC, and many still exist. This one is somewhere between Winslow and Aylesbury. I’ll not be more precise, as these posts tend to get vandalised or the contents are stolen. This post closed in 1991.

There are a few restored posts. Here is one, with a cutaway diagram of the post.

The posts were built to a standard design, although the hatch at the top of the shaft isn't always hinged on the same side, and some were built 'handed'. That is, to a mirror image plan. I have no idea why; can anybody enlighten me?

If you want to know more, there are at least two books on the subject. They are Cold War Secret Nuclear Bunkers by Nick McCamley, and Cold War - Building for Nuclear Confrontation 1946-1989 by Wayne D. Cocroft and Roger J. C. Thomas.

Anyway, here’s some photos I took last year.

ROC post Bucks bottom of shaftThe bottom of the access shaft. The device on the right is a hand pump for emptying the sump, where any water that got in would collect.

ROC post Bucks main roomThis is the main and only room. The entrance shaft is at the far left, and off the  shaft but not visible in this photo, was the chemical toilet.

ROC post BucksThe view from the door.

Continue reading "Another Look Underground" »

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please leave a comment below.
If you liked this post and want to find out more about the North Bucks area, please
Subscribe


A General in Peacetime

Bletchley war memorialThe Bletchley war memorial (not to be confused with the Old Bletchley war memorial) is on what’s now The Queensway, Bletchley, in front of the Knowles School.

By Guest writer John Taylor.

This is part two of three. I posted part one three weeks ago; A Naval Man in Buckinghamshire, and Part two, A Retired General in World War 2 just last week.

It was June 1946; World War 2 had ended just ten months earlier. Lieutenant General Harold Blount of the Royal Marines had fought in WW1 with honours and retired aged 57, a few months before WW2 broke out.

Blount used his military experience and commanded A Company of Bletchley’s Home Guard throughout the war, but now there was peace.

Continue reading "A General in Peacetime" »

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please leave a comment below.
If you liked this post and want to find out more about the North Bucks area, please
Subscribe


A Retired General in WW2

Bletchley's old police station and courthouseThe nearest part of this range, with the three upstairs windows, was the old Bletchley Police Station. Here were the headquarters of A Company, Bletchley Home Guard.

By Guest writer John Taylor (Not John O'Hara as previously stated; sorry John Taylor)

This is part two of three. Part one was two weeks ago; A Naval Man in Buckinghamshire.

It was 1939. In September, six months after General Harold Blount had retired, war with Germany had been declared. Harold Blount was then sharing Woughton House in Woughton on the Green with his brother Oswald.

Their domestic staff comprised of a cook, two housemaids, a parlour maid, and a kitchen maid. The house also accommodated, for Bletchley Park or one of the other secret organisations now in North Bucks, two secretaries, ‘Civilian Admiralty NI’. That is, Naval Intelligence.

Continue reading "A Retired General in WW2" »

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please leave a comment below.
If you liked this post and want to find out more about the North Bucks area, please
Subscribe


Delivery Day

WW2 Chevrolet CMP 15cwt truck

The Monday Photo

Often forgotten in tales of war are the supply lines. Without food, ammunition and fuel an army will soon grind to a halt; unable to fight or move.

This is where the truck and lorry drivers come in. Canadian built trucks like this 15 cwt Chevrolet were used to supply troops during Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of occupied Europe that began on 6th June 1944, 78 years ago today. That is, D-Day.

This is a Canadian Military Pattern (CMP) truck, built in huge numbers and in numerous versions for the armies of Britain and the empire in World War 2.

This example was built in 1941, and during restoration yellow paint was found, strongly suggesting that it saw service in North Africa before going to Sicily and Italy, then on into Europe.


The film A Bridge Too Far is based on Cornelius Ryan's book of the same name. Meanwhile I've just read James Holland's Brothers in Arms; it's very good.

After the war the truck was sold off and used on a farm as a general purpose 4 X 4 vehicle.

It’s now marked up as a 30 Corps medical supply truck. 30 Corps landed on Gold Beach on D-Day and that September were involved in operation Market Garden, later filmed as A Bridge Too Far.

The truck still carries scars from its wartime service, and they have been left unrepaired as a mark of respect for the men who drove it.

I saw this Chevrolet at the Newport Pagnell Vintage Event last Saturday. You probably can’t quite read it here, but the Lance Corporal wears the shoulder tags of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles.

D-Day was a long time ago now, but what does it mean to you now?

Today's photo was taken with a Pentax camera and lens.

I make a small percentage from sales through Amazon links, no matter what you buy while you visit their site from here. This helps me but costs you nothing, so if you make a purchase via the NBW, thank you.

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please leave a comment below.
If you liked this post and want to find out more about the North Bucks area, please
Subscribe


War Graves Week

RSC grave  Whaddon

The Monday Photo

This is the grave of Geoffrey Daintree Pearson, who died on active service at Whaddon. He was 42.

A signalman in the Royal Corps of Signals, he fell when doing maintenance work on a tall radio mast at their station on Church Hill, known to the men as Windy Ridge.

It was September 1943. About eight months later this radio station would play an important part in D-Day and the invasion of occupied Europe; Operation Overlord.

Geoffrey is buried in the graveyard of St Mary’s church in Whaddon, and the men of the Royal Signals had to walk through that graveyard to reach their posts.  Although he was not killed through enemy action, this signalman still died in the service of his country.

I‘m showing you this photo today because this is War Graves Week. This commemorative week runs until next Saturday, the 28th May. There are a few events for the week in North Bucks, though the next one is on Tuesday 24th, perhaps to late to get to now.

But here’s a group photo of the Royal Signals personnel at Windy Ridge, in 1945. There are far more of them than I imagined; I counted about 160 men in the photo.

I wrote about what’s left of windy Ridge and its part in Operation Overlord last year, and the post gives you directions to the station’s remains.

Now I’ve seen the photo at the link above, I wonder if there may be some evidence of radio bases out in the field, far away from where the buildings had been. I’ll have to visit Church hill again for another look…

This photo was taken with a Pentax camera and lens.

I make a small percentage from sales through Amazon links, no matter what you buy while you visit their site from here. This helps me but costs you nothing, so if you make a purchase via the NBW, thank you.

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please leave a comment below.
If you liked this post and want to find out more about the North Bucks area, please
Subscribe