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Lest we forget -


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At 11am on 11th day of the 11th month: there will be a 2min silence - will this silence be observed in every school in the land? :? The reason I ask, is that two teenagers appeared on a news item to know very little about "the war to end all wars", the reason for poppies etc. :roll: IF, in every school in the land, every year, the 2mins silence was followed by about a half-hour history of conflicts, and the sacrifices made on our behalf, youngsters may gain more respect and understanding of older generations and those that had to do the bidding of the politicians, be it right or wrong. :? Just to put the scale of loss into focus, on the first day of the battle of the Somme (WW1); 60,000 British soldiers were killed. :cry:

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watched a very interesting program on the history channel last night called "The Last Tommy". it was interviewing the last few survivors of the first world war and their memories of the war. one was witness to the famous Christmas truce. the second part is on tonight and i will have to video it.

 

one was telling of seeing the troops returning from the conflict before the world war and how he was carried on the shoulders of a sergeant. when he joined up several years later the same sergeant was the one in charge of his unit.

 

perhaps one of the most amazing things was how fit these men were. one was living in Australia and at a hundred and eight went for a walk each morning to look at the local wildlife.

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The reason I ask, is that two teenagers appeared on a news item to know very little about "the war to end all wars", the reason for poppies etc.

 

I saw that Observer and was somewhat taken aback. I understand that tonight the TV company are taking them to France to learn more about what their great grandfather had been involved in.

 

Interestingly I did a little research into the death in WWII of the person who would have been my Uncle. There was always some confusion with my family as to where he might have died. Thanks to the internet, I found that his plane came down in the Baltic sea area having set off from RAF Elvington ( York) at 17.24 on 15 Feb 1944 on a bombing mission to Berlin, sometime during that operation the plane came down and the identified body of one of the seven crew was found on the Riddertofte Beach on the small Danish island of Lolland and he was buried in the local Kappel cemetery a day later. The body of my relative, John James O'Neil Kennedy was never found/indentified. He was only just 20, and was a Flight Sergeant in the 77 volunteer reserve squadron, a bomb aimer/observer in a Halifax bomber.....LW341. At full strength I understand the squadron had 18 planes, on the night of the 15th, 3 of them never returned. 77 Squadron had one of Bomber Commands highest attrition rates. In his last letter to my late Father, John commented that he did not expect to survive many more bombing missions.

 

That night 891 bombers took part in the raid on Berlin, 42 were lost. I understand from a Danish website ( and the translation might not be perfect) that between Odense and Keil they met the first German night fighters, and the attacks went on across the Baltic Sea and to the target. It is recorded that 16 bombers were shot down on this leg and between Lolland and the coast of Northern Germany another 7 were shot down by flak ships and flak batteries.

 

Those who died in LW341 were:

 

Sgt B Coughlin flight engineer RAF

W/O AF Edmonds pilot RAF

F/Sgt JJO'N Kennedy bomb aimer RAF

F/Sgt NL Newell mid upper gunner RAAF ( body intentified and buried)

F/O RE Paget navigator RCAF

Sgt CO Tyler wireless operator RAF

F/Sgt RW Wheeler rear gunner RAF

 

The average age was in the low 20s, the pilot W/O Arthur Edmonds was 23, the oldest F/Sgt Norman Newell was 30. I understand John Kennedy was the youngest....and was engaged to be married.

 

All the crew were volunteer reserves, they did not have to serve in the RAF. John for example had a reserved job in the tank factory in Oxford, but chose to enlist.

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I also saw the programme. What disturbed me was not the attitude of the two lads, as they seemed reasonably caring types who, once informed, were interested to know more. The worrying thing is that they had not learned anything about Remembrance, World War 1, etc either at school nor apparently from their family.

Incidentally, I went to Market Gate today to see the town observe the 2-minute silence (see news page).

Considering the weather, there was a reasonable crowd present. But as usual there were some who just walked passed during the silence, apparently uncaring or unknowing of what was going on.

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I know my family is from Cornwall so I guess these two poor souls were my relatives.

SKENTELBERY

John Leslie

D/MX 53339 H.M.S. Neptune Royal Navy. Died 19/12/1941. The Cruiser HMS Neptune ran into an uncharted minefield in the Mediterranean off Tripoli, and sank with the loss of 764 officers and men. Just one man was rescued by an Italian torpedo boat, after 5 days in the water.

 

SKENTELBERY

Lawrence

5438369 Private 1st Bn Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment. Died 16/05/1944 (Italy). Son of Albert and Minnie Skentelbery; husband of Edith Evelyn Skentelbery, of West Looe, Cornwall.

 

Amazing what you can discover on the internet

God rest their souls.

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It's all one big lotto draw - my grandfather went through the whole of WW1 in the trenches, with nothing more than a thumb wound and possibly trench foot. :wink: Some of the old archive film, shows men "going over the top", some falling back dead as soon as they put their head above the parapet, others charging through a hail of bullets, shrapnel and gas, and still surviving. :cry:

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My daughter, who is Brown Owl with a Lymm Brownie Pack, takes part in the Remembrance Sunday parade every year, with her Brownies (including her own daughter). In the weeks leading up to the parade she teaches the girls what it's all about and tells them something about both world wars, sometimes enlisting the help of local historians. She cares about it, herself, and feels it's important.

 

The girls stand by the war memorial in St Mary's churchyard, along with Guides, Cubs, Scouts and ATC cadets, and observe the silence. They all know why they are doing it. Maybe some schools aren't teaching this particular value but, while we've got youth organisations, at least some will grow up to know and appreciate the importance of Remembrance.

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I was in a factory in Hinckley at 11am this morning and the whole place fell silent. great to see...

 

On the way back, I was listening to the radio and there was a chap from the war graves commission on telling about how a mass grave of almost 400 allied soldiers was discovered this year after a tip off from a man in Austrailia. They did an excavation and found the bodies; many had well preserved uniforms. They haven't exumed them yet as they are now building the first new war grave cemetary in almost 50 years; next to a little church in Fromelles.

 

Apparently the soldiers died along with up to 7,000 of their comrades in one 24 hour battle in July 1916. These bodies were buried in the mass grave by German soldiers after the failed attack on their lines and trenches; apparently keen to stop the spread of disease from dead bodies.

 

This link shows the full story

 

http://www.cwgc.org/news.asp?newsid=98&view=yes

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Interesting hearing peoples' stories about the war. Made me try to think what my family was doing.

 

I think my father's father fought in it, but I don't know any details, because he died of cancer when my father was 4. My mother's father I think was in the military somewhat before the war as a poor Hungarian immigrant to the US out of work, but I think he was out of the military by the time the war started. But I think his job in the shipyards of Newport News, Virginia was connected in some way with the war. My Grandmother's baby sister who was born in 1913 in Hungary has a few vague memories of soldiers at the house in connection with the war.

 

I know a lot more about my families connections with the 2nd world war. Dad really wanted to go, but was 4F (physically disqualified) because the effects of a childhood illness looked like TB on the xray. My mother, however, got veteran status from her membership in the Coast Guard SPARs, the special wartime women's branch of the Coast Guard set up to do the usual peacetime Coast Guard activities while the men became part of the navy. She was a clerk, so we always joked that she shot a typewriter during the war. Her brother, my uncle, was a bit higher up. He was in the army core of engineers, and became by the end a lieutenant colonel. He probably didn't risk his life much either, so we're all a bunch of wimps.

 

Then again, my mother's family back in Hungary, my great aunt who stayed behind, great grandmother, etc. definitely had their share of adventures in WW2. I visited my great aunt a couple of years ago, and it was not pleasant going through the family tree getting the same answer over and over again of what happened to various relatives. Killed by the nazis, died on the march, died in the camps, and she didn't want to talk about the details. She managed to get a false ID from someone and to hide in a Christian house in exchange for teaching the children.

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Can anybody tell me if there is still a plaque on the back wall of the main post office?For many years it was there when it used to be in Springfield St The first name on it was my cousin Eric's name he was a telegraph messenger for the post office before the war,he was a Sgt.Pilot and was killed and buried in Cyprus in March 1945

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Can anybody tell me if there is still a plaque on the back wall of the main post office?For many years it was there when it used to be in Springfield St The first name on it was my cousin Eric's name he was a telegraph messenger for the post office before the war,he was a Sgt.Pilot and was killed and buried in Cyprus in March 1945

 

Sheila,

 

I believe the plaques for the first and second world wars for the posties who died are now in the collection office opposite B&Q. If you want, I could always take a picture and post it here for you?

 

Barry

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The school where I work held a 2 minutes silence which was beautifully observed by children and staff alike. There had been a series of assemblies leading up to Remembrance Sunday and Remembrance Day to ensure they all knew why we were holding the silence.

 

Excellent.... I think you work at the school where my little lad Connor goes Milly. They always seem to do the right things when it comes to issues like this

 

Baz

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