A successful operation to safely remove a Second World War bomb found in the River Thames has been conducted in London. The device had been found in an area of the river close to the Houses of Parliament, off Victoria Embankment, and Royal Navy and Metropolitan Police specialists were called out to safely dispose of the 75-year-old device after it was dredged up by workmen. Both Waterloo and Westminster bridges and Westminister and Embankment London Underground stations had to be closed for several hours while the operation was in progress. Despite the passage of so many years, devices like these continue to be found around Britain – most particularly during building and construction work.
A collection of First World War cartoons by one of Britain’s most popular 20th century illustrators have been unearthed after 100 years. Joseph Morewood Staniforth has been credited with more than 1,300 newspaper cartoons during the Great War. Some of his most acclaimed work included a rousing call to arms following Lord Kitchener’s plea for recruits, an illustration of Sir Winston Churchill dressed as a bargeman after the failed Dardanelles campaign and a depiction of Kaiser Wilhelm II as a beggar on the streets of Germany. Cardiff University’s Professor Chris Williams has overseen a threeyear project to digitise Staniforth’s distinguished wartime cartoons. He said: “For me, Staniforth was one of the most popular cartoonists of all time, but his work has been under-appreciated.”
The diary of a First World War veteran has been published for the first time after remaining hidden away for more than five decades. When British war veteran Sergeant Horace Reginald Stanley passed away in 1971, his journal remained untouched for another 16 years until his daughter, Heather Brodie, and granddaughter Juliet Brodie decided that his harrowing accounts and stories, in addition to his remarkable photographs, should be made public. They hoped that this would allow people to gain a better understanding of the bitter and lengthy conflict. ‘Grandad’s War’, by Juliet and Heather Brodie, is now available through Poppyland Publishing with more details available at www.poppyland.co.uk.
The MOD has launched an appeal to locate relatives of Dublin-born 25-year-old Fleet Air Arm Lieutenant Edmund Seymour Burke, who was killed along with his colleague when their Fairey Fulmar fighter aircraft crashed in the Barents Sea on 31 July 1941, whilst operating from the carrier HMS Illustrious. The two were seen getting into their dingy which washed ashore two days later. Both occupants were dead and they were buried as ‘unknown’ on the Rycachiy Peninsula, northern Russia. According to the MOD’s Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre, little is known about Burke and they are anxious to obtain more information. Anyone who can help trace Lieutenant Burke’s family is asked to contact the following email address: DBS-JCCCommem4503@mod.uk.
A British tank used by the Canadian Army and the Home Guard for training and target practice has been found at Denbies Wine Estate, Dorking. The tank, a Cruiser Tank Mk V, A13 Mk III ‘Covenanter’, was one of a pair buried at the site, formerly a base for Allied troops. The tank equipped numerious British armoured divisions based in the British Isles, but never operated outside of the United Kingdom as problems with the types cooling system rendered it unfit for service overseas. Therefore, the Covenanter, of which 1,700 were built, was relegated to training purposes. This recently found example was buried five feet underground, and there are plans to fully recover the vehicle. The other lost tank was recovered on the Denbies Estate in 1983.
The French embassy in Ottawa has announced that it will indefinitely extend the deadline for Canadian veterans who fought to liberate in France during the Second World War to apply for their Légion d’Honneur award. The Légion d’Honneur is France’s highest civil and military honour, and was being issued to qualifying applicants who applied before December 2013. High demand, more than 1,000 applications, led to the original deadline being extended to July 2015, and now, ad infinitum. The news came as 92-year-old Canadian Normandy veteran William Leland Berrow, of Coquitlam, received his medal for his service to France. Berrow served as a dispatch rider, and frequently scouted ahead of the logistics columns he escorted, searching for German patrols and deadly booby traps.
In 1936, two large stone guardian lions were donated to the Australian War Memorial by the Mayor of Ypres. The lions, carved from limestone, were given to the Australian government as a gesture of friendship and, during the war, had originally stood on plinths on either side of the Menin Gate through which many Australians marched to the battlefields between 1914 and 1918. In 2014 the Menin Gate lions were removed from display in preparation for their loan to the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa and returned to the Memorial in 2015 but are now being returned to Ypres as display centre-pieces for the commemorative events in 2017 marking the centenary of the battle of Passchendaele.
The largest known remnant of the tricolour flag hoisted over Jacob’s Biscuit Factory during the 1916 Easter Rising was donated to Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, after 100 years in Jersey. The flag had been in the Channel Islands since 1916 where it had been sent by John Le Provost, a member of the Jersey Pals Battalion who fought in Dublin during the Rising. It was returned to Ireland by John Le Provost’s great-grandson, David Blake, after he learned exactly what his family had been handed down. The Jacob’s Tricolour was made up following the destruction of the GPO flag, which had either been shot or burned down after the GPO came under fire. It was fashioned by Thomas Meldon, George Ward and Derry Connell using bunting and nailed to a flagpole above the factory. The flag will be put on display in Glasnevin Museum from January 2017.