April Last Post

Today we were joined by Beavers, Cubs and Scouts from Horsell who brought with them two Standards and were impeccable on parade. There were seven Standards on parade and we had around 40 people in total.

Paul McCue from the Secret WW2 Learning network read the poem ‘After the soldier’s funeral’ by Samuel Francis Smith (1808 – 1895) and performed the Individual Remembrance.

We remembered Charles Milne Skepper, born on 26 February 1905 in Richmond Surrey. He was a gifted linguist, speaking German, Spanish, French and Chinese.

In 1939 he volunteered for military service in Britain and was later in charge of the propaganda broadcasting station of the British Ministry of Information in Shanghai. In 1942 he applied to join the Special Operations Executive (SOE).

Skepper was flown into occupied France by a Lysander of the RAF’s 161 (Special Duties) Squadron, from RAF Tangmere, on 17 June 1943 to work with the French Resistance. He organised a number of significant acts of sabotage, but was arrested with others of his team, and local French helpers, on 23 or 25 March 1944.

It is not known precisely what happened to Skepper but a year after the war had ended, Skepper’s death was officially recognised by the War Office on 28 October 1946, where it was recorded as ‘Presumed died while in enemy hands on or shortly after 1 April 1944’.

Our padre was Bert Steed, our bugler was Mrs Ruth Moore and our Standard bearer was Mrs Sue Stallard.

Afterwards most of us went round to the Trench Experience for refreshments.

Original biography of Charles Skepper by Chris Husbands, Emeritus Reader in the Department of Sociology at LSE. Photos by Kevin Barker.

March Last Post

Today in the heavy rain, we held a short ceremony with just under 40 people in attendance. We remembered Dennis Edgar Hayes, service number A/6038. Son of Georgina Hayes, Dennis was a member of the Royal Canadian Regiment and died on 3rd March 1944, aged 25. He is buried in Brookwood Military Cemetery.

There were around a dozen adult Scouters from Woking District in attendance.

Paul McCue read the poem ‘Soldier’s Dream’ by Wilfred Owen. Our bugler was Mrs Ruth Moore and our Standard Bearer was Mrs Sue Stallard. Photographs by Tony McCallum of WyrdLight Photography.

Afterwards we went round to the Trench Experience for some refreshments.

February Last Post

Today, with snow and ice on the ground, relatively few made it to the short Last Post Ceremony. Members who had a considerable distance to travel were discouraged from coming. As such, there were around 15 of us, and our Standard was not on parade. We followed the short ceremony.

We remembered Private Richard John De Mansfield Absolon from the Parachute Regiment, service number 24547055. Private Absolon was killed in the Falklands on 11/12 June 1982. He was a scout / sniper with the 3rd Battalion and was tasked with gaining information on the enemy deployed in defensive positions in the Mount Longdon area.

On the night of 11/12 June, with his partner, he led B Company on to Mount Longdon in the first assault to capture the position. He was tragically killed by mortar fire the next morning. He was awarded the Military Medal and was from Weybridge, Surrey.

We had Standards from the Artists Rifles and the Maverick Explorer Unit. Our bugler was Mrs Ruth Moore.

Afterwards we had refreshments at The Trench Experience.

Credit: war-memorial.net and Kevin Barker (photos).

January Last Post

Today in the relatively mild temperatures, just over 30 people attended the January Last Post. We were without our padre, and so performed the short ceremony.

We remembered two individuals; Private Walter George Woolford of the 1st Battalion, Canterbury Regiment and Pilot Officer Brian Alphonsus McConnell DFM.

Private Woolford was aged 31 when on the 6th January 1919 it is believed he was a victim of the Spanish influence epidemic. He was a New Zealander from Auckland.

Pilot Office McConnell was a member of the Royal Australian Air Force and was a navigator in a mosquito fighter-bomber with the 464 (RAAF) Squadron flying from RAF Hunsdon, Hertfordshire. He was aged 21 when he died on 6th January 1944.

Both are buried in Brookwood Military Cemetery.

Our Standard bearer was Mrs Sue Stallard, Paul McCue read the poem and Individual Remembrances and Antony McCallum was our photographer.

Afterwards we went round to The Trench Experience for refreshments.

December Last Post

Today with around 35 people attending, we performed the long ceremony.

We remembered Bombardier J Feeney. Bombardier Feeney was in the 161st Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, the ‘Scarborough Pals’. He was the husband of Lilian Feeney, of 170, Forbes Street, Darlinghurst, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. However he wasn’t an Australian and had enlisted in the British military.

He died 100 years ago today on 2nd December 1918, after the war and it is unknown whether that was due to injuries sustained in the war or from the Spanish influenza that swept the globe.

He was 26 years old and is buried in plot XII. C. 21A in Brookwood Military Cemetery.

Our padre was Bert Steed, the Last Post was sounded by Mrs Ruth Moore, the BLP Standard was paraded by Mrs Sue Stallard and the poem and individual remembrance was read out by Paul McCue.

Afterwards we went round to the Trench Experience for refreshments.

 

Remembrance Sunday at the Menin Gate

Members of the Brookwood Last Post were at the Menin Gate, Ypres today for the eleven o’clock ceremony. The BLP Standard was paraded by John Pain as part of the Woking District Scout contingent that have been coming to BLP ceremonies over the past few months in preparation.

The ceremony was as humbling as expected and we felt honoured to be there for the historic ceremony marking 100 years since the end of World War One.

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