August Last Post

Today we welcomed the family of Sergeant Stanley Davis, the subject of our August Individual Remembrance. Members of the Davis family travelled from Lincoln to join us. The ceremony was particularly poignant for our Chairman as Sergeant Davis was his cousin, once removed. Former members of the Artists Rifles regiment were also with us with their Standard on parade.

Sqn Ldr Stanley Davis MBE (Retired) was named after our individual remembrance subject today and read out a comprehensive biography. Sergeant Davis from 76 Sqn was a Wireless Operator / Air Gunner in the Second World War flying on Halifax bombers. As part of a mixed Commonwealth crew, piloted by New Zealander Sqn Ldr A P Burdett, their bomber was part of an audacious raid to sink the German battleship Tirpitz which was moored in Faettenfjord, a small fjord off of Trondheimsfjord.

Over a period of many months during 1942 various raids were made to sink the Tirpitz with limited success but with the total loss of 17 aircraft and 64 crew. It was during the night of 30/31 March 1942 that bomber R9453 MP-K was lost on the way back from an unsuccessful bombing raid after thick low cloud prevented accurate targeting. R9453 MP-K was last heard of with a radio report passing over Sumburgh Head at 0210hrs and is believed to have ditched in the sea very soon after. It is not known whether this was due to battle damage, engine failure or running out of fuel. An extensive search was mounted by two Royal Navy destroyers and some twenty aircraft but no trace was found. Sqn Ldr Burdett’s body was washed up on Shetland and buried in Lerwick, New Cemetery in September 1942. The remainder of the crew are remembered on the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Sergeant Davis was 21 years old.

  • Briefing
  • Sqn Ldr Stanley Davis MBE (Retired)
  • August 2022 Brookwood Last Post
  • Gill Elliot sounding The Last Post
  • August 2022 Brookwood Last Post
  • Reading the Kohima Epitaph
  • Inspecting the Standards
  • August 2022 Brookwood Last Post
  • August 2022 Brookwood Last Post
  • The Davis family
  • Afterwards at The Trench Experience
  • Afterwards at The Trench Experience
  • Sqn Ldr Stanley Davis MBE (Retired) enjoying a Spitfire
  • Afterwards at The Trench Experience
  • Afterwards at The Trench Experience

Gill Elliot sounded The Last Post. Our Standard Bearer today was Alan Lopez and Tom Milne carried the Union Flag. Standards from several Royal British Legion branches, the Woking Royal Naval Association and the Artists Rifles were on parade.

Afterwards, we retired to The Trench Experience for refreshments.

Special thanks to Nigel Longley for arranging the sound, Alan Meeks for the photographs and Sqn Ldr Stanley Davis MBE (Retired) and for the Individual Remembrance text.

July Last Post

The Belgian Defence Attaché, Capt Renaud Flamant joined us for what would be one of his final engagements before a new Defence Attaché takes up the post in August. Capt. Flamant attended the 80th Anniversary ceremony in 2021 and we are honoured by his support.

We remembered Belgian SOE agent Lieutenant Henri Hubert Gaillot. Born 20 April 1896 in Liège, Belgium. He served in the Belgian Army during the First World war and was awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre, Médaille Militaire and the Ordre de Léopold. With his friend François Vallée, he first came into contact with Britain’s SOE during subversive work in Tunisa during 1941. Later he made it to Britain and still with Vallée, he joined the F (French) Section SOE in February 1943. To protect his wife still living in France, he was trained as Lieutenant Henri Guillaume.

Gaillot, spent six months in France between June and December 1943 on sabotage missions before being recalled to Britain. As Gaillot, along with Vallée and his brother were leaving for Britain, they were arrested and believed to have been deported to Rawitsch prison in April 1944. Sometime in the summer, they were executed by firing squad and cremated. Gaillot is commemorated on the Brookwood Memorial, panel 22, column 1.

Our poem was ‘The Belgian Flag’, written by the Belgian author and First World Was poet Émile Cammaerts.

Capt. Flamant laid a wreath on behalf of the Belgian Embassy.

Alan Lopez was a Standard Bearer with Tom Milne carrying the Union Flag. Standards from the Royal British Legion, Woking Royal Naval Association and the Artists Rifles were on parade. Ruth Moore sounded the Last Post and Rob Bennett officiated.

After spending time at the Belgian Plot, we retired to the Trench Experience for refreshments.

Thank you to Paul McCue for the text for the Individual Remembrance and Tony McCallum for the photographs.

June Last Post

With the Falklands war coming to an end in June 1982, we focussed on key moments that happened in the month of June 40 years ago. We were also privileged to have visiting relatives of Private William James of the 13th Bn Royal Welsh Fusiliers.

During the months of April, May and June we had heard poems written by Falklands veteran Tony McNally. The BLP invited Tony to attend the June ceremony and read out his own poem, but unfortunately he was unable to attend. We were extremely grateful for an audio recording of his poem ‘Bullet Proof Youth’ that he recorded specifically for us to to play at the ceremony and is reproduced here with kind permission. We thank you Tony for the powerful message and the personal insight you have given us over the previous three months of your experiences in the Falklands War through your poetry.

Bullet Proof Youth by Tony McNally:

We remembered Private Richard John de Mansfield Absolon of the 3rd Battalion, Parachute Regiment. 19 year old Private Absolon was killed on the night of 11/12 June in the Battle of Mount Longdon. He was awarded the Military Medal.

17 year old Private William James was killed on the first day of the battle of Passchendaele, 31st July 1917. He is listed on the Menin Gate in Ypres on Panel 22.

Unusually, we heard a second poem during this ceremony entitled War, written by Private Ellis Evans, better known by his bardic name Hedd Wyn who often wrote poems in the Welsh-language. Co-incidentally, he too was killed on the 1st day of the Battle of Passchendaele.

The Last Post was sounded by a student from Gordon’s School and we are grateful for her participation.

The BLP Standard was carried by Alan Lopez, with the Union Flag carried by Tom Milne.

During the ceremony, it was announced that BLP Member Dagmar Sizer had passed away since the May ceremony. Dagmar was often seen manning the refreshments wagon at The Trench Experience. The BLP sends its condolences to her husband Eddie Jones and family.