February Last Post

A very high attendance at one of our traditionally quiet ceremonies with over 70 people attending.

Our ceremony was dedicated to members of the French Special Operations Executive, many of whom were executed in concentration camps in WWII.

We were privileged to have family members of some of the people from our Individual Remembrance section.

We remembered:

Major France Antelme, General List, OBE (Military), Légion d’honneur, Vroix de Guerre, executed at the Gross-Rosen concentration camp, 1944.

Ensign Denise Bloch, FANY, King’s Commendation for Brave Conduct, Légion d’honneur, Croix de Guerre, Médaille de la Résistance, executed at the Ravensbrück concentration camp, 1945.

Ensign Eliane Plewman, FANY, King’s Commendation for Brave Conduct, Croix de Guerre, executed at the Dachau concentration camp 1944.

Section Officer Lillian Rolfe, WAAF, FANY, executed at the Ravensbrück concentration camp, 1945.

Captain Arthur Steele, General List, Mention in Despatches, Croix de Guerre, executed at the Buchenwald concentration camp, 1944.

Ensign Violette Szabó, FANY, George Cross, Croix de Guerre. Médaille de la Résistance, executed at the Ravensbrück concentration camp, 1945.

Finally we remembered Section Officer Yvonne Cormeau, WAAF, FANY, MBE (Military), Légion d’honneur, Croix de Guerre, Médaille de la Résistance who died in Fleet, Hampshire, 1997.

Paul McCue of The Secret WW2 Learning Network read out a poem from the collection ‘Leaves of Buchenwald’ written by Lieutenant Maurice Pertschuk, agent of the French Section, SOE. Pertschuk was captured while serving clandestinely in occupied France and was executed at Buchenwald concentration camp in 1945. He is commemorated, with no known grave, on panel 22, column 1, of Brookwood’s Memorial to the Missing 1939-45′

We had four Standards on parade and the Last Post was sounded by Mrs Ruth Moore.

Afterwards we retired to the estaminet at The Trench Experience for refreshments.

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Thank you to Tony McCallum for the photographs and to Alan Meeks for the video shot that can be viewed here.

January Last Post

Our first Last Post of this decade had 42 people witness a short ceremony.

We remembered four Canadian airmen that were lost on 5th January 1945 when the Vickers Wellington bomber LP841 they were in collided with high tension cables when on a night navigation exercise. The bomber took off from RAF Ossington and two minutes later crashed in flames in a field just south of the village of Laxton.

Flight Officer John Clair McLeod (Pilot), aged 20, from Minnedosa, Manitoba; Flight Officer Edward Earl Fernandez (Navigator), aged 28, from Windsor, Ontario; Flight Officer Lou Jan Robillard (Bomb Aimer), aged 31, from Toronto, Ontario; Sergeant E A Bishop (Wireless Operator / Air Gunner), aged 21, from Carseland, Alberta were killed and all are buried in Brookwood Military Cemetery. Sergeant R Eden (Air Gunner) survived.

Tom Milne carried the Union Flag, Alan Lopez was our Standard Bearer and Ruth Moore sounded the Last Post.

With thanks to Alan Meeks for the photographs, and Paul McCue from the Secret WW2 Learning Network for the Individual Remembrance.

December Last Post

Today in the cold we held the short ceremony with a representative from the Woking Royal Navy Association parading their Standard.

We read The Evacuee: The Poem by Arthur King and our Individual Remembrance remembered Stoker 1st Class, George David Spinner. George was aboard HMS Hood when it was sunk by the German Battleship Bismarck on 24 the May 1941 during the Battle of Denmark Strait. He is remembered on the Portsmouth Naval memorial.

Gordon’s School Pipes and Drums attended and they very kindly read the Exhortation, played the Piper’s Lament and recited the Kohima Epitaph. We are extremely pleased that young people wish to participate in our ceremony as young people being involved is part of our mission.

Our Standard Bearer was Alan Lopez. The Union Flag was paraded by our Senior Standard Bearer Tom Milne. Ruth Moore sounded the Last Post and Reveille.

Afterwards we went round to the Trench Experience for mulled wine and mince pies. A nice way to round off an outstanding year for the Brookwood Last Post Association, and we look forward to next year.