March Last Post

We welcomed representatives of Surrey Police to the March edition of the Last Post today. We were honoured to have the Police and Crime Commissioner, David Munro, Deputy Chief Constable Nev Kemp, the Ceremonial Association of Surrey Police and cadets from the Runneymede and Woking units.

Surrey Police lost 18 officers during the First World War and their names were read out along with brief details about each officer. We remembered:

  • Private William George Deacon
  • Private Henry Edward Thomas Bullen
  • Private Ernest William Brattle
  • Private Sidney Charles Macey
  • Private James Freemantle
  • Private Thomas Freemantle
  • Private William Avenall
  • Lance Corporal Noah Smithers
  • Sergeant Ernest Alfred Warrel
  • Private Donald Russell
  • Private Harry George Wise
  • Private William Payne
  • Sergeant Henny John Gascoyne (DCM)
  • Reservist Frank James Joyce
  • Lance Corporal Alfred James Weller
  • Sergeant Charles Henry Childs
  • Sergeant Harry Noakes

The Police and Crime Commissioner read out the poem Police – War Stories.

Our Standard Bearer was Alan Lopez, Tom Milne carried the Union Flag and we had two Standards from Surrey Police as well as the Royal British Legion, the Artists Rifles and the Woking Royal Navy Association.

Mrs Ruth Moore sounded the Last Post and the service was officiated by Bert Steed.

Afterward the Standards were inspected by the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Deputy Chief Constable, we had refreshments at the Trench Experience.

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.