Ribble Valley at war
Fire Watch Injury
Whilst engaged on fire watching duties at the Liberal Club in Clitheroe last Saturday Mr A Peddar of Eshton Terrace a well known Ribble Bus Inspector fell and sustained an injury to his back. Mr Pedder is soon to have an x-ray on his back to determine the extent of his injury and it is to be hoped this is not too serious. Advertiser June 19th, 1942.
Townhead Mansion - Slaidburn -Evacuees
Townhead mansion in Slaidburn built in the 18th century (1732) a Georgian Country House. The mansion was built by Henry Wigglesworth using materials from an earlier house. Owned previously by the Wiggleworth family it was sold at auction to the King-Wilkinsons Estate in 1855. It was primarily used as a shooting lodge.
At the start of the Second World War evacuees from the East London lived here. The building was abandoned in the 1970's and listed as a Grade Two by English Heritage.
Robert Stables the new owner has now had the building refurbished into a family home and recently won an award for restoration by the Georgian Society.
Warship Week in Clitheroe March 21st, 1942
A group of sailors from HMS Castleton marched outside Clitheroe Library on March 21st, 1942 to mark the start of Clitheroe and Rural Districts's Warship Week. Clitheroe had adopted HMS Castleton and had already raised the sum of £63,476. towards its target of £120,000 and actually raised more than £207,000 by the end of the week. A recent article in the Clitheroe Advertiser and Times highlighted this parade by a John Daycock of Blackwood, South Wales who's Father was one of the sailors on the parade. John adds that at the time of the parade he suspected that the Castleton was undergoing repairs at Newport, South Wales.
Flight Lieutenant Douglas Stewart Park
Whilst researching in Mellor Methodist Cemetery we came a cross a Memorial stone dedicated to a Flight Lieutenant Douglas Stewart Park. Service Number 130676. 681 Squadron Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve who was killed on operations August 29th 1945 aged 25 years of age. Buried Rangoon War Cemetery (1B2). Son of Dr R.S. Park MD and Elsie Stewart Park of Huddersfield. This stone was dedicated by his Grandparents we presume who lived in Mellor.
Ordinary Seaman John Huckle
An article appeared in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph Tuesday 24th December giving information on John Huckle who had recently passed away aged 89. John had been an Ordinary Seaman during World War Two and worked to counter German ships poised to threaten Arctic Convoys. Mr Huckle who lived for many years near Slaidburn, was awarded the Arctic Star to mark his work on the HMS King George V, flagship of the Home Fleet based at Scapa Flow. John joined HMS Calder as an anti-submarine officer following officer training. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross after the destruction of U1051 off Anglesey in January 1945 and earned a bar after the sinking of the U774 off south west Ireland.
After ending his wartime naval services in September 1946,, he spent three years with the Falkland Island Dependencies Survey in Antarctica as an assistant surveyor and took two major sledge journeys down the King George V1 Sound, assisting in survey work for which he was awarded the Polar Medal. Mount Huckle in the Douglas Range on Alexander Island is named after him. He was sent to Port Lockroy in January 1947 as the Governor of the Falkland Islands' aide de camp.
The voyage was supposed to last a month, but after a fire at one base and a tsunami wrecking another hut, he spent three years in the Antarctic with only a Falkland Isklander and a dog for company. Whilst there he made the first official protest against rgentinian involvement near British Territory.
Godfrey Holden, membership secretary of the British Antarctic Survey Club, said "He was a very fine man and no ever had a bad word to say about him. His passing has been marked by the club and has left sadness as an end of an era".
Mr Huckle died at his home in Monmouth on December 9th and his funeral was held in the Forest of Dean.
Reporter Jon Robinson.
Battle of Britain 10 July -31 October 1940
The average age of an RAF fighter pilot in 1940 was 20. A large number were aged only 18. The other average age in the older remit was 30. Majority aged 21. It is stated that many were in fact too young to vote! Not all were British as there were thankfully Poles (141), Czechs (87), Belgians (24) and Free French (13). The Polish, Czechs, Belgians, and Free French having escaped from the advancing German onslaught across Europe. Pilots also came from Dominion and Commonwealth countries of Australia (21), New Zealand (129), Canada (90), South Africa (22) and Rhodesia (2). Men also from Jamaica (1), United States (7), Ireland (9) and Palestine (10.Twenty five naval pilots were also transferred to RAF Squadrons.
The name given to the German Air Force was the Luftwaffe and their main planes were the Messerschmitt Me 109 and Me 109E and medium ranged bombers the Heinkel HE111, Dornier Do17, and the Junkers Ju88, Junkers Ju87 Stuka Dive Bomber.
The main fighter planes used by the RAF was the Hawker Hurricane and the Supermarine Spitfire.
The Luftwaffe chief was Reichsmarschsll Herman Goering.
The Commander in Chief for the RAF was Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding.
Losses for both sides are recorded as RAF 915 aircraft and the Luftwaffe 1,733. 537 RAF airmen and 2,662 Luftwaffe killed.
Hitler had planned to invade Britain but through the brave efforts of the RAF pilots, service crew and those in the control rooms, radar rooms, Observation Corps, Gun Crews and other linked services the Germans did not invade and Hitler turned his forces towards invading Russia who he had signed a peace treaty with!
Prime Minster Winston Churchill stated that "Never in the World of Conflict was so much owed by so many to the few"
More detailed information to follow.