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Dutch War Memorials

I didn’t expect to see War Memorials in out of the way places in The Netherlands. The country didn’t take part in the Great War but was of course invaded by Germany in 1940. The Dutch were unable to combat the Luftwaffe bombers – the centre of Rotterdam was destroyed – and surrendered to avoid destruction of their other cities. The fighting lasted seven days.

But then there were also the almost constant Allied bombing raids over Germany in the latter part of the war (the run-up to D-Day excepted) which flew over The Netherlands en route and on return.

It seems two such aeroplanes were shot down over or near Opende.

This view shows both memorials:-

The distinctive headstones of Commonwealth war graves can be seen. I assume these were erected after the war.

The inscription on the brick wall reads :-

In Memory of the seven heroes whose plane crashed in Opende, 15 Feb 1944.
The Residents of Opende

This is the other end of the memorial:

The aircraft was a Halifax bomber with seven crew, six of whom were Australian. It was shot down. The details are here.

Links to more information about the crew can be found on this webpage.

The other plaque on the site is for a US B 17, “Sky Queen” which came down on 28 Jul 1943.

More information about this crew is here.

In the nearby town (I would call it a town but by the Dutch definition it’s a village) of Surhuisterveen there is a War Memorial plaque on the other side of the clock tower from this view.

The inscription reads:-

In memory. To our local fallen in the war 1940-45.

Berwick Upon Tweed War Memorial

On our way down to the ferry for Holland we stopped in Berwick upon Tweed. (Mainly so that the good lady and I could look into that bookshop we found there when I went to the Cup game last December.)

This also gave me a chance to photograph Berwick’s War Memorial.

This one is surmounted by a winged angel holding a wreath. World War 1 names are in the plaque, an inscription for World War 2 (with no names) is below.

From the Scottish War Memorials website I see that an inscription for war dead later than 1945 is hidden by the wreaths.

Leslie War Memorial

Despite the demolition of the Regal Cinema (two posts ago) I was able to take some photographs in Leslie. The War Memorial is in a lovely situation by the Green. It’s a simple tapering obelisk.

Great War names are in the cartouches on all four sides. The Second World War names are on the base plinth on the south and north sides.

At the top of the memorial here is the word “Sacrifice.” “Duty,” “Valour” and “Endurance” surmount the other three faces.

Dunbar War Grave

There is a churchyard behind the Boer War Memorial in Dunbar. On the external wall there is a plaque (like the one in Fort William) saying “Commonwealth War Graves here.”

The grave is of a First World War Royal Army Medical Corps private, W Lough. If you look closely you see he died after the armistice.

Dunbar Boer War Memorial

This is situated on Queen’s Road and is dedicated to members of the Lothians and Berwick Yeomanry who fell in the South African War 1900-1.

This is the wording on the cartouche:-

You’ll note it ends, “Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori” – words made savagely ironic by Wilfred Owen as the result of a later war.

The reverse of the memorial commemorates the Lothians and Border Horse Yeomanry who fell in the two World Wars:-

Kinlochleven

On our way back home we stopped briefly to walk on to the bridge over the mouth of Loch Leven at Ballachulish. The good lady bagged these two photos first.

Looking back towards Loch Linnhe from Ballachulish bridge:-

Loch Leven from Ballachulish bridge:-

Having time to spare and it being a lovely evening we decided to take the long way round the loch through Kinlochleven.

There used to be an aluminium smelter at Kinlochleven for which its own (hydroelectric) power station was required. As a result Kinlochleven became the first village in the world to have every house connected to electricity, coining the phrase “The Electric Village.” The smelter shut down in 1996. The photo below is of the power station outflow.

Hills (and bridge over the River Leven) at Kinlochleven:-

From the bridge above I could see a chippy with an Art Deco style frontage. The photo was taken from a distance so it was difficult to tell if the business is still going.

Situated on the outskirts of the village on the southern edge is the War Memorial; a simple Celtic cross on a stepped pyramidal base. Dedicated to the men of Kinlochleven who gave their lives in the Great Wars, 1914-18, 1939-45:-

Fort William Memorials

Fort William’s War Memorial is situated in a green space just off the north end of the High Street.

The reverse of the memorial includes a name for the 1990-91 Gulf War.

A bit further south is a Peace Memorial. “Erected to celebrate the bond of friendship between Dudley, Hiroshima and Fort William and to commemorate the International Peace Cairn on the summit of Ben Nevis raised by the youth of these three communities.”

The other side reads, “A memorial from the youth of Hiroshima in the hope that the experience of 6th August 1945 will strengthen our search for a peaceful world.” January 1st 1968.

Still further south is St Andrew’s Episcopal Church on whose wall a sign says “Commonwealth War Graves here.”

The (one) grave is of Second Lieutenant H M Stapleton, Royal Tank Regiment, 1942.

In the West Highland Museum, off High Street, Fort William – which also has a fine exhibition on the Commandos (whose training ground was in the Lochaber area) along with Jacobite memorabilia – is a memorial mainly to the men of the Fort William Post Office staff who fell in the Great War. The wreath covers the wording for the Second World War.

Commando Memorial

From Glenfinnan we motored back then on up to Spean Bridge where the memorial to the commandos is located. It was is this area, Achnacarry to be precise, where the first commandos did their training. The inscription on the top of the plinth reads “United We Conquer” and on the plaque “In memory of the men of the Commandos who died in the Second World War 1939-45. This country was their training ground.”

The setting is stunning, with magnificent views of the Nevis range of mountains. Note the snow patches still – even in the middle of June.

Hard by the Memorial is a poignant circular area where relatives, friends, old soldiers may leave mementoes, photographs and tributes to the fallen, some of whom are very recent.

Glenfinnan (Gleann Fhionghain)

The day after our train journey we made the trip to Glenfinnan (or Gleann Fhionghain) by road. It was there, at the head of Loch Shiel, that the standard of Charles Edward Louis John Casimir Sylvester Severino Maria Stuart (aka The Young Pretender or, more commonly, Bonnie Prince Charlie) was raised in 1745 to start the doomed enterprise that was the Jacobite Rebellion which became known as the ’45 and ended at Culloden, the last battle to be fought on British soil.

In 1815 a monument was erected in memory of the clansmen who fought and died. It is now in the care of the National Trust for Scotland. Being members, we took in the Visitor Centre and climbed the monument. That’s a bit scary. The stairs are steep, headroom is limited and the space at the top isn’t large. The views from the top are brilliant though.

The good lady nicked some of these photos before I got to them.

This is the monument from the approach path:-

Loch Shiel from the top of the monument:-

Glenfinnan Viaduct from the monument:-

The vilage of Glenfinnan’s War Memorial is situated in a recess by the road on the way up to the village from the monument to the station.

It’s a dignified figure of a soldier with bowed head. His rifle is apparently wooden. The names are on the rear for some obscure reason.

Mallaig War Memorial

I didn’t see one.

According to the Scottish War Memorials Project there isn’t one.

I suppose it is faintly possible that since the young men would have been employed in the fishing industry (a reserved occupation) none of them actually went to war. Would that have been all the young men though?

The link above says there is a memorial to the dead of Morar, which is three miles south of Mallaig. Morar is close to Loch Morar, the deepest freshwater loch in the British Isles, and supposedly home to Morag, the loch’s equivalent of Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster.

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