Archives » Second World War

Inverness War Memorial (i)

Inverness’s memorial to the dead of the two World Wars of the twentieth century is an impressive sandstone construction surmounted by a Celtic cross, situated by the side of the River Ness.


Inverness War Memorial From Approach

Below, seen from River Ness.
Burma Campaign Memorial to foreground, inscribed, “To the memory of those who served in the Burma campaign 1941-1945.
Highland Counties Branch Burma Star Association.
When you go home tell them of us and say for your tomorrow we gave our today.
The Kohima Epitaph.
This memorial was dedicated on the 11th November 2006.”

Inverness War Memorial

War Memorial side view:-

Inverness War Memorial From Side

Rear view. River Ness in background:-

Inverness War Memorial Rear

Field of Remembrance, Inverness War Memorial. Dedicated 7th November 2011, dedication includes the Kohima Epitaph. The cross is in remembrance of Passchendaele, the slab behind commemorates Nurse Edith Cavell. River Ness behind:-

Field of Remembrance, Inverness War Memorial

Gardens in front of Inverness War Memorial, dedicated to Nurse Edith Cavell:-

Cavell Garden Gates, Inverness

Beauly Boer War Memorial

My previous posts on Beauly are here and here. I didn’t see a memorial to the World Wars of the twentieth century when I was there but I have since found out it’s situated on a hill to the south of the town. Maybe next time I’m up that way.

However in the centre of the town is a large memorial, “Erected by the Lovat tenantry and fuears… to commemorate the raising of the Lovat Scouts by Simon Joseph, 6th Lord Lovat….” (For full wording click on picture to where it can be enlarged.) It is also inscribed “Cape Colony” in the lower rectangle.

Boer War Memorial, Beauly

Northern facet. In the upper rectangle, “Of the Lovat Scouts the following fell in action or died of wounds or disease….” plus “Diamond Hill” in lower:-

Boer War Memorial, Beauly

Eastern facet. Bronze Frieze in upper rectangle. “South Africa” in lower:-

Beauly Boer War Memorial

Bronze frieze detail:-

Bronze Plaque, Boer War Memorial, Beauly

Southern facet. Names of Officers of the Lovat Scouts in upper rectangle. “Wittebergen” in lower:-

Boer War Memorial, Beauly

Maryton War Memorial

Maryton is a very small village on the A 934 just to the west of Montrose and south of Montrose Basin. The Memorial is inscribed with the words, “In grateful memory of the men who fell in the wars 1914-1918. Their name liveth for evermore. 1939-1945.”

I spotted it while I was passing through the village en route elsewhere.

Maryton War Memorial

There is a school memorial lying right next to Maryton War memorial but laid into a wall. It is inscribed, “In proud and grateful memory of the boys of this school who died for their country in the war 1914-1919.”
Below the names are the words, “Glorious their fate, splendid their doom, their time an altar. Honour them, weep not, give them praise, not pity.”

Maryton School War Memorial

Black Watch Musuem, Perth, Scotland

The Black Watch Regiment’s Musuem is in Perth, Scotland, housed in an old castle, Balhousie Castle, Hay Street.

In the castle/museum grounds are several memorials. The entrance gates are dedicated to the memory of General Wavell.

This is a generalised one of a bagpiper but in Second World War battledress I think:-

Memorial at Black Watch Museum, Perth, Scotland

These are memorials to various other campaigns in which the Black Watch has taken part, most prominently here, Iraq:-

Campaign Memorials at Black Watch Museum, Perth, Scotland

When I visited in April last year this Great War commemoration took up a prominent position:-

Great War Commemoration at Black Watch Museum, Perth, Scotland

The museum itself is very interesting and took us longer to get round than we had anticipated. This cross – an original bettlefield one from the Great War – was in memory of Captain W D MacL Stewart, 2nd Lieut P R Husband and 44 NCOs and men of the 1st Battalion Black Watch, who all died on 20/9/1916.

Memorial Cross, Black Watch Museum, Perth, Scotland

As I recall this group of medals was awarded to Fergus Bowes-Lyon the brother of the late Queen Mother and who is commemorated on Glamis War Memorial:-

Medals Black Watch Museum, Perth, Scotland

On a less sombre note the museum has an excellent cafe/restaurant in a modern building connected to the castle via the museum’s entrance and which is always very well patronised.

Danish National Second World War Memorial, Copenhagen

Moving on from the memorials to individual soldiers from Denmark I found the Memorial I had spotted from the Gefion Fountain.

King’s Gate entrance to the Kastellet behind:-

Danish National Second World War Memorial, Copenhagen

The Memorials’ inscriptions are Vore Faldne (Our Fallen) followed by,

I Dansk og I Allieret Krigstjeneste 1940-1945 (In Danish and in Allied War Service 1940-1945) and then,

Rejst af det Danske Folk. (Raised by the Danish People.)

Danish National World War 2 Memorial

Individual War Memorials, Copenhagen

From the top of Copenhagen’s Gefion Fountain looking over the canal/moat round the Kastellet (first picture in that post) I could see off to the left in the middle distance what looked very much like a War Memorial, so made my way in that direction.

However, on the way down towards it, after passing St Albans Kirke, I came across three memorials to individual Danes.

Memorial to Thomas Dinesen. Private Dinesen, 1899-1979, became a member of the Quebec Regiment of the Canadian Black Watch, and was awarded the Victoria Cross in World War 1 on 12th August 1918. Inscribed “Opført af de Allierdes Danske Vaabenfæller.” (Constructed by the Allied Danes brothers in arms?):-

Memorial to Thomas Dinesen, Copenhagen

Memorial to Anders Lassen. Born on 9/9/1920, Major Lassen won the Victoria Cross, Military Cross and two bars. Inscribed, “Faldet for danmarks frihed i allieret tjeneste,” (fallen for Denmark’s freedom in Allied Service) “9 April 1945,” and also “Opsat af frihedkampens veteraner (erected by the veterans of the fight for freedom) 9/4/1987.”

Memorial to Anders Lassen, Copenhagen

Kaj Birksted Memorial. Per Ardua ad Astra, Wing Commander Flying, Lieutenant-Colonel Birksted, DSO, OBE, DFC, krigskorset m Sverd og Stjerne p p (the war cross with swords and star) Flying Ace. Erected by the Kaj Birksted Committee, 5/5/2010:-

Kaj Birksted Memorial, Copenhagen

And We Shall Shock Them by David Fraser

The British Army in the Second World War.

Sceptre, 1983, 431 p, plus ii p Contents, iii p Author’s Preface, i p Acnowledgements, i p List of maps.

 And We Shall Shock Them cover

The essence of this book is that it was written by a military historian who was an army man. It leans more towards a reader who has a similar background than to a wider readership.

Fraser starts on November 11th, 1918, at the end of a previous war for which the British Army had been totally unprepared (at least in terms of numbers of men) when it broke out. Yet by the Armistice the Army had turned itself into the best in the world at that time, surpassing even the Germans, who still remained formidable opponents until the last shots were fired. But during the peace all that expertise was lost, the military lessons of the Great War forgotten, and the Army became a kind of Cinderella organisation, unloved, underfunded, underequipped, and – crucially – undertrained. (That there were understandable reasons for this in a lack of public willingness to contemplate the horrors of war again so soon after what was such a massive disruption affecting so many, not to mention a political realm not keen to go against the prevailing mood, Fraser seems to discount.) It should be noted, though, that in Germany and Japan no such considerations obtained.

Seen in that context, however, the defeats the British Army endured in all theatres of war in World War 2’s early stages are not at all surprising. The mild alarm the Germans experienced at Arras in 1940, the triumphs in Somalia and Abyssinia and at Beda Fomm against the Italians (far from the fight-shy caricature of British popular myth,) speak well of the Army’s efforts to overcome its disadvantages, as does the initial victory over Rommel of Operation Crusader in the Western Desert before that instinctive military gambler turned things round again and pushed the Desert Army all the way back to El Alamein. Yet here Rommel was stopped – and could not force a way through. The less said about Malaya the better, a catalogue of bad administration, bad decisions and faulty deployments.

The book’s subtitle is The British Army in the Second World War and deals exclusively with what was called the British Army yet brought out the curious fact that for four years between mid-1940 and mid-1944 very few actual British soldiers fought the Germans or Japanese. The campaigns in Greece, Crete, the Western Desert and subsequently Italy were conducted mainly by Australian, New Zealand, South African but above all Indian, Divisions. While there were some British and Australian soldiers involved this last is especially true, with the addition of Burmese troops, of the war against the Japanese in the Far East.

The book is relentlessly focused on the military aspects of the war – wider strategic or political considerations are totally absent – and suffused with the usual military jargon and alphabet soup of Corps, Divisions, Brigades etc. If a little too concentrated on the war’s early phases, as an overview of the “British” Army from 1939-1945 it serves well.

In the Author’s Preface he says, “the taking of Rangoon redeemed Singapore, as Dunkirk was avenged by the crossing of the Rhine.” This may be true in a purely military sense (the sight of a Japanese army streaming back in defeat in dribs and drabs through the jungles of Burma represented an undoubted victory over notoriously tenacious opponents) but politically, strategically, and in terms of prestige nothing could redeem Singapore. Its fall in 1941 signalled the end of Britain as a world power – and the end of Empire – even if that was not fully confirmed until the Suez Crisis of 1956.

Pedant’s corner:- “against one of the most efficient and competently led war machines that have ever taken the field” (that has ever taken the field,) “the raiding party parachuted in, achieved their objective” (its objective.) “Men began to believe, in Britain, that the ultimate challenge was not going to be thrown down after all – that England would not be trod by the foot of the invader.” (England? In a narrow sense I suppose so, but it is still irritating,) “while the Italian were well furnished with pack companies” (Italians,) “a large number of anti-tank guns were deployed” (a large number of anti-tank guns was deployed,) lefthand (left hand,) Corps’ (this varied with Corps’s throughout the book, though the former usually prevailed,) “the whole of 11th Division were behind the Perak River” (the whole was behind.) “This was the route the enemy were to take” (the route the enemy was to take,) “in the most important equipments” (equipments? Normal usage sees “equipment” as encompassing plural items,) “armed with 75mm gun” (with a 75 mm gun.) “A number of small German counter-attacks were defeated” (strictly; a number was,) Scoones’ (Scoones’s,) “the British Army’s contribution to the great adventure – thirteen divisions – were being blooded for the first time,” (the British Army’s contribution to the great adventure – thirteen divisions – was being blooded,) Horrocks’ (Horrocks’s.) “Facing Second Army, as far as was known, were a hotchpotch of” (was a hotchpotch,) “25th Division were only secure at Kangaw” (25th Division was only secure at Kangaw.)

Norway Thanks Denmark Memorial, Copenhagen

I found this on the way in from Langelinie Pier, Copenhagen to the city centre.

Apparently a statue of two sisters, this obviously represents Norway’s thanks to Denmark.

Norway Thanks Denmark Memorial, Copenhagen

Arrochar and Tarbet War Memorial

Last March we had to take a trip across to the west to Tarbet which is on (freshwater) Loch Lomond side. A narrow stretch of land (and hill) separates it from Arrochar on (sea) Loch Long. There’s only about a mile between them.

The Vikings once dragged their boats over the pass on rollers in order to stravaig up and down Loch Lomond.

The War Memorial lies beside the A 83 a bit nearer to Arrochar than Tarbet but covers both villages.

Arrochar and Tarbet War Memorial

Reverse view:-

<Arrochar and Tarbet War Memorial/center>

The dedication is unusual in using Roman Numerals. “In memory MCMXIV-XVIII. MCMXXXIX-XLV”

Dedication, Arrochar and Tarbet War Memorial

At the base of the memorial this plaque reads, “The villagers of Arrochar and Tarbet Commemorate 50 Years of Peace VE and VJ Days 1995. With gratitude to those who served.”

Arrochar and Tarbet Peace Memorial

Kendal War Memorial

Kendal’s War Memorial, a statue of a standing soldier with slung rifle, is set beside the main street.

The inscription reads, “In honour of the men of Kendal who loyally served in THE GREAT WAR and in proud and grateful memory of those named hereon who gave their lives for their country this monument is erected by their fellow townsmen.”

The lower panel here bears World War 2 names:-

Kendal War Memorial

World War 1939-1945:-

Kendal War Memorial World War 2 Names

From south. Great War names:-

Kendal War Memorial from South

World War 2 names. Upper plaque bears one name for the Koran War:-

Kendal War Memorial Plaques

From north. Great War names:-

Kendal War Memorial from North

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