The following tribute is from the employees of Wright Hassall many of whom have had family members who served during the War and contributed to making VE Day possible through sacrifice and service. Our employees also wanted to honour all of those who have served in the armed forces, past and present.
This is a picture of my Dad Kevin Bloxham, who was in the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers in the 1960s; and my Nan, Nesta Bloxham (nee Yendle) was in the Land Army during the War. I love this pic of Matt, it reminds me of my Dad. It was on Remembrance Sunday last year when he had to lay the wreath for the Air Cadets.
The first photo is my late Grandad – Sergeant Alfred Lidington. He was in the Special Air Service (SAS) and involved in Operation Galia. My Grandad Alfred didn’t talk about it as he was in the SAS and involved in secret ops which he liked to keep to himself although Op Galia was written about in a book which details his involvement. Another photo attached here with the squadron (2nd left) in Italy and his chums (front)!
The second is my late Grandad- Gunner Albert Such, first photo as a 17 year old and second just before he passed away in 2012. Albert was missing in action presumed dead but later found in a POW camp !!!! Unlike many, he did used to chat about it as he was shot in the genitals and it was a ‘funny’ story to tell us when we were children.
This is my Grandad, James Lewis Leighfield. He fought in WW2 with the 8th Royal Warwickshire Regiment, but was captured in May 1940 following the battle of the Ypres–Comines Canal which was vital in delaying the Germans reaching Dunkirk. His regiments orders were to fight to last round, then it was every man for themselves. He was shot in the chest but was able to keep moving for three days before eventually being captured. He spent the rest of the war in POW camps, including a night in the infamous Colditz castle. He didn’t come home until May 1945, despite multiple escape attempts at escaping.
I asked my mum to dig out the old photos and this is what she has found –we couldn’t find any of my Grandad in uniform!
However, this is my Grandad, Norman Baxter, who was born at the very start of WW2, survived it and then had to participate in National Service. He has recently passed away.
These photos are of my Dad George Hudson. He was a private in the King Shropshire Light Infantry and spent much of the war based in Italy where he was part of the famous battle of Monte Cassino.
Having spent his 20th birthday in Rome he went back there for his 70th birthday. I have spent time obtaining his records from the Ministry of Defence archives to learn more about him as he passed away when I was a teenager and I never got to ask.
This photo is of my Grandad Albert Huffadine who served with the 44th Tank Regiment alongside “Monty”. He was a driver operator in the tank and also worked as a stretcher bearer in the field.
We visited the national tank museum at Bovington in Dorset where they had the full war diary for my Grandad’s regiment and also my Grandad’s original registration card which we were able to look at and takes copies of.
This photo is of my Grandad William Arthur Robinson 1892 – 1958. He joined the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and was a regular soldier at the outbreak of World War One in 1914.
He was a Lewis gun instructor and was listed as missing in the conflict. He was badly affected by gas and therefore was not called up for active service for the Second World war in 1939.
This is my Grandfather Wilfred Batt who served in the The Queen’s Bays regiment during WW2.
His regiment fought in northern France in May and June 1940, before evacuating from Brest. By November 1941, it had recovered and re-equipped, deploying to North Africa and fighting at Gazala and the First and Second Battles of Alamein in 1942.
At one point in the campaign, it remained in action continuously for a record 19 days – longer than any other armoured regiment in that theatre. After taking part in the Tunisian campaign in 1943, it moved to Italy in May 1944, fighting in several engagements including the Battle of Argenta Gap (1945).
My Nan, Private Irene Walker signed up to the army in early in 1942 she began her training on 1st May 1942. After all the initial training all around the country, it eventually culminated in her being trained to work with the brand new ‘radar’ system at Devizes, Wiltshire and later (at Maker camp) searchlights, which were to assist the gun site. In early 1944 she moved to Gravesend and Rochester during the Doodlebug raids. In November 1944 she went to Belgium, based at Wilder outside Brussels, not far from the Battle of Bulge. After March 1945 she moved to Liege, to assist with returning POW which is where she was for VE day.
My Grandad, Cyril Christmas, we know a bit less about unfortunately. We don’t know when he joined, or his ultimate rank. He was also trained in Devizes (at a different time to my Nan) and there’s a photo of him (middle back) from his training. Grandad worked on the radar at Tregantle, Whitsands Bay. In 1944, Grandad went to the Orkneys doing radar protection, and manning the guns, from the German boats. Grandad was also the entertainment for the base, where when he played the piano for everyone to sing dance and relax to in the NAFFI.
My Nan and Grandad met on base in Cornwall, in 1942 when Grandad was playing the piano and, despite being separated during their respective service, got married in August 1945. They agreed on base that one day they would move and live in Cornwall which they did.
A different element for the war effort was my maternal Great Grandad, Charles Walker who volunteered for the Civil Defence almost certainly as an ARP (Air Raid Precaution) Warden; attached is a photo from his work card, and the letter of appreciate that he received for his voluntary service. Although we don’t have a picture from the time, my paternal Grandad (Harwood) who was only about 12 during the air raids on London, also volunteered for the Civil Defence as a messenger in London, cycling through the streets during air raids taking messages between ARP groups.
The Lowe’s have a tradition of service in the military. My granddad (unfortunately, I couldn’t get a picture of him in time for this video). This is a photo of me deployed to Poland doing a joint exercise with former Eastern Bloc countries.
The second photo is me, my brothers, and my dad.
Last photo is my son, Devon, who is the latest Lowe to serve in the military and the first to serve in the British military.