Saturday, 15 May 2010

Cameronians Memorial, Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow

I was unfortunately too late to post this on Cameronian Day (which was yesterday for all those unaware) but I'm happy to post it here today.

We were recently contacted by Debbie Sanderson, who had some information on how her grandfather had been the model for the main figure on the Cameronians memorial. We were in turn happy to point her in the direction of Low Parks Museum, which houses the Cameronians collection.

That contact enabled them to flesh out the story of Pipe Major Jimmy Sanderson, and he features as their "Soldier of the Month" on the Cameronians website.

My thanks to Barrie Duncan for permission to post this link:

Pipe Major Sanderson - Solder of the Month

On another Cameronian Day note, I was informed that the Cameronians flag was flying over Edinburgh Castle yesterday, as it apparently has on ever 14th May since the Regiment disbanded in 1968. It's nice to know a tradition is well maintained.

RAF Kinloss Nimrod memorial for 14 servicemen approved

From the BBC News website. This will be welcome news to Scottish War Memorials Project member "Roxy", who has taken an interest in these men and successfully worked to get the name of one added to a local war memorial.

A memorial in honour of the servicemen who were killed when a Nimrod from RAF Kinloss exploded in Afghanistan is to be erected in Moray.

Fourteen men died when the aircraft blew-up in mid-air in 2006.

Moray councillors have now approved a 14-sided cairn, standing 6ft high, to be located on a landscaped area close to the war memorial in Forres.

The cost of the memorial will come from donations received by families in the wake of the tragedy.

Historic Castle Douglas fighter pilot honoured

From the BBC News website:

A memorial is to be unveiled to a Scottish fighter pilot who shot down the first enemy bomber to be destroyed in British airspace in WWII.

Patrick Gifford, from Castle Douglas, was killed in action in Belgium on 16 May 1940.

A plaque will be unveiled in his memory in his home town on Sunday to mark the 70th anniversary of his death.

A new biography of Mr Gifford is also being launched this week in recognition of his unique role in the conflict.

Born in 1910, he worked as a lawyer with the family firm in Dumfries and Galloway but flew a fighter plane as an auxiliary with the Royal Air Force at evenings and weekends.

On 16 October 1939, he was among the pilots who tackled a dozen German Junkers 88 twin-engined dive-bombers targeting Royal Navy ships in the Firth of Forth.

He shot down the first enemy plane near Prestonpans in East Lothian.

Mr Gifford was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and was promoted to squadron leader for his efforts.

However, he too was shot down and killed while flying over Belgium just a few months later.

Now he is to be honoured in his home town.

Councillor Patsy Gilroy, who chairs the Stewartry Area Committee and whose father-in-law was in the RAF with Mr Gifford, said she was happy to see his efforts recognised.

"I'm very pleased that 603 Squadron and the council have worked together on this memorial to Patrick Gifford," she said.

"As a lawyer and councillor he was a well known figure in Castle Douglas.

"Unfortunately, in recent years his story was largely forgotten but this memorial and a book published this week should rekindle interest in one of our local heroes."

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

War hero's weapons found in house clearance in Surrey

A rather interesting story from BBC News. I would have expected a find like this to have been destroyed - nice to see some research done and the weapons find their natural home in a museum.

Six firearms which once belonged to World War II hero Geoffrey Hallowes have been handed over to a museum after being found at a house in Surrey.

The guns were discovered in March 2008 by a woman who was clearing out the property in Walton-on-Thames and handed them over to police.

Firearms specialists established their link with Mr Hallowes, who served with the Special Operations Executive (SOE).

They have now been given to the Gordon Highlanders Museum in Aberdeen.

Mr Hallowes served with the Gordon Highlanders in the Far East before joining the SOE in Europe in the second half of the WWII.

He helped to organise the French Resistance after D-Day and received a number of gallantry awards, including the Croix de Guerre and Legion d'honneur.

In the 1950s, after his return to Britain, he married the wartime SOE heroine and George Cross holder, Odette Sansom, the subject of a 1950 film starring Anna Neagle.

Odette died in 1995 and Mr Hallowes in 2006.

  • American M1 carbine
  • German MP40 sub machine gun
  • Othaca .45 pistol (copy of an American Colt M1911.45)
  • British Enfield .38 revolver
  • American Colt .32 pistol
  • German Luger 9mm pistol
  • Following the firearms find, Surrey Police passed the details to the Imperial War Museum which was able to suggest the identity of the former owner.

    The Gordon Highlanders Museum confirmed their historical context.

    The firearms are to be displayed alongside Mr Hallowes' war medals.

    "The acquisition of these firearms is the most important addition to the museum's armoury since it opened in 2007 and will become the most important items in the firearms collection as a whole," said curator Jesper Ericsson.

    "This is because not only can we connect these firearms with an individual, but an individual with an extraordinary history."

    Roger Weedon, firearms licensing manager at Surrey Police, said: "We were delighted to be able to identify the context of the use of these firearms and were able to arrange for their lawful transfer to a museum."

    Tuesday, 11 May 2010

    Red Hackle Magazine digitised

    A post made today on the Scottish War Memorials Project raised my interest. The Red Hackle is the Regimental magazine of the Black Watch, and this forthcoming DVD should be of interest to military researchers.

    Here's the text from Patrick Andersons post:

    THE RED HACKLE MAGAZINE - chronicle of the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) its successors the Black Watch 3rd Bn Royal Regiment of Scotland - 42nd 73rd :

    May 2010 No 101 :


    The complete collection of THE RED HACKLE MAGAZINE from 1921 to May 2009 has been dititalised and will be available to buy as a boxed set of two DVDs.

    Disc 1 will carry the detail of copies from APRIL 1921 to OCTOBER 1964 and Disc 2 from JANUARY 1965 - MAY 2009 . No editions were produced during the war years (after July 1939 up until January 1946 ).

    There is a word search facility on each DVD and there will be a free version of Abobe (Version 9 ) included on Disc 1.

    Detail will not be downloadable and clear instructions will be included on how to use the DVDs . The price of the boxed set of DVDs is still to be confirmed but when available they can be purchased through the shop.