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The unveiling of Lathom & Burscough's War Memorial 1922.

(Photo courtesy - Karen Ashcroft).



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 Close up of the above photo.

The unveiling of Lathom & Burscough's War Memorial 1922.

Junction Lane is to the left of the photos. Taken from the Stanley Institute.

The whole memorial was constructed in grey Cornish granite from the famous quarries near St. Stithians. The contract for the memorial was carried out by Messers. James Whittle, contractor, of Ormskirk. The granite steps and cross were supplied by Mr. Samuel Welsby, sculptor, of Liverpool and Widnes, and the architect in charge of the work was Mr. C. Brighouse of Ormskirk.



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The unveiling of Lathom & Burscough's War Memorial 1922.

(Photo courtesy - Denise and Anthony Bridge).


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Close up of the above photo.

x George Lawson RN

The death of a brave sailor George Lawson and the loss of the submarine HMS Narwhal in WW2.

A very personal POPPY
George Clandon

This true story has been a long time in the telling, namely because of the emotion it stirs and the utter horror of the events that took place at the time.

Stoker First Class George Lawson, Royal Navy.

"George Lawson was the uncle I never met; he hailed from Burscough a small canal side village in Lancashire. He was born at the start of the First World War and was the eldest of seven children. George had two other younger brothers, Jack and Freddie along with his four sisters, Vera, Mary, Elsie and Lilly. Their parents, Mary (or May) as she liked to be called and Harry or Henry Lawson, lived at number 9 Victoria Street in the village, adjacent to the Leeds Liverpool canal. This was a three bedroom terraced house that also housed the two grandparents George Georgeson, his wife Ethel who were the parents of May and a small child called Linda. With one outside toilet and a washhouse attached to the house, George's mother and grandmother would take in other people's washing to try and make ends meet."

"The family where predominantly barge people, going back to the early part of the 20th century, plying their trade delivering rope and coal from Wigan to Liverpool docks, in and around the time of the Great War. Wheat from the docks would be transferred to the flour mills situated along the Leeds Liverpool canal for the production of flour. George Lawson was a very popular boy when he was growing up. He matured into a big strapping lad, who was a very keen sportsman, playing cricket and football for the village teams. He acquired a nickname of 'Snubby' after receiving a broken nose, due no doubt, to playing sport, or some other activity. George loved his family and the peaceful village life, but events where unfolding that were dramatically going to change his way of life and everyone else's in Great Britain."

"It was 1938, Germany was showing definite signs of aggression, George decided to join the Royal Navy before he was conscripted, and he was 23 years of age. George travelled to Plymouth to HMS Drake, trained as an engineer or more commonly known as a stoker. Other young men who could see the obvious did the same and became regular servicemen; the obvious was less than two years away (World War 2)."

"In the spring of 1939 George made a very brave decision, he volunteered for the submarine service and transferred to Portsmouth training at the submarine training base at HMS Dolphin, Gosport in Hampshire, wildly known in those day's as, "Fort Blockhouse", and completed his training on the 29th September 1939. Joining HMS Narwhal at the port town of Immingham on the East Coast, which was the small base of the submarine squadron for North Sea operations. War had already been declared by the then Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain on the 3rd of September 1939, after Germany had attacked Poland. It wouldn't be long before George and the crew of the Narwhal would be called into action."

"The submarine or boat as they were known was built by Vickers Armstrong of Barrow in Furness and launched on the 29th August 1935. The boat was built predominantly for mine laying, but also carried 12 torpedoes, with 6 torpedo tubes in the bow (front) and 2 in the stern (rear). Her secondary armament was a deck gun, with a detachable anti-aircraft gun mounted on the conning tower. The submarine was powered by diesel engines on the surface and battery powered when submerged. Contrary to popular belief they did not have a snorkel or an air periscope at that early stage of the war, (letting air into the boat for charging the batteries whilst submerged). HMS Narwhal was one of five Grampus class boats with a weight or displacement of 1810 tons. Her length was 293 feet, (89m) with a width of 25 feet (7.7m) She had a top surface speed of 15.5 knots, (approximately 18/19 miles an hour), when submerged she had a speed of 8.75 knots ( approx. 10 MPH.). Her pennant number was N.45. The boat carried a crew of 60 including the captain, Lt. Commander Ronald James Burch, DSO RN with 5 other officers and 54 crew members. These boats weren't the most comfortable to live on, the accommodation being the last item the designers were asked to consider, space for torpedoes and engines were the obvious first priority."

"Narwhal had a brief but eventful career in the early part of the war, which involved 9 mission's laying 450 mines off the southern coast of Norway. The success of these mine laying missions lay in the fact that the nights were shorter at higher latitudes, the crew could achieve the entire mine laying in one day then the boat could move on. She was also involved in the sinking of a U boat, U 63 and several other enemy vessels. It is not widely known but contrary to popular belief in the early part of the war, submarines surfaced to fire their torpedoes, this left them very vulnerable to air attacks. The distance this type of boat could travel on the surface was around 2,000 miles, submerged it was around 64 miles, so stealth, surprise and a very cunning and knowledgeable captain where in essence the key to survival. That and of course, lots of luck."

"George Lawson and the Narwhal's luck ran out after leaving Immingham on the East coast on the 22nd of July 1940, to lay mines near the southern coast of Norway. George and his ship mates would see the last of their beloved country on that day, probably taking a last look round before descending through the hatch to the depths of the submarine, taking up their positions for leaving harbour and not knowing this would be their last mission. It wasn't even a year before the Narwhal was lost off the southern coast of Norway. The North Sea would be George's final resting place."

"An official report found after the war in German records stated, on the afternoon of the 23rd of July, a Porpoise or a similar class of submarine was spotted on the surface by a German Dornier 7Z aircraft flying at low altitude. The pilot Lt. Moeller engaged the submarine, firing machine gun bullets and dropping 3 bombs, two of which were near misses, the third bomb scoring a direct hit abaft or behind the conning tower of the boat. That third bomb virtually landed on top of the engine room. If George was on watch at the time of impact it would have been a swift death."

"It doesn't bare thinking about if he wasn't killed instantly and he was still alive at another position in the boat, as he would have known death was imminent and he was going to have to suffer the horror of drowning, as escape was impossible. Lt. Moeller reported that he observed the boat sinking stern first, going into a near vertical position for two to three minutes, before it plunged to its death, into the depths of the North Sea. The pilot flew over the area again sometime later and could see oil and debris floating on the surface. Narwhal didn't stand a chance and her destruction was probably due to ciphers or codes being intercepted by German intelligence that led to George and the Narwhal's death."

"On the 1st August 1940, the boat was officially classed overdue, presumed lost, as it was known that Narwhal was in that vicinity or sea area, off the coast of Khristiansund south of Norway at that time and had not reported in that her mission was completed. George was 26 when the boat went down with the captain and all hands. 60 young men perished that afternoon. It seems quite ironic that with all the recent news about the British code breakers at Bletchley Park and the success the code breakers had in achieving the breaking of the Enigma code and the subsequent victory over the U boats in the North Atlantic, that the reverse was happening to our submarines, albeit in the early part of the war in Narwhal case."

"The news was relayed via the dreaded telegram and handed to George's parent's May and Harry Lawson shortly after the 1st of August. The telegram would inform of the loss of the boat with some sort of condolence. It would also relay George's name, rank, service number, what submarine, what service i.e. Royal Navy, the date of his death and who is parents were. It would all seem somewhat informal and lacking any emotion."

"Year's after the war, according to my eldest sister Linda, May, George's mother always stuck to the story that there had been an accident on the Narwhal and a torpedo or mine had accidentally exploded. I know now via modern technology and the famous submarine museum in Portsmouth that my grandmother was keeping the truth from the family because of the horror of the action, or she genuinely didn't know the exact details. Which for whatever reason, she seemed to suppress any talk about her son. Even when I was old enough to listen and take in the events of that time the story was always the same. This brave young man George Lawson has his name on the roll of honour in St. John's parish church in Burscough and also on the war memorial at the foot of Junction Lane in the village."

"The museum at Gosport also has all the names of the submariner's who lost their lives in an area of remembrance at the museum. The loss of life on whatever side was considerable; the German submariner losses were in the region of 33,000 men, with the British losses of 3,500. Too many good young men having to die horrific deaths in the name of an ideology. It brings to mind the cliché of the, 'futility of war'."

"With regards to the other Immingham boats, 3 were sunk and the other fell into enemy hands. The boats were Cachalot, Grampus and Porpoise, the fourth Rorqual, which was scrapped after the war ended. It must be mentioned that the people of Immingham had to endure the sad reality of a boat not returning to its base. The sailors frequenting the local amenities in their off duty day's and evenings off. The citizens of that small town can be justifiable proud of their roll from 1939 till the end of the war."

"George Lawson was a brave young man who along with millions of other's fought and died to keep this country free. We are still fighting to maintain our freedom, but we must not forget the contribution of our fighting servicemen and women of that era. My name is George Clandon I am the son of one the sister's, Vera or Evelyn Lawson, I to also served in the Royal Navy as stoker engineer and for a short while I also served on submarines back in the 1960s As I mentioned, this short tale has been a long time coming to fruition, because every time I started to write about that bomb hitting the boat it just upset me too much that I found it too difficult to carry on, which I'm sure anyone reading this tale will understand."

A very personal POPPY


(Photo and story courtesy - George Clandon)



First woman killed in Afghanistan. Corporal Sarah Bryant of the Intelligence Corps killed in Afghanistan on Tuesday 17 June 2008. pic by Gavin Rodgers/Pixel 07917221968

Some of you may know that on the Lathom & Burscough War Memorial there can be seen the name of one young lady.....

Corporal Sarah Louise Bryant (née Feely, 17th December 1981 – 17th June 2008), Intelligence Corps was the first British servicewoman killed in Afghanistan.

Her father, Des Feely spoke about Sarah in an interview with the Daily Mail in November 2009.

"She was born in Liverpool just before Christmas in 1981. Shortly afterwards my ex-wife Maureen and I moved to the Lancashire village of Burscough. We ran a pub and restaurant called The Red Lion where we kept a guard dog. He was a huge dog and we often referred to him as a 'sawn-off donkey'. Because of his size, I called him Minster after my first ever car, an Austin Westminster. One day, in a rare moment of relaxation, I was reading the newspaper and I heard the dog scream. I ran towards him only to find Sarah, then a toddler, had put one of her terry towelling nappies on him. In doing so, she'd accidentally speared him with one of those large, old-fashioned nappy pins - but apart from that she'd made a lovely job of it."

On Tuesday 17th June 2008, a patrol from the Security Sector Reform Battle Group was involved in a mine strike whilst deployed on operations in Helmand Province, Southern Afghanistan. The vehicle was destroyed resulting in the death of four soldiers and the wounding of a fifth. One of these was Cpl Sarah Bryant of the Psychological Operations Support Element (PSE).

Whilst in Baghdad she received a medal and commendation from the US forces commander who described her as "a credit to the British Army."

She married in 2005 in Wetheral, Cumbria, to a fellow Intelligence Corps soldier, Cpl Carl Bryant.

Sarah's name was later added to the Lathom & Burscough War Memorial, and the Wetheral Lych Gate War Memorial. The Intelligence Corps will henceforth award the Sarah Bryant Medal to the student who "best espouses the Values and Standards of the British Army" as voted by his or her peers when passing out from the Chicksands Intelligence training courses.

Des Freely went on to say, "She was given a funeral with full military honours. A volley of shots was fired over her coffin and a lone bugler played The Last Post at Holy Trinity and St Constantine church in Wetheral on July 7th last year (2008). It was the same church in which I had walked her down the aisle to marry Carl. The last email she ever sent me said: Don't worry, Dad, I have the best bodyguards a girl could have, I'll be home in a month and I can't wait to see you. Your little girl is now a Sergeant. Wait 'til I show you my stripes!"




Edward Bridge M.M., B.E.M.

Edward Bridge, was born in Burscough c1893. He lived at 11 Moss Lane. He served in WW1 and during that conflict he was badly injured. He received the Military Medal for attacking and wiping out a German machine gun post in France. Due to his injuries he was bed-ridden thereafter. Between the wars he built radio receivers to occupy his time and listened to shipping at Liverpool. During WW2 he started to receive coded messages, and informed the police. It turned out they were German spies in Liverpool reporting on shipping movements. A car used to arrive every morning at the house on Moss Lane from the War Office to collect the messages, which were then taken to Bletchley Park to be decoded. For this he received the British Empire Medal, so he was decorated in both wars.

He died 14th October 1942 and is buried in St John's Parish Churchyard.

He was mentioned in the Ormskirk Advertiser 2nd October 1916.


News has been received that Sgt. Edward Bridge, son of Mrs Jane Bridge, Moss Lane, Burscough, attached to the King's Liverpool Regiment, has been awarded the Military Medal. The words of the report are as follows:-

“The Major-General _______ Division, has received a report of the gallant conduct of Sgt. E. Bridge, of the King’s Liverpool Regt., on the 7th Oct. last, in bombing a machine gun out of action, and he wishes to congratulate him on his fine behaviour”.
The report is signed by the Brigadier-General.


Mr Edward Bridge.
Service: RSS Civilian.
Summary of service: Radio Security Service. Voluntary Interceptor, Burscough, Lancashire.
Awarded B.E.M. in 1942 for his RSS work, and received a letter of congratulation from the Prime Minister.

(Photo and information courtesy - Trevor Bridge)


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The first Burscough man, if not one of the first men to die in the Great War was Robert Ashton, K 16724, Stoker 1st Class, HMS Amphion RNVR (Mersey).

Killed in Action 6th August 1914. Aged 21. Son of Thomas and Ann Ashton of Burscough.

Robert Ashton had about three years in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve. He was also six months in Devonport Barracks and then went on to the Amphion, where he served about fifteen months. Robert Ashton made excellent progress in the Royal Navy, and was rapidly promoted to a 1st Class stoker. A Native of Burscough, he was formerly in the employment of Mr Young, baker of Duke Street, Southport.


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Private Henry Ashcroft 56662, 20th Kings Liverpool Regt. (4th City Pals).

Killed in action 31st July 1917. Aged 19. This was the first day of the 3rd Battle of Ypres.

Has no grave, named on Menin Gate, Ypres.

Son of James and Elizabeth Ashcroft, and worked with his father as a boatman.

(Photo courtesy - Ste Howard).


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Private Thomas Fletcher.


Private Thomas Fletcher 5th Royal Warwickshire Regiment. (Pictured here with Ada Lily Fletcher (left) and Gladys Fletcher).

Died as a POW, 1st November 1918. Age 30.

Buried at Berlin South Western Cemetery.

Born & lived in Lathom. Son of Henry and Sarah Fletcher of Glovers Bridge, Lathom. He was the second son, his younger brother William fell while serving with the Kings Regiment.

(Photos courtesy - Claire Williams).


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Thomas Fletcher as a boy, c1893.


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Corporal William Fletcher 49397.


Corporal William Fletcher 49397, 4th Battalion Kings (Liverpool) Regiment.

Killed in action 3rd February 1917. Age 24.

Buried at Peronne Communal Cemetery, France.

Born & lived in Lathom. Son Henry & Sarah Fletcher of Glovers Bridge, Lathom. He was the fourth son, his brother Thomas (second son) serving in the 5th Warwickshire Regiment, died as a POW. Pre war, he worked for Lord Derby. He then went to work for Lord Lathom and it was he that encouraged his territorial interest.

(Photos courtesy - Claire Williams).


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William Fletcher as a baby, c1893.


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Leslie Frank Jupp pictured here in his Northern Cyclists Corps uniform c1913/14, age 14/15. Later in WW1 he would join the Royal Fusiliers as a Private, 62508.

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Leslie Frank Jupp while serving in the Iraq conflict 1920 for which he was awarded the General Service Medal (with Iraq Clasp).

His rank is Armoury Sergeant in the RAOC.

Leslie Frank Jupp was born October 1899 in Edmonton, Middlesex. When he moved to Burscough is not known for certain, but just prior to WW1 is the best estimate. In 1926 he lived in Mart Lane and he married Catherine Parr (born 1903). Later they lived in School Lane.

Leslie not only served in WW1 for which he was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal, but also involved in a 'campaign' with the British Army in the Great Iraqi Revolution of 1920 (also known as the 1920 Iraqi Revolt) with the RAOC for which he was awarded the General Service Medal with Iraq clasp.



Leslie Frank Jupp's WW1 medals, British War Medal and the Victory Medal.


Leslie Frank Jupp's General Service Medal with Iraq clasp. 


Leslie Frank Jupp's WW2 medals, Defence Medal and the War Medal 1939-1945. (The 1939-1945 Star is not in the photo).

If that was not enough, in 1939 Leslie re-joined the Army and served with the REME and was part of British Expeditionary Force in 1939/40 (which means he would have been involved in the evacuation at Dunkirk). He served throughout the Second World War for which he was awarded the 1939-1945 Star, the Defence Medal and the War Medal 1939-1945.

He was discharged from the Army in 1951. He then went on to serve at Deysbrook Barracks. On the 30th April 1965 Leslie Frank Jupp was awarded the Imperial Service Medal. He died in October 1992, age 93.

(Photos/medals courtesy - Jill Serjeant.  Additional family information courtesy - Carol Gilbody).


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Sergeant Pilot Robert Short Timewell (Roy), 1942.

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Roy Timewell, c1937.

Sergeant Pilot Robert Short Timewell (Roy) was well known in Burscough. He had joined the Territorial Army before the war and served in France initially, being evacuated at Dunkirk. He then volunteered for duty with the Commandos, but transferred to the RAF in 1941. In October 1942 he was flying with 539 Squadron based at RAF Acklington and equipped with Hurricane Mk IIc aircraft.

Apparently a week before the incident he had written to his parents (the then landlord & landlady of The Royal Coaching House) to let everyone know he would be flying over Burscough the following Sunday, 4th October 1942. He took off from RAF Acklington at 3.25pm in a Hurricane Mk IIc (BN.205) and many residents turned out to watch as he gave an impressive low-level aerobatic display for several minutes. Witnesses (My dad and his mate) recalled that the aircraft was very low while trying to perform a manoeuvre. What followed deeply shocked everyone, as the plane disappeared from the view of those on the main street, behind some buildings, it lost height rapidly and ploughed straight into the field behind the local football ground, exploding as it came to rest. The resulting fire then caused bullets to start exploding and people ran for cover. My Dads friend (approx age 12 at the time), Brian Swift received a serious eye injury.


Sergeant Pilot Robert Short Timewell's grave, St. John’s Parish Church, Burscough.


Sgt. Pilot Timewell was buried with full military honours at St. John the Baptist Church Burscough the following week and comments in the local paper referring to the "painful sensation created in Burscough" and the "sympathetic gathering" of residents, reflect local feelings. As usual no actual details of the incident were published due to wartime censorship and the site was quickly and thoroughly cleared - leaving few clues as to the manner of this airman's tragic death. He died age 24.

(Photos courtesy - Nancy Wells).


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Private William Martland, 66813, 32nd Bn. Royal Fusiliers (City of London) Regt.

Killed in Action 7th August 1918. Aged 20. Formerly 364959 Kings Regt.

Son of Robert & Lydia Martland, 5 Stanley Street, Burscough and was Brother of James Martland who served 13th Bn. The Kings (Liverpool) Regt.


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Private James Martland, 94300 13th Bn. The Kings (Liverpool) Regt.

Killed in Action 31st August 1918. Aged 19. Formerly 39304 East Lancashire Regt.

Son of Robert & Lydia Martland, 5 Stanley Street, Burscough and was Brother of William Martland who served 32nd Bn. Royal Fusiliers.


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Private John Edward Walker, 36710, 10th Bn. The Loyal North Lancashire Regt. Died of Wounds 13th September 1918.

Son of Stanley Walker, Rose Villas, Burscough. Pre war worked at Tarlesclough Farm for his grandfather. Commemorated on Vis en Artois Memorial (Panel 7), he was known to be in a German hospital wounded, then had his leg amputated. Yet he has no known grave!

(Photo courtesy - Jean Holroyd).



Henry (Harry) Disley in the back garden of 6 Mill Dam Lane wearing his Home Guard uniform, WW2.

(Photo courtesy - Sheila Petherbridge).


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Charles Henry Birch, WW2. 

(Photo courtesy - Alan Birch).




Charles Henry Birch, REME.

 Charles joined up in 1939, he was rescued from Dunkirk, and then went right through the war via Africa, Sicily, Italy and other countries.

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Charles Henry Birch, WW2.

(Photo courtesy - Alan Birch).


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Back row: Ronald D. Stack, B. Whitehead, R. A. Smith, W. T. R Hunter.
 Front row: F. J. Lynam, D. C. Rippon, R. W. Snell.
(H.H. King, not in picture).

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All buried at Chateaudun Eastern Communal Cemetery.

Sergeant Ronald Desmond Stack (back left) - 2206324 - Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.

Ronald Stack lived at Square Lane, Burscough and he was a mid upper gunner in 101 Squadron (Lancasters) and part of a crew of 8 aboard ME616 (SR-B). On the night of 30th June 1944, Pilot Officer Rippon took off from Ludford Magna (Lincs.) at 22.15 on a raid on the marshalling yards at Vierzon (south of Orleans) in support of invasion forces in Normandy. Probably on the return journey in the early hours of 1st July 1944, the aircraft was brought down at Chateaudun killing all the crew.

They are all buried together at Chateaudun Eastern Communal Cemetery.

101 Squadron was a specialist outfit as each Lancaster carried and extra crew member (hence 8) a specialist to operate the ABC aerial radio jamming system (Code name Airborne Cigar).

Ronald Stack is remembered on the Lathom and Burscough War Memorial.

(Thanks to Alan James Barrow for his help in the research work).


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Private George Hunter.


 Private George Hunter, 58026,126th Coy Machine Gun Corps. (Formerly 6704 Royal Flying Corps).

Killed In Action 3rd August 1917. Aged 33 Buried New Irish Farm Cemetery, nr Ypres. 

His wife was Edith Hannah Hunter, 30 Mill Street, Ormskirk. His parents were James and Ellen Hunter, Burscough Bridge.

(Photos courtesy - Vernon and Helen Rawsthorne).

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George Hunter as a boy, c1893/94.


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Gunner John Hunter.


Gunner John Hunter, 313601, 136th Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery.

Killed In Action assisting another wounded soldier, 15th May 1918. Aged 36. Buried in Brandenhoek New Military Cemetery No. 3, Vlamertinghe, Nr Ypres.

Husband of Ceclia Hunter, Mill Lane, Burscough. Son of James & Ellen Hunter.

(Photos courtesy - Vernon and Helen Rawsthorne).

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John Hunter as a boy, c1893/94.


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George Porter, King's Liverpool Regiment, c1914/15.

George survived the War and went on to run a Printer and Stationers shop in Burscough village.  Brother of Sidney Porter.

(Photo courtesy - Brian Porter).


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George Porter, Lancashire Fusiliers, c1915-18.

George survived the War and went on to run a Printer and Stationers shop in Burscough village.

(Photo courtesy - Brian Porter).


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Corporal Sidney Porter.


Corporal Sidney Porter, 1432 5th Manchesters ‘Wigan Miners’ Bn TF.

Discharged unfit from wounds in September 1916 after serving in Egypt, Gallipoli & Mesopotamia.

Died 18th October 1918. Aged 28.

Son of Sidney & Elizabeth Porter, 66 Liverpool Road, Burscough and Brother of George Porter.

Buried Christ Church, Newburgh. Commemorated on Newburgh War Memorial and the Lathom & Burscough War Memorial.

(Photos courtesy - Brian Porter).

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Corporal Sidney Porter.



John Martland wearing his Royal Flying Corps uniform, WW1.

John lived in Red Cat Lane.

The Royal Flying Corps (RFC) was the air arm of the British Army before and during the First World War, until it merged with the Royal Naval Air Service on 1st April 1918, to form the Royal Air Force.

(Photo courtesy - Joyce Hampson).


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William Holcroft of Back Moss Lane Farm, Burscough, WW1.

He survived the War.

(Photo courtesy - Brian Porter).

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Danny Hunter, 1941.


Danny Hunter served from July 1940 - December 1945 during WW2.

Whilst serving with 144th Regiment Royal Armoured Corps (he was the driver of a Sherman Tank), he told me that one day during heavy fighting their Sherman tank had a German Tiger tank in its sights...... the call from the tank Commander of.... AIM... FIRE........ MISFIRE..... was repeated three times (broken firing pin) and by this time the German Tiger tank had them in its sights!
All Danny can remember is.... Whoooosh..... direct hit, and he was blown from the Sherman tank, the two other men in his tank were Killed. On that day the 144th were almost wiped out and he was one of the few survivors!


Danny Hunter, Remembrance Day, 9th November 2014.



Ronnie Walton, 1943.


Ronnie Walton, Royal Army Service Corps (RASC). Ronnie sent this photo back home to his wife, with the message, 'lots of love, Ron xx.'

During his service, and as part of the Royal Army Service Corps he was evacuated from Dunkirk, went through the North African Campaign with the Desert Rats, (he even serviced Montgomery's staff car) and then on to Italy. On V.E. day Ronnie was on the Italy/Austria border.

 (Photos courtesy - Andrew Walton).

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Ronnie Walton, 1982.


x Dad R.A.F. (57)

Alan Pealing, WW2.



 Alan Pealing was born in Ormskirk in 1924. He joined the RAF as a Cadet and after training in England and Canada he graduated as a Navigator in Bomber Command. During WW2 he made several sorties over Germany and luckily he was not shot down, although many of his friends were not so lucky. He was eventually promoted to Warrant Officer. Alan passed away in 2015.

(Photos courtesy - Mike Pealing).



 x Dad R.A.F. (16)

Alan Pealing, WW2.

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William (Bill) Jenkinson RAF, WW2.

Bill worked at Pippin Farm, Burscough prior to joining the RAF. He originally lived at Burscough Street, Ormskirk. In 1942 he joined the RAF and was a rear gunner in Wellington and Sterling bombers (mainly over Norway). After the war he worked for Ribble buses as a conductor, driver and later on as an inspector.

(Photo / info courtesy - John Gorst).


Sgt. Eric Alfred Dean - 2211152

Eric Alfred Dean was the Son of Joseph & Minnie Constance Dean. They lived near the railway crossing adjacent to Daisy Lane & Meadow Lane in Lathom. My father (William Dawson) as a young boy knew him well. He told me his family was very poor, as were many people back in the 1940s. He can remember Eric with old shoes full of holes stuffed with cardboard. Eric worked at Burscough Hall farm which used to be next to St. Johns RC Church, Chapel Lane. It was from this employment that Eric enlisted in 1943 to serve his country, joining the RAF, attaining the rank of Sgt (Air Gunner). My dad then aged 13/14 took over Eric's old job and it was some months later while working at the farm my dad recalls the day Eric came back to visit, but this time not in his old shoes, but a proud young man in a very smart RAF uniform!

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Sgt Eric Alfred Dean - 2211152,  funeral procession, 8th Jan 1944.

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Sgt. Eric Alfred Dean - 2211152, funeral at Stafford Cemetery, 8th Jan 1944.

On 29th December 1943, Vickers Wellington X3883 of 20 Operational Training Unit (OTU) took off from its base at RAF Seighford, Staffordshire on a Bullseye Exercise. This exercise involved cooperation between the OTU and ground defences. A crew would be given a course to follow to a target city in Britain and an aiming point to photograph. The ground defences had to locate the bomber and illuminate it with searchlights. While on the flight, the aircraft's starboard engine failed. This left the crew with two options: to make an emergency landing - they were very close to the Relief Landing Grounds at RAF Tatenhill and RAF Hoar Cross - or to bale out. The pilot did neither, but made the fatal mistake of attempting to restart the failed engine which caught fire causing the aircraft to go out of control and crash at 21.40 hours near Hoar Cross. Out of the six man crew only Sgt F. Collet survived, his five crewmates were killed. Sgt. T.B. Joyce, Sgt. J. Whitehead, P/O J.W. Lorrimore, Sgt. H.W. Miller and Sgt. E. A. Dean.

Eric was 19 / 20 years old when he died and is buried at Stafford Cemetry.


Sgt Eric Alfred Dean's grave at Stafford Cemetery, 31st March 2012.

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William Dawson stood next to Eric's grave at Stafford Cemetery, 31st March 2012.

Prior to 2004 the name of Sgt Eric Alfred Dean did not figure on the Lathom & Burscough War Memorial in Burscough. The reason it appears now is due to my father (William Dawson). Late in 2003 my father contacted Richard Houghton (renowned local military historian) to ask had he heard of Eric Dean, whom he had not. Richard said, ‘as the commonwealth war graves commission is not searchable by residence or birthplace then unless a name is proposed there is no way of knowing that anyone is missing from any memorial with a WW2 association. I was asked did I think it would be possible to have his name commemorated at Burscough. I was intrigued by this request, we discussed the said Sgt in detail. Sure enough he was from Lathom and missing. I recall asking William, how did he know of this serviceman’ his reply was “because he was my pal.”

It was late 2011 when we eventually found out what happened to Eric and where he was buried, after alot of research work, so a visit was arranged for springtime and on Saturday 31st March 2012, 69 years after Eric died my father got to visit his ‘pals’ grave for the very first time and lay some flowers. Sadly this story has one final sad twist. Soon after arriving home later that day my father suddenly became ill and in the early hours of the following morning my father William Dawson (aged 83) passed away.
He never forgot his boyhood pal indeed it is a simple fact that the name Eric Dean is on the Burscough and Lathom War Memorial, is due to him.


(I would like to thank Alan James Barrow for his help researching Vickers Wellington X3883).



(Additional information on this page is courtesy - Richard Houghton, Lathom and Burscough Military Heritage Society).