graves

 

 

 

IN MEMORy by Pierre Vandervelden

The visit to Commonwealth graves in Communal Cemeteries & Churchyards in Belgium & France

pierre.vandervelden@pi.be

STE MARIE Communal Cemetery (Loire Atlantique France)

S. Lea & T. Orme & J. W. Powell - C. Scott & Unknown - P. B. Priddey & A. E. Jackson - Four Unknowns
G. J. Smith & Unknown - T. Watson
G. Holroyd & Unknown - J. Scougal & J. H. Porter
L. G. Leslie & E. V. Pinchon alias G. Young - E. C. Wilkin & Unknown
R. J. Boniface & J. Brooks - G. R. Kingsman & C. A. Woods - Three Unknowns
P. Anthony - C. E. Bird - W. Graham - A. E. Nutton - J. H. Stafford - Four Unknowns
Photos Courtesy Isabelle & Guillaume van der Wende

Sjt Peter Basil Priddley 17/06/1940 aged 21
for his niece Mary Jenner

HMT Lancastria: Finchley’s part of a forgotten tragedy.
Even after the ‘Miracle of Dunkirk’ in May 1940, when almost 340,000 Allied soldiers were saved from German capture and evacuated back to Britain, hundreds of thousands of British soldiers and civilians were still left stranded in enemy territory, amongst them Sergeant Peter Priddey from the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, a 21 year old from Ruislip, Middlesex, who attended Finchley Catholic Grammar School from 1929 to 1934.
Operation Ariel was launched on 14th June 1940 to try and complete the evacuation from Western France. Three
days later on Monday 17th June, HMT Lancastria (left), a cruise-liner converted into a cargo and troopship, dropped anchor 10 miles off the port of St Nazaire in the Loire river estuary, and began transferring Allied troops and civilians from smaller boats onto its deck and into its massive holds.
By early afternoon, an estimated 7,000 to 9,000 people – including dozens of civilian women and children – had clambered aboard a ship designed to hold just over 2,000. However, joy at the imminent evacuation quickly turned into fear as German planes began to circle the area.
Just before 4pm, the Lancastria was attacked by a squadron of Junkers 88 planes – the Luftwaffe’s premier light bomber – and suffered three direct hits. The damage was devastating: one bomb penetrated the holds where the majority of the troops had taken refuge, killing hundreds instantly; another bomb burst the ship’s fuel tanks, flooding the sea with 1,400 tons of burning oil.
The ship rolled onto its side, and as thousands clung onto the upturned hull near the ship’s propeller or fell into the sea (see picture on right), the merciless German planes returned to strafe the helpless evacuees with machine gun fire. Survivors recalled their comrades, defiant to the last in the face of death, roaring out the popular song ‘There’ll always be an England’. At 4.10pm, the Lancastria sunk, sucking hundreds down with it in its downdraught.
Only 2,447 of those on board survived, and while the final death toll will never be known, it is estimated that between 4,500 and 6,500 were killed, making the sinking of the Lancastria the worst maritime disaster in British history, and the biggest single loss of British lives in one day during the whole of the Second World War. Prime Minister Winston Churchill decided to suppress news of the tragedy for fear of the impact on Allied morale, and it was not until the end of July that the fate of the ship became public.
Somewhere in the hell of that June afternoon, Peter Priddey became the first Old Boy of Finchley Catholic Grammar School to be killed in the Second World War, his body washing up onto the shore near St Nazaire shortly afterwards. Like hundreds of others, he was given a full Christian burial by local French people who recognised the sacrifice that British soldiers had made on their behalf.
Peter is buried along with 40 other Allied soldiers – 10 of them unidentified – in a small cemetery in the coastal village of Ste Marie.
While the loss of the Lancastria was a terrible disaster, Operation Ariel as a whole resulted in the evacuation of well over 200,000 Allied soldiers and civilians from France in the space of just ten days.
(part of a document produced by Finchley Grammer School.)
Pte Joseph Brooks between 28/05/1940 and 23/06/1940 aged 27
for his great nephew Peter Dodsworth and family

23 casualties

ANTHONY PATRICK
United Kingdom Serjeant Pioneer Corps : Aux. Mil. Age: 34 Date of Death: 17/06/1940 Service No: 7606674 (7)

BIRD CHARLES EDWARD
United Kingdom Sapper Royal Engineers : 663 Artisan Works Coy. Age: 40 Date of Death: 17/06/1940 Service No: 1912389 (7)

BONIFACE RONALD JOHN
United Kingdom Sergeant (W.Op./Air Gnr.) Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve : 98 Sqdn. Date of Death: 17/06/1940 Service No: 751838 (1)

BROOKS JOSEPH
United Kingdom Private Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment) Age: 27 Date of Death: between 28/05/1940 and 23/06/1940 Service No: 4971989 (1)

GRAHAM WILLIAM
United Kingdom Private Royal Army Service Corps Age: 41 Date of Death: 17/06/1940 Service No: T/58085 (7)

HOLROYD GORDON
United Kingdom Private Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment) : 9th Bn. Date of Death: 17/06/1940 Service No: 4977771 (3)

JACKSON ALBERT EDWARD
United Kingdom Corporal Pioneer Corps : Aux. Mil. Age: 49 Date of Death: 17/06/1940 Service No: 13005617 (5)

KINGSMAN GEORGE RICHARD
United Kingdom Sapper Royal Engineers : 663 Artisan Works Coy. Age: 20 Date of Death: 17/06/1940 Service No: 1914308 (1)

LEA SYDNEY
United Kingdom Sapper Royal Engineers : 663 Artisan Works Coy. Age: 28 Date of Death: 17/06/1940 Service No: 1912429 (6)

LESLIE LEONARD GEORGE
United Kingdom Private Pioneer Corps : Aux. Mil. Age: 39 Date of Death: 17/06/1940 Service No: 6195176 (2)

NUTTON ALLAN EDWARD
United Kingdom Driver Royal Army Service Corps : 2 Res. M.T. Coy. Age: 26 Date of Death: 17/06/1940 Service No: 71268 (7)

ORME THOMAS
United Kingdom Sapper Royal Engineers : 663 Artisan Works Coy. Age: 26 Date of Death: 17/06/1940 Service No: 1913322 (6)

PINCHON EDWARD VICTOR alias YOUNG GEORGE
United Kingdom Private Royal Army Service Corps Age: 39 Date of Death: 17/06/1940 Service No: S/147042 (2)

PORTER JOSEPH HENRY
United Kingdom Private Pioneer Corps : Aux. Mil. Age: 37 Date of Death: 17/06/1940 Service No: 13005198 (3)

POWELL JAMES WILSON
United Kingdom Sapper Royal Engineers : 159 Rly. Constr. Coy. Age: 20 Date of Death: 17/06/1940 Service No: 1892994 (6)

PRIDDEY PETER BASIL
United Kingdom Serjeant Royal Army Ordnance Corps Age: 21 Date of Death: 17/06/1940 Service No: 7591313 (5)

SCOTT CHARLES
United Kingdom Private The Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment) : 2nd Bn. Date of Death: between 28/05/1940 and 23/06/1940 Service No: 6288709 (6)

SCOUGALL JOSEPH
United Kingdom Private Pioneer Corps : Aux. Mil. Age: 39 Date of Death: 17/06/1940 Service No: 13009067 (3)

SMITH GEORGE JOSEPH
United Kingdom Private Pioneer Corps : Aux. Mil. Age: 36 Date of Death: 17/06/1940 Service No: 13002752 (4)

STAFFORD JOHN HENRY
United Kingdom Private Royal Army Ordnance Corps : 1 Base Ordnance Depot Age: 42 Date of Death: 17/06/1940 Service No: 50441 (7)

WATSON THOMAS
United Kingdom Private Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment) Age: 20 Date of Death: between 28/05/1940 and 23/06/1940 Service No: 4978878 (4)

WILKIN ERIC CECIL
United Kingdom Sapper Royal Engineers : 663 Artisan Works Coy. Age: 28 Date of Death: 17/06/1940 Service No: 1912465 (2)

WOODS CHARLES ALBERT
United Kingdom Private Royal Army Service Corps Age: 39 Date of Death: 17/06/1940 Service No: S/147603 (1)

IF You have a casualty picture, please send me a copy, I'll be glad to show it on this page.

IF You want a king size copy of this picture (300/900 ko - 2592/1944 pixels) please e-mail me.

IF You want picture of a particular grave, in this cemetery, please e-mail me.

Casualties informations come usualy from Commonwealth War Graves Commission, see links for more informations

Inmemories.com © Pierre Vandervelden - Belgium