Brockenhurst church

Following on from my post the other day about finding two relatives on Brockenhurst war memorial, today I visited Brockenhurst church to try and find the plaque to one of these relatives inside the church. Unfortunately due to covid restrictions some of the church inside was blocked off so couldn’t find the plaque but my two relatives were listed on the memorial in the church porch. They also had some information about some of the men from Brockenhurst who died along with a stained glass window dedicated to the Ww1 New Zealand general hospital which was set up in Brockenhurst in 1916 and various places in Brockenhurst such as Balmer Lawn hotel and forest park hotel were requisitioned and used as hospitals during the war. Another couple were also visiting the church whilst I was there and we got talking and I recommended they visit the war graves there which they went on to do 🙂

Thanks for reading 🙂

Brockenhurst war memorial

I have driven past the war memorial in Brockenhurst many times but never had the time to actually visit it until this week. It is situated down a street off the centre of the village and set within its own grassy enclosure surrounded by trees and shrubs which makes for a peaceful setting. After getting home I looked up some of the names and discovered two of the men named are distantly related to me.

Victor James Bowden-Smith served with the Royal Navy and was killed on 22nd August 1918 aged 31. I also believe there is a plaque to him in Brockenhurst church which I plan to find in my next visit there

Drummond St Clair Ford served with the Royal Navy and was killed on 12th December 1942 aged 34

Thanks for reading 🙂

a poem for D-Day

With today marking 77 years since D-Day here is a poem I wrote

77 years it’s been, since troops landed on the beach,

Taking part in an invasion, hoping victory was within reach

For months they were preparing, for the invasion that was to come,

In what was hoped would be, the start of the downfall of the hun

Originally planned for 5th June but bad weather held them back

Instead the following day, allied forces launched their attack

Code named operation overlord but better known as D-Day

Landing on the assault beaches, the attack was under way

The Americans took Utah and Omaha beaches, the British took Sword and Gold

The Canadians took Juno, our troops were brave and bold

By the end of August, they’d liberated northern France

And in the battle against the Germans, this was their biggest chance

The Normandy invasion was a success but victory came at a price

For many taking part, they paid with their life

The bootprints they left in the sand, the sea long ago washed them away

If only we could thank them, for the part they played that day

All these years later on the anniversary, we honour those who fought and died

They won’t ever be forgotten, we’ll remember them with pride


Thanks for reading 🙂

D-Day memorabilia

Some D-Day related memorabilia I have in my collection is a group of photos of 39 Reconnaissance Wing Royal Canadian Air Force which were taken on England at RAF Oldham or RAF Sarum in the weeks prior to D-Day and the Normandy landings. 39 Recce Wing consisted of 168, 400, 414 and 430 squadrons and was part of the 83 Group 2nd Tactical Air Force. I also have aerial shots taken by this same unit, 39 Recce Wing, in August 1944 during Operation Bluecoat and Operation Totalize

I also have a copy of a letter written from Canadian Lance Sergeant Edwin Owen Worden to his wife whilst waiting to cross the channel on 5th June 1944 to take part in D-Day. Edwin served with the 1st Battalion Regina Rifles and whilst he managed to survive D-Day he was later killed in action in Holland in April 1945 during the allied advance.

Thanks for reading 🙂

D-Day memorial

Having seen on the news yesterday about the opening of the D-Day memorial in Normandy and with the 77th anniversary of D-Day tomorrow I thought I would share my 16 relatives who died taking part in D-Day operations and are commemorated on the memorial

Harold George Almond Elphinstone served with 82 Assault Squadron Royal Engineers and died on 6th June aged 34

Peter Marriott Raleigh Scott served with 4th County of London Yeomanry Royal Armoured Corps and died on 13th June aged 32

David Stuart Baring served on H.M.S. Mourne and died in 15th June aged 21

Francis Arthur Dorrien Smith served with 1st Battalion Rifle Brigade and died on 20th June aged 22

Gilbert Seymour Wyndham Talbot served with 1st Battalion Rifle Brigade and died on 20th June aged 22

Michael Mervin Lyon Archdale served with 1st Airborne Division Royal Ulster Rifles and diednon 25th June aged 23

Andrew Quentin Agnew served with the 6th Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers and died on 26th June aged 26

Robert Dalrymple Arbuthnot served with 9th Queen’s Royal Lancers Royal Armoured Corps and died on 30th June aged 24

George Stanistreet served with 1/6th Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment and died on 8th July aged 22

Bruce David Grimston served with 524 Squadron Royal Air Force and died on 13th July aged 28

Peter Stapleton Buxton served with 153rd Field Regiment Royal Artillery and died on 18th July aged 39

Thomas Oliver Ruggles-Brise served with 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards and died on 18th July aged 21

Frank Hugh Seymour served on H.M.S. Isis and died on 20th July aged 24

Charles Vere Broke served with 147th Field Regiment Royal Artillery and died on 6th August aged 32

Charles Oliver Edward Fitzroy served with Grenadier Guards and died on 6th August aged 21

John Philip Utterson-Kelso served with the 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards and died on 11th August aged 22

Thanks for reading 🙂

poems shared by charities

Towards the end of May two of my poems were featured on charity websites or social media accounts

My miscarriage poem about was featured on the Miscarriage Association website

May 2021

Dementia UK shared my dementia poem on all their social media accounts.

I am writing several poems on themes such as mental health, bullying, autism, disability, racism, cancer which I plan to share with specific charities or organisations that relate to each poem

Thanks for reading 🙂

H.M.S. Hood

Today marks the 80th anniversary of the sinking of H.M.S. Hood in which 1415 crew perished with only 3 survivors. My relative John Henry Cadmus Dilly served as a Stoker onboard Hood when it sank. In May 1941 HMS Hood was in pursuit of the German ship the Bismarck trying to intercept it before it reached the Atlantic and attacked allied convoy ships. In the early hours of 24th May they intercepted the Bismarck and its convoy ship in the Denmark Strait and a battle engaged between the ships. HMS hood was hit several times by both the Bismarck and its convoy ship before a magazine explosion destroyed one part of the ship and with that and the previous hits it led to HMS Hood sinking in about 3 minutes. The navy avenged the Hood 3 days later when they finally caught up with the Bismarck and destroyed it.

In St John’s church in Boldre, Hampshire where I visit regularly, there is a memorial inside the church to HMS Hood and all those who died as the officer in overall command of HMS hood used to worship there and his widow arranged for a memorial to all the men lost.

I will be visiting Boldre today to leave a tribute to John along with a copy of my poem as well as leaving poppy tributes on the war graves there for war graves week

H.M.S. Hood was a battle cruiser, of around 47,000 tons in weight

And in May 1941, was taking part in the Battle of the Denmark Strait

Hoping to intercept the Bismarck and Prinz Eugen, before they reached the Atlantic sea

Sadly for H.M.S. Hood, it wasn’t meant to be

For in the early hours of 24th May, the Hood and German ships engaged in a fight

But despite their best efforts, the Hood found themselves in plight

For a German shell found its target, the Hood exploded and to the bottom of the sea it went down

Sinking within minutes, of 1418 crew 1415 perished and drowned

With only 3 survivors the loss of life was great and the Navy were out for revenge

After three days hunting for the Bismarck, it was finally destroyed and the Hood was avenged

Now on the 80th anniversary, we think of all those who died

Their sacrifice won’t be forgotten, we remember them all with pride


Thanks for reading 🙂

Cover Reveal

Here are the covers for my two upcoming poetry books which will be published together very soon

Hope can always be found will be a collection of poems focusing on the pandemic, notable events and issues that have occurred over the last year, poems in memory of some high profile people who have died in the last year plus poems for all occasions

From the heart will be a collection of poems focusing on subjects such as dementia, cancer, autism, mental health, miscarriage and other prevalent issues

Thanks for reading 🙂

War Graves Week

The CWGC War Graves Week begins tomorrow to raise awareness of the many thousands of war graves there are around the country and around the world and to highlight the history of the CWGC and their work to maintain the war graves which are always beautifully looked after.

Many war graves can be found on your doorstep and certainly since moving to Hampshire five years ago I have discovered numerous war graves in about 12 locations local to me so far in Hampshire and Dorset and am on the hunt to visit more and wherever I go in the country I am always looking out for war grave sites.

I shall be visiting my local war graves at Boldre on Monday and also visiting the memorial there to H.M.S. Hood as on Monday it is the 80th anniversary of the sinking of H.M.S. Hood and I had a relative who died on it.

Here is a poem I wrote especially for war graves week. Please feel free to use and share it if you wish

Thanks for reading 🙂

John Arden Bott

Yesterday I saw the CWGC appeal for relatives and discovered one man on their list is a distant relative

John Arden Bott was born in Derbyshire in 1875 to Francis and Emily Bott and and had 3 sisters. In 1893 he attended Cambridge University where he was involved in sports. His first daughter was born in 1896 before he married Alice Mary Bott in 1897 and they went on to have another daughter and 3 sons. One of his sisters May as well as his wife Alice were involved in winter sports which is perhaps why two of his sons were born in St Moritz. John himself was also involved in sports becoming the Cresta Run skeleton bob champion five times and was also credited with inventing the sliding tobaggan seat.

After war broke out John joined the 17th Battalion Royal Fusiliers receiving a commission as temporary second lieutenant. In January 1915 he was promoted to temporary lieutenant and to temporary captain in August 1915. John and his battalion landed in France in November 1915 and he took part in the fighting until being wounded in July 1916. He was evacuated back to England and once recovered returned to duty in June 1917 being attached to 5th reserve battalion.

In August 1917 whilst staying in Llandudno he suffered a heart attack and died and is buried at Great Orme’s Head Cemetery.

John’s wife Alice does in 1934 the same year one of his sons was killed. One of his other sons was also involved in winter sports and tobogganing winning the Bott Cup, the Curzon Cup and taking part in the 1948 Winter Olympics.

Thanks for reading 🙂