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Mystery plaque dumped in Hornchurch, Essex

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#1 Mike L

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 11:11 PM

While taking some photos for Diane (dbf) today I heard about a strange incident that occurred in Hornchurch on the morning of Friday 19th February.
Checking the wreaths on the war memorial a Royal British Legion committee member found a large metal plaque that been placed behind the memorial. The church adjacent to the memorial knew nothing about the plaque, but agreed to store it until something can be discovered about what it is and where it has come from.

The plaque is about 3 feet by 4 feet, extremely heavy (thought to be gunmetal) and commemorates 17 people who died in WW1 and WW2 (13 in WW1, 4 in WW2). It has ‘bosses’ on the back where it appears to have been mounted on a building at some point. I haven’t seen the plaque yet, so can’t provide a photo (hope to do that in next couple of days) but the heading is apparently along the lines of:


Great War 1914 – 1919


…..died in the war….


Gave their best….


Then lists 13 names.




1939 – 1945


Howard Harold Blower


Stanley Dyer


Douglas Pegrum


Stanley Clarkson



There is no indication whether these people were in the Forces or civilians, no service numbers, just names. What I do know is that the names (WW1 and WW2) do not appear on Hornchurch’s Role of Honour (already checked by RBL Branch) so it does not appear to be local to Hornchurch, but could be relevant to somewhere close by.
I haven’t started researching this yet – first thing will be to ‘google’ the names – but I wondered if any kind person on this very well-informed site could give me any pointers?

Mike
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#2 phylo_roadking

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 11:16 PM

Had a qwik Google meself....and found THIS!

W/Op F/S Claude F. Bish, Air Gnr. Sgt Douglas F. Pegrum and Air Gnr.P/O Thomas K. Wright have no known graves and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

Lancaster I LL963 crashed in the sea off the island of Avernakø 16/5 1944
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A great soldier once said -
“What? Oh, nonsense, Benton. I tell you that's a beach out there. It's probably Norfolk or somewhere like that… See that nobody wanders in. We can't have the place overrun with holiday makers. I'll nip out, find a phone and tell the authorities exactly where we are. I'm fairly sure that's Cromer. Back in a jiff.”

#3 phylo_roadking

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 11:18 PM

Then THIS....

Family history records - World War 2 death results for Stanley Dyer, born 0

and THIS -

Family history records - World War 2 death results for Stanley Clarkson, born 0
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A great soldier once said -
“What? Oh, nonsense, Benton. I tell you that's a beach out there. It's probably Norfolk or somewhere like that… See that nobody wanders in. We can't have the place overrun with holiday makers. I'll nip out, find a phone and tell the authorities exactly where we are. I'm fairly sure that's Cromer. Back in a jiff.”

#4 Drew5233

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 11:19 PM

Only one Douglas Pegrum on CWGC if that helps:

CWGC :: Certificate :poppy:

I don't know what the connection with Essex is though...His family appear to be from Burma.
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#5 von Poop

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 11:20 PM

Interesting.
The National Memorial Arboretum in Staffs has a nice area that's kind of a retirement home for discarded/abandoned memorials like that, things from derelict buildings, defunct companies, skips etc. put back on display. Might be worth an enquiry as to whether they'd give it a permanent home?
The National Memorial Arboretum - Welcome to the National Memorial Arboretum website
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#6 Mike L

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 11:22 PM

Bloody hell chaps, just posted this and I can't believe how quick you lot really are!
Thanks very much for the responses, will check out links and get back to you if I have any news.

Mike
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#7 phylo_roadking

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 11:25 PM

....or "lost" one recently???
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A great soldier once said -
“What? Oh, nonsense, Benton. I tell you that's a beach out there. It's probably Norfolk or somewhere like that… See that nobody wanders in. We can't have the place overrun with holiday makers. I'll nip out, find a phone and tell the authorities exactly where we are. I'm fairly sure that's Cromer. Back in a jiff.”

#8 von Poop

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 11:27 PM

Speculation, but you could maybe imagine someone nicking it, and then another party with a few more scruples deciding that ain't right (or realising it's not the bronze they were hoping for) and dumping it in an appropriate spot...
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#9 phylo_roadking

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 11:27 PM

The plaque is about 3 feet by 4 feet, extremely heavy (thought to be gunmetal) and commemorates 17 people who died in WW1 and WW2 (13 in WW1, 4 in WW2). It has ‘bosses’ on the back where it appears to have been mounted on a building at some point.


I wonder if it's a "works" memorial??? :unsure:

At a guess - reads like some has robbed it out of somewhere, taken it to a scrap merchant, been told it's worthless, and at least wasn't enough of a scumbag to just dump it in a river to be forever lost...
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A great soldier once said -
“What? Oh, nonsense, Benton. I tell you that's a beach out there. It's probably Norfolk or somewhere like that… See that nobody wanders in. We can't have the place overrun with holiday makers. I'll nip out, find a phone and tell the authorities exactly where we are. I'm fairly sure that's Cromer. Back in a jiff.”

#10 Rich Payne

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 11:35 PM

This Clarkson had an Essex connection :-

CWGC :: Casualty Details
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#11 phylo_roadking

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 11:41 PM

had an Essex connection


Well, given the size they weren't intending to lug it very far! :lol:
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A great soldier once said -
“What? Oh, nonsense, Benton. I tell you that's a beach out there. It's probably Norfolk or somewhere like that… See that nobody wanders in. We can't have the place overrun with holiday makers. I'll nip out, find a phone and tell the authorities exactly where we are. I'm fairly sure that's Cromer. Back in a jiff.”

#12 idler

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 11:45 PM

If it's been placed behind a memorial, it sounds more like some well-meaning soul has recovered it from a building or skip and didn't know what else to do with it. Why not get the local rag to run the story and ask if the finder could let them know where it came from?
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#13 Mike L

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 11:52 PM

Rich, thanks for that. At least it gives me a starting point (if it is the right bloke!).
Yes - the general opinion is either that it has been removed from a demolition job or nicked by someone who has then had an attack of concience and at least put it somewhere where it would be found. The war memorial in Hornchurch is on quite a busy road, in full view, and the plaque is apparently a 2 man carry so I guess it was dumped during the night before it was found.
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#14 drumaneen

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 12:15 AM

Would an enquiry of the Police be in order? And perhaps it is apprpriate that it be handed in anyway as 'found' property and the requisite period be waited before taking possession legally?
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#15 chrisharley9

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 01:15 AM

Any chance of a list of the Great War names; might just be able to find something more with those as there is more records available on line
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:poppy: In memory of all those of the Norfolk Regiment who lost their lives in World War 2:poppy:

#16 phylo_roadking

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 01:49 AM

Would an enquiry of the Police be in order? And perhaps it is apprpriate that it be handed in anyway as 'found' property and the requisite period be waited before taking possession legally?


Don't see why not. They probably wouldn't accept it to hold - not something THAT big - police evidence rooms are usually bulging with unclaimed clothers etc. seized from suspects! And they don't accept things as big as bicycles nowadays...

But the usual procedure is they'll tell you, once you report it, that if noone claims it in three months it's yours.
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A great soldier once said -
“What? Oh, nonsense, Benton. I tell you that's a beach out there. It's probably Norfolk or somewhere like that… See that nobody wanders in. We can't have the place overrun with holiday makers. I'll nip out, find a phone and tell the authorities exactly where we are. I'm fairly sure that's Cromer. Back in a jiff.”

#17 Mike L

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 07:53 AM

Hi all,
Thanks for your input, will try to get a pic of the plaque later today.
Drumanoon and Phylo, hadn't considered reporting to Police but seems a good safe policy - will recommend to Legion (as I am now on the Branch Committee). I understand local papers will also be contacted about this.
Chrisharley - the WW1 info will surely be a great help, more names etc so more chance to find where this plaque is from. Watch this post and I will put up a photo. Thanks mate.
Re previous messages and links: some links require site membership/'credits' to view the information. Is there any way round this without breaching protocol? Could members/account holders copy info and post here?
I have found a couple of possible Stanley Dyers, some with service numbers. Will have to search these individually. One went down on the Barham in the Med.
So a busy day ahead for me I think!

Thanks again all,

Mike
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#18 At Home Dad

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 10:27 AM

As mentioned, the WW1 will give you better hits as the records are widely available.

Stick any names up over on the Great War Forum, this is their bread & butter (one of many slices!).

PM me the details and I can post for you if you're not a member
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Remembering
Bill Marney, Queen's Regiment.
Bob Miller, 2Recce



#19 Peter Clare

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 10:56 AM

Only one Douglas Pegrum on CWGC if that helps:

CWGC :: Certificate :poppy:

I don't know what the connection with Essex is though...His family appear to be from Burma.



Details of the above loss.......

15-16 May 1944

103 Squadron
Lancaster I LL963 PM-D
Op. Gardening.

P/O. K W. Mitchell +
Sgt. D. Howells +
F/S. W. Kelly +
F/S. R A. Tapp +
F/S. C F. Bish +
Sgt. D F. Pegrum +
P/O. T K. Wright.

Took off 2213 hrs Elsham Wolds tasked for operations over Kiel Bay. Crashed in Avernako Hoved on the NW edge of the tiny danish island of Avernako, 7 km south of Faborg.
Four bodies were washed ashore and buried in various Danish cemeteries, but the last three named are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

BCL. Vol.5 - Chorley
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In remembrance of my father Sgt S. Clare R.A.F Missing from operations 13th August 1942. Never Known, Forever Loved.


#20 Mike L

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 02:23 PM

Peter - many thanks for that.
Now having seen the plaque I can give the full description and list of names. I have a few photos but for the moment can't seem to upload them (help please Mod? I get an 'error on page' message when I click on 'manage attachments')

Heading: THE GREAT WAR 1914 - 1919 (with laurel wreaths in top left and right corners).
THESE DIED
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#21 Mike L

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 02:45 PM

Sorry, I will try that again.:huh:

Heading:
THE GREAT WAR 1914 – 1919 (laurel wreaths top left and right corners)
THESE DIED IN WAR THAT WE AT PEACE MIGHT LIVE
THESE GAVE THEIR BEST. SO WE OUR BEST MUST GIVE
Charles Bird
Walter Brickett
Henry Davis
Humphrey Garth
George Gurney
Frederick Hopkins
William King
Clarence Knight
Henry Pike
William Read
Bernard Rosbrook
Edward Wellman
Edward Windsor

1939 – 1945
Harold Blower
Stanley Dyer
Douglas Pegrum
Stanley Clarkson


The plaque is exactly 1 metre wide with a frame about 30mm deep (all 1 casting – there are some casting marks around lettering) It weighs about 100lb or so and there are 4 large ‘allen’ bolts screwed into bosses on the back along with traces of mortar. At some point 8 small holes were drilled in the frame and tapped out to take bolts. I am informed it is cast gunmetal.
There are no identifying marks/stamps that I could find.

So, are the WW1 names of any help?

Mike
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#22 -tmm-

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 03:10 PM

At first glance, picking out the most those men with the easiest names to narrow down (looking on cwgc) I cannot see anything obvious that these men have in common.
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#23 chrisharley9

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 05:50 PM

Best repeated; Scouting??

Will have a closer look at the names tomorrow & will also post on the Great War Forum

Chris
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:poppy: In memory of all those of the Norfolk Regiment who lost their lives in World War 2:poppy:

#24 ramacal

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 06:27 PM

Removed - link did not work
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#25 Mike L

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 08:07 PM

Found so far:
WW1:
Humphrey Garth, G18176, L/Cpl, 7th Bn, Queens Own Royal West Kent Regt.
Died on 27 September 1916.
Son of Douglas and Mildred Garth of Morden, Beaconsfield, Bucks. Born Chelsea, London.

Clarence George Knight, 144643, Gunner, 342 Siege Bty, Royal Garrison Artillery.
Died 25 February 1919 age 24.
Son of Abraham Knight of 7 North Bank, Waltham Abbey, Essex

Bernard Rosbrook 4797, Private, Honourable Artillery Company.
Died on 11 August 1916.
Son of George and Annie Rosbrook, of 47 Hitchings Avenue, Walthamstow, Essex.

Edward Wellman, P/5546, L/Cpl, Military Mounted Police, Military Police Corps.
Died on 8 April 1918 age 28.
Son of George and Harriet Wellman of Parkstone, Dorset.



WW2:
DOUGLAS FRANK PEGRUM 1800767, Sergeant, 103 Sqdn., Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died on 16 May 1944.
Son of James Arthur Pegrum and Jessie Pegrum, of Maymyo, Burma.
Remembered with honour, RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL.

Stanley John Clarkson 651183, Aircraftman 1st Class, 113 Sqdn. Royal Air Force
Died on 19 December 1941 age 22.
Son of John H. Clarkson and Margeret E. Clarkson, of Leyton, Essex.
1.H.23 Helioplois War Cemetery.
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#26 At Home Dad

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 09:10 PM

The GWF thread is running here
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Remembering
Bill Marney, Queen's Regiment.
Bob Miller, 2Recce



#27 Mike L

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Posted 03 March 2010 - 02:27 AM

At Home Dad,
Thanks very much for that, been watching your link with great interest. Good bunch of people you seem to have on the GWF, much the same as here!
Obviously the 'easyish' bit of CWGC search has been done by several people and I hope others won't waste their valuable time duplicating what has already been found.
To that end I will update this thread as often as I can when new info becomes available.
There are several names on the list for WW1 and WW2 that are a little more difficult to track down due to common name and 'only initials' on some CWGC listings etc. If there are a few 'specialists' out there perhaps they could have a look at those?
There seems to be a trend appearing here, possibly a 'workplace' or school memorial around the Essex/Herts area. The names Pegrum (WW2) Brickett, Garth, Gurney, Rosbrook and Wellman (WW1) seem to be obvious targets for further investigation.
Wish I had your sources/expertise.

Thanks all for your efforts, greatly appreciated.

Mike
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#28 At Home Dad

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Posted 03 March 2010 - 09:31 AM

They've ID'd three Clerks so far. Dont know what that could mean from a workplace point of view yet, but...

Some of the guys were born/living very close to me (Leyton). Almost as if the building which housed the memorial was closer to me than to Hornchurch.

I wonder if it's an example of a Fly Tipper with a conscience? Presumably, the metal would have some value in today's world. But they din't melt it down, like the recent spate of thefts that have been happening in the last few years.

I'll drop a mail to the Essex branch of the Western Front Association and see if they have any luck.

All the best
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Remembering
Bill Marney, Queen's Regiment.
Bob Miller, 2Recce



#29 Groundhugger

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Posted 03 March 2010 - 12:33 PM

There was theft of war memorial plaques in 2008in North Manchester , thou this isn't one of them , they were replaced at a cost of £10.000 , the theft of these plaques will obviously increase as the personal community link to them gets lost in the passage of time , unfortunately .
on the slightly brighter side the Metal recyclers wouldn't touch them with a barge pole , so they'll just be dumped !

Attached Files


Edited by Groundhugger, 03 March 2010 - 01:06 PM.

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#30 Mike L

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Posted 03 March 2010 - 12:43 PM

Groundhugger,
I remember reading about that - also appeared on the TV news I think. Also remember seeing those photos in I think the Mail.
Glad to hear the recyclers wouldn't touch them, perhaps that is why this one seems to have survived.

Cheers,

Mike
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