On the 75th Anniversary of VE Day – Unlocking Warwick is relaunching its special website -created in 2018 to tell the stories of the Warwick ‘Fallen’ from WW1 – to include both World Wars. www.warwickwarmemorial.org.uk
And the research team is appealing for local people to search their family albums for pictures of any of the 112 Warwick men who died in WW2 and who are commemorated on the plaques on the Church Street memorial.
Since the beginning of the year, our research team led by Christine Shaw has been using online sources and back copies of the Warwick Advertiser to find basic information about all of the men who died in WW2, and we already have quite a few photos, though some are not good quality, taken from microfiches of the newspaper. But we would like photos of all the men commemorated on the memorial.
The Warwick War Memorial website is now ‘live’ so feel free to have a look. The Home Page now has two main sections: Warwick in WW1 and Warwick in WW2.
Click on WW2 and you can go to the database of ‘The Fallen’ to find individual profiles in alphabetical order. There are some moving stories of the sacrifices made by Warwick families. For example, The Howlett family that kept the Warwick Tavern in Compton Street, now The Old Fourpenny Shop, lost three of their four sons. Twenty-three of the men on the memorial served in the RAF, mostly in bomber command which suffered very high casualties; 60% of the Lancaster crews did not survive the war.
There is also a feature story about Warwick during the war when anti-aircraft guns were stationed around Warwick and were in deafening action during many nights when German bombers came over Warwick heading for Leamington, Coventry and Birmingham. ‘The ‘Local Regiments’ now covers the exploits of the RWR and the Yeomanry in both world wars, and there is a timeline of the main events between 1939 and 1945. ‘The Town Remembers’ includes other memorials around the town, and you can see the medals that were awarded during WW2.
We also have a section called ‘Personal Memories of WW2’. Perhaps you can help with this? Many people in the eighties or nineties can remember the war and how it affected civilian life. We are very keen to collect some of the memories about life in Warwick during the war and preserve them on the website. So far we only have some memories from Brian Goddard that he related to Unlocking Warwick’s Tricia Scott. Brian was born in 1935 so he was 10 on VE Day. His family lived on Birmingham Road not far from Budbrook Barracks. A German bomber, probably aiming for the barracks, dropped bombs that fell on either side of the Goddard’s house, causing no damage.
If you know of a senior citizen with local memories to relate, can you become a researcher, write them down and email them to Christine at firstname.lastname@example.org ? Or if someone is willing to talk to one of the researchers on the phone, we can arrange that while the social distancing rules apply.
We hope you find the website interesting.