Aldringham – St. Andrew’s Church, War Memorial & Churchyard

Now here’s a nice little church – no church tower, note.

And on the outside wall,…

…a memorial to eight local men who died during World War II.

On the wall inside the church,…

…the Great War Roll of Honour, eleven names this time.

Lieutenant Michael Fairfax Hitchcock, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, who died in Basra, Iraq, in 1947, aged 26.

The plaque furthest to the left in this shot,…

…remembers Major Benjamin Croft, 28th Bn., attached 10th Bn., London Regiment, who was killed on the penultimate day of the war at the village of what is today known as Harveng, just a few miles south of Mons, aged 44.

According to reports, Croft was standing outside his headquarters in the village with a number of other men when they were spotted by a German observation balloon.  Within minutes, German artillery targetted the village and Croft was killed instantly by one of the shells.  The relevant GRRF, on the left, shows that four other men killed on the same day, I would guess during the same bombardment, are buried, alongside (Captain here, not Major) Croft and another man killed either some time earlier (first entry left), or some time later (first entry right – seems a tad unlikely).  Make of the dates what you will.  My guess is Driver Clarke probably died on the same date as all the others, and that the error on the GRRF is not the month, but the day (20 should be 10, like all the others), but don’t let me influence you. Today, all six lie together in Harveng churchyard.

Outside in the churchyard,…

…I spy a war memorial,…

…although on closer inspection,…

…there’s just a single name, Lieutenant Alexander Walter Ogilvie, originally Army Service Corps, transferred 65th* Siege Battery, R.G.A., on its face.  Ogilvie, commanding a battery, was attempting to sort out an accident that was preventing one of his guns from moving forward when the Germans opened up with a gas barrage.  Unwilling to leave the gun, yet unable to communicate with his men from beneath his gas helmet, he removed it, managing to gather his men and extricate the stricken gun before collapsing.  Unconscious and apparently blind, Ogilvie was transported back to England where he would die, of pneumonia, on 30th October 1918, aged 35.

*or maybe 60th, or even 47th, depending on what source you read.

Immediately in front of the memorial this stone slab, although difficult to read,…

…marks the grave of Major Andrew Foxcroft French, Anglian Regiment, M.B.E., aged 35, who was killed, along with two Royal Ulster Constabulary constables, by a remote-controlled bomb while on a foot patrol near Glassdrumman military watchtower, County Down, Northern Ireland, on 22nd May 1986.

Returning to the memorial which, as you doubtless spotted earlier, does actually serve as a general war memorial too,…

…for those who died in both World Wars.

Not so far from the memorial,…

…and rather as anticipated,…

…this is Alexander Ogilvie’s grave,…

…here with a picture of the man himself.

Other Ogilvies are buried nearby,…

…this grave, with its R.A.F. emblem,…

…that of Flying Officer Glencairn Sholto Ogilvie, killed on 18th December 1940 when the bomber of which he was captain crashed and burst into flames on take-off from R.A.F. Newmarket in Suffolk at the start of a night-time raid on Ludwigshafen on the Rhine.

And this is the very Wellington, pictured some six weeks earlier, brand new, and with its squadron code letters – L-FB – yet to be added either side of the roundel on the fuselage. Amazingly a Danish R.A.F. rear gunner on the ground managed to save two of the crew members from the burning aircraft (and received a George Medal for his troubles), but four others died, including Ogilvie, who was 29.

Not all Ogilvies died in action, and Lieutenant Colonel Sholto Stuart Ogilvie C.B.E. D.S.O. not only survived to a decent age, but was also one of those few soldiers who began the Great War as a private (in the Honourable Artillery Company) and ended it – actually his war ended on 12th April 1918 during the Battle of the Lys when he was captured – as a lieutenant colonel commanding 1st Bn. Wiltshires.  Along the way he was wounded twice, and received no less than three D.S.Os.

Not a war grave, at least not a World War grave,…

…although it is military.  A quick search revealed nothing.

Nothing to add.

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