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Cockermouth Post Article April 2013 – World War II

A while back I wrote an article about a Cockermouth man, Norman McMaster, whose plane was shot down over Holland during WWII, and whose wristwatch had been carefully preserved since its discovery by a Dutch boy so long ago. It seems the Dutch are very keen researchers of their wartime history, since we’ve recently had another query, from a Gerard Jeuken in Holland about another Cockermouth man, Adolphus Appleton, who died during a fierce battle in October 1944. An area of woodland near to Gerard’s father’s farm was the site of the battle. British troops had arrived to relieve American forces, who had suffered heavy losses and were struggling to make progress in pushing back German troops. Adolphus was part of a group of Scottish soldiers (10th Battalion, Highland Light Infantry), whose task was to clear both sides of the Asten/Meijel road, as far as Meijel itself. In the early morning of 30th October they had taken up positions near a wood, where many Germans were hiding. Fierce exchanges followed and Adolphus sadly lost his life in the fighting on the 31st, along with a Scottish soldier. Adolphus was 34 years old and was later buried in Mierlo cemetery. His parents were John and Margaret, and there were sisters Doris and Mary, plus brother Robert. The other man (George Robinson from South Killingholme, Scotland) was just 18. Gerard has been able to contact George’s relatives to pass on reports of the battle that the men were involved in, plus pictures of the farm, and he would very much like to make contact with any relatives of Adolphus Appleton. Please get in touch and I can pass on information.

Still on a war theme, we are really pleased that there is now a commemorative plaque in the Moota Garden Centre, remembering all those people who passed through Moota’s gates during World War II and afterwards. Muriel Simpson, owner of the Garden Centre, arranged for the placement of the plaque near to the entrance of the Great Escape coffee shop. We are grateful for her assistance, and the generosity of Cockermouth Rotary Club in helping to make this possible.

If anyone has information about the Merry Thought Camp, near Calthwaite (which also housed Italian and German POWs during WWII), please get in touch. We have had a query from an Italian whose grandfather spent time at Merry Thought, and he is keen to have further information/pictures to help him understand his grandfather’s experiences. I was able to send him copies of Red Cross reports for the camp but he would welcome any additional information.

Gloria Edwards

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