THE WAR YEARS
 
2nd World War 1939 - 1945

In preparation for the threatened war with Germany in 1939, it is recorded that an appeal was made on behalf of the Chief Constable for men of the congregation over the age of 30 to volunteer for instruction as Air Raid Precaution Wardens. Also the Ladies Confraternity were addressed on ‘National Service’ and parents were asked to bring their children to school for a rehearsal in respect of the evacuation of the children.
 
On 3rd September 1939 Provost Hazlehurst before 11.00am Mass announced that Britain had declared War on Germany. By this time nearly all the local school children had already been evacuated and all Birkenhead Schools had been closed. (St. Joseph’s School re-opened on 1st April 1940).
 
A nearby school in the parish known as Devonshire Park School (now a row of houses at the corner of Clarence Road and Willowbank Road) was taken over as an Army Barracks.
 
In 1941 there was an appeal to the parishioners for volunteer ‘Fire Watchers’ for St. Joseph’s School during the Air Raids of the Blitz. On the night 12/13th March 1941 the church narrowly missed a direct hit from a landmine which had landed on the Army Barracks based in Devonshire Park School, killing 39 soldiers. Many people were killed that night including some of the parishioners of St. Joseph’s.
 
By March 1945 conditions started to get back to normal and on 13th May 1945 Solemn High Mass was celebrated in thanksgiving for the ending of the war in Europe.
 

Roll of Honour 1939 - 1942
Michael Clifford, 5th Medium Regiment Royal Artillery
Michael Francis Gilligan, Died through enemy action
Gerard Duffey, RAF Pilot Warrant Officer
Captain Noel James Reeves, Pioneer Corps
Sergeant Thomas O’Donoghue, Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal
James Dowling Seaforth Highlanders
Private Joseph Richard Wardle, South Lancs. Regiment
Private Samuel Preston K.S.L.I.
Mrs Charlotte Yates, killed by enemy action
Chief Petty Officer Ernest Crowther, Royal Navy
John Fenwick Brewis, Royal Marines
Sergeant Robert Baker, RAF Air Gunner Warrant Officer
Joseph Leo Cullinan, 170th Cavalry Field Ambulance RAMC
Simon Doyle, Civilian Air Raid Victim
Bernard Sherlock, Civilian Air Raid Victim
Denis Floughty, Civilian Air Raid Victim
Edward Comer, lost at sea
Williams James Barnes, RAOC
Major Patrick John Mulqueen, Lancs. Fusiliers
William Archer, Royal Navy
Francis William Lewis, Commando attached to Royal Corps of signals
Adrian Walton, RAF Pilot
Albert Briscoe, killed by enemy action
Corporal Mary Williams, ATS
Private William Edward Sinclair, RAMC
William Cooper, RAF
Charles Griffiths, RASC
John Smith, The Bantams Regiment
Rosalie Snape, Civilian Air Raid Victim
Kathleen Murphy, Civilian Air Raid Victim
Joanna Mandale, Civilian Air Raid Victim
James Shannon, RAF
 
Every Remembrance Sunday in November a wreath is laid at the memorial in memory of all our parishioners who were killed in both wars.
 
May they rest in peace
 

 
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