Some of the odd memorials scattered across the county.
Mary Baxter Memorial
On the top of Knowle Hill at a point were six paths meet stands a memorial to Mary Baxter who died in 1988. She was a stalwart of the East Dorset Group of what was then known as the Ramblers' Association (they no longer associate, now they just ramble).
The six dressed stones making up the hexagonal base give directions along each of the paths, whilst the rough cut seventh stone perched somewhat uncomfortably on top of them carries a plaque which reads:
These stones commemorate Mary Baxter M.B.E. (1919-1988)
She helped to conserve the Dorset countryside and protect its footpaths
Donated by members of The Ramblers' Association
USCG Rescue Flotilla 1 Memorial
On Poole Quay next to the Old Lifeboat Station stands a memorial to the US Coast Guard Rescue Flotilla 1.
They were known as the Matchbox Fleet as their boats were built entirely of wood. They were also sometimes referred to as the Seagoing St Bernards.
The inscription reads:
From this Quay, 60 cutters of the United States Coast Guard Rescue Flotilla 1 departed for the Normandy Invasion, 6 June 1944.
These 83 foot boats, built entirely of wood, and the 840 crew members were credited with saving the lives of 1437 men and 1 woman.
In remembrance of the service of Rescue Flotilla 1, and with appreciation of the kindnesses of the people of Poole to the crews, this Plaque is given by the men and women of the United States Coast Guard.
Semper Paratus June 1994
The role of the Auxiliary Unit Patrols created by Winston Churchill during the darkest hours of the war when an invasion from Nazi Germany seemed likely, has gone largely unrecorded and unsung.
At East Creech at the foot of Knowle Hill a memorial stone erected by the Royal British Legion in 2009 to the seven men of the Creech Barrow Auxiliary Unit Patrol, one of two on the Isle of Purbeck.
As detailed on the adjoining Display Board, in the event of a German invasion their job was to lie low and wage war from behind enemy lines. The remains of their underground Operational Base are nearby.
External Links and References
Lots of information on the patrol and its Operational Base. https://www.staybehinds.com/patrol/creech-patrol
Moordown Halifax Memorial
On the corner of Meadow Court Close about halfway along Wimborne Road in Moordown, Bournemouth is a simple black marble memorial.
It commemorates those who died when a RAF Handley Page Halifax bomber, tail number JP 137, crashed shortly after take off from RAF Hurn just after 1am on March 21, 1944.
Two civilians were killed, along with all seven of its young crew.
The aircraft was heavily laden with cargo, and it is thought that it may have been on a mission for the Special Operations Executive.
The 5m-high Blue Skies Memorial on Bournemouth's East Overcliff commemorates Red Arrows pilot Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging of Rutland who died aged 33
when his Hawk T1 aircraft crashed following a display at the 2011 Bournemouth Air Festival
The sculpture was designed by two pupils of Kinson Primary School in Bournemouth, Penny Vallier (10) and George Cutler (9), and was created by Tim Ward of Circling the Square.
In 2017 (two years after this photo was taken) it was moved to a new location at the top of the East Cliff Zig-zag due to a landslip.
Building of the airfield commenced in May 1942 and on 17 May 1943 the base was handed over to 298 and 644 Squadrons, R.A.F. 'C' Squadron Glider Pilot Regiment. Glider operations started in October 1943 and continued until 1945.
Glider pilot Jim Wallwork and his co-pilot John Ainsworth flying a Horsa glider from Tarrant Rushton became the first Allied troops to touch French soil on D-Day when they were catapulted through the front of the cockpit of their plane on landing shortly after midnight on D-Day.
The military abandoned the airfield in December 1947, and six months later it was taken over by Flight Refuelling Ltd (now Cobham plc). They moved the bulk of their operations to Hurn in the 1970s, and from then on it was only used by gliders and the occasional light aircraft.
It was officially closed on 30 September 1980 and there is a fascinating video of some still photos from this period on YouTube.
The monument is situated by the old main gate to the airfield. Here the road takes a sharp turn to the right and sweeps round the north of the main runway before joining the Tarrant Valley road at an acute angle. Before the airfield was built the road carried on across the site to join the now severed road down the hill into Tarrant Rushton. Google Earth has historic imagery showing the old road. The image is dated 1945 but, as the airfield is not shown, it must be earlier than that.