Tuesday, 12 May 2015

The Cheviot Memorial (NT888252)

© Copyright Russel Wills and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

© Copyright Russel Wills and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

In the College Valley a little to the north of Cheviot summit lies a beautifully maintained WWII memorial. It is surely the most remote item of its kind in the UK, being kept company only by the sober and modest 1960s creation that is Cuddystone Hall. It was unveiled as recently as 1995 (the 50th anniversary of VE Day), being a tribute to the Allied airmen who lost their lives in the hills thereabouts during 1939-45.

The front of the polished slate monument reads:

the Allied
who lost their
lives on the
Per Ardua Ad Astra

The Latin line is the RAF’s motto and means ‘Through adversity to the stars’. It was erected in a long overdue acknowledgement of not only the loss of the men involved in the thirteen individual incidents, but also of the brave efforts of those who ventured out into the hills on rescue missions in search of survivors. A map is inscribed on the top of the monolith showing the sites of the crashes, in which 30-odd men perished.

The 1995 ceremony was conducted in the presence of the Duke of Gloucester, as well as other dignitaries and those with connections to the airmen killed. It was restored in 2005.

Note: A German aircraft also met its fate in the Cheviots during WWII.

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