We Will Remember Them

The weekend has been a busy and poignant one for Stratford upon Avon Boat Club with Club members taking time out from rowing to remember those who died in World Wars, other conflicts and especially the Falklands War, now forty years ago

Stratford Boat Club’s remembrance started on Friday with a short wreath laying and two minutes silence to mark Armistice Day: Masters’ member Graham Cann laid wreaths commemorating Falklands veterans and especially his fallen colleagues in the Royal Marines. Graham was a Colour Sergeant in the Royal Marines Commandos during the Falklands War: the Club’s piper Joe Moore played before and after the two minutes silence

Joining Graham and his Boat Club colleagues was Kim Casey, sister of Petty Officer Aircrewman Ben Casey who was the first casualty of the Falklands War. Stratford Boat Club became aware of Ben thanks to Stratford Herald’s articles on Kim’s pilgrimage to the Falklands to honour her elder brother (https://www.stratford-herald.com/news/falklands-cove-named-after-fallen-brother-9282072 and https://www.stratford-herald.com/news/stratford-womans-search-for-peace-after-losing-brother-in-t-9264080)

On Remembrance Sunday, the whole Club stopped to meet around the Club’s memorial: as is Club tradition, wreaths were laid by the Club’s oldest member, Colin Upchurch, and the youngest member, Seb Happel, to remember Club members who gave their lives in wars and conflicts. Seventy six years separate Colin’s and Seb’s rowing and life experience! Again, the Club’s piper, Simon Moore, played during the act of remembrance

A memorable addition to this year’s Remembrance Day event was the dedication of a plaque commemorating the award of the Victoria Cross to one of the Club’s members, Squadron Leader Arthur ‘Pongo’ Scarf. Again, the interest in this Club member’s past was generated by Stratford Herald’s article on the sale of Arthur’s Victoria Cross (https://www.stratford-herald.com/news/arthur-scarf-from-stratford-nfu-to-heroic-raf-pilot-awarde-9253188) and Mark Dewdney’s, the Club’s archivist and Head Adaptive Coach, research in to Pongo’s past. Through an introduction by Spink & Son, the auction house which sold Arthur Scarf’s Victoria Cross, the Club was able to trace Pongo’s remaining relative, nephew John Hair, who laid a wreath to dedicate the new memorial plaque and honour Arthur’s bravery

Commenting on the weekend of remembrance, Paul Stanton, Stratford Boat Club’s President said, “Whilst the Club is a forward looking organisation with its sights set firmly on the future, we take this time to look back, pause and give thanks for those who served and died for their country and colleagues so that we may live in peace and pursue our sport with happiness and joy. Both Graham Cann’s and Arthur Scarf Scarf’s acts of service and bravery are an example to us all and an ever present reminder of the horrors of war”

For media coverage, please see Stratford Herald page nineteen and Stratford Observer online https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/stratford-upon-avon-boat-club-pay-respects-on-armistice-day-and-remembrance-sunday

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