75th Anniversary of VE Day - Derbyshire's servicemen

Friday 8th May 2020

During these challenging times for all, we want to help keep everyone associated with the club and wider community positive and engaged. We’re in this together and Together, We Are All Derbyshire. 

Leslie contacted us about Derbyshire cricketers and their WWII experiences.

Les wrote; “As the 75th anniversary of VE Day approaches, do you have any information about the military service of Derbyshire cricketers during World War II?

Our Heritage Officer, David Griffin, writes;

During WWII, the county then had an abundance of coal mines, and mining and related occupations were absolutely critical for the war effort, and though miners might have wanted to join the armed forces, their work underground was too important.

The County Ground, Derby was used by military organisations during the war, and although no first-class cricket was played between 1939 and 1945, teams representing Derbyshire did play some one-day and two-day matches.

Here are the details of our cricketers’ much-valued contributions to the war effort.

The players’ ages relate to the end of 1939, shortly after the outbreak of war;

Albert Alderman (32) – Served in Civil Defence, warden and stretcher bearer and Home Guard

Robin Buckston (31) – Invalided out of the Army as a Lieutenant after ill health. Then served as a Captain and Adjutant in the Home Guard

Sam Cadman (62) – Served with the National Fire Service

Donald Carr (13) – Joined the Army at the age of 18 in January 1945 as an officer cadet. The war ended in August 1945 before he could see active service

Bill Copson (31) – A former miner, he worked in mining haulage and later munitions

George Dawkes (19) – Worked at Armstrong Whitworth before being called up by the RAF

Charlie Elliott (27) – Although accepted by the Royal Navy, he served in the National Fire Service

Cliff Gladwin (23) – Worked in coal mining and the Home Guard

Arnold Hamer (23) – Served with the Army in Malta

Gilbert Hodgkinson (26) – Served with the Sherwood Foresters as a Captain and then joined the Highland Division. He suffered a severe head wound in France and was in a hospital in Fecamp when it was captured by the Germans. He was treated well by his captors and later repatriated via Sweden in a prisoner exchange in 1943. The 1941 edition of Wisden recorded his death, although fortunately his wife and family had received news that he was missing three months’ earlier

Tommy Hounsfield (29) – Served as a Major in the Home Guard

Les Jackson (18) – Was denied his wish to join the Royal Navy and worked in the coal mines

Tommy Mitchell (37) – Worked in the coal mines

Alf Pope (30) – Worked in the coal mines

George Pope (28) – Served with the Royal Signals but was discharged with a knee injury and then carried out war work

Alan Revill (16) – Worked as a colliery electrician

Arthur Richardson (32) – Served as a Major in the Royal Artillery

Bert Rhodes (23) – Served with the Royal Artillery as a Lance Bombardier in North Africa and Italy

Ken Shearwood (18) – Served in the Royal Navy on destroyers. As the commander of a tank landing craft at Salerno and Anzio in Italy, was awarded DSC

Denis Smith (32) – War work in munitions

Arnold Townsend (27) – Served abroad with the RAF as a Leading Aircraftman, and then with the Royal Observer Corps

Les Townsend (36) – War work

Guy Willatt (21) – Served as a Captain in the Royal Artillery in North Africa and Italy

Stan Worthington (34) – Served with a light anti-aircraft unit in Gibraltar, and was then commissioned in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) where he rose to rank of Captain

Together, We Are All Derbyshire. Share memories, favourite moments and engage with fellow supporters. Get in touch on social media, at [email protected], or call 01332 388 101.

Principal Partner & Ground Sponsor
Official Partners