Southsea D-Day Story memorial wall sees new names added to honour veterans who served as police officers

THE D-DAY Story’s memorial wall has seen new names added at a ceremony for veterans who returned from war to serve as Portsmouth and Hampshire police officers.

Tuesday, 16th November 2021, 5:02 pm
Updated Wednesday, 17th November 2021, 11:58 am

Dozens of attendees gathered at the heritage site in Clarence Esplanade, Southsea, to pay their respects as six new names were added to the memorial wall.

The names include former longstanding police officers who served the city, as well as veterans whose children would go on to serve in Hampshire Constabulary.

Arranged by the Portsmouth branch of the National Association of Retired Police Officers, the commemoration was ‘very, very important’ to loved-ones including Paul Donnellan, a branch member and former city police officer.

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Inspector Kelvin Shipp of Hampshire Constabulary addressed the gathering on Tuesday morning outside the D-Day Story museum in Southsea. Picture: Alex Shute

He attended to see two former colleagues, as well as his father and his step-father, honoured on the wall.

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He said: ‘It’s all very close to me. To add my father’s memorial brick on the same wall as (former colleagues and veterans Eddie Wallace and James Cramer) gives me a sense of pride. It’s very important indeed.

‘It started with the idea that we should put a brick in place for Inspector Cramer. And then someone said, ‘well, my dad was involved in D-Day’ – and it started from there.

‘This memorial is incredible. Because it’s not just about ‘the glorious dead’.

‘As Sergeant Wallace once said to me, ‘there is nothing glorious about being dead’. What we have forgotten is the people who served and came home, and what they gave. You could write a book from the experiences of our relatives.’

Among those paying tribute to their relatives was Marc Whitman, whose grandfather was a Hampshire police officer and a veteran glider pilot who served on D-Day, as well as campaigns in Italy and Burma.

Marc said: ‘I think it’s massively important. I try to teach my children about their grandfather’s exploits and what everyone went through so they could be here today and enjoy the way they live today.

‘It’s getting harder and harder with each year passes as more people leave us.’

The Normandy Memorial Wall now bears the names of Herbert ‘Eddie’ Wallace, James Cramer, Frederick Norman, Herbert MacDonald, Arthur Matthews, and Norman Thompson.

Names can be added to the wall with minimum donations of £100 for individual names or £500 for unit badge plaques to cover the cost of engraving, installation and maintenance.

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