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VE Day Celebrations 2020

USHAW DURING THE WAR CASUALTIES There is no WW2 Memorial at Ushaw, but there were casualties.  The following list may not be complete:  the dates in brackets are the dates when each man was at Ushaw:- Richard Wilson (1922-25) - RAF, killed on active service 27th or 28th October 1939 Lt Alfred Wood (1929) - Army, killed on active service in the Middle East 8th October 1941 Frederick Charlton (1924-29) - RAF, died 23rd October 1941 John Dunne (1929-34) - RAMC, killed in action in Hong Kong 18th December 1941 Herbert M Denney (1924-25) - killed in action 23rd July 1942 Thomas P Smith (1930-34) - missing presumed killed 15th October 1942 Dennis Denville (1932) - missing presumed killed 15th October 1942 Lt Thomas Ronchetti (1931-35) - RAF, died 1943 Graham Bush (1928-33) - presumed killed on active service 17th June 1943 Bernard Boulton RN (1935-39) - killed in action off Capri in a German attack on a British submarine, 21st April 1943 Gerard Storey (1921-28) - killed in action July 1943 William New (1929-31) - killed in action August 1943 Thomas Hope (1933-34) - killed on active service 29th September 1943 Maurice Aungier (1938) - killed in action 28th December 1943 John Clifford Jacobson (1939-41) - died on active service in a Naval Hospital, aged 17, 1943 Vincent Hurson (1935-39) - killed in action 1943 Sqn Ldr Patrick Haggerty DFC (1925-32) - missing presumed killed 1943 Rev James O'Callaghan, CF (Chaplain to the Forces) (1935-39) - killed in action in Burma 1944 Rev Bernard Benson CF (1927-37) - died of wounds 1st November 1944 Rev Thomas Brennan CF (taught maths at Ushaw 1939-40) - missing presumed killed 1st December 1944 Harold Condron (1921-27) - killed in action in Greece December 1944 John McGorrey (1937-40) - died of wounds December 1944 LIFE AT USHAW DURING THE WAR A number of the staff were trained as ARP wardens, and there were drills with gas masks before the war broke out.  When the students got back to Ushaw after the summer holidays in September 1939 "Ushaw was sufficiently blacked out to enable us to carry on in a more or less normal manner.  Altogether some 250 black cloth frames have been made for our windows.  The college chapel and that in the Junior House presented greatest difficulty, as a blocking of their windows was most impracticable.  Three very subdued lights were all that were possible in St. Cuthbert's and night prayers are now read in well-nigh complete darkness."  (Ushaw Magazine December 1939)  The chapel windows were finally blacked out properly in December 1940. The cellars were used as air raid shelters, both under the Junior House and the College.  It was reported that the whole college could be under shelter within 4 minutes of a warning.  Over the months the cellars were gradually made more comfortable, and in 1940 the Bishop gave permission for Mass to be said in the cellars.   Meanwhile, the divines and philosophers, aided by a few of the professors, were "digging for victory", establishing allotments in the walled garden.  Many of them were also having to make their own beds, and clean rooms and dormitories, as it became increasingly hard to hire domestic staff. VISITORS TO USHAW There was a proposal to use Ushaw as a hospital during the War, but on inspection the layout of the College was deemed to be not suitable.  However, after the evacuation from Dunkirk, the College was asked to provide accommodation for military officers arriving back in the UK.  About 150 officers stayed in all, up to 45 on any one night.  They had rooms in the Infirmary and the East Dormitory and used the Professors' Parlour as their mess.  The same accommodation was used again in 1940 for a retreat for 36 army chaplains, and 5 temporary altars were set up in the chapels for them to use to say Mass each day. In the summer of 1944, Ushaw was host to 50 Polish boys from the Polish Aircraft Apprentices Squadron.  They stayed for 3 weeks for a holiday and retreat, and slept in the Infirmary wards, using the Infirmary Hall as their refectory. SPORT DURING THE WAR Cat continued to be played during the war, thanks to a special licence granted to the college authorities to source the wood to make cat sticks, despite war-time restrictions.   There was some disruption to golf, as anti-tank defence posts made from tree trunks were installed on the golf course. There were visiting football teams from local army camps, with matches against the older boys.  In March 1943 the College Magazine reported that "since the Army football game reported in the last issue, we have again on two occasions met Army teams and the Ushaw football XI, in spite of these frequent military assaults, still remains unbeaten" - even though the Army team apparently included men who, before being called up, had played for QPR, Bolton and Manchester United. The unbeaten record did not last:  Ushaw were beaten once before the end of the war. THE END OF THE WAR In June 1944 there was much jubilation at the news that Rome had been liberated, and a playday was announced. There were further celebrations on 8th May 1945 for VE Day, and the flag was flown from the roof of the College.


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Address: Ushaw: Historic House, Chapels & Gardens, near Durham City  DH7 9RH
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