Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence

Lest We Forget
British Legion
The Royal British Legion


During World War II steps were taken to protect the United Kingdom from invasion. The immediate point of entry were the coastal areas surrounding. Winston Churchill ordered that these be mined to protect from this threat. As the mines were laid so they were mapped for removal at a later date; as the war progressed, through one reason or another, these maps were lost. When the threat of invasion became less likely, around 1944, the order was given to clear the mines that had been laid allowing the population to return to the coastal areas. Without the maps the taks became an immense and dangerous undertaking and with the movements of the tidal flows the mines themselves had moved also. The only method available was to searh for these mines and destroy them but in several cases it destroyed the searcher before he could destroy it.

The clearance of mines, started in 1944, went for many years after the end of the war. For many years bomb disposal crews could be found clearing mines from the region's beaches; 26 of them lost their lives as they painstakingly prodded the sands for hidden explosives. Ironically the mines that blew them up were British – making them victims of friendly fire.

In the spring (2004) a memorial will be unveiled on a Norfolk clifftop to the men who died clearing the land mines between Yarmouth and Holkham during 1944-53. The former bomb disposal officer behind the idea, Noel Cashford, says: “They were heroes.” “So you had to lie on your tummy, poking a 2ft-long rod into the ground. If you hit something, you had to clear all around the mine, put a pin back in its safety device and remove it.”

But sometimes the 45lb, 14inch diameter explosives went off. The case which first caught Mr Cashford's interest was a mine at Corton near Lowestoft being dealt with by two fellow Navy bomb disposal men. A young American, John Howard, was helping experienced Lt Cmdr Roy Edwards with the task when they came across a tight plate on a mine. Attempts to prise it off using a bit of driftwood explode it, killing the 48-year-old Navy man and 24-year-old ensign, who was soon to be married.

“In another part of the country two men were clearing mines in a fenced off area when a dog wriggled under the wire, came running towards them and stood on a mine. It blew him up, and the debris which fell down set off six more mines killing the men,” Noel Cashford recalled.

The New Memorial

Mr (Lieutenant) Cashford, from Derbyshire and now in his eighties, was disgusted to find that there were no memorials within Norfolk to honour these men, and the work that they had done. He set about the task of honouring them in the form of a memorial to be placed on the clifftop at Mundesley on 2nd May 2004. He has also reseached the names of those who died performing this thankless task. A 1000lb bomb case with plaques bearing all their names will be unveiled at a ceremony to be attended by civic leaders and relatives. Although 17 relatives are already pledging to come, Mr Cashford is still trying to track down yet more. He is also raising funds for the project, and has attracted some donations from giving talks about mine clearance which demonstrate how precarious the process can be.

Lt Cashford walks away after making safe a mine in 1945

Photograph Copyight © Lynda Smith 2004

Anyone wanting to make a donation, or who can help with family contacts, can phone
Mr Cashford on 01629 823179, or e-mail

There is also the 33 EOD MSN web site, set up by the RE webmaster

Those Who Gave Their Lives

Forenames Surname
Great Yarmouth
5 January 1944
Ernest LAUD
Sapper 14261723, 4 Bomb Disposal Company, Royal Engineers. Son of Walter and Frances E. Laud, of Hull. Buried in HULL NORTHERN CEMETERY, Hull. Compt. 303. Grave 28.
Lance Sergeant 1879024, 4 Bomb Disposal Company, Royal Engineers. Son of John and Ann Richards, of Halberton; husband of Dorothy Richards, of Fleetwood, Lancashire. Buried in North-West part of ST. ANDREW CHURCHYARD, HALBERTON, Devon. Grave E.274.
    Kenneth PERRY
Lieutenant 248668, Royal Engineers. Buried in ST. NICHOLAS CHURCHYARD, WITHERNSEA, Yorkshire. Grave 70.
17 September 1945
Charles Leonard SHRIMPTON
Lieutenant 312216, Royal Engineers. Son of Charles and Ester Winnifred Shrimpton, of Port Talbot. Awarded the Member of the British Empire (MBE). Buried in ST. MARY CHURCH CEMETERY, ABERAVON, Glamorganshire, Wales. Row 7. Grave 10.
    Edward James GRIFFITHS
Corporal 2068508, 4 Bomb Disposal Company, Royal Engineers. Son of Thomas and Mary Griffiths, of Birkenhead. Buried in LANDICAN CEMETERY, BIRKENHEAD. Roman Catholic Section 5. Grave 178.
3 June 1946
Sapper 14904618, 4 Bomb Disposal Company, Royal Engineers. Son of Percy and Florence Howsham; husband of Eileen Florence Howsham, of Bowes Park, Middlesex. Buried in CAISTER CEMETERY, GREAT YARMOUTH, Norfolk. Sec. M. Grave 865.
26 February 1945
Frank Albert VIOLET
Corporal 14625456, 4 Bomb Disposal Company, Royal Engineers. Son of Frank and Dorothy Violet, of Highgate, Middlesex; husband of Gwenfron W. Violet, of Highgate. Awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM). Buried in HIGHGATE CEMETERY, London. Square 70. Grave 48753.
23 April 1945
Corporal 2128803, 4 Bomb Disposal Company, Royal Engineers. Son of Thomas and Elizabeth Campbell; husband of Christina Walker Campbell, of Shieldhill. Buried in POLMONT CHURCHYARD, GRANGEMOUTH, Stirlingshire, Scotland. Section E. Grave 242.
31 July 1946
Arthur Frederick RACKETT
Corporal 14786454, 4 Bomb Disposal Company, Royal Engineers. Son of Frederick Charles and Winifred May Rackett, of Cowes; husband of Stella Daphne Rackett, of East Cowes. Buried in KINGSTON CEMETERY, COWES, Isle of Wight. Section E. Grave 509.
23 April 1945
Lance Corporal 2118257, 4 Bomb Disposal Company, Royal Engineers. Son of Albert Victor and Alice Harrison, of Norwich; husband of Charlotte Jane Harrison, of Aylestone, Leicester. Buried in NORWICH CEMETERY, Norfolk. Section 54. Grave 162.
22 May 1945
Corporal 7018180, 4 Bomb Disposal Company, Royal Engineers. Son of Samuel and Elizabeth Dougherty; husband of Annie Dougherty, of Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh. Buried in LISBURN CEMETERY, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Section A. Friends Ground. Grave 28.
    George H JONES
Corporal 97000916, 4 Bomb Disposal Company, Royal Engineers. Son of Evan David and Ellen Jones; husband of Eileen Gladys Jones, of Bevendean. Buried in BEAR ROAD BOROUGH CEMETERY, BRIGHTON, Sussex. Section Z.F.U. Grave 30.
31 July 1945
Stanley James SULLIVAN
Sapper 14037169, 4 Bomb Disposal Company, Royal Engineers. Son of Stanley James Sullivan and Mary Sullivan, of Pontypool. Buried in ST. CADOC CHURCHYARD, TREVETHIN, Monmouthshire, Wales. Plot A. Row 3 Grave 10.
    Walter Kenneth GILBERT
Sapper - no further information currently - not listed on CWGC
5 February 1945
Corporal 1903909, 4 Bomb Disposal Company, Royal Engineers. Son of Joseph and Agatha Vaughan, of Holloway. Bath; husband of Margaret E. Vaughan, of Fairfield Park, Bath. Awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM). Buried in HAYCOMBE CEMETERY, BATH, Somerset. Plot 28. Section F. Row A. Grave 295,
    Leslie George HOLBROOK
Lance Sergeant 2057819, 4 Bomb Disposal Company, Royal Engineers. Son of George Samuel and Agnes Holbrook, of Crumlin. Buried in ABERCARN CEMETERY, Monmouthshire, Wales. Section 14. Row 28. Grave 6.
    George William SWEETMAN
Lance Corporal 1895867, 4 Bomb Disposal Company, Royal Engineers. Son of Albert Charles and Emily Sweetman, of Hammersmith. Buried in HAMMERSMITH NEW CEMETERY, Surrey. Plot 14. Section C. Grave 287.
11 December 1944
Vincent Reginald GODDARD
Lance Corporal 2196874, 4 Bomb Disposal Company, Royal Engineers. Son of John Thomas Goddard and Alice Goddard; husband of Berenice Goddard, of Cefn-Hengoed, Hengoed. Buried in HENGOED WELSH BAPTIST CHAPELYARD, Glamorganshire, Wales. Grave 200.
    William PALIN
Sapper 1941239, 4 Bomb Disposal Company, Royal Engineers. Son of James and Elizabeth Palin; husband of Lena May Palin, of Cadishead. Buried in ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST CHURCHYARD EXTENSION, IRLAM, Lancashire. Section R. Grave 62.
6 May 1953
Sergeant - no further information currently
    Kenneth BRADDOCK
Corporal - no further information currently
18 January 1945
Lance Sergeant 2090444, 4 Bomb Disposal Company, Royal Engineers. Husband of Mary Josephine O'Donoghue, of Kirkdale, Liverpool. Buried in FORD ROMAN CATHOLIC CEMETERY, LIVERPOOL, Merseyside. Section A. H. Grave 45.
24 April 1944
Richard John BENNETT
Sapper 1944481, 250 Field Company, Royal Engineers. Son of Robert and Evelyn Mary Bennett, of Weymouth. Buried in Central part, South of main path in MORETON CHURCH CEMETERY, Dorset.
29 August 1944
Francis McAlpine McMEECHAN
Sapper 14634726, 22 Bomb Disposal Company, Royal Engineers. Son of Mr. and Mrs. George McMeechan; husband of Phyllis May McMeechan, of Walworth, London Buried in KING'S LYNN CEMETERY, King's Lynn, Norfolk. Section Q. Grave 549.
5 December 1944
Corporal 1877723, 4 Bomb Disposal Company, Royal Engineers. Son of Amos Edwin and Elizabeth Henshall, of Chester. Buried in New Portion of CHESTER GENERAL CEMETERY, Cheshire. Grave 1694.
17 December 1944
Sapper 1879217, 4 Bomb Disposal Company, Royal Engineers. Son of A. W. Potter and Lavinia E. Potter, of Islington, London. Buried in ISLINGTON CEMETERY, (Middlesex) London. Section O. Block 10. Grave 21803P.

5 September 2004

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