The twenty-six who lost their lives making Norfolk’s beaches safe

The twenty-six who lost their lives making Norfolk’s beaches safe

The warmth of the sun on your face. The relaxing sound of the shore and crashing waves. Excited children and happy dogs playing in the sand and surf.

You have probably enjoyed family outings to many of North Norfolk’s legendary beaches, but did you know that 26 men lost their lives making them safe for us?

A deadly legacy of landmines

Beginning in 1944 the military began removing British landmines that were laid across Britain’s coastline in response to the threat of wartime invasion.

For the next decade explosives specialists worked tirelessly to locate and neutralise mines on beaches from Great Yarmouth to Holkham. Items are still found today and cleared by Explosive Ordnance Disposal operatives from both the Navy and Army.

Clearing the mines is Incredibly dangerous work and tragically 26 bomb disposal personnel were killed on the job.


List of Casualties

SPR. Ernest Laud 20 Jan. 5th, 1944

L/Sgt. John Richards 33 Jan. 5th, 1944

Lt. Kenneth Perry 35 Jan. 5th, 1944

SPR Richard J Bennett. 23 Apr.24th, 1944

SPR Francis McMeechan 31 Aug. 29th, 1944

Cpl Amos Henshall 28 Dec. 5th, 1944

L/Corp Vincent R Goddard 24 Dec. 11th, 1944

SPR William Palin. 32 Dec. 11th, 1944

SPR Joshiah W Potter. 26 Dec. 17th, 1944

L/Sgt Thomas O’Donoghue 32 Jan. 18th, 1945

Cpl William Vaughan 29 Feb. 5th, 1945

L/Sgt Leslie G Holbrook 32 Feb. 5th, 1945

L/Cpl George W Sweetman 31 Feb. 5th, 1945

Cpl Thomas Campbell 34 Apr. 23rd, 1945

L/Cpl Albert H Harrison 35 Apr. 23rd, 1945

Cpl Sam Dougherty 45 May. 22nd, 1945

Cpl George Jones 28 May. 22nd 1945

Lt. Charles Shrimpton 25 Sept. 17th, 1945

Cpl Edward James Griffiths 30 Sept. 17th, 1945

Cpl Frank A Violet 39 Feb. 26th, 1946

SPR Arthur W Howsham. 22 June. 3rd 1946

Cpl Arthur F Rackett 22 July. 31st 1946

SPR Stanley J Sullivan 19 July. 31st 1946

SPR Kenneth Gilbert 23 July. 31st 1946

Sgt. Robert J O’Doherty 29 May. 6th 1953

Cpl Kenneth Braddock 21 May. 6th 1953


Time for a fitting memorial

In 2004 a memorial was commissioned for the first time after an appeal had been launched by former Bomb Disposal Officer, Noel Cashford. The tragic story of the twenty-six made national news and support for a permanent memorial on the Norfolk coast began to build.

Dedicated on 2nd May 2004 the focal point of the memorial is a 500kg German bomb case from the second world war, on a solid base of Norfolk flints.

Remembrance day 2021

Watsons is proud to support this special memorial in 2021 with sponsorship towards the upkeep of the memorial and plaques.

Simon Cavie, an ex-EOD operator working in Block and Estate Management at Watsons and a member of the memorial committee said:


“As it approaches, Remembrance Day is (for me at least) not only about honouring those unknown millions who died for this country, but also thinking on a personal level of all those friends and colleagues lost and injured in conflicts, or otherwise, down the years and thinking “There but for the grace of God…”


A short wreath-laying service will take place on Remembrance Sunday 14th November, 12 PM at The Green, Beach Road, Mundesley.

During the service, all twenty-six names will be called by representatives of the 33 Royal Engineer Regiment (Explosives Ordnance Disposal) from Carver Barracks, Saffron Walden.

The event is free to attend, and all are welcome. Pay-and-display parking is available across the road from the memorial.



Further Reading:

Bomb disposal memorial appeal, BBC

Plea to honour heroes who cleared mines, EDP

War memorials register, IWM

Evan Thomas

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