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Posted by Don Scott on March 14, 2019, 1:39 pm
I thought I might add this photograph on the Board of Robert (Bob) Wilkinson Kirtley of Brancepeth Road, Hebburn Colliery. It was taken on board HMS Suffolk at Shanghai c.1935/36 and he is the man standing. I have no information on the man seated. At this time the Japanese Army was in occupation of large areas of China but Shanghai must have been relatively safe.
Petty Officer (Stoker) R.W.Kirtley died on board HMS Penelope in 1944 when it was sunk off the west coast of Italy. His brother, William Oswald Kirtley, Royal Signals, also died in 1944 as a POW of the Japanese in Singapore. Both of these men were the only sons of John Wilkinson and Elizabeth Oswald Kirtley, the people who brought me up in Arthur Street. At the age of six I witnessed the trauma of it all but it did not stop there. I caught my 'nana' quietly weeping on many occasions throughout the following years up to her death in the early 1970s. Those who die instantly in war, do not suffer the agony of lingering grief that destroyed her soul.
Recommended Local History websites.
www.oldtyneside.co.uk www.gatesheadeast.co.uk, www.donmouth.co.uk and www.hebburn.org