A new war memorial has been unveiled at Salford Royal to commemorate the night that the hospital suffered fatalities during the Manchester Blitz of Christmas 1940.
The plaque was fittingly designed by former veteran Richard McGillivray from the Ex Forces Action Network (EFAN), operated by the Cheshire & Greater Manchester Community Rehabilitation Company (CGM CRC).
A small memorial plaque near the A&E Entrance currently commemorates six members of staff who died when a German parachute mine hit the then Hope Hospital on 23 December 1940. The plaque is in an obscure location which most people fail to see. A few months ago Donna Harrison, the Trust’s Welfare Officer for the charity Defence Medical Welfare Service (DMWS), was approached by the hospital Chaplaincy to see if she could help relocate the plaque to a more appropriate place.
DMWS and the Ex Forces Action Network (EFAN), operated by CGM CRC, have come together to replace the memorial with a new, larger one to be sited in the gardens at Ladywell Building in time for Remembrance Sunday.
DMWS’s Isaac Smith who works for EFAN said: “Thanks to EFAN Service user Richard McGillivray, an Ex Lancashire Fusilier and former Salford resident, a fitting tribute has been designed to those who lost their lives. Rick also read a poem at the unveiling ceremony.”
A speech by Deputy Lieutenant of Greater Manchester Lieutenant Commander Kevin Heakin and a Service of Dedication by the Trust Chaplaincy formed part of the ceremony. Councillor Peter Conner, Ceremonial Mayor of Salford and Jim Potter, Chair of Salford Royal NHS Foundation attended. Hospital staff, veterans, other charities and locals who remember the ill-fated night also attended the unveiling of the memorial.
Dr Alan Brown, the son of George Brown, a surgeon, who at the time was Deputy Medical Superintendent at the hospital shared his memory: “I can still remember the sky being bright red due to the fires caused by the German incendiary bombs which would make a frightening sound whistling as they descended and then landing with a loud explosion.”
After the administrative section of the hospital was hit, killing several staff, his father George Brown worked tirelessly for the next two days operating continuously on the injured survivors. In 1960 his work during the Blitz was recognised and he received the award of the Honorary Freedom of the City of Salford.
The Ex-Forces Action Network, delivered with DMWS, is funded by the MOD’s Covenant Grant Fund, which itself forms part of the government’s long-term commitment to supporting projects designed to help veterans under the Armed Forces Covenant – the promise from the nation that those who serve or have served are treated fairly.