Hero

All posts tagged Hero

Among the research for a history book I am currently writing, I happened upon an online news article from November 2011,  which outlined a campaign to raise funds to restore the neglected last resting place of a Great War pilot, and Military Cross and Légion d’Honneur recipient from Wrexham.

‘EX-POLICEMAN Wayne Cronin-Woyday is man on a mission. [sic].

He wants to secure the funds to restore the gravestone of a Wrexham war hero, a pioneer fighter pilot killed in the first world war in a tragic accident. Captain Arthur Henry Leslie Soames, 27, who won the Military Cross and the French Légion d’Honneur, died in 1915.

He was carrying out a ground test experiment at the Central Flying School and although behind a tree 90 yards away, a bomb he was working with exploded and he was hit by debris.

He was among the first pilots in raids on the Western Front in 1914 and it was stated that the impact of his death was such that the King wrote to his commanding officer asking about the circumstances of the incident.

Capt Soames’ gravestone is in the graveyard at All Saints’ Church, Gresford but the 93-year-old stone is laying down and is almost covered with grass.

“It is a pity really. he was a very brave man and being local his grave should, if possible, be restored, ” said Mr Cronin-Woydat.

“I’m not blaming anyone for the condition of the grave. Councils do get a small amount of money for the upkeep of official war graves, but Capt Soames was buried in a private family grave which does not qualify.

“Like so many families of that time, members have passed away and there is no one to see to them so I am looking for help in raising the money needed for the restoration.”

Capt Soames served as a 2nd Lieutenant with the Royal Welch Fusiliers and then the 3rd Kings Own Hussars before being transferred to 4 Squadron Royal Flying Corp which was posted to France before being posted to the Central Flying School.

The Soames family lived at Bryn Estyn Hall in Rhosnesni and Capt Soames’ father, Frederic, ran the Brewery in Wrexham, which eventually became Border Breweries, which was later taken over by Marstons,

The Soames family has links to lord Baden Powell, founder of the Scouting movement, and distant links to Winston Churchill.

The links to the Baden Powell family led to it paying for the original Scout hut in Rhosnesni.

Mr Cronin-Woydat lives with his wife, Joannah, in Gresford.

His grandparents were from Poland and Ukraine and both were taken by the Nazis during the Second World War and ended up in Italy. Due to Stalin’s purges, it was unsafe to return to their homelands so they came to this country.

Mr Cronin-Woydat joined North Wales Police in 1994, and before his retirement, served in Wrexham, Gresford and Gwersyllt.’

This article was of interest to me for two reasons; the first being that the Great War pilot was Captain Arthur Henry Leslie Soames, the eldest son of Frederic W. Soames, the Wrexham Brewer and businessman, and the man who built Bryn Estyn Hall in 1904, and secondly, the restored grave may have been able to offer additional information for the book.

A few days ago, I went to Gresford to view the grave, and as the following photographs show, the restoration appeal had either not been a great success, or Mr Cronin-Woyday, had lost interest, or was in some way, unable to undertake the task.

The grave itself was fairly easy to locate, but was badly neglected, the whole area was choked with ivy, weeds, grass and layers of accumulated dirt and rubbish, which quite obviously had not had any attention for what appeared to be decades.

As I was there anyway, I found the head groundsman, who was working on the other side of the churchyard, and sought permission to tidy it up a bit, as it was a shame to see the last resting place of not only a highly decorated war hero, but also a pioneer airman, who was one of the very first pilots to fly over occupied France at the start of the Great War, in such a state of neglect.

Something of a local historian himself, the groundsman was aware of the significance of the Soames name in Wrexham, but knew little about the grave other than it hadn’t, like so many others in the churchyard, been tended for many years, and nobody to his knowledge had shown any interest in it’s upkeep.

As it was a nice day, blazingly hot in fact, I spent the next few hours removing as much of the overgrowth as possible, with the intention of returning the next day with some tools, to clear away everything on and around the grave, and reveal the final resting place of Captain Arthur H.L. Soames MC, in it’s entirety.

After only a few minutes work, it soon became obvious, as I began to reveal more and more of the plot, that Captain Arthur H.L. Soames, had been buried alongside his Grandparents, Arthur and Anna Amelia Soames [Nee; Gilstrap].

After almost an hours work, and bearing in mind that I was only using my hands the clear the plot, from beneath a particularly dense accumulation of well established ivy and grass, another marble slab began to appear, this time on the left hand side of the main grave, which was in a far better state of preservation, due to it being completely buried under about four inches of earth and plant debris.

IN LOVING MEMORY OF

FREDERICK WILLIAM SOAMES

OF BRYN ESTYN, WREXHAM

BORN JUNE 2nd 1857

DIED MARCH 8th 1926

AND

JULIA MARY, HIS WIFE

BORN APRIL 13th 1858

DIED MARCH 24th 1940

ALSO THEIR BELOVED

GRANDSON

WILLIAM BERESFORD

NAIRN KINGTON

1909-1982

Capt R.W.F. T.D.

So what had first appeared to be, and was reported in the Wrexham Leader as being the grave of Captain Arthur Soames, following only a couple of hours work on my part, turned out to be not only the family burial plot of one of the most influential (and wealthy) industrialists in Wrexham’s history, but had been hidden from public view for the last 36 years!

I returned the next day as planned, and despite it pouring with rain most of the afternoon, managed to clear the remainder of the plot, revealing every aspect and detail, and to estimate what would be required to complete the restoration.

Rather surprisingly, despite the grave now being 126 years old, and being badly neglected for over three decades – very little work is now required to restore it to it’s former condition.

Which I hope to complete over the next few days.

One side of the decorative edging needs realigning and resetting on a new brick foundation, a weed discouraging membrane will be laid under a layer of ornamental stone chips, a small amount of tidying up to finish, and it should hopefully, with regular maintenance, assume its rightful status as a site of historical interest and remembrance for the town and people of Wrexham.

 

FIND A BURIAL

IN MEMORY OF ARTHUR HENRY LESLIE SOAMES

WREXHAM-HISTORY

 

*All Images © 2018 www.outlawjimmy.com*

On the 1st of February 2016, ex-soldier Wayne Dixon and his dog Koda set off from the Lancashire coast with the express aim of walking the entire coastline of Britain.

He will be travelling on foot the entire distance, and is already one year into his epic journey, and he estimates he will be travelling this way for at least another two years.

He is doing this in memory of his late father John L Dixon who suffered from Bipolar disorder for many years before he sadly passed away in September 2012.

Wayne had been having a tough time since his fathers passing and has now found himself in a position to achieve a life long ambition.

Although Wayne sees this journey as a healing process for himself, he is also using this opportunity to try and raise money and seek awareness for the Mental Health charity MIND with the aim of improving not only their essential services, but also improve people’s attitudes towards the large number of people who succumb to Mental Illness and become vulnerable as a result.

One more thing, Wayne is also picking up and clearing the mountains of litter he encounters along his entire journey.

A very worthy cause worth donating too.

WAYNE’S FUNDRAISER PAGE

The tenth in a series of real-life Outlaw Heroes

President José Mujica of Uruguay, a 78-year-old former Marxist guerrilla who spent 14 years in prison, mostly in solitary confinement, visited the United States in 2014 to meet with President Obama and speak at a variety of venues. 

He told Obama that Americans should smoke less and learn more languages. 

jose_mujica

He lectured a roomful of businessmen at the US Chamber of Commerce about the benefits of redistributing wealth and raising workers’ salaries. He told students at American University that there are no “just wars.” 

Whatever the audience, he spoke extemporaneously and with such brutal honesty that it was hard not to love the guy.

He lives simply and rejects the perks of the presidency. Mujica has refused to live at the Presidential Palace or have a motorcade. He lives in a one-bedroom house on his wife’s farm and drives a 1987 Volkswagen. “There have been years when I would have been happy just to have a mattress,” said Mujica, referring to his time in prison. He donates over 90% of his $12,000/month salary to charity so he makes the same as the average citizen in Uruguay. When called “the poorest president in the world,” Mujica says he is not poor. “A poor person is not someone who has little but one who needs infinitely more, and more and more. I don’t live in poverty, I live in simplicity. There’s very little that I need to live.”

He supported the nation’s groundbreaking legalisation of marijuana. “In no part of the world has repression of drug consumption brought results. It’s time to try something different,” Mujica said. So in 2014, Uruguay became the first country in the world to regulate the legal production, sale, and consumption of marijuana. The law allows individuals to grow a certain amount each year and the government controls the price of marijuana sold at pharmacies. The law requires consumers, sellers, and distributors to be licensed by the government. Uruguay’s experience aims to take the market away from the ruthless drug traffickers and treat drug addiction as a public health issue. Their experiment will have reverberations worldwide.

In August 2013, Mujica signed the bill making Uruguay the second nation in Latin America (after Argentina) to legalise gay marriage. He said that legalizing gay marriage is simply recognizing reality. “Not to legalise it would be unnecessary torture for some people,” he said. In recent years, Uruguay has also moved to allow adoption by gay couples and openly gay people to serve in the armed forces.

He’s not afraid to confront corporate abuses, as evidenced by the epic struggle his government is waging against the American tobacco giant Philip Morris. A former smoker, Mujica says that tobacco is a killer that needs to be brought under control. But Philip Morris is suing Uruguay for $25 million at the World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes because of the country’s tough smoking laws that prohibit smoking in enclosed public spaces and require warning labels, including graphic images of the health effects. Uruguay is the first Latin American country and the fifth nation worldwide to implement a ban on smoking in enclosed public places. Philip Morris, the largest cigarette manufacturer in the United States, has huge global business interests (and a well-paid army of lawyers). Uruguay’s battle against the tobacco Goliath will also have global repercussions.

He supported the legalisation of abortion in Uruguay (his predecessor had vetoed the bill). The law is very limited, compared to laws in the US and Europe. It allows abortions within the first 12 weeks of the pregnancy and requires women to meet with a panel of doctors and social workers on the risks and possible effects of an abortion. But this law is the most liberal abortion law in socially conservative, Catholic Latin America and is clearly a step in the right direction for women’s reproductive rights.

He’s an environmentalist trying to limit needless consumption. At the Rio+20 Summit in 2012, he criticized the model of development pushed by affluent societies. “We can almost recycle everything now. If we lived within our means – by being prudent – the 7 billion people in the world could have everything they needed. Global politics should be moving in that direction,” he said. He also recently rejected a joint energy project with Brazil that would have provided his country with cheap coal energy because of his concern for the environment.

He has focused on redistributing his nation’s wealth, claiming that his administration has reduced poverty from 37% to 11%. “Businesses just want to increase their profits; it’s up to the government to make sure they distribute enough of those profits so workers have the money to buy the goods they produce,” he told businessmen at the US Chamber of Commerce. “It’s no mystery–the less poverty, the more commerce. The most important investment we can make is in human resources.” His government’s redistributive policies include setting prices for essential commodities such as milk and providing free computers and education for every child.

He has offered to take detainees cleared for release from Guantanamo. Mujica has called the detention center at Guantanamo Bay a “disgrace” and insisted that Uruguay take responsibility to help close the facility. The proposal is unpopular in Uruguay, but Mujica, who was a political prisoner for 14 years, said he is “doing this for humanity.”

He is opposed to war and militarism. “The world spends $2 billion a minute on military spending,” he exclaimed in horror to the students at American University. “I used to think there were just, noble wars, but I don’t think that anymore,” said the former armed guerrilla. “Now I think the only solution is negotiations. The worst negotiation is better than the best war, and the only way to insure peace is to cultivate tolerance.”

He has an adorable three-legged dog, Manuela. Manuela lost a foot when Mujica accidentally ran over it with a tractor. Since then, Mujica and Manuela have been almost inseparable.
 
Mujica’s influence goes far beyond that of the leader of a tiny country of only 3 million people. In a world hungry for alternatives, the innovations that he and his colleagues are championing have put Uruguay on the map as one of the world’s most exciting experiments in creative, progressive governance.

“I’m Gonna Keep Fightin’ for What I Believe Is Right”

Twelve years ago today, December 22nd 2002, I took a phone call that told me that Joe Strummer had passed away. 

He was just fifty years old and had died suddenly of a rare heart condition while at home with his family in Broomfield, Somerset.

I lost something that day, Joe had been a constant companion in my life since the late 1970’s when I first heard ‘White Riot’ played in anger, I became a fan and have remained so ever since. I played every 7″ Single and Album I could afford to buy, to destruction – often having to replace some that had become so worn and scratched, that the arm on my ageing Record Player used to dance about on the surface skipping between the tracks. I knew every word to every song on every record and cassette I owned, and voraciously absorbed the passionate and heavily political messages contained in the lyrics.

This was Thatcher’s Britain, I was in Care and was as rebellious as any other teenage lad, but while most kids my age were sniffing glue and pretending to be robots with their idiotic dancing, Joe’s music spoke my language and had narrated my life thus far. 

I became interested in and deeply involved in politician activites, usually of the more radical and militant kind, as complacency was not in my vocabulary even then. 

I read ferociously , I educated myself, disappearing for weeks inside the works of Marx and Engels (may God forgive me), and becoming ever more aware of the world around me.

This continued after leaving care, I began to travel around the country, settling in London for a decade, and grabbing life by the scruff of the neck and shaking the life out of it. 

joe_strummer

I saw Joe and the Clash perform many, many times during those days, and I had the privilege of meeting him on three occasions. Twice while standing at the bar of the Marquee Club, and once when we briefly chatted as he was walking down Tottenham Court Road with his dog attached to the ubiquitous piece of string that served as a lead.

He always had time for people did Joe, always ready to give himself over while putting the world to rights over a drink or a spiff. He showed young people there were alternatives to the complacency, opportunism, greed and political apathy that dominated the culture of Britain. He was the face of rebellion, his resistance shone through in both his politics and his music and remains an enduring legacy to this day.

One song in particular, ‘Clampdown,’ affected me deeply. The song is a stark account of living and working in a capitalist society. It presents the contradictions that are made to make us believe that if only we work hard, don’t complain, and don’t rock the boat, we can get ahead. Look out for number one.

The song expressed the anxieties of working-class youth only fit for menial jobs, to become part of the state’s repressive apparatus, or to join one of the many extreme right-wing and ultra violent groups.

“You grow up and you calm down
You’re working for the clampdown
You start wearing the blue and brown
You’re working for the clampdown
So you got someone to boss around
It makes you feel big now
You drift until you brutalize
You made your first kill now”

So, many, many thanks for the music and the memories Joe, and for giving this angry, aimlessly drifting young man the inspiration to find himself.

Rest In Perfect Peace Joe.

“Authority is supposedly grounded in wisdom, but I could see from a very early age that authority was only a system of control and it didn’t have any inherent wisdom. I quickly realised that you either became a power or you were crushed”

*Originally published on the Outlaw – December 22nd 2012*

I have given the article linked below, ample time to filter onto the relevant blogs and social networks for a few days before commenting.

As expected, the Twitterati, (The domain of the Dumb and the home of the Demented) and the usual crop of blaggers have seen it and grabbed it with both hands, wholeheartedly believing it will finally put an end to decades of cover-ups and mis-information, and will eradicate the ever-present spectre of historic child abuse in this country.

 ‘Former children’s minister Tim Loughton and Conservative backbencher Zac Goldsmith are calling for a national inquiry into historical cases of child sex abuse. Goldsmith has co-ordinated a high-powered, cross-party group of seven MPs to sign a joint letter to Theresa May, home secretary, urging her to set up an independent panel to investigate repeated failures by police and other authorities in several cases.’

So, my question must be, do we really need yet another band of electioneering pseudo heroes, or just a single, honest, decent and transparent politician ?

This call for a national enquiry incidentally, followed closely the European Elections, where UKIP, unsurprisingly battered the mainstream parties.

The Liberal Democrats have also fallen spectacularly from grace, which could also prove very significant at some point.

The British Public are now, and quite rightly, completely disillusioned with mainstream Politics & Politicians in general, are desperate for change, and it’s a situation that is not looking like it will resolve itself anytime soon.

Then, from seemingly nowhere, seven cross-party political heroes ride into town, calling for yet another, albeit independent enquiry into historic childhood abuse.

Those who are understandably cynical, could argue that the timing could not have been better even if it had been planned that way.

THE ORIGINAL SEVEN:

magnificentseven2

Tom Watson and Simon Danczuk

TOM WATSON: The torchbearer of the seven, while at the same time being associated with Searchlight. He has also publicly denied knowing abuse victim-bashing David Rose, even though he sat on a Home Affairs Committee panel which questioned Rose. Watson has recently, also effectively discredited Ben Fellows, Bill Maloney & Chris Fay.

CONFUSION

SIMON DANCZUK: The incumbent Rochdale MP who has recently written a book about Cyril Smith & has been dangling the Parliamentary Privilege carrot before the slavering masses, despite the fact that MP’s have already been warned not to use it in case it jeopardises any future prosecutions.

magnificentseven3

Tim Laughton and Zac Goldsmith

TIM LOUGHTON: Ex Tory Child Minister. Sacked from the job in 2012 and in March 2013, it was revealed that Loughton had been investigated and interviewed under caution in relation to a complaint made under the Malicious Communications Act from a constituent.

ZAC GOLDSMITH: Tory Back Bencher/Journalist. In 2006 considered to be one of Camerons rising stars. Multi claims against him for expenses dipping etc. In 2012 said he’d quit his job if the Tories went ahead with building a third runway at Heathrow Airport.

magnificentseven4

John Hemmings and Tessa Munt

JOHN HEMMINGS: A vocal and highly visible champion of Berlinda McKenzie, [IRAN AID Charity Mystery], the suspiciously ever-present Sabine McNeill, and is also a business associate of ex-Jersey Senator Stuart Syvret. Known for his eccentricity and his well-documented love life, which boasts of at least 29 extra-marital affairs. He is not so well known, however, for being suspended from the Mumsnet website for publishing the personal details of some members, and also using the forum after he had been drinking.

TESSA MUNT: Claimed single persons council tax discount whilst living in a property with others, including a local GP, the broadcaster Andy Kershaw and the media adviser for the family of Madeleine McCann, the council cleared her of any wrong doing, but she still had to pay the money back.

Caroline Lucas

Caroline Lucas

CAROLINE LUCAS: Ex leader of the Green Party. Stood down as leader in 2012, “In order to broaden opportunities for the range of talent in the party and to raise the profiles of others aspiring to election”. Is attaching herself to this cause an attempt to raise her own profile ? She also declined to comment on questions put to her about Geo-Engineering (Chemtrails) which would ordinarily be a high priority issue for a supposed ‘Green’ MP and Environmental Campaigner.

Childhood Sexual Abuse is a current red-hot political potato, if you consider the numbers of politico’s and their associates, who’s names keep cropping up, again and again.

Can anyone remember Anne Clwyd MP’s call for a similar enquiry ?

CLWYD BE THEY NAME

‘Historic Childhood Abuse’, (the clue is in the name), is an issue which has been around long enough for anyone, let alone the nations’ moral guardians, to have been more than aware of, so would have had ample time and every opportunity to get behind.

Plus, unless you have been living on a secluded island for the last few years, a general election is less than a year away, which although there will be some who still refuse to see it, the announcement of this call for action is very significant.

Most of the previous child abuse investigations/enquiries, also appear to have been set up within two years leading up to a General Election.

An electioneering politician can be many things, one of those things, however, is certainly not being somebody with purely altruistic motives.

Not when there are votes to be had.

Do the people of this country really have such short memories ?

Does this picture ring any bells perhaps ?

magnificentseven6

That stark reflection of the urgency, or lack of, that was placed on this issue only a short while ago in the House of Commons, was certainly picked up on social networks and concerns were raised on the David Icke Forums too as I remember.

magnificentseven8So why the sudden turnaround ?

Why are these Internet Anti-Abuse ‘Warriors’ now attempting to persuade anyone who will listen, to “write to their MP’s to get them behind this issue as a priority” ?

I have even seen a self-titled “Anti-Political Writer and Anarchist” Tweeting the same message, over and over again, which surely poses it’s own questions.

And what kind of enquiry are they hoping to bring about ?

Another Waterhouse perhaps ?

Or a completely new, although not completely ‘Independent’ panel populated by establishment darlings like Esther Rantzen, Edwina Currie, David Rose, Daniel Finkelstein and maybe even the erstwhile Suzanne Nundy, AKA Anna Raccoon ?

As I see it now, around a third of this country are now so anti-establishment, they voted for right-wing, untested, political raiding parties, while the rest stood around bleating and muttering about the chaos and divisions created by the others.

Yet, a few days later, they are calling on the same people they do not trust to run their country, fully expecting them to deal with a highly emotive and delicate issue like childhood sexual abuse, and also with the required sensitivity and levels of professionalism expected.

Is that correct?

Because nothing would surprise me any more.

It’s about time that the people of this country decided what they really want from those, they blindly continue to elect and represent them.

Or even start to question, exactly how much establishment and political influence drives these particular online campaigns, and effectively permeate the more heavily populated social networks and Forums.

You may then get your answer.

But you will not like it, I can assure you of that.

It would also be wise to remember, that the ultimate victory the original seven Samurai enjoyed, relied heavily on the support and participation of the townspeople who’s own lives and children’s futures they were defending.

Can you, in all honesty see that happening in this country today ?