The 29 forgotten heroes of a city
Their names are not carved on the city's Cenotaphs like their brothers in arms who fell in the First and Second World Wars. But they too paid the ultimate price for serving their country. The theatres of conflict where they died came after 1945 - Palestine, Korea, Suez, Malaysia, the streets of Northern Ireland, and Afghanistan.
But all 29 had links to the towns which make up the borough of Salford. They were either born in the city, lived or worked there, or are buried there. An 18-year-old died in one of the most savage battles of the Korean War in a brutally cold winter 72 years ago.
Seven were killed while serving during The Troubles in Northern Ireland; and two in Afghanistan. Now, finally, thanks to one man's determination, there will be a permanent memorial to them. Their names and regiments will be embossed on a new plaque to be erected on a wall behind the existing Cenotaph in Swinton town centre.
The victory comes a decade after Salford council first promised a review into how to remember every Salford soldier killed in conflict since 1945 after a plaque was installed in Irlam's Prince's Park to honour Fusilier Simon Annis, 22, who died in Afghanistan in 2009.
Eight years ago, Glenn Croston, of Salford Veterans Association, met with a council officer. "I asked if there was a memorial to service men and women who had died post 1945 in action. He said there wasn't but gave me a copy of names he had obtained from the MOD. I did more research by contacting the regiments who were extremely helpful, as were Salford Registry Office.Army veteran, Glenn Croston who has won his eight year campaign for a memorial to 29 Salford soldiers (Image: Anthony Moss | Manchester Evening News)
"I asked if there could be a monument to these men but was told by the council that due to the Swinton Development Plan which is still being considered they could not erect a memorial.
As a compromise a wall already exists behind the Cenotaph and the plaque will go on that. It will cover 14ft and there will be room if others need to be added later.The wall behind Swinton cenotaph on which a plaque in honour of 29 Salford soldiers will be installed (Image: Anthony Moss | Manchester Evening News)
"As a former serviceman from Salford myself, it would give me a great sense of satisfaction to see these guys on a single memorial in Salford and pride in being the one to drive it forward after it was left on the shelf for so long. I first got involved at the back end of 2014 and worked on the research for several months before the initial list was agreed on and submitted to the Mayor's office.
"We produced our own memorial to the 29 for Salford Veterans Breakfast Club at The Magdalene Centre (in Winton) before Covid and the unveiling of that was subsequently delayed but we were able to get City Mayor, Paul Dennett to that event and things have pushed on from there."The cenotaph at Swinton (Image: Anthony Moss | Manchester Evening News)
One of the names on the plaque will be Warrant Officer Philip Arthur Cross, of the Royal Medical Corps. He was born in Cross Lane in Salford on January 28th, 1958. His family lived on Chapel Street and he attended Clarendon Secondary Modern, where he became Head Boy.
On leaving school, he worked on Salford Market in Pendleton before joining the RAMC Apprentice College in 1973. After passing out from the college, he rose through the ranks and had various postings between the UK and Germany before he was posted to the Military Wing of Musgrave Park Hospital in West Belfast. On November 2nd 1991 an IRA active service unit got into a service tunnel linking children's wards and the Military Wing of the hospital.
A 20lb semtex bomb was planted against security doors. It exploded in the afternoon as patients watched a rugby match on TV in a recreation lounge. Warrant Officer Cross was killed alongside another soldier.
He was married with two children.Warrant Officer Philip Arthur Cross of the Royal Army Medical Corps. The father-of-two from Salford was killed by an IRA bomb planted in a hospital
Another to be recognised will be Staff Sergeant Leslie Bourne. He was born in Monton, Eccles, on 12th December 1934 and grew up there.
His family lived in Lansdowne Road and he later attended Winton Senior School. On leaving school, he worked for an engineering company before joining the Army, enlisting with the Royal Engineers in 1951. After completing his basic training, he served in Tidworth, Hohne in Germany and the Gilbert and Ellis Islands, rising through the ranks before he was despatched to Aden, where he was killed on 5 October 1964.
He was married with two children.Staff Sergeant Leslie Bourne, from Monton, Eccles, who was killed while serving in Aden in 1964
Lance Corporal Graham Lee was tragically killed just few days after arriving for his second tour of duty in Northern Ireland. He was born in Hope Hospital, Salford, on January 9th 1957 and grew up in Kersal. He attended Lower Kersal Primary and then Cromwell Secondary School in Broughton.
On leaving school, he worked for the Daily Express until joining the Army and enlisting in to the Royal Pioneer Corps in 1978. After completing basic training, he served in Malta and was on his second tour of Northern Ireland when he was killed in Castle Dillon in County Armagh on 22 August 1980. He was single.Lt Corporal Graham Lee from Salford who was killed just a few days after arriving for a tour of duty in Northern Ireland
Teenager John Lewin Graham fought in one of the most infamous battles of the Korean War in remote terrain and sub-zero temperatures.
Born in Hightown, Salford, on December 21st 1931, he attended Marlborough Road Primary and then North Salford Secondary Modern. On leaving school at 14, he worked with a local plumber until he enlisted in to the Royal Marines in 1949 aged 17. After completing his basic training in Deal, he was sent to Plymouth to complete his Commando training.
He was then posted to Malaya but, en route, in October 1950, the Korean War began and he was taken off HMS Devonshire at Singapore and flown with other Royal Marines to Camp McGill near Yokosuka in Japan for training with the US Army for possible deployment in Korea instead. He took part in the Inchon landings and numerous amphibious assaults on the Chinese lines. He was killed at Chosin Reservoir during a brutal winter battle on November 29th 1950, aged 18.Marine John Lewin Graham, who was killed, aged 18, during a fierce battle in North Korea in 1950
Lance Corporal Ivano Violino, 29, from Salford.
He died when the truck in which he was travelling triggered a Taliban-planted mine in Helmand province, Afghanistan. Cpl Violino, 20 Field Squadron, 36 Engineer Regiment, was in a convoy travelling near to the town of Gereshk, when the explosion rocked his FL12 dump truck. He was pronounced dead on arrival at Camp Bastion following the blast on September 17, 2007.
He too will be remembered in the new memorial.Lance Corporal Ivano Violino, who was killed while serving with the British Army in Afghanistan
Another victim of the Afghan war was Fusilier Simon Annis from Irlam. He married his sweetheart, Caroline, just a month before he was sent to Afghanistan. His funeral was held at the same church, St John The Baptist Church in Irlam, where they wed.
He died as he tried to save his section commander following an explosion near Sangin in Helmand province in August 2009. His mother, Ann, from Cadishead, campaigned successfully for his name to be put on a plaque in Irlam. The young soldier was killed along with two other members of the 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.Ann and Pete Annis, next to the grave of their son, Fusilier, Simon Annis (Image: Lee Boswell)
.City Mayor Paul Dennett praised Glenn for his vision and determination to see the new memorial become a reality.
He said: "Glenn approached the council about a dedicated community garden in the sunken gardens next to Swinton Cenotaph. It will be a fitting tribute to all our armed forces heroes lost in conflicts around the world. We were delighted to give him our backing and we are continuing to work together to make this happen.
"I hope that the space will create a private area for families, friends and the community to reflect and say a quiet thank you to all our brave men and women who protect our country no matter when or where they serve." Glenn 60, was born in Hope Hospital and grew up in Swinton after his father left the Army in 1968. He attended St Peter's Primary and then Pendlebury High School on Sefton Road.A walled area next to Swinton cenotaph where eight benches will be installed to honour the eight men from Salford who were awarded the Victoria Cross (Image: Anthony Moss | Manchester Evening News)
He joined the Army in February 1980 aged 17 and served for nine and a half years in the Royal Army Pay Corps, leaving in the rank of Sergeant.
He served in the UK, West Germany, Northern Ireland, Hong Kong, Ethiopia and Canada. He left the Army to join the Met Police in July 1989. Glenn said: "I shouldn't really be having to do this.
It should have been done years ago. These lads have gone overseas to serve their country and died." The 29 whose names will be on the plaque are:
- Sgt Alan Hancock RE Palestine 1948
- Pte Robert Darby RAOC Malaya 1949
- Pte Dennis Higgins Gordon Highlanders, Malaya 1949
- Mne John Graham RM Korea 1950
- Cpl Edward Wheeler RUR Korea 1951
- 2 Lt John Maycock GLOSTERS Korea 1951
- Pte William Roberts GLOSTERS Korea 1951
- Pte Edward McGibbon MANCHESTERS Malaya 1951
- Mne James Chadwick RM Malaya 1951
- Fus Ronald Eardley RNF Korea 1951
- Cfn Brian Hitchen REME Malaya 1952
- Pte Thomas Traynor MANCHESTERS Malaya 1952
- Cfn James Glass REME Korea 1952
- Pte Colin Jones RAMC Suez 1953
- Spr Arnold Ashcroft RE Korea 1953
- WOII David Robinson RASC, Cyprus 1959
- SSGT Leslie Bourne RE Aden 1964
- LCpl Ronald Smith RE Aden 1965
- Gunner Robert Cutting RA N.
- Kgn David Owen KINGS N. Ireland 1975
- Cpl Donald Traynor RRF N. Ireland 1976
- Cpl Leonard Jones PARA N.
- LCpl Graham Lee RPC N. Ireland 1980
- Fus Alexander Bunney RRF Kuwait 1991
- WOII Philip Arthur Cross RAM N. Ireland 1991
- Rfn Christopher William's RGJ N.
- LCpl Anthony Claire RLC Bosnia 1997
- LCpl Ivano Violino RE Afghanistan 2007
- Fus Simon Annis RRF Afghanistan 2009
Glenn has contacted families of 16 of the 29 soldiers but is still hoping to reach others before the plaque is unveiled in November, so they can attend a ceremony. Many may be eligible for the Elizabeth Cross, given to the recognised next of kin of members of the British Armed Forces killed in action or as a result of a terrorist attack after the Second World War. The Salford Veterans Association raised GBP6,000 and the council contributed GBP2,500 towards a new memorial garden.
Asda in Swinton donated GBP1,500. New benches will commemorate Salford's eight Victoria Cross holders - Lance Serjeant Joseph Woodall, Sergeant Joseph Lister, Private William Norman and Private Henry George Crandon; Rifleman William Mariner; Private Jack White; Lieutenant Cecil William Buckley; and Sergeant Joseph Malone. A covered lectern will contain a biography on each.
Four new flagpoles have already been put in place and are displaying the armed services flags. Glenn said: "In addition to the benches for the VC holders the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers are paying for three benches for Fusiliers who are among the 29, and the families of two of the others are paying for two more benches in their honour." Councillors Margaret Morris and Barry Warner are armed forces champions at Salford City Council.
Councillor Morris said: "We are proud to work with the Salford Veterans Association to provide this memorial garden and community space. It will be an important space for our armed forces community and we'd like to thank them for all they do for us."Councillor Barry Warner (Image: Anthony Moss | Manchester Evening News)
Councillor Warner, himself an army veteran, added: "When the memorial garden is opened we will have a fitting ceremony. Our fallen heroes will never be forgotten."
According to Ministry of Defence figures since the end of World War II, 7,145 UK Armed Forces personnel have died as a result of Operations in medal earning theatres. The largest number of deaths among UK Armed Forces personnel in one Operation was the loss of 1,443 lives in Malaya between 16 June 1948 and 31 July 1960. The second largest number of deaths occurred as a result of Operations in Northern Ireland, where 1,441 UK Armed Forces personnel died between 14 August 1969 and 31 July 2007 .The third largest number of UK Armed Forces deaths as a result of a medal earning Operation was the United Nations led campaign in Korea between 27 June 1950 and 27 July 1954 which resulted in the loss of 1,129 UK Armed Forces personnel.
A total of 454 UK Armed Forces personnel have died as a result of Operations in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2021. During the Falklands War in 1982, 258 British personnel were killed. Any relatives of the 29 wishing to contact Glenn can do so on 07932488390.
The new plaque will be unveiled at 11am on November 1st.