RCCS WW2 Cairn - United Kingdom

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WW2 RCCS Memorial Cairn
1 CSRU Monument UK 1945 (1).jpg
For members of the Royal Canadian Signals who served overseas during World War II
Unveiled: 26 July 1945
Country: United Kingdom
Location: Southwood/Blandford Camp

WWII Cairn - Southwood/Blandford Camp, UK (original)

On 26 July 1945 Major General E.G. Weeks unveiled a cairn at entrance to Southwood Camp in Cove, Farnborough, Hampshire. The camp, which had been occupied since June 1940, was home to the 1st Canadian Signals Reinforcement Unit. No. 1 Canadian Signals Reinforcement Unit (C.S.R.U.) was the first English home for thousands of reinforcements arriving from Canada. It was used as the depot for all signalmen discharged from hospital; the training camp for drafts being sent to field units; the base at which several Canadian Signals units were mobilized; and the examining authority which granted trades pay to qualified technicians. Following the war, Southwood Camp was given over to the Royal Engineers and on 18 June 1975, looking for a more appropriate location for the Canadian Cairn, it was moved from Southwood Camp to Blandford Camp, Dorset. Blandford has served as a communication site as early as 1806 when a Murray Shutter Telegraph Station was located at Telegraph Clump to connect the Admiralty with the South Coast naval bases. It is now considered home of the British Signal Corps. The cairn's new site was originally Roosevelt Gardens, a United States memorial, which was designed constructed by a US soldier at the time when the Camp was occupied by the US General Hospital during the Second World War.

WWII Cairn - Blandford Camp, UK (rebuilt)

Major Paul Rutherford beside the new Cairn.
Dedication ceremony (from left to right) are: Maj J. Drummond, Mr. H. Robinson, Mr. V. Hayes, Major M. Lilienthal, Col C. LeGallais OBE, BGen W.S. Richard, Mr. Pearce Mercer, Mr. William Marshall, Mr. Terry Greenslade, Mr. Hawkins, LCol T. Canham, Padre G. Hadfield.

In July 1997, the very kind permission was given to move the Cairn from its location at the back of Roosevelt Gardens to a very prominent position on Hawke Parade Square, beside the Royal Signals Corps Memorial. Initial attempts to transport the Cairn failed due to its design and weakening of the structure over time. The decision was then made by the Canadian Exchange Officer, Major Paul Rutherford, to proceed with the construction of a new cairn from Portland stone - a stone which comes from Dorset and in fact, used in the construction of Buckingham Palace. The accoutrements of the original Cairn were then affixed. This work was accomplished with funding from The Signaller's Club of Canada, the Communications and Electronics Branch, the Communications and Electronics Association, and 11 Signal Regiment of the Royal School of Signals. On 8 November a ceremony was held for the rededication of the Canadian Cairn in its new location on Hawke Parade Square. The ceremony, organized by the new Canadian Exchange Officer, Major Jeff Drummond, was attended by the Branch Leader, Brigadier-General W.S. Richard, a number of Canadian veterans now living in England and several serving and retired signallers from Canada.

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Monument uk blandford new textplaque.jpg

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Photos and text from Maj Paul Rutherford's and Maj Jeff Drummond's article in C&E Newsletter Volume 37.