Gun battery memorial set to be officially recognised

Volunteer Wally Stewart (left) with Wing Commander Milsom when  the plaque on the memorial was unveiled.
Volunteer Wally Stewart (left) with Wing Commander Milsom when the plaque on the memorial was unveiled.

A cherished war memorial in Hartlepool is on the brink of being officially recognised by the North East War Memorials Project.

The Bofors Regiment Memorial at the Heugh Battery Museum is just one step away from receiving the honour after being approached by the association.

Museum volunteer Wally Stewart, 75, helped bring the memorial - a 1950s Bofors 40-70 gun - to the battery on Hartlepool’s Headland, from RAF Spadeadam, in Cumbria, in November 2011.

Mr Stewart served in the Royal Air Force Regiment for 22 years from 1966 to 1988, as a flight sergeant.

He worked on one of the guns which would have been a low-level air defence weapon, firing four rounds a second.

Mr Stewart said it would mean a lot to people for the memorial to be officially recognised.

He said: “It is a really important piece of military history.

“It was made in the Royal Armouries in Nottingham in 1953 and first went out to service about that time, although not necessarily with the RAF regiment straight away.

“The more people that see it the better.

“It has been at the battery for five years and three years ago I helped make it viewable.

“It would mean a lot to people for it to get the recognition.”

Mr Stewart, said he was approached by the North East War Memorials Project who wanted to have it officially recognised, but required some more information on its history.

After the gun was restored by volunteers it was unveiled along with a plaque - arranged and part funded by Mr Stewart - which stands by the antiaircraft gun in permanent tribute.

It reads: “This gun is dedicated to the memorial of all members of the RAF regiment who paid the supreme sacrifice, and all members who have since passed on.”

Mr Stewart added: “Once I have sent the information to him he will have it registered as a proper memorial, so it is a work in progress.

“Once it is registered we will have it blessed by a local vicar.”