Graves in Bergen, Norway

Another poignant grave photograph, this one having been taken at Bergen in Norway. The crew buried here are from 105 Squadron.

The crosses on which the names can be read belong to Pilot Officer Richard Alban Richards, pilot, (he was indeed Richard Richards) and Sergeant Arthur Charles North, observer. Both were aged only 22. The third crewman, Sergeant Ernest Edmund Farrow Snutch, wireless operator/air gunner, has no known grave. He was 26.

Richards and North are buried at Mollendal Church Cemetery. The crew were shot down by flak on an anti-shipping sweep on 16 May 1941.

It is not known when the photograph was taken and the huge tribute of flowers made. Note also the Union Jacks stuck into the ground. The photograph was certainly taken before all British service graves were rationalised after the war and the wooden crosses were replaced by the permanent stone memorials. Something very touching and immediate was lost in that process when all the graves were given the same War Graves Commission appearance.

When the time came to replace the wooden cross with the permanent War Graves Commission stones, the epitaph chosen for Arthur North, was:

All you had hoped for, all you had, you gave, yourself you scorned to save.

It is an adaption from two lines in the hymn O Valiant Hearts.