THE Manx Aviation and Military Museum is planning a permanent display to honour Victoria Cross hero Major Robert Henry Cain,
Manxman Major Cain was awarded Britain’s highest military award for his ‘daring leadership’ and ‘fearless example’ during the battle for the Rhine bridge at Arnhem, Holland, in September 1944, perhaps better known as ‘Operation Market-Garden’ immortalised in the 1977 film ‘A Bridge Too Far’.
His official citation reads: ‘Throughout the whole course of the Battle of Arnhem, Major Cain showed superb gallantry.
‘His powers of endurance and leadership were the admiration of all his fellow officers and stories of his valour were being constantly exchanged amongst the troops.
‘His coolness and courage under incessant fire could not be surpassed.’
Major Cain, whose daughter Francie is married to Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson, was the only Manxman in the Second World War to receive the Victoria Cross.
Currently, there is no permanent display available to the public on the island detailing his exploits in the battle.
However, Major Cain was not the only Manxman to have been present at this potentially pivotal battle in the war – and the museum wants to acknowledge the participation of all the others.
From talking to two survivors, Bob Quayle and Syd Cringle, it is understood that there were at least eight Manxmen involved in the airborne drop of paratroopers and glider-borne troops.
The names of the other airborne troops were Robert Cojeen, Robert (Bobby) Kneale and Arthur Lewis Shaw (Joss) Elliott, all of the Border Regiment, John Karran of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers and Victor Moore of the Parachute Regiment.
Research via local newspapers from the wartime held at the iMuseum has revealed the names of other soldiers with a potential connection to Arnhem.
However, due to the nature of war-time communication in 1944-45, there is a lack of definitive detail to confirm if these people were directly involved.
So the Ronaldsway-based museum is appealing for information about any Manx service personnel who had a direct involvement in the airborne part of the operation.
Additional information is sought for John Corkhill from Brookfield, John Thomas Gray from Douglas, Lewis (or Louis) Nelson Halsall from Laxey, Roy Kneale from Ramsey, Clifford Roberts from Ramsey, Geoffrey White from Ramsey/Liverpool and Dan Wright possibly from Fleetwood.
There may be other names which have yet to come to light.
Anybody with information is asked to contact Andrew Burden at email@example.com or phone on 834052 after 7pm, or at weekends.
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