AFTER - (Back row from left): Peter Dickinson, Gary Lipscombe, Andy Smith, Martyn Farr, Chris Wright, Mark Fox and Juan Condeto; (front row from left): Tracey Lipscombe, Tanya Fox, Julie Dickinson and Jane Westray
AFTER - (Back row from left): Peter Dickinson, Gary Lipscombe, Andy Smith, Martyn Farr, Chris Wright, Mark Fox and Juan Condeto; (front row from left): Tracey Lipscombe, Tanya Fox, Julie Dickinson and Jane Westray

‘Tavira Twelve’ tackle neglected war graves

Airmen to be honoured at British Cemetery in Huelva

 On Tuesday, April 19, a small ceremony will take place at the British Cemetery in Huelva to commemorate 80 years since two young men lost their lives when the Bristol Beaufighter they were flying from Cornwall to Gibraltar crashed near Gibraleón.

The pilot, 27-year-old Sergeant Geoffrey Avern of the Royal Australian Air Force, and 21-year-old wireless operator/observer Sergeant Philip Crossan of the RAF were killed instantly.

BEFORE – The neglected cemetery
BEFORE – The neglected cemetery

Last week, the ‘Tavira Twelve’ volunteers travelled to Huelva to tackle the overgrown and neglected cemetery in order to bring some semblance of order to the area around the two Commonwealth War Graves.

Next Tuesday, the Defence Attachés of Australia and Britain will join a small group who will lay flowers and remember the sacrifice made by these young flyers.

Gladys Méndez Naylor, whose mother tended the graves for many years, will also be present together with a local bugler and drummer to enhance this solemn occasion.

Organiser Chris Wright said: “I am delighted that what was going to be just my wife and I laying flowers has generated considerable interest and attracted a much wider audience. Hopefully the proposed plans to renovate and update the British Cemetery in 2023 will now be given greater priority.”

BEFORE – The neglected cemetery
BEFORE – The neglected cemetery

Anyone wishing to attend the ceremony on April 19 can get full details by emailing christopher.wright@hotmail.co.uk  

There will also be an opportunity to visit the grave of Glyndwr Michael, a central figure in Operation Mincemeat, who is buried in the immaculately maintained adjoining Catholic Cemetery. The film ‘Operation Mincemeat’, starring Colin Firth, Kelly Macdonald, Matthew Macfadyen, Penelope Wilton, Johnny Flynn, and Jason Isaacs, is released in UK cinemas on Friday, April 15.