Monday, January 17, 2011

Link with wartime bomb disposal heroes broken

THE Navy has lost a key link with its greatest generation with the death of legendary wartime bomb disposal officer Noel Cashford.
Lt Cashford, who has died aged 88, rendered more than 200 unexploded bombs and other devices safe during WW2 and its immediate aftermath.
He always played down his bravery saying simply: “I had my moments”, but his selfless actions meant he was appointed an MBE at the war’s end.
Although he left the Service in 1947 he remained passionate about the wartime work of his comrades,  supporting efforts to erect monuments, attending memorial services, giving speeches and compiling four books on the exploits of WW2 bomb disposal men.
“Today’s generation should know about the heroes of yesteryear and those who do the same dangerous job today,” he declared at 70th anniversary commemorations of the first German magnetic mine being defused by his friend Lt Cdr John Ouvry.
Lt Cashford was believed to be the last surviving naval wartime bomb and mine disposal officer.
“Over the past ten years, I have come to rely on Noel as a living link with our wartime explosive ordnance disposal heritage and will dearly miss his friendship, knowledge and valuable advice,” said Lt Cdr Rob Hoole, vice chairman of the Minewarfare and Clearance Diving Officers Association.
Lt Cashford praises the work of wartime comrades aboard HMS Belfast in 2009. Picture: PO(Phot) Mez Merrill
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