A work in progress – the fuller biographies will emerge in due course: please sign up to the Newsletter (bottom of the page) and we’ll let you know when we’ve done more justice in writing up our extraordinary signatories.
Mrs Mary JOICE (née BALMER), with a sister in RAF Intelligence & husband a HACKNEY BOROUGH ENGINEER in the BLITZ, was WW2 Personal Secretary to the Bishop George BELL (1883-1958) of Chichester, whose continuing secret pre-war links with his German counterparts via meetings in neutral Sweden were reported back to Foreign Secretary, Sir Anthony Eden.
Through Mary’s links with this work, she commemorates indirectly the outstanding moral courage of the CHRISTIAN GERMAN RESISTANCE movement and records Bishop BELL’s stand against indiscriminate bombing, the German patriot Pastor Dietrich BONHOEFFER (who justified resistance to Hitler – cf Signatory 290), the KREISEL circle, Gen Ludwig BECK (1880-1944 and as previous Chief of Staff of the German Army was seen as a potential President of Germany) and Col Graf Claus von STAUFFENBERG (who had lost his left eye and right arm in battle and from 1 Jul 1944 was Chief of Staff to the Chief of the German Army Reserve) and 5,200 Germans killed after the Hitler Bomb Plot and the forced suicides of Field Marshals Guenther Hans von KLUGE (1882-17 Aug44) and ROMMEL (1891-14 Oct 1944, injured with fractured skull in his staff car crash when he had been strafed by a Canadian pilot in a Spitfire attack on 17Jul44 – Rommel had wante 19d Hitler not to be a martyr but to be tried), plus those GERMANS dying in their own CONCENTRATION CAMPS, many of whose “crimes” were not formally “unjust” until mid 1998.
In TANGMERE Churchyard one of von Stauffenberg’s closest cadet friends named SCHEUPLEIN lies buried, killed in the Ju-87 raid on the airfield in the Battle of Britain 16 Aug 1940 – his German widow was so impressed with her welcome to Britain and tranquillity of this ancient Saxon church and cemetery, with German Luftwaffe and RAF aircrew lying peacefully so close to each other, that, with local help, English canon law was changed to allow for her future burial next to her husband there – the first money for Tangmere Museum’s Appeal in mid 1980 was DM.50, a fast response from survivors of those 1940 attacking German dive-bombing aircrew!
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