HOW many people in the Vale know of the very well kept Commonwealth War Graves at Llantwit Major Cemetery?

Early in the 1939-1945 War, a piece of ground was set aside by the local authorities in Section C, in the south-eastern corner of the cemetery, for service war burials which became the War Graves Plot.

Of the 53 casualties of WW2 who are commemorated in this site, one is unidentified.

Many of the airmen and one airwoman (WAAF) came from the RAF station at St Athan and Llandow RAF station.

Besides the United Kingdom, some came from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, Rhodesia and Czechoslovakia, many killed in flying accidents while training.

And not forgetting two of the Armed Forces who rest there.

Buried at the cemetery are: Sergeant Terence Monaghan (Flt. Engr.) RAF of 619 Squadron. Together with six other crew members of a Lancaster Bomber, took off at 18.25hrs, October 1, 1943 from Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire on a bombing mission to Hagan Germany. On their return, the aircraft crashed in the Bristol Channel off Llantwit Major.

Six bodies, those of Sgt T.Monoghan (Flt. Engr.) (KIA); P/O C.F.Bale (KIA); F/O F.V.Anderson (KIA); Sgt P.Engel (KIA); Sgt J.Lowe (KIA); F/S K.G.Mortlock (KIA) were recovered at Barry, but that of F/O D.McL Joss (KIA) was found on the opposite side of the Channel at Portishead.

Other than Sgt Monoghan all were taken to their homes for burial or cremation.

Also buried in Llantwit is Sergeant Jack Gordon Stewart Bell of the Royal Australian Air Force, who was 20 years old and came from St Kilda, Victoria, Australia.

Sergeant Bell, pilot of Spitfire X4854 on January 2, 1943, was detailed to carry out cloud flying, but crashed in the sea at 15.20hrs near Dunraven Castle and was killed.

A Flying Accident report stated: "The primary cause for the accident was loss of control while flying in violent atmospheric conditions which led to uncontrolled dive and a 'Ham' attempt to pull out at great speed with final disintegration of the aircraft.

"At approximately 15.45hrs the Squadron duty pilot received information from a lighthouse keeper that an aircraft had dived into the sea during a heavy isolated shower.

"Searches found wreckage at low water approximately 150 yards from the foreshore in the vicinity of Nash Point."

Flying Officer Neville Alexander Thomas Fleming, aged 20, of the Royal Australian Air Force, came from Red Hill, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, and is also buried at Llantwit Major Cemetery.

He was flying a Spitfire on a non-operational day training flight but crashed on February 6, 1943 at Pendoylan and was killed.

A Flying Accident report stated: "Fleming was detailed to fly No 3 in a formation flying exercise being led by Flt Lt Plagis, and after one hour fifteen minutes of formation flying, Plagis broke up the formation, preparatory to landing.

"He instructed his No 2 and No 3 to carry out local flying and to pancake after 1hr 30 minutes flying.

"Plagis landed at 10.19hrs, No 2 at 10.25hrs. Fleming who was overdue after 1hr 30 minutes flying, was called up by R/T Ops. But no reply was received.

"At 10.40hrs a report was received that a Spitfire had crashed and burnt, seven miles north east of base. This was N3221."

Also buried in Llantwit is Pilot Officer James Edward Manners Dixon of the Royal Australian Air Force, aged 29 and the son of James Manners Dixon and Effie Constance Dixon, of Turramurra, New South Wales, Australia was killed when Spitfire X4722 flown by him on the December 27, 1941, crashed at approximately 11.25hrs near Port Talbot.

Also Pilot Officer Alan Harry Maguire, aged 20, Royal Air Force and the pilot of a Hawker Hurricane which crashed January 7, 1940 on Mynydd Aber while carrying out manoeuvres.

Is there a wreath-laying service by the War Graves Cross of Sacrifice at the Cemetery?

Are Poppy crosses placed on the individual graves on Remembrance Day?

Maybe someone from the Vale Council or a member of the Vale Heritage Centre Coalition could give an answer?

It would be nice to know.

Glyn Elston Former Barrian Theresiastraat Echt Limburg The Netherlands