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Monday, 15 August 2011

Don't mention the Rhur.....!!!!



He successfully fought off the Luftwaffe in a Lancaster bomber during the Second World War.
But Don Crossley could not defeat left-wing councillors when they decided to name a road near his home after a German town in an area over which he flew missions and came under enemy fire.
Last night, Mr Crossley, a former wireless radio operator, admitted he had ‘no further ammunition left to throw’ following his failed two-year court battle.

Veteran: Mr Crossley, pictured in 1943, was a former wireless radio operator
Veteran: Mr Crossley, pictured in 1943, was a former wireless radio operator

The £24million road in South Kirkby, West Yorkshire, was built in 2009 and has since been known by locals as Hemsworth bypass.
It will now be called Sprockhoevel Way, after a Ruhr valley town which is twinned with South Kirkby.
Mr Crossley, 88, of nearby Upton, said: ‘We didn’t fight in Lancasters and win the war to name a Yorkshire road after a German town.

Lost the battle: World War II veteran Don Crossley was called the 'clown of the village' when he opposed a council decision to renamed a bypass after a German town
Lost the battle: World War II veteran Don Crossley was called the 'clown of the village' when he opposed a council decision to renamed a bypass after a German town

‘I did four daylight operations over the Ruhr, so we might actually have been targeting the same place we are now talking about honouring.
‘Some of my friends were killed in Lancasters. The council should have named it after one of them.’
During the battle against the road name Mr Crossley was denounced by councillors, who said his attempts to stop the naming were ‘xenophobic’. 

Veteran: Mr Crossley flew a Lancaster bomber over Germany in WWII
Wartime missions: Mr Crossley flew a Lancaster bomber over Germany in WWII

THE BATTLE OF THE RUHR

The Battle of the Ruhr was a 5-month long campaign of strategic bombing during World War II against the Nazi Germany Ruhr district, in the northeast of the country. 
More than 15,000 people were killed, including 5,000 from the RAF.
The area had coke plants, steelworks and 10 oil plants.
The campaign bombed 26 Combined Bomber Offensive targets, from March to July in 1943.
They included the Krupp armament works, the Nordstern synthetic-oil plant and the Rheinmetal-Borsig plant in Düsseldorf.
The British bomber force was made up of twin-engined Vickers Wellington medium bombers and four-engined 'heavies', the Short Stirling, Handley Page Halifax and Avro Lancaster. 
Before the Battle of the Ruhr ended, The Battle of Hamburg began but there were further raids on the Ruhr by the RAF to keep German defences dispersed.
But the defiant great-grandfather said: ‘I am not leading an anti-German campaign. I just want to see a little local justice. We are a mining area steeped in history so I don’t understand why we had to go to Germany to find a name for the bypass.’
Mr Crossley rallied a group of 80 objectors, who used the little-known 1925 Public Health Act to fight the naming plans. Under it, any such plan must be sent to a magistrates’ court to be ratified.
Campaigners tried to use a loophole in the law to claim that the naming could make it difficult for emergency services to locate the road.
But a district judge in Pontefract sided with South Kirkby council.
Laurie Harrison, Labour leader of the council, branded Mr Crossley ‘one of the clowns of the village’ for opposing the German name.
Retired newsagent Mr Harrison, 76, said: ‘We must never forget [the war], but we have to move forward and we have had 30 years of friendship with this town.
‘Whatever anyone says we went through all the consultation procedures. Then this group of xenophobes challenged it.’
Another road off the bypass is being named in honour of Lodeve, a French town twinned with South Kirkby. The appeal was launched against Wakefield Council, which had granted permission to South Kirkby town council to use the German name.
Andy Wallhead, Wakefield Council’s corporate director responsible for planning, said all proper procedures in naming the roads were followed.


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