war memorial at dusk, photographed by Michelle Cooper




Below left is a letter from Major Donald Bennett, 1st Battalion, The Buffs, dated 7th May 1945. It reads:

"Dear Mr Pascall,

It is with the deepest regret that I am writing to offer you my sincere sympathy in the great loss you have sustained by the death of your son, Sgt J Pascall. He joined my company when we reformed shortly before Christmas and then of course returned home for his well-deserved leave. I think I have known him now for about three years and during that time I have never once known him fail to carry out cheerfully and well any duties that were asked of him. His long association with this Battalion endeared him to all ranks and his tragic death has been a great blow to us all. I knew him always as a Sergeant I could trust and respect, and I realised how lucky I was in having such a fine man in my company. I have come to realise more and more how cruel this war is in that it always seems to take away the best.

"I should hate to offend you with harrowing details but I feel that you might like to know the circumstances of his death. The company was called upon to do an amphibious operation on Lake Comacchio but as we were about to land the "Buffaloe" in which Sgt Pascall was travelling was hit by an anti-tank shell. Only one man was lost, but as the remainder jumped out into about three feet of water machine-guns  opened up and Sgt Pascall was killed instantly

"I cannot stress how much he is missed by his comrades who have always looked upon him as a quiet, courageous chap who never failed to give of his best in all circumstances. I know that he was regarded by them with great affection. Your sense of loss must seem harder to bear in view of the fact that he had been abroad for more than four years and should soon have returned to England for good, while at this stage of the war it must be even more difficult to comprehend.

"He is buried near Longestrino, on the Southern shores of Lake Comacchio, in company with others of this battalion who have also fallen. I think you will receive a photograph of his grave from the War Office in due course. His personal effects will also be sent on to you.

"Any condolences I may offer must seem small in view of your great loss, but please believe that my deepest sympathy goes out to you and to your family.

"Yours sincerely,"

Above right is a letter from Gilbert Tyson, Padre, 1st Battalion, The Buffs, dated 12 June 1945. It reads:

"My Dear Mr Pascall,

"Words fail to express adequately our thoughts and sympathy at a time like this.

"Your dear son has made the supreme sacrifice in the Cause of Right. He has been faithful unto death, and his Lord has given him the Crown of Life. May God give you the peace which is deeper than the sorrow, and may He comfort, guide and help you and the family in the difficult days ahead. May you be helped to holdfast the Christian Faith and to trust God.

"We know that death is an incident and not an end. I laid the remains of your dear son to rest, with some of his comrades, in the Division Cemetery. Sometime in the future you will be informed where your son is buried and a photograph of the grave will be sent to you.

"The Lord bless thee, and keep thee, the Lord give thee peace.

"Yours sincerely,"

photos courtesy Dover Museum

Copyright 2011-12 Marilyn Stephenson-Knight. All Rights Reserved