Commonwealth War Graves Commission shares stories about the war dead at talk

Grace Witherden

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Grace Witherden

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Stories of brave men and women who lost their lives during both world wars were told at a Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) event on Monday.

Archivist Michael Greet and students from Desborough College spoke about the 61 graves in All Saints Cemetery which are cared for by the CWGC.

Stories included those of first officer Rosamund King Everard-Steenkamp, and flight engineer Janice Harrington (see below).

Sam Daynes from CWGC said: “The talk went extremely well and everyone who attended enjoyed the fascinating stories behind the headstones. I would like to thank Desborough College students for doing such a stirling job of telling the stories of the brave men and women who lost their lives and are now looked after and cared for by the CWGC at All Saints Cemetery and to the Maidenhead residents who came along, despite the rain.

“We are always encouraging people in the UK to discover their local war graves, many of which are no further than three miles from everyone’s front door, as there are so many untold stories of some incredible people.”

The CWGC is commemorating its centenary this year and a number of events are taking place to mark the occasion including an exhibition in Brookwood Military Cemetery in Surrey and a garden at the Royal Chelsea Flower Show.


Brave women buried at the cemetery include first officer Rosamund King Everard-Steenkamp (pictured) and first officer Dora Lang.

Rosamund took up flying with her brother, and by 1937 they were regularly flying and toured Europe. When the Second World War started, she was commissioned with the rank of captain and posted to 61 Squadron.

After the war ended, she was delivering a Spitfire XIV from Hamble to Ercall when, for no reason she dived and levelled out at 10 metres and crashed at high speed, killing her instantly.

Dora Lang joined the Civil Air Guard flying scheme and got her Royal Army Educational Corps certificate in 1939.

She took a flight test in 1941 and reported for duty as a second officer.

She was recommended for Class 4 conversion at an early date and was described as ‘an intelligent and conscientious pilot whose flying is neat and tidy'.

On March 2, 1944, she was flying with flight engineer Janice Harrington when the plane ground-looped on the icy runway, damaging the port wing. When they flew later in the day they were killed when it crashed

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