George Noble from Bryans Road in Newtongrange, Midlothian was a just a lad of 18 when he received his call up papers at Scout Camp with the 21st Midlothian (Newtongrange) Scouts.
He was eager to serve and did so with distinction,volunteering for the Parachute Regiment early in his service.
He was accepted for Parachute training and subsequently was awarded the coveted Para wings.
The war ended but George was retained and posted to Palestine from where he returned in 1947 to go home on leave. This would be the last time his family and friends would see him alive.
George returned to his base and on the 6th of May, 1947 he was one of a stick of men dropping on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire from a Halifax bomber.
Green light on, GO GO GO
George stepped out the aircraft, sadly his parachute failed to open properly, what is known as a Roman Candle, and he plunged to his death.
He was buried with full military honours in Newbattle Cemetery, a mile or so from Newtongrange, The mourners were led by Pipe Major Scott of Newtongrange Rover Scouts and the cadets of 1739 Squadron Air Training Corps of which George was a member before he enlisted.
Captain Irvine, George’s Company Commander, was there to meet the cortege, and numerous wreaths from his Company, the RAF and base staff were laid by his coffin.
He is remembered with honour by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission on their website.
Newtongrange War Memorial did not have any names on it until approximately 2000. It was decided then that two stones would be added with the names of the fallen from two World Wars and other conflicts.
It was decided then that George was not a suitable candidate to be added to the WW2 stone, as he died after the end of hostilities.
I resubmitted his name to Newtongrange Community Council in 2013 along with other men who had been omitted or refused entry in 2000.
The Community Council and local councillors were supportive of the application and agreed he should go on the memorial. Money was set aside for the work.
However the Easter date for the work I enquired what the state of play was and was informed that disgracefully Midlothian Council have vetoed his inclusion again on the decision of a person sitting behind a desk as follows.
“As regards Pte Noble, I have a record that states that he appears to have died as the result of an accident aged 21 years on Salisbury Plains (parachute failed to open) post the Palestine conflict. In the circumstances, a previous request to have his name added to the Memorial was declined; and that regrettably is the conclusion that must be reached on this occasion. I have raised the question here about additions in respect of post 1939 – 1945 war but have yet to obtain an outcome. Theoretically at least, the names of those who were killed / died of wounds after WW2 in other conflicts are recorded at the National Memorial / Arboretum.”
This quite frankly is complete and utter RUBBISH.
He is a WW2 casualty, for the benefit of Midlothian Council and the misinformed amongst the community here is the relevant criteria.
Category One:- Commonwealth men and women who were still in military service at the time of their death. These personnel automatically qualify for commemoration provided they died within the qualifying dates as follows:
First World War – 4th August 1914 to 31st August 1921
Second World War – 3rd September 1939 to 31st December 1947
The location of their death and the cause of death are immaterial to their qualification. They could have been killed in action, died of wounds, died of illness or by accident, died due to suicide or homicide or suffered judicial execution. CWGC treats all casualties equally and all must be commemorated under the terms of their Royal Charter.
I am very angry about this decision and will not let it rest, I know that other like minded people feel the same.
If you are looking for a scrap Midlothian Council, then I’m happy to oblige you.
I will not forget those that died for their country, even if it’s a bit inconvenient and embarrassing for you.