Revealed photo of Thatcham bombing victim who will be commemorated with a blue plaque

A memorial plaque is to be unveiled in recognition of the only victim of the Second World War Thatcham bombings.

The blue plaque will be located on Urquhart Road, which bears the name of the victim, Lt. Col. Vernon Watkins Urquhart.

A never-before-seen photograph of Lt. Col. Urquhart was recently discovered ahead of the unveiling of a blue plaque in his name.

Released image of Lt. Col. Vernon Watkins Urquhart by his granddaughter

Thatcham City Council’s Heritage Task Force contacted Lt. Col. Urquhart’s granddaughter, who shared the unseen photo of him.

The public unveiling of the plaque will take place on Sunday, October 23 at 11 a.m. from the Burdwood Community Center – formerly Lt. Col. Urquhart’s front garden, where he stood when he died.

Lieutenant Colonel Urquhart, who was the Commanding Officer of General Stores G45, an ammunition depot west of Thatcham Station supplying ammunition to air bases around West Berkshire, died on the night of August 16, 1940.

These became a priority for Nazi Germany and Thatcham was hit harder than Newbury in the summer of 1940.

Despite a grave in Shaw Cemetery, he still does not have a death certificate, nor a Commonwealth War Grave headstone.

Lieutenant-Colonel Urquhart was Thatcham’s only casualty. He was on home duty, which caused a problem in recording his death by enemy action. The local registrar assumed the death certificate would be processed by the military, and the military believed the local registrar would.

From the Burdwood Center the group will travel to 141 Station Road where the official plaque will be unveiled by the Mayor of Thatcham and Lt Col Urquhart’s granddaughter.

They will then return to the Burdwood Community Center for refreshments.

This site was chosen following a public consultation published earlier this year when Thatcham resident and NWN journalist Mirek Gosney nominated Lt Col Urquhart.

The plaque will read: “Here stood 141 Station Road damaged in a bombing raid on 16th August 1940 killing the Commander of Thatcham Ordnance Depot, G45 Lt-Col VW Uquhart MC, Thatcham Town Council 2022” – in accordance with the commemorative plaque program Project presentation document.

The unveiling of the blue plaque will be a public event and people are encouraged to attend.

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