Baxenden Lads: Cucknell A

20th March 1944

TELEGRAPHIST 179599 ALAN CUCKNELL of the Royal Navy died on March 20th 1944 when the submarine H.M.S. ‘Stonehenge’ was missing and presumed lost in the Indian Ocean near the Nicobar Islands between Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and Sumatra. At the time the ‘Stonehenge’ was on a secret patrol involving the landing of British agents on Japanese held shores.

Alan’s parents and grandparents were well known and popular in the village, having had Baxenden Post Office for many years. He attended St. John’s School and Sunday School. After leaving Accrington Grammar School, Alan joined Accrington Parks Department as a trainee horticulturist. Alan joined the submarine service in January 1942, and after training and operations in northern waters, went to Trincomalee (Sri Lanka) in January 1944. At the time of his death Alan left a widow and a baby boy, and their home was in Belfield Road, Accrington.

Alan’s name is commemorated on the Royal Navy Plymouth Memorial for those lost at sea in the 1939-1945 war. The Memorial stands on Plymouth Hoe and takes the form of a walled sunken garden on the landward side of the 1914-1918 Memorial. On the Portland stone walls are bronze panels on which are 15,575 names. There is a dedicatory inscription in bronze – “In honour of the Navy and to the abiding memory of those ranks and ratings of this port who laid down their lives in the defence of the Empire, and have no other grave but the sea”. Alan’s name is also on Accrington War Memorial, and ever since his death his colleagues in the Parks Department have laid a wreath in his honour on Remembrance Sunday.