Soldiers of the Regiment
The Story of Douglas and Eva Blake
Postcard, Accession Number: KO2848/05
This is Douglas Blake, in 1939 he married Eva.
Accession Numbers: KO2848/13 & 14
Douglas became a soldier with the King's Own Royal Regiment,
and he served in the Second World War.
Eva and Douglas Blake in around 1939 at their home in Didsbury,
Accession Number: KO2848/08
This is Douglas after he was promoted to a Lance Corporal and
joined the 2nd Battalion of the King's Own Royal Regiment. He
served with them in the besieged port and town of Tobruk,
The King's Own fought successfully to repel many German attacks, there
was much bitter fighting and Douglas was hit in the stomach by shrapnel
and he died of his wounds in 173rd Field Ambulance on 22nd November
On 4th December 1941 Eva received a telegram with the sad news.
"Regret to inform you No. 3714582 L/Cpl Blake Douglas, 2nd Btn, KORR
Died of Wounds 22nd November 1941, Middle East. Enemy Action.
Accession Number: KO2848/09
A few days later the news was confirmed by letter
Accession Number: KO2848/11
Douglas was buried in Tobruk War Cemetery and his grave marked by a
Eventually a permanent Portland stone headstone replaced the cross.
Eva remarried but she never forgot Douglas. She became Mrs Eva
Power. Each year she arranged for a wreath to be placed upon
Dougie's grave, through the Royal British Legion, the Embassy or other
organisations and individuals who kindly assisted.
In 1959 Eva received a letter from a Mr D H Abbot:
“Dear Mrs Power,
I visited Tobruk Military Cemetery on 24th November and was attracted to
one of the graves by the wreath of poppies laid on it. I found that it
was a remembrance from you and thought you might like to know that it
had been placed as you would have wished. You will, I am sure be happy
to know that the cemetery, surrounded though it is by sun-bleached and
barren desert, is a beautifully kept place – serene and reverent…. it is
a fitting place for a man to rest.
Yours sincerely, D H Abbott”
Accession Number: KO2848/43
Three years later Flight Lieutenant Lamb, RAF, the Station
Adjutant and RAF El Adem wrote:
“Dear Mr & Mrs Power,
Yesterday, 11th November, 1962 a Parade Service was held in the British
War Cemetery, Tobruk….whilst waiting….my wife drew my attention to a
grave which had a wreath beside it. On reading the inscription I thought
that you may like to know that your wreath had in fact been placed on
the grave and that you may also like an up to date photograph of the
…. I would like you to know that the cemetery is absolutely beautifully
kept and is the loveliest spot for hundreds of miles around Tobruk….
Sincerely, Frank Lamb”
Accession Number: KO2848/44
Visitors, and those who placed the wreath on the grave, would send
photographs of the grave.
Accession Numbers: KO2848/15,16 & 18
Accession Numbers: KO2848/19,20 & 23
Accession Numbers: KO2848/28, 35 &38
The attention of visitors continued to be attracted and in 2007 HRH
The Duke of York also visited the grave, his Assistant Private Secretary
wrote to Mrs Power in November 2007:
“Dear Mrs Power,
The Duke of York was greatly touched when attending the Remembrance
Service at Tobruk Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery on 9th November to
see you moving tribute to your husband. He was pleased and honoured to
be able to pay his respects to Doug and all those who died in the cause
of upholding freedom in the defence of Tobruk in World War II..…..
Robin Ord-Smith Esq MVO, Assistant Private Secretary to The Duke of
Accession Numbers: KO2848/39 & 41
The story ends on 30th June 2010 when Eva died at the age of 93 years.
With no relatives her affairs have been sorted by the daughter of Eva’s
friend, herself 92 years old. Douglas Blake’s three war medals,
photographs, telegram and Eva’s letters have been donated to the King’s
Own Museum – and this will ensure that her Dougie will never be
The 1939-45 Star, Africa Star and War Medal with box of issue addressed
to Mrs Eva Blake.
Accession Number: KO2848/01-04
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