On 31st December 1942 off North Cape, Norway, in the Barents Sea, Captain Sherbrooke in HMS Onslow was senior officer in command of destroyers escorting an important convoy for North Russia, when he made contact with a vastly superior enemy force-the cruiser Hipper and the pocket battleship Lutzow. Four times the enemy tried to attack the convoy but was forced back each time. Early in the action Captain Sherbrooke was seriously wounded in the face and temporarily blinded. Nevertheless, he continued to direct the ships under his command and even when the next senior officer had assumed control, he insisted on receiving all reports of the action until the convoy was out of danger. His actions-and the Nazi ships' failure to neutralize the convoy despite its superior force-were pivotal for Hitler's order to scrap the Kriegsmarine in the beginning of 1943.
The Sherbrooke plot at St Peter & St Paul Church, Oxton, Nottinghamshire consists of a number of crosses, the vast majority of which are the graves of serving naval officers. The decision was made to clean the entire plot given the heavy military presence. As Sherbrooke's great grand daughter was to be shortly married there, we cleaned the adjacent pathway too.
IN 2023 we returned to St Peter & St Paul Church as the memorial had begun to topple forwards into the grave and a crack in the column of the cross had widened. The team built a new base immediately behind the original and once the concrete had set a few weeks later we returned and gently eased the memorial on to its new plinth. The crack in the cross was then repaired and resealed utilising a stone compound.