WW2 Book of Remembrance - Surnames F


Click on the name to jump to the relevant entry

FALCK, Rudolph Julian (Revised 05/02/2018)
FARNFIELD, Alice Marshall (New 30/10/2017)
FARNFIELD, Henry John (New 30/10/2017)
FEDERMANN, Herbert (Revised 05/02/2018)
FENNELL, John Grenville (Revised 29/11/2017)
FERGUSON, Douglas Arthur (Revised 11/01/2018)
FIELDING, Kathleen Elizabeth (Revised 29/12/2017)
FISHER, Patrick Robert Cosby (Revised 07/02/2018)
FLETCHER, Dennis Howard (Revised 14/01/2018)
FLETCHER, Frederick Edward (Revised 07/02/2018)
FLOWER, Peter John (Revised 27/12/2017)
FOLEY, Herbert Onslow (Revised 29/12/2017)
FORD, Leslie Arthur (New 30/10/2017)
FOSTER, Frank Joseph * (Revised 10/02/2018)
FOURNIER, Bernard Maurice (New 30/10/2017)
FOWLER, Leslie Gordon (Revised 12/01/2018)
FOX, Stafford Harry John (Revised 07/02/2018)
FRANCK, Douglas George * (Revised 29/12/2017)
FREAKES, Kenneth (New 19/01/2016)
FRECKER, Peter Farrow (Revised 29/12/2017)
FREEMAN, Henry Alfred (New 14/01/2018)
FROST, Rupert Chatham (New 22/11/2014)
FRYER, Herbert Arthur (Revised 29/12/2017)
FURNELL, Harry Leonard (Revised 22/12/2017)

* = Not included in the Book of Remembrance for reasons unknown.
If you are looking for someone whose name starts with a different letter please try:


FALCK, Rudolph Julian. Lieutenant (237410)

The Parachute Regiment, Army Air Corps
Died 26 September 1944, aged 24

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Rudolph was born in Germany in 1921/22, the son of George (an Architect) and Elisabeth Falck. Of Jewish descent, he came to Britain in 1937 to study law at Balliol College, Oxford, and gained his BA. As a German national, he was interned in 1940. He was released after processing, joined the Pioneer Corps and was commissioned in July 1942.

In Q2 1942, shortly before being commissioned, he married the 20 year old Pauline Mary Durall Davies at St George's, Hanover Square, London. The couple had one child, Christa, born in late 1944, shortly after her father's death. That birth was registered in the Chelsea District. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records note that the widowed Pauline was "of Epsom, Surrey", but that address has yet to be established.

In late 1943, Rudolph transferred to the Parachute Regiment. By September 1944 he was Officer Commanding, 4 Provost Section, 1st Airborne Division - and in the thick of the mid-September Operation Market Garden, the aim of which was to clear a path for the Allies' continuing advance into Germany through the Netherlands, circumventing the defensive Siegfried Line. The operation had two limbs: "Market" (the largest airborne operation up to that point) to capture bridges at Nijmegen and Arnhem before they could be destroyed by the enemy; and "Garden", a major advance of ground troops to relieve the airborne troops holding the bridges.

Paratroops landing at Arnhem - Public Domain
Paratroops landing at Arnhem - Public Domain

The airborne part of the operation went to plan. Rudolph jumped in with second lift to Arnhem, surviving the intense fire from the ground, and was part of the initially successful capture of the bridge. However, the ground forces' advance was far more difficult than anticipated: while they reached Nijmegen in time to relieve the paratroops there and consolidate the advance to that point, Arnhem proved to be "a bridge too far". In spite of stout resistance and heavy losses, the paratroops there were overwhelmed by the German's fierce retaliation. Rudolph was killed in a defensive battle on 26 September 1944. A fellow paratrooper in known to have buried his body, but without identification.

Rudolph's body is likely to have been recovered subsequently and reburied in a sadly anonymous grave in the Oosterbeek War Cemetery. As someone with no known grave, he is commemorated on the memorial at Groesbeek.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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FARNFIELD, Alice Marshall.

Died 6 November 1940, aged 64.

FARNFIELD, Henry John.

Died 6 November 1940, aged 74.

Henry John Farnfield was born in Pimlico, London on 9 December 1865. He was the second of William (a "carman carrier") and Sarah Farnfield's at least eight children. By the time of the 1881 Census, the family were living at 26 Rock Avenue, Fulham and the 15 year old Henry was working as a harness maker.

In Fulham, Q1 1888, Henry married Bessie Catherine (née Larcombe), and this couple were recorded in the 1891 Census living at 284 Edmunds Place, Fulham, with Henry working as a "Postman 1st Class". By the time of the 1901 Census, they were living at 9 Margravine Road, Fulham. Henry was still working as a postman, and they had a 12 year old daughter, Alice.

During WW1, Henry served as a Red Cross Orderly (Certificate no. 8772). At some point after that, the family moved to Croydon and, presumably capitalising on his teenage leather-working skills, Henry took up shoe-making. It was in Croydon that Bessie, aged 70, died Q4 1936. So, Henry was into his 70s when, also in Croydon, he married the 61-year old Alice Marshall Allaway Q2 1937.

That appears to have been Alice's first marriage. (She had been born in Trowbridge, Wiltshire on 10 March 1876. By the time of the 1891 Census, the 15 year old Alice was living with her unmarried 23 year old sister, Elizabeth, and both were working in a cloth factory.)

Anyway, Henry (a "master shoe maker") and Alice were recorded in the 1939 Register living at 36 Waterloo Road, Epsom. They were at home there when, as recorded in Hilda Andrews' war diary, at 22.45 a bomb fell in Waterloo Road. Their house took a direct hit and they would have been killed instantly.

The following day - from above his shop, Stevens Musical Service, across the road at No. 35 - Fred Stevens photographed the damage, as below. (The site of No. 36 is now covered by the Wellington Court retirement apartments.)

What was left of No 36 Waterloo Road after the bomb fell.
What was left of No 36 Waterloo Road after the bomb fell.
Copyright acknowledged.

After their joint funeral on 12 November 1940, Henry and Alice were buried together in plot M358 of Epsom Cemetery, for which there is no longer any headstone or visible grave marker.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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FEDERMANN, Herbert. Gunner (PAL/8363)

Royal Artillery
Died 24 October 1943, aged 22

Herbert's headstone in Rhodes War Cemetery
Herbert's headstone in Rhodes War Cemetery
Picture by Bob Boston via findagrave.com

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records note that Herbert was the "son of Siegfried and Eleanor Federmann, of Epsom, Surrey". The readily available records provide no information about the family background and it would seem that the family (it is known from Herbert's headstone that he had a brother and sister) came to Britain as pre-war Jewish refugees from Hitler's Germany: the only Siegfried Federmann in the 1939 Register is recorded at what looks like settlement or internment arrangements at Hoylake, Lancashire. He is listed as married and with a birth date of 27 April 1884.

While the parents' Epsom address has yet to be established, their deaths (Siegfried's in Q3 1955 aged 71 - consistent with the birth date in the 1939 Register - and Eleanor's in Q1 1983 aged 91) were both registered in the Surrey Mid Eastern District into which Epsom falls.

Herbert's WW2 service began in the Royal Artillery. This seems bound to have been in North Africa where he was then recruited in the elite Long Range Desert Group. This was an elite force (on the lines of the later and better-known SAS) initially established as "pirates of the desert". It has been described as "arguably the most dashing and successful irregular formation on either side in the entire war" and "probably one of the most cost-effective special forces in the history of warfare." It carried out some 200 missions across a desert the size of India, then through the Mediterranean, the Balkans, and the Adriatic. In its five years of existence, there were only five months when an LRDG patrol was not on an operation.

Herbert - known to his comrades as "Sam" - almost certainly met his death during an LRDG operation on the island of Kos during the overall Dodecanese campaign of 8 September to 22 November 1943.

After the Allies' capture of Sicily in early September 1943, the Italians capitulated and after the armistice rejoined the war on the side of the Allies. German forces in the Balkans and the Mediterranean moved to take over the Italian-held areas. At the same time, the Allies endeavoured to occupy the Dodecanese islands (or which Rhodes is the largest) which had been under Italian control since the Italo-Turkish War in 1911. The aim was to use these strategically located islands in the south-eastern Aegean Sea as a base against German positions in the Balkans.

The main target was Rhodes, the largest island of the group, but this fell to a swift attack by a German mechanized brigade. Nevertheless, British forces successfully took several other islands, most notably Kos (with its valuable airfield) and Leros (with its valuable port). The Germans acted quickly to neutralize the Kos airfield and stormed the island in early October, capturing 1,388 British and 3,145 Italian prisoners. (They committed a war crime on 3 October by executing the captured Italian commander of the island nearly 100 of his officers.) Allied action in the islands continued until 22 November.

Herbert's death on 24 October was nearly three weeks after Kos had fallen, lending force to the idea of some covert operation. He was one of 65 Commonwealth WW2 casualties initially buried in the small war cemetery on Kos. That cemetery closed in 1957, and the bodies reinterred in the much larger Rhodes War Cemetery. The family took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone,
"Unforgotten by his parents, brother, sister and many friends in Israel."
Roger Morgan © 2018

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FENNELL, John Grenville. Private (6347372)

1st Battalion, Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment.
Died 27 April 1943, aged 23.

John Grenville Fennell's birth was registered in the September quarter of 1919 in the Epsom registration district.

John's father, William James Grenville Fennell was born in Shepard's Bush, London, registered in the December quarter of 1887, and his mother Annie Tickner was born in Wotton, Surrey, in the December 1888 quarter.

In 1911 John's father, as a Metropolitan police officer, was lodging at 16 Tenter Street, London E. His mother was a 'Housemaid' working at 'The Priory', Licensed House for Persons of Unsound Mind (Private), Roehampton.

John's parents married on 24 April 1912 in St. Barnabas church, Battersea. His father, a 24 year old police constable lived at Ambrosden House, Ashley Gardens, Westminster. His mother, aged 23, lived at 77 Elspeth Road, Clapham.

NameBorn - DiedNotes
William J GBorn: 1913 PancrasNo baptism record found
Ethel MBorn: 1915 WandsworthNo baptism record found
MyrtleBorn: 1917 EpsomNo baptism record found
John GrenvilleBorn: 1919 - Died: 27 April 1943No baptism record found
Stanley EBorn: 1921 EpsomNo baptism record found
AlfredBorn: 1924 EpsomNo baptism record found
JoanBorn: 1926 EpsomNo baptism record found

Between 1918 and 1938 John's parents lived at 261 Hook Road, Epsom, and from 1939 they lived at 17 Maidenshaw Road, Epsom. Also living with them was John's grandfather, William Grenville Fennell, who died at home on 18 January 1942 aged 88.

John married Ann Stewart Goodwin Kerray in the December quarter of 1942 in the Surrey Mid Eastern registration district. There were no children.

The 1st Battalion Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment had returned to England after Dunkirk and remained in Britain until 1943 before leaving to fight in the Tunisia Campaign, arriving in North Africa during March.

The V Corps attack went in on the evening of 22 April 1943 and U.S. II Corps launched their offensive in the early hours of 23 April capturing Hill 609, a key hill position which opened the way to Bizerte. In grim hand-to hand fighting against the Hermann Göring, 334th Infantry and 15th Panzer Divisions, it took V Corps' 1st, 4th and 78th Infantry Divisions, supported by Army tanks and heavy artillery concentrations, eight days to penetrate 9.7km (6 miles) and capture most of the Axis defensive positions. Casualties were heavy on both sides but the dominating hill of Longstop was captured which opened the way to Tunis.

The Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment's casualties were 16 officers and 317 other ranks.

John was killed in action on 27 April 1943 and is buried in grave II.G.5. in Massicault War Cemetery, Tunisia (approximately 30 kilometres (19 miles) south-west of Tunis).

John's father died aged 72, on 13 June 1960 in Epsom District Hospital. John's mother was aged 77 when she died in their home 17 Maidenshaw Road, Epsom on Christmas Eve 1965.

John is commemorated in the Book of Remembrance in the foyer of the Town Hall and on the St. Barnabas Roll of Honour.

Clive Gilbert & Hazel Ballan 2014

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FERGUSON, Douglas Arthur. Sergeant 921752

50 Sqdn. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 15 December 1941 Age 22

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

The marriage of Arthur William Ferguson to Edith Folkes was registered at Edmonton for the September Quarter of 1913. Birth of their son Douglas A Ferguson came to be recorded in the same District, 9/1919. The death of Arthur W Ferguson, aged 43, is found noted at Edmonton, 9/1924.

In or after September 1939 Douglas enlisted in the Royal Air Force at Uxbridge.

On 15 December 1941, two Hampdens from 50 Squadron. left at 17.50 hrs from RAF Skellingthorpe to attack ships at Ostend/ Oostende. Hampden AT125 suffered engine trouble soon after take off and returned to base. The second Hampden was caught in a searchlight and hit by Flak from Stabsbatterie MAA 204.

Nothing had been heard from the crew but shortly after 20.42 hrs., AE380 crashed into the sea in front of the Military Hospital. Next day a crew member picked up at sea and brought into Ostend was found to be the 20 year-old pilot Sgt. William Young from Rhodesia. He was dressed in leather trousers and jacket with the following objects in a rubber bag:-
1,000 French francs, 350 Belgian francs, 20 Dutch guilders and 16 British pounds plus 10 shillings.
The crew were posted as missing and later confirmed killed: -
1375391 Sgt. Edward William Armer, RAFVR,
921752 Sgt. Douglas Arthur Ferguson, RAFVR,
946158 Sgt. Frederick Alexander White, RAFVR
778478 Sgt. William John Young, RAFVR (originally from Northern Rhodesia).
Sgt. Young's body was recovered, as noted earlier, and he rests in Oostende (Ostend) New Communal Cemetery, Oostende West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

Sgt. Armer, Sgt. Ferguson & Sgt. White, and the wreckage of AE380, were never found: the airmen's names are commemorated on the memorial at Runnymede, D A Ferguson on Panel 43.

For Probate, Douglas' address had been stated to be 4a Crown Parade, Southgate, London N14. Administration of his estate was granted to Mrs Edith Ferguson, widow, his mother.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission described Edith Ferguson as of Stoneleigh, Epsom, Surrey, but no address for her has been identified locally.

Brian Bouchard © 2018

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FIELDING, Kathleen Elizabeth. Wren (45315)

HMS Bherunda, Women's Royal Naval Service.
Died 13 April 1944, aged 19.

Kathleen's headstone in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Kathleen's headstone in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Photograph by "Deb" via findagrave.com

Kathleen was born on 2 May 1924, the third and last child of John Osborn Fielding and Blanche Evelyn Ruth (née Collard - they had married Q3 1917). The marriage and all three births were registered in the Croydon District.

Up to 1928, the family lived at 65 Ross Road, Wallington, but then moved to "Elmstead", 12 Hillside Road, Ewell, which is where they were recorded in the 1939 Register. This listed father John as a "Clerk Insurance Industry (Lloyds)" and Blanche with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". Of the children:
21 year old John C was registered unemployable on psychological grounds;
20 year old Joan had only just married 22 year old Howard V M McDowell (also, like her a, "Bank Clerk") and both were living there; and
15 year old Kathleen was still at school.
Given her age, Kathleen would not have joined the Women's Royal Naval Service until WW2 was well under way. Her service was at HMS Bherunda which was not a ship, but the name given to the Royal Naval Air Station established at the Racecourse of Colombo in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). The RAF also had a couple of squadrons based at this temporary airstrip. The readily available records provide no information about which of the many possible roles Kathleen may have played at the base.

Her death was not the result of enemy action but the acute viral disease of Anterior Polio Myelitis - which, thanks to vaccines developed in the 1950s and the WHO immunisation campaign of recent years, is now almost entirely eliminated. The disease causes inflammation of the motor neurons of the brain stem and spinal cord, typically resulting in motor paralysis followed by muscular atrophy.

She succumbed to this disease in the RNA Hospital, Colombo, on 13 April 1944 and was interred at Colombo (Liveramentu) Cemetery, Sri Lanka. The family took the option of adding a personal inscription to the headstone: "R.I.P. / Always in our thoughts".

Roger Morgan © 2017
With thanks to Brian Bouchard

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FISHER, Patrick Robert Cosby. Major (64428)

Officer Commanding, 9 Battery, 13 Medium Regiment, Royal Artillery
Died 1 December 1942, aged 28

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission notes that Patrick was the son of Luke Patrick Knight Fisher and his wife Margaret. Luke was born on 5 June 1875 in Cootehill, County Cavan, Ireland (now Ulster). There is a record of the 32 year old Luke sailing from Liverpool to New York in 1908. Hoever, he returned in time to serve with the Royal Engineers during WW1. However, details of his marriage to Margaret or the 1914 birth of Patrick are not found in the readily available records.

In Q2 1938, Patrick - who was already in uniform - married Rosemary Ellen Gertrude Banon. The marriage was registered in the Surrey North Eastern District, but home was set up in Hampshire. The 1939 Register records the 24 year old Rosemary living alone at 52 Stour Road, Christchurch. The couple appear to have had two children - Robert (born Q1 1940) and Richard (born Q2 1942), registered in the Bournemouth and Blandford Districts respectively. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records note that the widowed Rosemary was "of Ewell, Surrey", doubtless at her 1945 address of 45 Bradford Drive.

Patrick's first taste of WW2 action was in France as part of the British Expeditionary Force. As is well known, the BEF was overwhelmed by the ferocity of the expected German invasion and, after significant losses, was evacuated from Dunkirk in late May and early June 1940. Patrick had distinguished himself in the fighting retreat and was Mentioned in Despatches.

After his unit was re-equipped it was part of the Commonwealth and US forces sent to North Africa in November 1942, landing in Algeria and Morocco with the main aim of tackling the rear of the Axis forces that were retreating westwards after Allied victory at El Alamein. By the time the newly arrived forces arrive in Tunisia, the Germans had brought in reinforcements from Sicily. There was much fierce fighting, not least from 29 November to 4 December against the Axis counterattack on the hard-won and highly strategic town of Tebourba about 15 miles west of Tunis. Patrick was killed in action on 1 December, one of the many casualties of the ultimately successful action: he received another Mention in Despatches for his part in this. (The war in North Africa came to an end in May 1943, paving the way for the Allies' invasion of Sicily and Italy.)

Patrick is buried in the Massicault War Cemetery, a few miles to the south of Tebourba. His widow took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone, 'Killed in action at Tebourba. "Rest in peace" '

Roger Morgan © 2018

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FLETCHER, Dennis Howard. Sergeant 1252492

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 31 May 1942 Age 21

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Son of Ernest William and Daisy Isabelle Fletcher, of Ewell, Surrey. The family was registered in the phone book for 1955 at 124 Reigate Road Ewell.

Having joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, Dennis Fletcher was selected for aircrew. When he was killed, it was as a Sergeant 'Observer' a category that was subsequently split into two main trades - Navigator and Air Bomber (bomb aimer). It is possible that he was originally selected for pilot training but after being evaluated was transferred into Observer school.

Wellington, LR132 WG-V of 26 OTU
Wellington, LR132 WG-V of 26 OTU
Photographs of 26 OTU aircraft are hard to find. The unit's aircraft
used three different unit fuselage codes - EU, PB and WG, almost certainly
to differentiate between flights, or aircraft based at the satelite
airfield of Little Horwood. This Wellington, LR132 WG-V of 26 OTU was based at RAF Wing.
Image source - RAF Bomber Airfields of WW2 by Jonathan Falconer

After completing his specialist training and receiving his Observer 'Wings', Dennis was posted to RAF Wing near Milton Keynes in early 1942 as part of 26 OTU (Operational Training Unit) which also operated from a satellite airfield at Little Horwood. Here, he was crewed with four others to make up the standard crew of the RAF's main twin-engined bomber of the time, the Vickers Wellington.

26 OTU's purpose was specifically to train crews for RAF Bomber Command's night offensive. Here they would fly practise missions; navigation exercises and generally to get to know their aircraft, their functions and to work as a close-knit team. When fully proficient they would be posted to an operational Wellington Squadron. However, fate was to take a hand and Dennis and his crew would never complete their training.

Sir Arthur Harris had taken over as Chief of Bomber Command in February 1942. This controversial figure had no qualms about taking the war to Germany and knew that in Bomber Command he controlled the only substantial military force then capable of going onto the offensive. There was considerable doubt as to whether the strategic bomber was a worthwhile weapon at this point and he was determined to reverse the ineffective performance that the bomber force had delivered up to that point in the war. He knew that concentrating bombs on a target was the only way to cause meaningful destruction of the target area and began his tenure by targeting the cities of Lubeck and Rostock on the Baltic coast. Easily found and identifiable by their coastal location, these old cities with a high proportion of wooden buildings were destroyed more comprehensively than any previous targets. The British Press at last had something to report and opinions within the war cabinet were turning in his favour.

But Harris knew that the future of Bomber Command was still in doubt and he approached both Winston Churchill and Sir Charles Portal with the bold idea of assembling a force of 1,000 bombers and sending them out in one massive raid on a German city. Churchill and Portal were both impressed and they agreed. Although Harris had only a little over 400 aircraft with trained crews which were regularly used for front-line operational work, he did have a considerable number of further aircraft in the conversion units attached to groups with four engined aircraft and in Bomber Command's own operational training units 91 and 92 Groups. This secondary Bomber Command strength could be crewed by a combination of instructors, many of them ex-operational, and by men in the later stages of their training. To complete the 1,000 aircraft required, Harris asked for the help of his fellow commanders in chief in Coastal Command and Flying Training Command. Both officers were willing to help. Sir Philip Joubert of Coastal Command immediately offered to provide 250 bombers, many of them being from squadrons which had once served in Bomber Command. Flying Training Command offered fifty aircraft but many of these were later found to be insufficiently equipped for night bombing and only four Wellingtons were eventually provided from this source.

Bad weather over Hamburg, the first choice target, caused Harris to select Cologne as the target, the third largest German city. 'Operation Millennium' was scheduled for May 30th 1942.

At Wing, W/O F.G.Hillyer, P/O A.C.White, Sgt D.S.B.Vincent, Sgt H.L.Smith and Sgt Dennis H.Fletcher, all of whom were nearing the end of their training were told that they were to fly together as a crew on their first operation - the night of May 30th/31st as part of this ambitious plan.

The Wellingtons from 26 OTU flew to RAF Gravely in Huntingdon. This airfield was in the process of being upgraded from a special duties base to a standard bomber airfield. By August, 35 Squadron would operate from the airfield as part of the new 'Pathfinder' force. Perhaps the transfer was to ensure that these aircraft would be closer to the operational bases and ensure a compact bomber stream on the way to the target.

At 23.05 in the late evening of May 30th 1942, Wellington 1C - serial DV740, coded EU-O, piloted by Warrant Officer F.G Hillyer, took off from RAF Gravely in Huntingdon and headed out over the North Sea towards occupied Europe. The operational career of the crew was to be almost as short as was possible. German radar detected the unusually large force approaching and the Luftwaffe scrambled its night fighters to wait for the incoming bombers.

Airborne from Gilze Rijen airfield in the Netherlands was a Junkers 88C night fighter of NJG2 (Night fighter group 2). In the pilots seat was one of the group's rising stars.

Hauptmann Horst Patuschka, a former bomber pilot, joined the Luftwaffe night fighter force in the summer of 1941 and quickly rose to command 7 staffel NJG2. By October 1942 he was promoted to lead a newly reformed II gruppe NJG2 and took the unit to the Middle East after the Allied invasion. He crashed on the night of March 6th 1943 and was killed, being awarded the 'Knights Cross' posthumously. In his brief career he had amassed a total of 23 enemy aircraft destroyed. On the night of May 30/31st 1942, Patuschka shot down two outbound Wellingtons, one at 00.17hrs and the second, just 11 minutes later at 00.28hrs. The latter, Wellington DV740 of 26 OTU, numbered amongst its crew, Sergeant Dennis Fletcher. The aircraft crashed at Alem (Gelderland), 14 km WNW of Oss (Noord Brabant), Holland. Four of the crew were killed -
Sgt D.H.Fletcher,
P/O A.C.White,
Sgt D.S.B.Vincent,
Sgt H.L.Smith.
They are buried in Uden War Cemetery, Dennis was buried in grave 4. A. 7.

The Pilot, W/O F.G.Hillyer was captured and was interned in Camps L3/L6/L4, as PoW No.508. "

Hauptmann Horst Patuschka
Hauptmann Horst Patuschka
(The German pilot who shot down Dennis' Aircraft)
Image source - Simon Parry - Red Kite Publications

Forty-one RAF bombers were lost that night, an 'acceptable' 3.9% of the force dispatched. Of those four Wellingtons, DV740, DV707, DV709 and WS704 were all lost from 26 OTU.

Dennis Fletcher had played a minor role in the first 1,000 bomber raid of the war. It was sadly his first and last operation.

Uden War Cemetery
Uden War Cemetery
Image source not known.

Text and images kindly supplied by Banstead History Research Group

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FLETCHER, Frederick Edward. Lance Corporal (1892938)

159 Railway Construction Company, Royal Engineers
Died 17 June 1940, age 20

Frederick's headstone in La Plaine-Sur-Mer Communal Cemetery
Frederick's headstone in La Plaine-Sur-Mer Communal Cemetery
Photograph by "kernowmaid" via findagrave.com

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records note Frederick's family background as "Son of the late Frederick Fletcher and Rose Fletcher, of Epsom, Surrey. Father of Tessa Pamela Fletcher."

Frederick was born Q3 1919, the first child of Frederick Fletcher and Rose Ovenden. The couple had two more children: Violet (born Q2 1921); and, after the couple's marriage in Q3 1922, Arthur (born Q3 1924). The parents' marriage and the birth of all three children were registered in the Medway District of Kent, and both parents were also of Kent - Frederick senior was born there Q4 1893 and Rose Q2 1896. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission post-war records note that the parents were "the late Frederick Fletcher and Rose Fletcher, of Epsom, Surrey". Frederick senior's death is not found in the readily available records and Rose's address in the Borough has also proved hard to locate. This may have been 28 Waterloo Road which is where her daughter Tessa was recorded in 1962.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records also note that Frederick junior was the "Father of Tessa Pamela Fletcher". This girl's Q4 1940 birth, a few months after her father's death, was also registered in the Medway District when the mother's surname is noted as Ferdinand. No record has been found of the couple's marriage: if they had been, it would doubtless be listed in the Commission's records.

Frederick's WW2 service was in one of the Royal Engineers' Railway Construction Companies. These played a vital role in maintaining and, as necessary, repairing and extending track to allow for the movement of men and materiel. His company was sent to France in 1940 as part of the British Expeditionary Force. As is well known, the BEF was overwhelmed by the ferocity of the expected German invasion. It is less well known that the consequent evacuation was not just from Dunkirk in Operation Dynamo from 26 May to 4 June. A significant number of troops and others could not get there and made their way west. Operation Cycle was the evacuation of Allied troops from Le Havre, at the mouth of the Seine from 10 to 13 June 1940. Further west, the 15 to 25 June Operation Ariel saw the evacuation of Allied forces and civilians from a number of France's Atlantic ports, particularly from St Nazaire and Nantes on the Loire.

Frederick had reached St Nazaire, and secured a place on the Lancastria, a British Cunard liner (built in the 1920s and, until 1924 known as the Tyrrhenia) that had been requisitioned as a troopship - and had already seen service in evacuating troops from Norway. The ship's official capacity was 2,200 including the 375-man crew. In the crisis conditions at St Nazaire, however, the Captain had been instructed by the Royal Navy to "load as many men as possible without regard to the limits set down under international law". By the mid-afternoon of 17 June, she had embarked an unknown number - most likely between 5,000 and 7,000 - of troops, RAF personnel and civilian refugees (including embassy staff).

The Luftwaffe sought to disrupt the evacuation and, at about 16:00 hours, a Junkers Ju88 dropped four bombs on the Lancastria. Three direct hits caused the ship to list first to starboard then to port, while a fourth bomb fell down the ship's smokestack, detonating inside the engine room releasing more than 1,200 tons of crude oil into the Loire estuary. These bombs will have killed or mortally wounded many on the packed ship. Fifteen minutes after being hit, Lancastria began to capsize. When German aircraft began strafing survivors in the water, this ignited the fuel oil that had spread over the sea. Many survivors of the strafing drowned or were choked by the oil.

RMS Lancastria
Top: the pre-war RMS Lancastria (copyright acknowledged)
Below: Lancastria as she sank off St Nazaire (public domain)

2,477 survivors were picked up by other ships. The death toll of 4,000+ (less than half of whom are named) is the largest loss of life in British maritime history - more than the combined loss from the Titanic and Lusitania put together. The immense loss of life was such that the British government sought to suppress news of the disaster, but that held only for a few weeks. As the wreck site lies in French territorial waters, it is ineligible for protection under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986. However, at the request of the British Government, in 2006 the French authorities gave the site legal protection as a war grave.

Unlike many of the others killed in the disaster, Frederick's body was recovered and he is buried in La Plaine-Sur-Mer Communal Cemetery, outside St Nazaire. His family took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone,
"Sweet memories are kept".
Roger Morgan © 2018

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FLOWER, Peter John. Sergeant - Wireless Operator/Air Gunner (1295414)

428 (RCAF) Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
Died 24 September 1943, aged 21.

Peter Flower
Peter Flower
Photograph with thanks to his nephew, Chris Hoyle

The marriage of William Frank Flower to Winifred Agnes Castle was registered at Rochford, Essex, for the June Quarter of 1910. Birth of their son, Peter J Flower, came to be recorded in the same District, 6/1922.

The family seem to have arrived locally by 1933 to run a Confectioner's shop at Ruxley Parade, 433 Kingston Road, Ewell.

With a Service Number 1295414, P J Flower appears to have enlisted with the RAF at Cardington in or after May 1940.

Between May and July 1943, Peter was based at 22 Operational Training Unit, Wellesbourne, Warwickshire on course 43a, reportedly provided for experienced Canadian ex-No 2 Group crews who were to convert to medium/heavy bombers in No 6 Group under the Canadianization programme.

Halifax EB207 - NA-B of 428 (Ghost) Squadron, RCAF, departed from RAF Middleton St. George, County Durham, for an operation over the night of 23-24 September.1943. It was lost in combat having been shot down to crash into woodland at Hahnenberg near Kötterichen, Germany. All seven crew perished:-
P/O William Anderson Hadden,
Sgt. Joseph Curran,
Sgt. Alexander F. Morris,
Sgt. Sydney A. Whitby,
Sgt. Peter J. Flower,
Sgt. Clifford W. Renwick
Sgt. Archibald Yuill.
Reportedly this aircraft was brought down by Oblt. Heinz-Martin Hadeball, 3./NJG 6, 10 km South-West of Mayen from a height of 5,400 metres at 22:39 hours on the 23 September1943.

Buried at Rheinberg War Cemetery, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany, son of William Frank and Winifred Agnes Flower, of Ewell, Surrey.

William Frank Flower, retired aged 78, died at 433 Kingston Road, Ewell and was interred in Plot G407 of Epsom Cemetery on 10 August 1946.

Brian Bouchard © 2017

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FOLEY, Herbert Onslow. Warrant Electrician

Royal Navy.
Died 19 July 1941, aged 41.

The Foley family headstone Epsom Cemetery.
The Foley family headstone Epsom Cemetery.
Photograph by Roger Morgan © 2017

Herbert (apparently always known as "Bert") was born in Devonport, Devon on 6 November 1899, the second child of Captain Frederick Foley and Elizabeth (née Griffiths). They couple had married in Elizabeth's home patch of East Stonehouse (on the outskirts of Plymouth) around the turn of 1896/97 and Frederick's address was the Granby Barracks, Devonport.

The 1901 Census records Elizabeth as the head of the household at 19 Cumberland Street, Devonport: Frederick was presumably off soldiering somewhere. With her were her two sons (three year old Reginald and one year old Bert) and her widowed 52 year old mother, another Elizabeth Griffiths. The family is not readily found in the 1911 Census, although there is a record of Bert's 1912 admission to a secondary school in Plymouth.

At the end of WW1, Bert (with the Service No.185730) appears to have served with the Training Battalion of the Machine Gun Corps. However, he later joined the Royal Navy and, in WW2, served as a Warrant Electrician based in Portsmouth.

The connection with the Borough is that his parents retired here. The 1939 Register records them at 1 Willow Way, Ewell. 76 year old Frederick is listed as "Captain retired - Regular Army" and 70 year old Elizabeth with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties".

On 19 July 1941, Albert died in the Naval Hospital, Haslar, Gosport - according to naval-history.net, this was the result of illness rather than enemy action.

He is buried in Epsom Cemetery (plot G601) - where his father and mother were also buried after their deaths in 1950 and 1952 respectively.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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FORD, Leslie Arthur. Leading Aircraftman (845761)

615 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Died 28 August 1941, aged 29

Leslie Ford, pictured in 1940
Leslie Ford, pictured in 1940
Copyright acknowledged

Leslie was born Q4 in Bradfield, Berkshire, the only son of Eli Arthur William Ford and Edith May (née Marshall - they had married in Midhurst, Sussex Q4 1908).

After his schooling, Leslie worked for Shell Petroleum at Shell-Mex House in London. In 1933, Katharine Anne Hughes (second daughter of Ernest and Jane Hughes) accepted his proposal of marriage. After a four year engagement, they married in St Gabriel's Church, Pimlico, on 1 June 1937. They had decided to live in Surrey, and completed on a new house at 103 Newbury Gardens, Stoneleigh on 9 July 1937. (The Probate records also give that as his address when administration of his estate was awarded to his widow in February 1942.)

By 1939, the threat of war with Germany had become real and, on 24 August, Leslie was called up to join 615 Squadron at Kenley, Surrey. In November, the Squadron went to France as part of the Air Component of the British Expeditionary Force. It was back at Kenley by 20 May 1940 and took part in the early actions of the Battle of Britain.

In July 1940, Leslie and Katherine's only child, Tony, was born. (Much of this article is condensed from his detailed 2005 contribution to "WW2 People's War", the BBC's online archive of wartime memories - which is acknowledged with thanks.)

After a rest period in Scotland, and a spell taking part in offensive sweeps over Europe, the Squadron was stationed at RAF Valley (on the west coast of Anglesey) for defence duties over the Irish Sea and North Atlantic. in Wales. It is unclear what Leslie's particular role had been earlier in his RAF career but, by this point, he was serving as the CO's driver. (Interestingly, the 1939 Register - which found Leslie's parents living at 7 Shafto Mews, Chelsea - listed his father's occupation as "Chauffeur".)

As recorded in the web-based Home Front Museum, the morning of 28 August 1941 saw the Isle of Anglesey being lashed by gale force winds in a fierce unseasonal storm. Aircraft would not normally have flown in such conditions with, but RAF Valley received reports that an allied merchant shipping convoy was under attack from a German U-boat, and a Blackburn Botha (with a crew of three) was sent out to reconnoitre the area.

The Blackburn B.26 Botha
The Blackburn B.26 Botha
Public domain photograph via Wikimedia Commons

The B.26 Botha was one of the least successful British aircraft of the Second World War. It suffered from a serious lack of engine power, and was withdrawn from front-line service after only three months. Its weaknesses were all too evident on this occasion and, shortly after taking off, it crashed into the sea about 300 yards off Rhosneigr, a couple of miles south of the airfield.

A rescue attempt was initiated by local villagers, RAF Valley personnel and Royal Artillery soldiers stationed at the nearby Ty Croes camp. From the beach the three RAF crew, Kazimierz Rosiewicz, Thomas Dixon and Frederick Glockler could be seen clinging to the debris of their plane in the choppy waters offshore. The rescuers launched three boats, but all were swamped by the large waves and strong swell caused by the gale force, south westerly winds. Meanwhile, the exhausted crew members were unable to cling on to their ditched aircraft any longer and were washed out to sea.

Eleven gallant rescuers lost their lives in the tragedy that morning; three RAF personnel, five Royal Artillery soldiers and three local men. The local victims included a coastguard, a merchant seaman on leave and Rhosneigr's village bobby, P.C. George Arthur. One of the other would-be rescuers was Leslie. Having driven the CO to the site to co-ordinate the rescue operation, he - an apparently strong swimmer - then tried to swim out to the stricken plane.

From their vantage point on the beach, and having watched the drama unfold, two 17 year old lads fearlessly put to sea in a sailing dinghy in an effort to reach the stricken plane. They too were unable to make it to the aircraft and capsized in the towering waves. The boys were rescued by holidaymakers who roped themselves together and waded out to them. For their bravery the two boys were awarded the George Medal by King George VI; silver gallantry awards from the RNLI and, as the pilot of the Blackburn Botha was a Polish national, cigarette cases from General Sikorski, Commander of Polish forces.

Rhosneigr Memorial
The memorial erected at Rhosneigr in 1991 to honour those who perished in the tragedy.
Copyright acknowledged.

The incident was recorded in the Operations Record Book for 615 Squadron in the following terms:
In a violent gale a Botha landed just offshore at Rhosneigr Bay and in addition to the crew of three, twelve of the rescuers were lost. They included 845761 LAC Ford, LA, the C.O.'s driver, who apparently tried to swim out. No one saw him go. Also, 819139 LAC Bannister, D.W., a Flight Mechanic out of 'A' Flight. Ten of our aircraft were patrolling and a number of Mae Wests and dinghies were dropped, some of which were picked up by those in the sea.
A week after the tragedy, Squadron Leader Gillam, Officer Commanding RAF Valley, wrote to Leslie's widow as below.
You will already have received notification of the fact that your husband, 845761 LAC Ford, L.A. has been missing from this unit since the 28th August.

On that day, an aircraft crashed into the sea some 300 yards from the shore nearby, and those of our personnel who could be spared from their duties voluntarily went down to the beach to render whatever assistance they could. Your husband was amongst them and although he was seen walking along the sands, no-one saw him enter the sea, although it is now assumed that he did.

Since that day a week has passed, and we are forced to conclude that he drowned in an attempt to save the lives of the aircrew concerned in the crash.

I believe he was an excellent swimmer and it would have been typical of him just to have gone out there without saying a word to anyone. I should like you to know how greatly we all admire the pluck and courageous spirit shown by your husband in this gallant effort of his to save the lives of others. He has been with the squadron for a long time and was deservedly popular with every one of us, more especially with our pilots and myself who knew him so well.

As you are no doubt aware he was my personal driver, and I felt he fully deserved promotion to a higher status in the Royal Air Force, and had decided to recommend him for a commission.
Leslie's body was later recovered and he was buried in Farnham (Green Lane) Cemetery, Surrey

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FOSTER, Frank Joseph. Aircraftman 2nd Class (913626)

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 12 May 1940, Age 21

Frank's  headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Frank's headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2018

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

The marriage of Donald Frederick Foster to Gertrude Beatrice S Plumpton was registered in Epsom for the March Quarter of 1909. Birth of their son, Frank J Foster came to be recorded in the same District, 9/1918.

Frank enlisted with the Royal Air Force at Uxbridge during September 1939.

He died in Epsom County Hospital presumably after an accident or from illness.

Frank was interred at EPSOM CEMETERY, Sec. M. Grave 614 on 16 May 1940 with the headstone inscribed
He has been described by CWGC as the son of Donald Frederick and Gertrude Beatrice Sarah Foster, of Belmont. A.M.I.B.P. The family came from 29 Downs Road, Belmont.

Brian Bouchard © 2018

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FOURNIER, Bernard Maurice. Pilot Officer (85242)

49 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 29 August 1941, aged 21

Bernard Fournier
Bernard Fournier
Photograph from the 49 Squadron Association. Copyright acknowledged.

Bernard's parents were Louis Bernard Fournier and Beatrice Elizabeth (née Brown - they married in Lambeth Q1 1915). The couple had four children, all born in Lambeth:
  • Beatrice, born on 15 March 1917;
  • Bernard, born on 20 July 1920;
  • Gordon, born Q4 1924; and
  • Yvonne, born Q4 1928.
The family then moved to Epsom. (The 1939 Register records them living at "La Maison Blanche", Beaconsfield Road, Langley Vale, Epsom - with Louis listed as "Chartered Surveyor, Estate Manager.")

Bernard's secondary education was at Epsom County School for Boys (now Glyn School) which he joined in 1932. He appears to have been an average pupil, but it is reported that made useful contributions to school life, most notably with interesting and original contributions to the school's newsletter, Ebba's Scrip.

On joining up in 1940, he was attached to 49 Squadron, part of the RAF's Bomber Command. He wrote amusingly of a brief time on leave when, having just gained his 'wings', he met an acquaintance in the street.
"You're in the Air Force aren't you? What are you exactly?"
"A pilot" I replied proudly.
"Oh!" she said "I suppose they haven't let you handle the controls yet have they?"
At the time, this 21-year old was piloting his Handley Page Hampden medium bomber on raids on targets in Germany!

The Handley Page HP.52 Hampden
The Handley Page HP.52 Hampden
Public domain photograph via Wikimedia Commons

On 29 August 1941, Bernard was the pilot of aircraft AD971 (EA-O) - one of eight which took off from RAF Scampton on a bombing mission to Duisberg, a major logistical centre in the Ruhr and the location of chemical, steel and iron industries. The journey was uneventful until they met haze and flak close to the Dutch border. Bernard's aircraft was attacked by a night fighter and, at 0330hrs, fell in flames into the Waddenzee just south of Ameland (an island some 15 miles off the north coast of the Netherlands). There were no survivors.

(After the war, it became known that the crew had become victims of one of the top German "aces", Oberst Helmut Lent, who shot down 110 aircraft, 103 of them at night. He was the first night fighter pilot to claim 100 nocturnal aerial victories, a feat which earned him the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds.)

Bernard and his crew - Navigator Sergeant D H Barrett (901205), Wireless Operator/Air Gunner Flight Sergeant E R Palmer (747878) & Wireless Operator/Air Gunner Sergeant D Watson (942231) -are buried in the Nes Cemetery on the island of Ameland.

Bernard's gravestone at Nes, Ameland, the Netherlands
Bernard's gravestone at Nes, Ameland, the Netherlands
Photograph from the 49 Squadron Association. Copyright acknowledged.

This article has drawn heavily on material in Section 3 ("The War Years") of the Glyn School history, which is gratefully acknowledged.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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FOWLER, Leslie Gordon. Flight Lieutenant/Navigator (126036) DFC

214 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 15 March 1945, aged 23

The marriage of George Robson Fowler to Mabel Lilian Lawler was registered at Blean, Kent, for the June Quarter of 1921. Their son, Leslie Gordon Fowler, was born on 13 June 1922, reg, Blean, 9/1922.

The family came to live at 4 Kinross Avenue, Worcester Park, Surrey, during 1934 for G R Fowler to conduct a newsagents and stationers business at 117 Central Road, Worcester Park - the family name remains on the facia although the business is now carried on by Burkitt Stationery.

Leslie was educated at King's College School, Wimbledon, before enlisting in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, in September 1940 at Euston, with a Service Number 1387456. He learned to fly in Canada and, as a LAC, he was commissioned Pilot Officer on 11 July 1942 being promoted to Flying Officer a year later.

Between 31 December 1942 and the middle of June 1943 Fowler flew 23 operations as a Navigator with 199 Squadron in Vickers Wellington bombers from Blyton and Ingham.

Announced by the Air Ministry, 10th September, 1943: -
The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the award of a Distinguished Flying Cross to Acting Flight Lieutenant Leslie Gordon FOWLER (126036) Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No. 199 Squadron - for gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations.

'This officer has completed many operational missions over enemy territory, including attacks on main targets such as Cologne and Essen and mine laying operations in enemy waters.
At all times Flight Lieut Fowler has displayed navigational abilities of a high order which has contributed much to the success of these sorties. This officer possesses a fine fighting spirit, which has inspired confidence in his crew.'
Further promotion to Flight Lieutenant came into effect on 11 July 1944.

After retraining on B17's he had been posted to No. 214 Squadron which was equipped with various navigation and countermeasure instruments (Fortress Electronic Equipment). On 24 February 1945 a Flying Fortress Mk. III, HB805, took off from RAF Oulton with Leslie Fowler and eight other crew members on board. The bomber was shot down at 20.08 hrs - 20-30 km West of Dusseldorf airfield by Oblt. Kurt Matzak of Stab IV/NJG1 - a Luftwaffe night fighter ace with 19 kills to his score. Fowler was injured during the attack but survived to be taken PoW and hospitalized, only to die on 15 March from his wounds. In total seven crew members had been killed with Air Gunner Flight Sergeant Jennings, D.F.M, also taken PoW to survive the war.

Leslie Fowler was buried in Zuidlaren, Drenthe, Netherlands, although his plane had been reported to crash near Ittenbach 300 km to the south. It had actually been brought down with the starboard inner engine on fire at 20.10 hrs, into the River Niers, near Neersen, Germany. The final flight path described by an eye-witness suggested that the fire was spreading so fast that the aircraft rapidly lost altitude and was unable to reach a flat area only 100 metres away which had earlier been a dummy airfield. The fuel tanks exploded when close to the Konradkapelle, [St Konrad Chapel] the starboard wing broke off and fell on the house occupied by the Gaspers family, whilst cockpit and fuselage fell into the Niers, the port wing section smashing into the opposite bank of the Niers.

An explanation for confusion over the crash site is that remains of the aircraft's pilot, F/O J.M Shorttle, DFM, had been discovered months later, in the wreckage of an Amerian type aircraft, and taken for burial at the US Military cemetery at Ittenbach - only later when his identity was confirmed, were they exhumed and re-interred at Rheinberg.

W/O G J E Jennings who parachuted to safety and was taken prisoner had been interviewed post-war at the RNZAF HQ on 20th July 1945 and 20th September 1945, concerning the whereabouts of F H Dix the sole New Zealander of the crew. His testimony was recorded: -
"Jennings was informed by the Germans that the whole crew, with the exception of the Navigator Fowler, had been killed in the crash. The Germans knew the names of all the crew and that one man had jumped, they thought however it was Sgt Jones. Jennings had difficulties convincing them that he was the man and not Jones. The exact crash location could not be established, but was estimated as about ten miles south or south-west of Krefeld" Concerning Fowler, Jennings provided the following information "I saw F/Lt Fowler in a civil hospital about ten miles to the south or south-west of Krefeld on the 27th or 28th February 1945 (which matched the crash location and would be just prior to the US troops occupying the area). We were then taken to a military unit about 2 miles from Krefeld as far as I can tell. F/Lt Fowler was in a very bad way - he was burned all over and was clearly in great pain. A sister said that the index finger of his right hand had to be amputated. Fowler however seemed to think that his recovery was proceeding satisfactorily. He was taken away in an ambulance and I never saw him again"
F/Lt Fowler had died in a military hospital in the Netherlands on 15th March 1945 to be buried in the Zuidlaren General Cemetery, Drente, which lies between Groningen and Assen. A psychiatric institution at Dennenoord Zuidlaren had been cleared of inmates by the Germans on 20 February 1945 to serve as Kriegslazarett 3/541 (war hospital) but how Fowler came to be transferred there has not been established. Zuidlaren was liberated by Canadians on 13 April 1945.

Buried in Zuidlaren General Cemetery, Drenthe, Netherlands, Plot 1 Row E Grave 12. Son of George Robson Fowler and Mabel Lilian Fowler, of Worcester Park, Surrey.

Images and further details at www.214squadron.org.uk and www.tracesofwar.com

Brian Bouchard © 2018

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FOX, Stafford Harry John. Gunner (1450673)

282 Battery, 88 Heavy Anti Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery
Died 17 August 1942, aged 30

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Stafford was born Q2 1912, the first child of Samuel Harvey and Nellie Fox (née Swannell). Their Q2 1911 marriage was registered in the Lewisham District, but the births of both Stafford and his sister Pamela (Q4 1920) were registered in the Epsom District.

In Q2 1937, the 25 year old Stafford married Elizabeth Robertson. Their marriage was registered in the Surrey Mid Eastern District (into which the Borough falls) - as was the Q3 1940 birth of their twins Ann and Jill. Stafford was probably already in uniform at the time of the 1939 Register. However, the 27 year old Elizabeth was recorded living with her widowed father at 90 Arundel Avenue, Ewell.

Stafford's WW2 service was with the 88 Heavy Anti Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery. After an initial period of home duty, the Regiment was sent to Egypt, arriving at Port Tewfik (now Suez Port) at the southern end of the Suez Canal on 23 July 1941. The disembarkation strength of Stafford's 282 Battery was 11 Officers and 346 Other Ranks. There are few details of the Battery's engagements in the ebb and flow of the North African Campaign, but it is clear that it suffered heavy losses in the Cyrenaica area of the eastern Libyan Coast in action on 1 August 1942. It appears that Stafford was wounded during this action and taken prisoner. His captors took him to one of the hospitals attached to the PoW camp at Bari in SE Italy. He died there on 17 August 1942.

He was initially buried in the civil cemetery at Bari. After the town came into the Allies' hands in late 1943, a new war cemetery was founded there. Stafford was subsequently reinterred in that Bari War Cemetery.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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FRANCK, Douglas George. Air Fitter FAA/FX 75637.

Royal Navy, Fleet Air Arm - HMS Glorious
Died 8 June 1940, aged 18

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records note that Douglas was the son of George and Dorothy Marie Franck, of Epsom. His mother's Christian names were actually "Dorothy Maria", and her maiden name was Skinner. The 1911 Census records this 16 year old living with her parents (William - a "Poultry Keeper" - and Hannah Catherine) and five of her seven siblings at "Sunnyside" (probably No. 97 - see below), East Street, Epsom. She is listed as a "Clerk at a Servants Agency".

In Q1 1917, Dorothy married Archibald C G O Franck, in Epsom. The registration of this marriage is the only trace of this Archibald or George Franck in the readily available records. The couple had a daughter Joan D Franck whose birth on 27 December 1918 was registered in Wandsworth Q1 1919. (In early September 1939, Joan married Reuban D Moody - a Divisional Engineer with Sheffield Corporation - and the newly-marrieds are listed in the 1939 Register living at 45 Bingham Park, Sheffield.) However, Douglas's birth (in 1921/22 for him to be aged 18 at his death in mid-1940) is not found in the readily available records - indeed, the only readily available records of Douglas relate to his death.

The 1939 Register records the 44 year old (and presumably widowed) Dorothy living with her retired parents at 97 (probably the "Sunnyside" of the 1911 Census) East Street, Epsom. She is listed as "Clerk (Motor Garage)". The household was completed by 42 year old Mabel E Lewis - doubtless Dorothy's now married/widowed younger sister.

In contrast to the yet to be answered questions raised by the above, it is certain that Douglas's WW2 service was as an Air Fitter with the Fleet Air Arm aboard HMS Glorious. The ship had been built during WW1 as the second of the three Courageous-class battle cruisers and, after commissioning in January 1917, spent the war patrolling the North Sea. She participated in the Second Battle of Heligoland Bight in November 1917 and was present when the German High Seas Fleet surrendered a year later.

In the late 1920s, HMS Glorious was converted to an aircraft carrier. Re-commissioned in 1930, she spent most of that decade operating in the Mediterranean. After the start of WW2, she spent the rest of 1939 in the Indian Ocean unsuccessfully hunting for the commerce-raiding German cruiser Admiral Graf Spee and then returned to the Mediterranean. She was recalled home in April 1940 to support operations in Norway.

HMS Glorious at anchor in 1935
HMS Glorious at anchor in 1935
IWM photograph FL 22991 - Public Domain

Although Norway had determined to be neutral in WW2, its strategic importance led to its invasion by German forces in early April 1940 - more than a month before the German invasion of the low countries and France. British and French forces were quickly sent to Norway to try to deny Germany its prize. The role of HMS Glorious was to provide air cover for the offensive. Despite moderate success in the northern parts of Norway, the Allies were eventually compelled to withdraw by Germany's invasion of France. HMS Glorious was then involved in evacuating aircraft from Norway.

On 8 June 1940, HMS Glorious - escorted by the destroyers Acasta and Arden - was on her way back to Scapa Flow. In the late afternoon, the British ships were caught and engaged by German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau. Because of confusion over radio frequencies, other Royal Navy ships that were near enough to help, did not hear the appeals for help. In spite of smoke screens and other evasive action, all three British ships were sunk, with the loss of 1,519 lives - 1,207 of which (including Douglas) were from HMS Glorious alone. There were only 40 survivors.

Douglas's body was never found and he is commemorated on the Fleet Air Arm's Lee-on-Solent Memorial.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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FREAKES, Kenneth, Flight Sergeant 1604876

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve Navigator 115 Squadron RAF
Died 15 February 1945, aged 21

Kenneth Freakes
Kenneth Freakes
Image © Beryl Lock (Kenneth's cousin) and courtesy Kelvin Youngs of Aircrew Remembered

Herbert Freakes, born 12 August 1901 in Ash, was appointed a porter with the London and South Western Railway Company at North Camp from 9 December 1918. He married Violet Lock at Christ Church, Epsom, on 16 April 1923. She was a laundress and daughter of Frederick Lock (otherwise Smith and sometimes Lock-Smith or Locksmith), butcher of 39-41 High Street, Epsom, whose family resided at 1 Isabel Cottages, The Common, Epsom. Herbert Freakes became a porter at Epsom from 24 March 1927 and the family lived at 11 West Street until at least 1931.

The birth of their only son, Kenneth Freakes, in Ash came to be registered at Farnham for the March Quarter of 1924. His secondary education was obtained at Glyn School, Ewell.

He joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and his service number suggests that he was inducted to the RAF at Oxford in September 1941. Having trained as a Navigator he was posted to 115 Squadron to become part of a crew aboard Lancaster Mk. III, LM 725, call sign KO-X.

On Wednesday 14 February 1945, this aircraft took off from R.A.F. Witchford, Cambridgeshire at 20.37 hrs. to bomb Chemnitz amongst an armada of 717 aircraft from 1, 3, 4, 6 and 8 Groups taking part in 'Operation Thunderclap'. The bombing was hampered by cloud and, although many parts of the city were hit, the majority of the bombs fell in open country. Only 13 aircraft in total were lost during the Chemnitz raid.

One was Lancaster LM725 which crashed near Haveluy, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France. It is not known what caused the fire which brought the plane down but no claim has been traced from a Luftwaffe night fighter.

A description of the crash, in French :
… de retour d'Allemagne, s'apprête à survoler Haveluy… La base de Cambrai Epinoy capte alors le message suivant :
« Trois moteurs en feu… le 4ème à blanc… passons au dessus de l'aggloméation pour atterrir'.»
L'avion perd de plus en plus d'altitude. Pour éiter les maisons à droite du village, le pilote Edward Arthur Slogrove tente tout pour redresser le bombardier qui perd une partie d'aile sans faire de victimes.
Il est 2 heures 25 minutes, au lieu-dit «Le Calvaire» on entend une terrible explosion… Le Lancaster, en percutant le sol a creusé un trou de 20 mètres de diamètre et profond de 8 mètres. 7 aviateurs anglais héroïues viennent de péir pour sauvegarder des vies et notre village,…
but this does not provide a complete account.

The aircraft was already in trouble at 1a.m. in the early hours of Thursday 15 February 1945 when arrangements were made for it to attempt a forced landing at Valenciennes (Prouvy) [now Aéroport de Valenciennes - Denain]. During that process it crashed close to Chemin d'Haveluy in open ground between Haveluy and Wallers, 8km from Valenciennes. In the French language extract reproduced above, the mayor of Haveluy recalled that the airfield at Cambrai Epinoy (which by that date was back in Allied hands) had received a radio message from the stricken bomber - 'Three engines on fire … the 4th white hot … clearing the built up area before landing.' The aircraft lost more and more height. The pilot managed to avoid houses, and possible civilian casualties, but shed part of one wing at 2.25 a.m. and plunged into the ground near a place called 'The Calvary, with a terrible explosion causing a crater 20 metres wide and 8 metres deep - heroically saving lives and the village itself.

Location Map for 115 Squadron Lancaster III LM725 KO-X.
Location Map for 115 Squadron Lancaster III LM725 KO-X.
With kind permission of Kelvin Young of Aircrew Remembered

Mortal remains of the crew were interred together in a grave at Haveluy.

Left: Crew graves at Haveluy Right: Thurette family plot
Above left: Crew graves at Haveluy Right: Thurette family plot
With kind permission of Kelvin Young of Aircrew Remembered

After the war the Freakes family kept in touch with Marie Louise Monnez and her husband Gabriel Thurett (members of the French Resistance from Haveluys, near Lille). Sadly, whilst Flt. Sgt. Freakes' father, 'Bert' was on a visit to France to visit his sons' grave, he suffered a heart attack. Marie Louise Monnez gained permission for him to be buried in the Thurette family plot so that he could be near to his son.

Kenneth's name also appears on the Glyn School War Memorial

By 1945 the Freakes had taken up residence at 17 Limecroft Close, West Ewell. Kenneth's widowed mother, Violet Freakes, survived until 1980.

Brian Bouchard, January 2016

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FRECKER, Peter Farrow. Captain (105352)

Royal Artillery - attached to 9 Field Regiment,Royal Indian Artillery
Died 9 December 1944, aged 28

Peter was born Q4 1916, the second of three children born to Albert Charles Frecker and Silvia (née Hamilton - they married Q2 1912). The parents' marriage was registered in the Kingston District, as was Peter's birth and the 27 September 1913 birth of his older brother Albert D. The Q3 1918 birth of Silvia J Frecker was registered in Romford, Essex.

The 1939 Register records the parents and Albert living at 51 Ewell Downs Road, Ewell. 56 year old Albert senior is listed as "Manager of Bank (Trustee Dept)" with an MS annotation that he was a volunteer Air Raid Warden in Epsom. 49 year old Silvia senior has the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties" - with an MS annotation that she was a British Red Cross volunteer in Ewell. 26 year old Albert junior's occupation is listed as "None (see next column)" - that column being the MS annotation that he was an RAFVR Sergeant. (Albert later became a Pilot Officer. He survived the war and, on 22 January 1943, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross after exploits with 252 Squadron in the Middle East.)

There is one currently closed record at the address - probably one of the couple's other children, and perhaps more likely to be 21 year old Silvia junior rather than 23 year old Peter. Neither of those is readily found in the 1939 Register. However, it is known from Coutts Bank's WW2 Roll of Honour that Peter had - perhaps following his father - worked for them.

On 22 October 1939, Peter was awarded an emergency commission as a Second Lieutenant, the gazetted announcement noting that he was from the Inns of Court Regiment (Cadets, 3rd Cavalry Officer Cadet Training Wing). He later transferred to the Royal Artillery and, as a Captain, was attached to 9 Field Regiment, Royal Indian Artillery.

Sadly, searches of the readily available records provide no useful information about the WW2 activities of the RIA's 9 Field Regiment. It is known from Casualty List No. 1631 of 16 December 1944 that Peter's death on 9 December was the result of an accident rather than enemy action. Unhelpfully, the list notes the duty location only as "India". And nothing can be inferred from Peter's burial in the Delhi War Cemetery since this was created in 1951 when graves were moved there from many cemeteries in northern India to ensure their permanent maintenance.

The parents took up the option of adding a personal inscription to the headstone, "In lasting memory of Peter, beloved younger son of A and S Frecker of Ewell, Surrey."

Roger Morgan © 2017

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FREEMAN, Henry Alfred. Sergeant 932778

207 Sqdn. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 22 September 1943 Age 31

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

The marriage of Henry Freeman to Eliza Heath was registered at Lambeth for the June Quarter of 1912. Birth of their son Henry A Freeman came to be recorded in the same District, 3/1913.

Henry A Freeman married Mabel A Redgewell, reg. Lambeth 12/1934.

In 1938 amp; 1939, Henry Alfred and Mabel Alice Freemen were resident at 37 Brocks Drive, North Cheam, Sutton, Surrey.

During September 1938 Henry, junior, enlisted with the Royal Air Force at Uxbridge.

He was aboard Lancaster ED442, EM-W, with 207 Squadron which took off from RAF Langar on 22 September 1943 for a night Raid on Hannover. It was piloted by P/O G L Coxon with a crew consisting of: -
Sgt A W Marsh,
Sgt H Fulton,
Sgt F C Shergold,
Sgt J L Holding,
Sgt K Saville,
Sgt E D Kite
Sgt H A Freeman - Rear Air Gunner.
Having been hit by Flak, the aircraft crashed in Bad Münder am Deister a town in the Hamelin-Pyrmont district, in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is on the south side of the Deister hills in the Deister-Süntel valley, about 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) northeast of Hamelin. All the RAF personnel were killed to be buried in Hanover War Cemetery - Henry Arthur Freeman in Grave 4. E. 8.

For 1948/9, the bereaved Mabel A Freeman is found resident with relatives, Walter E & Nellie Redgewell, at Grove Stables, The Grove, Epsom.

By 1951 Mabel was living in 15 Belfield Road, West Ewell, possibly as a lodger, with Fanny and George W Cox.

H A Freeman was noted by CWGC to have been the son of Henry and Eliza Freeman; husband of Mabel Alice Freeman, of West Ewell, Surrey.

Brian Bouchard © 2018

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FROST, Rupert Chatham, Pilot Officer (Pilot), 42497,

Royal Air Force 16 Operational Training Unit
Died 28 May 1940, aged 26

On 31 May 1913, Albert William Chatham Frost (b. 7 July 1872 at Leicester), widower, married his second wife, Florence Burslem (b. Crewe, 5 March 1876) with a civil ceremony in Berlin. The groom was a travel-writer/journalist who had been living in Germany from no later than 1898. The birth of a son from this union, Rupert Chatham Frost (11 March 1914), came to be registered at Croydon for the June Quarter of 1914.

Rupert, recorded as the son of Albert W C Frost, journalist, of Nenna, Limpsfield, Surrey, became a boarder at Eastbourne College - in Wargrave House between 1928-30. He is reported subsequently to have attended King's College, London, between 1932 & 1935 but to have left without a degree.

He enlisted for 6 years from 19 August 1939 on a short service commission with the RAF becoming an Acting Pilot Officer, on probation. That appointment was confirmed with effect from 1 February 1940. Whilst serving with No 16 Operational Training Unit he, flying a Hampden L4156, and Pilot Officer (Pilot) Neil George Dryburgh in L4158, were detached to RAF Stormy Down near St Athan, South Wales - No 7 School of Air Gunnery. On 27 May 1940 the two aircraft from 16 OTU took off from the aerodrome for a flight over the Bristol Channel on an air firing exercise. Hampdens L4156 and L4158 collided in mid-air near Ilfracombe. All of both crews (P/O's R C Frost, N G Dryburgh and T A Nixon; LACs R J Aitken, T Baird, H Sharpe and J Whyte) were killed. [LINK http://thekenfigsociety.weebly.com]

Rupert Frost survived his injuries only until the following day but his death was not registered in Barnstaple until the September Quarter of 1940: he was interred in Upper Heyford Cemetery Section B Grave 38 . [LINK www.theygavetheirtoday.com ]

By the time of WW2, the Frost family had taken up residence at 19 The Avenue, Worcester Park, Surrey - Grafton House demolished for the construction of Squirrels Court. Deaths are registered of in Surrey Mid E of Florence Frost, 12/1943, & Albert William C Frost, 3/1958.

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FRYER, Herbert Arthur. Private (6105811)

1/5th Battalion,The Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey)
Died 30 September 1942, aged 35

Herbert was born on 8 July 1907 at 28 Newland Terrace, Queenstown Road, Lambeth - the first child of Arthur Henri Fryer (a Sorter in the London Postal Service) and Elizabeth Ann (née Collins - they had married Q2 1905 in Wincanton, Somerset). The couple appear to have had three or four other children.

In Q2 1933, the 26 year old Herbert married 24 year old Ruby Mavis Felstead. She was also a Londoners, and the marriage was registered in Battersea. They set up home at 15 Amberley Gardens, Stoneleigh, where they were recorded by the 1939 Register with their locally-born 1 year old daughter, Norma. Herbert is listed as "Clerk to Gas Light & Coke Company" (with a manuscript annotation that he was also a volunteer Air Raid Warden), and Ruby with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties".

Herbert's WW2 service was with 1/5th Battalion of The Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey). It is not currently known when he enlisted, but this may have been in time to be sent to France in 1940 when the Battalion was quickly involved in the Battle of France and subsequent Dunkirk evacuation. In mid-1942, the Battalion was sent to North Africa to reinforce the British Eighth Army.

While it was not involved in the July 1942 First Battle of El Alamein (in which British forces finally halted the Axis forces' eastward advance towards the Nile), it did participate in the Battle of Alam el Halfa fought south of El Alamein between 30 August and 5 September 1942. Forewarned of Rommel's intentions by Ultra intelligence, Montgomery successfully resisted that last major Axis offensive of the Western Desert Campaign, setting the stage for the Second Battle of El Alamein (23 October-11 November 1942) in which British forces gained the upper hand and began to push the Axis forces back again.

There was, of course, much skirmishing between the more set piece battles, and Herbert was killed in such action on 30 September 1942.

He is buried in the El Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt. The widowed Ruby took the option of adding a personal inscription on the headstone, "Beloved husband of Ruby, Daddy of Norma and Graham. Dearly loved and so sadly missed." (This second child, Graham, was born Q1 1943 - a few months after Herbert's death.)

Roger Morgan © 2017

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FURNELL, Harry Leonard. Flight Lieutenant/Navigator (124535)

24 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
Died 17 April 1945, aged 24.

Harry's headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Harry's headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2018

The marriage of Tom Furnell to Evelyn C Scarfe was registered at Aysham for the December Quarter of 1916. Birth of their son, Harry L Furnell, came to be recorded in the same District, 9/1920.

With a Service Number 657311 he entered the RAF from the Army in or after 1939. Having reached the rank of LAC, he was commissioned Pilot Officer, on 6 June 1942 and was promoted Flying Officer, 6 December 1942, then Flight Lieutenant, 6 June 1944.

He had married Bessie Otway - reg. Surrey Mid E 9/1942. She was a daughter (born in Epsom, 1922) of the late George Otway from 11 Ebbisham Road, Epsom, and Bertha Louisa, née Simmonds.

No. 24 Squadron, which transported VIPs, moved from Northolt to Hendon in 1933 and remained there throughout WW2.

The following newspaper articles reported a fire at Hendon Aerodrome on the 17 April 1945:
Daily Mirror - Thursday 19 April 1945

In a hangar at Hendon aerodrome on Tuesday two young RAF officers were discussing whether lino, which they were cleaning with petrol would catch fire if a flame were applied. To prove that it would not one of the men held the flame of his lighter to the corner and it immediately flamed in his face.
The five men in the hangar attempted to leave but found one of the doors locked and the others inaccessible because of the blaze. Three of the men managed to climb their way out to safety , but the other two were trapped and burned to death."

Daily Record - Thursday 19 April 1945

Two young RAF officers were trapped and burned to death at Hendon aerodrome on Tuesday. Whilst some linoleum was being cleaned with petrol it caught fire. The flames spread and the two officers and other men in the hangar tried to get away but the door they tried first was locked. Three of the men managed to leave by climbing out, but the two officers were trapped."
Flight Lieutenant Furnell and Warrant Officer Terrington were the two victims of this fire at Hendon - d.reg Hendon 6/1945.

As a son of Tom and Evelyn Constance Furnell; husband of Bessie Furnell of Epsom, Harry was buried in Epsom Cemetery, Grave K320 with wife's father, the record being noted that he was "late of Hendon Aerodrome, NW9."

Mrs Bessie Furnell appears to have cotracted a second marriage with William G Oliver - reg. Surrey Mid E, 6/1946.

George Otway, a Council Employee, had been interred in Plot K320 of Epsom Cemetery on 27 December 1935. His widow, Bertha Louisa, joined him there on 19 July 1954.

Brian Bouchard © 2017

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