WW2 Book of Remembrance - Supplement


This page contains information about some of the 342 local individuals who died as a result of World War Two and are recorded in the Epsom and Ewell WW2 Book of Remembrance. In time we hope to provide some basic information about each person listed in the book, but feel we should complete the huge task of providing information on the fallen of the Great War. Meanwhile we rely on family members and friends to to supply any information they can on an individual by individual basis. If anyone has any information about one of the names in the Book or Remembrance or is interested in carrying out research into the Borough's fallen of the Wars please contact the webmaster.


Index

Click on the name to jump to the relevant entry
[Content]

Abel, Jack Sydney (New 29/08/2014)
Adams, Albert E (updated 12/09/2017)
Adkins, Henry Charles (New 12/09/2014)
Alway, Edwin John (New 25/12/2015)
Arnold, John Turney (New 24/05/2012)
Baker, Donald (New 31/10/2014)
Basson, Peter Henry
Berry, Frederick Charles (Updated 12/09/2017)
Blackman, Harry Edwin (Updated 12/09/2017)
Bliss, John Miller (Links to an external site)
Broderick, George Adrian Leonard (Revised 06/10/2014)
Brown, Albert Keith Winslow (Revised 22/09/2017)
Burnham, Basile Ronald Martin (Revised 22/09/2017)
Burrough, John Hardy (Revised 21/10/2014)
Butterworth, John Leslie Gilbert (New 28/01/2016)
Canham, Jack (Revised 22/09/2017)
Chapman, John Arthur (Revised 22/09/2017)
Clark, Leonard Arthur (Revised 22/09/2017)
Clark, Victor James (Links to an external site)
Clark, William George (Revised 22/09/2017)
Cliff, John William (Revised 22/09/2017)
Cliff, Peter Robert (Revised 22/09/2017)
Collins, Geoffrey Guy (New 10/08/2017)
Connor, Edith May see Tragedy on the Home Front
Conran, Edward Denis (Revised 06/06/2014)
Copestick, Arthur (Revised 23/09/2017)
Daniell, Michael Charles (New 10/08/2017)
Easton, Charles William (Revised 23/09/2017)
Everett, Daniel Bulmer (New 29/09/2014)
Fournier, Bernard Maurice (Links to an external site)
Ford, Leslie Arthur (Links to an external site) see also Ford, Leslie Arthur (Links to an external site)
Freakes, Kenneth (New 19/01/2016)
Frost, Rupert Chatham (New 22/11/2014)
Geen, Henry (properly Harry) Ernest (New 28/11/2014)
Gladman, Charles Clifford (Revised 23/09/2017)
Gorard, Leslie Edward (New 10/08/2017)
Gordon, Ronald (Revised 23/09/2017)
Grant, Philip (Revised 23/09/2017)
Greenslade, John Leonard (New 28/01/2016)
Hampton, Denis Allen (NOT LISTED in the Book of Remembrance) (New 23/11/2014)
Hanley, Matthew (otherwise Michael) William (New 15/11/2014)
Hawkins, Albert J. (New 28/08/2014)
Hicks, Archibald Jack (Updated 01/09/2014)
Hills, Oliver Lilburne Rieu (New 18/03/2013)
Howell, Cecil Alex Frank (New 12/08/2017)
Hutchings, Roy Garston Harris (New 12/08/2017)
Ievers, Eyre Osbourne (New 16/03/2014)
Irish, Cyril Vivian (Revised 23/09/2017)
Jackson, Percy Cecil (Revised 23/09/2017)
Leverington, Ernest (New 08/08/2017)
Leverington, Muriel (New 08/08/2017)
Lewin, Walter William (Links to a separate page)
Lewis, Cyril (New 14/08/2017)
Lower, Vivian (New 14/08/2017)
Matthews, Reginald William (New 14/08/2017)
Moore, Harry (New 28/11/2014)
Newbery, Alfred George (New 19/08/2017)
Page, Wilfrid Thomas (Ted) (Links to a separate page)
Pearson, Nevill Corrie (New 03/02/2014)
Peddie, Thomas John (Updated 24/08/2017)
Penfold, Ernest John
Penfold, Harry
Pilley, John Herbert (Links to an external site)
Roll, John Castledine (New 07/08/2017)
Rawson, John Leslie (New 10/08/2013)
Roberts, Albert (New 21/08/2017)
Rowland, Thomas Alfred (New 21/08/2017)
Swan, Mrs Annie Elizabeth see Tragedy on the Home Front
Sandall, Jack Francis (New 20/12/2014)
Savage, Eric John (New 02/09/2017)
Selman, Harry William (New 02/09/2017)
Skelton, Walter Allen (New 29/08/2017)
Smith, John Arthur (New 07/12/2014)
Smith, James Bruce (New 29/08/2017)
Smith, John Frederick (New 11/12/2014)
Steel, George Robert (New 29/08/2017)
Stephenson, Thomas (New 29/08/2017)
Stone, Frank James (New 29/08/2017)
Telling, Robert Douglas (New 11/12/2014)
Tepper, Roland Harcourt (New 01/09/2014)
Todd, Eric Joseph (Updated 17/01/2016)
Toft, Ronald Frederick (New 29/08/2017)
Treadgold, Leonard Horace (New 29/08/2017)
Turnbull, Richard Dominic (New 02/09/2017)
Underwood, Paul Derek (New 20/12/2014)
Veall, Charles Raithby (New 03/09/2017)
Waite, Gerald Francis John (New 03/09/2017)
Ward, Bernard (New 03/09/2017)
Waterman, Douglas Allenby (New 08/09/2017)
Watson, Robert Sims (NOT LISTED in the Book of Remembrance. Links to an external site)
Weston, Arthur (New 08/09/2017)
Weston, George Percy (New 08/09/2017)
White, William John (New 08/09/2017)
Wilby, Edward John (New 08/09/2017)
Williams, Herbert Charles (New 08/11/2014)
Williams, Philip Edwin (New 08/09/2017)
Wilson, Ronald George (New 08/09/2017)

Content


Abel, Jack Sydney, Flying Officer (Navigator) 120353

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR) 115 Sqdn.
Died 06/12/1942, aged 26

Jack Abel
Jack Abel
Photograph courtesy of Margaret V Thompson née Abel

The marriage of Albert Arthur Abel to Edith May Tooley was recorded at Yarmouth, 3/1916. Birth of their son, Jack Sydney Abel on 21 January 1917, subsequently came to be registered in the Mutford District of Norfolk for the March Quarter of 1917.

Having joined the Post office in 1933 as Temporary Postman/Messenger Jack was appointed to the grade of Sorting Clerk/Telegraphist by Limited Competition during 1935, apparently in Norfolk.

Following enlistment in the RAFVR, he would have been inducted at Cardington around April 1940 with a Service Number 122267. Subsequently Jack is known to have trained in South Africa at 75 Air School, Lyttleton, Pretoria. Possibly this would have been followed by a period in 45 Air School at Oudtsshoorn, about 200 miles east of Cape Town, - 'A.O.N.S & B & GS', otherwise Air Observers Navigation School, and Bombing & Gunnery School.

Although Victoria Mary McCondach had been born in the Romford area (reg. 12/1914), her brother Robert McCondach's birth was registered in Yarmouth, 9/1920 and one infers that the family could then have been living near Gorleston. Victoria McCondach and Jack Sydney Abel seem to have met in Norfolk but he is assumed to have been training in Wales when they married during 1941 (reg. Cardigan for June Quarter of that year). Their daughter's birth is registered in Surrey Mid E District, 6/1942 - Margaret V. Abel - presumably reflecting Mrs Abel's residence at that time in 27 Oakhurst Road, with two of her sisters, Josephine Charlotte and Louvine Elizabeth McCondach.

Jack was stationed with 115 Squadron at East Wretham, near Thetford, for the fateful flight of the Wellington Mk111, BJ 898, KO-C, on 6 December 1942. It took off at 17.33 hrs. from its base on a bombing mission against Mannheim, one of 272 aircraft taking part in the raid. This particular Wellington is claimed to have been shot down by Ofw. Wilhelm Engel of Nachtjagdgeschwader 4 (8/NJG 4), a Luftwaffe night-fighter wing, 15 km. north of Worms at 20.12. It crashed in a vineyard 3 kilometres west of Alsheim with the loss of the entire crew who were buried in the cemetery at Alsheim before being reverently re-interred in the Rheinberg Cemetery in accordance with the policy agreed upon by His Majesty and the Commonwealth Governments that fallen airmen in Germany should rest together in British Military Cemeteries.

Images, courtesy of Frank East from www.luntfamilyhistory.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk (link no longer working)

Collective photograph of crew headstones
Wellington Mark 111, Serial No BJ 898, KO C. Collective photograph of crew headstones.
From Left to Right, Plot 8, Row C, Graves 18-22 inclusive
Sergeant R E Hayman. Air bomber
Flying Officer H W Larkins Pilot
Flight Sergeant E F Stammers RCAF Air Gunner
Flying Officer J S Abel Navigator
Flight Sergeant D G Williams RCAF Air Gunner

Sadly the widowed Mrs Victoria Abel survived only until 1959. Her daughter Margaret married Vere O.S(haun) Thompson during 1964: they migrated to Canada in 1970, where they now reside in Southampton, Ontario.

Brian Bouchard ©2014

Back to the index


ADAMS, Albert Edward. Private (6018777)

7th Battalion, Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment.
Died 21 May 1940, aged 20.

Albert was born Q3 1919 to William Adams and Annie (née Terry - they married in Epsom Q4 1917), The parents (with William as a "grocer") were recorded in the 1939 Register as living at 98 East Dean Avenue, Epsom.

On 19 April 1940, Albert's Battalion was sent to France as part of the 12th Infantry Brigade which had been formed as a 2nd Line duplicate of the 132nd (Kent) Infantry Brigade. It underwent training and performed labour duties at Albert (near the Somme, about midway between Paris and Calais). It then fought in what is called the Battle of France from 10 May to 25 June 1940.

While the overall British Expeditionary Force (under the command of the highly decorated WW1 hero, Field Marshal the Viscount Gort) was preparing to resist the expected German advance into France, it did not anticipated the speed of the Blitzkrieg assault. When that came, the 12th Infantry Brigade (including Albert's Battalion) had none of its support units in place and the infantrymen had had little training. It was simply overrun by the German forces - suffering very heavy casualties, including the death of Albert. (Only about 70 of the overall Brigade managed to escape back to the UK.)

Albert is buried in the extension of the Albert Communal Cemetery, originally established for WW1 casualties.

Roger Morgan ©2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


Adkins, Henry Charles

Sergeant 1269014 RAFVR (Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve)
15 Squadron Died 8 December 1942, aged 31.

William Thomas Chapman Adkins (b. Battersea in1867) had married Clara Jane Henden (b. Stoke Newington during1870/1) at Christ Church, Battersea, on 25 December 1895 [reg. Wandsworth 12/1895]. Birth of their fourth child, Henry Charles, was registered in Wandsworth for the first quarter of 1911. The 1911 Census shows the family enumerated at 14 Barchard Street, Wandsworth with baby Charles described as being under two months old. William T C Adkins survived until 1 November 1929.

The wedding of Henry C Adkins to Evelyn B Joyce may be found registered in Edmonton, 6/1940. They came to reside at 18 Amberley Gardens, Stoneleigh.

Henry enlisted in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve to be inducted, probably at Uxbridge, about May 1940. Eventually he was assigned to 15 Squadron which had been equipped with Short Stirling Mk 1 aircraft from April 1941. In August 1942, the squadron moved to RAF Bourn, Cambridgeshire.

On 8 December 1942, Stirling I W7635, identification code LS-V, of 15 Sqn., Bomber Command, took off from Bourn at 16.42 on a mine laying detail in the Sweet Pea region (Rostock and Arcone Light) intent on 'Gardening' in the Baltic south east of Lolland & Falster islands.

Attacks against a Stirling were reported on 8 December 1942 by pilots of Nachtjagdgeschwader 3, a Luftwaffe night-fighter wing - Feldwebel (Sergeant) Helmut Schuppan of 2./NJG 3 [2. Staffel of Nachtjagdgeschwader 3 (2nd Squadron, Night Fighter Wing 3)] 21.48 at 3600m, and Oberleutnant(1st lieutenant) Hans Graf, 4./NJG 3, 22.03 at 400m. It seems likely that the same British aircraft was involved, after descending rapidly, and it had been W7635 which finally crashed into the North Sea west of the island of Rømø .

Messerschmitt bf 110
Messerschmitt bf 110, a twin-engine heavy fighter
(Zerstörer-German for "Destroyer") as flown by NJG3

Pilot Sgt Jochemus J. Blignaut, Flt. Engr. Sgt Eric Bance, Navigator Sgt Francis G. Crapp, W/Op Sgt Richard G. Oliver and Air Gnr. Sgt Robert Skelton have no known grave and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

Air Gnr. F/Sgt Alfred T. Kelley RCAF was found to have drifted ashore on the island of Rømø near Lakolk on 17 December and was laid to rest in Kirkeby cemetery on 18/12-42. Kelly hailed from Kansas City and had joined the Canadian Air force.

Nav./Bomber Sgt Henry C. Adkins was apparently brought in from the island of Rømø and was laid to rest in Fourfelt cemetery, Esbjerg, on 18/12-1942 - Plot AIII. 8. 10.

Administration of Henry's will was granted to his relict, Mrs Evelyn Barbara Adkins, (Effects £1507:9:1) - she remained in Stoneleigh at least to the end of the war.

Henry's headstone in Fourfelt cemetery
Henry's headstone in Fourfelt cemetery
Image courtesy of Søren Flensted, Billund, Denmark ©2014

With acknowledgement of material derived from Airwar over Denmark with kind permission
Brian Bouchard ©2014

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


ARNOLD John Turney.

Merchant Seaman. SS Lulworth Hill.
Died as a result of enemy action, 12 May 1943, aged 18.

John Turney Arnold in his uniform.
John Turney Arnold in his uniform.
Image source David Arnold © 2012

John Turney Arnold was born on 2 April 1925 in Camberwell. In 1931 John, aged 6, attended Collingwood School for Boys, Wallington, and when the family moved to West Ewell he attended Ewell Castle School between 1934 and 1936.

At the age of 16, in 1941 John joined the Merchant Navy as an apprentice, and sailed with the 7,628 ton freighter, SS Lulworth Hill. In a letter to his father, at the beginning of a voyage that left Hull on Sunday 27th September 1942, John prophetically wrote 'I think it may be us this trip'.

SS Lulworth Hill sailed North, and round the North of Scotland for three days, before joining a convoy of 57 ships protected by a pack of frigates and corvettes, and led by a destroyer. She was carrying 7,000 tons of aircraft engines as well as 7,000 tons of high explosive 250lb bombs intended for the troops in North Africa. After only 7 hours the convoy was attacked and at least 4 ships were sunk.

On the 17th day the convoy split up and SS Lulworth Hill took another 8 days to reach Brazil. From there they went to Cape Town for a brief stop and then north up through the Red Sea, refuelled at Port Said then on to Alexandria where the cargo was offloaded.

They now turned round and headed back to Mauritius where they picked up 10,000 tons of sugar, some fibre and 400 tons of rum. Back to the Cape for more fuel and then on to Walvis Bay where they intended to rendezvous with nine other ships for the convoy home, but for some reason, unknown at present, they were then instructed to make their way home alone.

During World War II, Italy operated a substantial fleet of submarines which were larger and less manoeuvrable than the German U-boats which sank so many Allied ships in the North Atlantic.

Italian submarine commanders usually operated alone and preferred the method of torpedoing a victim from periscope depth before rising to the surface to finish of the attack with gunfire.

In 1942 the Italian submarines based at Bordeaux, France, began venturing farther out to look for ships travelling alone in waters off the Caribbean, along the western coast of Africa and off north-eastern South America.

On 19th March 1943 the SS Lulworth Hill was attacked and sunk by the 'Leonardo da Vinci, under Captain Gianfranco Gazzana- Priaroggia. The submarine surfaced among the struggling survivors and they hoped to be rescued but the captain shouted to them from his conning tower, 'Your aircraft bomb our cities, you shall all die'. Fourteen men managed to board a life raft but after 50 days adrift only two remained alive. One of the survivors Kenneth Cooke described their ordeal in his book 'What Cares The Sea?

The Italian U-boat Leonardo da Vinci
The Italian U-boat Leonardo da Vinci
Image source Wikipedia

The two survivors of the SS Lulworth Hill after 50 days adrift.
The two survivors of the SS Lulworth Hill after 50 days adrift.
Image source not known

The two survivors were picked up by HMS Rapid on 7 May 1943, and were later both awarded the George Medal.

John Turney Arnold, having spent his 18th birthday on the raft, died on 12 April 1943. His name can be seen in the 'Book Of Remembrance', at the Town Hall in Epsom. His name can also be seen on Panel 66 of the Merchant Navy Memorial at Tower Hill, London, and the Books of Remembrance at Ewell Castle School and the Urban Saints Memorial at Westbrook House, Isle of Wight. There will shortly be a memorial plaque to him at the National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas, Staffs.

Information supplied by John's brother David Arnold.


Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


Baker, Donald, Pilot Officer (Pilot) 169107,

RAFVR (Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve) 625 Squadron
Died, aged 20, 16 December 1943

The marriage of Frank Walter Thomas Baker (c. 1 November 1882 at Hillmorton, Warwick) to Laura Huse (b. reg Cookham, 9/1881) was registered in Maidenhead for the September Quarter of 1900. They already had a family before they arrived from Richmond to take up residence at 15 North View Villas, Ewell, towards the end of 1912. Births were recorded in Epsom of Cyril W., 12/1914, and Lucy, 12/1916. Donald, who had arrived on 8 January 1923, came to be baptised at St Mary's, Ewell, his father's occupation being stated as Police Constable.

Donald Baker had enlisted in the Royal Air Force Voluntary Reserve to be inducted, probably at Uxbridge, with a Service Number 1332320 after November 1940. He would have trained to fly as a Sergeant but had risen to Acting Warrant Officer by 14 December 1943 before then being commissioned as Pilot Officer on probation (emergency).

Two days later later, in 625 Squadron, he was given command of a Lancaster Mk.III, LM 424 (CF-B). Airborne 16:21 on 16 December 1943 from Kelstern destination Berlin but, outbound, believed to have been shot down by a night fighter. As reported by Heinrich Schumacher, it crashed in the middle of the farming village of Oppendorf (Stemwede), 18 km SSE of Diepholz, North Rhine-Westphalia, the fuselage hitting a barn at 'Sander 20'. The aircraft and barn burned fiercely and attempts to extinguish the fire were impeded by exploding ammunition. After ten minutes an 1800 kg H E bomb ('air mine') exploded, spreading incendiary bombs throughout the agricultural settlement. Within moments the entire village had been set on fire. Seventeen farm houses and a barn burned to the ground. Two villagers were killed while attempting to rescue farm animals from burning buildings. Many locals were injured and some suffered severe burns. The six members of the crew who died in the crash were buried in the Russian 'Wetscher Wiesen' cemetery at Wetschen some 5 km E of Diepholz. After the war, in 1948, the aircrew's graves were concentrated in the Hanover War Cemetery.

The only survivor, the Bomb Aimer, Sgt W.H.Pallett, 1393564, baled out to land in the municipality of Lemfoerde: he was interned in Stalag Luft III, Sagan & Bellaria, Poland, PoW No.269864. The body of another of the fliers had been found with a burnt parachute at 'Witte 24'.

A bronze plaque, 'Zur Erinnerung und Mahnung zum Frieden' [In commemoration and to welcome peace], listing the names of all the victims of the disaster is located at the intersection Oppen Straße / Am Hunneort. The civilian fatalities were Christoph Kalnake, 61, and Heinrich Waering, 29. Photographs of the devastation caused by the crash, taken on 17 December 1943, and an image of a memorial plaque detailing the victims may be viewed at www.oppendorf.de (site no longer exists).

Stemwede Coat of Arms
The Coat of Arms for the Stemwede Municipality which covers Oppendorf
Image source Wikipedia

In addition to the inclusion of his name in Epsom's Book Of Remembrance, Donald Baker is commemorated on Old Bletchley War Memorial situated on a triangular area off Church Green Road, Bletchley, at the entrance to St Mary's Church (The youngest son of Mr and Mrs. F. Baker, Ivy Cottage, Church Green Road, and formerly of Newton Longville). His name is also recorded at Newton Longville on a Portland stone obelisk in ornamental garden outside the church of St Faith.


Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


BASSON, Peter Henry, Pilot Officer (Rear Gunner) 48081

No.149 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Killed in action 24th July 1942 aged 29

Peter Basson
Pilot Officer Peter Basson
Image courtesy of Tessa, daughter of David Morris © 2011

Peter Henry Basson's birth was registered in the quarter ending September 1913 in Poole Dorset (GRO Ref: Sept 1913 Poole 5a 477), the eldest son of Bertie Henry Thomas and Davidina Crockett Basson, née Methven.

Peter's father had been born in 1879 in Littlemore, Oxfordshire and by the age of 22 was training to be a cook. Peter's mother was born in 1889 in Edinburgh, Scotland. 29-year-old Bertie married 22-year-old Davidina on 28 November 1908 at 118 Princes Street Edinburgh, Scotland. At the time Bertie was the hotel manager for the George Hotel in George Street, Edinburgh
.
When the 1911 census was taken, the couple appear as joint managers of the King's Head Hotel in Change Alley, Sheffield.

There are conflicting Poole registration district birth entries for Peter's younger sister Angela.
  • Angela H G Basson has been registered in the quarter ending June 1919 (mother's maiden name Methven).
  • Angela H I Basson has been registered in the quarter ending September 1920 (mother's maiden name Methven).
As yet, I have been unable to find any further records for her.

Peter's parent's marriage did not last and in 1929, after divorcing, Davidina married Thomas Reginald Ransom, an estate agent, in Wandsworth London. The couple lived in The Riviera Hotel Canford Cliffs, Bournemouth where Davidina later died, aged 55, on 2 March 1934 leaving an estate of £16,214 17s 7d.

By 1937 Bertie was living at 32 Princess Road, Bournemouth and in 1940 he married Jeannette Oppenheimer. Bertie died aged 72 in 1951 in the Ploughley registration district in Oxfordshire.

There does not appear to have been any children from either of these second marriages.

It is unknown if Peter and Angela lived with either of their parents after the divorce, but the CWGC records show that Peter had been living in West Ewell Surrey. I have not found any record of a marriage for Peter, or of his address in West Ewell.

Peter was the Rear Gunner of W7580, a Short Stirling of No.149 Squadron, which had the code number of OJ-D.

Three Short Stirlings
Three Short Stirlings
Image source Wikimedia

The RAF crew was made up of the following:
  • F/O A.J.L.Bowes, Captain
  • Sgt N. Acton, Flight Engineer.
  • Sgt D. Morris, Observer
  • Sgt G Blatherwick, W/Op
  • Sgt E.H. Boumphrey, A/G Forward
  • Sgt E.C. Isted, A/G Mid. Upper
  • P/O Peter H.Basson, A/G Rear.
Both AJL Bowes and Peter H Basson were posted into 149 Squadron on the 13 July from 1651 Conversion Flight, just ten days before Stirling No. W7580 took off from RAF Lakenheath, in East Anglia, at 01.11am on the night of 23/24 July 1942. The operation was a bombing raid on Duisburg, just over the German border. OJ - D was shot down by a German night-fighter, and the aircraft crashed at 03.25am into a field near to the village of Geffen (Noord Brabant), 5km SW of Oss in Holland. (Source = AIR 27/1002 at The National Archives Kew.)

All of the RAF crew died and were buried temporarily in the garden of the parish priest. The bodies were later exhumed and buried in the Uden War Cemetery. Peter H Basson's grave reference is Coll. grave 4. I. 10-13.

With thanks to Ruun Verhagen for supplying additional information

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


BERRY, Frederick Charles. Lance Corporal (14422069)

1st Battalion, Middlesex Regiment
Died 8 December 1944, aged 19

Frederick was born Q2 1925 to Charles William Berry and Olive (née Burdock - they had married in Epsom Q4 1924). The couple were recorded in the 1939 Register as living at 25 Woodlands Road, Epsom (with Charles as a "road labourer") together with what look like a young lodger and an aged relative, plus two currently closed records - probably the 14 year old Frederick and his younger brother Ronald born Q4 1928.

Frederick served with the 1st Battalion (sometimes called the Kensington Battalion) of the Middlesex Regiment. Given his age, he is most unlikely to have seen active service before being landed on Gold Beach (Arromanches) on D-Day +19 and then went from Normandy to Belgium, and then on into Netherlands being involved in various actions along the way - inevitably taking some casualties. While the Battalion eventually made it into Germany, this was without Frederick who died in action on 8 December 1944.

He is buried in the Mierlo War Cemetery (just outside Eindhoven, in the south east corner of the Netherlands) which was started in the spring of 1945, when graves were brought in from the surrounding district, most of them being casualties - of whom Frederick was one - of late 1944 fighting during the Allies' advance towards Germany in the closing stages of the war.

Roger Morgan ©2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


BLACKMAN, Harry Edwin. Private (6141461)

2nd Battalion, East Surrey Regiment
Died 12 September 1944, aged 26

Harry was born in Sevenoaks Q4 1918, the first child of Harry Edwin Blackman and Cecilia Fanny (née Chapman - they married Q1 1918 in Sevenoaks), The parents were recorded in the 1939 Register (with the father as a GPO Clerk) living at 54 Parklawn Avenue Epsom with three of Harry's younger siblings.

Harry served in the 2nd Battalion of the East Surrey Regiment which, in 1941, was stationed in Malaya. It suffered very heavy losses in seeking to repel the Japanese invasion and was eventually overrun. The survivors - including Harry - were taken prisoners of war. It seems clear that, as a PoW, Harry was forced to work on the southern end of the notorious Burma-Siam railway. This Japanese project to improve support for their large army in Burma was aptly called the "Death Railway". During its construction, approximately 13,000 prisoners of war died and were buried along the railway. An estimated 80,000 to 100,000 civilians also died in the course of the project, chiefly forced labour brought from Malaya and the Dutch East Indies, or conscripted locally.

While Harry survived that experience, the East Surrey Regiment's Roll of Honour records not only was Harry a prisoner of war but also notes that he died on 12 September 1944 in the loss of the Kachidoki Maru. There is a particularly tragic story here.

After the Burma-Siam railway was completed in in late 1943, many of the POWs and conscripted local labour were, even though suffering from the effects of severe malnutrition and tropical diseases, selected to be transported from Singapore to jobs elsewhere. In Harry's case the destination was Japanese-held Formosa (modern-day Taiwan). He and others were transported crammed into the holds of ships, where the horrendous conditions were described as worse than those of previous centuries' slave ships.

The ship on which Harry was being transported, the Kachidoki Maru, was built in 1920 as a combined passenger and cargo vessel for the United States Shipping Board at New York Shipbuilding Corporation, Camden, New Jersey. Originally called Wolverine State, she was renamed President Harrison in 1922 and, after a year operating around the Americas, was transferred to the Dollar Steamship Lines and sailed on their round-the-world passenger service.

In 1941, the ship was requisitioned by the United States Navy and, in late November was used to evacuate the 4th US Marines from Shanghai (which was under Japanese occupation since the 1937 Battle of Shanghai). Having transported them to the Philippines, she was sent in early December to Chingwangtao (near modern-day Beijing) to pick up about 300 Marines of the Peking and Tientsin Legation Guards plus some 1400 tons of equipment for return to Manila.

In the early hours of 8 December 1941, when the President Harrison was passing Shanghai, it received a signal about the attack on Pearl Harbor and the state of war that thus existed between Japan and the USA. By mid-morning, the ship was being pursued by a Japanese vessel and harried by aircraft. Later that day, the President Harrison's master, Captain Orel Pierson, deliberately ran the ship aground on Shaweishan Island at 16 knots to rip her bottom out and deny her use to the Japanese. While the impact ripped a hole 90 feet long, the ship did not sink before settling on a nearby mudbank. The crew were taken prisoners of war. The Japanese made the President Harrison seaworthy again and took her to Shanghai for repairs to the hull. Eventually renamed the Kachidoki Maru, the ship was then used by the Japanese for the transport of both people and cargo as part of their overall military operations.

The SS President Harrison as the Kachidoki Maru.
The SS President Harrison as the Kachidoki Maru.
Copyright acknowledged

On 6 September, the Kachidoki Maru set sail from Singapore as part of convoy HI-72 bound for Japan. As well as PoWs, the ships were carrying important supplies for the Japanese war effort, including oil, rubber and bauxite, making the convoy a target for Allied attacks.

Late on 12 September 1944, when the convoy was in the Luzon Strait, it was attached a wolfpack consisting of three US submarines (Growler, Pampanito and Sealion). Presumably unaware of the PoWs on board, USS Pampanito (SS-383) torpedoed the Kachidoki Maru which led to its slow sinking. While over 500 PoWs and crew were picked up by the Japanese escorts, 431 PoWs - including Harry - 45 troops and 12 crewmen were killed. (Another ship in the convoy, Rakuyo Maru, was torpedoed by USS Sealion and sank with 1,159 PoWs killed.)

American submarines later returned to the area and rescued 159 survivors who gave the Allies the first eyewitness accounts about conditions in camps on the Thailand-Burma railway.

Harry is commemorated on the Singapore Memorial, which stands in the Kranji War Cemetery, some 13 miles north of the city of Singapore. This carries the names of over 24,000 casualties of the Commonwealth land and air forces who have no known grave.

Roger Morgan ©2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index

Broderick, George Adrian Leonard. Flying Officer (Observer), 122067,

RAFVR (Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve) 608 Squadron
Died 16 May 1943, aged 32

The marriage of Adrian Joseph Broderick (b. 1881) to Elizabeth Lydia Watkins, born 24 January 1879 at Greenwich, daughter of William Isaac Watkins, was registered at Epsom, 12/1910. A son, George Adrian Leonard was born 23 April 1911 followed by two others recorded in Epsom, Leonard A[drian]., 9/1914, & Joseph M[aurice]., 6/1916. The family lived at 14 Upper Court Road, Epsom, whilst Adrian was employed in one of the local mental hospitals as an 'Asylum stores porter' or 'store's clerk'.

George attended Pound Lane School until 1923 when he obtained a scholarship to what used to be known as Sutton County Grammar School, and later Sutton Manor School. He left aged 16 with his School Certificate. His first employment is unknown but the London Gazette of 8 September 1936 reported his appointment, 'Without Competition', as an Assistance Clerk in the Unemployment Assistance Board.

On 26 June 1937 George married Frances Rose Madeleine, only child of Caroline Rose (née Shaughnessy) and Percy George Vincent Edwards, from Stoneleigh. He had been working in Newcastle upon Tyne but subsequently obtained a transfer to a UAB office in Soho.

George is said to have volunteered for the RAF at a Recruiting Centre in West Croydon early in 1941 and his service number 1383536 suggests that he was subsequently inducted at Euston. By the middle of May he had been stationed at No.24 Elementary & Reserve Flying Training School at RAF Sydenham, Belfast, originally used exclusively for the training of R.A.F. Volunteer Reservists, being equipped with Tiger Moth and Hawker Hind aircraft. He did not reach the standard of flying solo and was re-assigned for training as a Navigator, attached to RAF Blackpool. The navigational school was situated in buildings on Squires Gate airfield. On 5 September 1941 he set sail destined for No. 31 Air Navigation School, Port Albert, near Goderich, Ontario, Canada.

A fresh number 122067 applied from his advancement to Pilot Officer (on probation), emergency, 16 March 1942. Promotion to Flying Officer (war sub.) followed with effect from 1 October 1942.

About this time George had been appointed to 608 Squadron at No 6 Operational Training Unit, RAF Thornaby, joining the crew of a Hudson Mk. V, AE 641. They arrived in Gibraltar on 26 November to carry our sorties until leaving for Blida, Algeria, on 18 December. AE 641 returned to the repair base RA F Henlow on 28 March 1943 for refurbishment.

A daughter, Jill Susan Broderick, arrived 20 April - reg. Surrey N E, 6/1943.

After a month's leave in England the crew left for a second round: by mid-May 1943 the war in North Africa seemed to have turned in favour of the allies, but for the Coastal Command Squadron, work had to continue. Hudson Bomber AE 641 (Freddy) was sent out on submarine patrol the fatal evening of May 15. Their plane crashed in the early morning of 16 May 1943, near Cheraga, attempting to return to base through a thick coastal fog; the contributory causes were not clearly established.

Allied fatalities in the Blida area were buried at the El Alia Cemetery, 20 miles east of the city of Algiers on the road to Bougie. The crew of AE641 were laid to rest there side by side.

Jill S E Broderick, attended the Convent of the Sacred Heart School in Epsom, married Derek M Tansley, Southend 6/1967, and went to live in Othery, Somerset.

Whilst he served in the RAF, George and his wife had shared a home with his parents in law at 110 Chadacre Road, Stoneleigh, Ewell. Mrs Caroline Rose Edwards, aged 69, was brought from St Helier Hospital, for burial in Plot O134 at Epsom Cemetery on 31 May 1945.

Mrs Frances Rose Madeleine Broderick acquired her own home, also in Chadacre Road, Stoneleigh Park, and taught at the Sacred Heart before leaving the area following the death of her widower father on 24 June 1962. Having eventually entered sheltered accommodation at Guillemard Court, Chichester Grove, Birmingham, her death was recorded in the West Midlands during 1994.

Many further biographical and operational details, with photographs, may be found in James R Stevens' Searching for the Hudson Bombers, re-published 2004, of which a copy is held in the Epsom and Ewell Local and Family History Centre at Bourne Hall, Ewell.

The name of George Adrian Leonard Broderick also appears on the Suttonian Memorial.

Brian Bouchard 2014

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


BROWN, Albert Keith Winslow. Cadet

Merchant Navy
Died 31 March 1942, aged 17

Albert was born in Midhurst, Sussex Q2 1924 to Albert George Brown and Violet Edith (née Smith - they had married in Portsmouth Q3 1923). It is not possible, from the readily available records, to determine the link with Epsom. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records list the parents as being "of Gorran, Cornwall".

Albert's WW2 service was on the oil tanker SS San Gerardo, one of a number of ships requisitioned by the Admiralty during WW2 to augment the ships of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. In March 1942, the ship was travelling from Curacao (just off the coast of Venezuela) to Halifax in Nova Scotia with a 17,000 ton cargo of fuel oil. As on a number of previous occasions, the plan was doubtless for the ship to join a convoy bound for the UK.

The tanker SS Gerardo
The tanker SS San Gerardo
Photo courtesy of the Library of Contemporary History, Stuttgart

However, on 31 March 1942, when about 500 miles south-east of New York, it was torpedoed by German U-boat U-71 and sank with the loss of 51 of her 57 crew. The losses included Albert, who is remembered on the Tower Hill Memorial (on the south side of the garden of Trinity Square, London, close to The Tower of London).

That memorial commemorates members of the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets who died in both World Wars and who have no known grave. There are almost 12,000 names in the WW1 section. The WW2 extension commemorates almost 24,000 casualties, double the WW1 total.

Click here for the separate article about the Borough's WW2 losses on merchant shipping, including Albert's.

Roger Morgan ©2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


BURNHAM, Basile Ronald Martin. Warrant Officer (967898)

3 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 8 December 1942, aged 28

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records note that Basile was the son of Alan Martin and Felicity Louise Burnham, and that he was also the husband of Edith Mabel Burnham of Holmes Chapel, Cheshire. Basile had married Edith (née Morrey) in Crewe Q4 1939. Shortly before their wedding, Edith was recorded in the 1939 Register as a nurse at the Royal Infirmary, Chester.

When, on 7 December 1943, Probate was granted (to Barclays Bank Ltd) on Basile's £1,700 estate, the records list him as being "of" not only Cranage Cottage, Holmes Chapel, Cheshire but also Gula Estate (a sugar plantation with on-site processing) Kuala Kurau, Perak in Malaya. It is not possible, from the readily available records, to establish the link with Epsom.

Basile's 3 Squadron (part of Fighter Command) had been stationed at Biggin Hill in the very early days of the war. After time in France and then in Scotland, it re-located to RAF Hunsdon, just north of Harlow, Essex where - equipped with Hawker Hurricane IIC aircraft - it undertook night fighter duties.

 A Hawker Hurricane IIC
A Hawker Hurricane IIC
Photo via Wikimedia Commons, courtesy of Adrian Pingstone,

From the date of Basile's death, his Squadron and his commemoration on the RAF Memorial at Runnymede (for aircrew lost during WW2 who have no known grave) it would seem that he was flying Hurricane Z3169 which crashed in sea off Orfordness, Suffolk during air-to-air firing practice, possibly having been shot down by enemy aircraft (believed to be Oberfeldwebel Heese of 5./JG1).

Roger Morgan ©2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


Burrough, John Hardy, Flight Lieutenant, 135500.

RAFVR (Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve) 502 Squadron
Died 26 November 1944, aged 31.

The marriage of Ernest James Burrough (a son of the founder of James Burrough Limited, the distillers of Beefeater gin) to Sophie Burston was registered at Bridgewater, 6/1910.

They took up residence in Millwood, Links Road, Epsom, and a daughter arrived during 1911, followed by John Hardy (reg. Epsom 3/1913), and another five children.

John was brought up in Epsom, and attended St Paul's School, London, [preceding his younger brother Alan Burrough, CBE, Steward of Henley Royal Regatta & sometime president of Thames Rowing Club] where his rowing career began with sculling on the Serpentine, before going up to Cambridge University. He appears, as J H Burrough, a member of Christ's College Boat Club Men's 1st VIII Mays 1932-33 & 1933-34 - in Isis crew 1935, Thames 1936/1939 and London Rowing Club (Grand Challenge Cup) 1938, also amongst the winning English Men's Eight, 1938 British Empire Games, Sydney, Australia. He returned from the latter on the Aberdeen & Commonwealth Line's S S Moreton Bay, arriving on 18 April 1938 with his occupation stated as 'Wine Chemist'.

His family had moved to 7 Downs Avenue, Epsom, by 1934 and his name still appeared at that address, as a Service Voter as at 15 March 1945. John may, however, have taken up pre-war employment in Whitstable.

He enlisted in the Royal Air Force Reserve to be inducted with a Service Number 1338149, at Uxbridge about November 1940. Advancement from Leading Aircraftman to Pilot Officer (emergency) followed on 4 December 1942. Promotion to the rank of Flying Officer (on probation/war sub.) took effect from 4 June 1943.

Eventually, he was assigned to No. 502 Squadron. On 26 November 1944, by then an Acting Flight Lieutenant, he was the pilot of a Halifax Mk. II, serial number JP319, code letter 'D', which took off from RAF Stornoway for an anti-shipping patrol in the Skagerrak [rather than a 'Gardening' flights, mine laying]. On board was Wing Commander K.B. Corbould (RAF from Canada) - 39211, DFC, Mentioned in Despatches - who had assumed command of 502 Squadron in the previous month. Another six were in the crew of the aircraft which carried six 500-pound Mark II anti-shipping bombs. It was airborne at 14.14 hours and a call-sign signal had been received at 19.00 hours, after which nothing further was heard from the aircraft. The 502 Sqn. Operational Record Book (ORB) for 26/11/44 states, in relation to the loss of the aircraft, 'It was learnt from another source that the aircraft was shot-down off the Swedish coast'.

Casualties commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial were: -
Wing Cmdr. Kenneth Bruce Corbould - 39211
Sgt. Trevelyan Ivan Powis - 1813257
F/Lt. John Hardy Burrough - 135500
F/Sgt. David McCann - 1322549
F/Sgt. Ernest James Sinfield - 1084554
P/O Frederick Sydney Leech - RCAF J/92652
F/Sgt Carl Robert Tibbo - 798756 (RAF from Newfoundland)
whilst
P/O George Booth - 188621, Wireless Op./Air Gunner was recovered and his remains interred at Tonsberg Old Cemetery on the west coast of Oslofjiord.
John's name does not appear in the Epsom and Ewell Book of Remembrance but on the WW2 Memorial inside St Martin of Tours Church. He is also commemorated on Whitstable's memorial in the courtyard of Whitstable library, Oxford Street, and in the RAF Stornoway Book of Remembrance, held in Martin's Memorial Church, Stornoway. An RAF memorial, co-located with the memorial to those that fell from the adjacent villages of Melbost and Branahuie, is simply a low circular drystone memorial with an oval brass plaque inserted into its top bearing the inscription 'RAF Stornoway - 1941-1945 - For Those Who Gave Their Lives'. It lies on a circle of tarmac immediately adjacent to the entrance to Stornoway Airport.

With grateful acknowledgement of assistance from Robin Hudson, RAFA Stornoway.

Brian Bouchard 2014

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


Butterworth, John Leslie Gilbert Butterworth, Pilot Officer 40798

Pilot, 53 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Died 3 May 1940, aged 21

The marriage of Joseph Leonard Butterworth to Cicely Ellen Fenn was registered at Camberwell for the September quarter of 1914. Their second child John Leslie Gilbert's birth appears in Lewisham District, 6/1918, when the family were residing at 53 Micheldever Road, Lewisham.

By 1932, they had moved to Oak End, Ember Lane, Thames Ditton, and from 1937 to The Cot, 12 Arundel Avenue, Ewell, Surrey.

Having obtained at least part of his secondary education at the Jesuit Wimbledon College, Edge Hill, London, SW19 4NS, John entered the RAF with a permanent commission as Acting Pilot Officer on probation with effect from 4 June 1938: that rank was confirmed on 4 April 1939.

He was appointed to 53 Squadron which was located in France from September 1939 in order to undertake strategic reconnaissance duties. On 3 May 1940 the squadron was based at Poix en Picardie but Blenheim L9329, piloted by J L G Butterworth, is reported to have taken off from Metz airfield at 20.30 hrs., to continue a reconnaissance sortie over the Ruhr. The aircraft failed to return and is understood to have been shot down on Hornisgrinde, above the village of Sasbach near Baden-Baden, Germany, at around 21:00 hrs. killing all three crew.

Villagers have erected memorials to this crew on the mountain and in churchyard where they were originally buried.

On 16 May 2006, Mittelbadishe Presse reported a dedication by Mayor Wolfgang Reinholz:-
The interior of the memorial to the British crew of the crashed plane is credited to Erwin Fischer and the chairman of the association for local history, Carl Muth. The Bristol Blenheim had crashed during the night of 3 to 4 May 1940, seven days before the start of the French campaign, on the western slope of the Hornisgrinde in Sasbacher district. Erwin Fischer explained that the British had, on the outbreak of war, based a Bristol Blenheim squadron at Poix near Amiens in northern France. From there, the plane took off by 2 p.m. in the direction of Metz and after refuelling continued to night reconnaissance over the Rhineland and the Schwarzwald.

Flagman Josef Fallert was on night duty at the railway crossing Römerfeld in Sasbach. He noted the low-flying aircraft, emitting a strange engine noise. From the Rhine, it flew towards Achertal and from Hornisgrinde he observed a glow of light. Because the crash site was in Sasbacher woodland, the recovery of the dead crew fell to the community of Sasbach and was organised by Anselm Vollmer and Hermann Fischer. The three British airmen were laid in the cemetery chapel of St. Michael, the military funeral was held in Achern on 6 May 1940. An 'Ehrenzug' [honour guard?] from the Wehrmacht, a music corps, divisional chaplain and an officer in the Air Force gave the dead their last respects. The band played in honour of the fallen enemy the song from 'Good fellow', the Ehrenzug fired three volleys over the graves decorated with lilac wreaths.
The low altitude and the route suggest that this reconnaissance flight was observing rail guns on the Achertalbahn and long-range artillery in Ottenhöfen, said Fischer - 'The bunkers in Kniebis-Schliffkopf where Adolf Hitler was staying temporarily, were just a few kilometers away from here'.

Above the crash site on the 'Middle Mark forest road', the Sasbach association for local history has erected a memorial plaque providing details of the event.

The crew's mortal remains were exhumed from the village graveyard before John was re-interred in Plot 11, E20, of Durnbach War Cemetery.

The Butterworths remained in Ewell until 1948 but Joseph Leonard died at Highlands, Dence Park, Herne Bay, Kent, on 7 March 1949. His relict, Cicely Ellen, survived until 11 January 1962 before passing away at 8 Hull Road, Cottingham, Yorkshire.

J. L. G. Butterworth's name appears on the WW2 War Memorial in the Chapel of Wimbledon College.

Wimbledon College WW2 Memorial
Wimbledon College WW2 Memorial
Image courtesy of www.aircrewremembered.com ©2016.

Brian Bouchard, Jan 2016

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


CANHAM, Jack. Sergeant (6142408)

82 Anti-Tank Regiment Royal Artillery
Died 28 February 1944, aged 30

Jack was born in Tendring, Essex, Q2 1914, the second child of Sydney J Canham and Gertrude Maud (née Bates - they married in Islington Q4 1911). In Q1 1940 Jack married Nora Edna Rush and, in Q2 1942, their son Anthony was born. Both the marriage and birth were registered in the Surrey Mid-Eastern District, into which Epsom came - which is where the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records note that the widowed Nora was "of".

Jack's 82 Anti-Tank Regiment arrived in India in early 1942. By 1944, it was stationed at Imphal, the capital of Manipur State in northeast India. This bordered on upper Burma (now Myanmar) and was strategically well placed for the maintenance of all Allied operations there. Imphal was a main objective when the Japanese made their thrust towards India in the spring of 1944. It would seem Jack was killed during the fierce and successful resistance that ranks in importance next only to the crucial and much better known Battle of Kohima that summer.

He is buried in the Imphal War Cemetery.

Roger Morgan ©2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


CHAPMAN, John Arthur. Second Lieutenant (170277)

8th Royal Tank Regiment
Died 10 July 1942, aged 21

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records note that John was the son of Arthur Henry and Gladys Chapman, of Sherborne, Dorset. It is not possible, from the readily available records, to give more details of the family background or to establish the link with Epsom.

John's Regiment was part of the Allied army in North Africa which, in mid-1942, was being pushed east by German and Italian forces. A key moment came in July 1942 when, as the Axis supply lines were stretched, the first Battle of El Alamein enabled the Allies at least to halt the advance into Egypt and the crucial supply route through the Suez canal. (The tide was then decisively turned with the more famous second Battle of El Alamein in October 1942.)

From the date of his death, it would seem that John was killed in the fierce attacks and counter-attacks at Tel el Eisa. He is buried in the El Alamein War Cemetery.

Roger Morgan ©2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


CLARK, Leonard Arthur. Flying Officer (42590)

Royal Air Force
Died 26 September 1945, aged 31

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records note that Leonard was the husband of Helen Grace Clark (née Morgan - they married Q2 1941 in the Surrey South Eastern Registration District). It is not possible, from the readily available records, to give more details of the family background. His 1945 Probate record lists him as having lived at 69a Lower Hill Road, Epsom.

The London Gazette for 22 August 1941 records (on page 4866) that "Acting Pilot Officer on probation Leonard Arthur CLARK (42590), is confirmed in his appointment and graded as Pilot Officer, 7th June, 1941 (seniority 7th Dec. 1940)."

The date of Leonard's death is after the cessation of hostilities, and his Probate record indicates that he died - perhaps of wartime injuries - at Horton Emergency Hospital. (Horton was one of Epsom's cluster of mental hospitals established around 1900. During both World Wars, it was taken over for military use.)

Leonard is commemorated on the memorial at South London Crematorium (situated within Streatham Park Cemetery, Rowan Road, Streatham Vale) where, over the WW2 years, 123 servicemen were cremated.

Roger Morgan ©2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


CLARK, William George. Flying Officer (150037)

Royal 10 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 15 February 1944, aged 21

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records note that William was the son of William Thomas Clark and Edith Satterly Clark, of Sutton, Surrey. It is not possible, from the readily available records, to give more details of the family background or to establish the link with Epsom.

10 Squadron, in which William served, was part of Bomber Command. For the latter stages of WW2 it was based at RAF Melbourne in Yorkshire, flying Handley Page Halifaxes.

The Handley Page Halifax B.III
The Handley Page Halifax B.III
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Squadron flew many missions over Germany, and the date of William's death (plus his burial in Germany) almost certainly means that he died during the controversial bombing of Dresden on 13-15 February 1944.

William is buried in the Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery that was established soon after hostilities ceased. Graves were brought there from not only the Berlin area but also from eastern Germany, including Dresden. About 80% of the 3,595 now buried there were airmen who were lost in the air raids over Berlin and the towns in eastern Germany.

Roger Morgan ©2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


CLIFF, John William. Ordinary Seaman (P/JX 386283)

Royal Navy
Died 27 August 1943, aged 18

&

CLIFF, Peter Robert. Able Seaman (P/SSX 36112)

Royal Navy
Died 27 August 1943, aged 20

Peter (born Q4 1922) and John (born Q4 1924) were the second and third of the six children of Joseph Cliff and Florence Rose (née Crump - they had married in Epsom Q3 1914). The family lived at 12 Castle Road, Epsom.

These brothers both served on HMS Egret which, in August 1943, was on anti-submarine service in the Bay of Biscay as part of the 1st Support Group. As detailed in the fuller article (click here), HMS Egret suffered the grim fate of being the first ship ever sunk by a guided missile (being the German's experimental Henschel HS 293 radio-guided glide bomb, launched from an aircraft at a considerable distance). 194 members of Egret's crew died in the resulting explosion and sinking - including the Cliff brothers.

They are both commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial. (This had been established after the First World War as an appropriate way to honour those members of the Royal Navy who had no known grave, the majority of deaths having occurred at sea.)

Roger Morgan ©2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


COLLINS, Geoffrey Guy. Corporal (7902679)

1st Royal Tank Regiment
Died 12 June 1942, aged 25

Geoffrey was born on 28 June 1916, the second son of William Isaac Collins (a carpenter/builder) and Ellen Matilda (née Guy - they married Q2 1909 in Wincanton, Somerset). Like his older and younger brothers (respectively Edward Thomas, born in 1914 and John Noel, born in 1920) Geoffrey was baptised at Christ Church Epsom Common. At the time of his birth, the family lived at Fern Lea, Ladbroke Road, Epsom. By the time of the 1939 Register, the family were living at 22 Dorking Road, Epsom - and Geoffrey was recorded as "Clerk (Electricity Company)".

By 1942, Geoffrey was serving in the 1st Royal Tank Regiment which, was part of the Allied forces seeking to halt the eastwards progress of the Axis forces (under Rommel) along the Libyan coast towards their goal of the Suez Canal.

While that progress was not halted until the first Battle of El Alamein from 1-27 July 1942, it was greatly slowed a series of actions just to the west of Tobruk from 21 January to 7 July 1942. These actions are now known as the Battle of Gazala, and it was during the later stages of this that Geoffrey was killed, on 12 June.

He is buried in the Knightsbridge War Cemetery - named after the Allies' main defensive "box" which had been nearby - in Acroma, Libya.

Roger Morgan © 2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


Conran, Edward Denis, MC and Bar

Air Raid Warden
Died 07 November 1940, aged 52.

Edward Denis Conran
Edward Denis Conran
Image courtesy of Edward's daughter Pauline Hill ©2014.

On 3 April 1881, Agnes Blatch had been a spinster daughter, aged 22, of William H Blatch, Brewer & Spirit Merchant (Employing 35 Men) of The Brewery, Brook Street, Basingstoke, Hampshire. Her marriage to Edward Petman Conran was registered in Basingstoke for the September Quarter of 1882. The birth of a son from that union, Edward Denis Conran came to be registered in the same District, June 1888.

His father was a Wine and Spirit Merchant, born in Limerick, of the Spirit Stores, Flaxfield Road, Basingstoke - at that time in partnership, trading as Petman & Co, but from 1891 conducting his business as a sole trader.

For the 1901 Census Edward Denis Conran was enumerated at 9 Priory Road, Bedford park, Chiswick, with his aunt Alice (née Blatch) and her husband, George H Edwards, a Civil Servant. On 6 April 1908, after a Limited Competition, Edward Denis Conran was appointed Second Class Clerk in the Receiver's Office, Metropolitan Police. In 1911, aged 23 and single, he had taken up residence in his aunt Mary Agnes Paterson's house, 5 Priory Gardens, Bedford Park, and was employed in the Receiver's Office. Scotland Yard.

Denis Conran had enlisted as Private 447 with the Artists Rifles, a volunteer light infantry unit which formed part of the Territorial Force, during February 1909 - its full title had become 28th (County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment. Called up on 3 August 1914, he went to France on 25 October and by March 1915 had entered Officers' training at the Artists School of Instruction, Bailleul. A number of enlisted members of The Artists' Rifles were selected to be officers in other units of the 7th Division, including Conran from April 1915 when he became a Temporary 2nd Lieutenant in the 2nd Royal Munster Fusiliers - with a 'Long Number' 6791006.

1915

The story of the Munsters at Etreux, Festubert, Rue du Bois and Hulloch by Mrs Victor Rickard

[Article first published in The Sphere on July 15, 1916, giving an account of the work of the 'The 2nd Royal Munster Fusiliers at Hulloch'.]
"September 25, 1915
Below the chateau of Vaudricourt there is a wood which closes it around with a sense of security belonging to fir woods, and the zone of pines is dense and fragrant.
On the night of September 23, 1915, the Royal Munster Fusiliers marched from the little village of Philosophe and bivouacked in the Vaudricourt domain. The battalion was on the march again, and that dim, cloudy night they trooped in under the shelter and lighted their camp fires.
The whole effect was mysterious and unreal as things seen in dreams; the columns of luminous smoke soared upwards, illuminating the low strong branches of the trees, and around the fires the men lay huddled in their great-coats, grouped within the circles of flickering light.
Just as the fires were dying down into blackness a little incident that memory dwells upon changed the Vaudricourt woods into an undying picture for those who saw it. One of the men stretched out his arm and placed a lighted candle on a branch just over his head, and as though this simple act appealed to the memories and imaginations of his comrades, in a moment the pine woods of Vaudricourt became transformed into a forest of Christmas trees. One after another the tiny flames appeared, and burned like a hundred little glittering shrines. God knows what memories of childhood and things that were far enough away from war it recalled to the hearts of these men.
Yet the memory of the clouded night, the whisper of the wind in the trees, and the woods of Vaudricourt, bright with the soldiers' candles, comes like a gleam across the vast darkness and lights again the faces of the war-worn battalion once more on its way to the fighting line.
On September 24 the Munsters took up their position close to La Routoire Farm. Beyond these trenches the Germans occupied a long, sweeping ridge of down land; a space of quiet scenery spread out to the horizon like a calm sea. On the German side were Auchy, Hulloch, and Loos, and on the British Cambrin, Vermelle, Philosophe, and Mazingarbe, and between them the desolate ground from which living things are fenced and barred out. The trenches divided the two main roads at right angles, and the Hulloch road played an important part in subsequent operations. Here and there over the grass piles of slag stood out like stubborn towers, black and desolate as some minor, haunting fragment of an evil dream. They masked the mines, and were treacherous, cruel defences on a poor, wasted land.
The weather was gloriously fine, and under the heavy bombardment of the British guns the whole sky line seemed to be in eruption. Huge masses of chalk-dust and smoke lifted hundreds of feet into the air, and rolled slowly away like a drowsy cloud trailing near the ground and reluctant to depart from this "best of all possible worlds."
In the grey light of the morning of September 25 the British guns opened a furious fire, joined by the rattle of rifle and machine guns. Without fuss or disorder the Munsters awaited the moment when they should face a pouring stream of bullets and charge into the teeth of the storm.
Led by Major Considine, the Munsters pushed up the winding trenches to the front line, exchanging a word or two as they went, and relying, as all men do in time of crisis, upon those unexplained resources that stand for all that is best in a soldier. When they reached the front line the leading company was blocked, for the trenches were full of men, with their faces coloured an ashen blue and the buttons and badges on their coats turned green. Some were dead and others unconscious, for they were the helpless victims of gas fumes.
When the Munsters charged over the parapet the Hulloch road was alive with troops racing towards the German trenches, but to the front all was quiet, and a number of khaki figures in blue gas helmets lay very still out over the grass towards the German lines, having so encountered that "last and greatest of all fine sights" in the cold dimness of half oblivion.
The fire from the enemy's guns increased as the Munsters advanced with a yell, and the wire ahead of them was apparently unbroken.
Leading "A" Company, Major Considine fell in the advance, and as he sank down Sergeant-major Jim Leahy rushed forward to carry him into safety. He, too, was hit through the heart by a German bullet, and when he fell the advancing Munsters cheered him as they raced ahead, carrying with them the memory of the two men who had fallen so gallantly, into their fierce charge. Both Major Considine and Sergeant Leahy are buried on the battlefield almost where they fell, 800 yards west of Vermelles.
Up the long-deserted, grass-grown Hulloch road six batteries came at a gallop, wheeling boldly across the open under heavy fire, the Munsters, in conjunction with the brigade, following at a run. Great volcanoes of black smoke shot up immediately as the bombers worked down the German trenches. Lieutenant Denis Conran with six of his company occupied a support trench crowded with German troops, and for forty-eight hours held this small salient of the advance, waging a steady war with unwavering determination and grit. The enemy were all around this small handful, and from where they fought they could see the village of Hulloch being knocked to pieces like a card-house, and again on the right the shell-torn havoc of the advance to Loos, the chalk pit, and Hill 70. The larger stride had been taken at last, and the men in their gas helmets with their five days' growth of beard looked strange and almost oriental as they advanced, receded, and again advanced as the deadly conflict rolled onwards.
Towards evening the weather turned bitterly cold and heavy rain began to fall. The smell of poison gas, shell fumes, and blood became almost overpowering. Among the torn bodies the flotsam of war lay unheeded in the mud. Innumerable blankets, rifles, caps, belts, and bloodstained dressings told that a memory was all that was left to many of those who had been alive and glad a few hours before, and everywhere there were dead, dying, and wounded men, and all the helpless misery of battle.
The troops charged again, and the remnants of the Munsters raised another cheer and rallied for the last rush, and then the strain ended as you may see men pulled suddenly over at a tug-of-war. Four columns of German soldiers filed out of the trenches, holding their hands above their heads.
The road from Loos to Hulloch was clear at a cost of 1,000,000 shells and 50,000 men. A right of way was established at a price that no one can ever tell, since broken lives and hearts are not entered into any known roll of honour, and this right of way was made good by the simple valour and indomitable constancy of the ordinary man.
For them there is no return, for those who waited for them no more reason to cross the days off the calendar; stillness has intervened - the stillness that marks the passing of the mortal to immortality. Tears are useless, broken hearts useless; life will not alter because of these things. The days go on, and we with them; those who have gone have "bought eternity with a little hour, and are not dead."
And the road is now clear from Loos to Hulloch."

Edward Conran advanced to Temporary Captain but relinquished that rank on 25 May 1916.

1918

The 2nd Battalion of the Munsters was finally transported on 1 October 1918 to Epehy, scene of its March experiences where it was again ordered into the lines on 4 October, to capture Le Catelet. Largely gaining their objective, they had to retire encountering heavy counter attacks and failures elsewhere on the line. The 50th Division's advance was resumed on 10 October...

The Munsters in France, Lt. Col. H S Jervis, MC, first published in 1922, by Gale and Polden, Aldershot, mentions: -
"14th Oct [1918] Lieutenant E. D. Conran, M.C, an officer who first distinguished himself with the Battalion at Loos, September, 1915, was wounded, and the transport lines at Reumont were heavily shelled. They were accordingly moved back to Bertry about 1a.m."
By 16 October 1918, the Battalion had been reduced to 13 officers and 411 men.

Citation for Bar [to M.C awarded 3 June 1916].

T./Lt. Edward Denis Conran, M.C., 2nd Bn., R. Muns. Fus. (M.C. gazetted 3rd June, 1916.)

"LE CATELET, 4th October, 1918. For conspicuous gallantry, determination and resource when in command of a platoon in the attack. By his cheerfulness and complete disregard of danger he set a good example to all under his command, He materially assisted the attack on VILLERS FERME on 6th October, 1918, by outflanking the enemy and bombing down his trench." (Gazetted 29 July 1919)

Conran relinquished his commission, 2 January 1920, on re-enlistment in the Territorial Force.

By 1921 E D Conran, MC, was back in the Metropolitan Police Receiver's Office as a Junior Clerk.

[A 'Jack the Ripper' connection existed through Conran's uncle and mentor who as 'GHE' made a pencilled notation in Scotland Yard's copy of From Constable to Commissioner, reminiscences, published by Messrs Chatto and Windus in 1910, of Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Henry Smith, late Commissioner of Police in the City of London, acting at the time of the investigation into the death of Catherine Eddowes. George H. Edwards, Secretary to the Metropolitan Police (1925-1927), remarked:- "A good raconteur and a good fellow, but not strictly veracious: most of the book consists of after dinner stories outside his personal experience. In dealing with matters within his own knowledge he is often far from accurate as my own knowledge of the facts assures me.]

Denis' marriage to Dorothy H Efford was registered in Hammersmith 9/1928. They lived at 58 Upper Mall during 1929 and at another Hammersmith address in 1934.

By 1938, he had become an Higher Executive Officer and was Senior Clerk in the Receiver's Office, 1940, having taken up residence in 72 Alexandra Road, Epsom, before 1939.

His mother Agnes [Blatch] Conran had died on 19 November 1937 to be interred in a family plot at Theale churchyard. Edward Petman Conran followed at the age of 88, 26 January 1940 (leaving an Estate of only £233).

1940

During an Air Raid on 7 November 1940 a bomb fell on 19 Links Road, Epsom, killing four occupants including G F H McCormick, an ARP Warden, and a second Warden, E D Conran.

The latter is interred near his mother at Holy Trinity, Theale, Berkshire.

Edward's headstone inscription
Edward's headstone inscription
Image courtesy of Phil Wood, President of the Newbury District Field Club.

Edward's memorial was inscribed: - "In loving memory of / Edward Denis Conran MC / Aged 52 / Artists Rifles and 2nd Royal Munster Fusiliers / 1914-1918 / Air Raid Warden / killed by enemy action at Epsom, Surrey, / on 7th Novr 1940. / Son of Edward Conran and Agnes Blatch"

Probate was granted to Dorothy Helen Conran, Widow. Effects £3235, re-sworn £5046. 13 January 1941

His relict survived until 1996 as shown by a ledger stone placed upon the grave.

Dorothy's inscription
Dorothy's inscription
Image courtesy of Phil Wood, President of the Newbury District Field Club.

Brian Bouchard 2014

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


COPESTICK, Arthur. Flight Lieutenant (113211)

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 2 October 1942, aged 37

Arthur was born in Poplar on 30 December 1905, the second child of Samuel Copestick and Anna (née Leak - they had married Q2 1903 in their home town of Wolstanton, Staffordshire.) The 1911 Census records the family of four living at 4 South Road, Burnt Oak, Edgeware with Samuel as a Metropolitan Police Constable.

In Q2 1936, Arthur married Isabel Evelyn Nora Hiscock in Holborn, London. The couple were listed in the 1939 Register living at 16 Walberton Avenue, Portsmouth - with Arthur's occupation recorded as "Manager Multiple Stores Marks & Spencer". The couple had two children: Peter, born Q1 1940; and Anthony, born Q3 1941. While Peter's birth was registered in Portsmouth, Anthony's was registered in "Surrey, Mid-Eastern", the area covering Epsom and, presumably, Arthur's link with the town.

Readily available records provide no information about Arthur's RAF career. His death on 2 October 1942 was registered East Dereham, Norfolk, a part of the country with a number of WW2 airfields. He is buried in Edmonton Cemetery, Middlesex - a section of which holds 156 WW2 casualties.

When, on 3 December 1942, Probate on Arthur's estate (of £1,760) was granted to his widow the records note both of them as of their pre-war home of 16 Walberton Avenue, Portsmouth. Isabel appears never to have re-married and, on 30 October 1986 (one day short of her 75th birthday), died at 76 Fairmile Lane, Cobham.

Roger Morgan © 2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


DANIELL, Michael Charles. Flight Sergeant (761087)

209 Squadron Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 22 February 1941, aged 23

Michael was born on 7 April 1917, the son of Charles William Daniell and Mary Winifred (née Brogdale) of 27 High Street, Epsom and baptised in Christ Church on 27 May. That was barely a month after his father had been invalided out of the Royal Artillery, in which he had been Gunner 152632 - probably leading to his early death in 1924, aged 40. His widow then continued the eponymous family newsagents in Epsom High Street.

209 Squadron was stationed at Oban, on the west coast of Scotland, flying patrols over the North Atlantic in newly-commissioned Saunders-Roe A.36 Lerwick "flying boats". The aircraft was found to have many shortcomings - not least its inability to maintain either height or heading if one of its two engines failed - and 11 of the 21 Lerwicks were lost or written off during the three years the type saw operational service.

One of 209 Squadron's Lerwicks (L7265 - WQ-Q) taking off on 1 March 1941
One of 209 Squadron's Lerwicks (L7265 - WQ-Q) taking off on 1 March 1941
Photograph (CH2363) courtesy of the Imperial War Museum

One of the losses was Michael's plane L7263 (WQ-L) which, while on patrol in good weather on 22 February 1942, went missing with its crew of 14.

Michael is commemorated on the RAF Memorial at Runnymede which records the names of over 20,000 people who were lost in WW2 operations and who have no known graves.

In Q2 1940, before joining the RAF, Michael had married Abina Sarah (née Kell) in Paddington. She seems never to have remarried, dying Q4 1998 in Barnet.

Roger Morgan © 2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


EASTON, Charles William. Able Seaman (C/SS 9633)

Royal Navy H.M.S. Wakeful
Died 29 May 1940, aged 39

Charles William was born on 6 September 1900, the first of five children (four boys and one girl) born to Charles Frederick (a labourer) and Minnie (née Elsey) Easton - at the time, living in Boyne Cottages on Epsom Common. His parents were both from Epsom families (Charles Frederick's father being the publican at the Jolly Coopers Inn) and, on 24 February 1900, had married at Christ Church - where all their children were also baptised.

In Q1 1924, Charles William married Epsom girl Grace Elizabeth Louisa (née Skinner). The 1939 Register records Grace (but not Charles) living at 30 Brettgrove, Epsom with what appear to be at least one daughter (and probably two other children) and her widowed father, John Skinner.

During WW1, Charles' father had served in the Royal Navy - as Stoker Petty Officer on HMS Liffey, a destroyer engaged principally in patrolling the English Channel. Charles followed suit for WW2, serving as an Able Seaman on HMS Wakeful. As noted in the general article about WW2 fatalities in the Royal Navy, that destroyer was involved in Operation Dynamo - the mid-1940 evacuation from Dunkirk.

HMS Wakeful
HMS Wakeful
Image source Wikimedia Commons.

HMS Wakeful first arrived off Dunkirk on 27 May 1940 and took on 631 Allied troops. While returning them to Dover, she came under air attack and suffered minor damage below the waterline. Despite that near miss, the ship returned to Dunkirk to continue the evacuation and, on 28 May 1940, took on a further 640 Allied troops. While doing so, HMS Wakeful was struck by two torpedoes from the German E-Boat S-30, one of which hit the forward boiler room.

Casualties were very heavy: only 26 survived the resulting explosion and its aftermath. Charles Easton was among the 724 killed - as was fellow parishioner, Ernest Leverington.

Charles is remembered on the Chatham Naval Memorial which commemorates the 10,098 sailors of WW2 (and 8,517 of WW1) who have no known grave.

Roger Morgan © 2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


Everett, Daniel Bulmer, Squadron Leader (Pilot) 155223.

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve No. 35 Squadron
Died 7 March 1945, aged 24

Sgt D B Everett, 1263497, No. 158 Squadron
Sgt D B Everett, 1263497, No. 158 Squadron
Image source: 158 Squadron Association Archive,
with kind permission of Rolph Walker, 158 SA Archivist/Historian.

On 14 June 1905, Harold Bulmer Everett (b. 6 April 1878), from Wimbledon, married Ellen Ada Mary Edwards (b. 14 April 1877) [reg. Kingston 6/1905]. She was the daughter of Patrick John Edwards of Blakesley, Merton Park. The groom had qualified a a Chartered Accountant to practice as Messrs Harold Everettt & Co from 3/7 Southampton Street, Strand. Birth of their son Daniel B Everett (apparently on 15 October 1920) came to be registered in Epsom, 12/1920, where the family lived at 'Stoneleigh', 26 Woodcote Park Road.

Daniel Bulmer Everett enlisted in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve to be inducted around May 1940, probably at RAF Uxbridge. With a Service Number 1263497, he trained to fly with the rank of Sergeant. In July 1942 he was stationed at RAF Bicester, seemingly as a pilot with 13 Operational Training Unit which trained light day bomber aircrew on Bristol Blenheims.

This was followed by a period with 1652 Heavy Conversion Unit, Marston Moor.

Having been posted to 158 Squadron at Lissett 28/2/43, he flew (familiarly known as 'Dan' or 'Danny') in the position of 2nd Pilot on operations: -
8/3/43 - Nuremberg (F/Lt. A.S. Woolnough)
11/3/43 - Stuttgart (F/Sgt. R.D. Roberts)
28/3/43 - St. Nazaire
3/4/43 - Essen
4/4/43 - Kiel [The mid upper gunner sighted a twin engined aircraft, presumed to be a Me 110 with a yellow light in the nose at approx 320 yards range, dead ahead, 45 degrees up. The enemy aircraft dived to attack and the Halifax turned to starboard and then did a violent turn to port. The enemy aircraft did not fire but the Mid Upper gunner on the Halifax fired a three second burst. The enemy aircraft broke away to starboard quarter and was lost. 150 rounds were fired by the Halifax.]

Danny Everett
Danny Everett
Image courtesy of the late Eddie Fell, of Driffield, former chairman-membership officer
of the 158 Squadron Association

On 9/4/43 he was detached to No 1502 Beam Approach Training Flight at RAF Driffield, flying: -
20/4/43 - Stettin
12/5/43 - Duisburg
13/5/43 - Bochum
23/5/43 - Dortmund
25/5/43 - Dusseldorf
27/5/43 - Essen
Promoted on 29/5/43 Pilot Officer (Probation/Emergency), 155223, he then joined 35 (Pathfinder) Squadron at RAF Graveley, part of No 8 Group In March 1944 that squadron re-equipped with the Avro Lancaster.

In Bomber Command generally, a tour of operations had been 30 missions followed by a break, often instructing away from the Squadron, before recall for a further round. Having been picked or volunteered for the Pathfinder Force, however, the requirement was to serve only a single tour, but of 45 missions, and then no more in the European Theatre of Operations.

Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (as P/O. in 35 Sqn.) as shown by the London Gazette dated 21 January 1944. No citation was published but original recommendation dated 29 October 1943 read: -
'Pilot Officer Everett was captain of an aircraft detailed to attack Kassel on the night of 22/23rd October 1943. En route to the target the weather was particularly bad and some of his blind flying instruments became inoperative owing to the icing conditions. This officer carried on despite this handicap as he fully realised the importance of this special task and at the target he made a most successful attack, this being proved by an excellent photograph. Throughout the 33 night bombing attacks in which he has taken part, Pilot Officer Everett has consistently maintained an extremely high standard of tenacity and reliability and it is considered that the fine results he achieved in this attack fully merits the immediate (amended to non immediate by the AOC) award of the Distinguished Flying Cross'.
Advanced to Flying Officer (Probation/War sub.), 29/11/43.

DB Everett appears to have been posted out of 35 squadron during March 1944, presumably to be rested upon completion of his operational tour. No.35 Squadron's Operations Record Book shows that he returned to the squadron on 22 August 1944 from the Pathfinder Force Navigational Training Unit. The ORB records that he subsequently participated in 46 operations between 25 August 1944 and 7 March 1945.

Award of a First Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross (as A/F/Lt. No. 35 Sqn.) published in the London Gazette dated 16 January 1945. No citation detailed but the original recommendation dated 21 October 1944 read: -
'This officer, now on his second operational tour, is a brilliant captain of aircraft, possessing the greatest determination on operations and the utmost thoroughness in all matters of airmanship.
Since being awarded the D.F.C. he has taken part in many attacks against the enemy on widely separated targets such as Berlin, Nuremberg, the Ruhr and Army support attacks in Normandy. Whatever the target and whatever the task, he can be depended upon to mark and bomb with the greatest reliability. Flight Lieutenant Everett continues to show the keenest desire to operate against the enemy on all possible occasions and his enthusiasm and efficiency sets an example to the entire Squadron. In recognition of this Officer's fine record of service, he is recommended for the non-immediate award of a Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross'.
On 14 January 1945 he had piloted an Avro Lancaster PB684 (TL-B) from Graveley to Merseburg - Leuna. That aircraft was hit by a bomb dropped by a friendly aircraft over the target area; the rear turret was smashed and later broke away taking with it the body of the rear gunner F/O Raymond Terence Salvoni, DFC, who was thought to have been killed by the impact of the bomb.

Awarded a Second Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross (as A/S/Ldr. No. 35 Sqn.) according to the London Gazette dated 27 March 1945 [almost three weeks after the recipient's demise]. Citation : -
"One night in February 1945, Squadron Leader Everett was pilot and captain of aircraft detailed to attack Goch. Whilst making his first run over the target his aircraft was badly hit. The starboard main plane was extensively damaged and the starboard inner engine caught fire. Momentarily the aircraft went out of control. Squadron Leader Everett quickly levelled out though and feathered the propeller of the burning engine. The flames were then extinguished. Although unable to assess the full extent of the damage sustained, Squadron Leader Everett went on to several further runs over the target, which he only left after he was satisfied as to the success of the operation. He afterwards flew the badly damaged aircraft safely to base. This officer displayed a high degree of skill, courage and resolution throughout."
This is somewhat abridged from the original recommendation dated 18 February 1945 (which was actually for the award of the Distinguished Service Order but amended to that of the second Bar): -
"On the night of 7th February 1945, Squadron Leader Everett was captain of an aircraft detailed to attack Goch, his task being vital to the success of the attack and the safety of our own troops.
Whilst making his first run over the target, before the attack began, his aircraft was involved in a collision which resulted in extensive damage to the starboard main plane and inner engine which caught fire. Squadron Leader Everett skilfully regained control, feathered the engine and put out the fire. Although unable to assess the full extent of the damage and knowing full well that in all probability the wing itself had been weakened structurally, this officer made several further runs over the target and remained in the target area until the last of the bombers had left, and only after he had satisfied himself that the attack had been successfully delivered did he set course for base where he made a masterly landing without further incident. Squadron Leader Everett, by his realisation of the importance of his task accepted the great hazard of remaining in the target area for a long period in a badly damaged aircraft, displaying courage and tenacity of the highest order, and it is considered that his magnificent example fully merits the immediate award of the second Bar to D.F.C."
By then he had flown a total of 85 sorties.

Promoted Flight Lieutenant (War sub.), 25/2/45 - Acting Squadron Leader.

Lancaster ME361, a Mk.111 delivered to 35 Squadron ex-32MU in November 1944, had taken part in the following Operations: Cologne 23 December 1944, Daylight Hannover 5/6 January 1945, Duisburg 21/22 February 1945.

Although ordered to take a rest after 98 sorties and assigned to PFF Group Maintenance Unit testing aircraft Danny Everett is reported to have heard that a spare aircraft was 'going begging' at his old squadron [Pathfinders at War, 1977, and Bomber Barons, 2001, by Chaz Bowyer ]. He was said to have authorised his own participation in the raid by 35 Squadron having gathered together a scratch crew for what was to be his 99th and last, Operation.

A similar story appeared in We Act With One Accord, 35 Squadron, Alan Cooper, 1998, Pilot Officer White who had played chess with Danny immediately before take off noted that he appeared to be suffering from stress, sweating profusely. 1063420 Flight Sergeant Frank Joseph Tudor, DFM, his Wireless Operator, observed that this pilot was 'a very quiet person but knew what it was all about, he liked having a beer with his crew... He was a great man who never panicked and could not be faulted. His great aim in life was to get it all over as soon as possible'.

There were a number of relatively highly ranked, and decorated, fliers with him - Plt. Off. K G Munro, RAAF, Flg. Off. J M Aylieff, DFC, Flt. Lt. C G Mitchell, DFC, RCAF, Flt. Lt. C O Russell, DFC, Flt. Lt. R C Chapman, Flg. Off. R M Weller, DFC, & Flg. Off. A H Pidgeon.

On 7 May 1945, 256 Halifaxes and 25 Lancasters of Nos. 4, 6 & 8 Groups attacked the Deutsche Erdoel oil refinery at Hemmingstedt, near Heide, with little success - 4 Halifaxes and 1 Lancaster were lost. Airborne 18.53hrs on 7 March 1945 from Graveley as Master Bomber for the raid on the Deutsche Erdoel oil refinery, Sqn Ldr Everett's aircraft was shot down at about 22.00 hrs. in the target area. P/O Bob White, with whom he had been playing chess before departure, saw the aircraft go down, apparently hit by flak. (Luftgau kommando files record "Hemmingstedt lanc 35 me361 n/f [night fighter] hemmingstedt, 5 km s heide (UT42) ca. 2200" [RG 242.4.2 at NARA in the US: Microfilm frame 132351 ] but a card RL 19/470 at BA/MA in Germany summarises the Flak claim by 3. Flak-Division which lists the seven batteries making the claim )

Touchingly, the Ottawa Journal, 10 December 1947, reported a posthumous award to the next of kin of ME361's Canadian Navigator -
"'In the name of His Majesty the King … I give you the medal which your father won …' Viscount Alexander, Governor-General, bowed and smiled as he handed the Distinguished Flying Cross to 4-year-old Kenneth Mitchell of Victoria at an investiture today in Government House. It was the medal Kenneth's father, the late Flt. Lt. C. G. Mitchell, had won for "devotion to duty." The lad and his mother had travelled from the west coast to receive the award".
[No citation other than completed numerous operations against the enemy in the course of which he has invariably displayed the utmost fortitude courage and devotion to duty. Recommendation dated 18 February 1945, National Archives, Air 2/ 9070.]

Daniel was buried with his crew in the Hamburg Cemetery, Germany, known locally as 'Ohlsdorf '. His father, Harold Bulmer Everett, died, aged 70, 25 September 1948 and was interred at Gap Road Cemetery, Wimbledon. The widowed Mrs Ellen Ada Mary Everett, passed away 16 August 1950 to be buried in plot G588 Epsom Cemetery three days later.


Ellen Everett's Headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Ellen Everett's Headstone Detail
Daniel's inscription on his mother's headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Image courtesy of Brian Bouchard ©2014.

With grateful acknowledgement of material supplied by the late Eddie Fell, of Driffield, former chairman-membership officer of the158 Squadron (RAF Bomber Command) Association and Pete Tresadern of the No. 35 Squadron - From Thetford to Scampton website.

Brian Bouchard 2014

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


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

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


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.

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


Geen, Henry (properly Harry) Ernest, Sergeant, Observer, 744982

RAFVR (Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve) 101 Squadron
Died 28/11/1940, aged 33

Henry's headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Henry's headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Image courtesy of Brian Bouchard ©2014.

The marriage of Charles Geen (b. reg. Fulham 12/1876) to Elizabeth Maud Eves (b. Cheltenham 1884) was registered at Cheltenham for the September Quarter of 1905. Their second son, Harry Ernest, was baptised at St Paul's Kingston Hill on 15 December 1907 (reg. Kingston 12/1907).

For the 1911 Census the family were enumerated at Amesbury, 72 Park Road, Kingston Hill but by 1915 had come to live in Mayfield, 25 Links Road, Epsom. Charles Geen was an estate agent and auctioneer in partnership, trading as Philip and George Geen, at 57 Waterloo Road, Lambeth.

Harry obtained his education at Epsom College, leaving in 1925. By 1928 he had taken up farming in South Africa but returned to England from Montreal, Canada, during 1929. It appears that he subsequently joined his father in business as a surveyor.

His service number suggests enlistment for training as an RAFVR pilot after January 1937.

Evidently he was diverted into training as an Air Observer and turns up in that role at 17 Operational Training Unit (formed in April 1940 as part of No 6 Group. Bomber Command, at RAF Upwood to train light bomber crews using the Bristol Blenheim). He was posted with a crew led by Sgt Pilot B J Redmond to 101 Squadron on 14 November 1940. They were aboard Blenheim Mk. IV, N6236, SR- ? Airborne 17.18 from West Raynham. During the operation against Wanne Eickel the locknut on the spider in the starboard propeller reduction gear became loose, causing the reduction gear casing to be churned away. Consequently the airscrew shaft and propeller fell off during the return flight over the North Sea. With commendable skill Sgt Redmond succeeded in getting his aircraft back to base with only one engine but crashed, on circuit of the aerodrome whilst trying to land, at 22.58 into West Raynham village.

The pilot Sgt B. J. Redmond and rear gunner Sgt A. G. Woodruff suffered only minor head injuries but the air observer Sgt H. E. Geen was left critically ill with a fractured skull.

Harry Geen succumbed to his injuries. The Squadron Operation Record Book mentioned that Sgt A/Obs.H E Geen died Tuesday 26 November 1940 at 11.40. CWGC, however, show the date of his demise to have been 28 November 1940 and that is what appears on his gravestone. His parents announced in the Daily Telegraph of 3 December 1940, the day of his funeral, only that their 'dearly beloved second son' Sergt Harry Ernest (Bob) Geen had died in November.

His mother, father and married sister later joined him in Plot M403 of Epsom Cemetery. Charles Geen had passed away at The Little House, 38 Downswood, Epsom.

Brian Bouchard ©2014

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


GLADMAN, Charles Clifford. Aircraftman 1st Class (842537)

Royal Air Force (Auxiliary Air Force)
Died 3 August 1941, aged 32

Charles's headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Charles's headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Photograph by Roger Morgan ©2017

Charles was born Q3 1909, the fifth child of John and Alice Mary Gladman. The 1911 Census records them all living at 27 Hook Road, Epsom - with John's occupation being a stoker at Epsom & Ewell Gas Works.

In Q3 1937, Charles married Margaret Mary (née Kinsella). The 1939 Register records her living at 14 The Drive (now Spa Drive), Epsom on the usual "unpaid domestic duties" of a housewife. The only other person recorded as living there is another married woman, Bridget Morley, also on "unpaid domestic duties".

Readily available records provide no information about Charles's RAF career. On 7 August 1941, four days after his death, he was buried in Epsom Cemetery (grave M.468). The Death Certificate specifies the place of death as "2 Horsham Rd, Dorking" (being the address of the Dorking County Hospital) and the cause as "Pulmonary Tuberculosis" - doubtless the reason for, as noted in the Cemetery records, Charles having been "Discharged from H.M. Forces".

Other information from the Death Certificate is that, before his RAF service, Charles had been an "Electricity Joiners Mate" - and that his widow was still living at 14 The Drive, but expanded to "Wells Estate, Epsom". That is the present day Spa Drive.

Roger Morgan © 2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


GORARD, Leslie Edward. Lance Serjeant (6142405)

Royal Corps of Signals 8th Armoured Brigade Signal Squadron
Died 18 July 1944, aged 24

Lesley was born in late 1920, probably the first child of Alfred Edward Gorard and Jessie Ethel (née Wyatt) who married at the beginning of that year. The 1939 Register records Alfred and Jessie, living at 88 Ebbisham Road, Epsom with four others, probably some of their children. Alfred was a "Temporary Postman"

On 22 April 1944, only a few months before his death, Leslie married Molly Kitcherside who was born on 12 April 1923. The Kitchersides were a well-established Epsom family, but the 1939 Register has the unmarried Molly as a laundry maid living/lodging with the Spikesman household at 42 Woodland Road, Epsom.

The readily available records provide no particular information about Leslie's time with the 8th Armoured Brigade Signal Squadron. In July 1944, the Brigade was engaged in heavy fighting about 10 miles to the east of Caen, not far from the D-Day beaches. (While the D-Day landings had successfully established the necessary beachhead, progress beyond that proved much harder than anticipated.)

Leslie was noted in casualty lists as "killed in action" on 18 July 1944. He was buried in the nearby Tilly-sur-Seulles cemetery, which contains 990 Commonwealth WW2 burials.

A sad postscript is that, in early 1945, Molly gave birth to Leslie's daughter, named Lesley Veronica. Even sadder is that the child died (at Epsom Hospital) only a few weeks later, and was buried in Epsom Cemetery on 22 February.

Roger Morgan © 2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


GORDON, Ronald, Flight Sergeant/Pilot (1605275)

463 (R.A.A.F.) Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 21 March 1945, aged 20

The readily available records provide little information about Ronald's background. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission list him as aged 20 at the time of his death (so he was born in 1919/20) and that his parents "Mr and Mrs T C Gordon" were of "Epsom, Surrey".

No. 463 Squadron RAAF was a WW2 Royal Australian Air Force heavy bomber squadron formed in the United Kingdom in late 1943. The squadron was equipped with Avro Lancaster bombers.

The Avro Lancaster Mk.I heavy bomber
The Avro Lancaster Mk.I heavy bomber
Image - and mission details below - with thanks to aircrewremembered.com

At 23:15 on Tuesday 20 March 1944, an Avro Lancaster 1 (Serial PB845 and Code JO-C) of 463 Squadron took off from RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire. The pilot was 20 year old Flying Officer Richard Stewart Bennet of the Royal Australian Air Force. Flight Sergeant Ronald Gordon was the flight engineer - also 20 years old, as were three other members of the crew. (Another was aged 21 and the age of the last, the Navigator, is not recorded.) The ultimately successful objective outcome of the larger operation of which this was part was to put out of use the synthetic oil refinery at Bohlen (near Leipzig and about 100 miles SSW of Berlin). The aircraft crashed at Trachenau, just south of the target, and it was reported that is had "probably" been shot down at 03:38 on Wednesday 21 March 1944.

Ronald is buried in the Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery that was established soon after hostilities ceased. Graves were brought there from not only the Berlin area but also from eastern Germany, including Dresden. About 80% of the 3,595 now buried there were airmen who were lost in the air raids over Berlin and the towns in eastern Germany.

Roger Morgan © 2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


GRANT, Philip. Telegraphist (P/JX 404135)

Royal Navy, HMS Hamilcar
Died 5 December 1944, aged 20

Philip was the son of Henry Grant and Matilda (née Coker), whose births (in 1898 and 1900 respectively) were registered in the Uxbridge - which is also where their marriage was registered in Q3 1920. The 1939 Register records the couple (with Henry as a paperhanger) living at "Rexall", Langley Road, Eton RD with their oldest child, Donald (a bricklayer - born on 7 October 1921), and two others whose records are currently closed, one of whom was presumably Philip, born Q3 1924 and registered in the Eton district.

Philip's connection with Epsom is not obvious. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission post-war record has his parents being "of Yiewsley, Middlesex" - about 4 miles from their pre-war address. When Philip's estate was settled until early 1946, the Probate records list him as being "of 13 Poplar Avenue, Yiewsley" - likely to be his parents' address - with administration being granted to his mother. (Henry was still around: he did not die until Q4 1970.)

The readily available records provide very little information about Philip's naval career. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records him as serving on HMS Hamilcar. However, this was not a ship but a Combined Operations/Landing Craft base. It was first established in 1943 at Djeldjelli, Algeria. However, as the Allies advanced northwards into Europe, it transferred to Messina - on the eastern tip of Sicily - in June 1944.

As Philip is remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, he has no known grave. From that and the date of his death, it is therefore likely that he was one of those aboard the Mark 3 "Landing Craft, Tank" LCT 328 that hit a mine and sank off the coast of West Greece. Its operation was part of the complicated aftermath of the Allies' liberation of Greece in which British forces became involved in fighting the partisans who had previously fought against the Axis powers.

Model of a Landing Craft, Tank Mk 3
Model of a Landing Craft, Tank Mk 3
Image © IWM (MOD1033)

Commanded by Lieutenant Colin Ernest Polden RNVR, LCT 328 was ordered to take 16 vehicles, with 20 Indian soldiers, from Patras on the northeast coat of the Peloponnese northwards across the strait, to Krioneri. However, as that area was considered unsafe, the destination was altered to the port of Missolonghi, some 10 miles further west. Leaving Patras at 07:50 on 5 December 1942, the LCT sailed through a channel that had been swept for mines. The entrance to Missolonghi was taken carefully, as the transport HMS Empire Dace had been sunk there by a mine 4 days previously, and its wreck could clearly be seen. As the LCT passed that wreck, it detonated another mine which destroyed its bow section and the craft sank bows first, rolling over to starboard as it disappeared. Two members of the crew and thirteen Indian soldiers were lost.

Roger Morgan © 2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


Greenslade, John Leonard, Corporal 362353

Royal Air Force
Died 25 October 1940

The marriage of Frederick George Greenslade to Frances Maria Charles was registered at Greenwich for the September Quarter of 1894. In 1897, whilst at the London County Asylum, Cane Hill, Frederick George Greenslade was awarded a Certificate of Proficiency in Mental Nursing. The couple's son Charles, born 1 July 1898 (baptised at Coulsdon, 15 April 1899) attended Ewell Infants School between 1st and 29th May 1905 when the family were living at Chessington Road, West Ewell but subsequently left the district. Nevertheless, a brother Frederick William came to be baptised at St Mary's Ewell on 9 July 1905 followed by John Leonard, 10 March 1907. On those occasions F. G. Greenslade's occupation was stated to be Attendant or Labourer but he seems to have achieved some prominence at Horton County of London War Hospital because he was mentioned by name in the Epsom Herald's report on 23 July 1915 regarding the burial of Private E. A.Riley.

In the 1911 Census the Greenslade family comprising 5 children may be found enumerated at Stoke, Upper Court Road, Epsom, where they remained until 1925.

It appeared that John Leonard Greenslade entered the Royal Air Force between January 1921 and July 1922 as a Boy Entrant with the service number 362353. In fact he was part of the RAF Apprentice Scheme, 5th Entry to Halton, No 1 School of Technical Training, during 1922.

By 1926 the Greenslades had moved to Fredonia (later 125?) East Street Epsom

John's brother, Charles Wells Greenslade, an omnibus conductor was brought from Farnborough Hospital, Kent, for burial aged 32 in Plot K688 at Epsom Cemetery on 23 July 1930. He was followed to that grave on 26 March 1932 by their father, George Frederick Greenslade, described as Clerk steward, who had died four days earlier in the Cottage Hospital, Epsom, aged 66.

John Leonard Greenslade had completed his first period of service in the Royal Air Force by 1930 and returned to live with his family. From 1933 at the latest, however, he was resident in Horton County of London Mental Hospital having followed in his father's footsteps to become a member of staff. His marriage to Alexina Florence Richards (born Alverstoke, Hants 11 October 1909) appears registered in Surrey Mid. E. for the September Quarter of 1935. The newly-weds took up residence with the bride's parents, Robert and Florence Emily Richards, at 16 Holdenby Road, Lewisham, before the birth of their daughter Barbara D. Greenslade registered at Lewisham, 6/1936. Subsequently they moved to a marital home, 11 Oakhurst Road, West Ewell, where they were living in 1939.

During 1935 the British government had decided to expand the RAF in the face of a growing threat from Germany and a key requirement was for more trained military pilots. RAF Montrose, virtually unchanged from the First World War, was re-opened on 1 January 1936 as No.8 Flying Training School. Evidently John returned to the colours at the outbreak of hostilities in WW2, either from Reserve or as a volunteer. On 25 October 1940 three German Junkers Ju 88 aircraft dropped 24 bombs on the Angus airfield killing five, injuring 18, and destroying two hangars and the officers mess. One of the fatalities was Cpl J. L. Greenslade whose remains were returned for interment in the family grave at Epsom Cemetery, Section K. Plot 688 on 1 November 1940.

John Leonard Greenslade does not appear in the Epsom and Ewell WW2 Book of Remembrance but his name is on the Horton Hospital Roll of Honour 1939-1945 plaque in Horton Chapel.

Horton Hospital Plaque
Horton Hospital Plaque
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2014

The demise of his mother the widowed Mrs Frances M. Greenslade, aged 91, is to be found registered in Surrey Mid. E., 12/1960. His relict, Alexina F. Greenslade, survived until 2002 - death registered, dying in Hertfordshire.

Brian Bouchard, Jan 2016

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


Hampton, Denis Allen, Sergeant (Pilot), 741874

RAFVR (Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve)
Died 12 April 1940, aged 23

The London Gazette, 2 February 1909, gave notice that a
"Partnership between Charles Alfred Hampton, of Ewell, Surrey, Shipowner, and George Chudleigh Hampton, of Ewell aforesaid, Shipowner, carrying on business as Ship-brokers, Insurance Brokers, and Commission Agents, at 6, Lime-street-square, London, under the style or firm of George Henderson and Co., was. on the 31st day of December, 1908, dissolved by mutual consent".
Denis was born on 9 May 1917, and baptised 29 July 1917 at St. Mary's Ewell, a son of George Chudleigh Hampton, Shipowner, and Kathleen Margaret Hampton, of St Martin's Avenue, Epsom.

His grandfather owned Seleng House, Ewell but died on 20 November 1922 and was buried in Plot 182 in St Mary's Ewell churchyard. Before 1925 Denis' branch of the Hampton family had moved to Firs, College Road, Epsom.

Having (reportedly) attended Rugby School, D. A. Hampton enlisted in the RAFVR around July/August 1938. He started, 31 January 1940, on initial training with Course 18 at No. 11 Flying Training School, RAF Shawbury, near Shrewsbury, Shropshire. This establishment had been reactivated in February 1938 and equipped, amongst other marques, with some Hawker Audax aircraft formerly operated by 26 Squadron RAF.

Hawker Audax K3067 of No. 26 Squadron RAF
Hawker Audax K3067 of No. 26 Squadron Royal Air Force at Manchester Barton in 1934
Image source Wikimedia

On 12 April 1940, in Audax K3091 of 11 FTS, apparently solo, he crashed and was killed at High Hatton, not far from Shawbury - death registered Whitchurch, 6/1940. His body was brought back to Ewell for interment with his uncle Walter, a WW1 casualty, and grandfather who had died on 20 November 1922. George Chudleigh Hampton joined them in 1949.

Brian Bouchard 2014

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


Hanley, Matthew (otherwise Michael) William, Flight Sergeant (Flt. Engineer), 573620,

Royal Air Force
Died 22 November 1944, aged 22

The marriage of Lucy Beatrice Mary Reardon (b. Celbridge, Co. Kildare, 1895) to Samuel David Hanley (b. Kildare 1891) was registered in Naas, Co. Kildare, Ireland, for the June Quarter of 1921.

The birth of their elder son Matthew William Hanley came to be recorded at Naas, County Kildare, Ireland, a year later, 6/1922. Matthew (as therefore he should properly be called ) seems to be found listed as Michael simply because of an error in the registration of his death. His grandfather, also called Matthew, and father both became racehorse trainers in Epsom - at Woodcote Side/Turbine Stud. 'Sam' Hanley then lived at Hanleys Cottage, 37 Nether Woodcote or Woodcote Side. By 1929, however, Samuel had moved his family to Seabright, 10 Ashley Road, with a stable yard near the old Epsom Police Station.

Births of siblings may be found registered in Epsom - Moyra G, 6/1925, 7 David L, 3/1934.

Matthew is reported to have attended the Lecture Hall school, and to have been a member of the Boys' Brigade attached to the Congregational Church.

In January 1938, around the age of 15 and a half, Matthew enlisted in the RAF's Aircraft Apprentice Scheme, becoming a member of the 37th entry to No1 School of Technical Training at Halton. Having graduated in March 1940 he was subsequently transferred into aircrew development to become a Flight Engineer.

Flight engineers, and sometimes the second air-gunner, joined a heavy bomber crew at a later stage in training, at a Heavy Conversion Unit (HCU) where they could gain experience of the four-engined bomber rather than twin-engined Wellingtons The Stirling had a new and complex electrical system for the crews to learn, for many of the aircraft's services such as the Gouge flaps and the ponderous undercarriage were electrically driven. Consequently the first two weeks at HCU were at ground school cramming all that was possible to learn about Exactor hydraulic controls, DR compasses, petrol, pneumatic, electrical and hydraulic systems. Also practised during those first weeks were emergency drills and the associated equipment.

Matthew had been posted to No 1660 HCU based at RAF Swinderby, and on 22 November 1944 was aboard a Sterling Mk. III (transferred from 513 Squadron on its disbandment 21 November 1943) which crashed under circumstances described in W. R.Chorley's Bomber Command Losses, Vol. 8 :-
"Stirling III EF201 took off at 10.15 for a cross-country exercise, an exercise that soon became dogged with engine problems. Initially, the difficulties were confined to the port outer, which was feathered (effectively turned off) but soon after the inner port began to over speed and F/O Craig, the pilot, attempted to restart the outer motor. Unfortunately, due to a fuel cock being left off, he was unsuccessful and the windmilling blades created such a drag that he lost control. Thus, at 11.20, the Stirling came down near Northleach airfield in Gloucestershire. Out of the crew of nine on this particular flight, five were killed."
Deaths registered at Cirencester, 12/1944, suggest that there was a greater number of fatalities: -
  • Craig, Lawrence William Harward - F/O (Pilot)
  • Wallace, Anthony John - Sgt (Nav)
  • Hanley, Matthew William - Flt Sgt (Flight Engineer)
  • Williams, Eldred Thomas Henry - Sgt (W/Op-Air Gunner)
  • Dickie, William James - Flt. Sgt (Air Bomber), R/113573, RCAF
  • Brown, Alan John - Sgt (Air Gunner)

Matthew was actually entered as 'Michael W' and was brought from Northleach for his interment, to be recorded with the names Michael William, in Plot N255 of Epsom Cemetery on 29 November 1944. A CWGC headstone gives only the initials of his forenames, M W. Image - www.findagrave.com

He appears as Michael William Hanley in the St Martin's War Memorial names for 1939-1945: he is also commemorated on the Old Haltonians Roll of Honour and the United Reformed Church's plaque at Epsom.

Administration of the personal estate of Michael William Hanley of Seabright, Ashley Road, Epsom, who died on 22 November 1944 during war service was granted to David Samuel (sic) Hanley during 1946.

Brian Bouchard 2014

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


Hawkins, Albert James, Sergeant 919537.

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR).
Died 4 April 1943, aged 25

The marriage of Albert John Hawkins to Florence Jane Snell had been recorded at St George, Hanover Square, 12/1916. The groom is thought to have been a regular soldier,Corporal in the Royal Engineers with a service number 773. A son, Albert Jack Hawkins, may have been born near the RE Barracks at Chatham, being registered Medway 9/1917.

A family connection to the Isle of Wight had been established before the birth of his brother, William George, during 1919. Albert James is reported to have attended the County Secondary School in Newport and to have taken up employment first with the Council there. By 1939, he was living in Epsom, apparently lodging with Mr and Mrs Banwell at 1 Ladbroke Road, and working for the Borough of Epsom and Ewell.

He enlisted in the RAFVR and took up service at Uxbridge, reportedly during March 1940. After training overseas he was posted to 408 (RCAF) Squadron, based at RAF Leeming, for flying duties.

His story appears on the Aircrew Remembered website and is detailed below with kind permission of Kelvin Youngs (Webmaster), information courtesy of Peter Bilbrough from Worthing, Sussex. Peter's late mother Elsie, née Worsley, was Sgt. 'Bert' Hawkins' fiancée when he went missing, however she kept in touch with his family after marrying Angus Bilborough in 1946.

"03/04.04.1943 No. 408 Squadron Halifax II HR713 EQ-F
Operation: Essen Date: 03/04th April 1943 (Saturday/Sunday)Time: 21.45 hrs.
Unit: No. 408 Squadron (Goose) R.C.A.F.
Type: Halifax II Serial: HR713 Coded: EQ-F
Location: Lake Ijssel, north east of Amsterdam.
Pilot: F/O. (Acting Fl/Lt) Robert Hodgson Perry Gamble J/9337 R.C.A.F. Age 23. Missing
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Robert Walton Barker 9889712 R.A.F.V.R. Age: ? Missing
W/Op/Air gunner: P/O. Charles Noola Black AUS/405437 R.A.A.F. Age 23. Missing
Nav/Bomber: Sgt. Albert James (Jimmie) Hawkins 919537 R.A.F.V.R. Age 25. Missing
Nav/Bomber: W/O 11. Donald Leslie Jarrett T/90781 R.C.A.F. Age 23. Missing
W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. Kenneth Septimus McColl AUS/401712 R.A.A.F. Age 30. Missing
Air/Gnr: F/O. Edmond Rothwell Ray J/11851 R.C.A.F. Age 26. Missing

REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 19.45 hrs, part of a huge raid on Essen. 325 Lancasters, 113 Halifaxes - led by 10 OBOE Mosquitos. Due to return at 00.57 hrs but failing with nothing heard from them.
HR713 was shot down by Oblt. Eberhard Garddiewski (3 victories) from 12./NJG1 at a height of 4000 metres. The aircraft reported to crash into the North Sea 60 km's North West of Vlieland at 00.47hrs


Left: Sgt. Albert (Jimmie) Hawkins Right: Sgt. Robert Walton Barker
Left: Sgt. Albert (Jimmie) Hawkins (courtesy Peter Bilbrough)
Right: Sgt. Robert Walton Barker (courtesy Victoria Southgate and Sylvia Gardiner)

408 Squadron being awarded their Crest
408 Squadron being awarded their Crest.
The pilot F/O (Acting Fl/Lt) Robert Hodgson Perry Gamble seen on extreme right. (courtesy Peter Bilbrough)

Burial details: None - still classed as missing. All remembered at the Runnymede Memorial Sgt. Albert James (Jimmie) Hawkins: Panel 152.

Further information: Eldest son of Albert John Hawkins (c1879-1932) late Sergeant in the Royal Engineers and Florence Jane née Snell (c1894-1974) of 11 Castle Road, Newport, Isle of Wight and fiancé of my late mother Elsie Bilbrough nee Worsley who remembered him during the rest of her life. Educated in the local secondary school, he worked in the rating department of Newport Corporation and later as a rating and valuation officer for Epsom Council prior to joining the RAF in March 1940. He trained at the Initial Training Wing in Rhodesia in 1942, and had flown 12 sorties and 69.08 operational hours. His commander wrote "The loss of your son and the other members of the crew is greatly felt by everyone in the squadron. He was very popular with the boys, especially in the sergeant's mess where he was looked upon as a good fellow and his loss is regretted by all. Your son... was fast becoming an ace air bomber." (Isle of Wight County Press: 14 April 1943). His brother William George Hawkins (1919-?) served in the Royal Artillery.

[Also recorded on the Newport (IOW) War Memorial and on his parents grave in Carisbrooke (Mount Joy) Cemetery, Isle of Wight - Y 3/215]"

Additionally the name of Albert James Hawkins appears on WW2 Memorials in Epsom, particularly at the Town Hall and in the local Book of Remembrance.

Albert (Jimmie) Hawkins' Headstone
Albert (Jimmie) Hawkins' Headstone
Image courtesy of Peter Bilborough

Albert (Jimmie) Hawkins' parents grave in Carisbrooke (Mount Joy) Cemetery, Isle of Wight
Albert (Jimmie) Hawkins' parents grave in Carisbrooke (Mount Joy) Cemetery, Isle of Wight
Image courtesy of Peter Bilborough

IN PROUD MEMORY OF
OUR DEARLY LOVED SON
ALBERT JAMES HAWKINS
(JIMMIE)
SGT NAVR R.A.F.
MISSING OVER ESSEN
APRIL 3RD 1943 AGED 26
REUNITED WITH HIS DAD
R.I.P.

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


Hicks, Archibald Jack, Pilot Officer 120655.

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR).
Died 03 August 1942, aged 22.

Archibald's headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Archibald's headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Image courtesy of Brian Bouchard ©2014

As explained by Linda Jackson in her piece about 17 High Street, Epsom, Archibald Henry Hicks, a hairdresser, 'born 1882 Epsom; married c.1910 Lily Gertrude Beach (c.1887 Bruges - 1963); their son, Pilot Officer Archibald Jack Hicks, 114 Squadron RAFVR (born 1920), died on 3 August 1942 in Chester district ...'.

Certainly, Lily Gertrude Beach was living in Epsom as a child enumerated in the 1901 Census and she re-appears, married to Archibald Henry Hicks, in 1911. The birth of son, Jack, from their union seems to have been registered in Guildford, 3/1916, but he may have survived only until 1919. The arrival of Archibald Jack Hicks was recorded at Kingston for the first Quarter of 1920.

The Kelly's Directories list Archibald Henry Hicks at 17 High Street, Epsom, in 1924 & 1927, then 21A during 1930, 1934 & 1938.

Archibald Jack joined the staff of the municipal Borough of Epsom and Ewell. Having enlisted in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, he became a Pilot Officer with the Service Number 120655 attached to 114 Squadron at RAF West Raynham, flying Blenheim Mk IV bombers. On Monday 3 August 1942, he piloted a Blenheim (built by Rootes) R3813, code RT-S, from West Raynham. Also aboard were F/S 1280524 Arthur Haydn Frederick Chote, W.Op./Air Gnr, LAC 1233263 James Lewis Joseph Barnes and AC1 1511232 George Craddock. The crew were killed when this aircraft crashed at Lache House (otherwise The Lache), Lache Lane, near Chester.

A Civil Aviation Accident Report on that incident numbered W1290 is held in the National Archives, Kew, under reference AVIA 5/21.

Archibald Jack Hicks, RAF, aged 22, late of 2(1?)a High Street, was buried in Epsom Cemetery on 10 August 1942, Sec. N. Grave 260. His name appears in the Book of Remembrance, and is commemorated on both the St Martin's and the Council Staff War Memorials.

Brian Bouchard 2014

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


Oliver Lilburne Rieu Hills, Flight Sergeant. 161337.

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR).
Died 25 November 1943, aged 32.

Oliver's headstone in Epsom cemetery
Oliver's headstone in Epsom cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

On 23 June 1906, in St. Andrews church in the parish of St. Marylebone, London, solicitor Charles Robe Hills married Agnes Marie Reiu, the daughter of the late Charles Reiu who had been a professor at Cambridge University. Charles and Agnes' eldest son Gilbert Archibald Reiu was born in 1907 and their daughter Audrey Reiu in 1908. When the 1911 census was taken, before Oliver's birth, the family was living at 'Fairview', Alexander Road, Epsom, Surrey where Charles employed two servants to help run their home.

Charles and Agnes' youngest son, Oliver Lilburne Rieu Hills, was born in Epsom on 21 November 1911 (GRO reference: Dec 1911 Epsom 2a 61a).

During WWI, Oliver's father served as a temporary Lieutenant in the Surrey Volunteer Regiment, 9th Battalion, and in 1919 he was made an Honorary Lieutenant. Then in 1925, while living at 17, Alexander Road, Epsom, he bought two pieces of freehold land in Epsom, one in Claygate Hill and the other in Pound Lane.

Oliver attended Charterhouse School in Godalming between 1925 and 1930, after which he qualified as a solicitor. In 1941 he joined the RAFVR, serving as a Mosquito navigator and radar operator with the 488 Royal New Zealand Air Force Squadron based in Singapore.

In early 1942, Oliver married Joan de Lancey Wilson in the registration district of Blandford, Dorset. After their marriage, the couple lived at 8, Randolph Road, Epsom. Oliver and Joan's daughter Fiona was born a few months before Oliver's death.

On 2 December 1943, newspapers announced that Oliver had been declared missing, believed killed, on night operations over the North Foreland of the coast of Kent having taken off from RAF Bradwell Bay in Essex. Oliver, and the RAF pilot Squadron Leader Dudley Ormston Hobbis, were both killed after the engine of their de Havilland Mosquito, registration number HK423, caught fire over the North Sea, causing them both to abandon the plane.

Oliver's body was found eight months later, in the Thames Estuary, and was laid to rest in Epsom cemetery in grave N256 on 12 August 1944. The body of his pilot, Squadron Leader Hobbis, was never found, and he is commemorated on the RAF, Runneymede memorial to the missing.

Probate records state the following:
HILLS Oliver Lilburne Rein (sic) otherwise Oliver Lilburne of Clayhill Lodge West Hill Epsom Surrey died 25 November 1943 on war service. Probate Llandudno 4 November to Joan de Lancey Hills his widow. Effects £1657 19s. 9d.
Oliver's widow married Thomas B. Page in 1947 and died in 1994 in Derbyshire.

Oliver is remembered in the Epsom WWII Book of Remembrance displayed in the Town Hall. He is also commemorated on the memorial at the former RAF airfield, Bradwell Bay, Essex and on the Charterhouse School Roll of Honour inside their Memorial Chapel.

Sources:
     http://www.roll-of-honour.com/Surrey/GodalmingCharthouseSchoolWW2.html
     http://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/wiki.php?id=73028

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


HOWELL, Cecil Alex Frank. Able Seaman (P/JX 518335)

Royal Navy HMS Bickerton
Died 22 August 1944, aged 18

Cecil was born on 22 November 1925, the third child of Cornelius Seamark Howell and Ada Maud (née Toop) who had married on 18 July 1922 in Winfrith Newburgh, Dorset. The 1939 Register records the couple (with Cornelius as "General Labourer Golf Course") living at 9 Ruthen Close, Epsom with four children. Cecil was still at school.

Cecil served on HMS Bickerton, a Captain-class frigate built only in 1943. She served exclusively with the 5th Escort Group, and gained battle honours in the Arctic (on Russian Convoys), the North Atlantic, off Normandy and in the English Channel.

HMS Bickerton in the foreground
Taken shortly before her loss, this official photograph of "Operations in northern waters" shows
HMS Bickerton in the foreground (with HMS Kent and HMS Trumpeter behind).
Photograph A 25406 from IWM Collection 4700-01

In August 1944, she was part of the naval Operation Goodwood (not to be confused with the previous month's Operation Goodwood in Normandy, part of the post D-Day fighting to liberate Caen). For some years, the German battleship Tirpitz (sister to - and, after wartime modifications, even heavier that - the Bismarck) had been stationed in Kaafjord, Norway. Her fearsome armaments (including 8 15-inch guns in 4 twin turrets) meant that the Royal Navy had to keep substantial forces in the area to contain the threat.

Operation Goodwood was one of several unsuccessful concerted efforts to destroy the Tirpitz. (It was not destroyed until November 1944.) The Goodwood attack force sailed from the UK on 18 August, a timing was set to allow the Home Fleet to also protect Convoy JW59, which had departed from Scotland on 15 August bound for the Soviet Union. The first attack, on 22 August, was repulsed and, in the re-grouping, the aircraft carrier HMS Nabob was incapacitated (but not sunk) by a torpedo fired from the German submarine U-235. Shortly afterwards, the same U-boat torpedoed HMS Bickerton, wrecking its stern and killing 38 - including Cecil Howell - of its approximately 175 complement. HMS Bickerton could have potentially been salvaged. However, the force's commander did not want to have to protect two crippled ships and, after survivors had been rescued, the frigate was scuttled by a torpedo from HMS Vigilant.

 HMS Bickerton after being torpedoed.
HMS Bickerton after being torpedoed.
Image courtesy of uboat.net

As Cecil's body was never found, he is remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial for sailors with no known grave.

Roger Morgan © 2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


HUTCHINGS, Roy Garston Harris. Leading Aircraftman (1234637)

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 11 December 1943, aged 22

Roy was born in Poplar Q3 1921, the second or third child of Stanley Harris Hutchings and Gladys Dorothea (née Lyddon). They were both Londoners and married in Poplar (where Stanley had been born in 1897) in Q3 1918: Gladys was born in Marylebone in 1895.

The 1939 Register records the parents (with Stanley as "Head Clerk Ships Store Suppliers") living at 10 Ansford Road in Lewisham with six others. Two of those are clearly a couple of their children. Four of the records are currently closed, one of which is presumably the 18 year old Roy's. The Commonwealth War Grave Commission's records list the parents of being "of Epsom" at the time of Roy's death, but the details of that are not currently known.

And no details of Roy's RAF career are currently known, other than that is buried in the Takoradi European Public Cemetery in Ghana which, before its 1957 independence was the British colony of the Gold Coast. There is a little-known story here.

By early 1941, German and Italian dominance of the Mediterranean and its coast made it difficult for supply ships to reach British forces in the Middle East. As an alternative to protracted sea journeys around the Cape of Good Hope, the British turned to the fledgling commercial 3,600-mile air route from Takoradi to Cairo.

HUTCHINGS WARR

On 5 September 1940, a ship from the UK arrived at Takoradi carrying the first shipment of a dozen part-assembled Hurricane and Blenheim aircraft fighters in large wooden crates. The aircraft were finished locally and made airworthy for the flight to Cairo which left Takoradi on 20 September 1940. The challenging journey - along what became officially known as the West African Reinforcement Route - took six days with several rest and refuelling stops. In the sections over the Sahara Desert, sand took a severe toll on the aircraft engines and, over time, the route became marked by burned-out aircraft on the ground.

Crated aircraft being unloaded from a freighter in Takoradi harbour
Crated aircraft being unloaded from a freighter in Takoradi harbour
Photograph © IWM (CM 5402)

The operation was logistically demanding. In addition to overseeing the assembly work at Takoradi itself, RAF personnel were needed to man the intermediate stops - and aircraft were also active on anti-submarine patrols to protect incoming shipments. Nevertheless, between August 1940 and June 1943, over 4,500 British Blenheims, Hurricanes, and Spitfires were assembled at Takoradi and ferried to the Middle East. Between January 1942 and the end of the operation in October 1944, 2,200 Baltimores, Dakotas, and Hudsons arrived from the United States (via the American base at Natal, Brazil, and a mid-Atlantic stop on Ascension Island), and virtually all of them were ferried in similar fashion. There were also other final destinations via the Takoradi Route, including India.

The cause of Roy's death is currently unknown, but some tropical disease is a possibility. He is one of the 62 Commonwealth burials in the Takoradi European Public Cemetery.

Roger Morgan © 2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


IEVERS Eyre Osbourne, Flying Officer. 81827.

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 9 April 1942, age 39.

Eyre Osborne Ievers was the eldest son of Eyre Francis Wall and Catherine Lilian Ievers, whose birth had been registered at Tonbridge for the September Quarter of 1903.

After early education at Yardley Court, Somerhill, he followed his father to Tonbridge School from 1917 to 1920 and subsequently trained as an Accountant before joining a family business in Buenos Aires, Argentina, during 1928. About that time his parents were resident at 'Croft House' Epsom. In 1936 he returned to England to take employment with Eyre Smelting Co - where his father, E F Ievers, held the position of Managing Director.

Having become a member of the Royal Air force Volunteer Reserve, gazetted as 'Levers' on 30July 1940, he was appointed Flying Officer in 1941 and Officer Commanding No 15 Bomb Disposal Squad, with headquarters at Ulleskelf near RAF Church Fenton. On 29 April 1942 there was a 'Baedeker' Air Raid on the City of York which left two unexploded bombs close to RAF Clifton. F/O Ievers was mortally wounded when they detonated whilst he was preparing to disarm the UXBs. Full details of the incident are reported at - www.rafchurchfenton.org.uk.

In a list of casualties Eyre O Ievers' address is given as- 'Campana', Lynwood Road, Epsom - www.stmartinsyork.org.uk. RAF Records again showed his name incorrectly as 'Levers' and that he had died of wounds or injuries received on active service.

He was buried in St John the Baptist Churchyard Extension, Kirkby Wharfe, North Yorkshire, England, Plot: Row B. Grave O. [Link to CWGC]

Mr E F Ievers, retired Company Director, died at 12 Lynwood Road, Epsom, on December 1958.

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


IRISH, Cyril Vivian. Sergeant (934541)

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 18 October 1941, aged 20

Cyril Irish in uniform and flying gear
Cyril Irish in uniform and flying gear
Copyright acknowledged

Cyril was born in Epsom on 2 December 1920, the third child of Charles George and Dora Lilian Irish. Like his siblings, Cyril was baptised at Christ Church Epsom Common.

His father had been born in Devon but moved to Epsom, where the 1911 Census recorded Charles as a 26 year-old "Clerk" lodging with Police Constable Robert Rounce and family at 57 Miles Road. The residents on Census Day did not include the family's 27 year old daughter, Dora Lilian: she was at "Pendennes", Bridge Road, Epsom working as "cook domestic" for widowed Frances Kent and his 7 year old daughter. The 1911 Census records Charles Irish as a "Clerk", probably at Epsom's Long Grove Mental Hospital. This was his place of work noted in the LCC's record of his WW1 service as a Private from 1915 to 1919 - at the beginning of which Charles and Dora married in Epsom Q3 1915.

Post war, the family's long-term home was 7 West Hill, Epsom. In his teens, Cyril attended Glyn School and was a member of the Scouts - almost certainly the 2nd Epsom Group, attached to Christ Church. He also attested in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. His RAF career took him to No. 27 Operational Training Unit RAF (27 OTU). This had been formed at RAF Lichfield in April 1941 as part of No. 6 Group RAF Bomber Command with the purpose of training night bomber crews.

On 18 October 1941, Cyril (who was training as a Wireless Operator/Air Gunner) was one of a training crew flying a Vickers Wellington Ic (X9821). It crashed while turning to the north of the Aerodrome and all four of the crew were killed.

A Vickers Wellington
A Vickers Wellington
Picture courtesy of www.pilotfriend.com

Cyril's body was brought back to Epsom for burial. On 25 October, he joined his brother, Ernest John, who had died aged only one month in 1916 - four years before Cyril was born. In 1947, these two were joined by their father. The grave also now carries memorials to their mother (who died in 1987) and their sister, Cynthia Irish (1918-2011).

The Irish family grave (A348) in Epsom Cemetery
The Irish family grave (A348) in Epsom Cemetery
Photograph by Roger Morgan ©2017

Roger Morgan © 2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


JACKSON, Percy Cecil. Flying Officer (114298)

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 7 July 1943, aged 36

The readily available records provide disappointingly little information about Percy Jackson's background or career. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records that he was the son of Samuel and Elizabeth Jackson and husband of Kathleen Mary (Kath) Jackson of Epsom, Surrey. Other records show that Percy and Kathleen (née Lamb) married in Wandsworth Q2 1933 and that, when Kathleen was granted probate on Percy's estate in August 1943, her address was 6 East Dean Avenue, Epsom.

Percy is buried in the Heliopolis War Cemetery, on the outskirts of Cairo. This was opened in October 1941 for burials from the many hospitals in the area coping with the wounded and sick, mainly from the Western Desert campaigns. In 1943, Percy was presumably stationed with the significant RAF presence in Egypt and the Middle East, but there is no information readily to hand about the cause of his death.


Roger Morgan ©2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


LEVERINGTON, Ernest. Stoker 1st Class (C/KX 99533)

Royal Navy H.M.S. Wakeful
Died 29 May 1940, aged 37

Ernest was born on 29 March 1903, the fifth of the six children (all boys, and baptised at Christ Church Epsom Common) born to Martin Leverington and Sarah Elizabeth (née Potter) of Wheelers Lane. Martin was a "Labourer/Brewer's yardman" and died in 1909, aged only 39, and Sarah remarried - to Albert E Martin in Q2 1911.

It seems that Ernest was a career sailor, and it may be that it was on his travels that he met Muriel Clegg in Huddersfield. They married in Huddersfield In Q4 1932. They set up home at 15 The Crescent, Epsom, but the 1939 Register records Muriel living there alone, Ernest probably being at sea.

Ernest served as a Leading Stoker on HMS Wakeful. As noted in the general article about WW2 fatalities in the Royal Navy, that destroyer was involved in Operation Dynamo - the mid-1940 evacuation from Dunkirk.

HMS Wakeful
HMS Wakeful
Image source Wikimedia Commons.

HMS Wakeful first arrived off Dunkirk on 27 May 1940 and took on 631 Allied troops. While returning them to Dover, she came under air attack and suffered minor damage below the waterline. Despite that near miss, the ship returned to Dunkirk to continue the evacuation and, on 28 May 1940, took on a further 640 Allied troops. While doing so, HMS Wakeful was struck by two torpedoes from the German E-Boat S-30, one of which hit the forward boiler room.

Casualties were very heavy: only 26 survived the resulting explosion and its aftermath. Ernest Leverington was among the 724 killed - as was fellow parishioner Charles Easton.

Ernest is remembered on the Chatham Naval Memorial which commemorates 10,098 sailors of WW2 (and 8,517 of WW1) who have no known grave.

As noted in the separate article, his widow, Muriel Leverington, joined the Women's Auxiliary Air Force and, like her husband (but for very different reasons), did not survive the War.

Roger Morgan © 2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


LEVERINGTON, Muriel. Leading Aircraftwoman (2022927)

The Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF)
Died 1 May 1945, aged 32

Muriel was born on 18 June 1913 to Charles William & Ellen Clegg (née Cash - they had married on 8 September 1903 in St James's Church, Grimsby).

In Q4 1932, Muriel married Ernest Leverington in Huddersfield. The 1939 Register records her living alone at 15 The Crescent, Epsom - Ernest perhaps already being in the Navy. (That Register records her parents living at 46 Fair Lea Road, Huddersfield - her father being a "Carpet Planner". Also present there was a 24 year old "Cabinet Maker" Charles William Clegg, presumably Muriel's younger brother.)`

As noted in the separate article, Muriel's husband Ernest Leverington was killed in action in May 1940. The readily available records give no information about either when Muriel joined the WAAF or what part in the war effort - of the many potential and vital roles undertaken by WAAFs (which excluded aircrew duties) - she played as a Leading Aircraftwoman.

She died on 1 May 1945 at Epsom's Horton Emergency Hospital - not of injuries, but a brain tumour - and was then buried in the Huddersfield (Lockwood) Cemetery, near her parents' home.

Roger Morgan © 2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


LEWIS, Cyril. Petty Office(C/MX 71383)

Royal Navy, HMS Saunders
Died 14 December 1942, aged 22

Cyril was born on 23 January 1920, apparently the older of George Ernest and Mary Catherine Lewis's two sons. The 1939 Register records the family living at 30 Ebbisham Road, Epsom listing George as "Stableman Racing", Cyril as "Fitter Motor Repair Works" and younger brother William Ernest (born 12 December 1921) as "Groundsman RAC Club".

HMS Saunders, where Cyril served, was not a ship but the shore-based naval limb of the Middle East Combined Training Centre at Kabret, on Egypt's Little Bitter Lake. Its purpose was to train Naval personnel in the operation of landing craft and, together with the troops of many Allied nations, to practice amphibious landings prior to operations against the enemy in the Mediterranean.

A sketch of HMS Saunders from the base's water-tower
A sketch of HMS Saunders from the base's water-tower
Courtesy of Henry More, grandson of Captain G I S More OBE RN -
who commanded HMS Saunders from June 1942 to December 1944,
and to whom the artist (Herbert Hastings McWilliams) presented it "with admiration".

Given George's pre-war occupation as a "Fitter Motor Repair Works", it is no surprise to find that his Petty Officer service was as a "Motor Mechanic". www.naval-history.net lists Cyril as killed by an explosion on a Tank Landing Craft Mk III. The fact he is buried in the Tobruk War Cemetery suggests that this was not at Kabret, but rather that he was somehow involved in the Allies' eastwards advance along the North African coast following the turning point of El Alamein.

Roger Morgan © 2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


LOWER, Vivian. Pilot Officer (143871)

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 224 Squadron
Died 2 September 1943, aged 31

Vivian was born on 6 May 1902 in Edmonton, the son of Nynian Evelyn Walter Lower (a "Bank Official") and Edith (née Morley - they had married in Hackney Q2 1911). The 1939 Register records Vivian staying (or lodging) with the Mitchell family at 34 Queen's Drive, Stoke Newington and described as "Bankers Official Cashier Electrical".

224 Squadron, in which Vivian served, was part of the RAF's Coastal Command. At the time of his death, it was stationed at RAF St Eval (on the north coast of Cornwall) flying B-24 Liberators in anti-submarine operations over the Bay of Biscay and attacks on shipping over the French Coast

A B24 Liberator heavy bomber
A B24 Liberator heavy bomber
Picture courtesy of Bill Zuk via Wikimedia Commons

As Vivian is commemorated on the RAF Memorial at Runnymede, he must be one of over 20,000 people who were lost during WW2 operations and who have no known graves. He must therefore have been lost on operations. (There are internet records of 224 Squadron losing Liberator FL959 over the Bay of Biscay on 2 September 1943 when it was shot down by enemy fighters. However, Vivian Lower is not among the listed crew.)

Probate record list Vivian as having lived at 141 Manor Green Road, Epsom. As administration was allocated to his father, it is assumed he never married.

Roger Morgan © 2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


MATTHEWS, Reginald William. Able Seaman (P/J 97401)

Royal Navy H.M.S. Acheron
Died 17 December 1940, aged 35

Reginald was born in Guildford in March 1905, the son of Horace and Alice May Matthews. At the age of 16, he joined the Royal Navy. In Q3 1930, he married Nellie Rose Dench in Epsom and left the Navy when their son, Donald, was born Q2 1935. (While the Commonwealth War Graves Commission list Reginald as the "husband of Nellie Rose Matthews, of Leatherhead, Surrey", the Probate records state that he was "of 23 The Crescent, Epsom" - presumably also the address of his widow, Nellie, who was granted administration of his estate.)

Reginald was called up at the start of WW2, and served as a stoker on HMS Acheron, an A-class destroyer. After service off the Norwegian coast, the ship returned to patrol and escort duties in the English Channel. On 20 July 1940, while sailing off St. Catherine's Point, she was attacked by German dive bombers and damaged by nine near misses. She began repairs at Portsmouth Dockyard but, on 24 August, was yet more seriously damaged during an air raid which killed two of her crew and injured another three.

HMS Acheron
HMS Acheron
Picture © NavyPhotos.com

After completion of the extensive repairs, HMS Acheron began post-refit trials. Late on 17 December, she was conducting steaming exercises over a measured mile, again off St. Catherine's Point. There were heavy seas with a strong north-east wind and, on one of the passes, she struck a mine - probably one of those laid by the Luftwaffe in no definite pattern along the Channel coast. The explosion caused major structural damage forward and her own speed (she was capable of 35 knots, some 40 mph) drove her under. She sank within four minutes, taking 196 crewmen and yard workers (who were on board for the trials) to the bottom. There were only 19 survivors.

The site of the wreck is designated under the Protection of Military Remains Act, and those lost are commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

Roger Morgan © 2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


Moore, Harry, Corporal, 351185

Royal Air Force
Died 28 June 1940, aged 37

Harry's headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Harry's headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Photograph courtesy of Roger Morgan © 2017

William George Moore (b. 1868) married Fanny Kingshott (b. 1867) at Haslemere on 18 March 1888. The arrival on 15 February 1903 of their son Harry, also in Haslemere, was registered at Hambledon, 3/1903.

After a short period of employment as a Butler, at Stoney Crest, Hindhead, Harry enlisted with RAF on 22 February 1922 for 8 years with the colours and a further 4 in reserve. He trained with the RAMC at Crookham Barracks, Aldershot to become a Hospital/Nursing Orderly at Halton Hospital. From 19 September 1924 to the end of January 1927 he was in Iraq at Hinaidi, rising to the rank of LAC (Leading Aircraftman). Having been posted to SHQ Upavon on 1 February 1927, he moved to Central Flying School, RAF Wittering, on 30 July 1927.

His wedding to Winifred Emily Taylor came to be registered at Epsom for the June Quarter of 1928. The couple subsequently lived in the village of Barnack, near Stamford, Lincs.

After his period of full time service came to an end in 1930, Harry would have returned to civilian life, eventually taking up residence at 57 Stamford Green Road, Epsom.

He re-enlisted, with his original service number, at the beginning of WW2 to take up duties at No 1 Elementary Training School [formerly the de Havilland School of Flying] at Hatfield. On 28 June 1940, 'at Watford Way near Selborne Gardens, Hendon, Mx., he died [presumably killed in a road traffic accident, possibly en route for Epsom].

Harry was interred in Grave 31, Section U, of Epsom Cemetery on 4 July 1940, 'late of R.A.F. Aerodrome, Hatfield, Herts.' Administration of his estate was granted to the widowed Mrs Winifred Emily Moore of Epsom.

Brian Bouchard ©2014

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


NEWBERY Alfred George. Gunner (6102818)

Royal Artillery 5/3 Maritime Regiment
Died 10 March 1943, aged 28

Alfred George Newbery was born on 8 August 1915, the third child of George Dunster Newbery (a carpenter) and Maud Mary (née Elsey). His parents married in Christ Church Epsom Common on 13 July 1901 and, as for his siblings, this is where Alfred was baptised. That was on 19 December 1915, when the church records noted the family's address as 111 Church Side, Epsom Common. And, in the 1939 Register, Alfred, his widowed father (Maud having died in 1936) and his younger brother William were still there - listed as lodgers with the younger O'Sullivan family. Alfred was recorded as a "Builder's Labourer", while both his father and William were "Carpenters and Joiners".

Alfred's WW2 role was as a Gunner in the Royal Artillery's 5/3 Maritime Regiment. As noted in the fuller article about the Borough's Naval Fatalities, merchant ships carrying vital cargo were usually "Defensively Equipped Merchant Ships" (DEMS) with mounted guns of some kind, and both the Royal Navy and the Royal Artillery Maritime Regiment deployed gunners to man them.

In March 1943, Alfred Newbery was serving on the SS Nailsea Court, laden with over 7,500 tons of general cargo, including 650 tons of copper bars and 800 tons of nickel ore. The ship was part of the Convoy SC-121 (the prefix denoting "Slow Convoy") from Nova Scotia to the UK. It left Canadian waters with 69 freighters and an escort of 2 destroyers, 3 cutters and 4 corvettes.

The Nailsea Court
The Nailsea Court
Photo Courtesy of Library of Contemporary History, Stuttgart

U-boat attacks on the Convoy began in the mid-Atlantic on 7 May when two merchant ships were lost. Six were then lost on 8 May, and another five on 9 May. At just after 01:00 on 10 March, U-299 fired three torpedoes. Nailsea Court was hit and sank with the loss of the master (Ralph Good, OBE), 33 crew members, nine gunners (including Alfred) and two passengers: only four (all crew members) were rescued.

That was the last attack on the Convoy. Of the 69 freighters that set out from Nova Scotia, 14 (a fifth) were lost - together with, in aggregate, about three quarters of their crew.

Like many others lost at sea, Alfred is remembered on the Chatham Naval Memorial.

A sad postscript is that, only a few weeks after Alfred's death, his widowed father died at 111 Church Side. He was buried in Epsom Cemetery on 30 April 1943, and is listed in the Borough's WW2 Book of Remembrance as a civilian casualty.

Roger Morgan © 2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


PEARSON Nevill Corrie, Signalman. 2327369.

Royal Corps of Signals.
Died 13 February 1942, age 22.

Nevill Corrie Pearson was born in Hastings, Sussex in 1919 (GRO reference: Jun 1919 Hastings 2b 26), the son of Joseph William and Florence Eva (née Taylor) Pearson.

Nevill's father's occupation was noted in the 1911 census as a boot maker on his own account working from his home 55, Howarth Street, Old Trafford, Manchester. Both of Nevill's parents were recorded as being aged 24 years old when they married on 10 June 1916 in St. Anne's church in Sale, Cheshire. (Nevill's father was actually aged 27 having been born on 5 January 1889 to Joseph Corrie and Alice Ann Pearson).

By 1921 the family had moved south to Surrey and were at living at 7, New Cottages, Horton Hill, Epsom. When Nevill's sister Mavis Margaret was born the following year, they were living at 144, Horton Hill. This may well have been the same cottage as renumbering of roads, in Epsom, was implemented in the 1920s.

Nevill and his family moved several times within the Epsom district and were recorded as living at the following addresses:
1925/27: - 15, Court Farm Gardens, Manor Green Road
1928/29: - 23, Ebbisham Road
1934: - 22, Hook Road
1935/37: - "Lyndhurst", Grosvenor Road
1938/39: - 8, Hamilton Close
While Nevill's sister Mavis worked as a typist for the Post Office during WWII, Nevill enlisted and became Signalman 2327369 in the Royal Corps of Signals.

During the Japanese invasion of Malaya, the Japanese crossed the Straits of Johore and landed at the mouth of the Kranji River on 8 February 1942. On the evening of 9 February they launched an attack during which fierce fighting, including hand-to-hand combat, ensued for several days until the official surrender by General Percival on 15 February. During this fighting, Nevill was attached as a signalman to the 29th Construction Section of the Malaya Command Signals. After the surrender of Singapore, the Japanese established one of their Prisoner of War camps in Kranji.

Nevill's final resting place after his death on 13 February 1942 is unknown but he is remembered on Column 45 of the Singapore Memorial, which stands in Kranji War Cemetery. Kranji War Cemetery is 22 kilometres north of the city of Singapore, on the north side of Singapore Island overlooking the Straits of Johore.

Singapore Memorial
Singapore Memorial
Singapore Memorial
Photographs courtesy of Bert Barnhurst © 2014

After his death, Nevill's distraught parents approached their local church, St. Barnabas in Temple Road, Epsom and requested that they had some sort of memorial in the church for their dear son. A candlestick was eventually purchased by themselves, at the cost of £14 16 shillings (around £500 in 2014), as a lasting memorial in St. Barnabas church to Nevill. Whether it was engraved with his name was not recorded in the account book entry.

St. Barnabas Church Account Book, 1 January 1946
St. Barnabas Church Account Book, 1 January 1946

In January 2014 I enquired as to the whereabouts of the candlestick, and received the following reply from the vicar:
"I cannot find any reference in the old inventories to any silver candlestick (or sticks)'. There are several brass candlesticks but not any inscribed or recorded as being in memoriam or gift in the name of Pearson."
On 2 September 1947, the St. Barnabas Parochial Church Council (PCC) announced that the Town Clerk had sent them a circular stating "that a Roll of Honour was being prepared consisting of those living in the Borough at any time who had lost their lives by Enemy action. The list would include members of the Forces and any others connected with the Forces and also civilians." It was noted that the vicar, Father Anderson, would make enquiries and send to the Town Clerk the names of members of his parish who had given their lives.

Extract from St. Barnabas Church PCC minutes, 2 September 1947
Extract from St. Barnabas Church PCC minutes, 2 September 1947

Nevill Corrie Pearson's name was included in his list and can be viewed in the WWII Book of Remembrance http://www.epsomandewellhistoryexplorer.org.uk/WW2Book.html on display in a cabinet in Epsom Town Hall.

The following year the St. Barnabas PCC also agreed that they would request that a friend of Mrs. Colgate produce a WWII Roll of Honour, similar to the one that Phyllis Chipperfield had painted for the WW1 Roll of Honour. It was to be framed and hung at the back of the church where the WW1 Roll of Honour was displayed. The final memorial contained the names of eighteen St. Barnabas' parishioners who had died during the hostilities.

St. Barnabas WWII Roll of Honour
St. Barnabas WWII Roll of Honour
Reproduced by permission of Surrey History Centre

On 21 June 1948 Nevill's father Joseph, aged 59, died. Probate records show that he had been living at 9, Hamilton Close, Epsom and that his effects had been valued at £244 19 shillings. In the 1955 British Telephone Directory, Nevill's sister Mavis was listed as still living at 9, Hamilton Close, Epsom but by 1957 she and her mother had moved to 45, Temple Road, Epsom, which is almost opposite St. Barnabas church.

Nevill's widowed mother died on 1 June 1963 at the Royal Isle of Wight County Hospital in Ryde. Probate of her effects valued at £156 15 shillings was granted to her unmarried daughter Mavis. Mavis was still living at 45, Temple Road, Epsom in 1979.

Sources:
CWGC
Ancestry
FreeBMD
Epsom Electoral Registers
British Telephone Directories
St. Barnabas PCC Minute Records and Account Books
Reverend Michael Preston
Researched and written by Hazel Ballan © 2014

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


PEDDIE, Thomas John. Sapper (2196887)

Royal Engineers, 107 Bomb Disposal Section
Died 9 January 1941, aged 32

Thomas Peddie's headstone in Epsom Cemetery (M.600)
Thomas Peddie's headstone in Epsom Cemetery (M.600)
Photograph by Roger Morgan © 2017

Thomas was born on 11 September 1909 to parents Robert William Peddie ("Laundry Labourer") and Emily (née Risbridger) who had married at Christ Church on Christmas Day 1898. The 1911 Census records the family (with Thomas as the youngest of four children) living at Yew Tree Cottages, Epsom Common.

In Q3 1931, Thomas married Sarah A D Little, of Epsom. The 1939 Register records them living at 83 Tonstall Road, Epsom with a lodger, Edward Rossiter (listed, like Thomas, as a "Builder's Labourer"), and two currently closed records - presumably their children Kenneth (born Q1 1933) and Michael (born Q2 1937).

Thomas served with the Royal Engineers 107 Bomb Disposal Section. His skills - and those of his many colleagues - were in high demand as enemy bombing raids reached something of a crescendo. It is estimated that between 5% and 15% of the many, many WW2 bombs did not detonate as planned. There was no way of telling whether an unexploded bomb was a complete dud or in danger of exploding at any moment. Until it was made safe - the extremely dangerous job of these brave men - it would paralyse the surrounding area.

Thomas did not, however, lose his life in the execution of his most hazardous trade. His Death Certificate records that he died in the Davyhulme Military Hospital (on the outskirts of Manchester) as a result of "multiple injuries sustained by being thrown from a motor lorry into the highway" - perhaps on the way to yet another job. An Inquest held on 14 January resulted in a verdict of "accidental death.

Roger Morgan © 2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


PENFOLD Ernest John, Gunner 1771905

2 Maritime Regiment. Royal Artillery
Killed in Action 22 February 1944 aged 32.

Ernest Penfold
Ernest Penfold
Image Courtesy of the Penfold Family © 2008

Ernest John Penfold was born on 27 April 1911 at Gibraltar, Ewell to Mr E J S Penfold and Mrs Annie Penfold daughter of John E Stevens of Epsom, who was originally from Bentworth, Hampshire. Ernest (aka Bimmy) had three younger brothers, Harry (aka Dinks), George (aka Pud) and Stanley (aka Toby) and one older sister Winifred (aka Dolly). The family lived in Rosebery Road, Langley Vale

Pud, Toby and Bimmy, some of the Penfold brothers.
Pud, Toby and Bimmy, some of the Penfold brothers.
Image Courtesy of the Penfold Family © 2008

Ernest's father, also called Ernest John, was working as a labourer on the construction of the 1927 Epsom Grand Stand when he died falling down a lift shaft as a result of an accident on the site. From 1936 the three youngest boys lived with their mother in Grosvenor Road, Langley Vale.

In 1936 Ernest (the younger) married Alice Bland from Staindrop, Co. Durham. They also lived in Langley Vale and had two children Elizabeth (Anne), and Kathleen (Kate), both born in Epsom.

Ernest joined the Royal Artillery Embodied Territorial Army as a Gunner on 20 February 1941. Initially he was posted to 288th Anti Aircraft Driving Training Regiment and was then posted to No.2 Maritime Anti-Aircraft Battery. By 6 May 1941 the force was called the Maritime Anti-Aircraft RA but in 1942 it was called the Maritime Royal Artillery. On the 1 March 1944 Ernest's unit was re-designated the No. 2 Maritime Regiment.

The job of this regiment was to protect merchant ships and the 1939-1945 conflict saw the first soldiers from the Regiment on board ships. As few as two 'Gunners' would be attached initially to coasters but as the need to protect ships of all sizes grew so did the regiment.

Ernest Penfold in 1944 just before he died.
Ernest Penfold in 1944 just before he died.
Image Courtesy of the Penfold Family © 2008

Ernest was allocated as a 'Gunner' on various ships, his last being the SS BRITISH CHIVALRY, a freighter. This ship was attacked by a Japanese submarine in the Indian Ocean on 22 February 1944. The submarine then surfaced and having first taken the Master, Capt. W. Hill, prisoner, it circled the survivors raking their life boats with machine gun fire for two hours. It was during this attack Gunner Penfold lost his life. Surprisingly after 37 days in an open boat, 38 survivors were rescued by the M.V. Delane.

The commander of the submarine (Lt-Cdr Hajime Nakagawa) had already carried out war crimes including the sinking of the hospital ship Centaur (14 May 1943) where 268 people died. One account suggests that after the war Nakagawa was arrested and tried for war crimes, spending four years in Sugamo prison for atrocities committed in the Indian Ocean. Another suggested he did pay the ultimate price. The Centaur was declared a historic wreck in 1990.

The No. 2 Maritime Regiment was stood down in 1946; an Association has been formed for the MRAA aiming to represent 'The Forgotten Regiment'. In 1989, for the first time the Regiment was given a place at the annual Remembrance Day parade.

Following WWII Ernest's widow Alice and their children continued to live in Langley Vale (see Langley Vale Remembered). Alice died in 1991. George/Pud (1913-1997) was a self employed builder, well known in the Epsom area. Toby was the last to marry (Agnes McSherry 1908-1991). They had one daughter, Rosemary, who died in 1997. Toby died in 2007 at Epsom.

Ernest's brother Harry also died at sea as a result of the war and both deaths are recorded in the Epsom and Ewell World War Two Book of Remembrance.

Text courtesy of Kathleen Penfold © 2008

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


PENFOLD Harry, Gunner 1099081

68th Medium Regiment , Royal Artillery
Killed in Action 14 November 1942 aged 27.

Harry Penfold
Harry Penfold
Image Courtesy of the Penfold Family © 2008

Harry Penfold was born on 19 Jun 1915 at Rosebery Road, Langley Vale, to Mr E J S Penfold and Mrs Annie Penfold daughter of John E Stevens of Epsom, who was originally from Bentworth, Hampshire. Harry (aka Dinks) had two younger brothers, George (aka Pud) and Stanley (aka Toby), an older sister Winifred (aka Dolly) and an older brother Ernest (aka Bimmy). As there was no school in the village at the time, the four older children had to walk, with some cousins and other local children, to St. Giles school in Ashtead. Toby was lucky in that he missed that walk when the Langley Vale school opened.

Pud, Toby and Bimmy, some of the Penfold brothers.
Pud, Toby and Bimmy, some of the Penfold brothers.
Image Courtesy of the Penfold Family © 2008

Harry's father, Ernest, was working as a labourer on the construction of the 1927 Epsom Grand Stand when he died falling down a lift shaft as a result of an accident on the site. From 1936 the three youngest boys lived with their mother in Grosvenor Road, Langley Vale.

Harry, who was unmarried, enlisted on 14 November 1940. Initially he was posted to 16th Field Training Regiment but later was posted to 72nd Regiment and from there to 68th Medium Regiment Serving in the Middle East from 23 April 1941. He was taken as a Prisoner of War by the Italians from 20 June 1942 and was last known to be in Campo 154 in Benghazi prior to embarkation on the SS Scillin. This Italian cargo/passenger ship was en route from Tripoli to Sicily with 814 Commonwealth prisoners of war on board, a naval gun crew and 30 Italian guards when on 14 November 1942 it was torpedoed by the British submarine HMS Sahib (Captain Lt. John Bromage) 10 miles north of Cape Milazzo in the Tyrrhenian Sea.

SS Scillin
SS Scillin.

The Sahib rescued 27 POWs from the water (26 British and one South African) plus the Scillin's captain and 45 Italian crew members. Only then, when the commander heard the survivors speaking English, did he realize that he had sunk a ship carrying British prisoners of war as well as some Italian soldiers and had drowned 783 men. At a subsequent inquiry into this 'friendly fire' tragedy, Lt. Bromage was cleared of any wrongdoing as the ship was unmarked and at the time he firmly believed that the ship was carrying Italian troops.

The Ministry of Defence kept this incident a closely guarded secret for fifty-four years, telling relatives a pack of lies, maintaining that they had died while prisoners of war in Italian camps or simply 'lost at sea'. It was not until 1996, after repeated requests for information from the families of the drowned men, that the truth came out. The SS SCILLIN was always the intended target of the Sahib. At that time it seems the war was not going well, losses were high and the one good thing which had happened could not be told: 'the Enigma code' had been broken. To prove the code had not broken the SS SCILLIN was to be used as a diversion, it would reinforce the belief English would not attack its own. The SAHIB was given the time the SS SCILLIN would be leaving the port, even to being advised when its departure was going to be three hours later.

Following the sinking, the Sahib was itself attacked by bombs from escort German Ju-88s and depth charges from the Italian corvette Gabbiano in the counter attack immediately after the sinking. Badly damaged, the Sahib was later abandoned and scuttled

Immediately following WWII Harry's brother George/Pud (1913-1997) was a self employed builder, well known in the Epsom area. Toby was the last to marry (Agnes McSherry 1908-1991). They had one daughter, Rosemary, who died in 1997. Toby died in 2007 at Epsom.

Harry's brother Ernest also died at sea as a result of the war and both deaths are recorded in the Epsom and Ewell World War Two Book of Remembrance.

Text courtesy of Kathleen Penfold © 2008


Addendum
We are very grateful to Mr Brian Sims for pointing out that the image of the S.S. Scillin was taken in 1937 when the ship was named the Nicole De Borgne and originated from his personal collection. Mr Sims's research, some of which is included in the above text, shows that there were only 30 Italian Soldiers aboard the ship plus a Naval Gun Crew and 36 Italians were picked up by the P212 and taken back to Malta where they were interrogated. He also mentions that there is a memorial to those lost on the Scillin and 5 other ships at The National Memorial Arboretum.

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


RAWSON John Leslie, Gunner 1542741

3 Lt AA Regt. Royal Artillery
Killed in Action 21 April 1942 aged 25.

The name of Gunner J L Rawson is inscribed on the Singapore Memorial. He had been in 3 Lt AA Regt Royal Artillery and died 21 April 1942, presumably in Changi POW Camp.

His father Frank John Rawson (b reg Epsom 3/1885) married Emma Constance Palmer (reg Epsom 6/1914) and John had been born 25/3/1917 (bap St Mary's Ewell, 19/4/1917 - siblings also appear there). The family lived at Avebury, Heatherside Road, Ewell and the father was a schoolmaster possibly at Pound Lane, Epsom.

Information source: Brian Bouchard

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


ROLL, John Castledine. Captain (155657)

2nd Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment
Killed in action 8 July 1944, aged 28

Captain J C Roll
Captain J C Roll
Image courtesy of his nephew, John Roll-Pickering © 2017

John Castledine Roll was born on 14 June 1916, the first child of Henry John Roll and Elizabeth (née Castledine - hence John's middle name). Before the birth of Nora (the couple's only other child) in 1920, they moved to their long-term home, Harmston (now numbered 12) in Christ Church Road, Epsom. (The house name honoured Elizabeth's home town in Lincolnshire, where the couple - normally known as Harry and Bessie - had married in 1914.)

Harry was the oldest son of Henry Roll who with, his partner Henry Taylor, ran an Epsom-based building firm. Harry (with his younger brother, Frank Ernest) continued in the building trade and, as H H & F Roll, became significant local developers - among other projects, overseeing the 1930s development of Hookfield.

The 1939 Register (taken on 29 September, three weeks after the British declaration of war) lists Harry as a "Building Contractor" - and the 23 year-old John as a "Builder's Assistant". Before long, however, John had enlisted. Having successfully completed his officer training on 9 November 1940, he was gazetted as a Second Lieutenant in the Lincolnshire Regiment, in which he was assigned to the 2nd Battalion. (The Regiment did not become the Royal Lincolnshire Regiment until after the war.)

The 2nd Battalion had seen action as part of the British Expeditionary Force in Northern France where it suffered losses, through both death and capture, before the remainder were evacuated from Dunkirk. So, by the time John joined it, the Battalion was back in the UK. At first, it was engaged in home defence in anticipation of the threatened German invasion. After the tide of war turned, the Battalion - in which John had been promoted to Captain - was then involved in preparations for the D-Day landings on 6 June 1944.

The Battalion was part of the British forces assigned to land on Sword Beach, the easternmost of the D-Day beaches. After aerial bombardment, the first ashore were tanks to provide covering fire for the infantry landings that began at 0730. The 2nd Battalion was in the wave that began landing at 1130. Casualties during the actual landings were relatively light, but there was fierce fighting not far behind the beach. The rapid advance and quick capture of objectives (including Caen itself, some 6 miles inland) did not materialise as planned.

It took several weeks' hard fighting to get sufficient men and materiel in place to mount "Operation Charnwood" - a three-pronged attack aiming to take Caen. In this, the 2nd Lincolnshire Battalion was assigned to the easternmost "prong" aiming to take the bordering village of Herouville-Saint-Clair. This was their first major action of the invasion, and was directed from Battalion HQ in the Chateau de Beuregard.

Following the Allies' air bombardment of Caen the previous evening (the first use of heavy bombers for tactical bombing), the early hours of Saturday 8 July saw a tremendous artillery barrage, coupled with shells from the 16-inch guns of HMS Rodney stationed off-shore. While that led to the relatively straightforward liberation of Caen itself, the three-day "Battle of Herouville" was a much tougher fight as the attack was over ground exposed to enemy fire from across the Orne canal.

On the first day of the battle, Captain John Roll was overseeing the mortar support for the attack from various positions just in front of the Chateau. Late in the morning, he was between two of the mortar positions when the German forces launched a Nebelwerfer rocket, known by the troops as a "Moaning Minnie" because of its distinctive whine in the air. It landed just a few feet from the mortar pit that John had just visited. While the pit provided sufficient cover for the men of the mortar platoon to survive, the blast killed John instantly.

The capture of Herouville cost the 2nd Lincolns around 200 casualties (including 50 deaths, one of which was John's) between 8-12 July 1944. The dead were first buried in the grounds of the Chateau de Beuregard but, with about 2,500 others from the general area, were subsequently re-interred in the new War Cemetery at Ranville, the first village to be liberated in France when the bridge over the Caen Canal was captured intact in the early hours of 6 June by troops of the 6th Airborne Division.

The Roll family were very active members of Christ Church, Epsom Common: among other things, Harry was a Churchwarden from 1941 to 1946. In addition to John's entry on the parish WW2 memorial, he is also remembered on one of Christ Church's new peal of bells installed in 1992. Kindly sponsored by Harry and Bessie's other child, Nora (who married Thomas Pickering in 1943), the bell carries the following dedication: "In loving memory of Harry and Bessie Roll and their son John who worshipped and worked in this church".

Roger Morgan © 2017

Back to the index


ROBERTS, Albert. Private (5768951)

Royal Norfolk Regiment, 2nd Battalion
Died between 10 May and 2 October 1940, aged 30

The records of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission normally contain the names the parents (and, if applicable, the spouse) of those killed in action, together with the town they were from - but not in this case. "Albert Roberts" is not an unusual enough name to track down in the readily available records with any confidence so, at least for the time being, his background and connection with Epsom remain unknown. Indeed, even the details of his death are unclear, with the Commission's records giving a five-month window.

What is known is that Albert served in the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Norfolk Regiment which was sent to France in the early days of WW2 as part of the British Expeditionary Force. While the BEF had prepared for the expected German invasion of France, when that came, its ferocity drove the Allies back.

The 2nd Battalion was part of the rear-guard actions with French allies seeking to maximise the time for other British forces to reach Dunkirk and then be evacuated in Operation Dynamo (from 26 May to 4 June 1940).

Many men were killed or captured during those rear-guard actions and their aftermath. At some point, Albert was lost. He is remembered on the Dunkirk Memorial (at the entrance to the Commonwealth War Graves section of Dunkirk Town Cemetery) which commemorates more than 4,500 casualties of the British Expeditionary Force who died in the campaign of 1939-40 (or who were captured during this campaign) and who have no known grave.

Roger Morgan © 2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


ROWLAND, Thomas Alfred. Private (5436797)

Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, 5th Battalion
Died 28 March 1945, aged 31

Thomas was born on 31 August 1913 to William and Emily Rowland. Like his older and younger brothers - William (born 1906) and Walter (born 1921) - he was baptised in Christ Church Epsom Common. That was on 12 October 1913, when the parents' address was recorded as 2 Chandlers Cottages, Epsom.

The 1939 Register records the family living at 11 Ebba's Way, Epsom. Father William is listed as a "Locomotive Driver" and Thomas as a "Contractor's Labourer".

Thomas served in the 5th Battalion of the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry. This was a unit of the Territorial Army, and was engaged in home defence duties from the outbreak of WW2 until 1944, when they landed in Normandy with 43rd (Wessex) Division. The Division was closely involved in the Allies' hard-fought advance eastwards, including the significant March 1945 crossing of the Rhine, shortly after which Thomas was killed.

He is buried in the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery - near the Rhine in the extreme north-west of Germany, just south of Arnhem in The Netherlands. The Cemetery was created after WW2 when burials were brought in from all over western German. With some 7,600 Commonwealth servicemen of the Second World War buried or commemorated there, it is the largest Commonwealth cemetery in the country.

Roger Morgan © 2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


Sandall, Jack Francis, Flying Officer, Sergeant, 516159

Royal Air Force, 44 Squadron
Died 12 June 1940, aged 28.

Francis John Sandall (b. reg. St Olave, Bermondsey,12/1865) joined the Metropolitan Police as Police Constable 76216 on 18 June 1888. He married Amelia Simmonds at Epsom, 2 January 1890, but she appears to have died in Chelsea during the summer of 1910. They had become parents to three children.

A second marriage of Francis, to Louise Kate Cane, was registered at Fulham for the September Quarter of 1911followed by the arrival of their son, Jack Francis Sandall, in the same District, 6/1912. The family's address was then 76 Sandilands Road, Fulham.

PC Francis John Sandall left the Force on 23 June 1913 before the birth of his daughter was registered in Epsom, 12/1913. She had been born on 25 November 1913 and was baptised at St Barnabas' Church from 114 Hook Road, Epsom. A brother, Ronald Ernest also appears in Epsom, 3/1921.

'John' Francis Sandall , born Fulham in 1912, signed up at Avonmouth on 3 May 1930 as a Deck Boy aboard an Elders and Fyffes' banana boat, S S Greenbrier. He was described as being 5ft. 8ins. tall with blue eyes, light brown hair and a fair complexion. There is no evidence that he sailed on more than one voyage but not long afterwards joined the Royal Air Force.

Francis John Sandall died on 18 September 1933, in the Metropolitan Free Hospital, 376 Kingsland Road, Hackney, which had developed specialist services, including expertise in treating tuberculosis. He was was brought back to Epsom Cemetery for interment in a family plot, F145A, three days later.

RAF Waddington had re-opened as a bomber base in 1937 and at the outbreak of WW2 housed Nos. 44 & 50 Squadrons equipped with Handley Page Hampden aircraft. They were in action from the first day of World War II attempting to bomb the German Navy at Keil. After Dunkirk, large numbers of support troops were mretreating to the western-most ports to find a route home. The 51st Highland Division had been fully engaged, fighting a defensive battle under French Command. Then like the main French forces, they were outflanked and they made their way to the small French port of St Valery-en-Caux where an attempt was made by the Royal Navy to evacuate these troops. However the main German force was soon on the cliffs overlooking the town and able to bring fire down on them forcing survivors to surrender on 12 June 1940. It appears that a Handley Page 52, Hampden, Mk.B1, P1325, call sign KM-?, of 44 Squadron which had taken off from Waddington 'for the Battle Area' might have been attempting to provide air cover on that day. It was brought down in the Pas de Calais.

The circumstances have not been established but National Archives, reference AIR 81/86, contains a report of deaths - Hampden P1325 crashed near Calais, France, 12 June 1940 - Sergeant W Jeffrey, Sergeant J F Sandall, Sergeant C L Sumpster and Temporary Sergeant J Simpson. Their service numbers indicate that they had all enlisted around 1930/1933 and they may have been a 'scratch crew'. Cyril Leslie Sumpster had been a Cranwell apprentice and William Jeffrey a Halton 'brat'; each of them was described as a Pilot but the roles of the other two members were unspecified.

The crew were interred together in Joint grave 2. A. 6. of a War Cemetery extension of Le Paradis Churchyard. Le Paradis is a hamlet near the village of Lestrem in the Department of the Nord, 10 kilometres north of Bethune.

The death of Mrs Louisa K Sandall was registered in Surrey Mid. E for the September Quarter of 1957.

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


SAVAGE, Eric John. Lance Corporal (7686646)

Corps of Military Police
Died 21 September 1940, aged 27

The headstone of Eric Savage's (and his father's) grave in Epsom Cemetery (plot M623)
The headstone of Eric Savage's (and his father's) grave in Epsom Cemetery (plot M623)
Image courtesy of Roger Morgan ©2017.

Eric was born in Bromley, Kent Q3 1913, the only child of John Charles Savage and Rosalie Jane (née Hide - they had married in Bromley Q2 1912). The 1939 Register records the couple (and two currently closed records) living at 38a West Hill, Epsom.

The 1939 Register lists Eric's father as a Sergeant in the Metropolitan Police, so it is not a particular surprise to find that Eric's WW2 service was in the Military Police (the "Royal" prefix was not granted until November 1946). Military policemen are often known as 'Redcaps' because of the scarlet covers on their peaked caps, or scarlet coloured berets. Of the Corps' various branches, Eric was - according to Epsom Cemetery records - in the Provost Wing (responsible for general policing) and, specifically, the 103 Provosts Company.

The readily available records provide no information about Eric's particular work. His Death Certificate records him as "A Lance Corporal in the Corps of Military police stationed at Townsend Cottages, Cambridge Road, Dullingham." The two Townsend Cottages are, in fact, about three miles north of the centre of the small village of Dullingham (sufficiently remote to have their own postcode), and about four miles from the centre of Newmarket and about eight to Cambridge on a straight line in the opposite direction.

Eric's Death Certificate also records that died on the evening of 21 September at "The White Lodge, Exning Road, Newmarket" - being the former workhouse, set up as an emergency hospital in 1939. (It then became Newmarket General Hospital - a Grade II listed building, now converted to apartments having been replaced by the modern Newmarket Community Hospital built next door.)

The cause of his death is described as "injuries received when the motor bicycle which was riding accidentally collided with a motor car on the highway at Dullingham there on that day." (His headstone says that he was "Killed on military duty".) As illustrated below, Townsend Cottages are situated on an arrow-straight section of Cambridge Road (the A1303). The modern warning sign across the road about "Hidden Dips" may offer a clue as to the cause of Eric's fatal accident.


Townsend Cottages, Cambrige Road, Dullingham
Image ©Google Street View

Eric was brought back to Epsom for burial in Cemetery on 26 September 1940. His father was buried alongside him in 1953.

Roger Morgan © 2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


SELMAN, Harry William. Leading Aircraftman (330930)

Royal Air Force
Died 20 June 1941, aged 39

The headstone of Harry Selman's grave in Epsom Cemetery (plot F410A)
The headstone of Harry Selman's grave in Epsom Cemetery (plot F410A)
Image courtesy of Roger Morgan ©2017.

Harry was born on 15 May 1902, the third child of William Henry Selman (a carpenter) and Louisa (née Jeffries - they married in Merstham, Surrey on 19 March 1891). After various addresses in the Brentford area, the 1911 Census finds the couple - and Harry - living in College Road Epsom.

In Q2 1932, Harry married Enid E Leyshon, in Epsom. The 1939 Register finds this couple - and their nearly five year old son, Brian - living at 36 Wheelers Lane, Epsom. (That was also where he was "of" in the September 1941 Probate records.) In 1939, Harry was recorded as a "Mental Nurse (LCC)", doubtless at one of Epsom's cluster of mental hospitals (but not Horton or Manor, as he is not mentioned on their WW2 memorials).

Sadly, the readily available records provide no information about Harry's posting in the RAF or the particular circumstances of his death.

Harry was buried in Epsom Cemetery on 25 June 1941, where the records note that he died in Surrey County Hospital, Redhill. His Death Certificate states that, as informed by "C H Grey, Commanding Officer", the cause of death was the somewhat cryptic "Due to War Operations" - so at least one can infer that it was the result of injuries rather than illness.

Roger Morgan © 2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


SKELTON, Walter Allen. Flying Officer (45435)

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 115 Squadron
Died 28 August 1942, aged 23

Walter was born on 22 September 1918, to Harry Skelton and his second wife, Annie (née Rhodes - they married Q3 1913 in Horsham). (His first wife, Isabel Agnes - née Foster - had died in 1911). Like his two significantly older half-brothers, Walter was baptised at Christ Church Epsom Common, where the records list Harry as a builder and their home as "Clematis", South Street, Epsom - probably 44 South Street, which is where the couple were recorded in the 1939 Register.

Walter was a pilot in 115 Squadron - a typical WW2 Bomber Command squadron which operated from various airfields in East Anglia. At 20:38 on 27 August 1942, he took off from RAF Marham (just outside King's Lynn) in a Wellington Mk III (JB710 / KO-L) to join a major attack (involving a total of 306 aircraft from various squadrons) on Kassel, in central Germany. The city was home to a number of important military-industrial sites: the Fieseler aircraft plant, the Henschel tank-making facilities, railway works and engine works were all based there. These attracted Allied bombing raids from early in 1942 until almost the end of the war.

A Vickers Wellington
A Vickers Wellington
Picture courtesy of www.pilotfriend.com

The particular target on 27/28 August 1942 was the Henschel tank plant, and the attack was held to be a success. Almost inevitably, a number of aircraft were lost, mainly as a result of night fighter action. The losses included Walter's aircraft, in which he and three of his crew were killed. (One of the gunners survived and was taken prisoner of war.)

After local burials, Walter and his fellow crew members were later re-interred in the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery in the extreme north-west of Germany, just south of Arnhem in The Netherlands. The Cemetery was created after WW2 when burials were brought in from all over western Germany. With some 7,600 Commonwealth servicemen of the Second World War buried or commemorated there, it is the largest Commonwealth cemetery in the country.

The Probate records note that Walter was "of 44 South Street, Epsom" - his parents' address - and that administration of his estate was awarded to his father, Harry.

Roger Morgan © 2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


Smith, John Arthur, Flying Officer, Air Bomber,153826,

RAFVR (Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve) 106 Squadron.
Died 1 November 1944, aged 20.

John Smith
John Smith
Image courtesy of late Gordon Smith and Ben Goossens

The marriage of Arthur Patrick Smith to Lilian Bandy was registered at Barnet for the June Quarter of 1920. Their son John A Smith's arrival came to be recorded in Edmonton, 6/1924.

The family had taken up residence at 18 Corbet Road, Ewell, by 1935 but moved to 59 Sunnymede Avenue, West Ewell, for 1938.

John enlisted in the RAFVR and was inducted at Euston with a Service Number 1803953 in 1942 about the time of his 18th birthday. He rose from the rank of LAC to Pilot Officer on probation (emergency), 153826, by 15 October 1943 and Flying Officer (war sub.) on 15 April 1944.

After training he was assigned to 106 Squadron as an Air Bomber and then became a member of the crew on an Avro Lancaster PB303, call sign ZN-R which had been delivered to the squadron on 18 July 1944. At 14.05 hours on 1November 1944 this bomber with a seven man crew, took off from Metheringham Airfield near Lincoln, together with 19 other aircraft, for a raid on Homburg in Germany. It crashed close to a small village called Lepelstraat in the Southern part of the Netherlands at about 17.00 hrs. local time. Particulars may be found at www.bomber-command.info, thanks to Ben Goossens.

All aboard were killed to be interred in Collective grave 6. G. 5-9. of Bergen op Zoom Canadian War Cemetery. Mrs Jane Goossens was one of the many locals who adopted several of the graves as shown by the following certificate.

Certificate of Adoption of John Smith's Grave
Certificate of Adoption of John Smith's Grave
Image courtesy of Ben Goossens

Arthur Patrick Smith passed away at St Ebba's Hospital, Epsom, on 9 March 1962 survived by his wife Lilian.

Brian Bouchard

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


SMITH, James Bruce. Petty Officer Stoker (P/K 18322)

Royal Navy H.M.S. Medway
Died 30 June 1942, aged 48

James was born Q4 1894 in Sunderland, the fifth child - of an eventual at least nine children - of William and Mary Ellen Smith. The 1911 Census records William as a "Deputy Overman Miner" and the 16 year old James as working in a shipyard.

On 29 October, James married Mary Rogerson Jones in South Hetton, County Durham. The readily available records provide no clues about either when the couple moved to Epsom or whether they had any children. The January 1943 Probate records state that James was "of 97 Church Side, Epsom Common", and that administration of his estate was awarded to the widowed Mary Rogerson Smith. (However, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission post-war records list Mary as being "of Toronto, Ontario, Canada".)

HMS Medway, on which James served, was completed in 1929 as the Royal Navy's first purpose-built submarine depot ship. With a crew of 400 and space for just over 1,300 additional men, the ship was designed to support up to 21 submarines. Following pre-war service in the China Station and a refit in Singapore, the ship arrived in Alexandria, Egypt in May 1940 May and thereafter supported the 1st Submarine Flotilla, which operated in the Eastern Mediterranean.

HMS Medway
HMS Medway
Picture (Q65758) courtesy of the Imperial War Museum

In June 1942, Vice-Admiral Henry Harwood, Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet, ordered all non-essential ships to leave Alexandria as he was preparing to demolish its port facilities to prevent their capture by the Axis forces advancing eastwards along the North African coast. (That advance was halted by the first Battle of El Alamein - some 50 miles from Alexandria - in July, and then reversed in the October/November Second Battle.) HMS Medway loaded stores and 1,135 personnel to establish a new base at Beirut, and sailed later on 29 June that day for The Lebanon escorted by a light cruiser and seven destroyers. Notwithstanding that escort, the German U-372 targeted and sank HMS Medway with two torpedoes off Port Said the next day. 30 men - including James - were lost.

James is remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

Roger Morgan © 2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


Smith, John Frederick, Sergeant, Flight Sergeant, Navigator,1161856,

RAFVR (Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve), 487 (R.N.Z.A.F.) Squadron.
Died 12/06/1943, aged 22.

The marriage of Frederick Smith to Margaret G Allen was registered in Croydon for the September Quarter of 1915. Their son John appears to have arrived about five years later. By WW2 the family had taken up residence at 2 The Warren, Worcester Park, Surrey.

The RAF's Bomber Command website page records that: -
'No. 487 Squadron was formed at Feltwell, Norfolk, on 15th August 1942, as a light day-bomber squadron equipped with Lockheed Ventura aircraft and began operations on 6th December, when it contributed sixteen Venturas to the famous low-level raid on the Philips radio and valve factory at Eindhoven. The squadron continued daylight operations with Venturas - albeit very spasmodically - until late June 1943, and on 3rd May suffered a severe blow when ten out of eleven aircraft were shot down during a raid on Amsterdam. For his outstanding leadership in this operation, Squadron Leader LH Trent, a New Zealander in the RAF, who commanded the squadron's "B" Flight (and who was shot down and captured by the enemy) was, after the war when the full story of the raid became known, awarded the Victoria Cross.

On 1st June 1943, No. 487 left Bomber Command to become part of the newly-formed Second Tactical Air Force.'
After the major attack on the Philips works at Eindhoven, 6 December 1942, 487 Squadron survivors in one of the 'flying pig' Venturas included:-
Flying Officer Brewer, DFC, Pilot,
Flight Sergeant Ron W. Secord, W/Op. - Air Gunner, who had moved from the astrodome before it had been punctured by flak in order to take up his gun position,
&
Sergeant R F (Bob) Edmonds, Air Gunner, despite having his steel helmet knocked off by shrapnel.
On 3 May 1943, a 12 aircraft Ramrod raid - one to be continued regardless of losses - against Amsterdam resulted in the loss of all but one of the squadron's Venturas. Eleven of the aircraft crossed the Dutch coast but the Venturas encountered a large group of German fighters. Bursting through the Spitfire escort, they got in amongst 487 Squadron's bombers, damaging one and forcing it to return to base. The returnee is thought to have been Ventura AE797.

According to New Zealanders with the Royal Air Force, Vol. II, by Wing Commander H L Thompson, 1956 : -
'The squadron's first mission after leaving Bomber Command was flown on 12 June when twelve Venturas attacked Caen aerodrome. Flying Officer Brewer, who had earlier won commendation while flying with No. 107 Boston Squadron, failed to return. His aircraft was hit by flak, the port engine caught fire, and the Ventura was last seen going down in what appeared to be a controlled dive; but hopes that Brewer had managed to land safely were not fulfilled and both he and two other New Zealanders in his crew were killed.'
It had been Ventura AE797 attached to 2nd Tactical Air Force shot down during the raid on Caen, 12 June 1943, with Flight Sergeant J F Smith on board as Navigator. None of the crew survived and they were taken for burial in Collective grave. XXVIII. J. 16-19. of Bayeux War Cemetery, Departement du Calvados Basse - Normandie, France :-
Pilot - F/O. 412196 Gordon William Brewer, DFC, Royal New Zealand Air Force, aged 28,
Navigator - Flt. Sgt. 1161856 John Frederick Smith, Royal Air Force, aged 22,
Wireless Operator/Air Gunner - W/O. 404098 Ronald William Secord, Royal New Zealand Air Force, aged 21 &
Air Gunner - Sgt. 413254 Robert Ferguson Edmonds, Royal New Zealand Air Force, aged 28
Brian Bouchard

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


STEEL, George Robert. Able Seaman (P/JX 296878)

Royal Navy HMMTB 82
Died 16 July 1943, aged 21

George's parents were William Alexander Robert Steel and Edith May (née Ferris - they married Q2 1915 in Hartley Wintney, Hampshire). The couple's first child appears to be May born in Farnham Q2 1918. By the time George was born (Q2 1922), the couple were in Epsom - and this is where they were recorded in the 1939 Register, lodging with Joseph and Ellen White at "Trevarrium", Downs Way. William was listed as a retired carpenter and joiner.

Able Seaman George's WW2 service was on HM Motor Torpedo Boat 82 - a Vosper 72 foot model, two of which are illustrated below. MTBs were small and fast attack vessels, the principal armaments of which - as the name indicates - were torpedoes. They also carried some offensive guns and defensive cannons.

Two Vosper 72 foot Motor Torpedo Boats
Two Vosper 72 foot Motor Torpedo Boats
Photograph A25856 courtesy of the Imperial War Museum

In mid-1943, MTB 82 was part of the naval support for the Allies' invasion of Sicily. On 16 July, in the waters between Sicily and the "toe" of mainland Italy, some German E-Boats (their navy's fast attack boats) were sighted and engaged by four MTBs, including George's MTB 82. During the melee, the MTBs were also engaged by shore batteries, during which MTB 82 suffered a near miss. This wounded both its Commanding Officer (T/Lt R A Johnson, RNZNVR) and George - in the latter case, so severely that he died of his wounds.

George died of his wounds, so was not lost at sea. However, his final resting place is unknown since he is remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial of those with no known grave.

Roger Morgan © 2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


STEPHENSON, Thomas. Gunner (1788700)

Royal Artillery 78 Battery, 35 Lt. A.A. Regiment
Died 14 March 1944, aged 39

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's information about Thomas's family is that he was the "son of Mr and Mrs Edward Stephenson; and husband of Martha Stephenson, of Epsom, Surrey."

It is likely to be this Thomas Stephenson who married Martha A Johnson in Bradford Q3 1927. The 1939 Register recorded a Martha Stephenson at 45 Woodland Road, Epsom - noting she was born on 1 April 1906 and worked as a "Laundry Ironer". She was the third entry at that address, the first two of which are currently closed ones, so was presumably a lodger there.

Thomas served in 78 Battery of the 35th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment of the Royal Artillery. In the early days of WW2, this was stationed in the Reading area. In November 1941, the Regiment was kitted out for service in Iraq and, with others, set off in a convoy bound for Basra in the Persian Gulf. However, in view of the Japanese advances in the Far East, the Regiment and some others were diverted to Singapore. Just before Singapore fell to the Japanese on 15 February 1942, the 78 Battery and some others were withdrawn to defend the allied bases in Borneo.

Notwithstanding stout resistance there, the Japanese forces again proved unstoppable. Members of 78 Battery were among those ordered to capitulate by noon on 9 March 1942 and then taken Prisoners of War.

Understood to be 78 Battery
Understood to be 78 Battery - of which the 35 year old Thomas
would be one - before its 1941 move abroad.
Picture with thanks to Rob Baxter, via www.wartimememoriesproject.com

Thomas was probably sent to the infamous Sandakan PoW camp, on Borneo's north-east coast. As is well-known, the conditions and regime in Japanese PoW camps were extremely harsh and, like many others, Thomas succumbed to these, dying on 14 March 1944 After the war, some 2,700 burials (of which more than half were unnamed) were transferred from Sandakan - where the ground was subject to occasional flooding - to the new Labuan War Cemetery on an island off northern Borneo, which is now part of Malaysia.

Roger Morgan © 2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


STONE, Frank James. Private (6147768)

East Surrey Regiment 1st Battalion
Died 24 April 1943, aged 29

Frank was the fifth child of Albert Leonard Stone and Lucy Fanny (née Bishop - they married in Christ Church Epsom Common on 14 September 1901), of Epsom, Surrey. He was born on 10 April 1914 and, like his four older sisters and one younger sister, was baptised at Christ Church - where the records list the family as living at 17 Woodlands Road, Epsom, with Albert's working as a "Platelayer".

Albert died in 1936 and the 1939 Register records the widowed Lucy (a "laundress") sharing 17 Woodlands Road with two of her children: the 25 year old Frank (a "timber stacker"); and 21 year old Bessie (a "Probation Nurse").

Frank served in the 1st Battalion of the East Surrey Regiment. It is not clear from the readily available records if he if was involved in the April 1940 deployment to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), its subsequent action in the Battle of Belgium, and the evacuation of its survivors from Dunkirk in June 1940. After Dunkirk, the Battalion was reformed - and was assigned to 11th Infantry Brigade, part of 78th Infantry Division, with which it remained for the rest of the war.

However, it is certain that Frank was involved in the extensive preparations for "Operation Torch" in late 1942 - the first Anglo-American operation of the War. These Allied landings in Morocco and Algeria on 8 November 1942 aimed to move along the North African coast as a pincer movement against German forces which, thanks to Allied success at El Alamein, were held in the east. Frank's Battalion landed at Algiers, the easternmost of the three landings. (Unlike the landings at Oran in Algeria and on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, the Vichy French forces in Algiers were quickly overcome.)

The Germans responded immediately by sending a force from Sicily to northern Tunisia, which checked the Allied advance east in early December. In the south, the Axis forces that had been defeated at El Alamein withdrew into Tunisia along the coast through Libya, pursued by the Allied Eighth Army. By mid April 1943, the combined Axis force was hemmed into a small corner of north-eastern Tunisia and the Allies were grouped for their final offensive. That assault against Tunis and Medjez-el-Bab began in April 1943. It involved much fierce fighting during which Frank was killed on 24 April. The Axis forces finally surrendered in early May.

All these actions were alongside the East Surrey's 1/6th Battalion, so it may be that Frank knew fellow Christ Church parishioner Arthur Weston who was killed 10 days later, just before Tunis was finally taken.

Frank is buried in Medjez-El-Bab War Cemetery, about 35 miles west of Tunis.

Roger Morgan © 2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


Telling, Robert Douglas, Sergeant, Pilot, 916899,

RAFVR (Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve).
Died 19 January 1942, aged 23.

Robert's father had been Major Walter Brougham Telling, MC, who died on 27 April 1921. The birth of Robert D Telling was registered in St Geo. Hart, 12/1918, from a second marriage to Dorothy Eugenie Cocks at St John the Evangelist, Palmers Green, on 30 August 1913. Robert obtained his education as a pupil in Christ's Hospital School, Horsham, West Sussex, from 1928 to 1935 and the widowed Mrs D E Telling came to live at 91 West Hill Avenue, Epsom, by 1939.

Having enlisted in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, Robert was inducted at Uxbridge after September 1939.

We are told on the Aircrew Remembered website [LINK http://aircrewremembered.com/saich-jack.html ] that he had joined 9 Squadron by the summer of 1941: -
"Date: 14/15th July 1941Unit: No. 9 Squadron
Type: Wellington Serial: Not known Code: WS-T
Base: RAF Honington, Suffolk, England.
Location: High Barn Farm, Somerton, Nr Caister, Norfolk.
Pilot: Sgt. Jack Cyril Saich DFM. 1253402 RAFVR Age 20. Survived
Pilot 2: Sgt. 'Bob' Robert Douglas Telling 916899 RAFVR Age 22 Wounded. Survived
Obs: Sgt. Smitten DFM. RCAF Age ? Survived.
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Eric Trott 1062958 RAFVR Age 20. Survived
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Hooper RCAF Age ? Survived
Air/Gnr: Sgt. English RCAF Age ? Wounded. Survived

REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 23.30 hrs from RAF Honington loaded with 7 x 500 lb GP bombs to attack the shipyards and the goods station at Bremen.
They commenced their bombing run, coming out of the clouds, zoo, after dropping the first bomb at 01.40 hrs. they were caught and held by the powerful searchlights - anti aircraft shells burst just behind them and then another inside the fuselage wounding Sgt. English in the shoulder and hand. This also cut the hydraulic controls to his rear turret.
The fabric of the fuselage caught fire. Sgt Saich took evasive action and Sgt Smitten went to assist the rear gunner, spraying the area with fire extinguishers. He managed to release Sgt. English who entered the aircraft. The aircraft was hit again, the port wing caught fire. The pilot switched off the fuel supply to the port engine and the fire stopped. He managed to restart the engine - the bomb doors however would not close due to the damage. The situation seemed to be hopeless as they turned to go home.
At 05.35 hrs. they managed to cross the Norfolk coast - fuel had registered zero for the last two hours. The pilot noticed a Barley field and decided to try a forced landing. He managed it, the aircraft broke in two as it came to rest - no serious injuries to the crew, Sgt. English though was taken to the local hospital for further treatment. All crews survived, to be back on operations in less than two weeks."
Further details of this incident are recorded by Martin Bowman in Bomber Command: Reflections of War, 2011. In particular, the author mentions that after the engine had been re-started: -
"... Bob Telling [from Epsom, Surrey,]was crouched beside the main spar behind the wireless cabin pumping all the oil which could be extracted from a riddled auxiliary tank. T-Tommy was still under intense anti-aircraft fire and the shell splinters, one of which wounded him, were described by Telling as 'angry hail tearing through the aircraft'.
Sgt. (Bob) Robert Douglas Telling was killed the following year on 19th January 1942, piloting Wellington III X3370 WS-D

In a history of 9 Squadron, Bombers First and Last, 2006, Gordon Thorburn remarks on page 68:-
"Day and night the squadron was doing top secret Gee box exercises, carrying special crews, which meant that any loss was a blow way beyond the usual. On the morning of 19 January part of X3370's starboard wing fell off and she came down at Folly Farm, Thetford. All seven aboard were killed. The pilot was Bob Telling. One of three observers in training with Gee was Harry Tarbitten, who had started the previous May and was on his second tour.'
National Archives have a Report W1120 under reference AVIA 5/20, as recorded in Chorley's Bomber Command Losses: -
"Wellington III X3370 coded WS-D. Training. Crashed 1050 following structural failure at 250 feet of the outer section of the starboard wing. The Wellington fell and burst into flames at Folly Farm, just to the N of Thetford, Norfolk. At least one civilian had to be treated for burns to his hands as a result of trying to rescue the trapped crew. F/L Cresswell RNZAF was instructing the crew in navigation techniques.

Crew: Sgt. R D Telling, F/L P H Cresswell RNZAF, P/O H L Tarbitten DFC, Sgt. J Amphlett, Sgt. T F Greenwood,Sgt. T G Banks & Sgt. R S Aitchison."
Bob Telling was interred in Honington (All Saints) Churchyard, Suffolk. Row D. Grave 7.

Bob's headstone in Honington (All Saints) Churchyard
Honington (All Saints) Churchyard
Bob's headstone in Honington (All Saints) Churchyard, Suffolk
Images Courtesy of Kelvin Youngs, Aircrew Remembered © 2014

Robert's mother, the widowed Mrs Dorothy Eugenie Telling, migrated to Melborne, Australia, on SS Largs Bay on the 18 June 1954.

Brian Bouchard

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


TEPPER Roland Harcourt, Lieut-Commander Royal Naval Reserve

HMS Leigh
Died 6 April 1943 aged 55.

The parents of Roland Tepper, Charles William Richard Tepper and May Jessie H Carew, married in Kent, reg. Elham, 6/1885. He had been born on 6 January 1888, reportedly at Weymouth, Dorset, before baptism, 4 April 1888, in Darjeeling, Bengal, India, where his father was a Civil Servant. Charles William R Tepper died in the same year aged only 26. The family were enumerated in Herne Bay for the 1901 Census.

British four-masted bark GALENA
Wreck of the British four-masted bark GALENA,
vicinity of Gearhart, Oregon, 13 November 1906
Image source not known

Having entered the Merchant Navy Roland may be found aboard the 'Galena' during 1906. 'Galena' was a steel sailing ship, rigged as a four-masted barque of 2169 tons registered tonnage, built at Dundee in 1890. She sailed from Junin, Chile, on the 15 September, 1906, bound for Portland, Oregon, with about 1150 tons ballast, consisting of refuse from the nitrate of soda works, and a crew of thirty hands. The vessel went aground the following 13 November on Clatsop Beach, near Astoria, Oregon, and Rowland (sic) Harcourt Tepper, acting second mate, was amongst those members of the crew commended for good conduct and discipline during the subsequent work of dismantling the ship. [A full report of the finding and order of a Naval Court held at the British Vice Consulate at Astoria, Oregon, on the sixth, seventh, and eighth days of December, 1906, may be found at PortCities Southampton]

He entered the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve on 8 January 1907. The Imperial Merchant Service Guild recorded in 1915 that he had been admitted for service in the Great War to the Royal Navy as a Sub-lieutenant 1640, Royal Naval Division, gazetted Temporary Lieutenant, 29 June 1915. He then undertook a course in gunnery at HMS Excellent before joining HMS Ness. The latter was a White Type River Class Torpedo Boat Destroyer [built 1905] in the 9th Destroyer Flotilla based at Chatham tendered to the depot ship HMS St George.

His marriage to Letitia A Laidlaw had been registered at Wareham, 3/1915. Their son Vyvyan Floyd H Tepper was born, 16 November 1915, at Portsmouth.

In 'Nelson', 2nd Battalion, Royal Naval Division, he served with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force in Gallipoli to be mentioned in General Sir Ian Hamilton's despatch dated 22 September 1915 (London Gazette, 5 November 1915)

After demobilisation, he joined the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, rising to the rank of Chief Officer on RMSP Narenta by 1924. He was, however, Chief Mate on Loch Goil 1927/8 before commanding Avon, which cruised round Britain, and taking over Ardacian during 1929. We are told that "Roland Harcourt was looked upon by Head Office as one of the firm's most efficient Chief Officer, and by most other people as a slave-driving tyrant. He [claimed] you can't be popular and efficient. He certainly made no attempt to be anything but efficient. Nevertheless he was the right man to be sent along if there was any nastiness to cleaned up. There were long faces round the decks of Arcadian when she left Immingham with a full passenger list, but things were done with alacrity and smartness and the ship had that Tepper look with every rope yarn in place and not a dirty mark on her enamel anywhere".

During 1933, Royal Mail Lines acquired S S Nalon for R H Tepper to be the Master on a voyage from Cape Town to the Clyde. At 09:56 hours on November 6, 1940, the convoy was attacked by low level German Bombers. Five bombs were dropped and although there were no direct hits, one bomb exploded underwater on the starboard side of SS Nalon alongside her bridge. This holed her below the waterline. When seven feet of water was reported in the No.3 hold, the ship was abandoned and the crew were taken off by HMS Viscount. Since SS Nalon carried a valuable cargo of copper, tugs were ordered to be sent out to recover the vessel but she sank before they could arrive. The convoy was in position 54.00N, 15.38W when the attack took place. The vessel foundered west of Ireland but all 72 crew members were saved. [LINK to www.wrecksite.eu>]

On 13 July 1942, Roland joined HMS Leigh as a Temporary Lieutenant, RNR. This establishment was in fact Southend Pier which had been taken over by the Admiralty. The pier's role was primarily to serve as a convoy assembly point, and in the ensuing six years of conflict some 3,367 convoys, representing 84,297 vessels, sailed from Southend.

Roland H Tepper Temporary/Acting Lieutenant Commander appears in the Royal Navy's Casualty Lists as having died on 6 April 1943 from 'illness' whilst associated with HMS President [the 'stone frigate', shore establishment of the Royal Naval Reserve]. He is recorded as having died on the way to Guy's Hospital, with his death registered at Southwark, 6/1943. A report on the circumstances is lodged in the National Archives under reference ADM 358/1501.

He was brought to Epsom Cemetery for interment in Sec. N. Grave 259 on 10 April 1943. For Probate, his address was given as 4 Meadside, South Street, Epsom: estate administered by Annie Hunt, Spinster, effects £154:11:1.

Roland's headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Roland's headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Image courtesy of Brian Bouchard ©2014

The death of his son, Vyvyan Floyd H Tepper, came to be recorded at Bridport, 4/1987. Roland's widow, Letitia Alice, survived for another year, registered Bridport 4/1988.

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


Todd, Eric Joseph, Leading Aircraftman 1376167

RAFVR (Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve).
Died 05 August 1945, aged 30.

Eric Joseph Todd
Eric Joseph Todd
Image courtesy of Peter Todd ©2016

The marriage of Joseph Todd (b. 1888) to Violet Elizabeth Fisher (b. 1889) was registered at Croydon for the September Quarter of 1912. Their son, Eric, came to be born at Fulham on 28 January 1915. His wedding to Margaret Ruth Todd took place in Battersea, reg. 3/1940.

The Todd family had taken up residence at 54 Elmstead Gardens, Worcester Park, Surrey, by 1937.

E. J. Todd became a member of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve before being inducted into the RAF at Euston in August 1940. It has not been established where he served, or for how long, but he may have been discharged in advance of the cessation of hostilities in WW2. On 5 August 1945 he died at St Helier County Hospital, Carshalton before being interred in Plot O177 of Epsom and Ewell Cemetery on the following 9 August, described as a 'joiner'.

As his demise occurred before 31 December 1947 he was eligible for commemoration in a Commonwealth War Grave: -
Those still in military service at the time of death qualified automatically. The location of their death and the cause of death were immaterial and they could have been killed in action, died of wounds, died of illness or by accident, died due to suicide or homicide or suffered judicial execution. CWGC treats all casualties equally and all must be commemorated under the terms of their Royal Charter. Under Category Two, personnel who had been discharged from or retired from the military before their deaths during the same qualifying periods of an injury or illness caused by or exacerbated by their service during the same qualifying period. These cases qualified only if it was proven to the authorities' satisfaction that death was service attributable.
At time of his passing, Eric had been resident in 17 Bradstock Road, Stoneleigh, Surrey, and administration of his estate was granted to the relict, Mrs Margaret Ruth Todd - Effects £568.8.4. His widow remarried in 1950. Violet E Todd died locally in 1968 and Joseph ten tears later.

Eric's headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Eric's headstone in the CWGC section of Epsom Cemetery
Image courtesy of Brian Bouchard ©2016

Brian Bouchard

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


TOFT, Ronald Frederick. Steward's Boy

Merchant Navy S.S. Somme (London)
Died 16 February 1942, aged 17

Ronald was born Q1 1925, probably the fourth child of Francis Henry Toft and Daisy Margaret (née Warwick). She was an Epsom Common girl so, like her parents, their Q2 1917 marriage in Epsom was probably in Christ Church Epsom Common. Francis, a merchant seaman, died in 1927 aged only 32. In Q3 1929, Daisy married again - to David G Williams. Sadly, she died on 23 February 1935 aged only 38, leaving Ronald and his siblings as orphans.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission post-war records therefore noted that Ronald was the grandson of Mrs Emily Warwick, of Woodlands Road, Epsom Common. She (née Wood) had married William Warwick in Christ Church on 28 Jun 1891. The 1939 Register records her - and William (who died in August 1944) - living at 44 Woodlands Road, Epsom Common. It may be that the 14 year old Ronald was one of the two currently closed records at this address.

In any event, Ronald followed his father's footsteps into the Merchant Navy and served on the cargo ship SS Somme. In February 1942, the ship set off from Loch Ewe across the Atlantic in Convoy ON-62. When, partway across, the U-boat threat was taken to be past, the Convoy dispersed and SS Somme headed for Bermuda - her last stop on the way to the intended destination of Curacao to pick up cargo for the return trip.

SS Somme
SS Somme
Photograph courtesy of the Allen Collection, via uboat.net

However, the U-boat threat was not past. At 23:27 on 18 Feb 1942, the SS Somme - about 250 miles north east of Bermuda - was hit amidships by a torpedo from U-108. The ship settled by the stern, and the surviving crew abandoned ship in three lifeboats. Ten minutes later, the U-boat fired a second torpedo which caused the ship to sink fast by the stern. The survivors in the lifeboats were questioned by the Germans, but they were never then seen again.

All 48 crew members and ten gunners were thus lost. They, including Ronald, are remembered on the Tower Hill Memorial.

Roger Morgan © 2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


TREADGOLD, Leonard Horace. Private (14426422)

Worcestershire Regiment 1st Battalion,
Died 27 August 1944, aged 19

Leonard was born Q2 1925 in Epsom, the third of four children born to Horace Earl Treadgold and Kathleen Hilda (née Williams - they married Q4 1919 in Epsom). The 1939 Register records the 45 year old Horace (a "Roads Labourer") and 39 year old Kathleen ("Home duties") living at 4 Ruthen Close, Epsom with a similarly aged lodger and three currently closed records - probably their younger children.

Leonard Horace Treadgold (the middle "G" initial given in Christ Church's WW2 memorial does not appear in any other of the readily available records) was too young to have been in the Worcestershire Regiment's original 1st Battalion, the remnants of which - along with many other Commonwealth troops - surrendered at Tobruk on 22 June 1942, during the disastrous Battle of Gazala.

The 1st Battalion was reformed on 1 January 1943 by disbanding the 11th Battalion (a Service Battalion formed in May 1940) and drafting its personnel to the 1st Battalion. It then began preparations for "Operation Overlord", the Allied invasion of Normandy. The Battalion landed shortly after the initial D-Day landings on 6 June 1944. Their first action (part of "Operation Epsom" to outflank and seize Caen) resulted in the capture of Mouen - just to the west of Caen - was described by the Divisional Commander as "one of the slickest attacks of the war".

There then came the spectacular drive to the Seine - over one hundred miles in three and a half days. After heavy fighting, the 1st Worcestershire were the first to cross the Seine - at Vernon, about halfway between Paris and the sea (and on the outskirts of which is Giverny, famous for its association with Monet). This was followed by further fierce fighting as the Allied forces drove east. At Tilly, about 4 miles east of Vernon, that fighting claimed Leonard's life. With many of his fellow soldiers, he is buried in Vernon Communal Cemetery.

Roger Morgan © 2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


TURNBULL, Richard Dominic. Private (6400600)

Royal Sussex Regiment, 5th Cinque Ports Battalion
Died 16 June 1940, aged 21

Richard was born in Q3 1918, the first child of Richard Eric Turnbull and Phyllis Adeline (née Francis - they had married in Q4 1916). A second child, Phillippa was born in Q4 1921. All these events took place in the Cardiff Registration District - as, indeed, did the parents' 1890 births.

It is not clear when the family moved to Epsom. This may have been connected with a change in vocation for father Richard Eric. The 1911 Census records him living at home as "Clerk, Coal Exporters" (perhaps not unconnected with his father's being a "Ship Owner"). However, in the 1939 Register (which finds the couple living at 17 Ridgeway, Epsom) this 49 year old is listed as "Farmer, (retired)". Also at 17 Ridgeway was a 46 year old Gwendoline Geddes plus another (perhaps young Richard Dominic) whose record is currently closed.

Anyway, young Richard served in the 5th Cinque Ports Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment. In April 1940, the battalion (of 29 Officers and 690 other ranks) was sent to France as part of the Allied forces to resist the expected German invasion. It was later sent further east, to Wortagem in Belgium - about half way between Lille and Brussels - to take up defensive duties covering the River Scheldt, with trenches on the forward slopes. Hostilities began on 20 May when the Battalion came under shell & mortar fire. The German forces proved unstoppable and, over the next week, the Battalion gradually retreated east and north, taking losses through death and injury along the way. On 28 May, the remainder reached Dunkirk from which they were among the near 340,000 troops evacuated in the famous Operation Dynamo.

Through some mischance or injury, Richard lost touch with his Battalion during its retreat and, like many others, found himself behind enemy lines seeking to avoid capture and find a way home. It is not known if he was captured and killed in one of the many post-Dunkirk atrocities or died of earlier wounds. One way of the other, the date of his death is firmly recorded as 16 June 1940, 12 days after the end of the Dunkirk evacuations.

He was initially buried in the Communal Cemetery at Waregem, about 5 miles north of the Battalion's 20 May position at Wortagem. Four years later, in September 1944, two British soldiers killed in the Allied advance towards Germany were also buried there. In April 1968, these three WW2 soldiers - plus four from WW1 - were exhumed and, together with other scattered burials, reinterred in the major Cement House WW1 cemetery a few miles north of Ypres. ("Cement House" was the WW1 military name given to a fortified farm building on the nearby Langemark-Boezinge road.)

Roger Morgan © 2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


Underwood, Paul Derek, Leading Aircraftman,1331732

RAFVR (Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve)
Died 3 February 1942, aged 20

The marriage of Paul James Underwood to Gertrude Margaret Edwards was registered at Fulham for the March Quarter of 1920. They resided at 97 Edith Road Fulham and the birth their son, Paul Derek Underwood on 24 March 1921 may be found recorded in the same District, 3/1921.

The family moved to Osmington, 7 Shaldeford Road, Ewell. [This address cannot be traced immediately and may have become Shawford Road.]

After November 1940, Paul Derek joined the RAFVR and was inducted for service at Uxbridge or Weston Super Mare. On 16 August 1941 he arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to train as an RAF pilot in the USA, under the 'Arnold Scheme' for three and a half years. He was then aged 20 years & 5 months and described as 5' 11" in height with a fresh complexion, fair hair, blue eyes, and a neck scar. Having been at No 1 'M' Depot, RCAF, Toronto, Canada, he entered America at the Detroit Michigan crossing en route for Darr Aero Institution, Albany Georgia. In Class 42C, he trained at Cochran Field, Ga., and Craig Field, Selma, Alabama, also Maxwell Force Base, Alabama - [LINK http://www.arnold-scheme.org/bases.htm].

On 3 February 1942, Paul was aboard a North American AT-6A, TEXAN, 41-756, of 92nd School Squadron USAAF, which took off from Craig Field, Selma, Alabama. It is reported to have flown into the terrain near Rehoboth, Alabama, whilst flying at low altitude to allow the passenger to take photographs. The Anniston Star of 5 February 1942 quoted the public relations office of Craig Field writing that 'Two RAF cadets were found dead in the wreckage of their training plane near Miller's Ferry, Ala., approximately 70 miles south of here..' - LAC Paul Derek Underwood, RAFVR, LAC David William Turner, RAFVR. It remains unclear who had actually been flying the aircraft.

Paul Derek, son of Paul James and Gertrude Margaret Underwood, of West Ewell, Surrey, England was interred in Montgomery (Oakwood) Cemetery Annexe Sec. N. Lot 109. Grave 2, next to David William Turner in Grave 1.

A letter written by Paul's father to the Town Clerk of Montgomery, Alabama, in August 1942 mentioned that he had merely seen 'Our only child, the sunshine of our lives' for 48 hours in the eight months preceding his death.

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


VEALL, Charles Raithby. Captain (244594)

Royal Army Medical Corps
Died 18 July 1944, aged 24

Charles was born in Wandsworth on 25 November 1919 to Charles Veall and Emily Adelaide (née Beaney - they married Q2 1907 in the Wandsworth Registration District). The 1911 Census recorded the couple living at 47 Ursula Street, Battersea, with their first child (a daughter) and father Charles working as a "Milk Carrier". By the time young Charles was born, they had already had another daughter, and they had another daughter after him.

Young Charles was clearly academically bright. He secured a place at Sir Walter St John's Grammar School, Battersea and, in 1937, a place at King's College London and its associated hospital to study medicine where he secured the MRCS and LRCP qualifications.

In Q2 1942, he married Anita Lillian Burnham in the Surrey Mid-Eastern Registration District. That includes Epsom, and seems to be the best that the readily available records can do in finding a link with the town. In Q2 1944, shortly before Charles's death, Anita gave birth to their son, Christopher C R Veall, in the Hendon Registration District. (In Q3 1965, the long-widowed Anita married John H Gaston in Kingston Upon Thames.)

Given his medical qualifications, it is no surprise that Charles's WW2 service was in the Royal Army Medical Corps - in his case, attached to the 144th Regiment Royal Armoured Corps. This began landing in Normandy on 14 June (8 days after the initial D-Day landings). Apart from reconnaissance on 8 July, in which the regiment captured some prisoners, the Regiment's first action was during Operation Pomegranate - a series of attacks on the village of Noyers-Bocage intended to distract and pin down enemy forces to improve the prospects of taking Caen, some 10 miles to the east, in Operation Goodwood.

There was fierce fighting on both sides, during which Charles was one of the many killed. He is buried in the Fontenay-le-Pesnel War Cemetery, about 5 miles north of Noyers-Bocage. This was established to contain the graves of men who died in the fighting to the west and south-west of Caen in June-July 1944. It contains 460 Commonwealth burials and 59 German graves.

Roger Morgan © 2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


WAITE, Gerald Francis John. Flying Officer (67688)

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 221 Squadron
Died 7 February 1943, aged 22

Gerald was born in Birkenhead Q2 1920, the second child of Edwin Gerald Waite and Ellen Irene (née Fisher - they married in Birkenhead Q1 1917), of Epsom, Surrey. The 1939 Register records the presumably widowed Ellen (a British Red Cross Nurse) at 28 West Hill Epsom together with Gerald's 20 year old sister Irene and one currently closed record - perhaps the 19 year old Gerald.

Gerald served in 221 Squadron which, after home duties as part of Coastal Command in the early stages of WW2, relocated in January 1942 to the Mediterranean where it operated in the for the rest of the war. By early 1943, it was operating from Malta, flying the Wellington Mk VIII - a variant specially developed for maritime work, being equipped with anti-submarine radar, torpedoes and "Leigh Lights" for night operations.

A Vickers Wellington GR Mk VII of 221 Squadron
A Vickers Wellington GR Mk VII of 221 Squadron
Photograph CNA 3535, taken in 1944, courtesy of the Imperial War Musuem

Gerald was part of the crew of six on board HX600 when it was lost off Sardinia on 7 February 1943. As he has no known grave, he is remembered on the Malta Memorial in the Floriana area just outside the main entrance to Valletta.

Roger Morgan © 2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


WARD, Bernard. Marine (CH/X106548)

Royal Marines, HMLCF.42
Died 29 June 1944, aged 22

Bernard was born in Epsom Q2 1922, the third of the six children of Patrick Ward and Annie (née Budgen - they married Q2 1919 in East Grinstead). The 1939 Register lists the presumably widowed Annie living at 33 Ebbisham Road, Epsom with eight others: one of these is her youngest daughter; three appear to be lodgers; and four of the records are currently closed.

Bernard's WW2 service was on LCF.42 - a "Landing Craft, Flak". These were converted "Landing Crafts, Tank" (in the case of LCF.42, converted from LCT.880) to provide anti-aircraft cover for troop landings. Conversion involved welding the LCT's ramp shut, and building a deck on top of the Tank deck. Typical armaments on that new deck were eight 20 mm Oerlikon cannons and four QF 2-pounder "pom-poms". Each LCF had a crew of about 60. The operation of the craft was the responsibility of RN crew, while the guns were manned by Royal Marines such as Bernard.

A typical 'Landing Craft, Flak' (in this case LCF 24)
A typical "Landing Craft, Flak" (in this case LCF 24)
Image (FL 5979) courtesy of the Imperial War Museum

Landings of men and materiel on the Normandy beaches continued for some time after the initial D-Day landing on 6 June 1944. The Luftwaffe obviously sought to disrupt this continued strengthening of the Allied invasion force, and LCFs played an important part in helping repel its attacks. The LCFs were as much targets as the reinforcements being landed, and Bernard was one of two killed at their posts on 29 June. That attack did not put the LCF out of action: records show other losses from LCF.42 on subsequent days.

Bernard is buried in the Hermanville War Cemetery, situated about a mile inland from D-Day's Sword beach.

Roger Morgan © 2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


WATERMAN, Douglas Allenby. Sergeant 921037

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 228 Squadron
Died 12 July 1943, aged 25

Douglas was born in Epsom Q2 1918, at least the fourth child of George Henry Waterman and Kate (née Clarke - they married in St Saviour's Church, Walthamstow in 1902). The 1939 Register records the couple (with George as a "House Painter" - and one currently closed record) living at the now lost 5 Garden Cottage in the Kiln Lane area of Epsom.

In Q2 1939, Douglas married Annie Rose Oakshott, and their son (another Douglas) was born Q3 1942. Both those events were registered in the in Surrey Mid-Eastern district, which includes Epsom.

Douglas served in the RAF's 228 Squadron which, during WW2, undertook anti-submarine duties in their Short Sunderland Flying boats. The Squadron's home base was RAF Pembroke Dock in SW Wales - although it began WW2 in Alexandria and, in between periods at Pembroke, was also stationed on the West coast of Scotland and in the Gambia, West Africa.

 The Short Sunderland Flying Boat
The Short Sunderland Flying Boat
Image Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

In July 1943, however, the Squadron was operating from RAF Pembroke Dock. From the date of Douglas's death and the fact that he is one of the many RAF personnel remembered on the Runnymede Memorial as having no know grave, it seems likely that he was one of those lost when, during a patrol in the Bay of Biscay, Sunderland DV977/Y was shot down by enemy Junkers Ju88 multi-role aircraft. (Of the Sunderland's 11-strong crew, only one survived - the Flight Engineer, Sergeant Davidson, who had been operating the mid-upper turret, picked up by a Royal Navy sloop after 8½ hours in the sea.)

Roger Morgan © 2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


WESTON, Arthur. Serjeant (6144232)

East Surrey Regiment 1/6th Battalion
Died 6 May 1943, aged 24

Arthur was the eighth of ten children born to William John Weston (a bricklayer) and Ethel Maud (née Easton). William originated from Norfolk, but Ethel was the daughter of Charles John Easton, the publican at the Jolly Coopers in Stamford Green Road (and thus a sister of Charles Easton). The couple were married at Christ Church Epsom Common on 4 April 1904. The readily available records show that their first seven children were baptised at Christ Church, and that is likely to be the case for the final three: Arthur, Alice and Albert.

Date of birthChild's nameResidence
14/01/1905Rose AdaEpsom Common
28/02/1906Ethel MaudEpsom Common
22/09/1907William JohnGriffiths Cottage, Epsom Common
(No 2 at the time of the 1911 Census)
22/08/1909Charles HenryEpsom Common
06/08/1911EvaEpsom Common
Q3 1913George Percy107 Churchside, Epsom
Q3 1915Henry Edward10 Stamford [Green] Rd, Epsom
Q3 1918Arthur(none recorded, but probably 10 Stamford Green Rd)
Q2 1920Alice(none recorded, but probably 10 Stamford Green Rd)
Q1 1925Albert(none recorded, but probably 10 Stamford Green Rd)

Nine months or so after the birth of her tenth child and aged 45, mother Ethel Maud died (at "Middle House, Dorking Rd, Epsom" - the former Workhouse Hospital that became Epsom General Hospital). She was buried in Epsom Cemetery on 10 December 1925.

The 1939 Register records the widowed 52 year old father William John - still a "Bricklayer" - living at 10 Stamford Green Road (the address recorded at the time of Henry Edward's 1915 baptism), together with sons:
William John ("Invalid");
George Percy ("Builder's Labourer") who, a couple of years after Arthur, was also killed on military service - see separate entry ;
Henry Edward (another "Bricklayer");
plus two currently closed records - possibly including the 20/21 year old Arthur.

Arthur's WW2 service was in the 1/6th Battalion of the East Surrey Regiment, a Territorial Army unit. It is not clear from the readily available records if he was involved in the April 1940 deployment to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), its subsequent action in the Battle of Belgium, and the evacuation of its survivors from Dunkirk in June 1940.

However, it is certain that Arthur was involved in the extensive preparations for "Operation Torch" in late 1942 - the first Anglo-American operation of the War. These Allied landings in Morocco and Algeria on 8 November 1942 aimed to move along the North African coast as a pincer movement against German forces which, thanks to Allied success at El Alamein, were held in the east. Arthur's Battalion landed at Algiers, the easternmost of the three landings. (Unlike the landings at Oran in Algeria and on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, the Vichy French forces in Algiers were quickly overcome.)

The Germans responded immediately by sending a force from Sicily to northern Tunisia, which checked the Allied advance east in early December. In the south, the Axis forces that had been defeated at El Alamein withdrew into Tunisia along the coast through Libya, pursued by the Allied Eighth Army. By mid April 1943, the combined Axis force was hemmed into a small corner of north-eastern Tunisia and the Allies were grouped for their final offensive. That assault against Tunis began on 22 April. It involved much fierce fighting during which Frank was killed on 6 May - the day before Allied forces entered Tunis itself, after which the Axis forces finally surrendered.

All these actions were alongside the East Surrey's 1st Battalion, so it may be that Arthur knew fellow Christ Church parishioner Frank Stone who was killed 10 days earlier, in the preliminary fighting to take Medjez-El-Bab.

Arthur is buried in the Massicault War Cemetery, situated about 20 miles south-west of Tunis. It contains 1,576 Commonwealth WW2 burials, most of whom died in the preparation for the final drive to Tunis in April 1943 and in that advance at the beginning of May.

Roger Morgan © 2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


WESTON, George Percy. Corporal (5731203)

King's Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster) 1st Battalion
Died 29 March 1945, aged 31.

George was born in Epsom Q3 1913, the sixth of ten children born to William John Weston (a bricklayer) and Ethel Maud (née Easton), and older brother of Arthur Weston who died on war service in North Africa - the separate article on whom has fuller details of the family background.

The 1st Battalion King's Own moved around a lot during WW2. On the outbreak of war, it was stationed in Malta but, at the end of 1939, was moved to Karachi in British India (now Pakistan) where it served with the 17th Indian Infantry Brigade. It subsequently served in Iraq and Syria with 25th Indian Infantry Brigade, then in Cyprus - and then back to Syria. In late 1943, the Battalion joined 234th Infantry Brigade in the Aegean Islands where, on 16 November, after the Battle of Leros, the bulk of the Battalion was captured by the Germans with only 57 officers and men managing to escape the island. The readily available records do not indicate in how much George was involved in all that.

In any event, the 1st Battalion was reformed (in the 25th Indian Infantry Brigade) on 30 January 1944, by amalgamating with the 8th Battalion King's Own. It then joined the Allied forces in the Italian campaign which, after the initial landings on Sicily in mid-1943 (and, post Armistice, the Italian forces re-entering the war on the Allied side) was making steady progress northwards up the Italian mainland.

Following the fall of Rome to the Allies in June 1944, the German retreat became ordered and successive stands were made on a series of defensive lines. In the northern Apennine mountains the last of these, the Gothic Line, was breached by the Allies during the Autumn campaign and the front inched forward as far as Ravenna in the Adriatic sector. However, as some Allied forces were transferred to support the new offensive in France, and the Germans dug in to a number of key defensive positions, the advance stalled as winter set in.

During those winter months, Bologna lay tantalizingly just out of reach of the Allied armies, and the town became their first major objective in the spring of 1945. That Spring Offensive formally began on 6 April but there was, of course, sporadic action fighting before that - during which, on 29 March, George was killed. (Bologna was finally taken on 21 April.)

George is one of the 184 Commonwealth WW2 burials in Bologna War Cemetery.

Roger Morgan © 2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


WHITE, William John. Telegraphist (C/JX 149044) DSM and Bar

Royal Navy HM Submarine Triumph
Died 20 January 1942, aged 21.

William John White
William John White
Image courtesy of www.hmstriumph1942.com/crew.htm

William, with his twin Robert, was born Q3 1921 to Harry White and Alice Maud Evelyn (née Bristow). He had an older sister, Kate born Q4 1919, and a younger brother and sister - another set of twins, born Q3 1924. All these births were in Epsom - as father Harry's had been Q1 1882, followed by his baptism at Christ Church. The mother's post-war address was noted as 8 Woodlands Road, Epsom.

William (normally known as "Billy") was almost certainly in the Royal Navy before WW2 as it is reported that he served on the light cruiser HMS Ajax during the mid-December 1939 Battle of the River Plate off South America. Before joining the HM Submarine Triumph, he also served in HMS Pembroke (a shore base at Chatham) and the battleship HMS Ramilles.

By early 1941, he was serving as Senior ASDIC operator in HM Submarine Triumph, stationed in the Mediterranean. While in Valletta in mid-1941, he helped extinguish a fire on MS Talabot that had arrived from Alexandria with supplies in convoy MW.7A. For his bravery and resourcefulness on this occasion, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.

HM Submarine Triumph
HM Submarine Triumph
Image courtesy of www.hmstriumph1942.com/crew.htm

In addition to success in attacking enemy merchant and naval shipping, HMS Triumph was also used for covert operations, such as landing agents in enemy occupied areas. In November 1941, HMS Triumph received orders to return home, and was on the point of doing so when she was sent on one final patrol, to pick up a party of agents in Greece. She sailed from Alexandria on 26 December 1941, but was lost somewhere in the Aegean Sea. As Axis forces claimed no credit for the loss, this was probably the result of colliding with a mine. All fifty-nine crew, including Billy, were lost.

As he has no known grave, he is one of the 10,098 WW2 sailors remembered on the Chatham Naval Memorial.

On 5 May 1942, Billy was awarded a posthumous Bar to his Distinguished Service Medal "For daring, enterprise and devotion to duty in successful patrols in HM Submarines".

Roger Morgan © 2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


WILBY, Edward John. Pilot Officer/Navigator (195683)

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 107 Squadron
Died 10 April 1945, aged 22.

Edward was born in Lewes on 2 November 1922, the first child of John Reginald Wilby and Emily Ellen (née Marchant - they married in Lewes Q4 1919). His sister Grace was born in Dorking Q4 1923. The 1939 Register records the parents (with John as a "Gardener"), Edward (an "Apprentice Joiner Carpenter") and one currently closed record living at 16 West Hill, Epsom. A year after Edward's death, administration of his estate was granted to his father, who the Probate records note as then living at 20 West Hill, Epsom.

Edward's WW2 service was with 107 Squadron, operating light bombers. Apart from a brief spell in Malta from August 1941 to January 1942, the Squadron operated from the UK. In February 1944, the Squadron was re-equipped with the de Havilland Mosquito FB.VI - a variant of the so-called "wooden wonder", being of mainly timber and plywood construction. From its bases at RAF Lasham and then RAF Hartford Bridge (now Blackbushe airport), both in NE Hampshire, it began to fly night intruder missions over Germany and occupied Europe. As Allied forces continued their eastward progress after the mid-1944 Normandy landings, the Squadron was moved to Cambrai (about 30 miles south of Lille) in November 1944.

The de Havilland Mosquito
The de Havilland Mosquito
Public domain photograph

On 10 April 1945, Edward (on his 30th mission) was the navigator on Mosquito FB Mk VI RS550 which, with 23 year old William Herbert Mitton (195730) as the pilot, took off from Cambrai on a night reconnaissance mission to Soltau (between Hamburg and Hanover). However, about two-thirds of the way there (near Osnabruck), the aircraft was brought down killing both men.

Edward and William are buried side by side in the Rheinberg War Cemetery, about 50 miles north of Cologne. This was established in April 1946 for the assembly of Commonwealth graves recovered from numerous German cemeteries in the area.

Roger Morgan © 2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


Williams, Herbert Charles, Warrant Officer 17003

Royal Air Force
Died 21 April 1945, aged 63

The marriage of Thomas Williams to Priscilla Dawkins was registered at Lambeth for the December Quarter of 1873. Arrival of their son Herbert Charles, born Kennington 8 July 1881, may be found recorded in the same district, 9/1881.

On 9 August 1912, Herbert married Hilda Mary Brown in Chigwell. Essex, Their son Charles Edward Williams, born 23 August 1913, came to be baptised at Chigwell on 5 October 1913.

Aged 34, Herbert Charles Williams, in civilian life a Driver Salesman (Lorry), enlisted to serve with the Royal Flying Corps as a Motor Driver for the duration of WW1. He became a member of 40 Squadron RFC on 1 August 1916 to serve with it on the Western Front until the Armistice, and rising through the ranks:-
1 September 1916 Corporal
1 January 1918 Acting Sergeant
1 February 1918 Sergeant
He transferred on formation of the Royal Air Force, 1 April 1918, as a Sergeant Mechanic but was re-classified Sergeant on 1 January 1919. 40 Squadron disbanded and Herbert joined G Reserve, RAF [Airman released from service after WW1, liable for recall whilst on the reserve. Class disbanded and all airman in the class discharged from 30 April 1920. As an ex-regular airman, however, Herbert eventually found himself in E Reserve.]

The Williams family then turn up in Epsom, living at 57 Albert Road from no later than 1919.

Herbert re-mustered as an A/C 2 on 19 January 1939 - E Reserve, 12 PTC, at Old Sarum airfield. By 27 August 1939 he was on the complement of 9 Armament Training School at Porthcawl - RAF Newton Down otherwise known as Stormy Down - with the rank of Sergeant. Promotion to Temporary Flight Sergeant followed a posting to No 7 Air Gunnery School on 9 April 1942. He served in 57 Operational Training Unit, RAF Hawarden, from 23 November 1942 and with 58 OTU at RAF Grangemouth, 2 February 1943, latterly as Warrant Officer, Acting/Unpaid. Detached with 2 Tactical Exercise Unit to RAF Aston Down, 6 June 1944, he became a Temporary WO. A move to 3 TEU, RAF Chedworth followed from 28 July 1944.

55 Maintenance Repair Unit (MRU) had been formed at RAF Hornchurch to help clear bomb sites and repair V1 damaged properties. RAF Hornchurch personnel were also regularly deployed to aid in rescue and relief operations. Herbert joined 55 MRU on 5 December 1944: the unit had a depot at Kew [National Archives AIR 29/285] where it appears WO Williams was serving when admitted to the Royal Hospital, Richmond. He died there on 21 April 1945 (reg. Surrey N E 6/1945), presumably from natural causes, before being brought to Epsom Cemetery for interment in Plot M131 on the 27th of that month.

Herbert's headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Herbert's headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Image courtesy of Brian Bouchard ©2014

Administration of his Estate, net effects £350:1:9, was granted to the widowed Mrs Hilda Mary Williams. The death of Hilda M Williams, aged 73, was registered Surrey Mid E, 12/1961.

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


WILLIAMS, Philip Edwin. Rifleman (6089737)

Royal Ulster Rifles 2nd Battalion, The London Irish Rifles
Died 20 January 1943, aged 28.

The readily available records provide disappointingly little information about Philip's background. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records note that he was the son of Montague and Florence Williams, of Epsom, Surrey and the husband of Ellen Elizabeth Williams, also "of Epsom". More is available about Ellen: the 1939 Register recorded her (the manageress of a wallpaper shop) and living with her parents (William and Ada Ratcliffe) at 96 Lower Court Road, Epsom. Ellen and Philip married Q1 1941 - probably in Epsom, as this was in the Surrey Mid Eastern Registration District.

Nor are the records clear about the early days of Philip's service with the 2nd Battalion of The London Irish Rifles. However, it is certain that he was involved in the extensive preparations for "Operation Torch" in late 1942 - the first Anglo-American operation of the War. These Allied landings in Morocco and Algeria on 8 November 1942 aimed to move along the North African coast as a pincer movement against German forces which, thanks to Allied success at El Alamein, were held in the east. Philip's Battalion landed at Algiers, the easternmost of the three landings. (Unlike the landings at Oran in Algeria and on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, the Vichy French forces in Algiers were quickly overcome.)

The Germans responded immediately by sending a force from Sicily to northern Tunisia, which checked the Allied advance east in early December. In the south, the Axis forces that had been defeated at El Alamein withdrew into Tunisia along the coast through Libya, pursued by the Allied Eighth Army. As enemy forces were increasingly hemmed into north-eastern Tunisia, the fighting became ever more intense.

By mid-January, the London Irish were advancing in extended line southeast across the Medjez el-Bab to Bou Arada road, the Irish Brigade's main supply line. The principal aim was to capture "Hill 286" (so called because of its height in metres) which was being used by the Germans to shell traffic.

At 0330 hours on 20 January 1943, The London Irish began their attach in the intermediate objective of Hill 279, and that was quickly taken. Just before dawn, they advanced under fire up Hill 286 which was briefly held. Because of the rocky ground, it was impossible to dig in any adequate defensive positions and, during the day, The London Irish were subject to incessant artillery and mortar bombardment. That evening the German launched a counterattack, supported by tanks and armoured cars, which drove The London Irish off the Hill. At some point during the day, Philip was killed in the fierce fighting.

The following day, 21 January, The London Irish attacked the Hill again. The first wave was repulsed but, in spite of machine gun fire and Stuka bombers, the second wave was successful and, by nightfall, Hill 286 had been firmly secured. Over the two days, The London Irish lost 57 men (including Philip) killed - and another 200 through wounds or capture.

Their hard-won success paved the way for the Allies' further advances which ultimately led to the surrender of the Axis forces in Tunis in early May.

Philip is one of the 2,903 Commonwealth WW2 servicemen buried in Medjez-El-Bab War Cemetery, about 35 miles west of Tunis - where there is also a memorial bearing the names of almost 2,000 WW2 servicemen who died in operations in the area and who have no known graves.

Roger Morgan © 2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index


WILSON, Ronald George. Gunner (1427428)

Royal Artillery 3rd Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment
Died 18 May 1945, aged 27.

The family background here is rather more complicated than usual. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records note that Ronald was the son of George Edward and Rose Alice Wilson, of Epsom, Surrey. The 1939 Register recorded this couple (41 year old George as a "Fish Fryer" and Rose - ten years his senior - with the conventional "Home Duties") living at 3 Westlands Court, Epsom. Living with them was the 24 year old Norman F Bray (a "Chain Store Manager") who appears to be Rose's child from her first marriage (as Rose Alice Card) in Croydon Q4 1909 to Walter Bray. Rose and George Wilson married in Croydon in Q3 1931, by when the subject of this article, Ronald George Wilson, was in his teens. It is not possible from the readily available records to clarify his parentage.

Ronald's WW2 service was with the Royal Artillery 3rd Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment, stationed at Changi, Singapore. He would have been in action until the Japanese forces won the battle for Singapore in February 1942 and the British Commander ordered his forces to surrender. It seems clear that, as a prisoner of war, Ronald was forced to work on the southern end of the notorious Burma-Siam railway. This Japanese project to improve support for their large army in Burma was aptly called the "Death Railway". During its construction, approximately 13,000 prisoners of war died and were buried along the railway. An estimated 80,000 to 100,000 civilians also died in the course of the project, chiefly forced labour brought from Malaya and the Dutch East Indies, or conscripted locally.

A present-day section of the Burma-Siam railway
A present-day section of the Burma-Siam railway
Copyright acknowledged

The railway was completed in late 1943. Conditions in the PoW camps were at least as harsh - and probably even worse - than those on the railway construction. Like many others, Ronald eventually succumbed to these, dying on 18 May 1945. With thousands of other Allied dead, he is buried in Thailand's Kanchanaburi War Cemetery. This is about 70 miles west of Bangkok and only a short distance from the site of the Kanburi PoW base camp through which most of the prisoners passed on their way to the various other camps.

Roger Morgan © 2017

Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this brief entry.
Back to the index




Please Note: We believe that the information on this page is accurate. However, users should satisfy themselves that the information is correct before incurring any expense or undertaking any journeys. This is particularly important when purchasing certificates from other bodies, for example the General Register Office. You might like to use the following links Freebmd and Find My Past (Links open in a new window).

WW2 Book of Remembrance
Book of Remembrance
War Memorials
War Memorials
WW2 Aircrashes
WW2 Aircrashes
Tragedy on the Home Front
Tragedy
Air Crash at 30 Acre Barn
30 Acre Barn
František
František
Peter Simpson
Simpson
Home Guard
Home Guard
WW2 Maps
WW2 Maps