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WW2 Casualties - Surnames V

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VARLOW, Eric Roy (Revised 31/10/2018)
VAUGHAN, Leonard Arthur * (Revised 31/10/2018)
VAUGHAN, Louis Dawson (Revised 31/10/2018)
VEAL, Augustus Edward James (Revised 31/10/2018)
VEALL, Charles Raithby (Revised 31/10/2018)
VICK, Hilda Florence (Revised 20/05/2018)
VIRGOE, Leslie Frank (Revised 31/10/2018)

* = Not included in the Book of Remembrance for reasons unknown.
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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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VARLOW, Eric Roy. Lieutenant (129495)

1st Battalion, Royal Northumberland Fusiliers
Died 16 July 1942, aged 24

While Eric is not listed in the Borough's Book of Remembrance, he is mentioned here because the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records note that his parents were "of Epsom Downs, Surrey." That address has yet to be established, but the Borough connection seems unlikely to be particularly strong.

Eric was born Q3 1918, third and last child of Ambrose Maples Varlow and Florence Jennie (née Wells). The parents' Q2 1912 marriage (when Ambrose was aged 28 and Florence 26) was registered in Steyning, Sussex - the District where Florence's 12 March 1886 birth had also been registered.

The couple set up home in the Bromley, Kent District. Although Ambrose was originally from Horncastle, Lincolnshire, the 1911 Census had recorded him (a "Hairdresser") boarding with retired Policeman Edward Ford and his wife Harriett at 58 Howard Road Bromley. The 29 December 1914 birth of their first child, Kenneth, was registered in the Bromley District - as was Eric's in 1918. (The 2 November 1916 birth of their middle child was, however, registered in Florence's original home District of Steyning - she had perhaps gone there for the confinement while Ambrose was in uniform for WW1 from July 1915 to January 1919, first in the Army and then the RFAC/RAF as a mechanic.)

The 20/21 year old Eric is not found in the 29 September 1939 Register, and may already have been in uniform by then. Ambrose (now aged 55 and a "Master Hairdresser") and his two older sons - 24 year old Kenneth and 22 year old Jack (both "Precision Tool Makers") were recorded at 27 Burgoyne Road, West Norwood. However, 53 year old Florence (a "Teacher, Public Elementary") was recorded in the register at an address in Worthing with three other such teachers - perhaps having been caught up in the first wave of evacuations of children from the London area in anticipation of the bombing of London.

As noted at the beginning of this article, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records note that the parents were "of Epsom Downs, Surrey." However, they did not stay in the Borough: when Ambrose died on 27 June 1968, the Probate records note his address as Flat 4 6/7 Grand Parade, St Leonards-on-Sea; and when, a few weeks later, Florence died on 8 August 1968, the Probate records list her address as 3 Crescent Mansions, Princes Crescent, Brighton.

Eric's WW2 service was in the 1st Battalion of the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers. At the war's outbreak, this was a machine gun unit stationed at Abbassia, Cairo. Shortly after the mid-1940 evacuation of the British forces from Dunkirk, the previously neutral in Italy declared war on the UK and, from their colony in Libya, invaded adjoining British-held Egypt. Eric's Battalion was in the van of the British forces that quickly pushed the Italians back and over the border into Libya, seizing the strategic port of Tobruk. Germany then sent troops to reinforce the Italians and, under Rommel, these Axis forces began to push British troops back towards and into Egypt with a view to seizing the prizes of the Suez Canal and the Middle East oilfields.

The Axis advance was finally halted with the essentially stalemate first Battle of El Alamein from 1 to 27 July 1942. It was during this that, according to Casualty List No. 891, Eric was killed in action on 16 July. (it was not until the second Battle of El Alamein, from 23 October to 11 November 1942, that the tide was decisively turned against the Axis forces - justifiably seen as a turning point in the WW2 as a whole.)

Eric is buried in Grave XXV.H.4 in the El Alamein War Cemetery, one of the 7,240 Commonwealth WW2 burials there.

The El Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt.
The El Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt.
Photograph with thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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VAUGHAN, Leonard Arthur. Flight Lieutenant/Air Gunner (78666) DSO, DFC

148 & 40 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
Died 17 December 1942, aged 42.

The headstone for Leonard (see bottom left) and others in the Malta Naval Cemetery.
The headstone for Leonard (see bottom left) and others in the Malta Naval Cemetery.
Photograph (15220507) by "Charlie" via findagrave.com

Leonard is not listed in the Book of Remembrance but is commemorated here because the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's records note that his widow, Joan, was "of Epsom, Surrey" - details noted at the end of this article. (We have entertained the thought that, because of some transcription error, he might be the casualty behind the Book's problematic entry for Leonard Albert BAYLEY.)

Leonard Arthur Vaughan was born in Fulham on 23 January 1900, the second child of Butcher/Shopkeeper Thomas and Elizabeth Vaughan. The 1901 Census records the family of four living at 640 Kings Road, Fulham. It was a relatively prosperous household as there was also a resident domestic servant. By the time of the 1911 Census, the family (now with four children and two resident servants) had moved to 32 Chipstead Street, Fulham.

Leonard's secondary education was at King's College, Wimbledon. In 1915, aged 15 (and much against his parents' wishes), he joined the 2nd Battalion of the Honourable Artillery Company as a Private (3298) and saw service in France and Flanders. He was listed as wounded in the War Office Casualty List of 18 September 1915, and he was discharged. His parents put him back to school again, but he hated being out of the army and would not stop there so, according to an article written by his mother for the King's College April 1947 magazine, "we shipped him off to the Argentine". (This 16 year old is listed as a "Butcher" - the family business - on the passenger list of SS Highland Loch which sailed from London on 9 November 1916, bound for Buenos Aires.). However, as soon as he was 18, Leonard returned to England and, on 14 May 1918, joined the newly-formed RAF. The records of that describe his civilian occupation as "Rancher", and his parents' address now as Lennox House, Home Park Road, Wimbledon. Leonard won his "wings", but not in time to see further WW1 service. He was transferred to the Reserves.

His teenage trip to Argentina seems to have given him a taste for life abroad and, for most of the interwar years, he was a sugar planter in Xinavane, Portuguese East Africa (which remains an important centre of the sugar industry in what in now Mozambique).

Early in his time in Africa, he married Joan Elsie Folliott. Joan had been born in Hampton Wick, Middlesex Q1 1900, the second daughter of Walter Folliott (an "Export Merchant") and Muriel (née Atcherley). This was another prosperous household: the 1901 Census finds the family of four living at "Tamerton", Glamorgan Road, Hampton Wick, supported by two resident staff. By the time of the 1911 Census, another daughter had been born and the family were living at 9 Clavering Avenue, Barnes.

The 21 year old Joan apparently embarked for British East Africa in 1921, and her marriage to Leonard was probably on 18 February 1922 in Bulawayo, Rhodesia (modern-day Zimbabwe). The couple had two children, both born in Xinavane: Gerard Leonard Folliott Vaughan, born in 1923; and Hugh Laurence Folliott Vaughan, born in 1926. (Gerald eventually became a British MP and reached ministerial rank during the 1980s Conservative government.)

Leonard and the family returned to the UK for WW2. (His mother's 1947 article mentioned above said that, when WW2 broke out, Leonard "was in the RAF again as soon as he could get there.") He served in the RAF's Bomber Command - initially in 148 Squadron, subsequently transferring to 40 Squadron, based in the beleaguered island of Malta. A flavour of Leonard's character and WW2 career is gained from the citations for his two decorations.

His award of the Distinguished Flying Cross (while with 148 Squadron) was announced in the London Gazette of 12 December 1941 in the following terms.
This officer air gunner has participated in 54 raids, including 28 against targets in Germany and German-occupied territory. Throughout, he has displayed the utmost keenness for operations which, together with his utter contempt for danger has set a splendid example to all. On one occasion during a mine-laying mission, his aircraft was subjected to fire, at close range, from 2 anti-aircraft guns. By silencing these guns, Pilot Officer Vaughan performed very valuable work in difficult circumstances. As a qualified gunnery leader, he carries out a great deal of the instruction of new crews, a work in which he has shown real ability.
The citation for the posthumous award of his Distinguished Service Order in the London Gazette for 5 January 1943 (which noted he was late of 40 Squadron) reads:
This officer has completed a large number of operational missions, including sorties over Germany and enemy territory and in the Middle East. Throughout, he has displayed outstanding leadership and great determination while his high skill has been of incalculable, assistance to his fellow gunners. During a recent period of intense aerial activity his fine fighting qualities and courageous example have been worthy of the highest praise.
After many hazardous missions, it is something of an anti-climax to find Leonard's death came not while he was on operational duties but during a ferry flight from Malta back to the UK, via Gibraltar. On 17 December 1942, he was one of 11 passengers aboard Handley Page Halifax Mk II DT542 NF-Q of 138 (Special Duties) Squadron. (The 7-strong flight crew were all of the Polish Air Force except for the British Flight Engineer, Sergeant Alexander Clubb Watt.)

A Handley Page Halifax
A Handley Page Halifax
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The aircraft took off from RAF Luqa in Malta and, at 0405 hours, crashed at nearby Zejtun. The cause of the crash is not clear: some reports are that the aircraft had engine problems and was returning to base; others are that the crash was the result of "friendly" anti-aircraft fire. Either way, the crash killed all those on board, including Leonard.

Like a number of those on board, he is buried in the Malta (Capuccini) Naval Cemetery - located on the outskirts of the village of Kalkara, on the bay of the Grand Harbour, opposite Valetta. The cemetery was originally established by the British Admiralty during WW1. Because there is little depth of soil, the graves are cut in the underlying rock and most are collective: Leonard's is E.4.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission notes that Leonard's widow, Joan, was "of Epsom, Surrey". It seems likely that her address was 57 Burgh Heath Road, where a "Joan E Vaughan" is found on the 1945 Electoral Roll.

Roger Morgan © 2018
With special thanks to Peter Reed & Linda Jackson

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VAUGHAN, Louis Dawson. Bombardier (6135508)

228 Battery, 57 (1/5th Battalion, The East Surrey Regiment)
Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery.

Died 31 May 1940, aged 35.

Louis' headstone in the Marquise Communal Cemetery, Pas de Calais
Louis' headstone in the Marquise Communal Cemetery, Pas de Calais.
Photograph (50598166) by "Len" via findagrave.com

Louis was born in Epsom Q1 1905, the first child of Louis Mumford Vaughan and Mabel Elizabeth (née Sargant) whose Q2 1904 marriage was also registered in Epsom. Louis junior was baptised at St Martins, Epsom, on 12 February 1905 when the family's address was recorded as 45 Victoria Place, Epsom.

The family were still there at the time of the 1911 Census. 32 year old Louis senior is listed as a "French Polisher". As usual for the time, no occupation is listed for 30 year old housewife Mabel who now had four children.

In 1912, the family moved to 65 East Street. (Louis senior, Mabel and daughter Gladys were still at that address by the time of the September 1939 Register: 59 year old Louis is still a "French Polisher"; 59 year old Mabel is listed with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties"; and 30 year old Gladys as an "Upholsterer". The parents remained in Epsom until their deaths - Louis senior on 24 February 1954 and Mabel on 6 December 1965. Both were buried in plot M.20 of Epsom Cemetery.)

On 13 December 1921, Louis junior enlisted with the East Surrey Regiment with the Service No. 6135508. (The records state that he was then aged 17 years and 41 days. That would make his birth date 2 November 1904.) He left military service by 1927 to join his father as a French Polisher trading out of 65 East Street, Epsom. On 20 April 1929, the 24 year old Louis married 21 year old Winifred Louise Winter at St Giles, Ashtead. (Winifred was from 14 Progress Villas, 47 Gladstone Road, Ashtead, the daughter of William James Winter.)

The newly-weds set up home at 53 Read Road, Ashtead, and had two children - Keith in Q4 1929 and Diana in Q4 1930. Sadly, Winfred died in October 1935 and was buried in the churchyard of St Giles. On 26 December 1936 and at St Barnabas, Epsom, the widowed 32 year old Louis got married again - to 24 year old Margaret Evelyn Bennett, a previously unmarried dressmaker from "76 Lower Common", Epsom. Their son, Arthur, was born Q1 1938.

During 1939, Louis, Margaret and children moved from 53 Read Road, Ashtead, to 53 Walsingham Gardens, Stoneleigh. The 27 year old Margaret (listed with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties") and the three children were recorded at that address in the September 1939 Register. Louis was not at home. On 20 April 1936, he had re-enlisted in 5th East Surrey Regiment apparently as a Territorial and, now that war had been declared, was presumably already on active duty.

His WW2 service was in the 57th (East Surrey) Anti-tank Regiment (TA) which consisted of the 225th, 226th, 227th and 228th Batteries. As part of the 44th (Home Counties) Division, this was sent to France with the BEF (British Expeditionary Force) during 1940 ready to resist the expected German invasion. While that invasion was anticipated, its speed and ferocity was not and the Allies were unable to hold it back.

On 23 May 1940, when the Germans were pushing from the West towards Hazebrouck in a attempt to widen the salient, 227 and 228 Batteries were sent to Morbecque to support 137 Infantry Brigade. That was unable to hold the line, and it is reported that the 57th destroyed all their equipment on 28 May and, with small arms, joined the infantry on 29 May on a fighting retreating to Dunkirk.

The BEF became contained in a perimeter some 30 miles long, running from the mouth of the Yser to Nieuport. During the night of 30 May, orders came that the First Surreys were to embark to England at 12 noon the next day. They were marched to a pre-arranged lying-in area at Coxyde Bains, at the north end of the Dunkirk perimeter.

In all the frantic action of Operation Dynamo - the overall astonishingly successful evacuation from Dunkirk from 27 May to 4 June 1940 - Louis was first recorded in Casualty List No. 243 of 28 June 1940 as "Missing believed Drowned". His body was later recovered, and Casualty List No. 487 of 14 April 1941 confirmed that he had drowned on 31 May 1940, noting his "Duty Location" was "At sea". The presumption must be that the ship on which Louis was being evacuated was one of the many sunk by the enemy.

Louis was initially buried in the Bray Dunes area about 5 miles east of Dunkirk. On 22 November 1947, he (like many other scattered burials) was re-interred in the Marquise Communal Cemetery, about halfway between Calais and Boulogne, which holds 107 WW2 Commonwealth casualties.

The widowed Margaret - who remained at 53 Walsingham Gardens, Stoneleigh, until her death on 12 January 1987 - took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave 1.B.4,
"Beloved husband of Margaret."
Brian Bouchard & Roger Morgan © 2018

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VEAL, Augustus Edward James

Civilian
Died 11 October 1940, aged 45.

Augustus' headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Augustus' headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Photograph courtesy Clive Gilbert © 2018

Augustus was born on 12 March 1895 in Bermondsey, London, the fourth of seven children (one of which died in infancy) born to Newsagent Henry Veal and Henrietta (née Wates). The 1911 Census records the 16 year old Augustus (a "Messenger, Advertising Contractor") and his six surviving siblings living with his widowed 49 year old mother (a home-working "Machinist" for Butcher's Coats) at 239 New Kent Road, Southwark.

In Q4 1921, the 26 year old Augustus married 24 year old Amelia May Gothard, registered in the Southwark District. The couple had five children: June (b 1922); Augustus (b 1925); Patricia (b 1927); Tanis (b 1931); and Shirley (b 1935). All births were registered in Lambeth - except for Augustus junior who was registered in Southwark.

By the time of the September 1939 Register, the couple and their children were living at 18 Yew Tree Gardens, Woodcote Side, Epsom. The now 44 year old Augustus senior is listed as "Turf Accountants Clerk" and Amelia with the conventional "unpaid domestic duties".

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records that Augustus senior died at 1 Yew Tree Gardens on 11 October 1940. (In the 1939 Register, this address was occupied by the Horn family. If any of them were injured in the same attack, they survived.)

On 21 October 1940, Augustus was buried in Grave M549 of Epsom Cemetery, where the records list him as a "Labourer".

As shown on the headstone above, Amelia died on 26 November 1981 (registered in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District) and buried with Augustus.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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VEALL, Charles Raithby. Captain (244594)

Royal Army Medical Corps
Died 18 July 1944, aged 24

Charles's headstone in the the Fontenay-le-Pesnel War Cemetery.
Charles's headstone in the the Fontenay-le-Pesnel War Cemetery.
Photograph (56182037) by "Ben" via findagrave.com

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. The September 1939 Register records him as a "Medical Student Dresser" at Charing Cross Hospital, Agar Street London WC. (A "dresser" was effectively an apprentice to a leading surgeon.) In due course, he secured the MRCS and LRCP qualifications.

In Q2 1942, the 22 year old Charles married Anita Lillian Burnham, whose background has not yet been found in the readily available records. The marriage was registered in the Surrey Mid-Eastern District. This includes Epsom & Ewell and, to date, is the best that the readily available records can do in establishing the link with the Borough there must have been to merit Charles's inclusion in the Book of Remembrance.

In Q2 1944, shortly before Charles's death, Anita gave birth to their son, Christopher C R Veall, registered in the Hendon 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).

A typical field hospital scene (here at Bayeux, 20 June 1944)
A typical field hospital scene (here at Bayeux, 20 June 1944)
Photograph IWM (B 5803)

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, as noted in Casualty List No. 1509, one of the many killed in action. He is one of 460 Commonwealth WW2 burials in the Fontenay-le-Pesnel War Cemetery (about 5 miles north of Noyers-Bocage) established to contain the graves of men who died in the fighting to the west and south-west of Caen in June-July 1944.

The widowed Anita took the option of adding a personal inscription to Charles's headstone on Grave I.A.9,
"Faithful in difficulty".
Roger Morgan © 2018

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VICK, Hilda Florence

Civilian
Died 3 July 1944, aged 62.

Hilda was born in London on 26 July 1881, the second of five children born to Thomas and Harriet Richards. This was a prosperous family: Thomas was a Wine Merchant with his own business, and the 1901 Census records the family of seven living at 42 Palace Road, Streatham, supported by four domestic servants.

In Q2 1904, the 23 year old Hilda married Benjamin Vick in the Marylebone district of London. This was a second marriage for 41 year old Benjamin, a Draper. (His first had been to Annie MacDonald in the Westminster district of London Q1 1890. The 1901 Census records that couple living at 47 Gordon Road, Ealing with two daughters and a domestic servant. Later that year Benjamin divorced Annie and, in Q2 1902, she married the co-respondent, Ivan de Wynton.)

The 1911 Census records Benjamin and Hilda, with two young daughters of their own living at 47 Killieser Avenue, Streatham Hill, supported by three domestic servants.

Benjamin died, aged 74, Q3 1936. The death was registered in the Surrey Mid-Eastern District, so the couple may already have moved to Epsom. The 1939 Register, however, records Hilda (and her younger sister Catherine) staying with their widowed father, Thomas at 19 West Parade, Worthing. They were supported by two domestic servants.

By at least 1944, Hilda was living at 17 Ashley Court, Epsom where she was killed on 3 July 1944, in the same air raid that killed Katherine Keeble, George MacGowan and Bertram Meaden.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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VIRGOE, Leslie Frank. Corporal (6096067)

6th Battalion, Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment
Died 19 May 1944, aged 27

Leslie's headstone in the the Cassino War Cemetery.
Leslie's headstone in the the Cassino War Cemetery
Photographs (56059499) by Iain MacFarlaine via findagrave.com

Leslie is not listed in the Book of Remembrance but is commemorated here because the Commonwealth War Graves Commission post-war records note that the widowed Rosemary was "of Ewell, Surrey." While that address has yet to be established there is (as noted at the end of this article) supporting evidence for that, although it seems unlikely that Leslie himself ever lived in the Borough.

Anyway, Leslie was born in Worthing on 31 July 1916, the fourth of seven children born to Frank Robert Virgoe and Edith (née Knight). The couple had married Q1 1908, registered in the Petworth District, but set up home in 8 Edinburgh Cottages, Western Row, Worthing. The 26 year old couple, and their first two children, were recorded there in the 1911 Census, which listed Frank as a carpenter in the building trade.

In Q4 1937 and registered in the Worthing District, the 21 year old Leslie married 22 year old Rosemary Grace Taylor. The September 1939 Register records the couple living at 40 Bulkington Avenue, Worthing. Leslie is listed as a "Postman" and Rosemary with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". What appears to be their only child, Carol, was born later that year, registered Q4 1939 in the Worthing District.

Leslie's WW2 service was in the 6th Battalion of the Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment. It is certain that he was not in this when it was sent to France in 1940 as part of the ill-fated British Expeditionary Force since, during the anticipated (but unexpectedly ferocious) German invasion, the Battalion was overrun at Doullens and all survivors except 20 or so were taken prisoner.

The Battalion was rebuilt back in the UK and, after a period of home defence, was sent to North Africa in November 1942 as part of the 78th Infantry Division. It played a major role in Operation Torch, the Anglo-American invasion of French Algeria and the consequent fierce fighting that, with the British Eighth Army advancing westwards after the turning point of El Alamein, drove the Axis forces into Tunis where the survivors surrendered in may 1943.

From the springboard of a cleared North Africa, the Allies invaded and captured Sicily and, on 3 September 1943, invaded the Italian mainland. That coincided with an armistice made with the Italians who then re-entered the war on the Allied side. Progress through southern Italy was rapid despite stiff resistance from German forces, but by the end of October, the Allies were facing the German winter defensive position south of Rome. Known as the Gustav Line, this stretched across Italy from the river Garigliano in the west to the Sangro in the east.

It was not until May 1944 that the Allies were able to break through this line. Leslie's Battalion was, in early 1944, in the thick of what was some of the fiercest fighting of the Italian campaign around Cassino - the town itself and the dominating Monastery Hill proving the most stubborn obstacles in the advance towards Rome. The Allies fourth assault was finally successful on 19 May 1944 - the day on which Leslie died of wounds (as noted in Casualty List No. 1467) received earlier in the action.

Leslie is one of the 3,991 Commonwealth WW2 Burials in the Cassino War Cemetery. His widow took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave XII.K.8,
"Love like ours can never die / It lives forever in my heart. / Till we meet again."
In Q2 1949, the widowed Rosemary got married again, to Gordon K Meynell. The marriage was registered in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District and, to date, is the nearest we have got to substantiating the Commonwealth War Graves Commission post-war records' note that the widowed Rosemary was "of Ewell, Surrey".

Roger Morgan © 2018

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