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WW2 Casualties - Surnames Y

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YEOMANS, Walter Edward * (Revised 19/11/2018)
YOUNG, Francis James * (Revised 19/11/2018)
YOUNG, Frederick John * (Revised 23/02/2019)
YOUNG, Joseph Walter (Revised 08/03/2019)

* = Not included in the Book of Remembrance for reasons unknown.
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YEOMANS, Walter Edward

Died 18 February 1945, aged 60

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Walter was born in Camberwell on 31 March 1884, the second of at least five children born to "Carman" Henry Yeomans and Susannah (née Wright).

In Q3 1906, and registered in Camberwell, he married Amelia Mary Ann Kemp. The 1911 Census records the couple - and their first child. 3 year old Amelia - living at 1 Vilette Place Camberwell. 27 year old Walter is listed as a "Warehouseman in a Provision Merchant's" and 26 year old Amelia as a "Factory Hand in a Mineral Water Works".

The September 1939 Register records the 55 year old parents living at 13 Waite Street, Peckham. Walter is listed as a "Despatch Clerk" and Amelia with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". There is one currently closed record at the address, doubtless their second (and last) child, Violet, who had been born in Camberwell Q1 1924 and thus now 15. (Their first child, Amelia, had married Joseph Monger in Camberwell Q3 1930.)

On 14 February 1945, Walter was injured by the blast from a German V-2 rocket that fell at the junction of Waite Street and Trafalgar Avenue (the latter being B215 that runs into the A2 Old Kent Road in South Bermondsey). Britons had got used to the V-1 flying bombs or "doodlebugs" that could be tracked as they crossed the coast and, when their distinctive pulsejet engines cut out, gave a few seconds' warning of falling to the ground where they exploded on impact - see the article about Cyril Allsopp. However, the V-2 (an abbreviation of Vergeltungswaffe 2 or "Retribution Weapon 2") was the first ballistic rocket weapon. Having reached a height of some 60 miles, it fell towards its somewhat random target at supersonic speed - arriving and exploding with no warning.

A just-launched V2 rocket with others in preparation from their elusively mobile launchers
A just-launched V2 rocket with others in preparation from their elusively mobile launchers
Photograph with thanks to ww2today.com

Almost all the 1,400 V-2s aimed at the UK fell on the London area. The Germans also directed V-2s elsewhere against the Allies: over 1,600 fell on Antwerp alone; France (76 V-2s) and the Netherlands (19 V2s) were also targeted.

Typical damage caused by a V2
Typical damage caused by a V2
Photograph IWM (CH 15154)

The aerial photograph above is the scene of a March 1945 V2 rocket attack at Earlham Grove, Forest Gate. Fifteen people were killed, five seriously injured and sixty-eight slightly injured. Four houses were destroyed, three partly destroyed, one hundred and three badly damaged and four hundred and twenty-six slightly damaged.

The consequences of the V-2 that fell on Peckham on 14 February 1945 are described in the Camberwell ARP records:
"A LRR [long range rocket] penetrated a 3 storey houses at the SW angle of Trafalgar Av with Waite Street, forming a crater at ground level about 40 feet across by 10 foot deep. Blast caused the complete demolishing of 12 4 storey 'neo Greek' type of terrace houses of poor construction erected about 90 years previously. Damage beyond repair to about 25 similar properties adjoining the crater and damage calling for first aid repairs to properties within a radius of about 200 yards of the crater. Rescue operations were concerned with the release of 10 trapped casualties which were found by dogs. Initial casualties were 13 killed, 28 seriously injured to Kings Guys St Olav's and Dulwich. 60 slight injuries to first aid post or nearby hospitals. Search proceeding for 10 missing or trapped persons."
As noted above, Walter was one of those injured. He was taken to Horton Emergency Hospital, one of Epsom's "cluster" of mental hospitals that, as for WW1, had been taken over for dealing with wartime casualties, but died there four days later, on 18 February 1945 and aged 60. (If Amelia and Violet were injured in the same attack, they recovered.)

Roger Morgan © 2018

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YOUNG, Francis James, Gunner (1700999)

356 (7th Battalion The Lancashire Fusiliers) Independent Searchlight Battery, Royal Artillery
Died 1 June 1943, aged 33

Francis's headstone in the Ewell (St. Mary) Churchyard.
Francis's headstone in the Ewell (St. Mary) Churchyard.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2018

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Francis was born in Ewell on 15 September 1909, the third child (one of which had died) of James Young and Alice Elizabeth (née Stevens - they married in St Mary's, Ewell on 28 December 1900).

The 1911 Census records the family living in West Street Ewell. 34 year old James (originally from Lanarkshire in Scotland) is listed as a "Gardener Domestic". As usual for the time, no occupation is shown for 35 year old housewife Alice. Their children were 1 year old Francis and 4 year old Janet.

At some point the family moved to Cheam. The September 1939 Register records them living at 63 St Dunstan's Hill. 63 year old James is listed as a "Gardener, Invalid" (perhaps a consequence of WW1 service); 62 year old Alice with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties"; 32 year old Janet as a "Private Nurse"; and 30 year old Francis as "Gardener" (likely to be working with his father).

Francis attested into the Royal Artillery in 1940 and served in 356 (7th Battalion The Lancashire Fusiliers) Independent Searchlight Battery. Searchlights were a vital part of Britain's night-time Anti-Aircraft defences, illuminating targets for the gunners and, when two searchlights locked onto a single target, able to provide valuable information on range and bearing. Searchlights were themselves thus a target for the raiding aircraft and, as noted in Casualty List No. 1162, Francis was killed in action on 1 June 1943, aged 33.

His death was registered in the Thanet District of Kent. He was brought home for burial in the old part of the Churchyard at St Mary's Ewell. His parents took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave 576,
"Peace, perfect peace."
Roger Morgan © 2018

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YOUNG, Frederick John

Died 18 February 1945, aged 44

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Frederick was born on 1 April 1900, the first child of Frederick John Young and Maryann (née Close). The parents had married in the parish church of St John Horsleydown, Southwark on 2 April 1899. The 1901 Census records the small family living at 11 Stevens Street, Bermondsey. 22 year old Frederick senior is listed as a "Labourer" and 21 year old Maryann as a "Tinplate Worker". (The 1901 Census was taken on 1 April - Frederick junior's first birthday.)

By the time of the 1911 Census, the family is recorded living at Bridge House, George Row Dockhead, Bermondsey, with 31 year old Frederick senior now listed as a "Waterside Labourer". No employment is recorded for 30 year old Maryann who had given birth to four more children (one of which had died) and was now looking after the four children from 11 year old Frederick junior to 3 year old John.

The next sighting of Frederick junior is in the 26 July 1925 record of this 25 year old marrying 24 year old Violet Victoria Sparkes in St John's, Smith Square, Westminster. The Register records their address at the time as 36 Probyn House, Page Street, Westminster, with Frederick's occupation as "Labourer (Gas Company)". (His father, Frederick senior, is now listed as a "Draper". Violet's father, Charles Henry Sparkes, was a "Hotel Kitchen Clerk".)

Frederick junior and Violet do not appear to have had any children. The September 1939 Register records them living alone at 27 Lingfield Crescent, Eltham (about 3 miles south of Woolwich). The now 39 year old Frederick is still a "Gas Worker" and 38 year old Violet (apparently preferring to be known by her second name of Victoria) is listed with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties".

On 31 August 1944, Frederick was injured by enemy action while at home in 27 Lingfield Crescent. He was taken to Horton Emergency Hospital, one of Epsom's "cluster" of mental hospitals that, as for WW1, had been taken over for dealing with wartime casualties. He died there nearly six months later, on 18 February 1945, aged 44. His body was taken back to Southwark for cremation, on 24 February 1945.

If his wife was injured in the same attack, she recovered and, in Q3 1949 (and registered in the Woolwich District), the widowed Violet Victoria married again, to William A Clark.

Roger Morgan © 2019
With special thanks to Hazel Ballan

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YOUNG, Joseph Walter. Sergeant (1170647)

12 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
Died 6 January 1942, aged 20.

The family background here is particularly complicated.

Joseph was born Q1 1922 - according the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's database, the son of Middleton Walter and Hilda Young. However, these two were never married - and to say that the family background is particularly complicated seems something of an understatement.

The 1911 Census records the 35 year old Middleton and his wife, the 28 year old Alice (née North - they had married in Southampton Q4 1898) living in West Street, Alresford, Hampshire with three of their children:
  • 10 year old Dora Adeline Alice (registered Q3 1900 in Southampton);
  • 9 year old Gladys Millicent Hilda Mary (registered Q1 1902 in Alton); and
  • 7 year old Joseph (registered with his full name Middleton Joseph Jesse, Q2 1903 in Farnham).
That Census return indicates that the couple had had another child who had died: this was Leslie Reginald Walter, whose Q2 1905 birth and Q1 1906 death were both registered in Farnham.

The 1911 return also shows the three children all at school and not only Middleton senior but also Alice listed as "Carmen" - "Drivers of (horse-drawn) vehicles for transporting goods" - on Middleton's "own account" (indicating that he was neither an employer nor employee). That was a step down from the 1901 Census which recorded the 25 year old Middleton senior as a "Hire Carting Contractor" living with Alice and their infant first child, Dora, at Kimberley Villas, 2 Reading Road, Church Crookham, Hampshire: living with them were Middleton's younger brother, Joseph, listed as a "Carter" and four unrelated young men all listed as not only "carters" but also "Servants".

In the meantime, Hilda Kitcher's Q3 1900 birth - making her 22 years younger than Middleton senior - was registered in the New Forest. (The 1939 Register gives her date of birth as 8 July 1902. The year must be a mistranscription: not only are the GRO records clear about her 1900 birth, the 8 month old Hilda is listed in the 1901 Census as the youngest of Edward - a "Labourer on Farm" - and Mary Kitcher's children living at Beaulieu Rails, Beaulieu in the New Forest.) The 1911 Census records the 11 year old Hilda as the youngest of Edward (now a "General Labourer") and Mary's children still at home, living at East Boldre (formerly "Beaulieu Rails" of the 1901 return).

At some point in the early 1920s, the Youngs (probably minus Alice) and Hilda Kitcher moved (perhaps separately) to the Lewisham area. It is known from the 1929 Probate records that the Youngs' address was then 136 Rangefield Road, Bromley, Kent.

The registration of the births of Hilda's children is a nightmare to unpick. In 1926, five children (born between 1921 and 1926) with the surname YOUNG and whose mother's maiden name was Kitcher were registered in the Lewisham District, namely (and with their actual birth dates):
  • Hilda M - born Q1 1921;
  • Joseph Walter - born Q2 1922;
  • Rose Lilian - born Q2 1923;
  • Winifred K - born Q4 1924; and
  • Middleton E - born Q2 1926.
However, to take Joseph Walter as an example, the records now also show him twice as Joseph Walter KITCHER born in Q1 1922, once with his mother's maiden name as Kitcher and the second time with her maiden name being Young.

Hilda had two more children, both of whose births were registered in the Lewisham District:
  • Ronald G in Q3 1927 (in the records twice, once with the surname Kitcher and again with the surname Young - but, in both cases, with the mother's maiden name as Kitcher); and
  • Ronald J in Q2 1935 - just the once, with the surname Young and the mother's maiden name as Kitcher.
(To have a second child with the same first name suggests that the first had died, but no record has been found of Ronald G's early death.)

Now, Ronald J's surname "Young" in 1935 is wholly explained by the fact that, in Q3 1934 and registered in the Lewisham District, the 34 year old and previously unmarried Hilda had married 29 year old Middleton Joseph Jesse Young - Middleton senior's son from his 1899 marriage to Alice North - making him step-father to his half-siblings! It is tempting to think that Middleton junior (who would have been 15 when Hilda's first child was conceived in 1920, when she was aged 20) was in fact the father of some or, indeed, all of Hilda's other children. But that seems flatly contradicted by Middleton senior's will made on 15 November 1927, just over a year before he died on 12 January 1929 in Lewisham Hospital, aged 51. In the brief document, Middleton senior, describing himself as a "Carman and Motor haulage contractor" certified:
"… that I the undersigned leave everything I possess at my death to Miss Hilda Kitcher all my stock to be sold under the Instruction on my Brother J H Young 101 Bevous St Southampton all the proceeds of sale be handed to Miss Hilda Kitcher for the maintenance of her children by me."
As the Will did not specify an Executor, administration of the estate (of 2,468) was awarded to "Hilda Kitcher, spinster, the residuary legatee".

Anyway, immediately after Hilda and Middleton junior's marriage in 1935, they were living at 17 Ermine Road, Lewisham. By the time of the September 1939 Register, they were living at 55 Holly Road, London W4 (about halfway between Shepherd's Bush and Acton). Middleton is listed as a "Builders Labourer" and Hilda with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties", Living with them were Hilda's (and his?) teenage daughters, Rose and Winifred (both listed as Electric (Maker) Lamps, filament fitting") and 24 year old Hugh Miller and 34 year old Augustine Young. (The latter might have been related to Middleton in some way - but both, like Middleton, are listed as "Builders Labourer", so they may just have been workmates.) The rest of the children could have been evacuees living safely elsewhere.

Intriguing as all that is, it is only background to the life of Joseph, the subject of this article. He is not readily found in the September 1939 Register. It is known that his RAF service number was issued at RAF Cardington in April 1940. His next appearance in the readily available records is in Q3 1941 (not more than three months before his death) when, registered in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District, he married Margaret Irene Wharton. They were both aged 19.

Margaret had been born in Lewes, Sussex on 14 April 1922 - the daughter of Ernest Wharton and Margaret (née Jenkinson) who had married in the Amesbury District of Wiltshire in Q3 1914. The 1939 Register records Margaret (a "Post Office Clerk") living at "Jasmine", Ruxley Lane, Ewell. This was the home of her parents: 50 year old Ernest (a "Motor Engineer, own account"); 49 year old Margaret (the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties"); and older brother 22 year old Harold (a "Railway Clerk"). The parents - and Margaret junior - were still at this address in the 1945 Electoral Roll, substantiating the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's records that the widowed Margaret Young was "of West Ewell, Surrey".

Anyway, Joseph's WW2 service was in 12 Squadron, part of the RAF's Bomber Command. In 1942, the Squadron was stationed at RAF Binbrook in north Lincolnshire, flying Vickers Wellington bombers.

A Vickers Wellington II of 12 Squadron, June 1941
A Vickers Wellington II of 12 Squadron, June 1941
Image with thanks to asisbiz.com

On 6 January 1942, Joseph was one of the six-strong crew on Wellington II W5523 PH-? (piloted by P/O Peter Voller of the Royal Australian Air Force) which took off from RAF Binbrook on a mission to bomb the German-held port facilities of Brest in NW France. However, the aircraft was hit by flak near the target, caught fire and fell into the sea with the loss of all six on board, namely:
  • Pilot Officer Peter Collin VOLLER, aged 23
  • Flight Sergeant Wilbert George YORKE, aged 27
  • Sergeant Jack WILD, aged 21
  • Sergeant Joseph Walter YOUNG, aged 20
  • Sergeant Eric HILL, aged 24
  • Sergeant Raymond Bertram Hamilton DRIVER, aged 26.
As six of the 20,000+ WW2 aircrew from bases in the UK and NW Europe with no known grave, all are commemorated on the Runneymede Memorial.

The RAF's Runneymede Memorial
The RAF's Runneymede Memorial
Photograph with thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

In Q3 1945, and registered in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District, the 23 year old widowed Margaret married Kenneth C Bradshaw. There were no children from her brief marriage to Joseph, but she and Kenneth had Graham (Q1 1948) and Jean (Q1 1950), both births being registered in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District.

Roger Morgan © 2019
thanks to Hazel Ballan for help with the Young and Wharton families' background
and to Brian Bouchard for tracking down the mission information

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