WW2 Book of Remembrance - Surnames B

Index

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[Content]

BAKER, Donald (Revised 04/06/2018)
BARNARD, Leslie William Arthur (Revised 04/06/2018)
BARNES, Alick Dennis (Revised 04/06/2018)
BARNES, Michael Campbell (Revised 04/06/2018)
BARTER, William James (Revised 04/06/2018)
BASSON, Peter Henry (Revised 04/06/2018)
BATEMAN, Gerard (Gerald) (Revised 04/06/2018)
BATES, E.W. (Revised 04/06/2018)
BATTEY, Kenneth Charles (Revised 17/06/2018)
BAYLEY, Leonard Albert (Revised 17/06/2018)
BEDWARD, Alfred Arthur Charles (Revised 17/06/2018)
BELLINGHAM, Leslie Horace (Revised 17/06/2018)
BENNETT, Edwin John (Revised 17/06/2018)
BENSTEAD, Gerald Robert (Revised 17/06/2018)
BERRY, Frederick Charles (Revised 17/06/2018)
BERRY, Hilda Cyrilla Madeline * (Revised 17/06/2018)
BETCHLEY, Richard Kendrick (Revised 17/06/2018)
BEVAN, George Leslie (Revised 08/07/2018)
BIRD, Edward John (Revised 18/06/2018)
BIRKHEAD, George Thomas (Revised 18/06/2018)
BLACKMAN, Catherine Amelia (Revised 18/06/2018)
BLACKMAN, Harry Edwin (Revised 18/06/2018)
BLACKMAN, Laura Kate (Revised 18/06/2018)
BLISS, John Miller (Revised 18/06/2018)
BLOXAM, Arthur George (Revised 18/06/2018)
BOCUTT, Alexander Herbert * (Revised 18/06/2018)
BOND, Rose Ethel * (Revised 02/12/2017)
BOUSFIELD, John Henry (New 09/01/2018)
BOWDEN, Ronald Walter * (Revised 04/03/2018)
BOWLES, Edmund Leonard see BOWLES, Leonard Edmund
BOWLES, Leonard Edmund (Revised 23/06/2018)
BOXALL, Stanley Edward (Revised 23/06/2018)
BRIDGMAN, Edward James (Revised 23/06/2018)
BRIGHT, Francis Edmund (Revised 23/06/2018)
BRISK, James (Revised 23/06/2018)
BROCKBANK, Maurice Chester * (Revised 23/06/2018)
BRODERICK, George Adrian Leonard (Revised 23/06/2018)
BROWN, Albert Edward * (Revised 23/06/2018)
BROWN, Albert Keith Winslow (Revised 23/06/2018)
BROWN, Charles * (Revised 23/06/2018)
BROWN, Harold (Revised 23/06/2018)
BROWN, Harry Archibald (Revised 23/06/2018)
BROWN, William Thomas (Revised 23/06/2018)
BRYANT, George William (Revised 23/06/2018)
BUDGELL, Edward Rosslyn (Revised 23/06/2018)
BURLEY, Peter Richard Kenneth (Revised 24/06/2018)
BURLTON, Francis Arthur * (Revised 19/11/2017)
BURNHAM, Basile Ronald Martin (Revised 08/07/2018)
BURROUGH, John Hardy (Revised 24/06/2018)
BURTON, Margaret (Revised 17/01/2018)
BURY, Michael (Revised 24/06/2018)
BUSSELL, Raymond Meyrick (Revised 24/06/2018)
BUSSELL, Robert Andre (Revised 24/06/2018)
BUTTERWORTH, John Leslie Gilbert (Revised 24/06/2018)
BUZAN, Charles Walter (Revised 24/06/2018)

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



Content


BAKER, Donald. Pilot Officer (169107)

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

Donald was born on 8 January 1923, apparently the last of several children born to Frank Walter Thomas Baker (c. 1 November 1882 at Hillmorton, Warwick) and Laura (née Huse - b. reg Cookham, 9/1881). They had married in Q3 1900, registered in Maidenhead. 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 the Epsom District of Cyril W, 12/1914; Lucy, 12/1916; and then Donald in 1923. The records of Donald's baptism at St Mary's, Ewell note 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) and posted to 625 Squadron, part of the RAF's Bomber Command.

Two days later, in, 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, probably by Major Prinz zu Lippe Weissenfeld, III./NJG 1, in his Bf 110 G-4, serial number 720.010. 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 (he body of one of the fliers had been found with a burnt parachute at 'Witte 24') were buried in the Russian 'Wetscher Wiesen' cemetery at Wetschen some 5 km E of Diepholz. In 1948, after the war, the aircrew's graves were concentrated in the Hanover War Cemetery which now holds 2,358 Commonwealth WW2 casualties. They were

The Hanover War Cemetery
The Hanover War Cemetery
Photograph (126080528) by Wouter van Dijken via findagrave.com

Donald's family took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave 8.H.8,
"Treasured memories of a son we all loved. Mum, Dad and family."
(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.

After the war, the local Municipality erected a bronze plaque about the incident at the intersection Oppen Straße / Am Hunnert. Under the heading 'Zur Erinnerung und Mahnung zum Frieden' [In commemoration and to welcome peace], it lists the names of all the victims of the disaster .The local civilian fatalities were Christoph Kalnake, aged 61, and Heinrich Waering, aged 29.

In addition to the inclusion of his name in the Borough'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 the ornamental garden outside the church of St Faith.

Brian Bouchard © 2014
Updated by Roger Morgan, 2018

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BARNARD, Leslie William Arthur. Sergeant (1384144)

218 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 7 August 1942, aged 21

Leslie's headstone in Jonkerbos War Cemetery
Leslie's headstone in Jonkerbos War Cemetery
Photograph (13804862) by Des Philippet via findagrave.com

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Leslie's birth on 18 February 1921 was registered in the West Ham District. According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, was the son of George and Mary Elizabeth Barnard. The birth registration gives his mother's maiden name as Swindle. Perhaps because of transcription errors, no record of their marriage has yet been found.

The 1939 Register records the 18 year old Leslie (listed as a "Junior Clerk, British North Borneo Co.") living with his 48 year old mother, Mary (an "Office Cleaner"), at 28 Tilley Street, Wandsworth. Mary is shown as married rather than widowed, but it is not known where husband George was.

During August 1940, Leslie enlisted in the Royal Air Force at Euston and, in Q2 1941, he married Barbara Ena Wickens, registered in the Wandsworth District - they were both aged 20. There is no record of their having any children.

Leslie's WW2 service was in 218 Squadron, part of the RAF's Bomber Command. As reported in relation to WO II A L Bachelder :-
Having joined 218 Squadron, he was aboard Stirling BF319, HA-F, which took off just after midnight on 25 July 1942 and climbed to altitude over the North Sea. On testing his guns the rear gunner, Sergeant Leslie Barnard reported that he had a hydraulic oil leak, and his turret was out of action. The aircraft's part in the attack on Duisberg was aborted and 10,500 lb of high explosives jettisoned. On 29 July the crew were involved in an operation against Saarbrucken in BF319, HA-F, but again Leslie Barnard reported that the rear turret was unserviceable. The entire load of high explosive was jettisoned at 01:07hrs from 12,000 feet before the crew landed back at Downham Market just after 02:20hrs.

On 7 August 1942, at 01.10 hrs Stirling N6072 took off for Duisberg once more laden withwith 6x1000 lb GP + 7x500 lb GP bombs. Around 02:57 hrs N6072 was intercepted and shot down, by Hptm. Ludwig Bietmann of 5./NJG1 flying a Bf110, to crash into the west bank of the Maas near Kessel, 2 miles south of Venlo. Three of the crew had managed to bail out - the pilot, Sgt William Laidlaw, Wireless Operator Sgt David Maffett and Sergeant John Green the Observer - to become Prisoners of War.
The rest of the crew - WO II A L Bachelder, RCAF, and Sgts H.P.Gardiner, G.C.Cavanagh, and L.W.A.Barnard (Air Gunner), RAF - were killed in the crash. They were initially buried in a temporary military cemetery at Venlo. On 1 October 1947, they were re-interred in the Jonkerbos War Cemetery on the outskirts of Nijmegen in the Netherlands whoch contains 1,629 Commonwealth WW2 burials. His widow took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Collective Grave 12.E.7-9,
"He died that we might live"
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission post-war records note that the widowed Barbara was "of Ewell. Surrey". This was at 13 Riverview Road, Ewell, the address of her parents (Arthur and Hilda M Wickens) with whom she stayed until marrying again in 1949.

Brian Bouchard © 2018
Updated by Roger Morgan, 2018

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BARNES, Alick Dennis. Trooper (5190532)

3rd Royal Tank Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps
Died 18 July 1944, aged 28

Alick's headstone in the Hermanville War Cemetery, Normandy
Alick's headstone in the Hermanville War Cemetery, Normandy
Photograph (56490687) by "SandiP" via findagrave.com

Alick was born in Epsom on 21 March 1916, the fourth of five children born to Stephen George Barnes and Ellen Elizabeth (née Curtis) The parents' Q4 1908 marriage was registered in the Battle District, Sussex. The 1911 Census records them living at Engine Cottage, New Cutt, Westfield, Sussex. 29 year old Stephen is listed as a "Gardener, Domestic". Ellen was 23 and had, the previous year, given birth to their first child - here as 1 year old Ronald. Living with them was Stephen's widowed father, 73 year old William, listed as a "Farm Labourer".

The couple had two more children in the Battle District (Edward Q4 1911 and Leslie Q4 1913) before moving to Epsom where Alick was born in 1916 and Kathleen in Q4 1918. The 1939 Register records the parents living at 141 Hook Road, Epsom. 58 year old Stephen is listed as "Cleaner & Porter (Flats)"; 51 year old Ellen as "Housewife"; and 23 year old Alick - the only one of their children still at home - as "Assistant, Fish Shop".

Readily available records do not show when Alick joined 3rd Royal Tank Regiment. Given his age, this may well have been in time for him to have been involved in the major tank battles (including Alamein, Gazala and Alam Halfa) in North Africa. Towards the end of 1943 the Regiment returned to the UK and began training for "Operation Overlord", the planned invasion of France.

The Regiment landed in Normandy on 11 June 1944, five days after the initial D-Day landings, and began moving towards the strategic town of Caen. It was in the narrow roads near Villers-Bocage that the Regiment saw some of its fiercest fighting: accustomed to swift open warfare in the desert, the tank crews were now being shot at very close range.

The 3rd Royal Tank Regiment in Normandy
The 3rd Royal Tank Regiment in Normandy.
Picture - as is much of the information here - courtesy of greenflash.org.uk

Having survived the ferocity of that claustrophobic fighting, the Regiment then prepared for Operation Epsom, the first attempt to attack the German stronghold of Caen which threatened to hold back the Allied movement out into France and the countries beyond. Despite suffering heavy casualties Operation Epsom was a failure. (The town was eventually taken a couple of weeks later.)

The Regiment's next action was as part of Operation Goodwood, the Allies' attempt to thrust eastwards out of Caen. The action began on 18 July 1944, the day that Alick was killed. (Despite initial successes in clearing the German forces out of the surrounding villages, large casualties meant Goodwood ground to a halt on 21 July. The main breakthrough happened soon after when the German forces, increasingly stretched, headed south allowing the Allied forces to circle round them and trap them at Falaise.)

Alick is one of the 903 Commonwealth WW2 casualties buried in the Hermanville War Cemetery, north of Caen and just behind Sword Beach. His parents took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave 2.O.13,
"Still with us. There is no death."
Roger Morgan © 2018

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BARNES, Michael Campbell. Lieutenant (237385). MiD

144th (8th Battalion, The East Lancashire Regiment) Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps
Died 8 August 1944, aged 24.

Michael was born Q2 1920 in Barnet, Middlesex (now the London Borough), the son of George Alfred Barnes and Margaret Campbell (née Wood - they had married in Paddington Q3 1917). The 1939 Register records the couple living at Steepways, Birches Close, Epsom, with one currently closed record - perhaps that of the 19 year old Michael. 51 year old George is listed as "Registrar of Public Company" and 48 year old Margaret with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties".

The readily available records provide disappointingly little information about Michael's WW2 service. However, he was clearly among the Allied forces that landed on the Normandy beaches, either on or shortly after the 6 June 1944 D-Day. While the initial invasion went according to plan, breaking out past the German stronghold of Caen, a few miles inland, proved much harder than had been anticipated. It was finally taken on 6 August, two months after D-Day.

It was two days after that, on 8 August 1944, that, as recorded in Casualty List No. 1525, Michael was killed in action. The fact he is one of the 2,874 Commonwealth WW2 casualties buried in the Bretteville-sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery (about 8 miles south of Caen) seems certain to mean that he died during Allies' thrust south from Caen to close the "Falaise Gap". (This was led initially by the 4th Canadian and 1st Polish Armoured Divisions - and, as the Cemetery's name indicates, the majority of those buried there were Canadian.)

The Bretteville-sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery
The Bretteville-sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery.
Photograph with thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

His parents took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave XXII.B.5,
"Laughter is his, and gallantry of spirit, imperishable love enfolds him."
As recorded on page 1549 of the 22 March 1945 Supplement to the London Gazette, Michael was posthumously Mentioned in Dispatches for his part in the Normandy campaign.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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BARTER, William James. Gunner (1639346)

15th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery
Died 19 November 1945, aged 35.

William's entry on the Council employees' WW2 memorial in Epsom Town Hall
William's entry on the Council employees' WW2 memorial in Epsom Town Hall.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2014

William was born on 13 December 1909, the second child of William James Barter and Kate (née Edwards). The family of four was recorded in the 1911 Census living in Kingston Road, Ewell. William senior (a "Carter" for a Haulage Contractor) and Kate were both aged 30, and had been married for three years. Both children (Kathleen junior aged 3 and William junior aged 1) had been born in Ewell. The couple's third child, Frederick, was also born in Ewell in early 1915.

The 1939 Register records the family living at 34 Shortcroft Road, Ewell. William senior is now listed as "Municipal Labourer" (presumably with Epsom & Ewell Council); Kate with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties"; 31 year old Kathleen as "Bookkeeper (Manufacturing Electric Engineer)"; 29 year old William junior, the subject of this article, as "Stoker (Brickworks)"; and 24 year old Frederick as "Butcher's Assistant". (William junior's entry on the Epsom Town Hall memorial indicates that he had, at some point, joined his father in Council employment.)

The readily available records do not provide a clear picture of Michael's WW2 service with the 15th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment. This was based in England during the Battle of Britain, and then saw service in the Middle East and Africa before returning to the UK in preparation for Operation Overlord, the 1944 Invasion of France. It then saw continued action as the Allied forces fought eastwards towards Germany.

William survived all that, dying (perhaps of injuries) on 19 November 1945, some time after the cessation of hostilities. His death was registered in the local Surrey Mid-Eastern District, and he is buried in Ewell (St. Mary) Churchyard Extension (Grave E31).

Roger Morgan © 2018

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

No. 149 Squadron, Royal Air ForceForce
Died 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.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission notes Peter as the "Son of Bertie Harry Thomas Basson and Davidina Crockett Basson; stepson of Mr R T Ransom, of West Ewell, Surrey." As noted above, both parents had remarried - in Davidina's case, to Thomas Ransom. After Davidina's death in 1934, Thomas married (Q1 1935 - registered in Surrey Mid-Eastern) Gwendolen Mason (née Aldin).

Peter and his sister Angela seem clearly to have stayed with their step-father. On 5 August 1938, Angela is recorded as leaving Southampton on the SS Johan de Witt bound for Genoa (and ultimately headed for the Dutch East Indies). She was with her step-father Thomas, his new wife Gwendolen, two children (Anthony and Ann Mason) from her previous marriage and his new mother in law, Marguerite Aldin. The home address for them all is given as Downs House, Ewell Downs Road, Ewell. This must be the "West Ewell" address noted by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. (And this travel would seem to explain why these people are not found in the 1939 Register.)

Further confirmation of Peter and Angela staying with their step-father comes from the 3 December 1943 Probate record on Peter's estate (of £ 136) in which he is described as being "of Downs House, 15 Ewell Downs Road, 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 initially buried in the garden of the parish priest. The bodies were later reinterred among the 699 Commonwealth WW2 casualties in the Uden War Cemetery, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands.

Peter's headstone on the collective grave 4.I.10-13 in the Uden War Cemetery
Peter's headstone on the collective grave 4.I.10-13 in the Uden War Cemetery
Photograph (18429291) by Des Phillipet via findagrave.com

Brian Bouchard © 2017
With thanks to Ruun Verhagen for supplying additional information

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BATEMAN, Gerard. Craftsman (7588799)

Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
Died 2 November 1943, aged 21

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records note: first, that this soldier ("Gerald") was the "son of Ernest Gerald and Queen Blanche Bateman, of Ruxley, Ewell, Surrey"; and, second, that he was aged 29 at the time of his death in 1943. Recent research leads to some corrections of that: the man's name was Gerard (like his father's actual second name); and, being born in 1922, he was aged 21 at the time of his death. (Perhaps he had lied about his age on enlisting.)

Father Ernest Gerard Bateman was born in Lahore (in modern-day Pakistan) on 3 November 1894. In Q1 1921, he married Queenie Morgan, registered in Kingston. Gerard junior was born Q1 1922, registered in Croydon - and it seems that another child, Alan, was born Q2 1925, registered in the Kingston District. The 1939 Register records the parents living at 21 Egmont Road, New Malden. 44 year old Ernest is listed as a Clerical Officer in Customs & Excise, and Queenie with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". There is one currently closed record at the address, and this seems likely to be the 14 year old Alan.

The parents' "Ruxley, Ewell" address noted in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records has yet to be established - and seems likely to have been quite temporary. Although Ernest died in the Borough (on 13 September 1949, in Epsom General Hospital), the Probate record of administration of his £ 2,730 estate being awarded to the widowed Queenie notes his address then as the pre-war 21 Egmont Road, New Malden. (Queenie died in September 1995, registered in Hastings & Rother.)

Confusion over this serviceman's first name and age also permeates the available forces records. "G" or "Gerald" or "Gerard" Bateman (but always with the Service number 7588799) is variously reported to have had a duty location in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaya and in either REME or the Royal Army Ordnance Corps. It is, however, clear that in February 1942 he was captured by the Japanese during their invasion of the area and then put to work on the notorious Burma-Siam Railway. He managed to survive that but died of the perhaps even harsher conditions of the Japanese Malai 4 PoW camp in modern day Thailand.

He was initially buried locally. After the War, burials from a wider area were concentrated in the Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery in Burma (modern-day Myanmar) which now holds 3,626 Commonwealth WW2 casualties. His parents took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave B6.D.11
"Till we meet again."
Part of the Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery, Myanmar.
Part of the Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery, Myanmar.
Photograph with thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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BATES, E W. Fusilier (14632062)

Royal Scots Fusiliers
Died 19 May 1947, aged 23

His headstone in Hamburg Cemetery
His headstone in Hamburg Cemetery
Photograph (5885604) by Mike Rogero via billiongraves.com

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's records for this soldier note that he was the "son of Mr and Mrs E W Bates, of Epsom, Surrey" and, while having his service number, rank and regiment gave only his initials - "E W" like his father.

Sadly, this information is too scant to enable his family background - or even his Christian names - to be discovered from the readily available records. Nor is the connection with Epsom clear: there are many "Bates" listed in the 1939 Register for Epsom, but none with the initials "E W".

Fusilier Bates' WW2 service was, according to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, with the Royal Scots Fusiliers. Other records have him - with the same service number - in the King's Own Scottish Borderers. It is not clear when he began fighting with either Regiment, both of which were in the front line of the Allies' advance eastwards after the D-Day Normandy landings.

On 22 September 1944, with the recorded Duty Location of "North West Europe", he was wounded in battle. However, it is unlikely that those injuries led directly to his death some two and a half years later, on 19 May 1947: had they been that severe, he would surely have been brought home. So his death would seem to have been from some other cause while on service as part of the British presence in post-war Germany.

He is one of the 2,096 Commonwealth servicemen buried in the Hamburg War Cemetery. His parents took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave 9A.L.3,
"Never shall thy memory fade, sweet thoughts ever linger where thou art laid."
Roger Morgan © 2018

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BATTEY, Kenneth Charles. Captain (EC/4114)

Royal Indian Army Service Corps
Died 9 September 1944, aged 24

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Kenneth was born Q1 1920, the third child of Samuel Charles Battey and Annie Maude (née Gawthrop - they had married Q3 1912, registered in the Chesterton District of Cambridgeshire). The couple's first two children, Marjorie and Phyllis, had been born Q4 1913 and Q3 1915 respectively. While their births were registered in the Wandsworth District, Kenneth's was registered in Croydon.

At some point - and certainly by the mid-1930s - the family moved to 26 Stoneleigh Park Road, which is where they (but not Kenneth, who may well already have been in uniform) are recorded in the 1939 Register. 62 year old Samuel is listed as a "Poultry and Seeds Salesman Clerk" and Annie with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". The two daughters, now 24 and nearly 25 years old were still single and living at home. They were both Clerks, one in an Insurance Company and the other in a Solicitors.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission notes that Kenneth's WW2 service was with the Royal Indian Army Service Corps. Sadly, the other readily available records provide no information about either what this service was or the cause of his death on 9 September 1944.

The fact that Kenneth is one of the 486 Commonwealth WW2 casualties buried in the Gauhati War Cemetery (about 350 miles west of Calcutta) is of little help in establishing where he actually died. The Cemetery was started during WW2 for burials from the several military hospitals in the area. Later, however, graves were brought in from Amari Bari Military Cemetery, Sylhet Military Cemetery, Mohachara Cemetery, Nowgong Civil Cemetery and Gauhati Civil Cemetery, where permanent maintenance could not be assured - and in a further wave, from isolated sites in the Lushai Hills and from civil cemeteries in Badarpur, Cooch Bahar, Darjeeling, Dhubri, Dibrugarh, Dinjan, Katapahar, Lebong, Lumding, Shillong and Silchar.

His parents took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave 1.J.7,
"Lovingly remembered. always in our hearts".
Part of the Gauhati War Cemetery
Part of the Gauhati War Cemetery
Picture with thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Roger Morgan © 2018

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BAYLEY, Leonard Albert

Royal Air Force
Leonard's entry in the Borough's Book of Remembrance
Leonard's entry in the Borough's Book of Remembrance
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2014

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's website has no record of this individual listed in the Borough's Book of Remembrance.

The Forces War Records website has a Leonard Albert Bayley enlisting in the RAF at Cardington after April 1941, with the service number 1436732 - but he survived the war. (It also has the record of a Flight Sergeant L A Bayley who was killed in action on 8 April 1945 - but he turns out to have been Flight Sergeant Lindsay Arthur Bayley 432092 of the Royal Australian Air Force.)

Various routine searches (with allowance for spelling variations) have not found any other mention of this individual.

A possible explanation is that, at some point, the surname was transcribed wrongly and this should be Flight Lieutenant Leonard Albert VAUGHAN. That individual's widow is noted by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as being "of Epsom" so he should have been in the Borough's Book, but he is not.

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BEDWARD, Alfred Arthur Charles. Flight Sergeant (1338439)

35 Squadron. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 3 August 1943, aged 28

Alfred is not listed in the Borough's Book of Remembrance but is included here because the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's records note that he was the "husband of Annie J Bedward, of Ewell, Surrey". While we have not yet found a war-time connection with the Borough, there is, as noted below, a solid post-war one.

Alfred was born on 1 February 1914, the second of five children born to Henry Spencer Bedward and Fanny Louisa (née Lambert). The parents had married at St Paul's, Hammersmith in Q4 1910. The births of their first two children were registered in the Fulham District and the last three in nearby Hammersmith.

In Q1 1937 and registered in the Hammersmith District, Alfred married Annie (apparently known as "Nan") J Fairley. They were both aged 23. In the 1939 Register, the couple were recorded living at 38 Hillyard Road, Ealing. Alfred is listed as a "Night Telephonist (Post Office)" - a job he had begun on 19 December 1938 - and Annie as a "Small goods assembler, Electric motors". In due course, they had two children - Robert J (born Q3 1940) and Barbara P (born Q1 1943). Both births were registered in the Brentford District.

During November 1940, Alfred enlisted with the Royal Air Force, probably at Uxbridge. He served in 35 Squadron, which was re-formed on 5 November 1940 at RAF Linton-on-Ouse in Yorkshire as the first Handley Page Halifax Squadron of the RAF's Bomber Command. The Squadron subsequently relocated to RAF Graveley, five miles south of Huntingdon.

On 3 August 1943, Alfred was one of the seven aboard Halifax II HR863, TL-V which, with Pilot Officer Edmund Solomon at the controls, took off from RAF Graveley at 2350 hours to take part in a bombing raid on Hamburg. However, the aircraft encountered electrical storms and, having suffered very severe icing, crashed in Germany. The crash killed all those on board (including Alfred) except Sergeant A Stephen who survived as PoW.

The dead were initially buried in Stade Cemetery. On 24 September 1948, they were re-interred in joint grave 12.F. 9-10 of the Becklingen War Cemetery. This holds 2,374 Commonwealth WW2 caualties, and was chosen for its position on a hillside overlooking Luneburg Heath - which is where, on 4 May 1945, Field-Marshal Montgomery accepted the German surrender from Admiral Doenitz. The widowed Annie took the option of adding a personal inscription to Alfred's headstone,
'BELOVED HUSBAND OF NAN AND DADDY OF ROBERT AND BARBARA'.
The Becklingen War Cemetery
The Becklingen War Cemetery
Photograph courtesy of "hajotthu" via Wikimedia Commons

Between 1946 and 1950 the widowed Annie lived at 101 Wulfstan Street, Hammersmith. On 23 March 1950, however, she entered a relationship with William G Reeve to take his surname and moved to 44 Clandon Close, Stoneleigh. Son Robert J Bedward appears at that address in 1962. By 1965, the family were in Sutton - and, during 1967 at 53 Carshalton Road, Carshalton, where daughter Barbara P Bedward turns up for 1968.

Brian Bouchard © 2018
Updated by Roger Morgan 2018.

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BELLINGHAM, Leslie Horace. Aircraftman 1st Class (618700)

Royal Air Force
Died 28 May 1940, aged 32.

Leslie was born in Beckenham, Kent Q3 1908, the first child of Horace Charles Bellingham and Amy Jane (née Styles - they had married in Lambeth Q2 1908). The 1911 Census records the family living at 43 Thurleston Road, West Norwood with Horace working as a "Printers Clerk" in the newspapers.

No record has been found of the couple having other children. The 1939 Register records the parents living alone at 5 The Drive, Ewell. Horace is still a Newspaper Clerk" and Amy is listed with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". Leslie is not readily found in the 1939 Register, probably because he was already serving in the RAF: he was appointed as a Class F Reservist in mid 1938.

Unusually, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission records do not list Leslie's Squadron and the usual range of routine searches have failed to find details of his service in the RAF. The fact that he is remembered on the Runneymede Memorial means that he has no known grave and, given the date of his death, it seems likely that he was as a victim of the sinking of the SS Abukir as it evacuated British servicemen following the German invasion of Belgium.

SS Abukir was a British coastal steamship launched in 1920 as SS Island Queen. She was renamed in 1934 as SS Kyle Queen and, in 1935, was re-registered in Egypt as the SS Abukir. She was requisitioned by the War Office in 1940 and, in May, sent to Ostend in Belgium with a cargo of Army stores for the British Expeditionary Force. When that was overrun by the Blitzkrieg invasion of Belgium and France, SS Abukir assisted in the evacuation of Allied forces and, at 2220 hours on 27 May, under cover of darkness, sailed for England more than 200 BEF soldiers, personnel from the RAF (it is presumed including Leslie) and Belgian Air Component, together with 15 German prisoners of war, six priests, 40 to 50 women (including a party of nuns from a convent in Bruges) and a group of British schoolgirls.

The only known image of SS Abukir
The only known image of SS Abukir
Picture courtesy of aircrewrememembered.com.

As SS Abukir headed west for England, Luftwaffe aircraft bombed her for an hour and a half but failed to hit her. Then, at 0115 hours on 28 May, one of the German Navy's E-boats, S-34, attacked her. SS Abukir took a zigzag course and managed to avoid two torpedoes from S-34. However, with the SS Abukir's maximum speed of 8 knots - less than a fifth of the E-boat's top speed of 44 knots (they were rightly called "fast attack boats") - it was not an even contest and a later torpedo from the E-boat hit the coaster amidships, blowing her in two. SS Abukir burst into flames and sank within a minute. She was the first Allied ship to be sunk by an E-boat.

Many of those on board SS Abukir were killed in the initial explosion and consequent sinking, but S-34 then trained a searchlight on survivors in the water and machine-gunned them. Only 24 out of over 500 on board survived.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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BENNETT, Edwin John. Corporal (2002030)

295 Field Company. Royal Engineers
Died 27 August 1942, aged 25

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Edwin was born on 10 May 1917, the only child of John Bennett and Gladys Maude (née Hawton - they had married Q2 1917). Both the marriage and the birth were registered in West Ham, London. The 1939 Register records the 42 year old Gladys (listed with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties" living at 45 Derek Avenue, West Ewell, together with 22 year old Edwin - listed as a "Power Station Fitters Mate". (Gladys is recorded as married, but husband John is not there - and his name is too common to trace his whereabouts with any confidence. In Q3 1944, Gladys remarried a Mr Hutchings - registered in the Surrey Mid-Eastern District.)

Edwin's WW2 service was with the 295th Field Company of the Royal Engineers which was sent to North Africa late in 1940. The Italians had declared war on Britain in June 1940, advancing into British-held Egypt from their adjoining colony in Libya. British forces pushed them back over the border and advanced into Libya, seizing the valuable port of Tobruk. Germany came to the Italian's aid in March 1941 and the combined Axis forces pushed the main British line back to the Egyptian frontier. During all this, the 295th Field Company was engaged in hindering the Axis advance by destroying port installations and jetties at Bardia and Sollum, putting water supplies out of action and in cratering roads.

Axis forces were not, at that time, sufficient to retake well-fortified Tobruk and they withdrew to regroup for the next push eastwards (including the taking of Tobruk) towards the prizes of the Suez Canal and the Middle East oil fields. Their advance was halted only a few miles from Cairo by the first Battle of El Alamein (1-27 July 1942) - and was decisively reversed in the second Battle (from 23 October to 5 November 1942) which became the turning point of the whole war. There were, of course, lesser battles and skirmishes between the two main El Alamein battles and it was in one of these, on 27 August 1942, that Edwin was killed in action.

He is one of the 6,480 Commonwealth WW2 casualties buried in the El Alamein War Cemetery. His mother took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave XXV.D.20,
"Just for a while till we meet in that other Elysium".
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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BENSTEAD, Gerald Robert. Corporal (1205048)

171 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
Died 2 December 1942, aged 34.

Gerald's headstone in Morden Cemetery
Gerald's headstone in Morden Cemetery.
Photograph (53601695) by "julia&keld" via findagrave.com

Gerald was born in Rochester, Kent on 11 June 1908, the third child of George Edgar Benstead and of Mary Burnett (née Phipps). The 1911 Census records the family, now with a fourth child, living at 21 Gordon Terrace, Rochester. George is listed as an Examining Officer HM Customs and Excise.

In Q3 1932, Gerald married Hilda Gladys Love. The marriage was registered in Wandsworth, London. The couple appear to have had only one child, Jennifer, who was born Q2 1939. That birth was registered in Surrey North Eastern District. The Q3 19139 Register records the couple (with one closed record - presumably Jennifer's) living at 32 Kenton Avenue, Worcester Park. Gerald is listed as "Publishers Traveller (Educational Text Books)" while the very new mother Hilda is "Housewife Unpaid Domestic Duties". They then moved to 37 Kinross Avenue, Worcester Park (Gerald's home address as given on his Death Certificate).

Gerald's death came while he was serving with 171 Squadron. This had been formed at RAF Gatwick in June 1942 as a tactical reconnaissance unit of the Army Co-operation Command. It began operations in October 1942, flying Tomahawks and Mustangs along the coast of France. The readily available records provide no clue to Gerald's role within the Squadron (which was disbanded on 31 December 1942 and its equipment passed to 430 Squadron RCAF.)

Gerald died on 2 December 1942 of pulmonary tuberculosis at Park Prewett Hospital, Basingstoke. (This was originally a mental hospital but, like many others, was taken over for military use during WW2.) His body was then brought home for burial in Grave G.8.6925 of Morden Cemetery.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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BERRY, Frederick Charles. Lance Corporal (14422069)

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

Frederick's headstone in the Mierlo War Cemetery
Frederick's headstone in the Mierlo War Cemetery.
Photograph (18044608) by Des Philippet via findagrave.com

Frederick was born Q2 1925 to Charles William Berry and Olive (née Burdock). The parents' Q4 1924 marriage and Frederick's birth were both recorded in the Epsom District.

The 1939 Register records the couple living at 25 Woodlands Road, Epsom. 36 year old Charles is listed as a "road labourer" and 32 year old Olive with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". There are two currently closed records at the address - doubtless the 14 year old Frederick and his younger brother, Ronald born Q4 1928. (There are also two apparently unrelated lodgers at the address : widowed 74 year old William Wafforn, listed as an "Old Age Pensioner"; and 27 year old Reuben Suttle, listed as a "General Labourer" so perhaps Charles's work colleague.)

Frederick's WW2 service was 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. The Battalion, of course, was involved in various actions along the way, inevitably incurring some casualties - including Frederick who was killed in action on 8 December 1944. (The Battalion, without Frederick, eventually made it into Germany for the final actions of the war.)

Frederick was initially buried locally, at Geldrop (just outside Eindhoven, in the south east corner of the Netherlands). He was later reinterred as one of the 658 Commonwealth WW2 casualties in the nearby Mierlo War Cemetery. This was started in the spring of 1945 to gather in scattered graves from the surrounding district. His parents took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave II.F.8,
"Sleep on, dear son, / and take thy rest."
Roger Morgan © 2018

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BERRY, Hilda Cyrilla Madeline

Civilian
Died 21 April 1941, aged 56

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Hilda Cyrilla Madeline Neave was born on 6 August 1885 in the Camberwell District of London. On 14 March 1915, she married Charles Richard Berry at Christ Church, Greenwich. The 1939 Register records the couple living at 25 Ewhurst Road, Crofton Park, Lewisham together with what seems to have been their only child, Dennis, born on 2 May 1923. The 49 year old Charles is listed as "Surgical Warehouseman (heavy work)"; Hilda with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties"; and 16 year old Dennis as "Seeking Work, not previously employed". (Living with them - presumably as a lodger - was 65 year old Edward Stiff, a Stockbroker's Clerk.)

While at home on 19 April 1941, Hilda was injured by some "enemy action" in those closing weeks of the Luftwaffe's "Blitz" bombing campaign. She was taken to the Emergency Hospital at Horton - one of Epsom's cluster of mental hospitals that, as for WW1, had been taken over to deal with military and civilian wartime casualties. She died there two days later. (If others at the address were also injured, they recovered.)

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BETCHLEY, Richard Kendrick. Flying Officer/Navigator (130306)

235 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
Died 3 May 1943, aged 23

Richard was born on 2 March 1910, the second child of Thomas John Bletchley and Florence Sarah (née Kendrick - they had married in Q4 1907, registered in the Fulham District). The parents made their home at "Kenley", Clyde Road in Sutton, which is where both of their children were born - their first child, John, was born on 27 August 1908. (The births were registered in the Epsom District which, at the time, included Sutton.)

Sadly, Florence died while or shortly after giving birth to Richard on 2 March 1910: her death at the age of 37 was registered - also in the Epsom District - in Q1 1910, i.e. later that month. Poignantly, Richard was given his mother's maiden name - Kendrick - as his second name.

The 1911 Census records the widowed 34 year old Thomas living alone at "Kenley", Clyde Road in Sutton. He is listed as a "Third Class Clerk, Money Order Dept, Gen Post Office". The same Census records each of the two children visiting apparently unrelated families in the village of Postwick, Norfolk. The 1 year old Richard was a visitor in the home of early 30s Robert (a "Blacksmith Journeyman") and Jessie Brister, together with their three children. The 2 year old John was a visitor in the home 58 year old Robert Dent (a "Vermin Killer) and his 60 year old wife Sarah. Another visitor at the Dents was the unmarried 28 year old May Charlotte Luetchford. She had actually completed the Dent's Census return, giving her usual address as "Kenley", Clyde Road, Sutton - the same as Thomas's.

May came from a military family and appears to have been born abroad: in her 1911 Census entry, she entered "N/K" for place of birth. Her first appearance in the Census record is as an 18 year old in 1901, where she is found living with her early 40s uncle and aunt, Charles and Lucy Edwards (both school teachers) and their 13 year old daughter - May's cousin - at "Eastbourne Villa", Morland Road, Woodside, Croydon. May's occupation is listed as "Mother's Help, Domestic".

So, it would seem that, following the death of their mother, May was called in to help the widowed Thomas look after his two very young children. The reason for the rather odd position in the 1911 Census may never be known, but May and the children returned to Sutton and, in Q2 1916, the widowed Thomas married May. She was 33 and he was 39. After nearly 12 years of marriage, Thomas died in Q1 1928, aged 51.

None of the above appears to have any proper Borough connection. However, by the time of the 1939 Register, the surviving family had moved to 66 Cheam Road, Ewell. The widowed 57 year old May is listed with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". Both her step-children were still single: 31 year old John is listed as a "Customs Officer"; and 29 year old Richard as a "Bank Clerk".

Richard's WW2 service was in 235 Squadron, part of the RAF's Coastal Command. Over the course of the war, it operated from various bases round the UK. However, in the first half of 1943, it was stationed at RAF Leuchars in Fife, Scotland, flying Bristol Beaufighters.

The Bristol Beaufighter
The Bristol Beaufighter
Picture courtesy of BAE Systems

On 3 May 1943, Richard was the Navigator in Bristol Beaufighter Mk.X (X8064 235 SQ). The other person on board was the pilot, Sergeant Wyndham Greenwood (1525204). Their mission was to attack German shipping off the Norwegian coast. However, only 7 miles out from RAF Leuchars, the aircraft went into a spin and crashed into the North Sea, killing both men.

Richard's body was recovered and he is one of 50 WW2 service casualties buried in Sutton Cemetery, perhaps to be alongside his father. (Sergeant Greenwood was lost, and he is remembered on the Runneymede Memorial.)

Roger Morgan © 2018

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BEVAN, George Leslie. Fusilier (3977294)

2nd Battalion, Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment)
Died 13 May 1944, aged 20

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

George was born Q4 1923, probably the first of four children born to George Henry Bevan and Olive Mary (née Hooper). His birth - like his parents' marriage - was registered in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire. The parents are recorded in the 1939 Register living at Rose Cottage, Penycwn, Haverfordwest. 45 year old George senior is listed as a "Postman" and 41 year old Olive with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". There are four other records at the address, only the second of which (12 year old daughter, Nesta) is not currently closed. The closed record above hers is likely to be the 15 year old George junior.

The family then moved from that solid Welsh base to 53 Banstead Road, Ewell. Indeed, George junior's service records noted that, while he had been born in Pembrokeshire, his "resided county" was Surrey. (His mother's Q3 1958 death was also registered in the local Surrey Mid-Eastern District.)

George's WW2 service was with the 2nd Battalion, Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment), but the readily available records do not indicate when that began. It is, however, clear that this 20 year old fought in the last and finally successful fourth Battle of Monte Cassino.

After the Allies had captured Sicily in August 1943, Italy surrendered and Allied forces landed on the Italian mainland and began moving north. Germany quickly retaliated and Allied forces soon met increasingly stiff German opposition. As winter set in, the Allies were held at the well-prepared defensive "Gustav Line", dominated by the stronghold of Monte Cassino about 60 miles south east of Rome. Between 17 January and 18 May 1944, Monte Cassino and the Gustav defences were assaulted four times by Allied troops - the first three times without success but (as for the final and successful battle) with heavy casualties.

The fourth assault, involving twenty divisions attacking along a twenty-mile front, began on 11-12 May with a massive artillery bombardment. At an early stage in the subsequent infantry advances on 13 May 1944, George was killed in the furious action so did not live to see the hard-won Allied victory on 18 May.

George is one of the 3,991 Commonwealth WW2 servicemen buried in the Cassino War Cemetery. His parents took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave XVI.B.21,
" 'Forever with the Lord' he lies too far for me to plant his grave with flowers of memory".
The Cassino War Cemetery
The Cassino War Cemetery
Photograph (56059499) courtesy of Iain MacFarlaine via findagrave.com

Roger Morgan © 2018

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BIRD, Edward John. Leading Stoker (P/KX 136916)

HMLST (Landing Ship, Tank) 215 Royal Navy
Died 18 November 1944, aged 21

Edward Bird.
Edward "Ted" Bird.
Photograph courtesy of "Kelly"

Edward was born Q3 1923, the first child of Edward John and Esther Jane (née Giles - they had married Q1 1923). Three more children followed: Eric Q3 1925; Joyce Q4 1927; and Frederick Q1 1932. The parents' marriage and all the children's births were registered in the Epsom District.

The 1939 Register records the family living at 2 Birch Villas, Rosebery Road, Langley Vale, Epsom. 40 year old Edward John senior is listed as a "General Labourer" and 36 year old Esther with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". After three currently closed records - the first of which is doubtless the 16 year old Edward John junior - the record for the 7 year old schoolboy Peter is not closed (he died in October 1995). The final entry at the address is for Esther's widowed 71 year old father, George Giles, listed as a "Gardener".

Edward junior's death came while he was serving on HMLST 215. The role of a "Landing Ship, Tank" is self-explanatory. This LST survived the war, so Edward's death came not from its sinking but, presumably, from enemy action. Readily available records do not indicate where HMLST 215 was on 18 November 1944, but a number of LSTs were lost to enemy action off the Belgian coast at that time as the Allied forces advancing towards Germany after the June 1940 D-Day landings in Normandy were being re-supplied and strengthened - so it's quite likely that this is also where HMLST 215 was when Edward was killed.

His body was brought home for burial in Epsom Cemetery (Plot). His parents took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave O.505,
"This last voyage made / safe in port again / a dear son and pal / home safe at last."

Edward's headstone in Epsom Cemetery.
Edward's headstone in Epsom Cemetery.
Photograph (96087381) by Laurence Hennessy via findagrave.com

Roger Morgan © 2018

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BIRKHEAD, George Thomas. Sergeant (538032)

Royal Air Force
Died 30 October 1940, aged 25

George's headstone in Epsom Cemetery.
George's headstone in Epsom Cemetery.
Photograph (96088684) by Laurence Hennessy via findagrave.com

George was born in Basford, Nottinghamshire Q3 1915, the first child of James Byron Birkhead and Madeline Agnes (née Podesta - who married in Basford, also Q3 1915.) The family then moved to Shardlow, Derbyshire, where three more children were born: Byron Q1 1920; Joan Q2 1921; and Robert Q2 1922.

The 1939 Register records James (listed as a "Sales Manager") staying in the Downes household in Hornsea, Yorkshire while Madeleine (with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties") and most of the family were living at 22 Birkland Avenue, Nottingham.

George will not have been one of the currently closed records at that address since, in Q3 1939 (and registered in the Surrey NE District), he had married Winifred Maud Hyde. George is not found in the 1939 Register, probably because he was already serving in the RAF. (The Borough connection presumably comes for George's having lived here for a time before that - but that address has yet to be established.) However, the very newly married Winifred - the Register was taken on 29 September - is recorded living with Albert and Lily Wolstenholme at 36 Hurst Road. East Molesey. (She was born on 2 January 1919 and is listed as a "hairdresser". Some four years after George's death, she remarried to an Edward Wells.)

Unusually, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission give no details of George's Squadron. Other records note that the place of his death as Ringshall, Stowmarket - part of the country where there were many WW2 airfields - and his death certificate notes that he was stationed at RAF Wattisham, just south of Stowmarket. In the first couple of years of WW2, this was home for 107 and 110 Squadrons, part of the RAF's Bomber Command. Indeed, it was from RAF Wattisham that - on 4 September 1939 (just 29 hours after the declaration of war) - bombers took off on Britain's first attack of the war, against enemy shipping in Wilhelmshaven harbour.

The death certificate notes that the cause of George's death was, somewhat cryptically, "Due to war operations", as certified by Group Captain O Gayford, Officer Commanding RAF Wattisham. These details have led to a report that, on 29 October 1940, a Dornier 17 light bomber of the Luftwaffe's 6/KG 2 had attacked RAF Wattisham. In addition to damaging a number of aircraft it had also dropped a number of the new SD-2 anti-personnel "butterfly bombs". As an armourer, Sergeant George Birkhead was tasked with helping to dispose of some of these which had not exploded, and he was killed on 30 October 1940 when trying to dispose of these.

George's body was brought back to Epsom and was buried in Plot G.452 the Cemetery on 5 November 1940. In every readily available record, his first names are "George Thomas". However - perhaps because it was her pet name for him - the widowed Winifred had his name incised on the headstone as
"Patrick G T Birkhead"
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BLACKMAN, Catherine Amelia.

Civilian
Died 18 June 1944, aged 67

Catherine (in some records "Katherine") was born Q2 1877, the second of four children born to William and Amelia Worringham. The 1891 Census records the family living in St Helen's Gardens, Kensington. 49 year old William is listed as a "Stock-keeper Metal and Glass manufacturing" and 40 year old Amelia was presumably a full-time housewife. The oldest child, 18 year old Edward is listed as a "Warhouse Porter" and 14 year old Catherine as a "Nurse Girl". The two youngest children - 11 year old Lillian and 8 year old Edgar - were at school.

The 1901 Census records the now 24 year old Catherine (a "Dressmaker") visiting the early 60s Edward (a "House Painter") and Frances Blackman at 54, Sixth Avenue, Paddington - doubtless connected to her impending marriage in Q2 1901 to the 25 year old Harry Blackman, registered in the Chelsea District.

By the time of the 1911 Census, Harry (a "Clerk" at a Chartered Accountants) and Catherine weer living at 21 Ealing Park Gardens, Ealing, together with their daughters Olive and Evelyn, aged 6 and 9 respectively. It is known from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's records that Catherine was widowed and it seems that Harry died aged only 39 in Q1 1915, registered in the Brentford District.

At some point, Catherine moved to the Borough. Probably because of transcription errors, she has not yet been found in the 1939 Register. However, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission nogtes that she was living at 16 Chestnut Avenue, Ewell when she was killed there by enemy action on 18 June 1944.

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BLACKMAN, Harry Edwin. Private (6141461)

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

Harry was born in Q4 1918, the first child of Harry Edwin Blackman and Cecilia Fanny (née Chapman - they had married Q1 1918). Both their marriage and Harry's birth were registered in the Sevenoaks District. The parents had three more children - Derek (Q3 1922), Daphne (Q3 1927) and Denis (Q2 1929) - all of whose births were registered in the Lewes District.

By the time of the September 1939 Register, the family had moved to the Borough and were recorded living at 54 Parklawn Avenue, Epsom. 44 year old Harry senior is listed as a "GPO Clerk" and 45 year old Cecelia with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". Harry junior was not at home since he is likely already to have been in uniform. 17 year old Derek is listed an "Errand Boy", and the 12 and 10 year olds were at school.

Harry's WW2 service was 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 Commonwealth WW2 land and air forces who have no known grave.

The Singapore Memorial (rear) in the Kranji War Cemetery
The Singapore Memorial (rear) in the Kranji War Cemetery
Picture with thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Roger Morgan © 2018

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BLACKMAN, Laura Kate.

Civilian
Died 16 April 1941, aged 70

Laura was born on 1 November 1870 in Bletchley, Bucks (and baptised there on Christmas Day 1870), the fourth child of Joseph and Catherine Empleton. The 1871 Census records the family - with Joseph working as a Groom - living at 5 Fenny Stratford Road, Bletchley.

Not long after that, the family moved to Rugby, Warwickshire. Laura's younger brother was born there in 1876. The 1881 Census records them living at 3 Laurel Terrace, Rugby.

On Christmas Day 1894, Laura married John Blackman (born in Portsmouth on 16 June 1869) in St Matthew's, Rugby. The couple settled in London where the 1901 Census records them at 15 Delhi Street, Islington with two daughters. John was working as a "coffee roaster". By the time of the 1911 Census, John had changed jobs to be a Schoolkeeper, and the family (now with a third daughter) were living at the Waterloo Street School House, Hammersmith.

During WW1, John served as an Able Seaman (132066) on HMS Wizard, a Conflict Class destroyer used as a tender for HMS Excellent, a Royal Navy shore establishment near Portsmouth which was part of the Maritime Warfare School. He then returned to his job as an LCC Schoolkeeper.

The 1939 Register records Laura and John living at 17 Glenwood Road, Stoneleigh. John was still working as an LCC Schoolkeeper while Laura is shown with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". Living with them were their two unmarried daughters: 42 year old Adelaide, working as a Typist; and 38 year old Beatrice, a Dressmaker.

As a result of some "enemy action" in the closing weeks of the Luftwaffe's "Blitz" bombing campaign, Laura was killed at home, 17 Glenwood Road, on 16 April 1941. If her husband and daughters were injured in the attack, they survived.

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BLISS, John Miller. Sergeant (1232224) Wireless Operator/Air Gunner

15 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 18 November 1943, aged 20

John Miller Bliss as a schoolboy
John Miller Bliss as a schoolboy.
Photo courtesy of Glyn School.

John was born in Epsom on 15 February 1923, the second or third child of James Miller Bliss and Eleanor (née Richardson - they had married in Q3 1912, in Wandsworth). The 1939 Register records the parents (with James as a "Permanent Civil Servant") living at 5 Copse Edge Avenue, Epsom, together with their 25 year old daughter Marjorie. There is one currently closed record at the address - perhaps the 16 year old John.

John's secondary education was at Epsom County School for Boys (now Glyn School) which he joined in January 1933. While average at general schoolwork, he was strong at Languages, particularly French. (However, Art seems to have been more of a problem: the school's punishment book records him being caned "for slapping another boy with a wet paint rag"). Beyond the classroom, John represented the 2nd XI at Football and helped out backstage at many school plays.

He apparently joined up soon after leaving school and was eventually attached to 15 Squadron, part of RAF's Bomber Command. During the course of WW2, the Squadron operated from various bases in East Anglia and flew a variety of aircraft.

However, on the night of 18/19 November 1943 Bliss was the Radio Operator in a Short Stirling Mk III, BK707/LSG, taking part in the initial stages of the "Battle of Berlin" - Air Marshal Sir Arthur "Bomber" Harris's new offensive against the German capital and other major cities.

A Short Stirling Bomber
A Short Stirling Bomber being "bombed up"
Photograph by Charles E Brown (TR 8 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums)
Public Domain

The particular operation - a bombing raid against Mannheim - was to be conducted jointly with 622 Squadron. At 1715hrs on 18 November 12 Stirlings of 15 Squadron prepared to take off from RAF Mildenhall. John's BK707/LSG - piloted by New Zealander, Flight Sergeant Stanley Calder - joined the stream of bombers leaving the English coast over Beachy Head, reaching the French coast at Cayeux. From there it proceeded to Ludwigshafen from and on to Mannheim. Despite the navigators' best efforts, thick cloud cover meant that the Squadron's bombardment (between 2020 and 2110hrs) missed the principal target area, falling mainly in the North of the city and causing substantial damage there.

Having dropped their bombs, the crew of Stirling BK707/LSG set course for home but, about 125 miles east of Paris, their aircraft was shot down by a German night fighter. (It was later discovered that the pilot of the German plane was Reinhard Kollak, a notable "ace" who earned the Knights' Cross with Oak Leaves and who survived the war.)

The Stirling crashed killing all seven men on board. It had fallen into a military camp and local people, under the direction of the Kommandant, arranged for the crew's proper burial. All seven men were later reburied in the nearby Souain Communal Cemetery - the only Commonwealth WW2 casualties there. John's parents took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Joint Grave 3-4,
" 'There's some corner of a foreign field that is for ever England.' Of Epsom, Surrey."
John's headstone in Souain Communal Cemetery, Marne
John's headstone in Souain Communal Cemetery, Marne
Copyright acknowledged

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

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BLOXAM, Arthur George

Civilian
Died 7 November 1940, aged 74

Arthur was born in Woolwich on 20 March 1866, the fifth of six children in the family of Charles Loudon Bloxam and Frederica Louisa (née Abel - they had married on 17 July 1856, registered in the Lambeth District). The 1871 Census records the family living at Belmont House, Nightingale Terrace, Woolwich. 50 year old Charles is listed as a "Professor of Chemistry RMA" (presumably the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich). This was a prosperous household: 55 year old Frederica was assisted in its running by three domestic servants.

In 1903, the 37 year old Arthur - a Chartered Patent Agent - married 27 year old Winifred Mary Shapland-Rugg. They set up home in Hampstead where they had four daughters. However, the 1911 Census records the family of six, plus two servants, staying at the sea-front Runnymede Hotel in The Leas, Westcliff-On-Sea.

The 1939 Register records Arthur and Winifred living with their eldest daughter, Barbara, and her family at 19 Links Road, Epsom.

During an air raid on 7 November 1940 - in the early days of the Luftwaffe's "Blitz" bombing campaign - a bomb fell on 19 Links Road which killed Arthur, his daughter Barbara and her husband George McCormick (and a visitor Edward Conran).

Arthur was buried in Epsom Cemetery (Grave M405) on 13 November 1940 alongside his daughter and son in law in Grave M404.

Arthur's wife, Winifred, survived the war. When she died (at 44 Onslow Rd, Richmond) in November 1949, she was brought back to Epsom for burial - on 1 December 1949, joining her late husband in Grave M405.

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BOCUTT, Alexander Herbert. Leading Fireman

National Fire Service
Died 14 December 1943, aged 37

Alexander's headstone in St Mary's New Cemetery, Dover
Alexander's headstone in St Mary's New Cemetery, Dover
Photograph by Joyce Banks, with thanks to The Dover War Memorial Project

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Alexander Herbert Bocutt - in adulthood, known as "Bert" - was born on 30 November 1906, the third of four children born to Alfred Arthur and Jessie Bocutt. Alfred had been born in Meerut, India on 20 April 1875. Jessie (née Wright) had been born on 11 April 1876. The couple had married in 1902. Alfred was a Coastguard and obviously quite mobile: the couple's first child, Alfred, was born in Dover in 1903; their second Charles William, was born in Newhaven in 1905; and Alexander and then Robert were both born in the Swanage District in, respectively, 1906 and 1909. This was presumably at the same address recorded for the family in the 1911 Census of 4 Coastguard Station, West Lulworth, Wareham, Dorset.

The family later returned to Dover and probably to 30 Longfield Road where they were recorded in the 1939 Register. Resident in 1939 were: the now retired Alfred and his wife Jessie; Alexander; his wife, Ivy Mary (née Kilyon - they had married at St Martin's, Dover on 9 March 1929); their son, Peter Brian, born on 29 November 1929; and Alexander's older brother, Charles. Alexander and Charles were both "Foremen Decorators" employed by a builder, Cecil Hodgson, of 104 Clarendon Street, Dover. Both the women were listed with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties", and the nearly 10 year old Peter was at School.

During WW2, Alexander was a Leading Fireman in the National Fire Service and will have been kept busy on fire-fighting and rescue duties in the Dover area. Sadness hit the family in 1941 with Jessie's sudden death on 6 January and again when Alexander's oldest brother, Charles, in the Navy, was one of the many casualties in the 24 May sinking of HMS Hood. (There was nearly further great sadness when, on 27 September 1943, the 13 year old Peter and two friends were only injured by a bakelite grenade which they had found on Plum Pudding Hill.

However, Alexander's death did not occur while he was on duty during the many air raids in the area but was the result of illness for which he was admitted to the Horton Emergency Hospital at Epsom - one of Epsom's cluster of mental hospitals that, as for WW1, had been taken over for handling wartime casualties. He died there on 14 December 1943 , aged 37 - according to his death announcement "after much suffering, patiently borne". His body was returned to Dover for burial in St Mary's New Cemetery. (His widow, Ivy, died in 1963 and was buried in the same grave.)

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BOND, Rose Ethel

Civilian
Died 9 September 1940, aged 8

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Rose was born Q2 1933, the fifth of six children born to Sydney Arthur Bond and Emily (née Coulson). The parents had married Q1 1923 in Romford, Essex - where their first two children were born. The last four were all born in the Bermondsey District - probably at 60 Acorn Walk, Rotherhithe Street, Rotherhithe, which is where the family were recorded in the 1939 Register, with Sydney working as a labourer in the London Docks.

After the Battle of Britain, the next phase of WW2 was the "Blitz", the Luftwaffe's bombing campaign against London and other major centres. This began with a daylight raid of the London Docks on 7 September 1940. There was great damage to the Docks and the surrounding area. Many of the surviving residents were evacuated to the nearby Keeton's Road School.

A second wave of the Blitz came that evening, during which the school received a direct hit. It is reported that some 400 of the evacuees were killed outright. Others, including the eight year old Rose (and Arthur Dwan) were injured. She was taken to the Horton Emergency Hospital at Epsom - one of Epsom's cluster of mental hospitals that, as for WW1, had been taken over for handling wartime casualties - and died there from her injuries two days later, on 9 September 1940.

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BOUSFIELD, John Henry. Sergeant 1339908

158 Sqdn. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 14 February 1943 Age 27

Left: the memorial at the crash site<br>Right: John's headstone in the Jonkerbos War Cemetery
Left: the memorial at the crash site
Picture with thanks to to aircrewremembered.com
Right: John's headstone in the Jonkerbos War Cemetery
Photograph (13826531) by Des Phillipet via findagrave.com

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance.

John was born on 6 May 1915 in the Gateshead District. He was the twelfth and last child born to Adam William Bousfield and Margaret Ann (née Longstaff - they had married Q4 1897, registered in Durham). The 1911 Census had recorded the family living at 5 Townley Terrace, Stella Blaydon, Durham. 34 year old Adam is listed as a "Coal Miner, Hewer". 33 year old Margaret had already had nine children (one of which had died in infancy).

At some point, John moved south. The September 1939 Register records the 24 year old (listed as a "Butcher's Assistant") living, possibly as a lodger, at 79 Station Avenue, West Ewell with Edwin (an "Insurance Agent") and Ada Conway and their two daughters. Before the end of the year, he had married the older daughter, 25 year old May Victoria Conway (a "Hairdresser's Receptionist"). Their Q4 1939 marriage was registered in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District, as was the birth of their daughter Valerie in Q4 1940. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records note the widowed May as being "of West Ewell, Surrey".

In or after November 1940, John enlisted with the Royal Air Force, probably at Uxbridge. By 1943, he was serving in 158 Squadron, part of the RAF's Bomber Command, stationed at RAF Rufforth in Yorkshire.

On 14 February 1943, John was an Air Gunner among the 7-man crew of Halifax II, DT694 N-PN, with Squadron Leader William Fletcher, DFC, DFM, at the controls This took off at 1818 hours from RAF Rufforth for a mass bombing raid (involving a total of 243 aircraft) on Cologne. During the return flight in bright moonlight, the bomber was crippled by a night fighter Messerschmitt Bf110 of 6 NJG 1. (This was the first "kill" accredited to Lt Johannes Hager who survived the war as a top ace with some 50 confirmed claims.) The stricken aircraft was also hit by anti-aircraft fire. Shortly before it crashed in woods near Mechelen in the Netherlands, two of the crew managed to bail out. The other five - including the pilot and John - were killed in the crash.

One of the survivors, Sergeant Ernest Jackson, broke his ankle on landing and was taken Prisoner of War. He later escaped from Stalag Teschen but was recaptured and was in Stalag Lamsdorf until the end of the war. The other survivor, Belgian national Flight Lieutenant Moire Alphonse Jean Pierre was helped back to the UK by the Resistance and its "Comet Line", arriving at RAF Hendon on 20 April 1943.

Initially, the five killed in this crash were buried at Venlo. They were later re-interred in the Jonkerbos War Cemetery, south of Arnhem in the Netherlands which holds 1,545 Commonwealth WW2 casualties. The widowed May took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Collective Grave 12.E.2-5,
'At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember him '.
Brian Bouchard © 2018
With thanks to aircrewremembered.com for the mission information
Updated by Roger Morgan 2018

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BOWDEN, Ronald Walter

Auxiliary Fire Service
Died 25 October 1940, aged 32

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

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Ronald was born Q3 1908, the first (and, it seems, only) child of Walter Joel Bowden and Florence Jane (née Duffy - they had married Q3 1907, registered in the Holborn District). The 1911 Census records the family of three living at 76 Church Road, Barnes. Walter, now aged 34, is listed as having been born in Exeter and working as an "Electrical Engineer". 29 year old Florence had been born in Clerkenwell. None of the family is readily found in the 1939 Register. However, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records note that the parents were "of 2 South Mead, Ewell Court, Ewell, Surrey".

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission also reports that Ronald died on 25 October 1940 at the "Commer Car Works, Chase Road". (Commer was a British manufacturer of commercial vehicles from 1905 until 1979, with its headquarters in Luton.) As Ronald is listed as a member of the Auxiliary Fire Service, the presumption must be that his death came while fighting a fire in those early days of the Blitz.

A few members of the Epsom A.F.S Brigade
A few members of the Epsom Auxiliary Fire Service
Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum.

There remains a question mark over the place of his death. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission notes that the reporting authority was the Acton Municipal Borough - and there is a Chase Road in Acton. However, the records of Epsom Cemetery - where Ronald was buried in Grave M527 on 31 October 1940 - give the place of his death as "Comm Car Works, Chase Rd, Epsom". Those Cemetery records also list him as an "Engineer".

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BOWLES, Leonard Edmund Cooper. Serjeant (2189725)

801 Road Construction Company, Royal Engineers
Died 18 June 1944, aged 37

Leonard's headstone in the Bari War Cemetery
Leonard's headstone in the Bari War Cemetery
Photograph (56106715) by Bob Boston via findagrave.com

(The compilers of the Borough's Book of Remembrance mistakenly noted this individual as "Bowles, Edmund Leonard".)

Leonard's birth was registered in the Tonbridge District of Kent in Q4 1906, (Some Forces records note that his birth month was October 1906.) Unusually, the GRO records have a blank for his mother's maiden name. As Leonard has not yet been found in the 1911 Census, it is sadly impossible to discover anything about his family background in the the readily available records.

After his birth registration, the next certain sighting of Leonard is his December 1927 marriage to Cecily Anne Kelly - they were both aged 21. The marriage was registered in the Strood District of Kent, but Cecily had strong links with Epsom. The 1911 Census records her as the oldest of three children living with their parents - 32 year old Joseph (a "Trainer of Racehorses") and 30 year old Edith Elizabeth Kelly - at South Hatch, the training stables in Burgh Heath Road, Epsom.

Leonard and Cecily had three children - Patrick, Anthony and Ann - all of whose births (in, respectively, Q4 1928, Q1 1931 and Q2 1932) were registered in the Medway District. The 1939 Register records Cecily (listed with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties") back in Epsom living with her parents at 71 College Road. 8 year old Anthony is also recorded there, and the other two children are presumably behind the currently closed records.

Leonard is not found in the 1939 Register, probably because he was already in uniform serving with 801 Road Construction Company of the Royal Engineers. Its members' key role was helping maintain supply routes but they could, of course, fight as necessary. Disappointingly little information is available in the readily available records about this company's experiences in WW2, although it seems clear that they had been active in the North African Desert Campaign. However, by June 1944, Leonard's duty location was "Italy". On 18 June 1944, Leonard was in the SE Italian port of Bari - in an area that had been securely in Allied hands for some months - when, as recorded in Casualty List No 1489, he was "Accidentally killed".

Leonard is one of the 2,045 Commonwealth WW2 casualties buried in the Bari War Cemetery. His widow took the opportunity of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave VII.B.13,
"In treasured memory of my darling husband Len. In life one of the finest, in death one of the brave."
(The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records note the widowed Cecily to be "of West Ewell, Surrey", but that address has yet to be established. On 13 September 1950 and registered in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District, Cecily got married again - to Walter L Johnson.)

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BOXALL, Stanley Edward. Warrant Officer (1401208)

154 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 12 June 1944, aged 22

Stanley and his twin Allan were born in Hambledon, Surrey (just south of Godalming) in Q1 1922. They were the third and fourth children of Stanley E Boxall and Jeannette (née Shoesmith - they had married in Q3 1918, registered in Alton, Hampshire). The birth of the couple's fifth child in Q4 1924 was registered in the Epsom District, but probably occurred in Sutton (which, at the time, came within the Epsom District): when Jeanette died aged 47 on 15 April 1932, the family's address was 10 Hilton Grange Estate, Sutton Common Road, Sutton.

In Q4 1934, Stanley got married again - to Daisy H Baker. The September 1939 Register records the family living at 181 Sutton Common Road, Sutton (perhaps the same house as in 1932, but renumbered). 47 year old Stanley is listed as a "Schoolmaster" and Daisy with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". Between Stanley's oldest child (20 year old Roland, a "Marine Engineer's Apprentice") and the youngest (14 year old schoolboy Robert) are two currently closed records - one of which may conceal the 17 year old Stanley.

The family subsequently moved into the Borough. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records list the parents as being "of Epsom, Surrey" and the Probate record of administration of Stanley junior's £ 341 estate being awarded to his father gives the address as 11 Dorking Road, Epsom.

Stanley's WW2 service was with 154 Squadron. This had been reformed in 1941/42 as part of the RAF's Fighter Command and equipped with Supermarine Spitfires. Later in 1942, it saw action in Algeria and Tunisia as part of the Allies' Operation Torch invasion of Tunisia and Algeria, providing cover for coastal shipping, ports and Army installations. In June 1943, the Squadron arrived in Malta to undertake ground sweeps over Sicily. Soon after the Allied July 1943 landings in Sicily, the Squadron moved there for defensive patrols. As the Allies continued to make progress against German forces, elements of the Squadron saw service at various points around the Mediterranean.

Sadly, the usual range of routine searches provide no information about the circumstances - or even the location of - Stanley's death. He must have been lost on some operation as he is one of the 2,298 Commonwealth aircrew named on the Malta Memorial. This commemorates those who lost their lives in the various WW2 air battles and engagements around the Mediterranean, and who have no known grave.

The Malta Memorial
The Malta Memorial
Photograph by Colin Cameron via Wikimedia

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BRIDGMAN, Edward James. Private (14650056)

1st Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment
Died 19 June 1944, aged 19

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Edward was born Q1 1925, the first child of Edward John Bridgman and Eleanor Mary (née Almond). Their Q3 1922 marriage was registered in Croydon, but Edward junior's birth was registered in Epsom - as was that of his only sibling, Cyril, on 26 March 1931.

It seems likely that, after their marriage, the parents lived with Edward senior's parents at 2 Horton Hill, Epsom. That was the Bridgman family address in 1911 when the Census recorded Edward senior's 41 year old father (yet another Edward) employed as an "Asylum Attendant" undoubtedly at one of Epsom's "cluster" of mental hospitals and 19 year old Edward senior employed as a "Butcher".

By the time of the 1939 Register, 46 year old Edward senior (now a "Mental Nurse") and 42 year old Eleanor (listed with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties") were still at 2 Horton Hill, with the only other occupants being a currently closed record (doubtless of the 14 year old Edward junior) and 8 year old schoolboy Cyril.

Edward's WW2 service was with the 1st Battalion of the Dorsetshire Regiment. While the readily available records do not indicate when that began, his age makes it likely that his first action was in the 6 June 1944 D-Day landings. (The Battalion, which had experience from its 1943 amphibious landings in Sicily, was in the van of these.) Their landing was achieved with fewer losses than expected, and they were able quickly to make their way inland, by nightfall being at the village of Ryes. Breaking past the German strongholds of Bayeux and Caen proved significantly harder than the Allies had anticipated. The 1st Dorsets were involved in fierce fighting around Tilly and then Hottot. It was in this latter fighting that the 19 year old Edward was killed in action on 19 June 1944.

Leonard is one of the 1,005 Commonwealth WW2 burials in the Hottot-Les-Bagues War Cemetery, about 10 miles south of Bayeux and 10 miles west of Caen. His parents took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave XII.J.8
"Fell in the battle grim, the Lord was there and led him to the heavenly land."
The Hottot-Les-Bagues War Cemetery
The Hottot-Les-Bagues War Cemetery
Photograph (2201495) by "soilsister" via findagrave.com

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BRIGHT, Francis Edmund. Lieutenant (197289)

5th Battalion, Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders
Died 17 July 1943, aged 28

Francis's headstone in the Catania War Cemetery
Francis's headstone in the Catania War Cemetery
Image © The Catania Virtual Cemetery, used with permission

Francis was born on 23 February 1915, the second of three children born to Francis Joseph Bright and Elsie (née Tompkins). The parents had married in Luton, Bedfordshire, on 28 August 1912, but the births of all three children - Douglas (Q3 1913), Francis junior and Doris (Q3 1916) - were registered in Wandsworth.

At some point, the family moved to the Borough. The 1939 Register records the parents living at 43 Kenton Avenue, Worcester Park, with Francis senior listed as "Buyer - Constructional Engineer" and Elsie with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". Still living with them was their daughter, 25 year old Doris (a "Shorthand Typist").

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission credits Francis junior with an MA degree from Cambridge University, and the 1939 Register records this 24 year old as an "Assistant Master In Secondary School" living/lodging at 19 Pines Avenue, Worthing. (His hosts, Elizabeth and Mabel Humphries are both listed as retired teachers.)

The readily available records do not indicate when Francis joined the 5th Battalion Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders. If this was relatively early in WW2, he would have seen action in the Second Battle of El Alamein in October 1942. The Battalion's next major action was in "Operation Husky" the Allies' invasion of Sicily which began on the night of 9/10 July 1943.

Many, on both sides, were killed in action during the fierce fighting that led to the Allies finally taking Sicily and Francis died on the day that was achieved, 17 August 1943. (This Allied victory led to an armistice with Italy - which then rejoined the war on Allies' side - and was a key turning point in the war in Europe. He is one of the 2,135 Commonwealth burials in the Catania War Cemetery, Sicily. His parents took the opportunity of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave I.A.1,
"No fame or glory craved/ His life was modest / That life he gave / Ever in our thoughts."

Roger Morgan © 2018
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BRISK, James. Gunner (1457300)

57 (1/5th Battalion The East Surrey Regiment) Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery
Died 25 August 1942, aged 36

James' headstone in the Prague War Cemetery
James' headstone in the Prague War Cemetery
Photograph (18428837) by "Adrienne" via findagrave.com

James was born in the Kennington area of London Q4 1905, the fourth child of James Brisk and Eva (née Cunningham - they had married in London's Poplar Q4 1894). The 1911 Census records the family - now with six children, living at 48 Harleyford Road, Lambeth.

At some point, the parents moved to the Borough. The 1939 Register records them living at 106 Chadacre Road, Stoneleigh. James senior is listed as "Crane Driver, Retired" (in the 1911 Census, he had been a "Steam Cleaner of Office Buildings") and Eva with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". Living with them are two of their unmarried daughters; the 43 year old eldest, another Eva, is listed as "Shorthand Typist Board of Trade" (in the 1911 Census, the then 15 year old was working as a "Bottle Labeller of Patent Medicines"); and the 18 year old Violet listed as "Shorthand Typist Inland Revenue". (Also living there was a 12 year old Dennis Brisk, presumably a grandson.)

The 1939 Register does not list 33 year old James junior, the subject of this article, probably because he was already in the Army. His Regiment was among the troops sent to France in the early days of WW2 as part of the British Expeditionary Force ready to counter the expected German invasion. As is well-known, it was unable to do so and, fighting rear-guard actions along the way, a significant core of the British forces were evacuated from Dunkirk in mid-1940. Many were also killed or taken prisoner in the confusion of that withdrawal. James was originally reported missing in action but, by 5 September, it was confirmed that he had been captured and was a Prisoner of War.

On 25 August 1942, James died at a PoW camp somewhere in what was then Czechoslovakia and was buried locally. Some years later, he was reinterred in the new Prague War Cemetery. This was constructed by the Czechoslovak Government (to plans provided by the Imperial War Graves Commission) under the terms of the War Graves Agreement of 3 March 1949. It contains 256 Commonwealth WW2 burials - including James - brought into the cemetery from 73 small cemeteries scattered all over the country.

James' family took up the option of adding the following personal message on his standard headstone:
"We all loved him and miss him; may we meet again, O Lord. Mum, Dad and all"
Roger Morgan © 2018

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BROCKBANK, Maurice Chester. Captain (Mentioned in Dispatches)

No. 45 Royal Marines Commando.
Died 12 April 1945, aged 34

Maurice's headstone in Becklingen War Cemetery
Maurice's headstone in Becklingen War Cemetery
Picture courtesy of David Lee via commandoveterans.org

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Maurice was born on 30 August 1910, the son of English-born Clarence Jessie Brockbank and Caroline (née Partridge - they had married in Southbridge, Massachusetts USA on 20 August 1909).

None of his early life is found in the readily available records. In Q3 1938, he married Marjorie Winifred Adams. The marriage was registered in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District - considtent with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records noting that the widowed Marjorie was "of Ewell" - although that address has yet to be established.

However, the September 1939 Register records the couple living at 11 Selwyn Court, Church Road, Richmond. The 29 year old Maurice is listed as "Tech Engineer (Abrasive Wheels)" and the 23 year old Marjorie with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". A tribute left on the findagrave website indicates that the couple later had a son, Howard.

Maurice's WW2 service was with the Royal Marine Commandos - elite and highly trained fighters used for special operations either at the front line or actually in enemy-held territory. Initially with No. 40 Commando, the then Lieutenant Maurice Brockbank was - as noted in the London Gazette on 23 January 1945 - Mentioned in Dispatches "for outstanding service while operating with the Allied Armies in Italy".

He transferred to No. 45 Commando which, as part of the 1st Special Service Brigade, participated in Operation Overlord (the D-Day Normandy landings), before going on to move through Europe into Germany. It was heavily involved in the key crossing of Rhine and the rapid progress of Allied forces eastwards including crossings of the rivers Weser, Aller and Elbe.

Captain Brockbank's 'C' Troop of 45 Royal Marine Commando at Drevenack
Captain Brockbank's "C" Troop of 45 Royal Marine Commando at Drevenack
with German trophies captured during the storming of Wesel.
Picture © IWM (A 27928)

The now Captain Brockbank was killed in action during the fierce fighting to cross the river Aller, just northeast of Hanover. He is buried in Grave 8.D.13 of the nearby Becklingen War Cemetery. This holds 2,374 Commonwealth WW2 casualties, and was chosen for its position on a hillside overlooking Luneburg Heath - which is where, on 4 May 1945, Field-Marshal Montgomery accepted the German surrender from Admiral Doenitz.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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BRODERICK, George Adrian Leonard. Flying Officer/Observer (122067)

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

George Broderick
George Broderick
Image taken from James R Stevens' book Searching for the Hudson Bombers

George was born in Epsom on 23 April 1911, the first child of Adrian Joseph Broderick and Elizabeth Lydia (née Watkins). The parents' Q4 1910 marriage was registered in the Epsom District, and the 2 April 1911 Census records them living at 14 Upper Court Road, Epsom, with 30 year old Adrian listed as "Stores Porter, LCC Asylum" (which, according to the records of his three years' WW1 service with the RASC in France, was the Long Grove Hospital - one of Epsom's "cluster of mental hospitals). 31 year old Elizabeth was heavily pregnant with George who was born later that month. The couple had two more children - Leonard Adrian (born Q4 1914) and Joseph Maurice (born Q2 1916).

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 (UAB). For a while he worked in Newcastle upon Tyne, but subsequently obtained a transfer to a UAB office in London's Soho.

On 26 June 1937 and registered in the Wandsworth District, the 28 year old George married 27 year old Frances Rose Madeleine Edwards - the only child of Caroline Rose (née Shaughnessy) and Percy George Vincent Edwards. By the time of the 1939 Register, Caroline (listed with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties") and Percy (a "Cashier, Artists Colourman) were living at 110 Chadacre Road, Stoneleigh.

The newly married George and Frances shared this home with them. However, while the 1939 Register records Frances (listed with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties") at 110 Chadacre Road, George was visiting his parents, now at 64 Upper Court Road, Epsom. (George and Frances had one child - Jill Susan, born on 20 April 1943 and registered in the Surrey North East District.)

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 RAF 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 RAF Henlow on 28 March 1943 for refurbishment.

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.

The 350 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. The widowed Frances took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave 12.G.30.
"Greater love hath no man."
The El Alia Cemetery, Algeria
The El Alia Cemetery, Algeria
Photograph with thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

George is also commemorated on the Suttonian Memorial.

The widowed Frances acquired her own home in Chadacre Road, Stoneleigh. She taught at the Convent of the Sacred Heart School in Epsom - which daughter Jill also attended - Sacred Heart before leaving the area following the death of her widower father on 24 June 1962 (her mother had died in May 1945). Having eventually entered sheltered accommodation at Guillemard Court, Chichester Grove, Birmingham, Frances's death was recorded in the West Midlands during 1994. Daughter Jill had married Derek M Tansley in Southend Q2 1967, and went to live in Othery, Somerset.

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.

Brian Bouchard 2014
Updated by Roger Morgan 2018

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BROWN, Albert Edward

Civilian
Died 9 November 1940, aged 71

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records note that Albert was "of 82 Mann Street, Walworth, London". (Mann Street no longer exists: it was in the area cleared to make way for Walworth's Aylesbury Estate built between 1963 and 1977.)

His common names make it difficult to trace his background in the readily available records with any confidence: indeed, he is not even found in the 1939 Register. However, the CWGC's records of the sad story below enable some details to be established. To be aged 71 in 1940, Albert would have been born in 1869/70. Other victims of the bombing that led to Albert's death were his 69 year old wife Mary (so born in 1871/72) and 40 year old daughter in law Elsie (so born in 1900/01), wife of Albert and Mary's son Cecil J Brown. (Elsie is also listed as being "of 82 Mann Street".)

After the RAF had prevailed in the 1940 Battle of Britain, the Lufwaffe began on 7 September 1940 its bombing offensive that became known as the Blitz. On 29 October, when the Blitz was well under way, Albert, Mary and Elsie were among the many from the nearby streets sheltering in the crypt of St. Peter's Church in Liverpool Grove, Walworth (about a mile south of Southwark Cathedral).

The church received a direct hit. Of those sheltering in the crypt, over 70 (including Mary and Elsie) were killed outright and others (including Albert) were badly injured. Albert was taken to the Emergency Hospital at Horton - one of Epsom's cluster of mental hospitals that, as for WW1, had been taken over to deal with military and civilian wartime casualties. He died there nearly two weeks later, on 9 November 1940.

St Peter's church had been built between 1823-25 in the wave of church building following the Napoleonic wars. It was the first church designed by Sir John Soane and, after its post-war restoration (and re-dedication 11 July 1953), it is the best preserved of Soane's churches. The church contains a memorial to all those killed in the bombing and these are read out each year at a Service of Commemoration on the anniversary of the bombing.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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BROWN, Albert Keith Winslow. Cadet

Merchant Navy
Died 31 March 1942, aged 17

Albert was born in Midhurst, Sussex Q2 1924. He was apparently the only child of Albert George Brown and Violet Edith (née Smith - they had married in Portsmouth Q3 1923).

At some point, the family moved to the Borough. The 1939 Register records the parents living as "St Andrew's", Hill Road, Epsom. 51 year old Albert senior is listed as "Senior Assistant in Legal Dept of Petroleum Suppliers & Importers (Chartered Secretary)" and 45 year old Violet with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". There is one currently closed record at the address, doubtless of the 15 year old Albert junior. (The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records list the parents as being "of Gorran, Cornwall".)

Albert's WW2 service was as a cadet on the SS San Gerardo, one of a number of ships requisitioned by the Admiralty during WW2 to augment the ships of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. (Given his father's occupation, was it a coincidence that the ship was an oil tanker?)

In March 1942, the San Gerardo 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 her then 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, the SS San Gerardo 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 ©2018

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BROWN, Charles

Civilian
Died 5 February 1941, aged 52

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Charles was born on 19 September 1887. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post war records note that he was the "son of Charles Brown, of 19 Thorburn Square, Bermondsey". (His mother had presumably died.) However, his father was not living at 19 Thorburn Square at the time of the 1939 Register and, without further information, the names are too common to establish anything useful about the family background in the readily available records.

The first confident sighting of Charles in those records is in Q2 1917 when, as a 29 year old, he married 22 year old Edith May Demol (in some records "Demel"). Their marriage was registered in the St Olave, Southwark District, as were the births of their two children: Olive May (born 20 April 1920) and Charles H F (born 5 March 1925).

The 1939 Register (entries in which helpfully specify exact dates of birth) records the family living at 119 Barkworth Road, South Bermondsey. 52 year old Charles is listed as a "Baker" and 44 year old Edith May with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties"). 19 year old daughter Olive is listed as a "Typist" and 14 year old son Charles H F as an "Apprentice to Coil & Switch making").

After the RAF had prevailed in the mid-1940 "Battle of Britain", the Luftwaffe began on 7 September 1940 its bombing campaign which became known as the Blitz. A week into this, on 12 September, a bomb fell on 119 Barkworth Road. This killed Charles's wife and daughter (Edith and Olive) instantly, but left Charles senior severely wounded. (If Charles junior was injured in the attack, he recovered.)

After local processing, Charles 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. Some five months after being injured, Charles died at Horton on 5 February 1941.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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BROWN, Harold. Sergeant (1251203)

120 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 12 August 1942, aged 22.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records note that Harold was the "son of James Hollis Brown and Ann Sinclair Brown, of Ewell", and the couple are recorded in the 1939 Register living at 5 Lakehurst Road, Ewell. 51 year old James is listed as a "Post Office Engineer (Class II Telephone and Telegraph fitter)" and 44 year old Ann with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties".

There is one currently closed record at the address which seems likely to be the late teens Harold. However, all these very common names rule out establishing more about either the family background or more about Harold's 1919/20 birth.

Harold's WW2 service was with 120 Squadron, part of the RAF's Coastal Command. The Squadron was equipped with Consolidated Liberators and, in 1942, was stationed at RAF Ballykelly in Northern Ireland.

A Consolidated Liberator.
A Consolidated Liberator.
Public domain image via Wikimedia.

On 12 August 1942, Harold was the navigator on Liberator III FK235 N-120 which was escorting the outbound 36-ship Convoy ONS120. The aircraft crashed when the port wing touched the sea while executing a low level turn. All eight of the crew were killed.

Harold's body was never recovered and he is remembered on the Runneymede Memorial. This commemorates over 20,000 aircrew who were lost in WW2 operations from bases in the United Kingdom and North and Western Europe, and who have no known grave.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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BROWN, Harry Archibald.

Civilian
Died 12 October 1940, aged 58

Harry (although from his signature on his 1911 Census form, it would seem that he preferred to be known as Archibald) was born on 29 January 1882. His common surname makes it difficult to find much about his family background from the usual routine searches.

Harry Archibald Brown's confident 1911 signature
Harry Archibald Brown's confident 1911 signature

The 1911 Census finds him, Maud Florence (his wife of four years) and 3 year old son Archibald Gordon living at 140 Bennerley Road, Clapham. It is not currently known if the couple had further children. Seeing his signature (as above), it is no surprise that Harry Archibald's occupation is listed as "Law Clerk".

The 1939 Register records the couple - then both in their late 50s - living alone at 8 Rutherwyke Close, Ewell. Harry Archibald is now listed as "Secretary of Ltd Co", and Maud with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties".

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records that he died (obviously, as the result of enemy action in the early weeks of the Luftwaffe's "Blitz" bombing campaign) at his home address of 8 Rutherwyke Close.

Probate on his estate was granted jointly to his wife and their son Archibald Gordon (noted in the Probate records as an "insurance claims assessor"). Maud lived another quarter of a century - dying, aged 94, at "Shrublands", 94 Higher Drive, Banstead on 5 February 1976.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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BROWN, William Thomas. Leading Telegraphist (P/SSX 15710)

HM Submarine Tuna, Royal Navy
Died 21 November 1943, aged 27

William's headstone in Epsom Cemetery
William's headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Image courtesy of Roger Morgan © 2017

Unusually, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database gives no family background for William and his very common names effectively rule out finding anything from the usual routine searches. However, his entry in the Book of Remembrance shows the compilers understood his link to the Borough, and he clearly had family since - as noted below - they added a dedication to his headstone.

William's WW2 service was on HM Submarine Tuna (N94). This T-class submarine had been ordered in December 1937 and was launched 10 May 1940. It played an active role in a number of European seas and had a number of sinkings to its credit by the end of WW2, after which it was broken up for scrap in December 1945.

However, HMS Tuna's main claim to fame is her key part in the daring December 1942 "Operation Frankton" attack on Bordeaux harbour. William was doubtless on board when HMS Tuna delivered six Royal Marine Commandos (the immediate precursors of the elite Special Boat Service) and their canoes and explosives 10 miles off the mouth of the River Gironde. One of the canoes was damaged in the disembarkation, but the remaining five were paddled 60 miles up the Gironde to attack German ships in Bordeaux harbour.

Although only two of the marines survived, the surprise attack was deemed a great success. For his superb navigation and coolness under pressure, Tuna's commander (Lieutenant-Commander Dick Raikes) was awarded the Distinguished Service Order. The operation was later immortalised in the 1955 film "The Cockleshell Heroes".

HMS Tuna returned to home waters for the first time in four war patrols on 18 November 1943. Only three days later, on 21 November, William died in the Cottage Hospital, Dunoon, Argyllshire. This is understood to be the result of an accident rather than enemy action.

William's body was brought home for burial in Epsom Cemetery on 26 November 1943. His family took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave O372,
"A light, a voice / from our home has gone / but in our hearts / he will linger on."
Roger Morgan © 2018

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BRYANT, George William. Captain (EC/11487)

Royal Indian Army Service Corps
Died 29 May 1944, aged 38

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records notes that George was the son of Arthur and Ada Bryant. These individuals have left a very light touch on the readily available records, not helped by their relatively common names.

While we do not yet know George's family background (or anything about his 1906/07 birth), we know that, in Q2 1931, he married Maud Lillian Berridge. The marriage was registered in the Kensington District, and the births of their three children (John Q2 1932; Edward Q4 1933; and Arthur Q1 1936) were all registered in the Lambeth District. There is a record from 1939 of the family living at 6 Seaforth Gardens, Stoneleigh - consistent with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission noting that the widowed Maud was "of Stoneleigh, Epsom, Surrey". However, the low even numbers of Seaforth Gardens were not covered by the 1939 Register (rather suggesting that they were still being built) and Maud has not yet been found elsewhere in that Register.

George's WW2 service was as a Captain in the Royal Indian Army Service Corps. (It may be that the difficulty in tracking his family background is that his upbringing was in India.) Again, the readily available records provide no information about his career there.

His burial in Basra in southern Iraq indicates that he was there as part of the Allied base established after British forces (with Indian Army assistance) quelled the mid 1941 Iraqi rebellion. After WW1, Britain was granted a League of Nations mandate to govern Iraq. The pro-British government was granted independence in 1932. On 1 April 1941, the pro-Axis Rashid Ali seized power in a coup d'etat. Under the provisions of a 1930 (pre-independence) treaty, British forces (with a strong element of Indian troops - probably including George's unit of the Royal Indian Army Service Corps) invaded Iraq on 2 May and, by the end of the month had defeated the pro-Axis elements. Allied forces remained in Iraq for the remainder of WW2.

Aged 38, George died on 29 May 1944. The cause is yet unknown - but disease rather than warfare is a possibility. He is buried in Basra War Cemetery. His widow took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave 7.T.11,
"Gone but not forgotten".
Sadly, the Basra War Cemetery was desecrated after Coalition troops withdrew in 2007. By 2013, not one of the 2,916 headstones (of 2,551 WW1 and 365 WW2 casualties) was left standing. Looters took them for building material and, at the time of writing, only a few broken fragments remain on site. While it is understood that the Commonwealth War Graves Commission has been able to secure the site (part of which was being used as a football field), its hopes for reinstatement at Basra (and maintenance of other cemeteries in Iraq) have to wait for a new period of political stability.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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BUDGELL, Edward Rosslyn. Flight Sergeant/Pilot (905997)

269 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 7 December 1941, aged 27.

Edward's headstone in Reykjavik (Fossvogur) Cemetery, Iceland.
Edward's headstone in Reykjavik (Fossvogur) Cemetery, Iceland.
Photograph (21463247) by Bob Boston via findagrave.com

Edward was born in Ringwood, Hampshire Q2 1914, the first child of Herbert Rosslyn Budgell and Ethel Waldron (née Roberts) who had married Q2 1913, also in Ringwood. The couple had three more children: Marjorie, born Q3 1915 in Ludlow, Shropshire; Robert, born Q2 1920 in Blean, Kent; and John, born Q2 1922 in Epsom & Ewell.

This somewhat nomadic existence was doubtless the result of Herbert's career in education, which culminated with his acquiring Ewell Castle and founding the school there in 1926. The 1939 Register records him at the School as "Proprietor and Principal". (He died, aged 61, Q3 1946.)

Edward's WW2 service was in 269 Squadron, one of the RAF's maritime patrol units. In the first couple of years of the war, it was stationed at RAF Wick in Scotland operating its new Lockheed Hudson patrol bombers. This - a modification of Lockheed's passenger Super Electra - was commissioned from the US firm by the British in 1938, and proved to be valuable addition to the RAF's inventory. (Thanks to its ability to withstand enemy fire and safely return home, the aircraft was nicknamed the "Old Boomerang" and earned innumerable accolades during the war.)

A Lockheed Hudson Patrol Bomber
A Lockheed Hudson Patrol Bomber
Picture courtesy of Lockheed Martin

In mid-1941, the Squadron transferred to Iceland (based at RAF Kaldadarnes, near Reykjavik) to provide an important link in the defensive chain across the Atlantic for the protection of shipping. (One of the Squadron's more significant tasks was providing mid-Atlantic escort for the battleship HMS Prince of Wales carrying Winston Churchill to the US for secret talks with President Franklin D Roosevelt.)

During the afternoon of 7 December 1941 (a date better known for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor) and in very bad weather, eight of the Squadron's Hudson aircraft were engaged on anti-U-boat missions and searching for a missing aircraft. Edward (as the second pilot) was aboard Hudson T9416 UA-G being flown by 22 year old Flying Officer Eric Edgar Stewart (40244) of the Royal New Zealand Air Force. Also on board were 21 year old Sergeant (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner) William Dodds (974296) and 22 year old Sergeant (Air Gunner) Vernon Sydney Lewis (755244).

The aircraft was returning to RAF Kaldadarnes when, at 1645 hours (in the dark, at that latitude) and with a low cloud base, it crashed into the hills west of Hjalli. All on board were killed. They are buried side by side - in Edward's case in Grave C,39.10 - in the Reykjavik (Fossvogur) Cemetery which holds 199 Commonwealth casualties of WW2.

The crash site and the aircraft's engine
(Click image to enlarge)
Left: The crash site in 2011, with some wreckage still visible.
(image courtesy of stridsminjar.is)
Right: The aircraft's engine, undercarriage and tyre in the nearby Selfoss Museum.
(image courtesy of Iceland'er via Flickr)

As an Old Boy of his father's school (and, from the Probate records, a resident there afterwards), Edward is also listed on the Ewell Castle School WW2 memorial.

Roger Morgan © 2018
With special thanks to Karl Gudmundsson

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BURLEY, Peter Richard Kenneth. Sergeant (1152213)

214 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 12 May 1941, aged 20

Peter is not listed in the Book of Remembrance but is remembered here because the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records note that his parents were "of Ewell, Surrey." However, that address in the Borough has yet to be established.

Peter's birth was registered in Brentford Q4 1920. He was the first of three children born to Richard Sandford Burley and Hilda Elsie (née Warrington - they marriage was registered in Paddington Q2 1920).

His father had been born in Paddington on 12 December 1894 (and was baptised 31 February 1895 at St Stephen's Shepherds Bush). The 1911 Census recorded this 16 year old "Boy Clerk, Civil Service" living with his parents at 17 Bradiston Road Paddington. During WW1, he served in the 11th Royal Fusiliers, rising to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. The birth of Peter's mother, Hilda, was registered in Kingston Q3 1898. The 1911 Census recorded her as a 12 year old schoolgirl living with her parents and five older siblings at 25 Kirkley Road, Merton Park.

The couple's other children were Joyce (b. Q2 1925, registered in Brentford) and John (b. Q2 1927, registered in Croydon)

In 1931, Peter's father, Richard, was resident at 39 Riggindale Road, Streatham, possibly as a lodger. The whereabouts of his wife have not been established but she could have been back with her parents to explain Peter's entry to Rutlish Grammar School, Merton. In 1939, he was representing the School at rugby and athletics, and became that year's British (Junior) and Public Schools Steeplechase Champion and Record Holder.

Disappointingly, none of the family is found in the September 1939 Register - perhaps because of transcription errors.

Anyway, in or after September 1940, Peter enlisted with the Royal Air Force at Cardington. He served in 214 Squadron, part of the RAF's Bomber Command.

On 12 May 1941, a Wellington Mk 1 C took off from RAF Stradishall, Suffolk for a raid on Hamburg. The pilot, P/O Toplis, had taken over a crew from P/O Jack Wetherly who had completed his tour in March 1941. Two usual members of the crew, Sergeant Nigel Walker navigator, and gunner P/O Duncan Pockney were not with them at this time - Walker was on leave prior to being commissioned. Peter came in as second pilot.

The aircraft crashed near its target killing all on board: -
P/O J G Toplis
Sgt P R K Burley
Sgt A W Gibson
Sgt H W J Barr
Sgt A Livesey
Sgt T W James
All of these are among the 1,466 WW2 Commonwealth casualties buried in Hamburg Cemetery. Peter's family took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave 5.A.F3,
"All he had hoped for, all he had, he gave."
The death of his mother, aged 70, was registered in Croydon, 12/1967. His father died in December 1978 at St Martins, 20 St Martins Avenue, Shanklin, Isle of Wight.

Brian Bouchard © 2018
Updated by Roger Morgan 2018

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BURLTON, Francis Arthur

Air Raid Warden
Died 11 January 1941, aged 56

Francis Burlton
Francis Burlton at Winchester College
Picture courtesy of the College, as is much of the information about him below.

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance.

Francis was born in Kensington, on 30 March 1884, the first child of Edward Richard Hughes Burlton and Edith Helen (née Grogan - they had married in Kensington, London Q3 1882). Helen was the sister of the explorer Ewart Grogan DSO (1874-1967), the first person in recorded history to walk the length of Africa, following a path from Cape Town to Cairo. Edward, a Stockbroker, died aged 45 in mid-1899 and was buried in Epsom Cemetery (Plot A153A) where the records note that his place of death was St Martins Avenue, Epsom. It is understood that he had previously lived at Sunning Hill, Epsom.

Francis attended Winchester College between 1898 and 1902. He went up to Exeter College, Oxford, but did not take his degree. He joined the firm of Elder & Fyffe, the fruit importers in London's Bow Street, near the original Covent Garden fruit and vegetable market. He was an excellent rider and, before the First World War, held a commission in the Hertfordshire Yeomanry. During WW1, he went (as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 1st Battalion) to the Middle East with the Regiment. He later transferred to the Machine Gun Corps (Cavalry) with which he served until 1919, when he was wounded. He returned to civilian life, and to work at Elder & Fyffes.

In Q1 1912, Francis had married Edith Clarissa Woods, registered in Brighton. The couple had three children: Francis P J, born in Reading Q4 1912; Quentin R, born in Steyning, Sussex, Q3 1916; and Dorothy, born Q3 1929 in Birmingham. The 1939 Register records Francis ("Area Manager, Banana Importer") living with his widowed mother and unmarried sister at 56 Palewell Park in Barnes - while his wife is with the Woods family (presumably her family) at 69 Ditchling Road, Brighton. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records the couple's address at the time of Francis's death as 33 Vicarage Road, East Sheen, Surrey.

He was killed on 11 January 1941 - in the middle of the 1940-41 Blitz - by an enemy bomb while on Air Raid Precautions duty at the offices of Elder & Fyffe. The circumstances were described by a civilian - Miss Bowen - who was caught by the same bomb:
I lived at 19 Fletcher Buildings, at the back of Bow Street Police Station, WC2. All my family worked in Covent Garden Market. My dad, sister and me used to go down Holborn tube station to shelter with our bedding each night. As it happened, one of the bosses of Elder & Fyffe, the Shipping Offices opposite where we lived, saw us tramping with our bedding and often spoke to my dad when he was coming home for his breakfast. He said "Why don't you shelter here? It's a wonderfully built shelter; cost a lot of money…" It was wonderful to leave our bedding there. But on January 11th 1941 it got a direct hit. My mum, sister and me were dug out of the debris, but my dad was one of the twenty-eight killed. It was a Saturday night, but the building burned till the Tuesday afternoon. We were taken to Charing Cross Hospital in the Strand. My mum had head injuries; my sister had like a shell shock. We both had cuts and were very bruised. My mum had her life savings stolen. She had the money and jewellery in a holdall bag. They had two cranes clearing the debris, but not to find the bodies (my dad's remains weren't found for six weeks); it was to get to the vaults of a bank which was all part of the building."

The night of January 11th is particularly remembered for the direct hit on Bank Underground Station, which blew out the windows of two trains in the station, wrecked the escalators, and collapsed the road into the station. The bomb left a crater over one hundred feet across and killed fifty-six people, and injuring sixty-nine.
Francis is buried in the Hanwell Cemetery in Uxbridge Road, Ealing. (This was originally called the City of Westminster Cemetery, and is managed by the City of Westminster's Parks Service.) He is also commemorated in the City of Westminster Roll of Honour, and on the civilian 1939-1945 Memorial in the City of Westminster (Hanwell) Cemetery in Hanwell.

Also killed by the same bomb were Charles Crawforth and Allen Purcell.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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BURNHAM, Basile Ronald Martin. Warrant Officer (967898)

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

Basile is commemorated on not only the Borough's Book of Remembrance but also on the WW2 memorial in Christ Church Epsom Common. The obviously clear link with the Borough seems to have little to do with actual residence but is understood to flow from his uncle, Guy M Burnham, being the Proprietor and Manager of the Hookfield Park Hotel. (Advertised at the time as "Epsom's best residential hotel", this was the last incarnation of the grand house at the centre of the Hookfield Estate. The building was demolished in the late 1950s to make way for the construction of Lindsay Close.)

Indeed, Basile has left a very light trace in the readily available records. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records note that Basile was the son of Alan Martin and Felicity Louise Burnham but they are not readily traced, nor has a record yet been found of Basile's 1913/14 birth. His first appearance in the records is as a 21 year old first class passenger aboard the Blue Funnel Line's SS Lycaon leaving Liverpool on 5 January 1935. He is described as a "Rubber Plantation Assistant" bound for Penang, Malaya. His last address in the UK is noted as 20 Croft Road, Wilmslow, Cheshire.

Basile's next appearance in the records is of his marriage to Edith Mabel Morrey, registered in Crewe Q4 1939. While Basile is not found in the September 1939 Register, Edith was recorded in it as a nurse at the Royal Infirmary, Chester. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission post-war records note that the widowed Edith was "of Holmes Chapel, Cheshire". 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.

Basile's WW2 service was in 3 Squadron, part of the RAF's Fighter Command. This had been stationed at Biggin Hill in the very early days of the war - and this is the closest to Epsom that Basile has yet been found. After time in France and then in Scotland, the Squadron 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).

At the time of his death, Basile must have been aware that Edith was at least six months pregnant. The posthumous Q1 1943 birth of their only child, Christopher, was registered in the Crewe District.

Roger Morgan ©2018

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BURROUGH, John Hardy. Flight Lieutenant (135500)

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

For some reason, John's name is not in the Borough's Book of Remembrance. He is, however, commemorated on the WW2 Memorial inside St Martin of Tours Church, Epsom.

John was born in Epsom on 13 February 1913. He was the second of seven children born to Ernest James Burrough (son of the founder of James Burrough Ltd, the makers of Beefeater gin) and Sophie (née Burston - they had married Q2 1910, registered in Bridgewater, when Ernest was aged 38 and Sophie was 25).

The newly married couple set up home at "Millwood", Links Road, Epsom where they were recorded in the 1911 Census. Ernest is listed as "Rectifier, Managing Director" - doubtless the family business. (A "rectifier" does not distil the gin but adds the flavours - "botanicals" for gin - to raw spirit bought from a distiller.) Living/staying with them on the Census date were Ernest's: younger brother, Francis (also a "Rectifier, Managing Director"); sister in law and niece. The couple were supported by a live-in domestic servant.

Their first child, Elizabeth, was born Q3 1911. Like John and the remaining five siblings after him (ending with Norman in Q2 1926), her birth was registered in Epsom.

John 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 SS Moreton Bay, arriving on 18 April 1938 with his occupation stated as "Wine Chemist".

In the meantime, his family had moved to "Rowallan", 7 Downs Avenue, Epsom, by 1934. (John's name still appeared at that address, as a Service Voter, as at 15 March 1945.) It is understood that John may have had some pre-war employment in Whitstable. However, by the time of the 1939 Register, he was again living with his parents in Downs Avenue. Now aged 26, he is listed as a "Works Control Chemist at Distillery and Winery". His father is now just "Director of Company" and his mother, in addition to the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties", is shown as "Previously Hospital Nurse".

John 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 502 Squadron, part of the RAF's Bomber Command, equipped with Handley Page Halifax heavy bombers.

The Handley Page Halifax
The Handley Page Halifax
Imperial War Museum Photograph CH 11529 - public domain

On 26 November 1944, by now 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. 502 Squadron's 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 from the lost aircraft commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial for those with no known grave are: -
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.
In addition to memorials in the Borough, John 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.

Brian Bouchard © 2014
With grateful acknowledgement of assistance from Robin Hudson, RAFA Stornoway
Updated by Roger Morgan 2018

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BURTON, Margaret. Private (W/288124)

Auxiliary Territorial Service
Died 25 April 1947, aged 23

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

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission notes that Margaret was the "daughter of James William and Margaret Burton, of Epsom". The couple had married Q2 1913, registered in Islington. Margaret senior's maiden name was Norris. While there appear to be clear records of the birth of two children (Dorothy M, born Q2 1914 registered in Islington and Beatrice M, born Q3 1928 registered in Lambeth), Margaret junior's 1923/24 birth has so far proved elusive - and her headstone poses a currently unanswered question in its mention of "Jim and Sheila" among the bereaved.

The 1939 Register records the 40 year old parents living at 51 Hook Road, Epsom. 40 year old James is listed as a "Milk Roundsman" and Margaret senior with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". There are two currently closed records at the address - one of which could be the 15 year old Margaret junior.

Margaret junior's service (in the later years of the War) was in the Auxiliary Territorial Service (better known by its acronym, the ATS) being the women's branch of the British Army during WW2. The readily available records provide no information about Margaret's role within the ATS: there were many, ranging from menial to highly specialised.

Margaret's death, in April 1947, came nearly two years after the cessation of hostilities. She is buried in Epsom Cemetery (grave N.592), where the records state that she died in the British Legion Sanatorium, Nayland, Colchester. The parents took the option of adding a personal inscription to the headstone,
"Always in our hearts. Sadly missed by Dad and Mam, Jim and Sheila".
Roger Morgan © 2018

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BURY, Michael. Sergeant/Air Gunner (628545)

Royal Air Force
Died 11 December 1944, aged 23

Michael is not listed in the Book of Remembrance, but is remembered here because, as noted in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records, his parents were "of West Ewell, Surrey."

He was born Q3 1921, the second and last child of Thomas Arthur Bury and Margaret Elsie (née Palmer - their Q1 1914 marriage was registered in Loughborough). The births of Patricia in Q2 1920 and then Michael the following year were both recorded in Coventry.

At some point, the family moved south. The 1939 Register - taken on 29 September, three weeks after war was declared - records the parents and Patricia living at 21 Revell Road, Norbiton. (It appears that Michael enlisted in the RAF from civilian life at the outbreak of hostilities.) 60 year old Thomas is listed as a "Municipal Officer" and 52 year old Margaret with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". 19 year old Patricia is listed as an "Assistant Court Dressmaker" - and the original record has an annotation that she was also a British Red Cross Nurse.

The parents subsequently moved into the Borough. By 1952, they were living at 53 Amis Avenue, Ewell - the address at which Thomas died on 24 November 1958, and the widowed Margaret on 23 May 1966.

To revert to Michael, in May 1943, his No 71 Operational Training Unit was transferred to RAF Ismailia, Egypt - at about the halfway point of the Suez Canal. On 11 December 1944, an aircraft from the Unit collided with another aircraft and crashed. The pilot, Flying Officer John Kilburn Garth Hutton, was killed in the crash and is one of the 491 WW2 Commonwealth casualties buried in the Moascar War Cemetery, about 5 miles from Ismailia. His grave is Plot 2.D.6. Michael, who also died on 11 December 1944, is buried alongside him in Plot 2.D.7. Details are elusive, but it is possible that Michael was killed in the same incident.

The Moascar War Cemetery, Egypt
The Moascar War Cemetery, Egypt
Photograph with thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Michael's family took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone,
"So he passed over and all the trumpets sounded for him on the other side."
Michael is also commemorated in Loughborough Parish Church.

Michael's inscription on the war memorial in Loughborough Parish Church
Michael's inscription on the war memorial in Loughborough Parish Church
Image courtesy of www.loughborough-rollofhonour.com

Brian Bouchard ©2017
Updated by Roger Morgan 2018

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BUSSELL, Raymond Meyrick. Lieutenant (73147)

3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, Army Air Corps.
Died 10 October 1944, aged 27

Raymond Bussell
Raymond Bussell
Picture (© Paul Bussell) and much of the information below courtesy of paradata.org.uk

Raymond Meyrick Bussell was born on 1 September 1917 in Batavia in the East Indies (modern day Jakarta in Indonesia), where his father was the British Vice-Consul in Samarang.

He was the first child born to Raymond Evans and Anna Maria Bussell, who seem to have spent much of their early lives outside the reach of the readily available UK records. However, by the time of the 1939 Register, they are recorded living at "Little Copse", Woodcote Park, Epsom. This was noted as the household of Mrs Bussell, rather suggesting that this had become the base for Anna and the couple's three or four children while her husband was on diplomatic duties abroad. (One of these other children was Raymond junior's younger brother, Robert Andre Bussell, who was killed in action in February 1994.)

In a change from his diplomatic career, Raymond senior (born 5 March 1889) is listed in the 1939 Register as "Secretary, Aeronautical & Plywood Panel Co Ltd, 218-226 Kingsland St, E2", while Anna (born 12 June 1894) has the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". After a currently closed record (presumably one of their children), comes another child, Peter Giles Bussell (born 25 September 1929), a weekly boarder at Downsend School, Leatherhead. (Peter was born in Newton Abbot, Devon, and the records give his mother's maiden name as "Andre de-la-Port".) Also present was the widowed Ernest Hooper (born 15 November 1862), a retired engineer and perhaps some relative.

Raymond junior was educated at Blundell's School Tiverton and, following training at Sandhurst, and commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant into the Dorset Regiment on 26 August 1937. In January 1939, he was with the 2nd Battalion the Dorsetshire Regiment at Aldershot. the 2nd Dorsets were the first of the Regiment to go to war. Sent to France with the 2nd Division, they spent the "phoney war" training on the Belgian border and moved into Belgium when the Germans invaded the Low Countries on 10 May 1940.

The 2nd Battalion was part of the Allied forces that, in the face of that unexpectedly rapid invasion, conducted a fighting retreat past Brussels and Tournai. On 25 May, at Festubert, they were ordered to stand and fight to enable other units to escape. Holding positions on the La Bassee Canal, they were conscious that this had been the site of a gallant defence by the 1st Dorsets in October 1914. Over the next three days the 2nd emulated their predecessors' courage, beating off attack after attack by a greatly superior German force and losing 40 killed, 110 wounded and 158 taken prisoner. On the night of 27/28 May, the 245 survivors (plus 40 men from other units) had to retreat. They made it to Dunkirk and were safely evacuated.

Back in Britain, Raymond was promoted to Lieutenant on 26 August 1940. There is then a rather cryptic record of his being "specially employed" from April 1941, during which he was appointed Acting Captain on 30 November 1943 - a rank he held until his death.

Acting Captain Raymond is next found commanding 1 Platoon in A Company of the 3rd Parachute Battalion during the 17-25 September 1944 Allied Operation "Market Garden". Airborne and land forces succeeded in the liberation of the Dutch cities of Eindhoven and Nijmegen, but failed in keeping their further positions in and around the city of Arnhem with its strategically important bridge over the river Rhine. The ambitious plan had been for airborne troops to seize the Arnhem bridge and hold it until advancing Allied forces arrived to relieve them. (Once secured, the bridge would have enabled Allied forces to outflank German defences and hasten the end of the war.) As in the title of the subsequent book and film, Arnhem proved to be "a bridge too far" and the troops remaining after the fierce fighting (about a third of those who had landed) had to withdraw.

Waves of paratroops landing for Operation Market Garden
Waves of paratroops landing for Operation "Market Garden"
Public domain photograph via Wikimedia Commons

During the first day or two of the fighting, Raymond was wounded in the arm and captured. After a few days at the St Joseph Hospital in Apeldoorn, he was put on a train to the Hospital camp in Nuremberg. Also on the train was Lieutenant Harry Cambier (226876) of 156 Parachute Battalion and they decided to escape together. They managed to make a hole in the floor of the carriage and, on 27 September, escaped between Deventer and Bathmen. They reached a local farmhouse where they were passed to the Resistance. Their wounds were treated and they were given civilian clothing.

On the evening of Sunday 1 October, they were being taken back to Allied territory when they were stopped by a German soldier. He thought their papers suspicious (but without realising that they were escaped prisoners) and arrested them. While they were being held at the local police station, a Dutch secret policeman discovered their true identity, and they were taken for interrogation to the local SS HQ in the 't Selsham villa in Vorden - a village about 25 miles north-east of Arnhem.

The local Untersturmfuhrer, Ludwig Heinemann, refused to recognise them as PoWs and accused them of spying and resistance activities. Early in the afternoon of 10 October 1944, they were led to a patch of grass at the front of the villa where Heinemann single-handedly shot them in the head using a captured British Sten gun. They were buried in the villa's front lawn.

On 9 June 1945, after the liberation of the Netherlands, the bodies were exhumed under the supervision of the members of the War Crimes Commission. They were reinterred in a special 20 Commonwealth War Graves section of the Vorden General Cemetery - Raymond in Grave 16 and Harry alongside in Grave 17.

The Commonwealth War Graves in the Vorden General Cemetery
Photograph (138361114) by Wouter van Dijken via findagrave.com


In 1946, Heinemann was arrested in Germany for war crimes and brought back to Holland for trial. Convicted for the deaths of over 40 Dutch and British personnel, he was executed by firing squad in February 1947.

Roger Morgan ©2018

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BUSSELL, Robert Andre. Lieutenant (190482)

46th (The Liverpool Welsh) Royal Tank Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps.
Died 16 February 1944, aged 23

Robert was born in 1920 in Batavia in the East Indies (modern day Jakarta in Indonesia), where his father, Raymond Evans Bussell was the British Vice-Consul in Samarang. Robert was the immediately younger brother of Raymond Meyrick Bussell (who was killed by an SS officer in October 1944), the article on whom gives more details of the family background - including his mother's maiden name of Andre-de-la-Port, doubtless the inspiration for Robert's second Christian name.

After the Allies' invasion of Sicily in July 1943 and its capture the following month, the Allies invaded the Italian mainland on 3 September 1943, coinciding 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, but by the end of October 1943, the Allies were facing the German winter defensive position known as the Gustav Line, which stretched from the river Garigliano in the west to the Sangro in the east. Initial attempts to breach the western end of the line were unsuccessful - witness the four-month Battle of Monte Cassino in early 1944.

To break the deadlock, on 22 January 1944 the Allies made an amphibious landing at Anzio on the west coast of Italy. This was to outflank the German lines with the aim of capturing the key target of Rome. Robert's "Liverpool Welsh" (and their tanks) were among the forces landed.

Sherman tanks of the 46th Royal Tank Regiment providing fire support at Anzio
Sherman tanks of the 46th Royal Tank Regiment providing fire support at Anzio
Public domain photograph via Wikimedia Commons

As intended, the landing took the Germans by surprise but, sadly, the Commander of the Operation did not capitalise on that by advancing rapidly for the higher ground around the marshy area. The concentration on establishing a secure beachhead gave the German forces time to react, and the fighting lasted for months until the capture of Rome on 4 June.

Robert was killed on 16 February 1944, in the relatively early days of that fighting. With over a thousand other casualties of that fierce battle, Robert is buried in the Anzio War Cemetery. His parents took the option of adding the following inscription to his headstone on Grave II.H.5,
" Much beloved second son of R.E. and A.M. Bussell. 'He died that we might live' ".
The Anzio War Cemetery
The Anzio War Cemetery
Photograph with thanks to the NZ War Graves Project

Roger Morgan ©2018

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BUTTERWORTH, John Leslie Gilbert. Pilot Officer (40798)

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

John was born Q2 1918, the second of three children of Joseph Leonard Butterworth and Cicely Ellen (née Fenn - their Q3 was registered in Camberwell). The births of all three children (Cicely on 23 June 1915, John in 1918 and Gerald on 8 June 1922) were all registered in the Lewisham District - perhaps all at 53 Micheldever Road, Lewisham which is where the family was living at the time of John's birth.

By 1932, the family had moved to Oak End, Ember Lane, Thames Ditton and, from 1937, to "The Cot", 12 Arundel Avenue, Ewell, Surrey. That is the address at which the September 1939 Register records them all living - except John who, having obtained at least part of his secondary education at the Jesuit Wimbledon College, Edge Hill, London, SW19 4NS, had 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.

As to the rest of the family, the 1939 Register records: 51 year old Joseph as a "Master Builder, Managing Director", 49 year old Cicely with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties"; 24 year old Cicely junior as a "Builder's Clerk & Secretary" (doubtless in her father's business); and 17 year old Gerald was still "at school".

John's WW2 service was in 53 Squadron which ,from September 1939, was located in France to undertake strategic reconnaissance duties. In May 1940, the squadron was based at Poix en Picardie. On 3 May - a week before the long-anticipated German invasion - it is reported that Blenheim L9329, piloted by John with two others on board, took off at 20.30 hours from the airfield at Metz, just short of the border with Germany, to continue a reconnaissance sortie over the Ruhr. The aircraft failed to return and is understood to have been shot down on Hornisgrinde (at 3,820 ft, the highest mountain in the Northern Black Forest), above the village of Sasbach near Baden-Baden, Germany. It crashed at around 21:00 hours, killing all three crew.

Villagers 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. As Fischer noted - "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.

After the war, the crew were exhumed from the village graveyard and reinterred among the 2,879 WW2 Commonwealth casualties in the Durnbach War Cemetery, about 25 miles south of Munich. His parents took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave 11.E.20,
"In proud and loving memory of our dear son. May he rest in peace."
The Durnbach War Cemetery
The Durnbach War Cemetery
Photograph by Bert Deelman with thanks to tracesofwar.com

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

John'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
Updated by Roger Morgan 2018

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BUZAN, Charles Walter. Bombardier (6292559)

331 Battery, 100 Light Anti Aircraft Regiment. Royal Artillery
Died 25 February 1944, aged 28

Charles is not listed in the Book of Remembrance, but is remembered here because the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records note his widow was of "of Epsom, Surrey". The precise address has yet to be established but the connection does not appear to be a strong one.

Charles was born in 26 April 1915, the first of at least three children born to Charles Edward and Emily Elsie (née Coultham - they had married Q4 1914). The marriage, Charles' birth and that of two siblings were all registered in the Dover district, and this is where the family are found in the 1939 Register, living at 20 Tower Street, Dover. 50 year old Charles senior is listed as a "Printers Overseer", and Emily with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". The unmarried 24 year old Charles junior is listed as an "Upholsterer and French Polisher".

In Q3 1941, Charles junior married Frances Hetty Makey. That was also registered in Kent. No record has been found of the couple's having any children. At some point, it appears that Frances moved to Epsom. This is supported by her Q3 1950 remarriage to Douglas Hansford: while that was registered in Dover, Douglas's family lived at 50 West Hill, Epsom. On the other hand, the 27 July 1944 record of administration of Charles' £ 232 estate being awarded to the widowed Frances, notes his address as 1 Wolverton Villas, Alkham, near Dover.

Anyway, Charles' WW2 service was with the 100 Light Anti Aircraft Regiment of the Royal Artillery. The readily available records do not indicate when this began, but it is clear that his 331 Battery was involved in Operation Shingle, the Allies' January 1944 landing at Anzio on the west coast of Italy.

After the Allies' invasion and capture of Sicily in July/August 1944, they invaded the Italian mainland on 3 September 1943. An armistice was 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 1943, the Allies were facing the German winter defensive position known as the Gustav Line, which stretched from the river Garigliano in the west to the Sangro in the east. Initial attempts to breach the western end of the line were unsuccessful - witness the four-month Battle of Monte Cassino in early 1944.

To break the deadlock, on 22 January 1944 the Allies made an amphibious landing at Anzio. The aim was to outflank the German lines and capture the key target of Rome. Charles' 331 Battery was part of the essential anti-aircraft cover. As intended, the landing took the Germans by surprise but, sadly, the US Commander of the Operation did not capitalise on that by advancing rapidly for the higher ground around the marshy area. The concentration on establishing a secure beachhead gave the German forces time to react, and the fighting lasted for months until the capture of Rome on 4 June.

If troops on the ground had minimal cover from enemy artillery and wave after wave of air attacks, Charles' 331 Battery was even more exposed as its position was on a landing craft in the bay. There were heavy Allied losses in the battle which lasted until 5 June. Charles was killed in action on 25 February 1944, only a month into the fighting.

Charles is one of the 2,316 Commonwealth casualties buried in the Beach Head War Cemetery at Anzio. (This not to be confused with the separate Anzio War Cemetery, which contains another 1,056 Commonwealth burials.) The widowed Frances took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave V.G.8, the opening lines of a well-known hymn,
"Jesus shall reign where'er the sun doth his successive journeys run."
The Anzio Beach Head Cemetery
The Anzio Beach Head Cemetery
Photograph with thanks to themaritimeexplorer

Roger Morgan © 2018

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Woodcote Camp