WW2 Book of Remembrance - Surnames G

Index

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[Content]

GADSBY, Albert Edwin (Revised 23/07/2018)
GARDINER, Edward Ambrose Norman * (Revised 23/07/2018)
GARDNER, Walter Henry (Revised 23/07/2018)
GARRARD, Vivian George (Revised 23/07/2018)
GARROD, Robert Stanley (Revised 24/07/2018)
GAVED, Frederick Charles (Revised 09/08/2018)
GEEN, Henry (properly Harry) Ernest (Revised 09/08/2018)
GIBSON, Michael Charles (Revised 09/08/2018)
GILES, Geoffrey Albert (Revised 09/08/2018)
GILLMAN, Alice Maud Mary Millie * (Revised 09/08/2018)
GLADMAN, Charles Clifford (Revised 09/08/2018)
GLASER, Keith James (Revised 09/08/2018)
GODDING, Walter Frank (Revised 10/08/2018)
GODWARD, John Sidney (Revised 10/08/2018)
GOODMAN, George William * (Revised 10/08/2018)
GOODWIN, Arthur Frederick * (Revised 15/04/2018)
GOODWIN, Leonard John (Revised 10/08/2018)
GORARD, Leslie Edward (Revised 10/08/2018)
GORDON, Ronald (Revised 10/08/2018)
GOTOBED, Ellen Florence Clemens * (Revised 10/08/2018)
GOULDING, Stanley Thomas (Revised 10/08/2018)
GOWLLAND, Peter (Revised 10/08/2018)
GRANT, Philip (Revised 11/08/2018)
GRAY, Edwin John * (Revised 11/08/2018)
GREENFIELD, Alfred Charles Allwood (Revised 11/08/2018)
GREENLY-JONES Llewelyn - see JONES Llewellyn Greenly
GREENSLADE, Charles William P (Revised 11/08/2018)
GREENSLADE, John Leonard * (Revised 11/08/2018)
GRIFFITH, Keith James see GLASER, Keith James (Revised 09/02/2018)
GRIFFITHS, Thomas John * (Revised 12/08/2018)
GURNEY, William John Revised 12/08/2018

* = 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


GADSBY, Albert Edwin. Sergeant (1576049)

97 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
Died 8 October 1943, aged 21

Albert was born Q1 1922, the first of three children born to Charles Edwin Gadsby and Lilian (née Brannagan). Their Q4 1919 marriage was registered in the Kettering District of Northamptonshire, as were the births of all three children - after Albert, there was Jean in Q1 1924 and Margaret on 19 July 1927.

The family moved to the Borough by 1935, to live at "Cytringham", 34 Hamilton Close, Epsom. The parents (and, unusually, 12 year old school girl Margaret) were recorded at this address in the September 1939 Register. 49 year old Charles is listed as a "Building Inspector", and 45 year old Lilian with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". There are several currently closed records at the address, one of which could be of 17 year old Albert.

Albert's Service Number 1576049 indicates that he enlisted with the RAF in or after June 1941 at Birmingham. In due course, he was posted to 97 Squadron, part of the RAF's Bomber Command.

In April 1943, 97 Squadron moved to RAF Bourn in Cambridgeshire, and joined No. 8 (Path Finder Force or "PFF") Group to became a "marker" unit. These located and marked targets with flares, which a main bomber force could aim at, increasing the accuracy of their bombing. Albert was on the establishment no later than the beginning of September 1943.

On 8 October 1943, Albert was among the crew of Lancaster JB174 which took off from RAF Bourn at 23.00 hours for a raid on Hannover. Pilot Officer G D Nicholl was at the controls. The rest of the crew were Pilot Officer R Baht and Sergeants J Brown, P Cassidy, H T Finch, A E Gadsby & H J Lewis.

Over the target, Lancaster JB174 suffered a direct hit from flak, which destroyed the nose of the aircraft and an outer part of the port wing. A fierce fire broke out in the fuselage resulting in a loss off control. Pilot Officer Nicholl was unable to communicate with the rest of his crew because his flying helmet had been blown away. He was the only one on board who managed to parachute out, and was then taken Prisoner of War.

Bomber Command's War Diary for 8 October 1943 contains the following record of the raid.
"Hannover: 504 aircraft - 282 Lancasters, 188 Halifaxes, 26 Wellingtons, 8 Mosquitos. This was the last Bomber Command raid in which Wellingtons took part. 300 (Polish) and 432 (Canadian) Squadrons provided the 26 Wellingtons which operated on this night; they all returned safely. The German controller guessed correctly that Hannover was the target and many night fighters arrived before the attack was over. 27 aircraft - 14 Lancasters and 13 Halifaxes - were lost, 5.4 per cent of the force. Conditions over Hannover were clear and the Pathfinders were finally able to mark the centre of the city accurately; a most concentrated attack followed with a creepback of only 2 miles, all within the built-up area. This was probably Hannover's worst attack of the war."
The rest of Lancaster JB174's crew were all killed in the crash. If (as seems more likely than not) their bodies were recovered, they were beyond identification and the individuals lie in sadly anonymous graves, probably among the 62 unidentified Commonwealth WW2 casualties of the 2,047 buried in the Hanover War Cemetery. They are remembered on on the RAF's Runnymede memorial which commemorates more than 20,000 airmen and women who were lost in WW2 during operations from bases in the United Kingdom and North and Western Europe who have no known grave.

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

The Probate record of administration of Albert's £ 105 estate being granted to his father (a "local government official") confirmed that the family address continued to be 34 Hamilton Close, Epsom.

Brian Bouchard © 2017
Updated by Roger Morgan 2018

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GARDINER, Edward Ambrose Norman. Lieutenant-Commander

HMS Hermes, Royal Navy
Died 9 April 1942, aged 38

In spite of this clear links with Epsom noted below (but perhaps because both his parents had died in the 1930s), Edward is not listed in the Borough's Book of Remembrance. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's records note him as "of Epsom" - and he is commemorated on the Epsom Golf Club memorial.

Edward was born on 23 February 1904 in Epsom, the fourth and apparently last child of Edward Norman Gardiner and Hilda (née Cornish-Bowden - they had married on 20 April 1892 in St Mary's, Wolborough, Newton Abbot, Devon). His father was an assistant master at Epsom College - and had been so since at least the 1891 Census. The 1911 Census records the parents and their two youngest children living at No 2 The College with three live-in servants: a domestic cook; a domestic housemaid; and a nursery governess.

Following in the footsteps of his maternal grandfather (Rear Admiral William Bowden 1826-1896) and his 23 year old brother Lieutenant William Norman Gardiner (who, as described in the article at that link, had been killed in WW1 action aboard HMS Defence), young Edward embarked on a naval career. In September 1917, aged 13, he was admitted to the Royal Naval College. After training, he was commissioned as a Lieutenant on 15 July 1926, and then saw service on a number of ships. In 1933, he was admitted to Corpus Christi College, Oxford as a Service student to study mathematics. He gained his BA in 1936 and was also active in the sporting side of university life - initially as an oarsman and then in both swimming and water polo, for both of which he became College Captain.

It appears that he was uncertain about returning to the Navy and, in 1937, became an assistant at Farnborough's Royal Aircraft Establishment. On the outbreak of WW2, however, he returned to the Navy and was promoted to Lieutenant-Commander, serving on board HMS Hermes - the world's first ship to be designed as an aircraft carrier (although the Imperial Japanese Navy's Hosho was the first to be launched and commissioned). Ordered in April 1917, it was commissioned in February 1924. After service in the Atlantic, Mediterranean and the China Station, she was brought back to home waters and, in 1938, became a training ship. When WW2 began, HMS Hermes was brought back into active service, initially assigned to the Home Fleet for anti-submarine patrols in the Western Approaches.

HMS Hermes (and, behind, HMS Dorsetshire) escorting a convoy in June 1940
HMS Hermes (and, behind, HMS Dorsetshire) escorting a convoy in June 1940
Public domain photograph via Wikimedia

HMS Hermes then saw service off West Africa helping to hunt down German commerce raiders and blockade runners before being sent to East Africa. In February 1941, she supported Commonwealth forces in Italian Somaliland during the East African Campaign and did much the same two months later in the Persian Gulf during the Anglo-Iraqi War. After that, HMS Hermes spent most of the rest of the year patrolling the Indian Ocean. After a refit in South Africa between November 1941 and February 1942, she joined the Eastern Fleet at Ceylon (modern-day Sri Lanka).

On 8 April 1942, HMS Hermes was berthed in Trincomalee when a warning of an approaching Japanese fleet was received and, with the destroyer HMS Vampire, she sailed that day for the Maldives with no aircraft on board. The following day, 9 April 1942, a Japanese scout plane spotted her near Batticaloa and, shortly afterwards, she was attacked by some 85 dive bombers. With no air cover, the carrier was quickly sunk by the Japanese aircraft with the loss of 307 men - including Edward - about two thirds of its complement.

HHMS Hermes as she sank
HMS Hermes as she sank
Public domain photograph via Wikimedia

(After re-arming, the Japanese dive bombers returned and also sank HMS Vampire, although with a much smaller loss of life. The survivors from both vessels were rescued by a nearby hospital ship.)

Edward's body was never recovered and he is one of the nearly 16,000 WW2 Royal Navy personnel commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial. (This also commemorates over 7,200 WW1 naval casualties.)

The Plymouth Naval Memorial
The Plymouth Naval Memorial.
Photograph with thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

The probate record of administration of Edward's £ 7,506 estate to his older brother Athelstan (a "civil engineer") notes Edward's address as being "care of Westminster Bank Farnborough", reflecting his immediate pre-war employment.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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GARDNER, Walter Henry. Gunner (11060610)

491 Battery, 24 Light Anti-Aircraft/Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery
Died 6 December 1943, aged 39

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Walter was born in Islington on 1 February 1905, at least the seventh child of James and Alice Gardner. The 1911 Census records the family living in a two room tenement at 9 Mildmay Avenue, Islington. The 39 year old father (recorded in this Census as "Andreven") is listed as a Painter/Labourer. Some of the older children had left home leaving five (including one born in 1910) of which Walter was the second youngest. The Census return notes that, over the parents' 19 year marriage, they had had 10 children, 2 of whom had died.

In Q1 1926, Walter married Leah Eleanor George, registered in Shoreditch. The couple had five children: the births of the first four (born between 1926 and 1938) were registered in the Stepney District.

The family then moved to the Borough. The September 1939 Register records them living at 17 Beech Road, Epsom - consistent with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records noting that the widowed Leah was "of Epsom, Surrey". In the 1939 Register, the 34 year old Walter is listed as a "French Polisher" and 33 year old Leah with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". The birth of the couple's fifth child was registered in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District in Q3 1940.

The readily available records provide no useful information about Walter's time in the Royal Artillery. From his burial in modern day Bangladesh, it is clear that his battery was posted to then north east India to help resist Japanese incursions from Burma (modern day Myanmar). It seems more than likely that Walter saw some action, but Casualty List No. 1326 states simply that he "died" on 6 December 1943, indicating that the cause was (in those climes, less than rare) illness or disease.

Walter is one of 702 Commonwealth WW2 casualties buried in the Maynamati War Cemetery, at Comilla which is near the border with Myanmar, about halfway between Dhaka and Chittagong. There were various military hospitals in the area during WW2, but Walter may have died elsewhere as some graves were concentrated into the Maynamati Cemetery from a wide area.

The widowed Leah took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave 9.B.4,
"A dear husband and daddy. Some may forget you but we will remember you always."
The Maynamati War Cemetery, Bangladesh
The Maynamati War Cemetery, Bangladesh
Photograph by Ibrahim Husain Meraj via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Roger Morgan © 2018

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GARRARD, Vivian ("Tony") George. Lance Corporal (6141882)

2nd Battalion, East Surrey Regiment
Died 23 August 1943, aged 25

Vivian's grave marker in the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery
Vivian's grave marker in the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery
Left: Photograph (10834641) by "GulfportBob" via findagrave.com
Right: Photograph by "Rdsmith4" via Wikimedia, (CC BY-SA 2.5)

Vivian - from his grave marker apparently also known as "Tony" - is not listed in the Book of Remembrance but is remembered here because the Commonwealth War Graves Commission post-war records note that he was the "son of Horace and Elizabeth Ellen Garrard, of Epsom, Surrey". He certainly has clear links with the Borough, but his family background is less straightforward than indicated in the Commission's records.

Elizabeth was actually Horace's second wife. His first was Annie Silburn who, like Horace, was from Ipswich - where their Q3 1889 marriage (when Horace was aged 24 and Annie 19) was registered. The 1901 Census records the couple (with Horace as a "Bricklayer") and their 10 year old son Bertie living at 24, Kenneth Road, Chadwell Heath, Dagenham. By the time of the 1911 Census the couple were living at 1 St John's Cottages, College Road, Epsom, and Bertie had left home.

Vivian's birth is not found in the readily available records (perhaps because of a transcription error) but, to have been aged 25 in 1943, this must have been in 1917/18 when Annie was 49 or 50 - unusually (but not impossibly) late for childbearing. Annie died in late 1918, aged 50, and was buried in Epsom Cemetery on 12 October. (If she was Vivian's mother, her death could have been from complications of Vivian's birth.)

In Q2 1919, 54 year old Horace got remarried - to 30 year old Elizabeth Penny, registered in Epsom. (Another possibility - even "probability" given the dedication from "Mum" to "my dear son" on the grave marker - is that Elizabeth was Vivian's mother.) The 1939 Register records the couple still in College Road - now numbered 25. The 75 year old Horace is listed as "Bricklayer (Retired)" and 50 year old Elizabeth as a "Cleaner at Hospital". Horace died at Epsom County Hospital in 1943, and buried in Epsom Cemetery on 14 May. (Vivian was not at home at the time of the 1939 Register. He was presumably already in uniform, but there are Forces records noting that he had been a bricklayer in civilian life - his father's trade.)

Vivian's WW2 service was with the 2nd Battalion, East Surrey Regiment. At the outbreak of hostilities, the Battalion was in China helping guard the British enclaves there during the continuing Sino-Japanese war. In 1940, the Battalion was shipped Malaya where it was attached to 11th Indian Infantry Division based in North West Malaya. At about the same time as its 7 December attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese Army landed in southern Thailand and invaded the British possession of Malaya. The 2nd East Surreys were among the first troops to face the invaders and suffered tremendous casualties during the defence and retreat from NE Malaya. On 19 December 1941, the Battalion was amalgamated with the 1st Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment to form the British Battalion which fought gallantly throughout the rest of the short campaign until the surrender of the British Army at Singapore on 15 February 1942.

Vivian was one of the many Commonwealth soldiers then taken prisoner. He was doubtless then used as forced labour on the notorious "Death Railway" to provide better support for the large Japanese army in Burma. His death on 23 August 1943 in the Malai 4 PoW camp was recorded to be the result of cholera.

After the war, Vivian was reinterred among the nearly 7,000 in the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery - about 80 miles north east of Bangkok. (Known locally as the Don-Rak War Cemetery, this is the main PoW cemetery for victims of Japanese imprisonment while building the Burma Railway.) Vivian's father, Herbert had died in 1943 and the widowed Elizabeth took the option of adding a personal inscription to his memorial plaque on Grave 2.P.54,
"In loving memory of my dear son Vivian, 'Tony', sadly missed by all. R.I.P. Mum."
Roger Morgan © 2018

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GARROD, Robert Stanley. Flight Sergeant (1324243)

50 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 4 May 1944, aged 22

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Robert's birth was registered in the Lambeth District Q1 1922. He was the first child of Robert William Garrod and Florence (née Murton - their Q3 1919 marriage was registered in Camberwell). Some time in the 1920s, the family moved to the Borough. The 12 January 1929 birth of their second and last child, Joan F, was registered in the Epsom District.

The September 1939 Register records the family living at 10 Dirdene Gardens, Epsom (across the road from Charles William Greenslade at No. 11). The Register records 44 year old Robert senior as "Proprietor of a Catering Establishment" and 43 year old Florence with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". Immediately following their names is a currently record which seems likely to be of the 17 year old Robert junior. As it was known when the Register was released in 2015 that Robert junior was dead, the details of this sub-centenarian should have been included. It rather looks as if the transcribers closed the wrong record since, immediately following that one is the open record for 12 year old schoolgirl Joan. In any case, the redaction on the original image is not quite enough to obscure the words "Engineering Driller", likely to be Robert junior's occupation.

With a Service number 1324243, Robert junior enlisted with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, at Oxford, in or after November 1940. After training, he was assigned to 50 Squadron, part of the RAF's Bomber Command.

On 3 May 1944, Robert was among the 8-man crew of 50 Squadron's Lancaster III ED870/VN-J which took off from RAF Skellingthorpe in Lincolnshire at 21:58 hours to take part in the major "Operation Mailly-Le-Camp". Mailly-Le-Camp was a Panzer tank depot and military barracks about 100 miles east of Paris, and the operation was part of the Allies' plan to degrade Germany's forces in preparation for the June 1940 D-Day landings

The full crew of ED870/VN-J was:
Pilot: P/O. Albert HANDLEY 173341 RAFVR Age 28
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Charles Thomas BROWN 1867213 RAFVR
Nav: F/O. Theodore Edward ARCHARD 135740 RAFVR Age 32.
Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Robert Stanley GARROD 1324243 RAFVR Age 22.
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Cyril WHITELOCK 1146149 RAFVR Age 22.
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. James Walker WHITE R/193905 RCAF Age 20.
Air/Gnr: Sgt. David BISSET 650022 RAF Age 22.
Air/Gnr: Sgt. George Edward GILPIN 610020 RAF
At around 23.15 hours, the stream of 346 Lancaster bomber crossed the French coast on the way to the target. The initial low level marking by two pathfinder Mosquitoes was accurate, backed up by Lancaster marker aircraft. However, the signal from the Marker Leader, W/Cdr. Cheshire, to come in and bomb was lost because the radio of the Main Force Controller W/Cdr. Deane was incorrectly tuned and the message was obscured by an American forces broadcast.

The main force circled until, eventually, the Deputy Controller ordered the attack to commence. Over 1,500 tons of bombs were dropped on the target area with great accuracy. 114 barrack buildings were destroyed and 47 transport sheds and some ammunition buildings were also hit. There were, however, heavy RAF losses: some 42 Lancasters, including four from 50 Squadron, were lost on the operation under assault from Luftwaffe night fighters.

One of the losses was Robert's ED870. This was shot down about three miles short of Mailly-le-Camp. All eight of the crew were killed in the crash close to the village of Poivres. They were buried in the local Poivres Churchyard - where all 37 Commonwealth WW2 casualties buried there are airmen killed in the area during that night's raid.

Commonwealth WW2 graves in the Poivres Churchyard
Commonwealth WW2 graves in the Poivres Churchyard
Photograph with thanks to Anneke Moerenhout via tracesofwar.com

By the time formal headstones were being organised, Robert senior had died and been buried in Grave Q201 of Epsom Cemetery 5 January 1946. Robert junior's widowed mother, Florence, took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave 8,
'You are gone from me but in my memory we always will be together'
(Florence died in 1952, and was buried with her husband in Epsom Cemetery.)

Brian Bouchard © 2018
Updated by Roger Morgan 2018

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GAVED, Frederick Charles. Driver (2007432)

No. 48 Bomb Disposal Section, Royal Engineers
Died 18 August 1940, aged 22

Fred's headstone in Aldershot Military Cemetery
Fred's headstone in Aldershot Military Cemetery
Photograph (11994122) by "julia&keld" via findagrave.com

Frederick's entry in the Borough's Book of Remembrance is backed up by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records noting that his widowed mother was "of Ewell, Surrey". As noted below, that address has now been established, but it seems unlikely that Frederick himself ever lived in the Borough.

Frederick (apparently known as "Fred" - and referred to as such hereafter) was born on 30 September 1917, the last of three children born to Samuel Drew Gaved and Frances Caroline (née Harmer) Their Q4 1902 marriage - like Fred's birth - was registered in the Battle District of Sussex. The marriage and Fred's birth are likely to have been in Frances' home patch of Bexhill, which came within the Battle District: the couple's first child, James David Drew, was born in Bexhill Q2 1903.

By 1906, the couple and child had moved to London. Their next child, Frances Helen, was born in Balham Q4 1906. By the time of the 1911 Census records, the family was living at 27 Moreland Street in Clerkenwell, London with the 33 year old Samuel listed as an "LCC School Keeper".

Given what seems a firm London base, it seems odd for Fred's 1917 birth to have been registered in Battle - but perhaps his mother had gone home to her parents for the birth. However, by the early 1920s, the family were living in Lambeth - where, aged only 45, Fred's father, Samuel, died Q1 1923. It was also in the Lambeth District where the marriages of both Fred's older siblings were registered: James to Lilian D Jones in Q3 1929; and Frances to Reginald Robert Clare in Q4 1932.

The widowed mother, Frances senior, never remarried, and the 1939 Register records her (aged 58, with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties) living at 18 Lansdowne Gardens, Lambeth, with 22 year old Fred (a "hairdresser"). Also recorded there were an apparent niece 23 year old Doris Gaved (a "Book Keeper Accountant") on the eve of her Q4 1939 marriage to Philip J James and the apparently unrelated 72 year old Austin Brady (a "General Dealer").

Fred's elder brother James (a "Works Manager, Tool & Metal") and his wife Lilian set up home in Beckenham where the 1939 Register records them and their children living at 76 Aylesford Avenue. However, his sister Frances and her husband Reginald (a "Solicitors Costs Clerk") set up home in the Borough: the 1939 Register records them and their two children living at 19 Elm Way, West Ewell.

At some point during WW2, the widowed Frances senior moved to 51 River Way, West Ewell - just round the corner from her daughter and family in Elm Way. The 1945 Electoral Roll records her at 51 River Way together with Austin Brady (presumably the same one as in the 1939 Register) and the apparently unrelated Dora & William Pegnal, Martha Greenham and William G Hyland. The widowed Frances died on 20 May 1963 at 23 Grangethorpe Road, Urmston, Manchester. This was away from home, as the Probate record of administration of her £ 3,528 estate being awarded to her two surviving children still lists her address as 51 River Way, Ewell.

As noted above, it seems likely that Fred was still living in Lambeth when he enlisted for WW2 service. This was as a Driver in the Royal Engineers where he was in the 6th section of the 48th Bomb Disposal Company. On the morning of 18 August 1940, Fred was among those sent to deal with an unexploded German bomb near Hook railway station in Hampshire. (It is estimated that between 5% and 15% of the many, many WW2 bombs did not detonate as planned.)

This had fallen overnight into a brickyard in Crown Lane, about a mile from the station but next to the tracks. As a threat to the crucial main line, it had to be dealt with quickly. Six young engineers - including Fred - began to dig down to the bomb that had buried itself deep in the ground. During the excavation, the bomb exploded and killed the 6 soldiers, namely: Fred (aged 22); Arthur Hill (aged 20); Ralph Moxon (aged 21); Douglas Vince (aged 23); Fred Warner (aged 23); and Arthur White (aged 23). There is a memorial to these brave young men in Hook Railway Station.

The Memorial plaque at Hook Railway Station
The Memorial plaque at Hook Railway Station
Photograph courtesy of Hook Local History Group

All six are among the 129 Commonwealth WW2 casualties buried in the Aldershot Military Cemetery, Hampshire. Fred's family took the option of adding a personal inscription to the headstone on Grave A22,
"Father, in thy gracious keeping leave we now thy servant sleeping."
Lance Sergeant William John Button, who was the leader of Fred's No 48 Bomb Disposal Section, survived the blast and, for his cool-headed action on the day was awarded the Empire Gallantry Medal. As noted on page 5538 of The London Gazette for 17 September 1940, the Citation was
On the morning of 18 August, 1940, Lance-Sergeant Button was ordered with his section to continue the work of excavating an unexploded bomb. Although he knew well that, owing to the time already spent on excavation, the bomb was liable to explode at any moment, he continued the work of his section with great coolness. The bomb eventually exploded, killing six sappers of the Section, and throwing Lance-Sergeant Button a considerable distance. Although considerably shaken he behaved with great coolness, collected the rest of his Section at a safe distance, ascertained that none of them was injured, notified the First Aid Detachment, and reported to his Section Officer by telephone.
This was one of the four last Empire Gallantry Medals ever awarded. A week later, on 24 September 1940, the medal was superseded by the George Cross - the Royal Warrant for which exchanged all Empire Gallantry Medals for the new award.

Roger Morgan © 2017
With thanks to Hazel Ballan for tracking down the Borough connection

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GEEN, Henry (properly Harry) Ernest, Sergeant. Observer (744982)

101 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 28 November 1940, aged 33

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

Harry's Q4 1907 birth was registered in the Kingston District and he was baptised at St Paul's Kingston Hill on 15 December 1907. He was the second of three children born to Londoner Charles Geen and Cheltenham-born Elizabeth Maud (née Eves). Their Q3 1905 marriage was registered in Cheltenham, but they set up home in Kingston on Thames, which is where all three of their children were born: Philip Charles on 1 May 1906; Harry in Q4 1907; and Dora on 1 October 1910.

The 1911 Census records the family living at "Amesbury", 72 Park Road, Kingston Hill. 34 year old Charles is listed as a "Land & Estate Agent" (and an "employer"). 27 year old Elizabeth was supported in looking after her three young children - all under 5 - by a live-in domestic nurse. Boarding with the family was Elizabeth's 22 year old brother, Arthur William Eves, listed as a "Tailor's Cutter".

By 1915, the family had moved to the Borough, living at "Mayfield", 25 Links Road, Epsom. Most of the family were still at 25 Links Road by the time of the September 1939 Register. 53 year old Charles is listed as "Surveyor (House)" and the unmarried 23 year old Philip as "Surveyor & Estate Agent, Auctioneer, FAI". (Charles and his oldest son were in partnership, trading as Philip and George Geen, at 57 Waterloo Road, Lambeth.) 57 year old Elizabeth is listed with "House Duties Unpaid" - as is her 28 year old Daughter Dora, who had married Guy H Robins Q3 1937 in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District. 32 year old Guy was also at Links Road, listed as a "Chartered Engineer (Mechanical)".

32 year old Harry was not at home. His service number suggests enlistment for training as an RAFVR pilot after January 1937. Before that, however, he had attended Epsom College, leaving in 1925. By 1928, he had taken up farming in South Africa but returned to England from Montreal, Canada, during 1929. It appears that he subsequently joined his father in business as a surveyor.

As to Harry's WW2 service, he was evidently diverted into training as an Air Observer and turns up in that role at 17 Operational Training Unit. This had been formed in April 1940 at RAF Upwood, Cambridgeshire as part of No 6 Group of Bomber Command. It trained light bomber crews using the Bristol Blenheim.

Harry was subsequently posted to 101 Squadron. On 14 November 1940, he was part of a crew led by Sgt Pilot B J Redmond aboard Blenheim Mk. IV, N6236, SR-? ready for as mission attacking targets in Wanne-Eickel on the Ruhr. They took off at 17.18 hours from RAF West Raynham, Norfolk. During the operation, the locknut on the spider in the starboard propeller reduction gear became loose, causing the reduction gear casing to be churned away. During the return flight over the North Sea, the damage led to the airscrew shaft and propeller falling off. With commendable skill, Sgt Redmond succeeded in getting his aircraft back within reach of base with only one engine but, on circuit of the aerodrome whilst trying to land, crashed at 22.58 into West Raynham village.

The pilot, Sgt B J Redmond, and rear gunner, Sgt A G Woodruff, suffered only minor head injuries in the crash. Harry, however, was left critically ill with a fractured skull. About a fortnight later, he died of these injuries. The precise date is uncertain. The Squadron Operation Record Book states that he died on Tuesday 26 November 1940 at 11.40. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's database has the date of death as 28 November, and that is what appears on his gravestone.

On 3 December 1940, the day of Harry's funeral and burial in Plot M403 of Epsom Cemetery, his parents announced in the Daily Telegraph only that their "dearly beloved second son, Sergt Harry Ernest (Bob) Geen" had died in November.

His mother, father and married sister were later buried in the same grave.

Brian Bouchard ©2014
Updated by Roger Morgan 2018

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GIBSON, Michael Charles. Lieutenant (186637)

2nd Anti-aircraft Regiment, Hong Kong and Singapore Royal Artillery.
Died 5 March 1943 (but see below), aged 22

Michael was born in Epsom on 26 January 1921, the first child of Thomas George Gibson and Betty/Beatrice (née Cousins - they had married in Kensington Q1 1917). The couple had settled in Epsom, perhaps consequent on Thomas having been a pupil at Epsom College in the early 1900s before returning home to Harrogate where (as a 24 year old articled law student) he was recorded in the 1911 Census. Their only other child, Margaret, was also born in Epsom Q4 1924.

The 1939 Register records the parents living at "Newlands", Ashley Road, Epsom. Thomas - now aged 52 - is listed as "Solicitor & Civil Servant at HM Customs & Excise" and 47 year old Betty with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". 18 year old Michael is listed as "Student for Regular Army Commission. Enrolled H.A.C. Officers Training" (HAC being the abbreviation for the Honourable Artillery Company). 14/15 year old Margaret was not at home - perhaps being away at school. The family were supported by two live-in domestic servants.

Commissioned as a Lieutenant, Michael was assigned to the 2nd Anti-aircraft Regiment, Hong Kong and Singapore Royal Artillery. Part of the Army's Malaya Command, the Regiment was stationed at "Fortress Singapore". Nicknamed the "Gibraltar of the East", Singapore was the major British military base in South-East Asia and was the keystone of British imperial interwar defence planning for South-East Asia as well as the South-West Pacific. Japan declared war on the UK and USA on 8 December 1941. While there was some action at Singapore, the main Japanese invasion was on the east cost of Malaya, to the north. Japanese forces made unexpectedly rapid advances through the Malayan jungle, overwhelming the still incomplete British defensive positions there. By 8 February 1942, Japanese forces began their assault on Singapore. After a week's fierce fighting, the British Commander, Lieutenant-General Arthur Ernest Percival, had to accept that the position was lost and, to avoid further loss of life, surrendered the garrison, About 80,000 British, Indian and Australian troops became prisoners of war, joining 50,000 taken by the Japanese in the earlier Malayan Campaign. Winston Churchill, called it the "worst disaster" in British military history.

Michael was among those taken prisoner. After processing in the Changi PoW camp, Michael was one of the 600 or so prisoners - all artillerymen or "Gunners" - loaded into the Kenkon Maru, one of the prisoner ships justifiably called "hell ships" by the prisoners. This left Singapore on 18 October and, after a number of intermediate stops, arrived at Rabaul (on New Britain, one of the Solomon Islands) on 5 November 1942. The prisoners were disembarked and marched to the Kokopo Camp where, as for other Japanese PoW camps, the regime and conditions were extremely harsh. On 15 November, the prisoners were paraded. About 80 were already too weak from hunger and disease to work, but the fittest 517 were sent - via another "hellship" - to build an airstrip on Ballali (one of the Shortland group of islands just south of Bougainville). Not one of them survived, but their story can be told thanks to native islanders briefing the Australian forces when the islands were subsequently liberated.

The extremely harsh treatment and conditions continued. Over the next few months, a good number of prisoners died from beatings, illness and from Allied bombing. In April 1943, the Japanese on Ballali were told by their headquarters that the US Navy was preparing for an attack and that, if this happened, all prisoners were to be disposed of by whatever means was available.

On 29 June 1943, an American warship bombarded the island. The next day, the surviving 400 or so prisoners were lined up and killed by sword or bayonet. The bodies were stripped of their identity tags and dumped in a large pit. In November 1945, this mass grave, containing 436 bodies, was uncovered. The remains of these British servicemen were recovered by 3 Division of the War Graves Unit of the Australian Army and, in December 1945, were finally interred in graves in the Port Moresby (Bomana) War Cemetery, in Papua New Guinea. As the bodies could not be identified, each one has all individual grave marked "A Soldier of the 1939-1945 War known only to God".

It is not known precisely when, in this appalling series of events, Michael died. The official records still give 5 March 1943 as the date of death for all 600 Gunners who left Singapore on 18 October aboard the Kenkon Maru - a date appearing to originate in the Japanese untruth that the PoWs were still aboard when the Kenkon Maru was sunk some time after they had been disembarked at Rabaul.

It is quite likely that Michael is one of the many "known only to God" in the Port Moresby cemetery. However, he is commemorated on the Singapore Memorial as one of the more than 24,000 casualties of the land and air forces of the Commonwealth who died during the campaigns in Malaya and Indonesia or in subsequent captivity and 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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GILES, Geoffrey Albert. Trooper (14220244)

"A" Squadron 24th Lancers, Royal Armoured Corps
Died 12 June 1944, aged 20.

Geoffrey's headstone in Tilly-sur-Seulles Cemetery
Geoffrey's headstone in Tilly-sur-Seulles Cemetery
Photograph (56498504) by "Len" via findagrave.com

Geoffrey was born on 22 November 1923, the second and last child of Albert Charles Giles and May Ethel (née Howell - their Q4 1921 marriage was registered in the Epsom District).

The 1939 Register records the family living at 136 Kingston Road, Ewell. 44 year old Albert (who had served in France with the Royal Engineers during WW1) is listed as "Landscape and Private Gardner" and 44 year old May with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". Both children were living with them: 17 year old Vera is listed as a Post Office Telephonist; and 16 year old Geoffrey as a shop assistant.

Geoffrey's WW2 service was in "A" Squadron 24th Lancers, Royal Armoured Corps. As part of the 8th Armoured Brigade and equipped with Sherman tanks, the regiment landed on Normandy's "Gold Beach" on 7 June 1944 (D-Day+1) in the second wave of the Operation Overlord landings, supporting the 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division.

While the D-Day landings quickly established the necessary beachhead, progress beyond the German stronghold at Caen - a few miles inland from the D-Day beaches - proved rather more difficult than anticipated. Geoffrey's regiment was quickly involved in the heavy and fluctuating fighting around Tilly-sur-Seulles, a few miles to the west of Caen. On 12 June - five days after landing - Geoffrey was killed in action. Tilly itself was finally captured on 18 June.

Geoffrey is one of the 990 Commonwealth troops buried in the Tilly-sur-Seulles War Cemetery. The family took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave II.K.6,
"In loving memory of our beloved son gone but not forgotten. Mum, Dad and Vera."

Roger Morgan © 2018

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GILLMAN, Alice Maud Mary Millie

Civilian
Died 17 November 1940, aged 63

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Alice was born in South Kensington on 6 June 1877. In Q1 1898 and registered in the Islington District, she married Frederick William French. The 1911 Census records the mid-30s couple and their six children (aged from 1 to 12) living at The Gardeners Arms, 29 Dalwood Street, Camberwell. Frederick's occupation is listed as a "Beer Retailer" and Alice's as "Assisting in the business".

Alice's next appearance in the readily available records is in the September 1939 Register. This finds her as a 59 year old widow living alone at 7 Ady's Road, Peckham, and listed with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". However, in Q1 1940 and registered in the local Camberwell District, she got married again - to a John Gillman. They continued living at 7 Ady's Road.

On 7 September 1940, the first day of the Luftwaffe's eight-month "Blitz" bombing campaign, Alice was injured at her home by enemy action. She 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), where she died 10 weeks later, on 17 November 1940.

The Probate record of administration of her £ 112 estate being awarded to John - her husband of less than a year - notes that he was a "retired compositor".

Roger Morgan © 2018

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

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

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

Charles was born Q3 1909, the fifth child and apparently last child of John Gladman and Alice Maud Mary (née Ballard). While John was originally from Firle near Lewes and Alice from Risebridge in mid-Kent. However, their Q4 1896 marriage was registered in the Greenwich District - and they set up home in Epsom, where all their children were born.

The 1911 Census records the family living at 27 Hook Road, Epsom. Both parents were aged 41 and John's occupation was as a "Stoker" at Epsom & Ewell Gas Works. The five children ranged from 2 year old Charles to 12 year old John junior. (Lodging with them was the unrelated 29 year old Wallace Chantry, employed as a "Musician" at the newly-opened Electric Theatre at nearby 11 East Street - doubtless as a pianist to accompany the then silent films.)

In Q3 1937 and registered in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District, the 28 year old Charles married 26 year old Margaret Mary Kinsella. Charles is not found in the September 1939 Register - presumably because he was already in uniform. Margaret is recorded living at 14 The Drive (now Spa Drive), Epsom on the usual "unpaid domestic duties" of a housewife. The only other person recorded as living there is another married woman, 30 year old Bridget Morley, also on "unpaid domestic duties". (There is no record of Charles and Margaret having any children.)

Charles's WW2 service was in the RAF, but the readily available records provide no information about his postings. His death on 3 August 1941, at the age of 32, was not the result of enemy action but, as noted on his Death Certificate, "Pulmonary Tuberculosis". Both that certificate and the record of his burial in Grave M.468 of Epsom Cemetery on 7 August 1941, four days after his death, note that he had died at "2 Horsham Rd, Dorking" (being the Dorking County Hospital). The Cemetery records also note that - doubtless because of his illness - Charles had been "Discharged from H.M. Forces".

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

The widowed Margaret took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone,
"His life a fragrant memory / his death a silent grief."
Roger Morgan © 2018

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GLASER, Keith James. Lieutenant (322333)
(served under the surname GRIFFITH)

Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment & No 10 Commando
Died 11 April 1945, aged 26

Keith's graves
On the left: The first graves of Keith (the leftmost) and comrades in the Essel Forest.
On the right: Keith's headstone in the Becklingen War Cemetery
Images © Commando Veterans Association and licensed under this Creative Commons licence

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

As described in the separate article about the extraordinary Glaser family, Keith was born (as Kurt Joachim Glaser) on 3 September 1918. This may have been in German-affiliated Schlawe, Pomerania (since the end of WW2, Sławno in Poland) which is where his half-Jewish father Willi Glaser practiced medicine after WW1 and where his younger sister, Erica, was born on 19 February 1922. Other sources suggest that Keith/Kurt had been born in Tetuan in Spanish Morocco which seems to be where his parents spent the WW1 years.

The family were strongly anti-Nazi. When Pomerania came under Nazi control in 1933, Keith/Kurt refused to join the Hitler youth, was forced to leave school and came to England to complete his education, apparently as the ward of a Mrs (later Dame) Leah Manning of Essex.

His parents and sister left for Spain in December 1935. During the 1936-39 Spanish Civil War, Willy applied his medical skills (with his wife and daughter helping as nurses) in support of the anti-Fascist Loyalists. The family could not stay in Spain when the Republicans won the Civil War and, thanks to the agency of Mrs Manning, the parents were brought to the UK. After clearing the formalities, they came to live at Woodcote House in Epsom (which had been rented by the Jewish Refugee Committee to accommodate people fleeing from continental Europe) and Willy continued to practice medicine in his surgery at 57 Church Street. (Their daughter, Erica, went to the USA.)

As WW2 began, the 21 year old Kurt Joachim Glaser - now calling himself Keith James Griffith - was just one of thousands of refugees from the Nazis who volunteered to help the Allied war effort. Technically, they were "enemy aliens" and initially were allowed only in the Pioneer Corps. Keith - known affectionately as "the German" - served in this at first.

Many of these refugees from Europe had considerable talents to offer the British Forces: they obviously spoke relevant foreign languages fluently, knew their way round in particular European countries and were hugely committed to defeating the Nazis, whatever it took. By the same token, they were in greater peril than the British, especially if they were Jewish and were captured. They were likely to be summarily executed.

In 1942, this pool of talent and commitment was tapped into by the creation of No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando. The troops of this unit were formed according to nationality, and Keith's No. 3 (X) Troop was chiefly Jewish refugees from Germany and Austria. Some of the Troop's training was done near Aberdovey in Wales, and the photograph below of most of the Troop was taken there.

3 Troop of 10 Inter Allied Commando in early 1943
3 Troop of 10 Inter Allied Commando in early 1943. (Keith is top right.)
Image © Commando Veterans Association and licensed under this Creative Commons licence

There is no readily available information about Keith's time in 3 Troop until the mission during which, as recorded in Casualty List No 1750, he was killed in action on 11 April 1945. Given his language skills, Keith was leading his Troop - ahead of the advancing Allied forces - on a reconnaissance patrol across the canalised River Aller near Hanover. While moving through the Essel Forest, Keith and then some others fell victim to sniper fire. The dead were later buried in situ.

In due course, Keith and the others were reinterred in the nearby Becklingen War Cemetery. (This is on a hillside overlooking Luneburg Heath where, on 4 May 1945, Field-Marshal Montgomery accepted the German surrender from Admiral Doenitz.) It contains 2,374 Commonwealth WW2 burials of the Second World War.

His proud parents took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave 8.D.8,
"Died fighting for justice and freedom."
Roger Morgan © 2018
with special thanks to Linda Jackson

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GODDING, Walter Frank. Private (6103453)

2/5th Battalion, The Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey).
Died 29 April 1943, aged 29.

Frank's headstone in the Enfidaville War Cemetery, Tunisia
Frank's headstone in the Enfidaville War Cemetery, Tunisia
Photograph (55908331) by "Charlie" via findagrave.com

Walter (who seems normally to have been called by his second name, "Frank") was born on 26 April 1912, the sixth of John and Emma Godding's seven children. John was originally from Sussex, but his Q2 1891 marriage to Emma (née Elliott) was registered in Emma's home District of Wantage where they set up home. (At the time, Wantage was in Berkshire. The area became part of Oxfordshire in the 1974 boundary changes.) The 1911 Census records the family living of seven in the village of Letcome Regis. 41 year old John is listed as a "Haulier, General". 40 year old Emma had just given birth to their fifth child.

In Q1 1937 and registered in nearby Wallingford (again, then in Berkshire and now Oxfordshire), Frank married Florence E Blake. However, the couple set up home at 6 Worple Road, Epsom, where they were recorded in the September 1939 Register. This listed 27 year old Frank as "Gardener Handyman" and 26 year old Florence with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". There is one currently closed record at the address, doubtless of their son Michael born Q3 1937. (Another son, Trevor, was born Q2 1942.)

Frank's WW2 service was with 2/5th Battalion of The Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey). It is not currently known when he enlisted, but this may have been in time for him to have been sent to France in 1940 when the Battalion was quickly involved in the Battle of France and, after heavy losses, the subsequent Dunkirk evacuation.

Two years later, in late 1942, Frank's Battalion was among the troops sent to North Africa to reinforce the Allied Eighth Army which, after the Axis forces' eastward advance towards the prizes of the Suez Canal and the Middle Eastern oilfields had been halted and then - in the key turning point of the war as a whole - decisively reversed in the July and October/November 1942 Battles of El Alamein, was pushing Rommel's troops back though Libya and into Tunisia.

By mid-April 1943, the Axis forces were hemmed into a small corner of north-eastern Tunisia and the Allies were grouped for their final offensive. Frank was killed in action on 29 April during the fierce fighting to take the enemy stronghold at Enfidaville, near the coast about 60 miles south of Tunis. Success there let the Allies advance to Tunis where, in mid-May 1943, the surviving Axis forces in North Africa surrendered.

Frank is one of the 1,551 Commonwealth burials in the Enfidaville War Cemetery, Tunisia. His widow took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave IV.D.16,
"He lives for ever in the hearts of those who love him so much"
Roger Morgan © 2018

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GODWARD, John Sidney. Lieutenant (227123)

Pioneer Corps
Died 27 August 1945, aged 49

John's headstone in the Kranji War Cemetery
John's headstone in the Kranji War Cemetery
Photograph (56321369) by Jo Wick via findagrave.com

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

John was born Q3 1896, the second child of Londoner Alfred Godward and Margaret Louisa Turner (née Smith - they had married on 1 August 1893 in Margaret's home patch of Horbling, Lincolnshire). The 1901 Census records the 37 year old parents living at 39, Culverden Road, Streatham with their four children (aged from 0 to 6), a domestic nurse (for the children) and a general domestic servant. Alfred is listed as a "Clerk, Fire Insurance".

By the time of the 1911 Census, the family had moved to "Birthorpe", Woodcote Park Road, Epsom. The four children (now aged between 10 and 16) were at school - and it is known from his entry on the WW2 memorial that John attended Epsom College. The family had a live-in domestic servant, and Alfred still worked in Insurance.

During WW1, John saw service in France, ending up an Acting Captain in the 5th (City of London) Battalion of the London Regiment. It is not currently known if John stayed in uniform between the wars. As he is not found in the September 1939 Register, it would appear that he was (back) in uniform by then. His parents (and their unmarried third daughter, another Margaret) were still in Woodcote Park Road, and probably the same house - but now numbered 21). Alfred is listed as "Retired Insurance Official" and both Margarets with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". They had a live-in domestic servant.

The readily available records provide disappointingly little information about John's WW2 service in the Pioneer Corps. He was sent to Malaya and, like many others after the Japanese invasion from the northeast in early December 1940, was caught up in the fighting retreat to Singapore and taken prisoner when the British Army there surrendered on 15 February 1942.

He was doubtless then used as forced labour on the notorious "Death Railway" to provide better support for the large Japanese army in Burma but survived that and the extremely harsh conditions of Japanese PoW camps only to die on 27 August 1945, twelve days after the Japanese surrender.

John is one of the 3,702 Commonwealth WW2 casualties buried in the Kranji War Cemetery on the island of Singapore - like most of the others there, gathered in from a wide area. His parents took the option of adding a personal touch to his headstone on Grave 16.E.11,
"Requiescat in pace"
Roger Morgan © 2018

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GOODMAN, George William

Civilian
Died 29 October 1940, aged 71

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

George was born in Bermondsey, London on 2 January 1869 - apparently the oldest of at least six children born to George and Emma Goodman. The 1891 Census records the family living at 13 Gratwick Street, Bermondsey. George senior is listed as a "Carrier" and 22 year old George junior as a "Carman".

In Q2 1891, very shortly after that Census, George junior married Ellen Saunders, registered in the St Saviour, Southwark District. The 1901 Census records the early 30s couple and their first four children living at 25 The Grange, Bermondsey. By the time of the 1911 Census, the family is recorded living at 1 Bala Place, Bermondsey. There were then six children from 1 year old William to 19 year old Emma (a "powder Packer").

In Q3 1911, very shortly after that Census, Ellen died. It seems likely that 19 year old Emma took over household duties from her mother. The widowed George's next appearance in the readily available records is in the September 1939 Register. This records this "Retired Meat Carrier" living at 58 Lucey Road, Bermondsey together with the unmarried 49 year old Emma - listed as "Kitchen Hand Hotel".

On 16 September 1940 - during the second week of the Luftwaffe's bombing "Blitz" - George was injured by enemy action in nearby Streatham. He was taken to Horton Emergency Hospital (one of Epsom's cluster of mental hospitals that, as for WW1, had been taken over for dealing with wartime casualties), where he died three weeks later, on 29 October 1940.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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GOODWIN, Arthur Frederick. Air Raid Warden

Air Raid Precautions
Died 23 September 1940, aged 36

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Arthur was born on 14 December 1903, the last of six children (one of whom had died) born to John Goodwin and Alice Laura (née Hudson). The 1911 Census records the parents - now in their mid-40s and married for 22 years - living at 11 Ravenscroft Buildings, Ravenscroft Street, Bethnal Green. John is listed as a "Picture Frame Fitter". Three of their children were still at home: 17 year old Nellie (working at a printers); 14 year old Alice (working in women's wear); and 7 year old Arthur (at school).

In Q2 1928 and registered in Southwark, Arthur married Ivy E Cattermole. The 1939 Register records the couple - both aged 35 - living at 7 Plough Way, Rotherhithe, London. Arthur is listed as "Tobacconist and General Shopkeeper" and Ivy with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". There is one currently closed record at the address, doubtless of what appears to be their only child, Peter born Q1 1930.

Arthur was a volunteer Air Raid Warden and probably in the early days of the Luftwaffe's bombing "Blitz" (the Commonwealth War Graves Commission does not note the actual date) was injured by enemy action - the family understands that this was at a railway station. He was taken to Horton Emergency Hospital (one of Epsom's cluster of mental hospitals that, as for WW1, had been taken over for dealing with wartime casualties), where he died on 23 September 1940.

Arthur's funeral card
Arthur's funeral card
Image courtesy of his grand-niece, Jan Clark © 2018

As noted on his funeral card, Arthur was buried in Grave T.559 of the Battersea Cemetery, Morden.

Roger Morgan © 2018
With special thanks to Jan Clark

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GOODWIN, Leonard John. Major (174132)

2/5th Battalion, The Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey)
Died 24 February 1944, aged 32

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Leonard was born in the Hackney District on 12 October 1911, the third son of William Goodwin and Ada Blanche (née Croxson). The Census taken in April 1911 records the parents (with William as a "General Rate Collector, Municipal Service") and 2 boys (aged 5 and 8) living at 23 Ravensdale Road Stamford Hill N.

In Q2 1938, the 26 year old Leonard married 24 year old Audrey Beatrice Isabel (apparently known as "Susan") Braybrooke. The marriage was registered in the Surrey Mid Eastern District. Audrey had been born on 12 June 1913 in Allahabad, Bengal: her father, Harry, worked on the Indian State Railways. It is not currently known when the family returned to England. The 1939 Register records the parents (58 year old Harry, listed as "Divisional Engineer Signal Indian State Railways - Retired" and 49 year old Beatrix, listed with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties") and Audrey's 20 year old brother living at "Corner House", The Greenway, Epsom.

The 1939 Register records the relative newlywed Leonard and Audrey living alone at "Glenhurst", Stoke Road, Esher. (There is no record of the couple having any children.) Leonard is listed as "Tobacco Representative" and Audrey with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records note that the widowed Audrey was "of Epsom, Surrey", but that address has yet to be established: it may be that she moved back to her parents' home.

Leonard's WW2 service was with the 2/5th Battalion of The Queen's Royal Regiment. This was sent to France in 1940 as part of the British Expeditionary Force, and was involved in the Battle of Dunkirk where, as the men had received very little training, it suffered heavy casualties. However, Leonard survived that. The next trace of him in the readily available records is as part of the forces landing at Anzio.

The background to that is that, 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. Leonard's 2/5th Battalion - with him now Acting Lt Colonel - were among the forces landed.

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.

Leonard was killed in action on 24 February 1944, in the relatively early days of that fighting. He is one of the 2,316 Commonwealth WW2 casualties buried in the Beach Head War Cemetery, Anzio. (This not to be confused with the separate Anzio War Cemetery, which contains another 1,056 Commonwealth burials.) The widowed Audrey took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave VI.H.6,
"Greater love hath no man than this."
The Anzio Beach Head Cemetery
The Anzio Beach Head Cemetery
Photograph with thanks to themaritimeexplorer

Roger Morgan © 2018

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GORARD, Leslie Edward. Lance Serjeant (6142405)

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

Leslie's headstone in Tilly-sur-Seulles War Cemetery
Leslie's headstone in Tilly-sur-Seulles War Cemetery
Photograph (56498518) by "Len" via findagrave.com

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

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

The readily available records provide no particular information about Leslie's WW2 service with the 8th Armoured Brigade Signal Squadron. In July 1944, the Brigade was engaged in heavy fighting about 10 miles to the east of the German stronghold of Caen, itself 10 miles inland from the D-Day beaches. (While the D-Day landings had successfully established the necessary beachhead, progress beyond that proved much harder than anticipated: Caen was not finally taken until 6 August 1944, 2 months after D-Day.)

Leslie was killed in action on 18 July 1944. He is one of 990 Commonwealth WW2 casualties buried in the Tilly-sur-Seulles War Cemetery. The widowed Molly took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave IV.G.13,
He died / that those he loved / might live in freedom
A sad postscript is that, in early 1945, Molly gave birth to Leslie's daughter, named Lesley Veronica. Even sadder is that the child died (at Epsom Hospital) only a few weeks later, and was buried in Epsom Cemetery on 22 February.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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GORDON, Ronald, Flight Sergeant/Pilot (1605275)

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

Ronald's headstone in the Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery
Ronald's headstone in the Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery
Photograph (18403498) by "Uwe" via findagrave.com

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war database notes that Ronald was "the son of Mr and Mrs T C Gordon of Epsom, Surrey". That address has yet to be established but, in any case, does not predate the start of WW2.

To be aged 20 at the time of his death in March 1945, Ronald must have been born in 1924/25. His family background falls neatly into place by finding his birth registered in the Lambeth District in Q2 1924. He was the last of four children (all boys) born to Thomas Charles Gordon and Catherine (née Boxall). The parents had married Q1 1916 in the Southwark District and the births of all their children (Thomas junior in Q1 1917; Frank in Q3 1919; Arthur in Q1 1922; & Ronald in Q2 1924) were registered in either Southwark or Lambeth.

The September 1939 Register records most of the family living at 12 Meadow Road, Lambeth. 50 year old Thomas senior is listed as a "Butchers Machine Man, Heavy Work" and 43 year old Catherine with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". The second child, 20 year old Frank, seems to have left home. 22 year old Thomas Junior is listed as a "Turret Lathe Operator' and 17 year old Arthur as a "Goods Assembler for Wholesale". There is one currently closed record at the address, likely to be of 15 year old Ronald.

At some point after that, at least the parents moved to the Borough. As noted above, their address has yet to be established but, in addition to Ronald's entry in the Borough's Book of Remembrance, their residence here is reinforced by Thomas senior's Q1 1970 death being registered in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District.

Ronald's WW2 service was in 463 Squadron, a Royal Australian Air Force heavy bomber squadron formed in the United Kingdom in late 1943. It was equipped with Avro Lancaster bombers.

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

On Tuesday 20 March 1945, the 20 year old Ronald was the flight engineer aboard Avro Lancaster Mk1 PB845 JO-C of 463 Squadron which took off from RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire at 23:15 hours. The pilot - Flying Officer Richard Stewart Bennet of the Royal Australian Air Force - was also 20 years old, as were three other members of the crew. (Another was aged 21 and the age of the last, the Navigator, is not recorded.)

The ultimately successful outcome of the larger operation of which this was part was to put out of use the synthetic oil refinery at Bohlen (near Leipzig and about 100 miles SSW of Berlin). However, Ronald's aircraft crashed at Trachenau at 03:38 hours on Wednesday 21 March 1945, just south of the target. It was reported that it had "probably" been shot down.

All members of the crew were killed in the crash. They were initially buried in Trachenau but, on 17 December 1948, they were reinterred in the Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery that was established soon after hostilities ceased to gather in graves from not only the Berlin area but also from eastern Germany, including Dresden. About 80% of the 3,595 now buried there were airmen who were lost in the air raids over Berlin and the towns in eastern Germany.

Ronald's parents took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave 2.T.11,
"In loving memory of our son. / He flew out of our lives. / Always in our thoughts. / R.I.P."
Roger Morgan © 2018

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GOTOBED, Ellen Florence Clemens

Civilian
Died 1 December 1940, aged 26

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Ellen was born in Camberwell on 3 March 1914, the fifth of seven children born to Richard Clemens (a "Platelayer" railway worker) and Ellen Rhoda (née Wale - they had married in Camberwell Q4 1904). The 1911 Census had recorded the couple living at 45 Carlton Grove, Peckham with their first three children (the other four - including Ellen - were born between 1912 and 1922) and Ellen senior's widowed 60 year old father, Richard Wale (a "Harness Maker").

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records (which include civilian WW2 deaths) note that Ellen was the wife of Bombardier A E Gotobed, Royal Artillery. That appears to be a mistranscription of Gunner A W Gotobed who attested for the Royal Artillery in 1938 with the Service number 1508990. However, no record has yet been found of their 1930s marriage - or of their having any children.

The September 1939 Register records Ellen - now married (and listed with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties") - living at 38 Primrose Glen, Hornchurch, Essex. This was the household of the apparently unrelated Andrew (a "Coal Trimmer") and Caroline Lonsdale (and one currently closed record, presumably their child).

(Ellen's husband's Army service would seem to explain why he is not found in the 1939 Register. Incidentally, Gunner A W Gotobed was taken prisoner in France in 1940 and spent the rest of WW2 as POW No.10438 in Stalag 20b, Marienburg, Poland.)

While, at the time of her death in late 1940, Ellen is noted in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission records as being "of 8 Sugden Street, Camberwell, London" (a property that was vacant at the time of the 1939 Register), the Commission's records note that she was injured by enemy action at 45 Carlton Grove, Peckham, London. That - see the 1911 details above - was the long-term family home. At the time of the 1939 Register, the occupants there were Ellen's now-widowed 54 year old mother (a "Laundry Ironing Hand") and four of Ellen's siblings - all unmarried. These ranged from 16 year old Elsie (a "Laundry Packer") to 28 year old Edward (a "French Polisher").

So, at the time of Ellen's injury by enemy action (at the height of the Luftwaffe's "Blitz") on 16 October 1940 - which killed her sister Elsie outright - she was visiting her family. (Others present may also have been injured, but not mortally.)

Ellen 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), where she died some six weeks later, on 1 December 1940.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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GOULDING, Stanley Thomas. Serjeant (7653373)

Royal Army Ordnance Corps
Died 19 January 1947, aged 34

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Stanley was born on 19 March 1912, the first of at least five children - all registered in the West Ham District - born to Thomas Goulding and Alice E (née Adams - they had married in Q2 1911).

In Q3 1935, Stanley married Martha Benz, registered in the Marylebone District of London. They set up home at 2 London Road, Ewell where they were recorded in the September 1939 Register. Stanley is listed as a "Solicitors Cashier" and Martha with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". The couple had one child, Peter, whose Q3 1945 birth was registered in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District. The home address was still 2 London Road, Ewell when Probate was granted in mid-1947 jointly to the widowed Martha and Stanley's younger brother Ronald.

Sadly, the readily available records provide no clue about Stanley's WW2 service in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps or the cause of his death on 19 January 1947. This was some 18 months after the end of the war, and was registered in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District. Stanley was then cremated at the South London Crematorium, Mitcham and is commemorated on the Forces' memorial there.

The WW2 memorial at South London Crematorium
The WW2 memorial at South London Crematorium.
Photograph with thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Roger Morgan © 2018

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GOWLLAND, Peter. Gunner (11000114)

556 Coast Regiment, Royal Artillery.
Died 9 September 1942, aged 20.

Peter's Headstone in St Mary's Ewell
Peter's Headstone in St Mary's Ewell Churchyard Extension
Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

Peter was born Q4 1921, the fourth and last child of John Leversha Gowlland and Evelyn Beatrice (née Burntt - they married Q2 1910, registered in Wandsworth). The 1911 Census records the newly-married couple - John, aged 31 (a "Silk Traveller") and Evelyn aged 22 - living at 45 Nevis Road Upper Tooting. Their first three children were: Mary (Q3 1911); Elizabeth (Q2 1914); and Richard (Q1 1919).

The 1939 Register records the parents living at 35 Cromwell Road, Hove. 60 year old John is listed as "Manufacturer Hair Canvas" (a stiffening fabric used in tailoring) and 50 year old Evelyn as "Dental Receptionist - Late Governess (France)". Living with them was their oldest child, 28 year old Mary ("Unemployed Seeking Work") and two currently closed records - presumably other children one of whom was probably the 17/18 year old Peter. At some point during WW2, they moved to Ewell - which is where the Commonwealth War Graves Commission post-war records note them as being "of". Electoral Registers shortly after the war give their address as 13 Nonsuch Walk, Cheam Road, Ewell.

Peter's WW2 service was in the Royal Artillery's 556 Coast Regiment, stationed at the Brixham Battery as part of the defences for the various naval establishments in South Devon. However, his death (in Plymouth Hospital) on 9 September 1942 was not the result of enemy action but from multiple injuries caused by the accidental explosion of a grenade.

His body was brought home for burial in the Ewell (St. Mary) Churchyard Extension. The family took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave C6,
"Peace, perfect peace."
Roger Morgan © 2018

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GRANT, Philip. Telegraphist (P/JX 404135)

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

Philip was born Q3 1924, the second (and apparently last) child of Henry Grant and Matilda (née Coker). The births of both parents (in January 1898 and November 1900 respectively) were registered in the Uxbridge District - which is also where their marriage was registered in Q3 1920.

The births of both Philip and his older brother, Donald (born on 7 October 1921) were registered in the Eton District, and this is where the September 1939 Register records the family - living at "Rexall", Langley Road, Eton RD. 41 year old Henry is listed as a "Paperhanger"; 38 year old Matilda with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties"; and 17 year old Donald as a "Bricklayer". There are two currently closed records at the address, one of which presumably conceals the 15 year old Philip.

Philip's entry in the Borough's Book of Remembrance and on the WW2 memorial of Christ Church Epsom Common is clear evidence of a link with Epsom. However, it has not yet been possible to establish just what that connection was - and the following available details seem positively unhelpful. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission post-war records note Philip's parents as being "of Yiewsley, Middlesex" - about 4 miles from their pre-war address. When Philip's £ 166 estate was settled until early 1946, the Probate records list him as being "of 13 Poplar Avenue, Yiewsley" - likely to be his parents' address. Administration was granted to his mother, Matilda, even though his father, Henry, did not die until Q4 1970. His death was registered in the Hillingdon District - as was Matilda's in Q3 1975.

(To answer the obvious question, there is no other "P Grant" this sailor could be. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's database does contain other sailors with a first name beginning with "P", but none has any obvious connection with the Borough - nor is a Telegraphist as clearly specified on the Christ Church WW2 memorial.)

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

Given Philip's posting, date of death and the fact that he was lost at sea, it is most likely that he was one of those aboard the Mark 3 "Landing Craft, Tank" LCT 328 that hit a mine and sank off the coast of West Greece. Its operation was part of the complicated aftermath of the Allies' liberation of Greece in which British forces became involved in fighting the partisans who had previously fought against the Axis powers.

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

Commanded by Lieutenant Colin Ernest Polden RNVR, LCT 328 was ordered to take 16 vehicles, with 20 Indian soldiers, from Patras on the northeast coat of the Peloponnese to Krioneri some 10 miles north across the Gulf of Corinth. However, as that area was considered unsafe, the destination was altered to the port of Missolonghi, some 10 miles to the west of Krioneri. Leaving Patras at 07:50 on 5 December 1942, the LCT sailed through a channel that had been swept for mines. The entrance to Missolonghi was taken carefully, as the transport HMS Empire Dace had been sunk there by a mine 4 days previously, and its wreck could clearly be seen.

As the LCT passed that wreck, it detonated another mine which destroyed its bow section. The craft sank bows first, rolling over to starboard as it disappeared. Two members of the crew - of whom it is taken Philip was one - and thirteen Indian soldiers were lost.

Philip is one of nearly 15,000 WW2 naval personnel commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial as lost or buried at sea.

The Portsmouth Naval Memorial
The Portsmouth Naval Memorial
Photograph with thanks to ww2cemeteries.com

Roger Morgan © 2018

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GRAY Edwin John

Civilian
Died 4 March 1944, aged 64

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

In addition to the details above, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission records note that Edwin was "of 49 Ellerslie Square, Clapham, London". He is found there in the September 1939 Register which records that he was: born on 7 June 1879; worked as "Removal Contractor's General Labourer and Packer"; and was married. His wife was doubtless the other occupant, Elizabeth Gray, born on 28 November 1869 and listed with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". Disappointingly, the couple's relatively common names mean that nothing more about their backgrounds can be traced with any confidence in the readily available records.

As noted by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Edwin was injured by enemy action while at home on 23 February 1944. (If Elizabeth was also injured, it was not mortally so.) He was taken to Horton Emergency Hospital (one of Epsom's cluster of mental hospitals that, as for WW1, had been taken over for dealing with wartime casualties), where he died two weeks later, on 4 March 1944.

He was buried in Grave O383 of Epsom Cemetery on 8 March 1944.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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GREENFIELD, Alfred Charles Allwood. Flying Officer Navigator (151197)

44 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
Died 7 June 1944, aged 20.

Alfred's headstone in La Delivrande War Cemetery
Alfred's headstone in La Delivrande War Cemetery
Photograph (56480896) by "Woose" via findagrave.com

Alfred (sometimes known as "Freddie") was born on 30 July 1923, the only child of Charles Benjamin Ambrose Greenfield and Beatrice Eleanor (née Allwood - hence Alfred's third name). The parents had married at St John's, Waltham Green, Fulham on 16 August 1916. They appear to have set up home in Kingston, the District in which Alfred's birth was registered. He was educated at St Paul's School before going up to Worcester College, Oxford.

At some point, the family took up residence in "Cheswood", 46 Edenfield Gardens, Worcester Park. The parents were recorded there in the September 1939 Register. 48 year old Charles is listed as a "Civil Servant, Scottish Education Department (seconded for emergency work in ARP Dept, Home Office)" and 49 year old Beatrice with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". Also at the address was who appears to be Beatrice's unmarried older sister, 56 year old Mary C Allwood, listed as a "Dressmaker retired". There is no other record at the address, so 16 year old Alfred was elsewhere.

Alfred volunteered for the Royal Air Force Reserve and advanced from Sergeant to Pilot Officer in December 1942, when he was aged 19. A year later he had become a Flying Officer.

By at least mid-1944, Alfred was posted to No 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron, part of Bomber Command. ("Rhodesia" had been added to the Squadron's title in 1941 in honour of that colony's contribution to Britain's war effort, and also to recognise that up to 25% of the ground and air crew were from Southern Rhodesia.)

On the night of 6(D-Day)/7 June 1944, the 20 year old Alfred was the navigator aboard Lancaster ND519 which took off from RAF Dunholme Lodge, Lincolnshire on a mission to attack the German stronghold of Caen, 10 miles inland from the D-Day beaches.

Members of the crew were:
RAF Flt Lt Stratis, W A DFC Captain (Pilot)
RAF Sgt R F E Haly (Flight Engineer)
RAF FO Greenfield, A C A (Navigator)
RAF Flt Sgt E P Hawkes, (Air Bomber)
RAAF 421601 Flt Sgt G H Knight (Wireless Air Gunner)
RAF Sgt H P Page, (Mid Upper Gunner)
RAF PO E J Roe, (Rear Gunner)
Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it failed to return to base. In the absence of any news, Alfred's father placed notices in The Times seeking any information about him.

Nearly three months later, the Air Ministry later advised that the wrecked aircraft had been found on 27 August 1944. It had crashed near Fresney-Le-Vieux, 11 miles south of Caen. The bodies of Alfred, Flt Sgt Knight and PO Roe were recovered and initially buried in the Mondeville Cemetery in Caen - which, after two months of fierce fighting, was now in Allied hands. (The remaining four members of the crew were never found, and they are commemorated on RAF's Runnymede Memorial.)

On 28 April 1945, Alfred, Flt Sgt Knight and PO Roe were reinterred in the La Deliverande War Cemetery, very near the coast, north of Caen. (Most of the 1,025 Commonwealth WW2 casualties in the cemetery are those killed in the D-Day landings on the nearby Sword Beach.) Alfred's parents took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave III.G.7,
"Fide et literis" / "He was a verray parfit / gentil knight"
The Latin may be translated as "By faith and by learning", and is the motto of St Paul's School, which Alfred had attended. The rest of the inscription is from Chaucer's Knight's Tale. This obviously had particular significance for the family: the same quotation appeared in the In Memoriam notice published in The Times.

The great west window above the gallery in St Mary's, Cuddington, Worcester Park, (which depicts Christ triumphing through suffering on the Cross) was given by Charles Greenfield in memory of his only child.

Brian Bouchard © 2017
Updated by Roger Morgan, 2018

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GREENSLADE, Charles William. Corporal (3966698)

6th (10th Battalion The Royal Welch Fusiliers) Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, AAC
Died 10 September 1943, aged 26.

Charles was born on 17 July 1917, the third child of John Greenslade and Norah (née Donovan). The parents' Q3 1911 marriage was registered in the Croydon District, as were the births of all six of their children between Q4 1911 and Q2 1929.

The family then moved to the Borough. The September 1939 Register records the parents living at 342 Chessington Road, Ewell. 46 year old John is listed as a "Plasterer" and 47 year old Norah with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties".

There are four currently closed records at the address - doubtless of their children still at home. These did not include the 22 year old Charles who, in Q1 1939, had married 19 year old Teddie J Potterton. It is not clear why their marriage was registered in the Bromley District since Teddie was an Epsom girl, being born here in Q1 1918 - the first child of Ted Potterton and Caroline Emma (née Hedges - they had married in Epsom Q2 1917). Indeed, the 1939 Register records the married Charles (following his father's trade as a "Builder Plasterer") living with his widowed mother-in-law, Caroline, at 11 Dirdene Gardens (across the road from Robert Stanley Garrod) where there was also one currently closed record - probably his 19 year old new wife.

Charles and Teddie's son, Keith, was born Q1 1943, registered in the local Surrey Mid-Eastern District. However, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission post-war records note the widowed Teddie as being "of Exmouth, Devon".

Charles's WW2 service was with the 10th Battalion of The Royal Welch Fusiliers. In mid-1942, the 10th battalion was converted into the 6th (Royal Welch) Battalion, Parachute Regiment. It was assigned a part in the September 1943 Operation Slapstick to capture the port of Taranto (on the "heel" of Italy) to complement the Allied invasion and advances at Italy's "toe" following the capture of Sicily in August 1943.

A shortage of air transport meant that the battalion was transported from its then base in North Africa by sea. Charles was among the men being carried on minelayer HMS Abdiel. Shortly after mooring in Taranto harbour, the ship triggered two magnetic mines that had been laid just a few hours earlier by two German torpedo boats (S-54 and S-61) as they left the harbour. (It was rumoured that the ship's degaussing equipment had been turned off to reduce noise and to allow troops to sleep better.) HMS Abdiel sank in three minutes, with great loss of life among both sailors and soldiers - including Charles.

Charles is one of the 4,045 Commonwealth WW2 servicemen who took part in the Italian campaign and whose graves are not known commemorated on the Cassino Memorial. This is located within the War Cemetery at Cassino - close to where some of the fiercest fighting was seen as the Allies battled against the German's defensive "Gustav Line" in early 1944.

The Cassino Memorial
The Cassino Memorial
Photograph courtesy of euro-t-guide.com

Roger Morgan © 2018

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GREENSLADE, John Leonard. Corporal (362353)

Royal Air Force
Died 25 October 1940, aged 34

The Greenslade family grave in Epsom Cemetery
The Greenslade family grave in Epsom Cemetery
Photographs by Roger Morgan © 2018

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

John was born on 24 August 1906, the fifth and last child of Frederick George Greenslade and Frances Maria (née Charles). The parents' Q3 1894 marriage was registered in the Greenwich District, but they set up home in the Coulsdon area where Frederick worked at the London County Asylum at Cane Hill - gaining a "Certificate of Proficiency in Mental Nursing" in 1897.

The couple's first child, Winifred Eleanor, was born in Merstham Q1 1895. The next two, Freda Elizabeth and Charles Wells, were born in Woodmansterne in, respectively, Q3 1896 and on 1 July 1898 - doubtless at the family's home of 1 Maybank Villas, Woodmansterne, where they were recorded in the 1901 Census.

It seems that Frederick then moved to Horton Hospital, one of Epsom's new "cluster" of mental hospitals. There is a record of son Charles attending Ewell Infants School in May 1905 when the family were living at Chessington Road, West Ewell. The couple's fourth and fifth children were both born in West Ewell - Frederick William in Q2 1905 and John Leonard on 24 August 1906. Both were baptised in St Mary's Ewell on, respectively, 9 July 1905 and 10 March 1907. The 1911 Census recorded the family living at "Stoke", 8 Upper Court Road, Epsom - although, on Census night, Frederick senior (a "Night attendant on Male Lunatics") was recorded at work, being the "Chief Night Watch".

During WW1 (as again in WW2), Horton Hospital was taken over for dealing with wartime casualties. Frederick seems to have achieved some prominence there because he was mentioned by name in the Epsom Herald's report on 23 July 1915 regarding the burial in Epsom Cemetery of Private Edward Adams Riley (9331) of the Northumberland Fusiliers.

In 1925/26, the family (less John - see below) moved from Upper Court Road to "Fredonia" (later 125?) East Street, Epsom. In July 1930, John's older brother, Charles (now an "Omnibus Conductor" died in Farnborough Hospital, Kent, aged 32, His body was brought back to Epsom for burial in Plot K.688 of Epsom Cemetery on 23 July 1930. He was followed to that grave on 26 March 1932 by his father, Frederick, who had died aged 66 four days earlier in Epsom's Cottage Hospital. The Cemetery records describe him as a "Clerk Steward". (The widowed Frances Maria died aged 91 in Q4 1960, registered in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District.)

To return to John Leonard Greenslade, the main subject of this article, he entered the Royal Air Force between January 1921 and July 1922 as a Boy Entrant with the service number 362353. He was part of the RAF Apprentice Scheme, being in the 5th Entry to the No 1 School of Technical Training at RAF Halton, Buckinghamshire. John completed his first period of RAF service by 1930 and returned to live with his family in Epsom. From 1933 at the latest, however, he was resident in Horton Mental Hospital - having followed in his father's footsteps to become a member of staff there.

In Q3 1935 and registered in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District, the 29 year old John married 24 year old Alexina Florence Richards. The newly-weds took up residence with the bride's parents, Robert and Florence Emily Richards, at 16 Holdenby Road, Lewisham, where their only child, Barbara D Greenslade, was born on 9 March 1936. The family of three then returned to the Borough, recorded in the September 1939 Register living at 11 Oakhurst Road, West Ewell, with 33 year old John listed as a "Male Nurse" and 29 year old Alexina with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties".

Very shortly after the September 1939 Register was taken, John returned to the RAF, either from Reserve or as a volunteer, and was posted to RAF Montrose, Angus in Scotland. This base, virtually unchanged since WW1, had re-opened on 1 January 1936 as the No. 8 Flying Training School. This was part of the Government's plan, in the face of a growing threat from Germany, to train more military pilots for an expanded RAF.

On 25 October 1940, three German Junkers Ju 88 aircraft dropped 24 bombs on RAF Montrose. John was among the five killed in the attack, which also injured 18 others, and destroyed two hangars and the officers' mess. John's remains were returned for interment in the family grave, K.688, in Epsom Cemetery on 1 November 1940.

Although John is not listed in the Borough's Book of Remembrance, he is commemorated on Horton Hospital's 1939-1945 Roll of Honour in Horton Chapel.

The widowed Alexina never remarried and, in 2002, died in Hertfordshire aged 92.

Brian Bouchard, © January 2016
Updated by Roger Morgan 2108

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GRIFFITHS, Thomas John

Civilian
Died 1 December 1940, aged 51

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

In addition to the outline facts in the heading of this article, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's database provides the following information about Thomas:
  • of 11 Hook Road, Epsom, Surrey;
  • the son of John Griffiths, of Pontrhydyfen, Glamorgan;
  • the husband of Flora Griffiths; and
  • died at 33 Coventry Road.
Common names, such as these Welsh ones, normally rule out tracing individuals back in the readily available records with any confidence. However, Thomas and Flora were living at the indicated 11 Hook Road at the time of the September 1939 Register - and that provides the information that 51 year old Thomas (born on 3 August 1888) was working as a "Gas Fitter" and that his 48 year old wife, Flora (born on 18 December 1889), was occupied with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties".

Knowing the precise date of birth, the GRO index of births shows that the only possibility for Thomas's birth is in the one registered in Bridgend, Glamorgan in Q4 1888 where the mother's maiden name was Davies. There are too many possible Griffiths/Davies marriages to establish which was that of Thomas's parents, but it seems most likely that Thomas was the first child of of John and Mary Griffiths who, in the 1891 Census, were recorded living with their only son in Carmarthen Road, Swansea: John (a "Tin Plate Packer") was aged 29 and Mary was 25. By the time of the 1901 Census, four more children had arrived, and the family were living at 37 Fern Street, Swansea. The 13 year old Thomas John is listed as an "Errand Boy at Shop", and his father was still a "Packer, Tin Plate Works". The 1911 Census records Thomas (now a "Pickler at Tin Works" and one of his sisters living/staying with their widowed aunt Sarah Ann Griffiths at 32 Hoskins Terrace, Pentregethin Road, Cwmbrwla, Swansea.

While all that is only the "most likely", it is certain that, in Q3 1912 and registered in Pontypridd, the 23/24 year old Thomas married 22 year old Flora Talbot. It is likely that Thomas saw service during WW1 but there are no certain records about that. However, thanks to clues in Flora's 1966 Probate record (of which there is more at the end of this article), it is clear that the couple moved to Taunton in Somerset where they had three children: Edith E, born in Q3 1916; Winifred Elsie Talbot, born on 29 October 1918; and Selwyn Ivor, born on 1 November 1926.

As noted above, the September 1939 Register records Thomas and Flora living alone at 11 Hook Road, Epsom. In Q3 1939, very shortly before that Register was taken and registered in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District, their 21 year old daughter Winifred had married 28 year old Sidney G Mordan. These newlyweds were recorded in the Register living alone in 48 Adelphi Road, with Sidney working as a "Coal Porter". In Q1 1936 and registered in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District, their 19 year old daughter Edith had married Frederick B Broderick: perhaps because of transcription errors, they are not readily found in the 1939 Register. As to 13 year old son Selwyn, the September 1939 Register records him visiting his 26 year old uncle John J Griffiths (a "Railway Engine Fireman") and wife Iris at 5 Lyngford Road, Taunton.

Anyway, the "33 Coventry Road" at which the Commonwealth War Graves Commission notes that Thomas died was actually in Southampton. Thanks to the 1939 Register, we know that this was the home of: the widowed 64 year old Grace Maria Steele ("Unpaid Domestic Duties); 42 year old (lodger?) Thomas E Livingstone ("Civil Servant Mapping Draughtsman" - doubtless with Southampton's Ordnance Survey); and 31 year old (daughter?) Phyllis M Steele ("Gramophone Department Shop Assistant").

For some yet to be discovered reason, Thomas was at 33 Coventry Road, Southampton on 1 December 1940 when the city - a target for much Luftwaffe bombing in late 1940 - suffered a particularly heavy raid. In the early hours of 1 December, a bomb fell on 33 Coventry Road killing visitor Thomas as well as residents Grace and Phyllis. (Head of the household, Thomas Livingstone, was away from home at the time, but was killed in the same raid by another bomb at Southampton's Foundry Lane.)

The widowed Flora never remarried and died, aged 86, on 15 February 1966 in Epsom Hospital. The Probate record notes that her address was then 43 Hook Road and that administration of her £ 1,262 estate was awarded to "Winifred Elsie Talbot Mordan married woman and Selwyn Ivor Griffiths metal polisher."

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GURNEY, William John. Private (1678762)

Army Catering Corps, Attached to 33 Light Anti-aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery.
Died 15 January 1943, aged 31.

William's parents were William John Gurney and Lily (née Oliver). After five years of marriage, the couple were recorded by the 1911 Census living at 38 Queen Street, Nantyglo, Aberystruth, Monmouthshire. They had already had four children, two of which had died - but the surviving two are not listed at the address. The other two residents were live-in servants, so this was a prosperous household - William John's Grocery/Dealer business was clearly doing well.

William John junior was born on 25 January 1912, registered in Bedwellty, Monmouthshire. (The birth of a brother Albert was registered in Monmouthshire Q4 1920. Did the parents then move to the London area? The birth of a William S Gurney, whose mother's maiden name was Oliver, was registered in Camberwell Q3 1921.)

Anyway, in Q1 1936, William John junior married Clara Zander, registered in the Surrey Mid-Eastern District. Clara had been born in Walton on the Hill on 6 September 1904. The 1911 Census records this 7 year old as the youngest of four children living with parents Albert (a 42 year old "Upholsterer Stuffer") and his 50 year old wife Florence at 7 Park Walk, Ashtead.

The 1939 Register records William John and Clara living at Briar Cottage, Rosebery Road, Langley Vale. The 27 year old William is listed as "Hospital Porter" and Clara as "Unpaid housewife". There is no record of the couple having had children. Living/lodging with them were 30 year old Walter H Johnstone (a "Gardener Boilerman") and his 39 year old wife Maria (listed as "Cook Club House" - so perhaps she and her husband worked at the nearby RAC club).

William's WW2 service was in the Army Catering Corps, attached to 33 Light Anti-aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery. In early 1943, the Regiment was in North Africa helping to push back the Axis forces' counter-attack to Allies' eastward advance following the November 1942 Allied landings in Algeria and Morocco. (Commonwealth forces were already advancing westwards following the victories at El Alamein.) Following much fierce fighting, the remaining Axis forces finally surrendered in Tunis in May 1943, a victory which gave the Allies the springboard for their invasion of Sicily.

Sadly, William did not live to see that. He died as the result of some accident on 15 January 1943, aged 31. He is one of the 441 Commonwealth WW2 casualties buried in the Tabarka Ras Rajel War Cemetery, Tunisia where the widowed Clara took the option of adding a personal inscription to the headstone on Grave 2.E.12,
"In memory of my dear husband, loved by all. His devoted Wife, Mum, Dad and family."
The Tabarka Ras Rajel War Cemetery, Tunisia
The Tabarka Ras Rajel War Cemetery, Tunisia
Photograph with thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Roger Morgan © 2018

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

War Memorials
War Memorials
All Saints
All Saints
Dipping Well
Dipping Well
Ashley Road
Ashley Road
St Mary's Ewell
St Mary's Ewell
Sgt. Green and the Epsom Riot
Epsom Riot
Woodcote Camp
Woodcote Camp