WW2 Book of Remembrance - Surnames H

Index

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[Content]

HALES, Edward * (Revised 13/08/2018)
HALL, Stanley (Revised 13/08/2018)
HALLOWELL-CAREW, Roy Phillip * (Revised 13/08/2018)
HAMPTON, Denis Allen * (Revised 13/08/2018)
HAMSHER, Berkeley (Revised 13/08/2018)
HANLEY, Matthew (otherwise Michael) William (Revised 15/08/2018)
HARRIS, Charles (Revised 16/08/2018)
HARRIS, Henry Woodbridge (Revised 16/08/2018)
HARRIS, James Cecil * (Revised 16/08/2018)
HARRIS, Lydia Louise * (Revised 16/08/2018)
HARRIS, Stanley Frank (Revised 16/08/2018)
HASEMAN, Patrick James * (Revised 16/08/2018)
HAWKINS, Albert J. (Revised 16/08/2018)
HAWTIN, Peter Thomas (Revised 16/08/2018)
HAY, Colin Lonsdale (Revised 16/08/2018)
HAZELL, William (Revised 17/08/2018)
HEALEY, Francis William * (Revised 17/08/2018)
HEARD, Douglas Thomas (Revised 17/08/2018)
HEARD, John William (Revised 17/08/2018)
HEATHCOTE-PEIRSON, Gerald Frederick (Revised 17/08/2018)
HEFFER, Arthur Frederick * (Revised 19/08/2018)
HELMORE, David William (Revised 19/08/2018)
HEMING, Arthur (Revised 19/08/2018)
HENDERSON, Richard Owen (Revised 19/08/2018)
HICKS, Archibald Jack (Revised 19/08/2018)
HICKS, Gerald Lambert. (Revised 19/08/2018)
HILLS, Oliver Lilburne Rieu (Revised 19/08/2018)
HIRON, Bernard Edward (Revised 21/08/2018)
HOARE, John Terrance (Revised 20/08/2018)
HOBBS, Edward William (Revised 20/08/2018)
HOBBY, John Charles (Revised 20/08/2018)
HOLGATE, Frances (Revised 20/08/2018)
HOLLAND, Rupert Charles (Revised 21/08/2018)
HOLLANDS, Beatrice Helena (Revised 21/08/2018)
HOLMES, Frederick Walter (Revised 21/08/2018)
HOLTON, George Thomas (Revised 21/08/2018)
HORDER, Cyril Stephen (Revised 21/08/2018)
HOSLIN, Louis Charles * (Revised 21/08/2018)
HOUGHTON, William (Revised 22/08/2018)
HOWELL, Cecil Alex Frank (Revised 22/08/2018)
HUGHES, James Hubert (Revised 22/02/2018)
HUNT, Henry (Revised 22/08/2018)
HUNT, Peter (Revised 24/08/2018)
HUNT, William Horatio Edward (Revised 22/08/2018)
HUTCHINGS, Roy Garston Harris (Revised 22/08/2018)
HUTCHINS, Eric (Revised 22/08/2018)
HUTTENBACH, Helmut Ludwig (Revised 22/08/2018)
HYDE, Paul * (Revised 22/08/2018)

* = 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


HALES, Edward. Able Seaman (P/JX 159101)

Royal Navy, HMS Hood
Died 24 May 1941, aged 18

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Edward was born in Portsmouth in Q4 1922, the sixth and last child of Arthur Edward Hales and Grace Mary Powell (née Tribe). The parents had married in St Mark's, Portsea on 8 December 1906. The marriage records note that the 22 year old Grace lived at 61 Beresford Road, Portsmouth and that the 24 year old Arthur was a seaman in the Royal Navy, currently at HMS Mercury (a shore establishment in Portsmouth). Both their fathers were listed as "Seaman RN deceased".

Arthur's naval career made him rather mobile. The birth of the couple's first child, Grace Josephine, was registered in the Medway district of Kent in Q2 1908. Sadly, she died when only a few months old, but her death was registered in the Tendring District of Essex in Q4 1908. The Q3 1909 birth of their second child, Doris Mary was also registered in Tendring - and the child and her mother were recorded in the 1911 Census living at 31 Church Street, Harwich St Nicholas (which falls within Tendring). Arthur was not at home: the 1911 Census recorded him as a Leading Seaman aboard HM Torpedo Boat in Sheppey.

The births of two more children were registered in Tendring: Grace A in Q1 1912; and Winifred C in Q2 1914. Perhaps because of WW1, the family relocated to Portsmouth. Hubert E's birth was registered there in Q2 1916, followed by Josephine in Q2 1918 and, finally, Edward in Q4 1922.

Perhaps because of a transcription error, neither of the parents is readily found in the September 1939 Register - but, at some point, they moved to the Borough since the Commonwealth War Graves Commission post-war records notes that they were "of Ewell, Surrey". While that address has yet to be established, it is the case that mother Grace's death in Q1 1958 was registered in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District.

Anyway, Edward followed in his father's and grandfather's footsteps and joined the Royal Navy. Like Benjamin Warwick, his WW2 service was on HMS Hood, the last battlecruiser built for the Royal Navy and commissioned in 1920. Despite the appearance of new and more modern ship designs over time, HMS Hood remained the largest and most powerful warship in the world for twenty years after her commissioning and her prestige was reflected in her nickname, "The Mighty Hood".

HMS Hood.
HMS Hood.
Copyright acknowledged.

When WW2 began, HMS Hood was operating in the area around Iceland, and she spent the next several months hunting between Iceland and the Norwegian Sea for German commerce raiders and blockade runners. After a brief overhaul of her propulsion system, she sailed as the flagship of Force H, and participated in the destruction of the French Fleet at Mers-el-Kebir. She was subsequently stationed at Scapa Flow, and operated in the area as a convoy escort and later as a defence against a potential German invasion fleet.

In May 1941, she and the battleship Prince of Wales were ordered to intercept the German battleship Bismarck and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, which were en route to the Atlantic where they were to attack convoys. On 24 May 1941, early in the Battle of the Denmark Strait, HMS Hood was struck by several German shells, exploded and sank. Due to her perceived invincibility, the loss affected British morale.

The moment of HMS Hood's destruction.
The moment of HMS Hood's destruction.
Sketch by Captain J C Leach RN (d. 1941) for the Official Inquiry into the sinking.
via Wikimeda - Public Domain.

Of the 1,418 men aboard HMS Hood, only three survived. The dead - including Edward (and Benjamin Warwick) - were never found and are commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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

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HALL, Stanley

Royal Air Force.

Stanley's entry in the Borough's Book of Remembrance
Stanley's entry in the Borough's Book of Remembrance.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2014

Sadly, the identity of this individual listed in the Borough's Book of Remembrance remains unclear. Normally, the Borough connection is evident in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's database of all WW2 casualties.

That is not the case here. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's database lists only two WW2 airmen named plain Stanley Hall, on whom it has only the following information - which is unusually limited in the first (and probably most likely) case.
HALL, Stanley. Flight Sergeant (656404), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, who died on 18 January 1945, aged N/K. He is commemorated on the Alamein Memorial, Egypt

This airman's Service number indicates that he transferred from the Army in 1939.

No 77 Operational Training Unit was formed in January 1944 at RAF Qastina to train night bomber crews using Vickers Wellingtons

Stanley is believed to have been killed whilst flying in a Wellington X, MF679 of No 77 OTU, which crashed in the desert 60 miles from Ismailia after a fire broke out in the air.

His name appears on the Alamein Memorial, Egypt amongst other victims who died on 18 January 1945 : -
BURTON, Harry - Sgt.,
GRUNDEY, Harold Croft - F/O.,
HALL, Stanley - F/S.,
HATCHER, Frederick Charles - F/S.,
KELLAWAY, Courtenay Charles - Sgt.,
McDONNELL, Gerard Michael - Sgt.,
McNICOL, Gerard Charles.,
PENN, Leslie Norman - Sgt.
WILSON, Robert - Sgt.
They had appeared in a Casualty Communique, published in Flight, 7 June 1945, as 'Missing'.

Reportedly Penn 'died in an aircraft accident'.
HALL, Stanley. Aircraftman 2nd Class (635364) of 49 Squadron, Royal Air Force, who died on 31 August 1940, aged 19. He was the son of William and Clara Hall, of Nottingham and is buried in Nottingham Southern Cemetery (details which make a connection with the Borough seem less likely).
The Commission's database lists six other airmen with the surname Hall and the first of two or more Christian names being Stanley - and the full information on these that is available there is as below.
HALL, Stanley Arthur. Sergeant/Air Bomber (1623632). Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Died 3 February 1945, aged 22. Son of Frank James Hall and Clara Hall, of Costock. Buried at Costock (St. Giles) Churchyard Extension, Nottinghamshire.

HALL, Stanley George (411775). Royal Australian Air Force. Died 13 February 1944, aged 23. Son Of Edith Hall, Of Wickham Market. Buried in Wickham Market Cemetery, Suffolk.

HALL, Stanley George. Flying Officer/Navigator (J/39298) of 427 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force. Died 25 November 1944, aged 22. Son of Norman Ambrose Hall and Eleanor Kathleen Hall, of Shaunavon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Buried at Buckhurst Hill (St. John The Baptist) Churchyard, Essex.

HALL, Stanley Herbert. Leading Aircraftman (1513732). Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Died 18 August 1946, aged 23. Son of George Henry and Elsie Emma Hall, of Hockley, Birmingham. Buried in Birmingham (Witton) Cemetery.

HALL, Stanley John DFM. Flight Sergeant/Air Gunner (1331030) of 83 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve who died on 23 May 1944 and is buried in buried at the Emmen (Nieuw Dordrecht) General Cemetery, Drenthe, Netherlands. Flying Officer. [From 50 High Street, Stanstead Abbotts, Ware Hertfordshire.]

HALL, Stanley Gordon William. Warrant Officer (1230947) of 83 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Died 21 October 1943, aged 22. Son of Gordon Stanley Hall and Josephine Hall, of Harlescott, Shropshire. Commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

Another possibility is that somewhere along the way of compiling of the Borough's Book of Remembrance, there was some transcription error. If that was the case, then the intended individual will have been picked up in our trawl of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's database in which we picked up many WW2 casualties connected to the Borough who were not listed in the original Book.

Roger Morgan © 2018
with additional material contributed by Brian Bouchard

Please contact the Webmaster if you have any information to clarify the identity of the Epsom-based individual and fill out the information on him.

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HALLOWELL-CAREW, Roy Phillip. Civilian Test Pilot

Ministry of Aircraft Production
Died 23 July 1942, aged 30

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Roy Phillip Hallowell-CarewRoy Phillip Hallowell-Carew
Roy Phillip Hallowell-Carew
Photographs copied from Roy's ATA personnel file.
Image source RAF Museum Hendon via http://afleetingpeace.org

Roy was born on 27 December 1911, the first - and, according to the readily available records of an elusive family, apparently the only (but see below for a probable corrective) - child of Roy St Frey Hallowell Carew (with no hyphen) and "Kitty", properly Lillian Kate (nee Wisbey). The parents' marriage (when Roy senior was aged 21 and Kitty aged 17) was registered in the Kensington District in Q4 1910. This is the District in which Roy senior's 20 February 1889 birth had been registered (but without the "St Frey") and Roy junior's birth was also registered.

Neither Roy senior nor Kitty are found in the 1911 Census. Indeed, Roy senior's only appearances in the UK Census records are:
  • in 1901 as a 12 year old student at the then Burlington House School, 1 King's Road (together with his 13 year old brother, Frank); and
  • in the 1939 Register at 4 Rosedale Road, Stoneleigh - as in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's database - together with Lillian and three currently-closed records.
The transcript of the September 1939 Register notes the 50 year old Roy senior as an "ARP Warden" and the 46 year old Lillian with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". However, the original record for Roy senior has been annotated as "Retired Rubber Planter". It therefore seems likely that the three currently-closed records at the address are of other children of the marriage, born abroad - and that the family's general elusiveness in the records is because they had spent much of their time abroad.

Turning now to Roy junior, the main subject of this article, he attended a University Crammer in Kensington to gain a certificate from the Senior College of Preceptors. He obtained a Short term commission as an Acting Pilot Officer in the Royal Air Force with effect from 12 August 1932. His rank was confirmed 12 August 1933 and he then served with No. 11 (B) Squadron in Risalpur (in modern-day Pakistan but then in India) from 18 October 1933 to at least 1936 (during which time he was promoted to Flying Officer on 12 May 1935 and was awarded an India General Service Medal, North West Frontier).

On 30 April 1936, at St John's Church, Peshawar (again, in modern-day Pakistan), the 25 year old Roy married 19 year old Ivy Ellen Power. She had been born on 6 February 1915 in Rawalpindi, Bengal, a daughter from the union of William Power and Ellen Florence Banks.

Roy seems to have completed his RAF Service by 1937. The couple returned to the UK and the birth of their daughter, Sally H Carew, was registered in the Hendon District in Q2 1939. They later set up home in "Cedarcroft", Sticklepath, Okehampton, Devon.

On 13 April 1940, Roy joined the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA), a British civilian organisation established in May 1938, and headquartered at White Waltham Airfield, that ferried new, repaired and damaged military aircraft between factories, assembly plants, transatlantic delivery points, Maintenance Units (MUs), scrap yards, and active units.

On 23 August 1940, First Officer M 42 Roy Hallowell-Carew was piloting a Miles Master Mk.I, N7500, being ferried by No.3 Ferry Pilot Pool which crashed near Dalmellington, East Ayrshire. Having become lost in cloud, he ran low on fuel and abandoned the aircraft which crashed on to open moorland at Headmark Moss. Reportedly, Roy landed safely at Ben Beoch. For this mishap he was reprimanded and suspended for choosing a route deemed unsuitable in the prevailing weather conditions. His contract was eventually terminated on 9 May 1942 for disciplinary reasons - having been reprimanded for an infringement of Standing Orders by taking off again after a forced landing on 28 April.

Roy next became a civilian test pilot for the Ministry of Aircraft Production. On 23 July 1942, he undertook a flight in Supermarine Spitfire Mk.V W3958 after work had been carried out on it at No.1 Civilian Repair Unit at the Cowley works of Morris Motors, staffed by civilians under the management of the Air Ministry. The aircraft was reported to have climbed into a very black cloud about 5 minutes after taking off from RAF Abingdon. Moments later it emerged, diving at high speed straight into the ground at Cumnor Hill, three and a half miles southwest of Oxford. Roy was killed on impact. [National Archives AVIA 5/21/W1278]

Roy's headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Roy's headstone in Epsom Cemetery (Grave O286)
Photograph by Roger Morgan © 2017

Even though, as noted in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's date base and the Probate records, Roy and Ivy were "of Cedarcroft, Sticklepath, Okehampton, Devon", Roy's remains were brought to Epsom (presumably at the suggestion of, as noted above, his now Stoneleigh-based parents) for burial in Grave O286 of Epsom Cemetery on 31 July 1942.

The widowed Ivy erected the headstone illustrated above "In loving and everlasting memory / of / my darling husband / Roy Philip Hallowell-Carew / Test Pilot / Son of Roy and Kitty Hallowell-Carew / who was killed on active service / on July 23rd 1942, aged 30 years".

Brian Bouchard © 2017
With special thanks to Terry Mace at afleetingpeace.org
Updated by Roger Morgan 2018

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

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HAMPTON, Denis Allen, Sergeant (Pilot), 741874

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

Denis (In some records "Dennis") was born on 9 May 1917, the second of four children born to George Chudleigh Hampton and Kathleen Margaret, née Allen. (The other children were: Philip Q2 1915; Kathleen Q4 1918; and Richard Q3 1925.) At the time, George and Kathleen lived in St Martin's Avenue, Epsom. However, Denis was baptised in St. Mary's Ewell on 29 July 1917.

That probably reflected George's long connection with Ewell. His father, Charles Alfred Hampton, owned Seleng House, Epsom Road, Ewell where the still single 32 year old George was living (together with four of his five surviving siblings) at the time of the 1911 Census. This was a prosperous household, supported by three live-in domestic servants. Charles was a Shipowner and, for a time had worked in partnership with George. However, the London Gazette, 2 February 1909, gave notice that a
"Partnership between Charles Alfred Hampton, of Ewell, Surrey, Shipowner, and George Chudleigh Hampton, of Ewell aforesaid, Shipowner, carrying on business as Ship-brokers, Insurance Brokers, and Commission Agents, at 6, Lime-street-square, London, under the style or firm of George Henderson and Co., was. on the 31st day of December, 1908, dissolved by mutual consent".
The 1911 Census listed George as a "Director of Company". By the mid-1920, George and his growing family moved from St Martin's Avenue to "Firs", College Road, Epsom - probably the 99 College Road at which the family were recorded in the September 1939 Register. The 60 year old George is listed in that as a "Shipowner" and the 49 year old Kathleen with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties".

After his education at Rugby School, Denis enlisted in the RAFVR around July/August 1938. The 1939 Register records 22 year old Denis living at home, listed as an "Electrical Engineer". There is one currently closed record at the address, doubtless one of his siblings. This was also a prosperous household, supported by a live-in butler and cook.

On 31 January 1940, Denis began initial training with Course 18 at No. 11 Flying Training School, RAF Shawbury, near Shrewsbury, Shropshire. This establishment had been reactivated in February 1938 and was equipped, amongst other marques, with some Hawker Audax aircraft formerly operated by 26 Squadron RAF.

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

On 12 April 1940, in Audax K3091 and apparently solo, Denis crashed and was killed at High Hatton, not far from Shawbury. His death was registered in the Whitchurch District Q2 1940 and his body was brought back to Ewell for interment in Grave 182A of St Mary's Churchyard, Ewell (Old Ground) with his uncle Walter, a WW1 casualty, and his grandfather Charles who had died on 20 November 1922. His father, George, died on 18 July 1949 and also joined them.

Denis's dedication on the headstone of the family grave in St Mary's Churchyard, Ewell
Denis's dedication on the headstone of the family grave in St Mary's Churchyard, Ewell
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2008

Denis is also commemorated on Rugby School's WW2 memorial.

Brian Bouchard © 2014
Updated by Roger Morgan 2018

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

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HAMSHER, Berkeley. Lieutenant (176169).

East Surrey Regiment.
Died 7 October 1943, aged 28

Berkeley was born on 2 January 1915, the second child of Archibald William Clarke Hamsher and Elsie Lilian (née Blake). The parents' Q4 1912 marriage was registered in Bromley, Kent, but they set up home in Epsom where Berkeley's birth - like that of his two siblings - was registered.

The September 1939 Register records the parents and all three children living at "Belmore", 15 Wilmerhatch Lane, Epsom. 54 year old father Archibald is listed as "Shipping Agent (Principal)" and his 54 year old wife Elsie with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". In order of age, the three children (none yet married) were: 25 year old Peter (a "Shipping Agent (Manager)"; 24 year old Berkeley ("Barclays Bank Head Office"); and 18 year old Pamela ("Unpaid Domestic Duties" with an MS note on the original that she was undertaking "voluntary canteen work").

In Q4 1940 and registered in Wandsworth, the 25 year old Berkeley married Constance Monica Arter-Bourne. No record has been found of the couple having any children. While the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records note that Constance was "of Putney, London", the 11 August 1944 Probate record of administration of Berkeley's £ 201 estate being awarded to her notes that he was still "of" the pre-war 15 Wilmerhatch Lane.

The routinely available records provide disappointingly little information about Berkeley's WW2 service with the East Surrey Regiment. Casualty List No. 1264 sent to the War Office on 14 October 1943 notes that Berkeley's duty location was "India" and that he had "died" on 7 October - implying that his death was from injuries or disease rather than enemy action.

That implication is strengthened by his burial in the Maynamati War Cemetery - at Comilla, about halfway between Dhaka and Chittagong in the part of then India that is now Bangladesh. The majority of the 702 Commonwealth WW2 casualties buried there were from the various military hospitals, both British and Indian, in the area, including Nos. 14 and 150 British General Hospitals.

The family took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave 1.F.2:
"In ever-loving memory of our darling Berkeley."
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

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

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HANLEY, Matthew ("Michael") William, Flight Sergeant (573620)

Royal Air Force
Died 22 November 1944, aged 22

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

Matthew William Hanley was born in Naas, County Kildare, Ireland, in Q2 1922. He is shown above as 'Matthew ("Michael")' because of an error in the registration of his death: his first name was then recorded as Michael, and that is how he appears in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's database of WW2 casualties. (The issue in not apparent on his headstone - as above - which, as is the Commission's standard, uses only the initials.) Throughout this article, he is referred to by his given name of "Matthew".

He was first child of Samuel David Hanley (b. Kildare 1891) and Lucy Beatrice Mary Reardon (b. Celbridge, Co. Kildare, 1895) Their Q2 1921 marriage was, like Matthew's birth the following year, registered in Naas, Co. Kildare.

Matthew's father, Samuel, and grandfather, also called Matthew, both became racehorse trainers in Epsom - at Woodcote Side/Turbine Stud. "Sam" Hanley then lived at Hanley's Cottage, 37 Nether Woodcote or Woodcote Side. By 1929, however, Samuel had moved his family to Seabright, 10 Ashley Road, with a stable yard near the old Epsom Police Station. Samuel and Lucy had two more children, Moyra G and David L, whose births were registered in Epsom in, respectively, Q2 1925 and Q1 1934.

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

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

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

The Short S.29 Stirling
The Short S.29 Stirling, copyright acknowledged

The death toll seems to have been six rather than the indicated five. Among the Q4 1944 deaths registered in the Cirencester District are the following - all of whom, according to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, died on 22 November: -
  • Craig, Lawrence William Harward - F/O (Pilot)
  • Wallace, Anthony John - Sgt (Nav)
  • Matthew - but as Hanley, Michael W - Flt Sgt (Flight Engineer)
  • Williams, Eldred Thomas Henry - Sgt (W/Op-Air Gunner)
  • Dickie, William James - Flt. Sgt (Air Bomber), R/113573, RCAF
  • Brown, Alan John - Sgt (Air Gunner)
Matthew was brought from Northleach for his interment in Epsom Cemetery on 29 November 1944, where the records repeated the mistake of calling him Michael William. His parents took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave N255,
"Greater love hath no man."
While he is also remembered as Michael William Hanley on the WW2 Memorial in St Martin's Church, Epsom, he is correctly commemorated as Matthew on the memorial in Epsom's United Reformed Church (into which his childhood Congregational Church later merged), and on the Old Haltonians 1939-45 Roll of Honour (follow the "Tribute" link on the home page).

The 8 February Probate record of administration his £ 183 estate being awarded to his father also wrongly names him as "Michael" - and it also reverses his father's names as "David Samuel Hanley racehorse trainer". (The Probate record does, however, confirm his address as "Seabright", Ashley Road, Epsom.)

Brian Bouchard © 2014
Updated by Roger Morgan 2018

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

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HARRIS, Charles. Quartermaster. BEM.

MV Dumana (Glasgow), Merchant Navy.
Died 24 December 1943, aged 42.

Charles's background is noted by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as being the "son of Ethel Harris; adopted son of Mrs G M Beavan, of Worcester Park, Surrey". Charles Harris is too common a name to trace 1901 his birth in the readily available records.

However, he is confidently found in the 1911 Census as a 10 year old schoolboy "visitor" living with 44 year old Frederick Robert Beavan (a "Confectioner's Sugar Boiler") and his 42 year old wife, Gertrude Mary (née Williams) at 68 Orbel Street, Battersea. The couple married in Lambeth Q4 1890 and had six children, the surviving five of which (aged between 4 and 19) were living with the parents in 1911. All their children had been born in Battersea - while Charles is listed as having been born in Pimlico.

At some point, the family moved to Worcester Park. The 1939 Register records 72 year old Frederick ("Sugar Confectionary Manufacturer, Retired"), 70 year old Gertrude ("Unpaid Domestic Duties") and four of their unmarried children living at 8 Grafton Road. Charles by then would have been well into his career as a quartermaster in the Merchant Navy - in which he clearly made his mark, earning the award of the British Empire Medal in the King's Birthday Honours on 12 June 1941.

In late 1943 (and probably for some years before that), Charles was serving aboard MV Dumana. This was an 8,428 ton passenger and cargo ship built in Glasgow. On completion in 1923, she entered service with the British India Steam Navigation Company, sailing between London and various ports in India.

MV Dumana.
MV Dumana.
Photograph Courtesy of Library of Contemporary History, Stuttgart
- with thanks to uboat.net for this and the incident details below.

In 1939 Dumana was chartered by the UK Air Ministry for use as a base ship by the Mediterranean Air Command. She was fitted with workshops to overhaul aircraft and saw much service in the Mediterranean, including the 1941 evacuation of RAF personnel from Crete after the German invasion of the island. In 1942, Dumana, was converted into a base ship for flying boats, and saw duty outside the Mediterranean.

Dumana's final voyage was in December 1943 with convoy STL8, travelling from Port Etienne (modern-day Nouadhibou in Mauritania) carrying 300 tons of RAF stores to Takoradi in the British colony of the Gold Coast (modern-day Ghana) which was the starting point for the crucial West African Reinforcement Route.

After leaving the intermediate port of Freetown on 23 December, MV Dumana (together with the armed trawlers HMS Arran and HMS Southern Pride) lost contact with the main convoy. By late evening on 24 December 1943, these ships were off Sassandra in Cote d'Ivoire, about 400 miles short of their destination when they were spotted by U-boat U-515. At about 2030 hours, this fired two torpedoes which hit Dumana. The torpedo explosions blew away the starboard wing of the bridge, destroyed two of the starboard lifeboats and collapsed many of the wooden ladders to the troop decks, probably trapping some men in the mess decks. All lighting and communications immediately failed. The Dumana quickly began to list heavily to port, and the crew began to abandon ship. Three of the lifeboats were successfully launched. Another was capsized by wreckage when reaching the water. As a result of the increasing list, some of the material on the Dumana's decks broke free, slid overboard and fell onto the boats lying alongside, damaging them and killing some of the occupants. Other boats were dragged down with the ship when, less than 7 minutes after being hit, she sank by the bow.

Of the 169 who had been on board, 130 were rescued by the accompanying naval trawlers. 39, including Charles, were lost. Subsequently, six unidentified bodies were washed up on the beach in Sassandra and are now buried in Commonwealth War Grave Commission plot in Sassandra's Municipal Cemetery, marked by a standard CWGC Merchant Navy headstone. A year after the sinking, the Free French in Cote d'Ivoire erected a memorial stone in Sassandra to the tragedy. The pictures below are from a visit by the crew of HMS Dauntless in 2012.

The visit of HMS Dauntless to the Dumana memorial and grave at Sassandra, 30 May 2012
The visit of HMS Dauntless to the Dumana memorial and grave at Sassandra, 30 May 2012.
Photographs from TripAdvisor - copyright acknowledged.

While there is an outside chance that Charles is one of the unidentified six buried at Sassandra, it is much more likely that he was lost at sea. In any event, he has no known grave, and is one of the nearly 24,000 such members of the Merchant Navy during WW2 remembered on London's Tower Hill Memorial.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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HARRIS, Henry Woodbridge Unite. Gunner (1086550)

Royal Artillery
Died 4 October 1941, aged 28

Henry's headstone in Stock (All Saints) Churchyard .
Henry's headstone in Stock (All Saints) Churchyard.
Photograph (133314661) by "scottsheat" via findagrave.com

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Henry was born Q4 1913, at least the third child of William Oliver Harris and Margaret (née Woodbridge). The parents were both from Birmingham, where their Q2 1906 marriage was registered, but set up home at 62 Pentire Road, Walthamstow. They were recorded there in the 1911 Census. 28 year old William is listed as a "Civil Servant 3rd Class Clerk, Stores Dept GPO". 27 year old Margaret had her hands full with a 3 year old son and 1 year old daughter (both of whom also had the unusual third Christian name of "Unite").

In Q2 1941, only a few months before his death, the 27 year old Oliver married Eileen Florence Smith. That was registered in the Southend On Sea District. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records note that the widowed Eileen was "of Ewell, Surrey". While that Ewell address has yet to be established, there is a 1945 record of Eileen (and a Marjorie Everleigh) living at "Pixham", Woodcote Hurst, Epsom.

The readily available records provide disappointingly little information about Henry's WW2 service in the Royal Artillery. His death on 4 October 1941 was registered in the Brentwood District. Casualty List No. 679 states that he "died", rather implying this was the result of accident or illness rather than enemy action.

Henry is one of three Commonwealth WW2 casualties buried in Stock (All Saints) Churchyard, a few miles south of Chelmsford Essex.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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HARRIS, James Cecil. Section Officer

London Fire Brigade
Died 21 September 1940, aged 30

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

James was born in Hackney Q1 1910, the first child of James Harris and Phoebe Amelia (née Collard - they had married in Chelmsford, Essex, Q4 1909). The 1911 Census records 25 Year old Phoebe as the head of the household at 12 Junction Place, Hackney, with 1 year old James and new-born Elsie. (We learn from the 1939 Register that James had been a fireman, so perhaps he was away on duty when the Census was taken.)

The 1939 Register records 56 year old James senior (a "Fireman, Retired" and 53 year old Phoebe (with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties") living at 36 Brinklow Crescent, Woolwich. Living with them were two daughters - 15 year old Margaret (a "Waitress, Dining Room", and 14 year old Joan (a "Shop Assistant, Grocer"). There are two currently closed records at the address which are doubtless some of their other children - the parents had a total of at least five. It is perhaps unlikely that one of these was the 29 year old James junior: the Commonwealth War Graves Commission records note that he was "of 368 Westmount Road, Eltham, Kent", although that address was unoccupied at the time of the 1939 Register.

James had followed his father's footsteps into the London Fire Service and, by 1940 was Section Officer B1386 at Station 44 (Shooters Hill). On 8 September 1940, the second night of the "Blitz", James was injured while fighting one of the many resulting fires at Trafalgar Road, Greenwich. 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 21 September 1940.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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HARRIS, Lydia Louise

Civilian
Died 17 September 1940, aged 57

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Lydia was born in Walworth, London on 25 November 1882, the third child of Latimer (a "Printer Compositor) and Clara Wharton. The 1891 Census records the family (now with a fourth child) living at 42 Chatteris Square, Southwark. The oldest daughter, 18 year old Amelia, is listed as "a Ladies Bag Finisher". Could she have been the person who introduced Lydia to George E Willcocks who is listed in the 1901 Census - three years after their marriage - as "a warehouseman to a leather bag maker"?

Anyway, on 15 May 1898 and aged just 16, Lydia married 20/21 year old George at St Stephen's Church, Walworth. The 1901 Census records the couple living at 2 Lewens Court, Holborn, with their first two children - 2 year old George and new-born Albert. By the time of the 1911 Census they were living in No 6 of the now demolished Powell Street, Islington, with seven children and five boarders.

It appears that George served in WW1 as a Private (G/5866) in the 3rd Battalion of the Buffs (East Kent Regiment) from 22 February 1915. At his discharge on 2 March 1919, he was assessed as no longer physically fit for war service. Aged 59, he died Q3 1936, registered in Islington.

The widowed Lydia moved to 284 Old Kent Road, in Southwark. The 1939 Register records this 56 year old "Furniture Dealer" as the head of the household, the other members of which were her 32 year old son Leonard (a "Lorry Driver) and a lodger, 50 year old George W Skinner (a "Greengrocer Manager").

In Q2 1940, Lydia remarried, registered in Southwark). Her second husband was George Thomas Harris - hence her surname at her death only a few months later. It appears that he joined her living at 284 Old Kent Road since that is her address given in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records.

Unusually, the CWGC records give no indication of the date on which Lydia was wounded by enemy action. It is likely that this was in the early days of the "Blitz" which began on 7 September 1940. 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 on 7 September 1940.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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HARRIS, Stanley Frank. Sick Berth Attendant (P/MX 67886)

HMS Arbutus, Royal Navy
Died 5 February 1942, aged 24

Stanley was born in the Epsom District on 28 February 1917, the first child of Henry Frank Harris and Elsie Louisa (née Carter - they had married Q3 1915, registered in the Epsom District). Their second and last child, Richard, was born on 2 April 1928, also in the Epsom District.

The 1939 Register records the family of four living at 86 Heatherside Road, West Ewell. 47 year old Henry is listed as a "Male Nurse"; 46 year old Elsie with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties"; 22 year old Stanley as a "House decorator; and 11 year old Richard was at school.

In Q4 1939, Stanley married Mary Bernadette Court. This was registered in the Barnstaple District, Devon - as were the birth of their two children: Margaret, born in 1941; and Doreen, born in 1943 (after Stanley's death).

Given his father's occupation as a nurse, it is perhaps no surprise to find that Stanley's WW2 service was as a sick berth attendant. This was aboard HMS Arbutus (K 86), one of the Navy's Flower Class corvettes. Commissioned in October 1940, she was assigned to 6 Escort Group, and was engaged in all the duties performed by escort ships; protecting convoys, searching for and attacking U-boats, and rescuing survivors. Over the next 14 months, Arbutus escorted 26 convoys on the Atlantic routes, helping to bring over 750 ships to safety, though a number were lost in various incidents. She was involved in two convoy battles, and helped destroy two U-boats.

HMS Arbutus
HMS Arbutus
Picture courtesy of uboat.net - as are the incident details below.

In February 1942, HMS Arbutus was part of the escort for outbound convoy ON-63. Late on 5 February, the convoy was about 350 miles west of Ireland when a U-boat was sighted. HMS Arbutus and destroyer HMS Chelsea peeled off to hunt for it. At 22:36 hours, U-boat U-136 fired a spread of three torpedoes at HMS Arbutus. She was hit on the starboard side abreast the forward bulkhead of No. 1 boiler by one torpedo and sank immediately after breaking in two. The commander, three officers and 38 ratings - including Stanley - were lost.

HMS Chelsea opened fire on the surfaced submarine and made three depth charge attacks after she dived but contact was lost and, within two hours of the sinking, she returned to pick up the 33 survivors from Arbutus. Nine of them were in critical condition and one died during the night. The destroyer sailed to Londonderry to land the injured men there on 7 February and then landed the remaining survivors at Liverpool on 9 February.

Stanley 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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HASEMAN, Patrick James. Sergeant (1388573)

460 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 26 March 1943, aged 21

Patrick's entry on the Borough employees' plaque in Epsom Town Hall
Patrick's entry on the Borough employees' plaque in Epsom Town Hall
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2014.

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Unusually, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission records give neither family background for this individual nor even his age at the time of his death. However, it seems clear that he was the Patrick J Haseman born Q1 1922 in Reigate (hence the age at death given above) to Thomas G and Mary Emily V Haseman.

The Hasemans were a well-established Epsom family. The 1901 Census records Thomas as the third of six locally-born children living with their parents - 26 year old Lewis James Haseman (an Epsom-born "General Labourer") and 30 year old Ewell-born Esther (née Stone - they had married in the Epsom District Q2 1892) - living at 38 East Street, Epsom. Aged only 33, Lewis died in 1907 and was buried in Epsom Cemetery on 19 October (where the records list him as having been a "Gardner"). The 1911 Census records the widowed 39 year old Esther still at 38 East Street, but now working as a Domestic Charwoman - and with four more children (including 5 year old twins).

In Q3 1920, the 24 year old Thomas married Mary Emily V Gumbrell. Although both her parents (Jesse Gumbrell and Sally née Neal - their Q4 1887 marriage was registered in the Thakeham District) seem to have been solidly Sussex-based, Mary's 6 June 1887 birth was registered in the Epsom District - as was her Q3 1920 marriage to Thomas. As noted above, the birth of Patrick - their first child - was registered in the Reigate District. However, the Q4 1923 birth of their second child, Jean, was registered in Epsom. This mobility may be the result of Thomas's work as a Fireman: the 1939 Register records the 44 year old Thomas living at Lawn View, the Grove, Carshalton and lists his occupation as "Permanent Fireman, Station Officer Carshalton". There are two currently closed records at the address: these were doubtless the couple's children - and the 18 year old Patrick could easily travel from Carshalton to his work as an employee of the Epsom & Ewell Council. (The 1939 Register records the 42 year old Mary visiting her parents at Ivy Cottage in the Sussex village of Ashington, on the other side of the Downs from Worthing.)

Patrick's WW2 service was in the Royal Australian Air Force's 460 Squadron, part of Bomber Command. On 26 March 1943, he was the Air Bomber in the seven-strong crew of the Avro Lancaster Mk.1 ED 354 U-VO, piloted by Sergeant Robinson Wilson (413468) of the RAAF. The aircraft took off from RAF Breighton in Yorkshire at 19:54 hours to take part in an overnight bombing raid on Duisburg (a major logistical centre as well the home of chemical, steel and iron industries) in the Ruhr area of Germany.

The Lancaster never made it to the target, having crashed into the Ijsselmeer on The Netherlands' coast. As all the crew were lost, this seems likely to have been the result of enemy action rather than some mechanical fault.

Patrick and his fellow crew members are among the more than 20,000 aircrew commemorated on the Runnymede memorial as aircrew who were lost in WW2 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

Roger Morgan © 2018

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HAWKINS, Albert James ("Jimmie"). Sergeant (919537)

408 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 4 April 1943, aged 25

Albert 'Jimmie' Hawkins
Albert "Jimmie" Hawkins.
Photograph courtesy of Peter Bilbrough

Albert James Hawkins was born on 13 July 1917, the first child of Albert John Hawkins and Florence Jane (née Snell). Presumably to avoid confusion with his father, Albert junior was known in the family as "Jimmie", and the remainder of this article also uses that diminutive. The parents' Q4 1916 marriage had been registered in the St George, Hanover Square District. Albert senior was a sergeant in the Royal Engineers - and Jimmie's birth (registered in the Medway District Q3 1917) may have been near the RE Barracks at Chatham.

Albert senior was from the Isle of Wight and the family returned there after WW1 where the birth of the couple's second child, William George, was registered in Q3 1919. Their address was perhaps 11 Castle Road, Newport where (following Albert senior's death in 1932, aged 53) the widowed 45 year old Florence was recorded in the September 1939 Register.

After Jimmie's education at the County Secondary School in Newport, he worked in the rating department of Newport Corporation. He then moved to the Epsom & Ewell to work as a Rating and Valuation Officer with the Council. The September 1939 Register records the 22 year old Jimmie as one of the lodgers in the home of Wyndham and Elizabeth Banwell at 1 Ladbroke Road, Epsom.

He enlisted in the RAFVR and took up service at Uxbridge, reportedly during March 1940. After training at the Initial Training Wing in Rhodesia in 1942, he was posted for flying duties to 408 Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force, part of Bomber Command and based at RAF Leeming in Yorkshire. (The 408 was known as "Goose Squadron" after the Canada goose on its crest.)

At some point, Jimmie became engaged to Elsie Worsley but was killed before they could marry. (In 1946, Elsie married Angus Bilborough but kept in touch with Jimmie's family. Her son, Peter Bilborough, has been a valuable source of background information for this article.)

At 19.45 hours on 3 April 1943, Jimmie was a Navigator/Bomber aboard Halifax II HR713 EQ-F which took off from RAF Leeming to take part in a huge raid on Essen in Germany's industrial heartland. (The combined attack force was 325 Lancasters and 113 Halifaxes - led by 10 OBOE Mosquitos.)

Members of the crew were:
Pilot: F/O. (Acting Fl/Lt) Robert Hodgson Perry Gamble J/9337 R.C.A.F. Age 23.
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Robert Walton Barker 9889712 R.A.F.V.R. Age: N/K
W/Op/Air gunner: P/O. Charles Noola Black AUS/405437 R.A.A.F. Age 23.
Nav/Bomber: Sgt. Albert James (Jimmie) Hawkins 919537 R.A.F.V.R. Age 25.
Nav/Bomber: W/O 11. Donald Leslie Jarrett T/90781 R.C.A.F. Age 23.
W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. Kenneth Septimus McColl AUS/401712 R.A.A.F. Age 30.
Air/Gnr: F/O. Edmond Rothwell Ray J/11851 R.C.A.F. Age 26.
On the return leg, their Halifax was shot down by Oblt. Eberhard Garddiewski (3 victories) from 12./NJG1 at a height of 13,000 feet. The aircraft was reported to have crashed into the North Sea some 35 miles North West of Vlieland at 00.47 hours on 4 April. None of the crew was recovered and they are among the 20,000+ commemorated on the Runnymede memorial as aircrew who were lost in WW2 operations from bases in the United Kingdom and North and Western Europe who have no known grave.

Jimmie had flown 12 sorties and clocked up over 69 operational hours. As reported in the Isle of Wight County Press on 14 April 1943, Jimmie's commander wrote to his mother
"The loss of your son and the other members of the crew is greatly felt by everyone in the squadron. He was very popular with the boys, especially in the sergeant's mess where he was looked upon as a good fellow and his loss is regretted by all. Your son... was fast becoming an ace air bomber."
In addition to his entry in the Borough's Book of Remembrance, Jimmie (as "Albert James") is commemorated on the Council employees' plaque in Epsom Town Hall and on the Newport (IOW) War Memorial. He is also commemorated on a stone placed on his father's grave, as illustrated below.

Left: The headstone of Albert senior in Carisbrooke (Mount Joy) Cemetery,Right: Jimmie's memorial on that grave,
Left: The headstone of Albert senior in Carisbrooke (Mount Joy) Cemetery, Isle of Wight
Right: Jimmie's memorial on that grave, Y 3/215
Photographs courtesy of Peter Bilbrough

The text on that memorial stone reads,
"In proud memory of / our dearly loved son / Albert James Hawkins / (Jimmie) / Sgt NAVR R.A.F. / Missing over Essen / April 3rd 1943 Aged 26 / Reunited with his Dad / R.I.P."
(Jimmie's brother, William, survived his WW2 service in the Royal Artillery, and died in East Cowes in 2008.)

Brian Bouchard © 2014
With thanks to AircrewRemembered.com and Peter Bilbrough
Updated by Roger Morgan 2018

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HAWTIN, Peter Thomas. Sapper (6094956)

196 Railway Works Company, Royal Engineers
Died 22 March 1943, aged 19

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Peter was born Q3 1923, the sixth of nine children born to Henry Ernest Victor Hawtin and Margaret (née Parkins). Their Q1 1913 marriage was registered in Epsom, as were the births of all their children.

The September 1939 Register records the parents living at 4 Carter's Road, Epsom. The 51 year old father (styling himself "H Ernest V Hawtin") is listed as a "Boot-maker & Repairer" and 49 year old Margaret with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". There are four currently closed records at the address, one of which is probably of the 16 year old Peter. Incidentally, his 23 year old brother Henry (taking after his father as a "Boot & Shoe Repairer") and married to Kathlyn (née Nolan) is recorded in the 1939 Register living at 27 Beech Way, Epsom.

Peter's WW2 service was in one of the Royal Engineers' Railway Construction Companies. These played a vital role in maintaining and, as necessary, repairing and extending track to allow for the movement of men and materiel. However, the readily available records provide no information about Peter's particular 196 Company.

As he is buried in the Tripoli War Cemetery, Libya, the Company was clearly in North Africa. Tripoli was an important Axis base until taken by Montgomery's forces on 23 January 1943. The fighting in North Africa continued until the Allies captured Tunis on 9 May 1943. Tripoli became a hospital centre and the burials in the War Cemetery are almost entirely from the hospitals. Casualty List No. 1251 reports that Peter died as the result of an accident, but it is not currently known where that accident occurred and whether it killed him instantly or injured him so badly that he later died in one of Tripoli's hospitals.

Peter is one of the 1.242 Commonwealth WW2 burials Tripoli War Cemetery (on the outskirts of the Libyan capital). His parents took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave 6.D.5,
"Always in our thoughts. Rest in peace. Mother, Dad and family."
The Tripoli War Cemetery, Libya
The Tripoli War Cemetery, Libya
Photograph with thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Roger Morgan © 2018

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HAY, Colin Lonsdale. Lieutenant (193436)

6th Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders
Died 10 July 1943, aged 32

Colin's headstone in the Syracuse War Cemetery.
Colin's headstone in the Syracuse War Cemetery
Image © The Syracuse Virtual Cemetery, used with permission

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Colin was born in Yorkshire on 29 December 1910, the second child of David Alexander Hay and Gertrude (née Wallace - they had married in Gertrude's home Walton area of Liverpool on 27 March 1902). The 1911 Census records the family living at 85 Beamsley Road, Shipley in the then West Riding of Yorkshire. 37 year old David - originally from Fife in Scotland - is listed as an Artist employed at a Lithography works. As usual, no occupation is listed for 34 year old Gertrude - originally from Liverpool - busy looking after 3 month old Colin and his 5 year old sister Mary (like Colin, also born in Yorkshire). The family had a live-in 21 year old servant, Ada Knight.

At some point, the family moved to the Borough. The September 1939 Register records all four of them lodging with the apparently unrelated and widowed 43 year old Jessie M Painter (a "Nurse) at 40 Wheelers Lane, Epsom. 67 year old David is listed as "Artist (Retired)"; 64 year old Gertrude with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties"; unmarried 32 year old Mary is listed as a "Cakemaker"; and unmarried 28 year old Colin as an "Insurance Clerk". (The original record - rather than the transcript - is annotated to note that Mary was in the British Red Cross Society's Civil Nursing Reserve and that Colin was an "Officer Cadet, Reserve".)

On 21 June 1941, Colin was granted an Emergency Commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Seaforth Highlanders, an infantry regiment. It appears that his first experience of action was in Operation Husky, the Allied invasion of Sicily in July 1943. He was by now a full Lieutenant in the Seaforth Highlanders' 6th Battalion, which formed part of the British 5th Infantry Division - in turn some of the 160,000 troops the Allies committed to the operation which, although ultimately successful, came at a very heavy price.

The operation began with the mass drop of airborne troops in the very early hours of 10 July 1943. Part of these were tasked with seizing the Ponte Grande (the bridge over the River Anape just south of Syracuse) and holding it until the 5th Infantry Division arrived from the beaches at Cassibile, some 7 miles to the south. Strong winds of up to 45 mph blew the troop-carrying aircraft and gliders off course, with many gliders crash-landing in the sea. The stormy weather also complicated the 5th Infantry Division's beach landing at Cassibile. While some British paratroops had taken the Ponte Grande, they had insufficient resources to resist the enemy's counter attack and had to relinquish their position some 45 minutes before the leading elements of the British 5th Division arrived from the south.

At some point in these early hours of the operation, Colin was (according to Casualty List No. 1208) killed in action. He is buried in Grave II.A.8 of the Syracuse War Cemetery, Sicily - one of 929 Commonwealth WW2 burials there.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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HAZELL, William G. Private (5724144)

1st Battalion, Durham Light Infantry
Died 3 July 1944, aged 30

William's headstone in the Assisi War Cemetery
William's headstone in the Assisi War Cemetery.
Photograph (47810210) by "Bear Hugs" via findagrave.com

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

William's Q4 1914 birth was registered in Newbury, Berkshire. He appears to have been the first of at least two children born to William and Bessie (née Miles) Hazell, but the family cannot be traced in the readily available with any confidence. Nor is the 24/25 year old William readily found in the 1939 Register - perhaps because he was already in uniform.

However, in Q1 1940, 25 year old William married 23 year old Edith O Hayden. The marriage was registered in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District. And Edith had been born in Epsom in Q4 1916, the first child of George and Edith (née Bowles) Hayden whose marriage earlier that year had also been registered in Epsom. It does not appear that William and Edith had any children of their own. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records note that the widowed Edith remained "of Epsom, Surrey", but her address has yet to be established.

William's military service was in the Durham Light Infantry's 1st Battalion. The readily available records do not show when this began. However, it seems unlikely that it was before WW2 - when the Battalion was in Tientsin, China, helping defend British interests there in case they ceased to be respected by both sides in the continuing Sino-Japanese war. In January 1940, the Battalion was relocated to Egypt to help guard the vital Suez Canal - and it is most likely that this was the point at which, having just married, William's service began.

The Battalion was involved in the action to repel the Italian invasion (from Libya) of Egypt in mid 1940 and in seeking to resist the counterattack reinforced by German troops. Between January 1942 and June 1943, the Battalion was part of the Garrison on Malta. It was then stationed in Syria (which the Allies had taken from the Vichy French forces) and, from there, was part of the Allies' September 1943 invasion of the Greek island of Kos - suffering heavy losses before the mid-October withdrawal. The Battalion was rebuilt to full strength and, shortly after action in Alexandria to contain a mutiny by the Greek Brigade, set sail for Italy at the end of April 1944.

After the mid-1943 victory over Axis forces in North Africa, the Allies had invaded Sicily and, after its hard-won capture, invaded the Italian mainland on 3 September. (This coincided with an armistice made with the Italians who then re-entered the war on the Allied side.) Progress through southern Italy was rapid despite stiff resistance, but the advance was checked for some months at the German winter defensive position known as the Gustav Line.

The Battalion formed part of the forces that finally broke the line in May 1944, allowing the Allies to liberate Rome on 3 June. There was then much fierce fighting as the German forces sought to stop the Allied advance north of Rome. And it was during this fighting that, according to Casualty List No. 1523, William was killed in action.

William is one of 945 WW2 Commonwealth burials in the Assisi War Cemetery, about midway between Rome and Florence. His widow took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave IX.B,4,
"In loving memory of my dear husband. Forever in my thoughts."
Roger Morgan © 2018

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HEALEY, Francis William

Civilian
Died 21 October 1944, aged 74

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Francis was born in Kings Langley, Hertfordshire on 30 June 1970. In Q1 1895, he married Frances Laura Chitty in her home town of Chertsey. The 1901 Census records the couple living at Westfield Stables, Parkside, Wimbledon where Francis is working as a "Domestic Coachman" for the grand house. Their only child, Dorothy, was born in 1907. The family was still at Westfield for the 1911 Census - but the address is now given as Westfield Garage, and Francis's occupation as "Chauffeur, Domestic".

The 1939 Register records the couple now living at 17 The Ridgeway, Wimbledon. The 69 year old Francis is listed as "Motor Driver Gardener" and 68 year old Frances with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties".

On 3 August 1944, Francis was injured by some enemy action at Wimbledon Hill, just round the corner from his home. 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 nearly three months later, on 21 October 1944.

The January 1945 Probate record of administration of his £ 578 estate being awarded to his widow confirms the home address as 17 The Ridgeway, Wimbledon. That was also the home address of the widowed Frances when she died at the Nelson Hospital, Merton on 3 February 1948, aged 76.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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HEARD, Douglas Thomas. Sergeant/Wireless Operator (647632).

99 Squadron, Royal Air Force.
Died 18 September 1940, aged 20

Douglas's parents were Edward Heard and Louisa (née Preddle) whose Q3 1912 marriage had been registered in the Edmonton District. They had four children:
  • Geoffrey Edward, born on 29 December 1913 and registered in Barnet;
  • Douglas Thomas, born on 22 March 1920 and registered in Wandsworth;
  • John William (another Borough WW2 casualty), born on 27 July 1921 and registered in Croydon;
  • James C, born on 26 October 1931 and also registered in Croydon.
The family arrived locally by 1935 to live at 53 Park Avenue, Stoneleigh, and Douglas attended Epsom County (now Glyn) School. The parents (and some currently closed records) are found at that address in the September 1939 Register. 58 year old Edward is listed as a "Railway Clerk" and 54 year old Louisa with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". (In Q3 1939, shortly before the Register was taken, the couple's oldest son, Geoffrey, had married Marjorie E Kennard, registered in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District. The Register recorded the newly-weds living at 14 Beaufort Way, Ewell.)

Given his Service Number of 647632, Douglas appears to have entered the RAF in or after March 1938. He served in 99 Squadron, part of Bomber Command.

On 18 September 1940, Douglas was one of the Wireless Operators/Air Gunners on Wellington IC P9242 LN-B which took off from the Squadron's base at RAF Newmarket, Suffolk as part of a mission to bomb German railway targets. Members of the crew were:
Pilot: P/O. Michael Cunningham Andrews Linden 42134 RAF Age 20.
Pilot 2: Sgt. Maurice Ernest Langton Wood 754548 RAFVR Age 23.
Obs: Sgt. Harold Edgar Smart 747711 RAFVR Age 26.
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Thomas Watson 965301 RAFVR Age N/K
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Douglas Thomas Heard 647632 RAF Age 20.
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Victor Beverley 651939 RAF Age 22.
Their Wellington is understood to have been shot down by the heavy flak. It crashed at Stahlwerkplatz, Osnabrück killing all on board.

Douglas and his fellow crew members were initially buried in the local Osnabrück Schinkel Cemetery. On 1 July 1946, they were reinterred in Collective Grave 9.B.20-23 of the Rheinberg War Cemetery. This is about 50 miles north of Cologne and holds 3,183 Commonwealth WW2 casualties. Douglas's parents took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone,
"In loving memory."
The Rheinberg War Cemetery
The Rheinberg War Cemetery
Photograph (2136648) by Tracey Reid via findagrave.com

Brian Bouchard © 2017
With thanks to aircrewremembered.com
Updated by Roger Morgan 2018

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HEARD, John William. Warrant Officer/Pilot (1169045)

1485 Flight, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 18 July 1943, aged 21

John in May 1943, two months before his fatal crash
John in May 1943, two months before his fatal crash
Photograph (with thanks to Kerry Walsh) via www.aircrewremembered.com

Johns' parents were Edward Heard and Louisa (née Preddle) whose Q3 1912 marriage had been registered in the Edmonton District. They had four children:
  • Geoffrey Edward, born on 29 December 1913 and registered in Barnet;
  • Douglas Thomas (another Borough WW2 casualty), born on 22 March 1920 and registered in Wandsworth;
  • John William, born on 27 July 1921 and registered in Croydon;
  • James C, born on 26 October 1931 and also registered in Croydon.
The family arrived locally by 1935 to live at 53 Park Avenue, Stoneleigh, and John attended Epsom County (now Glyn) School where he is reported to have been member of St Benet House and a keen cricketer. The parents (and some currently closed records) are found at that address in the September 1939 Register. 58 year old Edward is listed as a "Railway Clerk" and 54 year old Louisa with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". (In Q3 1939, shortly before the Register was taken, the couple's oldest son, Geoffrey, had married Marjorie E Kennard, registered in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District. The Register recorded the newly-weds living at 14 Beaufort Way, Ewell.)

In mid-1943, the 21 year old John was attached to the RAF's 1458 Flight, a Gunnery Training unit. On 18 July, he was the pilot of Wellington Mk.III BK235 which, at 15.42 hours, took off from the Flight's base at RAF Fulbeck, Lincolnshire on a Gunnery and Fighter Affiliation Demonstration flight. The Instructor on board was Flight Sergeant Daniel Breslin (1561437) DFM and the "students", on a Senior Officer's Gunnery Course, were:
  • Wing Commander Alister William Stewart Matheson RAAF, Age 33.
  • Group Captain Brian Everard Lowe, Age N/K.
  • Group Captain Reginald Vere Massey Odbert, Age 39.
  • Squadron Leader Philip Brandon-Trye. Age N/K.
RAF Records state:
Wellington BK235 was engaged in a corkscrew fighter affiliation exercise on the 18th July, 1943 with [Miles M.25] Martinet HN877 piloted by F/O Jordan. Both aircraft operated with 1485 BG Flight. When F/O Jordan was about 200 yards astern of the Wellington he saw the starboard wing of the aircraft break completely off at the outboard of the starboard engine. The Wellington at once went into a dive, and crashed 1½ miles south of Appleby, Lincolnshire, killing the six crew members.
A fuller account of the accident reports the following:
Climbing to about 4,000 ft the exercises were carried out as detailed. After the Wellington had completed 8 corkscrew manoeuvres satisfactorily the pilot began another corkscrew and, when changing to climb to port, the starboard outer mainplane became detached. The aircraft then rolled to starboard and crashed to the ground. During its descent the tailplane, elevators, rudder and rear turret became detached.

All occupants were killed. All were wearing parachute harnesses but in no case was a parachute pack attached. It is estimated the aircraft hit the ground at 200 mph.

On inspection of the scene it was found that parts of the aircraft that broke away during its terminal descent were scattered over a wide area with the starboard tailplane nearly a mile away and about 200 yards from the starboard outer mainplane.

Examination of the starboard outer mainplane showed that the top and bottom spar booms had failed adjacent to and inboard of the spar root. Both lower booms had failed in tension due to the upload of the wing. The rear boom revealed a fatigue fracture at the end of the serration. The front also showed signs of fatigue on the rear face of the boom. The top spar booms failed at the inner bolt holes and the rear top boom fracture indicated that a fatigue crack had been present on its rear face.

A detailed examination of the lower spar boom fractures was carried out by the Metallurgical department of the RAE. This confirmed the fatigue crack findings but mentioned they were extremely small.

The conclusion of the report was that the accident was the result of structural failure of the starboard mainplane due to the development of fatigue cracks in the lower spar boom.
Incidents of this type were not uncommon: about 20 major wing failures in Wellingtons had been noted over a two year period. (The earliest known was on 24 May 1942 when T2802 of 1483 Flt wing collapsed during a similar fighter affiliation exercise.) The manufacturers traced the problem to the design of the main spar boom joint. The materials used in their manufacture had high tensile strength, but this could lead to fatigue cracking and structural failure. The solution was a modified spar boom joint using different material, but this was not approved until July 1944.

In the case of John's Wellington Mk.III BK235, the aircraft had been built by Vickers Armstrong Ltd at Broughton on the 3 September 1942, and had a total flying time of 360 hours.

As noted above, all six on board were killed in the crash. Four of them were buried in the nearby Brigg Cemetery - in John's case, in Grave C.370.

John's headstone in Brigg Cemetery
John's headstone in Brigg Cemetery
Photograph (32499065) by "Military Historian" via findagrave.com

Brian Bouchard © 2017
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Updated by Roger Morgan 2018

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HEATHCOTE-PEIRSON, Gerald Frederick. Pilot Officer (134917)

90 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 29 April 1943, aged 28

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Gerald was born Q4 1914, the first child of George Frederick Peirson and Winifred (née Roberts). The parents' Q4 1913 marriage was registered in the Kensington District, as was Gerald's birth. These people have left a very light trace in the readily available records, but it may be that Gerald's father was employed by the LCC and served as a Lieutenant in the RFC/RAF during WW1. In the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records, the parents are listed as being "of Streatham, London".

Tracking them is not helped by Gerald, somewhere along the way, adopting the double-barrelled surname - with which he enlisted in the Royal Air Force, probably at Uxbridge, in September 1940 with a Service Number 1336311.

It was also with that surname that in Q4 1941 and registered the local Surrey Mid Eastern District, the 27 year old Gerald married 28 year old Iris Doreen Strowger. She was the daughter of Richard and Elizabeth Strowger and was recorded in the September 1939 Register living with them at 97 Hookfield, Epsom. That Register lists the 61 year old Richard as a "Warehouseman Photographic Travelling", 54 year old Elizabeth with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties" and 25 year old Iris as "Ladies Hairdresser Assistant".

On 19 December 1942, having attained the rank of LAC, Gerald was commissioned Pilot Officer with the Service Number 134917. He was posted to 90 Squadron, part of Bomber Command.

At 20.19 hours on 28 April 1943, Gerald was among the crew of Stirling BF346 WPG which took-off at 20:19 from RAF Ridgewell (near Halstead, Essex) to join over 200 heavy bombers on a "Gardening" (mine-laying) operation in the "Quince" region off the coast of Holland and Germany.

The aircraft was reportedly hit by flak from the 1./leichte Flak-Abteilung 985 (which mis-identified the aircraft as a "Liberator") and, at 00.07 hours on 29 April 1943, crashed into the sea in Denmark's Langelands Baelt off Korsör.

Killed together with the pilot Squadron Leader Robert Seayears ('Bob') May (40409) were all his crew:-
Sergeant Leslie Hainin 1267828,
Pilot Officer Gerald Frederick Heathcote-Peirson 134917,
Sergeant Kenneth George Horne 1320949,
Sergeant Norman Marshall 817293,
Sergeant Basil Horace Reeve 1388458,
Pilot Officer (Navigator) William Greenhalgh Monk, RCAF, J/17258.
Pilot Officer Monk's remains were eventually recovered and buried in the Kiel War Cemetery. The other six are among the more than 20,000 aircrew commemorated on the Runnymede memorial as those lost in WW2 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

It is assumed that Iris had continued to live with her parents: the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records note the widowed Iris Doreen Heathcote-Peirson as being "of Epsom, Surrey". There is no record of any Gerald and Iris having any children and, on 9 June 1947, the widowed Iris got married again, to Epsom-born Paul Spencer Shelley, registered in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District.

Brian Bouchard © 2018
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Updated by Roger Morgan 2018

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HEFFER Arthur Frederick

Civilian
Died 16 August 1940, aged 35

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Arthur's birth on 9 May 1905 was registered in Fulham. The 1911 Census finds him and his 32 year old mother, Alice Seale (or Teale) Hefford, visiting the widowed 72 year old Latitia Bourne (who had been born in the West Indies) and her 51 year old unmarried daughter Edith (who had been born in British Guiana) at 33 Victoria Road, Worthing. The Census tells us that Alice:
  • had been born in Battersea;
  • was aged 32;
  • had been married for seven years; and
  • had just the one child.
In addition, the GRO record of Arthur's birth notes that Alice's maiden name was Parr. Even so, establishing more about Arthur's parentage has proved beyond the reach of searches in the readily available records.

In Q3 1938, the 33 year old Arthur married 30 year old Florence May Swallow. The marriage was registered in Florence's home patch of Fulham: she was recorded as a 3 year old in the 1911 Census living at 20 Pownall Road, Fulham - the youngest of seven surviving children of early 40s James (a "General Carman for Harrods Stores Ltd") and Louisa Swallow.

Arthur and Florence set up home at 10 Ravensfield Gardens, Ewell where they were recorded in the September 1939 Register. This lists the 34 year old Arthur as a "Skilled Workman, Cable layer PO Engineering Department" and 31 year old Florence with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties".

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's records, Arthur was at the Kingston Bypass on 16 August 1940 - perhaps at work on Post Office cables - when he was injured by some enemy action. He was taken to Wimbledon Hospital where he died later that day.

No record has been found of the couple having any children. The widowed Florence never remarried and died in June 1998, aged 90, in St Austell, Cornwall.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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HELMORE, David William Aleck. Warrant Officer Class II (6344836)

5th Battalion, Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment
Died 4 September 1942, aged 33

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

David was born on 17 April 1909, the first child of David Arthur Helmore and Jessie (née Newark). His birth and his parents' 1908 marriage were both registered in the Canterbury District, and he was baptised on 4 July 1909 in St Gregory's, Canterbury.

By the time of the 1911 Census, the family of three living at 228 Grosvenor Terrace, St Mary Newington, London (near the Elephant & Castle). The Census return lists 26 year old David senior as a "Milkman Driver". As usual, no occupation is given for the 27 year old housewife and mother, Jessie, busy looking after 2 year old David junior. The couple later had two more children: Jessie A born in Q2 1914 and Ethel I in Q1 1916.

There is a record of David junior - the subject of this article - being admitted to St Anne's School, Dean Street, Soho on 3 November 1915.

He is not found in the September 1939 Register, probably because he was already in uniform. In Q3 1941 and aged 32, he married 26 year old Violet Lewis. That was registered in the Bromley District - consistent with the 1939 Register recording Violet (a "cashier") living with her parents (George - a "Retired Journalist" - and Evelyn Lewis) at 19 Derrick Road, Beckenham.

The newly-married couple - who never had any children - appear to have set up home in the Borough, since the Commonwealth War Graves Commission records the widowed Violet as being "of Ewell, Surrey", but that address has yet to be established. (And subsequent annotations on the original of the 1939 Register reflect not only Violet's 1941 marriage to David but also an 18 May 1944 remarriage to someone named Lowers. While that second marriage is not found in the readily available records, the couple appear to have had one child, Carol, born Q1 1946 and registered in the Bromley District.)

David's military service was in the Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment's 5th Battalion (which had recruited from the District), in which he was a Company Sergeant Major. The Battalion was sent to France in April 1940 where it became part of the British Expeditionary Force stationed on the Franco-Belgian border. Only a month after arriving, it was involved in the battles of France and Dunkirk and was evacuated to England. After returning to England, the Battalion was engaged in home defence against a German invasion - and David had time to marry Violet.

In July 1942, the Battalion was sent to Egypt, arriving at the tail end of the first Battle of El Alamein (1-27 July) in which the British Eighth Army managed to halt what had seemed Rommel's inexorable advance towards the key Suez Canal. Its first action was in the lesser known Battle of Alam el Halfa fought south of El Alamein between 30 August and 5 September 1942. Forewarned of Rommel's intentions by Ultra intelligence, Montgomery successfully resisted that last major Axis offensive of the Western Desert Campaign, setting the stage for the Second Battle of El Alamein (23 October-11 November 1942) in which British forces gained the upper hand and began to push the Axis forces back again.

On 4 September 1942, the penultimate day of the Battle of Alam el Halfa, Company Sergeant Major David Helmore was (in Casualty List No. 947) declared "Missing". The Axis forces did not report him as a prisoner and, a year later, Casualty List No. 1274 amended the report to "On or shortly after 04/09/1942 now presumed Died of Wounds".

David is commemorated on the Alamein Memorial (which stands at the entrance of the El Alamein War Cemetery) as one of the 11,869 Commonwealth WW2 servicemen who died in the Western Desert campaigns and who have no known grave.

The cloistered memorial at the entrance to the El Alamein War Cemetery
The cloistered memorial at the entrance to the El Alamein War Cemetery
Photograph with thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Roger Morgan © 2018

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HEMING, Arthur. Sub-Lieutenant (A) RNVR

HMS Nightjar - 763 Squadron, Fleet Air Arm
Died 7 December 1944, aged 19.

Arthur Heming was born Q1 1925, the first (and probably only) child of Arthur Reginald Heming and Dorothy (née Powell - they married Q4 1922 in Fareham, Hampshire). The family lived at 6 Bridle Road, Epsom. Arthur's secondary education was at Epsom County School for Boys (now Glyn School) and he was also a Scout. After leaving school, he worked as a junior Police clerk with the Surrey Constabulary.

The September 1939 Register records the parents still at 6 Bridle Road: 44 year old Arthur senior is listed as an RSPCA Inspector and 42 year old Dorothy with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". There is one currently closed record at the address, doubtless the 14 year old Arthur junior.

Arthur's WW2 service was in 763 Squadron of the Fleet Air Arm stationed at HMS Nightjar. This was not a ship but another name for the Royal Naval Air Station Inskip, near the village of Inskip, Lancashire.) It is understood that, as normal for FAA Squadrons later in WW2, the Squadron was equipped with Grumman Avenger torpedo bombers.

A Grumman Avenger of the Fleet Air Arm (at Boscombe Down)
A Grumman Avenger of the Fleet Air Arm (at Boscombe Down)
Photograph from the Robert F Door Collection via warbirds-news.com

On 7 December 1944, Arthur was part of the usual three-man crew (the others being, Sub Lieutenant William Watson Callander and Leading Airman Norman Westcott) of an aircraft which, for yet to be discovered reasons, was lost while flying over the sea.

Their bodies were never recovered, and theirs are three of the names on the Fleet Air Arm memorial at Lee-on-Solent which commemorates the almost 2,000 men of that service who died during the Second World War and who have no known grave.

The Fleet Air Arm Memorial at Lee-on-Solent
The Fleet Air Arm Memorial at Lee-on-Solent
Photograph with thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Roger Morgan © 2018

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HENDERSON, Richard Owen. Captain (108148).

1/7th Battalion, The Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey).
Died 24 October 1942, aged 22.

Richard was born Q3 1920, the son of Stanley Henderson and Mary (née Pembroke - they had married Q3 1917 at St Barnabas, Pimlico, London). It appears that the couple had four children - of which Richard was the second - born between 1918 and 1928.

Richard's birth was registered in Epsom, and this is where the parents (but, oddly, none of the children) are recorded in the 1939 Register, living at 21 Burgh Heath Road. 49 year old Stanley is listed as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the London Chamber of Commerce, and 36 year old Mary with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". Also there is 33 year old Emily Kidd, listed as "Domestic Servant on licence from LCC Mental Hospital, The Manor, Epsom."

Richard's WW2 service was with 1/7th Battalion, The Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey). The readily available records do not indicate when this began. It is possible that, as a 20 year old, Richard was sent to France with the Battalion in 1940 to join the British Expeditionary Force. They were then quickly involved in the Battle of France and, after heavy losses, the subsequent Dunkirk evacuation. It is, however, certain that he was with the Battalion when it was sent to North Africa in mid-1942 to reinforce the British Eighth Army.

While it was not involved in the July 1942 First Battle of El Alamein (in which British forces finally halted the Axis forces' eastward advance towards the Nile), it did participate in the Battle of Alam el Halfa fought south of El Alamein between 30 August and 5 September 1942. Forewarned of Rommel's intentions by Ultra intelligence, Montgomery successfully resisted that last major Axis offensive of the Western Desert Campaign, setting the stage for the Second Battle of El Alamein (23 October-11 November 1942) in which British forces gained the upper hand and began to push the Axis forces back again - a turning point for the whole of WW2.

Richard was killed in action on 24 October, the second day of that crucial Battle. As the Battle raged, his body was lost and Richard is commemorated on the Alamein Memorial (which stands at the entrance of the El Alamein War Cemetery) as one of the 11,869 Commonwealth WW2 servicemen who died in the Western Desert campaigns and who have no known grave.


The cloistered memorial at the entrance to the El Alamein War Cemetery
The cloistered memorial at the entrance to the El Alamein War Cemetery
Photograph with thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Roger Morgan © 2018

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HICKS, Archibald Jack, Pilot Officer 120655.

114 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 3 August 1942, aged 22.

Archibald Jack Hicks
Archibald Jack Hicks
Copyright acknowledged

Archibald was born in Q1 1920, apparently the only (or only surviving) child of Archibald Henry Hicks and Lily Gertrude (née Beach).

Archibald senior had been born in Epsom in Q3 1882. The 1901 Census records him as the oldest of six children living with their early 40s parents William Henry and Emma Hicks at 86 Hook Road, Epsom. William is listed as a "Hairdresser" and the 19 year old Archibald senior as a "Hairdresser's Assistant".

Lily's background was less usual. She had been born in Bruges in 1887, the daughter of Londoner James F Beach and his Belgian wife, Marie L. By the time of the 1901 Census, this couple and their two daughters (14 year old Lily and 12 year old Edith) were living in Woodcote Road, Epsom. The 37 year old James is listed as "Foreman, Racing Stable" and Marie as a "Dressmaker". While both Lily and Edith were British by parentage, the European connection was strong enough for Lily's and Archibald's 1910 marriage to have been conducted in the Hague.

They returned to Epsom and set up home at 17 High Street, where they were recorded in the 1911 Census. The 28 year old Archibald senior is listed as a "Hairdresser (own account)" and, as usual, no occupation is shown for 24 year old housewife Lily. It seems that the Q1 1916 birth of their first child, Jack, was registered in Guildford but that he survived only until 1919.

The birth of Archibald junior, the subject of this article, was registered in Kingston Q1 1920. But the family continued living in Epsom. Kelly's Directories for 1924 & 1927 list Archibald senior still at his 1911 address of 17 High Street, Epsom. He then moved a couple of doors west and is listed in the 1930, 1934 & 1938 Kelley's Directories at 21A High Street. They were still at the address at the time of the September 1939 Register - and it was noted as the address that Archibald junior was "late of" when he was buried in Epsom Cemetery in August 1942.

After his schooling, Archibald junior worked for Epsom and Ewell Borough Council. Having enlisted in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, he subsequently became a Pilot Officer to 114 Squadron. part of Bomber Command. The Squadron was stationed at RAF West Raynham, Norfolk, flying Blenheim Mk IV bombers.

On Monday 3 August 1942, Archibald was the pilot of Blenheim R3813 RT-S which took off from West Raynham on a non-combat mission. Also aboard were:
  • F/S Arthur Haydn Frederick Chote (1280524);
  • W.Op./Air Gnr, LAC James Lewis Joseph Barnes (1233263); and
  • AC1 George Craddock (1511232).
All four on board were killed when the aircraft crashed at Lache House (or "The Lache"), Lache Lane, near Chester. (A Civil Aviation Accident Report on that incident numbered W1290 is held in the National Archives, Kew, under reference AVIA 5/21.)

Archibald was brought home for burial in Epsom Cemetery on 10 August 1942. His parents took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave N.260,
"Earth is less fragrant now and Heaven more sweet."
In addition to his entry in the Borough's Book of Remembrance, Archibald is commemorated on both the St Martin's and the Council Staff WW2 Memorials.

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

Brian Bouchard © 2014
Updated by Roger Morgan

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HICKS, Gerald Lambert. Flying Officer/Pilot (104530)

21 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
Died 21 April 1943, aged 32.

Gerald's headstone in the Abbeville Communal Cemetery Extension
Gerald's headstone in the Abbeville Communal Cemetery Extension
Photograph (56591281) by "Len" via findagrave.com

Gerald was born on 29 May 1910, the fourth (but third surviving) and last child of Thomas Edwin Hicks and Mildred Mary (née Lambert). Their Q2 1904 marriage was registered in Mildred's home city of Norwich. Thomas had been born in Dundalk, Ireland.

The 1911 Census records the family living at 33 Rosebery Road, Muswell Hill. 37 year old Thomas's occupation is listed as "Tailoring (Gentlemen's)", and the return noted that he was an "Employer". Mildred was aged 29 and had given birth to Gerald just 10 months before the census date of 3 April 1911. He is listed as having been born in Muswell Hill, as were his older siblings - 2 year old Marguerite and 4 year old Monica. This was a prosperous household: the family were supported by two live-in domestic servants.

The family apparently returned to Norwich where, aged only 42, Thomas died in Q2 1917. The following year, the widowed got married again, to Charles Francis Otto Huffam - registered in Norwich Q2 1918.

Gerald attended Ampleforth College. After his death, the Ampleforth Journal reported that:-
"Gerald Hicks was at Ampleforth from 1922 to 1927 and was a member of St Bede's House. He will be remembered by his contemporaries as a boy of buoyant and adventurous disposition, overflowing with energy and a zest for life. He represented his House in all games, and was also in the School XV. On leaving School he went into business and at the outbreak of war, joined the LCC Ambulance Corps, and did valuable rescue work …"
The September 1939 Register records the 29 year old Gerald, listed as a "Journalist" resident with his mid 50s mother (the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties") and step-father, Charles F Huffam (an "Engineer's Draughtsman"), at "Ardgowan" Tadorne Road, Tadworth. (The Huffams subsequently moved into the Borough, Living at 1 Beechcroft, Downside, Epsom by 1943.)

Gerald enlisted with the RAFVR at Euston in August 1940 with a Service Number 1382461 but, having risen to the rank of LAC, was commissioned Pilot Officer (prob.) on 10 August 1941. Confirmation of rank and promotion to Flying Officer followed, 9 August 1942.

In Q1 1942 and registered in the Marylebone District, Gerald married June M Garlick. (There is no record of the couple having any children and it seems that, after being widowed in 1943, June remarried.)

Very shortly after the marriage, Gerald was posted to the new 21 Squadron, part of Bomber Command, that had been formed at RAF Bodney in Norfolk on 14 March 1942. Initially equipped with the Bristol Blenheim, it was re-equipped a few months later with the Lockheed Ventura. It was the first RAF squadron to use the Ventura and did not return to operational duties until until 6 December 1942 when it attacked the Philips works at Eindhoven.

Lockheed Ventura Mark I, AE742 'YH-M', of No. 21 Squadron RAF
Lockheed Ventura Mark I, AE742 'YH-M', of No. 21 Squadron RAF
Image source IWM (C 3404) Public Domain

Gerald nearly met his end on 5 April 1943. He was the pilot of Ventura AE83912, one of twelve from 21 Squadron which took off took off at 16.40 hours for RAF Portreath in Cornwall as part of operation Ramrod 63, to attack an oil tanker at Brest. They were escorted by Spitfires from 129 & 616 Squadrons. Gerald's Ventura was shot up and badly damaged by both flak and Focke-Wulf 190s from 8/JG2. He managed to get the aircraft to home territory but was forced to ditch off Portreath. All the crew were picked up safely within twenty minutes by a fisherman.

Gerald's final mission was on 21 April 1943. Piloting Ventura AE913, he took off at 10:58 hours from RAF Oulton, Norfolk to take part in a daylight bombing raid on the marshalling yards at Abbeville, on the Somme about 10 miles from the coast. The crew (all but one of whom had been involved in the 5 April ditching) were:-
Pilot: F/O. Gerald Lambert Hicks 104530 RAFVR Age 32.
Co/pilot: Fl/Sgt. Frederick James Bowles 1163245 RAFVR Age 26.
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Frank Taylor 1017135 RAFVR Age 29.
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Ronald Watson 652631 RAF Age 22.
Shortly after leaving the target area, Gerald's aircraft was shot down by Luftwaffe fighters. All four on board were killed in the crash at 12.15 hours. (21 Squadron lost two other Venturas on the raid.)

Gerald and his crewmates are buried in the Abbeville Communal Cemetery Extension which holds 348 Commonwealth WW2 casualties alongside 1,751 from WW1. Gerald's mother took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave 6.A.4,
"A beloved Only Son; / On Whose Soul, / Sweet Jesus, Have Mercy / R.I.P."
Brian Bouchard © 2017
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Updated by Roger Morgan 2018

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HILLS, Oliver Lilburne Rieu. Flight Sergeant (161337)

488 (NZ) Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 25 November 1943, aged 32.

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

Oliver was born in Epsom on 21 November 1911, the third and last child of Charles Robe Hills and Agnes Marie (née Reiu, the daughter of the late Charles Reiu who had been a professor at Cambridge University). The parents had married on 23 June 1906, in St Andrews Church Marylebone.

The Census taken on 2 April 1911 records the parents and their first two children (Gilbert Archibald Reiu b.1907 and Audrey Reiu b. 1908) living at "Fairview" Alexander Road, Epsom London. 36 year old Charles is listed as a "Solicitor (Employer)" and we know that 27 year old Agnes was about three months pregnant with Oliver. This was a prosperous household, supported by two live-in domestic servants.

During WW1, Oliver's father served as a temporary Lieutenant in the Surrey Volunteer Regiment, 9th Battalion, and in 1919 he was made an Honorary Lieutenant. Then in 1925, while living at 17 (presumably the "Fairview" of 1911) Alexander Road, he bought two pieces of freehold land in Epsom, one in Claygate Hill and the other in Pound Lane.

Between 1925 and 1930, Oliver attended Charterhouse School in Godalming. He then attended Cambridge University, gaining a BA, after which he followed in his father's footsteps and qualified as a solicitor, then spending four years in Malaya. Back in the UK, he joined the RAFVR in 1941, and served as a Mosquito navigator and radar operator with the 488 Royal New Zealand Air Force Squadron. (The successful 2-man twin-engined de Havilland Mosquito multi-role aircraft was nicknamed the "wooden wonder", being of mainly timber and plywood construction.)

The de Havilland Mosquito
The de Havilland Mosquito
Public domain photograph

On 15 February 1942, the 30 year old Oliver married 26 year old Joan de Lancey Wilson, registered in the Blandford District of Dorset in Q1 1942. The couple set up home at 8 Randolph Road, Epsom. A few months before Oliver's death, their daughter Fiona was born in Q2 1943, registered in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District. By this time, the couple are likely to have moved to Clayhill Lodge, West Hill, Epsom. (That was noted as Oliver's address in the November 1944 Probate record of the widowed Joan being awarded administration of his £ 1,658 estate.)

On 2 December 1943, there were newspaper reports that Oliver had been declared missing, believed killed, on night operations over the North Foreland of the coast of Kent. It emerged that, on 25 November, Oliver and the RAF pilot, Squadron Leader Dudley Ormston Hobbis (42709) DFC, had taken off in DH.98 Mosquito NF Mk.VIII (registration HK423) from RAF Bradwell Bay, Essex for a patrol over the North Sea. After their port engine caught fire, the pilot aimed to nurse the aircraft back to base Unfortunately the starboard engine also failed. The pilot's last radio message to control was that they were bailing out off the North Foreland. Despite an Air-Sea Rescue search, neither man was found, and were therefore presumed killed.

Squadron Leader Hobbis's body was never found, and he is commemorated on the RAF's Runneymede memorial to the missing. However, Oliver's body was found eight months later, in the Thames Estuary, and was laid to rest in Epsom cemetery on 12 August 1944. The widowed Joan took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave N.256
"Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; Isaiah 42.v1."
In Q2 1947, the widowed Joan married Thomas B Page. As for her 1942 marriage to Oliver, this was registered in the Blandford District. She died in 1994 in Derbyshire.

In addition to his entry in the Borough's Book of Remembrance, Oliver is commemorated on the WW2 memorials in Christ Church Epsom Common, Charterhouse School and at the former RAF airfield at Bradwell Bay, Essex

Brian Bouchard © 2013
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Updated by Roger Morgan 2018

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HIRON, Bernard Edward. Gunner (0/33301)

HMCS Talapus Royal Canadian Navy
Died 31 March 1946, aged 34

Bernard's headstone in the Esquimalt (Veterans') Cemetery
Bernard's headstone in the Esquimalt (Veterans') Cemetery
Photograph (135105948) by "Betty & Dan" via findagrave.com

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Bernard was born on 22 February 1912, the first child of Frederick Robert Hiron and Florence (née Wood). Their Q3 1910 marriage was registered in the Croydon District, as was the birth of Bernard and the Q4 1913 birth of their second child, Allan. The parents did have links with the Borough. First of all, Frederick (born in Northampton in 1876) was recorded in the 1901 Census as one of three unrelated carpenters boarding with railway porter Reuben Johnson and his family at 56 Miles Road, Epsom. Then, the 1911 Census recorded the newly-married Frederick and Florence (born in Frodingham, Lincolnshire, in 1885) living alone at 8 Oakdale Road, West Ewell.

However, in 1914, the family of four emigrated to Canada, where that country's 1916 census records them in Alberta, the province next inland from British Columbia on the west coast. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records note that Bernard was the "son of Mr and Mrs F R Hiron of Epsom, Surrey, England", and the parents did return to Epsom: their address at the time of Frederick's death on 27 October 1955 was 138 Ruden Way.

The Commission's records also note that Bernard was the "husband of Mary Hiron, of Victoria" (the provincial capital of British Columbia, situated on the southern tip of Vancouver Island), but details of that marriage and any family are not found in the readily available records. And such records are of no help in tracking anything about Bernard's life there or how and when he became a Gunner on HMCS Talapus - HMCS being the abbreviation of "His Majesty's Canadian Ship".

HMCS Talapus
HMCS Talapus
Photograph (VR992.42.3) from the Esquimalt Naval & Military museum collection.

When WW2 began, the small naval force Canada had in Esquimalt (a municipality adjacent to Victoria and the Canadian Navy's main base on the Pacific coast) was committed to the East Coast for the Battle of the Atlantic. When Japan entered the war in December of 1941, the need for patrol forces along the Pacific coast became urgent, and a number of retired ships were brought back into service along with many requisitioned civilian vessels. Many of the latter were fishing boats, and continued to be manned by the same crews. The fleet became known as "The Fisherman's Reserve".

HMCS Talapus had been specifically commissioned by the Canadian Navy as a patrol and towing vessel. Built in by Armstrong Brothers Shipyard, Victoria, she was completed in 1942 and entered naval service as a support ship to the HMCS Givenchy, a recommissioned naval trawler, as well as to other assorted coastal vessels. Along with a diverse assortment of fishing boats, private yachts, and commercial vessels, the Talapus was responsible for patrolling the shoreline and fiords of Canada's extensive West Coast.

The Talapus survived the war and, renamed the Parry, was sold in 1946 to Canada's hydrographic Service. She was retired in 1968 and sold into private ownership. In late 2016 (and probably still) she served as a tour vessel offering sightseeing, whale watching, and fishing adventures around the islands along British Columbia's coast.

Bernard also survived WW2, dying in the Tofino District on the western coast of Vancouver Island of an as yet unknown cause on 31 March 1946, aged 34. He is one of 81 WW2 casualties buried in the Esquimalt (Veterans') Cemetery. The widowed Mary took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave 275,
"In loving memory of Bernard, dearly beloved husband of Mary Hiron."
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HOARE, John Terrance. Signalman (2383062)

78th Divisional Signals, Royal Corps of Signals
Died 4 December 1943, aged 21

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

John was born Q3 1922, the fifth and apparently last child of Henry Fredrick Hoare and Daisy Farnborough (née Hyland). The parents had married in Epsom Q3 1907. The 1911 Census records them living at 10 Coronation Cottages, Woodlands Road, Epsom. 25 year old Frederick is listed as a Bricklayer and 23 year old Daisy as a Laundress. Living with them were their first two children (2 year old Henry and new-born Frederick - both of whom died, in 1915 and 1913 respectively) and a 29 year old boarder, Henry Cason (a "General Labourer").

By 1920, the family had moved across the Dorking Road to live at 15 Woodcote Side - their address when the penultimate child, Edward George, was baptised at Christ Church on 6 June 1920. The 1939 Register records the 19 year old and unmarried Edward (a "Coal Merchant's Clerk") as head of the household at 13 Barn Close (off Woodcote side). The second record is currently closed and may be the 17 year old John. The third record is of the remaining child, 24 year old Gwendoline - unmarried and a "Solicitor's Clerk". The fourth and final record is their 52 year old mother, Daisy, listed as a "Light Car Driver". It is not clear where her husband, Henry Frederick, was: he died in St Luke's hospital, Guildford, Q2 1949 and was buried in Epsom Cemetery on 13 May.

The readily available records provide disappointingly little information about John's WW2 service in the Royal Corps of Signals. From the date and location of his death, it is clear that he was in the thick of the early stages of the fierce fighting to break through the German's winter defensive position (known as the Gustav Line) from coast to coast south of Rome. (After the Allies' September invasion of the mainland from Sicily, their progress northwards had been relatively rapid until that point. The Gustav line was not broken until May 1945.) However, John's death on 4 December 1943 was not caused by enemy action but, according to Casualty List No. 1328, the result of an accident.

He was buried in the Campobasso Military Cemetery but, in the continuing battle, his grave was lost. He is now commemorated on the special memorial at the Cassino War Cemetery, where his family took the option of adding a personal inscription to his plaque,
"Buried at the time in Campobasso military cemetery but whose grave is now lost. Sunshine passes, shadows fall, love and memory outlive all."

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

Roger Morgan © 2018

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HOBBS, Edward William. Corporal (1329575)

7 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 4 February 1943, aged 38

Edward's headstone and Brookwood Military Cemetery
Edward's headstone and Brookwood Military Cemetery
Left: photograph (17664240) by "Wertypop" via findagrave.com
Right: Photograph with thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Edward William Hobbs was born Q1 1905, the second child (but first son - hence the recycling of his father's names) of Edward William Hobbs and Ethel (née Randall or, in some records, Randel). The parent's Q4 1901 marriage was registered in the Paddington District.

The 1911 census records the family living in one room at 15 Bolton Road West, Kensington. 31 year old Edward senior is listed as a "Painters Labourer". 29 year old Ethel had just given birth to their third child, Daisy May. Edward junior was aged 6 and his older sister, Minnie Ethel was 9. It seems the couple than had two more children: Charles in Q1 1914 and Herbert in Q4 1915 - both registered in the Kensington District.

In Q1 1933, the 28 year old Edward junior married 18 year old Florence Gertrude White. The marriage was registered in the Epsom District - as had been Florence's Q1 1915 birth. They had four children: John R S, registered Q4 1934 in the Epsom District; and Walter E C, Wayne B & Raymond registered in the successor Surrey Mid Eastern District in, respectively Q2 1938, Q2 1941 & Q2 1942.

Neither Edward (who may already have been in uniform) nor Florence is found in the September 1939 Register and, although the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records note that the widowed Florence was "of Epsom, Surrey" that address has yet to be established.

Edward's WW2 service was a Corporal in the RAF's 7 Squadron, part of the Pathfinder force within Bomber Command and stationed at RAF Oakington in Cambridgeshire - in Edward's time equipped with the Short Stirling. However, his death on 4 February 1943 was registered in the City of Westminster, so seems likely to have been in a hospital and the result of either illness or injuries.

He is buried in the Brookwood Military Cemetery, one of the nearly 3,500 Commonwealth WW2 casualties there. The widowed Florence - presumably known to Edward as "Dimple" - took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave 22.B.10,
"In memory of my dear husband 'God's greatest gift, remembrance' Dimple."
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HOBBY, John Charles. Flying Officer (159407)

454 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
Died 10 February 1945, aged 21.

John Charles Hobby (sometimes known as "Jack"), was born on 10 October 1923, the first child of Charles Richard Hobby and Eva Maud (née Butler). The parents' Q1 1923 marriage was registered in Kingston Upon Thames, but John's birth was registered in Brighton.

There is a 1932 record of the family living in New Malden, and it was in the Kingston Registration District (which covers New Malden) that the couple's other children were registered - David in Q4 1926 and Derek in Q4 1932.

By 1935, the family had moved to "Chellow Dene", 400 Chessington Road, West Ewell and this is where the parents were recorded in the September 1939 Register. 42 year old Charles is listed as a "Schoolmaster, Surrey County Council" and 41 year old Eva with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". There are three currently closed records at the address, doubtless covering the three boys: 15 year old John; 13 year old David; and 7 year old Derek.

John's secondary education was at Epsom County (now Glyn) School. He enlisted in the RAFVR at Oxford during or after 1941 and advanced from LAC to be commissioned on 20 November 1943 as Pilot Officer on probation.

He was assigned to 454 Squadron. This Squadron of the Royal Australian Air Force was originally raised in 1941 in New South Wales under the Empire Air Training Scheme but disbanded after only a few months. In April 1942, it was re-raised at Blackpool from RAF personnel in a reconnaissance/light-bomber role. (It later had significant numbers drawn from several Commonwealth countries.)

John probably joined the Squadron in late 1943 at RAF El Amiriya in Egypt. Now equipped with Martin 187 Baltimores, the Squadron had been re-roled as a maritime patrol squadron and operated in the Eastern Mediterranean.

A Royal Air Force Martin Baltimore IV/V bomber.
A Royal Air Force Martin Baltimore IV/V bomber.
Official US Air Force photo 051122-F-1234P-023 (via Wikimedia), Public Domain

In July 1944, the Squadron was again re-roled - this time as a daylight bomber squadron - and committed to supporting ground forces engaged in the Italian campaign. Initially based in Pescara, it operating from a succession of airfields and earned a reputation for efficiency, despite Italy's climatic extremes. In addition to its ground support missions, the squadron also attacked targets (some as far afield as then Yugoslavia). experimented with radar-controlled bombing techniques, and, in early 1945, harassed the retreating German forces by night.

On 10 February 1945, John (now promoted to Flying Officer) took off from Cesenatico at night in Baltimore Mk.V FW845. This must have been a ferry flight, since he was flying solo: the normal crew was four. About 2 miles north of the airfield he crashed into a lake and was killed.

He is one of the 1,887 Commonwealth WW2 casualties buried at Coriano Ridge War Cemetery, Near Rimini. John's family took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave XVI.E.2,
"In loving memory of a great and noble boy who died that we might live. Dad, Mum, David and Derek."
The Coriano Ridge War Cemetery
The Coriano Ridge War Cemetery
Photograph by "bbmir" via findagrave.com

Brian Bouchard © 2017
Updated by Roger Morgan 2018

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HOLGATE, Frances. Nurse/Sister

Civilian
Died 14 February 1942, aged 48

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission notes that Frances (or "Fanny") was the daughter of Tomas (sic) and the late Emily Holgate, and had lived at 66 Ruxley Lane, Ewell. The 1939 Register records her at that address - as an unmarried "Nursing Sister" born on 26 May 1893 - lodging with a couple in their 50s, William (a "Passenger Agent SR Waterloo Station") and Dorothy (the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties") Dixon and two currently closed records (listed above Frances) and presumably their children. Various searches of the readily available records have, to date, not found any useful leads on her family background or early life.

In the period before her death Frances was, as noted by the CWGC, Sister in Charge, Taiping General Hospital, Malaya. It may be that, like a number of her nursing colleagues, she joined the Territorial Army Nursing Service and was posted to this major medical centre sited in the north of the country.

The Japanese invaded Malaya on 8 December 1941 from its northern border with Siam (now Thailand). Commonwealth forces were unable to halt the Japanese advance southwards (which culminated in the British surrender of Singapore on 15 February 1942). Frances was one of many civilians making their way south seeking evacuation by ship from Singapore. Frances secured passage on the SS Kuala - one of 44 ships reported to have left Singapore between February 12 to 14, 1942 carrying evacuees. There are reports that Sister Beatrice Hollands was also on board."

SS Kuala
SS Kuala.
Copyright acknowledged

While still taking on passengers at Singapore, SS Kuala was attacked by several waves enemy aircraft, killing dozens of evacuees and injuring many more. About 50 of the 600 or so on board were nurses (civilian and military) who did their best to bind up the wounded. To be less visible to marauding aircraft, the master of the Kuala had decided to sail at night and "lie to" during the day.

They sailed from Singapore on 13 November. The following day, off Pom Pong Island in the Rhio Archipelago, the master had just sent men ashore in boats to collect branches and thatch to camouflage when the ship was spotted and attacked by Japanese aircraft. The ship was rocked by a massive explosion as the bridge suffered a direct hit and the boiler room caught fire. The order was given to abandon ship. There were only two lifeboats and not nearly enough lifebelts. The passengers - who included many young children - had to jump from the blazing ship into the water where a fierce current was sweeping away from the island and out to the open sea. It is reported that, as at the other sinkings, Japanese aircraft continued to fire on those in the water.

At some point in this carnage, Frances was one of those killed. She has no known grave and is one of one of more than 24,000 such Commonwealth casualties commemorated on the Singapore Memorial in Kranji War Cemetery, Singapore.

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

It is reported that all but four of the 44 evacuation ships leaving Singapore between February 12 to 14 1942 were bombed and sunk as they passed down the Bangka Straits from Singapore to Java. (SS Kuala made it further than most of the others.) The aggregate loss of life was horrendous. There were, of course, some survivors. Almost all, often badly injured, were captured and held in internment camps -such as those at Palambang and Muntok - where conditions were extremely harsh, leading to a further significant death toll.

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HOLLAND, Rupert Charles. Warrant Officer Class II/Company Sergeant Major (787561)

3 Corps Postal Section, Royal Engineers.
Died 29 May 1940, aged 43.

Rupert was born Q3 1896, the first child of John Rupert Holland (a "Sawyer") and Emma Annie (née Saiche - they had married Q1 1896). The 1901 and 1911 Censuses both record the family living at 63 Mayall Road, Brixton. In 1901, the parents have three children and John's mother living with them.

By the time of the 1911 Census, they had four children - and 14 year old Rupert was working as a "Telegraph Messenger". (There were also three unrelated lodgers at the address.)

In Q4 1920, Rupert married Hilda Emma Merridan, the marriage being registered in Midhurst, Sussex. The couple had two children: Joan, born Q2 1922; and Frank, born Q2 1924. Both those births were registered in the Lambeth District, so it could be that the couple continued living with Rupert's parents.

Rupert became a career soldier, enlisting in the Royal Tank Corps in early 1923, aged 26. At some point, the couple set up home in the Borough. The 1939 Register records the 43 year old Hilda (listed with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties") living at 38 Woodlands, Worcester Park. There are two currently closed records at the address, doubtless their two teenage children.

By the time of WW2, Rupert had become Warrant Officer Class II/Company Sergeant Major in 3 Corps Postal Section of the Royal Engineers. The Corps had clearly been sent to France with the British Expeditionary Force and, following the German invasion, were then caught up in what turned out to be the fighting retreat to Dunkirk for the 26 May to 4 June 1940 evacuation. In the middle of that period, Rupert was killed in action, on 29 May 1940. In the confusion of battle, his body was lost.

Rupert is commemorated on the Dunkirk Memorial, in Dunkirk, as one of the 4,513 members of the WW2 BEF who have no known grave.

The Dunkirk Memorial
The Dunkirk Memorial
Photograph by the International War Graves Project via findagrave.com

Roger Morgan © 2018

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HOLLANDS, Beatrice Helena. Sister (NZ/18322)

17 Combined General Hospital (Singapore), Indian Military Nursing Service
Died 16 February 1942, aged 27

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Beatrice Helena (in some records, Helena Beatrice) was born in Quetta, Bengal, on 14 February 1915, apparently the second child of Lt Ernest William Hollands of the 31st Punjabis and Muriel Morley (née Phillips). Shortly after the birth, Muriel (with new-born Beatrice and 2 year old Darren) visited the UK, returning to India on the SS Caledonia which sailed from London on 3 December 1915.

The information in the previous paragraph has been gleaned from various records since the only family background noted by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's records is that Beatrice was the "niece of Major Henry C Phillips MBE, of East Ewell, Surrey, England". The 1939 Register records him living at 58 Arundel Avenue, Ewell. However, it would seem that he was a late arrival in the Borough (and, indeed, the UK) since the 56 year old major is listed as "Indian Medical Department, Retired" - and he and his wife, 57 year old Sheila Phillips (listed with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties") were supported by their 43 year old Indian servant, Mohamad Ghulam.

Beatrice's WW2 service was as a Sister in the Indian Military Nursing Service, stationed in Singapore's 17th Combined General Hospital. As it became clear that Commonwealth forces were failing to halt the advance of Japanese forces (which had invaded Malaya on 8 December 1941 from its northern border with Siam, now Thailand) southwards towards Singapore, arrangements were made for the evacuation of civilians and others. Numbers needing evacuation grew and grew as people poured in from the north to escape the Japanese advance (which culminated in the British surrender of Singapore on 15 February 1942).

Beatrice was among those evacuated, according to some accounts as a passenger on the SS Kuala (on which she would have undergone a similar ordeal to that of Nurse Frances Holgate). Whether from bombing on shore or as boats were being loaded, it appears that Beatrice had received blast injuries.

It is reported that all but four of the 44 evacuation ships leaving Singapore between February 12 to 14 were bombed and sunk as they passed down the Bangka Straits from Singapore to Java. (SS Kuala made it further than most of the others.) Beatrice's death during all this was just one in the horrendous aggregate loss of life. She has no known grave and is one of one of more than 24,000 such Commonwealth casualties commemorated on the Singapore Memorial in Kranji War Cemetery, Singapore.


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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HOLMES, Frederick Walter. Private (3661571)

7th Battalion, Black Watch (Royal Highlanders).
Died 13 July 1944, aged 24

Frederick (known as "Fred") was born Q2 1920, apparently the only child of Walter James Holmes and Mabel Blanche (née Law - they had married Q2 1919, registered in Kensington). Frederick's birth was registered in Epsom, and this is where the parents were recorded in the September 1939 Register - living at 18 West Street. 50 year old Walter is listed as a "Gardener" and Mabel as a "Daily Domestic Worker" (so not the conventional "unpaid domestic duties" of a typical housewife of the time). A currently closed record at the address is presumably the 19 year old Fred.

The readily available records do not give a date for Fred's enlisting in the 7th Battalion, Black Watch. This is likely to have been in time for him to be sent to North Africa in early 1943 as part of the 51st Highland Division. It took part in the second Battle of EI Alamein and, after that crucial Allied victory - the turning point of WW2 - the pursuit of Axis forces back across the North African desert through Mareth and Wadi Akarit ending with a triumphant entry into Tripoli.

The Battalion then trained in amphibious landings in Algeria, using them during the Allied invasion of Sicily in early July 1943. It suffered severe casualties at Adrano at the end of July before German withdrawal to the north. After the Allies' capture of Sicily, the Battalion was involved in the early September landings on the Italian mainland but, six weeks later, was brought back to Britain to prepare for the D-Day operations in Normandy.

The Battalion suffered many casualties in the Bois de Bavent and, after the fall of Caen on 11 July 1944, was engaged in the push north to close the "Falaise Gap", the supply route for German forces' continuing fierce resistance around Caen. Fred was killed in action on 13 July 1944, the second day of the action around Falaise that was successfully concluded on 21 August.

Fred is one of the 2,236 Commonwealth WW2 casualties buried in the Ranville War Cemetery, near Caen. His parents took the option of adding a personal inscription to the headstone on Grave 2.A.7,
"Fred, awhile we must be parted until the day we meet again. Mother and Father."
The Ranville War Cemetery
The Ranville War Cemetery
Photograph by "Woose" via findagrave.com

Roger Morgan © 2018

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HOLTON, George Thomas. Gunner (979873)

51 (The Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery.
Died 22 January 1942, aged 33.

George was born in 1909 the second child of George Thomas Holton and Sarah Elizabeth (née Aldridge - they had married in Croydon Q1 1907). This was a solidly Croydon family: both parents were born in Croydon, as were George junior and his older sister Annie. The 1911 Census records the family of four living at 10 Fullerton Road, Croydon. 30 year old George senior is listed as a "Coal Porter"; Sarah was aged 28; Annie 3; and George junior 10 months.

In Q2 1937, George married Phyllis Christine Sainsbury. The marriage was registered in the Surrey Mid-Eastern District, and the 1939 Register records the couple living at 78 Cheam Road, Ewell. George is listed as "Grocer Shop Assistant" and Phyllis with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". There is one currently closed record at the address, doubtless what their only child, Michael, born Q3 1938.

The readily available records do not give a date for George's enlisting in the 51 (The Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery. This may have been in time for him to be part of the forces sent to Norway in April 1940 for the brief and unsuccessful Allied campaign to deny Germany the strategic prize of Norway, which had intended to remain neutral. He will however, have sailed with the regiment to North Africa towards the end of 1940, where it was originally attached to the 6th Australian Division.

The war in North Africa had begun with the Italian dictator Mussolini's declaration of war against France and Great Britain on 10 June 1940. (He had previously withheld formal allegiance to either Germany and the Allies but, following the British evacuation from Dunkirk, it is understood that he thought German victory inevitable and wished to associate with the winning side.) From its colony in Libya, the Italian 10th Army began advancing into Egypt, with a view to seizing the British-held and strategically vital Suez canal. It was roundly defeated by British forces which then occupied much of Libya, including the invaluable harbour at Tobruk. It was at this point that George and his fellow soldiers arrived to strengthen the British position.

Mussolini sought help from Hitler, who responded in January 1941 by sending German forces to Tripoli. During the spring of 1941, Axis forces under Rommel pushed the British back to Egypt except for the port of Tobruk which was besieged until the Allies' Operation Crusader over the last few weeks of 1941, relieved the siege and forced the Axis forces back to where they had started. In early 1942, Axis forces attacked again and it was during this fighting that George was killed in action.

(For a time, Axis forces then had the upper hand in North Africa - pushing Allied forces back to the east. The tide turned - indeed, for WW2 as a whole - with the Allies' decisive victory in the second Battle of El Alamein from 23 October to 11 November 1942.)

In the confusion of battle, George's body was lost. He is commemorated on the Alamein Memorial (which stands at the entrance of the El Alamein War Cemetery) as one of the 11,869 Commonwealth WW2 servicemen who died in the Western Desert campaigns and who have no known grave.

The cloistered memorial at the entrance to the El Alamein War Cemetery
The cloistered memorial at the entrance to the El Alamein War Cemetery
Photograph with thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Roger Morgan © 2018

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HORDER, Cyril Stephen. Quartermaster Serjeant (2321390)

6th Armoured Division Signals, Royal Corps of Signals
Died 13 May 1941, aged 30.

Cyril was born Q3 1910, the first child of Claud Lionel Douglas Horder and Annie Caroline (née Tedder - they had married Q4 1904, registered in the Kingston District). The 1911 Census records the parents and infant Cyril living at Alverstone Stores, Blagdon Road, New Malden. 35 year old Claude is listed as "Newsagent Tobacconist". Annie was then aged 30. The couple had a second child, also called Annie, born Q1 1912.

The readily available records provide disappointingly little information about Cyril's life or service career. He is not found in the September 1939 Register so is likely already to have been in the Royal Corps of Signals. In Q1 1940, he married Gladys R A Cobb. The 1939 Register records her as a 22 year old working as a "Domestic Servant" but living with her parents at 4 Elmbridge Road, Guildford. The marriage, however, was registered in the local Surrey Mid-Eastern District, and the couple set up home in Epsom. No record has been found of their having any children.

For yet to be established reasons, Cyril died on 13 May 1941. The death was registered in Cambridge, and his body was brought home for burial in Epsom Cemetery (Grave M601). The Cemetery's records note that Cyril was "late of Cranleigh, Grosvenor Road, [Langley Vale], Epsom." That is consistent with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission records noting that the widowed Gladys was "of Epsom Downs".

In Q1 1962 and registered in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District, Gladys got married again - to John E King.

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HOSLIN, Louis Charles. Flying Officer (120020)

No 1 (O)AFU, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 28 April 1943, Age 28

Louis Charles Hoslin.
Louis Charles Hoslin.
Image courtesy of Andrea Tait.

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Louis was born in Q2 1915, the first child of Charles Alphonse Hoslin (a French national) and Jane Frizell. Aged, respectively, 28 and 27, they had married in Cardiff Q2 1914, the District in which Louis' birth was registered the following year.

The couple had three more children: Matilda's Q1 1917 birth was registered in the Pancras District of London; and the births of Ernest in Q2 1920 and Francis in Q2 1925 were both registered in Croydon.

By 1935, the family had moved to "Sancta Maria", 322 Fir Tree Road, Epsom Downs. The London Gazette for 7 June 1935 records that Frenchman Charles had, having taken the Oath of Allegiance on 15 May, been granted a Certificate of Naturalization. This noted not only the Fir Tree Road address but also that Charles's occupation was as a "Ladies' Hairdresser".

The young Louis on the left with his sister and two brothers.
Louis (on the left) with his sister, Matilda, and brothers, Ernest & Francis
Image courtesy of the Hoslin Family

After leaving school, Louis entered a seminary with the intention of becoming a Roman Catholic priest. However, he left before being ordained. In Q3 1941 and registered in the Westminster District, the 26 year old Louis married 24 year old Kathleen ("Kay") Mary Dixon. According to the Probate record of administration of Louis' £ 837 estate being awarded to the widowed Kathleen, the couple set up home in Flat 1, 217 Sussex Gardens, Bayswater.

Louis had joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and, by April 1943, was a staff pilot attached to No.1 (Observers) Advanced Flying Unit at RAF Wigtown, Baldoon, Scotland. Now with concrete runways to replace the grass surfaces of the late 1930s (when the RAF began training in the area), the base was home to a number of training units but, principally: Number 1 Air Observation School (AOS), which became Number 1 Advanced (Observer); Flying Units (OAFU) - Flights 1-3; and Bombing & Gunnery Schools 2 & 3. (There was much other RAF activity in Dumfries & Galloway: some was for defence against Luftwaffe raids on industrial Glasgow; other was by anti-submarine and air-sea-rescue aircraft based near the port of Stranraer and further north at the seaplane base in Loch Ryan.

During WW2, the number of flying training crashes was staggering and the activities at RAF Wigtown were no exception. During one particular month, so many crews and aircraft were lost there that the authorities even considered closing down the station. (On analysis, it was discovered that the majority of crashes were caused by inexperienced Czechs & Poles. The solution was to insist on greater discipline and, within a short period of time, the number of crashes fell to an acceptable level.)

One of Louis' roles was to pilot a target tug - an essential job, but probably one of the least glamorous flying jobs in the RAF. The tug aircraft towed a drogue, which was basically a long sleeve of bright canvas rather like a huge windsock. It was tethered behind the tug by about 150 feet of cable, or longer if being shot at by fighter aircraft. The moving aerial target was then shot at by trainee gunners who could practise deflection shooting. After the practice, the drogue would be released by the operator and recovered by assessors who would often find that first time gunners had shot 200 bullets at the drogue and fail to hit it at all. (It was not uncommon for stray bullets to sometimes hit the tug!)

Unsurprisingly, tug aircraft were second-line types relegated from operational duties. The target towing colours were standardised during the war as large black and yellow diagonal stripes on the under surfaces and, later, for the whole aircraft. The Westland Lysanders flown at RAF Wigtown would have been similar to the restored plane in the photograph below.

Westland Lysander Mark III in tug towing livery.
Westland Lysander Mark III in tug towing livery.
At the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum
Photo by Hpulley4 [CC BY-SA 3.0)], via Wikimedia

On 29 April 1943, Louis was on a target towing exercise flying Lysander Mk.III P9118. At 16.30 hours, he descended to release the target drogue near Innerwell, seven miles south of the airfield. On opening the throttle to climb away, the engine failed, forcing Louis to make an emergency landing in an unsuitable field. The Lysander crashed and turned over, injuring both Louis and the target towing operator. Both were taken to Galloway House, a war emergency hospital set up in the requisitioned home of the Earl of Galloway.

Galloway House
Galloway House
Photo by Andy Farrington [CC BY-SA 2.0)], via Wikimedia

Louis had received severe intra-abdominal injuries, fractured his right humerus, and was suffering from severe shock. He died at 19.00 hours, less than three hours after the crash. (The drogue operator's injuries were much less serious and he was reported to be making satisfactory progress.)

As to the cause of the crash, it was thought that, although Louis was a relatively experienced Lysander pilot (148 hours), a weak mixture had been set, and that on opening the throttle suddenly, the engine choked and died. The Air Officer Commanding the Group felt that this conclusion was not fully supported by the evidence but aeronautical historian, Peter Connon, considers the original investigation conclusion entirely creditable. He reports that it was very cold that day, and the mixture lever was still set in the 'lean' position. He had experienced a similar situation himself but was lucky to get away with a forced landing.

Louis' body was brought back to Epsom, and he was buried in Grave H.560 of Epsom Cemetery, on 4 May 1943. He was joined there by his father and mother when they (both still of 322 Fir Tree Road) died on, respectively, 20 January 1956 and 21 August 1958.

The Hoslin family grave (and detail) in Epsom Cemetery..
The Hoslin family grave (and detail) in Epsom Cemetery.
Photographs (100552164) by Laurence Hennessy via findagrave.com

Louis' wife was in the early stages of pregnancy when he died and the stress caused her to miscarry. She later married again to become Kathleen/Kay Coaten and, later still, moved to Jersey.

Most of the images and text kindly supplied by Banstead History Research Group
Family background extended by Roger Morgan 2018

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HOUGHTON, William. Flying Officer (149594)

163 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 11 April 1945, Age 24

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

William is not listed in the Book of Remembrance, but is remembered here because the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records note that he was the "husband of Kathleen Houghton, of West Ewell, Surrey." That address has yet to be established - and, as outlined below, seems rather at odds with the other information found so far.

William was born Q4 1920, the first of at least six (and possibly as many as nine) children born to Arthur Richard Houghton and Emily (Née Anders). The parents' Q2 1920 marriage was registered in Prescot, Lancashire as was William's birth and a number of his siblings. (The birth of other probable siblings was registered in nearby Warrington.)

The September 1939 Register records the family living at 38 Broadway, New Moston - a NE suburb of Manchester. 45 year old Arthur is listed as a "Railway Engine Driver" and 41 year old Emily with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". One of the currently closed records at the address is likely to be covering 18 year old William.

William enlisted with the Royal Air Force at Euston during August 1940 to be allocated a Service Number 1379619. On 13 April 1943, as a Sergeant, he was commissioned Pilot Officer with Service Number 149594. He was promoted to Flying Officer from 16 October 1943. It is understood that first served with 37 Squadron, flying twin engine Wellington bombers in the Middle East. He was assigned to 163 Squadron when this was reformed on 25 January 1945 at RAF Wyton, near Cambridge, as a night bomber squadron in No 8 Group undertaking night raids over Germany in the closing months of WW2. The Squadron was equipped with the successful 2-man twin-engined de Havilland Mosquito multi-role aircraft - nicknamed the "wooden wonder", being of mainly timber and plywood construction.

The de Havilland Mosquito
The de Havilland Mosquito
Public domain photograph

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission notes that William was married to "Kathleen". The only William Houghton/Kathleen marriage found was registered in Thirsk, Yorkshire in Q2 1944. The bride was Kathleen Renton, but her background cannot be traced with any confidence in the readily available records. The chances of this being the marriage in question are increased by finding the birth of a William R Houghton registered in Bradford in Q1 1946 whose mother's maiden name was Renton.

The background to the death of pilot William Houghton is provided by an Australian memorial to his Navigator, Flight Sergeant Lance Anthony Stegman (435689) RAAF, who - aged 21 - also died in the loss of Mosquito KB502:-
"No. 163 Squadron, based at Wyton, Cambridgeshire, flew the de Havilland Mosquito light-bombers. This squadron belonged to No. 8 (Pathfinder Force) Group's Light Night Striking Force as part of Bomber Command.

Stegman teamed up with an English pilot, Flying Officer William Houghton of West Ewell, Surrey. Houghton was a highly experienced pilot who had previously completed a tour with the RAF's No. 37 Squadron, flying Wellingtons in the Middle East.

In March 1945 Houghton and Stegman flew their first operation together on a bombing raid over Kassel, Germany. Over the next month they would fly seven operations over Berlin, as well other raids at Aschaffenburg and on the Blohm & Voss shipyard at Hamburg, where U-Boats were manufactured.

On the night of 10 April 1945 the squadron flew a raid on Berlin from which Houghton and Stegman did not return. Members of the squadron reported sightings of Messerschmitt 262 jet fighters during their approach to the target and, once over Berlin, the squadron came under fire from flak. The pilots also reported many searchlights, and stated that one Mosquito was seen to be caught in multiple beams. It is believed that Stegman and Houghton's Mosquito was forced down near Stolpe, 40 miles west of Berlin, but the exact circumstances are unknown."
In his book Mosquito to Berlin: Story of 'Bertie' Boulter, Peter Bodle quotes the former pilot of No. 163 Squadron as follows:-
"The crews who went to Berlin had a more adventurous evening and probably a bit more success. One plane was seen to be going down in flames. As KB502 failed to return with F/O Houghton and F/Sgt Stegman aboard, we had, reluctantly, to assume it had been them. One of the new Me 262 jets was seen again as well as a conventional twin-engined German fighter."
The crewmates' bodies were initially buried locally, in Stülpe - William in a single grave within the woods there and Lance in the town Cemetery. On 25 September 1947, they were reinterred alongside each other among the 3,204 Commonwealth WW2 casualties in the Berlin 1939-1945 Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery at Charlottenburg, about 5 miles to the west of Berlin

William's headstone in Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Charlottenburg.
William's headstone in Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Charlottenburg.
Photograph (18403787) by "Uwe" via findagrave.com

The October 1946 Probate record of administration of William's £ 514 estate being awarded to the widowed Kathleen gives his address as 38 Broadway, New Moston, Manchester - as noted above, the family's address at the time of the 1939 Register.

Brian Bouchard © 2018
Updated by Roger Morgan 2018

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

HMS Bickerton, Royal Navy
Died 22 August 1944, aged 18

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

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

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

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

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

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

As Cecil's body was never found, he is one of the nearly 15,000 WW2 sailors commemorated on on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial as having no known grave.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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HUGHES, James Hubert. Second Lieutenant (100608)

Royal Engineers
Died 17 June 1940, aged 42

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

James was born in North Wales Q1 1898, the fourth child of Hugh David and Harriet Hughes. The 1901 Census records the family of six (with 3 year old James as the youngest) living at Lawrie Bank, Hawarden Road, Lllandrillo Yn Rhos on Colwyn Bay. Father Hugh is listed as a "Plasterer". By the time of the 1911 Census, the family had moved a few miles east, to 3 Mevion terrace, Llanelian Road, Old Colwyn. Two more children had been born, but the oldest two had left home.

In 1916, aged 18, James appears to have seen WW1 service in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. The next record is of his Q1 1929 marriage to Dorothy Maud Sadler. This was registered in the Wandsworth District. The 1939 Register records the 40 year old Dorothy living at 31 Chessington Road, West Ewell, listed with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". There is one currently closed record at the address, this is doubtless their son Richard born Q3 1937 and registered in the local Surrey Mid Eastern district.

James was presumably already in uniform again, serving in WW2 as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers. He was sent to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force. As is well known, the BEF was overwhelmed by the ferocity of the expected German invasion. It is less well known that the consequent evacuation was not just from Dunkirk in Operation Dynamo from 26 May to 4 June. A significant number of troops and others could not get there and made their way west. Operation Cycle was the evacuation of Allied troops from Le Havre, at the mouth of the Seine from 10 to 13 June 1940. Further west, the 15 to 25 June Operation Ariel saw the evacuation of Allied forces and civilians from a number of France's Atlantic ports, particularly from St Nazaire and Nantes on the Loire.

James was one of the many making their way to one of those ports. On the morning of 17 June 1940, his packed train was one of several waiting at Rennes for clearance to continue the remaining 60 miles to St Nazaire. While this area of France was beyond the reach of the German Army, the Luftwaffe was working hard to disrupt the evacuation. At about 10am, and with no air raid warning, three German bombers flew low over Rennes to attack the transport hub. One of the bombs scored a direct hit on a French military munitions train, and the resulting massive blast wrecked the other trains alongside and demolished nearby buildings. It is believed that about 800 people were killed in the attack, some 180 of whom - including James - were British troops, Thousands more were wounded, often severely.

The Rennes marshalling yards after the bombing.
The Rennes marshalling yards after the bombing.
Image 10Z91 (don Lecomte) from the Rennes Archives (Creative Commons by NC-ND licence)

James and the other British troops killed (nearly half of whom could not be identified, such was the ferocity of the blast) are buried in the nearby Rennes Eastern Communal Cemetery. This now holds 252 Commonwealth WW2 casualties. James rests in Grave 18.1.A.108.

Commonwealth War Graves in the Rennes Eastern Communal Cemetery.
Commonwealth War Graves in the Rennes Eastern Communal Cemetery.
Photograph with thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Roger Morgan © 2018

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PS: It was on the afternoon of the same day, 17 June 1940, that the Lufwaffe sank the evacuee-packed Lancastria off St Nazaire with even greater loss of life - including Frederick Fletcher, George Newby and William Rowe.

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HUNT, Henry.

Royal Air Force.

Henry's entry in the Borough's Book of Remembrance.
Henry's entry in the Borough's Book of Remembrance.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2014

Sadly, the identity of this individual listed in the Borough's Book of Remembrance remains unclear. Normally, the Borough connection is evident in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's database of all WW2 casualties.

That is not the case here. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's database lists no WW2 airman named plain Henry Hunt. Indeed, it contains only five airmen whose surname is Hunt and with Henry as one of their Christian names - as below - none of whom has an obvious connection with the Borough.
HUNT, Henry Norman. Pilot Officer (82656) of 504 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve who died 13 May 1941, aged 22. He was the son of John Harris and Lilian May Hunt, of Harrow, Middlesex, and is commemorated on the Runneymede Memorial.

HUNT, Henry Chapman. Flight Sergeant (400621) of the Royal Australian Air Force who died 30 September 1942, aged 24. He was the son of Reginald Henry Garfield and Effie Orynthia Hunt, of Brighton, Victoria, Australia, and isommemorated on the Alamein Memorial, Egypt.

HUNT, Henry Robert. Aircraftman 1st Class (1668551) of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve who died 24 October 1943, aged 37. He was the son of Henry John and Katie Hunt, of Palmers Green, Middlesex, and is buried in the Colombo (Liveramentu) Cemetery, Sri Lanka.

HUNT, Jonathan Henry. Aircraftman 1st Class (1173380) of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve who died 29 November 1943, aged 29. He was the son of Jonathan Richard and Catherine Mabel Hunt, of Barnet, Hertfordshire, and is commemorated on the Singapore Memorial.

HUNT, Peter Henry Russell, Sergeant/Air Gunner (913763) of 100 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, who died 15 April 1943, aged 21. He was the son of Ince Garnis and Evelyn Marian Hunt, of Ilminster, Somerset, and is Buried in the Bohain Communal Cemetery, Aisne, France.
Another possibility is that somewhere along the way of compiling of the Borough's Book of Remembrance, there was some transcription error. If that was the case, then the intended individual will have been picked up in our trawl of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's database in which we picked up many WW2 casualties connected to the Borough who were not listed in the original Book.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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HUNT, Peter. Flight Sergeant/Pilot (655135)

248 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 11 April 1944, aged 24

Peter's headstone in Morden Cemetery
Peter's headstone in Morden Cemetery .
Photograph (53643406) by "daglish" via findagrave.com

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's database records as the son of Arthur William and May Hunt. However, it has not yet proved possible to identify his parents more closely or to establish the 1919/20 date and place of his birth.

The Commission also notes that Peter was "the husband of Mary Eileen Hunt, of Epsom" and this is solid ground. Peter married Mary Eileen Holbrook in Q2 1943, registered in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District. She was born in Epsom Q1 1920, the first child of Henry Oliver Holbrook and Ellen (née Killick) who had married in Epsom Q3 1913. (Their second child, Lysbeth, was born Q2 1927, also in Epsom.)

The September 1939 Register records the parents living at 36 Pound Lane, Epsom. 57 year old Henry is listed as a "Civil Service Clerk (Library Assistant)" and 42 year old Ellen with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". There are two currently closed records at the address, presumably covering the 19 year old Mary and 12 year old Lysbeth.

It seems that, after their 1943 marriage, Peter and Mary set up home with her parents: the probate record of the widowed May being granted administration of Peter's £ 161 estate noted his address as 36 Pound Lane, Epsom.

Peter's RAF Service number indicates a transfer from the Army in or after 1939. By 1944, he was serving in 248 Squadron based at RAF Portreath, Cornwall. The squadron was equipped with the successful 2-man twin-engined de Havilland Mosquito fighter-bomber (which, being of mainly timber and plywood construction, was nicknamed the "wooden wonder").

The de Havilland Mosquito
The de Havilland Mosquito
Public domain photograph

On 11 April 1944, Peter and Flight Sergeant Wilfred William Murdoch Milne (324169) were crewing one of several Mosquitos from 248 Squadron briefed to take part in an Anti-Aircraft patrol in the Bay of Biscay. Their assigned aircraft failed to start and they were a few minutes late taking off in a spare, Mosquito FB Mk.VI MM 413. At 08.05 hours, they crashed into a cloud covered hill at Wheal Christopher Farm, Sithney, Helston. Both on board were killed in the crash, which led to the Mosquito was burning out. It appears that they may have been attempting to "cut the corner" to catch up with the rest of the force when they hit the high ground. (Some reports have it that the aircraft just clipped one of the farm buildings.)

The deaths of both airmen were registered in the Kerrier District of Cornwall. Peter is buried in Morden Cemetery, Surrey. The widowed Mary took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave O.235,
"Among the chosen few / the very brave, the very true"
There is no record of Peter and Mary having any children. In Q3 1945, Mary married again - to William A Scobling, registered in Barnstaple, Devon. She died in 2007 and was then interred with her parents at St Peter ad Vincula Church burial ground, Combe Martin, Devon.

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Updated by Roger Morgan 2018

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HUNT, William Horatio Edward. Serjeant (2693656)

2nd Battalion, Scots Guards.
Died 19 April 1945, aged 30.

William was born Q2 1915, the first child of Ernest Edward Hunt and Eva Lydia (née Tickner - they had married Q2 1914). The marriage and William's birth were registered in the Kingston District - as were the births many more children (including twins Albert and Arthur in Q1 1922). The September 1939 Register records the parents (both aged 48) living at 77 Cambridge Road, Kingston with six of their children. Ernest is listed as a "Brewers' Labourer" and Eva with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties".

The 24 year old William is not found in the 1939 Register, perhaps because he had already enlisted in the Army. In Q2 1941, he married Margaret Weatherburn Patterson. The 1939 Register recorded Margaret - then just short of her 18th birthday and employed as a "Fruit Shop Assistant" - living with parents Henry (a "jobbing Gardener") and Susannah (the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties") at 79 Kingston Road, Ewell.

Their marriage was registered in the local Surrey Mid-Eastern District - as was the birth of their child Michael in Q2 1942. The Borough connection led to William's inclusion in the Borough's Book of Remembrance, although the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records list the widowed Margaret being as being "of Sydenham, London".

William's WW2 service was in the 2nd Battalion of the Scots Guards. The Battalion saw much tough action throughout the war. Initially, this was in North Africa. After the hard-won defeat of Axis forces there in May 1943, the Battalion was involved in the Italian Campaign - landing at Salerno - and in various actions, including the battle for Monte Cassino.

In March 1945, the Battalion was relocated to North-West Europe and, as part of the Guards Armoured Division at this late stage of the War, saw further engagements deeper inside Germany. On 19 April 1945, William was killed in action during some fierce fighting against German forces in Visselhovede, a town in Lower Saxony, some 50-60 miles from each of Bremen, Hanover and Hamburg.

William and others killed in that fighting were initially buried near Kettenburg. On 6 August 1946, he was reinterred in Grave 8.B.14 of the nearby Becklingen War Cemetery - one of 2,374 Commonwealth WW2 casualties there.

The Becklingen War Cemetery
The Becklingen War Cemetery
Photograph courtesy of "hajotthu" via Wikimedia Commons

Roger Morgan © 2018

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HUTCHINGS, Roy Garston Harris. Leading Aircraftman (1234637)

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

Roy was born in Poplar Q3 1921, the second of six or seven children born to Londoners Stanley Harris Hutchings and Gladys Dorothea (née Lyddon - their Q3 1918 marriage was registered in the Poplar District).

The September 1939 Register records the family living at 10 Ansford Road in Lewisham. 41 year old Stanley is listed as "Head Clerk Ships Store Suppliers" and 44 year old Gladys with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". Four of the other six records at the address are currently closed, one of which is presumably the 18 year old Roy's. The two open record are of 15 year old "Office boy" Leslie and 8 year old schoolboy Alan.

Roy's entry in the Borough's Book of Remembrance and commemoration on the WW2 memorial at Christ Church Epsom Common is clear evidence of, as noted in the Commonwealth War Grave Commission's records, the parents of being "of Epsom" at the time of Roy's death. However, details of the address have yet to be established.

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

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

HUTCHINGS WARR

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

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

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

The cause of Roy's death is currently unknown, but some tropical disease is a possibility. He is one of the 66 Commonwealth WW2 casualties buried in the Takoradi European Public Cemetery. His parents took the option of adding a personal inscription (quoting from Rupert Brooke's WW1 poem, "The Soldier") to his headstone on Grave 59,
"Our beloved Roy. "In that rich earth a richer dust concealed... A body of England's.""
The Takoradi European Public Cemetery, Ghana
The Takoradi European Public Cemetery, Ghana
Photograph with thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Roger Morgan © 2018

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HUTCHINS, Eric. Gunner (11002599)

195 Coast Battery, Royal Artillery.
Died 11 April 1943, aged 22

Eric's headstone in the Old Shoreham Cemetery.
Eric's headstone in the Old Shoreham Cemetery.
(40345098) by "Julia&Keld" via findagrave.com

Eric's entry in the Borough's Book of Remembrance is one of only two among its 342 names to give no indication of the person's service. (The other is Alfred Ayling.) The details given in the heading above are of the only plain Eric Hutchins in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's database (which includes civilian casualties) although, again unusually, the entry there contains no family details - noting only his burial in Grave 587 of the Old Shoreham Cemetery, Sussex.

However, it seems certain that he is the Eric Hutchins recorded in the September 1939 Register as an 18 year old "Post Office sorter", the last of six entries among those living at 120 Amberley Gardens, Stoneleigh. He had been born on 20 December 1920 and would thus have been the right age of 22 on his death in April 1943.

120 Amberley Gardens was the household of 29 year old Frank J Baker (a "Certified Book Keeper") and his 23 year old wife Eleanor (a "Shorthand Typist"). They had married Q3 1937, registered in the Wandsworth District. Eleanor's maiden name was Surman, so the Register's next entry for the household, unmarried 60 year old Ada E Surman, seems likely to be Eleanor's aunt. Now, Ada is listed as a "Foster Mother", the probable explanation for the limited family information about Eric. (Between Ada's and Eric's entries are two currently closed records which seem likely to be other foster children: Frank and Eleanor's only child, Elaine, was born Q4 1945.)

Eric's WW2 service was in the self-explanatory 195 Coast Battery, Royal Artillery. As his death on 11 April 1943 - in yet to be discovered circumstances - was registered in Worthing, this particular Battery was doubtless on the Sussex coast, and would have been kept busy as enemy aircraft flew in from over the Channel.

He is buried in Grave 587 of the Old Shoreham Cemetery. Those close to him took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone,
"In heavenly love abiding."
Roger Morgan © 2018

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HUTTENBACH, Helmut Ludwig. Private (T/10684057)

Royal Army Service Corps
Died 24 February 1942, aged 28

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Helmut was born on 8 April 1913, probably in Munich where his father, Frederick Huttenbach (who had been born in Penang Straits Settlements on 29 December 1880), practised as a physician.

Frederick, his wife Sofie (Sofia/Sophy) Maria and son Helmut came to England in the late 1930s probably as refugees from the Nazis. The September 1939 Register records them living at Heath Farm, Deans Lane, Walton on the Hill. 58 year old Frederick is listed as "Physician (Retired)", 56 year old Sofie with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties" and 26 year old Helmut as "Full-time Auxiliary Fire Service, Banstead." Also in the household (of which Frederick was the head) were three apparently unrelated others and two live-in domestic servants, a cook and a parlourmaid.

They later took up residence at 1 Woodcote End, Epsom (the Chalk Lane Hotel). The 1942 Probate record of administration of Helmut's substantial £ 10,672 estate being awarded to his parents gives that as his address - which squares with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's records noting that his parents were "of Epsom".

Helmut may well have joined the Army in the Pioneer Corps before entering the Royal Army Service Corps. He was serving with the RASC when he died in Shaftsbury Military Hospital, Dorset on 24 February 1942 aged 28. As Casualty List No 799 states simply that he "died". One can infer that this was the result of some illness or disease rather than service-related injury.

Helmut was 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

After the War, Frederick and Sofie moved to Switzerland where Dr Huttenbach died, "after a long illness", on 3 April 1947 in the Clinica Sant' Agnese, Locarno. His son was named in a Times obituary as "Walter".

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Updated by Roger Morgan 2018

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HYDE, Paul. Ordinary Seaman (C/JX 158123)

HMS Wryneck, Royal Navy
Died 27 April 1941, aged 19

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Other than the details above, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's records state only that Paul was "the son of Mrs D M Hyde of Epsom". His family background is not found with particular confidence in the readily available records but, given his age, it seems likely that he was born Q3 1922 (registered in the Bromley District), and was the son of Henry Conway Hyde and Doris Mabel (née White).

His parents had married Q1 1922 (registered in the Croydon District) when Doris was only 16 and Henry was 22. The marriage did not last: Doris divorced Henry about 1930 and, given the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's record, presumably then spent some time in Epsom, although the details have yet to be found. Henry died Q4 1949 (registered in Bromley) and Doris died Q2 1983. Her death was registered in Portsmouth - where the September 1939 Register had found her (but not Paul, who might already have been in uniform) living at 22 Alfred Street.

Paul's WW2 service was aboard HMS Wryneck, an Admiralty W-class destroyer laid down during WW1 but not completed and commissioned in time to see service then. Having been put into reserve during the 1930s, she was selected in 1938 for conversion to a fast escort ship. This work was done at the Gibraltar Dockyard. After completion in 1940, she was recommissioned with the new pennant number L04, and assigned to convoy defence duty based at Alexandria.

HMS Wryneck (with a tug alongside), probably at Sollum, Egypt.
HMS Wryneck (with a tug alongside), probably at Sollum, Egypt.
Photograph P00219.013 from the Australian War Memorial collection, Public Domain

In March 1941, HMS Wryneck formed part of the escort of military convoys taking British and Commonwealth troops to Greece as part of "Operation Lustre" a response to the failed Italian invasion and the looming threat of German intervention. That German invasion came and Greece quickly fell into enemy hands.

HMS Wryneck and other ships returned to Greece to help in the evacuation of Allied troops. On the morning of 27 March, she was sent to assist the destroyer/escort HMS Diamond (on which Albert White was serving) which, the previous day, had rescued more than 600 troops after their transports were attacked. Both ships were engaged in rescuing survivors of the sinking of a Dutch troop ship, the Slamat, when they were attacked by German Ju 87 Stuka dive bombers.

Both ships were sunk, with the combined loss of about 250 officers and crew, as well as 700 troops: only 23 survivors were rescued. Paul and Albert White were among those lost, and are among the 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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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