WW2 Book of Remembrance - Surnames H

Index

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[Content]

HALES, Edward * (Revised 04/01/2018)
HALL, Stanley (Revised 08/03/2018)
HALLOWELL-CAREW, Roy Phillip * (Revised 31/12/2017)
HAMPTON, Denis Allen * (New 23/11/2014)
HAMSHER, Berkeley (Revised 04/01/2018)
HANLEY, Matthew (otherwise Michael) William (New 15/11/2014)
HARRIS, Charles (Revised 04/01/2018)
HARRIS, Henry Woodbridge (Revised 15/02/2018)
HARRIS, James Cecil * (Revised 05/01/2018)
HARRIS, Lydia Louise * (Revised 05/01/2018)
HARRIS, Stanley Frank (Revised 05/01/2018)
HASEMAN, Patrick James * (Revised 10/02/2018)
HAWKINS, Albert J. (New 28/08/2014)
HAWTIN, Peter Thomas (Revised 15/02/2018)
HAY, Colin Lonsdale (Revised 13/02/2018)
HAZELL, William (Revised 20/02/2018)
HEALEY, Francis William * (Revised 05/01/2018)
HEARD, Douglas Thomas (Revised 24/12/2017)
HEARD, John William (Revised 24/12/2017)
HEATHCOTE-PEIRSON, Gerald Frederick (Revised 16/01/2018)
HEFFER, Arthur Frederick * (Revised 05/01/2018)
HELMORE, David William (Revised 20/02/2018)
HEMING, Arthur (Revised 05/01/2018)
HENDERSON, Richard Owen (Revised 09/01/2018)
HICKS, Archibald Jack (Updated 01/09/2014)
HICKS, Gerald Lambert. (Revised 29/12/2017)
HILLS, Oliver Lilburne Rieu (New 18/03/2013)
HIRON, Bernard Edward (Revised 20/02/2018)
HOARE, John Terrance (Revised 22/02/2018)
HOBBS, Edward William (New 08/01/2018)
HOBBY, John Charles (Revised 18/12/2017)
HOLGATE, Frances (Revised 09/01/2018)
HOLLAND, Rupert Charles (Revised 09/01/2018)
HOLLANDS, Beatrice Helena (Revised 22/02/2018)
HOLMES, Frederick Walter (Revised 09/01/2018)
HOLTON, George Thomas (Revised 09/01/2018)
HORDER, Cyril Stephen (Revised 09/01/2018)
HOSLIN, Louis Charles * (Revised 18/01/2018)
HOUGHTON, William (Revised 12/02/2018)
HOWELL, Cecil Alex Frank (New 12/08/2017)
HUGHES, James Hubert (Revised 22/02/2018)
HUNT, Henry (New 30/10/2017)
HUNT, Peter (Revised 20/12/2017)
HUNT, William Horatio Edward (Revised 09/01/2018)
HUTCHINGS, Roy Garston Harris (New 12/08/2017)
HUTCHINS, Eric (Revised 31/05/2018)
HUTTENBACH, Helmut Ludwig (Revised 01/02/2018)
HYDE, Paul * (Revised 10/01/2018)

* = 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

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission notes that Edward was the "son of Arthur Edward and Grace Mary Hales of Ewell". However, further details of the family and of Edward's 1922/23 birth are not readily found in the generally available records.

Edward (like Benjamin Warwick) served 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 1418 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

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HALL, Stanley

Royal Air Force.
Died N/K, aged N/K

Identity unclear.

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.

Roger Morgan © 2017
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 Aircraft Production
Died 23/07/1942, 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 St Frey Carew, registered at birth Roy Hallowell Carew, was married, as Roy St F H Carew, to Kitty (Lillian Kate) Wisby at Kensington for the December Quarter of 1910

Birth of their son, born 27 December 1911, came to be recorded in Kensington for the March Quarter of 1912 as Roy P Carew.

He attended a University Crammer in Kensington to obtain a certificate from the Senior College of Preceptors.

Roy Phillip Hallowell-Carew 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 promotion to Flying Officer followed on 12 May 1935.

R. P. H. Carew, served with No. 11 (B) Sqdn., Risalpur, India, from 18 October 1933 to at least 1936 and was awarded an India General Service Medal, North West Frontier.

On 30 April 1936, at St John's Church, Peshawar he married Ivy Ellen Power (a daughter from the union of William Power and Ellen Florence Banks on 6 February 1915 in Rawalpindi, Bengal), aged 19. The birth of their daughter Sally H. Carew came to be registered at Hendon for the June Quarter of 1939.

Roy, junior, seems to have completed his RAF Service by 1937. On 13 April 1940 he 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 the 23rd August 1940, First Officer M 42 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 Carew 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. He undertook a flight in Supermarine Spitfire Mk.V W3958 on the 23 July 1942, 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, 3.5 miles. SW of Oxford. The pilot 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

Buried in Epsom Cemetery, Grave O286, as the son of Roy St. Frey Hallowell-Carew and Lillian Kitty Hallowell-Carew, of 4 Rosedale Road, Stoneleigh, Ewell, Surrey; husband of Ivy Ellen Hallowell-Carew, of Cedarcroft, Sticklepath, Okehampton, Devonshire.

Brian Bouchard © 2017
With special thanks to Terry Mace at afleetingpeace.org

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HAMPTON, Denis Allen, Sergeant (Pilot), 741874

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

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".
Denis was born on 9 May 1917, and baptised 29 July 1917 at St. Mary's Ewell, a son of George Chudleigh Hampton, Shipowner, and Kathleen Margaret Hampton, of St Martin's Avenue, Epsom.

His grandfather owned Seleng House, Ewell but died on 20 November 1922 and was buried in Plot 182 in St Mary's Ewell churchyard. Before 1925 Denis' branch of the Hampton family had moved to Firs, College Road, Epsom.

Having (reportedly) attended Rugby School, D. A. Hampton enlisted in the RAFVR around July/August 1938. He started, 31 January 1940, on 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 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 of 11 FTS, apparently solo, he crashed and was killed at High Hatton, not far from Shawbury - death registered Whitchurch, 6/1940. His body was brought back to Ewell for interment with his uncle Walter, a WW1 casualty, and grandfather who had died on 20 November 1922. George Chudleigh Hampton joined them in 1949.

Brian Bouchard 2014

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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 - they had married Q4 1912, registered in Bromley, Kent). Berkeley's birth - like that of his two siblings - was registered in Epsom. The 1939 Register records the parents and all three children living at "Belmore", 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, Berkeley married Constance Monica Arter-Bourne. The marriage was registered in Wandsworth and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records note that she was "of Putney, London". There is no record of the couple having any children.

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.

The implication that Berkeley's death was from injuries or disease rather than in action is strengthened by his burial in the Maynamati War Cemetery - in the part of India then that is now Bangladesh. The majority of the 700+ burials in that cemetery (which is near the border with Burma/Myanmar) 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: "in ever-loving memory of our darling Berkeley."

Roger Morgan © 2018

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HANLEY, Matthew (otherwise Michael) William, Flight Sergeant (Flt. Engineer), 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

The marriage of Lucy Beatrice Mary Reardon (b. Celbridge, Co. Kildare, 1895) to Samuel David Hanley (b. Kildare 1891) was registered in Naas, Co. Kildare, Ireland, for the June Quarter of 1921.

The birth of their elder son Matthew William Hanley came to be recorded at Naas, County Kildare, Ireland, a year later, 6/1922. Matthew (as therefore he should properly be called ) seems to be found listed as Michael simply because of an error in the registration of his death. His grandfather, also called Matthew, and father both became racehorse trainers in Epsom - at Woodcote Side/Turbine Stud. 'Sam' Hanley then lived at Hanleys 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.

Births of siblings may be found registered in Epsom - Moyra G, 6/1925, 7 David L, 3/1934.

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 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.

Matthew had been posted to No 1660 HCU based at RAF Swinderby, and on 22 November 1944 was aboard a Sterling Mk. III (transferred from 513 Squadron on its disbandment 21 November 1943) which crashed under circumstances described in W. R.Chorley's Bomber Command Losses, Vol. 8 :-
"Stirling III EF201 took off at 10.15 for a cross-country exercise, an exercise that soon became dogged with engine problems. Initially, the difficulties were confined to the port outer, which was feathered (effectively turned off) but soon after the inner port began to over speed and F/O Craig, the pilot, attempted to restart the outer motor. Unfortunately, due to a fuel cock being left off, he was unsuccessful and the windmilling blades created such a drag that he lost control. Thus, at 11.20, the Stirling came down near Northleach airfield in Gloucestershire. Out of the crew of nine on this particular flight, five were killed."
Deaths registered at Cirencester, 12/1944, suggest that there was a greater number of fatalities: -
  • Craig, Lawrence William Harward - F/O (Pilot)
  • Wallace, Anthony John - Sgt (Nav)
  • Hanley, Matthew William - 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 actually entered as 'Michael W' and was brought from Northleach for his interment, to be recorded with the names Michael William, in Plot N255 of Epsom Cemetery on 29 November 1944. A CWGC headstone gives only the initials of his forenames, M W. Image - www.findagrave.com

He appears as Michael William Hanley in the St Martin's War Memorial names for 1939-1945: he is also commemorated on the Old Haltonians Roll of Honour and the United Reformed Church's plaque at Epsom.

Administration of the personal estate of Michael William Hanley of Seabright, Ashley Road, Epsom, who died on 22 November 1944 during war service was granted to David Samuel (sic) Hanley during 1946.

Brian Bouchard 2014

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HARRIS, Charles. Quartermaster. BEM.

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

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission notes that Charles was the son of Ethel Harris, and the adopted son of Mrs G M Beavan, of Worcester Park, Surrey. "Charles Harris" is too common a name to pinpoint his birth by the usual routine searches. He is first found in the 1911 Census as a 10 year old schoolboy "visitor" living with 44 year old Frederick Beavan (a "Confectioner's Sugar Boiler"), his 42 year old wife Gertrude and the surviving five (aged between 4 and 19) of the couple's own six children at 68 Orbel Street, Battersea. The family were all Londoners - as was Charles, having been born in Pimlico.

At some point, the family moved to Worcester Park. The 1939 Register records 72 year old Frederick ("Sugar Confectionary Manager 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 (47208444) 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 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" - so was perhaps away on duty at the time of the 1911 Census) 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.

As Stanley has no know grave, he is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

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 certain 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.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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HAWKINS, Albert James, Sergeant 919537.

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR).
Died 4 April 1943, aged 25

The marriage of Albert John Hawkins to Florence Jane Snell had been recorded at St George, Hanover Square, 12/1916. The groom is thought to have been a regular soldier,Corporal in the Royal Engineers with a service number 773. A son, Albert Jack Hawkins, may have been born near the RE Barracks at Chatham, being registered Medway 9/1917.

A family connection to the Isle of Wight had been established before the birth of his brother, William George, during 1919. Albert James is reported to have attended the County Secondary School in Newport and to have taken up employment first with the Council there. By 1939, he was living in Epsom, apparently lodging with Mr and Mrs Banwell at 1 Ladbroke Road, and working for the Borough of Epsom and Ewell.

He enlisted in the RAFVR and took up service at Uxbridge, reportedly during March 1940. After training overseas he was posted to 408 (RCAF) Squadron, based at RAF Leeming, for flying duties.

His story appears on the Aircrew Remembered website and is detailed below with kind permission of Kelvin Youngs (Webmaster), information courtesy of Peter Bilbrough from Worthing, Sussex. Peter's late mother Elsie, née Worsley, was Sgt. 'Bert' Hawkins' fiancée when he went missing, however she kept in touch with his family after marrying Angus Bilborough in 1946.

"03/04.04.1943 No. 408 Squadron Halifax II HR713 EQ-F
Operation: Essen Date: 03/04th April 1943 (Saturday/Sunday)Time: 21.45 hrs.
Unit: No. 408 Squadron (Goose) R.C.A.F.
Type: Halifax II Serial: HR713 Coded: EQ-F
Location: Lake Ijssel, north east of Amsterdam.
Pilot: F/O. (Acting Fl/Lt) Robert Hodgson Perry Gamble J/9337 R.C.A.F. Age 23. Missing
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Robert Walton Barker 9889712 R.A.F.V.R. Age: ? Missing
W/Op/Air gunner: P/O. Charles Noola Black AUS/405437 R.A.A.F. Age 23. Missing
Nav/Bomber: Sgt. Albert James (Jimmie) Hawkins 919537 R.A.F.V.R. Age 25. Missing
Nav/Bomber: W/O 11. Donald Leslie Jarrett T/90781 R.C.A.F. Age 23. Missing
W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. Kenneth Septimus McColl AUS/401712 R.A.A.F. Age 30. Missing
Air/Gnr: F/O. Edmond Rothwell Ray J/11851 R.C.A.F. Age 26. Missing

REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 19.45 hrs, part of a huge raid on Essen. 325 Lancasters, 113 Halifaxes - led by 10 OBOE Mosquitos. Due to return at 00.57 hrs but failing with nothing heard from them.
HR713 was shot down by Oblt. Eberhard Garddiewski (3 victories) from 12./NJG1 at a height of 4000 metres. The aircraft reported to crash into the North Sea 60 km's North West of Vlieland at 00.47hrs


Left: Sgt. Albert (Jimmie) Hawkins Right: Sgt. Robert Walton Barker
Left: Sgt. Albert (Jimmie) Hawkins (courtesy Peter Bilbrough)
Right: Sgt. Robert Walton Barker (courtesy Victoria Southgate and Sylvia Gardiner)

408 Squadron being awarded their Crest
408 Squadron being awarded their Crest.
The pilot F/O (Acting Fl/Lt) Robert Hodgson Perry Gamble seen on extreme right. (courtesy Peter Bilbrough)

Burial details: None - still classed as missing. All remembered at the Runnymede Memorial Sgt. Albert James (Jimmie) Hawkins: Panel 152.

Further information: Eldest son of Albert John Hawkins (c1879-1932) late Sergeant in the Royal Engineers and Florence Jane née Snell (c1894-1974) of 11 Castle Road, Newport, Isle of Wight and fiancé of my late mother Elsie Bilbrough nee Worsley who remembered him during the rest of her life. Educated in the local secondary school, he worked in the rating department of Newport Corporation and later as a rating and valuation officer for Epsom Council prior to joining the RAF in March 1940. He trained at the Initial Training Wing in Rhodesia in 1942, and had flown 12 sorties and 69.08 operational hours. His commander wrote "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." (Isle of Wight County Press: 14 April 1943). His brother William George Hawkins (1919-?) served in the Royal Artillery.

[Also recorded on the Newport (IOW) War Memorial and on his parents grave in Carisbrooke (Mount Joy) Cemetery, Isle of Wight - Y 3/215]"

Additionally the name of Albert James Hawkins appears on WW2 Memorials in Epsom, particularly at the Town Hall and in the local Book of Remembrance.

Albert (Jimmie) Hawkins' Headstone
Albert (Jimmie) Hawkins' Headstone
Image courtesy of Peter Bilborough

Albert (Jimmie) Hawkins' parents grave in Carisbrooke (Mount Joy) Cemetery, Isle of Wight
Albert (Jimmie) Hawkins' parents grave in Carisbrooke (Mount Joy) Cemetery, Isle of Wight
Image courtesy of Peter Bilborough

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.

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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 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 now married to Kathlyn (née Nolan) is recorded 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 1,369 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,
"Always in our thoughts. Rest in peace. Mother, Dad and family."
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 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 one of 1,059 Commonwealth WW2 burials in the Syracuse War Cemetery, Sicily.

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. If it was before WW2, he would have been with the Battalion 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 this may have been 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,
"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 widowed Frances died Q1 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

The marriage of Edward Heard to Louisa Preddle was registered in Edmonton for the September Quarter of 1912. The arrival of their second child Douglas Thomas Heard, born 22 March 1920, came to be recorded in Wandsworth, 6/1920 and a younger brother John W. Heard, born 27 July 1921, at Croydon, 9/1921.

The family arrived locally by 1935 to live at 53 Park Avenue, Stoneleigh.

Both brothers entered Epsom County (now Glyn's) School. John is reported to have been member of St Benet House and a keen cricketer. The elder left the school in 1938 and in WW2 flew with 103 Sqdn.

Given a Service Number 647632 Douglas appears to have entered the RAF in or after March 1938.

With kind permission of Kelvin Youngs the following details are repeated from http://www.aircrewremembered.com :-
18/19.09.1940 No. 99 Squadron Wellington IC P9242 LN-B P/O. Linden
Location: Stahlwerkplatz, Osnabrück, Germany
Operation: N.W. Germany
Date: 18/19th September 1940 (Wednesday/Thursday)
Unit: No. 99 Squadron
Type: Wellington IC, Serial: P9242, Code: LN-B
Base: RAF Newmarket, Suffolk
Location: Osnabrück
Pilot: P/O. Michael Cunningham Andrews Linden 42134 RAF Age 20. Killed
Pilot 2: Sgt. Maurice Ernest Langton Wood 754548 RAFVR Age 23. Killed
Obs: Sgt. Harold Edgar Smart 747711 RAFVR Age 26. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Thomas Watson 965301 RAFVR Age ? Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Douglas Thomas Heard 647632 RAF Age 20. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Victor Beverley 651939 RAF Age 22. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:-
The purpose of this raid was to bomb various targets in the channel ports although some were diverted to bomb German railway targets. Wellington P9242 was also thought to have been shot down by the heavy flak and crashed at Stahlwerkplatz, Osnabrück, Germany.

174 aircraft were sent and a costly night for Bomber Command with the loss of 9 aircraft and all the crews being killed/missing
Burial details:
P/O. Michael Cunningham Andrews Linden. Rheinberg War Cemetery Coll Grave 9. B. 20-23. Son Of Garnet Harold and Evelyn Mowbray Linden, Of Ealing, Middlesex, England.
Sgt. Maurice Ernest Langton Wood. Rheinberg War Cemetery Grave 9. B. 19. Son of Ernest Richard and Dorothy Mabel Wood, of Sheffieldx, England.
Sgt. Harold Edgar Smart. Rheinberg War Cemetery Coll Grave 9. B. 20-23. Son of Edgar Standish Smart and Gertrude Avis Smart, of Shirley, Warwickshirex, England.
Sgt. Thomas Watson. Rheinberg War Cemetery Coll Grave 9. B. 20-23. N.o.K. details unavailable as yet.
Sgt. Douglas Thomas Heard. Rheinberg War Cemetery Coll Grave 9. B. 20-23. Son of Edward and Louisa Heard, of Ewell, Surrey, England.
Sgt. Victor Beverley. Rheinberg War Cemetery Coll Grave 9. B. 20-23. Foster-son of Mr. and Mrs. W. Beverley, of Sheffieldx, England.
Researched for relatives of the crew. With thanks to the following: Keith Townsend historian of Moseley Secondary/Grammar school memorial records, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses', Theo Boiten - 'German Nightfighter War Diaries', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt 'Bomber Command War Diaries', the C.W.G.C.
Buried in the Rheinberg War Cemetery, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany as a son of Edward and Louisa Heard, of Ewell, Surrey - and thus brother of John William Heard.

Brian Bouchard © 2017

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

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

John William Heard Age 21
John William Heard Age 21
Image source www.aircrewremembered.com

John William Heard was born 27 July 1921 and his birth registered in Croydon. He was the third son of Edward and Louisa Heard, of 53 Park Avenue, Stoneleigh, an elder brother Douglas Thomas Heard also died as a result of the war. Both brothers entered Epsom County (now Glyn's) School. John is reported to have been member of St Benet House and a keen cricketer.

With kind permission of Kelvin Youngs the following details are repeated from http://www.aircrewremembered.com :-
Operation: Gunnery demonstration
Date: 18th July 1943 (Sunday)
Unit: No. 1485 Flight
Type: Wellington III
Serial: BK235
Base: RAF Fulbeck, Lincolnshire
Location: 1 Mile South East of Appleby, Yorkshire
Pilot: W/O. John William Heard 1169045 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Inst: Fl/Sgt Daniel Breslin D.F.M. 1561437 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
Student: W/Cmdr. Alister William Stewart Matheson AUS/29258 RAAF Age 33. Killed
Student: Gp/Cptn. Brian Everard Lowe 28252 No details recorded Killed
Student: Gp/Captn. Reginald Vere Massey Odbert RAF Age 39. Killed
Student: Sq/Ldr. Philip Brandon-Trye 42792 RAF Age ? Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:-
Taking off from RAF Fulbeck, Lincolnshire with senior officers who had arrived to see what the training involved. The students due to go up were informed that their training had been cancelled that afternoon.

Wellington III
Wellington III
Image source www.aircrewremembered.com

RAF Records state:
"Wellington BK235 was engaged in a corkscrew fighter affiliation exercise on the 18th July, 1943 with 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.
The crew details: Pilot - W/O. Heard, Instructor - Sgt. Breslin, students on Senior Officer's Gunnery Course - Group Captain Lowe; Group Captain Odbert; Wing Commander Matheson; and Squadron Leader Brandon-Trye."
Last Flight of BK235
Last Flight of BK235
Image source www.aircrewremembered.com

Burial details:
W/O. John William Heard. Brigg Cemetery. Plot C. Grave 370. Son of Edward and Louisa Heard, of Ewell, Epsom, Surrey, England.
W/Cmdr. Alister William Stewart Matheson. Brigg Cemetery. Plot C. Grave 182. Son of William and Kathrine Matheson; husband of Nancy Elaine Matheson, of Lockerbie, Dumfriesshire, Scotland. Born 07th October 1909 at Winchelsea, Victoria, Australia. Prior to service worked as a surveyor.
Gp/Cptn. Brian Everard Lowe. Brigg Cemetery. Plot B. Grave 88. No further details currently available.
Gp/Cptn. Reginald Vere Massey Odbert. Newark-Upon-Trent Cemetery. Sec. G. Grave 314. Further information: Son of Herbert Massey Odbert and Annie Emily Odbert, of Monkstown, Co. Dublin, Irish Republic. Born on the 9th February 1904. Captained R.A.F. Rugby in 1928 and 1932. 1 Cap for Ireland against France in Belfast in 1928. Joined the R.A.F. straight from Blackrock College, served in the Middle East - worked as an experimental pilot on armament testing, Promoted to Sq/Ldr in June 1936, W/Cdr in March 1939 and then to Gp/Cptn in September 1941. A fellow officer wrote his obituary in the Times on 9th August 1941:
In the course of 20 years service in the Royal Air Force men such as Group Captain R. V. M. Odbert acquire many friends. In captaining the rugger team he still further enlarged that circle. All who knew him will agree that "Oddy" gave his whole life to his profession and closely approached the ideal officer. Those who served with him pay tribute to his honesty of purpose and tenacity: his simplicity of living was exemplary, his only luxury being his generosity to others. These qualities evoked a profound respect both from those who saw eye to eye with him and those who differed in the many difficult problems in which he dealt. After many years of hard work he had his reward. It was clear from talking to his officers and men that during the few months in which he commanded an operational station in Bomber Command they saw in him the man who gave his utmost and who was grateful for the support that inevitably followed. Although he leaves so many friends, there will be many to greet him.
Sq/Ldr. Philip Brandon-Trye. Brigg Cemetery. Plot C. Grave 464. Born in London 30th October 1919. Serving with 106 Squadron at date of loss and attending 1485 on a senior officers gunnery course.
Fl/Sgt Daniel Breslin D.F.M. Strabane Cemetery. Sec.A. Class C. Grave 21. Son of Daniel and Bridget Breslin, of Strabane, Northern Ireland. DFM awarded whilst with 106 Squadron - London Gazette 15th June 1943.
Researched for relatives of the crew with thanks to Jill Gilliver for grave photographs, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses' Vol. 8, The Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Buried in the Brigg Cemetery, Lincolnshire.

John's headstone in Brigg Cemetery, Lincolnshire
John's headstone in Brigg Cemetery, Lincolnshire
Image by Jill Gilliver via www.aircrewremembered.com

Brian Bouchard © 2017

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HEATHCOTE-PEIRSON, Gerald Frederick. Pilot Officer 134917

90 Sqdn. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 29 April 1943 Age 28

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

The marriage of George F Peirson to Winifred Roberts was registered at Kensington for the December Quarter of 1913. Birth of Gerald F Peirson came to be recorded in the same District, 12/1914. His father may have been employed by the LCC and served as a Lieutenant in the RFC/RAF during WWI.

Gerald Frederick HEATHCOTE-PEIRSON (with the double-barrelled surname) enlisted in the Royal Air Force, probably at Uxbridge, in September 1940 with a Service Number 1336311. On 19 December 1942 having attained the rank of LAC he was commissioned Pilot Officer 134917.

On the night of 28/29 April 1943 Squadron Leader Robert Seayears ('Bob') May, 40409, of 90 Squadron took-off at 20:19 from RAF Ridgewell for a mine-laying operation (Gardening) in the Quince region off the coast of Holland and Germany, flying Stirling BF346. The raid included totally 207 heavy bombers. His aircraft went missing over the sea, reportedly brought down by Flak - hit by 1./lei. Fl.Abt. 985, to crash in Langelands Baelt near Korsör, Denmark, at 00.07 hrs (mis-identified as a 'Liberator').

Killed together with Squadron Leader May were 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.
Although presumed lost in the Baltic, F/S Monk's remains were eventually buried in the Kiel War Cemetery and other members of the crew are remembered on the Runneymede Memorial. S/L May was from Victoria in British Colombia.

The union of Gerald F Heathcote-Peirson with Iris D Strowger had been recorded in Surrey Mid E, 12/1941. The bride's family lived at 97 Hookfield, Epsom. The widowed Iris Doreen Heathcote-Peirson married secondly Paul Spencer Shelley on 9 June 1947.

Gerald is commemorated on Panel 132 of the Runnymede Memorial and described by CWGC as the son of George Frederick and Winifred Peirson, of Streatham, London; husband of Iris Heathcote-Peirson, of Epsom, Surrey.

Brian Bouchard © 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. Although the Census tells us that Alice had been born in Battersea, was aged 32, had been married for seven years had just the one child, establishing more about Arthur's parentage has proved beyond the reach of routine searches of the readily available records.

In 1925, Arthur married Florence May Page. This was registered in Ware, Hertfordshire. They appear to have had just one child, Alan, whose Q3 1932 birth was registered in Hendon.

The 1939 Register records them living at 10 Ravensfield Gardens, Ewell. 34 year old Arthur is listed as "Skilled Workman, Cable layer PO Engineering Department" and 31 year old Florence with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". There is one currently closed record at the address, presumably their 7 year old son.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records note that Arthur was at the Kingston Bypass on 16 August 1940 when he was injured by some enemy action. He was taken to Wimbledon Hospital where he died later that day.

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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 Q1 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. He was baptised on 4 July 1909 in St Gregory's, Canterbury. However, the 1911 Census records the family of three living at 228 Grosvenor Terrace, St Mary Newington, London (near the Elephant & Castle). 26 year old David senior is listed 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.

David is not found in the 1939 Register, probably because he was already in uniform. In Q3 1941, aged 32, David 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 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 Alamein Memorial (which stands at the entrance of the El Alamein War Cemetery) as one of nearly 12,000 servicemen of the British Empire who died in WW2's Western Desert campaigns and who have no known grave.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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HEMING, Arthur. Sub-Lieutenant (A).

HMS Nightjar, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.
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 1939 Register records the parents 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 - 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.

On 7 December 1944, Arthur was part of the 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.

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 remembered on the Alamein Memorial, Egypt, which commemorates more than 8,500 soldiers of the Commonwealth who died in the campaigns in Egypt and Libya, and in the operations of the Eighth Army in Tunisia up to 19 February 1943 and who have no known grave.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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HICKS, Archibald Jack, Pilot Officer 120655.

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR).
Died 03 August 1942, aged 22.

Archibald Jack Hicks
Archibald Jack Hicks
Copyright acknowledged

As explained by Linda Jackson in her piece about 17 High Street, Epsom, Archibald Henry Hicks, a hairdresser, 'born 1882 Epsom; married c.1910 Lily Gertrude Beach (c.1887 Bruges - 1963); their son, Pilot Officer Archibald Jack Hicks, 114 Squadron RAFVR (born 1920), died on 3 August 1942 in Chester district ...'.

Certainly, Lily Gertrude Beach was living in Epsom as a child enumerated in the 1901 Census and she re-appears, married to Archibald Henry Hicks, in 1911. The birth of son, Jack, from their union seems to have been registered in Guildford, 3/1916, but he may have survived only until 1919. The arrival of Archibald Jack Hicks was recorded at Kingston for the first Quarter of 1920.

The Kelly's Directories list Archibald Henry Hicks at 17 High Street, Epsom, in 1924 & 1927, then 21A during 1930, 1934 & 1938.

Archibald Jack joined the staff of the municipal Borough of Epsom and Ewell. Having enlisted in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, he became a Pilot Officer with the Service Number 120655 attached to 114 Squadron at RAF West Raynham, flying Blenheim Mk IV bombers. On Monday 3 August 1942, he piloted a Blenheim (built by Rootes) R3813, code RT-S, from West Raynham. Also aboard were F/S 1280524 Arthur Haydn Frederick Chote, W.Op./Air Gnr, LAC 1233263 James Lewis Joseph Barnes and AC1 1511232 George Craddock. The crew were killed when this aircraft crashed at Lache House (otherwise 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 Jack Hicks, RAF, aged 22, late of 2(1?)a High Street, was buried in Epsom Cemetery on 10 August 1942, Sec. N. Grave 260. His name appears in the Book of Remembrance, and is commemorated on both the St Martin's and the Council Staff War Memorials.

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

Brian Bouchard 2014

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

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

The marriage of Thomas Edwin Hicks [b. Dundalk, Ireland, circa 1874] to Mildred Mary Lambert was registered at Norwich for the June Quarter of 1904. Birth of their son Gerald Lambert Hicks on 29(?) May 1910 came to be recorded in Edmonton, 6/1910. The family lived at 33 Rosebery Road, Muswell Hill.

After the death of Thomas E Hicks, a tailor, (reg. Norwich 6/1917), the widowed Mildred married secondly Charles Francis Otto Huffam (Norwich 6/1918).

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 L.C.C. Ambulance Corps, and did valuable rescue work... '

In 1939, Gerald was described as a Journalist resident with his mother and step-father, Charles F Huffam an Engineer's Draughtsman, at Ardgowan, Sadorne (sic) Road, Banstead.

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. His marriage to June M Garlick had been recorded at Marylebone, 3/1942.

The Huffams had removed to 1 Beechcroft, Downside, Epsom, by 1943.

On 14 March 1942 a new 21 Squadron had been formed at RAF Bodney, still with the Blenheim, but re-equipped a few months later with the Lockheed Ventura. It was the first RAF squadron to use the Ventura and was not operational until 6 December 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

On 5 April 1943 12 Mk.1 Venturas of 21 Squadron took off at 16.40 hrs from Portreath, as part of operation Ramrod 63, to attack an oil tanker at Brest. They were escorted by Spitfires from 129 & 616 Squadrons. Ventura AE839, piloted by F/O Gerald L Hicks, was shot up and badly damaged by both flak and Luftwaffe Fw. 190's from 8/JG2. It managed to return to home territory but was forced to ditch off Portreath, Cornwall. All crew were picked up safely within twenty minutes by a fisherman.

Details of the loss on 21 April 1943 of 21 Squadron's Ventura II AE913 - F/O. Hicks - at Abbeville, France, are reproduced with kind permission of Kelvin Youngs of Aircrew Remembered - l
"Operation: Abbeville
Date: 21st April 1943 (Wednesday)
Unit: 21 Squadron
Type: Ventura II
Serial: AE913 Coded: YH-?
Base: RAF Oulton, Norfolk
Pilot: F/O. Gerald Lambert Hicks 104530 RAFVR Age 32. Killed,
Co/pilot: Fl/Sgt. Frederick James Bowles 1163245 RAFVR Age 26. Killed,
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Frank Taylor 1017135 RAFVR Age 29. Killed,
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Ronald Watson 652631 RAF Age 22. Killed.

REASON FOR LOSS:-
Took off at 10:58 hrs from Oulton on a daylight to bomb the marshalling yards at Abbeville. Along with 2 other Ventura's from 21 squadron, shot down by Luftwaffe fighters after leaving the target area, at 12:15 hrs. Three of this crew survived a ditching earlier on in this month.
The other two:
Ventura I AE692 Flown by Sgt. Ronald Herbert Wells 1331819 RAFVR, missing with 2 other crew, one other killed.
Ventura I AE743 Flown by 22 year old F/O. Geoffrey Brian Chippendale 127842 RAFVR from Guarlford, Worcestershire, killed with 3 other crew members.
Flight path of AE913
Flight path of AE913
Image source Aircrew Remembered

Burial Details:-
F/O. Gerald Lambert Hicks. Abbeville Communal Cemetery. Plot 6, Row A, Grave 4. Son of Thomas Edwin and Mildred, of Epsom, Surrey, England, husband of June Hicks. Grave inscription reads: 'A Beloved Only Son; On Whose Soul, Sweet Jesus, Have Mercy R.I.P'.
Fl/Sgt. Frederick James Bowles. Abbeville Communal Cemetery. Plot 6, Row A, Grave 1. Son of Frank and Lilian, husband of Winifred Bowles, of East Dulwich, London, England. Grave inscription reads: 'So Dearly Loved In Life Let Us Not Forget Him In Death, Thy Will Be Done R.I.P,.
Sgt. Frank Taylor. Abbeville Communal Cemetery. Plot 6, Row A, Grave 3. Son of Mark Reed Taylor and Emily Taylor, of Hull, England.
Fl/Sgt. Ronald Watson. Abbeville Communal Cemetery. Plot 6, Row A, Grave 2. Son of James Thomas and Florence Edith, of Wandsworth, London, England, husband of Violet Mary, of Wandsworth Common. Grave inscription reads: 'I See Him Everywhere, In Everything He Knew & Loved, Fields, Woods & Gardens Fair'."
AE913 crew graves
AE913 crew graves
Image source Aircrew Remembered

The widowed June M Hicks apprears to have remarried. Gerald's mother, Mrs Mildred Mary Huffam, died at Hampstead in 1958.

Brian Bouchard 2017

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HILLS, Oliver Lilburne Rieu, Flight Sergeant. 161337.

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR).
Died 25 November 1943, aged 32.

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

On 23 June 1906, in St. Andrews church in the parish of St. Marylebone, London, solicitor Charles Robe Hills married Agnes Marie Reiu, the daughter of the late Charles Reiu who had been a professor at Cambridge University. Charles and Agnes' eldest son Gilbert Archibald Reiu was born in 1907 and their daughter Audrey Reiu in 1908. When the 1911 census was taken, before Oliver's birth, the family was living at 'Fairview', Alexander Road, Epsom, Surrey where Charles employed two servants to help run their home.

Charles and Agnes' youngest son, Oliver Lilburne Rieu Hills, was born in Epsom on 21 November 1911 (GRO reference: Dec 1911 Epsom 2a 61a).

During WWI, 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, Alexander Road, Epsom, he bought two pieces of freehold land in Epsom, one in Claygate Hill and the other in Pound Lane.

Oliver attended Charterhouse School in Godalming between 1925 and 1930, after which he qualified as a solicitor. In 1941 he joined the RAFVR, serving as a Mosquito navigator and radar operator with the 488 Royal New Zealand Air Force Squadron based in Singapore.

In early 1942, Oliver married Joan de Lancey Wilson in the registration district of Blandford, Dorset. After their marriage, the couple lived at 8, Randolph Road, Epsom. Oliver and Joan's daughter Fiona was born a few months before Oliver's death.

On 2 December 1943, newspapers announced that Oliver had been declared missing, believed killed, on night operations over the North Foreland of the coast of Kent having taken off from RAF Bradwell Bay in Essex. Oliver, and the RAF pilot Squadron Leader Dudley Ormston Hobbis, were both killed after the engine of their de Havilland Mosquito, registration number HK423, caught fire over the North Sea, causing them both to abandon the plane.

Oliver's body was found eight months later, in the Thames Estuary, and was laid to rest in Epsom cemetery in grave N256 on 12 August 1944. The body of his pilot, Squadron Leader Hobbis, was never found, and he is commemorated on the RAF, Runneymede memorial to the missing.

Probate records state the following:
HILLS Oliver Lilburne Rein (sic) otherwise Oliver Lilburne of Clayhill Lodge West Hill Epsom Surrey died 25 November 1943 on war service. Probate Llandudno 4 November to Joan de Lancey Hills his widow. Effects £1657 19s. 9d.
Oliver's widow married Thomas B. Page in 1947 and died in 1994 in Derbyshire.

Oliver is remembered in the Epsom WWII Book of Remembrance displayed in the Town Hall. He is also commemorated on the memorial at the former RAF airfield, Bradwell Bay, Essex and on the Charterhouse School Roll of Honour inside their Memorial Chapel.

Sources:
     http://www.roll-of-honour.com/Surrey/GodalmingCharthouseSchoolWW2.html
     http://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/wiki.php?id=73028

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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 buried in the Esquimalt (Veterans') Cemetery.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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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."

Roger Morgan © 2018

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HOBBS, Edward William. Corporal 1329575

7 Sqdn. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 4 February 1943 Age 38

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Son of Edward William and Ethel Hobbs; husband of Florence G. Hobbs, of Epsom, Surrey.

Buried: Brookwood Military Cemetery, 22. B. 10.

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HOBBY, John Charles. Flying Officer (159407)

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

The marriage of [Charles] Richard Hobby (b. 19 November 1896, d. 16 October 1978), a schoolmaster, to Eva M[aud] Butler was registered at Kingston for the March Quarter of 1923.

Their first son, John Charles (Jack) Hobby, was born on 10 October 1923 in Brighton. The family lived in New Malden during 1932 but had arrived at Chellow Dene, 400 Chessington Road, West Ewell, by 1935.

John was educated at Epsom County School now Glyn's.

He enlisted in the RAFVR at Oxford during or after 1941 and advanced fron LAC to commission as Pilot Officer on probation, 20 November 1943.

In July 1944, 454 squadron RAAF relocated to Pescara in Italy and joined the Desert Air Force. Its role was changed to air support for the ground forces engaged in the Italian campaign, usually in the form of concentrated pattern bombing. Operating from a succession of airfields, 454 Squadron earned a reputation for efficiency, despite Italy's climatic extremes. In addition to its ground support missions, the squadron also attacked targets, experimented with radar-controlled bombing techniques, and, in early 1945, harassed the retreating German forces by night. The squadron's war ended with the surrender of German forces in Italy on 2 May 1945 and it was disbanded at Villaorba on 14 August 1945.

A Martin Baltimore Mk V, FW845 of 454 Squadron crashed into a nearby lake about 2 miles north of the airfield after a night take-off from Cesenatico, Italy, 10 February 1945, while being flown solo by Flg. Off. J C Hobby, 159407, RAF (P)

A Royal Air Force Martin Baltimore IV/V bomber.
A Royal Air Force Martin Baltimore IV/V bomber.
Official U.S. Air Force photo 051122-F-1234P-023 via Wikimedia

He was buried at Coriano Ridge War Cemetery, Near Rimini, Italy, as a son of Charles Richard and Eva Maud Hobby.

Brian Bouchard © 2017

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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 joining 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.

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 the many commemorated on the Singapore Memorial in the Kranji War Cemetery.

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.) 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.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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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's family home moved to 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.

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 the many commemorated on the Singapore Memorial in the Kranji War Cemetery.

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 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 ill 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.

He is one of the 2,236 Commonwealth servicemen buried in the Ranville War Cemetery, near Caen. The parents took the option of adding a personal inscription to the headstone: "Fred, awhile we must be parted until the day we meet again. Mother and Father."

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 the Axis forces then had the upper hand in North Africa and pushed the 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, Rupert's body was lost. George's Commemorated on the Alamein Memorial, Egypt.

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 1939 Register so is likely already to have been in the Royal Corps of Signals. In Q1 1940, he married Gladys R A Cobb who the 1939 Register records 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 Surrey Mid-Eastern District. No record has been found of the couple having any children.

Cyril died on 13 May 1941, in yet to be discovered circumstances. The death was registered in Cambridge, but his body was brought home for burial in Epsom Cemetery (Grave M601). Its 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".

Roger Morgan © 2018

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HOSLIN, Louis Charles. Flying Officer 120020

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 Hoslin lived at Santa Maria, 322 Fir Tree Road, Epsom Downs. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles A. Hoslin. Husband of Kay Hoslin, of Paddington, London.

The young Louis Hoslin entered a seminary to become a Catholic priest but left before being ordained, and subsequently joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves. By April 1943 he was at an RAF base in Scotland.

Louis on the left with his sister and two brothers.
Louis on the left with his sister and two brothers
Image courtesy of the Hoslin Family

The Royal Air Force began to use airfields in Dumfries & Galloway for flying training in the late 1930's. During the war several major airfields were home to squadrons tasked with the interception of German aircraft attacking Glasgow. Many anti-submarine and air-sea-rescue aircraft were based near the port of Stranraer and further north at the seaplane base in Loch Ryan.

Galloway, and especially Wigtownshire, was a hive of military activity. Airfields sprang up all over the region along with the usual support units such as Air-Sea Rescue, Gunnery and Bombing Ranges. The main areas of activity were the sea plane units on Loch Ryan and the Air Observer School at Baldoon, known officially as RAF Wigtown, which is where Louis Hoslin was based. Wigtown's role soon became that of a bombing and gunnery school when the war started. However the grass airfield was not fully utilised until 1941, when 1 Air Observation School took up residence.

During the war the number of flying training crashes involving Air-Crew was staggering and the activities at RAF Wigtown were to prove no different. At one stage, so many crews and aircraft were lost during one month that the authorities even considered closing down the station at Wigtown. 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.

By 1943, RAF Wigtown (Baldoon), now with concrete runways, was still 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.

Louis Hoslin was a staff pilot attached to No.1 (Observers) Advanced Flying Unit.

One of his roles was to pilot a target tug, probably one of the least glamorous flying jobs in the RAF, but an invaluable job nonetheless. 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 approx 150 feet of cable, or longer if being shot at by fighter aircraft. The 'moving' target was then shot at by trainee gunners who could practise deflection shooting on the moving and aerial target.

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

The drogue was released by the operator and recovered by assessors, and it was quite usual for a first time gunner to shoot 200 bullets at the drouge and fail to hit it at all. Needless to say, it was not uncommon for stray bullets to sometimes hit the tug, and it was frustrating and dreary work to fly around the sky towing a long canvas drogue.

By their very nature the tug arircraft 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. On the 29 April 1943 Pilot Officer Hoslin was on a target towing exercise flying Westland Lysander III P9118. The aircraft in its tug towing livery would have been similar to the restored plane in the photograph.

At 4.30 pm Louis Hoslin 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 the pilot to make an emergency landing in an unsuitable field.

The Lysander crashed and turned over injuring both the pilot and the target towing operator. Louis was taken to Galloway House which was a war emergency hospital set up in the requisitioned home of the Earl of Galloway. Louis Hoslin died at 7 pm. He was 28 years old.

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

Although he was a relatively experienced Lysander pilot (148 hours), it was thought that 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' wife Kay was in the early stages of pregnancy when Louis died and the stress caused her to miscarry. She later married again and became Kay Coaten and later still, moved to Jersey.

Commemorated: EPSOM CEMETERY, Sec. H. Grave 560.

Louis' headstone in Epsom Cemetery.
Louis' headstone in Epsom Cemetery.
Image source not known.

Text and images kindly supplied by Banstead History Research Group

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HOUGHTON, William. Flying Officer (149594)

163 Sqdn. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 11 April 1945 Age 24

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

The marriage of Arthur R Houghton (born 21 January 1894) to Emily Anders (born 30 October 1897) was registered in Prescot (Lancs.) for the June Quarter of 1920. Birth of their son William came to be recorded in the same District, 12/1920.

In 1939 the family were living in Manchester with Arthur R Houghton employed as a Railway Engine Driver.

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 and promoted to Flying Officer from 16 October 1943.

The background to the demise of pilot William Houghton is provided by an Australian memorial to his Navigator F/Sgt Lance Anthony Stegman, 435689, RAAF, who 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. Stegman was listed as killed in action, aged 21.

The bodies of Stegman and Houghton were recovered and buried in graves side by side at the Berlin 1939-1945 Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery."
William's headstone in Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Charlottenburg.
William's headstone in Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Charlottenburg.
Photograph by "Uwe" via findagrave.com

Peter Bodle in his book Mosquito to Berlin: Story of 'Bertie' Boulter 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 assime it had been them. One of the new Me 262 jets was seen again as well as a conventional twin-engined German fighter."
Initially William had been buried in an unmarked isolated grave within a wood at Stulpe but his remains were re-interred at Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Grave 2. C. 2, on 25 September 1947.

For Probate William's address was stated to have been 38 Broadway, New Moston, Manchester.

CWGC describe him as the son of Arthur Richard and Emily Houghton; husband of Kathleen Houghton, of West Ewell, Surrey. Neither his marriage nor a local address has been traced.

Brian Bouchard © 2018

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

Royal Navy HMS Bickerton
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 remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial for sailors with no known grave.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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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.

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.

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HUNT, Henry.

Royal Air Force.
Died N/K, aged N/K

Identity unclear.

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.
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HUNT, Peter. Flight Sergeant/Pilot (655135)

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

Peter is reported to have been the son of Arthur William and May Hunt but it has not proved possible to identify his parents more closely or to establish the date and place of his birth.

His RAF Service number indicates a transfer from the Army in or after 1939.

On 11 April 1944, at 0805 hours, a de Havilland Mosquito FB, Mark VI, MM 413 of 248 Squadron based at RAF Portreath crashed into a cloud covered hill at Wheal Christopher Farm, Sithney, Helston. The Mosquito was burnt out and the crew of two, F/Sgt Peter Hunt & F/Sgt Wilfred William Murdoch Milne, 1324169, killed. Reportedly they had been briefed to take part in an Anti-Aircraft patrol in the Bay of Biscay but the intended aircraft failed to start and they were a few minutes late taking off in a spare, MM 413. It appears that they may have been attempting to 'cut the corner' and catch up with the rest of the force when they hit the high ground. Both airmen were registered dead in the Kerrier district of Cornwall.

The Epsom connection can be explained by Peter's marrriage to Mary Eileen Holbrook registered in Surrey Mid E District for the June Quarter of 1943. She was a daughter of Henry Oliver Holbrook and Ellen, nee Killick, who lived at 36 Pound Lane. That address was given for Peter Hunt when his widow was granted Administration of the deceased's estate.

The second marriage of Mrs Mary Eileen Hunt to William A Scobling came to be registered in Barnstaple, 3/1945. She was interred with her parents during 2007 at St Peter ad Vincula Church burial ground, Combe Martin, Devon.

Peter Hunt had been interred in Morden Cemetery, Surrey, Sec. O, Grave 235as the late husband of Mary Eileen Hunt, of Epsom.

Brian Bouchard © 2017

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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 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 39 Register, perhaps because he had already enlisted in the Army. In Q2 1941, he married Margaret Weatherburn Patterson. The 1939 Register had 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 Surrey Mid-Eastern District - as was the birth of their child Michael in Q2 1942 - although the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records list the widowed Margaret being as being "of Sydenham, London".

William served in the 2nd Battalion of the Scots Guards. The Battalion saw much tough action throughout WW2. 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.

He is one of 2,374 Commonwealth WW2 burials in the nearby Becklingen War Cemetery.

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 or third child of Stanley Harris Hutchings and Gladys Dorothea (née Lyddon). They were both Londoners and married in Poplar (where Stanley had been born in 1897) in Q3 1918: Gladys was born in Marylebone in 1895.

The 1939 Register records the parents (with Stanley as "Head Clerk Ships Store Suppliers") living at 10 Ansford Road in Lewisham with six others. Two of those are clearly a couple of their children. Four of the records are currently closed, one of which is presumably the 18 year old Roy's. The Commonwealth War Grave Commission's records list the parents of being "of Epsom" at the time of Roy's death, but the details of that are not currently known.

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 62 Commonwealth burials in the Takoradi European Public Cemetery.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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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.
Photograph 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 above is 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 that he is buried in Grave 587 of the Old Shoreham Cemetery, Sussex.

However, it seems certain that he is the Eric Hutchins recorded in the 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 Age 28

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Frederick Huttenbach, born Penang Straits Settlements in 1880, became a physician who practised in Munich. He arrived in England before 1939, probably as a refugee from the Nazis, with his wife Sofie (Sofia/Sophy) Maria and son, Helmut. They took up residence at 1 Woodcote End, Epsom (Chalk Lane Hotel).

Helmut may well have joined the Army in the Pioneer Corps before entering the RASC. He succumbed from an accident or a malady in Shaftsbury Military Hospital , Dorset - reg. Sturminster, 3/1942.

He is commemorated at South London Crematorium, Mitcham, Panel 26, described by CWGC as the son of Mr. and Mrs. F. Huttenbach, of Epsom.

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

Brian Bouchard © 2018

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HYDE Paul. Ordinary Seaman C/JX 158123

Royal Navy - HMS Wryneck
Died 27/04/1941, 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) The 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 (registered in Portsmouth - where the 1939 Register had found her, but not Paul, 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 they commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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