WW2 Book of Remembrance - Surnames K

Index

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[Content]

KEEBLE, Katherine Wood (Revised 03/09/2018)
KEIGHLEY, Edgar Arthur James (Revised 03/09/2018)
KENNEDY, Jack Arthur Burdett (Revised 03/09/2018)
KINCHINGTON, Keith James (Revised 03/09/2018)
KING, Albert Walter Sidney (Revised 03/09/2018)
KING, Mary Ann * (Revised 03/09/2018)
KITTS, James * (Revised 03/09/2018)
KNIGHT, Herbert Henry * (Revised 03/09/2018)
KNOWLDEN, Gladys Winifred (Revised 03/09/2018)

* = 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


KEEBLE, Katherine Wood

Civilian
Died 3 July 1944, aged 60

Katherine was born in Leatherhead on 12 February 1884, the second child of Herbert Henry Keeble and Catherine (née Wood - they married in Leatherhead on 12 August 1880). The 1891 Census records the parents - now with 5 children aged between 0 and 8 - living at Royston Villa, Church Road, Leatherhead. The 33 year old Herbert is listed as a "Tailor's Salesman" but, as the family was supported by a live-in domestic servant, was more comfortably off than that job title may suggest.

By the 1901 Census, 17 year old Katherine was living with her recently widowed uncle, 67 year old Henry Coleman Keeble, at the Spread Eagle Hotel of which he was the proprietor. She had probably moved there to assist him in running the hotel. In 1902, Henry got remarried - to Lucy Brown - but died in 1904. The 1911 Census records the widowed 54 year old Lucy as the proprietress of the hotel. The now 27 year old Katherine (she never married) was still living there and listed as assisting in the business.

The next record of Katherine is in the September 1939 Register. The now 55 year old (listed as a "Shop Assistant") is one of three unrelated single women living/lodging with retired dressmaker Elizabeth Wilson at 39 Ashley Road, Epsom. This is part of "Flint House" at the junction of Ashley and Worple Road - the other part having the address 58 Worple Road.

Kathleen later moved down Ashley Road to "Mistley" (her step-aunt Lucy's address in the 1939 Register - and then a house, since replaced by Mistley Court). This is given as Kathleen's address in the 21 October 1944 Probate record - and is where, on 3 July 1944, she was killed in the same air raid that killed George MacGowan, Bertram Meaden and Hilda Vick in the adjacent Ashley Court.

Administration of Katherine's £ 2,275 estate was awarded to two of her now married sisters, Jessie Wood Pope and Annie Wood Knott.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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KEIGHLEY, Edgar Arthur James. Sergeant/Pilot (745306)

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
Died 21 September 1940, aged 21.

Edgar was born Q2 1919, the first child of Edgar James Keighley and Maudie Elizabeth (née Bell). The parents' Q1 1918 marriage was registered in the West Ham District, as was Edgar's birth. The couple's second (and last) child, Iris, was born on 31 May 1925, and registered in the Wandsworth District.

By 1931 the family had moved to the Borough, living at "Lyntonia" 33 Meadow Walk, West Ewell. They were recorded there in the September 1939 Register. 43 year old Edgar senior is listed as a "Superintendent of Tenement Dwellings" - with the original record annotated to show that he was also a part-time ARP Warden at Post 2 in Stepney (presumably the location of the "tenement dwellings") and at Post 24 in Ewell. 43 year old Maude is listed with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". The parents' names are followed by a currently closed record, but the redaction of the original record does not conceal manuscript loops down which surely belong to the lower case Gs and the Y in "Keighley, Edgar A J". As he was known to have died before the 1939 Register was released, his name should have been shown. The last record at the address is of 14 year old schoolgirl Iris. (Did someone close the wrong record?)

In or after 1937 Edgar junior, volunteered to train as an RAFVR pilot with the service number 745306. In September 1940, he was at the RAF's No. 20 Operational Training Unit (at Lossiemouth on the Moray Firth, about 30 miles east of Inverness) for conversion to Wellington night bombers.

On 16 September he was one of eight airmen aboard Wellington IA N2900 of 20 OTU that was about to take off on a non-operational flight. A Blenheim IV N3564 of 21 Squadron was just taking off and collided with the Wellington. Both aircraft burst into flames. All three on board the Blenheim were killed.

Of those on the Wellington, all but Edgar survived. He suffered extensive burns and was taken to Grays Hospital, Elgin where he died five days later, on 21 September 1940.

Edgar is one of 115 WW2 casualties buried in the Lossiemouth Burial Ground. His parents took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave 1104,
"In our garden of memories we meet every day."
Commonwealth War Graves in the Lossiemouth Burial Ground
Commonwealth War Graves in the Lossiemouth Burial Ground.
Photograph with thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

The January 1941 Probate record of administration of Edgar's £ 495 estate being awarded to his father (described as a "Caretaker") confirmed his address as 33 Meadow Walk.

Brian Bouchard & Roger Morgan © 2018

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KENNEDY, Jack Arthur Burdett. Flight Lieutenant (114309)

209 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
Died 7 June 1943, aged 31.

Jack was born Q1 1913, the first child of George Arthur Kennedy and Mary (née Burdett) whose Q3 1911 marriage was registered in the Battersea District. Jack's birth was registered in Wandsworth, as were the births of his siblings: Jean in Q3 1915; and Frank in Q3 1925.

In 1934, Jack was still resident with his parents at 59 Kyrle Road, Wandsworth. By 1937, however, he is to be found living at 27 (later re-numbered 167) Bellenden Road, Camberwell - adjacent to Bellenden Old School - with Mary Agnes and Elizabeth Kate Poole, possibly as a lodger.

In Q2 1938, Jack and Elizabeth married, registered in the Camberwell District. Neither has yet been found in the September 1939 Register, but they subsequently set up home in 8 Parkdale Crescent, Worcester Park, recorded as Jack's address in the Probate record of administration of his £ 885 estate to the widowed Elizabeth. There is no records of the couple having any children.

In September 1940, he enlisted with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve at Euston with a Service Number 1377038. Commissioned as a Pilot Officer (with a new number 114309) from 4 November 1941, he was promoted Flying Officer 1 April 1942. He was assigned to the maritime patrol 209 Squadron, newly equipped with Consolidated Aircraft's Catalina "flying boats".

AMERICAN AIRCRAFT IN ROYAL AIR FORCE SERVICE 1939-1945: CONSOLIDATED MODEL 28 CATALINA.
Consolidated Model 28 Catalina.
Source IWM (CH 14924)

maritime patrol squadrons sent to South East Africa to operate over the Indian Ocean, where U-boats were active in the Mozambique Channel and along the South African east coast against Allied shipping going to and from the Far East.

The Squadrons initially operated out of Congella base in Durban Harbour. They quickly identified the need for a forward base, and Lake St Lucia - on the coast some 150 to the north was selected for this. A standard pattern RAF sea-plane base was built at what is now known as Catalina Bay on the eastern shore. This included a flarepath, consisting of a double row of bomb-scows moored at intervals diagonally across Catalina Bay, each fitted with a lantern for use during night landings. (More background is at "Catalinas at Lake St Lucia".)

On 7 June 1943, Catalina Mk.1b FP 275 of 259 Squadron was scheduled for a patrol. Its normal crew had, however, been grounded by illness and their place was taken by Jack's crew from 209 Squadron whose usual Catalina AH 548-O was currently unserviceable.

Returning from the patrol that night, Jack made his final approach from the south, coming in over very flat terrain of reed beds and meanders of Lake St Lucia. As the big flying-boat passed low towards what is now called Mitchell Island, it stalled for no apparent reason and plunged into the shallows. The crash killed eight of its of its nine-man crew, namely:
F/L Jack Arthur Burdett KENNEDY 114309
F/O (Pilot) David Tasker ALEXANDER, RCAF J/12453
F/L (Nav.) Dennis William FOSTER 116523
Sgt (F/E) Henry Douglas Gerald SHAW 812088
Sgt (W.Op./Air Gnr.) Kenneth Graham GAMBELL 1197078
Sgt (W.Op./Air Gnr.) Kenneth George GRIFFITHS 964787
Sgt (F.M.Eng./Air Gnr.) Edward LYNCH 1545292
Sgt (F.M.Airf./Air Gnr.) Edward STEVENS 1499479
The survivor was Sgt N A Workman. The aircraft was a total loss although the base staff did salvage certain parts from it.

Jack and his dead crewmates were buried in the Durban (Stellawood) Cemetery, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa which holds 706 Commonwealth WW2 casualties.

On behalf of the family, the widowed Elizabeth took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave F.379
"Father, in thy gracious keeping leave we now thy servant sleeping."
The Durban (Stellawood) Cemetery
The Durban (Stellawood) Cemetery
Photograph with thanks to the New Zealand Wargraves Project

Brian Bouchard & Roger Morgan © 2018

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KINCHINGTON, Keith James. Sergeant/Air Gunner (1338708)

625 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
Died 10 June 1944, aged 22

Keith James Kinchington
Keith James Kinchington
Photograph (56204732) with thanks to Michel Beckers via findagrave.com

Keith was born Q2 1922, apparently the second and last child of James Daniel Kinchington and Kitty Faith (née Rogers). The parents' Q1 1907 marriage was registered in the Richmond District, as was Keith's 1922 birth. In between, they seem to have moved around a bit. Their first child, Violet, was born Q3 1907 in Peckham. The 1911 Census recorded the family living at 11 Kenyon Street, Fulham. In this, 40 year old James was listed as a "Engineer, Motor". As usual, no occupation was listed for 33 year old housewife Kitty. Daughter Violet was aged 3. Living with them was James's 75 year old widowed mother, Selina.

By the time of the September 1939 Register, the family were living at 49 South Worple Way, Barnes. 71 year old James is now listed as a "Shop Keeper, Retired"; 52 year old Kitty with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties"; and the single 32 year old Violet as a "Clerk, Carbon Bruch Manufacturer". There is one currently closed record immediately following hers, doubtless covering the 17 year old Keith.

In Q2 1943, the 21 year old Keith married 22 year old Marjorie Evelyn ("Margie") Plowman. Their marriage - and the birth of their son, Barrie, in Q4 1944 (at least 3 months after his father's death) - were registered in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District. This is consistent with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records noting that the widowed Marjorie was "of Epsom", although the precise address has yet to be established. (In Q2 1949, the widowed Marjorie got married again, to Horace H Hyde. That was also registered in the Surrey Mid Eastern District.)

As noted below, Keith was the Air Gunner aboard Lancaster Mk III. ND742 CF-F when, with the rest of the crew, he was killed. This happened in the course of a bombing raid on rail facilities at Archeres during the night of 10/11 June 1944. The aircraft was shot down by night fighters and crashed near Versailles.

Keith and his crewmates are among the 224 Commonwealth WW2 casualties buried in the Clichy Northern Cemetery on the northern outskirts of Paris. The widowed Marjorie took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave 16.14.1,
"In good hands I leave my dearest and in God's hands, my love. Margie and son Barrie."
The War Graves section of Clichy Northern Cemetery
The War Graves section of Clichy Northern Cemetery
Photograph with thanks to Isabelle & Guillaume van der Wende via inmemories.com

This background paves the way for the following, written in 2007 as a free-standing item.

Roger Morgan © 2018

An airman from Epsom, is honoured in France.


When anybody goes to war their future must be considered at best, uncertain. All serve, many survive, and others are heroes. Some die, but never leave a mark; some outcomes are known; some are lost to history, while other stories emerge much later from the mists of time.

It was thus when the Epsom and Ewell Local and Family History Centre (E&ELFHC) were contacted by Monsieur Frederick Vincent, from Bois d'Arcy, a village to the west of Paris asking if we had any knowledge of the Kinchington family from the Epsom area, during the Second World War.

Having heard of similar searches M. Vincent had made for other WW2 plane crashes in France, a group of veterans got in touch with him and asked for his technical assistance. He is a WW2 aviation buff and vice-Chairman of a re-enactment club named "US Army Air Force - Club Europe (USAAF-CE)" which specializes in WW2 allied air forces. He suggested that beyond the historical circumstances he could help them find the relatives of the crew members. This is where we came in.

Monsieur Frederick Vincent, from Bois d'Arcy
Monsieur Frederick Vincent, from Bois d'Arcy
Image Source Monsieur Frederick Vincent © 2007

The reason for the enquiry was that the village was to unveil a memorial to the crews of two RAF Lancaster bombers that crashed near the village in June 1944. One came from 166 Sqdn. The other was from 625 Sqdn., in which the rear gunner, Keith James Kinchington came from Epsom. The History Centre, together with The Epsom Guardian, whom M. Vincent had also contacted, traced at least two members of the family, but what else could be found?

After some research at The National Archives at Kew, that one of our volunteers had an opportunity to carry out, it would seem that the crew in question all joined 625 Squadron on 18 April 1944, being transferred from 11 Base, and first flew operationally on 24 April on a raid to Karlsruhe in Germany, They flew in Lancaster W4263.

Avro Lancaster Bomber
Avro Lancaster Bomber
Image Source Kago/Wikipedia

Subsequent missions included the following, in the build up to D-Day

11 May 44 ND472 to Haslett Mission aborted
21 May 44 LM427 to Duisberg
22 May 44 ND639 to Dortmund
24 May 44 LM427 to le Clipon
27 May 44 LL956 to Merville
28 May 44 LM512 to EU coastal batteries (Meaning of 'EU' is not known)
31 May 44 LL897 to Tergnier Mission abandoned due to icing up port
outer engine.(One of 3 to return to base)
7 June 44 ME733 to Foret de Cerisy
10 June 44 ND472 to Archeres Aircraft lost
The Crew of Lancaster Mk III. ND 742 of 625 Squadron call sign CF - F took off from RAF Kelstern in Lincolnshire at 2332 hours .All were members of the RAFVR (Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve).

Official reports state, "Presumed shot down by night fighters on night of 10/11 June 1944, while attacking rail facilities at Archeres. Aircraft crashed near Bois d'Arcy near Versailles"

More aircraft were lost to night fighters than any other cause. Of those aircrew who were operational at the start of the war only 10% survived to the end. Also, Bomber Command lost more aircrew on a single night than Fighter Command lost throughout the entire Battle of Britain i.e. 497 (officially from 10 July to 31 October 1940). At this rate it is hardly surprising that Bomber Command's aircrew losses during WW2 were more than 55,000. As has been said by others, "If today it represents a debt which can never be repaid, it is at least a debt which must never be forgotten".

The unfortunate crew are buried at Clichy New Communal Cemetery, and are listed as being in Plot 16, Row 14, Graves 9 & 10. while Sgt Kinchington is also in Plot 16 Row 14, but Grave no. 1 . There is no known reason why this should be.

Details of the crew subsequently discovered from various sources, is shown below. The ranks given are those at the time of the operation, and not as shown on the memorial which include promotions that had been 'in the pipeline'

Rank Name Postn Ser no. Age Family Details - if known.
P/O James Dudman Pilot 174032 26 Son of William James & Nora Annie Dudman
Sgt Geoffrey Laurence Mills Flt/Engr 1891587 20 Son of Mr & Mrs F K Mills Walthamstow Essex.
P/O John William Wells Navgtr 175072 34 Son of Tom & Ann Hainsworth Wells.and husband of Elsie Wells ofWibsey Bradford Yks.
F/Sgt Peter Cowie Air Bomber 177640 N/K CWGC give no details
F/Sgt John Taylor W/Op 1079856 N/K CWGC no details.But husband of Barbara & father of Linda Jacqueline, b. 22 2 1945.Station House Beckingham nr Doncaster.
Sgt Robert Bruce Hodgins RCAF Air gunner R/197404 20 Son of Henry & Edna N Hodgins of Park Hill, Ontario Canada
Sgt Keith James Kinchington Air gunner 1338708 22 Updated family details, as at the head of this new article

A great deal of effort must have gone into the preparations for the unveiling on 20 June 2007 of the monument to honour the crews of the two aircraft that crashed on 10 June 1944. But why now? There was no obvious reason or anniversary.

When asked, M. Vincent said "Why now ? There is no particular reason except that the local French veterans association of Bois d'Arcy wanted to honour the 14 dead airmen who fell on their soil in the fight for our freedom".

Memorial to the crews of two RAF Lancaster bombers that crashed near the village of Bois d'Arcy - Click on image to see the text of the monument.
Memorial to the crews of two RAF Lancaster bombers
that crashed near the village of Bois d'Arcy
Click on image to see the text of the monument.
Image source Monsieur Frederick Vincent © 2007

What was proposed was a dedication ceremony on 20 June 2007 with the following invitees :

  • French local authorities
  • Representatives of the British and Canadian embassies
  • French branches of the RAF association and British Legion
  • 60 standard bearers
  • French air force delegation
  • Fellow club members in wartime RAF uniforms
  • And as many relatives of the airmen as possible
On the day, the monument was unveiled with appropriate ceremony and much emotion. It is to be hoped that more opportunities are given to record the many heroes of World War Two.

People at the monument unveiling ceremony
People at the monument unveiling ceremony
Image Source Monsieur Frederick Vincent © 2007

All heroes deserve more recognition than most of them get.

E&ELFHC were happy to have been able to help uncover some of this story of a brave aircrew and an air gunner who lived in Epsom.

Bert Barnhurst © 2007
Epsom and Ewell Local and Family History Centre

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KING, Albert Walter Sidney. Driver (T/6471582)

Royal Army Service Corps
Died 9 September 1944, aged 28

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Albert was born on 27 March 1916, apparently the first of three children born to Peter King and Marie Jane (née Thompson - the parents had married Q1 1915 in Barrow in Furness.

The September 1939 Register records the family living at 32 Northcroft Road, West Ewell. The parents were both aged 53: Peter is listed as "Baker Bread Foreman"; and Marie with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". Immediately following their entries is the unmarried 33 year old Stanley King (a "Pianoforte Tuner"). One would expect this to be the couple's first child, but he was born nine years before their marriage, when Peter and Marie would have been aged 20. Was he Peter's much younger brother?

That puzzling entry is followed by 23 year old Albert - the subject of this article - (a "Jockey"); 19 year old Beryl (a "Café Attendant"); and one currently closed record, presumably a third child.

Disappointingly, the readily available records provide few details of Albert's WW2 service as a Driver in the Royal Army Service Corps. In the second half of 1944, he was supporting the Allies' push north through Italy. After the hard-won capture of Sicily and, from that base, the September 1943 invasion of the Italian mainland (coinciding with the Italian amnesty), the Allies had initially made good - if hard-fought - progress north against German forces. However, breaking though the German defensive "Gustav Line" south of Rome in late 1944 early 1945 proved a much tougher proposition, most notably in the multi-stage Battle of Cassino.

The Germans then withdrew to other defensive lines and, September 1944, the Allies were battling against the "Gothic Line" running across Italy from Pisa to Rimini. Albert's unit was active at the Eastern end of this, South of Rimini.

While the formal Battle of Rimini began on 13 September and ended with the taking of the town on 21 September, there were many skirmishes before this. At some point during these, Albert was wounded and, according to Casualty List No 1561, died of those wounds on 9 September 1944.

Albert is one of the 1,191 WW2 Commonwealth burials in the Gradara War Cemetery, near the Adriatic coast, a little way south of Rimini. His parents took the opportunity of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave II.F.12,
"Till we meet again".
The Gradara War Cemetery
The Gradara War Cemetery
Picture with thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Roger Morgan © 2018

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KING, Mary Ann

Civilian
Died 30 November 1940, aged 75

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records wrongly state that Mary Ann was the "daughter of G and M A Etheridge, of 25 Church Road, Epsom, Surrey". In fact, that George and Mary Ann Etheridge were our Mary Ann's grandparents. (This whole story is complicated by the constant re-use of Christian names across the generations.) Mary Ann's father was their son, George Edward Etheridge (who presumably named her after his mother). The 21 year old George Edward is recorded in the 1861 Census (a "Sawyer") living with his parents (then in their late 40s, and George senior as a "Carpenter") in East Street, Epsom. (George Senior and Mary Ann were, according to the Epsom Cemetery records, still of East Street when they died in 1894 and 1880 respectively.)

On 11 May 1863, George Edward married Jane Thorne in St Martin's Church Epsom. The 1871 Census records the couple living at Pikes Hill, Epsom. 31 year old George Edward is listed as a "Labourer". The 32 year old Jane is a full-time mother to three children from 1 year old Alice Emma to 7 year old Sarah Jane - although the 5 year old Mary Ann is not listed on the Census return (and is not readily found elsewhere). She had, however, been baptised - together with Sarah Jane - at St Martin's on 11 March 1866.

By the time of the 1881 Census, the family were still at Pikes Hill, and two more children had been born. Mary Ann, now 15 year old, was still not at home - instead, being recorded as a general domestic servant in the "Asylum" (or Alms House) section at Epsom's Royal Medical Benevolent College which later became Epsom College.

(As an aside, Mary Ann's mother, Jane, died aged 46 in 1885 and the Epsom Cemetery record of her burial lists her address as Pikes Hill. The widowed George Edward was still at Pikes Hill in the 1901 Census, the only other occupant then being the still-single Sarah Jane. These two were still living together at the time of the 1911 Census, but the address is now round the corner from Pikes Hill, at 23 Church Road, Epsom. George Edward died in 1923 and was buried in the same plot (C306) as his wife. The Cemetery records list his address as 25 Church Road - the address ascribed to Mary Ann's grandparents by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. To complete this digression, Sarah Jane never married. She died in 1952 and is buried in the same plot as her parents in Epsom Cemetery.)

To return to Mary Ann, the subject of this article, she married Francis King on 20 September 1891, in St Martin's Epsom. The records list him as a "General Assistant" living in Rixton Lane, Southampton - and the son of another Francis King, a "Wheelwright". Mary Ann's address is recorded as Pikes Hill, Epsom - the same as her father, George Edward Etheridge, listed as a "Platelayer" on the railways. One of the witnesses was Mary Ann's older sister Sarah Jane.

Mary Ann and Francis set up home in Southampton. The 1901 Census records them living at 25 Rockstone Lane (probably the address written as "Rixton Lane" in the marriage record), Southampton St Mary. 46 year old Francis - who had been born in Clatford, Hants - is listed as a "Labourer". The 35 year old Mary Ann is not listed with any occupation so was presumably a full-time housewife. Also listed there in 1901 is Mary Ann's 28 year old brother, George (the same name as his father and grandfather!), listed as "Clerk Post Office" and probably just visiting them. The couple - who appear never to have had any children - were still at 25 Rockstone Lane for the 1911 Census, living alone.

By the time of the September 1939 Register, Mary Ann was widowed. She is not readily found in the Register, probably because of transcription errors. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's records state that the she was "of 56 Lyon Street" in Southampton where she died on 30 November 1940 - doubtless a victim of a bombing raid at the height the of the "Southampton Blitz" on this port area. (At the time of the 1939 Register, that address was occupied by the widowed 58 year old Frances Loular.) And the Probate Records (noting that administration of Mary Ann's £ 753 estate was awarded to her sister, Sarah Jane) lists her address as having been 67 Lyon Street, Southampton. (That was occupied by the apparently unrelated Harwood family in 1939.)

Roger Morgan © 2018

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KITTS, James

Civilian
Died 9 February 1945, aged 9 Months

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

James's parents were Frank (in some records "Francis") James Kitts (an American, born in Ohio in 1907) and Muriel Eileen (née Fryatt). Muriel had been born in Brockley, SE London, on 13 May 1907. As a nearly 4 year old, the 1911 Census recorded her as the middle of three children living with their parents at Watering Hill, St Austell, Cornwall, where her 29 year old father, Ernest Harry Fryatt, was "Accountant to China Clay Merchants". It was a reasonably prosperous household with a live-in domestic maid. The September 1939 Register records Muriel living at 34 Elsmore Crescent, Hendon, and working as a "Ladies Dressmaker".

Frank and Muriel married in Q3 1940 and settled down at 2 Sunnymead Avenue, West Ewell. They had two children: Victor, born Q1 1943; and James, born Q2 1944. Both births, like the parents' marriage, were registered in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District.

On 15 June 1944, the new-born James was injured by enemy action at the family home of 2 Sunnymede Avenue. He was taken to Elfinsward Auxiliary Hospital in Haywards Heath where, nearly 8 months later, he died.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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KNIGHT, Herbert Henry. Chief Stoker (P/KX 76430)

HMS Penelope, Royal Navy
Died 8 October 1943, aged 36

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Herbert was born Q2 1907, the second child of Henry Richard Knight and Ellen Maria (née Austen - that had married in 1904). The 1911 Census records the family - now with a third child - living at Portland Stables, Commercial Road, Eastbourne. 29 year old Henry is listed as a "Builders Labourer".

At some point, the family moved to Epsom. The September 1939 Register records the parents living at 31 The Crescent. 57 year old Henry is now listed as a "Railway Guard" and 58 year old Ellen with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". Living with them was their 34 year old eldest child, another Ellen: still single, she is listed as an "Assistant Cook".

In Q1 1936, and registered in the local Surrey Mid-Eastern District, Herbert married Beatrice May Hampton. They appear not to have had any children. Neither is readily found in the 1939 Register: in Herbert's case, this is probably because he was already in uniform; for Beatrice, it may be a simple transcription error. Other records have her living at 24 Glebe Road, Ashtead - but that property was occupied by others in the 1939 Register.

Herbert's WW2 service was as a Chief Stoker on HMS Penelope - an Arethusa-class light cruiser built by Harland & Wolff in Belfast, and commissioned in November 1936. She was badly damaged in April 1940 by running aground while chasing German ships during the Norwegian Campaign. Temporary repairs got her home for full repair and she was then out of commission for over a year, returning to escort duties in August 1941 as "a new ship from the waterline down".

HMS Penelope at Spithead, 23 December 1942
HMS Penelope at Spithead, 23 December 1942
IWM Photograph FL4822 - Public Domain

Together with her sister Aurora, Penelope was then assigned to form the core of Force K based at Malta. Not long after arriving in Malta on 21 October, Penelope was involved in a highly successful action against a convoy of Italian merchant ships sailing to Libya with military supplies Many of the seamen earned decorations or, as in Herbert's case, a Mention in Dispatches. The blanket citation for all the awards in the 24 February 1942 Gazette read:
"For gallantry, skill and resolution in a brilliant night action South of Taranto, against odds, in which, without hurt or loss to the Royal Navy, ten enemy Supply Ships were wholly destroyed, one Destroyer sunk, and at least one other badly damaged."
Penelope seemed to lead something of a charmed life, damaged - non-fatally - so often that she became know affectionately as "HMS Pepperpot". She was returned to the UK for thorough repair and returned to the Mediterranean. Having helped prepare for the invasion of Sicily, she (now part of Force Q) supported the Allied landing at 9 September 1943 landings at Salerno on mainland Italy.

Together with her sister Aurora, she was then transferred to the Levant for action against German forces there. After a successful operation on 7 October, the ships were attacked south of Rhodes by eighteen Ju 87 "Stuka" dive-bombers. Herbert appears to have been killed in this attack.

The badly damaged Penelope managed to get to Alexandria for repairs and Herbert was buried in the Alexandria (Hadra) War Memorial Cemetery. This was established after WW1 and holds 1,700 casualties from that war. Herbert is one of the 1,305 Commonwealth casualties there from WW2. The widowed Beatrice took the option of adding a personal inscription (the first verse of Psalm 121) to his headstone on Grave 5.F.2,
"I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help."
The Alexandria (Hadra) War Memorial Cemetery
The Alexandria (Hadra) War Memorial Cemetery
Photograph (1966589) by Peter Leggo via findagrave.com

After repair, HMS Penelope resumed active service but met her end off Anzio on 18 February 1944 in an incident that claimed the lives of Leslie MARSH and Geoffrey STEPHENS.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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KNOWLDEN, Gladys Winifred

Civilian
Died 3 August 1944, aged 54

Gladys (née Bere) was born on 29 November 1890 in Plumstead, Kent. The 1901 Census records her as the youngest of four children (all daughters) living with their mother, Mary, at 137 Cauldwell Hall Road, Ipswich. The family clearly moved around quite a bit: while now 12 year old Gladys and 15 year old Olive (listed as a "Pupil Teacher") had both been born in Plumstead, their two older sisters, 18 year old Daisy and 20 year old Mabel, had been born in Dublin.

The explanation seems to be provided by the 1911 Census when Gladys's father, Charles, was back home - home now being "Homestead" Little Cornard, Sudbury, Suffolk. Charles Bere, now aged 58, is listed as "Captain Royal Army Medical Corps, Retired". The daughters had all left home, although 21 year old Gladys was there on a visit from her employment as a "Teacher Council Schools at Croydon".

In Q4 1914, the 24 year old Gladys married 29 year old Alfred John Knowlden, registered in Sudbury. Alfred had been born in County Kildare, not far from Dublin, so there may have been some long-standing family connection. He had been recorded in the 1911 Census as a boarder at 19 Grosvenor Gardens, Mortlake, and listed as "Examiner, Exchequer & Audit Department). The couple appear to have had one child, Martin, whose Q3 1929 birth was registered Kingston-Upon-Thames.

The September 1939 Register records the couple (with one currently closed record - presumably their son) living at 25 Glebe Road, Cheam. 51 year old Alfred is now listed as "Civil Servant Director Of Audit Exchequer & Audit Department" and 46 year old Gladys with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties".

They then moved to 1 The Green, Ewell - which is where the Commonwealth War Graves Commission records note that Gladys died as a civilian casualty on 3 August 1944. If Alfred was at home during the enemy action, he survived it and was awarded administration of his late wife's estate in November 1944.

Gladys is buried in Epsom Cemetery (Grave M3 BGS).

Roger Morgan © 2018

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