WW2 Book of Remembrance - Surnames M

Index

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[Content]

MacDONALD, William Albert (Revised 05/09/2018)
MacGOWAN, George Thomas Clive (Revised 05/09/2018)
MACKIE, James Lionel (Revised 05/09/2018)
MADDERS, Angus Kingsley (Revised 14/03/2018)
MALLETT, Eric Herbert (Revised 05/09/2018)
MALONEY, Thomas James * (Revised 07/09/2018)
MANBEY, Basil Keble (Revised 14/09/2018)
MANIKUM, Patricia Carol * (Revised 21/03/2018)
MANSFIELD, Harry Walter (Revised 27/03/2018)
MARCH, Leslie (Revised 07/09/2018)
MARCH, Wilfred Leonard Hayward (Revised 09/09/2018)
MARKS, Montague Maurice (Revised 09/09/2018)
MARSH, Leslie Henry (Revised 09/09/2018)
MARTIN, Em(m)anuel James * (Revised 09/09/2018)
MARTIN, Reginald William (Revised 10/09/2018)
MARTIN, Robert John (Revised 10/09/2018)
MASKELL, Edward Ernest * (Revised 21/03/2018)
MASKELL, Roland George (Revised 10/09/2018)
MATTHEWS, Reginald William (Revised 11/09/2018)
MAYNARD, John Henry * (Revised 23/03/2018)
MAYS, John Claude (Revised 29/11/2017)
McBRION, Arthur Albert (Revised 11/09/2018)
McCORMICK, Barbara Winifred (Revised 11/09/2018)
McCORMICK, George Franklin Hurley (Revised 11/09/2018)
McGRATH, Brian (Revised 13/09/2018)
McINTYRE, Charles Campbell (Revised 13/09/2018)
McLENNAN, Alexander William (Revised 13/09/2018)
McMILLAN, Eric John (Revised 13/09/2018)
MEADEN, Bertram Grant (Revised 13/09/2018)
MEADES, Jack Charles (Revised 31/03/2018)
MEATYARD, Robert Lawrence (Revised 07/04/2018)
MEEK, Denis John (Revised 14/09/2018)
MENARD, Edmund Sylvain * (Revised 14/09/2018)
MEPHAM, Thomas * (Revised 02/04/2018)
MILES, Robert John (Revised 14/09/2018)
MILLER, Frederick Stanley (Revised 14/09/2018)
MINN, Charles William (Revised 14/09/2018)
MITCHELL, Cecil Laurence Edward (Revised 14/09/2018)
MITCHELL, Frederick Peacock (Revised 14/09/2018)
MITCHENER, Charles William (Revised 14/09/2018)
MOGER, William Charles (Revised 15/09/2018)
MONNEY, John Douglas * (Revised 15/09/2018)
MOORE, Alan Beresford * (Revised 15/09/2018)
MOORE, Harry (Revised 15/09/2018)
MOORE, Rachel Matilda * (Revised 15/09/2018)
MORGAN, Bernard Wm. Frederick Carnal * (Revised 16/09/2018)
MORGAN, Emrys (Revised 16/09/2018)
MORRILL, Gordon Henry Edward (Revised 16/09/2018)
MORRIS, Charles Patrick (Revised 16/09/2018)
MORRIS, Ellis (Revised 16/09/2018)
MORRIS, Jane * (Revised 16/09/2018)
MORRISH, Francis Leo (Revised 16/09/2018)
MORRISH, Joan (Revised 16/09/2018)
MURPHY, William (Revised 16/09/2018)
MYERS, Anthony Wallis (Revised 16/09/2018)

* = 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


MacDONALD, William Albert. Butcher.

SS Orcades (London), Merchant Navy
Died 10 October 1942, aged 35

William was born Q4 1907 to William Edwin MacDonald and Ethel Susan (née Young - they had married Q4 1902). It seems that he was their second child, the first having died. The 1911 Census records the family living at 3 Frederick Place, Gray's Inn Road, St Pancras. 31 year old William senior is listed as an "Exhibition Fitter & Temporary Ballroom Furnisher". 27 year old Ethel will have had her hands full with not only 3 year old William junior but also 2 year old Margaret and new-born Doris. Also living with them was Ethel's unmarried sister, 25 year old Sophia Young listed as a "Tobacco Packer".

By the time of the September 1939 Register, the family home was 53 Oaks Avenue, North Cheam. 60 year old William senior is now listed as an "Electrotype Stereotyper" (the operator of a machine for setting newsprint) and 56 year old Ethel with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". 32 year old William junior is not there, presumably being at sea in his career as a merchant seaman. The couple's two daughters, 30 year old Margaret and 28 year old Doris, were still unmarried and at home, both listed as "Milliners" - with Doris's entry annotated "incapacitated".

The family then moved again, into the Borough - hence William junior's entry in the Book of Remembrance. The Probate record of administration of his £ 185 estate being awarded to William senior notes the address as 55 Salisbury Road, Worcester Park.

The readily available records do not indicate when William joined the Merchant Navy. The first mention found of him is as a butcher working aboard the SS Orcades. This 23,456 ton passenger ship (built by Vickers-Armstrongs Ltd, Barrow-in-Furness for the Orient Steam Navigation Company of London) had been completed in July 1937. In 1939, she was requisitioned by the Ministry of War Transport as a troopship.

SS Orcades
SS Orcades
Photograph (from the Allan C Green Collection) and incident details below courtesy of uboat.net

On 9 October 1942, Orcades left Cape Town (having made a stop there during a trip which had begun in Suez). She was making for Liverpool with 741 passengers (mostly service personnel returning to the UK), 3,000 tons of general cargo and 2,000 bags of post. Adding in the 290 crew members and 36 gunners, there were 1,067 people on board.

At 10:28 hours on 10 October 1942 the Orcades (which was unescorted) was hit on the port side by two torpedoes from U-172. She was sinking only slowly. Lifeboats were launched and, while gunners retaliated against the U-boat, most on board were able to abandon ship. Other ships responded to the Orcades' distress call both to help with the rescue and to harry the attacker.

Nevertheless, shortly before 13:00 hours, the U-boat fired two more torpedoes which struck the Orcades on the starboard side in the engine room and forward of amidships, causing her to sink with a broken back and a heavy list to starboard about six minutes after the last hit.

Orcades was the third largest ship to be sunk by U-boats during WW2. However, almost all the 1,067 people on board were rescued. Only 45 - including William - were lost.

William is one of nearly 24,000 WW2 merchant seamen commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial as having "no grave but the sea".

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MacGOWAN, George Thomas Clive

Civilian
Died 3 July 1944, aged 46

George was born in Kempsford, Gloucestershire, on 31 December 1897. He was the first child of George Lionel MacGowan and Anita N (née Thomson). The 1901 Census records the family living at Dunfield House, Kempsford. 29 year old George senior is listed as "Retired Lieutenant, Royal Horse Artillery". George junior, now aged 3, has been joined by 1 year old Alexander. Also living with them was 25 year old Anita's younger brother, Robert Thompson: aged 16, he is listed as an "Engineer (Civil)". It was clearly a prosperous household: they were supported by two domestic servants.

By the time of the 1911 Census, both boys were away at Charterhouse School. George junior then studied Aeronautical Engineering and, on 30 May 1918 enlisted in the newly-established Royal Air Force. He transferred to the Reserve in January 1919. (It seems that George senior rejoined the Army during WW1. By the time of his Q3 1918 death in Winchester, he had attained the rank of Major.)

George was employed by a number of engineering firms over his career which saw him living in various parts of the country. In Q2 1920, he married Margot E Bennett, registered in the Chelsea District. He divorced her in 1925 and, in Q4 1930, remarried - to Mary Olive Gray, registered in the Manchester South District.

The September 1939 Register records the couple living at 18 Ashley Court, Ashley Road, Epsom. The 41 year old George is listed as a "Travelling Liaison Manager on Armament Contracts, Qualified Engineer" (he was a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers) - and the original record (rather than the transcript) also notes that he was a local ARP Warden. (From some Forces' records, it is also known that he was active as a Pilot Officer in the RAFVR Training Branch.) The 39 year old Mary is listed with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". Also living with them was the apparently unrelated 42 year old Edith McIlwraith, "Housewife".

On 3 July 1944, George died at Ashley Court, in the same air raid that killed Katherine Keeble, Bertram Meaden and Hilda Vick. (If his wife and Edith were injured in the raid, they recovered.)

George was buried in Epsom Cemetery (Grave O.514) on 7 July 1944. Administration of his £ 1,980 estate was awarded jointly to his widow and "Anita Neilsen Humpden-Gurney married woman" who would appear to be his previously widowed and now re-married mother.

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MACKIE, James Lionel. Gunner (1099863)

74 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery
Died 13 July 1943, aged 36

James's headstone in the Syracuse War Cemetery
James's headstone in the Syracuse War Cemetery
Image The Syracuse Virtual Cemetery, used with permission

James was born in Lavender Hill, Clapham Q3 1907, the second surviving child of Herbert Thomas Mackie and Florence (née Ford - they had married Q4 1904, registered in the Lambeth District). The 1911 Census records the family living at 77 Landor Road, Stockwell. 29 year old Herbert is listed as a "Compositor" (or print typesetter). 32 year old Florence had been born in Birmingham. Their children were 5 year old Herbert junior and 3 year old James. (The original return notes that another child of the couple had died.)

The parents (with Herbert as a "Printers Reader Compositor" and Florence listed with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties") were recorded in the 1939 Register living at 117 Walsingham Gardens, Stoneleigh. There is one currently closed record at the address - perhaps the couple's last child, Arthur born Q1 1915.

The 32 year old James is not found in that 1939 Register, and it seems likely that he was already in uniform as a Gunner with the 74 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery. Throughout WW2, the Regiment was an integral part of the 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division. This first saw action in France in 1940 as part of the British Expeditionary Force readying to counter the expected German invasion. As is well known, the invasion when it came was of unanticipated speed and ferocity. James's Regiment was among those that made a fighting retreat to Dunkirk and he was among the survivors evacuated from Dunkirk in early June 1940.

Back in England, the Division and its constituent Regiments were made back up to full strength and re-equipped. During this period - in Q2 1941 - James married Beatrice Pernet in the local Surrey Mid-Eastern District. She had been born in Islington Q4 1908. The 1911 Census records her as the second of three children in the household of Alfred and Beatrice Pernet at 44 Ambler Road, Islington. Alfred is listed as a "Lithographer", so perhaps there was some printing trade connection between the two families. The 31 year old Beatrice junior is not readily found in the 1939 Register, perhaps because of an error in transcribing the unusual surname.

The Division was sent to the Middle East in late 1941. In 1942, it was relocated to North Africa and served with distinction in turning the tide at El Alamein against the Axis forces which were then pushed back to Tunis and defeated. With North Africa secure in Allied hands, the way was clear for the invasion of Sicily.

The landings began on 9 July 1943 - in James's case, a little to the south of Syracuse. Initially, the weather conditions were much less than ideal. There was, of course, strong Axis resistance and it took nearly seven weeks of fierce fighting before the Allies had captured the island, providing the base for the invasion of the Italian mainland. Casualty List No 1332 reported that James was killed in action in the first week of the overall battle. He is one of the 1,059 Commonwealth WW2 burials in the Syracuse War Cemetery, Sicily.

No record has been found of James and Beatrice having any children. The widowed Beatrice (whom the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records list as being "of Hollingworth, Cheshire") took the option of adding a personal inscription to the headstone on Grave III.H4,
"To the glory of God and in proud and loving memory. Sadly missed."
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MADDERS, Angus Kingsley. Lieutenant (138698)

2nd Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales's Own)
Died 13 February 1944, aged 31

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Angus was in Birkenhead, Cheshire, Q1 1913, the second of four children born to Kingsley Ambrose and Naomi Madders. Kingsley and Naomi Mathews (sic) had married on 7 June 1910. The 1911 Census records them, their new-born first child, Max, and Kingley's widowed mother living at 5 Rock Park, Rock Ferry, Birkenhead. The 30 year old Kingley is listed as a "Cotton Salesman". It was a prosperous household, employing a nurse for the baby and a general domestic servant.

While his parents remained in Birkenhead - the 1939 Register records them living at 42 Rock Lane West - Angus moved south. In Q4 1936, he married Elsie E V Goodship. The marriage was registered in the local Surrey Mid-Eastern District, consistent with her parents - Alfred Percy (a "Master French Polisher") and Florence (née Lawrence) being recorded in the 1939 Register living at 30 River Way, Ewell. (They had married Q3 1912, before which the 24 year old Alfred was recorded in the 1911 Census living with his parents at 19 Elm Road, Ewell.)

Angus and Elsie set up home at nearby 120 Stoneleigh Avenue. By the time of the 1939 Register, Angus was presumably already in uniform and the 26 year old Elsie, living there alone, is listed with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". (The subsequently widowed Elsie - who seems not to have had any children, and whom the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records note as being "of Ewell, Surrey" - remarried Frank H Clark in Q4 1949, registered in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District.)

Angus's WW2 service was in the 2nd Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales's Own). This was active in India and then Burma as part of the 9th Indian Infantry Brigade which, in turn, was part of the British Fourteenth Army commanded by the charismatic Lieutenant General William Slim.

After Japan declared war on the UK and USA in December 1940, its forces swiftly captured the Far East including Burma (modern-day Myanmar). The aspiration was to move on into British India. But Empire & Commonwealth forces managed (at great cost) to halt this in northeast India.

While the Japanese were held there, the Allies sought to broaden the front in 1943 with an offensive into Arakan, a coastal province of Burma and home to a strategically important airfield. It had failed disastrously: Allied tactics and equipment were not suited to the jungle-covered hills, and Japanese units repeatedly achieved surprise by crossing rivers and hills which the Allies had dismissed as impassable.

After extensive jungle training, another attack was launched in early 1943. This was much more successful and, supported from nearby Chittagong, the Allies managed to establish a useful base. Inevitably, the Japanese counter-attacked. The resulting battle, which lasted from 5 to 23 February 1943, has become known as the Battle of the Admin Box - named after the Allies "administration area" which became a makeshift, rectangular defensive position.

Angus was killed in action on 7 February, a couple of days into the Battle. After heavy losses on both sides, the Allies won the Battle. The victory was an enormous boost to the Fourteenth Army's morale, and the lessons learned played a significant part in the also costly mid-1944 Battles of Imphal and Kohima in northeast India which decisively turned the tide against the Japanese.

Those actions were contemporaneous with significant Allied action in Italy and then the D-Day landings. For long after the end of WW2 the fierce fighting against the Japanese on the India/Burma front was significantly under-reported and, by those in the know, the Fourteen Army was often referred to as the "Forgotten Army".

Angus's body was lost in all the action and he is commemorated on the Rangoon Memorial as one of nearly 27,000 members of the Commonwealth Land Forces who died during the campaigns in Burma and who have no known grave.

The Rangoon Memorial
The Rangoon Memorial
Image source: The Commonwealth War Graves Commission

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MALLETT, Eric Herbert. Leading Aircraftman (1236072)

301 Maintenance Unit, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 23 December 1942, aged 21

Eric was born on 7 May 1921, the only child of Herbert George Mallett and Lilian Ann (née Roberts). Their Q4 1920 marriage and Eric's birth were both registered in the Wandsworth District.

The September 1939 Register records the 40 year old parents and 18 year old Eric living at 54 Wolsey Crescent, Morden. Eric is listed as "Clerk (Paint Contractor)"; his mother with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties"; and his father as "Fitter-Machinist, Mechanical Engineer".

In view of his father's job, it is perhaps no surprise to find that Eric's WW2 service was in one of the RAF's Maintenance Units - in his case, 301 MU stationed at RAF Drigh Road, Karachi in what was then the west of India, now Pakistan.

Drigh Road Airfield had been founded soon after the formation of RAF India Command in 1918. Its main mission was to receive aircraft in knocked down condition off ships, assemble, test fly and then ferry them to squadrons all over India. It was here that, in 1927, T E Lawrence ("Lawrence of Arabia") worked as AC2 T E Shaw in the Engine Repair Shop for over a year.

In 1942, the Aircraft Depot was redesignated No 1 (India) Maintenance Unit and served as the main supply base not only for the RAF in (then unpartitioned) India but for all of the Burmese and Malayan campaigns. Practically every new aircraft destined for these fronts would have passed through Drigh Road.

Aircraft lined up for flight testing after assembly at Drigh Road Airfield, Karachi.
Aircraft lined up for flight testing after assembly at Drigh Road Airfield, Karachi.
IWM Photograph (CI 330) - Public Domain

The readily available records provide no information about the cause of Eric's death on 23 December 1942. As RAF Drigh Road was far from any front line, this is more likely to be the result of illness, disease or accident than enemy action. He was buried at Holy Trinity Church, Karachi, the following day, Christmas Eve 1942.

He was later reinterred in the Karachi War Cemetery. This was created to receive graves from civil and cantonment cemeteries scattered throughout the region and contains 642 Commonwealth WW2 burials. His parents took the opportunity of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave 5.D.6,
"So very young, so dear and kind, forever in our hearts enshrined. 'Beloved'"
The compilers of the Book of Remembrance knew of some connection with the Borough that has yet to be rediscovered. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records list the parents as being "of Cheam, Surrey".

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MALONEY, Thomas James

Civilian
Died 27 September 1940, aged 71

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Thomas was born in Camberwell on 29 March 1869. In Q2 1897, he married Helen (in some records "Ellen") Frost, registered in the Lambeth District. The 1911 Census records the couple living at 48 Camden Grove, North Peckham, and 41 year old Thomas is listed as a "Dock Labourer". They had two daughters, aged 4 and 9. Shortly after the Census, on 26 May 1911, 40 year old Helen gave birth to their last child, Thomas.

The September 1939 Register records the couple living at 228 St. George's Way, Peckham. 70 year old Thomas senior is listed as "Wharf Labourer - Casual" and his wife with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". Their 28 year old son, Thomas junior, had not married and was still living with them. His occupation is listed as "Maintenance Bricklayer".

Unusually, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's records do not state where and when Thomas senior was so injured by enemy action that he had to be brought to Horton Emergency Hospital - one of Epsom's "cluster" of mental hospitals that, as for WW1, had been taken over for handling wartime casualties. His injuries could have been sustained at the docks in those early days of the Blitz. (If he was injured at home, his wife and son survived.) All we do know that is that he died at Horton on 27 September 1940.

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MANBEY, Basil Keble. (Military Cross) Volunteer

5th Buckinghamshire Battalion, Home Guard
Died 17 September 1940, aged 52

Derek's Basil's two grave markers in Chalfont St Peter.Derek's Basil's two grave markers in Chalfont St Peter.
Basil's two grave markers in Chalfont St Peter.
Photographs (69188385) by Andrew Pritchard (L) and "mynwent" (R) via findagrave.com

Basil is not listed in the Book of Remembrance, but is remembered here because the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records note that his widow, Esther, was "of Epsom, Surrey". However, it does not appear that Basil himself ever had any connection with the Borough.

Basil was born in Acton on 17 June 1888, the fifth of at least seven children born to the Revd George Henley Manbey and Mary Jane (née Richardson - their Q4 1915 marriage was registered in London's Pancras District.)

The 1901 Census records the family - the parents in their 40s and seven children aged from 4 to 19 - living at 55 Warrior Square, Prittlewell on the outskirts of Southend-on-Sea, Essex. The father, George, is listed as not only a "Clerk in Holy Orders" but also a "Schoolmaster" - and his oldest son and daughter were listed as "Assistant Schoolmaster" and "Assistant Schoolmistress". By the time of the 1911 Census, the parents had moved to 60 Boscome Road, Prittlewell. 56 year old George is now listed as "Schoolmaster and Clergyman" (he ran the now-lost "Southend Grammar School" in Southchurch Avenue). 59 year old Mary Jane is listed as having "Private Means". Four of their children - still unmarried - lived with them. These included 22 year old Basil (the subject of this article), now listed as "Clerk Insurance".

During WW1, Basil served in the Royal Field Artillery and was awarded the Military Cross. The citation, published in Gazette issue 30287 of 17 September 1917 reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when acting as Advanced Intelligence and Forward Observation Officer during an attack. He sent in very valuable information, and showed the greatest energy and fearlessness in obtaining it, pushing forward with the advanced patrols and going to and fro constantly under heavy shell fire to report on the situation.
In Q4 1915 and registered in London's Pancras District, Basil married Esther Mary Gertrude Richardson. They appear to have had one child, Molly, whose Q4 1918 birth was registered in the Yarmouth District.

The September 1939 Register records the couple, now in their early 50s, living alone at "Elmhurst", Hillfield Road, Amersham. (Daughter Molly had married William Glanville in Q3 1938, registered in Billericay.) Basil is listed as "Insurance Cashier" and Esther with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties".

In May 1940, the Government called for men not in military service to join the new Local Defence Volunteers as the last line of defence against the expected German invasion. By July, nearly 1.5 million men had enrolled and the name of this people's army was changed to the more inspiring Home Guard - but affectionately known as "Dad's Army". Basil joined his local 5th Buckinghamshire Battalion.

Some of the Amersham Company, 5th Buckinghamshire Battalion Home Guard.
Some of the Amersham Company, 5th Buckinghamshire Battalion Home Guard.
Photograph IWM (H 5745)

As noted on Basil's first grave marker in the Chalfont St Peter graveyard (which proudly ranks him as one of the "Old Contemptibles" - British regular WW1 soldiers), he died on 17 September 1940 in a fatal accident while on duty. The 18 December 1940 Probate record of administration of his nearly £ 5,000 estate being awarded to the widowed Esther notes the place of death as Gravel Hill Amersham Road (the modern-day A413) Chalfont St Peter. As pictured at the head of this article, the original grave marker was later replaced by a standard forces' issue.

As noted at the beginning of this article, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records note that the widowed Esther Manbey was "of Epsom, Surrey". In at least 1947 and 1948, she was living with the Richardsons at "Denewood" (the property between Grove Stables and Grove House) in Grove Road, Epsom.

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MANIKUM, Patricia Carol

Civilian
Died 16 August 1940, aged 2

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Patricia was born in Amersham on 7 July 1938, the second child of Guy David Manikum and Hilda Eileen (née Lemon - they had married Q2 1936, registered in the Wandsworth District). The birth and, sadly, death of the couple's first child, David, had been registered in the Banbury District in Q4 1936.

The 1939 Register records the parents and 1 year old Patricia living with Hilda's widowed mother, 38 year old Florence Lemon, at 31 Graham Road, New Malden. Both Florence and 26 year old Hilda are listed with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". 31 year old Guy is listed as "Traveller (Commercial)".

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records note that the parents were "of 20 Higher Green, Ewell", and that is consistent with the birth of their other two children (Phillip in Q4 1943 and Rosalie in Q4 1946) being registered in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District. However, it seems they were still at 31 Grayham Road in 1940, as that is the place noted by the Commission as the location of 2 year old Patricia's death from enemy action on 16 August. If others at the address were injured in the attack, it was not fatally.

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MANSFIELD, Harry Walter. Marine (PLY/X107370)

HMS Copra, Royal Marines
Died 16 May 1944, aged 19

Harry's gravestone in Epsom Cemetery.
Harry's gravestone in Epsom Cemetery.
Photograph (97119227) by Lawrence Hennessy via findagrave.com

Harry was born on 16 November 1924, the second of two children born to James W Mansfield and Florence Mary (née Lee - they had married in Christ Church Epsom Common in 1917). Details of Florence's family background are in the article about her brother, Edwin William LEE, who was killed in action during WW1.

The 1939 Register recorded the family of four living at 19 Rosendale Road, Stoneleigh. 45 year old James is listed as a "Coal Carman - Horse Keeper" and 43 year old Florence with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". 14 year old Harry's occupation is listed as "Petrol pump attendant" and his 17 year old brother, Edwin, as a "General Fitters Assistant".

Harry's WW2 service (given his age, not until well into the war) was as a Royal Marine. The records state that this was on HMS Copra - misleading Naval shorthand when the craft on which a sailor was serving at the time of his death was not recorded. HMS Copra was not a ship, but the Royal Navy shore base (in Largs on the banks of the Clyde) for the maintenance of personnel records and the calculation of pay and allowances for RN personnel attached to Combined Operations: COPRA is the acronym of "Combined Operations Pay Records & Accounts".

The details of Harry's death on 19 May 1944 are not currently known. However, and reinforced by the personal inscription his parents added to his headstone -
"He died and never knew whether it went ill or well. 'England' he died for you."
- there is a very strong possibility that Harry's death was on one of the then top-secret (and still little-known) Combined Operations Pilotage Parties. Based on Hayling Island, COPP personnel ran many cross-Channel reconnaissance missions, and their work in surveying the Normandy beaches was invaluable preparation for the successful D-Day landings on 6 June 1944.

The memorial on Hayling Esplanade dedicated to the volunteers of Combined Operations Pilotage Parties erected in 2012.
The memorial on Hayling Esplanade "dedicated to the volunteers of
Combined Operations Pilotage Parties" erected in 2012.
Photograph © Copyright Derek Voller and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Harry was buried in Epsom Cemetery (Grave O486) on 15 June 1944, and the Cemetery records note his place of death as "at Sea". His parents were later buried in the same plot: James in 1948 and Florence in 1989.

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MARCH, Leslie. Lieutenant (190734)

5th Battalion, Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders
Died 1 July 1944, aged 29

Leslie is not listed in the Book of Remembrance but is remembered here because the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's records note that he was the "husband of Margot Mary March, of Ewell, Surrey". However, that address has yet to be established - and nothing of what has been found (see below) is encouraging.

The Commission's record of Leslie's family background is simply that he was the "Son of Mr and Mrs A March". There is a Forces War Record noting his birth county as Hampshire - so he is probably the Leslie E March whose birth was registered Q3 1914 in Portsmouth, and whose mother's maiden name was Parkins. (The Roland March whose birth and death were both registered in Portsmouth Q4 1912 seems certain to have been his older brother: his mother's maiden name was also Parkins.)

However, it has not yet been possible to trace the parents' wedding in the readily available records - or, with confidence, anything else about the family background. Nor has the record of Leslie's marriage to Margot yet been found. There is a married Margot M March (born on 12 May 1912) in the September 1939 Register living/ lodging with a Cyril and Joan Green at 13 High Street, Evesham, Worcestershire. Cyril was of an age to have been Margot's brother, but searching the records for "Margot M Green" born around 1912 provides nothing useful.

To compound the disappointment in all this, nothing has yet been found to place the widowed Margot in Ewell. Indeed, the Probate record of her being awarded administration of Leslie's £ 137 estate notes their address as 47 Uphill Road, Mill Hill, London. (Frustratingly, the 1939 Register's record of the one person at that address is currently closed.) The widowed Margot does appear in the records again when she married Edward Green in Q1 1952. That was registered in the Westminster District.

Contrary to the various unresolved questions in all the above, it is certain that Leslie's WW2 service was in the 5th Battalion, Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders. As part of the 51st (Highland) Division, the Battalion took part in the key battles of North Africa and Sicily, before returning to the UK in preparation for D-Day. The Battalion landed in Normandy on D-Day+1 (7 June 1940).

While, thanks to careful preparation, the initial landings were an unqualified success, the next stages - particularly capturing the German stronghold of Caen just 10 miles inland - proved much harder than the Allies had anticipated. Caen was finally taken on 6 August 1940, but Leslie was killed on 1 July in one of the multiple actions on the way to achieving that goal.

Leslie is one of the 2,236 Commonwealth WW2 burials in the Ranville War Cemetery, about mid-way between Caen and the coast. His widow took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave I.W.1,
"Until we meet again my darling. Margot."
The Ranville War Cemetery
The Ranville War Cemetery
Photograph by "Woose" via findagrave.com

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MARCH, Wilfred Leonard Hayward. Serjeant (768631)

344 Battery, 109 Heavy Anti Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery
Died 22 July 1944, aged 39

Wilfred's headstone in Putney Vale Cemetery
Wilfred's headstone in Putney Vale Cemetery
Photograph (24758320) by Lawrence Hennessy via findagrave.com

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Wilfred was born Q2 1906, the first child of Wilfred Hayward March and Violet (née Waldin - they had married Q1 1902, registered in the Fulham District). Their second (and apparently last) child, Gladys Violet, was born Q1 1907. The 1911 Census records the family of four living at "West View", Wimbledon Park Road, Southfields, and 30 year old Wilfred senior's occupation is listed as "Poster and Showcard Designer".

Thanks to his entry on the Company WW2 memorial, we know that Wilfred junior became an employee of The Gas, Light and Coke Company - one of the largest employers in the London area, employing thousands at several different sites. In Q2 1929, he married Lillian A Randall, registered in the Wandsworth District.

The 33 year old Wilfred is not found in the September 1939 Register, perhaps because he was already in uniform. 33 year old Lillian is recorded at 8 Earl Road, Barnes and listed as a "Cashier & Book keeper (Butchers)". She was either living with, or perhaps just visiting, her parents - 76 year old William J N Randall (a "Carpenter & Joiner (Retired)") and 72 year old Susannah (listed with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties").

Certainly by the time of Wilfred's death in 1944, the couple's home was 32 Lakehurst Road, Ewell - being the address given in the 1944 Probate records about administration of Wilfred's £ 1,036 estate. Indeed, it is likely that this was the address in Q3 1942 when Lillian gave birth to what appears to be the couple's only child, Janice: the birth was registered in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District.

The readily available records provide only very limited information about Wilfred's WW2 service in 344 Battery of the Royal Artillery's 109 Heavy Anti Aircraft Regiment. Is known that, in 1942, the Battery was stationed at the Old Woking Heavy Anti Aircraft Battery (located between Broadmead Road and the River Wey at Old Woking). Equipped with four 3.7" mobile anti-aircraft guns, it was one of six sites serving the Brooklands "Gun Defended Area".

Ruins of the Old Woking Battery in 1998 and a 3.7inch mobile gun
Ruins of the Old Woking Battery in 1998 and a 3.7" mobile gun
Photographs with thanks to Nick Catford and Bob Jenner via Subterranea Britannica

As part of 30 Corps, the regiment later landed in France on D-Day, 6 June 1944, and fought on to Germany. However, it is not clear if Wilfred made it to France. On 22 July 1944, only seven weeks after D-Day, he died at the General Hospital in Ramsgate. Casualty List No. 1510 states that he "Died", which suggests that this was the result of illness rather than injuries.

Wilfred is buried in Putney Vale Cemetery. The widowed Lillian took the option of adding a personal inscription to the headstone on Grave S.661,
"For life is eternal / and love is immortal / and death is only a horizon."
Roger Morgan © 2018

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MARKS, Montague Maurice. Leading Aircraftman (929643)

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 24 December 1942, aged 28

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Montague was born in Ewell on 28 September 1914 the only child of Henry Marks and Emma Amelia (née Morris) who, aged 41 and 42, respectively had married in Q1 1913. That was registered in the Guildford District, but both parents had strong links to Ewell.

Emma Amelia had been born in Ewell on 24 September 1870, the first child of George and Emma Morris. The 1871 Census records the 25 and 29 year old George (a "Miller") and Emma, and 6 month old Emma Amelia living in Meadow Walk, Ewell. The family moved away in the mid 1870s. Emma then went into service The 1891 Census records her as one of three general servants living in the household of Henry and Helen Deacon in Waldegrave Park, Twickenham. In the 1901 Census, she was a domestic servant in the household of John Barrett-Leonard at 15 Wellington Mansions, Fulham. The 1911 Census records Emma Amelia, now aged 40, visiting her now married sister Charlotte Jaques and family at Medge Hall, Doncaster.

Henry had been born in Cheam on 21 March 1872. As described in the separate article, his father, also a Henry, was a baker on High Street Cheam who, in the mid-1870s took over the bakery at 15 Kingston Road, Ewell from William Shepherd - probably a relative of his wife, Mary Ann (née Shepherd). By the time of the 1891 Census, the now 19 year old Henry junior is listed as a "Baker Assistant" - progressing to "Journeyman Baker" in the 1901 Census and "Assistant Baker" in 1911.

Marks Shop
Marks Bakery, date unknown.
Image source Bourne Hall Museum.

After Henry Junior and Emma married in 1914 - their fathers' trades as a baker and miller - surely having something to do with their getting together - they set up home at "Tedworth" Elm Road, their address when Montague, the subject of this article, was baptised at St Mary's Church, Ewell on 15 November that year.

Henry senior died in 1920 and Henry junior, now 48, took over the business. When (having attended Ewell Infants School) Montague was enrolled at Ewell Boys School on 3 April 1922, the family address was 15 Kingston Road again. Reaching the age of 14, Montague left school on 21 December 1928, and almost certainly began work in the family business. The September 1939 Register records the 67 year old Henry (a "Master Baker"), 69 year old Emma (listed with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties") and 25 year old Montague (a "Baker Assistant") still at 15 Kingston Road.

Shortly after that, Montague enlisted in the Royal Air Force at Uxbridge. It is disappointing that the readily available records provide no information about his WW2 service. From his burial in the Suez War Memorial Cemetery (on the outskirts of Suez at the Red Sea end of the Suez Canal), he was evidently sent to serve in Egypt and joined the large garrison based in and around Suez. It has not been possible to identify on which particular RAF station he was based.

Nor is the cause of Montague's death on 24 December 1942 known. Of the 377 Commonwealth WW2 casualties (alongside 513 from WW1) buried in Suez War Memorial Cemetery - in his case, in Grave 2.E.7, he is the only person who died on that date, so it is presumed that this was the result of combat of other injury, or of illness.

The Suez War Memorial Cemetery
The Suez War Memorial Cemetery
Photograph with thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Brian Bouchard & Roger Morgan © 2018

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MARSH, Leslie Henry. Stoker 2nd Class (P/KX 178745)

HMS Penelope, Royal Navy
Died 18 February 1944, aged 19

Leslie's Q1 1925 birth was registered in Wandsworth, the first child of Henry Robert Marsh and Gladys Mary Brown whose Q3 1925 marriage was registered in Epsom. The couple had at least one other child, Alan - whose 26 May 1928 birth was registered in Epsom.

The September 1939 records the family living at 33 East Street. 38 year old Henry is listed as a "Master Chimney Sweep" and 37 year old Gladys with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". Living with them were 11 year old Alan and Gladys's 39 year old brother Sidney J Brown - a "Temporary Postman (Formerly Steel Scaffolder)". There is one currently closed record at the address, perhaps the 14 year old Leslie.

Leslie's WW2 service was as a Stoker on HMS Penelope - an Arethusa-class light cruiser commissioned in November 1936. Most of this ships illustrious WW2 career is described in the article on Herbert Knight who was killed on 8 October 1943 in the aftermath of yet another successful action, this time off Rhodes.

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

After the repairs (carried out in Alexandria) necessary after that action HMS Penelope was back in action by February 1944 when she was involved in helping operations at the Anzio beachhead by bombarding the enemy's positions. The Anzio landings were intended to outflank the German forces that, at their well-prepared defensive "Winter Line", were holding the Allies advancing north from the "foot" of Italy. The initial landings were the intended surprise but, instead of capitalising on this and advancing to the high ground, the local commander took time to prepare for the expected counter-attack. When this came, the Allies were pinned down in the marshy area round Anzio. The operation was nearly as disastrous as WW1's Gallipoli landings and it was only with very heavy casualties over the next four and half months that the Allies prevailed.

However, HMS Penelope's demise was not the result of fighting in the Battle of Anzio. On 18 February 1944, she was heading for Allied-held Naples some 90 miles south of Anzio to re-stock on ammunition when, at 0658 hours, she was hit in the after engine room by a T5 acoustic torpedo fired by U-Boat U-410. (The acoustic torpedo was a fairly new development and used sophisticated electronics to home in on the distinctive noise "signature" of the selected target.) When first hit, the cruiser was making 26 knots or 30 mph - understood to be the first and only time during WW2 that a ship running at such speed was successfully attacked by a U-boat. At 0716 hours, U-410 fired another torpedo which hit HMS Penelope in the after boiler room. The resulting massive explosion led to the cruiser's immediate sinking. She was 35 miles west of Naples.

415 of the crew, including the captain, Leslie and Geoffrey Stephens went down with the ship. There were 206 survivors.

Leslie is one of the nearly 15,000 Commonwealth WW2 sailors with no know grave commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

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

Roger Morgan © 2018

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MARTIN, Emmanuel James. Able Seaman (C/SSX 27759)

Royal Navy.
Died 8 October 1944, aged 26

Emanuel's headstone in Dorking Cemetery.
Emanuel's headstone in Dorking Cemetery.
Photograph (31430965) by "julia&keld" via findagrave.com

Emmanuel (in the available service records, "Emanuel") is not listed in the Epsom & Ewell Borough Book of Remembrance but is included here because the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's original records note (in addition to his being "the son of Mr and Mrs James Martin") that he was the "husband of Rose F Martin, of Epsom". That Epsom address has yet to be established, but the search for it has yielded a convoluted story.

The Commission's records noted Able Seaman Emmanuel as aged 28 at the time of his death in October 1944, so his birth year should be 1916 (or late 1915). However, the readily available records list only two Em(m)anuel Martins born in the decade 1910-20: Emanuel, born Q1 1917 in the Mile End District of London whose mother's maiden name was Stall; and Emmanuel, born Q1 1918 in the Chorley district of Lancashire, whose mother's maiden name was Wright. As his 1944 death certificate gives his age as 26 years, his must be the Lancashire birth, but the common surnames make it impossible to trace his family background in the readily available records with any confidence.

Emmanuel's death certificate makes it clear that the Commonwealth War Graves Commission not only got his age wrong but had double-counted him. In addition to the naval casualty, its database lists a civilian casualty Emmanuel James Martin reported by the Urban District Council for Dorking, where he had died. That record has the same date of death, 8 October 1944, and agrees that he had been the "husband of R F Martin" - for whom it gives the address as 51 Kellett Road, Brixton, London. It goes on to give more detail, "Injured 25 February 1944, at Shakespeare Road, Herne Hill; died at Dorking and District Hospital."

The death certificate of 12 October 1944 confirms that Emmanuel's death was in the Dorking and District Hospital on 8 October. However, it gives his address as 321 Shakespeare Road, Herne Hill, London SE 24 and notes his "Rank or Profession" as "AB No C/SS27759 Royal Navy (Farmer)" - "farmer" presumably being Emmanuel's pre-war occupation. The cause of death was given as "a. Intestinal obstruction b. Multiple adhesions" - presumably the result of operations to deal with the injuries from enemy action he received at or near home some nine months previously. The informant was Emmanuel's widow, Rose F Martin, whose address was also given as 321 Shakespeare Road, Herne Hill - different from the 51 Kellett Road, Brixton address for her in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's record of Emmanuel as a civilian casualty.

Emmanuel's widow was born Rose Frances Freestone on 27 October 1910 in Kettering, Northamptonshire. She was the second child of Tom Freestone and Frances (née Vickers - they had married in Kettering Q3 1907). The 1911 Census records the couple in their mid 20s living in a four-room dwelling on Rockingham Road, Cottingham, near Corby Northants. Tom is listed as a Platelayer in the Ironstone Mines.

While Emmanuel and Rose's 20 April 1941 marriage at Holy Trinity, Islington was his first, it was Rose's second. Her first marriage had been to Idris Deere in Q4 1931. While that had also been registered in Islington, the couple seem to have set up home in Pontypool, Monmouthshire, where they had two children - John (born Q4 1932 and Joan (born Q2 1934).

At some point, Idris Deere had joined the Royal Navy and, by the late 1930s, had become Stoker 1st Class C/K 65814 serving on HMS Versatile. While the 1939 Register records the 32 year old Idris visiting family at 18 Church Terrace, Pontnewynydd, Pontypool, it finds 28 year old Rose staying with the apparently unrelated Leonard and Jessie Dudding at 4 Lonsdale Place, Islington. She is listed as "Restaurant Steam Hand".

Idris drowned when he fell from the dock at Bootle on 28 February 1940 and, as noted above, Rose married Emmanuel in April 1941. They had one child, Edward, whose Q4 1943 birth was registered in the Berkhamsted District of Hertfordshire.

As described above, Emmanuel died on 8 October 1944 as the result of earlier non-combat injury. It is understood that he was on leave at the time of that injury by enemy action - having swapped leave so that he could be with Rose and their 3 month old Edward during a period of air raids. As to the again widowed Rose, she ended her days in New Zealand. She married the widowed August Frank Neustroski there on 3 December 1977 and, aged 85, predeceased him on 7 June 1996.

In this more than tangled tale, it is disappointing that the readily available records provide no leads on Emmanuel's actual WW2 service in the Royal Navy. He is buried in the Dorking Cemetery (Plot 1. Grave 5283) where his widow had added the personal inscription to his headstone, "Rest in Peace" - as she had also added to the headstone of her first husband, Idris Deere, in Bootle Cemetery.

Roger Morgan © 2018

PS Since this article was first researched and written in early 2018, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission has resolved its double-counting of Emmanuel by deleting the record of him as an Able Seaman. While he was not on duty when he received the injuries from which he died, he was more than the "Civilian" that is now his only appearance in the Commission's records.

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MARTIN, Reginald William. Sergeant (under training Pilot) (1387904)

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 24 July 1942, aged 20

Reginald's birth on 16 June 1922 was registered in the Lambeth District. He was the second and last child of Robert Francis Alexander Martin and Maud Julia (née Pacey) who were married in the Wandsworth District on 6 March 1920. (The Q4 1920 birth of the couple's first child - Robert, another WW2 casualty - was, like Reginald's, registered in the Lambeth District.)

The September 1939 Register records the family of four (assuming that older son Robert is behind the currently closed record) living at 1 Lyndhurst Square, Camberwell. The 43 year old Robert senior is listed as a "Builder & Decorator" and 43 year old Maud with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". 17 year old Reginald is listed as "Seeking Work, Not Previously Employed".

During WW2, the family home moved to 81 Cromwell Road, Worcester Park - hence Reginald's entry in the Borough's Book of Remembrance. Having lost both their children in the war, the parents then moved to Pagham in West Sussex, which is where, in Reginald's case, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records note them as being "of". (For his brother Robert, the Commission notes the parents as being of "Worcester Park, Surrey".)

Reginald's Service Number 1387904 indicates that he enlisted with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve at Euston during September 1940 for air crew development. Apparently, he was subsequently sent to Rhodesia (modern-day Zimbabwe), to train as a pilot. His training was at No 26 Elementary Flying Training establishment ("Guinea Fowl") at Gwelo (now Gweru), about 120 miles south west of Salisbury (now Harare). Instruction there was provided on De Havilland Tiger Moths and Fairchild Cornells.

It would seem Reginald was involved in a fatal accident, but details have not been established. He is buried in Grave 4,A,5 of the Gweru Cemetery, one of 87 Commonwealth WW2 casualties there.

The Gweru Cemetery, Zimbabwe
The Gweru Cemetery, Zimbabwe
Photograph with thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Brian Bouchard & Roger Morgan © 201

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MARTIN, Robert John. Flight Sergeant (1387761)

228 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 12 July 1943, aged 22

Robert's Q4 1920 birth was registered in the Lambeth District. He was first child of Robert Francis Alexander Martin and Maud Julia (née Pacey) who were married in the Wandsworth District on 6 March 1920. (The 1922 birth of the couple's second and last child - Reginald, another WW2 casualty - was, like Robert's, registered in the Lambeth District.)

The September 1939 Register records the family of four (assuming that 18 year old Robert is behind the currently closed record) living at 1 Lyndhurst Square, Camberwell. The 43 year old Robert senior is listed as a "Builder & Decorator" and 43 year old Maud with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties".

During WW2, the family home moved to 81 Cromwell Road, Worcester Park - hence Robert's entry in the Borough's Book of Remembrance. Having lost both their children in the war, the parents then moved to Pagham in West Sussex, which is where, in brother Reginald's case, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records note them as being "of". For Robert, however, the Commission notes the parents as being of "Worcester Park, Surrey" and 81 Cromwell Road was noted as Robert's address in the June 1944 Probate record of administration of his £ 430 estate being awarded to his parents.

The Service number 1387761 indicates that Robert enlisted with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve at Euston during September 1940 for air crew development. His specialism has not been established. By 1943 he was attached to 228 Squadron, based at Pembroke Dock and flying Short Sunderland "flying boats" on patrol over the Bay of Biscay.

A Short Sunderland Mk V
A Short Sunderland Mk V
A Public Domain Image from Wikimedia

On 12 July 1943, Robert was one of eleven aboard Sunderland DV977 being piloted by Sergeant Roy Codd (1293582) on a Bay of Biscay patrol when the aircraft was shot down, reportedly at 15.18 hours by Lt Ulrich Hanshen, l5/KG 40 in Junkers Ju88 P/Q.24W/l679. Robert was among the 10 of the Sunderland's crew never recovered, namely:
Sgt R Codd,
Sgt R Martin,
Sgt J Sowerby,
Sgt P Harding,
Sgt D Hamilton,
F/S R Armstrong,
Sgt A Sparks,
Sgt J Graham,
Sgt D Waterman,
Sgt R Whale.
(The one crew member saved was the flight engineer, Sergeant E. Davidson, who had been operating the mid-upper turret. After eight and a half hours in the sea, was picked up by a Royal Navy sloop.)

As some of the 20,000+ members of the RAF who were lost during WW2 operations and who have no known grave, Robert and his crewmates are commemorated on the RAF Memorial at Runnymede.

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

Brian Bouchard & Roger Morgan © 2018

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MASKELL, Edward Ernest

Civilian
Died 28 August 1941, aged 59

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Edward was born on 18 April 1882. In Q1 1926 and registered in Croydon, he married Lily Maud Welsford (born 12 December 1889). The couple had four children over the following 11 years. The 1939 Register records the parents living at 11 Goodwin Gardens, Violet Lane, Croydon. Edward's occupation is listed as "Labourer General Hand (Motor Garage)" and Lily's as the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". The currently closed records at the address are doubtless of their children, now aged between 2 and 13.

During the night of 10/11 May 1941, Edward was working at the Croydon Bus Garage in the Brighton Road, South Croydon. The dates are taken as marking the end of the German's "Blitz" bombing campaign which had begun on 7 September 1940. The ferocity of this last mass assault on the London area was unprecedented. By the following morning, the German bombers had claimed 1,486 lives, destroyed 11,000 houses and, within central London, hit the Houses of Parliament, Waterloo Station, the British Museum and many other landmark buildings.

Croydon Bus Garage had a direct hit by two high explosive bombs. The depot was full of buses being serviced and refuelled for the following day's work. The blast and the ensuing blaze killed seven men outright and injured many others, including Edward. The building and 65 buses were destroyed.

Croydon Bus Garage after the May 1941 bombing
Croydon Bus Garage after the May 1941 bombing
Picture by Bob Ogley of the Croydon Advertiser, copyright acknowledged

The injured Edward was taken to the Horton Emergency Hospital, one of Epsom's "cluster" of mental hospitals that, as for WW1, had been taken over for dealing with wartime casualties. Some 15 weeks later, on 28 August 1941, he died there.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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MASKELL, Roland George. Gunner (950400)

4th Survey Regiment, Royal Artillery
Died 12 June 1942, aged 22

Roland was born in Epsom Q4 1919, the first of three children born to George Maskell and Margaret Catherine (née Walker - they had married the previous year in the Stanstead Abbots District of Hertfordshire). Roland's father, George, had also been born in Epsom, but the 1908 record of his enlisting as Gunner 49016 in the Royal Horse Artillery noted his current "residence town" as Stanstead Abbots. (He subsequently served in India, and was thus a recipient of the 1911 Delhi Durbar medal issued to servicemen there to mark the proclamation of George V as Emperor.)

George and Margaret had two other children whose births were also registered in the Epsom District - Donald (Q4 1920) and Albert (Q1 1923). The September 1939 Register records the family living at 13 Church Road, Epsom. 51 year old George is listed as "Lorry Driver LCC Highways & Bridges Dept" and 48 year old Margaret with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". Those who were teenagers and younger at the time of the 1939 Register are, currently, normally concealed and the two closed entries at the address are likely to be of Roland and Donald. Exceptions are when such youngsters are know to have died. The transcribers could therefore have revealed 19 year old Roland's entry. They did reveal the entry at the address for 17 year old Albert (listed as "Chartered Accountants Junior Clerk") as they were aware of his death in Q4 1940 - which does not appear to have been for wartime reasons.

Roland's WW2 service was in was in the Royal Artillery's 4th Survey Regiment. This Unit was formed in January 1937 under the Durham County TAAF Association with headquarters at Gateshead-on-Tyne and is sometimes referred to as the "4th (Durham) Survey Regiment". In May 1940, the Regiment moved to the South of England and, in November 1940, was sent to Egypt. Its members' specialist survey skills were soon put to good use in maximising the effectiveness of British artillery in the North African campaign.

The fighting in that theatre got under way with the Italian declaration of war in June 1940 and its forces' advance towards Egypt from Libya, then an Italian colony. British forces pushed them back and, indeed, gained ground to take Tobruk. German forces then came to the Italians' aid and the combined Axis forces under Rommel then had the upper hand until the crucial turning point of the Battles of El Alamein in the second half of 1942.

In the ebb and flow of this fighting, Roland was killed in action on 12 June 1942. Initially buried near where he fell in Cyrenaica, he was later re-interred (as were many others from scattered desert sites) in the Knightsbridge War Cemetery. This is about 15 miles west of Tobruk in eastern Libya and contains 2,672 WW2 Commonwealth burials.

Roland's parents took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave1.C.4,
"Until the day break and the shadows flee away."
The Knightsbridge War Cemetery, Libya.
The Knightsbridge War Cemetery, Libya.
Photograph with thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Roger Morgan © 2018

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MATTHEWS, Reginald William. Able Seaman (P/J 97401)

Royal Navy H.M.S. Acheron
Died 17 December 1940, aged 35

Unusually, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's database does not have Reginald's age when he died, noting only - apart from the service details and date of death above - that he was the "son of Horace and Alice May Matthews; husband of Nellie Rose Matthews, of Leatherhead, Surrey". However, as outlined below, there is a clear Epsom connection - hence his entry in the Borough Book of Remembrance and on the WW2 memorial at Christ Church Epsom Common.

Some devilling in the readily available records finds that Reginald was born in Woking on 5 February 1905 (hence his age at death given above) and that his mother's maiden name was 'Hoare". While the record of the parent's marriage has proved elusive (as have those of their births and deaths), it seems from the GRO records that Reginald was their first child, and that another four were born in Wiltshire.

The parents seem then to have died. There is a record of Reginald being admitted on 20 June 1910 to the Church of England School in Bitford on the outskirts of Salisbury. Like a number of other admissions (including the 12 December 1910 and 9 September 1911 ones of his younger brothers Leonard and Stanley), the name of his parent or guardian is given as "S. Guardians" and the address as "Tower House". That would seem to be another name for the Alderbury Union Workhouse, Coombe Road in nearby East Harnham where the 6 year old Reginald and his four siblings (aged from 5 to 1) were recorded as inmates in the 1911 Census.

Reginald left the school aged 12 on 1 August 1913, the stated reason being that he had "Boarded out of W[iltshire]." He very soon enlisted as a "Boy" in the Royal Navy at Portsmouth, being 4' 10" tall with a chest measurement of 30" and with light hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion. By the age of 18, he had grown to 5' 7" with a 35" chest and sported a tattoo on his right arm. By December 1923 he had advanced to Able Seaman. His character was always assessed as "Very Good".

It is not known how this sailor came to meet Epsom girl Nellie Rose Dench, but they married in Q3 1930, registered in Epsom: he was aged 25 and she was 24. Nellie had been born in in Epsom Q2 1906, the eighth child of John Dench (a labourer in the building trade) and Annie Jane (née Longhurst). The 1911 Census records the parents and their nine children living at Newton Cottage, Woodlands Road, Epsom Common.

Reginald apparently left the Navy when Nellie gave birth to their son, Donald, in Q2 1935 (registered the local Surrey Mid Eastern District), but was back in service by the start of WW2. That explains why he is not found in the September 1939 Register, but Nellie is not found in the Register either - in her case, perhaps because of transcription errors. Notwithstanding the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war record that Nellie was "of Leatherhead", her wartime home was 23 The Crescent, Epsom - being the address given in the March 1941 Probate record of Nellie being awarded administration of Reginald's £ 225 estate.

Reginald's WW2 service was as a stoker on HMS Acheron, an A-class destroyer. After service off the Norwegian coast, the ship returned to patrol and escort duties in the English Channel. On 20 July 1940, while sailing off St. Catherine's Point, she was attacked by German dive bombers and damaged by nine near misses. She began repairs at Portsmouth Dockyard but, on 24 August, was yet more seriously damaged during an air raid which killed two of her crew and injured another three.

HMS Acheron
HMS Acheron
Picture © NavyPhotos.com

After completion of the extensive repairs, HMS Acheron began post-refit trials. Late on 17 December, she was conducting steaming exercises over a measured mile, again off St. Catherine's Point. There were heavy seas with a strong north-east wind and, on one of the passes, she struck a mine - probably one of those laid by the Luftwaffe in no definite pattern along the Channel coast. The explosion caused major structural damage forward and her own speed (she was capable of 35 knots, some 40 mph) drove her under. She sank within four minutes, taking 196 crewmen and yard workers (who were on board for the trials) to the bottom. There were only 19 survivors.

The site of the wreck is designated under the Protection of Military Remains Act, and Reginald and the others lost are among nearly 15,000 WW2 naval personnel commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial as lost or buried at sea.

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

In Q2 1945, the widowed Nellie got married again - to Frederick A Wickett, registered the local Surrey Mid Eastern District.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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MAYNARD, John Henry. Fireman

National Fire Service
Died 9 November 1941, aged 37

John's headstone in Beckenham Cemetery.
John's headstone in Beckenham Cemetery.
Photograph (53326287) by Geoffrey Gillon via findagrave.com

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

John was born on 24 January 1904, the first child of Henry Albert and Annie Elizabeth Maynard. The 1911 Census records the family (now with five children from new-born Florence to 7 year old John) living at 28 Donald Road, West Croydon. 27 year old Henry is listed as a "Golf Groundsman".

In Q1 1931, the 27 year old John married 26 year old Hilda Bertha Esther Kenward, registered in the Bromley District. The 1939 Register records the couple living at 21 Gowland Place, Beckenham together with two currently closed records - presumably their children (Jean born Q2 1932 and Jill born Q3 1939). John is listed as an "Assistant Golf Professional". This was no doubt at the Private Club where his 55 year old father was (according to the 1939 Register entry for him, Annie and three of their children now at 16 Anthony Road, Woodside, Croydon) the "Green keeper (Private Club)".

John became a member of The National Fire Service created in August 1941 by the amalgamation of the wartime national Auxiliary Fire Service (of which he may also have been a member) and the local authority fire brigades. He was assigned to his local Beckenham Fire Station.

On 16 April 1941 - towards the end of the Luftwaffe's "Blitz" bombing campaign - John and fellow firemen were on their way to a call-out. Their appliances had reached the junction of Wickham Road (B230) with Courts Down Road in Beckenham when a bomb exploded nearby. Fragments from that pierced the petrol tank and their vehicle was enveloped in flames. Three firemen (Richard Beacon, David James Chalmers and Stanley Richard Hudders) died there and then.

John was badly injured and taken to the Horton Emergency Hospital, one of Epsom's "cluster" of mental hospitals that, as for WW1, had been taken over for dealing with wartime casualties. Some 7 months later, on 9 November 1941, he died there. His body was taken home for burial in the Beckenham Cemetery. When his widow, Hilda, died in 2003 she was buried in the same grave.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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MAYS, John Claude

Civilian
Died December 1940, aged 28

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

John Claude Mays was born on 20 September 1912 (GRO reference: Dec 1912 Coleman Kingston 2a 804), the son of John Henry and Isabel Kate Mays (nee Coleman). When his parents married on 3 August 1903 in St. Margaret's' Church, Plumstead, his father was a 30 year old Sergeant in the 1st Battalion East Surrey Regiment, his mother was aged 24, and they lived at 98 Hudson Road, Plumstead.

JOHN CLAUDE MAYS AND HIS SIBLINGS
NameBorn - DiedNotes
Henry William ThomasBorn: 21 April 1905 Kingston
Died: 1980
Baptised 9 November 1906 St. Pauls Kingston
Cyril Ernest CharlesBorn: 1906
Died: 1906
 
Isabel Daisy LilianBorn: 24 September 1908 Kingston
Died: 1909
Baptised 16 October 1908 St. Pauls Kingston
Violet BlancheBorn: 22 September 1910 Kingston
Died: 1973
Baptised 19 October 1910 St. Pauls Kingston
Claude JohnBorn: 20 September 1912 Kingston
Died: 1940 Epsom
Baptised 11 October 1912 St. Pauls Kingston. Buried Epsom Cemetery, grave M548, on 31 December 1940
Horace A FBorn: 23 September 1914 Kingston
Died: 16 December 1914
 
Leonard LewisBorn: 6 March 1918 Devonport
Died: 1998 Wycombe
 

Claude was baptised 'John Claude' on 11 October 1912 and the family were recorded as living at 120 Kings Road, Kingston. The St. Paul's baptismal record also shows that his father was a Colour Sergeant in the East Surrey Regiment.

John's father fought in the Boer War and served on the home front with the East Surrey Regiment during the Great War. His father's pension records also tell us that in 1920 the family lived at 34 Broughton Street, Battersea.

Electoral rolls show the family lived at Queen Mary's Convalescent Centre, Woodcote between the years 1921 and 1925, and from 1925 to 1945 at 112 Hook Road, Epsom.

John is listed as a "Motor Mechanic" in the 1939 Register living with his parents and older sister at 112 Hook Road, Epsom.

John died on 24 December 1940 in Epsom County Hospital and was buried in grave M548 in Epsom Cemetery on 31 December. The gravestone reads:
In Loving memory of our dear son John Claude Mays died 24th December 1940 aged 28 years.
The cemetery burial register describes him as a fitter. His cause of death is not known, although the Book of Remembrance in the Foyer of Epsom Town Hall records that he died through 'Enemy Action'.

The Epsom Herald dated 3 January 1941 printed the following death notice:
Mays, John Claude on December 24th 1940, at County Hospital, Epsom, of 112 Hook Road, Epsom, who passed peacefully away.
Unlike the other Civilian on the St. Barnabas Second World War Roll of Honour, John does not have an entry in the CWGC website.

John's father, of 112 Hook Road, died on 31 October 1949. Probate was granted to his widow Isobel Kate in the sum of £ 1547 15s 7d. John's mother died on 16 January 1954. Both parents were buried with their son in grave M548 Epsom Cemetery.

John is commemorated in the Book of Remembrance in the foyer of the Town Hall and on the St. Barnabas Roll of Honour.

Clive Gilbert & HazelBallan 2014

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McBRION, Arthur Albert

Civilian
Died 11 October 1940, aged 32

Arthur was born in Portsmouth on 2 August 1908, the fourth child of John McBrion and Jessie Lavinia (née Link). The 1911 Census records the family of five (one of the children had died) living at 60 Charles Street, Landport on Portsea Island, with 39 year old John's occupation listed as a "Shipwright" in the Government Dockyard at Portsmouth.

Arthur's next appearance in the readily available records is in the September 1939 Register as a 31 year old unmarried lodger with the similarly aged Railwayman John Connaughton and his wife Kathleen at 22 Beaconsfield Place, Epsom. Arthur's occupation was recorded as "Horse Racing Stable Man".

On 11 October 1940 - a month into the Luftwaffe's "Blitz" bombing campaign - Arthur was killed by enemy action in Woodcote Side, Epsom. This was perhaps on his way between one of Epsom's stables and his then residence of 101 Park Lawn Avenue, Epsom as noted by both the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's and the records of Epsom Cemetery where he was buried in (Grave M549) on 21 October 1940.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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McCORMICK, Barbara Winifred

Civilian
Died 7 November 1940, aged 37

&

McCORMICK, George Franklin Hurley

Civilian
Died 7 November 1940, aged 39

Barbara was born on 2 July 1903, the first of four children born to Arthur George Bloxam and Winifred Mary (née Shapland - in some records "Shapland-Rugg"). The 1911 Census records the parents and family (and two domestic servants) boarding - and presumably on holiday - at the sea-front Runnymede Hotel, The Leas, Westcliff-on-Sea, with 45 year old Arthur listed as a "Chartered Patent Agent". The return notes that he and 35 year old Winifred had been married for 8 years (the record of which has proved elusive) and that the four daughters were all born in Hampstead. (Oddly, Barbara's birth was registered in Kingston upon Thames.) Back in Hampstead, the couple's last child, George Arthur, was born in Q4 1913.

In Q3 1928, and registered in Hampstead, the 25 year old Barbara married 27 year old George Franklin Hurley McCormick.

George had been born on 4 April 1901, the son of Samuel (but noted as "George" in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's records) McCormick and Ada (née Guilford). The birth was registered in Lambeth, but he was baptised in Swanage, Dorset on 11 August 1901. The already married parents are found in the 1901 Census living at 176 Stockwell Road, Lambeth. 40 year old Samuel was listed as an "American Dentist" and as a Canadian subject. Ada (born in Amberley, Sussex) was aged 26. The only other residents were Ada's widowed 65 year old mother, Grace, and two domestic servants. No record has been found of the couple having any children other than George - who was born just days after the 1901 Census was taken. But the family is not found in the 1911 Census, so had perhaps crossed back over the Atlantic.

Anyway, George had followed in his father's footsteps and qualified as a dentist with MRCS, LRCP and LDS. Barbara and George had two children, John and Robert, born on 26 March 1929 and in Q1 1931 respectively - and both registered in the Wandsworth District.

The family then moved into the Borough. The September 1939 Register records them living at 19 Links Road, Epsom. Living with the 38 year old George (still practising as a Dentist - but also a wartime Air Raid Warden) and 37 year old Barbara were:
  • 10 year old son and schoolboy John;
  • probably (the record is currently closed) 8 year old son, Robert;
  • George's now 66 year old and widowed mother, Ada McCormick (apparently only a temporary stay as the Commonwealth War Graves Commission records her as being "of 11 Park Road West, Wolverhampton"); and
  • Barbara's parents, 73 year old Arthur (still a "Chartered Patent Agent") and Winifred Bloxam.
(All the women were listed with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties".)

During an air raid on 7 November 1940 - a few weeks into the Lufwaffe's "Blitz" bombing campaign - a bomb fell on 19 Links Road. It killed both Barbara and George as well as Barbara's father Arthur Bloxham - together with another Air Raid Warden, Edward Conran, who was with them at the time. If sons, John and Robert, and their grandmothers, Ada McCormick and Winifred Bloxam, were injured in the attack, they survived.

Barbara and George were buried together in Epsom Cemetery (Grave M404) on 13 November 1940, alongside Barbara's father, Arthur, buried the same day in Grave M405.

The 1941 Probate records of administration of Barbara's and George's estates (of, respectively, £ 2,848 and £ 1,415) being awarded to Edgar Taylor Worsley chartered accountant and Jacob Henry Lazaris barrister-at-law seems likely to have been in trust for the couple's two not yet teenage sons. (And George's Probate record notes that, in addition to the 19 Links Road address, he was also "of 18a Thurlow Place, Kensington.")

Roger Morgan © 2018

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McGRATH, Brian Robin. Private (6018923). Mentioned in Despatches.

1st Battalion, Cambridgeshire Regiment
Died 9 May 1943, aged 24

Unusually, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database contains no information about Brian's family background. Devilling in other records has established that he was born on 1 October 1918, registered in the Wandsworth District and that his mother's maiden name was Mitchley: he was the second of four children with the surname McGrath so listed between 1911 and 1927. However, a McGrath/Mitchley wedding is not found in the readily available records, so nothing more can currently be said about his family background. Nor, disappointingly, has it yet been possible to establish the link with Epsom & Ewell that gained him an entry in the Borough's Book of Remembrance.

Brian's WW2 service was with the 1st Battalion of the Cambridgeshire Regiment. After training and home duty on the Norfolk Coast, the Battalion was sent - as part of the 18th (East Anglian) Infantry Division - to the Far East. It was in Malaya when the Japanese invaded from the north on 8 December 1941. As is well-known, Commonwealth forces were, in spite of heroic efforts and significant losses in terms of both casualties and prisoners, unable to halt the unexpectedly ferocious and rapid Japanese advance. The survivors were driven back to Singapore, and Brian's battalion was, for two days, involved in the defence of the Sime Road Camp (the Army and RAF Operational Headquarters) until the Commanding Officer, Lt-Gen Percival, ordered the surrender of Singapore to the Japanese.

Brian was one of the 80,000 troops then taken prisoner by the Japanese (joining the 50,000 captured during the Japanese advance through Malaya). There are records of his being in camps in Siam (modern-day Thailand) so, like many others, he was probably used as slave labour on the infamous Burma-Siam Railway - which fully earned its nickname "the Death Railway". His death (in the Malai camp on 9 May 1943) was the result of malaria. His body would have been buried locally but records were lost. While he may have subsequently been re-interred in a War Cemetery, this would have been only as one "Known unto God". Brian is commemorated on the Singapore Memorial as one of over 24,000 Commonwealth WW2 casualties from the region who have no known grave.

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

The supplement to the London Gazette of one August 1946 listed Brian (noting that he had since died) as one of the many that "The King has been graciously pleased to approve … be Mentioned in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Malaya in 1942."

Roger Morgan © 2018

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McINTYRE, Charles Campbell. Lance Serjeant (2878582)

3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, Army Air Corps
Died 6 January 1943, aged 21

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records notes that Charles was the "son of Charles Campbell McIntyre and Magdalen Mary McIntyre." However, no trace has yet been found in the readily available records of Charles's 1921/22 birth or, indeed, of his distinctively named parents.

The Commission's records go on to note that Charles was also the "nephew of Elsie Boorman, of Stoneleigh, Epsom, Surrey" rather implying her guardianship of him. She was born as Elsie G Reid on 20 February 1899 in the Camberwell District. The 1901 Census records her as the youngest of 6 children (the oldest being aged 19) living with their 40 year old parents at 13 Grove Vale, Camberwell. Her father, Thomas Peter Reid, made bicycles. (The family had moved along to No. 41 Grove Vale by the time of the 1911 Census.)

In Q4 1922, and registered in the Camberwell District, the 23 year old Elsie married 30 year old Victor Arthur Boorman. The 1939 Register records Elsie and Victor living at 42 Waverley Road, Stoneleigh. Victor is listed as a "Chartered Patents Agents' Clerk (with Accountancy)" and Elsie with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". There is one currently closed record at the address. As no record has been found of Elsie and Victor having any children, that closed record is perhaps of the 17/18 year old Charles.

Charles's WW2 service was in the 3rd Parachute Battalion. This had been formed in 1941 from volunteers from various infantry regiments and first saw action during the 8-16 November 1942 "Operation Torch" - the invasion of French North Africa to begin a pincer movement on Axis forces that had been held and then turned back at the crucial Battles of El Alamein. (Torch was a joint British/US operation, and the first major one that US troops undertook in the European/North African theatre.)

The invaders quickly overcame the Vichy French response. Fighting on into Tunisia (into which the Germans immediately sent reinforcements from Sicily) was much more intense and the Allies' progress stalled at Medjez-El-Bab, about 35 miles west of Tunis. This remained the front line until the decisive Allied advances of April and May 1943 which - coupled with Allied forces which, after El Alamein, had advanced through Libya - led to the capture of Tunis on 12 May 1943 and the defeat of Axis forces in North Africa.

It was during the stalemate around Medjez-El-Bab that Charles was (as reported in Casualty List No. 1044) killed in action on 6 January 1943. In the ebb and flow of that fighting, his body was lost. He is remembered on the Medjez-el-Bab Memorial, Tunisia, which commemorates almost 2,000 soldiers who died during WW2 operations in Algeria and Tunisia, and who have no known graves.

The Medjez-el-Bab Memorial, Tunisia
The Medjez-el-Bab Memorial, Tunisia
Photograph with thanks to nzwargraves.org.nz

Roger Morgan © 2018

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McLENNAN, Alexander William. Sergeant/Pilot (1339244)

578 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 31 March 1944, aged 23

Alexander's headstone & The Oxford (Botley) Cemetery
Left: Alexander's headstone
Photograph (57190092) by Stephen Potts via findagrave.com
Right: The Oxford (Botley) Cemetery
Photograph with thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Alexander was born in the Epsom District on 26 January 1921, the second and last child of 50 year old Alexander McLennan and 34 year old Ethel Maud (née Crisp) whose Q1 1915 marriage was registered at Dartford. Their first child, Jessie Ethel May, was born on 30 December 1917, also in the Epsom District. The children were baptised together at St Mary's Ewell on 27 March 1921. Their father was a male nurse - doubtless in one of Epsom's "cluster" of mental hospitals - and the family lived at 2 Oakdale Road, Ewell.

Alexander junior attended Ewell Infants School, went up to the Boys' School on 3 September 1928 and on leaving there, was enrolled in Wimbledon Technical School on 14 September 1934.

The September 1939 Register records the family still at 2 Oakdale Road, Ewell. 69 year old Alexander senior is listed as "Nurse Mental Retired", 52 year old Ethel with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties"; 21 year old Jessie as an "LJR Telephonist"; and 18 year old Alexander junior as "Ledger Clerk Estat[e Agents?]"; and

Alexander junior subsequently enlisted with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. With the service number 133924, this was after September 1943 and probably at Uxbridge. He became Sergeant/Pilot and was assigned to 578 Squadron, part of Bomber Command equipped with Halifax heavy bombers.

On 30 March 1944, Alexander was second pilot aboard Halifax LW478-LK-S taking part in a raid on Nuremberg. In a 578 Squadron history it is explained: -
"On 30 March 1944 fourteen 578 Squadron Halifaxes were detailed for a raid on Nuremburg. Two cancelled and twelve took off. Of those 12 only one returned to base and this with engine trouble. Eight landed at bases across England. Three 578 squadron aircraft were lost…

Halifax LW 478 - LK-S Piloted by Squadron Leader Maurice McCreanor became the 105th aircraft lost. It had been damaged by enemy action and struggled back to England on three engines. This aircraft crashed on overshooting at Silverstone, the crew being on their 14th operation. Crews that had already landed at this O.T.U. (Operational Training Unit) watched this aircraft come in on three engines. The pilot could not line up with the runway and the control tower heard him say "I'll try again." But the wheels of the Halifax touched the roof of the airfield's section building. It tumbled and exploded across some playing fields for 200 yards. Pilot, 2nd Pilot, Bomb Aimer, Wireless Operator, Flight Engineer were killed. Sgt. D.A. Hooker, rear gunner, died of his injuries nine days later at Halton. Silverstone was later to become the famous motor racing circuit. A memorial to this crew [see below] now stands on the trig point near the Luffield grandstand."
War Memorial Plaque at Silverstone Circuit
War Memorial Plaque at Silverstone Circuit
Image © Ian S and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Alexander is buried in Grave I/2.191 of the Oxford (Botley) Cemetery, one of 516 WW2 casualties there. (The cemetery was designated a Royal Air Force regional cemetery and was used by RAF stations in the area during the war.)

Brian Bouchard & Roger Morgan © 2018

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McMILLAN, Eric John. Sergeant (1338724)

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 22 October 1943 Age 21

Eric's headstone in Wandsworth (Earlsfield) Cemetery
Eric's headstone in Wandsworth (Earlsfield) Cemetery
Photograph (24757951) by "Julia&keld" via findagrave.com.

Eric is not listed in the Book of Remembrance but is remembered here because the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's records note that his widow was "of Epsom, Surrey." That address has yet to be established, although a post-war one just outside the Borough has been found.

Eric was born in Q2 1922, the only child of 30 year old Horace Macmillan and 31 year old Daisy (née Kingston). The birth was registered in Wandsworth only child - as had been the parent's marriage in Q2 1917.

The September 1939 Register records the parents living at 19 Jessica Road, Wandsworth. 47 year old Horace is listed as a "Salesman, Typewriter & Office Supplies" and 49 year old Daisy with "Domestic Duties". There is one currently closed record at the address, likely to be of the 17 year old Eric. During November 1940, he enlisted with the Royal Air Force, probably at Uxbridge, and trained as a Wireless Operator, possibly at Blackpool.

In Q2 1943, the 21 year old Eric married 22 year old Doris Catherine Mary Steadman. Doris had been born in Sevenoaks, Kent, on 15 October 1920, apparently the only child of William Steadman and Dorothy (née Martin). The September 1939 Register recorded her (a "Shorthand Typist") living with her early 40s parents at 18 Beverley Road, Bromley. Her father was a Metropolitan Police Constable. Living with the family was Doris's widowed maternal grandmother, the 72 year old Lillie Martin. Both Lillie and her daughter, Dorothy, were listed with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". It is not currently known how Eric and Doris met, but the fact that their 1943 marriage was registered in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District suggests a pre-existing link with the area by one or the other.

In late 1943, Eric was at the 1657 Heavy Conversion Unit (based at RAF Stradishall, Suffolk) which was training aircrew on the Short Stirling heavy bomber. On 22 October 1943, he was the Wireless Operator aboard Stirling Mk.1 EF352 XT-U which took off from Stradishall at 17.45 hours on a special night navigation exercise with three navigators on board.

At 21.20 hours, the aircraft crashed to the ground in flames at Rosemaund Farm, Preston Wynne (about 6 miles NNE of Hereford) instantly killing all on board, being: -
AUS420551 F/Sgt. ELSTUB, THOMAS CLIFFORD (Pilot)
146302 P/O GERRARD, VICTOR (Screen Navigator)
133773 P/O STALKER, JOHN LAWRENCE (2nd. Navigator)
156343 P/O HEWSON, GEORGE PETER (Navigator)
1338724 Sgt. MacMILLAN, ERIC JOHN (W.O/p)
AUS415982 Sgt. HINES, ALBERT HENRY (A/B)
1852352 Sgt. SMITH, ALFRED JACK (A/G)
AUS423657 Sgt. CRIBB, STANLEY BRIDSON (A/G)
1550321 Sgt. DICKSON, DESMOND (F/E)
Eric is buried in Grave 6.9269 Wandsworth (Earlsfield) Cemetery.

The plaque by a tree planted in the Cemetery at Hedge End, Hampshire, in memory of the Sergeant Alfred Smith killed in this crash states that the crew of this burning plane gave their lives saving the village of Preston Wynne.

(It is reported that all bar one of this crew - and probably including Eric - had survived a serious accident just 19 days previously at Earls Colne, Essex. Stirling W6383 of 1657 HCU attempted to take off at 21.20 hours when it developed a swing and, on leaving the runway, the undercarriage collapsed completely wrecking the aircraft.)

There is no record of Eric and Doris having any children. In Q4 1944, the widowed Doris got married again, to Thomas James Mintram. In 1945, Doris Mintram may be found at 7 Tattenham Grove - just over the Borough border into Banstead - with her widowed (?) mother Dorothy Steadman and maternal grandmother, Lillie Martin. Thomas Mintram joined the household following the cessation of hostilities.

A Memorial Plaque to the crew was unveiled at Holy Trinity Church, Preston Wynne, on 8 June 1987 with a service at the crash site. Doris Mintram reportedly attended another remembrance service at Preston Wynne in 1997. She was presented with a model of a Stirling bomber by Ron Miles who, as a lad of 15, had cycled from Pencombe to Rosemaund Farm the day after the crash in which her first husband had been killed.

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MEADEN, Bertram Grant

Civilian
Died 3 July 1944, aged 64

Tracking Bertram down in the available records has been complicated by some confusion over his age when he died in July 1944 (and thus over his year of birth): the Commonwealth War Graves Commission gives his age as 62; and the Epsom Cemetery records as 60. He was, in fact, 64 - having been born on 27 September 1879. The birth was registered in the Tendring District of Essex, but the 1881 Census records this now 18 month old as the third of four children (between new-born Alfred and 3 year old John - and then 8 year old George) living on the outskirts of Birmingham - at 37 Archibald Road, Handsworth, with their early 30s parents Edwin (an Inland Revenue Official) and Elizabeth plus two domestic servants. By the time of the 1891 Census, the family (now with two more children) had moved nearer to Birmingham, living at 58 Witton Road, Aston.

The 1901 Census records the 21 year old Bertram - now listed as a "Civil Engineer" - lodging with Albert and Lucy Phillips at 13 Kepler Road, Lambeth. The parents (now with just four children at home) had moved again - to 70 Gillott Road, Birmingham.

Bertram is not found in the 1911 Census because he had gone out to Ceylon (modern-day Sri Lanka) where, over time, he rose to be a - or even the - "Director of Irrigation", as stated in the 1941 Probate records of his being granted administration of his wife's estate. It was almost certainly in Ceylon that, first, he met and married Lily Annie and then, in about 1915, their daughter Christina Diane Phyllis was born.

There is a record of Bertram, Lily and Christina returning to Ceylon on the SS Nore which sailed from London on 9 September 1921. The manifest notes that their most recent address had been 42 St George's Road, Broadstairs - the address to which, in the 1911 Census, Bertram's parents had retired. Another record is of Lily and Christina returning to Ceylon on the SS Staffordshire which sailed from Liverpool on 9 June 1932.

It is not clear when any of them returned to the UK. The September 1939 Register records the 60 year old Bertram - listed as a "Civil Engineer Retired" (and he was a Member of the Institute of Civil Engineers) - and the 54 year old Lily staying at the White Hermitage Hotel, Exeter Road, Bournemouth. (This was still a hotel in 2018.) Daughter Christina is not found in the 1939 Register, but in Q2 1940 married Laurance J O'Donnell, registered in the Westminster District.

Bertram and Lily moved to 10 Ashley Court, Ashley Road, Epsom. Lily died there on 10 June 1941, aged 58, and Bertram - whom the Commonwealth War Graves Commission note as having served in the Home Guard - continued living there, apparently alone.

Bertram died at 10 Ashley Court on 3 July 1944 in the same air raid that killed Katherine Keeble, George MacGowan and Hilda Vick. Almost three years after Lily died, he joined her in the same grave (M232) in Epsom Cemetery. Administration of his £ 3,930 estate was awarded to the married Christina.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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MEADES, Jack Charles. Sapper (6190781)

Royal Engineers
Died 18 August 1942, Age 47

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Jack was born on 31 March 1895 to Arthur George Meades and Elizabeth Mary (née Hitchcock - they married Q2 1887). Jack was their fifth or sixth child: the 1901 Census records the family with seven children (an eighth had died) ranging from to 3 year old Reginald to 12 year old Edwin. They were living at Hogbens House, Worth, near Sandwich, Kent. Jack's 35 year old father, Arthur, is listed as a Wheelwright. Within a month or so of the 1901 Census, Jack's mother, Elizabeth, died aged 27.

In the 1911 Census, the widowed 45 year old Arthur is recorded living at Stone Cross, near Sandwich, together with his three youngest children. The oldest of these was 16 year old Jack who, like his father, was now a wheelwright. The family were supported by 35 year old spinster Rosie Larlitt as Housekeeper. Arthur died Q1 1929 - registered in the Croydon District even though he had been born in and spent most of his life in Kent.

The 1939 Register records Jack living with William and Elizabeth Soden at Talywaen, Nant Conwy, Caernarvonshire, North Wales. 54 year old William is listed as a "Market Gardener and Farmer", and Jack is a "Market Gardener" as well.

In Q1 1941, he married Irene Ethel Kemp, registered in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District. Irene had been born on 7 June 1902 in Catford, Kent. The 1911 Census records her, then an 8 year old schoolgirl, living with her mid-30s parents - Edgar (a "Railway Signalman") and Ethel - at 53 Bethel Road, Welling, Kent. In the 1939 Register, she was recorded as having a room at 35 Whitworth Road, Croydon - and is listed as a "Shorthand Typist Book Keeper".

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records note that the widowed Irene was "of Tattenham Corner, Epsom." That address has yet to be established and may be in Banstead rather than the Borough of Epsom & Ewell. If that is the case, it is currently not known whether either or both of the couple were ever resident in the Borough.

It is not currently known when Jack joined the Royal Engineers, but Casualty List No. 920 notes that his duty location was at home. This also states that he "died" on 18 August 1942, implying a death from illness or disease rather than the result of enemy action. He was buried on 21 August 1942 in Wallington (Bandon Hill) Cemetery (Grave K.336). Irene took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone,
"At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember him".
The widowed Irene E Meades was resident with Arthur E & Alma M O Banwell at 80 Tattenham Grove in 1945/6. By 1951 she had moved to 29 Culvers Avenue, Carshalton.

There is no record of Jack and Irene having any children. In Q2 1972, she married Herbert T Russell, registered in the Weymouth District.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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MEATYARD, Robert Lawrence. Able Seaman (C/LD/X 5345)

SS Whitford Point, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.
Died 20 October 1940, aged 26

Unusually, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database contains no information about either Robert's family background or, indeed, his age. However, his unusual name makes it certain that he was the person of this name born Q3 1914, hence the "aged 26" entered above.

Robert was the fourth child of Robert Edward Meatyard and Florence May (née Howard - they had married Q2 1907, registered in the Hastings District). The 1911 Census records the couple living at 38 Upper Grotto Road, Twickenham with three children (from new-born Florence to 2 year old Horace) and Robert's widowed 60 year old mother Elizabeth Ann. 32 year old Robert senior is listed as a "Book-Keeper, London County Council" (from the records of his WW1 service in the Labour Corps, he worked in the LCC's Tramway Department). His wife, Florence was 28 at the time of the Census and went on to have three more children: Robert (as noted above in Q3 1914); and in Q2 1918, twins Ronald and Stanley.

Robert junior's connection with Epsom & Ewell that earned his entry in the Borough's Book of Remembrance is that he had been a member of the Council staff - as noted on the plaque in the Town Hall. However, the 24 March 1941 Probate record of administration of his £ 94 estate being awarded to his father notes that Robert junior was "of 1 The Byeway, Little Common, Bexhill-on-Sea, Sussex"

The SS Whitford Point
The SS Whitford Point
Image courtesy of uboat.net

Anyway, Robert's WW2 service was as a DEMS (Defensively Equipped Merchant Ship) Gunner on the merchant ship SS Whitford Point which, in October 1940 and carrying a cargo of nearly 8,000 tons of steel, was part of convoy HX-79 crossing the North Atlantic to the UK. At 01:48 hours on 20 October 1940, she was hit by one torpedo from U-47 and sank 90 miles southwest of Rockall. The master, 33 crew members and two gunners (including Robert) were lost - only three crew members were rescued.

Robert is commemorated in the Chatham Memorial as one of over 10,000 Royal Navy personnel of WW2 who have no known grave.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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MEEK, Denis John. Serjeant (5572516)

5th Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment.
Died 7 August 1944, aged 26

Denis's headstone in the Tilly-sur-Seulles War Cemetery.
Denis's headstone in the Tilly-sur-Seulles War Cemetery.
Photograph (56498761) by "Len" via findagrave.com

Denis was born on 9 September 1917, the second child of Edward Lancey Meek and Dorothy May (née Lee - they had married Q1 1915 registered in Fulham). Both Denis's birth and that of his older brother, Herbert, in Q2 1915, were registered in the Epsom District. When Edward died on 1 October 1928, the Probate records list the family's address as Capell Cottage, Chessington Road, West Ewell.

The transcript of the 1939 Register records him, now aged 22, as a household of 1 living at 9/11 London Road, Croydon, and listed as "Shop Assistant, Provisions". However, the original record shows him to be one of 18 people at this address, the first named being 49 year old Fred Fowler listed as "Provisions Shop - Manager". A little further digging reveals that 9/11 London Road opened in the 1880s as the eighth shop in John Sainsbury's grocery chain - and was a turning point in the growth of his grocery empire (click here for more details). After some years in other use, the premises re-opened as a "Sainsbury's Local" in 2014. Anyway, in 1939, Denis would appear to be one of a number of staff literally "living above the shop".

In Q3 1940 and registered in the Croydon District, the 23 year old Denis married 20 year old Dorothy Joan Coomber. The 1939 Register had recorded her living with her 59 year of widowed mother, Eileen (a "Millinery Saleswoman"), and 23 year old unmarried sister, Molly (a Clerical Officer in the Civil Service) at 193 Sydenham Road, Croydon. Dorothy's occupation is listed as "Provision Clerk" - likely to be at the Sainsbury's where Denis also worked. No record has been found of the couple having any children. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records note that the widowed Dorothy was "of Wimbledon, Surrey." (It seems that, in Q1 1953, she then married Albert J Butcher, registered in the Worthing District.)

The Allied offensive in north-western Europe began with the Normandy landings of 6 June 1944. There was heavy and fluctuating fighting in the vicinity of Tilly-sur-Seulles immediately after the landings involving chiefly the 49th and 50th Divisions. Tilly itself was not captured until 18 June and fighting continued nearby until mid July. The cemetery contains 990 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War and 232 German graves.

Denis's WW2 service was in the 5th Battalion of the Wiltshire Regiment. This was a Territorial Army unit and was stationed at home for most of the war. Its front-line service began with the invasion of Normandy. The Battalion landed there on 24 June 1940 - a couple of weeks after D-Day itself - and was soon in the thick of the action seeking to press on from the quickly established beach-head past the German stronghold of Caen a few miles inland. Actions included: Operation Epsom from 26-30 June, the thwarted effort to outflank Caen on the west; Operation Jupiter from 10-11 July for the eventual capture of the strategic Hill 112; and the 30 July to 7 August Operation Bluecoat whoch finally secured the road junction in the town of Vire and the high ground of Mont Pinçon.

In was in the last day's fighting for Mont Pinçon that, as noted in Casualty List No. 1535, Denis was killed in action. The Battalion's War Diary for the day records that they had held their position on Mont Pinçon "under continuous shell and mortar fire and against enemy counter attacks until finally relieved by 5 DCLI at 1900hrs".

Denis is one of the 990 Commonwealth WW2 casualties buried in the Tilly-sur-Seulles War Cemetery, about 12 miles west of Caen. The widowed Dorothy took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave VI.C.10,
"These we loved, loveliest and best, have one by one crept silently to rest".
Roger Morgan © 2018

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MENARD, Edmund Sylvain (or Sylvaire Edmund). Croix De Guerre.

Civilian
Died 4 August 1944, aged 47

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Edmund was born in on 3 March 1897 in Manhattan USA, the son of Henry George and Gertrude Millage Menard. His name was properly "Sylvaire Edmund Menard", but he seems to have preferred to use his second forename, and we follow suit here. (The Commonwealth War Graves Commission noted his other forename as "Sylvain".)

It appears that Edmund served in WW1 - being awarded the French Croix De Guerre - and then settled in England. He had married Georgette Jeanne Leborgne (born 8 February 1897). The couple had three children:
  • George Edmund Menard, whose birth on 19 February 1920 was registered in Hammersmith;
  • Ida M G Menard, whose Q4 1926 birth was also registered in Hammersmith; and
  • John E Menard, whose Q3 1933 birth was registered in the Croydon District.
The family came to live at 7 First Avenue, West Ewell, where they were recorded in the September 1939 Register. 42 year old Edmund and 19 year old George are both listed as "Furrier ([indecipherable] Cutter)" and 42 year old Georgette with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". There are two currently closed records at the address, doubtless of 13 year old Ida and 6 year old John.

During 2003, the 77 year old Ida Menard wrote: -
"In 1939 I was nearly 14 when the war broke out. I had an older brother who was conscripted into the army and eventually went to Egypt and fought in the desert. He later was posted into the Special Services because he spoke French and became a wireless operator. He contacted people who had been parachuted behind enemy lines. Living in Ewell, we were bombed and had one of the first doodle bugs which exploded in Riverholme Drive, killing 3 people. When I was about 16 years old and returning home from the village up towards the station, the siren sounded. When I reached the top of the hill, I heard the sound of an aircraft which came out of the clouds and saw three bombs fall like a string of sausages. I found out later, they had fallen in Ewell East - they were apparently aimed at the railway line. I was told by my younger brother that a doodle bug was being chased by (he thought) a Spitfire which tipped the wing of the doodle bug which made it crash in the brickfields, which is now part of Kiln Lane. When I was 18, I went to London with a friend from school to celebrate V.E. Day with the thousands of others doing the same thing."
(Further to her note, older brother George was attested for service with the Royal Artillery in 1939 with a Service number 974270. He was, however, attached to the US Army - No. 4 SFU, HQ 7th Army, APO 757.)

To return to Edmund, the subject of this article, the 47 year old was at Motspur Park Station on 4 August 1944 when, at 7 pm, he was killed by a V1 Flying Bomb or "Doodlebug". Six days later, on 10 August, he was buried in Grave G442 of Epsom Cemetery (the transcribed records of which list him as "Edward Minard".)

The original report of this civilian WW2 casualty from the Merton and Morden Urban District Council noted that Edmund had been the "son of Gertrude Niels (formerly Menard), of Alpins, Crosslands Road, Redhill, and of the late Henry Menard; husband of Georgette Jeanne Menard, of 7 First Avenue, West Ewell." Elsewhere his mother is recorded as Mrs Gertrude Bjarnesen who, in 1931/2, lived at 4 Melrose Terrace, Hammersmith.

In October 1944, the widowed Georgette was awarded administration of her late husband's £ 1,004 estate. Other funds seem to have been held in trust for her: following her death in Q3 1983 (registered in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District) there was, on 2 December 1983, a further grant of administration of £ 38,000 on the estate of "MENARD, Sylvaire Edmund otherwise Edmond".

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MEPHAM, Thomas

Civilian
Died 4 November 1940, aged 69

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Thomas was born in Battle, Sussex on 21 January 1871, the fourth child of James (an "Agricultural Labourer") and Mary A Mepham. The family were still in Battle by the time of the 1881 Census, but four more children had been born to the couple and father James is now listed as a "Milkman's Labourer".

The 1891 Census records the 20 year old Thomas (listed as a "Railway Porter") still in Battle, but lodging with 45 year old widow Maria Barber (a "Charwoman"). In Q3 1892 and registered in Battle, Thomas married Ellen Parks. The 1901 Census records them living at 78 Windsor Road, Bexhill with three children aged from 2 to 7. The 30 year old Thomas is listed as a "General Carrier". The family was still at 78 Windsor Road for the 1911 Census. Another child had arrived, and the two oldest (aged 15 and 17) are now both listed as "Carrier's Assistant" - doubtless assistants to their "General Carrier" father.

Ellen died Q1 1935 and, in Q1 1936, Thomas (now aged 65) married 55 year old Alice Elizabeth Firr. The 1939 Register records the couple living at 57 Amherst Road, Bexhill, Sussex. Thomas is listed as a "Removal Contractor Retired" and Alice with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". With them at the time of the Register was 11 year old schoolboy Raymond Dick who would appear to be Thomas's nephew: his 17 May 1928 birth was registered in the Battle District and his mother's maiden name was Mepham.

On 8 October 1940, a few weeks into the Luftwaffe's 1940-41 "Blitz" bombing campaign, Thomas was injured by enemy action while at home in 57 Amherst Road, Bexhill. He was taken to Horton Emergency Hospital - one of Epsom's "cluster" of mental hospitals that, as for WW1 had been taken over to deal with wartime casualties - where he died four weeks later, on 4 November 1940. (If Alice was also injured, she survived.)

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MILES, Robert John. Aircraftman 1st Class (1029783)

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 18 May 1942, aged 29

Robert's headstone in Epsom Cemetery.
Robert's headstone in Epsom Cemetery.
Photograph (102706937) by Laurence Hennessy via findagrave.com

Robert was born in Epsom on 4 January 1913, the first child of Epsom-born John (sometimes "Jack") Miles and Edith Sarah (née Evans). The couple married in Q4 1910, registered in Edith's home patch of Hambledon, south of Guildford, and set up home at 50 Albert Road, Epsom where the 1911 Census recorded the newlyweds living alone, with 30 year old John listed as a "Greengrocer's Assistant" and, as usual at the time, no occupation is shown for 23 year old housewife Edith.

The couple had three children, all born in Epsom:
  • Robert (the subject of this article), as above on 4 January 1913;
  • Lily E M in Q2 1917; and
  • William A J on 28 June 1926.
In Q2 1937 and registered in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District, the 24 year old Robert married 22 year old Cecilia A Pitchell (her birth on 5 June 1915 had been registered in Kingston). The couple lived with Robert's parents at 50 Albert Road. The September 1939 Register records the 26 year old Robert (an "Electrician's Mate") while Cecilia (listed with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties") was visiting presumed relatives as "Sunny Bank", Shere Road, Guildford. Other residents of 50 Albert Road in the 1939 Register were 58 year old John (a "General Labourer, now employed as a Temporary Postman"); 51 year old Edith (the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties"); and 13 year old schoolboy William. (The couple's daughter, Lily, had married Charles F Taylor in Q1 1936.)

Shortly after the 1939 Register was taken, Robert enlisted with the Royal Air Force at Padgate. There is disappointingly little information about his RAF service as an Aircraftman 1st Class, although it seems clear that this was wholly or mainly in the UK. In Q3 1941, Robert and Cecila had a daughter, Cecilia C A Miles, whose birth was registered in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District.

The following year, Robert was stationed at RAF Leuchars in Fife, the base for key maritime patrols., The Statutory Deaths Register for Scotland records that, at 6.45 pm on 18 May 1942, AC 1 Robert J Miles died at RAF Station Leuchars due to multiple injuries "sustained whilst on active service."

Robert's body was brought back to Epsom and buried in the Cemetery on 26 May 1942. The widowed Cecilia took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave O287,
"The evening star shines on his grave; the one we loved but could not save"
In Q4 1949, Cecilia got married again - to Albert E Murphy, registered in the Battersea District.

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MILLER, Frederick Stanley. Sergeant (515573)

82 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Died 17 May 1940, aged 27

Frederick is not listed in the Book of Remembrance but is remembered here because the Commonwealth War Graves Commission post-war records note that his widow Emily was "of Ewell, Surrey". As noted further below, a local address has been established for her, but it does not seem that Frederick himself ever had any connection with the Borough.

Frederick was born in Q1 1916, the seventh of ten children born to Edward George Miller and Jane (née Overy). The parents' Q4 1904 marriage was registered in the Bethnal Green District (the home area for both of them), and the birth of at least their first child was registered in the same District.

By the time of the 1911 Census, the parents were living at 22 Etloe Road, Church Road, Leyton - in the West Ham District. 28 year old Edward is listed as a "Carbon Paper Cutter". As usual, no occupation is listed for 27 year old housewife Jane, whose hands were full looking after three children aged between 1 and 4. (The Census return records that another child of theirs had died.) The two youngest children had been born in Leyton - as were the six that followed between 1912 and 1921, which included Frederick in 1916.

In Q1 1939, the 23 year old Frederick (who appears to have entered the RAF from civilian life before September 1934) married 22 year old Emily May Pretty, registered at Epping. The Q4 1939 birth of their son, Frederick ('Fred') J Miller, was registered in Edmonton, where they were then resident at 350 Hertford Street, Edmonton.

Frederick's WW2 service was in the light bomber 82 Squadron, flying Bristol Blenheims. In the early months of the war, it played a prominent part in No. 2 Group's offensive against enemy shipping in the English Channel and the North Sea, and 'fringe' targets on the Continent.

Bristol Blenheim Mk IVs.
Bristol Blenheim Mk IVs of 82 Squadron at its base, RAF Watton, in Norfolk.
Image source Wikimedia

On 17 May, 1940, Frederick was the Observer aboard Blenheim Mk.1V P4838 UX-R. This was one of twelve Blenheims from 82 Squadron that, at 04.50 hours took off from RAF Watton, to attack troop concentrations at Gembloux, Belgium, where the German army was sweeping west towards the Channel ports.

The Blenheims had expected to have a Hurricane fighter escort but, presumably because of some higher priority, that was not available and the Blenheims proceeded unescorted. As they reached their target, they were attacked by fifteen Luftwaffe Messerschmitt Bf-109 fighters. Eleven of the twelve Blenheims were shot down. (Although the survivor, P8858 UX-W, managed to return to Watton, it was badly damaged and subsequently written off.)

Frederick's Blenheim P4838 UX-R was among those lost. The crew of three, namely:-
  • Flying Officer Alexander M Gofton, RAF 39312, 82 Sqdn., age 29, Pilot;
  • Corporal Thomas H Cummins, RAF 537830, 82 Sqdn., age 20, W.Op/AG; and
  • Sergeant Frederick S Miller, RAF 515573, 82 Sqdn., age 27, Observer
were declared missing in action, presumed dead. As some of the 20,000+ members of the RAF who were lost during WW2 operations and who have no known grave, Frederick and his crewmates are commemorated on the RAF Memorial at Runnymede.

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

(The Gembloux catastrophe could have wiped out 82 Squadron but - thanks to the exceptional determination of the CO, Wing Commander the Earl of Bandon - it was re-formed within 48 hours to fight again. Only four months later, he achieved the same remarkable result after the Squadron's 13 August catastrophic raid on an airfield at Aalborg, Denmark - when, again, eleven out of twelve Blenheims were lost to German fighters.)

The probate record of the widowed Emily being granted administration of Frederick's £ 181 estate Probate notes their address as 38 Larkshall Crescent, Chingford, Essex. However, at some point during the mid 1940s, Emily moved to the Borough. In Q4 1949 and registered the local Surrey Mid Eastern District she Robert L Cox They set up home together in 10 Manor Drive, Ewell where Emily, died, aged 51, in Q4 1967.

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MINN, Charles William. Sergeant (975720)

47 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 16 March 1941 aged 20

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Charles was born Q1 1920, the first child of Charles Minn and Henrietta Grace (née Tharlow). The parents' Q3 1920 marriage was registered in the Peterborough District, as was Charles's birth and that of the couple's other child, Dennis, on 6 January 1925.

By 1936, the family had moved into the Borough, living at 36 Meadowview Road, Ewell, where they were recorded in the September 1939 Register. 41 year old Charles senior is listed as an "Electrician" and 44 year old Henrietta with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". Also recorded at the address is 14 year old Dennis, listed as an "Apprentice Motor Mechanic". Between him and his parents is a currently closed record, likely to be of 19 year old Charles junior. (As he is known to have died in 1941, this should not have been redacted. The younger Dennis's has been left open as he died in 1998.) The death of Charles, senior aged 61, was registered Surrey Mid E, 3/1959.

Charles junior's WW2 service was in the RAF, apparently enlisting at Padgate in late 1939. He became a member of 47 Squadron, one of the few squadrons to use the Vickers Wellesley light bomber in combat. The mid-30s aircraft was beginning to show its age. It was unsuited to the European air war, but was used to good effect against Italian forces in their East African colonies of Eritrea and Ethiopia - which, in the Battle of Keren ("Cheren" in the Italian spelling) ended in a decisive Allied victory on 1 April 1941.

Loading incendiaries into the underwing panniers of Vickers Wellesley Mark I, K8527, at Kassala, Sudan.
Loading incendiaries into the underwing panniers of
Vickers Wellesley Mark I, K8527, at Kassala, Sudan.
Note that this aircraft is fitted with a lengthened cockpit canopy.
Image source © IWM (ME(RAF) 889)

A couple of weeks before that, on 16 March 1941, Charles was Wireless Operator/Air Gunner among the three-man crew of Wellesley Mk.I K8527 (the very aircraft pictured above) on a mission over Keren, probably from a captured airstrip at Agordat, Eritrea. Their aircraft was shot down in a counter-attack by five Fiat CR 42 Italian fighters. All three members of the crew were killed in the crash.

Charles is one of the 440 Commonwealth WW2 casualties buried in the Keren War Cemetery. His parents took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave 1.D.14,
"They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old."
The Keren War Cemetery, Eritrea
The Keren War Cemetery, Eritrea
Photograph with thanks to ww2cemeteries.com

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MITCHELL, Cecil Laurence Edward. Second Lieutenant (130484)

2/6th Battalion, Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment)
Died 25 April 1941, aged 31

Cecil was born on 5 April 1910, the second child of Thomas Alfred and Kate Mitchell. The 1911 Census records the family of four living at 10 Everthorpe Road, East Dulwich. 32 year old Thomas is listed as a "Commercial Traveller Timber Trade". 35 year old Kate had her hands full with their first child, 5 year old Doris, and Cecil who was still short of his first birthday.

In Q3 1938, 28 year old Cecil married 26 year old Mildred Lucy Long, registered in the Lambeth district. The September 1939 Register records the couple living with Cecil's parents who had moved to 36 Coulsdon Rise, Coulsdon. 63 year old Thomas was still a "Commercial Traveller Flooring & Timber". 29 year old Cecil is listed as an "Insurance Official, Accountant". Both his mother, 66 year old Kate, and 27 year old Mildred are listed with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". (The original record was annotated also to record that Cecil was "A.R.P. Aux. Commercial Unit" and Mildred "British Red X V.A.D. Nurse".)

Cecil and Kate later moved to "Puckaster", Downs Road, Epsom - the address in the 1941 Probate records awarding administration of Cecil's £ 1,454 estate to the widowed Mildred.

Cecil's WW2 service was in the 2/6th Battalion of the Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment). This was one of the units created by the Territorial Army throughout the spring and summer of 1939, in response to the order to double its strength by creating duplicate units.

As part of the 137th Infantry Brigade, attached to the 46th (West Riding and North Midland) Infantry Division, the 2/6th Battalion was sent to France in April 1940 to join the British Expeditionary Force. Poorly trained and equipped, it (and its fellow 2/7th Battalion) was battered during the German Army's blitzkrieg during the Battle of France and survivors retreated to Dunkirk for evacuation to England. The Battalion spent the next two years on home defence, preparing for the expected German invasion.

Cecil's death on 25 April 1941 was registered in the King's Lynn District. Casualty List No. 500 notes that he had "Died" which implies that the cause was illness or disease rather than enemy action. He is buried in King's Lynn Cemetery, Norfolk The widowed Mildred took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave P.38,
"Their dauntless spirit was the living breath of freedom and of chivalry and truth."
There is no record of Cecil and Mildred having had any children in their short marriage. Mildred never remarried and in May 2006, aged 94, she died in South Hams, Devon.

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MITCHELL, Frederick Peacock. Captain (107710)

Royal Engineers
Died 20 April 1947, aged 49

WW2 headstones in the Viroflay New Communal Cemetery
WW2 headstones in the Viroflay New Communal Cemetery.
Photograph © The Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission notes that Frederick was the "son of Frederick Mornington Mitchell and of Sarah Elizabeth Mitchell (née Peacock); husband of Henriette Cecile Yvonne Mitchell (née Gaquerel), of Stoneleigh, Ewell, Surrey."

Tracking the family background is complicated by some confusion in the readily available records about names. Frederick's birth on 7 September 1897 was registered in the Salford District of Lancashire as Frederick P MUTCHELL. For his baptism on 22 September 1897 in St Clement's, Ordsall-in-Salford, Lancashire, the family surname is recorded as MATCHELL - and his parents' first names as Frederick MOERINGTON & Sarah Elizabeth.

Nothing is found in the readily available records about either where Frederick's wife, Henriette, was born or the couple's (probably late 1920s) marriage. Both events may have been in France or elsewhere abroad - it seems certain that she was of French extraction. The couple were, however, back in the UK by September 1939, being recorded in that Register as lodging with the apparently unrelated Arthur and Sarah Wilson at 11 Feversham Road, Salisbury.

The notion of Frederick's having spent time abroad is supported by his occupation's being listed as "Travel & Transport Company Business Manager". Henriette's date of birth is given as 3 January 1902, and she is listed with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". Also there is their son, schoolboy Frederick R Mitchell. His 24 November 1930 birth is not found in the readily available records so that may also have been abroad. There is a currently closed record following his which seems certain to be another of their children - Frederick's headstone makes it clear he had more than one.

As to Henriette's being "of Stoneleigh", she is found in 1945 staying in Stoneleigh Hotel. By 1947, she was with Nellie B Osborne at 15 Park Road West, Stoneleigh. She was joined there in 1952 by her son, Frederick, and both of them were still there up to 1958.

Few details of Frederick's WW2 service in the Royal Engineers are readily available. It is clear that he was in France with the British Expeditionary Force in 1940. When this failed to hold the unexpectedly rapid German invasion, Frederick was one of a good number of Commonwealth forces unable to get to Dunkirk for evacuation. Instead, they made their way west and south to seek other means of getting home. However, Casualty List No. 267 reported Frederick "Missing" on 20 July 1940 - corrected in Casualty List No. 275 which, on 7 August 1940, reported him as a Prisoner of War.

The readily available records contain only two further mentions of Frederick's service career. The first in in Casualty List No. 1281 which, on 3 November 1943, reported him "Repatriated". Had he escaped from his PoW camp and somehow got home? The second is the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's record of his death, aged 49, on 20 April 1947 - nearly two years after the end of the War - and burial in Paris. This was initially in the Paris's Thiais Cemetery. In mid-1953, he was reinterred among the 76 WW2 Commonwealth casualties in the Viroflay New Communal Cemetery, southwest of Paris, just short of Versailles. His headstone on Grave B.18 carries the personal inscription,
"In memory of our dear Daddy. R.I.P."
The 23 October 1947 Probate record of administration of Frederick's £ 589 estate being awarded to the widowed Henriette states that he had died at The Hospital "Prive de Chuirurgie, 219 Rue Vercingetorex" in the south of Paris - and that, notwithstanding Henriette's link with the Borough, his address was 25 Avenue Fleury, Colombes (in the northwest suburbs of Paris).

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MITCHENER, Charles William. Private (6092498)

2/5th Battalion, The Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey)
Died 4 December 1943, aged 24

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Charles was born Q2 1919, the seventh and last child of John Mitchener and Ellen Mary (née Southgate - they had married Q1 1901, registered in the Brentford District. The 1911 Census records the couple living at The Oaks Cottage, Chobham, Woking. 37 year old John's occupation is listed as "Cowman on Farm". 32 year old Ellen had her hands full looking after five children aged from 1 to 9. They had all been born in Chobham - as was Selina, born shortly after the Census, in Q3 1911.

The family seem then to have moved to the Borough of Epsom & Ewell. Charles's Q2 1919 birth was registered in the Epsom District. While (perhaps because of transcription errors) they are not found in the 1939 Register, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission post-war records note that the parents were "of Ewell, Surrey" - address yet to be established - and father John's death in Q2 1949 was registered in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District.

The readily available records provide few details of Reginald's WW2 service in the 2/5th Battalion, The Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey). This may have begun in time for him to have been sent to France in 1940 as part of the British Expeditionary Force. The Battalion was still less than fully trained and, when the unexpectedly ferocious German invasion came, suffered heavy casualties during the fighting retreat to Dunkirk. After being brought back up to strength and re-equipped in the UK, the Battalion then saw action with the Eighth Army in the Western Desert Campaign against Axis powers in North Africa.

Success there provided the springboard for the Allied invasion of Sicily and, after that island's hard-won capture in mid-August, the invasion of the Italian mainland. The Battalion landed at Salerno in September 1943, in the immediate aftermath of which Reginald was wounded on 10 September (Casualty List No. 1264). They then took part in some of the fiercest fighting of the Italian Campaign as the German forces (the Italians had re-entered the war on the Allied side) retreated northwards to well-prepared defensive lines. Charles seems to have recovered from his wounds to rejoin the fighting, only to be killed in action two months later, on 4 December 1943.

He is one of 4,271 Commonwealth WW2 servicemen buried or commemorated in the Cassino War Cemetery, some 85 miles southeast of Rome. The family took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave VII.G.9,
"In loving memory of / Our dear son and brother, / Always in our thoughts. / Mum and Dad."
The Cassino War Cemetery
The Cassino War Cemetery
Photograph (56059499) courtesy of Iain MacFarlaine via findagrave.com

Roger Morgan © 2018

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MOGER, William Charles. Lance Serjeant (6026185)

2nd Battalion, Hampshire Regiment
Died 9 September 1943, aged 20

William's headstone in the Salerno War Cemetery
William's headstone in the Salerno War Cemetery
Photograph (56576329) by R K Franklin via findagrave.com

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

William's birth on 24 May 1923 was registered in the Farnham District. He appears to have been the middle of three children born to William Adolphus Moger, and of Rosina Jane (née Hawkins - they had married 4 Apr 1920, registered in the Southwark District).

The September 1939 Register records the family living at 81 Albert Road, Epsom. 54 year old William senior is listed as 'Physical Instructor Epsom College" and 43 year old Rosina with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". 16 year old William junior is listed between two currently closed records - doubtless of his siblings - and is listed as "Standard Newspaper Agent".

William's WW2 service in the 2nd Battalion, Hampshire Regiment. Given his age, his first experience of action is likely to have been the November 1942 Operation Torch landings in Algeria and in the ensuing fierce fighting which helped corner Axis forces in Tunis. (The other half of the pincers was the Eighth Army advancing west after El Alamein.) The capture of Tunis in mid-May 1943 paved the way for the Allied invasion of Sicily and, after that island's hard-won capture in mid-August, the invasion of the Italian mainland.

The main Allied landings were at Salerno (about 25 miles south of Naples) on 9 September 1943. These were not the surprise the planners had intended: German forces (the Italians had re-entered the war on the Allied side) were waiting for them in some strength. According to Casualty List No. 1274, William was killed in action on the first day of that action in which, after a week's fierce fighting and heavy losses, the Allies secured on 16 September the base needed for further advances.

William is one of 1,846 Commonwealth WW2 casualties buried in Grave III.D.17 of the Salerno War Cemetery.

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MONNEY, John Douglas

Civilian
Died 8 August 1940, aged 35

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

John was born on 16 October 1905, probably the second child of William John and Anna Monney. William and Anna (in some records "Annie") may both have been born in India. That was certainly where William was serving in the Army when, on 5 October 1903, he married Anna/Annie Cusack/Cassack. They seem to have had only two children, Letitia born on 2 July 1904 and John in October 1905.

The family appear to have returned to the UK in the 1920s. John, the subject of this article, subsequently took up employment in Argentina. There are two records of his leaving London bound for Buenos Aires. The first is as a 23 year old aboard the SS Highland Monarch on 18 October 1928. His UK address - presumably that of his parents - is listed as 15 Trinity Square, London EC3. Having returned in the meantime, he left again on 22 January 1934 aboard the SS Highland Chieftain. This time, he gave his home address as "Hillcot", The Rise, Ewell. In both manifests, his occupation is described as "Engineer".

The September 1939 Register records him back in the UK again, staying with his parents and sister at 15 The Rise, Ewell - presumably the "Hillcot" noted in the 1934 manifest. 71 year old William is listed as a "Shipping Clerk" and 54 year old Anna with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". 35 year old Letitia - who, in Q4 1941, would marry Harold G Howes in the Ormskirk District of Lancashire - is listed as a "Trained Hospital Nurse". 33 year old John is listed as "Argentina Estancia Administration Cattle Horses etc (on leave)".

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records note that his employment was at Estancia - a "station" or "ranch" - Aurora, Forestal Land. This was in the Province of Santa Fe, about 250 miles up the Parana River from Buenos Aires. La Forestal (The Forest Land, Timber and Railways Company Limited) was an English company set up in the late nineteenth century to exploit the extensive quebracho forests of the Province. It became effectively a state within a state, founding around 40 towns, with ports, 400 kilometres of its own railways and around 30 factories. It had a bad reputation: the company's local workers 1919-22 struggles for improved conditions ended in what has been termed a massacre. When the company ceased activities in Argentina in the 1960s, it had cleared almost 90% of the forests in its area and left behind a devastated landscape.

Shortly after the 1939 Register was taken, John returned to Argentina but, by mid-1940, was on his way back to the UK as one of a dozen passengers aboard the 9,120 ton merchant ship Upwey Grange. It had left Buenos Aires with a cargo of 5,380 tons of frozen meat and 51 cases of tinned meat.

MV Upwey Grange
MV Upwey Grange.
Photo courtesy of the Paul Johnson Collection -
with thanks to uboat.net for this and the incident details

On 8 August 1940, the unescorted Upwey Grange was about 200 miles west of Achill Head, Co. Mayo. At 13:14 hours, it was hit on the port side by one torpedo from U-37 and sank by the stern. The crew and passengers abandoned ship and took to the lifeboats. In the bad weather, the lifeboats were separated and the one carrying the master, 31 crew members, one gunner, John and two other passengers was never seen again. The other 50 (crew members and passengers) were picked up after three days and landed at Liverpool.

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MOORE, Alan Beresford. Trooper (7917119)

23rd Armoured Brigade, Royal Armoured Corps
Died 22 May 1942, aged 33

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

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Alan was born on 27 March 1909, the fourth child of Henry Beresford Moore and Lucy May (née Dodd - they had married in St Hillary's, Wallasey on 1 January 1902). The 1911 Census recorded the family living at 5 School Lane, Wallasey, Cheshire. 35 year old Henry is listed as a "Commercial Traveller, Silversmiths". 36 year old Lucy has her hands full with five children - from new-born Henry Kenneth to 8 year old Edna. Henry senior's 68 year old mother, Charlotte, was visiting and his 21 year old sister, Mabel (a "Telephone Operator" in the Liverpool Exchange) was living with them. The household was supported by an 18 year old general domestic servant, Ellen Howey.

Alan worked for some years in the 1920s as a "boy" aboard Canada Steamship's SS Montroyal as it criss-crossed the Atlantic. His cards note that he had blue eyes, brown hair and a fresh complexion.

The September 1939 Register records Alan living at 149 Rake Lane, Wallasey, with his recently widowed father: Lucy had died Q4 1938. 63 year old Henry was still a Commercial Traveller, but now in Stationery. 30 year old Alan is listed as a "Chauffeur (Chef)".

Alan's WW2 service was with the Royal Armoured Corps' 23rd Armoured Brigade. Initially, this was based in the UK while it built up its strength. In May 1942, it was among the forces sent to the Middle East to join the British Eighth Army, becoming active there in early July. It seems certain that Alan did not go with them since his death on 22 May occurred at Horton Emergency Hospital - one of Epsom's "cluster" of mental hospitals that, as for WW1, had been taken over to deal with wartime needs. The readily available records give no clue as to the cause of death: this could have been the result of some accidental injury during training, but the cause might have been some illness or disease.

He was buried in Epsom Cemetery on 28 May 1942, where the records describe him as an "Ex-serviceman". The family took the option of adding a personal inscription to the headstone on Grave N.261,
"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord. Ps.XXXVII.23".
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MOORE, Harry, Corporal, 351185

Royal Air Force
Died 28 June 1940, aged 37

Harry's headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Harry's headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Photograph courtesy of Roger Morgan © 2017

Harry was born on 15 February 1903, the ninth child of William George Moore (b. 1868) and Fanny (née Kingshott) (b. 1867). The parents had married in Haslemere on 18 March 1888. And that is where all ten of their children were born.

The 1911 Census records the family (all but the two oldest children then into their 20s) living at 6 Path Fields, Haslemere. 43 year old William George's occupation is listed as "Rural Postman" and that of Jenny, also aged 43, as "Home Industry". The four oldest children still at home (aged between 14 and 20); the next three (from 8 year old Harry to a 12 year old) were at school; and the last child was aged just 2.

After a short period of employment as a Butler (at Stoney Crest, Hindhead), Harry enlisted with RAF on 22 February 1922 for 8 years with the colours and a further 4 in reserve. He trained with the RAMC at Crookham Barracks, Aldershot to become a Hospital/Nursing Orderly at Halton Hospital. From 19 September 1924 to the end of January 1927 he was in Iraq at Hinaidi, rising to the rank of LAC (Leading Aircraftman). Having been posted to SHQ Upavon on 1 February 1927, he moved to Central Flying School, RAF Wittering, on 30 July 1927.

In Q3 1928, the 25 year old Harry married 26 year old Winifred Emily Taylor. The marriage was at Epsom, which is where Winifred had been born in Q4 1901. (She was the first child of Tom Taylor and Maude Jane (née Tutte) who had married in Epsom in Q2 1901. The 1911 Census recorded the Taylor family - now with three children - living at 6 Girault Cottages, Epsom Common. 33 year old Tom is listed as a "Bricklayer". 9 year old "Winnie" and her two younger siblings were "at School".)

After their Epsom wedding, Harry and Winifred lived in the village of Barnack, near Stamford, Lincs. When his period of full time service came to an end in 1930, Harry would have returned to civilian life, eventually taking up residence with Winifred's widowed father, now at 57 Stamford Green Road, Epsom. That is where Winifred (a "Housewife") was recorded in the September 1939 Register. Her entry is followed by one that is currently closed, perhaps a child of the marriage.

Harry was not at home as he had re-enlisted, with his original service number, at the beginning of WW2 to take up duties at No 1 Elementary Training School [formerly the de Havilland School of Flying] at Hatfield. It was presumably while travelling between Epsom and Hendon on 28 June 1940 that Harry died in a road traffic accident. The Probate record of the administration of his £ 155 estate being granted to the widowed Winifred specifies the location as being "at Watford Way near Selborne Gardens, Hendon, Middlesex". (The Probate record also confirms his home address as 57 Stamford Green Road, Epsom.)

On 4 July 1940, Harry was buried in Grave U.31 of Epsom Cemetery - where the records note that he was "late of RAF Aerodrome, Hatfield, Herts."

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MOORE, Rachel Matilda

Civilian
Died 11 August 1944, aged 31

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Rachel Matilda Lyons was born on 14 January 1913, registered in the Holborn District of London. In Q3 1934, she married Henry Peter Moore. What appears to be their only child, Victor, was born Q1 1935. Like their marriage, this was registered in the Lambeth District.

Those registrations are consistent with the September 1939 Register recording them living at 83 Bentley House, Peckham Road, Camberwell. In that Register, 27 year old Henry is listed as a "Shop Assistant" and 26 year old Rachel as a "Laundry Calender Hand" (i.e. operating a machine for ironing large quantities of flat linen). The conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties" is allocated to Rachel's widowed 65 year old mother, Anne Lyons (née Baker) living with them - doubtless helping with 4 year old Victor who was presumably behind the currently closed record at the address.

On 28 June 1944, Rachel was injured at home by enemy action. She was taken to St Ebba's Hospital - one of Epsom's cluster of mental hospitals which, unlike Horton Hospital which had been taken over as a War Hospital, continued as such during WW2. It seems likely that space at St Ebba's was being used as an annex for the hard-pressed Horton.

On 11 August 1944, some six weeks after her injury and aged 31, Rachel died at St. Ebba's.

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MORGAN, Bernard William Frederick Carnal

Home Guard
Died 29 November 1940, aged 35

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Bernard was born on 25 June 1905, the first child of Bernard William Morgan and Florence Matilda (née Bull - they had married Q3 1904, registered in the St George Hanover Square District of London).

The 1911 Census records the parents, both now aged 29, living at 16 Redgrave Road, Putney, with 5 year old schoolboy Bernard and his recently arrived sister, 1 year old Nora. William is listed as a Book Keeper (Clerk) for a Picture Frame Maker. At some point, the family moved to 63 Riverview Road, Kingston Road, Ewell. This is where the parents were recorded in the September 1939 Register, together with now married daughter Nora E E Selby. Both women are listed with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". William's occupation is given as "Picture Frame & Cabinet Maker".

In the meantime, Bernard had married Ada Rose Finch, registered in the Wandsworth District in Q3 1928. It does not appear that the couple had any children. The September 1939 Register records them, now both aged 34, living at 30 Orme Road, New Malden. Bernard's occupation is listed as "Chief Erection Supervisor Electric Lifts" and Ada with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties".

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's records note that Bernard had joined the Home Guard, but his death was unconnected with those duties. On 29 November 1940 - a couple of months into the Luftwaffe's September 1940 to May 1941 "Blitz" bombing campaign - both Bernard and Ada were killed by enemy action while at home in 30 Orme Road, New Malden.

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MORGAN, Emrys. Stoker 1st Class (P/KX 129884)

HM LST-422, Royal Navy
Died 26 January 1944, aged 33

All that the Commonwealth War Graves Commission notes about the family background for Emrys is that he was the "son of John and Catherine Morgan" and "husband of Mary Morgan, of Epsom, Surrey".

From the second part of this, it is certain that Emrys and Mary are the married couple found in the September 1939 Register living at 391 Upper High Street, Epsom. This lists Emrys (born on 2 June 1911) as a "Heavy Worker" and Mary (born 26 June 1910) with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties".

From Emrys's precise date of birth, his can only be the birth registered in the Pontypridd District of South Wales in Q2 1911 where the mother's maiden name was Hopkins. The names are, however, too common in the readily available records to trace more of the family background with any confidence.

Also at 391 Upper High Street in the 1939 Register is what seems certain to be Emrys and Mary's son, David. He had been born only the previous year (on 1 November 1938) and the registration of his birth in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District notes that his mother's maiden name was Chick. This leads to a record of the couple having a second child, Barrie, whose Q3 1940 birth was also registered in the Surrey Mid Eastern District. Perhaps because of some transcription error, no record has yet been found of Mary's marriage to Emrys - but having her maiden name and exact date of birth means that she must the Mary Ann Chick whose Q2 1910 birth was registered in the Bedwellty District of South Wales - and, given this less common name, also the Mary Ann Chick found in the 1911 Census at 34 Alfred Street, Ebbw Vale with her mid-20s parents Walter John Chick (a "Gardener") and Mary (née Price).

It is not clear when Emrys joined the Royal Navy, but it is known that, in early 1944 he was serving on HMS LST-422 - a "Landing Ship Tank". This was a United States Navy LST-1-class craft, built in Baltimore over the turn of 1942/43 and transferred to the Royal Navy, in which it was commissioned on 4 February 1944. As with many of the class, she was not named but referred to by her hull designation.

USS LST-1 (with which HMLST-422 was identical) soon after completion near Pittsburgh, USA
USS LST-1 (with which HMLST-422 was identical) soon after completion near Pittsburgh, USA
Official US Navy photo (NH 97857) - Public Domain

HMS LST-422 met her end in the early days of the Battle of Anzio (on the west coast of Italy, a little south of Rome) which began with amphibious landings on 22 January 1944. Following the Allies' invasion of the Italian mainland from Sicily on 3 September 1943 (which had coincided with an armistice made with the Italians who then re-entered the war on the Allied side), they had made relatively speedy advance northwards until they came to the German's well-prepared winter defensive position (known as the Gustav Line) across Italy just north of Naples.

The assault at Anzio aimed was to outflank the Germans and capture the key target of Rome. It is another story that, instead of the intended dash for and capture of the key target of Rome, the local Commander's cautious tactics led to a hard-fought and campaign leading to the Allies' costly victory some five months later.

Late on 25 January 1944, three days after the initial landings, LST-422 was one of a dozen such craft which left Naples with additional men and material for the Anzio campaign. In LST-422's case, she was carrying: the C and D Companies, and the Headquarters of the US Army's 83rd Chemical Battalion, Motorized and also members of the 68th Coast Guard Artillery Battalion; a capacity load of well-stocked trucks; as deck cargo, many 50 US gallon (190 litres) steel barrels of motor fuel; and ammunition for the craft's own armaments.

On the way to Anzio, the weather deteriorated with gale force winds and 20-30 ft waves. Shortly after midnight and about 12 miles offshore LST-422 had set anchor. The anchor did not hold and, shortly after 05:00 hours, she was blown into a known mine field and an explosion ripped open a 50 ft hole in her bottom starboard side, between the main and auxiliary engine rooms. The ship's fuel oil supply caught fire. The vehicles on the tank deck, which were fuelled and loaded with ammunition, began to explode, which in turn ignited the gasoline that had been stored on the top deck. Hundreds of men were killed instantly. The order was given to abandon ship, but only four life rafts were undamaged and many who jumped into the cold January sea perished before being rescued.

Emrys was one of the many lost in this disaster. He is one of the nearly 15,000 WW2 naval personnel commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

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MORRILL, Gordon Henry Edward. Lieutenant (224921)

East Surrey Regiment - attached to 4th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment
Died 10 July 1944, aged 22

Gordon's headstone in the St. Manvieu War Cemetery
Gordon's headstone in the St. Manvieu War Cemetery
Photograph (56562590) by "Woose" via findagrave.com

As illustrated below, the Borough's Book of Remembrance lists a plain Gordon Morrill of "The Bedfordshire & Hertfordshire Regiment". However, the intended casualty must be the above: he is the only Gordon Morrill in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's database and, as noted below, has clear links to the Borough.

The entry for Gordon in the Borough's Book of Remembrance
The entry for Gordon in the Borough's Book of Remembrance
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2014

Gordon was born Q1 1922, the first child of Henry John Morrill and Hilda Kate (née Court) The couple's Q4 1919 marriage was registered in the Fulham District but they set up home in Croydon, where Gordon's birth was registered as was that of his brother, Alan, in Q2 1925.

The family then moved to the Borough: the September 1939 Register records them living at 21 Chestnut Avenue, Ewell. 51 year old Henry is listed as "Clerk, Supreme Court Judicators" and 43 year old Hilda with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". There are two currently closed records at the address which are doubtless of their children: now 17 year old Gordon and 14 year old Alan.

Given his age, it seems likely that, after training, Gordon's first taste of action was in the June 1944 Normandy landings. The initial landings were every bit as successful as the planners had hoped. However, overcoming the German strategic stronghold of Caen, ten miles inland, proved much harder than anticipated. Caen was finally taken by the Allies on 6 August (two months after D-Day).

However, Gordon did not get to see this. In the fierce fighting that helped lead to that outcome, Casualty List No. 1504 records that he was killed in action on 10 July.

Gordon is one of 1,627 WW2 casualties buried in the St. Manvieu War Cemetery, Cheux - about 6 miles east of Caen. His parents (which the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records note were now "of Wootton Courtney, Somerset") took the opportunity of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave V.B.12:
"Our beloved Gordon. / 'He lives, / and loves and waits: / 'tis death is dead, not he'."
(This draws on Percy Bysshe Shelley's Adonais: An Elegy on the Death of John Keats.)

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MORRIS, Charles Patrick. Pilot Officer (43108)

53 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Died 4 February 1941, aged 25

Charles born on 28 Dec 1915 in Saltash, Devon, the only child of Charles Sebastian Morris and Dorothy Frances (née Reay). The parents had married on 30 Jul 1914 in Southsea, Hampshire when both were aged 28.

Sadly, the marriage was only a short one. Charles senior was a Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Navy. He served on the armoured cruiser HMS Black Prince and, during the controversially-managed WW1 Battle of Jutland, was killed in action on 31 May 1916, to be commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission describes Charles junior as the "son of Charles Sebastian Morris and Dorothy Frances Morris, of Epsom, Surrey". As just noted, his father had died in 1916 and, in Q4 1919, the widowed Dorothy had got married again to Henry Howard Long, registered in the Portsmouth District. (They had a child together, Marian K R Long, whose Q4 1920 birth was registered in the Kingston District.) As described at the end of this article, Dorothy (and Howard) - and, indeed, Charles junior - were eventually "of Epsom".

Charles junior appears to have been educated at Allhallows School, Honiton. Following training as a Cadet in the Officer Training Corps, he became a 2nd Lieutenant in the East Lancashire Regiment on 2 January 1937. With effect from 11 April 1940, he transferred to the Royal Air Force with a temporary commission as Pilot Officer. He joined 53 Squadron, part of the RAF's Coastal Command and equipped with the Bristol Blenheim light bomber.

On 4 February 1941, Charles was the pilot of Blenheim T2283 PZ-F 53 which, with others from 53 Squadron, took off from RAF Thorney Island (near Chichester) on a night bombing raid on the port facilities at Brest in northern France. Near Morlaix, the aircraft was shot down by a Messerschmitt 109 of JG 77 and crashed into sea off Brest, killing the three man crew who were:-
  • Pilot Officer Charles Patrick MORRIS RAF (Pilot)
  • Sergeant Gerard Willington F ASHWIN RAFVR (Observer)
  • Sergeant Ian Ronald W CLARK RAFVR (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner).
(The Squadron also lost two other Blenheims on the raid.)

The bodies of Charles and his crewmates were never recovered. They are three of the 20,000+ commemorated on the RAF Memorial at Runnymede as members of the service who were lost during WW2 operations and who have no known grave.

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

The Probate record of administration of Charles's £ 750 estate being awarded to the Public Trustee notes that his address had been 16 Denham Road, Epsom - a property that was vacant at the time of the September 1939 Register. It seems likely that this was also the home of his mother and stepfather. They subsequently moved to White Cottage in nearby Windmill Lane, Epsom which was noted in the Probate records as their address when Henry died on 4 April 1959 and Dorothy on 25 February 1972.

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MORRIS, Ellis. Captain (136103)

Royal Army Ordnance Corps.
Died 31 May 1944, aged 53

Ellis was born on 29 November 1890, the second and apparently last child of Thomas Alexander and Agnes Wylie Morris. The 1911 Census records the family of four living at 90 Hermon Hill, South Woodford, in the Wanstead district of Essex. 52 year old Thomas is listed as an "Auctioneer, Estate Agent and Surveyor" - as is his older son 24 year old Alexander. 20 year old Ellis is listed as an "Articled Surveyor's Clerk". 45 year old Agnes was supported by two live-in domestic servants.

It is not unlikely that Ellis saw service during WW1 (he was aged 23 when this began in 1914) but records have not yet been found to confirm that. It is, however, certain that, in Q2 1921, the 30 year old Ellis married 28 year old May Bell. The marriage was registered in the Epsom District, which is where May had been recorded in the 1911 Census, staying with her uncle and aunt, Henry John and Minnie Caroline Bell, at Linden House, College Road, Epsom (converted to a Care Home some years ago now). Henry was a Goldsmith and clearly well-to-do - the three residents were supported by four live-in domestic servants.

No record has been found of Ellis and May having any children. The September 1939 Register records them living at "Field House", 18 Burgh Heath Road, Epsom. The 48 year old Ellis is listed as "Auctioneer & Surveyor - now whole time fireman" (with the original record being annotated to show this was with the Borough's Auxiliary Fire Service). 46 year old May is listed with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties" (with the original record being annotated to show she had taken on ARP duties and was also a voluntary canteen worker). Living with them was May's now-widowed and "semi-invalid" 73 year old aunt Minnie. The three of them were supported by a live-in domestic servant.

The readily available records do not show neither when Ellis joined Royal Army Ordnance Corps nor the nature of his service, other than that the Duty Location was "Home". As to the cause of his death on 31 May 1944, which was registered in the Eton District, Casualty List No. 1462 records that he "died", implying illness or disease rather than enemy action.

Ellis's body was brought home for cremation at the South London Crematorium, Mitcham and he is commemorated on the Forces' memorial there.

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

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MORRIS, Jane

Civilian
Died 28 November 1940, aged 70

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission notes that Jane was "of 24 Albert Road, Croydon" and "Widow of H Morris". She was not, however, living there at the time of the September 1939 Register - nor is there any record of her estate in the Probate records. Without the information her entries there might have yielded, the names are far too common in the readily available records to be able to trace the family background.

Jane died on 28 November 1940 at Horton Emergency Hospital - one of Epsom's "cluster" of mental hospitals that, as in WW1, had been taken over for dealing with wartime casualties. While the Commonwealth War Graves Commission records specify that date, they do not give the usual information about when or where Jane was injured by enemy action.

Jane was buried in Epsom Cemetery (Grave M.358) on 6 December 1940.

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MORRISH, Francis Leo

Civilian
Died 29 September 1940, aged 34
&

MORRISH, Joan

Civilian
Died 29 September 1940, aged 27

Francis was born in Wandsworth on 6 October 1905, the second child of Frank and Annie Morrish. The 1911 Census records the family living at 4 Christ Church Villas, Union Grove, Wandsworth. 37 year old Frank is listed as a "Checker" on the London & Southwest Railway. As usual at the time, no occupation is listed for 43 year old housewife Annie. The couple now had three children: Harold, born 1904; Francis, born 1905; and Ellalline, born 1909. By the time of the September 1939 Register, Frank (now retired) and Annie had moved to 39 Knollmead, Tolworth. Their now 20 year old daughter, Ellaline, was living with them and working as a "Shorthand Typist (Solicitors)".

In Q3 1937, the now 32 year old Francis married 24 year old Joan Hughes. This was registered in the Yorkshire's Wakefield district, where Joan had been born 2 June 1913, probably the fourth child of William Henry and Sarah Harriett Hughes. The 1911 Census had recorded 30 year old William (a "Postal Telegraph Clerk, GPO") and 32 year old Harriett living at 18 Haigh Villas, Park Lane, Wakefield with three children aged from 0 to 3. The family were supported by a 16 year old live-in domestic servant.

Francis and Joan set up home in 29 Mortimer Crescent, Ewell where the September 1939 Register recorded them living alone - there is no record of their having any children. Francis is listed as a "Railway Clerk" (having followed in his father's footsteps) and Joan with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties".

On 29 September 1940, in the early days of the Luftwaffe's Blitz bombing campaign, Francis and Joan were both killed while at home in 29 Mortimer Crescent. They are buried in Cuddington Cemetery.

The Probate records note that administration of both estates was granted to Joan's now widowed mother, Harriett, of - according to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records - 3 Marsland Avenue, Berners Street, Wakefield, Yorkshire.

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MURPHY, William. Corporal (5628181)

2nd Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment
Died 4 May 1944, aged 28

William's grave marker in the Kohima War Cemetery
William's grave marker in the Kohima War Cemetery in NE India
Photograph (18859290) by Iain MacFarlaine via findagrave.com

William was born on 2 June 1915, apparently the first child of Michael Murphy and Bessie Emily Yendell (in some records, "Yendall"). His birth was registered in the Epsom District, as was that of his sister Florence in Q1 1918. The parents did not marry until Q4 1930, registered in the St Pancras District - shortly before Michael's death aged 71 in January 1931. He is buried in Epsom Cemetery, where the records note that he had been a labourer and had died in "Middle House, Dorking Road, Epsom" (being Epsom Hospital, still using the name inherited form its origins as the Workhouse Infirmary).

The September 1939 Register records the widowed Bessie and her son William living at 1 Mayfield Terrace, Rosebery Road, Langley Vale, Epsom. 50 year old Bessie's occupation is listed as "Home Duties, Charwoman" and 24 year old William's as "Builders' Labourer, Heavy Worker".

William's WW2 service was in the 2nd Battalion of the Dorsetshire Regiment. It is not clear from the readily available records whether he joined them in time to be sent to France in 1940 with the British Expeditionary Force. If he did, then he would have been part of the gallant holding of the La Bassée Canal against several attacks by a greatly superior German force. This enabled many others to reach Dunkirk for evacuation, where a much depleted Battalion later joined them.

The rebuilt Battalion was then stationed on the Yorkshire coast in case of the threatened German invasion. As that receded, it was sent to India for training in jungle warfare. In March 1944, Japanese forces invaded Assam over the border from Burma (present-day Myanmar) which they had seized earlier in the War. They advanced about 100 miles into India before Commonwealth forces were able to halt them. The 2nd Dorsets were despatched from India to relieve the beleaguered garrison at Kohima.

In some of the fiercest fighting of the whole War (matched only by the parallel battle at nearby Imphal), the Dorsets fought their ruthless enemy in the incongruous setting of the grounds of what had been the District Commissioner's bungalow in a peacetime hill station. The centre of the Japanese defence was around the tennis court where, for eighteen days from 26 April 1944, the Dorsets fought a battle of attrition. In the steeply terraced gardens, their positions were within 25 yards of the Japanese. It was in the thick of this fighting that, as noted in Casualty List No. 1465, William was killed in action. Commonwealth forces finally prevailed at Kohima on 22 June and at Imphal on 3 July 1944 - two victories that were key turning points in the Far East WW2. (Because so much of the attention at home was on the post D-Day advances, these crucial and other actions in NE India and adjoining Burma/Myanmar are sometimes called "the forgotten war.")

The mined tennis court and terraces of the District Commissioner's bungalow in Kohima
The mined tennis court and terraces of the District Commissioner's bungalow in Kohima
Post-battle photograph from the Imperial War Museum Collections © IWM (IND 3483)

Initially buried locally, William was later re-interred in collective Grave 7.D.5-13 of the Kohima War Cemetery which holds 1,275 Commonwealth WW2 casualties. His mother and sister took the opportunity of adding a personal inscription to his grave marker,
"In loving memory of a beloved son and brother. Rest in Peace."
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MYERS, Anthony Wallis. Corporal (T/89871)

Royal Army Service Corps
Died between 16 May and 12 August 1940, aged 28.

Anthony was born in Epsom Q2 1912, the fourth of seven children born to Arthur Wallis Myers and Lilian Agnes (née Gentry). The couple had married in Brixton on 14 June 1900. The 1901 Census records these 22 year olds living in Albert Mansions, 31 Albert Bridge Road, Battersea, supported by a live-in domestic maid. Arthur's occupation is listed as "Journalist". He was also a top-rank tennis player. He became the highly-regarded tennis correspondent of the Daily Telegraph and, among other sporting achievements, captained British tennis teams on tour in Europe, South Africa and India. (More information in Wikipedia.)

William's journalistic and tennis career meant that he travelled widely, but the growing family settled in Epsom, at "Berrow" in Downs Avenue. William died there on 16 June 1939. The 1939 Register (taken in late September) records the newly-widowed Lilian living there with two of her unmarried daughters (31 year old Thora, a "Journalist"; and the last of her seven children, 21 year Prudence, an "Art Student"). They were supported by a live-in domestic servant/cook. Also logged there were three apparently unrelated individuals.

William's journalistic and tennis career meant that he travelled widely, but the growing family settled in Epsom, at "Berrow" in Downs Avenue, where William died on 16 June 1939. The September 1939 Register recorded the newly-widowed Lilian living there with two of her unmarried daughters - 31 year old Thora, (a "Journalist") and the last of her seven children, 21 year Prudence (an "Art Student"). They were supported by a live-in domestic servant/cook. Also logged there were three apparently unrelated individuals.

The readily available records provide disappointingly little information about Anthony's WW2 service in the Royal Army Service Corps. However, it is clear that he was sent to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force. As is well-known, this was unable to resist the German invasion which, while expected, was of unanticipated speed and ferocity. In the fighting retreat to Dunkirk, Anthony was wounded and listed as missing. He was rather later found to have died - hence the 16 May to 12 August 1940 window for his death.

Anthony is one of the 793 Commonwealth WW2 casualties buried in the Dunkirk Town Cemetery. (The Cemetery is also contains the Dunkirk Memorial which commemorates 4,512 members of the British Expeditionary Force who have no known grave.)The family took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on joint grave 2.1.8,
"Remembering you, we will be brave and strong."
The Dunkirk Town Cemetery
The Dunkirk Town Cemetery
Photograph with thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Roger Morgan © 2018

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