WW2 Book of Remembrance - Surnames R

Index

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[Content]

RANDALL, Dennis Charles (New 30/10/2017)
RASEY, William George (Revised 27/11/2017)
RAWKINS, Geoffrey Lubbock (New 30/10/2017)
RAWSON, John Leslie (New 10/08/2013)
REACH, Sidney Christopher * (New 30/10/2017)
REACH, Thomas Edmund * (New 30/10/2017)
READ, Charles Edward (Revised 27/11/2017)
READ, Clive Ronald (Revised 27/11/2017)
REDFORD, Keith George (New 30/10/2017)
REES, Dewi (New 08/01/2018)
REESE, Frederick Oscar (New 30/10/2017)
REEVES, Charles Walter (New 08/01/2018)
RELF, Harold Albert John * (New 30/10/2017)
REYNOLDS, Ernest Robert Frank (New 30/10/2017)
RICHARDS, John Conway (New 30/10/2017)
RICHARDSON, Charles Henry (New 08/01/2018)
RICHARDSON, Edgar Arthur (New 08/01/2018)
RICHMOND, John Roderick (New 30/10/2017)
RINGER, Edwin Charles (Revised 29/11/2017)
ROBERTS, Albert (New 21/08/2017)
ROBERTSON, Adelaide Elvira May * (New 30/10/2017)
ROBINSON, George Radford (New 30/10/2017)
ROLL, John Castledine (New 07/08/2017)
ROOK, Peter (New 08/01/2018)
ROSS, Jack Kenneth (New 30/10/2017)
ROTHON, Norman Ashford (New 08/01/2018)
ROUTLEDGE, Leslie Thomas (New 30/10/2017)
ROWE, Charles * (New 30/10/2017)
ROWE, William (New 08/01/2018)
ROWLAND, Leah Frances * (New 30/10/2017)
ROWLAND, Thomas Alfred (New 21/08/2017)
RUMSEY, Eric George Henry * (New 30/10/2017)
RUSSELL, Alexander (Revised 02/01/2018)
RYAN, Ronald (New 30/10/2017)

* = 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


RANDALL, Dennis Charles. Rifleman (6855672)

1st Battalion, King's Royal Rifle Corps
Died 10 July 1944, aged 22

Son of Alan and Florence Kathleen Randall, of Ewell, Surrey.

Buried in the Arezzo War Cemetery, Italy

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RASEY, William George. Sergeant/Wireless Op./Air Gunner (1801807)

101 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
Died 29 August 1944, aged 22.

William's headstone in the Palsjo War Cemetery, Sweden
William's headstone in the Palsjo War Cemetery, Sweden
Picture courtesy of www.hembygdshistoria.se/palsjo

Edward Rasey of the RAF listed in the Borough's Book of Remembrance does not appear in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's records. The only person - of any service - with the surname Rasey contained in the latter is this "William George Rasey" who, as described below, is connected with the Borough.

William was born Q1 1922 in the Epsom District, the second child of William Charles Rasey and Lilian Amelia (née Boulcott - they had married Q1 1919, also in the Epsom District). The couple eventually had six children.

The Raseys were a well-established Epsom Family: William Charles (William's father) was one of 14 children born to Thomas and Emily Rasey of Epsom Common. While William Charles survived his WW1 service (in the East Surrey Regiment & Labour Corps), three of his brothers - Frederick (whose WW1 entry sets out the family background), Albert & Bertie - did not.

The 1939 Register records parents William Charles and Lilian living at 18 Tonstall Road, West Ewell, with two of their children (first born Rosina and the penultimate Charles) and three currently closed records - presumably of other children. Father William was listed as a "General Labourer, Heavy Work" and Lilian with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". The 20 year old Rosina was a "Laundry Maid" and 5 year old Charles was at school.

Their son William's WW2 service was in 101 Squadron, part of the RAF's Bomber Command. In 1944, this was equipped with Avro Lancaster heavy bombers and was operating from RAF Ludford Magna, an airfield built the previous year some 20 miles north east of Lincoln.

Late on 29 August 1944, William was part of the 9-strong crew of Avro Lancaster Mk.I LL757 SR-W which took off from Ludford Magna to take part in a bombing raid on Stettin (now Szczecin) in Poland, an important port and industrial centre. On the way to the target, the aircraft was attacked by a German night fighter and badly damaged. It seems that the pilot was making for neutral Sweden. Having crossed the coast just north of Helsingborg, it appears that the crew bailed out but the aircraft (which had a full bomb load) exploded in the air at the same time, killing all nine.

William is one of 47 Commonwealth airmen of the Second World War buried in the Helsingborg (Palsjo) Municipal Cemetery, Sweden.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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RAWKINS, Geoffrey Lubbock

Civilian
Died 11 October 1940, aged 41

Geoffrey was born in Hackney on 11 September 1899, the son of David Josiah and Margaret Rawkins, who the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records list as being of 95 Wavertree Road, Streatham Hill, London.

In Wandsworth Q4 1924, he married Dorothy Hale. The 1939 Register records the couple lodging with Malcolm and Nora Peskett(?) at 38 Farm Avenue, Harrow. Geoffrey's occupation is listed as "Quantity Surveyor" (with Dorothy's as the conventional "unpaid domestic duties").

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records Geoffrey as, at the time of his death, of Craven Cottage, Woodcote Hurst, Epsom where he died on 11 October 1940, presumably as the result of enemy action.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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RAWSON John Leslie, Gunner 1542741

3 Lt AA Regt. Royal Artillery
Killed in Action 21 April 1942 aged 25.

The name of Gunner J L Rawson is inscribed on the Singapore Memorial. He had been in 3 Lt AA Regt Royal Artillery and died 21 April 1942, presumably in Changi POW Camp.

His father Frank John Rawson (b reg Epsom 3/1885) married Emma Constance Palmer (reg Epsom 6/1914) and John had been born 25/3/1917 (bap St Mary's Ewell, 19/4/1917 - siblings also appear there). The family lived at Avebury, Heatherside Road, Ewell and the father was a schoolmaster possibly at Pound Lane, Epsom.

Information source: Brian Bouchard

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REACH Sidney Christopher

Civilian
Died 15/10/1940, aged 37

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Son of E. M. Reach, of 88 Newbury Gardens, Ewell, Surrey, and of Thomas Edmund Reach; husband of M. W. Reach, of 24 Norfolk Road, Thornton Heath, Surrey. Died at Sawmills, Hercules Road, Lambeth.

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REACH Thomas Edmund

Civilian
Died 15/10/1940, aged 66

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Husband of E. M. Reach, of 88 Newbury Gardens, Ewell, Surrey. Died at Sawmills, Hercules Road, Lambeth.

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READ, Charles Edward. Sergeant/Observer (580828)

37 Squadron, Royal Air Force.
Died 15 July 1940, aged 20.

Charles was born Q3 1920, the first child of Charles Edward (in some records, written Edward Charles) and Florence Ethel (née Rider - they had married Q1 1920). Their marriage, Charles's birth and those of his siblings (John, born Q1 1923, and Elizabeth, born Q4 1925) were all registered in the Epsom District. The 1939 Register records the parents living at 29 Shortcroft Road, Ewell together with three currently closed records at that address, presumably of their three teenage children. Father Charles is listed as "Electrician (Lighting Heating)" and Florence with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties".

Clive junior served in 37 Squadron, part of RAF's Bomber Command. At 2200 hours on Sunday 14 July 1940, Charles was part of the five-strong crew on Wellington 1c L7792/LF-L that took off from RAF Feltwell, Norfolk, as part of a larger mission to to bomb Hamburg. Before reaching the target the aircraft was shot down by flak from the No.1 Reserve Flak of 182 Blumental-Bremen, and crashed at Beckedorf.

German troops inspecting the crashed Wellington L7792/LF-L
German troops inspecting the crashed Wellington L7792/LF-L
Image (and mission details below) courtesy of findagrave.com

While two of the crew survived and were taken prisoner, the other three, including Charles, were killed. He is buried in the Becklingen War Cemetery, Niedersachsen, Germany

Roger Morgan © 2017

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READ, Clive Ronald. Galley Boy

SS Christian Michelsen, Merchant Navy
Died 26 September 1943, aged 18

Clive's surname was Read rather than the "Reed" noted in the Borough's Book of Remembrance. Unusually, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission records contain no information about his family background. However, it seems likely that he was the first child of Ambrose Read and Doris (née Dench). They had married in Reigate Q1 1924 and this is where Clive's Q2 1925 birth was registered - as was the Q1 1929 birth of his sister Audrey. The Q4 1934 birth of the couple's third child, Anthony, was registered in the Surrey Mid Eastern District so the family was probably already living at 28 Wheelers Lane Epsom, which is where the parents (with Ambrose as a "Sign Writer and Decorating Contractor") and 5 year old Anthony were - with two currently closed records - at the time of the 1939 Register.

Clive served aboard the Norwegian steam merchant SS Christian Michelsen which, in September 1943, was part of Convoy UGS-17 from New York to Sicily. Its cargo included 3,000 tons of oil drums, and 7,000 tons of aircraft bombs and ammunition. At 1900 hours on 26 Sep 1943 (not far short of the destination - between Sicily and Tunisia), the Convoy was attacked by U-boat U-410. A torpedo hit the SS Christian Michelsen which - unsurprisingly, given its cargo - blew up, sinking in less than a minute. Miraculously, three crewmen survived, but 47 - including Clive - were killed.

The SS Christian Michelsen
The SS Christian Michelsen
Photo courtesy of Karl Morten Bardsen, via uboat.net

His body was never found and he is remembered on the Tower Hill Memorial.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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REDFORD, Keith George. Flight Sergeant/Air Bomber (656698)

578 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Died 16 March 1944, aged 22

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

Son of Osbert Henry and Amelia Phyllis Redford, of Ewell.

At 1852 hrs on 15 March 1944 Keith was part of the crew of 578 Squadron Halifax Mk III LW495 LK-C which took off from RAF Burn (a few miles outside Selby, Yorkshire) for a night raid on Stuttgart. (862 other aircraft also took part in this night raid: 617 Lancasters, 230 Halifaxes and 16 Mosquitoes.)

The Handley Page Halifax B.III
The Handley Page Halifax B.III
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Clear weather with adverse winds caused the delayed opening of the attack and the same winds may have caused the Pathfinder marking falling well short of the target. Early bombing fell in the centre of Stuttgart, but most of the bombing fell in open ground south-west of the city.

37 of the 863 aircraft involved in the attack were lost that night. In the case of Keith's Halifax, this was only a few miles from home when, presumably as a result of damage over enemy territory, the aircraft crashed at 0335 into the brickworks at Selby.

Five of the crew of seven were killed. Keith was buried in Epsom Cemetery (Grave N257) on 21 March 1944.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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REES, Dewi. First Radio Officer

M.V. Fort Richepanse (Belfast) Merchant Navy
Died 3 September 1941 Age 29

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Son of Mrs. P. E. Rees, of Ewell, Epsom, Surrey; husband of Elizabeth Rees, of Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire.

Commemorated: Tower Hill Memorial, Panel 51.

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REESE, Frederick Oscar

Civilian
Died 15 October 1940, aged 55

Frederick was born on 26 June 1884 in Pontardawe, Glamorganshire, Wales. In Q4 1918, he married Frances Margaret Meade (who had been born on Christmas Day 1884) in the St Martin area of London.

The 1939 Register records the couple living at 28 Woodcote Park Road, Epsom. Frederick's occupation is listed as "Export & Imports Company Director" and Frances' as the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties".

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records note that Frederick died at Epsom County Hospital, presumably of injuries caused by "enemy action".

Roger Morgan © 2017

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REEVES, Charles Walter. Leading Aircraftman 1291215

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 5 May 1944 Age 21

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Son of Charles and Florence Emily Reeves, of Epsom, Surrey.

Buried: Ramleh War Cemetery, 5. C. 7.

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RELF Harold Albert

Civilian
Died 13/11/1940, aged 48

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Of 42 Woodcroft Road, Thornton Heath, Croydon. Son of Mrs. E. Relf, of 13 Ramsey Road, Thornton Heath, and of the late A. Relf; husband of Una Emily Relf. Injured 10 November 1940, at Woodcroft Road; died at Horton Emergency Hospital, Epsom.

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REYNOLDS, Ernest Robert Frank. Leading Aircraftman (1265608)

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 13 December 1944, aged 39

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

Ernest was born in Epsom on 8 June 1905. Also in Epsom, Q1 1930, he married Irene Mabel Tugwell. (She had been born in Reigate on 21 November 1909.)

The 1939 Register records the couple living at 45 College Road, Epsom, with Ernest's occupation listed as a general labourer. (Irene's was the conventional "unpaid domestic duties".) There is one currently closed record at the address, presumably their son Michael, born Q4 1938. (Their second son, Gerald, was born in Q2 1940.)

On 19 December 1944, Ernest was buried in Epsom Cemetery (Grave N254), where the records note that he died at Horton Emergency Hospital, Epsom.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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RICHARDS, John Conway. Able Seaman (P/JX 141477)

HM Submarine H.31, Royal Navy
Died 24 December 1941, aged 22.

Son of Alfred Thomas Richards and Alice Margaret Richards, of Ewell, Surrey.

Submarine H 31 was laid down on 19 April 1917 and was commissioned on 21 February 1919. During WW2, she took part in the November 1941 operation to keep the German battleship Scharnhorst in Brest.

HM Submarine H 31.
HM Submarine H 31.
Copyright acknowledged.

On 19 December 1941, H31 sailed from Falmouth for a Bay of Biscay patrol, 250 nautical miles north of Cape Finisterre. She was reported overdue on 26 December 1941. The precise date of her loss with all 22 on board (including John) is unknown - as is the cause, although this is generally understood to have been a drifting mine.

John is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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RICHARDSON, Charles Henry. Flight Sergeant 1392954

630 Sqdn. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 22 May 1944 Age 26

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Son of Frederick Samuel and Mabel Louisa Richardson, of Epsom, Surrey.

Buried: Esbjerg (Fourfelt) Cemetery, Coll. grave A. 12. 18-24.

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RICHARDSON, Edgar Arthur. Private 29808

18th Bn. New Zealand Infantry
Died 25 May 1941 Age 31

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Son of Victor Richardson and of Mary Richardson, of Ewell, Surrey, England.

Buried: Suda Bay War Cemetery, 6. D. 4.

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RICHMOND, John Roderick. Sergeant/Pilot (658703)

211 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Died 2 May 1943, aged 22.

John ('Jack') Richmond
John ("Jack") Richmond
Copyright acknowledged.

John (known as "Jack") was born in September 1920, the son of Herbert Roderick and Bessie Harriet Richmond, of Epsom. (Herbert was the founder of Epsom Coaches in 1920.)

In the early hours of 2 May 1943, Jack Richmond was the pilot of a Wellington Bomber IC Z8806 of 11 OTU which took off from RAF Westcott on a night training flight over Oxfordshire. He apparently lost control and, at 0245 hours, the aircraft crashed at Stadhampton (a few miles south east of Oxford) killing him and the other six on board.

Jack is buried in Epsom Cemetery (Grave N258).

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

Roger Morgan © 2017

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RINGER, Edwin Charles. Serjeant (5771996)

1st Battalion, Royal Norfolk Regiment
Died 5 November 1944, aged 28.

The CWGC website entry for Edwin C (Charles) Ringer states his age as 28 when he died in 1944, which means that he was born around 1916, and the Army Roll of Honour states that he was born in Norfolk. However, no birth record has been found for him.

Edwin married Edith Frances May Bullen in the December quarter of 1940 in the Surrey Mid Eastern registration district. Edith was born on 25 March 1914 in Epsom and was baptised at St. Barnabas church on 21 June 1914. Her parents, Walter, a labourer, and Edith Bullen (nee Stevell), lived at 237 Hook Road, Epsom. Four of Edith's siblings were also baptised at St. Barnabas church. The 1939 Register records Edith (currently employed as a laundry maid) living with her parents and an older brother at 237 Hook Road, Epsom.

Edwin and Edith had two children, Rosemary E.F. registered in 1941 and John G. registered in 1944.

It is not known if Edwin was a Regular Army soldier before the war but the 1st Battalion Royal Norfolk Regiment was a Regular Army unit that was stationed in Bangalore, India at the outbreak of war, being recalled to Britain in the summer of 1940 for home defence and initially was billeted in Ashtead.

The Battalion became part of the185th Infantry Brigade and landed on Red Queen Beach, the left flank of Sword Beach at 07:25 on 6 June 1944, D-Day, and fought through the Normandy Campaign, then throughout the North- West Europe Campaign. Allied forces entered the Netherlands on 12 September 1944. Airborne operations later that month established a bridgehead at Nijmegen and in the following months, coastal areas and ports were cleared and secured.

The battle of Overloon began on 30 September as the Allies in Operation Aintree advanced from nearby positions south toward the village of Overloon. An advance on Venray resulted in serious losses, especially around the Loobeek creek, which was swollen due to heavy autumn rains and was flooded and mined by the Germans. Casualties were heavy here among the First Battalion of the Royal Norfolk Regiment. By the end of the war in Europe, the 1st Battalion had gained a remarkable reputation and had suffered 20 officers and 260 other ranks killed with well over 1,000 wounded or missing in 11 months of almost continuous combat.

The CWGC records that Edwin died on 5 November 1944, has no known grave and is commemorated on the Groesbeek Memorial to the missing in the Netherlands. Groesbeek is a village about 6 miles south east of the city of Nijmegen. The memorial commemorates 1,029 members of the Commonwealth land forces who died during the campaign in north-west Europe.

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

Edwin has no know grave and is commemorated on the Groesbeek Memorial, Gelderland, Netherlands.

Clive Gilbert & Hazel Ballan 2014

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ROBERTS, Albert. Private (5768951)

Royal Norfolk Regiment, 2nd Battalion
Died between 10 May and 2 October 1940, aged 30

The records of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission normally contain the names the parents (and, if applicable, the spouse) of those killed in action, together with the town they were from - but not in this case. "Albert Roberts" is not an unusual enough name to track down in the readily available records with any confidence so, at least for the time being, his background and connection with Epsom remain unknown. Indeed, even the details of his death are unclear, with the Commission's records giving a five-month window.

What is known is that Albert served in the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Norfolk Regiment which was sent to France in the early days of WW2 as part of the British Expeditionary Force. While the BEF had prepared for the expected German invasion of France, when that came, its ferocity drove the Allies back.

The 2nd Battalion was part of the rear-guard actions with French allies seeking to maximise the time for other British forces to reach Dunkirk and then be evacuated in Operation Dynamo (from 26 May to 4 June 1940).

Many men were killed or captured during those rear-guard actions and their aftermath. At some point, Albert was lost. He is remembered on the Dunkirk Memorial (at the entrance to the Commonwealth War Graves section of Dunkirk Town Cemetery) which commemorates more than 4,500 casualties of the British Expeditionary Force who died in the campaign of 1939-40 (or who were captured during this campaign) and who have no known grave.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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ROBERTSON Adelaide Elvira May

Civilian
Died 20/02/1942, aged 30

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Of 109 Mann Street, Southwark, London. Daughter of the late James Mcdonald Robertson. Died at Horton Emergency Hospital, Epsom.

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ROBINSON, George Radford. Lance Corporal (2619629)

6th Battalion, Grenadier Guards.
Died 9 November, 1943, aged 30.

Son of Harry Radford Robinson and Annie Robinson; husband of Winifred Florence Robinson, of Worcester Park, Surrey.

Buried in the Cassino War Cemetery, Italy.

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ROLL, John Castledine. Captain (155657)

2nd Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment
Killed in action 8 July 1944, aged 28

Captain J C Roll
Captain J C Roll
Image courtesy of his nephew, John Roll-Pickering © 2017

John Castledine Roll was born on 14 June 1916, the first child of Henry John Roll and Elizabeth (née Castledine - hence John's middle name). Before the birth of Nora (the couple's only other child) in 1920, they moved to their long-term home, Harmston (now numbered 12) in Christ Church Road, Epsom. (The house name honoured Elizabeth's home town in Lincolnshire, where the couple - normally known as Harry and Bessie - had married in 1914.)

Harry was the oldest son of Henry Roll who with, his partner Henry Taylor, ran an Epsom-based building firm. Harry (with his younger brother, Frank Ernest) continued in the building trade and, as H H & F Roll, became significant local developers - among other projects, overseeing the 1930s development of Hookfield.

The 1939 Register (taken on 29 September, three weeks after the British declaration of war) lists Harry as a "Building Contractor" - and the 23 year-old John as a "Builder's Assistant". Before long, however, John had enlisted. Having successfully completed his officer training on 9 November 1940, he was gazetted as a Second Lieutenant in the Lincolnshire Regiment, in which he was assigned to the 2nd Battalion. (The Regiment did not become the Royal Lincolnshire Regiment until after the war.)

The 2nd Battalion had seen action as part of the British Expeditionary Force in Northern France where it suffered losses, through both death and capture, before the remainder were evacuated from Dunkirk. So, by the time John joined it, the Battalion was back in the UK. At first, it was engaged in home defence in anticipation of the threatened German invasion. After the tide of war turned, the Battalion - in which John had been promoted to Captain - was then involved in preparations for the D-Day landings on 6 June 1944.

The Battalion was part of the British forces assigned to land on Sword Beach, the easternmost of the D-Day beaches. After aerial bombardment, the first ashore were tanks to provide covering fire for the infantry landings that began at 0730. The 2nd Battalion was in the wave that began landing at 1130. Casualties during the actual landings were relatively light, but there was fierce fighting not far behind the beach. The rapid advance and quick capture of objectives (including Caen itself, some 6 miles inland) did not materialise as planned.

It took several weeks' hard fighting to get sufficient men and materiel in place to mount "Operation Charnwood" - a three-pronged attack aiming to take Caen. In this, the 2nd Lincolnshire Battalion was assigned to the easternmost "prong" aiming to take the bordering village of Herouville-Saint-Clair. This was their first major action of the invasion, and was directed from Battalion HQ in the Chateau de Beuregard.

Following the Allies' air bombardment of Caen the previous evening (the first use of heavy bombers for tactical bombing), the early hours of Saturday 8 July saw a tremendous artillery barrage, coupled with shells from the 16-inch guns of HMS Rodney stationed off-shore. While that led to the relatively straightforward liberation of Caen itself, the three-day "Battle of Herouville" was a much tougher fight as the attack was over ground exposed to enemy fire from across the Orne canal.

On the first day of the battle, Captain John Roll was overseeing the mortar support for the attack from various positions just in front of the Chateau. Late in the morning, he was between two of the mortar positions when the German forces launched a Nebelwerfer rocket, known by the troops as a "Moaning Minnie" because of its distinctive whine in the air. It landed just a few feet from the mortar pit that John had just visited. While the pit provided sufficient cover for the men of the mortar platoon to survive, the blast killed John instantly.

The capture of Herouville cost the 2nd Lincolns around 200 casualties (including 50 deaths, one of which was John's) between 8-12 July 1944. The dead were first buried in the grounds of the Chateau de Beuregard but, with about 2,500 others from the general area, were subsequently re-interred in the new War Cemetery at Ranville, the first village to be liberated in France when the bridge over the Caen Canal was captured intact in the early hours of 6 June by troops of the 6th Airborne Division.

The Roll family were very active members of Christ Church, Epsom Common: among other things, Harry was a Churchwarden from 1941 to 1946. In addition to John's entry on the parish WW2 memorial, he is also remembered on one of Christ Church's new peal of bells installed in 1992. Kindly sponsored by Harry and Bessie's other child, Nora (who married Thomas Pickering in 1943), the bell carries the following dedication: "In loving memory of Harry and Bessie Roll and their son John who worshipped and worked in this church".

Roger Morgan © 2017

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ROOK, Peter. Captain 67912

1/5th Bn. Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment)
Died 11 February 1942 Age 26

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Son of Maurice and Ethel Rook, of Epsom, Surrey; husband of Helen Rook.

Buried: Kranji War Cemetery, 23. C. 16-17 (Jt.)

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ROSS, Jack Kenneth. Flight Lieutenant (79163) D F C

134 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
Died 6 January 1942, aged N/K

Jack Kenneth Ross
Jack Kenneth Ross
Copyright acknowledged.

For someone with a distinguished record as a WW2 fighter pilot, there is surprisingly little background information about Jack Kenneth Ross. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's records do not give any of the usual, albeit brief, family connections - nor, indeed, even his age when he died.

The following is known about his WW2 career. Jack joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve about March 1939 as an Airman u/t Pilot. Called up on 1 September, he completed his training and, on 25 May 1940, was posted to RAF Kenley to join 17 Squadron, which flew Hawker Hurricanes. The Squadron was sent to France on 5 June where, operating from bases in Le Mans and Dinard, it was active in impeding German attacks on the British Expeditionary Force as it withdrew to Dunkirk. Jack had a natural flair as a fighter pilot and used this to good effect.

Back in the UK, the Squadron and Jack were heavily engaged in the Battle of Britain. On the particularly intense day of 13 October 1940, Jack was involved in a dogfight over Chatham when his Hurricane was shot down by friendly anti-aircraft fire. He baled out, wounded, and was admitted to Gravesend Hospital. His Hurricane, P3536, crashed at Rochester.

When 134 Squadron - equipped with Spitfire fighters - was formed at RAF Leconfield on 31 July 1941 from 17 Squadron personnel, Ross was promoted and went to the new unit as a Flight Commander. He and the Squadron then served in Russia to assist their forces resistance to German attacks eastwards. In November 1941, Jack was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

The Squadron returned from Russia in December 1941 and, after a short stay at Catterick, was posted to RAF Eglinton, Northern Ireland (now the City of Derry airport) for defence and convoy escort duties.

During a convoy escort on 6 January 1942, Jack had to ditch his Spitfire IIa P8393 in the Irish Sea - it is thought as result of engine failure. Extensive searches failed to find him.

This WW2 "Ace" (credited with 7 kills - and will have assisted in many others) is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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ROTHON, Norman Ashford. Captain 149749

Royal Artillery
Died 26 March 1944 Age 31

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Son of Sydney and Ida Jennie Rothon, of Epsom Downs, Surrey. A.A.I.

Buried: Taukkyan War Cemetery, 7. C. 5.

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ROUTLEDGE, Leslie Thomas. Stoker 1st Class (C/KX 95515)

HMS Eskimo, Royal Navy
Died 13 April 1940, aged 20

Leslie was born in Epsom Q4 1919, the son of Lily Routledge (née Mitchell). The 1939 Register records the presumably widowed Lily (born 12 February 1886) living at 41a Heatherside Road, West Ewell. Also present are three youngsters (presumably her children - but not Leslie), a currently closed record and a young lodger. Lily's occupation is described as (Café Kitchen Hand").

Leslie served on HMS Eskimo, a Tribal-class destroyer. From the date of his death, it would appear that he was a victim of the torpedo which, during the "Second Battle of Narvik", blew off Eskimo's bow.

HMS Eskimo after the 12 April 1940 torpedo attack.
HMS Eskimo after the 12 April 1940 torpedo attack.
Imperial War Museums photograph N 233, Public Domain.

Although extensively damaged, the ship did not sink and, after repair, saw further active duty in the Mediterranean and English Channel.

Leslie's body was never recovered and he is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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ROWE Charles. Fireman

National Fire Service
Died 17/02/1944, aged 43

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Husband of Inez Rowe, of 4 Station Hill, Lelant, St. Ives, Cornwall. Injured 17 January 1943, at St. Ives; died at Horton Emergency Hospital, Epsom.

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ROWE, William. Driver 1878857

Royal Engineers
Died 17 June 1940 Age 25

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Son of William and Mary Rowe, of Epsom, Surrey.

Buried: Pornic War Cemetery, 2. A. 6.

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ROWLAND Leah Frances

Civilian
Died 05/10/1940, aged 81

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Of 47 Haydock Road, Bermondsey, London. Widow of J. Rowland. Injured 6 September 1940, at 47 Haydock Road; died at Horton Emergency Hospital, Epsom. Buried Epsom Cemetery, Grave M354.

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ROWLAND, Thomas Alfred. Private (5436797)

Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, 5th Battalion
Died 28 March 1945, aged 31

Thomas was born on 31 August 1913 to William and Emily Rowland. Like his older and younger brothers - William (born 1906) and Walter (born 1921) - he was baptised in Christ Church Epsom Common. That was on 12 October 1913, when the parents' address was recorded as 2 Chandlers Cottages, Epsom.

The 1939 Register records the family living at 11 Ebba's Way, Epsom. Father William is listed as a "Locomotive Driver" and Thomas as a "Contractor's Labourer".

Thomas served in the 5th Battalion of the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry. This was a unit of the Territorial Army, and was engaged in home defence duties from the outbreak of WW2 until 1944, when they landed in Normandy with 43rd (Wessex) Division. The Division was closely involved in the Allies' hard-fought advance eastwards, including the significant March 1945 crossing of the Rhine, shortly after which Thomas was killed.

He is buried in the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery - near the Rhine in the extreme north-west of Germany, just south of Arnhem in The Netherlands. The Cemetery was created after WW2 when burials were brought in from all over western German. With some 7,600 Commonwealth servicemen of the Second World War buried or commemorated there, it is the largest Commonwealth cemetery in the country.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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RUMSEY Eric George Henry. Leading Sick Berth Attendant P/MX 58359.

Royal Navy - HMS Cossack
Died 23/10/1941, aged 24

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Son of George Henry and Dorothy Florence Alberta Rumsey, of Epsom. The Rumseys were originally a Suffolk family.

Served aboard HMS Cossack which was torpedod by the German submarine U-563 off Gibralter. Although the vessel did not sink immediately in total 159 lives were lost.

Commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Panel 57, Column 2.

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RUSSELL, Alexander. Flight Sergeant/Flight Engineer (653110)

97 Squadron, Royal Air Force.
Died 17 December 1943, aged 25

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

The marriage of William Russell (b. 21 July 1890) to Mary S Middleton (b. 7 August 1887) was registered at St Martin for the June Quarter of 1915. Birth of their son Alexander followed at St George Hanover Square, 6/1918.

In 1939 the Russell family were living at 32 Seaforth Gardens, Stoneleigh, with William described as 'Police Constable - re-engaged pensioner'. [He is presumed to have been an officer in the Metropolitan Police who joined on 23 Jan 1911, and left on 23 May 1937. Last posted to A Division, Whitehall, as a PC.]

Alexander's Service Number 653110 indicates that he enlisted with the RAF as a civilian in or after March 1938.

97 squadron (RAF) arrived at RAF Bourn on 18 April1943. They came to suffer one of the worst nights on Bomber Command record, over 16/17 December 1943, which became known as 'Black Thursday'. A large number of aircraft had left to attack Berlin and casualties to and from the target were relatively light. For 97 Squadron, however, it was on arriving home that they ran into trouble because the weather had closed in on Bourn and some aircraft attempted to hang about hoping for improvement of the conditions. Cosequently they suffered a critical loss of fuel and several aircraft crashed in the dense fog. JB531 'OF-Y'; JA963 'Q'; JB243 'P'; JB482 'S'; JB219 'R'; JB117 'C'; JB119 'F' and JB176 'K' of 97 Squadron were all lost in the vicinity of the airfield with many of the crews being killed. In particular, Lancaster JB243 ran out of petrol during a landing at Graveley, and suffered a horrific crash and fire which left only one badly-burned survivor, James Benbow.

Its crew had been: -
  • Pilot: S/L Ernest Alfred Deverill, Buried in Docking (St Mary) Churchyard, Norfolk
  • Flight Engineer: F/S Alexander Russell, Buried in Epsom Cemetery
  • Navigator: P/O John Thomas Brown, Buried in Belfast (Dundonald) Cemetery
  • Bomb Aimer: F/S Francis Roy Farr, Buried in Windsor Cemetery
  • W/Op: F/S Ralph Crossgrove, RNZAF, Buried in Cambridge City Cemetery
  • Mid-Upper Gunner: W/O James Benbow, severely injured obtained life-saving treatment treatment in Ely Hospital and at East Grinstead - a Gunea Pig Club member.
  • Rear Gunner: W/O Donald Jamieson Penfold, Buried in Worthing (Durrington) Cemetery.
Alexander was was buried in Grave N593 of Epsom Cemetery, son of William and Mary Russell, of Markinch, Fife, with a headstone that indicates he was known as "Sandy" Interment records note that he died at RAF Graveley, Cambridgeshire.

Brian Bouchard © 2018

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RYAN, Ronald. Lance Serjeant (6090148). MM

2/6th Battalion, The Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey)
Died 9 September 1944, aged 25

Son of Vincent and Ann Ryan, of Epsom Downs, Surrey.

Buried in the Coriano Ridge War Cemetery, Italy.

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