WW2 Book of Remembrance - Surnames S

Index

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[Content]

SALT, Gordon Geoffrey (Revised 01/05/2018)
SALT, Lionel Eric Sydney (Revised 01/05/2018)
SALTER, Henry * (Revised 27/03/2018)
SANDALL, Jack Francis (New 20/12/2014)
SAUNDERS, Alfred (Revised 24/06/2018)
SAUNDERS, Bertram Eric (Revised 19/01/2018)
SAUNDERS, Charles Henry (Revised 15/02/2018)
SAUNDERS, Glyn Tremlett (Revised 01/05/2018)
SAUNDERS, Victor Lewis (Revised 27/03/2018)
SAVAGE, Basil Oswald (Revised 26/11/2017)
SAVAGE, Eric John (New 02/09/203317)
SCOFFIN, John Sidney (Revised 19/01/2018)
SELBY, William Edward (Revised 01/05/2018)
SELMAN, Harry William (New 02/09/2017)
SEXTONE, Mary * (Revised 03/05/2018)
SEYMOUR, Noel Arthur (Revised 21/01/2018)
SEYMOUR, Stanley (Revised 03/05/2018)
SHAW, Charles * (Revised 03/05/2018)
SHEPPARD, Leslie Bernard (Revised 03/05/2018)
SHERRIFF, James Thomas Roy (Revised 28/03/2018)
SHORT, Eric (Revised 18/02/2018)
SHORT, Harold Edgar (Revised 18/02/2018)
SHRUBB, Leonard Charles (Revised 04/05/2018)
SIMMONDS, Hunter Edward (Revised 22/01/2018)
SIMNER, Kenneth Nugent (Revised 04/05/2018)
SIMONS, John Frederick (Revised 04/05/2018)
SIMPSON, Lancelot (Revised 05/07/2018)
SISSON, William * (Revised 05/05/2018)
SKELTON, Walter Allen (Revised 05/05/2018)
SMEDLEY, Denis Edward (Revised 05/05/2018)
SMITH, A .H.C. (Revised 05/05/2018)
SMITH, George Albert * (Revised 05/05/2018)
SMITH, George Bainbridge (Revised 05/05/2018)
SMITH, John Arthur (New 07/12/2014)
SMITH, James Bruce (New 29/08/2017)
SMITH, John Frederick (New 11/12/2014)
SMITH, Michael Arnold (Revised 11/02/2018)
SNEATH, Ronald Ernest (Revised 29/11/2017)
SNELLING, Alfred Victor (Revised 22/01/2018)
SPARK, Basil Douglas (Revised 07/05/2018)
SPARKE, Philip Donald Julian * (Revised 07/05/2018)
STANLEY, George Haynes (Revised 07/05/2018)
STEEL, George Robert (Revised 08/05/2018)
STEELE, Frederick Robert Ellis (Revised 08/05/2018)
STEPHENS, Geoffrey John * (Revised 03/03/2018)
STEPHENSON, Thomas (New 29/08/2017)
STEVENS, James William (Revised 07/05/2018)
STEVENSON, Ada Mary Pat * (Revised 07/05/2018)
STEWART, Donald John (Revised 07/05/2018)
STONE, Arthur John * (Revised 08/05/2018)
STONE, Frank James (Revised 08/05/2018)
STONE, Lewis Oliver * (Revised 08/05/2018)
STONE, Reginald (Revised 20/02/2018)
STURT, George Stanford (Revised 09/05/2018)
STURT, John Edward (Revised 09/05/2018)
SUTTON, Frank Charles (Revised 09/05/2018)
SUTTON, George Frederick Thomas (Revised 09/05/2018)
SWAINSTON, William Hopper * (Revised 09/05/2018)
SWAN, Mrs Annie Elizabeth (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


SALT, Gordon Geoffrey. Pilot Officer/Air Bomber (149344)

619 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 27 November 1943, aged 30

Gordon's headstone in the Harrogate Stonefall Cemetery.
Gordon's headstone in the Harrogate Stonefall Cemetery.
Photograph (51027853) by Peter Lucas via findagrave.com

Gordon was born Q2 1913, the third child of Charles Henry Salt and Amy (née Montgomery - they had married Q3 1905, registered in the Camberwell District). The 1911 Census records them living at "St Louis", Abbs Cross Lane, Hornchurch. 30 year old Charles Henry (originally from Wolverhampton) is listed as a "Traveller for firm of Lock and Safe Makers". 28 year old Amy (originally from Orpington) had her hands full with two children: 2 year old Winifred (born in Westcliff); and new-born Donald (born in Hornchurch, as were Gordon in Q2 1913 and the couple's last child, Lionel Salt - another WW2 casualty - in Q2 1921).

None of the family is confidently to be found in the 1939 Register and it was beginning to look difficult to flesh out the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's record that Charles Henry and Amy Salt, were "of Epsom". However, the 1942 Probate record of administration of brother Lionel's estate being awarded to his father notes that the address was 40 Hazon Way, Epsom.

Gordon's W2 service was in 619 Squadron, part of the RAF's Bomber Command. He was part of the seven-strong crew of Lancaster DV336 which, at 1710 hours on 26 November 1943, took off from RAF Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, to participate in a bombing raid on Berlin.

While they were away, the weather and visibility over Lincolnshire deteriorated badly. After a few crashes among the early returners, Lincolnshire-based squadrons instructed their returning aircraft to divert north to land in Yorkshire. However, the visibility over Yorkshire was not much better and a number of the bombers would also crashed there. One of these was Gordon's Lancaster DV336, piloted by 22 year old Pilot Officer Kenneth James Mears (156086).

The aircraft made two attempts at landing at RAF Elvington (about 80 miles north of Woodhall Spa). The second was made on completely the wrong line and at low altitude. The pilot opened up the throttles to try to fly another circuit of the airfield but, as it turned left, the aircraft lost height and crashed at around 0150 hours near Noah's Ark Farm, between Elvington and Wheldrake.

It appears that there were still bombs on board when it crashed as witnesses stated that the hole made by the crashing aircraft was "as big as a house". Unsurprisingly, there were no survivors among the seven-strong crew. An investigation believed that fatigue of the crew was a contributory cause of the crash: the aircraft had been in the air for over eight and a half hours - for most of the time flying through poor weather.

Gordon is buried in the Harrogate Stonefall Cemetery, Yorkshire. His parents took the option of adding a personal inscription (drawn from Psalm 107:30) to his headstone on Grave C.F.1,
"He bringeth them / to the haven / then are they glad / because they are at rest."
Roger Morgan © 2018
With thanks to http://www.yorkshire-aircraft.co.uk for the mission information above.

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SALT, Lionel Eric Sydney. Sergeant/Pilot (902909)

603 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 30 June, 1941, aged 20

Lionel's headstone in Pihen-les-Guines Communal Cemetery.
Lionel's headstone in Pihen-les-Guines Communal Cemetery.
Photograph (24182070) by "Len" via findagrave.com

Lionel was born Q2 1921, the fourth and last child of Charles Henry Salt and Amy (née Montgomery - they had married Q3 1905, registered in the Camberwell District). The 1911 Census records them living at "St Louis", Abbs Cross Lane, Hornchurch. 30 year old Charles Henry (originally from Wolverhampton) is listed as a "Traveller for firm of Lock and Safe Makers". 28 year old Amy (originally from Orpington) had her hands full with two children: 2 year old Winifred (born in Westcliff); and new-born Donald (born in Hornchurch, as were Gordon - another WW2 casualty - in Q2 1913 and Lionel in Q2 1921).

None of the family is confidently to be found in the 1939 Register and it was beginning to look difficult to flesh out the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's record that Charles Henry and Amy Salt, were "of Epsom". However, the 1942 Probate record of administration of Lionel's estate being awarded to his father notes that the address was 40 Hazon Way, Epsom.

Lionel's WW2 service was in fighter 603 Squadron. On 30 June 1941, he (flying his Spitfire R7270) and others took off from RAF Hornchurch, Essex to form part of a "Big Wing" sweep over France. 603 Squadron was assigned to "top cover" for the wing. Five miles after crossing the French coast, flying at 18,000 feet, the Squadron was attacked from above by enemy fighters. In the ensuing dogfight, they lost contact with the overall formation. It was not long before others registered that Lionel was missing, and it was later confirmed that he had been killed.

Lionel is one of 33 Commonwealth WW2 casualties buried in Pihen-les-Guines Communal Cemetery, Calais. His parents took the took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave A.10,
"He trusted in God / He did his duty / His salvation is sure."
Roger Morgan © 2018

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SALTER (born Smuklerz) Henry. Ordinary Seaman (P/JX 276570.)

Royal Navy - HMS Jaguar
Died 26 March 1942, aged 36

Harry's inscription on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.
Harry's inscription on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

The term "pogrom" became commonly used in English after a large-scale wave of anti-Jewish riots swept through south-western Imperial Russia (present-day Ukraine and Poland) from 1881 to 1884.

A family headed by Michel Smuklerz (b.c. 1845) and his wife Rebecca fled to England. A son, Adolph, had born 13 November 1877 in 'Nowykorczin Kele Powiat Stopnie', elsewhere stated to be Kielce, Kielce County, Swietokrzyskie, Poland.

About 1899, Adolph took a wife called Rose and fathered six children. The birth of Henry, 25 May 1905 in Rochester Road, London, NW1, came to be registered at St Pancras for the September Quarter of 1905.

For the 1911 Census they were enumerated in St Pancras at 117 Brecknock Road, Camden Road, London NW. Adolph was then trading on his own account as a Costume Manufacturer. On 22 December 1912 he made an oath of allegience under the name by which he had become commonly known, 'Adolph Salter', and was granted naturalisation by Certificate No. 21344.

Michel Smuklerz, otherwise Salter, died on 7 December 1927.

Henry Salter's marriage to Eileen Caroline Hart was recorded at Marylebone, 3/1933. This couple appear in the 1939 Register at 35 Hillside Gardens, Esher, Surrey, with Henry described as a 'Commercial Traveller'.

Evidently he entered the Royal Navy to fight as a British Jew under the white ensign. Henry was aboard HMS Jaguar which was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-652 northeast of Sidi Barrani, Egypt with the loss of 193 lives.

HMS Jaguar taking up her station.
HMS Jaguar taking up her station.
IWM Photograph (A 696) - Public Domain.

He is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Panel 66, Column 1, described by CWGC as the son of Adolph and Rose Salter; husband of Eileen Caroline Salter (nee Hart, later Kempner), of Epsom.

Adolph Salter of 182 High Street Bromley, Kent, died on 17 March 1945 at 119 Hayes Lane, Bromley.

Eileen C Salter married secondly Herbert Kempner, reg. Hampstead, 9/1945. She subsequently took up residence with her new husband at 13 Maidenshaw Road, Epsom. Herbert died during 1989 and Eileen Caroline Kempner on 31 October 1999.

Brian Bouchard © 2018

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SANDALL, Jack Francis, Flying Officer, Sergeant, 516159

Royal Air Force, 44 Squadron
Died 12 June 1940, aged 28.

Francis John Sandall (b. reg. St Olave, Bermondsey,12/1865) joined the Metropolitan Police as Police Constable 76216 on 18 June 1888. He married Amelia Simmonds at Epsom, 2 January 1890, but she appears to have died in Chelsea during the summer of 1910. They had become parents to three children.

A second marriage of Francis, to Louise Kate Cane, was registered at Fulham for the September Quarter of 1911followed by the arrival of their son, Jack Francis Sandall, in the same District, 6/1912. The family's address was then 76 Sandilands Road, Fulham.

PC Francis John Sandall left the Force on 23 June 1913 before the birth of his daughter was registered in Epsom, 12/1913. She had been born on 25 November 1913 and was baptised at St Barnabas' Church from 114 Hook Road, Epsom. A brother, Ronald Ernest also appears in Epsom, 3/1921.

'John' Francis Sandall , born Fulham in 1912, signed up at Avonmouth on 3 May 1930 as a Deck Boy aboard an Elders and Fyffes' banana boat, S S Greenbrier. He was described as being 5ft. 8ins. tall with blue eyes, light brown hair and a fair complexion. There is no evidence that he sailed on more than one voyage but not long afterwards joined the Royal Air Force.

Francis John Sandall died on 18 September 1933, in the Metropolitan Free Hospital, 376 Kingsland Road, Hackney, which had developed specialist services, including expertise in treating tuberculosis. He was was brought back to Epsom Cemetery for interment in a family plot, F145A, three days later.

RAF Waddington had re-opened as a bomber base in 1937 and at the outbreak of WW2 housed Nos. 44 & 50 Squadrons equipped with Handley Page Hampden aircraft. They were in action from the first day of World War II attempting to bomb the German Navy at Keil. After Dunkirk, large numbers of support troops were mretreating to the western-most ports to find a route home. The 51st Highland Division had been fully engaged, fighting a defensive battle under French Command. Then like the main French forces, they were outflanked and they made their way to the small French port of St Valery-en-Caux where an attempt was made by the Royal Navy to evacuate these troops. However the main German force was soon on the cliffs overlooking the town and able to bring fire down on them forcing survivors to surrender on 12 June 1940. It appears that a Handley Page 52, Hampden, Mk.B1, P1325, call sign KM-?, of 44 Squadron which had taken off from Waddington 'for the Battle Area' might have been attempting to provide air cover on that day. It was brought down in the Pas de Calais.

The circumstances have not been established but National Archives, reference AIR 81/86, contains a report of deaths - Hampden P1325 crashed near Calais, France, 12 June 1940 - Sergeant W Jeffrey, Sergeant J F Sandall, Sergeant C L Sumpster and Temporary Sergeant J Simpson. Their service numbers indicate that they had all enlisted around 1930/1933 and they may have been a 'scratch crew'. Cyril Leslie Sumpster had been a Cranwell apprentice and William Jeffrey a Halton 'brat'; each of them was described as a Pilot but the roles of the other two members were unspecified.

The crew were interred together in Joint grave 2. A. 6. of a War Cemetery extension of Le Paradis Churchyard. Le Paradis is a hamlet near the village of Lestrem in the Department of the Nord, 10 kilometres north of Bethune.

The death of Mrs Louisa K Sandall was registered in Surrey Mid. E for the September Quarter of 1957.

Brian Bouchard © 2018

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SAUNDERS, Alfred. Lance Corporal (K/74697)

28th Armoured Regiment, British Columbia Regiment, Royal Canadian Armoured Corps.
Died 21 January 1945, aged 34.

Alfred's headstone in the Bergen-op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery.
Alfred's headstone in the Bergen-op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery.
Photograph (12724820) by "Astrid" via findagrave.com

Alfred was born Q4 1910, the first of six children born to Alfred Harold Saunders and Lydia (née Dowling - they had married Q1 1910, registered in the Barnet District). Alfred junior's birth (and that of his five siblings, William, Robert, Avis, Betty and Lydia, between 1913 and 1922) was registered in the Edmonton District and probably happened at 7 South Road, New Southgate where 5 month old Alfred and his parents (30 year old Alfred and 25 year old Lydia) were recorded in the 1911 Census. Alfred senior ("Alfred Harold Hotspur" in full) is listed as an "Asylum Attendant", and almost certainly worked at the Friern Barnet Hospital which was just down the road.

By 1925 Alfred senior was listed (working) in the West Park Mental Hospital in the Horton polling district of Epsom. Between 1927 and 1945, he and his wife Lydia are recorded on the electoral rolls as living at 'Toronto', Ruxley Lane, West Ewell. (The burial on 13 October 1934 in grave K174 of Avis Mary Saunders, spinster, of the same address is recorded in the Epsom Cemetery records. Alfred senior, aged 82, following his death at Ewell Park Hospital on 17 August 1963 was buried in the same grave on 26 August 1963.) The 1939 Register records only Alfred's parents and sisters Betty (born 1920) and Lydia J. (born 1922) living in 'Toronto', Ruxley Lane, West Ewell.

The explanation of why Alfred junior's WW2 service was with the Canadian 28th Armoured Regiment, British Columbia Regiment begins with the record of the 24 year old "Fred Saunders" leaving Southampton on 21 April 1934 on the Aquitania. The ship's manifest records: his last UK address as 17 Henderson Road, Sunderland; his occupation as farming; and his intended "country of future permanent residence" as Canada.

On 27 January 1941, Alfred enlisted in Vancouver into the Canadian 28th Armoured Regiment, British Columbia Regiment. He gave his birth as 3 November 1910, his religion as Church of England and his last address as Lanning Apartments, Main Street, Vancouver. Alfred made his will out the following day leaving his estate to his brother, William Saunders of Jubilee Hotel, Victoria, British Columbia. William, also known as Bill, was noted as Alfred's next of kin but this was later changed on 22 January 1944 to their mother Lydia.

(Alfred's war records contain information that his brother Bill also enlisted into the same regiment and given the service number K38528. Should he die, William left all of his estate to his brother Alfred. However, a letter from their father records that William did survive the war but was badly wounded and burnt in France in 1944. He apparently received treatment in the Canadian Plastic Surgery Hospital in Basingstoke, Hampshire before returning to Canada.)

From September 1942, Alfred was stationed in the UK - certainly, in the latter stages, preparing for the invasion of France. The British Columbia Regiment (Duke of Connaught's Own), affectionately known as 'The Dukes', arrived in Normandy on 26 & 27 July 1944. The unit's first major action, on 9 & 10 August, saw it practically wiped out in an heroic stand on Hill 140: in the course of a night move, the Dukes had become lost and ended up, along with two companies of the Algonquin Regiment, cut off behind enemy lines.

The unit was rebuilt and, following the Normandy campaign, fought on into Belgium, the Netherlands and, finally, Germany itself. It was during action in the Netherlands that Alfred was killed on 21 January 1945, aged 34.

Alfred's war records state he died accidentally of multiple injuries caused by an explosion of a mine. Two other servicemen were also killed and nine others injured. Witnesses reported that they had been assembled at the Direct Fire Tank Range to have a demonstration of Troop Tactics. Before this commenced, a group of soldiers including Alfred, lit a fire using some wooden crates and empty cardboard shell containers twenty yards to the rear of the last tank. Half-an-hour later, at 1315, a loud explosion was heard by Lieutenant D I Gilbert, the officer who was due to give the demonstration. He inspected the area and in his opinion said there had been either a buried explosive or mine under the sand where the fire had been lit. Other statements were taken from witnesses, all of whom were sure that there had been no live ammunition left in the containers. The findings of the Court were that the fire had been built on top of some sort of buried unexploded projectile.

There are several letters in Alfred's military file from his family in England, and from his brother Bill in Canada, who believed that it was only right that the Canada Government should pay the cost for an inscription to be added to the family headstone on grave K174 in Epsom Cemetery. (That was to no avail: the headstone still mentions only those buried there.) There are also letters from Alfred's father asking why his son's wrist watch was not amongst the other personal articles that were eventually returned them. There are no replies on record from the Canadian War Office but one can imagine that, due to the accident, the watch was not recovered.

Alfred is one of 1,008 WW2 casualties buried in the Bergen-op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery in the Dutch province of Noord-Brabant, about 25 miles north-west of Antwerp (Belgium). His parents took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave 7.F.9,
"To Alf. Loved in life / honoured in death / treasured in memory / one of the best."
As noted above, Alfred's father died aged 82 in 1963. His mother, Lydia, died in 1974 aged 88, registered in the Sutton District.

Roger Morgan © 2018
Extended and updated by Hazeel Ballan 2018

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SAUNDERS, Bertram Eric. Sergeant (943666)

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 15 November 1944 Age 26

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance.

The marriage of Bertram L Saunders to Mabel M Ward was registered at St Geo. Hanover Sq. For the September Quarter of 1917. Birth of their son, Bertram Saunders came to be recorded at Lambeth, 9/1918.

Bertram, junior, married Winifred E Howard, reg. Streatham 6/1938.

Bertram Eric Saunders enlisted with the Royal Air Force at Cardington in September 1939.

In the village of Morchard Bishop, Devon, next to the war memorial, is a memorial to the 13 men who died in a mid-air collision between two Handley Page Halifax aircraft over the Parish, on the 15 November 1944. Following the collision, JP201 crashed at Crookstock Farm, approx 2 km. east of Morchard Bishop village. The only survivor was Plt Off Pugh, the pilot of JP201.

Crew of Halifax Mk II JP201, 1666 HCU, Wombleton: -
Flt. Sgt. Ian O'Connor RAAF
Sgt. Peter Straiton RAFVR
Sgt. Alfred Edwin Ackcral RAFVR
Sgt. Bertram Eric Saunders RAFVR
Sgt. John Edward Loos Sherwin RAFVR
Plt Off. Harold Kenneth Pugh RAAF (Initials shown as H. R. on memorial)
Halifax Mk 5 LL137, was from 1664 HCU, Dishforth.

In RAF Bomber Command losses of the Second World War, 1939-1947, W R Chorley, page 147, Volume 8 it is recorded:-
"On the 15th November 1944, Halifax JP201 took off from RAF Wombleton at 1730 hours, together with four aircraft from the station, to carry out a night cross-country and bombing exercise. While flying at 18,000 feet, JP201 and Halifax LL137 of 1664 HCU collided, and both aircraft crashed. JP201 crashed at Crookstock Farm, Devon and the crew in both aircraft were killed with the exception of PO Pugh (RAAF) who was uninjured.
In a later statement PO Pugh is reported to have testified:-
"An aircraft collided with our aircraft at approx 2145 hours at 18,000 feet. At the time of the collision the Navigator was standing by me, and the others were in their positions. The aircraft appeared to strike my aircraft underneath the nose on the starboard side. It shuddered badly and started to turn to starboard in a flat spiral attitude. Thinking the aircraft was stalled, I pushed the nose forward to try and regain flying speed. This had zero effect on the aircraft. With the collision, all the lights went out and the intercom cut. I called to the navigator to put on his chute, and warn the crew in the nose to jump. He told me the crew in the nose had already jumped, and he was going back for his chute. The Engineer asked if I was OK and I gave him the same order as the navigator. At the time of the accident the windscreen had iced up on the inside, and I could not see out. A fire started in the starboard side of the fuselage. I think the starboard inner fell off in the crash. The aircraft did not explode, but was burning badly when I left."
It was subsequently considered that Halifax LL137 might have been dog legging in order to lose time, and that the accident was due to poor visibility from the aircraft due to frost and possibly the lack of alertness by the crews concerned.

Further details and image at www.devonheritage.org

Sgt. Bertram Eric Saunders, RAFVR, was taken for burial at Streatham Park Cemetery, Square 21. Grave 26045.

He has been described by CWGC as the son of Bertram and Mabel Marie Saunders, of Ewell; husband of Winifred Eileen Saunders.

The senior Saunders appear to have arrived locally about 1945 to reside at 50 Manor Drive, Ewell. That address was given for Mrs Mabel Marie Saunders who died on 9 March 1954 in Kingston Hospital; probate to Bertram Lewis Saunders, company director.

Brian Bouchard © 2018

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SAUNDERS, Charles Henry. Flying Officer/Navigator (154588)

61 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 21 March 1945, aged 32

The marriage of Frederick Saunders to Maud Saunders was registered in Fulham for the September Quarter pf 1904. They appear to have been the parents of Charles H Saunders, born 4 August 1913, reg. Camberwell 9/1913

Charles married Queenie Saunders, born 9 October1914, an event recorded at Lewisham 9/1937.

They appear in the 1939 Register for Epsom and Ewell at 32 Salisbury Road, Worcester Park, with Charles described as a Commercial Artist, Design Creation Draughtsman and Queenie formerly a Commercial Artist.

Charles enlisted with the Royal Air Force, probably at Uxbridge, during May 1940 with a Service Number 1283809. As a Leading Aircraftman he was commisssioned Pilot Officer with effect from 10 December 1943 and promoted to Flying Officer on10 June 1944.

Lancaster RA560 of 61 Squadron took off from RAF Skellingthorpe at 23.34 hours on the night of 20/21st March 1945, detailed to bomb a synthetic oil plant at Bohlen, Germany. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it failed to return to base.

Crew:-
RAAF 422989 FO Swales, J F Captain (Pilot)
RAF Sgt A J M Davies, (Flight Engineer)
RAF FO Saunders,. C H (Navigator)
RAF Flt Sgt R Taylor, (Air Bomber)
RAAF 432498 Flt Sgt D M Easton, (Wireless Operator Air)
RAF Sgt W Lane, (Mid Upper Gunner)
RAF Sgt T Torney, (Rear Gunner).
The aircraft had exploded in the air and crashed near Kirch-Goens, approx 7 miles south of Giessen, Germany. All the crew were killed and initially they were buried in Kirch-Goens Civilian Cemetery but re-interred at the Durnbach War Cemetery,Bad Tolz, Bayern, Germany, 27 September 1947. Durnbach is a village 16kms east of Bad Tolz, a town 48kms south of Munich.

Charles was buried in Grave 5 C 20 in the Durnbach War Cemetery, his headstone inscribed
'HE COMBATS NO MORE, STRIVES NOR WEEPS; ALL IS AS BEFORE, ONLY HE SLEEPS'.
Husband of Queenie Saunders. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records refer to her being "of West Chiltington Common, Sussex". However the Probate 3 September 1945 record of administration of Charles's estate being granted to her notes that his address (and presumably hers) was 32 Salisbury Road, Worcester Park.

Queenie (known as 'Annie') Saunders had in fact contracted a second marriage to John H Shennan, Worthing 9/1959: her death was registered in Chichester, West Sussex, 12/1990.

Roger Morgan © 2017
with additional material provided by Brian Bouchard

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SAUNDERS, Glyn Tremlett. Gunner (1144026)

140 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery.
Died 7 March 1943, aged 37.

Glyn was born on 27 August 1905, the first child of William Henry and Edith Jane Saunders. His mother's maiden name was Tremlett - doubtless the source of Glyn's middle name. The parents had married Q3 1904, registered in the London City District, and set up home at 47 Ravenslea Road, Wandsworth where the family (now with a 3 year old Evelyn as well as 5 year old Glyn) were recorded in the 1911 Census. 35 year old William Henry is listed as a "Life Insurance Clerk". Also living with them was 38 year old Edith's widowed 66 year old mother, Amy Tremlett who is listed as being of "Private Means".

Glyn attended Highfield School, Wandsworth and then Dulwich College which he left in 1923, In Q2 1935, Glyn - now aged 29 - married 23 year old Lilian Agnes Nason, registered in the Wandsworth District. It would seem that they set up home in the Borough of Epsom & Ewell: their first child, Melvyn was born on 19 September 1938, registered in the local Surrey Mid East District.

However, they were not resident locally at the time of the 1939 Register - indeed, Glyn is not found in the Register at all, perhaps already being in uniform. Lilian and 1 year old Melvyn are recorded in the Register living with her parents-in-law and Glyn's unmarried 32 year old sister, Evelyn, at "Ravenslea" (presumably named after their Wandsworth address). Meadway, Sidmouth in Devon.(Lilian and Glyn had a second child, Alan, whose Q4 1940 birth was registered in the Honiton District, into which Sidmouth falls.)

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records note that the widowed Lilian was "of Carshalton Beeches, Surrey". However, the Probate record of her being awarded administration of Glyn's £ 2,716 estate lists the address as 58 Stoneleigh Crescent, Ewell. (On 14 September 1948, the widowed Lilian married again - to Leslie W Cole, registered in the Wandsworth District.

Glyn's WW2 service was as a Gunner (with the secondary rank of "Driver in Charge") in 140 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery. This first saw action in France as part British Expeditionary Force. After evacuation from Dunkirk, it spent some time in home defence awaiting the expected German invasion. As that threat waned, it was sent to North Africa and was closely involved in the final stages of defeating the Axis powers there. Victory came with the capture of Tunis in May 1943, but the end game involved much fierce fighting, and it was during preparations for the final push to Tunis that, as noted in Casualty List No. 1151, Glyn was killed in action on 7 March 1943, aged 37.

Glyn is one of 1,576 Commonwealth WW2 casualties buried in the Massicault War Cemetery, about 20 miles southwest of Tunis. The widowed Lilian took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave IV.B.6,
"To me to live is Christ and to die is gain Phil.1.21"
The Massicault War Cemetery, Tunisia.
The Massicault War Cemetery, Tunisia.
Photograph with thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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SAUNDERS, Victor Lewis. Able Seaman (P/JX199232)

HMS Argus, Royal Navy.
Died 24 January 1942, aged 23.

Victor's grave marker and his grandparents' headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Victor's grave marker and his grandparents' headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Photographs (158740797) by Lawrence Hennessy via findagrave.com

Victor was born on 16 April 1918, the first child of Joseph William Saunders and Elizabeth Lewin (née Waters - marriage not found in the readily available records). Joseph was a Londoner: the 1911 Census records him, then aged 24, as the oldest of six children living with their mother at 40 North Street, Hackney. His occupation was listed as a "Warehouseman". Elizabeth - the third of nine children - had been born in Ewell on 19 October 1887 (baptised in St Mary's on 4 December that year) and, until the family moved to New Malden for a spell, spent her early years there. More of her family background is set out in the article about immediately older brother Albert, a WW1 soldier who died of influenza in 1918. (Her immediately younger brother Lewis had been killed in action in the early days of WW1.)

Joseph and Elizabeth set up home in Epsom: Victor's birth and that of his three siblings (Doris in Q4 1919, Joan on 2 June 1922 and Mary on 5 February 1930) were all registered locally. Their address may well have been in Middle Lane Epsom from the outset: this is where Elizabeth's parents were (at No. 29) when her mother, Grace Waters (née Martin), died in 1925. (Her father, George Waters, had been living at Middle House, Dorking Road - Epsom Workhouse - when he died the following year.)

It is certainly known that, by 1932, Victor's family lived at 35 Middle Lane, Epsom and then, between 1935 and 1938, at No. 34. By the time of the 1939 Register, they had moved to 25 Oakhill Road, Ashtead. Joseph (now aged 52) and 21 year old Victor are both listed as Builders Labourers. 49 year old Elizabeth is listed with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". Also recorded at the address were 17 year old Joan (a "Laundry Maid") and 9 year old schoolgirl Mary. (The currently closed record between Victor and Joan seems certain to be the other sister, 19/20 year old Doris.)

Victor's WW2 service was as an Able Seaman aboard HMS Argus. This was one of the Royal Navy's earliest aircraft carriers which, other than a period out of commission between 1929 and 1938, saw service from 1918 until being scrapped in 1946. Like her contemporaries, she was converted from an ocean liner that, in her case, was under construction when the First World War began. She became the first example of what is now the standard pattern of aircraft carrier, with a full-length flight deck that allowed wheeled aircraft to take off and land - which earned her the nickname "Flatiron". After her commissioning in 1918, HMS Argus was heavily involved for several years in the development of the optimum design for other aircraft carriers and was also the test bed for developing equipment, general procedures and fleet tactics.

HMS Argus in action (during Operation Torch) off North Africa in November 1942.
HMS Argus in action (during Operation Torch) off North Africa in November 1942.
IWM Photograph (A 12882) - Public Domain.

After her 1938 recommissioning, Argus first served as a training carrier to allow pilots to practice their deck-landing skills. After WW2 hostilities began, she was active in convoy escort duty, ferrying aircraft (including the first consignment of part-assembled fighters to Takoradi in the then Gold Coast - as described in the article about Roy Hutchings, the starting point for the Allies' crucial West African Reinforcement Route), and supporting various operations.

It is not currently known when Victor joined HMS Argus, but he must have been involved in at least some of these various operations. His death, however, was not the result of enemy action but of acute meningitis and osteomyelitis of the frontal bone. He died on 24 January 1942 in the EMS Hospital, Whitchurch, Cardiff, Glamorgan, Wales. This was part of Cardiff City Asylum turned over to the military to become the largest emergency service hospital in South Wales.

His body was brought home. On 30 January 1942, he was buried in Epsom Cemetery in the same grave (F178) as his maternal grandparents.

In addition to his entry in Epsom & Ewell's WW2 Book of Remembrance, Victor is commemorated (as "V F Saunders") on the War Memorial outside St George's, Ashtead.

Roger Morgan © 2018
with additional material supplied by Brian Bouchard.

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SAVAGE, Basil Oswald. Flight Sergeant/Wireless Op./Air Gunner (1393629)

158 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
Died 22 March 1944, aged 20.

Basil Oswald Savage was born in 1923 in the Reigate registration district (GRO reference: Sep 1923 Reigate 2a 342), the son of Frederick Charles and Lily May Savage (nee Moss).

The birth of Basil's father was registered in the December quarter of 1899 in the Farnham registration district. His mother was born on 28 August 1901 and was baptised at Christ Church on 30 September 1901 whilst she was living at Ellison Cottage, Miles Road, Epsom.

Basil's paternal grandfather, George Frederick William Savage, was a policeman and in 1911 Basil's father was living with his parents in 2 Police Station Cottage, High Street, Dorking, Surrey. In 1919 they were living in the Reigate Police Station and by 1923 at 44 Hart Road, Dorking.

Basil's parents married on 24 January 1923 in St. Barnabas Church, Epsom, and the birth of Basil's brother Robert was registered in the June quarter of 1933 in the Epsom registration district. Electoral registers record that between 1929 and 1932 they were living, along with Lily's parents, at 94 Hook Road, Epsom. In 1939 only Lily's mother was living with them at the same address.

Sometime after August 1940, Basil Oswald Savage enlisted at Euston with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve for air crew duty and was allocated the Service No. 1393629. He would have sat an entrance exam which involved maths and english and had a thorough medical. With an interview, the process took a day and a half before he was accepted for training as wireless operator/air gunner. From induction, his training would have taken about 18 months from learning morse code (probably at Blackpool), through radio maintenance and air gunnery to the rank of Sergeant and an Operational Training Unit.

Eventually he was posted to 158 Squadron, Bomber Command, based at RAF Lissett, Yorkshire. He was detailed to take part in a raid against Frankfurt in Halifax Mark III, serial number, HX 342, call-sign NP-F, one of 846 aircraft to take part in the raid. The aircraft took off at 18:58hrs on 22 March 1944 from base but sadly nothing further was heard and it failed to return. The crew were: -
132792 F/Lt Kenneth Thomas Shaw Holmes - Captain
152077 F/0 John de Riemer Morgan - 2nd pilot
172995 P/0 Horace James Worthing Smith - Navigator
138895 F/0 Kenneth Alexander Leonard -Air Bomber
171684 P/0 Bernard Silverius Harrison - Flight Engineer
1393629 F/Sgt Basil Oswald Savage - Wireless Operator/Air Gunner.
2200275 F/Sgt Herbert Weston Phillips - Mid Upper Gunner
1239323 F/Sgt Leslie Victor Moran - Rear Gunner
The Gendarmes at Marbais confirmed that at about 2315 hrs on 22 March 1944 Halifax HX342 came down there and one member of the crew, who was injured (F/0 Morgan), had been taken prisoner whilst all the others were killed. Their burials took place on 25 March 1944 in the Parish Cemetery, Gosselles, near Charleroi, Belgium. Aged only 20 Basil was interred in Row 2, Grave 24, Gosselies Communal Cemetery.

Basil's Headstone in Gosselies Communal Cemetery
Basil's Headstone in Gosselies Communal Cemetery
Image source https://halifaxjd371kno.com

A tablet has been erected in the grounds of St. James of Compostela Church in Lissett Village to members of 158 Squadron, who had been based at RAF Lissett. In addition, Basil's name appears, engraved on figures of men, a memorial sculpture in steel, at former RAF Station Lissett, also commemorating the 851 men of 158 Squadron lost when flying out of the base.

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

The death of Basil's father was registered in the December quarter of 1955 in the Surrey South Eastern district, and his mother's death was registered in the March quarter of 1966 in the Surrey Mid Eastern district.

Brian Bouchard & Clive Gilbert © 2017

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SAVAGE, Eric John. Lance Corporal (7686646)

Corps of Military Police
Died 21 September 1940, aged 27

The headstone of Eric Savage's (and his father's) grave in Epsom Cemetery (plot M623)
The headstone of Eric Savage's (and his father's) grave in Epsom Cemetery (plot M623)
Image courtesy of Roger Morgan ©2017.

Eric was born in Bromley, Kent Q3 1913, the only child of John Charles Savage and Rosalie Jane (née Hide - they had married in Bromley Q2 1912). The 1939 Register records the couple (and two currently closed records) living at 38a West Hill, Epsom.

The 1939 Register lists Eric's father as a Sergeant in the Metropolitan Police, so it is not a particular surprise to find that Eric's WW2 service was in the Military Police (the "Royal" prefix was not granted until November 1946). Military policemen are often known as 'Redcaps' because of the scarlet covers on their peaked caps, or scarlet coloured berets. Of the Corps' various branches, Eric was - according to Epsom Cemetery records - in the Provost Wing (responsible for general policing) and, specifically, the 103 Provosts Company.

The readily available records provide no information about Eric's particular work. His Death Certificate records him as "A Lance Corporal in the Corps of Military police stationed at Townsend Cottages, Cambridge Road, Dullingham." The two Townsend Cottages are, in fact, about three miles north of the centre of the small village of Dullingham (sufficiently remote to have their own postcode), and about four miles from the centre of Newmarket and about eight to Cambridge on a straight line in the opposite direction.

Eric's Death Certificate also records that died on the evening of 21 September at "The White Lodge, Exning Road, Newmarket" - being the former workhouse, set up as an emergency hospital in 1939. (It then became Newmarket General Hospital - a Grade II listed building, now converted to apartments having been replaced by the modern Newmarket Community Hospital built next door.)

The cause of his death is described as "injuries received when the motor bicycle which was riding accidentally collided with a motor car on the highway at Dullingham there on that day." (His headstone says that he was "Killed on military duty".) As illustrated below, Townsend Cottages are situated on an arrow-straight section of Cambridge Road (the A1303). The modern warning sign across the road about "Hidden Dips" may offer a clue as to the cause of Eric's fatal accident.


Townsend Cottages, Cambrige Road, Dullingham
Image © Google Street View

Eric was brought back to Epsom for burial in Cemetery on 26 September 1940. His father was buried alongside him in 1953.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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SCOFFIN, John Sidney. Leading Aircraftman (1811330)

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 24 June 1944 Age 19

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance.

Sidney N Scoffin was on the clerical staff of the Cunard Shipping Company in Liverpool and served with the Royal Fying Corps as an Air Mechanic 2nd Class in the Great War. His marrriage to Kathleen A Mann was registered at Romford for the June Quarter of 1923. Birth of their son John S Scoffin followed in the same District, 9/1924.

John Sidney Scoffin enlisted in the Royal Air Force at Euston in December 1941.

A war-time Elementary Flying Training School (EFTS) gave a recruit 50 hours of basic aviation instruction on a simple trainer like the Tiger Moth. Pilots who showed promise went on to training at a Service Flying Training School (SFTS). John appears to have been sent to No 20 Service Flying Training School at Cranborne, Harare, Southern Rhodesia.

He is thought to have been killed whilst flying in either Harvard IIA, EX490 or EX512 of No 20 SFTS, which collided with each other near Inkomo in Southern Rhodesia.

Interred Harare (Pioneer) Cemetery, Eur. War Graves Plot. Grave 137. Headstone inscribed
'IN PROUD AND GLORIOUS MEMORY'.
Described by CWGC as the son of Sidney North and Kathleen Annie Scoffin, of East Ewell, Surrey.

Probate gave their address as Hillside Road, East Ewell: Admin. Sidney North Scoffin, Shipowner's Accountant.

Brian Bouchard © 2018

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SELBY, William Edward. Gunner (974252)

11 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery
Died 20 July 1942, aged 22

William is not listed in the Borough's Book of Remembrance, but is included here because the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's record note him as the "son of Walter George and Elizabeth Selby, of Epsom, Surrey". An address in the Borough has yet to be established and, indeed, may not exist since it was a strong possibility that a Tattenham Corner address has been taken as falling within Epsom rather than Banstead.

William was born Q1 1920, apparently the only child of Walter George Selby and Elizabeth (née Josiah). Their Q2 1917 marriage was registered in the Lambeth District, as was William's birth. Walter (whose family background cannot be traced with confidence in the readily available records) died on 26 July 1924, aged only 36. His address at the time was 84 Elystan Street, Chelsea.

The widowed 50 year old Elizabeth is recorded in 1939 Register living at 'Jasmine', Tattenham Grove with her 42 year old sister, Dorothy, and her husband, 42 year old William J Gordon, a "Bank Messenger". Dorothy is listed with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties", but Elizabeth is shown as an "Envelope Hand Folder". (That is the same occupation as was shown for her in the 1911 Census when she was an unmarried 22-year-old, the second of eight children living with their late-40s parents, "Taxi Driver" Charles and Caroline Josiah, at 31 Richmond Street, Lambeth.)

There is one currently closed record at 'Jasmine" in the 1939 Register. This probably conceals the 19-year-old William: the Probate record of the administration of William's estate being awarded to his mother gives his address as "39 (presumably the now numbered 'Jasmine') Tattenham Grove, Epsom" - and that is perhaps the source of confusion in this case.

There is disappointingly little information in the readily available records about William's WW2 service in the 11 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery. From the 20 July 1942 date of his being killed in action and that the location of his burial, it is clear that he was in the thick of the action during the first Battle of El Alamein (1-27 July 1942) - the famous battle in which Commonwealth troops managed at last to halt Axis forces' apparently inexorable advance to the Suez Canal. (It was the 23 October to 11 November 1942 second Battle of El Alamein that started pushing the Axis troops back again - a turning point in the North African campaign and, indeed, WW2 as a whole.)

William is one of the 7,240 Commonwealth WW2 casualties buried in the El Alamein War Cemetery. His mother took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave XXI.F.19,
"Deep in our hearts there is a memory of one we will never forget. Mother."
The El Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt.
The El Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt.
Photograph with thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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SELMAN, Harry William. Leading Aircraftman (330930)

Royal Air Force
Died 20 June 1941, aged 39

The headstone of Harry Selman's grave in Epsom Cemetery (plot F410A)
The headstone of Harry Selman's grave in Epsom Cemetery (plot F410A)
Image courtesy of Roger Morgan ©2017.

Harry was born on 15 May 1902, the third child of William Henry Selman (a carpenter) and Louisa (née Jeffries - they married in Merstham, Surrey on 19 March 1891). After various addresses in the Brentford area, the 1911 Census finds the couple - and Harry - living in College Road Epsom.

In Q2 1932, Harry married Enid E Leyshon, in Epsom. The 1939 Register finds this couple - and their nearly five year old son, Brian - living at 36 Wheelers Lane, Epsom. (That was also where he was "of" in the September 1941 Probate records.) In 1939, Harry was recorded as a "Mental Nurse (LCC)", doubtless at one of Epsom's cluster of mental hospitals (but not Horton or Manor, as he is not mentioned on their WW2 memorials).

Sadly, the readily available records provide no information about Harry's posting in the RAF or the particular circumstances of his death.

Harry was buried in Epsom Cemetery on 25 June 1941, where the records note that he died in Surrey County Hospital, Redhill. His Death Certificate states that, as informed by "C H Grey, Commanding Officer", the cause of death was the somewhat cryptic "Due to War Operations" - so at least one can infer that it was the result of injuries rather than illness.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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SEXTONE, Mary Cottingham

Civilian
Died 26 September 1940, aged 64

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance.

Mary was born in Deptford, the fourth of five children born to Thomas Sexstone and Fanny (née Cottingham - they had married in 21 August 1867 in Fanny's home town of Plumpton, Sussex). Thomas had been born in Deptford and, on his father's death, took over the family dairy business.

The 1911 Census records Thomas and Fanny living at 153 Evelyn Street, Deptford. The now 68 year old Thomas is still listed as a "Dairyman". Living with the couple are three of their children, all unmarried: 42 year old Thomas ("Assisting in the Business"); 35 year old Mary ("Dressmaker"); and 32 year old Harriet ("Domestic Servant").

The 1939 Register records the three unmarried siblings still living together, now at 36 Shere Road, Deptford. Thomas junior is now listed as "Dairyman (Retail)", Mary still as a "Dressmaker" and Harriet now as "Shop Assistant Dairy".

During the afternoon of 11 September 1940 - four days into the Luftwaffe's 8 month "Blitz" bombing campaign - the 64 year old Mary took shelter from a raid in the basement of the Deptford Methodist Central Mission Hall. This received a direct hit. About 50 people were buried in the rubble. 26 were killed. Mary was one of the injured and was taken to Horton Emergency Hospital, one of Epsom's "cluster" of mental hospitals that, as for WW1, had been taken over for dealing with wartime casualties. She died there from her injuries a couple of weeks later, on 26 September 1940.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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SEYMOUR, Noel Arthur. Corporal (552186)

Royal Air Force.
Died 14 October 1943, aged 21.

The marrriage of James Seymour to Margaret Widnall was registered at Tonbridge for the September Quarter of 1908. Birth of their son Noel A Seymour came to be recorded in the same District, 3/ 1922 - he became known in the family as 'Nobby'.

The RAF boy entrant scheme which ran from the mid-1930s provided for boys to enlist between the ages of 15 to 17 for training in various occupations or trades which fitted them for service in the Royal Air Force. Noel joined the scheme at RAF Cranwell in 1938 to become a Wireless Operator under instruction in No 2 Wing of the Electrical & Wireless School.

Having attained the rank of Corporal he appears to have been captured by the Japanese following the fall of Singapore on 15 February 1942. He was interned at the Changi prison and may be found rostered on Cards V9569 & J9952 as 'Norman' Arthur Seymour. He was subsequently sent to Thailand in 'F' (Death) Force which comprised 7,000 POWs, 3,400 British and 3,600 Australians On 16 April 1943, the group set off for Thailand in about 10 train loads, 30 men crammed into the steel rail trucks which measured about 18 feet by 7 feet. The journey took 4 nights, 5 days with spasmodic meal and toilet stops. On arrival at Banpong (the disembarkation point in Thailand) 'F' Force was then force-marched 300 kilometres over 18 nights to northern Thailand where they were put to work building the railway and an adjacent service road. They had arrived at Kanchanaburi Base.

Reportedly, Kanchanaburi was regarded as one of the better camps, where there was a relatively regular supply of food although drinking water had to be purchased from a privately owned well. Malnourishment and associated diseases were still common here but most men eked out a living. In the hospital, however, deaths between August and December 1943 averaged 30 each day one of victims was Noel.

After the cessation of hostilities, on 20 April 1946, Administration of the deceased's estate was granted to his widowed mother, Margaret Seymour, resident at 5 Grove Road, Epsom

Kanchanaburi War Cemetery
Kanchanaburi War Cemetery.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Buried at Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, Thailand, Grave 2 A40 - son of James and Margaret Seymour, of Epsom, Surrey.


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SEYMOUR, Stanley Philip William. Gunner (1801673)

49 Battery, 48 Light Anti Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery
Died 29 November 1942, aged 26

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Stanley was born on 23 January 1916, the second of two children born to Sidney Philip Seymour and Eliza Sara (née Silor). Their Q3 1912 marriage was registered in the Hackney District, as was the Q4 1914 birth of their first child, Sidney. Stanley junior's birth was registered in the West Ham District.

The 1939 register records the parents still living at 89 Swinnerton Street, Hackne. 53 year old Sidney is listed as a "Ladies Handsewn Shoe Maker" and 52 year old Eliza with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". Still living with them is 23 year old Stanley, listed as a "Laboratory Assistant, (Brewer)".

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post war records note the parents as being "of Ewell, Surrey". That address has yet to be established but, when Eliza died in Q2 1952, this was registered in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District.

Stanley's WW2 service was in 49 Battery of the Royal Artillery's 48 Light Anti Aircraft Regiment. This was en route (via the Cape of Good Hope) to Basra in Iraq. On reaching Durban, the Regiment was redirected to Singapore to bolster the defences against the Japanese invasion now approaching through Malaya. It was already too late when they neared Singapore and they were diverted to Batavia on the jungle-covered island of Java, then part of the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia).

Fighting against the Japanese was just getting under way there. Notwithstanding much fierce fighting - with heavy casualties on both sides - the Allies were overcome and surrendered to the Japanese in February 1942. Stanley was among those then taken prisoner. Readily available records do not provide any information about John's time as a Japanese PoW but, like his fellow prisoners, he will have experienced dreadful conditions and harsh treatment.

These led to Stanley's death on 29 November 1942, as formally recorded in Casualty List No. 2032. He was buried locally in the first instance but, after the war, was later reinterred as one of the 1,138 Commonwealth WW2 casualties in the Sai Wan War Cemetery, in the NE corner of Hong Kong Island. His parents took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on collective grave IV.A.9-11, "Peace, perfect peace. In God's own keeping we are safe and they."

The Sai Wan War Cemetery, Hong Kong.
The Sai Wan War Cemetery, Hong Kong.
Photograph by Chris Nelson via findagrave.com

Roger Morgan © 2018

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SHAW Charles

Civilian
Died 11 July 1944, aged 53

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission gives a rather terser summary of Charles's family background than usual, stating only that he was the "son of Mary Shaw, of 31 Tate Street, Vauxhall, London; husband of S. Shaw, of 36 Geneva Road, Brixton, London." (NB: no mention of a father.) Sadly, these names (and initial!) are far to common to trace with any confidence in the readily available records.

The addresses were potentially more helpful, but the 1939 Register records the residents of 31 Tate Street as only William H Shaw (a married "Printer's Warehouseman" born on 21 February 1876 - and presumably a relative of some sort) and one currently closed record. As to 36 Geneva Road, the only resident recorded in the 1939 Register was Ivy E M Greybrook, a divorced "Daily Cleaner Domestic" born on 25 September 1894.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission notes that Charles was injured on 28 June 1944, at Acre Lane, Brixton. His injuries were doubtless the result of the V-1 "Doodlebug" that fell on Acre lane at about lunchtime that day. The explosion demolished "Jaxsnax" and a large part of the 8th Church of Christ, Scientist; it also caused serious damage to the Lambeth Town Hall across the road. 72 people were killed and many more were injured.

Clearing up after the Acre Lane Doodlebug.
Clearing up after the Acre Lane "Doodlebug".
Picture courtesy of the Lambeth Archives via Brixtonbuzz.com

The injured Charles was taken to Horton Emergency Hospital, one of Epsom's "cluster" of mental hospitals that, as for WW1, had been taken over for dealing with wartime casualties. He died there a fortnight later, on 11 July 1944. He was buried in Epsom Cemetery (Grave O395) on 17 July. Unusually, the Cemetery Records say nothing about his background or occupation.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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SHEPPARD, Leslie Bernard. Gunner (1462619)

11 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery.
Died 30 June 1942, aged 22.

Leslie was born Q1 1920, at least the second child of James Sheppard and Ada (née Cooper - they had married Q4 1913, registered in Melksham, Wiltshire). The birth of their first child, Irene, was registered in Leeds, but Leslie's in Camberwell.

At some point, the parents moved to Worcester Park. The 1939 Register records these 48 year olds living at 67 Vale Road. James is listed as a "Railway Goods Loader" and Ada as "incapacitated". Date 25 year old daughter, Irene, was still living with them, and is listed as a "Telephonist". Leslie was not art home, having attested into the Royal Artillery in 1938.

Leslie's WW2 service was in the Royal Artillery's 11 Field Regiment. No information is found in the readily available records about the Regiment in the early days of the war. Between 2 August 1941 and 15 June 1942, it was stationed in in Iraq as part of 8th Indian Division and was then posted to North Africa as reinforcements for the British Eighth Army which was being pressed, in some disarray, further and further east by Axis forces under Rommel. Almost as soon as the Regiment arrived it was engaged in the three-day Battle of Mersa Matruh (from 26 to 29 June 1942) during which Leslie was injured. He died of his wounds on 30 June.

While Axis forces were again the victors in that Battle, it was not the complete triumph for which Rommel had hoped. The fighting continued at El Alamein (about 100 miles east of Mersa Matruh). Although that first Battle of El Alamein ended on 27 July 1942 in something of a stalemate, at least the Axis forces' progress to the prizes of the Suez Canal and the oilfields of the Middle East was finally halted. The Allies, now under General Montgomery, finally gained the upper hand in the second Battle of El Alamein from 23 October to 11 November 1942.

Leslie is one of the 7,240 Commonwealth WW2 casualties buried in the El Alamein War Cemetery. His parents took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave XXXI.J.13, "Time passes but memory lingers on. Sadly missed by your loving Mum and Dad."

The El Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt.
The El Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt.
Photograph with thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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SHERRIFF, James Thomas Roy. Acting Lieutenant.

Royal Navy
Died 8 June 1942, aged 24

The marriage of James Sherriff (born 6 May 1986) to May Olive Terry (born 1 July 1889) was registered in Medway for the September Quarter of 1909. Birth of their son James T R Sherriff came to be recorded in the same District, 3/1918.

By 1927 the family had arrived locally to live at 39 Church Street, Epsom, then 44 Worple Road between 1928 and 1930. From 1931they resided at Romahla, 19 Dorking Road, at least intil 1956.

The younger James may have entered an apprenticeship to train as a Merchant Navy officer with the Commonwealth and Dominion Line. An 18 year old James Sherriff served in the crew of SS Port Brisbane in 1936, described as 5' 11'' in height and weighing 145 lb.

SS Port Brisbane
SS Port Brisbane
Source not known

He entered the Royal Navy as a probationary Sub-lieutenant and was confirmed in the rank with effect from 9 March 1939. James was promoted Lieutenant a year later.

For the 1939 Register his father had been described as a Ship Surveyor, Board of Trade.

The marriage of James T R Sherriff to Violet E Murdock (born 1917) was registered in Yeovil. 3/1941.

On 8 June 1942 James T R Sherriff, Lt. (A) , RN, died folowing a flying accident at sea 'off Burnow [?] Head, Cumberland'. A report on this incident is held by the National Archives under reference ADM358/749.

James could have been training at RNAS Inskip (HMS Nightjar) but was recovered injured from the sea to a camp for 500 imported munitions workers built at Wellbank near Bootle Station which later became HMS Macaw, RNAS Bootle, and he expired there.

His burial took place in Epsom Cemetery, on 13 June 1942, in Grave O243 purchased by his father James Sherriff, a Surveyor of Transport, from 31 Rangemoor Road. Liverpool 18. The records note that he served in the Fleet Air Arm and died at Bootle, Cumberland, Milborn R.D.

James' headstone in Epsom Cemetery
James' headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Photographs (100825575) by Lawrence Hennessy via findagrave.com

Violet E Sherriff appears to have married secondly Alexander J Wright, reg. Newton Abbott, 3/1943.

James Sherriff died, 21 February 1972, at 400 Falmer Road, Woodingdean, Brighton, reg. Brighton 3/1972.

May Olive Sherriff of 74 Weirdale Road, London N20, died 29 June 1972, reg. Barnet 6/1972.

Brian Bouchard © 2018

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SHORT, Eric. Sergeant (1319336)

100 Sqdn. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 28 May 1943 Age 20

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

A relationship between Bertie Charles Short (born 22 December 1885) and Mabel Edith Way (born 29 August 1885) was established before 1919. Birth of their son Eric came to be registered in Croydon for the June Quarter of 1923.

He enlisted with the Royal Air Force at Blackpool during June 1940.

In Leeuwarden - Royal New Zealand Air Force war graves in Fryslân appears a report: -
"Flight Sergeant Len Townrow was captain of Lancaster ED821, 'HW-A', 100 Squadron, RAF, which took off from RAF Grimby at 22.32 hrs on 27 May 1943. 'A for Able' was intercepted by a Luftwaffe night fighter and was subsequently shot down. The aircraft crashed at 01.45 hrs in the morning of 28 May in a field near the village of Witmarsum. Five crew members died in the accident: Sgt J. P. Fitchett (RAF), F/O S.A. Bishop (RCAF), Sgt E. Short (RAF), Sgt P. M. Cosgrove (RAF) and Sgt A. E. Chapman of the RAAF. They found their last resting place in the Witmarsum Protestant Churchyard.

P/O J. Bolderson was injured and was taken prisoner by the Germans. Len Townrow was severely injured and was taken to the Sint Bonifatius Hospital in Leeuwarden. He finally succumbed to his injuries on the 24th April 1944. He was laid to rest here in the Noorder Begraafplaats in Leeuwarden."
Eric lies in Wonseradeel (Witmarsum) Protestant Churchyard, Row 36. Grave 19, his headstone inscribed
'AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN AND IN THE MORNING WE WILL REMEMBER'.
He has been described by CWGC as the son of Bertie Charles and Mabel Edith Short, of Epsom, Surrey. Before the War the family had lived for a time in Ashtead but they are recorded in the 1939 Register at 3 Whitehorse Drive, Epsom.

Brian Bouchard © 2018

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SHORT, Harold Edgar. Sergeant (1806043)

61 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Died 24 March 1944, aged 19

The marriage of Henry G Short (born 12 August 1896) to Lucy H R Weston (born 21 October 1898) was registered in Wandsworth for the June Quarter of 1921. Birth of their son Harold E Short came to be recorded in the same District, 12/1924.

By 1936 the family had arrived to live locally at 11 Stoneleigh Park Avenue, Stoneleigh, Ewell. In 1939, Henry George Short's occupation was stated to be as a Director and Secretary, Paper Merchants.

Harold enlisted with the Royal Air Force at Euston during December 1941.

Avro Lancaster B Mark I, DV397
Avro Lancaster B Mark I, DV397 at Coningsby, Lincolnshire
Public Domain Image

Lancaster DV397 took off from RAF Coningsby at 18.27 hours on the night of 24/25th March 1944, detailed to bomb Berlin. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it failed to return to base.

Crew : -
RAF PO Carbutt, D Captain (Pilot)
RAF Sgt J McCrevey, (Flight Engineer)
RAAF 422257 FO Palmer, J M (Navigator)
RAF Sgt A A Fulker, (Air Bomber)
RAF Sgt A W Sherwood, (Wireless Operator Air)
RAF Sgt H E Short, (Mid Upper Gunner)
RAF Sgt R N Cunningham, (Rear Gunner)
A Missing Research and Enquiry Team report stated 'The aircraft was hit by ack-ack and exploded in the air. It crashed near the village of Gehrden, which is approx 16 miles south east of Magdeburg, Germany'.

Initially Harold was buried at Gehrden but re-interred in the Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany, 19 July 1947, in Grave 6 H 13. His headstone was inscribed
'REMEMBERING HIS AFFECTION MAY WE BE WORTHY OF HIS GREATEST SACRIFICE'.
Harold was described by CWGC as the son of Henry George and Lucy Henrietta Short, of Ewell, Surrey.

Brian Bouchard © 2018

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SHRUBB, Leonard Charles. (Private 13112572)

Royal Army Ordnance Corps
Died 13 March 1947, aged 40

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

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Leonard was born in Epsom Q4 1905, the son of Epsom-born Arthur Shrubb and Lilian Rose (née Spratt - they had married Q1 1897, registered in the Kingston-upon-Thames District). The Commonwealth War Graves Commission erroneously notes Leonard's mother as "Louisa".

The 1911 Census records the 36 year old Arthur (a "Brickworks Labourer") and 38 year old Lily living at 18 Beaconsfield Place, Epsom with four children, all born in Epsom: 11 year old Lilly Eliza; 5 year old Leonard Charles; 2 year old Arthur; and new-born Louisa Emily. The original return notes that the couple had had four other children who had died.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission also notes that Leonard was the "husband of Mary Frances Shrubb, of Epsom." He married Mary Frances Barrett in Q2 1936 and, in Q3 1938, their son Leonard C Shrubb was born - both their marriage and the birth were registered in the local Surrey Mid East District. However, there is also a record of Leonard's marrying Ellen Barrett in Q1 1929: they had a son, Leonard, whose Q2 1929 birth was - like their marriage - registered in the Epsom District. A second child, Mary, was born Q2 1934 registered in the local Surrey Mid East District. Nothing more of this generation is found in the readily available records (including the 1939 Register) so, for the time being, it not possible to say more about quite what happened here.

The 1939 Register did, however, record Leonard's parents - now in their 60s - still living at 18 Beaconsfield Place. Arthur is now listed as a "Kiln Setter, Brickyard" and Lily with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". Their 18 year old daughter, Louisa, was still at home and listed as a "Greengrocer's Assistant". Lily died at home in May 1946 and buried in Grave Q151 of Epsom Cemetery. Arthur died in November 1949 and was buried with Lily: the Cemetery records note that he was a "Night Watchman" and had died in the watchman's shed of Longhurst's timber yard in Church Road, Epsom.

Sadly, the readily available records provide no useful information about Leonard's WW2 service in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps. He died in Epsom Hospital on 13 March 1947, nearly two years after the cessation of hostilities, and is buried in Epsom Cemetery, where the records note him as a "Labourer".

The family took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave G.28,
"We need no special day to bring you to mind, days when we forget you are hard to find."
Roger Morgan © 2018

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SIMMONDS, Hunter Edward. Flying Officer/Pilot (180156)

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
Died 6 September 1945, aged 22.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records provide no family background for this airman - indeed, do not even give his age.That is, however, noted in the records of Epsom Cemetery where Hunter is buried (in Grave K123), which also note that he died at Aconbury, Hereford.

The marriage of Charles Hunter Simmonds (born 2 September 1902) to Victoria Morris was registered at Rochford for the September Quarter of 1922. Birth of their son, Hunter E Simmonds came to be recorded at Islington, 6/1923.

By 1938, C Hunter Simmonds had arrived locally to reside at 'Chasanhil', Epsom Road, Ewell.

Hunter Edward Simmonds attended Epsom College, son of C H Simmonds, bookmaker of Epsom, leaving in 1940.

In December 1941, Hunter Edward Simmonds enlisted with the Royal Air Force at Euston with a Service Number 1814142. He was commissioned from the rank of Aircraftman, Class 2, to Pilot Officer on 27 May 1944.

He became attached to RAF Madley, created in late 1940 on arable land adjacent to the villages of Madley and Kingstone in Herefordshire, to accommodate an RAF radio signals training school. On 6 September 1945 he piloted a Percival Proctor Mk. 4, NP402, Radio Trainer, on an exercise from No 4 Radio School. He was accompanied by:-
Sergeant 1677707 John Robinson, WoP/AG , RAFVR
LACW 2112290 Dorothy Cowen.
RAF Percival Proctor Mk.I
A RAF Percival Proctor Mk.I (similar to the Mk.4)
Image source wikipedia

Some sources characterise this as a 'joy ride' but WAAF Aircraftwomen were training as Wireless Operators, if not Wop/Air Gunners, at RS 4. Dorothy had enlisted in August 1942 and was probaly under instruction converting from another trade.

Unfortunately the flight terminated accidentally for the aircraft to crash at Aconbury near Lower Bullingham, Herefordshire. [National Archives AVIA 5/26/W2260] All aboard were killed and their remains taken back to home locations for interment - Hunter Simmonds was buried at Epsom, 11 September 1945.

His mother, Victoria, may have pre-deceased him because Charles Hunter Dewart Simmonds (Epsom Turf Accountant) married secondly Vivienne Hedwig Lafone, otherwise Scott, nee Schotz, reg, Westminster 12/1946.


Charles Hunter Dewart Simmonds died on 14 August 1976 in the Middlesex Hospital, London. Having been cremated at Golders Green, his ashes were scattered on Grave space K123 in Epsom Cemetery.

Roger Morgan © 2018
with additional material researched by Brian Bouchard

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SIMNER, Kenneth Nugent. Brigadier. OBE MiD

Royal Engineers
Died 27 December 1946, aged 48

Kenneth's headstone in Brookwood Military Cemetery
Kenneth's headstone in Brookwood Military Cemetery
Photograph (17666367) by "Charlie" via findagrave.com

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Kenneth was born Q3 1898, the first child of Nugent Charles Simner and Alice Maud (née Simons - they had married Q4 1896). Their marriage was registered in the Barnet District, as was Kenneth's birth. The 1901 Census records the parents (supported by a domestic servant) living at "Ingleby", Effingham Road, Long Ditton. 32 year old Nugent is listed as a "District Auditor, Local Government Board" and 30 year old Alice as a "(Barrister at Law)" - the brackets perhaps indicating that she was no longer practising. Meanwhile, 2 year old Kenneth was staying with his maternal grandparents at "Elmhurst", Station Road, New Barnet.

By the time of the 1911 Census, the 12 year old Kenneth was a boarder at a 33-pupil preparatory school at 8 Clifton Crescent, Folkestone. His now early 40s parents had taken four rooms at 38 Old Elvet, Durham. Nugent's work as a District Auditor seems to have required him to be quite mobile: living with them was their 5 year old daughter, Dorothy, who had been born in Doncaster. (The return notes that the couple had had a third child who had died.) Also living with them was a 23 year old Governess".

Kenneth became a career soldier, serving in the Royal Engineers. During WW1 he served in France as a Lieutenant in the 83rd Field Company, and was mentioned in Field Marshal Haig's Despatch of 8 November 1918 as one of many members of WW1 forces "deserving of special mention" (London Gazette Issue 31080, page 15039).

In Q3 1922, Kenneth married Hazel Laura May Lillie. She had been born in Mussoorie, Bengal on 22 June 1902, the daughter of George Ernest and Alice Mary Lillie. Her origins may be a factor in then finding 1925 and 1934 records of Kenneth serving in India - first as a Captain and then as Major/acting Lieutenant Colonel. No record has been found of the couple having any children.

Kenneth was back in Britain at the outbreak of WW2 and, as an acting Lieutenant Colonel, was posted to France with the British Expeditionary Force. His was one of the many names (as noted in the London Gazette of 20 December 1940, issue 35020, page 7180) having been "brought to notice in recognition of distinguished services in connection with operations in the field March-June, 1940".

(Hazel is not found in the 1939 Register. At some point, she set up home at 70 Woodcote Hurst, Epsom, the address given in the 1947 Probate record of her - and Kenneth's solicitor uncle, Vazie Simons - being awarded joint administration of Kenneth's £ 13,380 estate.)

Kenneth was next posted to the "Middle East" (an area for these purposes including Egypt, East Africa, Western Desert, Sudan, Greece, Crete, Syria & Tobruk) as an Acting Colonel. On 9 September 1942, he was one of a number appointed as an Officer of the Military Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire "in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in the Middle East during the period November 1941 to April 1942" (London Gazette issue 35697, page 3946)

Next, as an Acting Brigadier, he was posted to Persia/Iraq in 1943 and, as noted in the London Gazette for 23 December 1943 (Issue 36297, page 5577) was noted as one of those "mentioned in recognition of distinguished services in Persia and Iraq".

Kenneth returned to Europe and, as an Acting Colonel, was involved in the Normandy landings and subsequent actions. On 10 May 1945, he was among the many noted as "mentioned in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in North West Europe" (London Gazette, issue 37072, page 2459).

On 27 December 1946, Kenneth died in the Queen Alexandra Military Hospital, Millbank - it is not currently known of what cause. He is one of 5,626 burials in the Brookwood Military Cemetery. His widow took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave 34A.D.10,
"Forever remembered by those who love him."
In Q3 1949, the widowed Hazel married again - to Alan I G McConkey, registered in the Hampstead District.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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SIMONS, John Frederick. Able Seaman (P/JX 337513)

SS Vojvoda Putnik, Royal Navy
Died 8 March 1943, aged 31.

John was born in Q3 1912, the first child of John Simons and Elizabeth (née Warwick - they had married Q2 1909). The 1911 Census records the parents living in Myrtle Cottage, Woodlands Road, Epsom Common. 32 year old John, originally from Tolworth, is listed as a "General Labourer, Building Trade". 40 year old Epsom-born Elizabeth is listed as a "Laundress". Living with them is 14 year old Albert Warwick (a "Garden Boy, Domestic"), listed as Elizabeth's son before marriage. After John in 1912, the couple had a second child, Elsie, born Q1 1914.

In Q2 1936 (registered in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District), John married Phyllis Winifred Barker. Their first child, Peter, was both born and died Q1 1938. (The second child, also called Peter, was born Q2 1942.) The couple are not found in the 1939 Register, but the Probate record of Phyllis being awarded administration of John's £ 294 estate notes their address as 37A Upper High Street, Epsom.

John is recorded by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's as serving on HMS President III, a shore establishment. Actually, he was a DEMS gunner on the SS Vojvoda Putnik, a Yugoslavian steam merchant of 5,900 tons.

The SS Vojvoda Putnik
The SS Vojvoda Putnik
Image courtesy of the Paul Johnson Collection,
via uboat.net - as is, with thanks, the mission information below.

In March 1943, the Vojvoda Putnik was part of Convoy 121S from New York to London. Her cargo was 7,900 tons of wheat and, as deck cargo, tanks. On the morning of 8 March, she had straggled from the convoy with steering trouble and, by afternoon was alone and stationary in mid-Atlantic. In the early evening she was hit by torpedoes fired by U-boat U-591. She radioed that she was sinking. The 44 on board were never seen again.

John is one of the almost 15,000 naval WW2 personnel commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial as having no known grave.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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SIMPSON, Lancelot. Guardsman (2610918)

5th Battalion, Grenadier Guards.
Died 27 April 1943, aged 37

Lancelot's family background is something of a mystery.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's records note that he was the "son of Samuel and Annie Simpson" and the Army's Roll of Honour records that he was born in Nottingham (but also - erroneously, as it turns out - that his residence was in Nottinghamshire).

There was a Lancelot Simpson born in Nottingham, the fourth child of Samuel Simpson and Annie (née Cherry - they had married Q4 1889, registered in the Basford District of Nottinghamshire. The 1911 Census records the recently widowed Samuel (a "Coal Miner, Hewer") living at 54 Wollaton Road, Beeston, together with five children - all boys - the youngest of which is a Lancelot.

However, he is not our Lancelot. Apart from being two years too young (having been born on 1 December 1907, he would have been 35 rather than 37 at his death in April 1943) he was, crucially, not a WW2 casualty - he died in Nottingham Q4 1980. In addition, the September 1939 Register records this Lancelot as an unmarried 31 year old living with his remarried father at 110 Dennis Avenue, Beeston - whereas our Lancelot had moved to Epsom in the early 1930s and, as also noted by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, was the "husband of Letitia Simpson, of Epsom, Surrey".

Whatever his early family background, the Lancelot Simpson in question here is recorded in the 1932 Electoral Roll records as living/working in Long Grove Hospital, one of Epsom's "cluster" of mental hospitals. Two years later, the 1934 Electoral Roll records him as living in Epsom College. On 2 April 1934, Lancelot married Letitia Lily Osborne in Christ Church, Epsom Common. In the records of that, Lancelot is listed as working as a waiter and Letitia as an assistant cook - and their fathers as Samuel Simpson (a "retired policeman" - so not the Nottinghamshire coal miner) and Frederick Osborne (a "laundry engineer").

Both Lancelot and Letitia gave Clares Cottage, Epsom Common as their address. That was Letitia's childhood home. She was the sixth child (two of whom had died) born to Frederick Osborne and Letitia (née Newberry). The 1911 Census had recorded the 33 year old parents (with Frederick listed as a "Laundryman") living in Clares Cottage with their four children - all born in Epsom - from 1 year old Letitia (born on 21 November 1909) to 12 year old Frederick junior.

In subsequent Electoral Rolls, Lancelot and Letitia are recorded living at 31 College Road, Epsom - and that is where the 1939 Register recorded the married 29 year old Letitia living alone, and listed with the conventional "unpaid domestic duties". The couple had a child, another Lancelot, born Q2 1941 and registered in the local Surrey Mid-Eastern District. He and his mother were still living at number 31 in 1962, as recorded in that year's Electoral Roll.

Lancelot is not found in the 1939 Register, and it seems likely that this 33 year old was already in uniform. If that was the case, however, it would initially have been in other that the Grenadier Guards' 5th Battalion as that was not raised until 1941.

The 5th Battalion served in North Africa and was involved in the 16 - 27 March 1943 Battle of the Mareth Line - the Eighth Army's last major set piece battle in North Africa, which successfully forced the Axis troops to retreat from their last significant defensive position in southern Tunisia. Further north, the Anglo-US force that had landed in Vichy-held Morocco and Algeria and attacked Axis forces from the west (the other half of the pincer to Montgomery's Eighth Army's advancing west after the turning point of El Alamein in late 1942) had reached Medjez-El-Bab to the west of Tunis in December 1942, and this strongly defended position remained the front line for the first few months of 1943.

The line was finally breached after fierce fighting in late April 1943, during which Lancelot was killed in action. The breakthrough was decisive. Axis forces were cornered in Tunis and surrendered on 13 May 1943.

Lancelot was initially buried near where he fell, being later reinterred (in Grave V.N.4) as one of 1,576 Commonwealth WW2 casualties buried in the Massicault War Cemetery, about 20 miles southwest of Tunis.

The Massicault War Cemetery, Tunisia.
The Massicault War Cemetery, Tunisia.
Photograph with thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Roger Morgan © 2018
With special thanks to Hazel Ballan

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SISSON, William. Fire Guard

Lewisham Fire Guards
Died 17 April 1941, aged 32

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

William was born in Renishaw, Derbyshire on 5 November 1908, the third child of Titus Sisson and Bertha Eliza (née Wilson). The 1911 Census records the 36 year old parents (with Titus listed as a "Police Sergeant") living at 53 Sheffield Road, Stonegravels, Chesterfield together with their three children from 2 year old William to 6 year old Bernard.

The family moved to the London area - where, in Q2 1929 and registered in the Camberwell District, Bertha died aged 54. In Q2 1930, registered in the Lewisham District, the widowed 55 year old Titus married again, to apparent spinster 57 year old Agnes E Martin.

In Q1 1931, Titus's son, William (the subject of this article and now aged 22) married 20 year old Muriel G Quick. Their marriage was registered in the Lewisham District, as were the births of their two children, William (Q3 1931) and Audrey (Q1 1934). The 1939 Register records the parents living at 197 Dartmouth Road, Sydenham (within the Lewisham District). 30 year old William is listed as a "Cycle Dealer & Assembler etc" and 28 year old Muriel with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties".

(Meanwhile, William's father had retired from the Police. The 1939 Register records the 64 year old Titus and 61 year old Agnes living at 19 Westfield Road, Birchington-On-Sea, Kent.)

William's WW2 service was as a Fire Guard, the second tier of the UK's war-time fire defences. The first tier was the Fire Service proper (originally the local authorities' fire services and the volunteer Auxiliary Fire Service, later merged into the National Fire Service) which tackled major fires. The bombs dropped - by both sides - during WW2 were a mix of high-explosive and incendiaries. HE bombs caused instant structural damage but were heavy. Incendiaries were individually much lighter, so many more could be dropped per raid to start fires over a large area. Assisted by the third tier Fire Watchers, it was the Fire Guards' role to spot and then tackle such fires before they took hold. A key part of their kit was a portable "stirrup pump", as illustrated below.

A female Fire Guard using a stirrup pump on the roof of a building in London, 1941
A female Fire Guard using a stirrup pump on the roof of a building in London, 1941
A Ministry of Information photograph (IWM D 5007), Public Domain.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission notes that William was injured in Sydenham on 16 April 1941, presumably in duty in those closing weeks of the Luftwaffe's "Blitz" bombing campaign. He was taken to Horton Emergency Hospital, one of Epsom's "cluster" of mental hospitals that, as for WW1, had been taken over for dealing with wartime casualties, and died there the following day.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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SKELTON, Walter Allen. Flying Officer (45435)

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 115 Squadron
Died 28 August 1942, aged 23

Walter was born on 22 September 1918, to Harry Skelton and his second wife, Annie (née Rhodes - they married Q3 1913 in Horsham). (His first wife, Isabel Agnes - née Foster - had died in 1911). Like his two significantly older half-brothers, Walter was baptised at Christ Church Epsom Common, where the records list Harry as a builder and their home as "Clematis", South Street, Epsom. This was probably 44 South Street, which is where the couple were recorded in the 1939 Register - and noted as Walter's address in the Probate record of administration of his £ 331 estate being awarded to his father, Harry.

Walter was a pilot in 115 Squadron - a typical WW2 Bomber Command squadron which operated from various airfields in East Anglia. At 20:38 on 27 August 1942, he took off from RAF Marham (just outside King's Lynn) in a Wellington Mk III (JB710 / KO-L) to join a major attack (involving a total of 306 aircraft from various squadrons) on Kassel, in central Germany. The city was home to a number of important military-industrial sites: the Fieseler aircraft plant, the Henschel tank-making facilities, railway works and engine works were all based there. These attracted Allied bombing raids from early in 1942 until almost the end of the war.

A Vickers Wellington
A Vickers Wellington
Picture courtesy of www.pilotfriend.com

The particular target on 27/28 August 1942 was the Henschel tank plant, and the attack was held to be a success. Almost inevitably, a number of aircraft were lost, mainly as a result of night fighter action. The losses included Walter's aircraft, in which he and three of his crew were killed. (One of the gunners survived and was taken prisoner of war.)

After local burials, Walter and his fellow crew members were later re-interred in the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery 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 Germany. With some 7,600 Commonwealth servicemen of the Second World War buried or commemorated there, it is the largest Commonwealth cemetery in the country. Walter's parents took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave 9.H.12,
"Always in our thoughts."
Roger Morgan © 2018

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SMEDLEY, Denis Edward. Sub-Lieutenant

HMS Dunvegan Castle, Royal Naval Reserve.
Died 28 August 1940, aged 26.

This must be the individual intended by the "Smedley, Dennis - Royal Navy" commemorated in the Borough's Book of remembrance. Indeed, he is the is the only seaman with the surname Smedley in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's WW2 database.

Denis was born Q4 1913, registered in the Wandsworth District, the first child of merchant seaman Edward Postill Smedley and Susan Edith (née May - they had married in Calcutta on 6 September 1912). The couple had two more children - Peter in Q3 1919 and Paul in Q3 1921 - also registered in the Wandsworth District.

Denis followed in his father's footsteps and became a merchant seaman, and also joined the Royal Naval Reserve. In Q4 1919 he married Elizabeth Mary Bricknell, registered in the Brentford District. No record has been found of their having any children. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission post-war records note that Elizabeth was "of New Malden, Surrey". There must, at some stage been some link with Epsom & Ewell to merit Denis's inclusion in the Borough's Book of Remembrance, but that has yet to be established.

Called from the Reserve, Denis's WW2 service was aboard HMS Dunvegan Castle. This 15,000 ton vessel had been completed (in the yards of Harland & Wolff Ltd, Belfast) in August 1936 as motor passenger ship for Union-Castle Mail SS Co Ltd, London. She was requisitioned by the Admiralty on 7 September 1939, and converted to Armed Merchant Cruiser.

HMS Dunvegan Castle
HMS Dunvegan Castle
Image and the details below courtesy of uboat.net

On 11 August, HMS Dunvegan Castle left Freetown, Sierra Leone, part of the escort for convoy SL-43 to Belfast. At 2147 hours on 27 August, nearing home off northwest Ireland, the ship was hit aft of the bridge by one torpedo from U-boat U-46. As the ship continued, the U-boat fired two further torpedoes at 2212 and 2251 hours, which hit the engine room and just before the bridge. The vessel stopped, caught fire and foundered the next day, 250 of those on board were rescued. The remaining 27 had either been killed (such as Denis) or were lost at sea.

Denis is buried in the Chapel Strand Cemetery, Arranmore Island, County Donegal, Ireland. His wife took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave 7,
"Upon them hath the light shined."
In Q2 1944, the widowed Elizabeth married again, to Michael J Tomlinson. Like her marriage to Denis, this was registered in the Brentford District.

Denis is buried in the Chapel Strand Cemetery, Arranmore Island, County Donegal, Ireland.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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SMITH, Arthur H C. Rifleman (14359742)

2nd Battalion, The London Irish Rifles, Royal Ulster Rifles
Died 23 May 1944, aged 19

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Arthur was born Q2 1924, the first of probably four children born to John Clifford Smith and Alice Lilian (née Phillips). The couple's Q3 1923 marriage was registered in Epsom, as was the birth of Arthur and other children.

The 1939 Register records the family living at 21 Beech Road, Epsom. 39 year old John is listed as a "Warehouse Foreman (Solvents) in Chemical Works" and 38 year old Alice with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". The 15 year old Arthur is doubtless behind one of the currently closed records at the address.

Arthur's WW2 service was in the 2nd Battalion, The London Irish Rifles, Royal Ulster Rifles. This was in front line service from November 1942 to May 1945 throughout Tunisia and Italy. Given his age, Arthur probably joined the action around the time of the Allies' invasion of mainland Italy in September 1943.

The invasion coincided with an armistice made with the Italians who then re-entered the war on the Allied side. After the initial landings, the Allies made relatively rapid progress northwards - although with much hard fighting against German forces - until approaching their defensive "Winter Line" south of Rome. This took months of hard fighting to break. The best known of a series of actions along the Line were the several Battles of Monte Cassino between 17 January and 18 May 1944.

Casualty List No. 1466 notes that Arthur died of wounds on 23 May 1944, and it seems likely that his injuries were sustained in the action that finally drove the Germans from Monte Cassino. He is buried in the Cassino War Cemetery, one of the 4,280 Commonwealth WW2 casualties there. His parents took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave I.E.3, "In loving memory of our dear son Arthur."

The Cassino War Cemetery
The Cassino War Cemetery
Picture with thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Roger Morgan © 2018

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SMITH, George Albert

Civilian
Died 17 January 1941, aged 30

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records note that George was the "son of Mr and Mrs G J Smith, of 21 Netherby House, Clapham, London." Thanks to the address, this couple is readily found in the 1939 Register. The father, George, was born on 6 December 1893 and is listed as an "Electric Motorman, Southern Railway". His wife, Ellen was born on 15 December 1894 and is listed with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties".

Having the parents' birth dates and fuller names enables their marriage to be found. It was in Q4 1913 (registered in the Wandsworth District) and Ellen's maiden name was "Blake". To be aged 30 on his death in January 1941, George junior would have been born in 1910 (or very early 1911). However, the readily available records do not have a clear trace of this, perhaps to do with his birth being several years before the parents marriage - when, indeed, Ellen was barely aged 16.

The couple had other children. Two of them - Sidney (born May 1921) and Albert (born August 1923) are listed in the 1939 Register living with their parents. There are also four currently closed records at the address. It is perhaps unlikely that one of those would be concealing the 28/29 year old George, but he cannot be found with confidence elsewhere.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission notes that George was injured on 12 November 1940 while in the Wandsworth Road Shelter, a couple of months into the Luftwaffe's "Blitz" bombing campaign. He was taken to Horton Emergency Hospital, one of Epsom's "cluster" of mental hospitals that, as for WW1, had been taken over for dealing with wartime casualties and, after two months, died there on 17 January 1941. He was buried Epsom Cemetery, Grave M422.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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SMITH, George Bainbridge. Sapper (1991023)

505 Field Company, Royal Engineers.
Died 3 November 1942, aged 29.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission notes that George was the "son of George and Mary Smith". Thanks to his unusual second name George junior is readily traced: he was born in South Shields, County Durham on 9 July 1911, and Bainbridge was his mother's maiden name.

He is found in the 29 September 1939 Register working as a Nurse at West Park Hospital, one of Epsom's "cluster" of mental hospitals. Within a few weeks (registered Q4 1939 in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District), he had married Edith Mary Collins. She had been born on 4 February 1914 in the Neath District of South Wales, and her mother's maiden names was Jones. As recorded in the 1939 Register, she also worked at West Park Hospital, in her case as an Assistant Cook.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records note that Edith was "of Taibach, Port Talbot, Glamorgan" - her original home patch. However, it is probable that she lived in the Epsom area for at least a while after their marriage - and there is an outside chance that Keith C Smith (whose birth was registered Q4 1943 in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District and whose mother's maiden name was Collins) was the couple's only child.

George's WW2 service was as a Sapper in the 505 Field Company, Royal Engineers. It seems unlikely that he was enlisted in time to be sent to France in early 1940 as part of the British Expeditionary Force and its evacuation from Dunkirk in early June. More probably, and like many others, he was part of the rebuilding of the Army as it prepared for what seemed the inevitable German invasion of the UK mainland.

As the invasion threat receded, the Company was sent for service in the Middle East. In May 1941, It sailed from Glasgow in Convoy WS.8 and, by the Cape route, arrived in Egypt in mid-July 1941. They continued on to Cyprus and Palestine before entering Iraq in November 1941. The very cold winter at Eskilich made the ground hard, making the burying of mines on the border with Turkey very difficult.

In February 1942 the Company was moved to the Western Desert at the Front near Tobuk in Libya. Italy had declared war on the UK in June 1940 and began by advancing into British-held Egypt from its colony in Libya. The invasion was quickly repelled and, indeed, reversed with British forces taking large parts of Lybia, including the valuable port of Tobruk. German forces, under Rommel, were sent to reinforce their Italian allies and the combined Axis forces began to push the British forces back with the aim of capturing the prize of the Suez Canal and then the oilfields beyond.

The Company was first engaged mainly in laying mines around various defensive "Boxes". Notwithstanding these and other preparations, Axis forces had the other hand and pressed the British back and back and it was not until the 1-27 July 1942 first Battle of El Alamein - barely a hundred miles from Cairo that the Axis advance was, in something of a stalemate, at least halted. The tide was at last turned with the British victory in the second battle of El Alamein from 23 October to 11 November 1942 - indeed, a key turning point in the war as whole. It was during this fierce fighting that, as recorded in Casualty List No. 985, George was killed in action on 3 November.

George is one of the 7,240 Commonwealth WW2 casualties buried in the El Alamein War Cemetery. The widowed Edith took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave XXV.D.23,
"Gone but not forgotten."
The El Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt.
The El Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt.
Photograph with thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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SMITH, John Arthur, Flying Officer, Air Bomber,153826,

RAFVR (Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve) 106 Squadron.
Died 1 November 1944, aged 20.

John Smith
John Smith
Image courtesy of late Gordon Smith and Ben Goossens

The marriage of Arthur Patrick Smith to Lilian Bandy was registered at Barnet for the June Quarter of 1920. Their son John A Smith's arrival came to be recorded in Edmonton, 6/1924.

The family had taken up residence at 18 Corbet Road, Ewell, by 1935 but moved to 59 Sunnymede Avenue, West Ewell, for 1938.

John enlisted in the RAFVR and was inducted at Euston with a Service Number 1803953 in 1942 about the time of his 18th birthday. He rose from the rank of LAC to Pilot Officer on probation (emergency), 153826, by 15 October 1943 and Flying Officer (war sub.) on 15 April 1944.

After training he was assigned to 106 Squadron as an Air Bomber and then became a member of the crew on an Avro Lancaster PB303, call sign ZN-R which had been delivered to the squadron on 18 July 1944. At 14.05 hours on 1November 1944 this bomber with a seven man crew, took off from Metheringham Airfield near Lincoln, together with 19 other aircraft, for a raid on Homburg in Germany. It crashed close to a small village called Lepelstraat in the Southern part of the Netherlands at about 17.00 hrs. local time. Particulars may be found at www.bomber-command.info, thanks to Ben Goossens.

All aboard were killed to be interred in Collective grave 6. G. 5-9. of Bergen op Zoom Canadian War Cemetery. Mrs Jane Goossens was one of the many locals who adopted several of the graves as shown by the following certificate.

Certificate of Adoption of John Smith's Grave
Certificate of Adoption of John Smith's Grave
Image courtesy of Ben Goossens

Arthur Patrick Smith passed away at St Ebba's Hospital, Epsom, on 9 March 1962 survived by his wife Lilian.

Brian Bouchard

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SMITH, James Bruce. Petty Officer Stoker (P/K 18322)

Royal Navy H.M.S. Medway
Died 30 June 1942, aged 48

James was born Q4 1894 in Sunderland, the fifth child - of an eventual at least nine children - of William and Mary Ellen Smith. The 1911 Census records William as a "Deputy Overman Miner" and the 16 year old James as working in a shipyard.

On 29 October, James married Mary Rogerson Jones in South Hetton, County Durham. The readily available records provide no clues about either when the couple moved to Epsom or whether they had any children. The January 1943 Probate records state that James was "of 97 Church Side, Epsom Common", and that administration of his estate was awarded to the widowed Mary Rogerson Smith. (However, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission post-war records list Mary as being "of Toronto, Ontario, Canada".)

HMS Medway, on which James served, was completed in 1929 as the Royal Navy's first purpose-built submarine depot ship. With a crew of 400 and space for just over 1,300 additional men, the ship was designed to support up to 21 submarines. Following pre-war service in the China Station and a refit in Singapore, the ship arrived in Alexandria, Egypt in May 1940 May and thereafter supported the 1st Submarine Flotilla, which operated in the Eastern Mediterranean.

HMS Medway
HMS Medway
Picture (Q65758) courtesy of the Imperial War Museum

In June 1942, Vice-Admiral Henry Harwood, Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet, ordered all non-essential ships to leave Alexandria as he was preparing to demolish its port facilities to prevent their capture by the Axis forces advancing eastwards along the North African coast. (That advance was halted by the first Battle of El Alamein - some 50 miles from Alexandria - in July, and then reversed in the October/November Second Battle.) HMS Medway loaded stores and 1,135 personnel to establish a new base at Beirut, and sailed later on 29 June that day for The Lebanon escorted by a light cruiser and seven destroyers. Notwithstanding that escort, the German U-372 targeted and sank HMS Medway with two torpedoes off Port Said the next day. 30 men - including James - were lost.

James is remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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SMITH, John Frederick, Sergeant, Flight Sergeant, Navigator,1161856,

RAFVR (Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve), 487 (R.N.Z.A.F.) Squadron.
Died 12/06/1943, aged 22.

The marriage of Frederick Smith to Margaret G Allen was registered in Croydon for the September Quarter of 1915. Their son John appears to have arrived about five years later. By WW2 the family had taken up residence at 2 The Warren, Worcester Park, Surrey.

The RAF's Bomber Command website page records that: -
'No. 487 Squadron was formed at Feltwell, Norfolk, on 15th August 1942, as a light day-bomber squadron equipped with Lockheed Ventura aircraft and began operations on 6th December, when it contributed sixteen Venturas to the famous low-level raid on the Philips radio and valve factory at Eindhoven. The squadron continued daylight operations with Venturas - albeit very spasmodically - until late June 1943, and on 3rd May suffered a severe blow when ten out of eleven aircraft were shot down during a raid on Amsterdam. For his outstanding leadership in this operation, Squadron Leader LH Trent, a New Zealander in the RAF, who commanded the squadron's "B" Flight (and who was shot down and captured by the enemy) was, after the war when the full story of the raid became known, awarded the Victoria Cross.

On 1st June 1943, No. 487 left Bomber Command to become part of the newly-formed Second Tactical Air Force.'
After the major attack on the Philips works at Eindhoven, 6 December 1942, 487 Squadron survivors in one of the 'flying pig' Venturas included:-
Flying Officer Brewer, DFC, Pilot,
Flight Sergeant Ron W. Secord, W/Op. - Air Gunner, who had moved from the astrodome before it had been punctured by flak in order to take up his gun position,
&
Sergeant R F (Bob) Edmonds, Air Gunner, despite having his steel helmet knocked off by shrapnel.
On 3 May 1943, a 12 aircraft Ramrod raid - one to be continued regardless of losses - against Amsterdam resulted in the loss of all but one of the squadron's Venturas. Eleven of the aircraft crossed the Dutch coast but the Venturas encountered a large group of German fighters. Bursting through the Spitfire escort, they got in amongst 487 Squadron's bombers, damaging one and forcing it to return to base. The returnee is thought to have been Ventura AE797.

According to New Zealanders with the Royal Air Force, Vol. II, by Wing Commander H L Thompson, 1956 : -
'The squadron's first mission after leaving Bomber Command was flown on 12 June when twelve Venturas attacked Caen aerodrome. Flying Officer Brewer, who had earlier won commendation while flying with No. 107 Boston Squadron, failed to return. His aircraft was hit by flak, the port engine caught fire, and the Ventura was last seen going down in what appeared to be a controlled dive; but hopes that Brewer had managed to land safely were not fulfilled and both he and two other New Zealanders in his crew were killed.'
It had been Ventura AE797 attached to 2nd Tactical Air Force shot down during the raid on Caen, 12 June 1943, with Flight Sergeant J F Smith on board as Navigator. None of the crew survived and they were taken for burial in Collective grave. XXVIII. J. 16-19. of Bayeux War Cemetery, Departement du Calvados Basse - Normandie, France :-
Pilot - F/O. 412196 Gordon William Brewer, DFC, Royal New Zealand Air Force, aged 28,
Navigator - Flt. Sgt. 1161856 John Frederick Smith, Royal Air Force, aged 22,
Wireless Operator/Air Gunner - W/O. 404098 Ronald William Secord, Royal New Zealand Air Force, aged 21 &
Air Gunner - Sgt. 413254 Robert Ferguson Edmonds, Royal New Zealand Air Force, aged 28
Brian Bouchard

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SMITH, Michael Arnold. Second Lieutenant (143725)

2nd Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment and No. 50 Commando.
Died 28 February 1941, aged 19.

Michael was born on 14 April 1921, at least the second child of Harry Neville Smith and of Winifred Mary (née Cooper - their Q3 1915 marriage was registered in the Blean District of Kent). The 1939 Register records the family living at 7 Higher Green, Ewell. 54 year old Harry is listed as a Bank Clerk; 55 year old Winifred with the conventional " Domestic Duties (Unpaid)"; and 18 year Michael (who had attended Epsom College, where the records describe his father as a "Bank Official") as "Clerk, Asiatic Petroleum Co". Some time over the next few years, the parents moved to Sutton - which is where the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records note them as being "of".

Michael's WW2 service was initially in the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment, but he was soon recruited into No. 50 Commando, based in Egypt. After training, the Unit was ready for action. For various reasons, the first couple of missions were aborted at the last moment and the first to get under way was Operation Abstention, a combined operation with the Royal Navy aiming to seize Kastelorizzo, a small Greek island about eighty miles east of Rhodes and just three miles off the Turkish coast. The initiative for the operation came from Admiral of the Fleet, Sir Andrew Cunningham, Commander-in-Chief Mediterranean. He wanted a secure motor torpedo boat base to support future operations against the Italians (who had invaded Greece at the end of October 1940) in the rest of the Dodecanese, to the west of Kastelorizzo.

On the evening of 23/24 February 1941, 200 men set off for Kastelorizzo aboard HMS Decoy and HMS Hereward, accompanied by escorts. They took an indirect course, heading initially for the Palestinian coast before steaming on to Kastelorizzo. The aim was to reach the island by 0300 hours on 25 February, where a Royal Naval submarine would guide them into their final position south-west of the island.

Although it was a combined operation, the Commandos had not been closely involved in the planning. Things did not go well. Instead of the hoped-for surgical operation, tempo was lost in the initially successful assault and the Italians were able to respond with unanticipated vigour from their base in Rhodes - not only by bombing and shelling the invading force but also precluding the planned landing of further reinforcements. The Allies' response was hindered by various communications and supplies issues.

With fierce fighting over the next few days (during which Michael was killed on the beach during an air raid, and his body never recovered), the Allies had to accept defeat. Although many of the surviving troops were successfully evacuated, a good number were taken prisoner. One of the SOE operatives embedded with the troops called the operation "confused, incompetent, inept and a mess". The debacle brought scathing comments from Admiral Cunningham who described the operation as "A rotten business and reflected little credit to everyone".

Michael is commemorated on the Athens Memorial. This stands within Phaleron War Cemetery (on the coast a few miles to the south east of Athens) and commemorates nearly 3,000 members of the land forces of the Commonwealth who lost their lives during the campaigns in Greece and Crete in 1941 and 1944-1945, in the Dodecanese Islands in 1943-1945 and in Yugoslavia in 1943-1945, and who have no known grave.

Roger Morgan © 2018
With thanks to combinedops.com for detailed mission information summarised above.

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SNEATH, Ronald Ernest. Petty Officer (P/J 112654)

HMS Culver, Royal Navy
Died 31 January 1942, aged 32.

Ronald Ernest Sneath was born on 11 September 1909 in Bourn, Lincolnshire (GRO reference: Sep 1909 Bourne 7a 359). His parents William Gordon and Clara Winifred Sneath (nee Foskett) had married at 8.30 on Wednesday 14 March 1909 at St John's Church, Walham Green. They had been living at 28 Portland Street at the time.

When the 1911 census was taken Ronald's 22 year old father filled out the form stating that he and his 21 year old wife Clara had been married for 2 years and that his 1 year old son was called Ernest and his 6 month old daughter Winifred. They were living in two rooms at 29 Elric Street, Hammersmith and he was working as a maintenance fitter to support his family.

Ronald's brother Charles William was born in 1912 followed by his sister Dorothy May in 1913 and Lilian in 1917; they were all born in the Fulham area.

By 1924 the family had moved to Great Bowden in Leicestershire. Aged 15, Ronald is reported to have trained for the Royal Navy at H.M.S. Ganges before service on H.M.S. Coventry, H.M.S. Renown & H.M.S. Dauntless before H.M.S. Culver as a Petty Officer with the Service Number P/J 112654.

Ronald's youngest sister Barbara E. was born in 1927 in the Market Harborough district in Leicestershire.

Ronald married 35 year old Agnes Louise Hayball in the March quarter of 1937 in the Bournemouth registration district. There were no children from the marriage.

At 23.31 hours on 31 January 1942, U105 fired a salvo of four torpedoes at the convoy SL-98 and observed two hits and a large explosion. Schuch thought that he had hit an ammunition freighter, but in fact it was H.M.S. Culver (Lt. Cdr. Randal Thomas Gordon-Duff, RN) that had blown up in position 48°43' N, 20°14' W with the loss of the commanding officer, seven officers and 118 ratings. Of the 140 on board; only 13 survived.

Ronald was one of the many casualties and his death is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire. He is also remembered in the Leicestershire village of Great Bowden on a memorial on the village green and within Great Bowden parish church.

In 1945 Agnes, Ronald's widow, was listed in the Surrey Electoral Registers as living at 104 Horton Hill, Epsom. She had her husband's name commemorated in the Book of Remembrance in the foyer of Epsom Town Hall and on the Roll of Honour in St. Barnabas Church, Epsom.

Ronald's father was aged 62 when he died on 11 September 1951 in Market Harborough, Leicestershire.

Ronald's widow Agnes did not remarry and died in 1967 in the Hatfield area.

Clive Gilbert & Hazel Ballan 2014

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SNELLING, Alfred Victor. Pilot Officer (89600)

78 Sqdn. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 9 June 1941 Age 21

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

The marriage of Alfred Snelling to Emma Orton was registered in Edmonton for the June Quarter of 1901. Birth of Alfred V Snelling came to be recorded at Epsom, 9/1919. In 1920 the Snellings appear to have been resident at 69 East Street, Epsom.

During 1936 the name of A V Snelling appears in the London Gazette joining the Air Ministry to be employed as a Clerical Officer. He enlisted with the Royal Air Force at Cardington during September 1939 with a Service Number 957979 before being commissioned as a Leading Aircraftman to the rank of Pilot Officer, with effect from 15 December 1940 (later corrected to 8 January 1941).

Aircraft accidents in the Pennines area. - Yorkshire Aircraft report:-
"In the early hours of 9th June 1941 the crew of this 78 Squadron aircraft were returning to Middleton St.George after undertaking an operational flight to bomb Dortmund. The weather over North Yorkshire on this night was poor and 78 Squadron aircraft had initially been sent instructions to divert to land at Prestwick, the weather over Middleton St.George improved slightly and this diversion order was later cancelled but the weather was still poor at dawn when this aircraft was heading towards base, the aircraft appears to have drifted too far west and at the time of the crash the crew were descending through cloud probably to try and locate their position, the Whitley flew into a hilltop near Ellingstring at around 05.20hrs. Sadly all five airmen were killed but strangely three pilots* are listed on the CWGC database and no navigator.
Pilot - Sgt Dennis Russell Simm RAFVR (1150677), aged 27, of Ashbourne, Derbyshire. Buried Ashbourne Cemetery, Derbyshire.
Pilot - Sgt John Staley Tomkinson RAFVR (969697), aged 28, of Hazel Grove, Cheshire. Buried Taxal Churchyard, Whaley Bridge, Derbyshire.
Observer - P/O Alfred Victor Snelling RAFVR (89600), aged ? of Epsom Downs, Surrey. Buried Middleton St George Churchyard, Co.Durham.
Wireless Operator / Air Gunner - Sgt John Bernard Stevens RAFVR (972788), aged 21, of Hornchurch, Essex. Buried Hornchurch Cemetery, Essex.
Wireless Operator / Air Gunner - F/Sgt Gordon Elliot Chiswell Billing RAFVR (967253), aged 24, of Leyland. Buried Leyland Churchyard, Lancashire."
*and remark that Snelling was incorrectly listed as a Pilot by CWGC.

Alfred Victor Snelling was interred at Middleton St. George (St. George) Churchyard, Durham, in Grave 294, his headstone inscribed
'UNTIL THE DAWN BREAK AND WE MEET AGAIN'.
Recorded by CWGC as the son of Alfred and Emma Snelling, of Epsom Downs, Surrey, in 1945 his parents were living at 'Amethyst', Grosvenor Road, Langley Vale, Epsom.

Brian Bouchard © 2018

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SPARK, Basil Douglas. Flight Lieutenant/Pilot (128904)

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
Died 5 July 1945, aged 24.

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

Basil was born in Epsom Q4 1920, the only child of Edwin Frank Spark and Constance Alice (née Moodie - they had married Q3 1914, registered in the Lambeth District). The 1939 Register records the parents living at 23 Copse Edge Avenue. 51 year old Edwin is listed as a "Clerk (MWB) Services Revenue Cashier" [MWB probably being the Metropolitan Water Board] and 55 year old Constance with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". There is one currently close record at the address, probably concealing the 18/19 year old Basil.

In Q3 1943 and registered in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District, the 22 year old Basil married 21 year old Shirley Phyllis Fleet. There is no record of the couple having any children. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records note Shirley as being "of Epsom", but the address has yet to be established. (The widowed Shirley married again in Q1 1956 - to Alan D Gibbins, registered Surrey South Eastern District.)

On 11 July 1945, Basil was buried in Epsom Cemetery (Grave N595), where the records note that he died "near Holme on Spalding Moor", Yorkshire. With that clue, internet searches find that he was killed whilst piloting Halifax VI RG651 of No 78 Squadron which landed too far up the runway at Holme on Spalding Moor (the WW2 RAF Holme) and, having swung to avoid some workmen, ran off the end and into a ditch.

That provides the context for the personal inscription the widowed Shirley added to his headstone on Grave N.595,
"Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends."
Roger Morgan © 2018

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SPARKE, Philip Donald Julian. DSC and 2 Bars. Pilot Lieutenant (Acting)

Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm - 815 & 806 Squadron
Died 11 May 1941, aged 21

Philip is not listed in the Borough's Book of Remembrance, but is included here because the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records note that he was the "son of James Donald and Mary Virginia Sparke, of Epsom". However, details of that link have yet to be established.

Philip was born on 21 May 1918, apparently the only child of James Donald Sparke and Mary Virginia (née Jefferson - they had married on 8 August 1914). Philip's birth, like his parent's marriage, was registered in the West Ham District.

James was born in Isleham, Cambridgeshire on 16 December 1887. He is found in the 1911 Census as a 23 year old "Joiner" living in Isleham with his parents (52 year old Joseph, a "House Painter" and 59 year old Jane, a "Schoolmistress") and two younger siblings. During WW1, James served in the Royal Naval Air Service as an Air Mechanic and then with the newly formed RAF.

Philip followed his father's lead and was commissioned into the Royal Navy on 4 July 1938, qualifying as a pilot (Midshipman (Air Branch)) at No. 1 Flying Training School, Netheravon, on 10 September 1938. He was promoted to Acting Sub-Lieutenant on 29 November 1939 and to Sub-Lieutenant on 14 March 1940.

All that explains why Philip is not found in the 1939 Register. However, this recorded his parents living at 40b Albion Villas, Hove. 51 year old James is listed as a "Wood Worker" and 39 year old Mary with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". (There are three other entries at the address whose relationship to James and Mary is not yet established.)

In the early stages of WW2, Philip (in a play on his surname, known to his colleagues as "Spike") served with 815 Naval Air Squadron and, flying off HMS Formidable, was engaged in operations in the Channel during the Battle of France and the Dunkirk operation, for which he earned his first Distinguished Service Cross "for daring, endurance and resource in the conduct of hazardous and successful operations by the Fleet Air Arm working with the Coastal Command in France and over the Channel" (London Gazette, Issue 34890 of 5 July 1940, page 4152).

On the night of 11-12 November 1940, with his observer Sub-Lieutenant J W Neale in torpedo carrying Fairey Swordfish L4C (nicknamed 'Cleo') and flying from from HMS Illustrious, he took part in Operation Judgement, attacking the Italian fleet at anchor in Taranto harbour. He was awarded a Bar to his DSC "for outstanding courage and skill in a brilliant and wholly successful night attack by the Fleet Air Arm on the Italian Fleet at Taranto" (London Gazette, Issue 35166 of 20 May 1941, page 2870).

In the spring of 1941, he joined 806 Naval Air Squadron, flying Fairey Fulmars - again off HMS Formidable. On 11 May, while providing air cover for Operation Tiger, a resupply run from Gibraltar to Alexandria, his Fulmar crashed into the sea after an engagement at very close range with an enemy Ju88, which also crashed. Both he and his observer, Leading Airman Rush, were lost. Philip was posthumously awarded a second Bar to his DSC for "courage, resolution and devotion to duty in operations in the Mediterranean" (London Gazette, Issue 35365 of 2 December 1941, page 6890).

Left: HMS Illustrious, Right: A Fairey Fulmar
Left: HMS Illustrious under way in 1942 - IWM photo A11660, Public Domain
Right: A Fairey Fulmar - Public Domain

In Philip's brief but spectacular career, his wartime tally was four aircraft destroyed - two Ju52 (off Tripoli) and two Ju88 (off Alexandria) - and two Ju88 shared (near Sicily and Malta). He is commemorated on the Fleet Air Arm Memorial at Lee-on-Solent, one of almost 2,000 men of that service who died during WW2 and who have no known grave.

Roger Morgan © 2018
With great thanks to Nick Metcalfe's blog

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STANLEY, George Haynes. Lance Serjeant 1075198

85 Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery
Died 8 September 1943, aged 30

George's headstone and the Chungkai War Cemetery
George's headstone and the Chungkai War Cemetery
Left: Photograph (18898136) by "GulfportBob" via findagrave.com
Right: Photograph with thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

George is not listed in the Borough's Book of Remembrance, but is included here because the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records note that he was the "husband of Constance Marjorie Stanley, of Epsom". The only clue so far found here is from George's Japanese PoW record card which clearly states that the address of his wife, as next of kin, was "36 Shaldeford Road, West Ewell". However, there is no such address and it is not yet known of what this is a mistranscription.

George was born on 27 February 1913, the first of four children (one of whom died) born to George Haynes Stanley and Mary Elizabeth (née Mann - they had married Q3 1910). The parent's marriage and all the children's births were registered in the Wandsworth District.

The 1939 Register records them all living at 60 Shelgate Road, Battersea. 44 year old George senior is listed as a "General Labourer", and 40 year old Mary with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". 26 year old George junior is listed as an "Assistant Company Secretary" and his two sisters (aged 25 and 17) are both "Book Keepers".

In Q1 1940, and registered in the Battersea District, the 27 year old George married 22 year old Constance Marjorie Allaker. The 1939 Register had recorded her (a "Secretary to a Motor Dealer") as the youngest of three children living with their parents, Frederick (a "Motor Bus Driver") and Margaret Allaker at 10 Burland Road, Battersea - about a quarter of a mile from where George was living. No record is found of the couple having any children. (And the widowed Constance never remarried, dying in Kingston-upon Thames in Q2 1998.)

George's WW2 service was in the Royal Artillery's 85 Anti-Tank Regiment. This was raised in 1941 and sent to Malaya in anticipation of a Japanese invasion. (Japan did not declare war on the UK until December 1941, but was already at war with China.) When the Japanese invasion came, it was - in spite of fierce fighting - of a ferocity beyond the capacity of Commonwealth forces to withstand. The action culminated in the British surrender of Singapore on 15 February 1942, when the Japanese took almost 80,000 Commonwealth troops as prisoners of war, to add to the 50,000 or so captured during their advance through Malaya.

Like many other PoWs, George was used as forced labour in building the notorious Burma-Siam railway which, because of the almost unspeakably harsh conditions, was aptly nicknamed "the Death Railway": about 13,000 PoWs and some 90,000 civilian prisoners died and were buried along the railway. One of those deaths was George's on 8 September 1943.

After the war, those in camp burial grounds and isolated sites along the railway were reinterred in three larger cemeteries. In George's case, this was at the Chungkai War Cemetery, just outside the town of Kanchanaburi which is about 75 miles north-west of Bangkok, at the point where the river Kwai divides into two separate rivers.

His widow took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave 4.C.3,
"Forever in our thoughts".
Roger Morgan © 2018

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STEEL, George Robert. Able Seaman (P/JX 296878)

Royal Navy HMMTB 82
Died 16 July 1943, aged 21

George's parents were William Alexander Robert Steel and Edith May (née Ferris - they married Q2 1915 in Hartley Wintney, Hampshire). The couple's first child appears to be May born in Farnham Q2 1918. By the time George was born (Q2 1922), the couple were in Epsom - and this is where they were recorded in the 1939 Register, lodging with Joseph and Ellen White at "Trevarrium", Downs Way. William was listed as a retired carpenter and joiner.

Able Seaman George's WW2 service was on HM Motor Torpedo Boat 82 - a Vosper 72 foot model, two of which are illustrated below. MTBs were small and fast attack vessels, the principal armaments of which - as the name indicates - were torpedoes. They also carried some offensive guns and defensive cannons.

Two Vosper 72 foot Motor Torpedo Boats
Two Vosper 72 foot Motor Torpedo Boats
Photograph A25856 courtesy of the Imperial War Museum

In mid-1943, MTB 82 was part of the naval support for the Allies' invasion of Sicily. On 16 July, in the waters between Sicily and the "toe" of mainland Italy, some German E-Boats (their navy's fast attack boats) were sighted and engaged by four MTBs, including George's MTB 82. During the melee, the MTBs were also engaged by shore batteries, during which MTB 82 suffered a near miss. This wounded both its Commanding Officer (T/Lt R A Johnson, RNZNVR) and George - in the latter case, so severely that he died of his wounds.

George is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial as one of the nearly 15,000 naval personnel of WW2 with no known grave. As it is known he died of his wounds, it must be that he was then buried at sea.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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STEELE, Frederick Robert Ellis. Signalman (2328600)

Royal Corps of Signals.
Died 13 August 1941, aged 20

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

Frederick was born in Q2 1921, the second of three children born to William Ernest Steele and Ada (née Ellis). Their Q3 1918 marriage had been registered in the Fareham District of Hampshire - as were Frederick's birth and that of his older sister Constance P in Q4 1919. The birth of the couple's third child, Peter, was registered in Dorking Q3 1927.

The 1939 Register recorded the parents living at the "Epsom County Institution & Hospital" - presumably what became Epsom General Hospital in Dorking Road, but still feeling its origins as the Workhouse. 50 year old William is listed as the "Master & Steward, Epsom County Institution & Hospital" and 51 year old Ada as "Matron, Epsom County Institution". Immediately following their entries is a currently closed record which could be covering either the 19 year old Constance or the 18 year old Frederick. Not closed is the next record, for 11 year old schoolboy Peter.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records note that Frederick's WW2 service was in the Royal Corps of Signals, but the readily available records provide nothing about either the nature or location of this.

Frederick's death on 13 August was registered in the Surrey South Western District. His body was brought home for burial on 16 August 1941 in Epsom Cemetery, where the records note that he had been "Discharged from HM Forces" and had died in the Surrey County Sanatorium (a TB hospital), Busbridge, near Godalming.

His family took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave K.30,
"Always in our thoughts. Dad, Mum, Peggy, Peter"
Roger Morgan © 2018

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STEPHENS Geoffrey John. Able Seaman (P/JX 329166)

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

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Geoffrey was born Q3 1924, the third and last child of Alfred Horton Stephens and Alice Mary (née Marfell). The parents' Q1 1914 marriage had been registered in the Hampstead District. The birth of all three children - Geoffrey and his older sisters Dorothy (born Q2 1915) and Margaret (born Q4 1920) - were registered in the Pancras District of London.

The family are, perhaps because of transcription errors, not readily found in the 1939 Register. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission notes that the parents were "of Epsom, Surrey" but there are other clues which suggest they were of Tattenham Corner, just outside the Borough. But they were certainly local: Alfred's death in Q4 1960 was registered in the lcal Surrey Mid Eastern District.

Anyway, Geoffrey'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. This hit HMS Penelope in the after boiler room, causing a massive explosion and the cruiser sank immediately. She was 35 miles west of Naples.

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

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

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STEPHENSON, Thomas. Gunner (1788700)

Royal Artillery 78 Battery, 35 Lt. A.A. Regiment
Died 14 March 1944, aged 39

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's information about Thomas's family is that he was the "son of Mr and Mrs Edward Stephenson; and husband of Martha Stephenson, of Epsom, Surrey."

It is likely to be this Thomas Stephenson who married Martha A Johnson in Bradford Q3 1927. The 1939 Register recorded a Martha Stephenson at 45 Woodland Road, Epsom - noting she was born on 1 April 1906 and worked as a "Laundry Ironer". She was the third entry at that address, the first two of which are currently closed ones, so was presumably a lodger there.

Thomas served in 78 Battery of the 35th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment of the Royal Artillery. In the early days of WW2, this was stationed in the Reading area. In November 1941, the Regiment was kitted out for service in Iraq and, with others, set off in a convoy bound for Basra in the Persian Gulf. However, in view of the Japanese advances in the Far East, the Regiment and some others were diverted to Singapore. Just before Singapore fell to the Japanese on 15 February 1942, the 78 Battery and some others were withdrawn to defend the allied bases in Borneo.

Notwithstanding stout resistance there, the Japanese forces again proved unstoppable. Members of 78 Battery were among those ordered to capitulate by noon on 9 March 1942 and then taken Prisoners of War.

Understood to be 78 Battery
Understood to be 78 Battery - of which the 35 year old Thomas
would be one - before its 1941 move abroad.
Picture with thanks to Rob Baxter, via www.wartimememoriesproject.com

Thomas was probably sent to the infamous Sandakan PoW camp, on Borneo's north-east coast. As is well-known, the conditions and regime in Japanese PoW camps were extremely harsh and, like many others, Thomas succumbed to these, dying on 14 March 1944 After the war, some 2,700 burials (of which more than half were unnamed) were transferred from Sandakan - where the ground was subject to occasional flooding - to the new Labuan War Cemetery on an island off northern Borneo, which is now part of Malaysia.

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STEVENS, James William. Private (6138872)

1st Battalion, East Surrey Regiment.
Died 22 May 1940, aged 25.

The family background given by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in James's case is unusually brief, being only "Son of John and Doris Stevens". The General Record Office index notes that James's birth was registered in the Epsom District in Q2 1914, and that his mother's maiden name was Kitcherside. However, a John Stevens / Doris Kitcherside wedding has proved elusive in the readily available records - nor are the couple found in either the 1911 Census or 1939 Register. There is one nugget of family information: James had an older sister, Ellen E Stevens (whose mother's maiden name was also the unusual Kitcherside) was registered in the Epsom District in Q1 1912.

James's WW2 service was in the 1st Battalion, East Surrey Regiment. This was sent to France in early 1940 as part of the British Expeditionary Force ready to repel the expected German invasion. However, when it came on 10 May 1940, the invasion was of unanticipated speed and ferocity and the BEF was pushed back, with survivors being evacuated mainly from Dunkirk in early June.

Many men were killed or captured during that fighting retreat. James was one of those casualties, being killed on 22 May 1940. His body was never recovered - or, if it was, he could not be identified. He is one of 4,513 members of the BEF commemorated on the Dunkirk Memorial as having no known grave.

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

Roger Morgan © 2018

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STEVENSON, Ada Mary Pat

Civilian
Died 22 June 1944, aged 28

Ada is not listed in the Borough's Book of Remembrance, but is included here because the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records note that she was "of 19 The Drive, Ewell, Surrey." While the Commission also notes that she was the "daughter of Mr and Mrs Waller", knowing her maiden name has not proved enough to trace her 1916/17 birth or family background in the readily available records.

Of more use is the Commission's additional note that she was the "wife of Frederick Leefe Stevenson". Their Q2 1942 marriage was registered in the Wandsworth District. While Ada is not readily found in the 1939 Register, Frederick (born 5 September 1916 and now working as an "Engineers draughtsman) was living with his parents - Frederick senior (an "Analytical Chemist") and Henrietta - and several siblings at 125 Pendle Road, Wandsworth. As noted above, the married Ada and Frederick junior set up home at 19 The Drive, Ewell. There is no record of their having any children.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's final note on Ada is that, on 22 June 1944, she was killed by enemy action while at 27 Woodmansterne Road, Wandsworth. It is not known why she was there, and the 1939 Register is of no help in establishing the possible occupants as the property vacant when the Register was taken.

Ada was buried in Wandsworth cemetery. In Q3 1946, The widowed Frederick married again - to Audrey M Churchman, registered in the Surrey North Eastern District.

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STEWART, Donald John. Flying Officer (172377)

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
Died 23 July 1944, aged 31.

Donald's headstone in the Red Deer Cemetery, Alberta, Canada
Donald's headstone in the Red Deer Cemetery, Alberta, Canada
Photograph (109655241) by Maureen Klingenberg via findagrave.com

Donald was born in Epsom on 14 February 1914, apparently the only child of Allan M Stewart and Gertrude M (née Etheridge - they had married in Epsom Q4 1912).

He married (although a record of this has yet to be found) and the 1939 Register records him and his wife, Ada Louvain Stewart (born on 9 February 1915), living alone at 13 Chessington Close, Ewell. Donald's occupation is shown as "Mental Nurse (R M P A Qualified)" - so he probably worked at one of the "Epsom Cluster" of mental hospitals - and Ada's as the conventional "unpaid domestic duties". It does not seem the couple had any children subsequently.

Donald died while at the No. 36 Service Flying Training School, Penhold - about halfway between Edmonton and Calgary in Alberta, Canada. However, it is not clear whether he was there as a trainee or an instructor on the School's Airspeed Oxfords (a twin-engine light transport aircraft designed for all aspects of aircrew training). It is understood that he may have died from injuries received in a collision between two of the aircraft three days earlier, on 20 July 1944.

An Airspeed Oxford trainer.
An Airspeed Oxford trainer.
Photograph By Bob Brown via Wikimedia Commons

Donald is one of 39 WW2 casualties buried in the nearby Red Deer Cemetery - about 10 miles north of the Training School. His widow took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave F.7,
"Treasured memories / of a devoted husband. / 'Too dearly loved to / be forgotten.' "
On 23 December 1948, the widowed Ada sailed from London on the P&O liner Mooltan to emigrate to Australia. The ship's passenger manifest lists her as a "hospital worker" and notes that her last address in the UK had been 3 Tonstall Road, Epsom.

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STONE, Arthur John.

Civilian
Died 17 May 1941, aged 51

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission gives no family background for Arthur, noting only that he was injured in 1941 at the Queen's Road Homes, Croydon. He is found there in the 1939 Register. as an unmarried and "incapacitated" inmate, born on 12 September 1890. Even equipped with that birth date, however, it has so far proved impossible to trace more of his background in the readily available records.

Croydon's Queen's Road Homes had been a workhouse for the destitute which, when taken over by Croydon Borough Council in 1930, were renamed the "Queen's Road Homes" after their location. They continued to perform the same function, but with a growing emphasis on the care of the elderly. On the outbreak of WW2, the Homes were reclassified as a Class 2 Hospital under the Emergency Hospital Scheme; and as such received chronic sick cases.

On 16 April 1941 the main part of the building was severely damaged by a German land mine. The northern wing and the chapel were completely destroyed. Many were killed, but Arthur was among the injured. He was taken to Horton Emergency Hospital, one of Epsom's "cluster" of mental hospitals that, as for WW1, had been taken over for dealing with wartime casualties, but died there a month later, on 17 May 1941.

John was buried in Grave M427 of Epsom Cemetery on 22 May 1941.

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STONE, Frank James. Private (6147768)

1st Battalion, East Surrey Regiment
Died 24 April 1943, aged 29

Frank was born in Epsom on 10 April 1914, the fifth child of "Platelayer" Albert Leonard Stone and Lucy Fanny (née Bishop - they married in Christ Church Epsom Common on 14 September 1901). Like his four older sisters and one younger sister, was baptised at Christ Church. At the time of the 1911 Census, the family had been living at 1 Yew Tree Cottage, Dorking Road, Epsom. By the time of Frank's baptism, they were living at 17 Woodlands Road on Epsom Common.

Albert died in 1936 and the 1939 Register records the widowed Lucy (a "laundress") still at 17 Woodlands Road with two of her children: the 25 year old Frank (a "timber stacker"); and 21 year old Bessie (a "Probation Nurse").

Frank's WW2 service was in the 1st Battalion of the East Surrey Regiment. It is not clear from the readily available records if he if was involved in the April 1940 deployment to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), its subsequent action in the Battle of Belgium, and the evacuation of its survivors from Dunkirk in June 1940. After Dunkirk, the Battalion was reformed - and was assigned to 11th Infantry Brigade, part of 78th Infantry Division, with which it remained for the rest of the war.

However, it is certain that Frank was involved in the extensive preparations for "Operation Torch" in late 1942 - the first Anglo-American operation of the War. These Allied landings in Morocco and Algeria on 8 November 1942 aimed to move along the North African coast as a pincer movement against German forces which, thanks to Allied success at El Alamein, were held in the east. Frank's Battalion landed at Algiers, the easternmost of the three landings. (Unlike the landings at Oran in Algeria and on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, the Vichy French forces in Algiers were quickly overcome.)

The Germans responded immediately by sending a force from Sicily to northern Tunisia, which checked the Allied advance east in early December. In the south, the Axis forces that had been defeated at El Alamein withdrew into Tunisia along the coast through Libya, pursued by the Allied Eighth Army. By mid April 1943, the combined Axis force was hemmed into a small corner of north-eastern Tunisia and the Allies were grouped for their final offensive. That assault against Tunis and Medjez-el-Bab began in April 1943. It involved much fierce fighting during which Frank was killed on 24 April. The Axis forces finally surrendered in early May.

All these actions were alongside the East Surrey's 1/6th Battalion, so it may be that Frank knew fellow Christ Church parishioner Arthur Weston who was killed 10 days later, just before Tunis was finally taken.

Frank is one of the 2,525 Commonwealth WW2 burials in Medjez-El-Bab War Cemetery, about 35 miles west of Tunis. His mother took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave 4.G.15,
"He fought a good fight, he finished his course, he kept the faith."
The Medjez-El-Bab War Cemetery, Tunisia.
The Medjez-El-Bab War Cemetery, Tunisia
Photograph with thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Roger Morgan © 2017

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STONE, Lewis Oliver

Civilian
Died 7 November 1940, aged 52

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Lewis was born in Epsom on 21 June 1888, about the middle of 11 children (two of whom died in infancy) of William Benjamin Stone and Eliza (née Bowles - they had married in Christ Church Epsom Common on 3 January 1989). The 1911 Census records the 22 year old Lewis (a "Jobbing Gardener") as the oldest of the three children still living with their parents, 59 year old William (a "Bricklayer") and 52 year old Eliza. Eliza died in 1917 and William in 1921. Both are buried in Grave 224A in Epsom Cemetery where the records note their address as "4 Mill Road, The Common, Epsom."

In Q3 1911, 23 year old Lewis married 21 year old Daisy W Sparrow (she had been born in Ewell on 18 December 1891). The marriage was registered in Epsom, as were the births of their four children between 1913 and 1931. By the time of the 1939 Register, the family (minus the oldest child, Winifred, who had married Archibald D J Hill Q3 1936, registered in the Surrey Mid Eastern District) were 67 Cheam Common Road, Worcester Park. 51 year old Lewis is listed as a "Gardener" and 47 year old Daisy with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". 19 year old daughter Margaret was working as a "Shop Assistant Librarian" and both 10 year old Anthony and 7 year old Barbara were at school.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission notes that Lewis died at 67 Cheam Common Road on 7 November 1940, presumably in one of the bombing raids of the Luftwaffe's "Blitz" canpaign. If others of the family were injured, they survived. He is buried in the churchyard of St Dunstan's, Cheam.

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STONE, REGINALD (REG) Sergeant/Air Gunner (1585207)

106 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 31 January 1943, aged 20

The marriage of Rose Fox (born 11 February 1890) to James Sullivan was registered in Wandsworth for the March Quarter of 1919. Birth of their daughter Rosemary, 25 June 1919, came to be recorded in the same District, 6/1919.

Private James Sullivan, 8649, RASC (later 301361,719 Coy., Labour Corps.) had died on 19 February 1919 in No 30 General Hospital, Calais. He was laid to rest, aged 39 in Les Baraques Military Cemetery, Sangatte - his headstone is inscribed 'DEEPLY MISSED BY HIS WIFE & DAUGHTER'. The widow's adress was stated to have been 38 Chatham Street, Orkney Street, Battersea.

A half brother to Rosemary, Reginald Stone, was born on 22 December 1922, reg. Wandsworth, 3/1923.

By 1935, Rose Mary Sullivan had entered a relationship with Geoffrey Reynolds Mason (born 19 September 1909), to take up residence at 100 Revelstoke Road, Southfields. A contracted union beteween the parties was registered in Surrey Mid E, 6/1939.

For the 1939 Register, Reginald Stone appeared with his mother and step-father at 53 Green Lanes, Ewell: his employment was described as 'Shop Asst. (Florist & Gardener)'.

During September 1941 Reginald enlisted with the Royal Air Force at Weston super Mare.

On 31 January 1943, a 106 Squadron Lancaster, W4826, ZN-D, took off from RAF Syerston at 00.10 hrs. to attack Hamburg.

The aircraft is reported to have been hit by Flak of M. Flak Abt. 222 (Flak Ugruko Süd), 1./schw. Flak Abt. 117 (o), 4./schw. Flak Abt. 531 (o), 2. & 3./schw. Flak Abt. 615 (v), 1./schw. Flak Abt. 231 (o) and 2./schw. Flak Abt. 223 to crash in flames at the railway station of Imsum at 03.20 hrs. In the Marine Flak Abschussmeldung, the time of crash was noted as 02.58 hrs, and crash location as 'near Neuenwalde'.

All the crew were killed: -
Sgt. H E Johnson
Sgt. N Marshal
P/O C J J Gill
Sgt. J Langrell
Sgt W Cotton
Sgt. D Coy
Sgt. R Stone.
Initially buried in Geestemunde Cemmetery, their remains were re-interred at the Becklingen War Cemetery, Niedersachsen, Germany. Reginald lies in Grave 20 B12, his headstone inscribed
'IN PROUD AND LOVING MEMORY OF REG, MY ONLY SON, BROTHER OF ROSEMARY. MUM'.
Reginald - apparently commonly known as 'Reg' - was described by CWGC as the son of Rose Mary Stone, of West Ewell, Surrey. No evidence has been uncovered of her taking the married name of Stone and by the War had, in fact, become Mrs Mason: her death, aged 67, was registered in Surrey Mid E, 12/1957.

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STURT, George Stanford. Captain (156965)

Royal Artillery
Died 8 August 1944, aged 32

George's headstone in the Sai Wan War Cemetery, Hong Kong
George's headstone in the Sai Wan War Cemetery, Hong Kong.a
Photograph (15218015) by Chris Nelson via findagrave.com

George was born in Epsom Q2 1912, the fifth and last child (one of whom had died) of Francis Edward Sturt (known as "Frank") and Zara Beatrice Irene (née Alcock). They had married Q3 1902 in the now lost Hanover Chapel in Regent Street.) Frank's and Zara's families were from Leatherhead, but the couple made their home in Epsom. The 1911 Census Records the 47 year old Frank (a "Jobber London Stock Exchange") living at Longdown Lodge, College Road, Epsom, with two of his children (4 year old Molly and new-born John - also a WW2 casualty), supported by four servants. On that Census night, however, the 34 year old Zara and the couple's first child, 7 year old Frank, were visiting Zara's late 60s parents - George (a "Retired Schoolmaster") and Lucy Sophia Alcock at "Quandon", Highlands Road, Leatherhead.

George's secondary education was at Haileybury School in Hertfordshire. Following in the footsteps of his father, he became a stockbroker. (His father died aged 74 in Q2 1938. There is an early 1940s record of the widowed Zara living at 13 Bridge Road, Epsom.) In Q2 1939 and registered in the local Surrey Mid-Eastern District, 27 year old George married 21 year old Ann Watney. (Ships' manifests of her travelling first class with her mother on visits to Toulon in 1927 and Rio de Janiero in 1936 list her home address as "Treetops", Highlands Road, Leatherhead - and they were thus near neighbours of George's maternal grandparents. And the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records list the widowed Ann as being "of Leatherhead, Surrey".) Their only child, Susan, was born in Leatherhead on 14 July 1940. She became the noted writer, Susan Howatch.

George's WW2 service was in the Royal Artillery, into which he (alongside brother John) was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant on 16 November 1940. He was posted to India and became a qualified Armourer-Gunner-Observer. In that capacity, he was, on 8 August 1944, a member of the team aboard USAF Consolidated B-24 "Liberator" heavy bomber (44-40846). The aircraft was of the 9th Bombardment Squadron (of the 7th Bombardment Group, 10th Air Force), which was being used to fly fuel and supplies from India over the Himalayas to the Chinese and United States Army Air Forces based in China. About 20 miles south of Luliang in NE China, the plane crashed and all aboard were killed.

George is buried in the Sai Wan War Cemetery on the island of Hong Kong. The widowed Ann took the option of adding a personal inscription (taken from Rupert Brooke's WW1 poem, "The Soldier") to his headstone on Grave I.C.10,
"There's some corner of a foreign field that is for ever England."
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STURT, John Edward. Lieutenant (156870)

Royal Artillery
Died 5 March 1943, aged 33

John's name on Column 3 of the Singapore memorial
John's name on Column 3 of the Singapore memorial
Part of photograph (56236244) by "stombell" via findagrave.com

John was born in Epsom Q3 1910, the fourth of five children (one of whom had died) of Francis Edward Sturt (known as "Frank") and Zara Beatrice Irene (née Alcock). They had married Q3 1902 in the now lost Hanover Chapel in Regent Street.) Frank's and Zara's families were from Leatherhead, but the couple made their home in Epsom. The 1911 Census Records the 47 year old Frank (a "Jobber London Stock Exchange") living at Longdown Lodge, College Road, Epsom, with two of his children (4 year old Molly and new-born John), supported by four servants. On that Census night, however, the 34 year old Zara and the couple's first child, 7 year old Frank, were visiting Zara's late 60s parents - George (a "Retired Schoolmaster") and Lucy Sophia Alcock at "Quandon", Highlands Road, Leatherhead. The couple's fifth child, George - also a WW2 casualty - was also born in Epsom Q2 1912.

John's secondary education was at Haileybury School in Hertfordshire. John followed his stockbroker father into the finance sector, but worked in banking. (His father died aged 74 in Q2 1938. There is an early 1940s record of the widowed Zara living at 13 Bridge Road, Epsom.)

John's WW2 service was in the Royal Artillery, into which he (alongside brother George) was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant on 16 November 1940. As part of an Anti-Aircraft unit, he was sent to Singapore to help defend against the expected Japanese invasion. As is well-known, Singapore was captured by Japanese forces in early February 1942. That was immediately followed by the negotiated mass surrender of the surviving Commonwealth forces - including John.

After processing in the Changi PoW camp, John was one of the 600 or so prisoners - all artillerymen or "Gunners" - loaded into the Kenkon Maru, one of the prisoner transports justifiably called "hell ships" by the prisoners. This left Singapore on 18 October and, after a number of intermediate stops, arrived at Rabaul (on New Britain, one of the Solomon Islands) on 5 November 1942. The prisoners were disembarked and marched to the Kokopo Camp where, as for other Japanese PoW camps, the regime and conditions were extremely harsh. On 15 November, the prisoners were paraded. About 80 were already too weak from hunger and disease to work, but the fittest 517 were sent - via another "hellship" - to build an airstrip on Ballali (one of the Shortland group of islands just south of Bougainville). Not one of them survived, but their story can be told thanks to native islanders briefing the Australian forces when the islands were subsequently liberated.

The extremely harsh treatment and conditions continued. Over the next few months, a good number of prisoners died from beatings, illness and from Allied bombing. In April 1943, the Japanese on Ballali were told by their headquarters that the US Navy was preparing for an attack and that, if this happened, all prisoners were to be disposed of by whatever means was available.

On 29 June 1943, an American warship bombarded the island. The next day, the surviving 400 or so prisoners were lined up and killed by sword or bayonet. The bodies were stripped of their identity tags and dumped in a large pit. In November 1945, this mass grave, containing 436 bodies, was uncovered. The remains of these British servicemen were recovered by 3 Division of the War Graves Unit of the Australian Army and, in December 1945, were finally interred in graves in the Port Moresby (Bomana) War Cemetery, in Papua New Guinea. As the bodies could not be identified, each one has all individual grave marked "A Soldier of the 1939-1945 War known only to God".

It is not known precisely when, in this appalling series of events, John died. The official records still give 5 March 1943 as the date of death for all 600 Gunners who left Singapore on 18 October aboard the Kenkon Maru - a date appearing to originate in the Japanese untruth that the PoWs were still aboard when the Kenkon Maru was sunk some time after they had been disembarked at Rabaul.

It is quite likely that John is one of the many "known only to God" among the 3,138 WW2 casualties buried in the Port Moresby cemetery. However - and as illustrated at the head of this article - he is commemorated on the Singapore Memorial (which stands in Kranji War Cemetery on Singapore Island) as one of the more than 24,000 casualties of the land and air forces of the Commonwealth who died during the campaigns in Malaya and Indonesia or in subsequent captivity and have no known grave.

The Port Moresby (Bomana) War Cemetery, Papua New Guinea.
The Port Moresby (Bomana) War Cemetery, Papua New Guinea.
Picture with thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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SUTTON, Frank Charles. Signalman (2333278)

Royal Corps of Signals
Died 16 September 1940, aged 22

Frank's  headstone in St. Mary's Cemetery
Frank's headstone in St. Mary's Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2018

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission notes that Frank was the "son of James and Lily Adelaide Sutton of West Ewell" - consistent with the parents being recorded in the 1939 Register living at 7 Heatherside Road, West Ewell. In that Register, 63 year old James is listed as "Stoker LCC service, retired" and 57 year old Lily with the conventional "unpaid domestic duties". (A subsequent annotation on the original record indicates that James served as an air raid warden during WW2.)

There is one currently closed record at the address, perhaps of 20/21 year old Frank. It has not so far been possible to trace Frank's 1917/18 birth - or, indeed, other details of the family background - in the readily available records.

Frank's WW2 service was as a Signalman in the Royal Corps of Signals. His unit was on Home duties when he was killed in action on 16 September 1940. His death was registered in the Chichester District, and the working assumption is that he was the victim of a bombing raid in those early days of the Luftwaffe's "Blitz" bombing campaign.

His body was brought home for burial in the Ewell (St. Mary) Churchyard Extension. His parents were later buried with him in Grave D.92.

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SUTTON, George Frederick Thomas. Private (14215470)

5th Battalion, The Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment).
Died 9 April 1943, aged 19

George's headstone and the Oued Zarga War Cemetery, Tunisia
George's headstone and the Oued Zarga War Cemetery, Tunisia
Left: photograph (56797799) by "Lauren" via findagrave.com
Right: picture with thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

George was born in Epsom Q4 1923, the only child of Epsom-born George Frederick Sutton and Jessie (née Scotchman). Their Q2 1920 marriage was registered in Jessie's original home patch of Chelmsford: she was the third of four children born to Thomas (an "Agricultural Labourer") and Elizabeth Scotchman in the village of Little Baddow, about 5 miles to the east of Chelmsford. As a teenager, she had gone into "service": the 1901 Census records her as the junior of three servants supporting the wealthy spinster Marion Langton at 2 Percy Villas, Kensington; and, by the time of the 1911 Census, she was a domestic cook, the senior of two servants in the Gibson household at "Courtlands", Mayfield Road, Carshalton.

The 1939 Register records the couple living at 17 Church Road, Epsom. 52 year old George senior is listed as a "General Labourer" and 54 year old Jessie with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". Also in the household is one currently closed record - doubtless 15/16 year old George junior - and Jessie's unmarried 55 year old sister, still "in service".

George's WW2 service was in the 5th Battalion of "The Buffs" (the Royal East Kent Regiment). Given his age, he would not have been with them as part of the British Expeditionary Force sent to France in in early 1940, but would have been part of the rebuilding of the Battalion after the June 1940 evacuation from Dunkirk.

After a spell of home duty preparing the for the anticipated German invasion following the fall of France, the Battalion was sent to North Africa to help "pincer" Axis forces that were being pushed back after the key tuning point of the Second Battle of El Alamein in late 1942. Axis troops were being pressed towards Tunis, and the fighting got more and more intense before they surrendered in Tunis on 13 May 1943.

George was, as noted in Casualty List No. 1126, killed in action on 9 April 1943, shortly before the Allies' final advance to Tunis. He is one of 247 Commonwealth WW2 burials in the Oued Zarga War Cemetery, about 60 miles west of Tunis. His parents took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave 1.J.3,
"Only to see his face again, just to see him smile. Mum and Dad."
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SWAINSTON, William Hopper

Civilian
Died 13 October 1940, aged 81

William's and Gertrude's joint headstone in Epsom Cemetery.
William's and Gertrude's joint headstone in Epsom Cemetery.
Photograph © Roger Morgan 2018

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

William was born in County Durham on 8 February 1859. The 1861 Census records him as the third of four children of George and Christiane Swainston at 42 West Sunniside, Bishopwearmouth. This was a prosperous household, supported by two domestic servants.

In Q4 1909 and registered in the London City District, the 50 year old William married 35 year old Sutton-born Gertrude Mary Houlder. (Some records erroneously give her surname as "Flintoff".) She came from an even more prosperous family: the 1891 Census records this 15 year old as the fourth of five children in the household of Edwin Lavory Houlder and his wife Mary Elizabeth at "The Grange", Mulgrave Road, Sutton. The family was supported by six domestic servants.

The 1911 Register records the couple living at the now lost "Rose Bank" (or "Reston House"), South Street, Epsom. Theirs was also a prosperous household: the couple were supported by three domestic servants. The 51 year old William is listed as a "Consulting Marine Engineer and Naval Architect" - a career path probably influenced by his father's work as a "Ship Broker". And his work was doubtless a factor in the courtship of Gertrude: her father was a "Shipowner" and her oldest brother a "Ship Broker".

Rose Bank, South Street.
"Rose Bank", South Street, Epsom in 1907.
Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum.

There is no record of the couple's having any children, and they were still at "Rose Bank" (now numbered 32) in South Street for the 1939 Register, and still supported by three domestic servants. At the time of the Register, they were the hosts of a couple of apparently unrelated Nursing Sisters.

On 30 September 1940, in the first few weeks of the Luftwaffe's "Blitz" bombing campaign, the 81 year old William was injured while at home on South Street. According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, he was taken to the Leatherhead Cottage Hospital where he died two weeks later, on 13 October 1940. (The Probate record of administration of his £ 15,088 estate jointly to his widow and her younger brother, Lt Colonel Alec Guy Houlder, states that, in addition to "Rose Bank", William was also of 22 Billiter Street in London's financial district.) On 16 October 1940, he was buried in Grave M103 of Epsom Cemetery.

If Gertrude was injured in the same attack, she recovered and moved to 4 College Avenue, Epsom, where, aged 75, she died on 19 October 1949. She was buried in Grave M102 of Epsom Cemetery, alongside William, on 22 October 1949. Her estate was valued for Probate purposes as £ 30,435. (Her brother Alec had died in 1947 and his widow, Muriel, was appointed an executor.)

Roger Morgan © 2018

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SWAN, Annie Elizabeth

Civilian
Died 1 February 1945, aged 43

Mrs Annie Elizabeth Swan (43)
Mrs Annie Elizabeth Swan
Image Source Epsom and Ewell Advertiser 08 February 1945

Annie was born in Wandsworth on 4 October 1901. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission post-war records note her asthe daughter of Mr and Mrs G H Mathews, of 113 Honeywell Road, Wandsworth Common, London.

She married George Douglas Swan in Wandsworth Q2 1927. They appear to have had two children - Alan and Margaret, both born in Croydon in, respectively, Q2 1930 and Q2 1933. However, the 1939 Register records the couple living at 22 Abbey Road, Torquay. George is listed as an Insurance Clerk and there are two currently closed records - presumably their children. At the time of her death in early 1945, Annie was living at 14 Ruxley Lane, Ewell.

Anyway, and as described in the article Tragedy on the Home Front, Edith was killed when a new variant (Mark V) of the Vickers Warwick twin-engined bomber under test crashed on her home at 14 Ruxley Lane - where she and her local friend Edith Connor (who was also killed) with whom she was about to have lunch. (Their deaths were thus not the result of "Enemy action" as attributed in the Borough's WW2 Book of Remembrance.)

Roger Morgan © 2017

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