Charles William Taylor born1884 in Newington, Lambeth (reg. Saviour 9/18840) married Ellen Mary Thomas on 4 July 1909 in St. Anthony's Church, Nunhead, Southwark. Charles was a 24 year old 'Electrician' living at 11 May Place, Nunhead. Ellen aged 25 lived at 6 May Place, Nunhead.
Their son, Douglas Albert was born on 11 November 1917 at Nunhead.
Douglas presumably was conscripted to serve in the Second World War in the Non Combatant Corps (NCC). The web tells us that the NCC was created in August 1940 and had 6,766 personnel pass through its ranks, of which 465 volunteered for bomb disposal. It had been organised specifically to receive men accepted by their tribunals as consciencientious objectors but with exemption only from combatant service. This meant a requirement to serve in the military but excused from exemption from handling and using weapons. The Corps mainly worked on road-making, transport, non-weapons stores etc. What Douglas did in the NCC is unknown and likely to remain so, until Second World War service records are released.
Men of the Non-Combatant Corps undergoing training at a camp on the East Coast. Image IWM (HU 36258) public domain via Wikimedia
Douglas died on 26 April 1946 aged 28 (reg. Surrey Mid E, 6/1946). Epsom Cemetery records show that he was buried in grave L275, on 3 May 1946, the 10th person of 12 to be buried in a communal facility. He had died at The Grove, Horton Lane, Epsom, presumably Long Grove Asylum, and was therefore probably suffering with insanity.
Douglas' probate record states that he was of 1 Duchess Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham and that his estate valued at £ 225 was granted to his unmarried sister Nellie, suggesting that his parents were deceased. Before the War the Edgbaston address was a middle class villa and he could have lived there as a domestic servant.
Inscription: 'THE GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD'
Researched by Clive Gilbert
Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this entry.
TAYLOR, Ernest Robert Frederick. Corporal (1930745)
1 Bomb Disposal Coy. Royal Engineers Died 8 November 1944, Age 35
Not listed in the Book of Remembrance
The marriage of Frederick Thomas Taylor (1878 - 1947), a London and Manchester Assurance Agent, and and Ruth Chapman (1881 - ?) was registered in St Olave for the December Quarter of 1905. Birth of their son Ernest Robert Frederick Taylor, born 30 August 1909, came to be recorded at Wandsworth, 12/1909. During 1911, the family lived at 37 Bush Road, Rotherhithe.
Ernest R F Taylor's marriage to Beatrice M Olgilvy (born 21 September 1911) may be found in registers for Croydon, 6/1931.
The couple had moved to Shawford Road, West Ewell, in time for the 1939 Register. Ernest was then occupied as a Plumber & Gas Fitter, whilst Beatrice is declared to be a Hospital Domestic.
It appears that Ernest had been called-up for WW2 service and rose to the rank of Corporal in 1 Bomb Disposal Coy. Royal Engineers. On 8 November 1944, he and Sapper Leslie James Mansell, aged 22, were killed in Durham (reg. 12/1944) but details of the 'incident' remain to be established. E R F Taylor's name appears in Casualty List No. 1607 as 'Killed in action, reported to War Office Casualty Branch for the 24 hours ending at 9am' [National Archives, ref. WO417/85].
Ernest was brought for interment at Wallington (Bandon Hill) Cemetery, Sec. Q. Grave 181, his headstone inscribed
'PERFECT PEACE. WE HAVE BEEN PARTED IN LIFE BUT WILL MEET AGAIN IN DEATH'.
GWGC describe him as the son of Frederick Thomas Taylor and Ruth Taylor, of Wallington; husband of Beatrice Martha Taylor, of West Ewell.
Ernest's father expired on 15 August 1947 at 14 Rectory Lane, Beddington.
The widowed Mrs Beatrice M Taylor married secondly Claude P Gibbs, reg. Surrey Mid E, 3/1948.
284 Battery, 90 Heavy Anti Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery Died 29 July 1944, aged 31
George was born on 18 August 1912, registered the Wandsworth District. The record of that notes that his mother's maiden name was Moss, but the surnames are too common to trace the family background in the readily available documents.
George is next found in the 1939 Register as a 27 year old "Baker's Roundsman" living at 18 Linton's Lane, Epsom with the widowed 63 year old Alice Staplehurst and five of her unmarried children (she had had 11 children in total) - from 36 year old Elsie to 21 year old Eric.
Alice's second oldest child at the address was 27 year old Olive Alice Staplehurst. She had been born in Epsom on 24 November 1910 and was recorded in the 1911 Census as the eighth child of mid 30s Henry (a "Railway Engine Stoker") and Alice living at 42 Middle Lane, Epsom. By the time of the 1939 Register, she was working as a "Shop Assistant (Tobacco & Confectionery)".
In Q2 1940, George and Olive got married in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records note that the widowed Olive was "of Epsom." The precise address has yet to be established, but this is consistent with the birth of the couple's two children - Derek and Trina - being registered in the Surrey Mid Eastern District (in, respectively Q1 1942 and Q2 1945).
George attested into the Royal Artillery in 1940. The readily available records provide no useful information about the nature or location of this for much of the war. By 1944, George was in 284 Battery of the 90 Heavy Anti Aircraft Regiment which was among the Allied forces landing in Normandy on and after the 6 June 1944 D-Day. At some point in the early days of the invasion, George was wounded in battle. As noted in Casualty List No. 1522, he died of his wounds on 29 July.
George is one of the 4,144 Commonwealth WW2 casualties buried in the Bayeux War Cemetery, a few miles inland from the Normandy beaches and the largest Commonwealth WW2 cemetery in France. The widowed Olive took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave III.K.17,
"Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest." (This is Matthew, 11:28.)
The Bayeux War Cemetery. Photograph with thanks to "NigelDCapeTown" via TripAdviso
TAYLOR, Leslie Henry William. Second Lieutenant (225847)
General List Died 17 July 1945, Age 31
Not listed in the Book of Remembrance
Registration of a marriage between Joseph Taylor (born 13 February1880) and Margaret Frances Lane (born 9 March 1882) has not been traced and may have taken place abroad, particularly because Joseph had become employed as a Prison Officer in the Straits Settlements. The birth of their son, born 29 April 1914, appears to have been registered in Hackney, 6/1914, as Leslie H Taylor, Mother Lane.
By 1939 the parents had arrived in Stoneleigh on retirement but Leslie seems to have remained a Rubber Planter at Ipoh in Malaya. The death of Joseph Taylor, aged 59, of 67 Bradstock Road, Stoneleigh, occurred in Epsom Hospital , 4 September 1940, and was registered in Surrey Mid E. 9/1940.
Force 136 was the general cover name for a branch of the Special Operations Executive. Reportedly,
"In 1941, when the Japanese military began its offensive in Southeast Asia, SOE Orient Mission decided to set up 101 Special Training School in Singapore (at Tanjung Balai, at the mouth of Jurong River) to prepare stay-behind teams in parts of the British Empire that might be conquered by the enemy. The school was housed in a large Art-Deco style bungalow, formerly the private estate of an Armenian millionaire. It was in a secluded and relatively inaccessible corner of the Singapore island, thus ideal for a secretive espionage training school.
Those stay-behind teams trained by 101 STS would then be in place across Southeast Asia to begin the work of relaying intelligence to the British armed forces, of executing acts of sabotage, and of recruiting indigenous people willing to take part in operations against the occupying forces. In the final days of the Japanese's offensive in Malaya (December 1941), the school also trained 165 Malayan Chinese communists to prepare them for anti-Japanese guerilla warfare in Malaya. They would later form the nucleus of the Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA).
When the Japanese conquered Singapore in February 1942, the school was abandoned."
Although the school's graduates mounted a few operations against the Japanese lines of communication, they were cut off from the other Allied forces by the fall of Singapore.
Leslie Henry William Taylor had been appointed a 2nd Lieutenant on the General List without Army pay and allowances on 20 January 1942. He was remunerated in that position with effect from 20 April 1942. His SOE file is held by the National Archives under reference HS9/1447/1.
Captured by the Japanese, Leslie is said to have been incarcerated as a Prisoner of War in a camp located in northern Jahore, and died in captivity.
He is commemorated on the Singapore Memorial in Column 114 as the son of Joseph Taylor, and of M. F. Taylor, of Stoneleigh, Epsom, Surrey. Singapore Memorial stands in Kranji War Cemetery. It bears the names of 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 widowed Mrs Margaret Frances Taylor died on 26 June 1969 at Cullompton House, Highfields Ashtead, (a nursing home).
The marriage of James Bryce Telford (born 14 November 1884) and Marion, younger daughter of David Chalmers, took place at the Masonic Temple, Greenock, Scotland, on 3 July 1912. Their son James Gordon Telford came to be born in the following year.
James, junior, enlisted with the Royal Engineers during 1938.
His marriage to Kathleen F Green is found recorded at Knaresborough, 6/1941. Kathleen, born 3 September 1915 had been named in the 1939 Register at 22 Chrch Street, Ewell, employed as an Insurance Clerk, daughter of Henry A Green (born 13 June 1889), Haulage Contractor, and Charlotte (born 24 October 1893).
In the spring of 1942, 8th (Belfast) Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery, had embarked for the Far East. Over the following two and a half years the regiment took part in the Arakan campaign [in territory which now forms the Rakhine State in Myanmar], firing effectively against the Japanese Air Force and even more extensively against ground targets when their accuracy at long range earned them the nickname 'The Twelve Mile Snipers'. J G Telford appears to have joined them on 18 February 1944. By 3 February 1945, however, he had been discharged under King's Regulations, Para. 390 (XVI) as 'ceasing to fulfil Army physical requirements'.
Birth of a son Peter F Telford seems to have been recorded in Brentford, 9/1945.
James died on 10 June 1947 in Epsom County Hospital and his address for Probate was given to be 22 Church Street, Ewell. His burial took place in St. Mary's Ewell, Churchyard Extension, Sec. B. Grave 48, described by CWGC as the son of James Bryce Telford and Marion Telford; husband of Kathleen Freda Telford, of North Cheam.
Kathleen F Telford married secondly Maldwyn P Newman, registered Surrey Mid E . 12/1964.
RAFVR (Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve). Died 19 January 1942, aged 23.
Robert's father had been Major Walter Brougham Telling, MC, who died on 27 April 1921. The birth of Robert D Telling was registered in St Geo. Hart, 12/1918, from a second marriage to Dorothy Eugenie Cocks at St John the Evangelist, Palmers Green, on 30 August 1913. Robert obtained his education as a pupil in Christ's Hospital School, Horsham, West Sussex, from 1928 to 1935 and the widowed Mrs D E Telling came to live at 91 West Hill Avenue, Epsom, by 1939.
Having enlisted in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, Robert was inducted at Uxbridge after September 1939.
We are told on the Aircrew Remembered website [LINK http://aircrewremembered.com/saich-jack.html ] that he had joined 9 Squadron by the summer of 1941: -
"Date: 14/15th July 1941Unit: No. 9 Squadron
Type: Wellington Serial: Not known Code: WS-T
Base: RAF Honington, Suffolk, England.
Location: High Barn Farm, Somerton, Nr Caister, Norfolk.
Pilot: Sgt. Jack Cyril Saich DFM. 1253402 RAFVR Age 20. Survived
Pilot 2: Sgt. 'Bob' Robert Douglas Telling 916899 RAFVR Age 22 Wounded. Survived
Obs: Sgt. Smitten DFM. RCAF Age ? Survived.
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Eric Trott 1062958 RAFVR Age 20. Survived
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Hooper RCAF Age ? Survived
Air/Gnr: Sgt. English RCAF Age ? Wounded. Survived
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 23.30 hrs from RAF Honington loaded with 7 x 500 lb GP bombs to attack the shipyards and the goods station at Bremen.
They commenced their bombing run, coming out of the clouds, zoo, after dropping the first bomb at 01.40 hrs. they were caught and held by the powerful searchlights - anti aircraft shells burst just behind them and then another inside the fuselage wounding Sgt. English in the shoulder and hand. This also cut the hydraulic controls to his rear turret.
The fabric of the fuselage caught fire. Sgt Saich took evasive action and Sgt Smitten went to assist the rear gunner, spraying the area with fire extinguishers. He managed to release Sgt. English who entered the aircraft. The aircraft was hit again, the port wing caught fire. The pilot switched off the fuel supply to the port engine and the fire stopped. He managed to restart the engine - the bomb doors however would not close due to the damage. The situation seemed to be hopeless as they turned to go home.
At 05.35 hrs. they managed to cross the Norfolk coast - fuel had registered zero for the last two hours. The pilot noticed a Barley field and decided to try a forced landing. He managed it, the aircraft broke in two as it came to rest - no serious injuries to the crew, Sgt. English though was taken to the local hospital for further treatment. All crews survived, to be back on operations in less than two weeks."
Further details of this incident are recorded by Martin Bowman in Bomber Command: Reflections of War, 2011. In particular, the author mentions that after the engine had been re-started: -
"... Bob Telling [from Epsom, Surrey,]was crouched beside the main spar behind the wireless cabin pumping all the oil which could be extracted from a riddled auxiliary tank. T-Tommy was still under intense anti-aircraft fire and the shell splinters, one of which wounded him, were described by Telling as 'angry hail tearing through the aircraft'.
Sgt. (Bob) Robert Douglas Telling was killed the following year on 19th January 1942, piloting Wellington III X3370 WS-D
In a history of 9 Squadron, Bombers First and Last, 2006, Gordon Thorburn remarks on page 68:-
"Day and night the squadron was doing top secret Gee box exercises, carrying special crews, which meant that any loss was a blow way beyond the usual. On the morning of 19 January part of X3370's starboard wing fell off and she came down at Folly Farm, Thetford. All seven aboard were killed. The pilot was Bob Telling. One of three observers in training with Gee was Harry Tarbitten, who had started the previous May and was on his second tour.'
National Archives have a Report W1120 under reference AVIA 5/20, as recorded in Chorley's Bomber Command Losses: -
"Wellington III X3370 coded WS-D. Training. Crashed 1050 following structural failure at 250 feet of the outer section of the starboard wing. The Wellington fell and burst into flames at Folly Farm, just to the N of Thetford, Norfolk. At least one civilian had to be treated for burns to his hands as a result of trying to rescue the trapped crew. F/L Cresswell RNZAF was instructing the crew in navigation techniques.
Crew: Sgt. R D Telling, F/L P H Cresswell RNZAF, P/O H L Tarbitten DFC, Sgt. J Amphlett, Sgt. T F Greenwood,Sgt. T G Banks & Sgt. R S Aitchison."
Bob Telling was interred in Honington (All Saints) Churchyard, Suffolk. Row D. Grave 7.
TEPPER Roland Harcourt, Lieut-Commander Royal Naval Reserve
HMS Leigh Died 6 April 1943 aged 55.
The parents of Roland Tepper, Charles William Richard Tepper and May Jessie H Carew, married in Kent, reg. Elham, 6/1885. He had been born on 6 January 1888, reportedly at Weymouth, Dorset, before baptism, 4 April 1888, in Darjeeling, Bengal, India, where his father was a Civil Servant. Charles William R Tepper died in the same year aged only 26. The family were enumerated in Herne Bay for the 1901 Census.
Wreck of the British four-masted bark GALENA, vicinity of Gearhart, Oregon, 13 November 1906 Image source not known
Having entered the Merchant Navy Roland may be found aboard the 'Galena' during 1906. 'Galena' was a steel sailing ship, rigged as a four-masted barque of 2169 tons registered tonnage, built at Dundee in 1890. She sailed from Junin, Chile, on the 15 September, 1906, bound for Portland, Oregon, with about 1150 tons ballast, consisting of refuse from the nitrate of soda works, and a crew of thirty hands. The vessel went aground the following 13 November on Clatsop Beach, near Astoria, Oregon, and Rowland (sic) Harcourt Tepper, acting second mate, was amongst those members of the crew commended for good conduct and discipline during the subsequent work of dismantling the ship. [A full report of the finding and order of a Naval Court held at the British Vice Consulate at Astoria, Oregon, on the sixth, seventh, and eighth days of December, 1906, may be found at PortCities Southampton]
He entered the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve on 8 January 1907. The Imperial Merchant Service Guild recorded in 1915 that he had been admitted for service in the Great War to the Royal Navy as a Sub-lieutenant 1640, Royal Naval Division, gazetted Temporary Lieutenant, 29 June 1915. He then undertook a course in gunnery at HMS Excellent before joining HMS Ness. The latter was a White Type River Class Torpedo Boat Destroyer [built 1905] in the 9th Destroyer Flotilla based at Chatham tendered to the depot ship HMS St George.
His marriage to Letitia A Laidlaw had been registered at Wareham, 3/1915. Their son Vyvyan Floyd H Tepper was born, 16 November 1915, at Portsmouth.
In 'Nelson', 2nd Battalion, Royal Naval Division, he served with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force in Gallipoli to be mentioned in General Sir Ian Hamilton's despatch dated 22 September 1915 (London Gazette, 5 November 1915)
After demobilisation, he joined the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, rising to the rank of Chief Officer on RMSP Narenta by 1924. He was, however, Chief Mate on Loch Goil 1927/8 before commanding Avon, which cruised round Britain, and taking over Ardacian during 1929. We are told that "Roland Harcourt was looked upon by Head Office as one of the firm's most efficient Chief Officer, and by most other people as a slave-driving tyrant. He [claimed] you can't be popular and efficient. He certainly made no attempt to be anything but efficient. Nevertheless he was the right man to be sent along if there was any nastiness to cleaned up. There were long faces round the decks of Arcadian when she left Immingham with a full passenger list, but things were done with alacrity and smartness and the ship had that Tepper look with every rope yarn in place and not a dirty mark on her enamel anywhere".
During 1933, Royal Mail Lines acquired S S Nalon for R H Tepper to be the Master on a voyage from Cape Town to the Clyde. At 09:56 hours on November 6, 1940, the convoy was attacked by low level German Bombers. Five bombs were dropped and although there were no direct hits, one bomb exploded underwater on the starboard side of SS Nalon alongside her bridge. This holed her below the waterline. When seven feet of water was reported in the No.3 hold, the ship was abandoned and the crew were taken off by HMS Viscount. Since SS Nalon carried a valuable cargo of copper, tugs were ordered to be sent out to recover the vessel but she sank before they could arrive. The convoy was in position 54.00N, 15.38W when the attack took place. The vessel foundered west of Ireland but all 72 crew members were saved. [LINK to www.wrecksite.eu>]
On 13 July 1942, Roland joined HMS Leigh as a Temporary Lieutenant, RNR. This establishment was in fact Southend Pier which had been taken over by the Admiralty. The pier's role was primarily to serve as a convoy assembly point, and in the ensuing six years of conflict some 3,367 convoys, representing 84,297 vessels, sailed from Southend.
Roland H Tepper Temporary/Acting Lieutenant Commander appears in the Royal Navy's Casualty Lists as having died on 6 April 1943 from 'illness' whilst associated with HMS President [the 'stone frigate', shore establishment of the Royal Naval Reserve]. He is recorded as having died on the way to Guy's Hospital, with his death registered at Southwark, 6/1943. A report on the circumstances is lodged in the National Archives under reference ADM 358/1501.
He was brought to Epsom Cemetery for interment in Sec. N. Grave 259 on 10 April 1943. For Probate, his address was given as 4 Meadside, South Street, Epsom: estate administered by Annie Hunt, Spinster, effects £154:11:1.
Florence was born in West Ham on 26 July 1913, the second of four children of Harry Keeble and Florence (née Harman - they had married Q3 1908, registered in the Poplar District). At the time of his marriage, Harry was a Pawnbroker's Assistant. By the time of the 1939 Register, most of the family were living at 125/127 Newington Butts, Southwark. Harry had become a "Manager (Jewellery Shop)" and one of his sons - perhaps working with his father - a "Pawnbroker Pledge Holder".
Florence junior was not at home then because, in Q2 1937 and registered in the Southwark District, she had married Frederick G Thomas. They set up home at 80 Thorndon Gardens, West Ewell - where they were recorded living alone in the 1939 Register. 29 year old Frederick is listed as "Salesman Jewellery" (presumably explaining how he first met a jewellery shop manager's daughter) and 26 year old Florence with the conventional "unpaid domestic duties".
Florence was killed at home by enemy action on 9 September 1940 - the third day of the Luftwaffe's "Blitz" bombing campaign. On 14 September, she was buried in Epsom Cemetery (Grave M624). If Frederick was injured in the same incident, he recovered. There is no record of the couple having any children
THOMAS, Henry Albert. Flying Officer/Wireless Operator (161024)
227 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Died 15 March 1945, aged 34
Henry's headstone in the Durnbach War Cemetery Photograph (18612691) by Dave Hansen via findagrave.com
Henry was born in Tottenham on 13 October 1910, the third child of Samuel Walter Thomas and Catherine Margaret (née Connelly - they had married Q3 1899, registered in the Shoreditch District). The 1911 Census records the family living at 92 St Ann's Road, Tottenham. Both parents were aged 35, and Samuel is listed as an "Electric Tramcar Driver". The three children were: 10 year old Walter; 7 year old William; and new-born Henry. (The couple's fourth and last child, Catherine, was born Q4 1913.)
In Q2 1939, the now 28 year old Henry married 27 year old Ada Mary Taylor. The marriage was registered in their local Edmonton District, and the couple are recorded in the 1939 Register living at 15 Briaris Close, Tottenham. Henry is listed as a "Sanitary Inspector's Assistant" and Ada with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". The original record was later annotated to record that Henry was a volunteer with the Ambulance Depot Casualty service and ARP warden, and that Ada was a volunteer telephonist for the Tottenham Auxiliary Fire Service. Living with them was another similarly-aged married couple, Percy (a "Caterer") and Elsie Field - their entries are also annotated with volunteer WW2 activities exactly matching those for Henry and Ada.
At some point, Henry and Ada moved to 108 Edenfield Gardens, Worcester Park. This was noted as their address in the 1946 Probate record of administration of Henry's £ 329 estate being awarded to the widowed Ada. There is no record of the couple having any children and, on 29 September 1951, Ada married again - to Henry C Lane, registered in the Wood Green District.
Henry's WW2 service was in the RAF. The readily availably records provide no information about when this began of where he was before 227 Squadron was reformed in October 1944. The Squadron, based at RAF Balderton in Nottinghamshire, was part of Bomber Command and flew Avro Lancasters.
On 14/15 March 1945, Henry was among the crew - pictured below - of Lancaster PA214 9J-P (nicknamed "Polly Peppermint") which took off from RAF Balderton at 1705 to bomb Wintershall's synthetic oil plant at Lutzkendorf in southern Germany. This was as part of a mass raid by 5 Group: the combined force was 244 Lancasters and 11 Mosquitos.
Lancaster PA214 9J-P ("Polly Peppermint") and its crew on 14 March 1945 Photograph with thanks to Pete Stevens via findagrave.com
"Polly Peppermint" was one of 18 Lancasters that were lost during the raid - in its case, shot down and crashed near Illesheim, killing all on board. The downing was by Hauptmann Martin Becker and his 3 man crew flying nightfighter Ju 88G-6 2Z+MF, who also shot down a record seven other Lancasters on the raid.
Henry and fellow crew members were originally buried locally. After the war, they and many others from scattered sites were reinterred (in Henry's case in Grave 9.F.5-7) in the Durnbach War Cemetery. This is located about 25 miles south of Munich, and contains 2,934 WW2 Commonwealth burials.
It is known from the 1939 Register that William was born on 2 November 1888. However, his names are to common to be confident about tracing his early years in the readily available records.
However, in Q2 1925 and registered in the Epsom District, the 36 year old William married 21 year old Rosina Elizabeth Martin. She was recorded in the 1911 Census as the fourth of seven children living with their parents George (a "General Labourer") and Emily (née Wooloff) at 34 East Street, Epsom.
William and Emily are recorded in the 1939 Register living at 21 Carters Road, Epsom Downs with their 12 year old daughter, Brenda, and a currently closed record which is likely to conceal a second child. William's occupation was recorded as "General Labourer Heavy Worker" - perhaps already working for the Borough Council, as he was at the time of his death - while Rosina's was the conventional "unpaid domestic duties."
Also living at the address were apparently unrelated (and presumed lodgers): the widowed 56 year old George Oxley (a "Saddler"); and unmarried 49 year old Patrick Power (a "Groom in Racing Stables").
On 12 July 1944, William was killed by enemy action on Derby Arms Road, Epsom Downs. On 18 July, he was buried in Epsom Cemetery (Grave O540).
THOMPSON, Samuel George. Sergeant/Wireless Op./Air Gunner (918136)
77 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Died 27 December 1941, aged 23
Samuel's headstone in the Rheinberg War Cemetery Photograph (18408538) by Des Philippet via findagrave.com
Samuel was born on 15 September 1918, the second of two children born to William and Lily Thompson (née Smith). They had married Q4 1915 registered in the Warwick District, but set up home in Essex: the 10 August 1916 birth of their first child, Lily Eileen was registered in the Billericay District; and Samuel's, two years later, in the Romford District.
At some point the family moved to the Borough. The 1939 Register records them living at 17 Vale Road, Worcester Park. 57 year old William is listed as a "Clerk Messenger"; 51 year old Lily with the conventional "unpaid domestic duties"; 21 year old Lily Eileen as a "National Cash Ledger Machine Operator"; and 19 year old Samuel's occupation is listed as "Clerical Records Research".
Samuel's WW2 service was with 77 Squadron, part of Bomber Command's No 4 Group. The Squadron was equipped with Armstrong-Whitworth Whitleys - which, as illustrated below, flew in a distinctively nose-down attitude. (Until the arrival of the four-engined Avro Lancaster in February 1942, the Whitley was the RAF's heaviest bomber.)
An Armstrong-Whitworth Whitley V bomber, circa 1940 RAF official photograph - public domain
On the evening of 27 December 1941, Samuel was the Wireless Operator/Air Gunner in the five-strong crew of Whitley V Z9226 KN-? which took off from RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire to participate in a bombing raid on Dusseldorf. The aircraft was brought down (apparently near Cologne, south of the target - so likely to be after the plane had dropped its bombs) with the loss of all the crew:
P/O. A D. Scott-Martin
P/O. J N. Chisholm
Sgt. P G. Clark
Sgt. S G. Thompson
Sgt. W. Jowett RCAF
They were initially interred at Cologne South Cemetery. In June 1946, they were reburied in the Rheinberg War Cemetery, a little to the north of Dusseldorf - five of the 3,330 Commonwealth servicemen of WW2 buried or commemorated there.
Samuel's family took the opportunity of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave 1.C.12,
"Beloved, you will always be remembered Father, Mother and Sister."
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Died 5 August 1940, aged 43
Stanley, who had been born in 1897, joined the Royal Flying Corps as a Cadet to be commissioned Temporary 2nd Lieutenant on probation with effect from 26 September 1916. His next of kin were stated to have been P Thompson, father, 148 Fenchurch Street, London and Miss M Thompson, sister, Lincoln Avenue, Twickenham. He joined 65 Squadron and was confirmed in the rank of Flying Officer, 13 March 1917. A transfer to 42 Squadron equipped with the RE8, at at Bailleul, in France seems to have followed. He may have been an Observer with F/O William Henry Maturin shot down on 12 August 1917 on reconnaissance over the German lines at Ypres when 'something struck him' and memory was then a blank till he woke 33 hours later in hospital with concussion and bruising of several bones. In any event, Stanley had been reported 'missing' on 21 August 1917, apparently from 42 Squadron [& not to be confused with 2nd/Lt Sidney Thompson of 27 Squadron Royal Flying Corps flying a Martinsyde G 100 Elephant No. 7276 who was actually shot down on 21 August 1917 at Bouilly] . He was taken Prisoner of War and said to be wounded in France,14 September 1917. Stanley received treatment in a convalescent hospital, from 13 April 1918, before repatriation to Hull, arriving there on 14 December 1918. Discharge from the Royal Air Force as 'unfit for further service', followed on 13 February 1919.
Subsequently he is lost in civilian life until 3 June 1940 when he was re-commissioned as a Pilot Officer on probation for the duration of hostilities.
He was again declared 'missing' but found to have died on 5 August 1940, reg. Hammersmith 9/1940, aged 43.
Curiously he ended up in Maidenhead Cemetery with a number of ATA casualties in a CWGC plot, Sec. D, Row KK, Grave 15, to be maintained by relatives.
Royal Navy - HMS FIREDRAKE Died 17/12/1942, aged 37
TILDEN Osmond Peter. Lieutenant (E)
Royal Navy - HMS DUCHESS Died 12/12/1939, aged 30
Not listed in the Book of Remembrance
9 Ashdown Road, original home of the Tilden family (2016) Image courtesy of Peter Reed
Mr and Mrs Tilden, Harry and Ada, lived in Ashdown Road, Epsom for more than 40 years, from about 1908 onwards. Harry was born in New Cross in 1870 and began as a bank clerk, working his way up to become Secretary of the Bank of England from 1917 to 31 December 1926, when he retired. He married Ada Osmond (born 1873 Hammersmith) on 3 October 1899 at Totteridge, Hertfordshire and they lived at Winchmore Hill before moving to Epsom. The children were as follows.
1900-49. Educated at Epsom College; spent 10 years as a tea planter in Assam, then proprietor of the Progressive Laundry in Banbury and latterly a farmer near Rugby. Married Evelyn Mary Frogley in Calcutta, 1926 (3 children). Buried Preston Capes, Northamptonshire.
1903-96. Married Olive Butterfield 1928. Lived in Banstead for many years.
1905-42. See below.
1909-39. See below.
1911-94. Married Roland Wigg 1934. Latterly lived in Eastbourne.
6 Ashdown Road, subsequent home of the Tilden family. (2016) Image courtesy of Peter Reed
Harry died on 27 January 1951 and Ada in 1970.
Osmond Peter Tilden
Osmond was born on 8 March 1909 at Ashdown Road and became a pupil at Lancing College (near Arundel); his biography is on the Lancing College War Memorial website and tells us the following.
Osmond was at Lancing from 1923 to 1926 and in 1927 he joined the Royal Navy as a special entry cadet on HMS Erebus, an old First World War monitor, which was at that point a gunnery training ship. He became a midshipman in 1928 and then attended the Royal Naval Engineering College at Keynsham for four years; he was appointed Sub-Lieutenant in 1930 and Lieutenant in 1932.
He first saw service in home waters in HMS Champion (light cruiser), HMS Exeter (a heavy cruiser which subsequently engaged the Graf Spee at the Battle of the River Plate), followed by stints in the Mediterranean with HMS Dauntless (light cruiser) and back to the Home Fleet in HMS Sovereign (assumed to be HMS Royal Sovereign, a battleship). None of these ships were modern but the next one, HMS Duchess (H64), a destroyer, had been commissioned only in 1933 so at least she wasn't one of the Jutland relics which were still around.
The commanding officer of HMS Duchess was Lt.Cdr. Robert Charles Meadows White and in December 1939 the ship was returning to the Clyde with two other destroyers as escort to a much larger battleship, HMS Barham, which most definitely was a Jutland relic. To give you a crude comparison of the relative sizes of the two ships, Barham was 643 feet by 90 feet and Duchess was roughly half the length and a third of the width.
There is a point to make here which is no reflection at all on the crew of any ship, or indeed on the Admiralty, but the fact is that war had only just been declared, personnel were being drafted to vessels - some of which had been in mothballs - in a hurry and it was chaotic, with crews not being as well trained in unfamiliar wartime situations as anyone would have wished. So, at just after 4 a.m. on 12 December 1939, Duchess was zig-zagging in complete darkness and fog off the Mull of Kintyre when she hit Barham. The massive Barham cut her in half and many of the crew, including Meadows, were trapped in the sinking wreckage (there were no escape hatches at this time). All of that was awful enough but it got worse. Duchess's depth charges had been primed and they now exploded. According to most reports, 129 men, including six officers, were killed and just 23 men survived. Osmond is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial (33.1.).
In 1931 Osmond had wed Sophia Hilda Ife (born 1913 Cork). After the war she married George R Hunter and died in 1985.
As a postscript, HMS Barham did not last much longer. She had already been torpedoed, with some casualties, on 28 December 1939 and what happened to her in the end was a monumental tragedy. On 25 November 1941 she was on escort duty in the Central Mediterranean when she was torpedoed by U-331 at a range of just 375 metres. The U-boat commander, who had fired a salvo of four torpedoes, was not sure what he had hit but escaped. In fact, Barham had been hit amidships by three of the torpedoes; she capsized and a few minutes later the magazine exploded, sending her to the bottom. 862 men were killed (some reports of the numbers lost say about 840), although hundreds of survivors were rescued. The sinking was captured on film by British Pathé.
Eric Henry Tilden
For some of the details of Eric's life I am indebted to a website devoted to HMS Firedrake, much of the information having been supplied by two of his sons (there is a photo of Eric on the website). There was also an obituary in The Times of 30 December 1942.
Eric, known as Tom, was born in 1905 in Winchmore Hill and attended Rose Hill Prep School, then in Banstead: this was a school which specialised in preparing boys for universities and military/naval colleges. He entered the Royal Naval College, Osborne in 1919 and graduated from Dartmouth in 1922. Oddly, considering what happened to his brother Osmond, he was a midshipman in HMS Barham from 1923 until 1926, when he became a Sub-Lieutenant and served in HMS Wryneck (destroyer) and HMS Ramillies (battleship). From 1931 he specialised in anti-submarine duties. Subsequently he served in the 6th Destroyer Flotilla and the 4th Submarine Flotilla in China. After a course at the Royal Naval Staff College, Greenwich he joined HMS Nelson in 1938.
Nelson was sister to HMS Rodney which was famously involved in the demise of the German battleship Bismarck, and the two ships were often together in the early days of the war, along with other famous names of the period, such as the King George V, the Ark Royal and the Hood. There is a full account of HMS Nelson's exhausting activities on the Naval-History.net website which, if I may say, is a stunning piece of research. However, for present purposes we must stay with Eric, who, as a Lieutenant-Commander on Nelson, was awarded the DSC in June 1940 for 'courage and resource in operations on the Norwegian Coast'.
In June 1941 he was promoted to Commander and ran HMS Osprey, the anti-submarine training establishment, which was by then at Dunoon. In September 1942 he was given command of the destroyer HMS Firedrake (H79). The ship had been in the wars, especially during 1942, but by September she was back on Atlantic convoy defence duties. Unfortunately, however, on 17 December 1942 she was torpedoed by U-211 some 600 miles south of Iceland and broke in two. The bow went down but the stern section floated for a while and the corvette HMS Sunflower managed to rescue just 26 of the crew. 122 others, including Eric, perished.
H.M.S. Caroline, Royal Navy Died 2 November 1943, Age 39
George's headstone in Epsom Cemetery Photograph (97569212) by Lawrence Hennessy via findagrave.com
Not listed in the Book of Remembrance
George Henry Frederick Tiplady was the son of Arthur and Mary May (nee Moore) Tiplady, of Lappards Yard, High Street, Petworth, Sussex, born 8 May 1904 [reg. Petworth, 6/1904 as George Henry F Tiplady]. He attended schools in Petworth and Three Bridges, Sussex.
On 7 Decenber 1930, at St Martin of Tours, Epsom, he married Christina May Smith , born 4 May 1912 [reg. Epsom 6/1912]. During 1934 the couple lived at 2 Adelphi Road and in 1937 at 1 Hook Road, Epsom. For the 1939 Register, however, George appears as a Grocery Manager of 39 Tynedale Road, Betchworth.
On the outbreak of WWII in 1939 HMS Caroline, stationed in Belfast Docks, became a depot ship to an anti-submarine striking force of patrol vessels. With the fall of France in 1940 this force was reinforced and soon increased to 70 vessels. Caroline provided signal and cypher facilities to her attached light craft and as the war developed Belfast soon came to play a vital part in the Battle of the Atlantic.
In 1943, Caroline became the strategic operations base for a force of Destroyers and Corvettes protecting convoys in the North Atlantic. Operations were planned and conducted directly from Caroline where a total six escort groups, each composed of six frigates, were controlled.
George had become a RN Canteen Manager on HMS Caroline.
He developed Carcinoma of the brochus and was admitted to Horton Emergency Hospital, Epsom, for a Thorocotamy operation but died there on 2 November 1943 [reg. Surrey Mid E, 12/1943]. George was taken for burial in Epsom Cemetery, Sec. O. Grave 337, his headstone inscribed
'GONE, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN'.
For Probate George Tiplady's address was stated to have been 1 South Grove, Station Road, Petworth.
The widowed Christina May Tiplady married secondly John J Gilmartin, reg. North Kesteven, 6/1944.
The marriage of Joseph Todd (b. 1888) to Violet Elizabeth Fisher (b. 1889) was registered at Croydon for the September Quarter of 1912. Their son, Eric, came to be born at Fulham on 28 January 1915. His wedding to Margaret Ruth Todd took place in Battersea, reg. 3/1940.
The Todd family had taken up residence at 54 Elmstead Gardens, Worcester Park, Surrey, by 1937.
E. J. Todd became a member of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve before being inducted into the RAF at Euston in August 1940. It has not been established where he served, or for how long, but he may have been discharged in advance of the cessation of hostilities in WW2. On 5 August 1945 he died at St Helier County Hospital, Carshalton before being interred in Plot O177 of Epsom and Ewell Cemetery on the following 9 August, described as a 'joiner'.
As his demise occurred before 31 December 1947 he was eligible for commemoration in a Commonwealth War Grave: -
Those still in military service at the time of death qualified automatically. The location of their death and the cause of death were immaterial and they could have been killed in action, died of wounds, died of illness or by accident, died due to suicide or homicide or suffered judicial execution. CWGC treats all casualties equally and all must be commemorated under the terms of their Royal Charter. Under Category Two, personnel who had been discharged from or retired from the military before their deaths during the same qualifying periods of an injury or illness caused by or exacerbated by their service during the same qualifying period. These cases qualified only if it was proven to the authorities' satisfaction that death was service attributable.
At time of his passing, Eric had been resident in 17 Bradstock Road, Stoneleigh, Surrey, and administration of his estate was granted to the relict, Mrs Margaret Ruth Todd - Effects £568.8.4. His widow remarried in 1950. Violet E Todd died locally in 1968 and Joseph ten tears later.
Merchant Navy S.S. Somme (London) Died 16 February 1942, aged 17
Ronald was born Q1 1925, probably the fourth child of Francis Henry Toft and Daisy Margaret (née Warwick). She was an Epsom Common girl so, like her parents, their Q2 1917 marriage in Epsom was probably in Christ Church Epsom Common. Francis, a merchant seaman, died in 1927 aged only 32. In Q3 1929, Daisy married again - to David G Williams. Sadly, she died on 23 February 1935 aged only 38, leaving Ronald and his siblings as orphans.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission post-war records therefore noted that Ronald was the grandson of Mrs Emily Warwick, of Woodlands Road, Epsom Common. She (née Wood) had married William Warwick in Christ Church on 28 Jun 1891. The 1939 Register records her - and William (who died in August 1944) - living at 44 Woodlands Road, Epsom Common. It may be that the 14 year old Ronald was one of the two currently closed records at this address.
In any event, Ronald followed his father's footsteps into the Merchant Navy and served on the cargo ship SS Somme. In February 1942, the ship set off from Loch Ewe across the Atlantic in Convoy ON-62. When, partway across, the U-boat threat was taken to be past, the Convoy dispersed and SS Somme headed for Bermuda - her last stop on the way to the intended destination of Curacao to pick up cargo for the return trip.
SS Somme Photograph courtesy of the Allen Collection, via uboat.net
However, the U-boat threat was not past. At 23:27 on 18 Feb 1942, the SS Somme - about 250 miles north east of Bermuda - was hit amidships by a torpedo from U-108. The ship settled by the stern, and the surviving crew abandoned ship in three lifeboats. Ten minutes later, the U-boat fired a second torpedo which caused the ship to sink fast by the stern. The survivors in the lifeboats were questioned by the Germans, but they were never then seen again.
All 48 crew members and ten gunners were thus lost. They, including Ronald, are remembered on the Tower Hill Memorial.
149 (R.A.F.) Sqdn. Royal New Zealand Air Force Died 29 June 1943 Age 29
Tamaturanga Te Rakai-a-Hawea Tomoana Image source Portrait, Weekly News via aucklandmuseum.com
Not listed in the Book of Remembrance
Tamaturanga was a son of Paraire Henare Tomoana (known as Friday) who had been a prominent Maori leader in the Hawkes Bay region on the east cast of North Island, New Zealand. His family lived in Hastings, Hawkes Bay.
Tamaturanga became a rugby player in Hawkes Bay and later represented the Royal New Zealand Air Force in competition.
The marriage at Epsom, Surrey, of Hawea Tomoana to Joyce J Butler (b.1920, daughter of George Butler and Martha Jane nee Ellcome) was registered in the December Quarter of 1942.
By early 1943, Hawea was serving with a bomber squadron in the Western Desert, possibly in 55 or 223 Squadron of 232 Bomber
Wing. On 28 June 1943, however, he had joined 149 Squadron 1940-1945 becoming a member of the crew in a Stirling Mk. III BF 483, OJ - C, which took off at 23.45 hrs. from RAF Lakenheath. As part of a group targeting Cologne, this aircraft subsequently went missing without trace, but is thought to have been attacked and shot down by a Luftwaffe night-fighter 'ace' Oblt. Werner Hopf of 2/NJG1 at 2.47 a.m. on 29 June 1943, 25 miles west of the island of Schouwen-Duiveland in the south-western Netherlands, before crashing into the North Sea.
Names of all the crew killed in action were recorded on the Runnymede Memorial Panel 199. Tamaturanga is also included in a Roll of Honour at Hastings War Memorial Library, erected by the people of Hastings and District to commemorate those who gave their lives for their country in the War 1939 - 1945.
149 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve Died 5 June 1945, aged 21
Peter Tottle was born on 5 April 1924 in Epsom (GRO reference: Jun 1924 (Bates) Epsom 2a 44), the son of William Henry and Daisy Muriel Bell Tottle (nee Bates). Peter's parents had married on 6 June 1921 in Christ Church, Epsom. His father, aged 31 was a chemist living at 58 High Street, Epsom and his mother was a 23 year old clerk, living at the Wellington Hotel, Epsom, daughter of the landlord. Peter was their only child.
In 1930 the family lived 1 Manor Green Road East, Epsom. Peter attended Glyn School.
On December 13 1940 Peter's father, whilst cycling on Manor Green Road, which was very slippery at the time, fell from his bicycle and fractured his thigh. He was taken to Surrey County Hospital (Middle House, Dorking Road) but died on 11 January 1941 from septicaemia. There was some controversy about his treatment, but at the inquest a verdict of accidental death was recorded. He was buried in grave M591 in Epson Cemetery on 15 January 1941. A full account of the inquest can be read in the Epsom Advertiser. At the time the family was living at 7 Hamilton Close, Epsom. Probate for Peter's father, was granted to his widow Daisy Muriel Bell Tottle in the sum of £ 122 10s. Peter Tottle does not appear on his father's grave.
It is not known when Peter joined the RAF but on 5 June 1945, he was the pilot of a Lancaster 1 PP693 of 149 Squadron coded OJ-B. It had taken off at 16:52 hrs from Juvincourt (Aisne) bound for the U.K. But at 17:20 it crashed in Noyelles sous Bellonne, near Arras. It has been reported that at 2000ft the aeroplane suddenly went into a steep dive, but the pilot was able to flatten out before the starboard outer wing and engine fractured and broke away from the aircraft, which then dived into the ground, burst into flames and was destroyed. The accident is thought to have been caused by a failure of the auto pilot. There was one survivor from the 11 on board. (National Archives - AVIA 5/25 Type: Lancaster 1 (PP-673); Location: Nr Vitry-en-Artois France; Report No.: W2214 1945 June).
The ten who died in the fatal crash:
Flying Officer Peter Tottle. Pilot, aged 21.
Flight Sergeant Paul Cochrane Wyatt. Navigator.
Sergeant Robert Edward Tilley. Flight engineer.
Flight Sergeant Jack Dyer. Wireless operator, aged 27.
Flight Sergeant Kenneth Hird. Air gunner, aged 21.
Flight Sergeant Leonard Jones. Air gunner.
Flight Sergeant Eric Paige. Bomb aimer, aged 21.
AC2 William Quinn, aged 24.
LAC William Christie Spark, aged 34.
LAC Wilfred Herbert Wardle, aged 22.
The flight, thought to have been a POW repatriation flight, was carrying three junior airmen, stated by the CWGC to have belonged to 149 Squadron.
The ten are all buried together in Lille Southern Cemetery in Plot 5, Row C. graves 9-17.
Peter's death is after the cessation of WW2 hostilities in Europe on 8 May 1945. (WW2 continued in the Far East until Japan's surrender on 15 August.) The circumstances are outlined in Colin Cummings' book "The Price of Peace: A Catalogue of RAF Aircraft Losses Between VE-Day and End of 1945" (ISBN: 9780952661955) outlines.
Peter's mother, Daisy Muriel Tottle settled in Worthing, Sussex, and survived until 1979.
Peter is commemorated in the Book of Remembrance in the foyer of the Town Hall and on the St. Barnabas Roll of Honour.
Clive Gilbert & Hazel Ballan 2014
Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this entry.
TOY, Gordon Frederick. (Mentioned in Despatches) Flying Officer (128915)
622 Sqdn. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve Died 1 September 1943 Age 22
Not listed in the Book of Remembrance
The marrriage of Walter E Troy to Dora W Cooper was registered in Wandsworth for the March Quarter of 1918. Birth of their son, Gordon F Toy, came to be recorded at Daventry, 12/1920. Mrs Dora Winifred Toy died during 1932 at Reigate aged 42.
Gordon obtained his education at Reigate Grammar School.
In June 1940 he enlisted with the Royal airAir Force at Blackpool with a Service Number 1355328.
From Leading Aircraftman a commission to Pilot Officer followed on 5 September 1942. G F Toy was promoted Flying Officer with effect from 5 March 1943.
On 10th August 1943, 622 Sqn was formed from 'C' flight of 15 Squadron at RAF Mildenhall.One of its newly trained crews was that led by Flying Officer Toy, nicknamed 'Chunky', from 1665 HCU, Woolfox Lodge. This crew flew their first operational mission on 22 August, dropping mines over the West Friesians. Lasting just over 4 hours, HK 816 GI-B flown by Toy was the only one of three 'planes to complete an otherwise uneventful mine laying (gardening) operation. Over the night of 23 August 1943, at the beginning of the Battle of Berlin, F/O Toy piloted Stirling EH490, GI-F, and brought that aircraft back safely.
For the night of 31 August/1 September, F/O Toy and crew had returned from leave to discover they were going back to Berlin and would be flying in the newly arrived Short Stirling EF119, GI-Q, ordered to take off from Mildenhall at 20:20 hours. EF119, GI-Q, was targeted by by Hauptman Wilhelm Telge of 5/NJG 1 in a Bf 110 night fighter. Having been hit with with cannon fire, to set his front fuselage alight and severely damage the controls, F/O Toy ordered his crew to bail out. Sgt P H M Smith, Sgt F Poyser, Sgt Benham and P/O G F Ritson parachuted to safety, but were taken into captivity.
When the fully laden Stirling crashed near Wollerhausen, Osterode Am Harz, just after midnight, 1 September 1943, the renaining trio:-
F/O G F Troy
Sgt S Mackrell
P/O F M Carter, RCAF
lost their lives to be interred at Hanover War Cemetery in Joint grave 2. A. 15-16.
Gordon has been described by CWGC as the son of Walter Ernest and Dora Winifred Toy, of Epsom, Surrey. As a widower, his father had continued to reside in Reigate up to the war years but subsequently lived at 27 Burgh Heath Road, Epsom.
TREADAWAY, Charles Frederick Arthur. Lance Serjeant (2756418)
6th Battalion, Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) Died 9 November 1944, aged 24.
Charles's headstone in the Forli War Cemetery Photograph (21615202) by "bbmir" via findagrave.com
Charles was born in Q1 1920, the fifth and last child (all of whom were born in Epsom) of Joseph Treadaway and Mary Ann Jane (née Shilham). Joseph was originally from Buckinghamshire and their Q3 1904 marriage was in Mary's home patch of Fulham. However, they set up home in Epsom. The 1911 Census records the parents (listing 35 year old Joseph as a "Labourer, Brickworks") living at 4 Nonsuch Cottages, Linton's Lane, Epsom with their first two children. (Joseph and Mary died in, respectively, January 1936 and April 1939 - but both in Epsom's Cottage Hospital and then buried in Grave K391 of Epsom Cemetery.)
The 19 year old Charles is not found in the 1939 Register. He could either be behind some currently closed record or already in uniform with the 6th Battalion, Black Watch. If the latter, he would have been sent to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force. It was north of Brussels when ordered to withdraw to Dunkirk. Survivors of the evacuation and others reformed the Battalion on the Isle of Wight, where it served as front line defence against the expected German invasion.
Men of the Black Watch's 6th Battalion training on the Isle of Wight in August 1940. IWM photograph H 2917 - Public Domain.
The Battalion remained in Britain until March 1943 when it sailed to Algiers to strengthen the Allied army that, since Operation Torch in November 1942 had been driving Axis forces back towards Tunis as the other half of the pincer to Allied forces advancing westwards after the turning point of El Alamein. By April, the Battalion had moved forward to west of Tunis and was closely involved in the fierce fighting that culminated in the surrender of Axis forces in Tunis on 13 May 1943.
From the springboard of a cleared North Africa, the Allies invaded and captured Sicily. That victory led to an armistice made with the Italians who then re-entered the war on the Allied side. The Allies invaded mainland Italy on 3 September 1943 and, albeit with much hard fighting against German forces, made relatively rapid progress northwards until reaching the German prepared defensive "Winter Line" south of Rome.
The best known actions to break through this line were the hard-fought Battles of Monte Cassino from January to May 1944. The 6th Battalion (which had been training for amphibious landings in Egypt), landed at Naples 6th March 1944 and was closely involved in the final breakthrough at Cassino. It was then in the van of other actions as the Germans withdrew to a series of prepared positions.
By November 1944, the Battalion was among the forces on the front line at Forli near the Adriatic coast, about 15 miles southwest of Ravenna. As noted in Casualty List No. 1612, Charles was killed in action there on 9 November.
Charles is one of the 738 WW2 burials in the Forli War Cemetery. His family took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave VIII.A.16,
"God takes our loved ones from our homes but never from our hearts."
1st Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment Died 27 August 1944, aged 19
Charles's headstone and the Vernon Communal Cemetery Left: photograph (67297937) by Joel Legout via findagrave.com Right: Photograph with thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Leonard Horace Treadgold (the middle "G" initial given in Christ Church's WW2 memorial does not appear in any other of the readily available records) was born Q2 1925 in Epsom, the third of four children born to Horace Earl Treadgold and Kathleen Hilda (née Williams - they married Q4 1919 in Epsom). The 1939 Register records the 45 year old Horace (a "Roads Labourer") and 39 year old Kathleen ("Home duties") living at 4 Ruthen Close, Epsom with a similarly aged lodger and three currently closed records - probably their younger children.
Leonard was too young to have been in the Worcestershire Regiment's original 1st Battalion, the remnants of which - along with many other Commonwealth troops - surrendered at Tobruk on 22 June 1942, during the disastrous Battle of Gazala.
The 1st Battalion was reformed on 1 January 1943 by disbanding the 11th Battalion (a Service Battalion formed in May 1940) and drafting its personnel to the 1st Battalion. It then began preparations for "Operation Overlord", the Allied invasion of Normandy. The Battalion landed shortly after the initial D-Day landings on 6 June 1944. Their first action (part of "Operation Epsom" to outflank and seize Caen) resulted in the capture of Mouen - just to the west of Caen - was described by the Divisional Commander as "one of the slickest attacks of the war".
There then came the spectacular drive to the Seine - over one hundred miles in three and a half days. After heavy fighting, the 1st Worcestershire were the first to cross the Seine - at Vernon, about halfway between Paris and the sea (and on the outskirts of which is Giverny, famous for its association with Monet). This was followed by further fierce fighting as the Allied forces drove east.
It was during the fighting at Tilly (about 4 miles east of Vernon) that, as noted in Casualty List No. 1553, Leonard was killed in action. With 13 of his fellow soldiers, he is buried in the Vernon Communal Cemetery. His family took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave 1.8,
"A voice we loved is stilled a place is vacant in our home which never can be filled."
Edwin was born in Deptford on 5 March 1849. On 7 June 1888, in All Saints Church Newington, this 39 year old married 26 year old Emily Matilda Castle. She was presumably a widow since the 1891 Census records the couple (with Edwin listed as a "Mariner") living at 30 Frederick Street, Bermondsey with five children. Three of these had the surname Castle and were born before their marriage. Born after that were 2 year old Lilian and new-born Ethel, both with the surname Treays.
The 1901 Census records the family still at 30 Frederick Street. 52 year old Edwin is now listed as a "Waterside Labourer". Some of the older Castle children had left home and four more Treays children had been born, although two had died in infancy. By the time of the 1911 Census, the couple had moved to 1 Tristan Cottages, 1 Church Street, Bermondsey. 62 year old Edwin is now listed as a "Ship Worker" The couple's four surviving children were still at home as was Emily's 25 year old son Frederick Castle and three of her granddaughters.
Emily died in Bermondsey Q1 1935. The 1939 Register records the widowed 91 year old Edwin (his name mistranscribed as "Edward") living at 110 Lllewellyn Street, Bermondsey and listed as "Mercantile Mariner Retired". Living with him were the apparently unrelated 41 year old James Phipps (a "Wharf Labourer") together with his wife Charlotte and their child.
On 21 September 1940 - in the early weeks of the Luftwaffe's "Blitz" bombing campaign - Edwin was injured while at home in 110 Llewellyn Street. 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. He died there on 2 October 1940.
(If any of the Phipps family were injured in the same attack, they recovered.)
Mary was born on 23 May 1913, the first child of Alfred Trent and Jessie (née Hyde). The parents' Q3 1912 marriage was registered in the Upton on Severn District of Worcestershire, but they made their home in the Surrey village of Cranleigh, about 8 miles southeast of Guildford, where Alfred was a "coachman domestic", living at Knowle Stables. When, in 1915, Alfred enlisted for WW1 service in the Army Service Corps, Mechanical Transport, his civilian occupation was listed as "Chauffeur".
At some point after the birth of the couple's second child, Marion (in Q4 1919), the family moved to Epsom. The 1939 register records them living at 38 Copse Edge Avenue: 56 year old Alfred is listed as a "Private Chauffeur"; 52 year old Jessie with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties"; and 26 year old Mary as a "Private Secretary". The currently closed record at the address doubtless covers 19 year old Marion.
On Sunday 23 May 1943, Mary was at the Central Hotel on Richmond Hill, Bournemouth. She was one of the many killed there when the hotel received a direct hit during the most destructive of the many bombing raids that Bournemouth experienced throughout the war.
The raiding party was 26 of the Luftwaffe's powerful Focke-Wulf Fw 190 Würger ("Shrike") single-seat fighter-bombers, flying from their base in Caen. This was a carefully-planned lightning strike. Bournemouth typically received at least 20 minutes' warning of approaching enemy aircraft but, on this occasion, the sirens sounded at 12.54pm and the first bomb was dropped barely 5 minutes later. Within little more than a minute, each aircraft had dropped its high-explosive bomb and caused further carnage by almost continuous strafing. By the time the fighters at RAF Ibsley had scrambled, the enemy aircraft (bar two that had been brought down by anti-aircraft fire) were on their way back to base.
The raid killed 200+ people, of which at least 54 (including Mary - on her 30th birthday) were at the Central Hotel. Hundreds more were injured, many with life-changing results. 22 buildings were destroyed - including the Central Hotel and the landmark Metropole Hotel at the Lansdowne. Over 3,300 other buildings were damaged, 37 so extensively that they had quickly to be demolished. It is not currently known why Mary was in the Central Hotel at the time, but it may be relevant that members of the Civil Defence were meeting at the Central to discuss the placement of air raid shelters in schools.
Background: Victorian photograph of the Central Hotel (with thanks to Alwyn Ladell)
Inset: What was left after the bomb (with thanks to the Bournemouth Echo)
The particular motivation for the raid is understood to have been a retaliation to the previous week's now-famous "Dam Buster" raid by 617 Squadron on 16-17 May 1943. The Luftwaffe was aware that Bournemouth had a key role in maintaining the vital supply of aircrew to the RAF: In addition to the town's being a convalescent centre for injured airmen, RAF Station Bournemouth was welcoming thousands of aircrew (3,000 on the day after the raid alone) and was home to the No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre for Dominion aircrew and No. 11 Australian Personnel Dispatch and Receiving Centre. On 23 May, hundreds of Canadian airmen were staying at the Metropole Hotel and the Central Hotel was similarly full of Australians.
On the evening of that day, the Bournemouth Municipal Orchestra was scheduled to play a concert at the Winter Gardens to celebrate its 50th anniversary and to be broadcast by the BBC. Aware of the propaganda value should the broadcast be cancelled, the concert and broadcast went ahead and, conducted by Sir Adrian Boult, the orchestra's programme included Nimrod from Elgar's Enigma Variations in tribute to those that died that day.
On 2 June 1943, Mary was buried in grave M4/65 of the Bournemouth North Cemetery.
214 Sqdn. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve Died 26 June 1943 Age 28
John Frederick Tritton Photograph courtesy of the Tritton Family
Not listed in the Book of Remembrance
The marriage of Frederick J Tritton to Grace E Webb was registered at Lambeth for the September Quarter of 1914. Birth of John F Tritton came to be recorded in the same District, 9/1915.
The following details have extracted from Broken Wings, Immortal Glory - The Story of 214 Squadron RAF Bomber Command, by Paul Tritton, with kind permission from the author:-
"JOHN was the eldest child of Frederick James and Grace Emily (nee Webb) Tritton. He lived with his parents, brother Frank and sister Freda at No. 5 Thurlestone Road, London SE27....
Frederick Tritton was a process etcher on the Daily Express in Fleet Street. John served an apprenticeship as a process artist on the Daily Sketch and was called-up for service with the Royal Engineers on June 13, 1940. His military service records state that he was 5 ft 5 in.tall, with dark brown hair, hazel eyes and a fresh complexion.In 1942 he was transferred to the RAF [with a Service Number 657178] and qualified as a bomb aimer [after undertaking training in Canada].
He returned home a few days before Christmas, having been given a temporary commision and promoted to the rank of pilot officer [gazetted with effect from 6 November 1942]....
On January 12, 1943, he was posted to No. 26 Operational Training Unit [at RAF Wing near Aylesbury] where he joined a crew captained by a newly qualified pilot, Sgt Bernard Church. John was now 27, whereas the rest of the crew were 20 or 21...
Church's crew was posted to RAF Stradishall and trained to fly Stirling bombers. In May John was promoted to the rank of flying officer and on June 12 he and the rest of the crew arrived at RAF Chedburgh, near Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, to join 214 Squadron, then making nightly raids on the Ruhr, Germany's industrial heartland and laying mines in sea-lanes used by German ships. On the night of Monday, June 22 the crew flew on their first 'op', taking off at five minutes past midnight DBST (Double British Summer Time) on June 23 - John's 28th birthday.
Their 'drop zone' was near Heligoland Bay. At 02.12 hrs John flicked a switch on the control panel in his compartment in the nose of the aircraft and released his mines. At 04.40 the crew landed safely at Chedburgh ...
On Wednesday, June 24, Church's crew was part of a force of 630 bombers that raided Wuppertal-Elberfeld. They took off at 22.30 with 1,080 41b incendiaries and 88 30lb incendiaries. Near Cologne their aircraft was hit by flak but no-one was injured. Over the target, John did the job he had been trained to do calling out course corrections to the pilot, releasing the bombs, and operating the camera that all bombers carried to photograph the results of their sortie. ... They arrived back at Chedburgh at 0415.
John was 'on ops' again with Bernard Church's crew the following night (June 25/26), for a raid on Gelsenkirchen. The aircraft they had flown on their earlier 'ops' was out of service, due to damage sustained the previous night, so they were allocated a brand-new aircraft, BK767. Their wireless operator, Sgt W.C. Thomas, reported sick shortly before take-off so the squadron's signals leader, Flying Officer Keith Neilson, took his place.
Sunset that night was at 22.22.... BK767 took off at 23.48. Reports written immediately after the raid merely state: 'Nothing was heard of this aircraft, which is missing.' However, thanks to eye-witness accounts and recent research in Britain andHolland, we now have an almost complete story of BK767's last moments.
At Aalten, near the German border, Air Raid Precautions wardens saw 'a burning aeroplane crashing in the south west direction' at 01.23 hrs. Two minutes later it disintegrated on a farm at IJzerlo, 5.5 km from Aalten. Chief warden Jacob Tilbusscher reported: 'The 'plane came down on farmland belonging to Gerrit H. Jan ter Horst and Gerrit van Lochem. Five occupants of the airplane died in the crash'. The aircraft, which had evidently been hit by 'flak' and then shot down by an ME110 nightfighter piloted by Oberleutnant Ludwig Meister, was later identified as BK767. The men who died were Bernard Church, John Tritton, Sgt William Harris Thompson (flight engineer) and air gunners William Thomas Davis and Frederick Mills. Sgt E.G. Taylor (the navigator) and Keith Neilson parachuted to safety but were captured by the Germans.
John and his comrades were buried in Berkenhove Cemetery, Aalten, on June 29. Next day a wreath was secretly laid beside their graves, bearing the words 'Broken wings, immortal glory. From the Dutch people'. Soon afterwards it was removed by the German authorities....
In Berkenhove Cemetery, about half a mile north of Aalten, their graves are impeccably maintained by Oorlogsgraven-stichting for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Every year, on May 4 (Dutch Liberation Day) the people of Aalten place flowers there."
John lies in Grave 590/2 of Aalten (Berkenhove) General Cemetery, decribed by CWGC as the son of Frederick James. Tritton, and of Grace Emily Tritton, of Ewell, Surrey.
After the war, John's brother Frank and their mother, Grace Emily, had come to live at 62 Ruxley Lane, Ewell, and remained there at least until 1954.
109 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery Died 21 November 1944, Age 24.
William was born Q3 1920, the second of five children born to Albert Tuck and Violet Louisa (née Embling). The parents' Q3 1918 was registered in Epsom - as were the births of all their children who, in addition to William, were: Albert (Q4 1918); Alice (Q4 1922); Sylvia (Q3 1928); and Ronald Q3 1931).
The 1939 Register records the family living at "Rossar", Grosvenor Road, Langley Vale, Epsom Downs. 42 year old Albert senior is listed as a "Grave Digger Heavy Worker" and 44 year old Violet with "House duties at home". Of the four other records at the address, three are currently closed and doubtless cover some of the children - perhaps including the 19 year old William (who is not found elsewhere in the Register). The open record is of 20 year old Albert junior, listed as a "Painter Decorator".
William attested into the Royal Artillery in 1940. The readily available records provide disappointingly few details about his service. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records note that he was with the 109 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment at the time of his death. The Regiment was part of the Allied forces that, by November 1944, fighting the German Army in the Netherlands.
Casualty List No. 1600 of 10 November 1944 reported that, on some unspecified date, William was wounded. He was repatriated for treatment in the Park Prewett Hospital, Basingstoke. (Like Epsom's Horton Hospital, this had been a psychiatric hospital but was taken over for military use during WW2.)
As reported in Casualty List No. 1617, William died of his wounds on 21 November 1944. On 27 November, he was buried in Grave L198 of Epsom Cemetery (poignantly, probably where his father worked as a grave digger).
2nd Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment Died 7 August 1944, aged 23.
Unusually, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's database contains no family background for Matthew. It turns out to be more than a little complicated - and interestingly out of the ordinary.
Matthew Richard Tullett was born on 14 May 1921. According to the record of his baptism at St Mary's, Ewell on 29 May 1921, his parents (53 year old Matthew Richard Tullett and 25 year old Caroline McCleave) were recorded as living at 2 Adelphi Road, Epsom. (There is no record of this couple having any other children.)
Matthew senior and Caroline were not married to each other because he was still married to Helen Edith (née Routledge). They had married in Westbourne, Sussex, on 22 May 1895 - when Matthew was aged 27 and Helen was 25. Matthew had joined the Metropolitan Police in 1892 (with a Warrant No. 77765) and the couple made their home in Islington, where their two daughters Emily Winifred (in other records, "Winifred Emily') and Violet Helen were born in 1896 and 1898 respectively.
PC Matthew Tullett and his family later moved to what is now the London Borough of Bromley. They are recorded in the 1911 Census living at 6 Church Road, Shortlands, near Bromley itself. Matthew senior retired from the police on 11 August 1919, having last served in P Division covering the Camberwell/Peckham area. Helen, however, had been admitted to Warlingham Park Mental Hospital at Chelsham - about 6 miles south of Croydon - where she was to remain for over 20 years. (Warlingham Park was reputedly the first such institution to be called a Mental Hospital rather than an Asylum.)
As Matthew junior - the subject of this article - was born in 1921, Matthew senior had clearly begun his relationship with Caroline McCleave at least some time before that. His wife, Helen, died at Warlingham Park on 20 January 1940, although this was Registered (presumably by Matthew senior) in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District. In that first quarter of 1940 and Registered in the Deptford District, Matthew senior was finally able to marry Caroline. They had been recorded in the 1939 Register living at 13 Prospect Place, Epsom, with one currently closed record - probably of then 18 year old Matthew junior. Matthew senior is listed as "Pensioned Police Officer Retired" with Caroline's occupation being "Housekeeper Domestic Duties".
To complete the family background, administration of Helen's small personal estate (of £ 30) was awarded to her daughter Emily/Winifred and husband, Harold Frederick Skinner - they had married in 1921. Matthew senior died in 1954 and was buried in Epsom Cemetery (Grave N327) on 21 May. In 1958, the widowed Caroline married again - to Charles E Ede. That marriage and her death in 1974 were both registered in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District.
To return to the subject of this article, Matthew junior's WW2 service was in the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. It is not clear from the readily available records when this service began. Given his age - he was only 18 when war was declared - this is probably not in time to be sent to France with the Battalion in 1940 as part of the British Expeditionary Force and its subsequent evacuation from Dunkirk in early June. It is more likely that he joined the Battalion during its following years on home duty, and then in preparation for Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of France from the Normandy beaches.
The Battalion landed in Normandy on D-Day itself, 6 June 1944. While, thanks to careful preparation, the initial landings were an unqualified success, the next stages - particularly capturing the German stronghold of Caen a few miles inland - proved much harder than the Allies had anticipated. (Caen was finally taken on 6 August 1940.)
In late July and early August 1944, Matthew's Battalion was part of the Allied forces making a major thrust made from Caumont l'Evente towards Vire, aiming to drive a wedge between the German 7th Army and Panzer Group West. On 6 August 1944, the Battalion encountered the German 9th SS Regiment on a ridge above Le Bas Perrier and, over the following two days, suffered 23 fatalities - including the death of Matthew on 7 August.
Matthew was initially buried at Presles. On 3 May 1946 he was reinterred (Grave IV,C.14) in the War Cemetery at St Charles de Percy, a village about 25 miles south-west of Caen. Its War Cemetery contains 809 WW2 burials and is the southernmost of the Normandy cemeteries.
The St Charles de Percy War Cemetery Photograph with thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Royal Sussex Regiment, 5th Cinque Ports Battalion Died 16 June 1940, aged 21
Richard's headstone in the "Cement House" Cemetery. Photograph (12777642) by the International Wargraves Photography Project via findagrave.com
Richard was born in Q3 1918, the first child of Richard Eric Turnbull and Phyllis Adeline (née Francis - they had married in Q4 1916). His sister, Phillippa was born in Q4 1921. All these events took place in the Cardiff Registration District - as, indeed, did the parents' 1890 births.
The young family's move to Epsom may have been connected with a change in vocation for Richard Eric. Before his marriage, the 1911 Census recorded him (and six siblings) living with his widowed father at home at 130 Newport Road, Cardiff. Richard Eric and an older brother were both listed as "Clerk, Coal Exporters" - perhaps not unconnected with their father and an older brother both being listed as a "Ship Owner". (This was a prosperous household: it was supported by four domestic servants.)
Anyway, the 1939 Register finds the Richard Eric and Phyllis living at 17 Ridgeway, Epsom. The 48 year old is listed as "Farmer, (retired)" and 49 year old Phyllis with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". Living with them was the apparently unrelated 46 year old Gwendoline Geddes listed as a "Nurse Companion" plus another currently closed record (probably covering 17 year old Phillipa).
Richard junior's WW2 service was in the 5th Cinque Ports Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment. In April 1940, the battalion (of 29 Officers and 690 other ranks) was sent to France as part of the Allied forces to resist the expected German invasion. It was later sent further east, to Wortagem in Belgium - about half way between Lille and Brussels - to take up defensive duties covering the River Scheldt, with trenches on the forward slopes. Hostilities began on 20 May when the Battalion came under shell & mortar fire. The German forces proved unstoppable and, over the next week, the Battalion gradually retreated east and north, taking losses through death and injury along the way. On 28 May, the remainder reached Dunkirk from which they were among the near 340,000 troops evacuated in the famous Operation Dynamo.
Through some mischance or injury, Richard lost touch with his Battalion during its retreat and, like many others, found himself behind enemy lines seeking to avoid capture and find a way home. It is not known if he was captured and killed in one of the many post-Dunkirk atrocities or died of earlier wounds. One way of the other, the date of his death is firmly recorded as 16 June 1940, 12 days after the end of the Dunkirk evacuations.
He was initially buried in the Communal Cemetery at Waregem, about 5 miles north of the Battalion's 20 May position at Wortagem. Four years later, in September 1944, two British soldiers killed in the Allied advance towards Germany were also buried there. In April 1968, these three WW2 soldiers - plus four from WW1 - were exhumed and, together with other scattered burials, reinterred in the major Cement House WW1 cemetery a few miles north of Ypres. ("Cement House" was the WW1 military name given to a fortified farm building on the nearby Langemark-Boezinge road.)
The family took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave XVII.B.8.,
William was born in Tunbridge Wells on 18 August 1878. On 26 October 1901, he married Edith Gertrude Tyler in her home village of Marden, about 10 miles east of Tunbridge Wells: they were both aged 23.
The couple set up home in Bexhill-on-Sea where the 1911 Census records them, now aged 32 living at 7 Leopold Road with four children from 8 year old William junior to new-born Cecil. (They had four more children between 1915 and 1923.) The Census lists William senior as a "Railway Porter."
The couple were still at 7 Leopold Road at the time of the 1939 Register, now both aged 61. William is listed as "Retired" and Edith with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". Also living with them was 21 year old unmarried daughter Gertrude (working as a "Domestic Daily") and one currently closed record - probably concealing their youngest child, 16 year old Kenneth.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records note that William - still "of 7 Leopold Road" - was injured by enemy action on 8 October 1940 while at 58 Amherst Road, Bexhill-on-Sea. (This still-standing large late-Victorian house was, at the time of the 1939 Register, occupied by early 60s Reginald and Hazel Watson and eight apparently unrelated people, four of whom are listed as "Blind Person".) His injuries were probably the result of one of the many random incidents Bexhill experienced as a result of German aircraft dropping bombs unused in the "Blitz" bombing campaign before returning across the Channel.
Anyway, William 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. Eight months later, on 13 June 1941, he died there, aged 62.
Royal Army Ordnance Corps. Died 6 September 1945, aged 34.
James was born on 21 August 1911, the second child of Percy Tyrrell and Mary Gertrude (née Hannaford, hence James's middle name). The parents - both originally from London - had married in London's St Giles District Q2 1906, but set up home at 34 Station Road, Prittlewell, a district of Southend-on-Sea.
They were recorded at that address in the 1911 Census, together with their first child, 3 year old Marian (born Q3 1907). The Census lists 31 year old Percy is listed as a "Draper (Linen), Shopkeeper/Employer" and, as typical for this census, lists no occupation for the 28 year old Mary - who was already pregnant with James, born five months later. The couple had a third child, Jean, born Q3 1923. The births of all three children were registered in the Rochford District, into which Prittlewell came.
The family of five is next found in the records as passengers on the P&O liner SS Bendigo which sailed from London on 27 November 1924 bound for Sydney in Australia, noted on the manifest as their "country of intended future permanent residence". The now 45 year old father's occupation is still listed as "Draper", and the family's last address in the UK is given as 11 Boscombe Road, Southend-on-Sea.
At some point, James returned to the UK. According to the Norwich Union Life Insurance Society's WW2 Roll of Honour, he worked in their Office in Fleet Street, London. As noted by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records, James had become both AICS and ACII (an associate of, respectively the Institute of Chartered Surveyors - it did not become a Royal Institute until 1947- and the Chartered Insurance Institute). Further, the 1939 Register lists this then 28 year old as an "Assurance Official". That Register also records him in the household of presumed relatives Edward and Nellie Tyrrell at 4 Sabrina Terrace, Worcester. Given his London job, this seems likely to be a visit rather than a permanent arrangement. Alternatively, it might have been connected in some way with his move into the Royal Army Ordnance Corps: it is known he enlisted in 1939.
In Q3 1941, James - now aged 30 - married 29 year old Olga Ellen Love. She was recorded in the 1939 Register as the youngest of three unmarried daughters living with their widowed 68 year old mother, Emily, at 7 Nonsuch Court Avenue, East Ewell. Her occupation was listed as "Civil Servant Typist". The marriage was registered in the local Surrey Mid Eastern District and it seems James moved in with his in-laws: the Probate record of administration of James's £ 2,707 estate being awarded to the widowed Olga gave his address as the same 7 Nonsuch Court Avenue. There is no record of the couple having any children.
The readily available records provide disappointingly little information about James's WW2 service in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps. His last posting was to Italy to support the Allies' advance against German forces there. Casualty List No.1856 reported that he died on 6 September 1945 - some four months after VE Day. A previous Casualty list had reported that he was "dangerously ill" which rather implies a medical condition or disease rather than wounds. He is buried in the Naples War Cemetery, and his death almost certainly occurred there. The site for the Cemetery was chosen in November 1943 and burials were made in it from the Naples garrison and, particularly from the hospitals that were there, namely, he 65th and 92nd General Hospitals from late in 1943 until the end of the war, and the 67th General Hospital for the greater part of that time.
James is one of 1,202 Commonwealth WW2 burials in the Naples War Cemetery. The widowed Olga took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone on Grave IV.L.11,
"In proud and loving memory."
The NaplesWar Cemetery. Photograph with thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
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