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.
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 daughter of Mr and Mrs Keeble, who the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's records list as being of 125 Newington Butts, London.
In Q2 1937, she married Frederick G Thomas (who had been born on 21 May 1910). The marriage was registered in Southwark.
The 1939 Register records the couple living alone at 80 Thorndon Gardens, West Ewell. Frederick's occupation is listed as "Salesman Jewellery" and Florence's as the conventional "unpaid domestic duties".
Florence was killed at home by enemy action on 9 September 1940. On 14 September, she was buried in Epsom Cemetery (Grave M624).
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's database lists four airmen with the surname Thomas and with Henry one of their Christian names, the available details of which are as below.
THOMAS, Henry Albert. Flying Officer/Wireless Operator (161024). 227 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Died 15 March 1945, age N/K. Family background N/K. Buried in the Durnbach War Cemetery, Bayern, Germany.
THOMAS, Harold Henry. Sergeant/Air Gunner (1170573). 44 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Died 18 October 1943, aged 29. Son of Harold Mostyn Thomas and Mary Ann Thomas, of Malvern Link, Worcestershire; husband of Jenny Thomas, of Malvern Link. Buried in the Hanover War Cemetery, Niedersachsen, Germany.
THOMAS, Henry Nelson. Flying Officer (88903). Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Died 28 June 1941, aged 42. Son of Thomas Henry and Beatrice Thomas; husband of Lydia May Thomas, of Stoke Mandeville. Buried in the Stoke Mandeville (St. Mary The Virgin) Churchyard, Buckinghamshire.
THOMAS, Henry Samuel. Flight Sergeant/Wireless Op./Air Gunner (983327). 622 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Died 1 June 1944, aged 28. Son of William John and Jane Thomas, of Barry, Glamorgan; husband of Marjorie Thomas, of Barry. Buried at Marissel French National Cemetery, Oise, France.
William was born on 2 November 1888. He and his wife Rosina (who was born on 1 September 1903) were recorded by the 1939 Register living at 21 Carters Road, Epsom Downs with what looks like their daughter Brenda (born 31 October 1929) and a currently closed record of, possibly, a younger child.
Also living there were lodgers (presumably): 56 year old George Oxley, a "saddler"; and 49 year old Patrick Power, a "groom in racing stables." William's occupation was recorded as "General Labourer Heavy Worker", while Rosina's was the conventional "unpaid domestic duties."
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) where the records note that he was a Council employee.
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Died 5 August 1940, aged N/K
This is the only plain "Stanley Thompson" airman in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's WW2 database. Most unusually, this gives no information about his Squadron, his family connections or even his age at the time of death - noting only that he is buried in the Maidenhead Cemetery, Berkshire.
There are only three other airmen in the database with the surname Thompson and with Stanley one of their Christian names, the available details of which are as below. However, their family connections make them unlikely to be the THOMPSON Stanley listed in the Borough's Book of Remembrance.
THOMPSON, Stanley John. Pilot Officer (86402). Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Died 13 October 1940, aged 19.Son of John Davis Thompson and Sarah Scott Thompson, of Bessbrook, Co. Armagh, Northern Ireland. Buried in the Sutton Bridge (St. Matthew) Churchyard, Lincolnshire.
THOMPSON, Stanley William. Sergeant/Flight Engineer (1019644). 570 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Died 29 July 1944, aged 32. Son of William and J Thompson, of Bridlington, Yorkshire; husband of Edith Mary Thompson, of Bridlington. Buried in the Orleans Main Cemetery, Loiret, France.
THOMPSON, Stanley Lewis. Flight Sergeant/Pilot (R/61455). 401 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force. Died 27 October 194, aged 21. Son of James Harry and Olivia Thompson, of Davidson, Saskatchewan, Canada. Buried in the Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey.
THOMPSON, Samuel George. Sergeant/Wireless Op./Air Gunner (918136)
77 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Died 27 December 1941, aged 23
Samuel was born on 15 September 1918, apparently the second child of William and Lily Thompson.
The 1939 Register records the family living at 17 Vale Road, Worcester Park. The 19 year old Samuel's occupation is listed as "Clerical Record Research". His 21 year old sister Eileen was a "National Cash Ledger Machine Operator". The 57 year old William was a "Clerk Messenger", and the 51 year old Lily undertook the conventional "unpaid domestic duties."
Samuel served with 77 Squadron which, in the early days of WW2, was part of Bomber Command's No 4 Group. The Squadron was equipped with Armstrong-Whitworth Whitleys - which, until the arrival of the Avro Lancaster, was the RAF's heaviest bomber.
An Armstrong-Whitworth Whitley V bomber, circa 1940 RAF official photograph - public domain
27 December 1941, 77 Squadron was participating in a raid on Dusseldorf. As Samuel is buried in the Rheinberg War Cemetery, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany, it seems clear that he was killed when his aircraft was brought down over enemy territory.
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.
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
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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.
Worcestershire Regiment 1st Battalion, Died 27 August 1944, aged 19
Leonard 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 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 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. At Tilly, about 4 miles east of Vernon, that fighting claimed Leonard's life. With many of his fellow soldiers, he is buried in Vernon Communal Cemetery.
109 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery Died 21 November 1944, Age 24.
William was born in Epsom Q3 1920, the son of Albert Tuck and Violet Louisa (née Embling - they had married in Epsom Q3 1918).
The 1939 Register records the couple living at "Rossar", Grosvenor Road, Langley Vale, Epsom Downs, with their oldest son (Albert, born 23 December 1918, a "Painter Decorator") and three currently closed records - presumably other children, including the 19 year old William. Albert senior is listed as a "Crane Digger Heavy Worker" while Violet was occupied with "House duties at home".
William was buried in Epsom Cemetery (Grave L198), where the records note that he had died at Park Prewett Hospital, Basingstoke. (This had been a psychiatric hospital, but was taken over for military use during WW2.)
2nd Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Died 7 August 1944, aged 24.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission database contains no family background for Matthew, but it seems clear that he was the Matthew R Tullett born in Epsom Q2 1920 to Matthew R Tullett senior (born 17 March 1868) and Caroline McCleave, (born 15 Oct 1895, thus some 27 years his junior). The couple did not marry until Q1 1940, registered in Deptford.
The 1939 Register records the couple living at 13 Prospect Place, Epsom, with one currently closed record - perhaps their 19 year old Matthew. Matthew senior is listed as "Pensioned Police Officer Retired" with Caroline's occupation being "Housekeeper Domestic Duties".
Matthew junior served in the 2nd Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment and was killed in the post D-Day fighting in Northern France. He is buried in the St Charles De Percy War Cemetery, Calvados, France.
Royal Sussex Regiment, 5th Cinque Ports Battalion Died 16 June 1940, aged 21
Richard was born in Q3 1918, the first child of Richard Eric Turnbull and Phyllis Adeline (née Francis - they had married in Q4 1916). A second child, Phillippa was born in Q4 1921. All these events took place in the Cardiff Registration District - as, indeed, did the parents' 1890 births.
It is not clear when the family moved to Epsom. This may have been connected with a change in vocation for father Richard Eric. The 1911 Census records him living at home as "Clerk, Coal Exporters" (perhaps not unconnected with his father's being a "Ship Owner"). However, in the 1939 Register (which finds the couple living at 17 Ridgeway, Epsom) this 49 year old is listed as "Farmer, (retired)". Also at 17 Ridgeway was a 46 year old Gwendoline Geddes plus another (perhaps young Richard Dominic) whose record is currently closed.
Anyway, young Richard served 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.)
Royal Army Ordnance Corps. Died 6 September 1945, aged 34.
James was born on 21 August 1911, the son of Percy Tyrrell.and Mary Gertrude (née Hannaford, hence James's middle name - they had married in St Giles London Q2 1906).
The 1939 Register records the 18 year old James living with (presumed relatives) Edward and Nellie Tyrrell at 4 Sabrina Terrace, Worcester, and employed as an "Assurance Official". That squares with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records noting him as 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).
In Q3 1941 he married (registered in Surrey Mid Eastern) Olga Ellen Love - noted in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records as being "of Ewell, Surrey".
James's death occurred four months after VE Day. He is buried in the Naples War Cemetery, Italy.
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