WW2 Book of Remembrance - Surnames W

Index

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[Content]

WAITE, Edward Harry (Revised 29/11/2017)
WAITE, Gerald Francis John (New 03/09/2017)
WALKER, Douglas Bland (Revised 23/02/2018)
WALL, Thomas Henry (New 30/10/2017)
WALLIS, Susan * (New 30/10/2017)
WARD, Bernard (New 03/09/2017)
WARD, Georgina * (New 30/10/2017)
WARREN, Kenneth Walter (New 08/01/2018)
WARWICK, Benjamin (Revised 04/01/2018)
WATERMAN, Arthur George (New 30/10/2017)
WATERMAN, Douglas Allenby (New 08/09/2017)
WATSON, Robert Sims (NOT LISTED in the Book of Remembrance. Links to an external site)
WATKINS, Robert Charles Leslie (New 30/10/2017)
WATSON, Peter Leslie (Revised 09/11/2017)
WATT, Christina Alice * (New 30/10/2017)
WATTS, Alfred John (New 08/01/2018)
WAYLAN, John Evan Francis (Revised 18/01/2018)
WEBB, Arthur Frederick Oliver (Revised 23/03/2018)
WEEKS, Roy Keeble (Revised 21/03/2018)
WELLS, Alice Ellen * (New 30/10/2017)
WEST, Alfred Malet (New 30/10/2017)
WESTCOTT, Alice Mary * (New 30/10/2017)
WESTON, Arthur (New 08/09/2017)
WESTON, George Percy (New 08/09/2017)
WHALE, Ronald Cecil (Revised 29/11/2017)
WHEELER, Claude George (Revised 04/03/2018)
WHICHELO, Edna (New 30/10/2017)
WHITE, Albert Kenneth (Revised 09/01/2018)
WHITE, Hugh Edgar (Revised 18/01/2018)
WHITE, Philip Alfred (New 30/10/2017)
WHITE, William John (New 08/09/2017)
WHITLOW, John William Bradbury (New 30/10/2017)
WHITTY, George Oliver Samuel (New 30/10/2017)
WILBY, Edward John (New 08/09/2017)
WILDEY, Richard Kemp (Dick) (Revised 17/02/2018)
WILLIAMS, Herbert Charles (New 08/11/2014)
WILLIAMS, John Francis (New 30/10/2017)
WILLIAMS, Laurence Mervyn. (New 30/10/2017)
WILLIAMS, Philip Edwin (New 08/09/2017)
WILLIAMSON, Robert (Revised 25/02/2018)
WILSON, Harold Strong (New 08/01/2018)
WILSON, George (New 30/10/2017)
WILSON, Ronald George (New 08/09/2017)
WINTER, John George (Revised 10/03/2018)
WISE, Douglas Arthur (New 30/10/2017)
WOOD, Harry (New 30/10/2017)
WOODGER, Elizabeth May and Horace Edgar (New 30/01/2018)
WOOLFENDEN, Jack (New 30/10/2017)
WRIGGLESWORTH, Maurice Oliver (New 08/01/2018)
WRIGHT, Basil Owen (Revised 06/04/2018)
WRIGHT, Henrietta * (New 30/10/2017)
WYATT, George * (New 30/10/2017)
WYBER, Frederick Leonard (New 08/01/2018)
WYLIE, William Jeffery Price (Revised 06/04/2018)

* = Not included in the Book of Remembrance for reasons unknown.
If you are looking for someone whose name starts with a different letter please try:



Content


WAITE, Edward Harry

Civilian
Died 6 November 1940, aged 50.

Edward Harry Waite was born in Battersea in 1890 (GRO reference: Dec 1890 Wandsworth 1d 569) to Edward and Alice Ada Waite (nee Quinnell). His parents were married in the September quarter of 1889 in the Epsom registration district.

In the 1891 census the family lived at 7 Mantua Street, Battersea. Edward's 26 year old father was a railway guard from Edmonton; his mother was aged 25 from Bookham, Surrey. Edward was 7 months old.

EDWARD HARRY WAITE AND HIS SIBLINGS
NameBorn - Died
Edward HarryBorn: 1890 Battersea
Died: 6 November 1940 Epsom
ErnestBorn: 1897 Earlsfield
Etta PhyllisBorn: 1899 Earlsfield
Ida NellieBorn: 1901 Earlsfield

By 1901 the family had moved to 2c Atheldene Road, Wandsworth. Edwards father was still earning his living as a railway guard and Edward had three siblings, Ernest aged 3, Etta Phyllis aged 2 and Ida Nellie aged 6 months.

Edward started working for the Post office, as a clerk, on 3 June 1910.

In 1911 the family lived at 20 Wilna Road, Earlsfield. Edward's father was now a railway inspector working for L and SW Railway. Edward, aged 20, was a Civil Servant working as a clerk in the Post Office Savings Bank. Edward's 48 year old mother recorded that she had had four children and that all were still living.

The Surrey Recruitment Registers tell us that Edward attested in Kingston on 18 October 1916 into the 4th Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment. Aged 26 years and 1 month, he was 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighed 119 lbs and had a chest measurement of 35 inches expanding by 3 inches. He was employed a clerk and lived at 9 Camberley Avenue, Raynes Park. No other Great War military record has been found for him.

Aged 29, Edward married 22 year old spinster Leontine Marie Francoise Hamet (Hammett) on 4 August 1920 in St. Saviours church, Raynes Park. Edward was still working as a Civil Service clerk. Leontine's deceased father, Mathurin Hamet, was a French Marine. Their witnesses were Edward and Ernest Waite. I have found no record of births to them.

By 1929 Edward and Leontine were living at 'Belle Vue' in Chesterfield Road, Ewell and by 1938 were living at 26 Chase Road, Epsom. There is no obvious record of the couple having had children, but the 1939 Register finds them still living at 26 Chase Road, with one currently closed record. Edward is listed as "Civil Service Clerk" and Leontine with the conventional "Home Duties (Unpaid)".

Towards the end of 1940 Edward applied to become an Air Raid Warden. The Epsom Herald newspaper dated 15 November 1940 reported that on the night of 6 November 1940, bombs had fallen on two semi-detached houses and that when Edward attempted to move to a safer part of a damaged room, a beam fell across his back, killing him; his wife was rescued and their young son escaped injury, although as previously noted, I have been unable to find any record of a birth to them. The paper also reported that Edward worshiped at a nearby Anglican church.

Edward was buried in grave M579 in Epsom Cemetery on 12 November 1940, sharing the grave with Harry Lawes. The next grave, M579 holds the remains of Harry Lawes wife Bertha Mary. They were both killed, aged 60, by enemy action on 16 April 1941, at 10 Sutherland Terrace, S.W.1.

Probate was granted at Llandudno, on 13 January 1941, to Edward's widow, Leontine Marie Francoise Waite, in the sum of £632 0s 7d.

Edward 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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WAITE, Gerald Francis John. Flying Officer (67688)

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 221 Squadron
Died 7 February 1943, aged 22

Gerald was born in Birkenhead Q2 1920, the second child of Edwin Gerald Waite and Ellen Irene (née Fisher - they married in Birkenhead Q1 1917), of Epsom, Surrey. The 1939 Register records the presumably widowed Ellen (a British Red Cross Nurse) at 28 West Hill Epsom together with Gerald's 20 year old sister Irene and one currently closed record - perhaps the 19 year old Gerald.

Gerald served in 221 Squadron which, after home duties as part of Coastal Command in the early stages of WW2, relocated in January 1942 to the Mediterranean where it operated in the for the rest of the war. By early 1943, it was operating from Malta, flying the Wellington Mk VIII - a variant specially developed for maritime work, being equipped with anti-submarine radar, torpedoes and "Leigh Lights" for night operations.

A Vickers Wellington GR Mk VII of 221 Squadron
A Vickers Wellington GR Mk VII of 221 Squadron
Photograph CNA 3535, taken in 1944, courtesy of the Imperial War Musuem

Gerald was part of the crew of six on board HX600 when it was lost off Sardinia on 7 February 1943. As he has no known grave, he is remembered on the Malta Memorial in the Floriana area just outside the main entrance to Valletta.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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WALKER, Douglas Bland. Able Seaman (P/JX 237396)

HM Submarine Trooper, Royal Navy.
Died 17 October 1943, aged 21.

Unusually, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's database contains no family details in this case - and not even Douglas's age at the time of his death. However, thanks to his unusual second name, it is been possible to fill in the blanks.

His father was Walter Hatfield Walker, who originated from Kendal in the Lake District. His mother was born in Northampton as Mary Elizabeth Margery (normally called by her third Christian name) Bland. The 25 year old couple's Q4 1920 marriage was registered in the Chertsey District. For some reason, Douglas's birth on 22 July 1922 was registered in Salford, Lancashire. The 14 December 1925 birth of the couple's second child, Betty, was registered back in the Chertsey District. And that is where the parents and schoolgirl Betty are found in the 1939 Register, living with Margery's 71 year old widowed mother at her sweets, tobacco and toy shop at 68 Terrace Road, Walton on Thames. (Walter is listed as a "Storekeeper Raw Materials" and Margery with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties".)

The 17 year old Douglas was not there because he had become an apprentice groom in one of Epsom's racing stables. The 1939 Register finds him lodging with 33 year old Francis M Oates (a "Groom in Racing Stables") and family at 25 Beech Way, Epsom.

Douglas's WW2 service was in the T-class submarine Trooper (N-91). This was built by Scotts of Greenock in the early days of WW2 and commissioned on 29 August 1942. She spent most of her short career serving in the Mediterranean, with two enemy sinkings and other damage to her credit.

HM Submarine Trooper at sea.
HM Submarine Trooper at sea.
Photograph © IWM (A 29870)

On 26 September 1943, HM Submarine Trooper sailed from Beirut on her 8th War Patrol to cover in the Aegean Sea off the Dodecanese islands. On 14 October, she challenged an enemy Schooner Flotilla off Alinda Bay, Leros. She failed to return on 17 October and was presumed lost on German mines around Leros.

Douglas was among the crew of 60 - all of whom were lost - and is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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WALL, Thomas Henry. Gunner (1462626)

Attached to 1st Special Air Service Regiment, Army Air Corps
(from 28 Heavy Anti Aircraft Battery, Royal Artillery).

Died 20 November 1942, aged 21

Thomas was born in Wandsworth Q4 1921, the last of the five children of John Wall and Rhoda Elizabeth (née Drew - they had married in Wandsworth Q2 1912).

The 1939 Register records the parents living at "Matlock", Grosvenor Road, Langley Vale, Epsom Downs. John (born 9 December 1893) is listed as a "Carpenter" and Rhoda (born 13 November 1888) as having the conventional "Unpaid domestic duties". Living with them was their married daughter Dorothy (born 13 August 1915, "Unpaid domestic duties") and her husband Samuel Whorton (born 21 January 1915, a "Builders Labourer") - they had married in Q1 1938 (registered in Surrey Mid Eastern, so probably in Epsom). There is also one currently closed record.

As specified by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Thomas - originally of the 28 Heavy Anti Aircraft Battery, Royal Artillery - was attached to 1st Special Air Service Regiment of the Army Air Corps. As such, he was doubtless involved in various special operations - during one of which he died, on 20 November 1942.

He is buried in the Knightsbridge War Cemetery, Acroma, Libya.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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WALLIS Susan

Civilian
Died 28/07/1944, aged 80

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Of 43 Tappesfield Road, Peckham, London. Died at Horton Emergency Hospital, Epsom.

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WARD, Bernard. Marine (CH/X106548)

Royal Marines, HMLCF.42
Died 29 June 1944, aged 22

Bernard was born in Epsom Q2 1922, the third of the six children of Patrick Ward and Annie (née Budgen - they married Q2 1919 in East Grinstead). The 1939 Register lists the presumably widowed Annie living at 33 Ebbisham Road, Epsom with eight others: one of these is her youngest daughter; three appear to be lodgers; and four of the records are currently closed.

Bernard's WW2 service was on LCF.42 - a "Landing Craft, Flak". These were converted "Landing Crafts, Tank" (in the case of LCF.42, converted from LCT.880) to provide anti-aircraft cover for troop landings. Conversion involved welding the LCT's ramp shut, and building a deck on top of the Tank deck. Typical armaments on that new deck were eight 20 mm Oerlikon cannons and four QF 2-pounder "pom-poms". Each LCF had a crew of about 60. The operation of the craft was the responsibility of RN crew, while the guns were manned by Royal Marines such as Bernard.

A typical 'Landing Craft, Flak' (in this case LCF 24)
A typical "Landing Craft, Flak" (in this case LCF 24)
Image (FL 5979) courtesy of the Imperial War Museum

Landings of men and materiel on the Normandy beaches continued for some time after the initial D-Day landing on 6 June 1944. The Luftwaffe obviously sought to disrupt this continued strengthening of the Allied invasion force, and LCFs played an important part in helping repel its attacks. The LCFs were as much targets as the reinforcements being landed, and Bernard was one of two killed at their posts on 29 June. That attack did not put the LCF out of action: records show other losses from LCF.42 on subsequent days.

Bernard is buried in the Hermanville War Cemetery, situated about a mile inland from D-Day's Sword beach.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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WARD Georgina

Civilian
Died 01/11/1940, aged 65

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Wife of Edwin Ward, of 69 Manor Drive, Ewell, Surrey. Died at 36 Shawfield Street, Chelsea

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WARREN, Kenneth Walter. Ordinary Coder P/JX 228914

H.M.S. Victory Royal Navy
Died 25 March 1941 Age 26

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Son of Walter John and Grace Warren, of Epsom, Surrey.

Commemorated: Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Panel 53, Column 1.

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WARWICK, Benjamin. Boy 1st Class (P/JX 194732)

HMS Hood, Royal Navy.
Died 24 May 1941, aged 17.

Benjamin was born in Epsom Q2 1924, the son of Benjamin John Warwick and Hilda Kathleen (née Baxter - they had married in Epsom Q4 1921. The 1939 Register records the couple living at 3 Hook Road, Epsom. Benjamin John (born 8 August 1900) is listed as a "Chauffer" and Hilda (born 1 January 1901) with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". There are also three currently closed records at the address, presumably their children.

Benjamin (like Edward Hales) served on HMS Hood, the last battlecruiser built for the Royal Navy and commissioned in 1920. Despite the appearance of new and more modern ship designs over time, HMS Hood remained the largest and most powerful warship in the world for twenty years after her commissioning and her prestige was reflected in her nickname, "The Mighty Hood".

HMS Hood.
HMS Hood.
Copyright acknowledged.

When WW2 began, HMS Hood was operating in the area around Iceland, and she spent the next several months hunting between Iceland and the Norwegian Sea for German commerce raiders and blockade runners. After a brief overhaul of her propulsion system, she sailed as the flagship of Force H, and participated in the destruction of the French Fleet at Mers-el-Kebir. She was subsequently stationed at Scapa Flow, and operated in the area as a convoy escort and later as a defence against a potential German invasion fleet.

In May 1941, she and the battleship Prince of Wales were ordered to intercept the German battleship Bismarck and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, which were en route to the Atlantic where they were to attack convoys. On 24 May 1941, early in the Battle of the Denmark Strait, HMS Hood was struck by several German shells, exploded and sank. Due to her perceived invincibility, the loss affected British morale.

The moment of HMS Hood's destruction.
The moment of HMS Hood's destruction.
Sketch by Captain J C Leach RN (d. 1941) for the Official Inquiry into the sinking.
via Wikimeda - Public Domain.

Of the 1418 men aboard HMS Hood, only three survived. The dead - including Benjamin (and Edward Hales) - were never found and are commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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WATERMAN, Arthur George.

Civilian & member (B25420) of the Auxiliary Fire Service
Died 30 December 1940, aged 37.

The Borough's Book or Remembrance has this man's Christian names reversed: he was Arthur George Waterman.

Arthur was born Q4 1903 in Hampstead, the son of George H Waterman and Kate (née Clarke - they had married in West Ham Q3 1902.)

He is not readily found in the 1939 Register, but his parents were by then living in 5 Garden Cottages, East Street, Epsom. George is listed as a "House Painter" with Kate occupied in the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". There is one currently closed record at the address, but it seems unlikely that this would be their 38 year old son.

Alongside whatever his day job was, Arthur was in WW2 a fireman (B25420) in the Auxiliary Fire Service attached to London's Station 3 at Westminster. He - and many others - were called into action on the night of 29/30 December 1940, when London experienced one of the most destructive air raids of the September 1940 to May 1941 "Blitz".

For over three hours from 6:15 pm on 29 December 1940, over 24,000 high explosive bombs and 100,000 incendiary bombs were dropped on London. The bombs and the subsequent fires destroyed an area greater than that of the 1666 Great Fire of London and, at the time, was referred to as the "Second Great Fire of London". It was during this raid that Herbert Mason, a Daily Mail photographer, took the famous picture of St Paul's (below) from the roof of the Mail's offices in Fleet Street.

St Paul's London, 29/30 December 1940.
St Paul's London, 29/30 December 1940.
Public Domain photograph via Wikimedia.

The fire crew of which Arthur was part was deployed in fighting the fire at London's Guildhall. Fire from the bombed St Jewry had drifted to the Guildhall's roof and, by 10.10 pm, the Great Hall's roof was ablaze. Since the Thames was at low tide (understood to have been taken into account by the Luftwaffe in planning the raid), water pressure was too weak for fire-fighters to be able to hose the roof. Volunteers moved dangerously along it with buckets of water, but by 10.30 pm the building had to be abandoned. By the next morning, it had been gutted, as below.

The gutted Great Hall of London's Guildhall on 30 December 1940.
The gutted Great Hall of London's Guildhall on 30 December 1940.
Photograph © The Museum of London

At some point in fighting the Guildhall fire, Arthur was severely injured. He was taken to the Royal Free Hospital (then in nearby Gray's Inn Road) but died there on 30 December. On 6 January 1941, he was buried in Epsom Cemetery (Grave M409).

Roger Morgan © 2017

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WATERMAN, Douglas Allenby. Sergeant 921037

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 228 Squadron
Died 12 July 1943, aged 25

Douglas was born in Epsom Q2 1918, at least the fourth child of George Henry Waterman and Kate (née Clarke - they married in St Saviour's Church, Walthamstow in 1902). The 1939 Register records the couple (with George as a "House Painter" - and one currently closed record) living at the now lost 5 Garden Cottage in the Kiln Lane area of Epsom.

In Q2 1939, Douglas married Annie Rose Oakshott, and their son (another Douglas) was born Q3 1942. Both those events were registered in the in Surrey Mid-Eastern district, which includes Epsom.

Douglas served in the RAF's 228 Squadron which, during WW2, undertook anti-submarine duties in their Short Sunderland Flying boats. The Squadron's home base was RAF Pembroke Dock in SW Wales - although it began WW2 in Alexandria and, in between periods at Pembroke, was also stationed on the West coast of Scotland and in the Gambia, West Africa.

 The Short Sunderland Flying Boat
The Short Sunderland Flying Boat
Image Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

In July 1943, however, the Squadron was operating from RAF Pembroke Dock. From the date of Douglas's death and the fact that he is one of the many RAF personnel remembered on the Runnymede Memorial as having no know grave, it seems likely that he was one of those lost when, during a patrol in the Bay of Biscay, Sunderland DV977/Y was shot down by enemy Junkers Ju88 multi-role aircraft. (Of the Sunderland's 11-strong crew, only one survived - the Flight Engineer, Sergeant Davidson, who had been operating the mid-upper turret, picked up by a Royal Navy sloop after 8½ hours in the sea.)

Roger Morgan © 2017

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WATKINS, Robert Charles Leslie. Private (14399717)

1/6th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment
Died 12 May 1944, aged 19

Robert's birth in Q2 1924 was registered in Colchester, Essex. His parents were Ernest Edward Watkins and Phillis Eleanor (née Calver they married in Epsom Q3 1919.

The 1939 Register records the couple living at 10 Chase Road, Epsom. Ernest (born 14 August 1894) is listed as "Chief Charge Mental Nurse" - doubtless at one of the Epsom Cluster of mental hospitals, and Phillis (born 23 August 1896) with the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties". There are three currently closed records at the address.

Robert served with the 1/6th Battalion of the East Surrey Regiment and, with them, took part in the fierce fighting in the fourth and final Battle of Cassino which, on 17 May 1940, finally dislodged the German forces holding the strategically sited hilltop Abbey and thus enabling the Allies to continue their northward advance through Italy.

This final battle began on 11 May. Robert was killed on 12 May - instantly, according to the letter of condolence sent by his Platoon Commander, who was alongside him at the time. Two days before, on 10 May, Robert had written to his mother enclosing a likeness a likeness drawn by one of his mates in 'D' Company.

Robert's final letter, of 10 May 1944, to his mother.
Robert's final letter, of 10 May 1944, to his mother.
From the Surrey History Centre Collection (ref. ESR/25/WAT/4)

Robert's body appears to have been lost in the further few days' fierce fighting, and he is commemorated on the Cassino Memorial, Italy.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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WATSON, Peter Leslie. Midshipman

HMS Exmouth, Royal Naval Reserve.
Died 21 January 1940, aged 19.

Peter Watson
Peter Watson.
Picture courtesy of his nephew, John Morgan

Peter (known as "Pete") was born Q2 1920 in Devizes, Wiltshire, to Edward C Watson and Mildred Catherine (née Haynes - they married in Southwark, London Q3 1912). The couple also had a daughter. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission describes Pete's now-widowed mother as being "of West Ewell, Surrey". The address is understood to have been 34 Fulford Road, West Ewell, and that Mildred subsequently lived in Chesterfield Road.

In 1934, aged 14, Pete was admitted to St Edmund's College, Ware, Hertfordshire. He appears to have been a lively all-rounder. He joined the Officer Training Corps and, despite his youth, became the first solo drummer of its band. Less than two years later, before he was 16, he left the College to join HMS Worcester for naval training, after which he joined the P&O Steamship Company as a cadet. He travelled widely on the company's SS Strathmore, and made the most of the sight-seeing opportunities at the various ports of call.

In April 1939, he obtained permission to leave P&O to train as a midshipman in the Royal Navy. Having completed that training, he was assigned to HMS Exmouth, an E-class destroyer flotilla leader built for the Royal Navy in the early 1930s.

HMS Exmouth.
HMS Exmouth.
Photo courtesy of Paul Johnson Collection, via uboat.net

On 21 January 1940, HMS Exmouth was escorting the British motor merchant SS Cyprian Prince around the north of Scotland. At 0535 hours she was hit on the starboard bow by a torpedo from U-boat U-22. She sank within three minutes about 20 miles off Noss Head in the Moray Firth. All 190 on board were killed. Eighteen bodies were later washed ashore at Wick and were buried there with full military honours.

Pete was one of the 172 who were lost, and is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

Roger Morgan © 2017

A fuller description of Pete's time at St Edmund's College and as a cadet with the P&O Steamship Company is in the College magazine's obituary, a transcript of which is available by clicking here. (Adobe PDF Reader required.)

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WATT Christina Alice

Civilian
Died 27/11/1940, aged 42

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Of 64 Herne Hill, London. Daughter of Mrs. S. A. Watt, of 36 Parsons Green, Fulham, London. Injured 1 November 1940, at 64 Herne Hill; died at Horton Emergency Hospital, Epsom.

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WATTS, Alfred John. Guardsman 2720212

3rd Bn. Irish Guards
Died 4 October 1944 Age 26

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Son of William and Hannah Elizabeth Watts, of Ewell, Surrey.

Buried: Jonkerbos War Cemetery, 22. D. 3.

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WAYLAN, John Evan Francis. Sergeant (963167)

15 Sqdn. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 16 July 1942 Age 31

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Augustus Francis Waylan was baptised at All Saints, Banstead on 22 February 1891, son of George Waylan, Asylum Proprietor. By the age of 20 he had become an attendant in the London County Asylum, The Downs, Banstead, where he met Edith Francis Climpson, a housemaid, born in Harmondsworth, Mx. During 1887, a son John Evan Francis Waylan was born from their relationship and registered at Epsom for the September Quarter of 1911. Marriage of the parents was recorded in the same District, 3/1914.

J E F Waylan obtained his education at Southall County School.

The death of his mother, Edith, came to be registered in Epsom, 3/1930, as was re-marriage of his father to Mary Robson (b. 19 December 1906), 3/1931.

Before 1939 John had gained employment as a 'Share Registrant Clerk' and during that year was living at St Katherines, High Street,Hounslow, with members of the Alcock family who possibly were his relatives. In September 1939, he enlisted with the Royal Air Force at Cardington.

Stirling W7524 of 15 Squadron took off from RAF Wyton at 1840 hours on 16 July 1942 in an attempt to reach Lubeck, Germany, using cloud cover and the approaching dusk. The aircraft was shot down by ack-ack fire at 2130 hours and crashed in the tidal area of the River Sneum, 8kms south-east of Esbjerg, a major port on the west coast of Jutland.

Crew:-
RAAF 400637 PO Melville, R L Captain (Pilot)
RAF Sgt D R Barrett, (2nd Pilot))
RAF Sgt R Nicholls, (Flight Engineer)
RAF PO Arnott, K (Navigator)
RAF Sgt H J I Lockhart (1st Wireless Air Gunner)
RAF Sgt G A Donovan, (Front Gunner)
RAF Sgt J E F Waylan (Mid Upper Gunner)
RAF Sgt L C Masfen (Rear Gunner)
Further details including images may be found at aircrewremembered.com

Six of the crew were killed in the crash but Sergeants Donovan and Masfen were made Prisoners of War, Those wh had been killed were buried in the Esbjerg (Fourfelt) Cemetery, Denmark. John lies in Grave AIII. 10. 5.

He is commemorated on a WW2 Plaque in the Assembly Hall of Villiers High, formerly Southall County, School.

CWGC record him as the son of Augustus Francis and Edith Frances Waylan, of West Ewell, Surrey. His parents had resided at 20 Oakdale Road, Ewell, convenient for Augustus' employment at Long Grove Hospital, from 1918.

Brian Bouchard © 2018

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WEBB, Arthur Frederick Oliver. Motor Mechanic (P/MX86712)

H.M.S. Pembroke III. Royal Navy
Died 16 October 1941 Age 23

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

On 7 August 1916 at St Anne, Wandsworth, Frederick Edward Webb (baptised 12 April 1891), an Engineer, married Nellie Oliver. Their son Arthur Frederick Oliver Webb, born 7 April 1918 at Woolston, Hants., came to be registered in South Stoneham, 6/1918.

During 1934, the family were resident at 22 High Street, Wandsworth but had opened a shop at 9 Ruxley Parade, Ewell. This became The Estate Supplies Co., Hardware Dealers, 423 Kingston Road, Ewell. In 1939 the name of Arthur Frederick Webb appears there in Surrey Electoral Rolls with those of his parents.

The marriage of Arthur F O Webb to Margaret W Hall was recorded in Surrey Mid E, 6/1940.

Arthur joined the Royal Navy as a rating and entered service at HMS Pembroke, the Naval Barracks at Chatham, Kent next to Chatham Dockyard. On 16 October 1941 he was accidentally drowned at Gravesend , Kent, death reg. Chatham 12/1941.

He was brought home for interment in St Mary, Ewell, Churchyard Extension, Sec. E. Grave 34, described by CWGC as the son of Frederick Edward and Nellie Webb; husband of Margaret Winifred Mary Webb, of Ewell.

Margaret W M Webb married secondly George Echlin, registered Surrey Mid E, 6/1947.

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WEEKS, Roy Keeble. Sub-Lieutenant

H.M.S. Heron Royal Naval Reserve
Died 2 August 1943 Age 21

Roy's headstone in Yeovilton Churchyard RNAS Extension
Roy's headstone in Yeovilton Churchyard RNAS Extension
Photograph (168152106) by Janice Dennis via findagrave.com

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

The marriage of Arthur J Weeks to Muriel O M Keeble was registered in Colchester for the June Quarter of 1921. Birth of their son Roy K Weeks came to be recorded at Wandsworth, 9/1922.

In 1939, the family were resident in Mitcham but during WW2 they arrived locally to live at 8 Hambledon Hill, Woodcote Green, Epsom. Arthur James Weeks had become a Taxation Accountant.

Roy was commissioned as an Acting Sub-lieutenant in the Royal Navy with effect from 22 June 1942. He seems to have been deployed to RNAS Yeovilton (HMS Heron)

On 2 August 1943 he became involved in an aircraft accident which led to his death being registered at Wincanton, 9/1943. A report on the incident is held in the National Archives under reference ADM 358/1703.

He was interred at Yeovilton Churchyard R.N.A.S. Extension, Row B. in Grave 4, described by CWGC as the son of Arthur James Weeks and Muriel Olive May Weeks, of Epsom, Surrey. His headstone carries the inscription 'INTO THY HANDS'.

Brian Bouchard © 2018

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WELLS Alice Ellen

Civilian
Died 23/05/1941, aged 45

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Of 32 Beadnell Road, Honor Oak Park, London. Daughter of Alice Ellen Hemple (formerly Harvey), of 23 Kemble Road, Honor Oak Park, and of the late Herbert Owen Harvey; wife of William Frederick Wells. Injured 10 May 1941, at 32 Beadnell Road; died at Horton Emergency Hospital, Epsom

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WEST, Alfred Malet. Captain (122548)

Royal Army Service Corps
Died 5 February 1941, aged 45

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

Alfred was born Q1 1896 in Dewsbury, Yorkshire, the son of Mr and Mrs Lionel Frederick West.

In Q4 1939, he married Betty Laura Hughes. The marriage was registered in Surrey Mid Eastern. It seems certain that this was in Epsom: the 1939 Register - taken just before their wedding - recorded Betty (born 11 November 1909) living at 81 College Road, Epsom with her parents (Stanley, a "Carpet Merchant Agent" and Edith "Unpaid Domestic Duties"). A subsequent annotation of the original Register notes her new surname "West" and that, having also been "Unpaid Domestic Duties" was "now ARP ambulance driver".

There is no information readily to hand about Alfred's WW2 service in the Royal Army Service Corps.

He died on 5 February 1941 and is buried in Epsom Cemetery (Grave N262) where his headstone indicates that he had served as a Captain in the Royal Flying Corps, 1917-1918 - and the records note that he died at Drumgay, Cranley Road, Guildford.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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WESTCOTT Alice Mary

Civilian
Died 04/10/1940, aged 77

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Of 45 Bedford Road, Clapham, London. Widow of H. Westcott. Died at Horton Emergency Hospital, Epsom. Buried Epsom Cemetery, Grave M364.

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WESTON, Arthur. Serjeant (6144232)

East Surrey Regiment 1/6th Battalion
Died 6 May 1943, aged 24

Arthur was the eighth of ten children born to William John Weston (a bricklayer) and Ethel Maud (née Easton). William originated from Norfolk, but Ethel was the daughter of Charles John Easton, the publican at the Jolly Coopers in Stamford Green Road (and thus a sister of Charles Easton). The couple were married at Christ Church Epsom Common on 4 April 1904. The readily available records show that their first seven children were baptised at Christ Church, and that is likely to be the case for the final three: Arthur, Alice and Albert.

Date of birthChild's nameResidence
14/01/1905Rose AdaEpsom Common
28/02/1906Ethel MaudEpsom Common
22/09/1907William JohnGriffiths Cottage, Epsom Common
(No 2 at the time of the 1911 Census)
22/08/1909Charles HenryEpsom Common
06/08/1911EvaEpsom Common
Q3 1913George Percy107 Churchside, Epsom
Q3 1915Henry Edward10 Stamford [Green] Rd, Epsom
Q3 1918Arthur(none recorded, but probably 10 Stamford Green Rd)
Q2 1920Alice(none recorded, but probably 10 Stamford Green Rd)
Q1 1925Albert(none recorded, but probably 10 Stamford Green Rd)

Nine months or so after the birth of her tenth child and aged 45, mother Ethel Maud died (at "Middle House, Dorking Rd, Epsom" - the former Workhouse Hospital that became Epsom General Hospital). She was buried in Epsom Cemetery on 10 December 1925.

The 1939 Register records the widowed 52 year old father William John - still a "Bricklayer" - living at 10 Stamford Green Road (the address recorded at the time of Henry Edward's 1915 baptism), together with sons:
William John ("Invalid");
George Percy ("Builder's Labourer") who, a couple of years after Arthur, was also killed on military service - see separate entry ;
Henry Edward (another "Bricklayer");
plus two currently closed records - possibly including the 20/21 year old Arthur.

Arthur's WW2 service was in the 1/6th Battalion of the East Surrey Regiment, a Territorial Army unit. It is not clear from the readily available records if he was involved in the April 1940 deployment to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), its subsequent action in the Battle of Belgium, and the evacuation of its survivors from Dunkirk in June 1940.

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

The Germans responded immediately by sending a force from Sicily to northern Tunisia, which checked the Allied advance east in early December. In the south, the Axis forces that had been defeated at El Alamein withdrew into Tunisia along the coast through Libya, pursued by the Allied Eighth Army. By mid April 1943, the combined Axis force was hemmed into a small corner of north-eastern Tunisia and the Allies were grouped for their final offensive. That assault against Tunis began on 22 April. It involved much fierce fighting during which Frank was killed on 6 May - the day before Allied forces entered Tunis itself, after which the Axis forces finally surrendered.

All these actions were alongside the East Surrey's 1st Battalion, so it may be that Arthur knew fellow Christ Church parishioner Frank Stone who was killed 10 days earlier, in the preliminary fighting to take Medjez-El-Bab.

Arthur is buried in the Massicault War Cemetery, situated about 20 miles south-west of Tunis. It contains 1,576 Commonwealth WW2 burials, most of whom died in the preparation for the final drive to Tunis in April 1943 and in that advance at the beginning of May.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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WESTON, George Percy. Corporal (5731203)

King's Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster) 1st Battalion
Died 29 March 1945, aged 31.

George was born in Epsom Q3 1913, the sixth of ten children born to William John Weston (a bricklayer) and Ethel Maud (née Easton), and older brother of Arthur Weston who died on war service in North Africa - the separate article on whom has fuller details of the family background.

The 1st Battalion King's Own moved around a lot during WW2. On the outbreak of war, it was stationed in Malta but, at the end of 1939, was moved to Karachi in British India (now Pakistan) where it served with the 17th Indian Infantry Brigade. It subsequently served in Iraq and Syria with 25th Indian Infantry Brigade, then in Cyprus - and then back to Syria. In late 1943, the Battalion joined 234th Infantry Brigade in the Aegean Islands where, on 16 November, after the Battle of Leros, the bulk of the Battalion was captured by the Germans with only 57 officers and men managing to escape the island. The readily available records do not indicate in how much George was involved in all that.

In any event, the 1st Battalion was reformed (in the 25th Indian Infantry Brigade) on 30 January 1944, by amalgamating with the 8th Battalion King's Own. It then joined the Allied forces in the Italian campaign which, after the initial landings on Sicily in mid-1943 (and, post Armistice, the Italian forces re-entering the war on the Allied side) was making steady progress northwards up the Italian mainland.

Following the fall of Rome to the Allies in June 1944, the German retreat became ordered and successive stands were made on a series of defensive lines. In the northern Apennine mountains the last of these, the Gothic Line, was breached by the Allies during the Autumn campaign and the front inched forward as far as Ravenna in the Adriatic sector. However, as some Allied forces were transferred to support the new offensive in France, and the Germans dug in to a number of key defensive positions, the advance stalled as winter set in.

During those winter months, Bologna lay tantalizingly just out of reach of the Allied armies, and the town became their first major objective in the spring of 1945. That Spring Offensive formally began on 6 April but there was, of course, sporadic action fighting before that - during which, on 29 March, George was killed. (Bologna was finally taken on 21 April.)

George is one of the 184 Commonwealth WW2 burials in Bologna War Cemetery.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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WHALE, Ronald Cecil. Sergeant/Wireless Operator (1212110)

97 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
Died 6 January 1944, aged 24

Ronald Cecil Whale was born in 1920 in Epsom (GRO reference: Sep 1920 Dolley Epsom 2a 66) the son of Tom Cecil and Emily Whale (nee Dolley).

Aged 19 in 1902, his father enlisted into the Northamptonshire Regiment, served in India where he suffered from enteric fever and having served his time with the colours was transferred to the Army reserve on 17 March 1912.

The 1911 census records Ronald's father as a 29 year old soldier living at 43 East Street, Epsom. Ronald's widowed grandmother, 54 year old Eliza Whale was the head of the household.

Ronald's parents married on 14 June of 1913 in St. Martins Church, Epsom. They were living at 43 East Street and his father worked as an upholsterer. However, being on the Army reserve he was recalled on 5 August 1914 on the outbreak of the Great War. He went to France on 30 August with the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and was thus an 'Old Contemptible'. On 23 October he suffered a gun shot wound to his right arm, which was fractured, and returned to the UK on 28 October. When fit again he returned to France on 14 April 1915 and was discharged on 3 September 1915 having completed a total of 13 years with the colours and reserve. However, on 31 August 1916 he joined again, attesting at Kingston into the Northamptonshire Regiment. He served with his battalion until 10 July 1917 when he was taken prisoner and sent to Dulmen prisoner of war camp in Westphalia, Germany. Tom was awarded the 1914 Star, British War medal and the Victory medal.

Ronald's sister May Emily Eliza was born on 13 May 1914 in Epsom. She later married George Armstrong in the June quarter of 1947 in the Surrey Mid Eastern registration district.

From 1919 until 1937 the family lived at 51 Lower Court Road, Epsom and from 1938 to 1945, lived at 9 Chase End, Epsom.

Ronald joined the RAF with a Service Number, which suggests that he was inducted at Cardington after April 1940. He served during 1943 with 9 Squadron on a Lancaster ED 656, WS-V. 1212110 Sgt. R.C. Whale, Wireless Operator, then joined 97 Squadron from 9 Squadron on 4 December 1943. Subsequently he was involved in the following operations: -
1/2 January 1944 - Berlin LM346O F/O J. Anstee, Sgt C.W. Cartwright, P/O L. Hazell, F/O A. Stanislaus, Sgt R.C.Whale, P/O W. G. Craddock, Sgt A. West. Took off 0039, landed 0734. Bombs: 1 x 4000lb, 4 x 1000lb. Primary target bombed from 19,000 feet. Visibility moderate-good. Target identified by red/green Wanganui flares. Bombing circuit caught fire after which bombs were released by jettison gear.

2/3 January 1944 - Berlin
JB720S F/O J. Anstee, Sgt C.W. Cartwright, P/O G. Hazell, F/O A. Stanislaus, Sgt R. C.Whale, P/O W. G. Craddock, Sgt N. W. Hamment. Took off 0003, landed 0303. Bombs: 1 x 4000lb, 5 x 1000lb. Texel airfield bombed (last resort) from 13,000 feet on return. Primary target not reached due to icing and inability to gain height. Visibility moderate.

5/6 January 1944 - Stettin
JB720S Lancaster III. F/O J. Anstee, Sgt C. W. Cartwright, P/O J. Hazell, F/O A. Stanislaus, Sgt R. C. Whale, P/O W. G. Craddock, Sgt P. G. Kerr. Took off 2346, did not return, missing.
Berlin War Cemetery holds the graves of 3,198 British servicemen, including Ronald who is buried in plot 7. Z 5. The CWGC states that he was the Son of Tom Cecil and Emily Whale, of Springburn, Glasgow.

Ronald 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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WHEELER, Claude George. Corporal (1292669)

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
Died 21 December 1942, aged 30.

Claude George Wheeler
Claude George Wheeler
Image courtesy of Tino Casavecchia

Claude was born in Epsom on 13 September 1912 (reg.10/1912). His mother appears to have been Emily Alice Wheeler whose own birth, 18 November 1892, had been registered in Epsom for the December Quarter of 1892. Her marriage to George W Matthews came to be recorded in the same District, 12/1918.

On 22 September 1922, Claude George Wheeler, aged 9, of Protestant religion, arrived in Quebec on a migrant ship SS Minnedosa, sponsored by Dr Barnados Homes* for farm work. He was destined for Barnardo's Canadian headquarters at 538 Jarvis Street,Toronto. The building, a large old mansion, bought for $90,000, was managed by John W Hobday and his wife, Rose. Having declared his next of kin as Mrs Matthews, 36 Bramble Walk, Epsom, Claude signed a certificate in a firm clear hand 'George Wheeler' and was admiited to Canada as a 'bona fide farmer'.

[* You can read more about Epsom Barnardo's and the Canadian connection in part 2 of Epsom's 'Orphans']

He returned to London, via Plymouth, on SS Ascania, landing on 24 November 1930. His destination was given to be 36 Brambull (sic) Walk, Epsom Common.

In Q1 1935, he married Alice Mary (née Taylor, born 9 June 1912). The marriage in Epsom was registered in Surrey Mid Eastern. It seems likely that they had at least two children: Dorothy born Q2 1935; and Barbara, born Q3 1936.

In 1937 & 1938 the family lived in 97 Heatherside Road, Epsom.

The 1939 Register records the couple living at 6 Adelphi Road, Epsom. Claude is listed as a 'Jobbing Gardener' and ARP volunteer, with Alice as the conventional 'Unpaid Domestic Duties'. There are three currently closed records at the address - perhaps three children.

By 1939, Claude's stepfather, George William Matthews, and Mrs Emily Alice Matthews had moved to Leatherhead. They died repectively on 31 December 1957 and 20 August 1978 to be interred in the parish churchyard of St Mary & St Nicholas, Leatherhead.

During May 1940, Claude enlisted with the Royal Air Force probably at Uxbridge.

There are no readily available records about Claude's WW2 service in the RAF. As he is buried in the Alexandria (Hadra) War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt, Grave 4 H3, he obviously died in the area. His headstone was inscribed 'AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN AND IN THE MORNING WE WILL REMEMBER THEM'.

Burial Ceremony, Alexandria (Hadra) War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt
Burial Ceremony, Alexandria (Hadra) War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt
Image courtesy of Tino Casavecchia

CWGC record Claude as the husband of Alice Mary Wheeler, of Epsom, Surrey. The widowed Mrs Alice M Wheeler seems to have married secondly Sidney E Saunders, reg. Surrey Mid E, 6/1958.

Roger Morgan © 2017
with additional material provided by Brian Bouchard

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WHICHELO, Edna.

Civilian
Died 8 July 1944, aged 35

Edna was born on 25 February 1909, noted by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as being the daughter of the late J Lambie and the wife of Tedwyn Stanley Whichelo.

The 1939 Register finds the couple living at 135 Amis Avenue, Ewell, with two currently closed records which may be their children. Tedwyn (born 31 October 1904) is listed as a "Records Clerk - Aircraft" with Edna as the conventional "Unpaid Domestic Duties".

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Edna was living at 42 Amis Avenue, West Ewell when she died there as a result of "enemy action" on 8 July 1944.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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WHITE, Albert Kenneth. Petty Officer (P/JX 141325)

HMS Diamond, Royal Navy
Died 27 April 1941, aged N/K

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission database does not contain its usual brief details of Albert's family background - indeed, not even give his age when he died in 1941.

It does, however, record that his WW2 service was on HMS Diamond, a D-class destroyer launched in 1932 as the 14th Navy ship to carry the name since the first in 1652. Having served in the Far East, she was undergoing a refit in Singapore when WW2 was declared. She was recalled to home waters and, from April 1940 was deployed in the Mediterranean, principally on convoy escort duties.

HMS Diamond anchored at Hong Kong before WW2.
HMS Diamond anchored at Hong Kong before WW2.
Copyright acknowledged.

In late April 1941, HMS Diamond was part of a large fleet sent to help evacuate allied troops from Greece after the German invasion. On 26 April 1941, She rescued more than 600 troops after their transports were attacked. At sea the following day, she and another destroyer, HMS Wryneck (on which Paul Hyde was serving), were rescuing the survivors of the sinking of a Dutch troop ship, the Slamat, when they were attacked by German Ju 87 Stuka dive bombers.

Both ships were sunk, with the combined loss of about 250 officers and crew, as well as 700 troops: only 23 survivors were rescued. Albert and Paul Hyde were among those lost, and they commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

Roger Morgan © 2018

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WHITE, Hugh Edgar. Pilot Officer (40787)

105 Sqdn. Royal Air Force
Died 14 May 1940 Age 26

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

As remarked in relation to Hugh Huntley Robinson in Other WWI Casualties, his daughter , Hilda Mary, married William Edgar White in 1912. Birth of their son Hugh E White came to be registered in Lambeth, 6/1914.

Hugh obtained a short service commission as an Acting Pilot Officer on probation with the Royal Air Force from 4 June 1938, to be confirmed in his appointment on 4 April 1939.

He is thought to have been the Pilot Officer H E White, with Sergeant R W Spillar, who were injured in an aircraft accident over the English Channel involving Battle Mk. I, L5229, of 98 Squadron which ditched in the sea on 13 February 1940. [National Archives AIR 81/1827]. The pilot was reported to have been experienced with 128 hours on type. For the first nine months or so of the Second World War No. 98 served as a reserve squadron and during the period April/June 1940, was based in France.

Hugh appears, however, to have been transferred to 105 Squadron and flew on Operation Sedan taking off on 14 May 1940 from Villeneuve-les-Vertus at 15.40 hrs. The aircraft was crewed by: -
WHITE, HUGH EDGAR 40787 Pilot Officer (Pilot)
CARTWRIGHT, GEOFFREY ANDREW 580604 Sergeant (Obs.)
POTTER, JAMES 610963 Aircraftman 1st Class (W. Op. Air).
The deaths of Pilot Officer H E White, Sergeant G A Cartwright and Aircraftman 1st Class J Potter were reported having been aboard Battle L5523, GB-?, which crashed near Bulson in the township of Raucourt-et-Flaba part of the district of Sedan, France, 14 May 1940 [AIR 81/342]. In other records there has been confusion between this aircraft and L5230 piloted by Flight Lieutenant H C Sammels.

Difficulty over identification is explained by a 1941 French report from La Neuville à Maire : -
'trois corps carbonisés ont été retrouvés au auprès d'un avion, présumé anglais, portant sur le fuselage l'indication : L.5523/U. Les trois aviateurs ont été inhumés au cimetière communal.'

English Translation:
'three charred bodies were found at a plane, presumed English, bearing on the fuselage the indication: L.5523/U. The three airmen were buried in the communal cemetery.'
Choloy War Cemetery was created by the Army Graves Service for the re-burial of casualties recovered from isolated sites, communal cemeteries, and small churchyards in north-eastern France.

Hugh's remains were recovered from Bulson French Military Cemetery to be interred in Collective grave 1A. A. 7-9 on 25 June 1950.

CWGC record him as the son of William Edgar White, and of Hilda Mary White, of Epsom, Surrey. - the family lived in Pound Lane.

Brian Bouchard © 2018

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WHITE, Philip Alfred. Corporal (6106113}

2/7th Battalion, The Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey).
Died 28 October 1943, aged 37.

Philip was born in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, on 30 June 1906, the son of George Anderson and Alice Lands White.

Also in Kingston Q3 1933, he married Mabel Lydia Thomas (born 27 November 1905). The 1939 Register records the couple living alone at 132 Stoneleigh Park Road, Ewell. Philip is listed as "Wholesale Silk Traveller" and Mabel as "Hosiery Saleswoman". Before joining the Army, Philip served as an Air Raid Warden.

Philip is buried in the Minturno War Cemetery, Italy.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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WHITE, William John. Telegraphist (C/JX 149044) DSM and Bar

Royal Navy HM Submarine Triumph
Died 20 January 1942, aged 21.

William John White
William John White
Image courtesy of www.hmstriumph1942.com/crew.htm

William, with his twin Robert, was born Q3 1921 to Harry White and Alice Maud Evelyn (née Bristow). He had an older sister, Kate born Q4 1919, and a younger brother and sister - another set of twins, born Q3 1924. All these births were in Epsom - as father Harry's had been Q1 1882, followed by his baptism at Christ Church. The mother's post-war address was noted as 8 Woodlands Road, Epsom.

William (normally known as "Billy") was almost certainly in the Royal Navy before WW2 as it is reported that he served on the light cruiser HMS Ajax during the mid-December 1939 Battle of the River Plate off South America. Before joining the HM Submarine Triumph, he also served in HMS Pembroke (a shore base at Chatham) and the battleship HMS Ramilles.

By early 1941, he was serving as Senior ASDIC operator in HM Submarine Triumph, stationed in the Mediterranean. While in Valletta in mid-1941, he helped extinguish a fire on MS Talabot that had arrived from Alexandria with supplies in convoy MW.7A. For his bravery and resourcefulness on this occasion, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.

HM Submarine Triumph
HM Submarine Triumph
Image courtesy of www.hmstriumph1942.com/crew.htm

In addition to success in attacking enemy merchant and naval shipping, HMS Triumph was also used for covert operations, such as landing agents in enemy occupied areas. In November 1941, HMS Triumph received orders to return home, and was on the point of doing so when she was sent on one final patrol, to pick up a party of agents in Greece. She sailed from Alexandria on 26 December 1941, but was lost somewhere in the Aegean Sea. As Axis forces claimed no credit for the loss, this was probably the result of colliding with a mine. All fifty-nine crew, including Billy, were lost.

As he has no known grave, he is one of the 10,098 WW2 sailors remembered on the Chatham Naval Memorial.

On 5 May 1942, Billy was awarded a posthumous Bar to his Distinguished Service Medal "For daring, enterprise and devotion to duty in successful patrols in HM Submarines".

Roger Morgan © 2017

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WHITLOW, John William Bradbury

Civilian.
Died 11 October 1940, aged 49.

John was born in February 1891 in Witton-cum-Twambrooks, Cheshire, the son of John William and Susan Elizabeth Whitlow.

On 12 September 1918, he married Eva Mary Pemberton in Northwich, Cheshire. There is a record of the couple having a child, Susan, born Q4 1935 also in Northwich.

The couple are not readily found in the 1939 Register but, by 1940, they were living at 99 Sunny Bank, Woodcote Green, Epsom. And that is where John died as a result of enemy action on 11 October, in the same raid that also killed Maude Parsons who lived next door.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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WHITTY, George Oliver Samuel. Squadron Leader/Pilot (108172) DFC

620 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
Died 20 March 1945, aged 23

George was the son of George and Edith Olive Whitty and grew up in Worcester. He attended Worcester Royal Grammar School from 1932 to 1937 and then worked for Worcester City Council in the city engineer and surveyor's department.

He was a member of the Territorial Army and, when war broke out, he served with the Worcestershire Regiment until 1940 when he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Leicestershire Regiment. He transferred to the RAF in 1941

In Surrey Mid Eastern Q4 1942 he married Kathleen Margaret Oliver - who the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records describe as of West Ewell, Surrey.

By 1944, George was flying Stirling aircraft. As heavy bombers, these had been replaced by the Avro Lancaster but were used for towing gliders and for dropping and supplying paratroops. George won his Distinguished Flying Cross on the night of 5 June 1944 for his work in dropping paratroops in the earliest stage of the invasion of France. His citation for the award states:
"In the execution of this difficult task, this officer displayed great skill and accuracy and his effort contributed materially to the success of the later airborne landings. Flight Lieutenant Whitty has completed many sorties and has invariably displayed courage and devotion to duty of a high order."
The Short Stirling.
The Short Stirling.
Photograph © The Stirling Aircraft Society

Subsequently promoted to Squadron Leader, he was on 20 March 1945 flying his Stirling LK116 from RAF Great Dunmow a supply dropping exercise at Great Sampford airfield. The aircraft was attacked by a Luftwaffe intruder, caught fire and crashed beside the River Chelmer near Ford Farm in Dunmow. While the flight engineer was able to parachute to safety, George and the other five on board were killed.

George is buried in the Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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WILBY, Edward John. Pilot Officer/Navigator (195683)

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 107 Squadron
Died 10 April 1945, aged 22.

Edward was born in Lewes on 2 November 1922, the first child of John Reginald Wilby and Emily Ellen (née Marchant - they married in Lewes Q4 1919). His sister Grace was born in Dorking Q4 1923. The 1939 Register records the parents (with John as a "Gardener"), Edward (an "Apprentice Joiner Carpenter") and one currently closed record living at 16 West Hill, Epsom. A year after Edward's death, administration of his estate was granted to his father, who the Probate records note as then living at 20 West Hill, Epsom.

Edward's WW2 service was with 107 Squadron, operating light bombers. Apart from a brief spell in Malta from August 1941 to January 1942, the Squadron operated from the UK. In February 1944, the Squadron was re-equipped with the de Havilland Mosquito FB.VI - a variant of the so-called "wooden wonder", being of mainly timber and plywood construction. From its bases at RAF Lasham and then RAF Hartford Bridge (now Blackbushe airport), both in NE Hampshire, it began to fly night intruder missions over Germany and occupied Europe. As Allied forces continued their eastward progress after the mid-1944 Normandy landings, the Squadron was moved to Cambrai (about 30 miles south of Lille) in November 1944.

The de Havilland Mosquito
The de Havilland Mosquito
Public domain photograph

On 10 April 1945, Edward (on his 30th mission) was the navigator on Mosquito FB Mk VI RS550 which, with 23 year old William Herbert Mitton (195730) as the pilot, took off from Cambrai on a night reconnaissance mission to Soltau (between Hamburg and Hanover). However, about two-thirds of the way there (near Osnabruck), the aircraft was brought down killing both men.

Edward and William are buried side by side in the Rheinberg War Cemetery, about 50 miles north of Cologne. This was established in April 1946 for the assembly of Commonwealth graves recovered from numerous German cemeteries in the area.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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WILDEY, Richard Kemp (Dick). (Distinguished Flying Cross) Wing Commander (37437)

10 Sqdn. Royal Air Force
Died 15 October 1942 Age 25

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

The marriage of Harold Woodford Wildey to Lotty Elizabeth Kemp was registered at North Witchford, Cambridgeshire, for the March Quarter of 1910. Birth of their son, Richard K Wildey came to be recorded in Wandsworth, 12/1916.

Richard ('Dick') Wildey attended Emanuel School, Battersea, between 1926 and 1935. On leaving to join the Royal Air Force, he obtained a Short Service Commission as Acting Pilot Officer with effect from 21 October 1935. He was promoted Flying Officer on 26 March 1938, Flight Lieutenant 26 March 1940, T/Squadron Leader 1 June 1941 and T/Group Captain, 1 June 1942. 'Dick' served in Bomber Command, flying operations first with 78 then 10 Squadron, his Distinguished Flying Cross had been awarded on 22 November 1940.

A union with Eileen M Hoare had been registered in Surrey Mid E, 12/1940. Richards's bride was the twin sister of Douglas 'Sammy' Hoare (a fellow pupil at Emmanuel who also entered the RAF - F/O with 74 Squadron, later Group Captain, who became a PoW from 25 June 1940 to September 1944) , daughter of William H and Edith A [nee Harris] Hoare.

Richard and Eileen Wildey
Richard and Eileen Wildey
Image courtesy of the Wildey family
via the Emanuel School at War website

Richard became the Commanding Officer of 10 Squadron after Wg. Cdr. Don Bennett vacated the position in order to form the Pathfinders unit on 14 August 1942. On his his third mission with the Squadron, R K Wildey was killed in action whilst flying a Halifax Mk ll, W1058, ZA-S, on a raid involving 8 crews from 10 Squadron to Cologne during the night of 15/16 October 1942.

W1058 appears to have become badly damaged over Germany and Wildey instructed the crew abandon the aircraft. The second pilot F/O James Wilfred Murphy was one of five who survived to become PoWs but 'Dick', the captain, and two others were killed in the crash. They were buried initially in Duisdorf Cemetery.

On 12 April 1947, Richard was re-interred at Rheinberg War Cemetery, 50 miles north of Cologne, with his deceased comrades, A Brindley and J W Du Broy (RCAF), in Collective grave 5. D. 16-17: his headstone is inscribed
'IN LOVING MEMORY. THE WOUND IS DEEP IT WILL NOT HEAL; FORGET YOU, DICK, I NEVER WILL'.
For Probate his address was stated to have been 93 St James Drive, Wandsworth Common.

CWGC record him as the son of Harold W. Wildey and Lottie Wildey; husband of Eileen Marjorie Wildey, of Ewell, Surrey. Birth of a son, Peter R Wildey, had been registered in Surrey Mid E. 6/1943. By 1945 Eileen is known to have been resident with her parents at 136 Stoneleigh Park Road, Ewell; Douglas S Hoare was back with them before 1949.

The widowed Eileen M Wildey married secondly Eric G M Pople, reg. Westminster, 3/1960.

Brian Bouchard © 2018

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Williams, Herbert Charles, Warrant Officer 17003

Royal Air Force
Died 21 April 1945, aged 63

The marriage of Thomas Williams to Priscilla Dawkins was registered at Lambeth for the December Quarter of 1873. Arrival of their son Herbert Charles, born Kennington 8 July 1881, may be found recorded in the same district, 9/1881.

On 9 August 1912, Herbert married Hilda Mary Brown in Chigwell. Essex, Their son Charles Edward Williams, born 23 August 1913, came to be baptised at Chigwell on 5 October 1913.

Aged 34, Herbert Charles Williams, in civilian life a Driver Salesman (Lorry), enlisted to serve with the Royal Flying Corps as a Motor Driver for the duration of WW1. He became a member of 40 Squadron RFC on 1 August 1916 to serve with it on the Western Front until the Armistice, and rising through the ranks:-
1 September 1916 Corporal
1 January 1918 Acting Sergeant
1 February 1918 Sergeant
He transferred on formation of the Royal Air Force, 1 April 1918, as a Sergeant Mechanic but was re-classified Sergeant on 1 January 1919. 40 Squadron disbanded and Herbert joined G Reserve, RAF [Airman released from service after WW1, liable for recall whilst on the reserve. Class disbanded and all airman in the class discharged from 30 April 1920. As an ex-regular airman, however, Herbert eventually found himself in E Reserve.]

The Williams family then turn up in Epsom, living at 57 Albert Road from no later than 1919.

Herbert re-mustered as an A/C 2 on 19 January 1939 - E Reserve, 12 PTC, at Old Sarum airfield. By 27 August 1939 he was on the complement of 9 Armament Training School at Porthcawl - RAF Newton Down otherwise known as Stormy Down - with the rank of Sergeant. Promotion to Temporary Flight Sergeant followed a posting to No 7 Air Gunnery School on 9 April 1942. He served in 57 Operational Training Unit, RAF Hawarden, from 23 November 1942 and with 58 OTU at RAF Grangemouth, 2 February 1943, latterly as Warrant Officer, Acting/Unpaid. Detached with 2 Tactical Exercise Unit to RAF Aston Down, 6 June 1944, he became a Temporary WO. A move to 3 TEU, RAF Chedworth followed from 28 July 1944.

55 Maintenance Repair Unit (MRU) had been formed at RAF Hornchurch to help clear bomb sites and repair V1 damaged properties. RAF Hornchurch personnel were also regularly deployed to aid in rescue and relief operations. Herbert joined 55 MRU on 5 December 1944: the unit had a depot at Kew [National Archives AIR 29/285] where it appears WO Williams was serving when admitted to the Royal Hospital, Richmond. He died there on 21 April 1945 (reg. Surrey N E 6/1945), presumably from natural causes, before being brought to Epsom Cemetery for interment in Plot M131 on the 27th of that month.

Herbert's headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Herbert's headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Image courtesy of Brian Bouchard ©2014

Administration of his Estate, net effects £350:1:9, was granted to the widowed Mrs Hilda Mary Williams. The death of Hilda M Williams, aged 73, was registered Surrey Mid E, 12/1961.

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WILLIAMS, Philip Edwin. Rifleman (6089737)

Royal Ulster Rifles 2nd Battalion, The London Irish Rifles
Died 20 January 1943, aged 28.

The readily available records provide disappointingly little information about Philip's background. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records note that he was the son of Montague and Florence Williams, of Epsom, Surrey and the husband of Ellen Elizabeth Williams, also "of Epsom". More is available about Ellen: the 1939 Register recorded her (the manageress of a wallpaper shop) and living with her parents (William and Ada Ratcliffe) at 96 Lower Court Road, Epsom. Ellen and Philip married Q1 1941 - probably in Epsom, as this was in the Surrey Mid Eastern Registration District.

Nor are the records clear about the early days of Philip's service with the 2nd Battalion of The London Irish Rifles. However, it is certain that he was involved in the extensive preparations for "Operation Torch" in late 1942 - the first Anglo-American operation of the War. These Allied landings in Morocco and Algeria on 8 November 1942 aimed to move along the North African coast as a pincer movement against German forces which, thanks to Allied success at El Alamein, were held in the east. Philip's Battalion landed at Algiers, the easternmost of the three landings. (Unlike the landings at Oran in Algeria and on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, the Vichy French forces in Algiers were quickly overcome.)

The Germans responded immediately by sending a force from Sicily to northern Tunisia, which checked the Allied advance east in early December. In the south, the Axis forces that had been defeated at El Alamein withdrew into Tunisia along the coast through Libya, pursued by the Allied Eighth Army. As enemy forces were increasingly hemmed into north-eastern Tunisia, the fighting became ever more intense.

By mid-January, the London Irish were advancing in extended line southeast across the Medjez el-Bab to Bou Arada road, the Irish Brigade's main supply line. The principal aim was to capture "Hill 286" (so called because of its height in metres) which was being used by the Germans to shell traffic.

At 0330 hours on 20 January 1943, The London Irish began their attach in the intermediate objective of Hill 279, and that was quickly taken. Just before dawn, they advanced under fire up Hill 286 which was briefly held. Because of the rocky ground, it was impossible to dig in any adequate defensive positions and, during the day, The London Irish were subject to incessant artillery and mortar bombardment. That evening the German launched a counterattack, supported by tanks and armoured cars, which drove The London Irish off the Hill. At some point during the day, Philip was killed in the fierce fighting.

The following day, 21 January, The London Irish attacked the Hill again. The first wave was repulsed but, in spite of machine gun fire and Stuka bombers, the second wave was successful and, by nightfall, Hill 286 had been firmly secured. Over the two days, The London Irish lost 57 men (including Philip) killed - and another 200 through wounds or capture.

Their hard-won success paved the way for the Allies' further advances which ultimately led to the surrender of the Axis forces in Tunis in early May.

Philip is one of the 2,903 Commonwealth WW2 servicemen buried in Medjez-El-Bab War Cemetery, about 35 miles west of Tunis - where there is also a memorial bearing the names of almost 2,000 WW2 servicemen who died in operations in the area and who have no known graves.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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WILLIAMS, John Francis. Flight Lieutenant/Observer (106173) Mentioned in Despatches

107 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 6 April 1944, aged 26

John F Williams as Pilot Officer.
John F Williams as Pilot Officer (before his promotion to Flight Lieutenant).
Image and most details below courtesy of Bourne End Auction Rooms
from the catalogue for their sale of John's Rolex watch on 2 December 2015

John Francis Williams, known as "Jack" by his family and friends, was born in Clapham on 7 July 1917, the only son of John and Bertha Williams. His father held a senior position in an Engineering firm and his mother was a school-teacher.

After leaving Battersea Grammar School, Jack was employed by the Milk Marketing Board. Just before the outbreak of war in 1939, he moved jobs to his father's Engineering Company. By then, he and his family had moved to 134 Stoneleigh Park Road Ewell. Keen on theatre, he was a member of the Lyric Players in Wimbledon and later the Epsom Players.

Although he was in a reserved occupation, and against the wishes of his parents, Jack joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve. He had hoped to become a fighter pilot but had to settle for training as an Air Observer in Bomber Command. On completing his training, he was posted to 107 Squadron at Great Massingham, Norfolk, for duty in Douglas Boston light bombers which were used for daring daylight raids into occupied territories.

The Douglas Boston Bomber.
The Douglas Boston Bomber.
Image courtesy of Boeing.

At 1422 hours on 27 April 1942, Boston III, No.Z2194 took off from its base at Great Massingham as part of a formation of 12 Bostons from 107 Squadron, accompanied by a fighter escort, detailed to attack the power station at Lille Sequedon. Its Pilot was Sergeant Kenneth N Carpenter, Jack' was the Observer and Flight Sergeant Gordon Black RCAF was the Wireless Operator/Air Gunner.

The bombing went to plan but, almost immediately afterwards, the formation was attacked by enemy FW104 fighters and four of the Bostons were shot down. Although Jack's aircraft was badly damaged, the pilot was taking it down under some sort of control. Jack managed to parachute out but it was then too low for the other two to follow suit. However, they survived the crash landing, which was about 3 miles south of Dunkirk. All three were taken prisoner. After processing at the POW holding camp Dulag Luft at Frankfurt-am-Maine, Jack was sent on to the recently opened POW camp Stalag Luft III in the then eastern German province of Lower Silesia, near the town of Sagan. (Following post-war border changes this is now Zagan, Poland). The other two were sent elsewhere.

Stalag Luft III was the camp that saw (in the title of former POW Paul Brickhill's 1950 book, and the 1963 film loosely based on it) "The Great Escape". As described more fully in the separate article, a large group of POWs spent months secretly digging a 100 m tunnel from a hut to beyond the boundary fences and forging papers etc for use when on the run. Jack's role in these preparations was that of a "Penguin", secretly dispersing tons of soil that was excavated from the tunnel through special pouches under his clothing.

On the night of 24/25 March 1944, over 200 Allied POWs lined up to break out, one by one down the tunnel. The first 76 made it out, but the 77th was spotted by one of the guards as he emerged from the tunnel which was a few metres short of the intended tree cover. Only three escapees eventually made it home; the other 73 were re-captured over the next few days.

The audacity of the escape so enraged Hitler that he wanted them all shot as an example to other POWs. In the event, the number executed was reduced to 50 with the other 23 dispersed to other POW camps.

Jack was one of the 50 shot on 6 April 1944. Their bodies were burned. After the War, their ashes were interred in the Poznan Old Garrison Cemetery, Poland - and those responsible for this war crime were tried and sentenced to death.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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WILLIAMS, Laurence Mervyn. Able Seaman (P/JX 322688)

HMS Fidelity, Royal Navy
Died 30 December 1942, aged 19

Laurence was born in Kingston upon Thames Q3 1923, the son of Laurence Henry Williams and Constance Rose (née Hayward). The 1939 Register records the couple living at "Yard House" Cleveland Road, Worcester Park.

Constance (born 30 March 1900) is listed with the conventional "Unpaid domestic duties" - although these were lightened by the two live-in servants. Laurence senior (born 15 July 1896) is listed as "Working Director of J Williams & Son - Boat Builders Timber Merchants entirely engaged on Admiralty and War Office work." Living with them is his father Jabez (born 9 June 1873) with the identical listing and an Alan E Williams (born 8 September 1900) - perhaps Laurence senior's younger brother - listed as" Clerk To Boat Builders Timber Merchants". There is also one currently closed record, probably Laurence junior.

Laurence served aboard HMS Fidelity (D57), a Special service vessel armed with four 4in guns and four torpedo tubes and equipped with two seaplanes, a motor torpedo boat (MTB), HF/DF and torpedo nets.

HMS Fidelity.
HMS Fidelity.
Image (and incident details below) courtesy of uboat.net

At the end of 1942, HMS Fidelity - with a cargo of commandos and two landing craft was part of Convoy ONS-154 from London to Colombo (in modern day Sri Lanka) via Capetown. On 28 Dec 1942, HMS Fidelity (D 57) (Cdr C.A.M. Péri) fell behind convoy ONS-154 due to engine troubles and streamed its torpedo nets, which brought down her speed to 2-3 knots. The next day, the commander decided to head for the Azores and launched her motor torpedo boat HMS MTB-105 and a Kingfisher floatplane for anti-submarine patrol. The aircraft spotted two lifeboats of Empire Shackleton )part of the same convoy that had been sunk the previous day) which were towed by the two landing craft to HMS Fidelity. 43 survivors were picked up and the aircraft and the landing craft were lifted aboard again.

From late on 29 December and over the following day, prowling U-boats made a number of unsuccessful attacks on HMS Fidelity. At 1638 hours on 30 December, the vessel was finally hit by two torpedoes from U-435 and sank immediately after heavy detonations. 274 crew members - including Laurence - 51 Royal Marines and the 43 survivors were lost. There were only 10 survivors.

Laurence is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

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WILLIAMSON, Robert Henry. Flight Lieutenant /Pilot (62691)

23 Squadron. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 28 November 1942 Age 28

The marriage of Alwyn Williamson to Ethel A Henderson had been registered in Epsom for the June Quarter of 1913. Birth of their son, Robert H Williamson at Colwyn, Albion Road, Sutton, on 25 October 1914, came to be recorded in the same District, 12/1914. During 1927, Mr Alwyn Williamson was a director of Williamsons Ltd., Trinity Warehouse, Savage-gardens, E.C.3, 'a multiple-shop organization that handled large quantities of National Mark eggs'.

Registration of he death of Alwyn Williamson, aged 45 on 13 August 1933, appears for Epsom, 9/1933. The grant of Probate gives the deceased's address still as Colwyn, Albion Road, Sutton, and names his Executors as Ethel Agnes Williamson, widow, Charles Henry Williamson, gentleman, and Ernest Taylor Williamson, director - Effects £16789:12:3.

Robert Henry Williamson was living in Sutton when he became an articled clerk to train as an ICAEW chartered accountant.

In September 1939 he enlisted with the Royal Air Force at Cardington with a Service Number 963004.

The marriage of Robert H Williamson to Elizabeth I Vonweiler (sic) was registered in Surrey Mid E for the June Quarter of 1940. His bride had been Elizabeth Insell Nonweiler (found elsewhere as 'Weiler' ), born 14 July 1913, daughter of the late Thomas Frederick and Edith Mary Nonweiler from The Hermitage, Cleveland Road, Worcester Park.

On 23 March 1941, as a Leading Aircraftman, R H Williamson obtained his commission to the rank of P/O on probation 'for the duration of hostilities'.

At 22.45hrs on 5th June 1941 he was in command of a Blenheim aircraft, V5934,which took off from RAF Church Fenton airfield for a night training flight when it suffered an engine failure. Flying at low speed and height the pilot immediately force landed the aircraft but it caught fire and was destroyed [Cat.E2/FA Burnt damage].

All aboard sustained injuries:-
Pilot - P/O Robert Henry Williamson RAFVR (62691), minor
Air Gunner - Sgt Arthur Douglas Cross RAFVR (918022), minor
Passenger - Sgt K Williamson (527773), seriously and taken to York Military Hospital with a broken leg.
Robert quickly recovered from the injuries sustained in this incident and was promoted Flying Officer, 23 March 1942.

No. 23 Squadron operated as an intruder unit, attacking German targets in occupied Europe: its Blenheims were replaced by the Havoc and then the Boston III, before in July 1942 the first Mosquito NF.Mk II's arrived. Between 13 October and 11 December 1942 they were based at RAF Bradwell Bay.

As an Acting Flight Lieutenant, RH Williamson, 62691, flew on 28 November 1942 with an observer Norman Adin Lavers, 116968, in a Mosquito MK. II, DD712,YP-R, on a sortie apparently having re-fuelled at RAF Ford. They were part of a three aircraft formation but owing to bad weather split up to attack different targets.

Mosquito DD712 was reported missing and never returned, having crashed near Cognac, France.

Operational Record: no23squadron.wordpress.com

Robert Williamson is buried in Cognac (Crouin) Communal Cemetery, Row 1, Grave 2. His observer, N A Lavers is in the adjacent plot, Row 1, Grave 1, with a headstone inscribed
'IL S'EST SACRIFIE POUR LA LIBERTE DE L'HUMANITE- NUL NE POUVAIT FAIRE PLUS '.
[English translation: 'He sacrificated for the freedom of humanity - No one could do more']
For Probate, Robert Henry Williamson's address was given as 44 The Avenue, Worcester Park. Administration of his estate was granted to his relict Elizabeth Insell Williamson, and Agnes Williamson, widow, presumed to have been his mother.

A National Archives record, ref. HS9/1600/4, reveals that during the war Elizabeth Insell Williamson worked for the Special Operations Executive, She appears to have married secondly Frederick G Hadden, Acle [Norfolk], 9/1949, and survived until 2002.

Brian Bouchard © 2018

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WILSON, George. Corporal (1462439)

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 18 July 1945, aged 23

George, known as "Tug" was born on 21 July 1921, the son of George and Elsie Wilson. The 1939 Register records him living with his widowed mother 55 Firswood Avenue, Ewell with his occupation listed as "Shipping Clerk".

There are no readily available records of his WW2 RAF service. His death on 18 July 1945 was after the cessation of hostilities in Europe and, when he was buried in Epsom Cemetery (Grave O475) on 23 July, the records noted that he had died in Epsom County Hospital.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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WILSON, Harold Strong. Warrant Officer Class II 6134949

1st Bn. East Surrey Regiment
Died 30 May 1940 Age 35

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Son of Harold Strong Wilson and Elizabeth Wilson; husband of Maud Mary Wilson, of Ewell, Surrey.

Buried: Coxyde Military Cemetery, IV. O. 2.

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WILSON, Ronald George. Gunner (1427428)

Royal Artillery 3rd Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment
Died 18 May 1945, aged 27.

The family background here is rather more complicated than usual. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records note that Ronald was the son of George Edward and Rose Alice Wilson, of Epsom, Surrey. The 1939 Register recorded this couple (41 year old George as a "Fish Fryer" and Rose - ten years his senior - with the conventional "Home Duties") living at 3 Westlands Court, Epsom. Living with them was the 24 year old Norman F Bray (a "Chain Store Manager") who appears to be Rose's child from her first marriage (as Rose Alice Card) in Croydon Q4 1909 to Walter Bray. Rose and George Wilson married in Croydon in Q3 1931, by when the subject of this article, Ronald George Wilson, was in his teens. It is not possible from the readily available records to clarify his parentage.

Ronald's WW2 service was with the Royal Artillery 3rd Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment, stationed at Changi, Singapore. He would have been in action until the Japanese forces won the battle for Singapore in February 1942 and the British Commander ordered his forces to surrender. It seems clear that, as a prisoner of war, Ronald was forced to work on the southern end of the notorious Burma-Siam railway. This Japanese project to improve support for their large army in Burma was aptly called the "Death Railway". During its construction, approximately 13,000 prisoners of war died and were buried along the railway. An estimated 80,000 to 100,000 civilians also died in the course of the project, chiefly forced labour brought from Malaya and the Dutch East Indies, or conscripted locally.

A present-day section of the Burma-Siam railway
A present-day section of the Burma-Siam railway
Copyright acknowledged

The railway was completed in late 1943. Conditions in the PoW camps were at least as harsh - and probably even worse - than those on the railway construction. Like many others, Ronald eventually succumbed to these, dying on 18 May 1945. With thousands of other Allied dead, he is buried in Thailand's Kanchanaburi War Cemetery. This is about 70 miles west of Bangkok and only a short distance from the site of the Kanburi PoW base camp through which most of the prisoners passed on their way to the various other camps.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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WINTER, John George. Corporal 1612270

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 30 November 1945, Age 37

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

The marriage of James Winter to Sarah Jobling was registered in Durham for the September Quarter of 1907. Birth of their son, John George Winter, born 17 February 1908, came to be recorded in the same District, 3/1908.

In the 1911 Census, the family appear at 77 Newcastle Road, Brandon Colliery, Durham, where James was employed as a Coal Miner/Hewer.

A union of John G Winter with Annie M Wood, born 29 September 1907, is found to be listed in registers at Gateshead, 9/1934.

By 1935 this couple were resident in Epsom, at 31 Stones Road. They were registered there in 1939 - John G Winter, Shop Asst. & Salesman, S S Co-op, and Annie M Winter, Domestic Servant. The South Suburban Co-operative Society (Epsom Branch) shop was then situated on East Street.

South Suburban Co-Op Shop in East Street, Date not known
South Suburban Co-Op Shop in East Street, Date not known
Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

During October 1940, John enlisted with the Royal Air Force at Cardington.

At 15 March 1945, John G Winter's name appears in the Service Register/Electoral Roll at 31 Stones Road, Epsom.

Post war, the death of John G Winter was noted in Surrey Mid E, 12/1945. He was, however, buried at Gateshead (Saltwell) Cemetery, Div. B, in Grave 1576. His headstone was inscribed
'A TOKEN OF LOVE TO A VERY DEAR HUSBAND WHO IS ALWAYS IN MY THOUGHTS'.
John's headstone in Gateshead (Saltwell) Cemetery
John's headstone in Gateshead (Saltwell) Cemetery
Photograph by Brian 54 via findagrave.com

CWGC describe him as the son of James and Sarah Winter; husband of Annie Maud Winter, of Epsom, Surrey.

Annie Maud Winter died on 12 January 1976, reg Surrey S E, 3/1976. For Probate her address was stated still to have been 31 Stones Road, Epsom.

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WISE, Douglas Arthur. Acting Sub-Lieutenant D S C, Mentioned in Despatches.

815 Squadron, HMS Grebe, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (Fleet Air Arm).
Died 25 July 1941, aged 22.

Douglas was born in Epson Q1 1919, the son of Gordon Andrew Wise and May (née Stewart - they had married in Wimbledon on 12 September 1907).

The 1939 Register records the parents living at 37 The Avenue Worcester Park. Gordon is listed as having "Private means" and May as "Housewife". The original record shows that Gordon was a volunteer driver for casualties and that May served as an Air Raid Warden. Douglas was not at home. Among the other six present were two of his older sisters (Anita, born 1911 and "Examiner Postal Censors"; and Gladys, born 1914 and "Hospital Almoner"), three guests/lodgers and a domestic servant.

Douglas served with the Fleet Air Arm. Although formally serving with the Royal Naval Air station, HMS Grebe, Dekheila, Alexandria, 815 Squadron was, in mid 1941, operating from Lakatamia, Cyprus flying the Fairey Swordfish - a biplane torpedo bomber originating in the early 1930s, and nicknamed "Stringbag".

The Fairey Swordfish
The Fairey Swordfish
Photograph by Tony Hisgett, Birmingham, UK - via wikimedia

On 25 July 1941, Douglas and his fellow Acting Sub-Lieutenant Alfred Howard Cann were flying a reconnaissance flight west of Cape Kormakiti, Cyprus Their Mk 1 Swordfish Mark (P4080 from B Flight of 815 Squadron) suffered a catastrophic mid-air structural failure resulting in the engine and airframe parting company. Both were killed and their bodies lost at sea.

They are commemorated on the Lee-on-Solent Memorial, Hampshire.

Roger Morgan © 2017

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WOOD, Harry.

Royal Navy
Died N/K, aged N/K

Identity unclear.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's database contains nine WW2 seamen with the surname Wood and with the (or a) Christian name Harry or Harold. The full information given by the Commission for each of these is as below.

Of the Royal Navy/RNVR:
WOOD, Harry. Able Seaman (D/JX 208541). HMS President III, Royal Navy. Died 27 December 1940, aged 29. Commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial.

WOOD, Harry. Lieutenant. HMS Assegai, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. Died 7 December 1942, aged 33. Son of John and Margaret Ann Wood, of Winton, Lancashire. Commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial.

WOOD, Harry. Telegraphist (D/JX 159074). HMS Nile, Royal Navy, Died 20 June 1942, aged 20. Son of Henry and Minnie Wood, of Shotton, Flintshire. Commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial.

WOOD, Harry Hector. Chief Engine Room Artificer (D/M 18331). HMS Repulse, Royal Navy. Died 10 December 1941, aged 41. B E M. Son of James W and Sarah H Wood; husband of Winfred E Wood. Commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial.

WOOD, Harry Malcolm Sydney. Leading Seaman (P/JX 131816). HM Submarine Triad, Royal Navy Died 20 October 1940, aged 28 .Son of Harry Albert and Margaret Wood, of Portsmouth; husband of Matilda Kate Wood, of Fareham, Hampshire. Commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.
and, just in case, of the Merchant Navy:
WOOD, Harry. Fireman. MV Wellfield (Newcastle-on-Tyne), Merchant Navy. Died 4 June 1941, aged 19. Son of John James Wood, and of Elizabeth Agnes Wood, of Liverpool. Commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial.

WOOD, Harry. Ordinary Seaman. MV Empire Comet (Greenock), Merchant Navy. Died 19 February 1942, aged 19. Son of John H and Grace D Wood, of Roe Brae, Zetland. Commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial.

WOOD, Harry Stovin. Able Seaman. SS Ardanbhan (Glasgow), Merchant Navy. Died 27 December 1940, aged 55. Commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial.

WOOD, Harold William. Ordinary Seaman (D/JX 369658). HMS Gould, Royal Navy. Died 1 March 1944, aged 20. Son of Walter William and Elsie Minnie Wood, of Tetbury, Gloucestershire. Commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial.
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WOODGER, Elizabeth May and Horace Edgar

Civilian
Died 10 October 1940, aged (Mrs) 45 and (Mr) aged 50

Horace and Elizabeth's headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Horace and Elizabeth's headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Photograph courtesy Clive Gilbert © 2018

Horace and Elizabeth both died at 27 Fulwell Road, Teddington on 10 October 1940 and buried together a few days later. Why they are buried in Epsom Cemetery grave M631 is not known. They may have died on route to one of the Epsom War Hospitals. However the grave plot was purchased by Albert Edward Gilbert of Sunny Bank, Moor Lane, Chessington on 9th November 1940. The CWGC database implies that they are also commemorated on the Twickenham, Municipal Borough memorial.

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WOOLFENDEN, Jack. Rifleman (6912405)

1st Battalion, Rifle Brigade.
Died 26 May 1940, aged 28.

Unusually, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database provides no family background for this serviceman. familysearch.com has only one Jack Woolfenden born in 1912/13 (as needed to be aged 28 in May 1940) in its databases. He was born in Oldham Q1 1912, and his mother's maiden name was Turner. (Jack is a diminutive of John, and they have no John Woolfenden born in the period. They have a John Wolfenden - with one "o" - but, being born Q1 1913, also in Oldham, would have been 27 in May 1940).

The 1939 Register provides no useful clue as to Jack's connection with the Borough - which there must have been, to merit his inclusion in the Borough's Book of Remembrance.

Jack's Battalion was part of the British Expeditionary Force sent to France in the early days of WW2. When the expected German invasion of Belgium and France began on 10 May, the BEF and Allies were unable to halt the advance and were driven further and further back into the coastal are of Belgium and north-east France. Jack's Battalion was part of the Allied forces that, on 22 May, were isolated in Calais. (Other parts of the BEF managed to get to Dunkirk from which, as is well known, extraordinary numbers were evacuated in the 26 May - 4 June "Operation Dynamo".)

Jack died on the third day of the fierce fighting of the 23-26 May Battle of Calais: the surviving forces surrendered on 27 May. He is commemorated on the Dunkirk Memorial, Nord, France.

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WRIGGLESWORTH, Maurice Oliver. Trooper 7951693

C Sqn. Derbyshire Yeomanry Royal Armoured Corps
Died 16 May 1944 Age Not Known

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Son of Cecil Stanley and Elsie Evelyn Wrigglesworth, of Epsom Downs, Surrey.

Buried: Cassino War Cemetery, I. K. 18.

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WRIGHT, Basil Owen. Flying Officer (51875)

166 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
Died 15 February 1944, aged 28.

Frederic William Augustine Wright (b 9 April 1877, reg. Morpeth, 6/1877) appears to have volunteered to serve in the Boer War as Private 6932 in the 44th Company, 12th Imperial Yeomanry.

On his return from South Africa he married Clara Morton, reg. Brentford 9/1903, but she died during 1908. By 1910 he seems to have entered into a relationship with Gertrude Agate and they had two childred born at Brentford - a son in 1911 and a daughter during 1913.

Frederic W A Wright may have enlisted with the Public Schools Battalion, Royal Fusiliers to start training in the Epsom area. He was, however, granted a commission as Temporary Lieutenant in 9th Battalion The Lincolnshire Regiment on 29 January 1915. A Medal Card for Frederick (sic) William Augustine Wright reveals that he served on the General List from 25 May 1915 whilst attached to the King's African Rifles. He relinquished his commission in 1916 on account of ill health and the award of a Silver War Badge indicates that he had been wounded in action.

Frederic had contracted a second marriage, which was registered in Epsom for the March Quarter of 1915, to Gertrude Agate (born 27 September 1882, reg. Kensington, 12/1882). Birth of their son Basil O Wright came to be recorded at Kingston, 12/1916.

Before 4 October 1916, the family had taken up residence at 47 Kingston Road, New Malden, Surrey.

A sale of F W A Wright's medals in 2003 comprised: -
  • King's African Rifles,
  • late Imperial Yeomanry,
  • Queen's South Africa 1899-1902, 4 clasps, Cape Colony,
  • Orange Free State, Transvaal, South Africa 1901 (6932 Pte., 44th Coy. 12th Impl. Yeo.);
  • 1914-15 Star (Lieut.);
  • British War Victory Medals (Lieut.)
With a Service Number 518852, his son Basil would have been a pre-war entrant as an aircraftman to the Royal Air Force.

For the 1939 Register Gertrude, Frederic and their daughter were living at 38 Sycamore Grove, New Malden, with his occupation stated to be 'Cafe Proprietor, Commercial Traveller (Glass)' and his wife a 'Cafe Manageress'.

Having risen to the rank of Flight Sergeant, Basil was commissioned Pilot Officer 51875, on probation, emergency, with effect from 14 May 1943 before promotion to Flying Officr (war substitute), 14 November 1943. Reportedly, records of 166 Squadron - part of Bomber Command - note that he had been posted into the Unit on 3 October 1943.

In February 1944, Basil was an Air Gunner on Lancaster ED841 AS-L which took off from RAF Kirmington, Lincolnshire. It was one of 891 aircraft on their way to bomb Berlin in the largest raid of the whole of WW2 - to drop 2,642 tons of bombs.

Berlin suffered badly that night. But so did the attacking force: 48 aircraft were lost; 266 crewmen were killed and a further 54 made prisoners of war.

In the case of Basil's aircraft, it appears that it was intercepted about 300 miles short of target and crashed at Freudenberg. Only one of the 7-strong crew survived. Unlike five of those killed, Basil's body was not recovered, and he is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

As already mentioned, 166 Squadron Lancaster III ED841, AS-L, took off at 1730 hrs. from RAF Kirmington. It was shot down by a night fighter, to crash at 2030 hrs. with great force into a forest some 2 km. N of Freudenberg, 4 km SE of Ribnitz - Damgarten. F/O Wright is named on Panel 210 of the Runnymede Memorial; the rest of his comrades are buried in the Berlin 1939 - 45 War Cemetery. Crew:-
F/O R.J.Robinson
Sgt H.K.Harrison [POW]
Sgt G.F.Clark
F/S R.A.R.Smith
F/S D.J.Stokes
Sgt N.O.Jones
F/O B.O.Wright.
[Sgt, George Frederick Clark is commemorated at aircrewremembered.com.]

A German eye-witness account of the crash has been published at http://www.bomber-command.de/ed841a.html - in translation: -
"It was a foggy February evening. I sat with my parents, brothers, and sisters having dinner, when a loud engine noise was heard. It was louder than usuall, because, normally, the English and American bomber formations flew higher. The sound of a big engine was getting closer. Suddenly there was an enormous explosion. My sister was shocked obviously. We ran out and saw the fire through the fog in the Recknitz River valley….

Next day, while it was still dark, I hurried to the crash site before I went to school and before I found the SS and the armed forces already there. In the dawn I saw that a Lancaster bomber had crashed. It was terrible to see the dead crew members hanging in the trees. One was gored through by a strong branch! Others were caught in the completely destroyed wreck of the aircraft. Parachutes were partly opened.

I looked a bit closer at the Englishmen; I could see that they were wearing blue uniforms under their heated flying suits, and below that they were also wearing civilian dress. Nearer the wreckage was an inflated dinghy and provisions packages were laying around. I quickly retrieved some parachute silk, a provisions package and a flare gun with ammunition. Then I also already saw pushing the first armed troops….

I quickly went to school. Soon after, the whole crash site was blocked off and was guarded by the SS. When I came home in the afternoon, I found out that somebody had stolen the felt boots from some of the aircrew. I can still remember that some people had their houses searched.

The Lancaster came from direction of Dierhagen. Someone said that the Lancaster had been attacked by a night-fighter and that the pilot was possibly attempting to crash-land on the Bodden near Ribnitz-Damgarte but crashed in the thick fog at ground level.

Those of the crew who perished, were buried locally [at Neuer Friedhof, Rostock] but were exhumed and re-interred in the 1939 - 1945 War Cemetery at Charlottenburg, Berlin after the end of the war.

The body of Sgt B.O. Wright, the Rear Gunner, has never been found and his name is engraved on Panel 210 of the Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede. The only survivor was Flight Engineer Sgt H. K. Harrison who was taken POW."
Mr. Frederic William Augustine Wright of Chiltern Lodge, 38 Sycamore Grove, New Malden, Surrey, died on 23 November 1945 in Kingston Hospital. In his Will, Malden Social Club were directed to have a drink at the bar instead of sendng a wreath.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission database notes that Basil had been the son of Frederic and Gertrude Wright, of Rottingdean, Sussex.

Brian Bouchard © 2018

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WRIGHT Henrietta

Civilian
Died 21/11/1940, aged 79

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Wife of Jesse Wright, of 86 Red Lion Lane, Shooters Hill, London. Injured 17 November 1940, at 37 Paidham Road East; died at Horton Emergency Hospital, Epsom.

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WYATT George

Civilian
Died 04/11/1944, aged 55

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Son of Havelock and Harriet Wyatt; husband of Lilian Eliza Wyatt, of 57 Melbourne Road, Wallington. Injured 2 November 1944, at Banstead Hospital; died at Horton Emergency Hospital, Epsom.

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WYBER, Frederick Leonard. Lance Corporal 6077834

159 Rly. Constr. Coy. Royal Engineers
Died 17 June 1940 Age 44

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

Son of William James Epsom Wyber and Mary Jane Wyber; husband of Ruth Wyber.

Buried: Pornic War Cemetery, 2. J. 9.

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WYLIE, William Jeffery Price. Captain (95276)

King's Own Scottish Borderers
Died 15 December 1943, Age 24

Captain William Wylie
Captain William Wylie
Photograph courtesy of Sherborne School

Not listed in the Book of Remembrance

John Price Wylie, born 20 May 1888 in Newcastle, was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant, 8 September 1909, for service in India with the 11th Lancers. During the GreatWar he rose to the rank of Captain in the Notts. and Derby Regiment.

His marriage to Helen Jeffery Clark (born 7 November 1896) is found to have been registered at St George Hanover Square for the September Quarter of 1918. Apparently the family later lived in Ireland where the birth of William J P Wylie, 3 November 1919, was registered at Dublin, 12/1919.

Having attended Sandrock Hall School, Hastings, he entered Sherborne School (Lyon House) May 1933-December 1937 [ 6th form (Army Class); House Prefect; 1st XV rugby football (1936, 1937); 3rd XI cricket (1937); Trebles (1935, 36, 37; Silver Medal 1935); PT Instructor with Badge; Sergeant in OTC] before joining the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. As a Gentlemen Cadet from the Royal Military College, he was appointed 2nd Lt. With the King's Own Scottish Borderers 1 July 1939. Promotion to Lieutenant took effect from 1 January 1941.

His father, of Carfax Hotel, Winchester, had died 27 August 1939 at Saville Nursing Home, Clayton Road, Newcatle, and was interred at St Andrew'sMilitary Cemetery, Newcastle upon Tyne.

The marriage of William J P Wylie to Dorothy P N Davies was registered at Bury St Edmunds, 12/1940.

Captain William Jeffrey Price Wylie, formerly of the King's Own Scottish Borderers, served as Troop Commander of No. 2 Troop of No. 6 Commando from no later than 7 December 1943. He died on 15 December 1943 in Hurstwood Park Hospital, Haywards Heath fom injuries resulting from a road traffic accident on 13 December.. Lt. Bernard Skinner also died as a result of this incident. The 6 Commando War Diary for December 1943 recorded that their commando truck going to Brighton Station and was hit by a Naval truck with several injured. Lt B.G.Skinner was sent to Royal Sussex Hospital,where he expired.

William was interred on 20 December 1943 at Winchester (Magdalen Hill) Cemetery, Row C. 3. Grave 50. (St.Morris Plot).The burial record notes that J L P Wylie of The Corner, Barnes Close, Winchester, died at Haywards Heath [registered Cuckfield, 3/1944].

William's headstone in Winchester (Magdalen Hill) Cemetery
William's headstone in Winchester (Magdalen Hill) Cemetery
Photograph (45158799) by wertypop via findagrave.com

He has been commemorated at Sherborne School: War Memorial Staricase; Book of Remembrance & Lyon House War Memorial, also in VI Commando Roll of Honour.

CWGC describe him as the son of Maj. John Price Wylie, D.S.O., The Sherwood Foresters (Notts. and Derby Regt.), and Helen J. Wylie of Epsom, Surrey; husband of Noel Wylie, of Euston, Suffolk.

William's sister, Elizabeth Price Wylie, married Hugo Charles Baring on 15 June 1946 and the widowed Mrs Helen J Wylie came to live with them at 15 Downs Road, Epsom, at least between 1949 and 1955.

'Noel' Wylie, otherwise Dorothy P N Wylie, appears to have married secondly Arthur N Palmer, registered as Dorothy P P Wylie, Bury St Edmunds, 6/1945.

Helen Jeffrey Wylie of Minster Cottage, Little Minster Street, Winchester died on 24 May 1963 at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital, aged 66. She was interred at Magdalen Hill Cemetery, Winchester, A Con., D3, 49, on 29 May 1963.

Brian Bouchard © 2018

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