Remember. Aircraftwoman 1st Class Marguerite Beatrice BURGE. Women’s Auxillary Air Force. Murdered on the 31st January 1943 aged 22.
Marguerite was born on the 21st January 1921. Her mother’s name was Le Roux and it is not known at this stage why she gave up her daughter. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission lists Marguerite as the foster-daughter of Thomas Wellman, and of Ada Mary Ann Wellman, of Bedhampton, Hampshire. Whilst serving with the WAAF Marguerite met 24 year-old Private Charles Arthur Raymond, who was a French Canadian soldier serving with the 5th Divisonal Troop Company of the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps. Raymond spoke no English and it has to be assumed that Marguerite spoke some French, possibly as a result of her background.
On the afternoon of the 30th January 1943, a few days after her 22nd birthday, Marguerite was making her way to Chichester, West Sussex, to visit a girlfriend. She accepted a lift from Raymond in his Army truck and, he suggests in his statement, she borrowed money from him. He had known her for six months and, he claimed, he had asked her not to see any other servicemen. During the journey he stopped by a field near Boxgrove, West Sussex, and, it appears, the couple got out and sat by a haystack where they talked. An argument ensued and Marguerite is alleged to have slapped Raymond across the face. He punched her and knocked her to the ground and, he claimed, she struck her head on a plough. A post mortem and a subsequent investigation established that Raymond had, in fact, stabbed her in the head, face and chest with an 8” screw driver which he had taken from his vehicles tool kit. Evidence given by Sir Bernard Spilsbury indicated that Raymond had inflicted some of the injuries on the girl whilst kneeling on her when she was on the ground. Raymond then left the injured WAAF in the field, where she lay all night in a heavy thunderstorm. A Home Guard patrol found her in the early hours of the 31st January, she was still alive but had suffered terrible injuries and immense blood loss. Marguerite was taken to a hospital in Chichester but died later that day as a result of her injuries.
An intensive police enquiry led them to Raymond, who had been seen parked in his vehicle at the spot where Marguerite had been found, with a WAAF in his cab. When questioned, Raymond tried to put the blame on another Canadian soldier, Arthur Patry, who had been in trouble with the police in Canada before he joined the Army. Raymond’s trial took place at the Old Bailey and the jury, convinced by the forensic evidence, found him guilty, despite his continued protestations that he was innocent. Raymond was condemned to Death and Hung at Wandsworth Prison on the 10th July 1943. Marguerite Burge is buried in the Havant And Waterloo Cemetery, Hampshire. Rightly or wrongly, Charles Raymond has his name recorded on the Brookwood Memorial, along with a number of other Murderers.