December182013

Remember. Aircraftman 1st Class Thomas Frederick WAUGH. No.3 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force. Killed in Action on the 18th December 1942 aged 25.

Tom Waugh was born on the 19th September 1917, the son of William and Elizabeth Isabel Waugh, of Cardiff, New South Wales, Australia. On 18th December 1942 he was amongst an advanced party that arrived at Marble Arch Landing Ground in Libya. As one of the members of the party jumped out of their truck they landed on an ‘S’ mine, which detonated on impact. LAC Maurice Thompson, AC1 Tommy Waugh and LAC Les Horne were killed instantly. LAC Brian Gates died en route to hospital by air and LAC George Bartsch died on 21st December 1942 in Benghazl Hospital. All casulties are buried in the Benghazi War Cemetery, Libya.

December152013
Remember. Flight Lieutenant Charles Albert LAMBERT. No.439 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force. Killed in Action on the 15th December 1944 aged 24.

Charles was the son of William Frank and Rachel Lambert (nee Bean) who immigrated to Canada from England around 1911 or 1912. On the 15th December 1944 he was piloting a Typhoon fighter on a weather recconaisance flight North of Haltern. It met a barrage of heavy flak and received a direct hit. With his engine out, he attempted to belly land the aircraft and picked out a large field in which he could land. He overshot the field slightly and went through a clump of trees, tearing a wing off and flipping the aircraft on its back in the process. Smoke was seen emanating from the aircraft but there was no fire. It was learned later that F/Lt Lambert did not survive the landing. He is buried in the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany.

Remember. Flight Lieutenant Charles Albert LAMBERT. No.439 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force. Killed in Action on the 15th December 1944 aged 24.

Charles was the son of William Frank and Rachel Lambert (nee Bean) who immigrated to Canada from England around 1911 or 1912. On the 15th December 1944 he was piloting a Typhoon fighter on a weather recconaisance flight North of Haltern. It met a barrage of heavy flak and received a direct hit. With his engine out, he attempted to belly land the aircraft and picked out a large field in which he could land. He overshot the field slightly and went through a clump of trees, tearing a wing off and flipping the aircraft on its back in the process. Smoke was seen emanating from the aircraft but there was no fire. It was learned later that F/Lt Lambert did not survive the landing. He is buried in the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany.

December102013
Remember. Corporal Cecil Edward MAYNARD. No.2819 Squadron, RAF Regiment. Killed in a Field Firing Exercise on the 10th December 1942 aged 34.
Cecil was the son of Fredrick and Martha Maynard, of Soho Street, Reading, and the husband of Violet May Maynard (nee Somerville), of Reading. On the 10th December 1942, whilst serving with the RAF Regiment, he was killed when the Smith gun he was operating exploded during a live firing practice. The Smith Gun was designed by a retired Army Major named William H. Smith, the managing director of Trianco Toys. It was intended as a smooth-bore substitute for an artillery piece for use by the Home Guard. The gun fired a modified 3” mortar bomb against ground targets at ranges of up to 1600 yards, but subsequent attempts to increase this to 3000 yards had to be abandoned due to the excessive recoil and instability which this generated. A makeshift anti tank weapon it was put into production in 1941 following a demonstration to the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill. Following this the Air Ministry had ordered 2000 Smith guns, instead of the 40mm Bofors gun which, although the preferred choice, were unavailable at that time, even though field trials indicated that light machine guns and .50 anti-tank rifles were more effective than an untried and improvised weapon. Production problems with fuses delayed the introduction of the weapons until 1942, but it was not long before the first fatal accident occurred. During a live firing practice in that year a malfunction caused an explosion which killed Corporal Maynard. Other such incidents soon followed and after a very unsatisfactory operational performance, and a worse safety record in squadron service, all Smith guns were withdrawn from RAF Regiment units in 1943. Cecil Maynard is buried in the Reading Cemetery, Berkshire.

Remember. Corporal Cecil Edward MAYNARD. No.2819 Squadron, RAF Regiment. Killed in a Field Firing Exercise on the 10th December 1942 aged 34.

Cecil was the son of Fredrick and Martha Maynard, of Soho Street, Reading, and the husband of Violet May Maynard (nee Somerville), of Reading. On the 10th December 1942, whilst serving with the RAF Regiment, he was killed when the Smith gun he was operating exploded during a live firing practice. The Smith Gun was designed by a retired Army Major named William H. Smith, the managing director of Trianco Toys. It was intended as a smooth-bore substitute for an artillery piece for use by the Home Guard. The gun fired a modified 3” mortar bomb against ground targets at ranges of up to 1600 yards, but subsequent attempts to increase this to 3000 yards had to be abandoned due to the excessive recoil and instability which this generated. A makeshift anti tank weapon it was put into production in 1941 following a demonstration to the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill. Following this the Air Ministry had ordered 2000 Smith guns, instead of the 40mm Bofors gun which, although the preferred choice, were unavailable at that time, even though field trials indicated that light machine guns and .50 anti-tank rifles were more effective than an untried and improvised weapon. Production problems with fuses delayed the introduction of the weapons until 1942, but it was not long before the first fatal accident occurred. During a live firing practice in that year a malfunction caused an explosion which killed Corporal Maynard. Other such incidents soon followed and after a very unsatisfactory operational performance, and a worse safety record in squadron service, all Smith guns were withdrawn from RAF Regiment units in 1943. Cecil Maynard is buried in the Reading Cemetery, Berkshire.

December92013

Remember. Chief Petty Officer Charles Eric CANNING. HMS Porcupine, Royal Navy. Died Of Wounds on the 9th December 1942 aged 26.

Charles was born in Kings Norton, Worcestershire, on the 16th May 1917 the second son of Francis & Daisy Canning. The family later moved to a house named ” Ivanhoe” in the village of Walkern, Hertfordshire. He joined the Navy when he was aged 18 and in 1939 married his wife, Alma, who lived with their son in Grange Road, Gillingham, Kent. Charles was serving on HMS Porcupine, a 1540 ton P Class Destroyer, when it was torpedoed on the 9th December 1942 by the German submarine U-602, some 70 miles North-east of Oran, whilst escorting the depot ship ‘Maidstone’ from Gibraltar to Algiers. The torpedo struck the engine room, killing 7 of the crew and severely injuring CPO Canning. The ship was towed to Arzeu where her dead and wounded were put ashore, and it was then towed to the UK but was never repaired. Charles succumbed to his injuries and is buried in the Le Petit Lac War Cemetery, Oran, Algeria. This was the last ship that the U-Boat and its commander, Kapitänleutnant Philipp Schüler, sank. The submarine and its crew were lost on the 19th April 1943, in the Mediterranean, north of Oran.

December32013
Remember. Captain Arthur John PEARCE-SEROCOLD. Welsh Guards, attached to 2nd Hampshire Regiment. Missing In Action on he 3rd December 1942 aged 24.
Arthur was born on the 6th August 1918, the younger son of Brigadier Eric Pearce-Serocold CMG & The Honourable Blanche Serocold (nee Stanley). He was educated at Eton, where he was the Captain of his house, and later at the Trinity College, Cambridge. Whilst at Cambridge he rowed for the college and also became a reserve officer in the Welsh Guards. He was Commissioned on the 22nd January 1938 and in December 1939 Arthur was posted to France where he served with the BEF until being evacuated at Dunkirk. He married Hon. Elizabeth Adelaide Cohen, daughter of Lionel Leonard Cohen, Baron Cohen and Adelaide Spielmann, on 20th June 1940. In November 1942 Arthur was posted to North Africa where he became attached to the 2nd Hampshire Regiment. He was later reported missing at the Battle of Tebourba on the 3rd December 1942 when the Regiment held the town for several days until it fell to the Germans on 4th December. In March 1944 a report was made that presumed his death had occurred on that date. He has no known grave is name is recorded Medjez-El-Bab Memorial, Tunisia, and on the Baldock War Memorial, Hertfordshire.

Remember. Captain Arthur John PEARCE-SEROCOLD. Welsh Guards, attached to 2nd Hampshire Regiment. Missing In Action on he 3rd December 1942 aged 24.

Arthur was born on the 6th August 1918, the younger son of Brigadier Eric Pearce-Serocold CMG & The Honourable Blanche Serocold (nee Stanley). He was educated at Eton, where he was the Captain of his house, and later at the Trinity College, Cambridge. Whilst at Cambridge he rowed for the college and also became a reserve officer in the Welsh Guards. He was Commissioned on the 22nd January 1938 and in December 1939 Arthur was posted to France where he served with the BEF until being evacuated at Dunkirk. He married Hon. Elizabeth Adelaide Cohen, daughter of Lionel Leonard Cohen, Baron Cohen and Adelaide Spielmann, on 20th June 1940. In November 1942 Arthur was posted to North Africa where he became attached to the 2nd Hampshire Regiment. He was later reported missing at the Battle of Tebourba on the 3rd December 1942 when the Regiment held the town for several days until it fell to the Germans on 4th December. In March 1944 a report was made that presumed his death had occurred on that date. He has no known grave is name is recorded Medjez-El-Bab Memorial, Tunisia, and on the Baldock War Memorial, Hertfordshire.

7AM

Remember. Leading Aircraftman Henry Havelock MATSON. No.14 Service Flying Training School. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Killed in a Flying Accident on the 3rd December 1940 aged 22.

Henry was the son of Henry Havelock & Laura Matson of Potters Way, Sheriff Hill, Gateshead. On the 3rd December 1940 he was undergoing his training as a Pilot at No.14 Service Flying Training School based at RAF Cranfield in Bedfordshire. Henry was taking a solo flight in an Airspeed Oxford (R3236) when it was involved in a mid-air collision with another Oxford (L4642) over Milton Keynes. The Pilot of L4642, F/O A.B. Chalkley, managed to land his aircraft. However, R6236 was not so fortunate and went into a spin and struck the ground, instantly killing LAC Matson. He is buried in the St John Churchyard, Gateshead Fell, Durham.

December12013
Remember. Sergeant William E. ROLLER. 322nd Bomb Squadron, 91st Bomb Group (Heavy), 8th U.S.A.A.F. Missing In Action on the 1st December 1943 aged 26.
William E. Roller was born in the Bronx, New York, on the 27th September 1917, the son of William & Loretta Roller. He joined the USAAF and was trained as an Air Gunner, serving with the 322nd Bomb Squadron. The Squadron was part of the 91st Bomb Group which was based at Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire, and operated under the command of the 8th Air Force. On the 1st December 1943 the Squadron were involved in an operational mission to Leverkusen, Germany. Bill Roller was the Tail Gunner on a B-17, “Flying Fortress” (41-24511), nicknamed “Wheel ‘n Deal”. It was hit by anti-aircraft fire and as the crew began to abandon the aircraft Bill was seen hanging out of the escape hatch in the tail section. The plane went down over the Rhine River, near Dusseldorf and Bill Roller was the only crew member on this aircraft to be killed, the remainder of the crew were all captured and held as prisoners of war. It is uncertain if Bill Roller became stuck in the hatchway of if he was killed by anti-aircraft fire as he attempted to escape. The Germans reported finding his body in the wreckage of the bomber but the location of his grave is not known and his name is recorded on the Wall of the Missing at the American Cemetery, Henri-Chapelle, Belgium. Bill Roller was entitled to the Air Medal and the Purple Heart.

Remember. Sergeant William E. ROLLER. 322nd Bomb Squadron, 91st Bomb Group (Heavy), 8th U.S.A.A.F. Missing In Action on the 1st December 1943 aged 26.

William E. Roller was born in the Bronx, New York, on the 27th September 1917, the son of William & Loretta Roller. He joined the USAAF and was trained as an Air Gunner, serving with the 322nd Bomb Squadron. The Squadron was part of the 91st Bomb Group which was based at Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire, and operated under the command of the 8th Air Force. On the 1st December 1943 the Squadron were involved in an operational mission to Leverkusen, Germany. Bill Roller was the Tail Gunner on a B-17, “Flying Fortress” (41-24511), nicknamed “Wheel ‘n Deal”. It was hit by anti-aircraft fire and as the crew began to abandon the aircraft Bill was seen hanging out of the escape hatch in the tail section. The plane went down over the Rhine River, near Dusseldorf and Bill Roller was the only crew member on this aircraft to be killed, the remainder of the crew were all captured and held as prisoners of war. It is uncertain if Bill Roller became stuck in the hatchway of if he was killed by anti-aircraft fire as he attempted to escape. The Germans reported finding his body in the wreckage of the bomber but the location of his grave is not known and his name is recorded on the Wall of the Missing at the American Cemetery, Henri-Chapelle, Belgium. Bill Roller was entitled to the Air Medal and the Purple Heart.

November302013

Remember. Sergeant Douglas Stansfield TETLOW. No.13 Operational Training Unit. Royal Air Force. Killed in a Road Accident on the 30th November 1940 aged 24.

Douglas Tetlow was born in Yorkshire in 1916. He married Winifred Tomlin in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, in 1938 and was serving in the Royal Air Force. On the 30th November 1940 he and his wife decided to go on a shopping trip. They set out for the day in their motorcycle combination and on the Oxford Road near Bicester, not far from the airfield where he was stationed, it was in collision with a military truck and Winifred was thrown from the sidecar, suffering only from shock and bruising. Sergeant Tetlow, however, had been killed instantly. He is buried in the Hitchin Communal Cemetery, Hertfordshire.

November262013

Remember. Captain Julian Royds GRIBBLE V.C. Attached to the 10th Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Died as a Prisoner of War on the 25th November 1918 aged 21.

Julian Royds Gribble was born on the 5th January 1897, the son of George James and Norah Gribble (nee Royds), of Kingston Russell House, Dorset. He was educated at Eton School and when the First World War began he transferred to the officer’s training school at Sandhurst. In early 1915 Julian was commissioned as a lieutenant in The Royal Warwickshire Regiment and was posted to train recruits at Albany Barracks, Parkhurst, Isle of Wight. He remained on the Island for a year, sometimes taking drafts of newly trained troops as far as the French ports.

In April 1916 Julian was ordered to France. Over the next six months, without leave, he was in the thick of the fighting during The Battle of the Somme. In October he was sent home as sick with “trench fever”. Although it was recommended that he took three months rest he reported back to Parkhurst after just four weeks. From there he was posted to the 10th Battalion with the rank of Captain. At a time, when the average life expectancy of British army officers at the front was 17 weeks, Julian was already a veteran. He spent the winter of his twentieth birthday in the mud, frosts and floods of Flanders and served throughout the Battle of Passchendaele.

In the darkest hours of March 21st 1918 the unsuspecting British Third and Fifth Armies were shocked by the most intense barrage of the war. In eight hours 6,500 German guns delivered 1.16 million poison gas and high explosive artillery shells into the British defences. Supported by the close fire of over 5,000 mortars, the barrage moved forward 200m every four minutes, annihilating defences and leaving the surviving defenders deaf and stunned. It was the beginning of the decisive German spring offensive, code named Kaiserschlacht, the Kaiser’s battle. The 10th Battalion of The Royal Warwickshire’s were in reserve in the Third Army when the German barrage began. Behind the creeping barrage 76 German divisions, equivalent to the entire British Army in France, advanced. They were led by “Storm troopers” armed with wire cutters, grenades and flame-throwers. Behind them came large battle groups of infantry with field artillery and heavy machine guns, followed by more masses of marching infantry.

The four infantry companies of the 10th Battalion hastily dug in along 1,600 yards of Hermies Ridge behind the rearmost British defences with orders to hold the position to the last man. The Battalion was supported by its own battery of field artillery, flanking infantry, and further batteries of artillery and heavy machine guns.

On the second day of the offensive the Germans began to shell these new positions and the command structure of the British Third Army began to break down as it joined the Fifth Army in a fighting retreat. The next morning, as Julian reported the Germans were massing to attack, the Battalion’s artillery were galloping away under conflicting orders. As the German attack intensified more supporting artillery and infantry retreated. The battalion found itself increasingly isolated and surrounded. Even the HQ staff, and any retreating stragglers they could rally, were thrown into the desperate fighting. They held on for three hours and by 12.30 just D Company was left holding onto the top of the ridge. When it became obvious that he was the last officer standing Julian finally allowed his men to retreat, keeping six with him. Private Madeley was one of them “I got hit and I am glad to say I broke through, but not with the Captain” Julian was last seen emptying his revolver into the final assault. ” I saw him go down under about seven big German brutes and that was the last I saw of one of England’s finest officers”. The Kaiser’s Battle lasted just two weeks and 425,000 men fell on all sides in a battle that is now almost entirely forgotten.

The Citation for his part in this action is found in the London Gazette dated 25th June 1918;

"For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty. Capt. Gribble was in command of the right company of the battalion when the enemy attacked, and his orders were to ’ hold on to the last.’ His company was eventually entirely isolated, though he could easily have withdrawn them at one period when the rest of the battalion on his left were driven back to a secondary position. His right flank was ’ in the air,’ owing to the withdrawal of all troops of a neighbouring division. By means of a runner to the company on his left rear he intimated his determination to hold on until other orders were received from battalion headquarters - and this he inspired his command to accomplish. His company was eventually surrounded by the enemy at close range, and he was seen fighting to the last. His subsequent fate is unknown. By his splendid example of grit, Capt. Gribble was materially instrumental in preventing for some hours the enemy obtaining a complete mastery of the crest of ridge, and by his magnificent self-sacrifice he enabled the remainder of his own brigade to be withdrawn, as well as another garrison and three batteries of field artillery."

Julian’s body was robbed and left for dead, but later it was discovered that he was alive. He began to make good recovery in hospital in Germany, but found himself on the losing side in the terrible final months of the war. The Allied blockade of Germany was so effective that the whole country was in a state of starvation. When Julian arrived at the new officer’s prison at Mainz Castle he and his fellow inmates suffered six weeks of starvation before the first Red Cross parcels arrived. In May Julian heard that he had been awarded the Victoria Cross for his stand on Hermies Ridge. The other officers saw the letters “VC” on the envelope and carried the embarrassed invalid about the barrack square on their shoulders. The First World War finally came to an end after the German Revolution of October 1918. Eight days before the Armistice Julian himself fell ill. On the morning of November 24th his fellow prisoners were released and boarded the train home. Julian was left alone in the castle hospital. He died shortly after midnight. His last words were to dismiss his nurse; “Go away gnadiger Frau” (gracious lady). The following day the French Army arrived with food and medicine. Julian is buried in the Niederzwehren Cemetery, Germany.

November142013
Remember. Major William Sholto DOUGLAS. Royal Engineers. Died of Wounds on 14th November 1914 aged 39. 
William Douglas was born on the 18th September 1875 the only son of Colonel John Charles, late of the Worcester Regiment, and Mrs.Douglas of Lansdowne House, Bath. He was the nephew of General Sir Charles Douglas, Chief of the Imperial General Staff and joined the Royal Engineers in October 1895, becoming a Lieutenant in October 1898. William saw much Staff service, chiefly with the Intelligence Department, being a Staff College graduate and a first-class interpreter in French. From December 1890, to September 1899 he was specially employed with the Egyptian Army and from December 1900 to September 1901 in the Intelligence Department at Army Headquarters. On the 21st October 1903 he married Gladys Mary Harrison the daughter of the Lord of the Manor and Patron of King’s Walden, Hertfordshire. The couple had a son, John Willoughby Sholto Douglas, on the 17th January1906 but he tragically died on the 13th December 1913 aged 7. William remained in the service of Army Intelligence until 1910 when he was appointed Assistant Director of Army Signals for the 2nd Division at Aldershot. At the outbreak of the Great War he was employed as a General Staff Officer and was wounded at Ypres on the 2nd November 1914. He died at Boulogne on the 14th November of his wounds and is buried in the Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, France. His name is recorded on the Kings Walden War Memorial, Hertfordshire. In less than a year Gladys Douglas had lost both her child and her husband.

Remember. Major William Sholto DOUGLAS. Royal Engineers. Died of Wounds on 14th November 1914 aged 39.

William Douglas was born on the 18th September 1875 the only son of Colonel John Charles, late of the Worcester Regiment, and Mrs.Douglas of Lansdowne House, Bath. He was the nephew of General Sir Charles Douglas, Chief of the Imperial General Staff and joined the Royal Engineers in October 1895, becoming a Lieutenant in October 1898. William saw much Staff service, chiefly with the Intelligence Department, being a Staff College graduate and a first-class interpreter in French. From December 1890, to September 1899 he was specially employed with the Egyptian Army and from December 1900 to September 1901 in the Intelligence Department at Army Headquarters. On the 21st October 1903 he married Gladys Mary Harrison the daughter of the Lord of the Manor and Patron of King’s Walden, Hertfordshire. The couple had a son, John Willoughby Sholto Douglas, on the 17th January1906 but he tragically died on the 13th December 1913 aged 7. William remained in the service of Army Intelligence until 1910 when he was appointed Assistant Director of Army Signals for the 2nd Division at Aldershot. At the outbreak of the Great War he was employed as a General Staff Officer and was wounded at Ypres on the 2nd November 1914. He died at Boulogne on the 14th November of his wounds and is buried in the Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, France. His name is recorded on the Kings Walden War Memorial, Hertfordshire. In less than a year Gladys Douglas had lost both her child and her husband.