January312014

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.

January302014
Remember. Flight Lieutenant Francis George KEEFE. No.14 Squadron. Royal New Zealand Air Force. Died Of Wounds on the 30th January 1945 aged 28.
On the 15th January 1945 F/Lt Keefe took off from Green Island Fighter Strip, Bismarck Archipelago, to undertake a bombing raid on Rabaul Island. His Corsair F4U-1D fighter (NZ5413) was shot down by Japanese anti-aircraft fire and crashed into Rabaul Harbour. The Pilot began swimming towards the harbour entrance, but drifted back when the tide turned. Nearby enemy batteries prevented an American Catalina landing to achieve a rescue, but throughout the day sections of Corsairs orbited overhead to fend off enemy attempts at capturing the airman. Towards dusk, at 18.30hrs, a Ventura with a Corsair escort carried out a daring low level sortie to drop two bamboo rafts close by, but by then the pilot was lying face down over what appeared to be a small log just within the harbour entrance.  Reports indicate that he was shot in the right arm by Japanese soldiers after reaching the safety of the shore. He was taken prisoner and his wound was bandaged but not treated. After being interrogated by officers of the Japanese Navy, who noted that his wounded arm was swollen and smelling badly, he was taken by the Kempei Tai to the Naga Naga POW Camp. Over the following two weeks his condition worsened as the wound became more and more infected. Eventually, he died of blood poisoning and is buried in the Bourail New Zealand War Cemetery, New Caledonia.

Remember. Flight Lieutenant Francis George KEEFE. No.14 Squadron. Royal New Zealand Air Force. Died Of Wounds on the 30th January 1945 aged 28.

On the 15th January 1945 F/Lt Keefe took off from Green Island Fighter Strip, Bismarck Archipelago, to undertake a bombing raid on Rabaul Island. His Corsair F4U-1D fighter (NZ5413) was shot down by Japanese anti-aircraft fire and crashed into Rabaul Harbour. The Pilot began swimming towards the harbour entrance, but drifted back when the tide turned. Nearby enemy batteries prevented an American Catalina landing to achieve a rescue, but throughout the day sections of Corsairs orbited overhead to fend off enemy attempts at capturing the airman. Towards dusk, at 18.30hrs, a Ventura with a Corsair escort carried out a daring low level sortie to drop two bamboo rafts close by, but by then the pilot was lying face down over what appeared to be a small log just within the harbour entrance.  Reports indicate that he was shot in the right arm by Japanese soldiers after reaching the safety of the shore. He was taken prisoner and his wound was bandaged but not treated. After being interrogated by officers of the Japanese Navy, who noted that his wounded arm was swollen and smelling badly, he was taken by the Kempei Tai to the Naga Naga POW Camp. Over the following two weeks his condition worsened as the wound became more and more infected. Eventually, he died of blood poisoning and is buried in the Bourail New Zealand War Cemetery, New Caledonia.

January262014
Remember. Flying Officer Graeme Grieve STOBIE. No.104 Operational Training Unit (RAF), Royal Australian Air Force. Killed in a Flying Accident on the 26th January 1944 aged 20.
Graeme was the son of Graeme and Evees Irene Stobie, of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. On the 26th January 1944 he was a Pupil Navigator aboard a Wellington Mk.IV aircraft of No. 104 Operational Traiining Unit, Royal Air Force, which had taken off from off from Nutts Corner, Northern Ireland on a Night Navigational Exercise. The aircraft was never seen again and its loss was described as inexplicable as the crew were deemed to be outstanding on their training course. The Pilot had 437 hours of flying experience and the weather was deemed to be excellent, despite other crews reporting significant turbulence during their flights. The body of W/O Erickson, the son of Herman and Hilja Erickson, of Montreal, Province of Quebec, Canada, was washed up on the shore of Tiree at 21.00 hrs on the 27th January and is buried in the Soroby Burial Ground. It was established that he died of exposure and not drowning or other injury. This pointed to a succesful ditching followed by some fatality in the gale which sprung up later that morning and persisted for 2 days and nights. It was found that the aircrafts dinghy had been succesfully deployed and it is presumed that F/O Stobie and F/Sgt Fletcher were either killed in the inital impact or they too died from exposure, and their bodies lost at sea. Eventually, on the 11th February 1944 the body of F/O Stobie was washed up and is buried in the Pennyfuir Cemetery, Oban, Scotland.The body of the Pilot, Flight Sergeant Matthew John Fletcher, the son of Matthew and Florence Ada Fletcher, of Ferryhill, Co. Durham, was never found and his name is recorded on the Runnymeade Memorial.                                            
 
Crew of Wellington Mk.IV Z1490
Pupil Pilot Flight Sergeant Matthew John FLETCHER. RAFVR
Pupil Navigator Flying Officer Graeme Grieve STOBIE RAAF
Pupil WOP/AG Warrant Officer Class I Leif Tapio ERICKSON RCAF

Remember. Flying Officer Graeme Grieve STOBIE. No.104 Operational Training Unit (RAF), Royal Australian Air Force. Killed in a Flying Accident on the 26th January 1944 aged 20.

Graeme was the son of Graeme and Evees Irene Stobie, of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. On the 26th January 1944 he was a Pupil Navigator aboard a Wellington Mk.IV aircraft of No. 104 Operational Traiining Unit, Royal Air Force, which had taken off from off from Nutts Corner, Northern Ireland on a Night Navigational Exercise. The aircraft was never seen again and its loss was described as inexplicable as the crew were deemed to be outstanding on their training course. The Pilot had 437 hours of flying experience and the weather was deemed to be excellent, despite other crews reporting significant turbulence during their flights. The body of W/O Erickson, the son of Herman and Hilja Erickson, of Montreal, Province of Quebec, Canada, was washed up on the shore of Tiree at 21.00 hrs on the 27th January and is buried in the Soroby Burial Ground. It was established that he died of exposure and not drowning or other injury. This pointed to a succesful ditching followed by some fatality in the gale which sprung up later that morning and persisted for 2 days and nights. It was found that the aircrafts dinghy had been succesfully deployed and it is presumed that F/O Stobie and F/Sgt Fletcher were either killed in the inital impact or they too died from exposure, and their bodies lost at sea. Eventually, on the 11th February 1944 the body of F/O Stobie was washed up and is buried in the Pennyfuir Cemetery, Oban, Scotland.The body of the Pilot, Flight Sergeant Matthew John Fletcher, the son of Matthew and Florence Ada Fletcher, of Ferryhill, Co. Durham, was never found and his name is recorded on the Runnymeade Memorial.                                           

 

Crew of Wellington Mk.IV Z1490

Pupil Pilot Flight Sergeant Matthew John FLETCHER. RAFVR

Pupil Navigator Flying Officer Graeme Grieve STOBIE RAAF

Pupil WOP/AG Warrant Officer Class I Leif Tapio ERICKSON RCAF

January252014
Remember. Aircraftman 2nd Class Huw Evans JOHN. "C" Flight, No.656 Air Observation Post Squadron. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Killed in Action on the 25th January 1945.

Huw was the son of Daniel Idris and Mary Jane John, of Skewen, Glamorgan.In the summer of 1942 he married his sweetheart, Margaret Olga Adams, prior to serving overseas with his unit. No. 656 Squadron was an Air Oberservation Post unit of the Royal Air Force serving in India and Burma during the Second World War. Their role was working closely with British Army units in artillery spotting and liaison using Taylorcraft Auster aircraft. On the 25th January 1945 Huw, an Airframes Fitter, was travelling in a 15cwt truck with other members of “C” Flight when the vehicle struck a landmine hidden under a small bridge on Ramree Island off of the coast of Burma. He and two other members of the flight were killed and are buried together in a collective grave at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Myanmar.


The others killed were;

Aircraftsman 2nd Class Ronald James McCAULEY, RAFVR aged 24.
Lance Bomberdier Douglas GIBBONS, Royal Artillery aged 21.

Remember. Aircraftman 2nd Class Huw Evans JOHN. "C" Flight, No.656 Air Observation Post Squadron. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Killed in Action on the 25th January 1945.

Huw was the son of Daniel Idris and Mary Jane John, of Skewen, Glamorgan.In the summer of 1942 he married his sweetheart, Margaret Olga Adams, prior to serving overseas with his unit. No. 656 Squadron was an Air Oberservation Post unit of the Royal Air Force serving in India and Burma during the Second World War. Their role was working closely with British Army units in artillery spotting and liaison using Taylorcraft Auster aircraft. On the 25th January 1945 Huw, an Airframes Fitter, was travelling in a 15cwt truck with other members of “C” Flight when the vehicle struck a landmine hidden under a small bridge on Ramree Island off of the coast of Burma. He and two other members of the flight were killed and are buried together in a collective grave at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Myanmar.

The others killed were;

Aircraftsman 2nd Class Ronald James McCAULEY, RAFVR aged 24.

Lance Bomberdier Douglas GIBBONS, Royal Artillery aged 21.

January232014

Remember. Leading Aircraftwoman Beryl BAYNES-COPE aged 20 and Leading Aircraftwoman Joan Edna TURNER aged 21. Station Headquarters. RAF Stapleford Tawney. Women’s Auxiliary Air Force. Killed in a V-2 Attack on the 23rd January 1945.

In the small churchyard of St.Andrew in North Weald Bassett, Essex, you will find, amongst the service graves, the last resting place of Beryl Baynes-Cope, the daughter of Roland Henry and Daisy Evelyn Baynes-Cope, of Harringay, Middlesex, and that of Joan Edna Turner, the daughter of Bertram Edward and Ada Frances Turner, of Chingford. At 15.45hrs on the 23rd January 1945 a V-2 landed by the side of a hangar in the working area of RAF Stapleford Tawney. The hangar served as both an equipment store as well as flight offices for several Squadrons from the RAF Regiment and was almost completely destroyed by the explosion. The Station Headquarters, in which both Beryl and Edna were working, was also extensively damaged. Two detachments of Bofors Armourers and a Servicing party were in the hangar along with a number of personnel in the offices when the V-2 struck. A total of 17 were either killed or died from their injuries, with a further 50 suffering a variation of wounds. Remember Them All.

January202014

Remember. Pilot Officer Samuel Graham JOHNSON DFC. No.1653 Heavy Conversion Unit, Royal New Zealand Air Force. Killed in a Flying Accident on the 20th January 1944 aged 22.      

Sam Johnson was the son of Noel Storrier and Margaret Asenath D’Anvers Johnson of Hamilton, New Zealand. He was born at Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, on the 24th June 1921. His family migrated to New Zealand when he was young. Sam worked as a clerk to Dalgety & Co of Hamilton. In his private life, he was the fiancée of the actress Frances Day who, when co-starring in the revue “Black Vanities” introduced the song “A Pair Of Silver Wings” as a tribute to the Royal Air Force and also to her fiancée, Sam Johnson DFC. He was to lose his life just as she starred in the wartime West End Musical “Du Barry was a Lady”, she was to never get over his loss. Sam Johnson flew 22 Operational sorties as a Pilot with No.218 Squadron. One night in August, 1943, whilst still a Warrant Officer, he participated in an attack on Nuremberg. On the way to the target, his aircraft was struck by heavy anti-aircraft fire and sustained damage to the starboard aileron, the electrical system and a petrol tank. Despite this, he continued his mission and, although the aircraft was again hit when nearing the target he successfully completed his attack. Warrant Officer Johnson was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross for this brave action as well as taking part in operations against many well defended targets. He was recognised as a skilful and determined captain.

 

On the 20th January 1944, whilst serving with No.1653 Heavy Conversion Unit, he was acting as the instructor pilot on board a Short Stirling Mk. III LJ455 coded H4-C when it took off from Chedburgh, Suffolk for a night cross country training exercise. The route took the aircraft via Lands End, Dulverton, Reading and Goole before returning to base. At 23.26hrs the Stirling reached Chedburgh and the crew acknowledged their landing instructions. It then lost height in a diving turn and, after hitting trees, crashed and caught fire at Hargrave Hall, a few miles North-West of Chedburgh. It is believed that the pupil pilot, F/Sgt John Bartington, had inadvertently entered the diving turn, momentarily permitting himself to be distracted from his instruments by the airfield lighting. Flight Sergeant Bartington and Sergeant Spibey were injured in the crash and were to die a few days later all others were killed instantly. P/O Johnson is buried in the Cambridge City Cemetery.

 

Crew of Stirling III LJ455 (H4-C)

Pilot Officer Samuel Graham JOHNSON aged 22

Flight Sergeant John Percival BARTINGTON aged 22. Died 21/01/1944

Flight Sergeant John Karlo CALLOW aged 32

Sergeant Reginald HALLAM aged 26

Richard Joseph TEAGUE aged 19

Sergeant William Herbert SPIBEY aged 20 Died 21/01/1944

Warrant Officer Class II Robert David POE aged 25

Sergeant Frank TEMPAN aged 34

Sergeant Alfred John WOOD aged 27

January192014
Remember. Corporal Frank ANTHONY. 12th Battalion, Rifle Brigade. Missing In Action on the 19th January 1917 aged 21.

Frank was the son of Samuel & Emma Anthony of Back Lane, Stevenage. His mother died in the Winter of 1896 at the age of 41, as a result of giving birth to him. As a consequence, both he and his brother Charles, along with their sister, Nellie, went to live with their older brother, Fred, in Alleynes Road, Stevenage. He was one of seven brothers who served in the services during the First World War of whom one other, Charles, died of his wounds on 3rd April 1916. Frank was posted to France on the 23rd November 1914 and served on the front line for over two years. Sadly, had he been posted to France a day earlier he would have been entitled to the 1914 Star but the cut-off date was the 22nd November 1914 so, unlike his brother, Frank received the 1915 Star. On the 19th January 1917 his Battalion were in the front line at the village of Bouleau, France. They suffered from heavy shelling by German artillery as well as a number of British shells that had dropped short of their target. One of the British shells struck a dugout where Frank was sheltering and he was killed. His body was never recovered and, as a result, he has no known grave. His name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France. Frank was entitled to the 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal.

Read more stories about the men of Stevenage who gave their lives in two world wars at http://www.stevenageatwar.com/nsindex.html

A Roll of Honour is being created to the men & women of Hertfordshire who lost their lives in the First World War. You can read more about the project and see how you can get involved at http://www.hertsatwar.co.uk/index.php

Remember. Corporal Frank ANTHONY. 12th Battalion, Rifle Brigade. Missing In Action on the 19th January 1917 aged 21.

Frank was the son of Samuel & Emma Anthony of Back Lane, Stevenage. His mother died in the Winter of 1896 at the age of 41, as a result of giving birth to him. As a consequence, both he and his brother Charles, along with their sister, Nellie, went to live with their older brother, Fred, in Alleynes Road, Stevenage. He was one of seven brothers who served in the services during the First World War of whom one other, Charles, died of his wounds on 3rd April 1916. Frank was posted to France on the 23rd November 1914 and served on the front line for over two years. Sadly, had he been posted to France a day earlier he would have been entitled to the 1914 Star but the cut-off date was the 22nd November 1914 so, unlike his brother, Frank received the 1915 Star. On the 19th January 1917 his Battalion were in the front line at the village of Bouleau, France. They suffered from heavy shelling by German artillery as well as a number of British shells that had dropped short of their target. One of the British shells struck a dugout where Frank was sheltering and he was killed. His body was never recovered and, as a result, he has no known grave. His name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France. Frank was entitled to the 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal.

Read more stories about the men of Stevenage who gave their lives in two world wars at http://www.stevenageatwar.com/nsindex.html

A Roll of Honour is being created to the men & women of Hertfordshire who lost their lives in the First World War. You can read more about the project and see how you can get involved at http://www.hertsatwar.co.uk/index.php

January172014
Remember. Lance Corporal Harry SMITH. 1st Battalion, Hertfordshire Regiment. Killed in Action on the 17th January 1917 aged 18.

Harry was the son of George & Lillia Smith of Back Street, Ashwell, Hertfordshire. He was a pupil at the Taylor Merchant School and was also a part-time Errand Boy for a local greengrocer. He joined the Hertfordshire Regiment in the county town of Hertford in 1917 and quickly went on to serve on the Western Front. According to a letter written to Harry’s parents by his Commanding Officer he claimed that Harry was shot through the heart at 9pm on 16th January. Records show that the Battalion were situated in front line trenches near a position known as Turco Farm and it was here that he was shot. In all probability, he died as result of his wound in the early hours of the 17th January and is buried in the Vlamertinghe New Military Cemetery, Belgium. His elder brother, Herbert, was killed in action on the 21st March 1918 whilst serving with the 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment.

Remember. Lance Corporal Harry SMITH. 1st Battalion, Hertfordshire Regiment. Killed in Action on the 17th January 1917 aged 18.

Harry was the son of George & Lillia Smith of Back Street, Ashwell, Hertfordshire. He was a pupil at the Taylor Merchant School and was also a part-time Errand Boy for a local greengrocer. He joined the Hertfordshire Regiment in the county town of Hertford in 1917 and quickly went on to serve on the Western Front. According to a letter written to Harry’s parents by his Commanding Officer he claimed that Harry was shot through the heart at 9pm on 16th January. Records show that the Battalion were situated in front line trenches near a position known as Turco Farm and it was here that he was shot. In all probability, he died as result of his wound in the early hours of the 17th January and is buried in the Vlamertinghe New Military Cemetery, Belgium. His elder brother, Herbert, was killed in action on the 21st March 1918 whilst serving with the 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment.

January162014

Remember. Aircraftman 2nd Class Arthur Alfred ACKRED. SS Llangibby Castle (Y7). Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Died at Sea on the 16th January 1942 aged 27.

Arthur was the son of John and Betrice Ackred (nee Wren) and the husband of Kate Ackred (nee Andrews), of Mile End, London. At 11.15 hours on 16th January 1942 he was aboard the Troopship Llangibby Castle (Y7) when it was torpedoed by the German submarine U-402 North of the Azores. The blast blew the ship’s 6” gun overboard, and damaged the rudder, but the propellers remained intact. A number of cabins occupied by troops were wrecked and ll lighting was knocked out on the ship, adding to the difficulties of her Master, Captain R.F. Bayer and Chief Engineer, Mr J. Mills. The ship limped to Horta in the Azores at 9 knots, fighting off attacks by German FW200 aircraft on the way. Neutral Portugal allowed only 14 days for repairs and on 2nd February, the ship had to leave with the troops still on board and set course to Gibraltar, assisted by an Admiralty tug and escorted by three British destroyers. On 3rd February the small convoy was followed by several U-boats, but none managed to hit the ship. On 8th February, the troopship arrived at Gibraltar in tow of the tug and disembarked the troops. On 6th April, the Llangibby Castle left Gibraltar under escort after temporary repairs, but still without rudder, for the UK, arriving on 13th April. Altogether she sailed 3400 miles without a rudder and with a badly damaged stern, only using her engines for steering, a feat for which her master was awarded the OBE. 17 Airmen, including Arthur Ackred, lost their lives in this attack, one of whom was Peter Alexander BOYCE who was just 16 years-old. Their names are recorded on the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Arthur’s Brother, John William Ackred, was killed in action on the 11th April 1945 whilst serving with the 12th (Airborne) Battalion, Devonshire Regiment, and is buried in the Hanover Cemetery, Germany.

 

Those lost aboard the Llangibby Castle were:

 

1285380 AC2 Alfred Arthur ACKRED

1063017 AC2 Sydney BINDERMAN

1436611 AC2 Peter Alexander BOYCE

1280508 AC2 William Ernest BROWN

1028218 AC2 John COOLEY

1432048 AC2 Dennis Hampton EMMETT

1262097 LAC William Gerald HALL

1193356 AC2 Thomas HOLMES

1102826 CPL Eric Walter LANGLEY

1353880 LAC Hugh MARTIN

1358216 LAC William John MORGAN

1437263 AC1 Lewis Aubrey PARKINS

950496 AC1 Norman William REES

1307982 LAC Samuel SHALLOE

1355215 AC2 Gordon Thomas TAYLOR

1434757 AC1 Derrick Burrows TIMMS

January122014

Remember. Pilot Officer Michael Patrick ANGLAND. 1 (Y) Depot. Royal New Zealand Air Force. Died aboard SS Yngaren on 12th January 1942 aged 23.

Michael was the son of Michael Joseph and Bridie Angland, of Greymouth, Westland, New Zealand. He was attached to the Royal Canadian Air Force and was serving with No.1 (Y) Depot. RCAF, part of No.3 Training Command. He died whilst in transit in convoy HX168 from Canada to Britain when S.S. Yngaren fell victim to the German U-43 commanded by Wolfgang Lüth.  The Swedish steamship Yngaren, identified as a straggler, weighed 5,246 tons and was sunk by torpedo 600 miles west of Ireland. The ship was carrying 4696 tons of copra, 300 tons of manganese ore, 80 tons of trucks and eight aircraft. Six of her passengers were killed, one of whom was P/O Michael Angland. The U-Boat Commander, Wolfgang Lüth, sunk a total of 46 merchant vessels, 1 warship and damaged two others during the war and was decorated with the Knight’s Cross with oakleaves. Lüth was accidentally shot and killed by a sentry on the 13th May 1945. Michael Angland has his name recorded on the Ottawa Memorial, Canada.