Grammar/County Secondary School War Memorials

WHITEHAVEN GRAMMAR SCHOOL FIRST WORLD WAR MEMORIAL

JAMES BRADLEY

Private Bradley (66192) enlisted in the 4th Manchester Regiment in July 1917, and later transferred to the 9th Northumberland Fusiliers (School records). He proceeded to France in April 1918, and was killed from shrapnel from a German shell while working in a trench on 11th April 1918 aged 18 (born 3rd June 1899). The CWGC show him as dying with the 19th Northumberland Fusiliers. He is buried in grave F29 of the Hedauville Communal Cemetery Extension, France (5km north west of Albert). There are 180 men buried here- 95 were casualties treated nearby for wounds, the remainder died and were buried on the battlefield, and were later moved to this cemetery.

A mate of his, Private Thomas McCrickett wrote to Mr Sloan (see below) to tell him the circumstances of the death. Thomas McCrickett then died just a few weeks later, on 25th May 1918, also aged 18.

His schooling was at Cleator Moor St. Patrick Elementary, then the Grammar School from 11th September 1912 to 29th June 1917 (by scholarship), then he enlisted in the army.  Towards the end of his school career he had been training as a Pupil Teacher with a Mr B. Sloan of Cleator Moor.

He was the son of William (a Flax Sorter) and Nancy Bradley of 1 Mill Street, Cleator in 1912, and had been born in Ireland

His name is also on the War Memorial at Cleator St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church.

JOSEPH COWEN

Private Cowen (S/8692) enlisted in the 1st Battalion Seaforth Highlanders in 1915, and was killed on 7th January 1916 (born 24th November 1893), aged 22.

He has no known grave but is commemorated on Panels 37 and 64 of the Basra Memorial, Iraq. During the Gulf Wars of the late 20th/early 21st century this cemetery was moved some miles for logistical reasons. As of November 2010 it is not possible to either maintain or visit it, due to the ongoing security issues. Records are therefore currently held in the United Kingdom.

There are 40,675 men either buried or commemorated here.

His schooling was at Holy Trinity Elementary School then the Grammar School (9th September 1908 to 25th July 1912), on a Borough Grant for 3 years then a County Grant for the last year. He became a School Bursar on 1st August 1911, then went to Leeds Teaching College,

His father was a draper, William Cowan of 45 Irish Street when he was at school, but later 3 Brayton Terrace, Whitehaven. The family were members of the Primitive Methodist Church.

His name is therefore on the Cleator Moor Primitive Methodist Church War Memorial (for the Circuit)- sometimes known as the ‘Upstairs/Downstairs’ Church. Subsequent to the closure of that church this memorial is now situated in the Cleator Moor Methodist Church on the square.

BRUCE GARNETT ILLINGWORTH

Private Illingworth (20237) of the 26th Battalion (Bankers) Royal Fusiliers died on 18th September 1916, at the age of 19 (born 5th October 1896 at Penrith). He has no known grave but is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial Pier and Faces 8C, 9A and 16A. He had enlisted in November 1915.

His father was William Gibb Illingworth (a Police Superintendent) of Laurel Bank, Embleton, Cockermouth.

He was educated at Weston Lodge, Cockermouth (Private School), the Grammar School from 17th January 1911 to 21st July 1911, then private tuition.

His name is also on the Cockermouth War Memorial.

 

MATTHEW HUDSON  MOSSOP      M.M.

Sergeant Hudson (1027) of the 15th Battalion (Prince of Wales Own) West Yorkshire Regiment, died on 1st July 1916, aged 26 during the Battle of the Somme (he was born on 28th February 1890).

He was originally buried on the battlefield, but was then moved to grave IB9 of the Serre Road Cemetery No. 1, 11km north east of Albert. There are 3,426 men buried here, of whom just 618 are identified.

His schooling was at Seascale Elementary Church of England, then the Grammar School (7th November 1904 to 26th March 1909). He became a Pupil Teacher at Seascale School on 1st August 1906 then other appointments at Keswick and Cleethorpes before entering Leeds College. On leaving there he accepted an appointment with the Leeds Education Committee. He had only held that position for three weeks when he enlisted with the ‘Leeds Pals’ in 1915. He was awarded the Military Medal for “Valour in repelling a German attack on 23rd May 1916 and for his skill and courage on that occasion.” There is a photograph of him on page 8 of the “News” dared 24th August 1916.

He was the son of Isaac (a Master Builder) and the late Ann Mossop of Seascale. 

His name is also on the Seascale War Memorial, in the grounds of St. Cuthbert’s Church and on the Seascale Village Memorial. He was one of 11 men from the village to be killed in the Great War.

JAMES WIGHTMAN            D.S.O.  , M.C.

James was a son of the late James (a miner) and Sarah Jane Wightman of the Hope Inn, Harras Moor and brother of John and Tom. He was born on 14th May 1892 and attended Moresby Parks School, then Whitehaven County Secondary School (27th July 1906 to 20th May 1910), and became a pupil teacher at St James School from 1st August 1908. He then trained at Carmarthen College, where he excelled, and had gone to teach in South Wales. He played in the Moresby Football Teams (and held 4 medals for school footballing), and had played in several well known Welsh teams. He went to the Secondary School on a Borough Grant, and passed his exams in March 1910.

He married an Eleanor G Morris in the September quarter of 1915 (in the Carmarthen area, at the time of his death she was living at 2 Tabernacle Terrace), but had no children.

At the outbreak of war he enlisted as a Private (service number not given by the CWGC because he was an officer when he died) in the Irish Guards, and later received a Commission in the East Surreys. He gained rapid promotion there. He was injured in July 1916, when they were resting in an old German trench. There is a long account of the incident in the Daily Telegraph of 12th July 1916 and there is a photograph of him on page 7 of the Whitehaven News dated 27th July 1916.  He died on 9th April 1918 at the age of 25 as a Major and an Acting Lieut. Colonel. He is buried in Grave G12 of the Picquigny British Cemetery, 13km NW of Amiens where 138 men are buried, 126 of whom died in April 1918.

The Military Cross was awarded in 1916, and the D.S.O. posthumously.

His father (James) had died at 41 on 25th May 1904, but his mother, Sarah Jane, died in 1941, aged 78.

He is also on the St. James Memorial.

BADEN POWELL THORNTHWAITE

He was born on 26th February 1900, the sixth child of William and Mary, of 24, South Street, Cockermouth, in Christ Church Parish. His father, a draper/ironmonger from Allonby, died on 20th December 1913 aged 52. His mother Mary lived to 93 and died on 14th February 1961.

His schooling was at Cockermouth Fairfield Elementary, then the Whitehaven County Secondary School from 29th April 1914 to 31st March 1915.

He enlisted at Carlisle as Private 21848 in the 3rd Battalion Border Regiment on 1st June 1915 (aged just 15) and was discharged in Carlisle on 7th July for lying about his age (stated as 19 years and 7 months!) to the Recruiting Officer. The third Battalion was basically a recruiting and training battalion.

This lad was not easily put off and he re-enlisted as Private 29/156 in the 29th Northumberland Fusiliers (the Tyneside Scottish) at their Grainger Street, Newcastle Office on 30th November 1915. This time it took longer for the Recruiting Officer to realise that he had been lied to, but Baden was discharged again on 17th July 1916 (he had given his age as 16 years 1 month) . Presumably he was excited by the idea of the war, and with his father dead felt it necessary to bring in an income.

On 17th April 1917 he enlisted in the Royal Marine Light Infantry at Newcastle (service number PO/20011, and was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal, which he forfeited because he deserted. Until 17th October 1917 he was at the Deal depot, and was then transferred to Portsmouth until 17th December 1918 although the West Cumberland Times of 27/4/1918 says he took part in the raid on Zeebrugge. On 18th December 1918 he became an Engine Cleaner on the Princess Royal being promoted to Stoker on 1st January 1919. He served on her until 19th April 1919. During this time the ship was part of the guard fleet to the interned German Navy at Scapa Flow, Orkney. He then became SS 120195 in the Royal Navy and served at Victory II from 16th May 1919 to 21st January 1920 (this was a training depot at Crystal Palace/Sydenham, London), then on the Dublin to 25th April 1921 and on the Birmingham from 26th April 1921 until 3rd May 1921 when he deserted at Simonstown Naval Base, South Africa.

By 1917 his mother was living at 20 Spencer Street, Carlisle. She died at 13 Spencer Street, Carlisle.

In January 1932 the headmaster of Ennerdale School wrote to the then headmaster of the County Secondary School to tell him that Private Thornthwaite had died in France in June 1917- and his name was therefore inscribed on the School War Memorial. (The preceding information comes from Mr Brian Parnaby’s History of the School, 2007 page 75 and Illustration 7). His death was also added to the Admissions Register. Intriguingly, though, it was not added to the School Roll of Honour Book. Also there was a Harry Messenger Thornthwaite (no apparent relation), born at Great Broughton 24th April 1899 who died in the sinking of HMS Torrent on 23rd December 1917, having served in the Navy as J31852 since 29th June 1914. He is not on the Great Broughton memorial!, possibly because his mother had by then removed to Liverpool and remarried.

His name next appears on the passenger manifest for the SS Windsor Castle of the Union Castle Line arriving in Southampton from Rhodesia on 6th February 1933. This cites his English address as Dennysmead, Morton, Carlisle- perhaps the address of a member of his family, and his occupation as Mine Owner. Perhaps that was really true, but is more likely to have been another fiction. He also arrived at Southampton on board the Caernarvon Castle on 12th March 1934, this time giving his UK address as c/o Barclays Bank, Carlisle. In 1934 he was arriving with an Agnes [Grieg] Thornthwaite (nee Murray), aged 30. He then departed Southampton on 5th October 1934 as a family with their one year old daughter, W. Ann. Thornthwaite. After his death Agnes & Ann came back to England on the Usaramo arriving on 7th February 1936 to stay at the Leinster House Hotel, Russell Square, London. In 1934 Agnes must have returned to Africa promptly as their child was apparently born in Rhodesia on 12th June 1934!. It would appear that the marriage was in Rhodesia although it cannot be traced within Consular records. Agnes was from Perthshire, Scotland and died at Aberdeen on 17th May 1950.

He is known to have sailed from Southampton to Cape Town on 19th May 1933 and 5th October 1934 but is otherwise not heard of until his death from natural causes in South Africa on 19th June 1935.

He left all his money, the princely sum of £167/15/1 to a William Erskine Gill, which is interesting as both his mother and at least one brother were still alive. The probate record tells us that he died at the Carn Brae Mine, Mazoe, Southern Rhodesia. This is north east of Harare (formerly Salisbury). William Erskine Gill was born in 1877 in Castletown, Isle of Man and died on 8th March 1949, at Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia. He was the second son of Deemster John Frederick Gill (an Advocate in 1881, Deemster by 1891). W.E. Gill was educated at Rossall School, Fleetwood. He then served in the 2nd Boer War with the Western Province Mounted Rifles.

The other interesting fact is that Baden is not on the War Memorial of his home town, Cockermouth.

The school roll of honour (reference DH 7/1) is held by Whitehaven county record office. It lists all 35 men who served from the school (including the headmaster and 2 staff) and their service records.

WHITEHAVEN GRAMMAR SCHOOL SECOND WORLD WAR MEMORIAL

George Allen

Flight Lieutenant Allen (65576) of 605 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve died on 12th February 1942, aged 20.

He is remembered on Panel 2, Column 1 of the Malta Memorial, Valetta, where 2,298 airmen without a known grave are commemorated.

He was the son of John A and Margaret Allen. When he started school the family lived at 42 Croft Head Terrace, Lowca but later moved to 12 Meadow View, Lowca. He was born on 4th March 1921 and attended Lowca School, before the Grammar School. He attended the Grammar School from September 1931 to October 1938 on a County Council Article 15 grant. His father was a Colliery Deputy. When he left school he became a Clerk with the County Council.

His name is NOT on the Lowca War Memorial (relocated in 2008 from outside the Methodist Church to opposite the Post Office).

Joseph Anthony Dees Appleby

Leading Aircraftman Appleby (984702) of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve died on 20th November 1944, aged 33.

He was cremated at Harare, Zimbabwe and is one of only two British War Casualties to be buried in the European Plot of Harare (Pioneer Cemetery). His death was after a long illness.

He was the son of Joseph and Ethel Appleby and lived at ‘Hornville’, 8 Corkickle.

Harry Heald Bawden                                                      

Wireless Operator/Air Gunner Sergeant Bawden (1478506) of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 31 (S.A.A.F. squadron) died on the night of 12th to 13th September 1944, at the age of 20.

He is buried in Collective Grave VI C 12 to 15 at the Milan War Cemetery, Italy. There are 427 men buried here, who either died at surrounding villages or as prisoners of war. Gunner Bawden is in the former category.

He was the son of Robert and Elsie Bawden of 6 Old Hall, Cleator. There is a photograph of him on page 4 of the ‘News’ dated 16th August 1945. He joined the RAF in May 1942 and had formerly been in Scawfell squadron of the A.T.C.

He is also on Cleator Moor War Memorial.

William Henry Taylor Beattie

Flight Sergeant (Nav) Beattie (1544120) of 90 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (1544120) died near Avord on 10th May 1944, aged 26.

He is buried in the Mil. Plot Grave 2 of Avord Communal Cemetery. This is 12 miles south east of Bourges, France where 7 airmen are buried.

He was the son of Benjamin and Ida Beattie of 4 Dent Road, Thornhill, Egremont.

There is a photograph of him on page 4 of the ‘News’ dated 3rd August 1944. He had previously worked in the engineering department of the GPO.

His name is also on the Thornhill and Beckermet St. John War Memorials.

Robert Bewsher                                                                 

Flight Sergeant Bewsher (1042107) of 211 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve died on 23rd February 1944, aged 20. He is remembered on Column 434 of the Singapore Memorial where 24,315 men without a known grave are commemorated.

He was the eldest son of Robert and Hannah Mary Bewsher of 48 Thorny Road, Thornhill, Egremont. He had been a clerk with the Egremont Co-operative Society, and was a keen athlete. He had played soccer and rugby both for his school and squadron. He had first become interested in the RAF through the Scawfell squadron of the Egremont Flight A.T.C. (joined in March 1941), then joined the RAF in September of that year. There is a photograph of him on page 4 of the Whitehaven News dated 9th March 1944. His brother was William. His father died on 14th January 1954 aged 60, and his mother on 20th July 1980 aged 82.

His name is also on the Thornhill & Beckermet St. John War Memorials. He is also remembered on the family gravestone in Thornhill Cemetery.

William Fisher Birkett

Staff Serjeant Birkett (7591347) of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers died on 18th April 1945 aged 28.

He is buried in Grave 2 H6 of Becklingen War Cemetery, 85 km north of Hannover. There are 2,374 men buried here, mainly removed from the battlefield or from small village and P.O.W. cemeteries in an 80km radius.

He was the son of Dickinson Fisher and Margaret Birkett of 60 High Street Cleator Moor, and the husband of Mary Birkett (nee Walton) of Cleator Moor who he had married in the June quarter of 1940.

His father had died in World War 1, and is commemorated on the Cleator Moor St. John War Memorial.

He is also on Cleator Moor War Memorial.

John Birney    

Private Birney (14988625) of the 1st Battalion Highland Light Infantry (City of Glasgow Regiment) died from wounds on 6th March 1945, aged 19.

He is buried in Grave IC17 of Mook War Cemetery, which is 11km South East of Nijmegen. There are 311 troops buried here. Most of them (not Pvt Birney) died in the Battle of Nijmegen in Autumn 1944.

He had joined the RAF in June 1944, but was transferred to the Army in October 1944. From 1941 to 1944 he had belonged to the Cleator Moor flight of the ATC. He had been studying to be an Electrical Engineer. There is a photograph of him on page 4 of the “News” of 15th March 1945.

He was the son of John Edward and Iona Birney of 126, Main Street, Frizington.

He is also on both the Cleator Moor and Frizington War Memorials.

John (‘Jock’) Birnie                                                            

Pilot Officer Birnie (173326) of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve died on 19th April 1944, aged 20.

He is one of three war casualties (all airmen) buried in Gosforth Churchyard. His funeral was on 24th April.

Before joining the RAFVR he was a member of the Home Guard and the Gosforth Flight A.T.C. where he reached the rank of flight sergeant. He was a ‘Lancaster’ Pilot when he died.

He was the son of Walter and Bessie Birnie of Spout House, Gosforth. There was also one sister.

Joseph Lewthwaite Borrowdale

Flight Sergeant (Obs.) Borrowdale (1151361) of 218 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve went missing on 31st May 1942, at the age of 26. This was during the “thousand bomber” raid on Cologne.

He is buried in Grave 1E25 of Rheinberg War Cemetery. This is 85km north of Cologne. All 3.179 men buried here were removed from other cemeteries in the area.

He was the son of Mr and Mrs Joseph .H. Borrowdale, of Hensingham.  When he started at the Grammar School the family lived at Tarn Bank, Braystones but latterly had been at “Mechlin” on Hensingham Road/Inkerman Terrace. His father was a Tailor. Joseph’s primary education had been at Ghyll Bank School, Whitehaven. On the first day of the Spring Term 1932 he had been sent home for ill health, and was ordered by a specialist to leave school at once. He was then educated privately.

Shortly after leaving school he went to South Africa on a government appointment to Witwatersrand. When war broke out he joined the crew of a floating whale factory and worked his passage to England to join the RAF in 1940. He took part in many operations, including the Rostock raid.

There is a photograph of him on page 3 of the “News” dated 4th June 1942.

He is also on the Lowther Street Methodist Church War Memorial.

Robert Brady

Pilot Sergeant Brady (1066638) of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve died on 5th September 1941 aged 21.

He is buried at Grave 7, Row 8 of Moresby St. Bridget Churchyard- one of seven military graves there. This is a private gravestone, not a CWGC one.

He was the son of Robert and Annie Brady of Brewery House, Parton.

He is also remembered on the Parton & Moresby War Memorial, outside Parton Railway Station.

Louis Brown

Sergeant Brown (1496117) of 102 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve died on 30th July 1943, aged 23.

He is remembered on Panel 144 of the Runnymede Memorial.

He was the son of Robert and Mary Brown of Orchard House, Cleator Moor.

He is also on Cleator Moor War Memorial.

George Clarke                                                                   

Pilot Officer (161322) of 15 Squadron Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve died on 27th January 1944, aged 22.

He is remembered on Panel 210 of the Runnymede Memorial. 

George Clarke was the son of Wilson Clarke of 41 Thorny Road, Thornhill, and then Dove Cottage, Haile. He was born on 2nd February 1921 and his primary education was at Thornhill, before he was awarded an Article 15 grant by the School governors. He attended the Grammar School from September 1932 to July 1937.

His father was a joiner. There is a photograph of him on page 4 of the ‘News’ dated 3rd August 1944.  

His name is also on the Thornhill & Beckermet St. John War Memorials.

Francis Kenneth Crossley                                         

Sergeant (Obs) Crossley (925452) of 57 Squadron Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, died on 3rd September 1941, aged 21.

He is buried in grave A12 of Whittlesford (St. Mary and Andrew) Churchyard, Cambridgeshire.

The family address was Langdale, Earls Road, Bransty (previously 97 Bransty Road) when he was at school.  His father, Benjamin Crossley was an accountant. By the time of Francis’ death the family lived at 170B Hughenden Road, High Wycombe.

From a local newspaper obituary in Cambridgeshire we know that this is the correct person.

Francis was born on 10th June 1920, and attended Bransty Junior School and Irish Street Council School before the Grammar School. He was there from 1931 to 1936, and left to become a Post Office Clerk.

Robert William Dargavel

Pilot Off icer Dargavel (109511) of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve died on 30th March 1942, age 30. He was born on 21st March 1912.

He was from Cross Farm, Drigg, Holmrook, where his father (Robert) was a farmer. He attended Drigg Primary School, and then was at the Grammar School from November 1923 to December 1928 when he passed the School Certificate with Matriculation. When he left, aged 16, he became a Clerk at an Insurance Office.

He is remembered on Panel 69 of the Runnymede Memorial.

He is NOT on Drigg War Memorial, in St. Peter’s Church, which has just one name for World War Two. However he is on Bootle War Memorial, incorrectly recorded as H W Dargavel.

William Vincent Edmondson

Leading Aircraftman Edmondson (1548854) of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve died on 6th January 1943, aged 19. He is one of 10 aircrew killed while training at the No. 33 Elementary Flying Training School at Caron.

He is buried in Block C Plot 28 Grave D of the Caron Municipal Cemetery. This is 26km west of Moose Law, Saskatchewan, Canada.

He was the son of John Hayes Martindale and Mary Edmondson of 15 Mid Street, Kells. He was at Monkwray School before the Secondary School and joined the RAF in April 1942, and was training as a pilot under the Empire Air Training Scheme. He was a keen athlete, Rugby and Cricket player, and was previously an ATC Cadet and a member of the Whitehaven Home Guard. There is a photograph of him on page 3 of the ‘News’ of 21st January 1943. He is also commemorated on the family gravestone in Ward 5E of Whitehaven Cemetery.

He is also commemorated on the Kells St. Peter Memorial.

John Evans

Warrant Officer Class II (QMS) 7266524 of the Royal Army Medical Corps died at sea on 1st December 1942 aged 24.

Unfortunately the details of this incident do not appear to be available- presumably he was on a Hospital Ship which was sunk, somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean.

He is commemorated on Column 1 of Panel 18 of the Brookwood Memorial in the Canadian Section of the Brookwood Cemetery in Surrey. There are 1,601Great War and 3,476 Second War personnel remembered here, who have no known grave, but the circumstances of their death precluded their lives from being marked on more specific campaign memorials.

This began life as the first of the London overspill cemeteries, when the cemeteries of Inner London could not cope with the growth of the city. Regular funeral trains were run from a dedicated station near London Waterloo Railway Station direct into the cemetery to one of a number of internal cemetery stations depending on the faith of the deceased.

John Evans was born on 10th September 1918 and lived at 15 High Road. He was educated at Monkwray School before the Grammar School. He was there from September 1930 to July 1936 on a County Council Grant and after passing the JMB School Certificate went to Carmarthen Training College. His father, Evan Henry Evans was a Traffic Controller at the coal mines (died 2nd August 1951 aged 76), and his mother was Jane Neill Evans (who died on 12th September 1949 aged 63). Both of his parents were Magistrates. His parents lived at 15 High Road until their respective deaths.

He is also on the Presbyterian Church War Memorial (in the URC church). He is further commemorated on the family gravestone 5D31 in Whitehaven Cemetery, and on the St. Peters, Kells Memorial.

John Booth Gilbertson

Flight Sergeant (Air Gunner) Gilbertson (1698349) of 83 Squadron Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve died on 30th January 1944, aged 20. He is buried in Collective grave 5F 3 to 6 of the Berlin 1939 to 1945 War Cemetery. There are 3,595 men buried here, mainly reinterred here after the war from a variety of locations in the area.

He was the son of John Robert and Eva Gilbertson of 19 Main Street Egremont.

He is also on the Egremont War Memorial, on Main Street.

William Tyson Gill

Gunner Gill (1118482) of 241 Battery, 69 (The Denbighshire Yeomanry) Medium Regiment Royal Artillery died on 30th March 1943 at the age of 21. He is remembered on Face 8 of the Medjez-el-Bab Cemetery , 60 km west of Tunis, Tunisia He is one of nearly 2,000 men of the 1st & 8th armies with no known grave who died in the final offensive. Overall 2,903 men are buried or commemorated here.

He was the son of Robert and Mary O Gill of Hakodadi, Arlecdon and Frizington, and was also a school teacher.    

His name is also on the Arlecdon War Memorial.

John George Golightly

Second Engineer Officer Golightly (Merchant Navy) was lost at sea on the MV Athelcrest of Liverpool on 25th August 1940, at the age of 27.

He is remembered on Panel 11 of the Tower Hill Memorial, London where 35,787 names of the Merchant and Royal Navy without known graves (from both wars) are commemorated.

The nearly new Athelcrest (6,825 te, owned by the United Molasses Company) was torpedoed by U48 90 miles east by north of the Flannan Isles (Outer Hebrides). She was in Convoy HX-65A, carrying diesel oil from Aruba (Dutch West Indies) to London. Thirty of the 36 crew were lost. The other six were picked up by the corvette HMS Godetia (K72) which also scuttled the wreck by gunfire, and later landed the survivors at Methil, Fife. The exact position of the wreck is not publicly available.

He was the son of George and Agnes Golightly, of Woodbank, Whitehaven, and the grandson of John (died 7th March 1935) and Jane Kerr (died 15th November 1952)- he is also commemorated on their gravestone 1X 188 at Whitehaven Cemetery. He is not on the Borough Roll of Honour.

He is also on the St. James Memorial and the Sanctuary Lamp above the High Altar is also dedicated in his memory.          

Thomas Ernest Haile          

Bombardier Haile (950822) of the 95 Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery died on 6th June 1942, at the age of 22. He is buried in grave 11B12 of Knightsbridge War Cemetery, Acroma, Libya. This is 25km west of Tobruk. There are 3,651 men buried or commemorated here.

He was the son of Robert E and Mary E Haile of 57 Trumpet Road, Cleator.

He is also on Cleator Moor War Memorial.

John Cornish Higham                                                       

Flight Engineer Sergeant Higham (570376) of 10 Squadron RAF was reported missing, presumed dead on the night of 19th to 20th May 1942, aged 21.

He is commemorated on Panel 85 of the Runnymede Memorial.

He was the son of William and Elizabeth J. Higham, of 17 Irish Street.

Leonard Horn

Flight Sergeant Horn (1115315) of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve was reported missing presumed dead on 16th September 1942, aged 20.

He is remembered on Panel 74 of the Runnymede Memorial.

He was the son of Christopher Turner and Mary Horn (of Lowther Arms, Hensingham), and the husband of Sarah Horn (nee Tubman), Bransty (who he had married at Salford in the June quarter of 1939). They lived at 76 Bransty Road. They had one child, Leonard, who attended Bransty School.

Elsie May Johnston

Elsie was one of 18 Civilian casualties in Sittingbourne. She died on 15th October 1940, aged 47, at 11 The Crescent, Kemsley, Sittingbourne, Kent. She was buried in grave 5G4 at Whitehaven Cemetery on 22nd October 1940 after a funeral at St James’ Church.

She was the only daughter of Mr. and Mrs James R. Loves of 78 Loop Road North, and married to Mr Thomas Johnston (at St. James on 22nd February 1919).  Her husband had been an electrician in Whitehaven, but they moved to London in 1930 when he got a job down there. Their only child, Joyce, had married 3 weeks before at the age of 21.

Mrs Johnston had been a County Minor Scholarship winner and a teacher at the St. James National School before marriage. She was an expert swimmer and played for the Women’s football club, which raised much for charitable causes in the Great War.

The Junior School Children lined both sides of the road outside the school as a mark of respect as the cortege passed on the way to the funeral.

In the same raid the factory where her husband was working at the time was also damaged. Wreaths were sent from the ARP wardens at Kemsley (where her husband was a warden), from her husband’s factory, from the local Golf Club (where both were members) and from the staff of Walter Wilson’s grocery store in Whitehaven.

She is not on the Borough Roll of Honour.

William Hastie Johnstone

Signalman Johnstone (2380298) of the 46th Div Royal Corps of Signals died on 4th December 1943, at the age of 28. He is buried in grave VII D20 of Cassino War Cemetery, Italy. There are 4,271 men buried or commemorated here.

He was the son of Thomas and Sophia Johnstone of 26 Crossfield Road, Cleator Moor, and the husband of Dorothy Johnstone (nee Johnston, married in the September quarter of 1942), of 100 Ennerdale Road, Cleator Moor.

A memorial service was held for him on March 4th 1944 at St. Johns Church, Cleator Moor.

He is also on Cleator Moor War Memorial.

Christine Mary Frank Kitchin

Christine was a Civilian who died at around 0200 on 16th April 1941 aged 28, at 14 Calais Street, Lambeth, London. A bomb demolished her home, she was alive when pulled out from the rubble but did not regain consciousness.

Her coffin arrived by train at St. Bees Station on the evening of Saturday 26th April and was taken to St. Bees School Chapel, where it lay overnight- believed to be the first time that this honour had been accorded.

She was buried at St. Bees on 27th April 1941 by Revd Reginald Mayall, Vicar of Holy Trinity & Christ Church, Whitehaven (the service had been taken jointly by him and the Vicar of St. Bees) and was one of 1.646 civilians to die in Lambeth as a result of the war. An expert in domestic science, she was working at a communal feeding station amongst the poor who had been rendered homeless. She took her domestic science degree at Edinburgh University and then obtained a teaching position in London

She was the elder daughter of Frederick and Mary Frank Kitchen of Hampton Place, St. Bees (school records state 33 Main Street, it is the same place- Hampton Place is half a dozen houses on Main St.), and the granddaughter of the late Henry Kitchin J.P.

Her grave is on the north side of the churchyard extension, 4 rows from the seaward wall. Her younger sister Phyllis was also buried here when she died on 10th February 2002, at the age of 76.

She is also commemorated on two of the three war memorials at St. Bees Priory Church, the original one just inside the Lych Gate and the brass plaque in the North Aisle, which was introduced by the Parish Council in 2009.

George McClellan

Leading Aircraftman McClellan (1065885) of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve died on 20th May 1943, aged 27.

He is buried in grave 3C3 of Heliopolis War Cemetery, Cairo, Egypt. There are 1,742 people buried or commemorated here.

He was the son of Samuel Sydney and Margaret Jane McClellan of Carlisle, but Bootle when he died. When George was at School the family lived at Nethertown Station House, so his father was a railwayman, probably stationmaster.

There is a photograph of him on page 3 of the “Whitehaven News” dated 10th June 1943.

He is also commemorated on Bootle War Memorial.

George Mattinson

Pilot Officer Mattinson (143576) of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve died on 3rd July 1943, at the age of 31.

He is buried in grave Sec LC385 at Egremont Cemetery, one of 11 service personnel there.

He was the son of Frank and Mary Hannah Mattinson of 73 Main Street Egremont, and the husband of Elsie Mattinson, also of Egremont.

He is also on the Egremont War Memorial, on Main Street.

Cyril Moore

Sub-Lieutenant (A) Moore of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve died at HMS Saker on 9th August 1944, at the age of 20.

He is buried at Lot 168 of the Portsmouth Naval Cemetery. New Hampshire USA, where 19 British servicemen are interred. HMS Saker was the Fleet Air Arm accounting base in the USA, not a ship, at Brooklyn (New York).

He had joined in January 1943 as a pilot in the Fleet Air Arm. On completing his training at Christmas that year he was attached to a naval air squadron.

He was the son of Cyril and Bridget Moore of 50 Loop Road North.. He was educated at Whitehaven Secondary School and St. Bees School, and then entered his father’s furniture, cabinet making, removals and storage business (Cyril Moore of 15 Lowther Street and Fox Lane). He was a long distance swimmer, and one of the town’s most promising Rugby players. There is a photograph of him on page 3 of the ‘News’ dated 17th August 1944.

He is also on the St. James’ Memorial.

Clifford Moore M.M.

Lance Serjeant Moore (14404795) of the 8th Battalion Royal Scots died on 24th March 1945 at the age of 22.

He is buried in Grave 44C13 of Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, near Kleve, Germany. It is close to the Dutch border, being 25km SE of Nijmegen. There are 7,594 men buried or commemorated here, concentrated in here from all over West Germany. It is the largest Allied War Cemetery in Germany.

He was the son of Randolph and Edith Maud Moore of Millom. This casualty is NOT on the memorial.

His name is also on the Millom War Memorial, outside the Railway Station. The war memorial in the grounds of St. George’s Church is for the Boer Wars.

Edwin Moorhouse

Gunner Moorhouse (905886) of 203 Battery, 51 (The Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry) Field Regiment Royal Artillery died on 22nd November 1941 at the age of 21. He was presumed killed at Sidi Rezegh, Libya.

He is commemorated on Column 40 of the Alamein Memorial, Egypt. There are around 23,000 men buried or commemorated here.

He was born on 2nd September 1920, the son of Wilson and Leah Moorhouse (nee Hartley), of Catherine Street. His father was a builder, and Edwin became a builder when he left school in April 1938.  He had a sister, Phyllis. Wilson, his father (born 31st March 1880) died on 19th April 1944, and Leah (born 22nd June 1882) died on 1st January 1950. His parents had married in 1911.

He is commemorated on Column 40 of the Alamein Memorial, Egypt. There are around 23,000 men buried or commemorated here.

He is also on the Lowther Street Methodist Church War Memorial. He is also commemorated on the family gravestone 6H4 at Whitehaven Cemetery.

Stanley Thompson Park

Lieutenant Park (Service No. 72565) of the 5th Battalion (at the start of the war), 7th Battalion at time of death Border Regiment died of pleurisy at “Derwent”, Langdon Road, Folkestone on 3rd June 1947, aged 29.

He was the eldest of three sons of Mr and Mrs William Thomas Park and the husband of Nancy Lena Park (nee Perry), of Mellguards, Southwaite, Carlisle and is buried at Wreay (St. Mary) Church Cemetery, St. Cuthbert Without, Cumbria. From his School records we know that he was born on 17th July 1917 (at Gateshead), the family lived at Kimpston House, Whitehaven, his father was the Manager of the Midland Bank and his primary education was at Ghyll Bank School, Inkerman Terrace (until going to Grammar School in September 1929). After leaving the Grammar School (apparently without passing exams) in July 1933 his further education was at St. Peter’s College, York. His brothers were John and Joe.

The marriage had been on 14th April 1942 at All Saints Church, Cockermouth with the reception at the Castle Inn, Bassenthwaite. They lived at Rosehill, Moresby after marriage, but his widow moved to 3 Towers Lane, Cockermouth (the family home). They had one child- Patricia Ann who had been born on 17th January 1944. Nancy did not remarry and died at Blackpool in October 2004.

He was wounded in May 1940 at Dunkirk, losing his right eye and the hearing in his right ear. He was discharged and subsequently became Captain Adjutant of the Whitehaven Home Guard. Towards the end of the war he was able to rejoin the Border Regiment. After the war he worked at the Folkestone branch of the Midland Bank.

His sword and swagger stick was sold at Mitchells Auctions in June 2008 (Lot 560).

He is also on the St. Nicholas Memorial and on Cockermouth War Memorial. Wreay does not have a WW2 memorial. See also page 23 of the Whitehaven News dated 18th April 2013.

Harold Byers Pickthall

Lance Corporal Byers (2352211) of the 18th Division Royal Corps of Signals died on 11th January 1944 aged 30. He is buried in grave 3F7 of Chungkai War Cemetery, Kanchanaburi, Thailand.

There are 1,427 men buried here, transferred from camp burial grounds and other isolated sites along the Burma-Siam Railway. He died of malaria in the Japanese Prisoner of War Camp at Chungkai. Over 100,000 local civilians and prisoners of war are estimated to have died in the construction of the railway.

He was the son of Richard Owen and Annie Pickthall, and the husband of Esther Pickthall (nee de Molee, of Millom) of Barrow-in-Furness. When he was at School the family address was Station House, Sellafield, so his father was a railwayman. Before the Secondary School he was educated at Montreal School, Cleator Moor, and had been employed in the accounts section of the LMS goods and passenger managers office at Barrow. After Sellafield his father was Station Master at Cleator Moor then at Keswick when Harold died. The marriage was in the September quarter of 1941 in the Cockermouth Registration District.

He is also on Keswick War Memorial and on Crosthwaite Church Memorial, because of his father’s employment there.

Thomas Pinckney Pratt

Pilot Officer Pratt (45376) of 49 Squadron Royal Air Force died on 29th August 1941, aged 25, while on a mission to bomb Duisburg in Germany..

He is buried in grave K349 of the Texel (Den Burg) Cemetery- the largest of the Dutch Friesian Islands. There are 167 servicemen buried in this cemetery.

Texel is now known as a major Dutch seaside destination.

He was born on 3rd October 1915, and lived at 10 Lingla Bank, Frizington, and the son of Mr Thomas Bell (who had died by 1930) and Mrs Elizabeth Pratt. His mother was a Cashier, and his school before the Grammar School had been St. Davids, Swansea. He was at the Grammar School from September 1930 to December 1934, but failed his JMB School Certificate.

He is also on Cleator Moor War Memorial.

Wilfred Arthur Urch Roberts

Marine Roberts (PLY/X/1360) died when the HMS Gloucester was sunk on 22nd May 1941 (aged 27), and was declared dead in May 1945. The light cruiser Gloucester was attacked by German Stuka dive bombers off the island of Crete while supporting the rescue of survivors from the earlier sinking of the Greyhound. She sustained four direct hits by heavy bombs and 3 near misses, but eventually sank at 17.15. Of the 807 men on board 722 were lost. This was one of the worst naval disasters of the entire war, and was controversial because the survivors had to be rescued by the Germans.

As he has no known grave he is commemorated on Column 3 of Panel 54 of the Plymouth Naval Memorial.

He was born on 8th March 1918, and entered the Grammar School on 4th June 1931, the same day as his brother John William (born 4th December 1916).

His father (John E Roberts) was an Electrical Engineer at the South Cumberland Electric Supply Company, and the family had recently moved from Guildford. Both of the children left school on 23rd July 1932- Wilfred to go into the Royal Marines and John to become a policeman. Wilfred initially served on HMS Royal Oak to Christmas 1935. At school Wilfred was known as ‘Arty’. He had been a server at Egremont St. Mary’s Church and a keen member of the town Boy Scouts.

They lived at 22 High Lea, Egremont.

The wreck lies in 860 metres of water, at location 35o52’N, 22o59’E.

He is also on the Egremont War Memorial, on Main Street.

Gerard Scully

Sergeant Scully (1219445) of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve died on 13th May 1943, aged 21 when Halifax JB685 crash landed at 0620 at Bishop Wilton, 5 miles East South East of Stamford Bridge . The plane had taken off from RAF Elvington at 2345 on 12th May on a bombing raid on Duisberg, Germany.

He is buried in Grave G475 of the Olton Franciscan Cemetery, Solihull. There are 20 servicemen interred there.

Gerard was born on 23rd November 1921 at Easington, County Durham. He had previously attended St. Beghs School, and lived at 24 Lowther Street. He attended the Grammar School (with his one year younger brother Thomas Stanley) from 11th September 1935 to 2nd June 1939, when the family moved to 100 Gillot Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham. Thomas became an Insurance Office Clerk when he left school.

His father, Thomas, was an Insurance Manager. His mother was Freda Veronica.

Of the flight crew of 7 there was one other casualty-Pilot F/O Thomas Archibald DFC RAAF. He is buried at Barmby-on-the Moor St Catherine’s Churchyard, East Yorkshire. He was awarded the DFC a few days after his death for an earlier action in April 1943. The citation for his DFC is: One night in April 1943, this officer captained an aircraft whish attacked Essen. Whilst 

over the target area, the aircraft was repeatedly hit by fire from the ground defences and one engine was put out of action. It was then discovered that one bomb had failed to release. FO Archibald made a second run over the target and released the bomb 

successfully. His aircraft sustained much damage but he flew it back to base with one engine unserviceable. This officer displayed great courage and devotion to duty. (London Gazette 25/5/1943, Page 2320)

The 5 flight crew who survived were- RAF Sgt C Hewitson, (Flight Engineer), RAF Sgt J Gerry, (Navigator), RAF Sgt G Harlow, (Wireless Air Gunner), RAF Sgt F K Smith, (Mid Upper Gunner) and RAF Sgt J Currie (Tail Gunner).

The background information for this casualty, about the details of the crash and the DFC citation are from research by Joseph Ritson. It is clear from this information that he was an omission, in error, from the St. Begh’s memorial.

Stanley Spedding

Sergeant Spedding (1041728) of 104 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve died on 23rd July 1943 aged 20.

He is remembered on Panel 9, Column 1 of the Malta Memorial.

He was the son of James and Annie Spedding of East Croft, Beckermet.

His name is also on the Thornhill & Beckermet St. John War Memorials, and on Calderbridge (Beckermet St. Bridget Memorial).

George Edward Step

Sergeant Air Gunner Ted Step (1067562) of 21 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve died on 7th July 1942, aged 20, in a flying accident. His address is given by the Borough Roll of Honour as the Lowther Arms, where his mother then lived.

He is buried in grave C61 at Watton St. Mary Churchyard, Norfolk. There are 39 servicemen buried there.

George was born at Dalton-in-Furness on 13th October 1921. His father (Percival G) was an electrician, but his whereabouts were unknown, so he lived at 28 Ginns with his mother (Fanny). There is a photograph of him on page 4 of the “News” of 23rd July 1942.

Throughout his school life (September 1933 to May 1940) he was known as Steppe. However he produced his Birth Certificate to the school in June 1940 which showed his surname to be Step. He was expected to go to Borough Road Training College thereafter. 

Charles Thompson

Warrant Officer Thompson Class I (3711512) of the Royal Artillery died on the night of 29th to 30th June 1944.

The national Roll of Honour states that he died in India, but he is commemorated on Face 2 of the Rangoon Memorial, Burma. There are 26,857 men buried or commemorated here of which 6,374 are World War Two- 867 of those (like W/O Thompson) are unidentified. Many were removed here from battlefield graves or smaller cemeteries which it was not possible to maintain.

Charles was born on 21st November 1904, the son of Calvert & Eleanor Thompson His father was a draper of 4 Market Place, Egremont. He attended the Grammar School from January 1917 to December 1919 (aged 15), and left to become a Drapers Assistant in his father’s business.

His primary education had been at Bookwell School, Egremont.

He is NOT on the Egremont Civic, the Egremont Parish Church or Thornhill War Memorials.

Harold Todhunter

Sergeant Todhunter (1523611) of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (based at Lossiemouth, Scotland) died in an Air Crash aged 22 on 14th August 1944. He was buried on 19th August at Whitehaven Cemetery in Grave 5P10 (from St. Nicholas), together with his mother who died on 15th October 1944, aged 63. His father died on 10th March 1941 (aged 62), and was also buried in 5P10 on 14th March 1941 from Holy Trinity Church.

He was the 6th son/ 8th Child of George and Jane Todhunter (nee Beck) who lived at 14 Solway View at the date of Harold’s death.  George was the innkeeper at the Indian King Hotel on Roper Street. His parents had married at Holy Trinity on 3rd February 1902. George was then a Miner of Tangier Street (father, John was a Barber) and Jane’s father was a Ship’s Plater of Albion Street. At the 1901 census George and his brothers John, Edward, Henry and Alexander were living with their older sister Lilian and her two children while John was living on his own at 105 Main Street, Parton.

From School Records we know that he was born on 20th January 1922 (and baptised 19th February 1922 at Holy Trinity). He was on a 100% County Council ‘Article 15’ grant, having previously attended St. James C of E School. He passed the JMB School Certificate in 1938 in the Lower 6th form. At School he was the Captain of both the Rugby and Cricket teams, later playing for the town teams in both sports. He worked at Whitehaven Laundry as a Clerk, then in the offices at High Duty Alloys.

Older brothers and sisters (all baptised at Holy Trinity) were William (born 1904) and John (born 1905) both at 5 Williamson’s Lane; Martin Beck (1907) and Lillian (1909) both at 4 Torrentine’s Lane; Alexander (1913), Margery (1914) and Leonard (1917) at 32 Strand Street, as was Harold. Interestingly George’s brother Henry was also an Innkeeper for many years and also had a large family.

Lossiemouth (built in 1938/1939) was mainly a training base for 20 Operational Training Unit (Training on Wellington night bombers) although occasional operations were undertaken from there, like 617 (Dambuster) Squadron’s raid on the Tirpitz a few months later. By 1944 it was part of 91 Training Group. He was one of 6 aircrew, who also died, in Wellington III HF816A of A Flight. They had departed Lossiemouth  for an evening cross-country, but the plane dived at very high speed at around 2230 and crashed into the ground exploding not far from Methy Bridge, which is about 5miles SSW of Grantown-on-Spey.

The other crew were: P/O Philip Lionel Bennett Paterson, buried at the nearby Elgin New Cemetery

Sgt James Michael Downey, buried at Leytonstone RC Cemetery, East London

Sgt Stephen Fraser, buried at Lossiemouth

P/O Denis Henderson Rankin, buried at Carnmoney Cemetery, County Antrim, Ulster

Sgt Robert Arthur George Bailey, buried at Bungay, Norfolk

There is a photograph of Harold Todhunter on page 3 of the “News” of 31st August 1944.

He is also commemorated on the Grammar School memorial (which he attended between September 1933 and June 1939), now on the South Gallery of St. James Church.

Robert Tyson

Gunner Tyson (934540) of 107 Regiment (The South Nottinghamshire Hussars) Royal Horse Artillery died on 31st May 1942 aged 24.

He is buried in Grave 1C13 of Knightsbridge War Cemetery, Acroma, Libya.

He was the son of Timothy and Sarah Ann Tyson of East Croft, Beckermet.

His name is also on the Thornhill & Beckermet St. John War Memorials and on the Calderbridge Memorial.

Thomas Vernon

Lance Sergeant Vernon (7906359) of the 141st (7th Battalion The Buffs Royal Hertfordshire Regiment) Royal Armoured Corps died on 18th July 1944, aged 26.

He is one of 2,170 servicemen buried at the Banneulle-la-Campagne War Cemetery, which is 10km east of Caen. He is in grave ID 24.

He was born on 21st December 1917.

His father was William Vernon, a coalminer of 2 West Croft Terrace, Lowca, and his primary education was at Lowca School. He attended the Grammar School from September 1928 to February 1934 on a County Council Grant, and left to become a Clerk.

His name is also on the Lowca War Memorial (relocated in 2008 from outside the Methodist Church to opposite the Post Office).

Walter Walker

Lieutenant Colonel Walker (3602009) died in Holland on 1st November 1944, aged 26, serving with the 2nd Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

He is buried in Grave VII F7 of Mierlo War Cemetery, Holland. This is located 12km east of Eindhoven, and is a concentration cemetery where 659 men are buried.

He was one of two sons of Mr E. and Mrs Margaret Walker of 23, Windermere Road.

He had been employed in the retail fruit trade before joining up. He was a keen athlete and had won many running prizes.

He is also on the St. Begh’s Memorial.

Harold Watson

Revd Harold Watson was a Chaplain 4th Class (38843) attached to the 7th Battalion Border Regiment. He died at Hill End Hospital, St. Albans, on 12th November 1941, aged 32.

He was buried in Grave 58 at St Bees Churchyard on 15th November- one of 4 military graves there. The death is said to have been an accident, although it may have been from catching pneumonia while sleeping overnight in a ditch while on exercise. This grave is on the north side of the extension, five rows back from the seaward wall.

He had been a pupil of Whitehaven County Secondary School. On leaving he assisted his father at Cleator Forge, before taking Holy Orders. He became a Curate at Clayton-le-Moors, Lancashire. He had been in the Territorials, and rejoined his old regiment, as padre, at the outbreak of war.

The coffin had lain in the church overnight and was borne to the graveside by the St. Bees Home Guard.

He was the second son of Dacre and Mary E Watson of Rosebank, St Bees, and the husband of Doris Watson (with whom he had had one child), also of St Bees. The marriage had been in the December quarter of 1934 in the Bootle registration district.

A 4th class Chaplain was the lowest rank, but still equivalent to a Captain, 3rd Class equiv Majors, 2nd & 1st Class equiv Lieut-Colonels.

He is one of 130 chaplains remembered on the memorial on the east wall of the Royal Garrison Church of All Saints, Aldershot. This was dedicated on 31st October 1923.

His name is also on Cleator Moor War Memorial. He is also on all three War Memorials at St. Bees Priory Church- the original memorial just inside the lych gate, the Brass Plaque in the North Aisle of the Church (installed by the Parish Council in 2009), and a prayer bench introduced to the church in 1949, and now on the south side of the sanctuary.

Cliffordd Roger Williams

Lieutenant Williams (72170) of the Nottinghamshire Yeomanry, Royal Armoured Corps died on 26th March 1943 aged 43. He had joined the 5th Border Territorial Battalion in 1936 and became an instructor at the Carlisle Infantry Training Centre. He then became the Small Arms Officer at Battalion HQ, and was then seconded to the Royal Armoured Corps (as a Temporary Captain). He reverted to the rank of lieutenant on leaving for Tunisia in August 1942.

He died commanding three tanks at the El Hamma attacks with the 8th Army.

He has no known grave, but is commemorated on Face 5 of the Medjez-El-Bab Memorial, Tunisia

He was the only son of John Roger and Sarah Helen Williams (of Shrublands, Corkickle) and the husband of Mary Williams (nee Peel).

They married on 7th October 1939 at Hensingham St. John and set up home at “Hartfield”, Sneckyeat Road, Hensingham and had a daughter (Jennifer Mary born 1st February 1942 , baptised at St. Nicholas on 1st March 1942 and attended Hensingham Infants School). He was educated at Ghyll Bank then the Secondary School. On leaving there he became a pupil in the Mercantile and Commercial Departments at the Whitehaven News, working for his father who was the Manager and Secretary. His father was also the Secretary of the Constituency Liberal Association.

He is also on the St. Nicholas Memorial.

Thomas Leonard Williams

Second Lieutenant Williams (130532) of the Royal Engineers was accidentally killed in an explosion at the base on 13th March 1941 aged 21.

He is buried in grave 3A11 of Ismailia War Memorial Cemetery on the West bank of the Suez Canal.  There are 965 burials there.

He was the son of William John and Eliza Williams (nee Trevaskis) of 1 Scalegill Road, Moor Row, and was born on May 10th 1919.

News of his death was received on 21st March and his mother died the next day from shock aged 60, although she had been confined to bed for the previous month. He won a scholarship from the Secondary School to St. Bees School where he spent five years. While there he took prizes annually for high examination marks in many subjects. He was head boy and captained the school Rugby XV in 1937 to 1938 and was also a member of the cricket XI. He later played Rugby for St. Bees Village and Egremont. In 1938, his last year at the School, he won the “Eaglesfield” Scholarship to Queen’s College, Oxford, a County major and three other Scholarships.

He volunteered immediately that war broke out, and was gazetted second Lieutenant on his 21st birthday.

His mother was an ardent member of the School Street Methodist Church (the former Wesleyan Methodist). Indeed she had been one of the collectors for the Church foundation stone.

There is a photograph of him on page 4 of the “News” of 27th March 1941.

He is also on the Moor Row & Scalegill War Memorial in the middle of Moor Row Village.

Catherine Williamson

Supply Assistant Williamson (67472) of the Women’s Royal Naval Service died on 3rd January 1944 aged 20. She was based at HMS Ferret.

She was found unconscious beside a railway line near the River Foyle ferry. The inquest decided that she had been struck by a train during the blackout, on the way to the naval barracks to report for duty.

She is one of 194 service personnel buried at the Londonderry City Cemetery (Northern Ireland), and is in the Roman Catholic grave M10.

HMS Ferret was a shore establishment (the former Edrington Barracks), for the important anti-submarine Naval training base at Derry. It was in use from 9th December 1940 to 21st July 1947. It was what is known in naval terms as a stone frigate.

She was the daughter of Edward and Catherine Williamson of 58 Duke Street, Cleator Moor who was born on 21st August 1923 and baptised at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church on 29th August 1923, and confirmed there on 29th October 1933. By the time of Catherine’s death her mother lived at Ehen Road, Cleator Moor

She had only been in the WRNS for 2 months, having passed her exams with distinction, and was appointed auditor in the naval supply department. She had previously worked as a clerk at the Cleator Moor food office, having missed out on a chance to go to teacher training college when her father died in 1940

She is also on Cleator Moor War Memorial.

The Borough book of remembrance (DH 7/3) is held by Whitehaven record office.

THE SCHOOL MEMORIAL PLAQUE COST £75, and was purchased in late 1948 (ref. School magazine series 3, number 2).

 


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