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War Record Biographies

This page is for any biographical information on our war dead beyond that made available by the Commonwealth War Grave Commission (CWGC).

Biographies of many previous attendants of the Army Class and main College are included, though constitute only a fraction of the stories of the 187 former students who died during the course of the two World Wars.

With special thanks to the Battle of Britian Archive, Commonwealth War Grave Commission, Kelvin Youngs from Aircrew Remembered, and to Stonyhurst College (many College and Army Class boys also went to Stonyhurst, and the Stonyhurst War Record has provided biographical accounts for many of them).

 

World War One 1914-1918
 

Major R. Raymond-Barker MC

Major R. Raymond-Barker MC, from Wimbledon College, was the penultimate victim of Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron.

Manfred von Richthofen recounted:

With six planes of Jasta 11, I attacked a large enemy squadron. During the fight I observed that a Triplane was attacked and shot at from below by a Camel. I put myself behind the adversary and brought him down, burning, with only a few shots. The enemy plane crashed down near the forest of Hamel where it burned further on the ground.

His M.C annotation reads:

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when leading a fighting patrol. He attacked a large hostile formation, destroying two of them. He has also done excellent work in leading distant photographic reconnaissances, notably upon two occasions when his skilful leadership enabled photographs to be taken of all the required hostile area in spite of repeated attacks from enemy aircraft. He has helped to destroy seven hostile machines, and has at all times displayed conspicuous skill and gallantry

He was a WW1 Flying Ace, shooting or forcing down 6 enemy aircraft.  Major Raymond- Barker flew the Sopwith Camel biplane.

 

Lieut. Henry Joseph Burke, 1st Bn. The South Staffordshire Regt.

Old boy of the Wimbledon College Army Class and Stonyhurst.  Killed in action in France, September 25th, 1915, at the Quarries, near the Hohenzollern Redoubt, during the Battle of Loos.

From February 15th to July 11th he was invalided home, rejoining his regiment in France on the latter date.  The following extract from a Staffordshire newspaper supplies details of his parentage and his brief military life :—

We regret to announce that Lieut. Henry Joseph Burke, of the South Staffordshire Regt., was killed in action on September 25th, 1915, during the severe fighting in France.
The news reached Lichfield in a letter from Lieut, and Q.M. S. Bradbury, who said that Lieut. Burke fell leading his company in an attack on the German trenches, that he was hit by a shell and killed instantaneously, adding that he died, as he had lived, like a thorough English gentleman.
The deceased was 21 years of age, and the younger of the two sons of the late Capt. Edward Plunkett Burke, of the 2nd Bn. The King's Own (Royal Lancaster) Regt., who died whilst stationed with his regiment at Lichfield on March 17th, 1899. His mother is Mrs. Christina Mary Burke, daughter of the late Mr. Matthew D'Arcy, M.P., D.L., of Kilcroney (Ireland), and his paternal grandfather was the late Sir Bernard Burke, Ulster King-at-Arms. The eldest son is Lieut. Edward Bernard Burke, who has followed in the footsteps of his father, and is serving with the King's Own (Royal Lancaster) Regt. The deceased was the second son, and he was born at East Lodge, Farlington, Hants, when his father was stationed near Cosham, on July 11th, 1894.
He was educated at Stonyhurst College, and in the Army Class at Wimbledon, whence he passed to the Royal Military College at Sandhurst. He received his commission in the ist Bn. The South Staffordshire Regt., and was promoted to be Lieutenant on February ist of the present year. A fortnight afterwards, he was invalided home with influenza and laryngitis, and he spent some months under medical treatment. He made a good recovery, and rejoined the ist Bn. The South Staffordshire Regt. on July 11th, his twenty-first birthday. With them he has since served, and officers and men unite in testifying to his gentlemanly qualities, gallantry, and efficiency as an officer. Amongst these, from time to time, have been Lieut.-Col. C. S. Davidson (commanding the 2nd Battalion), Lieut.-Col. A. C. Buckle, the late Major Loder-Symonds, and others

The high opinion formed of his character and soldierly qualities is well illustrated by some extracts which we print below from letters written to his mother by brother officers and others. Extract from a letter to Mrs. Burke :— November 4th, 1914.

I must write a few lines to tell you of a message I had this morning from my husband. Your boy is one of my husband's subalterns—the only one, alas I left, I am afraid—but he says your boy is such " a gallant lad, he is worth his weight in gold." Though a Protestant, my husband is enormously struck at the astounding faith your boy has in prayer.

A letter from Lieut.-Col. Davidson, commanding the 2nd Battalion, to Mrs. Burke :—

I can assure you that Harry lost no time in convincing me, as he had all the officers of the ist Battalion with whom he came in contact, that he is a very capable and gallant officer, and I cannot tell you how pleased I am to have him with me. He is so much older than his years, which is such a valuable asset on active service. 

One of the men of his platoon wrote :—

I can truthfully and without the slightest hesitation say that I have never throughout my eight years' service met a more splendid officer and gentleman than your son, Lieut. Burke. Somehow or other he seemed to understand the " mere private," and I can assure you he is, although new to the 2nd Battalion, thought a great deal of, and highly respected by the men of " C " Company under his command. I have on two occasions been in the trenches at the same time as Lieut. Burke, and the surprising coolness and tact he uses is absolutely admirable, and I for one would not dream of hesitating for one second to follow him in the grimmest encounter possible.

Extract from a letter from Lieut. Bradbury to Mrs. Burke :— FRANCE, October, 1915.

I have interviewed some of the men of your late son's company, and they speak of him in glorious terms ; he was absolutely fearless. I also saw one of the men who was present at his funeral, and he told me that he had died with a smile on his face, and that there was no mark visible of how he came by his death. He must have died instantaneously.

Letter from Major Buckle to Mrs. Burke :— November 2.7th, 1915.

Your son had shown great pluck in all our fights, and his Company Commander, Major Loder-Symonds (since killed in action), spoke of him as a very brave and trustworthy subaltern. These letters speak for themselves in testimony to the high esteem in which he was held by all ranks in the regiment as a fine soldier and popular comrade-in-arms.

A Sergeant, by whose side he was killed, furnished further details :—

I am very sorry to inform you that Mr. Burke got killed next to me in the charge at Loos. He has been buried all right. I did my best for him. He was the officer in command when we mounted the parapet. He got hit in the neck. I put some bandages on him ; he died ten minutes afterwards.

A few days before the battle in which he was killed, Lieut. Burke received the command of his company, and " he led his men most gallantly to the very end," said his Captain. This was at the Quarries, Hohenzollern Redoubt.

We advanced in four lines, C, A, D and B (wrote his Colonel), one company behind the other, and your boy commanded B, and we hoped all would have been well after the first rush, but the enemy's fire was very severe, and I had five signallers with me shot, and then my acting adjutant was shot. Your son was so keen and brave about this attack, and behaved with the greatest pluck, and f am very, very grieved at what has happened. We had to advance a long way under heavy fire, and we lost 18 officers and 430 men out of 29 officers and 729 men. He was beloved by all, and I thought that he worked very hard and seemed to be getting on splendidly He led his men splendidly.

 

2nd Lieut. David Chalmers Burns, 8th Bn. The Black Watch.
 

 Old boy of Wimbledon College and Stonyhurst.  Born 1898. O.S. 1914. Killed in action, October 1st, 1918, at Slypskappelle, in Flanders, during the Battle of Ypres, 1918.

Lieut. David Chalmers Burns, who fell in action on October ist, 1918, was the second son of Mr. and Mrs. David Burns, of Birch Lodge, Wimbledon, and formerly of Valparaiso, Chile, where he was born in 1898. He was educated at Wimbledon College and Stonyhurst, returning to the Army Class at Wimbledon College to prepare for the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, from which he was gazetted in December, 1917, to the Black Watch, proceeding to the front in July, 1918.

He was active in College sports, acquiring a reputation as an excellent all-round athlete, and also at the camp in Ireland, where he was temporarily posted for training to a battalion of his regiment.

It was as his Company Commander wrote later,

greatly owing to his successful efforts that my company won the Inter-Company Shield for most points in the Regimental Sports.

The same officer said of him that he was" very keen and intelligent, and fond of his work."

During the few months of his service abroad he proved a most efficient platoon officer, endearing himself to the men with whom he was in contact, and to his fellow officers," as is testified by letters to his parents.

His Company Commander wrote :

I have lost my best comrade and most promising officer " ; and a fellow subaltern : " I cannot sufficiently express my sympathy for your great loss. He was a good friend of mine, and his men loved him as well as all of the officers.

As to the manner of his death, at the Battle of Ypres, 1918, his battalion C.O. wrote :—

Until he was killed by rifle or machine gun fire, he led his platoon right gallantly. We were advancing through a wood, and he had been hit in the leg. This wound he had evidently just bandaged up, when he was hit in the head. I do not think he suffered any pain from the last wound, and his spirit of determined leadership overcame what he felt from the first. His work with the battalion was of first-rate order, and I can personally assure you his powers of command and leadership were reflected in his platoon, which was one of the best, and while any of his lads are in it your lad's memory will not be forgotten in the platoon. They have done well since your boy fell, and I know how much of their success rests on what he taught them, and how he led them. 

To this is added : —

Be really assured we do feel for you. We know how we miss his cheery presence, and in some measure that helps us to understand the loss you have sustained. 

He was buried in a little clearing by the wood where he fell and re-interred in Slypskappelle churchyard.

The extracts from the following letters show the esteem in which he was held by his brother officers.

Copy of a letter received from the Rev. W. Kennedy, C.F., by his mother : -

He was killed instantaneously by a bullet near the little village of Slypskappelle, about ten miles east of Ypres. I am so glad to be able to confirm the news you have already received as regards his preparation for death and burial. He was a most exemplary boy in every way, and I can hardly tell you that his unexpected death was a great shock to me, as he was an example of piety and virtue, and consequently, his influence made itself felt amongst the Catholics of the battalion, and especially those in his own company. He served my mass, and was at Confession and Communion a few days before his death.

A brother officer wrote :—

I knew your son very well, as I was at Sandhurst with him. We left at the same time, and were again at the Curragh together, and later in France. I saw him the day before he was hit. I and my platoon were filling up a gap between him and the Belgians. This was late in the day, on September 29th. . . . We launched an attack at 11 o'clock a.m. on September 30th. The machine gun fire was exceptionally heavy, and we had no barrage. . . . I found myself in the centre and not in touch with the right. I then noticed the right retiring, and soon after got orders to retire myself. It was then I learnt that your poor son had been killed. . . . He was a good friend of mine, and I know his men also loved him, as well as all the officers. 

 

2nd Lieut. Trevor J. Clancey, 2nd Bn. The Border Regt.
 

Old boy of the Wimbledon College Army Class and Stonyhurst.  Killed in action in Flanders, October 28th, 1914, near Gheluvelt, at the second of the Battles of Ypres, 1914.

Born in 1893, Trevor Clancey was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Clancey, of Windsor Terrace, Rangoon, Burma.

He came to Stonyhurst in 1909 from India, where he had had some preliminary years of schooling. After four years at Stonyhurst, during which his cheery, good-natured disposition made him many friends, he left the School to attend the Army Class at Wimbledon College and then enter Sandhurst in 1913.

Gazetted to a commission in the Border Regt., he was sent to France during the early months of the war, and was with his battalion, heavily engaged with the enemy during the course of the first long-drawn struggle at Ypres. He was a keen soldier, and accounted one of the smartest subalterns in his battalion.

His regiment formed part of the 7th Division entrusted with the task of turning the right of the German army opposite it. On this Division fell the brunt of the fighting that marked the earlier stages of the Battle of Gheluvelt.

The 2nd Borderers suffered severely from the barrage put down by the enemy to arrest the turning movement taking place to the southeast of Ypres, and on October 28th, 1914, Lieut. Clancey was struck down and killed, together with many others of his platoon, by a burst of shrapnel.

 

2nd Lieut. Wilfrid Allen J. Davis, 4th Bn. (attached 1st Bn.) The East Surrey Regt.
 

Old boy of Wimbledon College and Stonyhurst. Killed in action at Hill 60,
near Ypres, April 21st, 1915, defending the crater on the crest of the hill.

Wilfrid Davis was born in 1894, and came into the Philosophy course at Stonyhurst in October, 1911, from Wimbledon College, where the earlier years of his school-life had been spent. He left Stonyhurst before completing the school year, and later took a mathematical scholarship at Oxford. During his brief stay at Stonyhurst his amiable disposition and cheery manners made him popular with all. As a student he was industrious, and obviously talented, especially in his own line—mathematics. All who remember him will regret the early ending of a life so full of promise. The following notice from the Tablet for May 1 st, 1915, supplies further details of his career :—-

Three days later appeared the name of another gallant Catholic officer, who fell at the age of only twenty-one, Lieut. Wilfrid Allen Davis, of the East Surrey Regt., killed at Hill 60 on April 21st, 1915. The youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. W. L. Davis, of 82, Worple Road, Wimbledon, he was educated at Wimbledon College, Stonyhurst, and Oxford, where he went in October, 1913, having won an open mathematical scholarship at Jesus College. He rowed in the College Eight, and also represented his College at lawn tennis. He was a member of the Oxford University O.T.C., and was gazetted in August, 1914, to the 4th Bn. The East Surrey Regt. On leaving for the front on January 26th, he was attached to the 1 st Battalion, and went straight to the trenches and to his death.

A letter from his Commanding Officer gives the details of his death in action :—

Your son was hit by a shell, and death was instantaneous ; he led his men brilliantly, and was killed in an action in which this gallant regiment distinguished itself more than words can say. It achieved wonders, and withstood a most terrible bombardment which some men had reported was impossible. I can only add your son has a full share of the honour, and his loss will be deeply felt in the regiment. He had made himself very dear to all—officers and men.

A Company Sergeant-Major reported :—

We lost poor Lieut. Davis just at the last moment before being relieved. He had worked very hard all night alone, and after the enemy's last unsuccessful attack in the morning he was picked off right on top of the hill where he had so splendidly kept the men in hand all through that terrible night.

Another account says :—

The East Surreys held the crest of Hill 60 against a terrific fire of bombs, shells, and close range artillery from three sides. The shelling and bombing became so terrific that they were ordered to retire under the crest of the hill, but they indignantly sent down a message to say " that they had not budged an inch, and were not going to move.

Lieut. Davis was the last officer of the company left, having seen seven killed and seven wounded. There were other tributes of admiration and sympathy from commanding officers, including one from his Brigadier-General, all tending to emphasise the quite remarkable impression which Wilfrid Davis made on all his comradesin- arms during the few months he passed in their company.

A Military Chaplain, who knew him, said of him,

I have met many splendid types of officers since I have been out here for the past seven months, but I can honestly say that Lieut. Davis was the finest of them all.

A brother officer, whom he helped when wounded, wrote gratefully of his kindness :—

I can never repay the kindness he showed me when I was hit ; he came and covered me up with his coat, and cheered me when I thought I was going to die. Afterwards I saw him going about, fearlessly disregarding the perfect hail of shells and bullets which swept round him. Several times I tried to get him to take the ordinary precautions, but he only laughed, saying " I was born to be hanged, not shot ! " He seems to have done exceptionally well. When I went down he was the only unwounded officer on the hill in our Company. 

His Company Sergeant-Major, who " adores the memory of Lieut. Davis," described how on the night of April 20th

He went during the night at the head of a few men right up the hill to see how many Germans were holding it. He came almost face to face with the Germans, bombed them, and returned without a scratch. When the East Surreys took the hill next morning they found the defences in a very bad state. The parapet was broken, and dead and wounded lying about it. Lieut. Davis selected for himself the most dangerous place beside the huge crater and began to build a parapet in full view of the Germans. They fired on him, and several bullets caught him in the chest. He fell into the crater dead, right on the crest of the hill. That is his grave at the present moment, for the Germans recaptured the hill. Had he been spared he would be wearing the V.C. So think we—Sergt. Reid and the whole battalion.

2nd Lieut. Claude J. O’Connor Mallins 2nd Bn. The Connaught Rangers.
 

Born October, 1894. O.S. 1902.
Old boy of the Wimbledon College Army Class and Stonyhurst.  Killed in action in Flanders, November and, 1914, at Molenaarelsthoek, near Passchendaele.

Claude Mallins received his commission from Sandhurst on August 15th, 1914. The photograph of him which illustrates this was taken the day before he sailed for France, some two months afterwards. He had but a brief career at the front, during which he took part with his battalion in some very heavy fighting.

He was killed in action on November 2nd, 1914, at the village of Molenaarelsthoek, which is situated between Becelaere and Passchendaele.

The Adjutant of his battalion supplied the following account of his gallant death :—

He was with his company in the trenches when the Germans attacked ; he was looking over the trench directing the fire of his platoon when he was shot in the head by a rifle bullet. I am told that he lived for ten minutes but was unconscious. He was buried in a small garden with another officer in the village of Molenaarelsthoek. For the first three weeks he was in my company, so I had ample opportunity of getting to know him. I can vouch for the fact that he was an exceptionally gallant young fellow, very cool and thoroughly sound.

Claude Mallins was the son of the late Mr. O'Conor Mallins and Mrs. Mallins, of 6, Clyde Road, Dublin. He was born in 1894.  He prepared for the Army Entrance Examination at Wimbledon College, Wimbledon.

Major Henry Monteith, The Lanarkshire Yeomanry.

Old boy of Wimbledon College and Stonyhurst. Killed in action in the Gallipoli Peninsula,
December 27th, 1915, at Cape Holies.

Henry Monteith, born 1876, came to Stonyhurst at the beginning of the school year 1889 with his two brothers, Robert and Basil, who was later a Captain in the Gordon Highlanders. Their father was a Philosopher at Stonyhurst, to which he came from Beaumont. His was a striking personality, and many are the anecdotes that survive about him. He created a great sensation by riding one of the very earliest bicycles with a juggernaut of a front wheel, and on it he rode a long journey, admiring crowds gathering in the towns through which he passed. Of horses he was an accomplished and fearless rider.

From him Henry inherited his wonderful pluck and love of horses. Fr. John Gerard used to relate how once when he was staying at Carstairs, Henry, though quite a little boy, was riding one of his father's horses, which naturally alarmed Mrs. Monteith. To her gentle remonstrance, the only consolation offered by her husband was the remark, " Well, I'd rather he'd break his neck on one of my horses than not have the pluck to ride one."

In the Boer War, Henry served with the Imperial Yeomanry, and after that war was private secretary to the Rt. Hon. Walter Long at the Local Government Board, and also in Ireland. When the Great War broke out Henry worked very hard for a year at training his squadron in Fife, and himself had purchased the horses at Glasgow. He often took riding school for other officers, in exchange for infantry work, which he hated. His squadron were among the best horsemen and the best mounted in the Brigade, and were very disappointed at being sent out in September, 1915, to the Mediterranean as infantry. Socially at Fife he was a great success, driving a coach-and-four and organising sports and dances. He was, they say, the last officer in Gallipoli to be killed—on December 27th, 1915.

His youngest brother, Capt. George Monteith, 3rd Bn. The Gordon Highlanders, was killed on September 25th, 1915.

The following letter, from the second in command of the Lanarkshire Yeomanry at Cape Helles, was written to his brother, Basil. December 30th, 1915.

You will probably know by now of Harry's death. On Christmas Day we moved from support into the firing line, Harry and his squadron (" B " Squadron) holding the centre section. Our line was shelled in a desultory fashion that day and rather more on the 26th. On the 27th, the shelling was more marked, some big H.E. stuff coming about us from time to time during the morning, and at 1.45 a concentrated bombardment of our section by 8.5 H.E. began, our centre getting the brunt of it. Harry was in the firing line in the thick of it, and was moving a party of his men out of a battered portion into some better place, when one of these great shells landed on the parapet just at the side of him, knocking him out, and several of his party. The concussion made him insensible at once, and he lived only a few minutes.
We had him carried down to " Rest Camp," and buried in the 52nd Division Cemetery by Fr. Bull, O.P., last night. He and I had both been to Confession and Holy Communion just before going up from camp last Sunday week, and gallant little Harry himself would not have chosen a better end, though I know he would rather have fought his last fight on a horse and not in a ditch.

Extract from The Times of Ceylon, January 13th, 1916 :— " An old friend writes :

I fear that the Major H. J. Monteith, of the Lanarkshire Yeomanry, who was reported killed in action at Gallipoli in your telegrams on Sunday, is Major Henry Joseph Monteith, of Cranley, Lanarkshire. He was 39 years of age, educated at Stonyhurst College, and came out to Ceylon just twenty years ago to plant. He was for some time in Dimbula, in the St. Clair Group. He served through the South African War as A.D.C. to his uncle, General Herbert, of Llanarth, and was at one time assistant private secretary to the Right Hon. Walter Long. He later tried ranching in Canada, and on the sudden death of his father, Mr. Joseph Monteith (whilom of Carstairs), succeeded to the family estate of Cranley. He was an excellent horseman, and rode well to hounds ; he was also fluent in German, and a capable French scholar. His sketches of equestrian scenes and of his favourite animal, the horse, were of no mean order. Hot-tempered, but warm-hearted, the soul of honour and honesty, he was one whose best qualities were suited rather to war than to the cankerous leisure of peace.
His old friends will be sorry to hear that he is no more, but glad to know that he died where he would have liked to die best— in action. He was, I believe, unmarried, and the property passes to one of several soldier brothers.

Father Robert J. Monteith, S.J, Chaplain to the Forces, attached 15th Division.
 

Old boy of Wimbledon College and Stonyhurst.  Killed in action in France, November 27th, 1917, at
Ribecourt, during the Battle of Cambrai, 1917.

The first of the four O.S. Jesuit Chaplains to lay down their lives in the war was Father Robert Monteith, Chaplain to the Forces, and his loss to the English Province of the Jesuits was a grievous one, for not only was he a devoted priest, but he was also one of our most brilliant mathematicians.

He was the son of the late Mr. Joseph Monteith and Mrs. Monteith, of Carstairs. The family history is given in the following extract from the Glasgow Evening News of December 28th, 1917 :—

"The death from wounds of the Rev. Robert Monteith, S.J., while acting as a Chaplain at the front, recalls the old associations of the family with Glasgow, perpetuated in the name Monteith Row. About the middle of the seventeenth century, James Monteith lived on his small estate near Aberfoylc. Refusing to pay blackmail to Rob Roy, Mr. Monteith's property was thrice pillaged by the Macgregors. Determined not to yield, he came to Glasgow with his son and three daughters. The latter were immortalised in the rhyme :—

Jenny wi' the ruffles, Maggie wi' the buckles, And Nannie wi' the cork-heeled shoon.

His grandson, James, was the founder of at least some branches of the cotton trade in Scotland, and the family's enterprise was rewarded with wealth. Henry Monteith, M.P. for Lanark, great-grandson of the bold defier of Rob Roy, purchased the estate of Carstairs— subsequently acquired by the late Sir James King, Bart.—and his grandson, the late Joseph Monteith, of Cranley, Carstairs, was father of the worthy Chaplain who has given his life in his country's service." Robert, or " Bob," as he was familiarly known at Stonyhurst, was one of thirteen brothers and sisters, and was born at Carstairs in 1877. Five of the brothers were at Stonyhurst- Robert, Henry, Francis, Basil, and John Francis. Two of his brothers had been killed in the war before he met his death— Major Henry Monteith, Lanarkshire Yeomanry, who came to Stonyhurst with Bob in 1889, and fell in Gallipoli in 1915, and a younger brother, Capt. George Monteith, Gordon Highlanders, who was killed, also in 1915, in France. Two others, O.S.'s also, were with the colours: Major Basil Monteith, Gordon Highlanders, and Major John Francis Monteith, South Wales Borderers.

Father Robert Monteith came to Stonyhurst in 1889. He had a perfect passion for mathematics, a trait probably inherited from his grandfather, who had distinguished himself in the science when at Cambridge. When other boys, in their free time, were reading story-books, Bob, as a youngster, would be working out the hardest riders and examples he could lay his hands on. In 1893 he shared the second Mathematical Honours Prize with W. Spencer, and in 1894 he gained the first prize. After leaving Stonyhurst he went for a time to Wimbledon College, and joined the noviciate of the Society of Jesus in 1897.

On leaving Manresa in 1900, he went to Oxford for a four years' mathematical course. Of this time a Father who knew him intimately at Pope's Hall wrote from the Hall, now known as Campion Hall :— For the four years that Father Robert spent here, 1900-1904, I was his intimate confidant, and conceived a life-long admiration for his noble character.  In mathematics he was a born genius. One day, at lecture, the lecturer produced a problem, and was descanting on the difficulty thereof, when Monteith handed him in the solution, written on the back of an envelope. Strangely enough, but also characteristically enough, when that very problem was asked in the examination in the Final Schools, Monteith did not notice it till he got back home. Genius is not at its best in examinations. He had all the absentmindedness of genius, and would lose himself in reveries, mathematical and other, to the delight and amusement of his friends. He took a First Class in Mathematical Moderations in 1902 ; a Second Class in the Final Schools in 1904 ; and finally he was presented for his M.A. degree on October 4th, 1907.

After leaving Oxford, he taught mathematics at Stonyhurst with very marked success, interrupting his work there to study his Philosophy at St. Mary's Hall.  

He was one of the large contingent of Jesuit Chaplains who left for France on March 27th, 1917. There he was attached to the 15th Divisional Ammunition Column.

When he came on leave on August 10th, he explained that a rumour that had been current in July, that he had been wounded, referred to an extremely slight wound he had received soon after his arrival in France. While in France he communicated to Land and Water a popular mathematical disquisition on the " Flight of Shells," a subject which had been debated in the Liverpool Mathematical Society before he went out, and in which he had been greatly interested. Of his work at the front, Father Robert Steuart, S.J., C.F., a former Prefect of Philosophers, gave his testimony. He wrote, December 24th, 1917 :—

When he joined this Division in March of this year, the Artillery to which he was attached had had no Chaplain for many months —if indeed they had ever had one. Father Collins (killed at Arras), Father Wilson (Holy Ghost Order, from St. Helens), and I did what we could for them, but it was difficult. He was just the right man for the job, as he was very keen and energetic, and if he wanted anything never stopped till he got it, even if it involved going to the ultimate " Lord Top Notch " for it. He was very popular with the G.O.C. Artillery and the other officers of the two R.A. brigades in his charge, and was most active in visiting the batteries—a thing which (especially at Ypres) often involved a very great personal risk. In the action in which he lost his life, one of our Artillery Brigades was detached from the Division for the advance, and he volunteered to go with it.

In a subsequent letter Father Steuart added :—

Father Monteith was Mess President of the Second Section of the D.A.C., and also secretary to the football league. His coming made all the difference, as there are a very fair number of R.C.'s in the batteries and the D.A.C., and he was very keen and energetic. He got on very well with the senior officers of the Division, one of whom, Berkeley, the D.A.A.G., is a Catholic, and as he always knew very definitely what he wanted in the way of his work and never hesitated to ask for it at once, his friendship with these officers was valuable to him.

The following is the account of Father Monteith's death as communicated by Father Keary, S.J., who, happily, was able to assist him in his last moments :

Father Monteith was in a bivouac at Ribecourt with a veterinary officer and an interpreter when a shell wrecked it, about 8.15 p.m., on November 27th, 1917, wounding Father Monteith, killing the veterinary officer, and likewise wounding the interpreter, though not mortally. As the bivouac was in the transport lines, which are pretty well back from the fighting line, it would have only been accessible to casual long-range shelling. Father Monteith was wounded in the head and chest, besides having an arm  broken and a foot badly smashed.

On being carried to the dressing station, some 500 yards distant, it was seen that the case was a grave one, and word was conveyed to Father Keary, who was not far off, that a priest had been brought in badly wounded. When he reached the dressing station, Father Keary did not recognise Father Monteith, and to make certain that he was a priest, he asked him whether he was indeed one. Father Monteith answered that he was a priest, and in his turn asked Father Keary whether he himself was a priest. " Yes," said Father Keary. " Thank God for that," answered Father Monteith, and asked whether he was dying. On being informed that he was, he expressed his gratitude for that also, and prayed for the grace of a happy death. Father Monteith, when in England, had expressed a desire to lay down his life in the war.
He was absolved and anointed, and himself asked for the last blessing. He then became unconscious, and death followed shortly afterwards at 8.40 p.m. Father" Monteith had told Father Keary his name and the fact that he was a Jesuit.
He died, however, without knowing that he was being assisted by a brother Jesuit, for when Father Keary asked him if he knew a Father Keary, Father Monteith, probably thinking that this might be the beginning of a casual conversation, asked that they should speak about something else.

The body was removed to Father Keary's lodgings, where he said Mass next morning, in its presence. The funeral, which was attended by Fathers Campbell, O'Connor, and Browne, Father Keary officiating, took place next day at two o'clock in the afternoon. He is buried in the village cemetery. Of his worth, Father S. Young, O.S.B., writing to Father Provincial from the Principal Chaplain's Office, General Headquarters, testified :—

Father Monteith was an excellent Chaplain in every way ; it is needless to speak of the splendid work he did, and the vacancy his death will cause. His Commanding Officer wrote :— We shall miss the Padre very much. He had endeared himself to all of us since he joined the Division. He set an example which we shall remember. The fact that he came out here at his time of life, and was always cheerful under all circumstances, will be an incentive to all those who came into contact with him.

Finally, his Artillery Brigadier, McNaughton, C.R.A., 15th Division, who was greatly attached to him, wrote to Father Cortie : —

We were all devoted to the " Padre," as we called him, and numerous were the expressions of regret when the sad news reached us that he had died of wounds received in action. I was not near him at the time, as he had asked for and received permission to accompany one of my brigades, which was detached for a special purpose, I have heard many tales of his bravery under fire, and I know him to have been a brave man. The men loved him. He took a tremendous interest in their welfare and pursuits, and we saddled him with the onerous duties of secretary of our football league. A good man, and a brave man. Requiescat in pace. 

 

Lieutenant James Ryan MC

James Henry Aloysius Ryan (15 September 1892 – 25 September 1915) was an English cricketer active from 1911 to 1914 who played for Northamptonshire (Northants).

Ryan was born in Roade, Northamptonshire. He appeared in nine first-class matches as a righthanded batsman who bowled right arm medium pace. He scored 119 runs with a highest score of 41 and took four wickets with a best performance of two for 51. Ryan played for Ireland in 1912. 

When war broke out he went straight to France in the British Expeditionary Force. He showed great leadership and courage, was awarded the Military Cross in January 1915 "for gallantry and great ability" and was promoted Captain. On September 1915, he was killed "in the big attack in the neighbourhood of Loos and Hill 70". A fellow officer wrote to Ryan's parents "I don't believe anyone else could have led his men across that terrible piece of ground, but they would follow him anywhere.''

He was killed in action at Loos, France, during the First World War, aged 23

 

 

 

Major George Terence Clements Perram, Royal Garrison Artillery.
 

Old boy of Wimbledon College Army Class and Stonyhurst.  Born 1887. O.S. 1898.
Killed in action near Ypres, August 3rd, 1917.

George Perram, who was killed in action on August 3rd, 1917, in his 31st year, was the elder son of Mr. G. I. Perram, C.I.E., and Mrs. Perram, of Rowborough, Dawlish, Devon.

He was born at Saugor, C.P., India, in 1887, came to Stonyhurst in 1898, and after passing through the regular course, entered Philosophy in the middle of his Rhetoric year, in order to receive special coaching for entrance into the Army. He then went to Wimbledon, and, after a few months in the Army Class, entered Woolwich in 1905, receiving his commission in the R.G.A. in 1907.

George at Stonyhurst was an easy-going, good-natured boy, usually smiling, and not easily provoked, save when he thought something was mean, or not straight, but then unsparing in epithet. One who knew him well declared that George hated the idea of an office stool, and it having been impressed on him that no half-measures would suffice, if he intended to live the life of a soldier, he buckled to his work with great zeal. Later in life he was the same, so that George was a good example of a man who realised the danger of his temperament, and kept himself well in hand. He found interests for himself, became a F.R.G.S. some years before his death, and wrote a memorandum of the country he travelled over in a shooting expedition in Abyssinia. This he sent to the Intelligence Branch of the War Office.

Life in the open air had filled him out and hardened his body, and the rounded and somewhat flabby limbs had become muscular and massive. He had turned into a handsome young giant, fair in complexion, slow in movement rather, and with a drawl to which it was a delight to listen. He served in England at Golden Hill and at Weymouth till March, 1909, when he was transferred to India, posted to Aden, and afterwards to Bombay. In 1912 he was appointed A.D.C. to Sir James Bell, the Resident at Aden.
In August, 1914, on the outbreak of war, he was at Addis Abeba, the capital of Abyssinia, on short leave. He promptly resigned his appointment, and, applying for Home Service, was sent to Gallipoli in 1915.
In July, 1916, he came from Egypt to France in command of a battery of Australian Field Artillery, with which he served till July 29th, 1917, when he was transferred to the Royal Field Artillery.
On August 3rd he fell in action. Shortly before his death he had, so he wrote home, received Holy Communion.

The details of his death near Ypres are given in a letter from the Brigadier-General commanding the artillery of his last Division :— -

He was in action with his battery at the time, and was sitting with three of his subalterns in an improvised shelter, which was the headquarters of the battery, when a shell struck the shelter, killing George instantaneously. Although I had known him only for a few days, he inspired me with great confidence as to his abilities, and in consequence I gave him command of one of my batteries and applied for his promotion to Acting Major.

To this we may add the testimony of his Colonel :—

I have only known him for a short time, as he only recently came to me, but I was so glad to get him, and felt that I had in him a valuable officer We've had a pretty hard time since he came, and he has done extraordinarily well. Capt. Perram had been mentioned in despatches. He was promoted to the rank of Captain in 1915, and to Acting Major on January 21st, 1917, the announcement of this promotion appearing after his death. His death took place between 11 o'clock and noon on August 3rd, 1917, and he was buried at Vlamertinghe on August 4th. 

2nd Lieut. Edward Joseph Weld, 72nd Battery Royal Field Artillery.

Old boy of Wimbledon College and Stonyhurst.  Born 1897.  Died on September 27th, 1915, of wounds received in action near Ypres, on September 26th, 1915.

 

Lieut. Weld's youth, for he had not completed his 18th year, makes his early death the more poignant. His first years at school were passed at Wimbledon College, and went on to Stonyhurst in 1912, remaining there till August, 1914, when at his own request he left to take up a commission in the Special Reserve of the Royal Field Artillery.

The next six months found him hard at work at various artillery centres, completing his course of instruction as a gunner. After six months of earnest, hard work, he was moved to the Western front, and appointed to an ammunition column. Subsequently he was posted to the 72nd Battery R.F.A., and it was while moving down the road to a gun position in the early morning of September 26th, 1915, to assist in repelling an attack, that he was struck down and died on the following evening after an abortive attempt by the surgeons to remove the bullet.

We are able, by the kindness of the Major of his battery, to give some details of his last engagement near Ypres and of how he fell. These details are supplemented by a further letter from the Abbe P. Tiberghien (O.S. 1896), which carry the story of his life to its close. He is buried in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, two miles S.W. of Poperinghe.

September 2nd, 1915.
SIR, I am a French Catholic priest, attached as interpreter to the 10th Casualty Station. As much as possible I attend to the spiritual needs of the Catholics who pass through our hospital.
I am sorry to tell you that your son, 2nd Lieut. Weld, came last night in our hospital, severely wounded in the stomach by a bullet, which hurt him on a road when he was going to his guns after his meal. This morning he was operated on, and I thought it would be safer to give him Absolution and Extreme Unction before the operation ; he accepted very easily, and spoke a little with me of his parents, of his College, too, because I was at Stonyhurst eighteen years ago for nine months. Unhappily the doctor could not find the bullet, which had gone very deeply into the stomach. It was impossible, then, to stop the bleeding, which was found by the weakness of the pulse. This afternoon he was weaker and weaker, and as I could not find his rosary I gave him a new one. We prayed together. At five o'clock I was called by the Sister, who was very carefully attending to him. I gave him a last Absolution, told some prayers, and asked him to give his soul in the hands of God. He did it.
I am very sorry, sir, not to speak English better, in order to tell you, as I ought to do, how I sympathise with you in your misfortunes. I feel so well, that in such a case, all the words which we write must be carefully chosen. I ask you, what I asked your son this morning, to accept the holy will of God, whatever it may be, and he accepted it, as you will do too.
To-morrow I shall bury him in the little English cemetery, which is near our hospital, and I shall pray God that He will give to your son His eternal peace, and to you the strength to support, as a good Catholic, your present misfortune.
Yours respectfully,
Abbe P. Tiberghien
10th Cas. Clear. Station, B.E.F.
The servant of your son, 1006, P. Mahoney, of the 72nd Battery R.A., will look after all the belongings of the Lieut. They will be sent to you, and especially the rosary and the crucifix, which he kissed at his very last moments.
 

His Major described as follows how he received his fatal wound :—

He was moving down the road to the gun position with his men, to assist in repelling an attack, when he was struck by a rifle bullet, which was fired from the German trenches some 2,000 yards away. Sergt. Greenwood, of the 72nd Battery, carried him back to a house, and medical aid was at once given. The bullet entered the lower part of the body and did not come out. He was taken away by a motor ambulance at about 8 p.m., and sent down to the 18th Field Ambulance. The wound is a severe one, but he was quite conscious when he arrived at the Field Ambulance. We all miss him very much, as he was always very cheery and bright. The men of his section speak highly of his pluck and grit. I am sure you must be very proud of your young and plucky son.

Lieut. Weld was the son of Mr. Joseph Weld and Mrs. Weld, of " The Dingle," Pinner, Middlesex. 

 

2nd Lieut. Eric Waters, 10th Lancers (Hodson's Horse), Indian Army.
 

Old boy of Wimbledon College and Stonyhurst. 
Killed in action at Salahiyeh, in Mesopotamia, on March 5th, 1920, during the campaign for the suppression of the Arab Insurrection, 1919-1920.

The details of the action in Mesopotamia in which Eric Waters was killed, are contained in the following letter from Lieut.-Col. Kemmis to his mother :—

We were uncertain as to his fate for some days.  Poor lad—I liked him very much, and thought he showed promise of making a good officer. 

On March 4th, he took his squadron as escort to a convoy from here to Salahiyeh, our most advanced post, twenty-five miles up stream from here.
On the 5th your son, with most of his squadron, moved to occupy cliffs about six miles from Salahiyeh, which would be a dangerous point for a convoy if any enemy were about. Nearing the cliffs his advance guard was fired on. He promptly occupied another part of the cliffs nearer his own position, intending to drive the enemy off. After he got there he seems to have realised that the enemy were in much greater strength than he thought, and also that the ground was very difficult. 
He saw that the enemy were working round his other flank, so he sent a troop to stop them, and sent orders for the convoy to return to camp and for his squadron to retire covering the convoy. He himself remained on the cliffs with about twenty men and two Hotchkiss guns, which he was withdrawing alternately. Suddenly from the plain below it was seen that his small party was rushed by about fifty Arabs and overwhelmed.
After this one of the most terrific storms known out here for years broke out and nothing more could be seen. . . . The squadron retired steadily covering the convoy. 
Throughout your son appears to have handled the situation correctly, and shown great personal courage. On the next day the ground was too wet to permit of any movement.
On the 7th there was heavy fighting, so that it was not possible to make a thorough search, and there was still a chance that your son had been captured and not killed. .
On the 11th we again went up there, and were able to make a careful search. We found his body near where he had last been seen—he had been shot through the chest. 
We took his body on and buried him that night at Salahiyeh, in the remains of an old Roman town. I am arranging to put up a rough stone cross over his grave, which is the best we can do in the present unsettled state of affairs up here, but I hope that later it may be possible to make some better arrangement.

The fighting described occurred during the campaign for the suppression of the Arab Insurrection in Mesopotamia in 1919-1920. That Eric would make a success of whatever career he adopted was never doubted by those who knew him.

That he was a good soldier is confirmed by the following extracts from letters written to his mother :— Major Willoughby, 10th Lancers (I.A.), wrote :—

I was commanding the Depot of the 10th Lancers when he was at the Military College (Wellington), and his Company Commander wrote asking me to apply for him to come to us, as he wished to do all he could for such a promising cadet.
I was second in command with the regiment when he joined us in Mesopotamia. He impressed us very favourably indeed as an officer, and we applied for him to be posted to us permanently.
His death will be sorely felt in the regiment, and he will be a great loss to us.

Major Hodson, D.S.O., 10th Lancers (I.A.), wrote :— 

I was in command at the Regimental Depot at Multan when Eric joined us from the Wellington Cadet College, and I should like to say that during the seven or eight months he remained with me before going out to the regiment I found that he fully justified the excellent accounts which I received about him from Wellington. He was a most promising officer in every respect, and was popular with everybody, including all Indian ranks of the regiment. Nobody who met him could fail to like him, and I was very keen that he should remain permanently in the regiment.

Eric came to Hodder in September, 1912, and passed up to the College at Easter, 1913. He left from Syntax at Christmas, 1916, for Wimbledon College, whence he passed into Wellington for the Indian Army. He was just twenty when he was killed.

He was the son of Thomas Fitzgerald Waters and Mrs. Waters, formerly of Courtfield Gardens, London.

Lieut.George Stewart Louis Stevens Williams, 6th Bn.(attached 14th Bn), The Royal Welsh Fusiliers
 

 Born 1893. O.S. 1914.
Old boy of Wimbledon College and Stonyhurst.  
Killed in action in France, September 8th, 1918, on the Hindenburg Line,near Ronssoy.

Lieut. George Williams was born at Sudbury, near Harrow, on October 5th, 1893, and was the eldest son of Mr. E. E. Williams and Mrs. Williams, of Ecclefechan, Wimbledon. He went to Wimbledon College in 1905, where he had a distinguished career. He remained at Wimbledon until he was Head of the School and Prefect of the Sodality.
In 1914 he was first in all England in the Honours Division of the Senior Oxford Local Examination, in which year he also won the Arundell Scholarship at Stonyhurst. He was at Stonyhurst, as a Philosopher, from the autumn of 1914 until December, 1915, when he joined the Inns of Court O.T.C., passing out first in the examination for officers.
He received his commission in the 6th Bn. The Royal Welch Fusiliers on January 25th, 1917, and in February, 1917, left for Flanders, attached to the 14th Battalion. He was wounded on August 29th. When he recovered he did a " Pioneer " course at Reading, and passed out first. He went to Egypt in March, 1918, and then proceeded to France, at the beginning of May. He was gazetted Lieutenant on August 2nd. He was killed on September 8th, 1918, in action on the Hindenburg Line, near Ronssoy, and buried at St. Ernilie British Cemetery, Villiers Faucon.

His Commanding Officer wrote :—

Since joining us he had shown the most soldierly qualities, and was quite one of our most reliable and energetic subalterns. Everything he undertook was most conscientiously carried out. The men of his platoon would follow him anywhere, so great was their confidence in his leadership. So much his methods impressed me that a short time ago I wanted to make him my intelligence officer, but he begged me so hard not to take him away from his platoon that I had not the heart to go against his request. Had he lived he would have made a big name for himself, I am convinced. He was a great favourite with us all, and I know that the battalion will miss him greatly, both on account of his delightful comradeship and of his undoubted military attainments. He was killed instantaneously, shot through the heart when getting forward to a patrol of his which had been checked, and was in a difficult position, as several of them had already been shot. It was a most gallant act on his part, as he had to cross under an area swept by rifle and machine gun bullets ; but it was just like him, as he always thought of his men before himself.
The following extract is taken from a letter of the G.O.C. his Division, written to his father :— B . E . F . , FRANCE, October 3rd, 1918.
I feel sure that you will be proud to know that he met his death doing his duty nobly. A finer example of fearless leadership, grit and devotion to duty no man could have set. His loss is a heavy one, not only to his battalion, but to the Service generally. His Chaplain, too, spoke of him in the highest terms :— It is unnecessary for me to say how admirable his death was, for that you know well, but I ought to tell you how much his brother officers lament his loss. " He was a dear fellow and one of the best of officers," was what they said to me, and I know what they said was perfectly sincere, as I know that your son had gained their esteem and affection by his unfailing good fellowship and charm of character, coupled with his reliability and efficiency. 
For myself, I deeply regret to have this very sad news to tell you because of the distress it will cause you, and from my own personal point of view, because your son and I had become very good friends, and he proved to be a most helpful Catholic officer, who assisted me greatly, by his example and good offices, in my work among the Catholic men of his regiment. I regarded him as one of my stalwarts. Lieut. Williams fell in action on September 8th, 1918. I wanted to write at once, but was not able to do so, as I could not discover his grave, and did not wish to cause you distress by letting you know that. I have now, however, ascertained where his grave is, and I at once took the opportunity to read the burial service over it and bless the grave with holy water. I spent some hours during each of the two nights immediately following his death trying to find his body, but it had apparently been removed by someone else for burial. He was killed by a bullet and died immediately, from the accounts I have received. I am unhappy that I had no opportunity to be with him and give him the Last Sacraments, but you will understand that the manner of his death made that quite impossible. But there is great consolation in knowing what a good, steady fellow he was (he was always an example in getting to Mass, even in spite of great difficulties, and in going to the Sacraments often), and that he was well prepared.

2nd Lieut. John F.P.B. Quinlan, attached 4th Battery Royal Garrison Artillery, attached 4th Squadron Royal Flying Corps.
 


Old boy of Wimbledon College and Stonyhurst.  Born July 2nd, 1895. O.S. 1911.
Killed in action in France on July 3rd, 1916, at Grandcourt, N.E. of
Albert, in an air fight over the German lines

Jack Quinlan was a boy at Wimbledon College before he went to Stonyhurst. He will be remembered by those who knew him there as a bright, pleasant little fellow, with a remarkably good address for one of his years. At Stonyhurst he displayed a scientific and mechanical bent. It is not surprising, therefore, that he chose by preference first the Artillery and later the R.F.C. as the most appropriate branches of the service for his war activities.

A brief communication from the War Office summarises his career in the Army :—

Appointed to a commission as 2nd Lieutenant in the R.G.A. (Special Reserve), 30-12-1914. Appointed while serving in France to a permanent commission in the Royal Artillery (Regular Army) as 2nd Lieutenant, 4-4-1916. Attached to the Royal Flying Corps as Observer, 25-4-1916.

He went out to France on February 5th, 1915. He was present at the battle of Neuve Chapelle. On one of his leaves home he paid a visit to Stonyhurst, and had some interesting details of his experiences to tell his friends. The most dismal, from his own point of view as an Artillery officer, was the deplorable dearth of shells. At one time it would seem that the English guns were rationed to fewer shells daily than could be counted on the fingers of one hand. It was another proof that this country did not want the war, and had not made adequate preparations for it.
Jack was attached to the R.F.C. as an Observer in 1916.

On July 3rd of that year he was flying with 2nd Lieut. Stoddart as his pilot, when their machine was brought down by enemy aircraft. It was the day after his twenty-first birthday. At first there was some doubt about his fate. The telegram received by his mother from the War Office seemed to hold out some hope, since, after stating that he " was missing on the 3rd of July, 1916," it added, " this does not necessarily mean he is killed or wounded." A letter, however, from his Squadron Commander, written on the date mentioned, seemed to make it in the highest degree unlikely that he survived the fall : -

No .4 Squadron, 3rd Wing R.F.C .,
Dear Mrs. Quinlan, July 3rd, 1916.
I am quite at a loss how to break the sad news to you about your son, Jack.
He went out at daybreak to-day with Stoddart on artillery patrol, and has not returned. They were seen to be attacked by two hostile machines, and I think Jack must have been killed almost at once, as the machine was seen to nose dive and spin, and fell about two miles inside the enemy's lines. It is so completely crumpled that I should be wrong to hold cut any hope to you that your son can possibly be alive. I cannot tell you how very, very sorry I am for you in your great sorrow. Your son was so keen, and had become such a good observer that his loss is a serious one to my squadron. I cannot help feeling that it must be a great consolation to you to know that he died fighting against odds, and doing his duty gallantly until the last.
All his brother officers ask me to associate them with me in our expression of deep sympathy with you With deepest sympathy, Believe me,
Yours sincerely,
THOMAS CARTHEW (Major, Commanding 4 Sqdn. R.F.C.).
P.S.—Your son's kit has been packed up, and will be sent to you through the usual channels. A special search was made at Grandcourt, where the aeroplane fell, to find out whether he was buried there, but no trace of him was found.

About a year after the notification that he was " missing," the War Office sent a letter to his mother to the effect that his death had been accepted for official purposes as having occurred on or since the date alluded to above. In his letters home during the war he made no secret that he thoroughly enjoyed the life in France. A very dutiful son, he made a practice of sending his mother a post-card daily when he was at the front.

Born on July 2nd, 1895, son of the late Mr. Quinlan and of Mrs. Quinlan, of 21, Argyll Mansions, Addison Bridge, London.

 

 

World War Two 1939-1945

 

Flying Officer Nav. Theodore Edward Archard

With special thanks to ©Aircrew Remembered who are helping extensively with biographical information on our RAF war dead.  See source article here.

135740, 50 Sqdn.,
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve who died on 04 May 1944 Age 32

Operation: Mailly-Le-Camp
Date: 03/04th May 1944 (Wednesday/Thursday)
Unit: No. 50 Squadron
Type: Lancaster III
Serial: ED870 
Code: VN-J
Base: RAF Skellingthorpe
Location: Poivres, France

Pilot: P/O. Albert Handley 173341 RAFVR Age 28. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Charles Thomas Brown 1867213 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Nav: F/O. Theodore Edward Archard 135740 RAFVR Age 32. Killed
Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Robert Stanley Garrod 1324243 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Cyril Whitelock 1146149 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. James Walker White R/193905 RCAF Age 20. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. David Bisset 650022 RAF Age 22. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. George Edward Gilpin 610020 RAF Age ? Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off at 21:58 hrs from RAF Skellingthorpe to bomb Mailly-Le-Camp, a German military camp situated close to the French village of Mailly some 140 km east of Paris. 

The bomber stream of 346 Lancasters crossed the French coast at around 23.15 hrs but control of the raid filed as although the initial low level marking made by 2 pathfinder Mosquitoes was accurate and backed up by Lancaster marker aircraft, the signal from the ‘Market Leader’ W/Cdr. Cheshire to come in and bomb was lost when the ‘Main Force Controller’ W/Cdr. Deane as his radio set was being drowned by American forces broadcast and his transmitter was incorrectly tuned.

However, the attack eventually started with over 1,500 tons of bombs dropped on the target area - with great accuracy.
114 barrack buildings were destroyed, 47 transport sheds and some ammunition buildings also hit. 

The night fighters attacked over the target and continued during the homeward bound bombers. Some 42 Lancasters were lost this night - all contributed to the Luftwaffe night fighters!

Burial details:

Grave of F/O. Theodore Archard. Grave inscription reads: ‘In Memory Of A Very Dear Son, RIP, Mother.’

F/O. Theodore Edward Archard M.Sc. Poivres Churchyard. Joint Grave 22-23. Son of Edward Francis Archard, and of Maude Elizabeth Archard, of Worcester, England. 

 Fl/Lt. Basil John Brachi

With special thanks to ©Aircrew Remembered who are helping extensively with biographical information on our RAF war dead.  See source article here.

28/29.01.1944 No. 239 Squadron Mosquito HJ935 RAF West Raynham,
Norfolk, North Sea - mouth of the Westerschelde, Holland
 


Operation: Bomber Support
Date: 28/29th January 1944 (Friday/Saturday)
Unit: No. 239 Squadron
Type: Mosquito II
Serial: HJ935
Base: RAF West Raynham, Norfolk
Location: North Sea - mouth of the Westerschelde

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Basil John Brachi 109905 RAFVR Age 22. Missing
Nav: F/O. Angus Peter MacLeod 63376 RAFVR Age 37. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking part in bomber support on a Serrate operation (1). Leaving RAF West Raynham in Norfolk at 01:15 hrs.

During the operation the starboard engine failed, the pilot turned for home. Shortly after, the port engine then began cutting out and the pilot ordered the aircraft to be abandoned. Despite an extensive Air-Sea rescue search they failed to locate them. The navigators body was washed ashore on the island of Walcheren on the 5th May 1944 - the pilots body was never recovered.

(1) The technique described here is for the Monica tail warning radar: The technique developed was for the RAF night fighters to fly slowly off the bomber stream, mimicking the characteristics of a heavy bomber, until the rearward-facing Serrate (Monica) detector picked up the emissions from a Luftwaffe night fighter approaching. The Radar Operator would then pass directions to the pilot until the fighter was 6,000 feet behind, at which point the Mosquito would execute a swift turn onto the tail of the German night fighter, pick up the enemy aircraft on his forward radar and attempt to down it.

Burial details:

Fl/Lt. Basil John Brachi. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 201. Son of Mr. and Mrs. L. Brachi, of Torrington, Devon, England.

F/O. Angus Peter Macleod. B.L. Zoutelande General Cemetery. Row 1. Grave 5. Son of Kenneth and Colina MacLeod, husband of Elizabeth Balloch MacLeod, of Cardonald, Glasgow, Scotland.

P/O. John Leslie Gilbert Butterworth

With special thanks to ©Aircrew Remembered who are helping extensively with biographical information on our RAF war dead.  See source article here.

 No. 53 Squadron Blenheim IV L9329 TE-L P/O. Butterworth, Metz Airfield,-
France, Hornisgrinde, Germany
 

Operation: Reconnaissance
Date: 03rd May 1940 (Friday)
Unit: No. 53 Squadron
Type: Blenheim IV
Serial: L9329
Code: TE-L
Base: Metz Airfield, France
Location: Hornisgrinde, Germany

Pilot: P/O. John Leslie Gilbert Butterworth 40798 RAF Age 21. Killed
Obs: Sgt. Maurice George Arthur Pearce 565936 RAF Age 24. Killed 
W/Op/Air/Gnr: AC2. Robert Arthur Wood 624992 RAF Age ? Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Took off from airfield at Metz at 20.30 hrs on a reconnaissance sortie over the Ruhr.

The Blenheim failed to return and is understood to have been shot down near Hornisgrinde, Germany at around 21:00 hrs killing all three crew.

We understand that German locals have erected a memorial to this crew in 2006 in the village of Seebach, where they were originally buried and also at the crash site on the hill at Hornisgrinde .

Burial details:
Originally buried in Seebach - reinterred after war end.

P/O. John Leslie Gilbert Butterworth. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 11.E.20. Son of Joseph Leonard and Cicely Ellen Butterworth, of Ewell, Surrey.

 

Sq/Ldr. Anthony Stewart Reginald Ennis DSO. DFC

With special thanks to ©Aircrew Remembered who are helping extensively with biographical information on our RAF war dead.  See source article here.

17.06.1944 No. 99 Squadron Wellington XI HZ719  

Operation: Bomb ferrying
Date: 17th June 1944 (Saturday)
Unit: No. 99 Squadron
Type: Wellington XI
Serial: HZ719
Base: Jessore Airbase
Location: Loktak Lake, Manipur, India

Pilot: Sq/Ldr. Anthony Stewart Reginald Ennis DSO. DFC. 104249 RAFVR Age 26. Killed (1)
Pilot 2: W/O. II. Donald Mcleod Lindsay R/157741 RCAF Age 20. Killed
Nav: Fl/Sgt. William Edmund George Griffin 1389497 RAFVR Age 29. Killed
Nav: Fl/Sgt. David Robert Rees 1467524 RAFVR Age ? Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Arthur Sisterton Davison 1015920 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Alwyne Atkin 1663367 RAFVR Age 30. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

A Ki-43-Oscar

Understood to have been on a Bomb ferrying assignment when on return they were jumped by a Ki-Oscar. It is reported that during the air battle that ensued that this Oscar, flown by Sgt Tomesaku Igarashi (50th Sentai) shot down the Wellington which came down in Loktak Lake. The rear gunner also managed to return fire and bring him down during the battle.
Other reports state that it was brought down by ground fire from Japanese troops. 

It is understood that a group of local researchers are trying to identify the crash site (not discovered as yet - despite reports in the Times of India on the 8th October 2014)

(1) The family also lost his younger brother, 21 year old Sgt. Patrick Joseph William Ennis 911094 RAFVR in July 1941. 102 squadron Whitley V Z6573.

Sq/Ldr. Anthony Stewart Reginald Ennis - DFC Citation London Gazette 19th May 1942 - whilst with 158 Squadron:

"One night in May 1942, Fl/Lt. Ennis and P/O. Hanson, as pilot and rear gunner respectively of an aircraft, were detailed to carry out a low level attack on Warnemunde. The target was heavily defended both with searchlights and anti-aircraft fire, which made a low-level attack very hazardous. Fl/Lt. Ennis displaying great courage, flew the aircraft at a very low level, but found that he could not penetrate the heavy defences. In all, three attempts were made, before the target was reached and attacked successfully. Throughout this time P/O. Hanson continued firing at the searchlights and other defences and destroyed at least two searchlights. The skill and courage displayed by him contributed largely to the safe return of the aircraft."

DSO Citation London Gazette 6th November 1942 - whilst with 158 Squadron:


"This officer has completed many operational sorties. There are very few targets in Germany which have not suffered as a result of his remarkable spirit of determination to achieve his objective. In February 1941 he was employed on a special mission to Malta which he accomplished with complete success, and in May 1942, he was awarded the DFC."

Burial details:

Sq/Ldr. Anthony Stewart Reginald Ennis DSO. DFC. Imphal War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 6.H.14-18. Son of W/Cdr. Wilfrid Edmund Ennis and of Maud Marie Ennis (née Robinson), of Edgware, Middlesex.

 

 

Sgt. Patrick Joseph William Ennis

With special thanks to ©Aircrew Remembered who are helping extensively with biographical information on our RAF war dead.  See source article here.

03.04.07.1941 No. 102 Squadron Whitley V Z6573 Sq/Ldr. Moseley, RAF Topcliffe, Yorkshire
 

Whitley V aircraft


Operation: Essen
Date: 03/04th July 1941 (Thursday/Friday)
Unit: No. 102 Squadron
Type: Whitley V
Serial: Z6573
Code: DY-?
Base: RAF Topcliffe, Yorkshire
Location: No details

Pilot: Sq/Ldr. Oswald Robert Compton Moseley 37113 RAF Age ? Killed
Pilot 2: Sgt. Hilton William Fish R/68111 RCAF Age 21. Killed
Obs: P/O. Harold Harry Wells 85022 RAF Age 20. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Patrick Joseph William Ennis 911094 RAFVR Age 21. Killed (1)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Robert Murray Milligan 976204 RAFVR Age ? Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off at 23:14 hrs, joining some 69 Wellingtons and 29 Whitleys to Essen, attacking the Krupps armaments works and railway targets. 3 Wellingtons and 3 Whitleys lost. Returning crews reported that bombing was difficult because of thick cloud. Essen reports only light damage with two people injured, but many bombs fell on the towns of Bochum, Dortmund, Duisberg, Hagen, and Wuppertal as well as on other places". 
Reported as shot down by a night fighter but we have not found any claims to date for this aircraft.

102 Squadron lost two other aircraft during this operation:
Whitley P5014 - Flown by 20 year old, Sgt. Donald Fraser Gibson 927583 RAFVR of Muswell Hill, Middlesex England - Killed remaining 4 PoW.
Whitley T4330 - Flown by Sgt A. Davis RAFVR - all crew escaped unhurt after emergency landing on return.

(1) His older brother, 26 year old, Sq/Ldr. Anthony Stewart Reginald Ennis DSO. DFC. 104249 RAFVR, also killed whilst serving with the RAF.

Burial details:

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Patrick Joseph William Ennis. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave 6.B.9. Son of Wing Cdr. Wilfrid Edmund Ennis and Maud Marie Ennis, of Edgware, Middlesex, England.

 

 

 

 Sgt. James Dwight Pickup

With special thanks to ©Aircrew Remembered who are helping extensively with biographical information on our RAF war dead.  See source article here.
 

10.11.1942 No 149 Squadron Stirling I W7582

Operation: Air Test
Date: 10th November 1942
Unit: No. 149 Squadron (3 Group)
Type: Stirling I
Serial: W7582
Code: OJ-S
Base: RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk
Location: Kingsway, Mildenhall, Suffolk

Pilot: Sq/Ldr. William Cyril Hutchings DFC 434811 RAF Age 29. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Cyril Hill 937575 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Nav: Sgt. Louis Victor Fossleitner BEM. 912925 RAFVR Age 24. Killed 

Air/Bmr: Sgt. James Dwight Pickup AUS/401589 RAAF Age 23. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. James Algernon Clough 646433 RAF Age 21. Killed 

Air/Gnr: P/O. John Barter Seigne 126740 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Frank Hughes 1080084 RAFVR Age 28. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

During a training flight the aircraft flew across the aerodrome at approximately 200 ft. As the aircraft crossed the boundary it commenced to climb. Shortly after this smoke was seen to come from the starboard outer engine followed by fire. The Stirling continued to climb to a height of approximately 100 ft flying straight. One or two minutes later the aircraft commenced a turn to the right, as if to go to Mildenhall Aerodrome. As the aircraft was on the turn the fire appeared to spread into the mainplane, the aircraft did not recover from the turn and dived into the ground hitting trees and out of control at 16:57 hrs.

Investigation:
The aircraft engines running hours: Outer Port - 59.45 hrs. Outer Starboard - 161.55. Inner Port - 102.55 hrs. Inner starboard - 167.15 hrs. Investigations revealed that the con rods of rear master assembly had broken. (At time of failure the engines were running at rated boost and 2400 rpm) Crews had recently been instructed to abandon the aircraft immediately under similar circumstances, but in this case it appears that the pilot was going to make an attempt to crash land the aircraft at Mildenhall aerodrome. (The low height obviously a contributing factor)
The investigating officer (Group Captain J.A. Powell) stated that this was far from an isolated case and that a procedure had now been produced by 3 Group and is constantly brought to the attention to the notice of all captains. 

Letter sent home to the parents of James Dwight

Burial details:

Sgt. James Dwight Pickup. Brookwood Military Cemetery. Grave 4.H.22.
Son of Henry and Gertrude Mary Pickup, of ‘Wychwood House’, Enstone Road, Charlbury, Oxford, England.
Born on the 18th May 1919, enlisted 1st March 1941 - embarked 22nd April 1941 for Canada and then on to England.
Record of service: No. 2 ITS - 01.03.1941, No. 2 ED 29.03.1941, No. 3 Wireless School Winnipeg 16.05.1941, No. 7 BAGS Poulsons 28.09.1941, No 1 ‘Y’ Depot, Halifax 27.10.1941, No. 3 PRC 14.11.1941, No. 2 SS 20.01.1942, No. 14 OTU 21.04.1942, No. 2114 Squadron 19.09.1942, No. 149 Squadron 27.10.1942.
Awarded Defence Medal, War Medal 1939-45, Australia Service Medal 1939-45.

 

S/Ldr. M L Robinson

This article is adapted from  ©Battle of Britain Archive 2007

Michael Lister Robinson was born in Chelsea, London in May 1917, the son of Sir Roy, later Lord, Robinson. He joined the RAF on a short service commission in September 1935. On the 28th he was posted to 3 FTS, Grantham and, with training completed, he joined 111 Squadron at Northolt on August 3rd 1936. Robinson went to 11 Group Pool, St Athan on January 30th 1939, as an instructor and was appointed 'B' Flight Commander on July 10th.

He was posted to France on March 16th 1940 and joined 87 Squadron there. On May 9th he badly injured a hand in a crash in a Master and was sent back to England.

Fit again, Robinson was posted to 601 Squadron at Tangmere on August 16th as a Flight Commander. On the 31st he claimed a Me109 destroyed, another probably destroyed and a third one damaged, on September 4th he shared a probable Me110, on the 6th he destroyed a Me109 and on the 25th he got a probable Me110.

Robinson with the damaged wing of his Hurricane at Tangmere

 

Robinson went to 238 Squadron at Chilbolton on September 28th and claimed two Me110’s destroyed and a Me109 probably destroyed on the 30th. He was posted to command 609 Squadron at Middle Wallop on October 4th. Robinson claimed two Me110’s destroyed on the 7th. He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 26th November 1940).

Between May 7th and July 24th 1941 he claimed nine Me109s destroyed and another eight damaged. Robinson was awarded the DSO (gazetted 5th August 1941) and the Croix de Guerre (Belgian) on 22nd August 1941.

He was posted away to lead the Biggin Hill Wing in early August 1941 and on the 7th he probably destroyed a Me109. On August 19 Ortmans of 609 went down into the sea during a Blenheim escort operation. Robinson circled him until his fuel ran very low, by which time an ASR launch was well on the way. He just managed to make it back to Manston, where he made a crash-landing.

Robinson's portrait was done by Cuthbert Orde.
 

On August 27th Robinson destroyed a Me109, his final victory. In September 1941 Robinson was rested and commanded RAF Manston until October, when he was appointed as aide to the Inspector General of the RAF.

Back on operations, Robinson was appointed to lead the Tangmere Wing on January 1st 1942. He failed to return from a sweep on April 10th whilst leading the Wing at the head of 340 Squadron and he and his aircraft were not seen again.


Robinson is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial and on the memorial in the Wimbledon College Chapel.

After his death the following account was found in his personal papers, it differed from the details recorded in his combat report and logbook for the combat of 16th August 1940 which read:




He [the German pilot] never rose above 100 feet until well south of Maidstone and then throttled back. I overtook him and formated on him, pointing downwards for him to land. He turned away so I carried out a dummy quarter attack, breaking very close to him. After this he landed his Me in a field. I threw him a packet of twenty Players and returned to base.

Some while after Robinson had taken over command of 609 on 4th October 1940, he and Squadron Leader JS Ward, the 11 Group PRO, prepared a script to be broadcast by the BBC. Michael was to deliver it. It told how, six months or so before the outbreak of war, he and two young Army friends, one from the Welsh Guards and the other from the Argylls, were on leave, skiing at Garmisch. One evening in the 'local' they had encountered a group of Luftwaffe officers, also on leave, from the Richthofen Geschwader, based at Augsburg in southern Germany, some 60 or 70 miles away. After 'rather a long Kummel session', the senior German officer had invited the British contingent to a Guest Night in the Mess at Augsburg three or four days hence. The invitation was accepted.

Robinson's account follows:


We set off from Garmisch in a taxi about six o'clock on a cold and starry night to drive to Augsburg. Eventually we reached a gloomy and windswept expanse reminiscent of Lincolnshire and were escorted to the Richthofen Geschwader's Mess. It's difficult to describe one's first impressions, but generally I was very impressed. We were shown into the anteroom, which was sparsely furnished, but clean and attractive, decorated with pictures of aerial battles of the First World War - only course, the Fokkers were always on top and the odd SE5A’s and Camels were spinning down in flames. I pointed out to a young Leutnant that we too, had the same sort of pictures in our Messes except that the role of principal characters was usually reversed. This seemed to amuse him, the remark was passed round the room in German.

The officers were most polite, clicking their heels and generally be anxious to bring us as many drinks as they could. Personally, I was very impressed by the appearance of all of them. We were led into the dining room and were placed by ourselves at two ends and the middle of a long refectory table. I sat at one end beside the CO, a First World War pilot. My friend from the Welsh Guards was at the far end beside the adjutant, another last-war pilot. The third member of our party was down the middle of the table next to the second in command. The room was lit only by candlelight. The walls were panelled, and the only decorations were squadron banners hung along the sides. The general effect was very good. Like most Guest Nights the dinner started rather pompously and I was surprised when the CO turned to me and said: 'You must not be surprised if you find my boys getting rather out of hand after dinner.' 'Well, sir,' I said, 'I shouldn't worry too much about that. I think we know the form all right.' The CO hesitated. 'I'm afraid you don't understand me. You see, your Air Force and mine, as things used to be, were brought up to certain definite traditions. You may have to excuse my pilots, but remember they are very young and perhaps lack some of the training.'
The dinner was good and very well and impressively served. We reached the coffee stage and it was apparent that they were determined put us under the table as quickly as possible. More and more Kirsch arrived until I felt that so long as I remained upright at the table I could cope. I did notice, however, that gradually, one by one, the pilots were disappearing - seeing a doorway leading into the open air we went outside, rubbed our faces in the snow and ran a couple of times around the Mess. We came back into the Mess expecting to find the boys turning somersaults over chairs and that sort of thing. Instead, they were gathered about in odd groups having drunken arguments in German. A young Leutnant came up to me 'You've got Hurricanes?' he asked 'Yes,' I replied. 'Well,' he said, 'we've got Messerschmitt 109’s and God help you if you ever have to fight us in your old tubs.'
It was their Mess so I didn't want to provoke an argument. 'You know,' I said mildly, 'even so, we still think our Hurricanes are pretty good, too.'

'Then,' he countered, 'you don't believe me? When the war starts (and I hope it does soon) I will take on any three Englishmen with Hurricanes in my Messerschmitt.' A few days later, we returned home. I was destined to meet that young Leutnant once again - not in southern Germany, but in southern Kent, in a hop field near Maidstone.
It was a most perfect day and the dust he had created by landing his 109, wheels up, hung over the field. I followed him down, landed nearby and walked across two fields to where he was lying in the sunshine. I recognized him before he recognized me. 'Hello,' I said, 'are you all right?' He nodded. Then,' I asked, 'may I have your pistol?' As he handed it over I said to him: 'Your face seems familiar, haven't we met somewhere before?' 'Yes,' he said, 'wherever was it?' His English was immaculate, I think he had been at Oxford.

'Augsburg, February 1939,' I said. 'It was a good dinner.'

'Ah, yes,' he murmured. 'But tell me - why didn't you shoot me down when I was in the air? I couldn't have escaped.'

'As a matter of fact, I couldn't shoot you down,' I said. 'I had to force you down the way I did. I had used up all my ammunition on some other 109's'

Then the Home Guard came and took him away.

Sergeant Anthony Francis Saunders

With special thanks to Simon Somerville, view his site on © No. 75 Squadron here and also Kelvin Youngs from © Aircrew Remembered, view site here.  Please contact Mr Somerville if you have any information on No75 Squadron.

 

The crew of Sgt. Parkin's Stirling Mk.III EH938 AA-F.  Sgt. Saunders is likely in this photo.

RAFVR 1394719 – Rear Gunner. Died age 20 on 31st August 1943

 

Died age 20 on 31st August 1943 during the attack against targets at Munchen-Gladbach

18 Aircraft from 75 Squadron were detailed to attack targets at Munchen-Gladbach and Rheydt with incendiary bombs, joining a total force of  660 aircraft (297 Lancasters, 185 Halifaxes, 107 Stirlings, 57 Wellingtons and 14 Mosquitoes). All aircraft from 75 Squadron, with the exception of that which Sergeant Saunders was in , successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Very large fires which were well concentrated and spreading, were seen. 

The attacks were classed as a ‘model’ of pathfinder marking.  Moderate heavy A.A. fire and a few searchlights were encountered, which were ineffective. A great number of enemy aircraft were seen and some short combats took place.

The Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft that Sergeant Saunders was in was a Stirling MK.III EH938 captained by Sgt. Parkin, T.  It  was attacked after dropping their bombs at 02.40 hrs on its homeward return by a nightfighter flown by Oblt. Heinz Struning of 3.NJG1. The aircraft crashed at 03.45 hrs. south east of Lommel in Belgium. Sergeant Saunders perished, along with most of his crew, except Sgt. Ralph Valentine Clingan Johnson, the only survivor, who was thrown out of the aircraft and parachuted into a field.

Eventually, with the assistance of locals, MI9, and the Belgium resistance, Johnson returned back to England on the 17th November through The Possum Escape Line.

Parkin's Sterling was the 38th abschusse for the Luftwaffe ace, Oblt. Heinz Struning. He went on to make a total of 56 kills before being shot down on the 24/25th December 1944 by a Mosquito from 157 Squadron flown by Sq/Ldr. Doleman and Fl/Lt. Bunch DFC.

The airmen were all buried in St-Truiden before being moved to Heverlee War Cemetery.


 
 

Wing-Commander Arthur Wellington Sweeney

20 May 1909 – 27 December 1940

Arthur Sweeney was an English athlete who competed for Great Britain in the 1936 Summer Olympics. He was born in Dublin, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and was killed in a flying accident in Takoradi, Gold Coast.

In the 1936 Berlin Olympics he was eliminated in the semi-finals of the 100 metres event and in the first round of the 200 metres competition.

Arthur Sweeney won both sprints on his international début against France, and the following weeks repeated the double at the 1934 British Empire Games. And he took the gold medal in the 1934 British Empire Games 4×110 yards relay (with Walter Rangeley and the non-Olympians Ernie Davis and George Saunders). Sweeney went on to win the AAA 100y (1935, 1939) and 220y (1936-37), and in 12 individual races in internatonial matches, he had a 6-6 win/loss record with of his defeated coming at the hands of British teammates (two by Cyril Holmes and one by Walter Rangeley).

A regular officer in the Air Force, he won both sprints at the RAF Championships six times (1932, 1934-37, 1939). At the 1938 European Championships he finished fifth in the 100 metres and won the bronze medal in the 4×100 metres relay (with Godfrey Brown, Ernie Page, and the non-Olympian Maurice Scarr). His British records for 100m (10.4) and 220 (21.2) were not beaten until McDonald Bailey reached his peak.

 

 

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Ripley Wright

With special thanks to ©Aircrew Remembered who are helping extensively with biographical information on our RAF war dead.  See source article here.


Operation: Essen
Date: 10/11th April 1942 (Friday/Saturday)
Unit: No. 455 Squadron (RAAF)
Type: Hampden I
Serial: AT221
Code: UB-D
Base: RAF Wigsley, Nottinghamshire
Location: Stürzelberg, Germany

Pilot: F/O. Robert Charles Roberts AUS/3200 RAAF Age 29. Killed
Obs: Fl/Lt. Frederick Abbey Keck AUS/400623 RAAF Age 27. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Ripley Wright 1057411 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Frank Hill Canning AUS/408045 RAAF Age 21. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off at 21:46 hrs to bomb the Main Square in Essen. 254 aircraft on this operation with a weather forecast of clear skies it was hope that the bombing would prove effective.

The forecast was incorrect however with heavy cloud over the area - the bomber stream scattered, suffering heavily from the Ruhr flak defences with 14 aircraft lost. 

Of the 172 aircraft reported to have bombed the city, just 6 aircraft bomb loads fell. 12 houses destroyed, very little industrial damage.

Hampden AT221 is understood to have been a victim of the anti-aircraft fire with the aircraft coming down at Stürzelberg west of the Rheine, south east of Neuss.

The squadron lost another crew this night:
Hampden I AE291 UB-K Flown by 26 year old, F/O. Seth Tilstone Manners AUS/403142 RAAF of Taree, NSW, Australia - killed with all his crew.

Burial details:

Sgt. John Ripley Wright. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave 6.C.8. Son of John and Agnes Margaret Wright, of Southport, Lancashire, England. Joined 455 Squadron in October 1941 - completed 13 operations (9 as a wireless operator).