THE  DOVER WAR MEMORIAL  PROJECT

 

war memorial at dusk, photographed by Michelle Cooper
 

 

Both World Wars

 

WAR-RELATED DEATHS IN DOVER

Sometimes we find people whose deaths were not directly the result of enemy action, yet occurred owing to war-time circumstances. This section also includes service deaths in Dover in war-time owing to other causes, for example ill health.

GREAT WAR

A

Axford, A. D. 
Arthur David Axford was one of eleven people to be killed in the Dover Tram accident on 19 August 1917.  He was in the habit of taking the tram to Kearsney on Sunday afternoons as he felt that was safer than remaining in the town under threat of air raids. See The Dover Tramway Accident

B

Baker, J. J.
John James Baker, 1191/SA, was a Second Hand in the Royal Naval Reserve, serving with HM Drifter IFS. He died on 24 January 1917 after having been injured by a fall of some five feet from the dockside onto the drifter at around 20.30 on 22 January. He had tripped over an old anchor stop on the quay and fallen head first into the vessel. A trimmer, Harry Smith, witnessed the accident, and, with Alf Mentripp, a deck hand, bathed John Baker's head near the right eye. John Baker said he did not require a doctor, stating that he'd received only a scratch and would be fine by the morning, but by midday that following day, 23 January, was admitted to hospital where he lost consciousness completely and died at 12.30 on 24 January. The verdict was that he had fractured the base of his skull.

John Baker was 49 and came from 28 George Street, Great Yarmouth. He was buried at Caistor Old Cemetery, Norfolk, C 59, leaving a widow, Elizabeth.

Bishop, T. H.
Thomas Humphrey Bishop was a Private, TR/10/27534, in the 31st battalion of the Training Reserve. He died at the age of 18 on 22 April 1917 in Dover. He is buried in the Bognor Regis Cemetery, 2393.

Born in Finchley in about 1899, he was the son of Sidney Harold Bishop and his wife Hilda Mary, née Boyce, who had married in 1895. Mrs Bishop was widowed in 1906 and she remarried to George Henry Cowley later that year. In 1911 they were living at Eden Vale, Highfield Road, Bognor Regis with Thomas and with his older brother John and younger sister Hilda Mary, along with a new half-brother, just two months old, George Christopher Cowley. Mr Cowley later lived at Westfield, North Bersted, Sussex.

At the foot of his headstone are the words, "The peace of God which passeth all understanding".

Bobson, H. J.
Henry John Bobson, born in the Westminster, London, area in 1891,  had been working as a Stoker on the destroyer HMS Ghurka when he accidentally drowned in the Wellington Dock on 8 April 1915.

Stoker Charles Bell, from the same destroyer, had been with Stoker Bobson; they had had leave from 13.30 until 21.30. It was on their return to the ship through Snargate Street that they turned off one of the lanes into Strond Street. They assumed it was the lane by the Barley Mow, which would have taken them straight over to the Pier, but probably, although they had been in Dover some eight months, they had mistaken the lane and entered one nearer the dock, probably by the Golden Anchor Inn. Stoker Bobson, who was about three yards ahead, could not be seen as it was so dark owing to the war-time blackout. No nearby houses showed lights, and the lamp near the spot was blacked, with only some two inches of light showing. Additionally the chains around the docks were down, usually cast off by mischievous boys. The chains were some yards from the dock edge and may have acted as a warning of the nearby water if up, but even when up were only shin height so tripped people most nights. The nightwatchman confirmed that some 18 people had fallen into the dock since the black-out began, and a juryman suggested some five people had fallen just in the last week. The Coroner confirmed this was a dangerous area, with an average of one or two people a year having drowned after falling in just there over the past thirty years.

Just before Stoker Bobson fell over the edge, he may have been trying to check the time on his watch, which was subsequently found on the dockside, as they were soon due back on board HMS Ghurka. He called back to Stoker Bell, "Come on, mate!" Then Stoker Bell heard a splash and shouted to his friend. There was no answer.

At the sound of the splash a light flashed out from a nearby trawler. Several men rushed ashore, and when they saw bubbles arise threw in grappling irons. They hooked a body on the second attempt but it dropped back into the dock again, and it took several minutes before they could retrieve it. Stoker Bobson would have been in the water some fifteen or twenty minutes before he was brought ashore. Warrant Officer John Barwood, from the trawler Confier, and Police Constable Dane attempted artificial respiration but with no success. Stoker Bobson was a strong swimmer but may have hit a buoy during his fall as there were several in the area and when the body was examined a contusion was found on his forehead.

There is a headstone at St James cemetery, which reads: "In Loving Memory of Henry John Bobson, Stoker HMS Ghurka, who was accidentally drowned in Wellington Dock, April 8th 1915, aged 24 years. Born London.

headstone found by Jean Marsh, enabling futher research

Butler, F. C.
Frederick Charles Butler was a 2nd Lieutenant, serving in the RAF, 65 Squadron at Dover. On 25 April 1918, at the end of his flying course, on the last type of machine to learn, he went up at 08.00 and 20 minutes later was seen diving steeply below the unexpected mist. At about 150 to 200 feet up he saw he was close to the ground, which the mist had concealed. He pulled the machine over, and the plane landed on its back. He was killed instantly.

The son of Joseph Henry and Lilla Butler from Bower Chalke, Salisbury, he is buried in the Bower Chalke (Holy Trinity) Churchyard, Wiltshire. On his gravestone are the words "Killed on duty". He was 20.

C

Cade, T.
Not exactly war-related but worth noting is that Thomas Cade, a deckhand in the motor launches, was one of eleven people to be killed in the Dover Tram accident on 19 August 1917.  See The Dover Tramway Accident

 

G

Goddard, J.
John Goddard of the Royal Fusiliers was accidentally crushed between the buffers of two railway trucks at the  Ordnance Yard near Dover Priory around 11.25 am on 8 July 1915. He had been one of a working party there of some thirty-two men, on fatigues. This included lifting heavy boxes, despite some of the men having been at the front and returned wounded. There had been some grumbling amongst the men, who felt that the work was "navvying", and also that they were being ordered by civilian yard foremen.

Some of the men had been moving three trucks together. The third was moved up to the middle, and the brake removed on the middle truck, which then moved up to the first one. Private Goddard, who had no previous experience of this work, had been pushing the first truck and was caught between the buffers of the middle and first trucks. The trucks bounced apart, and Private Goddard stepped aside and then fell beside the tracks.

He was reported dead from shock and internal haemorrhage at the Western Heights Military Hospital.  He was 19 and came from Staffordshire, where he is buried in the churchyard at Gildenhall.


H

Hames, C. R.
Clifford Robinson Hames was 23, born on 5 March 1895, when he was killed on 25 April 1918. He was a 2nd Lieutenant in the RAF, serving with 63 Training Squadron, Dover. Halfway through his training course, he was flying alone at 08.15 when a mist came up unexpectedly. At a height of 200 feet, he went into cloud. He shut off the engine and almost stalled. Restarting he flew into another cloud, shut off the engine again and stalled. This time the plane nose-dived into ground. He was badly injured and died on the way to hospital.

He was the son of Rev Arthur Benjamin and Sarah Jane Hames, née Power, from Aurora, Ontario, Canada. He is buried at St James, WD1. At the foot of his headstone are the words, "For me to live is Christ and to die is gain".

 

F

Fleet, A. R.
On 11 November 1918, Armistice Day ("Joy Day"), the ending of the Great War was celebrated in Dover by the firing of many rockets. Albert Richard Fleet, aged 14, a yard boy in the Dockyard engaged on salvage work, had, at 5.30pm on that day, brought home to 13 Athol Terrace what he believed was the head of a rocket. It was six inches long and two inches wide, and he placed it in the centre of the fire to heat.

When it was red hot he pulled it out with tongs and told his younger brother John ("Jackie") to "come and see the pretty light", telling his other younger brother, Henry, to keep back owing to his wearing glasses. He took the rocket up the area steps outside the kitchen and was just about to throw it in the road, believing the lights would go up into the air, when it exploded. Jackie was injured in the eye, but Albert was blown back down the steps, severely injured at the shoulder, and a piece of metal had pierced his chest and right lung. Police Sergeant Reilly, who attended, said that the body resembled that of soldiers killed by shells landed at Dover.

Albert's father, Alfred Ruben Fleet, a chargeman of fitters at the dockyard, said he believed the article had been a detonator, used for exploding explosives, while the coroner at the inquest suggested it may have been a navy signaller.

Albert was buried on 18 November 1918 at St James. There were many floral tributes, including one from "his chums at the Repair shop, HM Dockyard"

Franklin, E.
Ellis G Franklin, 10288, was a Private in the 3rd battalion of The Buffs (East Kent Regiment). He died at the age of 40 on 6 November 1916 and is buried at Middleton Cheney, Northamptonshire.

Suffering from a bad back, he had not been sent to the Front with the last draft, and had been returning to his quarters from the town at approximately 5.45 on a dark and windy evening. His body was found two days after he was last seen alive, in the dry moat at the Western Heights.

With a fractured skull and broken thigh he had evidently toppled, found the inquest, from the edge of the moat, a fall of some forty or fifty feet. At some distance from his quarters, he may have been attempting to visit his former company from which he had recently been transferred, or seeking the nearby latrine.

Private Franklin had joined the army on 15 December 1915. On 13 April 1903 he had married Rosina Emily Pennills; the couple had two children, Ellis Walter, born 26 May 1905, and Dorothy Kate, born 11 July 1910. Private Franklin is buried at Middleton Cheney, his childhood home. The memorial stone in Chacombe parish church where he is commemorated notes that he died at Dover.

In 1918, Mrs Franklin wife remarried, becoming Mrs J H Perry. She died on 4 December 1945, and is now buried next to Ellis Franklin. Joseph Henry Perry died 19 years later and is also buried in the churchyard.

family information with thanks to Nancy Long

 

H

Hanson, E. E.
Edith Ellen Hanson, 11, died as a result of an exploding hand-grenade. In the dummy trenches at Copt Hill troops were taught to throw bombs, and quite often pieces of theordnance were found there. They were collected and exchanged by little boys.

Albert King unusually found a whole grenade behind St James cemetery and brought it home. He had thrown it several times and even taken it into his house to polish it. and on 19 July 1916 threw it into the air outside 6 Churchill Street. It fell into the street and exploded, injuring several boys nearby, Edith, who was standing about six yards away in the street, and a sailor who was passing by. Walls and doors were damaged and the blast blew out the windows of 1, 4, 5, 6, 16, and 18 Churchill Street, and others in London Road. The crust of the road was ripped up.

Albert King, 10, received puncture wounds to his legs and left shoulder and was admitted to hospital, where he stayed A lad surnamed Parks was treated at the hospital, as was George Trout, of 10 Churchill Street for wounds to his hand. G S Hogben, aged 7, was treated at home by the doctor. The sailor, G E Robinson, suffered a cut to his face.

Little Edith, from 15 Churchill Street, was hit in the chest by fragments of the grenade. She was taken into a shop in a faint, and said that her chest hurt. The doctor attended twice more and in the evening, collapsed, she was admitted to hospital. Although it was a very small wound just above the right breast, tiny fragments had penetrated one of her lungs, possibly carrying threads of clothing with them. An inflammation occurred, with matter forming, and although Edith underwent an operation on 25 August it was impossible to remove the tiny fragments and the inflammation continued. Edith was a frail child, and deteriorated further, and at 11.30 in the evening of 31 October, then aged 12, she died at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

Edith was buried at Charlton, and amongst the wreaths was one from "her playmate, Albert King".

Hibberd, A. W.
Arthur William Hibberd, of 2 King's Avenue, Sandwich Bay, was riding his bike down Whitfield Hill, and on turning at the bottom, collided with the 29th Training Reserve battalion of recruits. His head was badly injured when he was thrown from his bike and he died 12 hours later at the Royal Victoria Hospital, on 8 September 1916. The husband of Agnes Hibberd, he was a butler, aged 46

The bicycle was hired, and there was no front brake while the back brake was found to be inoperative (although at the time of testing the wheel had been buckled by the accident). Mr Hibberd had already returned that bike to the hirer as it had a puncture, and a replacement, of which the pedal had fallen off.

 

L

Livermore, W
Not exactly war-related but worth noting is that William Livermore, a Private in the Royal Fusiliers, was one of eleven people to be killed in the Dover Tram accident on 19 August 1917. His  wife was injured; they were parents to five children. See The Dover Tramway Accident

 

M

Mitchell, P.
Sergeant Peter Mitchell, 35199, was in the 40th Company, Royal Garrison Artillery, stationed at Langdon Bay, Guston. He died on Monday night, 15 March 1915 after a fall down eight or steps leading to the latrines at the Western End of the Battery

He is buried at St James, Dover FV 3. His wife, J Mitchell, lived at Maker Vicarage, Plymouth

Murphy, H. E.
Harry Eustace Murphy, a Captain in the RAF, 65 Squadron, died on 23 April 1918 in the same accident as William John Salmon, below.

He was the son of Charles E Murphy, from Inchera, Glanmire, Co. Cork. He is buried at Cork, St Finnbar's Cemetery, grave B2,12.

 

P

Parker, F. W.
Leading Seaman Frederick William Parker, 122668, a retired naval veteran of twenty-three years service and who was described as a "big, heavy man" with "a scar on his chest", was a naval pensioner turned Leading Seaman in the Dover Anti-Aircraft Corps. Born in 1867, he had enlisted into the Royal Navy in 1883 and served as an able-bodied seaman on many vessels, with spells ashore with HMS Pembroke. He was promoted to Leading Seaman in April 1905 before retiring the next year. Following the outbreak of the First World War he immediately re-enlisted and was assigned to a shore role with the Dover Anti-Aircraft Corps, a small unit run by the RNVR and composed mostly of local citizens enlisting on watch duty over the town.

Parker was one of the initial 25 active service RN members and the only member to die whilst in still in service of DAAC. He was stationed with B Crew of No.1 Co. (Drop Redoubt) at the Western Heights in Dover under Sub. Lt. W.T. Rust. As such he would have been responsible for the maintaining the searchlights and engines and manning the telephone as opposed to operating the searchlights directly, and providing instruction on equipment operation. At the time of his death he was have been assigned to HMS Arrogant, a old cruiser turned submarine supply ship moored in the Camber, but had been living with his brother and his sister-in-law at 63 Limekiln Street for the previous eight years.

On Easter Monday 5 April 1915 he had finished his night shift early in the morning. He took part in the DAAC Sports Day at Crabble Athletic Grounds directly afterwards. He had acted as an anchor man in the tug-of-war for his Drop Redoubt crew but had come home to his brother-in-law's house after parade complaining of pains in his side and chest. The pain became steadily worse but he refused to see a doctor and continued in his shifts as usual, even walking up the Grand Shaft staircase to the Redoubt. After going to the town in the afternoon of the 19 April he suddenly collapsed at home, and had died by the time the doctor arrived. At the inquest it was determined that he had died of natural causes, the attending doctor had diagnosed a cerebral haemorrhage and stated that the strain of the tug-of-war had probably been a contributory cause and expedited the end.

A full military funeral (pictures above and below) took place at 14:15 on 24 April and was covered in great detail in the local newspapers. His coffin was transported draped with a Union Jack drawn on a gun carriage with full military escort from the Chapel at Dover College to his last resting place at St. Mary's cemetery. Lt. Cdrs. Henry D. Capper and Ian Howden gave speeches and the Rev. V. Hayward Fisher of Dover College administered the service. A volley was fired by the Royal Fusiliers and he was buried to the Last Post. Virtually the whole of the Anti-Aircraft Corps was in attendance and he was buried with full naval honours. He died single at the age of 48 and left no children, but was regarded with affection by his nieces and pephews, who knew him as "Uncle Pum" and "Uncle Titchie".

with grateful thanks to Phil Eyden for the research, words, and pictures
picture of Mr Parker, courtesy Dover Museum, pictures of funeral, courtesy Dover Express, picture of gravestone, Phil Eyden

Parsons, V. G.
Victor George Parsons was a lance corporal serving with the Royal Engineers Motor Cyclists Section. He had been in Dover about four months, having left school not long before. He was killed on 21 May 1916, the day before his 19th birthday. He had turned right from Woolcomber Street,  returning after duty to the Castle where he was quartered, when at 4am he struck a lorry coming down the hill, approximately opposite Laureston Place. The lorry was transporting twelve members of the Dover Anti-Aircraft Corps and driven by Stanley Joyce, a Stoker in the RN.

Victor Parsons was admitted to the Military hospital at 4.35 am and died there about ten minutes later. He had a fracture to the base of his skull. The subsequent verdict was accidental death.

He was the son of the Rev William Henry Parsons and his wife Evelyn, from St John's Vicarage, Tunbridge Wells. He is buried at Tunbridge Wells, B 2 62

Right, the location of the accident. Victor Parsons probably turned out from the road on the left to go up the hill, while the lorry was coming down the hill, as is the cyclist in this picture.  The lorry driver believed that Victor was attempting to pass in front of him, and was travelling quickly, as would be necessary to climb the steep hill to the Castle.

with thanks to Phil Eyden 


R

courtesy Dover ExpressRoyal, E
Not exactly war-related but worth noting is that Ernest Royal, a seaman in the drifter patrols, was one of eleven people to be killed in the Dover Tram accident on 19 August 1917.

His  companion, Dolly Hunt, from Snargate Street, was injured. see The Dover Tramway Accident


S

Salmon, W. J.
William John Salmon MM was a 2nd Lieutenant, serving in the RAF, 65 Squadron. He went on a flight with Capt H E Murphy, above, at 14.00 on 23 April 1918. They had climbed to 2,000 feet when the plane turned then span; at 500 feet it nose-dived straight into ground, was wrecked and caught fire.

The son of William and Anna Maria Salmons of 26 Norfolk Street, Coventry, aged 23, he is buried in grave 26.153, Coventry London Road Cemetery.


T

Treacher, G. G.
George Gilbert Treacher, S/388, had been a London fireman before enlisting and going to the Front. After some two and a quarter years' service with the Royal Fusiliers he joined as a Sergeant one of the Training Reserve Battalions at Dover.

He died on 4 March 1917, aged 34, having slipped down the embankment of the Dover-Deal railway near the Guston tunnel when attempting to put out a fire. A train had gone past at about 21.45 and immediately afterwards a fire broke out, to which some thirty soldiers attended. They were stamping it out and also using sacks and water. The greater part of the fire was inside the fence along the railway, which was some ten feet from the edge of the cutting. Sergeant Treacher and others passed the fence to extinguish the fire; he stamped on lit grass near the edge - this gave way and he tumbled onto the track, turning in the air. He died at about 22.08 from a fractured skull, three minutes after his arrival at the medical inspection hut.

He was buried at St James, LH23, leaving a widow, Florence, of 85 Meyrick Road, Battersea.


W

Wilson-Walker, A. A.
A Second Lieutenant, he was serving in the RFC and was accidentally killed on 20 March 1916 when his plane flew slowly and dropped 1,500 feet from the sky. He crashed near the Dover end of the Guston tunnel.

Aged, 22, he was the son of Mrs. Charles Wilson-Walker, of Pynble, Sydney, New South Wales. He is buried in St James, Dover, WC36.

 

WORLD WAR II

A

Atkinson, N S
Norman Slinger Atkinson, P/J 44575, was a Chief Petty Officer in the Royal Navy (H.M.S. Lynx). He died at the age of 30 on 15 October 1939 after having been run over by a railway engine at the Marine Station, Dover, during the blackout. He is buried at the Portsmouth (Milton) Cemetery, Plot U, Row14, Grave 13

He was the son of Harry and Ellen Atkinson, and married to Lilian M Atkinson, of Southsea

 

B

Banks, W. H. 
William Henry Banks of 7 Shakespeare Road, was knocked down by a bus at the junction of Folkestone Road and Elms Vale Road on 4 October 1939 during the blackout

The bus had been travelling from East Cliff, leaving there at 7.30 pm, for Elms Vale. It was dark and raining slightly, and the headlights and sidelights of the bus were screened. The driver, William Edward Ealden, of 42 Alfred Road, saw a person in the nearside beam and braked. He felts a bump and saw a man disappear under the windscreen .A dog jumped from the man's arms, yelped, and ran off up the road. Mr Banks was lying by the offside front wheel, having been struck by the headlamp, the shade of which was buckled

Mr Banks' skull was extensively and fatally fractured; he died the same evening in the Royal Victoria Hospital. He was 52, and a WD Constable

Mr Banks was buried at Charlton, Dover. The first part of the service was held at St Martin's. Bearers of Mr Banks' coffin were workmates: Sgt, Boulsbee, Sgt. Ord, P.C. Jacobs, P.C. Bryson, H. J. West, Dowsett and Chilton of the Ordnance. The funeral was semi-military, with the coffin draped with the Union Flag, and thereon Mr Banks' cap and medal. The coffin was taken to Charlton on a gun carriage and at the graveside a Bugler sounded the Last Post and the Reveille. Amongst the mourners were Mrs Banks, his widow, Mr and Mrs W Banks, son and daughter-in-law, and Mr and Mrs Banks, parents

1939 - Sadly missed by his loving Wife, Son and Daughters

1940. Treasured memories of our dear son, who was accidentally killed October 4th 1939. Always in our thoughts From Mum and Dad (Appledore)

Mr Banks' widow, Léonie Helen (née Dangremont), "passed peacefully away" at Appledore on 29 July 1940, "after much suffering, patiently  borne" "Reunited"

Benn, W.
William Benn. He was four years and ten months old when he died on 30 October 1941 from carbon monoxide poisoning while sleeping in a private cave shelter

He was the son of lorry driver Mr and Mrs Reginald James Benn, from 2 New Cottages, Finnis Hill, Dover. They had moved here after being bombed out of their home several weeks before (RH). Adjoining number 4 was a cave some 45 feet long, and Mr and Mrs Benn and their four children, and Mr and Mrs Dunigan and their son Kenneth, used it each night as shelter from air raids. There was a wooden partition across the cave, which  making sleeping accommodation around 7 feet wide by 7 feet high by 18 feet long, accessed by a door in the partition. The children had been put to bed at 8.15, after the stove had been warming the cave for an hour. A coal fire in a bucket was placed just outside the door, for extra warmth. This was found inside the cave by PC Hogben, who attended the incident with the ambulance at 11.40, and who said that the atmosphere was "stifling" when he first entered 

William, his brothers Bertram, three years six months, Francis, two years six months, and his sister Sylvia, 15 months, and Kenneth, three years, were checked at 9pm by Mrs Benn, who thought they were all asleep, but when she and Mrs Dunnigan went to bed at around 11pm, they discovered one child seemingly "dreaming", and that another, Sylvia, had been sick and was stiff.  The adults took the children into the house, while Mr Dunnigan sent for a fireman. Fireman Howell found William on a table, and attempted first aid before the ambulance arrived to take him to the casualty hospital. Artificial respiration continued in the ambulance and at the hospital after William arrived at 11.50, with additional oxygen, but the doctor eventually stated that William had been dead for two to three hours A blood test showed that he had inhaled fumes in high concentration

1943The coroner at the inquest returned a verdict of misadventure, and extended his very deep sympathy to the parents

William was buried on 4 November 1941 at Charlton, Dover. YB 46


note: Ernest J Smith, died 24 February 1945, also lived at 2 New Cottages

 

D

Durman, J.
Jesse Durman. Living at 43 Heathfield Avenue, he was a Constable in the Police War Reserve, having been previously a Special Constable. He had been a chef at a Dover Hotel, and later a fish and chip monger, of the "Silver Grill" in the High Street, Dover. He had also opened another fish and chip shop in Priory Street

He came on duty at the Police Station on 23 May 1942, complaining of feeling unwell. He was found collapsed in the lavatory, and when removed to the hospital was found to be dead, owing to heart trouble. He was 37

From 43 Heathfield Avenue, he was buried on 27 May at Charlton, Dover 18 2T, with PCs Crush and Harman, and War Reserves Dunnigan, Pascall, Minter, and Brook as bearers of his coffin

He was the husband of J M S Durman, who was in Wales with their two children at the time of his death

Note: The Silver Grill former premises is pictured here; it's the shop with the yellow doors next to the Salvation Army 
details Joyce Banks

 

G

Groombridge, A. H.
Arthur Herbert Groombridge was a corporation employee, labourer. He lived at 3(33) St Martin's Road, Guston

He was 43 when, in March/April 1942,  he was accidentally shot in Union Road while a naval sentry was being taught how to unload a revolver. He died on 1 April at the Casualty Clearing Hospital. He was buried on 7 April at Charlton, Dover 12 2T

 

H

Higgs, A. E.
Private Albert Edward Higgs, aged 20, was accidentally shot in his billet by his friend Private Taylor. When he heard they were to go on guard duty again at 9pm, Private Higgs jokingly said, "Here is my rifle, Taylor, shoot me!" Private Taylor took the rifle and pointed it at Private Higgs. A cartridge had gone into the chamber after loading, and unfortunately the gun went off and Private Higgs was shot directly through the head. Date uncertain, possibly March 1941 (or August 1914?)

 

L

Lockyer, R. E.
Rosetta Lockyer was evacuated to Wales from Dover on 2 June 1940, with her brother John and older sister Primrose

Born in 1935, she died, aged 8, in 1943. She had been dropped off by the local postman, who was helping with his van to bring evacuees from their school, a distance of some two miles.  While crossing the road she was struck by an army convoy lorry driven by an ATS. The ATS was severely injured, having gone through the windscreen of the lorry and fallen into the road. 

Rosetta's brother remembers that just a few weeks before she had been singing of her home town - "There'll be bluebirds over the white cliffs of Dover".

She is buried in Mamhilad churchyard, near Pontypool

with thanks to John Lockyer

Lucas, E.
Ernest Lucas was a seaman with the Royal Naval Reserve, H.M.S. Skiddaw. He died on 13 December 1939 after having fallen into the Wellington Dock and drowned during the blackout. He is buried at St James, Dover, Row E, Joint Grave 5

Long, A. E.
Albert Edward Long, 3964192, was a serjeant in Reconnaissance Corps, 43rd (2/5th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment. The son of Reginald George and Elizabeth Long, from Canton, Cardiff, he is buried in his home town at Cariff (Cathays) Cemetery, Section EL grave 1030.

He died on 2 September 1942 at the age of 23. He had reported sick that morning at 8am with severe pains in his stomach. At 4pm he was admitted to the casualty hospital with symptoms of acute peritonitis. An operation began at 5.45pm and it was discovered he had a perforated gangrenous appendix. At 6.30 he suffered convulsions and a weak pulse and although he was revived once the team were unable to save him and he died just as the operation was completed. Death was owing to appendicitis and a perforated appendix leading to a "severe and extensive" peritonitis which in turn caused a toxic myocarditis and cardiac failure.

 

M

Manton, W. F.
William Frederick Manton lived at 3 Beach Street. He died, aged 51, on 3 November 1939, a victim of the blackout which was ordered from 1 September 1939

William had been painting during a 12 hour nightshift at the Naval Stores depot beginning at 7pm. His companions had noticed he was missing shortly after 9.30 pm, but assumed he had gone outside for a smoke. When they had not seen him by midnight they went outside, searching with torches. When they had been unable to find him they assumed he had gone home, and reported the matter to the foreman the next morning

All the doors at the Naval Stores had been fastened, apart from the main and office doors. The outer door of the office opened directly on to the sea wall, which was around five feet wide. There were no chains or barriers, and, coming out of the light into the darkness, Mr Manton probably had missed his step

The water at that time would have been low, but the fall would have been about twenty feet and Mr Manton was wearing heavy clothing which would have made it almost impossible to get up out of the Granville Dock. He would probably not have been heard if he had called out, though his wet cap was found in a boat moored nearby, and one wonders if perhaps he had tried to attract attention that way, or if perhaps this had happened when he had fallen. His body was not found until 10.30 the next morning. The Police Surgeon stated that on viewing the body at the mortuary, his opinion was that Mr Manton had drowned.

Mr Manton left a wife, Ann, and two daughters. He was buried at St Mary's cemetery, and a large number of floral tributes were laid in his memory.

Note: One of Mr Manton's brothers was Percy Manton, of 1 Archcliffe Road, Dover.

May, A. M.
Agnes May May, 74, of 107 London Road, the wife of carpenter Jehu May, was found on 26 May 1941 on her bed with her throat cut. Her husband said that she had been ill for some time, suffering from nervous depression since a shell fell near her; she was afraid of it happening again.

Mrs May had seen the doctor at lunch-time, and he had treated her for heart trouble and nervous depression. She had thanked him for all he had done, and stated she did not think she would live much longer. However there was no indication she intended to take her own life.

The afternoon had been stormy and there had been some gunfire. Her husband stated that at 4.15 that afternoon she had had "some kind of a fit come on for about quarter of an hour" but that a cup of tea had made her feel better. On going upstairs for a rest she had apparently taken her husband's razor from the living room, and Mr May discovered her on the bed at around 5pm when he came in from the garden. He wrestled the razor away from her, but she was too severely injured to survive. She had left a note on the window sill.

McGrath, D.
David McGrath, an army pensioner from 22 Clarence Street, died in November 1940 at the age of 55. He died from double pneumonia in a cave in Trevanion Street, where he had been sleeping (owing to raids?)

He was buried on 4 December at St James, Dover. 20 CR

 

O

Osterroth, V. G.
Victor George Osterroth was a cyclist attached to the RFC. He died possibly as the result of an accident, and was buried with full military honours at St James. The inscription on his headstone reads, "Victor George, younger son of the late Victor George and Matilda Osterroth, of Stamford Hill, London, who died in Military Hospital, Dover, January 24th 1916 while serving his country in the Royal Flying Corps. Aged 24 years".


P

Phelan, E.
Ernest Phelan was a Bombardier, 1433227, in the Royal Artillery, 416 Battery, 173 HAA Regiment. He died on 24 March 1944, aged 23. He was a gunfitter and on an AA site at Dover he had been working on a fuse setter in the fitters' shop, testing it by using a drill round from the gun pit. After two keys had bent, he attempted to remove the fuse with a hacksaw. At about 14.30 there was an explosion. Bombardier Phelan was badly injured, internally and with a gash in his throat; he had also lost his left hand and his face was burnt. Although he was conscious and could speak when taken to hospital he was too severely injured to survive and died around 17.30. He was 23.

Bombardier Phelan had very recently married, to Joyce Evelyn Burrow, then of Woodford, Cornwall. Although born in Stockport, the son of Ernest Phelan and his wife Elizabeth Alice Dale, née Barratt, his address was at St David, Marwenstow, near Bude, Cornwall. He was buried in the Woodford Methodist Chapelyard. At the foot of his headstone are the words, "God loved him too and thought it best to take him home with Him to rest".

 

R

Rusbridge, M. J.
Marjorie Jessie Rusbridge had been nine years a teacher of maths at the County School for Girls and was evacuated with them. Her bicycle was crushed against a wall of a house at Caerleon by a lorry in 1942; On 23 October she had been cycling from her billet in Cross Street and at a bottleneck in the High Street the lorry, with a trailer, had skidded. Despite immediate attention Miss Rusbridge died in the Royal Gwent Hospital, Newport.  She was 38.

She ran a Guide troop at Caerleon, and had been district commissioner in Dover before the war. She formed a Guide company in Wales, named the 2nd Carleon (County School) Company, and was renowned for her knowledge of trees and flowers and her tales, especially "Brer Rabbit" tales, around the campfire when the guides were at camp.

She was the "dearly loved only daughter" of Mr and Mrs Rusbridge of Lyn Garth, Benfield Way, Portslade. Miss Rusbridge was buried at Portslade.

The following week a memorial service was held for her at St Cadoc, Caerleon. The evacuated girls decorated the church with flowers which were later, with a collection, sent to the Royal Gwent Hospital. Miss Cambrell, mistress at the school, was the organist for the occasion, which was attended by Miss Gruer, head of the County School, with many other members of staff and representatives from councillors and other schools in Wales and in Dover.

 

S

Skelton, J. E.
John Edwin Skelton, aged 6,  was drowned at Cwmbran just a few days after he had been evacuated with his brother. He had been billeted with Mr and Mrs William Jenkins, of 31 Oak Street, Cwmbran. He had left the house about 9.30 on 19 June 1940 with his brother Billy to go out to play, and two girls remembered giving him a swing at the Cwmbran playground. He had later been sitting on a rock while Billy bathed in the Clay Hole Pool. At the junction of Grange Road and Llantarnam Road, the Pool was a water-filled pit up to 60 feet deep in places, which had been abandoned by the Star Brick and Tile Company some 15 years previously.

From that moment, despite extensive searches, including swimming searches and a dive search of the Pool, John was not seen again. His body was eventually recovered from the Pool  on 10 July. He was buried on 13 July 1940 at Cwmbran cemetery, with the funeral service taking place in the cemetery chapel.

A pupil at the Pier infants' school, fair-haired and blue-eyed, John was the son of Mr Arthur Skelton, of King Lear's Way, Dover, and his wife Amelia, née Blogg. Amelia was the sister of James Blogg, who died on 18 November 1916.

Smith, W. F.
William Frederick Smith and his friends had been collecting mortar bombs in a barrow from an army training field. They found a live one and took turns in throwing it at a gate post. On 15 October 1942 Billy, aged 10 years and 8 months, died from wounds after the mortar exploded. His mother told the inquest, held two days later at the Royal Victoria, then at Waldershare, that she had told her son, "It was a silly thing to do, Billy"

Billy was probably the son of William Smith

"Treasured memories of my only beloved son" - Mummy and Edwin - 1943
"In loving memory of my dear son, Petty Officer William Smith ... also grandson Billy" - their loving Mother and Grandmother.

Stenning, E. R.
Edmund Robert Stenning died on 17 February 1945, aged 31. He was a general labourer and was working with a number of others at 12 Liverpool Street, which had been damaged by bombing. On 9 February, while the remains were being demolished and the site cleared, the chimney stack collapsed and he was struck on the head by bricks. He died in the casualty hospital on 17 February.

 

T

Thomas, G. and J.
Georgina, aged 11, and Joan Thomas,9, were killed by an express train while going to school on Tuesday, 9 July 1940. They had been evacuated to Undy, Wales, with their school, and were walking to their lessons with their older sister Julia, 12, when they stopped at a level crossing to let a goods train past. Thinking the line was then clear they began to cross; an express train fatally knocked the two younger children against an embankment. They are buried at Undy.

Mr Thomas, their father, worked at the Dockyard, and lived at Buckland Farm.

Tucker, T. S.
Thomas Sydney Tucker, 164610, was a Captain of the Welsh Regiment. He died at the age of 30 on 18 September 1943 in Dover County Hospital, as the result of an accident. He was the fourth son of Mrs Tucker of Oxford and the late Edward Tucker, of Ashbury, Berkshire, and the husband of Angela Tucker

He was buried on 21 September 1943 at St James, Dover. 4 JR

 

W

?Wells, E.
Edward Wells, aged 67, of 13 River Street, was found drowned in the River Dour. He did not go out in the dark as he was "afraid of the blackout"

An inquest was reported on 12 February 1943, where evidence from a post mortem revealed Mr Wells had drowned. There were no injuries, though there were signs of arthritis which was probably painful.  An open verdict was returned, as there was no evidence to suggest how Mr Wells came to be in the water, nor as to his state of mind



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