THE  DOVER WAR MEMORIAL  PROJECT

 

war memorial at dusk, photographed by Michelle Cooper

World War II

THOSE WHO DIED ON SERVICE IN AND AROUND DOVER

1940

Crook, V. J.
Victor James Crook,
5675198, was a private in D Company of the 9th Battalion, The Green Howards. In the early evening of 11 September, aged 21, he was mortally wounded whilst on sentry duty at Dover Marine Station when a long-range shell exploded close by to his post. Privates Birkett and Clifford were also injured.

Victor Crook is buried south west of the church in Congresbury (St. Andrew) Churchyard, Somerset. He was the son of John and Winifred Emily Crook from Congresbury.

words and information with thanks to Phil Eyden
picture with thanks to Andrew Hogg

Ellis, J. H.
James Henry Ellis, 6350245. Private James Henry Ellis was a 20 year old new recruit from London posted to the 50th (Holding) Battalion Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment and who was stationed at The Citadel from mid-June 1940. The Royal West Kents were tasked with patrolling and protecting the western side of the Heights defences including manning the outlying perimeter defences, including Shakespeare tunnel, Crabble, Coombe Valley, Whinless Down and River. Ellis was killed instantly in the evening of 9 September when a shell exploded in a moat shattering every window in the casemates. The Queen's Own left Dover in early November.

He was the son of Cyril Dudley and Helena Frances Ellis,of Sydenham, London, and is buried at St James' Cemetery, row D, joint grave 1. The words at the bottom of his headstone read, "In loving memory of our beloved son Jim. Mother and Dad, Sisters and Brothers"

information, words, and photo with thanks to Phil Eyden

Haller, F.
Frederick Haller, 2711948. A Guardsman of the 3rd (Training) Battalion Irish Guards. Frederick was a 23-year-old married serviceman from Kilmarnock who was only a few weeks out of training. He was posted to Dover on  14 July 1940 along with the rest of the Battalion and was stationed in the Grand Shaft Barracks. The Irish Guards had the duty of defence of the Western Heights in the area of the Drop Redoubt and Detached Bastion and were tasked with defending Dover street-to-street if German parachutists had attempted a landing. They were also responsible for Anti-Aircraft defence of that area and renovating the old Napoleonic defences to make them defendable again. Frederick was critically injured late afternoon of September 11 when two long-range shells hit 'A' Block and the Sergeants Mess at the Barracks, and died of his wounds the next day. Guardsman Cummings was also badly injured but survived.

Frederick was the only member of the Irish Guards to be killed on duty at Dover. Fortunately a few days earlier most of the Battalion had been moved into the old Napoleonic tunnels and caponiers for protection from such shelling; had they not done so the shells would probably have caused a much greater loss of life. The Irish Guards left Dover in early November.

Frederick was the son of Percy and Grace Haller, of Sheffield; and husband of Barbara Haller. His brother Arthur Cyril also died on service, on 22 September 1942, and is buried at Hailsham. Frederick is buried at St James' cemetery, Row D, joint grave 1. The words at the bottom of his headstone read, "We shall never forget him. He was a good man and did good things"

information, words, and photo with thanks to Phil Eyden

Hanvy, C. R.
Charles Richard Hanvy, 3531619, was the son of Charles and Mary Hanvy, from Dukinfield, Cheshire, and was serving in D Company, the 9th Battalion of the Green Howards when he was killed on 29 July 1940, aged 23. He is buried in the Ashton-Under-Lyne and Dukinfield Joint Cemetery, grave reference B5 Dukinfield, grave 80.

The 9th (Overseas) Battalion Green Howards were a war-raised Battalion at the Grand Shaft Barracks in early Spring 1940. They were tasked with defence of Dover Harbour and seafront, namely the Admiralty Pier and the  area from the Lord Warden Hotel to the Dockyard gates. They were also responsible for the defence of the northern approaches to Dover and for the defence of the Citadel and Grand Shaft Barracks.

29 July was a very intense day at Dover. Two waves of thirty Ju88 bombers supported by escorting Bf109 fighters made a very heavy attack on shipping and the submarine pens. Over 200 bombs were dropped and the oil tanker 'Sandhurst' was hit breaking fires out all over the jetty. The Battalion War Diary records:

"29th July Pte Hanvy D. Company killed in action on Eastern Arm while engaging enemy dive-bombers which were attacking shipping in harbour. Pte S. Skerratt (see below) who was the other man on the Lewis gun was badly wounded. 30th July Pte Skerratt died in Union Road hospital from wounds received on previous morning."

Dover's protective Barrage Balloons were delivered the day that Sidney died. On 6 November The Green Howards departed Dover and took up defensive positions in Deal.

information and words with thanks to Phil Eyden

Park, V. C.
Victor Charles Park, 5726786, was a Lance Corporal serving with the 5th Battalion of the Dorsetshire Regiment.

He was 22 and was from 3 Wareham Road, Lytchett Matravers, Poole, Doreset. His battalion was moved to Dover on 8 November 1940, where they took over at "Grand Shaft Fortress" from the 3rd Battalion Irish Guards. They remained there until February 1941. They were billeted inside the Drop Redoubt and Detached Bastion for protection against shelling.

Lance Corporal Park was said by his colleagues as a cheerful fellow. He had recently returned from leave, which he said he had enjoyed. At around 8am on the day he died, 30 December 1940, he had walked with a companion to, though not entered, the cookhouse, which was situated at the Grand Shaft Barracks. Three-quarters of an hour later a shot was heard, from the nearby latrine. Lance Corporal's body was found there lying in a passage. He had been shot through the head, the bullet entering by his nose and escaping from his scalp. A rifle was beside him. The coroner, at the inquest, returned a verdict of suicide.

Lance Corporal Park is buried at St James cemetery, B joint grave 5.

Lance Corporal Park's name has been found as a graffito in the Side Arms Store.

information and photo with thanks to Phil Eyden
with additional thanks to Jim Richards for finding the reference in the Dover Express

Skeates, A. C.
L/Cpl Albert Charles Skeates,1871381. Hailing from Morestead near Winchester, Albert Skeates signed up to the Royal Engineers. From his home service regiment, he volunteered to join the Commandos and was posted to Troop 6 of No.5 Commando. On the 14 September 1940 No.5 Commando were posted to St. Margaret's-at-Cliffe and the surrounding villages and were actively involved in patrolling the area on land and on small naval vessels provided by the Royal Navy. The Commando was assigned to protect some of the heavy long range guns in the area and would have been responsible for the defence of St. Margaret's if the invasion had commenced. His assigned Troop, 6, had the role of mobile reserve and had the distinction of capturing the first enemy barrage balloon that had drifted over the channel.

Albert was killed on 1 November during a day of intense shelling of Dover when a long range shell exploded close by when he was on patrol walking along the Dover-Deal road. He died of shrapnel wounds and was the only member of No.5 Commando to die on duty in Dover. The unit left Dover one week later. He is buried at St James' cemetery, row A, joint grave 12).

information, words, and photo with thanks to Phil Eyden

Skerratt, S.
Sidney Skerratt, 3532365, was a Lance Corporal in D Company, the 9th Battalion of the Green Howards. He was fatally injured in Dover on 29 July 1940, and died the next day in the Union Hospital. He is buried at St James, Dover, Row D, joint grave 2.

See Charles Hanvy, above, for more information.

photo, information, and words with thanks to Phil Eyden

1942

Bremner, R. M.
Surgeon Lt Cdr Robert McDonald Bremner was one of many killed in Dover during the heavy Good Friday bombing raid on 3 April. It was over two days later when his body was recovered from the remains of 9 Pencester Road.

Born in Wick, Caithness, in 1905, Surgeon Lt Cdr Bremner graduated as a surgeon from Edinburgh University in 1929. After practising in Leicestershire and Durham, he joined the Royal Navy in 1933. Aged 37 when he died, he was posthumously awarded the George Medal for great bravery and devotion to duty in saving life.

He was the son of John Bain Bremner and Jamesina McDonald Bremner, from Wick, and is buried in Wick cemetery M271.

with thanks to Susan McLeod

Chillingworth, L.
Len Chillingworth, left, was one of eleven men from the Royal Artillery, 218 Battery, 73 Lt AA Regiment who were killed at St Margaret's when a shell hit their trench on 9 November.

A shelling warning was received from Dover at 19.59. Some twenty shells were fired, with about a dozen close to the town of Dover. Three burst in the air, six fell in the harbour, others at the rear of 22 Pencester Road, Clarence Lawn, and on the beach opposite Marine Place.

At 21.14 the ARP at St Margaret's  received a message that a trench opposite the Reach Court turning had received a hit, and that it was believed there were 11 casualties. Ambulances were dispatched and at 21.45 a lorry with digging equipment was requested. By 22.05 it was confirmed all casualties had been buried and a search was attempting to locate them. Half an hour later four bodies had been found and after a further hour another three, with an eighth body just being uncovered. By five past midnight it was confirmed that eleven men had died. The bodies had been recovered and sent to the Tower Hamlets mortuary.

The men were:

Gunner Daniel Lehane age 26 son of Cornelius and Mary Lehane Ballyvourney churchyard, County Cork
Gunner Bertram Harriss Fowler age 24 son of Mr and Mrs F Fowler of Bournemouth Bournemouth East cemetery, plot V row 2 grave 218
Gunner Peter Loudon age 25 son of Peter and Mary Loudon of Clydebank Dalnottar Cemetery, Dunbartonshire, D 429
Gunner Frederick Horace Kelly age 42 son of William and Eliza Ann Kelly and husband of Ethel Victoria Kelly of Leytonstone Leytonstone (St Patrick's) Roman Catholic Cemetery, plot 11B row 67 grave 30
Gunner Ronald Goodchild age 22 son of Mr and Mrs C Goodchild of Bledlow Bledlow, Buckinghamshire (Holy Trinity) New Churchyard
Gunner Leonard Chillingworth age 22

husband of B Chillingworth, and son of Charles and Rose Chillingworth

Edmonton cemetery, Middlesex, W 56
Norman Ballantyne* age 22 son of Joseph and Jane Ballantyne of Crawcrook Ryton cemetery sec J grave 121
Gunner John Abbott age 35 son of Albert Edward and Emma Abbott, husband of Phyllis Jemima Abbott, of Peterborough, Northamptonshire Stanground South Cemetery 146
Gunner William Hutchison age 34 son of Matthew and Annie Hutchison of Glasgow, husband of Margaret Ann Baird Hutchison of Glasgow Glasgow (St Kentigern's) Roman Catholic cemetery
Gunner Ernest Parratt age 37 son of Ernest William and Florence Parratt, husband of Ivy Parratt of Harrow Harrow (Pinner) new cemetery sec B6 grave 112
Gunner William Turner age 41 son of Mr and Mrs John Frederick Turner, husband of Bridget Turner of Sittingbourne Sittingbourne cemetery, old ground sec K grave 358

Shortly before he was killed, Len Chillingworth was home on leave. He gave his niece a small shell, right, which she has kept to this day.

Her cousin has a treasured memory of lying on the floor with Uncle Len, being shown how to hold his (unloaded) rifle. They are now the only two members of the family remaining who knew him.

with thanks to Doreen Collins

*for more about Norman Ballantyne, see Ryton and District War Memorials Project

 

Left is Gunner Fowler's grave at Bournemouth. At the bottom of the grave are the words, "In loving memory of our dear Bert. His duty nobly done. Loved and sadly missed".

Gunner Fowler's picture is placed upon the grave, amongst the flowers. A plaque on the grave reads, "maintained by CBB".

1944
 

Cook, T. E.
Right is the CWGC headstone on the grave of Thomas Edgar Cook at Beckenham Cemetery, Kent, killed on the same day as Flt Lt Soden, below - the last day of shelling in Dover.

He was 32 and serving in the Royal Artillery. The words at the bottom of his headstone read, "He did his job, and died that we might live".

 

Long, M.
Private Max Long, 127th AAA Battalion

Perkins, J. W. H.
John William Henry Perkins was serving as a Gunner, 14732514, in the Royal Artillery, 413 battery, 173 HAA Regiment, when he was wounded by shrapnel at Folkestone. He died, aged 27, at the Casualty Hospital in Dover on 14 October 1944. His brothers-in-law Thomas and Edwin travelled by train to bring his body home for a family burial at Hemsworth Cemetery, Yorkshire. He is buried in the consecrated section, grave 2796.

Born and brought up in Hemsworth, he was the son of  Frederick Arthur Perkins and his wife Elizabeth, formerly Burnell. He was a keen footballer, playing for Hemsworth YMCA and for Hemsworth White Rose before the war. In the picture below he is first on the left, kneeling, and behind him, standing, second on the left, is his father.

 In 1940 he married Priscilla Mary Bennett, and the couple had two children, Elizabeth, born in 1941, and Frederick, born in 1943. Very sadly little Frederick died at the age of eleven months, after an accident.

Gunner Perkins may have been named after his uncle, John William Perkins. The son of William Perkins, he was serving as a Lance Corporal, 203864, in the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, 2nd Battalion, when he was killed on 15 July 1917. He is buried at Coxyde, Belgium, I E 8.

with thanks to Graham Clarkson

Soden, G. E.
Right is the grave of Flt Lt George Edward Thomas Soden, at St Peter-in-Thanet, killed on the last day of shelling in Dover. Flt Lt Soden was born at Eaglescliffe, Co. Durham, the son of Ernest Edward Thomas Soden and his wife Beatrice Mary (née Gresty), who married in Cheshire in 1903.

He qualified as a medical doctor and had been ministering to war-time needs. According to Roy Humphreys' book, as Flt Lt Soden returned to his 961 Balloon Barrage Depot, Frith Road, Dover, in an ambulance with driver WAAF Kathleen McKinley a shell exploded at the depot. They sheltered behind a blast wall and Flt Lt Soden attempted to protect WAAF McKinley with his body from the debris. He was fatally wounded.

WAAF McKinley was awarded the BEM for her actions in ferrying injured people to hospital on that day, disregarding her own injuries. She was then 23.

The headstone reads, "Flight Lieutenant George Edward Soden RAFVR MRCS LRCP. George, beloved husband of Clare, killed by enemy action whilst stationed at Dover, Sept 26th 1944. Happy Memories".

George Soden and Clara Jessup had married in 1935. They probably had two children, Colin, born 1937, and Caroline, born 1939, when Flt Lt Soden was killed.

 Grave photo with thanks to David Soden

 


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