war memorial at dusk, photographed by Michelle Cooper

World War II


Surnames A

Abbott, H. H.
temporary cross on Private Abbott's grave, courtesy John Abbott
Horace Harold Abbott, 6296389, was a Private in the 5th Battalion of The Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment). He had suffered severe asthma in his youth, but was deemed fit for active service on the outbreak of war. He was drowned with others of The Buffs while crossing the Sangro River on 6 October 1943, aged 31, 1943buried at the Sangro River Cemetery, Italy. II C 33

Born on 1 February 1912, he was the youngest son of William John Abbott and his wife Bertha Ann, née Richards, who married in 1905 in Dover.

In 1911 the couple were living at 13 Eric Road, with Mr Abbott working as a blacksmith. At home with them was their son Alfred William Abbott, born 16 April 1905. Also there were Frederick John, born about 1900, and Robert James, born about 1901; they were the sons of Mr Abbott with his first wife. Alfred would be followed by Horace, born 1 February  1912, and Hilda Mary, born 5 April 1914.

Mr Abbott had married his first wife, Katherine Elizabeth Richards Huntley, on 2 October 1897 at St Bartholomew, Dover. Their first child, Winifred Margaret, born 26 August 1898, died the same year. Mrs Katherine Abbott died in 1903, at the age of 36. Then from 8 St Radigund's Road, she was buried on 12 December 1903 at Buckland.

In 1939 Mr Abbott was a retired storekeeper, living still at 13 Eric Road, with his sons Alfred, a butcher shop keeper, and Horace, a butcher's assistant. At the end of his life Mr Abbott lived at 30 Pilgrim's Way. He died at the Royal Victoria Hospital, and in his obituary was described as for many years a storekeeper for the Corporation, with members of the Borough Engineer's Department bearing his coffin to the grave after a service at St Andrew's, Buckland.

The headstone below is in Charlton Cemetery

On the front it reads:

In Loving Memory of
Hilda Mary Abbott
Who died 4th April 1935
On the eve of her 21st birthday
Peacefully Sleeping

Also of Bertha Ann Abbott
Died 20 March 1936
Aged 52 years

headstone at Charlton, photographed and trascribed by Joyce Banks On the back it reads:

In Loving Memory of
William John Abbott
Husband of B. A. Abbott
Died 27 October 1945

Also of Horace Harold Abbott
Killed in Action 6 October 1943 aged 31
Interred at Sangro River Cemetery Italy
Through Strife to Eternal Life

(We Remember 06)
with thanks to Judy Hart and John Abbott
Charlton picture and transcription with thanks to Joyce Banks

Abbott, R. B.
Ronald Bernard Abbott, C/KX 115226, was a Leading Stoker, Royal Navy on HMS Curacoa. He died on 2 October 1942, aged 22. He is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial. Panel 61.1

Born on 27 July 1920, he was the son of Alfred Henry Abbott, born 30 November 1881, and his wife Ellen Mary, née Bass, born 2 April 1884.  The couple married on 14 November 1915 at St Paul's RC church. They had two sons, George Alfred in 1916 and Ronald in 1920. In 1939 they were living at 383 Folkestone Road, Dover, with Mr Abbott working as a general garage hand.

Ronald was killed when his ship, the light cruiser HMS Curacoa, collided with the RMS Queen Mary which was being used as a Transatlantic troopship. The repurposed fast moving liner usually crossed the Atlantic without an escort, relying on her speed to evade the enemy U-Boats. As she came north of Ireland on the 2 October 1942 she was joined by HMS Curacoa, which was to provide an anti-aircraft escort for the last leg into Scotland. During the approach to the UK the Queen Mary was on a standard zig zag course making her a hard target. It is thought that it may have been difficult for HMS Curacoa to interpret what phase of the zig zag the liner was on when they met, or it may be that the HMS Curacoa just did not have the speed to get  out of her way; she was an old warship commissioned at the end of the Great War. The two ships found themselves on a collision course - both captains were informed, but believed the other would take evasive action. The consequences were tragic. The massive Queen Mary split the warship in two, leaving the two halves of the cruiser engulfed in flames; she sank six minutes later with a loss of 338 men from a total crew of 439. The Queen Mary was under strict orders not to stop for anything and continued on to Scotland; survivors were rescued a few hours later by other vessels alerted to the collision.

"In cherished memory of my dearest son .... from his loving Mum." 1949

Mr Abbott died at the age of 64 at his home at 383 Folkestone Road on 27 September 1946. He had worked for the East Kent Road Car Company, and had also been a driver of the Dover trams. After a requiem mass at St Paul's, his body was buried at St James.

Probate for Ronald was granted in 1949; Mrs Abbott received his effects.

details of the loss of HMS Curacoa by courtesy of Chris Tomlinson

Allen, C. A.
Cyril Arthur Allen was a Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. He served with the HMS Campania. He was 31 when he went missing following an operational flight at sea on 30 September 1944. He is commemorated on the Lee on Solent Memorial, Hampshire. Bay 5, Panel 4

He was the "beloved younger son" of Mr and Mrs E. C. Allen, of "Enys", Shortheath Crest, Farnham, Surrey, and of Kearsney, near Dover.  Ebenezer Cotton Allen and Mabel Allen had married in 1907 at Farnham

The bottom kerbstone below is at Charlton cemetery

kerbstone, by Joyce Banks

It reads:
and his son Cyril Arthur Allen, Lost at Sea Sept 1944, aged 31 years
grave, by Joyce Banks In Loving Memory
Beloved Wife of
William Exton Allen
who fell asleep
6 July 1931
aged 81 years
Peace Perfect Peace
Also of
William Exton Allen
(Late Trinity House Pilot)
Devoted husband of the above
suddenly called home
29 April 1935
in his 87th year
To the Great Pilot's care we commend you
(left kerbstone)

Also in loving memory of
Ebenezer Cotton Allen
died 26 August 1957
aged 82 years

transcription and photos with thanks to Joyce Banks

William Allen, civilian casualty, and William's brother Frank Allen, who died in 1945 in Karachi, were uncles of Cyril.

Allen, W.
William Allen was born in 1924, the first child and only son of William Valentine Allen, born 8 March 1902,  and his wife Emmeline, née Oliver, born 29 January 1903. The couple were married in 1924. On 30 August 1929 William's sister Louisa E was born, and in 1933 another sister, Edith E.

In 1939 the family were living at 28 Nelson Street, Deal, and William and his father were both working as builders' labourers. By 1940 the family had moved to 3 Nelson Street. Mr Allen died at the age of 39 on 18 June 1940 when, near Sholden church at 6.50 am, a bus following two traction engines bumped over a sandbag in the road and  veered from its path towards six labourers at the side of the road. Three were killed; George Castle, 27, of 7 Nelson Street, who died instantly, John Smith, 69, of 61 Cemetery Road, who was dead on arrival at Deal hospital, and Mr Allen, who succumbed to his injuries at 15.40 in the hospital.

Mrs Allen remarried in early 1941 to Cyril C Turrell. William became 14527495, a Corporal in the 7th battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry.  The unit in which he was serving had developed from a conventional infantry battalion of the Somerset light Infantry. William's battalion landed in Normandy on 6 June 1944, the 7th Parachute Battalion, then part of 6th Airborne, then helped defend the bridges over the River Orne and Caen Canal captured by British Glider Troops fighting off German counterattacks, until the glider and parachute units were relieved by leading elements of the 3rd British Infantry Division. The battalion participated in the defensive battles around Breville and the eventual break-out to the Seine. The battalion was then recovered to the UK via troop ship departing Arromanche on 3 September 1944, and were based in Bulford for a few months before being deployed back to the Low Countries. William died in action at Nijmegen on 20 November 1944. Details of the exact circumstances of William Allen's death are not that clear, but it is known that light infantry forces were operating in the rear areas behind the frontline and there were planned or armed actions as the Allies tried to stabilise former enemy-occupied territories.

Corporal Allen is buried at the Leopoldsburg War Cemetery, Belgium, VI B 13. At the foot of his headstone are the words, "His fresh young life he gladly gave, he slumbers now in a soldier's grave".

"In loving memory of my dear son and our brother... Gone from our home, but not from our hearts" - 1949 - From Mother and Sisters Louie and Edie.

Mrs Emmeline Turrell died in 1974.

information of action with thanks to Chris Tomlinson

Anderson, W. G.
William Gordon Anderson, 1146380, was a Lance Bombardier in the Royal Artillery, 180 Field Regiment. He died on 27 July 1943, from injuries received in an accident. He is buried in Tewkesbury Cemetery, Gloucestershire, grave 2416.

He was the "loved second son" of  Magnus and Wilhelmina Anderson, from Priory Hill, Dover,  and the husband of Gwendoline Anderson, from Kempsey, Worcestershire.

Anscombe, W. A.

in memoriam 1942, courtesy Dover ExpressWilliam Alfred Anscombe, P/JX 215475, was an Ordinary Seaman, Royal Navy, HMMGB 312. He was 21 when he was killed by enemy action (at Dover?) on 15 in memoriam 1942, courtesy Dover ExpressNovember 1941, and is buried at St James, Dover. His coffin was draped with the Union Flag, and borne by a Naval party, while a Naval chaplain officiated. Row E, Joint Grave 16

He was the son of Ellen Mary Anscombe, from 18 Devonshire Road, Dover, and her late husband, CPO Anscombe, and the brother of Sylvia

in memoriam 1942

Arbuckle, G.
George Arbuckle, C/SSX 26900, was a Leading Seaman onboard HMS Hurst Castle. He was 23 when his ship the HMS Hurst Castle (K416) a Castle-class corvette was sunk by enemy action. Hurst Castle was serving as a convoy escort during the Second World War and was sunk by the German submarine U-482 on 1 September 1944 northwest of Ireland whilst part of the escort for convoy CU-36. The German submarine fired a single homing torpedo. The Hurst Castle was hit astern and sank rapidly. Sixteen of the ship's company (including George Arbuckle) were killed, the youngest crewman killed being only sixteen. The ship was only a year old when she was lost. He is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial, panel 74.3.

George was the first born child of George Arbuckle, born 1 June 1894, and his wife Esther (née Berry), born 4 May 1897, who were married in 1918. George had two brothers, Archibald, born in 1922, and Robert, in 1935, and four sisters, Margaret Esther, 1924, Emma, 1926, Mary, 1935, and Joan, 1938. In 1939 the family were at The Green, Eythorne, where Mr Arbuckle was working as a colliery hewer underground.

1948 - "In everlasting memory of our dear son" - from his loving Mother, Dad, Brothers, and Sisters.

Mr Arbuckle died in 1965 in the Dover area, Mrs Arbuckle in 1967.

information of action with thanks to Chris Tomlinson

Albert Archer, courtesy Jean MarshArcher, A. E.
Albert Edward Archer, 1897506, was a Sapper in the Royal Engineers. He died at the age of 39 on 15 November 1942 at the City Hospital, Nottingham. He is buried at Charlton cemetery, Dover. Section 2U, Grave 2

He was the son of Albert Edward and Emily Archer, and the husband of Edith Maria Archer, née Minter, of Tower Hamlets, Dover, whom he married in 1927. Edith was in 1911 at home at 24 Tower Street, Tower Hamlets, with her parents, George and Jessie Alice, and with seven brothers and sisters.

headstone by Joyce BanksAt the base of Albert's headstone are the words, "Resting where no shadows fall, Dearly loved by all"

The stand in front is inscribed "In ever loving memory from his (words obscured)" and has on the other side the words, "and his son, Albert E. (Sonner) Archer 1975(28?)-1993"1943 courtesy Dover Express. Albert Archer was also the much loved foster father of Brian

transcription and photo with thanks to Joyce Banks

photo of Albert Archer by courtesy of Jean Marsh

Archibald, C. R.
Charles Ronald Archibald, 89072, was a Flying Officer (Pilot) of the RAFVR. He was reported missing and then officially presumed to have lost his life while in action over the North Sea on 25 February 1942. He was 23. He is buried in the Trondheim (Stave) Cemetery, Norway. A IV British F 7

He was the only son of Mr and Mrs Archibald, from 275 Folkestone Road, Dover, and the husband of Elaine (née Pettigrew), from Oaklands, Old Park Avenue, Dover

The words at the bottom of his headstone read:

"He is not dead. He has but gone before. Doing his duty."

picture by Linzee Druce,

Ashman, F. E.
Frederick Edward Ashman, 1337269, was a Sergeant Navigator in the RAFVR, 49 Squadron. An Old Boy of the County (now Grammar) School, he had worked in Lloyds Bank at Buckland and had served in the Home Guard before joining the RAFVR. Born on 27 June 1923, he was the son of Herbert and Edith Eliza Ashman, née Marsh, of Lenham, Kent, formerly of 67 Dour Street, Dover

Frederick was reported as missing from operations on 26 November 1943. On that day Avro Lancaster MkIII JB362 EA-D from 49 Squadron, took off at 17:31 hours from Fiskerton in Lincolnshire for a raid on Berlin. Later that evening the Lancaster crashed to the south of Lake Gransee, about 25 miles north of Berlin. The crew members that were killed are buried in the Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany. Frederick Ashman lies in Joint Grave Section 9, Row F, Grave 12-13 with Sgt Bronsky. The original grave reference was The City Cemetery, Comrades Graves 1 and 2, Field MI, at Gransee, 35 NNW of Berlin.

The names of the crew were:-

Warrant Officer Ronald BRUNT Captain (Pilot) aged 21
Sergeant Harold BRONSKY Flight Engineer aged 24
Sergeant Frederick Edward ASHMAN Navigator aged 19
Sergeant J G BURROWS Bomb Aimer survived as PoW
Sergeant Ronald William NORLEY DFM Wireless Operator/Air Gunner aged 23
Sergeant Edward David WILSON Air Gunner age unknown
Flight Sergeant Ronald Patrick O'DEA RAAF Air Gunner aged 21

The raid was part of RAF Bomber Commands concerted effort to attack Berlin and other distant German cities over a four month period that started in mid-November 1943. On the night of 26/27 November, 450 bomber aircraft took part in the Berlin raid, plus another 178 aircraft attacked Stuttgart on a diversionary raid. A total of 34 RAF aircraft were lost on the raids including JB362, plus 14 more aircraft that crashed on return to England, with the loss of more than 220 RAF aircrew killed. In addition to factories being hit, residential areas of Berlin suffered badly with up to 800 people killed. Berlin Zoo was hit causing the escape of many 'big cats' like panthers and leopards that had to be hunted down and shot

Flt/Sgt O'Dea was the son of Daniel Patrick and Amy O'Dea, of Geraldton, Western Australia
Sgt Burrows was held prisoner at Stalag 4B at Mühlberg-Elbe
Sgt Ronald Norley was also a Dovorian. A third Dovorian sadly lost on this raid was Sgt Wilfred Buzan


In memoriam 1948: In loving memory of a dear brother son and brother, Sergeant-Navigator Frederick (William)Ashman, killed in air operations over Berlin, 26th November 1943. From Mum, Dad, Bertram and Beryl

Atkins, R. A.
Reginald Arthur Atkins, C/JX 151928, was an Able Seaman aboard HMS Gallant. He was killed when HMS Gallant struck a sea mine at 08.34 on 10 January 1941.  Probably the Gallant and other warships of Force A had sailed from Alexandria to protect allied convoys trying to resupply Malta and Egypt; this protective mission was known as Operation Excess. Having successfully fended off Italian torpedo boats  trying to attack merchantmen some 25 nautical miles off Pantellaria, HMS Gallant struck a mine that caused her forward magazine to explode. This blew off her bow, killing 65 and injuring 15 of her crew. HMS Griffin rescued survivors from the stricken HMS Gallant and another destroyer HMS Mohawk towed her stern-first to Malta for repairs; she would never be made operational again.

Aged 20, Reginald Atkins was either lost or buried at sea after the explosion that wrecked his vessel. He is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial. Panel 42.1.

He was an old St Mary's school boy and the "beloved son" of Joseph Atkins, born on 20 March 1881 at Kingston, Canterbury, and his wife Mary Hannah, born 10 November 1882, of 9 Cherry Tree Avenue, Dover, Kent. Mr Atkins in 1939 was recorded as a general labourer, having retired on a pension as a seaman from the Royal Navy, service number 189231. In 1911 he was at Chatham, a leading seaman.

On 16 February 1943, Mr Atkins died at Farnborough Hospital. Mrs Atkins remarried on 18 March 1950 at St Andrews, Buckland, to Percy Ince. She was then living at London Road.

details of the action in which AB Atkins was engaged were kindly supplied by Chris Tomlinson

Austin, A.
Albert Joseph Austin, 5389397, was a Lance Serjeant in the 7th battalion of the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. His last action was also on of the last battles to overrun a major enemy defensive line in the Adriatic sector. The capture of the Coriano Ridge was critical to the Allied advance on Rimini and then into the River Po valley. However, in early September 1944 determined enemy defence on the Ridge and bad weather (limiting Allied air support) had stalled the advance. On the night of 12 September the Eighth Army reopened the attack on the Ridge, with the 1st British and 5th Canadian Armoured Divisions. This attack was finally successful in taking the Ridge, but a week of the heaviest  fighting since Monte Cassino then ensued. Albert Austin died during this time, on 16 September 1944, aged 31. He is buried at the Coriano Ridge War Cemetery, Italy. XVIII K 10.

Born on 29 April 1913, Albert was the youngest son of William John Charles and Emily Austin, née Sullivan of Monins Road. The couple had married in 1905. In 1911 the family were at number 25, with Mr Austin, who had been born in London, working as a town postman. They then had three children; William Gerard, born about 1907, Leslie John, 1908, and Evelyn Marie Ellen, 1910. In about 1912 Emily E would be born, followed by Albert.

In 1935 Albert married Marie Elizabeth Dunne, born 22 November 1912. They had a son, Brian A Austin, in 1937. In 1939 the couple were living at 2 Ruins Barn Road, Sittingbourne, with Albert working as a grocery manager.

On 31 October 1944 Mr Austin died at 69 Priory Hill, Dartford, the home of his daughter Evelyn, who had married John Peters in 1933. His funeral was held at Dartford after a requiem mass at St Anselm's RC Church. Mrs Austin was then at 45 Monins Road, as the family had been when daughter Emily married Robert A Mackay at St Paul's RC church, Dover on 21 August 1935.

Marie Austin remarried on 8 July 1953 in Dover to Raymond Joy. She died in 1997 in Dover.

details of Lance Serjeant's final action kindly supplied by Chris Tomlinson

A Handley Page Hampden, image in public domain, source Wikimedia CommonsAxford, N. F.
Norman Frank Axford, 1181575, was a Sergeant (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner) in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and a member of 420 (RCAF) Squadron. On 27 July 1942 he took off in a Handley Page Hampden AE202 PT-X for a raid on Hamburg

403 RAF aircraft took part, and 29 were lost. One was Norman Axford's, which crashed near Tonning, about 120 miles northwest of Hamburg. Those who died were originally buried there, but after the war their remains were taken to Kiel War Cemetery, Germany. 4 D 1 The crew were:

Pilot Officer R Rayne Captain (pilot) Prisoner of War
Flight Sergeant John Harold 'Jack' Timmis Observer aged 28
Sergeant Norman Frank Axford Wireless operator/Air gunner aged 20
Sergeant John Ridley Elliot Wireless operator/Air gunner age unknown

Norman's parents were Frank William George and Hilda Frances Axford, of River, Dover

with thanks to Dean Sumner for RAF information

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