war memorial at dusk, photographed by Michelle Cooper

World War II


Surnames B

Back, L. J. R.
Leslie Joseph Ronald Back, 121432, born in 1916, was the "dearly loved youngest son" of William James and Ethel Back, from 113 Priory Hill, Dover, youngest brother to Harold, Cecil, and Ivy, and brother-in-law to Edith. In 1911 the family had been living at 38 Tower Hamlets Road.

Leslie was a member of the Dover Cycling Club, and had worked at Messrs T. Francis as a signwriter and engraver

He served as a Pilot Officer (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner) in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and a member of 223 Squadron. He received his commission in January 1942

On 23 May 1942 he was on a raid to Derna, Libya. He took off from Landing Ground LG167 (Bir el Baheira No.2) near Bardia, Libya at 10.32 in Martin Baltimore AG708, to attack an enemy main landing ground at Derna near the northernmost coastline of Libya. At around midday near Ras el Tin the formation was attacked by Luftwaffe Messerschmitts. Three Baltimores were shot down including AG708, which was possibly the victim of the famed 'Star of Africa' Oberleutnant Hans-Joachim Marseille from Jagdgeschwader 27, the top German air 'ace' of the North Africa conflict. (He himself died on 30th September 1942, bailing out over Sidi from his smoke-filled plane)

RAF Baltimore, one of the lesser known "lend-lease" craft used by the RAF, image in public domain, source wikimedia Commons

None of the crew of AG708 survived, but Pilot Officer Back is buried in Tobruk War Cemetery, Libya, 1 B 11. On his gravestone are the words, "In loving memory of our dear son. Earth's "Last Post" is Heaven's "Reveille"". the other members of the crew are commemorated on Special Memorial C at Tobruk

The crew were:

Flying Officer Leonard William Bangley Captain (Pilot) aged 24
Flight Sergeant Reginald Earnest Richard Cotton Observer aged 22
Pilot Officer Leslie Joseph Ronald Back Wireless operator/Air gunner aged 26
Pilot Officer David Laird Muir Air gunner aged 27

"He has made the supreme sacrifice. In death a hero"

Memorial (announcements)

Mrs Ethel Back was the sister of George Frederick Robus. She died on 19 March 1951, her address then being 113 Priory Hill, Dover.

RAF and incident information with thanks to Dean Sumner

grave, by Simon*Bailey, L. J.
Probably Leonard John Bailey, 518453, who was a Flight Sergeant in the RAF, and who was killed by enemy action on 24 October 1942, aged 28, on the East Coast. He was probably attending an Officers' Training School

He was the son of Frederick John Bailey, and Amy his wife, nee Robinson, and the "dearly beloved husband" of Eileen Louise Bailey (née Moor), of King's Heath, Birmingham, and father of little Gary John

His body was taken to Birmingham and buried on Saturday, 31 October, at Brandwood End Cemetery, Section B13 FC Grave 453. Mourners present included his widow, his father and step-mother Mr and Mrs F J Bailey, his father-in- law Mr S F Moor, Mr and Mrs C Brown, sister and brother-in-law, and Private E Bailey, ATS, his sister. Friends and representatives of the Officers' Training School were also there, Brandwood cemetery, by Simonand many tributes laid

The headstone on his grave reads: In treasured memory of my dearly loved husband, Sergt Leonard John "Billy" Bailey, RAF, killed on active service Oct 2? 1942, aged 28 years. He lives in the garden of happy memories." The flower-holder is inscribed "My darling Daddy"

The grave is in the centre of the picture, right

Possibly Leslie Joseph Knott Bailey, R/KX 117355, who was a Stoker, 2nd class, in the Royal Navy, with the H.M.S. Tonbridge. He died on 22 August 1941, and is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial. Panel 56, Column 1

1949 - In ever loving memory of my brother, Leslie Joseph Bailey ... From his sister Kitty

Baldwin, F. S.
Frederick Sydney Bertie Baldwin BEM was born on 12 June 1897. He had 12 years service and was a Seaman Cable Hand, Merchant Navy aboard the Cable Ship Alert. Previously he had served in the Royal Navy, during the Great War in Russia

On 24 September 1943 he, along with Chief Officer Charles Evans and Third Engineer Eric Prince was gazetted for "courage and devotion to duty, which he displayed during operations to salvage an abandoned ship". The Alert had been repairing cables when they were told of the abandoned ship and were put aboard with a salvage party. Unfortunately the weather became very bad, and after three days the tow rope broke and the ship began to drift into a minefield. They abandoned the ship, but two days later were able to resume salvage when the weather eased, and towed it into port

He was 47 when he died on 24 February 1945. He is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London. Panel 4

His parents were William and Elizabeth Baldwin, and his wife was Julia Edith Baldwin, from 46 Odo Road, Dover

"Silent thoughts and treasured memories of my dear husband and Mary's dad" (February 1946)

Notes on Alert

Balfour, R. D.
Raymonde Derek Balfour, 1396828, was a Sergeant (Bomb Aimer) in the RAFVR and a member of 101 Squadron. The son of Mr and Mrs Balfour of 81 Balfour Road, he was the nephew of Mrs Amy W. Pike of 28 Minerva Avenue, Dover

Raymonde was educated at Barton Road School. After leaving school he got a job as a clerk in the Borough Treasurer's office at Brook House, later transferring to the Borough Engineer's Department

On service during the war, Raymonde took off from Home-on-Spalding Moor, Yorkshire on 27 April 1943 at 21:45 hours. Flying in Avro Lancaster ED728 SR-Y, their mission was mine-Lancaster from 101 squadron, dropping load, image in public domain, source wikimedia commonslaying in the 'Elderberry' region (Bayonne, France). 160 aircraft took part in this, the largest mine-laying operation of the RAF in the war so far, where 458 mines were laid off the Biscay and Brittany ports and the Frisian Islands

Just one plane was lost - Sergeant Balfour's. It was presumed crashed in the target area in the early hours of 28 April 1943. They had flown their first operational flight only 25 days previously

None of the crew survived, and they are all buried in the Biarritz (Du Saboau) Communal Cemetery, France. Div 9, Collective grave 6730

The crew were:

Sergeant Charles Alfred Margerum
(son of Mrs E V Margerum, Erith, Kent)
Captain (Pilot) aged 21
Sergeant Herbert Clegg Flight engineer age unknown
Sergeant Richard Norman Dixon Navigator aged 29
Sergeant Raymonde Derek Balfour Bomb aimer aged 19
Sergeant Donald Jasper Park Wireless Operator/Air gunner aged 22
Sergeant Joseph William Stotter Air gunner aged 33
Sergeant Johannes Jacobus Veldsman
(from Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia)
Air gunner age unknown

Biarritz Du Sabaou Communal Cemetery by Keith Skinner

1949 - "Treasured are the memories of our dearly loved nephew" From his loving Auntie Amy and Uncle Ernie

with thanks to Gordon Bowyer
with thanks to Dean Sumner
illustration (right) by Keith Skinner

Barron, A. V. M
Alfred Victor MartinBarron, 1813827, was the son of John Thomas and Elizabeth Barron, from Dover, and was aged 19. Halifax, image in public domain, source wikimedia commonsHe was a Sergeant in the RAFVR and a member of 158 Squadron. On 16 September 1943, he took off from Lisset, Yorkshire at 19:33 hours in Handley Page Halifax JN904 NP-K. They were to raid on the railway yards at Modane, France

In the early hours of 17 September, the plane crashed into a wood called le Bois due Rivoireau about 10 miles east of Vienne in France. Alfred Barron was 19. There were no survivors, and the crew are all buried in Lyon (La Douva) French National Cemetery. Row K, Grave 4

The crew were:

Sergeant Eric Le Huray Captain (Pilot) aged 22
Sergeant Harold Pennell Flight engineer aged 23
Sergeant Francis Graham Shaw Navigator aged 21
Sergeant Thomas Ainslie Roberts Bomb aimer aged 28
Sergeant Colin Anthony Budd Wireless operator aged 26
Sergeant Alfred Victor Martin Barron Air gunner aged 19
Sergeant Victor George Edward Briant Air gunner aged 22

with thanks to Dean Sumner

Beautiful Memories Left Behind of
Sgt A/G Alfred V.M. Barron Killed flying over France 17th September 1943. Aged 19
Also John T. Barron, Father of the above, Died 18th April 1956. Aged 66
Also Elsie Violet Law, Daughter of the above Died 18th November 1952. Aged 31
The stone has been replaced and a new name added.

Also her daughter, Jacqueline Anne Hood, died 24th April 1997, aged 50

"The years roll by but memory clings of our dear son and brother" - 1949 - Always remembered by his loving Mum, Dad, Brothers and Sisters

photo of original headstone by Joyce Banks

Baston, R. G.
Ronald George Baston, 943422, was a Lance Bombardier in the 118 Field Regiment of the Royal Artillery. He was 25 when he died on 12 September 1944. He is commemorated on the Singapore Memorial. Column 9

His parents were Sidney Lewis and Daisy Marion Baston, from Dover

Bates, H.
Harry Bates was a Chief Steward on the Cable Ship "Alert". It was lost in the Channel on 24 February 1945. Harry was 47, born on 14 November 1987, and the son of James and Elizabeth Bates and the husband of Alice. He is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London. Panel 4

Note: An Alice Emily Bates (née Thompson), youngest daughter of Mr and Mrs H Thompson of 11 Wyndham Road, loving wife of Harry Bates of 20 Winchelsea Terrace, died on 8 May 1942, aged 42 years. "The sun doth but set to rise again"

(We Remember 06) (brother George Bates) (Notes on Alert)

Beal. J.
John Beal, listed as Henry John Thomas Beal, 14398586, on the CWGC. He was the "beloved elder son" of Henry George Beal and his wife Louisa Olive Beal, who had married on 28 August 1922 at Holy Trinity. In 1939 the family were living at 96 Markland Road, and at home were Mr Beal, born 16 November 1898, a railway dock porter, and Mrs Beal, born 11 March 1899. They had four children; John, born 1923, Olive M J, born 1925, Reginald M G, born 1928, and Marion G L born 1930. Also there were Elizabeth Wright, Mrs Beal's mother, and Grace Wright, Mrs Beal's aunt. Mr and Mrs Beal would be at 8 Winchester Street, Whitchurch, Hampshire in 1944.

John Beal was killed whilst serving in the 8th battaliion, Durham Light Infantry, in Normandy, France. He and his battalion landed at midday on 6 June 1944, acting as reserve battalion of 151 (Durham) Brigade, which was the divisional reserve. The landing was made on Gold Beach at La Rivière and within an hour the battalion had passed through Ver Sur Mer and were re-organising in the assembly area some two miles inland. The battalion had a fairly uneventful landing with only a few wounded as they moved inland and that would be the case up until 8 June. However, things changed drastically for the battalion after it assaulted and captured the village of Saint Pierre on 9 June (to the west of Tilly Sur Seulles). Unfortunately for the Durham Light Infantry they had run into a well-equipped and highly motivated enemy formation (one of the best in Normandy - the Panzer Lehr). It seems certain that John Beal and many of his comrades died repelling a fierce counterattack from Panzer Grenadier units of the Panzer Lehr Division on 10 and 11 June; at one stage the battalion was being fired on from three directions and one company position was overrun. However, the situation was stabilised and the village held.

John was 21 when he died in Normandy on 11 June 1944. He is buried at Tilly Sur Seulles War Cemetery, France. II E 9. At the foot of his headstone are the words, "In proud loving memory of our very dear son. We oft recall memories of love & tenderness".

1949 - "In proud and ever loving memory of our dear son and brother", from Mum, Dad, Joan, Reg and Marion, Grandma and Grandpa.

details of action by courtesy Chris Tomlinson

Beeston, W. R. H.
William Ralph Humphrey Beeston, 307780, was a Lieutenant in the Royal Armoured Corps, attached to the Army Air Corps. Pictured left in 1939 when he was in the Canterbury King's School cricket team. William was 21 when he died on 19 November 1944.

He is buried at Shaftesbury Borough Cemetery, Dorset. Grave 820. The words on the bottom of his headstone read, "At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them".

His parents were Humphrey Albert Beeston and his wife Audrey Muriel (née Swannell), from Temple Ewell, Kent.

More about William Beeston is here - King's School, Canterbury, Roll of Honour

photo of Lt Beeston by courtesy of John Hamblin



The lychgate is at the entrance to the cemetery where William is buried. It bears a plaque, "This gate, the gift of the Shaftesbury and District British Legion, Women's Section, is placed here in proud and loving memory of those who gave their lives in the service of their country, 1939-1945".




Bell, F.
Frederick Bell, C/KX 599223, was a 1st Class Stoker. He was killed whilst serving on the frigate HMS Bullen (a former US warship passed to the UK under the 'Lend Lease' programme). The German submarine U-775 torpedoed HMS Bullen, striking her amidships. HMS Bullen broke in to and sank rapidly. This incident happened northwest of Strathy Point, Scotland on 6 December 1944. Of the crew of HMS Bullen, 71 died and 97 survived. The U-boat was destroyed in a subsequent counter-attack by HMS Goodall and HMS Loch Insh.

Stoker Bell was 23. He is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial, panel 77.3

In 1942 in the Bedford area Frederick Bell had married Josephine Emily Terry. She was born on 21 August 1921 and in 1939 was living with her parents, George and Minnie, and her twin brother George Henry, at 49 Pioneer Road, Dover. At that time Josephine was a paper sorter at the mill while her father was an engine tender and fireman and her brother a cutter boy, also both at the paper mill.

On 9 July 1945, seven months after her husband's death, at the Royal Victoria Hospital, then at Waldershare, Mrs Bell had a little boy, Peter Frederick. On 18 October 1947 she was a matron of honour when her brother married Margaret Ratcliffe at St Martin's, Dover. Mrs Bell remarried in 1954 to Donald G Lomax. Mrs Lomax died on 7 February 1971 in the Sutton Coldfield area. Her brother died in 1993.

"Treasured memories of my husband Fred" 1949

Benbow, C. A.
Cecil Anthony ("Tony") Benbow was born on 14 October 1922, and was 18 when he lost his life in the sinking of SS Tahoma Star on 1 February 1942. He was a cadet in the Merchant Navy and is commemorated on the Tower Hill memorial, panel 105.

Between 1930 and 1933, he was a  pupil in the junior school of Dover College. He was the son of  John Norman Benbow OBE and his wife, Joan H, née Stokes, who were married in Plymouth in 1914. His siblings were John, born 1915, Shelagh, born 1930, and probably Biddy. The family lived at 11 Laureston Place, Dover, from where Shelagh enjoyed breeding and showing dogs.

Commander Benbow was Master in Charge of the Junior School at the College between 1924 and 1933, and at prize day 1933 he received grateful thanks and high praise for his work. He was himself an old boy of the College.   Born on 2 August 1883 and christened at Meerut, Bengal, India, on 13 November 1883, he was the son of Lieut-Colonel John Edward and Mabel Christina Benbow and brother to Charles Tytler Benbow. In 1891 he was at Rathaspeck House, Park Road, Uxbridge, Hillingdon, with his grandparents John, a mealman born in Maidenhead, and Adela, born in London. Also there was their son, Arthur, a civil engineer.

John Benbow came to Dover College as a pupil in 1895 and entered the Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, in 1898. There he played in the first teams for rugby, cricket, and hockey. He is recorded as a midshipman in 1901. He went on to the Royal Naval College at Greenwich, in 1903, again playing for the first teams in cricket and rubgy. Following was a spell at the Royal United Services Institution, where he played cricket and rugby, again in the first teams. He also played county cricket, for Devon. In 1911 he was a Lieutenant for HMS Albemarle at Portland, Dorset. He saw action at the Battle of Jutland, and commanded destroyers HMS Thorn and HMS Laverock in the North Sea fleet, including when HMS Laverock was in collision with HMS Medusa on 25 March 1916 while under attack from enemy aircraft. Commander Benbow commanded also 3rd and 7th minesweeping flotillas in 1919, retiring in 1920. During WWII he was in command of a naval depot in North Shields. He died on 18 November 1961 aged 78, at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Dover. His effects were given to Kathleen Mary Jones. His wife died five years later, aged 71.

On 31 January 1947, this notice was placed in the Dover Express. "In proud and ever loving memory of Cadet Cecil Anthony (Tony) Benbow, presumed to have lost his life by enemy action when s.s. Tacoma Star was torpedoed off the American coast on Ist Feb., 1942: also to the memory of all his shipmates who lost their lives on on that occasion - Daddy, Mummy, John, Biddy, Shelagh."

with thanks for Dover College information to Philip Barry, Bursar

Berry, L. W. C.
This is Leonard Edward William  Berry, C/SSX 28738, who was an Able Seaman serving with HM Submarine Unbeaten. He was killed along with all his 35 crewmates on 11 November 1942 aboard the submarine HMS Unbeaten. Unbeaten was attacked and sunk in error by an RAF Wellington of 172 Squadron, Coastal Command in the Bay of Biscay. The submarine had left Holy Loch on 23 October 1942 for a special operation (landing an intelligence agent near Vigo, Spain). Having completed her mission she was lost on her return trip across the Bay of Biscay.

Born in 1921, Leonard was the "dearly beloved eldest son" of Leonard William Charles Berry and Caroline Nellie, née Betts, who had married in 1920. His brother, Joseph R J Berry, was born in 1923. In 1939 Mr Berry, born 18 March 1898, and Mrs Berry, born 4 February 1898, were at 167 St Radigunds Road, with Mr Berry working as a coal haulage driver. They later lived at 18 Adrian Street Flats.

Leonard is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial, panel 53.1.

"Treasured memories of our loving son L. E. Berry, who gave his life for his country on H. M. Unbeaten, November 11 1942, age 21 years. Ever in our thoughts - Loving Mum, Dad, and Brother." - 1943
"Always remembered" - Gran, Aunts and Uncles, 1943

details of loss by courtesy Chris Tomlinson


William Berry, Leonard's grandfather, died in hospital aged 64 on 22 July 1920  after a motor accident near Tilmanstone on 18 July. He had unfortunately stepped into the road in front of a motorcycle; he had been picking flowers and a bush had obscured his view. Leonard's father, was then a labourer at Tilmanstone Colliery.

Bingham, L. C.
Leslie Charles Bingham was born in Dover in 1913. His parents were probably Arthur William Bingham and Esmeralda Frances, née Pilcher, who married in Dover in 1907i. Mr Bingham in 1911 was a marine porter for the SECR, and the family were living at 35 Albany Place, Dover. Then present were elder brother Arthur Francis, 3, and elder sister Winifred Ellen, 1. There may have been a further brother, Wilfred, born in 1911. Mrs Bingham probably died in May 1932.

Leslie Bingham was a former Merchant Navy Chief Engineer, and he stayed with his relatives in Dover while on leave. He had served on the oil tanker Cordelia, which was torpedoed in 1943. He and some 20 of the crew got onto a raft. When the attacking u-boat surfaced they discovered that the captain was missing, but they took Bingham on board and he became a POW in Germany (Poland?). There had been no further news of the other men on the raft.

At the end of the war Mr Bingham was released, half-starved and very nervous. He found it impossible to settle and his landlord, John Francis Bernard, said that he spent much of the time in his room with the door locked. He was found dead on 30 July 1946, the result of an eight-inch dagger wound in his chest. The death announcement in the local paper gave Mr Bingham's address as 25 Prioress Walk, Dover. The coroner gave a verdict of suicide while the balance of Mr Bingham's mind was disturbed, and added, "These were the men that protected us, and it is tragic that the only man saved from a whole ship has carried such mental wounds that he could not settle down to civilian life again in comfort."

He was buried at Charlton, from Melita, Valley Road, River, the home of his brother Arthur, his body having lain overnight in Charlton Church. Mourners included his brothers and sisters-in-law, his sister Winifred and her husband Sydney Kelly, and aunts Mrs Pilcher, Mrs Dunsford, and Mrs Marsh, and friends Mr Cozen and Mrs Claw. Amongst the floral tributes was one from Lloyd's colleagues in Birmingham.

with thanks to Joyce Banks

Bliss, H.
Harry Bliss, 650927, was the son of Mr and Mrs H Bliss, from Dover, and may have been brother to Raymond.. He was in 218 ("Gold Coast") Squadron of the RAF. On 28 April 1943 at 21.05 he took off from Downham Market, Norfolk, in Short Stirling EF356 HA-Short Stirling, image in public domain, source wikimedia CommonsO. They were on mine-laying operations in the 'Sweet Peas' area ( Rostock, Germany). It was a large operation, carried out by 207 aircraft. Low cloud over the German and Danish coasts forced the minelayers to fly low to establish their positions. Around Helogiland, the approaches to the River Elbe, and other sea areas, 593 mines were laid . This was the highest number of mines laid in one night, but the mission was also the most costly mine-laying mission of the war, as 22 RAF bombers were lost

One was Stirling EF356, which, at around 00:35 hours on 29 April, was shot down by a Luftwaffe night-fighter. It crashed at Oddum, to the north of Esbjerg in Denmark. All of the crew were killed except Sergeant Bliss, who survived to become PoW 1119. He went to Camp 357. otherwise known as Stalag 'Kopernikus' at Thorn (Torun) in Poland, about 80 miles northwest of Warsaw

In late 1944 Russian forces advanced into Poland, and Camp 357 was relocated near to the existing Stalag XIB camp at Fallingbostal, about 50 miles north of Hanover. Conditions in the camp were bad; reprisals had removed from all British prisoners much of their furniture, their palliasses, and many of their blankets, and recreation was forbidden. Many prisoners suffered from bronchitis and chilblains

It was in that camp that Harry Bliss died on 30 March 1945, just six weeks before the enemy surrender on 7 May. It was fewer than four weeks before repatriation of prisoners had begun. He was 25

Harry Bliss is buried at Becklingen War Cemetery southeast of Soltau, Germany. 16 D 11

The crew were:
Sergeant Kenneth Sidney HAILEY Captain (Pilot) aged 21
Sergeant Andrew George SURTEES Flight engineer aged 21
Sergeant Arthur George Percival SINDREY Navigator aged 21
Flying Officer Sidney Michael HOLLIMAN Bomb aimer aged 21
Sergeant Ronald James BARTON Wireless operator/Air gunner aged 22
Sergeant Harry BLISS Air gunner PoW
Sergeant James Alfred HEAD Air gunner aged 20

with thanks to Dean Sumner

There is a report from the Dover Express, dated 18 May 1945, entitled "Dover Prisoner of War Death"

"[the conditions are] shown to be responsible for the death at a prisoner of war camp of W.O. Harry Bliss, RAF. Son of Mr and Mrs R. Bliss, 46, Maison Dieu Road, Dover, which reported in the Express of May 4

In a letter to his parents, a comrade E. Hunnable describes how W.O. Bliss was made to travel for 36 hours in a cattle truck so tightly packed that he, an ill man, could not lie down, and was kept without water

At the destination he was taken to hospital and operated upon, but never recovered. The origin of his illness was when changing camps they had to move two miles, and the German guards made them run all the way carrying full kit. The Germans prodded the men with bayonets to make them hurry, and set dogs on them with the same objective. W.O. Bliss received three bayonet wounds in the thigh. He had to be admitted to hospital, and was never the same[...]"

The transcription is with thanks to Joyce Banks
Edits by Maggie S-K

Bocutt, A. A.
Alfred Arthur ("Artie") Bocutt, PO/21632, joined the Royal Marines on 7 June 1920 and had served on the battle cruiser HMS Hood for four years; he was  one of the 1,415 who went down with Hood in the Denmark Strait on 24 May 1941. The Hood and the battleship HMS Prince of Wales were attempting to intercept the German battleship Bismarck and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, which were en route to the Atlantic to attack Allied convoys. HMS Hood was struck by several German shells, her magazines exploded and she sank.

Marine Bocutt is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial. Panel 58, Column 3

Born in 1903, he was the son of Alfred Arthur and the late Jessie Bocutt (of 30 Longfield Road), and the husband of Dorothy Ada Emily Bocutt, née McMillan, born 19 August 1904, of Southsea, Hampshire, who had married in 1934. In 1939 Mrs Bocutt was at Underhill, Hambridge, Langport, Somerset; she was living in Taunton when her husband died and later at Southsea in Hampshire. They had a daughter, Heather J M, born in 1937 in the Portsmouth area.

The grave right is in St Mary's. The headstone reads, "In loving memory of a dear wife and mother Jessie Bocutt who fell asleep 6th January 1941 aged 64 years. Also her eldest son on Empire Day 24th May 1941 PO 21632 Marine Alfred Arthur Bocutt aged 38 years lost when HMS Hood was sunk off Greenland. Peace perfect peace. Also Alfred Arthur husband of the above died 28th April 1958 aged 83 years".

His brother, Alexander Herbert Bocutt also died, as a civilian away from home

details of action by Chris Tomlinson


Regarding Taunton and evacuation,  a letter in the Dover Express in 1941 from a "Dover Reader in Somerset" read, "I am a Dover resident, now evacuated to Taunton, Somerset, with my two children. Whilst I am here with the kiddies in comparative safety, my husband is living on his own in our house at Dover. Realising this must be very miserable for him after being out all day to come home to an empty house I was sorely tempted to come home but as I have one daughter of school age I think it would be very unfair to bring my children back to Dover, and, besides exposing them to the danger of bombs or shells, make the girl lose her schooling. I know I have been called different names for leaving my husband on his own and, in fact, I feel selfish at times, but he realises the same as I do, the children have to be studied. The general feeling amongst the mothers who have been evacuated once, but have since returned, is "If one goes, we might just as well all go together", which to my idea is more selfish than staying away with the children. It is not all honey being evacuated, especially when one gets billeted with difficult people, and with the extra expense, etc, but I consider by my being evacuated with my children I am doing my bit, as I would give anything to return to Dover, my home town. There is one thing, though, I do think would help -  that is if there were some sort of club for the men who are on their own where they could go to for company. I know that this would mean expense, which, under the present circumstances, would have to be considered, but do you not think that this would be well worth it, if it were the means of keeping the wives and children evacuated to the safe area? I am not just speaking for myself, as I feel sure if there were only something got up for the men who have had to stay behind to carry on, the wives would be able to settle down a bit more. I miss Dover very much and will be glad when the war is over, so that I can return.

Booker, F. J.
Frederick Joseph Booker, C/KX 90859, was a Leading Stoker with HMS Lynx. He died on 28 July 1941, when he was 24. His coffin was Union Flag draped, and borne by members of the Royal Navy. A naval chaplain officiated at his burial at St Mary's cemetery, Dover. Section JKX, Grave 8

His parents were Alfred Edwin and Millicent Florence Booker, from the "New Mogul", Chapel Place, Dover, who laid a wreath "from his broken-hearted Mum and Dad". He was the youngest son, and he was brother to Robert, below. They were nephews of Millicent's brother, Reginald Thorner

in memoriam 1942, courtesy Dover Express
in memoriam 1942, courtesy Dover Express

in memoriam courtesy Dover Express

July 1942

Booker, R. E.
Robert Ernest Booker was a Stoker, Merchant Navy serving aboard the Cable Ship Alert. Born on 18 April 1915, he was 29 when he died on 24 February 1945. He is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London. Panel 4

His parents were Alfred Edwin and Millicent Florence Booker, and his wife was Joyce Booker, from Dover. He was brother to Frederick, above. they were both St Mary's old boys.

Notes on Alert

Booth, F. R.
Frank Robert Booth, T/1024189, was a Driver in the 2nd Division of the Petrol Company, Royal Army Service Corps. He died at the age of 40 on 25 May 1940, and is commemorated on the Dunkirk Memorial, France. Column 135

He was the son of John Luke and Margaret Booth, and the " dearly beloved" husband of Mary Adelaide Rosina Booth, from Noah's Ark Road, Dover. The couple married on Christmas Day 1927 at St Bartholomew's, Dover.  Frank's address was then 1 Coombe Cottage, Union Road, Buckland, and he was working as a labourer. Mary then lived at 20 Noah's Ark Road; she was the daughter of Herbert George King and the sister of Thomas Edward King. She was also the sister-in-law of Alfred Clarke.

May 1941
In ever loving memory of my dear husband and our Daddy, Frank Robert Booth, who was killed in France, May 25, 1940
His cheering ways, his smiling face,
Are Pleasures to recall;
But there's nothing left to comfort us
But his photo on the wall.
His loving Wife, Son and Daughter
(Dover and South Wales)

John Booth was killed in an accident on 1 September 1942. His father, also John, died on 5 November 1934. (in memorium 1944)

(Exhibition 06)

Bradbury, H. T.
Horace Thomas Bradbury, born in 1915 in the West Bromwich area, was the son of Thomas Augustus Bradbury and his wife Annie Elizabeth, née Smith. The couple had married in 1897. In 1911 they were living at 44 Foley Street, Wednesbury, Staffordshire, with Mr Bradbury working as a bricklayer. They had then two children, George, born 1899, and Annie May, born 1907. A third child had died young.

In 1941 in Staffordshire Horace married Elsie Smith. He became 2665175,  a Guardsman in the Coldstream Guards, 1st battalion. He was killed in action on 1 April 1945 when he was 29; he was reburied after concentrationede at Enschede Eastern General Cemetery, The Netherlands, grave 199A. The words at the foot of his headstone read, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith".



On 3 Jan 1936 a Horace Thomas Bradbury and four others from Adisham were charged with disorderly conduct at Wingham quarter sessions. They had tied the inner and outer doors of the church, thus preventing the choir from exiting after their practice. They had also placed a 15 foot scaffolding or flag pole against a door of the school; Rev Jackman was conducting the women's Bible class, and on hearing a knock on the door opened it. The pole fell although it did not strike him. The lads also accidentally broke a small pane of glass in the church.  Rev Jackman saw these things as a joke but which had gone too far and could have had serious consequences. The magistrates agreed to treat all five leniently as a warning; they had to pay four shillings each as the costs of prosecution and were bound over for two years. On 1 December 1932 this Horace had also been fined half a crown for letting off fireworks in the street.

gravestone by Wendy Lensink

Brading, C. F.
Charles Frederick Brading, 6286740, was in the 4th battalion of The Buffs (East Kent Regiment). He died on the night of 23-24 October 1943, at the age of 24 (his brother says "23"). He was the son of Bert and Catherine Brading. He is commemorated on the Cassino Memorial, Italy, Panel 4.


Bradish, B.
Barrington ("Barry") Bradish was a Greaser, Merchant Navy serving aboard the SS Maid of Kent (below), then a hospital ship. He was 57 when he died on 21 May 1940, and is commemorated at Tower Hill, London. Panel 66.

He was the son of Stephen, a fireman on the mail boats,  and Caroline Bradish. In 1891 the family were at Castle Place, St James, Eastry, and at home were Mary, 19, a housemaid, born in Eastbourne, Henry, 17, a potman, born in Shoeburyness, Priscilla, 13, and  John, 11, both born in Gibraltar, Barrington, 9, and Caroline, 7, both born in Ireland, and Stephen, 3, born in Dover. John died at the age of 13 in 1893.

By 1901 the family were at 1 Bowling Green Hill, and had been joined by Sarah Rose, born on 6 June 1891. Sarah, known as Rose, became in 1916 the wife of James Clift. Barrington in 1901 and 1911 was away, working as a stoker. Mrs Caroline Bradish, meanwhile had been widowed in 1902, and, still at Bowling Green Hill, was living with her son Henry, with Rose, and with Priscilla's daughter Florence, or Florrie, Spink. Priscilla had married in 1899 and was widowed shortly afterwards. Mrs Caroline Bradish died in 1915 at the age of 69.

On 23 July 1914 at Christchurch, Hougham, and living at 140 Clarendon Place, Barrington married Matilda Crepin, daughter of George Town Crepin, from 113 Clarendon Street. Matilda's brother George Henry was the father of Frederick George Thomas Crepin. Mr Bradish, with his wife and eldest daughter Winifred are above, left. The couple had six children; Winifred M, born in 1915, Barrington, 1916, George W, 1919, Mary E, 1922, Henry E, 1925, and Gladys A, 10 July 1927. Sadly little Henry died on 18 March 1926 at 113 Clarendon Street at the age of one year and two months.

In 1939 Mrs Bradish, born 19 July 1891, and with Gladys, was at 121 Clarendon Street, close to her parents at 113 and probably her brother William at 125. On 27 May 1940 Mrs Bradish was sent a letter from the Divisional Marine Manager, Mr H C Wood, of the Marine Department of the Southern Railway, stating:

"It is with great regret that I have to inform you that owing to the very inhuman bombing by enemy aircraft on the SS "Maid of Kent" whilst this vessel was lying in Dieppe Harbour on the 21st May, it is presumed that your husband has lost his life. His name is amongst those reported missing, and it is feared there is very little hope that he has survived.

"It is difficult on such occasions adequately to express sympathy, but in your sorrow you have the satisfaction of knowing that your dear lost one has given his life in the Country's service, and it will be for those who are left to carry on to see that he did not die in vain.

"In the loss which you have sustained, I would also say that the Company has lost a very loyal and devoted servant."  

In memoriam announcement, courtesy Dover Express
May 1941
In ever loving memory of a dear husband and father, Barrington (Barry) Bradish, who was lost in the sinking of the hospital ship "Maid of Kent" in Dieppe Harbour, May 21 1940.
Quickly and sudden was the call,
His sudden death surprised us all;
Only those who have lost are able to tell
The pain of a parting without a farewell.
From his loving Wife, Sons, and Daughters

Mrs Matilda Bradish died in 1985.

illustrations by courtesy of Margaret Fagg

Note: George Town Crepin suffered an accident on 9 December 1910 which fractured one finger and necessitated two others being amputated. He caught his hand in the cogs of the winch of the anchor on no 6. hopper, belonging to his employersMessrs Pearson.

Note: The Maid of Kent was one of the cross channel ferries, converted to a hospital ship.
See also:
"Luftwaffe Destruction of the Maid of Kent" by Richard Thwaites (.pdf)
"Notes on the Hospital Carrier Maid of Kent"

Joseph Brann, courtesy Raymond EllisJoseph Brann, courtesy Raymond EllisBrann, J. W.
Joseph William Brann, S/147628, who was a Serjeant in the Royal Army Service Corps. He was captured in Italy, and became Prisoner of War number 269626 at Stalag 4B Muhlburg, on the Elbe. He died on 18 February 1945, and is buried at the Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany. 10 K6

Joseph Brann, courtesy Raymond Ellis

He was the son of Richard and Nellie Brann, of Laburnum Cottage, 119 St Radigunds Road. The Branns once owned The Boar's Head, in Eaton Road, and The Terminus, at the Western Docks. They had already suffered the tragedy of losing two children in infancy, one being their "dearly-loved child", Elizabeth Emma, at the age of seven months on 13 September 1901. At that time they were living at 53 London Road with Mr Brann's Aunt Elizabeth Filmer, a newsagent and toy-dealer. Mr Brann was working as a porter of furniture.

with thanks to Raymond Ellis
Note: Joseph is related to Richard Prescott, died 1916. Nellie Brann was cousin to Richard's father, Richard J. Prescott. Joseph's sister Eliza also lost her husband, Arthur Miles, in 1945

Brett, R. W.
Raymond William Brett, 1807476, was born on 22 November 1923 in Hull, the son of William James and Lillian Louisa Brett, formerly Harding. From 24 Buckland Avenue, he was a former pupil of Barton Road and then the County, now Grammar, Schools, and had worked at the Westminster bank in Dover for nearly two years.

In 1939 Mr Brett, born 4 August 1895, and Mrs Brett, born 17 October 1900, were living at 24 Buckland Avenue, with Mr Brett working as a Master Builder. Mr Brett had in 1913 been working as a shop boy for Igglesden and Graves, the bakers in the Market Square. During the Great War he served in the RAMC, and amongst his duties helped dispatch the ambulance trains for returning wounded from the Admiralty Pier.

Raymond became a Sergeant Air Gunner, in the RAFVR, 44 Squadron. He flew on a number of different operations, sometimes at an intensity of one a day. On 21 May 1944 he was part of a minelaying operation over Kiel, the following day an operation over Brunswick during which they engaged in combat with a night flyer, claiming its destruction. In June he flew on 4, 5, twice on 6, then on 8, 9, 12, 14, and on 16, which took him to Beauvoirs.

On 21 June 1944 he took off at 22.58 hours from Dunholme Lodge, Lincolnshire, as part of a force of 133 Lancasters detailed to attack a synthetic oil plant at Wesseling, south of Cologne, Germany. Six de Havilland Mosquitos also took part in the raid.

The target was obscured by 10/10ths cloud, so bombing was carried out using the H2S radar equipment. The Luftwaffe night-fighter force inflicted heavy casualties on the bombers and contributed to the loss of 37 Lancasters, with six of the losses coming from 44 Squadron. They included Sergeant Brett's Avro Lancaster BIII ND552, coded KM-X, which crashed in the early hours of 22 June into the grounds of a coalmine between the villages of Eisden (Limburg) and Lanklaar in Belgium.

All the crew were killed, and are buried in the local Communal Cemetery, Collective Grave 1-7. On the right is Raymond Brett's headstone.

pictures by courtesy of and the copyright of The Williamson family; with thanks to Dennis Clarke of Kimpton Village Roll of Honour

The crew were:
Flying Officer Neil Joseph Smith - RAAF Captain (Pilot) aged 22
Sergeant John Douglas Barber Flight Engineer aged 19
Flying Officer Thomas Sawers Calder Navigator age unknown
Flight Sergeant Michael William Beevor Steele Bomb aimer age unknown
Sergeant Laurence Herbert Bozier Wireless operator/Air gunner age 22
Sergeant David Blackie Air gunner aged 29
Sergeant Raymond William Brett Air gunner aged 20

Note: F/O Smith of the Royal Australian Air Force was the son of Sidney and Alice Smith of Midland Junction, Western Australia

Over 200 RAF airmen lost their lives in this raid. Damage to the oil plant was deemed to be slight according to the post-raid reconnaissance, but a German report indicated a loss of 40% in production. Casualties on the ground amounted to 20 workers

Raymond Brett is named on his father's headstone at St Peter, Whitfield. The words on the headstone read:

In loving memory of William James Brett, died 8th Sept 1953 aged 58 years
Also his son Flt/Sgt Raymond William Brett RAF
Killed in Action 22.6.44 (Buried in Belgium)

Note: William Brett was born at Walmer in 1895 and died in 1953. His name is on the Walmer Land and Sea Scouts Roll of Honour

Memorial 1, Memorial 2

with thanks to Dean Sumner for RAF information

Brewster, I. J.
Ivor John Brewster, 7590648, was a Craftsman in the 1st Airborne Division Workshop of the REME. the announcement, right, appeared on 5 January 1945 in the Dover Express; very sadly just eleven days later Ivor died. He was 20. He is buried at  Arnhem Oosterbeek War Cemetery, Netherlands. 18 C 12

He was the elder son of Walter Lennos Brewster and Matilda Caroline Brewster, of 23 Stanhope Road, Dover

In Memoriam 1948
Brewster - Fondest thoughts of our beloved Ivor John, 1st Airborne Division REME, who died of wounds whilst a prisoner of war at Aleldoorn 16th January 1945. Now resting in the British Cemetery, Arnhem, Holland. From Mother, Dad, Ian, Kathleen, Gran and Granddad

Brewster. In loving memory of our comrade (Buff) Ivor John Brewster who died of wounds received at Arnhem, whilst P.O.W. Always remembered by Armourers Shop, 1st Airborne Division

Note: a short while before Ivor died, he was seen in the street by Maggie S-K's aunt, Dorne Easton. She said, "He looked so smart in his red beret. His grandparents lived in the stone cottage between Paul's Place and Matthew's Place. Recently, your uncle and I went out to visit his grave, but the area was fenced off because they were replacing the grass. So we bought a cross for Remembrance Sunday, and put it in the Garden of Remembrance by Dover Memorial, because we hadn't been able to put flowers on Ivor's grave".

Right, tributes at Dover Town War Memorial Field of Remembrance on 11 November 2012

Burdett, E. E. H.
Edgar Ernest Henry Burdett, C/JX 150678, was an Able Seaman aboard HMS Arethusa. He was 22 when he died ("killed by enemy action in the Eastern Mediterranean") on 18th November 1942, and is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial. Panel 53, 1.

He was the "dearly loved" son of William and Beatrice Burdett, from 36 Chamberlain Road, Dover, brother of Den, and the dearly beloved husband of Gertrude Patricia Burdett (née Huntley), from Enfield, in Middlesex, formerly of 4 Prioress Walk, Dover. He was an old St Mary's school boy

"Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."
"God be with you till we meet again." .

Buzan, C. W.
Charles Walter Buzan, 6292559, was a Bombardier in the Royal Artillery, with 331 battery, 100 Light AA Regiment. He died at the age of 28 on 25 February 1944. He is buried at Beach Head War Cemetery, Anzio, Italy. VG 9

His parents were Charles Edward and Emily (Elsie?) Buzan, of Dover, and he was married to Frances M Buzan, from Epsom, Surrey. Flight Engineer Wilfred Claud Buzan, 1801432, from the RAFVR and of 103 Squadron, may have been Charles' brother (his parents are given as Charles Edward and Emily Florence Buzan, from Dover)

Charles Buzan, father of Charles Edward Buzan, lived at 84 Folkestone Road, Dover. He died aged 66 on 4 August 1933 and is buried at Charlton.

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