war memorial at dusk, photographed by Michelle Cooper

World War II



Surnames S

Fighter squadron badge, by Trevor Banks

scramble, by Trevor Banks

details from the Battle of Britain Memorial, London. Photos: Trevor Banks

Sanders, G. A. 
Glyn Alexander Sanders, 1385970, was an Aircraftman, 2nd Class. He died on 12 May 1941, and is buried at River (St Peter) Churchyard, Dover. No grave ref

He was a "dear son"

In life one of the finest
In death, one of the brave
He failed not in his duty
Himself he gladly gave
From his loving Mum, Dad, and Joan. May 1942

Santer, R. W. 
Reginald William Santer, 6290374, was a Lance Sergeant in the 5th battalion of The Buffs. He died when he was 26 on 8 October 1943. He is buried in the Moro River Canadian War Cemetery, Italy. XII G 4

He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. William Iden Santer, and the husband of Joyce Ina Santer, of Whitfield, Kent

Saunders, L. W. 
Leonard Walter Charles Saunders, C/JX 150543, was a Leading Seaman on HMS Warspite. He died on 2 August 1943, when he was 22. He is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial. Panel 68.2

He was the son of Walter Frank Saunders, born 25 August 1897, and his wife Rose Lilian, née Kitchen, born 24 January 1896. The couple had married in 1919 in the Medway area.

In 1939 they were living at 28 Mayfield Avenue; Mr Saunders had been a carpenter but was then incapacitated through previous war service while Mrs Saunders, previously a money collector, was carrying out unpaid domestic duties. Also there was their son Gordon, born on 31 October 1927 and then still at school. Leonard was their first child, with Roy, born in 1925, their second.

The grave is at Charlton. The words read:

Sacred To The Memory Of
A Dear Wife And Mother
Rose Lilian Saunders
Died 1 May 1974
Aged 78
Resting Where No Shadows Fall
and Walter Frank Saunders M.M.
Husband Of The Above
Died 13 Jan. 1979
Aged 81

L/S Leonard Walter Charles
Saunders R. N.
Son of Above
Killed In Action H.M.S. Warspite
2 Aug. 1943
Aged 23
Never Forgotten

photo and transcription Joyce Banks

grave at Charlton, by Joyce Banks


Savage, T. 
Thomas Savage, 3309991, was a Sergeant in the 1st battalion of the Highland Light Infantry (City of Glasgow Regiment). He died on 22 September 1944, when he was 36. He is buried in Bergen-op-Zoom, Netherlands. 11 A 2

He was the son of Robert and Grace Muir Savage, the "dearly loved" husband of Mary Beatrice Savage, née Coleman, of Buckland, Dover, and father to Ronnie, Angela, and Patrick. He was known to his friends and workmates of R.E. as "Jock".

Savery, H. J.
Henry James Savery, 7910248, was a Trooper in the 1st Royal Tank Regiment, RAC. He was Mentioned in Dispatches. He died on 19 July 1944, aged 24, at Caen, Normandy. He is buried at the Banneville La Campagne War Cemetery, France. IV B 10

He was the son of Henry Ernest and Harriott Maud Savery (formerly Haynes), who married in 1906, and he was ex County (now Grammar) school boy

1948 - In Memoriam - Savery, Henry James, 8th Commandos and Desert Rats ... "Sadly missed, but proud you were my son - Dad"

At the bottom of his gravestone are the words: "I am proud to know you were my son".

pictures with thanks to Di Moses


Battle of Britain clasp, courtesy Dean SumnerSawyer, H. C. 
Henry Cecil Sawyer (Sam) was the youngest son of Mr H H Sawyer, from Highclere, London Road, Brentwood, late of Bombay. He was an Old Boy of Dover College, and on leaving became in January 1933 a Flight Cadet at the RAF College, Cranwell

After graduation in December 1934, he joined No.142 Squadron to fly Hawker Hart biplanes at Andover, Hampshire. In late May 1936 he was posted to the staff of the Electrical and Wireless School at Cranwell and subsequently moved to the Staff College, again at Cranwell in mid-July 1938 

In August 1939 Sam was posted to No.615 'County of Surrey' Squadron at Kenley, as Adjutant and instructor, but upon the outbreak of war the following month, he was sent to No.3 Flying Training School at South Cerney in Gloucestershire. In early 1940, Sam was on the staff of No.9 Bombing and GunnerySchool and then in May was posted to No.6 Operational Training Unit (OTU) at Sutton Bridge, Lincolnshire for a refresher flying course

After qualifying to fly Spitfires he was sent to become the Officer Commanding 'B' Flight at No.7 OTU, Hawarden near Chester. At the beginning of July 1940, reconstructed Spitfire, image in public domain, source Wikimedia commonsSam was posted to No.65 Squadron of RAF Fighter Command at Hornchurch in Essex, and on 8 July took command of the Squadron. He celebrated his new command with his first victory, by shooting down a Messerschmitt Me109 off Dover that day at around 16:10 hours

On 24 July he claimed at least another Me109, and is given credit by some sources as having downed Oberleutnant Werner Bartels of Jagdgeschwader 26 who crash-landed at Northdown near Margate and was taken prisoner

No.65 Squadron suffered the tragic loss of 'Sam' Sawyer in a night-flying accident on 2 August 1940. He took off from Hornchurch for a night patrol. It was said that he had offered to replace another pilot, perhaps one named Gordon Olive, who was very tired after many weeks of extensive operations. Possibly blinded by the glare from the exhausts of his Spitfire R6799, he climbed too steeply, stalled and was killed in the subsequent crash. He was 25. Sam Sawyer's name on memorial, courtesy Ted McManusHis body was cremated at the City of London Crematorium, East Ham, and he is commemorated on a screen wall at the back of the war graves plot 

He was the "beloved husband" of Biddy Sawyer, from Willoughby House, Spalding, and father to their 18-months-old son, Michael.  One who knew 'Sam' stated, "I have very happy memories of [him], who was a very charming man and he would have made a very successful Squadron Commander." A brother officer stated, "The Service is the poorer for the loss of "Sam" Sawyer, who lived to achieve his ambition - to command a squadron. It is impossible to think of Sam except as "The Happy Warrior". He could entertain a few of his chosen cronies or the audience of a Service concert with equal ease and grace, but those who knew him best realised that that attitude towards life was superficial. Sawyer had early decided that trouble was a private affair, and, as might be expected, he had no use for the disgruntled and the grumbler. Sam lived his life on the principle that it is better to forget and smile than to remember and be sad. "Ave atque vale"" 

Note: Sam's brother, Vivian, known as "Tom" also flew, with Bomber Command. He gained the DFC, and wrote an autobiography, "Only Owls and Bloody Fools Fly at Night". He survived the war, dying in the 1980s

Battle of Britain, closer, courtesy Dean Sumnerfor more, plus picture, see Battle of Britain, H C Sawyer
with grateful thanks to Michael Sawyer and Deborah Sawyer

with grateful thanks to Dean Sumner, for the detailed career information
with thanks to Ted McManus for memorial image from City of London Crematorium

Post Script. Mark Cooper, from Kent, contacted us. His grandmother had a clock, probably from Oberleutnant Werner Bartels' plane. For many years it stood on the mantelpiece at home, and still remains with the family. Mark  would love to speak to anyone from Sam Sawyer's family, or from  Werner Bartels' family. Please do contact us if you can help

Update  (21 November 2007) We are absolutely delighted to have heard from Sam's granddaughter and son

Sharp, E. C. 
Eric Charles Sharp, BSc (Hons), 100895, was a Major in the A squadron of the 4th Regiment of the Reconnaissance Corps of the RAC. He died when he was 29 on 9 April 1944, and is buried in the Cassino War Cemetery, Italy. XVIII D 12

He was an old boy of the Dover County School (Boys' Grammar) and met in Cairo three other old boys just a few weeks before he died. He had been School Captain and won the Stone Cup for his swimming. He had been a teacher at Gosport Central School before enlisting.   He was the son of Charles and Nellie Sharp, of 42 Nightingale Road, later 98 or 91 Downs Road, Folkestone, and the husband of Dorothy Freda Sharp, of Etchinghill, Kent, who had been teaching at Sutton Valence. The couple had a daughter.   

Sharp, F. S. G. 
Frederick Steven George Sharp was born on 26 July 1905. He had 9 years service and was a Seaman, Merchant Navy aboard the Cable Ship Alert. He died on 24 February 1945, when he was 39. He is commemorated on the Tower Hill memorial, London. Panel 5

He was the son of Chief Petty Officer Steven Richard Sharp, Royal Navy, and Mary Ann Sharp. He was the husband of Emily Sharp, of 39 Balfour Road, Dover, also 6 The Grove, Dover, and father of twin daughters Beryl and Pearl.

"In ever loving memory of my dear husband and our dear Dad" (February 1946)

Notes on Alert

picture courtesy Chris Bates

Sharp, S. G. 
Sydney George Sharp, S/10686487, was in the Royal Army Service Corps. He died in hospital in North Africa from bronchial pneumonia on 1 May 1943, when he was 35. He is buried in El Alia Cemetery, Algeria. 12 H 22

He was the eldest son of Sydney and Ellen E. Sharp, of 133 Snargate Street, Dover, and was a well-known singer. He was the brother-in-law of John Smith, below


Shepherd, W. E. 
William E Shepherd was born on 30 November 1908. He had 11 years service, and was a Boatswain, Merchant Navy with the Cable Ship Alert. He died on 24 February 1945, when he was 34. He is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London. Panel 5  

His wife was Mrs W E Shepherd, from 12 Eaton Road, Dover

Notes on Alert

Shepard, H. B. 
Harry Bernard Shepard. This could be Harry Bernard Shephard, C/JX 141759, who was a Petty Officer Telegraphist who served aboard HMS Penelope, and died on 18 February 1944, when he was 24. He is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial. Panel 76.3

He was the son of William and Lily Shephard, and the husband of Edith Shephard, from Swansea, Glamorgan

Silk, A. A. 
name on Chatham memorialAlbert Alfred Silk, C/KX 93532, was a 1st Class Stoker and served on HMS Lightning. She was torpedoed twice on 12 March 1943, the first torpedo taking off the port bow and disabling her, and the second hitting her starboard side amidships, breaking her back

Of the 227 aboard, 45 died. Alfie was posted missing and presumed lost. He is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial. Panel 72.2

Born on 3 December 1919 at 8 Devonshire Road, he was the fourth son of Albert Arthur, a railway coalman and ex-soldier, and Alice Kate Silk, formerly Greer, née Bedwell, from Dover, Kent. He was the nephew of Ernest Silk and Henry and Thomas Bedwell

In ever loving memory of our dear son, Alfred Silk (Tinner) who lost his life on HMS Lightning, 12th March 1943, aged 23 years. From Mum, Dad, Sister and Brothers - March 1944

with thanks to Jacky Silk
above, Alfie while on shore with HMS Pembroke
right, Alfie, possibly aboard HMS Lightning
above right, Alfie's name on the Chatham memorial

Sisley, R. E. J. 
Robert Edward James Sisley, 1895505, was a Sergeant (Air Gunner), in RAFVR. He died on 4 April 1944, aged 19, near Newark, Nottinghamshire, and is buried at Charlton Cemetery, Dover, Section 2W, Grave 3.

Amongst the uncles and aunts who attended the funeral were Mr and Mrs A Pearson, Mr and Mrs C Pearson, Mr and Mrs W(illiam) Ealden, Mr and Mrs G Sisley, Mr and Mrs J Sisley, Mrs Proctor, Mrs Pullen, and Mr J Baker. RAF personnel also attended, as did representatives of No 354 Dover Squadron ATC, of which Sergeant Sisley had been an enthusiastic member, members of Dover Spotters' Club, and staff from grocers Vye and Son. 

Sergeant Sisley was the son of Henry Sisley and his wife Edith Marion, née Pearson, born 25 February 1899, from 6 Castle Cottages, Charlton Green, Dover. He was a cousin of Walter Ealden and Jack Pulham; their mothers, Ethel Alice Ealden and Sarah Louisa Pulham, were sisters of Robert's father Henry.

photo by Mark Chapman

Skelton, W. G. 
Walter ("Wally") George Skelton was born on 29 August 1908. He had 8 years service, and was a Quartermaster, Merchant Navy. He was aboard the Cable Ship Alert when he died age 36, on 24 February 1945. He is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London. Panel 5.

His wife was Mrs E Skelton, from 39 Monins Road, Dover, and he had three children - Joan, Lana, and Terence ("Buddy"). His children were evacuated to Markham, where he had travelled to visit them.

Notes on Alert

Skipworth, W. F. 
Walter Frederick Mons Skipworth, 195479, was a Pilot Officer in 356 Squadron, RAFVR. He was reported missing with full crew on 18 August 1945, aged 30. He is commemorated on the Singapore Memorial, Singapore. Column 448

He was the son of Frederick Harrison Skipworth and Amelia Bessie Skipworth, from Dover

"In loving memory of our only son and brother" -  1949 - Mum, Dad and Bessie

Smissen, F. M. 
Frederick M. Smissen. This might be Frederick Mansbridge Smissen, who died on 15 September 1949 at the age of 45 at 133 Heathfield Avenue, Dover, "after much suffering, patiently borne".

He was the son of Mr William and Mrs Mary Ann Smissen, from Green Lane, Temple Ewell, and was christened at Lydden on 14 August 1904.

In 1901 the Smissens were living at Hope Cottage, Hawkinge. Mr Smissen was a waggoner, born at Hougham,  while his wife came from Ewell. With them were Katherine, 12, born in Sellindge, John, 11, Buckland, Mary, 8, Dover, Sarah, 6, Cheriton, Emma, 4, and Maria Laney, 2, both born at Hawkinge. Another son, Richard Henry, born in 1892, died as a baby; he was probably Mary's twin. There was also another daughter, Harriet, born in 1886.

By 1911 the family were at Wootton, and had been joined by George, born at Hawkinge, Fred, 6, Lydden, and Harry, 4, at Hougham. Also there was Percy, aged 8, born in Dover. 

In 1933 Frederick married Gwendoline May Mullard. They had a son, Norman, born in 1934.

Mr Smissen died in March 1935, and Mrs Smissen just six months before her son, on 29 March 1949.

Smissen, W. A.
William (Bill) Arthur Smissen, 1034889, was a Gunner in the 67 Field Regiment. He died on 31 May 1940, when he was 40, and is buried in Les Moeres Communal Cemetery, France. Row B, Grave 25

He was the son of Richard and Kate Smissen, and the "dearly beloved" husband of Florence Mabel Smissen, from 97 Hillside Road, Buckland

"Until we meet again"

May 1941

In loving memory of my dear husband William Arthur Smissen, killed by enemy action at Dunkirk, May 31 1940. From his loving Wife and daughters Florrie and Mamie. "I must go my way alone, since you have passed beyond my sight, from the darkness of this world to higher realms of life and light ... A real and perfect happiness I could not find without you, dear. But I must take what God bestows of consolation and of cheer. I must take what life can offer, crumbs of comfort and relief - fragmentary fare to ease the torment of my hidden grief. I must learn to laugh again, that none shall ever guess or see the secret and the sacred shrine of your undying memory"

In loving memory of our dear brother, William (Bill) Smissen, who was killed at Dunkirk, May 31 1940. For ever in our thoughts. From George, Ethel, and family

In loving memory of our brother (Bill) William Arthur Smissen, killed at Dunkirk, May 31 1940. Ever in our thoughts. Dolly and Walter, Laney and Jack 

In 1942, Florrie, his "ever loving wife" placed an announcement "This was his chair, it's empty now, but sometimes when the firelight gleams, I seem to see him sitting there and smiling at me through my dreams, as if to say, "Why mourn for me? I gave my life my life is brief, I did my duty faithfully. What cause have you for tears or grief. We'll meet again, somewhere, some day"

In 1943 William's "ever loving wife" placed an announcement "You are absent from the home, but never from the heart. A thousand times a day you come. Some little thing will start a trail of lovely memories that winds back through the years, a trail that all too often leads into a vale of tears. You are absent from this place, but never far away from my thoughts, in all I do, in all I think and say. You have gone, but something of your spirit lingers here. I feel the comfort of your presence ever near and dear"

Notes: William Smissen's grandfather was also named William. Born in 1826, he was the son of George Smithen and Sarah, née Allen. William senior was brother to Richard Smissen, who became the second husband of Elizabeth Taylor, née Greaves, who was arguably the maternal great-grandmother of Walter Tull.  Also, Walter's stepmother and cousin, Clara Palmer, was the daughter of  Sarah Ann, née Smissen, born at Capel around 1847.

Laney was the maiden surname of William senior's wife, Frances

with thanks to Ian Smissen

Smith, A. S. 
Alan Stuart Smith, FX.98537, was a 1st Class Air Mechanic, Royal Navy. He was aboard HMS Unicorn when he died on 23 March 1945. He was buried in the Sydney War Cemetery, Australia. 2 W A 6

He was the son of John William and Florence Ann Smith, from Dover, England. His brother-in-law Norman Lown also died

"In loving memory of our dear son" - 1948

Smith, E. J. 
Ernest James Smith was an Assistant Steward, Merchant Navy, aboard the Cable Ship Alert. He died on 24 February 1945, when he was 18, and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London. Panel 5

Born on 17 May 1926, he was the son of Mr. and Mrs. E. T. Smith, from 2 New Cottages, Dover

"Silent thoughts and loving memories of our dear son and brother" (February 1945)

Notes on Alert
note: William Benn, died 30 October 1941,also lived at 2 New Cottages

Smith, J. E.  
John Ernest Smith, 1865167, was a Corporal in the 26th Field Company of the Royal Engineers. He died at St Valery on 11th June 1940, aged 30. He is commemorated on the Veules Les Rose Communal Cemetery, France Row 3, Grave 7

He was the son of Ernest and Florence Ruth Smith, and the husband of Edith May Smith, née Sharp, from Dover, whom he had married in 1932. Edith was the sister of Sydney Sharp, above.

1943 - "He died that we might live" - from loving wife Edith and children
"In ever loving memory of my dear son-in-law" - Ellen

John is centre, in the picture, left. With thanks to Mike Sharp

Smith, S. G. 
Sydney George Smith, C/SSX31164, was an Ordinary Seaman age 19 and serving with HMS Sussex when he was accidentally drowned on 9 August 1940.  He is buried at Glasgow (Cardonald) Cemetery, Scotland. Section E, Joint Grave 1

His parents were Henry John and Mildred Elsie Louisa Smith, from "Hillbrow", Martin, Kent, of whom he was the second son.  He was nicknamed "Chub"

From August 1941

The call was sudden, the shock severe,
To part with one we loved so dear;
Only those who have lost can tell
The bitter heartache without farewell

from his loving Mum, Dad, Brothers and Sisters 


His life a beautiful memory,
His death a silent grief


from his loving Gran and Granddad, Aunties and Uncles

We often pause and think of you,
And think of how you died
To think we could not clasp your hand
Before you closed your eyes

from his loving Auntie Win and Uncle Jim

detail on panel at Runnymede by Dean SumnerStandring, G. S. 
Gibbard Selkirk Standring, 927496, was a Sergeant in the 57 Squadron of the RAFVR. He was reported missing, and then killed, when he was 30 on 23 June 1942. He is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. Panel 94

He was the son of Robert Selkirk Standring, and Ellen Isabel Standring, from Potters Bar, Middlesex, formerly of 55 Salisbury Road, Dover 

Staveley, J. J.
Jesse James Carroll Staveley, 2025966, was a Driver in 287 Field Company, Royal Engineers. He died on 26 February 1942, and is commemorated on the Singapore Memorial, Singapore. Column 42 

Stevens, C. 
Charlie Stevens

Stokes, E. E.
Ernest Edward Stokes, 974011, was a Gunner in the Royal Horse Artillery, 1 regiment. He was 22 when he was killed in action on 1 September 1942, and is buried in the El Alamein War cemetery, Egypt. XXV D 16.

He was the "beloved only son" of Ernest Ford Stokes and Elizabeth Stokes, temporarily at 42 Oxford Road, St. James, Exeter, but of 38 Chamberlain Road, Astor Avenue, Dover, and nephew of Maude

"None can fill his place in our hearts" - Mum, Dad, and Mary - 1943

Sumner, D. H. 
David Henry Sumner, 528883, was a Corporal in 84 Squadron of the RAF. From 118 Crescent Road, Ramsgate, he was 30 when he died on 16 February 1942. He is commemorated on the Singapore Memorial, Singapore. Column 416

He was the son of David Charles and Rose Emma Sumner; husband since 1937 of May Beatrice Sumner, formerly Goldsack, of Castle Fields, Shrewsbury, Shropshire.  Mrs May Sumner remarried in 1946, to John Alfred Turner. She was the daughter of Edward John Goldsack.

Sutton, D. 
Donald Sutton. This may be Donald Jack Sutton, C/KX 97603, a Stoker 1st Class and was with HMS Calcutta when he died on 1 June 1941, aged 22. The vessel was sunk in an air attack approximately 100 miles off Egypt.  He is commemorated on the Chatham Naval memorial. Panel 48.1 

He was the son of Sidney and Elsie Sutton, from Nonington, Kent

1949 - "Happy memories when we were all together with Don, missing June 1 1941, H.M.S. Calcutta (Narvik, Dunkirk and Crete)" - Mum and Dad

Sutton, H. G. 
Henry George Sutton (Harry), 1359710, was a Sergeant in 179 Squadron of the RAFVR. He was reported missing and then as presumed killed, on 21 March 1943, aged 29. He is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. Panel 166

He was an old St James school boy, and a champion at table tennis. He was said to have been well-known in Dover for his YMCA work, and had been for many years on the office staff of Clark's the florists. He was the son of Duncan McBride Sutton and Annie Sutton, of 183 London Road, Dover. Panel 166

.Runnymede memorial, pictured by Dean Sumner

detail from Runnymede panel byDean SumnerSutton, R. J.
Roy John Sutton, 1269173, was the son of Norman and Daisy Sutton, from Dover. He was a Sergeant in the RAFVR, and died when he was 20 on 7 November 1942. (left) He is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Panel 94

(We Remember 06)

Swinerd, P. G. 
Philip George Swinerd, 6289205, was a Private in the 2nd battalion of The Buffs. He died on 1 February 1945, when he was 25, on the first crossing of the River Shweli, Burma, during the advance on Myitson. His boat is said to have been machine-gunned by Japanese troops. He is commemorated on the Rangoon Memorial, Myanmar. Face 4

Said to have been very blond, he was the son of John and Louisa Swinerd, from Dover. The couple were married on 18 August 1906 at SS Peter and Paul, Charlton. The couple lived at 5 Paul's Place, and John Swinerd was a railway operative, the son of John Swinerd. He was a labourer, as was William Ballard, the father of Louisa. In 1091 Louisa had been living with her family at 10 Colebran Street, and working as a domestic servant.

By 1911 the family were at 6 Brook Street, and there were three children: Louisa May, born 10 May 1907, when the family had been living at 3 Bridge Street, Elizabeth Henrietta, born 16 August 1908, when the family were at 29 South Road, and John, 11 months. Mr Swinerd was in 1911 was a carriage cleaner, having been a labourer in 1909. The family probably had several more children, amongst them Philip, who was born around 1919.

with thanks to George Ratcliffe
photo with thanks to Veronica Shirley

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