war memorial at dusk, photographed by Michelle Cooper

World War II



Surnames W and Y


Wakefield, R. C.
Richard Charles Stephen Wakefield was a Second Steward, Merchant Navy, aboard the Cable Ship Alert. Born in Dover on 12 April 1901 to Richard and Edith Wakefield, publicans at the British Queen, and formerly at the Ordnance Arms, he married Doris Flack in 1923.  In 1927 their daughter, Betty May Doris, was born in Dover, and the family lived at 41 Victoria Street.

When not at sea Mr Wakefield used to play the piano in a local pub. He took a piano accordion to sea to entertain his fellow shipmates. 

During the war, Mr Wakefield's wife and daughter were evacuated to Fowey. They returned early, but sadly never saw him again as he lost his life on 24 February 1945 when the Alert was sunk. Mrs Wakefield later lived at Plumstead.

Richard Wakefield is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London, Panel 5.

with thanks to Claire Dingley, his granddaughter

Notes on Alert

Wakerell, L.
Leslie James Wakerell, 1319771, was an Air Gunner Sergeant in the RAFVR, 166 Squadron. He died on 31 August 1943, aged 20. He is buried in Heverlee War Cemetery, Belgium, 4 D 15.

Christened on 17 May 1923 at St Bartholomew's, Dover, he was the son of Samuel and Maud Ellen Wakerell,  and was an old St Bart's school boy. Mr and Mrs Wakerell moved to East Grinstead, Sussex, from Dover, and possibly once lived at 10 and 12 East Street. Mrs Wakerell was the sister of  Henry William Farrell. Widowed in 1953, she married in 1955 Charles J Handley. Mrs Wakerell died in the Dover area in 1977.

Leslie had a brother, John Samuel, born about 1921, and two sisters, Jean Daisy Mary, 1925, and Norma, 1928, and a half-brother, Frank Robus, from Mrs Wakerell's first marriage.

"They miss him most who loved him best. In loving memory of our dear son and brother" - 1949 - Mum, Dad, Sisters and Brothers.

in memoriam - 1943

Note: possibly Charles J Handley was Charles Jesse Handley, the brother of Walter Ernest Handley. Mrs Wakerell's first marriage was to Frank Robus, a brother of George Frederick Robus.

Wall, T. W. sympathy, courtesy Dover Express
Thomas William Wall was a Donkeyman, Merchant Navy, aboard SS Dynamo. He was 21 when he was reported missing, believed killed, on 17 April 1943 and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London. Panel 36. SS Dynamo was mined in the Thames Estuary and sank with the loss of seven of her crew.

He was the son of Thomas Cecil Wall and his wife Harriet (née Seath), who had married in 1919 in the Kingston area. He was also the "dearly loved adopted son of Mrs Millington", and the "dearly loved husband" of Evelyn Lillian Elizabeth Wall, from 7 Redvers Cottages, Kearsney, Dover. The couple had married only some six months before, on 23 September 1942 at St Peter's church, River. At their wedding a party of WRNS, with whom the bride was serving, had formed a guard of honour.

An in memoriam announcement in 1948 read:-
Holman. Treasured memories of our dear ones, James Robert Holman, killed by enemy action, September 26 1940. Annie Alice, wife of the above, who died 26 February 1945 and Thomas William Wall, M.N. killed at sea, April 1943. From Little Ann, Gran, and all at River Street. ("Gran" was probably Elizabeth Jane Millington, born 18 December 1862, who in 1939 was recorded as "E J" at 34 River Street with her daughter, Ivy Dann, born 28 October 1901. Other members of the Dann family lived at 52 and 56 River Street. "Little Ann" was probably Annie Jamesena Holman, daughter of James Robert Holman.) See also Percy Millington.

Walsh, J. J.
John James Walsh, 154262, was a Flying Officer in the 267 Squadron of the RAFVR. The son of Michael John Walsh and Bridget Walsh, from 7 Pardoners Way, Dover, he attended the County (now Grammar) School between 1935 and 1939. There he participated in athletics, mainly running and the high jump, and played rugby for the school (2nd?) team in 1938-9. He also gained prizes for  special endeavour in 1936, for junior geography in 1937, and the school certificate prize for geography in 1939. Unsurprisingly, when joining the RAFVR after a short employment in the Borough Treasurer's department, he became in by June 1944 a Pilot Officer Navigator, then residing in Canada, following being a Leading Aircraftman in September 1942.

He was navigator on a Dakota, KG 752, which took off from Reevo, the Province of Bari, Apulia, Italy at 22.45 on 21 August 1944 with six other squadron aircraft in order to drop arms and ammunition to partisans and SOE personnel north of the enemy lines on the River Po. Once over the Adriatic, the aircraft dispersed to their primary and secondary locations of drop. Dakota KG 752 was unable to make contact with their primary location so flew on to their second. There they made contact and dropped their supplies. Turning to go back to base they were caught in searchlights, followed by heavy flak. This was witnessed by their Squadron Commander from another aircraft. The captain of KG 752 took strong evasive action but by only ninety feet failed to pass over the summit of mount Sernio in the Italian Alps.

In 1945 bodies were recovered from the mountain, but they were unidentifiable and no aircraft wreckage could be seen. The remains were buried in what has now become a CWGC cemetery in Udine, Italy, with the remains of nine other unidentified people who died fighting in the Udine area. The crew are all commemorated on the Malta memorial, Valletta, Malta.

The crew were:

Captain: Flight Lieutenant Leslie Thomas Whitaker 411483 RNZAF aged 27 panel 17 col 1
Co-Pilot: Flying Officer Maurice Sims 133671 RAFVR   panel 13 col 2
Navigator: Flying Officer John James Walsh 154262 RAFVR aged 21 panel 13 col 2
Navigator/Observer: Flying Officer Daniel Joseph Christensen 174056  RAFVR aged 35 panel 13 col 1
Wireless Operator: Flight Sergeant Henry Francis Bolt 1384123 RAFVR aged 32 panel 14 col 1

Leslie Whitaker was the son of Thomas Richmond Whitaker and Amelia Margaret Whitaker, of Lower Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand. He was engaged to be married.
Daniel Christensen was the son of Just Christian Christensen and Ellen Mary Sarah Ann Christensen, of North Kensington, London.
Henry Bolt was the son of Charles James Bolt and of Emma Amelia Bolt (née Taylor), of Highbury, London.

In 2010 the site of the crash was identified, and a plaque in memory was erected there.

with thanks to Geoff Elliott

Walsh, P. J.
Patrick John Walsh, 1248137, was a Sergeant in the RAFVR. He was 23 when he died on 16 July 1944, at the General Military Hospital in New Delhi. He is buried in the Delhi War Cemetery, India, 2 H 3.

He was the "only beloved son" of Patrick John Walsh and Emily, née Barden, born 16 September 1899, of 12 Knight's Way, Dover. The couple had married on 17 April 1909 at Buckland. In 1911 they were living at 3 Glenfield Road, with their daughter Nora Kathleen, born 25 January 1910 and christened on 15 February at Buckland ("Laura" in the register.)  Mr Walsh, born 21 May 1884,  was a millhand at the Buckland paper mill. Ivy was born on 23 September 1913, and Patrick on 28 September 1920.

In 1939 the family were at 63 Pioneer Road, with Mr Walsh working at the paper mill as a yard foreman. At home were daughter Ivy, a shorthand typist, and Patrick, then a municipal worker. Living next door at number 61 were Norah, her husband Reginald Packman, married in 1935, and their daughter, Patricia, born on 3 December 1936 at the Penshurst Nursing Home, Maison Dieu Road. Reginald was a dairy foreman and pasteuriser.

1949 - Happy and treasured memories of our only beloved son and our brother, Sergeant Patrick John Walsh, R.A.F. (S.E.A.C.) who passed away in New Delhi, 16 July 1944. Always with us. From Mum, Dad, Nora and Ivy.

Patrick was the nephew of William John Barden; Emily was William's sister.

Walters, E.
Edward ("Teddie") Walters, P/JX 2639352, was an Able Seaman, Royal Navy, HMMGB (Motor Gun Boat). He died on 16 August 1944, and is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial. Panel 83, Column 2.

He was brother to John Walters below, and is recorded on the 1911 census at just six months old, living with his parents at 31 Noah's Ark Road, Dover. His father was then working at the Paper Mills, as a paper packer.

1949 - In treasured and loving memory of our dear son[s] ... Ever loved and sadly missed. Their Mum and Dad.


illustration: Ted at the age of 35
by courtesy of Alan London

Walters, J.
Brother to Edward, above, John James Leonard Walters ("Jackie"), 3974753, was a Private in the Welch Regiment, 1st battalion. He was 21 when he was killed on active service in Libya on 27 November 1941. He is buried at the Heliopolis War Cemetery, headstone, Byy Michelle and Andy CooperEgypt, 1 H 7.

Born in Dover, he had attended Charlton School. He was the dearly loved son of Mr James Robert and Mrs Lilian Eva Violet Walters, from Gillingham in Kent, late of Dover. The couple had married in Dover in 1909.

"Very dearly loved by all his family. Thy will be done".

The words at the bottom of his headstone read: "Safe in the arms of Jesus".



illustration: Jack at the age of 21
by courtesy of Alan London

picture right:
entrance to the cemetery, by Michelle and Andy Cooper

Watson, C. I.
Colin Ian Watson Mackenzie Watson, IA/1128, was in the 2nd battalion of the 8th Punjab Regiment. He died on 21 January 1945, when he was 26. He is buried in the Taukkyan War Cemetery, Myanmar, 27 G 2.

He was the son of Colin Campbell Watson and Winifred Rosina Sarah Watson, of Dover.

The words on his gravestone read, "Till we meet, O valiant heart".

photo with thanks to George Pelly

Watson, J.
Jack Watson was a Cook, Merchant Navy aboard the SS Orford. He was killed when he was 23 on 1 June 1940, when his ship was bombed. He is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London, Panel 76.

His parents were Herbert Watson and Maud Lilian, formerly Spencer, his wife, from 20 Percival Terrace, Dover. In 1911 the family were at 148 Mayfield Avenue, with Mr Watson working as a bricklayer. There were then five daughters, all born in Dover - Gladys, 8, Dorothy, 6, Mary, 5, Nellie, 3, and Winifred, 1.

"In treasured memory of our Jack, third beloved son ...He died, that we might live".

In Memoriam, courtesy Dover Express
May 1941

In treasured and unforgettable memories of our dear daughter, Joan Edith, who died April 30 1937, aged 14 years. Also our dear son, Jack, killed by enemy action by the bombing of his ship H.M.T. Orford at Marseilles, 1 June 1940, aged 24 years. "Our happy memories of you are gathered up and stored away ... Like faded petals that retain the fragrance of a summer's day, without you winter lingers long, yet always in my heart it seems I catch the perfume of the past, the breath of unforgotten dreams." From their loving Mum and Dad and Norah.

In fadeless memory of our Jack and Joan.
Our Father knoweth where they lie,
And angels mark the spot; 
We have only a beautiful memory
To remember our life through,
But its sweetness will linger for ever,
Dear ones, that memory of you
Until we meet - From their loving Sisters and Brothers, at home and away

Weir, I. R.
Ian Robert Weir, 914393, was a Sergeant Surveyor in the 97 (The Kent Yeomanry) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery. He was reported missing in Egypt on the night of 28-29 June 1942. In November 1942 he was reported as being a Prisoner of War of the Italians. He is recorded as having drowned on 14 November 1942, when he was 23. He is commemorated on the Alamein Memorial, Egypt, Column 39.

Born in the Wandsworth area, London, he was the only son of James Weir and his wife Marjorie, née Rapson, who married in 1919. He had a younger sister, Moira, born in Dover in 1922. Mr Weir was a pharmacist, with premises at 186 Snargate Street.

Ian attended the County (now Grammar) school between 1928 and 1937. In 1934, when he was in form IVa he wrote a poem published in the school magazine, entitled "A November Day". It included the line "The leaves hang dank, the branches stark and bare", and mentioned the syren in the fog, which would have been a familiar sound to him.

In 1939 the family were living at Red Lodge, 5 Park Avenue, with Mrs Weir working as a part-time accountant. Mr Weir became an ARP Street Warden.

Ian was called up into the Territorial Army when war began. After the Normandy landings his Division was cut off, near St Valery. He and others dodged the patrols and found a cliff path to the shore. A small French boat tried to embark the group but it was heavily shelled and machine-gunned by planes so was forced to leave. Some men were left under fire on the beach; they found a small boat and, using their steel helmets as paddles, got to a fishing vessel which took them on board. Other Dover lads and fellow Old Pharosians in this escape were Robin Hayden, son of the Dover press correspondent, Rodney Tye, whose father was in the Westminster Bank, and Frank Martin, from 41 Priory Road. Frank managed to contact his brother, Ernest, and they all went out for a meal together. 

Mrs Weir is buried at Lydden. She died on 16 January 1944; after a sudden collapse. Anxiety over her missing son was said to have undermined her health.

S Mornington West, courtesy Dover ExpressWest, S. M.
Stanley Mornington West (Stan), 42778, was an Acting Pilot Officer in the RAF. He was 24 when he died from a flying accident on Saturday 13 January 1940, and is buried in Grantham Cemetery, Lincolnhire, 17 J 10. He probably lost his life while flying from the local airfield, then home to 12 Service Flying Training School which operated various aircraft, including Hawker Harts and Avro Ansons. The airfield was built in 1916, and  later renamed Spitalgate (sometimes known as Spittlegate). The weather may have contributed to the crash as the winter of 1939-40 was quite harsh.

Stanley was the "eldest and dearly loved" son of Mrs J West, from 39 Maison Dieu Road, Dover. He was born in India and came to England in 1929. He and his younger brother went to the County (now Grammar) School. He was said to be popular, and having a character of resolution and determination. He was even-tempered, considerate towards others, and gentle in manner. He was said to have scores of friends, across the Empire, in France, and at home, to whom he was said to be loyal, as he was to the school he loved.

He loved sport, playing in the first teams for cricket, football, and rugby; he was also in the cadet corps, the RLSS, the choir, and the dramatic society. He also belonged, as did his brother, to St Mary's choir. 

When he left school he worked for a chartered accountants in London, but in 1936 joined the Metropolitan Police Force. In 1937 he came to the Canterbury Police Force. He maintained his sporting interests, playing cricket for both forces as well the the St Lawrence cricket club. Two years after coming to Canterbury later he achieved his dream of joining the RAF, passing the exam and being accepted in August 1939. There he also learnt to play squash. Just before Christmas he gained his "Wings" and was about to complete his training when he was killed.

He was to have been married the next month to Miss Joyce Attwood, from Brixton Hill.

Acting Pilot Officer Stanley West was the first fatality of the Second World War recorded from the County School.

headstone, by Elena RossiWhaley, G. A.
George Alexander Whaley, 2024001, was a Lance Corporal in the 1st battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment. Aged 21, he died on 31 December 1942 at a prisoner of war camp, and is buried in cemetery, by Elena Rossithe Milan War Cemetery, Italy, III A 2. His grave is second from the left, front row.

He was the "beloved son" of William Henry and Mary Annie Whaley, from 22 Tower Hamlets Street, Dover. 

At the bottom of his headstone are the words:

Forever in our thoughts
Mother, Brother, and Sister

pictures with thanks to Elena Rossi

White, W. P.
William Peter White, 954862, was a Gunner in 102 (The Northumberland Hussars), in the Light AA/Anti-Tank Regiment of the Royal Artillery. He died of wounds on 22 March 1943, when he was 25, and is buried in the Alexandria (Hadra) War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt, 4 J 15.

He was the elder son of James Alfred and Edith Ella White, of 17 Devonshire Road, Dover.

Willis, F.
Francis Willis, 2321824, was a Lance Corporal in the Hong Kong Signal Company of the Royal Corps of Signals. He was reported missing after the sinking of the S.S. "Lisbon Maru" between 1-2 October 1942, when he was 25.  He is commemorated on the Sai Wan Memorial, China (including Hong Kong), Column 9.

Believed born in Hong Kong, he was a Duke of York's Old Boy, and the son of Mary Bridget Willis, from 57 Heathfield Avenue, and the late George Willis.  He was a younger brother to James, below.  

Willis, J. O.
James Owen Willis, 32059, was the eldest son of Mrs Willis and the late George Willis, of 57 Heathfield Avenue, and was brother to Francis, above. His CWGC record notes he was "of Southern Rhodesia".

During the War he served as a Wing Commander (Pilot) in 45 Squadron. On 18 May 1941, he was awarded the DFC. The citation reads, "This officer has displayed the utmost determination in action against the enemy. In May, 1941, he led a force of fighter aircraft in an attack against a moving transport column of some 100 vehicles, the majority of which were either destroyed or damaged. His leadership has been of the highest order".

On 22 November 1941 he was reported missing. At 12.30 hours on that day 6 Bristol Blenheims of No 45 Squadron, led by Wing Commander Willis, took off from the desert airstrip at Landing Ground 75 in Egypt.  Their mission was to bomb enemy motor transport between Acroma and El Adem in Libya. They were escorted by South African Air Force Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk fighters; nevertheless the Blenheims were attacked by about 20 Luftwaffe Messerschmitt Me109's. They claimed four of the Blenheims shot down, one of which was the aircraft flown by Wing Commander Willis.

A year later, Wing Commander Willis was officially "presumed dead". His grave is in the Knightsbridge War Cemetery, Acroma, Libya, Grave 2 B 9. His two other crew members also were killed.  Next to him, in Grave 2 B 8, lies his observer, Pilot Officer Lawrence Philip Bourke, from the RNZAF, aged 31, son of Lawrence and Rose Anna Bourke, from Palmerston, North Wellington, New Zealand.  Wireless Operator/Air Gunner Sergeant Michael Francis Carthy, the third crew member, is in the same cemetery, Grave 16 B 13. He was the son of John and Catherine Carthy, from Dublin.

Around May 1943, Mrs Willis, Wing Commander Willis' mother, from Heathfield Avenue, attended the investiture at Buckingham Palace to receive the DFC for her son.

with thanks to Dean Sumner

Wilson, C. R.
Claud Wilson, courtesy Hilda BeddowsDFC wikimedia commonsClaud Robert Wilson, 144288, was a Flight Lieutenant (Pilot) in 158 Squadron of the RAFVR. He was an old St Martin's and then County (now Grammar) School boy. Claud died on 12 November 1945, and is buried in the Tripoli War Cemetery, Italy. 12 H 7.

His award of a Distinguished Flying Cross was announced on 17 August 1943, whilst Claud was serving as a Pilot Officer with No 51 Squadron of RAF Bomber Command.  He had taken part in many bombing raids as the pilot of a Halifax bomber. The picture below is on the occasion of the presentation, at Buckingham Palace, on 21 November 1944. From left to right are Claud's father, Ernest Wilson, his mother, Emily Wilson, Claud himself,  his wife Muriel, his sister Hilda, and Muriel's mother, Mrs McGhie.

The day is recalled by Claud's sister as a "wonderful day of celebration", made even more special because Muriel had just announced that the couple were expecting their first child.

John Wilson, presentation of DFC, courtesy Hilda Beddows

It is a poignant memory. The very next day Claud's father, Ernest, was killed by a V2. The new grandchild, Robert, was born on 2 April 1945, and just a few months after his birth, Claud, his own father, was also killed. 

with thanks to Hilda Beddows

John Wilson, courtesy Hilda BeddowsJohn Wilson, courtesy Hilda BeddowsWilson, J. E.
John Ernest Wilson, 124641, was in 205 Squadron, RAFVR. He was an old St Martin's and County (now Grammar) schoolboy, and had represented the County school in football.

He had been employed at the Dover Gas Company when war broke out, and left to volunteer for the RAF. He was trained in England and in South Africa, where he gained his commission. On his return to England he served in flying boats. 

He was 22 when he was reported missing as the result of air operations and later as courtesy Dover Expressassumed lost on 11 June 1943. He is commemorated on the Singapore Memorial in Singapore, Column 424.

He was the eldest son of Ernest and Emily Wilson, of Dover, and brother of Claud, above. 

with thanks to Hilda Beddows

Winton, J. W.
James William Winton, 2040014, was a Sapper in the 225 Field Company in the Royal Engineers. He was 24 when he died on 25 April 1943, and he is commemorated on the Medjez-El-Bab Memorial, Tunisia. Panel 10.

He was the only son of James and Alice Winton of 91 Heathfield Avenue; husband of Bessie Mary Winton, formerly Silk, of Longmoor Camp, Hampshire, formerly 12 Devonshire Road, Dover, and father of Victor, born in 1942.

James and Miss Silk had married on 1 February 1941 at St Bartholomew's church, Dover. Miss Silk was attended by two bridesmaids, one her sister, Doris, and the other her friend, Miss Iris Wilkes, who wore her ATS uniform. Both bridesmaids wore a spray of pink carnations. Miss Silk was given away by her uncle, Mick Lowes, her father Ernest Silk having been killed by enemy action in October 1940. Owing to the bereavement and to war conditions, the couple's honeymoon was cancelled, but a reception was held at the bride's mother's home.

James' mother died on 3 August 1943,  just months after her son was lost. She was 63. She is buried at Charlton.

In 1945 Bessie Winton remarried, to Alexander W D H Jones. The couple had two sons, Keith, born in 1946, and Howard, born in 1947.

memorial, courtesy Peter GowerWise, J. F. L.
Joseph Francis Loftus Wise, 151301, was a Pilot Officer in the RAFVR. He was an old County School boy and a member of the East Suffolk police force.

He died  on 18 April 1943, and is names, courtesy Peter Gowercommemorated on the Ottawa Memorial, Canada, Panel 2, Column 2.

"Treasured memories of our dear Joe" - 1950 -  Mum, Dad and wife Winifred.

Mrs Wise lived at 32 Smallgate, Beccles, Suffolk. and Mrs Green, his mother, and stepfather Mr Green lived at 78 Alfred Road, Dover. PO Wise had a sister Annie and brothers George and Leslie. "Loved by All"

Rideau Fall, courtesy Peter Gower



Illustrations: top left, the Ottawa Memorial: top right, PO Wise's name on the memorial; left, the Rideau Falls, into the Ottawa River - the memorial is behind the trees. (See also J R May)  Photos with thanks to Peter Gower 

Buffs badge, courtesy Daniel BorrettWise, W. H.
William Henry Wise, 6289216, was a Private in The Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment). He died on 8 February 1944, when he was 24, and is buried in the Sangro River War Cemetery, Italy, V C 44.

He was the third son son of Frank and Edith Annie Wise, of 59 Glenfield Road, Buckland, Dover.

badge: with the courtesy of Daniel Borrett, from the estate of Mr John Daniel Bernard Borrett, policeman and ex-Buffs, nephew of Great War casualty, John Collon Fox

Wood, J. G.
James Gregory Wood (Jim), was a Midshipman, RNR, with HMS Jackdaw. He had been educated at Dover Junior College, and was afterwards in the Worcester. He was accidentally killed on 9 September 1942, on the day before his 20th birthday, while flying with the Fleet Air Arm. He is commemorated on the Lee-on-Solent Memorial. Bay 3, Panel 7.

He had been mentioned in despatches. He was the son of the late Christopher James and Gladys Maud Wood, grandson of the late James Wood, and was late of 108 Folkestone Road, Dover.

Wood, M. G.
Max Godden Wood, 526264, was in 30 Squadron, RAF, as a Leading Aircraftman. He died when he was 23 on 31 May 1941. He is commemorated on the Alamein Memorial, Egypt, Column 244.

He was the son of Matthew and Winnifred Eliza Wood, from Dover.



Young, H. G.
Harold George Young, 5385921, was a Private in the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, 2nd or 6th Airborne Battalion. He was 30 when he died on 13 June 1944. He is buried in the Ranville Cemetery, France, IA E 19.

He was the husband of Margaret Young, from Hengoed, Glamorgan, and the son of Charles Edward and Florence Ethel Young, née Langston, married in Dover in 1905. His parents lived at 5 New Cottages, Guston.  Known by his friends as "Tich", he was a keen footballer, playing right-half back for Guston United. The club entered the Dover League, division II, and were runners-up for both the League Championship and the Hospital Cup.

1946 - Not just to-day, but always we remember our loving son and brother - From Mum, Dad, Albert, Wilfred, Sylvia, and Joyce, and his wife and little daughter.

Copyright 2006-18 © Marilyn Stephenson-Knight. All Rights Reserved