war memorial at dusk, photographed by Michelle Cooper

World War II



Surnames C

Cary-Grey, R. W. H.
Reginald William Hargrave Cary-Grey was a Major in the 1st battalion, 7th Rajput Regiment. He was the "dearly loved" husband of Norah Phyllis (nee Cary) and the "beloved son" of Mrs Clara Alma Grey from Kearsney, Dover, who was staying away, at 21 Fursfield Crescent, Reigate, Surrey, and later of Walmer, and the late Colonel Edward Grey

Aged 44, he was "shot by bandits on the Kalka-Simla train" on 23rd June 1942. He was one of six victims. The train was made from two first-class motor-driven coaches, and was full with passengers. It was dark, but the driver spotted a boulder on the line and stopped the train to remove the boulder. He was shot dead by two men who leapt down from the embankment

Putting their guns through a window, they fired and killed and wounded the passengers. They then ransacked the clothing of all the passengers, and took every "anna" before they leapt away and escaped into the dark

Major Carey-Grey is buried in the Delhi War Cemetery, India. 3 G 13

Chappell, R. A. 
Ronald Albert Chappell, 195980, was an Assistant Steward in the Merchant Navy, as one of the Auxiliary Personnel. He was with HMS Dasher, and was reported missing at sea on 27 March 1943. He is commemorated on the Liverpool Naval Memorial. Panel 10, Column 2

He was the eldest son of Frank Chappell, formerly Royal Navy, and his wife Margaret (née Gill), who married by special licence on 18 October 1918 in Lancashire, and the brother of William, below. On St George's Day 1942, their only sister Rosalind married Petty Officer Albert Edward Jones at St Michael's Church, Abertillery. 

Chappell, W. A. 
in memoriam, 1942, courtesy Dover ExpressWilliam Arthur (Bill) Chappell, C/JX 194795, was a Boy, 1st Class, in the Royal Navy. He was reported missing, and later presumed killed, on 25 November 1941, after the loss of the HMS Barham.  He is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial. Panel 45.2

He was the youngest son of Frank and Margaret Mary Chappell, from 3 Matthews Place, Dover, Kent, and brother of Ronald, above. 

"It was his wish to do his duty"

in memoriam 1942

Clark, R. G. H.
Robert George Harold Clark, C/JX 134241, died on 9th Janaury 1942, aged 27 (26). He was a Petty Officer with the Royal Navy, aboard H.M.S Vimera. He is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial. Panel 51.3

He was the son of the late Harry and Mary Clark, of 19 Prioress Walk, Dover, and brother of Mrs Bernard Knight, of Elvington. He was the "beloved husband" of Nora Lovelock/Dora Eileen Clark, from Fordingbridge, Hampshire, formerly Foxbury Lane, Fareham, Hampshire

"When the last voyage is ended
When the last blast is weathered
And there comes no more
The sound of the old ship bell
Sailor, sleep well"

Collier, G.
George Collier, 2029190, was a Private in the 1st battalion of The Buffs. He died on 21st April 1942, when he was 26. He is buried in the Bari War Cemetery, Italy. II D 24 (Memorial)

Leslie Cotton, courtesy Don HardingCotton, L. J. V.
Leslie John Victor Cotton, 155939, was born on 23 July 1906 at Dover, the youngest son of Henry Herbert and Mrs Florence Cotton of 173 Folkestone Road, later of 7 South Parade, Salisbury Road, Totton, Hampshire.

He gained his Royal Aero Club Aviator Certificate 18878 on 27 June 1939, at Horton Kirby Flying Club on D H Moth, Gypsy 1 85/90. He was then lodging with Mrs Harding, of 12 Shirehall Road, Hawley, where he stayed for 12 years. He was a carpenter, working with Mr Harding and Mr Harding's father, before volunteering for the RAF in about 1940, becoming Sergeant Air Gunner 1282309, and had served in the Hawley ARP Rescue Squad. He was also a member of the Legion of Frontiersmen.

Pilot Officer (Air Gunner) Leslie Cotton took part in many operational flights, and two days before he was killed received the news that on 7 August 1943 he had gained his commission as a Pilot Officer (with a new service number 155939).

grave by Don HardingServing in the RAFVR, 78 Squadron, Leslie and all the crew lost their lives when Halifax Bomber JD201, coded EY-Y, crashed at 0100 on 31 August 1943 near Murrow Station, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire. The cause was said to have been a detached propeller. The bomber had taken off from Breighton, Yorkshire, at three minutes past midnight for a raid on Mönchengladbach and Rheydt.  JD201 was one of three Halifaxes lost that night from 78 Squadron.

PO Cotton's funeral was at St Lawrence-in-Thanet, Ramsgate on September 6. Mrs Harding was one of the mourners, along gravestone by Don Hardingwith Mr G T Brooker who was representing the Hawley ARP. Floral tributes included those from Mrs Harding and her son Donald, and the Hawley ARP. PO Cotton is buried with his grandparents, John and Fanny Darby, north of the church, next to the wall between the cemetery and the vicarage.

He is also commemorated on the Sutton-at-Hone memorial, near Dartford, Kent.

2016: the grave has been refurbished.

In loving memory of John Darby who died August 6 1899 aged 49 years. "Blessed are the  dead which die in the Lord. Even so saith the Spirit. For they rest from their labours."
Also of Fanny Darby, widow of the above, who died July 7 1944, aged 88 years"

Also of Sgt Leslie John Victor Cotton RAF
Grandson of John Darby
Who gave his life for his country
31st August 1943, aged 37 years

The crew of Halifax JD201 were:

F/L Albert Robert Short Captain (pilot) aged 30
Sgt Walter George Onion, Flight Engineer  
P/O Frank Street Navigator aged 32
F/O Terence Donovan O'Boyle Bomb Aimer aged 27
F/O Max Howard Davies Wireless Operator/Air Gunner aged 30
Sgt Ernest Alfred White, Air Gunner aged 22
Sgt Leslie John Victor Cotton Air Gunner aged 37

660 aircraft took part in the raid that night, which was a double attack and the first serious bombing on both towns. The bombing was very concentrated and about half the built-up areas of each town were destroyed. Over 370 people were killed or missing with over 2,150 injured. 32 aircraft were lost or written off on the raid including Halifax JD201.


This delightful image is of a young lad, Don, the son of Leslie's landlady. Leslie, nicknamed "Gin" owing to the colour of his hair, and Don were very fond of each other; Leslie's mother and sister made the uniform for Don so that he could wear an RAF uniform like Leslie.



with thanks to Don Harding
photo of Leslie Cotton and the new gravestone by courtesy Don Harding
photo of RAF lad Don by courtesy Ray Cotton
further details with thanks to Dean Sumner

Crawford, G. H. 
Geoffrey Hutchinson Crawford, 79855, was a Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery, 15 battery, 6 HAA Regiment. He was killed in action on 14th February 1942, when he was 38.

Son of George Frederic and Helen Crawford, Lieutenant Crawford had been educated at Harrow, and took his BA at Brasenose College, Oxford, where he was a Rowing Blue in 1926. He then trained under his father, who was a solicitor in Leeds, and was admitted as a solicitor in February 1930. He then worked with Messrs Preston, Lane-Claypen and O'Kelly, of Lincoln's Inn Fields, coming to Dover and joining the firm of  Messrs Stilwell and Harby in April 1936. He was a Notary Public.

Before the war he had joined the Dover Territorial Artillery, and went to France early in 1940. He was evacuated from Dunkirk, and stationed in several places in England before he went again overseas at the end of 1941.

He was killed in action at Pelembang, in Sumatra, on 14th February 1942, at the age of 38.  He is buried in the Jakarta War Cemetery, Indonesia. Collective Grave 3 C 2-6

He was said to have been a skilled athlete, and to have possessed a charming personality

Edward George Croucher, courtesy Dover ExpressCroucher, E. G. 
Edward George Croucher (Ted), C/JX 127407, was an Able Seaman of the Royal Navy. He lost his life when the H.M.S Duchess collided with the H.M.S Barham on 12 December 1939. He is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial. Panel 33.1 

His parents were Mr and Mrs Croucher, from 135 Clarendon Street. He was an old Christchurch schoolboy, who played football for the school and the town. He was also part of a team that played for Kent against France

The next year an In Memoriam notice was placed, "In Loving Memory" "Not forgotten by his Mum, Dad, Brothers, and Sisters"

"Just a token of remembrance to one we will never forget"

Copyright 2006-15 © Marilyn Stephenson-Knight. All Rights Reserved