Thomas Earle

524033, Sergeant (Flight Engineer), 426 “Thunderbird” Squadron. Royal Air Force.

Killed In Action on the 26th March 1944 aged 22.

Sergeant Thomas Earle and his crew.

Thomas was the son of Thomas & Elizabeth Earle. After joining the Royal Air Force he trained as a Flight Engineer and on completion of his training was posted to No.426 Squadron, a unit of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

He flew a total of 16 Operational flights with his crew but on 18th March 1944 misfortune struck their faithful chariot, Lancaster Mk.II DS 711, which had carried them on many missions. It was damaged in a taxiing accident whilst returning from a raid on Frankfurt. Damage sustained to the Tail, Starboard Wing and Fuselage meant that the aircraft would be out of service and they would be forced to use alternative aircraft.

On the Night of 26th March they took off in the alternative aircraft, Lancaster Mk.II DS789 OW-A, from their base at Linton to attack a target in Essen. Thomas was in his usual Flight Engineer position. The flight was relatively uneventful but, at a point some 10 miles west of Gelsenkirchen, over the town of Boltrop the aircraft received a direct hit from a flak shell and exploded in mid-air.

All the crew were instantly killed and they are buried in the Reichswald Forest Cemetery, Germany.

Crew of LANCASTER Mk.2  DS789 OW-A

Number

Rank

Name

Age

J19280

P/O

Alan Ludvig OLSSON  RCAF

25

J19263

P/O

Jack Olavi KOIVU   RCAF

22

524033

SGT

Thomas EARLE

22

R106617

W/O

Charles Garnet PHINNEY  RCAF

21

J19063

P/O

Thomas Harold PROUDLOCK  RCAF

21

2208899

SGT

Reginald Victor JONES

19

173268

F/SGT

Francis Edward FOX

22

George Hubert Eaton

Lieutenant, 6th Machine Gun Squadron, 19th Hussars.

Killed in Action on the 25th March 1918 aged 23

George was born on the 2nd September 1895, the son of Evelyn Mary Eaton. The family lived at Stevenage Lodge and George had a sister who, at the time of his death, was a renowned violinist. He applied to join the army on the 15th October 1914, at the age of 19 years, having already served three years in the Eton Officer Training Corps. His attestation papers show that he opted for a cavalry regiment, preferably the 19th Hussars. His reasons for wanting to join the cavalry were that he had hunted for several years and had ridden in several steeplechases.

George was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant into his preferred regiment on the 6th July 1916 and received a temporary promotion to Lieutenant on the 29th July. This seemingly rapid promotion gives an indication to the high level of casualties being suffered amongst the officer ranks during the summer of 1916. It was on the 14th August 1916 that George joined the 6th Battalion of the Machine Gun Corps.

The exact circumstances of his death are not yet known. However, it is recorded that after he was killed his body was buried in a position 1250 yards South of Dampcourt, East of Noyon. A letter sent to his family in October 1920 explains that George was later exhumed and moved to the Chauny Communal Cemetery British Extension, France. (3. G. 16.)

His headstone Inscription reads; They Truly Live Who Yield Their Lives Fighting

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

William James Dixon Ellis

2156325, Sapper, 21st Bomb Disposal Company. Royal Engineers.

Killed on the 9th November 1945 aged 23.

William was the son of Henry & Grace Ellis and the husband of Phillis Ellis. After leaving school he had worked at ESA and was a member of the local Home Guard. He joined the army in 1940 and entered the Royal Engineers. Where he served in a Bomb Disposal Unit.

In 1943 William married Phyllis Scott and the couple lived at 46 Grove Road, Stevenage. On the 9th November 1945 he was involved in clearing mines, which had been laid behind the sea wall in Lowestoft. One of the mines exploded and instantly killed William and his comrade, Sapper Sydney Arthur Denton. It is a sad irony that after five years of war service involving the clearing of many enemy bombs that William should be killed by one of our own mines.

He is buried in the St.Nicholas churchyard, Stevenage. (Plot A. Grave 99)

Alfred John Emery

L/10015, Sergeant, 1st Battalion, Middlesex Regiment.

Killed In Action on the 23rd October 1918 aged 31.

Sergeant Alfred John Emery

Alfred was the son of John & Julia Emery of North Road, Stevenage, and the husband of Ellen Maud Emery of The Vicarage, Thorne, Doncaster, Yorkshire. A professional solider who had been serving with the Middlesex Regiment in India, he had only just settled in Doncaster prior to his death. His brother, Frederick, had been killed on the 19th April 1915 whilst serving in France with the Bedfordshire Regiment

Alfred arrived in France on the 11th August 1914, just a week after the war broke out and served continuously on the Western Front for almost the entire period of the war. Just two weeks before the Armistice the Battalion were in positions near Montay. Here they were ordered to assault German positions located in a forest. Although the Battalion was successful in its attack, and 200 German prisoners were captured, their losses were high. Alfred is believed to have been killed by Machine Gun fire.

His name is recorded on a special memorial in the Romeries Communal Cemetery Extension, France. 129 of the burials in the cemetery are unidentified but there are special memorials to 15 casualties believed to be buried among them, one of these being Alfred Emery.

Medal Entitlement: 1914 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal.

Frederick William Emery

4/4560, Private, 2nd Battalion. Bedfordshire Regiment.

Killed In Action on the 19th April 1915 aged 28.

Frederick was the son of John & Julia Emery of 9 North Road.

He arrived in France on the 19th October 1914, some two months after his brother, Alfred. The battalion was billeted at La Gorgue, a suburb of Estaires, and it was here that Frederick is believed to have been shot by a sniper. His brother, Alfred, was later killed on the 23rd October 1918.

Frederick is buried in the Fauquissart Military Cemetery, Laventie, France. (Grave.F.4.)

Medal Entitlement: 1914 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal.

William Harmer Eyden

22454, Private, 3rd Battalion, Grenadier Guards, (2nd Guards Brigade. Guards Division).

Died Of Wounds on the 26th September 1916 aged 30.

William was the son of William & Sarah Ann Eyden of Fishers Green. He was killed at the Battle of Morval during the Somme offensive.

On the 24th September the battalion formed up in the assembly trenches in front of Ginchy. Regimental records show the trenches were so narrow that the men could not sit or lie down in them and had to remain shoulder to shoulder until the following day when, at 12.35, they attacked Ginchy. The assault was held up by uncut wire and four officers went forward to try and cut it by hand. The battalion, led by NCOs, then charged through the gap to take the objective but the cost was high with William being amongst the wounded.

He was severely wounded in his right leg and was not found for some time before being moved to a Casualty Clearing Station, and then on to a hospital in Rouen, where his leg was amputated. Initially, it was believed that he would survive the ordeal but he sadly succumbed to his injuries.

William is buried in the St.Sever Cemetery, Rouen, Seine-Maritime, France. (B.23.59.) 

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal 

Arthur Frederick Fairey

B/203646, Rifleman, 3rd Battalion, Rifle Brigade.

Died Of Wounds on the 28th March 1918 aged 27.

Rifleman Arthur Frederick Fairey

Arthur was born in Islington, London, on the 28th May 1891, the son of Arthur & Emil Fairey who later lived at the Fisherman public house in Fishers Green, Stevenage, where his father was the Publican. Before joining the Army Arthur was employed as a Carman by T.Briden & Son in Stevenage.

He initially served as Private R/21640 of the Kings Royal Rifle Corps. The cause of his death is not currently known, other than the fact that he died as a result of injuries received in action near the village of Cayeux, which had been in the hands of Commonwealth forces for some time, was lost on 27th March 1918 during the great German advance, but recaptured by the Canadian Corps on the 8th August. This was an extremely chaotic time for the British army following the surprise attack by German forces along a wide front in the Somme sector on the 21st March 1918. It took many days for the British troops to recover from the assault and re-establish themselves into a cohesive force.

Arthur is buried in the Cayeux Military Cemetery, Somme, France. (1.E.619.) The cemetery was begun by French troops and was used by the 36th Casualty Clearing Station. It was enlarged after the Armistice when graves were brought in, mainly from the battlefields to the North.

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

Ivan Gordon Fellowes

Midshipman, HMS Irresistible, Royal Navy.

Died At Sea on the 18th March 1915 aged 17

Midshipman Fellowes Ivan Gordon

Ivan Fellowes was born on the 16th January 1898, the youngest son of Rear Admiral Sir Thomas Fellowes KCB and Margaret Fellowes. The family lived at Woodfield Park, Stevenage. He entered the service with the Royal Navy in January 1911, aged 13, and joined the crew of HMS Irresistable at the outbreak of war in August 1914.

On 19th February, 1915, Admiral Carden began his attack on the Dardanelles forts. The assault started with a long range bombardment followed by heavy fire at closer range. As a result of the bombardment the outer forts were abandoned by the Turks. The minesweepers were brought forward and managed to penetrate six miles inside the straits and clear the area of mines. Further advance up into the straits was now impossible. The Turkish forts were too far away to be silenced by the Allied ships. The minesweepers were sent forward to clear the next section but they were forced to retreat when they came under heavy fire from the Turkish batteries.

On the night of 8th March the undetected Turkish minelayer, Ausret, laid many mines in the area of the Dardanelle’s Narrows. On 18th March eighteen Allied battleships entered the straits. The fleet included Queen Elizabeth, Lord Nelson, Agamemmon, Inflexible, Ocean, Irresistible, Prince George and Majestic from Britain and the Gaulois, Bouvet and Suffren from France. At first they made good progress until the Bouvet struck a mine, heeled over, capsized and disappeared in a cloud of smoke. Soon afterwards two more ships, Irresistible and Ocean also hit mines. Most of the men in these two ships were rescued but by the time the Allied fleet retreated, over 700 men had been killed.

Ivan has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial

His elder brother, Rupert was killed in action on the Western Front on the 21st August 1918 whilst serving with the Coldstream Guards.

Rupert Caldwell Butler Fellowes

Captain, No.4 Company, 1st Battalion, Coldstream Guards.

Killed In Action on the 21/08/18 aged 24

Captain Rupert Caldwell Butler Fellowes

Rupert was born on the 12th May 1894 the third son of Rear Admiral Sir Thomas Hounsom Butler Fellowes KCB and Margaret Fellowes (nee Jowitt). The family lived at Woodfield Park, Stevenage. He became a student of Balliol College, Oxford and on the 19th August 1914 applied for service in an Infantry regiment. The 20 year-old, who stood at 6 feet tall, was, at that time, an undergraduate and had a passion for horse riding.

He was commissioned into the Coldstream Guards on the 19th November 1914 and was posted to France on the 20th May 1915. On the 15th September 1916 Rupert was wounded in his right thigh, and evacuated to a field hospital. On the 2nd April 1917 he was declared fit for Home Service and it was not until the 4th June that a medical board decided he was again fit for overseas service. He was then ordered to report to Victoria Barracks, Windsor, in preparation for returning to France.

At 7pm on the 20th August 1918 the Battalion left Saulty by lorry and headed toward Moyenneville. They arrived at a point along the Boiry - Moyenneville road at about 9.30pm and debussed. Tea, rum and cigarettes were issued to the troops after which they set off in Company order to their respective assembly positions. Rupert Fellowes was in command of No.4 Company, which was in place at a point known as S.27.Central in support of No.1 Company. The Battalion was in position by 3am with zero hour being set for 4.55am and was to be supported by ten tanks from the 12th Battalion of the Tank Corps.  A thick mist started to set in prior the attack and the tanks had great difficulty in finding their assembly points. At zero hour No’s 1, 2 & 4 Companies set off towards their objectives but by this time the fog was impenetrable and was worsened by a smoke barrage laid down by the artillery making it impossible to see any further than three yards in front. By 6.30am the Battalion had covered the fog bound 1000 yards and captured their objectives but described their tank support as being of little or no assistance. Up to this point they had suffered only 10 casualties but shortly afterwards the German artillery rained down on Moyenneville and the casualties began to mount up. It was during this initial action that Rupert Fellowes was killed.

He is buried in the Bac-Du-Sud British Cemetery, France. (3.A.30).

Medal Entitlement: 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal