Charles George Massie Blomfield

Major, “A” Company. 1st Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment.

Killed in Action on the 9th June 1915 aged 36.

Charles was the son of Rear-Admiral Sir Richard Massie Blomfield and Lady Rosamund Selina Massie Blomfield (Nee Graves) and the husband of Hirrel Blomfield (Nee Clarence), of South Lodge, Boscombe, Dorset.

He was posted to Flanders on the 5th May 1915 and joined the Battalion on the 13th May where it was involved in fighting around Ypres. Some four weeks later whilst the Battalion was in Vlamertinghe he was killed by a snipers bullet.

Charles is buried in the Talana Farm Cemetery, Boesinghe, Belgium. (II.B.5)

Medal Entitlement: 1915 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

Donald Edwin Blow

1259149, Aircraftsman, 518 Air Ministry Experimental Station (Radar). Royal Air Force.

Missing on the 14th February 1942 aged 21

Donald was the son of George & Jessie Blow who ran a bakery in the High Street. He joined the RAF in 1940 and was engaged on Radio and Radar work. 518 AMES was set up at Koto Tinggi airfield in October 1941 to help improve the defences of the area in the event of a war.

Life at the Radar station was fairly routine until the forces of Imperial Japan attacked Malaya on the 8th December 1941. It was not until the 14th February 1942 that Donald was reported as " Missing - Believed to be a POW". He was amongst the thousands of British servicemen who were caught up in the invasion of Singapore and is believed to have been killed in action but due to the nature of his work the invading forces may have murdered him.

Donald has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Singapore Memorial. (Column 417)

Alec John Bolter

184364, Flying Officer, Pilot, 49 Squadron, Royal Air Force.

Killed In Action on the 8th January 1945 aged 26.

Alec Bolter lived in Benington before the war and was educated at Alleynes School. He played cricket for the school and was a member of the 2nd XI. He also had a passion for chess and was later to become secretary of the schools chess & draughts club. On leaving school he joined Reekes & Goode of Hertford and in less than three years had become a licentiate of the Institute of Auctioneers and Estate agents, having passed his exams with honours.

In 1939 Alec was called up to the Militia and was stationed on a searchlight station in South Wales but this tedious task was not for him and in 1941 he transferred to the RAF. He trained to be a pilot in the USA and after completing a training course that lasted over a year, he proudly won his wings.  Alec was married in April 1942 and found himself posted on to an Instructional staff position, which was not to his liking as he longed for operational duties.

It was late in 1944 when he managed to get himself transferred to Bomber Command and joined 49 Squadron.

Just a few short weeks later, on the 8th January 1945, a force of 645 Lancaster’s took to the air for what was to be the last major raid on Munich, one of the Lancaster bombers was piloted by Alec Bolter. Eleven Aircraft were lost during the raid plus an additional four which crash landed in France. One of the latter was piloted by Alec Bolter, which crashed near the village of  St.Gemar.

Alec is buried at the Old Cemetery in Villeneuve St.Georges, France.










Alec John  BOLTER     DFC









Thomas Ellwood  WALKER




John Thomas  SANDERSON










Clarence Leslie  ATKINS


Alfred Harold Boon

The Singapore Memorial

543626, Gunner, 7th Coastal Regiment. Royal Artillery.

Died on the 3rd March 1942 aged 37

Alfred was the son of Alfred & Annie Boon. He was presumed to have been killed in the Far East between the 2nd/3rd August 1942, whilst a prisoner of the Japanese, and has no known grave.

His name is recorded on the Singapore War Memorial. (Column 13)

William Arthur Kenneth Bott

D/JX555308, Able Seaman, Royal Navy, HMS President III (HMS Samaustral).

Drowned on the 19th October 1945 aged 20.

William was born in Frien Barnet on the 17th June 1925 the son of William & Lillian Bott. He was accidentally drowned at Maputo, Mozambique on the 19th October 1945 whilst his ship was at harbour in Delagoa Bay at the southern extremity of the country.

He is the only British serviceman to be buried in the Maputo Cemetery, Mozambique. (Special Memorial Grave. 7583.)

Reuben Bradford

26710, Private, 4th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment

Missing in Action on the 23rd April 1917 aged 36

The Arras Memorial

Reuben was born on the 30th April 1882, the son of John & Sarah Bradford of Lymington Road, Stevenage. He later lived at Hoares Cross, Braughing, near Ware with his wife, Sylvia, and their children, Florrie & George. He enlisted in the Army in the village of Buntingford, Hertfordshire.

He was killed when the Battalion was called to attack the village of Gravrelle as part of the British offensive at Arras. The battalion went straight through the village gaining its objectives and consolidating its position on the Northern outskirts. Although they were heavily shelled throughout the day, and also had to fight off a heavy German counter attack, they succeeded in holding on to their objective despite suffering some 229 casualties. Reuben was killed at some point during this action, probably from German machine gun fire which accounted for many of the Battalions casualties.

He has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Arras Memorial, Arras, France. (Bay 5)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

Michael Franklin Briden

39706, Flying Officer (Pilot), 149 Squadron. Royal Air Force.

Missing In Action on the 18th December 1939 aged 22.

The Runnymeade Memorial, Surrey.

Michael was the only son of Franklin & Marion Briden. He married Joyce Eyre Nicholson on the 19th September 1939, at Mildenhall, Suffolk, where he was stationed. Just a few weeks later he was to be one of the first men from North Hertfordshire to be killed whilst serving with the RAF.

On the 18th December 1939, Michael was the Pilot of a Wellington, N2961, which after taking off from Mildenhall airfield was detailed to attack German Shipping at Wilhelmshaven. Twenty-Four Wellingtons were dispatched and ordered not to attack at less than 10,000ft. to enable them to avoid the worst of the flak. Twenty-Two aircraft reached the target and several German ships, that were seen off of Wilhelmshaven, were bombed. Weather conditions were cloudless and visibility was perfect. This was the first time during the war that German Fighters were directed to the Bomber force by a ground controller. Information was being relayed from an experimental " Freya" radar station situated on the nearby island of Wangerooge. The radar station had detected the Wellingtons when they were some 70 miles out on their approach flight. Flak then caused the formation to open out and this enabled the Fighters of 4/JG 2 to come in and Twelve of the bombers were shot down.

During the attack the port wing tanks on Briden's aircraft were damaged by a German fighter and he asked the leader to take the shortest route home as he was losing fuel. When they were between 40 - 60 miles off of the coast between Cromer and Sheringham the engines spluttered and the aircraft dropped back. It then glided down and landed in the sea, turning 90 degrees to Starboard as it did so with waves breaking over the fuselage, the time by now was 15.05pm. The aircraft remained afloat for five minutes with it's nose down in the water. The dinghy was inflated and was seen by the nose of the aircraft with three of the crew around it. When the aircraft went down the dinghy was seen to be on end with three of the crew hanging on to it. That, despite an extensive search by the Cromer lifeboat, H.F.Bailey, was the last anyone ever saw of them.

No survivors were ever found but the bodies of P/O William Brown and AC2 Alan Foster were eventually washed ashore, William Brown is buried in Norwich cemetery. The loss of such a large part of the formation had a major effect on the policy of the British Bomber Commanders. The validity of the self-defending Bomber formation was, it seemed, placed in serious doubt.

Michael Briden has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Runnymeade memorial.

Crew of WELLINGTON N2961







Michael Franklin  BRIDEN




William Stanley Francis BROWN




Valentine Henry Garner RICHARDSON




Peter John WARREN




Alan Gordon FOSTER




Isaac Davidson LEIGHTON


Henry George Brown

20097, Lance Corporal, 7th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment

Missing in Action on the 1st July 1916 aged 29

Thiepval Memorial, Somme.

Henry was the son of Henry George & Jane Brown, and the husband of Ann Brown of 7 Albert Street, Stevenage. He worked in Belgium before the First World War and was one of those who was killed in the most renowned action of the war, the first day of The Battle of the Somme.

The battalion, with the 11th Royal Fusiliers on its right, led the left of the attack by the 18th Division. They advanced at 07.30 am and within 15 minutes had captured the first line system of German defences, Emden Trench. Every officer in the two leading platoons, however, had fallen but the men pressed on led by NCO's. The Germans were well protected in their dug-outs and put up a fierce resistance. The assaulting battalions carried forward their attack supported by machine-guns and trench mortars which, according to the Divisional history, provided a hurricane bombardment. Eventually, at 9.30am, after an intensely bitter fight the Battalion took their objectives, the Pommiers Trench & Redoubt which were filled with German dead. The Battalion had suffered some 321 casualties during the assault.

An interesting point was that one of the Battalion officers, Captain A.E.Percival, was awarded the Military Cross for his part in the attack. In 1942, as General Percival, he was to be responsible for the British surrender of the island of Singapore to the Japanese.

At the time of his death local newspapers recorded Henry Brown as serving in the 8th East Kent Regt.

Henry has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France. (Panel/Pier 2C.)

Reginald Alfred Brown

614115, Warrant Officer, 78 Squadron. Royal Air Force.

Missing on the 22nd April 1945 aged 25.

Reg & Audrey Brown
(Courtesy of Angus Moss)

On the 26th June 1942 a Halifax bomber, W1067, was on an operational flight to attack Bremen. The rear gunner was Warrant Officer Reginald Brown and at 00.42 Hours the aircraft was attacked by a German night-fighter piloted by Unteroffizer Heinz Vinke of II/NJG2. The pilot and the mid-upper gunner of the bomber perished in the attack but the rest of the crew baled out and were taken prisoner. Reginald was held in Stalag Luft 6 at Heydekrug as prisoner No.311 and remained there for nearly three years. In the Spring of 1945 the German forces were coming under increasing pressure on both their Western and Eastern fronts. In an effort to prevent Allied prisoners of war from joining up with the Allied forces it was decided to move them further back into the German interior, where they would be out of reach. Very often, due to the limited availability of transport, prisoners were forced to march on foot for many miles without a break. These men were usually in no fit state to undertake such an exacting task and many of them perished on the way. It appears that the men of Stalag Luft 6 may have been a little more fortunate in that transport was made available to move them. However, it seems that the very presence of these vehicles may have contributed to the deaths of a number of men.

On the 22nd April 1945 the small transport column had stopped at a small farm and the prisoners were placed in a barn for the night. As they slept a number of Typhoon fighters on an Intruder mission spotted the transport around the farm and attacked it. The barn was set alight and one prisoner described how Reg Brown had been killed instantly after a cannon shell from one of the aircraft had struck him in the throat whislt he was asleep.

Reg Brown was later buried by the side of the road and subsequently has no known grave. His name is recorded on the Runnymeade Memorial. (Panel 269).

Official records show him as being a resident of Benington.