Ian Stuart Alexander Smith

6094809, Lance Sergeant, “C” Company. 2/7th Queens Royal West Surrey Regiment.

Died Of Wounds on the 18th January 1944 aged 24.

Ian was the son of John & Madge Smith and joined the Army in 1940 at the age of 20.

His Regiment served as part of the 35th Infantry Brigade, 56th (London) Division which fought with the 8th Army in North     Africa. Ian saw considerable service in the desert theatre and later took part in the invasion of Italy. He was wounded on 21st September 1943 during the Allied landings at Salerno.After recovering from his wounds he rejoined his unit and served almost continually on the front line.

On the 17th January 1944 Ian’s Battalion were in position near the village of Lauro and were  involved in an attempt to cross the Garigliano River. The allies were held up in Italy on the Gustav line and the 10th British Corps had the task of breaking through on the southern flank, from the mouth of the Garigliano to Cassino to pave the way for the Anzio landing. There was considerable shelling from German artillery andmany snipers were operating in the area. The Battalion had to make an assault through an orange grove and this was hampered by both the density of the trees and German heavy machine guns which were located in the area. The following day Ian was leading his platoon and had gone forward alone to rescue a wounded man. Shortly afterwards he was severely wounded and later died from the effects of his wounds.

Ian is buried in the Minturno War Cemetery, Italy. (7.K.22.)


Eric Lionel Victor Stanley

102980, Pilot Officer (Pilot), 110 Squadron. Royal Air Force (VR).

Killed on the 6th December 1941 aged 22.

Eric Stanley was the son of the parish verger who lived at 93 Walkern Road, Stevenage. He was educated at Alleynes school in Stevenage and was described by his Headmaster, Mr H.P. Thorn, as " unassuming and reliable and who most certainly had a distinguished career ahead of him" . He was a brilliant student and a keen sportsman who liked Cricket and football. Before leaving school, in 1936, Eric had reached the position of Head Boy and was captain of the school football team as well as chairman of the literary & debating society and sub editor of the school magazine. Upon leaving school Eric, like his school friend Alan Pollock, took the entrance examination for the Civil Service and passed with flying colours.

He began his career, as did Pollock, with the Air Ministry and was later to enter the Executive section of the service, a position that was held in high esteem.

In October 1940 Eric joined the RAF and his capabilities were quickly recognised. He was selected for Pilot training under the Empire Air Training scheme and was posted to Canada for a course. Again his academic qualities brought him to the forefront and he was amongst the top three in his passing out examination. Shortly afterwards Eric received his commission and was the first North Herts man to fly the Atlantic, under the watchful eye of an American Ferry Pilot. He is also believed to be only the second British observer to navigate an aircraft across the Atlantic.

Eric was killed in a flying accident on the 6th December 1941 when the Blenheim he was flying in crashed during a training sortie just beyond the airfield at Bicester. The accident was later attributed to incorrect trim tab settings.

He is buried next to his mother at Holy Trinity church in Weston. (Row19. Grave 1)

Crew of BLENHEIM Mk.IV  Z7962  VE -







Victor Horace LANGRISH




Douglas Hickling IVENS




Allan Edward BAILEY




Eric Lionel Victor STANLEY


Alec Stevens

Served as Alec Leonard PUTTOCK.

175906, Pilot Officer (Pilot), 576 Squadron. Royal Air Force.

Killed In Action on the 17th June 1944 aged 25.

Alec Puttock was born in Guilford in 1919. He lived at New Farm in Stevenage, known locally as “Donkeys Whim”.  He attended both Shephall school and Stevenage Boys school where he is believed to have excelled at many subjects.

The rise of Alec Puttock to Pilot Officer was a rapid one. He joined 576 Squadron in late 1943 as a Sergeant. By February 1944 he had attained the rank of Flight Sergeant and rose to Warrant Officer by May of that year.

It was only a month later that he gained his commission as a Pilot Officer. He flew on many operations with the Squadron. Alec’s prowess as a Pilot was put to the test on the 22nd April 1944.

The mighty Lancaster, LL794 UL-D2, was fully fuelled and bombed up ready for a raid on Dusseldorf. Alec released the brakes and the aircraft began to build up speed down the runway and as it did so the Port tyre burst and the aircraft swerved off of the runway with the Port engine ablaze. Luckily the flames were quickly extinguished and the crew, although shaken, were returned to their quarters unhurt. The coolness of both Pilot and crew had saved them from certain disaster.

On the night of 16th June 1944 Lancaster PA997 UL-D2 took off from Elsham Wolds airfield with Pilot Officer Alec Puttock at the controls. The aircraft headed for its target, Sterkgrad. With the invasion of Europe only ten days old the enemy night fighters were very active and there were many desperate combats to, over, and from the target. Added to this was an intense flak barrage in the target area making the chances of survival even slimmer.

As with so many losses during the war it is not known what exactly happened to the aircraft but it never returned to Elsham Wolds airfield again and it's crew now lay buried at the British War Cemetery in the Reichswald Forest.









Alec Leonard PUTTOCK












POW No.194/Camp 357










POW No.199/Camp L7



Charles PHILP





Herbert Edgar LILLICRAP



Norman Teale

802636, Gunner, 60th Field Regiment. Royal Artillery.

Missing between 30th May & 2nd June 1940 aged 28.

Norman was the husband of Mary Teale of Stevenage. At the time of the German invasion of France and Belgium the unit was stationed at Lille near to the Franco-Belgian border. The official War Diary was destroyed during the retreat and the only documents available to provide any insight as to the fate of the men of the Regiment lay in several reports made by unit officers after their return from Dunkirk.

It appears that on the 13th May 1940 the Regiment was posted to Brussels to help try to stem the invasion. After several days, on the 18th May, it moved back to Den Hock and later that day to Courtrai. On the 23rd the Regiment, under constant enemy attack, moved to Armentieres near to Lille. The following day they moved again, this time to Houplines and then Wytschaete. They remained here for several days and tried to establish what the position was but this proved extremely difficult due to the speed of the German advance. A variation of troops passed through the Regiment’s position, many of them in complete disarray. Eventually on the 30th of May the Regiment was ordered to the town of Isenberghe, some 12 miles from Dunkirk. Here they had to abandon their vehicles and guns and destroyed them before walking to Dunkirk. That night they arrived on the beaches at La Panne. It is believed that at some stage during this late part of the evacuation Norman was lost on Bary Dunes, possibly killed in one of the many air attacks.

His body was never found and, as a result, his name is recorded on the Dunkirk Memorial. (Column 15)

Ian Brodrick Tetley

Lieutenant, Royal Navy, HMS Neptune.

Died At Sea on the 19th December 1941 aged 26.

Ian was the only son of Michael & Dorothy Tetley who lived at the Priory, Stevenage. He was commissioned into the Royal Navy on the 2nd April 1940 and joined the crew of HMS Neptune in June of that year. On the night of 19 December 1941, Force K, a cruiser raiding squadron consisting of HMS Neptune, HMS Aurora and HMS Penelope, set out from Malta and were steaming in line ahead some 20 miles north of Tripoli.

HMS Kandahar, HMS Lance, HMS Lively and HMS Havock were acting as a screen as the squadron headed on a southerly course. They were expecting to intercept a German and Italian convoy but, instead, ran into a minefield. HMS Neptune, in the lead, was at once disabled by the first explosion. Immediately afterwards both HMS Aurora and HMS Penelope also struck mines. HMS Aurora was holed and HMS Penelope suffered only minor damage, but they both managed to get clear of the minefield. The surprise achieved by this minefield, laid so far from the coast and in a depth of 100 fathoms of water and hitherto considered too deep for mining, was complete and devastating.

HMS Neptune, immobilised, severely damaged, and drifting helplessly in the minefield made preparations to be taken in tow by the destroyer leader, HMS Kandahar. As the little destroyer edged in towards the stricken Neptune a mine detonated her aft magazine and Kandahar lost about 100ft of her stern and 60 men perished.

HMS Neptune now ordered the other destroyers to stay clear and as the force was very close to the enemy coastline and there was a likelihood of air attacks. Despite strenuous efforts to reach her they were forced to abandon the stricken ship. HMS Neptune shortly rolled over and sank.

HMS Kandahar, after many anxious hours, drifted clear of the minefield and twenty-four hours later HMS Jaguar rescued 8 officers and 157 ratings.

There was no sign of HMS Neptune or her company but it later transpired that 16 men, including the Captain, had survived on a raft. The raft was found four days later by two Italian torpedo boats but with only one man was alive, Leading Seaman Walton. 765 officers and men perished.  Ian Tetley has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Plymouth Naval Memorial. (Panel 44. Column 3.) 


Douglas Truscott

120618, Flying Officer, 114 Squadron, Royal Air Force.

Missing In Action on the 23rd November 1942.

Douglas was the son of Laurie & Flora Truscott and the husband of Marjorie Truscott of Stevenage. He joined 114 Squadron at Raynham airfield on the 7th August 1942 from 17 Operational Training Unit, along with Pilot Officer Mathias. After a period of acclimatisation with the Squadron Douglas was deemed to be ready to fly operational missions. On the 13th November the Squadron left Raynham to fly to Gibraltar and then on to Algeria.

On the 17th they arrived at Blida airfield and within a few hours they flew their first operational mission, although Douglas Truscott did not take part in this mission. He had to wait until the 19th November when his crew were part of a raid on shipping in Bizerta harbour. The following night a second raid was made on the same target and Douglas was to fly his second operational mission. Then, on the 23rd November he and his crew took part on a raid on Sidi Ahmed airfield on the outskirts of Bizerta.

Eight aircraft were despatched on the raid, one of which failed to take off. A second aircraft was forced to turn back as a result of engine failure and a third, Bisley BA799 RT-, in which Douglas was flying, was lost on route. The aircraft and its crew were never found and, as a result, Douglas has no known grave.

His name is recorded on the Malta memorial. (Panel 3. Column 1.)

Crew of BISLEY BA799 RT-



















Thomas William CATCHPOLE


Gordon George Ronald Upton

2072973, Lance Corporal, 228th Field Company. Royal Engineers.

Missing In Action on the 22nd May 1940 aged 19.

Gordon, who lived at 8 Bridge Road, was the elder son of Archibald & Dora Upton. He was known by his friends as "Curly" and was educated at Alleynes School. After leaving school Gordon was employed by the British Tabulating Machine Company, now ICL, at their Sheffield branch. He joined the Territorial Army in June 1939 when he was 18 years old.

On the 22nd May 1940 his unit was involved in mining bridges at Arcques during the BEF retreat. Whilst the bridge was being prepared for demolition a premature explosion took place, which killed three men and wounded another four. One of those killed was Gordon Upton.

His body was never found and he has no known grave. His name is recorded on the Dunkirk Memorial, France. (Column 23)


David Vallis

LT/JX216725, Leading Seaman, Royal Naval Patrol Service, HMBY Minesweeper 2051.

The son of Levi & Harriet Vallis, and the husband of Daisy Vallis.

The exact cause of his death is not yet known.

He is buried in the Stevenage Communal Cemetery. (Section H. Grave 129)

Frank Trevor Vivian MC

118463, Captain, 65 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery.

Accidentally Killed on the 25th March 1946 aged 25.

Frank was the son of  Dr.Charles St.Aubyn Vivian & Mary Elizabeth Vivian.

He was awarded a Military Cross for gallant & distinguished services in Italy.

On the 25th March 1946 Frank Vivian was piloting an Auster Mk.V (TW447) aircraft from Hurstbourne Park in Hampshire whilst co-operating with 43 Operational Training Unit. The aircraft was flying at low level when it flicked over, stalled and dived into the ground.

Frank was cremated at Reading Crematorium, Berkshire.


Graham St.Aubyn Vivian

228856, Captain, 69 Field Company. King George V Own Bengal Sappers & Miners. Royal Engineers.

Died on the 25th October 1944 aged 21

The son of  Dr.Charles St.Aubyn Vivian & Mary Elizabeth Vivian. The exact circumstances of his death are not yet known.

He is buried in the Faenza War Cemetery, Italy. (3.F.20.)