21 February 2015

Died in London - 21st February 1944

The following civilians all died on the 21st February 1944 as a result of enemy action on London. It would appear that some of these 24 civilians died in the line of duty. For instance, Harry Cresswell was serving with the Heavy Rescue Service; Jesse Evans was a volunteer fire-watcher; Winifred Medleycott was working for the British Red Cross Society, James McKenzie working as a fire guard, and Herbert Pill a staff sergeant with the Home Guard.

James Michael Clark aged 5
Harry Cresswell aged 41
Alfred Patrick Donoghue aged 20
Jacqueline Donoghue aged 7
Brian Evans aged 4
Jesse William Evans aged 60
George William Gooch aged 38
Audrey Mary Elaine Hine aged 65
Edward Stimpson Long aged 74
Winifred Mary Medleycott aged 54
Edith Mary Morton aged 66
Roy Leonard Mcguire aged 28
James Reid Mckenzie aged 42
Winifred Rose Nash aged 60
Martha Newton aged 43
John Osborne aged 59
Doris Louisa Penning aged 32
Herbert Ernest Pill aged 44
Sophie Pauline Plane aged 76
Fred Porter aged 50
Henry Oliver Randall aged 53
Audrey Stannard aged 11
Isobel Margaret Marion Thomas aged 39
Mary Turner aged 47

The deaths occurred across London but with six of these recorded in Hammersmith and Fulham. I am assuming that all deaths were as a result of bombing raids.  

1 February 2015

1045805 BQMS William Stephen Holcombe, Royal Artillery

On this day in 1893 my grandfather Walter Leonard Nixon was born. That's him, pictured above in about 1907. Fast forward 51 years and on this day, 1st February 1944, 217 British and Imperial men and women lost their lives in the service of their King and King Emperor.

1045805 Battery Quartermaster Sergeant William Stephen Holcombe of the 9th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, was one of those 217 men to die on this day in 1944. He was a regular soldier; an Old Contemptible who had enlisted in 1913, served throughout the First World War and who subsequently extended his service. His medal index card (below, courtesy of Ancestry) notes the same regimental number that appears on his headstone in Ilkley Cemetery.

Findmypast has William Holcombe in its Royal Artillery attestation registers which, in turn, sheds more light on the man and his service.
  • William was born at South Norwood, Croydon and was a seaman before he enlisted with the Royal Field Artillery
  • He originally attested on the 7th January 1913 and was given the number 71580
  • He extended his colour service at various points ( his number 1045805 dates to February 1919) and re-enlisted on 3rd July 1939
  • He married Violet Maud Smith at Woolwich on Christmas Day 1917 and the couple had two children: Francis William Smith (born 28th September 1921) and Reta Violet Smith (born 23rd March 1926).
  • He was discharged from the army on 10th December 1943 under paragraph 392 (xvi) of King's regulations 1940. This paragraph deals with discharges as a result of "ceasing to fulfil army physical requirements" and could imply that he was discharged as a result of wounds
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission notes that William was the husband of Violet Maud Holcombe of Stratford, Essex which, coming full circle, brings me back again to my grandfather Walter who was born in Stratford in 1893.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.