September 21, 2020

Remembering the Fallen:  on this day in 2012, Sergeant Jonathan Eric Kups, 104 Force Support Battalion, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, died at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan in a non-hostile situation.

Sergeant Kups joined the army in 1992, specialising in radar and ground-to-air weapons;  he trained as an electronics technician and also served in Northern Ireland.  Colleagues described him as “a real character” and referred to his quick wit, loyalty, and caring nature.  His experience and abilities were highly valued, as was his role of father figure. 

Lieutenant Colonel Neil Thorpe said of him:  “Technically brilliant, he invested considerable sweat and tears in developing his technicians ahead of the deployment and his efforts reaped significant success…he drove his team hard to ensure those soldiers deployed forward had the equipment they needed - he was never found wanting.  Confident, with bags of humour, he was an SNCO who lived life to the full.  His enthu...

September 20, 2020

Remembering the Fallen:  on this day in 1944, Lieutenant John “Jack” Hollington Grayburn V.C., the Parachute Regiment, was killed in action at Arnhem during Operation Market Garden.

After attending Sherborne School in Dorset, he joined the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, and then the 1st (London) Army Cadet Force, the Queen’s Royal Regiment,  before the outbreak of the second world war.  In 1940 he was commissioned into the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry and three years later transferred to the 7th (Light Infantry) Parachute Battalion - his former regiment being on the home front, he was anxious to see action.  In 1944 he transferred to the 2nd Battalion, taking command of 2 Platoon, A Company.

For his actions during Operation Market Garden Lieutenant Grayburn was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.  The citation refers to his “supreme courage, leadership and devotion to duty”, stating how he “led his men with supreme gallantry and determination...

September 19, 2020

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1944, Squadron Leader James Brown Warwick D.F.C., the Royal Air Force, was killed when the plane on which he was navigator crashed in the Netherlands.

Squadron Leader Warwick was educated at the Boys’ Model School and then attended the Oranges Civil Service Academy in Belfast. At the age of seventeen, in 1938, he moved to London, joined the Imperial Civil Service and worked in the offices of the Air Ministry. In March of 1941 he joined the R.A.F., and after training was posted to 1661 Conversion Unit and then 49 Squadron, with which he completed two operational tours. His navigating skills were deemed to be excellent on operations to various places in Germany: Berlin, Hamburg, the Ruhr and Peenemunde.

On the day of his death Squadron Leader Warwick and Wing Commander Guy Gibson took off on a mission to bomb the Rheydt and Monchengladbach railway and industrial centres. As Station Navigational Officer of No. 54 Base at Coningsby, Squadron Leader Warw...

September 18, 2020

Remembering the Fallen:  on this day in 1918, Second Lieutenant Frank Edward Young V.C., 1st Battalion, the Hertfordshire Regiment, was killed in action near Havrincourt in France.

The son of a soldier formerly in the Bedfordshire Regiment, Second Lieutenant Young joined the Hertfordshire Regiment (part-time Territorial Force) as a boy bugler when he was fourteen years old.  Two years later he began working at the local power station, his ambition being to become an electrical engineer. 

Within months of his battalion being mobilised after the outbreak of the Great War he was promoted to the rank of sergeant (hence the photo above), and fought at the Battle of Festubert and the Battle of Loos with his father, C.S.M. Frank Young (who would be Mentioned in Despatches for his actions during the latter battle).  In April of 1917 Second Lieutenant Young received his commission.   He had spent time serving as a bombing instructor, and also took training with the Royal Flying Corps....

September 17, 2020

Remembering the Fallen:  on this day in 1971, Lance Corporal Peter Herrington, the Green Howards, was killed in Northern Ireland.

On the morning of the day of his death there had been a report of a bomb at the junction of Flax Street and Brompton Park in the Ardoyne area of Belfast.  An old tyre had been used to contained the device, and a wire could be seen running from it.  People living locally were advised to stay in their homes as a soldier began to work on defusing the device – people had nevertheless begun to gather at a distance. 

Several shots were suddenly fired and three of the soldiers were hit:  one with a minor wound, one seriously injured, and Lance Corporal Herrington, who was fatally wounded.  His colleagues took cover and returned fire - but the gunman, who had fired from the area where Etna Drive led off from Brompton Park, was gone, believed to have been given cover by the people who had gathered.

No-one was brought to justice for the murder.  The soldie...

September 16, 2020

Remembering the Fallen:  on this day in 1914, Second Lieutenant Paul Chancourt Girardot, 1st Battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, was killed in action near Soupir-sur-Aisne.

His widowed mother’s only child, he was educated at Ashampton School in Eastbourne, and Cheltenham College.  His father was Lieutenant Colonel John Francis Girardot, who had died when his son was six years old.  (Lieutenant Colonel Girardot had joined the army in 1847, fought in the Kaffir Wars and was named a hero when he saved many lives after the sinking of the troopship H.M.S. Birkenhead in 1852). 

Second Lieutenant Girardot received is commission in February of 1914.  It was during the Battle of the Aisne that he lost his life, along with many others, when they were shelled as his company was about to relieve a company of the Coldstream Guards, and between the two companies over a hundred of various ranks were killed or wounded.

The stained glass window in the photograph above was...

September 15, 2020

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1916, Lieutenant Raymond Asquith, 3rd Battalion, the Grenadier Guards, died of wounds received in action on the Somme.

The eldest of ten children of then-Prime Minister Herbert Asquith, he was educated at Winchester College and Balliol College, Oxford. Academically gifted, he won scholarships and university prizes as well as taking first-class honours in Classics and Law. In 1904 he was called to the bar, and in 1912 was junior counsel during the inquiry into the sinking of R.M.S. Titanic. In 1913 he became the Liberal Party candidate for Derby.

After the outbreak of the Great War he was commissioned in the 16th (County of London) Battalion, London Regiment (Queen’s Westminster Rifles), and in August of 1915 transferred to the 3rd Battalion, Grenadier Guards. Although assigned as a staff officer, he asked that he be re-assigned to active duty, and arrived on the Western Front in October of 1915.. He referred to Lord Kitchener as the “King of Chaos”,...

September 14, 2020

Remembering the Fallen:  on this day in 2012, Lance Corporal Duane Groom, 1st Battalion, the Grenadier Guards, was killed in Afghanistan when his vehicle struck an IED in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province.

He had joined the army in 2007, and two years later served in Afghanistan for the first time.  A childhood friend who had also joined the army told how Lance Corporal Groom was like a big brother who would always have your back, no matter what, and that he loved his job in the army because “It restored the virtues in life that we had lost and had always hoped to regain”.  He was a conscientious man, who worked hard and gained wide respect.  He also was charismatic and, although quiet by nature, full of humour, and had, according to his Fijian friend, “the best smile in paradise”.

Lieutenant Colonel James Bowder said of him:  “Lance Corporal Groom was an outstanding soldier in every respect.  Tough, keen and unflappable, he was utterly committed to his fellows and...

September 13, 2020

Remembering the Fallen:  on this day in 1914, Private Harry Savory D.C.M., 4th Dragoon Guards (Royal Irish) died of wounds received on the Western Front.

His parents’ third son, he attended Bishop’s Stortford College, and went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree in science.  After settling in Rhodesia, in 1896 he served as a lieutenant in the Imperial Light Horse during the Second Matabele War, and was awarded the Queen’s Medal with four bars, and the King’s Medal with two bars. 

At the outbreak of the Great War he volunteered for active service, and fell wounded during the Battle of the Aisne.  Private Savory lies buried in the Bourg-et-Comin Communal cemetery in Picardy, France.  On his headstone are the words, “Fight the good fight”.  He is commemorated on the war memorial in All Saints’ Church in Warham, Norfolk.

Harry, from Warham in Norfolk, was 43 years old and married.

September 12, 2020

Remembering the Fallen:  on this day in 1915, Rifleman John (Jack) Benjamin Cox, 12th Battalion, the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, was killed in action on the Western Front.

One of a family of nine children, he began work just after his fifteenth birthday as a clerk at the Sutton Goods Yard of the London, Brighton & South Coast railway.  A month after the outbreak of the Great War Rifleman Cox enlisted at Kingston upon Thames, giving his age as nineteen when he was in fact only sixteen at the time.  His battalion arrived in France in July of 1915, going into the line near Bethune.

Rifleman Cox lies buried in the Rue-du-Bacquerot No. 1 Military Cemetery at Laventie in France.  On his headstone are the words:  “In loving memory of our dear Jack who died for his country’s sake”.  He is remembered on the war memorials at Carshalton, Sutton and St. Mary’s Church in Cuddiongton.

Jack, from Cuddington in Surrey, was 17 years old.

September 11, 2020

Remembering the Fallen:  on this day in 1944, Gunner George William Britland, 100th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, the Royal Artillery, was killed in action in Italy.

On the day of his death he was serving as a radio operator for a Forward Observation Officer during the Italian campaign when he was killed by a German mortar bomb.  (By June of that year his regiment was non-operational, and rather than be diluted was ordered to disband, with all the officers and men being reassigned).

Gunner Britland  lies buried in the Gradara War Cemetery between Pesaro and Riccione in the Le Marche region, Italy.  On his headstone are the words:  “Till we meet again”.

George, born in Barton, Lancashire, was 27 years old and married.

September 10, 2020

Remembering the Fallen:  on this day in 1972, Private Douglas Richmond and Private Duncan McPhee, the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, were killed in Northern Ireland.  Lance-Corporal William McIntyre died of his injuries the following day.

They had been travelling in a Saracen armoured car near Dungannon in County Tyrone when a mine exploded beneath the vehicle.  The explosion resulted in a crater twenty-five feet deep and thirty feet across.  Private Richmond and Private McPhee were killed, five other soldiers including Lance Corporal McIntyre were injured, but only his injuries later proved to be fatal.

Private Richmond, from Clydebank, was 21 years old.

Private McPhee, from Paisley, was 21 years old.

Lance Corporal McIntyre, from Dundee, was 23 years old and married with a son who was sixteen months


September 9, 2020

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1916, Private David Garrett and Private John Baron, 2nd/5th Battalion, the Lancashire Fusiliers, were killed in action during the Attacks on High Wood.

Private Garrett was one of four children of a cloth machinist, attended St. Luke & St. Philip’s School in Blackburn, and after leaving school he worked at Bank Top Foundry. After the outbreak of the Great War Private Garrett enlisted in the East Lancashire Regiment and later transferred to the Lancashire Fusiliers. He was married in the Church of St. Luke, St. Mark & St. Philip in March of 1916, six months before his death. Born in Witton, Lancashire, David was 24 years old. He is commemorated on his family’s grave in Blackburn Old Cemetery.

Private Baron was one of nine children, with two younger brothers who would also serve during the Great War. He worked as a weaver at T. & R. Eccles Ltd. in Lower Darwen, and attended St. James’ Church, being part of the men’s bible class. Private Baron enlis...

September 8, 2020

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1918, Private David John Davies, Lance Corporal Thomas Edward Beadles, Lieutenant George Keith Elliott, and Lieutenant George Williams, 25th (Montgomery & Welsh Horse Yeomanry) Battalion, the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, were killed in action together on the Somme.

Their battalion was in the lead of the 231 Brigade during an attempt on the trenches north-east of Hargicourt, and they were among other casualties suffered that day, shot down by heavy machine gun and rifle fire. All four lie buried in the Sainte Emilie Valley Cemetery at Villers-Faucon on the Somme.

Private Davies, from Blaen Porth in Cardiganshire, was 24 years old.

Lance Corporal Beadles had previously seen action in Egypt in 1917 where he was gassed. He is remembered on the war memorial in Newtown in Montgomeryshire. From Newtown, he was 25 years old and married with two children.

Lieutenant Elliott was the son of an M.D. and had been educated at Shrewsbury School and University College, Oxf...

September 7, 2020

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1914, Second Lieutenant Sir Gawaine George Stuart Baillie, 2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys), was killed in action at the Battle of the Marne.

The eldest son of Sir Robert Alexander Baillie, late Major Commanding of the Australian Squadron, the King’s Colonials Imperial Yeomanry, he became 5th Baronet Baillie of Polkemmet, Linlithgowshire, on his father’s death in 1907. Second Lieutenant Baillie attended Eton College and the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, receiving his commission in September of 1912. At the outbreak of the Great War he offered his home, Polkemmet House, as a military hospital, and after his death his mother ensured that his wishes were carried out as she ran the house as a Red Cross auxiliary hospital throughout the war.

Second Lieutenant Baillie’s regiment arrived in Flanders in August of 1914, and was present during the Retreat from Mons. It was during the fighting at the Battle of the Marne that Second Lieutenant Baillie lo...

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