Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence

Lest We Forget
British Legion
The Royal British Legion


World War 1 & 2 - Roll of Honour with detailed information
Compiled and copyright © Kim Andrews 2007

This Memorial takes the form of a granite cross on two granite plinths with names engraved. One for each war, World War 1 and World War 2. Plinths raised on two steps. Located at the junction of Finchingfield Road and Church Road. Set back from pavement with low link fencing. Full names used. No Regiments or any other information other than name. Extracts from Haverhill Echo show some interesting facts:

Steeple Bumpstead population 916. Names published 38.

5 Sept 1914
Volunteer Advertisment. 5th Suffolk Regiment. To enlist at Mile End, Colchester.

20 May 1915
Recruiting effort in Haverhill. 2/5 Battalions – Suffolks. Brass Bands.
‘Don’t walk out with a man unless he has got khaki on’
‘Let your husbands go if they are willing.’

Photographs Copyright © Kim Andrews 2007

“In grateful memory of the men of Steeple Bumpstead who fell in the Great War.”

BACON Ernest

Private 3436, 5th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment. Died 26th June 1915 at home. Aged 22. Born and resident Steeple Bumpstead, enlisted Haverhill. Son of Mrs. G. Bacon, of Endway Rd., Steeple Bumpstead. Buried in ST. MARY CHURCH CEMETERY, STEEPLE BUMPSTEAD, Essex.


Private 341041, 1st/5th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment. Died of wounds 12th November 1917. Aged 21. Enlisted Haverhill. Son of Mrs. J. Bentley, of Church St., Steeple Bumpstead, Suffolk. His sibling, Arthur Bentley served with the Essex Regiment. Formerly 3429, Suffolk Regiment. Buried in CAIRO WAR MEMORIAL CEMETERY, Egypt. Plot/Row/Section F. Grave 337.

Haverhill Echo - 17 November 1917
Herbert Leslie Bentley dangerously wounded in Egyptian campaign at Gaza and lying in hospital at El A Arzh. Gunshot wounds to the head, back and arms. News reported to parents, Mr & Mrs James Bentley.

Haverhill Echo - 24 November
Herbert Bentley died in hospital. ‘Another son of Mr & Mrs Bentley is at present in hospital in Alexandria’

BRUNTON Jack Stanley

Private 15393, 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment. Died of wiund sat home 6th June 1915. Born, resident and enlisted Steeple Bumpstead. Son of Mr & Mrs Harry Bunton, of Steeple Bumpstead. Buried in ST. MARY CHURCH CEMETERY, STEEPLE BUMPSTEAD, Essex.

Haverhill Echo June 1915
“Jack Bunton died at the Military Hospital, Aldershot. Wounded in the back by shrapnel on Hill 60. His parents visited him and his mother was at his bedside when he died. Buried Friday.”


Private 21322, 1st Battalion, Northumberrland Fusiliers. Killed in action 20th November 1915. Aged 21. Born Cambridge, enlisted York. Son of Mrs. C. Clayden, of The Chest, Steeple Bumpstead, Essex. Formerly 9832 West Yorks Regiment. Buried in VOORMEZEELE ENCLOSURES No. 1 and No. 2 Leper West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. Plot III. Row B. Grave 7.

CLAYDEN Charles William

Private 40159, 2nd Battalion, Essex Regiment. Killed in action 23rd October 1916 (19th October on CWGC). Aged 27. Born, resident and Enlisted Steeple Bumpstead. Son of George and Elizabeth Clayden, of Church St., Steeple Bumpstead, Essex. No known grave. Commmeorate don THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France. Pier and Face 10 D.

Haverhill Echo - 1 September 1917
“Pte Chas Clayden has been missing in France since 23 October 1916. Pt Clayden, 29, is the second in the family to be returned as missing.”


[Spelt CLAYDON on SDGW] Private G/18876, 6th Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment). Killed in acxtion 11th July 1917. Aged 29. Born and resident Steeple Bumpstead, enlisted Warley. Son of George and Elizabeth Clayden, of Church St., Steeple Bumpstead, Essex. Labourer on 1901 census. No known grave. Commemorated on ARRAS MEMORIAL , Pas de Calais, France. Bay 2.

CLAYDEN Wilfred Lawson

Sapper 160447, 63rd Field Company, Royal Engineers. Died of wounds 12th October 1917. Aged 30. Born and resident Steeple Bumpstead, enlisted Chelsea. Bricklayer's Apprentice in 1901 Census. Buried in ST. SEVER CEMETERY EXTENSION, ROUEN, France. Section P. Plot III. Row F. Grave 13B.

Haverhill Echo - 20 Oct 1917
“Wire received W Clayden passed away in night as a result of shrapnel wound in thigh is Australian Hospital, Rouen.”

CLAYDEN George Thomas

Rifleman S/27382, 8th Battalion, Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort's Own). Killed in action 23rd March 1918 (SDGW states 9th January 1918). Born Steeple Bumpstead, enlisted and resident Hampstead, Middlesex. No known grave. Commemorated on POZIERES MEMORIAL, Somme, France. Panel 81 to 84.

CLAYDON Frank Stephen

Private 9498, 7th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment. Shot by sniper and killed 30th March 1916. Aged 19. Born Steeple Bumpostead, enlisted York. Son of Charles and Harriet Claydon, of The Chase, North St., Steeple Bumpstead, Essex. Buried in VERMELLES BRITISH CEMETERY, Pas de Calais, France. Plot II. Row E. Grave 19.

COOTE Frank Frederick

Lance Corporal 20687, 1st Battalion, Essex Regiment. Died at sea 13th August 1915 having been wounded at Gallipoli. Aged 32. Born and resident Steeple Bumpstead, enlisted Haverhill. On 1901 Census he is aged 17 and resident Little Bardfield. His sibling, Robert Coote, served with the 1st Battalion, Norfolk Regiment.Formerly 8783, Norfolk Regiment. No known grave. Commemorated on HELLES MEMORIAL, Turkey. Panel 144 to 150 or 229 to 233.

Drowned HMHT ‘Royal Edward’
HMHT – His Majesties Hired Transport. He was one of a 230 man draft who transferred from the 3 Norfolks to the 1st Essex who were in Gallipoli. Royal Edward and her sister ship Royal George (Canadian Northern Steamships Ltd – Toronto) were taken over by the Government for troop carrying in 1914. Royal Edward sailing Avonmouth – Alexandria – Mudros was torpedoed in the Aegean by UB14 and sank in 6 minutes. The worst troop transport disaster of the Great War. 900 troops and 132 crew were lost. 178 of the Draft (230) were lost.

Haverhill Echo - 3 October 1914
Local casualties.
Robert Coote, severely wounded, being shot in right wrist, in action.~
Fred Coote, severely wounded, being shot in left wrist, in action.~

Haverhill Echo - 10 Oct
Local casualties.
Fred Coote who was reported in our last issue as being severely shot in the left wrist returned to his home last (Thursday) evening. His left hand is useless as a hole has been made through his wrist.

COX Edward William

Private 313117, 1st Battalion, Essex Regiment. Killed in action 2nd April 1918. Aged 22. Born and resident Steeple Bumpstead, enlisted Colchester. Son of Louisa Cox, of The End Way, Steeple Bumpstead, Essex, and the late Charles Cox. Two siblings, Arthur Cox served with the Suffolk Regiment and C E Cox, served with the Lincolnshire Regiment. Buried in EUSTON ROAD CEMETERY, COLINCAMPS, Somme, France. Plot V. Row G. Grave 9.

Haverhill Echo - 3 November 1917
Charles Cox wounded 20 Oct in France. Struck by shrapnel in left leg and progressing favourably

Haverhill Echo - 28 September 1918
Pte C E Cox of 2nd Lincolnshire Reg has been severely gassed on the Western Front. He has been brought to England and is now in the 1st Northern General Hospital Newcastle Upon Tyne.


Private 3/3433, 1st Battalion, Essex Regiment. Killed in action 14th April 1917. Aged 25. Born Sturmer, enlisted Chelmsford, resident Steeple Bumpstead. Son of Walter and Eliza Cresswell, of Church St., Staple Bumpstead, Essex. Siblings - Albert Cresswell and William Cresswell served with the Essex Regiment. Posted missing 9 June 1917. No known grave. Commemorated on ARRAS MEMORIAL, Pas de Calais, France. Bay 7.

Haverhill Echoearly 1918 W Cresswell wounded in both legs. In Military Hospital Oxford. Progressing favourably.)

FITCH Walter

Private 24733, 9th Battalion, Essex Regiment. Died of wounds 16th July 1916. Aged 23. Born, resident and enlisted Steeple Bumpstead. Son of William G. and Harriet Fitch, of Church Fields, Steeple Bumpstead, Haverhill, Essex. Buried in BOULOGNE EASTERN CEMETERY, Pas de Calais, France. Plot VIII. Row D. grave 126.


Private 16342, 11th Battalion, Essex Regiment. Died of wounds at home 28th October 1916. Aged 22. Born and resident Steeple Bumpstead, enlisted Colchester. Son of William and Jane Hayes, of Smith Green, Steeple Bumpstead. Buried in ST. MARY CHURCH CEMETERY, STEEPLE BUMPSTEAD, Essex.


Corporal 565, 60th Battalion, Australian Infantry, A.I.F. Died of wounds 14th May 1917 at Bullicourt. Aged 22. Born Steeple Bumpstead. Son of Mrs Alice Humphrey of 13 Park Terrace, Sunderland. Farmer by trade. Educated at the National School, Steeple Bumpstead. Emigrated aged 18 years. Enlisted Cohuna, Victoria, Australia. Buried in GREVILLERS BRITISH CEMETERY, France. Plot V. Row B. Grave 5. Australian Roll of Honour.

LOVETT William Ireland

Private 30015, 9th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment. Killed in action 20th July 1917. Aged 20. Born and enlisted Steeple Bumpstead. Son of William Ireland Lovett and Lucy Lovett, of Steeple Bumpstead, Essex. Buried in PHILOSOPHE BRITISH CEMETERY, MAZINGARBE, Pas de Calais, France. Plot I. Row T. Grave 36.


Private 40674, 12th Battalion, Prince of Wales's Own (West Yorkshire Regiment). Died of wounds 5th May 1917. Aged 29. Born and resident Steeple bumpstead, enlisted Warley. Son of M. A. Mears, of Walton's Farm, Steeple Bumpstead, Haverhill, Suffolk. General farm Labourer in 1901 Census. A C.S. Mears served with the R.A.M.C. Buried in DUISANS BRITISH CEMETERY, ETRUN, Pas de Calais, France. Plot IV. Row K. grave 16.


Private 26913, 2nd Battalion, Northamptonshire. Killed in action 4th March 1917. Aged 26. Born Standen, enlisted Steeple Bumpstead. Buried in FINS NEW BRITISH CEMETERY, SOREL-LE-GRAND, Somme, France. Plot VII. Row D. Grave 2.

Haverhill Echo
“James Playle [Sibling to above] also serving, posted missing 18 August 1918. 6 October – posted J Playle German POW. 25 January 1919 - Returned POW’s. Two local soldiers who have been prisoners of war in Germany have just returned to their homes. They are Pte Frank Hardy of the Northamptonshire Regiment who was taken prisoner in France and Pte James Playle of the 1st Essex Regiment, who was wounded in the right arm in France and taken prisoner more than a year ago.

PORTWAY Harry James

Private 14729, 11th Battalion, Essex Regiment. Died of wounds 19th October 1916. Aged 24. Born and resident Steeple Bumpstead, enlisted Colchester. Son of Joseph and Sarah Portway, of Steeple Bumpstead, Essex. Buried in GROVE TOWN CEMETERY, MEAULTE , Somme, France. Plot I. Row N. Grave 1.

Haverhill Echo - 9 December 1916
“H Portway, son of Mr and Mrs Portway was wounded on the 15th in the chest, and died the following day. One of the first to join up. He had been wounded some months ago and only rejoined his unit a short time before.”

SHARMAN William Albert

[Spelt SHERMAN on war memorial] Private 27087, 7th Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment. Killed in action 31st July 1917. Born Steeple Bumpstead, enlisted Colchester. Buried in TYNE COT CEMETERY, Zonnebeke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. Plot LX. Row J. Grave 3.

Haverhill Echo – 18 August 1917
Pt Sharman, age 26 leaves widow and one child. Member of parish choir.

SMITH William

Haverhill Echo October 1916 states a Steeple Bumpstead man, W J Smith, joined the Suffolk Regiment. This is the only W J Smith listed as service with the Suffolks but he was Wilfred John SMITH. There are several William SMITH's who served and died with the Suffolk Regiment but cannot didnetify this man specifically.


Private 12226, 9th Battalion, Essex Regiment. Killed in action 15th October 1915. Aged 28. Born Steeple Bumpstead, enlisted Chelmsford, resident Hempstead. Son of Thomas and Harriett Sorrell, of Steeple Bumpstead, Essex. A Stockman in the 1901 Census. No known grave. Commemorated on LOOS MEMORIAL, Pas de Calais, France. Panel 85 to 97.

TURNER Albert John

Private 5787, 1st/23rd Battalion, London Regiment. Killed in action 16th September 1916. Born and resident Steeple Bumpstead, enlisted Colchester. Formerly 26926, Essex Regiment. No known grave. Commemorated on THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France. Pier and Face 9 D 9 C 13 C and 12 C.


[Listed as WESTLEY on SDGW] Private 74822, 168th company, Labour Corps. Died 17th September 1918. Aged 32. Born Stanway, Essex, enlisted Colchester, resident Steeple Bumpstead. Son of Walter Wesley; husband of Georgina Wesley, of The Crescent, Steeple Bumpstead, Haverhill. Agricultrual Labourer on 1901 Census. Formerly 48153, The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment). Buried in ACHIET-LE-GRAND COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION , Pas de Calais, France. Plot I. Row R. Grave 6.

Haverhill Echo - 19 October 1918
“Accidentally killed – Labour Corps, Pte G Westley.”


Lance Corporal 28270, 11th Battalion, Border Regiment. Died of wounds 26th November 1917. Aged 20. Born Steeple Bumpstead, enlisted Warley. Formerly 33072, Essex Regiment. Buried in DUHALLOW A.D.S. CEMETERY, Belgium. (Advanced Dressing Station) Plot III. Row C. Grave 14.

Frederick Willis served with the RA
Haverhill Echo - 8 December 1917
Mr & Mrs H Willis received information that their son L C Willis has died at the 2nd Corp dressing station of wounds received in action on 30 November in France

“Also of the men who died in the
World War 1939-1945”

Haverhill Echo
Microfilm available from Haverhill Local History Centre

May 1939

Meeting to be held at Camping Close, Steeple Bumpstead. Speakers included Commanding Officer of 5th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment. A band of the Royal Inniskilling Dragoon guards also to play. Hoping to enlist men into the territorials.

3 June - Report of above. Speakers stated that no Essex territorial training centre was within easy reach, but that the 5th Suffolks had been recently formed at Haverhill, which was their nearest town. It was realised it was not easy for Steeple Bumpstead men to get to Haverhill for drills, but if 28 men could be secured at Steeple Bumpstead, facilities would be provided for them in their own village. There were 80 men in SB between the ages of 18 and 34. Already 4 men had joined the Haverhill Company.

21 men enlisted by the end of the evening. The band having marched around the village.

22 July. The 5th Battalion of the Suffolk, which had formerly fought in the Great War, had been reinstated. The necessary numbers of men coming forward meant this was achieved within one month.

[Author’s note: due to above recruitment into the 5th Suffolks, many of the village men ended up working on the Burma Railway]

BOGGIS Basil John

Lance Corporal 14664830, 3rd Battalion, Irish Guards (in Foot Guards and time of death). Died 2nd October 1944. Aged 29. Son of John Sydney and Violet Edith Boggis; husband of Hilda Victoria Boggis of Hatfield Peverell, Essex. Was with Essex County Constabulary. Buried in ARNHEM OOSTERBEEK WAR CEMETERY, Gelderland, Netherlands. Plot 11. Row A. Grave 7.

Basil John Boggis - Essex County Constabulary.

Served from 13th June 1938. Killed in action 2nd October 1944.

Police Constable Basil John Boggis was the son of John Sydney and Violet Edith Boggis and was born on 27th August 1915 in East Ham, London E6. He had been employed as a joiner with B. G. Brooks Ltd of Barkingside before joining Essex County Constabulary on 13th June 1938.

After training at Headquarters he was posted to Braintree from 6th August 1938. On 4th September 1939 (the day after the war broke out) Basil was transferred to Witham, and it was while there he married Hilda Victoria Boggis of Hatfield Peverel. His final posting was to Steeple Bumpstead on 12th September 1940. He remained there until leaving the police on 13th September 1943.

The following day he joined the army. Basil Boggis was killed in action on Monday, 2nd October 1944, whilst serving as Lance Corporal 14664830 with 3rd Battalion, Irish Guards. He was aged 29. He was buried in grave 11. A. 7. at Arnhem Oosterbeek War Cemetery in The Netherlands.

Police Constable 188. Serial Number 3270.

[The above is from the Essex Police Roll of Honour. He is on the memorial plaque at Essex Police HQ, Chelmsford]

CLAYDEN Stanley Victor

Private 14631879, 2nd/4th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment. Died 13th April 1944. Aged 19. Son of Bob and Elizabeth Clayden, of Steeple Bumpstead, Essex. Buried in CASSINO WAR CEMETERY, Frosinone, Italy. Plot III. Row K. Grave 12.

Mother, Elizabeth Betsey Clayden, buried Steeple Bumpstead Cemetery. She died 29 July 1984. On her headstone is an inscription for her son, Stanley Clayden, from the family, John, Jack, Harold and Ada.

CLAYDEN William Edwin

Serjeant 2733651, 1st Battalion, Welsh Guards. Died 22nd May 1940. Aged 26. Son of Sidney William and Ethel Mary Clayden, of Steeple Bumpstead, Essex. Buried in ARRAS COMMUNAL CEMETERY, Pas de Calais, France. Plot X. Row 1. Grave 50.

Halstead Gazette issue of 16 June 1940:

Steeple Bumpstead Casualty

“Intimation has been received of the death on active service in France of Platoon Sergt. Maj. William E (Bill) Clayden, elder son of Mr and Mrs S W Clayden, of Steeple Bumpstead. Deceased, who was only just 26 years of age, was of a genial disposition and was highly respected in the village and district, where his parents are so well-known. He was educated at the local school and for a time was employed as a roundsman by Mr C R Green. He joined the Welsh Guards when he was 18 years of age, and, having completed seven years' service, signed on for a further period just prior to the commencement of hostilities. He went to France with the BEF in October last year. Much sympathy will be felt with Mr and Mrs Clayden in their loss. (Photograph)”

HUMPHREY Malcolm Charles

Flight Sergeant 550823, 608 Squadron, Royal Air Force. Died 11th November 1942. No known grave. Commmeorated on MALTA MEMORIAL, Malta. Panel 3. Column 2.

LING Leslie Warner

Lance Serjeant 5828526, 5th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment. Died 24th October 1943. Aged 24. Born E. London. Son of Norman Warner Ling, and of Eliza Amelia Ling; of Steeple Bumpstead, Suffolk. Buried in CHUNGKAI WAR CEMETERY, Thailand. Plot 6. Row P. Grave 13.

PINK Gordon Alec

Fusilier 6094725, 18th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers (City of L:ondon Regiment). Died 11th November 1940. Aged 20. Son of Augustus and Ada Pink of Steeple Bumpstead. Buried in ST. MARY CHURCH CEMETERY, STEEPLE BUMPSTEAD, Essex. Row 4. Grave 3.

TARLING Leslie James

Private 5828512, 5th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment. Died 9th November 1943. Aged 24. Son of Walter Hardy Tarling and Lettice Miriam Tarling, of Steeple Bumpstead, Essex. Buried in CHUNGKAI WAR CEMETERY, Thailand. Plot 6. Row G. Grave 9.

HARRISON Edward William

Lance Corporal 5828522, 287 Field Company, Royal Engineers. Died 26th January 1942 during the Japanese invasion of Malaya. Aged 24 Son of Charles and Ella Harrison; husband of Phyllis Alice Harrison, of Pitlochry, Perthshire. No known grave. Commmeorated on SINGAPORE MEMORIAL, Kranji War Cemetery, Singapore. Column 39.

He was in the Suffolk Regt. at 1 Sep 1939 (possibly a Reservist rather than actually serving) and that he was born in Essex and resident in Essex at enlistment. He apparently had a brother, Norman, who also served in the Far East but apparently survived and they lived at Mill House, Steeple Bumpstead.

WESLEY Reginald Charles

Private 5828518, 5th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment. Died during the Japanese invasion of Singapore 6th February 1942. Aged 21. Buried in KRANJI WAR CEMETERY, Kranji, Singapore. Plot 24. Row B. Grave 5.

He was born in Essex and resident in Essex at enlistment, and was in the Suffolk Regiment at 1st September 1939 (or on Reserve). He proably lived at The Stores, Steeple Bumpstead. Although his service no. is close to James Harold Wesley they were not related.]

WESLEY James Harold

Private 5828507, 5th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment. Died 4th June 1943 as a pirsoner of war of the Japanese. Aged 26. Son of George and Georgina Wesley, of Steeple Bumpstead, Essex. Buried in THANBYUZAYAT WAR CEMETERY, Myanmar (Burma). Half brother of Herbert Argent.

GOWERS [Arthur Vincent]

Squadron leader 40166, 183 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Died 24th October 1943. Aged 30. Son of Herbert Henry and Hilda Mary Gowers; husband of Joan R. Gowers, of Boscombe, Hampshire. Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (D.F.C.). No known grave. Commemorated on RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL, Surrey. Panel 118.

DUFF Alan Richard

Serjeant 7951947, 3rd Royal Tank Regiment, Royal Tank Regiment, R.A.C. Died 8th April 1945. Aged 23. Born 'London E' and resident in Suffolk at enlistment. He was not in the army on 1 September 1939. Buried in HANOVER WAR CEMETERY, Hannover, Niedersachsen, Germany. Plot 7. Row A. Grave 8.

MIZON Charles Henry

No further information currently available


Flight Sergeant (Air Bomber) 1601365, 10 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Died 6th March 1945. Aged 21. Son of Thomas A. A. Robson and Elizabeth S. Robson, of Steeple Bumpstead, Suffolk. Buried in BERLIN 1939-1945 WAR CEMETERY, Berlin, Germany. Plot 6. Row C. Grave 6.

Halifax III serial NR131 code ZA–N from 10 Squadron took off from RAF Melbourne at 16.57 on the evening of 5th March 1945 on Ops to Chemnitz. and due to enemy action crashed near Stalag IXC at Mulhausen. There were no survivors.

The rest of the crew were as follows

Flt A D Stephen
Sgt T T Elliott
FSgt K V Rees
PO C J Roberts RCAF

Bruce Robson was the bomb-aimer on Handley-Page Halifax Mk III serial NR131 (carrying the squadron code ZA and individual aircraft letter N), which took off from RAF Melbourne at 16.57 on 5 Mar 1945 on an operation to Chemnitz. It crashed near Stalag IXC PoW camp at Muhlhausen, with the loss of all seven crew, the bodies being recovered by prisoners from the camp. For whatever reason, the Germans forbade a burial service, but despite that a service was conducted on 20 Mar by the camp Chaplain, Rev J R Bamber, MA. Post-war, the remains were re-interred at Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery.

The other crewmen were: F/Lt A D Stephen (pilot), Sgt T T Elliott (F/Eng), F/Sgt K V Rees (Nav), F/O H C Maria, RNZAF(W/Op), P/O C J Roberts RCAF (A/Gnr), F/O R E Heap (A/Gnr - apparently the tail gunner). F/O Heap had gained the DFC on a previous tour with 10 Sqdn (details in London Gazette, 13 Jul 1943) and was a timer-served Regular. F/Sgt Rees was another long-serving Regular, having joined the RAF in the 1920s as an apprentice clerk.

Details of the raid on Chemitz 5/6 March 1945 :

760 aircraft took part on this raid including 498 Lancasters, 256 Halifaxes, 6 Mosquitos - to continue Operation Thunderclap (see below). The operation started badly when 9 aircraft of No 6 Group crashed near their bases soon after taking off in icy conditions. No 426 Squadron, at Linton-on-Ouse, lost 3 out of their 14 Halifaxes taking part in the raid in this way, with only 1 man surviving. 1 of the Halifaxes crashed in York, killing some civilians. 22 further aircraft were lost in the main operation - 14 Lancasters and 8 Halifaxes.

The Air Ministry had, for several months, been considering a series of particularly heavy area raids on German cities with a view to causing such confusion and consternation that the hard-stretched German war machine and civil administration would break down and the war would end. The general name given to this plan was Operation Thunderclap, but it had been decided not to implement it until the military situation in Germany was critical. That moment appeared to be at hand. Russian forces had made a rapid advance across Poland in the second half of January and crossed the eastern frontier of Germany. The Germans were thus fighting hard inside their own territory on two fronts, with the situation in the East being particularly critical. It was considered that Berlin, Dresden, Leipzig and Chemnitz - all just behind the German lines on the Eastern Front now - would be suitable targets as they were all vital communications and supply centres for the Eastern Front. There was the intention of preventing the Germans from moving reinforcements from the West to face the successful Russian advance. The Air Ministry issued a directive to Bomber Command at the end of January. On 4 February, at the Yalta Conference, the Russians asked for attacks of this kind to take place, but their involvement in the process only came after the plans had been issued. So, Bomber Command was specifically requested by the Air Ministry, with Churchill's encouragement, to carry out heavy raids on Dresden, Chemnitz and Leipzig. The Americans were also asked to help and agreed to do so. The campaign should have begun with an American raid on Dresden on 13 February but bad weather over Europe prevented any American operations. It thus fell to Bomber Command to carry out the first raid.

796 Lancasters and 9 Mosquitoes were dispatched in two separate raids and dropped 1,478 tons of high explosive and 1,182 tons of incendiary bombs. The first attack was carried out entirely by 5 Group, using their own low-level marking methods. A band of cloud still remained in the area and this raid, in which 244 Lancasters dropped more than 800 tons of bombs, was only moderately successful. The second raid, 3 hours later, was an all-Lancaster attack by aircraft of 1, 3, 6 and 8 Groups, with 8 Group providing standard Pathfinder marking. The weather was now clear and 529 Lancasters dropped more than 1,800 tons of bombs with great accuracy. Much has been written about the fearful effects of this raid. Suffice it to say here that a firestorm, similar to the one experienced in Hamburg in July 1943, was created and large areas of the city were burnt out. No one has ever been able to discover how many people died but it is accepted that the number was greater than the 40,000 who died in the Hamburg firestorm and the Dresden figure may have exceeded 50,000.

LING Frederick Arthur William

Able Seaman C/J 109678, H.M.S. Malcolm, Royal Navy. Died 1st December 1940. Aged 33. Born London E. Son of Arthur and Alice Ling; husband of Ruby May Ling, of Sidcup, Kent. No known grave. Commemorated on CHATHAM NAVAL MEMORIAL, Kent. Panlr 35, Colmn 3.

Note: HMS Malcolm was a Scott Class Destroyer. Commencement of build - 29th May 1919 at the Cammell Laird Shipyard. Operated at Dunkirk. Later converted to a short range escort and served in home waters. On 13/14th September 1940 HMS Malcolm, Wild Swan and Venonous bombarded Boulogne in a sweep along France. Sold for scrap July 1945. Scrapped at Barrow.

Roll of Honour 1914-1919





Pte 5th Suffolk



Pte 5th Suffolk
























1st Norfolk



1st Norfolk


















5th Suffolk









1st Norfolk



Tpr Hussars






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Rifle Brigade


Oliver Q

British Columbia Horse














Herbert L

Trooper Loyal Suffolk Hussars.



5th Suffolk





Ordinary Seaman HMS Magnificence



Ordinary Seaman HMS Vengence



Ordinary Seaman HMS Victorious

Last updated 25 November, 2012

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