Banstead War Memorial

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Baker Best
Baple Biles
Barnes Botting
Barton Brown
Baugh Burr
Bell Butler
BAKER, Gordon Alfred HALFAYA SOLLUM WAR CEMETERY, by permission of the Commonwealth war Graves Commission.

Gunner 926184

Royal Horse Artillery 4th Regt.

Died 12 May 1941 aged 20

Son of Alfred and Amy Louisa Baker of Burgh Heath, Tadworth, Surrey. In the 1901 Census, Alfred Baker aged 18, was living in Pound Road, Banstead. He is probably the father of Gordon Alfred Baker.

The 4th Regiment Royal Horse Artillery was formed at Helmieh in Egypt in May 1939 from three batteries drawn from independent commands in India. It was equipped with the 25 pdr MK VP often recognised as the most versatile British artillery piece of the war. This gun was mounted on an 18 pounder split trail carriage and towed by a tracked tractor called a 'Dragon'. The 'P' was used to denote the use of pneumatic tyres on the carriage. This is almost certainly the type weapon that Gunner Baker would have used.

4th Regiment Royal Horse Artillery fired the opening rounds of the campaign in North Africa on 8 December 1940 against the Italians at Sidi Barrani. During this time it was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel 'Jock' Campbell. As part of 7th Armoured Division, the Regiment was involved in numerous subsequent battles in the desert. These included Bardia, the capture of Tobruk, Beda Fomm, Sidi Rezegh and the withdrawal from Gazala to El Alamein. It took part in the Battle of El Alamein as part of 1st Armoured Division, later taking part in the battle for the Mareth Line and the capture of Tunisia. With the Germans defeated in North Africa, the Regiment returned to England in November 1943.

Grave Reference: 20. H. 10


Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Regiment History from Ian Paterson's website
Gun details from Antill, P. (14 January 2004) The 25-pdr Field Gun - 1939 - 1972: Part One
Carriage detail from Army website

Updated 13 March 2007 - family details.

Go to: Banstead War Memorial inscription

Douglas Roy Baple - photo taken about 1940. BAPLE, Douglas Roy
Erroneously inscribed on Top panel 8 which should only show WWl casualties.

Second Lieutenant EC/7153

1st Punjab Regiment 6th Bn.

Died 15 February 1942 aged 22

Son of William and Mary Baple nee Cole, of Banstead, Surrey, and whose marriage was registered in the first quarter of 1914 at Torrington, Devon.

Brother of Muriel Baple of Courtlands Crescent, Banstead and Philip Jack Baple, known as Jack, born 1917 .

Banstead HallDouglas Roy Baple, whose birth was registered in the fourth quarter of 1919 at St Thomas, Devon, was known as Roy to his friends. William Baple, his father, was the headmaster of Banstead Hall approved school and along with other boys from the school, Roy attended St Paul's church on Sundays.

Originally the family came from Devon (Torquay) before settling in Banstead in 1940, via Dorking. Roy worked for the National Provincial Bank in Princess Street, London and was always a keen sportsman.

In 1942 Roy was in Singapore when on the on 8 February, the Japanese crossed the Johore Straits in strength, landing at the mouth of the Kranji River within two miles of the place where the war cemetery now stands. On the evening of 9 February, they launched an attack between the river and the causeway. During the next few days fierce fighting ensued, in many cases hand-to-hand, until their greatly superior numbers and air strength necessitated a withdrawal. The 1st Punjab Regiment 6th Bn. was captured by the Japanese on the 15th February 1942, the day when the British had little option but to surrender, and it was on this day that Second Lieutenant Douglas Roy Baple was killed.

The fall of Singapore to the Japanese Army on 15 February 1942 is considered to be one of the greatest defeats in the history of the British Army and probably Britain's worst defeat in World War Two. The attack on Singapore demonstrated the way Japan was to fight, using a combination of speed and savagery. As the Japanese attacked through the Peninsula, their troops were ordered to take no prisoners as they would slow up the Japanese advance.

Following the surrender, the Japanese did take about 100,000 men as prisoners. Nine thousand of these men died building the Burma-Thailand railway. The people of Singapore fared worse. Many were of Chinese origin and were slaughtered by the Japanese.

Roy Baple with his sister Muriel in about 1940.Sir Winston Churchill had stated before the final Japanese attack:

"There must be no thought of sparing the troops or population; commanders and senior officers should die with their troops. The honour of the British Empire and the British Army is at stake".

Many brave men like Roy Baple died defending this honour.

Roy's name was inexplicably omitted at the time the casualties of WWII were added to the Banstead War Memorial. His sister Muriel brought this to the attention of the authorities sometime in the 1980's and a mason was despatched to add the name. The memorial however gives no indication that the top panels were used for the casualties of the Great War and the bottom panels related to those of WWII.

The mason found that each of the seven top panels had nine names inscribed on them with one exception which had eight, leaving one convenient space. That space now shows D R BAPLE, the only WWII casualty inscribed on the top panels.

This unlikely story is proven by the two pictures below. The one on the left is a highly magnified image of the inscriptions on the memorial following WWII. This shows the WWI casualties on the top panels and the WWII casualties on the bottom panels. Top panel eight finished with the Gartons, one line higher than top panel seven. At this time the name of D R Baple had not been added. The current picture of the same panel, on the right, shows Roy's name below the Gartons.

Banstead War Memorial - Top panel 8

Roy's name is also recorded on the Roll of Honour at St Paul's church in Nork. Again, he is the first name on the list by virtue of his surname being the first alphabetically. He is recorded on this list as R D Baple, presumably because he was always known as Roy.

Roy is also commemorated in the Roll of Honour at Dorking Grammar now known as High Ashcombe.

KRANJI War Cemetery by permission of the Commonweath War Graves Commission.

Grave Reference: 12. A. 18.


Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Geoffrey Robinson (BHRG) who initially explained the inscription discrepancy
Photochrom postcard from the Lewis Wood collection
Personal history and photographs provided by Muriel Baple
Events in Singapore from The History learning site

Go to: Banstead War Memorial inscriptions
D R Baple headstone

War Cemetery



If you intend to visit Singapore, Kranji is
listed as one of the key places to go and see.

More information is available at Visit Singapore


BARNES, Raymond Charles Arthur

Acting Sub-Lieutenant

Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve HMS Tormentor(Combined Operations base, Warsash)

Died 19 August 1942 aged 21

Son of Charles Frederick and Ellen Matilda Barnes of Teviotside, Mellow Close, Banstead, originally from East London.

Raymond Barnes' birth was registered in the April Quarter of 1921 in Romford and shows his mother's maiden name as Black.

HMS Tormentor was a minor landing craft operational base including maintenance also an operational training base for craft of Force J Flotilla in August 1941. The base was in Hamble, Southampton, located in the Household Brigade Yacht Club. It was commissioned on 12 Aug 1940.

Many men from this base took part in the raid on Dieppe and it is very likely that Raymond Barnes was killed during this raid.

Lieutenant Alasdair Forbes Ferguson MBE, DSC and Bar, RNVR described 19 August 1942, as "the worst day of my life" when he took part in the Dieppe raid. Driven by political necessity, too large for a raid, too small for an invasion, it was imprecise in its objectives, and its operational plan was unworkably complicated.

Due to inadequate naval gunfire support, strong German artillery defences, a loss of surprise and a decision not to bomb the town behind the assault beach, the raid was an expensive disaster.

Portsmouth Naval Memorial -  Photo by Melissa ChanneLike Dunkirk, the Dieppe Raid was a military disaster dressed up as a victory. The losses have since been described as akin to those at the ill-fated Charge of the Light Brigade.

Involved were six thousand troops. These included 5,000 Canadians, the rest being made up of British Commandos, a few Frenchmen, and a token force from the U.S. Ranger battalion. They raided Dieppe on 19 August 1942. The result was a bloody massacre and humiliation for the allied forces.

Nevertheless British archive papers released in 1972 show that Lord Louis Mountbatten, Chief of Combined Operations, informed the War Cabinet that the raid had gone 'very satisfactorily".

The most accurate summary of Dieppe was actually written by a German PK man who visiting a nearby Luftwaffe station afterwards, wrote: "As executed, the venture mocked all the rules of military logic and strategy".

In fact 907 Allied troops were killed, 2,460 were wounded, and 1,874 were taken prisoner. Of the 2,210 who did make it back to England only 36 were unhurt despite the fact that 200 had not even made it to the French shore.

During the raid allied air power suffered its biggest single day loss of the war when 106 aircraft were downed. Without a single exception every tank crew became a casualty and overall 60 per cent of the invading force were marked as casualties.

Memorial Reference: Panel 71, Column 1.

Barnes RCA Porsmouth memorial Inscription - adapted from photo by Melissa Channe


Commonwealth War Graves Commission
HMS Tormentor history from :
Photograph of inscription and Portsmouth memorial by Melissa Channe.
Lieutenant Alasdair Forbes Ferguson (1919-2004)- article published in The Times on 21 February 2005.
Edited account of the raid on Dieppe from :
1943-7 phone book shows CF Barnes at Teviotside, Mellow Close, Banstead.
Family History by Barbara Rough:-
Ellen Matilda nee Black was Raymond's mother and she was born in 1887 in Hackney.
The census of 1901 shows her as 14 and an envelope folder.
That same year, Charles was 22 and a wire muzzle maker.
They married in 1908 registered in Bethnal Green so probably Hackney.

Go to: Banstead War Memorial inscription

BARTON, Arthur Thomas Capuccini War Cemetery Malta

Flying Officer 145326

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 108 Sqn.

Died 17 April 1944 aged 22.

Arthur T Barton was born in the December quarter of 1921 and his birth was registered in Greenwich.

Son of Arthur Edward and Florence Kathleen Barton (nee Buxton) of 62 Bolter's Lane, Banstead, Surrey. Their marriage was registered in Greenwich in the September quarter of 1920. In 1944, they were living at 12 Wilmot Way, Banstead.

Arthur Barton attended Sutton County School where he was known as 'Fatty'(of tuck shop fame). He was a form captain and prefect. The Suttonian reports that Arthur was of 'a cheerful disposition and a favorite of all'.

On 1 August 1941, No. 108 Squadron reformed at RAF Kabrit in Egypt as a night bomber Squadron. Its Wellingtons began bombing raids on the 22 September, targets being ports on the Libyan coast and in Greece. In November it began to receive Liberators and these supplemented the Wellingtons until June 1942. On the 18 December 1942 the Squadron was reduced to a cadre which was disbanded on 25 December 1942.

On 15 March 1943 No. 108 reformed at Shandur as a night fighter Squadron commanded by South African, Wing Commander 'Jasper' Read. Its Beaufighters flew night patrols over Egypt, Libya and Malta. The squadron was very successful and eventually included four pilots who made ace (5+ victories). The invasion of Sicily (Operation Husky) began on 10 July 1943 and on the 13th, to the east of Syracuse, Read shot down a Ju 88 and a He 111 to become an ace himself. Then over the next seven days he enjoyed an incredible run knocking down a further five German aircraft.

The squadron's Beaufighters were replaced by Mosquitoes NFXII's and NFXIII's in February 1944. The latter were used for convoy patrols until intruder missions commenced in April 1944 from RAF Alghero.

Flying Officer Barton was lost at this time during what was a comparatively quiet period for the Squadron. At the beginning of 1944 the squadron had detachments temporarily based at RAF Luqa on Malta and was equipped with Mosquito nightfighters.

Arthur was buried on Malta, and it may be that he was lost on operations or possibly in a flying accident while operating from this base.
Capuccini Cemetery Malta - photo kindly provided by the Shranz family. Grave of Flying Officer Arthur Thomas Barton - photo kindly provided by the Shranz family.

On the 24th of April 1944, Mr and Mrs Barton wrote to the Headmaster of Sutton County School.

A T Barton SGS Roll of HonourDear Sir,

With grief and pride, I write to tell you of our sad loss.

Flying Officer Arthur Barton, age 22.
1931 - 1938, the school he loved so well.

He was killed on Active service in Malta 108 Squadron RAF

Awaiting further news.

Yours truly
Mr and Mrs A Barton

He is remembered on the Sutton Grammar School Roll of Honour which still hangs in the school hall.

Grave Reference: Protestant Section (Officers'). Plot E. Coll. grave 23


Commonwealth War Graves Commission
1954 phone book AE Barton MBE MI Mech Eng 62 Bolter's Lane.
Family research by Barbara Rough.
The Suttonian magazine from Sutton Grammar School's archives
Cemetery and grave photographs kindly provided by the Shranz family, residents of Malta

Updated 8 June 2020 - Sue Read asked us to correct Jasper Read's nationality. He was South African and not a New Zealander, as initially recorded.

Go to: Banstead War Memorial inscription

Note from Mark Stanley ( 28 Dec 2006) To date we can find no records of A T Barton or a Mosquito attributed to him being lost in this theatre of operations on or about 17 April 1944. Unfortunately there is no 108 Sqn association either.


Captain John Hampson Baugh Portrait

BAUGH, John Hampson (known as Jack)

Incorrectly inscribed as J H BAUCH on the Banstead War Memorial.

Captain 132632

Royal Artillery 94 L.A.A. Regt.

Born December Quarter 1915 (Wandsworth)

Died 9 March 1944 aged 28

Son of Joseph William and Elizabeth Hampson Baugh (nee Chalmers)
married in 1908 in Wandsworth.



John, always called Jack, and his brother Michael and two sisters, grew up in Banstead living at "Glendarvon", 4 Chipstead Way. This house which still exists is unusual as it is set well back away from the road and access is via a long drive. Michael eventually married 'the girl next door', Iris Boundry who lived at "Caudry" No. 87 Brighton Road, named after a village near Cambrai where Iris' father served as a medic in WW1.

Jack did not have to look far either. One Mary Kathleen Burch had qualified as a nurse at Queen Mary's Children Hospital in Carshalton in June 1938. Jack and Mary were married in the June quarter of 1940, the marriage being registered in Bath.

In 1943, having had their first-born, their address is recorded as "Ranworth" Brighton Road, Banstead, right next door to "Caudry" with "Gendarvon" located immediately to the rear of both properties.

One of Jack's sisters, Elizabeth Josephine (known as Betty)  born in 1910 never married and lived at Ranworth until she died in 1982.

Jack's other sister, Phylis Alice (known as Billie) born in 1912 joined the Royal Air Force Nursing Service as a Sister at the outbreak of WWII.

Jack's nephew, another John Baugh, kindly sent us a biography of Jack, written by his father Michael:

Captain John Hampson Baugh Biography pt one

The birth of a Carolyn Hampson-Baugh, mother Burch, is recorded in Surrey in Q 2 1944.

This would have been just weeks after her father died.


Captain J H Baugh Biography pt 2a


The family are compiling a collection of Jack's writing and poems
with a view to having them published. This is an example.

Captain Joh Hampson Baugh Poem

John Hampson Baugh


John Baugh tells us " His surname was Baugh. Both he and my father were given the middle name Hampson as it was a family name. It was once double-barrelled, I believe, without a hyphen, but the Hampson part became a second or middle name for the family."

Captain J H Baugh incorrect inscription


At the time of writing, Feb 2021, the inscription on the memorial remains incorrect and shows J H BAUCH.

It is one of several errors on the memorial and in this case relatively easy to correct. The Banstead History Research Group will endeavour to have this put right at the next available opportunity.


Sergeant John Hampson Baugh 3 Sept 1939

Jack's widow Mary Kathleen went on to remarry and was still recorded as a registered children's nurse in 1960.
Some, but not all records show that she used the surname of Hampson-Baugh.

Jack was buried on 13 March 1944.

J H Baugh, All Saints Church Banstead. Grave Reference: S.E. Corner


Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Initial family history by Barbara Rough. Nothing contemporary in the phone book but in 1968 there was an MH Baugh in 'Ranworth' Brighton Road, Banstead. This may be Michael Hampson Baugh. The second forename is the same as Elizabeth's second forename.
LW - e mailed Mike Baugh found on the net. 2 Jan 2007- rejected!
LW emailed webmaster for info on Division 2 Jan 2007
Family history by Christine Kent who contacted Meryl Hampson-Baugh, grandaughter of Captain Baugh on 27 Oct 2008.

Biography and photographs supplied by John Baugh, nephew of Captaain John Hampson Baugh in Jan 2021.
Register of nurses

Last Updated 1 February 2021

Go to: Banstead War Memorial inscription



BELL, Kenneth Thomas

Flying Officer 151474

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 51 Sqrn.

Died 2-February-1945 aged 22

Son of Thomas Walker Bell and of Frances Bell of Twickenham, Middlesex

Kenneth attended Sutton County Grammar School between 1934 and 1939.

51 Squadron was a Halifax Bomber squadron based in Yorkshire.  As part of 4 Group Bomber Command, the squadron operated from RAF Snaith, seven miles south of Selby, known locally as Pollington Airfield, from October 1942 right through to the war's end.

By mid-1944 the squadron had re-equipped with the later variant Halifax Mk3, powered by four Bristol Hercules engines and in most respects a better bomber by now than the more famous Avro Lancaster.

Flying Officer Kenneth Bell was lost on operations on a raid on the oil plant at Wanne-Eickel on the night of the 2/3rd February 1945.

323 aircraft (277 Halifax, 27 Lancaster, 19 Mosquito) of 4, 6 & 8 Groups attacked the target.  Four Halifaxes were lost. The target was cloud covered and the attack on the refinery was not accurate. Local reports assumed the target was a coal mine. Most of the bombing fell onto open ground around the mine. Twenty-one Houses were hit and 68 people killed.
Kenneth Bell was listed as a Wireless operator/air gunner on Halifax MZ487 - coded MH-Z.

His aircraft piloted by Flt Lt W R Arnold a New Zealander (RNZAF), took off from RAF Snaith at 20.14hrs and never returned, almost certainly the victim of German nightfighters. Fg Off Bell is described in the Commonwealth War Grave Commissions records as a Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, but it is believed he was carrying out the duties of an Air Bomber (bomb aimer). The cause of loss and crash-site were never subsequently established. Those killed, including Kenneth are buried in the Rheinberg War Cemetery.

The aircrew on the fated flight that night were Flt Lt  W R Arnold RNZAF, Sgt D W Farrar, Fg Off  K T Bell , WO W Poston , Sgt J S Kewell, Sgt W.Osmond (all killed in action), Plt Off  F.D.K.Balflour RNZAF (prisoner of war).

Pilot Officer F D K Balflour, (also reported as Balfour) the navigator was the only survivor from this aircraft. He was captured and was interned in Camp 13D as a Prisoner of War.

Raids against the Nazi oil industry were a priority at this time, although the strategy was initially opposed by Arthur Harris, Commander in Chief Bomber Command, who felt that the erradication of German cities was the surer method of ending the war quickly.

51 Squadron were one of the most successful RAF Halifax squadrons, boasting a Halifax 'centurion', LV937 MH-E 'Expensive Babe' notching up her 100th raid against Osnabruck on 25 March  1945. The Squadron participated in 264 bombing raids during the war losing 148 aircraft.

Sutton County Grammer School Roll of Honour Kenneth is remembered on the Sutton County Grammar School Roll of Honour which still hangs in the school hall.

Grave Reference: 14. C. 8

RHEINBERG WAR CEMETERY Kamp Lintfort, Nordrhein-Westfal, Germany

Commonwealth War Graves Commission 
RAF records researched by Mark Stanley
Crew details from the BC War Diaries (Middlebrook & Everett)
Surrey History Centre ref 6128/1/89
The Suttonian magazine from Sutton Grammer School's archives.
Handley Page Halifax III (Mk 3) MZ487, coded MH-Z of 51 Squadron. Serial Range
MZ447 - MZ495. 49 Halifax Mk.III's. Delivered by the London Aircraft Production Group (Leavesden) between 25 Sepember 1944 and 20 November 1944. 

This Banstead Urban District Council file holds documents relating to the upkeep of the Banstead War Memorial.
One document is a letter dated 17 July 1973 from Mrs Frances Bell. Mrs Bell had requested that her son's name be added to the Banstead War Memorial and now provided further details. "I worked in the Residential school in Fir Tree Road (Beechholme). As a widow, I was allowed the priviledge of having my son stay with me. He was there from the age of two until he joined the RAF at 19. He was in the Scouts and Air training Corps at Banstead. He died on the 2nd February 1945."
Mrs Bell even offered to pay any costs. So nearly thirty years after his death, Flying Officer K T Bell's name was added to the memorial as the last name on bottom panel 3.

Mark Stanley investigating - 28 Dec 2006 -Have further enquiries out with 51 Sqn Association.

Go to:
Banstead War Memorial inscription
Rheinberg War Cemetery, by permission of Commonwealth War Graves Commision.



The casualties from
are all buried together

14. C. 3

AG Sgt J S KEWELL 2209971
14. C. 4

AG Sgt W OSMOND 1851912
14. C. 5

W/O W POSTON 1204842
14. C. 6

Pilot F/Lt W R ARNOLD 425686
14. C. 7

B/Aim F/O BELL K T 151474
14. C. 8


BEST, Ronald Stanley

Able Seaman C/JX 545708

Royal Navy H.M.S. Boadicea

Died 13 June1944 aged 18

Son of Harold and Lilian Best of 30 Roundwood Way, Banstead, Surrey.

HMS Boudicea.HMS Boadicea was part of the escort for Convoy EBC 8 to Normandy. The Beagle Class destroyer was sunk off Portland, England, by a German torpedo bomber, on the 13 June 1944; she received a direct hit which detonated the forward magazine, blowing the ship nearly in two. She sank immediately with the loss of more than 150 crew including Able Seaman Ronald Best.

The Boadicea now rests some 50m down on the seabed in an upright position, her bows blown off, but her stern and aft mid section intact. Depth charges and torpedo tubes are clearly visible, as is her aft gun although the armour plating has gone. The main part of the wreck is 6m proud of the sandy seabed at 50 25.70N; 02 45.90W. The bow section has yet to be discovered and the ship ends at the forward part of the engine-room. There is a 4.7in gun at the stern and other AA guns still point skywards. The bell has been recovered.

Chatham naval memorial - picture coutesy of Mike Shackel.

Chatham Naval Memorial
Geoffrey Robinson, another Nork resident and friend,has good reason to remember Ronald Best. Ronald was a member of a local gang of boys with a boisterous reputation. On one occasion, Ronald fired an air pistol. The pellet ricocheted off a shed door and hit Geoffrey in the cheek.

Geoffrey who was about a year younger than Ronald, also remembers that Ronald drew a picture of The Golden Hind in his sister's autograph book.

A photograph of Ronald's smiling face stayed on the family mantlepiece long after all hope of his survival had been given up.

Memorial Reference: 75, 1

R S Best name on Chatham Naval Memorial



Commonwealth War Graves Commission 
Ship details from the following websites: -
Photo of Chatham Naval Memorial supplied by Mike Shackel
Publication - War Memorial St Paul's Church Nork, Banstead.

Updated 20 September 2008 (added photos of name on Chatham memorial) 

Go to : Banstead War Memorial inscription


Knightsbridge War Cemetery,by permission of the Commonweath War Graves Commission. BILES, William Robert Cecil

Second Lieutenant 172122

Reconnaissance Corps 50th (4th Bn. The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers) Regt.

Died 5 June 1942 aged 31

Son of Robert Cecil and Eliza Emily Beatrice Biles of 39 Warren Road, Banstead.
Husband of Joan Biles, of Llandudno, Caernarvonshire.
Also a brother to Frank and Sylvia Biles.

50th Reconnaissance Regiment was formed in April 1941 in the 50th (Northumbrian) Division from the 4th Battalion, Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, previously the division's motorcycle battalion.

The battalion was disbanded and remnants returned to the 4th RNF after action at the Battle of Gazala June 1942. This is the battle in which we believe William was killed.

In May 1942 the Afrika Korps outflanked Eighth Army’s defences at Gazala. For the next week a fierce battle raged as British armour attacked the Afrika Korps, who in turn were reducing the British defences for their supplies to get through. On 5 June 1942 a full scale attack was made by Eighth Army’s armoured brigades against Afrika Korps. The 107th Royal Horse Artillery (South Notts Hussars) and the Northumberland Fusiliers (a motor battalion) were to provide support for the British armour. They deployed to the east of the Aslagh ridge, and bombarded targets over the ridge. 

However, as the day wore on a steady stream of wounded and weary men made their way back through the South Notts Hussars and Northumberland Fusiliers positions, a sure sign the battle was not going well. Afrika Korps had met the British armour’s attack with a line of anti-tank guns and then a rapid counter-attack had scattered the British tanks.

Grave Reference: 10. H. 18

KNIGHTSBRIDGE WAR CEMETERY, ACROMA, about 25 kilometres west of Tobruk, Libya

Commonwealth War Graves Commission 
Publication called 'The War Memorial St Paul's Church Nork, Banstead'.

Flames of War website - The Cauldron 6 June 1942

Last updated 30 Jan 2021 with details of the battle of Gazala

Go to:  Banstead War Memorial inscription


Eric H Botting - photograph courtesy of Emanuel school archivesBOTTING, Eric Harold

Serjeant 6968254

Rifle Brigade 7th (1st Bn. The London Rifle Brigade) Bn.

Died 25 October 1942 aged 23

Son of Henry Leslie and Primrose Botting, of Seaford, Sussex formerly of 125 Nork Way, Banstead.

Husband of Margaret G. E. Botting, of Hornchurch, Essex.

Eric attended Emanuel School, situated at the top of Wandsworth Common in London, between 1932 and 1937.

Eric's father and grandfather had served with the London Rifles and from a young age Eric wanted to follow in their footsteps. His experience with rifles began at an early age when he joined the Officers' Training Corps as a cadet. His inclusion in the shooting squad suggests he was one of the top marksmen. At that time, Emanuel School had its own shooting range, and the squad would have competed for "The Grundy Cup", a house competition which had taken place since 1918. The cup was named after two brothers who died in the Battle of the Somme in WWl, and had bequeathed various items to the school. Young Eric is pictured here in 1936. Cadet Eric Harold Botting

In 1937 one battalion left the London Regiment and was designated as The London Rifle Brigade, The Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own). The battalion was divided as 1st and 2nd LRB in 1939. The 1st became a motorised unit and in 1941 was redesignated as the 7th Battalion, Rifle Brigade. This is the Battalion that Serjeant Eric Botting served with.

Most of the soldiers were British 8th Army, led by General Montgomery.

General Bernard Montgomery took command of the British Commonwealth's Eighth Army following the First Battle of El Alamein, which had stalled the Axis advance. Eric Botting was killed during the Second Battle which marked a significant turning point in the Western Desert Campaign of World War II.

The second battle lasted from 23 October to 3 November 1942, and is often divided into five phases, consisting of the break-in (October 23-24), the crumbling (October 24-25), the counter (October 26-28), Operation Supercharge (November 1-2) and the breakout (November 3-7). No name is given to the period from 29 October  to the 30th when the battle was at a standstill.

Forces were deployed of the eve of Battle. On a calm, clear evening under the bright sky of a full moon, Operation Lightfoot began with 882 field and medium guns firing a barrage of fire that did not stop until five-and-a-half hours later, when each gun had fired about 600 rounds. During that period of time, 125 tons of shells fell on the enemy gun positions. It is said that the noise was so great that the ears of the gunners bled.

There was a reason for the name Operation Lightfoot. The infantry had to attack first. Many of the anti-tank mines would not be tripped by soldiers running over them since they were too light (hence the code-name). As the infantry attacked, engineers had to clear a path for the tanks coming up in the rear. Each stretch of land cleared of mines was to be 24 feet wide, which was just enough to get tanks through in single file. The engineers had to clear a five mile section through the �Devil�s Garden�. It was a difficult task and one that essentially failed because of the depth of the Axis minefields.

The Allied plan called for the XIII Corps to make a feint attack to the south, engaging the German 21st Panzer Division and Ariete Divisions which were both tank divisions, while XXX Corps in the north attempted to make the narrow pathway through the German minefield for the armoured divisions of X Corps.

War memorial Alamein Egypt, by permission of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.At 10 p.m., the infantry of XXX Corps began to move. The objective was an imaginary line in the desert where the strongest enemy defences were situated. Once the infantry reached the first minefields, the mine sweepers (sappers) moved in to create a passage for the tanks. Finally, at 2 a.m., the first of the 500 tanks crawled forward. By 4 a.m. the lead tanks were in the minefields, where they stirred up so much dust that there was no visibility at all, and traffic jams developed as the tanks got bogged down.

Eric Botting was killed on the 25 October, two days after the start of  the Break-in, and is remembered on the Alamein Memorial. His CO wrote after his death:

"Botting, learning there was a wounded officer some 400 yards out, jumped into his truck and drove towards them. He got almost half-way before being hit by a shell and then machine-gun fire. His death must have been instantaneous - tragic, but a very good show nevertheless, and a great inspiration to his company�.

Eventual success in the battle turned the tide in the North African Campaign. Allied victory at El Alamein ended German hopes of occupying Egypt, controlling access to the Suez Canal, and gaining access to the Middle Eastern oil fields. The German defeat at El Alamein marked the end of German expansion.

In the end the Allies' victory was all but total. Winston Churchill famously summed up the battle on 10 November 1942 with the words, "Now this is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." The battle was Montgomery's greatest triumph.

The Emanuel school OTC shooting squad photographed in 1936 - photo from the Emanuel school archives.Serjeant Eric Botting died trying to save another soldier but tragically he had recently refused a transfer, as he did not want to leave the regiment his father and grandfather also served in. They all served in the London Rifle Brigade.

He left a widow, after only being married a very short time.

The group photograph shows the Emanuel School shooting squad which included the following: Sgt. J W B Armstrong, Cpl. D J Warren, Cdt. F C Austin, Sgt. C Fiducia, Srgt K C Baker, L/Cpl. J Pritchard. L/Sgt. A S Mann, Capt. W Stafford Hipkins, Capt. C S Hill, Lieut. C E Bond, Sergt. E H Dean, L/Cpl. B C Smith, Cdt. E H Botting (bottom right).

Memorial Reference: Column 73


Eric's name is also included on the Roll of Honour in St Paul's Church Nork.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission  .
Battalion history from www.fovantbadges
Egypt information from
Battle of El Alamein from 
Local history publication 'The War Memorial St Paul's Church Nork Banstead'
School information and photographs provided from the
Emanuel School Archive    and the school magazine - The Portcullis

Mailed the Bottings family site for any details 26 Dec 2006.

Updated 20th March 2008 - additional information and photographs from Emanuel School.

Go to:  Banstead War Memorial inscription



2nd Lt 85681

North Staffordshire Regiment.

Reported Missing 27 May 1940

Son of John Brown and Margaret Jackson Brown nee Gardiner who were married in Blairgowrie in 1916.

John was born on 3 November 1918 just a few months after his father, Capt. John Brown serving with the 4th Gordon Highlanders, was killed towards the end of WWI, in July 1918.

Mrs Brown then married Eric Paton a bank manager, in the second quarter of 1931, and became Mrs Paton-Brown living at 70 Bolters Lane, Banstead.

John was the grandson of Sir John Brown of Redhall and of Lady Brown of 10 Marine Terrace, Aberdeen.

He was educated at Angusfield School and later at Glenalmond School. He also attended at Sandhurst.

John was initially reported as missing in the Lys Canal area on the 27th of May 1940, just a few days before the regiment was evacuated from Dunkerque beach.

In December 1940, Mrs Paton-Brown inserted a request in the Staffordshire Advertiser asking for any information about her son.

It was not until April 1941 that the Aberdeen Press and Journal reported that 2nd Lieutenant John Brown had been killed in action.

He is not listed on the Glenalmond School war memorial.


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

1939 Register

Aberdeen Press and Journal 19th April 1941

Staffordshire Advertiser dated 7 December 1940

Scottish people website

Research by James Crouch, Christine Kent and Barbara Rough



Go to : Banstead War Memorial inscription


BURR, Jeffrey James Kellaway

Flying Officer Navigator 126874

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 70 Squadron

Died 8  April 1944 aged 24

Born on 5 May 1920 in Brentford Middlesex.

War Cemetery Belgrade, by permission of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.Son of Mr James Burr and Mrs May Burr nee Kellaway of 83 Nork Way, Banstead. They were married in 1915 registered in Axbridge. Mr. Burr was one of the earliest residents of Nork and a stalwart of the Nork Association.

On the 21 May 1941 Jeffery started non-commissioned service in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.

On the 27 June 1942 he was granted a commission for the emergency as a Pilot Officer on probation in the General Duties branch of the RAFVR.

By the 27th December 1942, he was promoted Flying Officer (War Substantive).

70 Squadron had been using Valentias since 1935, and these lumbering aircraft spent the first year of World War II on transport duties around the Middle East until Wellington bombers replaced them in late 1940. Successive versions of the Wellington were used during the North African and Italian campaigns.

Jeffery Burr was killed when Wellington LP139 of 70 Sqn was shot down over Yugoslavia. Two of the crew of five survived, S.A. Gibson CP (RAF Capt) and W. Elvin L (RAF, Lt). They were later evacuated by C-47s - military transport aircraft.

Grave Reference: 9A. A. 4


Commonwealth War Graves Commission 
Local history publication 'The War Memorial, St Paul�s Church, Nork, Banstead' .
squadron details from
RAF History of No. 70 squadron.
Family History by Barbara Rough.

RAFCommands Forums - details of Aircraft and crew.

Last Updated 30 Jan 2021: Wellington Bomber details.

Go to: Banstead War Memorial inscription


BUTLER, Walter William

Private 5727552

Dorsetshire Regiment 2nd Bn.

Died 25-May-1940 aged 21

Son of Charles and Lily Frances Butler of Banstead, Surrey.

Charles Butler married Lily Frances Branch in 1909 and their marriage was registered in Epsom. In 1909 Charles Butler aged 22 lived in Diceland Road, Banstead. He is recorded as a platelayer who was born in Lincolnshire. Walter William was born in the January quarter of 1919 and his birth was also registered in Epsom.

The 1939 register shows Walter W Butler living at 2 Fir Tree Cottages, Pound Road.

Walter William Butler may have been known as Bill as this would explain the inscription on the memorial which shows B. Butler.

The Dorset Regiment was an infantry regiment of the British Army often referred to as The Dorsets.

At Aldershot on the outbreak of war, the 2nd Dorsets were the first of the Regiment to go to war.  Sent to France with the 2nd Division, they spent the phoney war training on the Belgian border and moved into Belgium when the Germans invaded the Low Countries on 10th May 1940.

With the French Army collapsing on their right flank, the British Expeditionary Force conducted a fighting retreat past Brussels and Tournai. 

On 25th May, at Festubert, not far from Bethune, they were ordered to stand and fight to enable other units to escape.  They held positions on the La Bassee Canal.

Over the next three days they beat off attack after attack by a greatly superior German force and losing 40 killed, 110 wounded and 158 taken prisoner. 

FLEURBAIX COMMUNAL CEMETERY On the night of 27th/28th May their Commanding Officer, Colonel Stephenson, assembled his 245 survivors (plus 40 men from other units) and personally led them to safety on a long march across the German advance, across canals and occupied country.  Colonel Steve did not relax until he had shepherded his men to Dunkirk and seen them safely aboard a ship back to England.

Walter never made it back as he was killed on the first day of the fighting.

Grave Reference: Grave 8


All Saints Church Banstead. Private Butler is not buried here however his death on active service has been recorded on the family headstone.

Walter Butler headstoneRESEARCH SOURCES:
Commonwealth War Graves Commission 
Family research by Barbara Rough for the history of the battalion

Updated - 30 Jan 2021 with details of the battalion's fighting

Go to: Banstead War Memorial inscription