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LOWER GORNAL World War One ~ World War Two    •    UPPER GORNAL World War One ~ World War Two
Lest We Forget
LOWER GORNAL
The Second World War 1939 - 1945
The Memorial Hall tablets list 37 of the local men who have lost their lives in World War II.
Thomas Baker John Greathead Bernard R. Oakley
Frank Beard Edwin Hayes Arthur C. Page
Joseph Beardsmore J.T. Hickman Ernest Parkes
Cyril Bourne Frank Hoggetts Howard Simmons
Joseph D. Bradley Henry J. Hoggins Enoch J. Smith
Raymond Burrows Robert T.G. Holden James L. Smith
Wilfred Caswell John A. Hope Oscar J. Smith D.F.C.
Frank Cooke Joseph Hopson Isaac Timmins
Albert E. Cooper William R. Hopson Raymond Timmins
George W. Day Clifford Howarth Arthur Watton
Frank Evans John S. Jones Bernard Woodall
George Flavell Sydney R. Lowe
Reginald Flavell John Marsh
Joseph David Beardsmore.
1594654 Serjeant; Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 462 (R.A.A.F.) Squadron.
Died on 7th January 1945, age 21 years.
Son of Joseph and Mary Edith Beardsmore, of Gornal Wood.
[Hotton War Cemetery, Belgium. Joint grave VI.B.1-2.]
The Halifax bomber (MZ469) in which he flew as Flight Engineer took off at 16:19 on 6 January, 1945 from RAF Foulsham and failed to return from a mission over the Ruhr area of Germany.
There is some mystery surrounding the circumstances of the crash near the village of Hargimont in Belgium, six other crew members perished with one survivor.
Joseph Donald Bradley.
14343089 Gunner; Royal Artillery, 113th Field Regiment.
Died on 22nd February 1944, age 29 years.
Son of Thomas and Mary Bradley; husband of Edith May Bradley, of Gornal Wood.
[Beach Head War Cemetery, Anzio, Italy. XX.C.5]
It seems likely that Joseph Bradley was killed on the Anzio beachhead where allied troops including the 113th met heavy opposition for many days from German forces.
Wilfred Caswell.
5387367 Lance Corporal; Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, 4th Battalion.
Died on 28th May 1940, age 21 years.
Son of Joseph and Hannah Jane Caswell, of Gornal Wood.
[Oye-Plage Communal Cemetery, France. Row 2. Grave 11]
Albert Edward Cooper.
940030 Flight Serjeant; Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
Died on 15th March 1943, age 28 years.
Son of Richard and Elizabeth Cooper, of Gornal Wood.
[Adelaide River War Cemetery. G.B.1]
Spitfire A58-9, flown by F/Sgt., Albert Cooper, 54 Sqn., engaging a Japanese bomber raid over Darwin, Australia, was shot down by enemy support fighters. His aircraft crashed near Shell Island in Darwin harbour, his body was recovered.
George William Day.
4921914 Private; South Staffordshire Regiment, 1st/6th Battalion.
Died on 16th July 1944, age 30 years.
Son of George William and Phoebe Maria Day; husband of Charlotte Day, of Lower Gornal.
[Fontenay-Le-Pesnel War Cemetery, Tessel, France. III.B.11.]
Frank Evans.
5116237 Private; Royal Berkshire Regiment, 2nd Battalion.
Died on 10th March 1945, age 29 years.
Son of Edward and Mary Evans, of Lower Gornal
[Taukkyan War Cemetery, Myanmar (Burma). 7.B.23.]
Reginald Flavell.
P/KX 159372 Stoker 2nd Class; Royal Navy, H.M.S. Egret.
Died on 27th August 1943, age 20 years.
Son of John and Elizabeth Flavell, of Lower Gornal.
[Portsmouth Naval Memorial. P78.C2.]
On 27 August 1943, H.M.S. Egret was attacked by German aircraft in the Bay of Biscay whilst on U-Boat patrol. The ship was sunk by guided bombs with the loss of 198 lives, only 35 survived.
John Greathead.
14201756 Trooper; Reconnaissance Corps, R.A.C. 2nd Regiment.
Died on 22nd February 1945, age 21 years.
Son of Walter and Mary Greathead, of Lower Gornal; husband of Beatrice Greathead, of Lower Gornal.
[Milsbeek War Cemetery, Netherlands. I.D.10.]
Edwin Hayes.
1512188 Gunner; 169 Bty. 60 (4th Bn. City of London Regiment.) H.A.A. Regiment.
Died between 28th May 1940 and 2nd June 1940, age 21 years.
Son of Edwin and Charlotte Hayes, of Lower Gornal.
[Dunkirk Memorial, France. C20]
Joseph Hopson.
5113550 Private; Royal Warwickshire Regiment, 2nd Battalion.
Died on 14th October 1944, age 26 years.
Son of Joseph and Eliza Hopson; husband of Violet E. Hopson, of Lower Gornal.
[Overloon War Cemetery, Netherlands. III.D.9.]
Henry John Hoggins.
Civilian War Dead.
Died on 12th December 1940, age 30 years.
Of 3 West Street, Lower Gornal; husband of Adelaide Agnes Hoggins.
Died at Marples Hotel, Fitzalan Square.
A single German bomb hit the Marples Hotel in Sheffield City Centre on 12 December, 1940, killing at least 70 people who were sheltering in the cellars below.
John Arthur Hope.
2613137 Guardsman; Grenadier Guards, 3rd Battalion.
Died 27th May 1940, age 30 years.
Son of Arthur and Martha Hope, of Dudley; husband of Beatrice Violet Hope, of Gornal Wood.
[Comines (Komen) Communal Cemetery, Belgium. British Plot. Grave 70.]
Robert Thomas George Holden.
4921953 Private; South Staffordshire Regiment, 2nd (Airborne) Battalion.
Died between 25th September 1944 and 26th September 1944, age 30 years.
Son of George Alfred and Ivy Sarah Louise Holden; husband of Elsie May Holden, of Lower Gornal.
[Groesbeek Memorial, Netherlands. P.5.]
Private Holden took part in Operation Market Garden - Battle of Arnhem, he was killed in action in the area of the Hartenstein Hotel.
John Stanley Jones.
1174079 Serjeant; Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 70 Squadron.
Died on 11th November 1944, age 22 years.
Son of Elizabeth Jones, and stepson of Joseph Southall, of Lower Gomal.
[Bari War Cemetery, Italy. XI.B.4.]
Sydney Richard Lowe.
Sub Lieutenant (E); Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, H.M.S. Robertson.
Died on 10th October 1945, age 36 years.
Son of Frederick and Alice Lowe; husband of Elsie May Lowe, of Gornalwood.
[St. James, Lower Gornal. Row 1. Grave 11]
HMS Robertson was a holding base for RM landing craft personnel (guns crews) and minor landing craft base.
Bernard Richard Oakley.
2736185 Guardsman; Welsh Guards, 1st Battalion.
Died on 7th September 1944, age 29 years.
Son of Alfred and Clara Oakley, of Gornal Wood,.
[Leopoldsburg War Cemetery. I.C.12.]
Ernest Parkes.
FX/684731 Naval Airman 2nd Class; Royal Navy, H.M.S. Heron.
Died 7th May 1945, age 21 years.
Son of Ernest and Hannah Parkes; husband of Ethel Parkes, of Lower Gornal.
[St. James Church, Lower Gornal. New ground. Row 22. Grave 6.]
H.M.S. Heron was a Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) - a training base at Yeovilton
Howard Simmons.
1707564 Gunner; Royal Artillery, 269 Bty., 27 Lt. A.A. Regiment.
Died on 19 June 1942, age 32 years.
Son of William and Mary Simmons, of Lower Gornal.
[Deli War Cemetery, India. 7.F.13]
Enoch Joseph Smith.
1810689 Gunner; Royal Artillery, 3 H.A.A. Regiment.
Died on 29 December 1943, age 39 years.
Son of Enoch and Elizabeth Smith, of Lower Gornal; husband of Winifred Smith, of Lower Gornal.
[Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery, Myanmar (Burma). B4.R.10.]
James Leslie Smith.
14723142 Private; King's Own Scottish Borderers, 6th Battalion.
Died on 27th September 1944, age 19 years.
Son of William Smith, and of Alice Smith, of Lower Gornal.
[Uden War Cemetery, Netherlands. 1.C.13.]
Blenheim Bomber.
John Oscar Noel Smith, D.F.C.
550971 Flight Serjeant; Royal Air Force, 18 Squadron.
Died on 16th July 1941, age 21 years.
Son of John and Maud Mary Anna Smith, of Lower Gornal.
[Rotterdam (Crooswijk) General Cemetery, Netherlands. Plot LL.Row 1.G7 ]
See also account at foot of page "Kiel Boys"
Wireless operator John Smith was killed along with two other crew members of a Blenheim aircraft during a low-level bombing raid on Rotterdam docks, 16 July 1941, the aircraft was shot down and crashed.

J.O.N. Smith had completed 43 operational flights involving 117 hours flying and had been awarded the Distiguished Flying Cross in 1940 for gallantry and devotion to duty.
Isaac Timmins.
2367325 Driver; Royal Corps of Signals, 6 L. of C. Sigs.
Died on 29th July 1942, age 29 years.
Son of Harry and Mary Timmins, of Lower Gornal.
[Fayid War Cemetery, Egypt. 2.F.16.]
Arthur Watton.
2220664 Serjeant; Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 57 Squadron.
Died on 27th August 1944, age 19 years.
Son of Charles Henry and Elizabeth Watton, of Lower Gornal.
[Runnymead Memorial, P.240.]
The Lancaster bomber (LM232) took off at 20:13 hours on 26 August, 1944 from RAF East Kirkby in Lincolnshire carrying 2000 high capacity bomb and incendiaries, bound for Konigsberg (Kaliningrad). The aircraft went missing in action, all seven crew members were lost when it is presumed the aircraft was shot down over Konigsberg.
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At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.
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The above named men were researched from the existing Memorial Hall list, other areas may be added at a later time.
The additional comments have been researched from existing public records.
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John Oscar Smith, DFC.
This acount was taken from the Northern Daily Mail - Tuesday 19 September 1939 but was widely reported throughout the land.
“THE KIEL BOYS”
Young Flyer Who Dropped First Bomb.

THE first man to drop a bomb on Germany in this war, says the Wolverhampton Express and Star, was 19-year-old aircraftman flying observer John Oscar Smith, only son of Mr. John Smith, once of the Durham Light Infantry, and Mrs. Smith, of The Bungalow, Furlong Walk, Lower Gornal.
Mr. and Mrs Smith—she is a masseuse and nurse—and their pretty 18-year-old daughter Karin were very proud when they read a letter the other day describing his exploit. Nineteen years old Oscar, in the coolest way imaginable, told how he dropped the first bomb in the now famous Kiel Canal raid.
I was in the leading machine of ten which flew over the Kiel Canal," he wrote "We had a rare scrap, and I quite enjoyed it. We put a bomb clean through the middle of the Admiral Graf Spee, Germany's pocket battleship.
"I am sorry to say spoiled all the sailors' underpants, which were hanging out on the deck. I was the first to bomb Germany in this war. When returned we got a rousing reception when they heard we were the 'Kiel boys.'"
“Oscar has always been like that." said his mother, commenting on the letter. "Always in no matter what he undertakes, he has supreme confidence, and somehow he instils that confidence into us I am never afraid for Oscar. "While Mrs. Smith was talking Karin was busy preparing to go on ARP work—night duty at the telephone exchange. Her father was already out on decontamination work, while, weary but proud. Mrs. Smith, who did nursing service throughout the whole of the last war, had just returned from duty at the Birmingham Hospital. "Oscar," she continued, "is old Wolverhampton Grammar School boy. His whole heart was the services, and he went straight from school into the Air Force." When was suggested that the men who carried out the raid might receive some decorations, she smiled proudly and her eyes sparkled. "Well Oscar," she said, as if speaking to herself, "you dropped the first bomb, old son Pray God you live to see the last."

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Any corrections, additions, pictures or stories welcomed, please contact me.
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