1939-1945

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THE DE LAUNE CYCLING CLUB ROLL OF HONOUR

1939 - 1945

Bernard William PALASTANGA
Ronald St.Clair NEALE
Alexander Percy McGREGOR
Roland Douglas BRISLEY
Geoffrey William HINDE
Stanley Charles EDMONDS
Robert George BARNES
Leonard BERETTA
Norman FARROW

1914 - 1918

 

Introduction

I was asked by Mr Brian Saxton to compile, from the names on the De Laune Cycling Club's War Memorial, a book of remembrance dedicated to those Service Men of the Club who were killed in the two World Wars. Information has been sought from War Office and Air Ministry records, Battalion Histories, The Office Of Births, Deaths and Marriages and not least from the "Budgets". I have included many of the reports, particularly on the aircrew, as they were written the following day.

It has not been possible, in some cases, to identify exactly what happened to individuals, so I have had to content myself with overall Battalion/Squadron actions on the day in question. But overall I feel that the information contained in the following pages gives an insight into the operations and actions that involved these courageous men.

Mark Smith
OMRS WFA

September 1993


 

Sergeant B. W. PALASTANGA RCAF

Name: Bernard William PALASTANGA

Born: Southam - 4 July 1920

Lived: N/K

Service: Royal Canadian Air Force

Squadron: 408 Squadron RCAF - Bomber Command

Trade: Observer

Service No: 933248

Rank: Sergeant

Son of: William Joseph & Dora Palastanga of Hollington St. Leonards-on-Sea Sussex

Missing Believed Killed: 7 November 1941 - Age 21

Buried: Hindeloopen Protestant Church Yard - Plot B Row 13 Grave 5

Photo by Rob van Voorst

Please also see Stevin Oudshoorn's website

http://www.basher82.nl/Data/Hindeloopen/palastanga.htm

On the night of the 6/7 November 1941, 408 RCAF Squadron were operating Hampden Bombers from RAF Syerston. Sgt. Palastanga was the Observer in Hampden AD 972 which took off as part of a raid on Germany (Target not identified). As they were crossing the Dutch coast returning from bombing the target, Hampden AD 972 was attacked by a Messerschmitt 110 night fighter. The aircraft was immediately put into a diving cork-screw to port manoeuvre and contact was lost with the enemy aircraft but not before it had fired several bursts of machine gun and cannon fire. A crew check was made by the pilot to which Sgt. Palastanga did not respond. On checking his position the escape hatch was found open. Sgt. Palastanga had evidently bailed out as his stowed parachute was missing from the rack.

Sgt. Palastanga was reported as missing - believed killed in action.

Attached to the above report is a telegram from the International Red Cross reporting that the body of Sgt Palastanga was washed ashore on 12 April 1942.

A report from a German file found in 1947 states that the body of Sgt. Palastanga was buried in Grave 5 Row 13 Section B of Hindeloopen cemetery Holland.

                      


 

Sergeant R. S. NEALE RAF

Name: Ronald St.Clair NEALE

Born: 30 June 1914

Lived: N/K

Service: Royal Air Force

Squadron: 50 Squadron - Bomber Command

Trade: Wireless Operator/Air Gunner

Service No: 1275564

Rank: Sergeant

Killed: 15 November 1941 - Age 27

Buried: The Commonwealth War Graves Commission have No Trace of Sgt. Neale's burial.

On the night of the 14/15 November 1941, 50 Squadron were operating Hampden Bombers from RAF Swinderby. Sgt. Neale was the Wop/AG in Hampden P 1152 which took off on the 14 November as part of a raid on Germany (Target not identified). Whilst over the target the aircraft was damaged by flak but Sgt Young, the pilot, managed to coax the damaged bomber home. Whilst they were preparing to land, the aircraft would not respond to the pilot's attempts to gain height and crashed on Adiebrowse(?) moor killing Sgt. Young, Sgt. Syms and Sgt. Neale. Sgt Bemel was rescued from the crashed aircraft but died of his injuries in Thornaby hospital later that night.

 

Sergeant A. P. McGREGOR RAT

Name: Alexander Percy McGREGOR

Born: London - 23 February 1920

Lived: N/K

Service: Royal Air Force

Squadron: 86 Squadron - Coastal Command

Trade: Wireless Operator

Service No: 917519

Rank: Sergeant

Son Of: Percy Douglas and Florence McGregor of New Donninigton Shropshire

Missing from Operations 24 November 1941 - Age 21

Commemorated: Panel 47 of the RAF's Runnymede Memorial To the Missing

LOST AIRCRAFT REPORT Dated 25 November 1941

Beaufort AW 192 took off for an operational patrol of the North Sea/Dutch coast. Contact was lost with the aircraft at 16.45 Hrs on the 24 November. It is not clear if they were brought down by flak or a fighter. Nothing more has been heard of this aircraft.

Pilot Officer Harper

Sgt. Kennedy

Sgt. McGregor

Sgt. Lange - Are All Missing

A message from the German authorities was received in February 1942 stating that the body of Sgt. Lange was washed ashore and buried in Schiernowikoog Military cemetery Frisian Island. Grave number 66.

The rest of the crew are still, as of August 1993, officially posted as "missing".


 

Gunner R. D. BRISLEY

Name: Roland Douglas BRISLEY

Born: London S.W. 1920

Lived: London S.W.

Regiment: 138 Field Regiment Royal Artillery

Service No: 998358

Rank: Gunner

Son of: Fred Charles & Lydia Georgina Brisley of Camberwell London.

Killed in Action: 3 November 1943 - Age 23

Buried: Sangro River War Cemetery Italy - Plot 15 Row E Grave 4

At the time of Gunner Brisley's death 138 Field Regiment RA were engaged in the battle of the Sangro river. I have been unable to find any specific detail to their actions that day but from a letter written to the club at the time it would appear that Gunner Brisley was a passenger in an Army lorry which hit a land mine killing the occupants.

 

Pilot OFFICER G. W. HINDE RAFVR

Name: Geoffrey William HINDE

Born: Manchester - 10 November 1922

Enlisted: 2 April 1941

Lived: London

Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Squadron: 550 Squadron - Bomber Command

Trade: Pilot

Service No: 175573

Rank: Pilot Officer Commissioned 4 May 1944

Son of: Walter and Annie Hinde of Didsbury Manchester

Killed in Action: 22 May 1944 - Age 21

Buried: Antwerp Schoonfelhof Cemetery Belgium Plot 4A Row E Grave 17

On the night of the 21/22 May 1944, Lancaster DV 309 piloted by P/Of f. Hinde took off from RAT North Killingholm with 11 other aircraft from 550 Sqn. to become part of the main bomber stream for a raid on Duisberg. It would appear that this Lancaster reached the target but was hit by flak over the target itself. The actual bomb run was the most dangerous part of any operation as evasive action could not be taken to enable the bomb aimer the best possible opportunity to hit the target. An Aiming Point photograph was taken on a timed delay system to produce a photograph of each bomber's individual bombs bursting on the target, and these would obviously show if the aircraft was doing anything other than flying in the prescribed straight line over the target. The crew:-

P/Of f Hinde
Sgt. Hughes
Sgt. Sharland
Sgt. Whittick
Sgt. Young
Sgt. Beecham
Sgt. Davies            Were all posted as "Missing believed killed 22 May 1944".

A Telegram from the German Infantry states that P/Off Hinde was found dead on the morning of the 22 May.

A German file found on the 16 November 1949 shows that he was buried the next day in the Antwerp Schoonfelhof cemetery Belgium Plot 4 Part 3 Grave 193.

It is interesting to note that the original RAT casualty notice showed Geoffrey Hinde as number 1387529 Flight Sergeant Hinde, his commission to the rank of Pilot Officer on the 4 May 1944 having not yet reached the personnel section. It is unclear whether Geoffrey knew that he had indeed been commissioned at the time he was shot down.


 

Sergeant S. C. EDMONDS

Name: Stanley Charles EDMONDS

Born: London S.E. - 1912

Lived: London

Regiment: 8th Battalion Rifle Brigade

Service No: 6912872

Rank: Sergeant

Son of :William J. & Florrie M. Edmonds of Rotherhithe London

Killed in Action: 26 June 1944 - Age 32

Buried: St. Manview Cemetery Normandy France Plot 13 Row E Grave 2

Sgt. Edmonds was a regular soldier who was already serving in the Rifle Brigade at the out-break of the War on the 3 September 1939. He proceeded with his battalion to North Africa where he fought in a number of engagements as part of General Montgomery's 8th Army - The Desert Rats - and had seen a fair share of action in his time. The 8th Battalion were, at the end of the North Africa campaign, brought home to England to train for the Invasion of Europe to be known as Operation Overlord, better known as D Day, to take place on the 6th June 1944. The 8th Battalion were not involved in the initial landings but came ashore on D+4, the 10 June 1944. Stan Edmonds was a Sergeant in F Company and landed on the beach north of Caen at about 10.3Oam. The Battalion went into a scouting role and were given Half Track Armoured Personnel Carriers to accomplish this task.

On the morning of the 26th June, F Company, in its Half Track, was attached to the Fife and Forfar Yeomanry, an armoured Regiment, to act as infantry support during operation "Epsom" to capture Hills 112 and 113 and the main road running south - west from Caen.

They moved forward at first following the 15th Scottish Division passing through Bretteville L'Orgneielleuse and Cheux, where dead Canadians showed signs of earlier fighting. As they came out onto the slopes South of Cheux a battery of German 88mm guns opened up scoring immediate hits on the tanks of the Yeomen. One shell also made a direct hit on one of F Company's Half Tracks killing all 10 occupants including Sgt. Edmonds.


 

Private R. G. BARNES

Name: Robert George BARNES

Born: London S.W. - 1926

Lived: Birmingham

Regiment: 8th Battalion The Parachute Regiment

Service No: 14640500

Rank: Private

Killed in Action: 24 March 1945 - Age 19

Buried : Reichwald Forest Cemetery Plot 37 Row C Grave 11

OPERATION VARSITY - CROSSING THE RHINE
Before daylight on 24th March 1945 the 6th Airborne Division in 242 Dakotas and 400 gliders took off from their airfields in England and flew over France and Belgium to the River Rhine. No Pathfinder proceeded them as the amphibious assault across the river would have started by the time the aircraft approached the target in daylight, so the pilots should have had no difficulty in recognising the Dropping Zones (DZ'S) and Landing Zones (LZ'S). At 9.SOAM, 9 minutes early, 3 Parachute Brigade started dropping. In 9 minutes the complete brigade was on the DZ, right on their objective. By the time 40 minutes had elapsed, the whole 6th Airborne Division had landed on, or very close to, their objectives. 18 Dakotas were destroyed by flak or were missing; 115 had flak damage; 35 gliders were destroyed by flak or did not make the LZ's for technical reasons. And then the battle began. The 8th Battalion was ordered to clear the woods west of Kopenhof farm. B Company, under Major Kippen found its Company Rendezvous (RV) held by the remnants of a Battalion of German parachutists, well dug-in and concealed. There was no question of organising to attack since it was the RV that was held. Each individual had to charge towards the position and do the best he could to kill the enemy. Major Kippen succeeded in getting into an enemy trench but was instantly killed. Casualties amongst Officers and men were very high and it was in this charge and subsequent hand-to-hand fighting that Pte. Barnes was killed.

 

L. BERETTA & N.B. FARROW

The remaining two names on the Memorial are those of Leonard Beretta and Norman Farrow. Len Beretta and his wife were killed in an Air Raid on the 26 September 1940. They were together in a newly completed shelter at their home when a bomb fell in the garden next door causing their shelter to collapse. The following is an extract from the Air Ministry's general air raid report for the 26 September 1940:-

Air Raid Report - London - Thursday 26 September 1940

The main feature of the day's raiding was increased activity in the provinces. London was under Red Warning twice during the morning but no major raid developed.

Raids in London eventually commenced at 2030 and continued until 0300. There was a lull between 0300 and 0500 and raiding finished at 0450. Enemy activity was again mainly confined to west, north-west and south-west districts. Extensive damage has been done to the Houses of Parliament. A UXB (Unexploded Bomb) fell through the staircase leading to St. Stephen's Hall, and the roof of the India Office was damaged by blast.

Railway communications have again suffered severely, the Southern Railway being most affected. LMS lines from St. Pancras are blocked.

Other damage in the West is not serious, and it is significant that casualties are small, which may be due to the large scale evacuation which has taken place.

Royal Small Arms Factory, Enfield, was again bombed and several fires were started, but quickly got under control, No serious damage resulted. In the East several fires are reported at Purfleet, Milwall Dock and West India Docks, but major damage is slight.


 

 

 

Norman Farrow was not killed on Active Service but died, in 1946, as a result of an illness contracted whilst in the Army Service Corps stationed throughout the war years in the MIddle East. Unfortunately as, at the time of his death, he had been discharged from His Majesty's Forces, I am unable to find in War Office records any more information than this.

 

If you are interested in the history of the the Great Wars or wish to do any research try these  websites. Click on their Logos. The Royal British Legion is the UK's leading charity safeguarding the welfare, interests and memory of those who have served in the Armed Forces and their dependants. It provides financial, social and emotional support to millions and its benevolence spans all age groups from the oldest to the very young.
The Commission was established by Royal Charter in 1917. Its duties are to mark and maintain the graves of the members of the forces of the Commonwealth who were killed in the two World Wars, to build memorials to those who have no known grave and to keep records and registers, including, after the Second World War, a record of the Civilian War Dead.

  As their name suggests, they organise guided tours to the battlefields of Ypres and the Somme. A specialist company that only organise tours to these battlefields. All their energies are therefore directed into providing and developing tours which are quite distinct from the more commercially driven options offered by larger companies.
 

 
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