Duxford War Memorial 1939-1945

The Second World War 1939-1945

In the November 1985 Chatterbox there was an article by Freda Camp about there being fewer and fewer people present on Remembrance Sundays who remembered those listed as having died in the Second World War, and she wrote a little on each of them:

  • “James Skeats grew up in the village, a lively auburn-haired young man, who sang in the choir in St. Peter’s Church, worked for Hardings the builders, and died in Italy.
  • Robert Haylock, grew up in the village and was a roundsman to Marriotts, the butcher.  After many months as a prisoner of war, he died in Burma.
  • The Culham brothers lived in College Farmhouse, near St John’s Church.  Frank Culham was a sergeant in 14 Sqdn RAF and was shot down in his Blenheim bomber over Tunisia on Wednesday 21st May 1941.  James Culham was a temp. Lt. R.N. who died in HMS Submarine Regent, on 1st May 1943, aged 23, in the Adriatic.  Their father was also in the Navy.
  • Colin McIntyre Brown, brother of Mrs Gordon Johnson, lived on The Green and was an officer in the Army.
  • Philip Marriott was the butcher’s son (an only child) and was killed in action as a bomber pilot during the Battle of Britain.
  • Douglas Howe (known as Ginger) lived at Duxford Grange Farm and worked at Parkers Poultry Farm in Thriplow. He died in a mine explosion in 1940.
  • George Moule lived at the Gate House in Hinxton Road (his mother lived (1985) in Lacey’s Way). He served in the Royal Navy and drowned in the Adriatic Sea whilst on a secret mission.
  • A.E. Miles, a very young man, lived on Royston Road. The family have now (1985) left the village.”

Freda herself worked during the war in nurse training posts and also helped deliver mail around the village. Freda also wrote that in 1985 the War Memorial was cared for by Dennis Smith and Jack Camp, both ex-servicemen.

Thanks to Tina Jones for a copy of the above article, reproduced in the Chatterbox in October 2015.

Perhaps it was the relief and joy after the “The War to end all Wars”, to which the then small village of Duxford had sent about one hundred men, fifteen of whom had not returned home, that led Albert and Ellen Haylock to give their son, Herbert, the second name of “Armistice”. Whilst serving with 287 Field Company, Royal Engineers, he was captured in Singapore, died as a POW on Saturday 25 September 1943 and is buried near the River Kwai in Burma.”

The above is an extract from a Chatterbox article written by Mr Philip Wade – it elicited the following response from Mary Wakefield (1912-2015):

Dear Chatterbox,

I feel I must write and thank the person for writing the article in Chatterbox about my parents Albert and Ellen Haylock and my brother Herbert Armistice Haylock.

My parents heard from the War Office that my brother died at Burma and was buried in a wartime cemetery at Tanzeba so this must be near the River Kwai.

My brother worked for Mr Marriott the butcher and used to deliver meat to his customers, so he was well known. One of the “highlights” of his job was to take the joints of meat with the names to the Rev Browning who put the names on the meat and then my brother used to take them to the customers as a present for Christmas from the Rev Browning.

I am Herbert’s sister Mary. I am 96 and am now living at “The Lodge” in Great Shelford. I had to pack up my home as I couldn’t look after myself. I must thank you again for the trouble you have taken to remember my brother and parents.

Yours sincerely

Mary Wakefield.

As published in The Duxford Chatterbox, March 2009

Since Freda Camp wrote her piece in the 1985 Chatterbox, some more information has been uncovered with details as follows:

Colin McIntyre Brown, 117831, 2nd Lt, The London Scottish, Donside, The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, was born in Essex, in the second quarter of 1919, to Charles McIntyre Brown and Frances Lilian Brown, nee Dunkin. In 1939 Mrs. Brown was widowed and she and at least two of her children were living with other members of the Dunkin family in the Old Vicarage, The Green, Duxford. Colin died on Tuesday, 9th September 1941, in the UK, aged 23 years. He is buried in St Peter’s Churchyard. In 1985 in her Chatterbox article Freda Camp, remembered that he was the brother of Mrs. Gordon Johnson and had lived on The Green.

Frank Arthur Culham, Sergeant, 742448, 14 Sqdn, RAFVR, was born in the autumn of 1919 in Tendering Essex; his mother’s maiden name was Willmot. In 1939 the family was living in ‘Duxford House’, now College Farm House, nr St. John’s. 14 Sqdn at the time he was killed were flying Bristol Blenheim IVs in the Western Desert based at LG (landing ground) 12. On 21st May 1941, the day he was killed, the squadron had five Blenheims tasked with attacking Italian and German ground transport along the Tobruck – Capuzzo Road. The five planes were attacked by three Me109bfs and all five were shot down. He has no known grave and is commemorated on Alamein Memorial, Egypt, Column 242. In the period between May and the end of June 1941, the squadron lost 12 crews and 17 aircraft.

James Willmot Samuel Culham, TLt. HM Submarine Regent, RN, was the older brother of Frank Arthur Culham and had followed his father, into the RN. He was born 05/08/1918. In 1939 he was a sub-Lieut at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich. His submarine was sunk with the loss of all 63 crew when it hit a mine off the SE Italian coast on 18th April 1943. The submarine was reported missing presumed lost when it did not report in to Beirut on 1st may 1943. He too grew up and lived at College Farm House by the Church.

Herbert Armistice Haylock, Driver, 2093005, 287 Field Company, Royal Engineers. He grew up in the village and was a deliveryman for the Marriott’s, the butchers, before the war so was well known in the village. He was captured after the fall of Singapore, (13/01/1941) and died working on the notorious Burma Railway on 25th September 1943. He is buried in Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery, Burma where the bodies of those who died locally as well as those who died along the line were reinterred after the war. There is a little more information on him from his sister on the village web site page. In 1939 his family was living at 1 Flower Pot Road, and previously at Mangys (sic) Lane.

Douglas Victor Howe, (Ginger). Private 59333523, 1st Bn, The Cambridgeshire Regiment Suffolk Regiment was the son of Charles and Florence Howe of 2 Heath cottages. Mrs. Camp remembers him living at Duxford Grange Farm and working at Parkers poultry farm in Thriplow. His father worked as a RAF officer’s batman in 1939. He died on Monday 5th August 1940, near North Walsham, Norfolk. The 1st Bn was assigned to home defense duties at the time around the Norfolk and East Anglian coast. Mrs. Camp wrote that he died when a mine exploded. He is buried at Thriplow, St Georges, churchyard, and also remembered on the Sawston Village College memorial.

Philip S Marriott, DFM, Flight Lieutenant, 119348, RAFVR, was the only son of Samuel H Marriott and Emily Marriott, master butchers, of High St, Duxford and husband of Joan Mary Marriott, nee Humble, who married in the summer of 1941. He was awarded his DFM when a flight sergeant in 1941 when flying with 115 Squadron, for his actions in putting out a fire on board and saving crew and plane. He was killed on Thursday 11th March whilst taking a training flight with 15 OTU, when he took off in a Wellington Mk111, X3874, at 10.30 am. The port engine lost power and the aircraft dived down at 1115 just east of Didcot. All the crew were killed. He is buried in St Peter’s churchyard.

Eric Arthur Miles, Private 14659932 2nd Airborne Bn, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, was the son of Arthur H and Annie Miles, of Royston Road Whittlesford. He died when only 20, during the fighting in the Reichswald Forest during the advance into Germany on Saturday 24th March 1945. He was part of the airborne troops flying and landing by glider securing the crossing of the Rhine. The glider forces suffered particularly heavy casualties as they were the last to land and hence expected.

George Ernest Moule, Able Seaman P/JX 261616, HMS Fidelity, who died on 1st January 1943. HMS Fidelity was a Q-ship and secret service ship, which was sunk by a U-boat on 30th December 1942 with the loss of all hands on board off the Azores whilst on its way to the Far East with a party of commandos. He lived in the Gate House in Hinxton Rd., in 1985 his mother lived in Laceys Way.

James Stanley Skeates, Fusilier 5783229 9th Bn Royal Fusiliers, City of London Regt, who died on Tuesday 5th September 1944, aged 23. Son of James Louis and Betsy Constance Skeates, nee Hewitt. He grew up in the village and is remembered as a lively auburn-haired young man, who sang in the choir as St. Peter’s, worked for Harding’s the builders. He was killed in Italy and is buried in Coriano Ridge War Cemetery. He is also remembered on the Sawston Village College War Memorial.

Coriano Ridge was the last important ridge in the way of the Allied advance in the Adriatic sector in the autumn of 1944. Its capture was the key to Rimini and eventually to the River Po. German parachute and panzer troops, aided by bad weather, resisted all attacks on their positions between 4 and 12 September 1944.

There is one other who died in that war, William Johnson, P/SSX 14891, Able Seaman, RN, who was killed on 27/04/1941, at HMS Badger, Harwick/Parkstone Quay, which was a shore establishment of some 1,300 shore staff and a further 4,000 who served on the small ships operating out of there. William Johnson was the husband of V E Johnson of Duxford and he is buried in the Duxford Cemetery, section C grave 15.

Information on this page has been kindly contributed by Mr Tim Chudleigh and Mr Philip Wade

Kelly McDonald came to Sawston during World War 2 as part of the USA Eighth Army Air Force’s 66th Fighter Wing. The story of that Unit’s role and stay in Sawston is told in A Streetfull of Sad Sacks by Abe Easey. With thanks to http://www.family.nigellane.org.uk