Church memorial to honour war dead

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Health reporter, also covering Kidlington. Call me on 01865 425271

A MEMORIAL to honour Botley and North Hinksey residents who died in the Second World War is to be installed in the New Year.

A fundraising drive has raised £660 for the plaque, to go by the First World War memorial in St Lawrence Church.

Retired Oxford University physicist Ray Rook, 76, said the project was to dispel a myth that no-one from the area was killed in the conflict.

Now, thanks to people coming forward as a result of articles in the Oxford Mail and internet research, Mr Rook has 10 names for the plaque.

It can be extended if more names come forward.

Those to be honoured so far are:

  • Trooper William James Barson, Royal Armoured Corps, 3rd King’s Own
  • Hussars, died on Suez Maru 29/11/43, aged 30. Place of birth Botley. Commemorated Singapore Memorial.
  • Pt William John Barson, 20 Base Ordnance Depot, Royal Army Ordnance Corps, died 12/11/42 in Malaysia, aged 27. Place of birth North Hinksey. Buried Labuan War Cemetery, Malaysia.
  • Sgt (Air Gunner) Albert Roland Breakspear (known as Roland), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 240 Squadron (flying Catalina), Coastal Command, died at Arisdale Head, Yell, Shetland, 19/1/42, aged 19. Place of birth Botley. Buried St Magnus Churchyard, Hamnavoe, South Yell, Shetland.
  • L/Cpl Harold Stephen Bury, 145 Field Park Co, Royal Engineers, died in Holland 23/11/44, aged 37. Place of birth Shipston on Stour, residence 5 Seacourt Road (originally 1 Southern Slope), Botley. Buried Schoonselhof Cemetery, near Antwerp (grave ID3).
  • Arthur Capel (known as Jack), HMS Wildfire (a corvette), Royal Naval Patrol Service, died 3/5/43 in the Bay of Biscay, aged 32. Place of birth Botley. Commemorated Lowestoft Naval Memorial.
  • Gunner John Llewellyn Coles, 85 Medium Rgt, Royal Artillery, died in Oxford 24/8/46, aged 35. Residence Hazel Road, Botley. Buried Botley Cemetery.
  • Sapper Victor Robertson Jeffries, 752 Field Co, Royal Engineers, died 16/5/41, aged 24. Place of birth Botley. Buried Harwich Cemetery.
  • Pt Phillip John Noel Russell, 2nd Airborne Btn Oxon and Bucks Light Infantry, died in France 4/7/44, aged 30. Residence North Hinksey. Buried Ranville War Cemetery, Calvados.
  • Leading Aircraftman Albert John Taylor, Royal Air Force, died 17/6/40, aged 36. Place of birth Botley. Commemorated Runnymede Memorial.
  • Flt Sgt (Pilot) Douglas Percy Williams, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 169 Squadron (flying Mosquito), Bomber Command, died 6/5/45, aged 27. Residence Seacourt Rd, Botley. Commemorated Oxford Crematorium Memorial.

Mr Rook said: “It is important because we are getting to the stage where, if we do nothing now, the memories of those people will vanish.

“I don’t think they should be forgotten.”

Cash came from individual donations and £200 from North Hinksey Parish Council.

Those to be honoured include Bomber Command Flight Sergeant Douglas Williams, killed on the last day of the conflict.

And there is Harold Bury, who worked at North Hinksey’s Harold Hicks’s grocery, and was killed in Belgium in November 1944.

St Lawrence rector The Rev Clare Sykes said: “I am pleased that the new memorial for men from the parish of North Hinksey with Botley who died in the Second World War has been approved and is being made at the moment. We hope it will be installed early in the new year.

“It is important that the sacrifice these men made for their countrymen and women is not forgotten and it is an honour to have the memorial in North Hinksey Church.”

  • To contact Mr Rook call 01865 241451.

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