Sandal Rugby Union Football Club

Second World War

Armitage S.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission register lists six possibilities, three of whom are from the Wakefield area.

Badelly D.

Probably a misspelling of Colour Sergeant Douglas Baddelley of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, attached to the 4th Tank Training Battalion of the King’s African Rifles, who died aged 31 on 9 February 1945 in Japanese captivity.  He is commemorated at Rangoon.

Blakey H.V.

Harry Vernon Blakey was the son of Thomas and Miriam Blakey. He was serving with 170 Squadron as a flight sergeant in the RAF Volunteer Reserve when he was killed on 10 April 1945, aged 24. He is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.
On 15 October 1944, No170 Squadron re-formed at RAF Kelstern from C Flight of No 625 Squadron and began night bombing with Lancasters on 19 October. These operations continued until the end of the war and on 14 November 1945 the squadron was disbanded. There is a 170 Squadron memorial at the former RAF Hemswell site in Lincolnshire. 
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Clench P.K.

Pilot Officer Peter Kingsley Clench, who was commissioned into the RAF Volunteer Reserve on 23 November 1940, was serving with 220 Squadron when he was killed aged 21 on 6 August 1941.

On 17 August 1936, 220 Squadron re-formed at Bircham Newton in Norfolk as a general reconnaissance until equipped with Ansons. On the outbreak of war, it began patrols from Thornaby and by November 1939 had converted to Hudsons. These it used for anti-shipping missions off Norway and the Dutch coast from May 1940. In April 1941 the squadron moved to northern Scotland for attacks on coastal shipping and harbours in Norway and in November supplied a detachment to operate the surviving Fortresses and became operational on 29 April 1942 from Northern Ireland. In March 1943 the squadron moved to Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides for seven months before being transferred to the Azores where it began to convert to Liberators in December 1944. For the rest of the war, it flew anti-submarine patrols over the South Atlantic.

Cole T.J.

The CWGC lists two people with this name and initials. Both were Thomas John Cole. One was a private in the Australian Infantry, the other an RAFVR pilot and flight lieutenant who died on 29 March 1945 and is buried at St Budeaux Churchyard, Plymouth. Son of Thomas Percy and Elsie Peardon Cole, of St Budeaux; husband of Gladys Lilian Cole, of St. Budeaux.

Eggleston D.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s register holds only one person of this name – Sergeant Douglas Eggleston, who was serving in the RAFVR with 582 Squadron when he was killed, aged 23, on 6 July 1944.

He is listed as the son of Frederick and Allison Denholme Eggleston, and the husband of Alicia Maude Eggleston, of Raskelf, Yorkshire.

No 582 formed as a pathfinder squadron in No 8 (Pathfinder) Group on 1 April 1944 and operated in this capacity until the end of the war.

Note: D.M. Eggleston is commemorated on the memorial at St Helen’s Church, Sandal.

Fielden J.

The CWGC’s register lists only three people of this name and it would appear that this individual was RAFVR navigator Flying Officer John Fielden, DFC. He was killed on 18 September 1944 while with 544 Squadron. He is buried in the Berlin War Cemetery, grave number 6H28.
No 544 Squadron operated a variety of types including Spitfires, Wellingtons and Ansons.  The Wellingtons were used to experiment with night photography, while the Spitfires operated from Gibraltar.  Mosquitoes were received in March 1943 and these became the squadron’s only type in October 1943, when the Spitfires in Gibraltar were transferred to No 541 Squadron.

Gledhill T.M.

Flight Sgt Thomas Michael Gledhill RAFVR was a wireless operator and air gunner with 58 Squadron when he died on 14 April 1945, aged 22. He is buried at Sandwick Cemetery, Ross and Cromarty. He was the son of Walter Vine Gledhill and Dora Gledhill, of Wakefield, and husband of Margaret Gledhill.

In April 1942 No 58 Squadron was transferred from Bomber Command to Coastal Command. During the remainder of the war, as a general reconnaissance unit (flying Halifaxes from 1943 onwards) it took a considerable toll of enemy surface vessels, sank five U-boats and shared in the destruction of two others.

The squadron flew from Stornoway between 28 August 1944 and 25 May 1945.

Horton A.

Possibly Signalman Arnold Horton, who died aged 28 on 15 April 1942. He was the son of Joseph Henry and Beatrice Lillian Horton, of Ossett. He is buried at Kranji War Cemetery, 22 kilometres north of Singapore.

Before 1939, the Kranji area was a military camp and at the time of the Japanese invasion of Malaya, it was the site of a large ammunition magazine. On 8 February 1942 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. 

After the fall of the island, the Japanese established a prisoner of war camp at Kranji and eventually a hospital was organised nearby at Woodlands. After the reoccupation of Singapore, the small cemetery started by the prisoners at Kranji was developed into a permanent war cemetery by the Army Graves Service.

Marsden T.A.

Flight Sgt Thomas Arthur Marsden RAFVR was 24 years old when he was killed on 27 February 1943. He was serving with 112 Squadron at the time and he is commemorated on the Alamein Memorial. He was the son of Jonathan James Marsden and Hannah Mary Marsden, of Crigglestone.
No 112 Squadron The squadron was reformed aboard the aircraft carrier HMS Argus, on 16 May 1939 and it arrived in Egypt ten days later.  Gladiators arrived the following month and were immediately in action following the Italian declaration of war on 10 June 1940. The squadron joined British  forces defending Greece in January 1941, first supplying air cover to and offensive support over Albania and later in the air defence of the Athens area.  With the collapse of the Allied forces in Greece, the unit withdrew to Crete and then back to Egypt.
In July 1941 the squadron began receiving the Tomahawk, which it now used in both the fighter and fighter-bomber role in support of the 8th Army.  In December 1941 the Tomahawks were replaced by the Kittyhawk, which it used for the remainder of its time in the desert.  Following the invasion of Sicily the squadron moved there in July 1943 and to the Italian mainland in September. 

Mays J.

Probably Lance Cpl Joseph Mays, of 1st Bn Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding) Regiment. He was the 24-year-old son of Herbert and Martha Mays, of Wakefield, and died on 30 January 1944. He is buried at Anzio War Cemetery.

In the Second World War battalions of the Duke of Wellington’s took part in the campaigns of Dunkirk, North West Europe, North Africa, Italy and Burma.

Murgatroyd H.N.

Company Quartermaster Sergeant Harold Norman Murgatroyd was a 27-year-old serving in the Royal Engineers when he died on 12 July 1940. He was the son of Harold and Francis Murgatroyd and is buried in St Helen’s churchyard.

Note: Also commemorated on the memorial at St Helen’s Church, Sandal.

Parkinson D.

This is probably Donald Parkinson, of Wrenthorpe, a sapper in 1051 Port Maintenance Company, Royal Engineers, who died on 16 February 1944, aged 22. He is buried at Wakefield Cemetery (Sec. L. Grave 1778).

White J.D.

Probably Sgt John Douglas White RAFVR, of 102 Squadron, who died on 26 January 1942. He is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.
Disbanded in 1919, No 102 re-formed in 1936 as a heavy bomber squadron and when war came again it was flying Whitleys. On the second night of the war - 4/5 September 1939 - three of its Whitleys dropped propaganda leaflets on the Ruhr.
No 102 Squadron will always be associated with the name of Leonard Cheshire. On the night of 12/13 November 1940, Pilot Officer - as he then was - Cheshire was captain of Whitley V P5005 ‘N – Nuts’, detailed to attack an oil refinery at Wesseling, not far from Cologne. It appears that he arrived in the target area within a few minutes of the ETA but owing to intercom trouble was unable to discover his exact position until some twenty minutes later, by which time the target was blanketed by cloud.

He decided to attack the railway marshalling yards at Cologne instead and while he was approaching this target his aircraft was suddenly shaken by a succession of violent explosions. The cockpit filled with black fumes and Cheshire lost control of the aircraft, which dived about 2,000 feet with its fuselage on fire. Cheshire regained control, the fire was extinguished and the Whitley, with a gaping hole in its fuselage, was brought back safely to base after being in the air for more than eight hours. Cheshire gained an immediate DSO. He was later awarded the DFC for operations with No 102 Squadron.

Note: J.D. White is also commemorated on the memorial at St Helen’s Church, Sandal.


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