Village Web Site Forum

Andrew Monkhouse
Hanoi, Vietnam
Wednesday, July 20, 2011 08:29
WW2 casualties listed on the war memorial - information requested!
Hi everyone, Iíd like to finish off the work I started on the ĎFallen of Sutton-in-Cravení by profiling the 15 men from WW2 who are also listed on the village war memorial.

Despite WW2 being a more recent event than WW1, researching these 15 men is not going to be easy. The service files for WW2 are still under lock & key until at least 2020 and we are another 30 years away from the 1941 census information being released.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission provides some basic information on 14 of the men, plus there should be local newspaper reports at the time and perhaps local grave-stone inscriptions.

Which brings me on to the 15th man listed on the memorial: W. SIMONS. Coal Mines

This man was almost certainly a Bevin Boy casualty, conscripted into the forces but diverted into the mines to fill the shortfall of manpower needed to meet the required coal output. Therefore as a conscript his name was added to the war memorial equally with his military service colleagues.

OK, who was W. Simons??? Personnel records of all Bevin Boy conscripts were systematically destroyed after 10 years, so Iíve got NOTHING on this chap Ė not even his Christian name!

Iím hoping there are some relatives of these 15 men who can provide me with more information. Also it would be great if anyone actually remembers any of these men and can provide some anecdotal stories or interesting accounts about them. Denis, I know youíre only a young fella but I seem to remember you once saying that you remember one of the blokes listed on the WW2 memorial. I think he might have lived next door to you when you were a nipper.

Any help in finding out more about these 15 brave WW2 casualties from Sutton would be very much appreciated. Many thanks, Andrew
Andrew Monkhouse
Hanoi, Vietnam
Wednesday, July 20, 2011 09:26
Below is a list of the 15 Sutton casualties for WW2:


WILLIAM CHERRY Ė son of Thomas & Marjorie Cherry, husband of Gertrude

THOMAS HARRISON CLAGUE Ė son of John & Lizzie Clague

JOHN WILLIAM DAWSON Ė son of John & Margaret Dawson, husband of Hilda


EDGAR GREEN - son of Allan & Sarah Ann Green


ARTHUR ARNOLD HISCOE - son of Edward & Harriet Hiscoe, husband of Phyllis



RICHARD PEACOCK - son of Henry & Violet

JOHN RIDDELL - son of William & Mary

RICHARD WHITEOAK - son of Ralph & Theresa, husband of Mable

JOHN WHITHAM - son of James & Elenore, husband of Annie

Andrew Monkhouse
Hanoi, Vietnam
Wednesday, July 20, 2011 09:44
BRYAN CHAPMAN - date of death: 18/07/1944
WILLIAM CHERRY - date of death: 09/02/1944
THOMAS HARRISON CLAGUE - date of death: 16/10/1942
JOHN WILLIAM DAWSON - date of death: 01/10/1942
EDWARD FIELDHOUSE - date of death: 29/09/1941
EDGAR GREEN - date of death: 02/10/1940
CLARENCE WILLIAM HAPPS - date of death: 18/06/1944
ARTHUR ARNOLD HISCOE - date of death: 17/04/1943
TERENCE SAMUEL HOWARD - date of death: 21/05/1942
DENNIS HUDSON - date of death: 04/12/1943
RICHARD PEACOCK - date of death: 30/08/1944
JOHN RIDDELL - date of death: 29/07/1943
RICHARD WHITEOAK - date of death: 26/12/1946
JOHN WHITHAM Ė date of death: 20/04/1946
Denis Marshall Pickles
Wednesday, July 20, 2011 10:31
You are correct in recalling that I knew Willie Simmons, Andrew. He was a Bevin Boy. Willie, as he was called by his neighbours in Hazel Grove [he might have been William] lived at 9 Hazel Grove. I lived at No.17. He was a 'big boy' who used to let me play with his homemade punt and his air gun. His sister was Nellie and his dad appears on several seminal photographs already posted on the site. I haven't much time right now but I'll try and collect my memories of Willie together and let you have them in a week or so. Bryan Chapman was also someone I knew. He used to cut my hair in a shed in his garden down Hazel Grove Road before losing his life in Normandy shortly after D Day. Peter Wilcock makes reference to him in his partial autobigraphy which I posted here a few months ago. I'll contact Brian Wilcock who lived at 15 Hazel Grove to see if he has any recollection of Willie Simons. Brian hs lived in Canada since 1948 but he is still tuned in to all things Sutton!

Keep up the good work.
Andrew Monkhouse
Hanoi, Vietnam
Wednesday, July 20, 2011 11:57
Excellent stuff Denis, any memories or anecdotal stories you may have about any of these men would be terrific.

Please take your time, Iím simply at the preliminary stages of Part B of the ĎFallení project and am just putting feelers out there to see what information there is.

By the way, when you do make contact with Brian Wilcock, could you please check with him whether he knows the date that Willie Simons was killed? This would hopefully lead to a local newspaper article giving details surrounding the circumstances of his death. Also a photograph of Willie or any of the other 14 casualties would be awesome. Thanks for your help Denis.
Susan Knox nee Currie
Friday, July 22, 2011 18:05
Terence Samuel Howard was my cousin he was the son of Terence Howard and my father's sister Georgina Howard nee Currie He was part of a very large family that moved to Sutton (Ellars Road area) from Liverpool 1939-1940.
Following is an the Craven Herald account of his death and funeral
1942 30 May
Military Funeral
ĎMilitary honours were accorded on Tuesday afternoon at the funeral at Sutton of Mr Terance (sic) Samuel Howard of Jackson Place Sutton-in-Craven who, although recently employed in a civilian capacity, had served in the Seaforth Highlanders. He died in a Northern military hospital at the age of 20. Ex-Private Howard joined up in the early period of the war, and was posted as a transport driver. He was injured by a Bren gun carrier, and his parents were taken by air to see him. After his discharge from hospital he started war work, although he had been previously employed by Messrs. T and M Bairstow, but recently he had to return to hospital.
At the funeral a detachment of the Royal Armoured Corps attended and members drew the coffin, draped with the Union Flag on the parish bier. The service was conducted by the Rev. O R Plant (Vicar) who expressed the sorrow of the villagers at the loss the family sustained. Over the open grave volleys were fired, and the Last Post soundedí.
My sisters Joan Brown, Georgie Newton and Dolly Myers all nee Currie remember watching the funeral and hearing the clatter of the soldier's boots on the road. Terry still has sisters living in and about Sutton Peggy, Patsy and Janie they may have more information for you. Hope this helps
Regards Susan Knox nee Currie
Joan M. Tindale
Tuesday, July 26, 2011 21:44
Sure there are still a few of the Simons family around the Sutton area - Roy, Jean, Brian? who used to have the hairdressers across from Fieldhead Drive, Cross Hills.
Sure I saw Roy at the 90 yrs.Sutton memorial rededication service.
Andrew Monkhouse
Hanoi, Vietnam
Wednesday, July 27, 2011 01:58
Hi Joan, well Iím certainly hoping I can find out more about Willie Simons. Josie has already sent me a photo of his gravestone in St Thomasí church yard. She also found his death registered at Wakefield in the Sept quarter of 1944.

Iím hoping one of his relatives, or someone who knew him, can help to piece together the circumstances surrounding his death, in all likelihood a colliery accident at a coal mine near Wakefield. A newspaper clipping at the time would undoubtedly tell the story and maybe provide a photo of him also.

Willie is the only casualty out of the 15 who is not listed under the Commonwealth War Graves Commission for WW2, so apart from the photo of his grave Iíve got nowt on him!

I know people lead busy lives, but if someone is able to check out the Craven Herald archives (presumably at Skipton library) for September (ish) 1944 and find an article on Willie Simons Iíd be most appreciative.

I donít like to keep hassling Josie, sheís already sent me Keighley News clippings for several of the other casualties, Willie not being one of them.

While Iím on the subject, thanks Susan for the above information on Terence Samuel Howard. This is exactly the sort of information Iím after :-)
Lynda Blundell nee Phillips
Vancouver, Canada
Saturday, July 30, 2011 19:13
When my parents, Constance Tingle and Frank Phillips, married in September 1935, Willie Simons, boy soprano, sang at their wedding. My mother was a singing teacher and Willie was one of her pupils. I have a newspaper clipping which gives all the details of their wedding. My parents died over ten years ago so unfortunately I have no further information about Willie Simons.
Josie Walsh
Sunday, July 31, 2011 23:27
Hello Susan
I have a copy of the marriage certificate for Terence Patrick Howard to Georgina Currie, would you like a copy, the webmaster hopefully will give you my email address.
Con Redmayne
Sunday, August 21, 2011 19:30

Hi Paul

fascinating narratives emerging already.

I'm popping into town tomorrow and I'll attempt to have a sniff throught the CH microfiche in the Reference library.

I'll let you know how I get on.

Con Redmayne
Monday, August 22, 2011 16:33

I spent about half an hour in the Reference library in Skipton this morning (we really have ensure that its kept open and fully accessible.)

And I eventually found a brief article on page 7 of the Craven Herald of 11th August 1944. I will try and scan it for you and send it on. Very interesting to compare the newspaper coverage in 1944 in general, and more specifically. I mean, it seems clear that there is a deliberate veil of normality to the coverage such as choirs, flower competitions and scout camps around our corner of Craven. Also more specifically, there is clear and detailed (but not excessivee or 'in your face' coverage of lost, wounded and killed local men in the Forces. However Willie Simons' fate is covered briefly, tucked away in the 'Sutton' local news and events section. It really was the case that the Bevin Boys such as Willie (and Eric Morecambe) were fighting a hidden war - seen by some as D Day dodgers avoiding the 'real' fighting.

It really brought it home to me that Willie, among so many others, was sent down a coal mine as a conscript to a hellish war only face little or no recognition or even in some quarters possibly hostility for all their incredible efforts in fighting the war.

As I say, as soon as I can I'll get you the scan.


Paul Wilkinson
Monday, August 22, 2011 18:56
Hi Con - I sent an email to you and Andrew but it bounced back saying your mailbox is full. Andrew will contact you directly.
Con Redmayne
Monday, August 22, 2011 19:30
Hi Paul.

I've checked my inbox and all seems fine. Perhaps retrying might be successful if you don't mind.

The text is as follows...

Craven Herald 11th August 1944

The death occured on Wednesday week of Mr. William Robert Simons at the age of twenty years, following an accident at the Thornhill Lees Colliery, Dewsbury. He was the only son of Mr. and Mrs. George C. Simons of Hazelgrove, Sutton. He went into the mines as a "bevin boy." He was well known in the district and highly esteemed. As a boy he achieved considerable distinction as a boy soprano and was for a time a member of the Sutton Baptist Church choir. The funeral took place on Monday the services at the Sutton Parish Church being taken by the Rev. O. R. Plant (Vicar) who referred in sympathetic terms to the loss which not only the relatives but the village had sustained. Mr. W. T. Goodfellow was at the organ. The bearers who were all workmates of the deceased when he worked at Sutton, were Messrs Allan Green, Ralph Green, J. Kettlewell, and Alec Baldwin and included in the mourners were representatives from the Thornhill Colliery. The floral tributes included wreaths from workmates at Rose Mount Works, the choir of Sutton Baptist Church and officials and workmates of Thornhill Colliery.

I realised that it was going to take ages to get it scanned, and that in the meantime I would place a transcription here to whet your appetites as it contains a few interesting leads for further investigation.



Paul Wilkinson
Monday, August 22, 2011 19:48
I tried it again and it was returned again with the following message:

This message was created automatically by mail delivery software.

A message that you sent could not be delivered to one or more of its
recipients. This is a permanent error. The following address(es) failed:

mailbox is full: retry timeout exceeded

Andrew Monkhouse
Hanoi, Vietnam
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 10:55
Hi Con, thanks very much for going to the effort of digging out the article on Willie Simons from 1944 in the Craven Herald.

You are quite right, thereís no question that Bevin Boys were sometimes slighted as having landed a cushy number during WW2.

My understanding of the Bevin Boys scheme is that by 1944 it became apparent that the rate of conscription intake was in excess of military manpower requirements, whilst in the coal mining industry there was a shortfall in manpower required to meet the required coal output.

It was decided to divert new conscripts into the mines, particularly deep mined collieries. The scheme was named after Ernest Bevin, the then Minister of Labor in the Coalition Government at the time, who introduced the policy.

The principle of selection of Bevin Boys was that every week a number 0 - 9 was drawn out of hat, and men whose National Service number ended in the relevant digit were automatically allocated to the mines, subject to exemption on health grounds, or if they had very specialist skills useful to the military.

At that time, there was little if any coal cutting machinery in collieries and the hewing of coal was done by pick and shovel with shot-firing used to penetrate the seams to free the coal. Coal hauling was undertaken by "boys" known as Haulage Hands using horses and ponies to haul the tubs. Bevin Boys tended to discharge this role.

It was a dangerous job for both animal and man. Runaway tubs were usually the cause of injury and death from crushing. The only method of regulating the speed of tubs was through emergency action using locking pins which the Haulage Hand would thrust into the spokes of the tub wheel in order to lock and brake the tub. At the pit bottom the Haulage Hand would be responsible for loading the full tubs into the cage (winding compartment) and off loading the empties as and when they arrived back at the pit bottom. Again a dangerous job, supervised by a Banksman, especially dangerous if there was a lack of discipline in safety standards when loading and unloading tubs at the pit bottom into and out of the cage.

So it is to the credit of the local community that they ensured that Willie, a WW2 conscript was included on the Sutton war memorial.

I contacted and spoke to a representative of the Bevin Boys Association in the UK. I asked if records exist of Bevin Boy casualties from WW2. I was horrified when he told me that no records exist because government policy back then was to have them all destroyed after 10 years, so in the 1950s they all went up in smoke. I still can't wrap my head around that bit of goverment insanity!

Incidentally, I'm still missing a photo of Willie if anyone has one, many thanks.
Denis Marshall Pickles
Wednesday, June 5, 2013 07:33
Don't know whether you ever got the photograph of Willie Simons Andrew, but one has just turned up on the gallery - a good one too.
Andrew Monkhouse
Hanoi, Vietnam
Thursday, June 6, 2013 04:46
Thanks Denis, yes the photo of Willie Simons with John Eshton Davy is a beauty. I had it emailed to me a few weeks ago. I wonder if any group photos of 'conscripted' Bevin Boys were ever taken?
Maureen Green
Sutton in Craven
Tuesday, June 11, 2013 16:00
Con, Thanks for your research on my Uncle Willie Simons, this is something I have never seen before, and read with interest. Yes, he was 20 years old when he died. 1924 / 1944
Lynda Blundell nee Phillips
Vancouver, Canada
Wednesday, June 12, 2013 03:29
Hi Maureen:

Your Uncle Willie Simons sang at my parents' wedding in 1935 when he was about 13 years old. I have a colour tinted head and shoulders photo of him plus a newspaper cutting about him singing at the wedding. If you would like the original picture and/or a copy of the newspaper cutting, I would be very pleased to mail them to you.

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