Rae, Bombardiar R F (Bobby) Evacuated from Dunkirk, recently married. His musical talents are in demand at camp concerts. Married Mavis Denham, H7-1940. Lance-Sergeant R F Ray moved rapidly through Belgium to Dunkirk, H12-1940. (These two appear to be the same with a spelling error.) Lieutenant, has been in desert warfare, H-Midsummer-1943. Captain.
Rainford, Geoffrey Radio Officer, Maritime.
Rainford, Harry Memorial Book: Royal Navy Harry Rainford Born December the thirtieth, 1911, entered the School September the fourteenth, 1921 and left July the twenty-ninth 1931. School Prefect. Served in the Royal Navy from 1939. Third Radio Officer. Missing presumed killed in a torpedo attack in the Atlantic June the twenty-first, 1940, whilst on His Majesty’s Ship Cape Howe, then on a secret mission. CWG: Harry Rainford Third Radio Officer. Naval Auxiliary Personnel (Merchant Navy). HMS Cape Howe. Died 21st June 1940. Son of Walter and Helena Mary Rainford of Preston, Lancashire. BA Hons, Bristol. Memorial Reference: Panel 8 Column 2 Liverpool Naval Memorial. (Third Radio Officer is a Merchant Navy rank. There were numerous Naval Auxiliary Personnel serving on Cape Howe.) Royal Navy 27 years old. Wireless Operator. Went to sea first time January 1939, Canadian Pacific’s Empress of Australia. Three other ships; then joined Booth’s Clement at New York. Rainford’s letter September 10th 1939 believed the ship may be bound for Buenos Aires. Torpedoed and sunk in South Atlantic, crew safely landed, H12-1939. Radio Officers were frequently employed by a specialist firm, Cable & Wireless for example, and were posted to a ship as required. Clement (built 1934 by Cammell Laird, Birkenhead, their 1,000th ship; 5,051 tons) sailed New York on 19th August 1939 for Salvador in Brazil, laden with 20,000 cases of kerosene / paraffin and on 30th September when about 70 miles north east of Pernambuco (Recife) was stopped by the pocket battleship (Panzerschiff) Admiral Graf Spee, masquerading as the Admiral von Scheer. Graf Spee was seen to be approaching bow on at speed. Clement’s Master, Captain C E P Harris, assumed her to be HMS Ajax and went to his cabin to change into a clean white tunic in order to properly receive the Royal Navy. She closed, rounded broadside on and was flying her German Battle Ensigns and then a seaplane opened machine gun fire aimed at the bridge, without authority from Langsdorf. Reprimand followed! Clement sent a radio signal RRR AAA. ‘R’ was under attack by a raider, ‘A’ was under attack by an aircraft - the number of German Navy ships able to operate in the South Atlantic and fly-off a seaplane was limited. The RN now knew there was something large in the area and until then were unaware that the three pocket battleships (more properly, heavy cruisers) had left Germany undetected in poor weather conditions prior to the outbreak of war (Graf Spee on 19th August 1939). The identity of the Radio Officer who sent the signal despite a warning not to is not yet known. In the short time available before a boarding party arrived, the Captain sank the confidential papers and codes in a weighted bag; the radio and the main engine were destroyed. Unable to make use of the disabled ship, Captain Langsdorf ordered the crew to be safely removed before firing two torpedoes. The two ships were stationary not too far apart in what seemed to be a flat calm but which had a long heavy swell. One torpedo passed in front and the other passed behind the Clement. Graf Spee then opened fire with 5.9” guns, 25 rounds, before using the 11” main armament, 5 rounds. After that lack-lustre performance (due to experimental high technology linking of range finding, gun sights and automatic compensation for rolling and pitching, which worked better when the ship was moving) future captures were sunk by explosive charges. The one slightly injured officer was treated and the crews in the lifeboats were given a course to the nearest landfall. Langsdorf radioed to the wireless station at Pernambuco asking for the crew to be rescued and waited until a ship was sighted. Later that day the Brazilian merchantman Itatinga recovered one lifeboat and the other three made land safely at Maceio, about 150 miles south of Pernambuco on 1st October. Clement was the first sinking of the Graf Spee’s short war and was also the first Allied merchant ship to be sunk by a German surface ship since the declaration of war. The Graf Spee was scuttled following the Battle of the River Plate. By coincidence, Captain C Pottinger, Master of the third ship to be sunk, Ashlea, was held prisoner on board Graf Spee until she arrived in Montevideo. Repatriated to Britain, he joined the RNR, served as Navigator on the Q-ship HMS Cape Howe and survived the sinking in which Harry Rainford lost his life. Wireless Operator Harry Rainford is reported as having lost his life at sea as a result of enemy action, H12-1940. Pardoe-Thomas & Co Ltd, Newport, Monmouthshire, ordered from Lithgows about 1929 what was due to be ten similar ships for their Ottoman Line services. Trading conditions deteriorated in the Depression and four of the ships were sold to Lyle Shipping Company. (Pardoe-Thomas was a surname as well as the Company name.) Knight Almoner 4,443 grt, about 9,300 tons deadweight. 375’ x 53’ x 25’6”. Triple expansion 3-cylinder steam reciprocating engine. Completed July 1930 by Lithgows Ltd, Port Glasgow, for the Ottoman Line. On 7th February 1934 renamed Cape Howe by Lyle Shipping Co. 15th September 1939 she was taken over by the Royal Navy and commissioned as an anti-submarine Q-ship HMS Cape Howe, X.02. To maintain secrecy, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary name Prunella and the RFA Blue Ensign were used on entering and whilst in harbour. On 21st June 1940 was torpedoed and sunk, south of Iceland, west of Ireland. Another report states off Lands End. Ten Special Service Q-ships were commissioned. (See Cedric Naylor, DSO** DSC*, The Great War). Q-ships in the Great War were deliberately small, nondescript coasters and trawlers, too small to waste a torpedo on, especially when the early submarines only carried four. Rear Admiral Gordon Campbell, VC, in 1914-1918 had two Q-ships sunk under him and another had to be run ashore as a total loss, sank two submarines, leapfrogged over 500 officers senior to him and in 1917 issued written orders to officers on his ship to deliberately allow torpedoes to hit their ship. In 1939 he was placed in command of the Special Service ships. The Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff, Campbell’s superior officer, had served with Campbell in 1914-1918 and, with numerous others, developed a lifelong dislike of the man and his methods. The 1939 Q-ships were a motley collection, one elderly ship having a top speed of 8 knots and a notoriously unreliable engine. HMS Cape Sable, one of Pardoe-Thomas’ order, was built 1936 and would have been an inviting target for a salvo of torpedoes from any U-boat. Their inadequate armaments, obsolete 4” or 5.9”, came from scrapyards and apparently in one case from a museum. They had no anti-aircraft weapons, several did not have Asdic. Campbell intended the Q-ships to be submarine decoys and also to take on surface raiders including pocket battleships. When Graf Spee fought three cruisers, Exeter fired 193 x 8” shells, and Achilles and Ajax between them fired over 2,000 x 6” shells. A Q-ship would have been obliterated by any surface raider. HMS Cape Howe was the first Q-ship to be sunk, She was hit on 21st June 1940 by a torpedo at 12.00 from U-28, the panic party took to the boats. A Radio Officer probably would not be in any panic party. U-28 remained submerged and then fired a second at 12.30. She took four hours to sink. Lifeboats were scattered by a fierce North Atlantic storm which lasted for several days. The French merchant ship Casamance, one of the last French ships to leave that country after the capitulation, picked up 27 crew on 24th June and landed them in Falmouth. Thirteen survivors on a raft were picked up on 27th June by HMS Versatile 150 miles off Ushant (Brest Peninsula). There had been a crew of about 90. When an 11-year old, 4,700 grt Q-ship was hit without warning by a salvo of three torpedoes on 29th June she lost 66 out of 90 crew. There had been a total lack of success and the remaining Q-ships were at high risk with little or no hope of success; Churchill in September 1940 ordered the withdrawal of Q-ships. Rainford, John Father - Walter Rainford, Lytham Road, Fulwood; 5 Regent Street, Preston, 1922. Boot Maker. John born 16th March 1905. ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. PGS 3rd May 1916 to 30th March 1920. Apprenticed to Merchant Service. [Subject to confirmation as more records are computerised, it is believed that John Rainford remained in the Merchant Navy and served throughout the war as a Radio Officer.]
Ramsay, Walter Dennis Memorial Book Father - Dr Archibald Ramsay, 152 New Hall Lane, Preston. Medical Practitioner. Dennis born 30th March 1922. Cambridge House School, Fishergate Hill. PGS 10th September 1930 - July 1938. PGSA No 591, 6th October 1938, 152 New Hall Lane, Preston. Leading Aircraftsman, on a course in America. PGSA No 553, 12th October 1937. 2 Prospect Place, Ashton, Preston. PGS 1933-1937. HM Forces 28th November 1941. Membership Register. Joined up with a crew, highly pleased, and hopes they can stay together. (Forming a crew in Bomber Command was very informal. Numerous aircrew joining a Squadron were taken to a Mess and left to sort out who wished to crew with who.) Sergeant Observer, H-Christmas-1942. Memorial Book: Royal Air Force Walter Dennis Ramsay Born March the thirtieth, 1922, entered the School September the tenth, 1930 and left July the twenty-sixth, 1938. Served in the Royal Air Force, Bomber Command, from April 1942. Sergeant Navigator. Missing presumed killed in operations over Germany April the twenty-first, 1943. CWG: Walter Dennis Ramsay Sergeant (Observer), 103 Squadron. RAFVR. 21 years. Died 21st April 1943. Service Number 1238287. Son of Dr Archibald Ramsay, MA MB and Hilda M Ramsay, of Preston, Lancashire. Grave Reference: A.10.20 Esbjerg (Fourfelt) Cemetery. 103 Squadron was flying Lancaster heavy bombers. On 20th April Lancaster III ED614 PM-G took off from Elsham Wolds for Stettin but was shot down just after midnight by a fighter near Ribe in Denmark.
Rawlinson, G May be in RAF, seen by AC2 K Wiggans. Training in South Africa.
Rawlinson, Sydney Father - John Rawlinson, 15 Daisy Lane, Holme Slack, Preston. Clerk. Sydney born 23rd April 1916. Deepdale Modern School. Entered PGS or Date of Application was 26th September 1930. 88th Brigade RA, H12-1939. 902166 Lance Bombardier Sydney Rawlinson. RHQ 88th Field Regiment Royal Artillery, Wickford, Essex . 20th June 1941 Membership Register. Gunner Sydney In same Unit as Driver E G Bamber. In France dug trenches. Now in the Regimental Office. Violinist in the Regimental Dance Band, and vocalist, as well as winning the 3-mile road race, H7-1940. Had a rough time between Lorraine and Dunkirk but was in Preston three days before most people knew he was safe, H12-1940. Bombardier, Prisoner of War, Singapore. Rawlinson, Thomas RAF NOT in the Memorial Book Flight Lieutenant DFC Missing presumed dead on operations over Germany in May 1944. His grave is at Oosterhout, Holland. Watch this one. The detail within PGSA seems too obvious to have been missed. CWG: Thomas Rawlinson Flight Lieutenant / Pilot Died 25th May 1944 Service Number 168670 DFC Son of Robert and Margaret Elizabeth Rawlinson, husband of Mary Rawlinson, of Preston, Lancashire. Grave Reference: 24 . J. 6 Jonkers Bos War Cemetery. The Cemetery is in a wooded area known as Jonkers Bosch and a variation was adopted for the Cemetery’s name. The nearest town is Nijmegan. There are 1,629 Commonwealth war graves in this cemetery. There is a possibility that he was originally buried in the locality of his death and after the war the CWG Commission gathered together those in more isolated graves. The motto of 429 (Bison) Squadron RCAF, was Fortunae nihil Nothing to chance. Its badge was a bison, head lowered, on a mount. Standing on a grassy mound with head lowered about to charge, the bison is a ferocious animal. The Squadron formed at East Moor on 7th November 1942 in No 4 Group - the Yorkshire-based Bomber Command Group. Five months later it was assigned to No 6 Royal Canadian Air Force Group. Moved to Leeming in August 1943. Originally flying Wellington III and X, from September 1943 the Halifax II, the Mk V in November 1943 and the Mk III from March 1944.
Reed, George Father - Edward James Reed, 23 Newton Road, Ashton-on-Ribble. Auctioneer. George born 6th December 1893. St Andrew’s School. PGS 11th September 1905 to 22nd December 1908. Helping his father. Corporal, D Squadron, Duke of Lancaster’s Own Yeomanry, H1-1915. H1-1916. Wounded, H9-1916. Military Medal, H10-1918. Additional List gives details of 2nd Lieutenant in Tank Corps. PGSA No 202, 18th January 1926. The above entry is from the Great War List. The PGSA membership record shows his home address deleted and the note “HM Forces”, which must post-date 18th January 1926.
Reeder, ERA W (Engine Room Artificer) Joined the Navy before the war. Has served on the Northern Patrol, H7-1940. Petty Officer W Reeder, recently promoted from Engine Room Artificer. Is serving afloat, H12-1940.
Renwick, Joe is in the Army, H4-1940.
Rhodes, Norman Private Playing football for his Battalion, H-Christmas-1942. RAOC, and passing his exams, H-Midsummer-1943. Corporal
Richardson, Gordon Knight Memorial Book Born 27th October 1924. PGS 1939 to August 1940; PGSA No 683, 12th October 1940, Athletic Section. 235 Brockholes View, Preston. Membership Register. Secretary of the Athletic Section, H-Midsummer-1942. Left in mid-season to join the Forces, now a Lance-Bombardier and has served in Perth, Alexandria (Dumbartonshire) and Newcastle-on-Tyne, H-Midsummer-1943. Memorial Book: Army Air Corps Gordon Knight Richardson Born October the twenty-seventh, 1924, entered the School June the sixth, 1939 and left July the twenty-fifth, 1940. Served in the Royal Regiment of Artillery from January 1943 and volunteered for the Army Air Corps, Glider Pilot Regiment, in May 1943. Sergeant. Missing presumed killed during the crossing of the Rhine, March the twenty-fourth, 1945. CWG: Gordon Knight Richardson Serjeant Glider Pilot Regiment Army Air Corps. 20 years. Died 24th March 1945. Service Number 14389378. Son of George Knight Richardson and Muriel Richardson of Preston, Lancashire. Memorial Reference Panel 8 Groesbeek. Operation Plunder was the Crossing of the Rhine by 21st Army Group; Operation Varsity was the Airborne component of the Crossing of the Rhine. It began for the 6th Airborne at 'Plunder' D-Day, 24th March 1945, 0600 hours. The plan called for 22,000 airborne troops, paratroops and by glider, together with supplies to be put into the fighting zones in four hours. The casualty rate at Arnhem amongst the Glider Pilot Regiment had been so great that many RAF pilots had been trained to pilot the gliders. For Operation Varsity 440 Horsa and 48 Hamilcar gliders were piloted by the Glider Pilot Regiment with the American forces adding 906 Waco gliders. The British gliders were piloted in the main by Staff Sergeants (First Pilot) and Sergeants (Second Pilot) of the Regiment.
Ridgewell, Edward Henry Memorial Book RAF H12-1939. PGS September 1929 to June 1935. PGSA 1938, No 600, 79 Selborne Street, Preston. Killed in flying accident August 1941. Membership Register . Memorial Book: Royal Air Force Edward Henry Ridgewell Born November the twenty-first., 1918, entered the School September the eleventh, 1929 and left January the twenty-first 1935. Served in the Royal Air Force from October 1939. Pilot Cadet. Killed in a flying accident whilst on Active Service August the seventh, 1941 CWG: Edward Henry (Teddy) Ridgewell Leading Aircraftsman, Pilot Under Training. RAFVR. 22 years. Died 7th August 1941. Service Number 971228. Son of Edward Henry and Christina Ridgewell, of Preston. Grave Reference: Section HH CofE Grave 119, Preston New Hall Lane Cemetery.
Rigby, Colin E Able Seaman, just had six months at sea. Sub-Lieutenant, been through the three King Alfred training establishments, RN College, Greenwich, won the 100 yards in the Sports, looking forward to being second-in-command of his ships, H-Christmas-1942. Lieutenant In Italy. In command of a landing craft. Has been based on the American coast but now back in UK, in Combined Operations, H-Midsummer-1943.
Rimmer, Thomas RAF, probably Lossiemouth, April 1941. Membership Register. RAF, H12-1939. Flying Officer, apparently Bomber Command, but off operations for a spell on administration in north Oxfordshire. Squadron Leader, flying Mosquitoes. Mentioned in Despatches, 1944. Squadron Leader, Station Navigation Officer. Captains the men’s football team, H-Midsummer-1943. Awarded the DFC. Volunteered for flying duties in September 1939 and has made over 90 operational flights. For some time he was a member of a Pathfinder Squadron, H7-1945.
Roberts, Abel Austin Memorial Book: Northamptonshire Yeomanry Abel Austin Roberts Born December the 4th, 1923, entered the School November the seventeenth 1938 and left July the twenty-fifh 1941. Served in the Royal Armoured Corps, 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry. Trooper. Killed in action near Lataille in Normandy June the twenty-seventh, 1944. CWG: Abel Austin Roberts Trooper Royal Armoured Corps 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry. 20 years. Died 27th June 1944. Service Number 7963171. Son of Thomas Samuel and Cordelia Roberts of Ribbleton, Preston, Lancashire. Grave Reference: III . B . 6 Hottot-les-Bagues War Cemetery, near Bayeux.
Robertson, W N Private, RAOC, H-Christmas-1942.
Robinson, F S Corporal
Robinson, U Corporal REME
Robinson, William (Bill) Signalman.
Robinson, William Midgley Memorial Book PGSA Number 542, 9th July 1937. Craigmillar, 5 Aldwych Drive, Ashton. Junior Member till 1938. Membership Register. Died of head wounds received during an enemy air attack. He was one of the founders of the University Section, H7-1945. Memorial Book: Royal Corps of Signals William Midgley Robinson Born October the twenty-sixth, 1913, entered the School September the sixteenth 1925 and left July the twenty-sixth, 1933. School Prefect. Served in the Royal Corps of Signals from January 1941. Corporal. Died of wounds at Lubeck in Germany May the third, 1945 CWG: William Midgley Robinson Corporal Royal Corps of Signals 11th Armoured Division Signals. 31 years. Died 3rd May 1945. Service Number 2358759. Son of William Inglis Robinson and Nancy Robinson, of Preston; husband of Eveline Robinson, of Ashton-on-Ribble, Preston. BA Hons. Grave Reference: I . C . 5 Celle War Cemetery, Hannover. The 64th British Military Hospital Cemetery. Died of wounds in the last week of the war in Europe.
Rodwell, B May be in RAF, seen by AC2 K Wiggans.
Rowe, David Coder Survived the sinking of HMS Warwick.
Rowe, Peter Corporal Equipment assistant in a large RAF stores.
Russell, E No details, but an enigmatic comment of a letter from his Colonel about his future and what he should do with it.
Russell, W E Signaller