They Also Served: M – R

In addition to those who paid the Supreme Sacrifice, the following are short biographies of other men and women of Ruskington who enlisted during World War 2 with surnames beginning ‘M’ to ‘R’.

Remembered on this page are:

scroll down buttonSCROLL DOWN – to read more about these Ruskington men and women. 

 

Warrant Officer 15597 John Robert McCOMBE:  John was born on 13 September 1902 and the 1939 Register shows him living at ‘Ash Dene’, Westcliffe Road, Ruskington, with his wife. Hilda, and their children. He was a W.O. in the RAF, Flight Training School, at Cranwell.

John was the only child of John James and Ann Jane (née Clucas) McCombe, born in Liverpool. His father, John, served with the South Lancashire Regiment in the Boer War and was wounded at Colenso Koppies on 21 February 1900. He returned to Britain and worked as a ‘Coach Builder’, and married Ann Clucas on Christmas Day 1901 at St John the Baptist Church,Toxteth Park, Liverpool.

John and Ann came from the Isle of Man and after he died on 10 June 1905 she returned, with John Jnr., to live with her parents, John and Elsie Clucas, at 8 Park Road, Douglas. John Robert married Hilda Dean in Birkenhead, Cheshire, in the June quarter 1931. She was born on 4 January 1905. Their son, Robin, was born in Medway, Kent, in the March quarter 1932, followed by two daughters, each born in Louth, Lincolnshire, Myra in the March quarter 1938, and Mona in the September quarter 1936.

The family were still living at ‘Ash Dene’, Westcliffe Road, when Hilda died in the Bromhead Nursing Home, Lincoln, on 25 November 1940. In the June quarter 1941 John re-married, Margaret Elizabeth Dean, Hilda’s elder sister, probably in Ruskington.

Nothing else has been found for John either before or after the War. Margaret died, aged 74, in Liverpool, in the June quarter 1978.

 

Lieutenant Commander (227706) Alfred William NEWMAN, G.C.:  In 1939 Alfred and his wife, Alice, were living on Leasingham Lane, Ruskington. His civilian occupation was a “Poultry Farmer”, but remained on the Royal Navy Reserve, awaiting an appointment.

Alfred was born on 11 April 1888 at Prebendal House, Empingham, Rutland, the son of Alfred William and Jessie (née Reay) Newman. He had three older siblings, Mildred Elizabeth, Louisa Jane and Edwin Miles, and two younger brothers, Joseph James and Arthur Frederick.

Their mother died in the March quarter 1892 and on 11 June 1894 Miles re-married Agnes Emma Howard at Stamford Baron, Northamptonshire. They had four more children, Gerald Howard, Derwent Percy, Ivan Hector and Agnes Vera.

On 6 August 1903 Alfred enlisted in the Royal Navy, aged 15. His first posting was HMS Impregnable, formerly HMS Howe, a training ship. When he reached 18 he stood 5ft. 6ins. [ m] tall, and had dark brown hair, brown eyes and a ‘grey’ complexion. He served on many ships until promoted to ‘Gunner’ on 18 November 1915.

On 10 October 1917 while serving on HMS Tetrarch was an R-class destroyer, an alarm of fire was given in the aft magazine. Alfred was on the upper deck and seeing smoke issuing from a box of cordite, opened the lid and passed the cartridges on to the upper deck, where they were thrown into the sea. It is considered that by his prompt and gallant action, he saved the magazine from being blown up and the loss of many lives.

Alfred was personally presented with the Albert Medal by King George V on board HMS Curaçao at Harwich on 8 March 1918. The medal was later translated to a George Cross, awarded for “… acts of the greatest heroism or of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger.” The citation read:

The KING has been graciously pleased to confer the Albert Medal on:– Mr. Alfred William Newman, Acting Mate, R.N. The following is the account of the service in respect of which the Decoration has been conferred:– On the 10th October, 1917, an alarm of fire was given in the after magazine of one of H.M. ships.

Mr. Alfred William Newman, Acting Mate, R.N., who was on the upper deck, proceeded to the magazine as soon as he heard the alarm, and, seeing smoke issuing from a box of cordite, opened the lid and passed the cartridges on to the upper deck, where they were thrown overboard. One cartridge in the middle of the box was very hot, and smoke was issuing from one end. It is considered that, by his prompt and gallant action, Mr. Newman saved the magazine from blowing up and the loss of many lives.” (The London Gazette, 5 March 1918, 30557, p. 2783)

In the March quarter 1919 Alfred married Alice May Barnes in Oakham, Rutland. She was born on 1 June 1895 at St Botolphs, Lincolnshire. He retired from the Royal Navy in August 1922, was promoted to Lieutenant Commander (retired) in June 1927. He was recalled in 1939 because of his knowledge of boom defence work and was based in West Africa, Aden and Malta during World War II.

After the war Alfred was responsible for clearing a number of wrecks from Malta’s Grand Harbour, including the oil tanker, SS Ohio. Alfred retired from the Navy in 1948 to East Grinstead, where he died on 1 September 1984, aged 94, in St Catherine’s Nursing Home, Garland Road. His wife, Alice, had died in the December quarter 1973 in Uckfield, Sussex.

 

Corporal Jack NEWTON:  On 29 September 1944 “The Sleaford Gazette” reported:

Mr. and Mrs J. Newton, of White House Farm, Ruskington, had their eldest son Cpl. Jack Newton, R.A.S.C., returned home on leave on Tuesday of last week [20 September] after nearly five years abroad. Joining up in October, 1939, he was drafted abroad and arrived in Alexandria within 28 days via Cherbourg by train to Marseilles and calling on the way at Valetta. His service abroad was in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Italy.

He had the pleasure of coming across several of the village lads, also an old school pal – Pte. Les Porter, of Heckington – who he met at Alife, near Cassino, Local lads he came across were Cpl. Douglas Hodson, R.A.F., who he met on two occasions in Tunisia and at Cairo. He also spent two days with Cpl. Wesley Peatman, R.A.F.. in Tripoli. When in Cairo in a Finnish cafe in 1942, he met Mrs. Dorothy Smith, of North Parade, Sleaford, who returned home in July and is now a policewoman in Sleaford. Cpl. Newton says the old beer in England is not so bad and certainly better than the Vino in Italy.

Jack was born in Grantham, Lincolnshire, on 22 Jan 1916, the son of John (Farmer) and Dorothy Florence Elizabeth (née Brear) Newton. He had a younger sister, Dorothy, and a younger brother, Geoffrey. In 1939 (Register) they were living next to “The Red Lion”, High Street, Ruskington, and Jack was working as a ‘Tractor Driver’.

In the June quarter 1946 Jack married Irene Mary Elizabeth Knapp Williams, born on 1 February 1927, and they had one son, not named here for privacy purposes. Jack died on 26 May 1989, aged 73, at ‘Tobruk Cottage’, 65 Main Street, Dorrington. His widow, Irene, died at the same address on 1 October 1994, aged 67.

 

Flight Sergeant  332*** Alfred PASCOE:  The 1939 Register shows Alfred living with his wife, Mabel, and daughter, Marjorie, at Station Road, Ruskington. He was in the RAF, stationed at Cranwell. Alfred was born on 5 January 1900, Mabel on 30 July 1898 and Marjorie on 22 February 1921.

He was born at Ruan Lanihorne, Cornwall, the son of Alfred John (Farmer) and Selina Grace (née Richards) Pascoe and had 4 older sisters, Laura, Minnie, Lena and May. In the March quarter 1920 Alfred married Mabel Annie Medlyn at St Michaels Church, Helston, Cornwall.

Alfred died in Sithney, Cornwall, in the December quarter 1982 and Mabel in Kerrier, Cornwall, 7 years later. 

 

Aircraftman 2nd Class Wesley Knowles PEATMAN:   was born on 5 June 1917 at Wellingore, Lincolnshire, the son of Arthur Edward (Journeyman Housepainter) and Sarah Abigail Lamb (nêe Grayson) Peatman. He had an older sister, Margaret Agnes, born in Ruskington on 30 May 1915. Arthur served in WW1 as  Gunner 142899 Arthur Edward Peatman and more of their early family life is on his page on this site.

In 1939 (Register) the family was living at Hawthorn House, Station Road, Ruskington, and Wesley was employed in the R.A.F. No 10 Balloon Centre, RAF Cranwell. His sister, Margaret, was volunteering as an Air Raid Warden. Wesley was later posted overseas as Cpl. Jack Newton (see above) had spent two days with him in Tripoli.

On 21 February 1946, at St. Cuthbert’s Church, Portway Wells, Somerset, Wesley married Miss Marguerite (Peggy) Coleman, only child of Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Coleman, “Mendip View,” Portway, Wells, and they had two sons (not named here for privacy).

He died on 14 August 2001 in Alton, Hampshire, probably at 40 Willow Court, Ackender Road. His widow, Marguerite, died on 7 August 2014, also in Alton. 

 

Corporal Ernest Sylvester PENN:   “The Sleaford Gazette” (9 April 1943) reported that the wedding had taken place at All Saints Church on Tuesday, 30 March 1943, of Miss Dorothy May Corby, eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. Corby, Hillside Estate, and Corporal Ernest Sylvester Penn, R.E., only son of Mr. and Mrs. A. S. Penn, Manor Street. … The uncle of the bride, Ldg. Acm. Fred Corby, was best man.

Ernest was born on 27 February 1918, probably in Great Hale, Lincolnshire. He was the son, of Arthur Sylvester (Bricklayer) and Minnie (née Evans) Penn. In 1939 (Register) the three of them were living at ‘Valetta’, Westgate, Ruskington.

Nothing else has been found about Ernest, except that he died in Ruskington on 22 June 1997 and was cremated 4 days later. His parents, who died in the 1950s, are buried in adjacent Graves D.171 and D.172, Ruskington Cemetery.

 

Squadron Leader Reginald Yates (“George”) POWELL, D.F.C. and Bar, and Air Force Cross.  Reginald was born on 19 June 1911 at Temple Grange, Navenby, Lincolnshire. He was the son of George (Farmer) and Edith Elizabeth (nêe Watson) Powell and had 7 older brothers and sisters, Marjorie, George Baden, Nancy Margaret, Samuel Victor, William Watson, Edith Christine Alice and Dorothy Julia. A younger brother, David Hardy, died as a baby on 15 March 1917.

It seems the family grew up on the farm at Temple Grange, but by 1939 (Register) George and Edith had retired to live in Ruskington, at  the “Old Rectory”, Manor Street. Despite being 64 years old, Edith Elizabeth Powell was still volunteering as an Air Raid Warden.

On 11 December “The Sleaford Gazette” reported that George (Retired Farmer) and Edith had travelled with Reginald to Buckingham Palace when he was decorated with the Distinguished Flying Cross (D.F.C.) by the King at a recent investiture. “The Gazette” reported on his career so far:

This officer has completed large number of operational flying hours. He is a keen and efficient captain who has displayed great initiative and resource in the course of his tasks.

      In May, 1942, he made a skilful and successful attack on an enemy U-boat. During the same month he twice brought his flying-boat down on to the sea and effected rescues. In the first instance he rescued the crew of a Hudson aircraft who were afloat in their dinghy, and on the second occasion he rescued a dangerously wounded pilot. Flt.-Lieut. Powell has set an inspiring example.”

On 2 June 1944, Acting Squadron Leading Reginald Yates Powell, then serving with 202 Squadron, was awarded a Bar to his D.F.C. (i.e. a second award) [London Gazette, 2 June 1944, page 2535]

On 13 February 1948 Reginald arrived in New Zealand on interchange, for a period of two years. [The New Zealand Gazette. No. 23, page 446]

Whilst on this posting, on the King’s Birthday Honours List 1950, He was awarded the Air Force Cross. [The New Zealand Gazette. No. 42, page 840] It is granted for “an act or acts of exemplary gallantry while flying, though not in active operations against the enemy“.

George died in Ruskington on 21 January 1951 and was buried in St John the Baptist Churchyard, Temple Bruer. His widow, Edith, was buried with him after her death on 12 September 1953, aged 77.

Seven of their children were buried in the same Churchyard, including Reginald, after his death on 11 January 1987, aged 75. (Grave right)