They Also Served: S – Z

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 ‘S’ to ‘Z’.

Remembered on this page are:

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

 

Leading Aircraftman R176480 Ernest Max SEIFERT: On 4 May 1945 “The Sleaford Gazette” reported on the wedding of a local girl, Gwendoline Mary Mitchell, as follows:

The wedding by licence took place on Friday last week of Miss Gwendoline Mary Mitchell, eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. H. Mitchell, of “Ashdene”, Westcliffe Road, Ruskington, and L.a.c. Ernest Max Seifert, second son of Mr. and the late Mrs. Seifert, of Disley, Saskatchewan, Canada.

The Rector, the Rev. S. F. M. Dauncey, conducted the ceremony. The bride, given away by her father, was smartly attired in a powder blue costume with hat and veil to match and wore navy shoes and a spray of pink carnations and carried an ivory-backed prayer book (the gift of Mrs. Laxton). She also wore a string of pearls (the gift of her brother) who is serving with the 8th Army in Italy.

On 18 June 1946 she sailed from Liverpool to Canada on the MV Empire MacKendrick, part of a contingent of wives travelling to set up home with their new husband in Saskatchewan, Canada, who, during the war, was stationed at Coleby Grange aerodrome. Ernest’s service number was recorded on the ship’s documents, plus the fact that he was in the RCAF. [The Sleaford Gazette” 14 June 1946]

Gwendoline, nor her her parents, were living in Ruskington at the time of the 1939 Register, but on 18 December 1952 she arrived back at Liverpool on board the RMS Empress of Canada, bound for 6 Westcliffe Road, Ruskington. She had sailed from St John, New Brunswick, Canada. Her age on the ship’s documents was 29, so she must have been born c. 1923.

 

Signalman George Edward (Eddie) SHORT: On 2 March 1945 “The Sleaford Gazette” reported that:

Signalman Eddie Short is home on leave after serving 4 years abroad. He arrived home from Asia on Wednesday of last week [i.e. 21 February 1945]. He was employed in the Kesteven County Council offices at Sleaford, and had the pleasure of meeting a fellow employee – Jack Wright, of Sleaford.

Others he came in contact with were Neville Brown, Heckington, Jack Tindale and Cliff King, Sleaford, George Clarricoates, Rauceby, Douglas Hodson, Ruskington (the latter is now back in England), and his step-brother, Roy Cunnington (since killed in action). Private Don Headland and Private William Parkes, both of the Pioneer Corps, and Corporal Jack Page, of the Royal Corps of Signals, have also been on leave from the Western Front.

George was the son of George Henry and Ethel Maud (née Mant) Short and was born on 1 July 1910 at 65 Waterside North, Lincoln. He had a younger sister, Constance Irene, born on 10 October 1912.

Their mother, Ethel, died in February 1930 and in the September quarter 1931 their father, George, re-married Elizabeth Cunnington, widow of Pte. William Christopher Cunnington, killed in action on 24 October 1915 at Gallipoli. Their son, Roy, was, therefore, George’s step-brother. 

Before he was called-up George was employed as a “Local Government Clerk“, as was his sister. He also volunteered as an Air Raid Warden, as did his father, George Henry.

In the September quarter 1940 George had married Millicent Stevens in Hammersmith, London. She was born on 21 November 1916 at 11 Lydden Grove, Wandsworth. George died in Lincoln in 1982. Millicent died on 13 July 1994 and was cremated in Lincoln 6 days later.

 

Flight Lieutenant Graham Clyde SKELTON, D.F.C.: Graham was born on 27 September 1916 at Luton, Bedfordshire. He was the son of Joseph Bartholomew (Railway Clerk) and Lizzie (née Mowatt) Skelton and had an elder brother, John David Guthrie, born 28 December 1905.

In 1939 Graham was living with his father at 31 Lincoln Road, Luton, where Joseph died in the December quarter 1939. Graham’s mother, Lizzie, died in 1937. In the December quarter 1940 Graham married Dorothy Madeline Brunton, in Luton. They had two children, a girl and a boy, Ann in 1942 and John in 1946.

Graham enlisted in May 1940, and on 4 May 1943 he was commissioned Flight Lieutenant. (London Gazette, 20 July 1943, page 3280).  “The Sleaford Gazette” (29 April 1945) reported that Graham had been awarded the D.F.C. “.. in recognition of gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations“. The report went on to describe the action:

Flt.-Lt. Skelton has completed a first four of operations which has included attacks against such heavily defended targets as Stettin, Konigsberg, Bremen and Munich. Throughout all his missions he has displayed a great courage and tenacity of purpose.

In July, 1944, his aircraft was de- tailed to attack St. Leu d’Esserent. While over the target area his aircraft was attacked three times by a Junkers 88. During each attack dam- age was inflicted on the enemy fighter. By most skilful pilotage Flt.-Lieut. Skelton foiled the enemy and completed his bombing attack against this vital target.

His fine leadership and consistent devotion to duty has set a sterling example to all.”

Graham’s wife, Dorothy, died in Luton in the December quarter 1978, aged 68. Graham died in the March quarter 1988 in Ampthill, Bedfordshire, aged 71.

N.B. A film of Dresden raid, 2nd attack, February 13/14, 1945 “Night attack by Avro Lancaster bombers of the RAAF 463 Squadron against Dresden, Germany. Filmed by on board cameras. Camera plane piloted by Flight Lieutenant Skelton.” is in the Imperial War Museum Archive.

 

Leading Development Officer (?) David Lionel THOMAS:  On Thursday, 30 December a conscientious objector, who was said to have declared that he would sooner be shot than be a soldier, appeared at a special court at Sleaford charged with being an absentee without leave.

He was David Lionel Thomas, B.Sc., a Lecturer, from Church Street, Ruskington. On 28 December the Police at Sleaford had received a communication from the military authorities at Northampton that he had been a.w.o.l. since December 16th.

David Thomas said that: “He was perfectly willing to do any work in the national interest, and his previous experience made him of more use in civilian life than he would have been in the Army. Nothing on earth would induce him to obey a military order.

He had applied to be considered as a conscientious objector, but the appeal had been dismissed. The Chairman said the bench had decided to remand Thomas to await an escort back to his unit. It is not fully known in which Service he was serving.

It is possible that in 1939 (Register) he was living in Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset, born on 28 June 1903, a “Trained Mechanical Engineer” and employed in the RAF Education Service.

David was still living at 21 Church Street when he died in Lincoln Hospital on 10 July 1962. He was buried in Canwick Road Cemetery, Lincoln, aged 57.

 

Gunner 1592188 Leslie William TONG:  “The Sleaford Gazette” (28 September 1945) reported that on on Tuesday, 25 September 1945, Leslie married Dorothy Francis, daughter of Mrs. and the late Mr. C. L. Francis, of Vauxhall Villas, Westgate, Sleaford, at St. Denys’ Church, Sleaford.

Among the presents was: “A cheque from the officers and men of his unit with the British Army on the Rhine“. Following a reception at the bride’s home the couple left for a honeymoon in London.

Leslie was born on 30 August 1919, the youngest son of Frederick (Bricklayer) and Mary Annie (née Dixon) Tong, of Redburn, Westgate, Ruskington. He had two elder brothers, Frederick Hathaway and Orlando Alfred, and an elder sister, Mary.

Leslie enlisted in the Royal Artillery on 29 July 1940, joining 173 Field Regiment on 4 December 1944. On 9 October 1945 he returned to 8 Field Regiment, before his release on 30 April 1946, and to the Reserve on 11 July 1946.

Leslie’s parents are buried together in Graves A.261 and A,262, Ruskington Cemetery. Mary died on 5 April 1958, aged 75, and Frederick on 7 November 1967, aged 84.

After the War Leslie and his wife, Dorothy, returned to live in Ruskington, where he died at 49 Westcliffe Road, on 9 August 1975, aged 55. He was cremated 5 days later. Dorothy, who was born on 1 July 1919, died in the June quarter 2005, aged 86.

 

 

Major Anthony H WATTS:  “The Sleaford Gazette” of 2 March 1945 reported on a wedding of a young lady from a long established Ruskington family to an Army Major:

A wedding of local interest was solemnised on Friday last week [i.e. 22 February 1945] at St. Denys’ Church, Sleaford. The contracting parties were Major Antony H. Watts R.A., elder son of Mr. and Mrs. T. H. Watts, of Winchmore Hill, London, and Miss Barbara M. Reast, elder daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John F. Reast of Ruskington. Major Watts, who is home on leave from the B.L.A., where he is in command of a battery of artillery, having previously served with the 8th Army in Egypt, North Africa and Sicily.

The wedding was attended by a large number of friends both of the bride and bridegroom. The ceremony, which was groom. Following the ceremony, fully choral, was conducted by the Rector of Ruskington, the Rev. S. F. M. Dauncey, the Reception was held at the Lion Hotel. Sleaford, where about 50 guests were received and entertained. The happy couple are spending their honeymoon in Worcestershire.

The bride’s father, John Frances, and mother, Ethel, were living at ‘Hatton Villa’, Station Road, Ruskington (1939 Register)