They Also Served: A to F

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 ‘A’ to ‘F’.

Remembered on this page are:

scroll down buttonSCROLL DOWN – to read more about these Ruskington men and women, or  CLICK name. 


Private Irene Doris ANCLIFF:  On 2 June 1944 “The Sleaford Gazette” carried the following announcement of the marriage of a young lady of village who was serving in the Auxiliary Territorial Service (A.T.S.):

On Tuesday of last week [i.e. 22 May] Miss Irene Doris Ancliff, A.T.S., only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Ancliff, Leasingham Lane, Ruskington, was married by special licence at St. Paul’s Church, Thornaby on Tees, to Corporal Alfred Boston, eldest son of Mrs. Scott and the late Mr. Boston, of Thornaby on Tees. Mr. Alan Scott, the bridegroom’s step-brother, was best man.

Irene was born on 16 October 1911, in Barrowby, Grantham, the daughter of Joseph Ellis (Police Constable) and Mary Ann (née Blackbourn) Ancliff. She had an elder brother, Donald Ellis, and a younger brother, Victor.

Nothing else has been found about Irene or Alfred’s lives after the War. She died, aged 86, in the Stockton District, Durham, in the December quarter 1997.

Lance Corporal (Donald or Victor) ANCLIFF:  One of  Irene’s brothers,  name not known was also serving in the Army, as “The Sleaford Gazette” reported on 23 March 1945:

Lance-Corporal Aneliffe, of Leasingham Lane, Ruskington, is serving in a dual capacity on the Western Front. Apart from his service as a soldier he is also one of the stars in the concert party called “The Bailey Jerboas.”

They give a two-hours programme of variety and sketches. The village people where they are stationed have backed the troops up by lending all kinds of costumes and the concert party has given a first-class show in the village hall.      


Gunner Harry Charles S.T. ARPAD:The Sleaford Gazette” of 27 March 1942 reported: “The wedding took place a at the Registry Office, Sleaford, on Wednesday, [25 March] of Miss Edith Mary Rushby, fourth daughter of Mr. and Mrs. H. C. Rushby, Moor Farm, Sleaford Road, Ruskington, and Gunner Harry C. S. T. Arpad, R.A., of Worcester. The bride was attired in a red-embroideredblack moroccan dress and silver grey coat, with hat, shoes and gloves to tone.”

Edith Mary was in fact Edith Millicent, born 1 December 1919. Her parents were Henry Chambers (Farmer) and Susannah (née Willoughby) Rushby. She had nine elder siblings, John Henry, Agnes Esther, Christopher Overton, Sarah Fanny, James Edward, Olive Elizabeth, Raymond Willoughby (died aged 5 in 1919) and George Ernest.

Henry died on 10 December 1956 in St George’s Hospital, Lincoln. His widow, Susannah, on 2 November 1959. They are buried together in Grave KK108, Sleaford Cemetery.

Harry Charles Arpad was born on 10 April 1919 in Kingston, Surrey. It is not known when he joined the Royal Artillery or where he served. Harry and Edith had one son, born in the December quarter 1949 (not named here for privacy reasons). They were living at 46 Westminster Road, Worcester, about 1960.

Harry died in Worcester in the June quarter 1990, aged 71. Just before her death Edith was living at 67 Back Lane South, Worcester. She died on 4 May 2003, aged 84, in Worthing, Sussex. 


Private Arthur BARRITT:   “The Sleaford Gazette” of 28 June 1940 reported: “The wedding took place at the parish church [All Saints’, Ruskington] on Saturday [22 June] of Miss Dorothy Ethel How, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. H. G. How, of Rectory Road, and Private Arthur Barritt. youngest son of Mr and Mrs. Barritt, of Hannington, Northamptonshire. The Rev. S. F. M. Dauncey officiated.

Arthur was born on 20 April 1917 at Walgrave Road, Hannington, the fifth son of Alfred and Mary Elizabeth (née Ward) Barritt, who married on 6 October 1898 at All Saints Church, Pytchley, Northamptonshire. His four elder brothers were William James (born 14 November 1905), Richard Ernest (b. 3 November 1910), John Henry (b. 20 December 1912) and Robert Oliver (b. 6 December 1914). All 5 boys were born in Hannington.

Arthur’s father served as Pte. 122277 Alfred Barritt, 8 Coy., R.A.M.C. in WW1, enlisting aged 41 yrs. 10 mths. on 20 July 1917. He was discharged to the Reserve with a disability pension (hernia) on 20 March 1919.

Alfred died on 31 March 1940, aged 65, and his widow, Mary, on 16 April 1949, aged 71. They are buried together in Hannington Churchyard (right).

The Sleaford Gazette” report above added: “The presents included the wedding cake, which was given by Mr. and Mrs. Caswell, of Kettering, where the bride is employed“. Up to her wedding, Dorothy (b. 18 May 1918) was working as a ‘Maid‘ in the home of Herbert (Shoe Manufacturer) and Florence Caswell at Piper’s Hill Road, Kettering.

The couple returned to live in Northampton, where they had 4 children (not named here for privacy). Dorothy died on 16 August 2001, aged 83, and was cremated 6 days later, and Arthur died on 16 December 2006, aged 89. His address at the time was 73 Ruskin Road, Northampton.

Private Barritt had little connection to Ruskington, except through his marriage. Nothing else has been found about his Military Service.

Arthur uncle, his father’s younger brother, Pte. 9303 Arthur Barritt, 1st Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment, was killed in action at Aubers Ridge on 9 May 1915 and is commemorated on Le Touret Memorial.


Sergeant 561465 George Douglas BEAGARIE:  The 1939 Register shows George and his wife, Betty, living with Edwin (Woodworker) and Jane Hanwell, on Manor Street, Ruskington. George was in the R.A.F. in the The Electrical and Wireless School which had moved from Flowerdown to Cranwell in 1929. (Just prior to the outbreak of the Second World War the name of the School was changed from The Electrical and Wireless School to No. 1 Signal School.)

George was born on 11 June 1911 in Portsmouth, Hampshire, the son of James and Helen (née Foxwell) Beagarie.  His wife, Betty (née Budd), was born on 10 April 1916 at 30 Addison, Road, Guildford. She was the daughter of Charles and Constance (née Gibson) Budd.

She married George on 30 June 1939 and they had one son, David, born 2 April 1943. 

With effect from 23 October 1943 George was promoted to Pilot Officer (53328) [London Gazette – 28 December 1943] The 1945 Service Register shows George (and Betty) living at 7 Lindsay Road, New Haw, Weybridge, Surrey. In 1952 they had been serving in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe or Zambia) and returned to live at 70 Addison Road, Guildford, Surrey, on board RMS Edinburgh Castle, arriving in Southampton on 26 September.

Betty died in the June quarter 1994, aged 78, probably in Guildford. George died, aged 87, in the December quarter 1998.


Aircraftman (?) Richard Keith BEST:  was born in the December quarter 1913 at Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire, the son of William and Ellen (née Penny) Best. He had an older Sister, Doris May, and two younger siblings, Phyllis Irene and Delbert George. Both parents died in the 1920s.

Richard married Winifred Mabel Pickford (born 24 November 1915) in the September quarter 1939, probably at All Saints’ Church, Ruskington. They had two children, not named here for privacy. The 1939 Register shows Richard based at R.A.F. Calshot.

Richard was living at 25 Jubilee Street, Ruskington, when he died on 4 July 1959. His widow, Winifred Mabel, died in June 1971, aged 55. They are buried together in Grave D.283, Ruskington Cemetery.


Aircraftman William P. BIRD: In 1939 William was serving as a Batman in the RAF, living on High Street, Ruskington, with his wife, Ethel, and children, Florence, Edward and Monica. William was born on 21 June 1896, Ethel on 30 December 1897, Florence on 3 May 1919, Edward on 21 December 1924 and Monica on 27 December 1926.

William had married Ethel Fanny Leuty in Holbeach, Lincolnshire, in the June quarter 1921, they had one daughter, Monica, . Her parents were Henry Thomas (Engine Driver) and Jane (née Guy) Leuty. William was the 5th, of 8, children of Henry and Margaret Emma (née Thwaite) Bird.

Ethel died in the March quarter 1961, aged 62, at East Elloe, Lincolnshire. William died in the December quarter 1971, aged 72, also at East Elloe. (East Elloe was a rural district in Holland, Lincolnshire from 1894 to 1974.)


Flight Lieutenant Sidney Charles BLACK, M.M.: The 1939 Register shows Sidney lodging at ‘Chalonders’, Station Road, Ruskington, the home of Edward and Mary Frisby, and serving as a Flight Lieutenant in the RAF.

He was born on 4 October 1892 at King William’s Town, Amatole, Eastern Cape, South Africa. He was the son of George Henry and Mary Anne (née Stratford) Black and had an elder sister, Charlotte, an elder brother, Harry Lewis, and three younger siblings, John George, Bella Jane, and Percival William.

Sidney’s brother, Private 14902 Percival William Black, was killed in action on 23 March 1918. He is buried in Roye New British Cemetery.

Living next door to Sidney in Ruskington in 1939, with the family of William and Annie Baldock, was Gladys Clarke, who was volunteering for A.R.P. duties as well as being employed as a “Corsetiere”. 

Gladys and Sidney were married in Paddington, London, on 4 May 1945. Sidney died, aged 84, in Brighton, Sussex, in the September quarter 1977. It is likely that Gladys died in the Exeter area in the September quarter 1961, aged 63

Sidney joined 24 Squadron on 23 March 1920 and transferred to No. 45 Squadron, Middle East Area, Egyptian Group, on 22 June 1921. He became “Non-Effective (Leave)” on 27 April 1922, and was placed on the Retired List from the RAF at his own request on 18 November 1928, after being awarded the Military Medal, so, presumably, was recalled at the beginning of WW2 (London Gazette, 11 December 1928, p.8173).


Warrant Officer 363520 George BONE:  The 1939 Register shows George was born on 26 November 1907 and was living on Westgate, Ruskington. He was serving in the R.A.F. in the No. 1, Electrical and Wireless School, Cranwell.

George was married but the name of the person living with him in 1939 has been redacted. The name of his wife, children, etc. have not been found.


Captain Denis Frederick BROWN, M.C., MiD.: Denis was born on 24 February 1917, the eldest son of the son of Frederick William and Violet (née Spence) Brown, living at ‘The Chestnuts’, Station Road, Ruskington, in 1939. William was an “Agricultural Merchant”. Denis had an younger brother, Philip William Spence, born 13 April 1918 (see below) and a younger sister, Audrey Spencer, born 22 December 1920. 

…… on “The Brown Family” page      


Leading Aircraftman Henry Sands BROWN:  In 1939 Henry was living with his parents, Albert George (Farmer) and Anne Elizabeth (née Overton) Brown, at ‘The Gables’, Chestnut Street, Ruskington. He was the only child and was born on 7 March 1921. Henry was employed as an “Auctioneers Articled Pupil” with Messrs. William H. Brown & Son, Sleaford.

N.B. William Henry Brown was born in Ruskington in 1869, the illegitimate son of Harriett Brown. From very humble beginnings, he built up a very successful business as an “Auctioneer and Hay and Corn Merchant”. When he died on 21 December 1935, his estate was valued at £15,700 – equivalent to about £1,400,000 today [2024]. Henry’s father, Albert, was William’s second son, i.e. Henry’s grandfather.

It is not known when Henry enlisted in the RAF but ‘The Sleaford Gazette’ of  25 February 1944 reported his wedding to Corporal Mary Plummer Tweed, W.A.A.F., only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. L. Tweed, of Bath Street, Glasgow, the 19th. The wedding took place in  took place in St. Mary’s Cathedral and a Reception was held at The Grosvenor, Gordon Street, Glasgow, “… pipers playing in bride and bridegroom, and striking up again as the train on which they left for their honeymoon in Edinburgh steamed out of the station“.

After the War Henry and Mary had three children, not named here for privacy. When Henry’s father, Albert, died on Christmas Day 1963, his estate was left to Henry, described in Probate as “Auctioneer“.

Mary died on 16 September 1978 in South Rauceby, Sleaford, aged 58. Henry was 97 when he died on 21 July 2018 in Greenacres Care Home, Heckington, Lincolnshire. 


Bombardier (later Captain) 906166 Philip William Spence BROWN, M.M.: Philip was born on 13 April 1918, the youngest son of the son of Frederick William and Violet (née Spence) Brown, living at ‘The Chestnuts’, Station Road, Ruskington, in 1939. William was an “Agricultural Merchant”. Philip had an elder brother, Denis Frederick, born 24 February 1917 (see above) and a younger sister, Audrey Spencer, born 22 December 1920.

…… on “The Brown Family” page 


Leading Aircraftsman 511358 Harold George BUCK:   In 1939 Harold was living with his wife, Florence, at ‘The Brambles’, Westcliffe, Ruskington. He was employed as a ‘Stores Clerk’ in the R.A.F.

Harold was born on 14 March 1910 at Mount Stret, Diss, Norfolk, and his wife on 16 July 1907. They were married on 19 October 1935 at Old Catton, Norfolk. Harold was born in Depwade, Norfolk, the son of William George and Ellen Mary Ann (née Trett) Buck and had a younger brother, Leonard John. Their mother, Ellen died in 1914 and their father remarried Beatrice Rosalinda Woolnough. They had one daughter. Peggy Joan, born in 1922.

Harold’s father enlisted in the 3/6th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment, on 25 May 1915. At that time he, and his sons, were living at Lakenham, Norfolk. He was discharged on 5 March 1919.

Harold and Florence were living at 2 Taylor’s Lane, St. Faith’s Road, Old Catton, Norfolk, when he died, aged 33, on 26 March 1943, in The Sanatorium, Kelling, Norfolk. In the June quarter 1949 Florence re-married, Percy Walter Lidington, in Norwich. He had served in WW1 in the Royal Fusiliers. She died, aged 83, at 3 Catton Court, St. Faith’s Road, Old Catton, on 2 August 1990.


Sergeant  356283 Leonard Clifford BURNETT:  The 1939 Register shows Leonard (born 7 July 1904), his wife, Alice Mary (born 3 August 1899) and their son, Peter (born 14 June 1932), living at ‘One Elm’, Lincoln Road, Ruskington. Leonard was serving in the R.A.F. in the No. 1, Electrical and Wireless School, Cranwell. Living with them was 71 year old Thomas Hunt, Alice’s widowed father.

When Leonard married Alice on 29 November 1930 at the Emmanuel Church, Paddington, London, he was already enlisted in the R.A.F. serving at Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire.

Leonard was born in Ramsgate, Kent, the son of Clifford (Schoolmaster) and Elizabeth Alice (née Lock) and had two younger brothers, Malcolm Basil and Bernard Roy. In 1911 they were living at The Green, 3 Bradford Buildings, Warlingham, Kent.

Leonard and Alice were living at 10 The Close, Melksham, Wiltshire, when he died at St Martin’s Hospital, Bath, on 12 November 1960, aged 56. Alice died at the same home address on 12 March 1985, aged 85.


Leading Aircraftmen Bernard BUTLER, MiD:  The Sleaford Gazette” of 26 January 1945 made the following announcement:

In the list of awards and decorations published in the “London Gazette” dated the 29th December 1944, appears the name of Lac Bernard Butler, who, it is announced, has been Mentioned in Despatches. Lac Butler becomes eligible to wear the Oak Leaf Emblem recently instituted in the R.A.F.

Bernard Butler is the son of Mr. and Mrs. F. Butler, of Silver Street, and has served in the R.A.F. since 1940. He is an old boy of Ruskington Senior School and Carre’s Grammar School, Sleaford, and prior to joining the R.A.F. he was a civil servant employed in the Sleaford and Grantham district for many years.” [i.e. the “Unemployment Board”)]

Bernard was born on 15 March 1913 in Sleaford, Lincolnshire, the son of Frederick and Ada (née Pickett) Butler. He had 4 older siblings, Frederick, Elsie Sarah, Ernest and Albert, and a younger brother, Arthur Raymond. As stated above, at the beginning of the War Bernard and his brother, Arthur, were living with their parents at 4 Silver Street.

In the September quarter 1940 Bernard married Gwendoline Mary Lizzie Thick in Grantham. She was born on 19 January 1916 and was working with her father, Frank, as a “Munitions Clerk” in Local Government. They had 3 daughters – not named here for privacy.

Bernard and Gwendoline were living in Grantham when their children were born.  Bernard died on his 88th birthday, 15 March 2001, in the Grantham District. His widow, Gwendoline, was 82 when she died on 16 November 2008.


Sergeant James CARTER: On Saturday 14 January 1942 the wedding took place in All Saints’ Church, Ruskington, between Annie Gwendoline Picker and Sergeant James Carter, R.A., youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. E. A. Carter, of Leicester. The rector, the Rev. S. F. M. Dauncey, conducted the ceremony. “The bride, who was given away by her father, was attired in a gown of white satin with veil and head-dress of white velvet roses and carried an ivory-backed prayer book.” [‘The Sleaford Gazette“, 20 January]

Annie was the daughter of Thomas (Farm Labourer) and Jessie (née King) Picker of  Westcliff Road, Ruskington. She was born on 7 December 1918 and had an elder sister, Edna May, born 26 May 1912, and an elder brother, Thomas Edward, born 25 September 1916. At the time of her marriage she was employed as a ‘Pea Picker’.

Fusilier 6981423 Thomas Edward PICKER, 6th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, was killed in Action on 16 April 1943, aged 26, and is commemorated on this site.

Nothing else has been found about James, other than he was in the Royal Artillery. After the War they either settled in, or returned to, Ruskington.

Annie died in April 2002, aged 83, and was buried on 2 May in Grave E.370, Ruskington Cemetery, with her husband, James, who died in May 1994. Her parents, Thomas, died 15 March 1958 (aged 73), and Jessie, died 17 November 1956 (aged 74), and now lie in Graves D.260 and D.261.


Sergeant 379069 Arthur Nathan Murray CLARKE:   In 1939 Arthur and his wife, Muriel, a District Nurse, were living on Westgate, Ruskington, the home of widow, Elizabeth Edwards, aged 63. Arthur was serving in the R.A.F.

Arthur was born on 10 March 1904, in Mundesley, Norfolk, and Muriel (née Caig) on 14 March 1914, in Keswick, Cumberland. They married in the Sleaford District (possibly in Ruskington) in the June quarter 1939. They had one daughter, Constance, born in the March quarter 1940. Arthur’s parents were Nathan and Constance (née Murray).

He enlisted in the RAF on 28 September 1925, aged 21. He was 5ft 7ins (1.70 m.) tall, had brown hair, grey eyes and a ‘fresh’ complexion.

Muriel died in Eastriggs, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, on 17 December 1964, aged 50. Arthur was 88 when he died on 29 December 1992 in Aylsham, Norfolk.


Gunner 1761205 Cecil Burkes CLARKE:  At the outbreak of WW2 Cecil was living on Leasingham Lane, Ruskington, with his parents, William (Retired Labourer)and Fanny Elizabeth (née Barrand) Clarke, and younger brother, Stanley. Cecil was employed as a “Heavy Worker”. He also had six older siblings, Louisa Ellen, Lillian Victoria, Leslie William (see below), Annie Kathleen, Nora Evelyn and Kenneth Henry.

Cecil was born on 1 June 1909 at Silk Willoughby, Sleaford, and enlisted on 16 January 1941. He was serving with the 48 Battery, 21st Light Anti Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery, when he was captured in Java on 8 March 1942. He became a prisoner of war firstly in Coan School and then, from 10 August 1943, at Cycle Camp, Batavia, Java.

Cecil’s father, William, did not live long enough to see his son return as he died in October 1945, aged 80, and was buried on the 12th in Grave D.126, Ruskington Cemetery. His widow, Fanny, was buried alongside him, in Grave 127, on 18 January 1967, after her death, aged 92.

“The Sleaford Gazette”, 7 December 1945, under the headline “P.0.W. Home“, reported:

Son of Mrs and the late Mr. Clarke, Leasingham Lane, Gnr. C. B. Clarke, who was taken prisoner by the Japanese three and a half years ago at Java, and has spent part of his time in Sumatra, Thailand and Singapore is home again.

When liberated he weighed only 6 stones 10 lbs. [42.6 kgs.] but having spent 3 months in the British General Hospital at Bangalore he has recovered considerably from his ordeal. His many friends wish him good luck and best wishes for a happy future.

Cecil died four years before his mother, in September 1962, aged 53. He was buried on the 25th in Grave E.29, Ruskington. His older brother, Private 42613 Leslie William Clarke, died of wounds on 20 November 1918 and is commemorated on this site.


Corporal 305823 Henry COATES:  The 1939 Register shows Henry living at ‘Montclare’, Lincoln Road, Ruskington, and an “Airman” in the R.A.F. At the same address were other members of the Coates’ family: Janet (born 21 May 1905), Terence M. (b. 22 October 1936) and Florence M(ary) (b. 7 August 1910). As Henry was born on 21 May 1905, the most likely relationships are: Janet – Henry’s wife, Terence – their son, and Florence – his sister (noted as being an “Invalid“).

The 1911 Census shows a Henry and a Florence Mary Coates, of correct ages, living with their parents, Henry (Coal Miner) and Mary Jane (née Bamborough) at 2 Windson Street, North Road, Darlington, Durham. Henry had an elder sister, Esther, and, as well as Florence, younger sisters, Mabel and Mary Ann.

According to his birth record, Terence was born in the Sleaford District (possibly Ruskington) and his mother’s maiden name was ‘Brown’. Henry (Harry) married Janet in the March quarter 1935 in Darlington. Henry died on 3 July 1970 at 65 Bowes Road, Newton Aycliffe, Durham, aged 65.


Trooper John W. COCK: John was born on 17 February 1916, the son of John Henry (Painter) and Carrie Parker (née Garfit) Cock, living at Victoria Terrace, Station Road, Ruskington, in 1939. He had a younger sister, Ethel M. (born 26 February 1919 – later Mrs. Turan)

He joined the Royal Tank Corps on the outbreak of war and was posted to North Africa early in 1943.The Sleaford Gazette” of 9 May 1943 reported that John was formerly employed in the “Sleaford Gazette” office, and had been wounded in North Africa on Good Friday, 23 April 1943,  when serving with the 1st Army

In his letter to his parents, from a hospital a few miles from Algiers, he wrote that he was doing well and his chief injury was a broken thigh, which he received when taking part in a fierce tank battle north of Medjez-el-bab, which lasted for several days. He added: “We are very well looked after, and though I am one of those who fell by the roadside I haven’t regretted taking part in this campaign. The French were very good to us. I lost most of my kit, but I managed to retrieve my hand kit, which was by my side when the balloon went up.

Nothing further has been found about John after the War. There is no available record of a marriage, nor any children.

John’s mother, Carrie, was widowed and living at 109 Clare Street, Northampton, when she died in Northampton General Hospital on 28 February 1954, aged 72. She was buried in Grave D.146, Ruskington Cemetery, alongside her husband, John Henry, who died, aged 67, in September 1948 and was buried on the 23rd.


Corporal 514713 William R. COLLINS:   The 1939 Register shows William living in Silver Street, Ruskington, with his wife, Emily G. (née Watts). They had married in the June quarter 1938 in Lewisham, London.

William was serving in the R.A.F., based at Cranwell No. 2 Wing, Electrical and Wireless School. He was born on 10 August 1909 and Emily on 1 February 1913. Apart from living in Ruskington during William’s posting to Cranwell, they had no other links to the village.

Emily remarried Arthur G. Spriggs in Peterborough, in the June quarter 1975, presumably after William’s death.   


Leading Aircraftman Fred CORBY: The Sleaford Gazette” (9 April 1943) reported that the wedding had taken place at All Saints Church, Ruskington, on Tuesday, 30 March 1943, of Miss Dorothy May Corby and Corporal Ernest Sylvester Penn, R.E. “The uncle of the bride, Ldg. Acm. Fred Corby, was best man.

In 1939 (Register) Fred and his wife, Phyllis, were living at ‘Park House’, Westcliffe, Ruskington. He was born in Ruskington on 27 July 1905, the son of Henry and Jane (née Cater) Corby, and had 4 older siblings, Gertrude, Mary Eliza, Maud Mary and Joseph Henry. Henry and Jane died in Ruskington and are buried in adjacent Graves B.181 and B.182 Ruskington Cemetery.

In the June quarter 1933 Fred married Phyllis Olga May Andrew, probably at All Saints’ Church, Ruskington. They had two children, a son, Keith, born in the June quarter 1934, and a daughter, Olga, born June quarter 1937.

Phyllis was born on 26 February 1911 and died, aged 74, in the March quarter 1985. Fred died in the March quarter the following year, aged 80.


Private Ernest Edwin CUTLER: The Sleaford Gazette” of 29 October 1943 carried the following announcement under the headline “JOY IN RUSKINGTON“:

The news quickly spread through Ruskington on Monday, [25 October] that Private Ernest Cutler, third son of Mr. and Mrs. Cutler, of Hillside Estate, had arrived at Leith. Mr. and Mrs. Cutler received a telegram from him stating he had arrived and was going into hospital for medical examination.

In the first call-up of the Militia, Pte. Cutler was also one of the first Ruskington men to be wounded and taken prisoner 3 years ago when serving in the Lincolnshire Regiment in Norway. His wounds were serious, comprising injuries to his right leg, left hand and arm, and, as a result, he was in hospital about two years. His letters home were always most cheerful. Mr. and Mrs. Cutler have four sons, all serving in the Army..

The 1939 Register shows William (Agricultural Worker) and Mary Ann (née Addlesee) Cutler and their three sons, living on Fen Road, Ruskington. (Ernest had already left for War Service).

Ernest was born in Ruskington on 10 July 1918. In the September quarter 1944 he married Edith Anne Smith. She was born on 17 October 1920 and before their wedding she lived with her parents, William and Isabella, on West Gate, Ruskington. Ernest died in Lincoln in the September quarter 1972, aged 54. His widow, Edith, also died in Lincoln on 28 March 1985.

His mother, Mary, was 67 when she died and was buried in Grave D.232, Ruskington Cemetery on 22 April 1955. William was buried next to her on 30 March 1966, after his death, aged 78.


Private Frederick Levi CUTLER: – see above. Frederick was the eldest of the brothers, born in Ruskington on 15 January 1915. The 1939 Register shows him living with his parents, William (Agricultural Worker) and Mary Ann (née Addlesee) Cutler on Fen Road, Ruskington. Little is known of his Army career, other than, like his brother, Horace, he served with the “Central Mediterranean Forces”.

In the March quarter 1940 he married Dora M. Starbuck in the Boston District. She was born in 1917 and died in 1968. Frederick died in the June quarter 1968.


Private Herbert CUTLER:  – see above. Herbert was born on 30 May1924 in Ruskington. The 1939 Register shows him living with his parents, William (Agricultural Worker) and Mary Ann (née Addlesee) Cutler on Fen Road, Ruskington. Little is known of his Army career, other than in 1943 he was still stationed in England.

On 8 May 1943 Herbert married Marjorie Irene Wright in Digby, Lincolnshire. She was born on 6 April 1925. They had two children, Molly Marjorie, born 1 Aug 1944 (died 6 November 1913) and Leslie William, born 27 May 1947 (died 15 January 2005).

Marjorie died in Bracebridge Heath, Lincoln, on 18 January 2004, aged 79. Herbert was 80 when he died on 27 January 2005.


Private Horace William CUTLER: – see above. Horace was born 26 July 1916. The 1939 Register shows him living with his parents, William (Agricultural Worker) and Mary Ann (née Addlesee) Cutler on Fen Road, Ruskington. Little is known of his Army career, other than, like his brother, Frederick, he served with the “Central Mediterranean Forces”.

On 14 February 1952 Horace married Kathleen Agnes Jackson at  St. Denys’ Church, Kirkby La Thorpe, Lincolnshire. Horace died on 18 December 1987 in the Boston District, Lincolnshire


Squadron Leader Frederick Claude DAUBNEY:  The 1939 Register shows Frederick living at ‘Ennerdale’, Lincoln Road, Ruskington, with his wife, Louisa, and their son.

He was born on 31 March 1911 at Winterton, Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, the elder son of Thomas William and Gertrude (née Marshall) Daubney. On 29 December 1934 Frederick married Louisa Verricombe Appleyard (born 17 July 1909) at St Margaret’s Church, Laceby, Lincolnshire. Louisa died in Barnet, London, on 1 March 1942 and was buried in St Margaret’s Churchyard, Laceby.

On 7 June 1943 Fred, by then a Wing Commander, re-married, Diana Merea Powell (born 5 March 1910) at the King’s Chapel of the Savoy, a church in Westminster, London. After the War they lived at 20 Stafford Place, London, and Frederick was employed as a “Civil Servant”. They had a further 3 children. (press photo right)

He had enlisted in the RAF as an ‘Aircraft Apprentice’ on 7 September 1926, aged 15 years 168 days. He stood 5ft. 9ins. [1.75 m.] tall, had dark hair, brown eyes and a ‘fresh’ complexion. His Service Number was 560601 and was Commissioned on 13 August 1929, becoming Squadron Leader (Technical Branch) on 24 April 1940 (London Gazette, 4 October 1940, page 5833).

Frederick died in Hereford on 9 January 1975, aged 63. Diana died in the September quarter 1998 in Leominster, Herefordshire. 


Corporal 57167 David John “Taff” DAVIES:  On 2 July 1943 the following notice appeared in “The Sleaford Gazette“:

The death occurred in Grantham hospital on June 20th, at the age of 42, of Mrs. Mary Ann Davies, wife of Corporal David J. Davies, Westcliff, Ruskington. The funeral service was held at the parish church on the following Wednesday, [23 June], conducted by the Rev. S. F. M. Dauncey.”

As well as Corporal Davies, the chief mourners were: “Mrs. Taylor (daughter), Jim Davies (son), Mrs. Pergoli (sister), Cyril Davies (son), Mr. S. Headland (brother) ….”, which would suggest Mary Ann came from the village ‘Headland’ family, the daughter of Frederick and Fanny (née Daniel).

She was buried in Grave D.110, Ruskington Cemetery. Her sons, Cyril (above) and William James were buried with her in September 1986 and September 1990, respectively.

David was born on 17 March 1898 at Briton Ferry, Glamorgan, Wales and Mary in Ruskington on 17 October 1900. They married in All Saints’ Church, Ruskington, on 14 February 1920, and had 9 children, Francis Lilian, David James (died as a baby in 1925), William James, Cyril, Derrick John, Marion, Colin, Carol Megan and Gladys.

David had enlisted in the Army on 5 September 1916, transferring to the R.F.C. on 23 January 1917 (R.A.F. from 1 April 1918). David was discharged on 20 May 1920. He and Mary lived at West Gate, Ruskington.

The 1939 Register shows the family living in the Council Houses, Ruskington, and David was working as a “Waiter” in the Officers’ Mess, RAF Cranwell.

In the September quarter 1946 David re-married Ivy M. Boothby, also in Ruskington. He died in August 1977, aged 79, and was buried on 3 September in Grave E.218, Ruskington. His son, Colin, was buried with him in July 1985.


Private Horace Samuel DAYBLES:   ‘ The Sleaford Gazette‘ of 5 April 1940 reported: “At St. Mary’s church, Lincoln, on Saturday [30 March], the wedding took place of Miss Dorothy May Fowler, second daughter of Mr. W. Fowler, Longtoft Fen, Peterborough, and Private Horace S. Daybles, youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. S. Daybles, “Chingra Carl,” Westcliffe Road, Ruskington. The ceremony was performed by the Rev. Stubbs. The bride was given away by her father, and wore a coat of Air Force blue with dress, hat and shoes to tone.It went on: “…. Private H. S. Daybles, who is home on leave from the B.E.F., was called up in September.” 

Horace was born on 14 March 1916, in Rotherham. He was the son of Samuel (Bricklayer) and Gertrude (née Corby) and had 2 younger sisters, Vera and Jean. His father served in WW1 at Private 21058 Samuel DAYBLES and is commemorated on this site.

Horace was 71 when he died in Manchester in the March quarter 1988. Dorothy (pictured right in later life) died in the March quarter 2003 in Newark, Nottinghamshire.


Private Alice DICKINSON (A.T.S.):    The Sleaford Gazette” of 19 May 1944 announced:  “Wedding Abroad. – Private Alice Dickinson, A.T.S., E.F.L., daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Dickinson, 24 Hillside Estate, who is serving in the N.A.A.F.I. overseas in Cairo, was married on April 22nd at St. Michaels and All Angels’ Church, Heliopolis, to Sergt. Walter O. Slater, R.A.F., second son of Mr. and Mrs. Slater, of 22, Whitchurch Road Shrewsbury.”

The 1939 Register shows that Alice’s widowed mother, Fanny (née Chamberlain), was living at Hillside, with her son, John C. Other family names are redacted. Her father, John William, had died in January 1937 and was buried in Grave D.61, Ruskington Cemetery. Fanny was buried alongside side him after her death in March 1963,

Alice was born on 1 March 1923 in Heckington, Lincolnshire. She had 6 younger siblings, John Charles, Kitty (see below), June, Raymond, Rita and Berridge. Walter Oliver Slater (right) was born on 24 October 1919 in Llangollen, Denbighshire, Wales. After the War they returned to live in Ruskington where they had three children – not named here for privacy.

[In December 1941, Parliament passed the National Service Act, which called up unmarried women between 20 and 30 years old to join one of the auxiliary services.]

Alice died in Ruskington on 31 January 1999 and Walter on 22 April 2000. They are buried together in Grave D.367, Ruskington Cemetery.


Cpl. Kitty DICKINSON (A.T.S.):  The Sleaford Gazette” of 2 January 1942 announced: “The wedding took place at Northampton on Saturday week [i.e. 20 December 1941] of Miss Kitty Dickinson, A.T.S., second daughter of Mrs and the late Mr. J. Dickinson, of Hillside, Eastgate, and Corporal A(rthur) W(alter) T(homas) Jell(e)y, R.A S.C., second son of Mr. and Mrs. Jelly, of Edgeware.

The 1939 Register shows that Kitty’s widowed mother, Fanny (née Chamberlain), was living at Hillside, with her son, John C. Other family names are redacted. Her father, John William, had died in January 1937 and was buried in Grave D.61, Ruskington Cemetery. Fanny was buried alongside side him after her death in March 1963,

Kitty was born in the September quarter 1922. She had 2 elder siblings, Alice (see above) and John Charles, and 4 younger, June, Raymond, Rita and Berridge. Arthur Jelley was born on  8 August 1919, the son of Charles William and Alice Ellen (née Tennant) Jelley.

Arthur died on 2 January 2006. His remains were cremated at Hendon Cemetery and Crematorium on the 10th. Kitty died on 22 October 2009. Her remains were also cremated at Hendon Cemetery and Crematorium on the 29th. 


Private 4807481 Robert Ernest DONNISON: Robert was born 21 October 1913, the second son of Robert and Florence Mary (née Emery) Donnison. He had an elder brother Leonard, born 4 April 1912, and two younger siblings, Florence Edna, born 25 July 1915, and Herbert, born 24 April 1917. [see Footnote below]

In the March quarter 1938 Robert married Alice Boydell in the Lincoln District. Alice was born on 28 October 1914, in Lincoln.

The 1939 Register shows Robert and Alice living at 3 Row, Roxholme, Sleaford, with their daughter, Jeanette.

Robert joined the 8th Lincolnshire Regiment in 1940. In 1941 he was picked to train at the Commando Basic Training Centre at Lochailort, Scotland for the newly formed group and was assigned to No. 5 Army Commando. In 1942 they were sent to fight the Vichy French in Madagascar in Operation Ironclad.

In 1943 they were training on the Isle of Wight for what they thought was D-day but instead were sent to Burma as part of 3 Commando Brigade. In the Arakan Campaign the fighting was savage especially at Hill 170 at Kangaw where the 3rd Commando engaged the Japanese 54th Division.

Lieut. George Arthur Knowland was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery on 31 January 1945. He was killed during his action.

Robert’s next action was to be Operation Zipper, planned to land in Malaya as staging areas for the recapture of Singapore, in Operation Mailfist.  but the Bomb cancelled and all they had to do was disarm the Japanese . Robert ended up in Hong Kong helping send the Japanese home in Operation Nipoff. He returned home to live at 7 Hillside Estate, Ruskington, in 1946.

Robert was injured in a works accident at British Crop Driers and died in the County Hospital, Lincoln, on New Years Day, 1 January 1952, aged 38. He was buried 3 days later in Grave D.167, Ruskington Cemetery. His wife, Alice, was buried next to him on 7 February 1979. She was 64 years old.

Robert’s  father served in World War 1 as Engineman  5061ES  Robert  Donnison.  He, and his 16 crew members, were killed when HM T Charles Astie, struck a mine.

The Official account reads: “On June 26th, 1917, the British navy trawler HMT Charles Astie was sunk by a mine from the German submarine U-79 (Kapitänleutnant Otto Rohrbeck [left]), northeast of Fanad Point, Lough Swilly (barrage 117b) while escorting the steamer Hartland from Tory Island to Inishowen. All 17 crew died.

Family accounts recall that Robert was on leave when his shipmate asked him to return instead of him because his wife had had a baby. He said OK and the ship left Plymouth with Robert on board.

Robert is commemorated on Panel 4, Plymouth Naval Memorial, and also on the Boston, Lincolnshire, Memorial (left).

With effect from 27 December 1917 Robert’s widow, Florence Mary, was awarded a pension of £1 11s 3d [£1.56] per week for herself and their 4 children. (Equivalent in value to about £140 p.w. today – 2024)

At the time she was living at 42 Belmont Road, Fleetwood, Lancashire. The family later moved to Manchester House, 24 Waterside Street, Lincoln.

On 23 December 1923 Robert’s widow, Florence, remarried Eric Victor Hogg, at Holy Trinity Church, Brompton, London. He was also ex-Navy and had enlisted as an Ordinary Seaman on 25 June 1913, Service No J13720. 

Family history has it that the man she remarried was cruel to her. Her sons, Robert and Leonard, as young boys, defended her (quite vigorously it seems!) and were subsequently sent away. Florence died in March 1944, aged 55, and was buried in Brompton Cemetery on the 16th, in Plot R, 14.0 x 172.3 (Common Grave). 

Sources: I am grateful to Robert’s son for details of his father’s service and the use of family photos.


Sergeant 363912 Reginald David EASTON:   Reginald was born on 25 March 1907 in Portsmouth, Hampshire. He was the son of William Morgan and Edith Grace (née Thornton) Easton and had an elder brother, Thomas William, and 3 younger siblings, William Edgar, George Edgar and Edith Grace. After their mother died in 1918 their father re-married Annie Gertrude Plaskett in 1926 and their had two more children.

In the December quarter 1937 Reginald married Florence Enid Winslade, in Portsmouth. She was born on 13 November 1911. Their son, Christopher D., was born the following June. In 1939 (Register) he was serving in the R.A.F. – Signal Squadron, No. 1, Electrical and Wireless School, RAF Cranwell. He was living on Rectory Road with his wife and son, sharing the home of James and Hilda Hudson. James was an ‘Electrical Wireman and Fitter’ and also volunteering in the Auxiliary Fire Service.

Reginald enlisted in the RAF (Boy Service) on 11 September 1923, aged 16 years 190 days. At that time he stood 5ft. 2ins. [1.57 m.], had dark brown hair, grey eyes and a ‘fresh’ complexion. He was posted to the “Boys’ Wing” at RAF Cranwell. Two years later he was posted to RAF Gosport, and in 1927 to RAF Calshot, training as a ‘Fitter’. On 25 March 1928, his 21st birthday, Reginald earned his Good Conduct Badge.

Reginald died in Bangor, Gwynedd, in the December quarter 1989, aged 82. His widow, Florence, was 92 when she died in the March quarter 2004.


Flight Sergeant 507104 John Alexander ELLICE:   The 1939 Register shows that John was in the R.A.F. (School of C.A.), Cranwell. He was living at ‘Inverclyde’, Rectory Road, Ruskington, with his wife, Ellen.

John was born on 10 December 1906 in Aberlour, Banffshire, Scotland, and Ellen (née Palmer) on 10 December 1910 in Bicester, Oxfordshire. They were married in the March quarter 1936 in Ploughley, Oxfordshire. John was the eldest son of John and Mary (née McWilliam) Ellice, and he had 5 younger siblings, David James, Jeannie Duncan, Helen Burgess, William Hamilton and Arthur Matheson.

On 1 October 1940 John was promoted to “Warrant Officer, and The London Gazette (3 November 1942, p. 4756) announced that with effect from 1 October 1942 John had been promoted to “Flying Officer”.

John died at ‘Edinvillie’, Purdis Farm Drive, Ipswich, on 29 December 1983. His wife, Ellen, had died at the same address the previous year, on 27 July.


Lieutenant Leonard Ewart ENGLAND: The Sleaford Gazette” of 30 June 1944 carried the headline: “RUSKINGTON LIEUTENANT IN FIRST CORVETTE TO REACH FRENCH COAST. The piece went on: “An interesting “close-up” of events on D-Day is provided by Lieut. England, R.N.R., son of Mr. W. L. England. J.P., of Ruskington, in a letter home, extracts from which the “Gazette” is able to give below. ….”

Leonard was born on 1 October 1910 in Epworth, Lincolnshire, the only child of William Leigh (Schoolmaster) and Eveline Lucy Handley (née Lee) England. Before the War William had retired and was living on Church Street, Glanford Brigg, Lincolnshire, so he and Eveline must have moved to East View, Ruskington, during the War. 

William died on 16 December 1945, aged 74, and he was buried 3 days later in grave NB.63, Ruskington Cemetery. [The adjacent plot was also purchased – presumably for Eveline – but never used.] In the June quarter 1960, when aged 74, Eveline re-married Rev. Robert Flenley in the Nuneaton District, Warwickshire. His first wife. Ellen (nêe Bowers) had died in January 1959. She died on 9 September 1979, aged 92, at ‘Ryelands’, 15 Beddington Gardens, Wallington, Surrey.

In the March quarter 1938 Leonard married Nellie Challen, in Grimsby. Their daughter, Joyce, was born in the December quarter 1942. It is not known when he joined the Navy, but on 20 September 1943 was promoted to “Probationary Temporary Sub-Lieutenant“. This was upgraded to “Temporary Lieutenant” on 20 March 1945 – as he prepared for D-Day.

Leonard died, aged 75, in the September quarter 1986 in Leicester.


Corporal 317999 Leonard William FRANKS:   In 1939 Leonard was living at 35 Fen Road, Ruskington, the home of the Bull family. Living with him was his wife, Kate Maria (née Leavold), and son, Derrick. Leonard’s occupation is listed as “Omnibus Driver”, but an addendum states he is also in the R.A.F. – Signal Squadron, No. 1, Electrical and Wireless School, RAF Cranwell.

He was born on 1 November 1898, at 52 Wilton Road, Handsworth, Birmingham. He was the son of Benjamin and Mary Franks, had an elder brother, Benjamin Francis, and 2 elder sisters, Jessie, and Grace.

Leonard and Kate had married in Brentford, Middlesex, on 5 September 1925. She was born on 13 September 1900, and their son on 6 December 1928. Their first son, Peter, died as a baby in the December quarter 1926. Earlier in 1939 they had been living at 3 Lawford Lane, Chiswick, London, presumably moving to Ruskington to take up his post at Cranwell.

Leonard had originally enlisted during WW1, in the Army, on 26 February 1917, whilst living at home, 295 Goldhawk Road, Shephard’s Bush, London. He stood 5ft. 8ins. [1.73 m.], had fair hair, blue eyes and a ‘medium’ complexion. He transferred to the R.F.C. (Royal Flying Corps) on 26 February 1918, becoming R.A.F. on 1 April 1918.

He was transferred to RAF Reserve on 17 June 1919 and finally discharged on 30 April 1920. On 9 August 1939 Leonard was recalled from the Reserve for a period of 4 years, and promoted to Corporal the following day. Originally posted to RAF Farnborough, he must have been transferred to Cranwell before the 1939 Register was compiled.

After the Leonard and his family returned ‘home’ and he died in the March quarter 1984, in Hounslow, Middlesex, aged 85. Kate died in the March quarter 1989 in Fulham, London, aged 88.