Tag: Brookwood Cemetery

Forest Frederick Edward “Tommy” Yeo-Thomas GC

Forest Frederick Edward “Tommy” Yeo-Thomas (17/06/1902 – 26/02/1964) was a British Special Operations Executive (SOE) agent in the Second World War and was awarded the George Cross for his clandestine work behind enemy lines.  Yeo-Thomas was known by the Gestapo as “The White Rabbit”. 

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Supplement: 37468, Page: 961 reads: 

“The KING has been graciously pleased to award the George Cross to Acting Wing Commander Forest Frederick Edward YEO-THOMAS, M.C. (89215), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.

This officer was parachuted into France on 25 February 1943. He showed much courage and initiative during his mission, particularly when he enabled a French officer who was being followed by a Gestapo agent in Paris to reach safety and resume clandestine work in another area. He also took charge of a U.S. Army Air Corps officer who had been shot down and, speaking no French, was in danger of capture. This officer returned to England on 15 April 1943, in the aircraft which picked up Wing Commander Yeo-Thomas.

Wing Commander Yeo-Thomas undertook a second mission on 17 September 1943. Soon after his arrival in France, many patriots were arrested. Undeterred, he continued his enquires and obtained information which enabled the desperate situation being rectified. On six occasions, he narrowly escaped arrest. He returned to England on 15 November 1943, bringing British intelligence archives which he had secured from a house watched by the Gestapo.

This officer was again parachuted into France in February, 1944. Despite every security precaution, he was betrayed to the Gestapo in Paris on 21 March. While being taken by car to Gestapo Headquarters, he was badly “beaten up”. He then underwent 4 days continuous interrogation, interspersed with beatings and torture, including immersions, head downwards, in ice-cold water, with legs and arms chained. Interrogations later continued for 2 months and Wing Commander Yeo-Thomas was offered his freedom in return for information concerning the Head of a Resistance Secretariat. Owing to his wrist being cut by chains, he contracted blood-poisoning and nearly lost his left arm. He made two daring but unsuccessful attempts to escape. He was then confined in solitude in Fresnes prison for 4 months, including 3 weeks in a darkened cell with very little food. Throughout these months of almost continuous torture, he steadfastly refused to disclose any information.

On 17 July, Wing Commander Yeo-Thomas was sent with a party to Compiègne prison, from which he twice attempted to escape. He and 36 others were transferred to Buchenwald. On the way, they stopped at Saarbrücken, where they were beaten and kept in a tiny hut. They arrived at Buchenwald on 16 August and 16 of them were executed and cremated on 10 September. Wing Commander Yeo-Thomas had already commenced to organise resistance within the camp and remained undaunted by the prospect of a similar fate. He accepted an opportunity of changing his identity with that of a dead French prisoner, on condition that other officers would also be enabled to do so. In this way, he was instrumental in saving the lives of two officers.

Wing Commander Yeo-Thomas was later transferred to a work kommando for Jews. In attempting to escape, he was picked up by a German patrol and, claiming French nationality, was transferred to a camp near Marienburg for French prisoners of war. On 16 April 1945, he led a party of 20 in a most gallant attempt to escape in broad daylight. Ten of them were killed by gunfire from the guards. Those who reached cover split up into small groups. Wing Commander Yeo-Thomas became separated from his companions after 3 days without food. He continued alone for a week and was recaptured when only 800 yards from the American lines.

A few days later, he escaped with a party of 10 French prisoners of war, whom he led through German patrols to the American lines. Wing Commander Yeo-Thomas thus turned his final mission into a success by his determined opposition to the enemy, his strenuous efforts to maintain the morale of his fellow prisoners and his brilliant escape activities. He endured brutal treatment and torture without flinching and showed the most amazing fortitude and devotion to duty throughout his service abroad, during which he was under the constant threat of death.”

He survived the war and died in 1964 at the age of 61 in his Paris apartment following a massive haemorrhage. He was cremated in Paris and then subsequently repatriated to be interred in Brookwood Cemetery, Surrey, where his grave may be found in the Pine Glade Garden of Remembrance. 

DRW © 2018. Created 21/08/2018. Image courtesy of Mark Green

Updated: 26/08/2018 — 19:26

James Hendry GC

James Hendry (20/12/1911 – 13/06/1941) was was posthumously awarded the George Cross for his self sacrifice  on 13/06/1941 Loch Laggan, Scotland.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Supplement: 35962, Page: 1511 reads: 

The KING has been graciously pleased, on the advice of Canadian Ministers, to approve the posthumous award of the GEORGE CROSS, in recognition of most conspicuous gallantry in carrying out hazardous work in a very brave manner, 
to: — B.28593 Corporal Jame Hendry.”

No.1 Tunnelling Company of the  Royal Canadian Engineers was tasked with digging the tunnel between Loch Spey and Loch Laggan to supply water to the British Aluminium works at Fort William, when a fire broke out in an explosives store near Loch Laggan.  Corporal Hendry  ordered his colleagues to run to safety and attempted to extinguish the blaze, rather than attempt to escape the inevitable explosion that would have killed more men and stopped work on the tunnel. However it was in vain as the ensuring explosion killed him and Sapper John MacDougall Stewart. Seven more were injured.

James Hendry was buried in Brookwood Military Cemetery (grave reference 31. F. 9.) in Surrey. 

DRW 2018. Created 16/08/2018, image courtesy of Mark Green.

Updated: 26/08/2018 — 19:26

John *Jock” Rennie GC

John *Jock” Rennie (1919 – 29/10/1943) was awarded the George Cross for the gallantry he displayed in protecting others during a training accident at Riddlesworth near Slough on 29 October 1943.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Supplement: 36529, Page: 2417 reads:

“The KING has been graciously pleased, on the advice of His Majesty’s Canadian Ministers, to approve of the posthumous award of the GEORGE CROSS, in recognition of most  conspicuous gallantry in carrying out hazardous work in a very brave manner, to: —
6.45960 Corporal (acting Sergeant) John Rennie, Canadian Infantry Corps.”

The Citation does not elaborate on the incident, however, it is accepted that: 

“On 29th October 1943, Acting Sergeant Jock Rennie was supervising grenade-throwing by his unit at a Canadian training camp in Slough, then in Buckinghamshire. One grenade had been thrown successfully but a second failed to clear the protective embankment and rolled back to the throwing area. Rennie had time to get clear of the danger but, concerned for the safety of his men, he ran forward and tried to pick up the rolling grenade and throw it clear. However, the grenade exploded as he did so and he was fatally injured. Three other soldiers within 5 yards of the grenade were only slightly hurt.” (Victoriacrossonline)

He was accorded a military funeral and is buried in Brookwood Cemetery in the military section

DRW © 2018, created 14/08/2018. Image courtesy of Mark Green, description of GC action by Victoriacrossonline. 

Updated: 26/08/2018 — 19:26

Matthew Fontaine Maury Meiklejohn VC

Matthew Fontaine Maury Meiklejohn (27/11/1870 – 04/07/1913) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions the at Elandslaagte during the Anglo Boer War.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Issue: 27212, Page: 4509, reads: 

“The Gordon Highlanders, Captain Matthew Fontaine Maury Meiklejohn:

At the Battle of Elandslaagte on the 21st October, 1899, after the main Boer position had been captured, some men of the Gordon Highlanders, when about to assault a kopje in advance, were exposed to a heavy cross-fire and, having lost their leaders, commenced to waver. Seeing this, Captain Meiklejohn rushed to the front and called on the Gordons to follow him. By his conspicuous bravery and fearless example, he rallied the men and led them  against the enemy’s position, where he fell, desperately wounded in four places.”

Matthew FM Meiklejohn VC

He died in hospital following an incident in Hyde Park, and is buried in Brookwood Cemetery.

DRW © 2018. Created 11/08/2018. Image courtesy of Mark Green. Taddy cigarette card by Card Promotions © 1997, first issued 1902

Updated: 26/08/2018 — 19:27

Wallace Duffield Wright VC, CB, CMG, DSO

Wallace Duffield Wright (20/09/1875 – 25/03/1953) was awarded the Victoria Cross on 26 February 1903 while serving with the 1st Battalion Queen’s Royal Regiment (West Surrey) attached to the Northern Nigeria Regiment, during the Kano-Sokoto Expedition in Nigeria.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Issue: 27596, Page: 5663, reads:

“The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment) Northern Nigeria Regiment. 

Lieutenant (now Captain) Wallace Duffield Wright

On the 24th March, 1903, Lieutenant Wright, with only one Officer and 44 men, took up a position in the path of the advancing enemy, and sustained the determined charges of 1,000 Horse and 2,000 Foot for two hours, and when the enemy, after heavy losses, fell back in
good order, Lieutenant Wright continued to follow them up till they were in full retreat.
The personal example of this Officer, as well as his skilful leadership, contributed largely to the brilliant success of this affair.
He in no way infringed his orders by his daring initiative, as, though warned of the possibility of meeting large bodies of the enemy, he had purposely been left a free hand.”

He died at Westways Farm, Cobham, Surrey, on 25th March 1953, aged 78 and was buried in Brookwood Cemetery.

DRW © 2018. Created 10/08/2018. Image courtesy of Mark Green

Updated: 26/08/2018 — 19:27

William Reynolds VC

William Reynolds (1827 – 20/10/1869) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 20 September 1854 at the Battle of the AlmaCrimean Peninsula,

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Issue: 21971, Page: 657, reads:

“Scots Fusilier Guards, No. 3308 Private Wm. Reynolds.

When the formation of the line was disordered at Alma, for having behaved in a conspicuous manner in rallying the men round the Colours. “

He passed away aged just 42 at his home in The Strand on 20th October 1869 and was buried in a common grave in Brookwood Cemetery.

DRW © 2018. Created 10/08/2018, Image courtesy of Mark Green.

Updated: 26/08/2018 — 19:27

Ross Lowis Mangles VC

Ross Lowis Mangles (14/04/1833 – 28/02/1905), a civilian,  was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 30th July, 1857, during the Indian Mutiny at Arrah.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Issue: 22283, Page: 2629, reads:

“Mr. Ross Lowis Mangles,  of the Bengal Civil Service, Assistant Magistrate at Patna,
Date of Act of Bravery, 30th July, 1857

Mr. Mangles volunteered and served with the Force, consisting of detachments of Her Majesty’s 10th and 37th Regiments, and some Native Troops, despatched to the relief of Arrah, in July, 1857, under the Command of Captain Dunbar, of the 10th Regiment. The Force fell into an Ambuscade on the night of the 29th of July, 1857, and, during the retreat on the next morning, Mr. Mangles, with signal gallantry and generous self-devotion, and notwithstanding that he had
himself been previously wounded, carried for several miles, out of action, a wounded soldier of Her Majesty’s 37th Regiment, after binding up his wounds under a murderous fire, which killed or wounded almost the  whole detachment  and he bore him in safety to the boats.”

He died at Pirbright in Surrey, aged 71 on 28th February 1905. He is buried in Brookwood Cemetery.

DRW © 2018. Created 10/08/2018, Image courtesy of Mark Green.

Updated: 26/08/2018 — 19:27

William Kenny VC

William Kenny (24/08/1880 – 10/01/1936) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery on 23 October 1914 near Ypres, Belgium.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Supplement: 29074, Page: 1699 reads: 

“6535 Drummer William Kenny, 2nd Battalion, The Gordon Highlanders.
For conspicuous bravery on 23rd October, near Ypres, in rescuing wounded men on five occasions under very heavy fire in the most fearless manner, and for twice previously saving machine guns by carrying them out of action.
On numerous occasions Drummer Kenny conveyed urgent messages under very dangerous circumstances over fire-swept ground”

He died at Charing Cross Hospital, London on 10th January 1936. and was buried in the Corps of Commissionaires Section of Brookwood Cemetery.

DRW © 2018. Created 10/08/2018. Image courtesy of Mark Green

Updated: 26/08/2018 — 19:28

James Hollowell VC

James Hollowell (1823 – 04/04/1876) was awarded the Victoria Cross during the Indian Mutiny when the following deed took place on 26 September 1857 at the Siege of Lucknow,

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Issue: 22154, Page: 2958, reads:

“78th Regiment

Private James Hollowell Date of Act of Bravery, 26th September, 1857

A party, on the 26th of September, 1857, was shut up and besieged in a house in the city of Lucknow, by the rebel sepoys. Private James Hollowell, one of the party, behaved, throughout the day, in the most admirable manner; he directed, encouraged, and led the others, exposing himself fearlessly, and by his talent in persuading and cheering, prevailed on nine dispirited men to make a successful defence, in a burning house, with the enemy, firing through four windows. (Extract from Divisional Orders of Major-General Sir James Outran), G.C.B., dated 14th October, 1857.)”

He died at  Holborn on 4th April 1876, aged 42 and was buried in Brookwood Cemetery in a Corps of Commissionaires Plot.

DRW © 2018. Created 10/08/2018. Image courtesy of Mark Green

Updated: 26/08/2018 — 19:28

Cyril Hubert Frisby VC

Cyril Hubert Frisby (17/09/1885 – 10/09/1961) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 27 September 1918 at the Battle of Canal du Nord, near Graincourt, France.

The Citation, recorded on the London Gazette of Supplement: 31034, Page: 14039, reads:

“Gds. (S.R.). attd. 1st Bn.
For most conspicuous bravery, leadership and devotion to duty in action on the 7th September, 1918, across the Canal Du Nord, near Graincourt, when in command of a company detailed to capture the Canal crossing, on the Demicourt-Graincourt road. On reaching the Canal this leading platoon came under annihilating machine-gun fire from a strong machine-gun post under the old iron bridge on the far side of the Canal, and was unable to advance, despite reinforcing waves. Capt. Frisby realised at once
that unless this post was captured the whole advance in this area would fail. Calling for volunteers to follow him, he dashed forward, and, with three other ranks, he climbed down into the Canal under an intense point-blank machine-gun fire and succeeded in capturing the post with two machine guns and twelve men.
By his personal valour and initiative he restored the situation and enabled the attacking companies to continue the advance.
Having reached and consolidated his objective, he gave timely support to the company on his right, which had lost all its officers and sergeants, organised its defences, and beat off a heavy hostile counter-attack.
He was wounded in the leg by a bayonet in the attack on the machine-gun post, but remained at duty throughout, thereby setting a splendid example to all ranks.”

He died on 10th September 1961 aged 75 in Guildford, Surrey and is buried in Brookwood Cemetery, Woking, Surrey.

DRW © 2018. Created 10/08/2018. Image courtesy of Mark Green

Updated: 26/08/2018 — 19:28
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