Civilian Casualty :Eric Simister 20-7-1941 Northwood Golf Course

Discussion in 'War Cemeteries & War Memorial Research' started by CL1, May 20, 2012.

  1. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron


    Date of Death:
    Civilian War Dead

    Reporting Authority
    Additional Information:
    Son of Harry and Martha Alice Simister, of 34 The Gardens, Vaughan Road, Harrow; husband of Eva Mary Simister, of 43 West Avenue, Rayner's Lane. Died at Northwood Golf Course.

    Thank You

    Last edited: Oct 8, 2018
  2. Red Goblin

    Red Goblin Senior Member

    Hi Clive,

    As you seem to have known about this chap for a couple of years now, I'm wondering what precisely it is you're after but, ever a sucker for a local teaser, here's what I managed to turn up from scratch...

    Firstly, a family timeline (quickly & dirtily thrown together without checking for, e.g., spelling variations like SIMESTER):[*]1910 Q3 - marriage index v7b p1731 - SIMISTER, Harry - Hayfield, Derbys
    1910 Q3 - marriage index v7b p1731 - SWINDELLS, Martha A - Hayfield, Derbys
    [*]1911 Q1 - birth index v10b p131 - GADDES, Eva M - NuT, Northumberland
    [*]1911-04-02 - census - SIMISTER, Harry & Martha A - Stockport, Cheshire
    • Harry 26, Martha 24 and (supporting next item) no Eric
    • NB (comparing completeness):
      Official site lists 41 SIMISTERs in Stockport - inc. Harry & Martha
      Ancestry lists 18 SIMISTERs in Stockport - exc. Harry & Martha !!!
    [*]1911 Q3 - birth index v8a p6 - SIMISTER, Eric - Stockport, Cheshire
    [*]1920 Q1 - birth index v8a p13 - SIMISTER, Douglas A - Stockport, Cheshire
    [*]1922 Q1 - birth index v8a p14 - SIMISTER, Geoffrey R - Stockport, Cheshire
    [*]1924 Q4 - birth index v3a p515 - SIMISTER, George V - Hendon, Middx
    [*]1927 Q2 - birth index v3a p553 - SIMISTER, Vera - Hendon, Middx
    [*]1938 Q2 - marriage index v1b p144 - GADDES, Eva M - St Pancras, London
    1938 Q2 - marriage index v1b p144 - SIMISTER, Eric - St Pancras, London
    [*]1939 Q1 - birth index v2a p339 - SIMISTER, Brian P - Mid E Surrey
    1939 Q2 - birth index v2a p291 - SIMISTER, Brian P - Mid E Surrey
    • More belt 'n' braces ? !
    [*]1941-07-20 - CWGC death record - SIMISTER, Eric - Northwood, Middx (age 31)
    1941 Q3 - death index v3a p87 - SIMISTER, Eric - Uxbridge, Middx (age 30)
    • CWGC's age proven wrong above
    • Eric's 30th birthday was apparently less than a month before - maybe he even suffered the ultimate irony of dying on that birthday!
    [*]1951 Q3 - marriage index v5h p754 - DAY, Eric M - Hove, E Sussex
    1951 Q3 - marriage index v5h p754 - SIMISTER, Eva M - Hove, E Sussex
    [*]1953 Q1 - death index v10f p41 - SIMISTER, Martha A - Oldham, Lancs (age 77)
    • Should have been 67 if the right one but otherwise tallies with next item
    [*]1958 Q1 - death index v10f p123 - SIMISTER, Harry - Oldham, Lancs (age 74)
    So it seems Eric's parents brought their growing family down to the Harrow area before retiring back up north and his widow drifted even further south to remarry. Then what about Eric's Harrow > St Pancras > Surrey > Ruislip loop? Whilst checking FreeBMD for everyone's death, BTW, I didn't even try hunting down marriages for Eric's 4 siblings so have no idea whether they may too have drifted or stayed put.

    But, as for what actually happened to Eric on the fateful day, I'm probably as stumped as you. Here, though, are a few of my thoughts on the subject:
    • 20 July 1941 was a Sunday
    • Eric seems to have been the only casualty - no other CWGC records containing "Northwood" during week of 20-27 July
    • 1941 falls between 2 stools - Battle of Britain and V1 doodlebugging
    • Eric was not apparently on his way to visit his parents as Northwood Golf Course lay in the opposite direction (NW) from his home to theirs (E)
    • Eric may have been either simply out walking a public footpath or playing golf - how affluent was he and/or did he have a dog to walk ?
    • If fit enought to walk or play golf and assuming him to have been in a reserved occupation, how come young Eric was recorded as a civilian - something like ARP as opposed to Home Guard ?
    • Maybe a red herring debunkable by a visit on foot but I can't help wondering about the old sand-pit on the opposite (E) side of Ruislip Lido's nature reserve to Poor's Field Pond. It's marked as such on the 1932 OS 25" map (horse-shoe shaped opening N) and doesn't show up well (if at all) on Google Earth's Dec 1945 historic imagery but appears on the 1960-72 OS 25" map as a "miniature rifle range" with what looks like a small building at the still-N-facing mouth of an enlarged pit - see attached copy. It's still marked as an MRR on maps like Geographers' A-Z but I can't spot it in any of Bing Maps' 4 bird's eye views.
      ? Speculating informal wartime use as a practice range before being formalised by the erection of a building, I'm pondering the possibility of a local Home Guard accident. The feature is at the extreme W of Haste Hill Golf Course but also very close to its boundary with Northwood Golf Course and if they were bizarrely firing N toward it out of the pit... And I also wondered about quizzing the folk at:
    • Northwood Golf Club for committee minutes recording the incident
    • Haste Hill Golf Course about the pit/range's history
    • And likewise Ruislip Rifle Club (or as listed by MSBRA) as the nearest section of MSBRA (Middlesex Small-Bore Rifle Association)
    CL1 likes this.
  3. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Steve hello there

    just interest mate

    killed at Northwood Golf Club

    lone plane attacked?
    unxeploded bomb ?

    and thank you for your time and trouble most useful information.
  4. JimCorbett1977

    JimCorbett1977 Junior Member

    Stumbled across this post whilst searching for Eric Simister. I can tell you exactly how he died. Here is what I have, edited from a Polish translation:

    The summer of 1941, No. 306 "City of Torun" Polish Squadron, RAF Northolt

    On July 20, 1941, the squadron made two successful full-strength sorties over France, a successful day for the newly formed Squadron. Instead, the day ended with tragedy, which stirred a bit of political fuss.

    At that time, the base commander was receiving rather serious complaints from the local golf club. Players were complaining that too many flights by the Polish Wing were being flown directly over their golf course, and that it became quite a nuisance to them. This was intensely contested amongst the base personnel, with many pilots simply outraged by the fact that they cared more about a game of golf than the people who defended their country, and by the same token, someone's freedom to play the "bloody game". Although being on leave, P/O Leon Hubert Jaugsch took the squadron's Tiger Moth (no. T7301) belonging to the base Headquarters for a joy ride. Probably stirred on by this recent controversy, he wanted to teach some players a lesson who were playing an evening round of golf. He made several passes at a couple of the players with one of them refusing to lay flat every time the Tiger Moth's wing flung just above their heads. Every pass, Leon Jaugsch flew a little bit lower and the player still stood straight and proud. Eventually he flew too low and literally decapitated a prominent figure of the local community. The pilot was jailed and never flew again for the RAF, whilst every effort was made to hush up the incident.

    Leon Jaugsch later served with the Air Transport Auxiliary, he passed away in the USA in 1984 after taking up citizenship. I am researching Leon Jaugsch for a proposed book on ATA pilots.

    Hope this helps!

    CL1 and ramacal like this.
  5. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Hello Jim

    Well thank you very much indeed
    Most kind of you to post the information

  6. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Only too obvious now that it was close to Northolt.
    It does make you wonder how some people would make a complaint about flying over the golf course!
    I can imagine "Outraged of Northolt" sending Herr Hitler a stiff message about a doodlebug forming a new bunker without permission!

    ..... and all the while, these brave airmen, having already had their homeland invaded, continued the fight in France and then here, daily risking a terrible death having to deal with complaints. Had they been strafed every day, no doubt letters would have been sent demanding they "do something".

    and how did they have the time to indulge in golf "Don'tcha know there's a war on?"

    Whilst this is only one tiny aspect of the cost of war, it does seem so pointless that one was killed and another was taken from defending OUR Country over something so (relatively) trivial.

    Having got that off my chest, superb detective work, not only finding the info but finding the right thread to complete the story
  7. JimCorbett1977

    JimCorbett1977 Junior Member

    Glad to help.

    I have unearthed a little more on Jaugsch which will be going in a proposed book profiling all 1,300 ATA pilots. He seems to have been a likeable bloke but a bit on the 'flighty' side.

    He married a British girl when based at Kirkbride with the ATA and they moved to the USA after the war, not sure if they had any children. I am in the process of trying to locate any surviving relatives.
  8. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron


    if you could please post a separate thread about him when you think the time is right

    thank you again

  9. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

  10. harkness

    harkness Well-Known Member

    Simister Household (5 People)
    34 The Gardens Vaughan Road , Harrow U.D., Middlesex
    Martha A Simister 13 Dec 1886 Unpaid Domestic Duties
    Sorry, this record is officially closed.
    Sorry, this record is officially closed.
    Sorry, this record is officially closed.
    Sorry, this record is officially closed.
  11. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007
    Name: Eric Simister
    Death Age: 30
    Birth Date: abt 1911
    Registration Date: Sep 1941
    Registration district: Uxbridge
    Inferred County: Middlesex
    Volume: 3a
    Page: 87

    England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations)
    Name: Eric Simister
    Death Date: 20 Jul 1941
    Death Place: Middlesex, England
    Probate Date: 18 Nov 1941
    Registry: Llandudno

    Could have just been a heart attack ?? - copy of dc will tell all

    CL1 likes this.
  12. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    DC received and states

    Struck on head by low flying aeroplane.
    Accidental Death
    Tolbooth likes this.
  13. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Haste Hill Golf course where the accident occurred

  14. JimCorbett1977

    JimCorbett1977 Junior Member

    I don't visit this forum that often so glad the death certificate confirms my story. Any chance of a copy?

  15. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Hello Jim

    thanks for all your info

    I have sent a private message with the dc attached.

    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  16. JimCorbett1977

    JimCorbett1977 Junior Member

    Thanks Clive

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