Five casualties Jonkerbos War Cemetery

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by Pieter F, Dec 31, 2013.

  1. Pieter F

    Pieter F Very Senior Member

    Who can help me finding out what happened to the following five airmen who are buried at the Jonkerbos War Cemetery in Nijmegen, Holland. Their ranks and dates of death suggest they were ground crew and died in non-fighting incidents. But as the CWGC entries do not mention their units it's difficult to find out what exactly happened. Hopefully anybody on the forum might be able to help. Thanks a lot in advance.

    WRIGLEY, STANLEY PATRICK
    Rank: Flying Officer
    Service No: 111179
    Date of Death: 09/05/1945
    Age: 30
    Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
    Grave Reference 17. B. 3.
    Cemetery JONKERBOS WAR CEMETERY
    Additional Information: Son of William Wrigley and of Hettee Wrigley (nee Wiseman); husband of Aileen Gabrielle Wrigley (nee Owens), of Totton, Hampshire.

    [​IMG]

    ROBINSON, DONALD THOMAS
    Rank: Flying Officer
    Service No: 51575
    Date of Death: 09/05/1945
    Age: 38
    Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force
    Grave Reference 17. B. 7.
    Cemetery JONKERBOS WAR CEMETERY
    Additional Information: Son of Henry and Catherine Janet Robinson; husband of Beatrice Grace Robinson, of Stanmore, Middlesex.

    [​IMG]

    TURNER, ROY ALFRED
    Rank: Leading Aircraftman
    Service No: 1286873
    Date of Death: 09/05/1945
    Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
    Grave Reference 17. B. 6.
    Cemetery JONKERBOS WAR CEMETERY
    Additional Information:

    [​IMG]

    KEMP, GEORGE
    Rank: Leading Aircraftman
    Service No: 1545869
    Date of Death: 10/07/1945
    Age: 23
    Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
    Grave Reference 17. B. 8.
    Cemetery JONKERBOS WAR CEMETERY
    Additional Information: Son of Charles and Amy Kemp, of New Malden, Surrey.

    [​IMG]

    BUNTING, GEORGE LESLIE
    Rank: Leading Aircraftman
    Service No: 929647
    Date of Death: 11/05/1945
    Age: 22
    Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
    Grave Reference 17. B. 5.
    Cemetery JONKERBOS WAR CEMETERY
    Additional Information: Son of Leslie and Margaret Lucy Bunting; husband of Yvonne Patricia Bunting, of Didcot, Berkshire.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hi Pieter

    I have found some relations of S P Wrigley via Ancestry, and have messaged them to see what further info they may have. I will report anything that turns up. I am hoping that if they have something it may cover the event for all of them.

    TD

    It appears that S P Wrigley was probably something to do with the chewing gum product, which you may have guessed already

    edited to add:
    Stanley Patrick Wrigley born 23rd May 1915
     
  3. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hi Pieter,

    Just came across this re Stanley Wrigley:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/13/a5862413.shtml
    This story was recounted by Bill Wood to a member of staff at Blackpool Central Library.
    The story starts before the war about 1938 when Stanley Wrigley was in his twenties. He knew an awful lot about radio and wireless telegraphy, and the RAF at the time was very keen to train as many men as possible for Air Corps. He was recommended as an instructor to train these young men. They opened training rooms at the back of the Olympia, Winter Gardens where he used to train men to be RAF wireless operators. He lived in Leopold Grove just behind the Winter Gardens. He was more or less sleeping on the job! This expanded as the war progressed to thousands of young trainess and Stanley was commissioned to the RAF. All the roads in the surrounding area with hotels and guesthouses were the billets for all the RAF cadets. Stanley also trained Special Operations Executive(SOE), including many famous names such as Odette Sansom.
    The training of the cadets lasted about 12 weeks and in that time they were passed out as wireless operators on aircraft. This involved being able to read Morse Code at 22 words a minute!!!
    Most of these cadets were killed in the war doing their duty and the average life of an aircrew was very short. Stanley used to tell his nephew, Bill, that when he assigned young cadets to a squadron he would discover only two weeks later that many of them had been killed in action.
    Blackpool at that time was electric. There were many members of the forces in Blackpool and it still remained a holiday resort and everybody lived for the day. There were many war-time activities in the town such as a munitions factory and a big firm called Armstrongs on Squires Gate Lane, who made mostly aviation parts. When I met my wife she was working in a munitions factory and we have been married for 63 years. She made carburettas for Lancaster Bombers. I often teased her by saying that that’s why so many Lancaster Bombers crashed!
    Blackpool people were united during the war. It was like a village. There was no crime about in those days and everyone looked after each other. On a sadder note, everyone dreaded the arrival of a telegram which would bring terrible news of the death of a loved one.
    The area surrounding North Station, which then came right up to Dickson Road, had about 6 bombs dropped on it. Compared to the thousands of bombs dropped on London this may seem puny, but it still had devastating effects.
    People still enjoyed themselves during the war in Blackpool. I had two beautiful aunties, Nora and Mona, who took all their friends in showbusiness to my Grandma’s house to party. Big names such as Harry Roy and his band would cram into my Grandma’s house during the black out. There were great days as well as bad days during the war - the good outweighed the bad by far.
    Even though goods were rationed, shops such as Marks & Spencer still opened every day. There was always enough food for everyone despite rationing. As well as food rations people could still visit restaurants and confectioners. Considering the rest of Europe was starving we did very well. You couldn’t get foreign fruit or any kind of sweets. The sweets we got came from the Americans. Everyone was very healthy after the war.
    The airfield was a very important part of the war effort. It was a point from which aircraft flew over the Atlantic to search for submarines and a night fighter squadron was also there. The famous aviator Amy Johnson flew from Blackpool Airport to deliver aircraft to an airfield near London. Tragically, Amy ran into difficulties and disappeared near the Thames estuary.
    Blackpool girls married many of these cadets, and sometimes these young girls were widowed two or three times (usually from the same squadron). Stanley progressed through the ranks of the RAF and became Pilot Officer and was involved in a lot of secret war-time activity.
    The war finished on the May 8th in Europe in 1945 and Stanley was killed that afternoon of May 8th 1945 in Holland along with three other young men. It is possible that he was the last person to be killed in the RAF. He was married with two young children. One of his daughters died last year (2004) after many years of nursing service in the Middle East. Stanley’s other daughter lives down south.
     
  4. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Not to be picky, Dicky (oooer, poetry?) VE Day seems to have been 8th May.
    This may just have been an unfortunate road accident in which these 3 chaps lost their lives.
    At least 2 were in their 30's so not likely to have been so keen to overcelebrate....
    You'll note that the three graves are close, with two being adjacent, perhaps in sequence of their dying...
    In fact there seems to be a reburial section here, as the burials don't seem to have any chronology...

    BUNTING, GEORGE LESLIE. Rank: Leading Aircraftman. Service No: 929647. Date of Death: 11/05/1945. Age: 22.
    Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
    Grave Reference: 17. B. 5. Cemetery: JONKERBOS WAR CEMETERY
    Additional Information: Son of Leslie and Margaret Lucy Bunting; husband of Yvonne Patricia Bunting, of Didcot, Berkshire.

    MILLER, ALLAN. Rank: Sergeant. Service No: 537481. Date of Death: 27/01/1946. Age: 31.
    Regiment/Service:: Royal Air Force.
    Grave Reference: 17. B. 4. Cemetery: JONKERBOS WAR CEMETERY
    Additional Information: Son of William and Marion Semple Miller; husband of Janet Ogilvie Miller, of Leith, Edinburgh.

    It's almost as if isolated graves have been found and gathered together...

    More to the story???
     
  5. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hi Kevin & Pieter

    I am presently in contact via email with the grandson of Stanley Wrigley, in fact just replied to an email from him before coming on here. The other fact is in the BBC article that states:

    Stanley was killed that afternoon of May 8th 1945 in Holland along with three other young men. It is possible that he was the last person to be killed in the RAF

    So I think Wrigley, Bunting, Turner & Robinson are the 4 mentioned as above - Millar being the odd one out

    TD
     
  6. Pieter F

    Pieter F Very Senior Member

    Goodeevening Tricky Dicky, thank you so much for your help. Great to hear you have been able to get in touch with the grandson of Stanley Wrigley. Hopefully he can provide some more information about his grandfather. That would be great and very interesting!

    In stead of Bunting, Kemp could also be the fourth man.
     
  7. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Perhaps there is a story, that there were SIX deaths, Wrigley, Robinson, Turner dying at the scene or shortly thereafter on 8/9th, Bunting a couple of days later on 11th from injuries/wounds, making the FOUR mentioned at that time, then Kemp in July and Miller in January '46. Hence their burial together as the result of one incident, perhaps their vehicle running over a land mine?
    Does that sound likely? It would explain why their graves are together despite deaths being over a period of time....?
     
  8. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hi Pieter

    I have received a reply from Stanley Wrigleys grandson -

    "As far as I am aware Stanley died on VE Day when a land rover crashed unfortunately three are no older generation alive to ask sorry hope this helps"

    1. It was probably a Wilys Jeep as Land Rover did not come into existence until 1947
    2. The sentence should read I think ".....there are no older generations ......"
    3. It was obviously some sort of vehicle accident cause unknown
    4. I think from other data we can presume that there were 4 in total in/on the vehicle at the time of the accident
    5. For what it's worth, my opinion is that that the 4 involved in the accident were Wrigley, Bunting, Turner & Robinson and the circumstances of the deaths of Millar and Kemp are unknown at this time

    TD
     
  9. Pieter F

    Pieter F Very Senior Member

    Goodmorning TD,

    Thank you for forwarding the reply of Wrigley's grandson. Does he know the unit where his grandfather served? If so, we might find more information about this accident in the units archive files.
     
  10. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Good Morning Pieter & Happy New Year

    I have asked him the question but there has been nothing in his replies to tell us which unit I'm afraid. I can only assume that from the BBC article, that he was not aircrew, but something to do with radio's/radio operators, so ground crew but probably more to do with the radio's, electronics and training of the personnel. Would there be a unit specialising in that?
    Would there have been ground based systems in place at that time??, that required personnel training.

    Also from his grandsons email it may have been that the accident actually happened on the 8th May 1945

    Sorry there are no clear answers here

    TD
     
  11. RAFCommands

    RAFCommands Senior Member

    No.135 wing

    Same for Robinson, Turner

    Kemp No.8701 Wing

    Bunting No.18 Squadron

    Ross
     
    CL1 likes this.
  12. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Thanks Ross for that (and HNY)
    Was 18 Squadron operating in Northern Europe in May '45?
    135 Wing were Spitfire Squadrons
    8701 Wing comes up as Air Disarmament.... might that be examining captured German radio/radar sets etc?

    It's looking like a jeep accident, so only 4 at most on board, so despite adjacent graves it seems as if Bunting (?) Kemp and Miller are not connected.
    I'll leave it to the experts now if there is anything further to be found.
     
  13. Pieter F

    Pieter F Very Senior Member

    Thanks Ross. 18 Squadron was part of No.2 Group, Bomber Command till November 1942. The Squadron then moved to North Africa with the Blenheim V and took up day bombing duties. No. 18 Squadron supported the allied advance through Italy before moving to Greece in September 1945, disbanding there a year later. So perhaps Bunting was a former Prisoner of War?
     
  14. Pieter F

    Pieter F Very Senior Member

    Bunting isn't listed as a POW in the 1939-1942 volumes of Chorley's Bomber Command Losses. He could still have been taken POW in Africa or Italy.
     
  15. RAFCommands

    RAFCommands Senior Member

    You cannot say reason for Bunting being in the area without looking at his personal file.

    At the time the personnel movements were in flux - bods with skills moved from theatre to theatre so that others can be reassigned to Tiger Force, evaders/escapers and released pows being treated at available hospitals.

    His unit of No.18 Squadron is just the last unit recorded in the death register. Paperwork recording transfer could be lost in the transition from Europe from war to peace and truncated by closing his file for casualty purposes.

    Ross
     
  16. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hi Pieter,

    Just been thinking about another possible tack on this subject. Was there a hospital near to the cemetery or the scene of the accident?? where they would have been taken/treated.

    Just a thought

    TD
     
  17. Marks

    Marks Senior Member

    Hi,

    RAF Overseas War Deaths 1939-1947 lists Wrigley, Robinson and Turner unit as 135 Wing 2 TAF. Kemp unit is 8701 Wing

    Mark
     
  18. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    FWIW, the RAF Casualty list records the death of Wrigley as Died On Active Service - I don't have the exact wording in front of me but that pretty much covers none work-related deaths.

    Assuming it was an MVA, if they were driving from A to B on duty and hit a mine or whatever then it would be classified as Killed On Active Service. If they were on leave at the time of the incident their death would be classified as Died On Active Service.


    Wrigley shows up in the Casualty list published in Flight magazine in early January 1946 (last entry, just above "Women's Auxiliary"). I think the delay is due to the vast numbers of reclassifications of war-time listings filling the Casualty lists in late 1945 ("formerly recorded as POW now listed as Safe", "formerly recorded as MIA, now KIA" etc).


    Jonkerbos.jpg
     
  19. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hi DaveB,

    Having found Wrigley, is there also a ref to :
    ROBINSON, DONALD THOMAS
    Rank: Flying Officer
    Service No: 51575
    Date of Death: 09/05/1945

    as they were both 'Officers'

    TD
     
  20. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    Not too sure why the quotation marks around Officers, unless you suspect that their abilities as such were questionable B).

    The RAF Casualty lists are quite egalitarian (I hope I have the right word there) and list casualties of all ranks equally.

    The reason I haven't shown Robinson is that I can't locate him on the lists. Robinson seems to have been a very unfortunate surname as there are over 100 references in 1945 & 1946 to that name in the Flight magazine. Due to the deficiencies of character recognition in pdf documents I couldn't isolate his entry on my first pass but I will have another go shortly.



    Update: just went through the possibles again with no joy. It might be that his entry shows up on a page with two Robinsons on it - and the search function only shows the first one.


    Update to my update - I can't find LAC Turner either, probably for the same reason as Robinson. But as a consolation prize I did manage to find LAC Bunting - also classified as DOAS.




    JonkerbosII.jpg
     

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