RAF casualty died in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe)

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by ritsonvaljos, Mar 10, 2017.

  1. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member

    Re: LAC Joseph Anthony Dees Appleby, RAFVR, died 20 November 1944

    Can anyone assist with information about a WW2 casualty from my home town of Whitehaven, Cumbria who I have been trying to research for a 'Roll of Honour', please? According to the CWGC record he was cremated although he has been given a memorial headstone in the cemetery at Harare, Zimbabwe. Does anyone have a photograph of the headstone by any chance?

    He was LAC J.A.D. Appleby, known as 'Tony', RAFVR, S/No 984702, who died, aged 33, in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) after a long illness on 20 November 1944. This chap is commemorated on the WW2 war memorial of his former school, Whitehaven Grammar School and was a member of one of the prominent families of the district although there was not much in the way of an obituary in the local newspaper at the time of his death. He was the only son of Joseph Appleby and Ethel Appleby (nee Dees) of Whitehaven, Cumberland.

    CWGC commemoration:
    Rank: Leading Aircraftman
    Service No: 984702
    Date of Death: 20/11/1944
    Age: 33
    Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
    Grave Reference: Cremation Memorial stone.
    Additional Information:Son of Joseph and Ethel Appleby, of Whitehaven, Cumbria. (Cremated at Harare).

    Thanks in advance if anyone can assist.
  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    As you can tell from the family tree they are not as up to date as yurself

    Joseph Anthony Dees Appleby
    BIRTH 25 JUN 1911 • Whitehaven, Cumberland
    DEATH 20 NOV 1944 • Cumberland, England

    Joseph Anthony Dees Appleby in the Great Britain, Royal Aero Club Aviators’ Certificates, 1910-1950


    England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915
    Name: Joseph A D Appleby
    Mother's Maiden Name: Dees
    Registration Year: 1911
    Registration Quarter: Jul-Aug-Sep
    Registration district: Whitehaven
    Parishes for this Registration District: View Ecclesiastical Parishes associated with this Registration District
    Inferred County: Cumberland
    Volume: 10b
    Page: 1298

    No photos of headstones I'm afraid

    Peter Clare and CL1 like this.
  3. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    I would think that LAC Appleby would be in Rhodesia as part of the RAF contingent who were training at RAF Flying Training Schools and fell ill...could be on permanent staff at one of the flying schools but his prewar aviation training would suggest he was a pupil.

    LAC classification could reflect groundcrew status but also a stage classification in flying training.
  4. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member

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  5. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member

    Many thanks.

    There was also a first cousin of LAC Tony Appleby who was serving with the RAF early in the war and as I understand was killed in a flying accident in southern England. Can anyone assist with any further information on this please? This chap was Sergeant (Pilot) James Ernest Milne, RAFVR who died, aged 26, on 27 September 1939.

    The CWGC details are rather incomplete, but this is his listing:
    Name: MILNE, James Ernest
    Rank: Sergeant
    Trade: Pilot
    Service No: 700416
    Date of Death: 27/09/1939
    Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
    Grave Reference: Old Churchyard by Porch.
    Cemetery: HERSHAM (ST PETER) CHURCHYARD (Surrey)

    Sergeant Milne's parents were Mr John Rothwell Milne (died 1920) and Mrs Mabel Milne (nee Dees); husband of Joan May Milne (nee Eldridge). The family connection between these two casualties is that LAC Tony Appleby's mother was a sister of Mrs Mabel Milne.

    I think Sergeant Milne was buried in a family plot on his father's side of the family who came from this area in Surrey. He may also be related to two other WW2 casualties (brothers) buried in the same churchyard (Alfred Frederick Ware and Frederick Albert George Ware).

    Again, thanks in advance if anyone can assist.
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  6. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member

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  7. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member

    Yes, that's the fellow. It looks like it was a well attended funeral.
  8. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    James E Milne in the England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007
    Name: James E Milne
    Birth Date: abt 1913
    Date of Registration: Dec 1939
    Age at Death: 26
    Registration district: Surrey South eastern
    Inferred County: Surrey
    Volume: 2a
    Page: 1165

    Surrey, England, Church of England Burials, 1813-1987
    Name: James Ernest Milne
    Birth Year: abt 1913
    Burial Age: 26
    Burial Date: 2 Oct 1939
    Archive Provided Parish: Hersham, St Peter
    Parish as it Appears: Hersham

    Maybe worth looking in the right hand column as to who performed the ceremony

    His probate says he died at Broxham, Dorking and the estate was paid to his wife Joan May Milne

    SGT James Ernest Milne ( - 1939) - Find A Grave Memorial
    Birth: unknown
    Death: Sep. 27, 1939
    Mole Valley District
    Surrey, England

    Sergeant Milne was one of two airmen killed in the crash of their Magister I N3843 aircraft in woods beside Brockhamhurst Road in Brockham, near Betchworth in Surrey. The two pilots were undergoing a flying instructor's course with the Elementary Flying Training School-Unit No. 15 at RAF Station Redhill, and were on a training flight at the time. Sergeant Albert Bryan GREENSIDES was the other airman who perished in this accident.

  9. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member

  10. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member

    Once again, thanks for the additional information. The death of both young men must have been a terrible blow to their families.
  11. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member

    Another maternal first cousin of LAC Tony Appleby and Sergeant (Pilot) James Milne, who I understand was a WW2 fighter pilot, was Kenneth McAlpine OBE, RAFVR, later to become a Formula 1 racing driver after the war for a couple of seasons. However, I haven't come across much about his WW2 wartime service but at the time of posting this (March 2017) I believe Mr McAlpine is still active and living in Kent.

    Mr McAlpine's father was Sir Malcolm McAlpine and his paternal grandfather was the even more notable Sir Robert McAlpine. The family connection of Kenneth McApline to LAC Tony Appleby and Sergeant (Pilot) James Milne was through his mother, Lady Maud McAlpine (nee Dees) who was a sister to the mother of Tony Appleby and the mother of James Milne. While Tony Appleby and James Milne died on active service in WW2 it is good that some WW2 RAF personnel survived the war to have a long, successful and worthy life.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2017
  12. Neil Hotson

    Neil Hotson New Member

    James Ernest Milne (6) in 1919, with sisters Joan (2) and Phyllis eight years old.

    Attached Files:

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