Discussion in '1940' started by Dave H, May 12, 2021.

  1. Dave H

    Dave H Junior Member

    Hi Everyone,

    I am currently working with Drew on the possible identification of an unknown grave in France. We are pretty confident that we know who is in the Grave and we have a fair amount of evidence to support that. However, we also need to eliminate other possibilities to get official approval of our research.
    Having already ruled out many possibilities we are appealing for forum members for any info on the circumstances of the following personnel:

    104154 Lt Asser (RAOC, 4 Fd Park)
    69225 Lt Fairclough (4th South Lancs)
    107322 Lt Steven (RAMC)

    If anyone can help with information of where any of them died it would be a massive help.
  2. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Harold Leonard Asser
    The Evening News, Portsmouth & Southsea, Thursday, April 17, 1941

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  3. Dave H

    Dave H Junior Member

  4. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    No more information I am afraid - just a newspaper article. He was first reported 'missing', date not reported, in Casualty List No. 244 dated 2 July 1940, this was under the 'France' theatre; later changed to 'At sea', 'Killed in action' 29.5.40, this list was dated 12 April 1941.
    I wonder if the other casualty was on the same ship?
    Asser 2.jpg
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  5. travers1940

    travers1940 Well-Known Member

    To add further Lt Asser's parents placed a Roll of Honour notice in a Portsmouth paper saying that he was presumed lost on "M.S. Grafton".
    .. Norma. Wendy, mi Michael. . 8 ASSKR —In loving memory of our das ling son. Harold Leonard. Lieutenant, R.A.0.C.. second son of Major and Mrs. W. J. Asser, who was reported missing In 1940. and now presumed killed, when M S. Grafton was sunk on 29th May. 1940 ...
    Published: Friday 18 April 1941
    Newspaper: Portsmouth Evening News

    (source: British Newspaper Archives)

    HMS Grafton, a Royal Navy Destroyer was sunk on this day off Niewpoort, Belguim. When torpedoed she was also carrying survivors from HMS Wakefield.
    HMS Grafton (H89) - Wikipedia
    Last edited: May 12, 2021
  6. Dave H

    Dave H Junior Member

    Fantastic stuff. Just two more to go and we can submit our case! Not bad when we started with 18 names.
  7. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    UK, Army Roll of Honour, 1939-1945
    Name: Harold Asser
    Given Initials: H L
    Rank: Lieutenant
    Death Date: 29 May 1940
    Number: 104154
    Birth Place: London SE
    Residence: Portsmouth
    Branch at Enlistment: Other Corps
    Theatre of War: At sea
    Regiment at Death: Royal Army Ordnance Corps
    Branch at Death: Other Corps

    So even the Army say he died at sea

    About UK, Army Roll of Honour, 1939-1945
    This database contains the Roll of Honour – a listing of British Army casualties from World War II.
    The original data comes from the National Archives records series WO 304, War Office: Roll of Honour, Second World War. This Roll was compiled from various War Office records between 1944 and 1949. Originally the data was encoded onto cards using a Hollerith Machine (a unit record machine), the original print outs of which are kept at the National Archives. The cards have since been decoded and transcribed by the Naval & Military Press and published on CD.
    Information recorded on the Roll of Honour includes:
    Name of soldier
    Initials, titles, and decorations
    Enlisted rank
    Rank at time of death
    Enlisted Regiment
    Regiment at time of death
    Theater of War or country where wounded or died
    Death date

  8. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    To add to Travers1940 post #3:

    The Evening News, Portsmouth & Southsea, Friday, April 18, 1941

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  9. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Humfrey Fairclough
    Quite a few 'missing' reports but unfortunately no detail:

    Liverpool Evening Express, Thursday, June 13, 1940


    The casualty lists state 'presumed died of wounds', I find that interesting, why that and not 'presumed KIA' as normally occurs.
    Fairclough 2.jpg
    Last edited: May 12, 2021
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  10. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    107322 Thomas James Steven

    His probate gives a location and wife that isn't on CWGC:


    His casualty list entry is 'killed in action', there doesn't appear to be a previous for missing, wounded, presumed KIA etc.
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  11. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    England, Andrews Newspaper Index Cards, 1790-1976
    Name: Humfrey Fairclough
    Father's Name: Fairclough
    Mother's Name: Ruth
    Spouse's Name: Ruth Manson
    Death Date: 31 May 1940

    "now officially died of wounds received on May 31st 1940" - sounds as though someone knew how he officially died - but who - and that he died sometime after the 31st May 1940 (probably) so if they officially knew that information then his whereabouts should also be officially known - probably

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  12. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

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  13. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

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  14. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter 1940 Obsessive

    Fairclough then seems to have been acting Captain and should have been wearing rank badges accordingly ?
  15. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

  16. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Although the casualty list corrects captain to WS Lieut.
  17. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter 1940 Obsessive

    Yes, but CWGC always revert to confirmed ranks...The British Army didn't want to pay higher widows pension than it was forced to ! It's odd that he doesn't appear in any officer returns, but it seems likely that he was employed somewhere wearing three pips...which might make a body with two less likely to be him.
  18. Dave H

    Dave H Junior Member

    Agreed, if he was wearing rank of captain then we can eliminate him on that basis

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