Marine Billy Atherton 46 RM Commando-date of death?

Discussion in 'Commandos & Royal Marines' started by Mark Hone, Jun 6, 2019.

  1. Mark Hone

    Mark Hone Senior Member

    In preparation for a 75th anniversary commemoration of this former pupil of Bury Grammar School, Lancashire I am trying to establish if the date of death on his headstone at Ranville Cemetery, 30th June 1944, is correct. Some years ago, another researcher maintained that 46 RM Commando records indicated that the incident where Billy was fatally wounded by mortar fire near Sallanelles actually occurred on 2nd July. Could anyone who has access to the unit War Diary possibly confirm this?
    Many thanks for any help.
  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member


    Do you have his full name ?

  3. CL1

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

    Perhaps contact CWGC and ask them to confirm the information they have


    Marine William Atherton, 'B' troop, died during operations at Sallenelles, Normandy.

    ATHERTON, William Temperley | ͏

    RM 46 Commando

    ATHERTON, William T, Marine, PLY/X 111533, killed
    HMS Blackwood, Mourne, Sickle, Elba Landings killed and died, also other RN casualties June 1944

    Died 30/06/1944

    Aged 19

    No. 46 R.M. Commando.
    Royal Marines

    Son of Samuel and Lydia Dorothy Atherton, of Radcliffe, Lancashire.

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  4. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Accorcing to this database - UK, British Army and Navy Birth, Marriage and Death Records, 1730-1960

    Name: William Temperley Atherton
    Event: Death
    Birth Date: 20 Mar 1925
    Birth Place: Redcliffe, Lancs.
    Death Date: 2 Jul 1944
    Death Age: 19

    But then his Probate says:
    England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995
    Name: William Timperley Atherton
    Death Date: 22 Jul 1944
    Death Place: Lancashire, England
    Probate Date: 30 Mar 1945
    Probate Registry: Manchester, Chester, England
    But I guess the probate date could be the more erroneous

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  5. Mark Hone

    Mark Hone Senior Member

    Yes, sorry, I inadvertently failed to include his full name. Many thanks for the replies. Billy was the only son of Great War veteran Samuel Atherton from Radcliffe. He attended Bury Grammar School from 1934 to 1942 and was a member of the school cadet force, then called the Junior Training Corps, still going strong today as the CCF. He applied to join the Royal Marines through the Y Scheme, which I think was designed to recruit potential officers. He joined the marines on his 18th birthday. The date on the death index lends credence to 2nd July as his date of death-the Probate record date is clearly a transcription error for 2nd July, not 30th June.
    We have visited Billy's grave at Ranville on three of our school battlefield tours over the years, most recently in 2013.
  6. Mark Hone

    Mark Hone Senior Member

    We shall be holding a short act of remembrance for Billy, the only old boy of the school known to have died in the Normandy campaign, on the 75th anniversary of his death.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2019
  7. Mark Hone

    Mark Hone Senior Member

    Billy Atherton. Could anyone help me to identify his shoulder tags?

    Attached Files:

  8. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Are you sure that is the correct person ?
    Chap in photo is a Second-Lieutenant.
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  9. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

  10. Mark Hone

    Mark Hone Senior Member

    The photograph I posted is definitely Billy Atherton. It was supplied by the family as his obituary photograph in the 'Radcliffe Times' in 1944 and a copy was provided to me by the son of a cousin, who was one of his closest friends. On the back are written details of his life and death. It records that the photograph was taken when he was 17 1/2. His obituary mentions that after school he joined an Officers' Training Corps. I thought that this was possibly a confused mention of his membership of our school cadet force, which was then designated the Junior Training Corps but had previously been the Bury Grammar School OTC. As far as I can tell, Billy only reached Lance-Corporal. He did pass Military Certificate A. However, might this show him as a cadet officer after school in an actual OTC? I'm afraid I don't know much about the organisation of army cadets in the Second World War period.
  11. harkness

    harkness Well-Known Member

    1939 Register

    32 Bury Old Road, Radcliffe M.B., Lancashire

    Name - DOB - Occupation - Marital status
    Samuel Atherton - 27 Jan 1894 - Retail Chemist - Married
    Lydia D Atherton - 13 Feb 1894 - Unpaid Domestic Duties - Married
    The record for this person is officially closed.
  12. Mark Hone

    Mark Hone Senior Member

    Does anyone know anything about the Royal Marines' 'Y' Scheme? I have found mention of another former pupil of Bury Grammar who joined the Marines by this route.
  13. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

  14. Mark Hone

    Mark Hone Senior Member

    Thanks. Billy was certainly training at Lympstone in mid-1943. I wonder if if he failed OCTU?

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