Suicide during the Second World War

Discussion in 'General' started by von Poop, Sep 30, 2006.

  1. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Nottingham Journal 16 April 1941
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  2. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser 05 June 1942
    Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 23.47.08.png Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 23.47.19.png
  3. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Newcastle Journal 25 March 1943
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  4. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Linlithgowshire Gazette 29 September 1944
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  5. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    Several SOE Personnel committed suicide during the war in some cases to avoid torture after capture
    However several cases were linked to depression caused by anti-malarial drugs then in use - Atabrine
    Owen and dbf like this.
  6. jonheyworth

    jonheyworth Senior Member

    Brigadier Durnford Slater of Commando fame killed himself under a train in 1972. Who knows what price the brave eventually pay
  7. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Freddie Spencer Chapman also killed himself in 1971 when his health began to fade--didn't want to be dependant on others.
    jonheyworth likes this.
  8. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    Suicide is not the only undesirable outcome for some of these veterans.

    "Jack Furman, a volunteer, joined an elite commando squad: the First Special Service Force. A lad from tiny Fort Macleod, Alta., trained to leap from planes, climb mountains, detonate explosives, launch amphibious assaults and survive behind enemy lines in wartime Europe—a man trained to kill for king and country, with grenades, with guns, with stiletto, with garotte, with bare hands. Furman did these things, and came back alive and was called a hero, though he rarely spoke of it.

    What do you do with such a man, who now languishes in a fog of dementia; a man locked in a Kamloops, B.C., psychiatric centre, because this past August (2013) —at age 95—he is alleged to have killed again? This time Furman’s victim was not an enemy combatant, it was 85-year-old Bill May, a father of three, a retired executive at a glass company near Vernon, B.C. He was Furman’s roommate in Vernon’s Paulson Residential Care dementia unit."

    Shortly before Jack Furman was moved to the care facility, John Hart received a chilling email from another elderly member of the First Special Service Force. The man wanted to circulate a warning in the event he is stricken with dementia. It reads as follows, exactly as Hart received it:

    “I HAVE LIVED IN FEAR?.?.?.?SINCE wwii?.?.?.?THAT I WOULD KILL SOMEONE. WE MEMBERS OF?.?.?.?The first Special Service Force were trained to kill, went on to kill?.?.?.?TO MURDER?.?.?.?WITH OUR BARE HANDS. NOT THE LEAST BIT DIFFICULT?.?.?.?I WAS DELEGATED TO CONTINUE TEACHING HOW TO KILL with my bare hands.

    “I PUT IN PRINT?.?.?.?should I show signs of Alzheimer’s?.?.?.?IMMEDIATELY INFORM ALL WHO KNOW AND ASSOCIATE WITH ME?.?.?.?IMMEDIATELY INSTALL DOUBLE LOCKS ON OUTSIDE OF ACCOMMADATION [sic]?.?.?.?WHEN I NEED ASSISTANCE?.?.?.?two trained attendants respond. everyone?.?.?.?HELP?.?.?.?God?.?.?.?please help.”

    Old and dangerous: Senior violence is getting worse -
  9. rememberthem

    rememberthem ex member

    I am having so many senior moments that its turning from single moments like a photograph to a never ending pointless film

    There was a well known Australian flier - tho I dont recall if he flew with the RAF or RAAF and I can picture his face but nothing on his name. He had married an English woman and had persuaded her to go to Australia before the birth of their first child. She died in childbirth or very shortly after and he took his baby son down to a beach and shot his son and then himself.

    His baby son survived and was brought up by his uncle on his father's side

    I feel like it MIGHT have been in Sth Australia and his wife MAY have had a bit of money - but I just can't trust myself to not entangle stories. I do know that, certainly in the one photo I am remembering, I thought he looked quite Germanically tough and not looking to be so fragile at heart and as I type, I think that he was painted by somebody well known earlier
  10. rememberthem

    rememberthem ex member

    There is also Percy Francis Parbutt whose suicide is on another thread and had only been in the RAAF for weeks and was supposed to be worried about something he did in his previous job but he still qualifies as WW2 and a military employee suicide
  11. rememberthem

    rememberthem ex member

    Helen Richey of the ATA suicided in 1949 I think it was. She had lived such an exciting life with planes pre WW2 (At one point she had climbed out on the wing of a plane [she was trying to break a record with another woman co pilot] and had stitched up a tear in the wing) and had then flown through war but afterwards men took all the flying jobs and unlike most of the ATA women who were from fairly wealthy backgrounds she had little and I think she suicided in a flat in America
  12. rememberthem

    rememberthem ex member

    Found the chap I referred to earlier and perhaps spidge? referred to on page 1?

    257414 and 40042
    Squadron Leader

    returned from UK and settled wife into a home at Brighton in Sth Australia during her first pregnancy She gave birth to a son and died on 10 June 1943 and he took son to Brighton Beach and first shot son and then himself His son survived and altho I didnt find reference to it just now, I remember that his brother raised his son

    I think he was born in 1914

    He appeared to feel he could not raise his son alone So very tragically sad
  13. rememberthem

    rememberthem ex member

    Also found reference to a


    Served in 11 sqn
    Had been labelled with war neurosis but no explanation given

    They lived near Bondi Beach in Waverly Sydney Australia

    On the 3rd May 1944
    He shot his wife twice in the head and she tried to get to door of flat but he picked her up then carried her into the bedroom and shot himself and fell over her He was wearing his air force uniform at the time

    She had told a relative to not be surprised if she was found shot dead but neighbours said they had appeared affectionate There was some talk that he needed an operation and that he was worried about what would become of her if it didnt go well.

    This story was brought up relatively recently because police photos of crime scenes were found from the 40s
  14. spidge


    The person concerned was:

    Squadron Leader
    257414 4
    Royal Australian Air Force
    Sec. G. Grave 207S.
    Australia (South Australia)

    A wonderful Epitaph here however not mentioning his cause of death. He was a hero to his men and the squadron.
    Bungey, Robert Wilton DFC

    From the Australian War Memorial
    Wing Commander Robert Wilton Bungey

    *see also this website > AL Farrington

    (*copy & pasted text removed above link added)
    . (Cited from: W/C Robert Wilton Bungey, DFC | Military History Forum)

    Bungey Photo.jpg Adelaide Brighton 257414 Bungey_RW 2.jpg
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2018
    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  15. rememberthem

    rememberthem ex member

    Thank you for all the extra detail and the photo I dont know how to lift things and put them into replies like these

    I read in 2 reports of his death that his wife died giving birth which is odd and I know he was said to be mad with grief in doing what he did and whomever was putting together his story chose to not to record officially that he shot his son as well His parents may have taken in the little boy if they were all staying together but his uncle took over raising the boy probably as they grew older they felt he needed a younger father figure? Knowing he was in close proximity to his parents help makes it even more hard to understand why he felt his son would be impossible to bring up

    But there is the madness of grief

    So very very sad
  16. rememberthem

    rememberthem ex member

  17. spidge


    This was also shown in the Daily Mail in the UK in 2014.

    His headstone at Botany General Cemetery in New South Wales only states his name and RAAF details.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017
  18. rememberthem

    rememberthem ex member

    Reading of that warning and fear of killing if they got dementia

    That is both frightening and so moving that he felt he was dangerous and a potential murderer and probably felt he could never relax his tight rein on himself and clearly he was a good gentle man originally

    What a fear to have hanging over you, all your life!
  19. rememberthem

    rememberthem ex member

    That was probably at the time the photos were found There is a reference to them being found after 70ish years

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