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Willington Servicemen Killed in World War Two

The war memorial on the south wall of the nave August 2010
The war memorial on the south wall of the nave August 2010

Former County Archivist Joyce Godber was from Willington. She wrote a booklet on Willington in World War Two which was publiched by Willington Women's Institute in 1936 [W/W10]. the booklet includes brief details on the five men from Willington killed during the war. They are as follows, further details having been gained from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website:

  • Sergeant Malcolm Haydn Davies who joined the Royal Air Force in 1938. He was a wireless-operator and air gunner and in February 1940 went with his squadron to Finland. He was captured but escaped. He went missing, presumed killed, on 7th December 1940 after taking part in a bombing raid on German invasion bases in the Netherlands with 49 squadron. He was 19 years old. His parents were John Haydn Daviesand Frances Davies and he left behind a widow, Margaret Mary. He is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.
  • Driver Stephen John Lack joined the Royal Engineers on 1st September 1939 and crossed to France on 29th September with his unit, 248th Field Company. He was killed in action on 21st May 1940 at Roubaix in Belgium on the eleventh day of the German offensive in the west. he was the son of Edward Linnitt and Beatrice Winnifred Lack and was 20 years old. He is buried at Templeuve Communal Cemetery, Tournai.
  • Acting Leading Seaman John Lilburn joined the Royal Navy in 1929, gaining a good conduct badge in 1934 and was described on a certificate of service in 1939 as "of superior efficiency". He served on a destroyer, H. M. S. Gallant on the outbreak of war, transferring to H. M. S. Grenville in January 1940. His ship was sunk on 19th of that month. he was the son of William and Anne Emma Lilburn and was aged 26. He is commemorated on the Chatham War Memorial.
  • Stoker 1st Class Leslie Frank Mayes joined the Royal Navy on 1st September 1939 and serbed on a minesweeper, H. M. S. Sphinx. He died on 4th February 1940 and is buried in Wick Cemetery in the north of Scotland. His parents were Charles and Harriet Mayes. 
  • Ordinary Seaman John Penson Whitaker joined the Royal Navy in January 1941. He served on the corvatte H. M. S. Culver which was torpedoed almost as soon as he joined it on 31st January 1942. he was the son of John Penson and Annie Louise Whitaker and left behind a widow, Alys Elizabeth. He was 32 years old and is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.