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Introduction

Hemel Hempstead's first charter was granted in 1539. The new town, one of eight designed by British planners to accommodate London's overspill population, has been grafted onto the old market town since 1947. Landscaping has been assisted by the presence of the picturesque River Gade.

This section of the web site is concerned with Hemel Hempstead War Memorial, Hertfordshire, UK. The memorial commemorates those citizens of Hemel Hempstead who died in the two world wars and the following subsequent conflicts: Malaya, Aden and South Atlantic.

Hemel Hempstead War Memorial

Hemel Hempstead War Memorial (Stephen Stratford 2001)

First World War

Click here to view a list of the First World War names.

The first Hemel Hempstead casualty commemorated on the town memorial's First World War section occurred on 14 September 1914 when Rifleman John Males (aged 24), 1st King's Royal Rifle Corps, was killed in action in the "France & Flanders" (F&F) theatre of operations. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, Seine-et-Marne, France. The small town of La Ferte-sous-Jouarre is located approximately 66 kilometres east of Paris near the Marne River, where the initial German advance to Paris was halted.

Able Seaman Charles Ernest Hobbs was serving onboard the submarine HMS C29. On 29 August 1915, the submarine C29 was being towed by the trawler Ariadne as part of a decoy operation. However, the trawler strayed into a minefield in the Humber Estuary and the C29 hit a mine and sunk.

Able Seaman Charles Ernest Hobbs on Chatham Naval Memorial (Stephen Stratford 2011).

The final First World War casualty commemorated on the town's memorial died on 20 April 1920. Private George Coxhill, Royal Army Medical Corps, was 34 years' old when he died at home. He was buried in Abbots Langley Churchyard, Hertfordshire.

Second World War

Click here to view a list of the Second World War names.

The first Hemel Hempstead casualty commemorated on the town memorial's Second World War section is Naval Airman 1st Class Alfred Frank Harmsworth, a member of HMS St. Vincent's crew. He died on 10 November 1939, aged 18, and is buried at Haslar Royal Naval Cemetery, Hampshire.

The final Second World War casualty commemorated on the town's memorial died is Private Arthur George Aylott, 2nd Herts & Beds Regiment. He died on 17 December 1945, aged 33, and is buried in Hemel Hempstead Cemetery, Hertfordshire.

One of the names on the memorial is "F. Bonner". This service person was Sapper Frank Bonner, a member of the Royal Engineer party that attempted Operation Freshman; the attack on the Norwegian Heavy Water Plant. Sapper Bonner, who resided in Hemel Hempstead, was murdered by the German troops in January 1943. Visit my "Operation Freshman" section for an account of Sapper Bonner's murder and the subsequent war crimes trials.

Selden Bench

Bench in the memorial of Kenneth Selden (Stephen Stratford 2004).

Bench Plaque

Enlargement of the plaque on the rear of bench (Stephen Stratford 2004).

Post-1945 Conflicts

Around the base of the memorial, on three sides, are plaques with the details of town people who died in three conflicts subsequent to the end of the Second World War. Their details are shown in the table below. Any further details about these servicemen are shown after the table.

Panel Name
Name
Malaya 1951 - 1953
L.G. Killick
Malaya 1951 - 1953
J.A. Secrett
Aden 1965
G. Collins
South Atlantic 1982
Jeff Bell
South Atlantic 1982
Kevin Keoghane

 

"Malaya 1951 - 1953" Panel Names

Lionel Gordon Killick was 19 years' old when he died in Malaya, while completing his period of National Service, on 12 May 1951. He was a soldier in the 1st Battalion, The Suffolk Regiment. Private Killick is buried in Cheras Road Christian Cemetery, Kuala Lumpur.

John Secrett was 18 years' old when he died in Malaya, while completing his period of National Service, on 8 May 1952. He was a Lance-Corporal in the East Yorkshire Regiment. Lance-Corporal Secrett is buried in Kranji Military Cemetery, Singapore.

"South Atlantic 1982" Panel Names

Kevin Keoghane was 31 years' old when he died in the Falkland Islands, when the ship HMS Sir Galahad was bombed. He was a Sergeant in the Welsh Guards, the same regiment as his Father had served.

Flight Lieutenant Jeff Bell had just completed a tour with 92 Squadron RAF in Germany, prior to commencing a 4 month detachment to the Falklands as part of the peace keeping force from June to October 1983. Flight Lieutenant Bell was killed in a flying accident (he was the navigator in a phantom jet which hit Mount Osborne) on 17 October 1983, a week before he was due to return home after completing his tour. His remains were returned to the UK and are now buried at Leverstock Green (Holy Trinity) Church.

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