IN MEMORy by Pierre Vandervelden

The visit of Commonwealth graves in Communals Cemeteries & Churchyards in Belgium & France

ST VAAST En AUGE Churchyard (Calvados France)

Page 1 The Pictures & List of Casualties

Page 2 The museum

M. Ludovic Louis has renovated the old Town Hall to transform the village into a museum dedicated to the 12 men buried in the cemetery and the 6th Airborne Division.
Killed on 06/06/1944 in the crash of two gliders, the "Horsa" LH324 (with chalk marks on the fuselage CN35 for this mission) and Amilcar CN 501 (transport troops and equipment) which loss was due to a light error of 1 ° from the assembly point above the English Channel.
They found themselves15 km from their target who was Ranville, to take Franceville - Merville batteries.
The Horsa was damaged on the "wood from the farm of the Manor".
It had taken off from the base Bize Norton, Oxfordshire, and was towed by a Albemarle (1823 Mark V).
The glider was S/Sjt Colin Hopgood, the Glider 2 was Sgt Daniel Phillips and two belonged to the 1st Wing "B" squadron.
3 of 5 passengers are known: Capt Daisley (officer material), Pte John Aldred and signalman Douglas Davis (unfit to jump).
All three will be killed in the crash, two other passengers remain unknown but are taken prisoner by the Germans on 11/06/1944 when they were hidden in a barn.
The glider was also carrying an airborne jeep with trailer and motorbike Davis that had been hidden under the bridge of the railroad whose tracks run in the bottom of a deep trench west of the village.
Plaque erected on a church wall in memory of these twelve casualties.
The church now, renovated during 20 years by M. Claude Louis, Mayor of St Vaast en Auge and his son Ludovic.
The Churchyard with the British plots.
The church served as civilian hospital during the German occupation, photo from 1944 with the British graves.
Caves located on the ground of the cemetery, have served to a temporary field clearing station for German troops.
They were more safely protected than the church against shell bombing.
Mr. and Mrs. Claude Louis maintain (in addition to the work of the CWGC) the Graves and florwer them regularly.
Every year (June 5 at 15:30) they will arrange a memorial ceremony with wreath laying, a guard of honor.
The front plot, L. to R.:
J. Aldred - C. H. Hopgood - S. Daisley - D. I. Davis - D. F. Phillips

Pte John Aldred

Enlisted into the South Lancashire Regiment - 2/4th Battalion – june 17, 1940.
Transferred to the 13th Parachute Battalion – june 01, 1943.
(He was chosen at the last moment to be the bodyguard of Captain Daisley after injury of the official bodyguard during a workout last hour)

S/Sjt Colin Hopgood

Enlisted into the Royal Engineers – 11th Chemical Warfare Training Battalion – December 15, 1939
Posted 4th Chemical Warfare Group – October, 1940
Transferred to the Army Air Corps – august, 1942
Posted N° 1 Wing Glider Pilot Regiment – “B” squadron – may, 1944.

Capt Spencer Daisley

Enlisted into the East Yorkshire Regiment (as n° 4339783) – October 09, 1924
Posted 2nd Battalion – April, 1925
Posted 1st Battalion – September, 1925
Promoted Warrant Officer II – Company Sergeant Major – april, 1934
Promoted Regimental Quatermaster Sergeant – December, 1938
Promoted Lieutenant – East Yorkshire Regiment – 50th Battalion – march, 1940
Posted 2/4 Battalion of South Lancashire Regiment – may 10, 1943
Promoted Captain – may 31, 1943
Transferred to the Army Air Corps – 13th Parachute Battalion – june, 1943.

Signalman Douglas Davis

Enlisted into the East Surrey Regiment - 6th Battalion – june 01, 1939
Transferred to the Royal Signals Corps – 3rd Divisional Signals – may 08, 1942
Attached 5th Parachute Brigade H.Q company – section K – Signal Platoon.

Sjt Daniel Phillips

Enlisted into the Royal Sussex Regiment – Infantry Training Centre – june 24, 1940
Posted 7th Battalion – October, 1940
Transferred to the Royal Artillery – 109th Anti-Tank Regiment – January, 1942
Transferred to the Army Air Corps – 2nd Wing Glider Pilot Regiment – October, 1942
Posted 1st Wing Glider Pilot Regiment – “B” squadron – 1944.

The back plot, L. to R.:
A. Hughes - D. Stanley - L. Ridings - F. E. Newham - G. R. La Croix - W. C. Whitney - A. A. K Pope

Lt Alfred Hughes

Enlisted into the Cavalry of the line – 12th Lancers – October 07, 1938
Transferred to the Royal Armoured Corps – 12th Lancers – april 11, 1939
N° 2 Commando – august 16, 1940
N° 11 S.A.S Battalion – December 09, 1940
162nd Officer Cadet Training Unit – January 01, 1943
2nd Lieutenant in Army Air Corps – may 01, 1943
9th Parachute Battalion – may 08, 1943.

Gnr Douglas Stanley

Enlisted into the North Staffordshire Regiment – 20th Infantry Training Centre – april 16, 1942
Transferred to the South Staffordshire – 4th Battalion – august 08, 1942
Transferred to the Royal Artillery – 103rd Anti-Tank Regiment – December 22, 1942
Posted 3rd Airlanding Anti-Tank Battery “A” Troop – july 01, 1943.

S/Sjt Leslie Ridings

Enlisted into the Royal Artillery – 41st Survey Training Regiment – February 07, 1941
Transferred to the 71st Medium Regiment – august, 1941
Promoted Battery Surveyor Class III – January, 1942
Transferred Army Air Corps – 1st Glider Pilot Regiment & promoted Acting Corporal – july, 1942
Promoted Acting Sergeant – march, 1943
Promoted Acting Staff-Sergeant – December, 1943
Posted Glider Pilot Regiment 2nd Wing “c” squadron.

No photo available Gnr Frank Newham

Enlisted into the General Service Corps, Territorial Army – 48th Infantry Training Centre
Transferred to the South Staffordshire Regiment – 14th Battalion – june 30, 1942
Transferred to the Royal Artillery – 103rd Anti-Tank Regiment – December 22, 1942
Posted to the 3rd Airlanding Anti-Tank Battery – july 01, 1943.

Sgt George La Croix

Enlisted into the Princess Patricia’s Light Infantry, Winnipeg – may 10, 1940
Canadian Army School of Administration – October 29, 1941
Promoted Acting Corporal – September 14, 1942
Promoted Acting Sergeant – December, 1942
Qualified Parachutist at Fort Benning, Georgia, USA – February, 1943.

Bmb William Whitney

Enlisted into the South Staffordshire Regiment – 14th Battalion
Promoted Lance Corporal – august 28, 1942
Transferred to the Royal Artillery – 103rd Anti-Tank Regiment – December, 1942
Promoted War Substantive Bombardier – march, 1943
Posted 3rd Airlanding Anti-Tank Battery – july, 1943.

Mjr Andrew Pope
(Mentioned in Despatches)

Promoted to a Territorial Commission as 2nd Lieutenant – 2nd Battalion, The King’s Shropshire Light Infantry – August 25, 1938
Promoted Lieutenant and posted 1st Battalion – January 01, 1941
Attached to the 30th (Surrey) Searchlight Regiment – Royal Artillery 3rd Infantry brigade – February 16, 1941
Posted to the Ordnance Field Park – Royal Army Ordnance Corps – may 23, 1941
Posted to H.Q 1st Division as General Staff Officer III – july 07, 1941
Promoted Acting Major – January 18, 1943
Promoted Acting Captain – april 18, 1943
Attached H.Q 3rd Parachute Brigade – may, 1943
Promoted Deputy Assistant Adjutant Quatermaster General – February, 1944.

Douglas Davis's best friend, John "Jack" Easby (left) survived the war and came often visited his best pal.
He passed away on 15/02/2010. (for his daughter Theresa Jeakins nee Easby)
Photos Courtesy Alain Octavie (Fr)

IF You have a casualty picture, please send me a copy, I'll be glad to show it on this page.

IF You want a king size copy of this picture (300/900 ko - 2592/1944 pixels) please e-mail me.

IF You want picture of a particular grave, in this cemetery, please e-mail me.

Casualties informations come usualy from Commonwealth War Graves Commission, see links for more informations © Pierre Vandervelden - Belgium