October Last Post

Joining us today for our October Last Post today were members of the UK Intelligence Corps and the Canadian Intelligence Corps.

The ceremony was dedicated to the memory of those members lost over the years in various conflicts and outside of conflicts.

Col Fox (Retired) talked about the work of the Intelligence Corps in detail and we remembered four individuals.

Capt. John Kenneth Macalister was born in Guelph, Ontario on 19 July 1914. A French speaker, we was studying in France at the outbreak of WW2. Returning to the UK he enlisted in the British Army but was unable to join the infantry due to poor eyesight. He joined the Intelligence Corps in 1941 and subsequently after training joined the Special Operations Executive (SOE) in April 1943. Parachuted into the Cher Valley in June, he was captured and executed early September 1944 in Buchenwald Concentration Camp.

Major Philip Frank Chamier was born in 1909 at Frankfurt, Germany to an Australian father and German mother. His family circumstances meant he came to the UK and by 1934 was living in Bradford Peverill, Dorset. He worked for the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) gathering German military intelligence. His exact fate remains unknown. He was either executed at Ravensbruck or Sachsenhausen concentration camps, died under interrogation in Berlin or during an Allied are raid, age 35.

Capt. Clement Marc Jumeau was born in the Seychelles in 1914. At the outbreak of WW2, he was studying law in Glasgow. Bilingual in English and French he joined the SOE F Section. Commissioned into the Intelligence Corps on 10 July 1941, he was parachuted into France on 10/11/ October 1941 with three other agents. Captured, he soon escaped and returned to the UK via Spain in November 1942. On a mission into France in April 1943, his aircraft was shot down over Normandy. Along with a fellow officer they survived the crash but were soon captured. He contracted TB during a stint in solitary confinement, and without medical intervention, he died on 26 March 1944, age 30.

Lt Michael Cartwright (formally Coulomb) was born in France in 1910. He was a French national serving in the French Army at the outbreak of WW2. He was commissioned into the Intelligence Corps in 1940 and was attached to SIS. Dropped into France in May 1941, he was arrested in July and moved to the Nordhausen complex where V2 rockets were assembled. He fell ill and put into a convoy bound for Lublin but he likely died on the way. He was officially posted as ‘Missing Presumed Dead’ with effect from 10 January 1944, age 34.

Mat Baker sounded the Last Post, Tom Milne carried the Union Flag, and Alan Lopez was our Standard Bearer. Standards were also on parade from the Royal British Legion, The Woking Royal Naval Association, and the Artists Rifles.

The Exhortation, Kohima Epitaph were recited and Wreaths were laid by members of the Intelligence Corps.

At the end of the ceremony, Col Fox and a Lt-Colonel of the Canadian Intelligence Corps inspected the Standards, prior to refreshments at the Trench Experience.

Credits: Paul McCue research and Individual Remembrance text, Alan Meeks, photos.

September Last Post

We welcomed members of the Israeli Embassy in London, The Jewish Military Association UK (AJEX), and family members of Don Alphonso Humberston, one of our Individual Remembrances.

We remembered Captain Lionel Lee MC. Captain Lee had joined the Royal Armoured Corps and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in May 1942. He then transferred at his own request to F (French) Section of the Special Operations Executive, SOE and was taken on strength from June 1942 when he began his training at Special Training School, STS 5, at Wanborough Manor, just six miles from Brookwood. He completed SOE’s training syllabus as a radio operator.

He was dropped by parachute from a Halifax of 161 Squadron from RAF Tempsford on the night of 29 February/1 March 1944, some 30 kilometres east of Chartres. He, along with two others were immediately arrested due to a previous compromised mission allowing the Nazis to know the location of the drop site.

Transferred to Rawitsch (now Rawicz, in Poland) prison around 18 May 1944, it is believed he was executed in the period of 24 June – 4 September 1944, when he would have been 27 years old. He is commemorated on the Memorial to the Missing in Brookwood on panel one, column two.

Born in Februay 1879, Don Alphonso Humberston joined the ranks of the 1st Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment in 1898. He was stationed in Aldershot in 1912.

Serjeant Humberston left for France in August 1914. On 15th September, the Battalion, originally in reserve, were called forward to assault a fortified sugar factory at the village of Troyan, stoutly defended by German machine guns and artillery. Advancing over open ground, the Battalion lost approximately half their number before the remnants captured their objective at the point of the bayonet. 15 Officers and over 500 men became casualties this day and it is possible that Serjeant Humberston was amongst them, although his Army Record states his death occurred between 13th and 18th September (the latter date becoming accepted in later records). He is buried in the village cemetery at the hamlet of Priez.

Mike Bluestone, National Chairman of AJEX recited the Kaddish.

Wreaths were laid by the Israeli Embassy, AJEX, The Secret WW2 Learning Network and the family of Sergeant Humberston.

We had five Standards on parade, Stephen Wood paraded the BLP Standard, and Tom Milne paraded the Union Flag. Mrs Ruth Moore sounded the Last Post.

Afterwards we had refreshments at The Trench Experience.

Text credit to Paul McCue, the family of Sergeant Don Humberston and photo credits to Antony McCallum.

August Last Post

A quiet August Last Post, with five Standards on parade and around 60 members of the public in attendance.

We remembered Gunner Kenneth Alfred Aylett, listed on the Brookwood Memorial to the Missing 1939-45, panel 3, col 1. Gunner Aylett was killed exactly 80 years ago today aged 19 while he was serving with the Royal Artillery, 557 Battery, 92 Searchlight Regiment. This unit was based in the Midlands, supporting heavy anti-aircraft guns against German bombers. It is not known why Gunner Aylett died, nor why he has no known grave and one can only speculate that he was devastatingly injured during a bombing raid. He is also commemorated at Mill Road cemetery in Cambridge, along with his father and his mother.

Given that Gunner Aylett served in a searchlight battery, our poem for the day was the highly-appropriate SEARCHLIGHT written during the First World War, in 1917, by F.S. Flint.

Mrs Ruth Moore sounded the Last Post. We had Standards from the Artist’s Rifles, the Woking Royal Navy Association Standard and the Royal British Legion, Bisley, Knaphill & West End Branch. Alan Lopez was our Standard Bearer and Tom Milne carried the Union Flag.

With thanks to Alan Meeks for the photographs, and Paul McCue for the research. Afterwards we had refreshments at the Trench Experience for refreshments.