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.