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The QVR Project

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Surnames/tags: WWII British_Army
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Contents

About The QVR Project

Hello and welcome to the WikiTree Project Page for The Queen Victoria's Rifles Project!

We are associated with the England Project and feature on the England Topic Page.

If you have an interest in anyone who is known or believed to have served with the QVR feel free to send a private message to David Smith or leave a comment on the project page.

Additionally, if you would like to join the QVR Project please either send a message to David Smith or leave a comment on the project page.

About The QVR Project Goals

The Queen Victoria's Rifles (usually abbreviated to QVR or Q.V.R.) were a largely London based volunteer unit that served as a part of the British Army from 1860 - 1961. This project serves to commemorate those who served with the battalion.

At the moment, the goal of this project is document as many QVR soldiers who were killed in the Second World War as is possible. To reach this objective a three-phase plan has been set out:

1) Setting out a table of QVR soldiers killed in the Second World War (Complete ^)

2) Creating individual profiles for these soldiers on WikiTree (In Progress)

3) Categorising and connecting these profiles to the WikiTree World Family Tree

Moving onwards, the project will bring forward other goals to commemorate those who served in the QVR.

^ Due to problems regarding body identification, soldiers being labelled as belonging to the King's Royal Rifle Corps (KRRC) rather than the QVR and the cataloguing of records not all QVR soldiers who lost their lives in the Second World War may be listed. If you know of anyone Killed In Service that is not on this list please send a message to a project member and/or add their details in yourself.

The QVRs in WWII

Pre-War

On the breakout of war in 1939, the Queen Victoria's Rifles were a motorcycle reconnaissance battalion (converted in 1937) of part-time military volunteers from London and the home counties, trained mainly in the usage of pistols rather than rifles and assigned to home guard duty for the County of London.

With regards to training manuals, in the possession of Sergeant Samuel Buck and Sergeant Edward Neal, both Calais veterans, were the following military handbooks:

  • Squad Drill Illustrated (Thirteenth Edition) by Captain C. C. Esson; Published c. 1916
    • Price: Six Pence
  • Artillery Training -- Vol.I. Drill -- 1924; Published 21 Oct 1924 by His Majesty's Stationary Office
    • Price: One Shilling (Twelve Pence)
  • Training Regulations -- 1934; Distributed 28 Feb 1934 by "Command of the Army Council"
    • Price: None
  • Manual of Horsemastership, Equitation and Driving -- 1929; Published 11 Nov 1929 by His Majesty's Stationary Office
    • Price: Nine Pence

The Battle of Calais (22 May 1940 - 26 May 1940)

The first military action the Queen Victoria's Rifles saw in the Second World War came at Calais in May 1940. The 1st Battalion, Queen Victoria's Rifles, Kings Royal Rifle Corps (1st QVR) were deployed alongside the 3rd Royal Tank Regiment (3rd RTR), 229th Anti-Tank Battery and the 30th Motor Brigade as well as the main forces of the 1st Battalion, the Rifle Brigade (1st RB) and 60th Battalion, the Rifle Brigade (60th RB) and the 2nd Battalion, King's Royal Rifle Corps (2nd KRRC) to surmount a force in total being 4000 men and 40 tanks strong.

Afraid of counter-attack, the German High Command was set on ensuring that all Allied military presence in France was quashed (at least in the form of serving allied soldiers). Therefore, whilst the majority of British forces began their retreat to Dunkirk, the 10th Panzer Division (commanded by Ferdinand Schaal) lead the attack on Calais.

Despite a valiant four days of fighting, the Battle of Calais was a resounding German victory, with only ~200 soldiers of the 4000 strong British forces, mostly wounded soldiers escaping - ~300 British soldiers losing their lives, and ~3500 being captured.

A day to day breakdown of the QVRs' involvement can be seen below, with most of the information taken (and reworded) from an official report written by an escaped officer who was in command of a platoon of QVRs. ^

^ With the report coming from a British Officer, who had to write conforming to heavy censorship regulations, there may be inaccuracies or bias in his account. It should also be noted that this officer does not state his name with the account coming from "The Thatched House, Ascot".

Tuesday, 21 May 1940

The 1st Battalion, Queen Victoria's Rifles received orders to move without their motorcycle vehicles at 11 o'clock on the night of Tuesday, 21st May. They actually could have taken their motorcycles but due to an administrative mistake, it was thought that the ship they were to be transported on would sink.

Wednesday, 22 May 1940

The Battalion left for Dover at 5 o'clock on Wednesday morning carrying weapons and ammunition as well as packs and other equipment. The QVRs took the TSS Canterbury to Calais, arriving in the early afternoon.

Orders were that the enemy were to be expected in the town. Accordingly "C" Company took up position on the defence of the harbour whilst "B" and "D" Companies headed into the town.

During the evening, further orders were received to block the road leading northwards towards Marck and a platoon was marched to a position approximately five miles outside of Calais on said road. They arrived in this position at 10 o'clock at night, finding it filled with refugees as well as French, Belgian and Dutch soldiers. By this point the men had tired and with only an hour of daylight left, they took rest until dawn of the next day.

Thursday, 23 May 1940

From dawn onwards, the platoon worked to blockade the road which was 50 feet wide and makeshift checkpoints were set up, allowing refugees to head northwards and only allied soldiers to head into Calais. This work took most of the day and shortly after finishing a French Officer in a car reported that he had seen a German tank a few miles north of the blockade.

Immediately the makeshift checkpoints were closed up and the British soldiers took up their position on the blockade, expecting enemy action.

Nothing happened, however, until about 10 o'clock at night when a Red Verey Light (a pre-arranged signal to request urgent support) was sent from the direction of Company Headquarters in Calais.

The officer writing the report split the platoon into three, leaving one third of his soldiers defending the blockade and marching two thirds back down the road to Calais.

As they approached Company Headquarters they were suddenly fired upon, but it turned out that they were not German soldiers and instead British soldiers who had not been informed of the arrival of the QVRs and blockade of the road. When, the QVRs did get to Company Headquarters they found that the sending of the Verey Light was a false alarm and that, whilst the town was being bombarded by a heavy German artillery cannon from the northeast, they were not yet in contact with the enemy.

When the men had marched back up to the blockade, they found the entire section of soldiers left to guard the road had disappeared and then, British heavy tanks and trucks carrying troops approached from behind them. The officer was told that the soldiers and tanks had orders to go ahead and find the enemy's position so he allowed through the blockade.

He also writes that they were scarcely out of sight when they heard the sounds of heavy firing from the direction in which the men and tanks had headed. ^ With his own men tired, he retreated the soldiers to the farm used as Company Headquarters and they spent the rest of the night there.

^ This group met two German blockades just ahead of the road which they were able to get through and then a third, better equipped, German blockade which in the darkness mistook the British tanks for German ones and let them through. Eventually though the group was stopped and retreated back to Calais in the early hours of May 24th.

Friday, May 24th 1940

The QVRs remained stationed at the farm until midday on May 24th, hearing heavy firing from Calais to their south.

At this point though, orders reached the QVRs that they were to fall back to the walls of Calais Old Town in order to maintain the line of defence in the town. Additionally, in the afternoon the QVRs' "C" Company was ordered to go out and blockade some more minor roads and did so still without seeing the enemy (although they did report seeing large numbers of Belgian soldiers marching towards Dunkirk).

By Friday evening the QVRs were ordered to withdraw to the Calais harbour, despite not actually coming into contact with the enemy, and they attempted to blow up the bridges in the north and northeast of their position.

A few hours later, after a short rest, Major Simpson took a force of QVRs to help the 60th Rifles Battalion retreat into the harbour area. A White Verey Light was then left off but their was no response to it as no-one could find it or tell from whom or where it had came.

The soldiers moved onto some sand dunes on the Calais beaches and were heavily shelled by the Germans; luckily receiving few losses because many of the shells did not explode on the sand.

Saturday, May 25th 1940

After the heavy shelling in the night, and the heavy losses suffered by other forces in the south of the city, the bombardment on the QVR forces in the east became much heavier and more deadly with many more soldiers losing their lives. Meanwhile, Ferdinand Schaal asked for British Commander Claude Nicholson's surrender which Nicholson refused completely.

In the afternoon, the QVRs were able to repel a fierce German attack in the east of the old town alongside the 1st Rifle Brigade, although when their commander, Lieutenant- Colonel Chandos Hoskyns, was severely wounded by a mortar shell (and would go on to die from his wounds days later) the QVRs and 1st BR retreated back into the harbour once again.

Sunday, May 26th 1940

Shelling of the harbour by German forces began between 2 o'clock and 5 o'clock in the morning, with sources varying. Commander Schaal, had double the number of artillery guns available to him now as reinforcements had arrived from Boulogne with a great amount of the town being destroyed despite their being relatively few QVR casualties.

In the early afternoon, the Calais beaches were all the ground the British forces had left with machine gun fire being shot by the Germans from houses facing the beach.

Not long after, the Germans had overrun the harbour and whilst the QVRs did attempt to fire on them with automatic guns, the barrels had become clogged with sand and whilst trying to clean the guns most of the QVRs, practically unarmed, were taken prisoner by a second wave of German troops.

The captives were marched a church in the town that had somehow remained standing and from there they were marched off to POW camps across both Germany and Nazi-occupied Poland.

Other QVRs were rescued by British navy, shipping and passenger vessels and brought home to England. Some of these vessels, as shown by those listed as being killed 'At Sea' on the 26th - 28th May, were sunk by German forces.

WWII QVR Casualties

WWII QVR Casualties
Name Rank Date of Birth Place of Birth Date of Death Place of Death Place of Memorial Notes
Airey, John Rifleman 1915 Islington, London, England, United Kingdom 25 May 1940 Calais, France Dunkirk Memorial, Dunkirk, France
Amos, Percival Walter (Percy) Rifleman 18 May 1917 Lambeth, London, England, United Kingdom 26 May 1940 Calais, France Calais Southern Cemetery, Calais, France Headstone Inscription Reads: "In everloving memory of our beloved son"
Austin, John Thomas Corporal 14 Nov 1912 Holborn, London, England, United Kingdom 6 Feb 1941 Stalag XX A, Thorn, Poland Malbork Commonwealth War Cemetery, Malbork, Poland Headstone Inscription Reads: "Time cannot dim his memory. He lives for ever in our hearts"
Baker, Harry William Rifleman 1910 Paddington, London, England, United Kingdom 24 May 1940 Calais, France Calais Southern Cemetery, Calais, France Headstone Inscription Reads: "Nevermore will you return but God is good and gives to me sweet balm of memory"
Barker, Wilfred T Corporal 25 Oct 1916 Edmonton, Middlesex, England, United Kingdom 29 May 1943 United Kingdom New Southgate Cemetery, Southgate, London, England, United Kingdom Headstone Inscription Reads: "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends"
Beardsell, Albert Rifleman 1920 Edmonton, Middlesex, England United Kingdom 26 Apr 1941 Greece Phaleron War Cemetery, Phaleron, Athens, Greece Headstone Inscription Reads: "Greater love hath no man than this"
Blake, Albert Rifleman 31 May 1916 Greenwich, London, England United Kingdom 21 Mar 1941 Unknown Brookwood Military Cemetery, Brookwood, Kent, England, United Kingdom Headstone Inscription Reads: "Dearest one we leave thee in the peaceful grave - thy memory will be cherished till we meet in heaven"
Buck, Samuel Leslie Archibald Serjeant 2 Jan 1911 Marylebone, London, England, United Kingdom 18 Sep 1944 Stalag 383, Hohenfels, Bavaria, Germany Durnbach War Cemetery, Durnbach, Bavaria, Germany Died in the Infirmary with a Perforated Ulcer
Buck, William Henry Rifleman 8 Oct 1903 Marylebone, London, England, United Kingdom 25 May 1940 Calais, France Calais Southern Cemetery, Calais, France Headstone Inscription Reads: "To my dear son William, may God rest your soul and may you Rest in Peace"
Bullock, Ernest James Rifleman 1918 Pontypridd, Glamorganshire, Wales, United Kingdom 27 May 1940 At Sea Dunkirk Memorial, Dunkirk, France
Burlton, Francis Pavitt Jenks Corporal 1912 Reading, Berkshire, England, United Kingdom 24 May 1940 Calais, France Calais Southern Cemetery, Calais, France - Was Mentioned in Despatches (MiD)

- Headstone Inscription Reads: "'In everloving memory.' Father, Mother, Family. 'A place in my heart always.' Violet."

Came, William Percy Rifleman 21 July 1919 Wandsworth, London, England, united Kingdom 24 May 1940 Calais, France Calais Southern Cemetery, Calais, France Headstone Inscription Reads: "Gone from our home but never from our hearts. In silence we remember."
Chennells, John Stanley Corporal Unknown Unknown 26 May 1940 Unknown Hampstead Cemetery, Hampstead, London, United Kingdom It is unclear whether Cpl. Stanley served in the Battle of Calais
Clark, William John Corporal 1915 St Pancras, London, England, United Kingdom 24 Sep 1944 Netherlands Nederweert War Cemetery, Limburg, Netherlands - Also served with the 2nd Battalion, The London Rifle Brigade
Clements, James William Rifleman 1913 Hampstead, London, England, United Kingdom 26 May 1940 Calais, France Dunkirk Memorial, Dunkirk, France
Collier, Henry Charles Rifleman 1918 Marylebone, London, England, United Kingdom 17 Oct 1944 Netherlands Venray War Cemetery, Limburg, Netherlands - Headstone Inscription Reads: "Always together in memory lane. God bless you, dear, till we meet again."

- Also serving with the 2nd Battalion, The London Rifle Brigade

Denchfield, Ronald Basil Rifleman 1918 Marylebone, London, England, United Kingdom May 1940 Calais, France Dunkirk Memorial, Dunkirk, France It is unclear if Rfn. Denchfield was killed on May 25th or May 26th 1940
Deverill, Fred Rifleman 1918 Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England, United Kingdom 3 Feb 1941 Stalag XX A, Thorn, Poland Malbork Commonwealth War Cemetery, Malbork, Poland Headstone Inscription Reads: "No one knows the heartache for the one we loved so well. Loving mother and family."
Dodds, John Marjoribanks Kearney Rifleman 3 Aug 1919 Plymouth, Devon, England, United Kingdom 8 Apr 1941 Stalag XX A, Thorn, Poland Malbork Commonwealth War Cemetery, Malbork, Poland Headstone Inscription Reads: "Not just to-day but every day we meet in memory's garden. Mother."
Dowell, George Richard Junior Lance Corporal 1916 Wandsworth, London, England, United Kingdom 25 May 1940 Calais, France Dunkirk Memorial, Dunkirk, France
Dumont, William F Bugler 1920 St Pancras, London, England, United Kingdom 27 May 1940 Calais, France Calais Southern Cemetery, Calais, France
Dunford, James Richard Rifleman 1911 Paddington, London, England, United Kingdom 27 Feb 1941 Unknown Mill Hill Cemetery, Edgware, London, England, United Kingdom Headstone Inscription Reads: "Make him to be numbered with thy saints in glory everlasting"
Every, Thomas Victor Rilfeman 1919 Paddington, London, England, United Kingdom 22 Aug 1944 Stalag 344, Krakow, Poland Krakow Rakowicki Cemetery, Krakow, Poland
Final, Stanley Herbert W Rifleman 1920 Mile End Old Town, London, England, United Kingdom 13 Dec 1940 Unknown Brookwood Military Cemetery, Brookwood, Kent, England, United Kingdom (1939-1945 Memorial) Killed in a vehicular accident near Slough with a lorry driver.
German, Harry Dumills Rifleman 1918 Bath, Somerset, England, United Kingdom 24 May 1940 Calais, France Calais Southern Cemetery, Calais, France Headstone Inscription Reads: "To know him was to love him"
Glass, Leslie Roland Rifleman abt 1915 London, England, United Kingdom 25 May 1940 Calais, France Calais Southern Cemetery, Calais, France Headstone Inscription Reads: "He gave his life that others might live"
Gutteridge, Harold Ernest Serjeant 1917 Fulham, London, England, United Kingdom 20 Apr 1945 Unknown Becklingen War Cemetery, Becklingen, Niedersachsen, Germany Headstone Inscription Reads: "You left us, your thoughts unknown but you left a memory we are proud to know"
Hadden, Alfred Rifleman abt 1919 London, England, United Kingdom 24 May 1940 Calais, France Calais Southern Cemetery, Calais Cemetery Headstone Inscription Reads: "In loving memory of my dearly loved son. Sadly missed by mother and family."
Horan, Clifford Ernest Corporal abt 1916 London, England, United Kingdom 12 July 1944 Italy Arezzo War Cemetery, Arezzo, Tuscany, Italy Headstone Inscription Reads: "In memory of Cliff beloved son of James and Frances Adelaide Horan - 'Greater love hath no man'"
Hunter, John Swain Rifleman 1920 Lambeth, London, England, United Kingdom 27 May 1940 At Sea Dunkirk Memorial, Dunkirk, France
Illingworth, Norman Richard Lieutenant 1915 Woking, Surrey, England, United Kingdom 29 Mar 1944 Woking, Surrey, England, United Kingdom Woking Crematorium, Woking, Surrey, England, United Kingdom Died serving at home after being injured whilst serving with the Reconnaisance Corps. However, he was a Calais veteran who went missing and returned to England in July 1941, full year after going missing in Calais.
Jakob, Leslie Frank Rifleman 1915 West Ham, Essex, England, United Kingdom 26 May 1940 Calais, France Dunkirk Memorial, Dunkirk, France
Jennings, Alfred Charles Rifleman 1902 Poplar, London, England, United Kingdom 26 May 1940 Calais, France Dunkirk Memorial, Dunkirk, France
Johnson, Arthur Henry Rifleman Unknown Unknown 25 May 1940 Calais, France Dunkirk Memorial, Dunkirk, France
Lait, Charles Norman Rifleman 1918 Uxbridge, Middlesex, England, United Kingdom 15 Feb 1941 Stalag XX A, Thorn, Poland Malbork Commonwealth War Cemetery, Malbork, Poland Also Known As: Lait, Norman Charles
Maloney, Daniel Corporal Unknown Ireland 15 Jan 1941 Unknown Brookwood Military Cemetery, Brookwood, Kent, England, United Kingdom
Mayer, Michael Rifleman abt 1907 Charlton, London, England, United Kingdom 23 May 1940 Calais, France Dunkirk Memorial, Dunkirk, France
Mollett, Roger Pridham Rifleman 1917 Kingston, Surrey, England, United Kingdom 26 May 1940 Calais, France Dunkirk Memorial, Dunkirk, France
Moore, Duncan Patrick Rifleman 1909 Farnham, Surrey, England, United Kingdom 25 May 1940 Calais, France Calais Southern Cemetery, Calais, France Headstone Inscription Reads: "In the peace of God which passeth all understanding"
Putland, Ernest Alfred Colour Serjeant 1905 Wandsworth, London, England, United Kingdom 24 May 1940 Calais, France Dunkirk Memorial, Dunkirk, France
Raikes, Richard Anthony Second Lieutenant 1909 Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England, United Kingdom 26 May 1940 Calais, France Dunkirk Memorial, Dunkirk, France
Robinson, John Reginald Rifleman 1919 West Derby, Liverpool, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom 27 May 1940 At Sea Dunkirk Memorial, Dunkirk, France
Rose, Percy Norman Ernest Rifleman 1917 Islington, London, England, United Kingdom 26 Aug 1944 Italy Arezzo War Cemetery, Arezzo, Tuscany, Italy
Skilton, Thomas Charles Rifleman 1911 Camberwell, London, England, United Kingdom 26 May 1940 Calais, France Dunkirk Memorial, Dunkirk, France
Smith, Ronald Walter Rifleman 1920 West Ham, Essex, England, United Kingdom 18 Aug 1944 Normandy, France Banneville-La-Campagne War Cemetery, Caen, Normandy, France Headstone Inscription Reads: "Loved and remembered always"
Stoner, Victor Charles Rifleman abt 1920 Camberwell, London, England, United Kingdom 26 May 1940 Calais, France Dunkirk Memorial, Dunkirk, France
Streek, Roger William Rifleman 1916 Fulham, London, England, United Kingdom 26 May 1940 Calais, France Calais Southern Cemetery, Calais, France Headstone Inscription Reads: "Until we meet again, our hero. Mother and sister."
Swirsky, Max Rifleman 1914 Mile End Old Town, London, England, United Kingdom 15 May 1941 Unknown Phaleron War Cemetery, Phaleron, Athens, Greece - Headstone Inscription Reads: "Dearly beloved youngest son of Abraham and Udice Swirsky"

- Of Jewish Faith

Thorn, Peter G Serjeant 1920 Watford, Hertfordshire, England, United Kingdom 7 Sep 1944 Belgium Leopoldsburg War Cemetery, Leopoldsburg, Limburg, Flanders, Belgium Headstone Inscription Reads: "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends"
Thornton, Phillip Eric Rifleman 1921 Islington, London, England, United Kingdom 21 Feb 1941 Stalag VIIIB, Krakow, Poland Krakow Rakowicki Cemetery, Krakow, Poland Headstone Inscription Reads: "To live in the hearts of those we love is not to die"
Trendall, Frederick Lieutenant abt 1890 Bangor, Caernarvonshire 25 May 1940 Calais, France Calais Southern Cemetery, Calais, France Headstone Inscription Reads: "To the world he was only one, to one he was all the world"
Walker, Charles Edgar Rilfeman 1917 West Ham, Essex, England, United Kingdom May 1940 At Sea Dunkirk Memorial, Dunkirk, France It is unclear whether Rfn. Walker died on May 27 or May 28
Wells, Ernest Arthur Rifleman abt 1915 London, England, United Kingdom 8 Apr 1943 Unknown Berlin War Cemetery, Berlin, Germany Headstone Inscription Reads: "In a far-off land he lies asleep, fond memories of him we keep. Mother and all."
Williamson, Henry Edward Corporal 1906 Marylebone, London, England, United Kingdom 24 May 1940 Calais, France Calais Southern Cemetery, Calais, France Headstone Inscription Reads: "Not gone from memory nor love but gone to our Father's home above. Wife & Children."




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