Anns Hill Cemetery War Graves

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Research by Den Budden 2007

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Corporal ARTHUR REGINALD OWEN BARRELL R.A.F. 864073, Corporal, Aux Royal Air Force, No. 933 Barrage Balloon Squadron. Age 33  Died 12.8.40

Barrage Balloon Site Disaster - H.M.S. St. Vincent Sports Field St. Vincent Sports Ground had a barrage balloon site situated within its boundary, this was Positioned next to the railway lines which ran from Gosport to Fareham and formed part of the Anti-aircraft defences of the town. On the 12th of August 1940 a heavy German air-raid commenced over the area, what happened next, caused the largest number of R.A.F. casualties for a single incident, to occur in Gosport. One of the two who survived then A/C2 A.W. Kemp, recalled at the Remembrance Service held at Ann's Hill Cemetery on the corresponding date 57 years later:

The day was fine one with plenty of sun and we were out most of the time, drilling and getting used to our webbing equipment. The powers that be had decided that we were to be trained as much as possible for a line of defence should the German army invade. It was tiring but well worth while as we got used to our rifles and equipment very quickly. Just before midday, we had two corporals who were instructors to help us with our training. They had been with us only a short while when the red alert was sounded, as the sirens blared out. This usually happened well before a raid, but this time it was almost immediately that the guns opened up and we could hear the noise of the planes diving. Our NCO quickly ordered us all to retire to our air raid shelter. After a short while Frank Offord and I decided to go outside and find out what all the noise was about. We went around the back of the shelter into a slit trench, which was about 4 foot deep. The noise was deafening; we saw a parachute come down and then another - it was very exciting to watch at the time because it all seemed so far away. Frank and I spotted the Hun planes coming  from the back of the site and one was dive bombing. The next thing I remember was a terrific explosion and we both lost consciousness. We must have been out for quite a while because as I came to Frank was shouting "I'm drowning!" I could see he was up to his waist in soil, his face was covered in blood, his nose was bleeding and he was in great pain. All this of course had also happened to me, and I felt terrible. We managed to struggle out of the trench and Frank said we'd better get to the sick bay as soon as we could. As we stood up  ready to go, we looked at the shelter in front of us and all we could see was a great big hole. I said to Frank "We'd better get help quickly as the others may be buried and badly injured". As we passed the balloon winch we saw it was on fire, and the house opposite had been hit. When we entered the Naval sick bay they had their hands full as there were casualties everywhere, and all they could do for us was to bathe out wounds and tell us that our centre at Titchfield was coming to collect us. We told them about the air raid shelter and they sent someone to investigate. Meanwhile the air raid sirens started again and we were sent to the air raid shelter were we saw civilians from the row of houses on the edge of the site. The mums did their best to comfort us, because they realised there was no hope for the rest of our crew. We were in so much pain; all we wanted was treatment to ease it. Eventually our R.A.F. ambulance turned up and took us to Titchfield where we were given drugs and treatment. When they had made us more comfortable we were sent off on sick leave, after which Frank and I separated and we went to different sites until Frank and I re-mustered to a different trade and went overseas till the end of the war.”

Those that were killed in the air raid were: BARRELL, Arthur Reginald Owen, 864073 Corporal, 933 B.B. Squadron CHILCOTT, Charles Henry, 654152 Leading Aircraftsman, 930 B.B. Squadron CROKER, Sidney Albert Edward, 864272 Corporal, 930 B.B. Squadron GRANT, Albert Edward, 861990 Aircraftsman 1st class, 930 B.B. Squadron HALE Horace William, 954410 Aircraftsman 2nd class, 930 B.B. Squadron HILL, Ronald Fergus, 956396 Aircraftsman 2nd class, all of 930 B.B. Squadron HOLLISTER, Reginald Walter, 511553 Corporal, 912 B.B. Squadron McELREA, Gerald, 548268 Leading Aircraftman, 930 B.B. Squadron REED, Harry, 630523 Aircraftsman 1st class, 930 B.B. Squadron SMITH, Alex James, 743463 Aircraftsman 1st class, 930 B.B. Squadron All except A/C1 A.J. Smith (originally buried there but exhumed and re-interred at his home town) are buried at Ann's Hill Cemetery, Gosport in the War Graves Section at positions: Cpl Hollister 189 grave 2; LAC Chilcott plot 188 grave 27; LAC McElrea plot188 grave 43; A/C1 Reed plot 188 grave 59; A/C1 Grant plot 188 grave 28; A/C2 Hale plot 188 grave 30; A/C2 Hill plot 188 grave 30; Cpl Barrell plot 189 grave 34; Cpl Croker plot 189 grave 18, all are  commemorated by Commonwealth War Grave headstone's.

Mr Herbert William Gadsby age 64 and Mr Charles James Hastings age 44, two Civilian groundsman working on the sportsground, and who took shelter with the above were also killed, they are also buried at Ann's Hill Cemetery, plot 19 grave 50 and plot 195 grave 71 respectively, Civilian War Grave headstones commemorate them..Lieutenant ROBERT VICTOR BARTLEY, R.A.F. Australian Flying Corps attached to the R.A.F. Age 30 Died 3.7.1918

Lieutenant ROBERT VICTOR BARTLEY, R.A.F., came from Stawell, Victoria, Australia, and was one of the first aviators to serve in the Australian Flying Corps, he was a pilot serving with the 10th Training Squadron, and was attached to the R.A.F. pilot. 30 years of age, he was killed when the Camel C9 aeroplane he was flying, crashed at Fort Grange Aerodrome on the 3rd of July 1918, very little else is known about the circumstances surrounding the crash or its cause.

Lieutenant ROBERT VICTOR BARTLEY, Australian Air Force, attached to the Royal Air Force, was buried on the 9th of July 1918, and is laid to rest, Plot 50 Space 46, and is commemorated by a CWG headstone.

Mr GEORGE STACEY BARTON  Bedford in the Chase, Public House, The Hard, Portsmouth. Age 62  Died 22.12.40

Mr GEORGE STACEY BARTON, was the landlord of the ‘Bedford in Chase’ public house on The Hard, Portsmouth. Aged 62, he was in his premises on the night of Sunday 22nd of December 1940, when a sharp and prolonged air raid began. This was one of the heaviest raids of the war. The pub was right next door to the Dockyard, which was no doubt the main target. The raid caused large-scale damage as well as heavy loss of life. The public house sustained a direct hit, and was totally destroyed. Mr Barton’s body was recovered from under the debris.

Mr GEORGE BARTON, was buried on Saturday 28th of December, Plot 117 Space 23, commemorated by a Civilian War Grave headstone


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