World War 2 Casualties

by Geoff Pillinger
The West Stand takes a pounding from the bombs in 1942

World War 2 Casualties

The following list contains the names of Players who had appeared in the Bath colours at some time, and lost their lives as a result of Second World War service. The names were accumulated while scanning through daily pages at the Bath Chronicle Archives. We wish to apologise to any descendants if any Bath Football Club player has been omitted.

4th October 1940         Frederick John Rhymes

The Chronicle 4th October 1940 reported on the funeral of Mr Frederick. John (‘Freddie’) Rhymes, the well known, former Bath footballer, who died as result of injuries received in an air raid on a South-West town.

Mr Rhymes, who lived at 20, Charlotte Street, Bath, was 36 years of age. He was a fine scrum-half and a member of the Bath side for many years

 

26th August 1941        John Stuart Bartlett, Wing Commander DFC

It was reported that Wing Commander John Stuart Bartlett D.F.C., an outstanding Bath wing three-quarter, had died on active service.

He had been educated at Victoria College, Bath and was the son of a former Manager of Lloyds Bank, Milsom Street. He had been one of the cleverest runners in Rugby: “The side-slip, the feint, the dummy, the hand-off were supremely exercised by him in his races for the line.

 

17th January 1942        P H Thornily, 2nd Lieutenant

The Bath Chronicle 17th January 1942, reported on the death in action of 2nd. Lt. P H Thornily, R.T.R. of Devizes. “He played as a full back in Mr. Tommy Davis’ Extras, and afterwards with Bath ‘A,’ but became a forward and assisted Bath, also making at least one appearance for Somerset.”

 

16th February 1942      George “Joe” Nudds, Chief Engine Room Artificer.

The Bath Chronicle 16th February 1942 reported that:- Chief E.R.A. George ‘Joe’ Nudds, R.N., was missing in action, presumed killed. He had been in the Navy for fifteen years. It was presumed that he had gone down with H.M.S. Culver. He had been a brilliant and resourceful 1st XV player and a most popular clubman.

 

22nd January 1943       Ronald A Gerrard, Major DSO,7 Field Squadron, Royal Engineers.

Bath, Somerset, Barbarians and England. Born 26 January 1912 Hong Kong, Killed in Action 22nd January 1943 in Libya.

“On the first night of the great offensive Major Gerrard’s field squadron formed the first wave of sappers detailed to clear three lanes through enemy minefields. On reaching the first field, heavy machine gun fire was encountered.

Major Gerrard nevertheless led his sappers in lifting the mines which included anti-personnel apparatus. He moved from lane to lane regardless of his own safety, encouraging his men in their dangerous work. Having cleared the first lines Major Gerrard and his squadron dealt with other enemy minefields beyond, until they reached the objective of the Division. During this time he and his men were continuously under fire.

The successful piercing of the enemy minefields in this sector was officially stated as largely due to his personal efforts and example. It paved the way for the triumphant push which changed the course of the war.

Major Gerrard addressed himself to all dangerous tasks with utter fearlessness. Now he sleeps on the battlefield in a spot that will be “for ever England”. One can hear him cry to those who are left “Chin up, carry on”.

 

25th August 1943        Basil Vernon Robinson, Group Captain AFC, DFC and Bar, DSO

Killed in action over Germany. He was a Bath and Somerset wing threequarter, and a family friend to Major R A Gerrard who had died in January.

 

15th February 1944      Peter C Moon, Captain

BATH CHRONICLE REPORTED on 15/2/1944, that former Bath and Somerset forward and Lansdown cricketer, Capt. Peter C. Moon (Indian Army) had been killed in the 8th Army’s invasion of Italy. He was aged 32, the son of Mrs. E G Dickenson, of 19 Gay Street. He had been educated at Blundellsands Grammar School, and served an apprenticeship and qualified as a pharmacist with his stepfather, Mr. E G Dickenson practising in George Street, Bath. He saw active service in Syria, North Africa and Italy and witnessed the surrender of the Italian Fleet.

For Bath, he had been a versatile Full Back and a marauding wing forward and had scored many tries, with his quick thinking and follow-up.

 

1st July 1944                Leslie Philips, Lance Corporal

The Chronicle reported that Lance Corporal Leslie Phillips, Airborne Regiment, was reported missing. He had landed in Normandy on the first night of the invasion. A former pupil of Bath Forum School, he graduated into the Bath rugby side from Walcot Old Boys. “He was a tearaway forward who never spared himself or his opponents.” His death in action was later confirmed.

 

29th July 1944              Dick James, Lt Colonel (brother in law to S G U Considine) was reported to have been killed in action in Normandy, aged 29. He was a brilliant officer, commissioned into the 4th Somersets. He had recruited several local sportsmen into the regiment. He was promoted to his final rank in the field of battle, and was second in command of his regiment. He attended Blundell’s School and was brother in law to Squadron Leader S G U Considine, Bath’s International Fly-half. He was a fine Bath threequarter and on one famous trip to Newport he played at full-back with marked success. A knee injury brought his playing days to a close. He was on the Bath Committee until the outbreak of war.

This page was added on 19/08/2015.

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