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WW2 Casualties
Bletchley men were among those who crossed with the BEF to
France, but victory lay several years ahead and claimed many local lives.

Sunday Citizen August 11, 2002

A Stalwart breed prevailed in 1940 with qualities much needed to deal with the increasingly harsh realities of war, especially when news arrived of the death of a loved one, a relative or a friend.

Such an occasion was the tragic loss of Peter Meadows, the first Bletchley man to be killed in action. The minesweeper, aboard which he served as a signaller, received a direct hit.

A second fatality was that of Frank Nurshaw of 61 Duncombe Street, who at the age of 34, was killed on the Western Front.

Before the war he had served for several years as a soldier but then left to work on the railways until the declaration of hostilities, when he found himself called up as a reservist.

News as equally distressing could be brought when soldiers were posted as missing, for until official notification arrived, it could only be hoped that they were prisoners of war.

In fact Private George Shackleton, a Bletchley lad from Brooklands Road, had been initially reported as missing but was later confirmed as a PoW.

However, the fate of Corporal Jack Wise, aged 21, still remained unknown, he being the only son of the late Mr Warren Wise, who had once practised as a dentist in Bletchley Road.

Another uncertainty concerned Sapper Frank Cheney, a member of the Royal Engineers, but on a happier note, advancing through the ranks Second Lieutenant Ellingham gained promotion to Captain. His had so far been quite an eventful war, for having been evacuated from Boulogne he later returned to France, only to be evacuated once again, from Cherbourg.

Amongst those now enjoying the hospitalities of a German prison camp, Private Robinson of the Oxon and Bucks Light Infantry was held in Stalag XXA 3A whilst Sgt Souster RA languished as an inmate at Stalag XXIB.

Meanwhile, back in Bletchley, at last some good news arrived when Mrs Plumb, of Brooklands Road, learned that her husband, although in hospital, remained otherwise well.

Mrs Adney, of Osborne Street, also received a card from her husband, saying he was 'comfortable' in Stalag V111B, along with another Bletchley soldier, Henry Mason.

Less fortunate, however, were the wife and young son of John Whitfield, formerly the manager of Wyman's bookstall, for confirmation came through that he had been lost on active service.

Official notification was also received regarding the fate of Engineer Commander Chappell.

For many years he had worked in the offices of Rowland Bros before then going to the L&NW loco sheds as a fitter.

During World War One he served as an engineering officer on merchant transports and at the outbreak of World War Two was engaged as chief engineer on the SS Matakana, before volunteering for the Navy.

As the war dragged on, so the casualties inevitably increased, including another member of the Oxon and Bucks Territorials, Charles Essen.

Called to the colours at the outbreak of war, he later transferred to the Royal Engineers but was killed just a few weeks later.

His burial took place at Bouin cemetery but for those whose remains were brought back to Bletchley, an especial area of the churchyard was set aside.

However, as we shall see, with several years of conflict still ahead, even this could soon prove insufficient.