Second World War Biographies

Clara and Frederick Kelsall. Clara Kelsall and her husband Frederick Kelsall were civilians killed on 11 October 1940 at their house at 95 Dalton St, Manchester (on the border of Old Trafford and Hulme. As recorded at Greater Manchester Blitz victims by George Cogswell, Clara was born Clara Elizabeth Barlow on the 4th September 1882, registered in the Chorlton R.D., the daughter of Alfred & Robina Jane Barlow (nee Richardson). Fred Kelsall was born on the 7th April 1896, registered in the Chorlton R.D. They were married in 1915 in the Chorlton R.D. In 1939 they were resident at 26 Caton Street, Stretford.   Fred’s occupation Green Grocer’s Assistant and Clara’s Daily Help.

Fred’s body was recovered at 18.30 hrs on the 11th October 1940 and taken to the City Road Mortuary, Old Trafford.   His body was identified by his uncle – H.H. Richardson, 6 Dale Street, Hulme and released for cremation to Thomas Broome & Sons, 37 Upper Jackson Street, Hulme. He was described as being 5 feet 3 inches in height, sturdy with dark hair and dark complexion.   Employed as a Shop Assistant. Clara’s body was not recovered until 09.50 hrs on the 14th October 1940 (nearly 3 days after that of her husband) and taken to the City Road Mortuary, Old Trafford.   She was described as being 5 feet 3 inches in height, sturdy with dark hair and dark complexion.

Clara and Frederick were two of 1,482 civilian and military deaths that resulted from bombing in Greater Manchester.

Edward Kelsall. Corporal Edward Kelsall of the Royal Air Force was the son of John and Hannah Kelsall of Burnage, Manchester. He died 6 June 1943, age 27 and is buried at Ambon War Cemetery, Indonesia. From BMD records John William Kelsall married Hannah Overton, Chorlton, 1901. In 1911 they were living at 49 William St Hulme, Manchester with children Ellen, John and William. Edward was born in 1916.

Edward left a will: Edward Kelsall of 41 Avon Rd Manchester died on or since 6 June 1943 on war service, administration to Hannah Kelsall widow.

Ambon island lies close to the south west coast of Ceram in the Molucca Group of islands. The town of Ambon, situated on Laitimor Peninsula on the southern shore of Ambon Bay, was severely damaged during the war, first by the Japanese who bombed it heavily in January 1942 and later by the Allied forces who attacked it in 1943 and 1944. After the fall of Ambon in February 1942, a former Dutch army camp on the island was used to hold Australian, American and Dutch prisoners of war, captured during the invasion. The War Cemetery was constructed on the site of this camp (known as Tan Touy) after the war. The cemetery contains Australian soldiers who died during the Japanese invasion of Ambon and Timor, plus those who died in captivity in one of the many camps constructed by the Japanese on the Moluccas Islands, including many British prisoners who were transferred from Java to the islands in April 1943. Soon after the war, the remains of prisoners of war from Haruku and other camps on the island were removed to Ambon and in 1961, at the request of the Indonesian Government, the remains of 503 graves in Makassar War Cemetery on the island of Celebes were added to the cemetery (from CWGC).

The total number of graves in the cemetery is over 2,000. Of this total over half are Australians, of whom about 350 belonged to the 2/21st Australian Infantry Battalion. Most of the 800 British casualties belonged to the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force; nearly all the naval dead were originally buried at Makassar.

Edward Kelsall. Private Edward Kelsall of the West Yorkshire regiment (Prince of Wales Own) died 23 December 1941 and is remembered on the Alamein Memorial. Egypt. I have not been able to identify Edward’s family.

Eric Raynor Kelsall. Sergeant Eric Raynor Kelsall of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve was from Altrincham. He was navigator/bombardier on a Hudson V on a non-operational flight which climbed and crashed into the sea 2 miles off Maidens Harbour, Ayrshire. on 21 January 1945. He is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial.

Eric Sydney Kelsall. Private Eric Sydney Kelsall of the Royal Artillery was born in Staffordshire but a resident of Middlesex according to the Army Roll of Honour and he is buried at Earlham Road Cemetery Norwich. From BMD and census records he was born in Wolstanton in 1896 to Sydney and Emily Kelsall and had a sister Dorothy. From the probate calendar Eric Sydney of Tudor Cottage Hanworth Middlesex died 23 February on War Service, Violet Emily Kelsall widow. Eric Sydney enlisted in the Royal Artillery but was serving with the Corps of Military Police at the time of his death. From a WW2 remembrance page, Eric Kelsall served with the Royal Garrison Artillery and Royal Engineers during the First World War, arriving overseas in August 1915.

Ernest Kelsall. Gunner Ernest Kelsall of the Royal Artillery was the husband of N.M. Kelsall of Bucknall, Stoke-on Trent. He died 19 March 1941 age 29, and is buried at Bucknall, St. Mary’s Churchyard. From BMD records, Ernest Kelsall married Nellie M. Wood in Stoke, 1938.

Ernest Miles Kelsall. Flight Sergeant Ernest Miles Kelsall of the Royal Air Force was the son of Henry Joseph and Ethel Rosa Kelsall of Withington, Manchester. He died age 20 on 23 May 1941 and is remembered on the Alamein Memorial. Wellington T 2895 of 37 Sqn RAF Middle East, was detailed to attack Maleme aerodrome at night on 23/24th May 1941. Nothing was heard from the aircraft other than a signal received giving an ETA of 0640 hours on the 24 May. Crew : RAAF 400054 Sgt Field, P (Pilot) RAF Sgt Mew, H J RAF Sgt Tipper L S RAF Sgt Rowe, J RAF Sgt Kelsall, E M RAF Sgt Marsh, P G.  It was later established that bodies of Sgt Field (RAAF) and Sgt Tipper (RAF) were washed ashore and buried 10 kms west of El Burg in Egypt, the graves being marked by a cross. Sgt Kelsall (RAF) was also washed ashore in the vicinity of Damietta and buried. Subsequent searches could not however locate these graves and they were recorded as having no known grave. The three remaining missing crew members were recorded as having lost their lives at sea (information from an online forum).

Francis Seddon Kelsall. Warrant Officer Francis Seddon Kelsall of Australian headquarters was the son of Frank McDonald Syme Kelsall and Catherine Kelsall, husband of Mildred Ivy Kelsall of North Perth. He died of illness 16 December 1946 age 49 and is buried at Karrakatta Cemetery, Perth. He is listed in both CWGC and the Australian War Memorial. I believe he is the same Francis Seddon who served in the First World War, embarking at Fremantle.

Frank Kelsall. Leading Stoker Frank Kelsall of the Royal Navy was the son of Handel Ephraim and Florence Kelsall and husband of Dorothy May Kelsall of Derby. He died 11 April 1943 aboard HMS Beverley and is remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial. From BMD records Frank Kelsall married Dorothy M. White, Derby 1940

HMS Beverley was sunk by a U-boat off Iceland on 11 April 1943, HMS Clover picked up five survivors and recovered two bodies, but one of the survivors later died on board. In all, 151 officers and men died and 4 survived (information from Crew of Ships hit by U-boats).

Frederic James Kelsall. Trooper Frederic James Kelsall was from Stoke-on-Trent. From BMD records he may have been the son of Frederick J. Kelsall and Sarah Moran married Stoke 1919. Frederick James was killed 1 April 1945 serving with the 11th, Hussars (Price Albert’s Own), Royal Armoured Corps, and is buried at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany.

George Kelsall. Driver George Kelsall of the Royal Army Service Corps died 30 May 1944 age 21, and is buried at Caserta War cemetery, Italy. He left a will “George Kelsall of Tanhouse Farm, Woodsend Road, Flixton Lancashire died 30 May 1944 on war service Administration to William Kelsall farmer”. He is remembered on the memorial at Flixton, St. Michael’s and on the Trafford War Dead site.

James Neil Kelsall. Sergeant James Neil Kelsall, Royal Air Force was from Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire.

James Neil Kelsall_2

James Neil Kelsall

From BMD records and the 1939 Register his parents were John Kelsall and Mary Ellen Cotterill married at Leek 1909. James was born in 1921 and so was 21 when he died. James left a will “James Neil Kelsall of Woods Lane Cheadle Hulme Cheshire died on or since 21 April 1943 on war service Administered to John Kelsall chauffer”.

James Neil’s story is taken from the site Aircrew Remembered. James Neil was air gunner on a Lockheed Ventura from 21 Squadron based at RAF Noulton, Norfolk. On 21 April 1943 21 Squadron attacked the railway yards at Abbeville France. Three aircraft were shot down over the target by FW190 fighters with 12 crew members lost. James’s plane was seen going down into the sea. The crew are remembered at Abbeville Communal Cemetery.



Kenelem Kelsall. Gunner Kenelem Kelsall of the Royal Artillery was the son of Mrs. J. Kelsall of Preston and husband of Ethel Kelsall of Deepdale Preston. From Royal Artillery records he died 7 April 1943 in the UK. BMD records show a Kelemem Kelsall died 1943 registered in Maldon Essex. From a tree on the web Kenelem was the son of Joshua Kelsall and Mary Elizabeth Kelsall (born Halfpenny). Kenelem was buried at Preston Cemetery.

Kenneth Albert Kelsall. Sergeant Kenneth Albert Kelsall of the RAF Volunteer Reserve was the son of Albert and Ada Kelsall of Old Trafford, Manchester. Kenneth Albert left a will administered “Kenneth Albert Kelsall of 10 Cricket St, Old Trafford Manchester died 24 March 1943 on war service administration to Albert Kelsall tram driver”. Kenneth Albert was a glider pilot and he was killed during Operation Varsity, an airborne attack across the Rhine involving more than 16,000 paratroopers and several thousand aircraft. It was the largest airborne operation in history to be conducted on a single day and in one location. Losses of aircraft types from AA fire during the operation included 13 gliders shot down, 14 crashed, and 126 damaged. Kenneth Albert is buried at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany (as is Frederick James Kelsall). He was 21.

Robert William Kelsall Sergeant Robert William Kelsall of the RAF Volunteer Reserve was the son of James Alan and Mary Elizabeth Kelsall, and husband of Fredericka Muriel Kelsall of Altrincham, Cheshire. Robert William Kelsall and Fredericka Muriel Green were married in Derby in 1933. Robert William died 12 December 1942 recorded as lost at sea and he is remembered on the Alamein memorial. His story is told at the Trafford War Dead site.

Presumably he had been injured whilst serving in the RAF in the North Africa Campaign? On the 12th August 1942, Robert boarded the HMS Laconia that had just disembarked over three thousand troops, their equipment and supplies at Port Tewfik.   The ship was overloaded with approximately three thousand people that included seriously wounded men, Italian prisoners of war, women & children from various service and official backgrounds and last but not least an alleged two hundred fifth columnists and low grade spies bound for internment camps in South Africa. The ships lifeboat and raft capacity in no way could accommodate all those onboard having just thirty two lifeboats, forty big rafts and various other smaller ones.

She arrived in Durban on the 28th where she was to stay for three days; further hospital cases were landed and more service and civilian personnel embarked including one hundred and three Polish guards for the POW’s, although heavily armed the Poles were issued no ammunition. Laconia’s last port of call was Cape Town where even more service personnel boarded bringing her final compliment to 463 Officers and crew, 286 passengers from all three services, 1,793 Italian POW’s, 103 Polish guards, and eighty civilians – mostly women and children.

She left Cape Town on the 1st September and by the 11th September she was out in the Atlantic, 550 miles south of Cape Palma heading straight towards U-Boat U-156.   As the U-Boat neared the Laconia at 1800 hrs the Captain
was able to determine that she was sailing a zigzag course on a heading of 310°, their position was fixed at 5.0° south, 11.08° west.   As night fell at 1955 hrs U-156 edged closer and the Captain could clearly see that some of those onboard were clearly in breach of standing orders with regards the blackout, light was emitting from more than one porthole.    At 2007 with tubes one and three ready the Captain ordered first number one away and then twenty seconds later number three.   1,621 died while 1,104 survived the incident. Robert Kelsall was one of the many who went down with the ship. An article on Wikipedia has much more on the sinking and follow on rescue attempts.

Roy Kelsall. Sergeant Roy Kelsall, Royal Air Force was the son of Albert Edwin and Ethel Kelsall of Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent. He was the ball gunner on a Mark VI Liberator of 355 Squadron which collided in formation with another Liberator during a daylight bombing operation to Maymyo Railway Station Burma on 16 September 1944. Eight crew members were killed in the crash and are buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery Burma (now Myanmar). Three bailed out and survived incarceration by the Japanese. Additional information on the crash is obtained from Robert Quirk.

Samuel Fred Kelsall. Trooper Samuel Fred Kelsall of the Royal Tank Regiment was the son of Fred and Sarah E. Kelsall of Blackpool Lancashire. Fred Kelsall married Sarah E. Skelton, Fylde 1920. Samuel Fred was born in 1921. He died age 23 on 15 September 1944 in Italy and is buried at Coriano Ridge War Cemetery.Coriano Ridge was the last important ridge in the way of the Allied advance in the Adriatic sector in the autumn of 1944. Its capture was the key to Rimini and eventually to the River Po. German parachute and panzer troops, aided by bad weather, resisted all attacks on their positions between 4 and 12 September 1944. On the night of 12 September the Eighth Army reopened its attack on the Ridge, with the 1st British and 5th Canadian Armoured Divisions. This attack was successful in taking the Ridge, but marked the beginning of a week of the heaviest fighting experienced since Cassino in May, with daily losses for the Eighth Army of some 150 killed. The site for the cemetery was selected in April 1945 and was created from graves brought in from the surrounding battlefields

Thomas Hastie Kelsall. Sergeant/Leading Aircraftman Thomas Hastie Kelsall was the son of Thomas Hastie Kelsall and Frances Dorothy (nee McCraw), born at Warracknabeal, Victoria, Australia on 7 August 1919. His story is obtained from biographies of students of Geelong School.

Thomas Hastie Kelsall 2

Thomas Hastie Kelsall

Thomas Hastie Kelsall died on 7 July 1941, in South Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) as the result of an aircraft accident. At the time he was a Leading Aircraftman with 26 Elementary Flight Training School, South Rhodesian Air Force. Born at Warracknabeal, Victoria he was the son of Thomas Hastie Kelsall and Frances Dorothy nee McCraw. He was a versatile athlete at School, his trophies including the senior swimming, boxing and dancing prizes. He was a School Prefect in 1936 and 1937, Captain of Warrinn House, a member of the 1st Rowing Crew of 1936 and 1937 and the 1st Football Team from 1935 to 1937, a member of the Athletics Team from 1935 to 1936 and its Captain in 1937, and a Cadet Corps Lieutenant.

After leaving School, he worked on his father’s property near Wagga Wagga named Broughton Brook. He enlisted at Sydney, NSW on 16 September, 1940. He had been injured in a previous aircraft accident in February, 1941 but had been returned to active service after convalescence. His two brothers John William Guthrie (1917-1938) and Kenneth Bowman Kelsall (1924-1998) attended the College. The T A Kelsall Memorial Seat on the southern side of the Chapel at the Senior School Campus was dedicated in his memory. He was buried at Gweru Cemetery, Zimbabwe.

William Kelsall. Private William Kelsall of the Loyal Regiment (North Lancashire) was from Preston. He was killed on 1 June 1940 at Dunkirk and is remembered on the Dunkirk Memorial. This memorial to the missing commemorates 4505 missing dead of the British Expeditionary Force. Review of the 1911 census suggests that William was the son of William and Ellen Kelsall of Preston and that he had a brother Joshua.