College members who died in 1942
Peter Duncan Campbell (1923-1942)
Peter Duncan Campbell was born in Plymouth on 26 June 1923, the elder son of Commander John Campbell and Maude (née Lobb). He was educated at Imperial Service College, Windsor (now part of Haileybury) from 1937 to 1941, and entered Worcester College on 24 April 1941 as a cadet on an RAF short course.
While training with the RAF at No. 4 Flying training School at Mesa Arizona, Leading Aircraftsman Peter Campbell was severely injured in a plane crash on 6 January 1942, and died in hospital the following day, aged 18.
Peter Campbell is buried at Mesa City Cemetery, Arizona, USA, and is commemorated on the war memorials at Imperial Service College and at Worcester College, Oxford.School information courtesy of the Haileybury School Archives; further information from TNA - No. 4 British Flying Training School Operations book, AIR 29/627/1.
Harry Noël Smith (1911-1942)
Harry Noël Smith, known as Noël, was born on 25 December 1911, the only son of Agnes (née Peden) and Henry Edward Smith, an insurance manager. He was educated at Edinburgh Academy from 1919 to 1921, where he was a member of the History Club and won the Mill Prize for English. Noël Smith entered Worcester College, Oxford, on 9 October 1931 with an exhibition, and achieved 2nd class honours in Modern History in 1934. After leaving university he was articled to Peacock & Goddard, solicitors, and was admitted as a member of the English Law Society in 1937. Correspondence in his student file reveals that he enjoyed playing golf and rugby.
Following the outbreak of war Noël Smith enlisted in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, where he trained as a navigator with No. 5 Operational Training Unit and rose to the rank of Sergeant. In the early hours of 14 January 1942 Noël Smith and his crew took off from RAF Chivenor in Devon in a Beaufort aircraft for a navigational exercise. The aircraft crashed at Marwood killing all on board, including Sergeant Noël Smith, who was 30 years old.
Noël Smith is buried at St Augustine’s Church, Heaton Pumchardon in Devon. He is commemorated on the war memorials at Edinburgh Academy, Murrayfield Golf Club, Aviva PLC and Worcester College, Oxford.School information courtesy of Edinburgh Academy Archives; further information from RAFCommands.com. We are grateful to Graham Moore for providing corrections.
John Amphlett (1917-1942)
John Amphlett matriculated on 12 October 1934, the tenth member of his family to attend Worcester College in a tradition stretching back to 1735. His uncle, Eddie Amphlett (1894), the most recent member of the family to study at the College, was killed in action at Gallipoli in 1915. While up at Worcester John Amphlett was a member of the College Boat Club and rowed in the Torpid and the Eight in 1935 and 1936. He achieved 3rd class honours in Jurisprudence in 1937. On leaving Oxford he was articled to a firm of London solicitors, and had taken all but his final exam when he enlisted in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve where he trained as an Observer and rose to the rank of Sergeant.
On 19 January 1942, John Amphlett was part of a crew of a Wellington bomber from 9 Squadron who took off from RAF Honington in Suffolk, for a navigational training exercise. The aircraft suffered a structural failure in the outer part of the starboard wing shortly after take-off, and crashed just to the north of Thetford, Norfolk, where it burst into flames. Sergeant John Amphlett and the other crew members were all killed.
John Amphlett is buried at All Saints Church, Honington, Suffolk, and is commemorated on the war memorials at St Leonard’s Church, Clent, Radley College, and at Worcester College, Oxford. His father, who did not attend Oxford, left a considerable benefaction to the College to endow scholarships in his son’s name.Photograph of John Amphlett in the Worcester College 2nd Torpid, 1935, Worcester College Archives; school information courtesy of Radley College Archives; further information from TNA - air crash investigation, AVIA 5/20/W1170, and W. R. Chorley, Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War, (2005).
James Ashely Everard Sharp (1919-1942)
On 28 March 1942 Sergeant James Sharp took off in a Miles Master two-seater monoplane, with Sergeant Alan Dodd as the pilot. During the flight they decided to fly over Sergeant Dodd’s home Twizell House in Warrenford, Northumberland. While they were flying at low level over the house the aircraft struck some trees and crashed, killing both men. James Sharp was 22 years old.
James Sharp is buried at St Margaret’s Church, Burnham Norton in Norfolk. He is commemorated on the war memorials at Burnham Market and Brancaster in Norfolk, and on the war memorials at Charterhouse School and Worcester College, Oxford.Photograph and school information courtesy of Charterhouse School Archives; further information from TNA - No. 55 Operational Training Unit operations book, AIR 29/682/2; and from RAFCommands.com.
Anthony Claude Hermon-Hodge (1920-1942)
Anthony Claude Hermon-Hodge was born at Plymouth on 1 August 1920, the only son of Rear Admiral the Hon. Claude Preston Hermon-Hodge DSC RN and Gwendoline (née Davis). He was educated at Radley College from 1934 to 1939, where he was a Junior Scholar, a Heathcote Scholar and a member of the Natural History Society, as well as a member of the fencing team.
Anthony Hermon-Hodge entered Worcester College on 13 October 1939 and achieved 2nd class honours in classical moderations [first-year exams] in 1940. He was unable to return for his second year having been conscripted into the Royal Navy. Sub Lieutenant Anthony Hermon-Hodge was killed on 12 June 1942, when his ship HMS Grove was sunk off the coast of Egypt by two torpedoes fired by the U-Boat U-77. He was 21 years old.
Anthony Hermon-Hodge is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial Panel and on the war memorials of Radley College and Worcester College, Oxford.School information courtesy of Radley College Archives; further information from TNA - Royal Navy Casualties HMS Grove, ADM 358/756; Bruce Taylor and Daniel Morgan, U-Boat Attack Logs 1939-1945 (2011); and uboat.net.
Hugh Wilfred Napier Seymour (1917-1942)
Hugh Seymour attended an Officer Cadet Training Unit before being commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort’s Own) on 4 July 1940. On 14 June 1942 the 1st Battalion Rifle Brigade was holding positions near the town of Acroma in Libya. At 4pm, the strategically important position of Point 187 came under a heavy attack led by some forty German tanks. The garrison there blew up its guns and fled under heavy machine gun fire which caused many casualties. This exposed the flank of B Battery, 11th Royal Horse Artillery, which was protected by infantry support from the Rifle Brigade, led by Lieutenant C.T.G. Hunter and Hugh Seymour. When the Germans attacked, they quickly overran the positions with both Hunter and Seymour's Platoons being wiped out. Lieutenant Hugh Seymour was killed in action, aged 24.
Hugh Seymour is commemorated on the Alamein Memorial, and on the war memorials at Charterhouse School and Worcester College, Oxford.Photograph and further information from R. H. W. S. Hastings, Rifle Brigade 1939-1945 (1950); school information courtesy of Charterhouse School Archives; further information from TNA - 1st Battalion Rifle Brigade war diaries, WO 169/5054; G. G. Parkyn, Rifle Brigade Chronicles 1942 (1943).
John Wenlock Ashley (1914-1942)
John Wenlock Ashley was born at Tenbury in Worcestershire on 27 September 1914, the elder son of Leonard, a solicitor, and Lillian (née Du Rocher). He was educated at Bromsgrove School from 1928 to 1933 and represented the School at the National Schools Imperial Meeting at Bisley in 1933.
John Ashley entered Worcester College on 6 October 1933, where he was awarded the Theodore Williams Scholarship for Anatomy in 1935. He achieved 2nd class honours in Physiology in 1936 and won an open scholarship to Middlesex Hospital.
At the outbreak of war John Ashley was Resident Medical Officer at Hove General Hospital in Sussex and volunteered immediately for service with the Royal Navy. He was commissioned as a Surgeon Lieutenant in the RNVR on 10 November 1939 and posted to the destroyer HMS Imogen where he saw action during the Norwegian campaign in early 1940, including the sinking of the German U-Boat U-63. HMS Imogen was sunk in an accident in July 1940, during which John Ashley was badly injured.
In June 1942 John Ashley was part of the crew of the light cruiser HMS Hermione, escorting convoy MW-11 on its journey from Alexandria to Malta. During the voyage the group was spotted by the German U-Boat U205, which fired three torpedoes at HMS Hermione, hitting her amidships on the starboard side. She turned over on her side and floated for 21 minutes before sinking. Surgeon Lieutenant John Ashley remained at his medical station for some time after the ship was hit, and was later seen helping others to abandon ship, but was not seen again, and was reported missing, presumed killed on active service. He was 27 years old.
John Ashley is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, and on the war memorials at St Mary’s Church, Tenbury, at Bromsgrove School, and at Worcester College, Oxford.School information from Bromsgrove School Archives; further information from TNA - Naval Casualty File HMS Hermione, ADM 358/767; Bruce Taylor and Daniel Morgan, U-Boat Attack Logs 1939-1945 (2011); and uboat.net.
Eric Lindow Hall (1912-1942)
Eric Lindow Hall was born in King’s Norton in Worcestershire on 25 August 1912, the son of Florence (née Brockbank) and Austin Hall, a machinist. He was educated at Banbury County School, and entered Worcester College on 9 October 1931. He achieved 1st class honours in Modern History in 1934.
Eric Hall married Elizabeth O’Neill in 1936, and worked as a secondary school master at Wayland in Norfolk. He enlisted in the RAFVR where he rose to the rank of Sergeant before being commissioned as a Pilot Officer on 29 November 1941. Eric Hall was an observer in training on an aircraft which took off from RAF Pamanzi in Madagascar on 8 September 1942, for an anti-submarine patrol to protect a naval convoy. The plane took off normally but crashed into the sea shortly afterwards, killing its crew including Flying Officer Eric Hall. He was 30 years old.
Eric Hall is buried at Diego Suarez War Cemetery on Madagascar. He is commemorated on the war memorials at Wykham Park Academy (formerly Banbury County School), and Worcester College, Oxford.Further information from RAFCommands.com.
Frederick George Kahl (1911-1942)
Frederick Kahl entered Worcester College on 11 October 1929, and achieved 2nd class honours in Jurisprudence in 1932. While at Worcester he placed hockey and cricket for the College. He was also a member of the Oxford University Officer Cadet Corps, and after graduation he served in the Territorial Army as a member of the Honourable Artillery Company. Frederick Kahl married Esme Cobbett in 1941 and they had a son, Frederick, who was born in 1943, after his father had died.
Frederick Kahl was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 9th Battalion Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) on 5 July 1939. In 1942 he transferred to No. 6 Commando and given command of No. 3 Troop. In September 1942, he travelled to Bethesda in North Wales for climbing training. Captain Frederick Kahl died in a climbing accident on 9 September 1942, aged 31.
Frederick Kahl is commemorated on the Brookwood Memorial, and on the war memorials at Bramley in Surrey, Canford School, and at Worcester College, Oxford.Photograph of Frederick Kahl in the Worcester College Hockey Team, 1929-30, Worcester College Archives; school information courtesy of Canford School Archives; further information from TNA - No. 6 Commando war diaries WO 218/37.
Ian Bickley Manning (1912-1942)
Ian Manning entered Worcester College on 9 October 1931 and achieved 3rd class honours in Jurisprudence in 1935. While at the College he was a member of the College Boat Club, rowing in the 1st Eight and the Henley Eight between 1933 and 1935. On leaving the University he became a tea planter at Bareilly in India.
Serving with the 9th Jat Regiment, Indian Army, 2nd Lieutenant Ian Manning died on active service on 21 September 1942, aged 29.
Ian Manning is buried at Maynamati War Cemetery in Bangladesh, and commemorated on the war memorial at Worcester College, Oxford.Photograph of Ian Manning in the Worcester College Long Distance Eight, 1934, Worcester College Archives.
Ronald Joseph Murphy (1908-1942)
After leaving the University of Oxford Ronnie Murphy was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the East Kent Regiment in 1931 and served with the 1st battalion in India and Burma, before moving with them to Egypt in 1939. On the outbreak of war he was serving as a Captain and Adjutant with the 2nd Battalion East Kent Regiment (Buffs) and crossed with them to France, where he was wounded on 22 May 1940. His battalion was subsequently sent to North Africa where he later became Brigade Major to 132nd Brigade. He was awarded the Military Cross on 4 September 1942 and was appointed to the command of the 4th battalion Royal Sussex Regiment on 11 October 1942. Lieutenant Colonel Ronald Murphy was killed in action at El Alamein on 28 October 1942, aged 34.
Ronnie Murphy is buried in El Alamein War Cemetery in Egypt, and commemorated on the war memorials at Beaumont College and Worcester College, Oxford.Photograph of Ronnie Murphy in the Worcester College 1st Torpid, 1927, Worcester College Archives; further information from TNA: 132 Infantry Brigade war diaries, WO 169/4279; 4th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment war diaries, WO 169/5068; Recommendation for award of Military Cross WO 373/22/28; and 2nd Battalion East Kent Regiment war diaries May 1940, WO 167/716.
Cyril George Napper (1909-1942)
Cyril Napper entered Worcester College on 12 October 1928, but left in 1929 without taking a degree. He subsequently worked on the Stock Exchange and then as a salesman for the family tailoring business. Following the outbreak of the Second World War he entered the army in September 1939 and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the King’s (Liverpool) Regiment on 23 March 1940. He was attached to the 1/5th Battalion Queen’s Royal Regiment (West Surrey) and was posted to the Middle East in May 1942, serving in Egypt from June that year.
On 24 October 1942 the Battalion attacked enemy positions between Deir El Munassib and Himeimat, during the attack Cyril Napper was injured and captured. Captain Cyril Napper died of his wounds five days later, on 30 October 1942, aged 32.
Cyril Napper is commemorated on the Alamein Memorial, and on the war memorials at King’s School Bruton and Worcester College, Oxford.Photograph and school information courtesy of the King's School, Bruton, Archives; further information from TNA - 1/5th Battalion Queen's Royal Regiment war diaries, WO 169/5048.
John Stuart Alexander (1920-1942)
Stuart Alexander entered Worcester College on 7 October 1938 but enlisted in the army on the outbreak of the Second World War and left Oxford without taking a degree. He trained with the King’s (Liverpool) Regiment and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Cheshire Regiment in August 1940, joining the battalion in the Middle East in June 1942. He took part in the withdrawal from Gazala in July and saw action at El Alamein in October 1942.
On 13 November 1942, with the British advance from El Alamein well under way, Stuart Alexander was ordered to salvage abandoned ammunition and took a truck through what he took to be a gap in an enemy minefield. When they had gone some distance, the men on the back of the truck shouted that they could see mines. Alexander halted the truck and ordered his men to dismount and walk out of the minefield. While they were doing this, he guided the driver as he reversed the truck; however, during this manoeuvre the rear wheel hit a mine and Lieutenant Stuart Alexander was killed in the subsequent explosion. He was 22 years old.
Stuart Alexander is buried at El Alamein War Cemetary, and commemorated on the war memorials at Sedbergh School, at Heswell and Worcester College, Oxford.Photograph from Arthur Crookenden, The History of the Cheshire Regiment in the Second World War 1939-1945 (1949); school information from the Sedbergh School Register.
Michael Patrick Lyttleton Roche (1920-1942)
Michael Roche attended an Officer Cadet Training Unit before being commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Hampshire Regiment on 15 March 1941. By November 1942 the 2nd Battalion Hampshire Regiment were in Tunisia where they relieved the 6th Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment at Teboura on 30 November. They were attacked by the Germans on 2 December and suffered heavy casualties, they were subsequently ordered to withdraw overnight. On 3 December 1942 the Hampshires came under further sustained attack from the German army while continuing to retreat. Lieutenant Michael Roche was drowned aged 22, while trying to save one of his men who had fallen into the River Medjerda during the retreat. He was mentioned in dispatches.
Michael Roche is buried in Beja War Cemetery in Tunisia and is commemorated on the war memorials at Eastbourne College and Worcester College, Oxford.Photograph and school information courtesy of Eastbourne College Archives; further information from David Scott Daniell, Regimental History of the Royal Hampshire Regiment Volume Three 1918-1954 (1955).