Tag Archives: Northern Ireland

Frank Roy Daughton, friend of S.A.Casswell

A little while ago, I wrote about a Schoolboy’s Diary which I had bought on ebay. The 1935 diary had been owned by S.A.Casswell , who lived in Lincolnshire, at Sutterton near Boston. Only a few minutes searching on the Internet revealed some rather sad details about the one single person listed by S.A.Casswell in the address section of his Diary.
Frank Roy Daughton had lived firstly at 385, Kings Road Chelsea and then at 5, Gerald Road S.W 1. He was an officer originally in the RAFVR, the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, and then in the RAF.
Given that Daughton’s job was to fly aircraft over long distances, both within Great Britain and abroad, he was surely continually in search of meteorological information before he set off on any of his trips. What more logical person to consult than his friend S.A.Casswell, who we know worked on the staff of the Meteorological Office as a Meteorological Officer?
Roy Daughton was born in London around 1915. His father was Frank Daughton and his mother was Bertha Daughton. The first personal detail that I have been able to trace is that before the war he was a member of the Metropolitan Police. His warrant number was 124334. He joined the force on July 15th 1935, and he left on February 25th 1944. His last posting was as a Police Constable in the C.I.D in X Division.

During the war, Roy Daughton was a Flying Officer, Number 133684. He began his career as a pilot with 9 OTU (Operational Training Unit) who were tasked with training long-range fighter aircrew. They operated from RAF Aldergrove in Northern Ireland, eighteen miles from Belfast. Roy Daughton must have served with 9 OTU at some point between 1942-August 11th 1944, as they were a comparatively short lived organisation.  He had received his commission on February 2nd 1943.

2' 2'43  supplement to LOndon Gazette
Roy Daughton then served with the OADU, the Overseas Aircraft Despatch Unit.  Their difficult and dangerous job was, quite simply, to co-ordinate the ferry flights of military aircraft, perhaps, for example, from the end of a factory production line in the United Kingdom to their new home on some distant foreign airbase. The commonest destination was North Africa or the Middle East. Sometimes, they ferried American aircraft which had just been flown across the Atlantic Ocean. This latter task in itself could be enormously dangerous, especially in the case of relatively small aircraft such as the Lockheed Hudson. The Overseas Aircraft Despatch Unit operated from RAF Portreath in west Cornwall.

The OADU’s very first customers were four Boeing B17C Flying Fortresses bound for Egypt. Other frequent flyers were Bristol Blenheims, Bristol Beaufighters, and Vickers Wellington bombers.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Roy was to die on February 25th, 1944 aged only 29. I have been completely unable to trace the circumstances of his death, although it was presumably either while or after delivering an aircraft from the United Kingdom to North Africa.

map of rabat

Roy is buried in Morocco, a very long way indeed from his cosy home in London. He lies in Rabat European Cemetery, Mil. Plot 21. Grave 673.

Daughton_F_R grave

Roy is one of only nine war casualties in this far flung cemetery.

gereman websiteAt the time of his death Frank was a married man. His wife, who was about a year younger than him, was called Doreen Margaret Daughton, and the family home was in Maida Vale in London. In addition, I also discovered that in 1946, a Doreen M. Daughton left the port of Southampton in England and sailed to Halifax in Nova Scotia, Canada. She later crossed the border into the USA, but after that, the trail has, as they say, “run cold”.
And that is it. Frank Roy Daughton’s life, or what I personally have been able to find out about it. No medals, no fanfares. Nobody even seems to remember why he died at that premature age of around twenty nine years, or how or exactly where. What was he doing when he was killed? Was it his fault? Was he flying? Did he run out of fuel? Was he just walking perhaps, tired and inattentive, across a busy Moroccan street? And did S.A.Casswell ever know that his brave young friend was dead?

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Aviation, Cornwall, History

A sad, sad day

I write today’s post with a very heavy heart. It is about a human tragedy in Northern Ireland. First though, I will need to explain one or two basics, for the benefit of my wonderful readers in Brazil, Bulgaria, Madagascar and Mauritius.

This is the flag of the United Kingdom…

1280px-Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom_svgAnd this is the flag of Ireland…

Flag_of_Ireland

Northern Ireland, or Ulster, is not part of Ireland, but one of the  four bits of the United Kingdom. The population of Northern Ireland, however, is a mixture of Loyalists, who wish to remain part of the United Kingdom, and Republicans, who would possibly prefer to be part of Ireland, which is not a kingdom, but a republic. Within Northern Ireland, political parties can often reflect these different groups, and the two flags have taken on an importance which is far greater in Ulster than they could ever have in the three other bits of the United Kingdom, namely, England, Scotland and Wales.

Over the past three or four days, the  BBC have been telling a tragic tale about Bessbrook Pond in County Armagh, in Northern Ireland. I hope you will read their full first report here.

I have abridged it for you in case you haven’t got enough time to spend on the full version.

“25 July 2014
Sinn Féin calls for Irish tricolour flags to be removed from Bessbrook village.
Sometime this week, Irish tricolours have been erected on trees in Bessbrook Pond. Sinn Féin politicians have called for their removal. Sinn Féin member of the Legislative Assembly Mickey Brady said the flags could be seen as intimidating by Protestant residents in the village.
“The issue is causing contention because in Bessbrook particularly there is a mixed community. These flags, some may consider them as overtly sectarian, intimidating and threatening, and I think what we do not want to do in relation to this is perpetuate division.”

Here are the flags in question….
_76521396_tricolours

In a separate report in the “Newry Times”, it was statted that Bessbrook Sinn Féin Councillor Dáire Hughes has called for the removal of (the)two Irish Tricolours….

“The erection of the national flag in places like trees in the middle of a pond is effectively dishonouring it and also neither at any time should it be used to impose, intimidate or disrespect.
“I share the belief that our national flag should at all times command the highest degree of respect,” said the Mayor and he asked for those who erected the flags to remove them.

Four days later, the BBC filed the tragic sequel to their initial story.
Here is my abridged version.

“29 July 2014
A 68-year-old man has drowned in an incident at a lake in Bessbrook village.
Oswald ‘Ossie’ Bradley was swimming to trees in Bessbrook Pond to remove two Irish tricolour flags from trees.
It is claimed Mr Bradley intended to replace them with a Union Flag when he got into difficulties. Police are not treating the death as suspicious.
A teenage boy managed to bring Mr Bradley ashore at about 5:00 p.m. on Monday and attempts were made to resuscitate him.
Emergency services took him to Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry, about four miles away, where it was announced that he had died.
Ulster Unionist MLA Danny Kennedy said “This is a very tragic outcome to controversies surrounding flags in this village. His untimely and tragic death is too high a price for any family and community to pay.”

For me, Mr.Kennedy has hit the nail right on the head. Flags might well be seen as  important. They should certainly never be dishonoured. They should never be disrespected. And they should never ever be used to emphasise differences in the community, to intimidate, or to threaten. And most of all, no piece of cloth is more important than a man’s life, or the happiness of his family.

To conclude, though, may I pay my sincerest condolences to the family of Mr.Bradley and the village of Bessbrook.

1 Comment

Filed under History