Bernard John Worsfold

Name on Plaque

B. J. WORSFOLD

Connection with Effingham

He was not native to Effingham and nor were his parents. However, he and his parents were living here at “Maryland” in Orestan Lane before the war and the family was still at that address after the war.

Genealogy

His grandfather George (I) Worsfold was born in Surrey around 1849. Most probably George (I) was born at Charlwood [GRO Ref: Reigate 4 408, 1849 (Q4)]. He has not been found in the 1851, 1861 and 1871 Censuses and it is suspected that his family was highly itinerant.

In 1872 George (I) married to Alice (née) Thompson [GRO Ref: Camberwell 1d 1037, 1872 (Q4)]. She had been born in 1849 at Cambridge [GRO Ref: Cambridge 14 2, 1849 (Q3)]. The 1881 Census finds them living in Poplar:

1881 Census
No. 51, Manilla Street, Poplar, Middlesex : PRO Ref: RG11 Piece 510 Folio 125 Page 50

George [I] Worsfold : head : mar : 31 : stevedore : Dorking, Surrey
Alice Worsfold : wife : mar : 31 : — : All Saints Parish, Cambridge
Alice Worsfold : dau : unm : 7 : scholar : Poplar, Middlesex
Jane Worsfold : dau : unm : 5 : scholar : Poplar, Middlesex
Martha Worsfold : dau : unm : 4 : scholar : Poplar, Middlesex
Agnes Worsfold : dau : unm : 2 : — : Poplar, Middlesex
Emily Worsfold : dau : unm : 1 month : — : Poplar, Middlesex

Their next child, Edith, was born in Surrey (for reasons unknown) in 1883 [GRO Ref: Dorking 2a 148, 1883 (Q3)]. The family then moved to Essex where in 1885 they produced a son George William Bernard Worsfold [GRO Ref: W. Ham 4a 140, 1885 (Q4)]. He was the future father of Bernard John and is hereinafter referred to as George (II). The 1891 Census finds the family living in West Ham, with George (I) now working on barges as a lighterman:

1891 Census
No. 12, Oak Road, West Ham, Essex : PRO Ref: RG12 Piece 1326 Folio 37 Page 28

George [I] Worsfold : head : mar : 41 : lighterman : Dorking, Surrey
Alice Worsfold : wife : mar : 41 : — : Cambridgeshire
Alice Worsfold : dau : unm : 17 : tailoress : Millwall, London
Jane Worsfold : dau : unm : 15 : general servant (domestic) : Millwall, London
Martha Worsfold : dau : unm : 14 : scholar : Millwall, London
Emily Worsfold : dau : unm : 10 : scholar : Millwall, London
Edith Worsfold : dau : unm : 7 : scholar : Dorking, Surrey
George [II] Worsfold : son : unm : 6 : scholar : Canning Town, Essex
Charles Worsfold : son : unm : 3 : — : Canning Town, Essex
Ethel Worsfold : dau : unm : 10 months : — : Canning Town, Essex
Elizabeth Elmes : lodger : unm : 17 : tailoress : Hundslon [sic – unclear]

By 1901 they had moved back to the Poplar district of Middlesex, in Bromley:

1901 Census
No. 151, Brunswick Road, Bromley, London : PRO Ref: RG13 Piece 346 Folio 107 Page 41

George [I] Worsfold : head : mar : 50 : general labourer : Charwood [sic – Charlwood], Surrey
Alice Worsfold : wife : mar : 50 : — : Cambridge
Edith Worsfold : dau : unm : 17 : shirt machinist (own account, at home) : Dorking, Surrey
George [II] Worsfold : son : unm : 15 : tobacco shop assistant : Canning Town, Essex
Charles Worsfold : son : unm : 13 : — : Canning Town, Essex

In 1909 George (II) married to Mary Ann (née) Stevens [GRO Ref: W. Ham 4a 38, 1909 (Q2)]. She had been born in 1889 [GRO Ref: W. Ham 4a 56, 1889 (Q3)].

The 1911 Census finds George (I) – now working again as a stevedore, as he had been thirty years earlier – and George (II) both living in Essex:

1911 Census
No. 16, Durham Road, Canning Town, Essex : PRO Ref: RG14 RD188 SD3 ED51 SN323

George [I] Worsfold : head : mar : 61 : stevedore : Charlwood, Surrey
Alice Worsfold : wife : mar : 61 : — : Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
Edith Worsfold : dau : unm : 27 : shirt machinist : Dorking, Surrey

1911 Census
No. 3, Eastbourne Road, East Ham, Essex : PRO Ref: RG14 RD188 SD5 ED23 SN218

George [II] Worsfold : head : mar : 25 : fishmonger : Tidal Basin, Essex
Mary Worsfold : wife : mar : 22 : — : East Ham, Essex
George Worsfold : son : unm : 10 months : — : East Ham, Essex

George (II) and Mary Ann produced four (known) children, the first being seen above in the 1911 Census:

George R. Worsfold [GRO Ref: W. Ham 4a 241, 1910 (Q3)]
Charles V. Worsfold [GRO Ref: West Ham 4a 499, 1912 (Q1)]
Bernard John Worsfold [GRO Ref: Croydon 2a 613, 1916 (Q4)]
Eileen M. Worsfold [GRO Ref: Croydon 2a 637, 1923 (Q3)]

By 1938 Bernard John and his parents – but not, apparently, his brothers – were in Effingham, living at the house named “Maryland” in Orestan Lane [1938 Electoral Register].

In the war Bernard John served in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve with 148 Squadron, becoming a sergeant air gunner. The squadron had been newly formed in Malta in December 1940 from the amalgamation of 38, 99 and 115 squadrons. In March 1941 it was relocated to Kabrit in Egypt, deploying its Wellington bombers to support Montgomery’s North African campaign.

Bernard John and all his crewmates died on a mission in one of these aircraft in July 1942. A brief account of the event is given in the book Royal Air Force Bomber Losses in the Middle East and Mediterranean by D. Gunby and P. Temple [Midland Publishing, 2006]. According to this, their Wellington aircraft, having identifier IC T2985, took off in the evening of July 8th from Kabrit. Its mission was to attack the harbour at Tobruk. It failed to return and was subsequently found to have crashed 18 kilometres SW of Shallufa. The crew were Flying Officer Frank Tribe (pilot); Sgt. Stanley George Rimmer (2nd pilot); Sgt. Leslie George Islwyn Owen (navigator); Pilot Officer James Percival Michael (gunner) of the Royal Canadian Air Force; Sgt. Norman Albert Burr (gunner) and Sgt. B.J. Worsfold (gunner). The name order here may indicate that Bernard John was the rear gunner. Their deaths were reported, without comment, in the journal Flight [Issue November 26th 1942, p.592]. It was not until 1950 that their bodies were found in the Egyptian desert; they were then reinterred in a joint grave in Fayid War Cemetery.

The Worsfold family was stlll in Effingham after the war. The 1946 Electoral Register finds Bernard John’s parents, his sister Eileen, his brother George and the latter’s wife Marion all living at “Maryland”.

The death references for George (II) and Mary Ann have not yet been identified conclusively. The best candidates from George (II) are [GRO Ref: Surrey S.W. 5g 925, 1962 (Q2)] and [GRO Ref: Wokingham 6a 255, 1966 (Q4)]; the best for Mary Ann is [GRO Ref: Reading 6a 435, 1973 (Q2)], the latter giving her birthdate as April 8th 1889; none of them is wholly convincing.

Military Records

1. Service Record – not yet available

2. Commonwealth War Graves Commission Record

Name
Rank
Regiment
Age
Date of Death
Service No.
Additional info.
Grave/Memorial Ref.
Cemetery

WORSFOLD, BERNARD JOHN
Sergeant (Air Gnr.)
148 Sqdn.
not cited
08/07/1942
1330841
none given
Coll. grave 6. F. 4-9.
FAYID WAR CEMETERY