As readers will be aware, every week we are chronicling in the Nostalgia pages some of the events which were occupying the inhabitants of South Bucks during the second world war. At the forefront of their concerns would have been the wellbeing of their loved ones who were away in the Armed Forces or the different services supporting the military.

With the assistance of local history enthusiast Andy Smale we have compiled a database containing all the names of local servicemen and women who were mentioned in the Bucks Free Press during the war-years. This database contains over 2,000 names, for most of whom we have information about their service in the war.

We would now like to compile short biographies of these people. To help to do so we would love to hear from readers who have information about any local relatives or friends who served in the war. Please contact me, Mike Dewey, by phoning 01494 755070, or by email at

To illustrate the sort of biography we hope to prepare, we show below that for local man Ronald Ellis. This has been prepared by Andy Smale with assistance from Barbara Ellis, who is the wife of Ron’s son Stuart. Barbara has a comprehensive set of papers about Ronald, which she was kind enough to show Andy. We are indebted to her.

Ronald Ellis

Ronald Ellis (Ron) was born in High Wycombe on July 3rd 1909. At a young age, he contracted TB and was hospitalised for a long time, which resulted in a weakness in his ankle. As an adult, he went into business with his father, Frank Ellis, and his sister’s husband Leslie Mallott, making cane furniture and trading as Ellis & Mallott of Lane End Road in Sands.

In 1936 he married Florence Kate Payne and the couple lived at a house called Carnavan in New Road, between Booker and Sands. In April 1942, they had a son, Stuart.

At the outbreak of war, the factory was turned over to the production of wooden rifle butts and other components. Ron attempted to enrol in the RAF, but was turned down, due to his ankle. Undeterred, he tried the Royal New Zealand branch of the RAF based in the UK, and was accepted. After training in Blackpool and Piddington, he became the wireless operator and rear gunner in a Wellington bomber, registration Z1570, of the famous 75 squadron, based at Feltwell in East Anglia.

On the night of July 28th 1942, seventeen aircraft of 75 squadron, plus 15 other planes conducted a raid over Hamburg. The squadron log for that date reads:

Operations – attack against targets at Hamburg

Seventeen a/c [aircraft] were detailed to carry out an attack on the above target. Bomb load of 4000lbs. 30lb and 4lb incendiaries was dropped in target area and bursts were seen in dock area. A.A. fire was very accurate, light heavy predicted. Searchlights in cones were numerous. One JU. 88 was seen near target. There was 10/10 cloud in parts but clear over target. Navigation by TR and DR was good. Six a/c failed to return.

Ron’s plane was shot down, killing all on board. He was just 33 years old and left a wife and 3-month-old son. He was initially reported as “missing” in the Bucks Free Press of August 7. The authorities were later notified via the International Red Cross that he was believed Killed In Action. Ron’s remains were subsequently reburied at the British Military Cemetery at Reichswald Forest in Germany, near the Dutch border.