My great-grandfather, Chief Petty Officer Stoker Thomas Davies, HMS “Indefatigable”, killed at the Battle of Jutland, 31 May 1916. The discharge section of his service record is simply marked ‘DD’, a piece of blunt military initialism standing for ‘Discharged Dead’.

8 November 2020

By Tim Koch

Tim Koch marks Remembrance Sunday in the UK.

HTBS has often written about oarsmen who went to war, some never to return, some who did come back but only after witnessing unimaginable horrors.

To remember those killed, I reproduce a picture that first appeared in my piece on the Shrewsbury and Oxford rower, writer and Spitfire pilot, Richard Hillary. I have chosen this crew as the few to represent the many.

The crew from Trinity College, Oxford, that rose five places to go ‘Head of the River’ in the 1938 Summer Eights.

Pictured above are, at the back, left to right, RC Furlong (3), P Haig Thomas (Coach), DI Graham (Bow), AOL Stevens (2). In the centre is RH Hillary (Stroke). Seated in the front are HM Young (5), MW Rowe (7), PN Drew-Wilkinson (Cox), FAL Waldron (6), JS Stockton (4). Picture courtesy of Trinity College, Oxford.

Most of these young men had only a few years left to live.

Bow: D.I. Graham, RAF pilot, killed in a flying accident, October 1941.
2: A.O.L. Stevens, RAF pilot, killed in action, November 1940.
3: R.C. Furlong, Royal Artillery, killed in action, Netherlands, March 1945,
4: J.S. Stockton, Scots Guards, killed in action, North Africa, April 1943.
5: H.M. ‘Dinghy’ Young, RAF, killed on the Dam Busters’ Raid, May 1943.
6: F.A.L. Waldron, Scots Guards, twice wounded.
7: M.W. Rowe, Scots Guards.
Stroke: R.H. Hillary, RAF pilot, killed in flying accident, January 1943.
Cox: P.N. Drew-Wilkinson, RAF.
Coach: P. Haig Thomas, Home Guard.

The Trinity College archivist, Clare Hopkins, says of the above picture:

[It] is certainly one of the most poignant and iconic photographs in the Trinity College Archive. The six fallen men were among 133 undergraduates and alumni of the college – a remarkably high number when one considers that in the First World War the college lists 159. Generally, casualties were much lower in the later conflict, which despite its horrors, at least lacked the carnage of the great set piece battles in the trenches….

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