Little, Douglas Lavington. Died 21st Jun 1918

Douglas Lavington LITTLE was born on 1 October 1898 in Finchley, Middlesex, and his birth was registered in Q4, 1898 in Barnet, Middlesex.   He was baptised on 25 December 1898 at All Saints, Headley, Surrey.  He was the eldest of two sons of William Gibson Little, who was born in about 1862 [-1931] in Islington, and Laura Lavington, née Oakley, Little, who was born in about 1876 [-1934] in Walthamstow.

They probably moved sometime after Douglas’s birth, as his younger brother was born three years later in Sanderstead, Surrey, where the family had moved before 1901, to live at Surprise View, Glossop Road, Sanderstead.  His father was then enumerated as an ‘Accountant’.

At some later date, probably some time before 1911, the family moved to Rugby – Douglas’s father had moved to take a job in Rugby and it may have been attractive because of the educational opportunities for the two boys.  Douglas attended Lawrence Sheriff School and then Rugby School.[1]

In 1911, Douglas was 12, and was living with his parents at 23 Paradise Street Rugby.  His father, now 49, was an accountant for an ‘electrical manufacturer’.  His parents had now been married for 13 years and had had two children both of whom were still living.

For a time after leaving school and before he was old enough to ‘join up’, Douglas worked in the BTH Electrical Laboratory.

There is a file for Douglas L Little at The National Archives.[2]  It has not been consulted at this time, so may include dates when he joined up and whether he had to serve – however briefly – in the army, before joining the Royal Flying Corps (RFC).  It does record that he was in the RFC before it became the RAF on 1 April 1918.  A later inquest report (see below) stated that ‘… he entered the R.A.F. as a cadet in September, 1917, and received his commission last February …’.  He would have been about 18 when he joined up.  He had ‘graduated’ – presumably he had gained his ‘flying licence’ – on 14 June 1918 – he died just a week later.

The RAF Museum holds an extensive set of record cards relating to deaths, injuries and illness suffered by Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force personnel.  Douglas’s Record Cards survive among this collection of Casualty Cards,[3] and also provide some details of his brief career.

Douglas ‘Lovington’ Little had attained the rank of 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Air Force.  He had trained at the No.1 Training Depot Station (RAF) which was based at Wittering (also known as RFC Stamford) after the end July 1917.[4]

Douglas had ‘graduated’ on 14 June 1918 and was being ‘employed’ as a pilot delivering an Armstrong Whitworth F.K.8 aircraft,[5] serial no.C8617, with a Beardmore 160 hp aircraft engine, when at 5.30 pm on 21 June 1918, the machine spun into ground from 500 ft, and he was killed.

The Midland Aircraft Recovery Group reported that ‘FK8 C8617, of 1 Training Depot Station spun into the ground near South Kilworth.’[6]

His father was notified at his address at 30 Vicarage Road, Rugby.

An inquest was held and reported upon in several local newspapers.[7]

A verdict of “Accidental death” was returned at an inquest Tuesday on Second-Lieutenant Douglas Lavington Little, R.A.F., son of Mr. and Mrs. W. G. Little, 30, Vicarage Road, Rugby, who was killed in a flying accident near the town during the week-end.  It was stated that Lieut. Little and three other airmen were flying from one aerodrome to another in the Eastern Counties, and when near Rugby they lost their bearings.  Two of the officers came down to ascertain where they were, and Lieut. Little and the other one continued to circle round in the air.  Suddenly, for no accountable reason, Lieut. Little’s machine commenced to spin, and as there was not sufficient depth for the pilot to right it, it crashed to earth.  Lieut. Little was killed instantly.  He was 19 years of age, and was educated at Rugby School, he entered the R.A.F. as a cadet in September, 1917, and received his commission last February.

A notice was posted in the Rugby Advertiser on 29 June 1918.

‘In loving memory of Douglas Lavington Little, Second-Lieut., R.A.F.. killed in a flying accident, on June 21, 1918 : eldest son of William Gibson and Laura Lavington Little : aged 19 years.’[8]

Douglas Lavington Little died aged 19, on 21 June 1918 and his death was registered in Q2, 1918 at Lutterworth, this presumably being the nearest Register Office to South Kilworth, Leicestershire – the crash site was recorded as ‘near Rugby’.  He was buried in the Clifton Road Cemetery in Grave Ref:K472.

Douglas Lavington LITTLE is also remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gates; on the list of BTH Employees who served in the War 1914 – 1918; on the BTH War Memorial;[9] in the Rugby School Memorial Chapel;[10] and no doubt in one of the volumes of the Memorials of Rugbeians who Fell in the Great War; and on the WWI Lawrence Sheriff School Plaque,[11] which reads,
‘In Commemoration of our Brother Laurentians who Fell in The Great War, 1914-1918, Orando Laborando.’   

RAF accounts are less easily interpreted than Army accounts, but it seems that Douglas’s executors received his outstanding pay of £12-8s on 20 November 1919 and then a payment from his Cox & Co officer’s account of 18s in December 1919.

It seems that Douglas’s parents lived in Rugby for the rest of their lives.  His father died in Rugby aged 69, in 1931; his mother’s death was registered in Staines, aged 57, in 1934 – she was recorded as being 58 on her gravestone.  They are both buried with their son in Clifton Road Cemetery.



– – – – – –


This article on Douglas Lavington LITTLE was researched and written for a Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the RFHG, February 2018.

[1]      From a reference in the later inquest report, and listed on Rugby School Memorial.

[2]      2/Lieutenant Douglas Lavington LITTLE, Royal Flying Corps, TNA Reference: WO 339/125676.


[4]      ‘john-g’ suggests at, that ‘No 1 Training Depot Station, which formed nucleus flights on 20 July 1917 …’ – the flights went to Wittering on 30 and 31 July 1917.  See also, ‘The station’s training role expanded when it became the Royal Flying Corps’s No.1 Training Depot Station in 1917’.

[5]      The Armstrong Whitworth F.K.8 was a British two-seat general-purpose biplane built by Armstrong Whitworth.


[7]      Coventry Evening Telegraph, Wednesday, 26 June 1918; also Birmingham Daily Post, Wednesday, 26 June 1918; also a slightly shorter version in the Warwick and Warwickshire Advertiser, Saturday, 29 June 1918.

[8]      Rugby Advertiser, Saturday, 29 June 1918.

[9]      This is from a list of names on the BTH War Memorial when it was unveiled.  It is taken from the list published in the Rugby Advertiser, 4 November 1921 and given at

[10]     War Memorials on-line:, reference WMO136533.

[11]     Information from

Willard, Kenneth Hugh. Died 12th Oct 1917

Kenneth Hugh Willard was born 23rd July 1898 to Thomas Webb Willard and Tryphena (Renshaw) at Rugby, and was baptised at St Andrews Church, Rugby 7th August 1898. Kenneth was their second child, his elder brother, James Donald, was born at Leamington in 1897, followed by Cynthia Violet Mary born Birmingham, Colin Gerald born Wolston and Rupert Alan born Rugby and another brother, Frederick, was born in 1900 but died the same year aged 4 months.

On the 1901 census Kenneth and his brother James are with their mother at 26 Bilton Road Rugby, their father is not with them, their mother is given as Wife of Thomas Webb Willard. On the 1911 census the family are all together and are still living at 26 Bilton Road Rugby, and their father’s occupation is Architect and Surveyor to the District Council. With the family are also a Governess, Mary Elizabeth Schineider and a Servant, Florence May Smith. Kenneth attended Lawrence Sheriff School and entered Rugby School in 1912 and left there in 1914 and went into his father’s office and in September 1916 he went to R. M. C. Sandhurst. He became a 2nd Lieutenant and in May 1917 he was assigned to the York and Lancaster Regiment and went to Reading, Castle Bromwich and Shrewsbury for his training for the Royal Flying Corps as a Pilot. Kenneth went to France on 6th October 1917 and was attached to the 45th Squadron R. F. C.  On 12th October he was on patrol with others and they encountered German planes. He was then reported missing 12th October 1917.

An official list, published in Germany and republished in FLIGHT 1918, of British machines in which the Germans claim fell into their hands during October 1917, lists 37 single – seater  Sopwith machines, giving details of the pilots, one of which is Lieut. K.H. Willard wounded.

His parents were informed that he was missing but he had died later that day.
He is buried in Harlebeke New British Cemetery: Grave Reference XI. A. 18.

Rugby Advertiser 20th October 1917
Second Lieut Kenneth H. Willard, York and Lancaster Regiment, attached to the Royal Flying Corps, second son of Mr. T. W. Willard 26 Bilton Road, has been officially informed reported missing as from October 12th. In a letter to Mr. Willard a fellow officer writes “He went out with six other machines on the 12th inst. to do a patrol, the leader being one of our best pilots. About 15 to 20 enemy machines were encountered, and a general mix-up ensued, in which your son was seen handling his machine and fighting in a most efficient manner. Although our machines were greatly outnumbered, they put up a great fight, but on returning to the aerodrome it was discovered that your son was missing. No one saw him go down, and it is just possible that he may have been hit in the engine, and had to descend in the enemy lines.” Lieut. Willard was educated at Rugby School and Sandhurst, and visited his parents a fortnight ago on his final leave before proceeding to the front.

Rugby Advertiser 17th November 1917
WILLARD – In proud and loving memory of KENNETH HUGH WILLARD, 2nd Lieut., York and Lancaster Regiment attached to R. F. C. Killed in action on the Western Front on October 12th 1917; second son of T. W. And Tryphena Willard Rugby aged 19.

The Midland Daily Telegraph Saturday October 20th 1917
Mr T. W. Willard, Surveyor to Rugby District Council, Has been officially notified that his second son, Second Lieut. Kenneth H. Willard is missing. He visited his parents so recently a fortnight ago on his final leave before proceeding to the front. It appears he was fighting with six others when they encountered about 20 enemy machines Second Lieut. K. H. Willard was educated at Rugby School and Sandhurst.

Rugby Advertiser 15th October 1920
WILLARD – In proud and loving memory of Kenneth Hugh Willard, 2nd Lieut. York and Lancaster Regt. (attached Royal Flying Corp) killed in action on October 12th 1917. Buried in the Cemetery of Honour at Rumbeke Belgium.

Lieut Kenneth Hugh Willard’s name is recorded at Rugby School in the Memorial Chapel on the East Wall South Transept, on the Rugby Memorial Gates, in Volume VII of Memorials of Rugbeians who fell in the Great War with his photograph, also recorded in the Old Laurentians (former schoolboys of Lawrence Sheriff School) who died during the First World War.

Memorials of Rugbeians who fell in the Great War VII

Second Lieut. K. H. Willard entered School in 1912 and left 1914.   For about 18 months after School he was in his father’s offices and then went to R. M. C. Sandhurst September 1916.   On passing out of Sandhurst in May 1917, he was gazetted to the York and Lancaster Regiment, and then went to Reading, and afterwards Castle Bromwich and Shrewsbury for his training for the Royal Flying Corps.

He went to France on October 6th 1917 and was attached to 45th Squadron R. F. C. He was flying with a patrol Squadron of seven machines to Houthulst Forest when they met a Squadron of German machines, fifteen to twenty strong. Two of our machines, of which he was one, failed to return and it was afterwards learned he had died in the hospital at RUMBEKE on the same day, October 12th 1917, age 19.

His captain wrote “Although your son was with us a short time, he gave every proof of being an exceptionally capable and well trained Pilot, who would have given a splendid account of himself, Although our machines were greatly outnumbered, they put up a great fight, and your son was seen to be handling his machine and fighting in a most efficient manner. We all feel his loss very much.”

Lieut. Kenneth H. Willard was entitled to receive the Victory Medal and The British War Medal. His parents would have been sent The Memorial Death plaque after the war which commemorated all of the war dead.

When his mother died in 1964, and was buried in Clifton Road Cemetery Rugby, the inscription on her headstone reads “In proud and loving memory of KENNETH HUGH WILLARD 2ND Lt York & Lanc Regt R F C killed in action Oct 12th 1917 aged 19years. Buried at Rumbeke, Belgium. In loving memory of TRYPHENA WILLARD died March 20 1964 aged 89 years.   In loving memory of FREDERICK DOUGLAS MARK WILLARD died August 27 1900 aged 4 months. “Ere sin could blight or sorrow fade.” In loving memory of THOMAS WEBB WILLARD died December 28 1940 aged 78 years.





Lister, Herbert Henry Holden. Died 4th May 1917

Herbert Henry Holden LISTER was born on 27 March 1898 in Rugby.[1] He was the only son of Herbert Lister Lister (born in Rugby in 1870) and Sarah Lister (née Holden, born in Wolston in 1868).   He was baptised on 24 April 1898 at St. Matthews Church, Rugby.

In 1901 the family was at 105 Clifton Road, Rugby, the home of Herbert’s widowed paternal grandfather, Henry Lister. Herbert’s father, also Herbert Lister, was shown on the census as a Railway Clerk and his mother, Sarah, was probably looking after Herbert’s three older cousins: Nellie -14, Elsie – 12, and Charles – 10.

In 1911 the family, – Herbert (senior), Sarah and Herbert (junior) – was at 235 Railway Terrace, Rugby.   Herbert being only 13 was still at school. The records show that he attended Lawrence Sheriff School, and it seems that his education was sufficient that when he joined up, he was selected for Officer training. Possibly he had been a member of a school cadet force and had some preliminary training. By 1917 his parents had moved again and were living at 107 Clifton Road, Rugby

Herbert’s full Service Record is held at The National Archives,[2] and have yet to be consulted, but he gained a Commission and became a Second Lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment.

In August 1914, the 2nd Battalion[3] was in Malta and was one of nine battalions recalled from overseas service. They returned to England on 19 August 1914.   They were formed up and mobilised from 31 August and 4 October 1914 at Bolton’s Bench, Lyndhurst in Hampshire, the site of one of the Great War army camps and joining the 22nd Brigade, 7th Division. Over 4 and 5 October the Division embarked at Southampton, landed at Zeebrugge during 6 and 7 October, reached Ghent on 9 October and arrived at Ypres on 14 October 1914 after the fall of Antwerp.

When Herbert joined them is unknown at present, but his date of entry to France is not recorded on his Medal Card and he did not receive the 1915 Star, so he probably did not join his battalion in France until 1916 at the earliest, possibly in the reinforcement after the battle of the Somme.

The 7th Division saw action in France and Belgium on the Western Front until 17 November 1917 when it was transferred to the Italian front, serving there for the remainder of the War. Actions in France included various parts of the Battles of Ypres – 19/10/1914; including the Battle of Langemarck – 21/10/1914; and the Battle of Gheluvelt – 29/10/1914; the Rouges Bancs – Well Farm Attack – 18/12/1914; the Battle of Neuve Chapelle – 10/03/1915; the Battle of Auber’s Ridge – 09/05/1915; the Battle of Festubert – 15/05/1915; action at Givenchy – 15/06/1915; the Battle of Loos – 25/09/1915; and in 1916 the various battles of the Somme including the Battle of Albert – 01/07/1916; the Capture of Mametz – 01/07/1916; the Battle of Bazentin Ridge – 14/07/1916; the Attack on High Wood – 20/07/1916; the Battle of Guillemont – 03/09/1916. In 1917: Operations on the Ancre – 11/01/1917 and 21/02/1917; and following the German retreat/withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line – 14/03/1917.

Herbert was Killed in Action with ‘D’ Company of 2nd Bn, RWarR during the Battle of Bullecourt, which commenced on 3 May 1917. This was one of the actions in the Arras area, of which the result was somewhat inconclusive. An Anglo-Australian assault on German positions around Bullecourt during April failed to penetrate the German lines so plans were made for second attempt. Shortly before 04.00am on 3rd May, 62nd Division attacked Bullecourt village while the 2nd Australian Division, both in V Corps, Fifth Army, attacked east of the village, their objective to penetrate the Hindenburg Line and capture the town of Hendecourt-les-Cagnicourt. Strong German resistance held out until the exhausted Australian troops were relieved by 7th Division and 1st Australian Division.

The 2nd Bn. RWarR were part of the 22nd Brigade in the 7th Division and the Battalion Diary devotes several pages to the actions prior to and on 4 May 1917.

On 1 May the Battalion was ‘In Billets & Ruins COURCRELLES’, then on the night of 2/3 May they moved to ‘MORY COPSE’. As noted above, they were a reserve for the attack on the Hindenburg Line. After the attack of the 62nd Division was unsuccessful, the Battalion was ordered to attack Bullecourt. ‘D’ Company provided two platoons to ‘A’ Company and two platoons to ‘C’ Company for carrying and mopping up. ‘A’ Company was on the right and ‘C’ Company was on the left and also formed a defensive left flank. Their sector included a railway embankment which provided some cover, but they were subject to strong shelling and machine gun fire; and the wire was also uncut.

‘The strength of the Battalion going into action was:- 20 Officers, 609 Other Ranks. After the Action the strength was:- 8 Officers, 362 Other Ranks. Only 3 junior Officers were left out of those who carried out the attacks.’

They reorganised and gathered up men and carried out a further strong patrol, but were held up …

‘… The enemy held his fire until they reached the 2nd belt of wire which was uncut, and then opened strong rifle and M.Gun fire which caused heavy casualties. Communication was impossible as the signal lamp was broken by shell fire and both pigeons had died of shell shock. The attack was a failure.’

By the end of the day two Lieutenants were known to have been Killed in Action; six were wounded and four, including Herbert Lister, were ‘Missing’ – all four had actually been Killed in Action and their bodies, and indeed those of the two known to have been killed were never recovered or identified.

The next day the Battalion was relieved and left the Railway Embankment for a ‘camping ground at MORY-ABBAYE’.

Herbert Lister is now remembered, as are the other five officers from the Battalion killed that day, on Bay 3, of the Arras Memorial, which is located in the Faubourg-d’Amiens Cemetery, to the west of Arras, near the Citadel.

In total 102 members of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment were killed that day and were never recovered or identified, and are all remembered on Bay 3 of the Arras Memorial.

The Arras Memorial commemorates almost 35,000 servicemen from the United Kingdom, South Africa and New Zealand who died in the Arras sector between the spring of 1916 and 7 August 1918, the eve of the Advance to Victory, and have no known grave. The memorial was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

Herbert Henry Holden LISTER was awarded the Victory and British medals.   His Executor was his father, Herbert Lister Lister, who received his Gratuity of £35-0-0 on 4 December 1919.

As well as the arras Memorial, he is remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gate and on the Lawrence Sheriff School Plaque:- ‘In Commemoration of our Brother Laurentians who Fell in the Great War –   1914-1918 – Orando Laborando’



– – – – – –


This article on Herbert Henry Holden LISTER was researched and written for a Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by Anne Rogers and John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the Rugby Family History Group, December 2016.

[1]       UK, British Army Lists, 1882-1962.

[2]       Officers Service Papers, TNA ref:WO 339/71149, 2/Lieutenant Herbert Henry Holden LISTER, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment.