Dartford Council Leader Jeremy Kite has suggested that roads on a new town centre housing development bear the names of a number of war veterans and fallen service heroes linked to the town.
Councillor Kite will tell veterans gathered at the Dartford War Memorial on Wednesday 11th November that the Council has begun a formal process to recognise four heroes with street names on the new Mill Pond development close to Dartford Railway Station. The proposed street names will now be subject to a public consultation before being determined at a Cabinet meeting later this year.
Jeremy said, “Last weekend, Dartford held the largest service of remembrance that anyone could recall and it was especially good to see so many young people taking part.”
“I am grateful to a number of families for their consent to take this step towards creating new street names and I hope that our town’s gesture will make clear how much we appreciate the service, the courage and the sacrifices of their loved ones. We will never forget them or any of those who stood for our freedom. We will never take their experiences for granted.”
It is proposed to designate street names to mark the following four individuals.
Sergeant Trevor Guest Oldfield
Trevor Oldfield joined the Auxiliary Air Force in early 1938, originally as an armourer. He was called up for full time service in August 1939 and was recommended for pilot training. He completed his training in early August 1940 and was initially posted to 64 Squadron, however soon afterwards he was sent to 92 Squadron based at RAF Biggin Hill.
Sgt Oldfield flew his first operational sortie with 92 Squadron on Saturday 21st September 1940, which was uneventful. On 27th September 1940 Sgt Oldfield was scrambled three times. On the second scramble, at 12:00 midday, Sgt Oldfield engaged a Messerschmitt 109 and shot it down.
It was during Sgt Oldfield’s third scramble, at 14:45 that contact was lost with him. It was subsequently learned that his aircraft had crashed into Hesketh Park at 15:15 and that Sgt Oldfield was killed on impact. Eye witnesses stated that Sgt Oldfield had deliberately guided his stricken aircraft away from nearby housing. Sgt Oldfield is buried in Chertsey, Surrey. A memorial to his bravery was unveiled in Hesketh Park on 27th September 2007.
Colour Sergeant James Smith VC
James Smith was a 26 year old Corporal in The Buffs (East Kent Regiment) in 1897, when his regiment was called upon to help deal with an uprising by the Mohmand tribe on the North West frontier of India (now Pakistan).
On the night of 16/17th September 1897 Corporal Smith volunteered to follow two Royal Engineer Officers into the burning village of Bilot, in order to dislodge the enemy.
Despite being wounded Corporal Smith continued fighting and helped carry other wounded comrades to safety. When one of the officers left to get help Corporal Smith held his position, directing fire whilst exposed to enemy bullets.
For his bravery Corporal Smith received Britain and the Commonwealth’s highest award for gallantry, the Victoria Cross. James Smith left the British Army with the rank of Colour Sergeant. He died in 1947 and is buried in the Watling Street Cemetery, Dartford.
Lieutenant Oliver Richard Augustin
Lieutenant Oliver (known as Ollie) Augustin was born on 16th March 1988. He attended Dartford Grammar School between 1999 and 2006. On leaving school he went on a gap year including two months spent volunteering at a school in Kenya and travelling through Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
Ollie Augustin began Officer Training with the Royal Marines in September 2009, passing fit for duty in December 2010. His first appointment was in Command of Fire Support Group, Juliet Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines.
On 27th May 2011 Lieutenant Augustin was leading a patrol in the Loy Mandeh area of the Nad’ Ali district in Helmand province, Afghanistan. The patrol was tasked with disrupting insurgent activities helping to expand the influence of the Afghan Government. During the patrol Lieutenant Augustin and his colleague Marine Sam Alexander MC were killed when an improvised explosive device detonated close by.
Lt Colonel Ewen Murchison, Commanding Officer, 42 Commando Royal Marines said of Lt Augustin: “At the time his life was tragically cut short he was characteristically leading from the front, taking the fight to the enemy; his audacity, commitment and courage clear for all to see”.
RAF Aircraftsman William Mundy left Scotland on 3rd December 1941 bound for Kuala Lumpur. However on 7th December 1941 Japan attacked Pearl Harbour, Hawaii, and subsequently British Malaya. Aircraftsman Mundy was therefore re-routed to Batavia, now Jakarta in modern Indonesia.
He was captured by the Japanese at Garut in West Java and imprisoned at Glodok Prison, where he contracted typhoid fever. He was then shipped, with 1000 other prisoners to Ambon, an island off Indonesia, to work on constructing a new airfield. 750 men out of the 1000 subsequently died either on the island or on the transport ships which brought them back to Java.
William Mundy survived but had Beri-Beri and Pellagra (a series of skin disorders). He was transferred to Changi Prison in Singapore in 1944 where he set up a bee colony. He had joined the Dartford branch of the Kent Beekeepers’ Association in 1936 and his father had kept a hive. William used the honey produced in the Changi hive for medical purposes, its antiseptic properties being particularly good for healing burns and ulcers.
At the end of hostilities William Mundy returned to Dartford and continued bee keeping. For the last forty years he has been the Chairman of the Dartford Branch of the Kent Bee Keepers Association.