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Remembrance Day 2023

NPL remembers colleagues who have served and sacrificed their lives for the country.

2 minute read

Today we remember the 40 NPL employees who were sent to war in late 1914 and many others who joined them over the course of the war. For those who left the laboratory, their posts remained open for them on their return.  

The soldiers of the first world war were: 

Private Harry Edward Barwood 

Royal Army Medical Corps Stretcher-bearer​, 1896. Joined NPL in 1913 aged 17​. Enlisted as a pre-war Territorial and was sent to France in December 1914​. Wounded at Ypres on 20 April 1915 and died of his wounds at Netley Hospital on 4 May 1915, aged 19. 

Lance Corporal Charles Granville Guy Crawley​ 

Civil Service Rifles Infantryman​,1899​. Worked at NPL as a Laboratory Assistant in the Aeronautical Department​. Enlisted in November 1916 and was sent to France in December 1917​. Served on the Western Front and was badly wounded on 2 September 1918 and died of his wounds three days later, aged 19. 

Private Donald Ewen BSc MSc​ 

London Scottish Infantryman​,1887​. Joined NPL in 1911 working as a Research Assistant in the Metallurgy Department​. Enlisted as a Reservist in 1913 and was sent to France in September 1914. After being involved in many Western Front battles, an order for his release from service had been obtained from the War Office to enable him to return to NPL to take charge of research on optical glass, but the telegram did not reach him on time and he was killed and listed ‘missing’ near Loos on 13 October 1915, aged 28.  

Private Horace John Head​ 

Post Office Rifles Infantryman (‘Boy Soldier’)​,1898​. Joined NPL in 1913 working first in the Administration Department and then the Metrology Division​. Enlisted in August 1915 when aged 16 having lied about his age and arrived in France on his 18th birthday in September 1916​. Went into action to capture the Butte de Warlencourt on the Somme battlefront on 7 October 1916, but was listed ‘missing’. 

Captain Gilbert Henry Millar 

Royal Air Force Observer​, 1884​. Joined NPL in 1910 working as an Assistant on the William Froude Tank​. Enlisted with the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve in August 1914 and was captured during the defence of Antwerp in October 1914 Escaped captivity and returned to England in September 1915. Commissioned as a Lieutenant and obtained a pilot’s certificate to fly with the Royal Naval Air Service. Attached to HMS Furious in late 1917, he was killed in a flying accident on 29 April 1918, aged 33. 

The soldiers of the second world war were: 

Chief Petty Officer Thomas Leonard Baskerville BEM OBE​ 

Royal Navy mine disposal officer​, worked at NPL in the Ship Tanks during secondment from the Royal Navy. Died aged 44 on 23 January 1941 in an accidental explosion on the East Coast of England after defusing an enemy mine. Was serving as a member of the shore establishment at HMS Vernon in Portsmouth. Buried in Teddington Cemetery.  

Flight Sergeant Ronald George Edwin Buckner 

Royal Air Force wireless operator/air gunner​, Served operationally with No.10 Squadron, RAF Bomber Command. Was killed when shot down in a Handley Page Halifax Bomber during a raid to Frankfurt on the night of 20 December 1943, aged 25. 

Leading Aircraftsman Oliver James Hendon​ 

Royal Air Force Regiment​. Was serving in Southern England with 2889 Squadron, RAF Regiment, when he was killed by the explosion of a V-1 ‘Doodlebug’ Flying Bomb on 10 August 1944.  

Flight Lieutenant Frederick Robert Povey​ 

Royal Air Force radar officer​. Worked at NPL from 1937 as an Experimental Officer in the Radio Department. Was commissioned into the RAF Technical Branch in 1940 and killed aged 23 in a bomb explosion during active service in Malta on 1 April 1942.  ​ 

Bombardier Thomas Styles​ 

Royal Artillery gunner​. Killed in Rangoon whilst serving in the Far East with 8 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery on 6 May 1944 aged 31. 

Read more here: 

War heroes - NPL 

11 Nov 2023