Apperson, Maxwell Warnock (No. 534437)

Apperson, Maxwell Warnock (Max)

Sergeant

No. 534437, 405 (RCAF) Squadron, Royal Air Force

Killed in an aircraft accident on Friday 24 July 1942 (aged 24)

Buried:

Barmby-on-the-Moor (St. Catherine) Churchyard, Yorkshire, England (Row F Grave 1)

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Newtownards and District War Memorial

BIOGRAPHY

Maxwell Warnock (Max) Apperson was born on 13 March 1918 in Newtownards and, before joining the Royal Air Force around 1936, he lived at 12 Marquis Street, Newtownards.

Maxwell Warnock Apperson was a son of James and Margaret (Maggie) Apperson (nee Filson, sometimes Wilson) who were married on 15 August 1901 in Glastry Presbyterian Church.  James Apperson, a grocer’s assistant from Newtownards was a son of John Apperson, a woollen manufacturer.  Margaret Filson, a minor from Newtownards was a daughter of John Filson, a farmer.

James Apperson worked as a bread server and he and Margaret had at least eight children:

Jane (born 29 June 1902 in Kircubbin)

John Wilson (born 26 June 1905 in Kircubbin)

Elizabeth Young (Lillie, born 8 September 1907 in Mary Street, Newtownards; married Joseph Elwood on 24 August 1927; died 20 September 1969)

Annie Wilson (born 15 August 1910 in Mary Street, Newtownards)

Agnes Mary (born 8 March 1913 in Mary Street, Newtownards)

James (born 18 February 1915 in Mary Street, Newtownards)

Thomas Wilson (born 23 October 1916 in Mary Street, Newtownards)

Maxwell Warnock (born 13 March 1918 in Newtownards, five months after his father died)

James Apperson Senior died of heart failure on 26 October 1917 (aged 39).

On 15 June 1940 Max Apperson and Joyce Evelyn Calver of 44 Bristol Road, Ipswich were married in St. John the Baptist Church, Ipswich.  The birth of their son, Alan Maxwell Warnock Apperson, was registered in the second quarter of 1943 in Ipswich, Suffolk.  Joyce Apperson died in 1983.

During the Second World War Sergeant Maxwell Warnock Apperson (No. 534437) served with the Royal Air Force in Bomber Command and he was 24 when he died on 24 July 1942.  He was one of a crew of eight aboard a Handley Page Halifax Mark II aircraft (W7769) that took off from RAF Pocklington in Yorkshire at 37 minutes past midnight on 24 July 1942 on a mission to bomb Duisburg.  All eight men were killed when their aircraft crashed at 4.53 am as it was returning to base.  While circling the airfield for the second time in readiness for landing, an engine failed, and the aircraft crashed into New Street in the village of Pocklington.  The plane demolished part of a house before crashing into a school and bursting into flames.  The other seven crew members who died that night were:

  • Pilot Officer Robert Baker Albright aged 26 (RCAF)
  • Pilot Officer George Frederick Strong aged 21 (RCAF)
  • Warrant Officer Class II William Charles Thurlow aged 22 (RCAF)
  • Sergeant William Colloton aged 22 from Birkenhead
  • Flight Sergeant Robert William Hexter aged 22 (RCAF)
  • Flight Sergeant Thomas Reid Owens aged 21 (RCAF)
  • Sgt Albert James Western aged 25 from Brampford Speke, Devon

Three days after the crash, Sergeant Max Apperson was buried in Barmby-on-the-Moor (St. Catherine) Churchyard, Yorkshire.  His wife, brothers and sisters, together with his uncle Tom and aunt Annie placed a death notice in the 1 August 1942 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle and it contained the text:

Death ne’er stilled a nobler heart

In 1942 and subsequent years there were In Memoriam notices inserted by his sister Lillie, Beth and Stephen Elwood of 12 Marquis Street, Newtownards, his brother and sister-in-law James and Mabel Apperson of 17 Hazelbrook Avenue, Bangor, his brother John in England and his sister, Mrs Young, also in England.  The notices contained the following verses:

Duty called, and he was there,

To do his bit and take his share,

His heart was good, his spirit brave,

His resting place a hero’s grave.

 

Dearest Maxie, thou hast left us,

And thy loss we deeply feel,

But the God Who hath bereft us,

He can all our sorrows heal.

Yet again we hope to meet thee,

When the days of life are fled,

And in Heaven with joy to greet thee

Where no farewell tears are shed.

 

Duty called and he was there,

To do his bit and take his share,

His heart was good, his spirit brave,

His resting place a hero’s grave.

 

He never shunned his country’s call,

But gladly gave his life, his all.

He died, our freedom to defend –

An Ulster Airman’s noble end.

 

A hero’s grave in Barmby Moor,

Holds one we loved so dear,

A smiling face that won’t come home

When they sound the last ‘All Clear’.

 

Swiftly and suddenly came the call,

His sudden beath surprised us all,

Only those who have lost can tell

The pain of parting without farewell.

We see his pals returning,

And shed a silent tear,

We know he is not with them

But to memory ever dear.

 

His toil is past, his work is done,

And he is fully blest;

He fought the fight, the victory won,

And entered into rest.

Sergeant Maxwell Warnock Apperson (No. 534437) is commemorated on Newtownards and District War Memorial.