Cruise, Richard Sweet (Richard)
No. 523187, 214 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Died on Sunday 31 May 1942 (aged 26)
Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Kleve, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany (Collective Grave 14F 7-14)
Donaghadee and District War Memorial
In some records his surname is spelt Cruse and in others Creuse.
Richard Sweet Cruise was born on 14 September 1915 in Shore Street, Donaghadee and he was a son of William John Sweet Cruise and Elizabeth Cruise (nee Ballantine) who were married on 23 October 1909 in Donaghadee Parish Church of Ireland Church. William Cruise, a check clerk from Donaghadee was a son of William Cruise, harbour master. Elizabeth Ballantine from Donaghadee was a daughter of William Ballantine, a coachman.
Sergeant Richard Sweet Cruise’s death was reported in the 13 February 1943 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle under the headline Young Airman Presumed Dead. His father, William Cruise, served with the Royal Engineer Signals Service during the Great War and before that he had worked as a tramway motorman.
Richard Sweet Cruise’s great-grandfather, Richard Sweet Cruise, was a lighthouse keeper who was stationed at Ballygrot, Greypoint and Donaghadee. His grandfather, William Sweet Cruise (born 1836), married Elizabeth Austin on 4 January 1870 in Bangor Abbey and he was harbour master in Donaghadee. William died on 6 January 1896 and Elizabeth died on 7 October 1901. Richard Sweet Cruise’s uncle, also called Richard Sweet Cruise (born 5 June 1873 at Orlock), was a coastguard officer.
Richard’s parents, William John Sweet Cruise and Elizabeth Cruise (nee Ballantine) had at least five children:
William Sweet (born 1 October 1909 in High Street, Donaghadee)
Stanley (born 10 December 1911)
Alexander (born 24 February 1913)
Richard Sweet (born 14 September 1915 in Shore Street, Donaghadee)
Annie (born 30 October 1918 in Shore Street, Donaghadee)
Richard Sweet Cruise was brought up by his maternal grandmother, Annie Ballentine, of 29 Mount Street (then the lower part of Moat Street), Donaghadee and before joining the Royal Air Force around 1935 he worked for the Strangford Knitting Company in Newtownards. His uncle, Edward Ballantine, lived at 4 Patricia Gardens, Donaghadee Road, Newtownards. The marriage of a Richard Sweet Cruise and Ruth Lloyd was registered in the third quarter of 1940 in Wirral, Cheshire.
Sergeant Richard Cruise was reported missing in May 1942 during air operations over Germany and some nine months later he was officially reported to have been killed. He was one of an eight-man crew aboard a Short Stirling Mark I aircraft (W7534) that took off from RAF Stradishall in Suffolk on a mission to bomb Cologne. The aircraft crashed near Monchengladbach and everyone on board was killed. They were all buried in Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany. The other seven crew members who died were:
- Pilot Officer Harry Dent (aged 23) from Marylebone, London
- Sergeant Clarence Henry Muir (aged 22) Royal Australian Air Force)
- Pilot Officer Sydney Stephen Dimond (aged 32) from Enfield Town, Middlesex
- Sergeant Geoffrey Charles Bunning
- Sergeant John Henry Munday
- Pilot Officer William Davies (aged 31) from Edinburgh
- Sergeant Patrick Gerald McGrath
Sergeant Richard Sweet Cruise (No. 523187) was 26 when he died and he was buried in a collective grave in Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Kleve, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany. There is an inscription on his CWGC headstone:
EVER REMEMBERED BY HIS LOVING FATHER
BRIEF LIFE WAS HERE YOUR PORTION
Sergeant Richard Sweet Cruise (No. 523187) is commemorated on Donaghadee and District War Memorial.