No. 1291581, 25 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Killed in an aircraft accident on Wednesday 11 February 1942 (aged 20)
No known grave
Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England (Panel 92)
Nagu Ranganatha was a son of Colattur Ranganatha Rao Sahib and Manjula Ranganatha of 9 Limes Avenue, Golders Green, Middlesex.
[Rao Sahib was a title of honour issued during the era of British rule in India to individuals who performed great service to the nation by way of ‘visionary leadership’. The title was accompanied by a medal].
In 1927 Colattur Ranganatha Rao Sahib held the position of Director of Industries and Commerce in Mysore, Southern India. Later he was based in London when he was appointed Trade Commissioner for Mysore. In that position he made frequent international trips to countries including Canada, USA, Japan, and India; in December 1931 he travelled aboard the SS Berengaria from Southampton to India.
Colattur and Manjula Ranganatha had at least four children – Nagu, Rama, Semi and Tulali (in some records Tulasi). At times Manjula travelled with Colattur; in July 1933 they travelled aboard the Empress of Britain from Southampton on their way to Japan via Canada and the USA.
It was reported in the Press that, on 23 February 1935 at the British Industries Fair held at Olympia in London, Tulasi Ranganatha (aged 10) was ‘dressed in native Indian costume’ when she served ‘a steaming cup of coffee’ to the British Prime Minister, Ramsay MacDonald.
During the Second World War, Sergeant Nagu Ranganatha (No. 1291581) served with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. On 12 February 1942 Sergeant Nagu Ranganatha and Sergeant Anthony Wilson Lavender of 25 Squadron based at RAF Ballyhalbert were flying a Bristol Beaufighter aircraft (X7625) which failed to return from a night sector reconnaissance operation. Both crew members were declared missing, their bodies were never recovered, and they are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial in Surrey.
A little over a year after Nagu Ranganatha died his mother Manjula died (aged 43) and her death was registered in the second quarter of 1943. After the war ended Nagu’s father continued to travel internationally on official business and sometimes Tulasi went with him; in December 1947 they travelled aboard the Empress of Australia from Liverpool to Bombay. Sometimes Colattur travelled alone; in July 1960 he travelled aboard RMS Cilicia from Liverpool to Bombay.