The recent picture in this column of the well known 1936 “Boris Karloff” cricket match in Marlow has resulted in a lot more information coming to light regarding L.Ryan who was in the line-up.

I had not realised that this was the Leo Ryan who was the only fatality due to bombing in Marlow during WW2. I was pleased to be pointed in the direction of a most interesting web-site and I am grateful to Carol for permission to reproduce parts of it today, especially the photo of a young Leo and his trade card.

From my own collection I have found another slightly earlier cricket group, also including him.

Leo Redver Ryan was born in Aldershot, Hants in 1899, son of military tailor Ignatius (who was best known as Frederick) and Ada Robbins. Frederick’s father was also a military tailor who had moved his family from Ireland to England in the early 1870’s. Frederick and family were living in Windsor at the time of the 1911 census, and after he left school Leo trained to be an electrician, as did his brother Francis.

Leo joined the Navy at Portsmouth in September 1917, where he trained on HMS Victory, then served on various ships including HMS Vernon, HMS Carlisle, as a Wire Man II.

He was discharged from the Navy in March 1919. He met a girl from Clewer, Ada Merkett and in 1921 they married and settled in Marlow, where Leo opened a shop “Everything Electrical” in the High Street.

When he wasn’t working Leo enjoyed nothing more than a game of cricket playing for both Little Marlow and Marlow Working Men’s Clubs. He was also a member of Marlow Football Club and Berkshire Ramblers.

By the time World War Two broke out Leo and Ada had three children, a girl Googie and boys Warren and Patrick. Leo joined the Marlow Detachment of the Home Guard.

In September 1940 at the height of the Battle of Britain, a German bomber jettisoned its bombs over Marlow. At the time Leo and son Patrick were delivering a repaired radio to a house just below Bovingdon Green. Leo pushed Patrick into a doorway and used his body to protect his son; Leo was killed by flying glass and Patrick was injured.

Leo is remembered on the Commonwealth War Grave Commission website where he is listed as a civilian. His death certificate gave his cause of death as “due to war operations”, and The Bucks Free Press reported Leo’s death, (cutting above) but not that he was killed by a German bomb.

I have heard it said that all the British Press were under strict government instructions to “hush up” reporting the result of fatalities or injuries by enemy bombing. It certainly could not be correctly termed an “accident”.

This may account for the fact that the story is not well known. Probably for the first time these are the full details of Mr Ryan’s unfortunate demise, and you may not be aware that Ryan’s Mount is named in his memory.

Contact Michael on or 01628 486571