The News & Mail has received an email from Hans Molier who lives in the Netherlands and is asking for any family information about a Second World War airman who came from Woking and is buried in a cemetery in the town of Roosendaal.

Hans wrote: “In my hometown of Roosendaal is buried Flying Officer Arthur Robert Candy from 635 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, who died on April 11, 1944 near Roosendaal. 

“Each Christmas evening we place candles at the graves of all Second World War casualties – not only at the graves of Dutch civilians who are buried here but also at the graves of all the Allied soldiers and pilots. 

“Each year I select four graves. And I write an article about each of these four persons.

“The articles do not contain information that can be found on the internet.

“The challenge is to find relatives or persons who have the personal information I need to write these articles. 

“When these articles are ready, they will be translated into English and read at the graves of the persons on Christmas evening. Therefore it is very important for me to find relatives or someone who knows more about these persons. 

“For Christmas evening 2024 I’ve already started writing an article about Flying Officer Candy. 

“I already have information about his last mission and the crash near Roosendaal. 

“But what I need is more  about his youth and family. 

“When and where was he born? Who were his parents? Did he have any brothers or sisters? Did he have any hobbies? 

“What was his occupation before joining the RAF? Where did he go to school? 

“And if possible, I would like personal photos that I may use for my article.

“Recently I went again to his grave, stood there for some 15 minutes and took several photos of his grave.”

After hearing from Hans, I found some useful information about Arthur on various websites.

He was born in the first quarter of 1923 – I have not found his exact date of birth – and he is listed on the 1939 register. 

The register was a form of census compiled by the British government on September 29, 1939, early in the Second World War. 

It provided an accurate count of Britain’s civilian population to enable issuing of ration books and ID cards, the direction of labour and conscription into the armed forces.

On the register, Arthur was living at 3 Elm Cottage, Poole Road, Woking. He gave his profession as a junior clerk with a wine merchant. 

At the same address was his father John, a retired foreman platelayer on the railway, his mother Ada, listed as an unpaid domestic, and his brothers John, a railway porter, and Wilfred, a railway shunter. The address was close to the upline goods yard at Woking railway station. 

A prominent wine merchant in Woking at the time was Tyler & Co. Perhaps that was the firm Arthur was working for.

I have not been able to find when Arthur joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. 

However, he was a member of Bomber Command and was a navigator. His service number was 137471.

It appears there has already been some research by military aircraft historians into the fateful night Arthur and his fellow crew members died.

The other crew members were Sergeant Joseph Frederick Coulson, air gunner; Flight Sergeant Christopher Highton, air bomber; Pilot Officer Robert Arthur Leader, pilot; Flight Sergeant Samuel James Ross Lewis, wireless operator; Sergeant Ernest Dennis Rosenberg, flight engineer; and Sergeant Dennis Henry Tupman, air gunner.

This crew had been posted from 97 Squadron for the formation of 635 Squadron in March 1944. 

They had only been with 97 Squadron for a short period, being posted there from 50 Squadron in January 1944.

On 11 April, 1944, the crew took off from RAF Downham Market in Norfolk in a Mk 3 Lancaster bomber, serial number JB470. 

Their target was the city of Aachen, the westernmost city in Germany, bordering Belgium and the Netherlands.

This was their fourth operation with 635 Squadron, the others being raids on Frankfurt on March 22, Essen on March 26 and Nuremberg on March 30.

Their luck was not in and they were shot down by an enemy nightfighter aircraft and crashed about 2km east of Roosendaal.

Arthur is buried in the Roosendaal en Nispen General Cemetery along with the other members of his crew except Pilot Officer Leader, who is buried at Bergen op Zoom Canadian War Cemetery.

The official death record of Arthur states he lived at 2 – not 3 – Elm Cottages and died on war service. His effects, ie his belongings, amounted to £123 18s and 7d.

Do any readers recall the Candy family? 

Arthur may have attended Goldsworth School or perhaps the grammar school.

Are there any members of the Candy family in the Woking area today? Or are there any keen genealogists who may be willing to search for some more personal details of Arthur and his family?

If you have any information to share, please call me on 01483 838960 or email [email protected]

I will then gladly pass any information to Hans for the tribute he is writing.