Jump to content
Free downloads from TNA ×
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Basil Radford - records?


Steven Broomfield

Recommended Posts

Having just, for the umpteenth-and-a-bit time, watched the movie The Lady Vanishes, I set to wondering about one of the stars. As anyone who has watched this excellent film will know, two central characters are Charters and Caldicott, two cricket-loving Englishmen trying desperately to find the score in the Manchester Test while travelling in the pre-war Balkans (with the obvious lack of success).

Charters is played by Basil Radford (Caldicott is the equally urbane Naunton Wayne); the two characters were revived for several other films, and Radford and Wayne played similar roles in a raft of 1940's flag-wavers. While watching today, I was struck yet again by the rather vivid scar on Radford's right cheek. He was of an age, I thought, that it might be a result of GW service.

This appears to be confirmed by a (very brief) Wiki entry - commenting it was the result of "serving in the trenches during the First World War". IMDB has nothing at all, and a search of the Forum reveals no previous discussion.

Does anyone know anything of Radford's wartime service? He was born in Chester in June 1897 and died, tragically young, in 1952.

Out of interest, Naunton Wayne was born in 1901, so presumably had no GW service.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Only two matches in the MIC's -

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Result/?_ln=basil&_fn=radford&_regno=&_crps=&_rank=&_dt=M&_col=online&image1.x=0&image1.y=0&image1=GO

Reference:WO 372/16/129649 Description:

Medal card of Radford, Basil Hallam

Corps Regiment No Rank

Royal Flying Corps Second Lieutenant

Royal Flying Corps Captain

Description:

Medal card of Radford, Arthur Basil

Corps Regiment No Rank

South Staffordshire Regiment Second Lieutenant

Royal Air Force Second Lieutenant

Basil Hallam Radford died 20/8/1916.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

An Arthur Basil Radford was born in Chester and registered in July-Sep 1897. According to his Wiki entry Basil Radford was born in Chester in June 1897 so reasonably good chance they are the same person.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Only two matches in the MIC's -

http://discovery.nat...1.y=0&image1=GO

Reference:WO 372/16/129649 Description:

Medal card of Radford, Basil Hallam

Corps Regiment No Rank

Royal Flying Corps Second Lieutenant

Royal Flying Corps Captain

Description:

Basil Hallam Radford died 20/8/1916.

Strangely, the other Radford who came up in your search was also a famous entertainer. Just before the war, as Basil Hallam, he created the popular music hall character 'Gilbert the Filbert, the Knut with a K'.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Captain Basil Hallam Radford was an observer in the RFC No 1 Kite Balloon section. When his observation balloon broke away he tried to parachute down to safety. Unfortunately, his parachute failed to open and he was killed instantly. The "People" section on the WFA website has some information on him. Lady Diana Manners - who lost many close friends in the war was devastated on hearing about his death. Many a Tommy would have seen his famous music hall creation - Gilbert the Filbert, the Kernal of the Knuts.

Maricourt

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wonder did Basil re-enlist in the Second World War? There is a Gazette citation for a Lt Arthur Basil Radford (142240) to be a Lt in the South Staffordshire Regiment w.e.f from 31 July 1940.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 11 months later...

Guys, I am sorry - just realised I never said thank you for this. I will check out the AIR records next time I'm at Kew.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The one who died was the music hall one - I footnoted him with the help of Kate on this Forum when transcribing the diary of Reginald Pridmore who sometimes played piano for him when entertaining the troops.

Basil Hallam was an actor, known to theatre goers as 'Basil Hallam' or 'Gilbert the Filbert’. His full name was
Basil Hallam Radford. He was serving as Captain in the Royal Flying Corps No.1 Army Kite Ballon Section. He
was killed 20 August 1916, aged 28. Son of Walter T. H. and A. L. M. Radford, of 206, Cromwell Rd., South
Kensington, London. Grave ref. C. 15.Couin British Cemetery.

Pridmore's diary is on the brigade site below.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Admin

Basil Hallam Radford was described by Raymond Asquith in a letter to Lady Diana Manners as being recognisable only by his cigarette case after his fall from the balloon.

Michelle

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

Replying to Steven Broomfield's original post, sadly there seems to be a dearth of information on Radford's war service. I'm surprised no biography has been written about him, other than a rather less than complimentary obit in The Times at the time of his death in the early 50s. He was quite a staple of British films in the forties...I've just enjoyed watching him in Ealing's "Whisky Galore", one of the better films offered up by the Beeb over the Christmas period.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Lady Vanishes was on BBC4 on Xmas Day. Brilliant.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 10 months later...

Well, i've just watched "Whisky Galore", and Basil Radford's scar directed me here.

There are numerous references to his being "wounded in the trenches", presumably with the South Staff.s, but I haven't found anything specific yet.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

IPT

His RAF service record records him as being S Staffs (Attached Leicestershire Regiment) which potentially doubles the number of battalions he might have served in. Short of war diary reading 'trial and error' I would be unsure as to how to proceed to determine his battalion and the manner in which he was injured.

Kind Regards

Colin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

IPT

His RAF service record records him as being S Staffs (Attached Leicestershire Regiment) which potentially doubles the number of battalions he might have served in.

Kind Regards

Colin

Thanks, Colin. I missed that.

I did find a 2nd Lieutenant A.B. Radford, mentioned as wounded in November 1916 with the 2nd Lincolnshire.Regiment. I wonder if that's it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Have you tried looking in the service records? Not all officers' records have survived but they were not stored at Arnside Street where an incendiary bomb destroyed about sixty percent of the other ranks' records. See SPOF's post no. 4.

Ron

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Birmingham Mail 02/11/1916:

Wounded: Sec.-Lieut. A.B. Radford, S. Staffs. R., Attached Lincolnshire R.

Originally with 3rd Battalion, S Staffs

https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/29239/page/7198/data.pdf

Born 25/06/1897, the son of Rev Arthur Radford and Florence Isabel Cadle

Birth Registered: Jul-Aug-Sep 1897, Chester

1901 Census: Arthur (3) living in Chester with father Arthur (48) Clergyman; mother Florence (41); sister Mary (8); brother Herbert (6); grandmother Louisa Cadle (68); and Martha Cutforth (18) Mother's Help; Annie Manley (30) Servant.

1911 Census: Arthur Basil Radford (13) born Chester, a boarder at St Olave's School, York.

Married: Evelyn Shirley Deuchars Oct-Nov-Dec 1926, St George Hanover Square

JP

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ah, thanks JP. Looks like an error on the RAF record.

It seems almost certain that he received his wounds on 23rd October, during an attack on Zenith and Eclipse trenches, East of Les Boeufs, on a day that 2nd Lincolnshire lost 13 officers and 272 ORs. Radford listed as one of the 13 officers in the footnote.- https://archive.org/stream/TheHistoryOfTheLincolnshireRegiment1914-1918/TheHistoryOfTheLincolnshireRegiment-C.r.Simpson#page/n213/mode/2up

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone - probably accounts for the scar, then. Interesting reading and appreciate the delving that has obviously been undertaken.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...