Wednesday 17 September 2014

Reginald Herbert Hookes (1910 - 1941)

The other day I received this e-mail from a researcher about an article I posted to my site quite a few years ago. It was entitled The Many Suicides of Reginald Hookes and related to a court appearance Reginald made at Bow Street Magistrates Court on 26th April 1937.  

"I was interested to come across your page on Reginald Herbert Hookes whilst researching his name on the Tinsley St Lawrence Church WW2 Roll of Honour.

Initials: R H
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Gunner
Regiment/Service:Royal Artillery
Age: 30
Date of Death: 12/05/1941
Service No: 926362
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Sec. G. Coll. grave 73. Screen wall. Panel 3.

He died in Hammersmith, although I can not find out the circumstances. There are no other RA deaths in London that day. Although air raid is possible as there are some civilian deaths, there doesn’t appear to have been a big raid. Hammersmith is the location of military hospital. Or he could finally have managed his suicide.
You may be interested in searching him out on the British Newspaper Archive website as there are a number of other newspaper stories that are as ‘crazy’ as this one. An advanced search on the phrase ‘Reginald Hookes’ and ‘Reginald Herbert Hookes’ gives results such as (plus more) from the late 1930’s:

- Reginald Herbert Hookes....... I.R.A. to blow up an R.A.F. launch on the night of July 10, was the appearance at Ramsgate

- Reginald Herbert Hookes……purpose of obtaining certain secrets on behalf of people by whom he was employed, was line 4 10s.

- TO PRISON He Was Near Service Premises For loitering in the vicinity of premises used in His Majesty's service, Reginald Herbert Hookes, of Love Lane, Margate

- On Monday night, a man of 28 years, Reginald Hook, of no fixed abode, was found on the Sea Front. He complained violent pains in the stomach and was taken to

- Found taking photographs at the Manston R.A.F. Station, Herbert Reginald Hookes, was sentenced to a month's

I have not paid to have access to them but they look interesting.

Although born in the south of England the family appears to have moved to Sheffield prior to 1928 as his mother died in Sheffield in 1928 at the age of 48, and was buried in Tinsley St Mary’s Churchyard. I have not found anything on her death, but suicide could be possible. Her gravestone says died suddenly.

Reginald would have been 17/18 and regardless of the cause this would have affected him.
(His father lived to be 88)"

Name:     Reginald Hookes
Given Initials:     R H
Rank:     Gunner
Death Date:     12 May 1941
Number:     926362
Birth Place:     Kent
Residence:     Kent
Regiment at Enlistment:     Royal Artillery
Branch at Enlistment:     Royal Artillery
Theatre of War:     United Kingdom
Regiment at Death:     Royal Artillery
Branch at Death:     Royal Artillery
Source Information: UK, Army Roll of Honour, 1939-1945 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2009.
Original data: England. The National Archives. “War Office: Roll of Honour, Second World War.” Database. Army Roll of Honour 1939-45. Soldiers Died in World War Two. (WO304). CD Rom. Naval & Military Press."

I must admit I was rather surprised that Reginald appeared on a WW2 Roll of Honour in Tinsley given his "activities" relating to planning his own demise a few years earlier.

Hi died in Hammersmith Hospital on 12th May 1941 but we do not know the circumstances leading to his death, and the cause of death. Reginald's death is listed in the BMD Registers but to order a certificate from the GRO now costs £9.25, which is bit of a steep price just to satisfy my curiosity.

The court appearances that are mentioned in the mail certainly point to Reginald being a person of interest. I managed to access one court report from the Times dated 6th August 1938 which is certainly entertaining but to access the others I would need to subscribe to the British Newspaper Archive which also costs £10.95 a month. Still it is cheaper than a trip to the National Archives!


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