Eric Walton Whitworth Archer, Civilian War Dead.
Eric Walton Whitworth Archer was born in Ossett on the 24th March 1904 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church Ossett on the 17th July 1904, the younger son of two born to Arthur Whitworth Archer, a mill-hand, and Phoebe Clapham, who married at Hatfield, Doncaster on the 11th August 1901. In 1904 the couple were living at Wood Street, Ossett and in 1911, still at the same address, the couple were living with their two sons, Samuel and Eric.
Eric married Dorothy Mitchell at Ossett Holy Trinity Church on the 29th September 1928. Eric, working as a motor driver, was living at 5, Wood Street, Ossett and Dorothy’s home was at 16, Dewsbury Road, Ossett. The couple had three children: Jack, Mary and Ronnie from their marriage and by 1939 Eric, a motor driver, and Dorothy, were living now with their three children at 29, Wordsworth Street, Doncaster. Eric’s father, Arthur, now aged 64, and incapacitated, plus his wife Phoebe, who was a manageress in a fried fish shop, were living in the same household. A 23 year-old man, Jack W. Archer, was also living with the family.
Above: Eric Walton Whitworth Archer with his wife Dorothy Mitchell, possibly at their marriage ceremony at Ossett Holy Trinity Church on the 29th September 1928.
The "Ossett Observer" had a short obituary for Eric Archer:1
" Ossett Man Killed In Air Raid - Street Fire-Watching - Wife Blinded By Blast - A well-known former Ossett man, Mr. Eric Walton Whitworth Archer, was killed in an air raid on a North-East town on Thursday week, and his wife, also an Ossett lady, lost her sight as a result of an explosion. A heavy missile fell between two rows of houses, wrecking a large number, and Mr. Archer, who was engaged in fire-watching, was buried under a huge pile of debris. He could not be extricated until Saturday, and could only be identified by certain of his possessions. Mrs. Archer (formerly Miss Dorothy Mitchell, daughter of the late Mr. Frank Mitchell) was upstairs getting her their three young children out of bed when the explosion took place, the violent blast and pieces of glass hitting her full in the face."
The North-East town referenced in Eric Archer's obituary was, in fact, Doncaster, where he lived at that time, and where his death was registered. The 9th May, 1941, is commonly regarded as the night Doncaster suffered its worst bombing of World War Two, with 16 people killed and 73 injured. Thirteen houses were blown up and more than 400 other houses were damaged by the blast of an explosive mine which was dropped by parachute over Balby and nineteen of the houses had to be demolished. Weston Road took the brunt of the damage, when it was struck at around midnight. The parachute mine landed only 38 minutes after other bombs landed in the Ellers Avenue area of Bessacarr, killing two people and injuring five more.
Above: Bomb damage at Balby, Doncaster in May 1941.
Others killed at the same address as the Archers are shown below:
- Edward Casson (18) - A.T.C. Died at 48, Wordsworth Avenue. Son of Lillian Casson, and of Edward John Casson. Died at 48, Wordsworth Avenue.
- Edward John Casson (45) - Home Guard; of 48, Wordsworth Avenue. Husband of Lillian Casson. Died at 48, Wordsworth Avenue.
- Esther May Casson (20) - Hospital Nurse; of 48, Wordsworth Avenue. Daughter of Lillian Casson, and of Edward John Casson. Injured at 48, Wordsworth Avenue; died same day at Doncaster Royal Infirmary.
Eric W. W. Archer died on the 9th May 1941, aged 37 years and was buried at Ossett Holy Trinity Church on the 13th May 1941, where the Register recorded his abode as 48, Wordsworth Avenue, Balby, Doncaster. Eric’s father, Arthur Archer, of Wood Street, Ossett, aged 72 years, was also buried at Ossett Holy Trinity Church, on the 22nd November 1947. Eric’s mother was buried at the same Church on the 26th July 1958, aged 77 years.
1. "Ossett Observer", Saturday, May 17th 1941.