Cecil Jeremiah Greenstone

Leading Aircraftman, 31 Squadron
Service number 1453609
Died 20 Nov 1945
Buried Jakarta War Cemetery
Age 23

Headstone Inscription

Cecil was born in October 1922 in East Preston, West Sussex to Sydney and Lilian nee Clark and had a younger sister Sylvia born in 1928. Their mother Lilian was born in Birmingham in 1901 and the family had moved to East Preston by 1911. In 1920 Lilian married Sydney in East Preston where Cecil was born. The 1939 Register shows the family living at 108 White Horse Road, Tower Hamlets where Sydney and Lilian are listed as shopkeepers. In 1945 they were running the Crystal Palace Tavern in Sheerness-on-Sea.

Cecil was based in Surabaya, Indonesia with 31 Squadron. The Squadron Operational Record Book states: ‘On 1 November 1945, the original advance party for the detachment at Batavia was enlarged by the addition of a skeleton Headquarters staff to prepare for large scale operations. This detachment was necessary because there were indications that the Indonesian extremists were preparing to ‘Declare war’ on the British forces in Java.’ By the 9th of November the situation had worsened, and leaflets were dropped over the town calling upon the Indonesians to give up their arms and disperse. ‘This suggestion did not work and by the 12th the Indonesians had bought guns to bear on the airfield. In Batavia (Jakarta) there had been sporadic fighting until now, but on the 20th November a pitched battle took place, fought with small arms, machine guns and grenades in which one of the squadron airmen was unfortunately shot through the head and killed.’  Cecil was not named but was the only casualty on this date.

Crystal Palace Tavern, Sheerness-on-Sea. Courtesy Michael Mirams