Burlton, Francis Arthur

Born on 30th March 1884, Francis Arthur Burlton was the elder son of Edward Richard Hughes Burlton and Edith Mary Grogan, sister of the explorer Ewart Grogan DSO (D 1888-1891).   They lived at Sunning Hill, Epsom.   He entered Sunnyside, as Turner’s was then known, in Common Time 1898, leaving in 1902.   He went up to Exeter College, Oxford but did not take his degree.  He joined the firm of Elder & Fyffe, the fruit importers in Bow Street.

He was an excellent rider and held a commission before the First World War in the Hertfordshire Yeomanry.   During that war he went to the Middle East with his regiment, but did not go with them to Gallipoli, being left behind in Egypt and rejoining them on Imbros on 16th November. He then transferred to the Machine Gun Corps (Cavalry) with which he served until 1919, when he was wounded.

He was killed by enemy action when on ARP duty at the offices of Elder & Fyffe on January 11th 1941, aged fifty-six. What happened is described by a civilian – Miss Bowen – who was caught by the same bomb:

I lived at 19 Fletcher Buildings, at the back of Bow Street Police Station, WC2. All my family worked in Covent Garden Market. My dad, sister and me used to go down Holborn tube station to shelter with our bedding each night. As it happened, one of the bosses of Elder & Fyffe,  the Shipping Offices opposite where we lived, saw us tramping with our bedding and often spoke to my dad when he was coming home for his breakfast. He said “Why don’t you shelter here? It’s a wonderfully built shelter; cost a lot of money…” It was wonderful to leave our bedding there. But on January 11th 1941 it got a direct hit. My mum, sister and me were dug out of the debris, but my dad was one of the twenty-eight killed. It was a Saturday night, but the building burned till the Tuesday afternoon.  We were taken to Charing Cross Hospital in the Strand. My mum had head injuries; my sister had like a shell shock. We both had cuts and were very bruised. My mum had her life savings stolen. She had the money and jewellery in a holdall bag. They had two cranes clearing the debris, but not to find the bodies (my dad’s remains weren’t found for six weeks); it was to get to the vaults of a bank which was all part of the building.”

The night of January 11th is particularly remembered for the direct hit on Bank Underground Station, which blew out the windows of two trains in the station, wrecked the escalators, and collapsed the road into the station. The bomb left a crater over one hundred feet across and killed fifty-six people, and injuring sixty-nine.

Burlton left a widow, Edith Clarissa Burlton, of 33 Vicarage Road, East Sheen, Surrey. He is commemorated in the City of Westminster Roll of Honour, and on the civilian 1939-1945 Memorial in the City of Westminster (Hanwell) Cemetery in Hanwell. The memorial states that he is buried in the cemetery there.


War: World War 2

  • Surname: Burlton
  • Forenames or initials: Francis Arthur
  • House: I
  • Years in School: 1898-1902
  • Rank: Civilian
  • Regiment: NA
  • Date of Birth: 30th March 1884
  • Date of Death: 11th January 1941
  • How Died: Killed on ARP duty in London
  • Location in War Cloister: Not commemorated
  • Decoration: NA
  • Burial Site: Hanwell Cemetery and also commemorated on the Hanwell 1939-1945 Memorial