Winlaw, Roger de Winton Kelsall

Born in Morden, Surrey, he was the elder son of the Reverend George Preston Kelsall Winlaw (A1886-1891) and Minnie Winlaw (daughter of S.J. Ashley). His younger brother was Ashley William Edgell Winlaw (A1928-1933).

He came to Mr. Altham’s House in September 1926. A competent and hardworking Classicist, he was in Sixth Book for two years; but it is as an athlete that he was remembered.   One of the very best fives players ever at Winchester, he won Watneys and Thorntons three times, and in the open Public Schools Fives competition was twice the winner in the singles and once in the doubles.  He was four years in Lords, and captain in his last two years.

In 1931 he won a Sizarship at St. John’s College, Cambridge, and on going up to Cambridge he was selected for the university soccer XI as a freshman, scoring the winning goal against Oxford in 1931 and captaining the side in 1933. He also represented Cambridge University at Fives from 1932 to 1934. He went on to play for three years in the Cambridge University cricket XI, and had an excellent season as captain in 1934.

Winlaw played regularly for Surrey, and from 1935 played for his home county, Bedfordshire, for which is brother also played.  He merited a lengthy obituary in Wisden.

After taking a second class in the History Tripos, he went as a master to Harrow in 1934.

On April 18th 1936 Winlaw married Marsali Mary Seymour Seal, daughter of Francis Joseph Seal, of Cookham Dean, Berkshire: a son, Antony and a daughter, Juliet survived him.

In 1936 he joined the RAFVR, as an officer with the Air Training section of the OTC at Harrow. With the boys of the OTC he attended summer camp at Selsey in the summer of 1939. In the last weekend of peace, he and his brother played their last county cricket match together, representing Bedfordshire against Oxfordshire.

In 1940 he served as a Flight Lieutenant in the Air Ministry, in charge of the ATC in schools. Promoted to Squadron Leader the following year, he was offered but refused the command of the Cambridge UAS, and undertook operational training instead.

Flying with one of the very few Wykehamists of even greater athletic distinction than himself, Pilot Officer Claude T. Ashton (E1915-1920), he served with 256 Squadron, a night-fighter unit equipped with Bristol Beaufighter aircraft.

On October 31st 1942, Beaufighter X7845 took off from Woodvale for an exercise over North Wales. Winlaw was at the controls and Ashton was his navigator and radar operator. While they were carrying out mock attacks on Wellington bombers, their aircraft collided with Wellington BK234, and both aircraft crashed at Perfeddgoed Farm, near Bangor, with the loss of both crews.

Thirty years old when he died, Winlaw was cremated, and his ashes were scattered over the sea. He is commemorated in panel 3 at the Anfield Crematorium, Liverpool, and on the War Memorial at All Saints’ Church, Houghton Conquest, Bedfordshire.


War: World War 2

  • Surname: Winlaw
  • Forenames or initials: Roger de Winton Kelsall
  • House: A
  • Years in School: 1926-1931
  • Rank: Squadron Leader
  • Regiment: RAF (RAFVR)
  • Date of Birth: 28th March 1912
  • Date of Death: 31st October 1942
  • How Died: Killed on active service
  • Location in War Cloister: Inner F1
  • Decoration: NA
  • Burial Site: Commemorated on Panel 3 of the Anfield Crematorium, Liverpool