Ronald Stuart Salmon
1st/21st (First Surrey Rifles) London Regt.
Ronald Stuart Salmon was the son of Mr Edward Henry and Mrs Annie Salmon, of Castle Hill, Reading. He is commemorated on the family grave, number 8459, on a small scroll stone. The 1911 census indicates that the family were living at 14, Bulmershe Road, Reading. The family comprised Ronald’s mother who was a widow and head of the family, Hilda his older sister and younger brother Cyril. Ronald’s occupation is given as a publishing clerk. Hismother is recorded as having given birth the twelve children, seven of whom were still living. In 1901 the family were living at 109, Castle Street from where Edward Salmon ran his butchers business. At that time the family comprised six children, Cyril was then four months old, his mother was 44 years old and she had a mothers help and a servant to assist her in running the home.
Ronald Salmon was killed at Givenchy whilst helping wounded comrades on 25th May 1915.
A Letter from his Commanding Officer to Ronald’s mother is reported in the Reading Standard of June 12th 1915. “My company was taking part in an attack on a German position –– Your son was, when I last saw him, devotedly attending to some of his wounded comrades, several of whom he brought to safety, and he met a noble death whilst actually engaged in the work of rescue. He is much missed by B Company, all ranks of which unite in offering you our sympathy in your loss”.
The report continues “The letter speaks for itself and shows that the qualities of manliness, courage and self-sacrifice inborn in the British soldier were possessed in large measure by Rifleman Salmon”.
Roland Salmon was an old scholar of Reading School, and after finishing his education was in the office of Mr Blake Allnatt, chartered accountant of Reading. Salmon had worked for three years in the Barclays Bank in Wycombe. He enlisted on September 3rd 1914 in the Surrey Rifles and was drafted to the front on March 15th 1915. Ronald Salmon had a, not untypically, short time in active service. His Division 47th (2nd London) fought their first battle, the Battle of Aubers, 9 May 1915, which included an attack on Fromelles and the Rue du Bois. Ronald was killed on the closing day of the next battle, the Battle of Festubert which had opened on May 15th. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the La Touret Memorial to the Missing, panel 45. He was aged 21.