Maurice Lock WW2
Maurice Lock, from Newton Poppleford, initially played as an amateur before agreeing professional terms in December 1933. Continuing to play for the reserves in Western and Southern leagues he never appeared for the first-team in the Football League. Serving in the Second World War, Lance Corporal Maurice Lock of the Royal Tank Regiment lost his life in Operation Aintree at Overloon (Netherlands) in September 1944.
He is commemorated on the war memorial in Newton Poppleford and, through a connection to his widow who moved to Dartmouth, he is memorialised in the town’s Veale-Savill Gardens. Since August 2017 Maurice has also been remembered on a plaque at St James’ Park.
Maurice was the son of Arthur George and Elsie Lock and husband to Una Jessmee Lock. He was born in Exeter in 1915 and later moved to Newton Poppleford.
Following the outbreak of war Maurice enlisted in the army and joined the Royal Tank Regiment ( Royal Armoured Corps) and in time was promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal. As part of the regiment that was not sent to North Africa, the first part of Maurice’s war was relatively quiet until training started in preparation for D Day.
Landing in Normandy in June 1944 he soon became part of the push east and was involved in crossing the Rhine in an area which had too many waterways for straightforward tank manoeuvres. With help from an United States armoured division, Operation Aintree was launched in September 1944 near the village of Overloon which escalated into the only tank battle that took place on Dutch soil. Introduced after American losses, the 11th Armoured Division of the Royal Tank Regiment entered the fray with Maurice Lock either acting as a a d driver or a gunner. The regiment eventually prevailed at the cost of around 2,500 American and British lives including that of Maurice Lock on 25 Sept 1944.
In May 2022 Roger Hamilton Kendall visited Maurice’s grave and wrote:
"I had originally intended to visit Maurice’s grave for the 75th anniversary of the ending of World War Two in 2020 but lockdowns and Covid prevented this from happening. Today I was privileged to have paid my respects to Maurice Lock - an Exonian, a Grecian and a war hero."
Robert Curtis discovered the details relating to Maurice’s death:
"I have discovered the circumstances surrounding the death of Maurice Charles Lock. He died in the village of St. Anthonis on September 25th 1944 at 4:30pm after he had left the cover of a British Anti-Tank gun and approached three German half-tracks which were seemingly going to surrender. One of them was fitted with a white cloth. The half-tracks then accelerated and Lce.Corp Lock was fatally hit by their bullets. Rest in peace Maurice Charles Lock - Hero"
Lance Corporal 14664958, 3rd Royal Tank Regiment, R.A.C. Died 25 September 1944. Aged 29. Buried in OPLOO (ST. ANTHONIS) ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCHYARD, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands. Grave 3
For more photographs see Maurice Lock’s entry in the A to Z of other players section of the archive. Our gratitude to Roger Hamilton Kendall for the pictures of Maurice’s grave and to Robert Curtis for the information supplied relating to Maurice’s death.