Circa 1959 I read a short novel (possibly tit-bits sf but I'm not sure) in which four men return from the first expedition into space, to find the Earth deserted.
After much research, including another spaceflight, they discover that they are the cause of it, having unknowing disrupted "Millington's Boundary", a kind of super-ionosphere protecting Earth from deadly space radiation.
They return to Earth, but die instantly as they leave the ship, since their second take-off has disrupted the Boundary again.There is an epilogue recording a visit by aliens centuries later, who are puzzled to find life re-evolving from micro-organisms in the ashes of the dead.
I've tried emailing Lionel Fanthorpe, but it's not one of his. Can anyone help?