Bois des Buttes 1918
Profiles of the men who fell at bois de buttes.
By Elaine Way.
2nd Battalion Devonshire Regiment at Bois des Buttes - 27th - 31st May 1918
In northern France, Bois-lès-Pontavert has memorials to British troops lost during the third Battle of
the Aisne, in an action known as ‘Bois-des-Buttes’ :
“In memory of members of 5th Battery Royal Field Artillery who gave their lives at La Ville Aux
Bois Les Pontavert on 27th May 1918 ...... During the offensive of May 1918 the Battery was
attacked by an overwhelming force ... ... the Battery was awarded the Croix de Guerre.”
“ On 27 May 1918 .... when British trenches were being subjected to fierce attacks, 2nd Battalion
Devonshire Regiment repelled succesive enemy assaults with gallantry and determination ....
..... Inspired by the coolness of their gallant commander Lt. Col. R.H. Anderson Morshead ......
the battalion, although isolated and without hope of assistance, held on to their trenches and
fought to the last with unhesitating obedience to orders .... Colonel, 28 Officers, 552 NCO’s and
Men responded with one accord .... to the sacred cause of the Allies ..... General Berthelot. ”
2/Devons and 5/RFA were the first British units to be awarded the French military honour of Croix de
Guerre. Henri Mathias Berthelot unveiled the monument in November 1921 saying “In particular I
want to pay special tribute to men of the Devonshire Regiment - men I knew during one of the
severest fights of the war. This ground will forever be hallowed by reason of their heroism on 27th
May 1918.” For this monument, Devon County War Memorial Comittee provided funds with money
left over from donations for the memorial on Cathedral Green in Exeter. In 1990’s the Devonshire
Regiment was subsumed into The Rifles. In 2018 representatives of The Rifles and 5/Battery RFA
visited Bois-les-Pontavert, holding a ceremony in front of the memorials to commemorate the
centenary of the Great War.
An eye-witness described 2/Devons on 27th May 1918 as “an island in the midst of an inumerable
and determined foe, fighting with perfect discipline.” Many were young conscripts who had never
been in action prior to this. They were seen by an artillery officer “holding a position in which they
were entirely without hope of help, but were fighting on grimly. The commanding officer was calmly
writing orders with a perfect hail of high explosives falling round him ... This band steadfastly
refused to surrender and fought to the last man.”
How many lost their lives is difficult to quantify. The Batallion’s war diary for 27th May names a few;
in the following narrative they are marked with an asterisk*. Four days later more are named - they
could have been lost any time between 27th and 31st. Not many have a known grave. Those
classified as ‘Missing’ on the Aisne are named on the Soissons Memorial in order for each one to
have his name recorded. In 1927 the journalist Reginald A. Colwill published “Through Hell to
Victory” an account of 2nd Devons on the Western Front in 1918. Survivors related their
experiences, giving a personal dimension which would otherwise be lost.
Rupert Henry Anderson-Morshead - Lieutenant-Colonel D.S.O - Aged 32 - Son of John Yonge
Anderson-Morshead and Helen Beatrice of Lusways, Sidmouth, Devon; Husband of Lucy
Helen Anderson-Morshead of Green Hedges, Lingfield, Surrey.
Rupert Henry, the youngest of three brothers was by the time he was fourteen, a pupil at Wellington
College in Berkshire. He progressed to the Royal Military College, Sandhurst and in March 1907
London Gazette published his name in a list of ‘Gentlemen Cadets to be Second Lieutenants in the
Devonshire Regiment’. For census 1911 he was with the Devons in Malta - at Cottonera Military
Hospital, whether as a patient or in some other capacity is not explained.
He married Lucy Dunlop on 3rd June 1914 and arrived on the Western Front early in November that
year. On 27th May 1918 a Major in the Royal Artillery was witness to those few left of 2nd Devons,
with their Colonel and Adjutant charging downhill and opening fire on enemy artillery coming up the
road. Some reached safety the other side of this road, but whilst shepherding his remaining men
across Rupert Henry, pistol in one hand, riding crop in the other, was shot and killed.
He had been three times Mentioned in Despatches and awarded the Distinguished Service Order.
Comment has been made that lesser deeds than his heroic stand at Bois-des-Buttes resulted in
posthumous award of a Victoria Cross. As I understand it, in addition to an officer to recommend for
this, there had to be witnesses. In this instance, who was left to bear witness? But being cited in
French Orders of the Day and having his Battalion receive a Croix de Guerre is appropriate and
lasting recognition of Rupert Henry and the men of 2nd Devons.
The churchyard of St.Mary & St.Peter at Salcombe Regis near Sidmouth, where his parents lived,
has a small memorial to him and in 2015 a commemorative service was held to remember Rupert
Henry. He is named on the WW1 memorial at Dormansland, Surrey, Roll of Honour at Wellington
College in Berkshire and regimental panels in the Memorial Chapel at Sandhurst.
Richard Henry Andrew - Private 45606 - Aged 26 - Son of the late William and Thurza Andrew,
Husband of Lilian Andrew, Amble, St. Kew, Wadebridge, Cornwall.
Richard Henry’s birth was registered at Bodmin in the June quarter of 1892 and in 1912, that is
where his marriage to Lilian Kendal was registered. He seems to have been the youngest child of
William and Thurza; in 1891 they had six at home but ten years later, Richard Henry was the only
one still living with them. By 1911, he was working as an Ostler in an hotel at St. Kew. When the
time came for him to enlist, Richard Henry went to Teignmouth (Devon) although he was still living in
Cornwall. His name is on three local war memorials - the stone cross and a Roll of Honour inside the
parish church at St. Kew and a Roll of Honour inside the town hall at Wadebridge.
He and many others in this narrative are named on the Soissons Memorial in France - the second
official British memorial to be erected on the Western Front once hostilities were over. Backed by three walls with names inscribed, is a group of nine-feet high (almost 3m) stone figures known as the
“Soissons Trinity”. Three British soldiers in army greatcoats wearing helmets and box respirators,
stand shoulder to shoulder. At the feet of the central figure is a rifle as it would have appeared when
stuck into the ground to mark a battlefield burial; this figure has over his right arm a waterproof
sheet, as used to wrap and carry a body. The monument does not glorify war or portray soldiers as
heroes. It is a statement of how things actually were. The sculptor of the figures had been severely
injured during the war, so knew what he was memorialising. He carved them in situ from Portland
Stone and hoped that, even if the rest of the monument crumbled away, the figures would remain -
like those on Easter Island.
Frederick Charles Baker - Lance-Corporal 30908 - Aged 21 - Son of Alfred and Martha
Elizabeth Baker of 6 The Avenue, Alverstoke, Gosport. Lance-Corporal Baker’s medal-card
says “KIA 27.5.18” - the Battalion’s war diary says four NCO’s perished that day but going by medal
cards, CWG and the book ‘Devonshire Regt. 1914-18’ there were five : Lance-Corporal Frederick
Charles Baker; Lance-Serjeant Walter H. Bridgman; Sergeant W.J. Haggerwood; Lance-Corporal
Ronald John Lear and Serjeant William J. Ridd.
Frederick Charles’ birth was registered at Alverstoke in September quarter 1898. Cencus 1911
shows him as a schoolboy aged 12 with mother, father (a builder’s labourer) and an older brother
called William whose occupation is ‘Motor Car Driver’; should it be ‘Motor Cab’ and he drives a taxi ?
On 11 November 1919 eight bells in the tower of St.Mary’s church at Alverstoke were dedicated in
remembrance of local men who fell in the war. On 3rd July 1921 Field-Marshall Earl Haigh laid the
foundation-stone of Gosport Memorial Hospital, so at Alverstoke the bells were rung half-muffled for
1⁄4 hour, then the muffles removed and ‘open’ bells rung until 5p.m. On 11th November 2018 they
were rung for 45-minutes to mark the centenary of the Armistice of the First World War. They were,
of course, also rung in between those dates.
Charles William Cyril Barker - Private 70741 - Aged 19 - Son of Lilian Caroline Barker and the
late Charles Barker, 2 Cranmer Road, Winton, Bournemouth. Charles William was born in
Eastleigh, Hampshire but in 1911 was in Winton, Bournemouth with his widowed mother and an
older sister. Both worked as domestic ‘Daily Helps’ and Charles William, aged 12 was a ‘School Milk
Boy’ - would that have been paid employment ? I doubt it - probably the idea was to accord him
some kind of status rather than to claim that he was at work. Bournemouth Town Hall has a Book of
Remembrance with 500 names. Many more residents of the town lost their lives in the Great War,
so a local historian has produced a booklet naming a total of 1,100 and Charles William Barker is one
William Bertram Bennett - Private 30905. His CWG page has nothing apart from the date his life
was lost and that he is buried at Sissonne British Cemetery. However, that is not where he had
originally lain. After the action at Bois-de-Buttes, William Bertram was one of many taken prisoner and according to his medal-card died of wounds on 28th May 1918. He was was buried in a
cemetery used by the German Army at Fort La Malmaison on the Chemin des Dames. After the
Armistice, British burials from there were transferred to the cemetery at Sissonne. At that point
William Bertram was identified by his uniform and the cross used to mark his place. This cross had
full details of his name, rank, number, date he died and his unit - 2/Devons.
In the census of 1911 he was living in Upton-on-Severn with parents, an older brother and two
sisters. He had been born in Handsworth, Birmingham in the latter months of 1898, so was 19-years
old when he lost his life. The website ‘Malvern Remembers’ investigates names on war memorials
in Worcestershire. His parents had moved to Great Malvern and for several months they had no
knowledge of what had happened to their son. In January 1919 they were notified that William
Bertram had died whilst held prisoner-of-war. His name is on the Great War memorial plaque inside
Christ Church at Great Malvern. The town has a stone war memorial, but there are no names.
William Blake - Private 40853 - The ‘Devonshire Regiment 1918-1914’ says that he was born in
Withleigh, a small village near Tiverton. His CWG page yields nothing other than his being name on
the memorial at Soissons. St. Catherine’s, Withleigh’s parish church has inside a wooden board “To
the Glory of God and in Memory of Those who Went out Herefrom and Came Not Back 1914-1919”.
Of the thirteen names, the first is ‘Blake, William Henry’. That must be Private 40853. No central
authority was responsible for war memorials/rolls of honour; it was down to local people who had
known those lost. Two William Henry Blakes were registered in Tiverton between 1870-1900; one in
1881 the other 1898, so we cannot be sure which he was.
Walter Hampton Bridgman - Lance-Serjeant 205160 - Aged 19 - Son of Richard and Rebecca
Bridgman. Walter was born Broadwoodwiger, Cornwall, on 6 February 1899 and baptised on 2nd
April at St.Giles-on-the-Heath, Devon. His father was a farmer with two daughters and six sons;
Walter was the youngest, brother Edward John was only one year older. Known as ‘John’ or ‘Jack’
he also enlisted with the Devons and served in 2nd Battalion as a Lance-Corporal. Their army
numbers were consecutive, Edward John’s being 205159. From this letter, kept by one of their
nephews and shown on “Launceston Then” website, they obviously had great regard for each other :
Addressed to L/Cpl Bridgman 205159 2nd Devon Rgt., B4 Ward, Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley,
Hants. It is headed “ B.E.F. France - 22.5.18 ” :
My Dear Old Jack,
I was immensely delighted to get your letter saying you had reached Blighty and am very glad you
are getting such a nice time. ... ??. ..??.. only 24 hours there and it was all more or less a picnic
and we are absolutely all in now with the part we’re holding standing line, of course, where we
haven’t been near before. Lilies-of-the-valley grow wild on the parapets, mistletoe hangs from every
tree - country most exactly like Devon, so we are getting on spiffing. Well, old boy, I am sending home tomorrow Millie's little book and your razor which I got today in a very bad state; these are the
only things I can get. Old George showed me four or five letters with all the news of you he could
get, which I was very thankful to get. I was in an awfully worry, old, boy, before I had your letter to
say you were back safe. I lived in a state of uncertain anxiety for about a week after you went. I
found out from one of our cooks in the trench with you, that you were gassed, when I joined the Batt.
next day in the trenches. I, old boy, guessed you painted your injuries a bit lighter in your letter to
me from our Base Hospital than what they really were. Of course I knew you were much worse than
what I told them at home, but I did not think you were quite so bad as that. Still it is very satisfactory
to know you are progressing favourably. I suppose Dad will have been to see you by now. George
wrote and told me about it, in fact dear old boy ... ? ... ? of your things, but as long as you are safe
is the main point.
I have heard nothing whatsoever about your wallet but hope you will get the good fortune to have it
forwarded by some kind friend. I am taking your hint about the Commission, old boy, for the simple
reasons I have lost every chum except dear old Freddy Westaway and I miss you so much that I
cannot enjoy myself much, so apart from the Commission’s sake I’ll be better off to get away for a
short time; by the bye I got my third stripe which no doubt will help me a bit especially as the C.O.
recommended me himself. Am so glad you’ve got near Eastleigh, you’ll be able to get a few visitors
from time to time. Heaps of the boys wish to be remembered to you; Freddy Westaway, Harry Lear
(L/Cpl) L/Cpl Colwill (HO Sig.) all the fellows you knew in my Company, Charlie Heacher (L/Cpl)
and heaps of others - I can’t think of their names.
I have received a letter from Mrs Rundle (Sid’s wife) today; he is missing and I cannot find out any
news of him and as a result I cannot send a satisfactory reply but I have told her everything I know;
do you know anything about him? By the bye you could write Mrs Wallis about Clifford; poor old boy
was, you no doubt know, killed. I am so sorry about it, as he ranked as one of my best chums as
well. I have also had a letter from Freddy Jones (L/Cpl) who is, I am glad to say, near Cardiff in
Hospital; he was hit by a piece of shrapnel which shattered his ankle bone and he says it will mean
a bit of mending again.
Well, old boy, I must close as its getting late. Hoping you are improving - best of luck. May God
bless you and continue to keep you safe. I am Ever Your loving Bro Walt - L/Sgt. 205160 ‘C’ Coy
2nd Devons. The envelope was postmarked 24th May 1918; three days later, Walter was killed.
“Sid” - Lance- Corporal Sidney Rundle had lost his life the previous month, but the brothers were
unaware of this. He had been awarded a Military Medal ‘For Bravery in the Field’ in September the
previous year. Freddy Westaway and Harry Lear perished on the same day as Walter, as did their
Commanding Officer, who had recommended Walter for his serjeant’s stripes - Lieut-Colonel
Anderson-Morshead. At Exeter in November 1919, probate for Walter’s will was granted to his father; he left £159.18s.6d.
Edward John - ‘Dear Old Jack’ - returned to Cornwall and passed away at the age of 77yrs. in 1974.
Frederick John Bullock - Private 70396 - Son of Henry & Emily Bullock of Stoker’s Farm,
In 1911 Frederick and his parents are in the Hampshire village of Rotherwick where, inside the
parish church is a brass plaque Roll of Honour - three have the surname Bullock - Frederick John
and his two brothers. Frederick John was nineteen-years old when he was lost at Bois-des-Buttes.
Daniel was with 2nd Btn. Dorsetshire Regiment and died whilst prisoner-of-war in Tekrit, Iran, in
1916. His name is on the war-memorial at Basra. William, with the Hampshire Regiment, also
became prisoner-of-war. On 3rd November 1917 he was buried at Cassel, Germany in a cemetery
now maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
For the centenary of WW1, bells of Rotherwick parish church were tolled for each of the 29 names
on the Roll of Honour on the 100th anniversary of the day on which they perished. Each was given
nine strikes (as is usual for a man) then after a pause,100 strikes for the the anniversary of their
death. The bell-ringers did the same thing for each man on their village roll-of-honour so 29
separate occasions spread over four years 2014-2018. These details come from Rotherwick’s
Percy Butler - Private 70402 - was born Weston-on-the-Green, Oxfordshire which has a Roll of
Honour in St.Mary the Virgin Church with eight names and puts Percy with the Gloucestershire
Regiment. No ! ... He Wasn’t ! Percy Butler was 70402 of the Devons.
Bicester Local History Society has Percy’s details and credits him belonging to 2nd Devons. They
link him to Weston-OTG, even showing the R of H with him wrongly ascribed.. They say he was 34
when he lost his life and there is a birth registration in Bicester fitting that age - Sept. Qtr. 1883. It
also says his parents were William and Elizabeth. In cencus 1891 they are in Fritwell, Oxon. with
Percy and three daughters. Dad is a ‘Licensed Hawker’ - so he sells stuff door to door, or in the
street. Ten years later Percy is a Grocer’s Porter aged 17 with Mum (now widowed) and the three
sisters still at home. By 1911 Percy is a Grocer’s Assistant and married with a year-old daughter,
living (or perhaps just staying) with his wife’s father in Sydenham, London. By 1918, married men
were conscripted no matter whether they had children to support.
Thomas Butler - Private 70412 - Aged 19 - Son of Mrs A. Butler, 22 Belmont Passage, Lawley
Street, Birmingham. The Devonshire’s records say he enlisted Birmingham but give no place of
birth. If he was 19 in 1918, must have been born 1899; In 1901 “Tommy Butler” aged 2 is at home
in Aston, Birmingham with Dad called William (a Firewood Dealer) and mother Alice. There are three
other children - Ada, Alfred and Alice. This is probably the right family; None of them seem to be in
Cencus 1911. Birmingham’s Books of Remembrance have ‘Butler, T. Private, Devon Rgt’. on its
Edward George Cakebread - Private 70424 - Son of George & Bertha Cakebread, 7 Ulverley
Terrace, Warwick Road, Olton, Acocks Green, Birmingham. Edward George was born on 18th
February 1899, the eldest of seven children of George (a jobbing gardener) and Bertha who married
at Sparkhill in 1898. The family lived at Ulverley Terrace from 1901 and remained there until 1939,
according to someone who contributed to Solihull’s website for “Capturing, Preserving and Sharing
its Heritage”. There is a sadly descriptive piece provided by members of Pte. Cakebread’s family :
“ Edward George attended St.Margaret’s School, Olton, until 1913 when he left to work at the
Post Office. Then he became employed by Great Western Railway but left on 30th March 1917, a
month after his 18th birthday, when he was called up for active service. His family knew he had
been granted leave in May 1918 and they expected him to arrive on a certain train, so sisters Eva
and Minnie went to the station to take him for a special ‘Welcome Home’ tea. But their brother, who
they knew as “Teddy” did not get off the train. Sometime later they were told he had been killed by a
sniper whilst waiting to get on board. ” His name is on the war memorial at St. Margaret’s Church in
Olton. Maybe his family never knew the true extent of Edward’s heroism.
“Through Hell to Victory” first published in 1927 was written by R.A.Colwill, a journalist who served
during WW1 with 2nd Devons. After the war he contacted men who had been at Bois-des-Buttes in
order to record their experiences. One survivor described how, as the enemy was closing in, ‘C’
Company had been reduced to twenty men and their situation was desperate; most of their weapons
had been destroyed leaving them with no means of defending themselves. The only remaining
Lewis gun was operated by Pte. Cakebread assisted by Lance-Corporal Cox. This pair decided to
move their gun to where it could be more effective, despite them having no cover.
“We remonstrated with them, but they would not be turned from their plan ...” The two men reached
their desired position and the others heard the gun firing for a while ... .. later, both bodies were
found beside the gun. Due to the sacrifice of Thomas Cox and Edward Cakebread, the remaining
men were able to hold on to their own position. Until they in turn were overwhelmed.
Edward’s CWG page gives 27th May as the date he was lost; he is commemorated on the Memorial
to the Missing at Soissons. When isolated graves were organised into war cemeteries, in 1922
Thomas Cox was found and identified. Nearby was one whose only identity was a shoulder-title for
the Devonshire Regiment; paperwork for this has a note beside the entry saying ‘Lewis Gunner’ -
which would be shown by a badge on his sleeve. This could be Edward George Cakebread. Both
were reburied at Jonchery-sur-Vesle British Cemetery.
Wilfred Cattermole - Private 18611 - Aged 38 - Son of John & Elizabeth Cattermole, husband
of the late Mary Cattermole. Wilfred’s birth was registered at Rochdale in 1883, making him 35
when he lost his life. In 1891 aged 8, he was living with grandparents and their two sons who work
in the cotton spinning industry. In 1904 he married Mary Chadwick and by 1911 the two of them are
living in the Rochdale borough of Wardleworth. Wilfred is a labourer in a cotton mill. In 1915 he went out to France. About six months after Wilfred had given his life for King and Country, his wife
Mary died. This was registered in the final quarter of 1918.
It would seem that Wilfred had no family to notice his passing. His medal-card says he died intestate
and his British War and Allied Victory medals were returned to the Medal Office. In 1922 the officer
in charge of records at Exeter (where the Devon's had their Headquarters) requested authority to
dispose of them. Five applications were made, after which they would have been destroyed.
John William Chapman - Private 74007 - Aged 19 - Son of Frank & Mary Chapman, 58 Whitsed
Street, Peterborough. Was born in the small village of Spaldwick, Huntingdonshire (now
Cambridgeshire) which has its own website with a page dedicated to “the brave men of Spaldwick
who paid the highest price for our nation” ; this led on to the combined MOD and Royal British
Legion’s Roll of Honour where several pages relate to John William and the Devons in May 1918.
There are descriptions of what happened at Bois-des-Buttes, culminating with the comment that at
the end, 2nd Battalion “had two officers and ninety men”. There is a photo of John William dressed in
a high-collared white shirt with a tie under waistcoat and suit. He looks calm and smiles quietly.
Known as ‘Jack’ he had six sisters and three brothers, two of whom also served in the army during
the Great War. He was apprenticed to a grocer but conscripted into the army as soon as he became
18, spending a year in training, according to his medal card, with the Wiltshire Regiment. To serve in
a war zone, a soldier had to be at least 19, so he did not get to the Western Front until March 1918
when he was drafted into the Devons. John William was killed on 29th May according to information
given to his family, but CWG records the date as 31st - which was when 2nd Battalion’s war diary
was made up.
Ernest William Church - Private 31820 - Aged 20 - Son of William & Amy Caroline Church,
Asylum Farm, Frome Road, Wells, Somerset.
Ernest William was baptised at St. Michael & All Angels at Dinder, a village two miles east of Wells
on 11th December 1898. In census 1901 he is with mother and father, plus a baby sister, living the
village of Horrington, where the father is a cowman on a farm. Ten years later Ernest, a 12-year old
schoolboy, has another sister and a brother. The farm where his father works is part of the village
community attached to Somerset County Asylum.
St.Swithin’s and St Andrew’s churches in Bath had identical marble tablets dedicated to parishioners
who “Gave their lives for King and Country 1914-1919 ” - one being Ernest William Church. In 1920,
the Rector of the parishes was quoted as saying he hoped enough money would be collected so that
these memorials could be completed - he did not want to wait until there had been another war. His
worst fears were realized when Bath was blitzed during WW2. St Andrews Church was so badly
damaged it had to be demolished. St. Swithin’s still stands, with its Great War memorial inside.
Samuel Stone Clist - Private 21194 - Aged 35 - Son of William & Margaret Clist, Culmstock
Road, Hemyock, Collumpton, Devon.
Samuel’s name is on the war memorial outside St. Mary’s Church at Hemyock. He was a Devon
farm-worker - cattleman and rabbit-trapper with three sisters and three brothers. Agricultural
workers were essential to keping this country fed; their conscription caused a great deal of
argument at the time.
Joseph William Stanley Collins - Serjeant 240142 - Aged 31 - Son of Joseph Anthony and
Henrietta Collins; Husband of Lily Priscilla Collins of 3 Ford Park Cottages, Mutley, Plymouth.
Imperial War Museum’s ‘Lives of the First World War’ has a photo of Joseph William when he was
with a Territorial Battalion prior to the war; the sleeve of his uniform has two chevrons, so at the time
he was a Corporal. He was born in Plymouth and that is where he was in 1901, with parents, three
sisters and working as a Grocer’s shop-assistant. Eight years later he married Lily Priscilla Payne
and in 1910 their son Harry was born. In 1911 Joseph is employed by the local Co-operative
Society; as a Grocery Assistant. Later that year they have another son.
Joseph William may have perished at Bois-des-Buttes or in continuing fighting during the following
days. Initially he was buried in a row as the only one with a wooden cross to mark his place; his
name was written on it in pencil. Many of the others were without anything to even identify their
regiment. Once the war was over, this became part of Sissonne British Cemetery and Lily Priscilla
was able to specify a tribute for his headstone : “Lead Kindly Light” ”
George Valentine Vincent Cooke - Private 30296 - Aged 36 - Son of Mr & Mrs William Cooke of
Barnstaple; Husband of Louisa Elizabeth Cooke of The Farm, Instow, Devon.
George Valentine’s CWG record mis-quotes his age - possibly a typo. His birth was registered
Barnstaple March quarter 1892 so he was actually Twenty-six years old. Same place, same date
also has ‘William V. V. Cooke’ his twin brother. Both show in census 1901 with parents, brother
Oscar and sister Gwendoline; Father is a Retired Butler.
By 1911 George aged 19 is working as a ‘Grocer’s Assistant’. His marriage to Louisa E. Hoyles
was registered at Devonport in 1917. When his will was proved in July 1919, probate was granted to
William Edward Dart who had been his employer at Devon Seed Stores in Barnstaple. George left
£310. 1s. 10d and had been living at 16 Pulchrass Street, Barnstaple. Probate record says he died
‘on or since 26 May 1918 in France’ but it is thought he had been taken prisoner of war and died in
Bavaria some time in 1918. George Valentine’s name is on Barnstaple’s war memorial and the
Memorial to the Missing at Soissons.
Ernest James Cornish - Lance-Corporal 20435 - His CWG page has nothing other than him
being killed in action 31.5.1918 and his place of burial; Devonshire Regiment 1914-18 gives his
place of birth as ‘Luton, Devon’. This is a small village near Newton Abbot and his name is on the
Roll of Honour in the church at Ideford, about a mile distant. Devon Honour website looks at names
on the county’s official Roll of Honour for WW1: Ernest James was baptised on 9th May 1897 in the
parish church at Ideford; his parents were James and Maud Lucy.
In 1901 they and two younger brothers were in Luton but 1911 census puts them in Ideford. They
may not had moved but the census named places differently. When, in 1922 he was gathered in
from a battlefield burial, Ernest James was identified by the cross marking his place and a badge.
He was alongside an Unknown British Soldier and an Unknown Second-Lieutenant - all of them
Devons. After the Armistice,they were re-interred at Jonchery-sur-Vesle British Cemetery.
Henry William Cosnett - Private 70421 - was born Pershore, Worcestershire where his mother
Elizabeth helped her own mother to run a market-garden. Father was a baker who lived partly in
Walsall. Henry William was nineteen when he died of wounds; he was buried in a French Military
Cemetery at Montigny-Sur-Vestle alongside others of various regiments who perished on 27/28th
May 1918. After the war they were transferred to Marfaux British Cemetery near Reims in the
Ardennes. Henry William is one of 101 names on the war memorial inside Pershore Abbey.
Thomas Cox - Lance-Corporal 291761 - nothing more on his CWG page - the regiment’s book
says he was born in March, Cambridgeshire, then enlisted at Birmingham. The website Roll of
Honour (sponsored by Ministry of Defence & Royal British Legion) lists town war memorials; March
has 210 names including L/Cpl. 291761 Thomas Cox of 2nd Devons. This names his parents and
gives his age -Thomas was 23-years old - so he and his family could be found in cencus records.
In 1901 he is six years old and at home in the parish of St. Peter, North Witchford where, in due
course, his name will appear on the stone tablet memorial inside the church. Thomas was the
youngest of seven children of John Cox, a bootmaker and his wife Fanny. Parents and two children
appear in cencus 1911 but the entry is confusing and although it names ‘Tom Cox’ his occupation is
not recorded. Why did he enlist in Birmingham, 100 miles away ?
The self-sacrifice of Lance-Corporal Cox and Private Edward Cakebread is recounted by a survivor
of Bois-des-Buttes in the book “Through Hell to Victory”. This pair positioned the Battalion’s only
remaining Lewis gun where it could inflict the most damage. The few who remained heard the gun
firing for a while, but then it stopped. Later, two bodies were found beside the gun. When battlefield
burials were being cleared, Thomas’ grave was found to have a wooden cross with his name and
number; on his uniform were titles of the Devon Rgt. Nearby was an Unknown British Soldier
whose only identification were titles of the Devons and something which told he was a Lewis Gunner
(this came via Great War Forum investigations rather than his CWG record) Was this Edward
Cakebread? Both were re-buried in the British Cemetery at Jonchery-sur-Vesle.
Cecil Robert Cull - Private 74003 - Aged 19 - Son of John and Louisa Cull, 23 St Mary’s Road,
Portsmouth. Cecil Robert was a Private in the Duke of Edinburgh’s (Wiltshire) Regiment prior to
being transferred into the Devon's and losing his life on 27 May 1918. He was the youngest of seven
children; their father was a prison clerk working for the government in North End, Portsmouth.
Remembrance Day 2018 was 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War. Portsmouth City
Council placed plaques around the city in memory of those lost from each road. Cecil Robert was
one of seven from St. Mary’s Road. This was not intended to be a permanent memorial although the
website, including names and a profile of each one, should be accessible in perpetuity. In the centre
of Portsmouth is a cenotaph with 4,500 names, including Cecil Robert.
Second-Lieutenant Stanley James Cussell - Royal Army Service Corps, attached to Devon
Rgt. - 29 May 1918. His birth was registered at Lambeth in 1890. Stanley was a pupil at Alleyn’s
School, Dulwich and their website has a profile of him, including a photo. After leaving the school in
1906 he went to India. His father worked for a tea broker and none of the family is in 1911 census;
maybe they had all had gone - parents Richard and Mary, two daughters and the youngest, Stanley.
December 1916 he was in France as a Driver with Army Service Corps then January 1917 gazetted
“2nd Lieutenant on Probation” which was confirmed a month later. This must have been when he
became “attached to Devon Rgt.” In June Quarter 1918 he married, in Plympton, Nesta Lillian Elford
who was just eighteen; at the end of May, Stanley lost his life, so they were man and wife for four,
maybe six weeks. When Nesta applied for his Allied Victory and British War medals her address
was in Torquay, where Stanley is remembered on the war memorial at St. Marychurch -
“ 2nd Lieut.Stanley James Cussell of the Royal Army Service Corps, formerly of the Devonshire
Regiment. Son of Richard & Mary Cussell Born Lambeth 26 January 1890. Died 29 May 1918
aged 28. ” CWG has him with the Devons when he perished and furthermore, Stanley did not die...
he was lost without trace and is one of the Missing on the memorial at Soissons.
William Henry Daniel - Private 15797 - Aged 24 - Son of William Henry Daniel of Hall, Fairy
Cross, Alwington, Bideford, Devon. In 2008, the BBC created a website “Ninety Years of
Remembrance” inviting anyone with reminiscences of WW1 to partake. Someone supplied this
about William Henry Daniel : “ William was killed on 31st May 1918 in the Bligny Hill region. He
has no known grave but is commemorated on the war memorial at Soissons and at Alwington in
Devon. His two brothers also enlisted. Reuben, my Grandfather, was born the year after William
and Alfred was born 1899. They both survived the war. Their parents were William and Frances
Daniel of Hall Cottage, Fairy Cross, Alwington, Bideford, Devon. William enlisted before 9th March
So William spent several months training before being sent to the Western Front; his medal-card
says he arrived in France on 15th December 1915. In 1911 census he and brother Reuben can be
found in Alwington working for a farmer, probably a relation because his surname was also Daniel.
Joseph Dixon - Private 16314 - No more on his CWG page, but regiment’s book says he was born
Leeds, enlisted Rochdale and was killed in action on 31.5.1918; medal card says ‘Presumed Dead’.
He had been in France since 2nd September 1915 so was entitled to Allied Victory and British War
medals and 1914/15 Star. Joseph joined up before conscription came in January 1916, but this is
no indication of his age. Between 1870 and 1900, for the District covering Leeds births of over fifty
Joseph Dixon's were registered and a great many more if they had a second name. Somebody
accepted his medals otherwise they would have been returned. He is on the Soissons memorial
under ‘Devonshire Regiment’ - so we know that is Private 16314 but not who he was.
Bertie Doidge - Corporal 21657 - Aged 31 - Brother of Mrs G. Matthews of 2, “B” Block,
Married Quarters, 1st Bn. Dorsetshire Regiment, St. Andrews, Malta. He was born Tavistock
during the September Quarter 1887 and his birth registration is simply “Bertie Doidge”.
In 1911 he is at home with parents Thomas and Harriet, brother Frank who is a Stable-man and
sister Gertie, a Dressmaker. Bertie himself is a Grocer’s Assistant. The registration of his sister’s
birth gave her a proper name - Gertrude and this is how her marriage to George L. Matthews was
recorded at Weymouth in 1919. Her husband was a colour-serjeant and stayed on as a Regular
with the Dorsets after the war. Bertie is remembered on Tavistock’s war memorial as ‘Doidge. B.’
Arthur Jesse Edney - Private 69004 - Aged 20 - Son of Mr. and Mrs G. Edney of 74 St.
George’s Road, College Green, St. Augustine’s, Bristol. George Edney (a cabinet-maker) and
his wife Caroline had a large family - eight boys and four girls. Two of the sons lost their lives in the
Great War, both when twenty-years old. In cencus 1911 Arthur, aged 12, was still at school; his
older brother Alfred Philip was still at home but had no employment. He became a Lance-Corporal
with the Gloucestershire Regiment and perished on 29th October 1914. He is remembered on the
Menin Gate at Ypres (now often “Ieper”). Four years later, when hostilities had only six months left
to run, Arthur was lost in the days prior to 31st May 1918 and his name is on the Soissons Memorial.
Britton John Edwards - Private 66836 - He was born 3rd February 1883 and baptised three
months later at Dalwood a small village near Axminster. His parents were William ( a ‘Dealer’ - what
in is not known) and Mary. In 1891 Britton John aged 8 and older brother William were with their
grandfather John Ryland at Rose Farm in Stockland near Honiton.
Ten years later Britton John is in Bridgwater, Somerset, having been employed by Lloyds Bank since
14th April 1899; their archive provided Teignmouth & Shaldon Remembers WW1 with these details
and a photograph - a head and shoulders portrait showing him wearing a stiff-collared shirt, dark tie
and jacket with short hair carefully parted. On 3rd April 1911 at Bridgwater he married Flora Sabina
Bishop. They went to live in Teignmouth where he still worked for Lloyds. In June 1918 the local
newspaper noted “ Mr. B.J. Edwards of the Devons is reported missing. He was accountant at
Lloyds Bank in town.” Western Times of 13th December 1918 notes he was still missing; some time
later it was confirmed that he had been killed in action at Bois-des-Buttes on 27th May. Britton John is remembered in on the war memorial outside St. Peter’s Church at Dalwood and on
the marble tablet inside. Also at Teignmouth - a granite obilisk on the seafront and a window in St.
James’ Church. When his will was proved in Exeter in 1919 probate was granted to his widow; he
left £620.10s.6d. Flora Sabina returned to Bridgwater and got married again in 1926.
Robert Herbert Henry Edwards - Private 68811 - Aged 19 - Son of Mr. and Mrs R. Edwards, The
Smithy, Erclefont, Devizes, Wiltshire. Robert was christened on 21st May 1899 in the church of
St. Michael and All Angels in the village which is actually called Urchfont; CWG seems to have made
a typo. He was the eldest of four children. Their father and grandfather were both blacksmiths.
Robert is remembered on the war memorial cross in the churchyard of St.Michael’s, Urchfont and at
Maryport Street, Devizes where the Oddfellows Hall is now a branch of Halifax Building Society.
Over the doorway to this building is a stone lintel incised with a dedication :
“ To the Fallen 1914-1919 - Devizes District - This Tablet was Erected by the Devizes District
Lodges M.U. Oddfellows in Ever Loving Memory of our Departed Brothers who Fell in the
Great War 1914-1919 ” Underneath are inscribed 30 names - one being R.H.H. Edwards.
Herbert Thomas James Fortune - Private 290779 - Aged 20 - Son of Thomas & Mary Jane
Fortune of ‘Fair View’ Sheldon Road, Chippenham, Wilts. In 1911, Herbert Thomas and his
family are in Chippenham where he and older brother Thomas are helping their father to run a
market garden - supplying fruit and vegetables to the town. There are two other sons and four
girls - two at school but the youngest are aged four and one.
The website Pro-Patria has a section for Chippenham War Memorials. Together with over 100
others, Herbert Thomas is named on a screen within St. Andrew’s Church and at Causeway
Methodist Church - “To the Memory of the Chippenham Brotherhood who Gave Their Lives”. The
centre of town has a Cenotaph with panels containing 160 names. In the 1980’s, a large housing
development was being created on the outskirts of Chippenham and thirty-nine new roads needed to
be named. The town council decided that tribute should be paid to those lost in both world wars, so
took names from Chippenham’s main war memorial. The curator of the local museum compiled a
list of those who had particularly strong local connections. Herbert Thomas James is memorialised
in the name of ‘Fortune Way’ at Pewsham, Chippenham.
Henry Westwood Frost - Lance-Corporal 30934 - Aged 19 - Son of Mrs A.W. Frost and the late
Mr. D.W. Frost, 42 Church Road, South Yardley, Birmingham.
In 1901 and 1911 the future Lance-Corporal is in Yardley, Worcestershire, with several siblings and
their mother who is ‘Living on own Means’ although there is no husband present. Her own father
had been a Market Gardener in Worcestershire so maybe the family still had business interests
locally. In 1882 she had married Daniel Wilson Frost and went with him to Ontario, Canada where
two daughters were born, although by 1891 they were back in Yardley. Another daughter and three
sons followed; Henry’s birth was registered in 1898 with one of his forenames being his mother’s
maiden name; father died in 1916 at Prestwich, Manchester but their mother was still in South
Yardley. Lance-Corporal Henry Westwood Frost is remembered on a war memorial inside the
church of St. Ethelburga in Yardley as “Frost H.W”. He is also in one of Birmingham’s Books of
Remembrance - “Frost H.W. - L/Cpl. Devon Rgt.” Which is somewhat better.
Frank Eugene Gamblin - Private 30942 - Aged 19 - Son of Thomas Frederick and Edith D.
Gamblin, 50 Taunton Road, Lee, London. In 1911 the family is at home in the London Borough
of Lewisham. The father, Thomas Frederick, is a Bricklayer; he and wife Edith have five children
ranging from three to fourteen years old. The eldest, Thomas Fred, is a ‘Milk Boy’ - maybe he is
employed by a dairy and has a delivery round. Two years younger is Frank Eugene aged 12. He is
described as a ‘School Milk Boy’ so presumably is still in education but collects break-time milk and
distributes it to his classmates.
Thomas Fred went out to France in December 1915 and was killed in action on 6th January 1918
whilst serving as a Driver with the Royal Field Artillery. He is buried in the cemetery at Roisel on the
Somme, where his parents gave an inscription for his headstone : “ Ever In Our Thoughts ”. His
medals - Allied Victory, British War and 1914/15 Star, were returned to the medal office, possibly
because his parents moved to a different address in between being quoted next-of kin in 1915 and
medals being distributed years after the war was over. But they could have been sent out again.
Frank Eugene was awarded Allied Victory and British War medals; they were not returned to the
medal office - the address for next-of-kin must have been where his parents finally settled. They
were not able to give an inscription for his headstone; Frank Eugene is one of the Missing on the
Soissons Memorial. The brothers are remembered on war memorials in Lewisham - at St. Mary’s
School and St. Mark’s Church.
Robert Coley Gee - Private 70440 - CWG page only has 27 May 1918. Medal card has Allied
Victory and British War Medals. Devonshire Regiment 1914-1918 says Born Warley, Worcs.;
enlisted Stourbridge (Langley, Worcs.). Birth registered West Bromwich June Quarter 1899. In 1911
with parents and four siblings in Oldbury, Staffordshire. Everyone Remembered has a photo of
Robert in uniform accomanying this story as told by his sister and written by his great-niece in 1982 :
“ Robert Gee my great-uncle was called up on his 18th birthday - 18 March 1917. He went to
Birmingham to join the Gloucester Regiment and sent to train at Norwich, Norfolk. There he stayed
with Mr. and Mrs Widdowson. They were very poor but did their best to look after him well. In April
1918 when he was nineteen, he was sent to France. Robert’s family didn’t know until a letter arrived
from Mrs Widdowson saying she had been asked to let his family know he had gone.
“ One month later they received a card from him but when nothing else came, they began to
worry. In July 1918 Bob’s sister wrote to the Red Cross to find what had happened to him. They
replied that they had a card from a Prisoner of War in Germany. He was a Royal Medical Corps
officer and allowed to nurse wounded soldiers. He said they had been captured and Bob died of
wounds in France before they started for Germany.
“ My great-aunt can still remember grabbing a card from the post-lady and running to her mother
shouting “Here’s a card from our Bob!” but the look on her mother’s face told her it was not what she
expected. After the war ended the Army Medical Officer sent a page from his note-book in which he
had recorded Uncle Bob’s death. This was sent to the War Office in London; they wanted it as proof
of his death because they had no other records. His mother was given a 9-shilling pension each
week”. His sister must have mis-remembered the regiment Robert joined. His name is on a
war-memorial plaque in Oldbury Academy which replaces other schools in the locality.
Frederick Goldsmith - Lance-Serjeant 27662 - Enlisted at Brighton, where his birth was registered
in late 1884. He was the second son of parents George and Mary Ann who had five children
including a pair of twins. Their father worked as an ‘Iron Founder’. In 1901, aged 17 Frederick was
a ‘Smith’s Striker in a Railway Works’. So his job was to swing a sledgehammer and whack red-hot
metal where indicated by the blacksmith. Hefty dangerous work. Ten years later he had become a
‘Draper’s Traveller’ - visiting retail outlets taking orders for a manufacturer of fabric items. A less
harmful way of earning a living .... Until the Great War gets going ....
In December 1915 Frederick married Alice King. Brighton has an elaborate war-memorial, taking
the form of a Roman water-garden and including a colonnade where the pillars are inscribed with
2,390 names. Frederick is recorded as ‘L/Serj. 27662 - 2/Devons’. In the parish church of St. Peter
there are two memorial books with names of the Fallen. Until 1992 these were kept on public
display but because of vandalism, they were withdrawn.
Ernest Howard Guest - Private 68373 - Aged 19 - Son of Joseph and Agnes Sarah Guest of
Council Bldgs., Astwood Avenue, Astwood Bank, Redditch, Worcestershire. Private Guest
was always known by his second name and in census 1901 and 1911 he is Howard, second son of
Joseph and Agnes. There was also a daughter called Elsie. Their father’s occupation was in the
needle-making industry as a ‘needle-bender’. The elder son also was also doing this in 1911, whilst
Howard was still at school. He is remembered on the war memorial at Astwood Bank as ‘Howard
Guest’ but the Worcestershire Roll of Honour gives his full name, together with his CWG details.
*William John Haggerwood - Serjeant 8611- Son of John William and Fannie Haggerwood;
Husband of Grace Wallace (Formerly Haggerwood) of 18 Aberdeen Place, St.John’s Wood,
London. In census 1901 William John is eleven-years old and at home with parents and two
brothers, Cyril and Percy in Stansted Mountfitchett. Fast-forward ten years and he is now a regular
soldier in St. George’s Barracks, Malta where 2nd Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment was
garrisoned. War was declared on 28th July 1914 and they were sent to Egypt to guard the Suez
Canal; then in October they arrived at Southampton to take on reservists. They arrived in France on
6th November 1914 as part of the British Expeditionary Force.
In mid 1915 William John married Grace Blake; this was registered at Bishop’s Stortford on the
Hertfordshire/Essex border. How did they come to meet ? William had been abroad since 1911, if
not before. He was awarded a 1914 Star plus Allied Victory and British War medals. William’s page
at Everyone Remembered says “Remembering my Great-Grandfather’s brother- in-law who died in
the last few months of the war”. So William’s brother’s wife’s brother .. No you’ve lost me ...
Serjeant William John is remembered on the war memorial at Stanstead Mountfitchett.
Charles Herbert Haines - Private 291419 - Aged 25 - Son of Thomas and Elizabeth Haines of
Bishop’s Lydeard, Taunton. Charles Herbert’s birth was registered at Bridgewater in June quarter
of 1895 which by my reckoning makes him 23-years old. He was born at Fiddington, Somerset -
which in 2011 had a population of 298. The family was there in census of 1901 but ten years later
had moved eleven miles to Bishop’s Lydeard which is somewhat larger. Charles Herbert had two
sisters and by the time he was sixteen, worked as an ‘Ironmonger’s Assistant’. Do Ironmonger’s
shops exist in 21st centuary ? They used to sell all manner of useful items - buckets, dustbins,
Bishop’s Lydeard war memorial has ‘H. Haines ‘ which I hope is Private 291419. Maybe he was
known locally by his second name. Originally this memorial had 39 names for WW1, but in 2016
application was made for another seven to be added; maybe this did happen but ‘H.Haines had
been there from the beginning.
Frederick Samuel Hardy - Private 71207 - Aged 19 - Son of Mrs L. Hardy, 11 York Terrace, East
Fordington Hill, Dorchester. This is not Dorchester-on-Thames but the county-town of Dorset.
On 30th July 1899 Frederick Samuel was baptised at the church of St. Nicholas in Moreton, Dorset;
his parents were Frank and Louisa Hardy. This village had a pub - the Frampton Arms. We had
lunch there with our children when visiting Bovington Tank Museum in the 1980’s.
In 1911 Frederick Samuel is with a family in Dorchester. This was the first time householders filled
on their own census form and maybe it was a challenge for those unused to paperwork. Head of
this family is Amelia Louisa Hill aged 43, a married charwoman. There is no adult male present
other than her son William George Hardy aged 20yrs. Another son aged 14 is called William Frank
Clifford Hardy - his birth was registered in1897 at Wareham, Dorset. Is that likely - give your two
sons the same first name ? The youngest is a girl aged 5 whose surname is Hill - so it seems that
Amelia has recently married and become Mrs Hill. But hang on - Private Hardy’s mother is Mrs
Hardy. So Amelia Louisa cannot be his mother - can she ? Possibly in 1911 Frederick Samuel is
with his Grandmother Amelia Louisa Hill and her children. Dorchester has a war memorial with 239
names for WW1 - one being ‘Hardy, F S’; his name is also on a roll of honour in St. George’s church
at Fordington. His mother’s address is ‘East Fordington Hill’, so that makes sense.
Frederick Charles Harris - Private 290393 - Aged 20 - Son of Thomas John and Charlotte Ann
Harris of Silver Hill, Helston, Cornwall. In census 1911 Frederick Charles is a 12-year old
schoolboy with two brothers - one older, one younger; their father gives his occupation as ‘Driver’ -
he probably worked in a tin-mine. The granite war memorial outside St. Michael’s Church and the
Men of Helston roll of honour inside both record Frederick C. Harris above the name W. H. Harris.
This was Frederick’s older brother William Henry who was 23-years old when he lost his life in 1916
whilst a Sapper with 251st Tunnelling Company of the Royal Engineers (aka ‘the Moles’). These
were Cornish tin-miners recruited because of their expertise in burrowing underground and using
explosives. He had been in France less than a year and is buried at Cambrin Military Cemetery. His
father specified wording for William’s headstone - “He Bravely Fought and He Bravely Died”.
Frederick received no burial. He was lost without trace and this was entered into the records for
31st May 1918, but that may not be the actual date he perished. His name on the Soissons
Memorial, but he could lie in a war cemetery as an Unknown British Soldier.
For the centennial of WW1 Helston had an project which included sending a representative to the
commemorative service held in Westminster Abbey on 11th November 2018. Over the four years
2024-2028 the town had a sequence of church bell-tolling in memory of the 62 named on its war
memorial. 100 strikes on the tenor bell on the 100th anniversary of each man’s death.
*Bertram Frank Hawkins - Private 52298 - Aged 19 - Son of John Sadler and Selina Hawkins,
29 Mill Road, Fareham, Hants. Bertram was their only son, the other child being a daughter with
an unusual forename - Hellice - her birth registration was exactly that. John Sadler Hawkins was a
general labourer and in 1911 the family was living three miles from Fareham in the village of
Wickham, which has a website :
“ Our war memorial stands outside St. Nicholas’ church. Every year on Remembrance Sunday
members of Wickham organisations, led by the branch of the Royal British Legion march from the
Square to the church for a service of Remembrance during which names of the Fallen are read
aloud to the congregation. Wreaths of poppy flowers are laid on the memorial by representatives of
each organisation present and some individual people also lay a poppy. ” A Field of Remembrance
has been created outside the church with soil from significant WW1 battlegrounds including Arras,
Ypres (Ieper) and the Somme. Bertram Frank is one of 49 names on a stone memorial cross in the
churchyard and inside on a roll of honour - “The God Who Took Will Keep Them In His Care”.
Arthur Ernest Hawthorne - Lance-Corporal 12401. He was laid to rest at Sissonne British
Cemetery after dying of wounds on 29th May 1918. Arthur Ernest went to France in July 1915 as a
Private with 9th Battalion; he survived the Somme and became a Lance-Corporal with 2nd
Battalion. Someone received his Allied Victory, British War Medal and 1914/15 Star or his card
would say they were returned. He was born Bromsgrove, enlisted Birmingham and lived Langley
Green, Worcestershire. Cannot find him on a war memorial in any of those places. On his page at
Everyone Remembered is the comment “With my Great-uncle Reginald George Moore, I honour
your memory”. On the page for Reginald George Moore, a Private in the Devons who lost his life in
October 1918 aged 19, this person has said “My Great Uncle - died so young - We Will Remember
Them ” but what was his connection with Lance-Corporal Hawthorne ?
Arthur Ernest’s birth registration was easy to find. Within Worcestershire for the period 1870-1900
there was only one and in 1911 he is with his family in the parish of Oldbury. Father is Hammerman
in a Forge Factory and a younger brother is a Stamper at an Engineering works but Arthur Ernest is
a ‘House Painter’. He has four brothers and two sisters, yet none became his next-of-kin. It is
possible that he married in final quarter 1917 - Arthur E. Hawthorne wed Edith Smout at Kings
Norton, Birmingham. Is that him ... ? His CWG record names no next-of-kin.
Sydney Hugh Hellings - Private 71209 has no age or next-of-kin given. The regiment’s book says
he was born in Barnstaple and enlisted at Trowbridge (Wiltshire) at which time lived in Melksham.
Fortunately he could be found in birth registrations - June quarter of 1899 - so he was one of the
young, inexperienced lads who showed such bravery, holding the battalion together against all odds.
The Well House Collection of Melksham museum has a website ‘We will Remember Them’ with
details of Pte. Hellings - son of Henry and Mary Helen. In census 1901 the family was in Barnstaple;
father is an Army Pensioner, having been a Colour-Serjeant in the Devonshire Regiment. Some of
his older children were born in India. By 1911 the family is in Melksham where Sydney Hugh is an
11-year old schoolboy. His name is on the town’s main war memorial and roll of honour in St.
Michael’s Church; also one of nine names on a brass plaque inside Melksham United Church.
William Thomas Heysett - Private 29702 - Aged 21 - Son of the late William Heysett and Mary
Emma (Stepmother) of Eastcott, Coryton, Lewdown, Devon.
On Private Heysett’s page at ‘Everyone Remembered’ someone comments ‘ Beloved Brother of My
Great Grandfather’. In 1901 at Lewtrenchard on the edge of Dartmoor, William Thomas was with
parents - William and Rhoda and a sister called Lottie. After Rhoda died in 1906 the family was
looked after by an aunt until father re-married in early 1914 to Mary Emma Burden. In addition to
the names on the main war memorial in Okehampton, several were added to the plinth, including
“W. Heysett”. Only one W. Heysett lost his life in the Great War, so this must refer to William
Thomas. On the memorial for Lewdown he is properly described - “ W.T. Heysett - Devons ”.
In Cencus 1911, besides having a sister called Lottie, there are two more - Rose and Mary. So how
could Private Heysett be a ‘Brother of my Great-grandfather ? Maybe his stepmother already had
children, or she and William Thomas’ father had a son after they married in 1914.
Frederick George Holbrook - Private 74053 - aged 18 - Son of Edward Austin Holbrook,
Cambrooke House, Temple Cloud, Bristol. Frederick George’s birth was registered at Clutton,
Somerset, in the final quarter of 1899. Cambrooke House was a pre-NHS refuge for the old and
infirm. In 1901 Frederick George is with his sister Alice, his father and mother Elizabeth all living in
Venus Lane, Harptree, Clutton. Their father was, at this time, a labourer at a quarry.
In 1911 Frederick George is an eleven-year old schoolboy living with his grandmother and her
extended family - including his widowed father who is now a road labourer for the local council.
Also present are his aunt and uncle plus four of Frederick George’s cousins, so he is not alone. His
name is on two war memorials in Clutton - “They Have Fought The Good Fight, Dying In the Cause
of Humanity that Honour Might Live - This Tablet was Erected by their Relatives and a few Friends ”
- there are eleven names, one being Holbrook F. There is also a stone tablet in the Methodist
Church “Erected to the Memory of the Men of this Parish who Gave Their Lives in Both World Wars”
with sixteen names including “F. Holbrook “.
Ewart Gladstone Hopes - Private 30952 - Aged 19 - Son of Charles and Blanche Eliza Hopes,
1 Church Road, Horfield, Bristol. In the Cencus of 1911 Ewart was a 12-year old schoolboy. I
have not found him on any war memorial - either at Clifton where he lived with parents, an older
brother called Harold and a sister named Winifred Irene - or at Horfield where his parents were when
named as his next-of-kin. The father, Charles, was a Grocer in 1901 but ten years later had become
a commission Agent for Provident Clothing, a company set up to provide the working classes with a
means to save in affordable installments towards purchasing goods, as well as insurance cover.
Bristol’s main war memorial is a cenotaph which has no names. Ewart Gladstone’s short life left no
record other than his name with Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Royal British Legion’s
Everyone Remembered website and “Hopes, E.G.” inscribed on the Soissons memorial.
Henry Pembroke Innes - Private 290949 -This obituary was in a local newspaper at the time :
“Son of James Innes, Hurstborne, Jubilee Road, Waterlooville by his wife Grace Amelia. Born
Holloway, London 30 July 1879. Educated Mile End House School, Portsmouth. Was a Black &
White artist. Volunteered for active service and enlisted in Devonshire Rgt. 16 September 1916.
Served with BEF in France & Flanders from 27 July 1917. Buried where he fell - killed in action
on Chemin des Dames on 27 May 1918. 2nd Devons cut off and surrounded. (Chemin des Dames
is the road surrrounding Bois des Buttes.)
“Mr. Innes was a student at Hatherley’s and had a picture exhibited at Royal Academy at age of 17.
He married at St. James, Littlehampton 16 October 1909, Winifred only daughter of John Kear and
had two sons Malcolm Richard Henry born 28 October 1910 and Norman David born 30 December
1914.” (Hatherley’s is still an art school in London). Those comments, written at the time, says that Henry Pembroke was buried where he fell. Perhaps
this information came from the War Office’s letter to his wife. But Henry Pembroke’s name is on the
Memorial to the Missing at Soissons because he has no known grave. Did his original battlefield
burial get trampled into the ground by troops, tanks and artillery churning up the ground ? Does he
lie in a neatly tended war-grave as an Unknown British Soldier ?
Henry Pembroke Innes is named on two local war memorials - outside St. Thomas’ Church (a.k.a.
Portsmouth Cathedral) and the city’s Cenotaph in Guildhall Square. After the war, his widow
Winifred took over from his father as manager of the Dolphin Hotel on Portsmouth High Street.
Frederick Jackson - Private 74066 was born and enlisted at Birmingham. And that is about all we
know - No age ... No next-of-kin ..... was awarded Allied Victory and British War medals, so did not
enlist prior to 1916. Births of four Frederick Jacksons were registered Birmingham 1880 - 1900, the
last being in 1899. Going by the number of 19-year old lads wiped out at Bois-des -Buttes, that is
probably him. This one is going to be all negatives... nothing on his page at Everyone Remembered
Maybe he’s in Birmingham’s books of remembrance ....But .. No he isn’t ....
John Edwin Henry Jeans - Private 30963 - Son of William John Jeans, 72 High Street, Blue
Town, Sheerness, Kent. Born Camberwell, Surrey; enlisted Portsmouth. His medal-card quotes
an additional service number for ‘206 Inf.Bn 8/904’ which would have been the training unit he went
into when called up as soon as he became 18.
In 1901 John Edwin was two-years old, living with parents William and Charlotte in Chatham, Kent;
father is Manager for a firm of Removal and Railway Carriers. Ten years later, John Edwin aged 12
has a brother called Harry. In 2017 a book was published - Isle of Sheppey in the Great War which
has this profile - “John Edwin Henry Jeans was 19 years of age and Private 30963 in 2nd Battalion,
Devonshire Regiment when he died 31 May 1918. He has no known grave and is commemorated
on the Soissons Memorial. War Diaries for 2nd Bttn. show that they were in trenches at Rouchy ....
On Thursday 30th May 1918 the battalion had been forced to retreat. It is feasible that Pte. Jeans
was wounded on 30th May and died of wounds the following day. His father William John Jeans
lived at 72 High Street, Blue Town ”.
Albert Jeffery - Corporal 8558 - Aged 29 - Son of Henry and Elizabeth Jeffery, Pound Square,
Collumpton, Devon - the town’s war memorial has “Cpl. Albert Jeffery - Devons”. He had eight
siblings; their father Henry was a thatcher. One of Albert’s service medals was the 1914 Star. His
war service began when he went out to France on 7th November 1914, but he had joined the Army
some years previously. By 1911 he was in Malta with 2nd Battalion at St. George’s Barracks. Many
comrades there at the time perished earlier the war, but Albert was able to keep going .....
William Charles Jenvey - Private 290816 - Aged 20 - Son of John and Charlotte Eliza Jenvey,
Inkerman Cottage, Middle Road, Lymington, Hants. Lymington War memorial has “W.C. Jenvey
- Devon Rgt.” In 1901 William Charles was at home with his mother, two sisters and a brother. Also
there was his grandfather Eli Hammett. Ten years later, William is with his mother, one sister and a
young child who is boarding with them.
William Charles was initially buried in a German plot at St.Quintin with others of varying regiments
who had perished between late May and June 1918, which suggests he had been taken prisoner.
After the war, they were transferred to Sissonne British Cemetery. His mother was then able to
request a touching inscription for his headstone - “Loved By All At Home”.
Alfred Leonard Jones - Private 74064 - Aged 18 - Son of George and Ellen Jones, Church
End, Bushley, Tewkesbury, Glos. His birth was registered in the last quarter of 1899 - so
whatever was he doing on the Western Front ? No lad of under the age of nineteen should have
been out there, in theory ..... In 1911 he was with his parents and two brothers - Father was the
driver of a stationary engine at a flour mill. They are living in the Malvern Hills village of Bushley,
which has put online a booklet of biographies of men named on the war memorial. Their information
has not been interpreted with total accuracy; they describe Alfred Leonard in census of 1911 as
being driver of a stationary engine, which cannot be true. In that census he is 11 years old; it is his
Dad who operates the engine. They describe the action to defend the bridge at Pontavert as
‘spectacularly brave but ultimately useless’. No ... it was Not .... it caused the enemy to be
‘otherwise engaged’ - enabling British and Allied troops to co-ordinate their strength and ultimately
cause the enemy to throw in the towel. That is proper military strategy.
Also, they say ‘Len Jones was not reported missing until 29th June’. His Commonwealth War
Graves page says quite definitely that 27th May was the date he was killed. The very day of the
heroism at Bois-des-Buttes. Maybe his parents did not receive a letter telling them he had perished
until late June. And how can whoever compiled the booklet be sure he was known as ‘Len’ ? ‘Pte.
A.L. Jones’ is one of 48 names on the memorial tablet outside St.Peter’s Church in Bushley; this is
divided into 15 who lost their lives and 31 who served and returned. His older brother Cecil is one of
those who did their duty and then came home.
Wilfred Keep - Private 30973 - Son of Nicholas James and Fanny Keep of “Ditchfields” Lane
End, High Wycombe, Bucks. His name is on several war memorials within the village of Lane End
- a plaque inside Holy Trinity Church; on the outside of the Memorial Hall and what looks to be a
fairly modern stone tablet on the village green. Also, on Wilfred’s page at Everyone Remembered
someone named James Keep has said “ My Uncle - Remembered with Gratitude ”.
Wilfred was the youngest of five brothers and a sister and although it might be possible to find which
was the father of ‘James Keep’ this would be a time-consuming exercise, so we’ll just leave it there.
These lost men are still kept in memories of those living in the 21st century.
Thomas William Knight - Private 74067 - Aged 18 - Son of the late W.Thomas and Rosa Knight
of Park Lane, Twyford, Hants. Place-names can be misleading; I went off at a tangent looking
unsuccessfully for Thomas William’s name on the war-memorial at Twyford without realising there
are two places with that name. One is in Berkshire. Having worked that out, I discovered that St.
Mary’s Church in the village 3-miles from Winchester has an elaborate wooden screen ‘Placed here
by Twyford people in Gratitude for God’s Mercies through the War 1914-1918 and in Memory of
Twyford men who Gave their Lives for their Country.’ These panels are set out in order of the year
each man was lost, so ‘Thomas Wm. Knight Pte. Devon Regt.’ is on the last one. On 11 November
2018, bells of this church were rung half-muffled prior to the Remembrance Service, afterwards
rung open (ie. un-muffled) in memory of all of them.
In census 1901, Thomas William was at home with his father (a butcher) and mother. Also present
were his mother’s children from a previous marriage. Ten years later, Thomas is an eleven-year old
schoolboy; his mother is now widowed and works as a charwoman. Her other children are living at
home but old enough to be employed. The son helps out in a stable and of the two girls one is a
domestic servant, the other does washing for people - she is a ‘Laundress’.
Ronald John Lear - Lance-Corporal 22138 - MM - Aged 22 - Son of John and Sarah Lear, 5
Moor View, Laira, Plymouth. Supplement to London Gazette dated 12 July 1918 carried a list of
personnel to whom “His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to award the Military Medal
for bravery in the Field”. 22138 L/Corp R.J. Lear of the Devon Rgt. (Plymouth) was one. On 25th
April 1918, 2nd Battalion’s war diary had a list of men “awarded the MM for gallantry and devotion
to duty West of Somme between 22nd March and 2nd April”. There are eleven names - one being
‘22128 L/Cpl. E.J. Lear”. This day-by-day account of real and actual warfare was written as and
when it happened so it is not surprising that details of name and number can have minor errors.
In Cencus 1911 Ronald is living in Devonport with his parents and three younger brothers. Their
father works as a Blacksmith in the Government’s Dockyards. In Plymouth, a stone tablet fixed on
a high wall alongside a busy road was placed “In Memory of Laira Men Who Fell In The Great War”.
Some of the lettering is very worn, but amongst the 31-names it is possible to make out ‘R. Lear’.
Second-Lieutenant Frederick Charles Leat - Son of Charles John and Petronella Leat of
95 Oakfield Terrace, Plymouth. Average life expectancy for a Second-Lieutenant on the Western
Front was six weeks; this was known at the time. Frederick Charles began his army career in the
Royal Fusiliers, first as a Private then Serjeant, going out to France with them in November 1915.
Two years later he was commissioned Second-Lieutenant in the Devonshires. How did his parents
feel about that ? Were they proud of their son, but was that over-ridden by a sense of dread ?
Charles John, his father, was a policeman in Plymouth. A survivor of Bois-des-Buttes described an incident on 27th May 1918 - “Lieut. Leat took charge and showed great bravery, making fine use of a rifle. It was only a matter of minutes before he
followed his company commander with a bullet through the head”. After the Armistice the cross
marking Frederick Charles’ battlefield burial and two identity discs proved who he was. Close by
were others of the Devonshire Regiment including an ‘Unknown Second-Lieutenant’ who could be
Cyril Elmore Pells; they perished within minutes of each other, according to the survivor’s account.
They were re-buried at Jonchery-Sur-Vesle British Cemetery.
Frederick Charles’ will was proved in June 1919 with probate granted to his father, Charles John
Leat of Harbour Avenue Police Station, Plymouth. He left £116 3s. 6d - more than enough to cover
the cost of an inscription for his headstone but he was not provided with one.
Albert Edward Lilly - Lance-Corporal 206022 - Son of John & Edith Lilly, Searle Terrace,
Northam, Devon; Husband of Florence E.Coles (formerly Lilly) of Middle Lodge, St.Columb,
Cornwall. Albert and Florence married in the latter part of 1912; their daughter Winifred was born
a year later. Towards the end of 1919 Florence married again - to Edwin G.Coles. Albert Edward
was the second of four sons and they had two younger sisters. Their father worked on a farm as a
horseman/carter; by the census of 1911, Albert was twenty-one years old and employed by Northam
District Council as a labourer.
The war memorial at Northam takes the form of a large four-sided pedestal with names divided
according to rank and it also gives the regiment. A short distance away in Bideford is a stone cross
which, together with the land on which it stands, is the town’s war memorial. This is known as
‘Peace Park’; the names of those it commemorates are on a framed Roll of Honour kept in Bideford
Town Hall. Albert Edward is remembered on both.
George Edward Loader - Private 31786 - Aged 18 - Son of Mr. and Mrs Edward T. Loader of
3 Malins Road, Landport, Portsmouth. As an act of remembrance on the 100th anniversary of
the end of the Great War, the City of Portsmouth had commemorative plaques placed at the roads
where those lost had lived. George Edward was one of nine from Malins Road; this was not
intended as a permanent memorial but his name is also on the city centre Cenotaph.
In 1911 he was a 12-year old schoolboy with two sisters and a younger brother. Their father had
been a Chief Stoker with the Royal Navy, but had now retired from going to sea and was a Naval
Pensioner (aged 48) employed as a general labourer in Portsmouth Dockyard.
Charles Herbert Miller - Private 30987 - Aged 19 - Son of Charles Robert and Eliza Miller of
6 Percy Villas, Retreat Place, Hackney, London. Online is a record of Charles Herbert being
baptised on 2nd September 1898 and although his parents were named, the church wasn’t - other
than it being in Hackney. In cencus 1901 and 1911 the family was at two different addresses;
Charles Herbert’s only sibling was Ethel, two years older; in 1911 she was in a convalescent home.
Both were recorded as being born at ‘2 Stevens Avenue, Hackney’. Some war memorials in the
borough have names, but Charles Herbert is only on the virtual ‘ London Online WW1 Memorial ’.
According to his CWG record, Charles Herbert was in ‘D Coy. 2nd Btn’ and the war diary tells
something of their activities on 27th May. On finding their trenches invaded by enemy storm-
troopers, this company drove them out three times before having to scatter in order to avoid stick
grenades, machine-gun fire and strafing from the air. It is impossible to know whether Charles
Henry lost his life at that time, was injured and died later or was killed 3 or 4 days afterwards. His
date of death is given as 31st May - when the war diary was made up.
William Arthur Alfred Mills - Private 30986 - Aged 19 - Son of William Hugh and Laura Ellen
Mills of 8 Tradescant Road, South Lambeth, London. On his page at Everyone Remembered,
someone has left the message - “With my Great-Uncle Reginald George Moore I honour your
memory” - but what was their connection with William Arthur ? More relevant is the South Lambeth
Hyperlocal Blog, which provided a link to “These Were Our Sons” a book published in 2010 about
the 574 named on the war memorial in the London Borough of Stockwell - which covers Tradescant
Road. Some warrant lengthy stories but William Arthur has just his CWG details, under the heading
“Tradescantians Who Gave Their Lives In The Great War” - so William Arthur is not forgotten.
In cencus 1911 William, a 12-year old schoolboy, is at home with two sisters - one older and one
younger than him. The eldest, Maude, is sixteen and works as a Book Folder in a Printing Works.
Their father, William Hugh, is a railway porter. William Arthur lost his life on 30th May 1918 and lies
in the British Cemetery at Chambrecy, his headstone showing the regiment’s insignia.
Walter Mitchell - Private 16907 - Aged 27 - Son of William and Jane Mitchell of Exminster,
Devon - where his name is one of thirty-six on the war-memorial plaque inside St. Martin’s Church.
His older brother Henry (known as Harry) also has his name there. In 1891 the family is at home in
Exminster where father is a wheelwright. He and wife Jane have four sons ranging in age from
nineteen down to Walter, the youngest boy at two years old. There are also four girls. By 1911 only
Walter is at home with his parents. He and his father both now work as carpenters. But the house
will not be unduly quiet, because they have boarders living with them - James and Edith Tallamy with
their one-year old son Bertie.
Walter became one of the Missing and has his name on the memorial at Soissons. Harry’s CWG
says he was killed in an enemy air-raid on 4th September 1917. He was 39-yrs old and with the
Labour Corps but had served as a Private with 8th Devons. Harry is buried at Godewaersvelde
British Cemetery in Northern France, near the border with Belgium. His wife, Florence, chose an
inscription for his headstone - “ Gone But Not Forgotten ”.
Albert Ernest W. Murton - Private 18617 - Aged 22 - Son of Albert and Ada Murton, 10 East
Street, Stonehouse, Plymouth.
In 1901 Albert Ernest William is at home with parents and sister Florence who is fourteen-years old
and works as a Tailoress, which is also their mother’s employment. Father, who was born in County
Down, Ireland, is a skilled labourer in the dockyard. Ten years later he has become a fitter’s
assistant, still in the Royal Dockyard. His fifteen-year old son, the future Private 18617, is an office
boy in the Ordnance Department, which was responsible for supplying just about everything the
army needed apart from soldiers. But this important job of work did not exempt Albert Ernest from
being called upon to sacrifice his life for King and Country.
William Ernest John Ockford - Private 204887 - Aged 38 - Son of Mr. and Mrs W.G. Ockford of
Torquay, Devon; Husband of Amy Ockford of Poole, Dorset.
On his page at Everyone Remembered, a quotation has been left by someone Ockford - “At the
Going Down of the Sun and in the Morning - We will Remember Them”. The surname is unusual,
but the relationship is not explained.
In cencus 1891 William Ernest John was at home in Tomorham (Torbay) with parents, four siblings
and their grandmother. By 1901 he has left home to board in Highweek, Newton Abbot; he works as
an Assistant in a boot retailers shop. Ten years later, he has gone over the border into Dorset where
he lives in Poole. He is now Manager of the boot retailer’s. Later that year, in June quarter of 1911,
he married Amy Edith Day in Acton, London where she was born and lived with her widowed mother.
How did she and William Ernest met? Perhaps she went on holiday to Dorset ... maybe he went to
visit friends or relations in the capital ......
William Ernest does not seem to be on any physical war memorial but his details are on the Roll of
Honour created for Poole Museum’s online archive. He was awarded Allied Victory and British War
medals, which were returned to the Medal Office in October 1921 and re-issued the following month.
The medal card originally had William Ernest’s surname as “Ockfield” which was crossed out and
re-written correctly “Ockford”. So the medals needed to be altered. He had originally been Private
203294 in the Dorset Regiment which at the onset of war, besides having regular battalions, had one
of Special Reserves and another of Territorials. Maybe William Ernest was with one of them before
transferring to the Devons and going off to the Western Front some time after 1st January 1916.
Had he gone prior to that, he would have qualified for a 1914/15 Star.
No medals were awarded for wartime service within mainland UK. William Ernest may have been in
the army from the beginning, but not actually on foreign soil until 1916. Hopefully his re-issued
medals got the details correct. His name is on the Soissons Memorial to the Missing.
Percy Charles Parker - Corporal 3/6759 MM - Aged 21 - Son of Charles Parker, Hennock,
Bovey Tracey, Devon. Percy Charles arrived on the Western Front in July 1915. His Military
Medal ‘For Bravery in the Field’ was recorded in the Battalion’s war diary on 27th August 1916 when
the Corps Commander presented medal ribbons to Officers and men - one of them being “ 6759 Pte.
P. Parker ”; this was shown in the London Gazette of 1st September 1916. Am not sure when he
would have got the medal itself; maybe it would be sent to his home address. Cannot find exactly
when he was advanced to Corporal - maybe it was as a result of being awarded the Military Medal.
A member of The Great War Forum found a local newspaper reference to Percy enjoying home
leave in November 1917. Perhaps he found his Military Medal was waiting for him. That could have
been the his last leave; NCO’s and Other Ranks only had leave to return home about once a year.
In 1901 he was living in Wolborough, Newton Abbot with his father, brother and grandmother. Ten
years later Percy Charles is fourteen-years old and working on a farm as a ‘General Servant.’ He
was born in Hennock, a village between Bovey Tracey and Chudleigh on the edge of Dartmoor. The
Village Hall Committee produced a Chronicle recording the lives of WW1 casualties from that village,
Chudleigh Knighton and Teign Village. The population of these combined hamlets in 1911 amounted
to 730 people; the war memorial in Hennock has 40 names; at Chudleigh Knighton there are 18
names. Percy Charles is remembered on the Roll of Honour at St.Mary’s, Hennock and on the
granite cross village war memorial.
Alfred Pearce - Private - 43323 - with 2nd Devons but attached to the Army Service Corps.
Late in 1918 the ASC became the Royal Army Service Corps in recognition of its vital role delivering
supplies to the front line. On 27th May 1918 at the French Military Cemetery at Ventelay, in an
unmarked grave, were buried the “Remains of Two Unknown British Soldiers of the ASC” - a hasty
battlefield burial of men who had been carrying supplies of ... ... goodness knows what. When this
was exhumed in 1923 there were found to be partial remains and two pairs of ammunition boots, top
& bottom plates false teeth; ASC numerals; 1 badge of rank ASC.
These remains were later identified as being of three individuals and re-buried at Marfaux British
Cemetery in separate graves - Private A. Pearce; Driver J.G. Kingston and Staff-Serjeant W.S.
Huetson, who is the only one to have next-of-kin on his CWG page. William Say Huetson is in the
1911 census at South Hill Barracks, Chatham. His rank is ‘Wheeler’ indicating he is already with the
ASC. On his page at Everyone Remembered is a message “To the Great-uncle I never knew.
Thank you for giving your all for generations to come”.
William was born in Yorkshire and christened on 16 July 1883, his parents being Lorenzo Moses and
Mary Jane Huetson. They are named on his CWG page and so is his wife. William arrived on the
Western Front in November 1914 and a year later must have been due some home leave because he married Annie E. Chapman in Lambeth at the end of 1915. She chose a personal inscription for
his headstone - “Peace, Perfect Peace”.
According to his medal card, Driver Kingston’s forename was ‘Joseph G’ (Driver is a rank in RASC)
He had been on the Western Front since November 1914, which suggests he was Regular soldier
but I have not found him in any cencus. He was awarded Allied Victory and British War Medals with
a 1914 Star which must have been sent somewhere and received by someone.
Because Pte. Alfred Pearce was with the Devons, there are a few clues to his identity. Their records
say he was born in Chelsea and enlisted at Plymouth. In 1911 a man with that name and place of
birth is living at Devonport, Plymouth. He is single, aged 30 and a general labourer in the Dockyard,
boarding in the home of Ernest Hill who works on the Dockyard Railway. Alfred’s Allied Victory and
British War Medals must have been accepted by someone because they were not returned to the
medal office. He made a ‘Soldier’s Will’ so it would seem there had been someone who cared.
*Second-Lieutenant Cyril Elmore Pells - Aged 27 - Son of Arthur and Caroline Pells of
“Briarwood” The Grange Estate, Beccles, Suffolk; Husband of Mary Anita Pells of St. Luis
Obispo, California, USA. Born in 1890 at Beccles where his father was an architect with three
sons and two daughters, Cyril Elmore was usually known by his second name. By 1911 he was
living in Ruislip whilst working in the ‘Optical Scientific Instrument Trade’. Living in the same town
was a young school-teacher named Mary Anita Reeves. In August 1912 Elmore travelled on the ship
‘Parisian’ to Boston USA, his ultimate destination being Vancouver, Canada. He and Mary Anita
were married in North Lonsdale, British Columbia on 22nd April 1914. Elmore’s great-niece has
said they met and became engaged in England, then went to Canada to join her sister and husband
who had emigrated some time previously.
Their son John was born in February 1915 and a few weeks later they all set off for England, which
was now in the throes of war. Unfortunately, they chose to travel on the Lusitania. This un-armed
passenger liner crossed the Atlantic and was off the coast of Ireland when it was torpedoed by a
German submarine. Elmore and Mary Anita were in the dining saloon, but managed to get back to
their cabin and gather up their son. They found life-belts but as the ship began to sink, the baby was
washed out of his father arms and lost in the sea. Both parents were eventually rescued.
When he had recovered from injuries received in this horrendous experience, and as a means of
gaining a commission in the army, Elmore joined 28th Battalion of the London Regiment - becoming
Private 765308. On 20 December 1917 his commission was gazetted under “Gentleman Cadets
from the OTC” - he had been with the Officer’s Training Corps whilst at Woodbridge School in
Suffolk.. On 14 April 1918 he arrived in France as a Second-Lieutenant in the Devonshire
Regiment. Mary Anita received a brief note telling of his safe arrival but heard nothing more until
being notified that her husband was presumed to have been killed in action. He had spent all of five
weeks on the Western Front.
“Through Hell to Victory” recounts survivor’s stories of Bois-des-Buttes :
“Another officer who was popular with the Company was Lieut. C.E.Pells. He had in his heart
bitter hatred of the Germans, for his only child was drowned when they sank the Lusitania. All that
morning he seemed to take fiendish delight in mowing them down with a rifle. He moved about,
cheering the men and showing them how to take better cover. Then he was killed”.
2nd Devons’ war diary gives an account of Lieut. Pells as “having coached his inexperienced troops
in field-craft, whilst using his rifle to good effect and nursing a bitter hatred of the enemy because his
only child had been killed when a German submarine sank the Lusitania”.
Whilst her husband was training to be an army officer, Mary Anita went to Stechford, Birmingham
and became a nurse. She and Elmore may have spent time together there because his name is on
the stone cross war memorial and a memorial board inside All Saints Church. When Elmore’s will
was proved, her address was Frederick Road, Stechford, but by 1922 and service medals were
being distributed, his Allied Victory and British War Medals were sent to Mary Anita at an address in
California. Despite the tragedy of losing her husband and only child, Mary Anita led a satisfying life in
Canada and America. In 1933 she became a naturalised citizen of the USA. She did not marry
again and passed away in Plymouth, Massachusetts, on 11th November 1961 at the age of eighty.
Cyril Elmore is remembered at Woodbridge School and the town of Beccles, where the war
memorial is divided into regiments -“Devon Rgt. - 2nd Lieut. E. Pells” and the county Roll of Honour
held in Suffolk Archives. His name is on the Memorial to the Missing at Soissons although it is
possible that he lies in the cemetery at Jonchery-Sur-Vestle where two unidentified 2nd-Lieutenants
of the Devonshire Regiment were buried in May 1918.
Frank Ernest Penn - Private 74128 - Aged 18 - Son of W.J. and Amelia Penn of 1b Great
Colmore Street, Birmingham.
In cencus of 1901 and 1911 this family is at home in the St.Martin’s District of Birmingham - right in
the centre of town. The father, William John is the only one not to have been born in Birmingham;
he came from Leamington Spa in Warwickshire. He worked as a bricklayers labourer and his wife
Amelia was a Stitcher of Leather Bags. The eldest son worked in heavy industry for an Engine
Makers and another in a factory making perambulators - those large carriages for babies used
before the advent of lightweight buggies.
In 1911 Frank Ernest was still at school; his birth having been registered in the first quarter of 1900.
When he was killed, he was only just 18-years old. Frank Ernest’s name is in Birmingham’s Books
of Remembrance - “Penn. F - Devon Rgt. Private”.
Frank Edward Preece - Private 30994 - His CWG page does not give his age or next-of-kin but
“The Devonshire Regiment 1914-18” says that he was born Birmingham and enlisted Cheltenham,
so it is possible to track Frank Edward’s life. Impartial War Museum’s ‘Lives of the First World War’
has a head & shoulders photo of him - a good-looking man with dark hair neatly parted. He wears a
suit jacket, white shirt and bow-tie. He does not smile, just looks quietly out at us. Frank Edward’s
birth was registered in Aston, Birmingham in September quarter 1898, so he was not quite twenty
when he was buried at Jonchery-sur-Vesle about twelve miles from Rheims.
His father, Edward Charles, was a carpenter born in Cheltenham. He died there in 1909 and Frank,
two brothers and a sister stayed on in Cheltenham with their mother Amphaliss. I had never heard
of this unusual name so had to look up his father’s marriage registration. Edward Charles Preece
married Amphaliss Slim at Aston in 1897. When widowed, she supported herself and children by
“dressmaking and general sewing”. Frank Edward was her eldest son. He has no inscription for his
headstone but his name is one of 1,297 on Cheltenham’s war memorial. The website ‘Cheltenham
Remembers’ has an entry, taken from a local press report of the time, together with his photo -
“Reported mising on 27 May 1918 and now reported killed on that date, in France. He was the
eldest son of Mrs Preece of 10 Mapledene Terrace, Leckhampton, Cheltenham.” Frank Edward
also has an entry on the Guild of One Name Studies for the Preece family - their Roll of Honour
shows his CWG details.
Robert Priddle - Private 3178 - CWG page merely says ‘Soissons Memorial’ but Devonshire Rgt.
1914-18 says born Taunton, enlisted Exeter at which time he lived in Loxbeare, Devon. His medal
card has 6th November 1914 as the date he got to France; he was awarded Allied Victory and
British War medals with a 1914 Star. Robert was a Regular Soldier - one of the original British
Expeditionary Force of our small professional army.
On the southern edge of Exmoor, the village of Morebath which historically had a population of 300,
has inside St.George’s Church a carved wooden Roll of Honour naming twelve men who did not
return from the Great War. Two of them are Robert and his brother Cecil. In cencus of 1911 they
are with 2nd Battalion, Devonshire Regiment in St.George’s Barracks, Malta. Robert and Cecil were
born one year apart in the hamlet of Curry Mallet, Somerset. Their parents, William Cornelius Priddle
and Rebecca had seven children with Robert John being the eldest. In 1901 he was with his
grandparents and although only 13 was, like most of the males in the family, an agricultural worker.
Cecil was still at home with Mum, Dad, three sisters and two brothers. Ten years later parents and
any children still living at home had moved to Loxbeare.
2nd Devon’s war diary for July 1915 gives a day-by-day account of a relatively quiet time. On 19th
they were relieved by the West Yorks Regiment and went into billets, although “Two men were
wounded and one killed accidentally”. The diary does not name this unfortunate chap but it was was
Cecil Priddle. Paperwork relating to his burial on 19th July 1915 at Y Farm Military Cemetery, Bois -
Grenier, says that he was ‘accidentally killed’ without saying how or why.In Curry Mallet, St.James’ Church has a white marble tablet :
“ In Reverent and Tender Memory of Curry Mallet lads who Died for their Country 1914-1918
Many of Whom were Baptised in this Church ”four have the surname Priddle - Cecil, Percy, Robert and Zebulon. There are records for all being baptised in the church which, at the time, was known as All Saints - same ancient building, different
name. Don’t ask me why it changed. Online is something about it but it still made no sense to me.
In the churchyard is a Commonwealth War Grave headstone for “R. Priddle” with the inscription “In
His Presence Is The Fulness of Joy”. This man was 39-years old when he lost his life. His parents,
Robert and Mary were grandparents of Robert and Cecil - so this chap was their uncle. Several
years prior to WW1 he served with the Royal Field Artillery in England and India, before emigrating
to Canada where he worked as an engineer. In December 1914, he attested for service with the
Canadian Expeditionary Force, giving his forename as “Robert” and serving as a Sergeant with 9th
Battalion of the Alberta Regiment. He was not married and had no family back in Canada, so when
he either was wounded or taken ill, was brought to the Military Hospital at Shorncliffe, Kent where he
died on 25th January 1916. The parish register for this man’s burial on 1st February 1916 explains
that although he was known as Robert when in the army, his baptismal name was Zebulon - and that
is how he is remembered on the memorial tablet to Curry Mallet lads.
SO the Robert on the church tablet is Private 3178 who was killed at Bois-des-Buttes.
I haven't worked out how, but Percy must have been related to the others. In 1901 he was with
parents and siblings in Curry Mallet, but by 1911 had become a soldier with the Duke of Cornwall’s
Light Infantry stationed in South Africa. He was 24yrs. old when he lost his life on 14th March 1915,
having been on the Western Front since the previous December. As well as the tablet at All Saints,
his name is on the war memorial at Pitminster, a village near Taunton where his father had gone to
live. Percy John is one of the Missing. His name is one of 54,000 on the Menin Gate Memorial at
Ieper (Ypres) in Belgium where, even now (2020) every evening at 8 o’clock local buglers still sound
the Last Post.
Frank Ralph - Private 16969 - was born and enlisted in Plymouth where a war memorial was
unveiled in 1920 to commemorate citizens who lost their lives in the war, but it has no names.
Devon Heritage thinks he could be Harold Frank Ralph with a birth registered in Plymouth June
Quarter 1898 and chose to be known by his second name. It is surprising how many people do that
- a good way of keeping a low profile. As this was the only birth registered in the right area between
1880-1900 with the right surname and a forename, it can be assumed this is Private 16969.
That being so, in 1911 census he was the elder of two sons of Frank Horatio Ralph, a chemist, and
his wife Edith.
Frank was eventually given a decent burial in Jonchery-sur-Vesle British Cemetery but does not
have personal inscription on his headstone. He had originally lain in a battlefield burial alongside
Thomas Cox whose grave had a cross with his name, number and regiment, but Frank’s cross had
nothing to identify him. When the time came to disinter his body prior to re-burial in a proper
cemetery, his clothing was found to be stencilled ‘16969/2nd Devons’. There was also an envelope
with something to help with identification - the record does not say what that was. Think of those
men (I’m not being sexist; as far as can be ascertained they were all men) who after the war,
scoured the battlefields to find remains and exhume and try to identify those who had been hastily
buried. Even if they accepted it was a worthwhile task, it must have given them nightmares.
Ernest Gordon Redman - Private 291210 - was born and enlisted in Southampton, making his birth
registration easy to find - December quarter 1886 - so he was thirty-two years old. In 1907 he
married Ellen Annie Catherine Rogers and four years later they show up in the census. Ernest
works as a house-painter for a firm of builders, which is what his brother and father had also done.
Ernest Gordon has his name in a booklet published in 2013 by Southampton City Council giving all
names inscribed on walls surrounding the Cenotaph in Watts Park - so that is where he is
remembered. This wall was added in 2011 as names inscribed on the memorial had become difficult
to read; also research had discovered more who were not on the original, but should have been.
William James Ridd - Serjeant 9696 In 1911 census William is living in Bishop’s Tawton, near
Barnstaple in the home of his uncle, who is a licensed victualler. William’s medal card says that he
got to France on 22nd August 1914, was awarded Allied Victory and British War medals with a 1914
Star and was with 1st Battalion of the Devon's. At some point he transferred to 2nd Battalion but the
card does not say when.
His four-digit army number suggests he was a Regular soldier but if so, did not join the army until
after 1911 census was taken. At that time, 1st Battalion was stationed in Jersey. When war was
declared they left on 21st August 1914 and landed at Le Havre, where they were reinforced by 500
reservists from Exeter. Maybe William had been a part-time soldier, a Reservist. He would have
lived in his own home but been committed to periods of training on the understanding that if an
emergency arose, he could be called upon to become a full-time soldier. In August 1914 that
emergency became what we know as WW1 - the Great War.
Imperial War Museum’s website has a section for “Lives of the First World War”. Someone has
contributed “The Sad Childhood of William James Ridd” -
“ William was born in 1890 the third child of James and Elizabeth Ridd. When William was 3 years
old his mother died in childbirth; the baby did not survive either. The following year his father was
drowned in a boating accident. The remaining three children were sent to live with various aunts
and uncles. William went to live with his uncle and aunt at the Chichester Arms in Bishop’s Tawton.
In 1904 a cousin with whom he lived at the pub drowned in the River Taw and the following year his
sister died at the age of 17. William went to France and survived nearly four years on the Western
Front before being killed with many of his comrades on 27th May 1918 ”.
This was written by a great-great Grandson of the landlord of the Chichester Arms - making him
William’s first cousin twice removed. William is remembered on Bishop’s Tawton’s war memorial.
James Simpson - Private 70063 - his medal card says “Death Regarded 26/31.5.1918” and that he
was awarded Allied Victory and British War medals. The Devon’s book says he enlisted Falkirk,
Stirlingshire and that he was formerly with the Royal Army Service Corps. It does not say where he
was born, but presumably that would have been somewhere in Scotland or .... maybe not. There
are ‘James Simpson’ on many war memorials in Scotland listed on the website A Street Near You.
Without next-of-kin or his age it is impossible to create a personal narrative for him. Scottish census
records are available online, but where to look for him ...? Falkirk Community Trust has compiled a
booklet with a Roll of Honour for WW1 which can be seen online. Names are listed under regiments
and there are four with the Devonshire’s and thirteen with the RASC, but no James Simpson in
either. His name on the Soissons Memorial to the Missing.
Baluchistan Thomas Smith - Private 74000 - Aged 18 - Son of Evelyn Mary Langley (formerly
Smith) and the late James Smith (Serjt. 1st Btn. Wiltshire Regiment) Mychett Road, Frimley
Green, Surrey. It is necessary to acknowledge Surrey County Council’s War Memorial Project
which has a section ‘Frimley & Camberley Great War Memorial’. This investigated lives of the 233
named on the stone cross close to where Baluchistan’s mother had gone to live. Without this
information I would never have learned so much about Pte. 74000, his life and his family.
On 30th January 1899 James Smith, Serjeant 2551 with 1st Battalion the Wiltshire Regiment died
at Quetta in Baluchistan (now Pakistan). His wife Evelyn Mary had also been out there, but
returned to England for the birth of their third son, naming him as a living memorial to his late father.
In 1901 the family is living in Devizes, Wiltshire. Evelyn Mary describes herself as having “Income
from the Patriotic Fund” (This charitable body was set up to provide assistance for widows and
orphans of members of the armed forces; it still exists, but in a slightly different form.) With her are
two sons who were born in India and a third, Baluchistan Thomas, whose birth was registered at
Devizes in the September Quarter of 1899.
Baluchistan and his brother Charles Cecil Stanley became pupils at The Duke of York’s Royal
Military School at Guston near Dover in Kent. This establishment gave a home to and educated
children of army personnel (other than commissioned officers) who died whilst in service of their
country. Both were there in 1911 when Charles was 13-years old and Baluchistan aged 11.
Possibly their brother Lionel Lancelot (born Karachi, India) had also attended, but by 1911 he was
a 15-year old page-boy to an Army Chaplain living in Caterham, Surrey.
Meanwhile, their mother had remarried and in 1911 was living in Aldershot with her new husband
Thomas Langley, who worked in the Barracks. They have three children, Thomas, Phil and Audrey
who would be half-siblings to Baluchistan, Charles Cecil Stanley and Lionel Lancelot.
A war memorial dedicated to former pupils of the Duke of York’s School was unveiled in 1922 but
has no names. Now an Academy, it was one of only three permitted to parade with Colours - the
others being Cheltenham and Eton Colleges. Pupils who perished in the Great War are named on
tablets inside the chapel. These are divided into regiments and there are names for the Devon’s, but
B.T. Smith is not one of them - neither has he been wrongly ascribed to another outfit. Former pupils
are known as Dukies and one has compiled an online book “Dukies of Yesteryear”. This is where
names of those who perished in WW1 are shown, taken from a report in Dover Express & East Kent
News dated Friday 30th June 1922 - and we all know how accurate newspaper reports can be.
Charles Cecil Stanley Smith served in WW1 as Private 8771 in the Wiltshire Regiment and was
awarded British War and Allied Victory Medals. Having survived the war, he lost his life on 31st
August 1926 at the Royal Aircraft Establishment in Farnborough, Hampshire. Whether he was with
the RAF or there in some other capacity is not explained on details of probate for his Will, which is
where this information come from. Did he take part in an experiment that went horribly wrong ? Was
he a bystander at a flying display when an aircraft fell out of the sky? Administration of his Will was
granted to his widow Florence Elsie; their marriage was registered in the September quarter of 1926.
Very sadly this was the same quarter as Charles Cecil’s death was registered.
Baluchistan Thomas Smith has his name under the section for those of the Devonshire Regiment
on the Memorial to the Missing at Soissons in France.
Charles Edmund Smith - Serjeant 20390 - Aged 22 - Brother of Mr. F.W. Smith, Cromley
Cottage, East Chudleigh, Devon - there is nowhere called ‘East Chudleigh’ in Devon. It is ‘East
Budleigh’ where Charles Edmund’s name is on the village memorial cross and tablet within the
parish church. His brother Ernest Albert’s name is also there. In 1911 they are at home with father,
two brothers and a sister. Charles, an apprentice bricklayer, and Ernest who works as a farm
labourer are the youngest of several boys and one girl, but not all appear together in this census.
Frederick, next-of-kin on both their CWG pages, lives with wife and son in the same village; he and
the boarder who lives with them are both bricklayers .
Charles and Ernest joined 2nd Battalion the Devonshire Regiment and arrived on the Western Front
in January 1915. Ernest died of wounds two months later. On 19th April 1918, 2nd Battalion’s war
diary had a list of twelve men “awarded Parchment Certificates by Divisional Commander for
gallantry and devotion to duty west of Somme between 22nd March and 2nd April” - one name being
20390 Sgt. C. Smith.
Each are named on Memorials to the Missing - at Soissons and Le Touret in the Pas de Calais.
Both were awarded 1914/15 Stars with Allied Victory and British War medals. In 1922 application
was made for Charles’ to be destroyed; before that could be done, two other applications needed to
be made; his medal card would say if that happened, but it does not. Maybe when they were first
delivered, there was no-one to sign for them, so they were sent back to the Medal Office, then sent
out again. This was done three times before they could be destroyed. Ernest’s medal card has no
comments, so there was no difficulty in delivering his, possibly to brother Frederick, the next-of-kin.
Frank Clarence Sweet - Private 33160 - Soissons Memorial - No more on his CWG page but
regiment’s records say he was born and enlisted Collompton and sure enough, his name is on the
stone cross in the centre of town and a Roll-of-Honour plaque inside St. Andrew’s Church. He was
the only boy in a family of six. In census of 1901 their father - also named Frank, worked as a
carpenter but ten years later had become a builder. Frank Clarence, now a thirteen-year old
schoolboy and his younger sister Ethel were still at school and of the older girls two were weavers in
a serge factory, one a dressmaker and the other an assistant in a draper’s shop.
Frank Clarence was twenty-one when he lost his life. His page at Everyone Remembered has a
personal commemoration - “ A Carpenter, a Builder, a Collompton Man. Died in Third Battle of the
Aisne - Remembered by Me in Plymouth” - maybe whoever said that knows for certain that Frank
Clarence followed his father by becoming a carpenter and builder. Or perhaps they are tracking
names on Collumpton’s war memorial, then referring to Commonwealth War Graves and census
records. So have they confused Private 33160 Frank Clarence Sweet with his father - who in census
of 1911 was the carpenter and builder?
William David Thorne - Private 74109 - Aged 18 - Son of Mrs Alice Maria Thorne of St. Giles,
Salisbury - this is actually the village of Wimborne St. Giles which is in Dorset and many miles from
Salisbury - cannot imagine how the wires got crossed in CWG records. The Devonshire’s records
say William David was born Handley, Dorset and enlisted Wimborne, Dorset. The memorial cross
at Wimborne St. Giles has 24 names including ‘David Thorne - Pte. Devons’. The website ‘Lost
Ancestors’ has an online transcription of these names and a narrative ‘Soldiers Behind the Names’
which correctly names William David with his army number, regiment and CWG details.
His father was a shepherd on a farm, with a family of five girls and two sons. On William David’s
page at Everyone Remembered, Michael David Thorne has written ‘My Dad Reg. was your cousin.
To him you were the greatest hero he knew”. Families do not forget - the Fallen of the Great War
are still remembered well into the 21st century. We owe them our respect despite what current
iconoclasts would have us do and think in 2020.
Lieutenant Louis Nicholas Lindsay Tindal MC - St. Mary’s church in the Hampshire village of
Eversley has brass plaques commemorating three brothers and a cousin who lost their lives as a
result of service in the British Army during the Great War, despite having been born in Australia.
Their grandfather made a considerable fortune out there before retiring to Firgrove Manor in
Eversley. He died just as the war began. His daughter Anne inherited the mansion and turned it into
a military hospital for the duration of hostilities. Perhaps it was she who organised these memorials
to her nephews :
“Sacred To The Memory of Louis Nicholas Lindsay Tindal M.C. Capt. 2nd Btn. Devonshire Regt.
Born April 16th 1893, at Ramornie, Clarence River N.S.W. Gave His Life With His Fellow Officers
and Men in Unquestioning Sacrifice For the Sacred Cause at Bois des Buttes on May 27th 1918 “
“ Faith Is The Evidence Of Things Not Seen ”
Louis Nicholas arrived in the Western Front in July 1916 and was Gazetted full Lieutenant on 6th
March 1918 so, strictly speaking, his rank was not Captain. In January 1918 his Military Cross was
in the Gazette - it was not a posthumous, so he would have been aware of this award :
“ For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during an enemy counter-attack. His company
commander had become a casualty and the unit on his left was forced to withdraw; but, handling
the company with great dash and gallantry, he threw back a defensive flank and held up and
repulsed the enemy by the promptness and skill with which he brought his fire to bear upon them.
Throughout the operation he set a splendid example to his men. ”
As recounted by a survivor of Bois des Buttes “There was a spot on the front where there was bit of
trench which nobody could understand, so it was arranged that Lieut. Tindal should take a raiding
party to investigate It was merely a bit of old trench that had been filled in with barbed wire and
rubbish.” A few days later “ Quiet, firm, brave Lieut. Tindal - loved by every man in the Battalion, a
man any soldier who knew him would have died to save ... Ordered us to fix bayonets ...on his shout
the men climbed over the low parapet and with a wild yell dashed on the enemy .. after going a few
yards found themselves hung up on barbed-wire entanglements. The enemy raked them with
machine gun and rifle fire .... Lieut. Tindal was lying near Sergeant Bates who fired at a German
officer ... “You’ve missed him Bates ... Leave him to me” ... As he was lining-up his shot, but before
he could fire, a bullet struck him in the head. Thus died a gallant officer ”.
Australia remembers Louis Nicholas on the Commemorative Roll held in Canberra and at Ramornie,
New South Wales, where he was born, is an obelisk and a board inside the Public Hall with names
of those who survived as well as those who perished. His school at Armidale NSW has L.N.L.Tindal
on the Roll of Honour in the Chapel. He is one of the Missing on the Soissons Memorial. In cencus
of 1901 two of his brothers and a cousin are boarders at Wixenford Peparatory School in Berkshire:
Charles Henry - Aged 13; Archibald Arthur - Aged 12; John Humphrey - Aged 11. Although Louis
Nicholas did not come to the UK for his education, in 1901 he was aboard SS “Moravian” with his
parents, travelling from the British Isles to Sydney. Maybe they had brought his brothers and cousin
to Wixenford and were now returning home.
Archibald Arthur progressed from prep-school to Wellington College where he was a pupil from
1903-06. He returned to Australia and in 1912 married Hilda Dorothy Moxon. At outbreak of war
local newspapers carried advertisements for reservists living in New South Wales to join the British
Expeditionary Force in Europe. In October 1915 he brought wife and 2yr-old daughter to England
and promptly enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery. Three months later their son was born at the family
home in Eversley which by this time was in use as a hospital for wounded soldiers.
On 5th November 1915 Archibald Arthur became a Second-Lieutenant in the Royal Field Artillery.
On 8th September 1916, he lost his life and was buried at Guillemont Road Cemetery on the
Somme. His commanding officer wrote to his wife: “Those who knew your husband speak highly of
his stirling qualities and absolute fearlessness .. this trait in his character, I am afraid, led to his
death. Your husband had endeared himself to both officers and men in the battery and his loss will
be greatly felt.” Nor was his quiet forceful character less appreciated in New South Wales, where
he was immensely respected and loved. These comments are taken from Wellington College’s
obituary and Northern Territory’s Library. Hilda Dorothy chose an inscription for his headstone :
“ Rest In Peace”
His plaque in St. Mary’s, Evershot reads : In Memory of Archibald Arthur Tindal 2nd. Lieut.R.F.A. of
Guyan, Queensland. Killed in Action near Guillemont, France. Son of C.F. Tindal of Ramornie
N.S.W. and Grandson of C.G.Tindal of this Parish. Born August 30th 1888 - Killed Sept.8th 1916
“ He Left All - to Fight For The Right “
The two others with plaques in St. Mary’s both served in British forces during WW1 and although
they were not actually killed in action, they lost their lives as a direct consequence of the war Charles
Henry, the eldest brother was, in May 1917, commissioned Second Lieutenant in the Royal Field
Artillery. On January 9th 1918 in the same edition of the Gazette as his brother Louis Nicholas’
Military Cross, Charles Henry’s was also noted :
“For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. During an intense hostile bombardment of his
battery, having ordered the detachments to clear a flank, he himself went round and personally
cleared all the dug-outs, remaining to the last himself. When the shelling slackened he was the first
to return and collected the detachments, but on fire breaking out again with renewed violence, he
again cleared the battery with the same coolness and disregard of danger as before. On this
occasion he himself was wounded by an enemy shell, which burst in the gun-pit as he was leaving
the position. He showed an example of courage and devotion to duty that was beyond all praise.”
The Gazette of 24th February 1919 carried a notice under the heading “Royal Field Artillery” -
“Undermentioned 2nd Lieutenants placed on retired list on account of ill-health caused by wounds” -
one of the names is C. H. Tindal M.C. His plaque in St. Mary’s Church reads :
“In Memory of Charles Henry Tindal MC - Lieut. R.F.A. Eldest Son of C.F. Tindal of Ramornie
NSW and Grandson of C.G. Tindal of this Parish Born 26th September 1887 and Died 3rd May 1926
of Shell Shock Contracted in the War. A Good Citizen and A Brave Soldier. “
From boading-school at Wokingham, Charles Henry had gone to Sedburgh College in Yorkshire,
although he is not on its war-memorial. After serving in the war, he returned to Australia and despite
long-term effects of soldiering, led an energetic life with his family of wife, three sons and a daughter.
A horse and cattle-breeder, he was President of the Clarence River Jockey Club. In 1926 his doctor
advised Charles Henry that a long sea voyage would benefit his health. This took him to Japan but
unfortunately as soon as the ship landed at the port of Yokahama, he was taken ill and died there.
The fourth plaque in Eversley’s church is to John Humphrey, cousin of the three brothers :
In Memory of John Humphrey Tindal B.A.Cantab - Gunner RGA
Died of Fever at Monogoro, East Africa whilst on Active Service
Son of John T.Tindal of Tatiara, Glen Innes, NSW and Grandson of C.G.Tindal of this Parish
Born 26th May 1889 - Died 17th February 1917 - Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori
To commemorate the centenary of end of the First World War, on 11th November 2018 bellringers at
St. Mary’s Church at Eversley rang a half-muffled peal of six bells before the Remembrance Day
service, then afterwards, another peal this time on un-muffled open bells.
William Chamberlain Turvey - Private 74110 - Aged 18 - Son of William and Sarah Turvey
of 28 Broad Street, Nuneaton - where the main war memorial in Riversley Park has panels with
600 names, divided under regiments. There are four under ‘Devonshire Regiment’ although William
is not one of them. This memorial was unveiled in 1920 and some time after, an extra panel was
added. Pte. W.C. Turvey is on that.
In the census of 1911 “Willie Turvey aged 11” is at home with parents and an older sister who work
in the manufacture of hats; in those days every man, woman and child wore a hat when going out in
public. Some time in the 1960’s when my Mum confessed to having done something dreadful, I
wondered what on earth that could be. She had walked down the road in order to post a letter
Without Wearing a Hat.
Thomas Charles Welsh - Private 290403 - nothing on his CWG page to define who he was. All it
says is ‘31 May 1918 - Soissons Memorial’. The Devon’s book says that he enlisted in Liskeard,
Cornwall with ‘Menheniot, Cornwall’ in brackets which probably means that is where he was living at
the time. Menheniot is a village 2miles from Liskeard; it has a war memorial, but Thomas Charles
Welsh is not named on it. The parish church has a Roll of Honour in the porch, but nowhere can I
find reference to the names on it.
In the 1901 census, at Menheniot ‘Charley Welch’ aged 18 and born in that village, is living with a
farmer and his family; he is a farm-servant. Could be Private 290403. Probably .... Maybe.
Thomas Charles’ medal card says he was awarded Allied Victory and British War medals. The
Devonshire Regiment 1914-1918 gives his place of enlistment and says that he Died of Wounds -
most probably a casualty of 27th May at Bois-des-Buttes.
Frederick Thomas Westaway - Private 30374 - Aged 22 - Son of Elijah and Salome Ann
Westaway of Bradworthy, Holsworthy, Devon. In census of 1901 and 1911, the occupation of
Frederick’s father was ‘Engraver on Stone’ and ‘Monumental Mason. In 1923 a granite war
memorial was erected in Bradwothy’s market square with 16 names, including Frederick Westaway.
Maybe, I thought, his father could have been the maker of it. As these investigations progressed, it
became obvious that he could not.
Find-A-Will probate search has in 1919 a record for the will of Frederick Thomas Westaway, Private
in the Devonshire Regiment who died 27 May 1918 in France. Probate was granted to Salome Ann
Westaway, widow - not Frederick’s widow, but his mother. Elijah, his father died on 27th December
1918, so could not have made the war memorial.
Online is “The Bradworthy Book” which has, amongst many other things, a photo of children at the
village school in 1907, including ‘Fred Westaway’ - the future Private Westaway. His birth was
registered at Holsworthy in the last quarter of 1896; in 1911 he was a schoolboy aged 14 living with
parents and a person who was boarding in their house. Ten years previously there had been four
boarders because at that time Elijah was proprietor of a Temperance Hotel. He and Salome had at
least two daughters and four sons - Frederick Thomas being the youngest of them.
Alec Edwards Wilder - Lance-Corporal 31033 - Aged 21 - Son of Ben E. and Kate Wilder of
6 Church Terrace, Lewisham, London. He was born London and enlisted in Lewisham which has
a website dedicated to war memorials within the borough. This has Alec Edwards Wilder’s CWG
details, so it does give him recognition although his name may not be on any physical memorial. But
this is an extensive website with many memorials listed under various headings. One of them being
Lewisham United Reform Church on the High Street. An inside wall has a metal plaque decorated
with a female figure holding a laurel wreath and “ Their Name Liveth For Evermore ” inscribed
beneath twenty-nine names, one of which is : ‘ Wilder - Alec ’. In 1911 he was at home in Lee,
Lewisham, with his parents and two sisters, one older and one younger than him. Their father works
in the building industry as a Foreman-Carpenter. Alec is a twelve-year old schoolboy.
*Stanley Wilks - Private 31829 - Aged 19 - Son of John and Minnie Willks of 13 Lower Gordon
Road, High Wycombe, Bucks. When the war was over a Memorial Hospital was built at High
Wycombe - “ To the Memory of Men of the District who have Fallen in the War ” It opened in 1923
and inside are several bronze plaques bearing 700 names. The website “Buckinghamshire
Remembers” has details for many of them, including Stanley, his brother John Henry and their
In 1901 John and Minnie Wilks were at home in High Wycombe with their family of two daughters
and two sons. John is a bricklayer. By 1911 the two girls have left home to work as domestic
servants elsewhere in the town. There are now three boys at home, the youngest having been born
in 1906; Stanley is still at school but the eldest, John Henry works in a chair-making shop. In his
spare time he plays cricket for Marsh Green CC and football for West End Athletic.
John, their father, enlisted in the army in June 1915 when 43yrs. of age; conscription had not come
into play so he was not obliged to join up. Maybe private building work ceased because this country
was at war, but skilled tradesmen were needed to build quarters for the huge number of personnel
joining the services. John-the-bricklayer was not sent overseas but spent his time as a
Lance-Corporal with the Royal Engineers at Newark, Nottinghamshire. Maybe he continued with the
bricklaying whilst with them. However, in September 1917 he was ‘Discharged - Sick’.
In the meantime, his eldest son John Henry had lost his life on the Western Front whilst serving with
the Ox & Bucks Light Infantry. On 29 March 1916 he was buried at Beauval Communal Cemetery
near Amiens. Once hostilities were over, his mother was able to request a personal inscription for
John Henry’s headstone : “ Always In Our Thoughts ”
Two years later Stanley perished at Bois-des-Buttes. He was younger than John Henry; both were
nineteen-years old when they lost their lives. Stanley has no known grave and is remembered on
the Memorial to the Missing at Soissons.
Christopher Harry Williams - Private 74115 - Aged 18 - Son of Capt. Henry Williams and
Charity Williams of 71 Green Lane, Handswoth, Birmingham.
When his birth was registered at Pershore, Worcestershire, in the last quarter of 1899 he was
‘Christopher Henry’. Maybe he had been born close to, or on, Christmas Day but there is another
connection - his mother’s maiden name was Christopher. Henry, his father, was a Serjeant-Major in
the Worcestershire Regiment, which was based at Norton Barracks close to the city of Worcester. In
1901, aged 1-year, Christopher and his mother are in Farnborough, Hampshire staying in the home
of a Colour-Serjeant in 3rd Btn. of the Worcesters - Frederick Cooke and his wife Jane. Cannot find
Henry, his father in this census. Maybe he is elsewhere with his Regiment. In fact, 3/Worcesters
were in Ireland from1902 until 1905 and this explains what shows up in the next census.
In 1911 the whole family is in Kempsey, Worcestershire. Christopher Henry is an 11-year old
schoolboy with four sisters - the eldest of whom was born 1902 in Tipperary, Ireland. The next
sister was also born in Ireland, but the third was born Aldershot - to where the regiment had returned
after 1905. The youngest sister and an even younger brother were born in Worcestershire. So
between 1901 and 1911, the family was constantly on the move.
There is an extensive website for the Worcestershire Regiment containing a list of men who received
Long Service and Good Conduct medals between 1902-1919. Sergeant-Major Henry Williams was
awarded one in July 1907. Colour-Sergeant Frederick Cooke, who looked after Charity and
Christopher in 1901 had attained his in 1902. Christopher enlisted in Birmingham, where his parents
had gone to live; I cannot find his father attaining the rank of Captain; perhaps it was allowed as a
courtesy once he had retired from the Army.
Arthur Leslie Wilson - Private 74027 - Aged 34 - Son of Henry and Margaret Wilson, Edgware
Road, London; Husband of Amy Elizabeth Wilson of 13 Weymouth Square, Snow Hill, Bath.
According to Devonshire Regiment’s records, Private 74027 was born in Chigwell, Essex but I havn’t
traced when he first moved to Somerset. In the first quarter of 1911 he married Amy E. Foster in
Bath and in the census for that year, Arthur and Amy are at home in Walcot, Bath, with their two
children whose births were registered in 1904 and 1910, Arthur works as a Blacksmith. We are not
doing this in order to censure their morality; their next child was born in the third quarter of 1912.
Bath’s war memorial has 1,174 names for those lost in the Great War although it is now thought that
1,800 perished or died of their wounds. “A. L. Wilson” is a name on one of the five metal panels
which back the memorial cross at the entrance to Royal Victoria Park in Bath.
Thomas Henry Wright - Private 69064 - CWG page shows no next-of-kin and no age, just that he
is buried in the British Cemetery at Jonchery-sur-Vesle. His original battlefield burial was marked by
a wooden cross on which was written ‘Unknown British Soldier’ but when he was exhumed in 1922
Thomas was found to have an identity disc. The book ‘Devonshire Regiment 1914-1918’ says he
died of wounds on 31.5.18 and that he was born ‘Cheriton, Hants.’, enlisted at Gosport and was then
living in Titchfield, Hampshire. Imperial War Museum’s time-line for him says he was ‘Born
Beauworth, Hampshire in 1899’.
In 1901 Thomas Henry, his father George Henry who worked as a Gardener, mother Ellen and his
three sisters were living in Beauworth, near Winchester. Ten years later, the family had moved to
Titchfield. “Titchfield Remembers” investigated lives of those on the stone memorial tablet inside St.
Peter’s parish church. “T. H. Wright - 2nd Devons ” is the last of forty-one names. This project
identified more who should have been included, so a framed manuscript with eleven names hangs
alongside the original. Fifty-two men who went from a quiet rural community into the killing machine
that was the Great War and like so many others, did not return from doing their duty.
Buried in the churchyard of Holy Cross at Credition is a casualty of Bois-des-Buttes. He had been
wounded and captured then died on 9th January 1919; this was registered in Lambeth so he could
have been brought to a hospital in London after the Armistice of 11th November 1918; British POW’s
began to be repatriated soon afterwards. Alexander John Borne was nineteen-years old when he
died. Although born in Wimbledon, by the cencus of 1911 he was living with his parents and two
sisters in Crediton. He left this account of what happened to him on 27th May 1918 :
“I was with the Lewis Gun team and we were first in action. All my pals were speedily casualties.
Lads were falling right and left but I had a capital weapon in the Lewis gun, which I was firing
steadily at the German hordes. I looked about and I seemed to be all alone. Still, I kept on firing at them. Then, when the enemy waves were about 100-yards away things, got a bit too warm, so I picked up the gun, ran back about a hundred yards and had another go ... ” Alexander John fought on alone for some time before being captured.
On the ‘Exeter Memories’ website In February 2020 someone recalled going to events at the
Topsham Road Barracks - later re-named Wyvern Barracks, which had been the home of the
Devonshire (later Devon & Dorset) Regiment. Every year a party was held to remember
Bois-des-Buttes on 27th May and honour the survivors, who would parade into the hall to great
applause. This correspondent’s grandfather was one of them. Eventually the event was no longer
held because those survivors had themselves passed to join their comrades in the Great Unknown.