THE GREAT WAR

 

 

George ABBOTT

Lieutenant

1st  Battalion. Hertfordshire Regiment

Killed In Action on the 23rd August 1918 aged 35

George was the son of Thomas Abbott of  " Oaklands" , Hitchin Road, Stevenage.

The details of his service career and eventual fate are limited but it is known that he was commissioned from the ranks on the 1st July 1917 and arrived on the Western Front on the 16th April 1918.

He was killed in the second Battle of Albert when the Battalion were involved in an assault on a railway cutting near the village of Achiet Le Grand.  The village had been occupied by the 7th Bedfordshire Regiment on 17th March 1917 and lost to the Germans on the 25th March 1918 after a defence by the 1st/6th Manchester Regiment. During this period the village was occupied by the British 45th and 49th Casualty Clearing Stations. Achiet station was an allied railhead and was recaptured on the 23rd August 1918 as result of the assault in which Gerorge Abbott was involved. The action cost the lives of 32 men plus an additional 7 who died of their wounds the following day.

George is buried in Gommecourt British Cemetery No.2, Hebuterne, Somme, France. (4.G.30.)          

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

 


Cuthbert Victor Way ALBONE

5949

Private

1st  Battalion. Hertfordshire Regiment

Missing In Action on the 13th November 1916 aged 20

 

Cuthbert was born in Biggleswade the son of George & Elizabeth Albone who later lived in the High Street, Walkern. Prior to the outbreak of the Great War he had worked in Stevenage as a Farm Labourer.

He.had only been in France for three weeks when he was killed in the Somme sector during the Battle of Ancre.  An assault was to be made on a German fortification known as the Schwaben Redoubt. The plan was an attempt by the 5th Army, under General Sir Hubert Gough, to reduce the Beaumont Hamel salient, which had hitherto resisted all assaults. The battalion to which Cuthbert belonged was given the objective of taking some enemy strong-points, which were about 200 yards in front of the redoubt, the so called Hansa Line of trenches.  The attack commenced at 5.45am when it was still dark and a heavy mist hung over the battlefield. The going was heavy and the area was honeycombed with shell-holes. The four companies of the battalion reached the first objective and this was soon taken, with many German soldiers being killed or captured. The No.4 Company, despite much confusion and many difficulties, managed to work up the Hansa Line and, supported by the other companies, succeeded in taking the entire line and some of Mill Trench, the final objective, by 7.20 am. Despite heavy shelling and some determined counter attacks the battalion managed to hold onto and consolidate their position but suffered many casualties in doing so. It is uncertain at what point Cuthbert Albone was killed but his body was never recovered and is lost on the battlefields of the Somme. His elder brother, Gilbert, had been killed in the Somme sector a few months earlier and their names also appears on the Walkern village war memorial.

Cuthbert has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

 


Gilbert Way ALBONE

8622

Sergeant

6th Battalion. Bedfordshire Regiment

Killed In Action on the 15th July 1916 aged 28

Gilbert was born in Maulden, Bedfordshire the son of George & Elizabeth Albone who later lived in the High Street, Walkern.

He had been a professional solider serving with the Bedfordshire Regiment in Bermuda and had been an Army instructor at both Bedford and Aldershot. After leaving the Army he lived in Southgate, London where he worked as a Bus Conductor and where he met Harriett Edwards. The couple were married on the 11th April 1914 in the St.Michael at Bowes Church in Southgate and a few months later Gilbert was called back to Army service.

He left England on the 30th July 1915 and served continually on the Western Front. He was killed when his battalion attacked the village of Pozieres during the Somme offensive. The attack was headed by the 8th East Lancashire Regiment and supported by the both the 6th Bedfordshire Regiment and the 11th Warwickshire Regiment. Initially, the advance went unopposed but as the two forward battalions went over the crest of the Chalk Pitt they were held up by heavy and accurate machine gun fire. The Bedford’s were forced to dig in about 100 yards from Liniere. Later, it was found that their attack had failed and they had suffered terrible casualties with 3 Officers and 32 Other Ranks being killed and a further 25 Other Ranks Missing. His younger brother, Cuthbert, was killed in the Somme sector a few months later. Their names also appear on the Walkern village war memorial.

Gilbert is buried in the Pozieres British Cemetery, Ovillers-la-Boisselle, France. (3.G.21.)

Medal Entitlement: 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 


Frederick John ALDRIDGE

J/39013 

Ordinary Seaman

Royal Navy

HMS Vanguard

Died At Sea on the 9th July 1917 aged 18

Frederick Aldridge (Left) With A Crewmate Of HMS Vanguard

Frederick Aldridge was born in 17th January 1899, the eldest son of John & Ellen Aldridge of 2 Huntingdon Road, Stevenage. His father was a Porter for the Great Northern Railway and, at the time of his son's death, had spent 21 years serving at Stevenage station. After leaving school, Frederick first worked as a News Lad for W.H.Smith & Son following which he went to work at the workshops of ESA in Stevenage as a factory hand.

On the 17th March 1915 young Frederick answered the call of the sea and joined the Royal Navy as a Boy entrant. After the completion of his training he was drafted to HMS Vanguard on the 25th August 1915. He served at Jutland in May 1916 and a short description is given in official records of the ships involvement in the action.

At about 2.30pm on 31st May 1916 HMS Vanguard was steaming in a Southerly direction as hard as she could. Then she received the signal from the Commander-in-Chief, " Be prepared to meet the enemy in every respect." The crew waited anxiously as the cruisers of the fleet engaged the German ships. Then Vanguard fired her first round from the 12" guns. Eventually she fired a total of 63 rounds altogether. Soon after she had opened fire, the news was circulated that a German light cruiser had been sunk and that the British destroyers were attacking the Germans. When she came up to the sinking cruiser, which she passed close enough read her name by the unaided eye, she was found to be the " Invincible" one of our own battle cruisers which was, or appeared to have been broken in two parts, the amidships portion. A destroyer was standing by the wreck. She continued firing for 20 minutes during which time she was under fire, and assisted in repulsing a destroyer attack. Many shots passed over her and fell ahead, some of these passed sufficiently close to the Fore Top to make those there duck their heads. She was not hit so suffered no casualties. At about 6.30 pm Vanguard had reduced her speed to 14 knots. It was getting dark and there were no enemy ships in sight. At 9 pm the buzzers went, and the crew returned in haste to their stations expecting a destroyer attack, as it then was dark enough to make such an attack likely. Firing was heard going on astern, which seemed to get louder and louder. At about 10 pm an action was seen to be in progress between a Light Cruiser or Flotilla leader and some destroyers, which took place quite close to the Vanguard and was witnessed by those on watch and then men stationed at her guns.. The cruiser was seen to sink, on fire, the shells as they struck her lighting up her interior, the men on board being clearly visible. The following morning at about 11am two submarines were reported in the vicinity of Vanguard and she returned to base.

At 11.20 pm on Monday, 9 July, 1917 HMS Vanguard was at anchor in Scapa Flow. The mighty warship suddenly blew up, taking 804 of her crew down with her. An explosion had taken place in one of the two magazines which served turrets 'P' and 'Q'.  It is believed that the cause of the explosion was the spontaneous detonation of cordite, which had become unstable. Although there is no specific evidence, it is thought that a fire in an adjacent compartment smouldered, undetected, long enough for some of the cordite near the adjoining bulkhead to overheat to dangerous levels.  Just 3 of her crew survived the detonation.

Frederick has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Chatham Naval Memorial.

 

 

 


Joseph ALLEN

11919

Private

5th Battalion. Ox & Bucks Light Infantry

Missing In Action on the 25th September 1915 aged 24

 

Joseph was the son of Joseph & Eliza Allen who lived at 7 Church Lane and was one of ten brothers and sisters.  Before enlisting in the Army he worked at the Central Stores in the High Street as a Shop Assistant. At the time of his death, he had two brothers serving in the forces. Jesse, who was in the 3rd Bedfordshire Regiment, and George who was serving in the Royal Navy.

Joseph was posted to the Western Front on the 20th May 1915 and was reported as missing eight weeks later on the 25th September. He is believed to have been killed during a major action when the Brigade was tasked with seizing Bellewarde Farm, Hooge. The Battalion War Diary reports that the attack commenced at 04.20 hours and that “B” Company and part of “A” Company were almost totally destroyed by German shell and machine gun fire during the assault. 270 men were killed or missing with another 184 being wounded. Another brother, Thomas, was killed on the 4th October 1916 whilst serving with the Royal Berkshire Regiment in France.

Joseph has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Belgium.

Medal Entitlement: 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 


Leonard George ALLEN

55491

Private

10th Service Battalion (1st Rhondda). Welsh Regiment

Killed In Action on the 31st July 1917 aged 21.

Leonard was born on the 7th November 1895 the son of James & Mary Allen of 73 Walkern Road, Stevenage. After leaving school he worked as a Hairdressers Assistant and later lived at 105 High Street with his wife Constance. He first enlisted in the army as Private 52794 of the Somerset Light Infantry and was to eventually lose his life on the first day of a major British offensive, The Battle of  Passchendaele.

The offensive was launched on 31 July 1917 and continued until the fall of Passchendaele village on 6 November.  Although it resulted in gains for the Allies it was by no means the breakthrough General Haig intended, and such gains as were made came at great cost in human terms. On the 18th July 1917 a heavy preliminary artillery bombardment began which lasted for the ten days prior to the launch of the attack. The bombardment was made by 3,000 guns which expended four and a quarter million shells into the surrounding ground.  Given such an onslaught the German Fourth Army fully expected the attack and the element of surprise was entirely lost. Added to this was the fact that the area was suffering the heaviest rains it had seen for 30 years and this, combined with the shelling, turned the ground into a hellish morass.

The Battalion advanced at 03.50 and initially lost direction in the darkness. Despite this initial setback they managed to capture two German trenches. The heavy rain had created indescribable ground conditions and the going was extremely difficult for the troops. In addition, they came under very heavy artillery shelling from the Germans whilst attempting to bring rations up to the men of the Battalion. Further supplies had to be carried forward and at least ten men of the Battalion died under the weight of their load. It is not known at what point Leonard was killed but it was almost certainly under very trying conditions.

Leonard is buried in the Welsh Cemetery (Caesars Nose), Boesinghe, Belgium. (1.B.14.)

A Memorial headstone in St Nicholas church is inscribed: “He marches away so bravely his young head proudly held. His footsteps never faltered his courage never failed. Then on the field of battle he calmly took his place.  He died for home and Britain and the honour of his race.”

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

Thomas ALLEN

36231

Private

6th Battalion. Royal Berkshire Regiment

Killed In Action on the 4th October 1916 aged 23.

(Formerly 5950 Hertfordshire Regiment)

Thomas was the son of Joseph & Eliza Allen who lived at 7 Church Lane and was one of ten brothers and sisters.

Before enlisting in the Army he worked at the Central Stores in the High Street as a Shop Assistant. Like many local lads he joined the Territorial Army and served with the Hertfordshire Regiment. Later he was transfered to the Royal Berkshire Regiment where he served as Private 36321.

On the 4th October 1916, as the Battle of the Somme drew to a close, his Battalion was held in reserve at Authuille Wood and consisted almost entirely of men who had recently joined. The heavy and bitter fighting of the summer battles had cost the Battalion dearly. That morning the Germans attacked the British Trenches near a fortification known as the Schwaben Redoubt, close to the village of Thiepval. It was a fearsome assault with grenades and flamethrowers being heavily employed. Although there was very intense fighting as the British troops battled to regain their positions, which they managed to achieve, the Battalion suffered only two wounded men. Later in the day the area was very heavily shelled by German artillery and a letter from a friend states that Thomas was killed by shellfire whilst on sentry duty. If this is true, then it can be assumed that he was killed after the action of the day, and he was the only casualty the battalion suffered on that day. His brother, Joseph, went missing on the 25th September 1915 whilst serving with the Ox & Bucks Light Infantry in Belgium, he was never seen again.

He is buried in the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, Somme, France. (3A.F.12.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 


Frederick ANSELL

Sergeant

2584

1st  Battalion. Hertfordshire Regiment

Missing In Action on the 18th May 1915 aged 27.

Frederick was the son of William & Emma Ansell of 41 Alleyns Road. 

He was first posted to France on the 6th November 1914 and served continually on the Western Front until his death. On the 18th May 1915 No.1 Company supported an attack by the Irish Guards but had only gone 200 yards when they were held up by heavy machine gun and rifle fire. The battalion had to eventually relieve the Guards because they had suffered heavy losses and it is not known at what stage Frederick lost his life. A comrade wrote and told his parents that Fred's last words were, " a piece of dirt has hit me on the head" .

It was reported at the time that he was buried between Richebourg St.Vadet & Festubert. However, Frederick has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Le Touret Memorial, Pas De Calais, France. (Panel 47.)

Medal Entitlement: 1914 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

 


Charles ANTHONY

Sergeant  5627

"C" Company. 2nd Battalion. Kings Royal Rifle Corps

Died Of Wounds on the 3rd April 1916 aged 29.

Charles was the son of Samuael & Emma Anthony of Back Lane, Stevenage. His mother died in the Winter of 1896 at the age of 41 as a result of giving birth to his brother, Frank. As a consequnce, both he and Frank, along with their sister, Nellie, went to live with their older brother, Fred, in Alleynes Road.

Charles joined the Kings Royal Rifle Corps on the 23rd November 1903 and served with his Regiment until his death. His description at the time was of an 18 year-old man who was 5' 3"tall, with Grey eyes and Dark Brown hair with a number of distinctive tattoos. However, Charles had lied about his age as he was actually only 16 years old. He was one of seven brothers serving in the services during the First World War of whom one other, Frank, was reported as Missing in Action on the 19th January 1917.

Charles was married on the 12th August 1914 in Kelso, British Columbia, Canada to Lucy Maria Gomsford and was posted to France on the 2nd November 1914. He served continuously on the Western Front. On the 3rd April 1916 the Battalion were positioned at Les Brebis. It is believed that Charles was wounded when transport moving along the Loos Road was shelled by German artillery.

Charles is buried in the Noeux-Les-Mines Communal Cemetery, Pas De Calais, France. (1.T.1)

Medal Entitlement: 1914 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

 


Frank ANTHONY

Corporal  4740

12th Battalion. Rifle Brigade

Missing In Action on the 19th January 1917 aged 21.

Frank was the son of Samuael & Emma Anthony of Back Lane, Stevenage. His mother died in the Winter of 1896 at the age of 41 as a result of giving birth to him. As a consequnce, both he and his brother Charles, along with their sister, Nellie, went to live with their older brother, Fred, in Alleynes Road.

Frank was one of seven brothers serving in the services during the First World War of whom one other, Charles, died of his wounds on 3rd April 1916. Frank was posted to France on the 23rd November 1914 and served on the front line for over two years. Sadly, had he been posted to France a day earlier he would have been entitled to the 1914 Star but the cut-off date was the 22nd November 1914 so, unlike his brother, Frank received the 1914/15 Star.

On the 19th January 1917 the Battalion he was serving with were in the front line at the village of Bouleau. They suffered from heavy shelling by German artillery as well as a number of British shells that had dropped short of their target. One of the British shells struck a dugout where Frank was sheltering and he was killed. His body was never recovered.

Frank has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France. (Pier/Face 16B.)

Medal Entitlement: 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 


 

William ARBON

Private 36306 

10th Battalion. East Yorkshire Regiment

Missing In Action on the 24th March 1918 aged 26 .

(Formerly 10816 Royal Welsh Fusiliers)

 

William lived at Primrose Hill, Stevenage. He enlisted in the Army in September 1911 at the age of 19 years and 2 months. Initially, he served in the 2nd Battalion Royal Welch Fusiliers but was transfered to the Army Cyclist Corps as Private 1278 on the 8th January 1915. He was admitted to hospital on the 26th August 1915 suffering with Diphtheria and whilst at No.7 General Hospital he contracted German Measles. Eventually, on the 2nd October 1915 he was shipped home on the S.S.Anglia to make a recovery in the UK.

On the 23rd November 1916 William was transferred to the East Yorkshire Regiment and on the 11th December he was posted back to France. After arriving at No.37 Base Depot he was attached to the 10th Battalion and joined them on the 17th December 1916.

On the 24th March 1918 the Battalion were located near the village of Ervillers. He was seen by his comrades to be hit by enemy fire but they were unable to maintain contact with him and his body was never recovered.

William has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Arras Memorial, Pas De Calais, France. (Bay 4.)

Medal Entitlement: 1914 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

 


Frederick E ASHWOOD

102678 

Airman 2nd Class

Royal Air Force

Died on the 26th November 1918 aged 19

 

Frederick was the only son of Thomas & Eliza Ashwood of 2 Stanmore Road. His father was a well-known Special Constable in the town. Frederick was employed, before joining the Royal Air Force, as an under groom to Professor Newel of Madeley, Cambridge and joined the Royal Flying Corps on the 7th November 1917. Official records show that his civilian occupation was described as Poultry Rearer.  He Died from the effects of Influenza at Sandridge Hospital, whilst still undergoing his training.

As Frederick had not served overseas he was not entitled to any of the Great War campaign medals.

Frederick is buried in the St.Nicholas Churchyard, Stevenage.

 

 

 

David AUSTIN

34506

Sapper

136th Army Troop Company. Royal Engineers

Died Of Wounds on the 4th January 1916 aged 22.

David was the son of Samuel & Elizabeth Austin of 10 Alleynes Road, Stevenage. He had been employed in the family business of Austin & Son, Builders & Carpenters, for seven years before joining the Army and was a popular member of the Holy Trinity church choir.

He arrived on the Gallipolli front on the 24th November 1915 and only served on the peninsula for a number of weeks. It is not known how he was wounded but he died on the Hospital Ship, " Assaye" and his body was buried at sea. His younger brother, Thomas, was killed in action on the 8th September 1918 whilst serving in France.

David has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Helles Memorial, Turkey. (Panel 23/25.)

Medal Entitlement: 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

 


Thomas Stephen AUSTIN

GS/75261

Private

9th Battalion. Royal Fusiliers

Killed In Action on the 8th September 1918 aged 19.

 

Thomas was the second son of Samuel & Elizabeth Austin of 10 Alleynes Road, Stevenage. Before joining the Army he was employed in the family business of Austin & Son, Builders & Carpenters.

Thomas received a wound to his legs on the 21st March 1918 and was evacuated to Warrington Hospital. After recovering from his wounds he returned to his unit in time for it to take part in the attack on Epehy. The dawn assault on the enemy trenches was made in the pouring rain and Thomas was killed by machine gun fire after assisting in the taking of the last trench. His elder brother, David, died of his wounds whilst serving in Gallipoli.

Thomas is buried in the Epehy Wood Farm British Cemetery.

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 


George William BARKER

33005

Private

6th Battalion. Leicestershire Regiment

Died on the 27th November 1918 aged 23.

George was the eldest son of George & Susan Barker who lived at 46 Haycroft Road. Before joining the Army he was employed as a Hairdresser by J. Findley in Albert Street.

He was attested in December 1915 and joined up on 5th February 1916. Initially he served in the Bedfordshire Regiment but was later transferred to the Leicestershire Regiment. George was posted to France in 1917 and, after serving continuously at the front, took his first leave in January 1918. Following his return to his unit he was wounded in the wrist by a bullet and did not go back to the frontline until the 9th November, just two days before the armistice.

He became ill on his way, having contracted influenza. This soon developed into Pneumonia and, with no medication available at the time to fight the disease, he subsequently died.

George is buried in the Premont British Cemetery, France. (3.E.20.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 


William Henry BARKER

235129

Private

25th Battalion. Northumberland Fusiliers

Died on the 28th April 1917 aged 27.

William was the Nephew of Ann Deamer of Little Wymondley Farm. He is known to have lived at 3 Church Lane, Stevenage and before joining the Army was employed by Ben Moules of Redcoats Farm and was also a well-known chorister at the Little Wymondley church.

William was initially enlisted, like many men, into the Bedfordshire Regiment but was later transferred to the Hertfordshire Regiment. Whilst serving with this unit he was wounded in the leg. On making a recovery he rejoined the Hertfordshire’s but was transferred again, this time to the Northumberland Fusiliers.

On the 28th April 1917 the Battalion were positioned near Fampoux. They were ordered to attack German positions in the area and at 4.25am the assault began. However, the Battalion was subjected to devastating machine gun and artillery fire and the assault ground to a halt. At 11.00 am the German troops counter-attacked and Battalion were unable to attain their objective. The Battalion Commanding Officer blamed the loss of the British objective on poorly trained drafts received from England.

William is buried in the London Cemetery, Neuville-Vitasse, France. (Memorial Panel 1.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 


Frederick BENTLEY

3399

Private

No.4 Company. 1st Battalion. Hertfordshire Regiment

Died Of Wounds on the 9th September 1915 aged 23.

Fred was the eldest son of local Bricklayer James Bentley an his wife, Amen of 35 Alleyns Road, Stevenage. After leaving school he followed in his fathers footsteps and took up the trade of bricklaying.

He enlisted in the Hertfordshire Regiment on the 15th October 1914 and, following his initial training, arrived in France on the 23rd January 1915. By the 8th February Frederick found himself in trouble and received four days field punishment for gross negligence when cleaning his rifle. Later, on the 25th May, he was deducted four days pay for not complying with an order. Two weeks later, on the 6th June, he was wounded in the abdomen, probably as a result of shellfire. Official records show that he died at No.1 Casualty Clearing Station at Chocques on the 9th September 1915 and was buried the same day by the Reverend H.D. Allen.

Frederick is buried in the Chocques Military Cemetery, France. (1.D.90.)

Medal Entitlement: 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

 


Reuben BRADFORD

26710

Private

4th Battalion. Bedfordshire Regiment

Missing In Action on the 23rd April 1917 aged 36.

Reuben was born at Symonds Green, Stevenage on the 30th April 1882. He later lived at Hoares Cross, Braughing near Ware with his wife, Sylvia, and their children, Florrie & George. He enlisted into the Army in Buntingford.

He was killed when the Battalion was called to attack the village of Gravrelle as part of the British offensive at Arras. The battalion went straight through the village gaining its objectives and consolidating its position on the Northern outskirts. Although they were heavily shelled throughout the day and also had to fight of a heavy German counter attack, they succeeded in holding on to their objective despite suffering some 229 casualties.

Reuben was killed at some point during this action, probably from German machine gun fire which accounted for many of the Battalions casualties.

He has no known grave an his name is recorded on the Arras Memorial, Arras, France. (Bay 5)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 


Henry George BROWN

20097 

Lance Corporal

"C" Company. 7th Battalion. Bedfordshire Regiment

Missing In Action on the 1st July 1916 aged 29.

 

Henry was the son of Henry George & Jane Brown and the husband of Ann Brown of 7 Albert Street. He worked in Belgium before the First World War and was one of those who were killed in the most renowned action of the war, the first day of The Battle of the Somme. 

The battalion, with the 11th Royal Fusiliers on it's right, led the left of the attack by the 18th Division. They advanced at 7.30 am and within 15 minutes had captured the first line system of German defences, a place called Emden Trench. By the time the objective had been reached every officer in the two leading platoons had fallen but the men pressed on, led by NCOs. The Germans were well protected in their dugouts and put up a fierce resistance. The assaulting battalions carried forward their attack supported by machine-guns and trench mortars which, according to the Divisional history, provided a hurricane bombardment. Eventually, at 9.30am, after an intensely bitter fight the Battalion took their final objectives, the Pommiers Trench & Redoubt, which were filled with German dead. The Battalion had suffered some 321 casualties during the assault.

Henry has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France. (Panel/Pier 2C.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 


Arthur William BRYANT

203268

Private

11th Battalion. Essex Regiment

Missing In Action on the 18th September 1918 aged 23.

Arthur was born on the 14th July 1895, the eldest son of Frederick & Elizabeth Bryant of 1 Nottingham Road, Stevenage. He married Jane King in the Spring of 1918. His wife, at the time of his death, was living in Breach Road, Maulden near Ampthill.  He worked at the ESA factory and had joined the Territorial’s before the war as Private 2213.

Arthur was mobilised with the Battalion when hostilities broke out. His Regimental number later changed to 265338, and he then transferred to the Bedfordshire Regiment. Following the losses suffered by the British army in the Spring of 1918 many men found themselves being transferred to different Regiments. Arthur was transferred to the Essex Regiment where he was a Lewis gunner with his battalion.

He was killed in action at St.Quentin on the 18th September 1918 and, although contemporary reports state that he was buried at the time of his death, Arthur has no known grave.

His daughter, Rita, was born in the March 1919 and he never had the chance to see her.

His name is recorded on the Vis-En-Artois Memorial, France. (Panel.7)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 


William BRYANT

41297

Private

8th  Battalion. North Staffordshire Regiment

Missing In Action on the 12th April 1918 aged 19.

William was the son of Archie & Clara Bryant of 6 Hellards Road, Stevenage and was one of two brothers serving in the forces. Prior to joining the Army he had been employed as a Munitions Worker.

He Attested for Military Service on the 5th December 1916 and was called up on the 17th February 1917 at the age of 18 years and 2 months. Initially he served with the Bedfordshire Regiment in the UK but was transferred to the North Staffordshire Regiment on the 4th February 1918 two days after arriving in France.

On the 10th April 1918 the Battalion were located near Messines. They were under considerable pressure from the Germans, who had recently begun their Spring Offensive. Official records show that there was some confusion as to the condition of the Battalion, as a result of being involved in heavy fighting. It is believed that William was shot by a sniper.

He has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, Belgium. (Panel 124/125.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 


 

Arthur BYGRAVE

9374

Corporal

2nd Battalion. Bedfordshire Regiment

Missing In Action on the 30th October 1914 aged 25.

Arthur was the son of Arthur & Susan Bygrave of Symonds Green, Stevenage. He was a professional soldier who had been drafted to the BEF from South Africa at the outbreak of the war. The battalion arrived at Zeebrugge on the 7th October 1914 and were soon in action.

It is believed he was killed in the 1st Battle of Ypres during the battalion withdrawal from Zandevoorde. On the morning of the 30th October 1914 they came under very heavy shell fire from German artillery. At this point in the war the trenches had not been dug and troops had to take cover in ditches. They found themselves out in the open where they were an easy target for the German guns. His body was never found and he was not confirmed as killed until August 1915.

Arthur has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Belgium. (Panel 31)

Medal Entitlement: 1914 Star & Clasp, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

 


Reuben BYGRAVE

109991

Gunner

22nd Reserve Battery. Royal Field Artillery

Died on the 6th August 1916 aged 30.

Reuben was the son of Reuben & Eliza Bygrave of Symonds Green, Stevenage. He later married Rosina Sarah Rockall in the Summer of 1912 and the couple lived at 12 Alleynes Road. Their Daughter, Violet, was born on the 7th September 1915.

The 22nd Reserve Battery was part of 4B Reserve Brigade which was stationed at Boyton, Wiltshire. He was admitted to the Military Hospital at Suttom Veny and his death certificate states that he died from Larcoma of the Testicle and Exhaustion.

As Reuben had not served overseas he was not entitled to any of the Great War campaign medals.

He is buried in the St.Johns Churchyard, Sutton Veny, Wiltshire. (237.B.2.)

(My Thanks To Simon Bendry For The Use Of His Photograph)

 


 

George Sidney CARTER   MC

2/Lieutenant

" A" Company.  9th Battalion. East Surrey Regiment

Died Of Wounds on the 28th November 1917 aged 19.

George Carter was born in Weston on the 16th May 1898 the youngest son of John & Clara Carter. After completing his education George became a Gardner by occupation and would have remained so if it had not been for the onset of war.

On the 8th September 1914 George Carter, who was now living at 3 Huntingdon Road, Stevenage was attested at Hitchin for service in the Bedfordshire Regiment. He was was then aged 16 but gave his age as 19 in order to enter the Army. This small matter appears to have been of no consequence to the recruiting officer and he was whisked off for a period of basic training. Once his training was complete George was transferred, on the 31st October 1914, to the 11th East Surrey Regiment. Then, on 25th August 1915 George was transferred to the 8th Battalion of the East Surrey Rifles and the following day left for service in France. He remained in France until the 28th January 1916 when he was shipped home.There is no explanation for this but it is possible that his true age had been discovered.

George remained in England throughout the spring of 1916 until the 28th August when he was posted to the 2nd Battalion of the East Surrey Rifles. The Battalion was serving in Salonika at the time and George remained with them until January 1917 when he returned home to undertake a commission. After returning to England he was accepted at No.19 Officer Cadet Battalion in Purbright on the 15th March 1917 and arrived at Kingston station to begin his new career. After the completion of his training George was posted to the 9th Battalion of the East Surrey Rifles and returned to France on the 25th August 1917.

On the 20th November 1917 the Battalion was situated 2000 yards West of Bellicourt, mid-way between Cambrai and St Quentin, when a trench raiding party was organised. The objective was for the raiding party to capture or kill any enemy troops in the front line and blow in any dugouts that were situated in a sunken road just beyond the front line. There were five parties and George Carter led No.1 party, which contained six other ranks. At 6.30am they set off at the Eastern end of a trench known as Fish Lane to enter the enemy front line and 90 seconds later they were at the entrance to the enemy trenches where they encountered a coil of concertina wire. George Carter cut a gap through the wire and as he did so two German’s threw several grenades towards the party, which killed one of the raiders and wounded George, his senior NCO, Sergeant Bell, and a Private. At this point two other Privates, Mortimer and Bell picked up George Carter and, under enemy fire, carried him back to the British trenches.

Sergeant Bell, although wounded, then attacked the German grenade throwers with his own grenades and killed them both. He then returned to the parties and reorganised them to continue the raid but was ordered to withdraw. The Battalion Commander, Major T H S Swanton, believed that the raiders might have been spotted as they assembled for the attack and commended all those involved for their efforts. Three of the raiders, Lance Corporal Henry Millard, Private Frederick Prested and Private James Hunt were all killed during the action. George Carter was evacuated to No.13 Field Ambulance with multiple wounds and later transferred to No.8 General Hospital in Rouen. George died from the effects of his wounds at 2am on the 28th November 1917. The officer commanding the hospital handed his effects to his mother. He was awarded the Military Cross on 25/04/18 and the citation in the London Gazette read, “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during a raid. Whilst cutting the wire on an enemy parapet a bomb very seriously wounded him. Although completely crippled he continued to cheer on his men till he saw that they had entered the enemy trench”.

George Carter is buried in the St.Sever Cemetery, Rouen, France. (B.3.19.)

Medal Entitlement: Military Cross, 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 


Albert Lewis CATLIN

18957 

Lance Corporal

1st Battalion. Bedfordshire Regiment

(15th Brigade. 5th Division)

Killed In Action on the 5th September 1916 aged 32.

Albert was the son of William & Susan Catlin of High Street, Graveley. He married Mary Presland on the 3rd August 1907 and the couple later lived at 47 Alleyns Road, Stevenage.

He arrived in France with his Battalion on the 13th May 1915 and was killed during the Battle of Guillemont, which was part of the Somme offensive. Following an attack on Falfemont Farm, a German fortified strong point to the Southeast of an area known as Wedge Wood, the Battalion moved into the trenches along with the 16th Royal Warwickshire Regiment. There was not sufficient room for all the troops and an additional line had to be dug. The Battalion then successfully captured the farm in the early hours of the 5th September 1916. However, there was no part of the farm left standing and, as result no real shelter for the assaulting Battalions, who had to spend the night in the open. Early in the morning the Germans shelled the area and the Battalion suffered many casualties, among which is believed to have been Albert Catlin. He is buried in the Delville Wood Cemetery, Longueval, France. (27.D.1.)

Medal Entitlement: 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 


William Noah CHALKLEY

241933

Private

2/5th Battalion. Yorkshire Regiment

Died on the 11th April 1918 aged 42.

William lived at 56 Stanmore Road and before joining the Army was employed as a Gardener. The battalion was part of the Territorial Army and only served in the UK. Whilst in the performance of his duties he caught a serious cold and requested to be sent home so that he could be nursed. His wife looked after him for six weeks but eventually he succumbed to his illness and died

As Noah had not served overseas he was not entitled to any of the Great War medals.

He is buried at St.Nicholas churchyard, Stevenage.

 


Arthur CHAMBERLAIN

134873

Sapper

“Z” Special Company. Royal Engineers

Killed In Action on the 3rd April 1917 aged 25.

 

Arthur was the son of Eli & Julia Chamberlain of 125 High Street. Before joining the Army he worked in his fathers Plumbing & Gas fitting business which may be the reason why he was selected to serve in a special unit of the Royal Engineers.

He was serving in “Z” company of the Royal Engineers which was a unit specialising in the use of Gas & Flame Projectors. On the 3rd April 1917 the company were proceeding along the Lille Road near Arras when they were heavily shelled by German artillery, killing Arthur Chamberlain and his Sergeant and seriously wounding their officer, who died three days later from his injuries at a Casualty Clearing Station near Aubigny.

The other casualties were;

Lieutenant Clement Stuart HOGG aged 25 of Clapham, London. He is buried in the Aubigny Communal Cemetery Extension

19883 Sergeant Richard Reginald FORD M.M. aged 29 of Cullompton, Devon. He has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Arras Memorial (Bay 1.)

Arthur is buried in the St.Nicholas British Cemetery, Pas De Calais, France. ( Grave: I.A.1.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 


William CHAMBERLAIN

21056

Private

2nd Battalion. Border Regiment

Killed In Action on the 1st July 1916.

William was the son of Sarah Chamberlain of 6 Bowling Green, Stevenage.

He joined the Army on the 25th May 1910 and served in the Bedfordshire Regiment with the Service Number 9619 and was posted to France on the 6th October 1914. He and a another Stevenage man, Harold Holdron were to be killed in the most renowned battle of all, the first day of The Battle of the Somme, where the British army suffered some 60,000 casualties. He fell when his battalion was involved in the assault on Mametz. The attack began at 07.27am with the Battalion being given the task of capturing a series of German trenches named; Danube Trench, Apple Alley, Shrine Alley and Hidden Lane.

The troops met with heavy machine gun fire from the village of Mametz as well as from Fricourt, which was to their left. Eventually, they managed to achieve all their objectives but had suffered 343 casualties, including William Chamberlain. He is buried in the Dantzig Alley British Cemetery, Mametz, France. (9.I.4.)

Medal Entitlement: 1914 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 


Ernest CHAMBERS

105816 

Shoeing Smith

No. 2 Section. Guards Division Ammunition Column.

Royal Field Artillery

Died on the 20th November 1918 aged 32.

 

Ernest was the son of John & Elizabeth Chambers of Symonds Green, Stevenage. Before joining the Army he had been employed by T.G & H.E.Worboys, Timber Merchants in Stevenage.

He served as a Blacksmith with the Royal Artillery and was posted to France on the 13th December 1915. Whilst on leave in September 1918 he married Kathleen Stutley. Two months later he died in hospital of bronchial Pneumonia, probably as a result of contracting influenza. His brother, Seymour, was killed in action on the 24th June 1917.

Ernest is buried in the Le Quesnoy Communal Cemetery Extension, France. (1.C.10.)

Medal Entitlement: 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

Seymour Augustus CHAMBERS

28315

Private

7th  Battalion. Northamptonshire Regiment

Killed In Action on the 24th June 1917 aged 26.

Seymour was the son of John & Elizabeth Chambers of Symonds Green. He married Anie Gray on the 24th May 1915 and the couple lived at 4 Nottingham Road, Stevenage. His brother, Ernest, died of Pneumonia on the 20th November 1918, probably as a result of contracting influenza.

He attested for Army service on the 10th December 1915 at the age of 24 years and 8 months and was called up on the 30th September 1916. Seymour arrived at Calais on the 26th January 1917 as part of the 7th Battalion of the Nothamptonshire Regiment. He was posted to the Regimental Training Battalion on the same day and returned to his parent Battalion on the 2nd March 1917.

On the 15th June 1917 the Battalion relieved the 12th Royal Fusiliers in a front line sector close to Hill 60 near Ypres. Action in this area of the Western Front was constant and troops, on both sides, suffered continued daily shelling as well as numerous trench raids. On the 24th June the Battalion were in the process of being relieved in order that they could obtain some respite from these arduous conditions. The relief was heavily shelled and were also subjected to a number of British gas shells, which had fallen short of their target. Although this period at the front had cost the Battalion 30 lives, only Seymour was killed during the relief stage.

Seymour is buried in the Dickebusch Military Cemetery Extension, Ypres, Belgium. (2.A.43.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

 


William Charles CLARK

41742

Private

8th Battalion. Lincolnshire Regiment

Missing In Action on the 10th September 1917 aged 19.

William was the son of Percy John Clark of 55 Walkern Road. He was to lose his life during The Third Ypres, or Battle of  Passchendaele.

The offensive was launched on 31 July 1917 and continued until the fall of Passchendaele village on the 6th November.  Although it resulted in gains for the Allies it was by no means the breakthrough General Haig intended, and such gains as were made came at great cost in human terms. The area had seen the heaviest rains 30 years and this, combined with the intensive shelling, had turned the ground into a hellish morass.

His Battalion was involved in a heavy period of fighting in theHollebeke sector and, following an action in Rossignol Wood, had moved to a Reserve area near Berthen. It is not yet known how William lost his life.

He has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, Belgium.

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

 


John William COLLINS

33644

Private

9th Battalion. East Surrey Regiment

Missing In Action on the 5th August 1917 aged 22.

John was born on the 19th June 1895 the son of John & Annie Collins of 48 Alleynes Road, Stevenage. He worked as a Milk Boy for Francis Franklin of Rooks Nest Farm after leaving school and later lived with his wife, Daisy, & child at 29 Alleynes Road.

He was to lose his life during a major British offensive, The Battle of  Passchendaele.The offensive had been launched on 31 July 1917 and continued until the fall of Passchendaele village on 6 th  November.  Although it resulted in gains for the Allies it was by no means the breakthrough General Haig intended, and such gains as were made came at great cost in human terms. On the 18th July 1917 a heavy preliminary artillery bombardment had begun which lasted for the ten days prior to the launch of the attack. The bombardment was made by 3,000 guns which expended four and a quarter million shells into the surrounding ground.  Given such an onslaught the German Fourth Army fully expected the attack and the element of surprise was entirely lost. Added to this was the fact that the area was suffering the heaviest rains it had seen for 30 years and this, combined with the shelling, turned the ground into a hellish morass.

On the 2nd August the Battalion left it’s billets at Dickebusch Camp and moved to positions in Old French trench. By then it had been raining for three days and conditions were very bad with troops waist deep in water and liquid mud. In addition, the German artillery added to the troops misery by intensely shelling the area, causing a considerable number of casualties.

On the 5th August John Collins was among a group of 30 men who were in several forward listening posts. They were attacked by a German raiding party which consisted of about 25-30 heavily armed men. A Lewis gun was used in an attempt to drive off the raiders but this was dropped and became jammed by thick mud. Eventually, the men in three of the posts withdrew through Jordan Trench to a position known as Alarm Weg. A total of fourteen men had been left behind either killed or wounded, including John Collins.

His body was never recovered and he has no known grave. His name is recorded on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Belgium. (Panel 34.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 


Cecil Henry COOPER

S/4310

Rifleman

13th Battalion. Rifle Brigade

Died on the 25th January 1917 aged 23.

 

Cecil was the son of Edward & Eliza Cooper of 24 Hellards Road, Stevenage. Before joining the Army he worked as a local Blacksmith.

He Collapsed at Victoria station whilst returning from France for his first leave having served at the Front for 18 months. He was taken to the 2nd London General Hospital where he died having suffered heart failure.

Cecil is buried in the St.Nicholas Churchyard, Stevenage.

Medal Entitlement: 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 


Edward John CROFT

219160 

Master At Arms

Royal Navy

HMS Victory.

Died on the 30th March 1919 aged 33.

Edward was born on the 5th September 1886, the son of Mr & Mrs W Croft. At the time of his death he lived in Southsea with his wife, Alice, and their two children. Edward entered the Royal Navy as a Boy seaman in the Signals branch in 1902. By 1906 he had become a leading seaman and later in 1908-9 took part in the suppression of the Armenian massacres and in the Messina earthquake rescues. In 1911 he was promoted to Petty Officer.  He was selected for duty on HMS Renown and served on her between 7th September 1905 to 31st May 1906 where he was the personal Signal of the Prince & Princess of Wales who later became the King Edward & Queen Mary. In 1913 Edward transferred to the Naval Police and later served on HMS Invincible.

He then served in the super dreadnought HMS Agincourt from the outbreak of war until April 1915 after which he was posted to the light cruiser HMS Caroline as acting Master at Arms. Whilst serving with this cruiser he took part in several actions and was involved in the Battle of Jutland during which he suffered shell shock and was sent to Haslar Hospital for recovery.

In January 1917 he was posted to the shore offices of the Dover Submarine Flotilla and whilst there a bomb fell, during an enemy air raid, quite close to him causing a reoccurrence of the shell shock. He returned to Haslar hospital and gradually developed Locomotor Ataxia, which eventually lead to his death in January 1919.

He is buried in the Royal Naval Cemetery, Eastney, Southsea. (H.10.24)

 

 

 


Charles Sydney DAY

331036

Private

10th Battalion.  Lancashire Fusiliers.

Died Of Wounds on the 4th June 1918 aged 33.

Charles was the son of Charles & Caroline Day of White Hart Close, Stevenage. He married Agnes Oakley on the 14th July 1917 in Walkern. He had served for over three years in No.4 Company of the Hertfordshire Regiment and was later transferred to the Lancashire Fusiliers, possibly as a result of the losses suffered by the British army in the German Spring Offensive of 1918.

On the 4th June 1918 the Battalion was situated in Beaumont Trench near the village of Beaumont Hamel in the Somme sector of the Western Front. At 2.30am the Battalion positions were subjected to a heavy artillery barrage, under the cover of which the Germans launched a Trench Raid. Three Raiding Parties, containing approximately 40 men, attacked the British positions and initally overwhelmed one part of the trench. However, after a fierce fight they were eventually driven off leaving the Battalion with 13 Killed, 15 Missing and 21 Wounded. including Charles Day. He died later that morning as a result of his injuries.

He is buried in the Acheux War Cemetery, France. (1.D.24)

Medal Entitlement: 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

                     

 

Herbert Thomas DAY

  25426

  Private

4th Battalion. Bedfordshire Regiment

Died Of Wounds on the 01/11/17 aged 23.

 

Herbert was born on the 1st September 1894 the son of Thomas & Mary Day of 59 Walkern Road Stevenage and was to lose his life during the closing stages of  The Battle of  Passchendaele.

The offensive had been launched on 31 July 1917 and continued until the fall of Passchendaele village on 6 November.  Although it resulted in gains for the Allies it was by no means the breakthrough General Haig intended, and such gains as were made came at great cost in human terms. The area had suffered the heaviest rains it had seen for 30 years and this, combined with intensive shelling from both sides, had turned the ground into a hellish morass.

The battalion was involved in an attack near Westrozebeke, which is North-West of Ypres. The assault commenced at 05.50am and the going was very bad with many men up to their knees in mud. To make matters worse the Germans were expecting the attack and once it commenced they brought heavy shelling to bear on the advancing British troops. Even those who were not caught in the barrage could not move and were shot by German snipers while sticking in the mud. Little headway was made and the Battalion suffered some 234 casualties, including 157 wounded.

It is believed that Herbert Day was amongst those wounded and died the following day as a result of his injuries.

Herbert is buried in the Dozinghem Military Cemetery, Poperinge, Belgium. (12.D.18.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 


Alfred William DRAPER

3/7915 

Company Sergeant Major

4th Battalion. Bedfordshire Regiment

Killed In Action on the 12th April 1918 aged 37 .

Alfred was born on the 2nd March 1881 the son of William & Rebecca Draper. He was the husband of Annie Draper of 9 Church Path, Stevenage.

He arrived in France on the 30th August 1915 and served with the Battalion in many actions on the Western Front.

The German offensive in March 1918 threw the British Army in the Somme region into complete disarray. The speed of the enemy advance often left units cut-off and the fighting was both confused and bitter. During the period 22nd - 27th March the Battalion had been in continuous action and it was during this time that that their commander, Lt.Colonel Collings-Wells received the Victoria Cross. Alfred had been in the thick of the fighting throughout the entire time with only a short period of rest.

On the 3rd April 1918, after some re-organisation, the Battalion took over the sector on the Mesnil Ridge. Here, over the next few days, they were again involved in heavy fighting with German troops who were still attempting to break through the British lines. Alfred was killed, probably as a result of shellfire, when the battalion were in the line at Forceville, South of Mesnil.

His younger brother, George, had been killed in the same sector of the Somme two years earlier.

Alfred is buried in the Aveluy Wood Cemetery, Mensil-Martinsart, France. (3.G.4.)

Medal Entitlement: 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 


 

George DRAPER

4/6668

Private

“A” Company.  2nd Battalion. Bedfordshire Regiment

Missing In Action on the 30th July 1916 aged 20.

 

George was born on the 19th March 1896 the son of William & Rebecca Draper of 35 Haycroft Road.

He joined the 1st Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment and was posted to France on the 8th November 1914. He was later transferred to the 2nd Battalion of the Regiment.

He was killed during the Battle of the Somme. The plan of attack was for the 30th Division to attack due East and capture the German second line of defence between Falfemont Farm and Guillemont. The task was a big one where, in one place, the 89th Brigade had to advance for a distance of over a mile of big rolling countryside. Prior to the general advance a subsidiary attack was planned on Maltzhorn Farm. At 22.00 pm on the 29th July the battalion moved up to it's assembly positions South of Bernafoy and Trones Wood. The Germans shelled the battalion with Tear Gas and a new sort of Gas that caused violent stomach pains and headaches amongst the men. " A" Company attacked Maltzhorn Farm with a battalion of French troops and although they did not hold the Farm the attack was deemed a success. About 70 to 80 German troops were taken by surprise in a trench running North to South through the Farm and were, with one exception, all killed. " A" Company returned to the battalion having suffered about 30 casualties of which George Draper was one. Another Stevenage man, Alfred Forder, was to lose his life in the same assault later in the day.

His older brother, Alfred, was killed two years later whilst fighting in the same sector of the Somme.

George has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France. (Pier/Face 2C.)

Medal Entitlement: 1914 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 


Harold Frederick DYKE

650949

Corporal

“B” Company. 2/21st Battalion. London Regiment (First Surrey Rifles)

Killed In Action on the 31st March 1918 aged 27.

 

Harold was the son of Frederick Thomas & Florence Dyke of Six Hills, Stevenage. He was educated at Alleynes School and was also the secretary of the Stevenage Hockey Club. Before joing the Army he worked as an Insurance Clerk.

He joined the Surrey Rifles on the 3rd September 1914 and before his death had served in France, Salonika, Egypt & Palestine. He arrived in France on the 26th June 1916 where the Battalion served in the Ypres sector until the 30th November when they were shipped to Salonika. Whilst serving in this theatre he was admitted to hospital on a total of six occasions suffering froma variation of stomach related disorders. On the 17th June 1917 the Battalion were posted to Egypt to help in the fight against Turkish forces in the region. It was here that Harold was to lose his life.

On the 31st March 1918 the Battalion were located in the Wadi Amman, Syria.  Here they were ordered to advance on , and capture, Turkish positions. The assault began at 2.40am and the Battalion soon came under heavy machine gun and rifle fire from Turkish positions to their right.  “B” Company were ordered to attack these positions which they did so very successfully. They advanced very quickly and soon found themselves well in front of the Battalion and were able to capture 2 machine guns and 80 Turkish prisoners. The Company were then brought back to a Wadi on the Amman road in order that their commanding officer could determine the situation. The action had cost the Battalion 24 men killed or missing and a further 104 wounded.

Harold is buried in the Damascus Commonwealth War Cemetery, Syria. (F.27.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 


George Hubert EATON

Lieutenant

6th Machine Gun Squadron. 

19th Hussars

Killed In Action on the 25th March 1918 aged 23.

 

George was born on the 2nd September 1895, the son of Evelyn Mary Eaton. The family lived at Stevenage Lodge and George had a sister who, at the time of his death, was a renowned violinist. He applied to join the army on the 15th October 1914, at the age of 19 years, having already served three years in the Eton Officer Training Corps. His attestation papers show that he opted for a cavalry regiment, preferably the 19th Hussars. His reasons for wanting to join the cavalry were that he had hunted for several years and had ridden in several steeplechases. George was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant into his preferred regiment on the 6th July 1916 and received a temporary promotion to Lieutenant on the 29th July.

This seemingly rapid promotion gives an indication to the high level of casualties being suffered amongst the officer ranks during the summer of 1916. It was on the 14th August 1916 that George joined the 6th Machine Gun Squadron.

The exact circumstances of his death are not yet known. However, it is recorded that after he was killed his body was buried in a position 1250 yards South of Dampcourt, East of Noyon.

A letter sent to his family in October 1920 explains that George was later exhumed and moved to the Chauny Communal Cemetery British Extension, France.

 Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

 

 

Alfred John EMERY

L/10015

Sergeant

1st Battalion. Middlesex Regiment

Killed In Action on the 23rd October 1918 aged 31.

 

Alfred was the son of John & Julia Emery of 9 North Road and the husband of Ellen Maud Emery of The Vicarage, Thorne, Doncaster. He had only just settled in Doncaster prior to his death.  He arrived in France on the 11th August 1914, just a week after the war broke out and served continuously on the Western Front for almost the entire period of the war.

Just two weeks before the Amistace was reached the Battalion were in position near Montay. Here they were ordered to assault German positions located in the forest. Although the Battalion was successful in it’s attack, and 200 German prisoners were captured, their losses were high. Alfred is believed to have been killed by Machine Gun fire.

His brother, Frederick, had been killed on the 19th April 1915 whilst serving in France with the Bedfordshire Regiment.

Alfred is buried in the Romeries Communal Cemetery Extension, France. (Special Memorial. B.4.)

Medal Entitlement: 1914 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 


Frederick William EMERY

4/4560

Private

2nd Battalion. Bedfordshire Regiment

Killed In Action on the 19th April 1915 aged 28.

 

Frederick was the son of John & Julia Emery of 9 North Road. He arrived in France on the 19th October 1914, some two months after his brother. The battalion was billeted at La Gorgue, a suburb of Estaires, and it was here that Frederick is believed to have been shot by a sniper.

His elder brother, Alfred, was killed on the 23rd October 1918 whilst serving in France with the Middlesex Regiment..

Frederick is buried in the Fauquissart Military Cemetery, Laventie, France. (Grave.F.4.)

Medal Entitlement: 1914 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 


William Harmer EYDEN

22454

Private

3rd Battalion. Grenadier Guards

Died Of Wounds on the 26th September 1916 aged 30.

 

William was the son of William & Sarah Ann Eyden of Fishers Green.

He was to lose his life during the Battle of Morval. part of the Somme offensive. On the 24th September 1916 the Battalion formed up in the assembly trenches in front of the village of Ginchy. Regimental records show the trenches were so narrow that the men could not sit or lie down in them and had to remain shoulder to shoulder until the following day when, at 12.35, they attacked Ginchy. The assault was held up by uncut wire and four officers went forward to try and cut it by hand. The battalion, led by NCOs, then charged through the gap to take the objective but the cost was high with William being amongst the wounded. He died the next day as a result of his injuries.

William is buried in the St.Sever Cemetery, Rouen, Seine-Maritime, France. (B.23.59.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 


Arthur Frederick FAIREY

B/203646

Rifleman

3rd Battalion. Rifle Brigade

Died Of Wounds on the 28th March 1918 aged 27 .

Arthur was the son of Arthur & Emil Fairey who lived at the Fisherman public house in Fishers Green, Stevenage. Before joining up he was employed by T.Briden & Son.

He initially served as Private R/21640 of the Kings Royal Rifle Corps. The cause of his death is not currently known, other than the fact that he died as a result of injuries received in action. This was an extremely chaotic time for the British army following the surprise attack by German forces along a wide front in the Somme sector on the 21st March 1918. It took many days for the British troops to recover from the assault and re-establish themselves into a cohesive force.

Arthur is buried in the Cayeux Military Cemetery, Somme, France.

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

 


Ivan Gordon FELLOWES

Midshipman

Royal Navy

HMS Irresistible

Died At Sea on the 18th March 1915 aged 17.

Ivan Fellowes was born on the 16th January 1898, the youngest son of Rear Admiral Sir Thomas Fellowes KCB and Margaret Fellowes. The family lived at Woodfield Park, Stevenage. He entered the service with the Royal Navy in January 1911, aged 13 and joined the crew of HMS Irresistable at the outbreak of war in August 1914.

On 19th February, 1915, Admiral Carden began his attack on the Dardanelles forts. The assault started with a long range bombardment followed by heavy fire at closer range. As a result of the bombardment the outer forts were abandoned by the Turks. The minesweepers were brought forward and managed to penetrate six miles inside the straits and clear the area of mines. Further advance up into the straits was now impossible. The Turkish forts were too far away to be silenced by the Allied ships. The minesweepers were sent forward to clear the next section but they were forced to retreat when they came under heavy fire from the Turkish batteries. On the night of 8th March the undetected Turkish minelayer, Ausret, laid many mines in the area of the Dardanelle’s Narrows. On 18th March eighteen battleships entered the straits. The fleet included Queen Elizabeth, Lord Nelson, Agamemmon, Inflexible, Ocean, Irresistible, Prince George and Majestic from Britain and the Gaulois, Bouvet and Suffren from France. At first they made good progress until the Bouvet struck a mine, heeled over, capsized and disappeared in a cloud of smoke. Soon afterwards two more ships, Irresistible and Ocean also hit mines. Most of the men in these two ships were rescued but by the time the Allied fleet retreated, over 700 men had been killed.

His elder brother, Rupert was killed in action on the Western Front on the 21st August 1918 whilst serving with the Coldstream Guards.

Ivan has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

 

 

 


Rupert Caldwell Butler FELLOWES

Captain

No.4 Company. 1st Battalion.  Coldstream Guards

Killed In Action on the 21st August 1918 aged 24.

Rupert was born on the 12th May 1894 the third son of Rear Admiral Sir Thomas Hounsom Butler Fellowes KCB and Margaret Fellowes (nee Jowitt). The family lived at Woodfield Park, Stevenage. He became a student of Balliol College, Oxford and on the 19th August 1914 applied for service in an Infantry regiment. The 20 year-old, who stood at 6 feet tall, was, at that time, an undergraduate and had a passion for horse riding.

Rupert was commissioned into the Guards on the 19th November 1914 and promoted to Lieutenant on the 20th February 1915. He was posted to France on the 20th May of that year and on his arrival in France he became the ADC to the General Officer Commanding the 14th Division.

On the 15th September 1916 Rupert was wounded in his right thigh, and evacuated to a field hospital. Four days later he was taken aboard the SS Lanfranc at Le Harve and sailed to Southampton. He remained on sick leave until the 3rd March 1917 during which time he resided at the Bachelor Club in Piccadilly, London. On the 2nd of April that year he was declared fit for Home Service and it was not until the 4th June that a medical board decided Rupert was fit for overseas service. He was then ordered to report to Victoria Barracks, Windsor in preparation for returning to France. He then served continuously on the Western Front until his death.

At 7pm on the 20th August 1918 the Battalion left Saulty by lorry and headed toward Moyenneville. They arrived at a point along the Boiry - Moyenneville road at about 9.30pm and debussed. Tea, rum and cigarettes were issued to the troops after which they set off in Company order to their respective assembly positions. Rupert Fellowes was in command of No.4 Company, which was in place at a point known as S.27.Central in support of No.1 Company. The Battalion was in position by 3am with zero hour being set for 4.55am and was to be supported by ten tanks from the 12th Battalion of the Tank Corps.

A thick mist started to set in prior the attack and the tanks had great difficulty in finding their assembly points. At zero hour No’s 1, 2 & 4 Companies set off towards their objectives but by this time the fog was impenetrable and was worsened by a smoke barrage laid down by the artillery making it impossible to see any further than three yards in front. By 6.30am the Battalion had covered the fog bound 1000 yards and captured their objectives but described their tank support as being of little or no assistance. Up to this point they had suffered only 10 casualties but shortly afterward the German artillery rained down on Moyenneville and the casualties began to mount up. It was during this initial action that Rupert Fellowes was killed.

A letter to his Father, dated 3rd September 1918, simply lists his inventory of effects as, " 1 Silver Wrist Watch (Damaged)".

Rupert is buried in the British Cemetery in Bac-Du-Sud, France. (3.A.30).

Medal Entitlement: 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 


Alfred FORDER

17523

Private

2nd Battalion. Bedfordshire Regiment

Missing In Action on the 30th July 1916 aged 30.

 

Alfred was the son of Alfred & Emma Forder of 55 Haycroft Road. He arrived in France on the 9th June 1915. The plan of attack was for 30th Division to attack due East and capture the German second line of defence between Falfemont Farm and Guillemont. The task was a big one where, in one place, the 89th Brigade had to advance for a distance of over a mile of big rolling countryside. Prior to the general advance a subsidiary attack was planned on Maltzhorn Farm. At 22.00 pm on the 29th July the battalion moved up to it's assembly positions South of Bernafoy and Trones Wood. The Germans shelled the battalion with Tear Gas and a new sort of Gas that caused violent stomach pains and headaches amongst the men. " A" Company attacked Maltzhorn Farm with a battalion of French troops and although they did not hold the Farm the attack was deemed a success. About 70 - 80 German troops were taken by surprise in a trench running North to South through the Farm and were, with one exception, all killed.

" A" Company returned to the battalion having suffered about 30 casualties. By this time a fog had come up and made things extremely difficult for the assaulting troops to determine the line of attack. This was then compounded by heavy shelling from the German artillery and the whole attack started in a very lose direction. After much confusion the fog lifted at about 11.00 am and it was discovered that the attack had failed. The subsidiary attack and the main assault had cost the battalion over 200 casualties. It is not known whether Alfred Forder was killed in the subsidiary or main assault, as his body was never recovered from the battlefield. George Draper, another Stevenage man, was to also be lost in the same attack.

Alfred Forder has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France. (Pier/Face 2C.)

Medal Entitlement: 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 


Henry Charles FORDER   DCM

8118

Private

2nd Battalion. Bedfordshire Regiment

Died on the 21st January 1918 aged 30 .

 

Henry was born in 1887, the only son of Mr H C Forder of 31 North Road. On the 12th November 1904, at the age of 18 years and 10 months, Henry, then employed as a Labourer, joined the Bedfordshire Regiment at Hitchin.
 
In February 1906 Henry was posted with the 1st Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment to India, where the Commander of the Jhansi Brigade reported that the Battalion was in very good order and that discipline was good. On the 5th December 1907 the Battalion boarded the Troopship “Assaye” and embarked for service in Aden, where they served for a further 12 months. It was here, in February 1908, that Henry received his certificate of education. Then, on the 8th December 1908, the Battalion boarded the Troopship “Rohilla”with the following contingent; 18 Officers, 1 Lady, 2 Warrant Officers, 1 Armourer Quartermaster Sergeant, 42 Sergeants, 16 Drummers, 37 Corporals, 575 Privates & 2 Children. The ship arrived at Southampton on the 23rd December 1908 and proceeded, the same day, to Colchester.

Henry also saw service in Bermuda between January 1910 and January 1912 when he was posted to South Africa, where he served until March 1913 when he returned to Home service.

With the outbreak of the First World War Henry was posted to France on the 16th August 1914  with the 1st Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment. The Battalion marched out of  Le Harve to the cheers of the local population and encamped outside of the town. On the 16th August the Battalion moved, by train, to Le Cateau where they then marched a further 5 miles to billets in Pommereuill. During their service here the Battalion were involved in a number of engagements with German troops but were eventually forced to retreat, suffering a number of casualties.

Henry suffered a sprain to his right foot on the 6th September 1914 and was returned to the UK on the 10th September 1914, where he was admitted to hospital in Clacton.. He remained in hospital until the 8th November when he was posted back to France, joining the 2nd Battalion at Bailleul on the 12th November 1914. He then served with the Battalion throughout the winter of 1914/15 and on the 9th January 1915 was promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal, achieving the rank of Corporal three weeks later. He was appointed the rank of Lance Sergeant on the 15th May 1915 and, eventually, was promoted to Sergeant on the 25th September 1915.

Henry was admitted to No.97 Field Ambulance on the 28th March 1916, suffering from Laryngitis. He was sent to the 30th Division Rest Station, where he remained until 2nd April when he was posted back to his unit.

On the 11th July 1916, Henry was wounded at Trones Wood but remained at duty.

On the 15th August 1916 he was Reduced To The Ranks as a result of Inefficiency. There currently appears to be no explanation for this event

On the 25th February 1917 Henry was admitted to No.96 Field Ambulance suffering with Dyspepsia. He was sent to 30th Division Rest Station on 26th February. His condition grew worse and he was eventually sent to No.22 General Hospital at Camiers on the 10th March 1917. On the 15th March Henry boarded the Hospital Ship Gloucester Castle and returned to England.

He was admitted to the Welsh Metropolitan War Hospital and on the 28th March 1917 was subject of a medical board, where it was determined that he was suffering from Pulmonary Tuberculosis and that he was no longer fit for war service. Henry was discharged from the Army on the 18th April 1917 under Para.392 (XVI) of Kings Regulations. He was awarded the Silver Wound Badge and returned to civilian life.

Henry Forder died in Ware Hospital on the 21st January 1918 from Pulmonary Tuberculosis, which, a local newspaper report claimed, was as a result of the effects of being gassed and exposure. Henry is buried in the St.Nicholas Churchyard, Stevenage. A local newspaper also claimed that Henry was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal in January 1918 but official records do not substantiate this claim.

Henry is buried in the St.Nicholas Churchyard, Stevenage.

Medal Entitlement: 1914 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal & Silver Wound Badge

 

 

 


Cuthbert FOSTER

20950 

Flight Lieutenant (Pilot)

88 Squadron.  Royal Air Force

Missing In Action on the 27the September 1918 aged 19.

Cuthbert Foster was born on the 18th October 1898 and lived at 39 Walkern Road, Stevenage. After completing his education Cuthbert began work as a Bank Clerk but by this time the war had begun and he was carried along with the wave of patriotism, like so many young men of his generation. Shortly after his 18th birthday he volunteered for military service and joined the Army in February 1917 as a Private.

In November 1917 he was selected for a commission in the RFC and soon began his pilot training. During his flying training he suffered two crashes, both of which he managed to survive which, with flying still in it's infancy, was something of an achievement in itself. Despite these setbacks Cuthbert eventually graduated as a pilot on the 27th February 1918 and after gaining his " wings" was swiftly posted to " C" Flight of No.88 Fighter Squadron, which had only recently been formed.  The men of the squadron departed for France aboard the " HM Australind" on the 16th April 1918, arriving at Le Harve the following day.

Although they were quickly taken to their final destination, Berques-Capelle aerodrome, the squadron's aircraft did not arrive there until the 25th April with their first offensive operation being flown the next day. The Squadron moved to Drionville aerodrome on the 19th July for short period after, which they moved to Serny aerodrome, arriving there on the 2nd August 1918.

Local newspaper reports state that during his time at the front Cuthbert was credited with shooting down six enemy aircraft and was responsible for damaging a great many more. Although squadron records indicate that he flew many types of aircraft including the DH6, Sopwith Pup and BE12, as well as the Bristol Fighter there is only one entry in the 1918 log which credits Cuthbert with the destruction of an enemy aircraft. This was on the 4th September when he, and his Observer, Lieutenant B H Smyth, were in combat with a Fokker biplane over Seclin. The enemy aircraft was seen to dive to the ground out of control to, it must be assumed, and it’s destruction.

On the 27th September 1918 Cuthbert climbed aboard his Bristol F2b fighter, E2153, along with his observer, Sergeant Thomas Proctor (212137) a 31 year-old from Belfast. Along with four other aircraft they were to perform an escort role for aircraft of No.103 Squadron who were on a bombing mission. During the flight they were attacked by a number of enemy aircraft and Cuthbert was seen to perform a double loop whilst out manoeuvring a German aircraft that was on his tail. Having done this successfully he was last seen in full control of his machine but flying low and heading for the British lines. It was assumed at the time that his aircraft was suffering from engine trouble and that he was attempting to make his way back to base. Sadly, neither Cuthbert, his observer, nor the aircraft were ever seen or heard of again.

His name is recorded on the Arras Flying Services Memorial, Pas-De-Calais, France. (Addenda Panel)

 

 

 


John FURR

53260

Private

11th Battalion. Manchester Regiment

Died Of Wounds on the 21st May 1918 aged 37 .

John was the son of Thomas & Mary Furr of Fishers Green, Stevenage. He lived at 1 Springfield Passage, Stevenage with his wife Phyllis and their daughters, Phyllis & Violet. Before the war had been employed at the Worbeys timber yard in Trinity Place. He was also one of five brothers who were serving in the Army all of whom had been either wounded or gassed, some both.

He died from a serious gunshot wound to his thigh.

John is buried in the Mont Huon Military Cemetery, Le Treport, France. (5.H.2B.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 


Frederick William GAME

17550

Private

6th Battalion. Bedfordshire Regiment

Missing In Action on the 15th July 1916 aged 19.

 

Frederick was the son of Jesse & Gertrude Game of “Hillcot”, Letchmore Road. Before the war he was employed at W.H.Smith & Son, the newsagent. He was posted to France on the 30th July 1915 and was killed when his battalion attacked Pozieres during the Somme offensive. The attack was headed by the 8th East Lancashire Regiment and supported by the both the 6th Bedfordshire's and the 11th Warwickshire Regiment. Initially, the advance went unopposed but as the two forward battalions went over the crest of the Chalk Pitt they were held up by heavy and accurate machine gun fire. The Bedford’s were forced to dig in about 100 yards from Liniere. Later, it was found that their attach had failed and they had suffered some 244 casualties with 3 Officers and 32 O/R's killed and a further 25 O/R's Missing, including Frederick Game.

He has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France. (Pier/Face 2C.)

Medal Entitlement: 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 


Cecil G GARDNER

233508

Private

2nd Battalion. London Regiment

Died on the 29th May 1919 aged 31.

Cecil Gardners’ military career was a relatively short one. He enlisted in the Army on the 19th April 1916 at the age of 28 and following his initial training was posted to the 2nd Entrenching Battalion of the City of London Royal Fusiliers. He embarked for service in France on the 29th August 1916, arriving in Le Harve the next day. After initial acclimatisation he joined his unit on the 18th September in the Combles sector of the Somme. At this point in the war the Battle of the Somme was well under way and fighting in the area was both bitter and heavy. On the 27th September, just 10 days after his arrival, Cecil was wounded by shellfire and received serious injuries to his left buttock and foot. His wound was serious enough for a decision to be made to remove his left leg. After a long process of recovery he was finally discharged from service in the Army on the 20th June 1917.

Cecil died from the effects of Pulmonary Tuberculosis on the 29th May 1919. He is buried at St.Nicholas churchyard, Stevenage.

Medal Entitlement:  British War Medal & Victory Medal, Silver Wound Badge.

 

 

 


Harry Gordon GARROD

265126

Sergeant

1st  Battalion. Hertfordshire Regiment

Missing In Action on the 31st July 1917 aged 23.

Harry, who initially served in the Regiment as Private 1773, arrived in France on the 6th November 1914. He served continuously with his Regiment and was to lose his life on the first day of a major British offensive, The Third Ypres, or Battle of  Passchendaele.

The offensive was launched on 31 July 1917 and continued until the fall of Passchendaele village on 6 November.  Although it resulted in gains for the Allies it was by no means the breakthrough General Haig intended, and such gains as were made came at great cost in human terms. The village of St. Juliaan lies on the Hanebeek, one of the small streams that drains the fields in this area. On the 18th July 1917 a heavy preliminary artillery bombardment began which lasted for the ten days prior to the launch of the attack. The bombardment was made by 3,000 guns which expended four and a quarter million shells into the surrounding ground.  Given such an onslaught the German Fourth Army fully expected the attack and the element of surprise was entirely lost. Added to this was the fact that the area was suffering the heaviest rains it had seen for 30 years and this, combined with the shelling, turned the ground into a hellish morass.

The Battalion were in support of an attack on the Langemarck Line and at 03.45am the planned assault began. It had three objectives to achieve known as Blue, Black & Green and units of the 116th Brigade easily captured the first two objectives, preparing the way for the forward companies of the Hertfordshire battalion, to take the third objective.

At 05.00am they left their assembly positions to attack their objective, which lay over the crest of a ridge. As they made their way forward they came under heavy fire from both German machine guns and snipers but after eliminating a German strongpoint moved up towards St.Julian, which was only lightly held. The battalion crossed the Steenbeek with some difficulty and two of its supporting Tanks became bogged down in the mud. Things then went from bad to worse. A pre-arranged artillery barrage never materialised due to the guns being unable to move forward over the muddy terrain and the German barbed wire defences, which were fifteen feet deep in some places, were found to still be intact.

It was soon realised that ground could only be won by section " rushes" supported by the unit’s own fire. The Cheshire Regiment were on the right of the battalion but the Black Watch, who were due to cover the left flank, had been seriously delayed. This left the Hertfordshire's seriously exposed and the Germans exploited this by bringing a hurricane of fire down upon the stricken troops. This was followed by a German counter-attack and by 10.30 am it was clear that the objective could not be achieved. Casualties were very heavy with 459 men being killed, missing or wounded.

Harry has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Belgium.

Medal Entitlement: 1914 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

 


Walter GATES

122721

Driver

66 Divisional Ammunition Column.  Royal Field Artillery

Died on the 8th October 1918 aged 21.

 

Walter was the youngest son of Mr & Mrs Gates of Park Farm, Aston. He had been married for two years at the time of his death and lived at 52 Alleynes Road, Stevenage. He had formerly been employed as a gardener at Shephall Bury gardens. Walter died of pneumonia at a French hospital on 8th October 1918, possibly as a result of contracting influenza.

Walter is buried in the Doingt Communal Cemetery Extension, France. (3.A.25.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

 

George GRAY

265923

Sergeant

1st Battalion. Hertfordshire Regiment

Missing In Action on the 30th March 1918 aged 26.

George was the son of Harry & Ann Gray of 20 Hellards Road. He initially served as Private 3265 and was posted to France on the 21st January 1915 where served continually with the Battalion and took part in the Battles of Festubert and Loos.  The Battalion were transferred, just two days before the Battle of the Somme began, to the 39th Division in the Ypres sector and did not return to the Somme until August 1916. In early 1917 the Territorial Regiments went through a re-numbering process and George was given the number 265923.

On the 21st March 1918 the Germans began a major offensive against the British Armies in the Somme sector, the attack fell on the British line between Arras and St.Quentin. The 1st Hertfordshires had recently transferred to the 116th Brigade, 39th Division and were being held in reserve near Gurlu Wood. The Battalion moved forward to positions near Villers Faucon to support the troops of the 16th Division who were retreating under the ferocity of the enemy attack. The following day the Battalion were heavily engaged in the recapture of St.Emilie but were later ordered to withdraw to line near Tincourt. There was much confused fighting during the retreat and many casualties were suffered. The situation had become dire for the British Army by this time and the retreat was turning into a rout. On the 23rd March the remnants of the Battalion had crossed the Somme River and by the morning of the 24th there were only eight officers left in command.

It was at this point that the Germans pushed forward between Clery and Rancourt and the 116th Brigade were forced back. Part of the Battalion had been cut-off and completely surrounded and were, eventually, to be taken prisoner. The remaing men of the Battalion fell back under the continuing pressure of the enemy advance and by now almost all control had been lost. The roads had become congested with transport and the various retreating units had become inextricably mixed. Gaps had appeared in the British lines and these were being exploited by the Germans who, on some occasions, had appeared in front of the retreating British, adding to the confusion. By the 27th March the Brigades of the 39th Division had lost contact with their Headquarters, which was practically surrounded. By this time the 166th Brigade was in a position on some high ground near Morcourt. Casualties had continued to mount and by this time there were just four officers remaining to command the troops.

On the morning of the 28th March the 39th Division began to withdraw but found that German troops were in their line of retreat. The 166th Brigade, including the remnants of the 1st Hertfordshire Battalion, attacked  the village of Wiencourt in an effort to force their way through. The men advanced with great determination but the assault soon fizzled out due to the sheer lack of troops and no proper supporting fire from artillery. By the evening the men of the Battalion, reported to still be in good spirits, had reached a position near the River Luce. The withdrawal continued throughout the 29th with the Battalion assembling in a wood about a mile north-west of Aubercourt.

The following day the confused fighting continued resulting in further casualties, including George Gray. Ironically, he was to lose his life on the day that the 39th Division were relieved by the troops of the 18th Division. Between the 21st and 30th March the men of the 1st Hertfordshires had withdrawn a distance of 30 miles, as the crow flies. They had marched many more than this and had been fighting almost continuously all the way. George had seen much action on the Western Front  and this is where he remains as his body was never found, and he has no known grave.

His name is recorded on the Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France. (Panel 89/90.)

Medal Entitlement: 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

 


William Rudge GREEN

358084

Gunner

62nd Siege Battery.  Royal Garrison Artillery (TF)

Died Of Wounds on the 14th October 1917 aged 36.

 

William was the son of George & Emma Green of 17 North Road.

He died on the 14th October 1917 from the effects of Gas Poisioning. .

He is buried in the Dozinghem Military Cemetery, Poperinge, Belgium. (9.I.6.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 


Harry Hastings GRIGG

Captain

1/3rd Battalion. Gurkha Rifles. Attached to 2/3rd Gurkha Rifles

Killed In Action on the 16th May 1915.

 

The cause of his death is not currently known. Buried in St.Vaast Post Military Cemetery, Richebourg-L'Avoue, France.

Medal Entitlement: 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

 


George HAGGAR

19448

Private

1st Battalion. Bedfordshire Regiment

Missing In Action on the 27th July 1916 aged 20.

 

George was the son of Charles & Hannah Haggar of Wallington, Baldock. He was posted to France on the 3rd November 1915 and was killed in the attack on Longueval during the Battle of the Somme. The battalion suffered heavy casualties from gas shelling during the advance to the forward positions and again at the assembly line. There was considerable action in the area and a German artillery barrage brought down a “hurricane” of fire on the men of “B” & “D” Companies, who each lost over 50% of their men.

George has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Theipval Memorial, France. (Pier/Face 2C.)

Medal Entitlement: 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

Cecil Gorden Hawkes

42544

Private

11th Battalion. Essex Regiment

Killed In Action on the 21st April 1918 age 22 .

(Formerly 13307 Bedfordshire Regiment)

 

Cecil was the son of George & Rosanna Hawkes of 15 Homlesdale Terrace, Stevenage.

He was performing one of the most dangerous front line tasks, that of company runner. This involved the carrying of messages to and from forward positions, often across open ground, in order to keep commanders updated on the current state of any action.  The Battalion were in position at Zillebeke Lake in the Ypres sector, which was part of the Dolls House line. The Germans attacked the sector with a barrage of gas shells which resulted in 10 casualties, one of whom, Cecil Hawkes, died.

Cyril is buried in the Ramparts Cemetery, Lille Gate, Ypres, Belgium. (Grave. J.9.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 


Robert HEMMINGS

5223

Private

59th Company, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)

Died Of Wounds on the 7th July 1916 aged 24.

(Formerly 22307 Bedfordshire Regiment)

 

Robert was the son of Charles & Mary Hemmings and the husband of Clara Hemmings (nee Carpenter). He lived with his wife and two children in Mulberry Cottage, Knebworth. After he was seriously wounded his wife visited him in hospital in Bolougne. He was later transferred to a hospital in Leicester where he later died from the effects of his wounds.

Robert is buried in the Welford Road Cemetery, Leicester. (O1.290.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 


Henry Joseph HESKINS

4/7089

Private

1/4th Battalion. West Riding Regiment

Died on the 19th December 1916 aged 19.

 

Henry was the son of Henry & Elizabeth Heskins of 72 Basils Road.

His Battalion were stationed at Halloy, where they were undergoing training and the exact circumstances of his death are not yet known but it is believed that he may have died from disease.

He is buried in the Etaples Military Cemetery, France. (20.J.1A.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 


Harold Oldershaw HEWES

G/19015

Private

6th Battalion. East Kent Regiment

Died Of Wounds on the 24th May 1917 aged 19.

 

Harold was the only son of Thomas & Annie Hewes. Between the 8th and 16th May 1917 the Battalion were in position near the village of Roeux, outside of Arras. During this period they were very heavily shelled by German artillery and it is believed that Harold was amongst the wounded. He died on the 24th May as a result of his injuries.

Harold is buried in the Etaples Military Cemetery, France. (25.D.10A.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

 


Harold Douglas HOLDRON

2276

Private

1/5th Battalion. London Regiment

Missing In Action on the 1st July 1916 aged 23.

 

Harold Douglas Holdron was born on the 24th October 1892 in Portsmouth, the son of Priscilla & George Holdron. Having spent his early years and received his initial education in the coastal city, the family then moved to Stevenage and resided at “Raveloe”, No.8 Green Street, where Harold enrolled as a pupil at Alleynes Grammar School to continue his schooling.

Having completed his education he obtained employment as a stockbrokers clerk at the Baltic Exchange in the City of London, where he was working when war broke out in August 1914. On the wars commencement he attempted to enlist with the H.M. Forces, but was found to be unfit for military service and was refused admission on medical grounds. The exact cause of this is yet unknown.

Harold continued in his civilian job for the next 11 months until, on the 4th June1915, he entered the Head Quarters of the 5th London Regiment (London Rifle Brigade), a Regiment of the Territorial Army,  in Sun Street, and this time the medical inspection failed to reveal, or overlooked, the flaw that caused the refusal in August 1914. He paid the £1 annual subscription for what the Corps regards as, “the privilege of membership to its ranks”, and voluntarily enlists as Rifleman No. 2276, being initially assigned to the Regiments 3rd Battalion for training.He spent the next 6 months training with the 3rd Battalion until, on the 11th November 1915, he was posted to the Western Front with a reinforcement draft to the 1st Battalion, joining it wintering in the bleak trenches of the frozen mire of the Ypres salient where he was assigned to ‘D’ Company, No.14 Platoon, and where he was to have his first experiences of the line.

After trench tours in the Ypres sector for the next 2 months the Battalion was withdrawn from the line and moveed 30 miles to the rear to the Abbeville district where its sister London Territorial regiments are forming the new 56th (London) Division. On arrival the Battalion became one of the constituent units of the new 169th (Infantry) Brigade. Harold spent the next 3 months with the 1st Battalion, refitting and training for the “Big Push” that was expected in the Summer of 1916. At the end of May, the preparation of the London Territorials being judged complete, they re-entered the trenches once more at the village of Hebuterne, facing across No Man`s Land towards the formidable German held trench fortress of the Gommecourt salient, which they had been brought there to assault.

After touring the Hebuterne trenches throughout June 1916, the Battalion withdrew to a village in the rear to rehearse for the part that they were to play in the assault, the capture of the South face of the Gommecourt salient, the most advanced point in the West of the Germans positions in 1916, and probably the most heavily defended. Harold then became a member of ‘D’ Companys wiring party, tasked with going over amidst the assaulting waves loaded with coils of barbed-wire and screw-pickets and erecting thru a “rapid wiring” technique a barbed-wire entanglement screen in front of a German trench that his Company was tasked with capturing. This was a measure to secure it from any unexpected counter-attacks that might emerge from the German infantry trying to defend the salient.

At 7.20am on the 1st July 1916, smoke was released from the left of the Battalion position and the attacking troops formed up in no man’s land. Then at zero hour, 7.30am, the troops moved off toward their objectives. Records show that each man was dressed in full battle order and carried, two bandoliers of extra ammunition, a full water bottle, a full set of rations, a Mackintosh sheet, two smoke helmets, two Mills grenades and three sandbags.

The first two of the Battalions objectives were reached with comparatively light losses, as the enemy wire had been cut sufficiently enough by the earlier artillery bombardments to cause little trouble to the attacking troops. Harold and his Wiring Party went into the assault and, at around 7.40am, whilst engaged in setting out the barbed-wire entanglement within a captured German communication trench called ‘Eck’, next to a shattered trench fortification known as ‘The Maze’, a shell exploded close by and he was struck in the head by a large fragment and killed. It is uncertain if this was a German shell from a counter barrage or a British shell that had fallen short of its target. What is certain is that the Battalion was cut off from any further support and found themselves stranded.

After 12 hours of fighting within the warren of the German trenches and having run out of grenades, ammunition and suffered terrible casualties the surviving remnant of Londoners come out of the German lines and fell back into the shell craters of No Man`s Land, heading back to the sanctuary of their original trenches 400 yards away, in the shell shattered ruin of Hebuterne.

The Battalion sustained over 70% casualties to its assaulting number, with nearly 300 dead or subsequently dying of wounds from the action, and over 270 wounded or ending the day as a prisoner in German hands.

Harolds body was not recovered from the field where it still lies in an unknown grave, his name is etched on to the arched gateway for the missing of the Somme at Thiepval. (Pier/Face 9D)

Medal Entitlement: 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

(My Thanks to Ajax Bardrick for supplying additional information on Harold Holdron)

 

 

Henry Ball HOLMES

Major

2nd Battalion. Royal Irish Fusiliers

Died Of Wounds on the 27th November 1915 aged 43.

Major Henry Ball Holmes was born in Hong Kong on the 23rd July 1872. His father was a solicitor and his mother was a doctor and was one of the first western women to practice medicine on the island.

Henry was educated at Bloxham School near Banbury in Oxfordshire, between 1885 and 1887. He was an outstanding sportsman, representing the school at Rugby, Cricket, Tennis and Athletics. In his final year in the 1st XV " he scored a record breaking 33 tries playing at outside three quarter, and had a furious and fearsome turn of pace" (Bloxhamist 1888). He was also a mean fast bowler and took over 40 wickets in 1887, including 5 against Eton.

On leaving Bloxham he went to the Royal Military College in Oxford. He was gazetted as 2nd Lt to the Royal Irish Fusiliers, from the militia on the 2nd June 1894. He progressed quickly through the ranks, becoming a Lieutenant on 22nd May 1897, Captain on the 12th March 1902 and then Major on the 14th March 1904.

Henry served in the South African War from 1899 to 1902, during which time he was very severely wounded on two occasions. During his time in South Africa he took part in operations in Natal in 1899, Lombard Kop and the Transvaal in 1900, Orange River in 1901, Kwa Zulu Natal in 1902 and numerous operations in the borders of Zululand in the period 1902-1903. Between 17th May and 1st September 1901, he was the officer commanding the Machadadorp Rest Camp. He was awarded the Queens medal with three clasps and the Kings medal with two. He was also Mentioned In Despatches twice during his time in South Africa.

The 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers marched from their barracks at Winchester on 19th December 1914 to the docks at Southampton where they boarded the SS City of Benares. The following day they landed at Le Harve. Major Holmes took part in numerous engagements with the Battalion until 20th April 1915 when he was shot through the face by a sniper whilst the Battalion were located at Bellewarde Farm, during the second battle of Ypres. He was carried to an aid station, and was then transferred to Luddon Camp, Buncrana where he died of septic blood poisoning of the brain. He was later buried at Lower Fahan churchyard in County Donegal and a memorial was erected to him, by the regiment. A fellow officer wrote about him " All the regiment past and present mourn with you; he was a perfect gentleman, a gallant soldier and a dear friend to all."

He was mentioned in Field Marshall Sir John French's despatch published in the London Gazette on the 1st January 1916.

Henry married Violet Mable Ryles of The Hermitage, Stevenage on the 1st July 1914 at Totnes, Devon. Violet was the daughter of the then late Henry Wingfield Fingis of Dublin. The couple had one son who was still born, posthumously, on the 28th December 1915.

Henry is buried in Lower Fahan, County Donegal, Ireland.

Medal Entitlement: 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

 


Ernest HORNSBY

CH/19796 

Private

1st Royal Marine Battalion. 

Royal Marine Light Infantry

Missing In Action on the 13th November 1916 aged 19.

 

Ernest was the son of Mr & Mrs Marvel of 76 Albert Street.

Embarked RM Brigade 5/12/15 (per HMT "Northlands" arrived Alexandria 17/12/15).

The 13th November 1916 was the first day of the Battle of Ancre with the British army advancing along the River Ancre to capture Beaumont Hamel. The Battalion were in positions on the Varennes line, in preparation for an attack on the German trench systems near the village. There was a thick mist on the ground as the attack commenced at 5.45am, with the Battalion advancing in four waves. The German defences were very strong and every Company commander had been killed before the Battalion had reached the enemy front line.  The ground was very muddy and covered with shell holes which made progress very slow, enabling the German defenders to take their time and make good use of their weapons. Heavy machine guna nad artillery fire reeked havoc among the advancing British troops and it was estimated that 50% of the Battalion’s casualties occurred in No Mans Land. Further machine gun fire between the German 2nd & 3rd lines resulted in further losses. It is not know at which point Ernest was killed but he has no known grave.

His name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial, France. (Pier/Face 1A.)

Medal Entitlement: 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

John KIRBY

G/3038

Private

8th Battalion. East Kent Regiment

Killed In Action on the 4th July 1916 aged 35.

 

John was the son William Kirby of 101 Letchmore Road and had been serving as a Battalion Drummer in France since 7th October 1915.  His father was a Railwayman in Stevenage.

On the 4th July 1916 the Battalion were located at Cookers Farm near Ypres. A party of men were sent out on a reconnaissance patrol, led by Lieutenant Hall. The patrol was spotted by German sentries and attacked with Grenades. Two members of the patrol were killed in the attack, one of whom was John Kirby.

John is buried in the Pond Farm Cemetery, Heuvelland, Belgium. (Grave.A.20.)

Medal Entitlement: 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 


William Oscar LITTLEWOOD

STK/1045

Private

“D” Company. 10th Battalion. Royal Fusiliers

Missing In Action on the 15th July 1916 aged 21.

 

William was the son of Edward William & Priscilla Mary Littlewood of Hadleycote, Stevenage. He was killed during the Battle of the Somme. The Battalion were given orders to support an attack on the village of Pozieres and at 9am on the 15th July 1916 they set off from an area known as Sausage Valley. Prior to their assault there had been a very heavy artillery bombardment in an effort to clear the area of German troops. However, the Germans were very well dug in to their positions and the barrage had little effect on them. As the British troops approached they were met with very heavy machine gun fire and, despite some gallant efforts, they were eventually forced to call off their initial attack. A Battalion HQ had been set up in a chalk pit on the road between Baliff Wood and Pozieries and it was here that the British commanders decided to attempt a further assault on the village. Initially, there would be a heavy artillery barrage to “soften up” the German defences then a rocket would be fired to signal the infantry assault.

At 5pm the artillery barrage rained down on the tiny village causing complete devistation. However, the German troops again survived the assault in their fortified positions and were soon in place once the barrage had lifted. Unfortunately, the rocket flares had become damp and would not ignite and subsequently some of the British troops moved off whilst others remained in place, still awaiting the signal. This delay resulted in the attack becoming disjointed and the Germans brought devastating machine gun fire to bear on the assaulting troops, resulting in very heavy casualties. The attack failed and the men of the Battalion began to drift back to a position at Tara Usna hill but it was not until 2am on the 16th July that the last men reached this point.

William has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France. (Pier/Face 8C.)

Medal Entitlement: 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 


William Henry Arthur LLOYD

31869

Private

6th  Battalion. Bedfordshire Regiment

Died Of Wounds on the 16th November 1918 aged 21.

 

An only son, William lived at 136 High Street, Stevenage. After being initially being rejected for military service he was finally accepted as the need for men became more pressing. He was wounded on 10th April 1917 and spent six weeks in a French hospital. He was then transferred to a London Hospital where he spent a further 13 months. Finally was transferred to a hospital in Cambridge where he spent another five months. During his nineteen months of hospitalisation he underwent many operations and finally contracted Flu from the effects of which he eventually died.

William is buried in St.Nicholas churchyard, Stevenage.

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

 


Sidney Henry LOWRY  MC

Captain

No.2 Company.  1st Battalion. Hertfordshire Regiment

Missing In Action on the 31st July 1917 aged 29.

 

Sidney Lowry was born in Stevenage on the 8th June 1888, the son of Henry Lowry. He was educated at Cambridge University and served in the Charterhouse Officer Training Corps as Private 946. On leaving university he commenced a career on the London Stock Exchange until the 5th August 1914 when Sidney joined the Territorial Army and prepared to do his duty as an officer and a gentleman, being commissioned on the 1st October 1914. He was posted to France on the 30th January 1915. On the 4th June 1917, just four days before his 29th birthday Sidney was awarded the Military Cross. He was to lose his life on the first day of a major British offensive, The Third Ypres, or Battle of  Passchendaele.

The offensive was launched on 31 July 1917 and continued until the fall of Passchendaele village on 6 November.  Although it resulted in gains for the Allies it was by no means the breakthrough General Haig intended, and such gains as were made came at great cost in human terms. The village of St. Juliaan lies on the Hanebeek, one of the small streams that drains the fields in this area. On the 18th July 1917 a heavy preliminary artillery bombardment began which lasted for the ten days prior to the launch of the attack. The bombardment was made by 3,000 guns which expended four and a quarter million shells into the surrounding ground.  Given such an onslaught the German Fourth Army fully expected the attack and the element of surprise was entirely lost. Added to this was the fact that the area was suffering the heaviest rains it had seen for 30 years and this, combined with the shelling, turned the ground into a hellish morass.

The Battalion were in support of an attack on the Langemarck Line and at 03.45am the planned assault began, with Sidney in command of No.2 Company. It had three objectives to achieve known as Blue, Black & Green and units of the 116th Brigade easily captured the first two objectives, preparing the way for the forward companies of the Hertfordshire battalion, to take the third objective.

At 05.00am they left their assembly positions to attack their objective, which lay over the crest of a ridge. As they made their way forward they came under heavy fire from both German machine guns and snipers but after eliminating a German strongpoint moved up towards St.Julian, which was only lightly held. The battalion crossed the Steenbeek with some difficulty and two of its supporting Tanks became bogged down in the mud. Things then went from bad to worse. A pre-arranged artillery barrage never materialised due to the guns being unable to move forward over the muddy terrain and the German barbed wire defences, which were fifteen feet deep in some places, were found to still be intact.

It was soon realised that ground could only be won by section " rushes" supported by the unit’s own fire. The Cheshire Regiment were on the right of the battalion but the Black Watch, who were due to cover the left flank, had been seriously delayed. This left the Hertfordshires seriously exposed and the Germans exploited this by bringing a hurricane of fire down upon the stricken troops. This was followed by a German counter-attack and by 10.30 am it was clear that the objective could not be achieved. Casualties were very heavy with 459 men being killed, missing or wounded.

Sidney’s body was never recovered and, as he has no known grave, his name is recorded on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Belgium.

Medal Entitlement: Military Cross, 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 


Sidney George MADGIN

L/2214

Trooper

9th  Lancers

Died Of Wounds on the 24th May 1915 aged 25.

 

Sidney was posted to France on the 3rd May 1915 and arrived at Wallon Capel, deep in the heart of the Ypres Salient, two days later.

On the 24th May the Battalion were holding trenches in the area of Hooge. At 3am the Germans unleashed a Poison Gas attack on the British positions along the Menin Road, which lasted for about an hour. German infantry then attacked the positions but, with the aid of reinforcements, this assault was eventually driven off. However, the Battalion had lost 1 Officer and 16 Other Ranks to the dreadful effects of gas poisoning, amongst these was Sidney Madgin, who held on to life for several hours before succumbing to one of the worst horrors of warfare on the Western Front.

He is buried at Hazebrouck Military Cemetery, France. (2.B.12.)

Medal Entitlement: 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 


 

Francis A MALES

54436

Private

2/5th  Battalion. Manchester Regiment

Died on the 23rd June 1919 aged 20.

 

Francis was the son of F V Males of 50 Basils Road. The Battalion landed in France in February 1917 and he was taken prisoner by the Germans on the 23rd March 1918, during their Spring Offensive. Although he survived the rigours of captivity he died on 23rd June 1919 as a result of his treatment whilst a prisoner.

Francis is buried in the St.Nicholas Churchyard, Stevenage.

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

(Photo Courtesy Of Stevenage Museum)

 


Frank Charles MANNING

TS/2861

Private

No. 2 Base Reserve Depot.

Royal Army Service Corps

Died on the 17th April 1915 aged 31.

 

Frank was the son of Samuel Manning of Laugham near Bury St. Edmunds and the husband of L E Manning. The couple lived in Stevenage with their young child where Frank was employed as a Groom by Mr.Posten. He was posted to France on the 26th September 1914 and died of Enteric Fever in a French hospital a few months later.

He is buried in the Mont Huon Military Cemetery, Le Treport, France. (3.A.9A.)

Medal Entitlement: 1914 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

Frederick MARDLING

6714

Private

1st Battalion. Canadian Infantry (Western Ontario Regiment)

Missing In Action on the 15th June 1915 aged 28.

 

Frederick was born on 25th April 1889 the son of David Mardling of 19 Letchmore Road. Mechanic by trade.

At 1.30pm on 15th June 1915 the Battalion moved into front line positions East of Givenchy in the Somme sector. By 3pm they were were ready to attack the German forward positions but there began a tense 3 hour wait  before the order to attack was given. Then, at 6pm, the Battalion attacked the German front line but it soon became apparent that all was not well. The flanks of the Battalion had become exposed and they were forced to retreat back to the British Lines. They were then subjected to a furious German counter attack which resulted in very heavy casualties.

Although the German counter attack was not successful it had resulted in many casualties amongst the Canadians.  It was not until 1am on the 16th June that the Battalion was withdrawn from the line, after having evacuated their wounded and buried their dead. They then returned to their billets at Preol, from where they had marched earlier in the day.

He has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Vimy Ridge Memorial to the Canadian Forces.

 

 

 


Alfred Charles George MARSHALL

J/26819(CH)

Able Seaman

Royal Navy

HMS Agincourt

Died on the 28th October 1918 aged 22.

Born in Stevenage the son of Alice Marshall. He joined the Royal Navy on the 5th September 1914, the day of his 18th birthday, and just four weeks after the war had broken out.

Charles Marshall deserted from the Royal Navy on the 8th May 1916 but his aim was not to avoid war service. He fraudulently enlisted in the army and served with the Royal Highlanders (Black Watch).

It is not clear at what point his deception was discovered but when he was caught he was returned to the Royal Navy to continue his service.

On the 18th October 1918 he was admitted to the Royal Naval Hospital in Chatham suffering from Whooping Cough. He died ten days later from the effects of this disease.

He is buried in the St.Nicholas Churchyard, Stevenage.

 

 


 

George Henry MARSHALL

602449

Private

7th Battalion. Canadian Infantry (British Columbia Regiment)

Killed In Action on the 27th September 1916 aged 40.

Born 22nd June 1877. George was the only son of George Marshall of 53 Albert Street. After emigrating to Canada he lived with his wife and four children in River Road, Hespeler, Ontario. He joined the Canadian army in April 1915.

On the 18th September 1916 the Battalion moved in a bivouacked area known as The Chalkpit, East of Albert. The weather was foul and the wet & muddy conditions were described in the unit war diary as “trying”.  On the 22nd September the Battalion moved into the front line trenches. Here they spent all their time under continuous shell fire from the German artillery. It was not until the 26th September that the Battalion attacked the German positions and their assault was described as successful. Some of the supporting companies had moved up during the night of 26th/27th, and this probably where George Marshall was killed. The 5 day tour of the frontline trenches had cost the Battalion 5 Officers and 213 Other Ranks as casualties.

George is buried in the Contay British Cemetery, Somme, France. (1.E.7.)

 

 

 


John George MARSHALL

16480

Private

“C” Company.  2nd Battalion. Bedfordshire Regiment

Killed In Action on the 23rd October 1918 aged 22.

 

John was the son of George & Julia Marshall. The Battalion were in position at Le Cateau and  were ordered to attack an objective known as Richemont Hill. By this stage of the war the Allied offensive had brought the troops out of the trenches and into the open countryside. This particular attack had to be made across high ground and the Battalion found itself facing considerable difficulties. They sustained very heavy casualties with 39 men being killed, including George Marshall.

He is buried in the Highland Cemetery, Le Cateau, France. (2.B.1.)

 

 

 


Albert MAYNE

18321

Private

1st Battalion. Coldstream Guards

Died Of Wounds on the 9th August 1917 aged 20.

 

Albert was the son of Henry & Sarah Mayne of Dawlish and the husband of Mrs A.E.Mayne.

Albert is buried in the Mont Huon Military Cemetery, Le Treport, France. (3.A.9A.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

 


James Henry MOSS

3718

Sergeant

1st Battalion. Hertfordshire Regiment

Died on the 29th November 1915 aged 34 .

 

James was the son of James & Susan Moss of 8 Venables Yard, Church Path, Stevenage. He and his wife were the first couple to be married at the Bunyan church in the High Street and they later had several children. He was posted to France on the 16th February 1915. On returning with his company after a long march to their billets in an orphange in Bethune, he soon fell asleep. Sadly, James did not wake up and it is believed he died as a result of heart failure. His brother, Reginald, was killed on the Somme almost a year later.

He is buried in the Bethune Town Cemetery, France. (4.G.20.)

Medal Entitlement: 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

 


Reginald MOSS

23518

Private

4th Battalion. Bedfordshire Regiment

Killed In Action on the 13th November 1916.

Reginald was the son of James & Martha Moss of 12 Huntingdon Road. His brother, James, died of heart failure a year earlier whilst serving with the Hertfordshire Regiment in France.

The 13th November 1916 was the first day of the Battle of Ancre with the British army advancing along the River Ancre to capture Beaumont Hamel. The Battalion were in the Beaucourt sector in preparation for an attack on the village which commenced at 6.45am and very heavy casualties occurred among the officers and NCO’s of the Battalion as they reached, and got into the German frontline.

Overall, the Battalion suffered some 195 casualties on this day, including 82 men who were either killed or missing, one of whom was Reginald Moss.

He is buried in the Ancre British Cemetery, Beaumont Hamel, Somme, France. (5.B.13.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

 


Bertram Robert NEWBERRY

1788

Corporal

1st Battalion. Hertfordshire Regiment

Died Of Wounds on the 16th July 1916 aged 24.

 

Bertram was the son of George & Annie Newberry of Meadowsleade, Stevenage. He was one of seven brothers who were serving, three of whom were to lose their lives.

On the 12th July 1916 the Battalion was on the front line in the Givenchy – Clinchy sector of the Somme. An assault with Minenwerfer fire destroyed 60 yards of the British trenches followed by an attempted night raid. During this action Bert Newberry was wounded and was evacuated to a field hospital in Bethune, where he died from the effects of his injuries. He was the only casualty the Battalion suffered on that day.

He is buried in the Bethune Town Cemetery, Pas-De-Calais, France. (5.F.95.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

 

Maurice Arthur NEWBERRY

266936

Private

1st Battalion. Hertfordshire Regiment

Killed In Action on the 26th September 1917 aged 26.

 

Maurice was the son of George & Annie Newberry of Meadowsleade, Stevenage and the husband of Florence Newberry of 71 North Crofts, Nantwich, Cheshire. He was one of seven brothers who were serving, three of whom were also to lose their lives. Maurice was killed during on the major British offensives, The Third Ypres, or Battle of  Passchendaele.

The offensive was launched on 31 July 1917 and continued until the fall of Passchendaele village on 6 November.  The Battalion were heavily involved in the offensive and although it resulted in gains for the Allies it was by no means the breakthrough General Haig intended and such gains as were made came at great cost in human terms. Maurice was with the Battalion when it attacked St. Juliaan on the 31st July. The village lays on the Hanebeek, one of the small streams that drains the fields in this area. On the 18th July 1917 a heavy preliminary artillery bombardment began which lasted for the ten days prior to the launch of the attack. The bombardment was made by 3,000 guns which expended four and a quarter million shells into the surrounding ground.  Given such an onslaught the German Fourth Army fully expected the attack and the element of surprise was entirely lost. Added to this was the fact that the area was suffering the heaviest rains it had seen for 30 years and this, combined with the shelling, turned the ground into a hellish morass.

The Battalion were in support of an attack on the Langemarck Line and at 03.45am the planned assault began. There were three objectives to achieve known as Blue, Black & Green and units of the 116th Brigade easily captured the first two objectives, preparing the way for the forward companies of the Hertfordshire battalion, to take the third objective.

At 05.00am they left their assembly positions to attack their objective, which lay over the crest of a ridge. As they made their way forward they came under heavy fire from both German machine guns and snipers but after eliminating a German strongpoint moved up towards St.Julian, which was only lightly held. The battalion crossed the Steenbeek with some difficulty and two of its supporting Tanks became bogged down in the mud. Things then went from bad to worse. A pre-arranged artillery barrage never materialised due to the guns being unable to move forward over the muddy terrain and the German barbed wire defences, which were fifteen feet deep in some places, were found to still be intact.

It was soon realised that ground could only be won by section " rushes" supported by the unit’s own fire. The Cheshire Regiment were on the right of the battalion but the Black Watch, who were due to cover the left flank, had been seriously delayed. This left the Hertfordshire's seriously exposed and the Germans exploited this by bringing a hurricane of fire down upon the stricken troops. This was followed by a German counter-attack and by 10.30 am it was clear that the objective could not be achieved. Casualties were very heavy with 459 men being killed, missing or wounded.

The Battalion remained in the area throughout the offensive and returned from it’s billets to the trenches at Mount Sorrel on the 20th September 1917.  On the night of the 25th September they were ordered to attack German positions at Bassevillebeek. The assault began at 05.50am the following morning but very little ground was gained.  The Battalion suffered six casualties as a result of this attack, one of whom was Maurice Newberry. The others  were as follows;

269384       Private          Percy CROFT of Peterborough

265386       Sergeant       George William Alfred FARROW of Hitchin

200903       Private          Henry GARNER (Died of his wounds) of Biggleswade

40884         Private          William HALL of Norwich

265532       Corporal       Jack WELCH M.M. of Hitchin

Maurice is buried in the Hooge Crater Cemetery, Zillebeke, Belgium. (19.B.8.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 


 

Reginald John NEWBERRY

R/45356

Rifleman

Kings Royal Rifle Corps

Attached To 6th Battalion London Regiment.

Killed In Action on the 9th August 1918 aged 18.

Reginald was the son of George & Annie Newberry of Meadowsleade, Stevenage. Although he was originally posted to the Kings Royal Rifle Corps he was, at the time of his death, serving with the 6th (City of London) Battalion, London Regiment. He was one of seven brothers who were serving, of which two others Maurice and Bertram also lost their lives.

On the 9th August 1918 the Battalion were at La Houssoye in the Somme sector. They were ordered to take Chipilly Ridge, which involved the capture of a small track running along near the crest of the ridge. Three Tanks were to be employed in support of the assault and at 4.15pm the Battalion moved off from it’s positions to commence the attack. As they rounded the edge of Celestines Wood they came under very heavy machine gun fire from both the South-western corner of the wood and the crest of Chipilly Ridge. Very heavy casualties were sustained and it was only the use of both the Tanks and heavy machine guns that helped to prevent the attack from becoming a complete disaster. However, the Battalion suffered heavily with 12 Officers and 308 Other Ranks either killed, wounded or missing. Reginald Newberry was amongst those who lost their lives on this day.

Reginald is buried in the Heath Cemetery, Harbonnieres, France. (6.J.1.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

 


George NORMAN

G/15721

Lance Corporal

21st Battalion. Middlesex Regiment

Killed In Action on the 29th July 1916 aged 40.

 

George was the son of Thomas & Nellie Norman and the husband of Elizabeth Norman.

On the 29th July 1916 the Battalion was occupying forward trenches near the town of Loos. They were very heavily bombarded by German artillery whilst in this position and George Norman was amongst those killed.

He is buried in the Philosophe British Cemetery, Mazingarbe, France. (1.F.32.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

 


Frederick George OLIVER

20112

Private

4th Battalion. Bedfordshire Regiment

Missing In Action on the 11th February 1917 aged 21.

 

Frederick was the second son of F Oliver of 19 Albert Street, Stevenage. He was employed as a painter for Mrs Hall of Orchard Road before he joined the Army in March 1915. He was posted to France on the 11th October 1915 and was later wounded in action during the Battle of the Somme.

On the 11th February 1917 his Battalion made an assault along the Puisieux road. They faced stiff resistance and were met by heavy German machine gun and rifle fire. The battalion slowly pushed on through the night and did not achieve their objective until 3am the following morning. It was during this assault that Fredrick went missing, and was never heard of again. At the time of his death his elder brother was a POW in Germany.

Frederick has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Theipval Memorial, Somme, France. (Pier/Face 11D.)

Medal Entitlement: 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

 


Donald James Strachan OSWALD

Lieutenant Commander

Royal Navy

HMS Gloucester

Died 6th January 1919 aged 28.

 

After the death of his mother in 1904, when he was aged 14, he and his sister made their home with their Aunt and Uncle who were Mr.& Mrs Charles Poston of Highfield, Stevenage. Donald was greatly attached to the area and when on leave he hunted with the Hertfordshire & Puckeridge fox hounds and took a keen interest in local sports particularly the cricket club. He himself was a great athlete and played cricket, football and hockey for the United Services teams and also boxed for the Navy. He had two county caps for football and was great swimmer. He spent a great deal of time organising sports and recreation events for his men. Donald spent his time as a Midshipman serving in the Mediterranean and in January 1909 he commenced his qualifying course for Lieutenant. Later he qualified as a French interpreter and won the Ryder prize given for the best paper of the year and a valuable prize for German.

When war broke out he was in Germany qualifying for a German interpreters course, which he was never able to complete. His first appointment during the war was to the French destroyer Escopette as a liaison officer on the staff of the French Commander in Chief.

He was later awarded the Legion of Honour in recognition of his services with the French navy. He ten spent nine months at Scapa Flow serving in HMS Crescent and HMS Swift and it was in this ship that he later joined the Dover patrol. In October 1915 he married Margaret Don, a Scottish girl, and in July 1917 they had a daughter. Donald was unable to see his wife and child until he obtained fortnights leave in August 1918 after completing a stint of overseas service. He was then appointed to HMS Gloucester and in her he took part in he Battle of Jutland. In August 1916 the ship was sent to the Mediterranean and he was still serving in her at the time of his death.   After contacting Flu he was removed from his ship and taken to the Brindisi Naval Hospital in Bari, Italy.  His wife was taken to him at his bedside and sent home several reassuring telegrams stating that he appeared to be improving. He died on 06/01/19 as a result of Pneumonia following his infection. He is buried in the Bari War Cemetery, Italy.

 

 


Herbert PALMER

3/8798

Private

1st Battalion. Bedfordshire Regiment

Killed In Action on the 6th October 1917 aged 20.

Herbert was the son of George & Hepzibah Palmer of 4 Venables Yard, Church Path, Stevenage.

After joining the Army the young Farm Labourer was posted to the Western Front arriving there on the 30th September 1915. He took part in some of the most intense fighting of the Great War and was to eventually lose his life during the closing stages of one of the major British offensives, The Battle of  Passchendaele.

The offensive had been launched on 31st July 1917 and continued until the fall of Passchendaele village on 6th November.  Although it resulted in gains for the Allies it was by no means the breakthrough General Haig intended, and such gains as were made came at great cost in human terms. The area had suffered some of the heaviest rains it had seen for 30 years and this, combined with intensive shelling from both sides, had turned the ground into a hellish morass.

The Battalion arrived at Sanctuary Wood in the Ypres sector on the 3rd October 1917. Over the next few days they would be involved in an attempt to capture Polderhoek Chateau. However, these attacks proved to be unsuccessful due to both very heavy German machine gun and artillery fire plus the almost impenetrable mud which reduced any attack to a crawl.

Herbert is buried in the Zantvoorde British Cemetery, Zonnebeke, Belgium. (3.G.20.)

Medal Entitlement: 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

 


David PAYNE

19042

Private

10th Battalion. Gloucestershire Regiment

Missing In Action on the 13th October 1915 aged 24.

 

David was the husband of L Payne of 44 Alleyns Road. He was posted to France on the 4th October 1915 and was reported as missing just nine days later.

The Battalion were ordered to attack the German firing line just West of the Lens to La Bassee road, near Noeux-Les-Mines. The attack began at 2pm and was quickly met with heavy machine gun and rifle fire. The fighting lasted all afternoon and by nightfall the British troops had been driven back to their original positions. This  dreadfully unsuccessful attack had cost the lives of 150 men, with absolutely no ground gained.

It was not until July 1916 that David was confirmed as killed. A Private Papps had reported seeing David’s body close to the British wire along with that of Private Alfred Dorrington. Their bodies were not recovered from the battlefield.

David has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Loos Memorial, France. (Panel 60/64.)

Medal Entitlement: 1915 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

 


William Ashley PEARCE

L/11856

Driver

“A” Battery. 180th Brigade. 16th Division

Royal Field Artillery

Died Of Wounds on the 6th April 1918 aged 20.

 

William was born in Victoria, London the son of Edith & the late William Pearce. At the time of his death his mother was living at the Sun Hotel in Stevenage.

On the 28th March 1918 the Battery were in position at the Bois De Vaire where it was very heavily involved in an attack. William Pearce received a Gunshot Wound during this action and was removed to hospital where succumbed to his injuries nine days later.

William is buried in the Etaples Military Cemetery, France. (33.D.8.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

 


Alfred PETTENGELL

25194 

Private

2nd Battalion. Bedfordshire Regiment

Missing In Action on the 8th May 1918 aged 21.

Alfred was the second son of Arthur & Rose Pettengell of 49 Albert Street, Stevenage. Before the war W.L.Hall in Hitchin employed him. His brother Fred, who was serving in the Royal Navy, had been previously torpedoed and was one of only seven survivors. Alfred was reported missing on the 8th May 1918 but his body was not found until August that year when a Corporal of the Durham Light Infantry, who was out on telephone work, found Albert laying in a shell hole. The Pay book that was still in his pocket identified his body. However, Alfred has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, Belgium. (Panel 48/50.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 


 

Ernest PHIPPS

12024

Private

1st Battalion. Bedfordshire Regiment

Missing In Action on the 5th May 1915 aged 24.

 

Ernest was the son of John & Martha Phipps of 2 Belmont Cottages, Stevenage. He arrived in France on the 27th April 1915 and although he was reported as missing on 5th May, just eight days later, during the battle for Hill 60 he was not confirmed as killed until February 1916.

The hellish scene that greeted Ernest on his arrival was one of almost total devastation. Shells and mines tore up the ground, dead bodies were laying everywhere and the trenches were described as shapeless cavities. Added to this was the fact that the enemy were only 100 yards away from the British line. At 08.45am on the morning of the 5th may 1915 the Germans released a Gas attack on the British troops. The men were very tired after the preceding days fighting and many were asleep. Fortunately, at least one sentry saw the gas rolling towards the British line and sounded the alarm. The exceptionally thick gas drifted along the length of the trenches and the men’s respirators proved woefully inadequate. In this first attack the 2nd Battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment lost over 150 men. Then, at 11.00am a second attack released gas onto the men of the 1st Bedfordshire Regiment resulting in the death of a further 51 men, including Ernest Phipps. In total over 300 men were lost to this devastating attack and, despite several pitiful efforts to attack the hill, it was not captured from the Germans until June 1917 and had cost the lives of over 3000 British servicemen.

Ernest has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Belgium. (Panel 31/33.)

Medal Entitlement: 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

 


Leonard PIGGOTT

43206

Private

6th Battalion. Northamptonshire Regiment

Killed In Action on the 10th November 1916 aged 30.

(Formerly 26846 Bedfordshire Regiment)

 

Leonard was the son of Joseph & Elizabeth Piggott.

On the 10th November 1916 the Battalion were in positions near the village of Ovilliers. A pile of grenades had been left by a previous regiment in a connecting shelter between two dugouts. One of the grenades detonated causing the whole pile to explode and Two men were killed, including Leonard Piggott, and a further five were wounded.

Leonard is buried in the Courcelette British Cemetery, France. (1.B.22.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

 


John PILKINGTON

62971

Private

1st Company. Royal Army Medical Corps

Died on the 25th October 1918 aged 45.

 

John lived at 11 Middle Row and had three children. His eldest son was serving as a Private in the Royal Fusiliers. John had worked as a ticket collector for Great Northern Railways for eight years at Hitchin railway station and had also worked for the company at Nottingham giving a total of 20 years service. He was a Trade Union official in the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants and spent most of his spare time working for the cause. He also played the organ at the local Roman Catholic Church and was keenly interested in Ambulance work. He held a First Aid proficiency medal and had spent three years at the school of sanitation in Aldershot. He was one of the first married men from Stevenage to volunteer for the Army and joined up in 1915. His abilities in First Aid made him a prime candidate for the RAMC. He died from the effects of Influenza at Aldershot hospital on the 25th October 1918.

John is buried in the Aldershot Military Cemetery.

 

 

 


Ernest Daniel POULTER

16616

Private

“C” Company. 7th Battalion. Bedfordshire Regiment

Missing In Action on the 22nd March 1918 aged 17 .

 

Ernest was born in Baldock and enlisted in Ware. He was posted to France on the 30th August 1915. Ernest was reported as missing in action whilst the Battalion was involved in fighting at Crozat Canal on the 22nd March 1918 and was not seen again.

He has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Pozieres Memorial, France. (Panel 29)

Medal Entitlement: 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

 


John ROBERTSON

10445

Private

1st Battalion. Royal Berkshire Regiment

Missing In Action on the 10th March 1917.

 

The Battalion were in the forward firing line at Irles, near Albert in the Somme sector. At 5.15 am the Battalion attacked Grevillers Trench in conjunction with the 1st Battalion Kings Royal Rifle Corps. The trench was captured at once and a line of posts was established in front to facilitate the digging of a new assembly trench for a future attack. 100 prisoners were taken and three Machine Guns and two light trench mortars were captured. Casualties amongst the Other Ranks were; 10 Killed, 75 wounded and 9 missing. One of the missing men was John Robertson.

He has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France. (Pier/Face 11D.)

 

 

 


William Arthur SAMS

16270

Private

11th Battalion. Essex Regiment

Died Of Wounds on the 1st October 1915 aged 19 .

 

William was posted to France on the 30th August 1915. He died of wounds received in action at No.2 Stationary Hospital, Abbeville on the 1st October 1915 and is buried in the Abbeville Communal Cemetery, France. (2.E.7.)

Medal Entitlement: 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 


Charles Edwin SANGSTER

14381

Sergeant

1st Battalion. Bedfordshire Regiment

Killed In Action on the 27th April 1918 aged 24.

 

 

His father was the local Food Inspector and Charles was his eldest son. He had been employed at Knebworth Golf house before joining up and previous to that he was in the employ of the Grand Duke Michael when he was resident at Knebworth. Charles joined the Army in 1914 at the outbreak of the war and was posted to France on the 12th May 1915 and also served in Italy. His wife lived at Shrub Terrace, Woodbridge, Suffolk.

At 04.30am on the 27th April 1918 the Germans attacked the positions held by the Battalion. A heavy artillery barrage fell on the positions prior to the infantry assault, resulting in eight men being killed and a further twelve wounded. It was during this barrage that Charles was killed by shellfire.

He is buried in the Merville Communal Cemetery Extension, Nord, France. (1.F.43.)

Medal Entitlement: 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 


William Charles SAPSED

5368

Private

1st Battalion. Hertfordshire Regiment

Missing In Action on the 13th November 1916 aged 27 .

William was killed in one of the last actions during the Battle of the Somme. This was the Battle of The Ancre during which the Battalion were called upon to assault German trenches just in front of a heavily fortified position known as the  Schwaben Redoubt. The attack began at 5.45am whilst there was still a heavy mist on the ground. It was tough going for the troops who had to make their way through thick mud and many shell holes which covered the area. All of the officers in the leading Company had been killed or wounded and this added to the general confusion of battle. However, the Battalion managed to achieve their objectives but had suffered some losses.

William has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France. (Pier/Face 12C.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

 


Frank SAUNDERS

G/41588

Private

2nd Battalion. Middlesex Regiment

Missing In Action on the 30th November 1917 aged 22.

(Formerly 144390 Royal Field Artillery)

Frank was the youngest son of Jonas & Katherine Saunders of 28 Trinity Road, Stevenage. A hairdresser by trade he was first an apprentice to Buckingham’s in the High Street and was later employed as Head Hairdresser by Mrs.Hann in Royston, where he had worked for five years before joining up. He joined the Army in May 1916 and was sent France six months later, at the completion of his training.  In March 1917 he was sent back to England suffering from Dysentery and spent several months in hospital in Bournemouth and Addington Palace, Croydon. Frank, who had two brothers also serving in the Army, was killed in the Ypres, sector. His battalion had been serving in this sector throughout the summer and autumn and had seen much action in the terrifying battles of Thrid Ypres, also know as the battle of Passchendaele.

On the 27th November 1917 the Battalion were in positions North of Passchendaele and were sent forward to relieve the men of the 2nd West Yorkshire Regiment in the Front Line. During the following days the line was continuously shelled by German artillery in an effort to wear down the British troops and destroy their positions. The Battalion casualties as a result were, 7 men killed and a further 7 wounded. One of these was Frank Saunders.

He has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, Belgium. (Panel 113/115.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

 


Frederick Christopher SCARBOROUGH

28702

Lance Corporal

6th Battalion. Duke Of Cornwall’s Light Infantry

(43rd Infantry Brigade. 14th Division)

Killed In Action on the 9th April 1917 aged 25.

Frederick was the son of Christopher & Ann Scarborough of 4 Fishers Green Road. He enlisted into the Hertfordshire Regiment but was later transferred to the DCLI.

On the 9th April 1917 the Battalion were in positions on the outskirts of Beaurains. They were ordered to support an attack being made by the 6th Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry and had moved into trenches and shell holes in readiness for the assault. As the leading companies they came under heavy machine gun fire from a sunken road and from  high ground to the right of Wancourt. The Battalion suffered heavily with four Officers and 96 Other Ranks becoming casualties. One of these was Frederick Scarborough.

He is buried in the Tigris Lane British Cemetery, Wancourt, France. (1.C.15.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 


Charles SELL

21027

Private

2nd Battalion. Border Regiment

Died Of Wounds on the 23rd April 1916 aged 21 .

(Formerly 7102 Bedfordshire Regiment)

 

Charles had lived in Walkern Road, Stevenage. He had served in France since the 6th October 1914 and had been wounded on at least two previous occasions. The Battalion were in front line trenches near Mansell Copse in the Somme sector between the 13th and 20th April 1916. During this time they were very heavily shelled by German Artillery and suffered casualties every day. When they were returned to their billets at Bray on the 21st April it was recorded that 98 officers & men had become casualties. It cannot be ascertained at which point Charles Sell was wounded but it is known that received serious head and arm injuries and surgeons had to eventually amputate his arm. He later died as result of his injuries.

Charles is buried in the Corbie Communal Cemetery, Somme, France. (1.F.20.)

Medal Entitlement: 1914 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 


Harry William SHARMAN

133030

Gunner

21st Battalion. Machine Gun Corps

Died Of Wounds on the 16th September 1918 aged 18.

 

Harry was the son of John Sharman of Bardwell in Suffolk. It is believed that Harry came to the town in search of work and before joining the Army was employed as a Milk Cart attendant by Mr.Moules in Stevenage and later by Mr.C.F.Allen.  He joined up at the age of 18 and had two brothers already serving in the forces, one of whom was also killed. He went to France in April 1918 and it was only a short time before he was wounded. Having recovered he returned to his unit and on the 12th September he was in a dug out near Mesnil when a shell exploded nearby, a piece of shrapnel then pierced the walls and entered his back. He died four days later, as result of his injuries.

Harry is buried in the Varennes Military Cemetery, France. (4.A.15.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

Frank Albert SHELFORD

170891

Gunner

“B” Battery. 180 Brigade. Royal Field Artillery

Died Of Wounds on the 16th July 1917 aged 21.

 

Frank was born on the 7th January 1987, the son of Frank & Annie Shelford, of 14, Letchmore Rd., Stevenage. His father, a Baker and Corn Merchant died at the age of 40 in March 1910. His brothers Henry, Walter and Arthur also served in the Army but Arthur was discharged due to a medical condition after just 19 days service. Sadly, Henry Shelford was killed in action on the 23rd July 1918 whilst serving with the Tank Corps in France. Walter Shelford served with the Royal Army Medical Corps.

It is known that he received serious shell wounds to his legs, which eventually led to his death.

Frank is buried at Lijssenthoc Military Cemetery, Belgium.

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

(Photo Courtesy Of Stevenage Museum)

 

 


Fred SHELFORD

27815

Lance Corporal

7th Battalion. Bedfordshire Regiment

Missing In Action on the 27th September 1916 aged 27.

Fred was the son of Joseph & Mary Shelford of 35 Albert Street, Stevenage.

He was killed during the assault on Thiepval village on the 27th September 1916. It was a very dark morning and the two Companies, “C” & “D”, who were detailed tomake the assault set off at 5.30am to attack the German positions. They were subjected to extremely heavy rifle and machine gun fire from the defenders of one the strongest positions in this sector of the Western Front. The Battalion suffered some 112 casualties during the attack including Fred Shelford.

He has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France. (Pier/Face 2C.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

 


Henry John SHELFORD

91574

Corporal

9th Battalion.  Tank Corps

Killed In Action on the 23rd July 1918 aged 23.

Henry was born on the 23rd April 1895 the eldest son of Frank & Annie Shelford of 14 Letchmore Road, Stevenage. Before he joined the Army he was employed at his uncle George's locally renowned bakery.  His brothers Frank, Walter and Arthur also served in the Army but Arthur was discharged due to a medical condition after just 19 days service. Sadly, Frank Shelford died of wounds received in action in Belgium on the 16th July 1917. Walter Shelford served with the Royal Army Medical Corps. Initially, Henry Shelford served with the Bedfordshire Regiment and arrived in France on 17th March 1915 but he was later transferred to the newly formed Tank Corps.

On the 23rd July 1918 his Battalion were in a position near Moreuil. This was to be the first time that British tanks had co-operated with French infantry and although the action was deemed to be a success the loss of life was heavy. The objective was to seize St.Ribert Wood and capture the village of Mailly-Raineval whilst also support the French troops whose objective was the capture of the village of Aubervillers. The Battalion left Rosiel with 42 Tanks but due to mechanical failures only 35 were able to make it to the start point and of these, only 21 were to see action. After the laying of an initial barrage the Tanks set off for their objective but were soon fired upon by German artillery located in the South of St.Ribert Wood. Several Tanks were hit by direct fire and put out of action, their crews being either killed or wounded. The fighting was intense but the levels of co-operation were very good and the French troops soon moved into the wood to successfully tackle the well entrenched German infantry, and quickly captured their objectives. The cost was a high one with the Tank crews sustaining 72 casualties, either killed, wounded or missing. The French infantry suffered the loss of 61 Officers and 1938 NCO’s and Men.

Henry is buried at Roye New British Cemetery, France.

Medal Entitlement: 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

 


James SMITH

66584

Sapper

64th Field Company. Royal Engineers

Killed In Action on the 10th July 1916.

James arrived in France on the 11th May 1915. His company was serving with the 9th Division on the Somme and was, at the time of his death, attached to a South African Brigade. On the 10th July 1916, during the initial stages of the great Somme battle, the Company was sent to defend a position known as Longueval Alley which was a trench running from Bernafay Wood to Trones Wood. Fighting in the area was very heavy and it is not known at what point James was killed.

He is buried in the Dantzig Alley British Cemetery, Somme, France. (7.W.9.)

Medal Entitlement: 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

 


William Herbert SMITH

19836

Lance Corporal

1st Battalion. Bedfordshire Regiment

Died Of Wounds on the 7th May 1917 aged 40 .

 

William arrived in France on the 27th July 1915. On the 23rd April 1917 the Battalion were engaged in an attack on the village of La Coulotte during fighting in the Zouave Valley. The Commanding Officer described the attack as “most hazardous” and praised his men for their efforts. As the attack moved forward one company became trapped between two belts of barbed wire, at some places over 15 feet thick, and an enemy communication trench. The CO stated that his men were caught like rats and the Germans made good use of this by bringing heavy rifle and machine gun fire to bear on them. William Smith had been given the job of running out a wire for a power buzzer, which was an early type of intercom used to keep the supporting troops aware of the situation. He was wounded during this tragic assault and lay out on the battlefield for most of the day before being rescued. After being evacuated for treatment to his wounds, he was moved to a General hospital but died on the 7th May as result of his injuries.

His Commanding Officer had recommended him for an award of the Military Medal but this was never confirmed.

William is buried in the Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, Pas De Calais, France. (4.B.5.)

Medal Entitlement: 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 


Percy Harry SNELGROVE  MM

Sergeant  265339

“H” Company.  1st Battalion. Hertfordshire Regiment

Missing In Action on the 11th January 1918 aged 21.

Percy was the son of Mrs J C Snelgrove of 53 Leys Avenue, Letchworth. He was employed as a Blacksmith and spent some time living in Trinity Road, Stevenage before joining the Army in July 1914. He was posted to France on the 6th November of that year.

Very little detail exists with regard to his award of the Military Medal nor his eventual death. It is known that the Battalion was in the Steenbeek area of Belgium when he was killed.

Percy has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, Belgium. (Panel 153.)

Medal Entitlement: Military Medal, 1914 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 


Robin SNOXELL

G/73553

Private

24th Battalion. Royal Fusiliers

Killed In Action on the 25th August 1918 aged 18.

Robin was the son of Norman & Emily Snoxell of 3 Walkern Road, Stevenage. Before his service in the Army he had worked for the Shelford Brothers bakery and Eastmans the Butcher in the High Street. Both he and his twin brother, John, had tried to join the Army in 1914 when they were aged 15. Although they were rejected for service, because of their age, they were allowed to join the local VTC, which was a form of Home Guard. On reaching enlistment age they both joined up and Robin was posted to the Royal Fusiliers whilst John served as a Signaller with the Suffolk Regiment. Their elder brother George was serving in the Royal Navy.

Robin received his training in Ireland and was then posted to France. He was killed whilst going forward to relieve some US troops in the Somme sector.

Robin is buried in the Gomiecourt South Cemetery, France. (3.C.3.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 


Walter STREET

21022

Private

8th Battalion. Border Regiment

Missing In Action on the 5th July 1916 aged 29.

Walter was the son of William & Emily Street of 16 High Street, Stevenage. His brother, Frederick George, died in Egypt in 1918 whilst serving with the Royal Artillery but his name has not been recorded on the Stevenage War Memorial.

Walter arrived in France on the 22nd August 1915. He served for almost a year on the Western Front and his unit was involved in the Battle of the Somme. The Battalion, part of the 75th Brigade of the 25th Division, were involved in the very heavy fighting around the village of Thiepval and Walter had survived the first day of the battle, when the British army suffered some 60,000 casualties. The conditions were ghastly and eyewitnesses recalled that that the bodies of the dead were still laying on the battlefield many days later. The fighting was both intense and chaotic, therefore, it is not known at what point he was killed. He has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France. (Pier/Face 6A)

Medal Entitlement: 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 


Ernest TAPLIN

27090

Private

1st Battalion. Bedfordshire Regiment

Missing In Action on the 23rd July 1916 aged 28.

Ernest was the son of William & Delia Taplin of 5 Southsea Road. On the night of the 23rd July 1916, during the Battle of the Somme, the Battalion was engaged in pushing out small-fortified posts from the trenches between High Wood and Delville Wood.  Ernest was killed in the support trenches at Ginchy. His younger brother, Nelson, was also killed in action in Belgium during the war. Ernest has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Theipval Memorial, France. (Pier 2. Face C.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 


Nelson TAPLIN

G/24106

Private

7th Battalion. Royal West Kent Regiment

Killed In Action on the 12th October 1917 aged 19.

 

Nelson was the son of William & Delia Taplin of 5 Southsea Road.  Before his service in the army he was employed by Mr. F.Ashwell, a butcher, in Stevenage and in December 1916 his employer had made an application for Nelson to be exempt from military service. Sadly, this was refused and within a year Nelson was to perish on the battlefields of Flanders. His older brother, Ernest, was also killed in action in Belgium during the war.

The battle of Poelkapelle began on the 9th October 1917 and on the night of 10th/11th October the Battalion took over front line positions from the 9th West Yorkshire Regiment and the 8th Duke of Wellingtons (West Riding) Regiment. They were ordered to attack German positions the following day with zero hour being set for 5.25am. As the assault got underway one of the leading companies reported that there being hit by shells from the British artillery barrage that were falling short. Bad weather and poor ground conditions made tough going for the attacking troops and most of the officers and NCO’s had become casualties due to very heavy German shelling. Subsequently, the attack failed and had cost the Battalion a total of  385 officers & men either killed, wounded or missing.

Nelson is buried in the Cement House Cemetery, Langemarck, Belgium. (6.C.27.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 


Harold Reuben TAVENER

425753

Private

29th Battalion. Canadian Infantry (British Columbia) Regiment

Missing In Action on the 17th April 1917 aged 34.

 

Harold was the son of Reuben & Jemima Tavener of “Homeleigh”, Essex Road, Stevenage. He was reported as Missing in action at Vimy Ridge on the 17th April 1917 and was not seen again.

Battalion was in a support area east of Neuville St.Vaast and the war diary shows that there was no enemy activity. However, it does record that 1 man was killed and 2 others wounded, probably as the result of artillery shell fire.

He has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Vimy Memorial to the Canadian Forces.

 

 

Ernest Reginald TITMUSS

M/4563

Petty Officer (2nd Class Writer  )

Royal Navy

HMS Attentive

Died 22/10/18 aged 25.

Ernest was born on the 3rd April 1893, the only son of Mr & Mrs Titmus of Fishers Green Road. He joined the Royal Navy on the 10th June1912. At the time of his death he had been married to his wife, Hilda May Titmus, for 18 months and the couple had a young child. He is known to have taken part in the Battle of Jutland. Ernest contracted influenza at Dover and died at the Royal Marine Hospital in Deal.

He is buried in the St. Nicholas churchyard, Stevenage.

 

 


 

Ernest William TOOLEY

33141

Private

8th Battalion. Leicestershire Regiment

Died Of Wounds on the 25th November 1916 aged 21.

(Formerly 6567 Bedfordshire Regiment)

Ernest was the son of Henry & Harriett Tooley who lived at 16 Alleynes Road, Stevenage. His father was a local tailor and before joining the Army he had been employed by Leggetts fishmongers and by the Glazley Coach Works as a Coach Painter.

He enlisted in the Army on the 26th February 1916 in Hitchin and initially served with the Bedfordshire Regiment. Following the completion of his training he was posted to France on the 3rd November 1916 and on arrival he was transfered to the Leicestershire Regiment. He joined the 8th Battalion on the 16th November and a few days later, on the 23rd, was wounded. He was taken to No.7 General Hospital at St.Omer where he died two days later.

On the 25th November 1916 the Battalion were in positions in the Hohenzollern sector of the Western Front. They were heavily bombarded for nearly four hours by German trench mortars and it is believed that it was during this bombardment that Ernest was wounded. He died at the St.Omer hospital of wounds received in action.

He is buried in the Longuenesse (St.Omer) Souvenir Cemetery, France. (4.A.79.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 


Frederick George WALDOCK

G/15649

Private

13th Battalion. Royal Sussex Regiment

Killed In Action on the 21st October 1916 aged 21.

 

Fred was the son of Edward & Lucy Waldock who lived at 71 Albert Street. Before joining the army Fred had worked for Maythorn & Sons, coachbuilders, of Biggleswade.

He initially joined the Hertfordshire Regiment as Private 3282 and was later transfered to the Royal Sussex Regiment. On the 21st October 1916, as the Battle of the Somme drew to a close, the Battalion took part in an assault on a position known as Stuff Trench. Very heavy fighting had taken place in the area since the commencement of the battle and Frederick was killed near Post Wood.

He is buried in a shared grave in the Grandcourt Road Cemetery, Grandcourt, France. (Grave.A.50.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 


George Leonard WALDOCK

103482

Private

10th Battalion. Notts & Derbys Regiment

Died Of Wounds on the 23rd October 1918 aged 23.

 

George was the eldest son of George & Alice Waldock who lived at 16 Southsea Road, Stevenage. He was one of 11 children and before joining the Army had been employed as an agricultural labourer by Ben Moules at Titmore Green Farm. At the time of his death, had two other brothers serving in the Army. George enlisted in the Army in 1915 and was seriously wounded for a third time by a gas shell on the 9th September 1918 whilst the Battalion was in Desart Wood in the French Sector. He was taken to a Hospital in Rouen and then transfered to a Military hospital in Edinburgh where he died from the effects of his wounds shortly after arrival.

He is buried in the St. Nicholas churchyard, Stevenage.

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 


Horatio Spencer WALPOLE

Lieutenant

No.1 Company.  1st Battalion. Coldstream Guards

Killed In Action on the 9th April 1918 aged 36.

 

Horatio was born on the 19th July 1881 in Hampton Road, Teddington the son of Henry Spencer & Frances Selina Walpole.  His father was a Barrister and Horatio was the heir to the two Baronies of Walpole. He was educated at Eton school and later at New College, Oxford. After leaving university he worked for Dangerfield, Blythe & Co of 26 Craven Street, Charring Cross.

In 1906 he married Dorothea Frances Montgomerie and and the couple lived at The Firs in Stevenage, where they later had two children.  His brother, a Lieutenant in the Gordon Highlanders, was killed in action at Loos on the 20th September 1915 but whose name is not recorded on the Stevenage War Memorial. 

In January 1916 Horatio, who signs himself Horace, joined the Inns of Court Officer Training Corps and, after completing his training, received a commission in the Guards in March 1916.  He was then posted to France in August 1916 and wounded on the 15th September, when he received a gunshot wound to his right forearm. The following day he was promoted to Lieutenant but his wound was a serious one and he was evacuated to No.8 General Hospital in Rouen for treatment, after which he returned to England. Horace did not return to France until August 1917.

On the 9th April 1918 he was commanding No.1 Company of the Battalion, which was in the front line at Boiry St Martin. A German artillery shell landed in the trench in which he was standing and killed him outright.

Horatio is buried in the Bac-Du-Sud Cemetery, France. (2.B.22.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 


Charles William WARD

20351

Private

1st Battalion. Bedfordshire Regiment

Died on the 25th November 1916 aged 18.

 

Charles was the son of George & Louisa Ward of 10 Nottingham Road, Stevenage. Before joining the army he had worked at the ESA factory. He had served in France since January 1916 where he saw action in many of he major engagements on the Somme. However, he was admitted to hospital suffering from appendicitis and, although he appeared to be recovering from the operation, suffered a fatal relapse.

Charles is buried in the Longuenesse (St.Omer) Souvenir Cemetery, France. (4.A.79.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

 


Walter WARREN

294

Sergeant

28th Battalion. London Regiment  (Artists Rifles)

Killed In Action on the 27th November 1914 aged 37.

 

Walter was the son of Henry & Clara Warren of Rockleaze, Stevenage. He joined the Volunteer Force on the 23rd January 1900 as a member of the 28th London Regiment. The Territorial and Reserve Forces Act  of 1907 combined the previously civilian-administered Volunteer Force, with the Militia and Yeomanry to become the Territorial Army.  Walter was re-engaged into the Regiment on the 28th April 1908 and attended the Regiments Annual Camps until he was embodied into the Army on the 5th August 1914, the day after the Great War broke out.

He was posted to Belgium on the 26th October had only been serving overseas for a month when he was killed by Shellfire whilst digging trenches by the Brewery Inn in Neuve Eglise, Belgium.

Walter is buried in the Neuve Eglise Cemetery, Belgium. (N.2.). His headstone is heavily weathered and much of the detail has vanished.

Medal Entitlement: Territorial Efficiency Medal, 1914 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

 

Alfred John WELCH

5484

Private

1st Battalion. Hertfordshire Regiment

Killed In Action on the 10th September 1916 aged 28

 

Alfred enlisted in the Hertfordshire Regiment on the 16th August 1915. He was posted to France on the 13th May 1916 when the Battalion was preparing to take part in the Somme offensive. He joined the Battalion for duty on the 10th June and was transfered to "D" Company on the 23rd June.

He is buried in the Knightsbridge Cemetery, Mesnil-Martinsart, France. (C.47.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 


Frederick WELCH

4/7372

Private

1st Battalion. Bedfordshire Regiment

Died Of Wounds on the 21st April 1915 aged 30.

 

Frederick arrived in France on the 3rd December 1914. He was severely wounded in the fighting around Hill 60, which is situated on a ridge overlooking the town of Ypres. The highest point of the hill is composed of excavated earth from the railway cutting that runs through the ridge. It allows an excellent view over the town and was a valuable artillery observation point.

On the 10th April 1915, after a few days rest in Reningheist, the Battalion moved to trenches opposite Hill 60. Here they assisted in preparations for an attack on the hill and these were completed by the 17th April, despite the fact that all necessary materials had to be carried by hand from the ruins of Zillebeke, under the cover of darkness. Much tunnelling had taken place prior to the attack and on the 17th April six British mines were detonated close to the German positions and the assault got underway. Initially, there was some success as the German troops were caught by surprise but this did not last very long. They quickly re-organised themselves and at midnight they made a concerted counter-attack. It was during this attack that Frederick Welch was apparently shot in the head and died of his wounds several days later.

It is believed that his grave was lost during the intense shelling in the area and, as a result, he has no known grave.

His name is recorded on the Menin Gate memorial, Belgium.

Medal Entitlement: 1915 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

Frederick Cyril WESTWOOD

31896

Private

5th  Battalion. Bedfordshire Regiment

Died At Sea 30th December 1917 aged 20.

 

Fred was the son of Ernest & Annie Westwood of 26 High Street. He was educated at Alleynes School and his father was a local butcher who later employed his son as a slaughterman.

On 30 December 1917 the German submarine UC-34 torpedoed the troopship Aragon off Alexandria. HMS Attack and the Armed Trawler Points Castle rescued soldiers from the sinking troopship, but HMS Attack either struck a mine or received another torpedo as she pulled men from the water. Ten sailors from HMS Attack died and 600 lives were lost on the Aragon.

Frederick has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Chatby Memorial, Egypt.

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 


Horace WHEATLEY

G/13508

Private

7th Battalion. Queens Royal West Surrey Regiment

Missing In Action on the 8th November 1916.

The Battalion and had moved into the trenches from Albert on the night of 3rd November 1916, in order to relieve the men of the 10th Essex Regiment. They were situated in Regina & Hessian trench where they remained through the next few days. Life in the trenches at this time was desperately uncomfortable. The cold and wet of the winter months and the continual shelling by German artillery made every day a miserable event. The Battalion provided working parties to work on trench defences but the wet conditions seriously hampered their efforts. On the 6th November the Battalion moved from the front line trenches to the nearby support trenches. Here they prepared to be relieved by the 7th Royal Kent Regiment and on the 8th November the relief began. This movement of troops became a target for the German artillery hwo began to shell the area very heavily, resulting in many casualties. It was during this relief that Horace Wheatley was killed.

He has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial. Somme, France.

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

 

Henry James WILSON

110612

Private

19th Battalion. Machine Gun Corps (Cavalry)

(Formerley 2425 Hertfordshire Yeomanary)

Died on the 16th October 1918 aged 23.

 

Henry was the son of  Martha & Henry Wilson of 4 Albert Street and was employed in Stevenage as a Policeman. He joined the Hertfordshire Yeomanry in May 1915 as Private 2425. He arrived in Egypt on the 16th November 1915 and was later transferred to the Machine Gun Corps. Henry died of Enteritis on the 16th October 1918 aged 23. His parents lived at Bragbury End, where his father was a Domestic Coachman, and thus his name is also recorded on the Aston war memorial. Both memorials show Harry as serving in the Hertfordshire Yeomanry, which was his original unit.

Henry is buried in the Beirut War Cemetery, Lebanon. (Grave 38.)

Medal Entitlement: 1915 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 


Ronald George WRIGHT

203281

Private

6th Battalion. Kings Own Scottish Borderers

Killed In Action on the 26th July 1918 aged 19.

George lived at 36 Basils Road, Stevenage and had previously been employed at ESA.

On the 26th July 1918 the Battalion were in the front line at Meteren. The Germans  made a determined raid on the British positions but had been driven off. Heavy shelling also took place and Ronald Wright and several comrades were killed when a shell fell into their trench. He was buried the next day with two of those comrades.

Ronald is buried in the La Kreule Military Cemetery, France. (3.B.1.)

 

 

 

David Irad BRADSHAW

16016

Private

“B” Company. 8th Battalion. Bedfordshire Regiment

Killed In Action on the 9th October 1917.

 

David was the Stepson of Charles & Ethel Nottage of Half Hide Farm, Shephall.

He arrived in France on the 30th August 1917. On the 9th October the Battalion were in support positions at Cite St.Pierre near Lens. There was only one casualty suffered on this date and that was as a result of heavy shelling of the Battalion headquarters. It must be assumed that this casualty was David Bradshaw.

He is buried in the Loos British Cemetery, France. (20.A.15.)

Medal Entitlement: 1915 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 


David BYGRAVE

39559

Private

12th Battalion. Gloucestershire Regiment

Died Of Wounds on the 10th October 1917 aged 41.

David was the son of James & Marianne Bygrave of Brickfield Cottages, Stevenage. The family later lived at Ash Tree Bottom in Datchworth, where David worked as a Farm Labourer. By 1911 David had moved to Little Oxhey Lane Cottages, Oxhey, near Watford where he worked on a farm as a Cowman.

He initially joined the Hertfordshire Regiment as a Private with the Service Number 5296. He was later transferred to the Gloucestershire Regiment.

On the 2nd October 1917 the Battalion were in reserve positions at Meteren, having been recently involved in the Battle of Loos, and it was here that they were attacked with Gas shells on both the 2nd & 3rd of October. David died from the effects of Gas Poisoning a week later at Southampton Hospital.

He is buried in the St.Mary churchyard, Shephall.

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 

 

Robert William Thomas CHRISTIAN

45258

Sergeant

82nd Battery. Royal Field Artillery

Killed In Action on the 15th February 1917 aged 28.

 

Robert was the son of William & Louisa Christian of 49 Calvert Road, Greenwich, London and the husband of Elizabeth Sara Christian of Shephall. He arrived in Iraq on the 17th November 1914. The exact cause of his death is not currently known. 

He is buried in the Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery, Iraq. (21.W.17. )

Medal Entitlement: 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

 


George FREEMAN

290887

Private

1/5th  Battalion. Suffolk Regiment

Died Of Wounds on the 5th November 1917 aged 38.

(Formerly 6065 Suffolk Regiment)

 

George was born in St. Ippoillitts near Hitchin. Later in life he worked in Stevenage as a Domestic Groom and lived in Nottingham Road with his wife, Agnes, and their son, William John.

The Battalion were in trenches at Fusilier Ridge when they were ordered to attack Turkish positions. The enemy artillery were using high bursting Shrapnel shells which caused many men to become wounded, one of whom was George Freeman.

He is buried in the Deir El Belah War Cemetery, Israel. (B.102.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 


The Following Names Are Servicemen Who Are Shown In Official Records As

Being Residents Of Stevenage But Whose Names Are Not Recorded On The Memorial

 

Charles George Massie BLOMFIELD

Major

“A” Company. 1st Battalion. Royal Warwickshire Regiment

Killed In Action on the 9th June 1915 aged 36.

 

Charles was the son of Rear-Admiral Sir Richard Massie Blomfield and Lady Rosamund Selina Massie Blomfield (Nee Graves) and the husband of Hirrel Blomfield (Nee Clarence), of South Lodge, Boscombe, Dorset.

He was posted to Flanders on the 5th May 1915 and joined the Battalion on the 13th May where it was involved in fighting around Ypres. Some four weeks later whilst the Battalion was in Vlamertinghe he was killed by a snipers bullet.

Charles is buried in the Talana Farm Cemetery, Boesinghe, Belgium.

Medal Entitlement: 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

Ernest BUSHBY
36251
Private
8th  Battalion. Royal Berkshire Regiment
( Formerly 4993. Private. Hertfordshire Regiment )
Killed In Action on the 26th October 1918 aged 27



Ernest was the son of William & Sarah Bushby of Titmore Green. He had been employed by Herbert Hailey of Great Wymondly and had enlisted in the Army in April 1915. He was posted to France in April 1916 where he was gassed twice.  At the time of his death his brother was serving in the Army in Egypt.

He was killed two days after his 27th birthday when the Battalion were at Le Cateau. Zero hour had been set for 1.00am and after the Barrage had opened the leading companies advanced, meeting immediate opposition from advanced Machine Gun posts of the enemy with many men  not even making it out of the trenches.. The night was extremely dark and owing to the nature of the country, progress and the keeping of direction was extremely difficult. The first strong opposition was met on the Englefontaine-Robersart Road which was held by Machine Guns and the right of the attack was held up. In the meantime the left company had pushed through, 2 platoons of B Coy reaching their objective at 01.40 hours but after incurring heavy casualties were obliged to withdraw to a nearby sunken road.

At about 3.00am the Commanding Officer went forward and adopted a policy of penetration by active patrolling and the line of the sunken road was eventually made good. Touch was made with the Essex Regiment on the right, near the junction of the main and sunken roads. The enemy retaliation was unusually heavy, guns of a heavy calibre being turned on especially on the high ground, where enfilade fire from the right caused particular annoyance. It was during this action that Ernest was killed.

He is buried in the Romeries Communal Cemetery, France. (9.C.15.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

Thomas Jasper SHOVEL
Chaplain 4th Class
Royal Army Chaplains Department
Attached to the 2/2nd Wessex Field Ambulance
Died Of Wounds on the 5th October 1918 aged 34

Thomas was born on the 2nd August 1884, the son of Thomas and Ellen Shovel of Upton Cross, Linkinhorne in Cornwall.  He was ordained in July 1912 after which he worked in the Hitchin & Stevenage area under Reverend John Pellow. Reverend Shovell lived in Green Street, Stevenage and joined the Royal Army Chaplains Department on the 16th January 1918 as a Chaplain 4th Class (Captain).

After a short introduction to Army life the Reverend Shovell embarked from Folkestone on the 29th January for France where he was attached to the 2/2 Wessex Field Ambulance on the Western Front. Thomas received the princely sum of 10 shillings a day for this work. He died on the 5th October 1918 from shrapnel wounds received in the field.

Thomas is buried in the Louverval Military Cemetery, Doignies, France. (Row A. Grave 6.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

Frederick George STREET
179656 
Gunner
8 Mountain Artillery Brigade. Royal Garrison Artillery
Died on the 18th November 1918 aged 36



Frederick was the second son of William & Emily Street of High Street, Stevenage. He married his wife, Ellen Isabelle, in Datrford, Kent during the Autum of 1905. The couple lived 15 St.Albans Road, Dartford where Frederick worked as a Printers Compositor in a local publishers. They had two children, Albert & Frederick. In the Summer of 1913 Ellen sadly died and Frederick returned to Stevenage with his young sons where they lived at 37 Grove Road. Frederick found himself employment as a Printer with Burroughs & Welcome in Hertford.

He was one of five brothers who were serving in the forces. His brother, Walter, was killed on the 5th July 1916 during the opening days of the Battle of the Somme.

Frederick had taken part in the capture of Jerusalem and died in Hospital on the 18th November 1918 suffering from Dysentery.

He is buried in the Hadra War Cemetery, Alexandria, Egypt. (C.128.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

Charles WALDOCK
Sapper
147732
253rd Tunnelling Company
Royal Engineers
Missing In Action on the 28th January 1916
( Formerley 3/12320 Leicestershire Regiment)

Official records show that Charles was born and living in Stevenage at the time of his death. However, his name is not included on the war memorial.

The blowing of mines below enemy front line positions became a regular feature during WW1. Infantry tactics were developed that would enable the rushing and capture of the crater formed by the explosions. These craters were often themselves a dominant ground feature, as the lip of earth thrown up was usually higher than the ground in the area, giving possible observation over the enemy. Crater fighting became a highly dangerous and unpleasant feature of many actions in 1915 and early 1916.

The 253rd Tunnelling Company was located in the St.Elie area where they were engaged in underground work. The Germans had also been busy preparing a mine shaft under the British positions and this was detonated early on the 28th January 1916, killing two British miners and a number of infantrymen. One of the miners was Charles Waldock.

Charles has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Loos Memorial, Pas de Calais, France
(Panel Number: Panel 4 and 5)