Thomas William Aldridge

G/44028, Private, 17th Middlesex (1st Football) Regiment (6th Brigade, 2nd Division)

Died Of Wounds on the 26th June 1917 aged 31.

Thomas was the son of Edward & Isabella Aldridge. Prior to joining the Army he worked as a Horse Keeper on a local farm.

He was taken prisoner by the Germans and held in the Niederzwehren camp where conditions were almost intolerable. Many prisoners were only given very rudimentary treatment for any wounds they had received and it is believed that Thomas died due to inappropriate treatment of his injuries.

Thomas is buried in the Niederzwehren Cemetery, Germany. (4.B.1.) 

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal



Fred Allen

28647, Lance Corporal, 4th Battalion, Grenadier Guards, (4th Guards Brigade. 31st Division).

Missing In Action on the 12th April 1918.

Lance Corporal Fred Allen

Fred was born in Holloway, London in 1883. On Monday 18 May 1914, he married Ethel Caroline Canfield at Aston parish church.

He was posted to France in July 1917 and served continuously on the Western Front.

On 21 March 1918, the Germans launched their Spring Offensive, often referred to as the Kaiserschlacht ("Kaiser's Battle"), but also known as the Ludendorff offensive. This was a series of assaults along the Western Front aimed at breaking through the Allied lines, outflanking the British forces and forcing the French to seek armistice terms. On 11 April 1918, the 31st Division, with whom Fred's battalion were serving, were called forward in ex-London buses to form a defensive line near Estaires. This was to allow retreating British and Portuguese troops to withdraw. Next day the Germans threw in all their reserves to try and capture Hazebrouck.  At dawn on the 12th April 1918 the Battalion arrived at the village of L’Epinette. Due to the fact that there were insufficient tools the companies were not well dug in and were highly vulnerable to German machine gun and light artillery fire. A devastating barrage rained down on the troops and there was heavy fighting in the area. As a result the Battalion suffered a 90% casualty rate that day, one of whom was Fred Allen.

A post war pension card shows that the couple had a child, Thomas George Kitchener, who was born on 8 January 1917. Ethel remarried on 20 March 1922 to Albert Edward Gray of Aston.

Fred Allen has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Ploegsteert Memorial, Comines-Warneton, Belgium. (Panel 1.) 

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal.

James Fredrick Ansell

330303, Private, 15th Sherwood Foresters (Attached to the 105th Trench Mortar Battery).

Missing In Action on the 14th October 1918 aged 36.

Private James Frederick Ansell

James lived at Aston End with his brother, Walter, and Sister-In-Law, Rose. Prior to the Great War he was employed by the Hertfordshire County Council as a Roadman and was responsible for the upkeep of the Aston to Broadwater route.

He joined the Army in 1915 and was posted to France in 1917 as part of a Trench Mortar Battery.  Shortly after the commencement of a German attack on the 14th October 1918 a shell fell close to an ammunition cart that was being pulled by six men, including James. He was hit and mortally wounded and died shortly after.

James has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, Belgium. (Panel 99/102.) 

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal




William Arthur Kenneth Bott

D/JX555308, Able Seaman, Royal Navy, HMS President III (HMS Samaustral).

Drowned on the 19th October 1945 aged 20.

William was born in Frien Barnet on the 17th June 1925 the son of William & Lillian Bott. He was accidentally drowned at Maputo, Mozambique on the 19th October 1945 whilst his ship was at harbour in Delagoa Bay at the southern extremity of the country.

He is the only British serviceman to be buried in the Maputo Cemetery, Mozambique. (Special Memorial Grave. 7583.)

Thomas Charles Canfield

16911 Private " A" Company. 7th Bedfordshire Regiment (54th Brigade. 18th (Eastern) Division).

Died Of Wounds on the 17th July 1916 aged 19.

The grave of Private Thomas Charles Canfield in the Daours Communal Cemetery Extension, France.

Thomas was the son of Thomas & Ada Canfield of Lilac Villa, School Lane, Aston.

He arrived in France on the 30th August 1915 where his Battalion was to become involved in the heavy fighting in the Somme Sector at the opening of the battle on the 1st July 1916. On the 13th & 14th July the Battalion were in support of an attack by the 18th Divison in which they captured Trones Wood. It is believed that Thomas was wounded in this attack and died a few days later as a result of his injuries.

He is buried in the Daours Communal Cemetery Extension, France. (1.B.5.)

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

George Augustus Carter

30203, Private, 2nd East Lancashire Regiment, (24th Brigade. 8th Division).

( Formerly 28097 Norfolk Regiment ).

Killed In Action on the 31st July 1917 aged 35.

George was the eldest son of Edward & Emma Carter of Aston End. He was one of three brothers who were serving during the war both of  whom were, at the time of his death, Prisoners of War. He was to lose his life on the first day of a major British offensive, The Battle of  Passchendaele, which was launched on 31 July 1917 and continued until the fall of Passchendaele village on 6 November.

The offensive resulted in gains for the Allies but 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.

On the 31st July the Battalion attack was set to commence at 3.50am and their objective was the German trenches at Bellewarde Ridge. Although the Battalion managed to reach it’s objective quite quickly their supporting troops, the men of the 17th Manchester Regiment, were held up and as a result the right flank was exposed. The Germans quickly exploited this advantage and attacked the Battalion with heavy machine gun fire, causing considerable casualties. A total of 92 men were either killed or missing, one of whom was George Carter.

He is buried in the Aeroplane Cemetery, Ypres, Belgium. (2.C.39.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal 

David Chalkley

8433, Lance Corporal, 1st Battalion. Bedfordshire Regiment.

Missing In Action on the 4th September 1916 aged 34.

Thiepval Memorial, Somme.

David was born in Aston. He arrived in France with his Battalion on the 16th August 1914 and served almost continuously on the Western Front.

During the morning of 4th September 1916, British artillery persistently shelled the line his Battalion were holding, and in spite of several reports, matters remained the same. Finally, two of the forward trenches had to be evacuated as the men were all being buried. In doing so, the enemy opened up with machine guns on them and there were several casualties. Quite apart from its moral effect some 30 men were killed or wounded by our own guns, one of whom was Lance Corporal David Chalkley.

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

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

John Charlton

86232 Lance Corporal No.4 Company. Royal Army Medical Corps.

Died on the 28th February 1919 aged 28.

John Charlton was born in Chillingham, Northumberland in 1892. He moved with his mother, Mary Jane Charlton, and his brother, George Penrose Charlton, to St.Stephens Cottage, Aston, where their mother was a local school mistress. Before joining the Army John was employed as collector by the Pearl insurance Company although his trade was as a Journalist. He married Nellie Davidge on the 17th April 1915 and on the 21st July 1916 their son, Harold John was born. The family lived at 72 Ickelford Road, Hitchin.

John was attested for service in the Army on the 15th June 1916 and was mobilised on the 6th November of the same year. He was not a healthy man as his medical examination revealed. He was of very slight build, had poor eyesight, deformed toes on his left foot, a goitre on his upper dentures and his overall physical condition was described as poor. John was given the medical catergory BII and attached to No.4 Company, Royal Army Medical Corps based at Netley. On the 29th April 1917 John was posted to France where he served in the No.58 General Hospital at St.Omer as a Sanitary Orderly.

John died from Septic Pneumonia whilst at home on leave on the 28th February 1919 and is buried in the St.Mary Churchyard, Aston.

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal.

Herbert Charles Cooper

2620, Private, " C" Company. 9th East Surrey Regiment.

Killed In Action on the 2nd November 1915 aged 18

Herbert was the son of local chimney sweep William Cooper and his wife Susanah.

He enlisted in 1914 and was posted to the Western Front on the 5th October 1915. He had only been in France for five weeks when he was shot by a sniper whilst replacing sandbags on a parapet in front of a support trench.

Herbert is buried in the Spoilbank Cemetery, Belgium.

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

Ernest Albert Draper

39546 Private 1st Essex Regiment (112th Brigade. 37th Division)

Killed In Action on the 23rd August 1918.

(Formerly M/304620 Army Service Corps)

Ernest was the husband of Louisa Draper (nee Leggett) who lived with his in-laws at Admirals Walk, Hoddesdon. At the outbreak of the Great War he enlisted at Broxboune and his trade as Coachman led him into service in the Army Service Corps. He was later transfered into the Essex Regiment and served on the Western Front.

On the 23rd August 1918 the Battalion were positioned in Halifax Trench near the village of Fonquevillers, in the Somme sector. At 3.50am they moved to forward positions near Achiet Le Petit in readiness for an assault on German trenches near the village. As the attack got under way they were met with very heavy enemy artillery, machine gun and rifle fire. This soon held up the assault and support was requested from British Tanks. Only one Tank was available and this was used to quell some of the enemy fire, which it managed to successfully achieve. However, the Battalion had suffered considerable casualties with 4 Officers and 86 Other Ranks either Killed or Missing.

Ernest is buried in the Foncquevillers Military Cemetery, France.