Cuthbert Victor Way Albone

5949, Private, 1st Battalion, Hertfordshire Regiment.

Missing In Action on the 13th November 1916 aged 20.

Private Cuthbert Victor Way Albone

Cuthbert was born in Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, on the 3rd April 1896, the son of George & Elizabeth Albone. His father, who was originally from Stevenage, was a Carpenter by trade and the family lived in the St. Andrew’s Church in Biggleswade. George Albone later took up work as an Insurance Agent and the family moved to the High Street, Walkern. Prior to the outbreak of the Great War Cuthbert 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 05.45am 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 07.20 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 he was killed but his body was never recovered and is lost on the battlefields of the Somme. His elder brother, Gilbert, was also killed in the Somme sector a few months earlier.

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

His name appears on both the Stevenage and Walkern war memorials.

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.

Sergeant Gilbert Way Albone

Gilbert was born in Maulden, Bedfordshire, on the 14th October 1887, the son of George & Elizabeth Albone. His father, who was originally from Stevenage, was a Carpenter by trade and the family lived in the St. Andrew’s Church in Biggleswade. George Albone later took up work as an Insurance Agent and the family moved to the High Street, Walkern. Gilbert became a professional solider serving with the 2nd 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 some 244 casualties with 3 Officers and 32 Other Ranks being killed and a further 25 Other Ranks Missing.His younger brother, Cuthbert, was also killed in the Somme sector a few months later.

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

Gilbert's name appears on both the Stevenage and Walkern war memorials. 

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

Eric Gorden Barwick

5990020, Lance Corporal, 1st Hertfordshire Regiment.

Killed In Action on the 25th August 1944 aged 24.

Eric was the son of William & Alice Barwick and the husband of Elizabeth Barwick. He was born at Rooks Nest cottages, Walkern and was later employed at Rooks Nest farm. He joined the Territorial Army in 1938 and was well known locally as both a church chorister and as keen member of the Boy Scout movement.
The Battalion was serving in Italy at the time of his death. Eric was part of No.2 Company which was sent forward to try and occupy the castle of Vincigliato where the Germans had positioned themselves. There was to be no battalion attack or reinforcements and if the castle was too strongly held the Company was given orders to return to it's former positions. They left at first light and arrived in the area of the castle at 08.00 am. They first approached from the front but it was found that the Germans had prepared for a frontal assault by placing Spandau machine guns in the moat and walls of the castle. The Company began to reconnoitre the castle but this drew fire from the occupying Germans and it was soon determined that both Artillery and Royal Engineer assistance would be needed as the castle was too strongly held. Orders were given for the Company to withdraw but as they did so they were hit by a barrage of mortar fire which resulted in several casualties, including Eric Barwick. At the time of his death he had a 14 month old daughter, Valerie, who he had never seen.
Eric is buried in Florence War Cemetery, Italy. (5.A.10)

John William Alfred Belchamber

TF/201121, Private, 4th Sussex Regiment.

Missing In Action on the 26th March 1917.

On the 26th March 1917 the Battalion were at Deir El Belah. They were given an order to move to positions near El Shelluf Ridge where they were to attack Turkish forces that were entrenched there. There was a heavy mist covering the desert which did not lift until 8.15am, allowing the assaulting troops to see the Turkish positions. The assault began at 1.00pm with a Turkish trench being quickly taken and the attacking troops began to move up a nearby ridge. However, Turkish fire was very heavy andthe Battalion attempted to hold it’s position but this could not be maintained and they were forced back. Soon the Battalion was relieved and were able to re-organise themselves. The action had resulted in the loss of  4 Officers and 83 Other Ranks either killed or missing, with many more wounded.

John has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Jerusalem Memorial, Israel.

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

Alfred Harold Boon

543626, Gunner, 7th Coastal Regiment. Royal Artillery.

Died on the 3rd March 1942 aged 37

Alfred was the son of Alfred & Annie Boon. He was presumed to have been killed in the Far East between the 2nd/3rd August 1942, whilst a prisoner of the Japanese, and has no known grave.

His name is recorded on the Singapore War Memorial. (Column 13)

Charles Eric Canning

C/MX57846, Chief Petty Officer, Royal Navy, HMS Porcupine.

Died Of Wounds on the 9th December 1942 aged 26.

Charles was born in Kings Norton, Worcestershire on the 16th May 1917 and was the second son of Francis & Daisy Canning who later moved to " Ivanhoe" , Walkern. He joined the Navy when he was aged 18 and married in 1939. He and his wife, Alma, lived with their son in Grange Road, Gillingham, Kent.

HMS Porcupine was a 1540 ton P Class Destroyer which was torpedoed on the 9th December 1942 by the German submarine U-602 whilst 70 miles North-east of Oran. She was towed to Arzeu where her wounded were put ashore. Later the ship was towed to the UK but was never repaired.

Charles is buried in the Le Petit Lac War Cemetery, Oran, Algeria. (E.B.15.)

Arthur Henry Carter

31890, Private, 4th Bedfordshire Regiment.

Died on the 29th May 1918 aged 20.

Arthur was the son of George & Caroline Carter of the High Street, Walkern. At the time of his death the Battalion were in the frontline at Forceville. However, Arthur is believed to have died as a result of disease rather than combat injuries.

His brother Reginald died in Germany whilst a Prisoner Of War.

Arthur is buried in the Peronne Communal Cemetery Extension, St.Radegonde, France. (5.E.7.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

Ernest Carter

203345, Private, 4th Bedfordshire Regiment.

Killed In Action on 30th October 1917 aged 19.

Ernest was the son of George and Edith Carter and was to lose his life during the closing stages of  The Third Ypres, or 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.

On the 30th October 1917 the Battalion were in the frontline at Ourton when they were ordered to attack an enemy strong-point. The ground was described as being very “boggy” and the Battalion only managed to move forward by 150 yards. However, this slight movement in the line cost the lives of 2 officers and 73 men, one of whom was Ernest Carter.

He has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Zillebeke, Belgium. (Panel 48/50.) 

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

Reginald Carter

266935, Private, 1st Hertfordshire Regiment.

Died 28th November 1918 aged 23.

Reginald was the son of George & Caroline Carter of the High Street, Walkern. He was taken prisoner in September 1917 and held in the Niederzwehren camp where conditions were almost intolerable. Many prisoners were only given very rudimentary treatment for any wounds or infections that had received. Additionally, food was very meagre and many men died of malnutrition. His brother, Arthur, died in France on the 29th May 1918.

Reginald is buried in the Niederzwehren Cemetery, Germany. (4.M.7.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

Arthur George Clements

7036, Private, 1/4 West Riding Regiment, (Formerley 4454 Hertfordshire Regiment).

Missing In Action on the 23rd September 1916 aged 18.

Arthur was the eldest son of Noah & Alice Mary Clements of Froghall Lane, Walkern.

He joined the Hertfordshire Regiment on the 9th January 1915 when he was aged 17 and served in the UK until the 30th August 1916 when he was posted to France.

The young inexperienced soldier was transfered to the 1st/4th West Riding Regiment on the 10th September 1916 after the Battalion suffered very heavy casualties during an attack on the Schwaben Redoubt on the 2nd September. Arthur arrived at the Battalion on the 12th September and on the 23rd, at the height of the Somme Offensive, the Battalion were in positions in the Leipzieg Salient where they were preparing to be relieved by the 5th West Riding Regiment. Here the trenches were described as being in a very bad state, owing to wet conditions and unburied dead bodies. The Battalion were detailed to move to Leavilliers by bus and it is not known at what point Arthur Clements was killed but it is possible that his loss was as a result of artillery fire.

Arthur has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France. Pier/Face 6A.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal