Fred A Clements

5834344, Private, 5th Suffolk Regiment.

Died on the 13th August 1943 aged 30.

Fred lived at 3 Frogmore Lane with his wife and daughter. Before joining the Army he was employed by Wright & Co. in Walkern.
The Battalion sailed from Liverpool on the 28th October 1941, it’s original destination being the Middle East. On route orders were received diverting the Regiment to the Far East. After a long, arduous, eight-week journey that had taken them via Halifax, Cape Town & Bombay the Regiment arrived in Ahmednagar on the 27th December. After three weeks of intensive acclimatisation and training the Regiment embarked on the USS West Point for Singapore where they arrived at dawn on the 29th January 1942, just two weeks before the island fortress would capitulate to the forces of the Japanese Imperial Army.

On the 9th February the Japanese landed on the north-western side of the island and began what was to be the greatest defeat the British army had ever suffered.

Fred died whilst a Japanese Prisoner of War and is buried in the Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery, Burma. (B4.W.6.)

George Henry Clements

12067, Private, " A" Company. 9th Essex Regiment.

Killed In Action on the 29th August 1915 aged 23.

Private George Henry Clements

George was the son of David Clements of Stevenage Lane, Walkern.

A former Under-Gamekeeper, he joined the Army at Saffron Walden on the 24th August 1914. He was posted to France, with the Battalion, on the 30th May 1915. They arrived at Boulogne on the 1st June 1915 and moved to billets at Audenthun. After going through a period of preparation for life in the trenches the Battalion moved to Ploegstreert Wood on the 15th June.

It was on this day, as the Battalion took up positions at La Plus Douve Farm, that it suffered its first casualties when two men from "A" Company, who would have been known to George,  were killed after a high explosive shell struck the top of the trench they were in, killing Private George Cox and Private Frederick Augustine Byrne.

The Battalion remained in the Ploegstreert Wood vicinity for the next two months, with a daily record of casualties being listed in the unit war diary. On the 30th August 1915, George is listed as the the only casualty, believed to have been shot by a sniper.

He is buried in the Gunners Farm Military Cemetery, Comines-Warneton, Belgium. (Grave B.4.)

 

Headstone Inscription: "Rest in Peace"

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

 

The grave of Private George Henry Clements in the Gunners Farm Military Cemetery, Comines-Warneton, Belgium.

George Henry Clements in civilian dress. (Tom McCall via Herts at War)

 

 

 

Cecil James Cordell

265841, Private, No.4 Company. 1st Battalion, Hertfordshire Regiment.

Missing In Action on the 31st July 1917 aged 24.

The Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Belgium.

Cecil was the son of John Cordell of Bridge Foot Farm, Walkern 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 or wounded.

Cecil has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Belgium. (Panel 54 and 56).

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

Thomas George Dodds

M2/045520, Private, 402nd M.T. Coy. Army Service Corps, attd. 184th Siege Bty Royal Garrison Artillery.

Died on the 30/08/1918 aged 28.

Son of Mr. and Mrs. T. David Dodds, of 5, Chapman's Terrace, Park St., Hatfield, Herts. Born in Walkern.

He is buried in the Faubourg D'amiens Cemetery, Arras, France. VII. E. 25.

George Henry Edwards

266902, Private, No.4 Company. 1 Hertfordshire Regiment.

Missing In Action on the 31st July 1917 aged 24.

The Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Belgium.

George was the son of George & Emma Edwards of Froghall Lane, Walkern 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 or wounded.

He has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Belgium. (Panel 54/56.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

 

Peter Fitzjohn

800892, Gunner, " Y” Section. 74th Trench Motar Battery. Royal Field Artillery.

Accidentally Killed on the 5th October 1918 aged 39.

Peter was the son of Peter & Harriett Fitzjohn of Baldock and the husband of Minnie Fitzjohn of Bransmead Villas, Walkern. He was killed whilst working at an ammunition dump when a Mine exploded and a piece of shrapnel hit him in the head.

Peter is buried at the Peronne Communal Cemetery Extension, St.Radegonde, France. (5.L.9.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal.

Percy Goodchild

214057D, Leading Seaman, Gunner 1st Class, HMS Defence. Royal Navy.

Killed In Action on the 31st May 1916 aged 29.

Percy was the son of S Goodchild of Beecroft Lane, Walkern. He was one of 6097 men who were killed during the Battle of Jutland on the 31st May 1916.

At 6.16 p.m. HMS Defense and HMS Warrior were observed passing down between the British and German Battle Fleets under a very heavy fire. HMS Defense was seen to blow up and HMS Warrior passed to the rear disabled. It is probable that Sir Robert Arbuthnot, during his engagement with the enemy's light cruisers and in his desire to complete their destruction, was not aware of the approach of the enemy's heavy ships, owing to the mist, until he found himself in close proximity to the main fleet, and before he could withdraw his ships they were caught under a heavy fire and disabled.

Percy has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Plymouth Naval Memorial. (Panel 11.)

George Green

7275, Private, 1st Essex Regiment.

Died Of Wounds on the 8th May 1915 aged 34 .

George was the son of William & Ellen Green.

He landed at Gallipoli on the 24th April 1915 and was wounded shortly after his arrival when the Battalion was in position at Krithea. Fighting in the area was intense and the Battalion were called upon to support New Zealand troops but were forced to withdraw after coming under heavy machine gun and rifle fire.

It is believed that George was later evacuated to a hospital ship but after losing his fight for life was buried at sea.

He has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Helles Memorial, Turkey. (Panel 144/150.)

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

John William Randolph Green

373671, Rifleman, 8th London Regiment (Post Office Rifles).

Died Of Wounds on the 2nd December1917.

On the 2nd December 1917 the Battalion were located in a sunken road near Bourlon Wood when they were ordered to attack German positions in the wood. There were a great many shell holes in the wood and the Germans were using these as shelter. Although the attack was successful the assault cost the lives of 31 men. John died as a result of wounds received during this action.

He is buried in the Rocquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery, Manancourt, France. (6.C.26.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal.

Reginald Green

A/200670, Rifleman, 2nd Kings Royal Rifle Corps.

Died Of Wounds on the 20th September 1918 aged 21.

Reginald was the fourth son of Walter & Emily Green of Fairview, Walkern. He enlisted in the Hertfordshire Regiment on the 6th November 1915 and was posted to France 21st September 1916.

He was sent home in December 1916 suffering from Trench Foot and did not return to France until June 1917. At some later stage he was transferred to the Kings Royal Rifle Corps.This Battalion were positioned in Courzancourt Wood in the Arras sector when they were given the order to attack German held positions. It is bekieved that Reginald was wounded during this assault and he later died of his injuries at No.47 Casualty Clearing Station at Asylum.

Reginald is buried in the Brie British Cemetery, Somme, France. (1.E.10.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal