Arthur Frederick Fairey

B/203646, Rifleman, 3rd Battalion, Rifle Brigade.

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

Rifleman Arthur Frederick Fairey

Arthur was born in Islington, London, on the 28th May 1891, the son of Arthur & Emil Fairey who later lived at the Fisherman public house in Fishers Green, Stevenage, where his father was the Publican. Before joining the Army Arthur was employed as a Carman by T.Briden & Son in Stevenage.

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 near the village of Cayeux, which had been in the hands of Commonwealth forces for some time, was lost on 27th March 1918 during the great German advance, but recaptured by the Canadian Corps on the 8th August. 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. (1.E.619.) The cemetery was begun by French troops and was used by the 36th Casualty Clearing Station. It was enlarged after the Armistice when graves were brought in, mainly from the battlefields to the North.

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

Henry Victor Fardell

The grave of Henry Victor Fardell, shared with another soldier of the Great War.

10699, Corporal, 5th Platoon, "B" Company, 7th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment.

Died on the 17th August 1918.

Henry Victor Fardell was born on the 28th August 1894 in the village of Therfield. His connection with the village of Benington has not been established but it is believed that he may have worked in the area.

He arrived in France on the 30th July 1915 and served on the Western Front until he was taken prisoner at St. Quentin on the 21st March 1918, the first day of the German Spring offensive. He died from what is described as "Cardiac Weakness" whilst a Prisoner of War in Germany on the 17th August 1918. This often arose as the result of being malnourished.

He was originally buried in the Morhange Military Cemetery, but on the 24th July 1924 his remains, and those of other servicemen buried in the cemetery, were exhumed and reburied in the Sarralbe Military Cemetery, Moselle, France (D. 23.)

Henry shares his final resting place with Private Percy Little Sallis of the 2nd Battalion, Middlesex Regiment who was died on the same day.

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

Ivan Gordon Fellowes

Midshipman, HMS Irresistible, Royal Navy.

Died At Sea on the 18th March 1915 aged 17

Midshipman Fellowes Ivan Gordon

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 Allied 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.

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

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

Rupert Caldwell Butler Fellowes

Captain, No.4 Company, 1st Battalion, Coldstream Guards.

Killed In Action on the 21/08/18 aged 24

Captain Rupert Caldwell Butler Fellowes

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.

He was commissioned into the Coldstream Guards on the 19th November 1914 and was posted to France on the 20th May 1915. On the 15th September 1916 Rupert was wounded in his right thigh, and evacuated to a field hospital. On the 2nd April 1917 he was declared fit for Home Service and it was not until the 4th June that a medical board decided he was again fit for overseas service. He was then ordered to report to Victoria Barracks, Windsor, in preparation for returning to France.

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 afterwards 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.

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

Medal Entitlement: 1914/15 Star, 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.

Alfred Forder

17523, Private, 2nd Battalion. Bedfordshire Regiment.

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

Thiepval Memorial, Somme.

He arrived in France on the 9th June 1915 and served continuously on the Western Front. On the 30th July 1916 his Battalion were taking part in the Somme Offensive and the plan of attack was for 30th Division to move 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 22.00pm on the 29th July the battalion moved up to its 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. Another Stevenage man, Private George Draper, who was serving in the same Battalion, was also to lose his life in the assault.

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

8118, Private, 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment.

Died on the 21st January 1918.

Private Henry Forder

Henry was born on the 27th January 1887, the only son of Mr Henry Charles Forder of North Road, Stevenage. 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.  He served with the Battalion in India, Aden and Bermuda before returning to the UK for Home Service.

He was posted to France on the 16th August 1914 where the Battalion moved by train to Le Cateau. They then marched a further 5 miles to billets in Pommereuill. He suffered a sprain to his right foot on the 6th September 1914 and was returned to the UK, where 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 eventually being promoted to Sergeant by the 25th September 1915. He was admitted to No.97 Field Ambulance on the 28th March 1916, suffering from Laryngitis and 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 during the Battle of the Somme but remained at duty. However, 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 and was sent to 30th Division Rest Station but his condition grew worse and he was then 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 the UK. 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. He was awarded the Silver War Badge, numbered 128669, 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. It 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 War Badge.

Cuthbert Foster

20950, Flight Lieutenant (Pilot), No.88 Squadron, Royal Air Force.

Missing in Action on the 27th September 1918 aged 19.

Flight Lieutenant Cuthbert Foster.
(Courtesy of Stevenage Museum)

Cuthbert Foster was born on the 18th October 1898 and lived at 39 Walkern Road, Stevenage. After completing his education he began work as a Bank Clerk but by this time war had been declared,  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. At this point in the war the exploits of the men of the Royal Flying Corps, particularly the Fighter pilots, were the subject of intense media attention and the romance of this new form of warfare cast a spell upon many young men, including Cuthbert.

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, 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)

Harry Fox

Bombardier Harry Fox

87040, Bombardier, 62nd Brigade H.Q. Royal Field Artillery.

Died 14th November 1918 aged 30.

Harry was born in Manton Downs, Devizes, Wiltshire and lived at High Elms, Benington with his wife, Elizabeth (nee Cox), and their two daughters, Florence and Rose where he worked as a Farm Labourer.

He enlisted in the Army at Hertford.

Buried in Brebieres British Cemetery, Pas, de Calais, France. (Grave F3.)

Gordon Franklin

51342, Lieutenant, Royal Signals.

The grave of Lieutenant Gordon Franklin in Dunkirk Town Cemetery, France.

Killed between 28th May & 2nd June 1940 aged 32.

Lieutenant Gordon Franklin.

The son of Francis & Grace Franklin he was born in May 1908 and was educated at Alleynes school between 1917 & 1925. Gordon was then employed by the

Post Office as an electrical engineer and worked in Rugby, Cambridge and London.

He was amongst the many servicemen who were killed or went missing during the BEF retreat from France.

Due to the confusion of the retreat and the fact that many official records were lost the exact cause of his death is not known.

Gordon is buried in the Dunkirk Town Cemetery, France. (2.18.28).