Harry Alan Ward

Harry Alan Ward
(Source: Keith Blaxill)

10602994, Corporal, 15th Battalion, Reconnaissance Regiment.

Killed In Action on the 17th July 1944 aged 23.

Harry was born in Codicote on the 10th October 1920, the son of William & Beatrice Ward. The family later moved to Stevenage where they lived at 39 Stanmore Road. He was educated at Letchmore Boys School and after leaving school Harry was employed as an apprentice joiner at the ESA factory in the town.

Due to the nature of his job and the fact the factory was then making aircraft wings for the war effort, his attempts to join the Army were deferred until he was aged 21. During this period Harry served in the local Home Guard. He also played football for Stevenage Town and once made a guest appearance for Millwall. When Harry received his call up papers in 1942 he arranged a special marriage licence so that he could marry his fiancée, Olive Hollingsworth, on that day. After his training he served in the UK until the invasion of Normandy on the 6th June 1944.

On the 17th July 1944 his unit was withdrawn to Cheux, in Normandy, for a rest during the assault on Caen. German aircraft attacked and bombed the area and the unit suffered two men killed, one of whom was Harry Ward.

He is buried in the St.Manivieu War Cemetery, France.

Charles Warner

G/15355, Private, 8th Queens Royal West Surrey Regiment.

Killed In Action on the 15th May 1917 aged 26.

On the 15th May 1917 the Battalion were positioned in trenches near the village of Brandhoek. The Unit War Diary states that it was a quiet day until about 8pm when their positions were bombarded by very heavy trench mortar fire. The attack resulted in heavy damage to the trench system, the wounding of one man and the death of another, Charles Warner.

Charles is buried in the Railway Dugouts Burial Ground, Zillebeke, Belgium. (Special Memorial E.18.) 

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

Harold Izzard Warner

M/320272, Private, 1019th Motor Transport Company. Royal Army Service Corps.

Died on the 23rd March 1919 aged 27.

Harold was the son of E Warner of Walkern and the husband of E Warner of North Hykeham, Lincolnshire.

The Company, initially 6 Officers and 80 Other Ranks, had been posted to serve in Iraq and left Southampton on the 7th January 1918. The journey took them by train through France and Italy and then by ship, the SS Karoa, to Alexandria, which they reached on the 29th January. The following day they moved to Port Suez where they boarded the SS Karagola bound for Karachi. On arriving in Karachi they joined the SS Aronda to their final destination, Basrah.

In Iraq the company swelled to 6 Officers, 143 British Other Ranks, 75 Indian Other Ranks and 11 Camp Followers. The Company vehicles were 130 Ford vans, 2 ambulances, 20 Talbots and 5 Star Lorries. They served both the military and political services n the area through to 1920.

It is not yet known what happened to Harold Warner. He is buried in the Lodge Hill Cemetery, Birmingham. (B10.9.661F.) 

Medal Entitlement:  British War Medal & Victory Medal

Reginald Jack Warner

15882, Private, 1st Bedfordshire Regiment.

Missing In Action on the 19th June 1915 aged 24.

Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Belgium

Reginald was the son of David & Mary Ann Warner of Church Hill, Benington. Both he and fellow villager, Ernest Mayes, were killed by the same shell as they slept in a trench.

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

William Warner

36512, Private, 6th Royal Berkshire Regiment. (Attached to 2/2nd London Regiment).

Missing In Action on the 24th April 1918 aged 30.

The Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France.

William was the son of William & Louisa Warner of Rectory Gate, Benington.

The exact circumstances of his death are not yet known.

William has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France. (Panel 56/57.)

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.

Sergeant Walter Warren

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.

Douglas Watson

Sergeant, Regimental Headquarters, 135th (Hertfordshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment. Royal Artillery.

Died on the 5th June 1946 aged 27.

Douglas was the son of Joseph Watson of 6 Weston Road and had been educated at Alleynes Grammar School.  At the outbreak of war the men of the Territorial forces were called to arms and his unit spent the early war years serving in various locations around the UK.

The Regiment 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. The Battery, with no combat experience, was called to defend the British colony and was involved in a series of bitter engagements with the enemy.

Douglas was one of many thousands who passed into captivity but it was not until July 1943 that his father received a postcard from him saying he was a Prisoner of War in Japan. Although Douglas survived the terrible deprivations of a Japanese prison camp he died on the 5th June 1946 as a result of treatment received whilst a prisoner.

Douglas is buried in the Newbury Municipal Cemetery, Berkshire. (Grave 1921.) 

Alfred John Welch

5484, Private, 1st Battalion, Hertfordshire Regiment.

Killed In Action on the 10th September 1916 aged 28.

Alfred was born on the 16th December 1887, the son of Alfred & Annie Welch of Back Lane, Stevenage.

He enlisted in the Hertfordshire Regiment on the 16th August 1915 and, following the completion of his training, was posted to France on the 13th May 1916, where the Battalion was preparing to take part in the Somme offensive. He joined the Battalion for duty on the 10th June and was transferred to "D" Company on the 23rd June.

The Unit War Diary describes the Battalion as being in the area North of the Ancre River, a hard fought area of the Somme battlefields, on the 3rd September 1916 but gives no indication of how Alfred became a casualty. The Battalion suffered two other casualties on this day and it can be reasonably assumed that all three were probably the victims of a shellfire incident.

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

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal.

Cyril Arthur Welch

311510, Lieutenant, 5th Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry.

Missing In Action on the  6th October 1944 aged 23 .

Cyril was the son of Mr. and Mrs Arthur Welch; and the husband of Kathleen Anne Welch, of Herne Hill, London.

After the war was over numerous attempts were made to have Cyril’s name added to either the Stevenage memorial, where he was born or to the Herne Hill memorial, where he was living with his wife. Neither local council would allow this to take place and thus his name does not appear on any local memorial.

Groesbeek Memorial, Gelderland, Netherlands. (Panel 4.)

Frederick Welch

4/7372, Private, 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment.

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

Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Belgium

Frederick was the son of Emma Welch and the nephew of William & Matilda Welch of Letchmore Road, Stevenage.

He arrived in France on the 3rd December 1914 and 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. (Panel 31 and 33)

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