William Chamberlain

21056, Private, 2nd Battalion, Border Regiment

Killed in Action on the 1st July 1916 aged 27

The grave of Private William Chamberlain at Dantzig Alley British Cemetery, Mametz, France.

William was the son of Sarah Chamberlain of 6 Bowling Green, Stevenage. He enlisted in the Army on the 23rd May 1910 joining the Bedfordshire Regiment, with the Regimental Number 9619. He served continuously with the battalion until the outbreak of the Great War, and was posted to France on the 6th October 1914.

On the 3rd November 1914, when the Battalion was situated at Inverness Copse near Gheluvelt, Belgium, William was wounded when their trenches were shelled by German artillery. A few days later on the 9th November 1915 he was transferred to the ranks of the 2nd Border Regiment.

William and a another Stevenage man, Harold Holdron were  to be killed in the most renowned battle of all, the first day of The Battle of the Somme, where the British army suffered devastating casualties. He fell when his battalion was involved in the assault on Mametz. The attack began at 07.27am with the Battalion being given the task of capturing a series of German trenches named; Danube Trench, Apple Alley, Shrine Alley and Hidden Lane.

The troops met with heavy machine gun fire from the village of Mametz as well as from Fricourt which was to their left. Eventually, they managed to achieve all their objectives but had suffered 343 casualties, including William Chamberlain.

He is buried in the Dantzig Alley British Cemetery, Mametz, France. (9.I.4.)

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

Ernest Chambers

105816, Shoeing Smith, No. 2 Section, Guards Division Ammunition Column, Royal Field Artillery

Died on the 20th November 1918 aged 32

Shoeing Smith Ernest Chambers

Ernest was born on the 25th February 1886, the son of John & Elizabeth Chambers of Symonds Green, Stevenage. Before joining the Army he had been employed by T.G & H.E.Worboys, Timber Merchants in Stevenage.

He served as a Blacksmith with the Royal Artillery and was posted to France on the 13th December 1915. Whilst on leave in September 1918 he married his sweetheart, Kathleen Stutley. Two months later he died in hospital of bronchial Pneumonia, probably as a result of contracting influenza. His brother, Seymour, was killed in action on the 24th June 1917.

Ernest is buried in the Le Quesnoy Communal Cemetery Extension, France. (Grave Reference:1.C.10.)

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

George William Chambers

974483, Lance Bombardier, 75th Medium (Shropshire Yeomanry) Regiment. Royal Artillery

Killed In Action on the 12th April 1945 aged 29.

George William Chambers

The grave of Lance Bombardier George William Chambers in the Faenza War Cemetery, Italy.

George was born on the 26th August 1915, the son of Herbert & Sarah Chambers of 3 Nottingham Road, Stevenage. Prior to joining the Army he worked as a shop assistant in a grocery store. In 1942 he married Doreen Davies of Moss Side, Manchester.

His Regiment served through the Italian campaign, sometimes in support of the 5th Army, sometimes with the 8th, and saw action in many notable battles. These included the third battle of Cassino, operations against the Gustav Line and subsequent breakthrough, operations against the Hilter Line, actions at Arezzo and the occupation of Florence. On the day he was killed his unit were in action in the area near Imola Bridge, Italy. No details are given in the Unit War Diary as to how many casualties were suffered by the Regiment.

George is buried in the Faenza War Cemetery, Italy. (3.C.10.)

Headstone Inscription: "Sincere And True In Heart And Mind What A Beautiful Memory He Left Behind".

Seymour Augustus Chambers

28315, Private, “D” Company. 7th Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment

Killed In Action on the 24th June 1917 aged 26

The grave of Private Seymour Augustus Chambers at Dickebusch Military Cemetery Extension, Ypres, Belgium.

Private Seymour Augustus Chambers

Seymour was the son of John & Elizabeth Chambers of Symonds Green. He married Annie Gray at the Parish Church, Walkern, Hertfordshire, on

the 24th April 1915 and the couple lived at 4 Nottingham Road, Stevenage. His brother, Ernest, died of Pneumonia on the 20th November 1918, probably as a result of contracting influenza.

He attested for Army service on the 10th December 1915 at the age of 24 years and 8 months and was called up on the 30th September 1916. He arrived at Calais on the 26th January 1917 as part of the 7th Battalion of the Northamptonshire Regiment, and was posted to the Regimental Training Battalion on the same day, returning to his parent Battalion on the 2nd March 1917. On the 15th June 1917 the Battalion relieved the 12th Royal Fusiliers in a front line sector close to Hill 60 near Ypres. Action in this area of the Western Front was constant and troops, on both sides, suffered continued daily shelling as well as numerous trench raids.

On the 24th June the Battalion were in the process of being relieved in order that they could obtain some respite from these arduous conditions. The relief was heavily shelled and were also subjected to a number of British gas shells, which had fallen short of their target. Although this period at the front had cost the Battalion 30 lives, only Seymour was killed during the relief stage.

He is buried in the Dickebusch Military Cemetery Extension, Ypres, Belgium. (Grave Reference: II.A.43.)

Headstone Inscription: "Never Forgotten"

Medal Entitlement: 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.

Frank Cheyne

1878750, Driver, 254 Field Park Company. Royal Engineers.

Drowned on the 8th March 1944 aged 25.

The grave of Driver Frank Cheyne in the Kirkee War Cemetery, India.

Frank was the son of William & Agnes Cheyne and was accidentally drowned in Bombay.

He is buried in the Kirkee War Cemetery, India. (8.K.2.).

William Charles Clark

41742, Private, 8th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment

Missing In Action on the 10th September 1917 aged 19

Private William Charles Clark

William was the son of Percy John & Emma Clark of 55 Walkern Road, Stevenage.  His older brother, Percy George, served with No.4 Company of the Hertfordshire Regiment.

He was to lose his life during The Third Battle of Ypres, commonly referred to as the Battle of  Passchendaele. The offensive was launched on 31st July 1917 and continued until the fall of Passchendaele village on the 6th 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 seen the heaviest rains 30 years and this, combined with the intensive shelling, had turned the ground into a hellish morass. William’s Battalion was involved in a heavy period of fighting in the Hollebeke sector and, following an action in Rossignol Wood, had moved to a Reserve area near Berthen.

It is believed that William lost his life when the area was shelled by German artillery.

He has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, Belgium. (Reference: Panel 35/37.)

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 George Clements - Standing on the Right. (Source: Eleanor Moore)

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 transferred 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


Frederick Alfred Clements

5834344, Private, 5th Suffolk Regiment.

Died on the 13th August 1943 aged 30.

Frederick Alfred Clements (Source: Eleanor Moore)

Frederick Alfred Clements was born on 5 May 1913, the son of Noah & Alice Mary Clements, one of six children. Prior to the outbreak of the Second World War he worked as a factory hand at the Samuel Wright brewery in the village. He married Rose Kathleen Marvell in 1930 and the couple lived at 3 Froghall Lane where their only daughter, Mary, was born.

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. Ordered to surrender, the men in his Battalion were taken prisoner by the Japanese on 15 February 1942. They were soon to find themselves being put to work on the notorious Burma-Thailand railway and would move from camp to camp, dependant on the needs of the Japanese engineers who were overseeing the work.

Fred died from the effects of Colitis at the Kami Sonkurai No.1 camp in Thailand. Located only short distance from Three Pagodas Pass and the border with Burma, the camp was one of the most remote sites on the Burma-Thailand railway. His body was removed from the camp cemetery in December 1945 and is now buried in the Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery, Burma. (B4.W.6.)