Frederick Christopher Scarborough

28702, Lance Corporal, 6th Battalion, Duke Of Cornwalls Light Infantry. (43rd Infantry Brigade. 14th Division)

Killed In Action on the 9th April 1917 aged 25.

Lance Corporal Frederick Christopher Scarborough

Frederick was the son of Christopher & Ann Scarborough of 4 Fishers Green Road. He enlisted into the Hertfordshire Regiment but was later transferred to the 6th Battalion, Duke Of Cornwalls Light Infantry.

On the 9th April 1917 the Battalion were in positions on the outskirts of Beaurains. They were ordered to support an attack being made by the 6th Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry and had moved into trenches and shell holes in readiness for the assault. As the leading companies, they came under heavy machine gun fire from a sunken road and from  high ground to the right of Wancourt. The Battalion suffered heavily with four Officers and 96 Other Ranks becoming casualties. One of these was Frederick Scarborough.

He is buried in the Tigris Lane British Cemetery, Wancourt, France. (1.C.15.)

Headstone Inscription: "For Others"

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal.

Charles Sell

21027, Private, 2nd Battalion, Border Regiment. (Formerly 7102 Bedfordshire Regiment)

Died Of Wounds on the 23rd April 1916 aged 21.

Charles was the son of William & Eliza Sell of Walkern Road, Stevenage.

He had served in France since the 6th October 1914 and had been wounded on at least two previous occasions.

His Battalion were in front line trenches near Mansell Copse in the Somme sector between the 13th and 20th April 1916. During this time they were very heavily shelled by German Artillery and suffered casualties every day. When they were returned to their billets at Bray on the 21st April it was recorded that 98 officers & men had become casualties. Charles Sell was wounded on the 19th April and received serious head and arm injuries. Surgeons had to eventually amputate his arm but he later died as result of his injuries.

Charles is buried in the Corbie Communal Cemetery, Somme, France. (1.F.20.)

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

Harry William Sharman

133030, Gunner, 21st Battalion, Machine Gun Corps.

Died Of Wounds on the 16th September 1918 aged 18

Gunner Harry William Sharman

Harry was the son of John Sharman of Bardwell in Suffolk. It is believed that Harry came to the town in search of work and before joining the Army was employed as a Milk Cart attendant by Mr.Moules in Stevenage and later by Mr.C.F.Allen.

He joined up when he was 18 as he had two brothers already serving in the forces, one of whom was also killed. He went to France in April 1918 and it was only a short time before he was wounded. Having recovered he returned to his unit and on the 12th September he was in a dugout when a shell exploded nearby, a piece of shrapnel then pierced the walls and entered his back. He died from his injuries four days later.

Harry is buried in the Varennes Military Cemetery, France. (4.A.15.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal.


Frank Albert Shelford

170891, Gunner, “B” Battery, 180 Brigade, Royal Field Artillery.

Died Of Wounds on the 16th July 1917 aged 21.

Gunner Frank Albert Shelford
(Photo Courtesy Of Stevenage Museum)

Frank was born on the 7th January 1987, the son of Frank & Annie Shelford, of 14, Letchmore Rd., Stevenage. His father, a Baker and Corn Merchant died at the age of 40 in March 1910. His brothers Henry, Walter and Arthur also served in the Army but Arthur was discharged due to a medical condition after just 19 days service.

Sadly, Henry Shelford was killed in action on the 23rd July 1918 whilst serving with the Tank Corps in France. Walter Shelford served with the Royal Army Medical Corps.

It is known that Frank received serious shell wounds to his legs, which eventually led to his death.

He is buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium. (XVI. F. 6.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal.


Fred Shelford

27815, Lance Corporal, 7th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment.

Missing In Action on the 27th September 1916 aged 27.

Thiepval Memorial, Somme.

Fred was the son of Joseph & Mary Shelford of 35 Albert Street, Stevenage.

He was killed during the assault on Thiepval village on the 27th September 1916. It was a very dark morning and the two Companies, “C” & “D”, who were detailed to make the assault set off at 5.30am to attack the German positions. They were subjected to extremely heavy rifle and machine gun fire from the defenders of one the strongest positions in this sector of the Western Front. The Battalion suffered some 112 casualties during the attack including Fred Shelford.

He has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France. (Pier/Face 2C.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal.

Henry John Shelford

91574, Corporal, 9th Battalion, Tank Corps.

Killed In Action on the 23rd July 1918 aged 23.

Corporal Henry John Shelford

Henry was born on the 23rd April 1895 the eldest son of Frank & Annie Shelford of 14 Letchmore Road, Stevenage. Before he joined the Army he was employed at his uncle George's locally renowned bakery.  His brothers Frank, Walter and Arthur also served in the Army but Arthur was discharged due to a medical condition after just 19 days service. Sadly, Frank Shelford died of wounds received in action in Belgium on the 16th July 1917. Walter Shelford served with the Royal Army Medical Corps.

Initially, Henry Shelford served with the Bedfordshire Regiment and arrived in France on 17th March 1915 but he was later transferred to the newly formed Tank Corps.

On the 23rd July 1918 his Battalion were in a position near Moreuil. This was to be the first time that British tanks had co-operated with French infantry and although the action was deemed to be a success, the loss of life was heavy. The objective was to seize St.Ribert Wood and capture the village of Mailly-Raineval, whilst also supporting the French troops whose objective was the capture of the village of Aubervillers. The Battalion left Rosiel with 42 Tanks but due to mechanical failures only 35 were able to make it to the start point and of these, only 21 were to see action. After the laying of an initial barrage the Tanks set off for their objective but were soon fired upon by German artillery located in the South of St.Ribert Wood. Several Tanks were hit by direct fire and put out of action, their crews being either killed or wounded. The fighting was intense but the levels of co-operation were very good and the French troops soon moved into the wood to successfully tackle the well entrenched German infantry and quickly captured their objectives. The cost was a high one with the Tank crews sustaining 72 casualties, either killed, wounded or missing. The French infantry suffered the loss of 61 Officers and 1938 NCO’s and Men.

Henry Shelford is buried at Roye New British Cemetery, France. (3.F.15.)

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

Thomas Jasper Shovell

Chaplain 4th Class (Captain), Royal Army Chaplains Department. Attached to 2nd/2nd Wessex Field Ambulance.

Died of Wounds on the 5th October 1918 aged 34.

Chaplain 4th Class Thomas Jasper Shovell

Thomas was born on the 2nd August 1884, the son of Thomas and Ellen Shovel of Upton Cross, Linkinhorne, Cornwall.  His father was Chairman of the Liskeard Union Board of Guardians and Thomas was destined to become a Wesleyan minister. He was ordained in July 1912 after which he was in charge of the English Weslyan Methodist Chapel in Holyhead from August 1914 until March 1916 when he departed for Preston, Lancashire.

He then worked in the Hitchin and Stevenage area under the Reverend John Pellow, and lived in Green Street, Stevenage. At the outbreak of war he had offered his services to the Weslyan Army & Navy Board, but was told there was no vacancy for him. Not satisfied that he was in the right sphere of labour he wrote to the Chairman of his local board and said that unless he was offered a Chaplaincy he would enlist in the Army as a Private.

He joined the Royal Army Chaplains Department on the 16th January 1918 as a Chaplain 4th Class (Captain). After a short introduction to Army life the Reverend Shovell embarked from Folkestone on the 29th January 1918 for France where he was attached to the 2nd/2nd Wessex Field Ambulance on the Western Front, for which he received the princely sum of 10 shillings a day for his work.

He died on the 5th October 1918 from shrapnel wounds received in the field whilst walking with a Medical Officer and is buried in the Louverval Military Cemetery, Doignies, France.

His name is not recorded on the Stevenage War Memorial but it is listed on the Holyhead County School Great War Memorial, the Upton Cross Methodist Chapel, which was part of the Liskeard and Looe Methodist Circuit and the Linkinhorne War Memorial.

Headstone Inscription: "With Christ Which Is Far Better"

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal.

Alfred Charles Smith MM

62395, Gunner, 234 Trench Mortar Battery. Royal Garrison Artillery.

Killed In Action on the23rd October 1916 aged 20.

Alfred was born in Benington the son of Mark and Ellen Smith, who later lived at Haultwich, Little Munden, Ware, Herts.

The exact circumstances of his death are not yet known.

He is buried in the Ration Farm Military Cemetery, La Chapelle-D'armentieres. (II. A. 12.)

James Smith

66584, Sapper, 64th Field Company, Royal Engineers.

Killed In Action on the 10th July 1916 aged 24.

Records indicate that James was born in Ipswich, Suffolk, and that at the time of his enlistment he was living in Stevenage.

He arrived in France on the 11th May 1915.

His company was serving with the 9th Division on the Somme and was, at the time of his death, attached to a South African Brigade. On the 10th July 1916, during the initial stages of the Somme battle, his Company was sent to defend a position known as Longueval Alley which was a trench running from Bernafay Wood to Trones Wood. Fighting in the area was very heavy and it is not known at what point James was killed.

He is buried in the Dantzig Alley British Cemetery, Somme, France. (7.W.9.)

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

Wilfred Smith

G/15354, Lance Corporal, 2nd Queens Royal West Surrey Regiment.

Killed In Action on the 26th October 1917 aged 26 .

Wilfred was the son of Reuben & Rosanna Smith of High Sreet, Walkern.

He was tolose his life in the closing stages of The Battle of  Passchendaele. The offensive had been launched on 31st July 1917 and continued until the fall of Passchendaele village on 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 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 24th October 1917 the Battalion relieved the 16th & 17th Sherwood Foresters at Bodmin Copse. The ground conditions were terrible and the Battalion moved into position at night using duckboard walkways. This made progress very slow and the relief was not completed until 1.30am due to the darkness, the fact it was raining and that they had to share the walkways with the outgoing troops.

The 25th October was described as “relatively quiet” with the Battalion preparing for an assault the following day on a position known as Lewis House. The attack began at 5.40 am and quickly became disorganised due to the fact that most of the Officers and NCO’s had become casualties. It also appears that two lines of troops converged on each other as they reached the objective, increasing the confusion and possibly resulting on troops firing on each other. In total the Battalion suffered 101 casualties during this disastrous attack, one of whom was Wilfred Smith.

Wilfred is buried in the Perth Cemetery (China Wall), Zillebeke, Belgium. 

Medal Entitlement:  British War Medal & Victory Medal