Other WW1 Epsom and Ewell Linked Fatalities.

How were these people connected to Epsom and Ewell?

Although the names of many of the residents of Epsom and Ewell, who were victims of the Great War, were commemorated on at least one of our local memorials, there were others who had a local burial, or were remembered on their family grave, and were not commemorated anywhere else within the Borough.

There were however, a few others with Epsom and Ewell connections who were not buried locally and were not listed on a local memorial. The reasons are unknown but it could have been that their family did not want to be reminded of their loss, or the remaining family lived out of our area, or the family had moved away by the time the memorial lists were being compiled. Equally it may be that the men had lived outside our Borough but had been working in Epsom/Ewell and decided to enlist in their dinner hour with their mates from work, hence the feeble Epsom and Ewell connection.

As there were no Government directives on who should be commemorated or how, and no Government money to pay for memorials, each community did what it considered best at the time. Probably the main reason memorials were erected was to help people to grieve. The majority of the fallen were buried overseas or at sea, and so friends and relatives had no grave to focus their grief upon.

As we come across any details we will record them on this site but will have to rely heavily on the general public to supply names and details so, if you have any information, especially if it is an interesting Epsom or Ewell linked story, please get in touch with the Webmaster.

Epsom College has a website dedicated to all its ex-pupils who served in the Great War and these can be read at http://archive.epsomcollege.org.uk


Click on the name to jump to the relevant entry

Surname Forename/Initials Age Date of Death Rank Country Service Number Cemetery
BRISTOW Percival John 17 30 July 1916 Private France 19332 London Cemetery and Extension, Longueval
BROWN Cecil Frederick 34 07/11/1917 Private France 5990 Ploegsteert Memorial
BUCK The Rev. Cyril Barnard Wilson 38 29/09/1918 Chaplain 4th Class France   Busigny Communal Cemetery Extension
BURBERRY William James 28 3/09/1916 Private France 13191 Thiepval Memorial
BURGIS William Wade 45 3/09/1916 Sapper France 206779 Ste Marie Cemetery, Le Havre
BUTCHER Ernest Leonard 38 5 October 1917 Private France 32518 Tyne Cot Memorial
CHAPMAN John William 39 24/04/1917 Private Greece 15065 Doiran Memorial
CHILDS Ernest John 24 4 June 1915 Private France 8470 Elzenwalle Brasserie Cemetery
COLDMAN Augustus George 30 30 September 1917 Driver Belgium T/293273 Tyne Cot Memorial
FINCH-DAWSON Humphrey   13/08/1916 Commander United Kingdom   Gillingham (woodlands) Cemetery, Kent
GALE A L 19 23/07/1918 Private Belgium 102512 Nine Elms British Cemetery
HACKSHAW J 32 07/10/1916 Private France 201605 Sunken Road Cemetery, Contalmaison
HARTRIDGE Francis William 32 10/04/1916 Sergeant United Kingdom 45287 Shorncliffe Military Cemetery
HILL Beresford Winnington 24 04/03/1917 Lieutenant France   Berles New Military Cemetery
HOLLIDGE R V 30 08/05/1915 Lance Corporal Belgium 51196 Tyne Cot Cemetery
NORBURY Robert Fiddes 28 04/10/1917 Lieutenant Belgium   Dozinghem Military Cemetery
ROBINSON Hugh Huntley 29 03/05/1919 Major Belgium   Mons (Bergen) Communal Cemetery
ROBINSON Wilson 30 18/05/1917 Serjeant. France 18/141 Arras Memorial
SCOONES Earl Foster 26 23/11/1916 Second Lieutenant France 3577 Bertrancourt Military Cemetery
SHUTTLEWORTH Robert George 33 10/08/1915 Major Turkey (including Gallipoli)   Helles Memorial
SMITH Joseph Charles 49 14/06/1918 Private United Kingdom CH/5330 Fulham Palace Road Cemetery
TIGAR Bertrand Benoit 33 25/09/1915 Rifleman Belgium S/7001 Ploegsteert Memorial
TINKER Albert Henry 27 27/11/1918 Corporal France M2/203029 Busigny Communal Cemetery Extension
TOWNSEND Stanley Theodore 30 05/04/1918 Private France 47190 Bouzincourt Ridge Cemetery, Albert
TURNER Arthur 23 04/11/1918 Serjeant France L/27244 Highland Cemetery, Le Cateau
WHITEHOUSE Herbert Percy 40 20 February 1916 Private France G/5354 Menin Gate
WINDUS James Henry 46 27/10/1917 Rifleman Burma 200696 Rangoon War Cemetery


BROWN, Cecil Frederick. Private. 5990.

1 Hampshire Regiment.
Killed in action 7 November 1914, aged 34.

The War Memorial in Hook, Hampshire.
The War Memorial in Hook, Hampshire.
Image © Copyright Peter Clayton and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Cecil was born in Epsom in 1880, the son of Henry Richard Brown (born 1842 St Pancras), builder and cabinet maker, and his second wife, Charlotte Eliza (nee Moss - born 1853 Farnham), who were married in 1879. The Browns had probably lived in East Street, Epsom, since Henry married his first wife, Sarah Ann Marsh, in 1865 at St George in the East.

Sarah Ann died in Epsom in 1877 and by that time the Brown children were as follows.

Herbert H 1866
Florence Annie 1868
Clement George 1871. In the 1911 census Clement was a patient in Horton Asylum,
being described as a lunatic since the age of 21.
He died in 1932.

As mentioned, Henry remarried in 1879 and there were nine more children, six of whom were still alive in 1911. The eight that I have been able to find are shown below.

Cecil Frederick Born 1880 Epsom.
Daisy Alice Born 1881 Epsom.
Arthur Vincent 1882-84. Buried Epsom Cemetery.
Harold Born and died 1884. Buried Epsom Cemetery.
Percival Born c.1891 Pokerdown, Hampshire.
Violet Born c.1893 Pokerdown.
Margaret Born c.1899 Pokerdown.
Winifred Kate Born 1901 Fleet, Hampshire.

As can be seen from the children's birthplaces, the family moved to Hampshire at some point between 1884 and 1891. In the 1891 census Charlotte was running a drapery business in the village of Pokerdown, near Christchurch; Henry was not there but her aged mother-in-law and three of the children were with her. In 1901 Charlotte was still a draper, but now in Fleet; again Henry was not there, but there had been a further child, so I imagine that he was away working (it is difficult to track a Henry Brown, born in London). By now Cecil had joined the Hampshire Regiment and was in barracks at Aldershot. At some point around that time he fought in the South African War.

By 1911 Henry (who was at home this time) and Charlotte had settled in the village of Nateley Scures, near Basingstoke, where they remained until Henry died on 1 February 1926, at which time their residence was called Nateley Towers. Charlotte then moved to Winnersh in Berkshire and died on 13 November 1928.

In the 1911 census Cecil was again at Aldershot, described as a Private in the 1st Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment. The Battalion was sent to France in August 1914 and Cecil was killed at the First Battle of Ypres. He is commemorated on Panel 6 of the Ploegsteert Memorial and on the Memorial in Hook, Hampshire.

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BUCK, The Rev Cyril Bernard Wilson, CF, MC, Chaplain 4th Class

Army Chaplains' Department
Killed in Action 29/09/1918 Age 38

Royal Army Chaplains Dept Cap Badge
Royal Army Chaplains Dept Cap Badge

This officer's father, William Richard Buck (baptised St Peter's, Dublin, 1 September 1837) of the War Office, married Alice Emmeline Wilson from West Ham on 14 July 1863. W R Buck had become Private Secretary to Sir Edward Lugard, Permanent Under Secretary of State for War, who was also Colonel of the 31st Regiment of Foot, later appointed to the same post for The East Surrey Regiment upon its formation in 1881 [Link to www.queensroyalsurreys.org.uk/colonels/074.html].

The birth of the youngest son from this union may be found registered as Bernard Wilson Buck in West Ham for the September Quarter of 1880. In 1886 the family were living in West Ham House, West Ham Lane. An elder brother became Sir Percy Carter Buck (1871 -1947) who appears in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

The Merchant Taylors' School Register, 1871 - 1900, records: -
"Buck, Cyril Bernard Wilson, b. 1 June 1880, s. of William B. and Alice E., Secretary, West Ham.
Left 1889. Of Trinity Coll. Oxf.; B.A. 1907. Organising Sec. to Birmingham Street Boys' Union.
School XV 1895-96, 96-97, 97-98 (Capt.), 98-99 (Capt.). Whittington Challenge Cup 1899. Silver Medal for Gymnastics 1899. South Cap for Rugby Football 1902.
C. B. W. Buck, Esq., Cathedral House, Birmingham."
The Old Merchant Taylors' Rugby Football Club claims that he played for Eastern Counties and was an England Trialist (Uncapped) in 1902.

C B W Buck, having graduated from Trinity College in 1907, was Ordained during 1910 and licensed to Birmingham Cathedral dedicated to St Philip; he became Chaplain Birmingham Street Children's Union and Curate of the Cathedral. Subsequently he served as curate at St Mary's, Selly Oak, 1913 - 1914, but left to take up a temporary army chaplaincy, gazetted 4th Class 17 May 1916, and at once proceeded to the front joining the 1/5th Battalion the Leicestershire Regiment with a rank equivalent to Captain.

The Rev Buck is mentioned with respect and affection in the following extracts from The Fifth Leicestershire. A record of the 1/5th Battalion the Leicestershire Regiment, T.F., during the War, 1914-1919. - www.gutenberg.org/files/17369/17369-h/17369-h.htm

On the 1st November [1916] we marched 14 miles through Doullens to Villers L'Hôpital, on the Auxi le Chateau road, where we found our new Padre waiting for us, the Rev. C.B.W. Buck.

On the 29th [April 1917], after a big gas bombardment against the enemy's positions in Cité St. Edouard and St. Theodore, we were relieved by the 4th Battalion, and went into the St. Pierre cellars-in Brigade support. The whole place was under direct observation, and movement by day was impossible, which made our existence very unpleasant. It was while here that we began to realize what a magnificent man was Padre Buck. Nothing worried him, and even Cooper trench formed part of his parish, to be visited each night. In St. Pierre he held a service every evening in one of the cellars, undeterred although on one occasion a shell burst in the doorway, scattering its bits inside, but doing no damage.

St Elie Left
[16? November 1917] Padre Buck also had a busy time, for there were many unburied dead still lying about. Hearing of one body some sixty yards out in No Man's Land, where it had been found by a patrol, the Padre went out with his orderly, Darby, to bury it. It was a misty morning, and they were unmolested until suddenly the mist lifted and they were seen. Darby was wounded in the head, and they were heavily fired on, but this did not worry the Padre, who brought his orderly back to our lines, and came in without a scratch.

[23? November 1917] The 4th Battalion took our places at the end of the tour, and we marched back to Mazingarbe. Our billets had been slightly improved, and Headquarters now had a house in the Boulevard, commonly called "Snobs' Alley." While here a new horse, a large chestnut, which arrived for the Padre, caused considerable commotion in the Regiment. First he bolted with the Padre half-way from Mazingarbe to Labourse, when he finally pulled him up and dismounted. He then refused to move at all, and went down on his knees to Padre Buck, who was most disconcerted, especially when the animal moaned as though truly penitent. The next day the Adjutant tried to ride him, and once more he bolted. This time his career was short, for horse and rider came down on the Mazingarbe cobbled high road, and the Adjutant had to go to Chocques hospital with a broken head, and was away for a week.

Gosse and Essars at war
[6 September 1918] Two days later the new Major-General was introduced to us, and at once won his way to our hearts by his wonderful charm of manner. He must have been surprised to see outside the mess a long line of horses and mules all waiting saddled up. We had arranged an officers' paper chase and every officer attended; those who couldn't find chargers had perforce to ride mules. The hares (Captain Burnett on "Mrs. Wilson" and 2/Lieut. Todd on the frisky black) were given ten minutes' grace and then, led by "Sunloch" (Lieut.-Colonel Griffiths "up") the rest of us swung out of the Park and off towards Labuissière. The pace was very hot and most of us soon dropped behind, though the mules, keeping as usual all together and led by Padre Buck, managed to stay the whole course.

[24? September 1918] Captain Jack had established his Aid Post at the bottom of the little valley running down to the road, and here, helped by the never-tiring Padre Buck, was busily employed with our wounded. Crossing the St. Quentin Canal.

[29 September 1918] Unfortunately, though screened from the East, the corner of Magny Woods, was visible from the South. Across the Canal on the high ground, some German gunner must have seen the Tanks assembling, and, finding no attack was coming his way, started to shoot at point blank range at our right flank. The right and centre became very unpleasant, and there was a veritable barrage round "A" Company. Through it, very hot and very angry at being shelled, suddenly appeared Padre Buck, a heavy pack of food on his back, and behind him the Regimental Serjeant-Major and the missing Headquarters. He had found them near Ascension Farm and knowing enough of the plan of attack, had "sweated" them along as hard as he could. It is impossible to imagine what we should have done without runners, signallers or batmen, to say nothing of the food. As we were now only 600 yards from our final objective the Padre and Captain Jack went off to find a Regimental Aid Post and finally settled in a small dug-out in a sunken road just outside the village.

[Afternoon] On our right flank the Tanks had suffered heavily at the hands of the German gunners on the Le Tronquoy high ground, and one of them, disabled and on fire, was a mark for several German batteries. Some of the crew managed to escape, but others, too badly wounded, were left inside; one crawled to our Aid Post. Padre Buck heard of this and at once went off to the rescue. The shelling was very heavy, and he was hit almost at once and wounded in many places. He was carried back to the Aid Post, but died soon afterwards, conscious to the last, but not in great pain. The Padre had been with us two years, and during all that time, there was never a trench or outpost that he had not visited, no matter how dangerous or exposed. In addition to his Chaplain's duties, he had been O.C. Games, Recreation Room and often Mess President-a thorough sportsman and a brave soldier, we felt his loss keenly."
His posthumous award of an MC is also listed on page 377.

Cyril Buck's address for probate was Cathedral House, Hew Hall Street, Birmingham.

He is mentioned in Breaking the Hindenburg line:the story of the 46th (North Midland) division as Captain the Rev. C. B. W. Buck, M.C., Chaplain.

Gazette, 7 March 1919, awarded a Military Cross - Citation, 4 October 1919: -
"Rev. Cyril Bernard Wilson Buck, T./Chap.to the Forces, 4th Class, R.A.C.D., attd. l/5th Bn., Leic. R., T.F.

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty at Pontruet during the attack on the village on 24th September, 1918. He worked all day at the R.A.P. under heavy shell fire, helping the medical officer, carrying stretchers, cheering the wounded, and giving invaluable assistance. On the 29th September, 1918, he was killed during operations round the St. Quentin Canal, north of Bellenglise. He behaved splendidly"
St. Mary's war memorial, Selly Oak
Greater love hath no man than this


Rest eternal grant to them, 0 Lord: And let light perpetual shine upon them.

C B W Buck is also commemorated on the East wall of the Royal Garrison Church of All Saints in Aldershot, Hants in a Memorial to the Royal Army Chaplains Department. Link: Royal Garrison Church Of All Saints, Aldershot

His father, W R Buck, and mother Buck resided at Tabards, Church Street, Ewell, from no later than 1922 to 1927 and the death of the former came to be registered at Epsom 3/1927.

Mrs Alice Emmiline Buck's demise, aged 86, was registered in Chichester 12/1929

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BURBERRY, William James. Private. 13191.

1 Devonshire Regiment.

Killed in action 3 September 1916, aged 28.

Regimental badge of the Devonshire Regiment
Image source Wikipedia

William was born in Ewell in 1888 and christened at St Mary's on 7 October of that year. His father, gardener Jesse Richard, was also born in Ewell (c.1859) and his mother, Mary Ann (nee Faircloth), born 1861, originally came from March, Cambridgeshire; they were married at St John, Croydon on 11 September 1882.

William's siblings were as shown below.
Mary Jessie Born 1883 Sutton at Hone, Kent.
Died 1947 Surrey.
Thomas Stephen Born 1885 Upper Halling, Kent.
Probably also served in the war as a Private in the Somerset Light Infantry.
Married Daisy Minnie Wickett.
Died 1972 Sutton district.
Lily Annie Born c.1887 Horton Kirkby, Kent.
Died 1959.
Unmarried; lived Sutton.
Beatrice Madeline Born 1890 Banstead.
Died 1917 Bethnal Green district.
Edith Grace Born 1891 Banstead.
Died 1959 Surrey.
Edward Harry Born c.1896 Banstead.
Married Maggie Ephgrave.
Died 1960 Surrey; lived Ashtead.
Edward also served in the war, in the Lancers, Royal Munster Fusiliers and Labour Corps. He was in the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force and suffered both gunshot and shrapnel wounds.
Winifred May Born 1898 Banstead.
Married Edward Griffin.
Probably died 1979 Crawley district.

Jesse Burberry came from a Ewell family and lived there until his marriage. In the 1881 census he was a groom at North Loo, Ewell. I imagine that he was following work around, since he and Mary Ann moved to Kent for a time, had returned to Ewell by 1888 and then went on to Banstead and Cheam. In the 1911 census William James was with the family at Cheam, described as a labourer on the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway. He enlisted at Kingston and was killed during the protracted Battle of the Somme, almost certainly during the Battle of Guillemont; he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial (Pier and Face 1 C) and on a memorial in All Saints' Church Banstead.

William's inscription on the All Saints Church Banstead memorial
William's inscription on the All Saints Church Banstead memorial
Image courtesy of Lewis Wood © 2008

Jesse Richard Burberry died in 1939 and Mary Ann in 1947, both in Surrey.

We are most grateful to James Crouch for letting us attach his account of William's life. James also recommends the following websites www.bansteadhistory.com and www.surreyinthegreatwar.org.uk.

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BURGIS, William Wade. Sapper. 206779.

Royal Engineers, 'L' Signal Company.
Killed in action 5 April 1918, aged 45.

And also his son

BURGIS, Frederick William. Driver. 1159.

Royal Field Artillery, 1st East Lancs Brigade.
Died 13 March 1916, aged 18.

William Wade Burgis was born in Adelphi Road, Epsom on 14 July 1871 and christened at St Martin's, Epsom on 10 September; his parents were local stonemason Horace (born 1847 Epsom) and Mary Ann (nee Wade, born c.1846 Barnsley), who were married in Lambeth district in 1869. Horace's father, John, was also a stonemason in Epsom.

Horace seems to have moved the family to Kent for work reasons. In the 1881 census he was in lodgings in Tonbridge and his wife and children were in Charlton, Dover. William was their eldest child and the others were as follows.

Kate Born 1872 Epsom.
Married 1916 Joseph Varley Minter.
Worked as a maternity nurse.
Died 1919 Lewisham district.
Alice Born 1873 Sittingbourne, Kent.
Married 1899 Arthur Joseph Nunn.
Emma Born 1876 Sittingbourne.
Married 1899 William Henry Connell.
Clara Born 1877 Sittingbourne.
Married 1902 William John Blogg.
Died 1952 Harrow district.

I have been unable to find a positive death record for Mary Ann Burgis, but I believe that she is the Mary Ann Burgess (sic) who died in Dover district in 1888, which would explain why in the 1891 census Horace was back in Epsom with his father (who died the following year), describing himself as single. Horace died on 25 October 1899 and was buried in Epsom Cemetery with his parents (Grave D124A).

William was a regular soldier for many years (SR/6249 Royal Garrison Artillery) and in 1891 he could be found in the District Royal Artillery Barracks at Woolwich Dockyard as a Gunner. In 1894 he was stationed at Portsmouth and on 28 April of that year he married Nellie Melvina Weeks (born 1873 Shanklin, Isle of Wight) at St Paul, Southsea. Their children were as follows.

Frederick William Born May 1897 Ryde, Isle of Wight.
See below for more information.
Henry Arthur. Born 7 June 1900 Devonport, Devon.
Married 1923 Alice Mary Bew.
Served in the Cheshire Regiment World War II.
Died Wirral 1947.
Alfred Wade Born 13 April 1902, Leith, Scotland.
Died of enteric fever September 1902 Senglea, Malta.
Buried Ta' Braxia Cemetery, Malta.
Horace born 14 July 1903 Sliema, Malta.
Married 1945 Dorothy J Childress.
Died Birmingham 1971.
William Born 21 January 1905 Rochford, Essex.
Married 1931 Florence Lavinia Corderoy.
Died 1981 London.
Clara Melvina Born 1 May 1906 Gosport, Hampshire
Married 1929 Cyril Henry Hudson
Died 1981 Kingston.
Edward Alexander Born 27 June 1908 Woolwich.
Died 1933 Woolwich.
Alice Born 1911 Dover.

After rising to the rank of Corporal William left the Army at some point between 1908 and 1911 and in the 1911 census he was a labourer. He then re-enlisted in the Royal Engineers. Apart from a short period in 1914 Le Havre was in British hands throughout the First World War and housed one of the principal British bases; the main role of 'L' Signal Company was telegraphic communications. William was buried at Ste Marie Cemetery, Le Havre Div.62. III. B4.

Frederick William Burgis

Frederick enlisted as a Territorial in the Buffs (the Royal East Kent Regiment) at Dover in March 1913, at which time he was a butcher at the London and Provincial Meat Stores in Winchelsea, Sussex; he transferred to the Royal Field Artillery in 1914 and was sent to Egypt. In December 1915 he was hospitalised with jaundice in Cairo and re-admitted to hospital in March 1916, by which time he was at Port Tewfik (now called Suez Port) with sunstroke. On 13 March he died of meningitis arising from spotted fever, a disease caused by tick bites. He was buried at Suez War Memorial Cemetery,grave C. 57.

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BUTCHER, Ernest Leonard. Private. 32518.

14 Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
Killed in action 5 October 1917, aged 38.

Ernest Leonard Butcher
Ernest Leonard Butcher
Image courtesy of Janice Dipper © 2013.

Ernest, who was born in Epsom in 1879 and christened at Christ Church, Epsom on 15 June of that year, was the youngest son of cab driver Job Butcher (born c.1842 Alfold, Surrey) and Mary Peters (born c.1851 Croydon), who were married in Croydon on 10 Jan 1874.

The other Butcher children were as follows.
Albert Henry Born c.1875 Epsom.
Married 1897 Fanny Smith.
Died 1953 Surrey.
William Joseph Born 1876 Epsom.
Married 1900 Edith Mary Comfort.
Died 1923 Surrey.
George Frederick Born 1877 Epsom.
Married 1904 Selina Jane Wiles.
Esther Emily Born 1880 Epsom.
Married 1903 George Joy.
Died 1952 Petersfield.

In 1881 the family was living at 29 Adelphi Road, Epsom, but by 1891 Job had moved them to Dorking, where he was working as an ostler. Mary died in 1897 and in 1901 Job was a labourer in Great Bookham, with the children all elsewhere, at work. He died in that same year in Epsom district.

In 1902 Ernest enlisted at Guildford in the Corps of Lancers of the Line and eventually extended his service to eight years, out of which he spent three years in India and three and a half years in South Africa. At one point he was servant to the Army Chaplain and was described in his service record as 'a reliable and trustworthy man'. On leaving the Corps in 1910 he became an insurance agent.

On 22 April 1911 at Boxgrove, Sussex he married Hilda Henrietta Howson (born 1888 Boxgrove) and they had two children, as shown below.

Reginald Ernest Russell Born 11 August 1912 Midhurst, Sussex.
Married 1932 Laura Etter Unsworth (1910-70).
Died 26 June 1980 Winchester.
Kitty 1916-17

Hilda Henrietta Howson
Hilda Henrietta Howson
Image courtesy of Janice Dipper © 2013.

Reg and Kitty, December 1916
Reg and Kitty, December 1916
Image courtesy of Janice Dipper © 2013.

When he rejoined the Army Ernest was living in Micheldever, Hampshire; he was killed near Ypres and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial Panels 23 to 28 and 163A and in Micheldever. His wife never remarried and died on 13 February 1969 at Headbourne Worthy, Winchester.

Reg and his family
Reg and his family
Image courtesy of Janice Dipper © 2013.

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CHAPMAN, John William, Private, 15065

10th Bn. Devonshire Regiment
Killed in action 24 April 1917, Age 36 (39 according to official records)

John William Ede Chapman was a farm labourer, born in South Norwood, Surrey in about 1878 according to some records, but it was actually 1881: he was the illegitimate son of Jane Chapman (born 18 May 1860), who died later that year. At the time she was living in South Norwood with her sister, Mary Ann Songhurst. John was brought to Epsom as a baby and was christened in Christ Church on 23 October 1881. It seems quite likely that his grandmother added the forename of Ede.

John was raised in Epsom by his widowed grandmother, Harriet Ede (formerly Chapman, nee Kitchenside), and on Boxing Day 1906 at Ashtead Parish Church he married Emily Margaret Bishop Radwell; she was born in Epsom in 1883, the daughter of carman John Radwell (c.1842-1902) and Mary Ann Cumings (c.1852-1943/4). Both Radwell parents are buried in Epsom Cemetery.

John and Emily set up home in Ashtead and in 1911 were living at Number 6, The Flats, High Road. They had five children, as shown in the table below.

Name Born Married Died
George Thomas* 1904   1986 Surrey
Emily Ada Margaret 25 June 1907 1934 - William A Taylor 2005 Surrey
Annette Frances Nora 17 March 1910 1939 - Alfred C Blunt 1996 Surrey
William Smith 4 October 1913 1935 - Ivy May Sibley 1973 Colchester
Albert John 16 February 1915 1939-Sarah A Johnston 1990 Surrey
Nellie G 1918    
*Birth registered in surname of Radwell

12 The Street, Ashtead
12 The Street, Ashtead (the right-hand white house).
6 The Flats is believed to have been on the upper floor.
Image courtesy of Brian Bouchard © 2013

At the outbreak of war John joined the 10th Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment and, after service in France, was sent directly to Salonika, Greece (Macedonia). The combat there was regarded as something of a sideshow to what was going on elsewhere, but it was no less deadly for the participants. The original purpose of sending British and French troops to the area was to assist the Serbs against the Bulgarians, but the former had already been defeated by the time reinforcements arrived.

The British remained in Salonika and Macedonia; there was spasmodic action against assorted enemies, but in 1917 there was heavy fighting around Lake Doiran and it would have been during an attack on enemy positions there in April that John was killed. Between October 1915 and November 1918 2800 British personnel in Salonika were killed in action, with thousands more dying from wounds and sickness (particularly malaria).

British forces at the Doiran Front 1917.
British forces at the Doiran Front 1917.
Image source iwm.org via Wikimedia Commons

John has no known grave, but is commemorated on the Doiran War Memorial and the Ashtead War Memorial

Ashtead War memorial, showing the name of Pte J W Chapman.
Ashtead War memorial, showing the name of Pte J W Chapman.
Image courtesy Clive Gilbert ©2012

Emily married William Smith in 1920 and died in 1956, still living in Ashtead, at 5 Park Walk.

5 Park Walk, Ashtead
5 Park Walk, Ashtead
Image courtesy of Brian Bouchard © 2013

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CHILDS, Ernest John. Private. 8470.

2 East Surrey Regiment.
Killed in action 4 June 1915, aged 24.

Ernest John Childs
Ernest John Childs

Ernest was born in Epsom on 26 March 1891 and christened at Christ Church, Epsom on 19 July. His parents were William (born c.1860 Old Malden/Long Ditton) and Emma Bowles (born c.1863 Malden), who were married on 18 January 1885 at St Matthew, Surbiton. Ernest was their fourth child out of at least eleven in total (there may have been another who died as a baby). His siblings were as shown below.

Annie Beatrice Born 24 June 1885 Leatherhead.
William Frederick Born 13 June 1886 Epsom.
Henry Born 1889 Cheam.
Frances Ellen Born 1892 Epsom.
Married Edward George Haynes (1914-Ashtead).
Died 1975 Surrey?
Alfred Born 23 October 1893 Epsom.
Emma Born 25 June 1896 Epsom.
Married 1917 Solomon Osborn Northcote.
Edward Arthur Born 21 June 1898 Epsom.
Died 1898/9 (6 months).
Avery James Born 5 November 1899 Epsom.
Married 1932 Dorothy Newton.
Died 20 April 1957, then living North Cheam.
Herbert Born c.1902 Betchworth.
Olive Born 1904 Betchworth.
Arthur Born c.1909 Baynards.

William was variously a farm labourer and farm foreman and the family moved around in Surrey several times, as the children's' birthplaces show. In the immediately local area they lived at Epsom Common and Horton Lane.

In the 1911 census the family, including Ernest, was living at Manor Cottages, Farnham Road, Guildford; William Henry and Ernest were all farm carters and by 20 January 1915, when he enlisted at Kingston, Ernest was living and working at Rose Hill Park Farm, Sutton. On 18 May he was sent to France and lasted for under three weeks, being killed in action near Ypres on 4 June. He was buried at Elzenwalle Brasserie Cemetery (named after a brewery which stood opposite), Ieper (formerly Ypres), Belgium (grave IE2). Only three members of the 2nd Battalion of the East Surreys are buried at Elzenwalle, of whom one was killed on the same day as Ernest. He was unmarried.

By 1915 William, Emma and some of the children had moved to the Cricketers Inn, Crondall, Hampshire.

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COLDMAN, Augustus George. Driver. T/293273

2nd Reserve Park, Army Service Corps (formerly 30659 Middlesex Regiment).
Killed in action 30 September 1917, aged 30.

Augustus was born in Epsom in 1887, the youngest child of carpenter William Coldman (born c.1849 Abinger, died Epsom 1896, buried St Martin's) and Esther Sell (born 1846 Langley, Essex, died 1913 Epsom, buried Epsom Cemetery), who were married in 1872. Before her marriage Esther had been a housemaid at The Grange School, Ewell.

Augustus's siblings.
Albert William Born 1875 Langley
Married 1901 Rose Emily White
Died 1949 Hastings district.
Arthur Alfred Born c.1877 Langley
Married 1926 Elizabeth Paice.
Arthur died in 1932 and Elizabeth in 1933;
they lived at 132 East Street, Epsom and both are buried in Epsom Cemetery.
Charles Henry Born 1878 Epsom
Married 1910 Minnie Lewry
Buried Epsom Cemetery.
Edith Eleanor Born 1881 Langley
Married 1904 Ernest William Wombwell
Died 1960 Edmonton district.
Ada Kate Born 1882 Epsom
Died 1884, buried St Martin's.
Ella Grace Born 1883 Epsom
Married 1902 farmer John William Golds
Died 1960 Portsmouth district.
Frederick Ernest Born 9 April 1886 Epsom
Married 1910 Harriet Hebb(o)urn.
Frederick served overseas with the Field Ambulance, RAMC in the war and on discharge he signed up for a further stint in the Military Foot. It seems that he was having marital difficulties at the time but he and Harriet were reconciled and in 1923 they emigrated to New Zealand. Frederick died in 1959 and Harriet in 1971.

On 31 May 1913 at St Martin's Augustus married Florence May Victoria Bexley (born 1893 Sutton); they already had one child, also named Augustus George (names often reversed), born on 22 February 1913 in Epsom (birth registered in surname of Bexley). Jane was from a poor family, who were in and out of the workhouse, and in 1901, aged 7, she was to be found in a sanatorium in Herne Bay.

In the 1911 census Augustus and Jane were living at 23 Providence Place, Epsom and he was a builder's labourer, but by the time he enlisted at Leatherhead in November 1915 he had become a grocer's assistant; it looks as if they were then living in lodgings in Leatherhead. They had another child - Louis Arthur, born Epsom 27 September 1914.

After service at home Augustus was sent to France on 25 August 1917 and in the meantime he and Jane had had another child, Hilda Maud (2 May 1916); the fourth, Lilian Jane, was born on 6 September, just after he embarked (sadly, Lilian died in 1918). He was killed in Belgium on 30 September 1917 and is commemorated on Panel 160 of the Tyne Cot Memorial.

British Army supply vehicles in France July 1915
British Army supply vehicles in France July 1915.
Photo by HD Girdwood via Wikimedia Commons.

The poster below was somewhat economical about the reality of driving in the Army.

1915 recruiting poster.
1915 recruiting poster.
Image source: Imperial War Museum via Wikimedia Commons.

By 1918 Jane was living in Leatherhead and the following year she married local baker's son Ernest Victor Gibbs (born 1897); they had six children together between about 1920 and 1930 (Henry E, Irene, Frederick, Joyce, Sydney J and Ivy N, the last apparently being born after Ernest had died in 1929). In 1931 Jane married George A Jones and she died in Surrey in 1977.

As for Augustus's children, Augustus George died 2004 Surrey, Lewis Arthur in 1989 (married Frances L Austin/Gaffney), and Hilda Maud in 1971 (married Leslie Chitty).

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FINCH-DAWSON, Humphrey (otherwise DAWSON, Humphrey Finch), Commander

Royal Navy, HMS Daedalus (Royal Naval Air Station, Lee-on-Solent)
Died 13 August 1916

Humphrey's connection with Epsom is that at the time of his death his address was Wennington Cottage, Lynwood Avenue. There seem to have been a number of occupants of this property in the 1910s. In 1911 the occupant was retired doctor, Thomas Allen, and in early 1916 it was listed as the address of the Gaskell family, although I do not think it was their regular address. I imagine that the Dawsons had rented the property and this may have concerned Humphrey's mother, whom I will come to shortly.

Humphrey was born in Barrow-Upon-Soar, Leicestershire in 1876, one of five children of barrister Gerard Finch Dawson (1840-86) and Dora Harriet Goodrich (1849-1924). Dora was from Gloucestershire and the couple eventually moved from Leicestershire to Newent, where they lived at a farm property called 'The Furnace' in Oxenhall.

Humphrey's siblings were Gerard Finch Junior (born 1875), Margaret Finch (1877), Geoffrey Charles (1880) and Augusta Mary (1880). None of them stayed in the UK. Gerard Junior went to India, where he died of blackwater fever at Nainital, a hill station in Uttarakhand, in 1910. Margaret married landowner Andrew Richard Onslow in 1896, but he divorced her in 1908, citing Lieutenant Colonel Robert Henry Palmer DSO (of the Indian Staff Corps and the Alberta Regiment) as co-respondent. Margaret and Palmer married in 1909 and the former died in Canada in 1955. Geoffrey Charles initially emigrated to Australia but, after service in the Boer War as a Private in the Australian Commonwealth Horse, took up farming in South Africa. Augusta Mary married her cousin, Wilfrid Finch Dawson, in Bloemfontein in 1907 and they also farmed in South Africa.

Dora Dawson left 'The Furnace' after her husband died, but it looks as if the property was transferred to Margaret Finch Dawson and Andrew Onslow as part of their marriage settlement. Dora was staying at a hotel in Kensington in the 1911 census. I understand that at some point thereafter she had a 'sojourn in Surrey': this is why I think that she might have been at Wennington Cottage.

Humphrey joined the Royal Navy in 1890. In 1898 he was a Sub-Lieutenant on HMS Thrush, a gunboat, patrolling the coast of Sierra Leone, and during the South African War he was a Lieutenant on blockade duty in The Widgeon, a screw gunboat. Subsequently he was on patrol duties off Cape Colony and received the South African medal. He was awarded his master's certificate for foreign service in 1913, but he had already been placed on the retired list in May 1912 at his own request.

HMS Thrush.
HMS Thrush.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons

When the First World War broke out Humphrey rejoined the Navy from the Reserve and was part of a mission sent to Turkey, following which he was attached to the naval airfield HMS Daedalus; he specialised in navigation. He died in the Naval Hospital at Chatham from illness and was buried at Gillingham (Woodlands) Cemetery (Grave reference Naval.4.1256).

In 1902 in Portsmouth district he had married Muriel Baker (born 1876 Rochester, Kent) and they had at least two children, who were Humphrey Hugh Finch (born 1908 Hastings) and Sheila Augusta (1909 Hastings). I think there may have been two more but am not yet sure. In the 1911 census Humphrey's wife and children were with Muriel's parents in Hastings and one presumes that Humphrey himself was away on service. Muriel died in 1968 in Portsmouth district and Humphrey Junior also joined the Navy.

Returning to Mrs Dora Dawson, after her 'sojourn in Surrey' she went to South Africa and took over a farm in the Transvaal; she died in 1924, just a short time after her daughter Augusta.

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GALE, Arthur Leonard, Private, 102512 (previously 24829)

2nd Btn. The Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment (Sherwood Foresters)
Previously in the East Kent Regiment (The Buffs)

Killed in action 23 July 1918 Age 19

Arthur was born in East Woodhay, Hampshire (near Newbury) in 1899, the son of William Gale and Jane (nee Ward). In 1901 he was with his parents in Hampshire but by 1911 he had gone to live at 3 Railway Cottages, East Street, Epsom with his uncle and aunt, Charles and Emily Deacon: Emily was his mother's sister. I do not know why Arthur went to Epsom but it seemed to happen quite often in those days that a child from a large family went to live with relatives, especially if the latter were childless themselves. Additionally Mr Deacon was the Head Porter at Epsom Railway Station, so I imagine that part of the plan was for him to obtain a job for the boy in due course.

He duly became a motor driver and enlisted at Epsom on 8 March 1917 at the age of 17 years 11 months. Initially he was in the Buffs but transferred to the Sherwood Foresters on 7 October. He was killed in Belgium on 23 July 1918 and is buried there at Nine Elms British Cemetery (Grave reference XV.B.10).

As a postscript, Arthur's service record contains a receipt for his personal effects, given by his father: they consisted of part of a letter, a photo, cards, wallet, coins, two religious books and a rosary.

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HACKSHAW, Josiah, Private, 201605

1st Btn. Canadian Infantry (Western Ontario Regiment)
Killed in action 7 October 1916, age 33 (some records say 32)

Newspaper cutting
Newspaper cutting from the Toronto Star
Image via Veterans Affairs Canada

Josiah was born in Preston-next-Faversham, Kent on 6 May 1883, the fifth child of brickmaker Henry Arthur Hackshaw (1850-1937) from Chesham, Buckinghamshire and Fanny Elizabeth Ann Shrubsall (1852-1927) of Milton, Kent. Both Henry and Fanny are buried in Epsom Cemetery (Grave reference F189). The family seems to have moved to Epsom at some point in the 1890s and by 1901 they were living at Number 8 Clayton Road (off East Street); Josiah was also a brickmaker at that time. On 23 April 1905 at St Paul, Clapham he married tailoress Rosaline Betsy Davies (born c.1886 Lambeth) and they had a son, Cecil Frank, born 1905 Epsom. In 1911 they were living in Stockwell, London and Josiah was a railway porter. Another son, Josiah Henry, was born in 1912 (died 1943 Ontario).

Henry and Fanny Hackshaw, parents of Josiah
Henry and Fanny Hackshaw, parents of Josiah
Image courtesy of Geoff Tilley © 2013

In 1913 the family emigrated to Toronto and Josiah enlisted there as a driver on 5 October 1915. He was killed during the first Battle of the Somme and is buried at Sunken Road Cemetery, Contalmaison, near Albert (Grave reference I.D.3).

Rosaline later married Andrew Graham and continued to live in Toronto. As yet I do not know what happened to Cecil.

Josiah's grave marker at Sunken Dump Cemetery, Contalmaison
Josiah's grave marker at Sunken Dump Cemetery, Contalmaison
Photo by Wilf Schofield, England via Veterans Affairs Canada

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HARTRIDGE, Francis William, Sergeant, 45287

Canadian Engineers
Died 10 April 1916 of a gunshot wound

Francis was born on 19 August 1882 in Pembury, Kent (near Tunbridge Wells). He was the only son of William Francis S Hartridge (born c.1859 Pembury) and his mother was Jane Corke (born c.1858 Tonbridge). In 1911 William was the head gardener at Horton Asylum and he lived at 33 Horton Hill, Epsom. Francis appeared in a census with his family only once - in 1901, by which time they had moved to Epsom: his occupation was given as garden labourer.

I cannot be absolutely certain that I have the right man (and I hope that a reader may contact the webmaster with further information), but in the 1911 census there is a Francis William Hartridge of exactly the right age, born Tunbridge Wells, unmarried, at the police station in Seabrook, Sandgate, Kent, which is just a stone's throw from Shorncliffe Military Cemetery (see below): he was a constable in the Kent County Constabulary.

I do not know if Francis actually went to Canada - perhaps it was possible to enlist in the Canadian Forces here in England - but in 1916 he was to be found at the Canadian Engineers Training Depot at Shorncliffe, Kent (near Folkestone). On 10 April 1916 he was found shot at the depot with a rifle by his side. As yet I do not know the circumstances of his death. He was buried at Shorncliffe Military Cemetery (Plot O.346).

Newspaper cutting from the Toronto Star
Newspaper cutting from the Toronto Star 11 April 1916
Image via Veterans Affairs Canada

Francis had four sisters, who are shown in the table below.

Name Born Married Died
Annie c.1883 Tunbridge Wells 1909 Epsom - William John Maynard *  
Fanny May 1886 Tunbridge Wells 1910 Epsom - James Shepherd Pickhover 1966 Eastbourne
Kathleen Emily 1888 Tunbridge Wells 1911 Epsom - Ernest R O'Connor 1978 Tonbridge
Evelyn Jane 1892 Basingstoke 1941 - George A Horwood 1970 Lewisham
* William died in the First World War, who is already on website

Jane Hartridge died in 1928, at which time she and her husband still lived at 33 Horton Hill. William Francis Hartridge died in South London in 1948: they are buried together in Epsom Cemetery (Grave reference: F396)

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HILL, Beresford Winnington, Lieutenant

Royal Flying Corps
Killed in action 4 March 1917, age 24

Beresford Winnington Hill was born in Ewell in 1892; he was christened in St Mary's, Ewell on 12 July of that year. His father, Thomas, was born in Kidderminster, Worcestershire in 1848/9 and his mother, Florence Herbert Winnington Ingram (sometimes hyphenated), was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia in about 1858: they were married at St Peter, Streatham on 10 April 1883.

Florence was the daughter of Rear-Admiral Herbert Frederick Winnington-Ingram (1820-89) and Catherine Twining (c.1832-1910). Her grandfather, Edward Winnington-Ingram, was Canon of Worcester Cathedral and her uncle, Arthur Foley Winnington-Ingram, was Bishop of London from 1901 to 1939. Thomas's parents were Melsup Hill (c.1818-91), a Worcestershire clergyman, and Rose Barker and I imagine that the Worcestershire clerical connection was responsible for his meeting Florence.

Parkside School, Kingston Road was a private house in roughly 12 acres of land near Ewell Village and Thomas, an Oxford graduate, founded it in 1879 with just four pupils. In the 1891 and 1901 censuses there seemed to be only two students actually in residence, but there were several staff on the premises, including a matron. In 1896 the Hills donated a font to All Saints Church, West Ewell in thanksgiving for many years of happily married life.

Thomas and Florence's other children were Cecilia Florence (born 1884 Ewell) and Olive Katharine (born 1885 West Norwood, died 1962 Somerset; married the Reverend Robert Thomas Atthill). In 1911 Cecilia was a teacher in Bushey, Hertfordshire. In about 1908 Thomas and Florence moved to 'East View' in Uxbridge, Middlesex and in the 1911 census it looks as if there was illness in the house, since there were two resident sick nurses. Thomas died on 20 December 1920 and Florence died in 1946 in Somerset, although her regular address was 'Yew Lodge' in Hillingdon, Middlesex. Cecilia seems to have lived with her mother for many years and died unmarried in 1968.

Beresford first seems to have gone to a school called 'Mr Worsley's', which I believe was in Hackney; subsequently he was sent to Evelyns in Hillingdon, a preparatory establishment for public schools. He then went on to Malvern College where he held a classical scholarship and, on leaving there, won a scholarship to study classics at Magdalen College, Cambridge, from which he graduated in 1914. Whilst at Cambridge he was in the Officer Training Corps. He joined the Army on 22 September 1914 as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 10th Battalion of The Rifle Brigade. He was wounded at Fleurbaix, Northern France in October 1915, but recovered and joined the Royal Flying Corps, becoming a flying instructor at English bases. He returned to France in February 1917 and on 4 March was flying a photographic mission near Arras when he was attacked by four enemy aircraft. He was shot down and is buried in the Military Cemetery at Berles-au-Bois, near Arras (Grave reference: I.A.7)

Beresford's name does not appear on any war memorial in Ewell, presumably because the family had left the district by the time he died.

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HOLLIDGE, RV, Lance Corporal, 51196

Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (Eastern Ontario Regiment)
Killed in action 8 May 1915 Age 30

Cap badge of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry
Cap badge of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry

There is confusion about this man's name, almost certainly for a reason that I will come to shortly. If you were looking for his records as a soldier in the Canadian Army, you would need to look at Richard Victor Holland, not Hollidge, although he is listed on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website as Hollidge. Additionally his first name was not Richard but William. I shall explain!

William Victor Hollidge was born in Epsom on 28 November 1884, son of William Charles and Sarah (nee Nash), although his immediate family were not Epsom people and seem to have been there for only a short time. However, his paternal grandmother was born in Ewell and I believe that he was related to a Hollidge family who lived in Ewell for many years. The family had already moved to Lambeth by 1891.

In 1902 he joined the Dragoons of the Line, a cavalry unit, and did not have a good record. In May 1902 he went absent for a few days but, more seriously, in 1905 he was charged with four counts of stealing property from his comrades. Having been imprisoned awaiting trial, he escaped. Ultimately he was sentenced to six months behind bars and discharged with ignominy. Thus, there was no chance whatsoever that he would ever be allowed back into the British Army. At some point thereafter he emigrated to Canada and took up farming. He enlisted in the Canadian Army as Richard Victor Holland on 14 December 1914, admitting to previous military experience, but the authorities obviously did not check up. He said that he was single and, curiously, gave his next of kin as Mrs Catherine Holland of 44 Ryal Road, London, England, a street that I cannot find either in the 1911 census or modern maps. I assume that 'Mrs Holland' was a fictitious mother and the address was either false or recorded incorrectly.

William/Richard was originally in the 32nd Canadian Infantry Battalion, but transferred to the Princess Patricia's Regiment in the field on 1 March 1915. He was killed in action on 8 May 1915 at Bellewaerde Lake, Belgium (now a theme park), which on that day was the scene of the Battle of Frezenberg, part of the 2nd Battle of Ypres: it is the most celebrated of all the battle honours held by the Princess Patricia's Regiment.

'The Second Battle of Ypres' by Richard Jack
'The Second Battle of Ypres' by Richard Jack.
This painting commorates the first major action of Canadian troops at the Front.
Image source: Library and Archives Canada
William/Richard is buried at Tyne Cot Cemetery, Belgium (Grave reference LII.C.3) under the name of R V Holland.

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NORBURY, Robert Fiddes, Lieutenant

1st Bn. attd. 2nd Bn. Seaforth Highlanders (The Ross-Shire Buffs, The Duke of Albany's)
Died of wounds 4 October 1917, Age 28

Robert was born in 1889 in Rawdon, Yorkshire (now a suburb of Leeds), son of foreign correspondent and later commercial agent John Hulbert Norbury (born c.1850 Eccles, Lancashire; died 1900 Croydon district - probably Sanderstead) and Mary (born c.1851 Aberdeenshire; died 1934 Epsom district). In the 1871 census John, as yet unmarried, was lodging in Didsbury, Manchester and one of his fellow lodgers was Scotsman Robert Fiddes, who later became his brother-in-law.

In 1911 the widowed Mary and several of her children, including Robert, who was then a merchant's clerk, lived in Cheam. His siblings were as follows.

Name Born Married Died
Florence Mary Gertrude c.1878 Rochdale, Lancs - 1935 Epsom (lived Dulwich)
John Ralph Robert Wallace 1881 Timperley, Cheshire 1913 - Muriel Bourchier (died 1937)
1942 - Nancy Evelyn Saunders
1955 (lived Oxted)
Percival Hulbert 1883 Timperley - 1955 (lived Epsom)
Alexandra Bessie c.1890 Rawdon 1928 - Harold R Docker (lived at 43 Woodcote Side, Epsom when he died in 1964) 1977 Kent
Mary Letitia Edith Margaret c.1892 Hendon, Middx - 1968 Surrey

At some point between 1911 and the First World War period Mary and the unmarried children moved to Frances Lodge, Woodcote Side, Epsom and Percival still lived there when he died in 1955.

Robert Fiddes Norbury initially joined the Army as a Private in the London Regiment but was commissioned into the 1st Battalion of the Seaforth Highlanders (The Ross-Shire Buffs, The Duke of Albany's) on 13 August 1915. Subsequently he was attached to the 2nd Battalion. He became a Temporary Lieutenant and died of wounds on 4 October 1917 at or near to Poperinghe, Belgium. He is buried in Dozinghem Military Cemetery, Poperinghe (Grave reference I.B.19)

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ROBINSON, Hugh Huntley, Major, MC and Bar

Killed 3 May 1919, aged 29

RAMC Cap Badge
RAMC Cap Badge

As you see from the date of death, Hugh Huntley Robinson was not strictly a war casualty but technically the First World War had not formally finished by May 1919. He is listed as a war casualty on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website and is certainly worthy of his place on this one.

Hugh was born in 1889 in Sunderland, son of physician and surgeon Hugh Shapter Robinson (born 1860 Farnham, Kent; died 5 January 1931 Epsom) and his wife Mary Louisa (nee Shillito; born 1865 Bradford, Yorkshire). Their other children were as shown below.

Name Born Married Died
Hilda Mary 1885 Sunderland 1912 - William Edgar White 1958 - lived in Pound Lane, Epsom
George Shapter 1887 Sunderland   1937?
Kathleen c.1894 Camberwell    
Harold Shillito 1896 Camberwell   1936 Epsom (lived in Hornchurch, Essex)

All three boys served in the First World War and survived, only for Hugh to be killed in an accident after the Armistice.

Hugh Huntley Robinson qualified as a doctor in London in 1912 and was commissioned into the Royal Army Medical Corps when war broke out. He was appointed as medical officer to the 21st London regiment (1st Surrey Rifles), joining them a month after they arrived in France, and saw service in Northern France at Aubers Ridge, Festubert, Loos and the Somme.

In September 1916 his battalion was engaged at High Wood (Somme); the objective was taken but at terrible cost. The poet Siegfried Sassoon summed up the hell of High Wood, particularly as it would have looked to a doctor, in his poem, 'Died of Wounds'.

The ward grew dark; but he was still complaining
And calling out for 'Dickie'. 'Curse the Wood!
'It's time to go. O Christ, and what's the good?
'We'll never take it, and it's always raining.

Hugh was awarded the Military Cross for his actions at High Wood on 15/16 September 1916. His battalion started out with 19 officers and 550 men. When it was over they had just 2 officers and 60 men. Hugh was a Captain at the time and the citation for his medal read 'For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He tended the wounded with great courage and skill, quite regardless of personal danger. He has, on many previous occasions, displayed the greatest bravery'.

Hugh continued to serve in France, at Flers-Courcelette (Somme), Le Transloy (Somme), Ypres Salient (Belgium) and Messines (Belgium) and received a Bar to his MC in 1918. He was then promoted to Major in a unit of the Divisional Field Ambulances and later transferred to the Royal Air Force with the same rank. In May 1919 his squadron was re-locating from Mauberge, France to Bickendorf, Germany and for reasons unknown (probably not connected with his duties) on 3 May he went up in a DH4 aircraft (DH = De Havilland), piloted by 2nd Lieutenant Arthur Howard Bartlett Stace. Almost immediately after take-off, at 250 feet, the engine cut out and the aircraft nose-dived into the ground, killing both occupants. Both are buried in Mons (Bergen) Communal Cemetery, Belgium, Hugh in Grave X.C.20 and Arthur in X.D.1.

A DH4 in France 1918
A DH4 in France 1918.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons

It seems incredible that someone who had been through so much and done such great work should have died like this, but I imagine that the young men of those days were enthralled by aircraft and seized every opportunity for a flight. The Robinson boys were up for anything, as you will find out very soon when I return to Hugh's brother Harold.

In 2007 Hugh's medals were sold at auction for a total of £2600.

At the time of his death Hugh's address was the family home at 'Crantock', Denham Road, Epsom, although they had lived in Dulwich until around 1915, and I am not sure that Hugh ever really lived in Epsom, since he was away at the war. However, his parents remained at 'Crantock' until Dr Hugh Shapter Robinson died in 1931 - he is buried in Epsom Cemetery (Grave reference C147A). Mary Louisa subsequently moved to 'Longmead' in Alexandra Road and died on 24 April 1952.

Grave of Dr Hugh Shapter Robinson in Epsom Cemetery
Grave of Dr Hugh Shapter Robinson in Epsom Cemetery.
Image courtesy of Gravestone Photographic Resource.

As mentioned earlier, both of Hugh Huntley Robinson's brothers participated in the war. George Shapter Robinson was a Lieutenant in the Royal Garrison Artillery and served in France. Harold Shillito Robinson was initially a Lance Corporal in the Artists Rifles Officer Training Corps, was captured when a dresser in Belgium, and escaped into Norway. He then re-enlisted, served at Gallipoli and was badly wounded in Egypt. He re-enlisted again, as an officer in the 1st Surreys, and was wounded by shrapnel in the spleen and lungs; he qualified as a doctor in 1919.

Harold lived in Hornchurch, Essex after the war but, as shown in the table at the beginning of this piece, he died in Epsom. That bare fact masks a very tragic tale. In 1920 he married Vera Emily, daughter of solicitor Clement Stredwick, who lived in Epsom; there were two sons. Before her marriage Vera was well-known locally as a pianist and entertainer (Link to Epsom And Ewell War Hospital Grandstand). In about 1932/3 he had an operation for the removal of shrapnel which he had been walking around with for years. It seems that from about 1934 there were marital problems, including financial difficulties, and Harold's heart had begun to fail, being in a condition expected of someone much older. Eventually Vera left him. On Monday 9 March 1936 she reluctantly obtained a divorce and was awarded custody of the children; she was staying with her father at his house, 5 Norman Avenue, Epsom. On Saturday 14 March Harold was found by the postman in the porch of Number 5, lying dead from a head wound, with a revolver by his side. At the inquest Mr Stredwick explained the events leading up to the tragedy, adding that Harold had already told him exactly what he was going to do, but Mr Stredwick had undoubtedly dismissed the warning as the idle threat of a distraught man. The story reads as a tale of a man very slowly but surely reaching the end of his tether, quite possibly as a result of war experiences, and it was clear from Mr Stredwick's evidence that the disintegration of his marriage and loss of the children had been the final straw. Perhaps Harold Shillito Robinson should also be listed as a war casualty.

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ROBINSON, Wilson. Serjeant. 18/141.

18 Durham Light Infantry
Killed in action 18 May 1917, aged 30

Wilson was born in Epsom in 1886 and he was one of those tricky people (research-wise) who had gone somewhere else by the next census and was not living with his parents. However, I am about 95% sure that I have his parentage right, but just in case I am wrong please do not rely on that part of the information and check it out yourself. The name of his mother on the CWGC entry is probably incorrect (it is recorded as Emma, who was his grandmother, but she did bring him up).

Mary Ann Walton was born in 1864 in Melsonby, a village near Richmond in Yorkshire. She was the daughter of copper miner Isaac Walton (c.1837-97) and Emma Cowe (c.1837-1915), who were married in 1863. In 1885. Mary Ann married carpenter James Robinson from Eppleby, a village slightly north of Melsonby, and they came down to Epsom to live. Sadly, she died late in 1887 and little Wilson was sent to Melsonby to live with his Walton grandparents. How much contact he had with his father thereafter I do not know, but James remarried in 1888 and died in 1903.

By 1911 Wilson was working as a farm labourer at Lartington, Darlington, which is not that far from Melsonby, and he subsequently became a shunter on the railway; he enlisted in August 1915. The 18th Battalion of the DLI sailed for Port Said, Egypt, arriving on 21 December 1915; it went on to France in March 1916. Wilson went missing, presumed dead, in Northern France and is commemorated on Bay 8 of the Arras Memorial. As a sad postscript his half-brother, Henry, son of James Robinson and his second wife, Georgina, was also a war casualty.

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SHUTTLEWORTH, Robert George, Major,

110th Mahratta Light Infantry, attached to 9th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment
Killed in action 10 August 1915, aged 33

Robert was born on 24 October 1881 in Bombay.

He was a regular army officer and transferred from the Royal Warwickshires to the Mahratta Light Infantry in 1904. His father, Allen Thornton St John Woodward Shuttleworth (1839-1915), had been in the Indian Navy and at one point worked for the Indian Forestry Commission; his mother was Laura Phebe Betham (1855-1926). There were thirteen children in total and one of Robert's sisters, Dorothy, was known as 'the Belle of Bombay'. His older brother was Major General Sir, Digby Inglis Shuttleworth. It seems that all of the Shuttleworths were born in India.

You will gather from the above that the Shuttleworths did not spend much time in Britain, but in 1911 Allen and Laura were living in Walmer, Kent. Robert married Violet Walters (born 1882 Wimbledon) in the autumn/winter of 1914, in Epsom or Ewell.

You may be wondering how Robert came to meet Violet and I do not know the answer, but her father, Radclyffe Walters, was a solicitor at Lincoln's Inn and may possibly have been the Shuttleworths' family lawyer. Radclyffe presumably had some connection with India, since another of his daughters, Evelyne May, married Henry Norman Brock in Bombay Cathedral: he was an official on Indian Railways at that time. The Walters family lived at 'Persfield' in Ewell for many years.

Robert was killed at Cape Helles on the Gallipoli Peninsula, probably during the battle for Sari Bair He is commemorated on Panel 255 of the Helles Memorial.

On 3 April 1920 in Bombay Violet married Robert Theodore Hope Mackenzie (born 1886 Poona, died 1934 Delhi), who was a merchant, sometime manager at Burmah Shell Oil in India and a cricketer. I believe that they had at least one child, who was Janet, born in 1922 and christened in Ewell.

Violet lived in Crowborough, Sussex for many years and died in 1972.

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SMITH, Joseph Charles, Private, CH/5330

Royal Marine Light Infantry
Died 14 June 1918, age 49

As far as I know, Joseph had no personal connection with Epsom, but he is included because his widow once lived at 16 Lintons Lane.

Joseph was born in about 1869 in Marylebone. In 1889 he enlisted in the Royal Marine Light Infantry, but was invalided out in 1893, following which he became a lamplighter, like his father before him. He married Alice Mary Hunt in Fulham in 1897 and then re-enlisted in 1902, but the second period of service did not last for long and he then took up painting for a living. However, he was clearly a man who could not give up his naval career and in 1914 he was to be found at Dunkirk and the defence of Antwerp. In 1918 he was working at Chatham Headquarters, was discharged from the service and died in the Royal Naval Hospital there on 14 June 1918. He is buried in Fulham Palace Road Cemetery (grave reference 10.D.39).

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TIGAR, Bertrand Benoit. Rifleman. S/7001.

2 Rifle Brigade.
Killed in action 25 September 1915, aged 33.

Rifle Brigade Cap Badge
Rifle Brigade Cap Badge

Bertrand was born in Epsom in 1882, the eldest child of Edward Tigar (born 1851 St John's Wood) and Clare Wharton (born 1846 Hull), who were married in 1881 in Beverley district, Yorkshire; the family lived in Epsom from about 1882 to 1888 and I believe that they were Roman Catholics. Several of them travelled to and fro between the UK and South America at various times, so I imagine that their original roots were there, but recent ancestors had come from Yorkshire. Bertrand's siblings were as shown below.

Florence/Flora Jessie Mary Born Epsom 1883.
Died Worthing 1964, Unmarried
Edward Wharton Born Epsom c.1885.
Married c.1908 Naomi Levy, a British subject born in Brazil c.1882; died 1966.
Died 27 November 1963 Bristol.
See below for more information.
Wilfred George Born 1886 Epsom.
Died 1889 Hampstead.
Basil Joseph Born 1887 Epsom.
Married 1917 Isabella M Simpson.
Served in the Royal Navy Reserve during World War 1, rising to the rank of Paymaster Lieutenant. In civilian life he was a civil servant and lived in Scotland.
Clement Bertie Born 1892 Hampstead.
Died 1976 Hounslow district.
See below for more information.

Edward Tigar Senior was an official at HM Treasury and died in 1937 in Edmonton district, Clare having predeceased him in 1920.

Bertrand became a clerk and, although he was on the 1911 electoral register in Haringey (where the family then lived), he soon went to Santos, Brazil, presumably for work reasons. However, he sailed home in October 1914 to enlist and joined the Rifle Brigade. He was killed near Ypres on 25 September 1915 and is commemorated on Panel 160 of the Ploegsteert memorial in Belgium.

Family followup

Edward Wharton Tigar had a son, also called Edward (born 1913 Finchley), who later used the surname Wharton-Tigar and was awarded the MBE. Edward Junior's employment began in 1930 as a junior clerk with an international mining company called Selection Trust (the company owned diamond and copper mines in Africa and had rights to a lead and zinc mine in Yugoslavia). In about 1935 he was posted to the accounts department in Kosovo, being trapped there in 1941 when the Italians invaded; he was sent to Italy and then to Gibraltar, where he was recruited by the Special Operations Executive. His war was entirely different from that of his unfortunate nephew, Bertrand, but none the less dangerous.

SOE operatives were spies and Edward was posted to Tangier, where his cover was as a cipher clerk in the office of the British Consul-General. The Germans had a crucial infra-red station in a house on the cliffs, from which they monitored shipping passing through the Straits of Gibraltar and passed on information to their U-boats. The reason that this was such a key installation to Britain was that the Allies were planning an amphibious landing in North Africa for the following year (this was Operation Torch, which happened in November 1942).

Destruction of the station needed to be covert, to avoid the involvement of Spain in the war, so Edward crept up to the house and found that he could get his fingers through the window bars; SOE explosives experts in Gibraltar then made up small explosive charges disguised to look like a file of papers and Edward took them back to Tangier in the diplomatic bag. He went with SOE saboteurs to show them where to place the charges and scurried back to town to establish an alibi. Shortly afterwards there was an explosion and the entire installation was blown into the sea. This caused three U-boats to break radio silence because they had lost the infra-red signal and they were promptly sunk by the Royal Navy.

Edward organised many 'dirty tricks' while he was in Tangier and got away with it, apparently being regarded by the Germans as 'a man of no importance'. In 1944 he was sent to Kunming in China, where he set up Operation Remorse: this was a complicated plot involving currency exchange on the black market, the purpose of which was to reduce Britain's costs in the war against Japan - and it did, apparently to the tune of about 77 million.

After the war Edward returned to Selection Trust and in 1964 became the Managing Director. He was also a collector of cigarette cards and at one point made the Guinness Book of Records for having the largest collection in the world, which he left to the British Museum. He died in 1995. Bertrand's youngest brother, Clement Bertie, was a noteworthy Roman Catholic Priest who eventually became the Rector of Osterley, Middlesex and he was the Superior of the House of Studies for Late Vocations at Campion House, Osterley for 31 years. An obituary for Clement was published in the The Catholic Herald on the 23 April 1976.

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TINKER Albert Henry, Corporal. M2/203029.

Royal Army Service Corps. 'G' Siege Park attd. VII Corps Heavy Artillery.
Died of influenza 27 November 1918, aged 27.
Mentioned in Despatches.

And also his son
TINKER Tony Malcolm, Flight Lieutenant (Pilot). 34254.
Royal Air Force, 27 Sqdn.
Died 13 January 1940, aged 24.

Albert was born in Fulham in 1891, the son of William Tinker and his wife, Mary Ann (nee Stratford, married 1879). In 1911 William was a greengrocer, living in Heathcote Villas.

Albert was a younger brother of William Thomas Tinker, who was killed in action on 7 December 1915. As mentioned in the link, in 1901 the boys' father had been working in the lodging house at Horton Asylum and so was German national John Edmund Schmuck, who at that time was in charge of the housekeeping and catering there (both before and after this period he was running the dining rooms at 76 High Street, Epsom). Mr Schmuck was married to Annie Maria Harris.

In the 1911 census both Albert and his 15 year old sister, Lillian Mary, were assisting the childless Schmucks in their business and were described as nephew and niece. In fact, they were Mrs Schmuck's nephew and niece and William Tinker Senior was her brother, although he had once been William Harris. William's mother was Barbara Tinker and his father was tailor Thomas Benjamin Harris, both of whom ended up living with the Schmucks (it is not clear why William's surname was Tinker, since he was born after his parents' marriage and it is even more unclear why he was described as their nephew in the 1871 census). No matter, the point is that there was a close blood relationship between the Tinkers and Mrs Schmuck.

So, in 1911 Albert was an assistant buyer for the Schmucks and he subsequently became an estimates clerk in paper and stationery and moved to Merton (4 Bathurst Avenue, a few doors away from the Schmucks' later address) with his wife Violet Frances (nee Robins, a milliner living in Church Street), whom he had married in Epsom on 5 July 1915. They had one son, Tony Malcolm, born on 1 April 1916.

Albert enlisted in December 1915 and was sent to France in October 1916. In October 1918 the Americans and British captured Busigny in the Battle of Cambrai and, having survived all that and the Armistice having been signed, Albert would soon have been on his way home. As it was, he was admitted to 12 Casualty Clearing Station with influenza, from which he died. This would have been the more virulent form of 'Spanish flu' which broke out in France during 1918 and killed more people worldwide than had died in the War itself. Albert was buried in Busigny Communal Cemetery Extension (Grave VII.B.23). His entry on the CWGC website reads 'Adopted son of John Edmund Schmuck of 18, Bathurst Ave, Merton, London; husband of Violet Frances Tinker, of Leeding's Garage, Sutton, Surrey' (Violet's sister, Rosina, was married to Alfred Leeding, who ran this garage).

In 1920 Violet married Walter Stephen Bird (died 1959) and she died in 1977 in Sutton district. Tony married Florence Mary Russell in 1935 and tragically died in the Second World War whilst on active service in India.

27 Squadron was a training squadron in 1940, flying Tiger Moths and based at Risalpur on the North-West Frontier (now the home of the Pakistan Air Force Academy) and had been in that general area since the 1920s; Tony is believed to have spun and crashed on take-off whilst flying with Sergeant Frederick William Whyte, who was also killed and is buried in the adjacent grave at Karachi War Cemetery (4.A.5 and 4.A.4 respectively); they were probably reinterred there from Risalpur Cemetery.

Aerial view of Risalpur Air Station, taken between 1930 and 1940.
Aerial view of Risalpur Air Station, taken between 1930 and 1940.
Image source: www.iwm.org.uk © IWM (HU 59100)

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TOWNSEND, Stanley Theodore, Private, 47190
(formerly Ts/4066 Army Cyclists Corps)

9th Btn. Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment).
Killed in action 5 April 1918, age 30

The Townsends lived in Epsom from about 1876/7 to 1907. Originally they were from the Berkshire/Oxfordshire area and then moved to Windlesham. Stanley, born in Epsom in 1888, was the last child of about eleven (I say 'about' because there could have been more children who died young in between censuses). Mr Townsend was Francis, a gardener (born c. 1846) and his wife was Sarah (nee Nobes/Knobes, born c. 1844); they were married in 1867 in Windlesham. The family had various addresses in Epsom, including Church Street, Woodcote Road and Hook Road.

The Townsends didn't seem to bother much with formalities in Windlesham and registered at least two of the births later on in Epsom, so some of the dates shown below for Stanley's siblings are based on census ages rather than birth records.

Name Born Married Died
Beatrice M c.1868 Windlesham - 1943 Isle of Wight
Laura Elizabeth c.1870 Windlesham 1906 - William Henry Cuming  
Francis c.1873 Windlesham    
Phoebe Grace 1874 Windlesham - 1956 Isle of Wight
Una Olive 1876 Windlesham or Epsom - 1941 Balham
Ethel Maria 1878 Epsom 1901 - Alfred Thomas Maxim (died 1932) 1961 Wandsworth district
Selwyn Frank c.1880 Epsom 1906 - Rachel Dorling 1938 London
Archibald Edwin   1907 - Ada Mary Atkins (widow) 1961 London
Ernest Leonard 1883 Epsom - 1884 Epsom
Ivy Kathleen c.1886 Epsom    

Sarah died in 1898 and Francis Senior in 1907. Both are buried in Epsom Cemetery (grave references B72 and B21 respectively). Both Selwyn and Archie served in the First World War; Archie was a station master on the London Brighton and South Coast Railway.

By 1911 Stanley was working as a footman in 21 Eccleston Square London. He enlisted in 1914 and was killed in action on 5 April 1918 at Bouzincourt Ridge (near Albert, Somme). He is buried in Bouzincourt Ridge Cemetery (grave reference II.G.16). As far as I am aware, he was unmarried.

Ruined gateway at the entrance to the churchyard in Bouzincourt
Ruined gateway at the entrance to the churchyard in Bouzincourt, October 1916
part of "Ministry Of Information First World War Official Collection"
(photographs) Made by: Brooks, Ernest (Lt) 1916-10 © IWM (Q 1542)

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TURNER, Arthur (actually William Arthur), Sergeant , L/27244

Royal Field Artillery, D Battery, 231st Brigade
Killed in action 4 November 1918, age 23

William Arthur Turner, apparently known as Arthur, was born in Epsom in 1895, son of jobbing gardener Alfred Turner (born c.1862 Hampshire) and his wife Sarah Ives (born c.1857 Bedfordshire): they were married in Epsom in 1886. In the 1911 census, by which time the family had moved to Croydon, they said that there had been seven children, of whom five survived. Arthur's siblings were as shown below (all born in Epsom).

Name Born Married Died
Alfred 1887    
Fanny Ellen 1889 ?1923 - Sidney F Potter ?1969 Croydon
Walter Ernest 1 Jan 1891    
Alice Maud 1893   1892 Epsom (aged 9 days)
Percy Edward 1897 - 1910 Epsom
Harold Frederick 1899    

In the 1901 census the family was living at 4 Heathcote Cottages, Epsom. Alfred joined the Royal Navy and in 1911 he was a stoker on the armoured cruiser HMS Black Prince, which was at Gibraltar on census night. This ship was sunk with all 857 hands at the Battle of Jutland in 1916 but happily Alfred seems not to have been in the crew then.

Le Cateau (near Cambrai) was taken by the Germans in 1914 and remained in their hands until October 1918, when the Allies regained it. When Arthur was killed on 4 November the war had only one more week to run. He is buried at Highland Cemetery, Le Cateau (grave reference VI.A.9).

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WHITEHOUSE, Herbert Percy, Private. G/5354.

9th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment.
Killed in action 20 February 1916 (some sources say 14 February), age 40

The War Memorial in Old Steine, Brighton
The War Memorial in Old Steine, Brighton.
The names of the casualties are recorded on all four sides of the metal pillars at each end.
Image courtesy of Linda Jackson ©2013.

Percy's name on the Brighton Memorial.
Percy's name on the Brighton Memorial.
Image courtesy of Linda Jackson ©2013.

Herbert Percy Whitehouse, known as Percy, was born in Epsom in 1875, the eldest of eleven children of Benjamin Foxall Whitehouse and his wife Alice Emily (nee Simmons, married 17 June 1874 at St John's Church, Croydon). Benjamin was born in 1841 in Dudley, Worcestershire/Staffordshire and began his working life as a groom. By 1871 he had moved to Epsom and become a greengrocer (his father was a fruiterer); his shop was in the High Street. Alice was allegedly born in Epsom in about 1854, although I cannot find a birth record at that time. Percy's siblings, all born in Epsom, were as shown below.

Cecil Benjamin 1877-1905, unmarried, worked for his father; buried Epsom Cemetery.
Alice Beatrice 1878-87, buried Epsom Cemetery.
Edgar Marland 1880-1954, married Martha Alice Pennicott; lived Carshalton.
Hubert Henry c.1882-1953, lived Banstead.
Archibald 1883-1962, married Winifred Waine.
George Frederick 1884-1954, married Amelia Kate Herridge; lived West Ewell.
Ethel Harriet 1888-1924, unmarried, buried Epsom Cemetery.
Reginald Born and died 1889, buried Epsom Cemetery.
Edwin James 1890-91, buried Epsom Cemetery.
Grace Lilian 1894-1942, married Edwin Charles Simmons.

Percy had left home by 1901, becoming a painter and living at Downs Cottages, Epsom. In 1906 in Epsom district he married Ethel Wilkins (born 1879 Lessingham, Norfolk), whose family also lived at Downs Cottages. By 1906/7, when their first child, Percy Sidney, was born, they were living in Sutton, but they had moved to Brighton by the time their daughter, Ethel Annie, arrived in 1909.

Benjamin Whitehouse died on 1 August 1911, still living in Epsom High Street, followed by his wife on 4 September 1921, at which time her address was 75 High Street.

In the 1911 census Percy was a hotel porter and the family lived at 9 Newport Street, Brighton. When war broke out he joined up almost immediately and fought at Loos and Ypres, the latter being where he was literally blown to pieces by a shell. He is commemorated on the Menin Gate (Panel 20).

The East Sussex Records Office now holds copies of letters relating to Percy and they can be read here. http://catalogue.communitysites.co.uk There is also an interview with Percy's grandson here www.mybrightonandhove.org.uk and photographs of Percy's wife and children are here www.mybrightonandhove.org.uk.

In 1918 Ethel married Charles Hemmings Lofting in Brighton; he was born c.1889 in St George Hanover Square district. This marriage did not work out in the longer term, since by the mid-1920s Charles was living in Surrey with another woman and they had two children together; he died in 1967. Ethel died on 8 April 1963, still living at 9 Newport Street, Brighton. At that point Percy Sidney (died 1975) was a locomotive fitter. Ethel Annie married and she died in Brighton in 1999.

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WINDUS, James Henry. Rifleman. 200696.

18 Rifle Brigade.
Died 27 October 1917, age 46.

James was born in Epsom in 1869 (christened 13 March 1970 St Martin's), the child of Eliza Aldridge (born Epsom 22 November 1844), and his birth was registered in the name of James Aldridge. In the 1871 census he was with his grandmother, Hannah, in Epsom, while Eliza was working as a domestic cook at St George Hanover Square, Westminster.

Eliza married Metropolitan Police Constable Henry Windus (born c.1842 Otterbourne, Hampshire) in 1873 in St George Hanover Square district and they lived in London thereafter, although Eliza seems to have had her next child in Epsom and the one after that in Otterbourne. The Windus children were as shown below.

Alice Born 1873 Epsom.
Married 1893 James Greaves/Graves.
Frederick Born 1874 Otterbourne.
Married 1906 Lydia Emma Racher (1882-1965).
Died 1953 Edmonton district.
Agnes Born 2 October 1876 Islington.
Married 1900 Frederick Arthur Green.
Elizabeth Born c.1878 Islington
Married 1899 Charles Henry Herbert.
Adelaide Born 1879 Islington.
Married 1902 baker William Edward Cox.

Henry, who had become a bricklayer's labourer after leaving the police force, died in 1896 and by 1901 Eliza was living on her own, working as a charwoman; the same situation applied in 1911, when she had one room in Hornsey and she died in 1917.

James joined the Royal Marine Light Infantry and in the 1901 census he was a Private aboard the cruiser 'HMS Royal Arthur' at Sydney: this ship was the flagship of the Australian Station from 1897 to 1904 and subsequently saw service in North America and the West Indies, returning to the UK in 1906. James had not been with her for all that time, since he married on 27 September 1902 at St Anne's Church, Islington, his occupation being given as night porter: his bride was Violet Elizabeth Racher (born 1879 Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire), sister of the Lydia Racher who later married his (presumably) half-brother, Frederick. At that time Violet was a domestic cook.

HMS Royal Arthur
HMS Royal Arthur.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons.

James and Violet had two children: the first was probably Violet Winifred (1907-08) and the second was Henry James S (born 11 March1909 Westminster). In the 1911 census they were living in Bessborough Place, Westminster, with James described as a builder's night watchman.

James enlisted at Pimlico on 30 April 1915, then aged 45, and was transferred to the 18th Battalion (London) Rifle Brigade on 22 October. In the November his battalion was shipped out to Port Blair in the Andaman Islands and from there to Rangoon, Burma, where it arrived on 15 January 1917. He should have been relatively safe there, since Burma was not a war zone but it was of strategic importance. Unfortunately, however, he drowned on 27 October 1917. The military authorities decided that it was an accident and no inquest was held. James is buried Rangoon War Cemetery (Grave 4.G.14).

Violet died in 1973 in Hendon district.

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