War Memorials - Surnames C

Index

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CALDWELL, John (New 07/09/2013)
CAMERON, Hugh Alexander (New 12/08/2015)
CARRIGAN, Michael (New 12/08/2015)
CARTER-WOOD, Joseph Allan (Updated 09/09/2013)
CHADBAND, John Stanley (Revised 21/01/2014)
CHALWIN, Albert (Revised 21/01/2014)
CHAMBERS, John H. (Revised 15/12/2010)
CHANDLER, Dorothy Maud (Updated 12/12/2014)
CHANDLER, G (New 31/03/2013)
CHANDLER, Harold James (New 01/12/2013)
CHANNELL, Walter (Revised 25/01/2014)
CHAPMAN, James (updated 19/03/2017)
CHILDS, James (Revised 25/01/2014)
CHITTENDEN, Arthur George (Updated 18/09/2010)
CHITTY, L.D.M. (New 26/02/2013)
CHONEY, Albert Walter (New 24/10/2009)
CHONEY, William George (New 24/10/2009)
CHURCH, John William (Revised 13/12/2014)
CLAPHAM, Christofer Albon (Revised 23/09/2010)
CLARK, Cyril Stephen (Revised 27/01/2014)
CLARK, Edward (Revised 17/09/2010)
CLARK, Robert (Revised 27/04/2010)
CLARKE, Patrick (New 13/08/2015)
CLEVENDON, Thomas (New 16/08/2015)
CLIFFORD, William (Revised 21/07/2017)
COLEMAN, Arthur (New 12/01/2011)
COLEMAN, Ernest James (Updated 01/03/2014)
COLLER, Thomas George (New 03/09/2011)
COLLINGS, Arthur (New 28/01/2016)
COLLINS, R (New 12/07/2012)
COLLISS, Reginald E (Updated 01/02/2014)
COOK, Ernest (Updated 10/12/2012)
COOK, Henry John Hugh (Revised 13/12/2014)
COOK, Kenrick Walkyn Brinsley Richard (Revised 13/12/2014)
COOK, L (New 14/01/2013)
COOK, William Charles (Revised 09/09/2013)
COOKE, Percy Jesse (Updated 04/07/2012)
COOKE, Walter Henry (Revised 09/09/2013)
COOMBES, Harry Frederick (New 31/07/2012)
COOPER, Ernest (Updated 07/02/2014)
COOPER, William Augustus (New 19/04/2016)
COPPARD, W.T (Updated 05/09/2016)
CORBETT, F (New 09/10/2013)
CORN, Harold Frank (New 08/04/2012)
CORRIGAN, Albert Victor Ernest (New 04/04/2016)
COTTAM, William Frederick Thomas see KIRKCALDY, Douglas
COULSON, William Eugene, (Revised 20/03/2013)
COX, C.R. (Revised 23/06/2017)
COX, Frank Ernest (New 18/12/2010)
COX, John Benjamin (Updated 03/05/2013)
CREWDSON, Theodore Wright (New 18/06/2013)
CROPLEY, Trefelyn Roland (Updated 11/04/2013)
CULVER, Arthur (Revised 27/07/2016)
CUMMING, Harry Allen (Updated 08/07/2011)
CUMMINGS, Walter Haddath (New 17/05/2016)
CUNLIFFE, Ellis (New 17/05/2015)
If you are looking for someone whose name starts with a different letter please try:



Content


CALDWELL John, Regimental Serjeant Major (RSM). 50531.

Canadian Army Medical Corps.
Died 17 December 1917, aged 37.

John's headstone in Epsom Cemetery Cemetery
John's headstone in Epsom Cemetery Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

John Caldwell was born on 17 October 1880 (GRO reference: Dec 1880 West Derby 8b 356) in Liverpool, the son of Joseph and Isabella Caldwell.

John's father Joseph Caldwell married Catherine Green in 1861 and they had six children. In 1871 they were boarding with only their sons James and Joseph in 33, Kelvinhaugh Street, Glasgow, Scotland. Catherine died in 1874, and in 1875 John's father married John's mother Isabella McCall/McCole. They had five children.

John Caldwell And His Siblings And Half Siblings
Name Born - Died Notes
Elizabeth Born: 1864 Beeston, Nottinghamshire Half sibling
Paul Born: 1866 Shropshire Half sibling. Lived at 3, Higham Street, off Roscommon Street, Liverpool in 1911
James Born: 1868 St Helens, Lancashire Half sibling
Joseph Born: 1870 St Helens, Lancashire Half sibling
Thomas Born: 1872 Billinge, Lancashire Half sibling
Peter Born: 1873 Glasgow Half sibling
Margaret Born: 4 January 1876. Everton, Liverpool Full sibling. Baptised 16 Jan 1876 in Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic church, Liverpool.
David Born: 25 May 1877 Everton, Liverpool Full sibling. Baptised 3 Jun 1877 in Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic church, Liverpool
Donald Born: 1879 Everton, Liverpool Full sibling. No baptism found.
John Born: 17 October 1880, Everton, Liverpool
Died: 17 December 1917, Epsom
Baptised on 24 October 1880 in St Francis Xavier's Roman Catholic church, Liverpool.
Joseph Born: 18 June 1882, Liverpool. Full sibling. Baptised Josephus on 22 June 1882 in All Souls' Roman Catholic church, Liverpool.

John was baptised in Latin as 'Joannes' on 24 October 1880 in St Francis Xavier's Roman Catholic Church, Salisbury Street, Everton, Liverpool.

The 1881 census records the Caldwell family living at 1, Field Street, Everton, Liverpool and that John's father worked as a soap boiler. John was recorded as being 5 months old. On census night, in addition to the 12 family members, also sleeping there were 40 year old visitor Charlotte Yates and 60 year old boarder Elizabeth Thomas.

John's father died in 1888, aged 49, and was buried in Ford cemetery on 22 January. His last address was recorded as 41, Portland Place.

I have been unable to find the 1891 census records for John, his mother and full siblings, and only some of John's half siblings whereabouts have been found:
  • James was living with his wife Margaret at 33, Taliesin Street, Liverpool, and was working as a soap maker.
  • Thomas was living with their widowed paternal grandmother Margaret Caldwell and her children uncle Paul Caldwell and aunt Anna Caldwell in Manchester Road, Brixton, Lancashire. Margaret and her deceased husband Paul were farmers and Thomas was working as a labourer.
  • Peter was working in a coal yard and boarding at 22, Nursery Road, Liverpool.
John attested into the 1st Battalion Welsh regiment, in Swansea on 14 July 1897, aged 17. He added a year to his birth stating that he had been born on 17 October 1879 in the parish of St. Francis, Liverpool, was a shoe maker by trade, and that he had lived away from his father's house for at least three years but that he paid no rates. He was 5 feet 4¾ inches tall, weighed 119lbs, had a chest measurement of 33½ inches expanding to 35½ inches. He had a fresh complexion, grey eyes, brown hair and was a Roman Catholic. On 14 July 1899 John was granted good conduct pay. His next of kin was his mother, Isabelle Caldwell, Belmont Road, Liverpool.

The second Boer War in South Africa was fought between October 1889 and May 1902. John was sent to South Africa on 4 November 1899 and fought in the Relief of Kimberley (15 February 1900) and at the battle of Paardeberg Drift (17-26 February 1900), where he was wounded on 18 February. John's wounds were severe enough for him to be invalided out of the Army on 22 March 1901. For his service he received the Queen's South Africa medal with two clasps, the Relief of Kimbereley, and Paardeberg.

John's discharge papers record that he was discharged at Devonport, he was a shoemaker and that his intended place of residence was 8, Back Roscommon Street, Great Homer Street, Liverpool.

Aged 22, John was unmarried and working as a journeyman shoe and boot maker when the U.K.1901 census was taken. That night, John was visiting David and Margaret Caldwell who lived in 8, Back Roscommon Street, South Everton, Lancashire. From looking at the 1881 census it is most likely that 23-year-old David was John's brother. I have been unable to trace any other family members in the 1901 census, but later that year John's brother Donald, a joiner and carpenter, sailed from Liverpool to the USA, returning home in 1907.

There is a record of a marriage between a John Caldwell and an Annie Bermingham in Woolwich in the September quarter of 1903.

John and his wife Annie emigrated to Canada in 1903 and were living in 1911 with their three children, Alice aged 6, Isabell aged 5 and Richard John aged 2, at 504, Atlantic Avenue, Winnipeg. John was working as a postman to support his family. Passenger Lists seem to confirm that Annie L. Caldwell returned to England around the time of her children's births.

John attested in Winnipeg into the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force on 12 May 1915 stating his name, birthday, place of birth, and his wife as his next-of-kin. He gave his address as 504, Atlantic Avenue, Winnipeg and his occupation as 'Shoemaker (Present) P.O. Employee'. John was described as being aged 36 years 4 months old, 5 feet 6½ inches tall with a 39 inch chest with an expansion of 2 inches. He had a dark complexion, blue eyes and dark hair. He also stated that he had served in the '1st Battalion Welsh, 41st Foot' and signed himself as Sgt. John Caldwell.

When the 1916 Canadian census was taken, John was marked as being a soldier serving overseas as well as being a postman. It recorded his Irish wife as Annie and children as Alice aged 12, Isabell aged 10 and Richard aged 8, all having been born in England. The census also states that John, Annie and Alice emigrated to Canada in 1903, Isabell in 1906 and Richard in 1908. They were still living at the same address, 504, Atlantic Avenue.

During the Great War John served with the Canadian Army Medical corps with the rank of Regimental Sergeant Major. Given that he was aged 37 and that he had served in South Africa and been invalided out, he most likely served at the Canadian Convalescent Camp at Woodcote Park, rather than with fighting units overseas.

John died at the Horton War Hospital on 17 December 1917 and was buried in grave B 180A on 20 December 1917. The owner of the grave was registered as the High Commissioner for Canada and the cost of the grave was £3-3s-0d.

The Commonwealth war Graves Commission states that he was the:
Son of Mr. and Mrs Caldwell; husband of Annie Caldwell, of 504, Atlantic Avenue, Winnipeg. Served in the South African Campaign. Born at Liverpool, England.
His widow Annie travelled to England on 6 July 1923 to stay with her sister, Mrs. Graham, who lived in Oldham. She stayed almost a year before returning to Winnipeg on 4 July 1924. She does not appear to have remarried.

BEC

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CAMERON Hugh Alexander, Private. 715369.

87th Battalion Canadian Infantry (Quebec Regiment).
Died 8 June 1917, aged 27.

Hugh's inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
Hugh's inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert

Hugh Alexander Cameron was born of Scottish descent on 22 June 1890 in Pictou County, Nova Scotia, Canada, the son of Alexander and Mary Sophia Cameron (nee MacPherson).

Aged 9 months old, Hugh and his siblings Christina/Christie aged 8, Emma Jane aged 6, Even Baxter aged 4 and Isabella Florence aged 2 were living in 1891 with their parents in Garden of Eden, Pictou, where his father was a farmer. The family continued living in the same place for the next twenty years during which time three more siblings were born - William James, Duncan and Maggie (Lilla/Lillian). Hugh and his brothers were all working as farmers.

On 30 December 1915 in Pictou, Hugh attested in to the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force and was given the service number 715369. He gave his address as just Willowdale, his occupation as farmer and his mother as his next-of-kin. At his previous medical on 24 November it was noted that he was aged 25 years 5 months old, 5 feet 10 inches tall with a 34½ inch chest and two inch expansion. He had a medium complexion with grey eyes and dark brown hair. He was unmarried and a Presbyterian.

On 8 July 1916 Hugh made a will in favour of his mother. A few days later on 15 July he embarked aboard SS Empress of Britain, from Halifax, Nova Scotia, arriving at Liverpool on 25 July. After spending some months at camps near Shorncliffe, in the 106th and 40th Battalions, he was transferred to the 87th Battalion on 14 November in preparation to go to France.

On 9 April 1917, whilst fighting in the Battle of Vimy Ridge, he received a gunshot wound to his left thigh and on 11 April he was admitted to No.14 General Hospital, Wimereux. The bullet was removed from his leg at Boulogne on 12 April, and he was transferred to Horton War Hospital in Epsom, Surrey, arriving on 13 April. Despite receiving treatment for his wound Hugh died from a haemorrhage of the femoral artery on 8 June 1917.

Hugh was buried on 13 June in grave K244 in the CWGC plot in Epsom Cemetery and is remembered there on the Screen Wall. Hugh is also remembered on his parent's headstone in Canada where it is recorded that he was wounded at Vimy Ridge.

Hugh is also commemorated on page 212 of Canada's First World War Book of Remembrance.

Hugh was awarded the British War medal and the Victory medal. His mother received a Canadian Memorial Cross.

CWGC

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CARRIGAN Michael, Private. S/13185.

8/10th Battalion Gordon Highlanders.
Died 6 December 1916, aged 25.

Michael's inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
Michael's inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert

Michael Carrigan was born in 1891 in Shotts, Lanarkshire, Scotland, the son of John and Mary Carrigan. His father was aged 25 when he married 17 year old Mary Hanlon on 26 October 1888 in the Roman Catholic Chapel in Cleland, Lanarkshire. His mother was a brickfield worker before she married. Michael's older sister Mary was born in 1889 and had been living with her parents in Back Row when Michael was born. Michael's younger siblings were James born c1893, Patrick born c1899 and John born c1900.

Michael and his siblings were living with their parents in 1901 in Windeyedge, Shotts, Lanarkshire where his 38 year old father worked as a coal miner. On 12 October 1908 Michael's father died.

We know very little of Michael's army service as his records have not survived, but we know he enlisted in Wishaw, Scotland. Michael was not awarded the 1915 Star so would not have served overseas until after 1915. Michael's battalion, the 8/10th, part of the 44th Brigade 15th Scottish Division, was formed on 11 May 1916 by amalgamating the 8th Battalion with the 10th Battalion. It's impossible to know when Michael was wounded but it is likely that is was in the Battle of the Somme.

Michael died of his wounds on 6 December 1916 in the Manor County of London War Hospital, and was buried on 9 December in grave K646 in the CWGC plot in Epsom Cemetery with eight of his fellow servicemen. Michael is remembered there on the Screen Wall and also on the Cleland and District War Memorial.

Michael was awarded the Victory medal and British War medal.

The CWGC website states that he was the:
Son of Mary Carrigan, of Shawstonfoot, Bellside, Cleland. Lanarkshire.
CWGC

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CARTER-WOOD Joseph Allan, 2nd Lieutenant.

2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards.
Killed in Action 1 February 1915, aged 30.

Joseph Allan Carter-Wood
Joseph Allan Carter-Wood
Image source De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour

Joseph Allan Carter-Wood (known as Joey) was born on the 3 November 1884 at 8, Cheney Walk, Chelsea (GRO reference: Dec 1884 Chelsea 1a 330) to Joseph Edmund and Evelyn Alice Carter-Wood (nee Adair), who had married in May 1883 in St John the Evangelist church, Westminster. Joey was registered with the GRO with just one first name, Joseph, but was baptised as Joseph Allan in St Luke's church, Chelsea on 16 December 1884, whilst living at 8, Cheney Walk. The entry in the baptism register records his father's occupation as a brewer.

Joey had two younger siblings, Helen Carter-Wood born 1887, and Edith Florence Carter-Wood born 1888. Florence, an accomplished horsewoman, married the painter Sir Alfred Munnings on 19 January 1912. She is reported to have attempted suicide on her honeymoon, and finally succeeded on 31 July 1914 by taking cyanide.

Joey's father owned the 'Artillery Place' brewery in Westminster, which he sold to Watneys in 1891. Watneys immediately closed it down.

The 1891 census records the family living at 'The Grange', Ireby, Cumberland. Joey's 32 year old father Joseph was 'Living on his own means', presumably on the proceeds of his brewery sale. His mother Evelyn was aged 28, Joey was aged 6 and his sisters Helen and Edith were aged 4 and 2 respectively. To look after the five family members there were ten servants.

Joey was educated at Upland House School, a preparatory school for boys aged between 8 and 14, and Uppingham school

In the 1901 census, apart from being 10 years older, little had changed, but only eight servants were employed.

Joey was an artist and in 1907 studied painting at Stanhope Forbes's School in Newlyn, Cornwall. He became one of the group of artists associated with Lamorna in Cornwall.

The 1911 census shows only Joey, his father and his sister Helen living at 'Skinburness Tower', Silloth, Cumberland, along with seven servants. I have been unable to find Joey's mother or sister Edith in the census. NOTE: Skinburness Tower was originally called Chichester House.

Joey began exhibiting with the Lake Artists Society in 1911, becoming a member in 1913, and at the Walker Gallery in Liverpool. At the time of his death a newspaper described him as a young artist of great promise and several of his pictures have been hung at the Royal Academy. He was also described by a fellow artist as handsome, talented and charming.

On 26 September 1914 Joey, of Skinburness Tower, applied for a commission in the Coldstream Guards. He was appointed 2nd Lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion, 4th Guards Brigade, 2nd Division and according to his medal card went to France on 22 January 1915. He was to survive for only 10 days before he was killed, fighting in a trench where he received a fatal wound.

On 30 January the 4th Guards Brigade marched to the vicinity of Bethune and took over trenches at Cuinchy, on the right of the British line; the French Army being on the immediate right of the British Army, on the Bethune-La Bassee Road. The 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards arrived at Cuinchy about 7-30pm, with Battalion HQ being set up in the cellar of a ruined house, under constant shellfire.

The following is an extract from the Battalion War Diary:
31 Jan 1915. Heavy bursts of rifle fire, and a large number of snipers were constantly firing all day. The enemy also heavily shelled the village and Battalion Head Quarters, otherwise quiet.
1 Feb 1915. During the early morning the Germans threw a number of bombs into our advanced trench by the railway, and forced the garrison to evacuate it, this throwing the left of the line and No. 4 Company back to a barricade of sandbags. We counter attacked but were beaten off with rather heavy loss. Later in the morning our Heavy Artillery bombarded the position with, to the Germans, appalling results. The Field Artillery searched their remaining trenches and another counter attack was entirely successful, further ground also being obtained.
     In the two counter attacks the Irish Guards (No. 4 Coy under Captain E.B. Greer) were of invaluable assistance, both during the attacks and afterwards in holding and strengthening the defences of the position gained. Our casualties from 8pm 30.1.15 to 9pm 1.2.15 were

Killed: Officers       2.      Capt Lord Northland and 2Lt J.A. Carter-Wood
Other Ranks        20.

Wounded:
Other Ranks        52.
Joey is buried in grave II.B.27. Cuinchy Communal Cemetery.

Joseph's headstone in the Cuinchy Communal Cemetery
Joseph's headstone in the Cuinchy Communal Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

As he was a bachelor and died intestate, his father of 'Skinburness Tower' Silloth, Cumberland, was granted probate on 19 February 1915, the estate amounting to £108-11s-6d.

A letter from Cox's Shipping Agency Ltd, dated 15 April 1915 stated that they had forwarded Joey's field kit to the War Office.

Joey was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War medal and the Victory medal.

He is commemorated on the Upland House school memorial in St Martins church, and on the Christ Church, Silloth, Cumberland memorial.

UHS

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CHADBAND John Stanley, Private. G.178.

19th Battalion Royal Fusiliers.
Died of Wounds 31 December 1915, aged 25.

John Stanley Chadband
Image Source: de Ruvigny's Roll of Honour

John Stanley Chadband was born on 3 February 1890 (GRO reference: Mar 1890 Epsom 2a 24) to Frank Charles and Kate Chadband (nee Norrington). John was baptised on 23 March 1890 in St. Martin of Tours church, Epsom.

In the 1891 census the family lived in Church Street, next door to the Conservative Club in Epsom. John's father Frank was a 32 year old hosier, employer. His mother Kate was aged 27. They employed 14 year old Gertrude Farley as a nursemaid.

By 1901 the family had moved to 'Lenham' in Church Street, next door to the Technical Institute. John's father Frank was described as a clothes outfitter employer. John now had a sister, 7 year old Irene. They employed Kate Sharpe as a domestic servant.

1916 Advert for  Chadband and Sons Tailors
1916 Chadband and Sons Tailors
Taken from the 1916 St Martin's Parish Magazine.

John was educated at the Whitgift Grammar School, Croydon.

Aged 21, John was boarding with widowed writer and journalist Mrs. Elizabeth Vernon Blackburn at 10, Post Office Road, Crawley, Sussex when the 1911 census was taken. He was working as a 'Surveyor & Auctioneers Assistant'. John's parents were still living at 'Lenham', had been married for 22 years and had had two children both still living.

He served his articles as a surveyor with Messrs. J. & R. Kemp & Co., Holborn, Auctioneers and surveyors, etc. He was elected a professional Associate of the Surveyors' Institution in October 1913, and of the Auctioneers' Institute in May 1914. He was on the Government Land Valuation Staff when war broke out. He volunteered, enlisted on 3 September 1914, and went to the front in France on 14 November 1915.

John, also known as Jack enlisted in Chichester. He served in the 19th Battalion Royal Fusiliers, which was in the 98th Brigade, 33rd Division. With a complement of 1,024 all ranks, the Battalion left Folkestone at 9.30am on 14 December 1915 accompanied by a destroyer, to arrive at Calais at 12.55pm. The battalion then moved to a rest camp at Boulogne arriving at 7pm. An advanced party consisting of 3 officers and 124 other ranks had already left England on the 12 November for Le Havre. John's medal card states he was in France on the 14 November, so he must have been with the advanced party.

On the 16 December the Battalion left Boulogne via Pont de Briques, joining up with the advanced party, less one officer who had been left at Le Havre on entraining duties. Billeting at Thiennes was completed by 9.45pm. After various other billets the Battalion finally proceeded to trenches, arriving at Windy Corner Givenchy on the 22nd. Trench routine continued until Christmas day when the Battalion marched to Hinges. By the 30th the Battalion had moved from Hinges to Avelette, to Essars arriving at about 2pm. Throughout this time they had been carrying out routine trench work, and were not engaged in any recognised battles. Despite this 7 men from the 19 Royal Fusiliers lost their lives, most likely from shellfire or snipers.

Captain Hammond, in a letter to John's parents wrote:
"Your son gave his life in gallantly doing his duty, and I and others sadly feel his loss,"
and his platoon commander:
"I need hardly tell you your son was beloved by all who knew him; his behaviour under fire and other hardships we have from time to time to undergo was always the cheeriest character."
John died on 31 December 1915 from wounds received the previous day, and is buried in Bethune Town Cemetery. His death was reported in the Epsom Advertiser dated 14 January 1916.

John's Headstone in the Bethune Town Cemetery
John's Headstone in the Bethune Town Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert ©2014

The Bethune Town Cemetery
The Bethune Town Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert ©2014

John was awarded the 1915 Star, British War medal and the Victory medal.

The St. Martin's church Roll of Honour states that:
JOHN STANLEY CHADBAND, was wounded and died in Hospital at Bethune 31st. December 1915.
John's effects were valued at £129 10s. 4d. and administration of his will was given to his father Frank Charles Chadband, outfitter. John's mother died in 1922 and was buried in grave A654 in Epsom Cemetery on 14 August. His father was buried with his late wife on 16 February 1943. John is remembered on his parents' grave.

John's Parent's Grave in Epsom CemeteryDetail of John's Parent's Grave in Epsom Cemetery
John's Parent's Grave in Epsom Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert ©2014

EP SM PG

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CHALWIN Albert, Driver. 163029.

106th Field Company, Royal Engineers.
Died 20 November 1918, aged 27.


Albert's headstone in the St Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2009

Albert Chalwin was born in Hampshire in 1891 (GRO reference: Sep 1891 Catherington 2c 142) to Alfred and Emma Chalwin (nee Holmes). His parents had married in late 1880 in the Droxford registration district.

In the 1891 census, before Albert was born, the family lived at Causeway, Catherington, Hampshire. Albert's father Alfred was a 35 year old general labourer, but had previously been a hoop maker. His mother Emma was also 35, and he had four siblings, Annie aged 9, Charlie aged 7, Herbert aged 3 and Bessie aged 1. Note: Spelt Chalwyn in Ancestry.

In 1901 the family were at the same address, and both Charlie and Herbert were carters working on a farm. Another three siblings had arrived, Sidney aged 6, Horace aged 4 and Ernest aged 1. Albert's father died later that year.

Working as a farm labourer, Albert and his mother and siblings Sidney, Florence, Ernest and Emily were living at The Barracks, Causeway, Horndean, Hampshire when the 1911 census was taken. His brother Herbert was boarding in Givons Bothey, Leatherhead, Surrey and working as a cowman. Strangely, when Herbert married Violet Lidia Elleanor Urben in St. Nicolas' church in Great Bookham on 17 February 1912, his deceased father was named as 'Frederick', not Alfred, on the marriage entry.

Aged 25, Albert married 24 year old Emily May Clear on 22 July 1916 in St. Martin of Tours church Epsom. They were both living at 68, Station Road, Epsom at the time and Albert's rank was noted as 'Soldier Driver RE'. One of their witnesses was Albert's brother Herbert. As on his brother's marriage entry, his deceased father was named as 'Frederick', not Alfred. There appears to have been no children.

It seems Albert's service papers did not survive, neither is there an entry in 'Soldiers Died' CD. There is no pension record in Ancestry, and no entry in the 'Surrey Recruitment Register' CD.

The CWGC web site entry tells us that Albert died on 20 November 1918, whilst serving with the 106th Field Company, Royal Engineers (RE). He was the husband of E. May Chalwin, of 68, Station Road, Epsom, and he is buried in grave S. III. O. 2., St Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen.

The 106th Field Company RE, from February 1915 was part of the 25th Division. This Division fought in many battles, including the Somme 1916, Messines 1917, Passchendaele 1917, Somme 1918, Lys 1918, Hindenburg Line 1918 and the final advance to victory 1918. Albert, whilst not a front line infantryman, would have seen much bloodshed. Having survived the war he was one of the millions killed by influenza.

Albert's medal card tells us that he was awarded the British War medal and the Victory medal. The card bears two dates, one handwritten '6/2/22', and one stamped in red '4 SEP 1984'. The handwritten date is probably the date on which the medals were issued to his next of kin, but the significance of the 1984 date is not known.

Front of Albert's medal card.
Front of Albert's medal card.
Image courtesy of Ancestry.co.uk (Link opens in a new window)
Copyright 2009, The Generations Network, Inc. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.
Ancestry Logo

The St Martin's Church Roll of Honour states that:
ALBERT CHALWIN, whilst in Service in France he contracted influenza and died at Rouen on 20th November 1918. He was buried there.

EP SM

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CHAMBERS, John Henry. Private. 241577

5th Battalion Gordon Highlanders.
Killed in Action 12 April 1918, aged 32

John's inscription on the Ploegsteert Memorial to the missing, Belgium
John's inscription on the Ploegsteert Memorial to the missing, Belgium
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2010

John Henry Chambers was born in 1885 in Epsom (GRO reference: June 1885 Epsom 2a 21), the son of Frederick and Eliza Chambers (nee Edwards). Frederick and Eliza had married in Epsom in late 1884.

In 1891, the Chambers family were living in Oak Cottage on Epsom Common, next door to Harwood Cottage and Isabella Cottages. However, John Henry's maternal grandfather, John Edwards, was named as the head of the household and a dairyman by trade, while John's father Frederick was a watch and clockmaker. Although John Henry, aged 5, and his one year old sister Kate were both born in Epsom, his brother, 4 year old Frederick Thomas had been born in Landport, Hampshire. Frederick Thomas died in Epsom in 1893 at the age of 6 and he was buried in Epsom Cemetery in the Chambers family grave, A95A

In 1901 the family had moved next door to Harwood House. John's grandfather, a retired dairyman, was still named as the head of the household (his age was stated as 84, but the death of an 87 year old John Edwards was registered in the June quarter of 1901). John's father Frederick was a self employed watchmaker working from home and was assisted by John himself. His sister Kate was still at school. The head of the household in Oak Cottage next door, (now called Oak dairy) was 46 year old George Edwards, a dairyman employer, and the son of grandfather John Edwards.

JOHN HENRY CHAMBERS AND HIS SIBLINGS
Name Born - Died Baptised Father's occupation & residence Married
John Henry Chambers Born: 1885
Died:12 Apr 1918,aged 32
    Martha Mary Elizabeth Chapman 1907 Epsom
Frederick Thomas Chambers Born: 1887
Died: 1893, aged 6
     
Kate Chambers Born: 4 Jun 1889
Died: Oct 1985, aged 96
18 Aug 1889 Christ Church Clockmaker.Epsom Common William Victor Foale
1919 Epsom

John Henry Chambers married Martha Mary Elizabeth Chapman in 1907 in Epsom. They had two children:

CHILDREN OF JOHN HENRY AND MARTHA ELIZABETH CHAMBERS
Name Born - Died Baptised Father's occupation & residence Married
Evelyn Kathleen Chambers Born: 17 Apr 1907
Died: Jul 1997
16 Jun 1907 Christ Church Postman 3 Loop Road Jack A Birch 1932 Epsom
John Harwood Chambers Born: 30 Dec 1908 27 Dec 1908 Christ Church Postman. 3 Treadwell Road  

By the time of the 1911 census they were still living at 3, Treadwell Road. John's parents, Frederick and Eliza, had moved to Epsom High Street. Frederick had started in the drapery trade and was self-employed. Working with him in the shop were his wife Eliza and their daughter Kate. In 1919, Kate married William Victor Foale and had one daughter, Hazel, born in 1922. John attested in Epsom on 8 December 1915 and was initially assigned to the 3rd Battalion East Surrey Regiment. The 3rd East Surreys was a training battalion, supplying trained men to any battalion in need of men. John stated that he was 31 years old, worked as a postman and lived at 5, Treadwell Road. He was 5 feet 7½ inches tall, weighed 144 lbs and had a chest measurement of 36 inches with an expansion of 2 inches. John later transferred to the 5th Battalion Gordon Highlanders, which was in the 183rd Brigade, 61st Division.

In 1918 the Germans launched a series of battles with the aim of winning the war before the Americans arrived in overwhelming force. The first of these battles codenamed 'Michael' was fought in the Somme area between 21 March and 5 April 1918. The 61st Division having fought and suffered in 'Michael', was moved north, and was holding the line near the river Lys. The second of the German offensives, codenamed 'Georgette', (also known as the Battle of the Lys), was fought between 9 April and 29 April 1918.

The phase of the Battle of the Lys, known as the Battle of Hazebrouck was fought between 12 April and 15 April. Hazebrouck was a very important centre of communications, having railway links to the channel ports. The possibility of a German breakthrough to the channel ports worried the Commander-in-Chief, Field Marshal Douglas Haig, so much that he issued his famous Backs to the Wall special order of the day.

On 12 April John's battalion was attacked whilst was holding the line just south of Merville, and was forced to fall back. Twelve men from John's battalion lost their lives that day including John who has no known grave and is commemorated on Panel 9 of the Ploegsteert Memorial to the missing, in Belgium.

John was awarded the British War medal and the Victory medal.

The CWGC citation states the John Henry was the husband of Martha Chambers of 5,Treadwell Road, Epsom. Martha later remarried in 1934 to Harold W Phillips and died in 1946 in Hendon. Note: The family had previously been shown as living at 3, Treadwell Road, so they either moved next door or a transcription error has crept in.

EP CC ESO

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CHANDLER Dorothy Maud, Sister.

Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service.
Died 15 November 1917, aged 31

Sister Chandler in uniform by kind permission of James Vivian
Sister Chandler in uniform.
By kind permission of James Vivian.

Dorothy was born at Clewes, Church Street, Epsom on 2 January 1886 (GRO reference :Mar 1886 Epsom 2a 21) and baptised at Christ Church, Epsom on 7 February, the daughter of James Alexander and Sarah Alice Chandler nee Bell. She was one of seven children.

For information on Dorothy's family see the entry for her brother Harold James Chandler, who died from pneumonia on 3 November 1918.

On her birth certificate her father gave his occupation as gentleman. The 1891 and 1901 census returns and contemporary directories list him as a tea dealer and 'Agent' (probably insurance) living at Inglewood House, South Street, Epsom. Several generations of James Chandlers had been brewers and maltsters in South Street.

Dorothy was privately educated at school in Epsom. At 15 she caught rheumatic fever which unfortunately damaged the mitral valves of her heart. It had been her dream to be a nurse, but the major London hospitals did not consider her to be fit enough to train. She was accepted at a day training college at Moorfield and then trained at the Epsom Union Infirmary for three years starting on 26 May 1910. When she left on 7 December 1914 she had achieved the position of Charge Nurse.

She applied to be a military nurse 28 December 1914 and the application form records that she had experience of nursing two cases of enteric fever. She gave Sister Large, the superintendent nurse at the Epsom Infirmary and Miss Foskett who had been billeted to the Metropole Hotel, Newcastle on Tyne as her referees. She was informed in a letter dated 14 Jan 1915 that she had been accepted as a reserve i.e. for the duration of the emergency. She was to report to Mount Vernon hospital and then to Queen Alexandra's Military Hospital Grosvenor Road, London, S.W.1.

On 28 April 1917 she left England with another nurse, Miss Probert, for France, arriving at the 26 General Hospital at Etaples near Calais on 29 April. The senior nursing officer was surprised to see them as there had been no notification from England that they were coming. The main object of the visit seems to have been to observe a new technique for dealing with wounds to reduce infection, the Carrel-Dakin treatment, and on 9 May they moved on to the No 1 British Red Cross hospital (Duchess of Westminster's) Le Touquet to observe the method in use. They returned to the hospital at Grosvenor Road, London on 16 May 1917.

Her brothers also signed up for war service. Harold James was a sergeant in the 5th Army Brigade, Royal Horse Artillery, Reginald was a sergeant in the 9 East Surrey, and Noel had returned from New Zealand to serve in the Royal Flying Corps.

On 29 September 1917 Dorothy suffered a cerebral embolism or clot on the brain from which she subsequently died at 7.25am on 15 November 1917, at the hospital for QAIMNS in Vincent Square, Westminster.

Newspaper cutting of her funeral.  Reproduced with kind permission of James Vivian.
Newspaper cutting of her funeral.
Reproduced with kind permission of James Vivian.

Her family arranged a lavish funeral on 20 Nov 1917. Her body was collected by a brougham with 2 horses from 71 Vincent Square and taken to St Matthew's mortuary Great Peter Street. London. The coffin was of French-polished elm with brass handles and an engraved plate. The inside was lined with padded wool with a swan's down ruffle pillow, all trimmed with white satin. It was taken by train to Epsom and then picked up by another brougham and two horses to take it to Ashley Road Cemetery, Epsom for final interment in the family plot.

Dorothy's grave in Epsom CemeteryDetail of Dorothy's grave in Epsom Cemetery
Dorothy's grave in Epsom Cemetery
Images courtesy of Clive Gilbert ©2008

The pay that was due to her plus some other credits was to be returned to her serving brothers and her mother. The War Office took quite a while to resolve this, repeatedly sending the correspondence to her eldest brother at a wrong address, and taking some time to refund the money. After writing several times, her mother had to explain that the delay was causing her financial difficulties and that she would be unable to pay the undertaker, Thomas Viger's invoice of £16 19s unless the War Office remunerated the money.

At the time of Dorothy's death, her mother and sister Phyllis Brown, were living at Dunbar, Tate Road Sutton although on the CWGC she is listed at 12 Park Villas, Cheam, Surrey.

EP BEC

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CHANDLER George, Bombardier. 239603.

Royal Artillery
Died 23 February 1919, aged 35

George's headstone in St. Mary's Churchyard, Ewell
George's headstone in St. Mary's Churchyard, Ewell
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

George Chandler was born on 11 August 1885 in Ewell, Surrey (GRO reference: Sept 1885 Epsom 2a 23), the son of Alfred and Eliza Chandler. His father was a 23-year-old shepherd when he married his mother, 18-year-old Eliza Baker, on 27 May 1860 in St. Mary the Virgin church in Ewell village. Eliza was the daughter of James Baker, a gunpowder factor (See West Ewell History). George was baptised, with his brother Charles, in St. Mary's on 28 August 1887.

George Chandler And His Siblings
Name Born - Baptised (St Mary's) Notes
Mary Fanny Born: 1864 Ewell
Baptised: 6 November 1864
Still unmarried by 1911
William Thomas Born: 1867 Ewell
Baptised: 6 October 1867
Married Alice Jupp 1893 Epsom Reg. District
Emily Born: 1870 Hook
Baptised: 3 November 1878
Married Edward Anderson 1895 St. Mary Ewell
Alfred James Born: 1873 Hook
Baptised: 3 November 1878
Married Emily Hutchinson 1910 Bakewell
Arthur John Born: 1875 Hook
Baptised: 3 November 1878
Still unmarried by 1901
James Born: 1877 Ewell
Baptised: 24 November 1877
Died 1879, aged 16 months.
Buried 22 November in St Mary's
Clara Rose Born: 1880 Ewell
Baptised: 4 April 1880
Married John Goulden 1905 London
Charles William Born: 1882 Ewell
Baptised: 28 August 1887
Married Annie Beatrice Tomlin 1910 Luton
George Born: 1885 Ewell
Baptised: 28 August 1887
Died 23 February 1919.
Buried St Mary's churchyard

On 22 November 1890 George's late 55-year-old father was buried in St. Mary's graveyard. In 1891 George, his mother and siblings William, Alfred, Arthur, Clara, Charles and 24-year-old cousin Alfred were at home in Heatherside Road, West Ewell, Surrey. His mother was recorded as being married, not widowed.

George and his siblings were orphaned when their mother died when she was 55; she was buried in St. Mary's on 12 May 1900.

George's whereabouts in 1901 has not been found but on 27 November 1902 George started working for the London, Brighton and South Coast railway company at the Streatham Hill railway station as a telegraph clerk for 10 shillings a week; on 1 November 1903 he had a shilling a week rise. By July 1904 he was transferred to the Crystal Palace railway station and his wages had risen to 14 shillings a week. In May the following year, he was promoted to working for the Telegraph Superintendent. He was earning £1 a week by 1906 and working in the Sutton railway station. By 1909 he was earning £1-6 shillings a week. He left Sutton on 10 August 1910 to go to work in the London Bridge railway station.

When the 1911 census was taken, George was boarding with his married sister Emily and her family at 72, Ravensbourne Road, Catford S. E. and was still working as a telegraph clerk for the railway for £1-10 shillings a week. Visiting that night was their sister-in-law Alice Chandler and her five-year-old son Arthur Bert.

George was transferred on 18 November 1911 from London Bridge station to St. Leonards (West Marina, Fishmarket). From here he was transferred on 6 August 1914 to Hastings (Goods).

George's military service record has not survived, and although he appears in the records of the CWGC, he does not appear in the Soldiers Died CD. The only military information available for him is from his medal card, which only tells us that he was awarded the British War medal and the Victory medal.

George died on 23 February 1919, and was buried in St. Mary's Churchyard, Ewell. We do not know what caused George's death but at the time he died, the influenza pandemic was claiming many lives.

He is not commemorated on any memorial in the Borough, but he does have a CWGC headstone

BSM

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CHANDLER Harold James, M.S.M. Serjeant. C/3468.

Army Service Corps (ASC).
Died 3 November 1918 aged 35.

Harold's inscription on the family grave in Epsom Ceemetery
Harold's inscription on the family grave in Epsom Ceemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

Harold James Chandler was born in Epsom on 18 September 1884 (GRO reference: Sep Epsom 2a 21) the eldest son of James Alexander and Sarah Chandler (nee Bell). His parents had married in 1880 in the registration district of Strand, London. Harold was baptised on 19 October 1884 in Christ Church, Epsom, where his father's occupation was noted as a tea merchant.

Harold James Chandler And His Siblings
Name Born - Died Notes
Ethel Helen Mary Born: 1881 Brixton Baptised 20 February 1881 St John the Divine, Kensington
Harold James Born: 18 September 1884 Epsom
Died: 3 November 1918 France
Baptised 19 October 1884 Christ Church Epsom
Dorothy Maud Born: 2 January 1886 Epsom
Died: 15 November 1917 Queen Alexandra Hospital Vincent Square
Baptised 7 February 1886 Christ Church Epsom
Reginald Richard Born: 31 October 1887 Epsom Baptised 16 April 1890 St Augustine, Paddington.
Served as Sgt in East Surreys
Noel Edgar Born: 15 December 1890 Epsom Baptised 11 Jan 1891 Christ Church.
Returned from New Zealand to serve as a 2/Lt in the Royal Flying Corps.
Ada Marjorie Born: 21 August 1892 Epsom Baptised 11 September 1892 Christ Church Epsom
Phyllis May Born: 9 October 1896 Epsom Baptised 1 November 1896 Christ Church Epsom

When Harold's brother Reginald was born on 31 October 1887, his birth was registered in Epsom as 'Male, Chandler'. However when he was baptised in 1890, the family address was given as 131, Ashmore Road, Paddington.

The 1891 census records the family as living at 'Inglewood House', South Street, Epsom and his father as a tea dealer and 'Agent'. Several generations of Chandlers had been brewers and maltsters in South Street.

By 1901 the family had moved to Ladbrooke Road, Epsom. Harold's 54 year old father was still trading as a tea merchant/grocer.

Aged 18 years 9 months, Harold attested in London on 14 July 1902 into the East Surrey Regiment as Private 7428. His occupation was noted as a salesman (shop assistant) and he was described as being 5 feet 51/8 inches tall, weighing 124 lbs, and having a 32-inch chest with a 2-inch expansion. He had a pale complexion, brown hair and blue eyes. It was also noted that he had a scar on his left index finger and his religion was Church of England. He signed on to serve three years with the colours and nine years with the reserve.

On 10 July 1905 he applied to extend his service by five years to complete eight years with the colours. His application was accepted and his character was described as very good, and he had a good conduct badge to his credit.

In October 1907 Lance Corporal Harold Chandler found himself in trouble with the military authorities.

First, on 3 October in Great St Andrew Street, London, whilst on furlough, he was drunk and incapable of taking care of himself. For this offence he was severely reprimanded. Then on 12 October he was punished for two further offences. First, he was absent without leave, and secondly he had lost, by neglect, his equipment, clothing and Regimental necessaries. For these offences he was reduced to the ranks and had his pay stopped to pay for the items.

Documents held in Harold's 'Ancestry' Pension records show that during his twelve years service in the Army he only saw service in the UK and did not serve overseas. Between 1905 and 1908 the 1st Battalion East Surrey Regiment served in Jersey before moving to Plymouth in 1909. His pension records also show that between December 1902 and May 1907 Harold spent 81 days in hospitals suffering variously from rheumatism, tonsillitis, bronchitis (two episodes), debility and epilepsy.

Harold married Lettés Agnes Jessie Charlotte Rait on 11 January 1908 in the Register Office, St. Helier, Jersey; they had no children. On 24 June 1908 he was transferred to the Army reserve.

Harold's father died in The Cottage Hospital, Epsom in 1910 and was buried on 9 April in grave A277 in Epsom Cemetery.

In 1911 Harold, aged 27, was living with his wife Lettés in 'Headlands Cottage', La Rocque, Granville, Jersey, and was working as a motor mechanic. He stated that his wife of three years was aged 30, but in fact Lettés had been born in Islington in 1876 making her eight years his senior and aged around 35. His widowed mother and younger sister Phyllis were then living in Chesterfield Road, West Ewell.

On 13 July 1914, having completed 12 years service, Harold was discharged from the Army, but his time as a civilian only lasted for just over three weeks, as on the outbreak of war on 4 August 1914 he rejoined the colours and went to France with the Army Service Corps on 28 August 1914.

Harold's service record for his Great War service has not survived but the CWGC records that he served in the Mechanical Transport section of the ASC, attached to the 5th Army Brigade Royal Horse Artillery. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal (MSM), his name appearing in the London Gazette dated 17 June 1918, but there is no citation.

Harold had served and survived nearly the whole of WW1 but on 3 November 1918, just eight days before the Armistice, he died from pneumonia. He was buried in Plot: Division 62. II. H. 4. in the Ste. Marie Cemetery in Le Havre, France.

His widow Lettés was living at the time at 14, Carey Mansions, Vincent Square, Westminster; she did not remarry. When she died in 1947 in the Kensington district, her death entry recorded her as aged 68 rather than her true age of 71.

In addition to the MSM Harold was awarded the 1914 Star, British War medal and the Victory medal.

Harold is remembered on his father and sister Dorothy's gravestone in Epsom Cemetery. Dorothy served as a nurse in the Great War, died on 15 November 1917 and is also commemorated on the Ashley Road memorial whereas Harold is not. Why Dorothy is remembered there and not Harold is something of a mystery.

PG

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CHANNELL Walter Henry, Corporal. 57173.

173rd Company Machine Gun Corps.
Died of Wounds 6 August 1917, aged 34.

Corporal Channell's inscription on the Estaires Communal Cemetery Extension, IV G 13
Corporal Channell's inscription on the Estaires Communal Cemetery Extension, IV G 13
Copyright image courtesy of Clive Gilbert 2007

Walter Henry Channell was born in 1882 (GRO reference Dec 1882 Epsom 2a 7), to Alfred & Elizabeth Channell (nee Hardy). His parents had married on 20 April 1875 in St. Mary's church, Ewell.

In the 1881 census, just before Walter was born, the family was living in Longfellow Road, Cheam. Walter's father was a 33 year old coachman. His mother, from Dorset, was aged 29 and he had three older siblings, Alfred George aged 4 William Charles aged 2 and Elizabeth aged 8 months.

Walter attended Ewell Boys' School and was a member of the Old Boys' Association.

The 1891 census shows the family living at 'Old Brickfield', Ewell, and Walter's father was now working as a general labourer.

By the 1901 census Walter was working as a domestic gardener, and boarding with an older gardener and his wife at Durfold Cottages, Dunsfold, although his parents still lived at 'Old Brickfield', in Ewell. His brother William had become an Insurance Agent.

In 1905 Walter married Martha Murrey in the Reigate registration district, and in 1909 they had a son, Walter Murray Channell, registered in the Epsom registration district.

When the 1911 census was taken, the family was living, along with two boarders, at 11, Meadow Walk, Ewell, Surrey and Walter was still working as a gardener, possibly at the Horton Asylum.

Meadow Walk in 2006
Meadow Walk in 2006
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2006

The 1913 and 1915 electoral rolls both record him living at 11, Meadow Walk, Ewell.

The Soldiers Died CD show him he enlisting at Cranleigh, but I can find no record of him in the Surrey Recruitment Registers.

Walter was initially No. 6137 West Surrey regiment, but at some time transferred as No. 57173, to the 173rd Machine Gun Corps (Infantry). The 173rd company MGC became part of the 57th Division on 31 March 1917. The first major offensive the division fought in was the Second Battle of Passchendaele, a phase of the Third Battle of Ypres, between 26 October and 10 November 1917. However, Walter had died of wounds on 6 August 1917, probably from shellfire. Even when no major battles were being fought, the Western Front was still a dangerous place, with shelling, sniping, disease and accidents all taking their lethal toll.

The Advertiser dated 17 August 1917 printed the following:-
EWELL PARISH COUNCIL. It was decided to send a letter of condolence to the relatives of Walter Channell, who had died of wounds received in action. He was formerly a member of the Ewell Fire Brigade.
He is remembered in the London County Council's Record of War Service book, and shown as working at Horton Mental Hospital. The book records that he had only been in France for 6 months when he died of wounds, near Armentières, on 6 August 1917. Walter is buried in the Estaires Communal Cemetery Extension, grave IV. G. 13.

He was awarded the British War medal and the Victory medal.

Walter's widow subsequently re-married, becoming Martha Cavanagh, and moved to 471, Marjorie Street, St James, Winnipeg, Canada.

(Note: Walter is recorded as William on St. Mary's memorial, and some sources show his rank as Sergeant whilst other sources, including the CWGC, show him as Corporal).

BH EW ES. Also appears on the Leatherhead war memorial.

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CHAPMAN James, Private. 3/6611.

2nd Battalion Gordon Highlanders.
Died 20 March 1916, aged 30.

James' inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
James' inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert

James Chapman was registered at birth as James Spalding, the illegitimate son of Mary Spalding. Before he was born at 1.45am on 30 October 1885 in Newhills, Aberdeen, Scotland, his mother who was born in 1862, had been working as a shop machinist.

On 12 February 1887 John Milne, Registrar, instructed the following to be added to James' birth entry:
In an action relating to the paternity of the male child named --- born 30 October 1885 in the County of Aberdeen, at the instance of Mary Spalding, Machinist, against James Chapman, Baker, 18 Kintone Place, Aberdeen. The Sheriff of Aberdeen, Kincardene and Banff on the 1st day of October 1886 found that the said child was the illegitimate child of the said James Chapman.
It is possible that James' father, who was also born in 1862, was tied into a baker's apprenticeship and was 'living in' with his Master baker. If so he would have been unable to marry Mary until he had become fully qualified. During this time Mary found work as a domestic servant.

James' father gave 8 Esslemont Avenue Aberdeen as his usual address and his occupation as a journeyman baker when he eventually married Mary Spalding in her home, Willow Cottage, Gordon Hall, Dyce on 21 March 1891. The marriage took place only a couple of weeks before the 1891 Scottish census was taken on the night of 5/6 April. James was staying that night with his maternal grandparents Thomas and Elizabeth Spalding in Willow Cottage in Dyce, Aberdeenshire, where his grandfather worked as a general labourer. His parents were at home in 45 Ashvale Place, Old Machar, Aberdeen, with James' month old brother Thomas.

Aged 15 in 1901, James was working as a message boy and living with his parents and siblings Thomas aged 10, John aged 8 and Elizabeth Mary aged 6 at 20 Chapel Street, Gilcomston, Aberdeen.

Aged 27 years 300 days old, James had been working as a farm servant when he attested on 24 August 1914 for 4 years into the 3rd Battalion Gordon Highlanders, a reserve and training battalion. James stated that he had previously served with the Gordon Highlanders and had left as 'time expired', so was presumably called up as a reservist. James' brother John also served as a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy.

James was described at his medical as being 5 feet 1½ inches tall, weighing 110lbs with an expanded chest measurement of 33 inches. He had grey eyes, black hair and a tattoo of a sailor and flag on his right forearm. His religion was noted as Presbyterian.

After embarking at Southampton with the 3rd Gordon Highlanders James arrived in France on 8 November 1914 and proceeded to the front, joining the 2nd Battalion. On 14 December James was admitted to hospital for 15 days suffering from frost bitten feet.

Five months later, on 16 May 1915, James received a gunshot wound to his left hand and was sent back from Boulogne to England aboard H.S. St. Andrew.

On 11 November 1915, after healing, James embarked again from Southampton and landed in Havre. From there he rejoined the 2nd Battalion on 25 November. On 28 December James was suffering from inflammation of the soft parts of his nose. By 2 January 1916, in Rouen, he was diagnosed with bronchitis and admitted to the Convalescent Depot. Having seemingly recovered enough from this, he rejoined the 2nd Battalion on 28 February. However, on 5 March he relapsed and was diagnosed with asthma and bronchitis. On 17 March James was sent back to England aboard H.S. Brighton and on 18 March he was admitted to Horton War Hospital, Epsom.

James died from acute bronchitis on 20 March 1916 in the County of London War Hospital, Epsom, and was buried on 23 March in grave K645 in the CWGC plot in Epsom Cemetery and he is remembered there on the Screen Wall. Eight other servicemen are also buried in grave K645.

On 3 July 1916 it was noted that all James' personal property should be sent to his father at 46 Union Grove, Aberdeen.

James' father received his son's 1914 Star medal on 12 February 1919, his British War and Victory medals on 29 July 1921, and his 1914 Clasp on 26 August 1922.

The CWGC records that James was the son of James and Mary Chapman of 46 Union Grove, Aberdeen.

CWGC

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CHILDS James, Private. 14493.

2nd Battalion Hampshire Regiment.
Killed in Action 21 June 1915, aged 36.

James's headstone in Pink Farm Cemetery, Helles
James's headstone in Pink Farm Cemetery, Helles
Image courtesy of Debbie Wilbur ©2011

James Childs was born on 13 June 1878 (GRO reference Sep 1878 Kingston 2a 294), in Malden, Surrey, to Avery and Mary Ann Childs (nee Conling). His parents had married on 26 November 1854 in St. Peter's church in Norbiton. James was baptised on 1 September 1878 in St. John's church in Malden.

In 1861 James' parents lived at Ditton Hill, Long Ditton. His father (recorded as Abraham not Avery) was a 28 year old carter. His mother was aged 26 and there were three older siblings, George aged 6, Sarah aged 3 and William aged 1. Also living with them was James' uncle, also James Childs, a 30 year old agricultural labourer.

By 1871 the family had moved to Manor Farm, (Old) Malden.

JAMES CHILDS AND HIS SIBLINGS
Name Born - Died Notes
George Born: 1855 Long Ditton Baptised St Pauls, Hook, 14 October 1855
Sarah Born: 1857 Long Ditton Baptised St Marys Long Ditton 6 December 1857
William Born: 1859 Long Ditton Baptised St Marys Long Ditton 27 November 1859
Eliza Born: 1862 Long Ditton
Alice Born: 1864 Old Malden Baptised St Johns Old Malden 6 March 1864
Avery Henry Born: 1866 Old Malden Baptised St Johns Old Malden 1 July 1866
Mary Ann Born: 1868 Old Malden Baptised St Johns Old Malden 15 March 1867
Alfred Born: 1870 Old Malden Baptised St Johns Old Malden 27 November 1870
Arthur Born: 1872 Old Malden Baptised St Johns Old Malden 8 December 1872
James Born: 13 June 1878 Old Malden
Died: 21 June 1915
Baptised St Johns Old Malden 1 September 1878

In the 1881 census the family lived in Malden (now known as Old Malden). James' father was a 48 year old farm bailiff, his mother was 47. James had nine older siblings Sarah aged 23, William aged 21, Eliza aged 19, Avery H. aged 14, Mary A. aged 13, Alfred aged 10 and Arthur aged 8. His eldest brother George, and sister Alice were not at home that night.

By the 1891 census they had moved to 'Glory Farm House', Chart Lane, Dorking. James' father was now shown as a farmer. Only (Avery) Henry, Mary, Alfred, Arthur and James were living with their parents.

James married Jane Emma Martingale in late 1898 in the Dorking area and their son, Arthur James, was born the following year.

By 1911 they were living at Pond Farm, Wisley, Ripley, where James worked as a farm labourer. James stated that he had been married to his wife for 12 years and that they had had only one son, 12-year-old Arthur James.

The Surrey Recruitment Register CD has an entry for an I Childs, attesting at Kingston on 12 November 1914 into the Hampshire Regiment. His age is shown as 38 years 0 months, and his birthplace as Wimbledon (Wimbledon came under Kingston registration district). He was 6 feet ½ inches tall, weighed 160 lbs, had a chest measurement of 42 inches with an expansion of 4 inches. He was a labourer. Could this be James Childs?

The 1915 electoral roll has a James Childs living in Chessington Road. James was working in the Ewell Colony (St. Ebbas) and is remembered in the London County Council Record of War Service book, which states that he had only been in the Dardanelles for 1 month before he was killed on 21 June 1915.

However, James' medal card shows that he went to the Dardanelles on 15 June 1915, so only survived there for a few days. He was awarded the 1915 Star, British War medal and the Victory medal.

James served in the 2nd Hampshire Regiment, 88th Brigade, 29th Division. The 2nd Hampshires landed on V beach, Cape Helles, Gallipoli on 25 April 1915.

James was killed in action on 21 June 1915, the only man to die from the battalion on that day, and is buried in Pink Farm Cemetery, Helles, Special Memorial, 132. For more information on the Gallipoli campaign see the Gallipoli Association website (Opens in a new window).

Pink Farm Cemetery, Helles
Pink Farm Cemetery, Helles
Pink Farm Cemetery, Helles
Pink Farm Cemetery, Helles
Images courtesy of Debbie Wilbur ©2011

James' widow died in 1944 and their son in 1977.

BH EW AS

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CHITTENDEN Arthur George, 2nd Lieutenant.

379 Battery 169 Brigade Royal Field Artillery
Killed in Action 21 August 1917, aged 25.

Arthur Chittenden
Newspaper photograph of Arthur Chittenden

Arthur was born in Hersham Surrey on 25 Aug 1891 (GRO Reference: Sept 1891 Chertsey 2a 39), the elder son of Arthur and Emily Elizabeth Chittenden nee Shaw (GRO Reference: Mar 1889 strand 1b 674). Emily was the daughter of John Thomas Shaw and had lived in Epsom.

In 1901 the family was living at The Green, Hersham. Arthur senior was a draper employing staff, and two female draper's assistants lived-in with the family. Arthur George was 9 years old and no siblings are recorded.

The birth of Arthur's brother Reginald John was registered in the September quarter of 1901. Soon after, the death of his father aged 39 was registered in Chertsey in the December quarter of 1901.

By the 1911 census the family had moved to Redcott, College Road, Epsom. Arthur's widowed mother was working as a school mistress, and Arthur was working as a clerk for a Colonial merchant. They had Mabel Hedley working for them as a domestic servant. The census also records that Reginald John was attending the Warehousemen Clerks and Drapers Orphan School at Russell Hill, Purley, Surrey.

Arthur George was educated at Russell Hill School, and had become a marine insurance expert and underwriter. He married Frances Maude Thomas, daughter of Rhys Thomas of 33 Dennington Park Road, West Hampstead on 19 Feb 1916 at Emmanuel Church West Hampstead.

He joined the West London Mounted Rifles early in 1916 and the RHA OTC in November 1916, later transferring to Officers RHA Cadet School at Lords St John's Wood NW London. He was gazetted 2nd Lieutenant RFA 6 May 1917. He served with the Expeditionary Force in France 2 July 1917.

He was killed at Armentières on 21 August 1917 whilst serving with 169th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, just four days before his 26th birthday, and was buried in the Anzac Cemetery, Sailly-sur-la-Lys, France. The most likely cause of his death was enemy shelling. Each side would do their utmost to silence each others guns.


Arthur's headstone in Anzac Cemetery, Sailly-sur-la-Lys
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2010

His CO wrote that ever since he had been in the battery "we had been under more or less continuous shell fire. On every occasion he had shown the greatest coolness and disregard for his own safety when any of his men were in danger and it was largely owing to his forethought and care that there were as few casualties in his section. He met his death whilst attempting to make sure that his men were all safe."

A brother officer wrote "Of his pluck and excellence as an officer I cannot speak too highly and some of his men writing home about it afterwards spoke of him with real emotion and regret."

The following appeared in the Epsom Advertiser dated 3 August 1917:
THE LATE SEC.-LT. CHITTENDEN.
DEVOTED YOUNG OFFICER KILLED IN ACTION.
Second-Lieut. Arthur George Chittenden. R. F.A., who was killed in action in France on August 21st, aged 25 was the elder son of Mrs. Chittenden, head mistress of the Girls Council School, Epsom, and lived in Epsom until his marriage 18 months ago. He was educated at Russell Hill. Before taking his commission he held an important position in the house of Messrs. Gordon, Woodroffe and Co. His commanding officer writes:- "Ever since he joined the battery he had been in dangerous and exposed positions, and under more or less continuous shell fire. On every occasion he had shown the greatest coolness and disregard for his own safety when any of his men were in danger, and it was largely owing to his forethought and care that there were so few casualties in his section. He met his death while attempting to make sure that his men were all safe. His place in our mess will be a difficult one to fill, and we all deplore the loss of such a promising officer and good companion."
Arthur's medal card shows that prior to receiving his commission he was Gunner No. 177153 in the Royal Artillery. His widow received his British War Medal and his Victory Medal. She was living at 33 Dennington Park Road, NW6.

The St Martin's church Roll of Honour states that ARTHUR GEORGE CHITTENDEN, was killed in action on 21st August 1917 at Armentières.

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CHITTY Louis David Martin, Private. 50232.

2nd Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment.
Died of wounds 21 June 1918, aged 19.

Louis's headstone in the Pernois British Cemetery
Louis's headstone in the Pernois British Cemetery,
Halloy-Les-Pernois; Pernois Communal Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

Louis David Martin Chitty was born in Ashtead, Surrey on 4 April 1899 (GRO reference: Jun 1899 Epsom 2a 23), the son of George and Ada Martha Chitty (nee Fordham). His parents had married in the Epsom registration district in 1896. Louis' older brother Edwin George Fordham Chitty was born on 25 May 1897.

In 1901 the family were living in the Lodge of 'Parsons Mead' in Ashtead where Louis' 29-year-old father was working as a domestic gardener. Louis' mother was aged 24.

On 13 July 1903 Louis' brother was registered as a pupil of Ewell Boys National School in Ewell village. The admission records shows that he had previously attended a school in Caterham Valley. Louis' younger sister Annie Alice was born on 12 October 1903.

Louis joined his brother at Ewell Boys National School on 23 April 1906 having previously been a pupil of the Ewell Infants. The family address was given as Mill Lane, Ewell. Edward left the school in 1910 to become an errand boy.

The 1911 census shows the Chitty family still living in Mill Lane, Ewell, Surrey. Louis' father was still working as a gardener and his brother Edward, now 13, was working as a fishmonger's errand boy. Louis left school on 21 December 1911 to also become an errand boy but with a Labour Certificate.

Louis was living at Furness Lodge, Derby Road, East Sheen when he attested on 27 January 1917, stating his age as 17 years and 10 months. Initially he was assigned to the 29th Training Reserve Battalion but later transferred to the 2nd Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment. He was 5 feet 5 inches tall, weighed 142lbs and had a chest measurement of 37 inches with an expansion of 4 inches. He had previously been a munitions worker, and his medical category was Grade A.

At the time Louis died his battalion was holding the line near Molliens-Au-Bois, about 5 miles north east of Amiens. This was about as far as the Germans reached as a result of their great offensive, Operation Michael or the Kaiserschlacht (Kaiser's Battle) which raged between 21 March and 4 April 1918. This battle was one of a series of battles the Germans launched to try to win the war before the Americans arrived in force.

During the night of 20/21 June 1918 Louis' battalion relieved the 7th Buffs and one platoon of the 7th Queens. The 2nd Bedford's War Diary states that during the relief 3 Other Ranks were killed and 2 Other Ranks were wounded. The Soldiers Died CD records that on 21 June 3 Other Ranks were killed in action and that Louis David Martin Chitty died of wounds. On the Western Front when no major battles were being fought and the sector was 'quiet', it was still a dangerous place, as shelling and the firing of weapons towards enemy lines never ceased for long.

Louis is buried in grave II.D.1. Pernois British Cemetery, Halloy-Les-Pernois; Pernois Communal Cemetery.

He was awarded the British War medal and the Victory medal.

The British Commonwealth War Grave Registers records that Louis was the Son of George and Ada Martha Chitty of 93, Clacton Road, Walthamstow, Essex. Native of Ashtead. Louis is also remembered on the Walthamstow War Memorial.

ES

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CHONEY Albert Walter MM, Sergeant. S/505.

2nd Battalion, The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment).
Killed in Action 26 October 1917, aged 28

Albert's inscription on the Tyne Cott Memorial
Albert's inscription on the Tyne Cott Memorial
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2010

Albert Walter Choney was born in 1889 (GRO reference: Sep 1889 Hambledon 2a 145) to William George and Alice Mary Choney (nee Carpenter).

Albert's siblings:
William George born 1888 Hambledon Served RWS KIA 16 Nov 1914. Buried Larch Wood
(Railway Cutting) Cemetery, Belgium.
Herbert John born 1891 Hambledon. Served RWS Labour company. Worked for the council.
Died in the general hospital Ramsgate aged 45,
and was buried in plot K478 Epsom cemetery on 20 April 1936.
Alice Mary born 1893 Hambledon.  
Ernest James born 1896 Hambledon. Served RWS, awarded the MM.
Annie Harriet born 1902 Hambledon.  

In the 1891 census the family lived in Birtley Road, Bramley, Surrey. Albert's father William was a 31 year old agricultural labourer who came from Worplesdon, Surrey. His mother Alice was aged 26 and his older brother William (also destined to die in the war) was aged 3, both were born in Bramley. Also living with them was Alice's 67 year old mother Mary Carpenter, and her 29 year old brother John who was a general labourer.

By the 1901 census the family were still living in Birtley Road Bramley Surrey, but Albert's father William was recorded as a 43 year old bricklayer's labourer.

By the time the 1911 census was taken the family, consisting of William, Alice, Albert, Herbert, Ernest and the youngest sibling Annie, had moved to Batts Farm Cottages Warlingham where father William was a carter. The information provided by William showed that he and Alice had been married for 26 years. Albert's brother William was a corporal in the 2nd Battalion The Queens (Royal West Surrey Regiment), stationed in Gibraltar.

When the family moved to Epsom is unclear but in 1912 Albert married Annie Elizabeth Mansfield (GRO reference: Dec 1912 Epsom 2a 37). Annie died, aged 57, in St Frances hospital East Dulwich and was buried in plot M283 Epsom cemetery on 5 May 1939. All four of the Choney brothers served in the war, and all four served in the Queens Royal West Surrey Regiment. Albert and William were destined to loose their lives, whilst Albert and Ernest both won the Military Medal. Their names appeared in the London Gazettes dated 21 October 1916 and 14 December 1917, respectively. Unfortunately there is no information in the Gazettes on how they won their medals. Neither is there any information about them in the Battalion War Diaries.

No records survive that show Albert's height, but his brothers records do and might give an indication of how tall he was. Surviving records show William to be 6 feet 1 inch tall, Herbert to be 5 feet 10 inches tall and Ernest to be 5 feet 11 inches tall. All very tall for their era.

Trench Map of Dumbarton Lakes - click image to enlarge
Trench Map of Dumbarton Lakes
click image to enlarge

Albert's medal card tells us that he first went to France on 27 July 1915. It is therefore likely that he fought at Loos and on the Somme in 1916. In October 1917 he fought in the battle of Passchendaele. The following is an extract from the Battalion War Diary dated 26 October 1917:
     The weather became overcast and cloudy about 2.0. a.m. and rain was falling when zero hour, 5.40 a.m. was reached.
     The barrage appeared to start simultaneously down the line and at 6.10 a.m. the O.P. reported by runner that the attack appeared to be progressing well.
     Very shortly after, the O.P. was struck by a shell which buried or temporarily stunned the garrison who shortly returned with the information that the advance had suffered a check and that the considerable disorganisation was taking place among the advancing troops, which appeared to be the result of the battalions on the left and right both converging on to LEWIS HOUSE, where the main obstruction had been encountered.
     As a result of the congestion, it was not possible for the Stokes guns under 2nd Lieut. E. Schult to fire in reply to the pre-arranged signal of 2 white Very lights, and, moreover, the hostile machine guns in LEWIS HOUSE were afforded a target of confused units, instead of meeting with the organised assault of small controlled bodies.
     Before reaching this point, all the officers with the exception of 2nd Lieut. J.P. Howells, M.C. commanding "A" Coy and Captain G.A. Streeter commanding "D" Coy, had become casualties.
     Despite the confusion, these two officers pressed on, made several organised attempts to out-flank the concrete structure constituting LEWIS HOUSE, and, when unsuccessful, established themselves and a composite party from all Regiments in posts about 200 yards from LEWIS HOUSE.
     The loss of direction above noted, resulted in gaps being formed in the general line both to the right and left of LEWIS HOUSE and these gaps were filled as far as possible by organising troops who had drifted from their alignment and by bringing forward the 2 reserve attached Coys of the 22nd Bn. Manchester Regt. to make touch with the 21st Bn. Manchester Regt on the right. Two new Vickers M.G. Sections were also sent in to cover the front.
     By dusk the original front line had been re-established and touch with units on both flanks secured. The hostile shelling of the areas immediately un rear of the front line became intense about noon and was maintained until after dusk.
     The remaining elements of the Battalion and the 2 Coys of the 22nd Bn Manchester Regt. were relieved on the night of 26/27thh by 3 Coys of the 2/H.A.C., relief being complete by 3.30 a.m. and successfully carried out under the direction of Captain Murray, M.C. 22nd Bn. Manchester Regt. who had previously shown great skill and leadership in getting these 2 Coys into position under difficult circumstances.
     Two Posts, under Captain G.A. Streeter, being in advance of the old front line stayed out 24 hours after the relief of the main body, not having been found until daylight. Two messages from this post had come through by day but it was practically cut off from all communication in daylight.
     The elements withdrawn from the line marched back to dug-outs at LOCK 8 - the garrisons of different posts arriving at various hours from 4.0 a.m. to 12.0 noon on the 27th instant.
Albert was killed in action on 26 October 1917 as were 97 other men from the 2nd Battalion Queens. His body was never identified and he is commemorated on the Tyne Cot memorial to the missing. He was awarded the 1915 star, British War medal and the Victory medal.

The St Martin's Church Roll of Honour states that "ALBERT WALTER CHONEY, was wounded and missing in Belgium and presumed killed in action 26th October 1916 (sic). He was awarded the Military Medal."

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CHONEY William George, Sergeant. L/8977.

2nd Battalion The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment).
Died of Wounds 16 November 1914, aged 26.

William's headstone in the Wervicq Communal Cemetery
William's headstone in the Wervicq Communal Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2010

William George Choney was born in 1888 (GRO reference: Jun 1888 Hambledon 2a 140) to William George and Alice Mary Choney (nee Carpenter).

William's siblings:
Albert Walter born 1889 Hambledon Served RWS. Awarded the MM. Killed in action 26 October 1917.
Commemorated on the Tyne Cot memorial.
Herbert John born 1891 Hambledon. Served RWS Labour company. Worked for the council.
Died in the general hospital Ramsgate aged 45,
and was buried in plot K478 Epsom cemetery on 20 April 1936.
Alice Mary born 1893 Hambledon.  
Ernest James born 1896 Hambledon. Served RWS, awarded the MM.
Annie Harriet born 1902 Hambledon.  

In the 1891 census the family lived in Birtley Road, Bramley, Surrey. William's father, also William was a 31 year old agricultural labourer who came from Worplesdon, Surrey. His mother Alice was aged 26 and his younger brother Albert (also destined to die in the war) was aged 1, both were born in Bramley. Also living with them was Alice's 67 year old mother Mary Carpenter, and her 29 year old brother John who was a general labourer.

By the 1901 census the family were still living in Birtley Road Bramley Surrey, but William's father was recorded as a 43 year old bricklayer's labourer.

By the time the 1911 census was taken, William was a regular soldier serving as a corporal in the 2nd Battalion The Queens (Royal West Surrey Regiment), stationed in Gibraltar.

All four of the Choney brothers served in the war, and all four served in the Queens Royal West Surrey Regiment. William and Albert were destined to loose their lives, whilst Albert and Ernest both won the Military Medal. Their names appeared in the London Gazettes dated 21 October 1916 and 14 December 1917, respectively. Unfortunately there is no information in the Gazettes about how they won their medals. Neither is there any information about them in the Battalion War Diaries.

William enlisted in the Militia on 7 November 1906, and having spent 49 days as a Militiaman he presumably liked the life of a soldier and joined the regular Army. Fortunately many of William's 'burnt' service papers survive, although many are in very poor condition. He attested in Guildford on 27 December 1906, giving his age as 19 years and 10 months. He stated that he was already serving with the 3rd Queens, and that he was a labourer. At 6 feet 1 inch he was taller than average. On enlistment he weighed 144 lbs, but after 6 months service he weighed 151 lbs. His chest measured 36 inches on enlistment but apparently only 35 after 6 months, but expansion remained at 2 inches. He had a fresh complexion, grey eyes, light brown hair, and perfect vision. He also had 'A mole 3 inches to the right and below naval. His religion was Church of England.

After attesting at Guildford he was, by 26 March 1907 in Colchester, by 7 January 1910 in Gibraltar, by 16 January 1912 in Bermuda, by 16 February in Pretoria, South Africa, by 19 September 1914 he was back in England (via Southampton) and he landed at Zeebrugge, Belgium on 4 October 1914.

William's conduct sheet has a few interesting entries:
- Between joining on 27 December 1906 and 7 February 1908 he was punished for a 'Number of cases of drunkenness'.
- He received a 'Good Conduct Award' on 28 December 1908.
- In Bermuda, on 20 January 1913, he was reprimanded for 'Neglect of duty when handing over to duty sergeant, i.e. not handing over a correct list of standing fatigues forms by the company'.
- Whilst at Robert's Heights, on 3 April 1914, Lance Sergeant. Making an improper remark to a senior NCO. Reprimanded.
- Whilst aboard HMT Kenilworth Castle, on 13 September 1914. When company representative (remainder illegible). Reprimanded.
Whilst still soldiering in Bermuda as a Corporal with a very good character reference, and after 6 years and 2 months service, he signed up to extend his army service to 12 years. Then on 27 November 1913, as a Lance Sergeant his Army employment sheet described his 'Character from civil employment point of view', as 'Very good. An excellent man in every way; thoroughly reliable and well above the average in intelligence'. The form also showed that he had been a 'Caterer R.A.T.A. 1910-11' and that he was 'In charge of Transport 1913'.

On 11 January 1915 a letter was sent to his father stating that his son had died of wounds received in action on 16 November 1914, and he was requested to 'complete the attached forms' to enable accounts to be settled.

Another of William's 'burnt' documents tells us that he died of wounds on 16 November 1914, and that the German Government had notified, via the American embassy that he was 'Shot to the head right side and hand', and that he had been buried at Wervicq. After the war, as part of the massive reconstruction of the Western Front, he was one of the many thousands of men who were exhumed and reburied in dedicated war cemeteries. He now lies buried in plot IV. D. 14, Larch Wood (Railway Cutting) cemetery in Belgium, which, like all British War Cemeteries in France and Flanders, is carefully tended by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. It is a sobering thought that between landing in Belgium on 4 October 1914 and 16 November 226 men from 2nd Queens had lost their lives. By the end of 1914 this number had risen to 278, which represents about 30% of their total force.

In January 1915, whilst living at Longdown Cottage, Ewell, his father William wrote to the No. 10 District Infantry Record Office at Hounslow regarding his sons effects. Unfortunately the letter is rather too 'burnt' for it to be read fully. Another of the 'burnt' papers shows that his father, before moving to Longdown Cottage, lived at 'Log Carters Cottages, Epsom Downs'.

William's father was informed by letter that his son's grave had 'been registered by the officers of the Graves Registration' and that his son was buried in 'Wervicq Communal Cemetery, 7 ½ miles S.E. of Ypres'. Unfortunately the date has been burnt off, but would have been after the Armistice.

William has an entry in de Ruvigny's 'ROLL OF HONOUR 1914-1918' that reads 'CHONEY, WILLIAM, Sergt., No. 8977, Royal West Surrey Regt., s. of William Choney of Ewell. co. Surrey; served with the Expeditionary Force; died of wounds 16 Nov. 1914'.

William was awarded the 1914 Star, British War medal and the Victory medal. His medals plaque and scroll were sent to his parents at 15 Beaconsfield Cottage, East Street, Epsom.

The St Martin's Church Roll of Honour states that "His brother WILLIAM GEORGE CHONEY, was in the army at the outbreak of the war. He died a prisoner in Germany on 16th November 1914, from wounds received in action."

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CHURCH John William, Lieutenant.

1/1 Battalion Hertfordshire Regiment.
Killed in Action 30 March 1918, aged 39.


Lt. John Willliam Church on the Herts Regt Harrow Roll Of Honour
Lt. John Willliam Church on the Herts Regt Harrow Roll Of Honour

John William Church was born in Marylebone, London on 29 November 1878 (GRO reference: Mar 1879 Marylebone 1a 542) to William Selby and Sybil Constance Church (nee Bigge). His parents had married on 14 July 1875 in Ightham, Kent. John's older sister Ursula Nina was born in 1877.

In the 1881 census the family was recorded as living at 130 Harley Street, London. The household was quite sizeable with a coachman, cook, footman, housemaid, kitchen maid, nurse and nursemaid to look after John and his parents and sister. Although his 43 year old father was a distinguished physician with a practice in Harley Street, the census recorded that he also owned 230 acres of land, on which he employed 8 men and 3 boys to farm. John's brother, Geoffrey Selby, was born on 11 January 1887.

Name Born - Died Notes
Ursula Nina Born: 1877
Died: 29 August 1943
Ursula remained a spinster and died in London.
John William Born: 29 November 1878
Died: 30 March 1918
Married Brenda Pattinson
Geoffrey Selby Born: 11 January 1887
Died: 1979
Married Doris Louise Cleghorn Somerville on 14 October 1913.
Geoffrey was aged 92 when he died in Hatfield.

When the 1891 census was taken, John and his parents and sister were staying at their home Woodside House in Hatfield, Hertfordshire and John's father was recorded as a practising medical doctor. The household in Hatfield was much smaller than their home in Harley Street and consisted of just a lady's maid and a gardener. However, the six servants back at 130 Harley Street were looking after John's four-year-old brother Geoffrey.

An online biography from the Royal College of Physicians states that from 1889 to 1899 John's father represented Oxford University on the General Medical Council, and from 1899 to 1905 he held office as President of the Royal College of Physicians, having already served as Censor and delivered, in 1895, the Harveian Oration. In 1900 John's father visited South Africa as a member of the Royal Commission sent out to investigate the treatment of sick and wounded soldiers.

By 1901 the family was again recorded as living at 130 Harley Street. John's siblings, 24 year-old Ursula and 14 year-old Geoffrey were still living at home with their parents but 22 year old John was visiting the Thompson family in North Mimms, Hatfield. Arthur Farrell, a land agent, and his wife were visiting the Harley Street residence, as was Mary Ridley. Seven servants were employed to look after the family.

The London Gazette announced on 28 June 1901 that King Edward VII had decreed that John's father, and his legitimate male heirs, were to be Baronets. He was further decorated as a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (K.C.B.) in 1902. The online biography from the Royal College of Physicians states that his father was chairman of the executive committee of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund from its foundation in 1902 until 1923 and of the distribution committees of the King Edward VII Hospital Fund for London from 1903 to 1918. From 1907 to 1909 he acted as the first President of the Royal Society of Medicine, having taken a leading part, with Sir John MacAlister, in the amalgamation of medical societies, which preceded its foundation.

John was educated at Harrow and University College Oxford and was later called to the Bar as a barrister. His army file shows that he had been in government service prior to enlisting, serving as District Commissioner in the British Gold Coast Colony on the Gulf of Guinea in west Africa in March 1907, as Assistant Colonial Secretary in 1910 and director of Education in 1911.

However during this time, he had returned home and on 9 September 1908 had married by Banns, Brenda Pattinson at St. Mary Abbott in Kensington. His father William Selby Church and the Rev. Nicholson witnessed their marriage. John and Brenda had four daughters.

Name Born - Died Notes
Margaret Sybil Born: 3 December 1909
Gloucester Terrace, London.
Died: 2 December 1934
Southern Rhodesia, South Africa.
Baptised in Hatfield.
She had been living with her widowed mother and sister Barbara at 346 Kings Road, Chelsea before she travelled on 29 March 1934 as a student to South Africa. She died there 8 months later on the day before her 24th birthday.
Barbara Brenda Born: 12 December 1910
Gloucester Terrace, London.
Died: 29 December 1954
Melbourne Australia.
Baptised in Hatfield.
Married Donald Henry Merry on 23 December 1938 in Melbourne Australia.
Joan/Ann Isabella Born: 8 August 1914 Ewell
Died: Death registered in the 1915 March quarter.
Registered as Joan I. Church but baptised Ann Isabella on 13 October 1914 in St. Mary's church Ewell where her father John was recorded as a Barrister at Law living in Glyn House, Ewell.
Lesbia Mary Born: 28 August 1916
Paddington, London.
Died: 1997 Bristol, Gloucestershire.
Married Serge G. Kadleigh/Zaplatinsky 1941 Kensington.

As John and his family were living in the Gold Coast Colony, they did not appear in the U.K. 1911 census but John's parents and sister were recorded as still residing at number 130 Harley Street. His parents noted that they had been married for 35 years during which time they had had 3 children all of whom had survived. His 73 year old father was now officially retired. John's mother Isabella was aged 66 when she died on 4 February 1913.

John had been a Private in the 16th Public School Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment (Medal roll gives service number as 380). Giving his address as Glyn House in Ewell, John attested at St. James Street, London on 11 September 1914 and although he was able to ride, he expressed a wish to serve in the Infantry and was assigned to 2nd Reserve Battalion Hertfordshire Regiment.

On 4 January 1915 John was given his commission and served in the 2/1 Hertfordshire Regiment, 207th Infantry Brigade. John's medal card tells us that he went with his regiment to France on 13 September 1917. However seven days later, on 20 September 1917, the 2/1 Hertfordshire Regiment was disbanded and John was transferred to the 1/1 Hertfordshires, 118th Brigade, 39th Division.

John was unusually tall for the time at 6ft 3ins, with a healthy complexion, blue eyes and brown hair. His eyesight was not good and he had been rejected from service previously because of it. He contracted mumps in May 1917 and on 4 May 1917 the Middlesborough Medical Board sent him to a fever hospital so that he could be isolated. He suffered pain and swollen glands and the illness left him debilitated. He was sent to the 3rd North General Hospital in Sheffield and then to the Furness Auxiliary Hospital in Harrogate to recuperate. He was declared fit to return to duty in August 1917 and instructed to report to the Embarkation Commandant before 4pm on 17 August 1917.

On the 21 March 1918, the Germans launched their huge offensive the 'Kaiserschlact', their last desperate attempt to win the war before the Americans arrived in strength. In the late afternoon John's battalion took up positions in what was known as the 'Brown Line' at St. Emilie, north west of St. Quentin. This was to be the first day of a fighting retreat that would see the 1/1 Hertfordshires retreat about 30 miles, until on 29 March they went into trenches in front of Aubercourt, a small village to the south east of Amiens. The following is quoted directly from the Battalion war diary of 30 March.
Today (March 30th) saw the enemy advancing on the right flank on the other side of the river de Luce. He very soon enfiladed our positions both with artillery and machine guns. This was followed by a strong enemy bombardment and attack on our front. After a stubborn resistance the Bn. fell back to the Bois de HANGARD, making two counter attacks en route.
John was killed in France on 30 March 1918, has no known grave and is commemorated on the Pozières Memorial to the missing. His military effects were returned to his widow who was by then living at the Corner House, Ashley Road, Epsom. They included a cheque book and counterfoils, a wrist watch and strap, a prismatic compass, a normal compass, 2 pocket wallets with a letter and photos, one pair of spectacles in a case, a cigarette lighter and some badges.

Lt. Church's inscription on the Pozières Memorial
Lt. Church's inscription on the Pozières Memorial

Epsom Advertiser 19 April 1918:
It was decided to write expressing sympathy with Mrs. Church, wife of Captain Church, who has been killed in action, and with Mrs Clarke, whose husband has also been killed.
Epsom Advertiser 23 August 1918:
THE LATE CAPT. CHURCH. - Capt. John William Church, of Epsom, who was killed in the war, left estate amounting to £1,476.
On 17 August 1918 probate valued at £1,476 5s. 11d., was granted to John's widow Brenda and Alexander Ernest McLaren.

John's medals, the British War medal and the Victory medal were sent to his widow on 3 April 1922 at 17 Pembroke Gardens, Kensington W. 8.

After John's father, Sir William Selby Church, died on 27 April 1928 in Hatfield, he was succeeded by his second son Geoffrey, who became a 2nd Baronet.

BH EW

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CLAPHAM Christofer Albon, 2nd Lieutenant.

8 Bn York and Lancaster Regt.
Killed in Action 10 February 1916, aged 40

Christofer's headstone in the Rue David Military Cemetery, Fleurbaix
Christofer's headstone in the Rue David Military Cemetery, Fleurbaix
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2010

Christofer Albon Clapham was born 15 Sept 1875 (GRO reference: Dec 1875 Dunmow 4a 413) to George Dixon and Mary Ann Clapham (nee Randall) in the Hendon registration district..

CHRISTOFER AND HIS SIBLINGS
NAME BORN NOTES
Thomas Dixon December quarter 1868  
Ellen May September quarter 1870  
Harriet Louisa September quarter 1872  
John King December quarter 1873 Died September quarter 1874 aged 0
Edward William December quarter 1873  
Christofer Albon December quarter 1875 KIA 10 February 1916
Arthur Lewis December quarter 1878  
Violet June quarter 1884  

In the 1881 census the family is recorded at Gas Lane, Great Dunmow. (In 1871 and 1891 they are living at Back Lane in Great Dunmow so it is possible the road name changed). His father, George, was 46 and a Corn and Coal merchant. His mother, Mary Ann, was 34 and five of their children were living at home: Ellen May aged 10, Harriet Louisa K aged 9, Edward William aged 7, Christofer Albon (spelt Christopher on the census returns) aged 5 and Arthur Lewis aged 2.

The family employed four servants including a nurse. The 1871 census shows an older child, Thomas Dixon who in 1881 was boarding at Felstead Grammar school, Essex.

In 1891 the family is living in Back Lane Great Dunmow, George, at 56, is still a corn merchant and living with Mary Anne aged 44. Ellen 20, Harriet 19, Arthur 12 are living at home plus a younger daughter, Violet aged 7, but Edward and Christofer are boarders at Felstead Grammar School.

Christofer's father George died in 1893 and by 1901 Mary Anne had moved to Belvedere Road in Penge along with Thomas, Harriet and Violet with two servants. There is no trace of Christofer in the 1901 census. In November 1893 he joined the London Rifle Brigade and was with them until April 1912, so he was probably in the South African war as indicated in his obituary.

In the 1911 census the family lived at Suffolk House, Worple Road, Epsom. Christofer's widowed mother Mary Ann is shown as the head of the family. She stated that she had given birth to eight children and that seven were still living. Brother Thomas was an electrical engineer, whilst Christofer was an assistant manager to a Colonial merchant. The family employed two domestic servants.

On 10 February 1915 was accepted a commission into the 8 York and Lancaster Regiment. On his application papers he is recorded as being 5ft 9ins tall, 158lbs, with a 33ins chest and 3½in expansion. His teeth were good and he was physically fit. He was able to ride a little. He gave his address as with his mother at Suffolk House, Worple Road, Epsom but his address for correspondence as 9 Beaconsfield Terrace, Hythe. The certification of his education was signed by the Dean of Brompton Hospital Medical school, University of London. Further research is needed on this. His obituary merely states that he gave up an important civilian position to serve his country.

Christofer went to France with his Battalion on 27 August 1915, disembarking at Boulogne. During January and February 1916 on the Western Front, no major battles were raging. The line was being held, with the usual shelling, sniping and raiding parties taking their inevitable toll of casualties. During early February 1916 Christofer's Battalion was in a quite sector at Fleurbaix in Brigade reserve, providing working and carrying parties up to the front line.

On the 7 February they moved up into front line trenches near the village of La Boutillerie. On 10 February the Germans shelled the parapet at map reference N5/1, with high explosive shells. One of the high explosive shells entered a dug out which also served as the officers mess. The shell killed 2Lt Christofer Alban Clapham.

Trench map of Christofer Clapham's position.  Click on image to enlarge.
Trench map of Christofer Clapham's position.
Click on image to enlarge.

Initially he was buried at Croix Marechal, south east of Fleurbaix. (Map sheet 36, sq, H, 34.a.9.7. but in 1920, the CWGC was consolidating the burial grounds and he was re-interred in the Rue David Military Cemetery, Fleurbaix. His obituary appeared in the Times on 21 Feb 1916. His plaque and War Scroll were sent to his mother but his brother Edward was the Grantee for his effects.

He had an unusually extensive inventory of items and he had prepared well for uncomfortable conditions: Field boots 1 pair, 3 pairs of ankle boots, 1 rubber bag, 1 cardigan, 1 muffler, 3 shirts,2 pillow cases, 1 tunic, 1 vest,1 pillow, 1 canteen in cover, 5 pairs of socks,3 pairs of woollen gloves,1 belt, 1 pair of scissors, 2 pocket knives, 2 pipe lighters, 1 housewife,1 safety razor sharpener, 1 pair of spectacles, 1 pair of hair clippers, 5 handkerchieves, 3 collars, 3 neck ties, 1 pair of slippers in case, 1 camp wash basin and bath in case, 2 pipes, 1 wallet, toilet case, safety razor in case, 2 tins of shaving soap, 1 tin tooth paste, 1 shaving brush, 2 shaving brushes, 1 nail brush, 1 pair of braces, 1 pencil, 1 valise, 1 collapsible lamp, 1 pair legging (sic)1 dictionary, 1 revolver Webly (broken), 1 cream jug, 1 compass (broken), 3 pocket books, cheque book and dictionary went missing during transit home. A separate parcel sent home on 28 Feb 1916 included a spirit flask, a wire cutter and jack knife, letter +1 receipt, 1 pkt of gelatine lamels, 1 note case with 3 francs and tobacco pouch.

Christofer was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, British War medal and the Victory medal.

The St Martin's church Roll of Honour states that "CRISTOFER ALBON CLAPHAM, was killed in action near Fleurbaix on the 10th February 1916."

The CWGC states that he was the son of Mary Anne Clapham, of Suffolk House, Worple Road, Epsom, and the late George Dixon Clapham. Native of Great Dunmow, Essex, and is buried plot I. H. 44. in the Rue David Military Cemetery, Fleurbaix.

EP SM

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CLARK Cyril Stephen, Private. 30145.

4th Bedfordshire Regiment.
Died of Wounds 30 March 1918, aged 31.

Private Cyril Stephen CLARK's inscription at Doullens Communal Cemetery Extension No 1

Cyril Stephen Clark was born in Brockley on 4 January 1887 (GRO reference Mar 1887 Greenwich 1d 1028) to Stephen William and Alice Edith Clark (nee Corrie). His parents had married on 20 December 1884 in St. Matthew church, Brixton. When Cyril was baptised on 5 June 1887 in St. Mary's church, Lewisham, the family was living at 25, Foxberry Road, Lewisham and his father was working as a commercial traveller.

The 1891 census shows the family living at 45, Ravensbourne Street, Deptford, Greenwich. His father, now working as a tram conductor, had been born in New Cross, Kent and his mother hailed from Everton in Lancashire. There was an older sister Violet Jessie aged 5, and two younger brothers, Percy Le Brun aged 2 and Bertie Corrie aged 10 months.

After Cyril's 32-year-old mother died in 1894, his father married widow Jane Finch on 26 August 1895 in St. Michael and All Angels church in Hounslow.

The 1901 census shows the family living at 47, Athledene Road, Wandsworth. By now Cyril was a 14 year old ironmongers assistant. His older sister Violet married Arthur Alfred Toplis on 24 September 1907.

Cyril married Edith Clara Penfold in 1910 in the Wandsworth area. Their son Percy Douglas was born on 4 March 1911 and, when the census was taken a month later, the family was recorded as living at 40, Swaffield Road, Earlsfield, Wandsworth, S.W. Cyril was working as a grocer's assistant to support his family. Cyril's father was once again a widower and living along the road at number 8; also living there were Cyril's married sister Violet and her husband Arthur, and younger brothers Percy and Bertie. They had a housekeeper, Emma Simkin, to help look after the house.

Cyril and Edith had moved to Ewell when their second son, Frank Hewitt was born on 12 August 1913. Frank was baptised at St. Mary's church in Ewell on 5 October 1915 and at that time Cyril was still working as a grocer's assistant.

Cyril appears in the Surrey Recruitment Register, albeit with an 'E' added to his surname Clark. He attested in Epsom on 6 December 1915. He was 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighed 117lbs. His chest measured 34 inches with an expansion of 2 inches. He was now a grocer, and lived in Mill Lane, Ewell.

Mill Lane in 2006
Mill Lane in 2006
Copyright image courtesy of Clive Gilbert 2006

Cyril and Edith's third son, Cyril William, was born on 5 January 1917. He was baptised in St. Mary's church, Ewell, on 18 February 1917 and his father was noted as being a soldier.

On 21 March 1918 the long expected all out German offensive, 'The Kaiser's Battle', the German's last desperate gamble to win before the Americans arrived in force, began. The 4th Bedfords were in 2nd second line defences at Ribecourt-La-Tour when the attack came. They were ordered to withdraw and over the next few days they retreated over the ground that had been won at such enormous cost during the battle of the Somme in 1916. By 27 March they were west of Albert and were ordered to attack the railway. This cost the lives of 29 officers and men.

Cyril Stephen Clark died of wounds on 30 March 1918, and was most likely wounded during the fighting retreat that started on 21 March. During this period the 4th Bedfords lost 65 officers and men. He is buried in Doullens Communal Cemetery Extension No 1, V B 18.

Eight days after his father's death, Cyril's eldest son Percy Douglas started school at Ewell Boys School, having attended Ewell Infants. His younger brothers also attended these schools and all left when they reached the age of 14. The school records them as all living at Mill Lane, Ewell. However for some unknown reason, Cyril's father has been transcribed as John Clarke.

The Epsom Advertiser dated 19 Apr 1918 printed the following:
It was decided to write expressing sympathy with Mrs. Church, wife of Captain Church, who has been killed in action, and with Mrs Clarke, whose husband has also been killed.
Cyril was awarded the British War medal and the Victory medal.

BH EW

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CLARK Edward, Private. L17404

4th Battalion Royal Fusiliers.
Killed in Action 17th April 1918, aged 17

Edward Clark was born Ewell on 14 February 1901 (GRO Reference Mar 1901 2a 28) to Robert and Clara Clark (nee Sloper). His parents were married in 1886.

Edward's Headstone in Pernes British Cemetery
Edward's Headstone in Pernes British Cemetery
Image Courtesy of Clive Gilbert ©2010

I have been unable to find Edward in the 1901 census, but he would have not long been born. For information on the family from the 1901 census see the entry for Edward's brother, Robert.

Edward attended Ewell Boys School in West Street from 27 April 1908 to 12 December 1915.

In the 1911 census the family lived at Longdown Cottages, Ewell. Edward's father Robert, the head of the household, was aged 53 and was working as a groom and gardener. His mother Clara was 47, and stated that all the six children she had given birth to were still alive. His brother Frank, aged 21 was working as a milkman. Also living there was, the head of the household's 5 year old grandson Jack Clark, his 22 year old daughter Harriet and 21 year old boarder William Hunt.

The Surrey recruitment register shows that Edward attested on 13th June 1917 into the East Surrey Regiment, giving his age as 18 years and 4 months, apparently adding two years as he would only have been 16 then. He was 5 feet 5 inches tall, weighed 105lbs and had a chest measurement of 34 ½ inches with an expansion of 2 inches. He had a fresh complexion, eyes of blue, fair hair, and had some scarring, although we are not told where. He was a labourer living at Longdown Farm.

Although he enlisted into the East Surrey Regiment the medal roll shows he later transferred to the 4th Battalion Royal Fusiliers. NOTE: Edward's medal card shows that he served as L/11936 with the East Surreys, and as L/17404 with the Royal Fusiliers, and this is confirmed in the 'Soldiers Died' CD. However, the CWGC show him as 75460 with the Royal Fusiliers. Probably he was renumbered whilst with the Royal Fusiliers, but the paperwork did not keep up.

The 4th Battalion Royal Fusiliers was in the 9th Brigade of the 3rd Division. The following is an extract from the war diary:

10 APRIL: CO reported Battalion to B.G.C. 164th Brigade about 5am and received orders to take up a line east of GORRE WOOD and village from LA BASSEE CANAL to NE corner of GORRE WOOD. Shelled all day with 5.9 inch shells.

11 APRIL: At 8am a very determined hostile bombardment opened on our two left companies and did not ease up until 9am. 2Lt B Robertson, OC 'D' coy was wounded and 2Lt R Mabbott took over command of 'D' coy. 2Lt B Robertson went to hospital. Casualties to ORs - killed 2, wounded 16, gassed 2.

12 APRIL: Casualties to ORs - killed 1, wounded 3, missing 1. Battalion was relieved by 2nd Welsh Regt, did this between 8pm and midnight. Battalion moved back to Ferme du Roi and came under the command of the 9th infantry Brigade, which came under the command of the 55th Brigade as a composite Brigade.

13 APRIL: Casualties to ORs - killed 1, wounded 16. At 4pm enemy attacked between CANAL DE LA LAWE and the village of LOISE but was repulsed. Battalion relieved 1/4th Seaforth Highlanders and sundry other units in a support line running along NE side of LE HAMEL in a north westerly direction as far as CANAL DE LA LAWE with Z and X coys from right to left. Y coy took over a left defensive flank along CANAL from front line back to reserve line. This relief was not completed until about 3am on 14th.

14 APRIL: Battalion came into line on left Battalion sector of 9th Brigade front with 1st Northumberland Fusiliers on right and CANAL DE LA LAWE on left flank and 26th Infantry Brigade on left of canal. Battalion relieve portions of 5th *** and 1/5 Kings Own in front line - Z Company right X Company left Y Company remained in previous position along bank of CANAL - W Company inclined its left flank as far as CANAL. New dispositions completed about 3-30am on 15th. Battalion HQ moved back about 580 yards into farm about X 19 B 85.

15 APRIL: Front line heavily shelled by hostile TMs (trench mortars) and field guns at 8am -- 9th Infantry Brigade came under the command of GOC 3rd *** at 6am this morning. 2 Lt RC Coulson returned from hospital.

16 APRIL: 2Lt FP Todhunter wounded - OR casualties killed 5, wounded 16 shell shock 3. Y Company relieved X Company on left front. Relief complete 11pm. 2Lt LT Matlock joined Battalion.

17 APRIL: CO reported at Brigade HQ at 10am relative to a small attack which it was decided not to make. 12 ORs wounded including 1 shell shock.
Edward Clark died of wounds on 17th April 1918 and is buried in Pernes British Cemetery I. B. 16.

Pernes was first used as a Canadian Casualty Clearing Station CCS on the 6th April 1918, by the Canadians. CCSs were well equipped medical facilities temporally set up, often in tents or possibly huts. They were generally a few miles behind the lines, so would move if the front line moved. Any seriously wounded man unfit to travel any further would remain there. Lightly wounded men were treated and returned to duty. All other cases were evacuated.

Had Edward's wounds not killed him whilst at Pernes he would most likely have been removed further back to a base hospital such as Boulogne or Rouen, and possibly even to 'BLIGHTY' (England), so he would not have stayed at Pernes for very long.

Edward's service records did not survive the 1940 bombing, so we do not know when or how he was wounded. However, the war diary tells us that in the few days prior to the 17th April the Battalion was defending positions just to the west of La Bassee. The small town of La Bassee was at the southernmost point of the second great German attack of 1918, the Battle of the LYS. This attack, and the previous German attack of 1918 (the Kaiserslact from 21st March to 5th April) across the old Somme battlefield were the German's last all out effort to try to win the war before the Americans arrived in great numbers.

Between the 10 April and the 17 April the War Diary shows that 61 ORs were wounded, 2 were gassed, 3 were missing and that 4 were suffering from shell shock. It is reasonable to assume that Edward would have been one of these casualties.

Edward's older brother Robert was killed, on 8th May 1918.

Edward was awarded the British War medal and the Victory medal.

BH EW ES

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CLARK Robert, Private. 9963.

2nd Battalion East Surrey Regiment
Killed in Action 8 May 1915, aged 24

Robert's headstone in the New Irish Farm Cemetery
Robert's headstone in the New Irish Farm Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2010

Robert Clark was born on 3 August 1890 (GRO reference Sep 1890 Epsom 2a 23) to Robert and Clara Clark (Nee Sloper). His parents married in Epsom in 1886.

In the 1891 census the family was living at Longdown Cottages, Reigate Road. Robert's father was a 'Stockman (Farm)', and he had three siblings Annie 3, Harriet 2 and his twin Frank 8 months.

Robert attended Ewell Boys School in West Street from 1 May 1897 to 22 July 1904, leaving to work on the farm.

By 1901 they were living in a cottage on Longdown Farm. Robert's father was now 'Groom and Gardener Domestic', and another sister, Edith 8 had arrived.

The Surrey Recruitment Register and his remaining National Archive service papers record that Robert age 19 years and 6 months attested in Kingston on 16 February 1910, into the East Surrey Regiment. And went to India with the battalion on 30 November 1911. He was therefore a regular soldier, but he would not have been an 'Old Contemptible' as his battalion was serving in India until December 1914, and only went to France on 19 January 1915. He was 5 feet 5 and ¾ inches tall, weighed 131 lbs., had a chest measurement of 36 inches with an expansion of 3 inches, and a pulse rate recorded as 72. He had a fresh complexion, with blue eyes and fair hair. His vision, rated 6/6 in both eyes was perfect. A distinguishing mark was a scar on his right knee. He had been a milkman and lived at R. G. Fothergill's Longdown Farm.

Robert's medical record showed that he was admitted to Devonport Hospital on 23 June 1910 for 3 days suffering with an eye contusion. A condition for which he signed a form absolving the army of any responsibility. Then at Shwebo in Burma he was again admitted to hospital for 35 days starting on 20 June 1913 suffering from 'Tinea Cruris', a superficial fungal infection of the groin and adjacent skin caused by a parasite. The last entry shows he was admitted to hospital in Rouen on 17 February 1915 suffering with gonorrhoea. He was discharged at Havre on 23 March 1915.

In August 1914 the 2nd Battalion East Surrey Regiment had been serving in Chaubattia, Northern India but were returned to the UK via Devonport on December 23, and were assigned to the 85 brigade in the 28 division. Robert went to France via Le Havre, with his battalion on 19 January 1915.

On 9 April 1915 he was awarded 28 days Field Punishment No.2 for drunkenness.

On 7 May 1915 the battalion was in billets near Poperinghe. Early on the morning of 8 May the Germans attacked, and the 2 East Surreys were ordered to move astride the Ypres-Zonnrbeke road and retake the lost front line at Frezenberg, where they were subjected to shelling and machine gun fire. On 8 May 1915 38 men from the 2 Battalion East Surrey Regiment were killed in action or died of wounds. Robert was initially reported as 'Missing, presumed dead' on 8 May. This was later changed to 'now officially reported killed in action or died of wounds on or shortly after 8 May 1915.

Robert did not marry, and on 4 June 1919 his living relatives were:
  • Father, Robert. Longdown Farm Cottages.
  • Mother, Clara. Longdown Farm Cottages.
  • Brother, Frank 28. Longdown Farm Cottages.
  • Sister, Harriet 30. Ewell Court Farm.
  • Sister, Edith 26. Epsom College.
On 26 August 1920 a letter was sent from No.1 Infantry Office, Park Schools, Framfield Road, Hanwell W7, the text of which follows;
To Robert Clark, Longdown Cottages.

Re. 9963 Private.. Clark, Robert late 2 Battalion East Surrey Regiment.

Sir,
I regret to inform you that a report has been received from the War Office to the effect that the above named deceased soldier, reported missing on 8 May 1915 is now officially reported killed in action or died of wounds on or shortly after 8 May 1915.
I am to express the sympathy of the Army Council at the soldiers death in his country's service.
I am to add that any communication that may be received as to the soldiers burial will be communicated to you in due course.
I am, Sir, your Obedient Servant. Signed for L/Col i/c No.1 Infantry Record Office.

Robert's younger brother Edward was also killed, on 17th April 1918.

Robert was exhumed from his original burial site and reburied at New Irish Farm Cemetery, plot XV F 17, 1 ½ miles north of Ypres. This exhumation was carried out by the Imperial War Graves Commission, Authorisation IWGC/HLG/LS/39519. His next of kin was notified on 4 January 1922.

Robert was awarded the 1915 Star, British War medal and the Victory medal.

BH EW ES

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CLARKE Patrick, Private. 23099

3rd Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers.
Died 1 February 1916, aged 26.

Patrick's inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
Patrick's inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert

Patrick Clarke was born in 1890 in Neston, Cheshire (GRO reference: Jun 1890 Wirral 8a 457), the eldest child of John and Annabella Clarke (nee Garland), who had married in 1889 in the same registration district. He was named after his maternal grandfather, Patrick Garland.

In 1891, along with his Irish father John, a dock labourer, and his mother Annabella, Patrick was boarding with Richard and Mary Sinnott in their home at 73 Flinders Street, Kirkdale, Liverpool.

When the 1901 census was taken, Patrick was living with his parents and younger siblings - Thomas aged 8, Mary Anne aged 5, Cecelia aged 4 and one year old Peter, at 8 Fletchers Gardens, Birkitt Street, Liverpool. His father was working as a Cotton Porter in the docks. Patrick's brother Thomas had been born in Liverpool and siblings Mary Anne, Cecelia and Peter in Southport. According to the Soldiers Died CD Patrick had been born in Southport, Merseyside, Lancashire and enlisted in Southport.

When the 1911 census was taken Patrick was a Private in the 2nd Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers, who were stationed at Assaye Barracks in South Tidworth, Hampshire.

His parents and younger siblings - Mary Ann aged 15, Peter aged 12, Joseph aged 9, Catherine aged 6, James aged 4 and two year old Annie were living at 181 Hamilton Road, Southport, Lancashire. His sister Cecelia was an inmate in 'The Poor Sisters of Nazareth', a home for children and aged poor in Great Crosby, and was recorded as being an imbecile.

Patrick's service record has not survived so very little is known about his military service.

Patrick died on 1 February 1916 in the County of London War Hospital, and his body was buried on 4 February in grave K644 in the CWGC plot in Epsom Cemetery. Eight of his fellow servicemen are also buried in this grave. Patrick is remembered there on the Screen Wall.

The Soldiers died CD states that Patrick was in the 3rd Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers, which was a reserve and training unit, and as I have been unable to find a record of medal entitlement it seems likely that Patrick remained in the UK during the war.

CWGC

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CLEVENDON Thomas, Driver. 5261 and 121345.5261

153 Brigade Royal Field Artillery and Labour Corps.
Died 23 October 1918, aged 20.

Thomas' inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
Thomas' inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert

From the few WW1 records found, Thomas Clevendon/Clevedon appears to have been born in 1898 in Somerstown or Camden Town, Middlesex.

His 'Soldiers Effects' entry (mistranscribed Clebendon) gives his sole legate as his mother, Jane Clevedon or Clevendon, but no birth record or any UK censuses have been found for him or for her.

Thomas died on 23 October 1918 in the Horton War Hospital and was buried in grave K651 in the CWGC plot in Epsom Cemetery, with three other servicemen. Although the GRO have recorded his surname as Clevedon, Thomas is remembered there on the Screen Wall as Thomas Clevendon.

Thomas was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal. A note on his medal card, dated 14 December 1921, requested authority to dispose of his medals but did not say to whom.

CWGC

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CLIFFORD William, Gunner. 46479.

324th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery (RGA).
Died of Wounds 20 July 1917, aged 42.

Williams headstone in Dozinghem Military Cemetery, Belgium.
William's headstone in Dozinghem Military Cemetery, Belgium.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2010

William Clifford was born on 20 June 1874 in Chippenham, Wiltshire (GRO reference: Jun 1874 Calne 5a 83). His parents William and Hannah Sophia Clifford (nee Webb), had married in 1871 in St. Andrews Church, Chippenham but moved to Wales where William's sister Alice Maud Mary was born on 4 February 1873 in Swansea.

William was actually baptised as 'Joseph William' on 30 June 1875 in St. Andrews Church, Chippenham. The baptism record shows his father as 'Able Seaman, deceased' and the family home as 'Sandbrook Court'. His sister, Alice Maud Mary was later baptised in the same church on 21 September 1876. This time the baptism record shows her parents as William and Sophia Clifford living at Queens Square, does not record her father as deceased and has just a dash in his occupation column.

The whereabouts of William, his mother and sister in the 1881 census is unknown but by 1891 they were all recorded with the surname 'Mundy' and living with William Mundy, a labourer, in Church Street, Melksham, Wiltshire. William was aged 17 and also a labourer while his sister was working as a spinner. Their mother was recorded as Sophia, and had married widower William Mundy on 16 April 1894 with Alice as their witness.

In 1889 Alice married Jacob Edmonds in the Basford registration district in Nottinghamshire. They moved to Sutton, Surrey and appear in the 1901 census as living at 44 Beulah Road. Their daughter Adeline Maud was born in 1902 and their son William Joseph in 1905.

On 19 July 1905, in the Epsom Registry Office, William married Ada Phyllis Beeching (GRO reference: Sep 1905 Epsom 2a 69), giving his name as William Joseph Clifford. On 15 February 1906 their son William Gerald was born, and on 12 May 1907 their daughter May Phyllis was born.

In the 1911 census the family lived at 'Vinegate', at 52 Lower Court Road, Epsom. William was 35 years old, and working as an asylum attendant, whilst his sister and her family were living at 2 Cranfield Road, Carshalton, Surrey

William attested at Kingston on 7 November 1914. He gave his age as 39 years, and stated he was on the 'National Reserve' having previously spent 12 years with the RGA. He was 5 feet 9½ inches tall, weighed 189lbs, and had a chest measurement of 42 inches with an expansion of 2 inches. He was a labourer, was married, and his religion was C of E. He had a snake and a horseman tattooed on his chest and figures tattooed on both arms. Some dates and events from William's military career:
22 May 1915, to France
03 November 1915, admitted to hospital
08 November 1915, rejoined unit
04 December 1915, granted leave to England
26 December 1915, leave extended on medical grounds
28 December 1915, rejoined unit from England
23 February 1916, admitted to hospital
03 March 1916, invalided to England aboard hospital ship 'Jan Breydel'
28 April 1917 posted to 324 siege battery RGA
30 April 1917 embarked from Southampton
01 May 1917 disembarked Havre
20 July 1917 died from gun shot wounds in the 4th Casualty Clearing Station.
He is buried in plot 1.J.7. Dozinghem Military Cemetery, Belgium.

On 2 January 1918, William's effects were duly sent to his widow Ada, at 'Vinegate' 52 Lower Court Road, Epsom, comprising:
  • correspondence
  • 2 pipes
  • 3 pocket books
  • religious books
  • tobacco pouch
  • knife
  • whistle and strap
  • Metal watch (no glass)
From 28 January 1918, Ada also received for herself and her two children, a pension of 22 shillings and 11 pence.

Army Form W. 5080 required the dead soldier's next of kin to supply details of all living siblings. In 1919 William's widow informed the authorities that his only living sibling was 44 year old sister, Alice Maud Edmonds, living at 2, Cranfield Road, Carshalton on Hill, Wallington, Surrey. Alice Maud Mary was aged 67 when she died on 8 February 1940.

William was awarded the 1914-1915 star, British War medal and the Victory medal.

EP MC HWH

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COLEMAN Arthur, Private. 301707.

1st/8th Battalion Durham Light Infantry (DLI).
Killed in Action 10 April 1918, aged 40.

Newspaper photo of Arthur Coleman

Arthur Coleman was born in Epsom in 1878 (GRO reference: Dec 1878 Epsom 2a 14), to Henry and Sarah Eliza Coleman (nee Smallpiece). His parents had married in the Kingston registration district in 1866. From a first look at census and registration records it appears that they had eleven children, but there might have only been nine! The table below shows eleven children, but the name Arthur appears twice. The first Arthur was registered in Kingston district in the March quarter of 1871, but a death is also recorded in Kingston in the September quarter, of Arthur aged 0. The 1881 census showing two Arthurs is possibly a mistake. Lavinia born 1877 died in 1879 aged two, and does not appear on the 1881 census, but a Lucy or Lucie M does appear. However, there are no registration or baptism records for such a person. Could Lucy have been a pet name for Lavinia, and she to was entered on the 1881 census in error?

ARTHUR COLEMAN AND HIS SIBLINGS
Name Born - Died Baptised Notes
James Born: 1869 Kingston    
Arthur Born: 1871 Kingston
Died: 1871 Kingston
  Appears in the 1881 census, possibly in error
Henry Born: 1873 Epsom 20 April 1873 St Martins  
George Born: 1875 Epsom 13 June 1875 St Martins  
Lavinia Born: 1877 Epsom
Died: 1879 Epsom
11 March 1877 St Martins  
Lucie M     Only record found, the 1881 census.
Might have been pet name for Lavinia, entered in error
Arthur Born: 1878 Epsom
Died: 10 April 1918 Belgium
12 October 1879 St Martins  
Albert Born: 1882 Epsom    
Florence Susannah Born: 1884 25 May 1884 St Martins  
Rose Born: 1886 24 June 1888 St Martins  
Lily May Born: 1888 24 June 1888 St Martins  

The 1871 census, taken before Arthur was born, shows the family living in Claygate. Arthur's father, Henry was a 27-year-old agricultural labourer. His mother Sarah was aged 25, and two siblings are recorded, James aged 2 and Arthur aged 2 months, who we think died later that year.

By 1881 the family had moved to 12, Providence Place, Epsom. The census shows that Arthur, aged 2, had five siblings, James aged 11, Arthur aged 9, Henry aged 7, George aged 5 and Lucie M aged 4. But were the 9-year-old Arthur and Lucie M (Lavinia) entered by mistake, as suggested in paragraph one above?

In 1891 the family lived at 6, Albert Road, Epsom. Arthur's 49-year-old father Henry, was now labouring in a brickworks, as were his brothers James, Henry and George. His mother Sarah, aged 45, was at home looking after Arthur himself, Albert, Florence, Rose and Lily who were all at school. Sarah died in 1893, aged 48, and was buried in the Ashley Road cemetery on 13 November 1893 in grave number F121.

In 1901 Arthur, aged 22, was boarding with the Nunn family at 144, High Street, Woolwich. He was a labourer in the huge Woolwich military factory that made a variety of munitions. Meanwhile his widowed father Henry was living at 6, Dover Cottage, Albert Road, Epsom with his widowed sister Matilda Hyman and his children George, Albert and Lily. Henry died in 1921, aged 77 and was buried in the Ashley Road cemetery on 12 November 1921 in grave number K724.

On 15 October 1904 in Epsom, 26-year-old Arthur married 19-year-old Annie Elizabeth Parish, who had been born in Guildford. They had four children, see below:

CHILDREN OF ARTHUR AND ANNIE ELIZABETH COLEMAN
Name Born - Died Baptised Lived
Henry William Born: 5 March 1905 18 February 1906 St Barnabas 6, Oakleigh Terrace
Arthur Reuben Born: 22 May 1907
Died: Buried on 5 Oct 1907, grave B17. Aged 4 months
6 September 1907 St Barnabas 116, Lower Court Road
Marjorie Annie Born: 3 November 1909 25 August 1911 St Barnabas 53, Lower Court Road
Mabel Mary Born: 5 August 1913 Not found  

The 1911 census shows the family living at 33, Lower Court Road, Epsom. Arthur was a 33-year-old bricklayer's labourer. Wife Annie, aged 26 and their two surviving children, Henry aged 6 and Marjorie aged 1 were also recorded. Arthur's 31-year-old brother Albert, was living with them and was a carter on a farm.

Arthur attested in Epsom on 3 June 1916, was assigned to the DLI and placed on the Army reserve the next day, but was not mobilised until 10 August 1916. He stated that he was 37 years old, worked as a labourer and lived at 23, Albert Road, Epsom. He was 5 feet 4 inches tall, weighed 119 lbs and had a chest measurement of 36 inches with an expansion of 2 inches.

The 1st/8th Battalion DLI was in the 151st Brigade, 50th Division. On 9 April 1918, the Germans launched the second of their big offensives in a bid to win the war before the Americans arrived in overwhelming numbers. The overall name given to this offensive is operation Georgette or the battle of the Lys. The battle comprised a number of smaller battles, and the battle that Arthur fought in was named the battle of 'Estaires'. On the 9 April the 50th Division was held in reserve behind the front line, in and behind Estaires, the ground in front of them being held by the 34th, 40th and 2nd Portuguese Divisions.

Plan of the Battle of Estaires.   Click on image to enlarge
Plan of the Battle of Estaires.
Click on image to enlarge

April 9 commenced with a heavy mist, with visibility less than 40 yards, and as gas masks had to be worn the range of vision was small. At 4.15am the Germans commenced a heavy bombardment with phosgene gas and high explosive shells. At 8.45am they launched their assault, and by 11am nearly all the Portuguese 2nd Division had disappeared from the battlefield. Whilst the front held by the Portuguese was being attacked, Arthur's 151st Brigade was ordered from reserve to take up positions from Bout Deville to Cockshy House. By 9.30am the 8th DLI were holding the crossings over the rivers Lawe and Lys. However, by 5.20pm it was reported that Marais Farm and Rault Lock had been lost, but that no Germans were west of the river Lawe.

At the point the 8th DLI were defending, the river Lawe looped round and formed a salient into the attacking German's line. Overnight, this salient, near Raul Lock, was held by the 8th DLI but by 7pm on the 10 April the Germans had forced a crossing at Pont Riqueul and compelled the 8th DLI to fall back to the base of the salient.

The Epsom Advertiser dated 24 May 1918 published the following:
WOUNDED AND MISSING. - Mrs. Coleman, 23, Albert-road, has received information that her husband, Private Arthur Coleman, Durham Light Infantry, is wounded and missing. He is believed to be a prisoner of war.
However, Arthur had been killed in action on 10 April and as he has no known grave he is commemorated on the Ploegsteert memorial to the missing. The Soldiers Died CD tells us that between 9 and 15 April 1918, 102 other ranks from the DLI lost their lives. It also tells us that during the same period 10,675 other ranks from the British Army lost their lives fighting in France and Flanders. During the same period 694 British officers lost their lives fighting in the Great War.

Arthur's inscription on the Ploegsteert memorial to the missing
Arthur's inscription on the Ploegsteert memorial to the missing
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2011

Arthur was awarded the British War medal and the Victory medal.

EP

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COLEMAN Ernest James, Sergeant. 5078.

63rd Company Machine Gun corps.
Killed in Action 28 April 1917, aged 18.

Ernest Coleman
Ernest Coleman
Image courtesy of Ernest's niece Patricia Cawston ©2009

Ernest James Coleman was born in Epsom Surrey on 27 August 1898 (GRO: Sep 1898 Epsom 2a 24) to James and Mary Hannah Coleman, (nee Nicholls). Ernest was baptised on 2 October 1898 in St Martin's Church, Epsom. His parents had married in Epsom in 1894.

Coleman Family c.1900
Coleman Family c.1900
Top Row (l to r) James Coleman, Mary Hannah Coleman, Nanney Cousins
Bottom Row (l to r) Winifed Mary, Ernest James, Jessie Lavinia.
Image courtesy of Ernest's niece Patricia Cawston ©2009

In the 1901 census the family lived in 2 Northcote Cottages, Church Road Epsom. Ernest's father James was a 31 year old general labourer having been born in 1870 in Claygate, Surrey. His mother Mary was 33 years old having been born on 25 March 1868 in Gulval, Cornwall. Ernest's older sisters were Jessie Lavinia aged 6 and Winifred Mary aged 4. Living also with them was James' mother-in-law, Nanney Cousins, a widow aged 68 from Madron, Cornwall.

The 1911 census shows the family living at Garbrand Lodge, 124, Lower Court Road. Ernest's father was working as a stoker for the LCC (probably at one of the asylums). Sister Jessie Lavina was working as a domestic servant, and brother Lawrence William had arrived.

Ernest's younger siblings were Lawrence William born on 4 June 1909 and Gwendoline Minnie born on 15 May 1912, who died 30 December 2000. In 1909 the family lived in Garbrand Lodge, 124, Lower Court Road, Epsom. The Lodge had however no connection to Garbrand Hall. The 1924 photograph of the house shows Gwendoline standing outside. There is a modern picture for comparison, showing that the nameplate has been removed since then.

Garbrand Lodge in 1924 with Gwendoline Minnie Coleman
Garbrand Lodge in 1924 with Gwendoline Minnie Coleman
Image courtesy of Ernest's niece Patricia Cawston ©2009

Garbrand Lodge in 2009 now renamed 124 Lower Court Road
Garbrand Lodge in 2009 now renamed 124 Lower Court Road
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2009

Ernest attended Sutton County School (now Sutton Grammar School for Boys) between the years 1911 and 1915. He left the sixth form around the middle of 1915 to enlist at the age of 16 as Rifleman No. S/12929, in the Rifle Brigade. He was apparently quite a big lad, and seems to have taken the precaution of telling the Army that he was 19 rather than 16. He undoubtedly had exceptional qualities, as within six months he had been promoted Corporal in charge of men old enough to be his father.

The Royal Warrant authorising the Machine Gun Corps was issued on 14 October 1915, and on 29 November 1915 Ernest was sent to Grantham and initially attached to 17th Company. He later transferred to the 63rd Company which was in the 63rd Brigade, 21st Division. Exactly when he was promoted to Sergeant is not known, but was most likely early in 1917. The main photograph of Ernest, proudly showing off his stripes and his proficiency badge above the stripes, was most likely taken whilst on leave in early 1917, and probably soon after his promotion.

Ernest kept a diary throughout 1916 in which he made an entry for most days, capturing the day-to-day harsh realities of life in the British Army of 1916.

He arrived in Southampton on 24 February 1916, but his journey to France was not straightforward. Fog in the Channel was causing postponements. A horse had died and was hung over the side of the ship until they got out to sea, and then on 29 February after sailing 18 miles they were chased back into port by submarines. Finally on 1 March they reached Le Havre.

Then, by rail, Ernest passed through Boulogne, Calais and St Omer to a station about 4 miles from Armentieres. After marching into Armentieres he and his unit were billeted in an old school near enough to the front line for the unit to take casualties from German shelling, and on 5 March, he notes that all day British aircraft are being shelled. The next day he notes that they get an issue of 25 cigarettes and ¼ oz of "baccy" a week, and a tot of rum every night.

On 12 March he experienced his first time in a dugout. He writes; "The bullets whistle around. It's impos. to describe the feelings." The next day he picked up a souvenir, a piece of the inside of a Bosche shell.
Then on 18 March one of his men, Private Homfray, was shot by a sniper just over the ear and died within two minutes.

Diary entries contain references to strafing, aeroplanes, rum jars, baths, squad drill and gun drill, billets, concerts, train journeys, guard duty, pay, church parades, inspections, route marches, bombing instruction, lack of sleep, the weather, mud and iron rations. In fact, all the minute details of 'trench life'.

Then on 30 May he and his men were lectured by the Major on their role in the forthcoming attack in the battle of the Somme, the attack on Fricourt. He notes the commencement of the bombardment on 24 June.

Ernest fought on the first day of the battle of the Somme, 1 July, the bloodiest day in the history of the British Army. Exact figures are hard to come by, but on that day about 100,000 British soldiers 'went over the top' of which some 60,000 became casualties, and of those around 20,000 died. A truly disastrous day. Sadly, Ernest's diary entries for the 30 June and 1 July became smudged and illegible, but he adds a memorandum at the end that reads as follows:
Aug. 28th.
Rather strange that the pages dealing with Fricourt June 30 & July 1, 2 & 3- the last three the blackest of my life so far have got accidentally smugged (sic) out - but they'll never get wiped out of my mind. Just a few reminders though.
June 30. Preparation for leaving Ville for trenches left at 5 pm. - Had to carry stuff from Meault - hot work squashed in 100 Street. My team in a bit of a smashed trench 2ft deep. Bombardment all night.
July 1. From 6am. To 7.30 am. There was an intense bomb. Some bomb. The Middlesex & Somerset went over at 7.30 am. - we all had a good dose of rum. The Lincolns & York & Lancs followed from support. German machine gun bullets just missed us & hit them. Attacked all day but only got 1st 4 lines. Village not taken.
July 2nd. Attacked again and Germans surrendered in hundreds - souvenir hunting. Nerves strung up absolutely. Coal boxes all round us. Ellis & a few more hit - I was hit 3 or 4 times but only drew blood in thigh & not much. Went back in afternoon to support.
July 3rd. Sgt Kelly's & my guns ordered up to Willow Patch. Counter attack expected. Some walk up over dead bodies. Shelled out of position. Harry was missing so I brought gun in on my own. Came back at Midnight.
Ernest's diary continued, recording daily life and ways of the British Army at the time. On 20 July having been moved to a quieter area on the Vimy Ridge, he managed a bath, his first for about 5 weeks. Later on 12 September he records having a bath in a shell hole, and obtaining water for tea from another shell hole, despite there being 'plenty of skulls & bones about'. Later he passed the time making souvenirs from French bullets.

On Saturday 30 September he started a four day Gas Course at Boyeffles, four days he did not enjoy, thinking he had 'got a dose' and where his brass buttons turned green.

Friday 13 October was a lucky day for Ernest. A German Minenwerfer (a explosive charge lobbed over into the trenches) landed just in front of him. They usually caused a large explosion and killed anyone near by, but fortunately this was a dud.
On Saturday 18 November he writes:
Brigade attacked. We waited for spare Germans. Had some good shooting all day. Moved in evening. Nearly wiped out going across open. All safe once more. Cross & I sent to take our position in advanced sap. We made own arrangements. Rain all night & cold lying in mud & went through worst night I've experienced.

Ten days later, on 28 November, his Major asked him if he would care to be recommended for a commission. This he declined but on 4 December 1916 the Major told him he was very pleased with the work he had done and was promoting him to Sergeant. On 14 December he was made Acting Sergeant.

The final entry in Ernest's diary reads:
To Vielle Chapelle. Working party on lines in afternoon.
Thus ends the year '16 & it's been the most adventurous I've had out of my 18 & I dare say it's more adventurous than any year the average man of 50 or 60 today has lived through. C'est la guerre. I've had & am having that experience that I enlisted for. I was made for a wanderer & I am a wanderer. I'm proud of the past 18 months of my life. Within a few weeks I hope to be on leave & leave this diary in safety.
He did indeed leave his 1916 diary in safety, with a few excerpts having been reproduced here.

Ernest Coleman's inscription at the Arras Memorial
Ernest Coleman's inscription at the Arras Memorial
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2009

Unfortunately Ernest's service papers have not survived, neither have the 63rd MGC War Diaries for 1917. However it seems that he was shot by a German sniper during the battle of Arras. The following is an obituary from Sutton School magazine, printed in 1917.
ERNEST JAMES COLEMAN.
Was at the school from 1911 to 1915, enlisting direct from the sixth form into the Rifle Brigade, where, after a few weeks, he received his first stripe. After a few months he was transferred to the Machine Gun Corps as corporal. In February, 1916, he left for France, where, after passing through the battles of the Somme and Ancre, he received his third stripe in preference to a commission which was offered him. In January last he was home for 10 days' leave; returning, he was at Arras on 9th April, and in the advance of the 28th, whilst looking for places for his two guns, he was shot in the head by a German sniper. He has been very highly recommended for his bravery throughout the Battle of Arras.

Ernest's Scroll
Image courtesy of Ernest's niece Patricia Cawston ©2009

The following was printed in a local newspaper (probably the Epsom Herald):
YOUNG EPSOM SOLDIER KILLED
RECOMMENDED FOR BRAVERY

Serg. Ernest James Coleman, elder son of Pte. And Mrs. James Coleman, Garbrand Lodge, Lower Court Road, Epsom, has been killed in action. The deceased joined up when he was under age, and his father, was over age when he also volunteered to serve his country. The father enlisted in March 1915, and the son the following June. At the time the son was only 15 years and nine months old, and he was made a corporal within three months, and was promoted to the rank of sergeant before last Christmas, being then just over 18 years of age. He was a very intelligent lad, was well built, and doubtless inherited the military instincts of his father, who was in the army many years. At the time the young soldier, whose death is so much regretted by all who knew him, entered the Rifle Brigade, he was attending the Sutton County School. He had been a student there three years, in virtue of having won a scholarship at the Epsom Council School, and was staying another two years by reason of passing the London University Junior Examination. Two of his fellow students were Ptes. Elliott and Paskell, who have also been killed in the war. Sergt. Coleman was transferred from the Rifle Brigade to the Machine Gun Corps, and became a sergeant instructor by when he was 18. He was regarded as a very smart young soldier, and previous to last Christmas was offered a commission, but declined the offer, apparently being disinclined to leave the machine gun work in which he was greatly interested. He went out to France about 14 months ago and was present at a great deal of fighting, including the Battle of the Ancre. He showed by his letters home that he was very glad to be doing his bit, and in one letter he said, "I was proud I was born a Britisher." That he was a son of whom his parents might be proud is shown by the following letter sent to Mrs. Coleman by an officer of the Machine Gun Company to which deceased was attached :- " It is with infinite regret that I have to announce to you that your son, Sergt. E. J. Coleman, was killed in action on the 29th April. He fell while leading his team forward with the utmost gallantry, and gave his life in saving what might have been a serious situation. He was one of my best N.C.O.'s in the seven months he was with me, and the remembrance of the trust I placed in him only adds to the keen sense of personal loss incurred by the fate of one who has stood by me and pulled me through when other help was far away. I am sorry that at present I have been unable to find out where he was buried. We were advancing and had to go on in spite of personal feelings, and thus lost sight of him. I shall let you know whenever I can any other details that I can gather, and anything you may wish to know or wish me to do, I shall endeavour to do my best to satisfy. All his men, and all those who have been associated with him, wish me to convey to you their heartfelt sympathy in your sore bereavement. The only consolation you can have is that he lost his life in doing a man's job in a man's way, thinking only of others. I may add that he has been highly commended for his bravery to higher authorities, and I have no doubt but that they will recognise it."
A private in the Manchester has written to Mrs. Coleman, stating that he found the body of her son, and the effects he has forwarded home. For some weeks his father who is in the Royal Defence Corps has been suffering ---------
(The final few words of this obituary notice are missing.)
As stated previously, Ernest attended Sutton County School. Every term the school published a magazine called 'The Suttonian', and in 1975 an ex-pupil, A.E. Jones, published a small book entitled 'A Small School in the Great War'. The book contains many extracts from 'The Suttonian', and the following two extracts relate to Ernest:
"During April 1916 The Suttonian received another letter from Ernest Coleman-this time emanating from a dug-out in France under ' not very good conditions '. He was now a corporal in the Machine Gun Corps, but still remembered to wish the school ' a successful cricket and swimming season'; and the main theme of his letter is summed up in the following passage: ' I can assure you that I have appreciated the mag. much more since I left school than I did whilst at school. . . . Several Saturday afternoons, for instance, I have looked at the football fixture list and perhaps seen that the school was playing an important league match-then I have thought of when we played that same school in 1914 and what a game it was. How I have sometimes wished that I was playing again '. But he had not lost optimism about that possibility. After rather unnecessarily apologising for not attending the last Old Boys' meeting, he added: ' but I daresay we shall meet again before long ' and, as an Ernest of his confidence, sent a subscription to the Old Suttonians Football Club for its current season. He came safely through the battles of the Somme and Ancre, took a third stripe in preference to a commission, and then, in April 1917, during the battle of Arras, the jest about the ' Suicide Club' came true. He was ' shot in the head by a German sniper whilst looking for places for his two guns', reported The Suttonian, and added: ' He has been very highly recommended for his bravery throughout the Battle of Arras'."

"Cpl. Ernest Coleman (who was shortly to be killed-see page 37) was, at about the same time, also enjoying a relatively peaceful spell in the trenches. He wrote from a dug-out which "by the way was made by the Germans some months ago. It's not very big, but we've made it fairly comfortable. We've been in eight days now and, I believe, are being relieved tomorrow. It's been fairly quiet except two nights ago when the enemy ' straffed' us for about three hours with trench mortars and aerial torpedoes, until our artillery silenced them. It's a grand sight watching the flashes and explosions by night-you can see the trench mortars coming through the air like shell rockets, and if you're lucky you can get clear before they land. You see plenty of life in the Army if you don't get a great deal of money-and I'm enjoying myself"."
CWGC records state that he was the 'Son of James and Mary Coleman, of 124, Lower Court Rd., Epsom, Surrey.' He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial Bay 10.

He is also remembered on the Sutton Grammar School War Memorial, and the St Barnabas Roll of Honour.

With grateful thanks for information from Ernest's family.
EP SB SGS

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COLLER Thomas George, Private. G/40024.

11th Battalion The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment).
Killed in Action 21 September 1917, aged 21.

Thomas's Headstone in Ypres Reservoir Cemetery
Thomas's Headstone in Ypres Reservoir Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2011

Thomas George Coller was born in Epsom in 1896 (GRO reference: Sep 1896 Epsom 2a 20) to Thomas Henry James and Amelia Coller (nee Haskins). His parents had married in the December quarter of 1893 in the Kingston registration district.

In the 1901 census the family was living at Woodcote Green, Epsom. Thomas's father was a 28 year old Post Office clerk. His mother was aged 27 and he had two siblings, Ernest aged 7 and Louisa Lucy aged 6.

The 1911 census shows them still living at Woodcote Green. Thomas's brother Ernest was away from home serving in H.M. Navy and his sister Louisa was a dressmaking apprentice. Another sister had arrived, Joan (registered Joanna) aged 1.

Thomas's service record has not survived, but when he was killed he was serving with the 11th Battalion The Queen's, which was in the 123rd Brigade, 41st Division. The Division landed in Le Havre on 5 May 1916. On the day Thomas was killed his Battalion was fighting in the third battle of Ypres, often referred to as the battle of Passchendaele. They attacked from a small village called Voormezeele at dawn on 20 September 1917. The following is an extract from the Battalion War Diary:
20th Dawn Barrage opens attack, is started. The B attn. move to HEDGE ST 10.45 A.M. 5 P.M. Companies move to a position in trenches (yesterdays front line) B attn Hd Qrs CLONMEL COPSE. Enemy counter-attack on two occasions during the day. Casualties 2 O.Ranks killed, 1 Officer 8 O.Ranks Wounded. Reinforcements arrive at CARNARVON CAMP. 213 O.Ranks. Weather again fine.

21st (evening) Companies move forward to JAVA TRENCH. Casualties 10 O.Ranks killed 1 Officer 36 O.Ranks Wounded. 50 of the reinforcements under 1 Officer come up to the line as Stretcher Bearers and remain carrying wounded until the morning of the 23rd. The number of German dead is surprising.
Thomas is buried in grave X.D.12. Ypres Reservoir Cemetery. He was probably initially buried where he fell, his body being exhumed and reburied at Ypres Reservoir Cemetery after the war, when many graves were concentrated into larger cemeteries.

Thomas's father also served, enlisting in the RE in April 1915, lying about his age, and served with the BEF from March 1916 attached to the Warwickshires as a Telegraph Operator before returning to England in 1918 where he was attached as permanent instructor for Warwicks RE at Birmingham, holding temp rank of RSM, before being discharged in May 1919 to the Reserve.

The following appeared in the Epsom Advertiser dated 12 October 1917:
CLERK KILLED IN ACTION. - News has been received that Pte. "Tommy" Coller has been killed in action. At the outbreak of the war, when he was clerk in the office of Mr. E.G. Wilson, Clerk of the Urban Council, he joined the Surrey Yeomanry, and was afterwards transferred to the infantry. His father is serving in the Royal Engineers.
The St Martin's church Roll of Honour states that:
THOMAS GEORGE COLLER, was killed in action in the "Ypres-Salient" on the 21st September 1917.
Thomas was awarded the British War medal and the Victory medal.


EP SM and on his parent's grave in Colchester Cemetery.

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COLLINGS Arthur, Pioneer. 220504.

301st Road Construction Company Royal Engineers (RE).
Died 22 November 1918, aged 54.

Arthur's inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
Arthur's inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert

Augustus Arthur Bennett Collings was born in 1864 in the Marylebone registration district (GRO reference: Sept 1864 Marylebone 1a 445). However, Augustus was generally known by his second name Arthur and his military records state that he thought he had been born in Upper Norwood, Surrey. Without sending for Arthur's birth certificate, his true parentage is unknown but we believe the following family members are correct.

Arthur's grandfather, Stephen Collings, who had been born c1801 in Guernsey, had married Eliza Bowman Tennent in 1831, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where he traded as a merchant. The couple had eight known children:


The children of Arthur's grandfather Stephen Collings
NameBornDied/Buried
Jessie1832 BrazilUnknown
Stephen16 March 1835 Brazil24 December 1835 Brazil
John1838 BrazilUnknown
Augustus25 August 1840 Brazil1 March 1878 Brazil
Arthur EdwardDecember 1841 BrazilBuried 2 September 1843 Brazil
Stephen Edward28 January 1842 BrazilBuried 2 September 1843 Brazil
Eliza Tennent3 April 1844 Brazil7 March 1905 Dorset
Arthur2 December 1852 St. Pancras, MiddlesexUnknown

The 1841 census records their eldest daughter Jessie as living at Haute Ville in Guernsey, with her Irish maternal grandmother Jessie Tennent and her children, Helen and James.

Stephen, Eliza and their family were living in St Pancreas, Camden, Middlesex, England when the 1851 census was taken. Their youngest son Arthur was later born in 1853 at 62 Camden Road Villas.

When the 1861 census was taken, the Collings family was living in 6 Gordon Place, St Pancreas. Although no death record has been found, at some point after the census was taken, Arthur's grandfather Stephen died and Arthur's grandmother Jessie Tennent came to live with the family for a short while before she too died. She was buried on 1 February 1862 in All Souls churchyard, Kensel Green where the church records show her abode as at 6 Gordon Place. This address was in the registration district of Marylebone where Augustus Arthur Bennett Collings' birth was registered in 1864.

The 1871 census records that 6 year old Arthur Collings, born 1865 in London, was living at 1 Ripley Place, just off Dingwall Road, in Croydon with his 56 year old widowed Scottish grandmother, Eliza Bowman Collings. This we believe, was Augustus Arthur Bennett Collings. Also living there was his grandmother's daughter, 26 year old Eliza Tennent Collings.

Each of their whereabouts in the 1881 census has not been found but when Eliza Bowman Collings died on 22 December 1884 she had been living at 9 Lorne Villas, Preston, Sussex. Information from her probate record shows that her daughter Eliza Tennent Collings was living at Forde Park, Newton Abbott, Devon. Whether Arthur was living with her is unknown but Arthur does not appear to have stayed in England as on 13 September 1890 the South African Magazine reported that Arthur, aged around 26, had married spinster Edith Bowler:

COLLINGS-BOWLER - On August 9, at Christ Church, Addington, Durban, by the Rev. P. F. Cadman, A. A. B. Collings, of the Point, to Edith Bowler, of Cape Town.
On 11th October 1899 the Boer Republics, comprised of the combined forces of the South African Republic and the Republic of the Orange Free State, declared war on Britain and her Empire. Arthur aged 36, enlisted in January 1900 and became Trooper 1760 of the Thorneycroft Mounted Infantry. After 15 months of fighting, on 31 March 1901, Arthur was discharged by his own request from the infantry. However, the Boer war did not finally end until 31 May 1902.

We believe that Eliza Tennent Collings was Arthur's mother but she does not appear on the U.K. 1901 census. She never married and died on 7 March 1905 in Herrison's Asylum, Dorchester, Dorset. Probate of her effects valued at £857 13 shillings 10 pence was given to George Frost M.D. It is not known when she was actually admitted to this asylum, which 'provided accommodation and shelter for people with mental illness and learning disabilities'. It would seem that whatever mental illness she had suffered from, it may have been hereditary as Arthur was to also suffer from mental illness.

On 22 September 1914, claiming to be unmarried and 44 years old, 50 year old Arthur enlisted as 'Augustus Arthur Bennett Collings' into the Army Service Corp Special Reserve with the rank of Driver and service number 553. He gave his daughter Miss B. T. Collings of Vanzyl, B*******, Cape Town, South Africa as his next-of-kin. No other record of his daughter other than this has been found.

It was noted that he had been born in Upper Norwood, Surrey and his present address was The Wave, a lodging house in the Victoria Dock Basin. His religion was Church of England and he said he had been working as a Shipping Agent.

At his medical on the same day in St Paul's Churchyard, Arthur was described as being 5 feet 4 inches tall weighing 116 lbs, with an expanded chest measurement of 33 inches and of satisfactory physical development. He had black coloured hair that was turning grey and blue eyes, both with 6/6 vision. It was noted that he had 'Varicose veins left leg slight left varicocele' but was fit for military service.

Ten days later, on 1 October, he was discharged from Aldershot as not likely to become an efficient soldier due to mental deficiency even though his character was described as 'Good'. Although Arthur gave '**** at Poplar Workhouse' as his intended residence following his military discharge, he was admitted on 21 November 1914 to Colney Hatch Asylum in Barnet suffering from eccentricity and mania; he was discharged from there a year later on 8 November 1915.

Arthur moved to Sheffield and found work as a live-in labourer with J. G. Graves Mail Order Warehouse, Cambridge House, Barkers Pool, Sheffield.

On 30 November 1916 a memo was issued by Brigadier General A. Campbell Geddes, Director of Recruiting of Military Railways, which stated:
Please enlist Mr A. Collings in the Road Construction Companies, R. E., now being formed for service in France, provided he is medically fit for road making in that country.
On 7 December 1916, Arthur, aged 52, enlisted again but this time under the name of just 'Arthur Collings' and claiming to be 46 years 4 months old. He once again gave Upper Norwood as his birthplace but added 'near Croydon, Surrey' to it. Again he acknowledged that he had been in the Thorneycroft Mounted Infantry but added this time that he had served for 15 months before being discharged on 31 March 1901. There was no mention of him being previously discharged in 1914, of any mental illness or of him having a daughter. Instead, Arthur gave his cousin J. C. Hoyle of Tylers Lodge, Upham near Southampton as his next-of-kin. This cousin was Dr. James Collings Hoyle, who appeared as a Physician and Surgeon in the 1911 census. His twin was Rev. Charles Collings Hoyle and their mother (and possibly Arthur's aunt) was Selena Hoyle, nee Collings, born in Guernsey in 1827.

Arthur was 5 feet 4½ inches tall, and had a chest measurement of 32¼ inches, 35inches when expanded. He had a sallow complexion, blue eyes, grey hair, a mole on his stomach, a scar on the back of his neck, and birthmarks on his back and left shoulder. His sight was less than perfect rated at 6/9 in each eye, his teeth were deficient and he had varicose veins in his left leg.

On 18 December 1916 Arthur was transferred to the 301st Road Construction Company RE and on 1 January 1917 he embarked with the B.E.F to France. On 7 June 1917, Arthur was reported as being excited and a nuisance and was sent for observation at the 41st Stationary Hospital until 19 June. During this time he was described as being 'talkative, excited, pleased with himself, subject of conversations were mostly about women or drink'. On 20 June he was admitted to 8th General Hospital where he was regarded as a case of 'simple mania'. He was sent home to England on 22 June 1917 and sent to D Block Netley and on 30 June Arthur was admitted to Murthly War Hospital, Scotland.

On 26 July 1917, when Arthur was asked to state what special qualifications he had for employment in civil life, Arthur replied "French, German, Kafir, Portuguese, Dutch, Latin, Greek Shipping Law, Ship Broker and Agent". He then stated that his last employer had been Harrison Collings of Delagoa Bay Agency Co. Ltd. where he claimed he had worked as Manager. He also stated he did not want to work in England. At the bottom of this document he signed his full name, Augustus Arthur Bennett Collings.

On the 1 August 1917 medical officers at Murthly War Hospital made a statement regaling his past medical history. They also confirmed his present medical condition as 'restless, talkative, excited, exalted, grandiose, and determined. Speaks fluently and contradicts himself eg says he is to get his commission, get back his Prefect Chain at Cambridge, to resume his practice as a Solicitor'. Their judgement was that Arthur was permanently mentally unfit and should be discharged.

Arthur had served for a total of 259 days before being discharged on 22 August 1917, through 'Mania'. He was given a gratuity of £85 and Silver War Badge No. 233,306.

He was sent to London County Hospital, Colney Hatch, and then onto Long Grove Asylum, Epsom. It is not known when Arthur was admitted to Long Grove Asylum in Epsom, Surrey, which catered for all nervous and mental disorders, but Arthur was aged around 54 when he died there on 22 November 1918. The GRO death entry however records his age as 47.

Arthur was buried in grave K652 in Epsom Cemetery on 28 November and is commemorated on the Screen Wall. He shares the grave with three other soldiers.

On 19 July 1919 when his 'Soldiers Effects' entry was made his benefactor was described as his cousin Rosetta but no surname was given.

Arthur was awarded the British War medal and the Victory medal.

CWGC

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Possibly, COLLINS Robert Henry, Driver. 97904.

Royal Field Artillery.
Died from injuries sustained in battle and the effects of being gassed 28 May 1919, aged 37.

(Note: The CWGC website has records for 79 'R. Collins' who died in the Great War. None of these records indicates a link with Epsom or Ewell. The 'Robert Henry Collins' written about here does not appear in the CWGC website, but he was married in the Epsom Registry Office. There were no strict rules to state who could be commemorated on civil memorials, and each local community set its own criteria. Perhaps a local employer or close friend added his name or have we got the wrong man?)

Believed to be Robert Henry Collins
Believed to be Robert Henry Collins
Believed to be Robert Henry Collins
Image courtesy of Andrew Arnold

Henry Robert Collins was born in 1881 in Wycombe (GRO Reference: Dec 1881 Wycombe 3a 578) to John Herbert and Martha Emma Collins, nee Morley, who had married in 1878.

The 1891 census shows that his father was working as a stoker in a paper mill where his mother also worked. Also listed were his older sister Ella Emily and younger siblings Herbert and May. Three more siblings, Ivy, Alice and Leonard Charles, were born in Wycombe after this census was taken and by 1901 the family had moved to 4, Palmerston Road, Carshalton, Surrey where Henry's parents had found work again in another paper mill. 19 year old Henry was recorded as a watercress cutter while his 17 year old brother Herbert, was recorded as a bricklayer's labourer.

The family had moved to 24, Mill Lane, Carshalton by 1911. Henry's parents declared they had been married for 32 years and had had 8 children, one of whom had died. Henry's father John was now aged 58 and was working as a gardener, while Henry worked as a bricklayer's labourer, Amy as a mannequin, Ivy as a pupil teacher, Alice as a dressmaker's apprentice and Leonard as a school boy/milk boy. Alice and Leonard however were recorded as being born in Carshalton in this census.

Henry had swapped his first and middle names round by the time he married in 1912.

Robert, as he was now known, declared he was aged 31 years 134 days old when he enlisted in 1915 into the Royal Field Artillery at Kingston-upon-Thames. This would give him a birth year of 1883 instead of 1881. His surviving service papers record that he was married on 27 January 1912 in Epsom Registry Office to Jessie Hilda Jennings. Their eldest son Robert Henry was born on 3 May 1912 and their second son Ernest on 12 March 1914. The family were living at 30, Station Road, Carshalton, Surrey.

He was described as being 5 feet 6 inches tall, with a 36 inch chest with a 2 inch expansion. It was noted that he had a tattoo on his right forearm. Robert served in France between 28 April 1915 and 23 September 1918.

On 18 October 1918 the local newspaper, the Carshalton and Wallington Advertiser, reported that Robert had been wounded. It would appear that he had received injuries by a bomb to his right thigh and was suffering from the effects of being gassed. It also mentioned that he had played football for Sutton United and had worked for the South Metropolitan Electric Light Company.

Robert's service record later states that he was transferred to Class "2" Army Reserve on 3 March 1919. On 4 May 1919 he was awarded a disability pension of 11/- a week, plus 4/8 (4 shillings 8 pence) for his two children which was to be reviewed in 26 weeks.

The War Office sent Robert his 1914/15 Star medal on 3 February 1920 and received back a receipt signed "J H Collins". This also occurred with his British War medal and Victory medal. These signatures were not queried until the 18 August 1922 when another receipt was sent to Robert's home address. The resulting correspondence between Jessie and the War Office show that he had died from his injuries on 28 May 1919 (GRO Reference: Jun 1919 St Martins 1a 502). This would seem to be the first time the War Office knew about Robert's death even though a widow's pension form had been stamped in 1920. Jessie had actually remarried in 1921 and was still living at her same address with her new husband Jack Penfold. The family later moved to the Portsmouth area.

Robert is commemorated on the Carshalton War memorial.

EP

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COLLISS Reginald Edward, Private. 25490.

12th Battalion East Surrey Regiment.
Died of Wounds 13 June 1917, aged 23.

Reginalds's headstone in the Mont Huon Military Cemetery
Reginalds's headstone in the Mont Huon Military Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2009

Reginald Edward Colliss was born in 1894 (GRO reference: Jun 1894 Winchester 2c 116) to Edward John and Florence Ellen Collis (nee Betteridge). Edward's birth was registered in 1863 with the surname Collis, only 1 's'. Edward and Florence's marriage, in 1890 was also registered with the surname Collis. It seems that Collis became Colliss at some point between the 1871 and 1881 census. Another anomaly is that Reginald Edward was registered as Edward Reginald.

In the 1901 census the family lived at 4, Turk Street, Alton, Hampshire. Reginald's father was a 38 year old fishmonger, employer. His mother was 34, and he had a 9 year old sister, Florence Grace.

The family had moved to Sutton, Surrey by the time their next daughter Gladys Winifred was born in 1906. The 1911 census shows the family as all living and working as fishmongers at 42, High Street, Reigate, Surrey. I suspect that the family moved to Epsom at some point after the 1911 census.

Reginald had served as Private 2219 in the Surrey Yeomanry, but at the time of his death was serving in the 12th Battalion East Surrey Regiment, which was in the 122nd Brigade, 41st Division.

Trench map of Damm Strasse - Click image to enlarge
Trench Map of Damm Strasse
Click image to enlarge.

The battle of Messines commenced at 3-10am on 7 June 1917 with the explosion of 19 mines under the German front line. Originally 22 mines had been planned, with work on the tunnelling commencing in early 1916. However, one of the mines was discovered by the Germans, and it was decided not to use two others at the southernmost end of the front, so they were abandoned. Interestingly, one of the abandoned mines blew up on 17 June 1955, probably caused by lightening, and the other mine still remains in Flanders, its precise position lost.

At the same time the mines were exploded, 3-10am, an intense bombardment on the German lines commenced, and the first assaulting waves of troops went 'over the top'. Reginald's battalion did not move forward until 5-10am and by 6am they were in position on the 'Dammstrasse', a German position that had been captured earlier by the 123rd Brigade. Under a creeping barrage moving forward at 50 yard leaps, Reginald's battalion pressed forward clearing enemy dugouts and trenches in Pheasant Wood and Denys Wood, taking many prisoners. Unfortunately at one stage our barrage appeared to drop back and caused quite a few casualties. Known today as friendly fire. German shelling continued throughout the whole operation. The 12th East Surrey's took 268 prisoners, but had suffered casualties themselves, 26 had been killed and 166 wounded.

Mont Huon Military Cemetery, Le Treport
Mont Huon Military Cemetery, Le Treport
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2009

Reginald died of wounds on 13 June and is buried in Mont Huon Military Cemetery, Le Treport. Le Treport had an important hospital centre. It is very likely that he was wounded on the 7 June during the capture of the Messines Ridge, and might even have been the victim of British shells.

Mont Huon Military Cemetery, Le Treport - Click image to enlarge
Mont Huon Military Cemetery, Le Treport
Click image to enlarge

Reginald was awarded the British War medal and the Victory medal.

When Reginald's sister married Frederick George Harding on 21 June 1922 in St. Barnabas church, Epsom, they were both living at 259, Hook Road, Epsom. This was the same address given by their sister Gladys when she married in 1931. There is a record of Reginald's father Edward John Colliss purchasing grave number O347, in Epsom cemetery, on 17 August 1943, and of the burial of his mother Florence Ellen on 22 July 1943 aged 75. Reginald's father died at 4, Southville Close, West Ewell, aged 87, and was buried in the same grave on 24 November 1950.

Reginald is remembered on his parents' grave.

Reginald's inscription on his parents' grave
Reginald's inscription on his parents' grave
Reginald's inscription on his parents' grave
Images courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2014

EP CC SB

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COOK Ernest, Private. 14602.

2nd Battalion Devonshire Regiment.
Killed in Action 1st July 1916, aged 35.

Ernest Cook and his sons Frederick and William
Ernest Cook and his sons Frederick and William
Image courtesy of Pam Cook © 2012

Ernest Cook was born in 1880 (GRO reference: Sep 1880 Isle of Wight 2b 639), the tenth of eleven known children, of William and Elizabeth Ann Cook (nee Brine), who had married on the Isle in 1864. Census records seem to show that his mother preferred to be known by her middle name of Ann.

When the 1871 census was taken, before Ernest's birth, his parents were living next door to his paternal grandparents at Flinfold Cottage in Mottistone, Isle of Wight. Shown with them were Ernest's older siblings Sarah, John, Elizabeth and Kate.

Ernest Cook And His Siblings
Name Born - Died
Sarah Ann Born: 1865 Isle of Wight
William John Born: 1866 Isle of Wight
Kate Born: 1868 Isle of Wight
Elizabeth Born: 1870 Isle of Wight
Ellen Laura Born: 1871 Isle of Wight
Fanny Born: 1872 Isle of Wight
Charles Henry Born: 1874 Isle of Wight
Walter George Born: 1876 Isle of Wight
Arthur Born: 1878 Isle of Wight
Ernest Born: 1880 Isle of Wight
Died: 1 July 1916
Wallace Born: 1885 Isle of Wight
There may have been others

The family had moved to Compton Grange cottage in Brook on the Isle of Wight by 1881. The census records 10-month-old Ernest's father as William aged 49, a labourer, and his mother as Ann, aged 40. His older siblings were listed as Sarah Ann aged 16, William John aged 15, Kate aged 13, Elizabeth Ann aged 11, Ellen Laura aged 9, Fanny aged 8, Charles Henry aged 7, Walter George aged 5 and Arthur aged 3.

The family appears to be living apart in Wellow, Shalfleet, Isle of Wight when the 1891 census was taken. Living with 11 year-old Ernest and their parents William and Ann were only Walter George aged 14 and younger brother Wallace aged 6.

Shortly after the 1891 census was taken Ernest's 62-year-old father died. His mother died three years later in 1894 aged 54.

When Ernest moved to Epsom is unknown but the 1901 census tells us that Ernest was born in Cowes on the Isle of Wight and that he was a 20-year-old general labourer staying as a lodger with Thomas and Emma Whittle at Glencoe Cottage, 130 Miles Road, Epsom, Surrey. Also lodging at the cottage was Ernest's future brother-in-law, general labourer William Wooden, aged 35, and Ernest's future wife, laundress Jane Wooden, aged 19.

Ernest was aged 22 when he married 21-year-old spinster Jane Wooden on 19 April 1902 in Christ Church on Epsom Common. Ernest and Jane both gave Hook Road, Epsom as their address.[N.B. Their fathers, both of whom were labourers, may have been mis-transcribed by EELFHC as G. Cook and S. Wooden].

Their son Frederick Ernest was born in the December quarter of 1903; however no baptism has been found for him or their next son, William Arthur, who was born in 1908. Their daughter Rosina Emma was born on 22 April 1910 and baptised five days later in Christ Church. She died aged 7 days on 29 April 1910 and was buried in grave B178 on 3 May 1910. Rosina's baptism and burial records show that the family was living at 4, Common View Cottages, Epsom Common at the time.

The Children Of Ernest And Jane Cook
Name Born - Died Notes
Frederick Ernest Born: 1903 Epsom  
William Arthur Born: 1908 Epsom  
Rosina Emma Born: 22 April 1910 Epsom Died: 29 April 1910 Baptised Christ Church 27 April 1910
Wallace George Born: 10 Jan 1912 Died: March 1912 Baptised Christ Church 23 Feb 1912
Nellie Lydia Born: 30 July 1913 Baptised Christ Church 14 Sep 1913

Unlike on the previous census, Ernest stated on the 1911 census that his birthplace was Brook on the Isle of Wight. He also recorded that he and Jane had been married for 9 years and had had 3 children, one of whom had died. Listed below were their two surviving children Frederick Ernest aged 7 and William Arthur aged 2, as well as Jane's 30-year-old married sister, Rosina Leverington. Crossed out by the enumerator is the fact that laundress Rosina was 'apart from husband'. Boarding with them was William Lacey, a worker for the London County Asylum. Ernest wrote that he was working as a general labourer for the Surveyor's department of the Epsom Urban District Council and that they were still living at 4 Common View Cottages, Epsom Common.

On 10 January 1912 their third son Wallace George was born; he was baptised the following month on 23 February in Christ Church. Wallace died in their new home, 48, The Common, Epsom, when he was 7 weeks old and was buried in Epsom cemetery on 4 March 1912 in grave D45.

The next year on 30 July their daughter Nellie Lydia was born; she was baptised in Christ Church on 14 September 1913.

Ernest attested in Kingston on 21 November 1914 aged 34 years and six months. He was 5 feet 11 inches tall, weighed 175 lbs, had a chest measurement of 41 inches with an expansion of 4 inches, and he was a labourer.

His medal record tells us that he went to France on 24 March 1915, and that he was awarded the 1915 Star, British War medal and the Victory medal.

Ernest served in the 2nd Battalion Devonshire Regiment which was in the 23rd Brigade 8th Division. On 1 July at 7.30am they attacked opposite Ovillers La Boisselle, up Mash Valley towards Pozières. They suffered very badly from machine gun fire, but about 70 managed to get into the German trench and hold about 300 yards of it for a couple of hours but they were driven out by counter attacks.

Ovillers Trench Map - click on image to enlarge
Ovillers Trench Map - Click on image to enlarge

On 1 July 1916 four officers and 168 men from the 2nd Devonshire Regiment were killed, including Ernest who is buried in Ovillers Military Cemetery VIII Q 7.

Ernest Cook's Headstone in the Ovillers Military Cemetery
Ernest Cook's Headstone in the Ovillers Military Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2008

Ernest's widow Jane Cook married Frederick William Mead in the later part of 1922 and had another child Arthur George Mead the following year. She died in Cheam, Surrey in 1963 aged 80.

EP CC

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COOK Henry John Hugh, Private. 9098

1st Battalion Leicestershire Regiment.
Killed in Action 15 September 1916, aged 23

H Cook's enscription

Henry John Hugh Cook was born in Ewell on 12 March 1893 (GRO reference Jun 1893 Epsom 2a 18) to Henry and Elizabeth Frances Cook (nee Hugh). His parents married on 20 September 1890 in St. Mary's Church, Ewell.

HENRY JOHN HUGH COOK AND HIS SIBLINGS
Name Born - Died Notes
Esther Rose Born: 1891 Ewell  
Henry John Hugh Born: 12 March 1893 Ewell
Died: 15 September 1916 France
 
Sarah Sophia Margaret Frances Born: 4 January 1895 Ewell
Died: 1988 Tunbridge Wells
Baptised 12 May 1895 St. Martins, Epsom
William David Llewelyn Wilkin Born: 4 December 1896 Ewell Baptised 13 June 1897 St. Martins, Epsom.
Married Madge King 1934 Chessington
Kenrick Walkyn Brinsley Richard Born: July 1898 Ewell
Died: 3 July 1916 France
Served with the Machine Gun Corps
Gwenllian Theodosia Gwendrath Born: 25 July 1900 Ewell
Died: 1977 Kingston
 
Kathleen Dorothea Born: 1903 Ewell  
Guideo Gwytha Leslie Born: 12 April 1906 Ewell  

In the 1901 census the family was living at The Marsh, West Ewell. Henry's father was a 37 year-old bricklayer's labourer. His mother was aged 37 and five siblings were recorded Esther aged 9, Margaret aged 6, William aged 4, Kenrick aged 2 and Gwenllian aged 8 months.

Henry was a pupil at Ewell Boys' School from 1 May 1900 until he left to work on a farm on 8 March 1907, aged 14.

In 1911 Henry's parents and his younger siblings were living at the Outfall Works, Ruxley, West Ewell. His father earned his living working for the Rural Council as a 'Foreman Sewage Farm'.

Henry attested in London on 28 January 1911 into the Leicestershire Regiment, signing on for twelve years, seven years with the Colours and five on the reserve. He was 5 feet 4¾ inches tall, weighed 116 lbs and had a chest measurement of 34 inches with an expansion of 4 inches. He had a fresh complexion, blue eyes, perfect 6/6 vision in both eyes, a small scar on his right thigh and a birth mark on his right buttock. When the 1911 census was taken Henry was an 18 year-old Private soldier at the Glen Parva Barracks, Leicestershire.

Henry's first 3 years and 224 days service were spent in the UK mainly on transport duties. He embarked with the battalion on 8 September 1914 and landed at St. Nazaire, France on 10 September, serving with 'B' Company, 1st Battalion Leicester Regiment, which was in the 71st Brigade, 6th Division.

On the 15th September 1916 the Battle of Flers - Courcellette commenced. This day saw the first use of tanks, which at this time were not very reliable, and of the forty nine that started out twenty six suffered mechanical failure before going into battle. Three tanks were allotted to the 6th Division but only one reached the front line.

The attack commenced at 6.30am. The 1st Leicesters and the 9th Norfolks advanced against Straight Trench, through the 9th Suffolks and the 2nd Sherwood Foresters but sustained many casualties as they met uncut barbed wire and machine gun fire. On the 15 September 1916, 151 men from the 1st Leicestershire Regiment were killed in action or died of wounds.

A younger brother Kenrick Walkyn Brinsley Richard Cook was also killed on the Somme and is also commemorated at Thiepval.

Henry was killed in action on 15 September 1916 and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Pier & Face 2C & 3A.The CWGC states he was Son of Henry and Elizabeth Frances Cook, of The Outfall Works, Ruxley, West Ewell.

Army Form 118A stated that all Henry's personal property should be sent to his father at 'Llansadyrnen House, Outfall Works, Ruxley, West Ewell, Surrey.

Henry was awarded the 1914 Star, the British War medal and the Victory medal.

BH EW ES AS

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COOK Kenrick Walkyn Brinsley Richard, Private. 16826.

14th Company Machine Gun Corps (MGC).
Killed in Action 3 July 1916 aged 18.

K Cook's inscription

Kenrick Walkyn Brinsley Cook was born in Ewell in July 1898 (GRO reference Sep 1898 Epsom 2a 22) to Henry and Elizabeth Frances Cook (nee Hugh).

For information on Kenrick's family see the entry for his brother Henry John Hugh Cook, who was killed in action on 15 September 1916.

Kenrick enlisted in Kingston as Private 10970 in the East Surrey Regiment but was later transferred, as Private 16826, to the 14th Company MGC, part of the 14th Brigade, 32nd Division and went to France on 20 June 1915.

On 3 July 1916, 27 men from the MGC were killed in action or died of wounds when the 14th Brigade attacked the tip of the Leipzig Salient, just south of Thiepval. There was confusion over the starting time so the attack received no artillery support. At 6.15am the German front line was penetrated but they were forced out. They tried again later but with the same result.

Kenrick was killed in action on 3 July 1916, has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the missing. The CWGC states he was the Son of Henry and Elizabeth Frances Cook, of The Outfall Works, Ruxley, West Ewell.

Kenrick was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War medal and the Victory medal.

BH EW ES AS

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COOK, L.



Despite checking all known sources of information, it has proved impossible to establish why the name 'COOK L.' should appear on the Epsom War Memorial in Ashley Road.

If you can shed any light on why the name has been include we would be delighted to hear from you via our Webmaster.

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COOK William Charles (George), Private. 55916.

2nd Battalion Welsh Regiment.
Formerly M1/5546, Army Service Corps (ASC)

Died of Wounds 21 June 1918, aged 23

Private William Cook's headstone in the Pernes British cemetery.
Private William Cook's headstone in the Pernes British cemetery.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2007

William George Cook was born on 2 January 1895 (GRO reference: Mar 1895 Epsom 2a 22), the son of Alice Cook. He was privately baptised William George Glover Cook in St. Mary's church, Ewell, on 17 August 1895. His biological father is unknown but, as William has the name 'Glover' included in his name, it can be surmised that the gentleman's surname may have been Glover.

William's mother Alice, the daughter of George and Harriett Cook, had been baptised in St. Mary's church, Ewell, on 2 September 1871. Alice appears on the 1881 census living at Gibraltar, Ewell with her parents and siblings Rose, George, Thomas Harry and William. Her whereabouts has not been found, for certain, in the 1891 and 1901 censuses.

The 1901 census shows William living with his grandparents, George aged 58, a general labourer, and Harriet aged 64, at Gibraltar, Ewell. Also there on census night was William's uncle George aged 34 and William's cousin Henry Remnant aged 15.

On 1 May 1901 William's grandmother Harriett entered William, having previously attended Ewell Infants School, into the Ewell Boys School.

William's grandfather George died after the 1901 census was taken.

William's mother Alice, claiming to be aged 29 instead of 35, married 22 year-old Verney Patmore Longley on 5 May 1906 at St. Mary's church, Ewell. She gave her address as Gibraltar, Ewell and her father as deceased labourer George Cook. One of her witnesses was Wm. Cook.

On 17 November 1907 William's half brother, Verney Charles Patmore Longley, was baptised in St. Mary's church, Ewell. At the time, Alice and her husband, a carman, were living in Demesne Road, Wallington, Surrey.

William left Ewell Boys School on 3 April 1909 to work for a cycle maker. Aged 16, William was still working as an apprentice motorcycle engineer when the 1911 census was taken. He was boarding with the Miller family in Gibraltar, Ewell. His mother Alice was claiming at this time to be aged 34, instead of 40, and born in Ewell. She was living with her husband Verney and William's half siblings Verney, aged 3, and Clara (Clara Alice Longley), aged 1, at 61 Thorpe Road, Wallington, Surrey. Also listed as living with them, as a 'stepson', was Robert Cook born in 1902 in Sutton, Surrey. However, no GRO birth record matching this information has been found for Robert.

William George Cook and Winifred Florence Mears, born in 1896, married in 1916. I have not found any GRO birth references for children born to them.

William enlisted in London into the 8th Divisional Signal company ASC with service number M1/5546, and went to France with them on 5th November 1914. He later transferred to the 17th Battalion Welsh Regiment with service number 55916. The 17th Welsh was disbanded on 9th February 1918 and William was sent to the 2nd Battalion Welsh Regiment which was in the 3rd Brigade, 1st Division. At the time of William's death his unit was not engaged in any major battles, they were 'holding the line'. Even in 'quiet' periods, men were killed by shelling and sniping.

William died of wounds on 21 June 1918 and was buried at Pernes in grave V. B. 44. The CWGC states he was the 'Husband of W. F. Cook 43, Clarence Road, Sutton, Surrey'.

Pernes British cemetery was started in April 1918 by the 1st and 4th Canadian Casualty Clearing Stations (CCS), continued from May 1918 by the 6th and 22nd CCS, and in August by the 13th CCS.

William is shown as William Charles on the St. Mary's church memorial (which I believe to be wrong), but W.G. Cook on the Ewell Dipping Well memorial. He is shown as having served as a driver in the ASC on the Dipping Well, but is shown as being in the Welsh Regiment by the CWGC.

The Soldiers died CD also has William George, born in Ewell, living in Sutton, and as having served in the Welsh Regiment.

William was awarded the 1914 Star, the British War medal and the Victory medal.

BH EW ES

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COOKE Percy Jesse, Private. 10035.

1st Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.
Killed in Action 26 April 1915, aged 24.

Percy Jesse Cooke was born in 1891 in Redhill, Surrey (GRO reference: Sep 1891 Reigate 2a 166) to Jesse and Emma Cooke (nee Humphrey). Percy's parents had married in the September 1890 quarter in the Reigate registration district.

In the 1901 census the family lived at Wray Mill, Wray Common, Reigate, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wray_Common_Mill,_Reigate. The head of the family was Percy's 73 year old widowed grandmother, Mary. She is recorded as a farmer, cow keeper and an employer. Also living at the mill were Percy's parents, Jesse aged 32, a bread maker, and 36 year old Emma. Four of Percy's siblings were recorded, Edith Mary aged 8, Leonard Walter aged 6, Kathleen Mabel aged 4 and Isabel Annie aged 3.

In 1911 Percy was living with his father at 'China Side' Greenford Road, Sutton, and was working as a baker's carman. His father was then a master baker, employer, so presumably Percy was working in his father's bakery business. His mother is recorded as living at 'Woodleigh' St Johns Road, Earlswood. The term 'wife' has been struck out and replaced by 'head', so perhaps Percy's parents had separated? Also living there were Percy's siblings, Edith, Kathleen and Isabel. His mother stated that she had given birth to seven children and that six were still living. I have been unable to establish who the other two siblings were.

Percy's service record papers did not survive the 1940 Blitz, so we have little information about him, but we know that he served in the 1st battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. This battalion was in the 87th Brigade, 29th Division. The 29th Division was formed in early 1915 from battalions of the Regular Army that had been manning overseas garrisons, so Percy was probably a regular soldier.

The 29th Division sailed from Avonmouth in March 1915, via Egypt, to arrive at Cape Helles, Gallipoli on 25 April 1915. The CWGC and the 'Soldiers Died' CD tell us that Percy was killed in action the next day along with five others. (Note: St Martin's church roll of honour has the date as 10 May). Percy's death was probably caused by gun fire or shelling, but some men did drown when getting ashore from the landing ships. Between 26 April and 31 August 1915, the 1st Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers lost 394 men.

The St Martin's church Roll of Honour states that:
PERCY JESSE COOKE, was killed in action at Gallipoli on 10th May 1915.
Percy has no known grave and is commemorated on the Helles Memorial to the missing on the tip of the Gallipoli Peninsular, Turkey. The memorial commemorates over 20,000 men who died on Gallipoli who have no known grave.

The Helles Memorial to the missing
The Helles Memorial to the missing
Two views of the Helles Memorial to the missing
Images courtesy of Debbie Wilbur © 2012

Percy was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War medal and the Victory medal.

The CWGC states that he was the 'Son of the late Jesse and Emma Cooke of 11, Hook Road, Epsom.

Percy's father Jesse died, aged 54 and was buried in plot F335 in Epsom cemetery, on 8 August 1919. He had died in the Workhouse Infirmary. His mother Emma died, aged 64 and was also buried in plot F335 in Epsom cemetery, on 20 February 1929. She had died at 11, Hook Road.

EP SM

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COOKE Walter Henry, Private. 18243.

8th Battalion East Surrey Regiment.
Killed in Action 1 July 1916 aged 19.

Walter Cooke's inscription on the Thiepval memorial
Walter Cooke's inscription on the Thiepval memorial
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2008

Walter Henry Cooke was born in 1897 (GRO reference: Mar 1897 Winchester 2c 125) in Headbourn Worthy, Winchester, Hampshire. Walter was the eldest son and child of Walter and Emily Ada Cooke, nee Kippen, who had married in Epsom in 1896.

Although born in Wandsworth, Walter's mother Emily and her sister Frances had both been bought up in Woodcote Road, Epsom by their spinster aunt, Ann Baker. Walter's grandfather, Henry Kippen, was a cab driver in London but had been born in Epsom.

Walter Henry Cooke, His Siblings And Half Sibling
Name Born - Died Notes
Walter Henry Born: 1897 Winchester
Died: 1 July 1916 France
 
Charles Frederick William Born: 1898 Epsom Referred to as William
Cecil Arthur Born: 7 January 1900 Epsom Baptised 18 March 1900
Rose Ada Born: 1901 Epsom No baptism found
May Peggy Born: 1910 Epsom Half sibling

Why Walter Henry was born in the Winchester area is unknown but Walter's brother Charles Frederick William was born in 1898 in Epsom. Known as William, he was baptised by Reverend John Samuel in St. Martin of Tours church, Epsom on 12 June 1898. The family address was recorded as just 'Carters Cottage' and his father's occupation as a stableman.

On 7 January 1900 Walter's brother Cecil Arthur was born. When he was baptised on 18 March 1900 in St. Martins, the family address was noted as 6, Loop Road.

They were still living at 6, Loop Road when the 1901 census was taken but only Walter's parents and his brothers William and Cecil were recorded as being there that night. Walter, recorded as Henry W. Cooke, was staying with his great aunt Ann Baker and cousin Ivy Cole (daughter of his aunt Frances), at 1, Woodcote Cottages, Woodcote Road, Epsom. His place of birth was recorded as Headbourn Worthy, Winchester, Hampshire. His aunt ran a lodging house from her home.

Walter's sister Rose Ada was born in late 1901 in Epsom.

On 24 January 1905 Walter's 39-year-old father was admitted in to the Epsom Union Workhouse. He was later discharged on 18 April 1905, into the care of the Brookwood Asylum, a hospital for pauper lunatics in Woking, where he soon died.

Aged 33, Walter's widowed mother married 25-year-old stableman Ernest Edward Millson in the Epsom registration district in 1908 and in 1910 their daughter May Peggy was born. When the 1911 census was taken Walter along with his mother, stepfather Ernest and sisters Rose Ada and May were living at 25, Lower Court Road, Epsom, Surrey. Walter was aged 14 and working as a baker's errand boy. His birthplace was recorded as Winchester. His brothers William and Cecil were recorded as being wards of St. Edward's Home for Boys in Huntingdon, Hunts.

Walter's aunt Frances Cole and her family had been living with his great aunt Ann Baker when she died in her home 1, Woodcote Cottages, Woodcote Road, Epsom; she was buried in Epsom cemetery on 12 April 1913.

Walter attested at Epsom on 25 November 1915, and although only aged 18, he gave his age as 19. At 5 feet 2½ inches tall, weighing 91 lbs, with a chest measurement of 32 inches with a 2 inch expansion, he was a very small man. He lived at 1, Woodcote Cottage, Woodcote Road, Epsom and worked as a grocer.

Walter served in the 8th Battalion East Surrey Regiment, which was in the 55th Brigade 18th Division. July 1 1916 saw the start of the Battle of the Somme, dubbed 'The Big Push', which was intended to break through the German lines and deliver a knock out blow to the German Army. In that respect the attack failed as the lines were not broken and only a relatively small amount of ground had been taken by the end of the battle some four months later. The cost in lives was huge. On the first day the British had some 20,000 men killed. The costliest day in the entire history of the British army.

Walter's battalion attacked towards the small village of Montauban, which by noon they had reached. One of the officers attached to the 8th East Surreys was Captain Wilfred Percy Nevill. The young men of the battalion had never before been in battle and Captain Nevill realised that they would be under great stress and very apprehensive about what might happen to them in the coming battle. To help take their minds off the dangers ahead he bought four footballs, one for each of his platoons. The idea was that they would dribble the balls across no mans land, and he would give a prize for the first platoon to reach the German lines. The prize would never be claimed, as Captain Nevill was killed during the attack.

Walter was awarded the British War medal and the Victory medal.

On 1 July 1916 six officers and 133 men from the 8th East Surreys were killed, including Walter who is commemorated on pier 6B of the Thiepval memorial.

The St. Martin's church Roll of Honour states that:
WALTER HENRY COOKE, was killed in action near Carnoy on the 1st July 1916.
Walter's mother died in the Epsom County Hospital and was buried in Epsom cemetery on 6 August 1942.

EP SM

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COOMBES, Harry Frederick, Private. D/14060.

2nd Dragoon Guards (Queen's Bays).
Killed in Action 25 March 1918, aged 29.

Harry's inscription on the Pozières Memorial to the missing
Harry's inscription on the Pozières Memorial to the missing
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2012

Harry Frederick Coombes was born in 1889 in Leatherhead Surrey (GRO Reference: Mar 1889 Epsom 2a 29), son of George and Mary Coombes (nee Talman).

In 1891, aged 2, Harry was living in "Gillhams Lodge" near Ewell Road, Cuddington, Surrey with his parents and older siblings Charlotte aged 16, Alice aged 14, Thomas aged 12, Lucy aged 10, Elizabeth aged 7 and 4 year old Ethel. His father George worked as an agricultural labourer to support his family. The next year another sister, Ada, was born.

By 1901 the family had moved to number 2, New Farm Cottage, near Christ Church, Epsom where Harry's father George and brother Thomas were working as carters. Boarding with them were labourers Alfred Blackman aged 24 and Frederick Blackman aged 20.

The family had moved again by the time the 1911 census was taken. As head of the household Harry's father George filled in the census form stating that he and his wife were both aged 60 and had been married for 38 years during which time they had had eight children and all were still living. He also noted that he worked as a carter on Horton Asylum's farm and lived at 265, Hook Road, Epsom, Surrey with his wife Mary, sons Harry and Tom, Tom's wife and 2 granddaughters.

Harry now aged 22 was working as a painter at the Grand Stand on Epsom Downs while his brother Tom was working as a carman for the Epsom Urban Council.

Harry is commemorated on the Horton Mental Hospital Roll of Honour, so at some point after 1911 he went to work at Horton Asylum.

Harry's service record does not appear to have survived but we know from the Surrey Recruitment Register that Harry attested in Epsom on 2 September 1914 into the Dragoons. He gave his age as 25 years and 10 months. He was 5 feet 11 inches tall, weighed 166 lbs and had a chest measurement of 39 inches with an expansion of 4 inches. He had a fresh complexion, blue eyes, dark brown hair and worked as a labourer.

Harry was assigned to the 2nd Dragoon Guards and given service number GS/11747, which was later changed to D/14060. Harry's medal card tells us that he went to France on 17 October 1915 and that he was killed in action on 25 March 1918. However the LCC RECORD OF WAR SERVICE book states that he was killed 17 months after going to France, which means that he would have gone to France in August 1916. The LCC record also tells us he probably fell at Montauban (a front line village taken at great cost in British lives on the first day of the 1916 Battle of the Somme). The great German offensive known as the kaiserschlacht, launched on 21 March 1918 to try to win the war before the Americans arrived in force, was four days old when Harry was killed in action.

Probate was later given to his father George on 30 August with his effects being worth £198 0s 9d. Harry's home address was shown as 11, Horton Hill Road, Epsom, Surrey.

Harry is remembered on parent's grave in Epsom Cemetery
Harry is remembered on parent's grave in Epsom Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2012

In March 1920 Harry's name was included in a provisional list of names for the proposed St Martin of Tours church's war memorial; however it was not included in the final memorial.

Harry has no known grave and is commemorated on the Pozières Memorial to the missing. He was awarded the 1915 Star, British War medal and the Victory medal.

The Pozières Memorial to the missing
The Pozières Memorial to the missing
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2012

EP HWH EB PG

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COOPER Ernest, Rifleman. S/2595.

3rd Battalion, Rifle Brigade
Killed in Action 11 October 1918, aged 23

Rifleman Cooper's inscription at the Romeries Communal Cemetery Extension, France
Rifleman Cooper's inscription at the Romeries Communal Cemetery Extension, France
Copyright image courtesy of Clive Gilbert 2007

Ernest Cooper was born in Ewell in 1895 (GRO reference: Sep 1895 Epsom 2a 78) the youngest child of William and Charlotte Cooper (nee West). His parents had married on 12 May 1883 in St. Mary's church Ewell. Ernest was baptised there on 14 July 1895.

In the 1901 census the family lived at 4, Rosebery Terrace, Heatherside Road, Ewell. Ernest's father was a 'Brickfield Labourer'. He had two older sisters and an older brother, Ada Annie age 14, Edith age 13, and William age 8. Edith was staying with her uncle George Cooper at 2, Elm Villas, Clarence Road, Sutton.

Ernest was a member of the local All Saints church choir. When the 1911 census was taken, Ernest and his brother William were living with their parents at 15, Elm Cottage, Heatherside Road, West Ewell. His parents stated they had had four children during their 27 year marriage and all were still living. Ernest's brother William was working as a Carter on a farm and Ernest himself, aged 15, was working as a domestic groom.

On 8 September 1914, Ernest, aged 19 years and 4 months, completed his 'Short Service Attestation' Army form at Caxton Hall in Westminster, thereby agreeing to serve for the duration of the war. His 'Trade or Calling' was that of an engineer, and his next of kin was his father William George. They lived at Elm Cottage, Heatherside Road, West Ewell.

Ernest was 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighed 150 lbs, had a chest measurement of 35½ inches with an expansion of 2 inches, his eyes were blue and both had perfect 6/6 vision. He had a fresh complexion and light brown hair. Distinguishing marks were a 'scar over left buttock', and a 'mole on left shoulder'. His physical development was described as 'good', and he was duly declared as 'fit for the Army'.

His 'Military History Sheet' revealed his general whereabouts during the war as follows;
Home 8/9/14 to 21/7/15
BX Force 22/7/15 to 19/9/16
Home 20/9/16 to 19/1/17
BEF 20/1/17 to 11/10/18

Army form B121 revealed that on 7/2/15, he committed an offence, quoting; Blackdown. Offence. When on active service, inattention on the range --- firing at the wrong target. Witness, Cpl Dow. Forfeit 3 days pay. The form also tells us his religion was C of E.

The 'Burnt' papers at the National Archives reveal quite a lot of information about Ernest, which is listed here chronologically.

Nov 1914 Inoculated twice. Vaccinated successfully.
May 1915 Two teeth extracted
21/7/15 Embarked Folkestone with Battalion
23/7/16 Appointed L/Cpl
3/9/16 Wounded in action. GSW right hand
5/9/16 Admitted Australian General Hospital, Rouen
10/9/16 Arrived 47 RB Depot, Havre
17/9/16 Rejoined Battalion in the field
18/9/16 Wounded in action. GSW chin
20/9/16 Returned to England from Rouen
21/9/16 Admitted 2nd Western General hospital. Shrapnel wounds, left hip and chin and small superficial wounds
17/11/16 Discharged after 58 days in hospital
19/1/17 Embarked Southampton
20/1/17 Disembarked Le Havre, posted to 2 Battalion
15/2/17 Posted to 3 Battalion
24/2/17 Joined and posted to 'D' coy
29/3/17 Reverted to private rifleman for
1. Withdrawing a working party without permission
2. Neglect of duty whilst i/c of a post i.e. allowing his men to idle.
25/6/17 Awarded 14 days FP No. 2 for using obscene language to a NCO
2/2/18 Granted leave to England from 2/2/18 to 16/2/18
24/2/18 Rejoined from leave
23/3/18 Missing in action - now reported wounded
30/3/18 Admitted. Shell Wound ankle, left. Rouen
30/4/18 Proceeded to join 3 RB in the field
5/8/18 Wounded in action
10/8/18 Admitted, GSW right leg
25/8/18 30 CCS
30/8/18 To duty
1/9/18 Rejoined Battalion
13/10/18 KIA (NOTE: This is 2 days later than CWGC date)

The 3rd Battalion Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort's Own), was in the 17th Brigade 24th Division. Towards the end of 1918 the final battles on the Western Front were taking place. The 3rd Rifle Brigade were fighting in 'The pursuit to the Selle' between 9 and 12 October.

On the 11 October 1918 thirty four men from the 3rd Rifle Brigade lost their lives including Ernest, killed in action, and was buried in Romeries Communal Cemetery Extension, 111 B 19.

Ernest's mother acknowledged receipt of his effects on 15 February 1919. They consisted of: Mirror, P. Cards, Newspaper cuttings, Religious book, Pendant, Photo case, Cards, Wallet and Photos. She also wanted to know what had happened to his cigarette case and watch.

Although no definitive record has been found, Ernest's father must have died before 15 February 1918, as Army Form B.104-126 shows his mother as a widow.

Army Form W 5080, dated 19 May 1919 lists living relatives. The form lists his mother, brother William and sisters Ada Webb and Edith Cooper.

Ernest was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War medal and the Victory medal.

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COOPER William Augustus, Sergeant. 455.

7th Battalion The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment).
Died 8 August 1919, aged 32.


William's inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
William's inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2016

Few records have survived for William, so little is known about him. William's GRO death entry tells us that he was aged 32 when he died in the Epsom registration district. This would mean that he was born around 1887, but no birth record has been found for him. Neither is there an entry for William in the Soldiers Died CD.

No likely census returns have been found.

William's medal card states that he was awarded the 1915 Star, British War medal and the Victory medal. William landed at Boulogne, France, with his battalion on 27 July 1915, part of the 55th Brigade, 18th Division.

William's 'Soldiers Effects' record tells us that he died from malaria and that he left a widow, Edith.

William died in Horton War Hospital on 8 August 1919 and was buried in Grave K654 in Epsom Cemetery on 14 August. He shares the grave with three other soldiers and is commemorated on the Screen Wall.

CWGC

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COPPARD William Thomas, Private. 18424.

1st Battalion Grenadier Guards.
Killed in Action 10 September 1916, aged 36.

William's inscription on the Thiepval Memorial to the missing
William's inscription on the Thiepval Memorial to the missing
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2012

William Thomas Coppard was born in 1879 in Beddington, Surrey (GRO reference Sep 1879 Croydon 2a 277), the son of Alfred and Maria Coppard. I have been unable to find a marriage reference for William's parents around the time that their first child, Minnie Maria, was born. However, on 4 September 1898, in St Mary's Church, Reigate, Alfred Coppard (bachelor) and Maria Jones (spinster) married. I suspect that the reason for their delayed marriage will never be known, but may have had something to do with the death of their son Edward in India earlier that year.

In the 1871 census, before William was born, the family lived at St. John's Terrace, Earlswood Road, Reigate, Surrey. William's father was a 29 year old carpenter, his mother was aged 26 and sibling Minnie Maria was aged one.

William Thomas Coppard And His Siblings
Name Born - Died Notes
Minnie Maria Born: 1869 Reigate Married Phillip Streeter 30 September 1899, Croydon, Surrey
Edward Alfred Born: 1872 Hampstead
Died: 15 March 1898 India
Served 2nd Battalion Sussex Regiment. Pte No. 3855
Frederick Charles Born: 1874 St Pancras Married Alice Scrivener 29 June 1895, Selhurst, Surrey
Beatrice Elizabeth Born: 1876 Hampstead
Died: 1883 Croydon
 
Ethel Maud Born: 24 May 1877 St Pancras Living at 80 Southampton Road, Kentish Town when born
William Thomas Born: 1879 Beddington
Died: 10 September 1916 France
 
Muriel Florence Born: 1882 Wallington Married George Marchant 1903

Between the 1871 and 1881 census it appears that the family lived in various areas of London, with children being born in Hampstead and St. Pancras, but by 1881 they lived at 8, Frances Road, Beddington.

The 1891 census shows that the family had moved to 5, Gladstone Road, Croydon. William's father, now aged 49 was still working as a carpenter. Nineteen year old brother Edward was working as a 'plumber's assistant', and seventeen year old brother Frederick was working as an 'oilman's assistant'. Only William's parents were living at this address ten years later.

In 1901 William was boarding with John and Emily Leutchford at 1, The Accacias, Moreland Road, Croydon along with another boarder Frederick J Crupp. Both William and Frederick were working as 'timber labourers'.

A year after his father's death in 1910, William, in the 1911 census, was living as a boarder with the Brewer family, at 28 Providence Place, Epsom. He was still single at the age of 32 and was working as a carter for the Epsom Urban District Council. His 67 year old mother Maria was lodging with the Howell family at 73 Gloucester Road, Croydon.

William was one of the first to join up when war was declared, attesting in Epsom on 28 August 1914 into the Grenadier Guards and stating his age as 34 years and 2 months. He was 5 feet 10¾ inches tall, weighed 170lbs and had a chest measurement of 37½ inches with an expansion of 2½ inches. He had a dark complexion, dark brown eyes and dark brown hair. He stated he had been born in Beddington and worked as a 'carman'.

William went to France on 16 March 1915 with the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, which was in the third Guards Brigade in the Guards Division. The Battalion fought in the 1916 Battle of the Somme, and on 9 September 1916 the Battalion moved from Carnoy to Bernafay Wood in readiness to move into the front line the next day. The following is an extract from the Battalion War Diary:
10 September 1916. 7a.m. No.2 moved up to ARROW HEAD COPSE in support of 4 Batt Gren Gds on R of Brigade. At 9a.m. No.3 moved into front line E of GINCHY, relieving elements of 16th Div. coming under orders of O.C. 1 Batt Welsh Gds at 2p.m. remainder of Batt was sent up to Guillimont under orders of O.C. 1 Batt Welsh Gds. No. 3 being attacked 9.55pm - 12.50 am 11 Sept and driven off with heavy loss to the enemy. Kings Comp and No. 4 moved into the front line N of Ginchy.
The Soldiers Died CD tells us that 50 men from the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards lost their lives on 10 September 1916, and as can be seen from the War Diary these losses were incurred whilst taking over the front line and beating off German attacks.

Trench Map - click image to enlarge
Trench Map - click image to enlarge

William is one of the over 72,000 men killed in the 1916 Somme battle who have no known grave, and is consequently commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the missing.

William's mother died in 1919, which perhaps explains why his medals were claimed by his brother Frederick on 25 October 1920, whilst living at 89, Denmark Road, South Norwood. William was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War medal and the Victory medal.

William appears on the Ashley Road memorial, but his name is not in its correct place in alphabetical sequence on the five panels bearing the names of the fallen. Three men are named out of sequence, Coppard, Pink and Regan, all appearing on the central panel. Presumably they were not on the original list for some reason.

William did not marry and by the time memorials were being considered, both his parents were dead. In 1911 he had been lodging in Epsom with the Brewer family. Did they belatedly decide his name should appear on the memorial? We will probably never know.

EP

Note: William's medal card shows his service number as 18424, but underneath this number is written faintly, another number, which could be read as 19424 or 19464. The Ancestry website shows 19424 but the National Archive website has it as 19464 and the CWGC has 18424.

To further confuse the issue there is another Grenadier Guardsman with the name Coppard. He is William Arthur Coppard. His medal card shows his service number as 22642 with the Grenadier Guards, but later changes to WR 332151 when he transfered to the Royal Engineers. He does not appear on the CWGC website, so presumably he survived the war.

However, the Soldiers Died CD appears to have confused William Thomas Coppard number 18424, KIA 10 September 1916, with Grenadier Guardsman William Arthur Coppard, number 22642, named above.

Both medal cards are shown below.

Both Coppard medal cards - click image to enlarge
Both Coppard medal cards - click image to enlarge
Image courtesy of Ancestry.co.uk (Link opens in a new window)
Copyright 2009, The Generations Network, Inc. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.
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CORBETT Fred, Sergeant. 6705.

2nd Battalion Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment)
Killed in Action 12 October 1916, aged 34.

Fred's inscription on the Thiepval Memorial to the missing
Fred's inscription on the Thiepval Memorial to the missing
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

Fred Corbett was born in Ashtead, Surrey on 6 September 1883 (GRO reference: Dec 1883 Epsom 2a 18) to Henry and Judith Eliza Corbett (nee Roffey). Fred was baptised in St Giles church, Ashtead on 7 October 1883. His parents married on 31 August 1872 in St Martin of Tours church, Epsom.

FRED CORBETT AND HIS SIBLINGS
Name Born - Died Notes
William Henry Born: 1873 Ashtead  
James Born: 1875 Ashtead Baptised 2 May 1875 St Giles Ashtead
George Born: 1878 Ashtead Served Northants Regiment
Mary Eliza Born: 1881 Ashtead Married Henry E Skilton 1911
Fred Born: 6 September 1883 Ashtead
Died: 12 October 1916 France
Baptised 7 October 1883 St Giles Ashtead

When the 1891 census was taken the family was living in Ashtead Street. Fred's 40 year old father was a brewer's drayman. His mother, 39 year old Judith, was a patient in Guys Hospital (wrongly described as having been born in Limehouse). Fred's siblings were Henry aged 18 working as a gardener, James aged 16 working as a butcher's assistant, George aged 12 and Mary aged 8. Fred was aged 7.

The family had moved to '2, The Mays' Woodfield Lane Ashtead when the 1901 census was taken on the evening of 31 March. Fred's father Henry was aged 50 and was working as a cellar man for a brewer. His mother Judith was aged 49, and his sister Mary aged 19 was working as a general domestic servant. Fred was aged 17 and working as a stable boy groom.

On 16 April 1901, in London, Fred was given an Army medical examination. He was 5 feet 5¾ inches tall, weighed at 120lbs, had a 32 inch chest with 2 inch expansion, a fresh complexion, hazel eyes, brown hair, and was considered 'fit'.

Two weeks later on 29 April 1901, Fred aged 18 years 7 months, enlisted into the West Riding Regiment signing on for 12 years, to serve 7 years with the Colours followed by 5 years on the reserve. However, he was later allowed to extend his time with the colours by another year to 8 years, and then on 25 April 1913 to extend his time on the reserve by another 4 years. He gave his occupation as a Groom and his religion as Church of England. Fred joined his battalion at Halifax as Private 6705.

Fred was a Regular Army soldier who was sent to South Africa shortly after the Boer War had ended. He later fought and died in the Great War. His surviving (burnt) service papers list his movements as follows:
Home: 29 April 1901 to 1 June 1902
South Africa: 2 June 1902 to 7 September 1902
East Indies: 8 September 1902 to 8 January 1909
Home: 9 January 1909 to 6 March 1909
Reserve: 7 March 1909 to 4 August 1914
Home: 5 August 1914 to 9 August 1914
France: 10 August 1914 to 12 October 1916.
Fred's service to the Army totalled 15 years and 167 days.

On 26 April 1904 he obtained his 3rd class Education Certificate.

Fred's mother Judith died in 1908 aged 56.

On 6 March 1909, aged 26 years and 5 months, Fred was transferred to the Army reserve. The Army once again measured and described him, as follows: Height, 5 feet 7½ inches; chest measurement 35 inches; waist 32½inches; complexion, fresh; eyes, hazel; hair, brown. His 'Exact size of helmet' was 21, and his 'Exact size and magnitude of boots' was 6.3. His trade was 'groom' and his home address was 'The Mays' Ashtead.

It was whilst he was home, still on the Army reserve, that he joined the Epsom Post Office as a postman and on the 2 August 1910 his name appeared as such in 'The London Gazette'.

The 1911 census records the family living at 'The Mays' Woodfield Lane, Ashtead. Fred's 60 year old father, now a widower, was still working as a brewer's labourer; Fred was working as a postman, his brother George was a labourer but his 29 year old sister has no occupation recorded. The family had a lodger, 24 year old William Denyer, a carter.

On 6 July 1912 at St Giles parish church Ashtead, Fred married spinster Rhoda Elizabeth Cook. Reverend R. A. Waddelove married them and Fred's brother James was a witness.

Their only child, Frederick Bernard Corbett, was born on 4 April 1913.

At 11pm on 4 August 1914, Britain declared war on Germany and on 5 August, as a reservist, Fred was recalled to the colours. He was mobilised at Halifax and landed in France on 10 August 1914, one of the first to land and an 'Old Contemptible'.

On 19 September 1914 Fred received a GSW (Gun Shot wound) to his hand and was admitted to hospital on 22 September. His wife Rhoda was notified of the casualty on 12 October 1914 and then notified that her husband was in the Versailles hospital on 29 October 1914. But Fred had returned to duty on 7 October 1914.

Fred's medical records also show that on 9 August 1915 he was classified as permanently unfit with defective teeth, despite having had 3 teeth removed back in 1906 in Calcutta. On 23 October 1915 Fred was made 'Acting Corporal while Postman'. He was eventually fitted with dentures on 31 January 1916 and demoted back to Private. His 'teeth' still gave him problems and on 21 February he had 'gastritis-teeth' marked on his medical sheet.

Fred was promoted to unpaid Lance Corporal on 28 March 1916 and then to Corporal on 3 July 1916. On 28 September 1916 he was promoted again, to Sergeant.

Fred was first reported as 'wounded', then as 'wounded and missing' and then finally 'killed in action on or around 12 October 1916'.

At the time Fred was killed his battalion was in the 12th Brigade, 4th Division which fought in the Battle of the Transloy Ridges, a phase of the Battle of the Somme. The Battalion was ordered to attack Spectrum Trench, situated between the villages of Lesboeufs and Le Transloy. They managed to force their way into the trench but at the cost of the lives of 120 men killed in action with another 5 dying of wounds a few days later.

Records held show a notification on 9 January 1917 that a separation allowance of 14s 2d and an allotment of pay 5s 10d, a total of 20s (£1.00) was still being paid to Rhoda.

Part of a letter from Fred's widow Rhoda to the War Office:
I should also like to know if there is any possibility of any of his belongings being returned to me. I have had nothing so far.
I'm sorry to trouble you with questions, but could you inform me how my husband gained his 'Mention in Dispatches' July 1916, he could not tell me by letter on account of the censor. I should be grateful for information.
Yours truly,
R. E Corbett (Mrs)
A letter from the No.2 Infantry Record Office in York was sent in reply on 20 February 1918, saying that no effects had been found nor was there any record of Fred being 'Mention in Dispatches'.

Another letter was sent 16 May 1919 requesting the names and addresses of Fred's remaining family, so that Fred's scroll and plaque could be dispatched. The form was filled in and returned on 22 May 1919:
Widow: R. E. Corbett - 25 Grove Road., Ashtead.
Children: Frederick Bernard Corbett - 25 Grove Road., Ashtead.
Father: Henry Corbett - Station Road, Ashtead.
Brothers: Harry Corbett aged 46 - Rectory Lane, Ashtead.
  George Corbett aged 40 - Station Road, Ashtead.
  James Corbett aged 42 - Albert Road, Epsom.
Sister: Mrs M Skilton aged 35 - Station Road, Ashtead.
Fred has no known grave and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, on the Pier and Face 6A and 6B.

Fred was awarded the 1914 Star and Clasp, Victory Medal and the British War medal.

The CWGC states that he was the:
Son of Henry Corbett, of Woodfield Lane, Ashtead; husband of Rhoda E. Corbett, of 25, Grove Road, Ashtead.
Fred is commemorated Epsom Sorting Office Memorial, East Street, Epsom and on the Ashtead Memorial.

ESO

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CORN Harold Frank, Rifleman. 652738.

2/21st Battalion, (County of London) Surrey Rifles. Formerly 3147, East Surrey Regt.
Killed in Action 13 December 1917, aged 22.

Harold Frank Corn was born on 4 June 1895 in Stoke Newington (GRO reference: Jun 1895 Edmonton 3a 330), the only surviving child of Frank William and Maria Corn. His father, aged 28, had married Maria Buswell, who was five years his senior, in September 1894 in All Saints in Cuddesdon in Oxfordshire. Harold was privately baptised on 7 June 1895 in St. Mary's church in Hornsey, Haringey, London.

The family had moved by 1901 from 'Newland', Carysfort Road in Haringey, London to 'Stoneleigh Villa', London Road, Ewell, Surrey. Harold's father worked as a clerk in the Stewart's Office in Lincoln's Inn. They employed one domestic servant.

Aged fifteen, Harold was attending All Saints School, Bloxham, Banbury, Oxon when the 1911 census was taken. His parents were then living at 'Fairlight', London Road, Ewell, Surrey. His father filled the census form in stating that he was aged 45 and his wife of 16 years was aged 50. He also stated that they had had 2 children but one had died.

When Harold was killed he was serving with the 2/21st Battalion London Regiment (First Surrey Rifles), which was affiliated to the East Surrey Regiment. The 2/21st Battalion was in the 181st Brigade, 60th Division. Harold's service number with the Battalion was originally 5951, but when the Territorial forces were renumbered with six digits, in March 1917 his number was changed to 652738, and according to the Soldiers Died CD, he was formerly in the East Surreys, with service number 3147.

On 8-9 December 1917 the 60th Division fought in the capture of Jerusalem from the Turkish Army. Harold was killed in action on 13 December, the only man from his battalion to be killed in action that day, probably by shellfire. He is buried in grave P.86 in Jerusalem War Cemetery, Israel.

The Epsom Advertiser dated 18 January 1918 reported that the Council had resolved to send a letter of sympathy to his father, Mr F.W. Corn.

Harold was awarded the British War medal and the Victory medal.

Probate of his effects valued at £307 16s. 5d. was granted to his father Frank William Corn, society clerk.

Harold's mother Maria died on 23 March 1934; his father Frank remained at their home 'Fairlight', 137 London Road, Ewell, Surrey until his death on 28 March 1952.

Harold is remembered on the St Mary's Cuddington memorial and the All Saints School, Bloxham war memorial. http://bloxhamschoolwardead.co.uk/

SMC

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CORRIGAN Albert Victor Ernest, 442038. L/Cpl.

7th Battalion Canadian Infantry.
Died 27 March 1917, aged 25.

Albert's inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
Albert's inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert

Albert Victor Ernest Corrigan was born in Killerig, Ireland on 21 August 1891, the son of Thomas and Jane Mary Adelaide Corrigan (nee Arundell).

ALBERT VICTOR ERNEST CORRIGAN AND HIS SIBLINGS
NameBorn - DiedNotes
Thomas ArthurBorn: 1874 Killerig
Died: 1956 Middlesex
 
Mary AdelaideBorn: 1875
Died: 1946 Dublin
 
ElizabethBorn: 1878 Killerig
Died: 1952 Los Angeles
Married Arnold W. Houghton
Henrietta JaneBorn: 1881 Killerig
Died: 1941 Chicago
Married Walter Herbert Marrs 1908, Canada
William FrederickBorn: 1884 Killerig
Died: 1970 Kildare
Married Sara Adeline Burgess 1913, Canada
Albert Victor ErnestBorn: 21 August 1891 Killerig
Died: 27 March 1917 Epsom
 

The 1901 census records the family living at a 'house 23 in Killerig, Carlow'. Albert's parents were both aged 52 and his father was described as a farmer. His siblings were recorded as Elizabeth aged 22, Henrietta aged 20 and Frederick aged 16. Also living there was his cousin Dorothy O'Neil, aged 7 and Thomas Murphy, aged 50, a servant.

On 5 May 1904 Albert's sisters, Elizabeth and Henrietta, sailed from Liverpool to Quebec, Montreal, Canada, aboard SS Canada. At an unknown date Elizabeth returned home.

On 25 April 1909 Albert's siblings, Elizabeth and William Frederick, sailed from Queenstown, Ireland, to New York, U.S.A., aboard SS Arabic. Their recorded destination was Toronto, Ontario, Canada where the previous year, on 9 June their sister Henrietta married Walter Herbert Marrs.

In 1911 the family was living at a 'house 22 in Killerig, Carlow'. Albert's parents were now aged 62 and his father was still a farmer. Previously the religion of all he family had been recorded as Church of Ireland, but now his mother's religion was Plymouth Brethren. Sarah Walsh aged 19, a servant was living there on census night but none of Albert's siblings were. Albert's mother stated that she had been married for 37 years and that all her six children were still living.

At some point during the next year Albert's sister Elizabeth returned home again. On 19 October 1912 Albert and Elizabeth sailed from Liverpool to Montreal, Canada, aboard SS Teutonic. Elizabeth arrived on her own in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in June 1913. It was recorded that she intended to join her fiancé, Arnold W. Houghton, who lived in Ohio, U.S.A.

The death of Albert's father, aged 66, was recorded in the March quarter of 1915 in the Carlow registration district. On 17 April 1915, Albert's 66 year-old mother, Jane Mary Adelaide, sailed from Liverpool to New York aboard SS New York, travelling to stay with her son-in-law Walter Herbert Marrs in Winipeg.

Albert attested on 31 May 1915 in Vernon, British Columbia, Canada and was medically examined on 22 June 1915. He was 5 feet 11 inches tall with a chest measurement of 39 inches and an expansion of 5 inches. He had a dark complexion, blue eyes, dark brown hair and four vaccination marks on his left arm and worked as a clerk. Strangely his religion is shown as Church of England.

On 31 July 1915 Albert was at Shorncliffe Military Camp, Kent. Towards the end of 1915 he was admitted to Shorncliffe Military Hospital, suffering with Gonorrhoea and on 15 December 1915 he was transferred to Barnwell Military Hospital, Cambridge, a hospital specialising in the treatment of venereal disease.

Starting 1 February 1916, Albert assigned 15 Canadian dollars per month from his pay to his mother who lived at Milepark, Tullon, Co Carlow, Ireland.

On 3 February 1916 Albert went to France, a reinforcement for the 7th Battalion. On 8 February he was admitted to No. 9 Stationary Hospital suffering with 'N.Y.D. (Slight), and rejoined his unit on 21 April. His 'Casualty form - Active Service' recorded that he forfeited 50d per day for 68 days whilst he was in hospital.

On 27 July 1916 he was promoted to Lance Corporal.

The war diary of the 7th Battalion records that on 22 September:
Shelling of whole area fairly heavy and continuous.
Albert received a shrapnel wound to his left hand on 22 September and was admitted to No. 4 General Hospital, Camiers on 24 September. The next day he was transferred to England aboard SS Dieppe and by 26 September he was in the 2nd Western General Hospital, Greek Street, (Stockport) Manchester.

On 22 February 1917 he was transferred to the Canadian Convalescent Hospital, Woodcote Park, Epsom. Then on 17 March 1917 he was admitted to Horton County of London War Hospital, Epsom, suffering with Mitral Regurgitation. Then on 26 March he was diagnosed with Endocarditis, from which he died on 27 March 1917. He was buried on 2 April in grave K737, Epsom Cemetery.

Albert's British War medal, Victory medal, memorial cross, plaque and scroll were all given to his mother in 1921 whilst she was living at Medical Hall, Celbridge, Co. Kildare, Ireland.

Albert's mother died on 10 February 1925 at 257W 60th-street, Chicago, USA. On 25 April, in London, probate in the sum of £890 7s 6d was granted to her sons, Thomas Arthur Corrigan, farmer and William Frederick Corrigan, motor driver.

CWGC
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COULSON William Eugene (Bubbles), Lieutenant.

62nd Squadron Royal Air Force (RAF).
Died in flying accident 5 September 1919, aged 20.

William and his parents' headstone in Epsom cemetery
William and his parents' headstone in Epsom cemetery
William and his parents' headstone in Epsom cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2011

William Eugene Coulson was born in Walthamstow in 1899 (GRO reference: Jun 1889 W. Ham 4a 410), the only child of William and Annie Coulson (nee Banks). His parents had married in the June quarter of 1897 in the Epping registration district.

The 1901 census shows the family living at Maud Villa, Station Road, Chingford, Essex. William's father was a 29 year old 'India Rubber Merchant Traveller'. The family was living next door to William's uncle and aunt, Eugene and Louisa Coulson.

By the 1911 census the family lived at 6, Royal Parade, Muswell Hill, and William's father was then described as a 'Commercial Traveller. Rubber'. The family employed one servant.

William was educated at Priory College and Brentwood High School.

William attested on 18 September 1916 in Epsom and was placed on the Army reserve to await mobilisation. He was 17 years and 6 months old, worked as a Civil Servant for the Inland Revenue, was unmarried and lived at Uplands, College Road, Epsom.

He was mobilised on 28 April 1917, given the service number TR/10/61752, and posted to the 104th Training Reserve Battalion (Young Soldier) based at Edinburgh. (The 104th TRB had previously been the 28th Reserve Battalion Royal Fusiliers). His medal card shows that at some point he was Corporal No. 1868 in the 104th TRB.

William was 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighed 124 lbs, had a chest measurement of 35 inches with an expansion of 3 inches, was scarred as a result of an operation for a hernia and had three vaccination marks from infancy. His sight was perfect. His medical grade was A4 (see ourMedical Categories page).

On 22 August 1917 he was posted to the No. 1 Royal Flying Corps (RFC) Cadet Wing at Hastings, Sussex. On the form he was required to complete, he stated that his father was a partner in an asbestos manufacturers, that he could speak some French and that he enjoyed football, cricket, tennis, shooting, swimming etc. He also stated that he had previously spent one year in the Civil Service OTC and five months in the Royal Fusiliers. On 4 November 1917 was promoted 2Lt in the RFC.

William was shot down whilst piloting his aircraft over enemy lines, wounded and taken prisoner. After his release he remained overseas and was employed in flying Staff Officers to various engagements. Tragically, on his return flight home his aircraft crashed, killing him and his flight engineer.

The Epsom Advertiser printed the following two items:
2 August 1918:
LIEUT COULSON MISSING-----Lieut. William Coulson, a pilot in the Royal Air Force, is reported missing. He went over the German lines in a bombing machine and did not return. Lieut Coulson, who is a son of Mrs Coulson, Uplands, College-road, was before the war in the 1st Epsom Boy Scouts.
12 September 1919:
EPSOM AIRMAN'S DEATH. ----- FATAL NOSE-DIVE NEAR LINCOLN. ---- The death has occurred in most tragic circumstances of Lieut. William Eugene Coulson, only son of Mrs. Coulson and the late Mr. Coulson, formerly in residence at Uplands, College-road Epsom and deepest sympathy is extended to the widowed mother in her great bereavement.
     A member of the Royal air Force, Lieut. Coulson, although only 20 years of age at the time of his death, distinguished himself as a gallant airman during the latter part of the war, and having decided to continue his duties permanently with the Air Force on Friday he was returning from overseas. While flying near Billingsworth, Lincs, the machine he was piloting nose-dived and being only about 8 feet from the ground he did not have sufficient room to pull it out of the dive, with the tragic result that it crashed to earth, killing both him and his engineer instantly.
     When Lieut. Coulson came with his people to Epsom five years ago he quickly became popular with the other lads - for he was only fifteen then - and of a bright and happy disposition his companionship was cherished by all his friends. He was a member of the 1st Epsom Boy Scouts, but when he reached military age nothing could prevent him from enlisting in H.M. forces, and immediately he was released from the Civil service in which he was engaged he joined the Public Schools Brigade. About that time his father died.
     He went through strenuous infantry training at Edinburgh, and subsequently was transferred to the South of England to be trained as an officer for what was then known as the Royal Flying Corps. He was not long in securing his wings, and in May last year he went to France. Interesting accounts of his experiences there are contained in his many letters to Mrs. Coulson and friends, and once he wrote to his old Scout Master, Mr. H.L. Lempriere, that he was sharing a bedroom with a Russian prince. He was always a cheerful and courageous youth, but it was his misfortune to be shot down by the enemy at the end of July and taken prisoner.
     In reference to his capture Mrs. Coulson received the following letter from a senior officer shortly afterwards: -- "With very deep regret I have to inform you that your son was reported missing from an offensive patrol over the enemy's lines on the morning of July 22nd. He was last seen attacking three enemy machines, but it is not known exactly what happened, as the other members of the patrol were also engaged. It can only be hoped that he was forced to land in the enemy's lines and is a prisoner and unwounded. Lieut. Coulson had only been with us a short time, but had had previous experience in another squadron. He was a very skilful pilot and is a great loss to the squadron. He was liked and respected by everybody, and the whole squadron extend to you their deepest sympathy."
     It was afterwards learnt that Lieut. Coulson was safe after a gruelling experience, he having been wounded in one of his hands and thrown out of his machine, which caught fire through a bullet penetrating one of the petrol tanks. When he was repatriated in December he told other stories of his prisoner of war experiences, for it was his boast that he passed through the whole of Germany and had a taste of six different camps.
     Subsequently he returned to Belgium and finally went to Cologne, where he was engaged in taking staff officers to and fro.
MILITARY HONOURS
     Devoted to his work Lieut. Coulson was conscious of its worst possibility, and he had expressed the wish that he should be buried in his uniform. The wish was fulfilled and military honours were accorded the funeral which took place at Epsom yesterday (Thursday). The body had been conveyed from Lincolnshire to Roslyn, Church-street, Ewell, where Mrs. Coulson was staying in consequence of her having given up the occupation of Uplands, Epsom, and it was encased in a polished oak coffin surmounted by the Union Jack and bearing the following inscription:
LIEUT. WILLIAM EUGENE COULSON
Died September 5th, 1919.
Aged 20 years.

William is buried in grave D. 317 in Epsom cemetery. His father, having died on 24 January 1917 in Netherne Asylum aged 44, is buried in the same plot, as is his mother who died on 24 April 1947 at 11, Langdale Road, Hove, aged 73.

From the National Probate Register 1919:
COULSON William Eugene of Uplands College-road Epsom Surrey lieutenant R.A.F. died 5 September 1919 at Lempringham Lincolnshire Administration London 27 October to Annie Coulson widow. Effects £143 3s.
The St Martin's church Roll of Honour states that:
WILLIAM EUGENE COULSON, who was in the Royal Air Force died 5th September 1919 as the result of an accident while flying from Cologne. He had been a prisoner of war in 1918. Before enlisting he was a Boy Scout in Epsom.
Williams's medal card.
William's medal card.
Image courtesy of Ancestry.co.uk (Link opens in a new window)
Copyright 2009, The Generations Network, Inc. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.
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William's medals, the British War medal and the Victory medal were sent to his mother at 26, Willow Street, Chingford on 6 December 1920.

A letter from Harry Marshall to his sister Doris. - Click image to enlarge
A letter from Harry Marshall to his sister Doris which was written 5 days before
he died in a flying accident. It mentions William. Click image to enlarge
Image courtesy of Harry's family ©2013

EP SM BEC

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COX Clarence Rupert, Captain.

12th Battalion Royal Sussex and 5th Wing Royal Flying Corps (RFC).
Died of wounds 13 April 1917, aged 29.

Clarence Rupert Cox was born on 22 March Manchester in 1888 (GRO reference: Jun 1888 Chorlton 8c 903), the son of George Edward and Janet Cox. The family lived in a large 10 roomed house at 7 Alexandra Road, Chorlton, Manchester. Clarence's father George was a hosier.

In 1891 three year old Clarence was living with his 42 year old father, his mother aged 40 and his 4 older siblings Edward Harvie 13, Ethel Mary 11, Sydney George 9 and Vernon aged 7.

In 1901 the family was living in the same house. Clarence's father, aged 52 was additionally described as shopkeeper and hosier. Mother Janet was aged 50. Edward Harvie 22, Ethel Mary 21, Sydney George 19 a medical student and Vernon aged 17 was a law student. Clarence was 13.

Clarence's sister Ethel married Frank Harold Lowe in 1905.

The 1911 census records the family the same address although only George, Vernon and 22 year old Clarence were at home. Both the brothers were described as medical students but this is almost certainly a mistake as in other sources he is described as a law student having won the Dauntsey Legal Scholarship to Manchester University in 1909. The census records that Clarence's mother was staying with his sister Ethel and her husband Frank at 4 Ranelagh Gardens, Hurlingham, Fulham where Frank Lowe lectured on chemistry. Clarence's parents had been married for 30 years and had had 6 children although only 5 were living.

On qualifying Clarence became Private Secretary to Mr G.G. Armstrong of the Daily News in Manchester but by 1913 he had decided on ordination and entered Exeter College, Oxford. In June 1914 he visited USA, leaving Liverpool on 27 June 1914 on the Mauretania.

He enlisted in November 1914 and was gazetted into the 12th battalion Sussex Regiment and served as a Temporary Captain. In 1916 he passed an army medical board at Fleurbaix in France. As a child Clarence had suffered from an inguinal hernia, but the condition had improved and had not bothered him despite being a keen rower at Oxford. However, when he had been at the front for some time it became bothersome, and in March 1916 was aggravated by helping to lift sand bags onto the parapet. He put up with the discomfort for over a month, but by April his condition had worsened and he was sent home on 24 April, arriving in Southampton on the hospital ship St. George from Rouen on 1 May. He had surgery on 5 May and convalesced at Miss McCaul's Hospital, 51, Welbeck Street London from 16 May. The wound healed well but he was not found fit to return to duty until a medical board at Cambridge Hospital, Aldershot on 31 August.

Once fit, Clarence transferred to the Royal Flying Corps and he was posted to Egypt. He embarked on HT Kalyan at Marseilles arriving at Alexandria on 26 December 1916. He reported to No. 3 Aboukir. He was attached to various wings for instruction and in March 1917 was appointed acting Adjutant. A month later he joined 5th Wing HQ as a Captain. At 0435 hours on the morning of 12 April 1917 an enemy aircraft bombed the aerodrome at Rafa, followed by two more machines at 15 minute intervals. Three men and Clarence were wounded. Despite being taken to the No. 2 Australian hospital at El Arish in Egypt, he died at 0300 hours the following day. He had an unusual number of belongings with him, which needed 2 wooden crates to return them home. His effects included a cigarette case and box, and a broken mirror.

Clarence was initially buried in El Arish Military Cemetery, but when graves from the desert battlefields were consolidated he was later removed to grave E. 437, Kantara War Memorial Cemetery. He is also remembered on the Manchester University memorial, and the St Barnabas church memorial, Epsom.

His siblings Ethel Mary (wife of Frank Harold Lowe) and Sydney George Cox were the executors of his will. His effects valued at £129 3s. 7d. was to be divided between the two of them.

Other than the fact that Clarence's name appears on the St. Barnabas church war memorial our researches have not discovered a direct link between Clarence Rupert Cox and Epsom. However there is some circumstantial evidence. There is a letter from the Imperial War Graves Commission dated 6 May 1922 seeking the address of his next of kin because they are no longer at 4 Ranelagh Gardens Hurlingham. In 1955 a Frank Harold Lowe died in Claygate, Surrey. This could have been Clarence's brother-in-law, which is further supported by the grant of his probate to Stephen Clarence Lowe. Stephen was born in Fulham on 24 July 1918 and his mother's maiden name was Cox, indicating that this was Clarence's nephew. Although not conclusive this evidence indicates that the Lowes had moved to north east Surrey and may have lived in Epsom for a time.

EP SB

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COX Frank Ernest. Lance Corporal. 280.

9th Battalion Royal Fusiliers.
Killed in Action 21 September 1918, aged 26.

Frank's inscription on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial (Pas de Calais) memorial
Frank's inscription on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial (Pas de Calais) memorial
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2010

Frank Ernest Cox was the only child of Ernest Henry and Frances Louisa Cox (nee Norwood). He was born in Fulham, London in 1890, although there does not seem to be any evidence for the registration of his birth. He appears on the 1901 census as the son of Ernest and Louisa; however, in the 1891 census, along with Ernest and Louisa, there is an entry for Ernest's nephew, Frank Butterley, whose age and place of birth are identical to Frank Ernest Cox. Perhaps the Coxes adopted Frank informally (legislation relating to formal adoption was not introduced until the 1920s).

Frank's father Ernest Henry Cox was born in Forest Hill in 1866, the son of (John) Thomas and Sarah Charlotte Cox. Thomas was a shoemaker from Epsom and Sarah was born in Richmond; she died in 1883 and is buried in Epsom Cemetery. Thomas remarried in 1885; his second wife was also called Sarah and was 24 years his junior. They had two daughters before Thomas died in 1892. His burial record at Epsom Cemetery describes him as a 'cab driver'
.
In 1871, Ernest appeared with his parents on the census in East Street, Epsom, living in the home of his grandmother, Elizabeth Cox. The family was still in East Street in 1881 although Elizabeth was no longer with them, having died in 1874. By then, Thomas had become a railway driver and Ernest was employed as a shop assistant. Also in the household was Ernest's 7-year-old brother, Charles.

Ernest married Frances Louisa Norwood in Epsom district. She is referred to as 'Louisa' in both the 1901 and 1911 censuses; however, she is called 'Julia' in the 1891 census, and this would seem to be an error on the part of the enumerator. She stated that she was born in Abberley, Worcestershire, but no evidence of a birth registration for her can be found.

In the 1891 census, Ernest and 'Julia' were living at Worple Lodge, Ladbroke Road, Epsom and Ernest gave his occupation as 'ironmonger's assistant'. Also living with them was nephew, Frank Butterley.

By the time of the 1901 census, the family had moved to 1, Yew Tree Cottages on Epsom Common, Frank's father Ernest was a hardware assistant and Frank himself was a scholar.

There is no trace of Frank on the 1911 census, but Ernest and Louisa were living at 9 Adelphi Road and Ernest was now the manager of a furnishing store.

Frank's service papers have not survived but the Soldiers Died CD tells us that he was living in south west London when he enlisted. From his medal card we know he went to France on 1 June 1915 and served in the 9th Battalion Royal Fusiliers. The 9th Royal Fusiliers were in the 36th Brigade, 12th Division.

On 21 September 1918 the battalion was ordered to attack the Hindenburg Line east Epehy. The Hindenburg Line was a massively fortified and well defended in depth line of fortifications from which the Germans had launched their spring offensive in March 1918 but had now been pushed back to. The 9th Battalion War Diary for 21 September:
Marching at 3 a.m. Bn. moved to assembly positions in rear of our front line E of Epehy. In position by 5 a.m.
     At 5.40 a.m., under cover of an artillery barrage, Bn. attacked with 7th R. Sussex on left and 6th R. W. KENTS on right.
     Bn. came under very heavy M. G. fire and was unable to advance beyond its first objective - Mule Trench.
     At 1.0 p. m., under cover of a very weak barrage, Bn. again endeavored to push forward. Very heavy M. G. fire was again opened and no progress could be made. In touch on left, but not in touch on right.
It would seem most likely that Frank was killed by machine gun fire. The diary goes on to report that 270 other ranks (OR) were casualties. This figure would include killed, wounded and missing. The Soldiers Died CD states that 87 OR died on 21 September 1918.

Frank has no known grave and is commemorated on Panel 3 of the Vis-en-Artois Memorial (Pas de Calais), along with almost 10,000 others who died in the last three months of the War as part of the Advance to Victory in Picardy and Artois.

The Epsom Advertised dated 25 October 1918:
LANCE-CORPL FRANK COX, only son of Mr. E. H. Cox(the volunteers band-master) has been killed in action. Lce-Corpl. Cox was 26. He was a footman in the service of Lady Harrison, Lennox Gardens, at the time he joined the Army. A Company Quartermaster Sergt. writing to his parents, says their son was "so brave and courageous."
The St Martin's Roll of Honour states that:
"FRANK ERNEST COX, was killed in action in France, 27th September 1918."
Frank was awarded the 1914 - 1915 Star, the British War medal and the Victory medal.

Unusually he appears on four memorials in the Borough, Ashley Road, St Martins Church, Christ Church and the Epsom Brotherhood.

EP SM CC EB

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COX John Benjamin, Rifleman. R/1090.

12th Battalion Kings Royal Rifle Corps (KRRC).
Killed in Action 12 September 1915, aged 17.

John Benjamin Cox
John Benjamin Cox
Image courtesy of Lindsay Seagrim-Trinder, great niece ©2013

John Benjamin Cox was born in Cuddington in 1898 (GRO reference: Mar 1898 Epsom 2a 21), the son of Benjamin Charles and Annie Cox (nee Hewitt). His parents had married early in 1890 in the Epsom registration district.

John Benjamin Cox And His Siblings
Name Born - Died Notes
Charlotte Annie Born: 17 Nov 1890 Cheam.
Died: 1987 Derbyshire.
Married James T Venes 1916.
Beatrice Eliza Mary Born: 1892 Cuddington.
Died: 1951 Surrey.
Married Rigby A W Pratt 1915
Janet Martha Born: 1894 Cuddington. Married Alexander Smith 1918
Charles Thomas Born: 1896 Cuddington. Deaf and Dumb
John Benjamin (known as Jack) Born: 1898 Cuddington.
Died: 20 September 1915.
 
Daisy Edith Born: 1900 Cuddington. Deaf and Dumb.
Married Douglas MacDonald 1928
Thomas George Born: 1903 Cuddington. Deaf and Dumb
May Gladys Born: 1906 Cuddington. Married John A Collier 1933
Doris Kathleen Marian Born: 3 November 1910 Cuddington.
Died: 1982 Kent.
Married George R. Cox 1935

John's parents and older sisters
John's parents and older sisters
Image courtesy of Lindsay Seagrim-Trinder, great niece ©2013

John was aged two when the 1901 census was taken. His father was aged 32 and was working as a carter on a farm to support his 34 year old wife Annie and children Charlotte aged 10, Beatrice aged 9, Janet aged 7, Charles aged 5, John himself, and 6 month old Daisy. It was noted on the census that his brother Charles had been 'deaf and dumb since childhood'; it later emerged that Daisy had also been born deaf. The family lived in Oak Cottage, which was next door to the Cuddington Court Cottages and just a few homes away from the Cuddington Isolation Hospital on the boarders of Cuddington and Banstead in Surrey.

Three more siblings were born in the next ten years including Thomas George in 1903. Thomas was the third child of Benjamin and Annie to be born deaf. Although there does not seem to be a history of this affliction recorded in the previous censuses in either parent's line, it seems probable it was genetic.

The family had only recently moved to 8, Woodcote Green, Wallington when the 1911 census was taken. John's father, who had been promoted to a farm foreman, filled in the census form stating that he and his wife of 21 years had had nine children all of whom were still living. Only Beatrice aged 19, John aged 13, May aged 5 and 5 month old Doris were living with their parents. John's two brothers Charles and Thomas, and sister Daisy were residents of the 'Royal Deaf And Dumb Asylum, Asylum For Deaf And Dumb Children' in Victoria Road, Margate, while sister Charlotte was working as a housemaid in Kensington and sister Janet as domestic servant in Sutton.

War on Germany was declared at 11pm on Tuesday 4 August 1914. Two days later on 6 August, parliament authorised the voluntary recruitment of half a million Britons to swell its trained armed forces. By late September 750,000 men had enlisted and from then, until the middle of 1915, around 125,000 were enlisting each month.

John was amongst the first to answer his country's call, attesting on 3 September 1914 in Kingston-upon-Thames into the KRRC, with service number R/1090. Attesting with John into the KRRC and given the almost consecutive service number R/1088, was Frederick George Low, from Banstead. Frederick was destined to die on the same day as John and be buried next to him. Frederick is commemorated on the Banstead War Memorial.

John was only 16 years old when he attested but claimed he was 19 years 4 days, and that he was working as a clerk. He gave his next of kin as his father, Benjamin Cox of Little Woodcote Farm, Wallington, Surrey. Later records gave his mother Annie Cox of Nonsuch Farm, Cheam, Surrey as his next of kin.

John was 5 feet 8½ inches tall, had a 33 inch chest with a 2 inch expansion, weighed 130lbs, had blue eyes, light hair and a fair complexion. He had a scar on the front of his neck, and gave his religion as Church of England. The medical officer declared John fit for service and on 4 September he was sent to Winchester to start training with the KRRC.

A postcard sent by John to his sister Daisy - click image to enlarge.
A postcard sent by John to his sister Daisy - click image to enlarge.
Image courtesy of Lindsay Seagrim-Trinder, great niece ©2013

He embarked for France, from Folkstone on 22 July 1915 and served in the 60th Brigade, 20th Division.

John had only one blemish on his record sheet; on 1 August 1915 he forfeited 5 days pay for 'losing by neglect one respirator'.

John and his comrade Frederick Low had served for a total of 1 year and 109 days, with only 52 of those days spent in France, before being killed together, on Sunday 12 September 1915. Theirs were the only fatalities in the 12 Battalion KRRC, that day. The following is an extract from the Battalion War Diary:
8/9/15 - 16/9/15. WINCHESTER POST. Relieved 12/R.B. in front line trenches. Situation quiet all the time. Snipers found few targets. They hit 3 Germans. Our M. guns dispersed various enemy working parties. Casualties 1 officer Lt. White - V. slightly wounded. 1 N.C.O. wounded. 3 Rfn. killed. 1 Rfn. died of wounds. 17 Rfn wounded.
John was buried in Plot: II. C. 5., with Frederick next to him in Plot: II. C. 6., in the Rue-du-Bacquerot No. 1 Military Cemetery just outside the village of Laventie in the Department of the Pas-de-Calais, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France.

John's headstone in in the Rue-du-Bacquerot No. 1 Military Cemetery, Laventie
John's headstone in in the Rue-du-Bacquerot No. 1 Military Cemetery, Laventie
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert ©2013

John's personal effects were returned to England and received by the Winchester Records Office on 6 October 1915. On 28 February 1916 John's effects consisting of a Disc, watch (glass broken), cigarette case, wrist strap, belt, lighter, 2 stamps value 1½d., and photos were sent to his parents who were then living at Priest Hill Farm, Ewell, Surrey. John's mother duly acknowledged receipt of them on 1 March 1916.

The War Office requested that a list of John's living relatives be sent to them so that they could send out John's plaque and scroll to his family. His mother Annie duly returned a list on 15 July 1919 saying that she and her husband, along with John's brother Thomas George and sisters May and Doris, were all now living at Nonsuch Farm, Cheam, Sutton, Surrey. She noted that his brother Charles Thomas and sister Charlotte Annie Cox, now Mrs. Venes, were living at 111, Lower Addiscombe Road, East Croydon, Surrey and that their sister Beatrice E. M Cox, now Mrs. Pratt, was living next door to them at number 113, Lower Addiscombe Road. Daisy Edith Cox, now Mrs. MacDonald, was living at 7, James Terrace, Mortlake. She also noted here that only her sons Charles and Thomas were deaf and dumb.

On 22 September 1919 another standard request form requested that any of John's effects were to be sent to his mother at their new address of Nonsuch Farm, Cheam Surrey. His father duly acknowledged receipt of his son's Scroll on 3 September 1920. He later acknowledged receipt of John's Star medal on 27 March 1921 and John's British War and Victory medals were acknowledge by his mother on 2 June 1921.

John is also remembered on the Carshalton War Memorial and is mentioned on www.bansteadhistory.com

SMC

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CREWDSON Theodore Wright. Captain.

20th Battalion Manchester Regiment.
Died of Wounds 6 November 1916, aged 20.Died of Wounds 06 November 1916, aged 20.

Theodore's Headstone in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery
Theodore's Headstone in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert ©2013

Theodore Wright Crewdson was born on 30 January 1896 in Fulshaw, Cheshire, (GRO reference: Mar 1896 Altringham 8a 159) to John Wright and Nora Crewdson (nee Bellhouse). His parents had married on 10 January 1895 at Alderley Edge, Cheshire.

The 1901 census records the family living at 'Inglewood', Fulshaw Park, Wilmslow. Theodore's father was a 31 year old 'Cotton Cloth Manufacturer' and an employer. His mother was aged 28 and the family employed three servants.

Theodore was educated at Upland House preparatory school, Epsom, Wellington College, Berkshire and Trinity College, Cambridge. Whilst at Wellington and Trinity he served in the Office Training Corps (OTC).

The 1911 census records the family living at 'Endsleigh', Alderley Edge. Theodore's father was still an employer in the cloth trade. Two sisters had been born, Dorothy Jane aged 9 and Nora Barbara aged 3. Staying with the family was Theodore's cousin, 25 year old James Philip Hervey, an employer in chemical manufacture. Marjorie Armitage was visiting, and the family employed five servants. Theodore was not with his family on census night as he was a 15 year old boarder at Wellington college, Berkshire.

On 30 November 1914 he applied for a temporary commission in the Regular Army, for the duration of the war. His tutor for the previous four years, R. Van Laurence, certified that he was of 'good moral character'. On 2 December 1914, at the Recruiting Station, 30, Dickenson Street, Manchester, he was medically examined by Major Joshua J. Cox, RAMC, and declared fit for military service. Theodore's father was named as his next-of-kin, living at 'Endsleigh', Alderley Edge, Cheshire.

Theodore embarked for France on 9 November 1915 and commenced duties as transport officer. Then, on 9 May 1916, he became A.D.C. to the Brigadier General of the 22nd Infantry Brigade (7th division). In September 1916 he rejoined his Battalion and on 28 October he was severely wounded by shellfire which caused injuries to his head and mouth, and compound fracturing of his thigh. He was initially treated by the 21st Field Ambulance, then on 3 November he was transferred to the 1st Canadian Casualty Clearing Station and then to the 7th Stationary Hospital in Boulogne.

On 30 October a telegram was sent to his father stating that Theodore was dangerously ill, but that permission to visit could not be granted. However on 4 November this refusal was rescinded and both his parents were granted permission to visit, embarking from Folkestone. But Theodore died before they could make the journey. The gunshot wound to his fractured thigh necessitated amputation, and ultimately proved fatal. He died at 1-31am on 6 November and was buried in grave VII. 13. 9. in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery.

Probate was granted to his father in the sum of £467 14s 10d

Theodore was awarded the 1915 Star, British War medal and the Victory medal. His father applied for them on 30 December 1918. They were sold, along with his memorial plaque, in a glazed frame for £650 in July 2011.

He is also remembered on the Trinity College chapel war memorial, and on the memorial at Alderley Edge.

UHS

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CROPLEY Trefelyn Roland, Sergeant. 551619.

1st/16th Battalion London Regiment (Queen's Westminster Rifles).
Killed in Action 30 November 1917, aged 24.

Trefelyn's inscription on the Cambrai Memorial to the missing
Trefelyn's inscription on the Cambrai Memorial to the missing
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2010

Trefelyn Roland Cropley was born in 1893 in Walthamstow, East London (GRO reference Dec 1893 West Ham 4a 340) to Charles and Florence Charlotte Cropley (nee Coles).

Trefelyn's parents married in 1892 in the Hackney Registration District having been mistakenly indexed as 'Crossley'. Charles had been born in Little Bookham, whilst Florence's place of birth was Albany Street, Regents Park, London.

By the time of the 1901 census, the family had moved to Epsom, and were living at 1, Laburnum Road. Trefelyn's father Charles, was a 36 year old builder and employer. His mother Florence was aged 31 and after her two sons, Trefelyn himself and Howard. (In 1924, Howard married Jessie R. Venus).

The 1911 census shows that the family was still living at 1, Laburnum Road. Trefelyn was a builder's clerk, presumably working for his father, and Howard was still at school. Dorothy Maud Coles, Florence's 20-year-old niece, was living with them as a companion. There was another Cropley family living at 2 Laburnum Road - that of Charles Cropley's older brother, James, who was also a builder. James' son, Lennie (Leonard Eric James Cropley) also served in the War, but returned to Epsom to marry and have a family. Charles Cropley was a magistrate and signed some of the papers for those enlisting in Epsom, including those for Sidney Lewis Hill.

Trefelyn's service papers have not survived but we know that he served with the Queen's Westminster Rifles (QWR), a London territorial unit. Their headquarters was at 58, Buckingham Gate, and this is where he would have enlisted. The QWR was in the 169th Brigade, 56th (London) Division.

The British launched the battle of Cambrai 20 November 1917 and initially it was a great success. Tanks were first used on 15 September 1916 on the Somme, but only in small numbers, insufficient to make a great difference. For the Cambrai offensive some 380 tanks were used, and combined with surprise advances of almost seven miles were made by 28 November 1917. An enormous distance by Western Front standards. However, most of these gains were to be lost through German counter attacks that commenced on 30 November. Trefelyn's battalion were occupying old German positions just outside Moeuvres, west of Bourlon, when they came under intense artillery fire at about 10.15am. Then at 10.45am, under a barrage of trench mortars the enemy attacked 'over the top' down Swan Lane and the Boursies - Moeuvres Road.

From the War Diary dated 30 November 1917:
A stiff fight commenced of which it is impossible to give details, and although we managed to beat the enemy back over the top - they penetrated on our right from the road mentioned above and along the trench on our left and although at 1.15 we still had a footing in our front line. The position was critical and we had asked for reinforcements. By 2pm we were holding the support line and the two C.Ts (Communication Trenches) with a block in each close up to the front line.

At 2.30pm an urgent wire was sent for reinforcements as our line was giving way and again at 410pm. - after this time although there was a considerable amount of bombing at the blocks things became quieter. At 6.30pm the Battalion was reinforced by one company of the Q.V.R. who relieved our men in the C.T.s - later 2 Coys of the L.R.B. arrived and relieved our men in a position of the support line and another company commenced digging themselves in in the old German Outpost line - during the day a continuous stream of messages arrived to the effect that our guns were firing short and they continued to do so although urgent messages were sent back. Our A.A. Guns appeared to have been put out of action as they took no notice of large numbers of enemy aircraft which patrolled our lines almost at will during the day. Orders that the Battalion would be relieved by the L.R.B. were received about 8.30 - The Battalion was clear of the trenches by 1am.
Trench map of the Boursies  - Moeuvres Road area - Click image to enlarge
Trench map of the Boursies - Moeuvres Road area
Click image to enlarge

Twenty six men from the QWR died on 30 November 1917, including Trefelyn who was killed in action. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial to the missing.

The Epsom advertiser dated 14 December 1917 printed the following:
MR. C. CROPLEY'S SON KILLED. - The regrettable news was heard in the town yesterday (Thursday) morning that Sergt. Trevor (sic) Cropley, son of Mr. C. Cropley, had been killed in action. He was a promising young fellow in civil life, both in the technicalities of the building trade and the organisations he assisted in the town, including the Rifle Club. When in the Army he soon qualified for his sergeant's stripes.
Trefelyn was awarded the British War medal and the Victory medal.

He is described on the St Martin's Church memorial as Sergeant Instructor. The Church Roll of Honour states that:
TREFELYN ROLAND CROPLEY, was killed in action near Cambrai on the 30th November 1917.
Trefelyn's memorial plaque in Christ Church, Epsom
Trefelyn's memorial plaque in Christ Church, Epsom
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

The CWGC states that he was the "Son of Charles and Florence Charlotte Cropley, of 11, Laburnum Road, Epsom". Charles died in 1949 aged 84, and Florence died in 1953 aged 82, both in the Epsom area.

The Cropley family grave in Epsom Cemetery
Detail of the Cropley family grave in Epsom Cemetery
The Cropley family grave and detail in Epsom Cemetery
Images courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2011

Trefelyn is also remembered on his parent's grave in Epsom cemetery.

EP SM CC PG

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CULVER Arthur, Private. 156361.

354th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery (RGA).
Died of Wounds 29 March 1918, aged 36.
Arthur and Family
Arthur and Family
Image courtesy of Rosemary Westerman, great niece. © 2013

Arthur Culver was born in Burgh Heath in 1881 (GRO reference: Sep 1881 Epsom 2a 11) to Elisha and Emma Culver (nee Blake). His parents married on 19 September 1871 in Boxmoor church, Hertfordshire. Arthur was baptised on 25 September 1881 in All Saints church, Banstead.

In the 1881 census before Arthur was born the family lived in Gravel Lane Cottages, Banstead. Arthur's father was a 34 year old farm labourer. His mother was 32 and he had four siblings, William aged 8, Lillian aged 5, Ethel aged 3 and Frederick Charles aged 1. They had a lodger staying with them, 47 year old Robert Stevens, a bricklayers labourer.

By 1891 the family had moved to Burgh Heath near the Surrey Yeoman public house (now demolished). Arthur now 9 had another two siblings, Archibald aged 4 and Frank Herbert aged 3 months.

In 1901 the family were living at Memory Cottages, Burgh Heath. Arthur's father was working as a road labourer whilst Arthur himself, aged 19, was a grocer's assistant and brother Archibald, aged 14, worked as a railway clerk.

Arthur married Harriet Percival Cordwell on 28 September 1905 in Banstead. It seems they had four children:
Herbert Archibald, born December quarter 1907.
Mary Isabel, born March quarter 1909.
Percival A, born September quarter 1911.
Olivia G, born June quarter 1913.
Arthur's father death, at the age of 63, was recorded in the December quarter of 1909 in the Epsom registration district.

In the 1911 census, Arthur and his wife of five years lived with their two children, Herbert and Mary, at 3, Memory Cottages, Burgh Heath. Arthur was still working as a grocer's assistant.

Arthur appears in the Surrey recruitment register, attesting in Epsom on 10 December 1916 into the RGA. He gave his age as 35 years and 6 months. He was 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighed 154 lbs, and had a chest measurement of 39 inches with an expansion of 3 inches. He lived at 112, East Street, Epsom, gave his occupation as an accountant, and was shown as medical grade 'A'.

Arthur died of wounds on 29 March 1918 in number 11 Stationery Hospital, Rouen, and was buried in grave P.VI.L.8A, St. Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen. Rouen provided a base for British forces and had several military hospitals. Arthur's service records have not survived so we will probably never know what caused his fatal wounds. However, on 21 March the Germans launched their last great offensive, known as the Kaiserschlacht or operation Michael. It was their last desperate bid to win the war before the Americans arrived in force. Each side carried out what was known as counter battery work, when they tried to destroy enemy artillery, and it is quite likely that Arthur was a victim of such shelling.

Arthur's headstone in Rouen cemetery
Arthur's headstone in Rouen cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2009

The St Martin's Church Roll of Honour states that:
ARTHUR CULVER, died at Rouen on the 29th March 1918 from wounds received in action.
In addition to appearing on two memorials in Epsom and Ewell Borough, Arthur's name also appears on two memorials outside the Borough; on the Ashtead War Memorial (but his name is not in alphabetical order and appears to have been added after the memorial was built), and on a wooden plaque inside the Burgh Heath Village War Memorial.

Arthur's inscription on the Ashtead Memorial
Arthur's inscription on the Ashtead Memorial
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

Arthur was awarded the British War medal and the Victory medal.

On 22 June 1918 Arthur's wife was awarded a war gratuity of £9 18s 6d, and a further £3 on 29 November 1919.

The CWGC states that he was the:
Husband of Mrs. H.P. Culver, of 1, Woodman Cottages, Ashtead, Surrey.
(NOTE: 1, Woodman Cottages is now 190 Barnett Wood Lane, Ashtead).

With thanks to Brian Bouchard for supplying additional information.

EP SM

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CUMMING Harry Allan, Lance Corporal. 49.

28th Battalion Australian Infantry.
Killed in Action 29 July 1916, aged 43.

Harry's inscription on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial
Harry's inscription on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2009

Harry Allan Cumming was born at Tooting in 1873 (GRO reference: Sep 1873 Wandsworth 1b 637) to Charles Edward Durant and Alice Julia Cumming (nee Simpson).

In 1871 before Harry was born, the family lived at Balham Road, Streatham. Harry's father Charles was a 39 year old silk broker. His mother Alice was 26, and he had five older siblings, Helen aged 6, George aged 5, Charles aged 3, Alice aged 2 and Emily aged 1. Six servants were employed, so this must have been quite a wealthy household.

In 1881 the family still lived in Balham Road, Streatham. Harry's father was then described as a stock broker. Harry had two more siblings, Ralph aged 9 and Edward aged 6. The household still employed six servants.

By 1891 Harry was a 17 year old pupil at the fee paying St Andrews College, Bradfield, Berkshire. The college was later renamed Bradfield College. I have been unable to locate Harry's parents in the 1891 census.

The 1901 census sees the family living in 'Haling House', Ashley Road, Epsom. Harry's father, now 69, was still working as a silk broker employing people. Harry himself was described as a stock jobber, and was also an employer. The family had now reduced the number of domestic servants to three.

I have not found Harry in the 1911 census, so perhaps he had emigrated to Australia by then. However, in 1911 Harry's 66 year old widowed mother lived at Highurst Corner, Waterhouse Lane, Burgh Heath, with her 41 year old spinster daughter and three servants. She stated that she had given birth to eight children and that seven were still alive.

Harry's circumstances seemed to have changed dramatically between the 1901 census and the next records found for him, his Army service papers. He was in Australia when war broke out and on 27 February 1915 at Blackboy Hill, Western Australia, he attested into the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) as a 40 year old private soldier, having knocked a year off his age. He stated he was single, and gave his mother Alice Julia Cumming of Woodcote End, Epsom as his next of kin, his father having died in 1909. As previously noted in the 1901 census he was a stock jobber who employed people, now in Australia he gave his occupation as labourer, and stated that he was a good horseman. He joined No. 9 Depot Company on 4 March.

Harry was 5 feet 11½ inches tall, weighed 11 stone 7 lbs, had a chest measurement of 37½ inches with an expansion of 2½ inches, a fair complexion, blue eyes and light brown hair. He had tattooed arms with 4 blue butterflies on his right forearm, and the head of a female and humming birds on his left forearm. Other distinctive marks were 5 vaccination marks on his left upper arm. His religion was Church of England. Harry was originally placed in number 9 Depot Company, then to 'C' Company, 24th Battalion, and finally to 'A' Company, 28th Battalion, 7th Brigade.

On 29 June 1915 Harry embarked at Fremantle on His Majesty's Australian Transport (HMAT) ship 'Ascanius', and disembarked at Alexandria. The following notes have been taken from Harry's service records, and provide a brief timetable of his army service:
Sailed to Gallipoli aboard SS Ivernia arriving on 4 September 1915.
Wounded 18 September 1915.
Admitted to 7th Field Ambulance, S.W. Abdomen, 18 September 1915.
Admitted to 16th CCS, 19 September 1915.
Transferred to hospital ship, H.S. Maheno, 19 September 1915.
Admitted to Hamrun Military Hospital, Malta, G.S.W. 23 September 1915.
Transferred to All Saints Convalescence Camp, 26 October 1915.
Discharged for Active Service, embarked for Mudros aboard HT Borda, 15 November 1915.
Returned to duty at Tel-el-Kebir, Egypt, 10 January 1916.
Embarked from Alexandria to join the BEF, 16 March 1916.
Disembarked Marseilles, 21 March 1916.
Admitted to 7th Field Ambulance suffering with Mumps, 13 April 1916.
Transferred to No. 7 General Hospital, St Omer, 14 April 1916.
Discharged from hospital, 5 May 1916.
Returned to duty, 22 May 1916.
Appointed Temporary Lance Corporal, 4 June 1916.
Killed in action, 29 July 1916.
Buried near Pozières, 4 miles north east of Albert.
Pozières is a small village astride the Albert - Bapume Road, and it is almost the highest point of the Pozières Ridge. It had been an objective of the 8th Division on the opening day of the battle, 1 July, and four previous attempts to capture it had failed. But on 25 July the Australian 1st Division had managed to take it. Harry's 2nd Division renewed the assault on the German lines on the 29 July but without success. It was during this assault that Harry lost his life through shellfire.

Over the six weeks of fighting around this area (Pozières and Mouquet Farm) the Australians suffered some 23,000 casualties. The Australian official historian Charles Bean wrote that, the Pozières ridge is;
"more densely sown with Australian sacrifice than any other place on earth."
On 25 April 1917, at Woodcote End, Epsom, Harry's mother acknowledged receipt of his personal effects, consisting of letters, photos, pocket knife, badges, scissors, correspondence, buttons, 2 handkerchiefs and housewife. The items were dispatched from the AIF kit store at 110, Greyhound Road, Fulham.

Harry was awarded the 1914-1915 star, the British War medal and the Victory medal.

The St Martin's church roll of honour states that "HENRY ALLAN CUMMING, was killed by a shell at Poziéres Wood in France on 29th July 1916. When war broke out he was in Australia, and he joined the Australian Imperial Force".

Harry is commemorated on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial in France, and on his parents grave, plot A230 Epsom cemetery.

Harry's inscription on his parents grave
Harry's inscription on his parents grave
Harry's inscription on his parents grave
Images courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2011

EP SM

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CUMMINGS Walter Hadath, Private. 213831.

Royal Canadian regiment.
Died 11 January 1918, aged 33.


Walter's inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
Walter's inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2016

Walter Hadath Cummings was born in 1884 in Barrow-in-Furness (GRO reference: Jun 1884 Barrow F 8c 850) to John James and Isabella Cummings (nee Hadath). His parents had married in the June quarter of 1879 in the Barrow-in-Furness registration district. His father was born in the Isle of Man and his mother was born in Scotland.

The 1891 census records the family living at 60 Lord Street, Barrow. Walter's 32 year old father worked as an 'iron driller' in a shipyard. His mother was aged 29 and he had four siblings; Mary Ann aged 10, Eva aged 5, James aged 2 and Henrietta aged 1 month. Also living there were Walter's paternal grandparents, James and Ann, his uncles Andrew and Albert Cummings and his aunt Henrietta Cummings.

WALTER HADATH CUMMINGS AND HIS SIBLINGS
NameBorn - DiedNotes
Mary Ann (PollyBorn: 1881 Barrow
Died: 1965
Married George Lewis Jeanes in 1901
HenriettaBorn: 1882 Barrow
Died: 1882
 
Walter HadathBorn: 1884 Barrow
Died: 11 January 1918 Epsom
 
EvaBorn: 1887 Barrow
Died:
Married James G Graham 1912
James Born: 1888 Barrow
Died: 1945
Married Fanny Elliot 1915
HenriettaBorn: 1891 Barrow
Died: 1891
 
IsabelBorn: 1892 Barrow
Died:
 
LauraBorn: 1896 Barrow
Died:
Married Joseph Hope 1917
LilianBorn: 1901 Barrow
Died:
Married Edwin Brazier Hope 1932 (brother of Joseph Hope
One other unknown, died before 1911

In 1901 the family was still living at 60 Lord Street. Walter worked as a plater in an iron works, whilst his sister Mary (Pollie) worked as a 'Weaver in a jute mill'. Two more siblings are recorded, Isabel aged 8 and Laura aged 4. Boarding with them was 22 year-old fish salesman George Jeanes.

By 1911 the family was living at 29 Church Street, Barrow-in-Furness. Walter's mother recorded that she had been married for 32 years and that seven of her ten children were still alive. Walter is not recorded as he was probably in Canada or the USA by then. Living there was his sister Eva, brother James a sheet metal worker, sister Isabel an upholsterer, sister Laura and a new arrival Lilian. Also living there was Walter's sister Mary, her husband George Jeanes and their two children. Mary had married George Jeanes in 1901. Twenty four year-old Jeannie Penn was visiting on census night.

Walter attested into the Canadian army on 3 February 1916 at Windsor, Ontario and was initially assigned to the 99th Battalion, later being transferred to the 35th Battalion and then to the Royal Canadian Regiment. He stated his address as 149 Park Boulevard, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A., his place of birth as Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire, he worked as a machinist and that, as a single man, his mother was his next-of-kin. His date of birth was recorded as 11 March 1890, whereas his GRO entry shows that he was actually born in 1884, thus knocking six years off his true age. He also stated that he had served for three years with the Westmorland, Cumberland Imperial Yeomanry.

Walter was 5 feet 3½ inches tall, weighed 130 lbs, had a chest measurement of 33 inches with an expansion of 3 inches. He had a fair complexion, blue eyes, light hair, a tattoo on each arm, and his religion was Presbyterian.

Walter embarked from Halifax, Canada on 31 May 1916 aboard SS Olympic and on 8 June 1916 he arrived in Liverpool, England. On 30 June he was awarded 2 days field punishment No. 2 for drunkenness. He was transferred from the 99th Battalion to the 35th Battalion on 6 July, whilst stationed at West Sandling, Folkestone.

On 13 August 1916 he was admitted to Moore Barracks Hospital, Shorncliffe, suffering with 'Diseased Framework of Nose', and was discharged on 29 November 1916. On 22 December he was transferred to the Royal Canadian Regiment and went to France with the Battalion on 23 December 1916.

Walter wasn't in France for very long before he was in trouble with the authorities; on 30 December he was sentenced to 14 days field punishment No.1 and forfeit of 3 days pay for:
1. Breaking out of camp
2. Being in Havre without a pass
3. Absent without leave from 9pm 26 December to 9.15pm 28 December (about 48 hours
He was admitted to No.7 Canadian Stationary hospital in Havre on 24 March 1917 suffering with 'Oedema slt', and was discharged on 30 April.

On 17 May 1917 he was admitted to Lady Forester Auxiliary Hospital, Broseley, Shropshire suffering with 'Gastritis Internal adhesions serious'. He was later transferred to Berrington War Hospital, Shrewsbury. On 7 July he was sent to the Canadian Convalescent Hospital, Woodcote Park, Epsom and on the same day, to ward M, bed 67, in the Manor War Hospital. Walter was declared to be dangerously ill on 10 January 1918 and died the next day. His official cause of death was 'pyloric obstruction gastric jejunostemy exhaustion', originally diagnosed as gastritis.

The CWGC register states that he Died of Wounds gas. But his service record would seem to indicate that this is incorrect.

He was buried in Grave K23, Epsom Cemetery on 15 January and is commemorated on the Screen Wall.

Walter was awarded the British War medal and the Victory medal and a Canadian memorial cross was sent to his mother.

His mother died in 1938 and his father in 1942.

CWGC

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CUNLIFFE Ellis, Lance Corporal. 28981.

2nd Battalion Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment).
Died of Wounds 25 November 1917, aged 26.

Ellis' inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
Ellis' inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert

Ellis Cunliffe was born in Shipley, Yorkshire in 1891 (GRO reference: Sep 1891 Bradford Y. 9b 207) the son of Martha Cunliffe. I have been unable to find a likely marriage record for Martha Cunliffe.

In the December quarter of 1896 in the Keighley registration district, Ellis' mother married James Henry Hudson. Ellis's service papers refer to James Henry Hudson as Ellis' stepfather but the 1901 census shows him as James Hudson's son.

In the 1901 census the family was living at 139 Wellington Street, Keighley, Yorkshire. Ellis' father, aged 28, was a 'Spindle and flyer maker'. Recorded as Ellis Cunliffe Hudson, Ellis was aged 9, his mother was aged 25 and he had two brothers, William Henry aged 4 and Harold aged 1.

Ellis first joined the Army, in Keighley, on 30 December 1908 giving his age as 18 years and 4 months, although he would only have been 17. He stated that he had been born in Shipley, Yorkshire and that he was a labourer. He was initially assigned to the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion West Riding Regiment with service number 9313. Ellis was 5 feet 2½ inches tall, weighed 109 lbs, had a chest measurement of 33½ inches with an expansion of 2½ inches, hazel eyes, brown hair and his religion was Church of England.

The 1911 census records the family living at 1 Jay Street, Keighley. Ellis was in the army in 1911 and has not been found in the census. His father (or stepfather) was still earning his living as a 'Spindle and flyer maker'. His mother recorded that she had been married for 14 years and that all her 6 children were still living. Brother William Henry, aged 14, was working as a 'Millhand jobber', whilst Harold, aged 11 was at school. Three more brothers had arrived, Harry aged 9, Ernest aged 6 and James William aged 3.

Ellis married Edith Ann Hartley on 21 October 1911 whilst living at 44 Eastwood Square, Keighley, Yorkshire. They had three children, Alfred, born 2 June 1912, May, born 17 January 1914 and Thomas, born 7 April 1916. Thomas died from whooping cough on 23 April 1918.

Ellis went to France on 11 September 1914, was severely wounded on 18 April 1915 and on his return to England was admitted to number 4 Northern Hospital, Lincoln on 22 April. When recovered he returned to France on 4 August 1915 but was returned to England on 10 January 1916, having served his 6 years in the Army and was discharged as 'time served' on 12 January 1916.

However he joined again on 16 August 1916, whilst living at 44 Eastwood Square, Keighley. He stated that he was married and worked as a groom. Ellis was examined on 22 December 1916 and passed A1 for foreign service. Since first joining in 1908 he had grown to 5 feet 4 inches with a chest measurement of 36½ inches with a 2 inch expansion. He also had a tattoo on his right arm.

On 10 January 1917 Ellis embarked for France, joined his battalion on 14 January and was appointed Lance Corporal on 23 May. Whilst fighting at Tragique Farm, near Poelcappelle, Belgium, on 9 October, he suffered a compound fracture to his right upper arm, caused by shellfire. He was cared for at the 61st Casualty Clearing Station and the 1st Canadian General Hospital before being evacuated to England on 21 October aboard HT Stad Antwerpen.

Despite operations to save his arm, amputation was necessary on 23 November following a haemorrhage.

Ellis' wife was with him when he died at 2.40 a.m. on 25 November 1917 at Horton War Hospital, Epsom. He was buried in grave K649 in Epsom Cemetery on 28 November. He shares the grave with eight other servicemen.

Commencing 3 June 1918 Ellis' widow was granted a pension of 25s 6d for herself and two children. She went on to marry Peter O'Hara in the September quarter of 1918 in the Keighley registration district.

Ellis' widow signed receipts for his awards as follows:
1914 Star on 25 October 1919
Memorial Scroll on 27 November 1920
British War medal on 4 January 1921
Victory medal on 5 March 1921.
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