War Memorials - Surnames P

Index

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PAGE, Frederick (New 17/08/2017)
PAGE, L.A.
PAIN, H (New 12/01/2013)
PALMER, James Henry (New 07/11/2017)
PALMER, John Edward (Updated 10/06/2012)
PALMER, Thomas (Updated 27/06/2010)
PARKER, Albert Edward (Revised 10/01/2015)
PARKER, Fredrick (Revised 07/12/2014)
PASKELL, William (Updated 26/03/2014)
PATTEN, Ronald Easton (New 22/08/2016)
PAYNE, Ernest Victor. (Updated 22/09/2017)
PEARCE, Arthur William (Updated 09/06/2012)
PEARCE, Ernest John (Revised 29/12/2014)
PEARS, William (New 25/03/2015)
PEARSON, Evelyn Henry Malcolm (New 18/06/2013)
PEARSON, Frederick Oliver (Revised 22/11/2014)
PENFOLD, Benjamin Thomas (Updated 13/09/2016)
PENFOLD, George (Revised 28/09/2017)
PENSON, Henry Lowe (Updated 16/01/2010)
PERKINS, Frank (Updated 24/08/2014)
PERRY, Sidney (New 15/08/2017)
PETCHEY, James William (Revised 10/01/2015)
PETERS, James Edward (Revised 10/01/2015)
PETERS, John Henry Wiliam (New 04/11/2017)
PETERS, Walter (New 17/01/2013)
PINK, J (New 10/12/2010)
PIPER, Charles Arthur Matthews (Updated 24/12/2012)
PIRIE, George Laurence (Revised 08/05/2017)
PLOWMAN, F.J (Updated 23/03/2014)
PLUME, Frederick (Updated 27/06/2010)
PLUMRIDGE, Walter Joseph (New 18/01/2013)
POPLETT, William Henry (Revised 10/01/2015)
PORTT, George Sidney (New 29/10/2012)
POTTERTON, Ted (New 31/08/2013)
POWELL, Edmond (Revised 10/01/2015)
POWLEY, Edward Gwinn (Updated 17/06/2010)
PRATTENTON, B (Revised 05/07/2017)
PRICE, F (Revised 26/03/2014)
PRIMROSE, Hon. Neil James Archibald (Updated 04/07/2017)
PRIOR, William James (Revised 12/04/2013)
PROCTOR, William John (New 19/04/2011)
PROSSER, John (New 19/11/2013)
PULLINGER. W.G (New 06/01/2016)
PYE, William, (New 03/05/2011)
If you are looking for someone whose name starts with a different letter please try:



Content


PAGE Frederick, Rifleman. 77776.

5th Battalion Rifle Brigade (RB).
Died 19 March 1918, aged 40.


Frederick's inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
Frederick's inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2017

Frederick Page was born about September 1877. It has proved impossible to find out anything about Frederick before his Army service.

Frederick attested in Marylebone on 1 December 1914 and was initially assigned to the 5th Battalion Rifle Brigade, a reserve and training battalion, and was given service number S/6884. He gave his age as 37 years and 68 days, his address as 20 Bolton Road, North Kensington, his occupation as labourer and stated that he was unmarried. He was 6 feet tall, had brown eyes, grey hair, a chest measurement of 38 inches with an expansion of 2 inches, a scar on the left side of his jaw and a tattoo of a heart and dagger on his right forearm. His next-of-kin was his friend Alice Lambell of 20 Bolton Road, North Kensington.

On 30 December 1916 Frederick was transferred to the 29th (Works) Battalion Middlesex Regiment, with service number 77776. In April 1917 the 29th (Works) Battalion Middlesex Regiment transferred to the Labour Corps and Frederick's service number changed again to 157259.

On 8 October 1917, at Connaught Hospital, Aldershot, a Medical Board sat to advise on his eligibility for a pension. The Board decided that his disability was 100 per cent and permanent, and that he would soon be going to an asylum. He was suffering with 'Delusional Insanity'.

Frederick, serving with 312 Home Service Company Labour Corps, was discharged from the Army on 4 December 1917, under 'King's Regulations 392 para. XVI (a) (ii), no longer fit for military service, sick'. He was granted Silver War Badge No. 296,287, for 'King and Empire: Services Rendered'.

Frederick's 'Soldiers Effects' record tell us that he served under 'Eastern Command Labour Centre' (ECLC) and that the 'Records and Pay Office' in Nottingham had judged him insane, which is why he was transferred to Long Grove Asylum. His sole legatee was Alice Lambell.

Frederick's military character was described as 'Good' and that his disability had been aggravated by his 'ordinary military service'. He served from 1 December 1914 until his discharge on 4 December 1917, a total of three years four days, but as he did not serve overseas he was not entitled to any medals.

Frederick died of pulmonary tuberculosis in Long Grove asylum on 19 March 1918 and was buried on 26 March in grave K648 in Epsom Cemetery where he is commemorated on the Screen Wall. He shares the grave with three other soldiers.

CWGC


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PAGE L.A.

Died N/K, aged N/K

Pending further research this is what we have discovered about this person

(Listed on the Ashley Road Memorial, Epsom).

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PAIN Harry Richard Marchant, Sergeant. 204149.

96th Battalion Canadian Infantry.
Died 5 August 1916, Saskatoon, Canada, aged 36.

Harry Richard Marchant Pain was born in Hastings in 1880 (GRO reference: Sep 1880 Hastings 2b 44) to Henry and Frances Pain (nee Bannister). His parents married in the September quarter of 1871 in the Hastings registration district. Harry was baptised as Henry Richard Marchant in All Saints church, Hastings on 22 September 1880.

Harry Richard Marchent Pain And His Siblings
Name Born - Died Notes
Annie Elizabeth P Born: 1870 Hastings  
Grace Frances Abigail Born: 1873 Hastings Married William J French 1896
Ellen Matilda Born: 1875 Hastings Married George Page 1902
Mabel Kate Cornwall Born: 1877 Hastings  
Harry Richard Marchant Born: 1880 Hastings
Died: 5 August 1916 Canada
 
William Augustus Born: 1883 Hastings Married Mary Jane Barton 1905.
Emigrated to Western Australia
Ella Maud Born: 1887 Hastings
Died: 1909 Hastings
 
Philip Thomas Born: 1889 Hastings  
Elsie May Born: 1891 Hastings  
Harold Born: 1892 Hastings Married Ellen Hutchinson 1917

In the 1881 census the family lived at 24, St Mary's Road, Hastings. Harry's 28 year old father earned his living as a 'Harness Maker'. His mother was aged 26 and he had four siblings, Annie Elizabeth P aged 11, Grace Frances Abigail aged five, Ellen Matilda aged seven and Mabel Kate Cornwall aged three.

The 1891 census records the family living at 4, Githa Cottage, Githa Road, Hastings, where Harry's father was still earning his living as a 'Harness Maker', sister Annie was a laundress and sister Ellen a domestic servant. Three more siblings had arrived, William Augustus aged seven, Ella Maud aged three and Philip Thomas aged two.

The 1901 census shows the family home as 16, Githa Road, Hastings, and Harry's father was still making harnesses. Harry was a 20 year old carpenter and he had two more siblings, Elsie May aged nine and Harold aged eight.

Harry married Marguerite A Eleanor Selsey in Hastings in 1906. Their son, Harry Selsey Pain was born on 26 April 1910, in Epsom and was baptised on 15 May 1910 at St Barnabas church, Epsom. The family lived at 48, Hook Road and Harry was working as a carpenter.

At the time of the 1911 census Harry and his family lived at 7, Miles Road, Epsom, and Harry was still working as a carpenter. Harry's parents were living at 301, Harold Road, Hastings and Harry's father described himself as a 'Harness Maker & Bugett Coach Trimmer'. Also living there were his 33 year old unmarried sister Mabel and 18 year old brother Harold who was an apprentice joiner, his sister-in-law Mary, niece Eileen and a boarder, three year old Pauline Harris. Harry's mother stated that she had given birth to 13 children and that nine were still living.

Harry sailed to Saskatchewan aboard the 'Corsican' on 14 April 1912, and his wife Marguerite and son Harry sailed to Saskatchewan aboard the 'Royal George' on 11 September 1912.

The 1916 Canadian census taken on 1st June records Harry and his family living in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, where Harry worked as a carpenter.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records that Harry died, just over two months later, on 5 August 1916, whilst serving with the 96th Battalion Canadian Infantry. Reference to Harry's service papers can be found on the Canadian library and archives website but they are not available for download.

Within the two months between the census and Harry's death he attained the rank of Sergeant, perhaps because, at the age of 36, he was older than the average recruit.

Harry was admitted into the City Hospital in Saskatoon on 1 August 1916 for a hernia operation but died from complications four days later. His body was buried on 7 August in grave 10104 in Saskatoon (Woodlawn) Cemetery, Canada. It was marked by a white marble cross and surrounded by a wood and iron fence.

The CWGC states that he was the
Son of Henry and Frances Pain, of 66, Ashburnham Road, Clive Vale, Hastings, England; husband of M.A.E. Rayner (formerly Pain) of Wartime, Sask.
EP SB

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PALMER John Edward, Gunner. 338418.

Royal Garrison Artillery. 286 Siege Battery.
Killed in Action 27 May 1918, aged 37.

John's inscription on the Soissons memorial, France
John's inscription on the Soissons memorial, France
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2012

John Edward Palmer was born at Walton on the Hill in 1881 (GRO reference: Mar 1881 Reigate 2a 166) to John and Jane Palmer (nee Penfold). He was to be the first of 10 children.

In the 1881 census the family lived at Tadworth Street, Banstead. John's father, also John, was a 21 year old bricklayer's labourer. His mother, Jane, was aged 19.

By the 1891 census the family had moved to Baker Street, Banstead, and John's father was a general labourer. John had four siblings: Thomas aged 9 (also killed in action in the Great War and commemorated on the Ashley Road memorial), Nellie aged 6, George aged 4 and Emma aged 2.

In 1901 they lived in Meadow Walk, Walton on the Hill. There were five more siblings: Frederic aged 10, William aged 7, Kate aged 5, Bertha aged 2 and baby Ella who was 7 months old . John was a house painter as was his father and brother George.

John married Ethel Louisa Ratcliffe on 19 June 1909 (GRO reference: Jun 1909 Epsom 2a 30). They had at least one child, Eric Edward registered in the March 1911 quarter in Reigate.

In the 1911 census the family lived at Boxted Cottage, Meadow Walk, Walton on the Hill, Surrey. John was working as a race horse reporter for the Epsom Grandstand Association.

The Surrey recruitment register does not show when or where John attested, but it does state that he was 35 years and 5 months old, so he would have attested towards the end of 1916. He was 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighed 176lbs, and had a chest measurement of 42 inches with an expansion of 3 inches. He was born at Walton-on-the-Hill, and lived at North Lane, Epsom (probably North Looe), His occupation is stated as foreman, probably of painters.

John, a Gunner in the 286 Siege Battery Royal Garrison Artillery, was killed in action on 27 May 1918, and is commemorated on the Soissons Memorial to the missing. The Soissons memorial commemorates almost 4,000 men who have no known graves, who fell during the 1918 battles of the Aisne and Marne. Up to the 27 May 1918 this had been a quiet sector held by the French. Five British Divisions of the IX Corps had been sent there to 'rest and refit'. They occupied the eastern sector of the Chemin des Dames. On 27 May 1918 the Germans launched an offensive that pushed the British back across the river Aisne as far as the river Marne.

The Soissons memorial, France
The Soissons memorial, France
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2012

Close up of the drum detail on the Soissons memorial, France
Close up of the drum detail on the Soissons memorial, France
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2012

As stated above John's brother Thomas was also killed in the war. The St Martins Church Roll of Honour has entries for them both, and to assist understanding of the entries they are both shown below, with John's first:
"JOHN EDWARD PALMER, was reported missing and officially presumed killed in France in May 1918."

"His brother THOMAS PALMER, died of wounds in France on 9th October 1917."
John was awarded the British War medal and the Victory medal.

The CWGC states that he was the son of John and Jane Palmer; husband of Ethel Louisa Palmer, of Beech Cottage, North Looe, Ewell, Epsom.

EP SM

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PALMER James Henry, Private. 177185.

87th Battalion Canadian Infantry.
Died. Car Accident. 1 December 1918, aged 22.


James'inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
James' inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2017

James Henry Palmer was born on 7 June 1896 in Gaspé County, Quebec, Canada, the son of James and Bertha Palmer.

The 1911 Canadian census records the family living in Gaspé County, Quebec. James' 49 year old father was a farmer, originally from England. His mother, originally from Scotland was aged 44. James was aged 14 and he had three siblings, Lionel aged 20, John aged 17 and Ellen aged 8.

James attested on 20 October 1915, at Gaspé, giving his age as 19 years and 4 months. He was 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighed 140 lbs, had a chest measurement of 35 inches with an expansion of 2 inches, a fair complexion, blue eyes and brown hair. He was unmarried, worked as a farmer and his father, James Alber Palmer, living at Sunny Bank, Quebec, was his Next-of-kin. His service papers state his religion, variously as Presbyterian and Church of England.

James spent several days in St. John's Military Hospital, from 13 February to 21 February 1916, being treated for gonorrhoea.

On 23 April 1916 James embarked from Halifax, Canada, aboard SS Empress of Britain and arrived in Liverpool on 5 May. He arrived in Havre, France on 12 August 1916 and joined the 87th Battalion.

During an attack on Regina Trench, at Courcellette, Somme, on the night of 21/22 October 1916, James received a shell wound to his right hand and on 24 October he was admitted to No.2 Australian General Hospital, Wimereux. On 30 October he transferred to No.1 Convalescent Depot at Boulogne and the next day he transferred to 'Base Details' Boulogne.

Then on 19 November, after an attack on Grandcourt Trench, Somme, he was admitted to No.2 Canadian General Hospital at Le Treport suffering from a shell wound to his back and neck. He was transferred to No.3 Convalescent Depot, Le Treport on 6 December and then to the Canadian Base Depot, Havre on 12 December 1916.

Between 4 and 14 August 1917 James was granted leave to Paris.

On 15 August 1918 James received a punishment and was:
Sentenced to forfeit 2 Days pay and is placed under stoppage of pay to make good the sum of 13/6, for Damage to Government property, in that he cut short his trousers.
Between 20 August and 7 September 1918 he was granted leave to the UK.

James received another gunshot wound to his right hand and was admitted to the 45th Casualty clearing station on 27 September 1918. The next day he was transferred to No.4 General Hospital, Camiers. He was evacuated back to England and on 2 October he was admitted to No.3 North General Hospital, Sheffield. Then on 9 November he was sent to the Canadian Convalescent Camp at Woodcote Park, Epsom.

At about 2100 hours on 22 November 1918 James was walking back to Woodcote Convalescent Camp along Woodcote Road, near the Ladas public house when he was struck by a M.D. No.5 (a Ford Ambulance). The evening was dark and misty, the vehicle's lights were not good and James was hit when the ambulance changed direction to go round a bicycle that was travelling in the same direction. Although only travelling at about 10 miles per hour the ambulance knocked James to the ground and caused him to fracture his skull. James did not regain consciousness and died on 1 December.

As a result of the accident an extract from the hospital's weekly routine orders was republished:
USE OF SIDEWALKS
The following Hospital Routine Order No.1895 of 20-12-17 is published for the information of all ranks:-
        Complaints have been received from the Drivers of Motor Ambulances and Trucks that patients are careless in responding quickly to the warnings of approaching vehicles given by sounding horns, and that frequent accidents are nearly occurring due to carelessness and indifference on the part of soldiers not paying attention to the warnings.
        Staff and patients in going to and from town must in future keep to the sidewalks, The habit of walking on the roads is very dangerous and impedes traffic. Anyone who walks in the road does so at his own risk, and cannot expect compensation in the case of accident.
        Certified true copy, P.J.S. Bird. CAPT. & ADGT. C.A.M.C.
James was buried on 6 December in grave K89 in Epsom Cemetery where he is commemorated on the Screen Wall.

James' British War medal, Victory medal, Plaque and Scroll were sent to his father in 1922.

CWGC

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PALMER Thomas, Lance Corporal. G/75082.

16 Battalion Middlesex Regiment.
Died of wounds 9 October 1917, aged 35.

Thomas's headstone in the Cement House cemetery
Thomas's headstone in the Cement House cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2010

Thomas Palmer was born at Tadworth in 1882 (GRO reference: Dec 1882 Epsom 2a 11) to John and Jane Palmer (nee Penfold). He was to be the second of 10 children.

In the 1881 census before Thomas was born, the family lived in Tadworth Street, Banstead. Thomas' father John was a 21 year old bricklayers labourer, his mother was aged 19, and his brother John Edward was then aged 3 months. John was to die in the Great War and is also commemorated on the Ashley Road memorial.

By the 1891 census the family lived at Baker Street, Banstead, and Thomas' father was a general labourer. Thomas had three more siblings, Nellie aged 6, George aged 4 and Emma aged 2.

In 1901 they lived in Meadow Walk, Walton on the Hill, and Thomas had five more siblings, Frederic aged 10, William aged 7, Kate aged 5, Bertha aged 2 and 7 months old Ella. Thomas was a bricklayer, his brother John a house painter as was his father and brother George.

Thomas married Annie Adams on 7 January 1904 at St. Martin's Church, Epsom.

The 1911 census shows Thomas, his wife Annie and their 5 year old daughter Annie May, all living with wife Annie's mother Ann, a 66 year old widow, at High Street, Epsom.

The birth of Arthur H Palmer was registered in 1915.

Thomas died of wounds on 9 October 1917 during the third battle of Ypres, and is buried in plot I.G.13 Cement House cemetery. The third battle of Ypres, also known as the battle of Passchendaele, started on 31 July 1917 and lasted until 12 November 1917. Third Ypres was not really one single battle but a series of smaller battles along a front of about 20 miles. One of the series of smaller battles was the battle of Poelcapelle which commenced on 9 October. Cement House was the military name given to a fortified farm building, and it is likely that Thomas, wounded during the battle, was transported back here to a casualty clearing station. Plot I was used for burials from the end of August 1917 until April 1918. After the war many more graves were concentrated here in 20 other plots from various smaller cemeteries nearby.

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

As stated above Thomas' brother John Edward was also killed in the war. The St Martins Church Roll of Honour has entries for them both, and to assist understanding of the entries they are both shown below, with John's first:
"JOHN EDWARD PALMER, was reported missing and officially presumed killed in France in May 1918."

"His brother THOMAS PALMER, died of wounds in France on 9th October 1917."
The CWGC shows that Thomas was the son of John Palmer; husband of Annie Palmer, of 34, High Street, Epsom.

EP SM

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PARKER Albert Edward, Driver. 54639.

Royal Field Artillery (RFA) B Battery 115 Brigade.
Died 18 October 1917, aged 21.

Albert Edward Parker was born in 1896 (GRO reference: Mar 1896 Epsom 2a 23) to Thomas and Annie Parker (formerly Crawley).

Karasouli Military Cemetery, Greece
Karasouli Military Cemetery, Greece
Driver Parker's stone is in the 2 group on the left, first row sixth from centre
Copyright Image courtesy of Rob Carr 2007

Albert Edward Parker was born in Ewell on 9 February 1896 (GRO reference: Mar 1896 Epsom 2a 23) to Thomas William and Annie Parker (formerly Crawley, nee Penfold). His parents were both widowers when they married on 23 December 1893 in St. Mary's church, Ewell. According to the 1881 census, Albert's father was a stonemason and a Chelsea Pensioner.

ALBERT EDWARD PARKER AND HIS SIBLINGS AND HALF SIBLINGS
NameBorn - DiedNotes
Rose Mary (Crawley)Born: 1885 EwellBaptised 27 September 1885 St. Mary's church.
Thomas Robert (Crawley)Born: 1887 EwellBaptised 30 January 1887 St. Mary's church.
George William (Crawley)Born: 1888 EwellBaptised 26 August 1888 St. Mary's church.
Served RGA.
Married Eleanor Batchelor 12 September 1916.
James Henry (Crawley)Born: 1889 EpsomBaptised 9 February 1890 St. Martin of Tours church, Epsom.
Served Army Service Corps
ArthurBorn: 1894 Ewell
Died: 1895
Baptised 4 November 1894 St. Mary's church
. Buried 14 February 1895 St. Mary's.
Albert EdwardBorn: 9 February 1895 Ewell
Died: 18 October 1917 Salonika
Baptised 12 April 1896 St. Mary's church
William ThomasBorn: 1899 EwellBaptised 2 April 1899 St. Mary's church
Henry EdwinBorn: 1901 Ewell
Died: 1901
Baptised 10 February 1901 St. Mary's church

In the 1901 census Albert is shown as 'Bertie'. The family lived at 5 Downs View Cottages, West Ewell (now demolished). Albert's father was a 'Stone Mason', and Bertie had two siblings and four half siblings. The oldest four half siblings were Rose 15, Thomas 14, George 12 and James 10 who all bore the surname of 'Crawley'. His full siblings were William 2 and Henry 4 months. Henry died soon after the census was taken.

Albert first attended Ewell National Infants School before going on 1 May 1903 to Ewell Boys School. His brother William started at the same school on 23 April 1906. Albert left school on 23 March 1910.

Albert's father died just before the 1911 census was taken. Albert was aged 15 and working as a 'Baker's Boy Delivery'. He was still living at the same address with his widowed mother and older half brothers, George William and James Henry Crawley, who were both working as gardeners. Albert's brother William was next door at number 3, the home of his father's cousin.

Albert's brother William left school on 28 February 1913 and went to work in the International Stores in Ewell village. He enlisted in Kingston-upon-Thames on 26 August 1915 claiming to be 19 years old even though he was only just over 5 feet tall. He gave his mother as his next of kin and the family's address as 3 Woodley Terrace, West Ewell, Surrey. As he was only 16, he was discharged 52 days later on 18 October.

Albert enlisted at St. Paul's, London E.C., and served in 'B' Battery 115th Brigade RFA, which was part of the 26th Division. He went to France with the Division on 19 September 1915 but was only in France until November, when the Division was transferred to Salonika.

Albert died on 18 October 1917 aged 21 and is buried in Karasouli Military Cemetery, Greece in grave C 451.

Driver Parker's inscription at Karasouli Military Cemetery, Greece
Driver Parker's inscription at Karasouli Military Cemetery, Greece
Copyright Image courtesy of Rob Carr 2007

Interrogating the 'Soldiers died' CD for Salonika, Albert was the only man from the RFA to die on 18 October. Additionally, throughout October 1917 twenty men serving with the artillery lost their lives in Salonika, two died of wounds, but 18 are shown simply as having died. In the Salonika campaign many more men died from disease than from enemy action. The official book of 'Statistics 1914 - 1920' shows that of the total 9,717 officers and men who lost their lives, 5,367 (55%) were due to disease and causes other than enemy action.

Albert is remembered on four memorials within the Borough: St. Mary's church, Ewell; All Saints church, West Ewell; Bourne Hall Dog Gate and Ewell Boys' School.

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

His mother Annie died in 1931.

BH EW ES AS

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PARKER Frederick, Lance Corporal. PW/3004.

18th Battalion Middlesex Regiment.
Killed in Action 20 December 1916, aged 36.

L/Cpl Parker's headstone at Delville Wood Cemetery
L/Cpl Parker's headstone at Delville Wood Cemetery
Copyright image courtesy of Clive Gilbert

The 'Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919' CD lists Frederick Parker, 18th Battalion Middlesex Regiment born Epsom, enlisted Swansea. His stated age on his surviving service record papers indicate that he was born at the beginning of 1880, but I can find no entry for a Frederick Parker born in Epsom about this time and suspect that his birth was never registered.

However, there is a christening record, dated 13 June 1880, in St. Nicholas church in Cranleigh, Surrey for Frederick Parker, the son of Henry and 'Boilettie' Parker (which I believe was misheard for Violetta). Frederick's father Henry Parker had married 'spinster' Violetta (also known as Viletta or Violet) Lambert, the daughter of Walker Bowers, on 31 October 1870 in Holy Trinity church in Claygate, Surrey. Neither they nor their witnesses were literate and all of them marked the register with crosses. They were both hawkers and were living with Violetta's father Walker Bowers and family in a cottage in Horsham when the 1871 census was taken.

FREDERICK PARKER AND HIS SIBLINGS
Name Born - Died Notes
Alice Lambert
(Half sister)
Born: c1866 Horsham, Surrey Married William Benson 13 April 1885 Christ Church, Epsom
Henry Born: c1871 Addlestone Baptised 9 July 1871 St Paul's church, Addlestone. Married Mary Street 16 November 1900 Christ Church, Epsom
Walter Born: 23 October 1873 Sutton Baptised 14 December 1873. Married Mary Ann Leverington 25 December 1897 Christ Church, Epsom
Mark Born: c1875 Sutton
Died: 1910
Buried Epsom cemetery 21 December 1910 grave B204
John Born: c1878 Epsom
Died: 1902
Baptised 10 November 1878. Married Martha Leverington 7 August Christ Church, Epsom. Buried Epsom cemetery 21 February 1902 grave C9
Frederick Born: c1880 Epsom?
Died: 20 December 1916 France
Baptised 13 June 1880 Cranleigh, Surrey
Albert Born: c1882 Epsom Baptised 26 November 1882 St. Mary's church, Ewell. Married Isabella Ellen White 25 December 1900 Christ Church, Epsom
William Born: 1884 Brasted, Kent Baptised 29 March 1885 St. Mary's church, Ewell. Married Lucy Edith Tracey 23 February 1907 Christ Church, Epsom
Louise/Louisa Born: 9 March 1887 Epsom Baptised 12 June 1887 Cheam. Married William Thomas Tinker (KIA) 2 April 1904 Christ Church, Epsom
Hannah/ Mary/Annie Born: 22 December 1890 Epsom Baptised 'Hannah' 26 April 1891 Christ Church, Epsom. Married William George Stripp (KIA) 1914, Croydon.

The 1881 census records 1-year-old Frederick Parker living in a gypsy caravan, Kingston Lane, Horton. His place of birth is recorded as Epsom, Maldon, which possibly meant Malden Rushett, although in other records his place of birth is shown as Cranleigh. Frederick's 31-year-old father Henry, his mother, Viletta, aged 36, and his 15-year-old sister Alice were all hawkers. He had four brothers Henry 10, Walter 7, Mark 5 and John 3. It must have been quite cramped with eight people living in a Gypsy caravan!

In the 1891 census the family was still living in a caravan but had moved it to Pound Lane, Epsom. By then Frederick's father Henry was no longer a hawker but listed himself as an agricultural labourer. There were four more children: Albert aged 9, William 7, Louise 4 and a baby, Mary, aged 8 months. Frederick's whereabouts is unknown.

In the 1901 census the family and Frederick's blind grandfather Walker Bowers were living in Horton Lane, but Frederick, now aged 21, was boarding at 120 Lorraine Court, Miles Road, Epsom, and working as a general labourer. His grandfather died in 1903.

The 1911 census records Frederick, aged 31, and still single, living with his brother Walter at 233 Hook Road, Epsom, Surrey. Walter was married and had five children and was working as a waterman in the sewage works while Frederick was a general labourer for the London County Council Asylums. Their parents were now living alone at Grove Cottage, Green Man Street, High Street, Ewell. His father, who was working as a farm labourer on a dairy farm, was aged 62 and his mother 65. They had been married for 45 years and 2 of their 10 children had died.

Frederick attested in Swansea on 25 May 1915 into the 19th Battalion Middlesex Regiment, stating his age as 35 years and 3 months. He lived at 13 Rutland Street, Swansea, Glamorgan, was unmarried and worked as a 'General Labourer'. He was 5 feet 5½ inches tall, weighed 132 lbs, had perfect 6/6 vision in both eyes, was physically well developed and had a chest measurement of 37½ inches with an expansion of 3 inches. His next-of-kin was his father Henry of Epsom Road, Ewell.

On 7 August 1915 Frederick was transferred to the 25th Battalion and on 3 November was transferred again to the 18th Battalion Middlesex Regiment. The 18th was a 'Pioneer' battalion, which meant that they were mainly employed as labourers on such tasks as road building, trench digging, drain digging and carrying supplies. They were also riflemen and would be called upon to fight if necessary.

Frederick embarked from Southampton on 14 November 1915 and landed at Le Havre, France the next day. On 6 June 1916 he was appointed 'Lance Corporal, unpaid' and on 21 July to 'Lance Corporal, paid'.

On 10 December 1916 Frederick's battalion, the Pioneer battalion for the 33rd Division, marched via Maricourt and Hardecourt to the Maurepas Ravine area of the Somme battlefield, to take over trenches from French troops. The war diary for that day records that several 4.2 inch enemy shells fell on their camp but that they caused no casualties.

On 12 December the battalion was employed in digging a drain down Maurepas Ravine parallel to the Decauville railway, to ensure that their camp did not flood. One man was killed and another wounded, presumably from shellfire. The next day work continued on the drain, but some of the battalion worked on a trench called Agile Avenue and a communication trench. Two men were wounded.

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

Over the next few days work continued, digging on Agile Avenue, the road up Le Forest Valley and Abode Lane. On the 19 December 'D' Company was tasked with laying a 'trench board track' from Le Forest to the entrance of Abode Lane. The war diary recorded that on most days, men were either killed of wounded and between 14 and 20 December 1916, four men were killed and seven were wounded. Although no major battles were being fought and the battalion was not directly holding the front line, men were lost through the shellfire that seldom ceased.

Two men from the 18th Middlesex Regiment lost their lives on 20 December 1916 including Frederick, who is buried at Delville Wood Cemetery, grave XXV R 1. This was not Frederick's first grave, as all the 1,930 graves in Delville Wood Cemetery were created after the war when bodies were concentrated in from the many smaller cemeteries around the area.

Observer 14th December 1917: ROLL OF HONOUR. Acknowledgments of letters of sympathy sent out by the council were received from Mrs. Parker, Mrs Gaunt, Mr J.H. Bridges, Mrs. Ayling and Mr. Warr.

On 17 May 1919 Frederick's father completed 'Army Form W. 5080', which asked for a list of Frederick's living relatives along with their ages and addresses. The form, completed by Frederick's father and witnessed by the vicar, stated that Frederick had no wife and that his parents were Henry and Violet Parker of Grove Cottage, Ewell High Street, Ewell. His surviving siblings were:
  • Henry Parker, aged 50, Tolworth
  • Walter Parker, aged 45, Lower Hook Road, Epsom
  • Albert Parker, aged 42, Epsom Common, Epsom
  • William Parker, aged 40, Lintons Lane, Epsom
  • Louisa Tinker, aged 35, Kingston Terrace, Kingston Road, Ewell
  • Annie Stripp, aged 30, 33 Haldon Road, Wimbledon
  • and his half sister Alice Beason, aged 53, Dorking, Holmwood

Miss Mary Relfe, living at 19 Hornsey Park Road, Hornsey, London, acknowledged receipt of Frederick's 1915 Star on 18 August 1919, his British War medal on 16 November 1920 and his Victory medal on 2 February 1921.

Frederick's mother died in 1925 and his father in 1928.

BH EW

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PASKELL William, Private. 6957.

1/7th Battalion Middlesex Regiment.
Killed in Action 3 May 1917, aged 20.

William Paskell
William Paskell
Image courtesy of Peter Collins Grammar School Archivist

William Paskell was born in 1896 (GRO reference: Dec 1896 St Saviour 1d 76) to William and Mary Anne Paskell (nee Burdin). His parents were married in the 1894 in the West Ham registration district.

WILLIAM PASKELL AND HIS SIBLINGS
Name Born - Died Notes
William Born: 1896 Southwark
Died: 3 May 1917 France
 
Ivy Mary Born: 21 February 1898 West Ham
Died: 1978 Brentwood Essex
Married James John William Fraser, 5 August 1928 St. Barnabas Epsom
Winifred May Born: 1900 West Newington
Died: 1902 Camberwell
 
Dorothy Josephine Born: 1901 Camberwell Married Frederick J. Robinson 1922 Epsom
Albert Hindman Born: 18 May 1903 Camberwell
Died: 1976
Married Muriel Brown Edwards 1928
Unknown    
Unknown    
Unknown    

In the 1901 census the family lived at 183, Scovell Road, Southwark. William's father was a 29 year old boot maker. His mother was aged 31 and he had two siblings, Ivy Mary aged 2 and Winifred aged 1.

By the 1911 census the family had moved to 1, Miles Road, Epsom, probably after 1903. Two more siblings are recorded, Dorothy Josephine aged 9 and Albert aged 7. William's mother Mary stated she had given birth to eight children but that only four were alive in 1911. His father was recorded as working as a boot maker for the London County Council.

William's 'burnt' service records have survived, and the earliest document dated 9 December 1915 is from the Admiralty where William worked as a clerk. It records that William had expressed a desire to join the Army, and that he may attest but he cannot be called up without the consent of the Admiralty.

William, aged 19 attested in Kingston on 10 December 1915 as No. 6957, in the 3/7 Battalion Middlesex Regiment. He was 5 feet 7½ inches tall, weighed 123lbs, had a chest measurement of 34½ inches with an expansion of 3 inches. He had been vaccinated in infancy and had a birthmark on the front of his left thigh. His eyesight was judged to be only 6/9 in his right eye but 6/6 in his left eye. He worked as a civil servant clerk, his religion was C of E, and he lived at 1, Miles Road, Epsom.

On 30 November 1916 William embarked from Folkestone and disembarked at Boulogne the same day. Then on 11 December 1916 he was posted to 1/7 Battalion Middlesex Regiment, 167th Brigade, 56th Division. On 5 January 1917 he was allotted a new regimental number, 202607 and joined his new unit.

Trench map of Cavalry Farm - click image to enlarge
Trench map of Cavalry Farm - click image to enlarge

William's battalion fought in the 'Third Battle of the Scarpe' (3 and 4 May), a phase of the Battle of Arras (9 April 1917 to 17 May 1917). They were ordered to attack at 3-40AM, in darkness. The 167th Brigade attacking between Cavalry Farm and Little Copse. The following is an extract from the War Diary for 3 May 1917:
The Battalion attacked in four waves having as their respective objectives (i) TOOL Trench (ii) LANYARD Trench (iii) a line of joined up shell holes beyond it (iv) the high ground behind LANYARD. A platoon of 'A' Coy moved on the left of 2nd wave to deal with SPUR Trench. As soon as the first wave topped the ridge between KNIFE & TOOL trenches it was obvious that the enemy front line had never been adequately dealt with by the artillery & had apparently escaped the barrage as it was full of infantry standing shoulder to shoulder ready for our infantry to come on. In consequence, whilst isolated groups broke into TOOL Trench at certain points & one body got as far as a Support line just behind TOOL Trench the great bulk of the Battalion as soon as it topped the rise was checked by a withering musketry & machine gun fire & pinned down into shell holes from which the men were unable to emerge until after darkness. The attack had unexpectedly been ordered to take place before daylight though arrangements had been made on the assumption it would take place in daylight. In consequence the four assaulting waves in their anxiety not to lose distance & to keep close up to the barrage tended to merge into each other thus causing a certain amount of confusion. At 5-30AM information was received that 1st Londons were back in their own front line and soon afterwards that the Royal Scots on our left were also back. At 7-35AM two Coys 3rd Londons were placed at disposal of O.C. 7th Middx to push home the attack if it was considered possible. These two Coys were removed satisfactorily into KNIFE Trench & SADDLE Trench in case of counter attack as it was not considered possible to drive home the attack. Throughout the day hostile shelling was almost incessant & of extraordinarily heavy volume, such as had never been witnessed by anyone present. Apparently there was either no counter battery work or enemy's batteries had not been properly located. In consequence by mid-day the nerve strain on all ranks was becoming almost unendurable and at 1-20PM the following message was forwarded to Brigade "I request that if possible the Battalion may be relieved early this evening, not only has it suffered heavy casualties but the incessant shelling has shaken it so severely that it is essential that it be taken out as soon as possible". At 6-10PM orders were received from Brigade that 3rd Londons were to take over the front line & support trench with 8th Middx in close support & the Battalion to withdraw to WANCOURT line with Batt. H.Q. at LA FOSSEES FARM & reorganise. At 9-30 PM the handing over was complete.
The Soldiers Died CD tells us that 69 men from 7th Middlesex died that day, including William, whose body was not recovered. Because of this his name appears on the Arras Memorial to the missing.

William's inscription on the Arras Memorial to the missing
William's inscription on the Arras Memorial to the missing
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2010

On 23 November 1917 William's safety razor and blades were forwarded to his father at 1, Miles Road, these apparently the only personal effects to be returned to his next of kin.

In May 1919 William's father completed Army form W. 5080, giving information about living, close relatives. William had not married, but both parents were still living as were his sisters Ivy Mary aged 21 and Dorothy Josephine aged 17, and brother Albert aged 16.

William attended Sutton Grammar School. The following is an extract from the school magazine 'The Suttonian':
Was at school from 1909 to 1915. Enlisting under the Derby scheme, he was kept back at his work at the Admiralty until June 1916, when he joined the Middlesex Regiment. Going to France in November last, he took part in the winter operations. His last letter home was dated April 20th, and the only later news is that from the War Office saying he was killed on May 3rd.
The Epsom Advertiser dated 25 May 1917 printed the following:
DIED FOR HIS COUNTRY.- At the Brotherhood meeting on Sunday it was decided to send a letter of sympathy to Mr. W.Paskell (a member of the Tribunal) on the death, killed in action, of his elder son, Pte. W.Paskell. The deceased, who was 20 years of age, was a clerk at the Admiralty when he joined up. When a boy he gained a scholarship at the Council Schools, and for five years attended the Sutton County School.
On 13 September 1921 William's father signed a receipt for his son's British War medal and Victory medal.

He is also remembered on the Sutton Grammar School War Memorial.

EP SGS EB SB

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PATTEN Ronald Easton, Driver. 3561.

Australian Field Artillery.
Died 2 November 1915, aged 25.

Ronald Easton Patten
Ronald Easton Patten
Image courtesy of The Sydney Mail

Ronald Easton Patten was born in 1890 in Redfern, near Sydney in New South Wales, Australia. His parents were Reverend William and Mary Caroline Patten (nee Easton) who had married on 15 December 1886 in Queensland, Australia. His father was the minister of the Catholic Apostolic Church in Elizabeth Street, Redfern and lived at 69 Pitt Street, Redfern. William also worked as a marble merchant and was in business at 302 Pitt Street, Redfern, with his brother Francis G. Patten, trading as Patten Brothers, Monumental Masons and Sculptors. Established 1835.

Ronald had eight known siblings, Dorothy born 1888, Marjorie Agnew born 1892, Mary Kathleen born 1894, Wilfred Francis De Courcey [birth register transcribed as William F de C Patton] born 1895, Gwendoline Isabel born 1897, Terrence Louthian born 1900, Douglas Ogilvy born 1902 and Joyce Adeline born 1904.

Ronald attended Fort Street School in Sydney before starting work as a wool-classer

In 1913 Ronald and his family were living in Liverpool Road, Burwood, New South Wales. Ronald's father was recorded in the electoral roll as a clergyman and Ronald as a wool-classer while his mother Mary Caroline and sisters Marjorie Agnew and Dorothy were recorded as doing 'domestic duties'.

On 2 November 1914, in Liverpool, New South Wales, Ronald was 24 years 9 months old when he enlisted into the Australian Imperial Force. At his medical he was described as being 5 feet 7½ inches tall and weighing 154lb, with a 32 inch chest with 2 inch expansion. He had a fair complexion, blue coloured eyes and brown hair. It was also noted that his religion was Church of England (strangely not Catholic, like his father) and that he was unvaccinated. He gave his father, Mr W. Patten of Liverpool Road, Croydon, New South Wales, as his next of kin.

As a Driver in the 1st Field Artillery Brigade, 2nd and 3rd Reinforcements, Ronald and his unit embarked from Australia sometime in February 1915, destination Egypt. By 23 March 1915, Ronald was attached to the Brigade Ammunition Column and joined the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force on 4 April 1915.

Ronald was transferred to the Intermediate Base in Cairo on 5 April 1915. Due to illness, he was later transferred to Base in Alexandria on 31 July 1915 and received hospital treatment before being invalided to England.

Meanwhile, back in Sydney that same month, Ronald's younger brother Wilfred had enlisted, as a Private soldier, and would go on to be awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his bravery during the Battle of Bullecourt in April 1917. His citation read:
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He rallied his men under heavy fire and succeeded in driving enemy back. Later he personally covered the withdrawal of his men. He was twice severely wounded.
On 23 August 1915, Ronald was admitted into 4th London General Hospital in Denmark Hill. London and then two days later was transferred to the Australian Hospital in Harefield suffering from Rheumatic Fever.

Exactly one year to the day that he enlisted, Ronald died from pericarditis rheumatism at 7pm on 2 November 1915 in County of London War Hospital, Epsom, Surrey. His funeral took place at 3.15 pm on 8 November and was officiated by Captain Edward John Hockly, the Chaplain of the County of London War Hospital. Ronald was originally buried in grave K644, a grave deep enough for 9 bodies, but he was exhumed and reburied in individual grave K235, in Epsom Cemetery. He is remember on the CWGC Screen Wall there.

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

On 15 November 1915 the following appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald in New South Wales. However they had incorrectly stated that Ronald had died on 4 November:
ROLL OF HONOUR
PATTEN - November 4, at the War Hospital, Epsom, London, Ronald Easton Patten, 1st Brigade Ammunition Column, Australian Field Artillery, 1st Australian Division, the beloved son of William and Mary Patten, Tarawinaba, Liverpool-road, Croydon, aged 25 years, died of pericarditis rheumatism.
On 29 June 1916, Ronald's father William received a parcel containing his late son's personal effects that consisted of 1 pair of Spurs, 1 Lock, 1 Air pillow, 2 pairs of pants, 2 vests, 4 flannel shirts, 1 night suit, 2 flannel belts, 3 towels, 1 cap balaclava, 8 pairs of socks, 5 handkerchiefs, 1 belt, 1 identity disc, 1 housewife, 1 holdall, knife, fork, 2 razors, 2 brushes and soap.

Two photographs of Ronald's grave in Epsom Cemetery were received by his family on 2 February 1921. However, it appeared again that the wrong date of Ronald's death had been used and had to be corrected.

On 14 July 1921 William received his son's Memorial Scroll and the King's message that was sent to all the next-of-kin of soldiers who had died during the war. Ronald's Memorial Plaque was received by his father on 4 August 1922. Ronald was also awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War medal and Victory medal.

In Epsom Cemetery, the Imperial War Graves Commission had commissioned a Great War Cross to be erected, which was to be in memory of the soldiers, sailors and airmen buried there, who had died in the service of their King and Country. On 6 May 1925 a letter was sent to Ronald's father informing him that the Epsom Urban District Council intended to unveil and dedicate the Great War Cross on Sunday 17 May 1925.

CWGC

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PAYNE Ernest Victor, Gunner 27708.

152nd Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery (RGA).
Killed in Action 12 September 1917, aged 26.

Ernest's headstone in Artillery Wood Cemetery
Ernest's headstone in Artillery Wood Cemetery, Boesinghe, Belgium.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

Ernest Victor Payne was born a month before the 1891 census was taken in Southover, Lewes, East Sussex (GRO reference: Mar 1891 Lewes 2b 188). He was the youngest child of Edward and Fanny Payne, formerly Payne, (nee Gosney). His mother had previously been married to Edward's brother James Payne who died in 1880.

His widowed mother Fanny had been living at 5 St. Pancreas Terrace, Southover, Lewes, East Sussex in 1881 with her children and her brother-in-law Edward Payne. Fanny married Edward later that year and was still living at the same address by 1891. Ernest's father was working at the time as a painter to support Ernest's older half siblings/cousins Albert aged 16 (who was a shepherd's assistant), Sarah aged 12 and Caroline aged 11, as well as his siblings Beatrice aged 8 and Edward aged 6.

Ernest Victor Payne And His Half/full Siblings
Name Born - Died Notes
John Born: 1863 Polegate, Sussex  
James Edward Born: 1868 Polegate, Sussex  
Catherine Born: 1873 Laughton, Sussex  
Albert Henry Born: 1875 Laughton, Sussex  
Agnes Ellen Born: 1876 Ripe, Sussex  
Sarah Born: 1878 Hamsey, Sussex Married Alfred Frank Cutting 1901
Caroline Jane Born: 1879 Lewes, Sussex  
FULL SIBLINGS
Beatrice Born: 22 June 1882 Lewes, Sussex  
Edward George Born: 25 July 1884 Lewes, Sussex Baptised 31 August 1884 St, Michael's Church, Lewis, Sussex.
Married Ellen Bridget.
Also served. Emigrated to Canada, then to USA in 1919
Isabel Rose Born: 1886 Lewes, Sussex
Died: 1886 Lewis, Sussex
 
Ernest Victor Born: 1891 Lewes, Sussex
Died: 12 September 1917 France
 
One other unknown

In 1901 only Ernest and his parents, along with his older brother 16 year old Edward, were still living at 5, St. Pancreas Terrace. His father was by then working on a farm as a labourer and his brother as a carter. His sister Beatrice was a boarder in Fulham, working as a confectioner's assistant in a bakers.

Ernest was aged 22 and stationed with the 87th Company, Royal Garrison Artillery in China/Hong Kong when the UK 1911 census was taken. By then his father Edward was aged 73 and his mother Fanny 65; they were living at 13 Spring Gardens, Southover, Lewes, East Sussex. His father stated that he was an army pensioner and Fanny a maternity nurse. He also stated that he and Fanny had been married for 29 years and had had four children but one had died.

Ernest's service papers have not survived, but his medal card tells us that he went to France on 8 March 1915. When he was killed in action on 12 September 1917, during the third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele), he was serving with the 152nd Siege Battery, RGA. The Siege Batteries fired large calibre high explosive shells from heavy howitzers, in a high trajectory, plunging fire. Their job was to neutralise enemy artillery and destroy anything that might be of use to him, such as ammunition dumps, storage dumps, strong points, roads and railways. But, of course, British artillery would have been the object of enemy shellfire, and this is probably what caused his death.

Ernest is buried in grave I. C. 18. Artillery Wood Cemetery, Boesinghe, Belgium.

Artillery Wood Cemetery
Artillery Wood Cemetery
Artillery Wood Cemetery, Boesinghe, Belgium.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

Probate records state that Ernest had lived at 77 Hook Road, Epsom before being killed in action on 12 September 1917. Probate of his effects, worth £46 18s. 7d., was granted on 26 April 1918 to his half sister/cousin Sarah Cutting, the wife of Alfred Frank Cutting. Sarah and Alfred, an asylum attendant, were living at this address with their three children when the 1911 census was taken.

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

EP SB

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PEARCE Arthur William, Corporal. 424491.

Labour Corps (formerly East Surrey Regiment).
Died of pneumonia 10 November 1918, aged 28.

Corporal Pearce's headstone in Cambridge City Cemetery
Corporal Pearce's headstone in Cambridge City Cemetery
Copyright image courtesy of Keith Edmonds © 2012

Arthur William Pearce was born in Staines, Middlesex in 1890 (GRO reference: Dec 1890 Staines 3a 19), the son of Arthur William Pearce and Sarah Jane (nee Aitkenhead), who was known as Jane. Arthur's father was born in Little Missenden in Buckinghamshire in 1858 and his mother, Jane, was born in 1861 in Camberwell, Surrey. They were married in 1880 in Staines District and had eight children:

ARTHUR WILLIAM PEARCE AND HIS SIBLINGS
Name Born - Died Baptised Married
Ellen Jane Born: 1881 Staines   John Arthur Cornford, 1906
Alice Born: 1886 Cobham   Frederick Edward Penfold,
15 Feb 1908 Christ Church Epsom
Arthur William Born: 1886 Cobham
Died: 12 April 1918 Wisbech
14 November 1892 St Mary's Staines.
Lived Edgell Road
Annie Louise Asher,
3 January 1916 Poplar London
Rose Born: 1893 Epsom    
Albert Born: 1895 Epsom    
Annie Born: 1897 Epsom   George E Macdonnell,
1918 Epsom
Elizabeth May Born: 1899 Epsom (twin)    
Beatrice Maud Born: 1899 Epsom (twin)   Henry Payne
1925 Epsom

In the 1881 census, before Arthur was born the family home was in George Street, Staines, where Arthur's 24 year old father worked in a butcher's shop. His mother was aged 21.

From the 1891 census it appears that Arthur aged 4 months, was living with an aunt, 45 year old Sarah Simpson, in Chesham, Bucks. Arthur's parents were living at the back of Richmond Road, Staines, and his father was still working as a butcher. Also living there were Arthur's two older sisters, Ellen Jane aged 9 and Alice aged 5. Charles John Simpson, a 50 year old plasterer was visiting the household on census night. Charles was married to Arthur's aunt, Sarah.

Arthur was baptised on 14 November 1892 in St Mary's church, Staines. The family was living in Edgell Road at the time. As the births of Arthur's five younger siblings were registered in Epsom, commencing in 1893, the family presumably moved to Epsom between the end of 1892 and 1893.

In the 1901 census the family was living at 45, East Street, Epsom. All of Arthur's siblings, with the exception of Ellen Jane, were living there. His father was still working as a butcher.

When Arthur's sister Alice married in 1908 she gave her address as 3, Upper Court Road, Epsom, and Arthur's father was no longer a butcher, but a gardener.

Arthur's 'burnt' service papers have survived albeit badly damaged. One of the three attestation forms shows that on 15 June 1908, at the age of 17 years and 6 months, Arthur signed up, stating that he was willing to serve in the 'East Surrey Regiment Special Reserve'. He gave his occupation as 'General Labourer'. A medical form filled out on the same day in London, tells us that he was 5 feet tall, weighed 113 lbs, had blue eyes, brown hair and his pulse rate was 96 beats per minute. He had a mole above his right nipple and some indistinct marks on his left forearm, and his religion was Church of England.

Another attestation form, on which the date has been destroyed, gives his age as 17 years and 11 months, and his occupation as 'milk vendor'. He states on this form that he was already serving in the special reserve. NOTE: 1908 was a time of great change for the British Army, and saw the demise of the Militia and the birth of the Territorial Army.

The third attestation form appears to be a copy of the second. All are stamped 'Kingston-Upon-Thames'. Another medical form, dated 15 November 1908 and completed in Kingston-Upon-Thames, shows that by then he had grown to 5 feet 5 inches tall, weighed 124 lbs and had a chest measurement of 34½ inches with an expansion of 2½ inches. He had a fresh complexion with blue eyes and brown hair. His pulse was now 70 beats per minute and he had a scar in front of his right ear and a mole over his right nipple. His religion was still C of E.

Because Arthur was under the age of 18, he needed his parent's permission to join the Army, and his father duly gave his consent on 16 November 1908, stating his address as 5, Grafham Cottages, Stafford Road, Epsom.

In the 1911 census the family was living at 5, Margaret Cottages, Epsom Common. Arthur does not appear in the census as he joined the army in 1908, and his battalion, the 2nd East Surrey's, was serving in India at the time. Arthur's father was still working as a gardener. His mother Jane stated that she had been married for 31 years, and had given birth to eight children, all of whom were still alive, although only the youngest five were still living with her.

Arthur, at the age of 23 years and 3 months, being of very good character signed on to extend his Army service beyond his initial agreed period. The year the form was signed is obscured, but the date was probably 26 February 1914.

In October 1914 the 2nd Battalion East Surreys embarked on the transport ship Malda for England, disembarking at Devonport on 23 December 1914. On 18 January 1915 the battalion sailed from Southampton for France in S.S. Maiden arriving at Le Havre at noon on 19 January.

Arthur was admitted to hospital on 14 March 1915 suffering with wounds to his hand and leg, and on 15 May 1915, after 62 days in hospital he was discharged to duty completely healed.

Arthur aged 26, married spinster Annie Louise Asher aged 29, on 3 January 1916 at St John's Church, Poplar. He was a Lance Corporal living at Oil Mill Barracks, Dover. His father was working as a male nurse (probably at one of Epsom's asylums), which was a change from his work as a butcher or gardener.

Arthur, No.9741 East Surrey Regiment was transferred to the Labour Corps, and given the new service number 424941 on 18 October 1917.

The following letter written on 26 January 1918, by John Wallace of Longdown Farm, Epsom has survived:
O.C. Labour Corps, Nottingham.

Dear Sirs
     It has come to my knowledge that Corporal A.W. Pearce No 424941, 280th Area Employment Coy. B.E.F. might be available for farm work in this country.
     If that be the case I can say that he has worked at my premises before joining up and I should be only too pleased to find a place for him with me should he be put into that Co.
               Yours Truly
               John Wallace
Apparently Mr Wallace's letter was to no avail as Arthur was billeted in March, Cambridgeshire, when he was admitted as a stretcher case to the 1st Eastern Command General Hospital, Wisbech on 28 October 1918 suffering with 'Double pneumonia (lobar)', from which he died on 10 November 1918.

Arthur is buried in grave D. 2617 in Cambridge City Cemetery. He was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, the British War medal and the Victory medal.

'Corporal Pearce's headstone, second from left, in Cambridge City Cemetery
Corporal Pearce's headstone, second from left, in Cambridge City Cemetery
Copyright image courtesy of Keith Edmonds © 2012

Corporal Pearce's inscription, top left, on the privately erected memorial cross in Cambridge City Cemetery.
Corporal Pearce's inscription, top left, on the privately erected memorial cross in Cambridge City Cemetery
Copyright image courtesy of Keith Edmonds © 2012

Privately erected Portland stone memorial cross in Cambridge City Cemetery
Privately erected Portland stone memorial cross in Cambridge City Cemetery
Copyright image courtesy of Keith Edmonds © 2012

On 30 December 1918 the officer in charge of Labour Corps records asked the Medical Officer in charge of the hospital where Arthur died, to furnish him with a detailed medical report, and to state whether his death was caused or aggravated by his military service, as the information was urgently needed by the Ministry of Pensions.

On 19 March 1919 the Ministry of Pensions completed a 'Widows' Form 18' which stated that Arthur's widow was entitled to a pension. The Ministry completed another form on 20 May 1919 stating that Arthur's widow had been awarded a pension of 15/- (75p) a week, commencing on 2 June 1919, so presumably it was judged that the war contributed to his death.

Arthur's widow signed a receipt for her husband's memorial scroll on 28 August 1920.

It is possible that Arthur's widowed wife Annie married again, as there is a marriage entry in Epsom in 1925 to a Charles W Hills.

Arthur's mother, Sarah Jane Pearce died in 1930 aged 68 at 31, Stamford Green Road and his father Arthur William Pearce senior died in 1933 aged 77 at Middle House, Dorking Road (Workhouse), he was described as a gardener. Both are buried at Epsom Cemetery in Grave K452

EP CC

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PEARCE Ernest John, Private. 31719.

3rd Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment.
Died 19 February 1917, aged 36.

Private Pearce's headstone in Watford Cemetery
Private Pearce's headstone in Watford Cemetery
Copyright image courtesy of Clive Gilbert

Ernest John Pearce was born in Epsom in 1880 (GRO reference Jun 1880 Epsom 2a 17) to John and Julia Pearce (nee Osborn). His parents had married on 5 March 1878 in Jesus Chapel in Enfield, aged 34 and 29 respectively, which is at odds with their ages recorded on the following censuses. Ernest's father was working at the time in Epsom but had been born in St. Georges London while his mother came from Brent Pelham, Hertfordshire.

When Ernest was baptised on 6 June 1880, in Christ Church Epsom, his family address was given as the High Street Epsom and his father's occupation as a 'Medical Dispenser'. The 1881 census records the family living at West Hill, Epsom and that Ernest's father was still earning his living as a 'Medical Dispenser'. Ernest was recorded as being aged 11 months while his father as 29 and his mother as 33.

ERNEST JOHN PEARCE AND HIS SIBLINGS
Name Born - Died Notes
Ernest John Born: 1880 Epsom
Died: 9 February 1917 Suffolk
Baptised 6 June 1880 Christ Church, Epsom
Edith Louisa Mary Born: 10 June 1882 Epsom Baptised 13 August 1882 Christ Church, Epsom.
Married Henry Albert Victor Thomas 26 April 1924 St. Mary's church Ewell
Agnes Hannah Born: 17 February 1884 Epsom Baptised 11 May 1884 Christ Church, Epsom
Arthur William Born: 13 November 1885 Baptised 12 February 1886 Christ Church, Epsom.
Married Mabel Eva Peel 30 August 1919 St. Mary's church Ewell

After the birth of Arthur, their mother Julia died aged 37. St. Martin of Tours church burials record that she was buried on 30 December 1885 in Epsom Cemetery in grave B108.

Ernest was a pupil at Ewell Boys' School.

By the 1891 census the family had moved to Green Man Street, Ewell. Ernest's widowed father was still working as a Medical Dispenser and Ernest's unmarried aunt Hannah Pearce was living with them.

On 29 June 1891, in St. George in the East parish church, Tower Hamlets, Ernest's father married 40-year-old spinster Emma Jane Milk, who had been born in Great Massinghan in 1847.

By 1901 Ernest was lodging at 30 Eton Road, Plumstead and working as a 'Printing machinist'. His father John was still living in Green Man Street, a retired medical dispenser, with his wife and son Arthur, who was working as a railway booking clerk. His sister Edith was working in Ewell Court House as a nursery maid looking after John H. Bridge's three children.

Aged 30, Ernest was working as a 'Printers Machine Minder' and boarding with the Wilson family at 9 Shaftesbury Road, Watford, Hertfordshire when the 1911 census was taken. His father and stepmother were still living in Ewell but had moved to 'The Cottage', Church Street.

Ernest married Lilian Whiley in the September quarter of 1911, in the Watford registration district. They had two daughters, Ella L. Pearce born in 1913 and Olive M. Pearce born in 1915.

Ernest enlisted in Watford, Hertfordshire and at the time of his death he was in the 3rd Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment. This was a reserve battalion and stayed in the UK throughout the war. Men trained with the battalion would have been sent as drafts to other battalions as required.

Ernest died on 19 February 1917 aged 36, registered in the March quarter of 1917 in the Woodbridge, Suffolk registration district, and is buried in Watford Cemetery, plot L 9 703.

The CWGC states that he was the Husband of Lilian Pearce, of 8 Copsewood, Road, Watford.

Ernest's father died aged 88 in 1932.

BH EW ES

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PEARS William, Corporal. 624948.

50th Battalion Canadian Infantry (Alberta Regiment).
Died of Wounds 12 January 1919, aged 37.

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

William Pears was born on 5 August 1882 in the county of York, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, son of William and Hannah Pears, nee Piggotte, of Box 188 West Toronto Ontario, Canada. William's birth was registered the following year on 2 June 1883 (Archives of Ontario Microfilm: MS929_63).

The York district Canadian 1891 census records the family as:
  • William Pears, aged 36. Born in Ontario. Occupation: Brick manufacturer. Parentage: English. Religion: Methodist.
  • Annie Pears, aged 36. Born in Ontario. Parentage: English. Religion: Methodist.
  • Kathleen Pears, aged 10. Born in Ontario.
  • William Pears, aged 8. Born in Ontario.
  • Laura Pears, aged 3. Born in Ontario.
  • Leonard J Pears, aged 10 months. Born in Ontario.
The York district Canadian 1901 census records the family as:
  • William Pears, born 5 August 1854 in Ontario. Occupation: Brick manufacturer.
  • Hannah Pears, born 20 April 1854 in Ontario.
  • William Pears, born 5 August 1883 (sic) in Ontario.
  • Laura Pears, born 7 September 1887 in Ontario.
  • John L Pears, born 12 July 1890 in Ontario.
  • Annie K Pears, born 27 February 1893 in Ontario.
William attended Toronto Junction High School, Toronto, Ontario, which had been first established in 1892 in the basement of the local Presbyterian Church. The school moved in 1894 to its present site and is now known as the Humberside Collegiate Institute. The Institute has a WWI Memorial Plaque situated in the front entrance, on which William Pears name appears.

In November 1910 William travelled from his home in West Toronto to St Albans, Vermont, United States. After a month, travelling by rail from Hannah, North Dakota, United States, William arrived in Snowflake, Manitoba Alberta on 13 December. On both boarder crossings William gave his age as 28 and occupation as a brick maker.

On the 1911 Canadian census, William was recorded as being a lodger living in Chilliwack Riding, Matsqui Municipality, New Westminster, British Columbia. He stated that he was a single 28 year old, who was working as a labourer on the road.

On 23 February 1916, when William attested at Camrose into the Canadian Over-seas Expeditionary Forces, he stated he was a 31½ year old Methodist farmer from Strome Alta. This however would have given him a birth year of 1884.

His military records describe him as blue-eyed with dark brown hair, having a dark complexion, 5 foot 8 inches tall and weighing 145lbs. His chest measurement was 38 inches with an impressive 5-inch expansion.

The Canadian War Grave Registers for service personnel of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) who died during the First World War in Belgium, France and the United Kingdom recorded that William was Corporal 624948 serving in the Canadian Infantry (Alberta Regiment) when he died from the results of gunshot wounds to his right thigh and shoulder on 12 January 1919 in the Horton War Hospital, Epsom, Surrey, England.

William was buried on 17 January 1919 in the Ashley Road cemetery in a separate grave, K88. The Canadian War Grave Registers, also known as the 'Black Binders', confirm this as the final resting place for William Pears and record that William's father was notified about his son's burial place on 25 April 1919, which was later confirmed on 12 July 1921.

CWGC

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PEARSON Evelyn Henry Malcolm Paterson, Captain.

12th Battalion King's Liverpool Regiment.
Accidentally Killed 8 January 1916, aged 41.

PEARSON Evelyn Henry Malcolm Paterson
Evelyn Henry Malcolm Paterson PEARSON
Image source Harrow School Memorial Book

Evelyn Henry Malcolm Paterson Pearson was born in 1874 in the now demolished St. Nicholas Rectory in Manor Park Road, Chislehurst, Kent the son of Albert Harford and Rosetta Mary Pearson (nee Sanders). He was baptised in Chislehurst Church on 12 July 1874.

In 1881, 6 year old Evelyn was living with his father, a 41 year old barrister, and his 8 year old sister, Beatrice, at 29, Ashley Place, St Margaret's Westminster. The household also consisted of a housekeeper, cook, nurse, parlour maid, housemaid and kitchen maid. His mother was visiting her mother and stepfather at Chislehurst Rectory where her stepfather was vicar. (The census records her incorrectly as Albert Murray's daughter.) Evelyn's father died in 1888 and his mother married John Thomas Bennett-Poe the following year.

After attending Upland House School in Epsom, Evelyn went to Harrow School from April 1888-1890. His mother appeared on the 1890 electoral register as still living at 29 Ashley Place, St. Margaret's Westminster. Probate records show that Evelyn's mother died on 10 March 1891 while at Villa Arson Alpes Maritimes in France.

As I have been unable to find the family in the1891 census, which was taken on the night of 5 April, it is possible that the family were still in France.

Evelyn was keen get a commission into the Army but was unsuccessful on account of his eyesight. In 1893 he joined 4th (Militia) Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers as a 2nd Lieutenant with the intention of using it as a route into the Regular Army but gave up on the idea and became a land agent.

On 26 June 1895 Evelyn married Mabel Augusta Throckmorton at St. Paul's church, Knightsbridge. At the time he was living at 38, Bury Street, St. James, London. Both he and his wife were 21. After their marriage they lived in a series of hotels, for example the West Cliff Hotel in Folkestone, the Metropole hotel in London and before settling, at Raymead in Maidenhead. Although they had a son, Edward John Paterson Cecil Throckmorton Pearson, born on 11 August 1896, the union was unhappy from an early stage. By 1897 Evelyn's wife was petitioning for divorce on the grounds of cruelty, his uncontrollable temper, and adultery. She alleged that Evelyn had thrown a stone at her at Hardwick Court, in Gloucestershire which had hit and hurt her. She also claimed that when they were travelling by train from Bombay to Nagpur in India, Evelyn had insisted on hanging his head out of the carriage window with an open knife in his hand despite her protestations. The following May he pretended to suffer from epileptic fits, frightening her whilst she was pregnant. She alleged that he was prone to violent outbursts of temper and often threatened to commit suicide. He had also committed adultery on several occasions with un-named women. Evelyn vehemently denied all the charges and the case was dismissed.

His son Edward died early in 1898.

On 14 October 1899 Evelyn was involved in a serious accident in Cirencester, where he was articled as a pupil to local estate agents Paget, Ryland and Co. He was riding through the market place when his horse became restive. At the west corner of Market Place, it mounted the pavement but slipped and fell bringing Evelyn down with it and injuring him severely. He was taken unconscious to the cottage hospital and for a while his life hung in the balance, before he eventually recovered.

In the 1901 census he is recorded as visiting the Royal Pier hotel Southsea. His wife is not listed amongst the guests and it is not possible to tell if he is staying there alone or not.

He suffered a further horse related mishap on 18 August 1904 when he had taken a horse and trap from his home at 'The Cleeve' in Stratton to Cirencester. In Thomas Street the horse broke its harness and threw him from the trap, bruising him badly and causing shock.

In 1904 his wife was cited as co-respondent in Mrs. de Falbe's petition for divorce of her husband Christian. Evelyn then petitioned for divorce on the grounds of his wife's adultery and that she was living with Christian de Falbe. This time the grounds were upheld and the marriage was dissolved.

In the 1911 census he was staying with the Honourable Mr and Mrs Stanhope at 49, Onslow Square, London.

In September 1914 Evelyn applied again for a commission and was gazetted Company Lieutenant in the 12th (Service) Battalion, Kings Liverpool Regiment. In October he was promoted to Temporary Captain and Adjutant. He embarked for France on 24 July 1915, resigned as adjutant on 1 August 1915 and for a short while served as Liaison Officer. He was keen to get involved in the Trench Mortar Battalions and attended the School of Mortars from 11 October 1915. He became an Instructor for the Trench Mortar School 12th Division and it was whilst he was instructing a class on 8 January 1916 that he was killed. He was buried grave II. M. 2. at Bethune Cemetery France.

Evelyn's headstone in the Bethune Cemetery
Evelyn's headstone in the Bethune Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

The court of enquiry found that he was killed by the accidental firing of a Stokes mortar that he was demonstrating. The incident was verified by four witnesses, three officers and a corporal. The enquiry report was not on his file at The National Archives (WO 339/21377).

There was no list of his belongings on his file at the TNA, but a 'few small articles of sentimental value' were taken to the home of his sister by 2nd Lieutenant W. Moore-Tucker.

The grantees in Evelyn's will were Thomas Kirkland Rylands and the widowed, Honourable Ethel Stanhope. The estates amounted to £21,549 1s. 3d. His 1915 Star, British War medal and Victory medal also went to Ethel Stanhope.

Evelyn's ex-wife Mabel married Willoughby John Horace de Montmorency, 4th Vicount Frankfort de Montmorency in February 1916. The marriage was shortlived as de Montmorency died on 5 July 1917.

Evelyn was a keen cricketer and is remembered on the MCC memorial board at the Lords cricket ground. He is also remembered on the Harrow school War Memorial, on a plaque on the back wall of St. Nicholas church, Chislehurst and on a plaque on an inside wall of the Union Jack Club, Waterloo. The plaques in St. Nicholas church and at the Union Jack club were put there by his sister Beatrice Riddel, wife of Canadian born, Vice-Admiral Daniel McNab Riddel R.N..

Evelyn's plaque in the Union Jack Club, London
Evelyn's plaque in the Union Jack Club, London
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

With thanks for additional information from Yvonne Auld, author of a booklet 'For King and Country, the Men of Chislehurst who fell in the Great War'.

UHS

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PEARSON Frederick Oliver, Gunner. 148285.

'D' battery 306 Brigade Royal Field Artillery.
Killed in Action 20 September 1918, aged 34.

Gunner Fredrick Pearson's Gravestone in the Estaires Communal Cemetery
Gunner Fredrick Pearson's Gravestone in the Estaires Communal Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2007

Frederick Oliver Pearson was born in Kingsland, Hackney, in 1884 (GRO reference: Jun 1884 Hackney 1b 494) to George James and Harriet Emma Pearson (nee Boon). His 26-year-old father, a corn chandler, had married 28-year-old spinster Harriet Emma Boon on 16 May 1880 in St. Anne's church in Shoreditch.

Frederick's parents and 23 days old sister Susan were living at 3 Gopsall Street, Shoreditch when the 1881 census was taken.

FREDERICK OLIVER PEARSON AND HIS SIBLINGS
Name Born - Died Notes
Susan Harriett Born: 11 March 1881 Shoreditch Baptised 10 April 1881 St. Ann's Church, Hoxton. Married George Henry Davis 1912.
George Henry James Born: 1882 Hackney Married Mabel Jane Moores 1913 Christ Church, New Malden.
Frederick Oliver Born: 1884 Hackney
Died: 20 September 1918 France
Married Florence Emma Hurley 4 August 1913, Holy Trinity Church, Aldershot
James Isaac Born: 1885 Hackney
Died: 2 December 1937, aged 52, through war injuries.
Married Beatrice Harriet Spratt 1907. Served with the Scottish Rifles. Won the Military Medal

In the 1891 census the family lived at 75 Culford Road, Hackney. Frederick's father George, was a 37 year old carman. His mother Harriet was 37 years old. He had 3 siblings Susan aged 10, George aged 8 and James aged 5.

By the 1901 census they had moved to 3 Broadway, Maybury Road, Woking, where Frederick's father was working as a dairyman on his own account and Frederick, aged 17, was working as a 'Butchers boy'. His mother and sister Susan ran their home while his brother George worked as a milk carrier and brother James as a coach carriage painter.

Frederick's brother James Isaac married Beatrice Harriett Spratt in the December quarter of 1907 in the Chertsey registration district.

Frederick was aged 27 and still single when the 1911 census was taken. He was working as an insurance agent and living with his parents and siblings Susan and George at 'Belle Vista', Beverley Road, New Malden. His father stated that he and his wife of 30 years had had four children and that they were all still alive, and that he was working as a milkman. Frederick's sister Susan Harriett, aged 30, was working as a dairy bookkeeper and his brother George Henry James, aged 28, was working as a milk carrier.

The 1911 census records Frederick's brother James aged 25, a 'Wine Maker', and his 24 year old wife Beatrice, living at 72a Washington Road, Norbiton, Kingston-Upon-Thames.

On 18 February 1912, when sister Susan married George Henry Davis in Christ Church, New Malden, their father was recorded as working as a cab driver.

Frederick's brother George Henry James married Mabel Jane Moores on 2 August 1913 in Christ Church, New Malden.

Two days later on 4 August 1913 Frederick, aged 26 married 26-year-old Florence Emma Hurley in Holy Trinity Church in Aldershot. His occupation was noted as a salesman. His father was recorded as George Henry (not James) Pearson, a dairyman and his address as 14 Beverley Road, New Malden. Florence's father was recorded as William Hurley, a gardener and her address as 42 Victoria Road, Aldershot.

Their son Frederick William George was born on 15 November 1914 in the Epsom registration district. He died aged 76 in August 1991, registered in the Surrey South-western district.

The Surrey Recruitment Register records that Frederick, aged 30 years 10 months attested at Kingston on 9 February 1915, as a driver with the Royal Field Artillery. He was 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighed 157 lbs and had a chest measurement of 39 inches with an expansion of 6 inches. He is shown as living at 15 West Street, Ewell, having been born at Kingsland (Hackney).

A few papers from the Ancestry 'pension' records survive and these record him as a 'window cleaner and driver'. The papers also show that he was sent to No. 6 RFA Depot at Glasgow, and that he was discharged, one month after attesting on 9 March 1915, because he was deemed 'not likely to become an efficient soldier', due to an 'oblique Inguinal Hernia (left). He also had Slight hammer toe on both feet, but his eyesight was perfect.

Although rejected in March 1915, Frederick was eventually accepted into the RFA, although no records survive to tell us exactly when.

Frederick was killed in action almost at the end of the war on 20 September 1918, during the final British advances, when his unit moved up to near Sailly-sur-la-Lys. He is the only man from his unit recorded by the CWGC as being killed that day, and was most likely killed by shellfire. He is buried in Estaires Communal Cemetery, II P 7.

Frederick was awarded the British War medal and Victory medal.

With thanks to Frederick's great nephew Barry Bromley for supplying additional information.

BH EW

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PENFOLD Benjamin Thomas, Private. 10485.

2nd Battalion, The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment).
Killed in Action 13 September 1915 aged 22.

Private Benjamin Penfold's Gravestone in the Vermelles British Cemetery, Loos
Private Benjamin Penfold's Gravestone in the Vermelles British Cemetery, Loos
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2008

Benjamin Thomas Penfold was born in Leatherhead on 18 December 1892 (GRO reference: Mar 1893 Epsom 2a 27) to Henry and Harriett Penfold (nee Kemp). He was baptised on 5 February 1893 in St Mary and St Nicholas church, Leatherhead. The family lived at The Crescent, Leatherhead and Benjamin's father was a shepherd. Benjamin's parents married in the December quarter of 1874 in the Dorking registration district.

BENJAMIN THOMAS PENFOLD AND HIS SIBLINGS
Name Born - Died Notes
Henry Born: 1876 Cobham Served in the Labour Corps from 3 November 1916 to 17 February 1919. Previously served in the West Yorkshire Regiment
Annie Maria Born: 1877 Cobham 4 June - 9 August 1898 in Epsom Workhouse.
Married Benjamin Tutt, 7 September 1901 Christ Church, Croydon.
Emily Jane Born: 1879 Cobham Married George James Cooper, 25 December 1900 Christ Church, Croydon.
William James Born: 1883 Cobham 26 February - 28 April 1896 in Epsom Workhouse.
Frederick Edward Born: 1885 Cobham Married Alice Pearse, 15 February 1908 Christ Church, Epsom.
Albert George Born: 1886 Cobham
Died: 1915 London
 
Ernest Walter Born: 1888 Cobham 30 May - 15 July 1903 in Epsom Workhouse.
Emigrated to Winchester, Ontario, Canada. Served with Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force. Widowed.
Sydney John Born: 24 April 1890 Dorking (twin) Served in the RFA
Arthur Stanley Born: 24 April 1890 Dorking (twin) Served in the RFA. Married Gladys Maud Faithful, 21 January 1922 St. Mary, Fetcham. Died 1957.
Benjamin Thomas Born: 18 December 1892 Leatherhead
Died: 13 September 1915 France
 
Leonard Godfrey Born: 2 July 1895 Leatherhead
Died: 29 October 1914 Belgium
Baptised 25 August 1895.
13 June - 30 June 1911 in Epsom Workhouse.
Served with Royal West Surreys. KIA
Harriett Born: 1897 Leatherhead 13 March - 15 April 1909 in Epsom Workhouse.

In the 1881 census the family lived in a cottage on Downside Farm, Cobham. Benjamin's father Henry was a 29 year old farm labourer, his mother Harriett was 26 and he had three siblings, Henry aged 5, Annie M. aged 4 and Emily Jane aged 1. They also had a lodger staying with them, 80 year old farm labourer Henry Witton.

By the 1891 census the family lived at Moleside, Dorking, and Benjamin's father Henry was working as a shepherd. Benjamin, still yet to be born had another 6 siblings, William aged 8, Frederick aged 6, Albert aged 4, Ernest aged 3 and twins Sidney and Arthur aged 11 months..

The 1901 census shows them living at Gravel Hill, West Side, Leatherhead. Benjamin's father Henry was still shown working as a shepherd, but by then he was a widower. There is a death registered of Harriett Penfold aged 41 (GRO reference: Jun 1897 Epsom 2a 23). Benjamin had two more siblings, Leonard aged 5 and Harriett aged 3 (GRO reference: Jun 1897 Epsom 2a 32). In view of the similarity of the GRO dates of the death of Harriett aged 41 and the birth of Harriett, one wonders if Harriett senior died during childbirth?

In the 1911 census Benjamin's father was a patient in the Victoria Memorial Cottage Hospital, Leatherhead. I have been unable to locate Benjamin's siblings Annie, Emily and Ernest. Of Benjamin's other siblings, Henry lived at Gravel Hill, Leatherhead with his wife and three daughters; Albert was a boarder with George Mortimer at Priory Farm Cottage, Leatherhead; twins Sydney and Arthur were both Drivers with the Royal Field Artillery, living in barracks, and Leonard was a boarder with George Portt at Gravel Hill, Leatherhead. Brother Frederick lived at 3 Childs Cottages, Upper Court Road, Epsom and provided a home for sister Harriett and Benjamin himself, who was working as a baker's assistant. I suspect that it was Frederick who had Benjamin's name added to Epsom's memorials.

In the Soldiers Died CD, Benjamin is shown as Benjamin James No. 10485 West Surrey Regiment; as Benjamin J No. 10485 The Queens, on his medal card; as Benjamin James in the Surrey Recruitment Register, but as Penfold B. T. No. 10485 The Queens in the CWGC web site. In Free BMD, only Benjamin Thomas Penfold is registered between 1875 and 1900. I suspect he simply preferred James to Thomas.

Surrey Recruitment Register shows that he attested at Leatherhead on 2 December 1913, into the Royal West Surrey Regiment for 7 years with the colours and 5 in reserve. He was 20 years and 10 months old, was 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighed 112lbs. His chest measured 35 ½ inches with an expansion of 2 inches. He had fresh complexion, grey eyes, dark brown hair, and had some unspecified scars. His occupation was shown as a waiter, and there is reference to a Mr Keeble, Spread Eagle Hotel. Note: In the 1901 census Henry Coleman Keeble was the 67 year old proprietor of the Spread Eagle Hotel, employing 6 people, but not Benjamin at that time.

Benjamin's medal card tells us that he went to France on 4 October 1914, and the war diary confirms this, stating that the battalion embarked from Southampton at 3.45p.m. with 30 officers and 988 men, a total strength of 1,018, arriving at Zeebrugge, Belgium on 6 October.

The 2nd Battalion The Queens relieved the 2nd Battalion Royal Warwickshires at 4.30p.m. on the 12 September, taking over front line trenches near Vermelles. This was just a few days before the major battle of Loos started on the 25 September 1915.

The Battalion War Diary for September 13 states:

Officers 13 Other Ranks 1038
Lt Shelmerdines (RAMC) Killed 6
Attd to 2nd Queens Wounded 9
To Hospital 3
The German's "morning hate" generally lasts from 7a.m. to 9a.m., our artillery retaliates to the enemy's whiz-bangs, 4.2" & 5.9" with field guns 4.7" & 6" guns. Most of our shooting (registration etc) takes place from 3p.m. to about 6p.m. - when the sun is behind us i.e. in the west.
Benjamin Thomas (James) Penfold must have been one of the unlucky 6 killed as shown above.

CWGC records show that 6 men from the Queens all died on 13 September 1915 and are all buried close to each other in Vermelles British Cemetery. They were probably killed by the shellfire.

Vermelles Cross of Sacrifice.
Vermelles Cross of Sacrifice.
Image source Clive Gilbert © 2007

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

In addition to being commemorated on the Ashley Road memorial and the St. Barnabas Roll of Honour, hHe is also commemorated on the Leatherhead memorial. His brother Leonard Godfrey is also commemorated on the Leatherhead memorial.

EP SB.

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PENFOLD George, Private. 67048.

122 Heavy Battery Royal Garrison Artillery.
Killed in Action 4 August 1917 aged 34.

George's headstone in Belgian Battery Corner Cemetery
George's headstone in Belgian Battery Corner Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2011

George Penfold was born in Epsom on 4 March 1883 (GRO reference: Jun 1883 Epsom 2a 16) to George and Eliza Penfold (nee Sutton). His parents had married on 22 October 1882 in Christ Church, Epsom. They had twelve children and all were baptised in Christ Church, Epsom.

GEORGE PENFOLD AND HIS SIBLINGS
Name Born - Died Notes
George Born: 4 March 1883
Died: 4 August 1917 Belgium
Baptised 3 June 1883
James Born: 23 October 1884 Baptised 11 January 1885. Emigrated to Canada
William Born: 21 September 1886 Baptised 14 November 1886. Emigrated to Australia
Charles Henry Born: 23 February 1889 Baptised 14 April 1889
Thomas Born: 11 April 1891 Baptised 20 September 1891. Emigrated to Canada
Gertrude May Born: 5 September 1892 Baptised 27 November 1892. Married George Stevens 1917 Epsom
Ernest Born: 11 December 1894 Baptised 31 March 1895. Married Lillian Jeffery 1926 Epsom
Lily Born: 2 June 1897 Baptised 26 September 1897
Rose Born: 25 June 1901 Baptised 25 August 1901. Emigrated to Canada
Florence Born: 20 June 1903 Baptised 12 July 1903. Emigrated to Canada
Clara Alice Born: 9 December 1905 Baptised 25 February 1906. Emigrated to Canada
Leonard Born: 25 April 1909 Baptised 20 June 1909

In the 1891 census the family was living at Crimea Cottage, The Common, Epsom. George's father, also George, was a 32 year old labourer. His mother Eliza was aged 29. George was aged 9, his brother William was aged 4 and brother Charles was aged 2. Another son, James aged 5, was staying with his grandmother at Woodnymph Cottage, Epsom.

In the 1901 census the family was living in Rose Cottage, Epsom, and George had four more siblings, Thomas aged 10, Gertrude aged 8, Ernest aged 6 and Lilly aged 4. The census has an entry for John Penfold aged 18, a cowman. This I believe is a mistake and should read George. Brother James was working as a milk boy, and brother William as a laundry boy.

The 1911 census records the family still living at Rose Cottage, Epsom Common. George's father was working as a bricklayer's labourer, George was a laundry man, Charles was a labourer (railway), Gertrude was a laundry maid, Thomas had no occupation and Ernest was a farm labourer. George's mother recorded that she had been married for 28 years and all her twelve children were still living.

George married Sarah Young on 5 August 1912 in Christ Church, Epsom. George's age was recorded as 28 and Sarah's age as 30, although she was probably 35. They were both living at Rose Cottage, Epsom Common. George worked as a carman and his father was a labourer. George's sister Gertrude May was witness.

The GRO records the death of Sarah Penfold, aged 38 in Epsom in the March quarter of 1915. The death of his wife before he attested explains why he stated that he was not married when he attested and that his father was his next-of-kin.

George attested at Kingston on 8 November 1915, aged 32. He was 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighed 149lbs, and had a chest measurement of 38 inches with an expansion of 4 inches, and lived at 43 Rose Cottage, The Common Epsom. He worked as a labourer at Manor Hospital.

George was sent to the RGA base camp in France on 25 January 1917, and then to the 122nd Heavy Battery on 8 February. The Royal Garrison Artillery was equipped with the larger and heavier artillery pieces, and was typically some 4 miles or so behind the front line. At first thought, a few miles behind the front line might seem a relatively safe place to be. However, they would have been a high priority target for enemy heavy artillery, which would do its utmost to silence them. George was most likely killed by enemy shellfire.

George was killed in action on 4 August 1917 and is buried in Belgian Battery Corner Cemetery, just south west of Ypres.

On 23 December 1917 George's father was asked to acknowledge receipt of his son's private property. George's property consisted of a 'metal tobacco box', which was sent to 43 Rose Cottages, Bramble Walk, Epsom Common.

On 31 August 1921 George's father signed to acknowledge receipt of his son's British War medal and Victory Medal.

George is commemorated on Epsom's Ashley Road War Memorial, Christ Church War Memorial, Manor Hospital War Memorial and in the LCC Staff Record of Service Book.

EP CC MH

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PENSON Henry Lowe, Corporal. 2217.

17 Lancers (Duke of Cambridge's Own)
Killed in Action 3 February 1918, aged 28

Corporal Henry Penson's headstone in the Hargicourt British Cemetery
Corporal Henry Penson's headstone in the Hargicourt British Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2007

Henry Penson was born in 1889 (GRO reference: Dec 1889 Epsom 2a 2) to Henry and Annie Penson (nee Blunden). Henry Penson senior was born in 1869 (GRO reference: Sep 1868 Spilsby 7a 554). Yet when he married Annie Blunden he is registered as Henry Low Penson, having added the 'Low'. By the time Harry Junior was killed in action he has acquired the second name of 'Lowe'.

The 1891 census shows a Henry Lowe Penson age 24, 'Carter', born Lincolnshire as head of the family, a wife Annie and an infant son Henry Penson all living at Diceland Road, Banstead.

By the 1901 census the family was living at Priest Hill Farm cottage. Henry had four new siblings Ada Mary aged 7, Annie aged 5, Edith Lucy aged 4 and George Low (not Lowe) aged 1 (GRO reference: Mar 1900 Epsom 2a 21)
.
It seems that both the Henrys', senior and junior, added 'Lowe' or 'Low' to their names despite being registered simply as Henry. Wouldn't it be interesting to know why? Great niece Freda Proudley (nee Penson) provides the answer, she writes;
Henry senior was my Grandfather's brother, through an illegitimate birth in 1805, where an Anne Lowe gave birth to a George Lowe, Anne then married the boys father John Penson a month later. The line from George has caused quite a few problems as they seemed to have used both surnames, sometimes Penson Lowe's sometimes Low/e Penson's, My Grandfather was Walter Lowe Penson born in Lincolnshire.
In the 1911 census, Henry was a 21 year regular soldier in the 16th Lancers living at the Cavalry Barracks in Barrack Street Norwich. Henry's family lived on Priest Hill Farm, Ewell where Henry senior was a waggoner. Two more siblings had been born, William aged 8, and Eva Elizabeth aged 3. They also had a boarder, 18 year old Arthur Mansell, a porter on the railway.

The 1913 electoral roll shows the family still living in a Cottage on Priest Hill Farm.

Henry enlisted in London and served in the 17th Lancers (Duke of Cambridge's Own), which formed part of the 1st Indian Cavalry Division. He was sent to France on 8 November 1914, and was awarded the 1914 Star, British War medal and the Victory medal.

Ewell Parish Council; resolved to send a letter of sympathy to Mr Penson of Priest Hill Farm, he had 'lost a son who had been fighting ever since the beginning of the war. Advertiser 15 Mar 1918.

He was the only 17th lancer to die on 3 February 1918, killed in action and is buried at Hargicourt British Cemetery, 1 1 10. (Five died between 1 January and 31st March 1918.)

BH EW ES

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PERKINS Frank Percival Cox, Private. M2/181060.

978th Mechanical Transport Company, Army Service Corps (ASC).
Died 29 January 1918, aged 32.

Frank's headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Frank's headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2011

Frank Percival Cox Perkins was born in Misterton, Somerset in 1885 (GRO reference: Mar 1885 Beaminster 5a 384), the illegitimate son of Bence Cox and Mary Camilla Perkins.

In the 1881 census, before Frank was born, his father Bence, aged 42, worked as a farm manager for his 76 year old mother-in-law Sarah Iles. At that time, Bence was married to Eliza (Ann Iles), aged 48, Sarah's daughter. They had married in 1870 in the Newport registration district. The Ancestry transcription of the 1881 census states that they lived at 'Pulpan' Farm in Christchurch near Newport, Monmouthshire. This was probably 'Pwll-Pen' farm, Pwll-Pen is still shown on modern maps (O.S. 2004), just east of Newport. Bence and Eliza Ann had four children. The death of an Eliza Ann Cox, aged 52, is recorded in the March Quarter of 1885, in the Abergavenny registration district.

THE HALF SIBLINGS OF FRANK PERCIVAL COX PERKINS
Name Born - Died Married
Emily Mary Born: 1871 Christchurch, Monmouthshire Ernest Alfred Stead 1905 Newport registration district
Thomas Iles Born: 1872 Christchurch, Monmouthshire  
William Bence Born: 1874 Christchurch, Monmouthshire Charlotte ? 1894 Reading registration district
Frances Sarah Born: 1875 Christchurch, Monmouthshire  

Frank Percival Cox Perkins was born in the early months of 1885 in Miserton, the home of his father's sister, Emma Jane Wheadon (nee Cox). Frank remained in Miserton and was brought up by his aunt Emma. Frank's parents, Bence Cox and Mary Perkins married towards the end of 1885 and had at least five more children. It seems that Bence Cox's wife Eliza Ann, probably died about the time Frank was born (see above).

FRANK PERCIVAL COX PERKINS AND HIS FULL SIBLINGS
Name Born - Died Married
Frank Percival Cox (Perkins) Born: 1885 Misterton, Somerset
Died: 29 January 1918 Epsom
Ellen Louisa Lunn 1911 Crookham, Hants
Ethel Georgina (Cox) Born: 1886 Christchurch Monmouthshire David Powell 1912 Newport Registration district
Sydney Victor (Cox) Born: 1888 Christchurch Monmouthshire Margaret G Edwards 1922 Newport Registration district
Edith Gertrude (Cox) Born: 1890 Christchurch Monmouthshire Herbert H Lewis 1922 Newport Registration district
Marian Cecilia (Cox) Born: 1893 Christchurch Monmouthshire  
Minnie Doreen (Cox) Born: 1894 Christchurch Monmouthshire John J Richards 1915 Newport Registration district

In 1891, Frank appeared in the census, living in Misterton, as part of Emma Wheadon's family, being listed as her 5-year-old nephew. Emma herself was 53 and a widow; her two sons, Henry aged 19 was a railway porter, and Richard aged 14 was a domestic under-gardener.

In the 1901 census Frank was still living with his aunt Emma in Misterton, but was now working as a groom and domestic gardener. His cousin Henry was still working as a railway porter.

By the time of the 1911 census, Frank had met his future wife, Ellen Louisa Lunn and was visiting her parents, Henry and Ellen Lunn, their son Harry and nephew Thomas Lipscombe, in Crookham Hampshire. Frank, aged 26 was working as a domestic coachman while Ellen Louisa, aged 27 was a self-employed dressmaker working from home.

Frank married Ellen Louisa Lunn on 15 July 1911 at Crookham. A transcription of the marriage entry made by the Latter Day Saints shows Frank's father as 'Bruce' Cox, but this should evidently be 'Bence'.

Frank and Ellen moved to Epsom shortly after their marriage, where their only child, Norman Frank Perkins was born on 31 May 1912. When he was baptised at Christ Church, Epsom Common on 4 August 1912, the family were living at 'Virginia', West Hill Epsom and Frank was described as a coachman.

Frank attested in Epsom on 11 December 1915 into the Army Service Corps. He stated that he was 31 years old, worked as a motor driver, had been born at Misterton, Somerset and that he lived at 1, Stamford Cottage, Epsom. Frank was 5 feet 7¼ inches tall, weighed 140 lbs and had a chest measurement of 36 inches with an expansion of 3 inches.

The CWGC record shows that at the time of his death, Frank was with the 978th Mechanical Transport Company ASC. This company was formed on 30 September 1917 at Claydon, Suffolk and was for home service only, so consequently never served abroad. As Frank's service papers have not survived we do not know if he served with other units before the 978th, but no medal record can be found, suggesting that he didn't see service overseas.

Frank died on 29 January 1918 in Horton War Hospital and was buried in grave D338 in Epsom cemetery, on 1 February 1918. Frank's death certificate states that his cause of death was cancer of the intestine, and that his role in the Army had been working as a chauffer at the Aircraft School of Instruction at Shoeburyness. The informant was his widow Ellen, who was still living at Stamford Cottages, West Hill.

Although Frank may have been aware of his parentage, it is unknown whether or not he was in contact with or saw any of his immediate family. His mother, Mary Camilla Cox, died in 1901 aged 41 and his father, Bence Cox, continued to farm at Christchurch, Monmouthshire assisted by his other children, and died in 1922 aged 83.

With thanks to Roger Morgan for purchasing William's death certificate and sharing the information.

EP CC

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PERRY Sidney, 147877. Gunner.

'D' Battery, 41st Brigade Royal Field Artillery (RFA).
Died of Wounds 6 April 1918, aged 25.

Sidney's'inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
Sidney's inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2017

The CWGC cemetery register states that Gunner Sidney Perry, 147877, 'D' Battery, 41st Brigade RFA:
Died 6th April, 1918, of wounds received 25th March near Albert. Age 25. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Beardall Perry, of 9 Rue Quebec, Pont du Len, Calais, France.
Sidney would therefore have been born c1893.

Few records have been found for Sidney and the information found in them is as follows:
  1. Soldiers Died CD: Enlisted in Calais, Lived in Pont-du-Lens, Calais.
  2. Medal Card: British War Medal and Victory medal.
  3. Soldiers Effects: Father's name was James.
It seems likely that Sidney's parents were James Perry and Emma Jane Beardall, married in France between 1866-70. They has a son, Arthur, born 1878 in France who died in France in 1943.

Sidney's battery served with the 2nd Division and at the time Sidney was wounded, 25th March 1918, it was retreating back across the 1916 Somme battlefield, ground won by the British and French Armies at such huge cost between July and November 1916. A huge German attack, that started on 21 March 1918, known to the Germans a the 'Kaiserschlacht', was a last desperate attempt by the Germans to win the war before the Americans were able to arrive in great numbers.

Sidney, evacuated back to England, was admitted to Horton War Hospital where he died on 6 April 1918. He was buried on 10 April in grave K648 in Epsom Cemetery, where he is commemorated on the Screen Wall. He shares the grave with three other soldiers.

CWGC

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PETCHEY James William, Private. 15444.

1st Battalion Devonshire Regiment.
Killed in Action 23 April 1917, aged 40.

Private James Petchey's inscription on the Arras Memorial
Private James Petchey's inscription on the Arras Memorial
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2007

James William Petchey was born in Beddington, Surrey, in 1876 (GRO: reference Sep 1876 Croydon 2a 263) to Joseph and Eliza Petchey (nee Duke). His parents had married on 27 April 1872 in Beddington.

JAMES WILLIAM PETCHEY AND HIS SIBLINGS
NameBorn - DiedNotes
Edith MaryBorn: 1873 Beddington
Died: 1939
Baptised 26 May 1873 Beddington With Wallington, Surrey.
1911 - employed as a cook at Halstead Lodge, North Street Carshalton.
ElizaBorn: 1874 BeddingtonBaptised 7 June 1874 Beddington With Wallington, Surrey.
Married Harry Edward Bartlett 1907 Croydon registration district
James WilliamBorn: 1876 Beddington
Died: 23 April 1917 France
 
EllenBorn: 1878 Beddington
Died: 5 January1956
Married Walter Thomas Easton 1900 Croydon registration district
SarahBorn: 1880 Beddington
Died: 1880
 
JosephBorn: 1881 Beddington
Died: 1881
 
AliceBorn: 16 October 1882 Beddington
Died: 1978
Married Herbert Douglas Banks 1907 Croydon registration district
Harriett EmmaBorn: 16 April 1885 Beddington
Died: 1973
Married Henry Miles 1909 Croydon registration district
Albert EdwardBorn: 5 February 1887 Beddington
Died: 1955
1911 - working as a 'Dairyman milk dealer'.
Served with the Royal Horse Artillery.
Married Dorothy Eveline Kitcher 1919 Croydon registration district
ErnestBorn: 1889 Beddington
Died: 1974 Devon
1911 - working as a printer and compositer.
Married Madge E. Byfield 1919 Croydon registration district

In the 1881 census they lived in Beddington Lane, Croydon. James' father Joseph was a 35 year old domestic gardener. His mother was 34 years old, and he had three sisters Edith aged 8, Eliza aged 6 and Ellen aged 2.

In 1891 they still lived in Beddington Lane but by now James was a 14 year old garden boy, and four more siblings had arrived, Alice aged 8, Harriett E. aged 5, Albert E. aged 3 and Ernest aged 1.

By 1901 James had progressed from being a garden boy to being a domestic' gardener, living as a boarder at Ewell Court Farm Cottages, Ewell, the home of Reuben and Catherine Mitchell. He was still boarding with them in 1911. It is believed that he later became the head gardener at Ewell Court.

James' father died on 12 May 1914.

James' medal card James records that he went to France on 19 May 1915.

James was in the 1st Battalion Devonshire Regiment, which was in the 95th Brigade 5th Division. On 23 April 1917 the 5th Division, along with the Canadian Corps took part in a subsidiary attack on La Coulotte, being part of the overall battle of Arras (9 April to 15 May 1917). The total number of soldiers killed on the 23 April 1917 was 4,271, of these, 79 were from the 1st Devonshire Regiment.

James' medal card states that he was presumed killed in action on 23 April 1917. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial to the missing.

The CWGC states he was the:
Son of Joseph Petchey, of 10 Beddington Lane, Beddington, Croydon.
James was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War medal and the Victory medal.

James' mother died on 28 December 1920.

BH EW

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PETERS James Edward, Private 22431.

8th Battalion East Surrey Regiment.
Killed in Action 22 March 1918, aged 35.

Private James Edward PETERS inscription
James Edward Peters was born in Ewell in 1882 (GRO reference Dec 1882 Epsom 2a 20) to James and Annie Maria Peters (nee Salmon). His parents had married in St. Mary's church Ewell on 27 March 1880.

JAMES EDWARD PETERS AND HIS SIBLINGS
Name Born - Died Notes
Florence Ada Born: 1880 Ewell
Died: 1892
Baptised 3 October 1880 St. Mary's Church Ewell
James Edward Born: 1882 Ewell
Died: 22 March 1918 France
Baptised 3 December 1882 St. Mary's Church Ewell
Lillie Annie Maria Born: 1887 Ewell Baptised 2 October 1887 St. Mary's Church Ewell
Cecelia Ellen Born: 1890 Ewell Baptised 6 July 1890 St. Mary's church Ewell
Arthur William Born: 1894 Ewell
Died: 29 October 1918 France
Baptised 20 January 1895 St. Mary's Church Ewell.
Served in Bedfordshire Regiment.
Commemorated St. Dunstans Church, Cheam
Elizabeth Violet Born: 1901 Cheam  

The 1891 census shows the family living in Kingston Road, Ewell. James Edward's father was working as a furnace stoker to support his wife, who was known as Maria, and children, Florence aged 11, James aged 8, Lillie aged 3 and 11 month old Cecelia.

Florence was aged 5 when she died the following year; she was buried on 12 February 1892 in St. Mary's churchyard.

James was a pupil at Ewell Boys' School and was a member of the Old Boys' association.

By 1901 the family had moved to 12 Brickyard Cottages, Malden Road, Cheam. James Edward's 42-year-old father was by then working as a brick maker foreman and James Edward, aged 19, was working as brick maker's labourer. His 43-year-old mother Maria was at home looking after his siblings (Cecelia) Ellen aged 10 and Arthur aged 6. Also boarding there was John Millington, a brick maker's labourer. James Edward's 13-year-old sister Lillie was staying with their grandparents James and Sarah Peters in Kingston Road, Ewell.

His sister Elizabeth Violet was born soon after the census was taken but does not appear to have been taken back to St. Mary's church in Ewell to be baptised.

James Edward married Eleanor Elizabeth Hendon in 1903. Their son James Edward was born on 17 May 1904 and their son Robert George on 2 June 1907.

James and Eleanor were living at 11 Kingston Terrace, Kingston Road, Ewell, Surrey when the 1911 census was taken. James filled out the census form stating that he and Eleanor had been married for 8 years and that they had had 2 children, James Edward aged 7 and Robert George aged 4. Also living with them was Eleanor's 67-year-old widowed mother, Eliza Baker, who was a nurse. James Edward's parents and siblings Arthur and Elizabeth were living at 1 York Terrace, Malden Road, Cheam. His brother was case making for fireworks.

James Edward enlisted with the East Surrey Regiment on 9 December 1915 at Epsom, whilst living at 11 Kingston Terrace, Ewell. The Surrey Recruitment Register records that James was 5 feet 3¾ inches tall, weighed 130 lbs, had a chest measurement of 36½ inches with an expansion of 3 inches. Before enlistment he had been a 'Brick Burner'.

James' battalion, the 8th East Surreys, was in the 55th Brigade of the 18th Division. On the 21 March 1918 the 18th Division was holding a front of 9,000 yards from La Fère to Moy, about 10 miles south west of St Quentin. Two battalions of the 55th Brigade held the right side of the front, whilst the 8th East Surreys were held in divisional reserve.

The whole countryside was being drenched with gas and shattered by high explosive. The long expected all out German offensive, the Kaiserschlacht (The Kaiser's Battle), the last desperate gamble to win before the Americans arrived in force, was about to begin. On the 21st, as dawn broke and under the cover of a thick mist, the German assault began.

By 3am on the 22 March 1918 the 8th East Surreys had been ordered to withdraw and had arrived at Frières-Faillouel, and again the battlefield was covered by a thick mist. By the end of the day the 8th East Surreys, and especially B and C companies had sustained heavy casualties from enemy shelling at Mennessis. On the 22 March 1918 the 8th East Surreys had 21 men killed, one of which was James Edward Peters.

James has no known grave and is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial to the missing. The CWGC states he was the:
Son of James and Maria Peters; husband of Eleanor Elizabeth Peters, of 11, Kingston Terrace, Ewell, Surrey.
James was awarded the British War medal and the Victory medal.

His widow Eleanor died in 1931.

BH EW ES


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PETERS John Henry William, Private. T4/107838.

Army Service Corps (ASC).
Died 12 November 1917, aged 44.


John's inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
John's inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2017

John Henry William Peters was born in 1873 in Nottingham (GRO reference: Mar 1874 Nottingham 7b 326), the son of John Peters.

When the 1881 census was taken, John was recorded as Henry and was living with his widowed father at 2 Clinton Place, New Barford, Nottinghamshire. His father was working as a bricklayers' labourer and his place of birth was recorded as North Africa. The previous census taken in 1871 would indicate that John's mother may have been named Kate who had been born in Ireland, and that John had had an older sister named Elizabeth Dorothy who had been born on 4 April 1863.

Aged 17, john was recorded as William J.H. Peters in the 1891 census and was working as an Edge Tool Striker. He was living at House 1, Court 1, Fourcett Street, Brightside, Bierlow, Sheffield, with his 47 year old father and 28 year old stepmother Julia, along with his half siblings Abraham aged 8, Walter aged 6, Edwin aged 2 and Angelina aged 3 months.

John married Sarah Jane Griffin on 2 October 1900 in Soho. They had five surviving children; Charles Henry born 14 December 1900, followed by Walter born 26 March 1903, Frederick born 5 June 1905, Nora Rosemary born 7 September 1908 and Olive born on 3 July 1912.

Although St. Anne's Church records show that John and Sarah's first son Charles was baptised on 17 February 1901 in Westminster, no census records have been found.

School admission records for John's son Walter show that on 15 July 1907 the family was living at 78 York Road, Lambeth.

In 1911, before Olive's birth, John and his family were living at 54 Burdett Buildings in Lambeth where John worked as a general laboured on his own account. The 1911 census also records that John and Sarah had been married for ten years and that Sarah had given birth to six children but that two had died.

John enlisted at Kingsway Recruitment Office in London on 14 May 1915. At his medical, John's age was recorded as 42 years and 2 months. He was 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighed 138 lbs, had a chest measurement of 36 inches, excellent 6/6 vision in both eyes and had good physical development. John worked as a Carpenters Mate and his home address was Flat 3, 18 Tower Street, S.E. His wife Sarah was his next-of-kin at the sae address, but this address was later changed to 70a Webber Row, Westminster Bridge Road, S.E. Another address for Sarah was also recorded as 18 Lower Street, London, S.E.

The following day, 15 May 1915, John was in the ASC in Aldershot, with service number T4/107838. The 'T4' indicating a horse transport unit. After 6 months training he was sent to France on 5 November with the British Expeditionary Force. His character was later reported to be Good and ,a good packer and leader. Sober and reliable.

On 23 December 1916 medical records reported that John was admitted to No. 30 General Hospital inn Calais, where it was noted that he had a history of wandering around with a strange manner. On examination he had a slight rise of temperature, loss of memory, difficulty of speech and was very excitable. On 11 January 1917 in Boulogne it was noted that his condition was regarded as General Paralysis of the Insane (GPI). John was evacuated to England and admitted to Netley Hospital on 16 January where he was discharged as no longer fit to serve on 16 March 1917. He was issued with Silver War Badge No. 151562.

Eight months later on 9 November, a medical report from doctors at the Lord Derby War Hospital in Warrington confirmed that John was suffering from GPI caused by syphilis contracted in France in 1916.

John died in Long Grove Asylum on 12 November and was buried on 17 November in grave K645 in Epsom Cemetery where he is commemorated on the Screen Wall. He shares his grave with eight other soldiers.

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

On 16 March 1919 John's widow Sarah wrote to the War Office desperately asking for clothing and money for herself and her children stating that she had not received any part of her husband's war gratuity. The reply was that it would take considerable time as there were thousands of claims to be dealt with, which was being done in alphabetical order. In the meantime Sarah was directed to approach the Local War Pension Committee for advice and assistance. On 6 October 1921 Sarah returned a form stating that John's parents were dead and that to her knowledge he had no other living relatives other than herself and her children Walter, Frederick, Nora and Olive. She did not list her eldest son Charles.

CWGC

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PETERS Walter, Private. 82057.

5th Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps.
Died 11 January 1917, aged 24.

Walter's headstone in the Etaples Military Cemetery.
Walter's headstone in the Etaples Military Cemetery.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

Walter Peters was born in Holmwood in 1892 (GRO reference: Sep 1892 Dorking 2a 160) to Edward and Annie Mary Peters (nee Skilton). His parents married in the June quarter of 1886 in the Dorking registration district.

In the 1891 census, before Walter was born, the family lived at Peter's Cottages, Dorking. Walter's 26 year old father was a bricklayer. His mother was also aged 26 and there were three siblings, William Thomas aged six, Edward aged four and James aged two. Also living with them was Walter's widowed 60 year old grandmother Charlotte Skilton, a laundress. The family employed 16 year old Susan Bird as a general domestic servant.

Walter Peters And His Siblings
Name Born - Died Notes
William Thomas Born: 1885 Holmwood 1906 Married Mabel Blanche Selby
Edward Born: 1886 Holmwood  
James Born: 1889 Holmwood  
Walter Born: 1892 Holmwood
Died: 11 January 1917 France
 
Stephen Born: 1895 Holmwood  
Frank Born: 1898 Holmwood  
Redvers Born: 1900 Holmwood Attested 7 October 1918
George Born: 1903 Holmwood  
Annie Mary Born: 1907 Holmwood

In 1901 the family lived at Brook Valley, Dorking, where Walter's father was still earning his living as a bricklayer, brother William was a bricklayer's labourer and brother Edward was a groom. Three more siblings had arrived, Stephen aged six, Frank aged two and Redvers aged six months. Walter's grandmother Charlotte, now 70, was still living with the family, but was no longer working.

The 1911 census records the family living at Brook Valley, Holmwood. Walter's father was still a bricklayer, whilst Walter, now aged 18, was a cricket groundsman. Walter's three older siblings had left home but two more had arrived, George aged eight and Annie Mary aged three. Walter's mother recorded that she had given birth to nine children and that they were all still living.

The Surrey Recruitment Register tells us that at the age of 22, Walter attested at Kingston on 13 November 1915 and was assigned to the Royal Army Medical Corps. He was 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighed 154 lbs and had a chest measurement of 38½ inches with an expansion of 5 inches. He had previously worked as an 'Attendant'.

His sight was not good, his right eye rated as 6/10 and his left eye 6/12.

Walter's 'Burnt' service papers tell us that on 27 November 1915 he passed a course of instruction in first aid granted 5th rate corps pay.

Walter married Lily McDermott at Dorking Register office on 16 July 1916, and very soon after on 2 August 1916 he embarked from Southampton, arriving at Rouen, France the next day. There were no children from the marriage.

Walter served with the 5th Field Ambulance which was attached to the 2nd Division. A description of what comprised a Field Ambulance during the Great War can be read on Chris Baker's excellent website 'The Long Long Trail'.

Walter was admitted to the 7th Canadian General Hospital, Etaples on 11 December 1916 complaining of a cough, headache and weakness. The illness having been contracted due to severe cold on 8 December. There seems to be some confusion over the exact cause of Walter's death. One of his 'burnt' service papers states tuberculosis but another has tuberculosis struck out and replaced by bronchitis. The LCC employees' record of service states bronchitis. Whatever the precise cause, death was recorded at 7.50pm in the 7th Canadian General Hospital, Etaples.

Lying on the coast, Etaples (known as Eat Apples to the troops), was a huge base area for British forces, housing several hospitals. It also had a training ground called the Bullring, famous for its harsh and brutal regime.

The Epsom Advertiser dated 9 February 1917 printed the following:
DEATH OF A FORMER ASYLUM OFFICER. - News has been received of the death in a Canadian hospital in France of Pte. Walter Peters, of the R.A.M.C. Before joining the forces Pte. Peters, who was only 24 years of age, and who was a promising young cricketer, was an attendant at Long Grove Asylum, Epsom.
Walter is buried in grave XXI.A.4. Etaples Military Cemetery.

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

Walter's widow Lily Peters married Frederick A. Radford on 15 November 1920 in the Brentford registration district.

In addition to being commemorated in Epsom, Walter is also remembered on the Holmwood, Surrey memorial on the A24 Horsham Road.

Walter's inscription on the Holmwood memorial.
Walter's inscription on the Holmwood memorial
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

The Holmwood memorial.
The Holmwood memorial
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

EP HWH

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PINK James, Private. 13364.

8th (Service) Battalion Devonshire Regiment.
Killed in Action 29 Sep 1915, aged 33.

James's inscription on the Loos Memorial to the missing
James's inscription on the Loos Memorial to the missing
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2010

James Pink was born shortly after the 1881 census was taken, in North Warnborough, Hampshire (GRO reference: Jun 1881 Hartley Witney 2c 178), the son of Samuel and Alice Pink (nee Philpott). His parents were married in 1875.

Before James' birth, his family were living in Northwarnbro Street, (sic) Odiham, Hampshire where his father worked as a sawyer to support James' mother Alice and older siblings, Charles aged 4 and Frances Ellen aged 2. Charles had been registered as Samuel Charles but was known as Charles, presumably to save confusion between his father and himself.

Apart from James, three more siblings, David, John and Henry, were born over the next ten years and, in 1891, they appear with their 41-year-old mother Alice and older siblings as living in the grim four storey high Basingstoke Union Workhouse. Alice's youngest child, 2-year-old Henry, had been born there. Ellen [Frances] aged 12, James aged 10, David aged 7 and John aged 5 all attended the industrial school attached to the workhouse. Industrial schools were often run as boarding schools where children were taught ordinary lessons as well as a trade, so that they could become shoe menders, tailors, farm workers etc. and learn to support themselves. Their father Samuel was not with them. James' 13-year-old brother Charles was working as a cowboy and living with his aunt Wynifred Fulker (sic) in Odiham.

James was aged 20 when the 1901 census was taken and appeared with his 24-year-old brother Charles Pink, as boarding with Frank Mercer and his family at 38, Victoria Place, Epsom. Both he and Charles stated that they had been born in Basingstoke and worked as railway Carmen. Carmen were employed by railway companies for the local deliveries and collections of goods and parcels using horse-drawn vehicles.

Early in 1902 James married Harriett Mary Ratcliff in the Epsom district. Before her marriage to James, Harriett had had a son named Frederick Ratcliff on 23 February 1900, and had appeared in the Epsom workhouse with him in the 1901 census.

James and Harriett's eldest daughter Alice Maud Pink was born in 1905. Their second daughter Rosina Jane was born on 2 August 1907 and was baptised in Christ Church on 25 August 1907. The family were living at 27, Providence Place, Epsom at this time, and James was working as a labourer.

In 1911, James Pink recorded that he worked as a labourer for a coal merchant, and that he and Harriet M Pink, both aged 29, had been married for 10 years. Harriett stated that out of their five children born to them, that three were still living; Fredrick aged 12, Alice M aged 6 and [Rosina] Jane aged 4. The family's address by now was 18, Garden Cottages, East Street, Epsom.

18 and 20 Garden Cottages, East Street
18 and 20 Garden Cottages, East Street
Photographed in 1969 by L R James
Image courtesy of Surrey Libraries and is held in the
Epsom & Ewell Local And Family History Centre Collection

James' brother, Charles Pink, had married Minnie around 1907 and they were living at 27, Middle Lintons Lane, in 1911, having had no children. Charles stated then, that he was born in North Warnborough, Hampshire (near Basingstoke).

James and Harriett's daughter Edith was born in the June quarter of 1912 (mother's maiden name was recorded as Ratcliffe) but sadly died in 1913, aged 18 months. She was buried in the Ashley Road cemetery on 27 August 1913 in grave number B216. There is another birth recorded in the same quarter of 1912 of a George J Pink, mother's maiden name Ratcliff without an 'e', but I have as yet not found any baptismal evidence that is was the twin of Edith.

James attested in Epsom on 12 October 1914 into the Devonshire Regiment, stating that he had been born in Basingstoke and that he was 32 years and 5 months old. James was 5 feet 9¼ inches tall, weighed 170 lbs and had a chest measurement of 37 inches with an expansion of 2½ inches. He had a fresh complexion, brown eyes and hair, and he worked as a labourer. He served in the 8th Battalion Devonshire Regiment, which was in the 20th Brigade, 7th Division, and sailed with the battalion from Southampton on 25 July 1915, arriving in Le Havre, France at 2.30 a.m. on 26 July.

James fought in the battle of Loos. At 9.15pm on 24 September 1915 his battalion moved up to the front line trenches in front of Vermelles in readiness for the attack at 6.30am the following morning. Poison gas was first used by the Germans on 22 April 1915 north of Ypres. Although condemned at the time as barbaric, the British very soon followed, and Loos was to be the first battle in which the British used poison gas. The war diary of the 8th Devons is very coy about using the term poison gas, and instead refers to it as 'Accessory No. 1'. Prior to the attack, an intensive bombardment of the German lines was carried out, alerting them to the fact that an attack would soon take place, thereby initiating retaliatory fire that caused some casualties before the attack proper had commenced.

The men went forward crowded together, trying to get through the gaps that had been blown in the barbed wire in front of Breslau Trench, where they were a target for enemy rifle and machine gun fire.

Poison gas, to be effective, had to have the wind in the right direction to blow it towards the enemy. Unfortunately the wind on 25 September was somewhat fickle. On some parts of the front it blew just as required, fast enough and straight at the enemy. On other parts it blew in the wrong direction, back towards British lines. On the part of the front James was fighting on, the gas was blown too slowly towards the German line and caused casualties amongst the attackers. Despite this, Gun Trench was reached and four enemy guns were captured, still hot from constant firing. The advance reached the crossroads west of Hulluch and could go no further because the British barrage was firing only just in front of them, and no reinforcements came up. The remnants of the battalion dug in here and suffered losses from snipers.

At about 9.30pm it was realised that the Germans had got round behind them, causing a retirement to Gun Trench. During the retirement many losses were sustained from rifle fire and bombs from the enemy, but also unfortunately by fire from the Bedfords who mistook the Devons for the enemy.

The Soldiers Died CD tells us that 290 men from the 8th Devons were killed on 25 September, including James killed in action. We will never know exactly what killed James, gas, a shell, rifle fire, machine gun fire, or even what we would call today 'friendly fire'. The CD also tells us that on 25 September 1915, the first day of the battle of Loos, in France and Flanders 9,576 officers and men lost their lives.

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

The widowed Harriett was living with her children in 18, Garden Cottages, East Street Epsom when her son Henry Robert Pink was born on 12 February 1916 (mother's maiden name recorded was Ratcliffe). When Henry was baptised in St Barnabas church, Temple Road, Epsom on 19 March that year, his father James was recorded as being a labourer and deceased.

Harriett married George Henry Kemp, a gas stoker, in the early part of 1917 in the Epsom registration district. Their daughter was born on 8 November 1917, (mother's maiden name Ratcliff was recorded, not Pink), and she was baptised Florence Lily Kemp on 30 December 1917 in St Barnabas church, Temple Road, Epsom. The family were still living at 18, Garden Cottages, East Street, Epsom.

On 7 May 1937 James' brother Charles Samuel Pink, a labourer aged 60, died in Epsom County Hospital, otherwise known as Middle House, Dorking Road Epsom. Before his death he was living at 18, Garden Cottages, East Street, Epsom. It is possible that he moved in with Harriet and her family on the death of his wife, Minnie, in 1924. He was buried on 11 May 1937 in grave number A780 in the Ashley road cemetery. Probate was given to Harriet Mary Kemp, wife of George Kemp, a gas work employee.

James is commemorated on the Ashley Road memorial, but it will be noticed that his name, and two others are out of sequence. It appears that three names were added after the first 262 were engraved; Coppard WT, Regan T and Pink J.

A period of almost 2 years elapsed between the unveiling of the cross on Sunday 11 December 1921, and the addition and dedication of the names on 11 November 1923. Thomas Regan's wife wrote to the Council in February 1924 seeking permission for her husband's name to be added, and obviously permission was granted.

Looking at the position of the names on the panels it appears that Coppard WT was the first to be added, followed by Regan T, and finally Pink J. Presumably then, James Pink was added after February 1924. What could have caused such a delay?

EP

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PIPER Charles Arthur Matthews, Rifleman. 9555.

1/5 Battalion London Regiment (London Rifle Brigade).
Killed in Action 15 May 1915, aged 21.

Charles Arthur Matthews Piper
Charles Arthur Matthews Piper
Image courtesy of Epsom College, photo by Clive Gilbert © 2012

Charles Arthur Matthews Piper was born in Epsom in 1894 (GRO reference: Mar 1894 Epsom 2a 22a) to Charles Alfred and Ellen Mary Piper (nee Matthews). His parents had married in the September quarter of 1888 in the St George Hanover Square registration district.

In the 1901 census the family lived in 'Arlesford' Ashley Road, Epsom. Charles' father, also Charles was a 38 year old solicitor, his mother Ellen was 34. Charles had a 3 year old brother, Henry. The family employed a cook, a nurse and a housemaid.

On 13 December 1903, another brother had been born, John Egerton Christmas. John went on to enjoy fame as an artist.

The 1911 census found the family still living at 'Arlesford', Ashley Road. Charles and his two brothers were all still at school. Although it is not recorded on the census, Charles was a scholar at Epsom College, and is commemorated on the College memorial. Charles's mother stated that she had been married for 23¾ years and that she had given birth to four children, with three still living. Note: The birth of a 'male' Piper and the death of a 'male' Piper was registered in Epsom in the March 1895 registration quarter. The family employed three servants, a nurse, a cook and a housemaid. The census also recorded two visitors staying with the family.

In May 1913, Charles became a Territorial Army soldier, joining the London Rifle Brigade (LRB) at its Sun Street headquarters, having paid his £1 annual for the privilege of joining what was considered by many to be an OTC (Officer Training Corps).

Charles landed at Le Havre, France on 5 November 1914. On the day Charles was killed, 13 May 1915, the LRB was in the 11th Brigade, 4th Division. They were holding trenches on the Frezenberg Ridge in the Ypres Salient, which the Germans attacked, initially with heavy shellfire. The Official history states that:
'the front trenches of the 5/London (London rifle Brigade) and the 1/East Lancashire were flattened out and had to be evacuated'.
On 13 May 1915, 36 men from the LRB lost their lives, including Charles, killed in action, probably by shellfire. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Menin Gate memorial to the missing.

Charles's inscription on the Menin Gate
Charles's inscription on the Menin Gate
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2008

The St Martin's church Roll of Honour states that:
CHARLES ARTHUR MATTHEWS PIPER, was killed in action in Belgium on 13th May 1915.
Charles was awarded the 1914 Star, the British War medal and the Victory medal.

A view of the Menin Gate
Another view of the Menin Gate
Views of the Menin Gate
Images courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2008

EP EW COL

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PIRIE George Lawrence, 2nd Lieutenant.

1/1 Northamptonshire Yeomanry.
Died of Wounds 16 June 1915, aged 39.

George's Grave in Cemetery
George's Grave in Epsom Cemetery
George's Grave in Cemetery
Images courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2014

George Lawrence Pirie was born on 2 February 1876 in Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire, Scotland, the second and youngest son of Alexander George Pirie and his second wife Barbara Hill Pirie (nee Watson). His father was a member of the family run paper making business 'Alex. Pirie and Sons' at Stoneywood Paper Mills, Aberdeen, Scotland, which had been run by the Pirie family since 1800. By 1875 Alex. Pirie products were being sold in most countries around the world. Further reading can be found on www.thepapeterie.com. See www.gracesguide.co.uk for photos of the Pirie family paper mill c1907.

George was aged 5 when the 1881 census was taken and he and his siblings, Francis David aged 13, Helen Mary aged 11 and Ada Isabel aged 9 were living with their parents in their London home at 26, Queens Gate, Kensington. His 45 year old father was recorded as being a Paper Manufacturer from Aberdeen and his 35 year old mother was from Glasgow. George's widowed maternal grandmother, Isabel Helen Watson, was also living with them. The family had fourteen servants consisting of a governess, housekeeper, cook, kitchen maid, scullery maid, linen maid, head housemaid, nurse, two housemaids, ladies maid, butler and two footmen to look after them and their large home.

The following year the family business became 'Alex. Pirie Limited Company'. By 1888, paper with the 'A. Pirie & Sons' watermark was used throughout Britain and even letters from the infamous serial murderer nicknamed 'Jack the Ripper' had been written on their paper.

The family, with the exception of George's brother Francis, were still in residence at 26, Queens Gate, ten years later when the 1891 census was taken. Also there that night was Alma Pirie, a cousin-in-law, and her maid. George's father had a reduced staff of twelve consisting of a butler, two footmen, Man Cook (sic), kitchen maid, two scullery maids, three housemaids, linen maid and a ladies maid to run their home.

In 1892, George's father Alexander George Pirie became chairman of Stoneywood Mill. Six years later, on 24 June 1898, the company became 'Alex. Pirie & Sons Limited'.

George's sister Ada married the Honourable James William Herschell Gully on 9 June 1893 in St. Stephen's church, Kensington. Their daughter Leslie was born on 26 October 1897.

In 1901 George and his 64 year old father Alexander were living in their Scottish family home 'Stoneywood House', Newhills, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. This grade B listed house, designed in a Jacobean style in 1850 by James Matthews, was described in 1971 as being a:
Jacobean, 2-storey and attic harled with margins, symmetrical S.W. frontage with 3-arch entrance porch and twin shaped gables, symmetrical N.E. frontage with 3-storey ogee-capped tower, low 2-storey N. wing with alcove.
George's father's occupation was described as 'Chairman and Pas Papermakers' and George's as 'Director and Pas Papermakers'. Also living there was George's married sister Ada Isabel Gully and her daughter Leslie, and an Australian cousin Archibald Mcd (sic) Hogarth, an engineer student. They had a staff of seven to look after them and their home.

In 1903 George's brother-in-law James William Herschell Gully committed adultery, which led to his sister divorcing her husband in 1908. George's father died in his Scottish home on 13 January 1904.

George was a member of the Sutton Scotney polo team who competed in the 1909 Blackmore Vale Open Challenge Cup but lost 8-2 to the Sandley House B team.

Aged 35, George was living at Court Hill, Letcombe Regis, Wantage in 1911. Staying with him was his older brother Francis and friend John Grisewood. George gave his occupation as a trainer of racehorses and employed only a butler. One of his horses, Flaxen, backed at 50/1, fell in the 1911 Grand National Steeplechase.

George's surviving service record papers tell us that on 3 September 1914, in the orderly room of the Northamptonshire Yeomanry, at the age 37 he applied for and was granted a commission. He stated that he was of pure European descent, was 6 feet tall, was born at Lesmahagaw, Lanarkshire, had been educated at Rugby school and Oxford university, his address for communication was Letcombe Regis, Wantage, and that he was a trainer of race horses. It seems that his service papers were very heavily weeded in the 1960's, and provide no further information.

George's medal card shows that he went to France on 6 November 1914. Up to April 1915 the Northamptonshire Yeomanry came under the orders of the 8th Division and fought in the Battle of Neuve Chapelle. The following appeared on page 1065 of volume 63 of 'The World's Paper Trade Review':
SECOND LIEUTENANT GEORGE LAWRENCE PIRIE, Northamptonshire Yeomanry, of Courthill, Letcombe Regis, died on 16th June, in London, from wounds received at Neuve Chapelle on March 12th, aged 39 years. He was the younger son of the late Mr. Alexander George Pirie of Stoneywood, Aberdeen.
George died on 16 June 1915 at Kensington House, Bayswater. Administration of his Will (limited) was given to Morres Nickalls, barrister attorney of Patteson Womersley Nickalls. His effects were valued at £18,668 13s. 1d.

George's older brother Francis David Pirie of 44, Park Lane, London, purchased grave A404 in Epsom Cemetery for his brother who was interred on 19 June 1915.

In George's hometown of Stoneywood, a wall mounted bronze memorial plaque was erected adjacent to the main entrance at the east end of Stoneywood Terrace. This was between Stoneywood House and the family's paper works. Above it there is a circular panel bearing the coat of arms of the Alex Pirie and Sons Company and Bon Accord, which is the motto of the city and is French literally for 'Good Agreement'. Another plaque was added underneath in memory of the casualties of WW11.

George was awarded the 1914 Star, British War medal and the Victory medal. His plaque and scroll were sent to his sister Hon. Ada Gully, at 54, Westbourne Park, W. on 16 February 1920.

The Hon. Ada Gully of 9, Roxburghe Mansions, Kensington Road, Kensington died on 5 March 1937 and was interred on 9 March in her brother's grave, A404, in Epsom Cemetery. Her daughter Leslie remained unmarried and lived in 8, Gordon House, Welbeck Street, St. Marylebone until her death; she was interred in her uncle and mother's grave on 29 June 1946.

No records have been found that explain why Epsom was chosen to be the brother, sister and niece's final resting place.

George is commemorated on the Rugby School Roll of Houour.

BEC

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PLOWMAN Francis James, Rifleman. 45587.

13th Battalion Rifle Brigade.
Killed in Action 4 November 1918, aged 30.

Francis's headstone in the Ghissignies British Cemetery
Francis's headstone in the Ghissignies British Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

Francis James Plowman was born in Croydon in 1888 (GRO reference: Jun 1888 Croydon 2a 259) to James and Elizabeth Plowman (nee Pacey). Francis' parents married in the June quarter 1887 in the Croydon registration district. He was their only child. Francis was baptised on 11 August 1888 in St. Matthews church, Croydon. The family lived at 10 Grove Terrace, Croydon and his father was a labourer.

In the 1891 census the family lived at 19, Leslie Grove, Croydon. Francis' father was a 32 year old painter, and his mother was aged 27.

In 1901 they lived at 44, Cross Road, Croydon and his father was still earning his living as a house painter.

By the 1911 census the family had moved to 56, Miles Road, Epsom. Francis was now 22 and earned his living as a 'Bakers Van Man', but his father was still painting houses for a builder.

On 3 October 1911 Francis married Ethel Sarah Marsh in Christ Church, Epsom. Francis was living at 56 Miles Road and Ethel lived at 41 Miles Road, Epsom. Their son Leslie Francis James was born on 21 June 1913 and was baptised at St. Barnabas church on 27 July 1913, whilst living at 199 Hook Road, Epsom. Francis stated that he worked as a baker. Leslie Francis James died, aged 69, in 1982 in Honiton, Devon.

Francis, aged 27, attested in Kingston on 13 July 1915 into the Army Veterinary Corps with service number SE/10653. He was 5 feet 5 inches tall, weighed 126 lbs and had a chest measurement of 35 inches with an expansion of 5 inches. He lived at 56, Miles Road, and had been working as a stableman.

His medal card tells us that he went to Gallipoli on 17 October 1915, with the rank of Horse Keeper, and that at some point he transferred to the Rifle Brigade. All British forces were evacuated from Gallipoli by early January 1916, and as Francis' service record has not survived we do not know when he transferred to the Rifle Brigade, but his battalion, the 13th, was in the 111th Brigade, 37th Division.

On 4 November 1918 the 13th Battalion Rifle Brigade was ordered to attack the village of Louvignies-Lez-Quesnoy. On the evening of 3 November the Battalion left its billets in Neuville and was in its place on the assembly position by 4.45am ready for zero hour at 5.30am. The infantry attack was preceded by an artillery, machine-gun and trench-mortar barrage. The 13th were to capture the 'Blue Line' and 'mop up' Louvignies village.

Battle Field Map
Battle Field Map

The following is an extract from the History of the Rifle Brigade:
At 5.34 the leading companies advanced and "D" Company, on the right, closely supported by two platoons of "A," reached the railway, some three hundred yards distant, which was taken after fierce fighting together with twelve machine-guns and fifty prisoners. Pushing forward, it overcame all opposition and reached the Blue Line at the appointed time, which was, apparently, 7.30am. During the advance machine-guns and trench-mortars were silenced and captured by various small operations, or in some cases, by individual men. Meanwhile "C" Company, on the left, met with fierce opposition on its way to the railway; the right flank was temporarily held up, but the two left platoons, with one of "A" Company, pushed forward and joined up with "D" Company on the Blue Line. This advance was also contested, but many machine-guns and trench-mortars were captured together with thirty or forty prisoners.
     The reserve company, "B," left Ghissignies at 6.0 a.m. and moved forward to the railway; seeing that the advance was held up by machine-gun fire from a chapel near the road-rail crossing north-east of Ghissignies, the company commander organised an attack by two platoons from the south, astride the railway, and, with the kindly co-operation of a tank and a trench-mortar section, had, by 7.--15am, cleared up the situation with several machine-guns and seventy prisoners to his credit. The casualties on the railway had been heavy, including two company commanders and several platoon commanders. "B" Company, with the remainder of "C" and "A," then quickly advanced to the Blue Line and, at 8.0am, the advance to the Blue-Dotted Line was continued under heavy shell-fire.
     The enemy opposition, however, was now broken and prisoners were giving themselves up freely; the final objective was reached by 8.50am and by 10.30am the line was consolidated, the 12th Brigade having already passed through at 9.30am.
     The Battalion, much depleted in numbers, held the line until 8.0pm, when, the 111th Brigade being withdrawn, it went back to Beaurain, having fought the last of its many fights.
The attack cost the 13th Battalion three officers killed and 34 other ranks including Francis killed in action. Four more died of wounds over the next three days. Francis is buried in grave A. 28., Ghissignies British Cemetery.

He was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War medal and the Victory medal. He was a member of the Epsom Brotherhood and is commemorated on the Brotherhood plaque held by the Bourne Hall museum, and on the St. Barnabas Roll of Honour.

His parents continued to live at 56 Miles Road. His mother died at home and was buried in grave D499 in Epsom Cemetery on 28 May 1915. His father died in the Cottage Hospital and was buried with his late wife on 7 September 1922.

EP EB SB

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PLUME Frederick, Private. 38237.

17th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers.
Died 6 November 1918, aged 30.

Frederick's headstone in the Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium.
Frederick's headstone in the Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2010

Frederick Plume was born in Epsom in 1888 (GRO reference: Dec 1888 Epsom 2a 15) to Frederick and Eliza Plume (nee Jolliffe). His parents married in the September quarter 1881.

In the 1891 census the family lived at Fawcette Cottage, Victoria Place, Epsom. Frederick's father was a 37 year old carpenter. His mother was aged 35 and he had four siblings, Louisa aged 8, Bessie aged 6, Harry aged 8 and Minnie aged 4 months.

Apart from being 10 years older in 1901 the family details are the same as in 1891.

By 1911 they were still at 15, Victoria Place, but sisters Bessie and Minnie were dressmakers, brother Harry was, like his father a carpenter, and Frederick himself was a house painter. His mother Eliza had given birth to five children, all still living.

In the September quarter of 1914 Frederick married Gertrude Etherington. It seems that they had two sons, Frederick born in the March quarter of 1915, and Ernest H in the September quarter of 1916.

Frederick does not appear in the Surrey Recruitment Registers, and his service record has not survived, so we know very little about him. He initially served as No. 30013 in the East Surrey regiment but later became No. 38237 in the Lancashire Fusiliers, 104th Brigade, 35th Division.

The St. Martin's Church Roll of Honour states that "FREDERICK PLUME, died in Hospital of pneumonia contracted on active service in France 6th November 1918."

Frederick was thus another victim of the deadly influenza epidemic of 1918 - 1919. He is buried in plot XXXV.B.13. Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium.

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

EP SM

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PLUMRIDGE Walter Joseph, Bombardier. 48523.

'K' Battery Royal Horse Artillery.
Killed in Action 21 March 1918, aged 28.

Walter's inscription on the Pozières Memorial to the missing
Walter's inscription on the Pozières Memorial to the missing
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

Walter Joseph Plumridge (registered Joseph Walter) was born in Wandsworth on 18 October 1899 (GRO reference: Dec 1889 Wandsworth 1d 738) to Joseph and Mary Amelia Plumridge (nee Bird). Walter's parents married on 31 March 1888 in St Anne's church Wandsworth. Walter was baptised on 10 November 1889 in St Anne's church, Wandsworth.

In the 1891 census the family lived at 11, Lydden Road, Wandsworth. Walter's father was a 28 year old bricklayer. His mother was aged 25 and he had a sister Minnie aged 2.

Walter Joseph Plumridge And His Siblings
Name Born - Died Notes
Minnie Emily Born: 11 September 1888 Wandsworth
Died: 1982 Torbay Devon
Married Edward A Hitchin 1914 Croydon
Joseph Walter Born: 18 October 1889 Wandsworth
Died: 21 March 1918 France
Baptised 10 November 1889
St Anne's church Wandsworth
Percy Ernest Born: 1891 Wandsworth
Died: 1921 Croydon
Agnes Lavinia Born: 1893 Wandsworth
Died: 1894 Wandsworth
Baptised 5 March 1893
St Andrew's church Earlsfield
Sydney Frederick Born 11 September 1895 Wandsworth Baptised 8 December 1895 St Mary's church Summerstown.
Attested into the Rifle Brigade 31 August 1914.
Committed suicide 10 August 1917 on active service in
Hazwinde France. Buried Hazebrouck Communal Cemetery.

From the schools admission registers, on 27 March 1893, Walter aged three years and five months, and his older sister Minnie aged four and a half, were shown to be attending Garrett Lane School in Wandsworth and living at 14, Lydden Road, Wandsworth. Minnie however has been registered as Millie. A later admissions register entry shows Walter aged eight readmitted to Garrett Lane School, and leaving on 23 October 1903 because he was overage.

Walter's sister Agnes Lavinia, born in 1893 died the next year.

The 1901 census records the family living at 27, Lydden Road, Wandsworth. Walter's father was still earning his living laying bricks and two more siblings had arrived, Percy aged 10 and Sidney aged five.

By 1911 the family had moved to 48, Bendon Valley, Earlsfield. Walter's father was still a bricklayer, but was now self-employed. Sister Minnie was a machinist making gas mantles, brother Percy worked making pianos as a 'Music Roll Tester', and brother Frederick (Sydney) was a messenger in a gramophone factory.

In 1911 Walter, in the Regular Army, was a Driver with 'R' Battery Royal Horse Artillery, stationed at Meerut, India.

Walter's service papers did not survive the blitz, so we know little of his Army service, but after he left the Army, he worked at the Long Grove Asylum, probably as an attendant, and he is remembered in the LCC book of staff who served in the war. Walter would have been an Army reservist and would therefore have been called up as soon as war was declared. His medal card confirms this, showing that he went to France on 15 August 1914, one of the first to go.

Walter was killed in action on 21 March 1918 near Jeancourt, a small village 4 miles to the east of Peronne and about two miles behind the British front line. On 21 March the Germans launched an all out attack in the area of the old Somme battleground with the aim of winning the war before the Americans arrived in force. The attack was known as 'The Kaiserschlacht' or the Kaiser's battle. The Royal Horse Artillery, a little behind the front line, would have been subjected to enemy shellfire in an attempt to neutralise their fire. It is most likely that Walter was the victim of shellfire.

Walter has no known grave and is commemorated on the Pozières Memorial to the missing, along with 14,672 other men who have no known grave and were killed between 21 March and 7 August 1918, in the Somme area.

The Pozières Cemetery and Memorial
The Pozières Cemetery and Memorial
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

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

The CWGC have added an extra 'i' to Plumridge, to make it Plumiridge.

Walter's father Joseph died on 10 July 1915 in St. Thomas Hospital Lambeth, leaving effects worth just under £2177. Walter's mother never remarried and died in Croydon on 10 January 1951, leaving effects worth £1545.

EP LGH

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POPLETT Henry William, Private. 30152.

(listed as H W Poplett on the memorial)
15th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
Killed in Action 30 August 1918, aged 22.

Private Poppet's headstone at the Vaulx Hill cemetery
Private Poppet's headstone at the Vaulx Hill cemetery
Copyright image courtesy of Clive Gilbert 2007

I can find no birth records for a Henry William (H.W.) Poplett as listed on the St Mary's and Bourne Hall Memorials but there is a birth record for a William Henry Poplet, with only one 't' (GRO reference: Mar 1896 Epsom 2a 23). William Henry Poplet(t) was born in the Epsom Workhouse on 5 February 1896, the son of unmarried 16-year-old servant, Maria Poplet.

Before William's birth, when the 1891 was taken, his grandfather James and his grandmother Emily (who had been both been born in Ewell), and their children, John aged 11, Maria (his mother) aged 9, Arthur aged 6 and 2-year-old Edith, were all inmates in St. Matthew, Bethnal Green's Workhouse. Their surname was spelt 'Poplet'. Maria seems to have been incorrectly aged as she was born, according to her school records, in August 1879 and was aged 12. Her birth was registered in the Mile End district. William's 14 year old uncle, also named William Henry, was living back in Ewell with his 83 year old maternal grandmother Maria Snelling.

By 1892 the family had moved back to Ewell. On 30 August William's uncle Arthur started at Ewell Boys School and on 6 September his uncle John started there too. William's mother and uncles had all previously attended Baker Street School in Tower Hamlets while living in Clark Street.

On 11 December 1895 William's 16-year-old mother Maria entered the Epsom Workhouse where she gave birth to William at 8a.m. on 5 February 1896. Maria had her son baptised William Henry Poplet in the workhouse on 8 March 1896 and his name appears as such in the baptismal records of St. Martins of Tours church, Epsom. She and her son were both discharged by her own request on 17 March 1896.

William's grandfather James died in Epsom Workhouse on 8 December and was buried in St. Mary's churchyard in Ewell on 11 December 1897.

On 26 June 1899 William's pregnant mother again entered the Epsom Workhouse and gave birth to William's brother Albert the same day. He was baptised in the workhouse on 14 July 1899 the day before they were both discharged by Maria's request. Albert was 5 months old when he died and was buried on 9 December 1899 in St. Mary's churchyard in Ewell.

In the 1901 census for Ewell 5-year-old William was recorded as Henry W. Poplett. He was living with his 46 year old, widowed grandmother, Emily Poplett at Eight Bells Yard, Kingston Road. Her two sons, William aged 21 who worked as a railway platelayer and Arthur aged 16 who was a garden boy, also lived there. It is possible that she referred to her grandson as Henry to avoid confusion with her son William. The whereabouts of William's mother Maria is uncertain but there is a census entry for 19 year old Maria Poplett, born in London, recorded as an inmate working as a laundress in St. Thomas Home for 'Fallen and Wayward Women'. Women who were taken in by St Thomas had to stay for two years and were not allowed home during that time. They were trained to do needlework, cook, laundry and dairy work to provide them with skills so that they did not slip back into prostitution or the abused situation they had been in. In view of this, it is possible that the 28 year old Mary Poplett, born in London, and working in Byfleet as a cook in the 1911 census was William's mother Maria.

On 11 April 1904, after previously attending Ewell Infants School, William started at Ewell Boys School. Their records show that William was born on 5 February 1897 (sic) and that his mother was Maria Poplett. William left school on 10 February 1911 to become an errand boy.

William was still living with his grandmother and uncle Arthur when the 1911 census was taken. They were living in Hards Cottages, Kingston Road, Ewell, Surrey and his uncle was working as a brick and tile maker. His grandmother filled in the census form stating that she had been married for 24 years and that two of her six children had died. As she was a widow, the enumerators cross this information through. She also stated that William was still a schoolboy.

The Surrey Recruitment Register records W.H. Poplett aged 19 years 1 month attesting in Kingston on 13 July 1915, into the Royal Fusiliers. He was 5 feet 3 inches tall, weighed 110 lbs and had a chest measurement of 32½ inches, with an expansion of 3 inches. It is noted that he had moles as distinguishing marks. He was a miller and he lived at 35 Adelphi Road, Epsom.

35 Adelphi Road in 2006
35 Adelphi Road in 2006
Copyright image courtesy of Clive Gilbert 2006

In Soldiers Died William is shown as originally being No. 18373 in the Royal Fusiliers and later No. 30152 in the 15th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment, which was in the 13th Brigade 5th Division. This battalion was originally formed in Birmingham in September 1914 and was a 'Pals' battalion known as the 'Birmingham Pals'. With the coming of conscription in early 1916, and after the huge losses on the Somme, battalions were reinforced with men from anywhere in the UK with scant regard to regional allegiances.

On the 30 August 1918 the 5th Division was fighting in the second battle of the Somme and was advancing west of Beugny near Bapume. William was one of eight men from the 15th Warwickshire Regiment killed in action that day. He is buried in Vaulx Hill cemetery, I F 21.

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

William's grandmother was aged 68 when she died in 1915.

EW BH ES

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PORTT George Sidney, Private. 51017.

9th Battalion Royal Fusiliers.
Died of Wounds 20 August 1918, aged 20.

George's headstone in the Terlincthun British cemetery, Wimille
George's headstone in the Terlincthun British cemetery, Wimille.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2012

George Sidney Portt was born in Epsom in 1898 (GRO reference: Sep 1898 Epsom 2a 21) the oldest child of George Frederick and Elizabeth Port (nee Prior). George's parents were both under the age of consent (21) when they married on 11 April 1898 in Christ Church, Epsom. Note: Sometime between 1891 and 1901, George's father added another 't' to Port, and it became Portt.

George Sidney Portt And His Siblings
Name Born - Died Notes
George Sidney Born: 1898 Epsom
Died 20 August 1918 France
Baptised Christ Church 18 September 1898.
Lived Woodlands Road, Epsom. Father was a gardener.
James Victor Born: 1899 Epsom Baptised Christ Church 11 July 1898.
Lived Epsom Common. Father was a platelayer. Attested 9 February 1916 (ASC), whilst living at 34, East Street
Daisy Christina Born: 1901 Epsom Baptised Christ Church 2 September 1901.
Lived Epsom Common. Father was a platelayer.
Edith Emily Born: 1904 Epsom Baptised Christ Church 19 August 1904.
Lived Stamford Green. Father was a platelayer.
Dorothy Maud Born: 1906 Epsom  
William Born: 1908 Epsom Attested 6 October 1925 (RA).
Violet Elizabeth Born: 1910 Epsom  
Hilda F Born: 1911 Epsom  
Frederick W Born: 1913 Epsom  
Albert H Born: 1915 Epsom  
Gladys M Born: 1916 Epsom  
Winifred L Born: 1919 Epsom  
Stanley G Born: 1920 Epsom  
Alice J Born: 1922 Epsom  
Phyllis Born: 1925 Epsom  

In the 1901 census the family lived at 'The Common', Epsom. George's father was a 21 year old railway platelayer. His mother was also aged 21, and he had one sibling, James aged 1.

By 1911 the family had moved to 2, Rose Cottage, Nobles Corner, Epsom Common. George's father was still earning his living as a railway platelayer, and in the last ten years four more siblings had been born, Daisy aged 9, Dorothy aged 5, William aged 3 and Violet aged 1.

George first served with the 28th Battalion Royal Fusiliers, a reserve training battalion, later transferring to the 9th Battalion Royal Fusiliers, which was in the 36th Brigade, 12th Division.

August 8 1918 saw the start of the battles that won the war, often dubbed 'The last 100 days'; the battle started so successfully for the Allied forces, that the German commander General Ludendorf called 8 August, 'a black day for the German Army'.

Between 8 and 25 August the 12th Division fought in the very successful Battle of Amiens, but by the end of August the 9th Royal Fusiliers had lost 124 men, either killed in action or dying from their wounds. George died from his wounds on 20 August 1918 and is buried in grave II.D.17. at Terlincthun British cemetery, Wimille.

Terlincthun British cemetery, Wimille
Terlincthun British cemetery, Wimille.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2012

Terlincthun was used mainly for burials from the many hospitals in the area between Boulogne and Wimereaux, and has 4,378 burials from the Great War and 149 from the Second World War.

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

The St Martin's church Roll of Honour states that:
GEORGE SIDNEY PORTT, was wounded and died in Hospital at Wimereaux on 20th August 1918.
EP SM

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POTTERTON Ted, Private. 152831.

43rd Battalion Canadian Infantry (Cameron Highlanders).
Later, Canadian Railway Troops (Depot).

Accidentally killed 7 November 1917, aged 27.

Ted's headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Ted's headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2012

Ted Potterton was born on 26 March 1890 in Oadby, Leicestershire, England (GRO reference: Jun 1890 Blaby 7a 37), the son of Leicestershire couple William Henry and Ellen J. Potterton (nee Granger) who had married in 1881 in same district. Note: William Henry Potterton has been transcribed as William Henry Pottington on the free BMD website.

When the 1891 census was taken, Ted and his family were living at 23, Lawn Terrace, Oadby, Leicestershire. His 37-year-old father was employed as a 'Pressman Boot and Shoe'. His mother was aged 30 and looked after Frances aged 9, Emma aged 5, William Henry aged 3 and one year old Ted, who had been recorded as 'Fred' by mistake. Three years later Ted's brother Frank was born.

Ted Potterton And His Siblings
Name Born - Died Notes
Frances Ellen Born: June 1882 Oadby Married Dec 1902
Emma Born: 1886 Oadby  
William Henry Born: June 1888 Oadby  
Ted Born: 26 March 1890 Oadby
Died: 7 November 1917 Purfleet
 
Frank Born: Dec 1892 Oadby  
Elsie May Born Sep 1906 Oadby  
One other unknown who had died by 1911

By 1901 the family had moved to Beaumont Street, and while Ted's father was still working as a shoe pressman, his mother was now working at home as a glove stitcher. Ted's 15-year-old sister Emma was working as a hosiery frame worker and his 13-year-old brother William was working in the shoe trade. Ted, aged 11 and Frank aged 8, were attending school. His eldest sister Frances married the next year but was not living with the family when the 1901 census was taken.

The 1911 census records Ted's family living at 36, Beaumont Street, Oadby, Leicestershire. Only his parents, brother Frank and sister Elsie (shown as Eliey) were recorded. Ted could not be found in the census and had probably emigrated to Canada by then.

Aged nearly 26, Ted attested on 2 March 1916 in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada into the 79th Overseas Battalion. During his medical, Ted was measured at 5 feet 11½ inches tall with a 43 inch chest, with an expansion of 3 inches. He was described as having a ruddy complexion with brown eyes and dark brown hair. Also it was noted that he had a sailor girl tattooed on his right arm while on his left, a French dancer along with a horse head and a horseshoe. He gave his occupation as a farmer, address as Deloraine, Manitoba and his religion as Church of England. His father, W. H. Potterton of 36, Beaumont Street, Oadby, Leicestershire, England was his next of kin and he signed his attestation paper with an X as his mark.

The 79th Overseas Battalion sailed for England in June 1916 where the men were sent as reinforcements to other Battalions, and as Ted's gravestone shows that he served with the 43rd Battalion he was presumably transferred to that Battalion. The 43rd Battalion was in the 9th Brigade of the 3rd Canadian Division and fought in the Battle of the Somme in 1916 and the Battle of Vimy Ridge (9 to 12 April 1917).

The next record we have of Ted is his marriage to Caroline Emma Hedges in Christ Church, Epsom on 30 May 1917. Caroline, a domestic servant, was born in Epsom on 3 October 1897, the daughter of Joseph and Emily Jane Hedges of 76, Bracken Path, Epsom Common. Ted gave his address as Woodcote Park Camp, Epsom. Woodcote Park was convalescent camp run by the Canadians, so it seems reasonable to assume that Ted was wounded on the Somme or at Vimy Ridge, and that he met Caroline whilst recovering from serious injury.

The couple had had just over five months of marriage, during which time Caroline had become pregnant, before Ted was killed on 7 November 1917. Ted had been transferred to a unit called the 'Canadian Railway Troops' at their depot at Purfleet, Essex, which the Canadians had taken over in 1916. Ted went to the railway station to see off a friend on the 9.30pm train, when he slipped between the platform and train onto the track and was killed.

Ted's body was returned to Epsom and buried on 16 November 1917 in grave D481 in Epsom Cemetery. Originally a cross was erected on his grave before being replaced by the well known CWCG gravestone.

On 25 April 1918, Ted's widow Caroline gave birth to their daughter and had her baptised Teddie Jessamine Potterton at Christ Church, Epsom on 2 June 1918.

In 1921 Caroline (recorded as Emma) and daughter Teddie returned from Canada; the reason for their visit is unknown but it is possible that Ted's personal affairs in Canada needed attention from his widow.

Ted's widow Caroline Emma did not remarry and died aged 86 in 1984 in Exeter, Devon. Their daughter Teddie married Charles William Greenslade in 1939 in Bromley, Kent, and they had a son Keith in the first quarter of 1943. Charles William, a Corporal in the Parachute Regiment was killed on 19 September 1943, aged 26, during the allied invasion of the Italian mainland. Teddie then married John R Norman in the June quarter of 1947 in the Exeter registration district. She died in 1997 also in the Exeter registration district.

BEC

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POWELL Edmund, Private. 28328.

7th Battalion Border regiment.
Died of Wounds 20 August 1918, aged 20.

Edmund's headstone in the Mont Huon Cemetery, Le Treport
Edmund's Headstone in the Mont Huon Cemetery, Le Treport
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2009

Edmund Powell was born on 12 February 1898 in Leatherhead, Surrey (GRO reference: Mar 1898 Epsom 2a 34) to James and Fanny Powell (nee Saunders). His parents had married on 31 August 1895 in St. Mary and St. Nicholas church, Leatherhead.

In the 1901 census they lived at Bankside, Kingston Road, Ewell. Edmund's father James was a bricklayer. Edmund had three siblings Myrtle Florence aged 5, Alfred James aged 4, and Stephen Philip aged 2. Another sister, Ivy May was born the following year.

On 1 May 1905, having previously attending Ewell Infants School, Edmund started at Ewell Boys School. The family address was recorded as 'R. View Villas, Kingston Road'. By 24 April 1906, when his brother Stephen started at the same school, the family address was given as 11 North View Villas, Kingston Road.

North View Villas in 2007
North View Villas in 2007
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2007

They were still living there when the 1911 census was taken. Edmund's 42-year-old father James filled out the census form stating that he and his 37-year-old wife Fanny had been married for 16 years and that all their 8 children were still alive. Their ninth child James, was born in 1913.

Stephen and the later siblings Ivy May 1902, Olive Rose 1906, Violet Doris 1909 and James 1913 are recorded in St Mary's church, Ewell baptismal register.

Having left school on 9 February 1912 to become a bricklayer, Edmund was a member of the Ewell Old Boys' Association in 1913-1914, and still living at 11 North View Villas, Ewell.

The Surrey Recruitment Register shows an E. Powell age 18 years attesting in Epsom on 15 February 1916, into the 4th Battalion East Surrey Regiment (No. 24689). He was 5 feet 5 inches tall, weighed 126 lbs and had a chest measurement of 34 inches, with an expansion of 2 inches. He was a gardener and he lived at 11 North View Villas, Ewell.

The 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion East Surrey Regiment remained in the UK throughout the war. It was employed on garrison duty and as a training unit supplying drafts to other units. The East Surrey history states that the battalion provided 4,732 men to other Battalions of the East Surrey, and other Regiments. Edmund Powell transferred to the 7th Battalion Border Regiment as Private 28328.

The 7th Border Regiment was in the 51st Brigade, 17th Division, and during June 1918 was near Auchonvillers where it suffered a good deal from Spanish influenza, which was widespread in 1918 and 1919.

The following is a quote from 'The Border Regiment in the Great Wear' by Colonel H.C. Wylly, C.B. printed in 1924:
     "The Battalion war diary for the 31st July contains the entry: " Nothing of importance to record," but if the last three months had been comparatively uneventful, August was to prove full of sufficient excitement, and the 7th Battalion The Border Regiment, though denied participation in the Second Battles of the Aisne and Marne, was at least to share in the hard fighting of the Second Somme Battle of 1918.
     The weather turned very rainy towards the end of July and so continued during the early days of August, and the activities of the troops were consequently somewhat restricted; but at the 2nd of the month a reconnaissance, carried out by Second-Lieutenant Stewart of the Battalion, disclosed the fact that the enemy had evacuated his front system, and a general forward move was consequently made in the direction of the Ancre, a new line being established about 500 yards from the river with standing patrols on the Aveluy-Authuille road. Here the following message was found left behind by one of the late occupants of a German dug-out: " Dear Tommy. When you are coming we are gone, hoping you have many pleasures in our cottages. Why you send so many iron postcards, eat some yourself. Make peace next time, have you not enough?"
     After this the Battalion had a few days in rear at Vaux-sur-Somme, and then on the 12th August moved to Mericourt and there relieved the support companies of the 11th Infantry Brigade of the 3rd Australian Division, being in support now to the 7th Lincolns and l0th Foresters-" everything very quiet and the weather beautiful." But this peaceful condition of affairs was not to last, for on the very next day the enemy put over clouds of gas, which appear to have come upon portions of the Battalion before they had time to adjust their gas-masks, with the unfortunate result that over 200 casualties resulted, including 8 officers, " C " and " D " Companies suffering the most severely and having to be amalgamated temporarily into one company under command of Lieutenant Rennie, M.C. The other units of the Brigade also were affected, and the whole day was taken up in salving the rifles and equipment of the gassed cases, of whom upwards of 700 passed through the Regimental Aid Post.
     The Division was now withdrawn on relief by the Australians and the Battalion marched away towards the N., leaving Rawlinson's Fourth Army to join the Vth Corps of Byng's Third Army, and, proceeding by Fouilloy, Vecquemont, Herissart, Toutencourt and Hedauville, arrived on the 24th at Thiepval and was at once sent forward into positions of readiness for an attack upon Courcelette."
It is not possible to say when Edmund was wounded, but it is likely that it was due to the gas attack on the 13 August. Three men from the battalion died of wounds on 20 August 1918 including Edmund. They are all buried in Mont Huon Cemetery, Le Treport, which is many miles from Mericourt. Le Treport was an important hospital centre and by the middle of 1916 the town contained four hospitals and a convalescent depot.

The Epsom Advertiser dated 13 September 1918 printed the following:
EWELL PARISH COUNCIL: THE MEN WHO FIGHT FOR ENGLAND. The Chairman said that each of the following inhabitants had had a son killed in the war: - Mr. Tomsett, Mr. Powell and Mr. Walker (West Ewell). On the other hand he was glad to say that one of their Ewell boys who was taken prisoner in April had succeeded in escaping and was now back again. This lad, young Parker, living at Plough-lane, West Ewell, was 30 miles inside the German lines when he and five others got away through the barbed wire and succeeded, in three days, in reaching our lines. That, he thought, was an achievement of which Ewell might be proud.
     It was decided to send letters of sympathy to Messrs. Tomsett, Powell and Walker and to send a letter of congratulations to young Parker.
Edmund was awarded the British War medal and the Victory medal.

By 1932, Edmund's parents address was 117 Kingston Road, Ewell. His mother Fanny died in 1943 and his father James in 1944.

BH EW ES

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POWLEY Edward Gwinn Private. 1511

1/20th Battalion London Regiment (Blackheath and Woolwich).
Killed in Action 19th July 1915, aged 21

Edward Powley
Edward Powley
Image courtesy of Peter Collins, Sutton Grammar School Archivist

Edward Gwinn Powley was born on 9 April 1894 in Compton Gifford, Devon (GRO reference: Jun 1894 Plymouth 5b 217) to Edward and Clara Powley (nee Gwinn). NOTE: He is shown as George, not Gwinn in the 'Soldiers died' CD.

In the 1901 census the family lived in Green Man Street, Ewell. Edward's father made boots by hand working on his own account at home. Edward had a brother George aged 6 (GRO reference: Mar 1895 Epsom 2a 23). The census also shows that 16 year old Thomas G Whitehouse lived at the address, and was an apprentice hand sewn boot maker. He was a British subject born in America.

Edward attended Ewell Boys School between 9 April 1894 and 2 May 1900, leaving to attend Sutton Grammar School. His brother George also attended Sutton Grammar School between 1 May 1901 and 11 September 1907, having won a scholarship.

In the 1911 census the family lived in High Street (previously named Green Man Street), Ewell. Edward's father was shown as a 'bootmaker - dealer' and was an employer. Edward's only sibling was his brother George.

Edward enlisted in Blackheath into the 1/20 (County of London) Battalion TF (Blackheath and Woolwich) of the London Regiment, and was sent to France on 9 March 1915. The battalion was in the 141st Brigade 47th Division.

On the day that Edward was killed the Battalion was in front line trenches at Mazingarbe. The war diary for Monday 19th July 1915 states:

The head of sap 18 was completely blown in by enemy's H.E. & rendered untenable. A block was erected at west end of breach behind which the post was established. This destroyed length patrolled every half hour, day & night.
As Edward was the only man from his Battalion to be killed on the 19th July, presumably the H.E. (high explosive) that destroyed sap 18 also killed him.

Even though the Battalion was just 'holding the line', and no major battles were being fought, during their 5 day stint at the front they still had 3 men killed and 10 wounded.

The following is an extract from Sutton Grammar School magazine, The Suttonian:
Was at the School 1907-12. Going on to Goldsmiths College he joined his College company of the 20th Co. of London about a year before the war. He left for France on March 10th, and it was not long before he was slightly wounded in the face. On July 9th, when near Givenchy, he had left his brother in a dug-out to fetch something from his pack further along the trench, when he stopped to answer a question as to the date. Doing this a small shell went right through his thigh, death being instantaneous.
Edward was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, the British War medal and the Victory Medal.


Private Powley's headstone at Fosse 7 Military Cemetery, Mazingarbe.
Copyright image courtesy of Clive Gilbert

Edward Gwinn Powley was KIA 19 July 1915. he is buried in Fosse 7 Military Cemetery (Quality Street), Mazingarbe. 11 C 7.

Fosse 7 Military Cemetery
Fosse 7 Military Cemetery
Copyright Image Courtesy of Clive Gilbert

The area of fighting around Loos in France was the centre of a large coal mining industry. As in any coal mining area a large amount of waste material is produced and dumped into large mounds called slag heaps. The French term for such slag heaps is Fosse. Much fighting went on around these mini hills, and many men lost their lives fighting to capture them. Fosse 7 Military Cemetery (Quality Street), was named after the Fosse that rises nearby. The 'Quality Street' part of the Cemetery name derives from the name of the trench which led into the cemetery during the war.


He is also remembered on the Sutton Grammar School War Memorial.

BH EW ES SGS

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PRATTENTON B. (PRATTINTON Percy), Sapper. 148441.

37th Signal Coy Royal Engineers (RE).
Killed in action 25 April 1917, aged 25.

Percy's headstone in the Cabaret Rouge Cemetery, Souchez, near Arras.
Percy's headstone in the Cabaret Rouge Cemetery, Souchez, near Arras.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert ©2017

Despite checking all known sources of information, it proved impossible to establish why the name 'PRATTENTON B.' should appear on the Epsom War Memorial in Ashley Road. However we now believe that this soldier was PERCY PRATTINTON and that for whatever reason his name was misheard or transcribed incorrectly.

Percy Prattinton was born on 16 December 1891 in the East Retford registration district in Nottinghamshire (GRO reference: Mar 1892 E Retford 7b 11). His parents were Frederick David and Rosina Prattinton, nee Stickley, who had married in 1877 on Portsea Island, Hampshire.

PERCY PRATTINTON AND HIS SIBLINGS
NameBorn - DiedNotes
Frederick WalterBorn: 1879 Cosham, Hampshire
Died: 1939 Chichester, Sussex
Married Mary Ann Richardson 1904. 2Lt Machine Gun Corps
HarryBorn: 1880 Burnley, Lancashire
Died: 1935 Portsmouth, Hampshire
Corporal 12658, 619420 - Hampshire Regiment and Labour Corps.
William JamesBorn: 1881 Burnley, Lancashire
Died: 1935 Oxford, Oxfordshire
Major - East Lancashire Regiment and Machine Gun Corps
LouisaBorn: 1883 Chatham, Kent
Died: 1969 Portsmouth, Hampshire
Married Lancelot Alfred Passells 1907
Ethel Rosina (GRO middle name Lily) Born: 1885 Dover, Kent
Died: 1961 Portsmouth, Hampshire
Married Albert Walters 1912
SidneyBorn: 1889 Newry Ireland
Died: 1969 Colchester, Essex
Sergeant S4/061002 - Army Service Corps
Edith DorothyBorn: 1891 Retford, Nottinghamshire
Died: 1944 Brighton, Sussex
Married George Simmonds 1919
PercyBorn: 6 December 1891 Retford, Nottinghamshire
Died: 25 April 1917 France
 
UnknownDied before 1911 
UnknownDied before 1911 

Before Percy's birth, Percy's 28 year old father Frederick was recorded in the 1881 census as being an Infantry Sergeant in Burnley Barracks in Habergham Eaves, Lancashire. Percy's 24 year old mother Rosina also lived there with Percy's older brothers Frederick aged 2 and 10 month old Harry.

From the birthplaces of the next siblings it seems that the family moved to Chatham and Dover in Kent and then to Newry, Ireland.

By 1891 the family was living in the Volunteer Barracks in West Street, East Retford, Nottinghamshire where Percy's father was described as 'Sergeant Instructor Rifle Volunteers serving on Army engagement'.

Percy's siblings were recorded as Frederick W. aged 12, Harry aged 10, William J. aged 9, Louisa aged 8, Ethel aged 5, Sidney aged 2 and 8 month old Edith. Also living with them was their 20 year old cousin Catherine Horton.

In 1894 White's History, Gazetteer and Directory records Percy's father as a 'Drill Instructor' living in West Street, Retford, Nottinghamshire.

By the time the 1901 census was taken Percy and his family had moved to 41 New Road, Southampton where his father was recorded as working as a 'H.M. Customs - Watcher'. His sister Ethel was working as a dressmaker's apprentice.

On 1 April 1908, aged 16 years 4 months, Percy joined the London and South Western Railway Company in Fareham, Hampshire as a junior clerk with a starting wage of £30.00 a year. His London and South Western Railway Employment Record, shows the following information:
Junior Clerk at Fareham at £30 a year
Removed to St. Denys May 1908
Salary raised to £35.00 p.a. April 1909
Ditto £40.00 p.a. April 1910
Removed to Bournemouth Central May 1910
Salary raised to £50.00 p.a. April 1911
The 1911 census shows Percy as a boarder at 53 Ashley Road, Upper Parkstone, Dorset and as working as a 'Railway Clerk'. His parents were living at 140 Telephone Road, Southsea, Hampshire where his father was working as an 'Inspector and Collector of Accounts'. The census also records that two of their ten children had died.

Percy's London and South Western Railway Employment Record continues:
Transferred to Rowlands Castle July 1911
Appointed Clerk at £60.00 p.a. April 1912
Salary raised to £65.00 p.a. 1 April 1913
To Claygate 15 Jan 1914. £70.00 p.a. 1 April 1914
To £75.00 p.a. 1/4/14. To Epsom 10/6/1914
Volunteered for Military Service 15/12/15
To £80.00 p.a. 1/4/16. £85.00 p.a. 1/4/17
Killed in Action 13.5.1917
This date was however incorrect but another Railway employment record shows the correct date he was killed in action, 25 April 1917.

Percy's service record has not survived but his Railway employment record tells us that he volunteered for military service on 15 December 1915, and his CWGC entry tells us that he served with the 37th Signal Company RE. This unit, part of the 37th Division, was responsible for setting up and maintaining communication systems between headquarters and fighting units. The means of communication included; Telegraph and Telephone; Visual using Flags, Lamps and Lights; Despatch Riders; Pigeons, and Early Wireless. As attacking troops moved forward, the Signals Companies followed closely behind, extending the means of communication.

The Battle of Arras commenced on 9 April 1917 and on 11 April the 37th Division attacked Monchy le Preux. The following is an extract from the War Diary of the 37th Signal Coy:
22 April.
3.30 p.m. Heavy shelling in valley east of Divisional Headquarters, nearly all lines blown to shreds and 3 linesmen severely wounded. All available linemen sent out, one lineman and one orderly together.
7 p.m. 6 Signallers lent by D.O.T.M. to assist. 4 other rank Signallers of 9th N Staffs (Pioneers) also still with Company and assisting in line maintenance.

23 April.
4.30 a.m. Capt Forbes arrives with all available personnel from camp.
4.45 a.m. Bombardment begins.
5.0 a.m. Post Visual Lookout Station at Divisional Headquarters and Orderlies for Aeroplane Dropping Ground.
6.30 a.m. Sergt Drage with three men pack mule and D1 cable leaves for 112th Headquarters to lay cable as that Headquarters advances. After this he is to stay with 112th Section to maintain Division lines back.
9 a.m. Arrange for 12 pigeons to be drawn from DRP 10.0 a.m. daily by Brigades.
10.15 a.m. Lieut Baker ordered to lay lateral between 112th Advanced Headquarters H4a72 and 63rd Advanced H10a55. Decide to keep all available men at YCGR under Sergt Major, bivouacs built under bank of cutting. 2 limbers and 2 pack kept at YCGR and all available cable, also 3 riders for mounted D.Rs. or linemen.
1.0 p.m. Corpl Adamson and party lay single D5 line to Advanced Divisional Dump near POINT DU JOUR
4 p.m. 32 D3 telephones short. Wire A.D. Signals for supply. 7 received also enamel wire for Battalions D1 for Brigade and D3 for attached Artillery.
5 p.m. Amplifier set with two power buzzers delivered to 111th and 63rd Brigades.

24 April.
Electric Light runs day and night with the exception of about 4 hours in middle of day. For line diary see Appendix.
1.25 p.m. Battalion of 101st Brigade ordered up in support trenches. Joined to 111th Office by wire.
4.30 p.m. 111th and 63rd Sections warned to make full use of wireless. Wireless and pigeon messages came in regularly during the day from 63rd Section.

25 April.
5.30 a.m. Capt Forbes and party lay poled D3 twisted to D.R.P using air line poles. Weather looks like turning to rain and am very much afraid of bad speaking lines when ground gets wet because there are so many joints in cable.
2.0 p.m. Make arrangements for move of rear Echelon from ETRUN to ARRAS on 26th inst. Collect all empty D3 drums and rewind them with twisted D5. 2 linemen killed and 5 wounded. 8 other ranks reinforcements report. Send back 3 operators and 4 linemen and relieve them from YCG and YCGR.

Percy was killed in action on 25 April 1917 and was buried in grave XV.J.3. in Cabaret Rouge Cemetery, Souchez, near Arras, one of the over 7,650 to be buried in the cemetery.

The CWGC website states that he was the:
Brother of Mr. H. Prattinton, of 4 St. Mary's Road, Kingston, Portsmouth.
Percy's last address was given on his probate entry as Ashridge, Windsor Road, Cosham, Hampshire. As Percy's father had died on 18 May 1916 in Fareham, Hampshire, administration of Percy's effects, valued at £158 19s. 7d., was given to his widowed mother Rosina on 21 November. His mother died in 1927 in Portsmouth, Hampshire.

Possibly it was a former railway work colleague or perhaps his Epsom landlady that requested Percy's name to be added to the Epsom Ashley Road Cemetery Great War memorial. Whoever it was, we believe his name was incorrectly recorded as 'B. Prattenton'. Percy's name has also been incorrectly recorded on the Cosham Great War memorial as 'Prattington R'.

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

EP

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PRICE Frank, Private. 11952.

2nd Dragoon Guards (Queen's Bays).
Killed in Action 26 January 1916, aged 28.

Frank's inscription on the Loos Memorial to the missing.
Frank's inscription on the Loos Memorial to the missing.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

Frank Price was born in 1888 in Barking (GRO reference: Mar 1888 Romford 4a 359) to John and Alice Price (nee Slaughter). His parents married on 14 May 1882 in St. Martin's church, Epsom; the marriage records show that Frank's father worked as brickmaker. Their daughter Kate was baptised there on 17 June 1883 and their son John on 18 May 1884.

In the 1891 census the family, with the exception of Kate who was living with her maternal grandparents in Epsom, lived at 10, Lyuron Terrace, Bonny Downs Road, East Ham. Frank's father was a 30 year old 'Gas Stoker'. His mother was aged 28 and he had an older brother John aged seven and a younger sister Edith Ellen aged two months. Also living with the family was Frank's aunt, 14 year old Edith E Slaughter.

Frank Price And His Siblings
Name Born - Died Notes
Kate Born: 1883 Epsom Baptised 17 June 1883 St Martins Epsom
John Born: 1884 Epsom Baptised 18 May 1884 St Martins Epsom
Attested 28 August 1914 in Epsom
Alice Born: 1886 Epsom
Died: 1887 Romford district
Baptised 29 August 1886 St. Martins Epsom.
Father's occupation Brickmaker
Frank Born: 1888 Barking Essex
Died: 26 January 1916 France
Baptised 4 April 1888 Barking
Edith Ellen Born: 1891 East Ham  
Maria Louisa Born: 1894 East Ham  
George William Born: 1897 East Ham
Died: 1900 Epsom
Buried Epsom Cemetery 22 March 1900

The birth of Frank's youngest sister, Maria Louisa, was recorded in the September quarter of 1894, and his youngest brother, George William, was born in 1897. Burial records show that by 1900 the family had moved back to Epsom and were living in Garden Cottages as the burial of George aged 2, took place on 22 March in the Epsom Cemetery. By 1901 his mother was a widow. Presumably Frank's father died sometime between 1897 and 1901, at the young age of between 36 and 40. Although there is a 1901 GRO Epsom registration district death for a John William Price aged 39, there is not a local burial recorded.

The 1901 census records the family living at 18, Garden Cottages, East Street, Epsom. Frank's mother was recorded as a 38 year old widow, earning a living as a self employed dressmaker. Frank's brother John was working as a 'Builder's Carter', whilst Frank was a 'Greengrocer's Errand Boy'. Also recorded were sister Maria Louisa aged six and three boarders. Sister Kate was still living with her maternal grandparents in 82, Court View, Hook Road, Epsom. Aged 17, she may well have been helping to care for her uncle, 25 year old George Slaughter, who had been invalided in South Africa, possibly during the Boer war.

In 1911 the family lived at 135 Hook Road, Epsom. Frank's mother was still earning a living as a self- employed dressmaker. Frank was a 'Motor Driver' and brother John was a 'General Labourer', both working at the gas works, whilst sisters Edith and Maria were 'Daily Housemaids. Two boarders were living with the family. The 1911 census was the first one to ask how long a present marriage had lasted, the number of children born alive to the present marriage (including children no longer living in the household), and number of children who had died. This however did not apply to widows, even though some widows did enter this information and the enumerator would cross it through. Frank's widowed mother did as she was requested and, unfortunately for us, did not complete the 'Marriage and Children' section of the census form.

Frank attested in Epsom on 2 September 1914 into the Dragoons, giving his age as 28 years 8 months. He was 5 feet 7¼ inches tall, weighed 146lbs and had a chest measurement of 36 inches with an expansion of 2 inches. He had a dark complexion, brown eyes, dark brown hair, and worked as a motor driver.

Frank went to France on 17 October 1915 and was killed in action only three months later, in the depths of winter, on 26 January 1916. The Queen's Bays war diary tells us that on 29 December 1915, 14 officers and 388 other ranks left to form part of the Dismounted Division for service in the trenches.

But the next entry in the diary covers the whole of January 1916 and states that on 30 December 1915, eight officers and 300 other ranks left for Bethune to form part of the 1st Dismounted Battalion. Then on 13 February the diary tells us that the:
Dismounted Company returned to the Regiment on withdrawal of the dismounted Cavalry from the trenches.
Thus, for a period of about 45 days these cavalrymen became infantry foot soldiers, holding the line in the trenches. No major battles were raging at the time, but nevertheless thirteen men from the 2nd Dragoon Guards lost their lives during the 45 days, including Frank. Even during 'quiet' periods when no battles were raging, the trenches were dangerous places, with the constant threat of sniping and shelling.

Frank was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War medal and the Victory medal. The CWGC website records that he was the son of Alice Price, of 53, Hook Road, Epsom and the late John Price.

Frank has no known grave and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial to the missing, one of 20,603 whose names are carved on the walls around the memorial.

EP SB

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PRIMROSE Hon. Neil James Archibald MC, Captain.

1st/1st Royal Bucks Hussars.Hussars.
Killed in Action 15 November 1917, aged 34

Neil Primrose in the 24 Nov 1917 edition of The Sphere
Neil Primrose
The Sphere 24 Nov 1917

Neil James Archibald Primrose was born on 14 December 1882 in Dalmeny West Lothian Scotland, the second son and youngest child of Archibald and Hannah Primrose, nee De Rothschild. His father, Archibald Philip Primrose (1847-1929), the 5th Earl of Rosebery, not only had the title of Lord Rosebery but was also a member of the Order of the Garter and of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom. He was a Liberal Party statesman and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom between 1894-95. Neil's mother, who was known as the Countess of Rosebery, was an English social leader and philanthropist and the daughter of Baron Mayer Amschel de Rothschild and his wife Juliana, nee Cohen. When her father died in 1874 she became the richest woman in Britain.

Neil's siblings were:

Sybil Myra Caroline Primrose, (GRO: Dec 1879 St George Handover Square 1a 387) born in 1879 became a British writer, designer and an artist. Lady Sybil married on the 28 March 1903 to General Sir Charles John Cecil Grant, KCB, KCVO, DSO (1877-1950). On the death of her father in 1929, she inherited his estate, "The Durdans" at Epsom, which became her home. She died in 1955.
Margaret Etienne H Primrose, (GRO: Mar 1881 Epsom 2a 24) known as Peggy, born in 1881. On 20 April 1899 Lady Margaret Primrose married her father's old friend Robert Offley Ashburton Crewe-Milnes, the Earl of Crewe, in Westminster Abbey. She became one of the first women magistrates in Britain. She died in 1967.
Lady Margaret Primrose
Lady Margaret Primrose
Illustrated London News 21 April 1899

Albert Edward Harry Meyer Archibald Primrose (known as Harry) who became the 6th Earl of Rosebery was born 8 January 1882. He became a UK politician who briefly served as Secretary of State for Scotland in 1945. He was known by the courtesy title of Lord Dalmeny from birth until he inherited the family peerages in 1929. He died on 31 May 1974.
In the 1881 census, before Neil was born, his parents lived at 107 Piccadilly London with 13 servants to look after them. This was the house that Hannah had inherited from her father upon his death. The family went each August to Dalmeny for the grouse shooting. In between, occasional days would be spent at their home "The Durdans" in Epsom.

Neil's mother Hannah died on 19 November 1890 in Dalmeny Scotland from Bright's disease and typhoid fever. Her funeral was held 25 November 1890 in the Willesden Jewish Cemetery. Shortly after his mother's death, his father left him and his grieving siblings and went alone on a tour of Spain. Neil's father, Lord Archibald Rosebery, died on 21 May 1929 in Epsom Surrey.

In 1909 Neil Primrose was commissioned into the Royal Buckinghamshire Hussars, which was a unit of volunteer cavalry, with roots back to the independent Yeomanry troops formed in 1794.

Neil entered Parliament in 1910 as Liberal member for Wisbech Cambridgeshire. Between 1910 and 1914 he travelled several times to New York, once accompanied by James Rothschild.

The 1911 census shows Neil at The Durdans with its 36 rooms. Also there were his father, Lord Rosebery, and seven-year-old nephew, Robin Grant. To look after the three of them, the rest of the household consisted of 19 servants ranging from the House Steward, through the Groom of the Chambers and the Housekeeper to the still-room and scullery maids.

On 7 April 1915, he married Lady Victoria Alice Louise Stanley, daughter of Edward Stanley, 17th Earl of Derby who was also an English politician around the turn of the 20th century. In this same year he was promoted to Captain and was awarded the Military Cross in 1916. The Military Cross is a military medal awarded to personnel of the Military of the United Kingdom, and formerly also to officers of other Commonwealth of Nations countries, for distinguished and meritorious services in battle on land.

The couple had one daughter, Ruth Alice Hannah Mary, who was born on 18 April 1916. She later married Charles Wood, 2nd Earl of Halifax on 25 April 1936. Charles, who was a politician and peer, was the son of Edward Wood, 1st Earl of Halifax, statesman and once Foreign Secretary.

Neil was created a Privy Councillor of the United Kingdom in 1917. Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council is a body of advisors to the British monarchy.

At the age of 34 The Hon Neil James Archibald Primrose, Captain was killed by a gunshot wound on 15 November 1917 at Hill of Gezer during the Siniai and Palestine Campaign (this was a series of battles which took place on the Sinai Peninsula, Palestine, and Syria between January 28, 1915 to October 28, 1918) while leading his squadron against Turkish positions on the Abu Shusheh ridge during the Third Battle of Gaza where the forces, under the command of General Edmund Allenby, successfully broke the Turkey defensive Gaza-Beersheba line.

He is buried in the Ramleh Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery at Ramleh in Israel.

Neai's headstone in the Remleh Cemetery, Israel
Neai's headstone in the Remleh Cemetery, Israel
Photographer Zev Gross, image source Wikipeada

Neil's Tablet in Christ Church, Epsom
Neil's Tablet in Christ Church, Epsom
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2009

The following appeared in the Surrey Comet dated 31 August 1918:
Earl of Rosebery has erected on the east wall of the north transept of Christ Church, Epsom an alabaster tablet: "To the beloved memory of Neil Primrose, a worshipper here with his father who has raised this tablet. He was born at Dalmeny Dec 14 1892, was killed in action Nov 15 1917 on Hill of Gezer Palestine and lies buried at Ramleh. He was the light of our eyes and the joy of all who knew him. The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord."
Neil's medal card
Neil's medal card.
Image courtesy of Ancestry.co.uk (Link opens in a new window)
Ancestry Logo

Neil Primrose is also commemorated on the village of Postwick, Norfolk memorial, in the village churchyard.
Neil Primrose is also commemorated on the village of Postwick, Norfolk memorial, in the village churchyard.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2015

The Neil Primrose memorial plaque in St. Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh.
The Neil Primrose memorial plaque in St. Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh.
Image courtesy of Roger Morgan © 2017

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PRIOR William James, Corporal. L/9818.

2nd East Surrey Regiment.
Killed in action 3 April 1915, aged 24.

William Prior
William Prior
Image Source: Epsom Advertiser

William James Prior was born in 1890 (GRO reference: Sep 1890 Epsom 2a 17) to Walter Alfred and Fanny Prior (nee Pratt). William's parents had married on 30 October 1886 in Christ Church, Epsom.

In the 1891 census the family is shown as living at Epsom Common. William's father Walter was a 32 year old general labourer, and his mother Fanny aged 26 helped at a laundry. He had a brother Walter Alfred aged 3. Also living with the family was his 24 year old married aunt, Mary Cornish.

By the 1901 census the family lived at 6 Margaret cottages, Epsom Common. William's father was then a 41 year old gas stoker, and mother Fanny aged 36 has no occupation shown. There were no more siblings.

The 1911 census records William's parents, Walter and Fanny still living at 6 Margaret Cottages. I cannot find a census entry for William, however, his brother, Walter, was recorded serving abroad with the 2nd Battalion East Surrey Regiment, in Burma.

William's military career started on 6 November 1907, when he attested at Kingston into the 4th Battalion East Surrey Regiment, a militia battalion, and was given service number 5664. He stated that his age was 17 years and 5 months, that he lived at 6, Margaret Cottages, Epsom Common and that he worked as a labourer. He had previously been employed by Mr P Easton, a greengrocer, living at the Jolly Coopers. His religion was Church of England.

William, on 8 November 1907, was examined and passed fit to serve in the militia. He was 5 feet 3½ inches tall, weighed 105lbs and had a chest measurement of 32½ inches with an expansion of 2 inches. He had a fresh complexion, grey eyes, brown hair and he had a mole on his left cheek.

Then on 2 February 1909 he signed another attestation form, for 12 years in the East Surrey Regiment, seven years Army Service and five years in the Reserve. When he was examined then, he had grown to 5 feet 6½ inches tall, weighed 124lbs and had a chest measurement of 35 inches with an expansion of 3 inches. On his left forearm he had tattooed, a heart, clasped hands, 'true love' and a flower, while on his right arm he had an anchor tattoo.

Between 12 February 1909 and 27 September 1910, William's battalion was stationed at Plymouth. Whilst there, on 5 April 1910, he was admitted to Devonport hospital for 31 days, suffering from severe impetigo of the face and scalp.

William was a good soldier; on 29 August 1913 he was classified as a marksman, on 30 May 1914 as a first class shot, and on 6 June 1914 he was granted a second Good Conduct badge. His only misdemeanour occurred on 27 December 1914, whilst at Magdalen Camp, Winchester, when he was reprimanded by Major Colquhoun for being absent from 12 midnight until 6.40am on 29 December.

After being stationed at Plymouth, the battalion was sent to Ireland, remaining there until 10 January 1913, when it was sent on troopship 'Hardinge' to India.

On 17 October 1914, Army Form B. 2066, 'Employment Sheet', recorded that William had been employed with the Regimental Police, and he was described as a 'Smart clean soldier; willing worker with plenty of ability'.

Shortly after the war started the battalion returned from India to Britain on transport ship 'Malda', arriving at Devonport on 23 December 1914.

William served in the 2nd Battalion East Surrey Regiment, which was in the 85th Brigade, 28th Division, and on 18 January 1915 embarked from Southampton on SS Maidan, arriving at Le Havre, France on 19 January.

On April 1st the Battalion manned trenches in the St Eloi area, relieving the 3rd Battalion Middlesex Regiment. The 2nd Battalion remained in these trenches until relieved during the night of 3rd April, by the 1st Lincolns, and returned to Dickebusch. During this three day period, whilst manning the trenches it lost 7 men killed. On the 3rd April 4 men were killed including William James Prior. As no major battles were raging at this time they were no doubt victims of the war of attrition, through shelling or sniping that went on more or less continuously.

William is buried in Voormezeele Enclosure Cemetery No.3.

William's Headstone in the Voormezeele Enclosure Cemetery No.3.
William's Headstone in the Voormezeele Enclosure Cemetery No.3.
Image Courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2008

William's brother Walter, serving in the 1st East Surreys, sent a letter to their parents at 33, Margaret Cottages, Epsom Common, which shows that William was the victim of a sniper.

Walter's letter, reproduced below, was published in the 23 April 1915 edition of the Epsom Advertiser.

My dear Father and Mother, -- Just another few lines to you both, hoping to find all at home in the very best of health, and to try to cheer you up a bit. I know how much you grieve because of poor Willie's death, but, believe me, he has done his duty as a soldier and a man. I must specially say that he was well liked throughout the regiment, but more by the officers and N.C.O.'s and men of the company. They are all sorry because of his death, and grieve with me at the duty I had to perform to break the news to you. Only today the officer who was in charge of the trench at the time of his death told me how he was liked and what a good N.C.O. he was. He also told me not to worry, as he is at rest now. I often keep thinking about him, and miss him much more now than I did before. We were always together, but on the day he got killed he was in a trench with my chum, Sergt. Peterson, who told me how it occurred, and that he did all he could for him. It appears that the orders were given out that nobody was allowed to go behind the trench during the day and poor Bill, wanting to make some tea, took the fire pail outside for the wind to get at the fire and liven it up, quite forgetting the danger. I believe he was sitting down waiting for the water to boil, when he got shot through the head. The sentry said he heard three shots fired, and was staggered. Peter rushed out of the trench and pulled him in under cover and bound up his wound, but he was unconscious all the time, and Peter said he struggled hard for his life. He must have done that, as I believe he went black with struggling. He lived two hours and twenty minutes afterwards. They would not keep him until I arrived in case I broke down, and naturally I should have done. They buried him with some more in a little cemetery which contains the remains of four fellows who have given their lives for their King and country, the same as poor Bill. I just saw the grave from the road we walked along. That was enough. Young Jack Goucher is also buried beside him, so there are two Epsomians beside each other. I sincerely hope you will keep a brave heart, and at the same time be proud to know that Bill died while fighting for a good cause. I will say this, he will never be out of my mind, for he always proved a good brother to me and a good son to you both. I am sending home his few things that were on him; his watch I gave to Peter as a keepsake, as he was a chum of Bill's and he did what he could for him. Cheer up, mother and dad; he sleeps in peace."
NOTE: We believe that 'Jack Goucher' was in fact Arthur James Jackson (formally Goacher).

In another letter to a young lady, also published on 23 April, William's brother Walter, wrote:
You can proudly boast that you were keeping company with one of the bravest and pluckiest men a girl could have. He died a soldier and a man, and is buried in a neat little cemetery which has been provided for soldiers who have been killed. I would like to tell you the name of the place, but must not. If I have the luck to come through I will relate a fine story concerning Billy. Just a while ago we were talking about him, and a sergeant in my company, who stuck it like heroes/ If anyone should have gone to hospital they ought, for both of them should have been in hospital with frost-bitten feet, and they would have been in England now. But no, they meant sticking it to the last, and they did. At times they could hardly walk and had a job to go to the trenches.

A better and stronger chap one could never wish to see, and I can honestly say he is missed in the company by all, officers as well. I have seen the cross that the pioneers have made for his grave.
Any items of William's personal property, his medals and memorial plaque were to be sent to his father at 39, Margarets Cottages, Epsom Common, and on 6 July 1920 his father signed to acknowledge receipt of William's 1915 Star. William's British War medal and his Victory medal were signed for on 9 July 1921 by a signature that looks like W J Prior.

William's father died in 1939 at 33, Stamford Green Road, aged 83, and was buried in grave M273 in Epsom cemetery on 13 December 1939. His mother died in 1940, aged 76, and was also buried in grave M273 on 4 December 1940.

EP CC

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PROCTER William John, Private. 245136.

2nd Battalion London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers).
Died of Wounds 14 June 1918, aged 35.

William's headstone in the St Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen
William's headstone in the St Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2011

William John's surname is spelt Procter or Proctor in various official documents. He was born in 1882 in Fulham (GRO reference: Dec 1882 Fulham 1a 280) to John and Ellen Proctor (nee Butcher), who were married on 1 August 1880 at Kingswood, Surrey.

In the 1881 census, before William was born, his father John, born in Wyresdale, Lancashire, was a 36 year old builders foreman. His mother Ellen, born in Kingswood, Surrey, was aged 26. They were living with Ellen's parents in Reigate Turnpike Road, Kingswood.

In the 1891 census the family lived at 7, Pellant Road, Fulham. William's father John, was a 48 year old joiner foreman. William aged 9, had two siblings, James aged 10 born in Kingswood and Ellen aged 3 born in Fulham. Francis Comber, a 50 year old carpenter was boarding with them, and possibly worked with William's father.

At some date between 1891 and 1895 the family moved back to Surrey as William's brother, Thomas Percy was born in 1895 at Walton-on-the-Hill, Surrey.

By 1901 the family was living in one of two 'Tadworth Cottages' on Walton Street, Walton-on-the-Hill. William John's mother Ellen was then a widow, his father John, having died in 1900, aged 56. William, aged 18, had followed his father's trade and become a carpenter. Sister Ellen aged 12 was a school monitor and brother Thomas Percy was aged 6. William's maternal grandfather Richard Butcher was living with them, but sadly he died a few weeks after the census, aged 81, and is buried in Kingswood. William's brother James, was working as a carpenter in Ashford, Kent.

The 1911 census shows the family still living at Walton-on-Hill. William's mother Ellen, aged 56 was the head of the family. Brother James, aged 29 was a jobbing builder, sister Ellen, aged 22 was an elementary school teacher with Surrey County Council, and 16 year old Thomas Percy was a baker's assistant. William was a general carpenter.

William married Ada Mary Treadgold in Epsom in 1913 and they had one child, Ada J. Procter born in the Reigate registration district, in 1914, possibly at Walton. (She married Kenneth J. Mattick in 1935). Ada Mary was the daughter of John and Eliza Treadgold who lived at 5, The Folly, South Street, Epsom in 1911; at that time, she was 27 years old, was born in Epsom and had no occupation. The CWGC shows her address as The Folley, 8, South Street, Epsom.

William attested on 11 December 1915 in Epsom, and was initially assigned to the 5th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, a Territorial unit. However, at some point he was transferred to the 2nd Battalion London Regiment, another Territorial unit. The 2nd Battalion was in the 169th Brigade, 56th (London) Division.

William died of wounds on 14 June 1918 and is buried in plot Q.I.E.8. St Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen. Rouen was a huge centre of activity for British forces and accommodated several hospitals. In May and early June 1918, William's battalion was holding the line and not engaged in a major offensive. It did, however, carry out various raids and patrols, and was subjected to shelling and bombing by enemy aircraft.

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

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PROSSER John, Second Lieutenant.

16th (The Queen's) Lancers.
Died 28 December 1917, aged 46.

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

John Prosser's service record papers, held at The National Archive under reference WO 339/24905, show that when he attested on 3 September 1895 in Manchester he did so using the name John Price. He stated that he was aged 24 years and 9 months, had been born in the parish of Sefton, Liverpool and that he worked as a barman. He signed on with the 16th Lancers for 7 years with the colours and 5 years in the reserve and was given No. 4036. The attestation paper is annotated 'Alias John Prosser'.

If his service papers are correct, he was born around the end of 1870 and the beginning of 1871 in the Liverpool registration district, but I have been unable to find any likely birth reference for him.

John was 5 feet 8¾ inches tall, weighed 146lbs and had a chest measurement of 36 inches expanding to 38½ inches. He had a sallow complexion, blue eyes, light brown hair, good physical development and his religion was Church of England. He had scars on the back of his head and over his left eyebrow, a tattoo of a woman on his right forearm, and a cross, harp and anchor tattooed on his left forearm.

Some events in John's military career:
8 September 1895: Joined the 16th Lancers as a Trooper at Canterbury.
1 September 1897: Appointed Lance Corporal.
3 September 1897: Granted 1st Good conduct pay.
18 October 1897: Certificate of education, 3rd Class.
1 August 1898: Name J Prosser appears on J Price 'Statement of Services' paper.
15 November 1898: Certificate of education, 2nd Class.
1 April 1899: Passed class of instruction on Transport.
16 May 1900: Promoted Corporal.
4 June 1901: Slightly wounded in Jamestown, South Africa.
11 April 1902: Appointed paid Lance Sergeant.
3 July 1902: Promoted Sergeant.
8 December 1902: Permitted to extend service to complete 12 years with the colours.
1 April 1904: Granted service pay class 1.
10 November 1905: Passed class of instruction on Musketry.
30 August 1906: Permitted to re-engage to complete 21 years with the colours.
1 August 1907: Passed class of instruction at Cavalry School, Bulford.
19 October 1908: Promoted Squadron Sergeant Major Reserve Regiment.
April 1914: Awarded Silver Medal for 'Long Service and Good Conduct', with gratutity.
15 August 1914: Promoted Squadron Sergeant Major.
15 August 1914: Promoted Acting Regimental Sergeant Major.
10 March 1915: Appointed to a Commission in the 16th Lancers.
His service at Home and abroad:
Home 3 September 1895 - 22 February 1897
India 23 February 1897 - 6 January 1900
South Africa 7 January 1900 - 5 May 1903
Home 6 May 1903 - 25 September 1903
South Africa 26 September 1903 - 9 November 1904
Home 10 November 1904 - 11 March 1915
France 28 March 1915 (from medal card)
For his service in South Africa John was awarded the Queen's South Africa medal with four clasps, for Paardeberg, Johannesburg, Diamond Hill and the Relief of Kimberley. (The South Africa casualty roll has his initials as JJ.)

John used the surname Prosser when he married Ann Ryno on 20 December 1904 in St Phillips parish church, Liverpool. John claimed he was aged 36, making his year of birth 1868, and that his deceased father, who had been a builder, was named William Prosser. John and Ann had four children; John born 10 November 1905 in Liverpool, died 9 September 1906; Marion born 26 January 1907 in Aldershot, died 27 January 1910; Edith born 14 September 1908 in South Everton; and Dorothy born 18 October 1909 in Norwich. John's sister Annie Gregary, of 9, Bennett Street, Broughton, Manchester was John's next-of-kin until he married.

When the 1911 census was taken, John was stationed at the Cavalry Barracks, Barrack Street, Norwich. He stated this time that he had been born in 1872 in Shrewsbury, Shropshire. His wife Ann stated that they had been married for six years and that two of their four children had died.

John went to France with the 16th Lancers, disembarked at Le Havre on 28 March 1915 and joined his unit on 1 April. On 2 October 1915 he was sent to base at Rouen as 'Surplus to est', but rejoined his unit on 23 October. For a few days between 11 and 16 February 1916 he was attached to 170th Company Royal Engineers, a tunnelling company.

On 8 May 1917 he was admitted to No.1 British Red Cross Hospital in Le Touquet (also known as the Duchess of Westminster's Hospital) suffering with V.D.H. (Valvular Disease of the Heart) and was transferred to England on 10 May, via Calais aboard hospital ship Stad Antwerpen.

The London Gazette dated 11 December 1917 announced that John was to be promoted from Second Lieutenant to Lieutenant from 1 July 1917.

John died at Horton War hospital at 4.40am on 28 December 1917 of valvular heart disease and was buried in grave D482 in Epsom cemetery on 31 December. The grave was purchased by John's widow Ann Prosser, of 8, Lower Court Road, Epsom for £1-11s-6d, and is marked by a CWGC headstone.

On 2 May 1918 in Liverpool, Letters of Administration were granted to John's widow in the sum of £217-13s-2d. She was living at 18, Charlecote Street, Liverpool at the time.

For his service in the Great War John was awarded the 1915 Star, British War medal and the Victory medal. His medal card has his widow's address as 'Sheldons', Hook, Hants.

BEC

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PULLINGER William George, Private. 400909.

2nd Battalion Essex Regiment.
Killed in Action 2 September 1918 aged 32.

William's headstone in the Dury Crucifix Cemetery
William's headstone in the Dury Crucifix Cemetery
Image courtesy Clive Gilbert © 2013

William George Pullinger was born in Leatherhead, Surrey on 22 October 1885, (GRO Reference: Dec 1885 Epsom 2a 27 Note: Spelt Pullenger) the son of John and Mary Frith Pullinger (nee Loney). William was baptised on 2 December 1885 in St. Mary and St. Nicholas church, Leatherhead, whilst living at Fairfield, Leatherhead. His William's parents had married in the registration district of Epsom (Leatherhead) in the September quarter of 1880. on 3 July 1880 in St. Mary and St. Nicholas church, Leatherhead, where his father signed the marriage register with a 'X' and recorded his age as 58, although his actual age was nearer 70. His mother's age was recorded as 35 but her age was nearer 27.

The 1881 census shows William's parents living at Fairfield, Leatherhead. His father John, a jobbing gardener, was recorded as aged 59, whilst his mother Mary was recorded as aged 36. (In fact his father was aged 62 and his mother only 28).

From 19 May 1897 William's father endured nine separate spells in the in the Epsom Union Workhouse. His longest stay lasted from 4 August 1891 until his death on 14 May 1895. His age at death in the workhouse records is shown as 79 but the St. Mary and St. Nicholas church, Mickleham, burial entry records that he was aged 85 when he was buried on 10 January 1819.

Workhouse records also show that William also endured two spells in the workhouse, with his father, between 20 April 1888 until 25 May 1888, aged 2 and between 13 April 1891 until 28 April 1891, aged 5.

In the 1891 census, taken on 5 April, William's mother Mary was enumerated as being a single woman aged 34 5 working as a housekeeper for widower Thomas Lee, a 55-year-old general labourer from West Humbles, Surrey, who lived in one of the cottages named Black Hut in Highland Road, Leatherhead. William's mother however, was a widow married at this time, husband John having died in 1884 aged 65 been admitted to the workhouse. Five year-old William was also living there with his mother.

On 7 October 1895, stating her age as 40 34 instead of 42, William's mother married Thomas Lee's 23-year-old son, Edward Lewis Lee, who stated his age as 28, in St. Mary and St. Nicholas parish church, Leatherhead, Surrey. Lewis gave his 'rank or profession' as 'labourer'.

William's stepfather was known by his middle name of Lewis and was only 13 years older than William. Lewis had enlisted in 1890 at the age of 18 years 10 months into the army and appears in the 1891 census as a driver in the 29th Company Army Service Corps based in Chelsea. On 1 November 1899 he went to South Africa to fight in the Boer War before returning on 16 September 1900; he was discharged in 1903.

Meanwhile William and his mother appeared as living at 19 Mill Lane, Dorking, Surrey in the1901 census. William was a 15-year-old 'Errand Boy'.

Neither William, his mother or his stepfather have been found in the 1911 census.

The 'Soldiers Died CD' states that William was born at Fairfield Levering, Surrey, enlisted in Kingston and that he lived in Epsom. However, I have been unable to locate a place called 'Fairfield Levering', only 'Fairfield, Leatherhead, Surrey', and he cannot be found in the Surrey Recruitment Registers.

William's service papers have not survived, so we know little of his military career. His unit, the 2nd Battalion Essex Regiment, was in the 12th Brigade, 4th Division, and on 2 September 1918 as part of the First Army, in the Canadian Corps under Lieutenant General Currie, was ordered to attack the Drocourt-Quéant (D.-Q.) Line. The following are quotes from the official history:
The D.-Q. Position now to be attacked consisted of a front system and a support system, each with two lines of trenches provided with concrete shelters and machine-gun posts, and very heavily wired. The front line was mainly on the crest or on a forward slope, the support system on a reverse slope.

The general idea of the operations was to break through the D.-Q. Position astride the Arras-Marquion road and then swing outwards, rolling up the lines north and south.

The first objective was the line Cagnicourt-Drury-high ground south of Etaing, beyond the D.-Q. Support System. This having been gained, the advance was to be resumed at Zero+3 hours to the second objective, the high ground west of and overlooking the Canal du Nord and the Sensée, marked roughly by the Sains lez Marquion-Baralle-east of Ecourt St. Quentin-Récourt, and thence, turning westwards, back to the first objective south of Etaing.
Zero hour was 5am, and each Division was allotted two companies (24) of Mark V tanks. The attack was supported by artillery, and the RAF with bombers and fighters attacking the defended villages, railway lines, bridges and kite balloons.

The 2nd Essex attacked near Etaing, but due to marshy ground their tank support had to travel north, catching up with them in the D.-Q. front system, but by mistake the tanks attacked Etaing Wood instead of Etaing village, which allowed enemy fire from the village to hit the 2nd Essex. Despite this the Official History states that casualties were comparatively light. However, the Soldiers Died CD tells us that 37 of the 2nd Essex lost their lives that day, and 11 more died of wounds over the following four days.


Trench map of the Etaing battlefield - click image to enlarge

William is buried in grave II.K.23. Dury Crucifix Cemetery.

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

William's Victory Medal
William's Victory Medal
Image courtesy Bill Owen © 2016

William's entry in the register of 'Soldiers' Effects' is interesting in that it states that Mrs Amy Dulake was the 'Unofficial. Widow and legatee'.

EP

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PYE William Frederick, Private. 11682.

8th Battalion East Surrey Regiment.
Died of Wounds 29 June 1916, aged 37.

William's Headstone in the St Sever cemetery Rouen
William's Headstone in the St Sever cemetery Rouen
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert ©2011

William Frederick Pye was born in Fulham around 1879. That is according to his 'burnt' service papers, Soldiers Died CD and the Surrey Recruitment Register. However, I have been unable to find a GRO birth reference for him, neither have I been able to find him in the 1881 or the 1891 censuses.

He does appear in the 1901 census, as a 21 year old bricklayer's labourer, boarding with James Raggett at 6, Ellen Street, Woking. The census confirms that he was born in Fulham.

William married Hetty Ann Dunford on 1 July 1905 in St Martin's church, Epsom. They had three children, Winifred Ivy registered in the March 1906 quarter (died 1911 aged 5), Eva Catherine born on 24 December 1906 (died 1993) and William Alfred James born on 28 November 1908 (died 1989). All were registered in Epsom.

In the 1911 census the family lived at 1, Beaconsfield Cottages, Epsom. William was a 32 year old carman working for a coal merchant. William's 32 year old wife Hetty stated that she had been married for five years and had given birth to three children and that two were still alive. Boarding with them was 12 year old Annie Rhodes from Rochdale.

There are two entries for Pye WF in the Surrey Recruitment Registers. The first states that he attested on 25 May 1915, at Kingston into the Army Veterinary Corps (AVC). Aged 36, he was 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighed 147 lbs and had a chest measurement of 38 inches with an expansion of 3 inches. He was a labourer, had been born in Fulham and lived at 1, Beaconsfield Cottages, Epsom. This is the only reference to the AVC that I have been able to find for him.

The other entry states that he attested on 26 August 1915 into the East Surrey regiment. Aged 36, he was 5 feet 6½ inches tall, weighed 160 lbs and had a chest measurement of 39 inches with an expansion of 4 inches. He was a labourer, had been born in Fulham and lived at 1, Beaconsfield, Epsom. William's 'burnt' service papers refer only to the East Surrey regiment. The 'burnt' papers also tell us that his religion was Church of England, that he had been vaccinated in infancy and that he had perfect 6/6 vision in both eyes.

William was posted to the 10th (Reserve) battalion East Surrey regiment on 1 September 1915, and then on 31 December 1915 to the 8th (Service) battalion, which was in the 55 Brigade, 18th Division. He embarked for France on 2 January 1916. His conduct sheet is blank, so must have been a well behaved soldier.

William's battalion was due to 'go over the top' on 1 July 1916, the ill-fated first day of the Battle of the Somme, when some 60,000 British soldiers became casualties and around 20,000 of them died. The 8th Battalion East Surrey regiment boasted a certain Captain Neville who famously brought four footballs for the men to kick whilst going forward to attack the enemy.

William was destined to miss the great attack as he was wounded and later died on 29 June, in the 12th General Hospital at Rouen. Scrawled on a telegram are the words 'G S W and Fracture Femur'. G S W is short for Gun Shot wound. He was most likely the victim of the almost constant shelling that was a feature of the Western Front.

He is buried in grave A. 20. 49. St Sever cemetery Rouen along with over 3,000 of his comrades.

Whilst away his wife received a separation allowance of 17/6 (87½ p), and an allotment of pay of 3/6 (17½ p). After William's death she was awarded a pension of 21/- (£1-05 p) for herself and two children, commencing on 8 January 1917.

On 30 September 1919 William's widow, being his next of kin, completed an Army form which required details of all his living close relatives. The only living relatives she noted were herself and her two children. Parents, siblings, grandparents, nephews, nieces, uncles and aunts were all shown as 'NONE'.

William's widow Hetty married Charles Stephen Boxall on 4 September 1920 in Epsom.

On 25 August 1921, William's widow acknowledged receipt of her husband's medals. By the time the authorities wrote to William's widow regarding his plaque and scroll, she had moved to 8, Providence Place, East Street, Epsom.

The St Martin's church Roll of Honour states that:
"WILLIAM PYE, was wounded and died in Hospital at Rouen on 29th June 1916"
William was awarded the British War medal and the Victory medal.

EP SM

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