War Memorials - Surnames S

Index

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SARGENT, Alfred Henry (Revised 10/12/2012)
SAUMAREZ, Reginald Stafford (New 06/07/2013)
SAVAGE, George Henry (Revised 02/10/2011)
SAVORY, S (Revised 25/03/2014)
SAYER, H.G (updated 24/03/2014)
SCHULTZ, Talbot John (Pending further research)
SCOTT, Julius Murray (Revised 29/10/2012)
SCOTT, Walter Percy (Revised 28/10/2012)
SEAMAN, Ernest (Updated 25/01/2014)
SEARLE, George Henry (Revised 21/12/2014)
SHARPE, Nelson R (Revised 06/11/2012)
SHAW, William (Revised 27/01/2016)
SHEPPARD, Isaac T (Updated 07/12/2010)
SHEPPARD, Thomas (New 03/12/2010)
SHIMMIN, Frank (New 31/10/2015)
SHRUBB, Oliver John
SHULEY, George (Pending further research)
SIMMONDS, Alfred Montague (New 04/02/2013)
SIMMS, Thomas (New 26/01/2012)
SIMONS, John (Revised 24/03/2013)
SINGH, Gharty Dharnman (New 29/03/2015)
SKELTON, Walter (Revised 08/11/2013)
SKILTON, A. W (Revised 26/03/2014)
SMITH, Albert (Revised 29/08/2016)
SMITH, Charles Jonsing (New 01/12/2013)
SMITH, Ernest (New 16/09/2015)
SMITH, James Alexander (Updated 10/06/2012)
SMITH, Leonard Cecil (New 17/03/2012)
SMITH, Levi Henry (Updated 24/03/2014)
SMITH, Percival Robert (New 14/10/2011)
SMITH, Selling Daniel (Updated 24/03/2014)
SMITH, William (Revised 03/01/2015)
SMITHERS, William James (Revised 22/07/2011)
SNOOK, Walter (New 27/06/2010)
SOLOMON, Charles Napier (New 15/09/2015)
SPARROW, Henry (Revised 04/06/2013)
SPENCE, Colin George (New 20/01/2010)
SPIKESMAN, Thomas (New 13/12/2010)
STEDMAN, S (Revised 03/06/2013)
STEVENS, Gordon (Re/ised 18/09/2010)
STEVENSON, Alfred George (Updated 18/11/2012)
STEVENSON, Bessie Howe (New 15/11/2012)
STEWARD, Arthur A. (Updated 14/03/2015)
STEWART, John (New 04/11/2017)
STEWART, Webster (Pending further research)
STOCKWELL, J. (New 28/09/2013)
STONE, Harry Douglas, (New 04/12/2010)
STREDWICK, Ernest Henry (New 06/12/2009)
STRIPP, William George (Revised 31/05/2017)
STUART, William J (Pending further research)
STURGESS, George (Revised 04/03/2015)
STURT, Reginald Phillip (New 12/08/2011)
SUTTON, Hedley Mackney (Revised 15/04/2015)
SWANNACK, Arthur (New 10/01/2010)
SYCAMORE, Albert Edward (Updated 09/02/2017)
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Content



SARGENT Alfred Henry, Private. 13378.

8th Battalion Devonshire Regiment.
Killed in Action 25 September 1915, aged 34.

Alfred's headstone in the Dud Corner Cemetery, Loos
Alfred's headstone in the Dud Corner Cemetery, Loos
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2012

Alfred Henry Sargent was born in Dorking in 1881 (GRO reference: Jun 1881 Dorking 2a 151) to William Henry and Amelia Jane Sargent (Amelia Jane's birth was registered in 1862 with the surname Harkett, however later documents show her name as Hackett and Haskett). Alfred's parents were married in the June quarter of 1880 in the Reigate registration district.

The 1881 census was taken a few weeks before Alfred was born and records his parents living at St Martin's Place, Dorking. His father was a 25 year old 'Maltster' in the brewing industry and his mother was aged 19.

By 1891 the family had moved to Epsom and lived at 10, Carter's Cottages, Upper Downs Road. Ten year old Alfred had two siblings, George aged eight and Rose aged 4.

Alfred Henry Sargent And His Siblings
Name Born - Died Notes
Alfred Henry Born: 1881 Dorking
Died: 25 September 1915 France
 
George Jonathan Born: 1882 Brockham
Died: 1962 USA
 
Rose Edith Born: 1886 Brockham  
William John Born: 1894 Epsom Baptised St Martins, Epsom 25 March 1894
Arthur Charles Born: 1901 Epsom
Died: 1901 Epsom
Buried Epsom cemetery, plot D42 19 September 1901
Frederick Born: 1905 Epsom  
Arther Born: 1910 Epsom No birth record found for Arthur or Arther

The 1901 census for England was taken on the night of 31 March and records the family as living at 11, Matilda Cottages, Miles Road, Epsom. Alfred's father had left the brewing trade and was now labouring in a brickyard, where Alfred also worked. His eighteen year old brother George was described as a golf professional, and younger brother William was noted as being aged seven. Alfred's fifteen year old sister Rose was working as a servant for the Downton family in Upper Norwood.

Alfred's brother George Jonathan Sargent emigrated to the USA soon after the 1901 census was taken. The 1910 USA census records that he was a 'Golf Champion'. The Admission book for the Epsom Union Workhouse has an entry for Alfred, a gas stoker born in 1881, being admitted on 14 December 1902. He appears to have stayed for 15 days before being discharged at his own request on 29 December 1902. His sister Rose was later admitted for 10 days on 19 January 1906, and was readmitted on 13 February for the birth of her daughter Grace on 24 April. Mother and baby were discharged a month later on 23 May.

In 1911 the family lived at 19, Beaconsfield Road, Epsom. Alfred's 56 year old father was still labouring in the brickworks, as was his seventeen year old brother William. Arthur's 49 year old mother is not recorded on this census sheet, but his father stated that he had been married 31 years, had had six children and that five were still alive. Also at the address was Alfred's five year old cousin Grace Sargent. The final family member noted is that of Arther Sargent aged 4 months (therefore born December 1910), another brother for Alfred who would have been aged 30 by then, and a very late addition for 49 year old mother Amelia. No birth registration has been found for him.

In 1911, 30 year old Alfred was lodging at 53, Marylebone Street, Southsea. He worked as a 'Labourer excavator, as did eight other lodgers at the same address.

Alfred's service record has not survived but the Surrey Recruitment Register tells us that he attested in Epsom on 13 October 1914 at the age of 33 years and 6 months. He was 5 feet 10¼ inches tall, weighed 180 lbs and had a chest measurement of 38 inches with an expansion of 3 inches and worked as a labourer. He had a fresh complexion, hazel eyes, brown eyes, and some unspecified scarring.

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 2.30am on 26 July. Alfred 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 Alfred 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 Alfred killed in action. We will never know exactly what killed Alfred, 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.

Alfred is buried in plot VI. D. 4. Dud Corner Cemetery, Loos. The Loos memorial to the missing stands on the same site as the cemetery, the walls having panels inscribed with the names of 20,603 of the fallen who have no known grave.

The Dud Corner Cemetery, Loos
The Dud Corner Cemetery, Loos
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2012

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

The St Martin's church Roll of Honour states that:
ALFRED HENRY SARGENT, was killed in action at Loos on 25th September 1915.
EP SM

Epilogue:
Alfred's brother William John Sargent also served, enlisting on 26 October 1915 into the East Surrey Regiment. He later transferred to the 1st Garrison Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, and on 27 March 1916 was sent to India. He contracted malaria and was discharged with a disability pension on 19 January 1920. He was awarded the British War medal.

Alfred's father William Henry died in 1932, aged 77 whilst living at 19, Beaconsfield Place, Epsom, and was buried on 10 August 1932 in plot K484 in Epsom cemetery.

His 78 year old mother Amelia Jane, of 19, Beaconsfield Place, Church Road, Epsom, died on 25 February 1940 at 2, Horsham Road, Dorking and was buried on 28 February 1940 in plot K484 with her late husband in Epsom cemetery. Probate was granted to her son William John Sargent and her granddaughter Grace Tweed, nee Sargent, who had married Charles Edward Tweed in 1928 in Epsom. Her effects amounted to £228 10s 1d.

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SAUMAREZ Reginald Stafford, M.C. Captain.

22nd Battalion London Regiment.
Killed in Action 23 March 1918, aged 32.

Reginald's headstone in the Lebucquiere Communal Cemetery Extention
Reginald's headstone in the Lebucquiere Communal Cemetery Extention
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert ©2013

Reginald Stafford Saumarez was born in London on 11 January 1886 (GRO reference: Mar 1886 St Georges Hanover Square 1a 461) to Arthur and Edith Mary Saumarez (nee McGarel-Hogg). Reginald's parents married in London on 3 August 1881. Reginald was the paternal grandson of the third Lord de Saumarez (John St Vincent Saumarez) and on his mother's side, grandson of Lord Magheramorne (James Macnaghten McGarel-Hogg, KCB) who was an MP and Chairman of the Metropolitan Board of Works. It is interesting to note that the Saumarez family were related to the Northey family of Epsom.

Reginald was aged 5 when the 1891 census was taken and he and his family were all living at 17, Grosvenor Gardens, Knightsbridge, the home of Reginald's widowed maternal grandmother, 56 year old Caroline E.E. Magheramorne. His older siblings were recorded as Muriel Antoinette aged 8 and Michael aged 6. Two of his uncles, Archibald C. McGarel-Hogg and Gerald F. McGarel-Hogg, were also recorded as living there. The family employed 19 servants.

Reginald Stafford Saumarez And His Siblings
Name Born - Died Notes
Muriel Antoinette Born: 1882 London
Died: 1954
Unmarried
Michael Born: 1884 London
Died: 1 November 1897
Died aged 13 whilst attending Upland House School
Reginald Stafford Born: 11 January 1886 London
Died: 23 March 1918 France
 
Rosalind Edith Born: 1899 London
Died: 1970
Unmarried

Reginald was a pupil at Upland House School, Epsom. The school educated boys between the ages of eight to fourteen, so he would have studied there around 1894 to 1900. He later attended Eton and in the 1901 census he was recorded as a pupil there. His parents and younger sibling Rosalind were living with his grandmother (who had been recorded as Caroline McGarel-Hogg) and eleven servants at 11, Palmeira Square, Hove, Sussex. His sister Muriel's whereabouts in 1901 is unknown.

In the 1911 census the family was living at 74, Ecclestone Square, London S.W. The head of the family, as in the 1891 census, was Reginald's grandmother, then aged 76, of private means, and styled 'The Lady Magheramorne'. Reginald's parents and his sister Muriel Antoinette were also described as having private means. Reginald was working as a clerk for the Bank of England, and his sister Rosalind was a student. The family employed 10 servants.

Reginald joined the Inns of Court OTC on 4 August 1914, as a Private soldier with service number 842. He was unmarried, and his next-of-kin was his father, The Hon. Arthur Saumarez, 74, Ecclestone Square. Reginald's time as a Private was short lived; by 31 October he had become a commissioned officer in the 22nd battalion London Regiment, 142nd Brigade, 47th (London) Division.

Reginald went to France, with the Division, on 15 March 1915 landing at Le Havre. He fought in the major battles of Festubert, Loos, Vimy Ridge and the Somme. On 6 October 1915 he was Gazetted to become Adjutant, and on 2 June 1916 he was promoted to Captain, remaining as Adjutant.

The London Gazette dated 1 January 1917 shows Reginald to have been awarded a Military Cross, but does not carry a citation.

Soon afterwards, whilst in France Reginald was taken ill and on 14 February 1917 was diagnosed with 'P.U.O.' (Pyrexia of Unknown Origin). On 2 March he returned to England, sailing from Boulogne to Dover.

On 19 March 1917 a medical board, assembled at Caxton Hall, S.W., reported on Reginald's health. The board noted that he was 30 years old, had served for 2 years and seven months and was disabled by bronchitis. He was in King Edward VII's Hospital for Officers at 9, Grosvenor Gardens S.W., and was likely to be unfit for service for three months. The board found that his condition had been caused by exposure on active service and noted that:
'he was taken ill on Feb 11th with temp of 102°, pains in limbs and back, cough came on a few days later. He has improved, but there are still some fine Bronchritic holes over chest in front and behind. Very little sputum. Sputum was examined on March 11th and 15th and no T. B. found on either occasion. Gets an evening rise of temperature up to 99.2°.'
The board assembled again on 14 May 1917 and found that:
'He has now quite recovered and is fit for General Service after 3 weeks leave. He is to report to his Reserve Unit at Winchester.'
It is not known when Reginald returned to France but not long before he was killed he had been appointed Staff Captain of the 140th Brigade. On 21 March 1918 the Germans launched their all out attack, the 'Kaiserschlacht' or Kaiser's Battle, their last desperate bid to win the war before the Americans arrived in force. The 47th Division had been holding the line around the villages of Gouzeacourt and Villers but in the face of relentless German attacks, were gradually pushed back about six miles and by 23 March were back to Etricourt. It was near here, when the enemy attacked under a heavy barrage, that Reginald was killed whilst passing up ammunition.

Plan of the Kaiserschlacht Battle - Click image to enlarge
Plan of the Kaiserschlacht Battle
Click image to enlarge

Reginald had written his will on 13 June 1917, and on 14 September 1918 probate was granted to two executors, his uncle, The Honourable Archibald Campbell McGarel Hogg, and his sister Muriel Antoinette Saumarez, in the sum of £13,705-5s-1d. He left his Military Cross to his sister Rosalind Edith, with everything else being shared equally between his two sisters.

Reginald's effects were sent from France on 18 April 1918, via Messrs Cox and Co.'s Shipping agency, to his father; they consisted of:
Letters.
1 Note Book.
1 Prayer Book.
1 Pkt: Pocket Dominoes.
1 Pkt: Playing Cards.
1 Pocket Mirror. (cracked)
1 Pr Scissors.
1 Advance Book. (no 16581)
1 Cheque Book.
Reginald is buried in grave II.D.11. in Lebucquiere Communal Cemetery Extention. He was probably first buried near where he fell, his body being moved after the war when the battlefields were cleared.

His scroll and plaque were sent to his father Arthur, at 'Malvernhurst', Meads Road, Eastbourne, on 9 July 1919. Previously his father had lived at 4, Chatsworth Gardens, Eastbourne.

UHS

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SAVAGE George Henry, M.M. Second Lieutenant.

12th Battalion East Surrey Regiment.
Killed in Action 19 October 1918, aged 27

George Savage
George Savage
Image courtesy of Peter Collins, Sutton Grammar Archavist

George Henry Savage was born in the parish of Lambeth, on 7 May 1891 (GRO reference: Jun 1891 Wandsworth 1d 656) probably at 56 Hubert Grove Stockwell where his parents Frederick and Julia Ann Savage (Nee Waite) and older brother, Frederick William, were living when the 1891 census was taken. His father was described as an organ builder.

By 1901 the family had moved to 7 High Street, Sutton and George's father Frederick had become a 'Fishmonger & Poulterer Shopkeeper. Employer'. By then George had four siblings Frederick William 11, Harold 8, Leslie 4 and Edwin Gerald 1. They also employed a Domestic Nurse to assist with the baby.

In the 1911 census George's family was living at The Krall, Cornwall Road, Sutton. George's father was still working as a fishmonger and poulterer, with brothers Frederick and Harold assisting. Another sibling had arrived, Irene Gwendoline aged 3. George's mother stated that she had given birth to seven children and that six were still living. George was living at 113-115 Borough High Street, London, a boarder in the home of Walter Robert Inwood. George worked as an assistant in a provision warehouse.

George attended Sutton Grammar School. The following is an extract from the school magazine 'The Suttonian':
At school from 1901 to 1907. Joining the East Surreys on December 27th, 1916, he trained at Saltash for three months and went to France as Lance-Corporal, going into the front line almost immediately. On July 12th, he was awarded the Military Medal and recommended for a commission for a 24-hours reconnaissance in "No Man's Land," gathering valuable information (unobtainable even by aerial observation) which proved correct in every detail. Returning to England he joined the Cadet School at Romford in November, 1917. Passing out in April, 1918 he was gazetted to the 3rd East Surrey's in May, but did not go to France again till September, when he was attached to the 12th Battalion. After only 14 days in the front line, during which they were continually advancing, he was told off to capture a farmhouse infested with machine guns, and was shot through the head in two places by their fire, dying almost immediately, October 21st. He is buried near the spot at Courtrai.
After attending Sutton Grammar School, George served three years in the Rhodesian Mounted Police 1910-1913 as Trooper 1213 where he became an accomplished rider. He returned to England and married Kate Webb in June 1914 (GRO reference: Jun 1914 Epsom 2a 41). No references to children have been found.

Photo of Ewell, High Street 1924, ref. 75489
Reproduced courtesy of Francis Frith.

Ewell High Street in 1924.
The open fronted shop on the left is the fish mongers run by the Savage Family.

On 27 December 1916 he enrolled for military service at Kingston on Thames, aged 25 years and 5 months. He, too, had become a fishmonger and was living at High Street, Ewell (according to his Attestation papers, although the recruitment register states Earlsfield.) He was quite tall compared with other recruits at 5 feet 10 inches, and weighed 197 lbs, with a chest measurement of 40 inches, expansion 2 inches. He also had a large, light mole on his left buttock. He had not been inoculated previously so this was done in February 1917. He had perfect 6/6 vision and was passed as medically fit A2. He expressed a wish to join the RGA but he was assigned to the 4th Battalion East Surreys, a training battalion, as Private 31365.

On 22 Mar 1917 he was posted with the BEF 7th Battalion East Surreys and served with them until 9 September 1917 when he returned to England to apply for a commission as an officer. During his period in the ranks, he was appointed Lance Corporal on 1 May 1917.

He distinguished himself in the field which culminated in the award of the Military Medal. The History of the East Surrey Regiment records: "For conspicuous service as a sniper during July 1917 with the 7th Battalion, L/Cpl GH Savage was awarded the MM", and the award is noted in the London Gazette supplement 14 September 1917. His award caused a lot of local interest. It was reported in the Epsom Advertiser 10 August 1917:
"Corpl. G. H. Savage, of High Street, one of the famous swimming family, has been decorated with the Military Medal on the field for bravery in reconnaissance, he and another having penetrated the enemy's lines and brought back very useful information."
Ewell Parish Council decided to send a letter of congratulation to his relatives upon receiving the Military Medal. At their next meeting, Councillor Henderson said Lance Corp. Savage had returned safely to Ewell after the experience for which he got the Military Medal, and that the Clerk had written to congratulate him on behalf of the Council. The medal was eventually delivered to him on 8 Dec 1917.

George's application for a commission was successful. It was noted that his standard of education was average but his military knowledge was above average and that he had set as splendid example to the battalion. He was good at work and all games and had a cheerful disposition, steady and reliable. He aspired to a regular commission with the Indian Army. On 9 November 1917 he was accepted to 15 Officer Cadet Battalion, Gidea Hall Romford, and was appointed Temporary 2nd Lieutenant attached to the 12th Service Battalion, for the pay of 10s 6d a day. He was posted to Belgium 30 April 1918.

The 12th East Surrey Regt was in the 122nd Brigade 41st Division. From the East Surrey History (1918) "On 19 October the Battalion crossed the River Lys near Bisseghem, Belgium and, after passing the night in the south-western outskirts of Courtrai, moved into that town on the following day. On the 21 October the battalion came into action near Sweveghem, three miles east of Courtrai and advanced about two miles to the Coutrai-Bossuyt canal south of Knokke, among the casualties being 2nd Lieut. G. H. Savage killed and 2nd Lieut. R. Northwood wounded." George was aged 27. Six men from the Battalion also died that day.

A brief telegram was sent to his wife "28 Oct 1918 Deeply regret 2/Lt G H Savage KIA Oct 21. Army Council express sympathy".

George's headstone in the Lijssenthoek Military cemetery
George's headstone in the Lijssenthoek Military cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2010

George is now buried in plot XXXII. A. 17. in Lijssenthoek Military cemetery. However, his service record states that he was first buried at a point north of St Denijs but was reburied at St Denijs Churchyard with a service conducted in the military chapel on 23 June 1919 as part of the consolidation of isolated graves into cemeteries. Then in 1981 the remains of George and 16 other soldiers were moved from St Denijs Churchyard to their present positions in Lijssenthoek.

In addition to the Military Medal, George was awarded the British War medal and the Victory medal.

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

BH EW SGS

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SAVORY Henry Lawrence Scott, 2nd Lieutenant.

Suffolk Regiment, attached 3rd Battalion Worcestershire Regiment.
Died of Wounds 26 April 1918, aged 21.

There has not been any evidence found of Scott actually living in Epsom but it is believed that Scott's mother's younger brother, Bernard Lawrence Johnston, requested that his deceased nephew's name be added to Epsom War Memorial in Ashley Road and to the St. Barnabas Church Roll of Honour. Uncle Bernard, a stock and share jobber for the London Stock Exchange, was living with his wife Isabella and children Lawrence Lachlan and Gladys Lilian in 'Craigelvan', Burgh Heath Road, Epsom in the 1911 census. At the time of his death he lived at 'Westbrook', Temple Road, Epsom, and was buried in Epsom Cemetery in 1936. Further evidence of a connection to Epsom is that on 19 July 1919 Scott's cousin Lawrence, a Lieutenant in the East Surrey Regiment, married in St. Barnabas church, Epsom.

Scott Savory
Scott Savory
By kind permission of the Master and Fellows of Jesus College, Cambridge © 2014

Henry Lawrence Scott Savory was born on 4 November 1896 in Kensington, London (GRO reference: Dec 1896 Lewisham 1d 1197), the only child of Henry George Scott and Hetty Savory (nee Johnson), who were married by the Bishop of Rangoon in Christ Church, Insein, Lower Burma on 15 October 1895. It seems Henry junior was better known as Scott.

Scott and his mother Hetty were visitors at the Cooling Rectory in Kent when the 1901 census was taken. They were staying with the Reverend William Alfred Shilcock and his wife Margaret (nee Johnston, possibly a cousin of his mothers). Scott's father was working as a consulting railway engineer for the Indian government. He had been posted to Lucknow in April 1898 and then to Calcutta from April 1902 to October 1903.

Scott's parents were both living at 10 Longridge Road, Kensington, S.W.5. when the 1911 census was taken. Scott's father filled in the census stating that he and his wife of 15 years had had only one son. He also noted that he was living on a pension and private means, and that he had worked for the Indian government on their railways. Aged 14, Scott was a scholar boarding at St. Peters College in Radley, Abingdon, Berkshire. Scott's father was his next of kin.

Scott attended school in Hindhead and then Radley College, where he was a member of the OTC. In 1916 he entered Jesus College, Cambridge as an engineering student and was also a member of the OTC there. Jesus College records state that he was born in Blackheath, Kent, not Kensington. Scott had entered the Royal Military Academy at the beginning of the war but was discharged as unfit. He left Jesus College in the summer of 1917.

Scott enlisted on 2 March 1916 with the rank of Private and service number G/96301, but it was not until 23 July 1917, at the age of 20 years and 8 months, that he was called up for service and joined the reserve, initially being posted to the Middlesex Regiment. His religion was Church of England, his occupation was student and his medical category was B1. He was discharged as a Private on 15 September 1917 to take up a commission. In the 9 October 1917 London Gazette Supplement, Scott was gazetted 2nd Lieutenant and was assigned to the 108th Training Reserve Battalion (formerly the 13th (Reserve) Battalion (Cambridge), Suffolk Regiment.

On 12 December 1917 Scott attended a medical board at Cambridge Hospital, Aldershot to establish his state of health. He had a left inguinal hernia, which he first noticed in March 1915, and had previously been operated on. He was provided with a truss and declared fit for general service.

Scott went to France on 22 January 1918 with the 3rd Battalion Worcestershire Regiment, which was in the 74th Brigade, 25th Division. On 25 April, as part of the Battles of the Lys, the Germans had attacked and captured Kemmel. The 3rd Worcesters were ordered to counter attack.

Consequently at midnight on April 25 the Battalion deployed on its allotted front and laid down, soaked to the skin by heavy rain, ready to counter attack, in darkness, at 3am on April 26. The advance started under the protection of a 'creeping barrage', but the darkness, the rain and the mud made the going so difficult it was impossible to keep up with the barrage. The stumbling troops met a serious obstacle in the form of the Kemmelbeek stream, having to scramble down and then up its very steep banks. The creeping barrage was so puny that the Germans did not put down any retaliatory artillery fire.

On the outskirts of the village German machine guns were captured and the village was entered. The enemy was not giving up the village easily and heavy fighting took place amongst the ruins in the first light of the misty morning. Despite German counter attacks the village was finally captured and held.

The Soldiers Died CD tells us that 24 men from the 3rd Worcesters were killed on 26 April and the History of the Worcester Regiment states that 5 officers were killed.

Scott died on 26 April 1918, at No. 62 Casualty Clearing Station, from the wounds he received in the battle. He was buried in Haringhe (Bandaghem) Military Cemetery, grave ref: III. D. 2.

Scott's headsone in Haringhe Cemetery
Scott's headsone in Haringhe Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert ©2014

Haringhe Cemetery
Haringhe Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert ©2014

Initial reports of Scott's death wrongly stated that he was serving with the Durham Light Infantry.

His effects were returned to his parents and consisted of:
1 Razor, 1 Safety Razor in case
Erasmic Shaving Soap
Shaving Brush
Tube Brilliantine
Tube Colgates Tooth Paste
1 Tin Shaving Powder
Tooth Brush
3 Candles
Hair Brush and Comb
Pipe and Pipe Cleaners
Cap. S.D. (Officers) and Badge
Tin Horlicks Tablets
Nickel Pipe Cleaning Set
Wrist Watch
Ring
Whistle and Lanyard
Flask
Cigarette Case
2 Suffolk Badges Collar
Tie. Tie Pin
Small Pen Knife
Pocket Wallet, Letters etc
Advance Bk
2 Note Books
Small Leather Card Case
2 Small Note Books
Papers etc
2 Fountain Pens and Filler
3 Chevrons
1 Key
1 Protractor
1 Pot of Cream
1 Calendar
1 Diary
Haversack and Sling
Purse
Pr Nail Scissors in case
Probate of Scott's effects valued at £2359 3s. 7d. was granted to his father on 12 July 1918.

Scott is not only remembered on the Epsom War Memorial in Ashley Road and on the St. Barnabas Church Roll of Honour but also on the Radley College War Memorial.

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

When Scott's father died in 1929, a memorial to Scott was added to his father's headstone in Brompton Cemetery. Scott's mother Hetty died in 1958.

EP SB

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SAYER Herbert George, Sergeant. 6076.

9th Battalion East Surrey Regiment (Formerly 1st Battalion).
Died 27 March 1916, aged 35

Herbert's headstone in the Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension
Herbert's headstone in the Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2011

Herbert George Sayer was born in 1881 (GRO reference: Sep 1881 Pancras 1b 42) to George Edward Hamby and Florence Jane Sayer (nee Dinham). Herbert's parents had married in St. John the Evangelist church in Charlotte Street, Camden on 1 November 1873. His father was a government clerk and they were both living at 8 Percy Street, Pancras.

In the1881 census, before Herbert was born, the family lived at 6 Percy Street, Pancras. Herbert's father was a 32 year old civil servant, employed writing reports. His mother's age was recorded as 40, but her birth was registered in the March quarter of 1849, which would have made her 32. In the next census her age was again recorded as 40. Herbert's siblings were Florence Adele aged 6, Ethel Margaret aged 3 and Percy Dinham aged 17 months.

HERBERT GEORGE SAYER AND HIS SIBLINGS
Name Born - Died Notes
Florence Adele Born: 1874 Pancras
Died: 2 December 1958 Norfolk
Baptised 14 March 1890 St Paul's Kingston Hill
Cecil George H Born: 1876 Pancras
Died: 1876
Probably Herbert's sibling
Ethel Margaret Born: 1877 Pancras Baptised 14 March 1890 St Paul's Kingston Hill
Percy Dinham Born: 1879 Pancras Baptised 14 March 1890 St Paul's Kingston Hill
Herbert George Born: 1881 Pancras.
Died: 27 March 1916 France
Baptised 14 March 1890 St Paul's Kingston Hill
Edith Winifred Born: 1883 Norbiton
Died: 26 February 1963 West Sussex
Baptised 14 March 1890 St Paul's Kingston Hill
Cyril Dudley Born: 1885 Norbiton Baptised 14 March 1890 St Paul's Kingston Hill

The family most likely moved to the Kingston area not very long after Herbert was born in 1881; his sister Edith being born at Norbiton, Kingston in 1883.

The family lived at 284 Kings Road, Kingston, Surrey and on 14 March 1890 Herbert and all his siblings were baptised in St. Paul's church on Kingston Hill. The 1891 census records that Herbert's father was still earning his living writing for the civil service. Herbert aged 9, had two more siblings, Edith Winifred aged 7 and Cyril Dudley aged 5.

The 1901 census shows Herbert's father living at 4 Dunbar Road, New Malden, with his son Cecil D, born in Kingston. Cecil D is shown as a 15 year old clerk working for a whisky distiller. I suspect that 'Cecil D' has been entered by mistake, and should read 'Cyril D'. Cecil G died in 1876, and Cyril D, born in 1885 would have been about 15 years old. Herbert's sister Edith was visiting elderly relatives in Norfolk. I can find no other members of the family.

By 1911 Herbert's father, a civil service pensioner who had worked in the registration office in Somerset House, was living at 2 Rosebery Terrace, Heatherside Road, West Ewell, with his unmarried 27 year old daughter Edith. Herbert's mother Florence was a patient in the Surrey County Council Lunatic Asylum, Brookwood, Woking, Surrey. The census shows that Herbert's parents had been married for 38 years, had produced seven children and that five were still alive.

Herbert was aged 30 when the 1911 census was taken. He was a Corporal in the 2nd Battalion East Surrey Regiment stationed at Meiktila, Burma. His place of birth though had been recorded as Kingston. Also listed on the same page were Epsom born Reginald Richard Chandler and Walter Alfred Prior.

I can't find Herbert in the 1901 censuses. Neither can I find any service or pension records, or reference to him in the Surrey Recruitment Registers. I suspect that before 1901, he had joined the Army and become a regular soldier. His medal card (misnamed Sayers) shows he went to France as a Corporal with the 1st Battalion East Surrey Regiment on 11 September 1914, almost a month after the 1st Battalion had landed in Le Havre on 15 August 1914. At some point he was transferred to the 9th battalion.

The 'Soldiers Died' CD states that Herbert 'died', implying that he died through a cause other than enemy action, perhaps from disease or other natural causes.

Herbert is buried in grave II. B. 38. in Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension. Bailleul was an important railway centre and was home to many hospitals. He was awarded the 1914 Star, the British War medal and the Victory medal.

EP SB

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SCHULTZ Talbot John, Private. 136129

2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles
Died 8 May 1917, aged 39.

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

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SCOTT Julius Murray, Private. 7382.

2/14th Battalion London Regiment (London Scottish).
Died of Wounds 30 September 1916, aged 35.

Private Julius Murray SCOTT's inscription at Aubigny-en-Artois Communal Cemetery Extension
Julius Murray Scott was born in 1880 (GRO reference: Sep 1880 Lambeth 1d 521) to George Murray and Frances Prince Scott (nee Yeates). His parents had married at Abingdon on 15 January 1874.

In the 1881 census the family lived at 328, Brixton Road, Lambeth, a large three storey Victorian house. Julius' father was a 36 year old manufacturing hemp merchant. His mother was aged 36, and he had four siblings, Henry aged 6, Harriet aged 4, Annie aged 3 and John aged 2. Visiting the house was his 65 year old maternal grandmother, Mary A Yeates. Living at the house on census night were two of his father's brothers, Julius Bucquet Scott, also a manufacturer hemp merchant, and Henry J Scott, a jeweller. The family employed two domestic nurses, a cook and a parlour maid.

Julius Murray Scott And His Siblings
Name Born - Died Notes
Henry Yeates Born: 1874 Brixton
Harriet Mary Born: 1876 Brixton
Annie Georgina Born: 1877 Brixton  
John Christian Born: 1879 Brixton
Died: April 1955
Born at 185, Brixton Road
Julius Murray Born: 1880 Brixton
Died: 30 September 1916 France
Born at 185, Brixton Road
Mary Isabel Born: 1882 Brixton  
George Burfield Born: 1883 Brixton Born at 185, Brixton Road
Fanny M Born: 1886 Brixton  

By the 1891 census the family had moved to 'White Hall', Lower Hook (built C1830 demolished 1938). Julius's father, now 40 was 'living on own means'. Another three siblings were recorded, Mary B aged 9, Fanny M aged 4, and George B aged 1, and grandmother Mary Yeates was still living with them. They employed a nurse (domestic), a butler, a cook and two housemaids.


Whitehall came from Mark Davison's book 'Hook remembered again'
This image came from Mark Davison's book 'Hook remembered again' ISBN 0953424057.
For more information please contact Mark at
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In the 1901 census the family was shown as living in 'Manor House', (probably another name for White Hall), Clayton Road Hook. Julius and his seven siblings were all still living there, 'at home' with their parents. The family now employed only three servants, a butler, a cook and a housemaid. Julius, aged 21 was recorded as 'Forage Contractor and Farmer' and was an employer. Brother Henry was a 'Farmer and Forage Contractor' and brother John was a 'Forage Contractor'.

The 1911 census shows Julius, a farmer, living at Ruxley Farm. His brothers John and George are also shown as farmers, and John is recorded as the head of the family. Six members of the Dean family also lived on the farm. Daniel Dean aged 58 worked as a farm labourer. His 48 year old wife, Elizabeth worked as a domestic servant, and their 18 year old son William worked as a carter on the farm. The three other Dean children were aged ten, nine and three. Julius' parents still lived at 'White Hall, Clayton Road'. His father gave no occupation but was probably living off the rents from the 20 freehold terrace houses, numbered 1- 39 (odds), he owned in Adys Road, Camberwell.

In the 1915 electoral roll Julius and his brother John are shown as joint owners of Ruxley Farm, West Ewell.

Julius attested on 10 December 1915 aged 34 years 4 months. He was 5 feet 7½ inches tall and had a chest measurement of 37½ inches with an expansion of 3 inches. He was an unmarried dairy farmer at Ruxley Farm, and his father was named as his next of kin. He was placed on the Army reserve, but was not mobilised until 3 April 1916. He embarked from Southampton on 6 August 1916, disembarked at Le Havre the next day and joined his Battalion, the 2/14 London Regiment (London Scottish), on 20 August 1916. The Battalion was in 179th Brigade in the 60th Division, and on 29 September they were holding the line at Neuville St Vaast near Arras. On the night of 29-30 September a trench raid was carried out. Quoting from 'The LONDON SCOTTISH in the GREAT WAR' by Lt-Col J.H. Lindsay;
On the night of September 29-30 a very successful raid was carried out against the German trenches facing the northern end of the Paris Redoubt. The raiding party, which had undergone a special course of training under their leader, Lieut. T. D. O. Maclagan, was composed of 2 officers and 45 other ranks, divided into covering, right and left blocking, and body-snatching parties. Lieut. Tennant with 11 men and a Lewis gun was detailed to cover the right flank of the raiding party, which offered the enemy an opening for a bold counter-attack. Tennant took a telephone out with him through which he could get direct communication with the artillery providing the barrage. The raiders blackened their faces, wore football jerseys and bombing shields, and by midnight were "made up" ready for action. Colonel Ogilby had decided to put down a "box" barrage on that part of the line to be raided, shelling the two points on the Front trench with Stokes guns and closing the barrage to the rear with the 18-pounders and 4.5 in. howitzers. The wire had pre-viously been cut in several places by the field batteries.

The night was one of intense darkness, and the various parties crawled out into No Man's Land and formed up close to the enemy wire without detection. At 2.15 A.M. the barrage was put down and the raiders dashed forward. A strong opposition was met with between the German wire and their trench, but a footing in the enemy lines was quickly gained by the "Body Snatchers" under Lieut. Bethune, who at once sent back three prisoners. Later a corporal who spoke good English and a company sergeant major (Feldwebel) were secured and sent in. A few of the enemy were killed in their trench, but unfortunately the section selected did not include a dug-out in its length, so that the enemy casualties were probably less than had been hoped for. Maclagan being satisfied that he had achieved his object, which was primarily to obtain identifications, ordered the withdrawal. There were several wounded men to bring in, some of them badly hit, and the time limit for the barrage was almost up. Lieut. Tennant, appreciating that the party could not get in in time, got through to the gunners and called for five minutes more fire, a prompt action which no doubt enabled the raiders to get in without further loss. The total losses were: killed 2, died of wounds 1, wounded 5, missing 1. Sergeant G. F. A. Jilbert, who died of his wounds at Aubigny, was a great loss. He had assisted Lieut. Maclagan in the training of the party and taken the keenest interest in the whole operation, during which he commanded the right blocking party. Major-General Bulfin visited him in hospital before his death and pinned the D.C.M. ribbon on his breast. Lieut. Maclagan was later awarded the M.C., and at the same time Lance-Corporal R. Scott and Private C. M. Ross were decorated with the M.M.

In acknowledging the report of the raid submitted by the Commanding Officer of the Scottish, Sir Charles Fergusson, commanding the 17th Corps, wrote on October 2 :


The arrangements appear to have been carefully worked out and the actual raid to have been carried out with gallantry and determination. The information and identifications secured are of great value.

Please inform all concerned that their work is much appreciated and is considered to reflect credit on those who planned and carried it out.
Julius was wounded on 29 September 1916 and died the next day, as did five other of his London Scottish comrades. Julius is buried in Aubigny-en-Artois Communal Cemetery Extension, 1 E 37.

His effects were sent to his brother John, at Ruxley Farm, on 24 August 1918 and consisted of letters, open cheques (L∧SW Bank), photos, metal mirror in case, penknife, watch-broken, tobacco box, cigarette case, clothing list and shoulder titles. On 24 August 1918 these were all sent to his brother John, who was still running the dairy farm, for division with their other brother George. Julius was awarded the British war medal and the Victory medal.

Ruxley farm was demolished in 1959 prior to the building of housing and flats on the farmland although some land remains as the playing fields of Epsom and Ewell High School.

The Scott Brothers are further remembered by the naming of 'Scotts Farm Road'.

Julius' father died on 29 March 1927. Probate was granted to John Christian Scott (farmer), George Burfield Scott (merchant) and Frank Wheston (master cooper), with his effects being worth £58,958 13s. 6d.

BH EW AS

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SCOTT Walter Percy, Rifleman. R/16712.

1st Battalion King's Royal Rifle Corps.
Killed in Action 27 July 1916, aged 29.

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

Walter Percy Scott was born in New Cross in 1887 (GRO reference: Greenwich 1d 1019) to Lancelot and Elizabeth Scott (nee Bowdidge). His parents marriage was registered in the December quarter of 1868 in the Alresford registration district.

Walter Percy Scott And His Siblings
Name Born - Died Notes
Alice Born: 1868 Arlesford Baptised St Martins of Tours Epsom 14 March 1869.
(Father's occupation Engine cleaner.)
Married James Boxall Lock 1892 (died 1910)
Married Albert E Matthews 1916
Edward Born: 1870 Epsom Baptised St Martins of Tours Epsom 13 November 1870.
(Father's occupation Engine cleaner. In 1871 he was working in Epsom station as a Fireman, earning 3 shillings a day, for the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway Company.)
William Robert Born: 1873 Epsom
Died: 1944, buried in Epsom Cemetery
Baptised St Martins of Tours Epsom 9 March 1873.
(Father's occupation Stoker. The following year Lancelot was based in East Croydon Railway Station as a Fireman and had an increase in wages from 3 shillings and 9 pence to 4 shillings a day.)
Served as No 195, 24 Bn Rifle Brigade
George Born: 1875 Epsom Baptised St Martins of Tours Epsom 14 March 1875.
(Father's occupation Fireman.)
Mary Jane Born: 1877 New Cross Baptised All Saints church, Hatcham Park, Lewisham 14 August 1878. (Father's occupation Railway Engine Driver earning 5 shillings and 6 pence a day, based in New Cross Railway Station).
Bessie Beatrice Born: 1881 New Cross
Died: 1881 Greenwich
 
Lancelot Born 1883 New Cross  
Walter Percy Born Mar 1887 New Cross
Died 27 July 1916 France
 
Beatrice Born: 1891 Epsom Married Albert Cutts 1917

The 1871 census, before Walter was born, shows the family living at 25, Providence Place, East Street, Epsom. Walter's father, who had been born in Epsom, was a 26 year old railway engine cleaner, his mother was aged 21. Two older siblings are recorded, Alice aged 2 and Edward aged 6 months. Lodging with them was 49 year old Caroline Ridge.

In the 1881 census, also before Walter was born, the family lived at 90, Besson Street, New Cross, London. Walter's father was then recorded as a 30 year old railway engine driver based at New Cross station (London, Brighton and South Coast Railway Company) where he was earning 6 shillings and 6 pence a day. Walter's 30 year old mother Elizabeth was named as Bessie here. Five older siblings are recorded, Alice aged 12, Mary aged 4, William aged 8, George aged 6 and Bessie B aged 3 months. The family also had boarder, Lois Crane, a 32 year old dressmaker.

By 1891 the family had moved to 7, East Street, Epsom. Walter's father was still earning his living driving railway engines for the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway Company but was now earning 7 shillings and 6 pence a day, whilst brother George was a gardener's assistant, and sister Mary Jane was a domestic servant. Two more siblings are recorded, Lancelot aged 7 and three months old Beatrice.

Walter's mother Bessie died in Epsom Infirmary, aged 44, and was buried in grave F149 in Epsom cemetery on 4 April 1895. His father married Elizabeth Aitkenhead in the June quarter of 1896, in the Epsom registration district.

In 1901 census the family lived at 1, Strencham Cottages, Albert Road, Epsom. Walter's father was still earning his living as a railway engine driver, whilst brother George was a journeyman butcher and Lancelot was an assistant coachbuilder.

Walter's father died at 55, Albert Road, aged 57, and was buried in grave F278 in Epsom cemetery on 1 June 1908.

In the 1911 census Walter's 49 year old widowed step mother Elizabeth was the head of the family, living at 52, Albert Road, Epsom. Walter was working as a gardener whilst his brother Lancelot worked as a coal porter.

The Surrey Recruitment Register records that Walter, aged 28, attested in Epsom on 15 November 1915 into the King's Royal Rifle Corps. He was 5 feet 3 inches tall, weighed 126lbs and had a chest measurement of 32 inches with an expansion of 3 inches. He worked as a gardener and lived at 52, Albert Road, Epsom.

During his training Walter damaged his knee and was hospitalised at Sheerness for five days with 'synovitis of knee'.

Walter served in the 1st Battalion King's Royal Rifle Corps, which was in the 99th Brigade 2nd Division. By the time he embarked from Southampton for Rouen on 3 May 1916 he was a qualified 'bomber'. This meant he had been trained in the use of the Mills bomb or hand grenade.

On 27 July 1916, the 27th day of the battle of the Somme, the 1st Battalion King's Royal Rifle Corps was ordered to attack Delville Wood at Longueval. At 7am the Battalion attacked, protected by a barrage, and captured 'Princes Street', which they found full of dead and wounded Germans. At one stage our heavy artillery was firing short and urgent messages had to be sent to remedy this. During the day the Germans mounted various counter attacks, which were beaten off, but shelling and sniping continued all day.

The attack was very costly. The Battalion lost seven officers and 116 Other Ranks killed, including Walter, who has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the missing.

The Epsom Advertiser dated 18 August 1916 reported:
LOCAL CASUALTIES. - Pte. Percival Bristow, aged 17, son of Mr. and Mrs. F. Bristow, of South-street has been killed in action; also Rifleman Walter Percy Scott, aged 29, third son of Mrs. Scott, a widow of 52, Albert-road.
(Note: Pte. Percival Bristow is not commemorated on any memorial in the Borough.)

The St Martin's Church Roll of Honour states that:
WALTER PERCY SCOTT, was killed in action in Delville Wood on the 27th July 1917 (sic).
Engraved on the Ashley Road WW1 memorial is the name 'Scott W. G.' which, I believe, should have been 'Scott W. P.'

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

Walter's stepmother Elizabeth, aged 86, died at 52, Albert Road, and was buried in grave F278 in Epsom cemetery on 13 December 1948.

EP SM

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SEAMAN Ernest, Private. 11756.

1st Battalion Royal Fusiliers (RF).
Killed in Action 16 August 1916, aged 26.

Ernest's inscription on the Thiepval memorial to the missing
Ernest's inscription on the Thiepval memorial to the missing
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2011

Ernest Seaman was born on 1 July 1889 in Epsom (GRO reference: Sep 1889 Epsom 2a 21) to Peter and Sarah Seaman (nee Wells). Ernest's parents married at Christ Church, Epsom Common on 11 December 1880. When they married, Ernest's father Peter was a 53 year old widowed carpenter living on Epsom Common, and the son of Peter Seaman (labourer). Ernest's mother, was a 31 year old spinster, also living on Epsom Common, and the daughter of Charles Wells (baker). They went on to baptise six children at Christ Church, Epsom.

ERNEST SEAMAN AND HIS FIVE FULL SIBLINGS
Name Born - Died Baptised Married
Elizabeth Maria Born: 1882 Epsom 19 February 1882  
Charlie Born: 5 August 1883 Epsom
Died: 1958 Surrey Mid East
7 October 1883 Mary Ellen S Reynolds 1909 Epsom
May Born: 1 May 1885 Epsom 21 June 1885  
Marian Born: 13 April 1887 Epsom
Died: 1967 Wandsworth
3 July 1887 Albert E Buss 1911 Epsom
Ernest Born: 1 July 1889 Epsom
Died: 16 August 1916 France
22 September 1889 Mabel Warwick 1914 Wandsworth
Ethel Maud Born: 1892 Epsom
Died: 1944 Surrey Mid East
12 June 1892 George W Battison 1916 Epsom

The 1871 census, taken before Ernest was born, shows his father Peter, a 46 year old carpenter and joiner, as married to 20 year old Camilla. They were living in Spilsby, Lincolnshire and they had a son, 2 year old Harry, a half brother to Ernest.

The 1881 census, also taken before Ernest was born, shows his parents, Peter and Sarah living at Heath's Cottages, Epsom Common, with their children from their previous relationships; 12 year old Harry, Peter's son from a previous marriage was said to be a 14 year old errand boy, and Sarah's children William George Wells age 5, born in London and Eliza Ellen Wells aged 1, born in Epsom. Sarah herself was born in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.

Ernest's older sister Marian was baptised in 1887, and at the time the family was living in Maria Cottage, Epsom Common. Peter and Sarah with their children Eliza Ellen, Elizabeth Maria, Charlie, Marian and Ernest were still living there when the 1891 census was taken. Their second daughter May, seems to have been omitted in error, as there is no trace of her in the census, yet she was alive ten years later when the 1901 census was taken.

In 1901, living still in Maria Cottage, Ernest's mother Sarah was shown as a widow, his father Peter having died in 1900 aged 71, and buried at Epsom Cemetery in grave A161. The widowed Sarah was employed as a laundress, as was her daughter Eliza Ellen. Charlie aged 17 was working as a domestic gardener, while Ernest and his sisters, Marian and Ethel Maud, made up the rest of the family. Sister May was working as a nursemaid to a family in Cheam.

By 1911 Sarah, along with her daughters Elizabeth Maria and Ethel Maud, were all living with Ernest's sister Eliza Ellen and her husband, Thomas Lucas, at Ordnance Cottage, Lower Ashtead. Sister May was working as a parlour maid in Kenley, while brother Charlie along with his wife Mary and their 6 month old daughter Constance, were living in Albert Road, Epsom.

Ernest himself, in 1911 was boarding with 67 year old widow Sarah Warwick and her three children, Mary Hannah aged 30, Thomas aged 29, who worked as a domestic coachman, and Mabel aged 24, a bookkeeper at a Silksmiths. They lived at The Hatch Gate, Dorking Road, Ashtead. Ernest, aged 21, was employed as a domestic gardener.

Three years later, on 12 April 1914, Ernest married 26 year old spinster Mabel Warwick in St Anne's church Wandsworth, both giving their address as 37, Marcus Street, Wandsworth. When their daughter Daphne was born on 22 September 1914, and baptised in St Barnabas church, Temple Road, Epsom on 11 October 1914, they gave their address as The Hatch Gate, Dorking Road, Ashtead.

Ernest attested on 18 January 1915, at Kingston into the Royal Fusiliers. He gave his age as 25 years and 6 months. He was 5 feet 7½ inches tall, weighed 130 lbs, and had a chest measurement of 34½ inches with an expansion of 2½ inches. He stated that he was a gardener and that he lived at Hatch Gate, Ashtead.

He served originally in the 2nd Battalion RF, and from his medal card we see he was sent to fight in Gallipoli on 23 September 1915. His service papers did not survive the Blitz, but at some stage in his military career he was transferred to the 1st Battalion RF, which was in the 17th Brigade, 24th Division.

The following is an extract from the 1st Battalion RF war diary (WO 95/2207):
16 August 1916. Working parties as usual, still working on trenches for attack by Div on Guillemont. Bosch artillery still very active. Our gun fire continuous throughout day & night.
Casualties:- Killed O.R. 5. Wounded O.R. 17. Air fights are of daily occurrence. Aircraft on both sides displaying great activity. Reinforcement 1 Officer 2nd Lt V. K. Barnes
Ernest was probably killed by shell fire whilst working on digging trenches. His body was not recovered after the war, so his name appears on the Thiepval memorial to the missing.

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

Ernest's medal card.
Ernest medal card.
Image courtesy of Ancestry.co.uk (Link opens in a new window)
Copyright 2010, The Generations Network, Inc. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.
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CWGC records show that he was the son of Peter and Sarah Seaman, of Epsom; husband of Mabel Seaman of Hatch Gate, Ashtead, Surrey. By the time the CWGC records were made, both Ernest's parents were dead. Father Peter having died in 1900 and mother Sarah in 1917 aged 67.

Christ Church war memorial is the only memorial in the Borough of Epsom and Ewell that bears Ernest Seaman's name. He is, however commemorated on the Ashtead war memorial.

The Ashtead War Memorial
The Ashtead War Memorial
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2011

Ernest's inscription on the Ashtead War Memorial
Ernest's inscription on the Ashtead War Memorial
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2011

CC

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SEARLE George Henry, M.M. Corporal. 413.

7th Battalion East Surrey Regiment.
Died of Wounds 10 April 1917, aged 32.

Corporal George Henry SEARLE's inscription at Duisans British Cemetery, Etrun, 111 A 20

George Henry Searle was born in Ewell on 9 September 1884 (GRO reference Dec 1884 Epsom 2a 19) to Alfred and Mary Ann Searle. His father had been working as a platelayer when he married Mary Ann Bax on 14 September 1873 in St. George's church (later Christchurch), in Esher, Surrey. They had 16 children but four had died by 1911. By 1879 they had moved to Ewell, Surrey.

GEORGE HENRY SEARLE AND HIS SIBLINGS
Name Born - Died Notes
Eleanor Amelia/Ellen Born: 1873. Registered as Eleanor Amelia Searl
Died: 1894 Streatham
Baptised as Eleanor Amelia Searl on 4 January 1874 in St George's church, Esher.
Recorded as Ellen on 1881 and 1891 censuses.
Buried as Ellen Searle on 23 March 1894 in St Mary's church, Ewell
Alfred Born: 1877 Poplar Baptised 4 July 1880 Ewell St Mary
Rosa Born: 1879 Ewell Baptised Rose 4 July 1880 Ewell St Mary
Married William John Larkin 1899 Croydon
Eliza, also known as Bella Born: 1881 Ewell No baptism found. Married Lloyd Medcraft 3 May 1900 Ewell St Mary
Clara May Born: 1883 Ewell Baptised 6 May 1883 Ewell, St Mary
George Henry Born: 9 September 1884 Ewell.
Died: 10 April 1917
Baptised 6 September 1891 Ewell, St Mary
Florence Born: 1886 Ewell Baptised 6 September 1891 Ewell, St Mary
Louisa Born: 1889 Ewell Baptised 6 September 1891 Ewell, St Mary
Arthur Born: 29 November 1890 Ewell Baptised 6 September 1891 Ewell, St Mary
Married Mabel Witchard 1917 Epsom Registration District
Beatrice Amy Born: 1895 Ewell. Twin of Daisy, Ewell Baptised Beatrice Annie 18 August 1895 Ewell, St Mary
Daisy Isabel Born: 1895 Ewell. Twin of Beatrice Baptised 18 August 1895 Ewell, St Mary.
Married Harry Charles Hennis 27 April 1918 St. Mary's Ewell
William Henry Born: 20 February 1897 Ewell Baptised 22 December 1900 Ewell, St Mary.
Married Elizabeth Ellen Miller 14 September 1918 St. Mary's Ewell. Served East Surreys
Percy Edwin Born: 23 March 1901 Ewell
Died: 1972 Worthing.
Baptised 16 October 1903 Ewell, St Mary.
Another three 'unknown' siblings had died before 1911

Before George's birth, his family were living in 1881 at Gibraltar, Ewell. His father Alfred was aged 30 and working as a labourer to support his 28-year-old wife Mary and children Ellen aged 7, Alfred aged 4 and Rose aged 1.

Gibraltar, Ewell in 2006
Gibraltar, Ewell
Copyright image courtesy of Clive Gilbert 2006

The family were still living at Gibraltar when the 1891 census was taken. George himself was aged 6 while his siblings were Alfred aged 12, Rose aged 11, Eliza aged 9, Nora (Clara) May aged 7, Florence aged 4, Louisa aged 2 and Arthur aged 2 months. George's older sister Ellen was working as a domestic servant for William Adams a horse trainer living at Bruce Lodge, Upper Downs Road, Epsom (her name was spelt Serle). When George was baptised on 6 September 1891 in St. Mary's Ewell, his father was shown as working as a cowman.

George, having attending Ewell Infants School, started at Ewell Boys School on 7 June 1892. His brothers Arthur, Percy and William all attended Ewell Boys School. George left school to go to work on 19 June 1896.

The 1901 census records the family still living at Gibraltar, Ewell but only George and his siblings Clara aged 18, Louisa aged 12, Arthur aged 10, Beatrice and Daisy aged 6, William aged 4 and 10-month-old Percy were living there with their parents.

Aged 48, George's father died in 1902 and was buried on 4 January 1903 in St. Mary's churchyard.

The family were recorded as living in West Street, Ewell, by the time the 1911 census was taken. George was not at home that night and has not been found living elsewhere so may have been already serving in the East Surrey Regiment.

His mother filled in the census form stating that she was a widow but had been married for 37 years and that 4 of her 16 children had died. Only four of George's sibling were still living at home: Florence was aged 24 and working as an ironer in a laundry, Arthur aged 20 was a house painter, William aged 14 was a chemist's errand boy and Percy aged 10 was still at school. His unmarried sister Louisa was a domestic servant at Ranelagh, Mill Road, Epsom.

George's surviving service papers in the National Archive show that he attested at Battersea on 29 August 1914, signing on for three years or less if the war lasted less than three years! But George was not new to soldiering having previously served with the 2nd and 5th Battalions of the East Surrey Regiment, and had left 'time expired'. His age was given quite precisely as 29 years and 354 days. He was a labourer and lived at 6 Totteridge Road Battersea. At 5 feet 10½ inches tall he was taller than most men enlisting at that time. He weighed 143lbs, had a chest measurement of 38½ inches with a 2 inch expansion, but had poor eyesight with his right eye rated 6/18 and his left eye 6/8. He had a tanned complexion, brown hair and light brown eyes. Distinguishing marks were a scar on his right elbow and 4 vaccination marks on his left arm, from infancy. His religion was Church of England. His next of kin was his mother, recorded as Mrs Molly Searle (his mother's name was Mary Ann), living in West Street, with Gibraltar having been crossed out.

On 16 October 1914 George was awarded 7 days confined to barracks by Major Wilson for, i. Not complying with an order and ii. Using obscene language to an NCO. However, this did not seem to affect his army career too greatly as on 14 October 1915 he was promoted Lance Corporal, and on 7 October 1916 to full Corporal.

George served in the 7th Battalion East Surrey Regiment which was in the 37th Brigade 12th Division, and went to France with the battalion on 1 June 1915.

By 25 April 1916 the battalion had completed a two month tour of duty on the Hohenzollern Redoubt front, and George had won a Military Medal (MM) fighting on ground that was much pockmarked by the explosion of many mine craters. (See Supplement to the London Gazette dated 14 September 1916).

The following extract from page 153 of the History of the East Surrey Regiment describes the action in which George earned his M.M.
The two months during which the tour lasted had been a period of hard fighting of a nature that tried the strongest nerves. When the Division took over that part of the line there were about five mine craters, and when it handed over there were at least thirty. The men occupying the trenches knew that at any moment a new mine might send their trench and them up in the air, and in the defence of the mine craters they were harassed by the continuous fire of the heaviest trench mortars. Small wonder, then, that an eye-witness has described one of these crater fights as a veritable inferno.
On 19 March 1916 George attended No. 33 Casualty Clearing Station (CCS) for a gunshot wound to the neck, and on 24 March was returned to Blighty (England) to recover. On 27 March he was admitted to the County of London Hospital, Epsom (Horton) with gunshot wounds to his face and neck. He was transferred to Eastbourne on 1 May, discharged and 'sent on furls' (Furlongs = a leave of absence or vacation, especially one granted to a member of the armed forces) on 17 June and returned to France on 6 July.

At 5.30am on 9 April 1917 the Battle of Arras commenced, and the 7th East Surreys lost 41 men killed in action and 2 died of wounds. On the 10th another 3 men, including George, died of wounds.

George was buried in Duisans British Cemetery, Etrun, 111 A 20.

On 29 June 1917 his effects were forwarded to Miss C. Pitt at 16 Orville Road, Battersea as follows: Watch strap, Cigarette case, Photos, Compass, Mirror, Pouch, Knife, Diary, Scissors, Comb, Pipe, Whistle and strap, Button and badge, M cup, Laces, Lock of hair, Wrist strap, Cigarettes, Purse, Pair of Braces, Handkerchief and a Small Piece of Tobacco.

On 19 July 1917 a letter from the War Office was sent to Miss C. Pitt asking if she would like George's MM sent to her privately or did she wish to have it presented publicly. She replied on the 26 that she would like it sent privately.

There are also receipts signed by Miss C. Pitt for his 1915 Star, British War medal and Victory medal dated 1920/21.

An undated letter from George's brother to the East Surrey's Regimental Payments Office was sent from 12 Hards Cottage, Lower West Street, the text of which follows:
Sir, Will you kindly forward to my mother the credit of any due to my brother No. 413 Corporal G.A. Searle 7th Battalion East Surrey Regiment who died of wounds on the 10th day of April 1917 in France, it is rather a long time ago and I think we should have heard something regarding his credit, also I think we should have been presented with the MM won by him in the field. I will be greatly obliged if you will attend to this for us as soon as possible. I am, Sir, Your Obedient Servant William H Searle.
A reply dated 8 January 1918 was sent stating that all effects and the MM, on instructions from the War Office had gone to Miss C. Pitt.

As George never married, the War Office required his mother as his next-of-kin to fill in a form listing his living relatives and their addresses so that George's scroll and memorial plaque could be sent to them. This she duly did and had the form witnessed by Joseph Shaw, the minister of the Congregational Church on 25 July 1919:
  • Mother: Mary Ann Searle, of 2 Lower West Street, Ewell, Surrey.
  • Brothers: Alfred aged 42, Arthur aged 28, William aged 21 and Percy aged 18.
  • Sisters: Rose aged 40, Bella (Eliza) aged 38, Clara aged 35, Florence aged 32, Louisa aged 28, Beatrice and Daisy aged 23.
All were living at Lower West Street, Ewell, Surrey, with the exception of Bella who was living at 24 Clapham Road, Clapham.

There is also a letter on file dated 11 September 1923 addressed to Miss C. Pitt, c/o Mrs James, 10 Orville Road, Battersea, that is a reply to her letter, stating that the scroll and memorial plaque had been sent to the next of kin, his mother, in accordance with regulations. So it appears that soldiers could decide who should receive their medals and effects, but not their scroll and plaque. It also appears that there was little communication between George's mother and Miss C. Pitt.

BH EW ES

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SHARPE Nelson Richard, Private. 38433.,

41st Field Ambulance. Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC).
Died 14 October 1917, aged 24.

Nelson Richard Sharpe was born in 1893 in Croydon, Surrey (GRO reference: 1893 Croydon 2a 279), son of Nelson Henry and Mabel Bateman Sharpe (nee Baker). His parents married in the December 1891 quarter in the Strand registration district. The GRO marriage entry spells Sharp without an 'e' at the end. His father was born in Tenterden Kent and his mother in Folkestone Kent.

Aged 8, Nelson and his parents were living in one of the Maria Cottages, Epsom Common, near Christ Church, when the 1901 census was taken. With them were Nelson's younger siblings, six year old Madeleine, also born in Croydon, and four year old Henry, born in St Lukes, Middlesex. No GRO reference has been found for Madeleine. Nelson's 30 year old father worked as a coach smith to support his family. His mother was also aged 30.

In the 1911 census the family was living at 3, Maria Cottages, Epsom Common. Nelson Richard Sharpe was listed as such but his brother Harry appears as Harry George Jackson Sharpe, his mother as Mabel Bateman Sharpe and his father as Nelson Henry Sharpe. His sister Madeleine does not appear to be living with her family, but in 1916 she married Arthur G Bradley in Epsom. Nelson Richard was working as a lift attendant for the Civil Service supply association. His sister Madeleine was working as a live-in domestic servant for the Williams family in Ladbroke Road, Epsom. In 1916, when she married Arthur G Bradley in Epsom, it appears she had a middle name beginning with 'E'. She died in 1946 in Reading Berkshire.

Nelson's service record has not survived but his medal card tells us that his first overseas posting was to Gallipoli on 11 June 1915. The 41st Field Ambulance RAMC was part of the 13th (Western) Division. After Gallipoli the Division was sent to defend the Suez Canal, and then to Mesopotamia (Iraq). They fought in the battle to relieve Kut and in March 1917, the capture of Baghdad.

Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery holds the remains of 4,455 servicemen who lost their lives fighting in Mesopotamia, including Nelson who is buried in grave XVI. E. 8.

Nelson's medal card simply states 'Died 14-10-17', which means he was not killed in action or died from wounds received. The official book of statistics, complied shortly after the Great War, tells us that in Mesopotamia 15,264 officers and men were killed or died of wounds but that 23,578 died of sickness and other causes

The following appeared in the Burnley Express dated 3 November 1917:
Pte. (38433) N. Sharpe, R.A.M.C., of Burnley, appears in the official casualty list as having died.
Having looked at all relevant birth, death, marriage and census records, I can find no link to Burnley, and therefore suspect that the Burnley Express made a mistake.

Nelson's medal card states he was only awarded the 1915 Star. This must be a mistake because the 1915 Star was never awarded alone, the British War medal and the Victory medal were always issued with the Star.

Nelson's medal card.
Nelson's medal card.
Image courtesy of Ancestry.co.uk (Link opens in a new window)
Copyright 2010, The Generations Network, Inc. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.
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Nelson's mother, aged 78, died on 9 May 1945 at 26 Bramble Walk, Epsom and was buried on 14 May in Epsom cemetery. Administration of her effects worth £452 5s 9d were left to her husband. Nelson's father died in 1955 in the district of Surrey Northern, Surrey.

EP CC EB

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SHAW William, Private. 11512

1st Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.
Died of Wounds12 September 1916, aged 36.

William Shaw.
William Shaw.
Image courtesy of Andrew Gill (Burnley Express)

Commonwealth War Graves Commission records show that William Shaw was the 'Son of Richard and Mary Shaw; husband of Catherine Shaw, of 59, Finsley Gate, Burnley. Born at Spennymoor, Co. Durham'.

William's GRO death entry (Sep 1916 Epsom (36) 2a 53) gives his age at death as 36, giving him a birth year of around 1880. There is a GRO birth entry for a William Shaw (Jun 1881 Auckland 10a 234).

I have not been able to find William or his parents in either the 1881, 1891 or the 1901 census.

William married Catherine Burns in 1909, registered in the September quarter, in the Burnley registration district. Information from the 1901 census shows that Catherine, known as Kate or Katie, was an unmarried mother of two children, John aged 4 and Frances, also known as Fanny, aged 1.

In 1911 William, aged 28 and Catherine, aged 30, were living at 3 Canal Terrace, off Healy Wood Road, Burnley. Also living there was 11 year old Frances Burns, listed as William's daughter. William's occupation was recorded as 'Shoemaker' working for the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company, and Catherine worked as a 'Spinner' in the cotton industry.

William's 19 year old stepson John enlisted into the Special reserve on 14 June 1915. His birthday was recorded as being 26 May 1897 and his mother, Catherine Burns of 24 Exmouth Street, Burnley, was recorded as his next-of-kin. He worked as a van driver.

As William's service record has not survived we know very little about his army service. He was born and enlisted in Nelson, Lancashire and lived in Burnley. Although the Soldiers Died CD states that he died of wounds in 'France and Flanders', in fact he died at Horton War Hospital, Epsom on 12 September 1916 and was buried in Epsom Cemetery on 14 September in grave K646. He shares the grave with eight other soldiers and he is commemorated there on the screen wall.

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

His battalion, the 1st Loyal North Lancs was in the 1st Division and fought in the Battle of the Somme, so perhaps William was wounded on the Somme?

The 'Soldiers Effects' records show that his widow Catherine received the sum of £8 10s.

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

William is also commemorated on the Burnley War Memorial.

Giving his sister Fanny as his next-of-kin, William's stepson John, who had been working as a stud groom, re-enlisted for one year into the Royal Veterinary Army Corps on 22 November 1919 and when he was discharged on 21 November 1921 he gave his address as 59 Finsley Gate, Burnley.

CWGC


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SHEPPARD Isaac Thomas, Sergeant. 230625.

2nd Battalion (City of London) Regiment (Royal Fusiliers).
Died 19 May 1917, aged 32.

Isaac Thomas Sheppard was born on 6 January 1885 (GRO reference: Mar 1885 Epsom 2a 24) to Isaac and Annie Sheppard (nee Davis) of Epsom Common. His parents had married on Christmas Eve 1882 in Christ Church.

Although Isaac Thomas Sheppard was registered and baptised as such, it seems he was generally known as just Thomas Sheppard, and this is how he is styled on census returns. He had seven siblings but three had died before the 1911 census.

(ISAAC) THOMAS SHEPPARD AND HIS SIBLINGS
NAME BORN : DIED BAPTISED NOTES
Maria Annie Davis 28 May 1882: March quarter 1892 20 Aug 1882 Born to Annie Davis before she married Isaac
Norah Julia 7 October 1883: 1952 13 Jan 1884 Married Herbert Marsland 1923
Isaac Thomas 6 January 1885 : 19 May 1917 12 Apr 1885 DOW whilst prisoner of war
Charles Henry 30 September 1887 : 1948 2 Dec 1888  
Mary Cecilia 28 August 1893 : 1923 11 Dec 1893  
Alfred George Dec Quarter 1895 : Mar quarter 1898   Possibly a sibling
Margaret Louisa 15 October 1898 28 May 1899  
Cecil Alfred Dec quarter 1907 : Mar quarter 1911   Possibly a sibling

(Isaac) Thomas was baptised in Christ Church, Epsom on 12 April 1885, as were five of his siblings. It is interesting to note that Christ Church records spell the name Shepherd, not Sheppard.

The family lived at Stranger's Cottage, Epsom Common in 1891 when the census was taken, next door to the Tichener family who also lost a son in the Great War. This was in between the Blackburn and Vernon Cottages. Isaac's father, aged 32, was working as an Under Gardiner to support his wife 30 year old Annie and their children Annie aged 8, Norah aged 7, Thomas (Isaac) aged 6 and Harry (Charles) aged 3.

The family was still living in Strangers Cottage ten years later when the 1901 census was taken. The family now consisted of Thomas' (Isaac) father who had been promoted to Gardener, his mother Annie who was working as a Charwoman, Nora aged 17, Harry aged 13 who was selling papers, Mary aged 7 and 2 year old Margaret. Thomas (Isaac) himself was working as an assistant in a china shop.

The 1911 census shows Thomas (Isaac) a 25 year old motor driver still living at home with his mother and three siblings at Stamford Green, Epsom, probably still at Strangers Cottage. Mother Annie previously a charwoman in 1901 was now an assistant cook. Nora was a employed as a housekeeper, Harry was employed in some form of electrical engineering work, whilst Margaret was still at school. Also shown on the census, as the son of Annie was 3 year old Herbert Marsland Sheppard. It seems very likely that he was in fact the son of Norah, and therefore Annie's grandson. Norah married Herbert Marsland in 1923.

Sadly, the census shows Thomas' (Isaac) father I Sheppard to be an inmate in the Surrey County Lunatic Asylum, Netherne. He died in the December quarter of 1916.

Isaac Thomas Sheppard enlisted in Westminster as 'Thomas Sheppard' and joined the 2nd (City of London) Battalion (Royal Fusiliers). It seems that none of his service papers have survived but his medal card shows he was originally given service No. 2426 which was subsequently changed to 230625, and that he went to France on 30 August 1915.

On 9 February 1916 his battalion joined the 169th Brigade in the 56th (London) Division. The battle of Arras raged from 9 April to 17 May 1917. Between 9 April and 19 May 1917, some 136 other ranks from the 2nd Battalion London Regiment lost their lives. It is quite likely that (Isaac) Thomas Sheppard was wounded and taken prisoner during this battle. He died on 19 May 1917 and is buried in grave number XI. D. 16. in the Cologne Southern Cemetery Germany. Cologne Southern Cemetery is located within the civilian cemetery Südfriedhof Köln. Cologne is approximately 30kms to the north of Bonn.

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

Thomas's medal card.
(Isaac) Thomas's medal card.
Image courtesy of Ancestry.co.uk (Link opens in a new window)
Copyright 2010, The Generations Network, Inc. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.
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The St Martin's church Roll of Honour states that:
THOMAS SHEPPARD, died in Germany on the 19th May 1917, from wounds received in the battle of Arras.
The names Sheppard I.T, and Sheppard T. both appear on the Ashley Road memorial. Having looked at all available information I believe them to relate to only one man. He appears on two church memorials (St Martins and Christ Church) and also on the Epsom Brotherhood memorial. I suspect that his mother had his full name entered on the Christ Church memorial and that chums from the Brotherhood entered him as only Thomas Sheppard on the St Martins memorial. Both churches then submitting the two names for inclusion on Ashley Road.

EP SM CC EB

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SHEPPARD Thomas.


The names Sheppard I.T, and Sheppard T. both appear on the Ashley Road memorial. Having looked at all available information I believe them to relate to only one man. He appears on two church memorials (St Martins and Christ Church) and also on the Epsom Brotherhood memorial. I suspect that his mother had his full name entered on the Christ Church memorial and that chums from the Brotherhood entered him as only Thomas Sheppard on the St Martins memorial. Both churches then submitting the two names for inclusion on Ashley Road.

Therefore see entry for SHEPPARD I.T.

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SHRUBB Oliver John, Private. 40281.

10th Battalion South Wales Borderers.
Died of Wounds 3 August 1917, aged 19.

Oliver's headstone in Dozingham Military Cemetery, Belgium
Oliver's headstone in Dozingham Military Cemetery, Belgium
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2010

Oliver John Shrubb was born in Epsom in 1898 (GRO reference: Mar 1898 Epsom 2a 22) to Thomas and Annie Louisa Shrubb (nee Wickham). His parents married in 1892 in Epsom.

In the 1901 census the family lived Cheam High Street. Oliver's father was a 29 year old general labourer. His mother was aged 29, and he had two siblings, Charles aged 1 and Elsie age 3 months. Also living there was his mother's brother Alfred, a 21 year old labourer.

By 1911 the family had moved to 3, Stones Road, East Street, Epsom. Oliver's father was now a labourer in the brickworks, presumably on the site now occupied by Sainsburys in Kiln Lane. Seven more siblings had arrived, Elsie aged 10, Evelyn aged 9, Doris aged 6, Alfred aged 5, Emma aged 3, Frederick aged 1 and Mary aged 2 months. The census tells us that Oliver's parents had been married for 19 years, and that they had a total of eleven children but that two had died.

Oliver attested in Epsom on 20 May 1916, aged 18 years and 8 months, into the 4th Battalion East Surrey Regiment, a depot and training unit. He was 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighed 126 lbs and had a chest measurement of 32 inches with an expansion of 2 inches. He was a labourer and lived at 5, Stones Cottages, Lintons Lane, Epsom.

He later served with the 10th Battalion South Wales Borderers which was in the 115th Brigade, 38th (Welsh) Division. On 31 July 1917, at 3-50 AM the 38th Division attacked and captured the village of Pilckem. This was the first day of the third Battle of Ypres, often known as the Battle of Passchendaele. Oliver died of wounds on 3 August 1917 most likely sustained in the attack on Pilckem.

He is buried in plot II.G.13. Dozingham Military Cemetery, Belgium. In readiness for the Battle of Passchendaele the 4th, 47th and 61st Casualty Clearing Stations were located here, and the troops dubbed the site Dozinghem.

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

The St Martin's church Roll of Honour states that "OLIVER JOHN SHRUBB, was killed in action in France on the 3rd August 1917."

EP SM

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Shimmin Frank, Sapper. 7305.

Royal Engineers (RE).
Died 4 December 1916, aged either 39 or 41.
Frank's inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
Frank's inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert

Frank Shimmin was, according to his GRO death entry, born in 1877 in Douglas on the Isle of Man; our research has not found a birth record for 1877 but has found one c1875.

Frank, the son of Thomas and Annie Shimmin (nee Kermeen), was baptised on 17 February 1875 in St Thomas church Bradden, Isle of Man. His parents had married on 8 October 1865 and had 10 known children including Frank.

In 1881 the family lived at Rushden, Isle of Man. Frank's 42 year old father was a 'Police Sergeant'. His mother was aged 36 and 6 year old Frank had six siblings, William Thomas aged 14, Annie aged 13, Robert Charles aged 11, John Gilbert aged 10, Alfred aged 4 and Esther Miriam aged 1. His brother William was working as a mason.

In 1891 the family was living at the Police Station, Station Road, Rushden, Isle of Man, where Frank's father was still earning his living as a police sergeant. Sixteen year old Frank was working as a plumber, and he had three more siblings, Edith Maud aged 9, Emma aged 7 and Ruth aged 5.

On 30 January 1896 Frank married Margaret Elliott who gave birth on 31 August to their daughter, Maggie Johnson Shimmin. Frank's wife died three months later and was buried in Rushden on 26 November 1896. It would appear that their daughter Maggie was put in the care of her maternal grandparents, Edward and Jane Elliott.

It would seem that Frank then moved to England and married Eleanor Ann (also known as Annie) Costain in the September quarter of 1898, in the Liverpool registration district. Eleanor had previously given birth to her illegitimate son, Robert Arthur Shimmin Costain, on 23 January 1895. He had been baptised in Rushden on 13 February 1895 with no father's name recorded.

Frank and Eleanor moved back to the Isle of Man where their daughter Edith May was born on 9 November 1898 and baptised on 4 December 1898 in Rushden. Edith died nine months later on 2 September in Arbory and was buried on 4 September 1899 in Rushden. Two months later on 13 November 1899, Eleanor gave birth in Rushden to their second daughter Doris Annie who was baptised on 29 November 1899.

When the 1901 Isle of Man census was taken, Eleanor and her two children Robert and Doris were living with her parents, Thomas and Ann Costain, and her brother William at their home in St. Mary Port, Isle of Mann.

However the only census record found for 26 year old Frank showed him living at 86 Sweden Street, Southport, Lancashire where he was working as a 'Plumber and Gas fitter'. Also recorded as living with him was his "27 year old wife Annie" and their two children, Frances Lilian aged 2 and Frank A. aged 6 months. Frances Lilian was recorded as being born c1899 on the Isle of Man but there is no record of this. Frank A. was recorded as being born in 1900 in Great Crosby, Lancashire but the only GRO birth found was for a Frank Shimmin.

On 3 January 1904, when Eleanor's daughter Ethel May was baptised in Rushden, her father was recorded as Frank Shimmin.

Shortly before the 1911 census was taken, Eleanor's 11 year old daughter Doris died in the West Derby registration district.

Eleanor Ann Shimmin was recorded as Annie Shimmin in the 1911 census and was living with her children Robert and Ethel at her sister Margaret and brother-in-law [John] Thomas Clugston's home in Garston, Lancashire. Eleanor was recorded as having been married for 12 years (1899) and that 2 of her 6 children were dead. Robert was now aged 16 and was working with his uncle in the local dredging department.

Meanwhile Frank was living in Douglas, Isle of Man and still working as a plumber. Although no wife was recorded as living with him, Frank recorded that he had been married for 15 years (1896) and that five of his six children were still alive. He listed them as Frances Lilian aged 12, Frank aged 10, Ernest aged 8, Leslie aged 7 and William aged 6. The three youngest children were all recorded as being born in Douglas, Isle of Man but there are no records to confirm this. Also living there, as servant housekeeper, was 34 year old Lily Wallace. (There is a record of a Frances Lilian Wallace being born on 14 April 1899 to Ellen Lily Wallace with no father recorded. Could it be that Lily Wallace was in fact Frances Lilian's mother, Ellen Lily Wallace and Frank was her biological father?)

The following is an attempt to make sense of the parentage these children
NameBornParent/s
Robert Arthur Shimmin Costain23 January 1895 Isle of ManEleanor Ann Costain and Unknown/Frank?
 
Maggie Johnson Shimmin31 August 1896 Isle of ManFrank and Margaret Shimmin
 
Edith May Shimmin9 November 1898 Isle of ManFrank and Eleanor Ann Shimmin
Doris Annie Shimmin November 1899 Isle of ManFrank and Eleanor Ann Shimmin
 
Frances Lilian Shimmin/Wallace?14 April 1899 Isle of ManEllen Lily Wallace and Unknown/Frank?
 
Frank A. Shimmin1900 Great Crosby, LancashireFrank and Annie/Eleanor?
Ernest Shimminc1903 Douglas, Isle of ManFrank and Annie/Eleanor?
Leslie Shimminc1904 Douglas, Isle of ManFrank and Annie/Eleanor?
William Shimminc1905 Douglas, Isle of ManFrank and Annie/Eleanor?

As Frank's service record has not survived we know little of his military service, but he must have seen overseas service as he was awarded the British War medal and the Victory medal. Strangely, in the 'Soldiers Effects' records no recipient is recorded.

Frank died in Horton War Hospital on 4 December 1916 and was buried in grave K646 in Epsom Cemetery. He shares the grave with 8 other servicemen, and he is commemorated on the screen wall there.

CWGC

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SHULEY George, Sergeant. 153829

43rd Battalion Canadian Infantry
Died 18 November 1918, aged 36.

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

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SIMMONDS Alfred Montague, Sapper. 300356.

Royal Engineers.
Died 13 December 1918, aged 43.

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

Alfred Montague Miles Simmonds, the son of Philip Alfred and Anfled Simmonds, was born on 7 September 1875 in Wick, Leominster, Sussex (GRO Reference: Dec 1875 East Preston 2b 326). His father, a grocer and baker from Kent, had married Anfled Ayling on Christmas day 1866 in St Marys church, Littlehampton, Sussex. They had seven known children.

Alfred Montague Simmonds And His Siblings
Name Born Died
Harry 1 October 1867 Wick, Leominster, Sussex 15 February 1897 Littlehampton, Sussex
Arthur William 5 April 1869 Wick, Leominster, Sussex 1905 Portsmouth, Hampshire
Walter Gladstone 3 April 1871 Wick, Leominster, Sussex 7 January 1946 Hailsham, Sussex
Ada Elizabeth 21 August 1873 Wick, Leominster, Sussex 24 February 1897 Wick, Leominster, Sussex
Alfred Montague Miles 7 September 1875 Wick, Leominster, Sussex 13 December 1918 Queen Alexandra Military Hospital, London
Philip Percy 20 April 1879 Wick, Leominster, Sussex 28 September 1941 Littlehampton, Sussex
Florence Maud 29 May 1881 Wick, Leominster, Sussex 1906 Wick, Leominster, Sussex

When the 1881 census was taken 5 year old Alfred and his family, including his younger brother, one-year-old Philip, were living in Wick Street, Wick, Sussex where his father was working as a baker.

Alfred's brother Arthur married in 1890. By 1891 Alfred's older brother Walter was working as a postman's messenger and the family was living in Wick post office in the High Street. Alfred aged 20 and Harry aged 23, were working as bakers with their father. Philip aged 11 and Florence aged 9 were attending school. Alfred's 82-year-old maternal grandmother Elizabeth Ayling was also living with the family. Sister Ada was not with the family that night. Harry and Ada both died in 1897.

It was reported, on 7 September 1900, in the London Gazette, that Philip, Alfred's father, of 59, Dorset Road, Littlehampton, a retired baker, was bankrupt and had appeared in court as a debtor.

The 1901 census showed that only Alfred and his parents were living at the same address. Alfred was then working as an insurance agent. Later that year he married Edith Mary Tester in their hometown of Wick. They had three sons and two daughters.

Alfred And Edith's Children
Name Born Died
Raymond Montague 1902 Arundel, Sussex 27 August 1947 Epsom Hospital. Lived in Ruxley Lane, West Ewell
Richard William 28 January 1904 Arundel, Sussex 1987 Lambeth
Valentine Edith 14 February 1906 Arundel, Sussex 1972 Surrey
Maurice Albert 10 February 1908 Arundel, Sussex 1978 Surrey
Lilian Mary 1915 Epsom  

Alfred aged 30 and Edith aged 35 were living at Easebourne, Midhurst, Sussex when the 1911 census was taken. He was working as a Superintendent for the Prudential Insurance Company. Their four children were named as Raymond aged 9, Richard aged 7, Valentine aged 5 and 3-year-old Maurice Albert.

Alfred's 68-year-old mother Anfled was living alone with her grandson Archibald Albert Simmonds in Greencroft Terrace, Wick, Southampton when the census was taken. Alfred's 65 year old father Philip was an inmate at The East Preston Union Workhouse in Worthing where it was noted that he had been working as a Postmaster for the G.P.O.; he died shortly afterwards on 11 May.

Still working as an insurance agent, Alfred had, by 1915, moved with his family to 9, Horton Hill, Epsom, Surrey where Edith, his wife, gave birth to their fifth child, Lilian Mary, who was baptised in St. Barnabas church in Temple Road, Epsom on 7 November 1915.

Alfred's service papers have not survived but the Surrey Recruitment Registers tell us that he attested into the Royal Engineers at Kingston on 18 June 1917, stating his age as 41 years and 2 months. He was 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighed 151lbs, and had a chest measurement of 37 inches with an expansion of 2 inches. He worked as an insurance agent and lived at 9, Horton Hill, Epsom. Alfred's medical category was C3, which meant that he was only fit for 'Light work at home', and consequently he was awarded no medals.

Alfred Montague Miles Simmonds died on 13 December 1918 in Queen Alexandra Military Hospital, London. He was buried on 19 December in grave A398 in Epsom cemetery.

EP

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SIMMS Thomas, Private. 9101.

2nd Battalion Manchester Regiment.
Died of Wounds 17 October 1914, aged 27.

Thomas Simms was born in Ancoats, Manchester in 1887 (GRO reference: Sep 1887 Manchester 8d 211) to William and Maria Simms (nee Jackson).

The most likely entry in the 1891 census shows the family living at 29, Baird Street, Manchester. Thomas's father was a 30 year old 'Labourer, General', and his mother was 29 year old 'Weaver, Calico'. He had three siblings, William aged 5, Sarah Ann aged 2 and Samuel aged 1.

I have been unable to find any of the family in the 1901 census.

In 1911 the family was living at 10, Lelia Street, Ancoats, Manchester. Thomas's father was earning his living as a 'chip chopper'. Two more siblings are recorded, George aged 16 and Esther aged 12. George was employed as a 'railway nipper' (an assistant to a carter for delivering goods). Also at the address were his, now married sister, Sarah Richards working as a balloon blower, her husband Harry Richards and their son Harry aged under one month. Thomas's mother, working as a weaver, stated that she had given birth to 11 children but that only 5 were still living.

It is not known precisely when Thomas joined the Army but in the 1911 census he is recorded as a 25 year old Private serving with the 1st Battalion Manchester Regiment in Kamptee, India. At some point Thomas transferred to the 2nd Battalion Manchester Regiment, and when war was declared on 4 August, the Battalion was stationed in Ireland.

On 14 August the Battalion, with a strength of 26 officers, 51 NCOs and 937 Other Ranks (OR), embarked from Dublin, and on 16 August landed at Le Havre, France and joined the 14th Brigade, 5th Division. The Battalion then travelled by train to Le Cateau via Rouen and Amiens, marched 10 miles to Landrecies, arriving at 8pm on 18 August, and remained there for two days. Over the next few days the Battalion marched about 30 miles, and by 24 August had reached Dour where they fought a defensive action and lost 'a few men'. The Battalion fought in the famous retreat from Mons to Le Cateau, and on 26 August suffered many casualties south of Montay village, having 55 men killed in action. The Battalion continued to retreat, taking almost daily casualties, and reached the river Marne, east of Paris by 3 September.

It is not known when Thomas was wounded but during the Battalion's fighting retreat from the Mons area, starting on 26 August up to the end of September at Sermoise on the Aine (east of Soissons), the Battalion lost 97 ORs, 72 being killed in action and 25 dying of wounds. Then, between 1 October and 31 December the Battalion lost a further 196 men.

We do not know exactly when the wounded Thomas returned to England or where his wounds were first treated but he eventually arrived at the Epsom and Ewell War Hospital. This was a hospital of some 70 beds housed in the newly erected 1914 Luncheon Annex to the Epsom racecourse Grandstand (now demolished), and paid for by the people of Epsom and Ewell. The first ten patients arrived by motor ambulance on Tuesday 13 October, and another 30 on Thursday 15 October. Thomas was one of those admitted on 15 October. He died the next day from peritonitis and was buried in plot D220A in Epsom cemetery on Friday 19 October, the first victim of the Great War to be buried in Epsom. Another two soldiers who died at the Grandstand Hospital are also buried in plot D220A. They are Corporal Edmund Buchanan and Private William Edward Andrewartha.

Thomas's headstone in Epsom cemetery
Thomas's headstone in Epsom cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2012

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

BEC

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SIMONS John, Private. 77804.

130 Labour Company.
Died 27 January 1919, aged 39.

John is buried in Epsom cemetery in plot A352. The plot is unmarked and has a large bush growing over it
John is buried in Epsom cemetery in plot A352.
The plot is unmarked and has a large bush growing over it.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert ©2008.

John Simons was the son of George and Sarah Simons (nee Anderson), who were married in 1868 in the Croydon registration district. I have been unable to find a GRO reference birth entry for John Simons, but his army pension record states that he was born in June 1879 in Tolworth, Surrey. There is a GRO reference for a John Symons, Mar 1879 Kingston 2a 319.

The 1871 census, before John was born, shows that his parents George and Sarah were living in Croydon, where George was a greengrocer.

John Simons And His Siblings
Name Born - Died Notes
Frederick Born: 1868 Norwood
Died: 1896 Epsom
Married Elizabeth Maria Woods 1891
Sarah Born: 1871 Norwood Married William Dunn 1888
Mary Ann Born: 1873 Norwood Married Benjamin Warwick 1896
George Born: 1876 Norwood
Died: 1899 Epsom
 
John Born: June 1879 Tolworth, Surrey.
Died: 27 January 1919 Netherne Asylum, Merstham
Married Elizabeth Warwick 1909
Henry [Harry] Born: 1882 Ashtead
Died: April 1905 Epsom
Married Ada Parker 1903
He was buried with his 18 month old son George, who had been buried on 21 January 1905
Alice Born: 1886 Epsom Married Joseph Stevens c1908
Ellen Born: 1886 Epsom Died: 1887 Epsom Alice and Ellen were twins
William Born: 1888 Epsom  
Henrietta Born: 1891 Epsom  

The 1881 census shows the family living in Longfellow Road, Cheam. John's father George was a 36 year old hawker, as was his 28 year old mother. John had four siblings, Frederick aged 12, Sarah aged 10, Mary Ann aged 7 and George aged 5, who had all been born in Norwood, Surrey.

By 1891 John's parents and siblings, Harry aged 8, Alice aged 5 and Willie (William) aged 2, were living in a cottage on Railway Side, Epsom Common. John, who would have been about 12, was not listed with his family in the 1891 census. John's father was by then working as a general dealer.

1901 saw the family living at Myrtle Cottage, Epsom Common. John's father had become a general labourer. Another sibling had arrived, Henrietta aged 9. John, aged 22, was working as a bricklayer's labourer and was boarding in the home of Mary Owen at 311, High Street, Plumstead, London.

John's father George died in 1908 in Epsom Union Infirmary and was buried in grave B82 in Epsom Cemetery on 31 October.

On 17 April 1909, at the Epsom Registry Office, John married Elizabeth Warwick, nee Spikseman, a widow previously married to Edward Warwick who died in 1906. They lived at 15, Woodlands Road, Epsom. From the 1901 census Elizabeth Warwick had had four children with Edward. Elizabeth was the aunt of Thomas Spikesman

John's mother Sarah appears to have married a Mr. Dickson/Dixon in 1909 but was widowed again by 1911. She and John's brother William were living in 87, Hillingdon Street, Walworth when the 1911 census was taken. Sarah died in the Epsom registration district in 1927.

The 1911 census records John, aged 32 and his 40 year old wife Elizabeth living at Myrtle Cottage, Woodlands Road, Epsom Common. John earned his living as a labourer in the building trade, whilst Elizabeth was a laundress. Living with them was Elizabeth's son, from her previous marriage, fourteen year old Albert Warwick, a garden boy.

The following year John and Elizabeth's son, John Frederick, was born on 21 June 1912 and their daughter, Elsie Lilian, was born the year after on 14 December 1913.

John attested at Kingston on 12 November 1916, originally into a labour company of the Royal West Surrey Regiment, later transferring to the 130 Labour Corps. When he attested he was 37 years and 9 months old, 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighed 141 lbs, had a chest measurement of 37 inches with an expansion of 2 inches, and had a mole at the base of his left arm. He was a labourer living at 15, Woodlands Road, Epsom. His medical grade was only C2. This meant that he was free from serious organic diseases, able to walk 5 miles, see and hear sufficiently for ordinary purposes, and was able to stand service in garrisons at home.

Although he attested on 12 November 1916 he was not called up for service until 2 March 1917, and despite being declared only fit for home service he spent 134 days in France from 13 March 1917 to 24 July 1917, serving with the 130 company Labour Corps.

John returned from France on 25 July 1917 and was admitted to Dykebar War Hospital, Paisley suffering from 'General Paralysis' that was first noted on 12 July 1917. On 29 March 1918 the Dykebar Medical Board certified that John should be discharged from the army, being permanently unfit for service, and that his condition had been aggravated by his service in France. He was formally discharged from the army on 24 April 1918 and admitted to the Netherne Asylum, where he died on 27 January 1919 (GRO reference: Mar 1919 39 Reigate 2a 363). General Paralysis is generally reckoned to be caused by syphilis, but in John's case his papers state that he had 'no venereal history'.

John is buried in Epsom cemetery in plot A352. The plot is unmarked and has a large bush growing over it.

John served in the Army between 2 March 1917 and 24 April 1918, when he was invalided out. As his illness had been aggravated by his war service and the stress of the campaign, he was awarded a Silver War Badge for 'Services Rendered'. His was numbered 402351. John was also awarded the British War medal and the Victory medal. His medal record is available from NA but was not found in the records of the website Ancestry.com.

EP CC

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SINGH Gharty Dharnman, Follower. 3539

7th Gurkha Rifles
Died 18 August 1919, aged 22.

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

Gharty Dharman Singh was a 22 year old Follower (cook) in the Indian Army who came to Britain in 1919, as part of a contingent of Indian soldiers, in order to take part in the peace parade and celebrations held on Saturday 19 July 1919. However, because the date for the parade was brought forward none of the Indian contingent were able to take part because they arrived too late. The contingent occupied a special camp provided for them at Hampton Court.

Gharty Dharman Singh died of influenza in Horton War Hospital on 18 August 1919. He was one of six men from the Hampton Court camp to die of influenza at the Horton War Hospital.

His name was spelt slightly differently when his death was registered with the General Register Office: Dharumar Singhb G. Sep 1919 (22) Epsom 2a 50.

He is buried in grave K 754 in Epsom Cemetery and is commemorated on the screen wall of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) plot.

CWGC

Note: Peace celebrations and parades to celebrate the end of the Great War were originally scheduled to take place on Monday 4 August 1919, but the date was changed to Saturday 19 July. The Times newspaper dated Friday 18 July reported that bringing forward the celebration date meant that the 1,500 specially selected British and Indian officers and men who were to represent each unit of the Army in India, would not now be able to attend. They left Bombay by ship on 20 June and would have arrived in time to take part on the original 4 August date but not on 19 July.

Gurkhas of the Indian Army Contingent passing up the Mall
Gurkhas of the Indian Army Contingent passing up the Mall.
Victory March, London 19th July 1919.
Image source of © IWM (Q 14955)

It had been hoped that by diverting the contingent through France it might be possible for them to arrive at their camp at Hampton Court by the evening of 18 July, the eve of celebrations. But an outbreak of influenza aboard the ships meant it inadvisable to debark in France. Sailing via the straits of Gibraltar they were not expected to arrive before 26 July.

Another contingent of 200 officers and men, hastily despatched from Egypt via France, were expected to arrive at the Hampton Court camp during the evening of 18 July, however they did not arrive until 6pm on Peace Day, so missed the parade.

Colonel Lord, commander of the Horton War Hospital, wrote a book about Horton War Hospital in which he tells us that six men from the Indian Camp at Hampton Court succumbed to influenza.

Four of them were buried in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission plot at Epsom Cemetery, namely Padamdhoj Rai, Durga Din Dichhit, Follower Mohun and Gharty Dharman Singh. The other two were Muslims and were buried in a special Muslim cemetery at Horsel Common, Woking. They were Amir Ali (GRO reference: Ameer Ali Sep 1919 (32) Epsom 2a 50), and Babu (GRO reference: Baboo Male Sep 1919 (30) Epsom 2a 57. In the 1960s, due to vandalism, all the Muslim burials were removed to Brookwood Military Cemetery.

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SKELTON Walter, Private. 6357.

3rd Battalion Australian Infantry.
Killed in Action 5 May 1917, aged 28.

Walter's inscription on the Australian memorial to the missing at Villers-Bretonneux
Walter's inscription on the Australian memorial to the missing at Villers-Bretonneux
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

Walter Skelton was born in Epsom in 1888 (GRO reference: Dec 1888 Epsom 2a 21) to George and Fanny Skelton (nee Thorndell). Baptised on 23 December 1888 in St Martin of Tours Church, Epsom (transcribed Skilton). Walter's parents had married on 31 July 1870 in St John's Church, Hampstead.

In the 1871 census Walter's recently married parents lived in Pike's Hill, Epsom; his father was a bricklayer.

Pike's Hill, Epsom was still the family address in 1881 and three of Walter's four brothers had been born, Harry aged 9, Frank aged 8 and George aged 1.

Walter Skelton And His Siblings
Name Born - Died Notes
Harry Born: 1871 Epsom
Died: 1959
Baptised St Martins 12 November 1871
Married Isabel Agnes Foster in 1897 (died 1911), and Annie Rhodes in 1913
Frank Born: 1873 Epsom
Died: 1957
Baptised St Martins 9 March 1873
Married Annie Edith Williamson in 1896
George Born: 1879 Epsom
Died: 1923 St Anthony's Cheam
Baptised St Martins 11 May 1879
Fred Born: 1882 Epsom
Died: 1957
Baptised St Martins 16 April 1882
Married Hannah Sayle 1905
Walter Born: 1888 Epsom
Died: 5 May 1917 France
Baptised St Martins 23 December 1888
Married Matilda Shaw of Australia, in 1916

By 1891 the family had moved to South Street, Epsom. Walter's father was still earning his living as a bricklayer, whilst brother Harry was a printer and brother Frank was a steward aboard a ship. Walter and his brothers George and Fred were all at school.

In 1901 the family was still living in South Street. Walter's father described himself as a 'Bricklayer Employer at home'. His brother George was a 'Carpenter Journeyman', and brother Fred was a 'Decorator, worker at home'.

Walter's father died in 1902 whilst living in South Street and was buried in grave A210 in Epsom cemetery. Walter appears to have left England in 1906 and emigrated to New South Wales, Australia via Antwerp in 1908.

In 1911 Walter's 65 year old widowed mother, a 'Builder Employer', was living in a 7 roomed house in South Street, Epsom. She recorded that she had had five children, all still living. The only other resident was Walter's 31 year old unmarried brother George, a builder's clerk.

Walter married Matilda Shaw, the daughter of Robert Shaw of Castlereagh, New South Wales, in Richmond, Australia in 1916. They had no children.

Walter attested 1 May 1916 at the Sports Ground, Richmond, New South Wales, giving his occupation as surveyor (on another form he stated that he was a 'tally clerk'). He was aged 27 years 5 months, was 6 feet tall, weighed 154 lbs and had a chest measurement of 32½ inches expanding to 35 inches. He had a fair complexion, brown eyes, brown hair and his religion was Church of England.

Walter embarked on 'HMAT Euripides' from Sydney, on 9 September 1916 and arrived at Plymouth on 26 October. He was allocated to the 1st Training Battalion and spent the next five months at Larkhill, Fovant and Bovington Camps before sailing from Folkestone on SS Victoria, arriving at Etaples Military Camp, France on 16 February 1917. On 11 March he was transferred to the 3rd Battalion Australian Infantry, a front line fighting battalion.

The second Battle of Bullecourt raged from 3 to 17 May 1917, and the CWGC records that during that time 2,123 Australians lost their lives.

Trench map of Bullecourt - Click image to enlarge
Trench map of Bullecourt
Click image to enlarge

On 3 May, German forces escaped the preliminary bombardment by sheltering in deep dugouts, emerging when the bombardment ceased, and caused many Australian casualties with machine gun fire. Despite suffering heavy casualties the Australians did manage to take a section of the German trenches.

Walter's Battalion was ordered to relieve the Brigade that had captured the German trenches and did so during the night of 3/4 May. Further attempts to move forward the next day were met with determined German resistance and no more progress was made.

Walter was originally reported as 'Missing in Action' but this was subsequently changed to 'Killed in Action'. The City Council of Penrith, Australia, website quotes from the Australian Red Cross Society Wounded and Missing File as follows:
A fellow soldier, Private Walter Thomas Bellinger was in the same trench as Skelton at Bullecourt. The troops were so far forward that they could not be supplied and the German troops drove them along the trench for about 80 yards. When Bellinger last saw Skelton, he was wounded on the fire step of the trench. Skelton was declared dead by a Court of Inquiry held on 27 October 1917.
Walter's service papers state that he was buried in the vicinity of Maucourt Wood, which is about 30 miles south west of Bullecourt. Whether or not this is true, the whereabouts of his body was subsequently lost and he is commemorated on the Australian memorial to the missing at Villers-Bretonneux.

Villers-Bretonneux
Villers-Bretonneux
Villers-Bretonneux
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

Walter's mother died in 1920 whilst living at 'Clematis', South Street, Epsom and was buried with her husband in grave A210 Epsom Cemetery. Walter's brother George is also buried in grave A210.

On 10 August 1921 Walter's wife Matilda signed a receipt for his memorial scroll from the King, and on 18 November 1922 she signed another receipt for his memorial plaque. Matilda also signed for his Victory medal on 5 April 1923. Walter was entitled to the British War medal, so presumably Matilda had sign for this too, although no record of her signature has been found. Matilda did not marry again and died in 1958.

Walter is not commemorated on any memorial within the Borough but he is remembered on his parents' gravestone.

Walter's inscription on his parents grave
Walter's inscription on his parents grave
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

PG

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SKILTON Arthur William, Private. L/10240.

1st Battalion Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment).
Died of Wounds 21 July 1916, aged 21.

Arthur's Headstone in Heilly Station cemetery
Closeup of Arthur's inscription
Arthur's Headstone (with closeup) in Heilly Station cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2010

Arthur William Skilton was born in Ashtead on 28 March 1895 (GRO reference: Jun 1895 Epsom 2a 20) to the eldest child of Joseph Frederick and Elizabeth Skilton (nee Judge). They had ten children.

ARTHUR WILLIAM SKILTON AND HIS SIBLINGS
Name Born - Died Notes
Arthur William Born: 28 March 1895 Ashtead
Died: 21 July 1916 France
Baptised: 5 May 1895 St. Giles Ashtead
Mabel Gertrude Born: 1896 Epsom Baptised: 12 July 1896 St. Martins Epsom
Ethel Maud Born: 6 November 1898 Ashtead Baptised: 19 February 1899 St. Giles Ashtead
Helen Elizabeth
(Nellie)
Born: 26 January 1900 Ashtead Baptised: 3 November 1901 St. Giles Ashtead
Percy Edgar Born: 21 September 1901 Ashtead
Died: 1985 Wandsworth
Baptised: 3 November 1901 St. Giles Ashtead
Leonard Ernest Born: 16 April 1904 Epsom Baptised: 25 February 1906 St. Barnabas Epsom
Herbert Stanley Frederick Born: 26 December 1905 Epsom Baptised: 25 February 1906 St. Barnabas Epsom
Reginald Walter Born: 26 June 1907 Epsom
Baptised: 24 July 1910 St. Barnabas Epsom
Hilda Ivy May Born: 7 December 1908 Epsom
Died: 1987 Sutton
Baptised: 24 July 1910 St. Barnabas Epsom. Married William Shirley Silvester
St. Paul, Nork, Banstead 1934
Doris Winifred Born: 28 February 1910 Epsom Baptised: 24 July 1910 St. Barnabas Epsom

When Arthur was baptised on 5 May 1895 in St. Giles' church, Ashtead, the family was living in Barnett Wood Lane and his father was a labourer. The family had moved to The Folly, South Street, Epsom when his sister Mabel was born the following year and his father was working as a coalman. However they had moved to Rectory Lane, Ashtead when Arthur's next sister Ethel was born in 1898.

In the 1901 census the family lived in 4 Keals Cottages, Crampshaw Lane, Ashtead. They were living with Arthur's paternal grandparents, uncles and aunts. Arthur's grandmother Eliza was recorded as having been paralysed for the last 3 years. Arthur's father Joseph was a 29 year old general labourer. He has been incorrectly recorded as 'Robert' in this census; his brother Robert was the last entry recorded on the previous page so it seems likely that the enumerator was confused with so many family members. His Arthur's mother was 31, and his three siblings were Mabel aged 4, Maud aged 2 and Nellie (Helen) aged 1. Once again the family moved and by 3 November 1901 were living in Skinners Lane, Ashtead.

Arthur's brother Leonard was born in 1904 and when he was baptised in St. Barnabas church Epsom in 1906, the family's address was given as 10 Victoria Terrace, Hook Road, Epsom. When his last three siblings, Reginald, Hilda and Doris, were baptised on 24 July 1910 in St. Barnabas, the family was living at 237 Hook Road.

By 1911 the family lived at 215 Hook Road, Epsom and Arthur, now 16, was working as a garden boy.

Arthur's first dealings with the army began on 24 April 1913 when he signed on for 4 years service in the UK, with the Territorial battalion the 5th East Surreys, and was given service number 1648. He provided the information that he was 18 years and 1 month old, his religion was C of E, he worked as a porter for William Taylor, greengrocer, and that he lived at 215, Hook Road, Epsom. Then on 8 October 1913 he signed up for 6 years service with the Special Reserve battalion the 4th East Surreys, and was given service number 6910.

Finally on 30 December 1913 he signed up into the Regular Army battalion, 1st Royal West Kents, for 7 years with the colours and 5 years with the reserve, and was given the service number 10240. He was 5 feet 6¼ inches tall, weighed 114 lbs, had a chest measurement of 34 inches with an expansion of 2 inches, a fresh complexion, blue eyes and dark brown hair, and he had a small circular scar above his right eye.

On 26 February 1914 Arthur was described as 'Sober, punctual and never absent'. Then on 29 July 1914 as 'Willing and hard working'. Between 25 March and 27 April 1914 he spent 34 days in hospital in Dublin suffering with impetigo.

Arthur was not quite the perfect soldier as he had four minor blemishes on his record:
In Dublin, on 24 July 1914, 5 days CB for having a dirty and untidy cot.
In Dublin, on 31 July 1914, 7 days CB for
          (i) Not getting his hair cut when ordered to do so.
          (ii) Stating a falsehood to Sgt Burden.
In Chatham, on 29 October 1914, 10 days F.P. (Field Punishment) No. 2 for being absent from tattoo until 1.30am on 29 inst.
In Chatham, on 11 November 1914, 7 days CB for being absent from tattoo until 10pm.
Arthur landed at Le Havre on 7 December 1914, whereas most of the 1st Battalion Royal West Kents had landed in France between 14 and 15 August. The Battalion was part of the 13th Brigade, 5th Division.

Trench Map of High Wood - Click image to enlarge
Trench Map of High Wood
Click image to enlarge

During the night of 21 July 1916, Arthur's division relieved the 7th Division, which had earlier in the day attacked and taken part of High Wood up to Black Road. They were holding the line prior to mounting an attack the next day on the trench 'Wood Lane' in High Wood. This attack on 'Wood Lane' cost the lives of 132 men from the 1st Battalion Royal West Kents. Before the attack took place, Arthur was wounded by a gunshot to his head, probably from a sniper. He is buried in plot II. C. 53, Heilly Station Cemetery, Mericourt-L'Abbe, which was a centre that had several Casualty Clearing Stations.

Arthur was awarded the 1914 - 1915 Star, British War medal and the Victory medal. On 28 December 1919 his mother wrote acknowledging receipt of her son's belongings, consisting of a wallet, testament, photos and letters.

EP SB

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SMITH Albert, Acting Bombardier. 23960.

63rd Battery, Royal Field Artillery (RFA).
Died 28 August 1916, aged 33.


Albert Smith was born on 16 May 1883 (GRO reference: Wandsworth Jun 1883 1d 781) at 1 James Terrace, Wimbledon Road, Tooting, to George and Mary Smith (nee Jerrum). His parents married on 13 January 1877 in Wimbledon. His father was working as a gardener to support his family.

When the 1881 census was taken Albert's parents and his older sisters Lillia and Ruth were living at 39 Blackshaw Road, Streatham.

ALBERT SMITH AND HIS SIBLINGS
Name Born - Died Notes
Lilia (Lily) Helena Born: 2 January 1878 Wandsworth Baptised 10 February 1878
Ruth Born: 1879 Wandsworth
Died: 1911 Epsom
Married Charles Barnes 1904 Epsom.
Buried Epsom cemetery grave F119A
David Born: 1882 Tooting
Died: 1931
Married Lily Maud Wing 11 June 1910 St. Martins church Epsom.
Was a stoker at Epsom Gas Works.
Died in a work accident
Albert Born: 16 May 1883 Tooting
Died: 28 August 1916 Mesopotamia
 
Myrtle Born: 1885 Tooting
Died: 1966 Chelmsford
Married Henry Richardson 1922 in Essex
Percy George Born: 1886 Tooting
Died: 1964
Married Martha Slater 1912 in Epsom

The 1891 census records Albert's father George as a 43 year old gardener. His mother Mary was aged 37. Albert aged 7 had three older siblings, Lily aged 18, Ruth aged 16 and David aged 9. He also had two younger siblings, Myrtle aged 6 and Percy aged 5. They were all living at 5 Herbert Terrace, Trevelyan Road, Tooting.

By the time the 1901 census was taken, Albert was a 17-year-old gardener working at 'The Aspins', Worplesdon, and probably stayed in this employment until he enlisted in Guildford. His family lived in Rosebery Road, Langley Bottom, Epsom where his mother Mary took in laundry. Albert's father George suffered long term ill health and was in hospital with an ulcerated hip and fever. Albert's brother David, now a carter working for a builder, and Percy were still at home. Albert's mother Mary had taken in two boarders, Robert Oldham and Frederick J Warner, both carters. Albert's 16 year old sister Myrtle was working as an under housemaid in North Wimbledon. These were obviously hard times for the family so they either had to work at home or leave to seek their fortune elsewhere.

Albert's father died in early 1902 and was buried on 12 April in grave F119A in Epsom Cemetery. Two years after his death, Albert's mother married William Hubbard, a gasworks labourer, in Croydon, Surrey and by 1911 was living with him and Albert's brother Percy at 65 Miles Road, Epsom.

The 1911 census records Albert, a regular soldier, aged 28, unmarried and a Gunner in the 63rd Battery RFA, stationed in Meerut, India.

Albert's sister Ruth had married Charles James Barnes in 1904 and died aged 32 in 1911. She was buried in her late father's grave on 18 May 1911. Albert's mother Mary died in the Epsom Workhouse Infirmary aged 61 and was buried in her first husband's grave on 22 March 1915.

Albert's younger brother Percy eventually married and ran a greengrocery in Ewell High Street near the junction with Reigate Road. His elder brother David married in 1910 and worked at Epsom gas works until his death following a work accident in 1931.

Albert served in the 63rd Battery RFA which was in the 10th Brigade, 6th (Poona) Division, Indian Army and on 9 November 1914 embarked for Mesopotamia and saw service in the Tigris campaigns.

After the battle of Ctesiphon (22 - 24 November 1915) the British retreated until they finally reached Kut-el-Amara on 3 December 1915. Here they dug in and on the face of it this was an ideal position situated in an oxbow bend in the river Tigris. However, the Turks crossed both sides of the river and completely surrounded the British forces. Attempts were made to relieve them but all were beaten back by the Turks. Food and ammunition started to run out and they men resorted to eating their horses. Eventually they were forced to surrender on 29 April 1916. The Divisional commander, Townsend negotiated and was taken into comfortable captivity but his men were treated very badly many being killed by the Turks, others dying of disease made worse by malnutrition.

They were marched north through the length of Mesopotamia into prisoner of war camps in Turkey. Many were made to work on the construction of the railway through the Taurus Mountains in Anatolia. This railway had been started by the Germans in about 1900 to connect Europe to Mesopotamia but various engineering and financial problems held it up. With the outbreak of war the Germans increased pressure to finish the project to enable their military supplies to reach Baghdad. A website on the Trains of Turkey shows Cilician Gates which is the area where the British Great War prisoners worked.

It was whilst a prisoner of war in a labour camp that Albert Smith died of enteritis on 28 August 1916. After the war, Albert and many others were exhumed and reburied in Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery. Albert did not marry, and as both his parents were dead, his brother David, who was living at 2 Signal Terrace, Epsom, was his next of kin.

The Soldiers Effects Register records Albert's siblings as sisters Lilian E. (sic), Myrtle, brother David and a sister-in-law Eva E. Who Eva was is unclear. Also, at the request of his brother Percy, his nephews Thomas and Frank and niece Ruth were added to the record in 1918.

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

With thanks to Mr David Street, a great nephew of Albert Smith, for family information.

EP

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SMITH Charles Jonsing, Captain.

8th South African Infantry and 5th Battalion Middlesex Regiment.
Died 20 December 1919, aged 47.

Charles' headstone in St Mary's Ewell
Charles' headstone in St Mary's Ewell
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

Charles Jonsing Smith died on 20 December 1919 in the 3rd London General Hospital (GRO reference: Dec 1919 Wandsworth 1d 722), from a reoccurring illness contracted whilst serving in East Africa, and from there was taken for burial in the graveyard of St. Mary the Virgin church, Ewell, Surrey.

Charles' burial was arranged by Dr. Thomas Henry and Anna Charles Yorke-Trotter, who lived in 'The Red House', Church Lane, Ewell. The grave used was the final resting place of Anna's mother, Anna Campbell Rushmore, formerly Crichton, nee Jarvis, who had died in 1907. Dr. Thomas Henry Yorke-Trotter worked originally as a barrister and later, c1905, became an author and Principal of the 'Incorporated London Academy of Music'.

According to the inscription on the headstone, Charles Jonsing Smith was formerly from New Zealand and the brother of Quetta. The Yorke-Trotters are referred to on the headstone as Charles' 'Godparents'.

Charles' life story has been mainly found from the New Zealand 'Paperspast' archives available online. By cross referencing the articles it is believed that the following is as accurate as it can be, bearing in mind that in most articles he is recorded as just 'C. J. Smith'. There is only one exception in 1920, where Charles is reported as Captain C. Jonsing-Smith. This article confirms that Charles served in South Africa during the second Boer War, and in the campaigns in German South West Africa and East Africa during the Great War.

Information from Charles' GRO death entry states that he was aged 42 when he died, making his birth c1877. We believe however, that this is incorrect and that Charles was born 'Charles John Smith' in 1872 in New Zealand (Birth reference: 1872/26539), making him 47 when he died. His parents were Robert Kernon/Kernan and Emily Smith (nee McMullen) who had married in 1871 in New Zealand. Charles had two known siblings, Emily Louisa, born 1874, and Henrietta (Quetta) Maude, born 1880.

In 1895 Charles' sister Emily/Emilie married schoolteacher James Hislop, who became the headmaster of the Napier District School.

In March 1900 Charles, aged 28, whilst employed by the Lands and Loans Company of Hawke's Bay, New Zealand, in the office of the manager, Mr. F.C. Fulton, passed with credit the examination to join the Fifth New Zealand Contingent for South African Boer War. Soon after, The Hawke's Bay Herald reported that four hundred men would be sailing from Wellington, and that C. J. Smith of the 2nd Company, Hawke's Bay, had been selected for the position of orderly room staff. Shortly before he sailed, Charles was presented with a 'handsome' pair of field glasses by Mr. Fulton. Charles was also promoted from Corporal to Staff Sergeant with service number 2523.

Charles, initially with the 5th Contingent, was later promoted to Lieutenant with the 8th Contingent. On signing on with the 5th Contingent on 28 March 1900 he stated his age as 26 years and 7 months old, that his father Robert Kernon/Kernan Smith was his next-of-kin and that he worked as a stock and station clerk for F.C. Fulton of Napier. He was 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighed 10 stone, had a chest measurement of 36 inches and his religion was Wesleyan. His address was Marine Parade, Napier. His pay was to be split; two thirds to James Hislop, schoolmaster and one third to himself.

On 31 March 1900, 13 officers, 268 men and 233 horses sailed on the 'S.S. Waimate' troopship and arrived at the Cape a month later. During that time, a concert was performed on board and Sergeant C. J. Smith drew up the programme. A letter written by Sergeant E. Lascelles to his father, giving an account of their time aboard the troopship 'S.S. Waimate' was published in the 13 June 1900 edition of the New Zealand Daily Telegraph, see Appendix 1.

Charles was the paymaster for his unit but also fought in many engagements. His commanding officer (CO) wrote on 16 June 1901:
Sergeant Smith has also with his Regiment taken a most active part in the many engagements that we have had and has always been in the first firing line pluckily upheld its honour.
On signing on with the 8th Contingent on 25 January 1902 he stated his age as 27 years and 6 months, that his father Robert Kernon/Kernan Smith was his next-of-kin and that he worked in the stock department of Williams and Kettle Ltd.

Charles was one of the 8 officers and 192 men that made up the South Island Regiment, G Squadron, part of the Eighth Contingent, which sailed to Durban on the 'Cornwall' on 8 February 1902 and returned home on 5 July 1902.

Charles' part in the Boer War conflict is remembered on the Fifth Contingent section of the Marble and Bluestone South African War Memorial on Marine Parade in Napier, New Zealand. He is recorded as 'Stf Sgt. C J Smith (later Lieut 8th)' and the main inscription reads:
This memorial was unveiled by Lord Plunkett K.C.V.O. Governor of the Colony, 10 February 1906.
Committee: S Carnell. Mayor, M N Bower. Town Clerk, C H Edwards. A E Eagleton. Hon Secretary Clerk
These tablets were erected by the people of Hawke's Bay to commemorate the part taken by troopers from this District in the South African War 1899-1902, and as a tribute to patriotism shown by them in offering their services in the empire's cause.
This monument was shattered by an earthquake in February 1931 and was re-erected by citizens of Napier in February
1947.

Charles was awarded the Queens South Africa medal with four clasps, Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal and Rhodesia.

Charles' medal card.
Charles' medal card.
Image courtesy of Ancestry.co.uk (Link opens in a new window)
Copyright 2010, The Generations Network, Inc. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.
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In late 1903, Captain C. J. Smith, now aged 31 and back home, was appointed to the command of the Ranfurly Rifle Volunteers, an infantry body named after a former Governor of New Zealand, which had been founded three years previously with a membership of about fifty. This membership had been steadily declining until Charles took command along with Lieutenant Garry, after which two battalion and three company parades were held monthly.

In November 1906 Charles, who had been working for 'Williams and Kettle' accepted a position in the New Zealand office of the 'Oceanic Steamship Company', in Auckland. His moving away was noted as a great loss to volunteering circles in Napier.

Charles' 78-year-old father, Robert Kernon/Kernan Smith, died in 1911 in New Zealand.

It is not known exactly when he moved but for some years before the outbreak of the Great War Charles had lived in German South West Africa (modern Namibia), and worked in the diamond business, trekking the whole of the interior of the country. On the outbreak of war Charles was interned by German forces as a prisoner of war and was treated with every kindness. He was freed in July 1915 when the German forces surrendered to General Botha's forces.

Charles then proceeded to Cape Town and joined the 8th South African Infantry, with the rank of Captain, and fought in German East Africa (modern Burundi, Rwanda and mainland Tanzania) with General Smuts' forces. He was invalided from East Africa through disease and sent to England and joined the 5th Battalion Middlesex Regiment, a reserve, depot and training unit. Charles spoke excellent German, and when recovered from illness went to France as CO of the 223 Prisoner of War Company in Amiens, France. No doubt his excellent German was useful when interrogating German prisoners. After the war he continued to use his German, helping in the repatriation of German and Polish prisoners in England, France, Flanders and on the Rhine.

There is at the National Archive a very brief service record for Charles with the RAF. There are just three entries:
'Unit to which' 7 S of A;
'Special Remarks re Duties' as disciplinarian officer;
'Incoming Authority Confirming' 017012 16-4-18.
Did Charles intend to join the RAF, but for some reason did not quite make it?

As previously mentioned, Charles' 'Godparents' Thomas Henry and Anna Charles Yorke-Trotter arranged for Charles' body to be buried in their local church St. Mary's, Ewell but there does not seem to have been any Epsom or Ewell newspaper report of his military funeral.

Charles' inscription in St Mary's Ewell
Charles' inscription in St Mary's Ewell
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

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

Probate records show that Charles' last address was the Junior Athenaeum Club, 116 Piccadilly, Westminster, Middlesex. Administration of Charles' effects, valued at £233 8s. 5d., was granted to his unmarried younger sister, Henrietta Maude Smith. Henrietta seems to have led a colourful life and more can be read about her in Appendix 2.

BSM

Sources:
New Zealand Birth, Marriage and Death records:- https://www.bdmhistoricalrecords.dia.govt.nz/home/
New Zealand past papers:- http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast
New Zealand Daily Telegraph 27 March 1900 (Issue 9725, Page 4)
New Zealand Daily Telegraph 3 April 1900 (Issue 9731, Page 8)
New Zealand Daily Telegraph 13 June 1900 (Issue 9789, Page 5)
Boer War service record of John Charles Smith:- http://www.archway.archives.govt.nz/ViewFullItem.do?code=20523402&digital=yes
Ranfurly Rifles:- http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-Cyc06Cycl-t1-body1-d2-d11-d13.html
New Zealand Wairarapa Daily Times 20 November 1906 (Volume LV, Issue 8612, Page 5)
New Zealand Press Press 7 April 1916 (Volume LII, Issue 15559, Page 7)
New Zealand Auckland Star 20 December 1920 (Volume LI, Issue 48, Page 7)
New Zealand Observer 28 February 1920 (Volume XL, Issue 26, Page 10)
Wiltshire and Swindon Archives:- http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a2a/records.aspx?cat=190-15883long&cid=-1%20-%20-1#-1 - -1
Defence of the Realm Act (DORA) 1914:- http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/pathways/firstworldwar/first_world_war/p_defence.htm

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SMITH James Alexander, Private. 69418.

12th/13th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers.
Died 28 May 1918, aged 18.

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

James Alexander Smith was born in Epsom in 1899 (GRO: reference Dec 1899 Epsom 2a 20) to William and Annie Jane Smith (nee Haywood). His parents married in Epsom's St Martin of Tours church on 4 December 1890.

In the 1901 census the family lived at 16, Victoria Place, Epsom. James' Scottish father was a 36 year old railway worker. His Irish mother was aged 33, and he had four siblings. Also living with them was his 55 year old widowed grandmother Ann Heywood (sic) and his 26 year old aunt Emma Heywood (sic).

JAMES ALEXANDER SMITH AND HIS SIBLINGS
Name Born - Died Notes
Mary Margaret J Born: Sep Q 1891 Epsom Baptised 27 September 1891
William Henry Born: Mar Q 1893 Epsom Baptised 4 June 1893
Robert Born: Dec Q 1894 Epsom  
Elizabeth Annie Born: Sep Q 1897 Epsom  
James Alexander Born: Dec Q 1899 Epsom
Died: 28 May 1918
 
Arthur John Born: Dec Q 1901 Epsom  
Rose Born : Dec Q 1903 Epsom Died: 1904 Buried Epsom cemetery Plot C277
Malcolm Born: Jun Q 1905 Epsom  
Alec Charles Born: Jun Q 1906 Epsom  
Kathleen Alice Born: Sep Q 1908 Epsom  
Hector Frank Born: 1909 Epsom (from census) Birth entry shows Sep 1909 Q Epping

The 1911 census shows the family still living at 16, Victoria Place. James' father was working as a contractors Carman, whilst brother William was a 'van boy', and Robert was a 'coachman and gardener'. His mother Annie stated she had been married for 20 years and that ten of her eleven children were still alive. Ann and Emma Haywood were still living with the family.

James does not appear in the Surrey Recruitment Registers and his service papers have not survived. Although the Soldiers Died CD records him as 'Died', suggesting that he died from natural causes, the St Martin's church Roll of Honour states that:
JAMES ALEXANDER SMITH, of 16 Victoria Place was reported missing in France 27th - 29th May 1918.
As his name appears on the Soissons Memorial to the missing, it seems more likely that he was killed by enemy action during the Third Battle of the Aisne (27 May - 3 June 1918).

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

The 21st Division had suffered heavy losses during March and April 1918, and had been withdrawn to a supposedly quite area, the 'Chemin Des Dames', for a period of reorganisation and training. The losses had been partly filled, and mainly by imperfectly trained young recruits. James was probably one of those imperfectly trained recruits.

On 27 May the Germans launched their attack, the third of their five offensives in 1918 that sought to win the war before the Americans arrived in force. Of the 16 Allied Divisions attacked, only three were British; all were weak and resting, in the supposed quiet area, to rebuild their strength. On the first day of the attack the Germans advanced 13 miles and by 30 May were only 37 miles from Paris. But the attack petered out, the Germans had lost some 100,000 men, supply lines were stretched, Allied Divisions were rushed in and for the first time large numbers of American troops were deployed. Six days later on 6 June the Americans made their famous counter attack on Belleau Wood.

Between 27 and 29 May sixty two men from the 12/13 Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers lost their lives.

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

The CWGC website states that he was;
The son of Annie J. Smith, of 16, Victoria Place, East Street, Epsom, and the late William Smith.
(Note: James' father William died in 1923 and was buried in plot E30, Epsom cemetery on 27 August 1923. His mother was buried in the same plot on 30 September 1943).

EP SM

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SMITH Ernest, Private. 6078. Later 232835.

2nd Battalion London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers).
Died 23 February 1917, aged 22.

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

Ernest Smith was born in Clopton, Suffolk in 1895 (GRO reference: Mar 1895 Woodbridge 4a 956) to William and Sarah Jane Smith (nee Baxter). Ernest's parents had married in the June quarter of 1893 in the Woodbridge registration district.

In 1901 the family lived at 'Farm House', Snipe Farm Road, Suffolk, the home of Ernest's widowed grandfather, 68 year old David Smith, a 'Farmer, Employer'. Ernest's 36 year old father was also a 'Farmer, Employer'. His mother aged 32, Ernest was aged 6, his sister Constance was aged 7 and his sister Alice was aged 4.

By 1911 the family had moved to Pulham St. Mary, Norfolk where Ernest's father was 'Yardman on Farm, Worker' and Ernest was a 'Milkman on Farm, Worker'. Ernest's mother seemed unable to remember how long she had been married, but stated that 4 of her 5 children were still living. Ernest and Alice now had a brother, 6 year old Basil. His sister Constance had been recorded but her name was crossed through as she was working away from home as a servant in the Ellough's Rectory near Beccles, Norfolk.

At some time after 1911 the family moved to Forest Hill, London.

Ernest's service record has not survived but the Soldiers Died CD tells us that he enlisted and lived in Lewisham, and his medal card tells us that he was awarded the British War medal and the Victory medal.

Ernest served with the London Regiment, a territorial unit, and was initially numbered 6079, which is the service number that appears on his medal card and soldiers effects form. In early 1917 the territorial force was renumbered and Ernest was given the new number 232835. This is the number used by the Soldiers Died CD and the CWGC website, and neither quote number 6079. Further, the CWGC entry states he served with the 2nd Battalion Royal Fusiliers, which should read 2nd Battalion London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers).

Ernest died of tetanus on 23 February 1917 in Horton War Hospital and was buried on 28 February in grave K647 in Epsom Cemetery, a grave he shares with 8 other servicemen, and is commemorated on the Screen Wall.

The CWGC states that he was the:
Son of William and Sarah Jane Smith, of 109 Beadnell Road, Forest Hill, London. Born at Clopton, Suffolk.
CWGC

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SMITH Leonard Cecil, Sergeant. 231250.

2/2nd Battalion London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers).
Killed in Action 26 October 1917, aged 21

Leonard's inscription on on the Tyne Cot memorial to the missing.
Leonard's inscription on on the Tyne Cot memorial to the missing.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2012

Leonard Cecil Smith was born in Winchester, Hampshire in 1895. The GRO birth reference, Mar 1895 Winchester 2c 119 for a male child, probably refers to Leonard as there is no other likely entry. His parents Sidney Thomas and Margaret Smith (maiden name also Smith) were married in the September quarter of 1884 in the Hastings registration district.

I have been unable to find the family in the 1891 census.

The 1901 census shows the family living at Camels Dale, Fernhurst, Sussex. Leonard's father was a 44 year old sign writer. His mother was aged 44, and he had three siblings, Sidney aged 15 worked as an under gardener, Beatrice aged 12 and Constance aged 9.

By 1911 they were living at 'The Cottage', Waterloo Road, Epsom. His father was now working as a house painter, employed by a builder. Brother Sidney had progressed, and was now a groundsman for the 'Epsom Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club'. Leonard aged 15 was still at school. Mother Margaret stated that she had been married for 27 years and that four of her five children were still living. Also living with them was boarder Amelia Jessup, a 71 year old widow, living on private means.

Leonard's father died in 1918 aged 61 and was buried in grave K721in Epsom cemetery on 29 November. Twelve others are also buried in Plot K721, all in 1918, including William Heffern, a soldier casualty of the Great War.

Leonard's service papers have not survived, so we do not know when he joined up, but his Battalion was in the 173rd Brigade, 58th Division.

On 26 October 1917 the Battalion fought in the 'Second Battle of Passchendaele', a phase of the Third Battle of Ypres. (The third battle of Ypres is popularly known as the Battle of Passchendaele). The following extracts from the Official History gives some idea of the conditions Leonard had to face:
Page 347. After the middle of October the weather improved. The German artillery, however, became more aggressive in its efforts to hinder progress in the laying of plank roads, and to delay other offensive operations, which could be seen from Passchendaele Ridge. Almost nightly from the 14th October onwards to mid-November enemy aircraft bombarded the back areas with high-explosive, and drenched the low ground with gas shell. Sneezing gas (blue cross = diphenyl chlorasine), which made it difficult to keep on the respirators, was followed by mustard gas (yellow cross = dichlorethyl sulphide), which blistered the body and damaged the throat and eyes. Although only a few deaths were caused, some thousands of men of the infantry in support and reserve positions, of the artillery and of the working parties were disabled during this period. Large areas, too, including battery positions and bivouacs, became saturated with mustard oil and could not be reoccupied for some time.

Page 351. On the northern flank, the troops of the Fifth Army met with no success. The XVIII Corps used the 63rd (Royal Naval Division) and the 58th (2/1st London) Division in a renewed effort to advance up the valley of the Lekkerboterbeek. Here, too the mud, knee-deep, checked progress to a crawl of rather less than a yard a minute. The barrage was lost, rifles became quickly clogged, and the men fell back, if they could, to the starting line, or were cut off.
The Soldiers Died CD tells us that Leonard, and 81 other men from his Battalion, were killed in action on 26 October 1917. Leonard has no known grave and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot memorial to the missing.

The St Martin's church Roll of Honour states that:
LEONARD CECIL SMITH, of Waterloo Road was reported missing in France and presumed killed on the 26th October 1917.
He was awarded the British War medal and the Victory medal.

EP SM EB

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SMITH Levi Henry, Private. 18017.

1st Battalion East Surrey Regiment.
Died of Wounds 20 October 1916, aged 23.

Levi's headstone in the Gorre British and Indian cemetery
Levi's headstone in the Gorre British and Indian Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2010

Levi Henry Smith was born in 1893 in Malden Rushett Surrey (GRO Reference: 1893 Epsom 2a 18) to Charles and Sarah Jane Smith (nee Carter). His parents had married on 3 October 1881 in St. Mary and St. Nicholas church, Leatherhead and had eleven children before the 1911 census was taken. Levi was baptised on 7 March 1893 in St. Mary's church, Chessington where it was noted that his father was a labourer and the family address was Lower Malden Rushett, Chessington.

LEVI HENRY SMITH AND HIS SIBLINGS
Name Born - Died Notes
Alfred Charles Born: 28 September 1884 Leatherhead Common Baptised 2 November 1884 St Mary and St Nicholas Leatherhead
Ann Lydia Born: 15 July 1886 Leatherhead Common, Baptised 15 August 1886 St Mary and St Nicholas Leatherhead
Lily Rose Born: 30 September 1887 Leatherhead Common Baptised 6 November 1887 St Mary and St Nicholas Leatherhead
Mabel Kate Born: 6 September 1889 Leatherhead Common Baptised 1 December 1889 St Mary and St Nicholas Leatherhead
Daisy Gertrude Born: 21 December 1890 Star Cottages Leatherhead Common Baptised 31 January 1891 St Mary and St Nicholas Leatherhead
Levi Henry Born: 1893 Leatherhead/Chessington
Died: 20 October 1916 France
Baptised 7 March 1893 St. Mary's Chessington
Rosina Born: 1896 Malden Rushett, Chessington Baptised 23 February 1896 St Mary's Chessington
Walter Edmund Born: 1899 Malden Rushett, Chessington Baptised 14 May 1889
Charles William Born: 1901 Malden Rushett, Chessington Died: 1907 Baptised 19 May 1901 St Mary's Chessington.
Buried 4 January 1907 St Giles Ashtead
James Percy Born: 30 April 1904 Glebe Road Ashtead Died: 1905 Baptised 3 June 1904 St Giles Ashtead
Buried 17 April 1905 St Giles Ashtead
James Percy Born: 13 October 1905 1 Glebe Road Ashtead Baptised 31 December 1905 St Giles Ashtead

The Smith family were living at 6, Star Cottage, Leatherhead Road, Chessington, Surrey when the 1901 census was taken. Levi's father Charles was aged 42 (born 1859 Harbury Gloucestershire) and worked as brick maker while Levi's oldest brother, Alfred Charles aged 16, worked as a carter in the brickfield. Mother Sarah Jane was aged 38 (born 1863 West Grinstead, Sussex) and looked after her seven younger children: Lydia Ann aged 14, Lily Rose aged 13, Mabel Kate aged 11, Daisy aged 10, Levi Henry aged 8. Rose aged 5 and 2-year-old Walter Edward.

In the 1911 census, Levi's parents Charles and Sarah Jane appear at 1, Glebe Road, Ashtead, and living with them were Levi 'James' aged 18, Rose aged 15, Walter Edmund aged 12 and James Percy aged 5. It is not known why Levi's middle name has been recorded as James and not Henry. His parents had been married 29 years and, of Levi's 10 siblings, two had died prior to 1911. Levi was working as a general labourer when this census was taken.

On 25 November 1915 Levi married Louisa Emma Wood in St Barnabas church, Temple Road, Epsom. Levi gave his address as 38, Lower Court Road, Epsom, and his occupation as a stoker. Their daughter Pearl Barbara was born on 11 September 1916.

The Surrey Recruitment Register tells us that Levi attested in Epsom on 8 December 1915 giving his age as 23. He was 5 feet 8¼ inches tall, weighed 138 lbs and had a chest measurement of 37 inches with an expansion of 4 inches. He worked as a stoker at the gas works and lived at 36 Lower Court Road, Epsom (other records show 38 Lower Court Road). Their daughter Pearl Barbara was born on 11 September 1916.

Levi's service record has not survived so we do not know when he was sent to France, but having attested in December 1915 it is unlikely that he went to France before June 1916. He would have known that his wife was pregnant when he left for France, and as the postal system was good, he may even have known that his daughter Pearl was born on 11 September 1916, but as Levi was killed 39 days later, he would not have seen her.

The 1st Battalion East Surrey Regiment was in the 96th Brigade, 5th Division. On 20 October 1916 the Battalion was holding trenches in the Cuinchy sector. Throughout the day the enemy had fired less than usual with their Minnenwerfers (Trench Mortars). However in the evening they opened heavy fire. Our guns fired in retaliation, but had only recently returned from the Somme having fired some 10,000 rounds each. Unfortunately two men from No. 2 Company holding an advanced sap were killed by our own guns firing short. Were they firing short due to being worn out on the Somme? It is fair to presume that Levi Henry Smith was one of the men killed.

Levi is buried in plot III. B. 5. Gorre British and Indian Cemetery. The only other man from the 1st Battalion East Surrey Regiment to be killed on 20 October 1916 was Private Shack Lamb, aged 19. He is buried next to Levi in plot III. B. 6.

A month later, on 19 November, Levi's widow had their daughter Pearl baptised in St. Barnabas church. In the column headed 'Father's Occupation' it was recorded 'Soldier (deceased)'.

Levi was awarded the British War medal and the Victory medal and is remembered on the St. Barnabas church Roll of Honour and on the Ashley Road memorial.

Levi's mother Sarah Jane died in 1921, at 38, Lower Court Road, Epsom, aged 59, and was buried in grave D431 in Epsom Cemetery on 7 November. His father Charles died in 1923, at Middle House, Dorking Road, aged 65, and was buried with his late wife on 7 May.

EP SB

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SMITH Percy Robert, Private. 50984.

18th Battalion Manchester Regiment.
Killed in Action 31 July 1917, aged 19.

Percy's inscription on the Menin Gate memorial to the missing
Percy's inscription on the Menin Gate memorial to the missing
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2011

Percy Robert Smith was born in 1897 in Epsom (GRO reference: Jun 1897 Epsom 2a 20) to Robert and Rose Smith. Robert's mother's maiden name was probably Somerville, as there is a marriage recorded in the Paddington registration district in the June quarter of 1894 between Robert Smith and Rose Somerville.

The 1901 census shows the family living in the High Street, Epsom. Percy's father was a 33 year old bricklayer's assistant. His mother was aged 30 and he had two siblings, Herbert aged 5 and George aged 5 months.

PERCY ROBERT SMITH AND HIS SIBLINGS
Name Born - Died Notes
Herbert Kempton Born: 1896  
Percy Robert Born: 1897
Died: 31 July 1917
 
George Arthur Born: 1900  
Reginald Edward Born: 1903  
Victor William Born: 1906  
Dorothy Alice Born: 1907  
There were two other siblings, but both had died before the 1911 census.

By the 1911 census the family had moved to 4, Ivy Terrace, South Street, Epsom. Percy's father was working for a builder as a house painter. His mother stated that she had given birth to eight children and that six were still living. Percy was working as a boot-maker's errand boy, brother Herbert as a grocer's errand boy and brothers George, Reginald and Victor attended school. Sister Alice was still only three. The family also accommodated three boarders, giving a total of eleven people living in six rooms.

Percy attested on 31 May 1916, stating his age as 18 years and 5 months. He initially joined the 6th Battalion Middlesex Regiment with service number G/19033. The 6th Middlesex Regiment was a training battalion, supplying drafts to whichever units required them. Percy was 5 feet 5 inches tall, weighed 112 lbs and had a chest measurement of 33 inches with an expansion of 2 inches. He medical grade was A2, which meant he only lacked training and would be A1 once he was trained. He earned his living as a boot-maker and lived at 1, Ivy Terrace, South Street, Epsom.

At some point in Percy's military career, probably once his training had been completed, he was transferred to the 18th Battalion Manchester Regiment. This battalion was originally one of the Manchester Pals battalions, known as the 3rd City Battalion, and comprised of clerks and warehousemen, all from Manchester. However, after the devastating losses of the 1916 Somme battle, the geographical naming of battalions ceased to have any real meaning and men recruited from any part of the country were sent to any battalion in need of reinforcement. Hence Percy, a lad born and bred in Epsom, was sent to serve in a 'Manchester' battalion, by then, probably only Manchester by name. The 18th Manchesters were in the 90th Brigade, 30th Division.

The 18th Manchesters went 'over the top', leaving their trenches at 3-50am on 31 July at the commencement of the third Battle of Ypres (also known as the Battle of Passchendaele). They followed an artillery barrage that moved forward at the rate of 25 yards a minute. Their attack, through Sanctuary Wood, had as its first objective 'Stirling Castle', once a fine building but now reduced to a pile of heavily fortified rubble. The attack was then held up at Inverness Copse by machine guns. The battalion was relieved on the night of 2/3 August.

Sanctuary Wood Trench Map - Click image to enlarge
Sanctuary Wood Trench Map - Click image to enlarge

Sanctuary Wood was a misnamed place, offering very little sanctuary. No tree was left unscathed by the shelling, the bleak and wasted landscape having only blasted stumps where mature trees once stood. Another problem was provided by the weather as heavy rain started to fill the shellholes with water. A badly wounded soldier sheltering in a shellhole now faced the prospect of drowning. The unseasonable heavy rain was to last for three days, turning the whole Ypres salient into the infamous muddy quagmire that came to characterise the battle of Passchendaele.

On 31 July 1917, 52 men from the 18th Manchesters lost their lives, including Percy, killed in action. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Menin Gate memorial to the missing.

The St Martin's church Roll of Honour states that:
PERCIVAL (sic) ROBERT SMITH, of 1, Ivy Terrace, South Street, was killed in action in Belgium on the 30th July 1917.
Percy was awarded the British War medal and the Victory medal.

EP SM

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SMITH Selling Daniel, Private. 2715.

23rd Battalion London Regiment.
Killed in Action 4 September 1915, aged 24.

Selling's headstone in Maroc British Cemetery, Grenay
Selling's headstone in Maroc British Cemetery, Grenay
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2010

Selling Daniel Smith was born in 1891 (GRO reference: Jun 1891 Epsom 2a 25) to Daniel Robert and Mary Ann Frederica Smith (nee Bayley) Selling's parents married in Thanet in 1884.

In the 1901 census the family lived at 31, East Street, Epsom. Selling's father was a 37 year old gas works manager. His mother was 44. He had a brother Frederick Selling aged 14 and a sister Miriam Louise aged 12. They employed 29 year old Annie Lillis Hooper as a domestic servant.

The family later moved to 'Bankside', East Street where Sellings' mother died; she was buried in grave F296A in Epsom Cemetery on 23 March 1904. Two months afterwards Sellings' cousin Ambrose Selling James was born on 22 May. Selling's uncle Edward Ambrose and aunt Emma Violet Smith lived in Stepney but had their son Ambrose Selling baptised on 10 July 1904 in St. Barnabas church, Epsom.

The 1911 census records that Selling and his family were still living at 'Bankside', East Street, Epsom. Selling's father was still a gas works manager, his brother Frederick was an assistant gas manager and Selling himself was a clerk at the gas works. They now employed 16 year old Winifred Edwards as their domestic servant.

Selling joined the 23rd Battalion London Regiment, a Territorial Army unit, the on 8 September 1914 at 27, St Johns Hill, Battersea, giving his address as 1 Ashlea, Temple Road, and his age as 23 years and 3 months. He was medically examined, and having good vision and good physical development, was pronounced fit for the Army. He was 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighed 154 lbs, and had a chest measurement of 35 inches with an expansion of 2½ inches.

Selling's brief time with the Army was relatively uneventful:
14 March 1915, embarked from Southampton.
02 August 1915, admitted to 6 Field Ambulance at Noeux-Les-Mines, with sore feet.
04 August 1915, returned to duty.
04 September 1915, killed in action after 175 days in France.
The war diary entries for the date of Selling's death and the days before and after are very brief:
03 September 1915. Battalion relieved 6 Bn. London Regt. in W3.
04 September 1915. 2 men killed 2 wounded.
05 September 1915. Battalion still in W3. Nothing special to note.
With no major battles being fought at the time of Selling's death the Battalion was just 'holding the line', prior to the Battle of Loos that started on 25 September 1915. So what killed the two men and wounded two others? Most likely shellfire, or possibly sniping. Even when no major battles were raging both sides were more or less constantly firing at each other.

In due course Selling's effects were sent to his next of kin, his father, and consisted of:
Leather purse
Birth certificate
Bunch of keys
Tobacco pouch
Small mirror
Tin of cigarettes
Packet of letters
Diary
Packet of photos
Writing pad
Testament
Dictionary
Air cushion
Pencil
Ingersoll watch
Holdall
Tooth brush
Comb
Shaving brush
Stick shaving soap
Selling is buried in plot III. B. 15. Maroc British Cemetery, Grenay, and was probably moved there from an outlying remote grave, after the war. Selling is also remembered on his parents' grave in Epsom Cemetery.

Selling is also remembered on his parents grave in Epsom cemetery
Selling is also remembered on his parents grave in Epsom cemetery.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2011

Probate of Selling's effects valued at £100 4s. 5d. was granted to his father Daniel Robert Smith, gas engineer, on 24 December 1915.

In 1920 Selling's father Daniel received his son's 1915 star, and in 1922 his British War medal and the Victory medal. He then lived at 'Childerplat' East Street, Epsom. He died aged 84 at 22 Alexandra Road, Epsom and was buried in grave F295 on 13 August 1947 in Epsom Cemetery.

EP MC SB PG

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SMITH William, Private. G4643.

2nd Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment.
Killed in Action 13 October 1915 aged 19.

Private William Smith's Inscription on the Loos Memorial
Private William Smith's Inscription on the Loos Memorial
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2007

William Smith was born in West Ewell on 6 August 1896 (GRO reference: Sep 1896 Epsom 2a 21) to Richard and Leah Smith (nee Tidy). William was baptised on 13 September 1896 in St. Mary's church, Ewell, the same church that his parents had married in on 26 December 1891.

The 1901 census records the family living in Chessington Road (near the Plough Inn), West Ewell. William's father was a 36 year old 'General Labourer'. William had three brothers Richard aged 8, George aged 7 and Bertie aged 1, and a sister Alice Maud aged 2.

William, having previously attended Ewell National Infants, started at Ewell Boys School on 1 May 1903. His sister Rose Anna was born the following year and his sister Florence Emily in 1906.

His family were still living in Chessington Road when the 1911 census was taken. His father filled out the form stating that he and his wife of 19 years had had 7 children and that none of them had died. He listed them as Richard aged 18, who was working like his father as a domestic gardener, George aged 17 who was working as a farm labourer, while Bill (William) aged 14, and his younger siblings Alice aged 12, Bert aged 11, Rose aged 6 and Florence aged 5 were all at school. However, William had actually left school, aged 14, on 27 July 1910 but had no work to go to.

William attested on 23 November 1914 at Kingston-Upon-Thames, giving his age as a very precise 19 years and 75 days. This would mean he was born on 9 September 1895. However, the GRO entry shows his birth in 1896 and his school records give his birthday as 6 August 1896. Perhaps he added a year and a bit to make sure he was accepted. He acknowledged that he had received a notice from the Epsom Recruiting Committee.

He was originally assigned to the 3rd Battalion Sussex Regiment, a reserve and training battalion, in Chichester, and transferred to the 2nd Battalion on 18 May 1915 when his training was completed and sent to France. He was 5 feet 8frac14; inches tall, weighed 144lbs, and had a chest measurement of 35 inches with an expansion of 3½ inches. He had been vaccinated in infancy and this had left two marks on his left arm. He was unmarried worked as a 'carter' and lived at 2 Godfrey's Cottages, Chessington Road. His father Richard was his next of kin, and his religion was C of E. His physical development was noted as good, and he had perfect 6/6 vision in both eyes.

On the 16 June 1915 he was given 3 days Confined to Barracks (CB) for 'Inattention in the ranks', awarded by Captain Finch.

The 2nd Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment was in the 2nd Brigade, 1st Division. The Division attacked on the 13 October 1915 towards the end of the battle of Loos. At 1.00 pm gas and smoke was discharged to the south west of Hulluch, by the 1st Division between the Hohenzollern Redoubt and the Vermelles-Auchy road. Other Divisions also discharged gas and smoke. The discharge of smoke continued until 2pm but the gas was stopped at 1.50pm, which warned the enemy that an attack was soon to begin. At 2.00pm the attack commenced along the Lens-La Bassée road between Loos and Hulluch. Only four passages through the wire had been cut by the bombardment, and despite efforts to cut through, the attack was halted. The survivors withdrew after dark.

On 13 October 1915 thirty men from the 2nd Royal West Sussex Regiment lost their lives including William who was killed in action. He is commemorated on the Loos Memorial, Panel 69 to 73.

The CWGC states he was the;
Son of Mr and Mrs Richard Smith, of, 2 Chessington Road, West Ewell, Surrey.
The Epsom Advertiser dated 12 November 1915, reported that the Ewell Parish Council, chaired by Mr. Glyn, had heard of two other deaths since the last meeting. Mrs. Smith, one of whose sons was mentioned then as being wounded, had lost another son in action. A letter of sympathy was to be sent.

On 27 January 1916 'Effects form 118A' stated that all William's effects should be sent to his father Richard, at 2 Godfrey's Cottages, West Ewell.

As his next of kin, William's father was given his son's;
  • 1914-1915 Star, received August 1919
  • Commemorative scroll, received 11 February 1920
  • British War Medal, received 20 January 1921
  • Victory Medal, received 29 October 1921.
BH EW ES AS

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SMITHERS William James, Private. G/33239.

2nd Battalion Middlesex Regiment.
Killed in Action 28 November 1917, aged 39.

Williams headstone in the Passchendaele New British Cemetery.
Williams headstone in the Passchendaele New British Cemetery.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbery © 2011

William James Smithers was born in 1878 in Addlestone (GRO reference: Sep 1878 2a 39) to David and Emily Smithers (nee Miles). His parents had married in 1872 in the same registration district. David and Emily had ten children:

WILLIAM JAMES SMITHERS AND HIS SIBLINGS
Name Born - Died Married
Ellen Augusta Born: 1874 James William Arthur 1894 Epsom
Louisa Ann Born: 1876 George Mortimer 1899 Epsom
William James Born: 1878 Died: 28 November 1917 Martha Clark Mortimer 1904 Leighton Buzzard
Albert George Born: 1880 Sarah Sayers 1900 Epsom
Edith Born: 1887 Edwin F Moore 1928 Epsom
Ernest Born: 1890 Ethel A Wright 1913 Epsom
4 other children Details unknown  

The 1881 census shows that the family was living at Hyde Cottage, Wisley. William's 34 year old father was working as an agricultural labourer to support his 30 year old wife Emily and their children, Ellen aged six, William himself aged two and one year old Albert. Four year old Louisa was living with her maternal grandparents George and Elizabeth Miles.

The family was still living at the same address ten years later in 1891. Their two eldest daughters Ellen and Louisa lived and worked as servants at different addresses. William now aged 13 was working, like his father, as an agricultural labourer. Brother Albert aged 11 was a scholar, and two more siblings had been born, Edith aged four and Ernest aged 2.

The 1901 census shows the family living at 2, Park Farm Cottage, Leatherhead Road, Chessington, Surrey. William's father David, aged 54 was still working as an agricultural labourer to support his 50 year old wife Emily and his eleven year old brother Ernest. William aged 22 was working as a builder's labourer.

During the December quarter of 1904 William married Martha Clark Mortimer in the Leighton Buzzard registration district.

The 1911 census shows that William's parents were still living at their 1901 address with their son Ernest (spelt Earnest on the census form). They stated they had been married 40 years and had had ten children of whom six had died.

In 1911, William, his wife Martha and their four children were living at 2, Walton Cottages, Chessington, near Surbiton, Surrey. William was aged 32 and worked as a general labourer for the London County Council. His wife of six years, 32 year old Martha Clark had been born in Wing, Bucks. They had had four children, all still living. Martha's daughter from a previous relationship, Louise Norman (sic) Mortimer, born in Wing, Bucks, was also living with them.

William and Martha had two more sons in later years. Their children:
  • Edith Emily, born Chessington, Surrey, 1905.
  • Lucy Annie, born Chessington, Surrey, 1906.
  • Doris Jane, born Chessington, Surrey, 1908.
  • Thomas William, born Chessington, Surrey, 1910.
  • George E, born Epsom registration district, 1912. Note: Chessington is within the Epsom registration district
  • Edward F, born Epsom registration district, 1915..
Thomas Williams Smithers son of William born 15 Feb 1910
Thomas Williams Smithers born 15 Feb 1910
Son of William James and Martha Smithers
Photo curtsey of Jo Smithers © 2011

William attested on 11 December 1915 at Epsom. He stated that he was aged 37, worked as a labourer and lived at 2, Walton Cottages, Chessington. He was 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighed 130 lbs and had a chest measurement of 36 inches with an expansion of 3 inches. He served in the 2nd Battalion Middlesex Regiment which was in the 23rd Brigade, 8th Division.

The battle of third Ypres officially ended on 12 November 1917. However, the front line had to be manned and the British policy of maintaining a show of threatening activity continued, and neither side stopped shelling and sniping.

In November 1917, to get from Ypres to the front line required a walk of several miles along duck-boards. To step off the duck-boards meant sinking to the knees in mud from which it was impossible to extricate oneself unaided. Some men who got into this mud in the dark, after many hours of exposure, died from cold and exhaustion. The old Passchendaele battlefield was a vast bog, seamed by narrow lines of duck-board tracks, which were well known to the enemy artillery, and were swept day and night with high-explosive and shrapnel. William's battalion alternated between holding the line and providing carrying parties taking supplies up to front line troops.

On 28 November 1917 the 2nd Middlesex were holding the line just north east of Passchendaele. The war diary recorded the following:
Battalion shelled almost constantly. Shelling became intense on Front Line, Bellevue & roads & tracks from 8.30pm to 10pm. Nearly all shelters of Coys at Bellevue were blown in & had to be redug when shelling slackened. Killed 6 OR. Wounded 10 OR.
William, aged 39 was most likely killed by shellfire whilst 'holding the line'.

William is buried in plot XI. A. 9. Passchendaele New British Cemetery. All of the 2,101 graves were created after the armistice when bodies were brought in from the surrounding countryside and reburied. 1,600 of the graves are unidentified, and bear words suggested by Rudyard Kipling, 'Known unto God'.

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

Before the war he worked for the London County Council as a labourer at the Manor Asylum. His name appears in the book 'RECORD OF WAR SERVICE, London County Council Staff 1914 - 1918', and on the Manor Asylum War Memorial (held in safe keeping at the Bourne Hall Museum).

EP MH

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SNOOK Walter, Private. 4032.

9th Battalion East Surrey Regiment.
Died of wounds 13 January 1916, aged 29.

Walter's headstone in Brandhoek Military cemetery
Walter's headstone in Brandhoek Military cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2010

No record of Walter's previous life has been found before 1911 when he appeared on the census as a boarder living with the Jones family in Forton Longparish Hampshire where he worked as a 25 year old domestic gardener. His birth year therefore has been calculated as being c1886. Walter's place of birth has been recorded as Redenham Hampshire. This is just outside Andover, the place that is recorded as Walter's birthplace on Soldiers Died.

During the next 4 years Walter must have moved to Ewell, maybe to work as a gardener in one of the large houses in the village such as Garbrand Hall, as the Surrey Recruitment Register shows a Walter Snook aged 27 attesting in Epsom on 7 September 1914, into the Bedfordshire Regiment.

The CWGC and the Medal Roll show him in the 9th East Surreys, so presumably he was transferred at some stage. The recruitment register also states he was born at Rederham [Redenham] Hants.

He was 5 feet 5 inches tall, weighed 118 lbs and had a chest measurement of 34 inches, with an expansion of 3 inches. He had a fresh complexion, grey eyes and brown hair, and was a gardener.

Walter was in the 9th Battalion East Surrey Regiment which was in the 72nd Brigade 24th Division. Between 7 and 13 January 1916 the battalion was not involved in any major battles, but was holding the line near Hooge in the Ypres salient. At this point of the Western Front some trenches were only 20 yards apart. During the six days in the line the battalion lost six men killed and two who died of wounds. At any time, the front line trenches might be subjected to artillery fire, trench mortars or snipers.

Apart from his enlistment in Epsom I have found no local connection.

Walter died of wounds on 13 January 1916 and is buried in Brandhoek Military cemetery, 1 J 24.

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

BH EW

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SOLOMON Charles Napier, Private. 28175.

Suffolk Regiment: Norfolk Regiment: Eastern Command Labour Corps (161329).
Died 16 June 1918, aged 24.

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

Charles Napier Solomon was born on 10 October 1893 in Carlton Colville, Lowestoft (GRO reference: Dec 1893 Mutford 4a 920), to Charles Napier and Harriet Naomi Solomon (nee Barrett). Charles' parents had married in the December quarter of 1879 in the Mutford registration district.

CHARLES NAPIER SOLOMON AND HIS SIBLINGS
NameBorn - DiedNotes
Arthur WesleyBorn: 9 October 1880 Carlton Colville
Died: 1972 Yarmouth
Married Emma Baker 1903
Gertrude LouisaBorn: 1883 Carlton ColvilleMarried Albert George Bunn 1902
Agatha AliceBorn: 1885 Carlton ColvilleMarried Charles Rayner 1905
AnnieBorn: 1888 Carlton Colville
Died: 1911 Mutford district
.
Napoleon BonaparteBorn: 15 December 1890 Carlton Colville
Died: 1 February 1975 Waverley, Suffolk
Also served: Suffolk Regiment and Labour Corps
MichaelBorn: 15 December 1890 Carlton Colville
Died: 1917 Dover district
Discharged from Army Service Corps on
11 December 1914, after 6 years 310 days service,
suffering from TB of the lungs.
Charles NapierBorn: 10 October 1893 Carlton Colville
Died: 16 June 1918 Epsom
.
Note: Arthur, Agatha and Annie were registered as Solomon, whereas Gertrude, Napoleon, Michael and Charles were registered as Soloman.

The 1881 census records Charles' parents living 'near The Ship', Carlton Colville. Charles' father was a 25 year old 'Ag Lab'; his mother was aged 23 and his older brother Arthur was 8 months old. Living nearby were two more Solomon families and a Barrett family.

By 1891 the family was living at 'Ship Corner'. Charles' father was not at home on census night and Charles' mother 34 year old Naomi Solomon was recorded as the head of the family. Charles' siblings were listed: Arthur aged 10, Gertrude aged 8, Agatha aged 5, Annie aged 3 and twins Napoleon and Michael aged 5 months.

In 1901 the family was still living 'near The Ship'. At home on census night, in addition to Charles' parents, were his siblings Arthur aged 20, Annie aged 13, Michael and Napoleon aged 10 and Charles himself aged 7. Charles' twin brothers, Napoleon and Michael, enlisted into the Army Service Corps on 5 February 1908. Napoleon was discharged on 22 December 1909.

In 1911, whilst still living at Carlton Colville, Charles' mother recorded that she had been married for 31 years and that all her 7 children were still alive. Charles, a labourer, and his brother Michael, a fisherman, were both boarders at 'Sycamore Estate, Carlton Colville', the home of their sister married Gertrude Bunn.

Charles married Elizabeth Lily Jane Woolnough on 31 March 1913, in St Michael's Church, Oulton Broad, Suffolk. They had three children, Jack Douglas Solomon born 3 November 1913, Jessie May Lavinia Solomon born 8 February 1916 and Michael P Solomon born 27 January 1918, registered as Soloman.

Charles' mother Harriett Naomi died in the September quarter of 1913 in the Mutford registration district. His father died in 1928.

Although Charles' service papers have survived they are badly fire damaged and difficult to read. Charles attested on 6 June 1916 at Lowestoft and was mobilised 5 July at Bury St, Edmonds. Charles was aged 23, married, worked as a labourer and initially served as Private No. 34771 in the 3rd Battalion Suffolk Regiment, a training battalion. He was 5 feet 7¼ inches tall, weighed 112 lbs, had perfect 6/6 vision in both eyes and had a chest measurement of 35 inches with an expansion of 2 inches.

On 9 October 1916, after 13 weeks training he was discharged from the Suffolk Regiment to Army reserve category W, meaning he would be of more use in a civilian capacity, but he was still liable to recall. He was judged:
'Not likely to become an efficient soldier "Para 392 (iii)(cc) K.R. 1912'. has had 13 weeks training but finds owing to the great shortness of breath he cannot manage. He has D.A.H. which has always troubled him. Will never make an efficient soldier. Not due to military service.
However, on 6 February 1917 he was attached to the Norfolk Regiment Depot and on 3 March he was transferred to the Norfolk Regiment. Then on 25 May he was transferred to the 5th Labour Battalion.

Charles was admitted from Sutton into the Horton War Hospital, Epsom on 14 February 1918 and was found to be suffering with acute pulmonary tuberculosis, from which he died at 12.45 a.m. on 16 June 1918. His wife was with him when he died. Charles was buried on 19 June in grave K650 and is commemorated on the screen wall. He shares the grave with three other servicemen.

On 14 October 1918 army form 'Effects--Form 118A' was sent out by the War Office, requiring all of Charles' effects to be sent to his wife Mrs Elizabeth Lily Jane Solomon at 2 Christ Church Lane, Whapload Road, Lowestoft.

Commencing on 23 December 1918, Charles' widow was awarded a pension of 29s 7d for herself and three children. She married William Banham in the December quarter of 1919 in the Mutford registration district and lived at 19 Wellington Cottages, Clapham Road, Lowestoft.

As Charles did not serve overseas he received no medals.

CWGC

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SPARROW Henry, Private. 30166.

4th Bedfordshire Regiment
Killed in Action 13 November 1916, aged 27.

Henry's headstone in the Y Ravine Cemetery
Henry's headstone in the Y Ravine Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

Henry Sparrow was born in Ewell on 25 January 1888 (GRO reference Jun 1888 Epsom 2a 23), and was baptised at St Mary's church Ewell on 5 August 1888. He was the fourth son of William Henry, a tile maker from Ewell, and Mary Ann Orton Sparrow (nee Edwards) from Walsall, Worcestershire. Henry's parents married on 23 April 1882 at St Mary's and lived in the Gibraltar area at the end of West Street, Ewell; they had 13 children, including two sets of twins, all born in Ewell, all surviving to adulthood, and all baptised at St Mary's Ewell.

In the 1891 census the family lived at Gibraltar, Ewell. Henry's father was a 'Labourer', and he had four siblings Percy aged 8, Bertram aged 7, William aged 4, and Mary aged 10 months.

Henry Sparrow And His Siblings
Name Born - Died Notes
Percy William George Born: 28 August 1882
Died: 1972 Epsom
Married Mary Ann Shields 1906 Godstone
Bertram Born: 1884
Died: 1945 Epsom
Married Clara Thorne 1910 Wycombe, Bucks
William Henry Born: 30 April 1886
Died: 1964 Epsom
Married Frances Hodge 1909 Epsom (died 1933)
Married Lillian Charlotte Goodship 1940
Henry Born: 25 January 1888 Epsom
Died: 13 November 1916 France
Married Jessie Elliot 22 March 1913
Mary Orton Born: 1890
Died: 1954 Epsom
Married Charles Benjamin Hughes 1919 Epsom
Esther Dorothy Born: 31 August 1892
Died: 1929 Epsom
Married Philip Gordon Payne 5 June 1920 Ewell
Albert George Born: 31 August 1892
Died: 1966 Epsom
Married Rose Martin 1922 Malling, Kent
Arthur Born: 10 May 1894
Died: 1977 Worthing
 
Wilfred Born: 7 September 1896 Married Grace King Wright 23 July 1919 Ewell
Ethel May Born: 7 September 1896
Died: 1919 Ewell
Married Percy Hughes 22 December 1919 Ewell
Eleanor Born: 23 November 1897
Died: 1974 Sailsbury
Married Walter Frederick Keys 23 July 1919 Ewell
Annie Florence Born: 15 April 1900
Died: 16 February 1989 Epsom
Married Jason Henry Lavender 6 February 1924 Ewell
Frederick Born: 28 December 1902
Died: 1974 Epsom
 
NOTE: William, Albert and Wilfred also served in the Army, attesting together on 14 January 1916.

Henry attended Ewell Boys' School, West Street between 4 June 1895 and 2 May 1902, when he left to become a 'house boy'.

In the 1901 census the family was still living in 'Gibraltar' (now West Street near the railway), and Henry's father was a 'Labourer General' as was his brother Percy, whilst brother Bertram was a labourer in Pottery. There were another seven siblings, including two sets of twins, Esther and Albert aged 8, Arthur aged 6, Ethel and Wilfred aged 4, Ella aged 3 and Annie aged 11 months.

By 1911 Henry's father had been promoted to foreman at the Pottery or Brickworks in London Road, and the family lived in Nonsuch Cottage on the brickworks site. Henry, aged 23, worked as a general labourer, brother Albert, aged 18 was a potter's labourer and 16 year old Arthur was a domestic gardener.

The Ewell school Old Boys' Association membership card for 1913-1914, lists Henry of Nonsuch Cottage, London Road, Ewell, as a member. His brothers Albert, Percy, William and Wilfred were also members.

Henry married Jessie May Elliott in St Mary's church on 22 March 1913. They lived at 2, Mill Lane and had two sons, Leslie William Henry born 9 December 1913 and Albert Edward born 4 February 1916.

The Surrey Recruitment Register records Henry, aged 26, attesting in Epsom on 3 December 1915, into the 4th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment.. He was 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighed 138 lbs and had a chest measurement of 37 inches, with an expansion of 3 inches and worked as a labourer.

The 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment was initially a training unit based at Felixstowe for home defence duty with the Harwich Garrison. Later, the Battalion converted to a front line infantry unit and as part of the 190th Brigade, 63rd (Royal Naval) Division, went to France on 25 July 1916.

The 13 November 1916 saw the start of The Battle of the Ancre, a phase of the Battle of the Somme which led to the capture of Beaumont-Hamel. This was to be the first major action for the 4th Bedfords.

On 12 November the 4th Bedfords marched to assembly trenches off 'Bedford Street' and 'Victoria Street', in preparation for the attack the next morning. The Battalion attacked at 6-45 a.m. between Beaumont Hamel and the right bank of the river Ancre.

The Battalion advanced and sustained heavy casualties among Officers and NCOs in and near the enemy front line from a strongpoint established between enemy front line and second line, which had been passed over by the leading Brigades. The Battalion advanced to the enemy second line and from there parties pushed forward to Station Road and beyond. The War Diary records that on 13 November nine officers were killed or died of wounds, and five were wounded. Other Ranks losses were 48 men killed, nine dying of wounds, 16 missing and 108 wounded.

Henry was killed in action, and is buried in Y Ravine Cemetery, Beaumont Hamel. He is commemorated on the Special Memorial D3.

The Y Ravine Cemetery, Beaumont Hamel
The Y Ravine Cemetery, Beaumont Hamel.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

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

Henry's widow Jessie, married William H. Walker in 1918 in the Epsom registration district; she died in 1920.

Henry's son Leslie William, married Violet Edith Neville in April 1937, in Epsom. He died in 2006 in the Medway area.

His other son Albert Edward married Ruth Chettleburgh in 1942. He died on 10 August 2006 in Sutton.

BH EW ES

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SPENCE Colin George, Private. 121369.

3rd Battalion Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment).
Died, Bronchitis & Pneumonia 18 November 1918, aged 19.

Colin's headsttone in Epsom Cemetery
Colin's headsttone in Epsom Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2010

Colin George Spence was born on 3 December 1899 (GRO reference: Mar 1900 Epsom 2a 20) to Colin and Jane Spence (nee Stone). His parents were married on 17 January 1895 in Epsom Registry Office.

In the 1901 census the family lived at Myrtle Cottage, Woodlands Road, Epsom. Colin's father, also Colin, born in Scotland, was a 36 year old cab driver. His mother was aged 42, and he had two older siblings, John Frederick aged 5 and Eleanor Jessie aged 3. Another sibling, Margaret Jane was born on 26 November 1902 but died soon after on 4 March 1903.

In 1911 the family were still living at Myrtle Cottage. Colin's father was now working as a porter for a local coal merchant, and brother John was a 15 year old telegraph messenger boy. They also had a lodger, 85 year old Peter Osborne.

Colin attested on 11 September 1916 in Kingston and was assigned to the 31st Training Reserve Battalion giving his age as 17 years and 9 months. He was 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighed 112 lbs, had a chest measurement of 33 inches with an expansion of 2 inches and was medical category A4, which meant he would be A1 when old enough. He was living at 16, Woodlands Road, Epsom, and worked as a cab driver. Although attesting on 11 September 1916, he was not mobilised until 3 March 1917 and was transferred to 585 Agricultural Company to work as a farm labourer. He was posted on 9 October 1917 to the 486 Home Service (HS) Employment Company at Clipstone, and on 27 November to 490 Agricultural Company at Lichfield.

Finally on 3 November 1918 he was transferred to 3rd Battalion Sherwood Foresters at Sunderland as part of the Tyne garrison. His time there was short-lived as he died at Sunderland War Hospital on 18 November, another victim of the influenza pandemic. His official cause of death was bronchitis and pneumonia.

Colin's body was brought to Epsom, and he was laid to rest in plot D 368 in Epsom Cemetery on 23 November 1918. Also in the same plot are Colin's father who was buried on 11 February 1927, and his mother buried in October 1952.

All of Colin's war service was spent in the UK, he therefore received no medals.

EP CC

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SPIKESMAN Thomas, Private. 206553.

2/4th Battalion The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment).
Killed in Action 27 December 1917, aged 22.

Registered at birth as Thomas Whittington, Thomas Spikesman was born in 1895 (GRO reference: March 1896 Epsom 2a 18) before his mother Maria Whittington married Thomas Spikesman on 25 April 1896 at Christ Church. Thomas' father, also Thomas, was the 27-year-old son of John Spikesman, a shepherd. Maria's father was George Whittington, a deceased blacksmith.

Thomas' only sibling, his sister Lucy was born on 8 October 1897, was baptized at Christ Church on 4 November 1897, and died in 1977, aged 80. She married Albert Edward Kitcherside, in Epsom in 1921, the brother of Edwin Kitcherside who also appears on the Ashley Road and Christ Church memorials.

In the 1901 census, Thomas' family were living at 4, Woodland Cottages, Woodlands Road, the home of Thomas' maternal grandmother, Emma Whittington, a self-employed laundress. Thomas senior was a 31-year-old general labourer and his wife Maria, aged 26, looked after Thomas aged 5 and Lucy aged 3. They had all been born in Epsom.

The Spikesman family continued to live with Emma Whittington throughout the early years of the century and was again recorded as living with her in the 1911 census. Emma was still employed at home as a laundress and, although Maria was also a laundress, she was evidently working elsewhere. Thomas' father was now a coal porter, whilst Thomas himself, aged 15, was a Post Office telegraph messenger. Thirteen year old Lucy was still at school.

Thomas' service record has not survived but we know from the Soldiers Died CD that he enlisted, and lived in Reigate. His medal card tells us that he went on active service on 17 July 1915. Thomas served in the 2/4th Battalion Queen's Regiment, which was in the 160th Brigade, 53rd Division. The Division embarked from Devonport on 17 July 1915, sailing via Alexandria to Lemnos, arriving between 29 July and 7 August 1915. On 9 August it landed at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli, and was evacuated in early December to Alexandria via Mudros. During that period 82 men from the battalion lost their lives.

During 1916 and 1917 the Division fought against the Turks in the Palestine campaign. Jerusalem was captured from the Turks during the period 7 and 9 December 1917, and then had to be defended.

The 2/4 Queen's war diary dated 27 December 1917 reads as follows:
At dawn on December 27th, the enemy bombarded our positions on ZAMBY, WHITE HILL, and the WALL and all the morning attempted to gain a footing on these positions, but was rejected, suffering heavy casualties from an artillery fire, and from grenades, rifles and machine guns. He succeeded, however, in reaching the forward slopes of ZAMBY, and working his way round the southern side of WHITE HILL: this rendered the position of our garrison on the reverse slope of WHITE HILL untenable, and it accordingly withdrew down the WALL to ZAMBY: a small post on the forward slope of WHITE HILL, sheltered by small scrapes, was able to maintain its position until nightfall. The enemy did not occupy the crest of WHITE HILL, nor did they succeed in reaching our line on ZAMBY. The Battalion, which sustained during the day, the casualties enumerated below, was reinforced at midday by 3 companies of the 2/10 Middlesex Regt. and at 21.00 was relieved by the 1/7th Royal Welsh Fusiliers after a severe day's fighting. The 1/7th R.W.F. re-occupied WHITE HILL by night and the enemy accordingly had gained nothing from a very costly attack. During the action
          Lieut. C.M.W. JEPHSON, 2/4 Queen's
          2/Lieut F.C.L. Ridpath, 2/4 Queen's were killed
and    2/Lieut R.JH. Harrison, 7th Middlesex attached 1/4 (sic) Queen's was wounded.
Also 33 O.R. were killed, and 67 O.R. were wounded
Thomas Spikesman was killed in action on 27 December 1917 whilst defending Jerusalem from the Turks. He is buried in plot R. 115. in Jerusalem War Cemetery.

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

The CWGC states that he was the son of 'Thomas and Maria Spikesman, of 42, Woodlands Rd., Epsom, Surrey.'

EP CC

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STEDMAN Sydney Edwin Barkshire, Private. 68599.

1st Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC).
Died of Wounds 18 April 1918, aged 42.

Sydney's headstone in the Fouquieres Churchyard Extension Cemetery
Sydney's headstone in the Fouquieres Churchyard Extension Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

Sydney Edwin Barkshire Stedman was born in 1876 in Reading (GRO reference: Jun 1876 Reading 2c 371) to George and Elizabeth Stedman (nee Barkshire).

In the 1881 census the family were living at 9 Conduit Crescent Berkshire. Sydney's 36-year-old father George, who was from Shrewsbury, Shropshire, was working as a clerk at a seed merchant to support his 34 year-old wife Elizabeth and their children George Percy aged 10, Reginald aged 8, Gertrude Marie aged 6, Sydney himself aged 5 and Arthur Brookes aged 2. Also boarding there was 64 year old spinster, Maria M Burt, a retired governess.

Sydney was aged 15 when the 1891 census was taken and he and his family were living at 40 Milman, Road, Reading. His father was now working as a commercial clerk while his brother George was working as an engineer's draftsman. Two more siblings had been born, Mary Ethel aged 8 and Leonard Brookes aged 5. Maria Burt was still boarding with them.

Sydney's name appeared in the Edinburgh Gazette on 6 January 1893 as a newly appointed Civil Servant's Boy Clerk. Later on 6 May 1898 he was again mentioned in the same paper under 'Post Office', as being "appointed to Clerkship grouped under the scheme for the Supplementary Establishment of the Secretary's office".

Sydney was still working as a clerk in a secretary's office for the GPO (General Post Office) when the 1901 census was taken. Living with him at 73, Park Lane, Stoke Newington was his 63 year old aunt Elizabeth Stedman, and a boarder, 23 year old Robert Adams from Ireland, also working as a clerk with the GPO.

On the 29 May 1907 Sydney married Beatrice Barnard (also from Reading) in Christ Church, Eastbourne East Sussex (GRO reference: Jun 1907 Eastbourne 2b 140). They produced no children.

In the 1911 census Sydney now aged 35, and still a clerk in the GPO, was living with his wife Beatrice, also aged 35, at 5, York Road, New Southgate. They employed a domestic servant, 20 year old Dorothy Hulford.

At the age of 39 Sydney was quite old to be volunteering for the Army for the first time. He also had very poor eyesight, rated at 6/60 in both eyes without glasses, but improving to 6/12 for the left eye and 6/9 for the right eye, with glasses. This was recorded on 19 August 1915 on Army Form B. 203, an application for the special enlistment of a recruit, and in Sydney's case specially enlisted into the RAMC. It was noted that he was 'up to standard' apart from vision. Despite bad eyesight he was recommended for recruitment into the RAMC. The reasons for recommendation being given as; Eyesight under standard. Is in possession of a first aid certificate of the St Johns Ambulance Association.

Having been told he would be accepted, Sydney attested on 4 September 1915 at 32, St Paul's Churchyard London into the RAMC, as Private 68599. He was 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighed 130 lbs, had a 36 inch chest with a 3 inch expansion, a sallow complexion, grey eyes, brown hair, a mole on his left collar bone, and 9 vaccination marks from infancy. He gave his occupation as Civil Servant, and lived at 78, Brownlow Road, New Southgate.

Sydney embarked from Devonport with the 95th Field Ambulance (31st Division) on 10 January 1916, and disembarked at Alexandria on 23 January 1916. The Division was there to defend the Suez Canal. Sydney's stay there was short lived as on 9 March he embarked from Alexandria, arriving at Marseilles on 15 March. Then on 25 April he transferred to No. 1 General hospital at Etretat, and on to Rouen on 31 May. Finally on 21 June he was posted to No1 Field Ambulance, part of the 1st Division.

Sydney died of wounds received during the Battle of the Lys, 9 April to 29 April 1918. The battle, also known as 'Georgette', was the second of General Lundendorff's great offensives in 1918 to try to win the war before the Americans arrived in great numbers. The plan was to break through the British lines and capture the Channel ports, thereby denying the British Army its supply lines. The battle commenced with massive bombardments, and in some parts of the line the Germans did advance 5 miles, but although a breakthrough was never achieved the situation became so serious for the British Army that Douglas Haig issued his famous 'Backs to the wall', special order of the day.

To ALL RANKS OF THE BRITISH ARMY IN FRANCE AND FLANDERS

     Three weeks ago to-day the enemy began his terrific attacks against us on a fifty-mile front. His objects are to separate us from the French, to take the Channel Ports and destroy the British Army.
     In spite of throwing already 106 Divisions into the battle and enduring the most reckless sacrifice of human life, he has as yet made little progress towards his goals.
     We owe this to the determined fighting and self-sacrifice of our troops. Words fail me to express the admiration which I feel for the splendid resistance offered by all ranks of our Army under the most trying circumstances.
     Many amongst us now are tired. To those I would say that Victory will belong to the side which holds out the longest. The French Army is moving rapidly and in great force to our support.
     There is no other course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause each one of us must fight on to the end. The safety of our homes and the freedom of mankind alike depend upon the conduct of each one of us at this critical moment.
General Headquarters                       D. Haig F.M.,
Tuesday, April 11th, 1918.          Commander-in-Chief
British Armies in France
Sydney died from his wounds on 18 April 1918 and is buried in plot II. H. 4. in Fouquieres Churchyard Extension Cemetery. The village of Fouquieres-les-Bethune is about 1 kilometre southwest of Bethune. Buried next to Sydney in plot II. H. 3., and from the same unit is William White, who died of wounds on the same day as Sydney.

The Fouquieres Churchyard Extension Cemetery
The Fouquieres Churchyard Extension Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

A memo dated 26 April 1918 shows that Sydney's widow Beatrice was granted a 'Separation Allowance' of 12 shillings and 6 pence (62½ p), payable until 27 October 1918. Then, another memo dated 12 October 1918, granted her a pension of 13 shillings and 9 pence (68¾ p) payable from 28 October 1918. At that time she was living at 2, Grove Road, Epsom.

On 1 August 1918 Sydney's widow Beatrice acknowledged receipt of her deceased husband's personal effects consisting of a disc, silver disc, letters, pocket book, wallet, scissors and a pipe pouch.

At some time in October 1919 it seems that Beatrice moved to 39, Ringwood Road, Eastbourne, probably to be near to her mother and sisters who lived in Eastbourne.

On 16 October 1919 Beatrice completed 'Army Form W. 5080' which required her to list all Sydney's close relatives who were still living. She declared that his parents were dead but his siblings George, Arthur, Leonard, Gertrude and May were all listed as still alive, and living in Reading and Essex. Beatrice acknowledged receipt of Sydney's Victory and British medals on 13 July 1921.

Sydney is also commemorated on the Eastbourne War Memorial.

The Eastbourne War Memorial
A close-up of Sydney's inscription
The Eastbourne War Memorial with a close-up of Sydney's inscription
Images courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2010

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STEVENS Gordon, Corporal. 44598.

D Company 13th Battalion Durham Light Infantry (DLI).
Died of Wounds 7 October 1918, aged 23.

Gordon's parents John Edwin Stevens and wife Rhoda with Gordon and his younger brother John Arthur Richard Stevens.
Gordon's parents John Edwin Stevens and wife Rhoda with Gordon
and his younger brother John Arthur Richard Stevens.
Image courtesy of Janice Pond © 2009

Gordon Stevens was born on 19 October 1895 (GRO reference: Dec 1895 Epsom 2a 21) in Pit Cottage, situated in a deep dip off of Burgh Heath Road in Epsom, surrounded by trees and not visible from the road. His parents, who married in the June quarter of 1895, were John Edwin Stevens, a coach driver who ran a taxi service in his horse drawn carriage from Epsom Station, which was then in Upper High Street and Rhoda Stevens (nee Hawkins), a ladies maid and fine seamstress who had accompanied her lady employer across Europe. Rhoda and John were two very different people, John a man of the soil from Hampshire who won a certificate for the best garden in Epsom and who possessed a great sense of humour and Rhoda, born in Kingston, educated at a Grammar School in Kingston, an accomplished woman who had had a taste of the finer things in life and conducted herself with the heirs and graces of a lady; she also had red hair and a temper to go with it. John was a widower with 8 children and his three youngest children, all sons, lived with the family in Burgh Heath Road.

Gordon's father John had previously married Eliza Luff in 1877, but Eliza died aged 46 and was buried in plot D49, Epsom cemetery on 21 March 1894. Eliza had given birth to nine children, all half siblings of Gordon.

Gordon and his 9 half siblings and 3 full siblings
NAME BORN BAPTISED
St MARTINS
DIED
Charles Edwin Mar 1878 Epsom 2a 13 13 Jan 1878  
Kate Ellen Sep 1879 Epsom 2a 24 13 Feb 1881  
Fred Dec 1880 Epsom 2a 24 13 Feb 1881  
Annie Dec 1882 Epsom 2a 5    
Rose Jun 1884 Epsom 2a 15 21 Sep 1884  
Joseph Mar 1886 Epsom 2a 6 Mar 1887  
Alfred Mar 1887 Epsom 2a 18 6 Mar 1887  
Edwin (Jas) Sep 1888 Epsom 2a 22 16 Sep 1888 1982
Jessie Jun 1890 Epsom 2a 20 1 Jun 1890 Sep 1890 Epsom 2a 16
       
Gordon 19 Oct 1895.   07-Oct-18
John Arthur Richard 9 Oct 1897   04-Jun-57
Grace 2 June 1899   Mar-86
Harry Adair 22-Dec-01   Jun-82

Gordon and his siblings
Gordon and his siblings
Gordon is the tall one in the centre b. 1895, John b. 1898, Grace b. 1899 and Harry b. 1902 sitting
Image courtesy of Janice Pond © 2009

In the 1881 census before Gordon was born the family lived in Lintons Lane, Epsom. Gordon's father was a 28 year old Groom and his father's first wife Eliza was 28. There were three children, Charles aged 3, Kate aged 1 and Fred aged 5 months.

By 1891 the family had moved to a cottage in a chalk pit in Upper Downs Road. Gordon's father was now a domestic coachman. Another five children had been born, Annie aged 8, Rose aged 6, Joseph aged 5, Alfred aged 4 and Edwin aged 2. For reasons unknown, Edwin was always known by the family as Jas.

Joseph, Alfie and Edwin (Jas) were all under 10 when their mother died in 1894. Rhoda was 35 when she married the widowed John, and readily took on the care of the three young boys. The other five children had gone into service or other occupations to fend for themselves, the youngest girl being only ten.

Such was the household that Gordon was born into, a father full of fun and a strict but doting mother, plus three young half-brothers. His brother John was born in 1897, followed by sister Grace two years later and three years after that came brother Harry.

By the time of the 1901 census Gordon was 5 years old, and his father was a 'Fly' driver (a Fly being a small horse drawn carriage). Besides Gordon, John aged 3 and Grace aged 1 had arrived.

At the time Harry was born in 1902, the family were living in Down Hall Cottages in Burgh Heath Road. Gordon's father John was a 'fly proprietor', meaning he owned a 'fly' a one horse, two wheeled horse drawn carriage or more than one and hired them out to other fly drivers whom he employed; in other words he ran his own taxi service. Rhoda meanwhile made all her children's clothes and her own and was such a gifted needlewoman that the family were so well dressed, they appeared to be far more wealthy than they really were.

In the 1911 census they were living at Pembroke Cottages, 3 Church Road, Epsom. Gordon's 59 year old father described himself as a cab driver. His mother, 52 year old Rhoda stated she had been married 16 years, and had had 4 children, all still living. Gordon aged 15 was a groom, siblings John, Grace and Harry were at school, whilst half brother Edwin worked as a barman. Nearby was the stable where Gordon's father kept his horse, and so the young Gordon had grown up with horses and had become a groom when he left school.

NOTE: According to an 1889 edition of the Epsom Herald Pembroke Cottages, 3 Church Road had been used as the first hospital in Epsom before the old cottage hospital was built. When more houses were built in Church Road the numbering changed and Pembroke Cottages, 3 Church Road, became number 42 Church Road. Thus, by the time the First World War broke out in 1914, they were living at the same address but which was now numbered 42, Church Road.

Gordon's younger brother John was only 16 when war was declared, and he attested into the East Surrey Regiment on 26 January 1915, aged 17, although the Register states that he was 19. He no doubt looked older than his 17 years, as according to the Surrey Recruitment Register he was 5 feet 10¼ inches tall, which in those days was well above the average height. Generally it was the man himself who added years to his age to enable him to join up, however, family legend says that in John's case it was the recruitment officials who added the two years and not John himself, so eager were they to recruit him. John later grew to be well over 6 feet tall. According to his medal card he was sent to France on 18 May 1915.

Gordon himself attested at Kingston on 21 June 1915, aged 19, but stated that he was 20. He had a great love of horses, and joined the Army Veterinary Corps (AVC). He was a groom in civilian life, so it was logical to place him into a Corps where his knowledge of horses could be used. He was 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighed 150lbs. His chest measured 35 inches with an expansion of 4 inches. He lived at 42, Church Road, Epsom, and stated his next of kin was his father, John Edwin Stevens.

His desire to join the AVC and thereby continue to work with horses is amply illustrated by the survival amongst his 'burnt' service papers, of a memo from a Lieutenant Colonel at the East Surrey Recruiting depot at Kingston, to the CO at the AVC Depot at Woolwich, dated 21 June 1915, that reads as follows:
Gordon Stevens. The above has been employed in the stables all his life. He has a thorough knowledge of horses and can both ride and drive. He will not join any other but the AVC and is therefore being sent for your kind consideration.
He was duly sent to the AVC depot at Woolwich on 22 June 1915 and given the rank of Horse Keeper. His medical history shows that he had good physical development, had 4 vaccination marks from infancy, and had 6/6 vision in both eyes.

His mother adored him and by all accounts so did most of the local girls as he had grown into a fine looking young man, so it had caused great sorrow when he embarked at Southampton on 28 September 1915 and disembarking at Le Havre, France, the next day, just 3 weeks short of his twentieth birthday.

Whilst many of Gordon's 'burnt' service papers are available from Ancestry, they are very damaged and extremely difficult to read. However, there are a few events that can be gleaned from them. He was in hospital between 23 December and 27 December 1915, reason not stated.

He was granted 7 days leave 'In the field', from 20 June to 26 June 1916.

In November 1916 he was stationed at the 14th Veterinary Hospital, Abbeville, and he himself was hospitalised from 17 November to 20 November through being bitten on his right hand by a horse. His CO certified that the injury occurred whilst in the performance of military duty, and wrote ; 'He was bitten whilst balling a horse. He was not to blame'.

He was appointed Corporal 15 May 1917, and was transferred to the Durham Light Infantry on 15 October 1917.

It is most likely that Gordon received his injuries whilst fighting in the battle of Beaurevoir (a phase in the Battles of the Hindenburg Line). On 5 October 1918 the 25th Division was ordered to gain and consolidate the line Genève - Ponchaux - la Sablonnière - Guisancourt Farm, thus the capture of Beaurevoir was included. Eight tanks were to assist, as were six field brigades of artillery and the special cooperation of the 35th Squadron RAF. Zero hour was 6am. Four of the tanks were to clear Bellevue Farm then forward to clear Beaurevoir from the west or north. The other four tanks were to attack Beaurevoir from the south. The 7th and 74th Brigades (Gordon's Brigade) attacked and won some ground including Bellevue Farm and part of the Beaurevoir - Guisancourt Farm road, but when the fog began to clear not all the gains could be held and Bellevue Farm was lost. The bombardment seemed to have had little effect on Beaurevoir as every vantage point appeared to be bristling with enemy machine guns. Five tanks entered Beaurevoir and managed to eliminate many of the machine guns, but as the infantry failed to arrive, they had to retire loosing one machine.

Trench Map - Click image to enlarge
Trench Map - Click image to enlarge

Later in the day at 6.40pm the 75th and 7th Brigades of the 25th Division were ordered to capture Beaurevoir, which they did, but attempts by Gordon's brigade to capture Guisancourt Farm failed. However, at 4.10am the next day the 11th Sherwood Foresters and the 8th Warwickshires did capture Guisancourt farm whilst Gordon's battalion pushed up the valley to the high ground north west of la Sablonniére.

Between 5 and 7 October the 13th Battalion DLI lost 60 men killed in action and 5 who died of wounds. Gordon died of his wounds on 7 October 1918, at the 12th Casualty Clearing Station (CCS) at Tincourt and is buried in plot VII.E.15. in Tincourt New British Cemetery.

Gordon's Headstone in Tincourt new cemetery
Gordon's Headstone in Tincourt new cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2010

On 17 February 1919 Gordon's father signed a receipt for to say he had received the following items that had belonged to Gordon:
          2 Discs
          Letters
          Photos
          Pipe
          Wallet
          Note book
          Wrist watch, damaged
          Protector
          Pencil case
          Tobacco box
          Cigarette case
          Coin
On 27 September 1919 Gordon's father completed an Army form listing all Gordon's surviving siblings and half siblings. Jessie, who only lived a few months is not included, but neither is Joseph, so presumably he also had died by 1919.

After the war, it was said in Gordon's family that a handful of men were sent into battle to judge the enemies response, giving Gordon very little chance of survival. The news of Gordon's death devastated the family and until her death in 1954 at the age of 94, his mother Rhoda maintained that as Gordon's body was never found, it had not been proven that he had died. Although brother John returned from Africa and was warmly welcomed by his family, they never recovered from the shock of losing Gordon.

Gordon's story is typical of the great many sacrifices made in the Great War. Young men and women with their whole lives ahead of them who gave it all up for freedom and a better world. Gordon, like so many, never had a chance to have a family or to devote his life to his great love of horses but Rhoda's glowing stories of her beloved son ensured that he has been remembered long after her death and, along with the 700,000 other Britons lost during the Great War and the millions lost worldwide, Gordon will be remembered as a brave soldier who gave his life not for war but for peace.

Gordon was awarded the 1914 - 1915 Star, the British War medal and the Victory medal.
Gordon's medal card
Gordon's medal card.
Image courtesy of Ancestry.co.uk (Link opens in a new window)
Ancestry Logo

The St Martin's Church Roll of Honour states that:
"GORDON STEVENS, was wounded in France and died in hospital at Tincourt on 7th October 1918".
Gordon's Bronze Plaque
Gordon's Bronze Plaque
Image courtesy of Janice Pond © 2010

With thanks to Gordon's Great niece Janice Pond for supplying family information.

EP SM

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STEVENSON Alfred George, Private. 34230.

12th Battalion Suffolk Regiment.
Died of Wounds 27 September 1917, aged 34.

Alfred in uniform
Alfred in uniform
Image courtesy of Keith Stevenson © 2012

Alfred George Stevenson was born in 1883 in Groombridge, Sussex (GRO reference: Jun 1883 E. Grinstead 2b 1420, to Amos and Sarah Stevenson (nee Rye). His parents had married in the June 1877 quarter in the East Grinstead registration district. Alfred was baptised on 27 May 1883 at St Michael's church Withyham, Sussex.

The 1881 census, before Alfred was born, shows his family living at Oak Cottage, Withyham, Sussex. Alfred's 37 year old father earned his living as a bricklayer. His mother was aged 23, and his only sibling Albert William J. was aged two.

Ten years later in the 1891 census, little had changed except that Alfred and brother Albert were now both scholars.

Alfred's father died in 1897 at the age of 54, and his mother remarried to John Henry Edwards in the March 1899 quarter in the Epsom registration district. They appear in the 1901 census living at 3, Park View, Langley Bottom. (NOTE: John Henry Edwards, bricklayer, died in 1935 whilst living at 122, Stamford Green, Epsom and was buried in plot L199 in Epsom Cemetery on 19 December 1935. Sarah Edwards, widow, died in 1941 in Epsom County Hospital and was also buried in plot L199 in Epsom Cemetery on 6 March 1941.)

In 1901 Alfred was a 17 year old postman living with his grandparents at 1, Oak Cottage, Withyham Road. Grandfather Isaac Rye was a 90 year old, deaf and blind, retired farm labourer and grandmother Theadosia was aged 78. (NOTE: Isaac died in 1904 and Theodosia in 1915).

Alfred married Elizabeth Sarah Spikesman in the December quarter of 1903 in the Epsom registration district. Their son Amos George was born in the early part of 1906 followed the next year by their second son Alfred John. Alfred was born in June 1907 and had only lived for 4 months before being buried on 28 September 1907 in grave B16 in Epsom cemetery.

They appear in the 1911 census living at 6, Signal Terrace, Church Road, Epsom. Alfred earned his living as a bricklayers labourer to support his wife, and five year old son Amos George. Also living with them was his wife's father, 53 year old widower George Spikesman, who worked for the Epsom Urban Council as a carman.

Alfred attested in Epsom on 4 December 1915 into the 10th Battalion Suffolk Regiment, a training battalion. At 32 years of age he was a short man measuring 5 feet 2 inches tall, weighing 140 lbs, with a chest measurement of 39½ inches expanding by 3 inches. He worked as a builder and gave his address as 'C/O Cropley Bros., Church Road, Epsom', a local building firm.

Alfred later transferred to the 12th Battalion Suffolk Regiment, which was in the 121st Brigade, 40th Division. The 12th Battalion Suffolk Regiment was originally raised as a Bantam Battalion, especially for men under the minimum Army height of 5 feet 3 inches tall, but otherwise physically fit. Many short men were eager to join up and do their bit for King and Country but were rejected because of their short stature. The MP for Birkenhead, Alfred Bigland thought that a minimum height of 5 feet 3 inches was alright for a small peacetime army, but at this time of crisis when millions of men would be needed, the minimum height should be reduced. He wrote to Lord Kitchener, the idea was taken up by the War Office, and the minimum height was reduced to 5 feet (later further reduced to 4 feet 10 inches). Several bantam battalions were raised and they were assigned to the 35th and 40th Divisions. Later in the war the idea of bantam divisions was dropped and men were sent where they were needed regardless of height. Alfred may have been assigned to the bantam 12th Suffolks because he was only 5 feet 2 inches tall.

We don't know exactly when Alfred went to France but he probably landed with his battalion, at Le Havre on 6 June 1916. Alfred died of wounds on 27 September 1917 and is buried in plot I. D. 17. Rocquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery, Manancourt. At this time the third battle of Ypres (Passchendaele) was raging but Alfred's Battalion did not fight in this battle, it was much further south in the Cambrai region.

On the night of 25/26 September 1917 the Battalion mounted a large Trench Raid with eight officers and 236 other ranks. The raid was deemed to be a success but at high cost. An officer and 21 men were killed during the raid and three more men died the next day from wounds, Alfred being one of them. Alfred's grandson Keith Stevenson tells us that the family were told he died from a bayonet inflicted neck wound.

A transcript from the War Diary describing the raid can be read here.

Trench map for the Suffolk raid during September 1917 - Click image to enlarge
Trench map for the Suffolk raid during September 1917 - Click image to enlarge

Alfred's headsone in Rocquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery
Alfred's headsone in Rocquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2012

Rocquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery
Rocquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2012

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

The note that accompanied Alfred's medals
The note that accompanied Alfred's medals
Image courtesy of Keith Stevenson © 2012

Alfred's medals and cap badge
Alfred's medals and cap badge
Image courtesy of Keith Stevenson © 2012

The note that Alfred wrote to his son Amos when he sent him his Suffolk cap badge
The note that Alfred wrote to his son Amos when he sent him his Suffolk cap badge
Image courtesy of Keith Stevenson © 2012

The St Martin's church Roll of Honour states that:
ALFRED GEORGE STEVENSON, was wounded in France and died at a Casualty Clearing Station on 27th September 1917.
Alfred's widow Elizabeth married Albert W Ruberry in 1920. The couple emigrated to Australia with Amos George but returned to 10, Signal Terrace, Church Street, Epsom on 11 February 1931 without him. Amos, who was better known as George, married in Australia but returned to England in 1937.

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STEVENSON Bessie Howe, Probationer Nurse

Horton War Hospital, Epsom
Died 1915 aged 22.

Bessie Howe Stevenson was born in 1893 in Brampton Cumberland (GRO Reference: Jun 1893 Brampton 10b 510), the eldest child of George and Margaret Stevenson (nee Howe). Her parents had married in 1891 in Penrith, Cumberland.

The family were living in Rosgill, Shap in Westmorland in 1901. Her 42 year old father George was from Scotland and worked as a stone quarryman in the Shap granite quarry to support his 32 year old wife Margaret and their children, Bessie aged 7, Christopher James aged 6, John William aged 4, David aged 3 and one year old Sarah Jane.

By 1911, aged 19, spinster Bessie was working as a housemaid in the Garlands Lunatic Asylum in Carlisle. At some time between then and 1915 Bessie became a probationer nurse at Horton Hospital, quite possibly before the hospital became known as the Horton War Hospital.

On 20 May 1915 the first 72 WW1 'sitting up' wounded patients arrived at the Horton War Hospital from the Royal Herbert Hospital in Woolwich, followed on 26th by the 'cot cases'.

It is not known if Bessie had returned home to her family because of illness but she died in the West Ward district in Westmoreland during the June quarter of 1915 (GRO Reference: Jun 1915 West Ward 10b 961), before the first 150 casualties from the front were received at the Horton War Hospital on 16 June 1915.

Her mother died in 1922, the same year that her brother Christopher emigrated to Australia where he later died in Mildura, Victoria in 1953. Her father died in Westmorland in 1934.

HWH

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STEWARD Arthur Amyot, Lieutenant.

11th Balloon Company, Royal Flying Corps (RFC).
Killed in Action 6 October 1917, aged 35.

Arthur Amyot Steward
Arthur Amyot Steward

Arthur Amyot Steward was born on 14 July 1882 in Salisbury (GRO reference: September 1882 Alderbury 5a 192) the younger son of Rev. Canon Edward and Margaret Knyvett Steward (nee Wilson). Arthur's parents had married in 1878 in Fritton, Norfolk, where his mother's father was rector from 1874 until his death in 1900. They had four children.

ARTHUR AMYOT STEWARD AND HIS SIBLINGS
Name Born - Died Notes
Margaret Joan Born: 1880 Bramshot, Hants Died: 1958  
Edward Merivale (Major General,
CB, CSI, OBE)
Born: 1881 Salisbury Died: 1947  
Arthur Amyot Born: 14 July 1882 Salisbury
Died: 6 October 1917 Belgium
Married Miriam Agnes Carver
18 June 1912. Salisbury
Muriel Knyvet Born: 1883 Salisbury
Died: 1914 Boyton, Wilts aged 30
Committed suicide

In the 1881 census before Arthur was born, the family lived in the Close of Salisbury Cathedral. Arthur's father, aged 29 was the Chaplain at the Diocesan Training College. His mother was aged 25 and he had two siblings, Margaret aged 1 and Edward aged 1 month. The family employed three servants.

In 1891 the family lived 1, Cedars, Manor Road, Milford, Salisbury. Arthur's father was a clergyman and schoolmaster. Arthur was aged 8 and sister Muriel was aged 7. The family employed two servants.

Arthur was educated at Wellington College and Magdalen College, Oxford and held a commission in the Norfolk Militia.

By 1901 the family had moved to St John Street, Salisbury. Arthur's father was still a clergyman and schoolmaster, and only his sister Muriel remained at home. In 1901 Arthur was away fighting in the South African Boer War.

A passenger list for October 1906 has the 24 year old Arthur sailing from Cape Town to Southampton aboard the Armdale Castle. Under the heading 'Profession occupation or calling' Arthur is described as 'Independent'.

The following announcement appeared in the Times dated Monday 13 November 1911:
MR. A. A. STEWARD AND MISS M.A. CARVER. The engagement is announced between Arthur Amyot Steward, of Wells Theological College, second son of the Rev. Canon Steward, of The Close, Salisbury, and Miriam Agnes, third daughter of the late S. H. Carver, of Alexandria, and Mrs. Carver, of Laverstock Hall, Salisbury.
Arthur resigned his commission, and took Holy Orders, being ordained by the Archbishop of York to a Curacy in Hull on 9 June 1912. A few days later on 18 June 1912 he married Miriam Agnes Carver. They had three daughters.

THE CHILDREN OF ARTHUR AMYOT STEWARD
Name Born - Died Notes
Lavinia Margaret Born: 3 April 1913 Salisbury
Died: 1993 Lymington
Married Basil Thornton 1913
New Forest
Miriam Joan Born: 25 March 1915 Probably Johannesburg
Died: 1977 Winchester
Married Maurice Elson 1940
New Forest
Aveluy Knyvett Born: 8 October 1916
Died : 10 Feb 2004 Polperro Cornwall aged 88
 

Arthur again sailed to South Africa in July 1914 and was on the staff at St Mary's Johannesburg. He returned to England, with his wife and two daughters, arriving at the Port of London from Natal on 17 September 1915. They sailed aboard the Kildonan Castle, a ship belonging to the Union Castle Mail Steamship Company Ltd.

Arthur volunteered for active service and was gazetted Lieutenant in the Royal Field Artillery on 13 October 1915. He served with the Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders from April 1916, and was attached to the RFC (Kite Balloons) as an observation officer. He was killed in action near Ypres on 6 October 1917 by a shell bursting in his dugout and is buried in plot I. D. 25. Dunhallow A.D.S. Cemetery, Ypres, Belgium.

Arthur's headstone in Dunhallow A.D.S. Cemetery, Ypres, Belgium
Arthur's headstone in Dunhallow A.D.S. Cemetery, Ypres, Belgium
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2011

The Times, obituary 16 October 1917:
Second Lieutenant A.A. Steward, R.F.A. attached R.F.C., who was killed on October 6th, was the younger son of Canon Steward of Boynton Rectory, Codford, Wilts, and the late Mrs. Steward. He was educated at Wellington and Magdalen College, Oxford. He held a commission in the Norfolk Militia during the South African War, in which he saw active service. He was subsequently ordained by the Archbishop of York to a curacy in Hull, and at the outbreak of the war was on the staff of St. Mary's, Johannesburg. He returned to England, offered his services as a combatant officer, and was given a commission in 1915 in the R.F.A., proceeding to the front in April 1916. He was transferred recently to the R.F.C. as an observation officer. He married in 1912 Miriam, third daughter of the late S.H. carver of Alexandria, and Mrs. Carver of The Moot, Downton, and leaves three daughters.
Arthur's granddaughter Ann Lunn has kindly allowed us to publish extracts of letters written about her Grandfather:
From Lt. Col. MacNeece, to Arthur's father, Canon Edward Steward.           6 October 1917
     The four officers of the Section were sleeping in a big dug-out, which would have been proof against anything except a direct hit. Early this morning there was some desultory shelling around the Camp, and one of them came right through the roof of the dug-out, exploding on the floor.
     Of the four officers inside, one beside your son was killed: and like him - painlessly and instantaneously: another seriously wounded. While the fourth escaped with a very bad shaking.
     They are being buried today.
From a very old friend - widow of a former headmaster of Haileybury who had known the family for many years writes:
     I cannot forget how he instigated a little visit from G. and myself to his rooms to climb the Magdalen Tower with him on May Day, 1911. It was the most beautiful one of the past 30 years and a 'vision' to think over.
From Major Tweedie: 336 Brigade, R.F.A.          Oct 19, 1917
     Being as I was in the same Battery with him for a year, I knew him pretty well and had a great admiration for him. He was always cheerful in the worst circumstances and whenever there was a nasty bit of work on he would volunteer for it. He was a great favourite with us all. I had recommended him to be Captain of the Battery, and if I had not left it I might have persuaded him not to go to R.F.C.
     No one could help liking him. He was my favourite of all the many officers I have had under me in this war
.
From an old friend:
     I saw so much of the four children during those happy visits to Sarum. You know how I loved their mother. I have a letter she wrote to me after she and Muriel had been to Oxford, which I call a "Magdalen Rhapsody" - telling of Arthur plunging into the river after a football, and then singing most beautifully for the Christmas practice.
The National Probate Calendar for 1918 published the following:
STEWARD the reverend Arthur Amyot of The Moat (sic Moot) Downton near Salisbury clerk second-lieutenant R.F.A. attached R.F.C. died 6 October 1917 in France or Belgium Probate London 18 March to Miriam Agnes Steward widow. Effects £3606 2s. 2d.
White Cottage built 1858 was the home of Arthur's widow Miriam, in the ealy 1920s
White Cottage built 1858 was the home of Arthur's widow Miriam, in the ealy 1920s
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2011

Arthur was awarded the British War medal and the Victory medal, his medal card giving his widow's address as The White Cottage, The Common, Epsom. Kelly's Directory for 1922 also shows her living at this address. It is not known when she came to Epsom or when she left, and his biography in De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour and the CWGC web site both give her address as The Moot, Downton, Salisbury. She died on 19 April 1977 in Hampshire at the age of 85, having been a widow for 60 years.

Roll of Honour for Saxlingham Nethergate - Click image to enlarge
Roll of Honour for Saxlingham Nethergate, Norfolk
Click image to enlarge
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2011

Note: Arthur's service record is held at the National Archives at Kew under reference WO 339/44387.

EP CC

With thanks to Granddaughter Ann Lunn for supplying additional information.
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STEWART John Stewart, Acting Bombardier. 660915.

9th Battery, 169th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery (RFA).
Died 6 January 1918 aged 37.


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

John Stewart Stewart was born on 8 June 1881 in Sedhills, Perthshire, Scotland, the son of William and Mary Stewart.

I have been unable to find a likely record for John in any of the censuses.

Aged 28, John married Margaret White Porter Stewart, a Fruit Saleswoman, on 25 December 1908 in the parish of Old Kilpatrick, Dumbarton. John was working as a Sewing Machine Inspector and his father was a Jute Mill Overseer. John's mother was recorded as deceased.

John's service record has not survived but the Soldiers Died CD, his medal card and the Soldiers Effects records tell us that he enlisted in Glasgow, was awarded the British War medal and the Victory medal and his widow Margaret and children received his war gratuity.

John died Horton War Hospital, Epsom on 6 January 1918 and was buried on 9 January in grave K649 in Epsom Cemetery, where he is commemorated on the Screen Wall. He shares the grave with eight other soldiers.

CWGC

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STEWART Webster, Private. 132882

73rd Battalion Canadian Infantry
Died 11 March 1918, aged 21.

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

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STOCKWELL James, G/9375. Private.

2nd Battalion Royal Fusiliers.
Killed in Action 14 November 1915, aged 17.

James' Headstone in Azmak Cemetery, Suvla, Gallipoli
James' Headstone in Azmak Cemetery, Suvla, Gallipoli
Image courtesy of Debbie Wilbur © 2013

James Stockwell was born on 23 February 1898 in Battersea (GRO reference: Mar 1898 Wandsworth 6a 698), the eldest son of Edward George and Lucy Stockwell (nee Baker). When James' parents married in Guildford in 1897, his father had been living at 159, Battersea Park Road, Battersea. On 1 May 1898 James was baptised at St Luke's church, Battersea. The family were living at 18, Gayville Road, Battersea and James' father worked as a plumber.

James' brother George Edward was born in Worcester Park on 7 August 1900. The 1901 census records that James's parents, Edward aged 28 and Lucy aged 30, were living at 3, Graham Road, Mitcham with 7 months old George Edward. James was living with his grandparents James and Hannah Stockwell, both 54 years old, in the public house they ran, the Globe Inn, in Lindsey Street, Epping. Also living at the Globe were James's aunts Alice and Annie and his uncle George.

Another brother, Harry, was born in Raynes Park on 25 February 1906; the family were living at this time in Clevedon Villa in Savoy Road, Raynes Park.

The Ewell Boys School admissions register records that James and his brother George both started school on 29 April 1909 whilst living at 9, Cottage Road, West Ewell. James had previously attended Wimbledon Central School and George at Cottenham Park School. Six months later both boys left the school having moved away from Ewell.

In the 1911 census the family was living at 4, North End Place, Cheam Common (Worcester Park). James' parents had been married for 13 years and had three children, all still living. His father was still earning his living as a plumber, whilst his mother was shown as a confectioner, working from home. James was aged 13, brother George was aged 10 and brother Harry aged 6.

Both James and George returned to Ewell Boys School on 24 April 1911. James stayed until he was 14 years old and left on 16 February 1912. George stayed until 4 April 1913. Both their reasons for leaving school are recorded as 'Left Ewell'.

There is a birth record for a Wilfred A Stockwell (GRO reference: Sep 1914 Kingston 2a 983) with the mother's maiden name 'Baker', possibly another brother.

James' service papers have not survived but we know that he was only 17 when he was killed in action on 14 November 1915 whilst serving with the 2nd Battalion Royal Fusiliers. In 1915 the minimum age for serving overseas was 19, so most likely James added a couple of years to his age when he enlisted in Southend, giving his address as Hadleigh.

The 2nd Battalion Royal Fusiliers was a Regular Army battalion in the 86th Brigade, 29th Division and had landed at Cape Helles, Gallipoli on 25 April 1915, the first day of the Gallipoli campaign. The Soldiers Died CD tells us that between 25 April and 25 August 1915, 442 men from the 2nd Royal Fusiliers lost their lives.

James' medal card tells us that he joined the battalion on 25 August 1915, and the War Diary records that on 24, 25 and 26 August the battalion received drafts of 290 men, 50 men and 34 men respectively. Drafts of men to bring the battalion up to strength. By now the battalion was a Regular Army battalion in name only, its ranks being filled by hastily trained civilians such as James. By the end of 1915, 604 men had lost their lives, and of course many more were wounded.

The War Diary pages for 1 November to 25 November 1915 are missing, so we do not know what the battalion was doing on the day James died, but he was the only man from the battalion to die that day. He is buried in grave II. F. 12. Azmak Cemetery, Suvla, Gallipoli, formed after the Armistice when graves were brought in from isolated sites and smaller cemeteries.

Azmak Cemetery, Suvla, Gallipoli
Azmak Cemetery, Suvla, Gallipoli
Image courtesy of Debbie Wilbur © 2013

James was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War medal and the Victory medal. He is commemorated on the Ewell Boys School memorial, now housed in Epsom and Ewell museum in Bourne Hall, and on the Hadleigh, Essex memorial.

James' father died in 1937 in Billericay and his mother Lucy in 1949 in Brentwood. His brother George married Eveline Scholes in Rochford in 1921 and died in Southend in 1989. Brother Harry married in 1927 and died in 1965 in Brentwood.

ES

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STONE Harry Douglas, Private. G/60223.

23rd Battalion Middlesex Regiment.
Killed in Action 29 September 1918, aged 19.

Harry's inscription on the Tyne Cot memorial to the missing
Harry's inscription on the Tyne Cot memorial to the missing
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2010

Henry (Harry) Douglas Stone was born on 11 December 1898 (GRO reference: Mar 1899 Epsom 2a 22) to Charles and Eleanor Stone (nee Etherington). His parents married on 14 September 1891 at Christ Church, Epsom Common and had 11 children, all of whom were baptised at Christ Church.

HARRY DOUGLAS STONE AND HIS SIBLINGS
NAME BORN BAPTISED NOTES
Annie Florence 8 Feb 1892 6 Mar 1892 Married William H Clewer, 1915
Charles William 12 Feb 1894 1 Apr 1894 Married Emily G Piner, 1919
Nellie 9 Jan 1896 2 Feb 1896 Married William J Mayers, 1921
Henry Douglas 11 Dec 1898 8 Jan 1899 Killed in action 29 September 1918
Olive May 18-Nov-00 16-Dec-00 Married Frank Napper, 1926
George Edward 20-Jul-02 24-Aug-02  
Ivy Kathleen 13-Jul-04 21-Aug-04 Married Henry J Cook, 1931
Alice Rose 31-Dec-07 26-Jan-08 Married Ernest M Thomas, 1932
Clara Grace 18-May-09 04-Jul-09 Married Harold F Killick, 1931
Albert Ernest 30-Aug-11 24-Sep-11  
Phyllis Daisy 26-Jul-13 07-Sep-13 Married George C Tompkinson, 1946

Harry's parents spent the first years of their marriage in Epsom, and two of his siblings were born there. Around 1895 the family moved to Ashtead and at the time of the 1901 census they lived at Park Farm Lane, Ashtead, where Harry's father Charles was a 32 year old carter working on a farm. His mother Eleanor was aged 28.

By 1911 the family had moved to 9, Coronation Cottage, Woodlands Road, Epsom. Harry's father was still labouring on a farm, but his mother and sister Annie now worked in a laundry. Twelve year old Harry was a schoolboy.

Harry attested on 4 October 1916 at Epsom into the 23rd Training Reserve Battalion. His stated age was 18 years and 4 months, but he would have only been 17 years and 10 months. He was 5 feet 2 inches tall, weighed 113 lbs and had a chest measurement of 35 inches with an expansion of 3 inches. His medical grade was A4, which meant he would be A1 or A2 when reaching 19 years of age. He was a labourer and lived at 29, Woodlands Road.

Harry fought with the 23rd Battalion Middlesex regiment which was in the 123rd Brigade, 41st Division.

Harry was killed in action on 29 September 1918, when the war had only 43 days left to run. At this stage of the war the Allies were attacking and winning ground all along the front. About 5 miles south east of Ypres, a brigade of Harry's Division had been ordered to hold all crossings of the Comines canal down to the southern end of Houthem and form a line from the canal to the west of Tenbrielen. This it did by 8.30 a.m., and cleared Houthem. Harry's brigade, at 4 a.m., left Battle Wood at the elbow of the canal and was able to advance rapidly. When fired upon from the west bank of the canal, they crossed it and returned with 35 prisoners. On reaching the Comines - Menin railway the enemy could be seen fleeing in motor cars and lorries. However, the battalion's flanks were unprotected and casualties had become heavy, so they had to fall back to the Gladje beek (stream).

Houthem Trench Map - Click to enlarge
Houthem Trench Map - Click to enlarge

Harry, and 25 other men from the 23rd Battalion Middlesex regiment lost their lives that day. Harry has no known grave and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot memorial to the missing.

The following appeared in the Epsom Advertiser dated 8 November 1918:
FALLEN FOR THE COUNTRY. - Pte. H. D. Stone, son of Mr. and Mrs. C. Stone, 29, Woodlands-road, Epsom Common, has been killed in action.
Harry was awarded the British War medal and the Victory medal.

EP CC

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STREDWICK Ernest Henry, Private. 2190.

8th Battalion East Surrey Regiment.
Killed in Action 12 October 1917, aged 30.

Ernest's inscription on the Tyne Cot Memorial
Ernest's inscription on the Tyne Cot Memorial
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2010

Ernest Henry Stredwick was born in 1887 (GRO reference: Mar 1887 Kingston 2a 326) the second son of Hubert Henry and Laura Alice Stredwick (nee Downey). His parents married on 13 July 1885 in Kingston, Surrey (GRO reference: Sep 1885 2a 549).
In the 1891 census the family lived in Willoughby Cottage, Epsom Common. Ernest's father was a 24 year old carpenter and joiner. His mother, 24 year old Laura has been recorded by her middle name Alice. Ernest had two siblings, older brother Hubert James aged 5 (also served in the war) and 1 year old younger sister Elsie Alice. Also living with them was Laura's 20 year old brother John Downey, who worked as a painter and paperhanger.

By the 1901 census the family had moved to 4 Kingston Terrace, Kingston Road, Ewell. Ernest, now aged 14 was a butcher's assistant. Two more siblings had been born, Harold Leslie aged 8 and Ethel Rosaly aged 2

By the 1911 census the family lived at Rosaly Villa, Wyeths Road, Epsom. Elder brother Hubert was not living there, Brother Leslie was working as a gardener and Ethel was a schoolgirl. Another sibling Charles Samuel, had been born on 24 December 1909.

Ernest's father Hubert Henry Stredwick, aged 48, attested on 28 September 1914. He was living at Rosaly Villa, Wyeths Road, Epsom, he was a carpenter and joiner and his religion was C of E. He transferred between various units before being discharged as medically unfit, having served for 4 years and 34 days at 'Home'. After the war Hubert, Laura and their younger children emigrated to Australia.

Ernest's service papers have not survived but the Soldiers Died CD shows he was born, and enlisted in Kingston, and served in the 8th Battalion East Surrey Regiment. His medal card shows that he went to France on 12 August 1915 and was awarded the 1915 star, British war medal and the Victory medal. He was presumed dead on 12 October 1917, and as he has no known grave, he is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial.


The 8th Battalion East Surreys were in the 55th Brigade, 18th Division, and in October 1917 they fought in the battle of Passchendaele. The following is an extract from the East Surrey History for the 10th to the 12th October 1917:
At 3a.m. on the 10th a warning order was received saying that the 55th Brigade would relieve the 32nd Brigade that night in the front line near Poelcapelle, which lies about six miles north-east of Ypres, and would carry out an attack from that position on the I2th October. Commanding officers met the Brigadier at 8a.m. and went up with him to the new Brigade Headquarters at Varna Farm, two and a half miles south-west of Poelcapelle. The duty of bringing up the battalions was left to officers second-in-command. Company commanders were conveyed forward by motor-bus to give them an opportunity of looking at the ground. Those of the 8th Battn. East Surrey met the Commanding Officer at Varna Farm at about 10.30a.m., but no definite orders were issued nor objectives stated to him until about 1.30p.m. By this time Lieut.-Colonel Irwin was furnished with maps for each of the company commanders, marked with boundaries and objectives in coloured chalks. He had been informed that his new Battalion Headquarters were in a shell hole, and that not more than two or three people could get to them by daylight on account of sniping, so after a short conference with the company commanders he sent back two of them to meet the Battalion and then set off for his new headquarters with the other two, Major Place and Lieut. Shrapnel, commanding B and C Companies respectively. The new Battalion Headquarters consisted of a large shell hole, against the side of which a rough lean-to shelter had been constructed out of a few sandbags and two sheets of corrugated iron.
The necessary arrangements were made for guides to meet the platoons at the Steenbeek, near Varna Farm, the 32nd Brigade having undertaken to guide them thus far, and the first platoon was due to arrive at Battalion Headquarters at about 9.30p.m. Actually it did not arrive before 4a.m. on October 11th, the men being then absolutely exhausted. The 32nd Brigade had only supplied one guide, who had lost his way, so that the whole Battalion had been wandering about in unknown ground all night, and it was solely owing to the skill and perseverance of Major Wightman that it eventually reached its destination. By this time dawn was approaching, and though the relief was carried on with all speed it was never properly completed. Company commanders had only a general idea as to the whereabouts of their platoons, it being impossible to move about near the front line by daylight.
The position now taken up by the Battalion faced north-east and extended from its junction with the left of " The Buffs " near Gloucester Farm, which lies 500 yards south-east of Poelcapelle, to the Lekkerboterbeek, a small stream normally a couple of yards only in width. At this time, however, its banks were so pitted with shell holes full of water that the actual course of the stream was indistinguishable, and the valley in which it ran had become an impassable marsh. This marsh formed the boundary line between the 18th and 9th Divisions and Terrier Farm, on the south side of it, was used as the "liaison" post between the two divisions. Both Gloucester and Terrier Farms had been converted into concreted emplacements, and the former was used as C Company's headquarters.
About three-quarters of a mile in front of the Battalion lay a ridge with a command of some 20 feet above the valley, and on its summit two homesteads, Papa Farm and Hinton Farm. Half-way between the ridge and Poelcapelle, that is, on the left front of the Battalion, stood a knoll, of the same elevation as the ridge, surmounted by a fortified farm known as Meunier House. Except for these two features the ground, which like the marsh was pitted with shell craters containing water, sloped gently upwards for a mile and a half to Spriet, and thence more steeply up to Westroosebeek, on the summit of Passchendaele Ridge.
During the morning of the 11th October, Lieut.-Colonel Irwin received a fresh set of operation orders, which allotted new objectives to the Battalion, but was unable to communicate them to his company commanders during daylight. After dark he called them together and explained the new orders. It then commenced to rain and became intensely dark, with the result that the company commanders had great difficulty in finding their platoons and were then unable to point out to them on the map the new objectives, as they could not show a light. In these circumstances officers and section commanders had little chance of ascertaining what their objectives were, and no opportunity of looking at them in daylight. Lieut.-Colonel Irwin considered the situation so serious that he sent a formal protest to the Brigade Commander before instructing Captain K. Bell-Irving to lay out the forming-up tape from Gloucester Farm to Terrier Farm. This was no easy task and took several hours to carry out, but it was completed at last, in spite of the tape being broken several times by shell fire.
The dispositions for attack were as follows: B and C were right and left assaulting companies, with the road running south-east from Meunier House as their objective. A and D Companies were to "leap-frog" B and C and take the Papa Farm-Hinton Farm Ridge. As, however, the operation orders were again altered at the last moment, few if any of the officers and other ranks had a clear idea of what was expected of them. About midnight, Major Place, who had been visiting the platoons, came to Battalion Headquarters and reported that he had been unable to find No. 5 platoon, under 2nd Lieut. N. L. Riddett. Lieut.-Colonel Irwin went out with him, but could find no trace of them, nor was anything known of them until they were seen next morning getting up and going forward under our barrage. 2nd Lieut. Riddett set a very gallant example. He had had no orders and did not even know at what time the attack was to be made, but he did know that he could not do wrong if he went forward with the barrage.
Shortly after midnight the enemy shelled the sector held by the Battalion with "mustard gas." Respirators were put on, and there were no ill effects except a few blisters. At about 4 a.m. on October 12th, while moving his company up into position, 2nd Lieut. R. S. Franks, commanding D Company, was killed by a shell. He was a very promising officer, full of energy and high spirits, and much liked. His death was a great loss to the Battalion. Shortly afterwards 2nd Lieut. C. A. Heath, of D Company, was wounded, and the command of the company fell on 2nd Lieut. C. Whyntie, who was severely wounded at the moment of advance, so that the company went into action without any officers.
Zero hour was at 5.35a.m., but the barrage opened in an irregular way, commencing at zero minus four minutes. It was not sufficiently heavy, and, although it only moved at the rate of fifty yards in four minutes, the state of the ground was such that the men with ordinary equipment could not keep up with it, while those carrying the Lewis guns and their ammunition bags could not advance at all, as they sank too deep in the mud. Moreover, the barrage opened too far in front of our line, leaving untouched several enemy machine-gun posts between it and our front line. Heavy machine-gun and rifle fire was opened by the enemy all along our front and continued throughout the action. Shortly after zero, Lieut. G. A. G. Wix and 2nd Lieuts. H. Fearn and N. L. Riddett were killed by machine-gun fire, and Captain C. R. Holms, commanding A Company, was severely wounded. Captain G. A. Birnie (R.A.M.C.) and 2nd Lieut. H. S. Todd, of C Company, were also wounded.
The enemy barrage, which came down at zero plus four minutes, was not heavy, but consisted of shells of large calibre. At about 8.30 a.m., Major C. G. Place, commanding B Company, returned wounded to Battalion Headquarters and reported that some of our men had advanced 500 yards or more, but that they had passed several machine-gun posts which were still holding out. In particular a post with two machine guns about 100 yards east of Gloucester Farm caused a large number of casualties. All the men who passed these machine-gun posts were eventually killed or taken prisoners.
The situation was very obscure for some time, as all the officers except three and a large number of the N.C.O.'s had become casualties, and also from the fact that no runners could get back over that open ground owing to rifle and machine-gun fire. The mud was so bad that rapid movement from shell hole to shell hole was impossible, and most of the casualties among officers and N.C.O.'s were incurred in attempting to lead advances by short rushes after the barrage had been lost. The rifles and the men's hands were plastered with mud, so that each time that a fresh clip was inserted some mud went into the magazine with it, and the breach had to be cleaned after every few rounds. By degrees it became evident that, in spite of all its sacrifices, the Battalion had made but little way, and under the existing conditions of weather and ground could make no further advance. The Commanding Officer, therefore, sent a message to Brigade Headquarters, asking permission to reorganize his line in the evening 100 yards in front of the forming-up tape. This he proposed in order to have some definite mark as a guide, for there were no natural features suitable to the purpose. At about 2p.m. the Brigade Major, Captain C. Runge, arrived at Battalion Headquarters and told Lieut.-Colonel Irwin that the Battalion might perhaps be relieved at night, but that this was still uncertain. No relief, in fact, took place, and in the evening Lieut.-Colonel Irwin reorganized his posts as he had proposed, and got in touch with "The Buffs" on his left and with a battalion of the 9th Division on his right. The 6th Battn. Royal Berkshire Regt. also had formed up at a short distance in rear and was digging itself in there.
The unsatisfactory position of Battalion Headquarters has been mentioned, and search was made for a better place, but none could be found. During the night the headquarters was persistently shelled, and at 2.30a.m. on October I3th received a direct hit on one end, which killed 5 and wounded 2 of the personnel. Finding at 4a.m. that no orders for relief had arrived, Lieut.-Colonel Irwin communicated with Brigade Headquarters, and at 8a.m. received orders (timed 8.50p.m. the previous night) authorizing him to withdraw all men not required for his new line of posts to Gournier Farm. As it was now broad daylight, it was impossible to make any movement from the front line. Soon afterwards orders were received that the Battalion would be relieved at night by the 7th Battn. " Queen's," and at 5.30p.m. the relief was duly commenced, but took very long to complete. It was not, in fact, till 5.30a.m. on October I4th that the last platoon of the Battalion had reached Canal Bank Baths, near Boesinghe, three and a half miles north of Ypres, where all bathed, changed their underclothing and had a hot breakfast. At 1.45p.m. lorries conveyed the Battalion back to its quarters at Dirty Bucket Camp, near Vlamertinghe, whence it had gone up to the front line on the l0th.
During the intervening four days the following casualties had been sustained:-
  Officers Other Ranks.
Killed 4 52
Wounded: 6 137
Missing: - 42
Total 10 231
The narrative above indicates rather than describes the admirable gallantry and devotion shown by all ranks of the Battalion in these very arduous operations. Many instances of special gallantry were brought to notice, but a far greater number necessarily passed unrecorded. In his narrative, Lieut.-Colonel Irwin drew special attention to the two following officers, the words used being his own: "The gallantry displayed by Major C. G. M. Place and Captain G. A. Birnie, R.A.M.C., both before and during the action, was of a very high order, and was acknowledged by the award to them of the D.S.O. and M.C. respectively. Captain Birnie was wounded early in the action, and continued for eight hours to search for and dress the wounded. He searched the whole ground in front of our position, up to and even among the enemy posts, in spite of shelling and machine-gun fire, and did not give up his task until relieved and ordered to go down by Captain Lister, R.A.M.C."

The Soldiers Died CD shows that 85 men from the 8th Battalion East Surrey Regiment died on 12 October 1917.

EP

We are very grateful for the additional information supplied by Ernest's nephew Alan Stredwick.

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STRIPP William George, Gunner. 68639.

101st Brigade Ammunition Column, Royal Field Artillery (RFA).
Died 7 November 1918, aged 25.

Gnr Stripp's headstone at Brookwood Military cemetery
Gnr Stripp's headstone at Brookwood Military cemetery
Copyright image courtesy of Clive Gilbert

William George Stripp was born on 26 February 1893 at 1 Palmerston Road, Sutton, Surrey (GRO reference: Jun 1893 Epsom 2a 2) the eldest child of Jesse and Eliza Elizabeth Stripp (nee Coombs). At the time of William's birth, his father was a contracted carter. His parents had been living together in Palmerston Road before they married on 13 November 1892 in St. Barnabas church in Sutton, Surrey. William's mother was only 18 while his father was aged 28 and illiterate. The marriage entry in the GRO index has Strip, with only one 'P'.

Seven years passed before William's sister Dorothy Mary Ann was born on 17 April 1900 at 64 De Burgh Road, Wimbledon. She was baptised on 22 June 1900 in All Saints church in South Wimbledon and, at that time, the family was living at 55 De Burgh Road, Wimbledon.

In the 1901 census the family was living at 87 De Burgh Road, Wimbledon. William's father was a 'Carman', and his mother worked as a charwoman. His sister Dorothy was 11 months old.

William's brother John Alfred Thomas was born in 1903 and his sister Alice Eva Lucy in 1907. When William's sister Ada Rose was born in 1909, the family was living at 17 North Road, Wimbledon and his father Jesse was working as a carpenter.

Dorothy had been diagnosed when she was three years old as "being of feeble mind" and was place in the care of Stoke Park Colony For Mentally Defective Children in Stapleton, Bristol. At the time of the 1911 census, the institution held 108 boys and 245 girls.

Aged 18, William was working in 1911 as a Pot-man at the Spring Hotel in London Road, Ewell, which was run by widowed Rhoda Hobson. William's 36-year-old mother Eliza was living with her married sister, Susan Burkin, at 17 North Road, South Wimbledon. With her were William's siblings John aged 8, Alice aged 3 and Ada aged 1. His mother stated she had been married for 18 years and had had 5 children, all surviving. His 46-year-old father Jesse was an inmate in the Kingston Upon Thames Union Branch Workhouse Farm, Kingston Road, New Malden.

William married Annie Parker in the Croydon registration in 1914. The parish register of St. Mary's Ewell records the baptism on 5 July 1914 of their son, Ronald Albert, born 7 June 1914. William and Annie were living at 5 Kingston Terrace, Ewell and William was a milk carrier. Ronald attended Ewell Infants School and Ewell Boys School and remained living in Ewell until his death in 1957.

The Surrey Recruitment Register shows a Stripp Wm. S., not G, which I suspect is a transcription error, aged 22 years 11 months attesting in Kingston on 11 January 1915, into the RFA. He had been born at Sutton and lived at 5 Kingston Road, Ewell, which was the revised name for Kingston Terrace. He was 5 feet 6½ inches tall, weighed 124 lbs and had a chest measurement of 34½ inches, with an expansion of 3 inches and worked as a milkman.

William's medal cards show that he went to France on 4 September 1915 and that he was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War medal and the Victory medal.

William died of influenza on 7 November 1918, in the UK aged 25 and is buried in Brookwood Military cemetery, plot X111 B 1.

The following year, in the September quarter, William's widow Annie married Stephen H. Tillyer. They remained living at 5 Kingston Road Ewell until 1931 when they moved along the road to number 10.

BH EW

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STUART William J, Private. 69922

26th Battalion Canadian Infantry
Died 5 March 1919, aged 29.

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

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STURGESS George, Sergeant. 8677.

1st Battalion East Surrey Regiment.
Killed in Action 8 May 1917, aged 29.
George's inscription on the Arras Memorial to the missing.
George's inscription on the Arras Memorial to the missing.
Image Courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2010

George Henry William Sturgess was born in 1888 (GRO reference: Mar 1888 Epsom 2a 20) to George William and Sarah Elizabeth Sturgess (nee Wells). His parents had married on 7 August 1887 in St. Martins of Tours Church, Epsom but did not have any of their ten children baptised there.

GEORGE HENRY WILLIAM STURGESS AND HIS SIBLINGS
NameBorn - DiedNotes
George Henry WilliamBorn: 1888 Epsom
Died: 8 May 1917 France
 
Harry EdwardBorn: 1891 Epsom 
Amelia Ellen Born: 1892 EpsomMarried Charles Hallett 23 October 1911
St. Martin's church, Epsom
Minnie MayBorn: 1893 EpsomMarried Henry P Morley (KIA 19 September 1914)
25 December 1912 St. Barnabas church, Epsom.
Married Oscar Taylor 10 March 1919 St. Martin's church, Epsom
FrederickBorn: 1895 EpsomMarried Dorothy Mabel Woodley 9 July 1921
St. Martin's church, Epsom
Edward AlfredBorn: 1897 Epsom 
Ernest AlfredBorn: 1898 EpsomServed as Private No. 41624,
Bedfordshire Regiment
Sarah LucyBorn: 1901 Epsom 
CyrilBorn: 1903 Epsom 
Philip LeonardBorn: 1906 Epsom
Died: 1907 Epsom
 

In the 1891 census the family were living at 2 Broughton Cottage, Lintons Lane, Epsom. George's father was a 28 year old painter. His mother was 26, and he had a brother, Harry Edward aged 4 months.

By 1901 they had moved to 21 Beaconsfield Cottages, Epsom. George's father was still painting houses, and another 5 siblings had arrived, Amelia Ellen aged 9, Minnie aged 7, Frederick aged 6, Edward Alfred aged 4 and Ernest Alfred aged 2.

George's brother Philip Leonard was born in 1906 and died in 1907.

George's parents and siblings Harry aged 17, Fred aged 16, Edward aged 14, aged 13, Sarah Lucy aged 10 and Cyril aged 8 were all still living at 21 Beaconsfield Cottages in the 1911 census. His parents had been married for 26 years and one of their 10 children had died.

On 30 December 1905, at Kingston, George attested to join the East Surrey Regiment, for 3 years with the colours and 9 years in the reserve. His was 18 years and 2 months, unmarried, worked as a labourer, and his religion was C of E. At the time he attested George was already serving in the Militia with the 5th Rifle Brigade.

George was short at 5 feet 3 inches tall, weighed only 116 lbs, and had a chest measurement of 34 inches with an expansion of 2 inches. He had a fair complexion, grey eyes and brown hair. Tattooed on his right arm he had flags, an anchor and a woman's bust, and on his left arm another woman.

George's early Army service was with the 1st battalion, and until November 1907 he was based at Jersey, where on 7 March 1907, he received 10 days CB (confined to barracks) for being drunk in town and using obscene language in the public street. Despite this he was later awarded two good conduct badges, the first on 9 March 1909, the second on 9 March 1911.

In July 1907 he passed a course of instruction on mounted infantry at Longmoor, Hampshire. In November 1907 George was posted to the 2nd battalion in India where he was to remain until being recalled to England in August 1914. His 7 years in India were not very healthy years for George. He was hospitalised 14 separate times, staying a total of 396 days in hospital. His ailments included ague, dental problems, sprained leg, leg contusion, syphilis, malaria, inflamed middle ear, and stomach problems.

On 17 March 1911 he was appointed to the rank of Drummer and appears as such on the 1911 census, which was taken while he was in service in Burma and the Andaman Islands. On 16 June George signed to extend his army service to 12 years which would have ended on 29 December 1917. On 21 October 1911 he was appointed Lance Corporal, but this did not last for very long, as at his own request he reverted to Drummer on 23 January 1912.

The 2nd Battalion was sent France in January 1915. George, however remained in England, and was again promoted to Lance Corporal and transferred to the 3rd Battalion. This was a recruitment and training battalion that never left England. George it seems, as an experienced soldier, at that time was more useful to the Army training other men, rather than as a fighting soldier. By 1 June 1915 he was promoted to Corporal and on 19 February 1916 to Acting Sergeant.

George's time in England did not last, and on 2 February 1917 he embarked for France, but only served for 3 months before being killed in action in the Battle of Arras. Fresnoy, 9 miles north east of Arras, had been captured by the Canadians on 3 May, and now formed a salient that breached the enemy's main line of defence, albeit a narrow breach. On 8 May 1917 the 1st East Surrey's were defending the village of Fresnoy which was the target of a ferocious German counter attack. British forces were driven out of the ruined village and the line stabilised just outside the village. The Battalion War Diary for 4 May 1917 gives the Battalion strength as 936. The diary also provides some figures for casualties on 8 May:

Other Ranks Killed 21
Wounded 54
Missing420
Total495

The Soldiers Died CD tells us that 102 men from the 1st East Surreys were killed in action on 8 May 1917, including George who has no known grave and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial to the missing.

George never married, so his mother was the recipient of his British War medal on 23 March 1921, and his Victory medal on 18 October 1921.

The CWGC states that he was the:
Son of Mr. and Mrs. Sturgess, of 21 Beaconsfield Cottage, East Street, Epsom.
The St Martin's Church Roll of Honour states that:
GEORGE STURGESS, was reported missing near Arras and was officially presumed killed in action on the 8th May 1917.
EP SM

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STURT Reginald Philip, Sapper. 20213.

26th Field Company Royal Engineers (RE).
Died 21 June 1917, Aged 27

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

Reginald Philip Sturt was born in 1890 (GRO reference: Sep 1890 Epsom 2a 2) to Arthur and Mary Sturt (nee Hill). His parents married in the September 1871 quarter in the Epsom registration district. They had 13 children.

REGINALD PHILIP STURT AND HIS SIBLINGS
Name Born - Died Notes
Edward Arthur Born: 1871 Sutton Registered Hill
Emily Gertrude Born: 1872 Sutton  
Brena Rosetta Born: 1874 Brixton  
Annie Elizabeth Born: 1876 Brixton  
Joseph John Born: 1878 Brixton  
Bertha Born: 1880 Brixton
Died: 1880 Brixton
 
Mary Ellen Born: 1881 Carshalton  
Charles William Born: 1883 Carshalton
Died: 1883 Carshalton
 
Harry Alfred Born: 1884 Banstead  
Maud Ethel Born: 1886 Banstead
Died: 1886 Banstead
 
Sidney Bernard Born: 1888 Banstead  
Reginald Philip Born: 1890 Banstead
Died: 21 June 1917 Epsom
 
Hilda Lilian Frances Born: 1892 Banstead  

In the 1881 census before Reginald was born, the family lived at 'The Old Farmhouse' Carshalton. Reginald's father was a 32 year old labourer. His mother was aged 28 and he had six siblings, Edward aged 10, Emily aged 8, Brena aged 7, Annie aged 5, Joseph aged 2 and Mary aged 6 weeks.

By 1891 the family was living in Bolters Lane, Banstead. Reginald's father was now working as a gardener, and three more siblings are recorded, Mary aged 10, Harry aged 7, and Sidney aged 3. Reginald himself was 10 months old.

The 1901 census shows the family living in Well Cottages, Banstead. Reginald was aged 10 and another sister was recorded, Hilda aged 8.

In 1911 Reginald's family was living in Shrubland Road, Banstead. Only three of his siblings remained at home, Sidney working as a chauffer, Brena working as a dressmaker and Hilda aged 18 with no occupation shown.

By 1911 Reginald had joined the Army and was living in barracks at Shornemead Fort, Gravesend. He is recorded as being a house painter.

Reginald went to France on 17 August 1914, less than two weeks after the start of the war, and was therefore one of the first to go. He was in the 26th Field Company RE, which was part of the 1st Division.

During the first battle of Ypres, on 31 October 1914, the Germans were threatening to break through the British line near the village of Gheluvelt on the Menin Road south east of Ypres. In order to stop their advance, all available men were sent into the firing line. Reginald's unit of the RE was ordered to the front without their engineers equipment, and to fight as infantry. Reginald was wounded the next day, presumably whilst helping to hold back the German advance.

Reginald's service record has not survived, so we do not know how severely he was wounded, but his medal card shows that he was discharged from the Army (date not shown) and was given a 'silver War badge' for services rendered, meaning that he was no longer fit for military service.

He died on 21 June 1917 at his home, 1 Ivy Cottages, 65, Burgh Heath Road, Epsom, of Phthisis (tuberculosis), and was buried in grave D 312 in Epsom Cemetery.

The St Martin's Church Roll of Honour states that
'REGINALD PHILIP STURT, was in the Army before the War and was wounded at Ypres on the 1st November 1914. He died at Home of Phthisis on the 21st June 1917'.
Reginald was awarded the 1914 Star, British War medal and the Victory medal.

Reginald is remembered on the Banstead War Memorial in addition to the St Martin's church and Ashley Road memorials.

EP SM

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SUTTON Hedley Mackney, Private. 45478.

'A' Squadron Surrey Yeomanry
Killed in Action 28 August 1917, aged 26

Hedley Sutton
Hedley Sutton
Image courtesy of Peter Collins, Sutton Grammar School Archivist

Hedley Mackney Sutton was born in 1891 (GRO reference Sep 1891 Epsom 2a 12) to Arthur Hedley and Katharine Jane Sutton (Nee Mackney). (Tpr on Bourne Hall memorial).

In the 1901 census the family lived in Greenford Road, Sutton. Hedley's father was a 34 year old Registrar to a public company. His mother was aged 37, and he had a sister Hilda aged 6, his only sibling.

Hedley studied at Sutton Grammar School between 1902 and 1904.

In the 1911 census the family lived at 'The Laurels' (no longer there), Park Hill Road, Ewell. Hedley's father was still working, on his own account, as a Registrar to public companies. Hedley was working as a sales assistant in a 'Gentlemens hosier and glover' shop. His sister Hilda was a 16 year old student. Also with the family that night were 18 year old visitor, Florence Cooper and 18 year old domestic servant Ethel May Ayling.

They still lived at 2, The Laurels, Park Hill Road, Ewell in the 1915 electoral roll.

Hedley enlisted in Dorking into 'A' Squadron Surrey Yeomanry, and went to Gallipoli with them as part of the 29th Division, on 3 April 1915.

The following is an extract from Sutton Grammar School magazine, The Suttonian:
Was at the School from 1902 to 1904. At the outbreak of War he quickly responded to his Country's call -joining the Surrey Yeomanry as a Trooper in September, 1914.

After training at Dorking and elsewhere, he was posted to C Squadron, and attached to that never-to-be-forgotten 29th Division which effected the first landing on the Gallipoli Peninsula in April, 1915. After 14 weeks on the Peninsula he was stricken down with dysentery and removed to hospital in Malta, and thence to England.

He did not obtain much respite from the rigours of active service when restored to health, leaving England again-on a draft for A Squadron in Salonica-on 1st June, 1916. There he was occupied continuously in that dangerous Cavalry duty-reconnoitring-and it was, while thus engaged that he was mortally hit on 28th August last.

His body was laid to rest in the Church of England Military Cemetery outside a little village near their camp. The funeral service, conducted by the Principal Chaplain of the Division, was attended by the Squadron Commander, his Troop Officer, and a large number of the Squadron-comrades and friends.

In writing to his parents, his Officers pay a high tribute to his character as a man and as a soldier. In the belief that the record may prove an inspiration to others, they (his -parents") have expressed the wish that some extracts from those letters should be embodied in this memoir.

His Squadron Commander, writing on 29th August, after giving details of his death, says :-
"It is with the greatest sorrow that I write to record the death of so brave and gallant a man, but he fell as we should all like to do, surrounded by his friends, quickly, and in the fulfilment of his duty. The cause for which he has given his life is the noblest one a man can die for, and the particular duty your son was engaged on is a dangerous one but a very useful one, and one which calls for the highest qualities of courage and determination.

These qualities your son possessed in a very high degree, and his name had been given to me previously for gallantry and devotion to duty in the field. As his Commanding Officer, I feel I must tell you how much we shall all of us miss him."

And his Troop Officer under date 1st September:-
"I am writing to say how deeply sorry the Troop feel at your son's death in action, and how much they grieve for you in this great loss. All the Troop came to me and asked me to express what I could in writing to you of their feelings. His loss will be acutely felt for so many reasons. As a soldier he was so particularly dashing, yet imperturbable; cool and always reliable, and so quick to grasp instantly the nature of any complicated job that had to be done. I had already, as Troop Officer, reported to his Squadron Leader that I had the highest regard for him as a man and as a soldier. A man such as him needed only opportunities to show his qualities, and only a few weeks ago he had rendered great service to the Troop by a brilliant piece of scouting in face of the enemy. In his life and his death he is an example to us all. I think you must know how great the loss is to us. I cannot express how deeply we feel for you."
Truly another noble life laid down. A worthy follower of his namesake-Captain Hedley Vicars, whose memoirs he was so fond of reading, and who, it will be remembered, gave his life too for his Country at Sebastopol, in the Crimean War, not so far distant from this one's bodily resting place.
"His soul to Him who gave it rose,
God led it to its long repose,
Its glorious rest.
And though the warrior's sun has set,
Its light shall linger round us yet,
Bright, radiant, blest."

From the Epsom Advertiser dated 14th September 1917:
EWELL PARISH COUNCIL. The son of Mr and Mrs Sutton, Park Hill Road had been killed in action. It was decided to send a letter of sympathy
.
Private Sutton's grave stone at The Struma Military Cemetery, Greece
Private Sutton's grave stone at The Struma Military Cemetery, Greece
Copyright Image courtesy of Rob Carr 2007

Private Sutton's grave stone is shown in the foreground of this picture of The Struma Military Cemetery, Greece
Private Sutton's grave stone is shown in the foreground
of this picture of The Struma Military Cemetery, Greece
Copyright Image courtesy of Rob Carr 2007

The Struma Military Cemetery, Greece
The Struma Military Cemetery, Greece
The Struma Military Cemetery, Greece
Copyright Image courtesy of Rob Carr 2007

Hedley was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, the British War medal and the Victory medal. He is buried in Plot II. E. 1. Struma Military Cemetery, Greece, (Salonika).

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

Hedley's father died on 18 March 1940, aged 79 and his mother died on 5 December 1949, aged 86.

BH EW SGS

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SWANNACK Arthur, Private. 48766.

13th Battalion The King's (Liverpool Regiment).
Died of Wounds 29 December 1916, aged 19.

Arthur's inscription on the CWGC Memorial, Epsom
Arthur's inscription on the CWGC Memorial, Epsom
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2012

Arthur Swannack was born in 1897 (GRO reference: Jun 1897 East Retford 7b 2) to Edward and Mary Ann Swannack (nee Bates). They married in 1888 (GRO reference: Dec 1888 Newark 7b 629). Transcribed as Edward Swannacks in free BMD.

The 1891 census, taken before Arthur was born, shows that the family lived at Low Street, North Wheatley, Nottingham. Arthur's father was a 30 year old agricultural labourer. His mother was aged 24 and there were two siblings, John aged 2, and Sarah aged 9 months. Sarah died aged 4 in 1894.

By 1901 census the family lived at 'The Beck', North Wheatley, Nottingham. Arthur's father was still an agricultural labourer. Three more siblings had arrived, Ellen aged 8, George aged 6 and Herbert aged 1.

By 1911 they had moved to "Wainwright Cottages" Gringley, Nottingham. Another 4 siblings had arrived, Thomas aged 7, Gertrude aged 5, Joseph aged 3 and Frank aged 9 months. Arthur and his brother George were both farm workers, and his father was also working on a farm as a waggoner.

Arthur's burnt papers do not seem to have survived but he is listed in the "UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War" database as having enlisted in Retford into the Notts. and Derby Regiment as Private 49758 but was then transferred to the King's Liverpool Regiment 13th battalion. Here he was given the number 48766.

We do not know exactly when or how Arthur was wounded, but the 13th Battalion was in the 9th Brigade, 3rd Division. During the summer and autumn the Division fought in France in the battle of the Somme. It is most likely that he was wounded severely enough to be evacuated to England (known as Blighty to the troops). He was transferred to Horton War Hospital in Epsom Surrey, where he died of his wounds on 29 December 1916 aged 19.

Arthur was buried in the CWGC section, plot K647, in the Ashley Road cemetery, Epsom, Surrey on 3 January 1917 and is listed on the memorial there.

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

CWGC

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SYCAMORE Albert Edward, Private. 30163.

3rd Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment.
Killed in Action 11 February 1917, aged 29.

Albert Edward Sycamore
Albert Edward Sycamore
Image courtesy of Imperial War Museum © IWM (HU 118830)

Albert Edward Sycamore was born on 3 June 1887 (GRO reference Sep 1887 Epsom 2a 18) to William and Catherine Sarah Sycamore (nee Sanders). His parents had married on 19 August 1877 in St. Thomas Church, Bethnal Green. Albert was baptised on 7 August 1887 at St. Mary's Church, Ewell, Surrey.

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

In the 1881 census the family lived in Mill Lane, Ewell. Albert's father was a 'Shoeing Smith'. Albert, yet to be born, had a sister Catherine Mary born in 1880.

ALBERT EDWARD SYCAMORE AND HIS SIBLINGS
Name Born - Died Notes
Frederick James Born: 1878 Ewell
Died: 1879
Baptised 7 April 1878, St. Mary's, Ewell.
Buried St. Mary's, Ewell 30 August 1879
Catherine Mary Born: 1880 Ewell Baptised 5 September 1880, St Mary's Ewell
Harriet Rose Born: 1882 Ewell Baptised 2 July 1882, St. Mary's , Ewell
George William Born: 1885 Ewell
Died: 1952
Baptised 5 April 1885, St. Mary's, Ewell
Albert Edward Born: 3 June 1887 Ewell
Died: 11 February 1917 France
Baptised 7 August 1887, St. Mary's, Ewell
William John Born: 11 March 1893 Baptised 21 May 1893, St. Mary's, Ewell

By 1891 the family lived in West Street. Albert's father was now a 'Blacksmith', and he had another two siblings Harriet Rose aged 8 and George William aged 6. George William would also serve in the Great War as an Artilleryman.

Albert attended Ewell Boys school in West Street between 7 May 1894 and 25 January 1901, when he left to work as a house boy aged 13.

In the 1901 census they still lived in West Street, but Albert's father was now 'Journeyman Blacksmith', and Albert had another brother, William aged 8.

Albert married Beatrice Mary Richings in 1909 (GRO reference: Dec 1909 Maidenhead 2c 1011), and they produced four children.

ALBERT EDWARD SYCAMORE'S CHILDREN
Name Born Notes
George William Albert Born: 16 May 1910 at 3 Meadow Walk, Ewell Baptised All Saint's Church, Sutton 21 August 1910
Ivy Eileen Epsom Registration District September quarter 1912 Baptised A Saints Church, Sutton 4 August 1912
Edward James Born: 30 April 1914, Ewell Baptised St. Mary's Church, Ewell 21 June 1914
Mabel Kathleen Born: 8 June 1917, Ewell Baptised St. Mary's Church, Ewell 2 September 1917

In the 1911 census 23 year old Albert and his 22 year old wife Beatrice were living with their 10 month old son George at 14 Montague Terrace, Collingwood Road, Sutton, Surrey. Albert was working as a domestic gardener. His parents were now living at 3 Meadow Walk, Ewell.

The Surrey Recruitment Register tells us that Albert aged 28 years and 5 months attested in Sutton on 16 November 1915, into the 3rd Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment. He had been born at Ewell and lived at The Cottage Garrands Lane, Banstead. He was 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighed 130 lbs and had a chest measurement of 34 inches, with an expansion of 2½ inches and worked as a gardener.

The 3rd Bedfords were a reserve training battalion, and Albert must have transferred to the 4th Battalion, which was in the 190 Brigade 63 Division.

On the day that Albert was killed, 11 Feb 1917, the 4th Bedfords were in trenches about a mile east of Beaumont Hamel, the scene of much bloody fighting on the first day of the battle of the Somme on 1 July 1916. The Somme battle had officially ended on 19 November 1916, but fighting never ceased on the western front, every day brought bereavement to many families. The following account is taken from the battalion war diary of the 4th Bedfords:
11 February 1917, 4 Bedford Regiment, ordered to push forward their line of posts on the east side of the Puisieux Road from a line R.2.a.9.6. - R.1.b.6.4. to an advanced position R.2.a.9.6. - R.1.b.7.9. Two companies to attack and lined up on a tape running from R.2.a.5.3. - R.1. b.7.4. with 1 company in support holding trench R.2.c.3.9. - R.1.b.6.2. Company carrying party ready for consolidation. Zero hour 9p.m. Barrage on enemy front system of posts about R.1.b.5.7. - R.2.a.1.9. - R.1.a.4.8. for 5 minutes lifting gradually until 9.5p.m. At 9.5p.m. the line advanced. The left company was temporarily held up by enemy wire and heavy machine gun fire about R.2.a.2.8. and the company in support was then pushed forward. 12 February 1917 3a.m. Objective gained, line straightened out and post consolidated.

Thumbnail image of Puisieux Map
Click on the above thumbnail map of Puisieux to see a larger scale version
(Warning - This is a large file so is slow to download).

To straighten the line and gain another 250 yards on the 11th February 1917 cost the lives of twenty men from the 4th Bedfords, and another man on the 12 February 1917.

Following a change in British law that allowed a brother to marry his deceased brother's widow, Beatrice Mary married George William Sycamore, Albert's older brother, in the Epsom registration district in the September quarter of 1921. George had served with the Royal Horse Artillery. They produced three children who were all baptised in St. Mary's Church, Ewell: John Henry born 2 May 1921, baptised 14 August 1921, and twins Malcolm Douglas and Roy Geoffrey born 13 September 1927, baptised 5 February 1928. They lived at 3, Meadow Walk Ewell.

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

Albert is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the missing, Pier & Face 2 C. The CWGC states he was the 'Son of William and Catherine Sycamore; husband of B M Sycamore, of 3 Meadow Walk, Ewell, Surrey.'

Albert's inscription on the Thiepval Memorial to the missing
Albert's inscription on the Thiepval Memorial to the missing
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2010

BH EW ES

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