War Memorials - Surnames T


Click on the name to jump to the relevant entry

TAYLOR, A.T (New 03/05/2010)
TAYLOR, H. (Revised 04/11/2017)
TAYLOR, Oscar (Revised 03/04/2014)
TENEYCKE, Leslie Franklin (Pending further research)
TERRY, Alfred (Revised 13/07/2017)
TESTER, John (Updated 14/12/2015)
THOMAS, Alec Vaughan (Revised 05/05/2017)
THOMAS, George E (New 31/10/2015)
THOMAS, Maurice Wotton (Updated 05/07/2017)
THOMPSON, Wilbert (Pending further research)
THORNTON, William John (New 25/05/2014)
TICHENER, Harry Oliver (Updated 19/03/2013)
TINKER, William Thomas (Revised 17/06/2014)
TOMS, Joseph Edward (Updated 09/06/2012)
TOMSETT, George Henry Gwillam (Revised 03/01/2015)
TOOTH, Alfred (Revised 04/11/2017)
TOPE, John Alfred (Pending further research)
TOPHAM, Henry (New 25/08/2015)
TOSELAND, Frederick Arthur (New 17/02/2013)
TRACEY, James (Revised 03/06/2013)
TREADGOLD, Albert (Updated 02/04/2014)
TREAYS, John (Revised 25/03/2014)
TRESIZE, Oliver (Updated 06/04/2013)
TUPPEN, Alfred Joseph Henry (Revised 21/04/2017)
TURNER, Harcourt Charles (Revised 03/09/2017)
TURNER, Henry Dennis (New 17/02/2013)
TURNER, Henry William (Revised 07/03/2013)
TYE, Walter Guy (Updated 02/05/2010)
If you are looking for someone whose name starts with a different letter please try:


TAYLOR Alfred Thomas, Lance Corporal. 41820.

4th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment.
Died 12 April 1918, aged 19

Alfred's headstone in Aveluy Wood Cemetery
Alfred's headstone in Aveluy Wood Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2010

Alfred Thomas Taylor was born in 1899 in Tilbury, Essex, (GRO reference: Jun 1899 Orsett 4a 559) the second eldest son of William George and Emma Mary Louise Taylor (nee Tolhurst). His parents had married in the December 1897 quarter in the registration district of Hollingborne, Kent.

William Henry G March Quarter 1898 Hollingbourne, Kent
Alfred Thomas June Quarter 1899 Orsett, Kent
Cecil Arthur September Quarter 1901 Orsett, Kent
Doris Emma December Quarter 1902 Orsett, Kent
Christopher Harold T December Quarter 1903 Orsett, Kent
Florence Priscilla December Quarter 1905 Hollingbourne, Kent
Alice Matilda September Quarter 1907 Epsom
Ernest Frank 31 December 1910 Epsom
Maud Constance 2 March 1913 Epsom
Mildred Mary 29 March 1915 Epsom
Ronald Stanley (Hanley in Christ Church Baptism record) 9 October 1917 Epsom

In the 1901 census the family lived at 14, Sydney Road, Chadwell St Mary. Alfred's father was aged 26, and worked as a foreman/labourer in the coal industry. His mother was aged 25, and her 8 year old brother Christopher was staying with the family that night.

When exactly the family moved to Epsom is unknown but judging from the dates their children were born, it was most likely between 1906 and 1907. Ernest, Maud, Mildred and Ronald were all baptised in Christ Church Epsom Common Epsom Surrey.

In the 1911 census the family lived at 3, Hasted Cottages, South Street, Epsom. Alfred's father now shown as aged 37, worked as a labourer in a horse hair warehouse. His mother Emma had given birth to eight children, and all were still living
Alfred's service records have not survived but the Surrey Recruitment Register provides us with some information. He attested in Kingston on 19 March 1917 aged 18 years and 1 month. He was 5 feet 3 inches tall, weighed 110lbs, and had a chest measurement of 34 inches with an expansion of 3 inches. His medical grade was A4, which meant he would be A1 once he reached 19, the age at which he could legally be sent overseas. His stated profession was motor driver and he lived at 3, Hasted Cottages, South Street, Epsom.

The 4th Battalion Bedfordshire, originally a training battalion, was when Alfred joined it a front line fighting battalion, part of the 190th Brigade in the 63rd (Royal Naval) Division. Between 21 March and 5 April 1918 the Germans had launched their massive spring offensive, known as the Kaiserschlact, and had pushed back the British line considerably. On 12 April the 4th Bedfords were holding the line south of Mesnil, a small village just a few miles west of the 1916 Somme Battlefield. Five men from the 4th Bedfords were killed in action that day including Alfred. The war diary gives no indication of how they were killed, but was most likely caused by artillery fire.

Alfred is buried in plot III. G. 2. in Aveluy Wood Cemetery, Mesnil-Martinsart.

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

The CWGC that he was the "Son of William and Emma Taylor, of 40, South Street, Epsom, Surrey."

Alfred's mother Emma died in 1934, a year after the death of his sister Florence and was buried in the same plot as her, K729, in Ashley Road Cemetery Epsom. Both of 40 South Street Epsom Surrey.


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TAYLOR Harry, Gunner. 10589.

50th Battery, 13th Brigade, Australian Field Artillery.
Killed in Action 5 October 1917, aged 29.

Harry Taylor
Harry Taylor
Photographer and date not known, photograph left at cemetery.

Henry Taylor was born in Ewell in 27 November 1887 (GRO reference: Mar 1888 Epsom 2a 17) to William and Caroline Taylor(nee Arter). His parents had married on 21 September 1882 in St. John's Church, Croydon.

In the 1891 census the family lived in Gibraltar (the far end of West Street), Ewell. Harry's father was a 29 year old gardener and carman. His mother was aged 27 and worked as a charwoman. He had three siblings, Caroline aged 6, William aged 5 (also served) and Albert aged 1. They had two boarders living with them, George Allen a 23 year old labourer and George Grant a 50 year old miller.

Caroline Annie December quarter 1883 St Marys Ewell 2 December 1883
William George 3 September 1885 St Marys Ewell 4 October 1885
Henry/Harry 27 November 1887 No baptism found for Henry*
Albert Edward 11 December 1889 St Marys Ewell 1 June 1890
Ada Emily March quarter 1892 St Marys Ewell 6 March 1892
Ellen/Louisa September quarter 1893 St Marys Ewell 1 October 1893
Florence Maud June quarter 1895 St Marys Ewell 5 July 1886
Ethel Elizabeth September quarter 1898 St Marys Ewell 2 October 1898
Alice May 6 June 1901 St Marys Ewell 20 June 1901
Grace Evelina V 27 August 1903 No baptism found
* There is a St Marys baptism record for an Edward Taylor dated 5 February 1888, with parents William and Caroline. Possibly 'Edward' was recorded in error for 'Henry'.

Harry attended Ewell Boys School, West Street from 7 May 1894 to 21 December 1899, when he left to work as a 'Doctor's Boy'. Brothers William and Albert also attended the school.

By 1901 the family had moved to 8, Kingston Terrace. Harry's father was working as a labourer, as was Harry himself and his brother William.

In the 1911 census the family had moved to No.1 Stones Cottages, Stones Road, East Street Epsom. Harry and his father worked as labourers in the local brickworks while his brother Albert worked there as an engine driver. Sister Florence was a domestic servant. Harry's mother recorded that she had been married for 29 years and had given birth to ten children and that they were all still living, but only six of them were at home. Also living there, recorded as stepmother to Harry's father, was 70 year old widow Emily Decon.

Aged 25, Harry sailed on 28 June 1913 from the port of London aboard the ship Norsman, destination, Sydney, Australia.

It is not known when Harry became an Australian, but he attested into the Australian Army on 13 July 1915 at Melbourne. He gave his age as 27 years 8 months, his trade or calling as farmer and his next of kin as his mother, Mrs C Taylor, 1 Stones Cottages, Lintons Lane, Epsom, Surrey, England.

On 31 December 1915 he made a will leaving all his belongings to his mother.

Harry was 5 feet 6¾ inches tall, weighed 11 stone, had a chest measurement of 36/39, a fresh complexion, blue eyes, fair hair, and his religion was C of E. He also had 4 vaccination marks on his right arm, as well as a scar on his right forearm and scar on right elbow.

Initially Harry served with the infantry in the 11th then 10th Battalions, presumably for initial training. Here are some significant dates in Harry's Army career:
11 November 1915: Gunner with the Field Artillery, 1st Divisional Ammunition Column (DAC).
10 February 1916: Posted to No. 1 section, Cairo, Egypt.
22 March 1916: Posted to 50th Battery, Tel el Kebir, Egypt.
16 June 1916: Embarked on "Tunisian" at Alexandria.
23 June 1916: Disembarked at Marseilles, France.
21 December 1916: Admitted to hospital with a septic hand.
02 January 1917: Rejoined Brigade.
11 June 1917: To rest camp.
26 June 1917: Rejoined Brigade from rest camp.
13 August 1917: Wounded in action.
14 August 1917: Admitted to 2nd Canadian Casualty Clearing Station (CCS). Gunshot wound to chest.
14 August 1917: Transferred to 8th Ambulance Train.
18 August 1917: Admitted to 3rd Con Depot, Havre.
31 August 1917: Discharged to base Depot.
01 September 1917: Marched from hospital to Rouelles.
11 September 1917: To 5th Division Artillery.
18 September 1917: To leave.
02 October 1917: Rejoined from leave.
05 October 1917: Killed in Action.
Harry's mother was granted a pension of 7 shillings and 6 pence commencing 27 December 1917, to be reviewed on 2 January 1919. She signed a receipt for his personal effects on 21 March 1918, and for his plaque and scroll on 23 September 1922.

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

Harry's headstone in Vlamertinghe New Military Cemetery, Belgium.
Harry's headstone in Vlamertinghe New Military Cemetery, Belgium.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2010

He is buried in plot VI.H.6. Vlamertinghe New Military Cemetery, Belgium.


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TAYLOR Oscar, Gunner. 68429.

214th Siege Battery Royal Garrison Artillery (RGA).
Died of Wounds 5 May 1917, aged 25.

Oscar's hradstone in the Vlamertinghe Military Cemetery
Oscar's hradstone in the Vlamertinghe Military Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2010

Oscar Taylor was born in 1892 (GRO reference: Mar 1892 Epsom 2a 17) to Henry and Emily Taylor (nee Stroud). His parents had married on 23 February 1878 in St. Martins of Tours and had four children. Oscar's eldest brother Henry Herbert was born in Peckham but was baptised in St. Martins of Tours in Epsom on 12 October 1879. His sister Alice Florence was also baptised there on 7 August 1880.

In the 1881 census before Oscar was born the family lived at Black Barn Road, Epsom. Oscar's father was a 23 year old bricklayer. His mother was 24, and he had two siblings, Henry aged 1 and Alice aged 9 months.

Oscar's sister Hetty was born on 28 December 1882 and baptised in St. Martins of Tours in Epsom on 25 March 1883.

By 1891 the family had moved to 7 Broughton Cottage, Lintons Lane. When Oscar was baptised in St. Martins of Tours in Epsom on 4 December 1892, his family was living in Victoria Place, Epsom.

In 1901 the family lived at Pioneer Cottage, 94, Hook Road, Epsom. Oscar's father was now a builder, brother Henry was a bricklayer, sister Hetty a domestic servant, and Oscar a scholar.

Oscar's brother married in St. Martins of Tours in 1905 and his sister Alice in Christ Church in 1906.

In 1911 only Oscar was living with his parents at 106 Hook Road, Epsom, and Oscar was a bricklayer, presumably working for his father who was a builder and employer. His parents had been married for 33 years and all four of their children had survived. His sister Hetty married in 1913.

Oscar attested on 21 February 1916 at Epsom, into the RGA. He was 24 years old, 5 feet 6¼ inches tall, weighed 124 lbs, and had a chest measurement of 36 inches with an expansion of 2½ inches. His brother Henry also served in the RGA.

Oscar was a qualified signaller and telephonist, and embarked from Southampton on 23 January 1917 arriving at Le Havre on the 24 January. He was in France less than 4 months when he was wounded on 5 May, probably by shellfire, and died the same day. He is buried in plot VI.J.15. Vlamertinghe Military Cemetery, west of Ypres.

On 28 October 1917 Oscar's mother Emily acknowledged receipt of her sons property which comprised, 2 discs, letters, photos, pipe, case, pair scissors and a Stylo pen. He had on him the sum of 87 francs 5 centimes, and this amount was credited to his account, to be paid out when the account had been finally made up.

On 17 May 1922 Oscar's mother acknowledged receipt of his British War medal and his Victory medal.

His mother was aged 71 when she died in the Cottage Hospital, Epsom. She was buried in Epsom Cemetery on 8 October 1927. His father died aged 71 two years later in St. Marks Hospital, City Road, E. C. and was buried in his late wife's grave, A269A, on 3 August 1929.


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TENEYCKE Leslie Franklin, Private. 657795

1st Battalion Canadian Infantry
Died 10 November 1917, aged 23.

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

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TERRY Alfred, Driver. 120691.

'A' Battery 298th Army Brigade, Royal Field Artillery.
Killed in Action 12 July 1917, aged 32.

Reninghelst New Military Cemetery, Belgium
Alfred's headstone in Reninghelst New Military Cemetery, Belgium
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2012

Alfred Terry was born in 1885 in Epsom (GRO reference: Dec 1885 Epsom 2a 20) to George and Sarah Terry (nee Croucher). His parents were married in the March 1876 quarter in the Dorking registration district.

Name Born - Died Notes
Charles Thomas Born: 1876 Epsom Baptised St Martins 13 Aug 1876
Edith Amy Born: 1877 Epsom
Died: 1877 Epsom
Baptised St Martins 9 Sep 1877
William Born: 1879 Epsom Baptised St Martins 20 April 1879
George Born: 1880 Epsom Baptised St Martins 13 June 1880
Alice Born: 1882 Epsom Baptised St Martins 19 Feb 1882
Ellen Born: 1884 Epsom  
Alfred Born: 1885 Epsom
Died: 12 July 1917 France
Baptised St Martins 3 Jan 1886
Lilian Born: 1888 Epsom Baptised St Martins 12 Feb 1888
Annie Born: 1889 Epsom Baptised St Martins 2 Feb 1890
Harry Born: 1892 Epsom Baptised St Martins 3 April 1892
Albert Born: 1894 Epsom Baptised St Martins 19 May 1894
Walter Born: 1895 Epsom  
Ernest Edward Born: 1896 Epsom  
Elsie Amy Born: 1898 Epsom
Died: 1898 Epsom

In the 1881 census the family lived in East Street, Epsom. Alfred's 27 year old father earned his living as a bricklayer's labourer. His mother was aged 25, and four older siblings were living there, Thomas (Charles) aged 4, Edith Amy aged 3, William aged 2 and George aged 11 months. Also living with them was his mother's brother Thomas Croucher.

The 1891 census shows the family split between two houses and two census pages. Alfred's parents and siblings William, Alice and Annie were living at Worple Road, whilst Charles, George, Ellen Alfred and Lilian were living at 4, Broughton's Cottages, Lintons Lane. Living next door at number 3 was Alfred's grandmother Mary Ann Graysmark, formerly Terry, nee Greenfield. Also living with her were Alfred's aunts and uncles. This page of the census is difficult to follow, showing no clear head of the family, and classifying Alfred as female!

The 1901 census shows the family then living at 9, Lintons Lane, Epsom. Alfred's father now earned his living as a house painter, whilst Alfred earned his as an assistant in the oil trade.

Alfred's father died in 1910 and was buried in grave A510 in Epsom cemetery on 7 June 1910.

In 1911 the family still lived at 9, Lintons Lane. Alfred's 54 year old widowed mother was then the head of the family. Alfred and his brother George were both house painters, sister Lilian worked as a cook, whilst Albert, Walter and Ernest were all errand boys.

Alfred married Lily Brown in the September quarter of 1911 in the Epsom registration district. It seems they had two children, George born in the June quarter of 1912 and Kathleen L born in the June quarter of 1915.

The Surrey Recruitment Register CD tells us that Alfred attested in Kingston on 29 October 1915, into the Royal Field Artillery as a Driver, stating that he was 30 years old. He was 5 feet 3¼ inches tall, weighed 154lbs and had a chest measurement of 35½ inches with an expansion of 3½ inches. He lived at 2, Nonsuch Cottages, Lintons Lane and worked as a painter.

Alfred was killed in action on 12 July 1917 and is buried in grave III. F. 13. Reninghelst New Military Cemetery, Belgium. At that time no major battles were being fought on the Western Front and was between the very successful battle of Messines (7 June to 14 June 1917) and the start of the Third Battle of Ypres or Passchendaele (31 July to 12 November 1917). But, as ever on the Western Front the fighting rarely completely ceased, with raids, sniping and artillery fire not dormant for long. As each side would try to silence the others artillery, Alfred was probably a victim of shellfire.

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

The St Martin's church Roll of Honour states that:
ALFRED TERRY, was killed in action at Ypres on the 12th July 1917.

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TESTER John, Sergeant. 7299.

'A' Squadron, 20 Hussars.
Died of Wounds 25 May 1915, aged 27.

John Tester
John Tester
John Tester. Images courtesy of Bill Owen © 2015

John Tester was born in 1888 (GRO reference: Jun 1888 Cardiff 11a 321) to John and Jane Maud Tester (nee Gunter). His parents had married in Surrey on 20 May 1882.

In the 1891 census the family lived on a farm in Caterham. John's father was a farm labourer. John had three siblings, Jane aged 6, Rose aged 5 and George aged 6 months. (George also served in the 20th Hussars, and later the Machine Gun Corps, winning the DCM and the Croix de Guerre).

John's sister Florence Amy was born in 1893 but died when she was four months old in Woodcote End, Epsom; she was buried on 25 October 1893 in grave E520 in Epsom Cemetery.

By the 1901 census they lived on the South Side of Leslie Road, Dorking. John's father was now a lime burner, and John had two more siblings Robert (served in the navy) aged 7 and Thomas aged 4, who both served in the Royal Navy.

A letter written to John's wife in 1915 by a fellow soldier in the 20th Hussars (see below) stated that many in the regiment had been friends with John for 10 years, which would mean John joined around 1905 at the age of 17. The 20th Hussars had a depot in Scarborough.

John's brother Thomas attended a school in Surbiton before starting at Ewell Boys School on 5 November 1907. The family were by then living at Hill Side Cottages, Chessington Road, West Ewell.

John's mother died in 1910 in the Epsom registration district.

His father, sister Rose and brother Thomas were still living at Hillside Cottage, West Ewell when the 1911 census was taken. Even though a widower, his father entered onto the census form that he had been married for 30 years and that one of his 7 children had died; the enumerator however, crossed out this information. John's father was working as a Waggoner on a farm and his sister was working as a dressmaker. Also living with them was John's cousin, Mr. W. Mitchener. I have been unable to find John in the 1911 census.

John married Elsie Barber in 1912 in the Scarborough registration district and they had one daughter Irene Shrapnel, born on 16 October 1914. Note: I believe that Elsie Barber is a mistranscription for Elsie Barker.

In the 1913 electoral roll for Ewell John's father lived in a cottage on Fitznell Farm, and in the 1915 electoral roll he lived in Chessington Road, Ewell.

John was probably a reservist and recalled to the colours on the outbreak of war. The Soldiers Died CD tells us that he enlisted in Steyning (near Worthing) whilst living in Scarborough. His medal card states that he went to France on 16 August 1914 and was therefore an 'Old Contemptible'.

John Tester
John Tester
Image courtesy of Bill Owen ©2015

The following is from the 1923 book by Major J.C. Darling '20th Hussars in the Great War', and covers events from 7 May 1915 to 24 May 1915.
     "We left Ledringhem on the 7 May and marched back to our billets at Verte Rue. On the 9 May the big Allied attack started at Arras. We "stood to" for two days in case there should be a gap for us to go through. No gap appeared, so we stood down again. On the 13th May the Huns made another gas attack east of Ypres, and during the night 13th-14th, the 5th Cavalry Brigade was moved by motor bus to Vlamertinghe. About 10 p.m. on the 14th we took over front line trenches east of Potijze from the 3rd Cavalry Division. Some units of this division had made a brilliant counter-attack and had chased the Huns, in the words of the Essex Yeomanry, "clean out of our country." We took over from the 3rd Dragoon Guards. They had suffered heavy casualties, their Colonel was badly wounded, and I think they had only got two officers left. The trenches were badly damaged. The Boches were somewhere about 1,000 yards away. During the night we dug a new trench line about 150 yards in front of the old one. By the morning we had got quite good trenches. An infantry working party had helped us by constructing communication trenches leading back to the old trenches. All three squadrons were in the front line, "C" on the left in touch with the 12th Lancers, "B" in the centre, "A" on the right. The right of the line rested on the Ypres-Zonnebeke railway. South of the railway we joined with the infantry; I think the 28th Division. We remained in these trenches till the 21st May. Patrols went out every night, but never really got in touch with the Germans. They were a long way off.
     On our sector of the front there was very little shelling by either side. We had very few casualties, but these included Sergeant Tester killed and Sergeant "Paddy" Curran wounded. The night of the 21st we were relieved by infantry, and marched back to huts near Vlamertinghe. At about 3.30 a.m. on the 24th we suddenly got the order to turn out. There had evidently been another gas attack east of Ypres. This attack had fallen on the 1st Cavalry Division. The 9th Lancers and 18th Hussars, to name only two units, had very heavy casualties."
The account above states that there was very little shelling during that period, and there were very few casualties. Despite this statement between 13 and 26 May 1915, eleven men from the 20th Hussars lost their lives. John Tester being one of them, dying of wounds on the 25 May 1915. The account also implies that Sergeant Tester was killed before the 21st, whereas the CWGC states he died on the 25 May. I suspect he was wounded by a shell sometime between the 14 and 21 May, and transported to No. 13 base hospital at Boulogne where he died.

On 24 May 1915 Ward Letter Writer, Sister, Lady Mary Bradford wrote to John's widow from Ward 6, No.13 Stationary Hospital, Boulogne:

Dear Mrs Tester
Your Husband Sergeant Tester is in the hospital wounded in back and he is seriously ill. He sends his love and little Irene - please write to him by first post.

     Yours faithfully
     Mary Bradford
She wrote again on 25 May:

Dear Mrs Tester
I deeply regret to tell you that your husband Sergeant Tester died at 3.15 pm today. I went up to him at 3 o'clock and asked how he was. He said 'better, give my love to my love and baby'. He was smiling and in no pain. My greatest sympathy with you in your great sorrow - He was, I could see, a most loving husband from the way he spoke of you.

     (Lady) Mary Bradford
     Sister writing for Ward
Lady Mary wrote a final letter to John's wife on 30 May:
Dear Mrs Tester
Your husband Sergeant Tester was buried in Boulogne Cemetery. His coffin was covered with the flag for which he gave his life - he had a firing party and the bugler sounded the Last Post - I would not advise you to send flowers, they always die on the way and we often put flowers on the graves for the sake of those who loved them and who are far away. After the war is over, you can visit your Husband's grave - your Husband impressed me greatly and we all wished his life could have been saved. With my sincere sympathy,

     Yours faithfully
     Mary Bradford
On 1 June the officer commanding 'A' Squadron, Major M.E. Richardson, wrote to John's widow:

Dear Mrs Tester
May I write you a line to express my very sincere sympathy in your terrible loss. I find it impossible to put into words how much I feel for you in your great grief, the loss is so ********. It will be some slight relief to you that your husband died at his post doing his duty like a man. His death is a very great loss to me; he always did his duty and was the greatest help to me and the squadron. We all miss his cheery presence so much.
     Try and understand that he died doing his duty for his country: I do not think it is possible for a man to die a finer death.
     My most sincere sympathy is with you: I shall think often both of him and you.

     Yours Sincerely
     M.E. Richardson
Squadron Sergeant Major H.E. Nash also wrote to John's widow on 1 June:

To Mrs. E. Tester
I write to you on behalf of the NCOs of 'A' Sqdn XXth Hussars to try and express to you our deep sympathy at the loss of poor Jack. we are all dreadfully hit at his loss especially as it was not a friendship of a few weeks, but to many of us 10 years.
     He was struck by several pieces of shell whilst in charge of a party of men working to strengthen our position.
     We all miss him so very much he was an excellent soldier and a good comrade. I trust you will try and bear up bravely. All our women have trials to contend with, but of course yours is the hardest of all.
     One point however stands out and always will do. He died bravely as a soldier.      Once more you have our heartfelt sympathy, not only his closest friends but the whole of my Sqdn and Regt.

     Yours most sincerely
     HE Nash SSM

John Tester's headstone in the Boulogne Eastern Cemetery
John Tester's headstone in the Boulogne Eastern Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2008

He is buried in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, plot VIII D 46. The CWGC states he was the 'Husband of Elsie Tester, 24 Moorland Road, Scarborough'.

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

John's medals
John's medals
Image courtesy Bill Owen © 2015

John's bronze plaque
John's bronze plaque
Image courtesy Bill Owen © 2015

The register of soldiers effects states that his widow Elsie was a benefactor and that he had a daughter, Irene S.

John's daughter, Irene Shrapnel married William Hudson in the March 1964 quarter in the Scarborough registration district. She died in 1977 in the Claro registration district, Yorkshire.


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THOMAS, Alec Vaughan, Captain.

11th Battalion, East Surrey Regt, attached 2nd Battalion, Hampshire Regt. 29th Division.
Killed in Action 6 August 1915, aged 22.

The 1905 First 11 Soccer Team, Alec Thomas is holding the football - Click image to enlarge
The 1905 First 11 Soccer Team
Alec Thomas is holding the football
Click image to enlarge
Image courtesy of Michael Davis

Alec Vaughan Thomas was born at Elm House, Worcester Park, Surrey on 14 September 1892 (GRO reference: Dec 1892 Epsom 2a 17), second child to John Alick and Kate Edith Florence Thomas (nee Fairbank), who had married on 13 May 1890 in St. John's Church, (Old) Malden.

The 1901 census recorded Alec's father John as a 47 year old architect from Stanstead Abbot. He and his 40 year old wife Kate were living at 'The Croft' Cuddington, Worcester Park Surrey with their children Mary aged 10, born 5 March 1891, Alec Vaughan aged 8 and Maurice Wotton aged 6, born 27 September 1894, as well as three staff to look after them. Maurice Wotton Thomas was also killed during the war.

In 1905 Alec attended Parkside School, Ewell. In 1933 the school was demolished to make way for Timbercroft and Sterry Drive in Stoneleigh, and relocated to Stoke D'Abernon.

Alec was educated at Repton (1911 census) and Oriel College in Oxford, where he played cricket for the eleven. He served in the Officer Training Corps (OTC) in both establishments.

On 9 September 1914 Alec underwent a medical examination at Kingston-Upon-Thames. He was 5 feet 11 inches tall, weighed 159 lbs, had a chest measurement of 39½ inches, and had good hearing, teeth, vision and colour vision.

On 8 October 1914 the London Gazette reported that Alec was one of many young cadets and ex-cadets of the OTC to be made temporary Infantry Second Lieutenants. Alec, assigned to the 11th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment, was promoted to Lieutenant in December 1914 and to Captain in January 1915.

In May 1915 he was one of a draft of 50 officers sent to Gallipoli to replace officers who had been killed. Alec was allocated to the 2nd Battalion Hampshire Regiment, part of the 88th Brigade, 29th Division.

In June 1915 the British High Command decided to commit more troops to the Gallipoli campaign. The plan was for the reinforcements to land at 10pm on 6 August. There being insufficient space for all the troops to land in the Anzac zone, some were to land further north at Suvla. To draw Turkish attention away from the landings diversionary attacks were undertaken at Anzac and Helles (Krithia). During the afternoon of 6 August 1915 Alec's battalion, the 2nd Hampshires, attacked Turkish trenches at Krithia. Some Turkish trenches were taken but were recaptured by a Turkish counter attack. Further British attacks were beaten back and no ground was gained. August was a deadly month for the 2nd Battalion Hampshire Regiment. Some 210 other ranks were killed on 6 August, another 18 died between 7th and 12th August and a further 208 died on 13th August. A total of 449 other ranks lost their lives in August 1915. A description of the battle can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Krithia_Vineyard.

Alec was one of 13 officers known to have been killed. He was originally reported to be missing and on 13 August 1915 his uncle, Dr. William Fairbank, wrote from Mousley House, Windsor, to a Sir George Arthur:
Dear Sir George I should be so very grateful if you could find out about my nephew Capt Vaughan Thomas. He has been reported as missing. He is very dear to us all and we are most anxious as to what has happened. He was in the East Surrey's Territorials and was drafted into and attached to the 2nd Hampshires 88th Brigade 29th Division. He was in the Dardanelles Exp. Could you possibly find out anything about him. We are getting on all right at the institute.
Yours Sincerely
W Fairbank
On 2 September 1915 the following reply was received:
The Military Secretary presents his compliments to Dr. W. Fairbank, and at the request of Sir George Arthur, begs to inform him that nothing further has been heard of Captain A.V. Thomas, 11th East Surrey Regiment, since he was reported missing on August 6th.
From Hospital Bed 30, Hut A, St Thomas' Hospital, No. 4217, Pte Paffer, made the following statement:
That he was in Capt Thomas' Platoon and knew him well.
That he is sure that Capt Thomas was wounded in the thigh &fract12; way between the trenches in the action on August 6th 1915.
That he himself was wounded later in the same action and that when he was carried to the dressing station he saw there Capt Thomas having his wound dressed between 4.15 and 5 o'clock p.m. on Aug 6th.
That AL/Cpl Withies or Withers and Pte Ayling 4177 2nd Hants were also at the dressing station which was on the main road from W Beach leading up O.H.12 and was &fract12; mile in front of Scottish Rifles who were in support. Dressing station was situated in a trench on right side of road.
Note: L/Cpl Albert Withers was killed on 6 August 1915 and having no known grave is commemorated on the Helles memorial. Richard James Ayling survived the war but was awarded a pension in 1919 as he was suffering from 'shell shock'.

An unsigned note to the War Office dated 2 October 1915 recorded that Alec's mother begged that in view of the statements from Pte. Paffer, that enquires be made of the authorities with the Mediterranean Force with the object of obtaining some particulars regarding her son.

Alec's mother wrote on 11 October 1915, on headed notepaper:

Mrs. Thomas presents her compliments to the Military Secretary and thanks him for his communication. She trusts that the special enquiry on behalf of her son Captain Thomas will be successful.
Enquires were made about Alec, via the American Embassy in Constantinople, to the Turkish War Office. The American Embassy reply was as follows:
The Turkish War Office reply under date of September 30th that they have no information regarding Thomas Alec Vaughan.
American Embassy, Constantinople, October 11th 1915.
Alec's father wrote to the War Office on 16 November 1915:
Sir, I received your communication of 10-11-15 saying that my son has not been made a prisoner but no reference appears to be made of the statement of Pte. Paffey, 4127 2nd Hants that he saw Capt. Thomas at one of our dressing stations after the action on Aug 6th.
      May I ask if any enquires have been made on these lines as promised in your acknowledgment (of this statement) of Oct 19th last?
      I would point out that since your telegram of 11th August saying that "missing" does not necessarily mean that he is wounded or killed -- I have no official information and after 15 weeks am told he is not a Prisoner of War.
      Has any information been received as to the fate of the 16 officers reported missing on Aug 6th?

I am your obedient servant, J Alick Thomas
The War Office Military Secretary wrote to Alec's father on 22 November 1915;
      The Military Secretary presents his compliments to Mr. Thomas, and with reference to his letter of 16th November, begs to inform him that enquires have been addressed to the Officer Commanding the 2nd Hampshire Regiment, to which regiment Captain A.V. Thomas, 11th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment, was attached. The Officer Commanding states that he is unable to confirm the statement made by Private Paffey. Private Ayling is to be examined, and the result shall be communicated to Mr. Thomas.
      The Military Secretary would like to point out that the information conveyed in his letter of the 10th November was a communication from the American Ambassador at Constantinople in answer to an enquiry made by Mr. Thomas himself, and was not in any way an official War Office statement.
Alec's father wrote to the War Office on 23 November 1915:
Sir, I have to acknowledge your communication of 22 inst with regard to the statement of the Officer Commanding the 2nd Hants Regt, that he is unable to confirm Pte. Paffey's statement; I would suggest that you also instruct the C.O. to examine No. 4101 L/Cpl Shoesmith now at the Depot Winchester who informed me that Capt. Thomas was brought back into our trenches wounded and that he sent for the stretcher bearers and that my son was carried down to the dressing station.
      Shoesmith adds that he did not see any more of my son afterwards.       Paffey describes the dressing station where he saw Capt Thomas, as being at the road side about &fract14; mile behind our lines and not in the trenches.
      With regard to the information given in your form of Nov 10th I beg to submit, that this clearly suggests an independent enquiry sent to Turkey by the War Office on my behalf so that I took it, and think naturally to be official.

I am Sir, Your obedient servant,
J Alick Thomas.
On 9 December 1915 Alec's father wrote to the War Office. He explained that his son had left his effects at Alexandria, with Cox, Shipping Agents, and that Cox would not release his son's effects without instructions from the War Office. Therefore, would the War Office do what is necessary for the effects to be sent home.

On 12 December 1915 Alec's father received a letter from the War Office:
Sir, In reply to your letter of 23rd November, concerning Captain A. Vaughan Thomas, 11th Battalion East Surrey Regiment, attached 2nd Battalion, Hampshire Regiment, I am directed to inform you that 3/4177 Private R.J. Ayling, 2nd Battalion Hampshire Regiment, has been examined, and states that on 6th August he saw Captain Thomas hit about 5 o'clock a.m. and fall, and thinks he was killed on the spot; that about 6 p.m., being wounded himself, he went to the dressing station, where he saw Private Paffey having his wounds dressed, but he did not see Captain Thomas there. 4101 Lance Corporal G. Shoesmith, has also been examined, and states that about 9 p.m. on 6th August, he saw a Captain lying wounded in front of the trenches, and carried him in, but was himself wounded, and it was dark, and he could not state positively that the officer was Captain Thomas.
      I am to add that it is regretted that no further information of Captain Thomas has been received, but that it is feared that there can be practically no doubt of his death, and that in view of the enormous difficulties prevailing in the Dardanelles, it is not possible to furnish an accurate account of every case. I am to say that, if any further information is received of Captain Thomas, it will be communicated to you as soon as possible.
      I am, Sir, Your obedient servant
(signed) RCF
On 1 February 1916 a telegram from the War Office was received:
To J.A. Thomas, The Croft, Worcester Park, Surrey.
Deeply regret to inform you that Capt A V Thomas East Surrey Regt previously reported missing now missing believed killed. Lord Kitchener expresses his sympathy.
A list of Alec's effects was prepared as follows:
1 Valise in sack contg.
2 pr. Khaki knicks.
1 suit pyjamas.
1 pr. khaki trews.
1 pr. breeches.
1 khaki coat
On 17 May 1916 Alec's father wrote to the War Office:
Sir, In reply to your communication of 13th inst. The latest news of my son was received from the Sergeant of his platoon whom I saw in November last. Then stationed in Gosport.
      Sergeant Robins said that my son was last seen leading his men over the parapet (of front line trenches) in the third line of advance on the enemy position South of Krithia, having seen the two first lines swept away by machine gun fire and shrapnel. He believes that no prisoners were taken on that day.
      This appears to be borne out by the report that the attack was a disaster, if only 250 of the 850 men of 2 Hants escaped destruction and 18 officers were missing. Though I have so far seen no official confirmation of these figures but our command seems to have been hopelessly ignorant of the strength of the enemy in men and machine guns -- which resulted in this appalling slaughter and loss of life.
      I am Sir Your Obedient Servant,
J Alick Thomas
The Army Council wrote to Alec's father on 18 May 1916:
Sir, I am commanded by the Army Council to inform you that they regret that no further report has been received concerning Captain A. Vaughan Thomas, 11th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment, attached 2nd Battalion, The Hampshire Regiment, reported missing believed killed 6th August 1915.
      Before taking official action in the matter they will be obliged if you will confirm the fact that no further news of this officer has reached you. If this is the case, they will be regretfully constrained to conclude that he died on or since 6th August 1915.
      I am to add that the official action taken as a result of this decision consists in the winding up of the officer's accounts, and that his name will not appear again in the official casualty lists.
      I am, Sir, Your Obedient Servant. B.B. Cubitt
On 2 August 1916 Alec's father completed an 'Effects. -- Form 107'. The form was required because Alec had left no will. It was recorded that Alec was not married and that his closest relatives were his parents, his sister Mary and his brother Maurice. Alec's father then wrote to the War Office:
Sir, With reference to your communication of 17th inst I now return Form 107 duly filled up and witnessed as directed.
Yours obediently
J Alick Thomas
On 25 August 1916 the War Office in London wrote to the 'Command Paymaster Cairo' asking if he was 'aware of any amounts due to the late officer on account of allowances. His death is presumed to have occurred on 6 August 1915'.

The 'Command Paymaster' replied on 13 September 1916 that:
Allowances had been issued by me in respect of the late officer up to and for 31st August, 1915. There is therefore an overcharge of £3-2-6, (three pounds two shillings and sixpence) against the public on account of Lodging, Fuel and Light Allowance for the period 7th to 31st August, 15, and I should be glad if authority could be given for the above amount to be debited to "Effects".
On 29 August 1916 Alec's father wrote to the War Office as follows:
Sir, Referring to your communication of July 17 last. I duly received cheque for £61. 17. 6. from the paymaster as advised in yours of August 10.
      I shall be glad to have the certificate of death, which I understand you would furnish, in order that I may satisfy the Companies in whose books my son's name had been registered as a joint trustee -- more especially as there are funds involved, which the Treasury under their scheme B are asking to be lent on deposit to the Government.
Yours Obediently, J Alick Thomas
Alec's grieving father wrote to the Financial Secretary at the War Office on 19 October 1916 enclosing a 'cheque for £3 2s 6d claimed against the estate of my son Capt. A. V. Thomas E. Surrey Regt. Yours Obediently, Alick Thomas'.

A memo from the War Office at Park Buildings, St James's Park, London, dated 7 November 1916, sent to the 'Command Paymaster Cairo', authorised the sum of £3 2s 6d to be charged against Alec's estate, 'on account of overissue of lodging, fuel and light allowances for period 7-31 / 8 /15'.

The following appeared in Epsom advertiser dated 3 December 1915:
CAPT. THOMAS KILLED. -- Capt. Alec Vaughan Thomas, 11th East Surrey Regt., attached 2nd Hampshire Regt., reported missing at the Dardanelles on August 6th, is now stated to have been killed on that date. He was 22 years of age, and the elder son of Mr. and Mrs. Alick Thomas, of Worcester Park. He was educated at Parkside, Ewell, and Repton, and when war was declared was an undergraduate of Oriel College Oxford. At Repton on the classical side he won distinction in Latin verse and Greek prose and was head of the hall under the Rev. W. Temple, 1911-12.
      A good all-round athlete he was in the school eleven of that year and at Oxford, where he was reading for honours, represented his college at cricket and golf. As a member of the O.T.C. for seven years and holding Certificate A, he obtained from Oxford a commission in the East Surrey Regiment in October 1914, and was promoted Lieutenant in December and Captain in January last.
      In May last he was sent out with a draft of 30 officers to make good losses in the Gallipoli Peninsula and was attached to the 2nd Hants Regiment. On August 6th he was last seen about 4p.m. leading his platoon to the attack on the Turkish trenches before Krithia and Achi Baba, and was one of sixteen officers of the 2nd Hampshire Regt. reported missing after the action.
Alec's father requested on 30 July 1917 that his son's medals, the 15 Star, British War medal and the Victory, be sent to his home, The Croft, in Worcester Park.

The Croft, rear view.
The Croft, rear view
Image courtesy David Rymill

Obituary from Wisden's Almanac 1916 (founded in 1864 by the English cricketer John Wisden (1826-1884):
CAPT. ALEC VAUGHAN THOMAS (11th East Surrey Regiment, attached 2nd Hampshire) was killed in action in the Dardanelles on August 6, aged 22. He was in the Repton XI in 1912, when he headed the batting averages with 29.30, and subsequently played at Oxford for his College, Oriel, but did not obtain his blue. In 1913 he appeared in the Freshmen's match, but failed to score.
Almost every year between 1938-1950 the following appeared in The Times:
Thomas - To the dear memory of two devoted sons, Alec Vaughan Thomas (Repton and Oriel). Temporary Capt., East Surrey Regiment, who fell before Krithia, Gallipoli, Aug 6 1915, aged 22, and Maurice Wotton Thomas RAF and RFC, who fell in the Somme advance flying over Bapaume Aug 5 1916 aged 21.
Alec is commemorated on the Helles Memorial, Turkey, along with about 21,000 other men with no known grave who fell in the Gallipoli campaign. He is also commemorated on two local memorials, in St. Mary's church, Cuddington and St, John's churchyard, Old Malden.

Alec's father (an architect with the firm 'Whitfield and Thomas', was responsible for the design of St. Mary's, Cuddington), died, aged 87, on 12 February 1940 and was buried in St. John's Churchyard on 17 February. Probate was granted to his widow Kate Edith Florence Thomas and his daughter Mary Joyce Fairbank (wife of Henry Neville Fairbank) in the sum of £39,418 5s 5d.

Alec's mother died, aged 91, on 30 October 1950 and was buried in St. John's Churchyard, on 4 November. She lived at The Croft, 50 The Avenue, Worcester Park. Probate was granted to her daughter Mary Joyce Fairbank in the sum of £7,284 11s 3d.

Thanks to David Rymill for additional information.


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THOMAS George Edward, Private. Deal/14875(S).

Royal Marine Labour Corps, Boulogne.
Died 22 February 1919, aged 46.

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

According to the Ancestry, 'Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Grave Roll 1914-1919', George Edward Thomas was born on 22 January 1873 in Putney. I have been unable to find a likely 1873 birth record for him. There is however a GRO reference for a George Edward Thomas born in the Wandsworth district in 1877 (GRO ref: Mar 1877 Wandsworth 1d 74). Putney came within this registration district. His parents, George and Elizabeth Jane (nee Protherough) had married in 1867 in the Kensington registration district.

George was aged 4 and living in 1881 with his parents George and Elizabeth in the Coach House along with his sisters Lucy aged 13, Ada aged 11, Alice aged 9, and 8 year old Fanny. George's place of birth was given as Roehampton, which is in the parish of Putney in the Wandsworth registration district. His father was aged 42 and was working as a coachman for Colonel A.A. Croll who lived in Putney Park Lane. Also living with them was George's paternal uncle, Thomas Thomas, who was working as a groom.

George's sister Ada married Frederic Sutton in 1888 but the whereabouts in 1891 of George and his family is unknown.

In the 1901 census George was aged 25 and working as a barman at the William II Hotel, High Road, Streatham. His parents and maternal grandfather, Thomas Prothero (sic), were living at 69 Colmer Road, Streatham. Also living there were George's nephews Percy and Albert Sutton. George's father was recorded as being an employed publican.

George married Esther Poynter, registered in the Jun 1907 quarter in the Staines registration district. The couple lived and worked in the King's Arms public house in Epsom. There they had a daughter, Esther, who only lived for four weeks and was buried in grave B80 in Epsom cemetery on 27 October 1908.

In the 1911 census George and his 38 year old wife Esther were still living at the King's Arms, 118 East Street, Epsom, where George was the licensee and Esther assisted in running the business. They employed a cook and a potman/barman. George gave his place of birth as Roehampton but his age as 38, not 35. This may have been because he did not want to appear to be younger than his wife and may explain why his military records later show him as being born in 1873.

The death of George's wife Esther, aged 40, was registered in the December quarter of 1913 in the Staines registration district. According to a family tree, George had moved to Isleworth and became the licensed victualler at the Coach and Horses Inn in London Road. On 29 June 1914, in Brentford Registry Office, George married 26 year old barmaid Lily Rosina Wise. Three months earlier, on 1 March 1914 at 33 Gloucester Road in Kew, Lily had given birth to Marie Wise. The couple moved to Southend-on-sea where George became manager of the Hotel Victoria. Following a miscarriage, Lily died in the Borough Sanatorium from puerperal fever and hyperpyrexian on 9 May 1917.

George served with the Royal Marine Labour Corps, which was formed in 1917. Surviving records show that he served in Boulogne and was awarded the British War medal and the Victory medal.

George died from an unspecified disease on 22 February 1919 in Horton War Hospital. He was buried on 26 February, in grave K653 in Epsom Cemetery and is remembered on the Screen Wall. He shares his grave with three other servicemen,

The 'Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Grave Roll 1914-1919' informs us that the relative notified of hid death was his friend Mrs Annie Hughes, 1 York Villa, Kew Green, Surrey. Note: In 1911, Annie Hughes, living at 'Haverfield', Kew Green, Kew, Surrey, was a 30 year old 'Servant, recorded as unmarried. This address is only a short distance from where Lily gave birth to her daughter Marie.

A probate record, dated 11 June, tells us that George Edward Thomas of 104 Stanley-road, Teddington, a private in the Royal Marine Labour Corps, died on 23 February 1919 at Horton War Hospital, Epsom and that his effects amounting to £165 12s 3d went to 'the Public Trustee'.


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THOMAS, Maurice Wotton, Lieutenant.

Royal Field Artillery (RFA), attached 4th Squadron, Royal Flying Corps (RFC).
Killed in Action 5 August 1916, aged 21.

Maurice Wotton Thomas
Maurice Wotton Thomas
Image courtesy of the Royal Aero Club

Maurice Wotton Thomas was born in Worcester Park, Surrey on 27 September 1894 (GRO reference: Dec 1894 Epsom 2a 19), third child of John Alick and Kate Edith Florence Thomas (nee Fairbank), who had married on 13 May 1890 in St. John's Church, Malden. Maurice was baptised in the same church on 2 December 1894.

The 1901 census recorded Alec's father John as a 47 year old architect from Stanstead Abbot. He and his 40 year old wife Kate were living at 'The Croft' Cuddington, Worcester Park Surrey with their children Mary aged 10, born 5 March 1891, Alec Vaughan aged 8, born 14 September 1892 and Maurice Wotton aged 6, as well as three staff to look after them. Alec Vaughan Thomas was also killed during the war.

Maurice's early education took place at Parkside Ewell. Then, at the age of 12, he was sent to Osborne College on the Isle of Wight, to train for the Royal Navy. (Between 1903-1921 Osborne House, the former home of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert was used as a junior officer training college for the Royal Navy). However, in 1910 he was invalided out and spent the next 18 months convalescing. I have been unable to find him in the 1911 census.

In September 1914 he was commissioned into the RFA and later transferred to the RFC. On 19 December 1915, at Abeele Aerodrome, Belgium, Maurice, was to be an observer in an aircraft that was about to take off. However, due to engine failure the aircraft was unable to take off, it clipped some trees and crashed into the ground. Maurice was stunned and suffered a broken nose, cuts to his chin and left eyebrow and bruises to his face. On the same day he was admitted to No.14 General Hospital, Wimereaux where his injuries were wrongly diagnosed as 'gun shot wound' to the face. This was later changed to 'Badly bruised about face. Nothing very serious'. On 23 December he was evacuated to Dover via Boulogne. On the same day his father received a telegram telling him that his son had been wounded.

On 3 January 1916 Maurice attended a medical board at Caxton Hall. The board stated that his wounds were 'severe not permanent' and that he would not be fit for military duty for eight weeks. On 18 February 1916 Maurice attended another medical board, at Croydon War Hospital, which declared that:
He has recovered from the effects of his injuries; sleeps well; has been taking active exercise; and is fit for general service.
A letter, dated 2 March 1916, to the Officer Commanding the 5th Brigade RFC informed him that the Medical Board had declared Maurice fit for General Service.

Maurice gained his Royal Aero Club Aviator's certificate on a Maurice Farman Biplane at the Military School, Birmingham on 1 April 1916.

Maurice's Aero Club Certificate record
Maurice's Aero Club Certificate record
Image courtesy of the Royal Aero Club

On 5 August 1916 Maurice was flying on a bombing mission north west of Bapume, when at 7.15 p.m. he was shot down. On 11 August his father wrote to the War Office:
Sir, I duly received your wire on Wednesday morning that my son was missing Aug 5th but from reports from the squadron the hope held out seems to be hardly justified by what took place.
      He was in difficulty on returning from a bombing raid and two hostile machines were seen to dive at him, as he was flying low, his machine appeared to get out of control and finally crashed to the ground.
      Under these circumstances may I suggest that "missing believed killed" would be a more likely description for the lists when published.
      My elder son Capt. A.V. Thomas 11th East Surrey Regt was reported missing in Gallipoli Aug 5 1915 in the same way, when there was no doubt that he had been killed, causing us 4 months of hopeless anxiety.
        Your obedient Servant, J Alick Thomas
On 16 October 1916 Maurice's father wrote to the War Office:
Sir, As it is now more than two months since my son was reported missing in France, and I have heard nothing further beyond the facts I referred to in my letter to you of Aug 11th last.
        May I ask if you get any lists of officer prisoners, which would be likely to show the probability of his having been killed -- through not being included therein?
        I understand that lists of Prisoners of War are, or have been received, showing names of men previously reported as missing and I am naturally most anxious to learn whether such lists are comprehensive, and what conclusions may be formed as regards an officer, after a period of two months.
        Your obedient Servant, J Alick Thomas
The War Office replied on 18 October 1916 that the name of Lieutenant M.W. Thomas had been included on a list of missing officers which had been sent, through the United States embassy, for circulation in all hospitals and internment camps in Germany, and that a reply was awaited.

The War Office wrote to Maurice's father on 18 April 1917:
Sir, I am directed to inform you that it is regretted that no further report has been received concerning Lieutenant M.W. Thomas, Royal Field Artillery, and Royal Flying Corps, reported missing 5th august, 1916.
        It is regretted that it will consequently be necessary for the Army council to consider whether they must now conclude that this officer is dead.
Before this course is taken, however, I am to ask if you will be good enough to confirm the fact that no further news of him has reached you.
        I am to add that the official action taken as a result of the decision would consist in the winding up of the officer's accounts, and the removal of his name from the Army List. His name would not appear again in the official casualty lists.
        I am, Sir,
        Your obedient Servant, C.F.W.
Maurice's father wrote to the War Office on 19 April 1917:
Sir, With reference to yours of 18th inst. No further news of the fate of my son has reached me.
        As however he was supposed to have been shot down over ground near or a few miles on the west side of Bapume now occupied and well within the British lines and in view of the report that many airmens graves have been found, with notices of their identity I shall be glad to learn whether any steps have been taken in this area to get a list of such names of missing airmen buried by the enemy.
        I am Sir
        Your obedient Servant, J. Alick Thomas
War Office letter to Maurice's father dated 27 April 1917:
Sir, I am commanded by the Army Council to thank you for your letter of 19th April, to the effect that you have received no further information concerning Lieutenant M.W. Thomas, Royal Field Artillery, and Royal Flying Corps.
        The Army Council are in consequence regretfully constrained to conclude that this officer died on or since 5th August, 1916, and I am to express their sympathy with you in your bereavement.
     I am to enclose a leaflet relating to the Registration and care of graves.
     I am, Sir,
          Your obedient Servant, B.B Cubitt
Maurice's father wrote to the War Office on 6 May 1917:

Lieut M.W. Thomas R.F.A. R.F.C.
reported missing Aug 5th 1916

Sir, Referring to your letters of April 18th and 27th and my reply to the former, I am now informed that some months since, the Germans issued a list of our machines brought down in their lines, giving the type and identification numbers in each case.
     I believe that my boy's machine was the only one lost on Aug 5th in the enemy lines.
     May I ask if any reports have been made from No.4 Squadron giving the number of the machine he was flying on that day?
     Also if any attempt has been made to identify such number with those given in the German lists? if such lists are known to exist.
     Your obedient Servant,
           J.Alick Thomas

The War Office wrote to Maurice's father on 16 June 1917:
Sir, With reference to your letter of 6th May, 1917, concerning Lieutenant M.W. Thomas, Royal Field Artillery, and Royal Flying Corps, I am directed to inform you that this officer's name is not included in the list referred to by you or in any other list received from Germany. The information regarding machines given in the lists published in Germany has been carefully checked and the officers concerned have been identified in all cases where the information given is sufficient.
     I am, Sir, Your obedient Servant,
          C.F. WATHERSTON
Maurice's father wrote to the War Office on 18 June 1917:
Sir, I am in receipt of your letter of 16th inst in reply to mine of May 6th last.
     Since writing this I have been shown a copy of a list of Allies machines in German hands for the month of August 1916 containing the following
B.E. ....7RenaultTotallyburned shot down
Bapume Aug 5th
identity not established
Your letter makes no reference to the report I have heard that we lost only one machine on Aug 5th although (in this case) this fact would appear to be specially relevant and must be known at the War Office if true.
     Nor do you reply to my query as to whether any report from No.4 Squadron shows what machine my boy was flying on Aug 5th when he was sent on a bombing raid in the neighbourhood of Bapume in a B.E type machine, single handed.
     I beg to submit that if you rely only on the name of a pilot being established by the German lists it is unlikely that the "information given" would be sufficient under such ?????
      I am Sir,
           Your obedient Servant,
           J. Alick Thomas
The War Office replied to Maurice's father on 10 July 1917:
Sir, In reply to your letter of 18th June concerning Lieutenant M.W. Thomas, Royal Field Artillery and Royal Flying Corps, I am directed to inform you that the list you quote, which had not previously been seen in this Department of the War Office has now been obtained. The "No.7" shown therein does not refer to the number of the engine. It is the 7th case referred to in the German list.

A literal translation of the report is as follows:-
     7.      "B.E.Biplane: No. ? Motor:Renault No. ?
                Occupants: Cannot be identified as
               completely burnt. Shot down on the 5th
                August at 7.15 p.m. North west of Bapume"

   I am to say that reference is being made to France to ascertain whether the particulars are considered sufficient for identification, and a further report will be sent to you as soon as possible.
   I am, Sir
      Your obedient Servant, C.F. WATHERSTON
Maurice's father wrote to the War Office on 12 July 1917:
Sir, I have to acknowledge yours of 10th inst and can only express surprise that the information available and published in our papers so long ago as November last should not be made use of in your department for the purpose of tracing missing officers and machines.
      In both the weekly papers "Flight" and "The Aeroplane" of Nov 30th and 29th respectively there are lists in which the 7th cases also give a No.7 as being on the machine (not on the engine) whereas I have been given BE 2 C2649 as the No. of the machine used by my son on Aug 5th from No.4 Squadron.
      I understand that the translation given in "The Aeroplane" is an accurate and literal one from the German lists but the fact that we lost only one machine on that day if correct, would seem to be conclusive and the more important to verify.
         Your obedient Servant, L Alick Thomas
The Military Aeronautics Directorate, Air Board Office, Strand, W.C. wrote to Maurice's father on 12 July 1917:
Dear Sir, Your letter dated the 6th instant has been passed to me by Colonel Warner for reply.
      Enquires have been made overseas and the following reply received.
"Left aerodrome at 5p.m.Reported to have been shot down by several hostile machines near Grevilliers. Extract from a German newspaper" -- 'Occupants unrecognisable shot down at 7.15p.m. on 5.8.16 N.W. of Bapume'.
      "His was the only machine missing on 5.8.16".       regret I have no better news to send you.
      Yours faithfully, P. Granville Edge Captain
Maurice's father wrote to the War Office on 16 July 1917:
Sir, I enclose a copy of a letter received from the Air Board giving the information which you seem to have so far been unable to supply in answer to my letters of enquiry dated My 6th and June 18th last. There seems however to be no doubt now, that my son was in fact killed in action on Aug 5th and I submit that these facts might have been ascertained and tested by the War Office at least six months ago assuming that German lists are duly examined when available.
      I am Sir
            Your obedient Servant, J Alick Thomas
Letter to Maurice's father from the War Office dated 19July 1917:
Sir, In reply to your letter of 16th July, concerning Lieutenant M.W. Thomas, Royal Field Artillery and Royal Flying Corps, I am commanded by the Army Council to inform you that in view of the German report of Allies' aeroplanes brought down in August, 1916, to which you have referred, and of the reply from the base in France on the same subject, the words of which have already been communicated to you, they are regretfully constrained to conclude that Lieutenant Thomas was killed in action on 5th August, 1916, north west of Bapume.
      I am to express their sympathy with you in your bereavement, and their regret that by an accident this German report was not earlier brought to the notice of the casualties department.
      I am to add that publication will be made in an early casualty list.
            I am, Sir, Your obedient Servant, B. B. Cubett
Obituary from the Journal of the Royal Aero Club 2 Aug 1917, which was also in The Times and the Epsom Advertiser dated 3 August 1917:
Lieutenant MAURICE WOTTON THOMAS, R.F.A. and R.F.C., reported missing on August 5th last year, now officially presumed killed on that date, aged 21, was the younger son of Mr. And Mrs. Alick Thomas, of Worcester Park, Surrey. He was educated at Parkside, Ewell, and in September, 1907 passed into Osborne College, where, as the result of an epidemic he contracted an illness, which necessitated his being invalided, as unfit, from the Royal Navy in 1910. After 18 months of convalescence he was allowed to continue his education with Mr. Sellar, of St. Andrew's, and Mr. Tinniswood, of Camberley, whence he passed into Woolwich in 1912, and, passing out in September 1914, received his commission in the R.F.A.
In May 1915, he went to the front as A.D.C. to a general, commanding an R.A. division, and was promoted lieutenant in July, when it was decided that he was specially qualified by his training for the R.F.C., to which he was seconded as observer. After many thrilling experiences he was wounded in an accident in December 1915, and came home. He made a speedy recovery, and was sent to a reserve squadron and gained his wings. In May 1916, he was again sent out, doing much valuable work over the enemy positions. He was a fine revolver shot and a member of the shooting eight when at Woolwich.
His elder brother, Captain Alec Vaughan Thomas, E. Surrey Regiment, attached 2nd Hampshire Regiment, was killed in Gallipoli, August 6th, 1915, aged 22
Maurice was awarded the 1915 Star, British War medal and the Victory medal.

Almost every year between1938-1950 the following appeared in The Times:
Thomas - To the dear memory of two devoted sons, Alec Vaughan Thomas (Repton and Oriel). Temporary Capt., East Surrey Regiment, who fell before Krithia, Gallipoli, Aug 6 1915, aged 22, and Maurice Wotton Thomas RAF and RFC, who fell in the Somme advance flying over Bapaume Aug 5 1916 aged 21.
Maurice is commemorated on the Arras Flying Services Memorial.

Maurice's inscription on the Arras Flying Services Memorial
Maurice's inscription on the Arras Flying Services Memorial
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2017

The Arras Flying Services Memorial
The Arras Flying Services Memorial
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2017


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THOMPSON Wilbert, Private. 871460

16th Battalion Canadian Infantry
Died 18 June 1917, aged 19.

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

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THORNTON William John, Private. 15463.

3rd Battalion Scots Guards.
Died 25 October 1917, aged 39.

Williams's Headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Williams's Headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2014

William John Thornton was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1878, the son of William John Thornton and his wife Elizabeth, nee Gilchrist, who had married on 18 November 1875 in Edinburgh.

Aged 12 in 1891, William was living at 1 Crescent Road, Nairn, Nairnshire with his 40 year old mother Elizabeth and siblings James aged 14, Elizabeth B. aged 9, Thomas A. aged 6, and Janet E. aged 3. The whereabouts of his father is unknown.

The 1901 census records William as a 22 year old boarder, living at 24 Almedia Street, Islington, the home of William Vaughan, a 45 year old carpenter. William was described as a Clerk at Restaurant.

William's sister Elizabeth was aged 28 when she married 48 year old builder William Bennett on 6 August 1910 in Richmond, Surrey. William's father, William John Thornton, was recorded on Elizabeth's marriage entry as being a Congregational Minister.

By 1911 William was living at 20 West Hill, Highgate, a boarder in the home of 43 year old Harriett Stone, an Apartment Hotelkeeper. William was described as a Caterer.

William attested at the Scots Guards HQ at Buckingham Gate, London, on 5 April 1916. He gave his address as 20 West Hill, Highgate, N.W., his occupation as 'Restaurant Manager' and his age as 37 years and 3 months. He was 5 feet 10¾ inches tall and had a chest measurement of 39 inches with an expansion of 4 inches. He was unmarried and gave his sister Elizabeth Beatrice Bennett, of Hatch End, Pinner, as his next of kin.

After attesting he was placed on the Army Reserve until he was mobilised at Scotland Yard, London on 4 December 1916 and assigned to the 3rd Battalion Scots Guards (a reserve and training battalion). On 13 January 1917 he was transferred to the 1st Battalion, a front line fighting battalion, and embarked from Southampton, arriving at Harfleur, France, the next day. On 17 January 1917 he was admitted to No.2 General Hospital, Havre, his condition being classified as NYD (Not Yet Diagnosed). On 5 February he was returned to England after having spent only 42 days on active service.

A medical board, held at The Lord Derby War Hospital, Warrington on 17 February, decided that William should be discharged as he was permanently unfit for any form of military service. William's total military career had lasted for 349 days. He was discharged on 10 March 1917 and granted Silver War Badge (SWB) No. 35459 'For Services Rendered'. William's condition was diagnosed as 'General Paralysis of the Insane' (GPI), caused by syphilis. His discharge papers described him as A hard-working, honest, sober man.

William died on 25 October 1917 in Long Grove Asylum, Epsom and was buried in grave F256A in Epsom Cemetery on 31 October. His grave plot was purchased by H.R. Thornton of 58 Cecile Park, Stroud Green, N.8.

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


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TICHENER Harry Oliver. 23692.

"C" Battery, 95th Brigade Royal Field Artillery (RFA).
Died of Wounds 3 October 1918, aged 40.

Harry's Headstone in the St Sever Cemetery extension, Rouen
Harry's Headstone in the St Sever Cemetery extension, Rouen
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2010

Harry Oliver Tichener was born in Epsom in 1878 (GRO Reference: Mar 1878 Epsom 2a 16) to Francis and Mary Ann Tichener (nee Marshall). His parents had married in London City in 1875.

In the 1881 census the family lived at 2, Blackburn Cottages, The Common, Epsom. Harry's father, shown as Frank, was a 34 year old sawyer. His mother Mary Ann, was aged 27, and he had a brother, Frank aged 1.

Name Born - Died Notes
William Francis Born: 1876 Epsom
Died: 1876 Epsom
Baptised St Martins 12 Nov 1876
Buried Epsom Cemetery 2 December 1876, grave F149
Harry Oliver Born: 1878 Epsom
Died: 3 October 1918 France
Baptised St Martins 10 March 1878
Frank Edward Born: 1879 Epsom
Died: 1885 Epsom
Baptised Christ Church 7 Sept 1879
Buried Epsom Cemetery 12 December 1885, grave B106
Louisa May Born: 1882 Epsom
Died: 1966
Baptised Christ Church 30 April 1882
Sarah Ann Born: 1885 Epsom
Died: 1951
Baptised Christ Church 29 Nov 1885
Ernest John Born: 1887 Epsom
Died: 1942
Baptised St Martins 10 April 1887
Mary Jessie Born: 1890 Epsom
Died: 1891 Epsom
Baptised Christ Church 6 April 1890
Buried Epsom Cemetery 1 August 1891, grave B106A
Edith Ruth (Clarke) Born: 1895 Epsom
Died: 1985
Baptised Christ Church 9 June 1895

Blackburn Cottage
Blackburn Cottage
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2010

On 2 February 1882 Harry's sister Louisa May was born.

Harry's father Frank, aged 36 died and was buried in the Ashley Road Cemetery Epsom on 2 January 1883.

Mary Ann had three more children after the death of her husband Frank. Sarah Ann, born on 20 October 1885; Ernest John born in 1887 and Mary Jessie, born 9 February 1890.

In the 1891 census the widowed Mary Ann was still living at 2, Blackburn Cottages, and was working as a laundress to support her children Harry 13, Louisa 9, Sarah 5, Ernest 3 and Mary Jessie aged 1.

On 12 June 1892, 39 year old widow Mary Ann Tichener married widower William Clarke in Christ Church Epsom Common. William was a 68 year old landscape gardener living at Epsom Common.

In the 1901 census Harry's mother Mary is shown as the wife of 78 year old William Clark, a gardener. Mary aged 47 was still working as a laundress, and they were living at Blackburn Cottage. Harry's siblings, Louisa, Sarah, Edith and Ernest were also living there. Harry himself has not been found in the 1901 census, and I wonder if this is because he was serving overseas in the army?

Harry's sister Louisa May married Stephen Sparrow, a brick maker, on 26 December 1903.

William Clarke, Harry's 83 year old stepfather, died and was buried in the Ashley Road Cemetery Epsom on 12 December 1906. His occupation has been recorded as a retired builders foreman. William's place of death was recorded as Blackburn Cottages, The Common Epsom.

Four years later on 30 July 1910, Harry's other sister Sarah Ann married Arthur Abraham Johnson, who was a gardener. Both sisters married in Christ Church Epsom Common.

In the 1911 census Harry's mother Mary is shown as the 57 year old widowed head of the family, and still living at Blackburn Cottage, and still working as a laundress. Her 86 year old widowed mother, Ann Marshall was living with her as was daughter Edith, an apprentice milliner. Also living there was her daughter Sarah and Sarah's husband Arthur Johnson, both laundry workers. Harry himself was living at 1 Park End Cottage, Epsom and was employed by the London County Council at Horton Asylum as a farm labourer.

Harry's mother, Mary Ann Clarke, died in 1916 and was buried in the same grave, A488 as her second husband, William in Ashley Road Cemetery Epsom, on 2 October 1916. She was aged 64 and her place of death was recorded as 76, Miles Road, Epsom.

Harry's name appears on the Horton Mental Hospital Roll of Honour in recognition of his having worked there before the war.

Harry married Daisy Amelia E Fry in Portsmouth in 1915. The British Commonwealth Graves Register records Daisy as living at 29, Boulton Road, Southsea Portsmouth. No records of any children have been found.

If Harry had been an ex-regular soldier (his service records have not survived) he would have been recalled as a reservist. In any event he went to France on 9 September 1915 as a Driver with the RFA. His medal car shows that at some stage he was promoted to A/Cpl but that he reverted on 25 May 1918 when he ceased to perform duties with a P.O.W. Company. German POWs were used as labour in France and special companies were set up to guard them. Presumably Harry was seconded to one of these companies for a period.

The 95th Brigade RFA formed part of the 21 Division, and fought in the Battle of the St Quentin Canal (27 September to 2 October 1918), one of the battles to break the Hindenburg Line, the vast hugely strong line of defences the Germans had prepared in 1917. The LCC book 'Record of war Service' states that he was badly injured near Cambrai. Harry died of wounds on 3 October 1918 at the 6th General Hospital, Rouen. Rouen was the site of a large hospital centre well behind the lines. He is buried in plot S.II.H.10. St Sever Cemetery extension, Rouen, along with 8,657 of his comrades.

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

Note: Harry's name is wrongly spelt 'Tickener' on the Ashley Road memorial.


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TINKER William Thomas, Lance Corporal. 19983.

10th Battalion Hampshire Regiment.
Killed in Action 7 December 1915, aged 31.

William Thomas Tinker was born on 16 April 1884 (GRO reference Jun 1884 Fulham 1a 305) to William and Mary Tinker (Nee Stratford). His parents had married on 31 May 1879 in St. Barnabas church in Kensington.

In the 1881 census, taken before William's birth, his parents and older sister Daisy Louisa were lodging at 4 Armadale Road, Fulham and his father, aged 22, was working as a coal porter.

When William was baptised on 14 May 1884 in St. Andrew's church in West Kensington, the family was living at 21 Rylstone Road. His brother George was born in 1888.

Name Born - Died Notes
Daisy Louisa Born: 1880 Fulham Married Francis William Pocock in 1899
William Thomas Born: 16 April 1884 Fulham
Died: 7 December 1915 France
Baptised 14 May 1884
George Born: 1888 Fulham  
Albert Henry Born: 1891 Fulham
Died: 27 November 1918 France. Influenza
Baptised 10 May 1891
Corporal in the ASC
Leonard Born: 1894 Fulham  
Lilian Mary Born: 1896 Fulham  
Wallace Born: 1898 Fulham Served in the RAF

Recorded as Willie T in the 1891 census, William and his family lived at 18 Molton Street, Fulham. William's father was a 'Coal Porter', and William had two siblings Daisy Louisa aged 9 and George aged 3. William's brother Albert Henry was born on 17 April 1891, just after the census was taken, and was baptised on 10 May 1891 in St. Andrew's church in West Kensington. However, on his baptism record it seems that Albert has been wrongly entered as Herbert.

By 1901 William's parents were both shown as workers living with their children in the Workmen's Home in Horton Asylum. This establishment was being run by John Edmund Schmuck and his wife Annie Maria, along with Annie's father Thomas Benjamin Harris and mother 'Jane' aka Barbara, nee Tinker, which made Annie and William's father first cousins. William Thomas, now 16 and his brother George aged 12 were also shown as workers at the asylum, assisting in the canteen, as was William's married sister Daisy and brother-in-law Francis. William's other siblings were, Albert Henry aged 9, Leonard aged 6, Lilian Mary aged 5 and Wallace aged 3.

William was aged 19 and working as a carter when he married 18 year old Louisa Parker on 2 April 1904 in Christ Church, Epsom. His father was working as a greengrocer at the time.

William and Louisa were living in Horton Lane when their son William Alfred was born later that year on 30 October 1904. He was baptised in Christ Church on 27 November 1904 and died in 2001.

Exactly two years after the birth of their eldest son, Louisa gave birth on 30 October 1906, to their second son Albert George. When he was baptised in Christ Church on 25 November 1906, the family were living at 227 Hook Road, Epsom and William was working as a labourer.

William and his family had moved to Gibraltar, Ewell by the time their daughter Violet Phyllis was born in 1909; she was baptised at St Mary's church Ewell on 20 June 1909 and William was working as a milkman.

When the 1911 census was taken, William and his family were living at Wheatsheaf Cottage, Kingston Road, Ewell. William was aged 26 and working as a milk carrier while his wife was working as a laundress as well as looking after their three children William Alfred aged 7, Albert George aged 4 and one year old Violet.

William's parents and siblings Leonard and Wallace were living at 4 Heathcote Villas, Heathcote Road, Epsom, where his father was running a green grocers. Also boarding there were three racing stable lads. William's siblings Albert and Lillian were living with John Edmund and Annie Schmuck and recorded incorrectly as their nephew and niece.

The Surrey Recruitment Register tells us that William attested in Kingston on 7 September 1914, into the East Surrey Regiment. His age is stated as 35 years 5 months, although he was only 30 years 5 months, and had been born in Fulham. He was 5 feet 4½ inches tall, weighed 126 lbs and had a chest measurement of 34 inches, with an expansion of 2 inches. He had blue eyes and brown hair. He had been working as a milkman.

William's medal card tells us that he served as Private No. 705 in the East Surrey Regiment and as No. 19983 in the Hampshire Regiment and that he went to France on 23 February 1915. As William's service record has not survived we do not know which battalion he went to France with or when he transferred to the 10th Hampshires.

The 10th Hampshires was in 29th Brigade 10th Division, and landed at Salonika (now Thessalonika)on 6 October 1915. On 7 and 8 December 1915, after withdrawing from Serbia, the Battalion fought a battle at Kosturino, north of Lake Doiran. On 7 December 1915 seventy four men from the 10th Hampshires lost their lives including William, killed in action, and is commemorated on the Doiran Memorial, North Greece.

The Doiran Memorial, North Greece
The Doiran Memorial, North Greece
Copyright Image courtesy of Rob Carr 2007

Tinkers Block at the Doiran Memorial, North Greece
Tinkers Block at the Doiran Memorial, North Greece
Copyright Image courtesy of Rob Carr 2007

LCpl Tinker's inscription on the Doiran Memorial
LCpl Tinker's inscription on the Doiran Memorial
Copyright Image courtesy of Rob Carr 2007

The 14 January 1916 edition of the Epsom and Ewell Advertiser reported that at a meeting of the Ewell Parish Council, the Rev. J. Wallace mentioned that Mrs. W. Tinker, of Kingston-terrace, had that day received intimation that her son was wounded and believed to be missing. It was agreed that a letter of sympathy should be sent to Mrs. W. Tinker.

In the 1916 - 17 edition of Kelly's directory William (senior) lived at 5 Kingston Terrace, Ewell.

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

William's widow Louisa died aged 34 in 1920. When interviewed in 1993, aged 89, William's son William Alfred Tinker, M.B.E., stated that his mother Louisa had died through poisoning contracted whilst working with ammunition in 1917. His father died, aged 62, in Middle House, Dorking Road, Epsom and was buried in grave K713 in Epsom Cemetery on 15 April 1921. His mother died aged 79 and was buried on 15 October 1938 in grave C11 in St. Mary's churchyard, Chessington. She had been living at 71 Hemsby Road, Chessington.


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TOMS Joseph Edward, Private. 30847.

12 East Surrey Regiment: 17 section, 'B' Company, 8 Platoon.
Killed in Action 3 May 1917, aged 19.

JE Toms
Joseph Toms
Image courtesy of his nephew Derek Doune

Joseph Toms's inscription on the Menin Gate Memorial, France
Joseph Toms's inscriptionon the Menin Gate Memorial, France
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2008

Joseph Edward Toms was born on 7 July 1897 (GRO reference: Sep 1897 Epsom 2a 22) at Beaconsfield Place, Epsom, to John and Harriet Toms (nee Pearcey).

On census night 1891 Joseph's family lived at 44 Hadyn Park Road, Shepherds Bush. His father John was a 29 year old general labourer. His mother Harriet was 28. Joseph, yet to be born, had three siblings, Harriet Esther aged 5 (GRO reference: Jun 1885 Fulham 1a 233), William Lawrence aged 3 (GRO reference: Mar 1888 Fulham 1a 222) and Eleanor Rosina Maud aged 1 (GRO reference: Jun 1890 Fulham 1a 199).

The Toms Family - Click image to enlarge.
Click image to enlarge. Joseph Toms and his family.
Image courtesy of his nephew Derek Doune

By 1896 the family had moved to Bradman Cottages, Epsom. Two of the children, Helena Rosina Maud who had been born on 1 Mar 1890 and her brother John Charles (GRO reference: Jun 1894 Fulham 1a 226) who was born on 5 May 1894 were both baptised in Christ Church Epsom on 13 Dec 1896. At this time their father was described as a brickmaker.

By the 1901 census the family had moved to 11 Beaconsfield Place, Epsom. Joseph's father was described as a general labourer.

In the 1911 census the family was recorded as living at 110, East Street, Epsom. Joe's father was then described as a foreman working in the brickworks, whilst brother William was a labourer at the brickworks. Sister Ellen was a nurse attendant at one of Epsom's Asylums. Brother John was an engineer's assistant at the gas works, and Joseph himself was a bakers errand boy. Little sister Grace Gwendolen (born 2 December 1906) was a four year old schoolgirl. Joe's mother stated that she had been married for 28 years and that she had given birth to 14 children but that only six were still alive, eight having died in early childhood.

No. 110 East Street in 1968
No. 110 East Street in 1968
Image courtesy of Surrey Libraries and is held in the
Epsom & Ewell Local And Family History Centre

Joe was a very happy-go-lucky person, an optimist who loved his parents, his Mum in particular. He also adored his little sister, Grace, or "Little Gracie" as he called her, or "My Little Knut", pronounced "Nut". This was believed to be derived from a Music Hall artist of the time who used it as, what we would now call a "catchphrase". Joe's sister Ett, or Esther was considered to be on the slow side, and was unfortunately made fun of by her father. Eleanor Rosina Maud, known as Maud, became a nurse at Horton Hospital. Maud died on 4 November 1918 at the Cottage Hospital, Epsom, aged 27, a victim of the great influenza epidemic.

Even before he was killed in 1917, Joe had had his share of misfortune, having suffered scarlet fever and been knocked down by a taxi.

His eldest brother Bill was something of a rogue "finding things before they were lost"! He came home one day with a horse, saying he had found it wandering around. As it belonged to some gypsies, he was promptly told to take it back. Bill was to see action in the Ypres Salient with the Buffs, and was gassed, but unlike Joe survived the war.

Brother Charlie (John Charles) was a born comedian. He would appear on the stairs, slowly walking down, just dressed in trousers and bowler hat, carrying a Gladstone bag. He would then start his favourite patter;

"Roll up! Roll up! I've been coming to this market for years. Now, I have pills here in my bag that can cure almost anything, cure coughs, sore 'oles, and pimples on your dick!"

Another little bit of fun they would get up to was doing headstands in horse manure. Charlie and Joe would have a bet with each other as to who could last the longest. Sister Grace lamenting the fact that they came home covered in horse muck! Charlie also served, first in India then in Mesopotamia, surviving the war.

Joe's father John, worked at Stone's, the local brickworks, almost across the street from where they lived. He was a foreman, so was reasonably well-off compared to many other working class families. Brother Bill also worked at the brickworks, and would come home covered in brick dust, stuck to the sweat on his shirt.

This was a typical Edwardian working class family, in what was very much a man's world. The males were not expected to do any of the housework, not even to make their own beds, the females did it all. Joe's father enjoyed his Pale Ale and Woodbine cigarettes, and as the pubs were open all day, drinking was one of the main pleasures of this era. On a Sunday, after the family had finished their Sunday dinner, Joe's Dad would read his newspaper, then he would go to bed for an afternoon sleep, and woe betide any child or person who made enough noise to wake him. Joe's sister Grace felt sorry for her mother, as all her life seemed to consist of was hard work, giving birth to children and bringing them up.

Joseph enlisted into the 12 Battalion East Surrey Regiment which was in the 122 brigade, 41 Division. After the 1916 Somme battle the Battalion was to spend almost six months from the end of October 1916 to April 1917 in the relatively quiet St Eloi sector, holding the line or in reserve training. On 12 April 1917 they were relieved from the front line trenches by the 32 Royal Fusiliers, and moved back to 'Ontario Camp'. Then, on 25 April, they marched further back to Steenvoorde en route to the training area north west of St Omer. The march to the training area being completed by 28 April, the Battalion was quartered near Nordausques, and was to continue training in this back area until it relieved the 20 Durham Light Infantry on 19 May.

Joseph is shown by the CWGC and Soldiers Died CD as being killed in action on 5 May 1917 and to be commemorated on the Menin Gate memorial. However a memorial record produced by St Martin's church states that he was reported missing near Arras and officially presumed killed in action on 3 May. Joseph's family believed him to be a machine gunner, and he may have been part of a Lewis gun team. It seems likely that Joseph's Lewis gun team was "loaned"to the 11 Royal West Kents (RWK) who were ordered to an area familiar to the 12 East Surreys. There is an entry in the 12 East Surrey War Diary dated 18 April that states;

"Lt Breary and 2Lts Alton, Todd and Dowling were detailed to accompany 11 Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment, who proceeded to St Eloi sector to take up trenches formerly occupied by us."

Although not mentioned in the War Diary, could a Lewis gun team have also been detailed to accompany them? The 11 Royal West Kent War Diary reports that on 20 April;

'Battalion in trenches. Day quiet until 7.30pm, when enemy opened an intense bombardment of our left front with heavy artillery and Minnanwerfers obliterating our front line, and portions of the Reserve and communication trenches, lasting for 1 ½ hours. Enemy raiding party followed, and succeeded in entering the front line. Our troops prevented him reaching his objective - the mine shaft in the support line, by rifle and Lewis gun fire.

The Garrison of the Crater in front of our line were missing. In addition we suffered the following casualties. 1 officer, 2Lt B.W. Rodney, Killed. Other ranks, Killed 4, Wounded 13."

Is it possible that the 'Garrison of the Crater' referred to above, was manned by Joseph's Lewis Gun team. Herbert Randall from the 12 East Surreys is also shown as killed in action on 3 May. If this is the case, then Joseph was killed on 20 April whilst loaned to the RWK. If his body was never found he would have been reported as missing. If this information did not reach the 12 East Surrey's until 3 May, they probably recorded his death on that date.

Throughout the war many thousands of men went 'missing'. They may have been blown to pieces by shell blasts, taken prisoner or buried alive in destroyed trenches. Whatever the reason they went 'missing', thousands of worried relatives desperately sought information about their loved ones, publishing requests for information in newspapers and magazines. Sadly most of them never got an answer, and men were eventually classified as 'missing presumed dead'. Because their bodies were never found and identified their names were inscribed on great memorials to the missing. The Menin Gate at Ypres being one such memorial, listing over 54,000 men who have no known grave.

Joseph is commemorated on Panel 34 of the Menin Gate.

Thanks for information to Mr Del Doune, a nephew of Joseph Toms.


Joe's Plaque
Joe's Plaque
Thanks to Mr Del Doune for the use of Joe's plaque
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2008

This picture shows Joe's death plaque. It would have been sent to his next of kin by a grateful government. Joe's plaque had a piece of stout wire brazed to its back, to enable it to be hung on a wall, most likely in a well used part of the house. Another feature of Joe's plaque is that it has quite obviously been cleaned many, many times. It is now very difficult to read his name as it has almost been polished away. It is easy to picture his parents regularly removing it from the wall to give it a loving polish. After his parents died, his sister carried on the regular cleaning until she herself died. A much loved young man consumed by the "Great War to End Wars".

For more information see our The Soldier's Penny Page.

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TOMSETT George Henry Gwilliam Private. 266218.

1/12th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.
Killed in Action 13 August 1918, aged 36.

Private George Tomsett's headstone in the St. Venant-Robecq Road British Cemetery
Private George Tomsett's headstone in the St. Venant-Robecq Road British Cemetery
Image Courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2007

George Henry Gwilliam Tomsett was born on 27 April 1882 in Weybridge, Surrey (GRO reference Jun 1882 Chertsey 2a 47) to George and Mary Jane Tomsett (nee Williams). Only a few weeks before his birth, his parents had married on 2 March 1882 in St. Peters church, Chertsey.

Name Born - Died Notes
George Henry Gwilliam Born: 27 April 1882 Weybridge
Died: 13 August 1918
Baptised 16 July 1882 St. James church Weybridge
Lilian Arena Marden Born: 20 March 1883 Weybridge Baptised 20 May 1883 St. James Weybridge
Dora Sophia Frances Born: 10 October 1883 Weybridge
Died: 1949
Baptised 15 November 1884 St. James church Weybridge.
Violet Mabel Hope Born: 1885 Wateringbury, Kent
Died: 1972. Buried New Town, Mountrail County, North Dakota, USA
Baptised: 1 November 1885 Wateringbury.
Emigrated to New York 1912. Married Jesse J. Stringer.
Willie James Born: 1887 Wateringbury, Kent.
Died: 1887
Baptised: 7 August 1887 Wateringbury.
Jane Madeline Mary Born: 1889 Wateringbury, Kent Baptised: 20 January 1889 Wateringbury.

In the 1891 census the family lived at Hodsoll Street, Kent. George's father was a domestic servant, working as a coachman. George had four sisters: Dora Sophia F. aged 6, Violet Mabel H. aged 5, and Jane Madeline M. aged 2. His sister Lilian was staying with her widowed paternal grandmother, Sophia Tomsett, and her aunt Frances and uncle John Browning in Chislet, Kent.

The family moved to West Street, Ewell and on 20 April 1896, having attended Long Cross School in Chertsey, Henry started at Ewell Boys School. He left school on 26 May 1897 to become a paperboy.

By 1901 the family have moved to West Street, and George recorded as Henry in this census) was a Domestic Gardener. Dora Blanchett aged 4, had been added to the family as a 'Nurse Child'. His sister Lilian was working as a servant in Margate, Kent.

Aged 29 and recorded as G. Henry G., George was boarding with the Hankins family at 2 St. Leonards Cottage, Rydens Grove, Walton On Thames, Hersham when the 1911 census was taken. Visiting that night was his sister Violet. He was still working as a jobbing gardener. His parents were still living in West Street, Ewell, along with his sister Dora who was working as a housemaid. Another nurse child Walter Browning, aged 3, was also living there. Both his parents were aged 63 and had been married for 30 years. They recorded that one of their six children had died.

Soldiers died CD shows George enlisting in Kingston and that he was formerly 3878 East Surrey (TF). I cannot find him in the Surrey Recruitment Register, and on his medal card there is no mention of the East Surrey Regiment.

George served with the 1/12th battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment which was a pioneer Battalion in the 74th Division. The 74th Division had been serving in Palestine but was moved to France in May 1918 but did not fight in any major battles until 31 August. On 8 August the Allied assault commenced that led finally to victory. An advance of between two and three miles was made and George's pioneer battalion was sent forward to make good roads in the forward area, repair bridges and fill shell holes. George was killed in action on 13 August 1918 the only man to from the battalion to be killed in action during August, probably by shellfire.

George is buried St. Venant-Robecq Road British Cemetery, 1 D 4.

The CWGC states he was the;
Son of George and Mary Jane Tomsett, of 6, Beatty Cottages, West St., Ewell, Surrey.
He and Alfred Muspratt are the only Ewell men to only appear on the St Mary's churchyard memorial, being left off the Dipping Well memorial.

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

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

George's father was aged 79 when he died in 1924 and his mother was aged 81 when she died in 1929.


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TOOTH Alfred H, Lance Corporal. 13309.

3rd Battalion Manchester Regiment.
Died 31 January 1916, aged 43.

Alfred Henry Tooth
Alfred Henry Tooth
Image from Australian criminal records. Ancestry.

Alfred Henry Tooth was born in London in 1874 (GRO reference: Dec 1874 Lewisham 1d 948), the son of Alfred and Emma Eliza Tooth (nee Coney).

Note: From Australian prison records (Ancestry) it appears that Alfred and his brother Herbert both had criminal tendencies and used many aliases, possibly even using each others names! No doubt there are various ways the surviving records can be interpreted, and the following may not be 100% correct. If anyone reading this has definitive information please let the webmaster know.

NameBorn - DiedNotes
Alfred HenryBorn: Dec 1874 Lewisham
Died: 31 January 1916
Married Agnes Reynolds 2 November 1907
Herbert JamesBorn: Mar 1877 SouthamptonMarried Clara Annie Franklin 1900
Frederick DuncanBorn: 1878 Midlothian, ScotlandMarried Lillian Agnes Eliza Gritt 1902
Amy MatildaBorn:1882 Toxteth Park
Died: 29 October 1920
Married Alfred Thomas Woodhurst 1901
Jack (John Charles)Born: 22 September 1888 ManchesterMarried Mary Jane Massey 13 August 1908, Ontario, Canada.
Served with the Canadian Army
Sidney PercyBorn: 1890 OrmskirkMarried Myrtle Oliver 1 July 1916, Ohio, USA.
Canadian attestation paper gives his place and date of birth as Manchester, 22 September 1888, the same as his brother John

In the 1881 census, six year old Alfred was living at 5 London Street, Edinburgh, with his parents, Alfred aged 30, a 'Money Investor', and Emma aged 29. He had two siblings, Herbert James aged 4 and Frederick Duncan aged 3.

The 1891 census records Alfred's family living in Everton, Lancashire. His 40 year old father was described as a 'Landscape Artist'. Brother Herbert worked in the 'Fish Trade', and brother Fred was a 'Scholar'. Three more siblings had arrived, Amy Matilda aged 9 (died 1920), Jack (John) aged 2 and Sidney Percy aged 9 months. Alfred age 16 was a juvenile criminal inmate in the Manchester and Salford Reformatory.

Alfred appears in the 1892 Lancashire Criminal Registers, his crime being:
Obtaining goods by false pretences after previous conviction for felony.
On 22 January 1894, 18 year old Alfred and his brother, 16 year old Herbert, both labourers, sailed from Liverpool aboard SS Gulf of Mexico to Melbourne, Australia.

Australian prison records show that 'Alfred Henry Tooth' was an habitual criminal. However is it impossible to be sure if the Alfred Henry Tooth shown in the prison records is the same man who died in Epsom on 30 January 1916, because the convicted man apparently also used the following aliases:
  • Alfred Benson
  • James Ryan
  • Alfred Henry Stafford
  • Charles Brierly
  • Alfred Henry Stafford
  • Alfred Henry Towsey
  • Charles Bryce

07-08-1895ImpositionBrunswick PS7 days C
ImpositionBrunswick PS7 days C
07-11-1895Larceny from the personPrahran PS6 months C
Larceny from the personPrahran PS6 months C
30-09-1896Illegally use a horse and cartKew PS9 months HL
15-07-1897LarcenyFitzroy PS12 months HL
16-07-1897Larceny from the personSt Kilda PS12 months HL
20-07-1897ImpositionHawthorne PS6 months HL
01-08-1899Endeavouring to imposeCollingwood PS12 months conf
08-08-1899ImpositionHawthorne PS12 months HL 
17-08-1901LarcenyGermanton PC20/- or 14 days C (paid fine)
11-10-1901StealingTumut PC6 months HL
Unlawfully using a horseTumut PC3 months HL
29-11-1901Unlawfully using a horseGermanton PC3 months HL
27-04-1903StealingWater PC3 months HL
StealingWater PC3 months HL
30-04-1903StealingGlebe PC6 months HL 
Stealing from the person Glebe PC6 months HL
05-05-1903StealingPaddington PC6 months HL Conct
01-06-19031. Larceny and ReceivingSydney 2S1. 12 months HL
 2. Larceny 2. 2 years HL
 3. Larceny and Receiving 3. 2 months HL
12-10-1909Break and enter a dwelling house
and steal therein (2 charges).
Larceny (4 charges).
Stealing in a dwelling
Sydney QS5 years on each charge concurrent.
And declared to be an habitual criminal

Alfred, aged 30, married Agnes Reynolds, aged 24, in St. Clement Church, Greenheys, Manchester on 2 November 1907, whilst both were living at 66 Greenheys Lane. Alfred was described as a 'Joiner, and his deceased father as an 'Artist'. They had two children, Andrew James born 1909 and Herbert G born 1912.

The 1911 census records a Herbert Tooth aged 36, a painter, Agnes Tooth aged 26 and Andrew Tooth aged 2, all boarding at 1 Prospect Street, Manchester, the home of 67 year old William Greystock. I believe that the 'Herbert' Tooth recorded was in fact Alfred, whilst Herbert was still in Australia committing crimes but using his brother Alfred's name.

Alfred's father died in 1902.

Alfred's service record has not survived and no medal record has been found, suggesting that he did not serve overseas. However, the 'Soldier's Effects' records (transcribed as 'Looth') show that his war gratuity went to his widow Agnes, who had two children, Andrew and Herbert. The award was, care of Rev. G. Maspero.

The only other surviving record of Alfred's army life can be found in the Epsom Advertiser dated 4 February 1916 (see Chalk Pit Deaths for full transcript). The obituary states that he left a wife, Agnes, two children, and that he joined the army shortly after the outbreak of war and that for some time he had been on the staff at Woodcote Convalescent Camp. In civil life deceased was a journeyman painter. Alfred died from his accidental injuries on 31 January 1916 and was buried on 4 February in grave K644 in Epsom Cemetery, where he is commemorated on the Screen Wall. He shares the grave with eight other soldiers.

Alfred's mother died in 1929.

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


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TOPE John Alfred, Private. 793080

87th Battalion Canadian Infantry
Died 29 April 1917, aged 21.

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

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TOPHAM Henry, Private. 18460.

12th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales Own).
Died of Wounds 17 June 1916, aged 23.

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

Henry Topham was born in Leeds in 1893 (GRO reference: Dec 1893 Leeds 9b 395) to Walter and Elizabeth Topham (nee Broomhead). Henry's parents married in the March quarter of 1896 in the Wigan registration district, three years after Henry was born.

In 1901 Henry, aged 7, was living with his mother at 11 Easy Grove, Leeds. Also living there were two boarders, Amelia Leak and Amy Croft. His father was not living there on census night.

By 1911 the family was living at 6 Cross Green Avenue, Leeds. Henry's father was recorded as a 40 year old 'Fitter: General Engineer'. His 35 year old mother stated that she had been married for 15 years and that three of the four children 'born to the present marriage' were still living. Henry, aged 17, was a 'Moulder: General Engineer', and he had three siblings, Lillie aged 13, Betsy aged 7 and Nancy aged 2.

Henry's service papers have not survived but his medal card tells us that he went to France on 12 October 1915 with the 12th Battalion West Yorkshire regiment.

Henry died of wounds in Horton War Hospital on 17 June 1916 and was buried in grave K645, one of nine soldiers buried in grave K645.

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

The CWGC states that he was the:
Son of Elizabeth Topham, of 16 Nellie View, Richmond Hill, Leeds, and the late Walter Topham.

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TOSELAND Frederick Arthur, Private. 39067.

7th Battalion Highland Light Infantry (HLI).
Drowned 4 May 1917, aged 38.

Frederick Arthur Toseland was born in Syston, Leicestershire in 1879 (GRO reference: Mar 1879 Barrow S. 7a 181) to Arthur and Jane Toseland (nee Seaton). Frederick's parents married in the December 1874 quarter in the Brixworth, Northamptonshire registration district.

In 1877 Frederick's 28 year old father, who worked as a blacksmith, was declared bankrupt, but by time the 1881 census was taken, he was back earning his living as a blacksmith in the Leicestershire village of Barkby, near the Malt Shovel Inn. Frederick's 28 year old mother was described as a blacksmith's wife; his sister Emma was aged 6, brother Obed Charles was aged 4 and Frederick himself (recorded under his second name Arthur) was aged 2.

Frederick Arthur Toseland And His Siblings
Name Born - Died Notes
Emma Born: 1875 North Kilworth Leicestershire Married William Isaac Balderson 1903
Obed Charles Born: 1877 Naseby Northamptonshire
Died: 8 June 1935 Nuneaton Warwickshire
Married Sarah Cox 1903
Frederick Arthur Born: 1879 Syston Leicestershire
Died: 4 May 1917 At sea
Sarah Elizabeth Born: 1881 Barkby Leicestershire  
Annie Lavina Born: 1883 Barkby Leicestershire  
Ellen Born: 1885 Barkby Leicestershire  
Charlotte Mary Born: 1889 Barkby Leicestershire  
Two unknown others had died before the 1911 census

In 1891 the family was still living near the Malt Shovel Inn and Frederick's father was still working as a blacksmith. Frederick aged 12 and brother Obed aged 14 were both farm labourers. Four sisters had arrived, Sarah aged 9, Annie Lavina aged 7, Ellen aged 5 and Charlotte Mary aged 2.

Frederick's father died in 1900, his death being registered in the Market Harborough district.

The 1901 census records Frederick's mother as the 48 year old widowed head of the family, and as the inn keeper of the 'Shoulder of Mutton' pub in Welford, Northamptonshire (converted to residential housing 2011). Sister Emma worked at the pub as a barmaid, whilst brother Charles (Obed) worked as a blacksmith. Sisters Annie and Charlotte also lived at the pub. Frederick aged 22 was working as a domestic groom and lived at the Stable Yard, Wheeler Lodge, Husbands Bosworth, Leicestershire.

Frederick, a 30 year old gardener, married 25 year old Mary Day, a servant, on 5 September 1909 at Emmanuel Church, Maida Hill, Marylebone. He lived at 20, Orcus Street, and she lived at 66, Salisbury Street.

The 1911 census records that Frederick's mother was still an innkeeper in the High Street, Welford, near Rugby, presumably still the 'Shoulder of Mutton', although the census does not say. Sisters Sarah and Charlotte were both corset makers, whilst sister Annie was a domestic servant. Frederick's 6 year old niece Evelyn Jane Balderson was there on census night, as was Alfred Kettle, a boarder.

Frederick and his wife Mary had been married just over a year and were living at 9, Childs Villas, Upper Court Road, Epsom. Frederick worked as a garden labourer at the Long Grove Asylum. He later worked at the Horton Asylum. I can find no record of children.

Frederick's mother died in the September quarter 1916, aged 63, in the Market Harborough registration district. Frederick's service records have not survived, but the Soldiers Died CD tells us that he enlisted at Aldershot, and the 'London County Council Record of War Service' book tells us that he served from 1915 to 1917 in the RASC and the HLI and drowned on 4 May 1917.

The Hired Transport (HT) ship 'Transylvania' was travelling from Alexandria, Egypt, fully laden with troops, bound for the Salonika front. Despite being escorted by Japanese warships, the 'Transylvania' was attacked and sunk by a German submarine, off Cape Vado, just a few kilometres south of Savona, Italy.

The Japanese escort rescued around two and a half thousand men, but over 400 were drowned, including Frederick, who has no known grave and is commemorated on the Savona memorial to the missing.

A death is recorded of Mary Toseland, aged 34, in the December quarter of 1918 in the Kensington registration district.

Frederick's medal card has written against the British War medal 'Retd. (922 K.R. 1923) 8362/Adv'. Did this mean that the medal was 'returned' because there was no longer a known next of kin to receive it?

Frederick's medal card.
Frederick 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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TRACEY James, M.M. Corporal. 2/10311

1st Battalion East Surrey Regiment
Died of Wounds 09/10 May 1917, aged 26.

James' headstone in the Douai Communal Cemetery
James' headstone in the Douai Communal Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

There seems to have been some confusion with regard to this commemoration. The inscription on the Ashley Road memorial is to a G Tracey, and the St Martin's Church Roll of Honour states "GEORGE TRACEY, was taken prisoner at Arras and died two days later on 10th May 1917. He was awarded the Military Medal." However there are no 'G' Traceys shown as having died in the CWGC records or on the Soldiers Died CD, but they both have J. Tracey MM died 9 May 1917. He is buried in Douai Communal Cemetery, which was occupied by the Germans from 1 October 1914 till 17 October 1918, and was used by them to bury British prisoners of war who died in captivity. The medal card for James Tracey MM, No. 10311, shows that Mrs A Tracey of Myrtle Cottage, Pikes Hill, Epsom, applied for his medals in 1919. Has James Tracey been entered as 'G' Tracey on the memorial by mistake?

James Tracey was born in 1893 (GRO reference: Jun 1893 Epsom 2a 18) to Joseph and Annie Tracey (nee Sutton). His parents married in the December 1883 quarter.

In the 1891 census the family lived at Pikes Hill, Epsom. James' father Joseph is shown as a 26 year old carter. His mother Annie is also shown as being 26. James, yet to be born, had three older siblings, Lucy (registered Lucy Edith) aged 4, Joseph (registered Joseph Ernest) aged 2 and Elsie (registered Elsie Emily) aged 10 weeks. The household also had three male lodgers. Christ Church baptism records also show that a daughter Elizabeth had was born on 18 November 1885, but she only lived for 4 months. She was buried in Epsom cemetery on 16 March 1886.

In 1901 the family were still living in Pikes Hill at 1 Myrtle Cottages. James' father was then shown as a 42 year old 'carman and contractor'. Another four siblings had arrived, George (registered as William George) aged 5, Rosina (registered as Rosina Hilda M) aged 3, William (registered as William Henry) aged 1 and Albert (registered as Albert Edward) aged 3 weeks (died 1932 aged 31).

The family were still living at Myrtle Cottage, Pikes Hill in 1911 but James was not with them. Two more siblings had been born, Dorothy aged 8 and Winifred aged 3. George then 15 was working as a laundry errand boy. The census form was signed off by Annie Tracey.

The Surrey Recruitment Register records three attempts by a James Tracey, born in Epsom, to attest between 1908 and 1911. As free BMD shows that only one James Tracey, was born in Epsom between 1870 and 1900, I wonder if all three attempts were by 'our' James, with him being rejected the first two times for being underage?
1st attempt: 21 October 1908, stated age 17 years and 7 months. (Would have been 15).
2nd attempt: 21 April 1909, stated age 18 years and 1 month. (Would have been 16).
3rd attempt: 08 November 1911 aged 18 years 8 months.
James' 'burnt' service papers confirm that the 3rd attempt, if that is what it was, was successful. He attested in Kingston on 8 November 1911 giving his age as 18 years and 8 months, and his trade as outdoor porter. He was 5feet 5½ inches tall, weighed 129 lbs and had a chest measurement of 35 inches with an expansion of 2 inches. His complexion was fresh, eyes grey, hair brown and he had a small mole on his left cheek, and a scar below his left knee. His religion was Church of England.

Events noted in James' service record.

08 November 1911 Attested at Kingston-Upon-Thames.
22 March 1912 To Kinsale, Ireland.
03 April 1912 Admitted to hospital for 9 days suffering with scabies.
01 July 1912 5 days CB: Using obscene language to a NCO. whilst on musketry parade.
23 July 1912 3 days CB: Stating a falsehood to a NCO.
30 September 1912 To Dublin.
27 October 1912 3 days CB: Improperly dressed in church.
22 January 1913 7 days CB:
          i. Absent from tattoo until 11.45 pm.
          ii. Stating a falsehood to a NCO.
28 January 1913 10 days CB: Being in possession of a service dress jacket the property of a comrade.
08 March 1913 3 days CB: Having an untidy cot.
23 March 1913 8 days CB:
          i. Absent from tattoo until 10.10p.m.
          ii. Breaking out of Barracks whilst in open arrest and remaining 12.15a.m. 25-3-13.
08 May 1913 7 days CB:
          i. Not complying with an order. Not cleaning his equipment when ordered to.
          ii. Making an improper reply to an NCO.
22 May 1913 3 days CB: Absent from tattoo until reveille till 23-5-13.
03 August 1913 5 days CB: Absent from 12 m.n. until 2.30 am 5-8-13.
24 September 1913 To India.
27 November 1913 Inoculated against typhoid.
07 December 1913 Second inoculation against typhoid.
29 December 1913 3 days CB: Irregular conduct on the line of march.
02 May 1914 Admitted to hospital for 24 days. Accident off duty. When boxing, fractured base of 1st metacarpal right hand
11 May 1914 Court of enquiry held at Ranikhet. From the evidence I am of opinion that No. 10311 private J Tracey 2 East Surrey Regiment, injured his right hand whilst skylarking, that he slipped by accident and is not to blame, and that he was not on duty at the time. Signed H.D. Lawrence Lieut Colonel.
23 June 1914 8 days CB:
          i. Changing stations whilst on furlough without permission.
          ii. Stating a falsehood to an officer on the 28-6-14.
22 August 1914: 2 extra guards: Not paying proper compliments to an unarmed party when a sentry on No. 1 Port Quarter Guard.
21 September 1914 Appointed Lance Corporal without pay.
11 November 1914 Reprimanded: Neglect of duty whilst company orderly corporal namely, absent from parading the sick at 7.40am.
24 December 1914 Return to England.
19 January 1915 Embarked for France.
16 February 1915 Hospitalised with frostbite. (War diary states rain and snow on 15 February.)
20 February 1915 Return to England.
12 May 1915 To France.
08 June 1915 Promoted to Corporal.
28 August 1915 Sprained ankle.
27 September 1915 Wounded in action. Gun shot wound left leg.
04 October 1915 Returned to England.
29 October 1915 Reduced to the ranks:
          i. Whilst on active service, drunkenness.
          ii. Conduct to the prejudice of good order & military discipline.
05 December 1915 5 days CB. Disobeyed an order, not having his windows properly secured.
07 January 1916 Loss of 1 days pay. Over staying his leave from tattoo.
14 January 1916 7 days CB. Absent from tattoo.
12 April 1916 Re-embarked for France.
25 May 1916 Joined Battalion.
25 September 1916 MM for action at Bouleux Wood, Somme. (See page 198 Vol II East Surrey History).
07 September 1916 Appointed unpaid Lance Corporal.
04 October 1916 Appointed paid Lance Corporal.
16 February 1917 Promoted Corporal.
08 May 1917 Missing.
10 May 1917 Died. POW.

The 1st Battalion East Surrey Regiment was in the 95th Brigade, 5th Division, and in May 1917 it fought in the battle of Arras. This battle in terms of men killed each day was the bloodiest of the Great War for the British. The village of Fresnoy, seven miles north east of Arras had been captured on 3 May by the 1st Canadian Division but attacks on either side had failed, so Fresnoy became a pronounced salient. The Canadians were relieved by the 1st East Surreys, and at 3a.m. on 8 May the Germans launched a large counter attack against the Fresnoy salient, which they took back with a large loss of British lives.

The East Surrey History puts other ranks loses at 120 killed, 54 wounded and 321 missing, of whom many were wounded. The Soldiers Died CD records the deaths of ORs at 105. Whichever figure is correct it represents a huge loss of life. It must be assumed that James was wounded, taken prisoner, and died 2 or 3 days later in captivity being buried in Douai Communal cemetery.

The Douai Communal Cemetery
The Douai Communal Cemetery
The Douai Communal Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

On 4 March 1918 a letter was sent by the War Office, requiring that all James' personal effects be sent to Mrs Edith Parker, 16, Signal Terrace, Church Road, Epsom, as should his medals. Mrs Edith Parker is probably James' oldest sister. She was registered at birth as Lucy Edith Tracey born in 1886. There is a marriage entry for Lucy Edith Tracey and William Parker (GRO reference: Mar 1907 Epsom 2a 25). However, as James was not married, and his parents were both still alive, such items would normally have gone to the parents.
Army Form W. 5080 requires the names of all living relatives of a deceased soldier to be listed. Such a form for No. 10311, Corporal James Tracey was duly completed by his mother, Mrs Annie Tracey, on 30 May 1919. From this form it can be seen that James was not married, had no children, no grand parents, no uncles, no aunts, no nephews and no nieces. The people his mother listed are as follows:
Father of the Soldier: Joseph Tracey. Myrtle Cottage, Pikes Hill.
Mother of the Soldier: Annie Tracey. Myrtle Cottage, Pikes Hill.
Full Blood Brothers of the Soldier:
Joseph Ernest Tracey born 1888. 23, Fitzwilliam Road, Epsom.
James Tracey born 1893. RFA.
George Tracey born 1896. Dead.
Henry Tracey born 1899. Royal Navy.
Albert Tracey born 1901. Myrtle Cottage, Pikes Hill, Epsom.
Full Blood Sisters of the Soldier:
Mrs Edith Parker born 1886. 16, Signal Terrace, Epsom.
Mrs Elsie Emmett born 1891. Firdal Grove, Ashtead.
May Tracey born 1898. 44, Hayelridge Road, Clapham.
Dorothy Tracey born 1903. Porth Cottage, Longdown Road, Epsom.
Winnie Tracey born 1908. Myrtle Cottage, Pikes Hill, Epsom.
These entries have caused me some confusion. The form is about the deceased soldier James Tracey, East Surrey Regiment, who was born in 1893, yet his mother lists him as living, and serving with the RFA. Also listed is George Tracey born 1896, but he is shown as dead, whereas the form specifically asks for living relatives. Neither the CWGC or the Soldiers Died CD has a record of George Tracey from Epsom, but there is a record in the London Gazette dated 3 September 1918, of a DCM award to Sgt J Tracey, R.F.A. (Epsom), and in the Epsom Advertiser dated 27 September 1918, that reads as follows;
Sergt. J. Tracey, R.F.A., second son of Mr & Mrs J. Tracey, Pike's hill, has been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. A brother Corpl. George Tracey, was killed after receiving the Military medal.
The quote above from the Epsom Advertiser seems to illustrate the confusion that must have been very common at the time. I think it most likely that the quote has either confused the two brothers or that another Sergeant J Tracey won the DCM and was not the second son of Mr & Mrs J. Tracey. We will probably never know.

Somehow the two brothers seem to have been muddled. Their father Joseph died in 1919 in Charring Cross Hospital aged 58 and was buried in plot D405, Epsom cemetery on 22 September 1919. Their mother lived on to reach the age of 79 and died at 16, Church Road, Epsom, and was buried in the same plot as her husband on 9 January 1941.

The last entries in James' 'burnt' service records show that on 27 November 1920 his sister Mrs Edith Parker acknowledged receipt of his 1914 1915 Star, and on 14 July 1921 she acknowledged receipt of his British War and Victory medals.


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TREADGOLD Albert John, Private. G/13529.

6th Battalion, Queen's (Royal West Surrey) Regiment.
Died of wounds 12 March 1917, aged 31.

Albert's headstone in Faubourg-d'Ameins Cemetery, Arras
Albert's headstone in Faubourg-d'Ameins Cemetery, Arras
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2010

Albert John Treadgold was born on 15 April 1886 (GRO: June 1886 Epson 2a 49), to John and Eliza Treadgold (nee Knight). His parents married in 1883.

Albert was baptised in Christ Church, Epsom Common on 30 May 1886. Albert's older sister Ada Mary born 7 February 1884 was also baptised in Christ Church, Epsom Common, on 30 March 1884.

In the 1891 census the family lived at 1 Folly, South Street, Epsom. Shortly before the 1891 census was taken Albert's younger brother Charles Ambrose was born on 20 January 1891 and was baptised on 22 March 1891 in Christ Church, Epsom Common. Albert's 31 year old father John worked as a bricklayer to support his 32 year old wife Eliza, and their three children Ada, Albert and Charles.

When the 1901 census was taken it would appear that the family had moved along the road to 5, The Folly, South Street, Epsom. Albert's cousins Winifred and Leonard Moore were staying with them that night.

In the 1911 census the family were still living at 5, The Folly, South Street, and Albert's 51 year old father was still laying bricks. Albert himself was a domestic gardener, whilst brother Charles was a cycle mechanic. Their older sister 27 year old Ada, was single and still living with her parents.

Albert married Nellie Louisa Reynolds in Christ Church, Epsom in on 2 August 1913. They had two children, both born in Epsom, their son John Albert was born on 15 February 1915 and their daughter Nellie Elizabeth, born on 9 January 1917.

Albert's service records have not survived, but we know he enlisted in Leatherhead, and served as Private No. G/13529 in the 6th Battalion Queen's (Royal West Surrey) Regiment. The Battalion was in the 37th Brigade, 12th (Eastern) Division.

On 12 March 1917 Albert's Battalion were providing working parties for the Royal Engineers (RE) in Arras. There was much mining activity in the Arras area, so they may well have been disposing of spoil and bringing up mining supplies. The 6th Queens war diary for 12 March 1917 states:
The Battalion found the usual large working parties under REs. At 9A.M. the enemy started to shell Arras sending over 5.9s and 9.2s shells in the vicinity of the GRAND PLACE, we had two men wounded, the shelling continued till about 2 P.M.
It seems likely that Albert was one of the wounded men, and that he died later that day, as a result of the shelling. Albert was the only man from the Battalion to die that day. He is buried in Plot II.F.23. Faubourg-d'Ameins Cemetery, Arras, France.

On 22 April 1917, nearly six weeks after her father's death, Nellie Elizabeth was baptised in Christ Church.

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

The CWGC state that Albert was the "Son of John and Eliza Treadgold, of Epsom; husband of Nellie Louisa Treadgold, of 218, Kingston Road, Leatherhead, Surrey"

Albert's widow Nellie married widower Leonard Small on 6 February 1932 in St. Martin of Tours church, Epsom, and died in 1976.


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TREAYS John, Officer's Steward 3rd Class. L/7351.

HMS Victory. Royal Navy (RN).
Died 23 March 1916, aged 21.

John's headstone in Epsom Cemetery
John's headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2009

John Treays was born in Lewisham on 26 April 1895 (GRO reference: Jun 1895 Lewisham 1d 1199) to Arthur and Elizabeth Treays (nee Miller). John's father was born in Stoke Damerel, Plymouth, Devon and his mother in London. His parents had married, after banns had been read in March and April 1884, in St. John's church, Deptford. They had nine children:

Name Born - Died Notes
Arthur Alfred Born: 1884 Greenwich
Died: 1885 Greenwich
Frederick Born: 1885 Greenwich
Died: 1895 Wandsworth
George Walter Born: 1889 Greenwich
Died: 1902 Epsom
Verdict of suicide whilst temporarily insane. Buried 20 October 1902 in grave C101 with his brother Frank in Epsom Cemetery
Charles Born: 1890 Greenwich
Died: 1965 Wandsworth
Baptised 22 March 1922 St. Barnabas, Epsom. Married Ethel Sarah Bullen 24 June 1911, Christ Church Epsom. Served in Royal Flying Corps.
Elizabeth Born: 1891 Lewisham. No records found after the 1901 census.
Frank Born: 1893 Lewisham.
Died: 1902 Epsom.
Buried 2 October 1902 in grave C101 with his brother George in Epsom Cemetery.
John Born: 26 April 1895 Lewisham.
Died: 1916 Gosport.
Albert Victor Born: 1897 Greenwich.
Died: 2 April 1951 Sussex.
Baptised 1897, Holy Trinity, Blackheath Hill, Greenwich. Married Dorothy Annie Langham 22 December 1919, St. Luke Chelsea. Marriage certificate states he was an Attendant in the parish of St. Barnabas Epsom.
Daisy Born: 27 October 1900
Died: 1902 Epsom.
Baptised 1901, Emmanuel Mission Church, Greenwich. Buried on 1 March in grave D57 in Epsom Cemetery

In the 1891 census, before John was born, the family lived in 3 Providence Place, Newport Yard, Lewisham. John's father was a 29 year old boot maker, his mother was 26. He had three siblings, Frederick aged 5, George aged 2 and Charles aged 1.

By 1901 the family had moved to Hook Road, Epsom, and were living next door to 'Hook Road Stores'. John, aged 4, had another four siblings, Elizabeth aged 9, Frank aged 8, Albert aged 3 and Daisy aged 5 months.

1902 saw the deaths of three of John's siblings. Daisy died early in the year and was buried on 1 March in grave D57 in Epsom Cemetery. His brother Frank died at home from inflammation of the brain and their brother, George committed suicide. Frank and George were buried together in grave C101 in Epsom Cemetery on 2 October 1902.

Aged 15, John and only his younger brother Albert Victor were recorded in the 1911 census as living with their parents at 209 Hook Road, Epsom. John was working, as a newspaper boy, for Smith and Sons while his father was a boot maker for the London County Council. His father stated that he and his wife had been married for 29 years and five of their nine children had died. John's older brother Charles was working as a postman and was boarding with retired policeman Alexander Charman and his family in Banstead.

John joined the Royal Navy on 22 October 1915 and served on 'Victory I'. He was 5 feet 8 inches tall, had a chest measurement of 35 inches, dark brown hair, grey eyes and a sallow complexion. Before joining the RN he had been working as a hall porter.

John died on 28 March 1916 in the RN hospital Haslar, Gosport, of cerebrospinal meningitis. He was buried on 1 April 1916 in plot K 639, Epsom Cemetery. Cemetery records state that he worked as a steward.

His mother was aged 68 when she died in her home, 209 Hook Road, and was buried on 10 December 1932 in grave D425 in Epsom Cemetery. John's father, aged 79, died in Epsom County Hospital, and was buried in grave M501 in Epsom Cemetery.1941 in the Surrey North Eastern registration district.

John is commemorated on Epsom's Ashley Road memorial, the Epsom Brotherhood memorial in Bourne Hall museum and the St. Barnabas Roll of Honour.


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TRESIZE Oliver, Private. 4573.

19th Infantry Battalion, Australian Imperial Force (AIF).
Died of wounds 5 November 1917, aged 22.

Oliver Cromwell Tresize
Oliver Cromwell Tresize
Image: www.awm.gov.au/collection/P05403.001 (in public domain)

Oliver Cromwell Tresize was born in Epsom in 1895 (GRO reference: September 1895 Epsom 2a 19), the third son and fourth child of Thomas Henry and Agnes Tresize (nee MacNaught). Oliver's father, born in St Agnes, Cornwall, and his mother, born in Dumfries, Scotland, had married in the September quarter 1889 in the Epsom registration district.

The 1891 census records Oliver's parents living at 95, High Street, Epsom, and running a fishmonger and poulterer's business. More can be read about the Tresize family here

Oliver Cromwell Tresize And His Siblings
Name Born - Died Notes
Thirza Born: 1891 Epsom
Died: 1970 Marylebone
Thomas Robert Born: 1892 Epsom
Died: 1963 Canterbury
Walter Gladstone Born: 1894 Epsom
Died: 1984 Bromley
Oliver Cromwell Born: 1895 Epsom
Died: 5 November 1917 Belgium
Agnes Margaret Born: 1897 Epsom
Died: 1934 Blean, Kent
Known as Daisy
Dorothy (twin) Born: 1899 Epsom
Died: 1987 Canterbury
Known as Dolly
John (twin) Born: 1899 Epsom
Died: 1990 Canterbury

Oliver was only three when his father contracted pneumonia after a cycling trip and died in Epsom Cottage Hospital on 8 November 1898, aged 33. Oliver's mother was in the early stages of her sixth pregnancy and gave birth to twins Dolly (Dorothy) and John on 19 May 1899.

Oliver, his mother and siblings were still living in Epsom in 1901, at 8, Tenant's Co-operative Cottages (later Neale Terrace), Hook Road. His mother is recorded as living on her own means.

By 1911, 15 year old Oliver had left home to be a sea apprentice on the training ship 'Warspite', based at Woolwich. His mother and five of his brothers and sisters had moved to 2, Vine Terrace, Suffolk Street in Whitstable, Kent. Thomas Robert has not been found in the 1911 census.

On 30 January 1914 Oliver, aged 18, sailed from San Francisco, U.S.A. as an Ordinary Seaman on board the Brig 'Geneva'. On 3 May 1914, the 'Geneva' sailed from Manzanillo, Mexico and landed in Port Townsend, Washington, U.S.A. on 21 June 1914. Sometime during the next few months Oliver arrived in Australia.

Aged 19, Oliver sailed as one of the 2nd Stewards on the TSS 'Warilda' from Freemantle, Western Australia, arriving at Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, on 5 April 1915. He left Newcastle, Australia on 20 April as a Cabin Boy back aboard the 'Geneva', and docked on 10 July 1915 in San Francisco, USA.

Oliver left Portland, Oregon, USA, again on board the 'Geneva', and returned to Sydney on 3 November 1915 where he joined up at Casula Camp, Sydney on 11 Dec 1915. He became 4573 Private, 19th Infantry Battalion, 5th Infantry Brigade. He left Sydney aboard H.M.A.T. 'Nestor' on 9 April 1916 with the 11th Reinforcements.

His Australian Infantry Force (AIF) service papers record that he was a seaman by occupation, 5ft 5½ins in height, weighed 13 stone, and had a 32 in chest, 35ins on expansion. He had a fresh complexion, with blue eyes and fair hair in contrast to his brother Walter who had dark brown hair and brown eyes. Oliver had 6/6 vision in both eyes and sported a tattoo of the 'Stars and Stripes' on his right arm. There is also a note that he had been rejected previously for military service because of variocele, a sort of genital varicose vein.

At Alexandria in Egypt Oliver and his fellow troops changed ship, embarking on 'Megantic' on 29 May 1916. They arrived in Plymouth on 7 June 1916. During his time in England Oliver went absent without leave between 24.00 on 20 August and 19.30 on 25 August 1916. There is no information on where he went, but it would be nice to think he took the opportunity to visit his mother and family in their new home in Canterbury Road, Whitstable. He was fined 9 days pay.

On 9 September he transferred with the 5th Training Brigade to Etaples in France, and then marched out to his unit on 26 September 1916. He joined the 19th Infantry Battalion on 30 September.

The following year, from 20 August to 2 September, he spent two weeks of official leave in England before fighting in the Battle of Passchendaele, Belgium. On 4 November 1917 he received multiple gunshot wounds in his left thigh, side and forearm and to his right wrist. He died on 5 November 1917 in 2 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station, aged 22. He was buried by the Reverend Ambrose at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium, grave XXI EE 10A. (His record gives the date of his burial as 28 November 1917, so presumably he was buried initially at the clearing station before being transferred to the main cemetery).

Oliver's headstone in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium
Oliver's headstone in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2011

He left a standard military will making his mother his beneficiary. His War medal, Victory medal and memorial plaque were sent to her.

Although he gave his religion on enlistment as Church of England, his name was listed on a brass memorial plaque on the front of the Congregational church in Whitstable. This building, located at 104, High Street, later became the Whitstable playhouse and the memorial was removed. A source on the Internet states that it was last seen in the room behind the playhouse that had once been the Vicar's office. The inscription read:
To the glory of god and in the sacred memory of the men of this Church and Sunday school who fell in the Great War. Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.
He is also remembered on the Whitstable War Memorial and on his father's gravestone in Epsom Cemetery.

Grave of Thomas Tresize, with memorial to Oliver, Epsom Cemetery
Grave of Thomas Tresize, with memorial to Oliver, Epsom Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2011


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TUPPEN Alfred Joseph Henry, Private. PLY/1221/S.

2nd Battalion Royal Marine Light Infantry.
Missing, assumed dead 28 April 1917, aged 22.

Private Alfred Tuppen's inscription on the Arras Memorial
Private Alfred Tuppen's inscription on the Arras Memorial
Image Courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2007

Alfred Joseph Henry Tuppen was born on 27 August 1894 in Ewell (GRO reference: Sep 1894 Epsom 2a 21) to Joseph Henry Lucas and Jane Tuppen (nee Ridgewell/Ridgwell). Alfred's father Joseph was born in Dorking in 1871 and his mother was born in Ewell in 1870. His parents had married in St. Mary's Church, Ewell on 28 October 1893. Note: Alfred's rank is shown as 'Sig' on the Dipping Well memorial outside Bourne Hall.

In the 1901 census the family lived at 7 Rosebery Terrace, Heatherside Road. Alfred's father was a 30 year old 'Engine driver and Stoker (stationary engines)'. He had a sister Florence Jane aged 5 born in Ewell in 1896.

Alfred's brother Alexander Arthur was born on 25 May 1901 in Ewell and was baptised in St. Mary's Church Ewell on 14 July 1901. I can find no baptism records for Alfred and his sister Florence.

Rosebery Terrace, Heatherside Road, West Ewell
Rosebery Terrace, Heatherside Road, West Ewell
Image Courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2007

Alfred and his brother Alex started at Ewell Boys School on 27 April 1908. The school records show that they had been previously attending a school in George Street, Hove. It also gives the family address as Capel Cottage, West Ewell. Alfred, having reached the age of 14 left school on 29 July 1908. His brother Alex, aged 14 left school on 21 May 1915 to start work.

The 1911 census records the family as still living at Capel Cottage, Chessington Road, West Ewell. Alfred's father completed the census form stating that he and his wife had been married for 7 years and that during that time they had had 3 children, all still living. Only Alfred, aged 16 and working as a grocer's apprentice, and Alexander aged 9 were still living with them at Capel Cottage. Alfred's sister Florence, aged 15, was working as a servant for 84 year old Elizabeth Wood at Gresham Cottage, Epsom Road, Ewell. Alfred's father was still working as a stationary engine driver for a flourmill. Also living with them was Alfred's 5 year old cousin Annie Ridgwell and his 67 year old widowed grandfather John Henry Tuppen. There were also two boarders, Maurice O'Connell and James Ryan.

From the Naval and Military Press service record, Alfred was formally rejected by the East Surrey Regiment because he had an undersize chest measurement. It also states he was born at Surbiton, which is contrary to the GRO record and census returns. He was the son of Mr Joseph Tuppen of Chesterfield Place, West Ewell, (later of 1 Lyme Kilne Cottages, Epsom). Alfred had been a plumber's mate. He enlisted in London on 22 November 1915, and joined the 2nd Royal Marine Battalion on 5 December 1916. NOTE: It seems strange that he was rejected by the infantry but welcomed by the Royal Marine

Alfred was in the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Marine Light Infantry, 188th Brigade, 63rd (Royal Naval) Division. They fought in the battle of Arleux 28/29 April 1917 part of the wider Battle of Arras 9 April to 15 May1917). The Battle of Arleux was never expected to end in a breakthrough, rather it was intended as attritional battle in support of the French who were attacking at the 'Chemin des Dames'. The aim was to draw away German troops who might otherwise be used to attack the French.

The following is an extract from the 2nd Royal Marines War Diary:
     26th April. Village heavily shelled all day. Aircraft active on both sides. One of our balloons set fire to. Wire cutting in the afternoon. Casualties Missing temp Lieut MARKHAM. Killed other ranks 3, wounded other ranks 30.

     27th April. Hostile artillery more than usually active during early morning. At about 8a.m. one of our aeroplanes was brought down South of OPPY WOOD by hostile AA guns. Coys proceeded to assembly positions ready for attack. Casualties Killed other ranks 8. Wounded other ranks 14. Missing other ranks 9.

     28th April. 4.25a.m. Battn attacked in 4 waves the enemy trenches N.E. of GAVRELLE with one platoon under 2nd Lt NEWLING detailed to take the Windmill. The Windmill on the left of the Bn front was reached and held but as 1st Battn Royal Marines on our left and 2nd Div on their left were being hung up apparently by wire and owing to a large number of machine guns, casualties were very heavy. Only two officers besides the officer commanding and adjutant who took part in the operations came out alive. Casualties Killed Officers 1. Other ranks 25. Wounded other ranks 72. Missing Officers 8 other ranks 387.

     29th April. Situation unchanged. Enemy made several violent counter attacks. Casualties wounded ORs 14

    30th April. Bn relieved by 15th and 18th West Yorks. Marched back to St. CATHERINES.

Alfred was reported as missing, presumed dead on 28 April 1917 and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, Bay 1.

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

Alfred's father, who served in the Great War, in the Royal Navy, died in 1933. His mother died in 1962 aged 92. They were both buried in All Saints Church, Banstead.

Alfred's bronze plaque - image courtesy of Jack Clegg
Alfred's bronze plaque.
Image courtesy of Jack Clegg

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TURNER Harcourt Charles, Lieutenant.

6th Battalion Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry (DCLI).
Killed in Action 23 August 1917, aged 32.

Harcourt Charles Turner
Harcourt Charles Turner
Image source Ancestry family tree 'Cuckfield45'

Harcourt Charles Turner was born on 4 May 1885 at 108, Ebury Street, in Pimlico, London (GRO reference: Jun 1885 St. Geo. H. Sq. 1a 430) to Montague and Augusta Jane Turner (nee Peel). His parents had married in 1878 in the Cuckfield registration district. Harcourt's maternal grandparents were Sir Charles Lennox Peel K.C.B. and his wife Hon. Caroline Georgiana, nee Chichester, daughter of 1st Baron Templemore.

In the 1881 census, before Harcourt was born, his father, a 37 year old solicitor, his mother aged 26 and his sister Augusta Ivy aged 19 months, lived at 'Butler's Green House', Station Road, Cuckfield. Also there on census night was Harcourt's aunt, 25 year old Cecilia Ivy Peel. Looking after the family were ten servants, a butler, a footman, a groom, a lady's maid, a cook, a nurse, a nursery maid, a housemaid, an under housemaid and a kitchen maid.

Harcourt was baptised on 10 June 1885 in Cuckfield.

Name Born - Died Notes
Augusta Ivy Born: 5 September 1879 London
Died: 1970
Baptised 14 October 1879 Cuckfield, Sussex
Montagu Trevor Born: 30 May 1881 Cuckfield
Died: 29 July 1957 Cuckfield
Baptised 29 June 1881 Cuckfield, Sussex.
O.B.E., M.C. Served as a Major in the Sussex regiment.
Married Josephine Warton Watt 1906
George Henry Born: 1884 London Baptised 2 April 1884 Cuckfield, Sussex
Harcourt Charles Born: 4 May 1885 London
Died: 26 September 1915 France
Baptised 10 June 1885 Cuckfield, Sussex
Charles Born: 1887
Died: 1887
Baptised 13 November 1887 Cuckfield, Sussex
Olive Caroline Born: 5 April 1889 London
Died: 1978 Lewis
Baptised 8 May 1889 Cuckfield, Sussex
Lionel Francis Born: 23 November 1890
Died: 1978
Baptised 6 January 1891 Cuckfield, Sussex.
Served as a Lieutenant in the Army printing and stationery service.
Married Eileen V Holman 1920 Eastbourne

By 1891 the family had moved to 'Milton House', Cuckfield. Harcourt, his parents and his siblings Ivy (Augusta), Montagu, George, Olive and Lionel were all at home on census night, being looked after by their seven servants.

Harcourt was a pupil at Upland House School, Epsom, a small preparatory school for boys aged 8 to14, so he would have studied there during 1893 to 1899.

In the 1901 census Harcourt was a 15 year old pupil at Dane Court school, Parkstone, Poole, Dorset. The family were living at 'Woodcroft', Cuckfield, his parents and four siblings being looked after by seven servants.

He later studied at Charterhouse School.

There is a record of Harcourt, a farmer, aged 22, sailing from Liverpool to Quebec, Canada aboard the Virginian, arriving on 18 October 1907.

Harcourt's father died on 25 January 1908 in the Cuckfield registration district.

By 1911 Harcourt's widowed mother was living on private means at 'Hortons', Cuckfield. Although she recorded that she had been married for 33 years and that one of her seven children had died, the information was crossed through due to her widowhood. His 31 year old unmarried sister Augusta, was a dairy farmer, employer. Sister Olive, aged 21 was living on private means whilst his 20 year old brother Lionel was a clerk working for the Union Discount Company. Three servants were employed. Harcourt was living alone at 'Holly Cottage', Cuckfield, working on his own account as a dairy farmer.

On 1 October 1914 Harcourt attested in Bodmin, Cornwall into the 4th Reserve Battalion DCLI Infantry, a Territorial unit, and was given service number 2898. His gave his address as 'Hortons', Cuckfield, Sussex, stated that he had served for 18 months in the Officer Training Corps of Charterhouse College and that he was prepared to serve overseas. He was 6 feet and ½ inch tall, had a chest measurement of 34¼ inches with an expansion of 2 inches, good vision, good physical development and his religion was C of E.

He was soon transferred to the 2/4 Battalion DCLI and sailed with it to India on 12 December 1914, aboard S.S. Caledonia, arriving at Karachi on 9 January 1915. He was promoted to Lance Corporal on 7 April 1915 and remained in India for most of 1915, returning to England on 12 November. On 4 December 1915 was appointed as a probationary 2nd Lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion (training and depot) (London Gazette 2 December 1915).

In September 1916 Harcourt went to France attached to the 6th Battalion DCLI, part of the 43rd Brigade, 14th Division. The Battalion fought in the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele) and on 22 August 1917 attempted to capture Inverness Copse. They made good progress but met strong resistance and had to fight in heavy rain, which rendered the help of tanks impossible. The Germans counter-attacked using flame throwers and although the Battalion held on for three days it eventually had to withdraw. During the period 22-24 August, the Battalion lost 111 men and 8 officers killed, including Harcourt killed in action on 23 August. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot memorial to the missing.

Harcourt's inscription on the Tyne Cot Memorial to the missing
Harcourt's inscription on the Tyne Cot Memorial to the missing
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

Harcourt's effects were returned via Cox and Co.'s Shipping Agency and consisted of:
1 Pr. German Field Glasses in case, 2 slings and protector
1 Service Prismatic Compass with silver ring in case
1 Book of Counterfoils only Advance Book
1 cheque Book
1 Religious Book
1 Pipe
1 Pocket Knife
   Private papers, letters etc.
1 Pocket Note Book
1 Pr. Field Glasses (damaged) and sling.
On 3 December 1917, Harcourt's death was reported in The Times, on page 10:
Second Lieutenant Harcourt Charles Turner, D.C.L.I., killed on August 23, was the third son of the late Montagu (sic) and Mrs. Turner, of Cuckfield, Sussex. He was educated at Uplands House, Epsom, and Charterhouse. He enlisted in 1914, receiving his commission in 1915, and proceeding to the front in September 1916. His commanding officer writes:- "He died a very gallant death, leading his platoon in the attack. We all mourn his loss, as he was always cheerful and kind".
Harcourt did not leave a will, his assets being split between his mother and his siblings. He was awarded the British War medal and the Victory medal; both were sent to his mother at 'Hortons' Cuckfield, Haywards Heath, Sussex where she later died on 27 December 1939.

He is commemorated on the Upland House school memorial in St Martin's church, Epsom and on the Cuckfield village memorial.


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TURNER, Henry Dennis, Corporal. 9137.

'C' Battery, 71st Brigade, Royal Field Artillery (RFA).
Killed in Action 7 July 1917, aged 26.

Henry's headstone in the Menin Road South Military Cemetery, Ypres.
Henry's headstone in the Menin Road South Military Cemetery, Ypres.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

Henry Dennis Turner was born in 1891 in Aldershot (GRO reference: Sep 1891 Farnham 2a 101), the eldest child of Henry Francis and Edith Emily Turner (nee Quartermain). His parents had married in 1890 in the Dorking registration district.

Henry's father was working as a carpenter and joiner from their home in 5, Clarence Terrace, Waterloo Road, Aldershot, Hampshire when the 1901 census was taken. Henry aged 9, and his 6 year old sister Alice were attending school while their mother looked after their one year old sister Nellie.

By 1911, Henry and his parents and sister Nellie had moved along the road to number 13, Clarence Terrace, Waterloo Road. His father filled out the census stating that he and Edith had been married for 20 years and had had five children but two had died. He also noted that he was a carpenter and joiner and that 19 year old Henry was working as a barman. Boarding with the family was Henry King, a Slater and Tiler by trade. Henry's sister Alice was working as a domestic servant for the Wells family in Tuesley Farm, Tuesley, Godalming.

Henry, aged 23, attested in Kingston on 2 September 1914. He was 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighed 144lbs and had a chest measurement of 37 inches with an expansion of 3 inches. He had a fresh complexion, grey eyes, brown hair, and worked as an attendant at the Long Grove Asylum, Epsom.

Henry served with the 71st Brigade RFA, 15th (Scottish) Division and went to France on 8 July 1915. After two years in France, Henry was killed in action on 7 July 1917 near the Menin Road, Ypres. This was a relatively quiet period on the Western Front, between the battles of Messines and Third Ypres (Passchendaele). The Soldiers Died CD tells us that 265 men (Other Ranks) died on the Western Front on 7 July 1917, and that 5,589 died on 31 July 1917, the first day of the battle of Passchendaele.

Henry, probably killed by shellfire, is buried in grave I. R. 20. Menin Road South Military Cemetery, Ypres, Belgium.

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


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TURNER Henry William, Gunner. 55108.

"B" Siege Depot, Royal Garrison Artillery (RGA).
Died (Nephritis) 26 September 1915, aged 39.

Henry William Turner was born in 1876 (GRO reference: Sep 1876 Shoreditch 1c 108) to George and Annie Turner. His father, a printer's labourer, was aged 21 when he married 23 year old Ann Burgess Haines on Christmas day 1872 in St. Giles without Cripplegate church in the City of London. George and his new wife were illiterate and made a cross as their mark in the marriage register. They had four known children.

NameBorn - DiedNotes
Sarah AnnBorn: 1874 ShoreditchBaptised 29 June 1876 St. Peter Church, Shoreditch.
Married Frederick William Leakey 15 October 1893 Christ Church, Southwark.
One of her witnesses was Elizabeth Sainsbury, their eldest stepsister
HENRY WILLIAMBorn: 1876 Shoreditch
Died: 26 September 1915 Horton War Hospital
Baptised 11 June 1876 St. Peter Church, Shoreditch
ElizabethBorn: 1879 ShoreditchBaptised 2 July 1879 St. John Church, Hackney.
Married Frederick Martin 30 January 1898 St. Mary the Virgin, Somers Town
GeorgeBorn: 1885 Clerkenwell 
NameBorn - DiedNotes
Elizabeth Charlotte SainsburyBorn: 1873 LondonBaptised 4 May 1873 Holy Trinity church, London
James SainsburyBorn: 1877 London 
William SainsburyBorn: 1879 London 
Rose SainsburyBorn: 1885 London 
Arthur SainsburyBorn: 1886 LondonBaptised 7 November 1886 Holy Trinity church, London
NameBorn - DiedNotes
Ada (Twin of John)Born: 9 November 1889 London Baptised 12 January 1890 St. Brides Fleet Street church, address 1 Sugar Loaf Court
John (Twin of Ada)Born: 9 November 1889 London
Died before 1891 census
Baptised 12 January 1890 St. Brides Fleet Street church, address 1 Sugar Loaf Court
Sydney HoraceBorn: 1891
Died: 1893 Greenwich
Baptised 1 July 1891 Christ Church Southwark, address 15 Downs Buildings
FrederickBorn: 1894 SouthwarkBaptised 21 November 1894 Christ Church, Southwark
AlfredBorn: 1896Baptised 23 September 1896 Christ Church Southwark, address 15 Downs Buildings

In the 1881 census Henry was recorded as Harry and the family lived at 16 Windsor Place, Finsbury. Henry's father George, born in Northamptonshire, was a 29 year old printer. His mother Annie was 32. He had two sisters, Sarah Ann aged 7 and Elizabeth aged 2. Henry's brother George was born in 1885 in Clerkenwell. His mother Ann Burgess Turner died aged 38, in 1887.

In St. John the Evangelist church, Walworth, banns were read for the first time on 12 May 1889 announcing the intention of marriage between Henry's father George and the widow Charlotte Sainsbury, both parishioners of the parish. Their marriage took place on 4 November 1889 in Christ Church, Southwark. Both gave their ages as 37 and their address as 19 Broadwall. George a printer's labourer and his second wife were both illiterate and made a cross as their mark in the marriage register.

The 1891 census shows that Henry had acquired five stepsiblings aged from 4 to 14, and a half sister Ada aged 1. However, unlike their youngest brother George, Henry and his sisters Sarah Ann and Elizabeth were not living with their father and stepmother in 1891. Where Henry William was in 1891 is not clear, but there was a Henry Turner living at 5 Tower Street, Southwark, working as a butler's boy that could have been him. Three more half brothers were later born, Sydney Horace in 1891, Frederick in 1894 and Alfred in 1896.

Henry's father and stepmother were living in Newington when the 1901 census was taken. Living with them were Henry's stepsiblings James, William and Rose Sainsbury, brother George Turner, and half siblings Ada and Fred Turner. Henry's whereabouts when the 1901 census was taken is not known but by 1911 he was working as an asylum attendant for Horton Asylum in Epsom. The census records that he was aged 34, single but had been born in Islington.

Henry attested on 25 November 1914 at the East Surrey Regiment depot at Kingston. He gave his age as 35 years and 189 days. He was 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighed 154 lbs, and had a chest measurement of 37 inches with an expansion of 4 inches. His address was 7 Blewett Street, Walworth, S.E. He stated that he was not married, and that he was an asylum attendant. His religion was C of E.

By 28 November 1914 he was at the RGA depot at Newhaven. Then on 1 January 1915 he transferred to 22nd company RGA, on 27 February to 26 Siege Company RGA, and on 26 July 1915 to the Siege Depot, Lydd.

A memo, dated 25 September 1916, from the 'County of London War Hospital, Epsom' (Horton War Hospital), sent to his family, stated that Gunner Turner HW RGA Depot, aged 36 had died of Nephritis at 11.30am on 24 September 1915. He had been in the hospital division 'A' in ward 13, in bed 8.

Henry appears in the LCC 'RECORD of WAR SERVICE' book, having worked as an attendant at Horton Asylum.

Henry saw no overseas service, so was not awarded any medals, but he was mentioned in the 1 October 1915 edition of the Epsom Herald:
GUNNER H.W. Turner. The death occurred at the hospital on Friday last of Gunner H.W. Turner, R.G.A., who was received from the Lydd Hospital, Kent two days previously, suffering from nephritis. He had been ill for some time. The funeral takes place at Walworth tomorrow (Saturday), and floral tributes are being sent from the members of the staff at the hospital who were his fellow workers in pre-war days.
The CWGC states that he was the:
Son of George Turner and of C. Turner (stepmother), of 7 Blewett Street, Walworth, London.

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TYE Walter Guy, Private. 42830.

25th Battalion, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry).
Killed in Action 29 April 1918, aged 23.

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

Walter Guy Tye was born in 1895 in Epsom (GRO reference: Dec 1895 Epsom 2a 23) to Ezekiel (a.k.a Frederick) and Eliza Tye (nee Knivett), who both came from Hoxon Suffolk. They had married in 1878.

In the 1881 census, before Walter was born the family lived in a cottage in Clayton Road, Epsom. Walter's father was a 27 year old shoemaker, his mother was 28 and he had two siblings, William aged one and half and Herbert aged 5 months.

By the 1891 census the family was living at 4, Gladstone Cottages, Church Street, Epsom. Walter's father Ezekiel had changed his name to Frederick, and now worked as a gardener. Four more siblings had arrived, Kate aged 5, Arthur aged 3, Ernest aged 2 and Frank aged 9 months.

In 1901 they were still living at 4, Gladstone Cottages, Church Street, Epsom. Brother Herbert was working as an ironmonger's assistant, and Harry was a baker's assistant. Three more siblings had arrived, John aged 8, Bessie aged 7 and Mary aged 3. (Tye miss-transcribed in Ancestry as Lye).

The 1911 census shows the family still living at 4, Gladstone Cottages, Church Street, Epsom. Walter's father, Frederick had reverted to his name of Ezekiel. Walter and his brother John were both working as errand boys. The census shows that Walter's mother Eliza had given birth to 13 children, and that on census night 11 were still living. The two who had not survived were Frank Edward born September 1883, died in September 1884 aged 1, and Arthur Edward born in December 1887 died in March 1909 aged 21.

Walter enlisted in Wimbledon as Private No. 30141 in the East Surrey Regiment, later transferring as Private No. 42830 to the 25th Battalion Machine Gun Corps, part of the 25th Division. On 9 April 1918 the Germans launched the second of their last desperate offensives to try to win the war before the Americans arrived in force. The battle was later named the Battle of the Lys or 'Georgette'. By 25 April the key position of Kemmel Hill had been lost, and on 26 April the 25th Division was ordered to counter attack. The attack was successful, and by the 29 April the 25 Division was holding a narrow stretch of the front including the La Clytte (Klijte) to Kemmel Road, which was subjected to German artillery bombardment. Walter was killed in action on that day, probably by shell fire. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial to the missing, Passchendaele, Belgium.

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

The following appeared in 'The Advertiser' dated 24 May 1918:
DIED FOR THE COUNTRY. - One of six sons of Mr. Tye, Church Road, who have been serving in the war, the youngest, Private Guy Tye, has been killed in action. He joined up at the commencement of the war, being then 19 years of age.
The St. Martin's church Roll of Honour states that "WALTER GUY TYE, was killed in action in France on the 29th April 1918."


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