War Memorials - Surnames W

Index

Click on the name to jump to the relevant entry
[Content]

WALKER, George Vale (New 19/04/2015)
WALKER, J.H (Updated 02/04/2014)
WALKER, Philip Joseph/John Philip (Revised 29/05/2013)
WALKER, William Earling MC (Pending further research)
WALLIKER, Arthur (Updated 20/11/2015)
WALSH, Michael Joseph (Pending further research)
WALTON, Percy (Updated 06/08/2016)
WARD, Charles Ernest (Revised 03/04/2014)
WARD, Urban(e) William (Revised 06/01/2015)
WARR, Thomas Edward (Revised 07/12/2012)
WATERFIELD, John (New 19/04/2015)
WATERS, Albert (Revised 13/03/2015)
WATERS, Lewis (Revised 13/03/2015)
WATKINS, Archie Kenneth (Updated 03/06/2013)
WATKINS, Frederick (Updated 11/04/2014)
WATSON, Alfred Edward (New 06/05/2015)
WATTS, Percival (Peter) (Revised 06/10/2014)
WEALL, Edwin James (Updated 29/11/2016)
WEARNE, Frank Bernard (Updated 13/02/2015)
WEARNE, Keith Morris (Revised 10/04/2014)
WEAVER, Albert Frank (Revised 03/04/2014)
WEBB, R
WEBB, William Thomas (New 26/02/2011)
WELLS, Archibald John (New 09/05/2015)
WELLS, William Albert (Updated 30/11/2014)
WELLS, Walter Neave (Updated 21/07/2014)
WHEELER, Ernest John (Revised 27/12/2014)
WHEELER, William Leonard (Updated 27/12/2014)
WHELAN, Stephen Ewart (Updated 29/05/2013)
WHISKERD, George W. (Updated 02/12/2014)
WHITE, Arthur (New 04/07/2010)
WHITE, Charles (Updated 10/07/2011)
WHITE, Harry Arderne Shoults (Updated 06/04/2011)
WHITING, C (Updated 17/10/2013)
WHITTINGTON, Harry (Updated 20/05/2014)
WICKENS, John Stanley (Revised 27/01/2014)
WILLIAMS, Harry E. (Updated 04/12/2014)
WILLIS, Ernest (Revised 16/12/2014)
WILLIS, Raymond (Updated 12/11/2015)
WILLSON, Edgar Brian (New 03/05/2013)
WILMOT, Percy James (New 24/01/2012)
WILSON, William (New 23/04/2015)
WIMHURST, Charles (Revised 24/11/2014)
WINSLETT, Egbert Charles William (Revised 09/07/2013)
WONSAWITCH, Nicholas (Pending further research)
WOODWARD, Frank Webster (New 18/04/2015)
WOOD, Robert Leslie (Revised 24/11/2014)
WYETH, Allen Frederick (Revised 16/08/2012)
If you are looking for someone whose name starts with a different letter please try:



Content



WALKER George Vale, Private. 12425.

6th Battalion Ox and Bucks Light Infantry.
Died 18 November 1915, aged 24.

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

George Vale Walker was born in 1891 in West Bromwich, Staffordshire (GRO reference: Jun 1891 W. Bromwich 6b 918), to George and Ellen Walker (nee Vale). His parents had married in the December quarter of 1885 in the West Bromwich registration district.

George had six siblings, Bertha born 1886, Elizabeth Ann born 1888, Alice born 1889, Clara born 1893, James born 1895 and Beatrice born 1897. There was another unknown sibling who had died before 1911.

When the 1911 census was taken the family lived at 42 Boulton Road, Handsworth. George's father was a 52 year old roof slater. His mother, aged 50, recorded that she had been married for 27 years and had had eight children and that seven were still living. George's sibling Elizabeth was a 'Linen Button Coverer'; Alice was a 'Jewellery polisher'; Clara was a 'Brasswork Fitter'; James was a 'Pencil Case Maker, and George himself was a 'Stamper' working for a silversmith.

George married Mabel Lillian Podmore in the March quarter of 1915 in the Birmingham registration district. They had a daughter, Georgina M. Walker (Podmore) registered in the June 1916 quarter in the Birmingham registration district.

George's service papers have not survived but his medal card tells us that he went to France on 22 July 1915 with the 6th Battalion Ox and Bucks Light Infantry.

George was aboard the hospital ship HMHS Anglia, returning wounded to England, when she hit a German mine on 17 November 1915 and sank within 15 minutes.

George was rescued and taken to Horton War Hospital where he died the next day. His cause of death is recorded as 'emphysemia (a lung disease) and shock'. He was buried in grave K644 in Epsom Cemetery on 26 November and shares his grave with 8 other soldiers. They are all remembered there on the screen wall.

The CWGC states that he was the:
Husband of Mabel Lillian Walker, of 13 Beeton Road, Winson Green, Birmingham.
George was awarded the 1915 Star, British War medal and the Victory medal.

CWGC

Back to the index


WALKER James Henry, Private. 41275.

5th Battalion Princess Charlotte's of Wales's (Royal Berkshire Regiment).
Killed in Action 30 November 1917, aged 34.

James' inscription on the Cambrai Memorial to the missing
James' inscription on the Cambrai Memorial to the missing
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2011

It has proved impossible to find much information about James Henry Walker. Two sources of usually reliable information are the CWGC web site and the 'Soldiers Died CD', which inform us as follows:
1. The CWGC web site tells us that he was 34 years old when he died, and goes on to state that he was the 'Son of Mrs Mary Walker of 58, Elm Road, Leyton, London; husband of Mabel Kate Walker of 2, Ebbas Way, Dorking Road, Epsom'.

2. The Soldiers Died CD states that he was Born: Aldershot. Enlisted: Abingdon. Resided: Chilton, Berks. He served in the 5th Battalion Princess Charlotte's of Wales's (Royal Berkshire Regiment), with service number 41275. He was Killed in action on 30 November 1917.
If he was 34 years old when he died on 30 November 1917, he would have been born around 1883. The only GRO reference that might refer to 'our' James Henry Walker is 'Mar 1884 Abingdon 2c 287'.

I have been unable to locate any relevant census records that definitely refer to James, but we do know that he married 26-year-old spinster Mabel Kate Smith, sister of Levi Henry Smith, on 12 June 1915 in St. Barnabas church, Temple Road, Epsom. Information from their marriage certificate gives James' age as 23, which would give him a birth year of 1882; it also states that James was a jockey and that they were both living at 38 Lower Court Road, Epsom. James' father was named as James Henry Walker, a deceased soldier. Despite this information, census and birth records have still not been found.

James' battalion was in the 35th Brigade, 12th Division and fought in the battle of Cambrai. This battle was officially fought between 20 November and 7 December 1917. It is generally acknowledged that this was the first battle in which large numbers of tanks were used. Initially the attack was a great success and large tracts of land were captured. Church bells were rung in the UK to celebrate the great success. However, the Germans were not content to allow the gains to be kept, and launched a counter attack on 30 November, re-taking much ground. James and 68 other men from his battalion lost their lives that day in the counter attack. The Soldiers Died CD tells us that on the Western Front, on 30 November 1917, a total of 2,726 British men lost their lives.

It is quite probable that James never knew that his wife Mabel was expecting his child, but the St Barnabas baptism records show that their daughter Lilian Mary was born on 19 July 1918, eight months after her father's death. She was baptised on 30 September that year. Mabel was living in Upper Court Road, Epsom at the time and her deceased husband James' occupation was noted as a Private in the Royal Berkshire Regiment.

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

His widow Mabel married Thomas W. Leverington in Epsom in 1921 and had five more children. They were living at 67 Tonstall Road, Epsom, in 1949.

EP SB


Back to the index


WALKER Philip Joseph. Lance Corporal. 293302

7th Battalion Black Watch (Royal Highlanders).
Killed in Action 24 July 1918, aged 19

Soissons Memorial
Soissons Memorial
Copyright image courtesy of Clive Gilbert 2007

Philip Joseph Walker was born in 1898 in Wimbledon (GRO reference: Dec 1898 Kingston 2a 333) to Joseph and Evangeline Theresa Walker (Nee Snook). His parents had married in 1897 in the Kingston registration district. Philip's father was registered at birth as Joseph, whereas when he married he was shown as Joseph Walker Walker.

In the 1901 census the family lived in 'Elm Villa', Elm Road, New Malden. Philip's father was a 'Leather Japanning Traveller', and he had one younger sister Veronica Winifred aged 1.

Over the next ten years two more siblings were born and by the time the 1911 census was taken, the family were living at 'Maplehurst', Heatherside Road, West Ewell, Surrey. Philip's 36-year-old father Joseph, who described himself as a leather commercial traveller working in the Leather, Enamelling and Japanning trade, filled out his census form stating that he and his 37-year-old wife Eva had been married for 13 years and that they had four children, all of whom were still living. He listed their children still living at home as Philip aged 12, Monica aged 9 and Leonard aged 4.

The CWGC website, his medal card and the Soldiers Died CD all refer to John Philip or John P Walker, number 293302 Royal Highlanders, not Philip Joseph. The CWGC states that John Philip Walker's parents were Joseph W and Evangeline T. Walker, of 'Cranbury', Chessington Road, West Ewell. Soldiers Died CD also states he enlisted Flixton Park, Bungay, Suffolk into the 7th Battalion Black Watch (Royal Highlanders).

The Battalion was in the 153rd Brigade 51st Division. The division fought in what became known as 'The Battle of the Tardenois' between 20 to 31 July 1918. The Germans launched a large attack in the area held by the thinly-stretched French Army south west of Rheims, Sir Douglas Haig agreed to send a British Corps to assist. The 51st and 62nd Divisions endured several days of very heavy fighting in the valley of the Ardre, at Marfaux and Mont de Bligny.

On 24 July 1918 twenty three men from the 7th Black Watch lost their lives including Philip, aged 19 killed in action. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Soissons Memorial to the missing.

The Epsom Advertiser dated 13 September 1918 includes details from the Ewell Parish Council meeting where they discussed the men who fight for England:
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.
Philip was awarded the British War medal and the Victory medal.

BH EW AS

Back to the index


WALKER William Earling MC, Lieutenant.

75th Battalion Canadian Infantry
Died 12 November 1918, aged 34.

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

Back to the index


WALLIKER Arthur Henry, Lance Corporal. 10153,

1st Battalion East Surrey Regiment.
Killed in Action 23 August 1914, aged 21.

Arthur's headstone in the Hautrage Military Cemetery, Belgium
Arthur's headstone in the Hautrage Military Cemetery, Belgium
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

Henry Arthur Walliker was born in 1893 in Slough, Buckinghamshire (GRO reference: Mar 1893 Eton 3a 687) to Arthur and Emily Walliker (nee Alden). Arthur's parents married in the December 1892 quarter in the Eton registration district. Henry was known by his middle name Arthur.

The 1901 census shows the family living at 59, Park Street, Slough. Arthur's father was a 31 year old greengrocer working for himself at home. His mother was aged 30, and he had two siblings, Hilda Emily aged 6 and Ernest John aged 4. Also living with them was Arthur's father's sister, Emily.

On 30 January 1911 Arthur's sister Edith Irene was born. She was baptised in St. Barnabas church, Temple Road, Epsom on 19 March 1911 and the family was recorded as then living at 17 Miles Road, Epsom.

Arthur attested at Kingston on 18 February 1911 giving his age as 18. He was 5 feet 4¾ inches tall, weighed 120lbs and had a chest measurement of 34½ inches with an expansion of 2½ inches. He was a gardener and had been working at the Hollies, Church Street, Epsom for the then Associate Priest at Christ Church, the Reverend Henry Albany Bowles. Reverend Bowles on becoming Vicar of Christ Church in 1912, moved to the Vicarage, and was to lose his son Reginald, who died of wounds in the Somme battle.

On Sunday 2 April 1911, when the 1911 census was taken, Arthur's father was working as a fishmonger's assistant and brother Ernest was a garden boy while his sister Hilda, aged 16 was at home not shown as working, presumably helping with the care of the home and 2 month old Edith. Arthur's parents stated they had been married for 19 years and all four of their children were still living.

Arthur himself had been recorded in the 1911 census as a Private in the East Surrey Regiment stationed in Kingston Barracks, Kingston upon Thames.

Arthur's sister Florence Lilian was born on 16 August 1913 (mother's surname recorded as Eldon) and appears to have been baptised twice in St. Barnabas church; the first time on 14 September 1913 and then again on 26 October 1913.

Arthur was a regular soldier in the 1st Battalion East Surrey Regiment, which, on the outbreak of war was stationed in Dublin and formed part of the 14th Brigade, 5th Division. The order to mobilise was received at 6pm on 4 August 1914, and by 8 August some 674 reservists had arrived at the depot. Some of the reservists had left the Army as long as eight years ago, whilst others had only previously served for three years. About 30% of the men of the BEF that went to France in 1914 were called-up reservists.

The Battalion sailed from Dublin on HMT Botanist, arrived at Le Havre on 15 August 1914, and fought in the first British battle of the war, at Mons. On 23 August they took up positions on the Mons to Condé canal just south of Hautrage which they defended until forced to retreat later in the day. Thus commenced the famous retreat from Mons to Le Cateau. The days fighting had cost Arthur his life and 40 others from the 1st East Surreys.

The 1st Battalion in the battle of Mons, 1914
The 1st Battalion in the battle of Mons, 1914
Sketch map from the East Surrey Regimental History
Click Image to enlarge

Arthur, the first man from Epsom and Ewell to lose his life in the war is buried in plot 1.C.2. Hautrage Military Cemetery, Belgium. Hautrage was in German hands for nearly all of the war, so it is probable that Arthur was buried by the enemy that killed him.

The Hautrage Military Cemetery, Belgium
The Hautrage Military Cemetery, Belgium
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

Arthur was awarded the 1914 Star, British War medal and the Victory medal, and is mentioned in de Ruvigny's Roll of Honour.

Note: The men who fought during the early battles, in 1914, gave themselves the proud title the 'Old Contemptibles'. This was in response to the German Kaiser commanding his forces to exterminate the treacherous English and walk over their 'contemptible little Army'.

EP SB

Back to the index


WALSH Michael Joseph, Private. 2020170

47th Battalion Canadian Infantry
Died 16 February 1919, aged 31.

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

Back to the index


WALTON Percy, Sergeant. 46027.

'D' Battery, 25th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery.
Died of Wounds 18 July 1916, aged 28.

Percy's headstone in the Dartmoor Cemetery, Becordel-Becourt.
Percy's headstone in the Dartmoor Cemetery, Becordel-Becourt.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

Percy William Walton was born in Islington in 1887 (GRO reference: Sep 1887 Islington 1b 434) the son of Alfred and Elizabeth (Lizzie) Walton (nee Tricker). His parents had married on 3 March 1883 (GRO reference: Mar 1883 Poplar 1c 897) in St. Paul's Church in Old Ford, Tower Hamlets, London and had five known children during their marriage.

PERCY WILLIAM WALTON AND HIS SIBLINGS AND HALF SIBLINGS
NameBorn - DiedNotes
Thomas AlfredBorn: 1884 Poplar
Died: 1926
Married Ida Payne 1910 Islington
BeatriceBorn: 1885 IslingtonMarried Leonard Johnson 1922 Chorlton Lancashire
Percy WilliamBorn: 1887 Islington
Died: 18 July 1916 France
 
FrankBorn: 1889 Islington
Died: 21 March 1918 France
Married Mary Elizabeth Cresswell 1911 Kimberworth, York.
Horace JohnBorn: 1891 Islington 
HALF SIBLINGS
ErnestBorn: 23 August 1894 Islington 
Vera MayBorn: 1896 Islington  

Percy and his family did not appear together on the 1891 census as his mother Lizzie had died after giving birth to Horace John. Percy's father and brother Thomas Alfred's whereabouts has not been found. Frank was a visitor in the home of William Kearley in Hercules Road, Islington and the other three siblings were sent to live in Suffolk with other members of their mother's family. Five year old Beatrice was living with her maternal grandparents, Thomas and Eliza Tricker,while Percy, aged 3, was being cared for by his mother's brother Harry and his wife Susanna in Raydon, Suffolk. Three month old Horace was being cared for by his mother's sister Eliza and her husband William Stannard 4 miles away in Hintlesham, Suffolk.

On 3 December 1893 Percy's 36 year old father married 35 year old spinster Susan Evry in St. John's Church, Holloway. His father's occupation was noted as 'Warrant Officer' and his address as 242 Hornsey Road. Percy's half brother Ernest was born on 23 August 1894. That same year Percy's maternal grandmother Eliza died.

In 1896 Percy's half sister Vera May was born in Islington. Three years later, in 1899, Percy's father was once again widowed.

By 1901 Percy and his widowed 78 year old grandfather Thomas were living with his Uncle Harry and Aunt Susanna Tricker. Percy's siblings Beatrice and Horace were both living with their Aunt Eliza and Uncle William Stannard. Percy's father, his brother Thomas Alfred and half siblings Ernest and Vera were living at 9 Courtney Road, Islington. His father was still working as a Warrant Officer and Thomas Alfred as a solicitor's clerk. In 1906 Thomas Alfred was temporarily in the St. John's Workhouse and the following year, for a month, so was his father and half sister Vera.

A 1911 census entry records a Percy Walton aged 24 serving as a bombardier with Royal Artillery in India. Although his place of birth is shown as Kingston on Thames not Islington, this is probably a clerical error.

Percy on leaving the Army was placed on the Army reserve. Like many other men who had served their time with the Army, Percy joined the asylum service and worked at the Long Grove Asylum in Epsom.

As a reservist Percy would have been called up at the start of the war, and his medal card tells us he was one of the first to go to France arriving on 16 August 1914.

Percy's unit, the 25th Brigade Royal Field Artillery served with the 1st Division, which at the time of his death was fighting in the battle of the Somme. Percy died of wounds received west of Fricourt, on 18 July 1916, probably from shellfire, and was buried in grave I.F.54. Dartmoor Cemetery, Becordel-Becourt.

Percy, an 'Old Contemptible', was awarded the 1914 Star, the British War medal and the Victory medal.

The Soldiers Effects records list Percy's siblings as Thos. A, Mrs Beatrice E. Johnson, Frank (A/Sgt 40583 R.F.A.), Ernest, Horace and Vera. Also listed was Percy's aunt Eliza Stannard and Ernest's wife Elizabeth.

EP LGH
Back to the index


WARD Charles Ernest, Stoker 1st Class. K/26128.

H.M.S. Mary Rose.
Killed in Action 17 October 1917, aged 20.

Charles Ernest Ward was born on 21 March 1897 (GRO reference: Jun 1897 Reigate 2a 166) to John William and Elizabeth Ellen Ward (nee Ford). His parents married in the June quarter of 1895 in the Weardale registration district.

Charles was baptised in St. Margaret's church, Chipstead, Surrey on 18 April 1897 where records show his mother as 'Elizabeth Helen Ward'.

The 1901 census records the family living at 'Railway Hut', Chedworth, Gloucestershire. Charles' father was a 25 year old 'Railway Plate Ganger', and his work on the railways was probably the reason the family did not live in one part of the country for very long. Charles' mother was aged 24 and he had two siblings, John Thomas aged five and Lena aged one. The family employed 15 year old Isabella Carter as a domestic servant, and had four boarders, whose occupation was described as 'Navvy'.

Charles Ernest Ward And His Siblings
Name Born - Died Notes
John Thomas Born: 1895 Eastgate Durham Attested 21 June 1912 into Bedfordshire Regiment.
Discharged no longer fit for service 15 May 1914.
Pension record.
Charles Ernest Born: 21 March 1897 Chipstead Surrey
Died: 17 October 1917 North Sea
 
Selina Elizabeth Mary
(Lena/ Elinor)
Born: 25 December 1899 Ventnor Isle of Wight.
Died: 1983
Married Henry Arthur Viner 24 December 1924
St. Martins of Tours Epsom.
Christopher William Born: 1901 Foss Cross Gloucestershire
Died: 1902 Gloucestershire
 
George William Born: 1903 Foss Cross Gloucestershire  
Thomas Robert Born: 1905 Portishead Bristol
Died: Before 1911
 

In 1911 the family lived at 22 Holywell Road, Watford. Charles' father was still working as a 'ganger' on the railways. Brother John Thomas was a 15 year old worker in the railway office whilst Charles, now 14 was working as a bricklayer's labourer. Three more siblings are recorded, Christopher, George William and Thomas Robert. But Christopher and Thomas Robert were recorded by mistake, their names have been struck out and annotated 'dead'. The census was signed by a J.H. Savage on behalf of Charles' father, John William Ward.

Charles' brother John, claiming to be aged 17 years 10 months old, joined the Bedfordshire Regiment in Aldershot on 21 June 1912. On 10 March 1913 John was admitted to hospital suffering from pneumonia after catching a chill during training. After several operations he was diagnosed as suffering from emphysema and discharged as no longer fit for active service on 15 May 1914. After his discharge he found work at the County of London War Hospital in Epsom for 30 shillings a week. John's military records also show that the family had moved from Holywell Road, Watford to 2 Neale Terrace, Hook Road, Epsom by 1914 and that their mother was better known as Nellie and their sister as Elinor (sic), and confirms that his father was named John William Ward.

Charles' service record held by the National Archive, Kew, records that he signed on with the Royal Navy on 26 May 1915, for a period of 12 years and was given service number K 26128 (Chatham). The record states that he was born on 21 March 1897 in Epsom, not Chipstead as shown on census forms. He was 5 feet 6 inches tall, had a chest measurement of 38 inches, brown hair, blue eyes and a fresh complexion. Throughout his naval career his character was described as 'Very Good' and his ability as 'Satisfactory'.

Charles' family was living at 241 Hook Road, Epsom when his mother died. Recorded as Ellen, Hher body was buried in Epsom Cemetery in grave F20 on 10 August 1916.

Charles was a Stoker aboard the Destroyer HMS Mary Rose on 17 October 1917, when she was sunk by German cruisers, in the North Sea, about 70 miles east of Lerwick, whilst on convoy protection duty. Ancestry's Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll, records that Charles was buried at Bustvik churchyard, Froya Island, Norway.

A 'M' type Distroyer similar to HMS Mary Rose
A 'M' type Destroyer similar to HMS Mary Rose

The CWGC records him as buried at Fredrikstad Military Cemetery, Norway, but goes on to state that in 1961 graves were brought in from other small burial grounds from all over Norway.

Ancestry's Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll states that Charles lived at 241 Hook Road, Epsom; it also states incorrectly that Charles' father was John Edward (not John William).

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

EP SB

Back to the index


WARD Urban(e) William, Private. 203329.

12th Battalion East Surrey Regiment.
Died of Wounds 25 March 1918, aged 28.

Private Ward's inscription on the Arras Memorial
Private Ward's inscription on the Arras Memorial
Copyright image courtesy of Clive Gilbert 2007

Urbane William Ward was born in 1890 (GRO reference: Jun 1890 Chipping Norton 3a 865). His army papers in Series WO 363 at the National Archives, the "Burnt documents" also confirm that he was born in 1890, in Cleveley, Enstone, Oxfordshire, the illegitimate son of Emily Baker (nee Ward). His army papers record his father's name as Urban.

Urbane is shown as 'H. W.' on the Bourne Hall memorial, and as 'Urban' (without an e) by the CWGC, Soldiers Died CD and his medal card. The East Surrey History Roll of Honour has an entry for U.W. Ward. The Soldiers Died CD shows him as being born in Cleveley, Oxon, which is a tiny hamlet near Enstone in the registration district of Chipping Norton.

I can find no entries for an Urbane or Urban Ward in the census returns for 1891 and 1901, but there are entries for William Ward, born in Enstone. The 1891 census records 11 month old William Ward living in Cleveley with James aged 52, his grandfather (who incidentally has his 'left arm off'), Ann aged 49 his grandmother, and his uncles Charles Ward aged 22 and Henry Ward aged 20. All the males in the household were agricultural labourers. His mother Emily, who had been born in 1867, was living and working as a cook for the Fanner family in Oxford.

The 1901 census shows William still living with his grandfather James and grandmother Ann. William's uncles were no longer living with them, but Charles Ward now aged 32, was married to Clara aged 28, and lived next door, with their four children Harry aged 9, Norah aged 6, Edith aged 4 and Mabel aged 1. William's mother Emily, aged 34, was working as a general servant for the Evans family at 1 Madeira Road, Streatham.

William's mother Emily was living at 5 High Street, Merton when she married 38 year old widower George Edward Baker on 1 June 1901 in St. Mary's church Merton. George was living next door to Emily at number 7. Upon his mother's marriage, William acquired two younger stepbrothers, George Edward and Frederick Baker. George Edward Baker junior was later killed on 31 May 1916 while on active service aboard HMS Black Prince.

Aged 20, William was living with his mother and stepfather at 7 High Street, Merton, Surrey when the 1911 census was taken. He was working as a greengrocer while his stepfather George worked in a paper mill. His mother was aged 45 and was looking after her two step children, George Edward aged 17, who was working as a tile making labourer, and Frederick aged 11, as well as William's half siblings Emily aged 8 and Percy aged 7.

Prior to enlisting at Epsom on 7 September 1914, Urban(e) or William as he appears to have been known, had been working as a farm labourer. He was recorded as being 5 ft 6 inches tall, weighing 130 lbs, with a 35 inch chest and a 2 inch expansion. He had a sallow complexion, hazel eyes and dark brown hair. He was in good physical health with good vision and hearing, and he was passed as fit. On joining he served as Private No. 2/1798 in the 3rd East Surrey Battalion, a depot and training battalion, before transferring first to the 2/5th Battalion and later to the 12th Battalion.

His punishment, after failing to appear on 23 February 1915 for a 7am parade, was being confined to barracks for 7 days. After 6 months training at home, he was posted to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force on 16 March 1915. Not long after reaching Belgium he was wounded in his left leg and foot, at Zonnebeke, by a hand grenade, and had shrapnel removed. He was hospitalised several times for wounds and diseases, including:
1 May to 16 July 1915 - Netley Hospital, Southampton, gunshot (probably the hand grenade at Zonnebeke) wound left leg.
16 July to 27 August 1915 - Shirley Warren Hospital (convalescent)
18 March to 13 April 1916 - Duke of York Hospital, Dover, scabies.
3 to 28 November 1916 - convalescent at Woodcote Park, Epsom recovering from trench fever.
On 27 September 1917 he was transferred to the 12th Battalion East Surreys, with service No. 203329. The battalion was in the 122nd Brigade, 41st Division which on 18 November 1917 was moved to the Italian front. However, by 9 March 1918 the Division was back in France.

On 25 March 1918 William's battalion, whilst retreating from the great German spring offensive (21 March to 4 April 1918) the Kaiserschlact, was defending trenches between Mory and Sapinges south of Arras. On 25 March, thirty two East Surrey's lost their lives, and on 31 March, whilst in support opposite Bucquoy, it lost another two men.

Urban is shown as having died on 25 March 1918 by the CWGC, but on 31 March by Soldiers Died CD. This is probably because he was first reported missing on 25 March 1918, and was then presumed dead.

Months later on 7 November 1918 he was reported on a German list of casualties as having been taken prisoner of war with a 'shot' wound to his abdomen. He died in the German field hospital at Bengnatre, about 1.5 miles from Bapaume, and was buried near there, but as he is commemorated on the Arras memorial to the missing the site of his grave must have been lost.

His mother Emily wrote to the War Office on 16 October 1919, and gave her address as 3 North Looe, Epsom, Surrey. She explained that he had been born out of wedlock and that she had proved to both the War Office and the Post Office that she alone had supported her son from infancy and childhood onward. She did not know the whereabouts of his father or whether he was alive or dead. She said she would be pleased to receive any token of commemoration for her boy's sake, although his loss could never be repaired. It is also on file that he had a half brother Percy E. Baker aged 16 and a half sister Emily G. Baker aged 17.

Urban(e) William was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, the British War medal and the Victory medal.

Front of Urban's medal card.
Front of Urban's medal card.
Image courtesy of Ancestry.co.uk (Link opens in a new window)
Copyright 2010, The Generations Network, Inc. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.
Ancestry Logo

He commemorated on the Arras Memorial to the missing on Bay 6.

BH EW

Back to the index


WARR Thomas Edward, Second Lieutenant.

6th Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment.
Died of wounds 14 October 1917, aged 20.

Thomas Warr's headstone in the Boulogne Eastern Cemetery
Thomas Warr's headstone in the Boulogne Eastern Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2008

Thomas Edward Warr was born on 4 July 1897 (GRO reference Mar 1897 Lewisham 1d 1208) to Arthur Percy and Florence May Warr (nee Van Wyck). His parents had married early in 1896 in the Camberwell registration district. Thomas' father's name appears in the 1898 London Electoral Registers as living at 144 Ennersdale Road, Lewisham.

In the 1901 census the family were at 1 Myrtle Cottage, Tulse Hill, Ventnor, Isle of Wight, presumably on holiday, staying in the home of Regina Thomas, a 'Lodging House Keeper'. Thomas's father is described as a Bank Clerk.

Thomas's brother Arthur was born in 1908 in Ewell, but no local baptism has been found and he did not appear to be attending the local school.

Aged 14, Thomas was living in Ewell High Street with his parents and younger brother Arthur. His father filled in the 1911 census form stating that he was aged 39 and working as a bank clerk. He noted that he and his 34 year old wife Florence had been married for 15 years and that one of their three children had died. (The birth of a Mary Warr was registered in the September quarter of 1900 in the Epsom registration district as was a death of Mary aged zero).

Thomas was educated at the City of London School, Victoria Embankment E.C.

In the 1915 electoral roll, Thomas's father Percy was recorded as being with the London County and Westminster Bank.

Thomas attested on 6 December 1915, at Dukes Road W.C. into the 1/28th Battalion London Regiment (Artists Rifles), giving his address as 'The London County and Westminster Bank, High Street, Ewell, Surrey', serving as Private number 5819 (this number was changed to 761104 in early 1917 when the Territorial Army adopted its new numbering scheme). Thomas was 5 feet 9 inches tall with good physical development. He had a chest measurement of 37½ inches with an expansion of 4 inches, and perfect 6/6 vision in both eyes and went to France with the Artists Rifles on 5 March 1916.

On 12 April 1917 Thomas applied for a temporary commission into the Regular Army, requesting that he serve in the 6th Battalion Dorset Regiment or any other Dorset battalion. He stated that he was an 'Aeroplane timber expert' and that his father was a banker. He was appointed Second Lieutenant on 2 May 1917 to the 6th Battalion Dorset Regiment, 50th Brigade, 17th Division. The Battalion fought in the third Battle of Ypres (also known as the Battle of Passchendaele).

The mud and misery of the Passchendaele battlefield. Image from Library and Archives Canada
The mud and misery of the Passchendaele battlefield.
This photo was taken just one month after Thomas died.
Image from Library and Archives Canada.

Thomas suffered multiple gunshot wounds (shellfire) and died on No. 20 ambulance train at 10pm on 14 October 1917 on his way to hospital in Boulogne.

The Times obituary of 18 October 1917 states that Thomas was the elder son of Arthur Percy and Florence May Warr of High Street Ewell. Thomas was mentioned in three local publications as follows:

Epsom Advertiser: 19 October 1917:
DIED FOR THE COUNTRY. The death on October 14th from wounds received in action of Sec. Lieut. Thomas Edward Warr, Dorset Regiment is reported. Sec. Lieut. Warr was the elder son of Mr. Arthur Percy Warr, High Street, Ewell.
Epsom Advertiser 16 November 1917:
ROLL OF HONOUR. The Chairman said since the last meeting there had to be added to the Roll of Honour the son of Mr. Warr, a promising young lieutenant, who died shortly after being wounded.
Epsom Observer 14 December 1917:
ROLL OF HONOUR. Acknowledgments of letters of sympathy sent out by the council were received from Mrs. Parker, Mrs Gaunt, Mr J.H. Bridges, Mrs. Ayling and Mr. Warr.
Ewell Parish magazine November 1917 edition:
As we look down the casualty lists day by day we sometimes come across the name of one whom we have well-known, and a wave of sympathy surges up within us towards the friends thus plunged into bereavement. With great sorrow we notice this past week the announcement that 2nd Lieut. T. Warr, only son of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Warr, of the High Street has died of wounds, received in the late battle of Flanders; and we hear of others who have been wounded badly. With the sorrowing parents and friends in each case we express our sincere sympathy, and trust they may receive that comfort and consolation which they need from Him Who alone can give it in this their hour of sorrow.
Probate was granted to Thomas's father Percy on 1 February 1918, in the sum of £231 8s 8d.

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

In 1925 his parent's address was given as Bank Buildings, High Street, Ewell. The following year they had moved to Shortridge, Alexandra Road, Epsom where they lived until 1933 before moving to Cambridgeshire.

BH EW
Back to the index


WATERFIELD John, Private. 3858

6th Battalion The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment).
Died/Died of Wounds 6/13 January 1916, aged 18.

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

The death of John Waterfield is recorded by the GRO: Mar 1916 (18) Epsom 2a 65, indicating that he was 18 when he died and therefore born around 1898.

Ancestry's, 'Soldiers Died' tells us that he was born in Ipswich, Suffolk, lived in Redhill, Surrey and died of wounds on 6 January 1916. He does not appear in the 'Soldiers Died' CD. Ancestry's 'Soldiers effects' register states that his mother was called Annie and that he died from wounds received in action.

His medal card states that he went to France on 1 June 1915 and that he died 7 January 1915, (presumably 1915 is a typo for 1916), and Epsom Cemetery records show that he was buried on 13 January 1916.

No birth record, census record or service papers have been found for John.

The CWGC simply records that he died on 13 January 1916, that he is buried in grave K644 and is commemorated on the screen wall in Epsom Cemetery.

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

CWGC

Back to the index


WATERS Albert, Private. 240160.

'B' Coy. 1/6th Battalion East Surrey Regiment.
Died of influenza 2 November 1918, aged 33.

Albert Waters was born in Ewell on 4 November 1885 (GRO reference: Dec 1885 Epsom 2a 20) to George and Esther Waters (nee Martin). Albert's parents married in St. Mary's church, Ewell on 14 January 1883. At the time his father was working as a bricklayer as was Esther's father Thomas Martin. Albert had eight siblings.

ALBERT WATERS AND HIS SIBLINGS
NameBorn - DiedNotes
Ernest GeorgeBorn: Sep Qtr 1883 EwellBaptised St. Mary's Ewell 5 August 1883.
1911- Postman
AlbertBorn: 4 November 1885 Ewell
Died: 2 November 1918 India
Baptised St. Mary's Ewell 6 December 1885
Elizabeth Lewing (Lizzie)Born: Dec Qtr 1887 EwellBaptised Elizabeth LEWEN St. Mary's Ewell 4 December 1887.
Married (no GRO found) Joseph Saunders.
Son - Victor Lewis Saunders
LewisBorn: Jun Qtr 1889 Ewell
Died: 10 November 1914 Belgium
Baptised St. Mary's Ewell 7 April 1889.
1911- Private 8603 in India with 2nd Battalion The Leinster Regiment.
AmyBorn: Mar Qtr 1891 EwellBaptised St. Mary's Ewell 5 March 1891.
1911- Servant at Aberterby, Howard Road New Malden.
Married Herbert F. Tarvin 1911
Ellen (Nellie)Born: Jun Qtr 1893 EwellBaptised St. Mary's Ewell 7 May 1893.
1911- Maid for Clara Curtis at Fitznells Farm, Ewell.
1929- Appears unmarried living at Hillside, Kingston Road, Ewell
Esther PhyllisBorn: Sep Qtr 1895 New Malden1911- Working as a maid for Henry J. F. Atkinson in Woodcote Place, Epsom.
Walter JamesBorn: Dec Qtr 1897 New MaldenMarried Beatrice Ethel Jane Snow 9 March 1925 New Malden and Coombe, Christ Church.
According to Albert's wife Lizzie, Walter was known as Robert.
Alice LouisaBorn: Sep Qtr 1899 New MaldenBaptised Christ Church, New Malden and Coombe 7 June 1900. Living at Avenue Terrace, Kingston Road, New Malden

In the 1891 census the family lived at Meadow Walk, Ewell. Albert's father was a 30 year old bricklayer's labourer. His mother was aged 30, and he had four siblings, George (Ernest) aged 7, Elizabeth aged 3, Lewis aged 2 and Amy aged 2 months.

On 7 June 1893, aged 7 years and 7 months, Albert became a pupil at Ewell Boy's School in West Street. The admission register names his father as George Walters, and his address as Meadow Walk. Albert's last day at the school was 3 December 1894 when he moved away from Ewell, presumably to live in New Malden.

When the family moved to New Malden, Albert's brother Lewis was aged about 5. He was also killed in the war and his name appears on Ewell Boys School memorial. However, Lewis's name does not appear in the school admissions register. This is difficult to explain because having moved to New Malden at about the age of 5 if he did not attend Ewell Boys' School his name shouldn't appear on the memorial, but if he did attend the school his name should appear in the register.

The 1901 census shows Albert's family living at 87, Northcote Road, New Malden. His father was still earning his living as a bricklayer's labourer, and four more siblings had arrived, Ellen aged 8, Esther aged 5, Walter aged 3 and Alice aged 1. Albert's 18 year old brother Ernest, using his middle name George again, was a Private in the Infantry at Cowley Military Barracks in Oxfordshire. Albert would have been aged 15 at the time the 1901 census was taken, but I have been unable to find any reference to him.

Albert married Elizabeth (known as Lizzie) Budd, from Chelsea, in the Kingston registration district in the December quarter of 1908. They had two children, Florence Ellen born 4 October 1909 and Doris Alice born 16 May 1913.

The 1911 census records Albert and Elizabeth with their 17 month old daughter Florence, living at 253, Kingston Road, New Malden. They had been married three years and at that time had just the one child.

The 1911 census records Albert and Elizabeth with their 17 month old daughter Florence, living at 253 Kingston Road, New Malden. Elizabeth, aged 23, filled the form in but spelt their surname as Walters. She stating that they had been married three years and at that time had just the one child, Florence Helen. She also noted that her 25 year old husband Albert was working as a carpenter for a timber and fencing contractor.

Many of Albert's 'burnt' service papers have survived, and on most of them his name is spelt Walters, with a 'l' rather than Waters. However, on the form that his wife completed in October 1919, naming all his near relatives, she spells the name Waters. But later in 1922 when she signed for receipt of his medals she signs as Walters. BMD records show Waters to be correct.

On 17 February 1912, in Kingston, signing his name as Albert Walters, Albert joined the Territorial Army as a Private in the 6th Battalion East Surrey Regiment. His original service number was 1475, later changed to 240160. Albert was 26 years and four months old. He was 5 feet 6½ inches tall, and had a fully expanded chest measurement of 36 inches with an expansion of 2½ inches. He was married and lived at 253, Kingston Road, New Malden. He stated that he was a carpenter and was employed by Blay of New Malden. George Blay ran a business making and selling timber buildings.

From Albert's surviving 'burnt' service papers and the East Surrey' History:
17 Feb 1912 - 28 Oct 1914. Home service, including training in Eastbourne.
12 Aug 1913. Signed to agree to serve overseas in the event of National emergency.
29 Oct 1914 - 2 Nov 1918. India.
4 Oct 1914. 10 days CB (confined to barracks) for overstaying pass from 10pm to 10-50pm.
16 and 26 September 1914. Canterbury, Kent. Inoculated against typhoid.
8-14 June 1915. Hospital Kuldana, India.
18 Jan 1917. Inoculated T.A.B. (?)
25 Jan 1917. Inoculated T.A.B. 2. (?)
29 Jan 1917. Left peace station, Rawlpindi. Entrained for Karachi
1 Feb 1917. Embarked, H.T. (hired transport) Egra, Karachi.
7 Feb 1917. Disembarked, Aden.
15 Jan 1918. Disembarked, Bombay. Per H.T. Aronda.
17 Jan 1918. Arrived Agra.
10 Aug 1918. Supplied with artificial dentures. Chakrata.
30 Oct 1918. Admitted Station Hospital. Agra.
2 Nov 1918. Died, influenza.
Albert was buried on 3 November 1918 in plot S, Agra Cantonment Cemetery. Note: It was, for a period of time, not possible to maintain this grave; during this period Albert was commemorated on the Madras 1914-1918 War Memorial, Chennai.

Any property belonging to Albert was to be forwarded to his wife Elizabeth, but the form is annotated 'no effects'.

For herself and two children, Albert's widow was awarded a pension of 25/6d (£1- 27½ p), commencing on 19 May 1919. Prior to this she had been receiving a separation allowance of 29s (£1-45p).

Albert was awarded the British War medal, the Victory medal (received by his wife on 28 April 1922) and the Territorial Force War medal (received by his wife on 4 November 1922).

Albert's Bronze Death Plaque (Or The Soldier's Penny)
Albert's Bronze Death Plaque (Or The Soldier's Penny)
Image courtesy of Bill Owen © 2012

The Ewell Boy's School memorial is the only memorial within the Borough that Albert's name appears on. However, there is an A. Waters on the New Malden memorial which I suspect was added by his wife Elizabeth.

Albert's mother Esther died on 29 September 1925, aged 66 and was buried in plot F148 in Epsom cemetery, having previously been living at 29 Middle Lane, Epsom. His father George died on 4 October 1926, aged 66 and is also buried in plot F178. He had been living at Middle House, Dorking Road, (Epsom Workhouse). Their grandson Victor Lewis Saunders, a Royal Navy Able Seaman, died on 24 January 1942 and is buried with them.

ES

Back to the index


WATERS Lewis, Corporal. 8603.

2nd Battalion Leinster Regiment.
Killed in Action 10 November 1914, aged 26.

Lewis Waters.  Image courtesy of Bill Owen
Lewis Waters c.1914
Image courtesy of Bill Owen © 2011


Lewis Waters was born in Ewell in 1889 (GRO reference: Jun 1889 Epsom 2a 18) to George and Esther Waters (nee Martin). Lewis' parents married in St. Mary's church, Ewell on 14 January 1883. At the time his father was working as a bricklayer as was Esther's father Thomas Martin. Lewis was baptised on 5 March 1891 in St. Mary's church, Ewell.

For family information see the entry for Lewis' brother Albert.

In the 1911 census Lewis was a 22 year old Private in the 2nd Battalion Leinster regiment stationed at Jullundur, Punjab, India.

On the outbreak of war in August 1914 the 2nd Leinsters were serving in Cork, Ireland. They were in the 17th Brigade, 6th Division and on 18 August 1914 the battalion moved to Cambridge, then on to Newmarket. Lewis' medal card tells us he left England on 8 September 1914, the battalion arriving at St Nazaire on 12 September.

Lewis was killed in action on 10 November 1914, his medal card is annotated 'Presumed Dead'. Six other men from his battalion were killed on the same day.

The early months of the Great War were characterised by both armies trying to outflank each other, in what became known as 'The Race to the Sea'. This phase of the war ended in November 1914. Both sides had dug miles of opposing trenches running from the north of Belgium to Switzerland, and faced each other over no man's land.

The official history records that:
'As far as the British troops were concerned, the 10th November proved a comparatively quiet day. For the French, it was a day of stress and anxiety:'
The French were attacked north of Ypres, between Langemarck and Dixmude.

Lewis' Division, the 6th was holding the line south west of Armentieres, where no major actions were taking place. Probably Lewis and the other six soldiers from his battalion killed that day were victims of snipers or more likely, shellfire. Lewis' body was never found and he was presumed dead; consequently he is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial to the missing in Belgium.

Lewis' inscription on the Ploegsteert Memorial to the missing
Lewis' inscription on the Ploegsteert Memorial to the missing.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2011

Lewis' brother Albert was also killed in the war, and both names appear on Ewell Boys School memorial. However, only Albert's name appears in the school admissions register. This is difficult to explain because having moved to New Malden at about the age of five, if he did not attend Ewell Boys' School his name shouldn't appear on the memorial, but if he did attend the school his name should appear in the register.

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

Lewis Waters Bronze Death Plaque (Or The Soldier's Penny)
Lewis Waters Bronze Death Plaque (Or The Soldier's Penny)
Image courtesy of Bill Owen © 2011


Neither brother appears on any other memorial in the Borough.

Lewis' mother Esther died on 29 September 1925, aged 66 and was buried in plot F148 in Epsom cemetery, having previously been living at 29 Middle Lane, Epsom. His father George died on 4 October 1926, aged 66 and is also buried in plot F178. He had been living at Middle House, Dorking Road, (Epsom Workhouse). Their grandson Victor Lewis Saunders, a Royal Navy Able Seaman, died on 24 January 1942 and is buried with them.

ES

Back to the index


WATKINS Archie Kenneth, Private. 32946.

2/7th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
Killed in Action 1 November 1918, aged 21.

Archie's headstone in the Valenciennes (St Roch) Communal Cemetery
Archie's headstone in the Valenciennes (St Roch) Communal Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

Archie Kenneth Watkins was born in 1897 (GRO reference: Mar 1897 Chippenham 5a 80) to Charles and Mary Ann Watkins (nee Hobson). Archie's parents married in the December 1886 quarter in the Reading registration district.

In the 1891 census, before Archie was born, the family lived at Coachman's Cottage, Barton Heath, Warwickshire. Archie's father was a 34 year old coachman. His mother was aged 28 and three siblings were recorded.

Archie Kenneth Watkins And His Siblings
Name Born - Died
Frances Emily Born: 1888 Birdbrook, Essex
Annie Florence Born: 1889 Sandhurst, Berkshire
Died: 1892 Chipping Norton District
Charles Henry Born: 1891 Barton on the Heath, Warwickshire
Ethel Maud Born: 1894 Barton on the Heath, Warwickshire
John William Born: 1896 Chippenham, Wiltshire
Archie Kenneth Born: 1897 Chippenham, Wiltshire
Died: 1918 France
Unknown  

By the 1901 census the family had moved to Epsom and lived at 23, Downs Cottages. Archie's father now earned his living as a foreman in a veterinary yard.

In 1911 the family lived at 8, Maidstone Terrace, Wyeth's Road, Epsom. Archie's father was then described as a groom, working in a veterinary's stables. His brother Charles was working as a grocer's assistant, sister Ethel was a milliner's assistant, and Archie was still at school. The family had a boarder, 16 year old Dick Durham, an apprentice in a racing stable. Archie's mother stated that she had given birth to seven children and that five were still alive.

Archie's service record has not survived but we know he attested in 1916, joining the 15th (The King's) Hussars, with service number 27429. At some stage he was transferred to the 2/7th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment, nominally a Territorial Battalion. The Battalion was in the 182nd Brigade, 61st (2nd South Midland) Division, XVII Corps, Third Army.

As a result of the armistice, the guns on the Western Front stopped firing at 11am, 11 November 1918, but during the 10 days before, the fighting continued and the killing went on. One of the final battles of the Great War, the battle of Valenciennes lasted for three days, from 1 November to 3 November.

The Allied advance had been rapid and the Germans were retreating over territory that had been in German hands for almost four years. Valenciennes not only sheltered its own inhabitants, it was full of refugees, and although the German Army was also in the town, it was decided not to bombard it for fear of hitting civilians. An exception was made where houses overlooked the Schelde canal. Because the town was well defended, it was decided not to risk a frontal attack, but rather attack to the south.

At Artres, before Zero hour (4.30am), the Royal Engineers has constructed seven footbridges over the Rhonelle River. Archie's battalion formed up on the eastern bank and at 5.15am advanced to attack St Hubert. By 7.15am the Battalion had entered the village of Maresches and captured around 130 prisoners. They also captured four 77mm guns, but the enemy took them back during a counter attack and the advance was checked by machine gun fire from St Hubert.


The attack cost the lives of 28 men from the 2/7th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment including Archie, who is buried in Valenciennes (St Roch) Communal Cemetery.

The Valenciennes (St Roch) Communal Cemetery
The Valenciennes (St Roch) Communal Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

The Soldiers Died CD tells us that between 1 and 11 November, 9,173 soldiers from the UK died-an average of 834 per day.

The St Martin's church Roll of Honour states that:
ARCHIE KENNETH WATKINS, was killed in action in France on 1st November 1918. He had previously been twice wounded. As a boy he was in the Choir of this Church.
The Epsom Advertiser dated 13 December 1918, printed the following:
PTE. ARCHIE KENNETH WATKINS, youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. C. Watkins, 48, Wyeth-road, was killed in action on November 1st. He was an apprenticeship jockey when, at the age of 19, he joined the 15th 'Kings' Hussars. He was transferred to the Royal Warwicks, and was wounded on October 18th, 1917. He returned to France in March, 1918. Two brothers, one of whom joined in New Zealand, are in the Army.
Archie was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory medal.

EP SM

Back to the index


WATKINS Frederick, Trooper. H/47337.

20th Hussars.
Killed in Action 7 November 1918, aged 32


Fredrick's Headstone in  Wellington Cemetery
Fredrick's Headstone in Wellington Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2012

Frederick Watkins was born in 1886 in Aldershot, Surrey, but was registered with the GRO as Frederick Watkin (GRO reference: Sep 1886 Farnham 2a 100). It is not known if his biological mother was Anna Maria Perring but she appears as his stepmother in the 1891 census.

Before Frederick's birth, the 1881 census records unmarried 19 year old Anna M. Perring, who was working as a cook, as living with her parents Thomas and Hannah in Parsonage Lane, Stoke Fleming, Devon. Listed next was Thomas and Hannah's 9 month old grandson John H. Watkin followed by their married daughter Elizabeth A. Smith along with her son, William J. W. Smith. John's brother, Thomas J. Watkin was born in 1884 followed by Frederick Watkin himself in 1886 in Tongham, Surrey.

No marriage between Ann/a and a Mr. Watkin/s has been found between 1881 and 1887. However, the burial of a John Watkin, aged 39, took place on 12 January 1887 in St. Paul's church Tongham. On 4 March, just before the 1891 census was taken, Ann Watkins, claiming to be a widow, married widower Thomas William Stephens in St. Michael the Archangel church, Aldershot. Her father was recorded as Thomas Perrin.

When the 1891 census was taken, 4 year old Frederick and his older brothers John H. aged 10 (recorded as aged 16) and Thomas J. aged 7 were recorded as the stepchildren of 29 year old Ann Stephens, who was working as a laundress. She was recorded as being married and head of the family as Thomas was not at home at Ash Road, Tongham, Surrey.

Frederick's stepbrother William Francis was born later in 1891, followed by his stepsister Marion on 27 December 1893. When Marion was baptised on 28 February 1894 the family was living at The Laurels, Church Lane, Aldershot.

Recorded as Frederick Walker, Frederick was living in 1901, without his brothers, at 272 Lake Road, Portsmouth, as a stepson to Thomas W. and Anna Stephens. Thomas was aged 51 and working as an ironmonger's assistant while Frederick worked as a builder's apprentice. Also living there were Thomas and Anna's children Francis (William) aged 9, Marion aged 7, John W. aged 3, Charles M. aged 1 and their boarder Alfred Russell.

The Stephens family had moved to Lympstone, Devon by 1911 and were farming Underhill Farm. Anna was recorded by her husband as Ann Maria born 1862 in Stoke Fleming, Devon, and their children as Marion, John William, Charles Malcolm and Winifred Alexandra. Thomas also recorded that he and Ann had been married for 19 years and that one of their 6 children had died. However Frederick was not living with them and has not been found in this census.

It is most likely that Frederick had been serving in the Armed Services prior coming to Epsom where he worked for Long Grove Hospital on the estate's light railway.

Frederick, a reservist, was recalled to the colours in Kingston-on-Thames into the 20th Hussars, at the very beginning of the war. He had served 4 years and 2 months on the Western Front before he was killed near Avesnes-Le-Sec, France on 7 November 1918.

The following is a quote from the book '20th Hussars in the Great War' by Major J.C. Darling, D.S.O.
At 7.15 a.m. on the 7th the advance was continued, the regiment passing through the infantry and getting on to within one mile of Avesnes. Here they were held up by a line of German machine gun posts. The infantry came up at 10.30 a.m., but no further advance was made that day. The regiment, however, left patrols out in touch with the enemy. While in command of one of these, S.S.M. Adams galloped into the midst of a party of the enemy, and was wounded and taken prisoner. Other casualties suffered by the regiment were Captain Clark (the Medical Officer) and one man killed, seven other ranks wounded. The night 7th-8th was spent at Autreppes.

Presumably Frederick was the 'one man killed' referred to above. He buried in grave IV. H. 9., Wellington Cemetery, Rieux-en-Cambresis, Nord, France.

Wellington Cemetery
Wellington Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2012

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

Frederick's name appears on the, now lost, Long Grove Hospital memorial, under the heading of 'Horton Estate Central Station and Railway. He appears on no other memorial within the Borough of Epsom and Ewell, but he is commemorated on the Leatherhead memorial and the LCC Record of War Service book (and CD).

LG

Back to the index


WATSON Alfred Edward, Air Mechanic 1st Class. 36451.

Royal Air Force (RAF).
Died 30 April 1920, aged 35.

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

Alfred Edward Watson was born in 1885 in Lambeth (GRO reference: Mar 1885 St. Saviour 1d 150) to Frank and Mary Watson (nee Potter). His father Frank, a 32 year old widower, had married 27 year old spinster Mary Potter on 9 July 1878 in St. Peter's church, Walworth.

His father had previously married 18 year old spinster Charlotte Pratt on 6 November 1866 in St. Peter's church, Walworth. Charlotte's father was James Pratt, a Gentleman's servant.

In the 1871 census Alfred's father, a 25 year old plasterer, lived with his wife 22 year old wife Charlotte and their children Francis and Charlotte, at 5 Salisbury Row, Newington, Lambeth.

Charlotte died aged 27 in 1877.

ALFRED EDWARD WATSON'S HALF SIBLINGS
NameBorn - DiedNotes
Francis JamesBorn: 1867 WalworthMother Charlotte
Charlotte EllenBorn: 1870 NewingtonMother Charlotte
ArthurBorn: 1871 WalworthMother Charlotte
AliceBorn: 1872 WalworthMother Charlotte
ALFRED EDWARD WATSON AND HIS SIBLINGS
Herbert GeorgeBorn: 1881 NewingtonMother Mary
Eleanor MBorn: 1884 KenningtonMother Mary
Alfred EdwardBorn: 1885 Walworth
Died: 30 April 1920 Epsom
Mother Mary
EthelBorn: 1887 WalworthMother Mary
Florence MBorn: 1889 WalworthMother Mary
Henry JohnBorn: 1891 NewingtonMother Mary

In 1881 Alfred's father was living at 4 Aldred Road, Newington with his new wife Mary, sons Francis, aged 13, Arthur aged 10 and daughter Alice aged 9. Also living there was 79 year old 'Gentleman Lodger' James Pratt.

In the 1891 census Alfred was living with his mother and siblings Arthur aged 19, Eleanor aged 7, Ethel aged 4 and Florence aged 2. Alfred's father Frank and 10 year old brother Herbert were boarding with Tom Green, a bricklayer, at Sea View Road, Kinson, Dorset.

Alfred's father died aged 47 in 1893.

By 1901 Alfred's mother was a 50 year old widow living at 45 Cambridge Street, Newington. She worked at home as a 'Mangling Wash'. Also living there were Alfred's siblings, Herbert aged 19 Eleanor aged 17, Ethel aged 14, Florence aged 12 and Henry aged 9.

In 1911 the family was living at 30 Briscoe Buildings, Brixton Hill, with Alfred's widowed mother as the head of the family. Also living there were Alfred, working as a carpenter, Herbert working as a 'Builder's porter', Florence was a 'Tie worker' and Harry was a 'Tobacconist's assistant.

The RAF museum website records that Alfred joined on 12 July 1916 and that he had a promotion date of 1 March 1917. As the RAF was not formed until 1 April 1918, presumably these dates refer to previous service in a unit other than the RAF. These records also show that Alfred's rank was Air Mechanic 1st class and that his trade was 'Rigger (Aero)'.

Alfred died in Long Grove Asylum on 30 April 1920, the cause being stated as 'Exhaustion of melancholia. Dysentery'. He was buried in grave K752, with four other servicemen, and is commemorated on the Screen Wall.

The CWGC states that he was the:
Son of Mrs. M. Watson, of 283 Shakespeare Road, Herne Hill, London.
CWGC

Back to the index


WATTS Percival (Peter).

26th Battalion Royal Fusiliers and 9th Battalion East Surrey Regiment.
Died 16 October 1919, aged 39.

Percival's headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Percival's headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Percival's headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Images courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

Percival Watts was born in Surbiton in 1880 (GRO reference: Jun 1880 Kingston 2a 307). This reference is believed to be correct, although at the time of registration, 'Male (unnamed)' was recorded. Percival's parents, Duncan and Emily Grace Watts (nee Bridger) were married in the December quarter of 1877, in the Wandsworth registration district. Although the name Percival appears in all the census returns, it seems that he preferred to be called Peter, as recorded on the Christ Church memorial and on his gravestone in Epsom cemetery.

In the 1881 census the family was living at 3, Merres Villas, Kingston, in the parish of St John. Percival's father was a 32 year old solicitor. His mother was aged 24 and he had two older brothers, John aged 3 and Arthur Ronald aged 2. They employed two servants.

Percival Watts And His Siblings
Name Born - Died Notes
John Duncan Born: 1878 Brixton
Died: 1904 Epsom
Buried Epsom cemetery 16 July 1904, grave A476
Arthur Ronald Born: 1879 Kingston  
Percival Born: 1880 Surbiton
Died: 16 October 1919 Wimbledon
Buried in plot A296A Epsom cemetery
Amy Grace Born: 27July 1881 Kingston
Died: unmarried in 1971 Canterbury
 
Norah Kathleen Born: 2 Sept 1893 Epsom
Died unmarried 25 June 1955 Chichester
Baptised 2 December 1893 St Martins Epsom

The 1891 census records that the family had moved to 'Huntingtower', Worple Road, Epsom. Percival's father was still earning his living as a solicitor, and sister Amy Grace had arrived. They employed two servants.

By the 1901 census the only changes were that Percival and his brother John both worked as bank clerks, and sister Norah Kathleen had arrived.

The 1911 census records the family still living at 'Huntingtower', and Percival was still working as a bank clerk. Percival's mother stated that she had been married for 34 years and that she had given birth to five children and that four were still living. One servant was employed.

Percival's father died in 1912 and was buried grave A476 Epsom cemetery on 5 February. His mother died in 1922 and was also buried in grave A476, on 4 April.

On 23 March 1916, Percival aged 35, married Dorothy Mary Mowbray Thomson, aged 26, at Christ Church, Brondesbury, Middlesex. He was living at 'Ferndale', West Hill Avenue, Epsom and she was living at 1, Mowbray Road, Brondesbury, Middlesex. The following year, on 18 March 1917, their daughter Joan Patricia was born.

The Surrey Recruitment Register (SRR) records that Percival attested at Stratford on 18 November 1916 (probably a transcription error for 1915) into the 26th Battalion Royal Fusiliers. He was 35 years old, stood 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighed 122lbs. He had a chest measurement of 35½ inches with an expansion of 2½ inches. He was born in Surbiton, worked as a clerk and lived at 'Ferndale', West Hill Avenue, Epsom. Note: The 26th Battalion Royal Fusiliers was formed on 17 July 1915 in the City of London. It was known as the '26th (Service) Battalion (Bankers)', and was initially formed, in the main, from bank clerks and accountants.

Percival's service record has not survived but we know that he was granted 'Silver War Badge For Services Rendered', number 321429 and had served with the East Surrey Regiment with service number 25058. The SWB record states that he enlisted on 15 November 1915, not 1916 as shown in the Surrey Recruitment Register. The SWB entry also states that he served overseas and was discharged on 26 February 1918 through sickness. Percival's medal card records that he served with the 9th Battalion East Surrey regiment and that he was awarded the British War medal and the Victory medal.

Percival's death certificate records that he died at 40 Compton Road, Wimbledon on 16 October 1919 and that his widow was present at his death and she registered his death the following day. The cause of death was 1. phthisis 2½ years and 2. Cardiac Syncope. The death certificate describes Percival's occupation as 'Bank Clerk; ex-Private 9th East Surreys'. Percival or Peter as he preferred to be known is buried in grave A296A in Epsom Cemetery.

He does not have an entry on the CWGC website, presumably because he was already discharged from the Army when he died and therefore not regarded as a service casualty.

The birth of a Margaret D. Watts, with Thomson as the mother's maiden name was recorded in the September quarter of 1919 in the Kingston registration district.

Probate was granted to his wife Dorothy of 40 Compton Road, Wimbledon. His estate totalled £1,438 13s 11d.

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

EP CC

Back to the index


WEALL Edwin James, Staff Sergeant. A/1498.

Royal Army Ordnance Corps.
Died 18 February 1919, aged 31.

Edwin's headstone in New Hall Lane cemetery, Preston
Edwin's inscription
Edwin's headstone in New Hall Lane cemetery, Preston
Images courtesy of Debbie McClelland © 2013

Edwin James Weall was born in 1888 in Preston Lancashire (GRO reference: Jun 1888 Preston 8e 627), to Edwin James and Martha Weall, (nee Buck). His parents married in Preston in 1887.

EDWIN JAMES WEALL AND HIS SIBLINGS
Name Born - Died Notes
Edwin James Born: 1888 Preston
Died: 18 February 1919 Ireland
 
Alice Born: 1890 Preston
Died: 7 October 1918 Preston
 
Dora Born: 1893 Married Edward Isherwood 1918 Preston
Hilda Elizabeth Born: 1895 Preston
Died: 5 March 1916 Preston
 
Isabella Born: 1898 Preston
Died: 14 October 1898 Preston
 
John Born: 1899 Preston
Died: 1 January 1900 Preston
 
William Clifford Born: 1906 Preston
Died: 6 May 1907 Preston
 

In the 1891 census the family was living at living at 8, Essex Street, Preston, Lancashire. Edwin's father was a 27 year old travelling grocer. His mother was aged 24, and he had a 10 month old sister Alice.

By the 1901 census they were living at 220, Emmanuel Street, Preston, Lancashire. His father's occupation was now recorded as 'cake traveller'. Two more siblings had arrived, Dora and Hilda Elizabeth.

Edwin's father died in Preston on 20 February 1908, aged 42.

When the 1911 census was taken Edwin's mother was shown to be a widow living at 77, North Road, Preston. Edwin's sisters Dora and Hilda were still living at home and both worked as cotton weavers. The census notes that Edwin was a gunsmith and was a 'stocker and finisher'. This would have involved the carving from wood, usually walnut, of gun and rifle handles. He would have also used checkering tools to create an ornate pattern of small raised diamonds in the wood surfaces that were to be gripped. He would then fit this to the metal parts of the gun (receiver and barrel). In the case of rifles, he would have also had to carve the rifle butt to fit to the customer's body dimensions. Sanding, staining, oiling and lacquering were then applied to the finished firearm's surfaces.

We do not know when Edwin moved south to Epsom to work in the Horton Asylum, or in what capacity, but Edwin, aged 26 years 5 months, attested in Kingston on 3 October 1914 into the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, where he stated that he was an armourer from Preston.

The Surrey Recruitment Register CD shows that he had a fresh complexion, with brown hair and eyes, his height was 5 feet 11 inches and that he weighed 144lbs. His chest measured 37 inches, with a 3 inch expansion.

Aged 27, Edwin married Nellie May Gibbs (from Aston in Warwickshire) in Christ Church, Epsom on 22 May 1915. Nellie, aged 27, was working as a nurse in Horton Asylum. Edwin's address was recorded as Alma Barracks, Blackdown, which was an army camp in Farnborough.

Edwin's medal card shows that he entered the 'Balkans 2B' theatre of war (which included Gallipoli) on 3 July 1915 as Staff Sergeant A/1498. The LCC Staff Record of War Service book tells us that he served 7 months in Gallipoli.

Two years later in 1917, Nellie gave birth to a son in her hometown of Aston Warwickshire, who she named Edwin James after her husband, and father-in-law. Edwin James junior was killed at Dunkirk on 28 May 1940, aged 23, whilst serving with the 120th Petrol Company, Royal Army Service Corps. He is commemorated on the Dunkirk Memorial to the missing.

Edwin died of influenza on 18 February 1919 at Queenstown Haulbowline in Ireland. His body was returned to his hometown of Preston and was buried in the New Hall Lane cemetery, in grave number F. NC. 311.

Within the chapel on the old Horton Asylum site are two memorials to victims of the Great War. One is to the staff that died whilst working there when Horton was a war hospital. None of these are commemorated on the Ashley Road memorial. The memorial in the chapel is to staff that died, who had worked there before the war when it was an Asylum. All of these are also commemorated on the Ashley Road memorial. Why such a distinction was made is unknown.

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

Edwin's mother died in the Nelson registration district in 1939 aged 71.

EP HWH

Back to the index


WEARNE Frank Bernard, V.C. Second Lieutenant.

3rd Battalion Essex Regiment, attached to 11th.
Killed in Action 28 June 1917, aged 23

Wearne FB
Wearne FB

Frank Bernard Wearne, known as Bernard, was born on 1 Mar 1894 (GRO reference: Mar 1894 Fulham 1a 344) to Frank and Ada Wearne, (nee Morris). His parents had married in the Steyning district in 1888.

FRANK BERNARD WEARNE AND HIS SIBLINGS
NameBorn - DiedNotes
Edith Ann Born: 1 September 1889 Fulham
Died: 1956
Baptised 5 October 1889, St. Barnabas, Kensington.
1) Married Thomas Pears (great great grandson of Andrew Pears, the founder of the soap-manufacturing company, A & F Pears Ltd.) 15 September 1910.
2) Married D. V. Crowe
Frank MorrisBorn: 30 April 1891 Fulham
Died: 1892
Baptised 7 June 1891, St. Barnabas, Kensington.
KIA 21 May 1917 France
Keith MorrisBorn: 8 June 1892
Died: 21 May 1917 France
Baptised 23 July 1892, St. Barnabas, Kensington
Frank BernardBorn: 1 March 1894 Fulham
Died: 28 June 1917 France
Baptised 7 May 1894 St. Barnabas, Kensington
Geoffery AlleyneBorn: 23 March 1896
Died: 1971
Baptised 28 June 1896, St. Barnabas, Kensington.
William RoyBorn: 20 February 1899Baptised 16 July 1899, St. Barnabas, Kensington.
Served as a Lieutenant in Grenadier Guards.
Married Vera Manville Hales 9 December 1949, Huguenot, C P, South Africa

The 1891 census showed his parents living at 45, Matheson Road, Fulham. Bernard's father was a 35 years old wine and spirit merchant. The couple had a baby daughter Edith, who would survive the Titanic disaster, and employed a servant and a domestic nurse. Following the census they had a son Frank Morris who died in infancy. A second son, Keith was born the year before Frank arrived.

In 1901 the family was living at 89, Greencroft Gardens, Hampstead. Bernard's father, 45, was still a wine and spirit merchant, his mother was aged 41, and the family had expanded to: Edith aged 11, Keith Morris aged 8 (who was also to die in the Great War), Frank Bernard aged 7, Geoffery Alleyne 5, and William Roy aged 2. The household also included four servants, a domestic, nurse, parlour maid, housemaid and cook.

In 1911 Bernard's parents continued to live at 89, Greencroft Gardens, Hampstead. Their 19 year old niece Phyllis was living with them, but none of their children were. They employed four servants. His father filled in the census form stating that he and his wife of 19 years had had 6 children but 1 had died. Bernard was a 17 year old pupil at Bromsgrove Grammar School, in Worcestershire to which he had won a scholarship in 1908. He was a good student, becoming head monitor. He played rugby in the first team and was a Corporal in the OTC. In 1913 he went up to Corpus Christi College, Oxford to read history.

At some time after 1911 the family moved to Manor Lodge, Royal Avenue, Worcester Park.

When war broke out Frank joined the University and Public Schools (UPS) Brigade, which was formed in Epsom. Men were billeted with local people until the Woodcote Park Camp was ready to receive them. He was later commissioned into the 3rd Battalion Essex Regiment. The 3rd Battalion was a home based reserve Battalion that supplied officers and men for the other front line Battalions. Bernard's brother Keith was already a Captain in the Essex Regiment.

Bernard served with 11th Battalion Essex Regiment which was in the 18th Brigade 6th Division. He went to France on 13 December 1915, and was severely wounded in July 1916 during the first phase of the Battle of the Somme. He did not return to the front until May 1917. On 21 May 1917 his brother Keith was killed in the Arras sector.

During June 1917 the 11th Essex alternated between rest in billets in a small village called Les Brebis, where they could wash, sleep and recuperate, and holding front line trenches just east of Loos. During one of these recuperation periods, a plan was conceived for a trench raid on 28 June. The raid would take place on the German front line near its junction with 'Nash Alley', its objectives were to:
  1. take prisoners
  2. obtain identifications
  3. destroy dug outs
  4. destroy mine shafts.

The battalion left Les Brebis and returned to the line on 20th June, 1917, with a strength of 19 officers and 514 men.

The 11th Essex, under the command of Captain S.E. Silver M.C, was divided into three:
Party A, consisting 30 other ranks (ORs) under Lieutenant M.R. Robertson
Party B, consisting 30 ORs under Second Lieutenant F.B. Wearne
Party C, consisting 1 N.C.O. and 6 men
A demolition party consisting of 21 men from the 3rd Australian Tunnelling Company, under Captain A. Sanderson M.C. also fought in the raid. The 2nd Durham Light infantry were to attack at the same time on the right (south) of 11th Essex.

Bernard's 'Party B', was split into two squads. The Right Squad's instructions were:
To deal with possible opposition from the post in the Sap, and bomb along enemy front line South'.
The Left Squad's instructions were to:
Enter enemy's trench North of Sap at H 31 c 80.15, clear his trench at this point and form a block in enemy front line at H 31c 90.15 facing North to protect our left flank.
In other words Bernard's team had to hold back the enemy at the north end of the raid to protect the men who were destroying dug outs and mine shafts. The raid would last one hour and whistles would signal the withdrawal to the British front line. The following account has been taken from an internet version of "5 VCs of Bromsgrove School" by Nicholas Lovell.

On the night before the raid, Wearne and a number of other officers, including Captain S.E. Silver, were given temporary leave to visit a café in Les Brebis for an evening meal. Possibly this was allowed because the officers were likely to become casualties. Certainly the planning for the raid at Les Brebis had embraced the idea that the officers might be killed. It was very much in the tradition of the British army that junior officers led from the front and consequently were the first to be killed. Subalterns in World War One had the shortest life expectancy of any infantry soldiers.

During a meal of boiled rabbit and vegetables with poor wine, Wearne discussed the recent death of his older brother with Major Roberts, who had served with K. M. Wearne before the war. Prior to returning to the trenches, Wearne gave Roberts a snapshot of himself. Possibly this was a keepsake from a serious young man who thought he was going to his death.

So it was that at 7.00 p.m. on the evening of the 28th June, 1917, over a hundred men assembled in a large dugout at the junction of Scots Alley and the British Reserve Line. A box barrage was laid on by the artillery, presumably to force the Germans to take cover. At a little past 7.10.p.m. Parties A and B left their trench and rushed the German front line. A few minutes later Party C and the Australians followed.

Battle Field Map. Click image to enlarge.
Battle Field Map. Click image to enlarge.

Whilst a squad of Party A occupied and held the junction of Nash Alley, the rest rushed down the trench blowing in dugouts with Mills bombs and shooting all opposition which either came up the trench or over the top from the German support trench. Meanwhile the Australian Tunnelling Party - led by Captain Alex Sanderson - located and destroyed two dugouts and three mine shafts.

Party B, led by Wearne, had also succeeded in taking their section of the enemy front line, to the left. But it was here that the fighting was at its most intense. The Germans repeatedly attacked down the trench and over the top from their support trenches. Wearne's party exacted a terrible toll upon the Germans, with sustained rifle fire, but the situation was becoming desperate and many of his men had been killed or wounded; in fact of the sixteen men who held this point on the left flank only one escaped without injury. Wearne knew that if the left flank collapsed then his comrades in Parties A and C, already hard pressed themselves, would be overwhelmed and the raid a failure. At the point when the German attack was at its most dangerous, Wearne performed an act of the utmost daring and bravery. He leapt onto the parapet of the trench, exposing himself to a hail of machine-gun and rifle fire, and then ran along the top of the trench firing his revolver and throwing bombs down at the enemy below. This courageous example encouraged his men to follow him and the surprise and ferocity of this attack, from an unexpected quarter, threw the Germans back.

Although Wearne succeeded in temporarily repulsing the German attack, he was severely wounded. Despite this, he refused to leave his men and stayed at his post organising the defence of the left flank. He received a second serious wound just before the whistles sounded the withdrawal and sadly, as he was being dragged away from the German positions, was hit for a third time and killed.

Extract from The Times - Wednesday, 4th July, 1917:
Second Lieutenant Frank Bernard Wearne, Essex Regiment, killed on the 28th June, aged 23, was the eldest surviving son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Wearne, The Manor Lodge, Worcester Park, Surrey. He received his early education under the Rev. D.H.Marshall at Ovingdean and proceeded to Bromsgrove School, with a scholarship. He entered Corpus Christi College, Oxford where he was 'proxime accessit' for the history prize in 1913. On the outbreak of war he joined the U.P.S. Brigade subsequently being drafted into the Essex Regiment. He was severely wounded on the 3rd July. 1916 and went forward again this May. His eldest brother, Captain K.M.Wearne, Essex Regiment was killed that same month.
The raid was deemed a success: 'all objects were attained', despite the fact that almost fifty percent of the attacking force had become casualties. Two officers had been killed and one wounded; ten other ranks were killed and six reported missing believed killed; thirty other ranks were wounded. Bernard was recommended for the Victoria Cross by his commanding officer, Colonel Spring. The Battalion War Diary states that:
Party 'B' encountered stiff opposition, but succeeded in making a block which was held until the pre-arranged time for withdrawal. The office in charge of this party, S/Lt. F.B. Wearne, was, I regret to report, killed while leading a squad of his men over the top the better to deal with a German bombing party.
His citation from the London Gazette dated 31st July 1917 reads:
For most conspicuous bravery when in command of a small party on the left of a raid on the enemy's trenches. He gained his objective in the face of much opposition and by his magnificent example and daring was able to maintain this position for a considerable time, according to instructions. During this period 2nd Lt. Wearne and his small party were repeatedly counter-attacked. Grasping the fact that if the left flank was lost his men would have to give way, 2nd Lt. Wearne, at a moment when the enemy's attack was being heavily pressed and when matters were most critical, leapt on the parapet and, followed by his left section, ran along the top of the trench, firing and throwing bombs. This unexpected and daring manoeuvre threw the enemy off his guard and back in disorder. Whilst on the top of the trench 2nd Lt. Wearne was severely wounded, but refused to leave his men. Afterwards he remained in the trench directing operations, consolidating his position and encouraging all ranks. Just before the order to withdraw was given, this gallant officer was again severely hit for the second time, and while being carried away was mortally wounded. By his tenacity in remaining at his post though severely wounded, and his magnificent fighting spirit, he was enabled to hold on to the flank.
This was read to the School on the first day of Michaelmas Term 1917 by the Headmaster, R. G. Routh.

Bernard's Victoria Cross was the only V.C to be won by a member of the Essex Regiment during the Great War, and was presented to his father at Buckingham Palace by George V. He was also awarded the 1915 Star, the British War medal and the Victory medal.

Bernard has no known grave and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial to the missing, panel 85 to 87.

Bernard's probate records reads:
WEARNE Frank Bernard of the Manor Lodge Worcester Park Surrey second-lieutenant 3rd battalion Essex regiment died 28 June 1917 in France. Administration London 31 August to Frank Wearne esquire. Effects £243 11s. 10d.
His father died on 16 January 1924, leaving effects valued at £18,490 16s. 4d to Bernard's mother Ada.

SMC

Back to the index


WEARNE Keith Morris, Captain

1st Battalion Essex Regiment.
Killed in Action 21 May 1917, aged 24.


Keith Morris Wearne was born on 8 June 1892 at 45 Matheson Road, Fulham, London (GRO reference: Sep 1892 Fulham 1a 270) to Frank and Ada Wearne (nee Morris). Keith's parents married in the September quarter of 1888 in the Steyning, Sussex registration district. They had six children:

KEITH MORRIS WEARNE AND HIS SIBLINGS
Name Born - Died Notes
Edith Ann Born: 1 September 1889 Fulham
Died: 1956
Baptised 5 October 1899, St Barnabas church, Kensington.
1) Married Thomas Pears, (great, great grandson of Andrew Pears,
the founder of the soap-manufacturing company, A & F Pears Ltd.)
15 September 1910 Westminster.
2) Married Douglas Valentine Crowe
Frank Morris Born: 30 April 1891 Fulham
Died: 1892 Fulham
Baptised 7 June 1891, St Barnabas church, Kensington
Keith Morris Born: 8 June 1892 Fulham
Died: 21 May 1917 France
Baptised 23 July 1892, St Barnabas church, Kensington
Frank Bernard VC Born: 1 March 1894
Died: 28 June 1917
Baptised 7 May 1894, St Barnabas church, Kensington.
Won the VC on 27 June 1917
Geoffrey Alleyne Born: 22 March 1896 Hampstead.
Died: 1971 Northamptonshire
Baptised 28 June 1896, St Barnabas church, Kensington.
Fought with the Canadian Army.
William Roy Born: 20 February 1899 Hampstead Baptised 16 July 1899, St Barnabas church, Kensington.
Served as a Lieutenant in Grenadier Guards.
Married Vera Manville Hales 9 December 1949,
Huguenot, C. P., South Africa

The 1891 census showed Keith's parents living at 49 Matheson Road, Fulham. His father was a 35 year old wine and spirit merchant. The couple had a baby daughter Edith, who would survive the Titanic disaster. They employed a servant and a domestic nurse. Soon after the census, Keith's brother Frank Morris was born but died in infancy.

When Keith was baptised on 23 July 1892 in St. Barnabas church, Kensington, his family was living at 45 Matheson Road, Fulham.

In 1901 the family was living at 89 Greencroft Gardens, Hampstead. Keith's father, 45, was still a wine and spirit merchant, his mother was aged 41, and the family had expanded to: Edith Ann aged 11, Keith Morris aged 8, Frank Bernard aged 7 (who was also to die in the Great War), Geoffery Alleyne 5, and William Roy aged 2. The household also included four servants, a domestic, nurse, parlour maid, housemaid and cook.

Keith's early education was with Reverend D. H. Marshall in Ovingdean. In 1906 he attended Charterhouse School (Laleham-Weekites). After leaving Charterhouse in 1910, Keith became a 'gentleman cadet' at the Royal Military College (Sandhurst) in Camberley, which trained officers for the army.

In 1911 Keith's parents continued to live at 89 Greencroft Gardens, Hampstead. Their 19 year old niece Phyllis was living with them, but none of their children were. They employed three servants. His father filled in the census form stating that he and his wife of 22 years had had 6 children but 1 had died. Keith's brother Bernard was a 17 year old pupil at Bromsgrove Grammar School, in Worcestershire to which he had won a scholarship in 1908. At some time between 1911 and May 1915 the family moved to Manor Lodge, Royal Avenue, Worcester Park.

Keith left Sandhurst in 1911 to become a regular army officer in the Essex Regiment stationed in India. His name appeared in the London Gazette dated 13 February 1912 announcing that he would be one of four Second Lieutenants in the 1st Battalion of the Essex Regiment. Having served for two years in India, he went with his regiment to South Africa before returning home in 1914. On 6 September 1914 he was promoted to Lieutenant.

Keith's battalion was in the 88th Brigade, 29th Division and landed at Cape Helles, Gallipoli on 25 April 1915. On 2 May 1915, at Cape Helles, Keith received a severe gunshot wound to his left leg and knee, the bullet travelling through his leg. He was admitted to Deaconess Hospital, Alexandria, Egypt on 8 May.

Keith was returned to England on Hospital ship Delta, embarking from Alexandria on 2 July 1915 and arrived at Southampton on 13 July 1915. He was admitted to Lady Evelyn Mason's Hospital (for officers), 16 Bruton Street, W. He was regularly examined by a medical board and after some 14 months, on 16 July 1916, an Army medical board, sitting at Felixstowe, declared that he was be fit again for military service.

The 1st Essex battalion fought in the Battle of Arras, which raged from 9 April 1917 to 17 May 1917, and during that period the Soldiers Died CD tells us that 246 Other Ranks of the 1st Essex lost their lives.

Keith joined the 1st Essex on 23 April 1917. The 1st Essex War Diary for May 1917 states that;
This period calls for no special comment. No work outside the ordinary routine of trench warfare was undertaken. The Battalion was under shellfire of varying degrees of intensity during the whole period and consequently sustained the undermentioned casualties.

Lieut B. O. Warner       Killed 19-5-17
Capt K. M. Wearne    }
Capt M. A. Chawner   } Killed 21-5-17
Lt M. C. W. Kortright  }
     Other ranks     Killed 12     Wounded 45
Extract from The Times - Tuesday 29th May, 1917:-
Captain Keith Morris Wearne, Essex Regiment, killed on the 21st May, was the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Wearne, The Manor Lodge, Worcester Park, Surrey. He received his early education under the Rev. D.H.Marshall at Ovingdean, proceeding to Charterhouse in 1906. He entered Sandhurst in 1910, passing out in 1911 to join his regiment, then stationed in India. After serving there two years his regiment was moved to South Africa, and returned home in 1914, subsequently forming part of the 29th Division in Gallipoli where Captain Wearne was severely wounded. He was sent to another front last month.
The Epsom Advertiser printed an almost identical piece on 1 June 1917.

Keith was unmarried and died intestate, and on 31 August 1917 his father took out Letters of Administration and was granted probate in the sum of £262 11s 9d.

Keith is buried in Orange Trench Cemetery, Monchy-Le-Preux, in the Department of the Pas-de-Calais, France.

On 4 February 1922 Keith's father wrote to the War Office requesting his son's 1915 Star, British War medal, and Victory medal. They were duly dispatched to him.

Commemorated on the St Mary's Cuddington memorial.

SMC

Back to the index


WEAVER Albert Frank, Private. 1372.

1st Battalion Manchester Regiment.
Killed in Action 26 April 1915, aged 23.

Albert's inscription on the Menin gate memorial to the missing.
Albert's inscription on the Menin gate memorial to the missing.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2012

Albert Frank Weaver was born in 1891 in Upminster, Essex (GRO reference: Sep 1891 Romford 4a 404), the son of Charles and Elizabeth Ann Weaver (nee Cracknell). His parents stated they were both aged 22 when they married in All Saints, Poplar's parish church, on 16 November 1884.

Albert Frank Weaver And His Siblings
Name Born - Died Notes
Frederick (Cracknell) Born: 17 June 1878, High Street, Poplar, London Baptised 15 August 1878, All Saints, Poplar.
Mother Elizabeth Cracknell
Elizabeth Ann Born: 1885 Squirrels Heath, Romford, Essex  
Charles Born: 1888 Upminster, Essex Married Amelia Caroline Walker (Millie) 20 April 1912
St. Barnabas, Epsom
Albert Frank Born: 1891 Upminster, Essex
Died: 26 April 1915 Belgium
 
John Born: 1893 Upminster, Essex  
Minnie Born: 1896 Epsom  
Maud Emily Born: 1898 Woodford, Essex Married Albert Cecil Ratcliffe 16 January 1921,
St. Barnabas, Epsom.
Lived at 33 Lower Court Road, Epsom
6 more unknown children all died before 1911

When the 1891 census was taken shortly before Albert's birth, his parents and older siblings Frederick, Elizabeth and Charles were living at 2, Plain Tile Cottages in Bird Lane, Upminster, Essex. It would seem these cottages were built especially for the workers of the brickfields there.

The 1901 census records Epsom as the birthplace of his sister Minnie in 1896 and Maud in 1898. However Maud's birth was actually registered in the Woodford district. This would indicate that Albert's father had moved to Epsom to work in the brickfields there before moving back to Woodford in Essex for the birth of Maud Emily in late 1898.

Albert was nine years old when the 1901 census was taken. He was living with his parents and siblings Frederick, Elizabeth, Charles, John, Minnie and Maud at 13, Trevor Terrace, just off of Trevor Road in Woodford, Essex. His 39-year-old father Charles and 22-year-old brother Frederick were working as brick-makers to support them.

Sometime during the next ten years the family returned from Essex to live again in Epsom Surrey.

When the 1911 census was taken Albert's family were enumerated as living at 33 Lower Court Road, Epsom, Surrey. His father stated that he was aged 53 and that he and his 54-year-old wife Elizabeth had been married for 28 years. During the 28 years they had had 13 children, 6 of whom had died. The geographical movements of the family throughout this period is uncertain. He also noted that he worked as a labourer in the brickfields as did his 18-year-old son John. His wife and 14-year-old daughter Minnie worked as laundresses, as did their boarder and future daughter-in-law Millie Walker, while their son Charles was working as a labourer in Chalk Pit Epsom and their youngest daughter Maud Emily was at school.

In 1911 Albert was serving as a Private in the 1st Battalion Manchester Regiment stationed in India.

Albert's service record has not survived, but at the outbreak of war Albert's battalion was stationed at Jullundur, India and was part of the Jullundur Brigade, 3rd (Lahore) Division. The Division sailed from Karachi on 29 August 1914, arriving at Marseilles on 26 September.

The second battle of Ypres commenced on 22 April 1915 when the Germans attacked using large amounts of poison gas for the first time. They had broken the front line, as troops fled in panic, terrified of the gas. The Canadian Corps however held firm and stopped the enemy advance.

On 26 April a counter attack was ordered. The Lahore Division were ordered to deploy from Wieltje to St Jean and to attack northwards towards Langemarck. A 40 minute artillery barrage began at 1.20pm, but the number and calibre of the guns available was inadequate, as was the length of time for the bombardment, which was limited by the amount of ammunition available.

Trench map for Ypres 26 April 1915 - Click image to enlarge
Trench map for Ypres 26 April 1915
Click image to enlarge

The front line attackers were the 1st Manchesters, 40th Pathans and 47th Sikhs. Their orders were 'to attack northwards and assault the enemy's trenches wherever met with, the first objective being a frontage from Oblong Farm to the Langemarck road'. They carried little yellow flags to show their artillery how far they had progressed, but of course enemy artillery could also see the flags!

They had to ascend a gentle rise to Hill Top ridge and then came under heavy artillery fire, particularly from 5.9 inch howitzer shells. They also suffered machine-gun fire coming from the small farms at the head of the valley, but despite this they reached within 100 to 120 yards of the German line before coming to a standstill.

The CO of the battalion, Lt Colonel H.W.E. Hitchins was killed in this attack, and A/Cpl I. Smith won the VC for bringing in wounded men under heavy fire. The Battalion also lost 38 men killed, including Albert who has no known grave and is commemorated on Addenda Panel 58 on the Menin Gate memorial to the missing.

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

Albert's unmarried sister Elizabeth died age 52 in 'Crowndale', Hawks Hill, Leatherhead in 1939 and was buried on 23 December in grave number M325 in the Epsom cemetery.

Albert's mother Elizabeth Ann died aged 82 in her home 33, Lower Court Road, Epsom in 1941 and was buried on 25 February in the same grave.

His father Charles was aged 89 when he also died at home. He was also buried in the same grave on 7 November 1947.

EP SB

Back to the index


WEBB R.

Died N/K, aged N/K

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

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

EP

Back to the index


WEBB William Thomas, Ordinary Seaman. J25008.

HMS Shark.
Killed in action 31 May 1916, aged 18.

William Webb's  headstone
William's headstone in Kviberg cemetery near Gothenburg
Image courtesy of Roy Berry © 2011

William Thomas Webb born on 11 June 1897 (GRO reference: Sep 1897 Epsom 2a 20) to Thomas William and Edith Elizabeth Sarah Webb (nee Duplock). William's parents married on 27 December 1896 at St Martins church, Epsom.

In the 1901 census the family lived at 1, Hebrew Cottage, Epsom, near the Barley Mow public house. William's father Thomas was a 27 year old railway shunter and had been born in Battersea. His mother Edith was also 27 and had been born in Mayfield, Sussex. Younger brother Alfred Richard, aged 1, had his birth registered in the June quarter of 1899 in Epsom.

William's father Thomas William Webb died later in 1901 in the Epsom Infirmary and was buried on 26 August 1901 in grave number D38 in Epsom cemetery. Five days before his father's burial, on 21 August 1901, William's brother Thomas had been born.

In 1904 William's five year old brother Alfred Richard died and was buried with his father in grave D38, Epsom cemetery.

William's mother Edith married William Henry Ede in the June quarter of 1904 in the Epsom registration district. When their 1 week old daughter Edith died and was buried on 16 September 1909, they were still living in Hebrew Cottage, Pikes Hill, Epsom. The next year, having moved to 3, Bankside Cottages, Ewell, both William and his brother Thomas started school on 5 December 1910 at Ewell Boys School, West Street.

The 1911 census shows the family still living at 3, Bankside Cottages, Ewell, where William's stepfather was a 37 year old carman working in the timber trade. William and Thomas had acquired five step-siblings, Jesse aged 6, Doris aged 5, Alfred aged 4, Phyllis aged 3 and Lilly aged 6 months. Soon after the census was taken William left school on 9 June 1911, aged 14, to work in a brickfield. Brother Thomas left school on 20 September 1912 because the family left Ewell, possibly to 12, Mill Road, Epsom Common as shown in the CWGC records.

William's Royal Navy service record shows that he joined the Navy on 24 May 1913 just before his 16th birthday. His rank was 'Boy II', and his first ship was HMS Impregnable. At the age of 16 his height is recorded as 5 feet 24/5 inches tall. His chest measurement was 32½ inches, he had light brown hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion. At the age of 18 he is recorded as being 5 feet 6 inches tall with a chest measurement of 35 inches. His occupation was shown as errand boy. He served with ten other naval establishments before his final posting to HMS Shark, a 935 ton destroyer.

HMS Shark
HMS Shark
Image source Wikipedia

By 6pm on 31 May 1916 during the battle of Jutland, HMS Shark, was crippled by German gunfire, and was finally sunk by a torpedo around 7pm. William was killed in action during this engagement.

The CWGC states that William was the son of Thomas and Edith Webb, of 12, Mill Road, Epsom Common. He is buried in Kviberg Cemetery, Sweden. Kviberg contains the remains of 68 Great War casualties, mostly of bodies washed ashore from the battle of Jutland.

William's body was washed up on the shores of Sweden, and his nephew Roy Berry tells us that William was originally buried in Gullholmen cemetery, and was later transferred to Kviberg cemetery near Gothenburg. Roy also states that the name WEBB R on the Ashley Road memorial is to this William Thomas Webb, and that the name should read WEBB R.N. (for Royal Navy).

CC

Back to the index


WELLS Archibald John, Signalman. 237512.

H.M.S. Pyramus. Royal Navy (RN).
Died 7 October 1919, aged 29.

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

Archibald John Wells was born on 25 September 1890 (GRO reference: Dec 1890 Strand 1b 573) in St. Martins in the Fields, London. His parents were George and Jessie Wells, nee Drake, who had married on 14 February 1877 in the Plymouth register office. Archibald's eldest sibling was born the following year and registered as Katie Wilson Wells.

ARCHIBALD JOHN WELLS AND HIS SIBLINGS
NameBorn - DiedNotes
Katie WilsonBorn: 1878 PlymouthMarried Ernest Henry Lewis 1904
Emma EleanorBorn: 1879 East Stonehouse
Died: 1893 Strand
-
George JohnBorn: 1881 East Stonehouse
Died: 1883 St. Georges Hanover Square
-
Jessie EllenBorn: 1882 St. Georges Hanover Square
Died: 1884 Strand
Possible sibling
James WilliamBorn: 1883 St. Georges Hanover Square -
Beatrice MaryBorn: 1884 StrandMarried Ernest E. Gray 1905
George V.Born: 1888 Strand-
Percy J.Born: 30 May 1889 StrandFrom 7 November 1898 attended Munster Road School.
Address 118 Bishops Road
Archibald JohnBorn: 25 September 1890 Strand
Died: 7 October 1919
-
Norah AgnesBorn: 1892 Strand Married Thomas Patton 1912
Donald LeoBorn: 1 January 1894 Strand From 25 September 1899 attended Munster Road School.
Address 7 Wardo Avenue.
On 12 April 1910 aboard Impregnable; 10 August 1911 Ganges.
Injured 1916 when Viking was mined.
Elsie LouiseBorn: 12 January 1896 Strand From 25 September 1899 attended Munster Road School.
Address 7 Wardo Avenue.
Married George W. Jeffreys 1915
Unknown childDied before 1911-

All of George and Jessie's children were registered with the GRO with the surname Wells but for unknown reasons the family was recorded as Wilson in the 1881 census. Archibald's father was recorded as George Wilson, a 20 year old Sergeant in the Royal Marine Light Infantry (R.M.L.I.) born in Scotland, while his mother Jessie Wilson was recorded as being 21 years old and born in Devonport, Devon. Archibald's older siblings were recorded as Katie Wilson aged 3, Emma E. Wilson aged 2 and George J. Wilson aged 5 months. The family was living at 31 Hampton Street, Charles, Plymouth at the time. It would seem that the family moved to the area around St. Georges Hanover Square, London sometime after the census was taken.

The 1891 census records the family again as Wilson living in 'Spring Gardens, Part of the Admiralty' in St. Martins in the Field. Archibald's 33 year old father was again recorded as being a Sergeant in the R.M.L.I. born in Scotland. His mother Jessie was recorded as being 31 years old and was looking after Katie aged 13, James W. aged 7, Beatrice M. aged 6, George V. aged 2, Percy J. aged 1 and 6 month old Archibald J. Also staying with them that night was three visitors and two lodgers plus one servant.

By 1901 the Wells family had reverted to their real surname and was living at 7 Wardo Avenue, Fulham. Archibald's father was recorded as being a 'Civil Servant Writer' while his 20 year old sister Katie was a coal merchant's clerk. His mother was now aged 41 and was looking after 10 year old Archibald and his siblings Beatrice M. aged 16, Percy J. aged 11, Norah A. aged 9, Donald L. aged 7 and Elsie L. aged 5. Boarding with them was Ernest H. Lewis who later married Katie in 1904.

When the 1911 census was taken, the Wells family was living at 16 West Gardens, Merton. Archibald's father filled out the form stating that he was a navel pensioner and a Civil Servant Writer and that his wife of 34 years had had 13 children but 5 had died. Living with them was Percy aged 21, a fishmonger's assistant, Norah A. aged 19, a chemist's clerk and 15 year old Elsie L. Also with them that night was Archibald's 6 year old nephew Wilfred L. Lewis, son of Katie.

Archibald, aged 16, joined the Royal Navy as a 'Boy 2nd Class' on 27 September 1906. He was measured at a very precise 5 feet 6 2/10 inches, his hair was dark brown, his eyes grey and he had a fresh complexion. He was later measured at 5 feet 9½ inches. On 18 May 1907 he was promoted to 'Boy 1st Class' and on 25 September 1908 to 'Ordinary Seaman', the on 2 February 1909 he became a 'Signalman'.

Between September 1906 and July 1915 he served on eighteen different ships, but on 22 July 1915 his service record states that he became an invalied suffering with epilepsy. The next record we have for him is his death on 7 October 1919 in Long Grove Asylum from GPI (General Paralysis of the Insane).

He was buried in grave K654 in Epsom Cemetery and is commemorated on the Screen Wall. Three other servicemen are buried in this grave.

The CWGC states that he was the:
Son of George and Jessie Wells of 107 Vincent Street, Westminster.
Archibald was awarded the 1915 Star, British War medal and the Victory medal.

CWGC

Back to the index


WELLS William Albert, Private 19984

10th Battalion Hampshire Regiment.
Killed in Action 7 December 1915, aged 25.

William Albert Wells was born in 1889 in Ewell, Surrey (GRO Reference: Sept 1889 Epsom 2a 22), the only son of William and Harriett Rebecca Wells, formerly Samuels, (nee Carr).

William's mother had been previously married to John Samuel. The couple had five daughters who were all baptised in St. Mary the Virgin church in Ewell village: Emily Sarah in 1875, Frances Kate in 1877, Florence Charlotte in 1879, Maud Edith Lillian in 1881 and Leah Rebecca in 1883. Florence died soon after her baptism and Harriett's husband John was only 31 when he died in 1884.

William's father William Wells came from Kingwood, Oxfordshire and in 1887 William's mother Harriett had a daughter, Charlotte, by him. Why they did not marry then is unknown but possibly William senior may have been already married to someone else.

In 1891 William's unmarried parents were living together in Lower Marsh (West Ewell), where his father worked as an agricultural labour to support Harriett and her daughters, Edith (Maud) aged 12 and Leah aged 9, as well as their daughter Charlotte aged 4 and William himself, aged 2. Harriett's daughter Emily was in service and daughter Frances was living with relatives. William's younger sister Florence Mary was born later that year.

On 5 April 1897 William's father married William's mother, Harriett Rebecca Samuel, nee Carr in St. Mary's church, Ewell.

By 1901 William and his parents, along with his sisters Charlotte and Florence, were living in West Street in Ewell Village. William's father was working as a gardener, not only to support his family, but also his 70-year-old mother-in-law, Charlotte Carr, who later died in 1907.

Ewell Boy's School admissions register shows that he spent two periods at the school. The first between 1 May 1896 and 24 February 1897, when he left Ewell. The second period between 4 July 1898 and 30 April 1903, when he left to start work as a 'House Boy'.

William's father was living alone in Kingston Road, Ewell when the 1911 census was taken. He stated that he was working as a labourer in a flourmill and that he was a widower who had been married for eight years and had had 3 children, all still living. From this it seems that Harriett had died around 1904-5, possibly in the Croydon registration district. William was boarding along the road with the Watts family, and had given his age as 18 instead of 22, and was working as a farm labourer.

The Surrey Recruitment Register tells us that on 21 October 1914, 24-year-old William attested in Epsom into the East Surrey Regiment. He was described as being 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighing 137lbs, with blue eyes, brown hair and a fresh complexion. His chest was measured at 37 inches with a 6 inch expansion. Whilst with the East Surrey Regiment his service number was 5732.

William's medal card tells us that he went to France on 6 March 1915, and that he also served with the 14th Battalion Hampshire Regiment, which remained in England until March 1916. William's service record has not survived, so we do not know when he transferred to the Hampshire Regiment. Was he wounded in France whilst serving with the East Surrey Regiment, brought back to 'Blighty', and then sent to the Hampshire Regiment when fit again?

William was killed in action on 7 December 1915 in Salonika whilst serving in the 10th Battalion Hampshire Regiment, which was in the 29th Brigade, 10th Division. The Division had landed at Gallipoli on 6 August 1915, and was the transferred to Salonika on 6 October 1915. During its short time in Gallipoli the 10th Battalion Hampshire Regiment lost some 230 men, and was reinforced by drafts of men from many other units. Those returning from Gallipoli were much weakened by their experience there, many suffering from dysentery and jaundice.

The Salonika climate was extremely harsh, being very hot in the summer but very cold in the winter. Rain fell during most of October 1915, and November saw heavy snowfall, with many men suffering with frostbite. The men also had to contend with a shortfall of equipment, lacking tents and warm winter clothing.

The British Salonika Force (BSF) left the port town of Salonika on 29 October and moved north to assist the Serbian and French forces. But on 7 December the Bulgarians launched a massive attack, forcing a withdrawal and by 20 December all the British troops who had survived the Bulgarian attack were back in camps around the port of Salonika. This area became known as the 'Birdcage'.

Between 5 October and 20 December 1915 the 10th Battalion Hampshire Regiment lost 85 men, including William who has no known grave and is commemorated on the Doiran Memorial to the missing, along with 2,165 of his comrades.

The Epsom Advertiser dated 21 April 1916 printed the following:
The Chairman read a letter from Mr & Mrs Carr, of Batchelor's Cottages, thanking the Council for the letter of sympathy concerning their nephew, Pte. W. Wells, from whom they last heard on August 7th 1915. At that time he was expecting to be drafted to the front. Inquires at the War Office elicited that the man was wounded and missing.
William was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War medal and the Victory medal.

William is commemorated on the Ewell Boy's School memorial, now in the Epsom and Ewell Museum. He is shown as serving with the Royal Fusiliers, and this I believe to be a mistake.

EP ES

Back to the index


WELLS Walter Neave, Captain.

3rd Battalion Buffs (East Kent) attached to 1st Battalion King's Royal rifle Corps (KRRC).
Killed in Action 27 October 1914, aged 32.

Walter Neave Wells
Walter Neave Wells
Image source: 'The Bond of Sacrifice Vol 1' page 437.

Walter Neave Wells was born in Torquay, Devon in 1882 (GRO reference: Jun 1882 Newton Abbot 5b 155), to Richard and Augusta Jane Wells (nee Norman). His parents had married on 1 July 1873 in St. Stephen's church, Kensington, London, and appear in Burke's Peerage records.

Walter's father was a 48 year old Captain in the Royal Navy when the 1881 census was taken. His mother Augusta aged 32, sister Constance aged five, and brothers Norman aged four and Gerard aged one, were all aboard HMS Dapper at Townstall, Dartmouth, a naval officer cadet training ship. Visiting them that night was his mother's sister Eleanora and her husband Gerald Norman, along with their one-year-old daughter Amy Eleanora.

Walter Neave Wells And His Siblings
Name Born - Died Notes
Constance Norah Born: 1875 Nova Scotia
Died: 4 Jul 1944 Droxford, Hants
Married Admiral John Scott Luard (C.B.)
14 Oct 1903 at Christ Church Epsom
Norman Folliot Born: 1876 Westminster
Died: 2 Apr 1946 Felixtowe, Suffolk
Married Maud Caroline Walcott 25 July 1912 at St Mary's Sunbury. O.B.E.
Gerard Aylmer Born: 6 Oct 1879 Portsea, Hants
Died: 2 Aug 1943 Alexandria, Egypt
Married Jocelyn Mary Mort 7 Dec 1910 in Croydon, Surrey.
Vice Admiral 16 Jan 1935. K.B.E.
Walter Neave Born: 1882 Torquay, Devon
Died: 27 October 1914 France
 
Oswald Henry Born: 1885 Deiard France
Died 2 May 1935 Weedon, Northants
Married Murielle Brougham 20 July 1912

By 1891 the family was living at 12, Cornwall Gardens, Kensington. Walter's mother was shown as head of the household as his father, who was now a Vice Admiral, was visiting his brother and sister in law, Herbert and Charlotte Norman. Constance, aged 16, Walter (shown as Walter Vere Well in Ancestry), aged eight, and his brother Oswald, aged six, were living with their mother that night. The family employed eight servants including a governess. Norman, aged 14, was a scholar boarding in Oxford but the whereabouts of 11 year old Gerard is unknown.

Walter's father was promoted to the rank of Admiral on 11 March 1896 but died shortly afterwards on 9 October 1896. Probate records show him as Sir Richard Wells K.C.B. of 12, Cornwall Gardens, Middlesex, in the Royal Navy who died at 5, Wilton Street Grosvenor Road, Middlesex, leaving effects worth £8,644 10s 10d. Probate was granted to his widow Dame Augusta Jane Wells and Edward Norman, banker.

When the 1901 census was taken on 31 March, Walter's mother and sister Constance were staying with his mother's sister Eleanora and her husband Gerald Norman at 'Oakley', Bromley, Kent where Uncle Gerald employed ten servants. Brother Gerard was away serving as a Sub Lieutenant on 'HMS Ophir', a Royal Yacht, which was docked in Great Bitter Lake, Suez Canal, Egypt on voyage to Australia and the Colonies. Brother Oswald was a boarder at Clifton College in Bristol, but their brother Norman's whereabouts is unknown.

Walter fought in the Boer War, which perhaps explains why I can find no entry for him in the 1901 census.

It is not known exactly when Walter's mother and his siblings moved into 'Hill House', Epsom but in 1903, whilst living at Hill House, Epsom, Walter's sister Constance married John Scott Luard, a Commander in the Royal Navy. They had two children, Norman Scott born 9 July 1905 and Mary Augusta born 24 April 1908, both baptised at Christ Church, whilst living at Hill House.

Walter's name appeared in the London Gazette dated 28 July 1908, as a Captain in the '3rd Battalion The Buffs (East Kent Regiment). Dated 28th June 1908', under the following heading:
SPECIAL RESERVE. In accordance with the terms of the Order in Council, dated 9th April 1908, the following Militia units, having completed the prescribed period of training, are transferred as units of the Army Reserve, and the Officers named, having assented to be transferred, are appointed Officers of the Special Reserve of Officers, retaining the rank and seniority which they held while in the Militia, from the dates stated.
In 1911 Walter, a Captain in the 3rd Battalion The Buffs, was a visitor to Captain Alfred Sackville Cresswell, 1st Buffs, at Beacon Hill, Benenden, Kent. His unmarried brothers Norman and Oswald, a leather merchant, were living alone with servants at 'Hill House' in Epsom. Their mother's name 'Lady Wells' appears on the front cover of the 1911 enumeration form, but on census night she was staying with their married sister Constance at 'Warblington Lodge', Havant, Hampshire.

On 8 October 1914 Captain Walter Wells joined the 1st KRRC at 'Rifleman's Point' near the village of Verneuil by the river Marne, and took command of 'C' Company. Over the next few days by marching and train they travelled via Amiens, Boulogne, Strazeele, Hazebrouck and Godewaersvelde, reaching the northern outskirts of Ypres on 20 October.

Moving to Wieltje on 21 October, they were held in Divisional reserve whilst the rest of the Division attacked in the direction of Passchendaele. After several more moves within the Ypres Salient, at 3.30am on 26 October the Battalion was ordered to fill a gap between the King's Regiment and the Irish Guards, when the King's and Irish attacked. By 5.30am the Battalion was beginning to suffer casualties from rifle and machine-gun fire, and were thus unable to move and so had to dig themselves in where they lay, in a turnip field.

They remained in the turnip field all night, improving the trenches, and were relieved at 5am on 27 October, by the Irish Guards. They moved to a farm just south of Zonnebeke and had breakfast, but by 9am they were ordered to advance on the left of the Staffords and to keep touch with the French Army on their left. The Battalion was to attack on a frontage of about 800 yards up to the Passchendaele - Becelaere Road which ran across the top of a high (for Belgium) ridge, fairly steep up hill and fairly wooded. From the road eastwards for 600 to 700 yards the land was open and cultivated, the only cover being few scattered farms, and houses running along the top of the ridge. The whole area was covered with empty trenches which had been hurriedly dug by the French and Germans.

The ridge was being subjected to shellfire and rifle fire, and it was here, after being with the Battalion for only 19 days, that Walter was killed. The Battalion suffered a total of 30 killed that day, one of whom was fellow officer Lieutenant Prince Maurice Victor Donald Battenburg, a grandson of Queen Victoria.

Walter has no known grave and is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial to the missing.

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

Probate on Walter's estate was granted to his brother Oswald Henry Wells on 27 February 1915. Walter of 'Hill House', Epsom left £2,665 12s 5d. A notice appeared in the London Gazette dated 5 March 1915 requiring anyone with a claim on Walter's estate, to contact solicitor Lionel Ley of 61, Carey Street, London.

Walter was awarded the 1914 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory medal. Brother Norman applied for his 1914 Star on 26 October 1919, whilst living at 'Winchester', Sunbury Lodge, Sunbury-on-Thames.

Walter's medal card.
Walter's medal card.
Image courtesy of Ancestry.co.uk (Link opens in a new window)
Copyright 2010, The Generations Network, Inc. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.
Ancestry Logo

Walter's widowed mother, Dame Augusta Jane Wells, had been living in 'Warblington Lodge', Havant, Hampshire, with her married daughter Constance, before she died on 15 June 1926 at 'Ashley Gate' Walton on Thames Middlesex. Her effects were valued at £12,432 4s 7d.

CC

Back to the index


WHEELER Ernest John, Private. 15368.

9th Battalion Devonshire Regiment.
Killed in Action 6 October 1917, aged 29.

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

Ernest John Wheeler was born in Bramley, Surrey on 11 July 1889 (GRO reference: Sep 1889 Hambledon 2a 146) to John and Mary Wheeler (nee Stent). His parents had married two months earlier on 12 May in All Saints church in Witley, Surrey. At the time of the marriage, they were both aged 20 and his father was recorded as a coachman. When Ernest was baptised on 18 August 1889 in Holy Trinity church, Bramley, the records show that his father was a carter. The family moved to Ewell, Surrey before the 1891 census was taken.

ERNEST JOHN WHEELER AND HIS SIBLINGS
Name Born - Died Notes
Ernest John Born: 11 July 1889 Bramley
Died: 6 October 1917 Belgium
Baptised 18 August 1889 Holy Trinity Bramley
Mary Emma Born: 1891 Ewell Baptised 10 August 1891, St. Mary Ewell, father a carter.
Married soldier Walter William George Langley 15 October 1916, St. Martins, Epsom
Frederick Born: 24 May 1894 Ewell Baptised 15 July 1894, St. Mary Ewell, father a labourer.
Married Nellie Taylor 3 November 1912, St. Johns, Croydon.
William Leonard Born: 8 September 1896
Died: 26 November 1914
Baptised 1 November 1896, St. Mary Ewell, father a horse keeper.
Killed in the war and buried at Gillingham (Woodlands) Cemetery.
Arthur Born: 1898 Epsom Baptised 5 February 1899, St. Martins Epsom
Winifred Ellen Born: 1905
Died: 1915 Epsom
Baptised 24 September1905, St. Martins Epsom.
Buried Epsom Cemetery 12 June 1915 aged 9

From the 1891 census, the family lived in Marfleet's Yard in Ewell High Street. Ernest's parents were both aged 22, and his father worked as a horse keeper and groom.

Ernest, having previously been at Ewell Infants School, attended Ewell Boys School commencing 1 May 1896. His address in the school Admissions book was still Marfleets Yard. He left on 3 July 1903 to start work in a brickfield. Brothers William and Frederick also attended the school.

By 1901 the family lived at 5 Nonsuch Cottage, Lintons Lane, Epsom. Ernest had four new siblings, and his father now earned his living as a carman at a brickyard.

Ernest married Hilda May Hedges in the September quarter of 1908 in the Epsom registration district. They had five children:

CHILDREN OF ERNEST JOHN AND HILDA MAY WHEELER
Name Born Notes
Ernest John Leonard December quarter 1909 Married Constance Rosa Velvick 5 August 1934 St. Barnabas, Epsom
Leslie James June quarter 1911 Baptised 23 April 1911 St. Martins, Epsom
Hilda Kathleen September quarter 1912 Baptised 14 July 1912 St. Martins, Epsom and living at 35 Middle Lane, Epsom
Margery G December quarter 1913 Died aged 3 months, buried Epsom Cemetery 20 December 1913
Clara W June quarter 1917  


In the 1911 census Ernest and Hilda, with their children Ernest and Leslie, lived at 29 Middle Lane, Lyntons Lane Epsom. Ernest earned his living as a general labourer.

Ernest's parents and four of his siblings, Frederick, William, Arthur and Winnie were all still living at 5 Nonsuch Cottage, Lintons Lane, Epsom. Ernest's father described their home as a four roomed tenement and that he was working as a carter in the brickyard. Ernest's brother Frederick aged 17 was working as an errand boy for a fishmonger and William aged 15 was a gardener. His sister Mary was living in Wimbledon and working as a domestic servant.

The Surrey Recruitment Register tells us that Ernest attested on 12 January 1915 and was therefore a volunteer. His age was recorded as 24 years and six months. He was 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighed 136 lbs and had a chest measurement of 38 inches with an expansion of 4 inches. He lived at 2 Stones Cottages, Lintons Lane, Epsom and worked as a stoker, probably at the gas works.

Ernest went to France on 16 December 1915 and served in the 20th Brigade, 7th Division. When he was killed, the 7th Division was attacking in the Battle of Broodseinde, a phase of the third battle of Ypres (often called the battle of Passchendaele). For this particular attack Ernest's battalion was in 'Brigade Reserve', not actually attacking. But this did not mean they were idle or immune from casualties. The following is an extract from the 9th Battalion Devonshire Regiment war diary:
5.10.17. Battalion in Brigade Reserve, HOOGE CRATER. Supplied carrying parties for ammunition and wounded.
6.10.17. Battalion in dug outs on left of HOOGE CRATER. Severely shelled during day. 2/Lieut P.R. TUCKWELL wounded. 10 casualties by noon. At 4p.m. Lt Col R.T. MORRIS D.S.O. & Lieut & Adj J.H. BARRETT shelled in dug out. Both officers sent down the line with shell shock. About 5p.m. Major H. STREVENS M.C. (Sec in Command) arrived to take over Battalion. 2/Lieut L.L. EVANS took over A/Adjt. Battalion moved off at 7.30p.m. to march to BUTTE, East of POLYGONE WOOD. Heavily shelled on route, Few casualties. Guides met Battn at BUTTE and Battalion took over positions as follows: No 1 Coy from 2nd Queens Nos 3&4 Coys from 22nd Manchesters, No.2 Coy at BUTTE.
7.10.17. Battalion in position as for 6th inst. Shelled heavily by day and night with few casualties.
Over the three day period 5, 6 and 7 October, whilst in 'Brigade Reserve' the battalion lost 35 Other Ranks killed, six, eighteen and eleven respectively.

From the above it seems likely that Ernest was killed by shellfire. The Epsom Advertiser dated 9 November 1917 printed the following:
KILLED IN ACTION. News has been received that Pte. J(sic).G. Wheeler, of 5, Lintons Lane has been killed in France. He leaves a wife and four children.
Ernest has no known grave and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot memorial to the missing.

The St. Martin's church Roll of Honour states that:
ERNEST JOHN WHEELER, was killed in action at Ypres on 6th October 1917.
Ernest was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War medal and the Victory medal.

Ernest's widow Hilda, left with four children to raise, with ages ranging from a few months to 8 years, married William McHale in the March quarter of 1922, in the Epsom registration district. They had at least one child, Eric W., registered in the September quarter of 1922, also in the Epsom registration district. Hilda died in 1968 in the Kingston registration district.

EP SM ES

Back to the index


WHEELER William Leonard, Ordinary Seaman. J/20477.

H.M.S. Bulwark.
Killed in an Internal Explosion 26 November 1914, aged 18.

William's headstone in the Woodlands Cemetery
The row of headstones containing William's grave
William's headstone in the Woodlands Cemetery, Gillingham
Images courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2008

William Leonard Wheeler was born on 8 September 1896 (GRO reference: Dec 1896 Epsom 2a 23) to John and Mary Wheeler (nee Stent).

For information about William's family see the entry for his brother Ernest.

William attended Ewell Boys School, West Street, starting on 27 May 1907. His address in the school Admissions book was 5, Lintons Lane, Epsom. He left school on 3 July 1908, on returning to live in Epsom. Brothers Ernest and Frederick also attended the school.

In the 1901 census the family was living at 5, Nonsuch Cottages, Lintons Lane, Epsom. William's father now worked as a carman in the brickworks. He had four siblings, Ernest John aged 11, Mary Emma aged 9, Frederick aged 6, and Arthur aged 2.

The family was still living at 5 Nonsuch Cottage, Epsom when the 1911 census was taken. Ernest's father described their home as a four roomed tenement and that he was working as a carter in the brickyard. William aged 15 was a gardener, brother Frederick aged 17 was an errand boy, Arthur aged 12 was at school whilst sister Winnie aged 6 was apparently yet to attend school. His sister Mary was living in Wimbledon and working as a domestic servant.

William, who had been working as a garden boy, joined the Royal Navy in Portsmouth on 23 September 1912 aged 16 with the rank of Boy II. He was 5 feet 1 inch tall, had a chest measurement of 32 ½ inches, light brown hair, grey eyes, and a fresh complexion.

His first vessel was HMS Impregnable, a training ship. On 17 June 1913 he was promoted to Boy I and transferred to HMS Gibraltar on which he served until 7 November 1913. He then served on HMS Victory for just as few days until 27 November 1913. Finally, on 28 November 1913 he transferred to HMS Bulwark his last ship, and on 8 September 1914, his 18th birthday was promoted to Ordinary Seaman.

HMS Bulwark
HMS Bulwark

On the 26 November 1914 HMS Bulwark, a 15,000 ton battleship, was anchored in Kethole Reach in the river Medway near Bee Ness Jetty (now disused) between Gillingham and Sheerness, when at 7-35am she was destroyed by an enormous internal explosion. She lifted out of the water, fell back and sunk without trace. The explosion was heard 20 miles away in Whitstable, and the pier at Southend was shaken. Boats from nearby ships were launched to pick up survivors, but from a compliment of 750 only 12 survived. Rescue work was hampered by floating debris and hundreds of mutilated bodies. The cause of the internal explosion was never established, and today two buoys mark the site of the wreck. There is a comprehensive write up on www.nhcra-online.org/20c/bulwark.htm.

The Bulwark and Irene Memorial
The Bulwark and Irene Memorial
Click on image to enlarge
Images courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2008

Over the following weeks many bodies were washed up along the Kent coast. William's service record tells us that his body was not recovered until 8 July 1915, over 7 months later. All the bodies recovered from Bulwark's explosion are buried in Woodlands Cemetery Gillingham, Kent, and William is buried in the Naval section, plot 19.977.

The Stone of Remembrance. Designed by Edwin Lytuens,is placed in every cemetery where there are more than 1,000 war graves. The inscription reads :- Their name liveth for evermore.
The Stone of Remembrance. Designed by Edwin Lytuens,
is placed in every cemetery where there are more than 1,000 war graves.
The inscription reads :- Their name liveth for evermore.
Click on image to enlarge.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2008

The CWGC state he was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Wheeler, of 10, Portland Place, Linton Lane, Epsom.

The St Martin's church roll of honour has the following "WILLIAM LEONARD WHEELER, was in the Royal Navy and in H.M.S. "Bulwark" at Chatham when, on 26th November 1914, she blew up and he was killed".

EP SM ES

Back to the index


WHELAN Stephen Ewart, Private. 6279.

7th Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment.
Killed in Action 31 July 1917, aged 30.

Stephen's inscription on the Menin Gate Memorial to the missing
Stephen's inscription on the Menin Gate Memorial to the missing
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

Stephen Ewart Whelan was born in Maidstone in 1887 (GRO reference: Mar 1887 Maidstone 2a 733). His father James Francis Whelan was born in Ireland around 1854, served in the Army and was a widower by 1901. I have been unable to find many records for the family, possibly due to Irish records having been lost and the family serving in India.

Stephen's older brothers were both born in Madras, India where their parents were living. James Joseph was born on 30 November 1878 and christened on 16 December in Cannanore, Madras. His second older brother Thomas Francis was born on 11 May 1880 and christened on 23 May in Trinmlgherry, Madras.

It seems likely that Thomas Francis died in infancy as a second son was given the name of Thomas in 1890. Whether there were any other children who were born and died in India is unknown at this time.

Stephen Ewart Whelan And His Siblings
Name Born - Died Notes
James Joseph Born: 30 Nov 1878 Madras India
Possibly died in 1915 Rochford Essex
Baptised 16 Dec 1878 Cannanore Madras
Thomas Francis Born: 11 May 1880 Madras India
Died: Probably in infancy
Baptised 23 May 1878 Trinmlgherry Madras
Charles John Born: 1884 Maidstone Severely wounded 1914 France
Stephen Ewart Born: 1887 Maidstone
Died: 31 July 1917 Belgium
 
Thomas Albert Born: 1890
Died: 1897 aged seven Lambeth district
 
Mary Kathleen Born: 1892 Epsom
Died: 1893 aged one Epsom
 
There may have been other siblings

The family returned to England where a third brother, Charles John, was born in Maidstone in 1884 (GRO reference: Sep 1884 Maidstone 2a 725) followed in 1887 by the birth of Stephen.

In 1890 another brother, Thomas Albert, was born. However there does not seem to be a UK birth registration for him, which may indicate that the family were once more abroad and so not found in the UK 1891 census.

The family's presence in Epsom was first recorded with the birth of Stephen's sister Mary Kathleen in the September quarter of 1892.

Stephen's mother, Julia Ann Whelan of Station Road, Epsom, died in 1892, aged 35 and was buried in the Epsom cemetery in grave H21A on 3 November 1892. Stephen's sibling Mary Kathleen, aged one was buried in the same plot on 8 July 1893, and sibling Thomas Albert aged seven was buried there on 6 July 1897. His death however was recorded in the Lambeth district.

The first UK census records I have been able to find for the family appear in 1901. Head of the family was Stephen's father, a 49 year old widower who was working as a gymnastics instructor and lived at 70, Station Road, Epsom. Also living there was Stephen's brother 16 year old Charles John, and 64 year old widow Ellen Colwell, recorded as mother to head of the family.

Stephen's brother Charles John enlisted into the Army on 10 June 1901 and as can be seen from the Epsom Advertiser article below, he was severely wounded in 1914. Due to his wounds he was discharged from the Army on 24 May 1915.

In 1911 Stephen's father, a 57 year old widower, still working as a gymnastics instructor, lived alone at Ivy Cottage, Church Road, Epsom.

Brother Charles, a 26 year old house painter was a boarder at 59, Gordon Road, Gosport. Also there were the Thompson brothers, 23 year old Bernard and 19 year old George. Both had been born in Northamptonshire, and as Stephen had enlisted in Northamptonshire and served in the Northamptonshire Regiment, perhaps there was a family connection with Northamptonshire.

The 1911 census record is the only census I have been able to find Stephen in. It records him as a 24 year old unmarried soldier living with his brother James Joseph and his family at 310, Walworth Road, SE. James, as head of the family, stated that he had been married to Lydia for 2 years and they had one daughter Mary J [for Julia], aged 1 year 10 months old. However, I have not found a UK marriage for them.

Also living at the same address was Stephen's future wife 27 year old Daisy Winifred Matilda Barnett who worked as a milliner. She was born in 1883 and appears as 'sister' to the 67 year old head of household George Barnett who worked as a club hall porter. However, I believe him to be her and Lydia's father as in the 1901 census Daisy appears with her father, sisters Lydia and Amy, and brother William.

There is a marriage record for a Stephen E F Whelan marrying Daisy W M Barnett (GRO reference: Sep 1913 Southwark 1d 256). Why there should be an extra 'F' in Stephen's recorded name is open to speculation.

Two daughters were born to them:
Kathleen E Whelan born in 1914 (GRO reference: Jun 1914 Barnett Rochford 4a 1362)
Joan W Whelan born in 1916 (GRO reference: Jun 1916 Barnett Camberwell 1d 1655)
The following appeared in the Epsom Advertiser dated 20 November 1914 and refers to Stephen's brother Charles John Whelan:
EPSOM MAN SEVERELY WOUNDED. - News was received by Sergt.-Instructor J.F. Whelan, of Hill View, Church-road, Epsom, last week that his son, Sergt. C. Whelan, a reservist in the 1st Rifle Brigade, had been wounded in both legs. It has since been heard that the wounded soldier has had one of his legs amputated.
As Stephen is recorded as a soldier in the 1911 census, presumably on the outbreak of war he was either still a serving soldier or a reservist. According to his medal card he does not have a 1914 or 1915 Star, so therefore did not go overseas until 1916 at the earliest. Did he remain in the UK during the early part of the war in order to train the vast numbers of raw recruits who were joining the Army?

Stephen served in the 7th Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment which was in the 73rd Brigade, 24th Division. The third battle of Ypres, also known as the battle of Passchendaele commenced at sunrise (3.50am) on 31 July 1917. Stephen's battalion would be one of the first to go into action, and fight in the battle of Picklem Ridge, the first phase of the third battle of Ypres. The assaulting battalions moved into position on the night of 30/31 July. Although at full strength a battalion consisted of about 35 officers and 925 other ranks, the custom was that only about 16 officers and 660 other ranks would go into action. This ensured that a cadre would remain to rebuild the battalion in the event of severe casualties.

Dawn that day was very dull and dark, with mist and dense low clouds, causing air co-operation to be cancelled. The barrage on the German front line continued for six to ten minutes after zero, whilst the leading infantry crossed the 200-300 yards of No-Mans-Land. The barrage then crept forward at the rate of 100 yards every four minutes, protecting the troops as they moved forward in waves.

The 73rd Brigade had to pass through Shrewsbury Forest, a mess of shattered tree trunks, shell holes and trenches. The Brigade was held up by a collection of pillboxes at Lower Star Point, and machine-guns in the rear, which resisted throughout the day and checked any further advance. During the afternoon heavy rain had started to turn the battlefield into the sea of mud that the battle of Passchendaele is known for.

Passchendaele Mud
Passchendaele Mud

The battalion lost 85 men killed on 31 July 1917 including Stephen, who has no known grave and is commemorated on the Menin Gate memorial to the missing.

Between 1918-23 Stephen's widow Daisy and her sister Lydia were living at 34, Barbette Avenue, Woolwich, but between 1924-29 Daisy lived alone with her daughters at 48, Mortar Gardens, Woolwich.

On 27 April 1929 Lydia and her daughter Mary sailed from Southampton on the 'Empress of Scotland' to stay with friend Charles Saunders of 2172, Masson Street, Montreal and by 1930 they were living at 4421, Chaplean Street, Montreal, Canada.

Daisy and her two daughters joined them in 1930, sailing from Southampton aboard the 'Empress of Scotland' on 17 May 1930.

EP

Back to the index


WHISKERD George Walter, Private 2704.

1/2 London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers).
Killed in Action 1 July 1916 aged, 20.

Ewell Boys School 1907 - Click image to enlarge
Ewell Boys School 1907
Click image to enlarge.
image courtesy of Jennifer Whiskerd © 2014

George Walter Whiskerd was born at Westminster on 10 January 1896 (GRO reference: Mar 1896 Westminster 1a 482) to Walter David and Louisa Eliza Whiskerd (nee Osman). Note: Only shown George, not George Walter in St Mary's churchyard. George's parents had married on 16 June 1895 in St. John The Baptist's Church, Westminster, Middlesex. George was baptised on 20 September 1896 in Westminster.

GEORGE WHISKERED AND HIS SIBLINGS
Name Born - Died Remarks
George Walter Born: 19 January 1896 Westminster
Died: 1 July 1916 France
Baptised 20 September 1896 Westminster
Louisa Victoria Born: 29 July 1897 Westminster Baptised 17 October 1897 Westminster
Married James William Lock 18 November 1922 St. Mary's Ewell
Thomas Arthur Born: 24 June 1899 Hammersmith (No GRO birth registered)
Died: 1983 Gloucestershire
Baptised 18 June 1913 Westminster
Married Jessie Emily Allum 4 April 1925, St. Mary's Ewell
Daisy Maria Born: 1900 Hammersmith
(No GRO birth registered)
Died: 1905 Fulham
GRO death reference: Jun 1905 4 Fulham 1a 211
Herbert Edward Born: 27 February 1902 Kensington
(No GRO birth registered)
Died: 20 September 1952
Telegraphist in Royal Navy when he married Violet Annie Easton 19 August 1930, Christ Church Epsom.
Worked as an Epsom postman.
Lived at 112 Epsom Lane, South Tadworth.
Eva Alexandria Born: 4 January 1906 Ewell
Died: 1986 Worthing
Married Robert J. McCormac 1948, Marylebone registration district
Maud Eleanor Born: 11 November 1907 Ewell
Died: 1996
Baptised 12 January 1908 St Mary's Ewell
Married Hubert R Johns 1931, Reading
Gertrude Ada Born: 30 March 1910, Ewell Baptised 11 September 1910, St. Mary's Ewell
Married Stanley L. Arlotte 1938, Surrey North Eastern district

The 1901 census for England was taken on the night of 31 March 1901 and the Whiskerd family was living at 24 Porton Road, Hammersmith. George's father, Walter was a 41 year-old furniture porter. His mother, Louisa was 33, and he had three siblings, Louisa aged 3, Thomas aged 1 and Daisy aged 6 months.

George's second brother Herbert Edward was born, according to school records, on 27 February 1902. However, no GRO birth records for Thomas Arthur, Daisy Maria or Herbert Edward Whiskerd born between June 1899 and March 1902, have been found.

George, aged 9, attended St. Matthews School before transferring to Ewell Boys School on 4 September 1905. George's brothers, Thomas and Herbert, also later attend the same school.

In January 1908 the family lived at Poole Road, West Ewell and George's father worked as a porter but by September 1910 the family had moved to Cottage Road, West Ewell, and George's father was described as a store porter.

When the 1911 census was taken the family was still living in Cottage Road but the address included the name 'Kendall Cottage'. George's father filled out the census form stating that he and his wife of 16 years had had eight children but one had died. He also recorded that he was a store porter for the London County Council, so presumably worked at one of Epsom's Asylums. Aged 15, George was still not working even though he had left school the previous year on 29 January and was a member of the 'Ewell Old Boys' Association'. The 1913-1914 list of members of the association shows that George lived at Poole Road, West Ewell.

There would seem to be a continued family attachment to Westminster as on 18 June 1913, George's brother Thomas Arthur, aged 13, returned there to be baptised.

George's Great niece, Jennifer Whiskered, informed us that before he volunteered he was a chauffer for a wealthy Epsom family.

In September 1914 George walked into the headquarters of the 2nd London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers), at Tufton Street, Westminster, a Territorial Army unit, and volunteered his services as Private, No. 2704. Standing right behind him, and enlisting as Private No. 2705 was another local man, Albert Beams. Just a bit further along were two more local men, Thomas Burfitt, Private No. 2757, and John Donhue, Private No. 2823. It would be interesting to know why Epsom and Ewell men were enlisting in Westminster? George was initially assigned to the 2nd London Regiment's 2nd Battalion, the 2/2 London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers) for training, and by December 1914 the Battalion had moved to Epsom Downs.

George in uniform driving a car on Epsom Downs
George in uniform driving a car on Epsom Downs
Image courtesy of George's great niece Jennifer Whiskered © 2014.

The 2/2 London's were moved around quite a bit, being sent to Malta, then to Egypt, on to Gallipoli, back to Egypt, and then to Marseilles, France at the end of April 1916. They were then trundled by train, the length of France to Rouen. Rouen provided a large base area for the British, with training grounds, hospitals, stores depots and the like. Whilst they were billeted at Rouen the Military authorities decided that the Battalion should be disbanded, and the men used to bolster three existing units of the 56th Division. One draft was sent to 1/16 London Regiment (Queen's Westminster Rifles), a second draft was sent to 1/2 London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers) (the first Battalion of the Corps they volunteered to serve in), and a third draft to 1/12 London Regiment (The Rangers). After having volunteered together and served two years in the same Battalion, George was to part company with his chum Albert Beams who went to 1/2 London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers). However, they were destined to take part in the same attack and to die on the same day.

On 24 May 1916 George joined his new unit (The Rangers) in the Hebuterne sector and was assigned to No.1 Platoon, "A" Company. They were in the 168 Brigade, 56 Division. At 7.30am on 1 July 1916 they attacked the extremely well fortified German positions at Gommecourt Park and village at the northern end of the Somme battlefield front. The attack was mounted as a diversion to draw German troops away from the main assault further south. Gommecourt formed a salient into British lines, and in order to eliminate it and straighten the line, it was to be attacked from the north by the 46 Division, and from the south by the 56 Division, the two Divisions linking up behind Gommecourt village. The width of No Man's Land on the 56 Division front was some 800 yards, and in order to reduce the distance the troops would have to cover once they went 'over the top', a new trench was dug about 350 yards out into No Man's Land, commencing on the night of 26/27 June.

On the night of 30 June/1 July, instead of sleeping, the Rangers marched to their jumping off positions, and were in place by 3.40am, having thus far suffered no casualties, despite there being shrapnel fire in the vicinity. However, between then and 7.30am whilst waiting to attack, many casualties were caused by shellfire.

The following is an extract from "The Rangers' Historical Records" by Captains G.M.G. Wyatt and A.V. Wheeler-Holohan:
Of the right company (A), a considerable number including three out of five officers, became casualties while crossing No Man's Land, and only a few reached the German line untouched. Between the first and second German lines this remnant was enfiladed by a withering machine-gun fire, and took cover in a communication trench leading to the second line. Captain Wyatt, under cover of fire from the Lewis Gun Detachment, which pluckily operated from some slight cover afforded by a turn in the trench, seeing that the second line could not be taken by advancing across the open, organised a bombing party, which attempted to bomb up the trench into the second line. They were held up by a party of Germans, who had erected a block in this trench and were bombing from behind it. After some counter-bombing Captain Wyatt, on getting up on the side of the trench to reconnoitre and observe the effect, was wounded. A gallant and successful attempt was made to rush the block, and 2nd Lieut Parker, who had taken over the command, at the head of a handful of men, forced his way into Fall about 9.30am, and, reinforced by the remnants lying outside the trench, his party, 15 to 20 in number, with some London Scottish added, consolidated and held for six hours a portion of the second line astride the head of the communication trench.
The authors then go on to explain that from about noon onwards it was impossible to review the experiences of individual companies, as they no longer existed. Remnants of companies mingled together with men from other Battalions. Shelling of No Man's Land made the bringing up of ammunition and reinforcements impossible. The Germans launched counter attacks, and by about 5pm all the surviving Rangers had been pushed back to their own lines.

George's parents lived at 15 Cottage Road which is shown on the left in this photograph
George's parents lived at 15 Cottage Road which is shown on the left in this photograph.
Copyright image courtesy of Liz Manterfield 2006.

On 1 July 1916, 143 men from the 1/12 London Regiment, and 169 from 2 London Regiment lost their lives including George killed in action. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Pier and face 9D & 16B. The CWGC states that he was the 'Son of Walter David and Louisa Whiskerd, of 15, Cottage Road, Ewell, Epsom, Surrey'.

G Whiskered's inscription on the Thiepval Memorial
George's inscription on the Thiepval Memorial
image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2006

George was awarded the 1915 star, British War medal and the Victory medal.

George's parents continued to live at 15 Cottage Road until their deaths. George's mother was aged 73 when she died in 1941 and his father was 85 when he died in 1944.

With thanks to Ajax Bardrick and Jennifer Whiskerd for supplying additional information.

BH EW ES AS

Back to the index



WHITE Arthur, Private. 295303.

4th Battalion London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers).
Died of Wounds 26 October 1917, aged 22.

Arthur's inscription on the CWGC Plot in Epsom Cemetery
Arthur's inscription on the CWGC Plot in Epsom Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2012

Arthur White was born on 19 September 1895 (GRO reference: Sep 1895 Epsom 2a 22), and was baptised on the same day at Christ Church, Epsom Common. Arthur's father John was born in 1864 in Lymington, Hampshire and had worked as an under carter in the 1881 census.

In the 1891 census, before Arthur was born, his family lived in 'Edes Cottage', The Common, Epsom, where John, his 27 year old father, worked as a labourer and his 34 year old mother Annie, worked as a charwoman to support their children Lilian born in 1881, Isabella born in 1884 and Annie born on 29 March 1890. Annie was the first to be baptised in Christ Church.

Arthur had three more siblings all of whom were baptised in Christ Church. Emma was born on 11 March 1892, Louisa was born on 23 October 1893 and brother William was born on 16 June 1897. William died aged 6 months and was buried in the Ashley Road cemetery on 18 January 1898.

When the 1901 census was taken Arthur's father John was not at home in 'Griffiths Cottage' Epsom Common with his 39 year old wife Annie, who was working as a domestic cook while looking after their children Annie 11, Emma 9, Louisa 7 and 5 year old Arthur. There is a record of a 37-year-old John White (but born in Kingston Surrey) who was a carter, living in the Epsom Union Workhouse.

Although no Epsom burial records have been found for Arthur's father John, his mother Annie appears as a 54-year-old widow living at 5 'Garden Cottage' Epsom Common when the 1911 census was taken. She was working as a general helper in the Union workhouse to support her three younger children. Emma aged 19 and Louisa aged 17 were not working but Arthur, aged 15, was working for a butcher. Crossed out on the census were Lilian Stanley aged 30 and Isabella Parker aged 28, who were presumably Arthur's married sisters. They were recorded as 'Away'. Annie White aged 21 was also crossed out but was recorded as a 'domestic servant. Away'.

Arthur's service papers have not survived, and even though he enlisted in Kingston he cannot be found in the Surrey Recruitment Register CD. The Soldiers Died CD tells us that he had first served as Private No. 2426 in the Huntingdonshire Cyclists Battalion, before transferring to the 4th Battalion London Regiment. This battalion was in the 168th Brigade of the 56th (London) Division.

Arthur died of wounds on 26 October 1917 in The York Place Military Hospital, Brighton. We do not know when or how Arthur was wounded but it was probably during the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele), which lasted from 31 July 1917 to 12 November 1917. He was no doubt evacuated by the medical services via one of the Channel ports to the Brighton War Hospital.

His body was moved to Epsom and he was buried in Plot K 649, at Epsom cemetery on 1 November 1917. This plot holds the remains of nine servicemen from the Great War. Five having died in Long Grove War Hospital, three in Horton War Hospital, and Arthur from the Brighton Hospital. It falls within the CWGC site within Epsom Cemetery, which contains the remains of 148 servicemen from all over the Commonwealth. Arthur White and William Mack are the only two men from Epsom to be buried there. Other men from Epsom buried in the cemetery are in individual graves, and most are marked by an individual headstone.

At the time of his death Arthur's family were living at 41, Bramble Walk, Epsom Common.

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

EP CC CWGC

Back to the index


WHITE Charles Harry, Private. 23598.

6th Battalion King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (KOYLI).
Died of Wounds 24 August 1916, aged 23.

Charles' headstone in Boulogne Eastern Military Cemetery
Charles' headstone in Boulogne Eastern Military Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2011

Charles Henry White was registered as being born in Epsom Surrey, but as Charles Harry White (GRO reference: Jun 1893 Epsom 2a 15). He was the son of Richard and Clara White (nee Ellson). His parents had married on 2 March 1874 in Christ Church, Marylebone, Middlesex and had nine known children:

CHARLES HARRY WHITE AND HIS SIBLINGS
Name Born / Baptised / Died Notes
Richard Born: 1875 - Died: 1899  
Florence Lilian Born: 1876 - Married Albert Pulling 1897
Constance Nellie/Mary Born: 1878; Baptised: 28 Sept 1890 St Martins Epsom Married George Burrage 1900
Ellen Mabel Born: 1881 - Died: 1882  
Lillie Born: 1882 - Married William Gadd 1900
Bertha Born: 1883 - Baptised: 22 Sept 1886 St Martins Epsom Married 1902 and/or 1904
Ethel Born: 1886 - Baptised: 22 Sept 1886 St Martins Epsom Married 1905
Daisy Maud Born: 1889 - Baptised: 27 Nov 1889 St Martins Epsom  
Charles Henry/Harry 1893 - 24 August 1916  

Charles' maternal grandparents Richard and Elizabeth Ellson lived in Downhall Road Epsom and in 1881 were looking after Charles' eldest brother Richard, who was aged 7. Richard has been recorded on this census with their surname of Ellson and not White.

When Charles' sisters Bertha and Ethel were baptised in 1886, Charles' father's occupation was recorded in St Martin's parish records as a 'Carriage Painter'.

In 1891, two years before Charles was born, his parents and older siblings Florence aged 14, Nellie (Constance) aged 12, Lillie aged 9, Bertha aged 7, Ethel aged 4 and 1-year-old Daisy had lived at 25, Providence Place, East Street, Epsom. His father Richard, who had been born in East Molesley, was now working as house painter to support his family. There were two lodgers living with them as well, Constance Cox and her 10-year-old daughter Ellen Cox.

Charles' older brother Richard, who was working as a house porter, was living with their maternal grandparents, as he had been in the previous census of 1881, but this time was recorded with his surname of White. Richard, aged 25, died in Providence Place East Street Epsom and was buried on 29 December 1899 in the Ashley Road cemetery in grave B146.

Charles was 8 years old when the 1901 census was taken and he and his siblings, Bertha, Ethel and Daisy, lived in Providence Place, East Street, Epsom with their parents Richard and Clara. Charles' father Richard was still painting houses for a living and his sister Bertha worked as a housemaid.

Richard, Charles' father, died aged 53 in 1906. He was buried on 24 August 1906 in the Ashley Road cemetery in grave C193.

By 1911, only Clara and Charles were living at 4 Providence Place, Clara being a laundress with the Machine Laundry Co and Charles an errand boy for a provision dealer. They had a boarder; John Carrick aged 37, who described himself as a comedian working in theatres and music halls. Although a widow, Clara also completed the details of her marriage, saying that she was married for 32 years and had had only eight children, one of whom (Ellen Mabel) had died. It seems that, for some reason, Richard was not recognized as their son. Note: Clara died aged 64 in 1917, and was buried in the Ashley Road cemetery on 20 September 1917 in grave K643.

Charles attested in Kingston on 31 August 1914 and initially was allocated service number 23360 in the 14th Reserve Cavalry Regiment. He stated his age as 21 years and 6 months. He was 5 feet 6½ inches tall, weighed 126 lbs and had a chest measurement of 34½ inches, with an expansion of 2 inches. He had a fresh complexion, dark brown eyes, auburn hair, and worked as a gardener.

At some point Charles was transferred to the 6th Battalion KOYLI, and went to France on 12 August 1915. His battalion was in the 43rd Brigade, 14th Division. Charles died of wounds on 24 August 1916 and was buried in grave VII. B. 159 Boulogne Eastern Military Cemetery.

The channel port of Boulogne was a huge centre of activity for British forces and was one of the main hospital centres in France. Charles' service records have not survived, so we do not know exactly when or how he was wounded. However, between 16 and 19 August his Division had been attacking at Delville Wood on the Somme, and during this period the 6th Battalion KOYLI suffered only 20 men killed, which, by Great War standards was quite small. They were probably held in reserve, and the casualties were most likely caused by shelling.

The St Martins Church Roll of Honour states that:
CHARLES WHITE, was wounded on 16th August 1916, in the battle on the Somme and died four days later of his wounds on the 20th August 1916.
Charles was awarded the 1915 Star, British War medal and the Victory medal.

The June 1921 edition of the St Martin's Church parish magazine printed the following:
CHOIR WAR MEMORIAL.
     At St. John's on Trinity Sunday, a memorial to two members of the choir, Pte. Charles White and Pte. John Wickens, who lost their lives in the war, was unveiled by Mr.A.J. Warren, and dedicated by the Rev. F.S. Farebrother. The memorial consisted of an ornamental oak plaque. The letters of the inscription are in gold on a blue ground. Mr. Warren, who delivered a most suitable address, said the dedication service was being held at the ordinary evening service because of the very happy relations which existed between choir and congregation, and of the feeling of the choir that they would like the congregation to join in that service of remembrance.
The building that was once St. John's church is now used as a nursery school. It has been established that the memorial no longer exists within the building, and is therefore presumed lost.

EP SM

Back to the index


WHITE, Harry Arderne Shoults, Senior Motor Engineer.

R.F.A. Thrush.
Drowned 11 April 1917, aged 29.

Harry's grave in St Mary's Churchyard, MertonClose-up of the lettering
Harry's grave in St Mary's Churchyard, Merton with a close-up of the lettering
Images courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2010

Harry Arderne Shoults White was born at 37, The Grove, Camberwell, London SE, on 3 October 1887 (GRO reference: Dec 1887 Camberwell 1d 820) to Henry Taylor and Emily Charlotte Elizabeth White (nee Ogle). He was Christened on 12 February 1888 at St Giles Church, Camberwell. His parents married on 8 March 1885 in the St Saviour registration district.

Harry was aged 3 when the 1891 census was taken. He lived with his parents, Henry a 27 year old printer, and Emily aged 34, at 18, Lucas Road, Beckenham, Kent.

Later that year, on the 8 August 1891, Harry's only sibling, sister Hannah Margaret was born.

The family were living at 8, Dupont Road, Merton, Surrey when the 1901 census was taken. Harry's father was working as a linotype operator in the print trade.

By the 1911 census the family had moved to 33, Adela Avenue, West Barnes Lane, New Malden, Surrey. Harry's father was working for a printer as a compositor, whilst sister Hannah was a ledger clerk for a seed merchant. Harry himself worked for a company called L.G.O. (London General Omnibus) Co., as a 'Motor Car Engineer (Fitter)'.

Harry was drowned when his salvage vessel 'RFA Thrush' foundered in St George's Channel, Larne, Co Antrim on 11 April 1917.

RFA Thrush
RFA Thrush
Image courtesy of RFA Historical Society

On 15 April 1917 Harry's sister Hannah wrote to Rutlish School as follows:
Dear Sir

     It is with great grief I write to tell you that my dear brother Harry A.S. White was drowned off the coast of Ireland on Wednesday April 11th whilst on salvage work.
     He was home with us for 5 days leave and only went back to Glasgow on Sunday last Apl 8th so it seems hardly possible that there was time for him to get back, let alone be drowned.
     The Admiralty are sending his body home on Monday evening so we expect him home either Tuesday or Wednesday.
     We are having him buried at Merton Parish Churchyard.
     We would like his name put on the "Roll of Honour" at the Rutlish school.

          Yours faithfully

                Hannah M White
The following obituary appeared in the Wimbledon Borough News dated 21 April 1917:
A Technical School Master Drowned on Active Service.
     We very much regret to learn of the death of Harry A. S. White, A.M.I.A.E., Senior Motor Engineer in one of H.M. ships, S.V., R.F.A., who was drowned while in the execution of his duty on Wednesday, April 11th, aged 29 years. He joined the Admiralty Salvage Service on March 15th, 1916, and from that date to the time of his death was engaged on important Government Salvage work.
     Born in the Parish of St. Giles, Camberwell, on October 3rd, 1887, his family moved to Merton (Bushey Mead) in 1898. He attended the Central Schools, Wimbledon Common, under Mr. Selby, and also was a pupil at the Rutlish School.
     In 1903 he was apprenticed to Mr. C. S. Drewry, motor engineer, of Herne Hill, S. E., afterwards the Drewry Omnibus Co., Teddington. On the completion of his apprenticeship he joined the London General Omnibus Co., and after two years he started in business at "The Garage," Melrose-road, Merton Park. He will be principally remembered in Wimbledon for his work in connection with the Wimbledon Technical Institute, joining as a student in electrical and motor-car engineering. By his ability and hard work he obtained a position on the staff as teacher of motor-car engineering, which he retained until he joined up. He was also appointed teacher of the engineering section of the Technical Day School. In 1912 he passed the Final Honours Examination of the City and Guilds of London Institute on the same subject and was placed on the roll of registered teachers of the Institute. In June, 1913, he was elected as an associate member of the Institution of Automobile Engineers.
     The internment took place on Wednesday in Merton Parish Churchyard, the Rev. J. E. Jagger, M.A., officiating, and was largely attended. A detachment of the 11th Batt. Surrey Volunteers, under Sergt. Davis was present, the firing party gave three volleys and the bugles sounding the "Last Post" at the conclusion of the service. The floral tributes were many and beautiful, but space will not permit of a list of the donors being given.
The following report appeared in 'The Northern Whig' (a Belfast newspaper of the time), dated Monday, April 16, 1917:
IRISH COAST DISASTER.
VESSELL DRIVEN ASHORE.
Eight Lives Lost.
TWO GALLANT SEAMEN.


     In the early hours of Wednesday morning the Irish coast claimed a large steamship. The vessel lost its bearings and ran ashore. It appears that after the ship struck, two of the crew named Garland and Franklin volunteered to swim ashore and take a rope. It was pitch dark, and a heavy sea was running. To make matters worse, the shore was quite unknown to the men, yet despite these adverse circumstances they could not be deterred, and they eventually, after battling the elements, carried the rope ashore and fastened it securely to a rock. A candle was fixed up, and one by one the crew were brought ashore with the exception of eight men, who were presumably washed away and lost sight of in the darkness. The survivors of the ill-fated ship are at present quartered in a small coast town.

     An inquest was held in an Irish coast town on the bodies of Engineer G.J. Newlands, Senior Motor Engineer H.A.S. White, Motor Engineer Lionel Burrell, Motor Engineer H.L. Harvey, Motor Engineer O. Coombs, Wireless Operator A. Taylor, and Steward William Bridgewater.

     Arthur Hugh Brown said that the vessel, with a crew of 38 men on board, went ashore in a raging blizzard in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Two riggers named Garland and Franklin at the risk of their lives swam ashore with a rope, which was made fast to a rock, and a candle was rigged up. By this means 50 of the men got safely ashore, but eight men were washed off the rope in the darkness, and of these, seven bodies have been recovered. Everything was done that could be done under the circumstances to save the lives of the crew. The night was very wild, and during the rescue work a snow blizzard was raging, which rendered the efforts of the men most difficult.

     A doctor stated that he had made an examination of the bodies, which bore many marks of injuries, and in his opinion death in each case was due to asphyxia by drowning.

     The jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence, and recommended that the gallant conduct of Garland and Franklin, who swam ashore in a raging sea with a rope, by means of which many lives were saved, and also of the captain and officers of the ship, should be brought to the attention of the authorities.
Harry was buried on 17 April 1917 in plot 14. 5 St Mary's Churchyard, Merton.

The CWGC entry states that he was the "Son of Emily C. E. White, of 272, Worple Road., Wimbledon, London, and the late Henry Taylor White. Born at Camberwell".

SMC, Rutlish School.
With thanks to Steve Scarlett and Peter Moulin for information provided.
And to Chris White of the RFA Historical Society.
Back to the index


WHITING Charles Albert, Private 2066.

2nd Battalion East Surrey Regiment.
Killed in Action 19 July 1915, aged 33.

Charles' headstone in Bailleul Communal Extension, France
Charles' headstone in Bailleul Communal Extension, France
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

The name 'Whiting C.' commemorated on the Ashley Road memorial is believed to be Charles Albert Whiteing, born in 1882 in Brighton, Sussex, (GRO Reference: Mar 1882 Brighton 2b 226) to Emma Elizabeth Whiteing, father unknown.

Charles was aged 9 when the 1891 census was taken. He was living with his 61 year old grandmother Elizabeth Whiteing at 1, Black Rock Cottage, Rottingdean, Sussex. The head of the household was 35 year old gardener, George Clement Goodyear. George had married Charles' mother Emma Elizabeth Whiteing 1888. They had one son, George Clement Goodyear aged 2 months.

Another son, Herbert Clement Goodyear, was born to them on 9 June 1894. In some records, their surname is recorded as Goodyer.

Ten years later in the 1901 census, Charles and his grandmother were still living with George and Emma, but they had all moved to 60, Rugby Place, East Brighton, Sussex, where George was now working as a horse Carman on a farm. Charles was recorded as George's son-in-law rather than being his stepson, and was working as a carter on a farm.. Charles' grandmother, aged 71, was working at home as a needle worker.

Charles married Frances Louisa Rodber in the March 1902 quarter in the Brighton registration district. Their daughter Dorothy Louisa was born the following year.

Charles' grandmother Elizabeth died in the June quarter of 1905. Charles and Frances had three more children, Ivy Frances born 1905 (died 1906), John Roedean born 1908, and Winifred (known as Winnie, born 1910.

By 1911, Charles appeared as living with his family at 8, White Hawk Road, Kemp Town, Brighton. He was still working as carter on a farm. Also living with the family were boarder John Cole and lodger Hettie Hedgecott.

How and when Charles and his family came to Epsom, Surrey is unknown but Charles attested in Epsom on 8 September 1914 into the East Surrey Regiment. His surname however, was recorded without the 'E' as WHITING. He was 5 feet 8¼ inches tall, weighed 154lbs and had a chest measurement of 37½ inches with an expansion of 3½ inches. He worked as a carman.

Charles went to France with the 2nd Battalion East Surrey regiment on 1 June 1915 and was killed in action only seven weeks later on 19 July. There were no major battles raging at the time but hostilities never ceased for very long; trench raids, sniping and above all shelling all took a toll. The Battalion was holding the line in trenches at Wulvergem, Belgium, near the French border. The following is an extract from the War Diary for 19 July 1915:
Battalion in trenches. Casualties till noon, killed three other ranks wounded eight other ranks. Quiet day.
The Soldiers Died CD tells us that four men from the Battalion were killed that day. Even on a 'quiet day' the trenches were dangerous.

Charles is buried in grave I.C.109. in Bailleul Communal Extension, France. He was awarded the 1915 Star, British War medal and the Victory medal.

Many war widows with children married again, and Charles' widow Frances Louisa Whiteing, was no exception. She married John Harlow in the March quarter of 1917 in the Epsom registration district.

By 1920 they had moved from Epsom to 5, The Almshouses, Holcroft Road, Hackney. There is a birth registered in the March 1921 quarter of an Irene G Harlow, with Whiting as the mother's surname. Frances was aged 37 when she died at the Almshouses in 1923.

NOTE: According to a member of Genes Reunited, Frances died of tuberculosis (TB), as did her daughters, Dorothy and Winifred. It seems that John and Winifred were 'holiday fund kids' that were sent from London to the country or seaside for holidays. Mrs Ralph took the two children for a couple of years for holidays and then after their mother's death, Winifred remained as part of the Ralph family.

In May 1925, Charles and Frances' son John Roedean was sent to live in a Boy's Home in Montreal, Canada. His immigration documents gave a Mrs. Ralph of 27 Salisbury Road, Rusthall, Tunbridge Wells as his guardian and that he had been an errand boy while there. In the passport column it states that he was one of eight boys of 'Mr Graham's party'. Archibald Graham appears to be a farmer from Winnipeg who had returned to England to find boys to help colonize Canada.

EP SB

Back to the index


WHITTINGTON Harry, Private. G/3962.

8th Battalion The Buffs (East Kent Regiment).
Killed in action 29 September 1915, aged 27.

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

Henry Whittington was born in 1888, in Nottingham (GRO reference: Jun 1888 Nottingham 7b 391), the son of John Thomas and Mary Whittington (nee Bosworth). Although census returns record his place of birth as Great Bookham, there is no GRO reference for his birth in Great Bookham; I believe that he was born in the same county as his mother, Nottingham, she for some reason returning to Nottingham for his birth. His parents had married, possibly in secret, on 12 January 1871 in St Botolph church, Aldgate, London. A couple of months later they appeared on the 1871 census as unmarried and living apart in East Horsley. Mary was working as a dairymaid in East Horsley Towers for the Earl of Lovelace and John was working as a helper in a stable. It is certain that, had their marriage or Mary's pregnancy been known of, Mary would have lost her job.

In the 1881 census, before Harry was born, the family lived at 106, Preston Street, Great Bookham. His father was a 32 year old agricultural labourer, his mother was aged 30 and five siblings are recorded, Florence aged nine, Walter aged seven, Leah aged five, Alice aged 3 and Reuben aged one.

Harry Whittington And His Siblings
Name Born - Died Notes
Florence (registered Flora)
Elizabeth Mary
Born: 1871 East Horsley
Died: 1940 Epsom
Baptised 19 November 1871 St. Martin, East Horsley. Married Ernest Alfred Budd 29 Nov 1898 St Martins, Epsom. Their son Ernest Budd was killed in action on 8 Oct 1916
Walter John James Born: 1873 Effingham
Died: 1936. Buried 20 January, grave L145 Epsom Cemetery
Baptised 29 June 1873 St. Lawrence, Effingham.
Served 5th Battalion East Surrey Regiment
Leah Born: 1875 Great Bookham Baptised 23 May 1875 St. Nicolas, Great Bookham
Alice Jane Born: 1877 Great Bookham Baptised 17 June 1877 St. Nicolas Great Bookham
Reuben Born: 1879 Great Bookham Baptised 21 September 1879 St. Nicolas Great Bookham
Nelly (Registered Grace Ellen) Born: 1882 Great Bookham Baptised 5 March 1882 St. Nicolas Great Bookham
Mary Born: 1884 Great Bookham Baptised 3 August 1884 St. Nicolas Great Bookham
Lilian Born: 1886 Great Bookham Baptised 15 August 1886 St. Nicolas Great Bookham
Henry Born: 1888 Nottingham
Died: 29 Sept 1915 France
No baptism record found
Ethel Born: 1888 Great Bookham Baptised 14 October 1888 St. Nicolas Great Bookham
Richard Ernest Born: 1891 Great Bookham Baptised 21 March 1891 St. Nicolas Great Bookham
Dolly (Registered Dorothy) Born: 1892 Great Bookham Baptised 27 March 1892 St. Nicolas Great Bookham


In 1891 the family lived at Garston Farm, Great Bookham. Harry's father was still working an agricultural labourer, and four more siblings had arrived, Nelly (Grace Ellen) aged nine, Mary aged seven, Lilly (Lilian) aged five and Ethel aged one.

By 1901 the family had moved to 36, Victoria Place, Epsom, and one more sibling had arrived, Dolly (Dorothy) aged nine.

Epsom cemetery records show that Harry's father died at the 'brickyard pond, East Street', aged 62, and was buried in Epsom cemetery on 26 April 1910 in grave B177. The Epsom Advertiser dated 29 April 1910 printed a report of the inquest, held at the Railway Inn, High Street, Epsom. John Thomas Whittington was last seen alive on 3 April, but his absence aroused no suspicion as he often went away to find work. He suffered from rheumatism in his hands and feet but had never threatened to take his own life. The jury returned a verdict of 'Found drowned'.

I cannot find Harry in the 1911 census, but his 61 year old mother Mary was living with her married daughter Leah Tuckwell at 22, Lintons Lane, Epsom.

None of Harry's service papers have survived but from his medal card and Soldiers Died CD we know that he enlisted at Battersea, was in the 8th Buffs and went to France on 31 August 1915. The 8th Buffs were in the 72nd Brigade, 24th Division and fought in the battle of Loos. The battle commenced on 25 September but the 8th Buffs didn't fight until the next day, when they occupied what had been, the day before, the German front line.

After having been in France for only three weeks they went 'over the top' at 11am on 26 September. Their objective was the German third line, which was about 1,000 yards east of Hulloch. They advanced through persistent shellfire and on reaching a depression running south of Hulloch, they came under enfilade fire from machine guns. On reaching their objective trench they found the barbed wire intact, and being abnormally thick was difficult to cut. Attempts to get past the wire were unsuccessful, so the battalion was forced to retire to trenches some five or six hundred yards to the west and south west of Hulloch, where they remained for four and a half hours under bombardment.

The attack cost the 8th Buffs 156 men killed in action with a further 13 dying of wounds shortly after. Harry has no known grave and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial to the missing.

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

His mother Mary was aged 75 when she died in Middle House, Epsom. She was buried in grave E66A in Epsom Cemetery on 18 May 1926.

EP

Back to the index


WICKENS John Stanley, Private. 41134.

7th Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment.
Killed in Action 16 October 1918, aged 19.

John Stanley Wickens
John Stanley Wickens
Image courtesy of Mr Peter Collins, Sutton Grammar School archivist

John Stanley Wickens was born in 1899 (GRO reference: Sep 1899 Epsom 2a 24) to John and Alice Wickens (nee Gray). His parents had married in the December 1898 quarter in the Bishops Stortford registration district. (Surname has been recorded as Wickins in Free BMD).

In the 1901 census the family lived at 52, East Street, Epsom. John's father was a 38 year old gas fitter. His mother was aged 35, and at that time he was an only child. John's brother George Edward was born shortly after the 1901 census was taken.

Also living in Epsom in 1901 was John's aunt, Lizzie Gray, who worked for the Langland family in Hazon House as a cook. Ten years before in 1891, both John's mother and aunt Lizzie had been working in Sutton as cooks for separate families. Both of them were born in Stanstead, Essex, which comes under the registration district of Bishop's Stortford, and were the daughters of Charles and Elizabeth Gray.

Lizzie Gray, aged 49, died in St George's Hospital, Grosvenor Place, S.W. She was buried on 19 November 1910 in grave A229A in Epsom Cemetery.

On census night 1911, John's father was a patient at the Royal Mineral Water Hospital in Bath (specialised in rheumatic diseases). John and his mother and brother were still living at 52, East Street. John's mother was initially recorded as the wife of the head of the family, but this has been struck out and head of the family written in. She recorded that she had been married for 12 years and that she had had two children and that both were still living.

The Surrey Recruitment Register tells us that John attested at Epsom on 21 March 1917 aged 17 years and 6 months, into the 27th Training Reserve Battalion. He was 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighed 116 lbs, and had a chest measurement of 33 inches with an expansion of 4 inches. His medical grade was A4 (men under 19 who would be A1 or A2 when aged 19), he worked as a clerk, and he lived at 52, East Street, Epsom.

After training, John served as No. 51636 in the Bedfordshire Regiment but was transferred to the 7th Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment, which was in the 73rd Brigade, 24th Division. The war was to last only 26 more days when John was killed by machine-gun fire whilst pursuing the retreating German Army.

Nine men from the 7th Battalion Northampton Regiment were killed in action on 16 October 1918, including John. He is buried in St. Aubert British cemetery, about 4 miles north east of Cambrai.

John's Headstone in  St. Aubert British cemetery
John's Headstone in St. Aubert British cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2012

The St. Martin's church Roll of Honour states that:
JOHN STANLEY WICKENS, was killed in action at Montecourt on 17th October 1918, and was buried in St. Aubrits British Cemetery in France. He was for nine years a chorister at St. John's church, Epsom, and taught a class of boys in the Sunday School 1916-17.
John attended Sutton Grammar School, and the following is an extract from the school magazine:
JOHN STANLEY WICKENS.
At the school from 1912 to 1914. Enlisted at Kingston on September 3rd, 1917, he was placed in the Training Reserve and later transferred to the Bedfordshire Regiment at Clipstone. Transferred to the 7th Northamptons, he went to France at Easter, 1918. He went through Lens and Cambrai unwounded, but fell by machine-gun fire on October 17th, 1918, at Montecourt Hussery, and lies buried in a field by the roadside.
The June 1921 edition of the St. Martin's Church parish magazine printed the following:
CHOIR WAR MEMORIAL.
At St. John's on Trinity Sunday, a memorial to two members of the choir, Pte. Charles White and Pte. John Wickens, who lost their lives in the war, was unveiled by Mr.A.J. Warren, and dedicated by the Rev. F.S. Farebrother. The memorial consisted of an ornamental oak plaque. The letters of the inscription are in gold on a blue ground. Mr. Warren, who delivered a most suitable address, said the dedication service was being held at the ordinary evening service because of the very happy relations which existed between choir and congregation, and of the feeling of the choir that they would like the congregation to join in that service of remembrance.
The building that was once St. John's church is now used as a nursery school. It has been established that the memorial no longer exists within the building, and is therefore presumed lost.

John is commemorated on the Sutton Grammar School War Memorial, and on his aunt Lizzie Gray's headstone (grave A229A in Epsom Cemetery).

John's inscription on his aunt Lizzie's headstone
John's inscription on his aunt Lizzie's headstone (Detail)
John's inscription on his aunt Lizzie's headstone

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

His father, also John, aged 63, died in 1926 whilst still living at 52, East Street, Epsom and was buried in grave A255A, near to Lizzie Gray's grave, in Epsom Cemetery on 17 April.

His mother died on 14 January 1958 at 61, Grange Road, Sutton. Probate was granted to her son George Edward Wickens, timber merchant, valued at just under £599.

John's brother George had married Hilda Mary Neves on 26 November 1929 in St. Martin of Tours church, Epsom. When their son was born in 1931 he was named John Stanley Wickens, after his deceased uncle.

EP SM SGS SJ Aunt's grave

Back to the index


WILLIAMS Harry E., Private. 16435.

7th Battalion Prince Albert's Somerset Light Infantry (PASLI).
Killed in Action 25 August 1916, aged 28

Harry's inscription on  the Thiepval Memorial
Harry's inscription on the Thiepval Memorial
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2006

Harry Edward Williams was born at Bathford Somerset in 1888 (GRO reference Jun 1888 Bath 5c 605) to Edward and Sarah Williams (nee Odey). His parents had married in 1877 in the Bath registration district.

In the 1891 census the family lived at 2 South Parade, Monkton Combe, Somerset. Harry's 37 year old father was a 'Quarryman stone'. His mother was aged 33 and he had four siblings Albert 12, Kate 9, Ada 8 and Elsie 5. Visiting the family on census night was Harry's paternal aunt Jane Caswell.

Harry's father died in 1893 aged 39.

Only Harry and his sister Elsie were living with their widowed mother at 9, Portland Street, Clifton, Gloucestershire in 1901. His mother was working as a shirt needlewoman and Elsie as a domestic nurse. Also living at the same address was Harry's maternal uncle Charles Odey, a fly proprietor, and his family.

Harry's sister Kate married Lance Sergeant Harry James Byrant, from Sutton, Surrey, just before the 1911 census was taken. Harry and his sister Ada were living with them at 71, North Road, Bishopston, Bristol. Harry was working as a tram conductor and Ada as a cook.

Harry's mother was working as a servant for George Snashall and his family who lived and ran their stationary and fancy goods business in High Street, Epsom, Surrey. Although a widow, she had her marriage noted as being 24 years and that three of her eight children had died.

Harry's mother Sarah married James Major in 1913 in the Bristol registration district.

Harry's mother, widowed in 1893  had remarried to a James Major and lived at 15 Elm Road which is shown on the left of this photograph.
Harry's mother, widowed in 1893 had remarried to a James Major
and lived at 15 Elm Road which is shown on the left of this photograph.
Copyright image courtesy of Liz Manterfield 2006.

Harry enlisted in Woking and joined the 7th Battalion PASLI. He embarked with the battalion at Southampton on 24 July 1915, disembarking at Boulogne. The 7th Battalion was in the 61st Brigade, 20th (Light) Division.

During July 1916, the 20th Division moved from the Ypres salient to the Somme and by the 22 August they had taken over trenches opposite Guillemont. Then on the 25 August they moved into the front line, relieving the 7th Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry. During the relief they suffered a German bombardment lasting about one and a half hours, which killed two men and wounded thirteen others.

On the 25 August 1916, 2 men from the 7th Somerset Light Infantry lost their lives including Harry who was killed in action and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Pier & Face 2A. The CWGC states he was the 'Son of Mrs Sarah Major (formerly Williams), of 15, Elm Road, Kingston Road, Ewell, Surrey; and the late Edward Williams.

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

His mother was still living at 15 Elm Road in 1935.

BH EW

Back to the index



WILLIS Ernest, Major.

Kite Balloon Section RAF.
Died 1 July 1918, aged 34.

Major Earnest WILLIS, image courtesy of The Stock  Exchange roll of Honour
Major Earnest WILLIS
Image courtesy of The Stock Exchange Roll of Honour

Ernest Willis was born on 1 March 1883 (GRO reference Jun 1883 Kingston 2a 303) to David and Charlotte Louisa Willis (nee Aston). He was baptised on 22 April 1883 at St. Paul's Church, Kingston.

For family history before 1901 see the entry for Ernest's brother Raymond.

In the 1901 census Ernest was an 18 year old pupil at Hailebury College, Great Armwell, Herts, attending Le Bas House between 1897 and 1901. In 1908 he became a member of the stock exchange and was a partner in the firm of Aston and Willis.

The 1911 census records Ernest as a stockbroker, living at Garbrand Hall. The head of the household was Ernest's brother Henry, an insurance broker. Brother Alfred, a mining engineer was also living there. Eight servants were recorded.

Following the death of his father in 1911, the 1915 electoral roll shows Ernest as the joint owner of Garbrand Hall with his brother Henry. His mother died in 1916.

Ernest's RAF service record, started 27 May 1918, gives his address as 7, Sloane Street S.W.1, and his next-of-kin as his brother Henry, living at 31, Cornhill, London, E.C. He was recorded as dangerously ill on 29 June 1918.

The following information, and the picture of Ernest Willis come from the Stock Exchange Roll of Honour (www.roll-of-honour.com/London/StockExchange.html).
On the outbreak of war he joined the R.N.V.R. as a Sub-Lieutenant and was for a time in a motor boat, which he later commanded as a Lieutenant. In June 1915 he transferred to the Kite Balloon section of the R.N.A.S. and was appointed to H.M.S. Canning as balloon pilot.
He observed the fleet in many bombardments. When Canning was ordered home Major Willis remained at Thasos as Beachmaster.
In 1916 he was invalided home with malaria, and on recovering was sent to the Scilly Isles to erect a balloon station. From there he went to Shotley, and finally to Malta, where he attained the rank of Major when the R.N.A.S. was absorbed by the R.A.F. He died at Malta on 12 July 1918.
Garbrand Hall in c1895
Garbrand Hall c1895, Photographer C J Hopkins, Ewell
Image courtesy of Surrey Libraries and is held in the
Epsom & Ewell Local And Family History Centre

The RAF museum at Hendon supplied the information that Ernest died on 1 July 1918 as the result of an accident, but do not state how the accident happened. He is buried in Pieta Military cemetery, Malta, B. XIX. 1. Hospitals and convalescent depots were established on the island of Malta and dealt with sick and wounded, chiefly from the campaigns in Gallipoli and Salonika.

Ernest Willis's tombstone in the Pieta Military cemetery, Malta
Ernest Willis's tombstone in the Pieta Military cemetery, Malta
Ernest Willis's tombstone in the Pieta Military cemetery, Malta
Images courtesy of Corinne Wood © 2008

The Epsom Advertiser dated 5 July 1918 had the following:
EWELL: DEATH OF MAJOR E. WILLIS. - The death on July 1st on active service of Major Willis, R.A.F. is reported. Major Willis was the youngest son of the late David Willis, of Garbrand Hall, Ewell. He was in his 35th year.
In addition to the memorial in St Mary's churchyard, the Dog Gate Memorial and the Stock Exchange Roll of Honour he is also commemorated on his parents' grave in St. Mary's churchyard, Ewell.

BH EW PG

Back to the index


WILLIS Raymond, Lieutenant.

5th Reserve Cavalry Regiment attached to 18th (Queen Mary's Own) Hussars.
Killed in Action 25 March 1918, aged 37.

Lieutenant Raymond Willis
Lieutenant Raymond Willis
Image courtesy of Imperial War Museum © IWM (HU 127627)

Raymond Willis was born at 26 Douglas Road, Canonbury, London, on 5 November 1880 (GRO reference Dec 1880 Islington 1b 420) to David and Charlotte Louisa Willis (nee Aston). His parents had married on 20 June 1872 in Christ Church, Clapham.

RAYMOND WILLIS AND HIS SIBLINGS
Name Born - Died Notes
Mildred Aston Born: 1873 Brixton, Surrey.
Died: 28 December 1954.
Baptised 17 September 1873 St. John the Evangelist, Clapham.
Henry Born: 1875 Brixton, Surrey.
Died: ?
Baptised 20 May 1875 St. James Clapham Park.
Married Gladys Victoria Gynn 11 January 1919 Holy Trinity Chelsea.
David Born: 1876 Woodford, Essex.
Died: 1926.
Married Grace Violet 18 April 1907 St. Marys, Ewell.
Buried 22 December St. Mary the Virgin, Headley.
Alfred Burt Born: c1878 West Ham, Essex.
Died: 30 November 1959 Hove, Sussex.
 
Raymond Born: 5 November 1880
KIA: 25 March 1918
Baptised 19 December 1880 St Paul's Church Canonbury
Ernest Born: 1 March 1883 Kingston, Surrey.
Died: 1 July 1918.
Baptised 22 April 1883 St. Paul, Kingston Hill.
Served as Major in Kite Balloon Section, RAF. Buried in Pieta Mil Cemetery, Malta.

According to the 1881 census the family lived at 25 Douglas Road, Islington. Raymond's father was an Insurance Broker, and aged 41 was fourteen years older than his wife. The family employed four servants; which consisted of a cook, a housemaid, a governess and an assistant governess. Raymond had four siblings, Mildred aged 7, Henry aged 5, David aged 4 and Alfred aged 3.

By 1891 the family was living at 'The Beeches' on Kingston Hill but Raymond's mother was not at home the night the census was taken. Raymond's father was described as a 'Merchant and Insurance Broker', and now employed six servants. Raymond had another sibling Ernest aged 8, who was also killed during the war. Also staying with the family was Raymond's widowed grandmother Elizabeth Willis.

Raymond was educated at Haileybury College, attending Le Bas House between March 1893 and March 1898. He was in the Rugby fifteen and was a senior member of Haileybury Officer Training Corps.

In the 1901 census Raymond, aged 20, and his brother David, aged 24, were living with their elder brother Henry, aged 25, who was recorded as being head of the household at 'The Beeches', Kingston Hill. Raymond was working as a clerk to an insurance broker. Six servants were still being employed. I have been unable to find their parents in the 1901 census but by 1907 their father was the owner of Garbrand Hall, Ewell.

Raymond entered the firm of insurance brokers of which his father was chairman and in 1904 he went to Canada to establish a branch office. He remained in Canada for six years, returning to London in 1910 when he was admitted as a partner to the firm and elected a member of Lloyds.

I have been unable to find Raymond in the 1911 census, possibly he had returned to Canada on business, but his parents were living in their home in Hove. Raymond's father, David died in 1911, two months after the census was taken. His probate record reads:
'WILLIS David of 32 Cornhill London of Garbrand Hall Ewell Surrey and 13 Brunswick-terrace Hove Sussex died 6 May 1911 at Garbrand Hall. Probate London 8 June to Henry Willis and Ernest Willis esquires. Effects £88,633. 6s. 11d.'
The 1915 electoral roll records that Garbrand Hall was jointly owned by Ernest and Henry Willis, both sons of David Willis, and Raymond is shown as living at 'Woodgate' London Road, Ewell. Raymond's mother, Charlotte of Garbrand Hall and 13 Brunswick Terrace, Brighton, died on 25 October 1916.

Raymond attested in Maidstone, Kent on 31 August 1914 as Private No. 1136 in the West Kent Yeomanry. He stated that he was aged 33 years and 9 months, was a partner in the insurance brokers 'Willis and Faber', lived at Woodgate Cottage, Ewell, and had previously belonged to the Senior Cadet Corps at Haileybury College. Raymond was 6 feet 1½ inches tall, had a chest measurement of 40 inches with an expansion of 2½ inches, perfect 6/6 vision in both eyes and good physical development. His next-of-kin was his brother Henry Willis of Garbrand Hall, Ewell.

Raymond was discharged from the West Kent Yeomanry on 22 December 1914, and the next day he applied for a commission in the North Somerset Yeomanry. He was duly commissioned on 14 January 1915. The North Somerset Yeomanry War Diary tells us that Raymond joined the unit from Rouen on 7 April 1915. During the night of 12/13 May they took over trenches at Bellewarde Farm and pond, a few miles east of Ypres. The Germans commenced a heavy bombardment at 3-45a.m., which continued throughout the day. They attacked at 7a.m. but were repulsed. On 13 May the North Somerset Yeomanry had three officers and 21 other ranks killed, and eight officers and 100 other ranks wounded. Raymond was amongst those wounded.

His obituary published in The Times dated 19 April 1918 confirms that he was badly wounded in the Second Battle of Ypres (22 April to 25 May 1915) and took some time to recover (see below). Strangely, Raymond's service papers in the National Archives make no mention of this.

Raymond's forthcoming marriage to Emmie à Court Allan Cassels, to take place on 18 January 1917, was announced in the 16 January edition of The Times. Emmie, whom he probably met when he resided in Canada, was the only child of the late Allen Cassels K.C. of Toronto. Friends were invited to attend the ceremony in St. James' church Piccadilly at 12 o'clock, although there was to be no reception afterwards. They had one child Raymond Allan Willis, born 22 February 1918, who Raymond probably never saw.

On 20 October 1917 Raymond embarked from Southampton with the 18th (Queen Mary's Own) Hussars, 2nd Cavalry Brigade, Cavalry Division and disembarked at Havre, France the next day.

On 25 March 1918 they, like many thousands of other British soldiers, were engaged in a fighting retreat in the face of the Germany army's great attempt to win the war before the Americans arrived in force, the 'Kaiserschlact'. Much of the ground fought over at this stage of the war had been the scene of the first battle of the Somme in 1916, so was an already a bleak and desolate landscape.

Raymond was killed in action on 25 March 1918 and is buried in Carnoy Military Cemetery G 1A.

Lieutenant Raymond Willis's headstone in the Carnoy Military cemetery
Lieutenant Raymond Willis's headstone in the Carnoy Military cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2007

The following is an extract from the 'Memoirs of the 18th Royal Hussars (Queen Mary's Own) 1906-1922' by Brigadier-General Charles Burnett, C.B., C.M.G., 24 March 1918.
     March 24th.--- At 5 a.m. on March 24th the Regiment moved via Chaulnes, Vauxvillers and Proyart to Cappy, arriving there at noon. This movement to the north took place on the Division receiving orders to support the 39th Division just south of the River Somme, and if necessary to cross the river at Feuillères and support the 21st Division north of the river. The Headquarters of the 1st Cavalry Division were at Mericourt, south of the Somme.
     A party of 6 Officers and 160 other ranks, under Lieut. MacIlwaine, was sent to the Carnoy Valley, north of the river, for employment in the trenches near Bernafay Wood. This force was heavily engaged during the evening of the 23rd and the night of the 23rd-24th, and lost Lieut. Willis and 9 other ranks killed, 2nd Lieut. Williams and 26 other ranks wounded; 7 other ranks were missing. At 12.30 p.m. this dismounted party was sent to support the right of the 21st Division, and at 4.30 p.m, was ordered to fill a gap which had occurred between the left of the 9th Division and the right of the Vth Corps in the direction of Trones Wood.
     The remainder of the Regiment moved from Cappy to Cerisy at 8 p.m. and bivouacked there for the night.

     March 25th--Early on March 25th the Regiment, with the 2nd Cavalry Brigade, withdrew to Bussy-les-Daours, and halted there during the day with one troop on picquet duty on the Pont Noyelles Road.
Carnoy was a front line village held by the British in 1916, and was the starting point for many British soldiers on 1 July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

The following extracts appeared in the Epsom Advertiser:-
18 June 1915. Ewell Parish Council meeting, news had been received that Mr Raymond Willis had been seriously wounded, although a later report conveyed the welcome news that he was progressing favourably.

8 December 1916. EWELL. Mrs CHARLOTTE LOUISA WILLIS, of Garbrand Hall, Ewell, and of 13 Brunswick Terrace, Brighton, deceased, left unsettled estate amounting to £5,320. She left £1,000 to her nurse.

5 April 1918. LIEUT.RAYMOND WILLIS, of the Hussars who is reported killed in action on March 25th, was the fourth son of the late David Willis of Garbrand Hall, Ewell.
The following obituary appeared in The Times dated 19 April 1918:
     LIEUTENANT RAYMOND WILLIS, Hussars, was the fourth son of the late Davis Willis, of Garbrand Hall, Ewell, Surrey. He was born in 1880, and was educated at Haileybury. He entered the office of the firm of insurance brokers of which his father was chairman, and in 1904 went to Montreal on their behalf to establish a branch office there. He remained in Canada for six years, and on his return to London in 1910 was admitted a partner in his firm and elected a member of Lloyds. Immediately on the outbreak of war he joined the West Kent Yeomanry as a trooper and went to France the following January with a commission in the North Somerset Yeomanry. He was severely wounded at the second battle of Ypres, and for many months complete recovery seemed impossible, but in the autumn he was able to return to light duty, and was at Tidworth until he joined the Hussars at the front in October 1917. He was killed on March 25. He married in January 1917, Emmie à Court Allan, only child of the late Allan Cassels, K.C., of Toronto Canada, and leaves an infant son.
Raymond's probate reads:
WILLIS Raymond of Cliff Cottage Seaford Sussex lieutenant 5th reserve cavalry attached 18th Hussars died 25 March 1918 in France. Probate London 5 July to Emmie A'Court Allan Willis widow. Effects £55,942 11s.
Raymond's medal card tells us that he was awarded the British War medal and the Victory medal, but no 1915 Star. As he was badly wounded in early 1915, this seems a strange omission.

The CWGC states that Raymond was the:
Son of David Willis, of Garbrand Hall, Ewell, Surrey; husband of Emmie Court Allan Willis.
In addition to the memorials in St Mary's churchyard and outside Bourne Hall, Raymond is commemorated on the Lloyds of London memorial outside their building in Lime Street and on his parents' grave in St. Mary's churchyard, Ewell.

Raymond's widow married Carl Wolff in the December quarter of 1934 in the Westminster registration district.

BH EW PG

Back to the index


WILLSON Edgar Brian, Lieutenant.

'A' Company, 25th Battalion Machine Gun Corps (MGC).
Killed in Action 27 May 1918, aged 25.

Edgar Brian Willson
Edgar Brian Willson
Image courtesy of Catherine Laverack ©2013

Edgar Brian Willson was born on 26 May 1893 in Streatham, Surrey (GRO reference: Sept 1893 Wandsworth 1d 777), the second son of Samuel and Marianne Willson. His mother Marianne Edgcumbe, who was born in Ewell, Surrey, married Samuel Willson in 1890 in the Kingston registration district.

In 1891 Edgar's parents were living in 'St. Ives', Greyhound Lane, Streatham, Surrey where Edgar's father Samuel was a dealer in works of art, and part of his grandfather's long standing and successful business. His mother Marianne was recorded as Marion on this and the following censuses.

Edgar's only sibling, his older brother, Guy Rupert Samuel, was born on 6 January 1892 in Streatham.

By 1901 the family were living in 'Rosendale', College Road, Epsom. Edgar's father employed two servants, Mary Bedwell as a parlour maid and Minnie Collins as a housemaid, to help run their home. Edgar and his older brother Guy were both pupils at Upland House School, a small preparatory school for boys. Later they both attended the public boarding school Charterhouse in Godalming, Surrey, where Edgar's birthday was recorded as being on 26 May 1894. From the school's records in 1906, the family address was given as Downs Lodge, Church Street, Epsom.

When the 1911 census was taken Edgar, aged 17, was recorded as a boarder in Weekites House, Charterhouse school. His brother Guy's whereabouts has not been found in this census but staying with their parents at Down Lodge, was their mother's younger sister Leila Blanche Edgcumbe who was a maternity nurse.

Edgar's mother died in the Esplanade Hotel in Seaford, at the young age of 43. Her body was returned to Epsom and buried in grave A433 in Epsom cemetery on 17 September 1913. Her husband married her sister Leila a year later on 14 August 1914 in the Wandsworth registration district.

Edgar's brother Guy served in the 1/5th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment, and was invalided out of the Army, receiving the 'Silver War Badge For Services Rendered', issued to soldiers who were no longer fit enough to fight, through wounds or disease.

Edgar attested on 11 January 1915 at 10, Stone Buildings, Lincoln's Inn, London W.C. into the Territorial unit, the Inns of Court Officer Training Corps (OTC), and was given service number 2641. He gave his address as Down Lodge, Epsom, his religion as 'C of E' and his father as next-of-kin. On the same day, at his medical examination, he was measured at 5 feet 11 inches tall, with a chest measurement of 37¼ inches and an expansion of 2¾ inches, he had perfect vision in both eyes and good physical development.

Soon after, on 9 March 1915, he applied for a temporary commission in the Regular army, for the duration of the war, by completing 'Form M.T. 423'. On this form he gave his date of birth as 25 May 1894, his permanent address as Down Lodge, Epsom, and his correspondence address as 9, Beaconsfield Terrace, Hythe. He stated that he had previously served in the Inns of Court O.T.C. and that since 11 February 1915 he had held the rank of Acting 2nd Lieutenant, 8th York & Lancaster Regiment. He was given a good character reference by the Vicar of Epsom, the Rev. Bainbridge-Bell, and by F.G. Forder M.A., Assistant Master at Charterhouse School.

Edgar served in France between 28 December 1915 and 21 April 1916, a relatively quite period, with the 8th Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment, in the 70th Brigade, 8th Division. Then on 22 April he transferred to 70th Brigade MGC, which saw service in the Battle of the Somme.

Edgar was granted leave, and on 1 November 1916 he returned to the UK, but on 11 November when his leave ended, he was found unfit to return. In a note dated 15 November 1916, from the address 'Beechwood, Epsom', a Medical Officer (MO), Dr. Alexander, wrote:
I certify that 2nd Lieutenant E B Willson, 70th Coy, M.G. Corps is still suffering from a certain degree of fever, and is not fit to return to duty on Saturday next 18th inst.
On 30 November, the same MO wrote:
I hereby certify that 2nd Lieutenant E.B. Willson 70th MG Corps, is not yet thoroughly fit in my opinion; though very much better, his pulse is still too quick, and his nervous system is hypersensitive.
Dr Alexander wrote again on 6 December:
I herby certify that 2nd Lieut. E B Willson, Machine Corps has been under my care since November 5th; that he was suffering from an attack of fever, probably a return of Trench Fever which he had in France just before coming home on leave. He had a marked rise in temperature each night for about a fortnight with some headache and general aching. He is now much better, but his pulse is still quicker than normal and his nervous system is rather hypersensitive.
On 13 December a medical board at Horton War Hospital examined Edgar and found that:
The officer was on 10 days leave from France when he had a physical attack and had to go to bed. A month before he had an attack of trench fever. During the last attack he had pains in the shins and general malaise. He has been getting up for a fortnight. He is still a little weak after the attack.
The board further concluded that he would not be fit for any kind of duty for three weeks, and that the infection was caught whilst on military service.

Then on 2 January 1917 another medical board at Horton War Hospital found that:
the officer while on leave from France had a relapse of his trench fever. He is now much improved but gets occasional headaches. No pains in joints or long bones. The board also found that he was likely to be unfit for general service two months.
On 8 January 1917 the Brigadier General in charge of the Machine Gun Training Centre at Grantham, wrote that 2nd Lieutenant E.B. Willson had been taken on the strength of the Training Centre.

On 2 February 1917 another medical board, at the Military Hospital, Grantham also found his disability to be 'Trench Fever', and that he was likely to remain unfit for a further month. A re-examination was ordered to take place on 2 March 1917, when he was declared fit for general service.

Presumably it took a few more months for Edgar to be fit enough for active overseas service, returning to Camiers, France on 21 June 1917.

Edgar was again granted leave to the UK, from 26 November to 10 December 1917, embarking from Boulogne to Folkestone. On 9 December, a day before he was due to return to France, he was admitted to the 3rd London General Hospital, Wandsworth, S.W.18 (http://ezitis.myzen.co.uk), suffering from whitlow, for a likely stay of 14 days for treatment. He was instructed to rejoin his service unit on 23 January 1918.

On 2 May 1918 Edgar returned to Camiers, France and on 4 May joined the 25th Battalion MGC, part of the 25th Division.

The Western Front between Reims and Soissons was considered a quiet section with little fighting, and for this reason four British Divisions, that had suffered badly in earlier fighting, were sent there to rebuild. However, the part of the front held by the weak and recovering British Divisions, known as the Chemin des Dames, was about to be fiercely attacked in what became known as the Third Battle of the Aisne. The 27 May 1918 saw the start of the battle, the third, in a series of five attacks, launched by the Germans to try to win the war before the Americans arrived in great force. The battle raged until 3 June and many miles of territory were lost to the Germans, 13 on the first day, and when the Battle finally petered out, Paris was only 37 miles away.

Edgar was killed in action on 27 May 1918, the day after his 25th birthday. As his body was not found, he is commemorated on the Soissons Memorial to the missing.

On 21 October 1918 Edgar's father contacted The Secretary of the War Office Department dealing with the affairs of deceased officers, and wrote:
Dear Sir, Re Lt. E.B. Willson, 25/M.G.Corps
     I am uncertain as to whom I should address this letter, if wrong, please forgive.
Some two months since my son Lt. G.R.S. Willson received the enclosed in answer to an enquiry on my behalf, regarding his brother Lt. E.B. Willson who was killed in action on 27 May last, Chemin des Dames, near a village called Bouffignereux, I believe.      Without wishing to be troublesome, I should esteem it a favour if I could have something of the said kit etc. having received no further communication of any sort.
     Also, as owing to conditions under which my boy fell, news of his death and burial, if such took place, was scanty, although his C.O. told me that he could -- However, as we have retaken the district, I am in hopes that some further evidence might be obtained; could something be done in that way that might relieve the minds of his nearest relations? I should be so grateful if it were possible -- apologising for troubling you I am, Dear Sir,          Yours Faithfully, Sam Willson.
The Epsom Advertised dated 14 June 1918 printed the following:
LIEUT. E.B. WILLSON KILLED. - News is to hand that Lieut. Edgar Brian Willson, M.G.C., younger son of Mr. Samuel Willson, jun., of Salt Mill House, Fishbourne, Chichester, late of Down Lodge, Epsom, has been killed in action.
Edgar died intestate and on 31 January 1919, Letters of administration record his home address as Salt Mill House near Chichester, Sussex. Administration of his effects, valued at £210 19s. 11d., was granted to his father Samuel Willson (the younger), gentleman.

On 10 April 1919 a Miss Fay Lovsey-Smith of 11, First Avenue, Oldfield Park, Bath, Somerset, wrote to the War Office:
Gentlemen, Would you please send me particulars as to date and place where E. Brian Willson, Lieut A Company 25th Batt. M.G.C. was killed whilst serving in France last year.
      The nearest dates I have are May 26th (the date of his last letter) & June 9th (the date I received news through a fellow officer).       Awaiting your reply & thanking you in anticipation
I am Faithfully Yours Fay Lovsey-Smith

She received the following reply dated 23 April 1919:
The Military Secretary presents his compliments to Miss Lovsey-Smith, and in reply to her letter of the 15th April, begs to inform her that Lieut. E.B. Willson, 25th Battalion, Machine Gun Corps, was killed in action on the 27th May, 1918, but no details have been received, neither has the location of his grave been reported.
Edgar was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War medal and Victory medal.

Edgar Brian Willson's medals
Edgar Brian Willson's medals
Photo courtesy of Alan J. Thomas www.medalsofengland.com

Edgar's father was aged 79 when he died on 15 January 1947 in Avenue House, Lympstone, Exmouth, Devon. His body was retuned to Epsom and buried on 20 January 1947 in the same grave space as his late first wife, Marianne, in Epsom cemetery. Probate of his effects valued at just over £20,158 was granted to his bank and eldest son Guy, who was then working as a fishing tackle dealer. Guy died in Devon in 1963, aged 71.

Edgar Brian Willson is commemorated on: the Soissons Memorial to the missing; Upland House School memorial in St Martin's church, Epsom; Fishbourne, Sussex; and on his parents' grave in Epsom cemetery.

Edgar's inscription on the Soissons Memorial to the missing
Edgar's inscription on the Soissons Memorial to the missing
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

The Willson Family Grave in Epsom Cemetery
The Willson Family Grave in Epsom Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

Close up of Edgar's inscription on The Willson Family Grave
Close up of Edgar's inscription on The Willson Family Grave
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

UHS PG

Back to the index


WILMOT Percy James, Signalman. J/23264.

Royal Navy, H.M.S. Ardent.
Killed in Action 1 June 1916, aged 20.

Percy's inscription on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial
Percy's inscription on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

Percy James Wilmot, son of Thomas and Fanny Eliza Wilmot, was born on 26 June 1896 in Holmwood, Surrey (GRO Reference: September 1896 Dorking 2a 158). His father, a schoolmaster, had married Fanny Eliza Little on 15 December 1883 at St. Mary's church, Lambeth.

Percy James Wilmot And His Siblings
Name Born Died
Mary Elizabeth Fanny 1 October 1884 Lambeth  
Thomas Arthur 25 April 1886 Lambeth  
James Hugh 1887 Camberwell 1893
George Edward 28 September 1888 Camberwell 1889
Daisy May 15 September 1890 Camberwell 1893
Hester Olive 20 May 1892 Lambeth  
Lilian May 22 October 1894 Wandsworth  
Percy James 26 June 1896 Holmwood, Surrey 1 June 1916
Cecil John 3 May 1898 Dorking, Surrey 1963
Ruth Alice 1900 Cuddington, Surrey  

At the time the 1891 census was taken, before Percy's birth, his family were living at 26, Grove Lane, Camberwell. His parents Thomas and Fanny had four children, Mary Elizabeth Fanny aged 6, Thomas Arthur aged 4, James Hugh aged 3 and Daisy May aged 6 months. The family had one domestic servant, Emma King, working for them. Percy's father was described as being a teacher at an elementary school. When Hester was baptised the following year, the family were living at 52, Poplar Walk, Herne Hill. Percy's brother James and sister Daisy died in 1893. When Percy's sister Lilian May was born the following year, the family were living at 29, Middleton Road, Battersea. His parents had moved to Holmwood near Dorking, Surrey when Percy was born in 1896.

Aged 4, Percy and his family had moved to "Ilfracombe", The Avenue, Worcester Park, Surrey when the 1901 census was taken. His father was still teaching and his 14-year-old brother Thomas, was working as an apprentice grocer. His sister Mary, aged 16, was not working but, as they had no servants, was probably helping their mother look after him as well as his other siblings Hester Olive aged 8, Lilian aged 6, Cecil John aged 2 and 9 month old Ruth Alice.

When the 1911 census was taken, 14-year-old Percy was serving an apprenticeship to become a motor and cycle engineer. The family were now living in "Stoneleigh Cottage", Worcester Park, Surrey. His sister Hester was aged 18 but not working and his younger siblings, Cecil aged 12 and Ruth aged 10 were still at school. His father was teaching in a school run by the County Council. Percy's parents confirmed that they had been married for 27 years and had had 10 children, three of whom had died.

Percy joined the Navy on 18 February 1913 with the rank 'Boy 2'. When he signed up he was 5 feet 3½ inches tall and had a chest measurement of 34 inches. He had brown hair, grey eyes and a fair complexion. Before joining the navy he had worked as a 'Motor Boy'.

On 22 October 1913 he was promoted to 'Signal Boy', and promoted again on 26 June 1914, his 18th birthday, to 'Ordinary Signalman'. Finally on 26 February 1915 he was promoted to 'Signalman'. Throughout his naval career he was always appraised as very good in character and ability.

When WW1 was declared, Percy joined the Royal Navy as a signaller. He was one of the crew aboard H.M.S. Ardent when an enemy German battleship sank it on 1 June 1916 during the Battle of Jutland. Percy was declared 'killed or died as a direct result of enemy action'.

Extract from the Official History; "Naval Operations" by Sir Julian S. Corbett. 1923:
..........This destroyer now found herself alone, and having escaped with little injury, made away southwards in the hope of finding the rest of her division, which in fact had ceased to exist. What she fell in with was something quite different. .............. Lieutenant-Commander A. Marsden in the Ardent saw smoke ahead of him, and thinking it came from his consorts he made towards it. Then the form of a large German ship loomed up, and without hesitation he attacked. Another torpedo was fired at very close range, but before he could see the result he was blinded by the searchlights of four battleships in line ahead. Out of the glare came the inevitable hurricane of shell. In a minute or so the Ardent was a mere mass of scrap-iron, and switching off their lights the enemy disappeared and left her to sink helpless and in total darkness. She was lost with all hands except Lieutenant-Commander Marsden and one man..............
Percy's body was never recovered for burial but he is remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial as well as on the St Mary's church Cuddington memorial and on the Worcester Park memorial in the grounds of the now demolished St Philip's Church, in Cheam Common Road.

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

SMC

Back to the index


WILSON William, Driver. T4/161350.

Army Service Corps (ASC).
Died 22 February 1918, aged 36.

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

It has been found impossible to find out anything about William's early life. As will be seen from the following, he was unmarried and had no next-of-kin.

William attested at Blackheath on 21 December 1915. He gave his age as 34, his address as 'Victoria Home', Whitechapel, his trade or calling as 'Labourer' and stated that he had previously spent 12 years serving with the East Surrey Regiment. He was assigned to the ASC with service number T4/161350 (indicating that he was to be employed on horse transport).

William was 5 feet 7¾ inches tall, had light brown eyes, dark hair and had a chest measurement of 36 inches with an expansion of 3½ inches. His right arm was tattooed with 'Females and Soldier', his left arm with 'Serpent and Clasped hands'. He stated that he had no next-of-kin.

William embarked from Southampton on 12 March 1916 and disembarked the next day at Havre, France. On 16 March he was posted to the 'Base Horse Transport Depot' at Havre. After only 19 days in France William was diagnosed with Primary Dementia and transported back to the UK on 4 April 1916.

On 11 September 1916, at The County of Middlesex War Hospital, Napsbury, a 'Report on a Case of Mental Disability' was produced regarding William. The report's findings were as follows:
  • born in Shoreditch, London
  • full name was William Percy Wilson
  • aged 34
  • unmarried
  • religion unknown
  • no relatives
  • service Home 21 December 1915 - 11 March 1916
  • service France 12 March 1916 - 5 April 1916
  • service Home 6 April 1916 - 8 September 1916
  • suffering with Primary Dementia
The report went on to state that:
He is in a state of dementia, his habits are faulty and in particular he is unable to give a rational reply to a simple question. He is ******** and neglects himself.
It was further stated that he had not been wounded but that his condition had been aggravated by the stress of active service. On 22 September 1916 he was discharged from the Army, being permanently incapacitated.

By February 1917 William was a patient in Long Grove Asylum, where he remained until his death on 22 February 1918 from Myocardial degeneration (heart disease).

William was buried in grave K648 in Epsom Cemetery, the same grave as three other soldiers. Despite having been discharged from the Army he is commemorated by the CWGC on the screen wall.

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

CWGC

Back to the index


WIMHURST Charles, Rifleman. R/8179.

1st Battalion King's Royal Rifle Corps (KRRC).
Killed in Action 24 May 1916, aged 19.

Rifleman Wimhurst's headstone at the Canadian Cemetery No 2 Neuville St Vaast
Rifleman Wimhurst's headstone at the Canadian Cemetery No 2 Neuville St Vaast
Copyright image courtesy of Clive Gilbert 2007

Charles Wimhurst was born in 1896 in Victoria, London (GRO reference Dec 1896 Lambeth 1d 371) to Charles and Sarah Wimhurst (nee Coleman).

In the 1901 census the family lived at the 'Stables, The Wilderains', Earley, Berkshire. Charles' father was a 'Coachman Domestic' for Howard Vyse, and his brother Reginald, born 20 May 1897, was aged 3.

The family moved to Ewell and on 27 January 1909 Charles' brother William Howard was born. On 5 April 1910 his brother Reginald, having previously attended Ewell Boys Church of England School, started at Ewell Boys School. The school records show that the family was living at Shalimar Stables, Banstead Road, Ewell. His brother William started at the school in 1916.

The 1911 census records the family still living at Shalimar Stables and that Charles' father was working as a coachman for John Williams Rogerson and Charles himself was helping in the stables. Charles' father filled out the form stating that he and his wife of 14 years had had three children, all surviving. Also staying with them was Charles' father's cousin Fanny Hopcraft.

Charles enlisted at Chelsea Town Hall on 15 December 1914 into the 5th Battalion KRRC and gave his address as 43 Claybourne Mews, Lennox Gardens S.W. One official document states his 'apparent' age is as 19, although he was probably a year younger. He was medically examined, and his physical development was declared 'good'. He was 5 feet 5 inches tall, weighed 130 lbs, and had a chest measurement of 34½ inches with an expansion of 3½ inches. His vision was not perfect and was assessed as, right eye 6/6, left eye only 6/18. Distinguishing marks were, 2 brown moles 1¼ inches apart on the right side of the back of his neck. His occupation was that of a 'Carriage Groom', and his next of kin was his father Charles, who lived at 'The Lodge', Nonsuch, Ewell, Surrey.

Nonsuch Lodge in 2007
Nonsuch Lodge in 2007
Copyright image courtesy of Clive Gilbert 2007

On 17 December 1914 Charles was sent to Winchester for training and on 23 March 1915 he was sent to France to join the 1st Battalion KRRC, which was in the 99th Brigade, 2nd Division. On 16 May 1915 he received a severe shell wound to his right foot and was transferred back to England via the 14th General Hospital at Wimereux, France. After spending some months at home with the 5th Battalion (Depot) he returned to Rouen, France on 8 November 1915 aboard SS Lydia and spent some weeks with the 8th entrenching Battalion.

By 25 February 1916 he was back at the front with the 1st Battalion and on 5 May 1916 was 'Wounded in action shock shell'. He was admitted to hospital but rejoined his Battalion 3 days later on the 8th. Presumably he was near a shell when it exploded, but not too near to cause him severe damage. Just 15 days later on the 23/24 May 1916 the 1st KRRC were ordered to retake two lines of trenches on the Vimy Ridge that had recently been captured by the Germans. However due to heavy enemy shelling the attack was cancelled, but the shelling had caused casualties.

On 24th May 1916 six men from the 1st KRRC lost their lives, including Charles who was killed in action, and is buried in Canadian Cemetery No 2 Neuville St Vaast, 3 A 23. CWGC states Charles was the 'Son of Charles and Sarah Wimhurst, of Manor House Cottage, Ewell'.

On the 14 October 1916 his personal effects were sent to his mother at The Lodge, Nonsuch, Ewell. The microfilm is almost illegible but it is possible to make out that a watch and strap and a pocket knife in a case were, amongst other items, sent to his mother. In 1919 she changed her address to Manor House Stables, Ewell.

Amongst the surviving official papers are receipts signed by Sarah Wimhurst for her son's 1914-1915 Star dated 25 April 1919, for his British War and Victory medals dated 11 June 1921, and for his memorial scroll dated 23 September 1926.

Charles' brother Reginald's 1926 marriage entry shows that Charles' father was working as a chauffeur and was living at The Manor House Garage, Ewell. His mother Sarah died aged 57 in 1934 and his father Charles later died aged 73 in 1946 in Hastings.

BH EW ES

Back to the index


WINSLET Egbert Charles William, Private. 1206.

7th Battalion Australian Infantry.
Killed in Action 25 April 1915, aged 23.

Egbert's headstone in Lone Pine Cemetery, Turkey
Egbert's headstone in Lone Pine Cemetery, Turkey
Images courtesy of Debbie Wilbur ©2011

Egbert Charles William Winslet was born in Epsom in 1892 (GRO reference: Sep 1892 Epsom 2a 21) to Henry George and Ellen Winslet (nee Razzell). Egbert is shown as Bertram in the CWGC records.

Egbert's parents married on 30 November 1889 in Leatherhead's parish church, St Mary and St Nicholas and at the time of the 1891 census lived at 3, Langlands Cottages, East Street, Epsom. His father Henry George was a 23 year old house decorator, his mother Ellen was 21 and he had an older brother Henry James aged 1. (Henry James appears in the Surrey Recruitment Register attesting on 28 December 1914).

Egbert was baptised in St. Martins of Tours church Epsom, on 14 August 1892.

By the 1901 census the family lived at 8, Church Road, Epsom. Henry George was still painting houses, and another three siblings had arrived Francis Reginald aged 6, Mildred May aged 3 and Florence Kate aged 1 (mistranscribed as Winslett). Four more siblings were to be born, Edith Hilda in 1901, Lionel in 1904, Gladys in 1907 and Rose in 1909.

Egbert was not living with his family at 8, Wyeth Road, Epsom when the 1911 census was taken, and his whereabouts is unknown. His father filled out the census form stating that he and Elen (sic), his wife of 21 years, had had 9 children. Egbert's brother Henry was working as a grocer's assistant and his brother Francis as a chemist's errand boy. His other siblings, Mildred, Florence, Edith Hilda and Lionel were at school while Gladys and Alice Rose were at home with their mother.

Egbert emigrated to Australia in 1912 and it appears that when he started his new life in Australia he also gave himself a new name, Bertram. On 23 September 1914 Bertram enlisted into the 7th Battalion Australian Infantry and gave his next of kin as Mrs. E. Winslet, 4 Wyeth Road, Epsom, London, England.

At dawn on 25 April 1915 the Allies invaded the Gallipoli Peninsular. British, and French forces landed in the south, whilst Australian and New Zealand (ANZAC) forces landed further north at what has become known as ANZAC Cove. Bertram was part of the Australian Imperial Force that landed at ANZAC cove at 6-30am on 25 April. He was later declared as missing on that day. It was not until 5 June 1916 that a Board of Enquiry held in France declared him as officially killed in action on 25 April 1915. For more information on the Gallipoli campaign see the Gallipoli Association website (Opens in a new window).

The 12 May 1916 edition of the Epsom Advertiser had the following:
A PATRIOTIC FAMILY.---Mr. and Mrs. Winslett (sic) of Wyeth's-road, Epsom, have three sons in the Army. They are Driver H. Winslett, A.S.C.; Pte. E. Winslett, 7th Infantry Batt. Australian Imperial Force (missing since Suvla Bay landing), and Corpl. F.R. Winslett, 10th King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. In addition another son and the father are engaged in munition work.
Bertram was awarded the 1915 star, British War medal and Victory medal. In January 1922 his memorial plaque and scroll were sent to his mother, but a request for a pension was rejected on the grounds that Mrs. Ellen Winslet, 4, Wyeth Road, Epsom, had not been dependant on the late soldier for 12 months prior to enlistment.

Bertram is buried in Lone Pine cemetery, row O grave 10. The cemetery is located 1¼ miles south east of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli peninsular, Turkey. This was not his first burial place as there is a record of his exhumation from an unspecified grave and reburial at Lone Pine.

Lone Pine Cemetery, Turkey
Lone Pine Cemetery, Turkey
Lone Pine Cemetery, Turkey Lone Pine Cemetery, Turkey
Lone Pine Cemetery, Turkey
Lone Pine Cemetery, Turkey
Lone Pine Cemetery, Turkey
Images courtesy of Debbie Wilbur ©2011

The St Martin's church roll of honour has the following "EGBERT CHARLES WILLIAM WINSLET, was reported missing at Gallipoli and officially presumed killed in action on 25th April 1915. He left England in 1912 and joined the Australian Imperial Forces when war was declared.

Egbert's father Henry was buried on 23 November 1932 in grave K669 in Epsom cemetery. His mother Ellen was buried in the same grave on 9 June 1941.

EP SM

Back to the index


WONSAWITCH Nicholas, Private. 871869

16th Battalion Canadian Infantry
Died 27 September 1917, aged 20.

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

Back to the index


WOOD Robert Leslie, Sergeant. 6753.

2nd Battalion Ox & Bucks Light Infantry.
Killed in action 21 October 1914, aged 32.

Robert Wood's inscription on the Menin Gate Memorial
Robert Wood's inscription on the Menin Gate Memorial
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2008

Robert Leslie Wood was born in 1882 (GRO reference Sep 1882 Epsom 2a 27) to Thomas and Emily Wood. His widowed father was aged 30 when he married spinster Emily Williams, aged 21, on 12 February 1870 in St. Mary the Virgin church, Ewell. Robert's parents had eleven children who were all baptised at St. Mary's Ewell.

ROBERT LESLIE WOOD AND HIS SIBLINGS
Name Born - Died Notes
Thomas Arthur Born: 1870 Ewell
Died: 1874
Baptised: 3 July 1870
Buried St. Mary's 4 June 1874
Horace William Born: 1873 Ewell
Died: 1874
Baptised: 2 March 1873
Buried St. Mary's 4 June 1874
Albert Henry Born: 1874 Ewell Baptised: 2 August 1874
Ellen Born: 1878 Ewell
Died: 12 February 1877
Baptised: 4 June 1876
Emily Born: 1878 Ewell Baptised: 2 September 1877
Thirza Born: 1879 Ewell
Died: 1881
Baptised: 7 September 1879
Buried St. Mary's 11 November 1881
Annie Louisa (Clara) Born: 1881 Ewell Baptised: 1 May 1881
Robert Leslie Born: 1882 Ewell
Died: 21 October 1914
Baptised: 1 October 1882
Florence Born: 1884 Ewell Baptised: 6 April 1884
Lydia Mary Born: 1885 Ewell
Died: 3 July 1886
Baptised: 6 December 1885
Hilda Born: 1887 Ewell
Died: 1958
Baptised: 1 January 1888

In the 1881 census, before Robert was born, the family was living in Green Man Street, Ewell. Robert's father was a 'Gardener', and he had four siblings Albert Henry aged 6, Emily aged 3, Thirza aged 1 and Clara aged 1 month. Note: It appears that 'Clara' was eventually registered as Annie Louisa.

In the 1891 census Robert and his family were living in West Street, Ewell. Robert's father was a 'Jobbing Gardener', and he had another two siblings, Florence aged 7 and Hilda aged 5.

By the 1901 census the family lived in Mount Pleasant, West Street, Ewell but Robert Leslie was an eighteen year old private soldier living at the Oxford Cowley Barracks. So by the outbreak of war in 1914 he was a seasoned regular soldier.

Mount Pleasant
Mount Pleasant in 2016
Copyright image courtesy of Clive Gilbert 2016

When the 1911 census was taken Robert's parents were living in West Street, Ewell. His father filled in the census form stating that he and his wife had been married for 41 years and that five of their eleven children had died. Of the six left only Hilda was living with them along with their 3 year old grandson Allen Sutton. Robert's father was aged 74 when he died in 1914.

On 13 August 1914 Robert, a regular soldier, left Aldershot with his battalion, by train bound for Southampton. The Battalion sailed at 8pm from Southampton on SS Lake Michigan and landed in Boulogne, France at 2.30pm on 14 August. Robert and his battalion were amongst the First soldiers of the British Expeditionary Force land in France.

At time Robert was killed in action on 21 October 1914 his battalion the 2nd Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry was in the 5th Brigade of the 2nd Division, and was part of the 1st Corps under General Haig, before Haig became Commander-in-Chief. All the men who served at this time became known as 'The Old Contemptibles'. This came about because Emperor William II (Kaiser Bill) wanted his forces to exterminate the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), and referred to it as a 'contemptible little army'. From that moment on all those who took part proudly referred to themselves as 'The Old Contemptibles'.

The fighting that took place between 21 and 24 October 1914 was officially known as the 'Battle of Langemarck' and was part of the greater battle known as the 'First Battle of Ypres'.

Advertiser 18 December 1914:
A meeting of the Ewell Parish Council records its regret of the death of Sgt Wood, and agrees to send a letter of condolence to his mother. Also recorded is the fact that 160 Ewell men are serving in the forces.
Advertiser 12 March 1915:
The late Sgt Wood had been mentioned in despatches from the front.
(Note: Supplement to the London Gazette dated 17 February 1915.)

Robert was the first Ewell man to be killed and his is the first name to appear on the Bourne Hall Dipping Well Memorial.

On 21st October 1914 sixty men and four officers from the 2nd Ox and Bucks Light Infantry lost their lives including Robert killed in action. Robert is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial, Panel 37 & 39.

The CWGC states he was the 'Son of the late Thomas and Emily Wood, of Mount Pleasant, Ewell, Surrey'.

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

Robert's Bronze Plaque
Robert's Bronze Plaque
Image courtesy of of 'Dix Noonan Webb" Auctioneers © 2011

BH EW ES

Back to the index


WOODWARD Frank Webster, Aircraftsman 1st Class. 401176.

Royal Air Force (RAF).
Died of Wounds 29 September 1919, aged 40.

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

Frank Webster Woodward was born on 2 June 1878 (GRO reference: Sep 1878 Leicester 7a 179) to Robert Pretty and Ruth Woodward (nee Webster). His parents had married in the September quarter of 1877 in the Leicester registration district.

The 1881 census recorcds the family living at 22 Conduit Street, Leicester. Frank's father was a 32 year old 'Printer Newspaper Overseer'. His mother was aged 33, and two year old Frank had a sister called Ruth. The family employed one domestic servant.

By 1891 the family was living at 82 Conduit Street. Frank's father was described as a 'Printer (Compositor)'. Frank had two more siblings, Thomas Henry aged 8 and Robert Walter aged 6. Mary E. Webster, aged 12, was recorded as a visitor.

By 1901 the census recorded the family living at 4 Stoughton Street, Leicester. Frank's father was still working in the newspaper industry, whilst Frank was a cabinetmaker working on his own account. His 20 year old sister Ruth was a 'Kindergarten School mistress', his brother Thomas was an 18 year old 'Photographers assistant', and his 16 year old brother Robert was a 'Printers compositor'. The family employed one domestic servant.

On 21 April 1906 Frank married Alice Maud Simpkin, who lived at 89 Cliff Hill, Coventry Road, Warwick. They had four children:
  • Robert Walter born 25 July 1906
  • Margaret Ruth born 27 November 1907
  • George John born 1 August 1909
  • Frances Winifred born 12 May 1916
In 1911 Frank's parents were still living at 4 Stoughton Street and his father was still working as a newspaper compositor, whilst his mother was recorded as 'School mistress'. His parents had been married for 34 years and had had four children, all still living. Frank's thirty year old sister Ruth had no occupation recorded, but brother Thomas was a 'Photographer' working on his 'Own Account'. Frank's 4 year old son, Robert Walter, was living there on census night, as was domestic servant, 15 year old Elsie Simpson.

Frank and his wife were living at 8 Uppingham Road, Leicester with their 3 year old daughter Margaret and 1 year old son George. They had been married for five years and their three children were all alive. Frank was still a cabinetmaker but was now employed as a worker.

Frank's father's died on 29 July 1912 and his mother Ruth in 1924.

Frank's RAF papers tell us that he was 5 feet 7 inches tall, with a chest measurement of 31½ inches, and that he had previously served with the Leicestershire Yeomanry, but unfortunately no dates are given. His RAF papers also tell us that he joined the Warwickshire Regiment on 19 August 1915 with service number 4957 and went to France with them on 9 October 1915, until 7 October 1916, when he transferred to the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, with service number 103160. He returned from France on 14 December 1916.

On 14 Sept 1917 Frank transferred to the Royal Flying Corps (RFC), (which became the RAF on 1 April 1918). His rank on 20 June 1918 was 'Aircraftsman 1st Class' and he was a Carpenter Rigger (Aero).

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

The CWGC states that he was the :
Son of the late Robert and Ruth Woodward, of 4 Stoughton Street, Leicester. Husband of Alice Maud Woodward, of 89 Cliff Hill, Warwick.
Frank died in Horton War Hospital on 29 July 1919. The CWGC Cemetery Register records that Frank died of wounds but his RAF papers simply state 'Died'. He was buried in Grave K654 in Epsom Cemetery and is commemorated on the screen wall.

CWGC

Back to the index


WYETH Allen Frederick, Private. 1952.

7th Battalion East Surrey Regiment
Killed in Action 13 October 1915, aged 19.

Allen's headstone in Canadian Cemetery No2, Neuville-St. Vaast
Allen's headstone in Canadian Cemetery No2, Neuville-St. Vaast
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2011

Allen Frederick Wyeth was born on 19 June 1896 (GRO reference: Sep 1896 Epsom 2a 18) to Joseph Henry and Harriett Annie Wyeth (nee Gray). Allen's parents were married on 3 April 1883 in Christ Church, Epsom.

In the 1891 census the family lived in East Street Epsom. Allen, yet to be born, had four older siblings, Joseph Henry aged 7, Clara Dorothy aged 4, William Jonathan aged 3 and Florence Ruth aged 1. Florence was to pass away on 8 May 1891 aged 1 year and 9 months. Allen's father Joseph had been born in Sydney, Australia in 1862, his occupation (difficult to read) looks like 'Grocer Master'. His mother was 29.

Allan Frederick Wyeth And His Siblings
Name Born - Died Notes
Joseph Henry Born: 31 Jan 1884 Epsom Baptised 9 Mar 1884
Clara Dorothy Born: 10 May 1886 Epsom Baptised 6 June 1886
William Jonathan Born: 27 May 1887 Epsom Baptised 10 July 1887
Florence Ruth Born: 10 Aug 1889 Epsom
Died: 8 May 1891 Epsom
Baptised 1 Sep 1889
Buried Epsom 11 May 1891 Grave A73A
Frank Percy Born: 25 Dec 1891 Epsom Baptised 24 Jan 1892
Allen Frederick Born: 19 June 1896 Epsom
Died: 13 Oct 1915 France
Baptised 12 July 1896
Robert John Born: 17 Nov 1900 Epsom Baptised 17 April 1901
All were baptised at Christ Church, and the family lived in East Street

By the 1901 census the family lived at Bankside, East Street, and Allen had two more siblings, Frank aged 9 and Robert aged 4 months. Allen's father was shown a builder employing people. His brother Joseph was an articled pupil to an architect and surveyor. The family also employed a domestic servant.

By the 1911 census the family had moved to 'Fairlands', Alexandra road, Epsom. Allen's father was described as a 'Retired Grocer'. Only Allen and his brother Robert remained in the family home, and both were scholars. Allen's mother recorded that she had given birth to seven children and that six were still living. It is also recorded that the youngest member of the family, Robert John, was totally blind from birth.

Allen attested in Epsom on 5 September 1914. He was 5 feet 9 ¾ inches tall, weighed 134lbs, and had a chest measurement of 37 inches with an expansion of 4¾ inches. He had a fresh complexion, blue eyes and brown hair. His occupation was simply stated as a pupil.

Allen was sent to France on 1 June 1915, and posted to the 7th Battalion East Surrey Regiment which was in the 37 Brigade, 12 Division. The Battalion fought in the battle of Loos, which commenced on 25 September 1915, and ended on 13 October 1915. The Battalion had been employed in holding the line but on the 13 October had been ordered to attack 'Gun Trench'. The following is an extract from the History of the East Surrey Regiment:

At 2p.m. two platoons of B Company, led by Lieut. J.S. Hewat, made a frontal assault on Gun Trench while bombing parties attacked it from both flanks. The frontal attack got in at once, the Germans running as soon as B Company approached the parapet. A Company, under Captain V. Tomkins, in two lines at fifty yards' interval, followed up, but came under heavy machine-gun fire in the open and suffered severely. The survivors of the company, led most gallantly by Sergt. F.H.Martin, followed up the northern bombing party. Behind A Company came bombers of C Company, under Lieut. J.L.Findlay, their duty being to clear and block for 100 yards the German communication trench to Cité St. Elie. This having been accomplished C Company advanced from its position in second support to the captured trench, and again reinforced the garrison, principally on the right. Reinforcements being again quickly necessary D Company went up from the third support trench, followed by Captain Dawson's company of the Royal West Kent Regt. There was much bombing on both sides, and our men suffered a good deal from enfilade fire from the trenches, leading to the "Quarries"; but they stoutly held on to their capture, and did not require further reinforcements though theses were brought up in readiness. The night passed fairly quietly, and at 4.30a.m. on 14th October the companies in the captured trench were reorganised. This was completed by 6a.m., a German counter-attack on the left being repulsed during the process. The conduct of the men of the 7th Battn. East Surrey in this, their first fight, was very fine; although for five days prior to the enterprise they had been subjected to a heavy bombardment, they attacked with the greatest dash a position which had already successfully resisted the assaults of four other battalions. As a result of their attack the East Surrey men practically annihilated the defenders of Gun Trench, capturing sixteen prisoners, a machine gun and three trench mortars.

The 7th Battalion at Gun Trench. Click image to enlarge
The 7th Battalion at Gun Trench. Click image to enlarge.

On 13 October 1915 78 men from the 7 Battalion East Surrey Regiment were killed in action, including Allen Frederick Wyeth. He is buried in Canadian Cemetery No2, Neuville-St. Vaast, on Vimy Ridge. After the war may bodies were exhumed from small scattered cemeteries nearby and concentrated into Canadian Cemetery No2, Neuville-St. Vaast.

Unusually, Allen was mentioned in Council minutes dated 26 October 1915:
It is with much regret the Councillors have to record that Mr. Allan Frederick Wyeth (son of Mr. J. Wyeth of Epsom, has been killed in action. When in the Surveyor's office he displayed exceptional ability, and had been particularly successful in all examinations.
It was unanimously Resolved that the condolence of the Council and staff be conveyed to Mr. and Mrs. Wyeth.
Allen was awarded the 1915 star, the British War medal and the Victory medal.

The CWGC state that he was the son of Joseph Henry and H.A. Wyeth, of "Fairlands", 6, Alexandra Road, Epsom.

Allen Wyeth's inscription on his parents headstone
Allen Wyeth's inscription on his parents headstone
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2008

He is also commemorated on his parents gravestone in Epsom Cemetery.

EP CC PG

Epilogue:
Allen's mother Harriet Annie died aged 80 in the Cottage Hospital Epsom and was buried in plot A73A in Epsom cemetery on 26 June 1943.

Brother Frank Percy, a fire watcher, died aged 52 at 31, Copse Hill, Wimbledon and was buried in plot A73A in Epsom cemetery on 23 October 1944.

His father Joseph Henry died aged 87 at 6, Alexandra Road, Epsom and was buried in plot A73 in Epsom cemetery on 5 January 1949.
Back to the index




Please Note: We believe that the information on this page is accurate however users should satisfy themselves that the information is correct before incurring any expense or undertaking any journeys. This is particularly important when purchasing certificates from other bodies, for example the General Register Office. You might like to use the following links to Freebmd and Find My Past (Links open in a new window).

War Memorials
War Memorials
All Saints
All Saints
Dipping Well
Dipping Well
Ashley Road
Ashley Road
St Mary's Ewell
St Mary's Ewell
Sgt. Green and the Epsom Riot
Epsom Riot
Woodcote Camp
Woodcote Camp