Researching soldiers who served in the East Surrey Regiment

Many men from, or of, Ham chose to serve in the East Surrey Regiment during the Great War. A key attraction was that it was Kingston’s ‘local regiment’ and Ham was part of the borough of Kingston, Surrey. Those of them who lost their lives while on active service in the East Surrey Regiment were, in alphabetical order of surname:

  • Frederick William Adams, 1/East Surrey Regiment;
  • William Charles Brooker, 7/East Surrey Regiment;
  • Richard Charles Greenwood, 13/East Surrey Regiment (Wandsworth Battalion);
  • Thomas Henry Fisher, 8/East Surrey Regiment.

For anyone with an interest in others who served in a battalion of the East Surrey Regiment, may I recommend 1st World War Diaries, a site with images from the First World War diaries of the Regiment’s many battalions.

From that page, use the drop-down arrow (to the right of the search box) to select the battalion of interest to you. Then click on the GO button to proceed. This will take you to a page with hyperlinks to each month that the battalion was in a Theatre of War. Note that this diary is a typed transcript. You can also move back and forth between months from links at the bottom of the webpage for the month you are viewing.

Whether your soldier died or survived, you can trace his battalion’s movements in a theatre of war, month by month, from wherever you have access to the Internet.

Source
The Queen’s Royal Surreys, ‘1st World War Diaries’, http://www.queensroyalsurreys.org.uk/war_diaries/war_diaries_home_new.shtml , accessed 11/8/2019).

Please note that in my blog posts on East Surrey soldiers, I provide a different source. That’s because, even when there may be an online transcript, I always visit The National Archives at Kew, to view any war diaries I can for every soldier I research. If a regiment’s war diary is missing (lost, destroyed or incomplete for a particular period), I move ‘upwards’ to search for information about that battalion in war diaries of the brigade and division to which it was attached at the time of interest to that soldier. When necessary, I also search sideways, looking at the regiments to their left, right, and rear in that particular action and viewing their war diaries for that period.

Further Reading
For a modest fee, you can download a battalion’s diary from the website of The National Archives. Sometimes, you may need to download more than one diary to cover the period of interest to you. If some terms or abbreviations confuse you, you will find helpful lists for military abbreviations online. I recommend also that you look at my transcriptions of War Diaries because I expand abbreviations using square brackets to contain the ‘missing’ text.

Paul McCue’s Wandsworth and Battersea Battalions in the Great War 1915–1918 provides most interesting background, not just on the two battalions of the East Surrey Regiment on which it focuses. I wish I had come across it earlier! It came up in a search, when I was researching the action in which Richard Greenwood was possibly wounded, which led me to snippets of the book in a Google Search. I used that information to find the book on Amazon, where I read the sample pages for the Kindle edition.

Even though I had done as much as I felt was needed for Richard G., and even though I have far too many books on war memorials and military campaigns and histories and our bookcases have long since overflowed, Fellow Enthusiast, I bought it. I’ve got three riveting books ‘on the go’ as I write, and I’m working my way through them in spurts. If I pick up anything I’ve missed, I’ll edit the Greenwood post. Here are the details and, as it’s a Surrey regiment, I should imagine Wandsworth, Battersea, Richmond and Kingston libraries will have copies or be willing to obtain them for their borrowers:
McCue, P., Wandsworth and Battersea Battalions in the Great War 1915–1918, Barnsley, 2010.

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Richard Charles Greenwood (1897–1917)

14841 Private Richard Charles Greenwood
13
/East Surrey Regiment.
Died of Wounds received in Action, 25 April 1917.
Buried in the Military Cemetery at Bray-sur-Somme, near Albert.

Richard’s place the Greenwood family
In 2015 I was asked to research the men commemorated on the World War Two Face of Ham’s Parish War Memorial, one of whom was Robert Ernest Greenwood.

In the process of researching Robert Greenwood, I needed to go back to his great grandfather, the founding father of the Greenwoods in Ham, a man whose many descendants have long been ‘part and parcel’ of Ham. The research I had done on that family in 2015, was to save considerable time when I discovered there was yet another Greenwood to research—a casualty in World War One, whose name is not on Ham’s Parish War Memorial.

Ham’s informal Roll of Honour, headed ‘The European War’.

The discovery of Richard Greenwood as a casualty of the Great War was made known to me in October 2018 when I was sent news of an unexpected find in St Andrew’s Church, something that seemed to be a temporary, handwritten Roll of Honour. This list included the name Richard Greenwood. but that name does not appear on the World War One face.  I felt fairly confident that this man must be related to the Greenwoods of Ham and that Richard could well be another to add to my list of those Missing from The Memorial.  

Like Robert, Richard was a great grandson of the legendary Cornelius Greenwood. Richard’s father, Charles Greenwood, was the son of another Richard Greenwood (1843–1882), the youngest son of Cornelius’s first marriage. 

We start Richard’s story with his great grandparents, Cornelius Greenwood (1806–1899) and his first wife, Susan Stocker (1817–1844).

Record of the baptism of Cornelius Greenwood Polden

Richard’s great grandfather was born Cornelius Greenwood POLDEN in about 1806 in Ewelne, near Benson in Oxfordshire where he was baptised on 29 December 1806, and identified as the natural son of Maria Polden. The insertion of Greenwood into the baptismal record may have been intended as a pointer to the child’s natural father, though it could also be to a relative on his mother’s side or to a benefactor.

The first record found for him as Cornelius Greenwood is the entry for his marriage to Susan Stocker in Isleworth in 1835. The couple lived in Molesey, moving later to Ham, where Cornelius found work as an agricultural labourer. He moved rapidly up the ranks to Bailiff and Market Gardener, ultimately achieving wider fame as one of the ‘agitators’ who took on the Earl of Dysart in the case known as The Defence of Ham Common.

Susan, Cornelius’s first wife, was the eldest daughter of Samuel Stocker, and his wife, Sarah Knight.  Samuel’s working life, as a Bargeman and Barge Carter, seems to have been spent along and on the River Thames.  After the birth of their daughters, Susan and Sarah, the family moved from East Molesey to Petersham in about 1820, where they joined the community of boat builders and watermen based there.  The Stockers lived first in a cottage in the Sandpits area and later in nearby Sudbrook Lane. Five sons were added to the Stocker family after their move to Petersham and all were baptised at St Peter’s.

Susan died about the time of Richard’s first birthday, and just days after the birth of her youngest child, Ann, who died the following year aged 9 months. With Susan’s death, Cornelius was left a widower, with six children under the age of eight. 

On 20 October 1845, eighteen months after the death of his wife, Cornelius Greenwood was married in St Andrew’s Church to a Ham lass, Louisa Brown (1821–1880).  The entry in the Marriage Register has him down as a bachelor, rather than as a widower!   

It would have been difficult for Cornelius at the time, and later for his second wife, Louisa, to cope with so many very young children, and that on top of the children likely to be born of that second marriage, so it is quite possible that the children’s maternal grandparents were called on to help with their care.  Certainly the youngest, Richard, was recorded in 1851 in Sudbrook Lane, Petersham, with his maternal grandmother, Sarah Stocker,  This child was the grandfather of our Richard Charles Greenwood.

Researching Richard Charles Greenwood
The starting point for this research was the name Richard Greenwood on that temporary Roll of Honour, which was maintained at St Andrew’s Church during the Great War. While Alec Willows, recorded on that Roll of Honour, was not commemorated on the Parish War Memorial, Richard had a right to be there, as he fulfilled one of the criteria for commemoration—he had been born in the parish. 

A search for Richard Greenwood on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s database generated seven Greenwoods with the first name Richard and another nine Greenwoods identified by an initial R (i.e. including R with or without another initial). It was R C Greenwood who turned out to be a match.  The information for Richard Charles Greenwood hinted at a connection with the Richmond and Kingston area, since this soldier was recorded as born in Richmond, and a Private in the East Surrey Regiment. It was not unusual for residents of Kingston and Richmond to regard the East Surreys as their preferred ‘local’ regiment and to choose to enlist in that regiment rather than in one of the many London Regiments.

Richard was born on 17 August 1897 in New Road, Ham and was privately baptised a week later, on 25 August 1897, the parish register describing the infant as the “son of Charles and Edith Greenwood”.  Perhaps the loss of their first child, made the couple keen to have Richard baptised as early as possible.  The GRO index entry for his birth records SLADE as the maiden name of his mother and with this information, a search was made for the marriage of his parents, revealing that Richard’s father, Charles, had married Edith Sarah Slade at St Andrew’s on 14 April 1895.  The baptismal register seems to make clear that Richard was a native of Ham, and therefore could indeed have had his name included on its War Memorial.

Charles and Edith’s first child, John, died in 1895 soon after his birth.  He was followed by Richard Charles, born also in Ham in 1897, and then by William, born in Richmond, in 1900.  The family was living in Canbury Park Road in 1901, but had moved to Southfields, Wandsworth, where Edith Ada (1903), Alice Lilian (1905), Frederick (1908) and James (1911) were born. 

Richard enlisted in the 13th Battalion of the East Surrey Regiment—the Wandsworth battalion—a Pals’ battalion, but also a Service battalion which had been raised by the Mayor of Wandsworth in June 1915 and adopted by the War Office two months later. He attested as Charles Greenwood which could suggest that he was known as Charles to his family and friends; his name was, however, recorded officially as Richard in the two censuses in which he was enumerated.  He enlisted on 5 November 1915, giving his age as 19 years 1 month, though he had only relatively recently celebrated his 18th birthday.  Following training at Witley, at Aldershot and at Blackdown, his battalion arrived in France in the first week of June 1916, one month before the Battle of the Somme began. Richard would have seen some action in the Battle of the Somme, which he survived. 

For a Service Battalion, the 13th seems to have been involved in as much fighting action on the Front line as some fighting battalions and a large number of casualties.  Working Parties were in reality more exposed to shelling than were men in the trenches, and often came under fire intended to disrupt the essential work they were carrying out. Even during otherwise quiet periods, these battalions could experience the loss of some lives. 

To give a taste of a Richard’s war, on a “quiet day” in September 1916, the battalion provided “large working parties” for the Royal Engineers with the remaining soldiers deployed to improve the battalion’s billets at Maroc, not far from where the Battle of Loos had been waged a year earlier.  The 13th battalion had been billeted in cellars which needed to be cleaned, whitewashed and strengthened. With the return of the working parties, work to improve the cellars continued for several days “with a view to the approach of winter”.  This included laying sandbags on the ‘roofs’ of the cellars, to provide further cover in the ruins under which they had been billeted. While at Maroc, they cannot have slept easily in their “three tier beds” given the accounts of shrapnel shells and rifle grenades being fired towards their billets. The War Diary shows they were also under fire when on duty in their support and front trenches.  Even in that week of relative “quiet”, there were casualties and far too soon after, came intensive action.  Lighter moments  were sometimes recorded; one night members of the battalion managed to place announcements in German on the enemy’s wire, letting them know that Romania had declared war on Germany and Austria. The diary also records their sending the same messages into the enemy trenches by means of rifle grenades.

While Richard’s Medal Roll index card does not even record the fact of his death, the record of his effects confirms that he died “of wounds” on 25 April 1917.  

The puzzle behind the “died of wounds”
Because so many records have been damaged or destroyed, when a soldier is recorded as dying of wounds, it is difficult to work out just when he was wounded.  He may have been stabilised, at least enough to be moved further away from the action for treatment, and could thus have survived for an unspecified time thereafter.

Here’s how it worked.  The Army operated a casualty evacuation chain with the first stages being the Dressing Stations—the Aid Posts and Field Ambulances close to the front line, where the men were stabilised before being moved to a Casualty Clearing Station (CCS).  The tasks of the medics at a CCS was (1) to treat men who were sufficiently fit to go straight back on duty and (2) to stabilise and treat those who needed to be evacuated to a major Base Hospital.   If a man were to be buried some distance from his unit’s action and its location at the time of his death, there is a possibility that he lived long enough to have been stabilised at a Dressing Station near the battlefield, and then to have been moved to a Casualty Clearing Station and, possibly, subsequently even further away to a General Hospital. 

In Richard’s case, I viewed the War Diary for his battalion at The National Archives, and noted that in the first fortnight of April, the 13/Battalion had been working under the supervision of the Royal Engineers on the Maricourt–Péronne railway line.  It was back-breaking work for up to ten hours at a time, but essential because the line provided vital supplies (food, medicines, weapons, equipment) for the troops.  These men were then tasked with a march spread over three days (the second being a break for rest) to Gouzeaucourt Wood, ahead of a planned attack on Villers-Poulich. Richard was on that march.

Documents held by the CWGC record that Richard was buried at a British Military Cemetery near Bray-sur-Somme, 33 km away as the crow flies.  (Seven others from Wandsworth’s Pals are buried there.)  This cemetery was used during April 1917 by the 5th and 48th Casualty Clearing Stations, which suggests that Richard died at one of these, and therefore before he could be transferred to a Field Hospital or a Military Hospital.  

It is rare that the name of a casualty from the lower ranks is recorded in the War Diary of a battalion.  As some records for the the East Surreys survive in the Burnt Records, I located a few legible pages from Richard’s service records, but none relating to events for him as a casualty of war.  Here’s what I think happened.  Because of the distance between Gouzeaucourt Wood where Richard was wounded and Bray-sur-Somme which is near the Casualty Clearing Station to which he was sent, and the delays in finding transport for the injured, during similarly intense periods of fighting, I think it is more likely that Richard was wounded on the 22 or 23 April than in the heavier, more brutal action on 24 April.

Richard was buried in the Military Cemetery at Bray-sur-Somme, alongside an East Surrey officer, Lieutenant Forster Crampton Johnston, whose death was recorded on 23 April, two days earlier than Richard’s.  Might the two men perhaps have been moved to Bray at the same time?  I searched the Battalion’s War Diary, and found the action in which Lieut. Johnston had been wounded.  This occurred on 21 April 1917 at Gouzeaucourt Wood where the battalion was in action for several days.

Here is the account as recorded in the battalion’s War Diary:

21.4.17
The battalion was ordered to move forward in conjunction with the 119th Brigade on the right and the 11th Bn KORL Regt on a line from FIFTEEN RAVINE exclusive to Q17 d 8.7.

12.30am  Patrols reconnoîtred our objective but found no signs of the enemy.  Strong posts were thereupon dug along the line.

4.20am Under cover of our artillery barrage, parties from D Coy advanced and occupied posts from FIFTEEN RAVINE to Q18 c 9.4; and from C Coy Q18 c 9.4 to Q17 d 8.7. One platoon from A Coy was attached to each of C and D Coys.
A Coy (less 2 platoons) occupied the line of resistance along the North Eastern edge of GOUZEAUCOURT WOOD.B Coy were in reserve at Q23 c 8.4.
A small trench running from the sunken roads Q23 c 5.4 to Q 23 a 8.6 was deepened and occupied by the remainder of C and D Companies.
Casualties: 3 o[ther]r[anks] wounded.

22.4.17
Except for the occasional interchange of shells, the situation was quiet. With a view to an attack on Villers-Poulich, it was proposed to capture the enemy strong point about Q18 d 5.8.  The 14th Bn Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders attempted to bomb down the enemy’s trenches in Q18 a [r?b?] but was unsuccessful.  The operations on the enemy post at Q18 d 5.8 were therefore postponed. During the night a continuous trench about 4 – 5 feet deep was dug fro FIFTEEN RAVINE to Q17 d 8.7. Enemy snipers were very busy, causing several casualties.

Casualties: 2nd Lt F C JOHNSTON, Lieut L A SEELEY, 2nd Lt F L WARLAND and 4 o[ther]r[anks] wounded.

23.4.17
The enemy artillery were much more active shelling the sunken roads at Q23 c 5.4. the track from there to QUEENS CROSS and GOUZEAUCOURT WOOD.
Casualties: 1 o[ther]r[anks] killed; 9 o[ther]r[anks] wounded.
2nd Lt F C JOHNSTON died of wounds.

Although there were to be even more casualties on the 24th, I think it is likely that Richard was one of those 4 foot soldiers who were wounded on the 22nd.

We know what items Richard had with him when on the front line, as these are listed under his Personal Effects. The list describes them as follows—explanations in italics are mine:

Disc  Identification Disc
Letters 
Photos
Pkt Diary Pocket Diary—keeping a diary was forbidden, lest it fall into enemy hands.
Relig Bk  Religious Book
big Case
PC s  Post Cards
Xmas Card Christmas Card

This list tells us what might have been returned to his next of kin:  Richard’s identification disc, letters he’d received from friends and family, photographs, a pocket diary, some sort of religious material perhaps as little as a tract of a book from the New Testament, a case, postcards and a Christmas Card. 

Richard was still in his teens when he died, a few months short of his twentieth birthday. We can only imagine the grief of his parents at their loss of their son and for Richard’s five siblings, their “big brother”.  Only William among them would have been old enough to enlist, and that not until January 1918.  But even then, with three months’ training, he would at least have missed the colossal sacrifice during the Kaiserschlacht in March.

FURTHER INFORMATION AND BACKGROUND

The Greenwood on the Parish War Memorial’s WW2 Face
Robert Ernest Greenwood (1920–1942) who is commemorated on the World War Two Face of Ham’s Parish War Memorial, was a grandson of Walter Greenwood, one of the sons from Cornelius’s second marriage to Louisa Brown.  Both Robert and Richard were great grandsons of Cornelius Greenwood—their relationship being half third cousins because they shared only one of their eight great grandparents.

Cornelius Greenwood Polden
For any interested descendants, it was an Ewelne resident, John Greenwood, who stands out in the field of possible fathers of the infant, Cornelius.  John Greenwood and Maria Polden were never to marry each other, although both did eventually marry.

The timing of Richard’s injuries
An account of a commemoration, a few years ago, of three Victoria Cross recipients from Wandsworth (one of whom, Reginald Haine, was a Petersham Scout) includes a description, on 24 April 1917, of the exploits of Corporal Edward Foster V.C., a Wandsworth Council dustman from Tooting who was serving in the 13/East Surrey Regiment. This seemed a significant attack but it occurred the day before Richard’s death, and given the distance from Villers-Poulich to the Clearing Stations at Bray-sur-Somme, and the time it would take for him to be removed there, I thought it unlikely that he was involved in the action on that day. I have downloaded a digital copy of the relevant war diary and hope in due course to have time to transcribe the entries for 24 April and the days preceding 22 April, and add them to the Richard’s story.  For the time being, I am going for the action on 23 April.

An easy way to follow Richard’s war experience is provided on the website of The Queen’s Royal Surrey Regiment, offspring of the East Surrey Regiment.  My transcripts are of the images I viewed at The National Archives.  For those unable to travel there, I provide links to both in my list of sources.

Sources
The National Archives, WO 95/2612/3, War Diary of 40 Division, 120 Infantry Brigade, 13 Bn East Surrey Regiment, 1 June 1916–31 January 1918, 24 April 1915.
Note: If you download this document at The National Archives, the action of the battalion around the time of Richard’s death of wounds is in the first pdf, namely WO 95-2612-3_1.pdf.  The action for 21 April 1917 commences on image 83 of 123.
13th Battalion Home Page, East Surrey Regiment (“The Queen’s”) War Diaries, http://www.queensroyalsurreys.org.uk/war_diaries/local/13Bn_East_Surrey.shtml, accessed 11/8/2019, June 1019––July 1918.
Worshipful Company of Information Technologists, ‘Wandsworth honours three brave VC winners’, https://www.wcit.org.uk/networks/154/master2017_thread.html?threadid=3094, accessed 8/7/2019.

Posted in Army, East Surrey Regiment, Ham War Memorial, Missing from the Memorial | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Alec Willows (c.1882–1915)

32371 Serjeant David Alexander Willows,
126 Battery, 29th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery.
Died of Wounds, 21 May 1915,
Buried at Bailleul Communal Cemetery, Nord, France.

“He was my very best Sergeant…”

This was a temporary, handwritten Roll of Honour, maintained in the course of the War

Ham’s Temporary Roll of Honour

Alec Willows is not commemorated on the permanent War Memorial for the parish of Ham.  However, his name was recorded on a handwritten, temporary Roll of Honour which was recently found in its frame in St Andrew’s Church.  It seems that when news of the death of a local serviceman reached the parish of Ham, his name would be added to this list, providing one way for parishioners to learn of deaths that affected their neighbours. We do not know why Alec’s name was not eventually included on the permanent Parish War Memorial, since he had a less tenuous connection with the parish than some others who are commemorated on it.

Initially, identifying ‘Alec Willows’ appeared to be straightforward.  He is recorded in the CWGC (Commonwealth War Graves Commission) database as 32371 Serjeant (sic) Alexander Willows, serving in the Royal Field Artillery.  There are 19 men with the surname Willows on the database for the First World War, and he is the only one with A as one of his initials.  Identifying his link with Ham was not easy. Alec’s situation is unlike that of Richard Greenwood, who is also named on the temporary Roll of Honour, and who was a native of Ham and the great grandson of Cornelius Greenwood, a notable resident of Ham.  ‘Sorting out’ Alec’s family background, however, turned out to be more elusive than expected.

Ellen Reason, Alec’s sole legatee
© Christopher Reason

From the military records which survive for Alec, we know that he enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery at New Cross in Kent, that he died of wounds in France, and that his sole legatee was ‘Miss Ellen Reason’.

There was a Reason family in Ham, whose eldest daughter, Ellen, was born on 8 August 1880 in Limerick Ireland. This provided the first clue that her father might also have had a military connection.  However, there was not, at first, any evidence to link Alec with this particular Reason family, other than his being on Ham’s temporary Roll of Honour, and his having left money to an Ellen Reason, who could perhaps be the Ellen Reason in the parish.

The age (31) given for Alexander Willows in the CWGC record was unhelpful, and there was no matching birth for an Alexander Willows of anything near this age. (Once it was discovered that he had been recorded in 1881 as David Alexander, a search was made also for a matching birth for a David Willows, also without success.)

For the three censuses in which Alec is recorded there is conflicting evidence for his birthplace and for his age. I looked first for him in the 1911 Census, and found him recorded as a Bombardier serving in the Royal Field Artillery at Headley in Hampshire.  That census records his age as 28 and his birthplace as Eastbourne.  One might suppose, as I did, that the Army would have based this age on some documentation or information provided to them when he enlisted.  If this age has been calculated accurately, and if one can rule out a transcription error, at the time the details were transferred to the census summary sheet, this would mean he was born in 1882 or 1883.

I found Alec in the 1901 Census at 26 Southlands Road, Bromley, aged 16, with his birthplace recorded as ‘London’.  He was described, moreover, as the ‘adopted son’ of Ellen Tracey, head of the household and a widow, aged 55.  If his age was indeed 16, Alec was born in 1884 or 1885.  This Census also identified his occupation, somewhat broadly, as a Collector.

Armed only with the conflicting information in the 1901 and 1911 censuses, I eventually also found my target in 1891.  Ancestry had unfortunately transcribed the entry with its usual liberality, but Alec is almost certainly the David Alexn (sic) Williams (sic) in the household of George and Ellen Trang, aged 6 and described as a ‘boarder’. The members of the Trang family in this census were found to match closely, apart from surnames, the members of the family of George and Ellen Tracey, transcribed correctly in earlier and subsequent censuses. The age of Alec in this census is consistent with that given ten years later, and his birthplace is given as London—N. K. (Not Known).  It’s clear that the Traceys believed their ‘boarder’ turned ‘adopted son’ had been born somewhere in London.

Alec’s story

Alex Willows, at about the time he enlisted as a Bombardier
© Claire Edge

Alec was born in London or in Eastbourne and placed at some point in the first five years of his life as a boarder with George and Ellen Tracey and their family who were, at that time, living in Eastbourne.  Alec’s first memories may have been of Eastbourne, which could explain why he might have given the Army that information when he enlisted in about 1902, by which time his adoptive family was living at 26 Southlands Road, Bromley.

It is likely that it was, while living in Bromley, he met Emily Hester Spencer, whose relatives believe she was Alec’s fiancée. The Spencer family was then living in Bourne Road, parallel to, and only one block away from, Southlands Road. It is also likely that Alec and Emily were at least ‘close friends’ and she may have been his sweetheart when the photo on the right was taken.

So what was the relationship between Miss Ellen Reason sole legatee of 13 shillings and Alec Willows? Taking the line of Ellen Tracey, Alec’s adopted mother back to her parents, and William Reason of Ham back to his parents, it became clear that Ellen Tracey was the elder sister of William Reason, and thus the aunt of the younger Ellen Reason.

William Reason & Eliza Wood with their children © Christopher Reason

In the photograph above, Ellen is in the middle of the back row.  William and Eliza’s eldest children, Ellen, Ada and Arthur were born in Ireland, where their father was stationed. William Reason’s mother had died about the time of his first birthday, days after the birth of a daughter.  His father remarried the following year but William and his step-mother did not, unfortunately, get on.  Consequently, as soon as possible, William left the family home in Suffolk and joined the army.  After 12 years’ service in India and Ireland, it was the recommendation of his Commanding Officer that led to William’s finding work as a Coachman and Groom in Richmond, and ultimately brought the family to Ham. Numerous Army Officers had connections with Ham, and it would be interesting to know whether one of them was responsible for their ending up at 3 Victoria Terrace, home to the Reason family from the mid 1890s, for well over 60 years.

We know from the War Diary for the 29th RFA Brigade—comprised of the 125, 126 and 127 Batteries—that the Brigade embarked at Southampton on H.M. Transport ARMENIAN on 22 August 1914, sailing at 7 p.m. The Armenian arrived at Le Havre the following day, with the disembarkation completed by 6 p.m. On the 24th the Brigade left Le Havre on three trains, bound for Rouen and Amiens.  Little could these men in the Regular Army have anticipated how many casualties they would incur in the months to come.

In 1914, Alec’s Brigade was involved in the Battle of the Marne, the Battle of Aisne and the Battle of Messines; and then, in the Spring of 1915, from 22 April to 25 May, in the Second Battle of Ypres, a not conclusively successful attempt to secure the Ypres Salient against a German attack. ‘Second Ypres’ was notable for the role of the Canadian Forces, and for the deployment of poison gas.

The RFA Brigade was responsible for the zone held by the 2nd Canadians with the 45th French Division to their left.  May had begun fairly quietly for the 29th RFA Brigade with all three batteries at PLOEGSTEERT in Flanders, and with fine weather, some mist and some days in which none of the Batteries were ‘firing’.  They spent time with repairs and improving their dugouts overnight.

Extract from War Diary of 29 RFA Brigade 20 May 2015 © The National Archives

Towards the middle of the month there was some movement of the positions of the Batteries, and in spurts of firing, registering and retaliating.  From the description given by his commanding officer, Alec and three others were hit by a shell, intended for a French Battery to their rear, which fell short, and one can assume that his injuries were grave. From the War Diary account, it is clear the shell responsible for his death was fired on 20 May when 126 Battery was positioned at B 29 b and engaged in Retaliation. Alec was one of 2 NCOs & 2 other ranks wounded. He died the following day.

Alec was just one of over 59 000 soldiers of the British Empire who were reported killed, wounded or missing during the five weeks over which this Battle ran. His key mourners would be the members of his adoptive family, the Reasons, and none among them more so than Ellen Reason of Ham.  It is the understanding of relatives of Ellen Reason, that at the time of his death, their great aunt was Alec’s fiancée.  There is much evidence that she was important in his life: a letter survives which he wrote to her younger sister, Beatrice, enclosing the ‘German bullets’ she had requested, and it was to Ellen Reason that Alec’s Commanding Officer,  Major Harry Miller Ballingall, ‘a Scotchman’, wrote, as follows, on 2 June 1915:

Dear Miss Reason
As sergt Willows’ Commanding officer, I take liberty of writing you concerning his Death.  I dont know his poor Mother’s address or I should write to her too.  it is a sad blow and I am terribly grieved to lose him. — a gallant fellow and one who stood high in my esteem, it happened one evening that a French Battery behind us was being shelled—not our Battery at all; and he was one of three unlucky fellows who was hit.  Please accept my heartfelt sympathy and kindly tell his relations that he died a noble end, as he lived, doing his duty always keenly and smartly and a great credit to the Royal Regiment of Artillery. one and all of us miss him now, and I most of all here for he was my best Sergeant, and a very good comrade. If there is anything further I can do, Please ask me and I shall be only too willing.  I think he was buried at Bailleul, not far from here.

Yours Sincerely
H.M. Ballingall
Major
Com[man]ding 126 B[atter]y

William Reason outside 3 Victoria Terrace
© Christopher Reason

Alec’s relationship with the Reason family was strong enough for him to have been deemed ‘belonging’ to Ham, when news came of his death.  It’s difficult to understand, therefore, why this soldier was not commemorated on the war memorial, when some, with no personal connection with the parish, were.

I have been told that Ellen was so deeply affected by Alec’s death, that she never married, and that she cherished a locket, containing a lock of his hair, until the end of her life.  Ellen lived on in the family home, 3 Victoria Terrace, until her death in 1961. Alec continues to be remembered by Ellen’s great nieces and nephews and by Emily Spencer’s great niece.

Sources of images
All but one of the photographs of Alec and of members of the Reason Family are used with kind permission of Christopher Reason.  I am also grateful to him for the sharing with me the letter written by Alec’s commanding officer and the letter he sent to Beatrice, enclosing ammunition.
The photograph of Alec as a young Bombardier was uploaded to Ancestry by Emily Spencer’s great niece, Claire Edge, who recently came across this blog post, and met me to share her research into Alec Willows’s life and his connection with her great aunt.

Further Reading on the 29 RFA Brigade
The Long Long Trail, ‘ CXXXIII, CXXIV, CXXV AND CXXVI (Howitxer Brigades (37th Divisional Artilllery)’ http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-royal-artillery-in-the-first-world-war/batteries-and-brigades-of-the-royal-field-artillery/cxxiii-cxxiv-cxxv-cxxvi-howitzer-brigades-37th-divisional-artillery/, accessed 3/7/2019.
Wartime Memories Project, ‘126 Battery, Royal Field Artillery’, https://www.wartimememoriesproject.com/greatwar/allied/fartillery.php?pid=11365, accessed 3/7/2019.  This contains a brief summary of how and where 126 Battery was deployed in the First World War.
Woolmer Forest Heritage Society, ‘The Military History of Louisburg Barracks and Broxhead House’, http://woolmerforest.org.uk/page_Louisburg.php, accessed 18/3/2019. This was interesting in the information it gives about Alec’s military base in 1911.

Sources for Descriptions of the Second Battle of Ypres (22 April –25 May 1915)
Commonwealth War Graves Commission, ‘The Second Battle of Ypres’, https://www.cwgc.org/history-and-archives/first-world-war/campaigns/western-front/second-ypres, accessed 3/7/2019.
The Great War 1914–1918, ‘The Prelude to the Second Battle of Ypres’, http://www.greatwar.co.uk/battles/second-ypres-1915/, accessed 3/7/2019.
History Crunch, ‘Second Battle of Ypres’, https://www.historycrunch.com/second-battle-of-ypres.html#/, accessed 3/7/1915.
The National Archives, WO 95/1466/5. ‘War Diary of 29 Brigade Royal Field Artillery’, 1 August 1914–31 January 1918, 20 May 1915.  Note, if downloading this file, 20 May 1915 is Image 81 on the first pdf for this period, covering the period 22 August 1914 to 22 July 1916..

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Walter Henry Saunders (1898–1916)

68723 Gunner Walter Henry Saunders,
75th Battery, 146th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery.
Died 6 September 1916 in Greece,
Buried at the Salonika Military Cemetery.

Note:  Here we again have two Walters in the same family unit.  After the initial Walter Henry, I refer to the man on the Ham War Memorial as plain Walter even though I have a suspicion that our man was probably known in the family as Henry.  I refer to Walter’s father always as Walter Edward.

Walter Henry Saunders was born in Ham on 25 May 1898 and baptised at St Andrew’s on 14 August 1898.  He was the second child and the eldest son of the eight children of Walter Edward Saunders, a native of Ham, and Sarah Edith Johnson, an Irish lass, who hailed from County Cork.

Walter was the great-grandson of Daniel Saunders (1820–1898), a native of Ruislip. whom we first come across in the 1841 Census, with his father, John Saunders, a bricklayer.  By 1843 he was in London, working as a Baker at the time of his marriage in Stepney to Ann Jaques (pronounced Jakes) daughter of James Jaques, a Miller.  Daniel and his wife were still north of the river in 1861, when we find them in Marylebone, with their sons, Daniel and Horace, as well as Daniel’s younger brother, Joseph, both men working as Gardeners.  At some point between 1851 and 1852, they moved to Twickenham where their daughter, Sarah was born; they soon moved to Ham, where three more children were added to the family between 1855 and 1861.  In that year, Daniel was described as a Farm Labourer—the family’s home was in Cambridge Grove, in Kingston.

The next decade saw a noticeable rise in Daniel’s fortunes, for the family was living in Ham, in a house on Ham Common, close to that of Thomas Benson, then a Corn Dealer, but in later years a Potato Dealer, ancestor of the Walter Stanley Benson on the War Memorial.

Perhaps of interest to present and former pupils at Fern Hill School, the next decade resulted in an even more striking rise in Daniel’s fortunes, for he was a Market Gardener, with 8 acres, employing one man at “Fern-hill, Richmond Road”.  Ann had died in 1873, so Daniel was described as a widower, living with his son-in-law, Frederick Gower, husband of Daniel’s youngest daughter, Eliza, as the Head of the household.  It is slightly mystifying why Daniel’s name is first on the list, and his son-in-law, head of the household, is described as “Garden Labourer”.  By 1891, he was a lodger at 5 Victoria Terrace, Lock Road, in the household of John W Fidler.  Daniel died in 1898, at which point he was living at Brockwell’s Cottages, and is buried in the St Andrew’s churchyard.

Of Daniel’s eldest surviving sons, Daniel and Horace, it seems that Daniel took on the potato dealership, operating out of this home in New Road.  The 1871 Census, taken taken eight weeks before Horace’s marriage, has his bride to be, Louisa Marshall, a ‘visitor’ in his family home.  Walter’s father, Walter Edward, was born in 1873.  Horace seems to have been a ‘potato salesman’ for at least ten years, and by 1891, was described as a Market Gardener, as was his son, Walter Edward.

It was probably at the time that Daniel ‘retired’ to Ham, that Horace took over at ‘Fernhill’.  He was there in the 1901 and 1911 Census, and was described on both occasions as a Farmer; he was still at ‘Fernhill Farm’ at the time of his death in 1931.  his wife, Louisa, continued there until her death.

Following the marriage in London, in 1895, of Walter’s parents, Walter Edward and Sarah Johnson, when they were both in their early twenties, the couple began their married life at 12 Dysart Cottages (now 27 Lock Road).  Although the family later moved to Norbiton, it was in Ham that young Walter had made some lasting friendships and it was to Ham that his parents would later return.

Walter was the only one of his parents’ five sons who would have been old enough to be involved in the Great War.  But was he old enough to have enlisted when he apparently did? At the time of his death in the Middle East in September 1916, Walter was barely 18 so he would certainly have commenced his basic training before reaching his eighteenth birthday.

Indeed, the Royal Field Artillery’s own records show Walter as having ‘disembarked’ on 17 April 1915, which was before his 17th birthday.  It is highly probable that he enlisted as early as August 1914—the month that war was declared—as it usually took 8 or 9 months of training before a soldier was competent enough to be deployed to a theatre of war.

There may be a clue in a ‘coincidence’ I have spotted.  The regimental numbers for George Victor Randall and Walter Henry Saunders are consecutive which also raises the possibility that they enlisted in the Royal Artillery together, and that the younger man may have been influenced by, or have been following, the example of his older friend. If that was the case, their military duties would have separated them early on, with George going into the Horse Artillery before his attachment to the Field Artillery and with both men in units deployed to different theatres of war.

It was Walter’s fate to be sent to the Balkans, where the fighting was harsh, the climate inhospitable and where malaria was endemic.  He eventually contracted it—as did well over 150 000 Allied soldiers during the Great War—and was admitted to the 43rd General Hospital in Salonika.  There he succumbed on 6 September 1916, and was buried in the Salonika Military Cemetery.  As was common, his mother was his sole legatee.

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Their Name Liveth: the Scottish Commemoration

On Sunday 11 November 2018, the names of every Scottish man or woman who died on military service during the Great War will be projected on the façade of the Scottish Parliament.  Starting at 5 p.m., it will take seven hours to beam 134 712 names.

Many of these were in Scottish Regiments that did not have a Scottish base—for example in the London Scottish (14/London) and the South African Scottish (4/South African Infantry Regiment).  Our Frank Lane served in the Canadian Scottish, one of a number of Scottish and Highlanders’ battalions in the Canadian Expeditionary Force.

Ham has at least eight soldiers who were serving in Scottish regiments and their names appear in regimental rolls of honour in the Scottish National War Memorial.  I’ve touched on this in my recent post on James Cockburn.  You can also find out more in that post about visiting this memorial in Edinburgh.

Those listed on the War Memorial who served in Scottish Regiments were:

Walter Stanley Benson [Scottish Rifles, “The Cameronians”].

Leonard George Buckle [Seaforth Highlanders]

David Archibald James Chapman [Scots Guards]

Herbert Clarke [Border Regiment]

James Douglas Cockburn [London Scottish]

Harry Thornton Fricker [Highland Light Infantry]

Frank Lane [Canadian Scottish (16 Bn Canadian Expeditionary Force]

Felix Charles Hubert Hanbury Tracy [Scots Guards]

 

 

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David Archibald James Chapman (1893–1916)

2/Lieut. David Archibald James Chapman,
2 Battalion, The Scots Guards.
Killed in Action in France, 15 September 1916,
Commemorated on The Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme.

David Archibald James Chapman was born on 18 September 1893 at 29 Selborne Road, Hove, the only child of Colonel David Phelips Chapman, a professional Army Officer, and his wife, Agnes Mary Laurie. His father had reached the rank of Major, and seen service abroad, notably in the Sudan, by the time he married Agnes in 1892.  After his retirement, he retained the rank of a Colonel with regard to the Army.

The Manor House, Ham ©Matthew Rees 2009

David was educated at Eton College, and served as a Private in the College’s Officers’ Training Corps from 1908 to 1910 when he left school and joined the Royal Military College at Sandhurst.  At the end of his training, he was ranked 92nd in the Sandhurst Competitive Examination of June 1911 and was one of 13 candidates who were successful for appointment in the Cavalry.

It seems his sights were set on becoming an Army Officer. In June 1914, he applied for a Commission in the 19th Hussars’ Special Reserve, a Cavalry Regiment, giving his address as The Manor House, Ham.  While the medical examination  found him to be ‘unfit’, he was appointed a Second Lieutenant five months later (21 November 1914).

David A J Chapman, © IWM (HU 119789)

Four months later, on 17 March 1915, while based at East Liss, Hampshire, David obtained a licence to enable him to marry Lillian Georgina Warren, in the parish of St Simon Zelotes in Upper Chelsea. The marriage duly took place at that church three days later.  His bride was the daughter of a baronet, Sir Thomas Courtenay Theydon Warner and his wife Leucha Diana Maude.

In December of that year, David applied for a commission in The Scots Guards’ Special Reserve, a prestigious infantry regiment, with his application endorsed by Colonel Henry Fludyer of the Scots Guards itself. I add this last bit purely to save others who come after from the peril of transcribing the said colonel’s signature.

September 1916 found David’s battalion in the vicinity of Ginchy, Bernafay Wood, and then camped at Happy Valley.  On the 14th the battalion left camp and proceeded to Trones Wood.  The following account is taken from the Battalion’s War Diary for 15 September 1916.  As will be seen, it was a day which took out of action all the senior officers of the battalion, leaving it in the charge of a Lieutenant until a Major could be sent up to take command.  That officer was wounded on his way to join the Battalion.

The Division attacked LES BOEUFS  zero [hour] 6.20 am.  Owing to attack being held up about 6 pm the Battalion was ordered up to support Colonel I Campbell, 3rd Batt[alion] Coldstream Guards. Lieut.Colonel R.S. Tempest lead [sic] the Battalion between GINCHY and DELVILLE WOOD on a N.E. position. The Commanding Officer and Adjutant were hit almost immediately and Captain J S Thorpe and Lieut. D.A.J. Chapman were killed during a counter attack on our R[ight] Flank Company. Captain R.E.F. Maitland and 2/Lieuts Dawkins, Murdoch and Wodehouse were wounded. 2/Lieuts Dawkins and Murdoch died of wounds 4 days later. Lieut. W.A. Boyd was then left in command of the Battalion. Major Hon. R. Coke came up to take command. Lieut. E. ? M McDougal to do Adjutant and Lieut. D. J. Bethell to command R[ight] F[lank] Co[mpan]y.  Major Hon R. Coke was wounded on the way up.

David died three days short of his twenty-third birthday.  His parents, David and Agnes, moved away from Ham and lived on into the 1930s, dying in 1939 and 1937 in Canterbury and Chelsea respectively.  Both are buried in St Andrew’s Churchyard.

Ten years after her marriage to David, Lillian remarried, and by her second husband, Charles Ronald Mansel-Lewis, had a son, David Courtenay Mansel-Lewis (1927–2009).  She died in Essex in her 90th year.

Sources
Imperial War Museum, Bond of Sacrifice Collection, HU 119789, ‘Lieutenant David Archibald James Chapman’, accessed 9/11/2018. Copyright attribution © IWM (HU 119789).
The National Archives, WO 95/1223/4, ‘Battalion War Diary, 2 Battalion Scots Guards, 1 August 1915–28 February 1919’, accessed 2015..
The National Archives, WO 339/48788, Officers’ Service Records, 2nd Lieutenant David Phelips (sic) Chapman.  Note that this record has his father’s name in the record description, as well as the surname of Chapman written twice.

Posted in Agnes Mary Laurie, Army, Cavalry, David Archibald James Chapman, David Phelips Chapman, Ham, Ham War Memorial | Leave a comment

John Lucas Frost (1898–1918)

50014 Corporal John Lucas Frost,
C Company 16/King’s Royal Rifle Corps,
formerly East Surrey Regiment.
Killed in Action or Died of Wounds, 12 October 1918.
Buried at Montay, in the Montay-Neuvilly Road Cemetery.
Commemorated on the War Memorial Tablet for the Petersham Scout Troop.

The death of a popular, local 20 year old. occurred 100 years ago today.  Of those listed on the WW1 face of the Ham War Memorial, he was the “last to die” during the course of that war.   This is his story.

John (“Jack”) Lucas Frost was baptised in Petersham on 13 March 1898, the second son of a couple who were first cousins twice over—their fathers were brothers, and their mothers, sisters.  While the nickname Jack is usually associated with the name John, it is also routinely applied as a nickname, as many Frosts will ruefully acknowledge, to boys with the surname Frost.

Arthur and Ann Elizabeth Frost hailed from Derbyshire, where they were married on 4 January 1894 at All Saints’ in Bakewell.  At their eldest son’s baptism, in Matlock Bank in October of that year, his father was described as ‘House Steward’ and the family’s abode as Sudbrook Park. At the time of Jack’s christening, in St Peter’s, Petersham, the family was living in ‘The Annexe’ at Sudbrook Park, where Arthur had by then been the Club Steward for at least four years.

The Home Guard on an exercise in WW2 outside the former Ham Post Office © Richmond Local Studies Library and Archive, used with permission.

Arthur was later appointed the Postmaster of the Ham Post Office on the Petersham Road, but he combined that with employment at the golf club as Club Steward, while his wife, Ann, traded at their shop on the Petersham Road as a Draper and as Postmistress of Ham, when necessary.

In 1908, six boys became the founder members of The Petersham Troop of Baden-Powell Scouts—Jack, then aged ten, was one of those six and we are told that he was known to all the Troop as “Happy Jack”. He thrived in the Scouts, and maintained his links with the Troop until the end of his life.  His Scoutmasters, reflecting on their loss, recalled him as having been “an unselfish and popular fellow, always smiling and happy, and kept the Troop merry at their camps.  He was a sad loss to us all.”

Jack joined the colours at Kingston upon Thames, where he seems to have signed up initially with the East Surrey Regiment before his transfer to the King’s Royal Rifle Corps. It is likely that, like his fellow Scout, Harold Joel, he joined up as soon as he reached his 18th birthday. (Jack’s being awarded the Victory and British medals indicates that, while he saw service abroad, he did not enter a ‘theatre of war’ on foreign soil before January 1916, at the earliest.)

It is difficult to work out exactly how and also  when Jack died. At the time of his death, he was acting as Sergeant in the Lewis Gun Section. Certainly there was action on the day of this death, but at least two sources (Soldiers Died in The Great War and the Register of Soldiers’ Effects) maintain that he died of wounds. I like to think that he may not have suffered for long, since his parents were told that he had ‘fallen’, which suggests death in action, or very soon after.

The morning of 12 October 1918  found the King’s Royal Rifle Corps east of Troisville and on the east bank of the River Selle, which had been bridged by the Royal Engineers. Jack was attached to C Company, but he would have been manning the Lewis Guns, rather than moving forward in the column formed by his company.

Extracts from the battalion’s War Diary follow, in italics.

At 0500 the Battalion attacked without Barrages in two columns consisting of A Company with C Company in support.

Initial news was that the attack was proceeding ‘satisfactorily’ and by 0800, C Company reported that it was in position on high ground. D Company, supporting the left column had both of its officers out of action, one killed and one wounded.

C Company reported the 9/H[igland] L[ight] I[nfantry] had to be helped up but that they were making progress towards the line of the Railway.

Shortly after Colonel Pardoe decided to advance to the next target, QUARRY, a heavy barrage was directed on the whole battalion. The decision was made to bring up a Lewis Gun —when the battalion eventually reached the Quarry, they found it occupied by the enemy, “in force”.  Perhaps Jack, as Acting Sergeant, was in charge of the gun which was then ordered forward.  Moving the Lewis Guns between positions was a complex job, often hard, slow work. The guns and the team operating each gun would also be a key target for snipers.

A Lewis Gun was brought up…and the enemy prevented from crossing the Railway at that point. Colonel PARDOE was here badly wounded. Runner sent to report situation to Major WILLIS who was left at Report Centre in Ravine…Adjutant and Intelligence Officer with Lewis Gun held on and endeavoured to find out the situation in front.

The Brigade was reinforced by 1/Middlesex Regt and ordered to attack the same objectives at 1700 hours.

This attack was postponed and eventually cancelled.

The Brigade was ordered to establish the line of the River SELLE with advanced posts beyond the River covering the crossings over the road…16th K.R.R.C. ordered to take over front of 9/H.L.I. but this was found impossible with the men available. Accordingly 70 men from 9th H.L.I. were left in the line under command of Lieut. THOMAS. The night was very dark and black with much Artillery and Machine Gun fire making movement and reorganisation extremely difficult…Officer casualties were Colonel PARDOE wounded, 2nd Lieut. SURRY killed, 2nd Lieut, BUDD wounded (since died of wounds), 2nd Lieut. A.H. VILLIERS wounded and missing.

The Diary’s report on the day does not mention the casualties incurred by the Other Ranks. In the absence of information from his fellow soldiers, we cannot be sure what happened to Jack. Perhaps some reports from his fellow soldiers reached his parents later.

The Richmond and Twickenham Times of 26 October 1918, carried this report of Jack’s death:

News has just been received by Mr and Mrs Frost of the post office, Ham, that their second son, Company-Sergeant John Frost of the Lewis Gun Section, has fallen in action in France. Previously to joining the colours he took a great interest in the local scout movement, and his death is regretted by a large circle of acquaintances.

He died in the vicinity of Montay, on 12 October 1918, aged 20 and is buried nearby in the Montay-Neuvilly Road Cemetery. The words chosen by his parents for his headstone  were ABSENT, BUT EVER NEAR.

Jack died just over four weeks before the Armistice and this War Diary reveals that the Imperial German Army was still holding its own at that point.  Victory was not yet certain.  The jubilation on Armistice Day must have been hard for Jack’s parents to bear, when their grief would still have been quite raw.  Jack’s father died in 1946 and his mother in 1952.  His brothers, Archibald and Sidney, lived on until 1987 and 1988 respectively so, had Jack survived, he might have expected to live, like his brothers, into his 80s or 90s.

It should be noted that Jack also has a link to one of those commemorated on Ham’s WW2 Memorial. Jack’s brother, Archibald, was the husband of Lois Emma Sanders, the aunt of John Harry Arthur Sanders, who was killed on active service in 1945.

Notes on “the last to die”
I described Jack as “the last man to die in Ham”, using the words of one of his relatives.  We believe that Percy Joseph Wooldridge was the last Ham man to die of injuries incurred on active service, but because he died after 31 August 1921, he was deemed  not to ‘warrant’ a Commonwealth War Grave.  He is, however, buried in the Churchyard of St Andrew’s in grave BB32—in a grave which the good folk of Ham might wish to visit.  We ought not to forget that many men returned home to Ham, but as invalids, and while their time in the services was shortened by that, their lives may also have been shortened and altered by the severity of their injuries.

While some consider that Happy Jack’s relative, Private John Harry Arthur Sanders (The Queen’s RWS) was, coincidentally, the last man to die in WW2, there are actually two named on the memorial who died later than he did.  Lieut. Bruce Edward Enzer (RNVR), was carrying out his duties as a ‘Human Torpedo’ against the Japanese when he was killed in an exercise on 22 June 1945.  Signalman Reginald Harry Griffiths (RCS) died on 21 March 1947, inside the CWGC’s WW2 ‘cut-off’ date, and was also, quite properly, duly commemorated on the Parish War Memorial.

I have yet to discover whether there are people who died after the official cut-off date as a result of injuries acquired while on active service during WW2.

Key Sources
BIDDULPH, G.T. and JOEL, W.C., A short history of the Petersham Troop of Baden Powell Boy Scouts with some account of the commencement of the Movement in the District from 1908 to 1922, 1923.
The National Archives, WO 95/2430/3–7, ‘War Diary of 16 Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps, 12 October 1918.

Recommended Reading
I have recently been reading Harry’s War, the diary of Harry Drinkwater MC, a private who later became an officer in the British Army.  Soldiers were strictly forbidden to keep a diary, yet he managed to keep it throughout five and a half years of Army Service, without it seems this crime having been discovered.  If you want to get a real feel of what the war was like for ordinary soldiers, you should try to get hold of it—Richmond Library has at least one copy.  By coincidence, when I was writing up my post on Jack Frost, I was reading the chapters which relate to Harry’s being in a Lewis Gun team. The risks and difficulties that the Lewis Gun team faced, made me wonder, considering all that Harry had been through, that he could have been induced to stay on in the Army after the end of the war.

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