Reynolds, John Henry Gilbert. Died 20th Nov 1916

John Henry Gilbert Reynolds was born in Long Lawford, near Rugby in late 1891. His father was Tom Reynolds and his mother Emma Julia (nee Burnham). They had married in Church Lawford parish church in 30th August 1897. John Henry Gilbert (known as Jack) was the second of four sons. At the time, Tom was a bricklayer living at 3 Burnham Cottage, Long Lawford.

Emma died two years later in 1899, at the age of 33. Tom remarried in 1900 to Maria Bagnall. Together they had three more children, two girls and then another boy.

In 1901 the family were living in Campbell Street, New Bilton. By 1911 they had moved to 18 Dunchurch Road. Tom was a Builder/Bricklayer working on his own account. Jack was not with the family. He was in the Metropolitan Police Force. By the time the war started he was expecting promotion.

It is not known when Jack enlisted, probably early 1915 (he was awarded the 1915 star medal) He was mentioned as “a London policeman, being a corporal in the Grenadier Guards” in an article in the Rugby Advertiser in June 1915. His brother Frank had been reported missing at this time.

According to his Medal Roll card, he arrived in France on 6th November 1915. When he died, just aver a year later he was a Lance Corporal in the 5th Reserve Battalion, Grenadier Guards. This battalion spent the war on home soil, at Chelsea. Perhaps Jack was transferred to the 1st or 2nd Battalion, both of which took part in the final actions of the Battle of the Somme – The Battles of Flers-Courcelette and Morval in September 1916.

On 7th October it was reported that he had been seriously wounded and was in Chichester Hospital. He died there on 20th November and was buried in Clifton Road Cemetery, Rugby.

He is listed in the order of service for service at Westminster Abbey on 17th May 1919 “In Memory of the Officers and Constables of the Metropolitan Police, who in the Great War have laid down their lives for their King and their Country”
He is listed there as P.C. 893 Reynolds J. H. G. of N Division

His brother Frank died in 1915 and Herbert had died only a few weeks before on 5th September 1916. Two cousins also died in the war.

Picture from Rugby Advertiser 10th Mar 1922.

Picture from Rugby Advertiser 10th Mar 1922.



Greenhill, Douglas Stanley. Died 4th Oct 1016

Douglas Greenhill was born on 22nd November 1883 in Rugby. He was the second son and fourth child of Alfred George Greenhill born in Rugby and Ann Hedges born in Rowington, Warwickshire.

In the 1891 Census, Alfred is a Surveyor/ Architect and the family are living at 28th North Street, Rugby.

Two years later Alfred died aged 40 in Rugby.

Douglas attended Rugby Lower School, and in the 1901 Census is living at 30, Princes Street, Rugby, with his widowed mother, Ann. He is a Fitter Apprentice at Willans Works off Leicester Road. His siblings are: Frederick aged 21, Assistant Town Surveyor, Ethel A is 14 and Angela M is 11. He continued to work as an engineer after his apprenticeship. During his leisure time he played football and played for the Northern Counties.

Douglas enlisted in late 1914, in the 4th Battalion Grenadier Guards. After his initial training, he started preparation for service in France. The War Diary does not commence until the 15th of August 1915, when the Battalion had arrived in France. This records a draft of 25 NCO’s and men joining from Base. Over the next 10 days the Diary records Officers going home on leave and returning from leave, including 2nd Lt. Lascelles from Harewood House in Yorkshire.

On 1st September after days of drill, they marched from Wizernes to Wayrans, south west of St. Omer. Wood fighting practice was followed by a route march culminating in a series of marches to Loos, arriving on 27th September, where they occupied the German 2nd Reserve trenches, west of Loos. On the 29th 3 Officers and 59 other ranks were wounded and 2 days later Major Nichol DSO died of wounds.

The first 2 weeks of October, saw heavy shelling by the Germans with 52 casualties. On the 29th, the Brigade moved to billets in Sailly La Bourse and the rest of the month was quiet.

On the 9th November they moved to Merville, between Hazebruck and Bethune. After a steady drill, they entered trenches on 17th, which were very wet, with a great deal of work needed. The rest of the month was quiet.

By the middle of December, the 3rd Guards Brigade were in route march and practice drill daily, and held in reserve. On the 22nd they moved into trenches at Dicentie. Their Christmas dinner was finally held on 3rd January 1916. Their routine until mid-February became 1 day in front line trenches, followed by time in billets and 2 days in reserve trenches.

On 16th February a big change, the Battalion entrained to Calais. Lt. H R The Prince of Wales and Captain Lord C Hamilton joined, and they all marched to camp. 22nd heavy snow prevented drill. On the 26th they moved by train to Kierken Port near Wormhouldt in Belgium.

On the 11th March 30 Officers and 240 OR set to work n the Kaaie Salient, north of Ypres. Captain Viscount Lascelles was slightly wounded by a bomb when instructing the company.

Early September was a quiet time: Divine Service, an Inter-Battalion Regimental Boxing competition, and training. On the 6th they moved to Cernoy where the French had broken through the German line. 8/9th they repaired the road from Cernoy to WEDGE ROAD., under incessant artillery fire.

The 9th saw them move up to Front Line Trenches (FLT) by the 13th they had moved to HAPPY VALLEY in Fricourt. The big attack was launched but was not a success. 48th and 167th Brigades reached their target, the 47th didn’t. They were relieved by the 4th Battalion Grenadier Guards, at Ginchy. Phone communication with HQ was cut by heavy shelling. Active sniping by the enemy kept them from attacking. and whole trenches were obliterated. 3 Officers were killed.

Sargeant Greenhill was wounded on 15th September and died of wounds at No. 21 Casualty Clearing Station. There is no entry for 15th September in the War Diary so we do not know how he was wounded. He is buried in La Neuville British Cemetery, Corbie 11 F 29.

He was awarded the Victory and British War Medals and the 15 Star.



Frankton, Walter Frederick. Died 27th Sep 1915

Walter Frederick Frankton

Service No.  21537

Private   3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards

Killed in action 27th September 1915

Walter Frederick Frankton was born in Rugby in 1876 to George and Elizabeth (Betsy) Frankton, living at 7, Little Elborow Street, Rugby and was baptised 34th April 1881 at St. Matthews Church Rugby.  He appears on the censuses for 1881, 1891, 1901 with his mother, father brother and sisters.  He was at school in 1891 and by 1901 he is a labourer.  He married Alice Maud Reynolds in 1904, and on the 1911 census they are living at 20 Lawford Road Rugby, with their two children Frederick, born 1906, and Maud born 1911.  Frederick, as he seems to be called by the family, rather than Walter, is working as a grocers carman for UDCR.  He was killed in action at Loos, his wife, Maud, and sisters, Sarah and Polly and once by his brother William, remembered him every year, in the memoriam column of the Rugby Advertiser.

“In loving memory of Private Frederick Frankton Grenadier Guards of Lawford Road killed 27th   at Loos.

“Could we have raised his head or heard his last farewell,

The grief would not have been so hard For those who loved him well

A light is from the household gone

A vacant place in our home which never shall be filled”

From loving wife, children and Mr. & Mrs Reynolds.”  Rugby Advertiser 7th October 1916


“In loving Memory of our dear brother Private Frederick Frankton who was killed in action 28th September 1915. “  He sleeps not in his native land but ‘neath some foreign skies And far from those that loved him best In a hero’s grave he lies”  From sisters Sarah and Polly and brother Will.” Rugby Advertiser 30th September 1916

He appears to have no known grave as his only memorial on panel 6 of the Loos Memorial.




Oldershaw, Herbert, Died 4th Sep 1914

Herbert Oldershaw.   1890 – 1914 Regn No 13655.

Herbert was the son of Sarah Elizabeth & Samuel Oldershaw, born in 1890 in St Mary’s Nottingham. Samuel looks like to have been a full-time serving soldier, having served in Ireland where their first child Annie Elizabeth was born. The two boys, Philip & Herbert were born in Nottingham.

Philip was also in WW1 but as a “Leading Signalman” on the Torpedo Boat “HMS Bulwark”

Herbert was married   in March Qtr 1913 to Violet A Chambers   in Nottingham, they settled in Rugby where Herbert worked at BTH in the Turbine Dept.   Violet & Herbert had a daughter , Ivy born June Qtr 1914 in Rugby. Shortly before leaving for France.

The information below is taken from his Regimental No 13655.

Herbert Oldershaw served in the Grenadier Guards, 2nd Battalion, Regimental No 13655.

He was awarded 3 medals;   Victory Medal, British Medal, 14 Star   and Clasp. As found on the Medal Roll of Honour.   Qualifying Date. 13th August 1914. Also stated “Dead Body Found.” 4th September 1914. A matter of 22 days. Or 4 days at Foret de Retz as descried below.

The Guards Grave, Villers-Cotterets is a small town 22 klm South-West of Soissons. Guards’ Grave Cemetery shown below. He was buried in a small cemetery with his other comrades of Grenadier Guards. He is remembered on a small stone cross in “Guards Grave, Villers-Cotterets Forest.   Dept; Aisne. Picardie France. Plot No 33.

“ The Forêt de Retz was the scene of a rearguard action fought by the 4th (Guards) Brigade on 1 September 1914. In the aftermath of the fighting, many of the dead Guardsmen were buried by the people of Villers-Cotterêts. The cemetery was formed by the Irish Guards when the British forces regained this territory two months later and contains 98 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, 20 of which are unidentified. Just north of the cemetery on the road to Vivières stands a memorial to the Coldstream, Grenadier and Irish Guardsmen who were killed or mortally wounded during the rearguard action. The memorial, which was unveiled in 1922, was placed there by Lady Edward Cecil, the mother of Captain George Edward Cecil of the Coldstream Guards who fell during the fighting on 1 September and is buried in the cemetery.” (PIC)