Pywell, Frederick William. Died 10th Apr 1917

Frederick William Pywell was born in Rugby in 1885 and was baptised in St Matthews Church on 31 May. His parents were Edmund and Sarah (nee Gamble) and Edmund’s occupation was farmer. When they married, in Coventry, on 19th Feb 1881, Edmund was a cab driver from Saddington, Leics and Sarah was a carrier’s daughter from Harborough Magna.

The family soon settled in James Street, Rugby where Edmund was a domestic groom. In 1901, at the age of 16 Frederick was working as a domestic page. Sarah died in 1902 and sometime after that Edmund joined the London and North Western Railway. In 1911 his occupation was Dining Car Attendant and he was lodging in Bartholomew Road, Kentish Town. Two years later he married Ellen Lavinia Flewitt (or Flawith) and they had a son Frederick Richard Pywell in 1914.

Frederick William Pywell joined the 21st Bn, Duke of Cambridge’s Own (Middlesex) Regiment. (Serjeant, No. G/15761). This regiment was formed in July 1915 and landed in France in June 1916. They were involved in action on the Western Front including The Battle of the Ancre in 1916. And in 1917, the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line (March) and the capture of Fifteen Ravine, Villers Plouich, Beaucamp and La Vacquerie (April and early May)

At the start of April 1917 the 21st Regt was employed in mending the Moislains – Nurlu Road. After a day’s rest on the 3rd spent in inspections, bathing and foot treatment, the 4th was spent on the Bouchauednes- Clery road.

On the 5th the whole Battalion was moved to Etricourt and orders were received to take over the front line (Gouzeaucourt Wood). This was done on the 6th and the 7th was quiet with intermittent hostile shelling. They worked on the trenches.

At 6.30 the following morning the enemy opened a “Heavy and accurate barrage on the trenches occupied by B Coy. This continued throughout the day at intervals causing heavy casualties.” At dusk the company dug in new position 100 yards in rear. “Orders received for operation to take place on 9th.” The front line was readjusted.

War Diaries 21st Middlesex Rgt
April 9: At 3.00 pm 2 platoons of C Coy with 1 platoon of D as carrying party went over under moderate barrage. Objective 1 Cross Roads Q.23.c Objective II Cross Roads Q.23.a First Objective was reached with slight opposition at 3.21 pm. Consolidation commenced and one platoon under F S BRYAN proceeded towards second objective soon after coming under fire from three M.G.s causing several casualties. Our artillery failed to locate the guns. The platoon dug in and several attempts were made to reach the cross roads by patrolling round.

4.30 pm Our party of 8 under 2/lieut BRYAN actually reached the road but were wiped out except Lieut BRYAN.

Enemy shelling considerably increased causing many casualties

B Coy on left and A Coy on right had by this time covered the flanks by patrols.

5.10 Patrol of A Coy with Lewis Gun sent to assistance of a patrol of 13th B Yorks which had been heavily engaged by enemy.

5.30 Situation quiet

6.45 New position counter attacked on both flanks. Both L.G.s were out of action and casualties amounted to about 40. Another platoon on D sent up and a local counter attack under Capt Laidlaw which threatened to outflank the enemy caused them to retire.

7.00 Night quiet except for intermittent artillery & M.G. fire.

Line eventually established approximately Q.29b.1.2, Q29.a.8.6. Cross Road Q.23.c, Q.22.b 65-10. Q.22.a.5.1, Q.22.a.2.9. this giving a commanding position on high ground commanding Cross Road Q.23.a.

Communication with Artillery, Right Left Battalions and Battn HQ good.

Communication with Brigade only moderate owing to breaks in the wire. Touch kept through the Artillery.

26 other ranks killed,
38 other ranks wounded,
1 wounded and missing *

April 10 Quiet day, Battalion relieved by 20th Bn Middlesex Rgt commencing at 8.30 pm The Corps Division and Brigade Commander send their congratulations on result of the operation of 9th.

* One body since discovered and buried unidentified assumed to be that of missing man 30.4.17

Frederick William Pywell is recorded as dying on 10th April 1917. It is not known if he is the unidentified body, but since his grave is not known, this may be him.

He is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial.



Horswill, Algernon Sidney. Died 26th Mar 1917

Algernon Sidney Horswill was born 2nd March 1892 to Charles and Fanny Horswill at Coventry, Warwickshire and was baptised 26th December 1892 at Holy Trinity Church Coventry. The family were living at 4 Irby Terrace, Foleshill Road, Coventry and his father occupation is given as clerk.   Algernon’s parents were married 18th September 1890 at the Parish Church of St Thomas Coventry.   Algernon’s mother‘s maiden name was Burton. On the census of 1901 Algernon is the only child and his father, Charles is working as a clerk in the cycle trade and they are all living at Palmerston Road Coventry in the Parish of St. Thomas Coventry.

By the time of the next census, 1911, Algernon and his parents are living in Rugby at 48 Craven Road. Algernon is a teacher for the Warwickshire County Council and his father is a bookkeeper at engineering works.

Algernon went as a student to St Marks College Chelsea and where on the 21st October 1912 he signed an Attestation form to serve in the Territorial Force, he was then aged 20 years 7 months and his number on the form was 1319.

His Battalion was formed at Stamford Brook September 1914

Moved to Staines November 1914 and joined the 201st Brigade 0f the Welsh Division

Moved to Cambridge and Transferred to Welsh Border Brigade, of the Welsh Division

Moved to Bedford May 1915

Unit renamed 160th Brigade and the 53rd Division 13th May 1915

Mobilised for war 18th July 1915

Landed at Sulva Bay, Gallipoli 9th August 1915 and was engaged in the action and were also at the Battle of Scimitar Hill. Due to heavy losses from the fighting and the severe weather conditions they were evacuated to Egypt December 1915

In November 1915 the Rugby Advertiser reported a letter Private A. S. Horswill, a former member of Murray School Staff wrote to Mr. W. T. Coles Hodges from a “dug out” in the Mediterranean theatre says:-

“We landed on August 9th three weeks after leaving England, and proceeded straight to the firing line under shrapnel fire.   We saw life for four days. Talk about snipers! They were up in the trees, absolutely surrounding us; they were the chief cause of the casualties. Fortunately they were more or less indifferent shots; otherwise we should have come off worse off than we did. Since then we have had various trips to firing line, interspersed with spasms of “fatigue” work, unloading lighters, filling water-cans for the firing line, and digging. We see some glorious sunsets out here at times; also some very fine play of light on various islands. I myself never believed the deep blue sea theory till we came out here. In the Mediterranean you get a lovely ultra-marine in the day, which gradually darkens to deep indigo in the evening.”

He saw action at the Battle of Romani 4th – 5th August 1916 and was involved in the Second Battle of Gaza 17 – 19 April 1917, by this date he had been reported missing and was listed as having been killed in action 26th March 1917.


Algernon’s service number was changed from 1319 to 290110, and in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission records he is also under service number TF/290110 2nd/10th Bn. Middlesex Regiment and with that last service number CWGC gives the place of his memorial. In the Forces War Record Algernon is under 290110 (late 1319) and he is given as being in the E. E. F. Signal Section and is given as missing 26th March 1917 but with no place of a memorial in their records, under TF/290110 he is given as being killed in action 26th March 1917 and the record names his parents and their address 48 Craven Road Rugby.

Algernon’s name is on the Jerusalem Memorial, panels 41 and 42, for those who have no known grave and also on the Rugby Memorial Gates. He was 25 years of age at the time of his death and had never married and was the only child of Charles and Fanny Horswill.

Algernon was awarded the Victory Medal and the British War Medal.