Green, George Bernard. Died 30th Nov 1917

George Bernard Green was born on the 24th April and baptised on 12th June 1898 at St Barnabas Church in Oxford. His father Frederick was an iron moulder and lived at 11 St Barnabas Street. He and George’s mother Louisa Greenfield (nee Palmer) had married in Stockbridge RD (Hampshire). Louisa was from nearby Bowerchalke, in Wiltshire and Frederick from Oxford.

The family moved several times, with children born in Oxford, Stoke on Trent and the two youngest, Margaret Ann and John Palmer, five and two in the 1911 census, in New Bilton. George Bernard, aged 12, was still at school at this point and the family was living at 4 Gladstone Street. Frederick was still working as an iron moulder.

George’s older brother, Frederick John, signed up at the start of the war and was wounded in the Battle of the Somme and died in September 1916.

George Bernard would have enlisted later – he was only 16 in 1914 and he received only the British and Victory Medals. He joined the Montgomery and Welsh Yeomanry, part of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force. In January 1917, reorganisation caused am amalgamation of regiments and on 4th March 1917 it became 25th (Montgomery and Welsh Horse Yeomanry) Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers and joined the 231st Brigade of the 74th (Yeomanry) Division which took part in the Second Battle of Gaza (17-19 April 1917). Tis was an unsuccessful attempt to capture the town of Gaza. After a summer of stalemate they took part in the Third Battle of Gaza (27 Oct – 7 Nov) which resulted in the Turks abandoning the town and a rapid British advance to capture Jerusalem (8-9 December).

It must have been during this advance that Private George Bernard Green (no 60104) was killed. His body was not identified and he is remembered on the Jerusalem Memorial, which stands in Jerusalem War Cemetery, 4.5 kilometres north of the walled city and is situated on the neck of land at the north end of the Mount of Olives, to the west of Mount Scopus.

He is also remembered, with his brother on the Croop Hill Memorial



Cleaver, Joseph Vincent. Died 11th April 1917

Joseph Vincent Cleaver was born in Oxford in 1878. His father was Thomas Howlett Cleaver who was born in Rugby and Jemima Mary (nee Vickers). Thomas met his wife in Alton, Staffordshire where her father worked at the stone quarry there. Thomas was a clerk and they married in 1870. By 1881, when Joseph was three, the family was living in Caldecote, near Nuneaton and Thomas was a builder’s agent. The family had returned to Rugby by 1891, living at Clifton Cottage in Bilton. Thomas was now a builder’s manager and thirteen year old Joseph was still at school. He was the third of nine children. In 1901 they were living at 51 Victoria Street and Thomas was a builder’s surveyor. Joseph was the eldest son still living at home. At 23 he was a brewer’s clerk.

By 1911 Thomas was a widower. He was a publican, living at the Horse and Jockey Inn in Lawford Road. Joseph was still living with him, a 33-year-old brewer’s clerk war (He was employed by the Leamington Brewery Company) together with his sister Zita, who was acting as housekeeper.

Joseph signed up in December 1915, one of the first to join up under Lord Derby’s Group System. He joined the 1st Bn, Royal Warwickshire Regiment (Private no. 17860). He would have fought in the Battle of the Somme and other actions on the western front.

From 1st April the Royal Warwicks was at Camblain-Chatelaine involved in training. On the 7th, there was a route march to Bethon-sart, continuing to “X” camp the next day. By 11th April they were in Dug-outs S of Athies

War Diaries of 1st Bn, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
11 April 1917

2-3 a.m. Conference at Brigade Head Quarters and orders issued that 10th Brigade will attack at 12 noon Operation Order attached.

8.30 a.m. Battalion moved  off to W. of Fampoux and arrived 10.00 a.m.

11.20 a.m. Battalion moved up to Assembly position on Sunken Road on E. edge of Fampoux and arrived 12 noon.

A & C Coys attack on 2 Coy frontage of 500x per Coy and B Coy follow in near as carriers.

12 noon Attack commences and 1st R. Irish Fus. and 2nd Seaforth Highlanders start going forward

12.10 p.m. A & C Coys followed by B Coy follow these Battalions, our Battalion supporting 1st R. Irish Fus. The enemy shelled our Assembly positions heavily and we had many casualties before starting.

The enemy’s M. Gun fire held up our attack almost from the start and the Brigade consolidated a line about 400x in front of the Assembly position.

Both Brigades on our right and left were held up also by M. Gun fire.

Enemy put up a heavy barrage on Assembly positions and vicinity.

Battalion dug in and held a line from Huddue Trench at H.18.a.0.9 to H.18.b,1,3 with Seaforth Highlanders on left and 1st R Irish Fus on right.

Enemy fairly quiet at night. Very cold and snow.

Officer casualties are given 2nd Lieuts 2 killed, 1 wounded and missing, 5 wounded.

Heavy shelling of Fampoux continued for several days and on the 20th Apr, the Battalion was relieved by the 8th Lincolnshire Regt.

Total casualties for the period 9th to 21st Incl.
Killed                             2 Officers            43 Other Ranks (includes 10 died of wds since)
Wounded and missing 1 Officer             – Other Ranks
Wounded                     5 Officers            173 Other Ranks
Missing                      – Officers              33 Other Ranks
Missing believed wounded -Officers       1 Other Ranks.

Both Joseph Vincent Cleaver and Charles Henry Read died on 11th April, probably in this action

Joseph Vincent Cleaver was buried at Point-Du-Jour Military Cemetery, Athies

Rugby Advertiser, 12th May 1917 states
… This is the second son Mr Cleaver (Gregory) has lost in action and two more, George and Austin were wounded earlier in the war.”

Thomas Howlett Cleaver died in 1919. Joseph’s next of kin was named, in the soldiers effects, as his sister Zita.


Wilkins, Albert E. Died 4th Apr 1917

Albert Edward Wilkins was born 11th May 1898 and baptised 27th July 1898 at The Holy Trinity Church, Oxford, the fifth son to John Henry and Sarah Ann Wilkins. They were living at 50 Friars Street, Oxford at the time of Albert’s baptism, and Albert’s father was working as a labourer. Albert’s parents had married 5th August 1890, at Holy Trinity. His mother’s maiden name was Kempton, and John and Sarah were both living at 1 Dale Street Oxford.   John and Sarah had other sons before Albert: -: –
John born 2nd December 1890, Buried 14th January 1, 2 years old
William born 1st May 1892, Buried 21 January 1893 10 months
Ernest Vincent private baptism 11th September 1894, Buried 29 September 1894, 29 days old
Frederick Baptised 22nd July 1896 Buried 17th December 1896, 6 months old
John and William were being buried 7 days apart.

29th August 1893 daughter Lizzie was born and was baptised 8th October 1893.   Lizzie and Albert and Lizzie both survived infancy and appear on the 1901 census with their mother and father and are living at 26 Bridport Street, St Ebbs, Oxford and their father is working as a general Labourer.

Unfortunately Albert’s mother, Sarah, died March 1903, aged 33 years, and was buried 13th March at Holy Trinity Oxford. Albert would have been 4 years old, and his sister Lizzie 9 years old. Albert then went to live with his grandmother, Fanny Kempton, who had been living nearby the family on the 1891 census. By 1911 Albert is with his grandmother in Rugby.   According to the 1911 census Albert is living at 19 King Edward Road, Rugby, with his grandmother, an uncle, Albert Kempton and a cousin Beatrice Evelyn Tedder. Albert is at school and Beatrice is at a Hosiery Factory.   Albert later worked for the B. T. H. was in the Generator Department. He enlisted in 1914 as reported in the Rugby Advertiser 28th April 1917. Albert was killed in action 4th April 1917.

“News has been received that Bugler A. E. Wilkins, of the Rifle Brigade, was killed on April 4th. Bugler Wilkins at the age of 20 enlisted on September 4th 1914. Prior to the war he was employed in the Generator Department at the B. T. H., and resided with his grandmother, Mrs Kempton, of 19 King Edward Road, Rugby.”

Albert’s Brigade was, probably, at the fighting on the Hindenburg Line in France at the time of his death. There is an error in the Rugby Advertiser notice, it states that he enlisted aged 20 years but that was his age at the time of his death, he would have been 16 years old when he enlisted. When he was killed his father was still living in Oxford at 11 Friars Wharf St Ebbs Oxford. Albert would have been entitled to receive the Victory Medal and the British War Medal. He is buried in France in the Fins New British Cemetery, Sol-Le-Grande , Grave Reference I. AA. 17.


North, Walter Robert. Died 26th May 1915

The name W R North appears on the Rugby Memorial Gates.

The only person who died in WW1 to match this name is Walter Robert North who died on 26th May 1915. We have not found any connection with Rugby.


Walter Robert North was born in Devizes, Wiltshire in 1886. His parents were George Edward and Amelia (nee Bateman) who had married in Camberwell in 1879. Both were born in Oxfordshire and George was working as a prison warder in Devises at the time.

By 1901 the family had returned to Oxford and in 1907 Walter married Clara Ann Kilbee there. In 1991 He was working as a Tram Conductor. They had three children.

At the start of the war Walter enlisted, at Oxford, in the Queens Own Oxfordshire Hussars, as a private (regimental no 1607) and arrived in France/Flanders on 20 September 1914.

At some point he was wounded and died of wounds on 26th May 1915. He was buried at Oxford (Botley) Cemetery.

Perhaps some indication of where he received his injuries is the birth in Oxford, on 2nd November 1915, of Robert Walter Ypres North.