Thompson, Arthur. Died 25th Feb 1917

The A Thompson on the Rugby Memorial Gates was originally identified as being Arthur Thompson listed on the Willans and Robinson Drawing Office Plaque, who enlisted at the start of the war. However without more information, we were unable to research him and record him on the centenary of his death. We have now been contacted by his grandson, who has provided us with enough information to publish this biography on the anniversary of his marriage in 1916.

Arthur Thompson was born on 25th May 1889 at Margetts Road, Kempston, Bedfordshire. His father was Charles Thompson, a maltster and his mother was Amy (nee Slater). Arthur was the sixth child. By 1901 three more children had arrived. (They had eleven children altogether but two had died by 1911) The family were now living at 24 Howard Avenue, Bedford. Charles was now listed as a grocer, but his eldest son, also Charles (25) was a maltster.

By 1911 several of the children had left home, including Arthur. Charles was still working as a grocer, at the same address, 24 Howard Avenue. (According to Google Street View, the property is still a grocer’s shop.) We have not been able to find Arthur in the 1911 census, but he was probably already living in Rugby.

On 5th September 1914, he was listed in the Rugby Advertiser as having signed up with other members of staff from Willans and Robinson.

WILLANS & ROBINSON, LIMITED.
SUPPLEMENTARY LIST, No. 3.
Staff :  A Thompson, W R Gamble, C Haines, T Campbell, G F Lewis, P W Clark, J Hughes, C H Waugh, H M Packwood, H R Ainsley, J R Hayward, L G Higgs, A Gibson, A L Jenkins, J Miller, and J Pethybridge.

Arthur joined the Royal Engineers, as corporal, number 42242, and arrived in France with 70th Field Coy. on 30th May 1915.

He would have taken part in the Battle of Loos in October 1915. With no surviving service record it is impossible to track his movements, but in June 1916 he was home on leave, or perhaps had been injured. It is not known if he had returned to France in time for the Battle of the Somme. The 70th Field Coy took part in the Battles of:
Albert 1 – 13 Jul 1916,
Poziers Ridge 23 Jul – 7 Aug 1916,
and The Transloy Ridges 1 Oct – 11 Nov 1916

It is known that on the 18 Dec 1916 he was back in Rugby to marry Lilian Walton at Rugby Congregational Church. It is said that Lilian was a tracer in a drawing office. Presumably Arthur had met her at Willans and Robinson. The Walton family came from Crick, but at the time of the marriage she was living at 24 Benn Street, Rugby.

Arthur Thompson at the front, dated 18 Feb 1917

Serjeant Arthur Thompson was Killed in Action on 25th February 1917, near Arras in France. There is no report of any deaths on that day in the war diaries, but the family was told that the artillery was firing over their heads during an advance and a shell fell short and killed him.

He is buried in the Faubourg d’Amiens Cemetery, Arras.

He is remembered on the Willans and Robinson Drawing Office plaque, as well as the Rugby Memorial Gates. He is also remembered on the Bedford, All Saints memorial.

He was awarded the British and Victory medals as well as the 15 Star.

Arthur and Lilian’s son, Aubrey Arthur Thompson was born on 4th March 1917, one week after his father’s death. Lilian later remarried and moved away from the area.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

Note: We wish to thank Clive Thompson, grandson of Arthur, for  the use of family photographs in this biography.

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Coleman, Duncan Reginald. Died 11th Nov 1918

Duncan Reginald COLEMAN was born in Wardington, Oxfordshire on 27 August 1894, and baptised there on 2 December 1894.  He was the second son of George Henry Coleman [a plasterer, b.c.1856 in Warmington, Warwickshire] and Emily, née Treadwell, Coleman [b.c.1864 in Wardington, Oxfordshire].

In 1901 the family were living at the ‘Red Lion Beer House’, in Wardington, probably following in part the family trade – as George Henry’s father had been an innkeeper in Milcomb.  George Henry was however still working as a ‘plasterer’.

At some date before 1911, the family moved to Rugby and in 1911 were living at 102 Lawford Road, which seems to have been later defined as 102 Dunsmore Terrace, Lawford Road, Rugby.  George Henry was now 55 and his wife Emily was 45.  They had had nine children, but one had died and it seems that one had already left home.  However, seven children were still living at home: Muriel Blanche Coleman was 24; Mary Olive Coleman, 21; Albert Victor Coleman, 18; Duncan Reginald Coleman, was now 16 and already working as a moulder in an Iron Foundry; Ida Cerise Coleman was 12; Stanley Winston Coleman, 11; and Lena Emily Coleman, was 8.

A somewhat complicated set of Service Records survives for Reginald, as it seems he had a number of postings and was also wounded.  Together with various other surviving documents it is possible to provide an outline of his military career.

In summary he was:                                                                                        Days
Home              17 – 4 – 16 to 15 – 7 – 16                         90
BEF France     16 – 7 – 16 to 10 – 5 – 17                      299
Home              11 – 5 – 17 to 22 – 12 – 17                    226
BEF France     23 – 12 – 17 to 11 – 11 – 18                  324
Total    2 years 209 days

He was living at 102 Lawford Road, Rugby, when he first signed up at Warwick[1] for General Service, posted to the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and then posted on 18 April 1916 as a Private, No.18102 in the 11th Battalion, the Royal Warwickshire Regiment (RWR).  He was 21 years and 7 months (or 210 days!) old, 5ft 6¼ inches tall, single and working as a ‘moulder’.

He was transferred as a Private to the ‘Expeditionary Force France’ on 16 July 1916 and embarked for France on 19 July 1916.  On 24 July 1916 he was posted to 11th Bn. RWR, ‘In the Field’.

He was wounded in action with a ‘GSW chest sev’ [Gun Shot Wound to the Chest Severe] on 23 April 1917, and on 3 May 1917 he was ‘adm 4 Gen H’ [Admitted to 4th General Hospital] at ‘Dannes Camier’.[2]  He was then transferred to England on the ‘HS [Hospital Ship] Cambria’ two days later on 11 May 1917, being transferred to the Home Depot that day.

He was admitted to the Eastern General Hospital, Edmonton for 21 days from 11 May to 1 June 1917 and this was extended for a further 10 days from 1 June to 11 June 1917 for the same ‘GSW Chest’ at the Edmonton Military Hospital – probably the same hospital, but with different stamps!!  After these periods, he was pronounced ‘Cured – No FB prelit? or disability – furlough thence CD’ [probably ‘Command Depot’].

On 22 October 1917, he was posted to the Essex Regiment, and on 28 October 1917, he was re-posted as a Private, No.45263 to the 17th Battalion, Essex Regiment at Dover.  On 22 December 1917 he went overseas again from Weybourne, by way of Folkestone on 23 December, arriving in Boulogne to join the BEF on the 24 December 1917.  On the same day he was transferred ‘in the field’ to the Royal Engineers, as a Pioneer, No.358639 and on 27 February 1918 to the Royal Engineers, No.4 Foreway Company, ‘at RE Rates’ from 28 February 1918.

Later that year, on 19 September 1918, he was ‘temporarily and compulsorily’ transferred to the Railways sub-unit in the Transportation Branch RE and from 20 September became a Pioneer with the 234th Light Railway Field Company and allotted a new regimental number: WR/358639.  The letters ‘WR’ stood for ‘Waterway and Railways’.  The 234th (Forward) Company was formed in France and operated there.

The formation of the RE Light Railway Companies in early 1917 was an innovation that was one of the factors that transformed the operational abilities of the army.  Goods and men could now make the last leg of the journey to the front by light rail.  Until that time, ammunition supply in particular had been subject to delays and required vast numbers of men and horses, and the light railways helped overcome both problems.  Traffic and wear on the roads and tracks leading up to the front was eased, and fewer men were required to repair them. … The Company consisted of approximately 200 men, … Drivers, Brakesmen, Guards, Wagon Repairers, Repair Shop Engineers, Traffic Controllers and Storesmen.   There were few officers among this number … The job … was to run the trains, with the tracks being laid by RE Railway Construction Companies – often with the assistance of whatever Labour Corps Company or ‘resting’ infantry were at hand.[3]

At some stage, presumably in early November, he became unwell and was transferred to No. 29 Casualty Clearing Station, which was then stationed at Delsaux Farm.  It was from there that his death was reported, ‘Died – Influenza – 11.11.1918’.  He died of Pneumonia on ‘Armistice Day’, 11 November 1918, aged 25, at ‘29 CCS’.  A confirmatory report in his Service Record, from the Captain RAMC, Medical Specialist, 29 CC Station, read,
358639 Pnr Colemen DR, 234 Light Forward Railway Co. RE
The a/m man died from Influenza followed by Broncho-Pneumonia & heart failure.
The disease was brought about by exposure whilst on military service in France.

Duncan was first buried in the Beugny Military Cemetery No.18, which had been made by the Germans after their Operation Michael[4] advances in March 1918 near the village crossroads.

Later, the German graves were removed, and in 1920, the British burials were exhumed and reburied at the Delsaux Farm Cemetery, adjacent to the Casualty Clearing Station.  Duncan was reburied  in grave reference: III. A. 17.  His gravestone bears the family message ‘Greater Love Hath No Man’.

A draft and copy of a letter sent to Duncan’s father is with his Service Record.

Royal Engineers, Record Office, Chatham  –  16 June 1920

Sir, 

I beg to inform you that in accordance with the agreement with the French and Belgian Governments to remove all scattered graves, small cemeteries containing less than 40 graves and certain other cemeteries which were situated in places unsuitable for permanent retention, it has been found necessary to exhume bodies buried in certain areas and re-inter them, therefore the body of your late son, No. WR/284262, Pioneer, D. R. Colemen, R. E., has been removed and re-buried in DELSAUX FARM BRITIH CEMETERY, 3 ¾ miles E. of BAPAUME.

The necessity for removal is much regretted but was unavoidable for reasons stated above.

The removal has been undertaken with every measure of care and reverence and special arrangements have been made for the appropriate religious services to be held.

I am, Yours faithfully,          for Colonel i/c R. E. Records.

The cemetery is near the village of Beugny, in Pas de Calais, France, some 19 kilometres south-west of Cambrai.

Delsaux Farm was a point on the German defensive system known as the Beugny-Ytres line, which was reached by Commonwealth troops on 18 March 1917, and passed on the following day. The farm was lost on 23 March 1918 after the gallant defence of Beugny by the 9th Welsh Regiment and their withdrawal, but it was retaken by the 5th Division on 2 September 1918, and on the next day the same division occupied Beugny village.  After their advance in March 1918, the Germans made a cemetery (Beugny Military Cemetery No.18) at the cross-roads, and in it buried 103 Commonwealth and 82 German dead.  The site was extended in October-November 1918 by the 29th and 46th Casualty Clearing Stations, which came to Delsaux Farm and made the present cemetery.  A little later, the German graves of March 1918 were removed and the 103 Commonwealth dead reburied in Plot I, Row J, Plot II, Row A, and Plot III, Rows B, C and D.  The rest of the cemetery was made when graves were later brought in from the battlefield. … The cemetery was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.[5]

Duncan Reginald COLEMAN was awarded the British War and Victory Medals.  He is remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gates and on his CWGC gravestone at Delsaux Farm Cemetery, Beugby. 

Duncan’s outstanding pay of £24-3-8d was paid to his ‘Fa[ther] & Sole Leg[atee] George H’ on 12 April 1919, and note stated that this was ‘Including War Grant £14-10-0’.  On 17 April 1919 his property was returned to the family: ‘Letters; Shaving brush; Badge; Photos; Wallet’.

His elder brother Albert Victor Coleman, signed up on 12 December 1915, and also served initially in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, as No.3098, and later in the Royal Berkshire Regiment as No.44920.  He survived the war.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

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This article on Duncan Reginald COLEMAN was researched and written for a Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the RFHG, October 2018.

 

[1]      UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919.

[2]      The No 4 General Hospital was at St Nazaire in September 1914; at Versailles from September 1914 to January 1916; at Camiers, when Duncan Coleman was admitted, from January 1916 to April 1919; and at Dunkerque from April 1919 to November 1919.

[3]      https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-corps-of-royal-engineers-in-the-first-world-war/light-railway-operating-companies-of-the-royal-engineers/.

[4]      https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com/2018/03/20/the-1918-spring-offensive-operation-michael/.

[5]      Edited from: https://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/23600/delsaux-farm-cemetery,-beugny/.

Lester, Arthur. Died 17th Aug 1918

Arthur Lester was born in 1878 at Bugbrooke, Northamptonshire to George Henry Lester, born about 1845 at Uppingham, Northamptonshire, a farm labourer and Eliza Lester, née Turland (b1853 – 97). The 1911 census returns show that Arthur was living in Bugbrooke with his father and was single. His father had re-married in 1904 to Georgiana Jane Lester, née Chapman. (b 1845).

In 1915 Arthur Lester married Maude Elizabeth Adcock (b 1892, Stoke Golding, Leicestershire) at Nuneaton. They moved to Rugby where in 1917 they were blessed with a daughter, Edith M.

During WW1 he enlisted in the Royal Engineers, 263rd Railway Coy, service number WR/318002. In February 1918 he was sent to France. On 17 August 1918, with the rank of Lance Corporal, he was killed in action and buried in the Ribemont Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme, where his grave is maintained by the CWGC. Ribemont was on the railway line from Amiens to Albert, and Mericourt-Ribemont Station had been a railhead for the Commonwealth forces from the early summer of 1915.

In the editorial section of the Rugby Advertiser of 5th October 1918, under the heading ‘Local War Notes’, there appears the following:-
“Lance Corpl A Lester, Royal Engineers, 92 South Street, Rugby, killed in action on August 17th. For upwards of 18 years he was employed as a platelayer in Rugby. He had served in France since February last.”

His wife also placed the following notice of his death in the same edition:-
LESTER. — In loving memory of Lance Corpl ARTHUR (DICK), dearly beloved husband of Mrs. Lester, 92 South Street, killed in France on August 17, 1918.
God takes our loved ones from our home,
But never from our heart.
From his sorrowing wife and little daughter.”

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

Angell, William Henry, Died 15th Jun 1918

William Henry Groves ANGELL was born in Deptford, Kent, in late 1889.  He was the second son of John Groves Beasley Angell, who was born in ‘Bow Road’, London City, in about 1862, and Mary, née Sullivan, Angell, who was born in Deptford, Kent and who was also born in about 1862.  

In 1891, the family had just moved to live in Clump Meadow, Queen’s Road, Thames Ditton, Kent.  William was one year old and had an elder brother, John, who was five,[1] and an elder sister.  He would later have another sister, Amy, and a much younger brother, Fred born in 1898.  William’s father was a ‘moulder’.  It seems that both William’s father, and his uncle, had moved to Queen’s Road, Thames Ditton, before the 1891 census, and both must have worked for the Willans Company, as both families moved to Rugby when the Willans Company expanded and moved there in 1897.

So before 1901 the family had moved to live at 43 Victoria Avenue, Bilton, Rugby, and then before 1911, William’s parents and the family had moved to 166 Lawford Road, New Bilton, Rugby.  His father was still an Iron Moulder.  His sister, Katherine, had married, Rugby born, Alfred Glenn, who was a Groom and they were also living with the family.  William was not at home on census night, and has not been found elsewhere at present, unless he was the ‘core maker’ – a somewhat similar trade to that of his father – who was a boarder at 425 Shields Road, East Heaton, Newcastle-on-Tyne.

There are no surviving military Service Records for William.  He joined up in Bristol, initially as a Sapper, No:2168, in the Royal Engineers.  His Medal Card states that he went ‘overseas’ to France/Belgium on 6 June 1915.  He was latterly a Sapper No: 494519 in the 477th South Midlands Field Company, Royal Engineers (R.E.s).

The 2/1st South Midland Field Company, R.E.s was formed in September 1914, and later moved independently to France as the renamed 477th Field Company, R.E.s, and joined 48th Division in June 1915.  William would have gone to France with his Field Company.

A War Diary exists for their period in France/Belgium.[2]  They had entrained for Portsmouth on 6 June and crossed to Le Havre arriving on 7 June and then spent several months with Sections working on different projects in different areas and also training – including the use of pontoons and bridging.

As an example of their work, on 18 May 1916, 9.30am, they started to supervise the digging of trenches,
‘… 915 yds of trench in all & including [two] traverses, 1220 yds of digging. Trench dug 5ft wide at top & 3 ft at bottom, 3ft 6in deep = 14 sq ft.  Strength of digging party 650 & 1 section of Sappers supervising approx 80 cu.ft per man.  19 May – 2pm – Digging complete.

In November 1916, their Field Company typically had a strength of 10 officers and about 220 other ranks.  They would have been working on a variety of construction projects, trenches and strong-points, supporting the 48th Division during the rest of 1916 and for most of 1917.

In May 1915, the Italians had entered the war on the Allied side, declaring war on Austria.  Commonwealth forces were later transferred to the Italian front between November 1917 and November 1918.   48th Division HQ received orders on 10 November 1917 for a move to Italy.  Entrainment began on 21 November and all units had detrained around Legnano (Adige) by 1 December.  The Division then moved north to the area allotted to XI Corps.

In March 1918, XIV Corps (the 7th, 23rd and 48th Divisions) relieved Italian troops on the front line between Asiago and Canove, the front being held by two Divisions, with one Division in reserve on the plain.[3]

The 48th Division relieved 7th Division to hold the front line sector at the Montello between 1 and 16 March.  It then moved west, to the Asiago sector.  The front had been comparatively quiet until the Austrians attacked in force from Grappa to Canove in the Battle of Asiago (15-16 June 1918).  The Division took part in the fighting on the Asiago Plateau.  The Allied line was penetrated to a depth of about 1,000 metres on 15 June, but the lost ground was retaken the next day and the line re-established.[4]

It is likely that William was wounded either just prior to, or during, the Battle of Asiago, and died of wounds during the day at one of the South Midlands Field Ambulances, which were attached to the 48th (South Midland) Division.  Mount Cavalletto was the site of an Advanced Operating Station where urgent cases from the front were treated, as the journey from the mountains to the main hospitals on the plain was long and difficult.

William Henry Angell ‘died of wounds’ on 15 June 1918, and was buried in the nearby Cavalletto British Cemetery, in grave reference: Plot 1. Row E. Grave 11.[5]  His family later had the inscription ‘A Noble Sacrifice for his Country’s Honour’ added to his memorial stone.  The contact for the inscription was ‘Mrs F R Angell, 714 Fishponds Road, Bristol’.  This would appear to be William’s cousin, Florence R Angell, who had married in 1913 and whose husband died in 1918.  She seems to have used her unmarried name for correspondence with the CWGC.  She later re-married.

Cavalletto British Cemetery is one of five Commonwealth cemeteries on the Asiago Plateau containing burials relating to this period.  It contains 100 First World War burials.  It is 12 kilometres south of Asiago (in the province of Vicenza, Veneto region), … and 45 kilometres from Vicenza in the commune of Calven.

In October, the 7th and 23rd Divisions were sent to the Treviso area of the River Piave front. The 48th Division, which remained in the mountains as part of the Italian Sixth Army, later played an important part in the Battle of Vittorio Veneto (24 October-4 November 1918) in which the Austrians were finally defeated.

William Henry Angell was awarded the British War and Victory Medals and the 1914-1915 Star.  He is also commemorated on the Rugby Memorial Gates in Hillmorton Road, Rugby.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

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This article on William Henry ANGELL was researched and written for the Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the RFHG, March 2018.

[1]      His brother John was mentioned in the Rugby Advertiser, on 5 May 1917.  See Rugby Remembers.  ‘2nd Lieut. J P Angell, R.F.C, eldest son of Mr and Mrs J Angell, 166 Lawford Road, has been awarded the French Military Medal for Distinguished Service while he was Sergt. Major, and has received congratulations from His Majesty the King.  Mr Angell has two other sons serving with the Colours.’

[2]      WWI War Diaries (France, Belgium and Germany), 1914-1920, Royal Engineers, 48th Division, TNA Ref: Piece 2751/3: 477 South Midland Field Company Royal Engineers (1915 Jun – 1917 Oct).

[3]      Edited from: https://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/69804/cavalletto-british-cemetery/.

[4]      Edited from: https://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/69804/cavalletto-british-cemetery/.

[5]      Shared by ‘parkgrove1’ on www.ancestry.co.uk on 19 September 2015.

Hickingbotham, William. Died 10th Jun 1918

William jnr (Billy) was born on 18 November 1893[1] in Rugby, but was baptised on 21 January 1894 at Bulkington, Warwickshire.  He was the son of William Hickingbotham who had also been born in Bulkington in about 1868.  In 1894, William senior was a brakesman; in 1901, a Railway Foreman Shunter, and by 1911 was working in the L&NW rail traffic department.  His marriage with Hannah Jane Elizabeth, née Pegg, was registered in Nuneaton Q3, 1891.  She was also born in Bulkington, in about 1872.

The family had presumably moved to Rugby before the end of 1893, and in 1901 and 1911 the family lived at 33 Cambridge Street Rugby.  In 1911, William junior was 17, single and a boot making apprentice.  By then he had three younger sisters and two younger brothers.

William’s Medal Card shows that he was initially in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment as a Private, No.4584, but later transferred to the Royal Engineers as Pioneer, No.130551.  Thirteen pages of William’s Pension Records have survived.

William initially joined the 3/7th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment.  He was first attested on 16 November 1915 and ‘posted’ the same day.  He was discharged on 17 March 1916 and he re-enlisted that day in the Royal Engineers and was re-attested on 19 March 1916, at Clevedon, when he was 22 years and 4 months old.  He was 5 foot 8½ inches tall, a dark complexion, grey eyes and dark brown hair.  His father William was listed at his next of kin.

His Service Record shows that he was on Home Service from 18 to 29 March 1916.  He was posted as a Pioneer on 30 March 1916, and then posted to the British Expeditionary Force from 30 March 1916 to 8 April 1918.

During this period of service, he was ‘Wounded’, this being listed in the Weekly Casualty List in August 1917.[2]  He recovered locally without being sent back to UK, and he was in action again some time in late March or early April 1918, probably during the German assault of Operation Michael, when he was gassed by Mustard Gas.

He was evacuated back to UK on 9 April 1918 and listed as back on Home Service from that date, and posted to the ‘Royal Engineers Spec. Bde. Dept.’.  He had medical examinations regarding his condition and future pension at St Luke’s War Hospital, Halifax, on 13 and 18 April 1918.  He had been ‘Gassed sev …’, and was ‘Permanently excluded from liability for medical re-examination under the Military Service (review of exemptions) Act 1917’.  He was suffering from ‘phthisis’ [pulmonary tuberculosis or a similar progressive wasting disease] and his medical record suggests that ‘Gassed by Mustard Gas, wd. probably be the cause’.  It was suggested that this was ‘70% due to service during the war with Germany’.  Sanatorium treatment was recommended.  At Chatham on 9 May 1918, he was formally ‘Discharged, no longer physically fit for war service’.  He had ‘v.good’ military character and was awarded a ‘v.satisfactory’ character.  He received the Silver War Badge No.361456, when he was invalided out, to show he was not avoiding war service. 

It is not known to which, if any, sanatorium he was sent, however, he died just a month after his discharge, aged 24, on 10 June 1918.  He was buried at Rugby in the Clifton Road Cemetery in plot: J479.  On his CWGC headstone his parents chose to have inscribed ‘In Loving Memory of Billy Eldest Son of Wm. & H.J.E. Hickingbotham – Till We Meet Again’.  The CWGC website confirms that he ‘Died of Wounds [Gas]’.       

    

William is also remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gate and was awarded the Victory and British medals.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

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This article on William Hickingbotham was researched and written for a Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the Rugby Family History Group, December 2017.

[1]      Information from Military Service Record.

[2]      Weekly Casualty List (War Office & Air Ministry ), Tuesday, 21 August 1917.

Worster, George John. Died 22nd Sep 1917

George John Worster was born in Aldershot Hants in 1892, the eldest son and third child of the ten children of George Worster, a blacksmith born in Barby Northants. He was baptised at Farnham, the birthplace of his mother Emma nee Goulden and eldest sister Maude, on 20 May 1892 (Farnham baptism register). His parents were also married there Dec Q 1887. His siblings were Maude (Harriet M), Elizabeth E, Jesse (Alfred J), Victoria, (Edward) Cecil, Dorothy, Cedric, and Aubrey. (census 1901 & 1911)

George senior was working as a blacksmith in an engineering works in Rugby in 1911, and living at 15 Manor Road, a house with seven rooms. He had moved to the town around 1899; his five youngest children were born here. He had travelled around quite a bit according to the birthplaces of his children, from Farnham in 1887 to Aldershot c 1893 where George jnr and Victoria were born, then to Flore Northants for a couple of years, and on to Weston by Welland for another couple of years before coming to Rugby. In 1901 the family with six children were living at 33 Arnold Street (RG13/2916/76).   This would have been in the early days of the engineering companies in Rugby, which would have recruited men with experience like George.

George John was a carpenter’s apprentice in 1911, working for a builder. His two older sisters (Harriet) Maude and Elizabeth were workers in a lamp factory, and a younger brother (Alfred) Jesse was an iron turner’s apprentice in an engineering works. Five of the six youngest children aged 4-13 were scholars, the youngest was an infant aged two.

George must have enlisted during the first year of the war as his medal card records that he was awarded the 1915 Star having entered France on 21 July 1915. He is buried in Spoilbank Cemetery five miles south of Ypres which contains 520 graves and commemorations of the fallen. His grave in Section I, row O is directly beside the path between the main gate and the Great Cross.

He married Doris M Meek in Mar Qr of 1917 in Rugby RD.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

Boyce, Arthur Cecil. Died 10th Aug 1917

Arthur Cecil Boyce was not a Rugby lad, although he appears on the Rugby Memorial Gates.

He was born June 1889 in London (Wandsworth), to Arthur and Isabel Boyce. He appears on the census for 1891 and 1901 living with his parents Arthur and Isabel Boyce. On the 1891 Census the family is living in 70 Bellevue Battersea London and in 1901 at 2 Henderson Road Wandsworth London. Arthur’s father was working for the Railways in 1891 as a clerk, in 1901 as an Assistant Railway Superintendent and in 1911 he is a Railway Manager, living at 2 Fitzroy Gardens, Rugby.

Arthur Cecil is not with his parents on the 1911 Census but in at Birkenhead, Cheshire as an Engineering Student at University where he took a first class B.Eng. in 1912 and in the same year was awarded the Burroughs prize for drawing and design.

He went out to Canada as a civil engineer and returned at the outbreak of war as a sapper with the Canadian contingent. He served from February to September 1915 in France and Belgium – in April he was slightly gassed at Ypres, the first time gas was used by the Germans. He came home and was posted with the Royal Engineers at Netley

It was during this time, on 4th January 1916, that he married Kathleen Eve Limrick at St Margaret’s Church, Toxteth Park, in Liverpool. He gave his address as 283 Clifton Road, Rugby, his parents home.

2nd Lieutenant Boyce returned to France with the Royal Engineers and to the Front in July 1916.

He was invalided home from France suffering from an affliction of the throat, nose and teeth. He was on the hospital ship Gloucester Castle which was torpedoed on 31st March 1917 and spent three hours in an open boat.

He returned to Liverpool where he received treatment for his teeth and travelled to Maidenhead for the removal of two troublesome roots. The operation was successful but Arthur collapsed and the attending doctor could not revive him. A later post-mortem discovered his heart had been weakened by the gas and exposure on the open sea

Arthur Cecil Boyce, Lieutenant R.E. 397th Field Coy, died on August 10th 1917. His body was placed on a gun carriage and returned to his home.

The funeral, with full military honours took place at West Norwood Cemetery.

His parents Arthur and Isabel later lived at Malvern, and his wife in Camberwell London.

He left a will and probate was granted to Arthur Boyce, railway district manager at Oxford 29″` September 1917 leaving £47.

A daughter, Joan I K Boyce was born in Liverpool in the second quarter of 1917, She died in Croydon in 1924 at the age of seven. It is not known what happened to his wife.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM