Summerfield, Walter Ernest. Died 20th Aug 1917

Walter Ernest SUMMERFIELD was born in Clifton, in 1892. The birth was registered in Q2 1892 in Rugby, where they lived at 3 Winfield Street, Rugby. Walter was the son of Frederick Charles and Clara Ellen, née Edwards, Summerfield whose marriage was registered in Lutterworth in Q4 1877. His parents had been born Watford, Northamptonshire and Easenhall, Warwickshire respectively.

In 1901, they were still living at 3 Winfield Street, Rugby; Walter was nine years old, and his father was a ‘railway brakesman’. Walter had four elder and one younger brother, and two elder sisters who were all living at home. The two eldest children had been born at Easenhall, their mother’s home village in Warwickshire, the family had then moved to Clifton, in about 1882.

By 1911, Walter was 19 and a ‘Painters Labourer’, possibly working with two of his elder brothers.  The family was still living in the same house and his parents had now been married 33 years and had had nine children of whom eight had survived. His father was still a ‘Railway Brakesman’.

He seems to have had an army medical inspection on 13 September 1916, when it was noted that he required dental treatment. He was 5ft 8¾ inches tall. He enlisted at Rugby on 19 October 1916, [although a Casualty Form stated that he ‘rejoined the colours’] with his attestation dated 20 October 1916, initially as Private, No.22028, with the 3rd Bn. Royal Warwickshire Regiment [RWR or RWarR] and stationed at Parkhurst from 20 October 1916 to 8 January 1917.

The 3rd (Reserve) Battalion had been raised in August 1914 in Warwick. As a training unit, it remained in UK throughout the war, but moved to Portsmouth in August 1914, and then to the Isle of Wight, where Walter was based at Parkhurst. Walter was thus on ‘home’ service from 19 October to 7 January 1917, a period of 81 days.

He was posted to join the Expeditionary Force in France and Belgium on 8 January – and was there until 13 March 1917 [65 days]. He was posted to the 16th Bn. RWR on 11 January 1917 when he embarked at Southampton, landing at Le Havre on 12 January. The 16th (Service) Battalion (3rd Birmingham) was formed at Birmingham in September 1914 by the Lord Mayor and a local committee and by 26 December 1915 it had transferred to 15th Brigade, 5th Division.

However, on 26 January 1917, a few days after this posting he was again posted, to 2nd/7th Bn. RWR and allocated a new number, No.20600.

The 2/7th Bn. RWR were formed in Coventry in October 1914 as a second line battalion. They became a part of the 2nd Warwickshire Brigade, 2nd South Midland Division. In August 1915 they were redesignated as the 182nd Brigade, 61st (2nd South Midland) Division and had landed in France on 21 May 1916.

A week or so later, on about 5 February 1917, Walter was charged with ‘Falling out on the march without permission’ and given 14 days of Field Punishment No.2. On 1 March 1917 he was given yet another new number, No.268343.

On 5 March he contracted Diarrhoea in ‘the Field’, and there were complications and by 13 March he was at Rouen, presumably at one of the many hospitals there, suffering from ‘Ent. Bac. Dysentery, Flex’. It seems that he was evacuated back to UK for further treatment, as he was on ‘home service’ from 14 March to 10 June 1917 [89 days].

By 20 May 1917 he was back with the 7th Reserve Bn. RWarR, at Hipswell Camp, Catterick, no doubt awaiting a further posting to France.

He returned to France on 11 June 1917, and next day lost one day’s pay for being ‘deficient of kit’, and was posted to the 1st/8th Bn. Later on 28/29 June he was re-posted to 1st/6th Bn. RWarR.

The Battalion Diary[1] records that in late June the 1/8th Battalion was ‘Training’ at Fremicourt, which is in the Somme area.   It received 17 Other Rank reinforcements on 27 or 28 June – one of these was probably Walter. On 30 June, they were relieved by the 7th Shropshire Light Infantry and marched to Gomiecourt. They then marched to Pommier for further training, and on 20 July marched to Halloy, and then on 22 July to Authieule where they entrained – ‘Accomodation will be approximately one Platoon per truck’ – for St Jan-ter-Biezen, in Belgium. Having now had a month’s training, on the night of 30/31 July they marched via Poperinghe, Poperinghe-Elverdinghe Road, and Chemin Militaire, into the Corps Reserve at Camp ‘C’ in Belgium.

In August, a further fortnight’s training followed, with a move of camp on 15 August. The Battalion then moved to Dambre Camp in the St Julian area, and on 16 August ‘Crossed the Iser Canal & moved forward in support to 145 Brigade who attacked East of the Steenbeeke’.   This would have been part of the Battle of Langemarck (16 – 18 August 1917).

From 17 to 20 August the Battalion was ‘in support’, and ‘A & B Coys relieved 1/8 RWarW’. On 20 August they were ‘… relieved by the 1/5 & 1/7 RWarR.’ During the four days the Battalion suffered one officer killed and two wounded, with ‘OR Killed 17, Wounded 65, Missing 1’.

Walter was one of those ‘OR Killed’ in that summary, and died on 20 August 1917 [when his overseas service totalled 71 days]. His body was either never found or not later identified. He is remembered on one of the Panels 23 to 28 and 163A of the Tyne Cot Memorial. The Tyne Cot Memorial is one of four memorials to the missing in Belgian Flanders which cover the area known as the Ypres Salient. Whereas those who died before 16 August 1917 are remembered on the Menin Gate, the United Kingdom servicemen who died after that date are named on the memorial at Tyne Cot. Walter is also commemorated on the Rugby Memorial Gates in Hillmorton Road, Rugby.

On 22 December 1917, Walter’s father, as sole legatee, received £5-1-10d owing to his son, and then a War Gratuity of £3-0-0d on 7 November 1919. On 7 January 1918, his father acknowledged receipt of ‘letters, postcards, cards, & leather pocket book’. On 14 July 1920, Walter’s father was asked if he was still at his address, in order that he could receive Walter’s ‘Plaque and Scroll’. Frederick’s Medal Card and the Medal Roll entry showed that he was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal and that his father received Walter’s medals on 28 January 1922.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

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This article on Walter Ernest SUMMERFIELD 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, June 2017.

[1]       The National Archives, WWI War Diaries (France, Belgium and Germany), 1914-1920, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, 48th Division, Piece 2755/2: 1/6 Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment (1915 Mar – 1917 Oct); also available on www.ancestry.co.uk.

Hanwell, George Charles. Died 12th Aug 1917

George Charles HANWELL’s birth was registered in Q2 1881 in Rugby.   He was the son of William Hanwell, a railway fireman, and Sarah Maria née Wills. In 1882 they were living in Rugby where George had been born.

George was baptised at Crick on 3 September 1882, when his father was also recorded as a ‘fireman’. By 1891 the family were living at 15 Cambridge Street, Rugby.

In 1901, George was enumerated back in Crick, living with his grandfather, a retired plumber. His uncle was a ‘plumber and painter’ and George was listed similarly.   It seems he was learning the trade, and by 1911 he was enumerated as a house painter.

His marriage with Georgina Worthington, was registered in Rugby in Q3 1906, and by census night 1911 they were living at 1 Caldecott Street, Rugby with their son Henry W who was 7 months old – his birth was registered in Q3 1910. They later had a son, Jesse, whose birth was registered in Q1 1915, but who died very soon afterwards and whose death was registered in Q2 1915.

George enlisted at Rugby and joined up initially as Private No.267297 in the 1/5th Bn. Royal Warwickshire Rifles (RWR) and later at an unknown date was transferred as Private, No.235001 to the 1st Bn. Worcestershire Regiment.

The 1/5th Battalion of the RWR were formed in August 1914 in Thorp Street, Birmingham as part of Warwickshire Brigade, South Midland Division.   They landed at Le Havre on 22 March 1915 and on 13 May 1915 joined the 143rd Brigade, of the 48th (South Midland) Division and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including in 1916: The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bazentin Ridge, The Battle of Pozieres Ridge, The Battle of the Ancre Heights, The Battle of the Ancre; and in 1917, The German Retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The Battle of Langemarck, The Battle of Polygon Wood, The Battle of Broodseinde, and The Battle of Poelcapelle.

The 1st Battalion had been stationed in Cairo, Egypt at the outbreak of war, but by 16 October 1914 had returned to England from Alexandria and arrived at Liverpool to join the 24th Brigade of the 8th Division and moved to Hursley Park, Winchester. They landed at Le Havre in November 1914 for service on the Western Front. The 1st Battalion placed an important role at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle in March 1915 but by December it had lost half its strength due to frostbite as much as combat casualties as well as the commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel E. C. F. Wodehouse, who was killed-in-action.

It is unknown when George joined up or transferred to the 1st Bn., which having fought in the Battle of Aubers Ridge in May 1916, transferred with the 24th Brigade to the 23rd Division on 18 October 1915. During 1916 the Brigade helped to relieve the French 17th Division in the Carency sector and the attack on Contalmaison, and on 15 July 1916 transferred back to the 8th Division, with the Battalion taking over trenches at Cuinchy and then moving back to the front at Somme. During 1917 they were involved with the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The Battle of Pilkem, The Battle of Langemarck, and the Third Battle of Ypres.

It was presumably during the first action of the Third Battle of Ypres that George was wounded.

The War Diary of the 1st Battalion Worcestershire Regiment provides information on their positions and actions in July and August 1917. Prior to George’s death on 12 August, the Battalion was in reserve and under training so it seems likely that he was wounded before August.

This would have been during the Battle of Pilckem Ridge, 31 July – 2 August 1917, which was the opening attack of the Third Battle of Ypres. On 31 July, the Anglo-French armies captured Pilckem Ridge and areas either side, the French attack being a great success. However, heavy rain fell during the afternoon of 31 July, just as German regiments from specialist counter-attack Eingreif divisions intervened. The reserve brigades were forced back and the German counter-attack was stopped by massed artillery and small-arms fire.

The Diary noted that they had made an extensive advance on 31 July near Hooge and onto the Bellewarde Ridge, toward Westhoek, in which action tanks were also used. However, in the later part of the action on 31 July, they experienced heavy shell fire and also machine gun and sniper fire. The description of the day in the War Diary runs to some four pages and although the Battalion captured 70 Germans, as well as inflicting losses on the enemy, they had three officers and 22 other ranks killed and five officers and 157 other ranks wounded, and one officer and 49 other ranks missing.

It is assumed that George Hanwell was among the 157 wounded and he was presumably taken back to an advanced dressing station or a casualty clearing station before being evacuated to one of the hospitals well behind the lines at Rouen, where he later died of his wounds on 12 August 1917.

George was buried in Plot P. II. D. 14B, in the St. Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen. His headstone reads ‘God grant him eternal life’.

The St. Sever Cemetery Extension is located within a large communal cemetery situated on the eastern edge of the southern Rouen suburbs. During the First World War, Commonwealth camps and hospitals were stationed on the southern outskirts of Rouen. Most of the hospitals at Rouen remained there for the whole of the war. They included eight general, five stationary, one British Red Cross and one labour hospital, and No.2 Convalescent Depot. The great majority of the dead were taken to the city cemetery of St. Sever. In September 1916, it was found necessary to begin an extension, where the last burial took place in April 1920.

The Army Register of Soldiers’ Effects, recorded a payment on 22 November 1917, to his widow, Georgina, of £3-1-5d and then a payment of a war gratuity of £4-0-0d on 10 November 1919.

George’s Medal Card and the Medal Roll entry showed that he was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. There was no 1914-1915 Star, which suggests that he did not go to France until at least 1916.

George Hanwell is commemorated on the Rugby Memorial Gates in Hillmorton Road, Rugby.

George’s son Henry Hanwell’s marriage with Phyllis A Mansfield was registered in Rugby in Q2 1936. They had a son, John H Hanwell whose birth was registered in Q2 1936.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

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This article on George Charles HANWELL 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, June 2017.

Watts, John Sidney George. Died 30th Jul 1917

John Sidney George WATTS was born in 1896 in Rugby and registered in the last quarter of that year as Sidney George Watts. He was the middle of the five sons of Albert Edward Watts and his wife Annie Elizabeth (née Bailey). His father, Albert, was born in Newbold and worked as a railway engine stoker on the L & N W railway.

In 1901, he was four years old and enumerated as John S G Watts. His family was living in Old Station Square, Rugby. By 1911 they had moved to 38 Dale Street, Rugby. He was now 14 and enumerated as ‘Sidney George Watts’ and was working as a grocer’s errand boy.

Henry’s Service Records do not survive so little is known of his Service Career. It is not known when he joined up, although he enlisted at Rugby,[1] probably later in 1915, as he did not receive the 1915 Star, and thus there was no embarkation date on his Medal Card. He would not have been 18 years old until just before 1915.

He joined up as a Private, No.28015 in the 10th (Service) Battalion (Bn.) of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment (RWarR). 

The 10th (Service) Battalion was formed in Warwick in August 1914 as part of the Second New Army (K2) and then moved to Salisbury Plain and joined the 57th Brigade of the 19th Division. In March 1915 they moved to Tidworth.

On 17 July 1915 they mobilised for war and landed in France and the Division engaged in various actions on the Western Front. In 1915: the Action of Pietre; in 1916: the Battle of Albert; the attacks on High Wood; the Battle of Pozieres Ridge; the Battle of the Ancre Heights and the Battle of the Ancre. John would have joined with a draft of reinforcements and was possibly involved in some of these but more probably was in action in 1917 in the Battle of Messines. The Battalion would be later involved in the various actions of the Third Battle of Ypres which started on 31 July 1917.

John was probably wounded during the various aftermaths of the Battle of Messines (7-14 June 1917) and during the preparations for the Third Battle of Ypres, probably during the few days before that battle.

The reports in the 10th Battalion War Diary,[2] for the weeks before John’s death, provides the following summary of information:

On 10 July 1917 the Battalion which had been in reserve, was relieved and for a period in mid-July formed working parties until 17 July when further training started. On 19 July there was an inspection by the GOC of 57th Brigade. On 20 July one OR [Other Rank] was wounded during training. At night on 22 July, the Battalion relieved the 7th Bn., Loyal North Lancashire Regiment in the trenches at Roozebeek, Delbske Farm and Denys Wood. They remained in the trenches until relieved on 29 July 1917 when they returned to hutments at Butterfly Farm – the Butterfly was the symbol of the 57th Brigade. During this period of seven days in the trenches, the Battalion was subjected to intermittent shelling, a fairly ineffective gas attacks and particularly heavy shelling on 28 July. There were continuing casualties with ORs killed and/or wounded each day: 23 July – 4 wounded; 24 July – 2 killed, 3 wounded; 25 July – 3 killed, 4 wounded; 26 July – 1 killed, 10 wounded; 27 July – 1 killed, 6 wounded; 28 July – 1 killed, 4 wounded; 29 July – 3 wounded.

During that week of comparative ‘routine’ in the trenches, 34 men were wounded – one of these was probably John Watts – unless he had been wounded some time before, but in that case he would probably have already been evacuated to a hospital further west or even back to England.

He was probably evacuated to an aid post and then through the field ambulance system back to the Convent of St. Antoine in Locre, some 10kms west of the Oosttaverne area, where he had been in action, and some 10kms south-west of Ieper [Ypres]. He was probably at the Convent when he died of his wounds on 30 July 1917.

He was buried in Grave Ref: I. B. 9. in the adjacent Locre (now Loker) Hospice Cemetery. This was in Allied hands during the greater part of the war, and field ambulances were stationed in the Convent of St. Antoine. The Hospice Cemetery was begun in June 1917 by field ambulances and fighting units and was used until April 1918.

John Sidney Watts was awarded the British War and Victory Medals and is also commemorated on the Rugby Memorial Gates in Hillmorton Road.

Two payments were made to his mother, Annie Elizabeth, as sole legatee: £15-12-2d owing in back pay on 22 October 1917 and a War Gratuity of £14-0-0d on 4 November 1919.

John Sidney Watts’ brother, Albert Edward Joseph Watts (below left), was also killed in the War. His biography was published in Rugby Remembers on 26 August 1914.[3] He had joined up very early in the war and went to France on 22 August with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, and was killed four days later on 26 August in the Battle of Le Cateau and buried in Fontaine-Au-Pire Communal Cemetery, Plot 1, Row A, Grave No. 3.

There is a story in the family that Albert and John’s mother wore a Royal Warwickshire tie brooch for the rest of her life.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

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This article on John Sidney WATTS was researched and written for the Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson with additional material, particularly on his brother, Albert Watts, from Catherine Corley and is © John P H Frearson and the RFHG, July 2017.

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

[2]       The National Archives, WWI War Diaries (France, Belgium and Germany), 1914-1920, Piece 2085/3, 10 Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment, July 1915-March 1919.

[3]       https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com/2014/08/26/watts-albert-edward-joseph-died-26-aug-1914/

Wakelin, Charles Henry. Died 26th Jul 1917

Charles Henry Wakelin was born to Edward Wakelin (b 1856) and his wife Sarah in the second quarter of 1891 in New Bilton Rugby. He was baptised on 12 November 1893 again in New Bilton.

In 1901 the family, which included older brother William aged 19 (working as a Domestic, Under Boots), was living at 69 Victoria Street New Bilton and Charles’s father worked at the Cement Works as a Labourer.

In 1911 Charles was a boarder at 39 Pennington Street New Bilton, the home of Mr Albert George Hall (Greengrocer) and family. He worked as a trimmer at “Iron and Brass Works”. His father and mother lived at 69 Victoria Street New Bilton, and they had had 4 children, none of whom were at home that day.

Charles enlisted in Rugby into the 1st Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and arrived in France on 13 July 1915. His medal card shows he fought in the Balkans and in 1917 the Regiment fought at the following battles:

The First Battle of the Scarpe, The Third Battle of the Scarpe, The Battle of Polygon Wood, The Battle of Broodseinde, The Battle of Poelcapelle, The First Battle of Passchendaele.

Lance Corporal Charles Henry Wakelin (3290) was killed in action on 26 July 1917. He was aged 26.

He was buried at Crump Trench British Cemetery, Fampoux
Grave Reference: I. B. 2.

An article appeared in the Rugby Advertiser of 4th August 1917:

Another Rugby Footballer Killed
Followers of the Rugby Football Club will hear with regret of the death in action of Lance-Corpl Charlie Wakelin, of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Lance-Corpl Wakelin, who was 26 years of age, was the youngest son of Mr Wakelin, of Warwick Street, and he was killed on July 26th by a trench mortar. He was a promising footballer, and played scrum half for Rugby 2nd. He and his brother, W Wakelin (who played for the 1st XV), also played for Newbold- on-Avon. Lance-Corpl Wakelin was an ex-member of the 1st Rugby Co. Boys’ Brigade.

Charles’s father Edward died in the third quarter of 1921.

In August 1921 it was announced that arrangements had been made by the Salvation Army to conduct relatives of fallen soldiers to their graves in France and Belgium and Adjutant Bristow, the local officer, was the contact for any persons in the Rugby district who desired to avail themselves of this offer.  Assisted passages could be granted in necessitous cases.

Each week specially chosen Salvation Army officers conducted groups of relatives of the fallen from their home towns in various parts of the country across the Channel to the war cemeteries and back again.

Sarah Wakelin, Charles’s mother, went to France via train on one of these arranged visits, along with eight other women, all from New Bilton, Rugby.

Source:   http://www.ww1wargraves.co.uk/ww1_cemeteries/pilgrimage_france_belgium.asp on Wednesday 19th October 1921.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

 

 

Spencer, James Bartlett. Died 22nd Jul 1917

James was born at 80 King William Street, Coventry in 1895 and christened at St Peter Coventry on 1 September. His father John Bartlett Spencer was an iron moulder, and married his mother Mary Elizabeth Green in Coventry in 1894.

In 1901 James was aged 5, living with his parents and younger brother William John (born 1897) at 43 Station Street East in Coventry. The family had moved to Rugby by 1907 where their youngest son Harold was born. In 1911 they were living at 104 Wood Street, but by the time James enlisted on 15 November 1915 they were a few doors away at No 92 as his army record shows.

James was initially conscripted into the Royal Field Artillery with number 5757, when he was aged 20 years 6 months, and 5ft 5ins tall. He was transferred to the 7th Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment with number 267322 on 6 June 1916, and sailed from Southampton on 16 March 1917, arriving in Rouen on 17 May. On 25 May he was posted to the 11th Battalion in the 37th Division, and joined them in the field on 3 June.   According to the Regiment’s War Diary the next few weeks were spent marching to the front and taking part in battle training.

On 11 July the Battalion relieved the 10th Yorks & Lancs Regiment in the Kemmel area of the line, and was formed into three working parties of 300 men all told for salvage and construction work. On 20 July enemy aircraft became very active, and the following day there was considerable enemy artillery activity both day and night together with low flying aircraft, and again on 22 July. During the night 22/23 a direct hit on the Battalion transport killed Col Sgt Taylor of C Company and the Company Clerk of A Company, and wounded three others. There was also a direct hit on C Company’s dugout in the support line, and this is probably when James was killed. This was the start of the 3rd Battle of Ypres.

During the Battalion’s tour in the trenches which lasted until they were relieved on 25 July, 16 men were killed or died of wounds, and 28 were wounded.

James is buried in Derry House Cemetery No 2, about 8km south of Ypres, he was aged 22. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission citation names his parents who were by then living at 94 Wood Street in Rugby. His few effects including a ring were forwarded to his mother together with his back pay of £1.16s.8d and a war gratuity of £3. He was awarded the Victory and British War Medals.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

Bennett, George Edward. Died 14th Jul 1917

George Edward Bennett was born in December quarter of 1896 and baptised on 12th December at St Andrews Parish Church. His parents were William  Bennett and Elizabeth (nee Birks) who had been married at St Matthews Church in March 1884. William came from Brixton, London and Elizabeth had been born in Stoke on Trent

George was their second son and at the time of his birth they were living at 41 Sun Street and William was a painter.

By 1891 another son had been born and they lived at 3 Warwick St. William was a painter and paper hanger. In 1901 William and Elizabeth Bennett and their eight children, including 14 year old George, were living at 16 Union Street. They were still at that address in 1911, but two of the children had died. George, now aged 24, was a house decorator and paper hanger.

George Edward enlisted under Lord Derby’s scheme in December 1915. He was originally in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment (private, 4824) but later transferred to the Machine Gun Corps Infantry (no. 72147)

He was killed in action on the 14th July 1915 and was buried at Sunken Road Cemetery, at Fampoux, a few miles east of Arras. He was probably killed during the stalemate after the 3rd Battle of the Scarpe.

The Rugby Advertiser of 28th July 1917 has the following announcement
Mr and Mrs Bennett of 16 Union Street, have received intimation of the death of their son Pte George E Bennett, Royal Warwickshire Regt, on the Western Front. Pte Bennett was 30 years of age and an old boy of St Matthew’s School.

An inscription “PEACE PERFECT PEACE” was added to his gravestone by his sister Miss Mary Ruth Bennett.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

Boyer, Thomas William. Died 10th May 1917

Thomas was born in 1897, the eldest child of his parents Herbert Alfred and Agnes Pegg (nee Wiltshire) who were married in Peterborough Registration District in December quarter 1896. Both had been born in Peterborough.

We first find the family together in 1901 at 3 Hope Grove, Hendon in Middlesex. They became well travelled, not surprisingly as Herbert worked as a railway wagon repairer. After their marriage and Thomas’s birth in Peterborough, they moved to Fletton, Huntingdonshire where their daughter Maud was born (1899), and then to Cricklewood where two more daughters, Winifred (1901) and Daisy (1903), were born. Another daughter, Agnes, was born (1907) in Sandiacre, Nottinghamshire.

In 1911 Herbert and Agnes with their four children (Winifred had died in infancy) were living at 9 Gladstone Street, New Bilton, Herbert still a wagon repairer, and Thomas William aged 13 also working for the railway as a wagon painter.

Thomas’s army record has not survived, but Soldiers of the Great War records that he had joined the 10th Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, no 16083, enlisting at Rugby, and risen to the rank of Corporal. He was awarded the Victory and British War medals.

Thomas was killed in action on 10 May 1917, he was 20 years old. The Regiment was at this time near Ypres, and the Regiment’s War Diary for that day reported that there had been an intense enemy barrage at 3.30am.   When it ceased, it was found that one of the gun posts with six men had been destroyed, and it seems that William was killed in this action. Altogether losses reported that day were 2 killed, 6 missing and 12 wounded.

Thomas is buried at Railway Dugouts Burial Ground, also known as Transport Farm, at Zillebeke, 2km from Ypres. It is so called because the railway line passed nearby on an embankment overlooking the small farm known by the troops as Transport Farm. Advanced Dressing Stations had been established in the dugouts and farm since the previous year. 1700 graves in the Cemetery were known and marked at the Armistice.

Thomas’s effects of £8.1s.6d, and a War Gratuity of £6 were sent to his father Herbert as next of kin.   His gravestone states that his parents were then at 17 Rutland Grove, Sandiacre.

Sources: CWGC; 1910 & 1911 censuses; GRO indexes; medal card; Soldiers Died in the Great War; War Diaries of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment WO95/2085/3 p263 on Ancestry.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM