Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence

Lest We Forget
British Legion
The Royal British Legion


World War 1 & 2 - Roll of Honour with detailed information
Compiled and copyright © Peter Handy 2008

The Weston memorials consist of two plaques within the parish church listing those who gave their lives in each of the World Wars. The World War 1 brass memorial tablet is sited on the wall of the central tower near the reading desk, facing West, in Holy Trinity Church, Weston. It was funded by contributions from the villagers, and made in the studios of Omar Ramsden of St. Dunstans in South Kensington The estimated cost was £110, and any surplus in the collection went to Weston Nursing Fund. £122-11-4d was collected in June 1919. The 1939-1945 tablet is of stone and fixed to the north wall of the nave.


Photographs Copyright © Peter Handy 2008



Walter Joseph

Private 18447, 4th Bn., Bedfordshire Regiment. Killed in action Monday 23rd April 1917. Aged 25. Son of John & Sarah Ambrose of Post Office Row, Weston.

Joseph was baptised in Holy Trinity, Weston on 2nd Oct 1892.

He worked for Mr. Farr, before his enlistment in December 1914, but was living in Stevenage. By September he was in France. Early in 1916 he was wounded in the foot and after convalescence in England returned to France in November.

APRIL 1917

14th 4th Bedfords were moved by motor buses from HEMIN to ARRAS and took over the line from 23rd Northumberland Fusiliers.

15th Reconnaissance of GAVRELLE, 8kms NE ARRAS, resulted in the deaths of 2 Officers and the wounding of 3 Officers and 55 Other Ranks.

16th - 21st Bn. relieved by 7th Royal Fusiliers and moved to the support lines.

22nd Bn. moved to the Front line and occupied assembly trenches in front of GAVRELLE. The 189th Bde. Were on the right and 7th Royal Fusiliers on the left. The objectives of the battalion were - the right boundary to be the main road through GAVRELLE to the side of the village. The left boundary to be the GAVRELLE - OPPY system of trenches 200 yards north of GAVRELLE.

23rd Attacked at 4.45 am. Captured the village and reached the objectives. Shelled very heavily during the day and counter-attacked in the afternoon. Casualties 2 Officers killed and 11 Officers and 260 Other Ranks killed or wounded.

Private Walter Joseph Ambrose was killed in this action. He is commemorated on the ARRAS MEMORIAL, Pas de Calais, France together with 35000 other men who died in this area and were not found.


William John

Private 22887, 4th Bn., Bedfordshire Regiment. Killed in action on 13th Nov 1916. Born and lived in Weston.

13-18 Nov 1916

4th Bn. Bedfords together with 10th Bn. Royal Dublin Fusiliers formed the support group to 190 Brigade in 63rd Division. They were positioned just over a mile south east of their objective, BEAUMONT HAMEL village. It took five days of hard fighting through enemy fire, mud, frost and rain before the village was captured.

The Battalion diary for 13th Nov. states they sustained heavy losses in and near the enemy front line from a strong point established between the enemy front line and the second line, which had been passed over by the leading Brigades. 9 Officers were killed and 5 wounded. 48 Other Ranks were killed, 9 died of wounds and 16 posted missing. 108 Other Ranks were wounded.

Private Anderson was killed in action on the first day of this battle, but his body was never identified. He is commemorated on the THIEPVAL MEMORIAL.

Action on the Somme ceased after this battle, when snow and thaw converted the ground into a quagmire.

W.R.Lewis’ battalion was also involved in this battle. He was injured and died of wounds later.

The Somme frontline positions 1st July to 20th November 1916.

Allied planners believed all this ground would be captured the first day. It took 4½ months!

Based on a map by Martin Gilbert in his book Atlas of the First World War,
and copied by kind permission of the publishers, Routledge Taylor, London.


Alfred Ernest

Driver 23542, 150th Coy. Machine Gun Corps (Infantry). Died on 10th April 1918. Aged 28. Son of Alfred and Catherine Austin of Hitchin Lane. Alfred was a gardener. Ernest was baptised in Holy Trinity, Weston on 5th October 1890.

Enlisted in January 1915 in Yorkshire, where he was living at the time, and went to France the following July.

This was the second son lost in the war. A third son, L/cpl. Major Austin was with a Trench Mortar Battalion in France.

150th Coy., Machine Gun Corps went through a reorganisation during March and April 1918. By April they were reformed as 50th Bn. M.G.C.


5th Embussed at DOURIEZ at 10.00am and proceeded to LILLERS via ST.POL, PERNES and AIRE. Debussed at LILLERS and marched to ROBECQ.

6th ROBECQ. Company resting

7th Company reorganising. Guns etc. cleaned and overhauled.

8th Moved from ROBECQ by march route through MERVILLE to CHAPELLE DUVELLE

9th Company remained all day at CHAPELLE DUVELLE until 7pm. Nos. 1, 2 & 3 Sections moved forward to take up positions in the line. Transport and No. 4 Section moved to LES LAURIERS.

10th Positions taken up in the line. Orders received from 149th Infantry Bde. To send 4 guns to cover 1/4th Bn. Northumberland Fusiliers in ESTAIRES. Enemy attacking Estaires, these positions being held until morning of 11th. Casualties Lt. A.M.Jones M.C. wounded. 2/Lt G. Burgoine wounded. 2/Lt E. Hazeley missing. 1 Other Rank killed and 4 OR’s wounded.

Driver Austin was killed this day, and is buried in HAVERSKERQUE BRITISH CEMETERY. His headstone bears the inscription



Ronald Frederick

Private 4/6570, 2nd. Bn. Bedfordshire Regiment. Killed in action 17th June 1915. Aged 23. Son of Alfred and Catherine Kate Austin of Hitchin Lane, Weston. Baptised in Holy Trinity Church on 17th April 1892.

He was on the Army reserve list and was called up when war broke out. He left Harwich for the Front at the end of October. By December he was in hospital suffering from frostbite. In a letter to Mrs. Austin, Pte. A. Swain refers to her sons’ death.

Miss Pryor of Weston Park sent flowers to be placed on the deceased soldiers grave. A corporal under his officers’ orders placed the flowers on the grave.

Mr. & Mrs. Austin have two more sons serving, both in France. Pte. A. Austin, Machine Gun Corps serving with the 5th Yorkshire Regt. and Pte. M.W. Austin with the 1st Bedfords.

17th JUNE 1915

2nd Bedfords were in the trenches at VIOLANES to the west of BETHUNE.

The morning and afternoon of the 17th passed very quietly. At 8.50pm the Germans started a heavy bombardment that lasted for about 20 minutes, and then after an interval of 15 minutes, it started again for about an hour. During the afternoon orders were received that the battalion was to be relieved by two company’s’ of the Warwickshire Regt. The relief of the trenches was hampered by these bombardments that in the preceding two days had caused the deaths of 5 Officers and 18 Other Ranks, 27 others were reported as missing.

Amongst those posted missing was Ronald Austin.

He is commemorated on LE TOURET MONUMENT, Pas de Calais, France, together with 13000 other soldiers who fell in this area and have no known grave.


Frederick Sydney

Private 103472, 10th Bn., Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regt.). Died Sunday 18th August 1918. Aged 36. Eldest son of Walter and Mary Aylott of Fore Street. Walter was a gamekeeper in the village for Mr. M. R. Pryor. Fred was baptised in Holy Trinity, Weston on 9th April 1882.

Married to Mary Annie Turner on 30th Oct 1909. They had four children, the youngest 5 months old, born two days after he left for France on his last leave.

He was captain of Weston Cricket Club, in which he took a great interest. Fred enlisted in 1914 and was wounded twice.


6th Battalion relieved by the 15th Welsh Regt. of 38th Division, and moved off to camp in Toutencourt Wood about 20 kms NE of AMIENS

7th Arrived in TOUTENCOURT and rested all day

8th Urgent move to DAOURS (14 kms) by route march leaving at 3.20pm. The whole battalion billeted in the chateau. Big British Offensive.

9th Left at 7.50 pm and marched to VAUX (8 kms) where the battalion bivouacced. Battle surplus was left at DAOURS.

10th, 11th &12th Quiet days rest.

13th. Hurried move at 3.15pm into the front line at PROYART (15 kms). 51st Brigade relieved 11th Bde. 3rd Division A.I.F. Men had teas at CERISY, en route, and transport remained at CERISY.

14th Fairly quiet day.

15th Heavy enemy gas bombardment started at 1215 am and lasted for three hours. ‘D’ Company all casualties and most of ‘B’ Coy. Total casualties in the battalion were 13 Officers and 423 Other Ranks. A small operation was carried out at 10pm and was successful. Three advanced posts being taken and consolidated by the battalion.

16th Battalion relieved by 57th Bn. 5th Div. A.I.F. and marched to FOUILLOY (15 kms). Battle surplus rejoined.

17th Marched to VECQUEMONT

18th Marched (15 kms) from Vecquemont to HERRISART.

Fred Aylott died peacefully of gas poisoning at 9.30am on the 18th August in hospital at LE TREPORT, on the coast north of DIEPPE. He is buried at MONT HUON MILITARY CEMETERY, LE TREPORT, Somme.


Joseph Charles

Private 43746, 6thBn., Lincolnshire Regiment. Killed in action Saturday 5th Oct 1918. Aged 19. One of three sons of Joseph and Emily Blaxill (née Harris) of Stevenage Road, Weston. Born 11th Feb 1899, and known to his family as Joey. Baptised in Holy Trinity Church on 21st May 1899. His father was a mason/labourer.


1st The Battalion was in the BUISSY SWITCH, SW of BARELLE between ARRAS and CAMBRAI. During the night they moved their position to a point between OISY-LE-VERGER and MARQUION.

2nd Battalion moved forward and occupied dugouts vacated by 34th Infantry Bde. In an area east of MARQUION and west of HEYENCOURT.

5th Bn. Moved forward and relieved 11th Manchester Regiment in the left sub-section of the Bde. front, so occupying a position SW AUBENCHEUL-AU-BAC, north-east of EPINOY. Charles Blaxill was reported killed on this day, but there is no note in the Battalion war diaries detailing casualties.

Joey Blaxill is buried in CHAPEL CORNER CEMETERY which is in the village of SAUCHY-LESTREE south east of ARRAS.


Francis Henry

Second Lieutenant, 11th Bn., Essex Regiment. Killed in action Thursday 21st March 1918. Aged 27. Eldest son of Alfred Harrison Bradbeer, the schoolmaster in Weston, and his wife Margaret Louisa.

Born Codicote 21st Aug 1891. Educated at Stevenage Grammar School. He worked for J. Inns & Co. Enlisted in Hitchin on 1st Sept 1914, as Pte. 13612 Bedfordshire Regt. He gave his occupation as Clerk and permanent address as Weston. On enlistment his personal details were 5’ 7½” tall, weight 134lbs., chest 35½” with 2” expansion. Fresh complexion. Dark brown hair. Religion: Church of England

He first went to France in August 1915, and was promoted to Lance Corporal 4th May 1916

On 15th July 1916, when serving in the field near Pozieres, he suffered a bullet wound to the shoulder. He was sent to a Casualty Clearing Station and then by 104 Field Ambulance to 2nd Western General Hospital, Manchester where he stayed for 31 days.

He applied for Officer Training and was accepted to No.11 Officer Cadet Bn., Pirbright on 14th March 1917, being appointed a temporary commission as 2/Lieut. in The Essex Regt. 14th July 1917

Orders were to proceed via Boulogne to the field, which he did on 25th Aug. A month later he attended the Central Infantry School and rejoined the battalion on 18th Oct. The 1st Jan 1918 saw him back in training, this time at the 6th Corps Gas School after which he was back with the battalion.

His last leave to the UK was from 17th Jan to 31st Jan after which he returned to the field.

He was posted as missing at MARICOURT, along with several other Officers who were together in a group. In his obituary printed in The North Herts Mail 18th April 1918, it stated that he was hit in the head by a bullet and died within half an hour. If he was reported as missing, then this would have been supposition. However, it could be that he had been seen injured, but he was lost in the ensuing battle.

The telegram to his family was dated 2nd April 1918




* The date in the Regimental War Diary is correct.

He had made a will 12th Aug 1915 leaving all money due and belongings to his parents. At the time of his death this amounted to back pay of 124 days at 10/6d (51p) and the credit on his mess bills of £5-6-0 (£5.30)

Thursday 21st March 1918 - MARICOURT

The enemy were using a considerable number of gas shells. Box respirators had to be worn. A gas shell fell near a man who had not done so and he died within a few moments. Heavy shelling and machine gun bullets were whistling around Battalion HQ. Our troops were seen retiring along the LANGICOURT SPUR. In accordance with orders from Brigade the remnant of 1st West Yorkshire and 3 companies of 11th Essex Regt. actually did withdraw to the corps line at dusk. It was at this stage that the last was seen of Major G N Stockdale, Capt. Martinson and many other Officers of the battalion.

The fighting continued throughout the next day when the enemy broke through. Orders were received to withdraw without being relieved. At 6.30am on 23rd 7 Officers and 77 Other Ranks marched into Buchanan Camp. The action had cost the lives of 6 Officers, including 2/Lt. Bradbeer, and 31 Other Ranks. In addition 17 Officers and 411 Other Ranks were wounded or posted missing.

2nd Lieutenant Bradbeer is commemorated on the ARRAS MEMORIAL together with 35000 other casualties in that area who have no known grave.

Note to editor Map page 10

Extract from de Ruvingy's Roll of Honour 1914-1918

BRADBEER, FRANCIS HENRY, 2nd Lieut., 11th (Service) Battn. The Essex Regt., s. of Alfred Harrison Bradbeer, of Weston Stevenage, co. Hertford, Schoolmaster, by his wife, Margaret, dau. of John Stratton, of Little Berkhampsted, co. Hertford; b. Codicote, co. Hertford, 21 Aug. 1891; educ. Stevenage Grammar School, and at Pitman's Metropolitan School; was a Cashier with Messrs. Inss & Co., Contractors; joined the 4th Battn. The Bedfordshire Regt. 3 Sept. 1914; transferred to the 6th Battn.; was wounded at Pozieres 15 July, 1916; returned to England the following Feb., and after a period of training at the Cadet School, Pirbright, was gazetted 2nd Lieut. 11th Battn. The Essex Regt. 26 June, 1917; returned to France the following Aug., and was killed in action between Morchies and Lagnicourt 21 March, 1918. His Commanding Officer wrote: "Your son had been with me some little time, and I always found him a keen and hard-working officer, and his sad death is a great loss to all ranks." Second Lieut. Bradbeer was a keen footballer; unm.


William Alfred

Guardsman 16431, 2nd Bn., Grenadier Guards. Killed in action Sunday 7th February 1915. Aged 20. Born in Weston, but his name is not on the Weston Memorial. He enlisted in Hertford.


6th Feb The battalion were in reserve in billets in Beuvry. A draft of 198 from isolation rejoined. (This draft had arrived on 26th Jan at LE CHOCQUEAUX and was put into isolation. Reason not given).

2 Coys. marched off at 12:30pm to support Coldstream and Irish Guards at CUINCHY who were making an attack. Attack was successful. Remainder of the bn. Moved to CUINCHY at 5pm and took over advanced trenches. A new line taken by Irish Guards in the afternoon was dug and put in a state of defence. By 2pm. 7th it was finished.

7th. In trenches as above. Sniped and shelled very heavily but no attack followed. Much worried by a 14pr. Gun all day. One officer and two other ranks killed, nine wounded and two slightly wounded.

Guardsman Chapman was killed this day and is buried in CUINCHY COMMUNAL CEMETERY 10kms east of BETHUNE.

Extract from de Ruvigny's Roll of Honour

CHAPMAN, WILLIAM ALFRED, Private, No. 16431, 2nd Battn. Grenadier Guards, s. of William George Chapman, Police Sergeant, Herts Constabulary, in charge of the police station at Royston; b. Weston, co. Herts, 24 Nov. 1894; commenced his career in the engineering works of the Dacre Motor Car Co. at letchworth, and after a short time in the Heatly Gresham Works, enlisted in the Grenadier Guards, 24 April, 1913. He left England with his regt. on or about 12 Aug. 1914, was in subsequent engagements, being taken prisoner in Nov. but managed to escape. He was killed in action near Béthune, while carrying a despatch from the firing line to Headquarters. A comrade wrote that when the bullet struck him he smiled and fell down dead. Chapman was recommended in F.M. Sir John French's Despatch of 14 Jan. 1915, for gallant and distinguished services in the field.


Noah John (Jack)

Private 19761, 10th Bn., Hampshire Regt. Killed in action Tuesday 7th Dec 1915. Aged 38. Jack was the eldest son of Noah and Sarah Clements, and the brother of Herbert George. He lived at Damask Green Cottage. He was baptised in Holy Trinity, Weston and married Sarah Ann Ellis there on 21st Jan 1905.

10th Division. 29th Infantry. Brigade.

The following is an extract from the Regimental War Diaries:

KAJALI December 1915

1st A quiet day with some infantry activity.

2nd A thaw set in. Quiet again on the front. 22 men suffered frostbite.

3rd The Bulgarians attacked the trenches at Rabrovo.

4th Bulgarian guns ranged on our positions. No casualties, so they sent out snipers it is imagined it is to try and make us fire at them and give the exact position of our trenches.

5th Quiet again. Snow all gone. Battalion strength is 18 Officers and 749 Other Ranks.

6th Intensive shelling all day. Warning of probable night attack by enemy.

7th Heavy shelling of ROCKY PEAK for ½hr. then attacked and captured by the enemy. Then heavy shelling to flanks and front. Our artillery did not help much owing to the awkward formation of the ground.
At 14:50 we retired in order, without being attacked, to CRETE-SIMONET.

8th Withdrew from CRETE-SIMONET to head of DEDELI PASS. All the men very uncomfortable owing to the cold and wet. No rations for two days as packs and greatcoats were left behind.

The casualties for the 7th & 8th amounted to 2 Officers and 24 Other Ranks killed, 115 missing and 128 wounded.

Jack Clements was among the missing and is commemorated on the DOIRAN MEMORIAL, which stands on Colonial Hill overlooking Lake Doiran, Greece.


Herbert George

Private 19278, 2nd Bn., Bedfordshire Regiment. Killed in action Friday 26th April 1918. Aged 34. Son of Noah and Sarah Clements of Damask Green. Baptised in Holy Trinity Church on 1st June 1884. He and his family lived in what is now Valentine Cottage at Damask Green. Father of Bob and Tom Clements. Bob’s last memory of his father is of when his father picked him up and put him on a cow’s back in the meadow behind the cottages.

The war diary for the 2nd Bn., Bedfordshire Regt. covering the action in which Herbert fell is among those that have been lost, but an obituary appeared in the North Herts Mail on 13th June 1918.


Widespread sympathy is extended towards Mr. & Mrs. Noah Clements and family of Damask Green, Weston, through the great loss they have sustained by the death in action of their third son Private Herbert Clements (34) Beds. Regt. killed instantaneously on April 26th 1918 (the day of his brother Jacks birthday).

Private H. Clements enlisted on 17th Jan. 1915 and went to France with the Duke of Bedfords first 1,200. He had been home on leave twice. Prior to the war Pte. H. Clements was a prominent cricketer and footballer. He leaves a wife and two young children 4 and 2 years of age. His wallet containing photographs etc. and his League of Spiritual War membership card were all pierced with shrapnel. Many expressions of sympathy have been received by the family.

The Duke of Bedford writes “Your husband served so long under me and was so well known to me, I hope I may be allowed to express to you my sincere sympathy in the loss you have sustained. Your husband died a gallant death, giving his life in the cause of the country.”

In sending a sympathetic message the League of Spiritual War writes, “Think of the peace after all the dread horrors of this terrible war. It is hard to realise at first that your loss can be his gain, is it not? But as time passes on truth does come home. God does send His comforts, His healings to aching hearts.

Sgt. F. Wiles, Beds Regt., writes “we were all so sorry to lose him as he was a good soldier and never seemed afraid. It is a terrible war, but God knows who to take and whom to leave. I hope you will find a little comfort in knowing that your husband died fighting for the cause of justice and for King and Country.”

Mr. & Mrs. Clements son Jack was killed in action 7th December 1916 and their son William was wounded at Neuve Chapelle. They have lost ten first cousins in this war.

Pte. Herbert Clements is commemorated on the TYNE COT MEMORIAL, ZONNEBEKE, BELGIUM.

Note to editor See map on page 67



Private SD/5740, 11th Bn., Royal Sussex Regiment. Killed in action on Tuesday 31st July 1917. Aged 35. Eldest son of George and Rosina Collins of The Princess of Wales PH., Post Office Row. He was born in Eastbourne, Sussex.

On 24th Nov 1909 he married Mary Ann Elizabeth Woods of Weston, in Holy Trinity Church. He gave his occupation as a Hotel Keeper of Luggershal, Wilts.


28th Battalion moved up and took over HILLTOP SECTOR from 6th Lincolns.

29th Fairly quiet day. Enemy shelling of our front line caused 3 casualties. Too dull for aerial activity. Our bombardment incessant all day long.

30th Enemy artillery very active. 7 men killed and 6 wounded. Our bn. moved up into battle position late this evening.

31st Fairly light night. Bombardment continued until 1 hour before zero. All received hot meals and ready for attack by 2 am. Barrage attacks commenced at 3.50 am. Attack progressed well. 1 Officer killed and 2 wounded, in all about 150 casualties in Other Ranks. Battle continues.

William was killed on this day and is buried in BUFFS ROAD CEMETERY, St.Jean-Les-Ypres Belgium


Albert Edward

Private 14469, 2nd Bn., Bedfordshire Regiment. Died Sunday 26th Sept 1915. Aged 21. One of the two sons of George and Rosina Collins who died in the war. Their third son, Henry George, also served in the war and was badly injured. He died in 1923 aged 28. They kept ‘The Princess of Wales’ PH at the end of Post Office Row. Albert Edward was born in Eastbourne, Sussex and enlisted at Hitchin.

At this time the 21st Infantry Brigade, of which the 2nd Bedfords were a part, were to act as divisional reserve at NOYELLES and LA BOURSE, 5km SE of Bethune.

There is little detail of the action 26th Sept, but Operational Order no.80 stated ‘at 0-15 o’clock the 1/4th Cameron Highlanders and the 2nd Bedfords will quit their line and advance so as to follow 2nd Yorkshires and Wiltshire Regiments, up Gordon and Chapel Alleys (local trench names).

It is to be impressed on all ranks that no one is allowed to bring to the rear, or remain with the wounded, except stretcher bearers and the medical orderlies and their men.

The use of the word ‘Retire’ is absolutely forbidden.

Greatcoats will not be worn. A waterproof sheet and cardigan jacket will be carried in the pack.'

Edward Collins was posted missing and was never found. He is commemorated on the LOOS MEMORIAL, together with 20,000 other men missing in that area of the Pas de Calais .


Charles George

Private 18325, 2nd Bn., Bedfordshire Regiment. Died of wounds Wednesday 12th July 1916. Aged 29. Charles was the eldest son of James and Mary Louisa Collis. James was the blacksmith in Maiden Street. He was baptised in Holy Trinity, Weston 18th May 1877.

Charles Collis enlisted in December 1914, prior to which he was employed at Simpson’s brewery in Baldock. He lived in Hitchin Street Baldock with his wife and two children.

He had served in France since October 1915.


2nd Bn. Bedfords were part of 89 Brigade in 30th Division. They were involved with attacks on TRÔNES WOOD to the east of MONTAUBAN. Fighting for the wood began on 8th July. Heavy machine gun fire and artillery shelling thwarted early attempts, and the wood was not taken until 14th July. Charles Collis died of wounds on Wednesday 12th July, a day after his wounds were received.

He is buried in CORBIE COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION about 15 kms. east of AMIENS, Somme

Most of the men buried in Corbie died of wounds received in the Battles of the Somme.


Walter Frederick

Private 10380, 1st Bn., Bedfordshire Regiment. Killed in action Wednesday 14th October 1914. Aged 30. Son of Fanny Ellis of Weston. Fred was baptised in Holy Trinity Church on 7th Dec. 1884. He was the first Weston fatality in WW1.

GIVENCHY - VIOLAINES- West of Bethune.

At the time Fred Ellis was killed a heavy bombardment of the trenches and the village took place throughout the day. According to the Regimental diary ‘the cannonade became terrific. Practically every house was damaged. Smoke of shells and dust of falling houses make it impossible to see clearly what is going on to the flanks. Unable to hold the front trenches in the afternoon.’ Losses amounted to 7 Officers and 140 Other Ranks.

Fred was not found. He is commemorated on LE TOURET MEMORIAL, Pas de Calais, together with 13,000 other men who fell in this area and have no known grave.


Oliver Fred

Private 12845, 6th Bn., Bedfordshire Regt. Killed in action Monday 10th July 1916. Aged 23. Fred was the fourth son of George and Cornelia Field of Fore Street. Baptised in Holy Trinity Church on 21st May 1893.

Was well known in the village and Stevenage as a good footballer and cricketer.

Fred enlisted in the first month of the war. His brother Alec also joined up and was gassed in one of the earlier campaigns in Flanders, but recovered and served in Egypt. George, his eldest brother, was a Petty Officer first class in the Navy and was lucky to survive when his ship, HMS Bedford, went down off China. Frank, another brother, was in training at the time of Fred’s death. Valentine, the youngest son, also tried to enlist at 15 years of age, but failed the medical. He reapplied a year later and was accepted. Val went on to become a tank driver in the first campaign in which they were used. He was very proud of his war service, and when he died, was the oldest survivor of the first war in this village.


6th Bedfords were in 112th Bde. Of 37th Division. They were ‘in the line’ north of GOMMECOURT on 10th July. Fred was in the Grenade Section and was what was usually known in the ranks as a ‘bomber’. According to a letter sent from the Front by his ‘chum’ Corporal Turner, Fred Field was killed by a shell and died instantly. He was buried on the battlefield on July 10th. Every Officer and man sent their deepest sympathy to his parents, saying, “ he died as a hero doing his duty”. Corporal Turner also included the following quotation from St. Luke iii,14 “The soldiers demanded of Him saying ‘And what should we do?’ and He said unto them, ‘Do violence to no man...and be content“ ‘

Oliver Fred Field is commemorated on the THIEPVAL MEMORIAL


Lionel Harold

Private 201224, 1st/5th Bn., Bedfordshire Regiment. Died Wednesday 11th December 1918. Aged 21. Son of William and Mary Game of Church End. Born December 1897 and baptised in Holy Trinity Church on 5th Feb 1898.

The 1st/5th Bedfords were in the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, and had been in Egypt since December 1915. During November 1918 they were in PALESTINE, camped at PINEWOODS, BERUIT, spending their time training, drilling, bayonet practice etc. They were under orders to respond to civil unrest in BERUIT. The orders stated all ranks were to sleep fully dressed with their boots on, so they could respond immediately to the secret code word “GO” should it be issued. (The secret code word for recall was “COME”)!

On 4th December the Battalion embarked from Beirut on a troopship, arriving at KANTARA on the 6th. They camped on the Ismalia road and then moved on to Kantara station and entrained for HELMEIH. There they layed out camp and remained there for the rest of the month, training, drilling and marching. No action took place during December, but there is mention in the diaries of an outbreak of influenza, and malaria was ever present. It is most likely that Private Game succumbed to one of these.

He is buried in KANTARA War Memorial Cemetery Egypt.

Kantara is a village on the east side of the Suez Canal, about 150kms north east of CAIRO. Many of those buried in the cemetery died of disease and wounds in the nearby hospitals.


Frederick John

Private 201221, 4th Bn., Bedfordshire Regiment. Died of wounds Wednesday 13 November 1918. Aged 23. Son of John and Jane Game. Born in Weston and baptised in Holy Trinity Church on 21st July 1895. He resided in Harpenden and enlisted in North Mimms


1st to 5th Battalion in training at LE FOREST

6th & 7th Moved to THIANT, about 3kms SW of VALENCIENNES, and thereafter through the villages of SAULTAN, SEBOURQUIAUX to ANGRE.

8th Marched from ANGRE to AUDREGNIES and thence to WITHERIES where the Bn. took over a portion of the front line.

9th Attacked and captured the village of BLAUGIES at 0700hrs, and then moved forward to SARS LA BROYERE and attacked QUEVY LE PETIT. 4 Other Ranks were killed in the attacks, 13 wounded and 1 Other Rank gassed.

10th Bn. Moved to BOUGNIES and commenced an attack on ASQUILLIES which was captured at 0900 hrs. Afterwards moved forward to NOUVELLES and consolidated east of the village. At 1700hrs the Bn. Moved slightly south to HARVENG and started an attack on HARMINGIES. 1 Officer and 3 Other Ranks were wounded and 2 Other Ranks gassed.

11th HARMINGIES 6kms south east of MONS was captured and entered at 0100hrs.


Battalion went into billets. 188th and 189th Infantry Bdes. passed through and took up a defensive line.

12th Bn. commenced training, which continued to the end of the month.

13th John Game died of wounds this day and is buried in VALENCIENNES (ST.ROCH) COMMUNAL CEMETERY.


William Alfred

Private 14848, 1st/1st Hertfordshire Yeomanry. Died Thursday 28th Nov 1918. Aged 32. The eldest son of Mr. & Mrs. Harradine of Damask Green Weston and husband of E.A. Harradine.

Obituary taken from the North Herts Mail 12th Dec 1918

‘After a strenuous period of active service extending over practically the whole period of the war, the death has taken place of Pte. W.A. Harradine, Herts Yeomanry, of Weston.

He died from malaria and pneumonia on Nov.28th.

It is one of those acutely sad circumstances in which a soldier after serving for a log period, loses his life after hostilities have ceased, black instances which kill all hope and shatter all faith, instances the pain of which cannot be alleviated even by the deep and most heart felt sympathy. The deceased soldier had served since the outbreak of war and had taken part in many fierce fights. He had been wounded several times and had fought in France and Egypt.

Pte. Harradine is buried in ALEXANDRIA (HADRA) WAR MEMORIAL CEMETERY, Egypt


Ernest Edward

Private 241980, 11th Bn., Border Regiment. Died 11th July 1917. Aged 30. Son of Ethel Jane Harris, he lived with his Uncle Samuel and Aunt Mary at Leatherwells, Halls Green. Baptised in Holy Trinity, Weston 29th Nov. 1886.

In an attempt to overcome the stalemate in the trenches a plan was developed by General Haig to mount a complete breakout from the frontline along the Belgian border. There were early successes south of YPRES at MESSINES and WYTSCHAETE, but in the north the advance along the coast to OOSTENDE and ZEEBRUGE was a failure.

The 11th Bn. Border Regiment, 97th Infantry Brigade 32nd Division, were in the line SW LOMBARTZYDE sector NIEUPORT and had a particularly bad time. Messages were being sent back and forth every 15 minutes throughout the day and night. This extract from their diaries goes someway towards showing how the situation deteriorated.

10th JULY 1917

06.00 Heavy shelling of our positions.

10.00 Message from 2/Lt Cook Gray “I have reached and examined our line. On the right our trench is somewhat bashed about, but is not in really bad condition. There has been a continuous bombardment from TMB’s (Trench Mortar Batteries) Our 18lb shells dropping short. I don’t think there is any doubt of that fact this time.

p.s. 18lb shell have just smashed in a Machine Gun Corps dugout in our second line”.

1040 The following message was sent by (sic) 2 pigeons “Some 18lbs (shells) falling short in No.2 sector”.

1205 Heavy TM bombardment of front line Minnenwerfers firing from right of red tiled house on right of sector.

1225 From Brigade: Keep your visual open. The slightest sign of enemy infantry send S.O.S. Brigade all out of touch

1.05 Enemy fire slackened. A plane flew over low (200’) apparently to examine the extent of the damage. This machine was engaged by our machine guns and Lewis guns.

During the lull a new kind of GAS SHELL was used causing every one to sneeze - also affects eyes and throat and in some cases followed by violent sickness.

2.30 The whole of the line is under deadly barrage.

4.05 Front line now very badly smashed. Second and third lines ditto.

From Officer Commanding ‘C’ Company: “The shelling is the bally limit and I do not like it. We are all lying low and I hope all will be well. I hope it will finish soon.

5pm I have about 30 men left (including 1 of ‘A’ coy.) I have only 2 N.C.O’s left. Impossible to reckon casualties. Both Lewis guns useless. Shall be glad when I can get back out of this.

Lt. Cherry and servant arrived safely ends.

5.05 To O.C. ‘B’ coy “ I cannot understand 2/Lt. Smythes report. Other reports say first and second lines not at all bad. Can he see condition of 1st and 2nd from 3rd”.

5.20 This is the statement of the patrols. “He can see 1st and 2nd lines and they look very much flattened”. Lull in shelling. GAS USED AGAIN. Enemy plane flying low.

7.30 From O.C. “C” coy. Enemy hold ‘NOSE’ trench. Am still in NOSE but have only 5 men. Send reinforcements.

There followed desperate fighting with the Germans occupying more trenches.

Be careful not use water bottles (sic) as you will probably be there all tomorrow. Dig hard and don’t move about in daylight. Lt. Smythe to be in charge of all troops in GRAND REDAN. No one retires from GRAND REDAN until definite orders received.

10.50 To Lt. Smythe. Cease sending up Very lights. 17th Highland Light Infantry about to advance.

11th JULY 1917

1230 To 219 Machine Gun Corps. Your guns to proceed to cover left flanks of 11th Borders.

1245 From Bn.H.Q. As soon as 11th Borders have reestablished a line they will be relieved by 16th Northumberland Fusiliers to be completed by daylight.

0120 To Lt. Smythe. You are to order all men of Battalion H.Q.’s to return to Bn.H.Q.’s and take up their original dugouts.

0145 Message sent by Lt. MacFarland “We are holding our sector completely intact and have three patrols in no-man’s-land. No attempt has been made by enemy to penetrate our lines.

0200 From BHQ’s “You must work at once to your left and help 11th Borders. Addressed 16 HLI repeat 11th Borders Ends.

0225 “On relief 11th Borders to return “New Parade” and come under orders O.C. Northumberland Fusiliers”.

0330 Message to BHQ by Lt. Hodgkinson “Estimated casualties for today 10/7/17 SPED 1 Captain 7 Subalterns 350 Other Ranks”

0400 “ A” and “B” Coys. will withdraw to support dug outs immediately on receipt of this order.

0430 Battalion relieved by 16th NF. Moved to “New Parade”




Able Seaman Z/96, Nelson Bn., R.N. Div., Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. Died Tuesday 1st February 1916. Age 18. Son of Christopher and Annie Holmes, Victor was born in Weston.

Christopher was butler at Weston Park, but moved to Southport and became a School Attendance Officer.

A representative sample of recruitment records for the R.N.V.R. is all that now exists. Victor Holmes details is not among them, however a report in The Southport Guardian reveals that Seaman Holmes was 18 years of age and joined the Royal Naval Division in September 1914. He trained at Blandford and sailed for the Dardanelles in March 1915.

He was with the Australian landing party at GABA TEPE in April. He remained on land until October when he was removed to hospital in MUDROS on the island of LIMNOS in the ÆGEAN SEA suffering from dysentery. He was invalided to England where he landed in December and went to the Royal Naval Hospital, Haslar, GOSPORT. He appeared to be progressing well but para-typhoid intervened and he died on Tuesday. He was buried in DUKE STREET CEMETERY, SOUTHPORT, LANCASHIRE

A brother of Seaman Holmes is in hospital at Southend, having been wounded at the Dardanelles in July.

Extract from du Ruvigny's Roll of Honour 1914-1918

HOLMES, VICTOR, Able Seaman, No. Z. 96, Nelson Battn., Royal Naval Division, 2nd s. of Christopher Holmes, of 18, Part Street, Southport, School Attendance Officer, by his wife, Annie, dau. of William carnell, of Kneesall, co. Nottingham; b. Kneesall, 29 May, 1897; educ. Weston School, co. Hertford; joined Nelson Battn., Royal Naval Division, in which his elder brother was serving, on the outbreak of war, at Liverpool; trained at the Crystal Palace, Portsmouth Naval Barracks, and at Blandford Camp, Dorset; sailed for Egypt 1 March, 1915, and from there to the Dradenelles, landing at Gaba Tepe 28 April; took part in the fighting at Gallipoli up to 25 Oct., when he was invalided to hospital at Mudros, and afterwards (3 Dec.) to England, suffering from dysentery and fever, and died in Haslar Hospital, Gosport, 1 Feb. 1916. Buried in Southport Cemetery, co. Lancaster. His elder brother was seriously wounded and invalided out of the sefvice; unm.



Able Seaman J/30756, H.M.S. “Defence”, Royal Navy. Died Wednesday 31st May 1916. Aged 18. Wilfred was the son of John Ernest & Mary Ives of Lannock Cottages. He came to Weston from Ardeley when his father began working for Mr. Pryor at Weston Park as a shepherd.

Wilfred was born Buntingford 1st Nov 1897. He enlisted for 12 years on his eighteenth birthday, although he had been in the Service as a Boy since 1914 .

At the time of enlistment he gave his occupation as ‘Farmers Boy’. He was 5’2½” with a 32” chest, brown hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion.

An entry on his record dated 31st Dec 1915 showed him to be of very good character and satisfactory ability.

16 Apr 14
21 Nov 14
Boy II
21 Nov 14
12 Dec 14
Boy I
12 Dec 14
8 Jan 15
Boy I
9 Jan 15
1 May 15
Boy I
1 May 15
17 Mar 16
Ordinary Seaman
17 Mar 16
31 May 16
Able Seaman

He died at the BATTLE OF JUTLAND when his ship, HMS “Defence”, was hit by German shells at 1820hrs and exploded immediately, going down with all hands.

It was later recognised that a design fault existed in that type of armoured cruiser whereby the blast from a shell hitting a gun turret could be funneled down to the ships magazine causing a catastrophic explosion. The loss of HMS Defence was caused by this.

The official news of his death was received from the Admiralty in a letter dated 6th June, which was as follows:

I regret to have to inform you that Wilfred Ives Able Seaman No. J30756 appears to have been on board HMS Defence when that vessel was sunk in action. In these circumstances and in the absence of any evidence to the contrary he must be regarded as having lost his life. Any application which the next of kin or legal representative may have to make in consequence of the foregoing information should be made by letter to Accountant General of the Navy, Admiralty, London SW.

An extract from The North Herts Mail for 15th June 1916 reads:

The deceased seaman was very keen and enthusiastic in his Naval work, a fact testified by all who knew him. It tempers the sadness of the blow to know that he was one who would bravely face the ordeal, and would thus make the great sacrifice unflinchingly feeling, as he would, that the honour and safety of those he felt dear, were at stake. He had served in the Navy for two years, having received his early training on HMS Powerful ( I & II) and Defiance. He had been on HMS Defence ever since the war started. He was proud of the Navy, and those near to him were impressed by his fine qualities and uprightness and manliness. His love of home and affection for those dear to him will hold his memory in greatest reverence.

It was only a month or so ago he was at Weston on leave, rejoining his ship four weeks ago last Sunday. When home on that occasion he unexpectedly met his eldest brother Private Arthur Ives of the Beds Regt. who came home for his first leave from the trenches after 12 months. It was the first time they had met in uniform, and both arrived home the same evening within an hour of each other.

Needless to say it was an agreeable surprise for both. Another son, Ernest, is waiting to get into the Navy.

In fact Ernest was always known as George in the family! He did join the Navy and served as a stoker until the late twenties when he was discharged suffering from tuberculosis. He was the father of Harry, who served in WWII. George died in 1929.

Wilfred is commemorated on CHATHAM NAVAL MEMORIAL, Chatham, Kent


Harold David

Private 25196, 4th Bn. Bedfordshire Regiment. Killed in action 28th January 1917. Aged 20. Born in Weston to Charles and Annie Joad, and baptised in Holy Trinity Church on 22nd March 1896. His father had been the schoolmaster in Weston in the 1890’s.


26TH 9.00 Battalion proceeded by route march to front line. 190th Infantry Brigade relieved 189th inf. Bde. on north bank of River Ancre (R1,R2 & R8)

26/27th 4th Beds relieved HAWK Bn. Of Royal Naval Division in the left front sub-sector R1a7.3 to R2c2.9. 7th R/Fusiliers to our right, 14th H.L.I. to our left.

Bde. support provided by 10th R/Dublin Fusiliers and Bde. reserve by 1st H.A.C.

30/31stBn. Relieved by 10th RDF and take up position as Bde. support. 2 Coys. being in RAVINE and 2 Coys. In the old German 3rd line trenches. 1st HAC are in the right sub-sector and 7th Fusiliers are Bde. reserve.

Casualties for the period 26th to 31st 4 killed, 1 died of wounds and 15 wounded.

David was one of the 4 killed in action and is buried in ANCRE BRITISH CEMETERY, BEAUMONT - HAMEL


William Richard

Private 23305, 4th Bn., Bedfordshire Regiment. Died of wounds Thursday 23rd November 1916. Aged 31. Born Hitchin. Enlisted Bedford. Son of Thomas Lewis. Husband of N.E.Lewis of Maiden Street.

The 4th Bedfords were engaged in the attack on BEAUMONT HAMEL during The BATTLE OF THE ANCRE HEIGHTS.

Extracts from the Battalions diary during mid Nov. 1916 read:

11th 1.30pm Bn left PUCHVILLERS and proceeded to VARENNES.

12th 2.30pm Marched to assembly trenches off Bedford & Victoria St. to take up position right of centre battalion of the Division preparing to attack between BEAUMONT HAMEL and the right bank of River Ancre. 7th Bn Royal Fusiliers on our right and 10th Royal Dublin Fusiliers on left.

13th 6.45am BEAUCOURT SECTOR Bn. Attacked at 6.45

14th & 15th Bn. acted as carrying parties for taking bombs, sandbags etc. up to BEAUCOURT.

16th Bn. moved to bivouacs and huts on ENGELBEIMER-MARTINSART road.

17th Bn. assisted to clear the battlefield and bury the killed. (sic)

Weather conditions deteriorated after this and the offensive ceased. The battalion did not go into the line again until 26th Jan 1917.

It is probable that Private Lewis was injured during the battle on the 13th., was transferred to a hospital in the Rouen district, and died of wounds. He is buried at St. Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen, Seine Maritime, France.

W. J. Anderson died in the same battle.



Private 17973, 2nd Bn., Bedfordshire Regiment. Killed in action 16th June 1915. Born in Weston. He was living with his wife Annie at Goose Green Hoddesdon when he enlisted in Hertford. His name is not on the Weston Memorial


15th At 6pm the 2nd Bn. Yorkshires launched an unsuccessful attack. The bn. had been moving up to support them, but this was postponed several times throughout the night of 15-16th.

16th 4 45pm. The company advanced in successive platoons from the right entering CRATER Trench at the junction with SUNKEN ROAD TRENCH and a trench once occupied by the Germans. That was now in a bad state of repair.

The coy. Came under a considerable amount of rifle and machine gun fire as it topped the lip of CRATER. A spirited fight in the crater took place. The coy. Formed a line in the crater as they were not able to push forward because of hostile bombs. Cpl. Milner (No.4/7296) distinguished himself by throwing back all the bombs that landed near him into the German trenches, until he was wounded.

The coy was suffering heavy losses (50%) and with the Germans reinforcing, and no sign of our own Regiment, Lt. F. Powell gave the order to withdraw and this we did in good order.

Cpl. T. Green (No.9638) and 9 men were surrounded and with the Germans preparing to counter attack withdrew his men to safety. Although wounded himself Cpl. Green brought back a wounded man. He went back in the evening and brought more wounded in.

Between 15th-17th the casualties amounted to 5 officers and 18 other ranks killed, 7 officers and 72 other ranks wounded and 27 other ranks missing.

Albert Oakley died on 16th, but his body was not recovered. He is commemorated on LE TOURET MEMORIAL just NE of BETHUNE.

Note to editor see map page 16



Private 5742, 12th Bn., Royal Sussex Regiment. Died of wounds Sunday 22nd October 1916. Aged 21. Son of John and Sarah Oakley of Damask Green. Thomas was baptised in Holy Trinity, Weston on 3rd March 1895.


20th-21st Relieved 13th Sussex Regt. in REDOUBT SECTOR. Marched to billets in AVELUY and was employed carrying rations to the front line.

21st Battalion capture German 1st line -STUFF TRENCH- Heavy casualties were inflicted on the enemy and many prisoners taken. Our bn. casualties were 3 Officers and 11 Other Ranks killed with 77 missing. 186 Other Ranks and 2 Officers were wounded.

22nd Battalion relieved and moved up to AVELUY WOOD where they bivouacked under shelter and tents.

Thomas died on this day, probably as a result of battle wounds from the previous days’ action. He is buried in ABBEVILLE COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION, SOMME.


Wilfred John

Private 10965, 7th Bn., East Surrey Regiment. Killed in action Wednesday 4th July 1917. Aged 21. Son of Alfred Thomas and Sarah Jane Ralph. Alfred was a coachman at the Park. Wilfred was born in Weston and baptised in Holy Trinity Church on 12th April 1896, but was living in Kingston, Surrey when he enlisted.


1st The battalion moved to support positions in the MONCHY sector. 2 Coys. in the caves near FOSSE FARM. 1 coy. in a strongpoint south of MONCHY. 1 coy. In SPADE TRENCH east of MONCHY, on infantry hill.

2nd Work in the support trenches consisting of working parties and general repair work to the trenches.

3rd Working parties out at night. An attempt by the Essex to occupy enemy shell holes was unsuccessful.

4th Working parties. The CO, Adjutant and Coy Commanders visited the front line in the early morning.

5th Bn. Relieved by 6th Queens in the front line in the evening, taking over the line from LONG TRENCH to GORDON ALLEY inclusive.

There is no mention in the War Diaries of casualties throughout this period, but John Ralph was killed in action on 4th July. He is buried in WINDMILL BRITISH CEMETERY, MONCHY-LE-PREUX, Pas de Calais, about 7kms south- east of ARRAS.



Private 4/6915, “B” Coy., 2nd Bn., Bedfordshire Regiment. Died 29th July 1916. Herbert was the grandson of Mrs. Oakley who lived in Maiden Street. She had brought him up from a child.

In civil life he worked for Mr. Archibald Moodie at Halls Green Farm, and was much liked by him and all who knew him. News of his death was sent to his uncle, Fred Oakley, by A. Swain, another Weston man serving with him.

29th July 1916

On this day a company of 2nd Bedfords together with a company of French 153rd Regiment attacked from the trenches south of TRÔNES WOOD and took MALTZ HORN FARM.

Herbert was killed and buried by a shell. He was listed among those missing in action, and is commemorated on THIEPVAL MEMORIAL.

He had served with his Regiment for two years, and as part of the British Expeditionary Force, had fought in every battle in which they had taken part in.

Note to editor see map page 12



Private 43251, 6th Bn., Northamptonshire Regiment. Died on Saturday 17th February 1917. Aged 31. Bertie was the son of James and Mary Elizabeth Shadbolt of Weston. He was baptised Bertie in Holy Trinity, Weston on 19th July 1885, but Army records show him as Herbert.


1st-14th The battalion was engaged in making up working parties to work on hutments, trench digging etc. as well as doing plenty of drill. Much time was spent in practising ‘forming up’ and advancing on the enemy.

15th Battalion took over its battlefront from 8th Bn. East Surrey Regt.

16th. Preparing for battle. Forming up positions were marked out by 12 midnight. First company reached GULLY trench at 1 am.

17th. The battle. Forming up completed by 5 am.

Bertie died in this battle and is buried in REGINA TRENCH CEMETERY, Grandcourt, Somme



Private 75926, Royal Fusiliers, 2nd Bn., London Regiment. Killed in action Wednesday 24th April 1918. Aged 18. Frank was born in Stevenage, but living in Weston when he enlisted at Hitchin. Brother of ‘Tubby’ Smith who fought in WWII.


23rd APRIL The 2nd Bn. London Regiment were at HANGARD WOOD about 5kms south of VILLERS BRETONNEUX.

‘A’ Coy shot and captured a German who gave detailed information as to the enemy offensive on 24th. Objective CACHY LINE, indicating an intended advance of 3 kms. All Companies warned and everybody on the alert.

24th 7.00am ‘C’ Coy. Ordered forward to support left flank and re-establish original line. ‘A’ Coy. Still holding out. ‘D’ Coy. Reported enemy in the trench to the left and 300yds to the rear. Enemy are digging in. HANGARD WOOD was reconnoitered with a view to counter attack and regain a footing in the line vacated by ‘A’ Coy. The main attack developed on the front held 2/2nd London Regt.

4.00pm Situation quiet with intermittent shelling. There is a large concentration of enemy in the wood. Our 18pdrs have been firing short nearly all day.

10.00pm Counter attack delivered by ANZAC CORPS to retake VILLERS BRETONNEUX and the 2/9th London Regt to retake HANGARD WOOD. Remnants of 2/2nd Londons to fill in any gaps in the line when the objective was reached.

11.30pm VILLERS BRETONNEUX re-taken and old line re-established.

Frank Smith was killed in action during the battle this day. He is commemorated on the POZIERES MEMORIAL, SOMME, together with 14,000 other casualties who have no known grave.


Walter William

Private 7025, 2nd Bn. Coldstream Guards. Died of wounds Tuesday 2nd February 1915. Aged 30. Born in Weston. Married to Louisa Smith. They lived at 101 Lower Park Road, Peckham, London. He enlisted London.

CUINCHY Feb. 1915

1st During the morning the Germans threw a number of bombs into our advanced trenches by the railway and forced an evacuation, it thus throwing the left of the line and No.4 Coy. back to a barricade of sandbags. We counter attacked but were beaten back with rather heavy losses. Later in the morning our Heavy Artillery bombarded the position with, to the Germans, appalling results. The field Artillery searched their remaining trenches and another counter attack was entirely successful, further ground also being gained.

In the two counter attacks the Irish Guards were of invaluable assistance both during the attack and afterwards in holding and strengthening the defences of the position gained.

Our casualties from 8pm. 30.1.15 to 9pm. 1.2.15 were; killed 2 officers and 20 other ranks, wounded 52 other ranks.

The Irish Guards lost 2 officers killed and 3 wounded and 32 other ranks killed or wounded.

About 8-9pm. The bn. Was successfully relieved by 3rd Bn. Coldstreams and marched to the orphanage at Bethune which was being used as billets, where it rested until 3.30pm. on the 3rd. At 3.30pm the companies paraded and independently marched to CUINCHY to take over the left section of the trenches.

Pte. Smith died of his wounds the day after the battle. He is buried in LILLERS COMMUNAL CEMETERY. Lillers is about 15kms west-north-west of BETHUNE and was a hospital centre used by five Casualty Clearing Stations between 1914 and April 1918.

Note to editor see map page 16



Private 12975, 1st Bn., Bedfordshire Regiment. Killed in action 1st Oct 1918. Edward was born in Gosmore, but was living in Weston when he enlisted.


20th Moved at night to YTRES via BARASTRE & BUS. Battalion relieved at VILLERS AU FLOS by 2nd. Bn. Kings Own Scottish Borderers and DCLI at YTRES. Some shelling by heavy guns in the vicinity of the village.

21 - 29th. In camp. Frequent shelling. An officer severely wounded and died. Bn. received orders to move to assembly positions ready for the forthcoming operations.

27th 7.52am. Bn. advanced over the top to the attack and captured part of BEAUCAMP village. All objectives taken. In the afternoon a German bombing party forced a withdrawal to Sunken Road trenches.

28th Germans evacuated BEAUCAMP.

29th 1st Beds. passed through 95 Bde. attacking beyond railway and then consolidated their position.

30th Germans are retiring. Battalion moved forward. Relieved in the evening by 13th Kings Royal Rifles and withdrew to DEADMANS CORNER.

1st OCTOBER Withdrew to huts at NEUVILLE.

“A” lines transport heavily shelled. Resulting in 1 O.R. killed and 1 O.R. wounded. 3 horses killed and 3 more wounded.

Casualties sustained during the whole operation - 3 officers and 27 O.R. killed, 6 officers and 106 O.R’s wounded. 20 O.R’s missing.

Edward Strudwick was killed 1st Oct. and is buried in GOUZEACOURT NEW BRITISH CEMETERY, Nord. About 15kms SW of CAMBRAI



Private 73893, 124th Coy. Labour Corps. Died of wounds Monday 13th August 1917. Aged 33. He was formerly no. 47371 16th Labour Coy., The Queens (Royal West Surrey Regiment). Born in Weston to William and Emma Swain. Baptised in Holy Trinity Church 7th December 1884.

Married to Amy Swain of 62, Park Corner, St.Albans, he worked as a coal carman in St.Albans



Percy Alfred

Private 18315, 1st Bn., Bedfordshire Regiment. Died Sunday 13th August 1916. Aged 22. Son of William and Susan Swain of Dane End.

Alfred enlisted soon after the outbreak of war, prior to which he was employed by Mr. T.S. White of Dane End Farm. He had been in France for about 9 months.


1ST Battalion Bedford Regt. were in 15 Brigade of 5th Division. On the 27th July they advanced into DELVILLE WOOD and linked up with 99 Bde. The last action of 5th Div. was on Sunday 30th July when at 6.10pm they advanced into LONGUEVAL WOOD. They were met by heavy machine gun fire and suffered many casualties.

Alfred Swain died of his wounds in a military hospital in Rouen, and is one of 3,000 WW1 casualties buried in ST. SEVER CEMETERY, ROUEN.

Mrs. Swain had two other sons serving, one of whom was Josiah who died on Thursday 30th May 1918 and is mentioned earlier. Yet another son was killed in the South African War.



Private 18695, 1st Bn., Bedfordshire Regiment. Died of wounds Thursday 30th May 1918. Aged 34. Son of William and Susan Swain of Dane End, Weston and husband of Annie Caroline Swain of 33 Letchmore Road Stevenage. He leaves three children.

Josiah had spent 3½ years in service. He was slightly gassed in 1915 and wounded in the face in 1916. He was hospitalised in England, then returned to France again in 1917. In the same year he was drafted to Italy, but returned to France after a few months. He was wounded on 29th May and died the following day.

His parents have now given three sons to the Empire. Alfred (22) died of wounds in France 1916. Jim (20) died of fever in the South African War. The youngest son is serving in Italy.


On 22nd May the 1st Bedfords moved to Spresian Camp to relieve 1st Bn. Cheshire Regt. They spent the next six days training and providing labour for working parties.

On the 29th the battalion moved into the front line and relieved the 1st Bn. Norfolk Regt. Pte. Swain was wounded during this operation and died in a Field Hospital the following day.

He is buried in THIENNES BRITISH CEMETERY, Nord, France. Thiennes cemetery is in a secluded position next to a large forest about 15kms SE of St. Omer.

His headstone is engraved ‘GOD BE WITH YOU TILL WE MEET AGAIN’

The cost of additional engraving on a military headstone had to be paid for by the next of kin, at a cost of 3d. (just over one new penny) a letter. This charge caused a lot of bad feeling amongst the less well off, and was later dropped.

Note to editor see map on page 16.


Albert [Edward]

Pte. 410909, 38th Bn. Canadian Infantry (Eastern Ontario Reg.). Died Friday 1st Sept 1916. Aged 24.

Son of William and Eleanor Turner and brother of Horace William, who lived at Tilekiln Cottage.

Ted was born 10th April 1889 but was not baptised in Holy Trinity Church until 7th July 1889. He never married. On the attestation papers of the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force that he completed in June 1915, Albert declared his year of birth as 1891. This was then altered to 1892, but both were wrong as he was baptised in 1889.

His parents were living at Tilekiln Cottage at the time of the 1891 census, with their four daughters and the two sons, Horace aged 13 and Albert aged 1. Clearly all the dates were arbitrary!

Ted Turner was working in Canada as a ‘sectionman’ at the outbreak of war. On the 2nd June 1915 he attested to serve in the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force at $15 per month. All his details were witnessed 6th July at Barriefield, Ontario.

He gave his personal details as Farmer, 5’9” high, weight 165lbs., 36” chest, dark complexion, blue eyes and black hair.

Following initial training with 4th Contingent in Gen. Foot Guards he transferred to 59th Bn. on 7th June ‘15, and two weeks later he was drafted to 38th Bn., where he remained.

The unit sailed from Halifax, Nova Scotia on 23rd May 1916 for England on S.S.GRAMPIAN via Bermuda which they reached on 29th May. From there they sailed to England, arriving at Plymouth on 9th June 1916. In England they were at Bramshott, Hampshire until embarking for Havre, France on 13th August. The crossing was rough and many of the men were seasick. By 18th August some of the companies were under instruction in the trenches of the YPRES SALIENT. Over the next couple of weeks the battalion was in and out of the trenches receiving training and instructions on trench warfare and carrying out routine duties. No mention was made of casualties in the war diaries until 31st Aug. when three were reported.

Ted was admitted to 42 Casualty Clearing Station on 1st Sept. 1916 suffering gunshot wounds to his back, left leg and abdomen. He died from his wounds that day, and was buried in BALLIUEL COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION, France. BALLIEUL is approx. 14.5 kms SW of YPRES.



Private 4/6950, 2nd Bn., Bedfordshire Regiment. Died Tuesday 18th May 1915. Aged 30. Son of William and Lydia Turner. Baptised in Holy Trinity Church 7th Nov. 1886.

James was in the same battalion as James Wallis, who was wounded on the 16th and died 18th May.

On May 11th the 2nd Bn. marched to LE HAMEL, arriving at 3am. At 4.20pm they were ordered to the trenches to relieve the 21st Bn. The London Regt. They continued their march and took over front line trenches at L’EPINETTE at 8.45pm. Over the next six days a number of attacks were made against the enemy.

It was noted on the 17th/18th that many serious obstacles in the way of water filled ditches, between 2’ & 5’ wide and deep, broke down the cohesion of the attacks. Several men were drowned in these during the assaults, as well as those killed by heavy artillery fire and bombing.

18th May About 3am telephonic instructions were received from the Brigadier, that the battalion should advance along the communications trench towards K4 & K5, and take the German trench from that flank, to join up with the Cameron Highlanders who were said to be still in possession of a portion of the trench. A supply of bombs having been received, the bomb throwers with ‘D’ Coy. under Capt. C.C. Foss D.S.O., with ‘A’ & ‘C’ Coys. in that order in support under Capt. Hutton Williams and Lt.Col. E. l.deS. Thorpe respectively, were ordered to make their way along the communications trench to K5, to gain possession at that point and work along the German trench towards L8 to meet the Cameron Highlanders. ‘B’ coy under 2nd Lt. F. Powell was kept in reserve. While the attack was developing, the C.O. received authentic information that the party of Cameron Highlanders who had gained the enemy trench, had been bombed out and retired thence during the night. This information, and also the fact that the Bn. was very weak numerically, was telephoned by the C.O. to the Brigadier, who replied that if the C.O. was absolutely convinced that the Cameron Highlanders were no longer holding any of the German trench, he should stop the further advance of the bn., and make good the ground occupied. The bn. therefore consolidating K4 and the communication trench, holding it with the bomb throwers and ‘D’, ‘A’ & ½ ’B’ Coys. ’C’ coy and half of ‘B’ remaining behind L1-L2. During the advance towards K4, Capt. Hutton Williams was killed and about 6 men killed or wounded crossing a gap in the trench which was swept by machine gun and rifle fire.

The bn. remained in this position all day, being heavily shelled by high explosive and shrapnel the whole time. During the night 17-18th May 2nd Lt. B.H.Waddy who had been doing some excellent scouting and reconnaissance work had to be removed from the firing line by order of the M.O. and was admitted to hospital.

During the night too, the bn. had the misfortune to lose the services of Lieut. D.G.Watson RAMC the M.O. who had been most assiduous in tending and removing wounded from the firing line in a conspicuously gallant manner, under heavy shell fire, being severely wounded by shrapnel on his way back to his dressing station. 7 stretcher bearers were either killed or wounded.

19th May. The bn. was relieved by 2nd Yorkshire Regt., and at 3p.m. marched to billets at BELLEVILLE 4½miles N.W. BETHUNE.

Casualties for operations from 8pm 11.5.15 to 3pm. 19.5.15. Officers: 2 killed, 9 wounded, 1 sick. Other ranks: 45 killed, 68 missing, 276 wounded (of whom 4 died).

Private James Turner was posted missing on the 18th May. He is commemorated on the LE TOURET MEMORIAL. James’s brother Charles served in the Hertfordshires, survived the war and returned to the village. He died in 1944.

Note to editor see map page 16


Horace William

Private 14458, 8th Bn. The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regt.). Killed in action on Friday 19th January 1917. Aged 40. Son of William and Eleanor Turner, and brother of Albert. Baptised in Holy Trinity Church, 30th Sept. 1877

Married Annie Draper of Clothall in Holy Trinity, Weston on 1st August 1903. Annie Turner lived at Warrens Green.


1ST-4TH Each of the four company’s were given their Christmas dinners. The days were spent training, having baths etc. The ranges were in use training Lewis gunners.

5th The battalion relieved 9th East Surrey Regt. in the left sub-section of the trench HULLUCH. Total strength of the relief 506 men.

10th Relieved by 9th East Surreys’

11th-16th Days passed quietly. Received a draft of 71 other ranks.

17th Battalion relieves 9th East Surreys, again in the left sub-section of the trenches. Trench strength now 17 Officers and 598 Other Ranks. The enemy’s’ shellfire was particularly active and our trenches were badly shelled. Green lights were sent up by the enemy. We suffered no casualties.

18th Trenches are in a very muddy state owing to the very heavy fall of snow. Work is proceeding slowly. Enemy fairly active with Whizzbangs, 4.2 shells, Minnies and darts. 2 casualties suffered.

19th Horace Turner was killed. He is buried in PHILOSOPHE BRITISH CEMETERY, MAZINGARBE, Pas de Calais, France

Note: ‘Whizzbangs and Minnies were nicknames given to large trench mortars used by the enemy, and feared by our troops. They made a terrifying noise as they fell and caused devastation in the immediate area of impact.


Walter Lawrence

Corporal 12850, “A” Coy. 6th Bn., Bedfordshire Regiment. Died Saturday 15th July 1916. Aged 29. Son of George and Eliza Turner of Maiden Street. Husband of Mary Elizabeth Turner née Rossell.

Worked for a number of years in East Finchley as a grocers assistant, and then as a gardener at Weston Park for Mr. M.R.Pryor. Known as a man of good character and obliging manners he had the respect of many friends in both Weston and East Finchley. He was noted for his many little acts of kindness to friends and neighbours. He was a well known footballer and cricketer and could be relied upon for a good innings.

He enlisted the first month of the war and went out to France on July 30th 1915. His first leave from the Front was on 29th May, to marry Nurse Rossell at Chipping Barnet on Saturday 1st June. He returned to the Front on 5th June and was killed in action just two weeks after his marriage. Mary Elizabeth was the daughter of Mr. W. Rossell of Tewksbury, Gloucester. She returned to live in Tewksbury after the war.

15th July - 3rd Sept.

6th Bn. Bedfords were part of 112 Bde, 37th. Div.

On 15th July 1916 112 Bde started to cross nomansland, but some 300yds short of Pozieres they were brought to a halt by machine gun fire. After 6pm, following another bombardment from their own artillery, they managed to consolidate their position.

Corporal Turner was not found after this battle, and is commemorated on THIEPVAL MEMORIAL.

Note to editor see map page 12



Private 242016, 5th Border Regiment. Died Sunday 1st Oct. 1916. Aged 22. Son of Charles and Jane Waldock. Baptised in Holy Trinity, Weston 15th April 1894


Sunday 1st October 1916.
The Battalion was ordered to attack and capture the first and support lines of trenches in the FLERS LINE. The attack was in four waves, the 5th Border Regt in the first and second waves and the 8th Durham Light Infantry in the third and fourth.

The attack commenced at 3.15 pm after a prolonged artillery bombardment. The four waves left the trenches at intervals of 50 yards. The two lines were captured before the enemy realised we were in possession. A small number of the battalion on the right reached the first objective resulting in a strenuous and responsible cleaning up job for the troops on their flanks.

Frank Waldock was killed in this attack and is commemorated on the THIEPVAL MEMORIAL,

Note to editor see map page 12



Private 4/7070, 2nd Bn. Bedfordshire Regt. Died of wounds Tuesday 18th May 1915. Aged 36. Son of James and Mary Ann Wallis of Maiden Street.

James’ first experience with the army was in South Africa where he served as a corporal in the Boer War. As a celebration on his safe return he was pulled around the village in a cart. He married Frances Aylott. They lived at Halls Green, where their two children Ivy and Bert were born.

On May 11th the 2nd Bn. marched to LE HAMEL, arriving at 3am. At 4.20pm they were ordered to the trenches to relieve the 21st Bn. The London Regt. They continued their march and took over front line trenches at L’EPINETTE at 8.45pm

12th Took over another portion of trenches from London Bde.

14th Trenches vacated while artillery shelled enemy trenches.

16th Two NCO’s showed great gallantry in bringing in 50 wounded to the cover of our trenches. Heavy shelling.

James’ relatives, who have given permission for the inclusion of the following letters.

Official records reported James as having been killed in action on 18th May, whereas it is now known he died of wounds received on the 16th May

From Cpl. J.W. Dunham, No.1 Section ‘A’ Coy., 2nd Bedfords

Dear Miss Wallace
Just a line in answer to the parcel and letter sent to your brother which arrived safely. I am deeply sorry to inform you that your brother died of wounds received on 16/5/15. I can assure you he was Highly respected by all in his platoon and you have the deepest sympathy of all of us. The parcel was opened by myself and distributed amongst his section according to army orders. Again offering my sincere sympathy. Yours Truly J.W.Dunham. Cpl. No.1 Section.

To Mrs Wallace 17.5.15 Dear Madam Your husband of the Bedfordshire Regiment has asked me to write and let you know how he is getting on. He unfortunately got wounded but has a wonderful spirit and he will go down to a base hospital and so probably on to England. He has promised me again to write to you in a couple of days so that you may not be over anxious.

I know that it will be very trying to wait for news, but I though you would prefer to have some definite news of where and how he is more than the brief note you will get from the war office. It was to the 4th Field Ambulance, 2nd Division that he was brought, but he is not remaining here, and he will write and tell you to what hospital he is passed down. With sympathy. Yours faithfully C.F.Baines C.F

2nd. June 1915
Dear Sir, In reply to your letter enquiring about Private Wallis of the Bedford Regiment, you can tell his Mother that amongst all the wounded that I have seen I do not think that I have met a braver or more cheerful patient. He was shot in the stomach, or rather the abdomen; he received the very best possible attention, and personally I had hopes of his recovery as he always seemed so bright and hopeful himself. No operation was attempted for in a wound of that nature it is a question whether the intestines are pierced or not, and I gather it would be practically impossible to do any good by operating. During the days he was in hospital I had prayers with him each evening and sometimes in the morning, and I remember that he joined with me earnestly and devoutly. The end came peacefully and quietly and to me somewhat unexpectedly, as I had thought him better the day before. I buried him in Bethune Civil Cemetery, and a wooden cross bearing his name, Regiment and date marks the spot. No doubt after the war some action will be taken to put up a permanent memorial recording the names of our brave soldiers whose bodies rest there. Please convey my sincerest sympathy to Mrs. Wallis, and though the loss remains she has reason to be proud of her son’s end on earth. Believe me. Yours faithfully, C.F.Baines.

Dear Mrs Wallace, I am sorry I have been unable to write before but you will understand we are pretty busy out here. When your son was hit we were about to charge the German trenches, and of course my place being at the head of the section I did not see him hit, but it was reported to me afterwards by his comrades. A shell burst on our trenches and a piece of it hit him in the side. The last we heard that day was that he was taken to the dressing station seriously wounded. The man next to him was killed outright. That happened about 3.30 AM May 17th. All that day we were in the German trenches and at night when we came out we could get no information about Jim. Next day we went in another charge some four or five miles away and I heard nothing more until we came back for a rest and the roll was called. It was then reported to me from our Company Sergeant Major that Jim had died of his wounds. I have been unable to find out anything further and if I were in your place I should apply to the War Office for full information. I have just tried to tell you all I know, and I wish I could tell you more, but I am sure if you apply to the above they will give you full particulars.

Yours sincerely Corporal Dunham.

On the 20th June Cpl. Dunham replied to a letter from James’s mother.

Dear Mrs. Wallace
Sorry I have been unable to answer your letter before, but we have been in action again. Your son received his wounds in the battle for Festubert on the 16th May. We are having a rest for a little while and are situated in a beautiful country place somewhere in France which reminds us very much of “Old England”. Well I’m afraid there is nothing else I can tell you. Hoping you are keeping well.

Yours Sincerely J.W.Dunham Cpl.


James Wallis is buried in BETHUNE TOWN CEMETERY.

NB. The spelling of the surname is incorrect in some of the letters above and on the gravestone.




Probably Pilot Officer Cyril Bell no. 173058 RAFVR serving in 207 Squadron. He was pilot of Lancaster ND575 EM-M which was shot down returning from operations to Mailly-le-Camp on 4th May 1944. All crew killed and are buried together in Dontilly Communal Cemetery.



Driver T/282541, Royal Army Service Corps. Died 4th February 1943. Aged 30. Jack, or ‘Jacky’ as he was known, was the son of William & Clara Chalkley. He was born in the village and was a keen footballer and cricketer. He married Audrey née Fidler. At the time of his enlistment they were living in High Street Stevenage with Audreys’ parents. Jacky died on the day the British Eighth Army drove into Tunisia. The vehicle he was in toppled over a cliff face in Tunisia. He is buried in the MEDJEZ-EL-BAB WAR CEMETERY IN TUNISIA, about 50kms WSW of Tunis.

Jacky’s original grave
in the Atlas Mountains


Leonard Charles Aubrey

Gunner 923478, 135th Field Regt., Royal Artillery. Died Thursday 21st September 1944. Aged 30. Born 28th Sept 1913, Leonard was the son of Thomas & Maud Clements, and worked as a bricklayer before he enlisted. He was nick-named ‘Son’.

Son was captured by the Japanese when they overran Singapore in February 1942. He died when the ship on which the Japanese were transporting POW’s to work as slaves was sunk by American submarines. Seventeen others from 135th died in the same incident.

After working on the ‘Death Railway’ survivors of those tortuous labours were returned to Singapore. From there, many were selected to be taken to Japan to work as slaves. It was known that convoys were being attacked by the Americans, but that did not deter their captors.

On 6th September 1944 over 2,200 British and Australian POW’s were loaded onto unmarked Japanese merchantmen. Most of the men were kept locked in the holds. The vessels set sail, to be joined later by three frigates and three freighters. Waiting for the convoy in the South China Sea were three American submarines; USS Pampanito, Sealion II and Growler. The convoy was torpedoed on 12th September , and the two unmarked ships with the POW’s on board, sunk. The Americans submariners had no way of knowing what they had done. Four days later Pampanito passed through the waters again and discovered a flimsy raft filled with men. Only then did they realize what had happened. They sent a coded message to Sealion to join them. USS Pampanito managed to rescue 73 men who were taken to Saipan. Sealion had collected 54 men when the Captain made the decision to leave the area. They were 600miles behind the enemy front line, and in a very exposed position. The crew were aware that many more men were still alive in the water, but being so far into enemy territory they could stay on the surface no longer.

Two days later two more submarines, USS Barb and Queenfish got to the area and further 32 men were rescued.

The Japanese picked up about 600 men just after the sinkings, leaving 1,500 unaccounted for.

Son was one of those who perished and is recorded as ‘Missing at Sea’ on the SINGAPORE MEMORIAL.

The Japanese destroyed most of their records before the Allies could see them, but it is thought as many as 100,000 prisoners may have died in the 14 months it took to build the railway.

It was not until 6th September 1945 (almost a year later) that the War Office sent the following letter to Son’s brother Reg, who at that time was the dairyman at Oakleys Farm in Maiden Street.

Reg also received, on behalf of the family, a letter of condolence from King George VI.


Arthur James

Gunner 1799368, 242 Bty., 48 Light Anti-Aircraft Regt., Royal Artillery. Died Thursday 9th November 1944. Aged 23. Son of John and Elizabeth Cox & brother of George, Jack and Charles and two sisters

Jimmy was captured by the Japanese and shipped to north east Borneo. He was one of 223 men from his Regiment who died in captivity. He is commemorated on the SINGAPORE MEMORIAL.

Copy of postcard sent to Jimmy’s brother Jack by IJA from SANDAKAN POW camp in North Borneo, stating health excellent and am not working.


John Edward

Gunner 895545, 135th Field Regt., Royal Artillery. Died 19th August 1945. Age 29.

Johnny, nicknamed ‘Whoopsie’, was born and went to school in the village. His sister, Alice, kept The Edward VII pub at Guilden Morden and he was staying with her. Keen on music, he bought himself an accordion in Cambridge in 1938 and learnt to play it well. He was well known thereabouts as a pub musician. A member of the Territorials, he was mobilized at the outbreak of war and went from Odsey station, never to return. His accordion is now a treasured possession in the hands of a nephew.

The Japanese captured Johnny Davis during the fall of Singapore. He was one of the thousands used as forced labour on the notorious Burma railway and died there.

Although the Japanese Government surrendered on 14th August, the first Allied troops did not land until much later. Johnny was shot by the Japanese whilst trying to escape after the surrender.

He is buried with 7,000 other victims at KANCHANABURI WAR CEMETERY, THAILAND, close to the ‘KANBURI’ Prisoner of War base camp for the Burma-Siam railway. It is the largest of three cemeteries beside the railway.


Percy Charles

Lieutenant Colonel 202886V, 44 Sqdn. South African Air Force. Died Monday 7th August 1944. Aged 44.

Percy was the son of Francis Joshua and Frances Louisa Ginn of Weston. He was born 28th November 1899 in Lavender Cottage (now part of Rosemary Cottage) in Fore Street. Baptised in Holy Trinity, Weston on 4th March 1900.

He married Joyce, the daughter of Mr. Justice van der Riet, of Grahamstown, South Africa.

He enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps on 27th Dec. 1917, giving his age as 18½. (!) On 1st April he is listed as being in Royal Air Force, and on 27th August 1918 he had been promoted to Sergeant. He transferred to the RAF Reserve 21st March 1919 and worked as a motor mechanic. He re-enlisted on 30th October 1921 and remained in the service until 7th Sept 1936 at which time he was appointed to a Commission in the Reserve of Air Force Officers

One of his exploits was to land an aeroplane in Town Field behind Friars Gap, so that he could visit his family who ran the Red Lion Inn. After his visit many villagers helped to turn the ‘plane round so he could take off. On another occasion he is reported to have collided with a tree along Clothall road, when attempting to land.

On leaving the force he became a pilot for Imperial Airways.

Percy was serving as Lieutenant Colonel in the South African Air Force and at the time of his death was the Commanding Officer of 44 Sqdn. in the Middle East.

He died from gunshot wounds in Cairo and is buried in HELIOPOLIS WAR CEMETERY, EGYPT.

The following is a copy of the letter sent to his widow by

Colonel B.G. Viljoen, Deputy Senior Administrative Officer, Air, South African Air Force Admin. Headquarters, CAIRO

Dear Mrs. Ginn, 20th August, 1944

At a time like this, no words of mine can ease your sorrow, but I want you to know you have the heartfelt sympathy of every Officer, Airman and Airwoman in this Command.

Your husband’s death has not only robbed the South African Air Force of one of its ablest Officers and leaders, but it has deprived those of us who were privileged to know him more intimately, of a real and staunch friend whose happy disposition and disregard of formality endeared him to all.

Lieut.Colonel Ginn’s long and varied experience in the field of aviation and his high sense of responsibility and devotion to duty fitted him well for his Command that his place will be hard to fill. It is men of his calibre that have brought the South African Air Force the glory and distinction which have placed our service second to none amongst our fighting forces, and you and your family may well be proud of the part he played.

His vital and unbounded energy was an inspiration to us all. He never spared himself in anything and he would never accept that “good enough” would do. To him, the welfare of the most junior Air Mechanic was as much a matter of personal concern as the major operational problem in the squadron. Never did he begrudge his time or save himself in the unwearying endeavours to serve the cause for which we are all fighting.

The personal effects of your husband are being attended to by the Standing Committee of Adjustment from whom you will hear shortly, but in the meantime, if there is anything I can do, please do not hesitate to write to me.

Once again I wish to express to you and your family our very deep sympathy in your sad bereavement.

Sincerely yours. (sgd) B.G.Viljoen

Before the war Percy established quite a reputation for himself as a flyer.

From The Hertfordshire Pictorial Tuesday August 18 1936

Mail Plane’s 1,700 Miles in 19 Hours.
Flew Over Jungle In Darkness

Capt. P.C. Ginn, who is the second son of Mr. and Mrs.F.C.Ginn, of Weston, an Imperial Airways pilot, recently set up a new record for mail aeroplanes by flying 1,693 miles from Akyab, Burma to Singapore in 19 hours.

Capt. Ginn stopped at Rangoon, Bangkok and Penang, staying only long enough to disembark passengers and mails, and to refuel.

Landing at Peneng at dusk, officials thought he would stay the night, but Capt. Ginn said he knew the country well and continued his flight, almost in pitch darkness, over the jungles of British Malaya and landed at the R.A.F. base at Singapore a few minutes before midnight.

This 19-hour dash not only established a record, but enabled the air mail from England, which was 15 hours behind schedule in Karachi, to be delivered in time in Singapore the following morning. Sorting clerks were summoned from their beds by the Post Office to deal with the mail.

Extract from an unknown South African publication


The family of an airways pilot is as nomadic as that of any soldier or navy man. Captain and Mrs. Peter (sic) Ginn will be striking camp and flying off from Johannesburg to Singapore on Saturday at only a few days’ notice. Captain Ginn, who has been stationed in Johannesburg with the Imperial Airways for the past two years, has been transferred to the Singapore-Karachi line.

Mrs. Ginn will make her home in Singapore for the present, but as her husband is expected to get leave towards the end of the year she does not anticipate a long stay there. After that Captain Ginn expects to return to South Africa in connection with the flying boat service, which should then be in full swing.

Mrs. Ginn is the daughter of Mr. Justice van der Riet, of Grahamstown, and of Mrs. Van der Riet. The latter came to Johannesburg from Eastern Province a few days ago with Mrs Ginn’s twin sister, Miss Mollie van der Riet. They will be returning to Grahamstown this week-end by car after they have seen Captain and Mrs. Ginn off to India on Saturday. The twins are keen hockey players and while Mrs. Ginn has played in Johannesburg, her sister plays for Albany Club in Grahamstown.


Jethro Hadney

Gunner 920936, 135th (The Hertforshire Yeomanry) Field Regt, Royal Artillery. Died Sunday 10th Oct 1943.

Jeth moved to Weston from Caister on Sea, Norfolk and worked at the park, and then as a chauffeur. When he first moved here he lived with his sister Annie in the Mill Ground. She was Tony Swain’s mother. Tony recently retired as our postman and has moved to Caister. Whilst in the village Jeth courted and became engaged to Gwen Bridges, but was called up before they married.

Captured by the Japanese at the fall of SINGAPORE. He was used as forced labour by them on the notorious BURMA-SIAM railway. He is buried in CHUNGKAI, one of the base camps for the railway, which housed a church and a hospital. It is located about 117kms west of BANKOK.



Driver 2048893, 246 Field Coy., Royal Engineers. Died 13th June 1944. Aged 24. Son of John and Nellie Mills. Husband of Brenda née Clements. They had one son Alan.

Prior to assembling for the D-Day landings, 246 Field Coy. had been training in Blairgowrie on the edge of the Scottish highlands, and then moved to Aldershot.

D-DAY 6th June 1944

Extract from 246 Field Coy. war diaries

3 Div landed on the beaches of France north of CAEN at 0720hrs. 246 Field Coy. Royal Engineers was deployed as:

No.1 Platoon as 2 sections on WHITE BEACH and 2 sections on RED BEACH for clearing of forward routes through BMA and main lateral to proposed bridging site at BENOUVILLE.

No.2 Platoon 4 assault demolition teams and 2 mine clearance teams with 2nd East Yorkshire and 2 mine clearance teams with 1st Suffolks.

No.3 Platoon: 4 assault demolition teams and 2 mine clearance teams with 1st S.Lancs and 1 with 1st Suffolks.

The assault was successful and opposition lighter than expected, but mortars and shellfire on the beaches caused casualties and congestion for some hours.

By the evening the company was assembled on the edge of ST. AUBIN prepared to move to the bridge sites when they were cleared. 6th Airborne Div captured the bridge intact. The company suffered 12 wounded and six sappers missing, (four returned by D+3).

7th. Clearing routes of mines between COLLEVILLE and ST.AUBIN. During the night No.2 Pl. constructed a Class 40 raft to cross the ORNE 200yds S. RANVILLE, but the raft was not used.

8th. Some mortar and shellfire. Raft damaged by direct hit when all troops had withdrawn. Company moved to an area S. of COLLEVILLE where they dug in and prepared a defensive role to protect Div. HQ should it be necessary.

9th Attempt to repair ferry but accurate shellfire caused slow progress. Attacked by enemy fighter-bombers at 1730hrs.

3 Pl. cleared COLLEVILLE-OUISTREHEM route of derelict vehicles and checked all marked minefields. All fields found to be clear except around battery position W. of OUISTREHEM. Mines charted but not lifted.

10th. A stick of bombs in COLLEVILLE at 2345hrs damaged the water point erected by the company, but this was repaired. 1 & 3 platoons given the task of preparing a Class 40 route between the two Bailey bridges south of the existing bridge. This involved bulldozing tracks, building culverts and a 50’ Bailey bridge. Job was prepared and left camouflaged waiting final orders before completion. Order given to complete at 1000hrs, which was done during the night.

11th A quiet day checking mines around COLLEVILLE.

12th-22nd Coy. Remained at COLLEVILLE with an emergency defensive role and working laying a minefield of 4000 mines S. of PERIERS-SUR-LE-DAN with assistance from 2Bn. E.Yorks Reg.

Note: The Company war diary makes no mention of casualties during the above period.

Bill Mills died on 13th June and is buried in RANVILLE WAR CEMETERY, Calvados, France.

RANVILLE was the first village to be liberated in France, during the early hours of D-Day, when troops of the 6th Airborne Division were parachuted in or landed by glider.


Eric Lionel Victor

Pilot Officer 102980, Observer. Died Saturday 6th Dec 1941. Aged 22. The grandson of Mr. & Mrs.Stanley who lived at The Thatched Cottage, Warrens Green. Eric was born in Stevenage and became head boy at Alleyne’s Grammar School where he excelled both academically and on the sports field. He entered the Civil Service Executive Branch before joining the R.A.F.V.R. He became a qualified Air Observer in Canada under the Empire Training Scheme. He is said to have been the first Stevenage man to navigate a plane across the Atlantic.

On 13th November 1941 he was posted to 110 Squadron based at Wattisham in Norfolk, but at the time of the accident was stationed at RAF Bicester. The squadron, flying Blenheim Mk.IV bombers, was mainly involved in coastal and shipping patrols.

During the first week of December the weather was overcast and mild, but on the Saturday there was rain and gale force winds. Nine aircraft flew non-operational sorties, i.e. tests and formation practice.

Blenheim Z7962 VE flown by Sgt. V.R.Langrish with Sgt. A.E.Bailey and Pilot Officer E. L. V. Stanley as crew. Blenheim bombers had a crew of three, but on this flight there was an additional person on board, Flying Officer D.H.Ivens, who it was rumoured, was ‘hitching a lift’.

Shortly after taking off from Bicester the aircraft stalled and crashed. There were no survivors.

The inquiry into the accident concluded that the elevator trim tabs were incorrectly set making the aircraft tail heavy.

Eric was buried with full military honours in his mother’s grave in Weston Churchyard.

His name is not on the memorial

Those from Weston who served their Country in the 1939-45 war and returned


Leonard Sydney

No further information currently available



Royal Air Force - No further information currently available


Peter Walter

Royal Artillery - No further information currently available



5831144, 2nd Cambridgeshire - No further information currently available


Kenneth James

Royal Artillery - No further information currently available


Francis Billy

921420, Royal Artillery - No further information currently available



7907530, 12th Royal Lancers - No further information currently available



900286, Royal Artillery - No further information currently available



R.A. Service Corps - No further information currently available


George Thomas

920933, Royal Artillery - No further information currently available



7630968, R.E.M.E. - No further information currently available


Norman Frank

Suffolk Regiment - No further information currently available



Royal Army Medical Corps - No further information currently available



120320, Royal Air Force - No further information currently available



11415550, Pioneer Corps - No further information currently available



Chief Petty Officer, Royal Navy - No further information currently available


Harry ‘Nibby’

Royal Navy - No further information currently available


Stuart Percy

1735575, 111/39 L.A.A. - No further information currently available


Ronald Ernest

No further information currently available


John Marlborough

Lieutenant, Hertfords and 11th Commando - No further information currently available


Robert Matthew Marlborough

Lieutenant Colonel, Royal Artillery - No further information currently available



Major, Royal Artillery - No further information currently available



R.E.M.E. - No further information currently available



PJX381527, Royal Navy - No further information currently available



CJX351344, Royal Navy - No further information currently available



1611536, Royal Air Force - No further information currently available


Cedric Jack

5952891, 1st Bn. Hertfords - No further information currently available


Herbert John

Royal Artillery - No further information currently available


Ernest William

14328512, Beds and Herts - No further information currently available


Robert Henry

No further information currently available


Charles William

1636820, R. Artillery - No further information currently available



Kings Own Scottish Borders - No further information currently available



Royal Marine Commandos - No further information currently available



Parachute Regt. - No further information currently available

Sources and acknowledgements:

The 1916 Battle Of The Somme by Peter H. Liddle
Pub. Leo Cooper 1992. ISBN 0 850523 49 4

The Somme – A Day by Day Account by Chris McCarthy. Publ. Arms & Armour Press 1993
ISBN 1 854092 06 5

The Bedfordshire & Hertfordshire Regiment by
G.W.H.Peters Publ. Lee Cooper, London. 1970
ISBN 0 850520 34 7

A Military Atlas of the First World War by Arthur Banks. 1975
Publ. Heinemann Educational Books Ltd.
ISBN 0 435320 08 4

Atlas of the First World War by Martin Gilbert
Publ. Routledge 1994. ISBN 0 415119 33 2

Bamboo and Barbed Wire by Stanley Wood-Higgs. 1988 Publ. Roman Press Ltd.
ISBN 0 950388 43 2

Banzai You Bastards by Jack Edwards
Souvenir Press 1994 ISBN 0 285631 78 0

When you Go Home by Arthur Lane Publ. Arthur Lane ISBN 1 897666 00 4

Bomber Command Losses by W.R.Chorley

Royal Artillery Commemoration Book 1939-45.

Geoffrey Keyes V.C. by Elizabeth Keyes. Published by Newnes 1956.

Mark of the Lion by Kenneth Sandford. The story of Charles Upham V.C. and Bar. Published Hutchinson 1962

Die Wustenfuchse : Translated from German by Paul Carell and published by Macdonald in 1960 as The Foxes of the Desert

Parish Registers for Holy Trinity Church, Weston

Public Record Office, Kew
WO95 War Diaries : WO364 Service Records:
WO97 Attestation papers:

Imperial War Museum, Lambeth

Hertfordshire Archives, Hertford Soldiers Died WWI and older parish registers.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Maidenhead, Berks.

British Newspaper Library, Colindale, London.

Dept. of Defence, Pretoria, South Africa

National Archives of Canada, Ottawa.

and especially the relatives and friends of the men of Weston

Last updated 17 October, 2008

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