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The Royal British Legion


World War 1 & 2 - Detailed Information
Compiled and Copyright © Chris Basey 2006

Just like so many parishes during World War 1 the Rector of Acle collected photographs of all the men who were serving in the armed forces. Most of the collections have disappeared but at the back of St Edmund’s Church is the original photograph frame containing pictures of all twenty-eight Acle men who died during the First World War. Due to the diligence of a Church Warden during the 1980’s a second frame contains photographs of the five local men who died in the Second World War.

Just below the photographs The Book of Remembrance is kept which contains as much information as can be researched about the Acle men who fell during both World Wars.

Eastern Daily Press, Monday 19th December 1921: “At Acle yesterday afternoon there was an unusual, and yet most appealing, variation upon the customary method of unveiling war memorials. The Union Jack was drawn away from a granite cross by two orphaned boys, each four or five years old, and each the son of a father who had yielded his life in France. Edward Cushion and Owen Waters were their names.

Twenty-eight men of Acle have fallen in the war; and they have been commemorated in a way that not only honours the dead, but speaks well for the practical good sense of the parishioners. The cross stands ten and a half feet high, the shaft resting on an octagonal base. It occupies a well elevated part of the church yard overlooking the Norwich and Yarmouth main road, at a point which hitherto has been rather dangerous; but now, at the instance of the Churchyard Improvement Committee, has been made much less so.

The cross boldly marks the rounding of the cut-off corner, and a light wooden paling greatly relieves the anxieties of motorists. A kissing gate and a footpath immediately connect the roadway with the memorial.”

For more detail about Acle and the church see the Acle Village web site.

Photograph below Copyright © Jakie Clover 2006



Alan Cecil

G/87390 Lance Corporal Aldis, 13th Battalion Middlesex Regiment who died on Sunday 13th October 1918, aged 20 years. When he enlisted at Norwich he is recorded as residing at Thorpe St Andrew. His father was the Station Master at Acle. He is buried at the Delsaux Farm Cemetery, Beugny, Pas de Calais and is also commemorated on the gravestone of his 5 year-old brother in the Churchyard at Acle.


Elvin Spencer

18164 Lance Corporal Bulley, 9th (Service) Battalion Norfolk Regiment who died on Sunday 17th September 1916, aged 32 years. He had lived in Acle for nine or ten years before enlisting and worked as a moulder at Smithdale’s foundry. He was captain of Acle Football Club and a member of the Bowling Club. At the time of his death his brother was fighting beside him in the same trench and was wounded a few hours earlier. He is buried in the Guillemont Road Cemetery on The Somme.



It is thought that Percy Chilvers served with the Norfolk Regiment but none of the records of men with that name contain any evidence to associate them with Acle. The most probable entry is:

Percy CHILVERS, Sergeant 200284, 1st/4th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment. Killed in action in Plaestine 19th April 1917. Aged 26. Born Tottington, enlisted Norwich. Son of Mrs. Alice Chilvers, of "Shrublands," Brandon Rd., Watton, Thetford, Norfolk. No known grave. Commemorated on Jerusalem Memorial, Israel. Panels 12 to 15.


Sydney George

81839 Private Church, 29th Battalion Middlesex Regiment who died on Friday 5th April 1918 aged 37 years. He enlisted in 1915 when he had been married to Kate for three years. He was employed as a miller’s carter. He was admitted to Crowborough hospital in September 1917 suffering from rheumatism caused by exposure to wet and cold. After a further period in hospital at Brighton he died from a tubercular infection. He is buried at Hove Old Cemetery.


Ambrose William

41039 Private Church, 8th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers who died on Thursday 16th August 1917. He is shown on the War Memorial as ‘W’ Church and the available records give his first name as Ambrose. He is believed to have been killed at Borry Farm with comrades who also have no known grave but are commemorated on panels 70/72 of the Tyne Cot Memorial in Belgium.


Ernest Samuel

17767 Lance Corporal Clarke, 7th (Service) Battalion Norfolk Regiment who died on Thursday 31st August 1916 aged 21 years. He was one of six Acle brothers on active service during the war. Following action on the Somme of 1st July 1916 he suffered gunshot wounds to his head and side at Bouzincourt on 21st August. He died of his wounds in the 1st Canadian General Hospital at Etaples and is buried at the Etaples Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais.


Walter John

18166 Private Cole, 9th (Service) Battalion Norfolk Regiment who died on Friday 31st December 1915 aged 21 years. He was one of a family of seven children born in Acle; his father was a railway platelayer. His Battalion came under heavy German shelling at St Jean in the Ypres Salient on 17th December and it is probable that it was as a result of that action that Walter Cole died. He is buried at the New irish Farm Cemetery north east of Ypres.


Eric A.F.

Second Lieutenant Coleman, Machine Gun Corps who died on Tuesday 31st July 1917. The son of Captain and Mrs George Drury Coleman of Acle he was commissioned in April 1915. It is thought that he originally served in the Norfolk Regiment but by July 1917 he was a member of the Heavy Section of the Machine Gun Corps – later to be known as the Tank Corps. He was in command of a tank at Wieltje on the first day of the Battle of Passchendaele when he was killed. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Menin Gate memorial.


Harry Alfred Richard

228816 Private Crickmore, 1/2nd Battalion Monmouthshire Regiment who died on Friday 26th April 1918, aged 19 years. Known to his family as ‘Richard’, he worked as a gardener/handyman when, at the age of seventeen he volunteered for a four-year engagement on 24th August 1914. He served with the 10th and the 3rd Battalion Norfolk Regiment and went to France in December 1915. He suffered a gunshot wound to the head and was returned to hospital in England in September 1916. During his home service he was transferred to the Monmouthshire Regiment with whom he returned to France in December 1917. He suffered further serious head injuries and died at the 3rd Northern General Hospital in Sheffield. He is buried in St Edmunds churchyard at Acle.


Basil Philip

235627 Private Cushion, 7th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment who died on Saturday 20th April 1918 aged 35 years. He was married with one son who was one of the boys who unveiled the village War Memorial. He is buried at The Huts Cemetery south of Ypres.


John Henry Lewis

MS/2267 Sergeant Fayers 604th M.T. Company attached XV Corps Army Service Corps who died on Thursday 13th September 1917 aged 23 years. John Fayers went to France on 13th August 1914 and posted to 604 Coy when it was formed in November 1915. It was attached to XV Corps Heavy Artillery as Corps Siege Park. Their duties involved the haulage of guns and the supply of ammunition. He is buried at the Zuydcoote Military Cemetery, Nord in France.


Harry Larkins

T/345558 Lance Corporal Ford, 108th Company Army Service Corps, who died 5th October 1916, aged 19 years. With his brother Walter he was born and brought up in Acle. He enlisted in the Army and became a driver in the A.S.C. In October 1915 the British Salonika Force and the French arrived in Greece at the request of the Greek Prime Minister to help the Serbs in their fight against Bulgarian oppression. By that time the international force had been reinforced by Serbian and Italians units. The Bulgarian attempted invasion was repulsed near Lake Dorian and at the beginning of October the British began successful operations to capture the Rupell Pass and to advance almost to Serres. It was in this operation that Harry Ford died and is buried at the Karasouli Military Cemetery


Walter Charles

9913 Private Ford, 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment who died on Wednesday 24th March 1915 aged 29 years. Brother to Harry Ford (above). No further information is available about his Army service. He is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial, Pas de Calais, France.


[Robert] Charles

44047 Corporal, 11th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment. Died Thursday 24th October 1918. Born Mulbarton (Norfolk) member of Territorial Force. Employed as a Postal Clerk by his grandfather who was Sub Postmaster at Acle. Buried at Vendegies Cross Roads British Cemtery, France.



[aka Willie James HARPER] Enlisted as R/7014 Rifleman Willie James HARPER, Kings Royal Rifle Corps who died on Thursday 24th August 1916, aged 35 years. Buried at Serre Road Cemetery No 2, France.


Robert William

31137 Driver Goodrum, 63rd Battery Royal Field Artillery who died on Wednesday 16th August 1916 aged 25 years. Probably killed in the action at Kut, he is buried at the Bagdad (North Gate) Cemetery.



33126 Private Goodrum, 36th Labour Battalion who died on Sunday 14th October 1917 aged 28 years. After enlisting in Norwich he served in the Royal Fusiliers before transfer to the Labour Corps and his unit served throughout Belgium. At the time of his death five other men died in the same incident and sixteen others died from wounds the following day. He is buried at the Dunhallow Advanced Dressing Station Cemetery at Ypres.


William James

203979 Private Green, 1st Hertfordshire Regiment who died on Friday 23rd August 1918 aged 20 years. Son of George and Martha Green of Acle he was awarded the Military Medal. He is buried at Bucquoy Communal Cemetery Extension near Arras.



2496 Private Jones ‘C’ Company 1/4th Territorial Battalion Norfolk Regiment who died on 7th October 1915 aged 28 years. The 1/4th Bn Norfolk Regiment was mobilized at the outbreak of war and after extensive training they embarked on the SS Aquitania at Liverpool to arrive at Suvla Bay (Gallipoli) on 10th August 1915. He was wounded and taken on board a hospital ship where he died the same day. He was buried at sea and is commemorated on the Helles Memorial.



151 Private Laight, 1st Eastern Company Non-Combatant Corps who died on Wednesday 27th November 1918 aged 33 years. He and three other members of the large Acle family served during the war. Nothing is known of the circumstances of his death and he is buried at the Etaples Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.


William Leeder

152439 Petty Officer Stoker Laight, H.M.S. Spey who died on Wednesday 7th March 1917 aged 47 years. Having served as a regular sailor he was recalled for war service at the age of 45 years. H.M.S. Spey formed part of the Home Defence and operated in the Thames Estuary. In high winds the Spey lost an anchor and was involved in a collision with SS Belvedere – a mud-hopper carrying sludge from London. As a result of the accident nineteen of the crew of thirty-seven from H.M.S. Spey were lost. He is buried in the churchyard of St Peter’s church at Boughton Monchelsea, Kent.


George Alfred

6561DA Deckhand Lake, H.M. Trawler ‘New Comet’, Royal Navy Reserve who died on Saturday 20th January 1917 aged 33 years. The trawler was requisitioned by the Royal Navy in 1915 but it is not known if he was already a member of its crew. Records show that it was sunk by a mine off Orford Ness. He is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial in Kent.


George Hungerford

430346 Lance corporal Morgan, 7th Battalion Canadian Infantry (British Columbia Regiment) who died on Tuesday 15th August 1917 aged 37 years. As a 35 year old farming in Canada he enlisted in the Canadian Army served with the C.E.F. in Europe in March 1916. He recovered and died in the famous attack on Hill 70. Although not a native of Acle he is commemorated on a prayer desk in the parish church with his cousin – Lt E.Coleman. He is also commemorated on the Vymy Memorial.



20701 Private Rowe 1st Battalion Essex Regiment who died on Friday 13th August 1915 aged 20 years. One of two sons of Thomas and Miriam Rowe of Acle who were killed in WW1. George Rowe enlisted in Norwich to the Norfolk Regiment and volunteered to reinforce the Essex Regiment. He was one of those 300, or so, reinforcements carried by the transport “Royal Edward” which was torpedoed and sunk in the Aegean Sea. He is commemorated on the Helles Memorial.



15678 Private Rowe 7th (Service) Battalion Norfolk Regiment who died on Monday 26th August 1918 aged 22 years. One year younger than his brother George he arrived in France on 30th May 1915. He suffered wounds to his face and right leg and was admitted to No 2 General Hospital at Le Havre in November. Returned to duty he was again wounded in the lower back, paralysed and severely ill. He was transferred to the Fulham Military Hospital where he died. He is buried in St Edmund’s churchyard at Acle beneath a stone bearing the inscription, “Erected to the honoured memory of William Rowe by the Officers, soldiers and parishioners of Acle, who died for King and Country.”


Harry William

20943 Private Self, 9th Battalion Essex Regiment, who died on Monday 3rd July 1916. He died on the third day of the Battle of the Somme when his battalion was in action in the area of Ovillers la Boiselle. He has no known grave but is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.


Owen Rohan

43048 Private Waters, 7th (Service) Battalion Norfolk Regiment, who died on Monday 25th December 1916, aged 25 years. One of four members of the Waters family who saw service during the First World War. He enlisted in Norwich in October 1915 where he had worked as a Postal Clerk. During December 1916 the battalion was at Gouy-en-Ternois where they came under trench mortar fire. One man was killed and four wounded, one of whom was Owen Waters. He was taken to 41 Casualty Clearing Station at Wanquentin. Its War Diary says: “25th December, Xmas Day. Concert for patients. Admissions 5 inc. 1 officer and 1 wounded. Pte Waters O.R. died, shrapnel wound, arm. Remaining patients 143.” He is buried in the Wanquentin Communal Cemetery extension, Pas de Calais.



SS/114488 Stoker 1st Class Watts, H.M.S. Natal who died on Wednesday 30th December 1915 aged 22 years. Having worked as a farm labourer he joined the Royal Navy on a five-year engagement in 1913. His final ship was H.M.S. Natal which blew up and sank at her moorings whilst being refitted at Cromarty. 421 officers and men perished in the explosion. A Court Martial found that the explosion was caused by spontaneous combustion of cordite in the ship’s magazines. The wreck of H.M.S. Natal is designated as a Military Maritime Grave and Benjamin Watts is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial.

1939 – 1945


Robert Henry

1251220 Leading Aircraftman Durrant, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve who died on Saturday 24th June 1944 aged 23 years. Known as ‘Bobby’ he worked at the local District Council offices before being conscripted. He was part of a draft of 5,000 men in R.A.F. Support units who left the United Kingdom at the end of 1941. Probably he arrived in Singapore just a few days before its surrender to the Japanese on 15th February 1942. Research by F.E.P.O.W. would suggest that he was one of some 1,500 men being shipped in a freighter hulk (Hell Ships) to work in Japan that was torpedoed by a U.S. Submarine. He is commemorated on column 438 of the Singapore Memorial.


Arnold Herbert

C/JX 157787 Able Seaman Goodrum, H.M.S. Repulse who died on Wednesday 10th December 1941, aged 18 years. He was born in Acle and enlisted as a boy sailor when he left school. By 1941 he was serving on H.M.S. Repulse which arrived in Singapore just before the start of the Pacific war. In an action the ship was attacked by Japanese bombers and torpedo planes. Several torpedoes caused heavy underwater damage and the ship sank rapidly with the loss of over 840 men. He is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial.



T/156862 Driver Goodrum, 9 Troop Carrying Company, Royal Army Service Corps, who died on Sunday 2nd June 1940, aged 20 years. He worked on a farm before being called up to become a driver. He died during the evacuation of Dunkirk and it commemorated on the Dunkirk Memorial.


Russell Charles

5773981 Private Mower, 5th Battalion Royal Norfolk Regiment who died on Wednesday 22nd September 1943, aged 25 years. Records at the Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum show that Russell Mower was taken prisoner on the day that Singapore fell to the Japanese – 15th February 1942. After more than a year in a Singapore prison he was taken to work on the infamous ‘Death Railway’. He died in hospital at Kanchanburi and is buried in the cemetery nearby.


William Raymond

1392196 Sergeant Wireless Operator/Air Gunner Myhill, 75 Squadron Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve who died on Sunday 24th October 1943. He attended Acle School and later worked in the village Co-Op store. He was one of the seven-man crew of a Stirling Mk III bomber based at Mepal in Cambridgeshire. Returning from a successful mine-laying mission off the German coast the aircraft overshot the runway on its return. In trying to go round again it crashed with the loss of four of the crew. He is buried in St Edmund’s churchyard at Acle.

Last updated 28 October, 2014

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