Ministry of Defence
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Lest We Forget
British Legion
The Royal British Legion


World War 1 & 2 - Detailed information
Compiled and Copyright © Ray Stokes 2016

There is a Stone lych gate with coffin rest and tablet at the front arch with a carved cross at the entrance to St Mary the Virgin Church, Maidenbrook Lane, Cheddon Fitzpaine. There is an inscribed tablet inside the gate with the dedication, and wooden gates at the front entrance. There are plaques in the church and the village hall recording the names of eight men from Cheddon Fitzpaine who died while serving in the First World War (1914-18) and the Second World War (1939-45). Also included on this page are the names of another three men whose home address is given as Cheddon in the Somerset WW1 Memorial Book listing more than 11,000 war dead who came from the county or lost their lives while serving with county regiments. This page is intended to provide some basic facts about these men and, where possible, details of their families and their links to the parish. Although he is buried in Cheddon churchyard and his grave is listed as a “war grave”, Edward Claude Berkeley Portman, the 5th Viscount Portman, who died in Windsor in July 1942, aged 44, while serving with the Life Guards, does not appear on any of the village war memorial plaques presumably because, while his family home was Hestercombe, he lived at Staple Fitzpaine.

The details in this document have been taken from a number of sources including –

  • Soldiers Died in the Great War (1914-1918)
  • Commonwealth War Graves Commission
  • British Army WW1 Medal Rolls
  • British Army WW1 Service Records
  • Census returns 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911
  • Somerset Light Infantry 1914-1918 (Everard Wyrall)
  • Somerset County Gazette Archives
  • Roll of Honour (
  • The Somerset WW1 Memorial Book

Every effort has been made to check the accuracy of the details given here. However, if you spot any errors or omissions or can add to the information, please contact Ray Stokes tel: 01823 762417 or email

IN THE GREAT WAR 1914-1918

BRUFORD William Palliser
Gunner 339462 21st Battery 4th Brigade Canadian Field Artillery. Killed in Action 24 October 1917 Belgium. Aged 37. Son of the late Robert and Elizabeth Coles Bruford (nee Musgrave) of The Nerrols, Cheddon Fitzpaine. Husband of Mrs. Hilda M. Bruford (formerly Labey) of Le Parcq, Grouville, Jersey, Channel Islands. William had worked on the family farm before going to Canada arriving in Montréal on May 2 1903. Two months later he crossed into the USA stating his destination was New York to visit friends. He gave his occupation as farmer and was described as single. Clearly he returned to this country at some stage, married and had children before returning to Canada. In the 1911 census his wife Hilda was living at her parents’ farm in Jersey with their three young daughters,5, 4 and 2 – all of whom were born in Taunton. William was killed during the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele). He is buried in White House Cemetery, St. Jean-Les-Ypres

Private 316864, 8th battalion, Somerset Light Infantry. Killed in Action 1 July 1916 France. Aged 22. Son of farm labourer William Cording and his wife Jessie (nee Paul). At the time of the 1911 census the family lived in Upper Cheddon and James, who was born at Oake, was working as a garden boy. After his father died Mrs Cording moved to 3 Flook Cottages, Station Road, Taunton. James died on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. On that day 436 men from his battalion were killed, wounded or missing as they advanced in the face of devastating machine gun, shell and rifle fire. His name appears on the Thiepval Memorial, listing those who have no known grave.

** His name is also recorded on the memorial in St James Church, Taunton

DOMMETT Walter Henry
Able Seaman J/20781 HMS Defence. Killed in Action 31 May 1916 Jutland. Aged 20. Son of farm labourer Henry Dommett and his wife Annie (nee Penney) of Cheddon. Before the war Walter had worked as a farm boy. HMS Defence, an armoured cruiser, sank during the Battle of Jutland, the largest naval battle of the war. Escorting the main body of the Grand Fleet, the ship was fired upon by one German battlecruiser and four dreadnoughts. She was struck by two salvoes from the German ships that detonated her rear magazine. The fire from that explosion spread to the ship's secondary magazines, which exploded in turn. Defence had a crew of more than 900. There were no survivors. Walter’s name appears on the Plymouth Memorial commemorating those who have no known grave because they died at sea.
Gunner 98096B battery 47th Brigade Royal Field Artillery. Killed in Action 21 March 1918 France. Aged 27. Son of shepherd Charles Williams and his wife Emma (nee Davis). In 1891 they were living with their six children in Tetton Cottage, Kingston, where Frank was born. By 1911 Emma had died and Charles was living with his second wife Elizabeth Ann Williams and their three young children at Lower Cheddon. Frank had left home by this time and moved to South Wales to work as a tin plate maker. At the time of the 1911 census he was in Llanelly hospital (no reason given). He joined up in 1914/15 and arrived in France on 22 May 1915. He died near Albert, in the Somme sector, and his name appears on the Pozieres Memorial listing those who have no known grave.
1939 -1945
COCKRAM Ronald Alfred William
Sergeant (Air Bomber) 1314800 Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Died 28 February 1943 Taunton. Aged 21. Son of William Henry and Beatrice Cockram,(nee Allen) who ran a shop and post officeat 98 Cheddon Fitzpaine.An obituary in the Somerset County Gazette says he “passed away while on active service”. The National Probate records give his place of death as Taunton. He is buried in Cheddon Fitzpaine churchyard.
ELSON Reginald Watkin
Aicraftman 21701183 Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve Died 10 Sept 1943 Glamorgan. Aged 19. Son of Walter Francis and Mildred Adeline Elson (nee Harp) who lived in a cottage nearthe school in Rowford, Cheddon Fitzpaine. At the time of his death he was most probably serving at St Athan, which trained groundand aircrew and was one of the largest RAF bases in the country with 14,000 personnel. He is buried in the cemetery in nearby Llanwit Major.
No matching entry in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission records.
GRAHAM Philip William Coles
Midshipman Royal Navy HMS Royal Oak. Killed in Action 14 October 1939 Scapa Flow Orkney. Aged 19. Son of the Rev Christopher Graham OBE, MA., RN, and Gertrude Graham (nee Russell). His father was Rector of Cheddon Fitzpaine between 1932 and 1947.The war was just six weeks old when the 29,000 ton battleship HMS Royal Oak was torpedoed by a German U boat in the Royal Navy’s main anchorage at Scapa Flow in Orkney. She overturned and sank with the loss of 833 lives. His name appears on Portsmouth Naval Memorial commemorating those with no known grave.
Petty Office rAir Mechanic FAA/FX80030 HMS Eagle. Killed in Action 11 August 1942 Mediterranean. Aged 23. Son of John and Rosa Hake (nee Caddick) of Askins Cottage, Pyrland, Cheddon Fitzpaine. The aircraft carrier HMS Eagle was torpedoed and sunk by a German U boat, 70 miles south of Majorca, while escorting a convoy to Malta. Two officers and 158 men were lost. 927 members of the crew were picked up by ships in the convoy. His name appears on the Fleet Air Arm Memorial at Lee-on-Solent.
HUNKIN Mervyn Henry
Private 7638044 Royal Army Ordnance Corps. Died 2 August 1941 Cambridge. Aged 28. Elder son of Mrs Ida Emmeline Hunkin (nee Fisher) and the late Henry Hunkin of 87 Cheddon Fitzpaine. Mervyn, who worked in MacFisheries in Taunton, was well known in Cheddon. He was in the church choir, a bellringer, member of the tennis club and Cheddon Players. He served in the Home Guard before being called up and posted to Cambridge. When his closest friend Post Office engineer Tom Bond, who lived at Ivyton Farm, Broomfield, was sent to Cambridge on a course, the two friends met up and decided to spend time on the river. According to the inquest “their light rowing boat somehow overturned and both men were drowned”. The Coroner recorded a verdict of “Accidental Drowning”. Buried in Cheddon Fitzpaine churchyard (Tom Bond was buried on the same day at Broomfield).
MUSGRAVE Richard Hedley
Sub Lt Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. Died 2 July 1945. Aged 24. Son of Hedley Coles Musgrave and Caroline Fanny Musgrave (nee Hellier) of Upper Cheddon Farm, Cheddon Fitzpaine. Died of illness (believed tuberculosis). Buried in Cheddon Fitzpaine churchyard

Last updated 10 August, 2022

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