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British Legion
The Royal British Legion

RUSPER WAR MEMORIAL

World War 1 & 2 - Roll of Honour with detailed information
Compiled and copyright © John Harrison 2004
additional information Gill Cannell & Andrew Dishman

Rusper is about four miles north east of Horsham and the parish consists of the village of Rusper, but some casualties are also included from the nearby area. There are twenty three names on the memorial with a further local residents as listed on Soldiers Died in the Great War and one private memorial consisting of a window in the parish church, St Mary Magdelen. The War Memorial is outside St Mary Magdelen church, near the entrance, and consists of a dark grey stone plain obelisk on a four-sided plinth with the inscription and names inset on a white stone standing on a three-stepped base. The memorial was unveiled on 21 August 1921 with a Roll of Honour in book form within the church.

From an old postcard

‘ In thankful remembrance of the men of this parish
who gave their lives in the Great War 1914 – 1919.’

ADAMS

Herbert
Lance Corporal 32039 1st Bn Bedfordshire Regiment. Died on 23rd April 1917 and his body was not found for burial He is commemorated on the Arras Memorial. Enlisted in Bury St Edmunds, originally enlisted into the Suffolk Regiment, service number 23146, resident in Horsham. Born in Marylebone about 1871, son of Charles and Frances Adams, father was a House Painter. Herbert was married and was Headmaster at Rusper School.

BROOKER

Ernest
Private G/3235 9th (Service) Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment. Killed in action on 25th September 1915, the first day of the Battle of Loos, commemorated on the Loos Memorial. Enlisted at Worthing, born in West Grinstead, south of Horsham, about 1895, son of Harry and Fanny Brooker. Father an Agricultural Labourer. Commonwealth War Graves Commission note his parents were living at Pict’s Cottages at Cowfold. Killed during attack on Fosse 8.

CASSWELL

Eric Denison Seymour
Captain 6th Bn Rifle Brigade attached to 102 Squadron RFC. Died on 7th November 1917 buried in Tourcoing (Pont-Neuville) Communal Cemetery. Understood to have been shot down over German lines. Observer on FE2b light bombers. Born in Sachel Court, Alfold in Surrey about 1894, son of Henry and Anna Casswell. Father a Rural District Councillor and Guardian for Rusper and a member of the School Committee. Parents lived at Old Park (now Old Park Farm) at Rusper and later at Stammerham Cottage, Holbrook just north of Horsham.

COCKS

Christopher
Rifleman 5750 3rd Bn Rifle Brigade. died on 25th September 1914 and understood to have been blown up in a Red Cross Hospital although the 3rd Bn Rifle Brigade were in combat that day. Commemorated on the La Ferte-Sous-Jouarre Memorial. born about 1880, the son of George and Emma Cocks. The spelling of his name is unusual and has led to it often being misspelt as Cox. Willett’s Directory lists him under this spelling as a Gardener living at 3 Hill’s Place in Rusper. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission also use this spelling and show his wife, Dora Annie, also at this address. He had a daughter, Mabel and also a son.

DOWLING

Geoffrey Charles Walter
Captain 2nd Bn attached 7th (Service) Bn King’s Royal Rifle Corps. Died on 30th July 1915 and is commemorated on the Menin Gate. Listed on the War Memorial as Guy, which appears to be a nickname, and is understood to be the son of Joseph and Rose Dowling. born in Melbourne, Australia about 1891. His father was born in Tasmania and his mother, as Rose Tuenich, was born in Blandford Forum, Dorset. They married in Australia. Father died an mother remarried Colonel Foster Cunliffe. He lived at the Nunnery, a country estate south west of Rusper. Killed during a German flamethrower attack at Hooge.

EVES

Frederick C
Staff Sergeant A/1307 Royal Army Ordnance Corps. He died on 9th January 1918 and is buried in the south western part of Rusper Churchyard. Soldiers Died in the Great War notes he died at home and that he was an Armourer Staff Sergeant. It also states he was born in Westminster and enlisted in Woolwich. No further details traced so far.

FARLEY

Frank
Private 30610 1st Bn East Surrey Regiment killed on 4th October 1917, commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial. Enlisted in Chichester, Rusper resident. Born in Slinfold, a village west of Horsham, son of William and Emily Farley. Father an Agricultural Labourer. The local Rusper directory for 1914 lists a Frank Farley living at 2 Canonbury Villas.

HOLCOMB

Charles James
Corporal K/1271 23rd (Service) Bn (1st Sportsman’s) Royal Fusiliers. Killed in action 23rd February 1918 and is buried in Fifteen Ravine British Cemetery at Villers Plouich. Enlisted in Horsham and this was originally into the 22nd (Service) Bn Royal Fusiliers (Kensington) The 22nd Battalion was one of the units selected for disbandment in February 1918. It is likely that Charles would have spent virtually all his war service with the 22nd Bn, only moving to the 23rd Bn for his final few weeks.. Born in the village of Capel, just over the Surrey border about 1896. Son of Charles and Mary Holcomb.. The elder Charles was a Wheelwright and later an Estate Carpenter. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission note his parents were living at Petworth at Greyhound Cottage; perhaps on the Petworth estate.

HUGGETT

Thomas Harold
Private 41740 1st Bn South Staffordshire Regiment. killed in action on 25th October 1917 and is buried in Perth Cemetery (China Wall) near Ypres. Born in Horne, Surrey about 1898 and was the son of Albert and Fanny Huggett. Albert was a Farmer. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission give Albert and Fanny’s address as Broadbridge Cottage, Rusper.

KEMPSHALL

John
Private G/6925 7th (Service) Bn Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment). Killed in action 13th July 1916 and his body was not found for burial Commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. Enlisted in Guildford, resident in Capel. born in Newdigate, Surrey about 1895. Son of Henry John Kempshall and his wife Alice. Father a ‘Carter on a farm’. His parents later lived at The Alms Houses in Capel and his sister, Mrs Miles, lived in Rose Cottage (now Michaelmas Cottage), Rusper.

KETCHELL

J
Although listed on the Rusper War Memorial it has not been possible to trace him (or a similar name with a Rusper connection) in the casualty details of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission or in Soldiers Died in the Great War. It may be that his parents or other relatives moved to the area shortly after the war. This has been found with other memorials.

KING

Jex
Private G/41709 24th (Service) Bn (2nd Sportsman’s) London Regiment. Died of wounds on 10th July 1918 and is buried in the St Hilaire Cemetery Extension, Frevent, France. Born in Rudgwick to the west of Horsham about 1882, the son of David and Mary Ann King. Father was a Farmer. Jex appears in Willett’s 1916 Directory as a Gardener in Lambs Green, living at Ivy Cottage with his wife Louisa Ellen.. This latter information is from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission who also note his parents had died.

MERRITT

William Thomas
Private 5392 13th (Service) Bn Royal Fusiliers Died of wounds on 18th November 1916, buried in Contay British Cemetery. Born Rusper about 1882, the son of William and Jane Merritt. In 1901 William is recorded on the census as a ‘Carter on a farm’ living with his family in Rusper. In the local Blue Directory for 1914 a William Merritt is recorded at Gardeners Cottage and in Willett’s Directory 1916 he is listed as a Labourer living in East St. However it is not clear which William this is as The Commonwealth War Graves Commission gives Rusper as the address for father and son. The younger William also lived there with his wife Edith. Wounded during an attack on Beaucourt Trench on 14th November, died of wounds four days later.

MILES

George
Private 1433 22nd (Service) Bn (Kensington) Royal Fusiliers. Died on 20th September 1917 and is buried in Bethune Town Cemetery. Born in Rusper about 1888, son of William and Mary Miles. William was a Woodman on a local estate and also the local Sexton. Willett’s Directory for 1916 records William at Rose Cottage in Rusper. George’s brother Leonard was also killed in the war, see below.

MILES

Leonard
Private SD/4048 13th (Service) Bn (3rd South Down) Royal Sussex Regiment. Died on 30th June1916 and is buried in St Vaast Post Military Cemetery, Richebourg L’Avoue. This assault at Richebourg was a diversionary attack for the Battle of the Somme. It was a total failure and almost 1100 men from the four Royal Sussex battalions comprising the South Down Brigade that took part became casualties. Born in Rusper about 1894, son of William and Mary Miles. William was a Woodman on a local estate and also the local Sexton. Willett’s Directory for 1916 records William at Rose Cottage in Rusper. Leonard’s brother George was also killed in the war, see above.

RHODES

George Ernest
Private G/12145 11th (Service) Bn (1st South Down) Royal Sussex Regiment. Died on 31st July 1917 and is buried in New Irish Farm Cemetery. Born in Shipley, south of Horsham, about 1887, the son of Henry and Charlotte Rhodes. Father an Agricultural Labourer. Willett’s Directory for 1916 lists George as a Gardener at Church Cottages, Rusper. Another local directory in 1914 gives his address as Gardners Cottage in East St, Rusper. George is listed as a Gardener at Church Cottages, Rusper. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission record he was married and that his wife, Alice Martha later lived at 43, Greenside Road, West Croydon.

SHARP

John
Company Sergeant Major 200497 4th (Ross-Highland) Bn Seaforth Highlanders. Died between 20th and 23rd November 1917. His body was not found for burial and he is commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial at Louverval. Born about 1894, the youngest son of Mr and Mrs John Sharp who, both Kelly’s Directory in 1905 and Willett’s Directory in 1916 note, was the Farm Bailiff to Lady Bell at Culross Farm in Wimlands Road, Faygate. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission note his parents later moved to Horsham where they were living at 35, Crawley Road in Roffey. It also records John as a Sergeant, his permanent rank.

SINGLETON

William
Lance Corporal K/1323 22nd (Service) Bn (The Queen’s) Royal Fusiliers. Died on 17th February 1917 and is buried in Queen’s Cemetery, Bucquoy. Little is known of William at present. The 1901 census has been checked for men of this name aged under 40 born in Rusper. None has been found. Soldiers Died in the Great War states he was born in Rusper and enlisted in Horsham. A W Singleton is listed in Willett’s Directory in 1916 as living in Courthouse Lodge, Rusper as a Gardener.

SPENCER

Walter George
Captain 1/23rd (County of London) Bn London Regiment. Died of wounds on 26th March 1918, buried in St Sever Cemetery, Rouen. Born about 1888, the elder son of Walter John and Mary Sarah Spencer of ‘The Nook’ (later known as Applegarth), Rusper. However it has not been possible to trace the family on the 1901 Census. The younger Walter was married and lived with his wife, Constance Winifred, at Wandsworth Common. His parents are listed at ‘The Nook’ in Kelly’s Directory., 1905 and Willett’s Directory, 1917. Originally a Corporal in the London Rifle Brigade in 1914 and mentioned in despatches in 1917.

STEERE

Jesse
Private SD/2029 12th (Service) Bn (2nd South Down) Royal Sussex Regiment. Died 17th May 1916 , buried in Le Touret Military Cemetery, Richebourg-L’Avoue. He is one of 17 members of the Regiment buried here. Born in Billingshurst about 1878, son of David and Mary Steer. Father an Agricultural Labourer. Jesse was an early casualty as the division only arrived in France in March.

STONE

Percy
Private G879 2nd Bn Royal Sussex Regiment. Killed in action 22nd November 1917. Commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial. Born in Rusper in 1894, son of John and Olive Stone. Father was a stockman on a farm. Family lived at Orlton’s Cottages, Rusper.

TIDEY

Frank Edwin
Private 21142 9th (Service) Bn East Surrey Regiment. Died on 26th September 1917. Commemorated on of the Loos Memorial. Born about 1892 in Ifield, the son of Simeon and Elizabeth Tidey. Father a Domestic Gardener. The family lived at the lodge to ‘The Beeches’, now ‘Beechwood’ in Faygate. Battalion hit by German artillery fire on second day of Battle of Loos. Battalion War Diary lists 442 casualties.

WALDER

Albert
Lance Serjeant 1262 22nd (Service)Bn (Kensington) Royal Fusiliers. Killed in action 3rd May 1917. Commemorated on the Arras Memorial. Born in Faygate about 1895, the son if William and Clara Walder. Father a Game Keeper living at Lamb’s Green.

WATKINS

A
No details so far traced for this casualty.
1939-1945
BIRNEY David Leslie
Captain 75991, Rifle Brigade and No. 2 Commando. Died of wounds 28 April 1942. Aged 27. Born 11 June 1914 and baptised 18 July 1914 in Simla, Bengal, India. Resident Sussex. Son of Colonel Charles Folliott Birney, D.S.O. and Rachel Dorothy Dallas Birney; husband of Cecilie Mercedes Randell (nee Wood) Birney, of New Milton, Hampshire, married 1940 in Westminster. Buried in Escounlac-La-Baule War Cemetery, Loire-Atlantique, France. Plot 2. Row C. Grave 9.

Extract from West Sussex County Times - Friday 28 July 1944:

CAPT. D. L. BIRNEY

Capt. David Leslie Birney, Rifle Brigade, of Pucks Croft, Rusper, who won the King's Prize at Bisley in 1937, died in April, 1942, (son of Col. C. F. Birney, D.S.O.). leaving £814 11s. 7d.

DE LA RUE Victor St George
Lieutenant 153350, King's Royal Rifle Corps attached to 77th Indian Infantry Brigade. Missing, believed killed in action 28 April 1943. Aged 24. Son of Sir Evelyn Andros de la Rue, 2nd Baronet, and of Lady de la Rue (nee Francklin), of Rusper, Sussex. Served with the Royal Artillery then gtransferred to The Queen's Regiment 15 March 1940 then the Kings Royal Rifle Corps. Buried in Taukkyan War Cemetery, Myanmar (Burma). Plot 19. Row G. Joint Grave 1-2.

Extract from West Sussex County Times - Friday 18 February 1944:

MISSING FROM THE WINGATE EXPEDITION
Lady de la Rue Seeks News of Her Son

Sir Evelyn and Lady de la Rue, of The Normans, Rusper, are anxious for news of their son Lieut. Victor St. George de la Rue, who has been missing from the Wingate expedition in Burma since April, 1943.

Lieut. de la Rue, after taking his degree in History at Oxford, joined the 60th Rifles in 1941. Shortly afterwards, the War Office asked for volunteers to officer Indian regiments, and, having been advised by his uncle, Lord Harris (the famous cricketer), he volunteered.

On arriving in India he joined Brigadier Wingate's expedition into Burma. After indescribable difficulties, the river Irrawaddi was crossed on March 20, 1943, and immediately, the expedition was attacked by the Japanese. It was in this engagement that Lieut. de La Rue's Colonel, Col. Alexander, was wounded in both legs.

Lieut. de la Rue refused to leave his Colonel although Lord Wavell's instructions to the expedition had been, "Every man for himself." He was joined by a New Zealand officer. Flt.-Lt. Edmonds, and between them they carried Col. Alexander from March 20 to April 27, fighting and hiding alternatively.

By this time. they had reached the Mu River, and it is thought that they may have been ambushed at this point. Nothing has since been heard of them.

Extract from West Sussex County Times - Friday 18 October 1946:

LOCAL WILLS
LIEUT. V. G. de RUE

Lieut. Victor George de la Rue, of Normans, Rusper, son of Sir Evelyn A. de la Rue, died on war service in April, 1943, leaving £11,931 17s. 3d. Subject to some specific bequests he left his property as to 2/5ths to his sister Diana, and 1/5th each to his mother, father and brother Ian. Probate has been granted to William R. Francklin of The Kennels. Gonalston. Notts., and Brig. Elmer T. L. Speed, of Westfields. Moreton Morrell, Warwickshire.

LEGAL NOTICE
VICTOR ST. GEORGE de la RUE Deceased
PURSUANT TO THE TRUSTEE ACT 1925

ALL persons having claims against the estate of Victor St. George de la Rue late of - "Normans," Rusper, Sussex. Lieutenant H.M. Army who died on the 28th day of April 1943 on War Service and whose Will was proved by William Robert Francklin and Elmer John Leyland Speed the Executors named in the said Will on the 25th day of July 1946 in the Principal Probate Registry are required to send particulars thereof in writing to the undersigned on or before the 18th day of December next after which date the Executors will proceed to distribute the assets having regard only to the claims of which they shall then have had notice.

Dated this 11th day of October 1946.

BRISTOWS, COOKE AND CARPMAEL,
1 Copthall Building,
London, E.C.2.

Solicitors for the Executors
FARLEY Ronald Eric
Private 14442502, 2nd Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment. Died of wounds 25 November 1944. Aged 18. Born 1926 in the Horsham Registration District, Sussex, resident Sussex. Buried in Venray War Cemetery, Limburg, Netherlands. Plot IV. Row D. Grave 8.
GANDER William Roy
Sergeant 2358931, Royal Corps of Signals. Died on service 8 June 1945. Born 1920 in the Horsham Registration District, Sussex, resident Sussex. Buried in Rusper (St. Mary Magdalene) Churchyard, Sussex.
HART, DFC Jack Percy
Flight Lieutenant (Navigator) 131826, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Died 7 April 1945. Aged 28. Born 7 September 1916. Son of Herbert Thomas Hart and of Kate Eliza Hart (nee White); husband of Constance Mary Hart (nee Vale), of Harrow, Middlesex, married 1943 in Romford Registration District, Essex. Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (D.F.C.). In the 1939 Register he was single, a Farmer, resident with his parents at Higham Farm, Horsham R.D., Sussex. Buried in Becklingen War Cemetery, Niedersachsen, Germany. Plot 19. Row A. Grave 12.
RAPPOPORT John Gerald
Flying Officer 117641, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Died 21 April 1943. Aged 28. Born 1914 in the Hendon Registration District, Middlesex. Son of Frederick Gerald Rappoport and of Vera Rose Rappoport (nee Tweedie); husband of Winifred Eve Rappoport (nee Trevaskis), of Horsham. Buried in Rusper (St. Mary Magdalene) Churchyard, Sussex.
WATTS Wilfred Herbert
Marine PO/X109054, H.M. L.C.G. (L) 15, Royal Marines. Died 25 April 1943. Aged 18. Born 15 November 1924. Son of Sidney Herbert and Daisy Alexandra Watts, of Horsham. In the 1939 Register he was single, a Private Gardener, resident with his mother at The Garage, Nunnery, Rusper, Horsham R.D., Sussex. Buried in Rusper (St. Mary Magdalene) Churchyard, Sussex.
WICKHAM, DFC Antony Trelawney
Flight Lieutenant 103011, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Died 14 June 1944. Son of Colonel Thomas E. P. Wickham, Royal Horse Artillery, and Betty Wickham, of Rusper. Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (D.F.C.). Buried in Rusper (St. Mary Magdalene) Churchyard, Sussex.

Last updated 3 July, 2018

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