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The Royal British Legion


World War 1 - Detailed information
Compiled and copyright © Helen Little 2005

The Herts Advertiser of 4th March 1882 has an account of the building of a new Baptist tabernacle in Victoria Street, St Albans. There was a ceremony to celebrate the laying of the top stones of the walls and prayers were offered by Rev. Thomas Watts of Bedford. The Great War Memorial is in the form of a plaque that came from the St Albans Tabernacle Church in Victoria Street, St Albans; this now resides at Marshalswick Baptist Free Church, St Albans. The plaque contains 11 names.

Photographs Copyright © Helen Little 2005



Ephraim George

1889 – 1916 - Ephraim was born in Tottenham, Middlesex, in 1889, the son of Ephraim and Agnes Bowman. He had one sister, Beatrice. A private in the Honourable Artillery Company, he was killed on 20th October 1916 and is buried in the Berks Cemetery Extension (BCE), Belgium.

There is a short newspaper report from The Herts Advertiser, of 4th November 1916, announcing his death:

Pte Ephraim Bowman - St Albans Bank Clerk KilledPte Ephraim Bowman, aged 28, only son of Mr and Mrs Bowman, 18 Liverpool Road, St Albans, was killed on Oct 20th. Before enlisting he was a bank clerk in London.

Private 5396, 2nd (Infantry) Battalion, Honourable Artillery Company. Killed in action 20th October 1916. Aged 28. Enlisted Armoury House, resident St Albans. Son of Ephraim F. and Agnes Bowman, of 182, Camden Rd., London. Born St. Albans, Herts. Buried in BERKS CEMETERY EXTENSION, Comines-Warneton, Hainaut, Belgium. Plot I. Row I. Grave 7. See also St Albans World War 1


[William] Gilbert [Callow]

1892 – 1917 - Always known as Gilbert or Bert, W G Callow was born in London in 1892. He was the eldest child of Frederick and Ellen Callow. He had at least four siblings: John, Elsie, Reginald and Gladys. His father, Frederick, was a brass and tin worker. The family moved to St Albans from Wandsworth after 1901 and, by 1913, the family is living at 'Jasmine', Warwick Road, St Albans. Later, the family moved to Luton.

There are two newspaper reports about Gilbert, the first celebrating his award of the Military Medal and, the second, the notification of his death. A newspaper report from The Herts Advertiser, dated 12th January 1917:

Sergeant W G Callow - St Albans Man Awarded Military Medal

Sergeant William Gilbert Callow, Herts Regiment, has been awarded the Military Medal for distinguished conduct in the field. ‘Bert’ as he is known to his friends, is not yet twenty-five years of age. He joined the Herts Regiment seven years ago and was away at the annual camp when war broke out but, in three days, the Regiment was in barracks and left for France on November 8th. The following July, Callow distinguished himself in the field and has twice been recommended for honour - once on January 3rd 1916 by Sir John French with nine others of the Herts Regiment. Sergt. Callow used to go to Hatfield Road School and was subsequently apprenticed to book-binding at the Salvation Army Printing Works.

He is a member of the Baptist Tabernacle Church and was Hon. Secretary of the primary department of the Sunday School. His mother resides in Russell Rise, Luton. When the Regiment first went to France there was no bomb section but, a little while after, twelve men were wanted from his Regiment to learn bombing. He was one to volunteer and went into the Irish Guards to learn all about it. Coming back to his Regiment he led a section, being then a corporal. After a time, each Regiment had its company of bombers, and he then being a sergeant had a company up to about five months ago. After returning from leave he was made instructor as No - Divisional Bomb ---- - in France quite away from his Regiment where he has the Herts men coming down in squads to be instructed in the art of bombing. He fought at Ypres, Fortuburtand, Brickfields and other places, and he has come through as he acknowledges, ‘by the goodness of God’ safely.

A newspaper report from The Herts Advertiser, dated 10th August 1918:

Segt G Callow MM Herts regmt of Luton. Reported wounded and missing July 31st 1917 now officially considered killed on that date. Gilbert has no known grave.

Sergeant 265058, Hertfordshire Regiment. Killed in action 31st July 1917. Aged 26. Born Lambeth, Surrey, enlisted and resident St Albans. Son of Frederick and Ellen Callow, of "Midhurst," 87, Russell Rise. Luton. Awarded the Military Medal (M.M.). No known grave. Commemorated on YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL, Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. Panel 54 and 56. See also St Albans World War 1


Harold [Henry]

1895 – 1915 - Harold Henry Crawley was born in St Albans in 1895, the second child and eldest son of William Harold and Minnie Crawley. His father was a bricklayer and the family home was 23 Inkerman Road, St Albans. Mrs Crawley was still living there in the mid-1920s. There were seven other children in the family: Florence, Charley, May, Maud, Albert, Arthur and Ethel. He was an able seaman on HMS Carnarvon.

There is no local newspaper report of his death.

Able Seaman J/29432, H.M.S. "Carnarvon", Royal Navy. Died 27th July 1915. Son of Mrs. M. Crawley, of 23, Inkerman Rd., St. Albans. Commemorated on Sailors Memorial in MONTREAL (MOUNT ROYAL) CEMETERY, Quebec, Canada. Section D. 14.


John (Jack) Francis

1899 – 1918 - John, born in 1899, was the second child and eldest son of John Henry and Emma Matilda Dorling. There were six children in the family altogether: two girls and four boys. John was a private in the 13th battalion of Royal Sussex Regiment.

[Listed as DARLING on SDGW] Private G/18952, 13th Battalion, Sussex Regiment. Killed in action 25th April 1918. Aged 19. Born Walthamstow, Essex, enlisted Watford. Son of John Henry and Emma Matilda Darling, of 55, Boundary Rd., St Albans. No knonw grave. Commemorated on TYNE COT MEMORIAL, Zonnebeke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. Panel 86 to 88. See also St Albans World War 1 and St Albans St Saviour Church


Charles [William]

1895 – 1917 - Charles was born in St Albans, in 1895. He was the second son and third child of Harry and Rose Harris. Other children in the family were: Clara, Harry, Lilian, Ellen, Jennie, Jessie, Winnie and Leslie. Harry Harris worked on the railways. Charles was a private in the Bedfordshire Regiment. He died on 25th July 1917 and is buried at Pond Farm cemetery, Belgium.

The Herts Advertiser, of 11th August 1917, graphically described his death:

Pte C W Harris - Another of the brave Bedfordshires gone. Mr H Harris of 39 Walton Street, St Albans, has received information that his second son, Pte C W Harris of the Beds Regiment, has been killed in action. Pte Harris joined the army in August 1914 and went to France in July 1915. At the time of the Big Push, July 1916, he was wounded and, again, in April 1917. Mr Harris has received a very sympathetic letter from the officer in command of the Company his boy was in. This officer writes:- ‘I am afraid you have already learnt that your son, Pte C W Harris of this Company, was killed in action on the morning of July 25th. I have known Pte Harris practically ever since his enlistment, as he was one of our original men, just as I was one of the original officers of ------ Company. Your son was one of the best men we have ever had or ever hope to have, and had been, as you know, with us the whole time. I saw him hit the first time at Contalmaison and was in the same trench about four yards away, when he was killed. We were in the trenches near Menances and suddenly, at 2am, a piece of trench, where most of us were, was heavily shelled. The heavy shell landed on a Lewis gun detachment, killing two men, of whom your son was one, and wounding three or four more. Your son was buried by the falling earth and died before we could get him out, although some men immediately started to try and do so. His death must have been almost instantaneous. We carried him right back behind the old British line, and buried him in a cemetery about four and a half miles east of Bailleul.’ Before enlistment, Pte Harris was employed by Mr King, grocer, St Peter's Street, St Albans. He was twenty two years of age, and has another brother in the Royal Fusilliers, who is now in France.

Private 12906, 6th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment. Killed in action 23rd July 1917. Born, resident and enlisted St Albans. Buried in POND FARM CEMETERY, Heuvelland, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. Row P. Grave 1. See also St Albans World War 1 and St Albans St Saviour Church



1897 – 1917 - Herbert was born in St Albans, the youngest of five sons, to William Henry and Emma Hiskett. His parents, also born in St Albans, ran their own bootmaking business from their home in Lattimore Road and, later, from Hatfield Road. Herbert was a lance corporal in the Bedfordshire Regiment. He died on 21st July 1917 and is buried in the Philosophe British Cemetery, Mazingarbe, France.

The Herts Advertiser, of 11th March 1916, gave a detailed insight into the role and standing of the Hiskett family within church life:

Lance-Corpl H Hiskett - Bad News for a St Albans family
Mr and Mrs William Hiskett, 27 Lattimore Road, St Albans, received official news on Tuesday that their fifth and youngest son, Lance-Corpl Herbert Hiskett aged 20, of the Bedfordshire Regiment, was killed in action last Saturday week - July 21st.

Lance-Corpl Hiskett was formerly in the Inland Revenue Department of the Civil Service at Somerset House and he joined the army - as soon as the Department released him for the purpose - in February 1916. He enlisted at St Albans and obtained his lance corporal stripe six weeks after he became a soldier. He was on the Instruction Staff at Dovercourt until last September, when he accompanied a draft of the Bedfordshires to France and had seen a good deal of fighting since that time. He went through the last Battle of Loos in April and went ‘over the top’ four times in as many days. The deceased was a member of Tabernacle Baptist Church, St Albans, of which his brother, Mr Robert Hiskett, is the secretary, and was a Sunday school teacher and missionary secretary of the church. A memorial service will be held at Tabernacle Baptist Church, next Sunday evening, when the Rev H W Taylor will officiate.

Deceased was educated at Hatfield Road School and St Albans Grammar School, entering the latter after winning a County Council Scholarship. He was an honourable, upright, happy and universally esteemed young fellow, and a large circle will experience a sense of personal loss in his death. Three other brothers are in His Majesty's service, viz Company Sergt Major W R Hiskett, aged 32, Royal Engineers, now in France; Charles Hiskett SSA with the Grand Fleet, aged 27 (who is expected home on leave next Sunday, having made arrangements to be married on the following Sunday); and Corpl Frank Hiskett, aged 25, a motor cycle dispatch rider in France. Captain A W Elliott, the chief officer of deceased's company, in a letter to the mother writes:- ‘Long before you receive this note you will have had news of your son's death. For a long time now he had been company clerk, and the night that he was killed he went down to meet the rations. When the rations arrived they said they had never seen him, and nothing was heard of him until next morning, when a company in support telephoned up that they had found his body. From examination of the body it is almost certain that he was killed by shellfire, and they think that death must have been instantaneous. Your son was very popular with company headquarters and his death was a great shock to us. He was always cheery and willing to help. He was a very capable clerk, and all the little things he used to assist me in each day are constantly reminding me of him. The officers and men all join me in offering you our sympathy in your great bereavement.’

Company Quartermaster - Sergt W Packer (who, by the way, is a Watford man), in the course of a letter, states:-

‘I can assure you it was a great blow to myself when I heard the sad news concerning your son and I had great confidence in him as he was always willing, never faint hearted, but with his cheery smile would set out for the rations for the boys of his company; and had won the esteem and respect of officers and men. We feel his loss and wish to share your bereavement and trust that consolation may be given to you in the fact that your brave boy, with many others, have paid the price of that mighty sacrifice which Britain's lads are giving so that those far and wide may yet enjoy the life and liberty that England longs to give. Your son's death was instantaneous by German shell fire in a trench while going for the company's rations. His body has been recovered and was buried at ---- near Looe, and the battalion will put a cross upon the grave.’

Lance Corporal 33188, 8th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment. Killed in action 21st July 1917. Aged 20. Born and resident St. Albans, enlisted Bedford. Youngest son of William Henry and Emma Hiskett, of 149, Hatfield Rd., St. Albans. One of 4 sons all of whom served abroad. Buried in PHILOSOPHE BRITISH CEMETERY, MAZINGARBE, Pas de Calais, France. Plot I. Row T. Grave 39.

From National Roll of the Great War 1914-1918 Section V Luton:

HISKETT, H., L/CpL, 8th Bedfordshire Regt.
Joining in January 1916, he was sent to France in the following December, on the conclusion of his training. After taking part in several important engagements he was killed in action at Ypres on July 21st, 1917. He was entitled to the General Service and Victory Medals.
27, Lattimore Road, St. Albans.

See also St Albans World War 1


William Henry

1895 – 1917 - Born in St Albans, in 1895, to William and Sarah Mayer, William junior had one sister, Helen Olive, who was five years his senior. His father was a tailor and his mother, a straw hat machinist. In 1901 they were living at 51 Prospect Road. Later, they moved to Albion Road. A lance corporal in the Hertfordshire Regiment, he was killed on 31st July 1917. His name is inscribed on the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres, in Belgium.

The newspaper report from the Herts Advertiser, 26th May 1918:

Lance-Corpl W H Mayer - Killed at the Battle of St Julien.

Mr and Mrs William Mayer, of 13 Albion Road, St Albans, whose only son, Lance Corpl William Henry Mayer, Herts Regt, was posted as wounded and missing since the battle of St Julien, July 31st 1917, and that as no further information concerning him has since been received it had been presumed for official purposes that he died on or since that date. Lance-Corpl Mayer joined the army on September 3rd 1914 and went out to France two months later. He was wounded at the capture of Theipval on November 13th 1916 and was in hospital in France for two or three weeks. He then rejoined his Regiment and, sometime later, took part in the memorable battle of St Julien. Before enlisting, he was employed by Messrs Nicholsons' Raincoat Co and was educated at Priory Park School. He is a nephew of Mr H Mayer, Watson's Walk, St Albans.

Lance Corporal 265609, Hertfordshire Regiment. Killed in action 31st July 1917. Aged 23. Born and resident St. Albans, enlisted Hertford. Son of William and the late Sarah Mayer, of 13, Albion Rd., St. Albans. No known grave. Commemorated on YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL, Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. Panel 54 and 56. See also St Albans World War 1


Edwin (Edward) Francis

1887 – 1914 - Edwin was born in Speen, near Newbury, Berkshire, in 1887, the second son and fourth child of James and Ann Payne. Edwin was a private in the 1st Battalion of Royal Berkshire Regiment. He died on 26th October 1914.

Private 6653, 1st Battalion, Princess Charlotte of Wales's (Royal Berkshire Regiment). Killed in action at Zonnebeke 26th October 1914. Born Newbury, enlisted Reading, resident St. Albans. No known grave. Commemorated on YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL, Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. Panel 45. See also St Albans World War 1


Frank [Harold]

1897 – 1916 - Born in 1897 in Radlett, Frank was the only son of Albert Alfred and Charlotte Ann Robinson. A private in the Bedfordshire Regiment, he died on 13 November 1916. His name is inscribed on the Theipval Memorial, France.

The Herts Advertiser, of 16th December 1916, said:

Private F H Robinson - Young St Albans soldier goes 'West'Although barely nineteen years of age, Pte Frank Harold Robinson, Beds Regiment, had been in the Army nearly two and a half years when he gave up his life for his country, on the bleeding fields of Northern France. The young soldier, the only son of Mr Albert A Robinson, yard foreman of Messrs J Alfred Pratt and Co Ltd, Builders’ Merchants, St Albans, and Mrs Robinson, 49 Alexander Road, St Albans, joined the Army five or six weeks before the war commenced. After leaving for the front, deceased wrote home regularly until early November, when he warned his parents not to be alarmed if they heard nothing from him for a week or so. From this they concluded that he was going into action and last week they had a communication from the War Office informing them that their lad was killed in action on November 13th. Deceased was educated at Priory Park School.

On 1st July 1916, supported by a French attack to the south, 13 divisions of Commonwealth forces launched an offensive on a line from north of Gommecourt to Maricourt. Losses were catastrophic and, with only minimal advances on the southern flank, the initial attack was a failure. In the following weeks, huge resources of manpower and equipment were deployed. At the end of September, Theipval was captured. The village had been an original objective in the attack of 1st July. Attacks north and east continued throughout October and into November in increasingly difficult weather conditions. The Battle of the Somme finally ended on 18th November with the onset of winter. The Theipval Memorial, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the UK and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20th March 1918 and have no known grave. Over 90 per cent of those commemorated died between July and November 1916.

Private 4/6980, 4th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment. Killed in action 13th November 1916. Born Radlett, enlisted Hertford, resident St. Albans. No known grave. Commemorated on THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France. Pier and Face 2 C. See also St Albans World War 1


Percy James

1886 – 1918 - Born in Luton, in 1886, the eldest child and only son of Ebenezer and Martha Ann Rowe, Percy had three younger sisters: Mabel, Eveline and Winifred. According to the War Graves Commission, Percy was a private in the Gordon Highlanders. The Diocese of St Albans’ Roll of Honour - the body in charge of the St Peter’s field memorial - describes him as a signaller in the Scottish Highlanders.

Private 202236, 4th Battalion, Gordon Highlanders. Killed in action 25th March 1918. Aged 32. Born Luton, enlisted London. Son of Mr. E. and Mrs. M. A. Rowe, of 28, Worley Rd., St. Albans. No known grave. Commemorated on ARRAS MEMORIAL, Pas de Calais, France. Bay 8 and 9. See also St Albans World War 1


Montague Clarence John

1896 – 1914 - Montague was born in Forest Gate, Essex, in 1896, the eldest child of John William and Susan Walker. He had one other brother - Reginald. Lance corporal according to the Diocese of St Albans’ Roll of Honour.

Lance Corporal 34307, 1st/4th Battalion (Territorials), Northumberland Fusiliers. Died of wounds 22nd February 1918. Born Bow, Middlesex, enlisted St Albans. Formerly 28843, General Service Cavalry. Buried in YPRES RESERVOIR CEMETERY, Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. Plot III. Row C. Grave 13. See also St Albans World War 1

"At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them"

Last updated 11 August, 2014

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