Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence

Lest We Forget
British Legion
The Royal British Legion


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

The names of 23 local men who died in the service of their country in the First World War (1914 -18) and the Second World War (1939 -1945) are inscribed on a framed plaque in Staplegrove church (St John the Evangelist). In addition there is a brass plaque to the memory of Capt Guy Carleton Vaughan beneath a window at the west end of the church, and a gravestone in the churchyard marks the final resting place of Private Leslie John Stone. According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, six of the men who died in the two world wars are buried in the Staplegrove churchyard. This leaflet is intended to provide some basic facts about all these men and, where possible, details of their families and their links to the parish. The information in this document has 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) Staplegrove Local History Society archive, Somerset Heritage Centre (ref A\BRV/1/7) Every effort has been made to check the accuracy of the details given here.

If you spot any errors or omissions, can add to the information or supply photographs, please contact - Ray Stokes - Tel: 01823 762417 or email

St. John the Evangelist Church - WW1 and WW2 © Lucy Devitt (WMR-68323)
St. John the Evangelist Church - Gate © William and Pauline Hanna (WMR-68319)

IN THE GREAT WAR 1914-1918.

FINDLAY Cyril Olney
Lieutenant, 4/8th (Service) Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry. Died of wounds 17 October 1917 in France. Aged 24. Only son of Baptist Minister the Rev William Alexander Findlay and his wife Lillian Sarah, of Flook Villa, Staplegrove Road, Taunton. Cyril, who was born in Reading on 4 October 1892 received part of his later schooling in Taunton. Studied at Guy’s Hospital with a view to becoming a dental surgeon. Was commissioned 26 April 1917 and went to France on 4 June 1917 being appointed brigade Bombing Officer. Lt Findlay was badly wounded during the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele) which lasted from July-November 1917. He is buried in Outtersteene Communal Cemetery Extension, Bailleul, France.
HARRIS Cecil St John
Lieutenant, 3/5th Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry. Died 10 September 1915 in England. Aged 24. Third son of the Rev Percy Charles Harris, Rector of Staplegrove, and his wife Constance Elizabeth Ellen. Born 13/7/1891 in Staffordshire. Before the war, Cecil studied engineering. He died in The Nursing Home, Wellington Road, Taunton, following an operation for appendicitis. He is buried in Staplegrove Churchyard.
HILL Frank R
Private 20461, 3/5th Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry. Died 18 February 1916 in England. Aged 46. This would appear to be Francis Robert Hill – the father of Harold James Hill (see below). In 1891 he was serving as a private soldier in the 1st Battalion, The Oxfordshire Light Infantry, stationed at Gosport in Hampshire. Ten years later he had left the Army and married Florence Ida Giles. The 3/5th Battalion, was a reserve unit on home duties. It is likely that Frank died as a result of illness. He was buried in Staplegrove churchyard on 22 February 1916 in plot D1 and his name appears on a memorial in the churchyard.
HILL Harold James
Private 2697, Somerset Light Infantry. Died 23 October 1916 in Taunton. Aged 19. Son of painter Francis Robert and Florence Ida Hill (nee Giles) of Ashcroft, Leslie Avenue, and formerly of South View, Staplegrove Road. In 1911 Harold was working as an office boy. It would appear he died of illness before joining a front line Battalion, . He was buried on 26 October 16 in Staplegrove churchyard in plot D7 His name appears on a memorial in the churchyard.
HOWE Ernest Herbert
Lance Corporal 295308, 12th Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry formerly West Somerset Yeomanry. Killed in action 2 September 1918 in France. Aged 24. Younger son of John and Mary Howe of Whitmore, Staplegrove. Born in Trull, he was a farm worker before the war. He enlisted in Minehead in 1915 and served in Gallipoli, Egypt and Palestine. He was wounded in fighting in Gaza in November 1917. In May 1918 his unit was sent to France. On September 2 it was involved in the fierce fighting around Peronne - the first battle in which it had been involved since arriving in France. The troops advanced over open ground, raked by enemy machine gun fire with old trenches and shell holes providing the only cover and were twice driven back. At the end of the day they had gained 500 yards but had lost 46 dead and 166 wounded, with 14 missing. Lcpl Howe is buried in Peronne, Somme, France
KNIGHT Victor John
Private 203344, 2nd Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment. Killed in action 26 September 1917 in Belgium. Aged 30. Victor John Knight, known as Jack, was the only son of the late Robert Knight and Jane Knight (nee Stone) of The Stores, Staplegrove. He was killed in action during the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele). He has no known grave. His name appears on the Tyne Cote Memorial.
NAPPER William
[Surname appears on church scroll as KNAPPER] Private S2/017291, Royal Army Service Corps. Died 16 January 1919 in Dar-es-Salaam (now Tanzania). Aged 25. This would appear to be William Napper, a grocer’s apprentice, born 1893 at Staplegrove, son of railway shunter Walter and Eliza Miriam Napper (nee Palmer) of 7 Elm Terrace, Staplegrove Road. Medal records show he arrived in Egypt on 14/7/1915. Dar-es-Salaam was the capital of German East Africa. It was eventually taken by Commonwealth troops in September 1916. Buried in the Dar-es-Salaam war cemetery.
Private 28797, 6th Battalion, Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry formerly West Somerset Yeomanry. Killed in action 24 April 1918 in France. Aged 24. Eldest son of Frederick John Nation, head gardener at Staplegrove Manor, and his wife Georgiana (nee Davey), of Manor Cottage, Staplegrove. Engaged to Miss Minnie Towell who lived in Leigh Cottage, Staplegrove Road. He worked as a cycle repairer before the war. Joined the West Somerset Yeomanry in September 1914 and in September 1916 transferred to the DCLI. In March and April 1918 the Allied Fifth Army was driven back by overwhelming numbers across the former Somme battlefields. His name appears on the Pozieres Memorial that commemorates over 14,000 British casualties.
PREW Harold Edward
Lieutenant, 2nd Rhodesia Regiment South African Infantry. Killed in enemy air raid 19 October 1917 in London. Aged 29. Harold Prew was the eldest son of John Cornish Prew and Emma Ann Cade Prew (nee Browne) of Bellecour, Staplegrove. He was born in Staplehay on 19 October 1888. Went to Huish’s School, Taunton. Emigrated to South Africa and worked for the British South Africa company, eventually settling in Bulawayo, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Joined Rhodesia Regt 10 January 1915 and was commissioned, being gazetted Lieutenant, on 1 April 1916. Came to England with his regiment on 13 October 1917 en route for France. Six days later – on his 29th birthday – he was killed in London by a bomb dropped by an enemy aircraft. From July 1917 German Gotha and Giant aircraft made regular day and night raids on London dropping high explosive and incendiary bombs. A total of 857 people were killed and more than 2,000 injured in air raids. Harold Prew is buried at Brookwood Cemetery, Woking.
PREW John Cornish

Private 10112, 4th/1st Battalion, Hertfordshire Regiment. Died of illness 16 March 1917 in Ripon, Yorkshire. Aged 24. Son of John Cornish Prew and Emma Ann Cade Prew of Bellecour, Staplegrove, Taunton. Younger brother of Harold Edward Prew (see above) He was a single man who had worked as an ironmonger’s assistant. Military records show he was called up for service on 10 October 1916. However he was discharged three months later on 3 January 1917 when he was found to have pulmonary tuberculosis. He was admitted to the Military Hospital at Ripon where he died two months later. He is buried in Ripon cemetery.

NOTE: An older brother Private (4178) Percy Richard Prew served in the Coldstream Guards for 18 years and was twice wounded during the First World War but survived and was eventually left the Army in 1919.

2nd Lieutenant, 309th Siege Battery Honourable Artillery Company. Died of wounds 3 November 1917 in France. Aged 20. Only child of commercial traveller James Axtens Sheppard and Ada Emma Sheppard (nee Chapman) of Marston, Staplegrove. Buried at Wimereux. Pas de Calais, France. This was the location of a major British Army hospital during WW1
Captain, 7th Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry. Killed in action 3 September 1916 in France. Aged 20. Younger son of surveyor John Henry Shufflebotham and the late May Shufflebotham (nee Lester) of Hazelford, Mount Nebo, Taunton. (formerly of Staplegrove Road). While at King’s College, Taunton, their son was a member of the Officer Training Corps for four years. Guy Shufflebotham was training to be a land agent before the war and was articled to Greenslades in Taunton. He died in the battle of Guillemont which was an important German stronghold at the beginning of the Battle of the Somme in July 1916. It was taken by the Royal Scots Fusiliers on 30 July but the Battalion, was obliged to fall back. On 3 September (in the Battle of Guillemont) it was captured and cleared by the 20th (Light) and part of the 16th (Irish) divisions. The 7th Somersets paid a heavy price for this victory with 11 dead (including Capt Shufflebotham, who commanded A company) and 155 wounded. He had previously been mentioned in dispatches. Capt Shufflebotham is buried in Guillemont Road Cemetery, Guillemont
TORDIFFE Arthur Murray Stewart
Sergeant 738, South African Infantry. Killed in action 24 March 1918 at Marriers Wood, Somme, France. Aged 41. Son of the late Rev Stafford William Tordiffe (died 1912) and his wife Marianna Tordiffe (nee Sayce). The Rev Tordiffe had been Rector of Staplegrove. Arthur was born on 4 May 1879 in Devizes, Wilts. He emigrated to South Africa and when war was declared he enlisted. He was killed as the Allied Fifth Army was driven back by overwhelming numbers across the former Somme battlefields. His name appears in the Pozieres Memorial.
TURNER Arthur Jeffreys
Private 35802, Depot, Somerset Light Infantry. Died 31 July 1917 in Cambridge, England. Aged 19. Son of Arthur W Turner of Fitzroy, Norton Fitzwarren. Member of the Officer Training Corps (OTC) at Cambridge University. Enlisted in the Army in Taunton. A plaque in the church says he was aged "19 years 10 months" at the time of his death. No cause of death is given in the records.
VAUGHAN Guy Carleton
Captain, 2nd Battalion, Devonshire Regiment. Killed in action 20 July 1916 in France. Aged 26. Son of retired Col Alexander Henry Vaughan and Margaret Jessie Vaughan. Husband of Marie Louise Vaughan of The Cottage, Woolmer Green Knebworth, Hertfordshire. Guy Vaughan was born in Taunton. In 1891 his parents were living in Waterslade House in South Road, Taunton, before moving to Cheltenham He was a professional soldier and in 1911 was a 2nd Lieutenant, serving with his Battalion, in Malta. Capt Vaughan was killed in action during battle of The Somme and is buried in the Quarry cemetery Montauban
VICKERY Archibald Sidney
Private 14827, 7th Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry. Died of wounds 5 October 1916 in France. Aged 19. Son of James and Emma Vickery of Elm Terrace, Staplegrove Road, Known as Archie, he joined the Army in 1915, at the age of 17, and had been at the front for 15 months. He was wounded on 4 October 1916 and died the following day. Buried in Grove Town cemetery, Meaulte, Somme, France.
WHITE Ernest
Lieutenant, 55th Battalion, Machine Gun Corps. Killed in action 10 April 1918 in France. Aged 27. Youngest son of John and Jane White of The Mills, Staplegrove. He went to Huish’s School and served in Egypt and Palestine. Returned to England in summer of 1917 for a machine gun training course and went back to France in February 1918. He was shot while rescuing a wounded German in front of the British line. His Commanding Officer wrote to his parents: "Your son bandaged the man, carried him back, and was just on the point of entering our trenches when he was sniped and killed instantaneously. So died a very gallant gentleman." He is buried in the Guards Cemetery, Windy Corner, Cuinchy, Pas de Calais, France.
BERRY Dennis Lionel
Corporal 5728229, 2nd Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment. Killed in action 27 April 1944 Kohima North East India. Aged 25. Son of Frank G. Berry and Lu-Lu Berry, of Taunton. As a boy he was a member of the local Young People’s Fellowship. The Japanese advance into India was halted at Kohima (150 miles from the Burma border) in April 1944 in what was perhaps the most bitter fighting of the whole Burma campaign when a small Commonwealth force held out against repeated attacks by a Japanese Division. Cpl Berry is buried in the Kohima war cemetery where there is a memorial to the 2nd Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment.
CLIFTON John Kenneth Grahame
Pilot Officer, 253 Squadron, Royal Air Force. Killed in action September 1940 in Kent. Aged 21. Son of John Henry and Susie Dorothy Anderson Clifton, of The Gables, Private Road, Taunton. Kenneth, as he was known, was an old boy of Taunton School. He joined the Royal Air Force early in the war and became a fighter pilot. He was shot down over Kent during the Battle of Britain. He is buried in Staplegrove churchyard.
EDWARDS Joseph Gilbert
Warrant Officer (Pilot), 51 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Killed in action 17 April 1943 in Germany. Aged 22. Son of Charles and Eveline Maud Edwards, of Taunton, Somerset. Buried in Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Most of the aircrew buried in this cemetery died in the intensive air attacks over Germany.
Leading Aircraftsman 1339948, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Died 28 August 1943 in Calgary, Canada. Aged 20. Only son of Ashley Samuel Major and his wife Alecia (nee Sandy) of Taunton, and an old boy of Taunton School. He was killed in a flying accident in Calgary, Canada, while training to be a fighter pilot. He is buried in the Calgary (Burnsland) cemetery which contains the grave of 197 service personnel from WW2, mostly airmen who died during training.
ROWCLIFFE Lionel Charles
Driver 1878811, 245 Field Company, Royal; Engineers. Killed in action 2 May 1944 in Anzio, Italy. Aged 32. Husband of Emily May Rowcliffe, of Staplegrove, Taunton. Troops landed at Anzio in January 1944 to attack the Germans’ defensive position, known as the Gustav Line. Initial attacks were unsuccessful and it was not until May 1944 that they eventually broke through. Driver Rowcliffe is buried in the Anzio Beach Head cemetery.
SMITH Leonard George
Sergeant 1385192, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Killed in action 17 April 1943. Aged 29. Son of Arthur and Beatrice Smith of Sherford and husband of Grace Smith (nee Horler). Name on the Runnymede Air Forces Memorial commemorating those lost in operations who have no known grave.
STONE Leslie John
Private 14260485, 5th Battalion, Manchester Regiment. Died 16 November 1945 in Carmarthen. Aged 22. Son of Mr and Mrs GT Stone and husband of Peggy M Stone (nee Hallett) of Staplegrove. His death was registered in Carmarthen. No cause given in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission records. He is buried in Staplegrove churchyard. Row B1 grave 13.
WINDSOR William Herbert
Corporal 5573214, 4th Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment. Killed in action 10 July 1944 in France. Aged 27. Son of William Henry and Bessie Windsor, of Taunton, Somerset; husband of Ellen Amelia Windsor, of Taunton. Known as Billy. He was a member of the church choir at Staplegrove as a boy. For the most part, the men buried at Banneville-la-Campagne War Cemetery were killed in the fighting during the second week of July 1944, around Caen. Some of the fiercest fighting was during the capture of Hill 112 and a memorial has been erected there in memory of the men of the 43 Wessex Division. There is an identical monument at Wynyard’s Gap in Dorset,


Last updated 15 March, 2022

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