Replaying The Last Match – Banstead Cricket Club in the Great War

On Bank Holiday Monday, 3 August, 1914, Germany invaded Belgium and declared war on France. Britain issued an ultimatum to the Germans to leave Belgian soil. That same day, Banstead’s 2nd XI played what was to be the club’s last fixture for nearly five years, when they faced Redhill ‘A’ at The Ring, on Earlswood Common. The talk in the field was probably of little else except war but there was still a game to be played.

Banstead won the toss and batted first. Despite the best efforts of their opening batsman, Roland Bentley, who carried his bat, the team were all out before lunch with a total of just 96 runs, Redhill’s F. Brown being the pick of the bowlers, taking 3 wickets for 13 runs.

Banstead dismissed Redhill’s top three cheaply but then Redhill’s Surrey player, E.H.L. Nice, dug in and gave ‘a fine display of clean hitting’, making a century and giving Redhill a lead after the first innings.

Redhill’s Brown took a hat-trick in the second innings, ending the match with 6 wickets for 23 runs, and Banstead could not do enough to save the match, losing a “splendid” game by 70 runs.

At 11pm the following day, Britain’s ultimatum to Germany expired. We were at war and the cricket season came to an abrupt close. The men of the club went to fight, some within days, others years later when conscription came in. The gentlemen of the 1st XI were commissioned as officers and the working men of the 2nd XI joined the rank and file. They served all over the world as well as on the Home Front.

At least seven of the 2nd XI players who played in that final match went on to serve overseas; four were killed, one was captured and the other two were wounded.

Banstead lost fourteen players and members in the war:

James William Alston, aged 41

Aubrey Alfred William Balchin, 19

George Samuel Blunt, 35

Percy Blunt, 28

Arthur Culver*, 36

Frederick George Davis, 21

Hugh Murray Forster, 32

Maurice Furse, 27

Harry Harden*, 29

Lionel Eustace King-Stephens, 37

Henry Jervois Ruault Maitland, 19

Charles Henry Reygate, 37

Archibald Gervase Tonge, 30

Albert Waters, 33

A roll of honour board in Banstead Cricket Club commemorates twelve of the fallen men; * denotes the two men not named on the memorial.

Redhill lost at least two (and doubtless many more) players:

Harry St Clair Chad, aged 34

Charles William Sanderson, 25

Merstham’s fallen include:

Herbert Frank Francis, aged 22

Wilfred Frank Rogers, 26

Reginald Courtenay Hulton Woodhouse, 25

On Friday 3rd August 2018, at 6pm, Banstead’s final peacetime game is to be replayed. Sadly, Redhill C.C. are no longer with us but Merstham now play at The Ring and so will be representing Redhill as well as honouring their own club’s war dead in the memorial Twenty20 game. A pre-game ceremony will include buglers from the Redhill Corps of Drums playing the Last Post. The weather is set fair, the bar will be open, the barbecue will be fired up and picnics are very welcome. Parking in Avenue Road and Court Road is limited and the nearest public car park is in the High Street, next to All Saints church. A commemorative booklet has been produced to mark the occasion.

If you are a relative of the fallen cricketers from either Banstead, Redhill or Merstham, we would love to hear from you.

We will remember them.

Private Albert Sycamore – Killed in Action 11th February 1917

Albert Edward Sycamore was born on 3rd June 1887 and was baptised at St Mary’s, Ewell, on 7th August that year. He was the son of William, a blacksmith, and Catherine Sycamore (nee Sanders) of Mill Lane, Ewell.

The family moved to West Street when Albert was young and he attended Ewell Infants School, just a couple of doors down from his house, and then moved up to the Boys School in 1894. He reached a high standard at school and was a pupil-teacher, helping the masters out by teaching the younger children. He left in 1901, aged 13½, to go to work as a house boy.

Albert became a gardener at a nursery and married Beatrice Richings at Maidenhead on 27th December 1909. A son, George, was born a few months later at Albert’s parents’ home at 3 Meadow Walk, Ewell, before Albert and Beatrice made their home at 14 Montague Terrace, Collingwood Road, Sutton. A daughter, Ivy, was born in 1912. They moved back in with Albert’s parents temporarily, where another son, Edward, was born in April 1914 and then came to Banstead.

The Sycamores lived in a cottage in the grounds of Gerrards Lodge on the junction of Garratts Lane and the Brighton Road, where the Ford garage is today, and Albert worked there as a gardener for the house’s new owner, Arthur Brown, an auctioneer and surveyor.

Albert joined the Army at Sutton on 16th November 1915 under the Derby Scheme and chose to serve with the Bedfordshire Regiment but deferred his service until his age group were called up en masse. The married men in his group were mobilized on 29th May 1916 and Albert would have then reported to the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion of the Bedfordshires for basic training.

Following the losses early on in the Somme campaign, another reserve battalion, the 4th Bedfordshires, were mobilized in July 1916 and reached France later in the month, where they served with the Royal Naval Division. Albert probably joined them in September. He had not been with them for more than a few days when they moved south to the Somme battlefield.

The Bedfordshires fought at Beaucourt in November in the Battle of the Ancre, the last phase of the Battle of the Somme, where they and many of the other attacking battalions suffered badly due to a previously undiscovered German strongpoint. Beaucourt was captured in the fighting and the Bedfordshires carried up stores, bombs and sandbags to the ruined village. Later, they carried away the dead from the battlefield.

When they returned to Beaucourt after several weeks of training, a perimeter had been established around the ruined village but the Germans still held the high ground north and east of the village. When cold – and it was very cold when the Bedfords arrived – the ground was frozen and could not be dug; when warm, the soil turned to mud and trenches collapsed so the line here was not joined up in places and relied heavily on fortified shell holes that were manned as outposts. They were up to 400 yards in front of the main line of defence and spaced between 10 and 20 yards apart. For the men in the shell holes, which were often flooded with freezing water or full of mud, movement during the day was extremely dangerous and it was impossible to bring them rations or ammunition. In order to minimise the strain on their garrisons (typically 10 men and an N.C.O.), the men only spent a day in the shell holes before being relieved and returning to the main firing line.

Beyond Beaucourt’s perimeter were the shattered remains of German communications trenches and outposts. Behind those were old support trenches that were now the German front line proper. Beyond that line to the north was a formidable amount of wire and another set of trenches on high ground which linked the fortified villages of Serre in the northwest and Miraumont in the east. Before any major advances could take place, several smaller-scale attacks were needed to improve the British position. In February, a series of attacks took place, with the largest of those on the 10th, which captured most of the southern defences of Serre. The advance left a dogleg in the line that necessitated the 4th Bedfordshires push their line northwards by up to 300 yards.

At 8:55pm on 11th February, two companies formed up on a line taped out on the ground behind the British-held shell-holes. Ten minutes later, under the protection of a creeping barrage moving at 100 yards every 3 minutes, they got to their feet and advanced. Poor reconnaissance meant that they were unaware that the ground they were advancing through was strewn with wire and the left of the advance got caught up and came under heavy machine-gun fire. Another company was committed and the Bedfordshires reached their objective and had consolidated their position, under fire, by 3a.m. on the 12th.

Albert was killed in action in the attack. He was 29 years old. His body was never found or was not identifiable and he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing. He is also commemorated on the wooden panels in the Memorial Chapel at All Saints, Banstead, on the war memorial in the churchyard of St Mary’s, Ewell, on the Bourne Hall Dipping Well Memorial Tablet (beside the Dog Gate entrance to Bourne Hall) and on the Ewell West Street School Old Boys Memorial (now in Bourne Hall Museum).

Albert and Beatrice’s fourth and final child, Mabel Catherine, was born four months later.

Albert was commemorated at All Saints, Banstead, on 11th February 2017, the 100th anniversary of his death. A bell was tolled 100 times in his memory by a family from Garratts Lane, the road that Albert used to live in.

Private Edward “Jasper” Cross – Died 8th March 1916

Edward James Seal was born in Carshalton on 28th April 1873 and baptised at Carshalton Parish Church in July. He was known as “Jasper”. His mother was Harriet Seal, a domestic servant from Carshalton, daughter of Thomas Seal, a blacksmith. Jasper’s father was Edward Cross (although he is not named on the birth certificate) from Culford in Suffolk. Edward was a farm labourer and gamekeeper and he was 26 years older than Harriet, almost as old as her father.

Edward senior was lodging with Harriet and her family in 1871. The ten members of the Seal family, plus lodgers, lived in a 2-up 2-down house in St James Road, off Little Wrythe Lane, Carshalton. Little Wrythe Lane was then still mostly a grassy lane between ancient hedgerows by Batts Farm, but the arrival of the railway meant that the area was starting to develop into suburbia. Little Wrythe Lane was later renamed Green Wrythe Lane and now runs through the St Helier Estate to Morden.

Edward and Harriet moved around the corner to Levitts Row, probably a row of terraced houses or cottages in Wrythe Lane near the junction with William Street, perhaps where Cricketer’s Terrace stands today. They had a baby girl, Annie, in 1872, then Jasper in 1873 and another boy, Thomas, in 1874. Edward and Harriet married at St Peter & St Paul’s in Mitcham on Christmas Day 1875 and the children took their father’s surname. Edward and Harriet went on to have five more children: Charles (1876), Joseph (1878), Harriet (1880), Maude (1882) and Elizabeth (born 1888 and died aged only 3 days).

Not much is known of Jasper’s schooling or teenage years and the 1891 census records for the family have not been found at the time of writing (it seems that the whole road may be missing). The family had moved back to St James Road by 1887, may have briefly lived in William Street, and then returned to St James Road once more. Edward senior had been in poor health for some years and died at 3 St James Road in 1893, when Jasper was 19.

Lower Lodge, The Oaks

Title: Lower Lodge, The Oaks
Description: Lower Lodge at The Oaks. Courtesy of Sutton Local Studies Centre. by-nc

Jasper lived in the same road, at no.1, until 1899, when he must have found work at The Oaks, Woodmansterne, the 18th century mansion after which the famous horse race was named. The Oaks was then owned by Lucy James, widow of Harry James, who had made his fortune in South America. There seems to have been a Cross family connection to the estate as gamekeeper James Cross, possibly Edward’s cousin, was living at The Oaks’ Keeper’s House in 1891 and presumably working on the estate. His son, Alec, was a contemporary of Jasper and lived at nearby Rose Cottage years later. Jasper moved into the Lower Lodge (pictured right) which used to stand on Woodmansterne Road. With her health failing, his mother moved in with him and she died there in July 1899.

In 1901, Jasper is recorded as working as the “Odd Man Domestic” (odd job man), part of a domestic staff of at least nine at The Oaks, and was probably living in servants’ quarters in the house. An E Cross was playing cricket for Woodmansterne at this time and it was probably Jasper, the only “E Cross” living locally.

Two years later, he was still living in Woodmansterne (address unknown) and working as a carpenter when he married Edith Eliza Bruce in November 1903, at the parish church in Great Horkesley, Essex. Edith had been working as a parlour maid at a townhouse in Cromwell Crescent, Kensington, in 1901 but had moved to Great Horkesley by the time of the wedding. They were both 30 years old.

Jasper’s younger brother, Thomas, had served in the Boer War and had been mentioned in despatches. Tragedy struck the Cross family when he was run over and killed by a runaway horse-drawn van in Carshalton High Street in 1904, aged 30.

The Oaks Stable Block 2016

Title: The Oaks Stable Block 2016
Description: Stable block at The Oaks (2016) by-nc

By 1905, Jasper and Edith had moved into a brick and flint cottage at Oaks Farm, which was The Oaks’ “model farmery”. New-fangled motorcars were starting to replace horse-drawn carriages and, by 1909, Jasper was working as a chauffeur. They were still living at Oaks Farm when their daughter, Evelyn Mabel, was born there on 10th July. Many of the big houses were converting their stables into garages and, by 1911, the Cross family had moved into the loft above the stables.

In the photograph (right), the loft is above the 18th century carriage house (centre). By 1912, another building (right) had been converted to a “capital” triple garage (“with pit, and heated by hot water”, a petrol store and was lit by acetylene gas) and the Estate’s other lodge (below right), on Croydon Lane, had been extended to four rooms for use as the chauffeur’s cottage, giving the family a proper home in exchange for Jasper taking on the extra duties of the gatekeeper.

That year, Mrs James tried to sell the estate and she soon retired to a house in London. Jasper remained at The Oaks until 1913 but there can’t have been much call for a chauffeur and he left around 1914.

The Lodge, The Oaks

Title: The Lodge, The Oaks
Description: The Lodge at The Oaks (c1910). Courtesy of Sutton Local Studies Centre. by-nc

The family moved to a cottage in the grounds of Well House (pictured below right) in Banstead, which stood near to where the war memorial stands today, and presumably Jasper worked for Mrs Aileen Arthur as a chauffeur at Well House. The Arthurs were related by marriage to local landowner Sir Henry Lambert.

In early 1915 there was a shortage of motor drivers in the Army Service Corps and the War Office wanted to recruit 10,000 men. The money was good: 6 shillings a day pay and all expenses covered with a separation allowance for married men of another 9 shillings per week. An advertising campaign was run in the first half of the year and the government contacted the main union of taxi cab and bus drivers to try and persuade their members to join. Letters were sent to members of the R.A.C. and the A.A. and editorials were written to sell the prospect of good pay and benefits to skilled drivers. Suggestions were made to car owners to retrain elderly coachmen to temporarily replace chauffeurs and appeals were made to keep the drivers’ jobs open for when they returned.

“The need for motor transport drivers is extremely urgent. Many thousands are wanted, and chauffeurs of any description who are physically fit will be accepted and given practice in lorry-driving if required. These men will be on exactly the same footing as every other enlisted soldier, and will therefore be eligible for pensions if disabled, and if they are killed their widows will be eligible for pensions. The pay is on a very liberal scale and motor men ought to jump at the chance of a life of adventure with two guineas a week steadily mounting up to their credit each week. All the motor drivers on active service in their letters home express themselves delighted with the life. They are having the time of their lives, driving about the Continent, with uniform, board and lodgings provided free and plenty of pocket money to boot.”

“Call for Motor Drivers”, an article in the Cambridge Independent Press (7th May 1915)

A member of the R.A.C. wrote letters to newspapers criticising car owners for putting their luxury before their country and urging them to let their men enlist:

“Every capable driver of a car is wanted, and wanted at once. The pay is good, and the life, I am told by those who have been at the front, is interesting, the experience splendid. Will my fellow members of the clubs and every owner of cars help by the personal sacrifice of setting their drivers free, and promising them their places back after they have performed the greater and most urgent duty.”

W.E. Middleton, Royal Automobile Club (28th April 1915)

Well House

Title: Well House
Description: Well House. Courtesy of Banstead History Research Group. by-nc

In 1911 there were about 20 chauffeurs (both employed and self-employed) in Banstead. Some, like Joseph Arnold (chauffeur at Nork House, died 2nd September 1915 during the Gallipoli campaign), had already answered the call. There was now considerable pressure and incentive on the others. Jasper would be able to serve his country, earn 42 shillings a week plus 17s 6d in separation allowance (the going rate for a wife and one child) and there would be a good chance his job would be kept open too. His service records have not survived but he probably joined up in the spring of 1915.

He served with the 341st Mechanical Transport Company, formed in May 1915, which became 8 General Headquarters Ammunition Park. They sailed to France in April 1916 with 61 lorries, 3 cars and 7 motorcycles. The Company were responsible for running the main ammunition park for the Fourth Army and transporting ammunition and other supplies from the railhead to the nearby dump. Other units would then collect the ammunition and drive it to dumps nearer the front line from where it would then be transported to troops in the front line or to the guns of the artillery by road or light railway.

Jasper did not make it to France with his unit. He fell ill with pneumonia in February 1916 and 12 days later, on the 8th of March, he died at the Military Hospital at Sidney Hall, Weymouth, Dorset, with Edith at his bedside. He was 42.

Jasper was buried in All Saints churchyard, Banstead, 3 days later. He is commemorated on the Banstead war memorial and on the wooden memorial panels inside the church.

On 8th March 2016, the 100th anniversary of Jasper’s death, a memorial service was held at Jasper’s graveside at All Saints, Banstead, during which a bell was tolled 100 times at noon.

Gunner Albert Wright – Killed in Action 4th March 1915

The featured photograph in this story is taken from the Knights-Whittome collection held at Sutton Local Studies Centre. Hundreds of glass plates from David Knights-Whittome’s photographic studio are being restored and new batches of photographs are periodically made available online on Flickr. This photograph is of “A Wright”, who appears to be a footman, and was taken on 1st February 1912. The best candidate for the identity of the subject is Albert Wright, whose story appears here and the identification would not be in doubt were it not for the fact that Albert’s Army medical records say that he had moles in front of his left ear and there are none visible in this photograph when viewed in close-up.

Albert Jesse Wright was born at home at 30 Gladstone Road, Chesham, Buckinghamshire, on 8th February 1895. He was the eldest child of Mark and Agnes Wright.

Mark and Agnes moved from Buckinghamshire to Banstead in the late 1890s, bringing their three young children with them. They lived at 9 Pound Cottages in Pound Road; the cottages are long gone, replaced by flats in the 1950s. On 21st August 1899, Albert and his younger siblings Edith and William were baptised together at the local church, All Saints. Mark and Agnes went on to have at least three more children: Hilda, Horace and Eva.

Mark worked as a labourer when the family lived in Chesham but became a policeman when he moved to Banstead. He was one of 18 police constables (and 6 sergeants) working out of the police station at Banstead, which in those days was on the opposite side of the High Street to the building that was used as Banstead’s police station throughout the 20th century. Banstead seems to have been a favoured last posting for policemen approaching retirement who wanted a quiet life away from the hurly burly of London and it was a big force for a rural area that must have been uneventful except for Derby Day.

After leaving school, Albert went into service and by 1908, aged 13, he was working as a boot boy at Banstead Hall, the dogsbody in a staff consisting of cook, dressmaker, 5 housemaids, kitchen maid, scullery maid, butler and 2 footmen. Banstead Hall was a private boarding school, one of several in the village, which was owned and run by Mrs Ethel Maitland. There were 40 or so pupils, boys aged 8-13 from all over the south of England and a handful from further afield. The Hall gradually declined, like all the big houses did after the war, eventually derelict and demolished. Today the old grounds are mostly covered in housing but one of the two lodges that used to guard the entrances to the Hall’s carriage sweep, South Lodge, has survived, a Victorian incongruity amidst 1980s blocks of flats and 1990s houses.

A Wright (1st Feb 1912)

Title: A Wright (1st Feb 1912)
Description: Knights-Whittome Collection, courtesy of Sutton Local Studies Centre by-nc

Albert, 5ft 10in tall, fresh complexion, brown hair and blue eyes, worked his way up to footman (the photograph was taken a week before his 17th birthday and maybe his birthday present was a trip to the photographers; it may also have coincided with his promotion, perhaps he had some photographs taken of himself in his new uniform for his proud family as six glossy prints were made) but in January 1913 Mrs Maitland decided that she needed an older, more experienced man and let him go. He immediately joined the army, signing up for 12 years service with the Royal Field Artillery. He joined 112th Battery at Athlone, Ireland, and soon gained his 3rd Class Certificate of Education, which would allow promotion as far as corporal. “A good hardworking man. Promises well,” wrote his commanding officer.

112th Battery, 24th Artillery Brigade, was stationed in Ireland at the outbreak of war. In the scramble to make ready, they could get few horses and those they could get were in poor condition and untrained and that also applied to the reservists that had been called up as soon as war was declared. Despite this, within a week they were up to numerical strength and spent a few days training their horses while waiting for embarkation orders. They crossed to Wales and travelled by train to Stourbridge, Cambridgeshire, where they camped on the Common and spent two weeks training. For the next four years every open space in middle and southern England seems to have been covered in a forest of white tents and men in khaki.

On 8th September, they arrived at Southampton docks and embarked for the crossing to France. They arrived at St Nazaire, a long way from the action, but even there there were so many men pouring into France that the 24th were kept waiting in harbour for two days before they could disembark. Over the next few days they marched halfway across France, an almost unbelievable distance travelled each day, to arrive at Paars, 75 miles northeast of Paris on 19th September. They spent a couple of weeks resting and training and as the tide of the retreat started to come in they were ordered to dig gun pits. They lost their first man on September 30th.

The next few days saw the British Army on the move at night to conceal their intentions from the Germans and the 24th Artillery Brigade made a series of short night marches back towards Paris before they were shipped north by train to St Omer, near the Channel coast, and then marched eastwards to meet the enemy and block them from capturing the Channel ports.

At St Omer, Albert Wright’s 112th Battery had been detached and assigned to the 12th (Howitzer) Artillery Brigade. They moved east, supporting infantry attacks in the Race to the Sea, in what would be the last mobile phase of the war for nearly 4 years. By 18th October they had come to a halt, billeted at Bois Grenier, near Chapelle d’Armentieres, where they would remain for many months. The line of troops was now unbroken all the way to the sea. The Germans threw their 6th Army at the British, attempting to break through the hastily-dug defences and cut off the Ypres salient to the north. They fought for two weeks, attack and counter-attack, Albert’s battery busy repelling the enemy or covering his comrades’ advance. The Germans made a small gain in Albert’s sector for heavy losses and they decided eventually that the game wasn’t worth the candle and poured their efforts into the 4th Army’s offensive at Ypres.

From early November onwards, the war had lost steam and in the winter of 1914-15 there was only the day-to-day routine of shelling the German trenches or counter-battery fire. It was just as well because six months of fighting had nearly destroyed the professional army and had exhausted ammunition supplies. Guns capable of many rounds per minute were being supplied with only handfuls of shells each day. It did not help that the artillery had gone to war with the wrong kind of shells, too many shrapnel shells, ideal for open warfare but ineffective in cutting barbed wire in trench warfare, and not enough high explosive. The nature and scale of the war had caught everyone napping. In just a few months time the ammunition scandal would bring down the government.

On 4th March 1915, days before Albert’s brigade would take part in the Battle of Neuve Chapelle, Albert was acting as a telephone operator in the trenches, relaying his lieutenant’s firing instructions back to the guns when he was shot in the head and killed. He is buried in Ration Farm cemetery in Chapelle d’Armentieres. His headstone inscription, chosen by his mother, is “Jesus Shall Reign Where’er the Sun“. He was 20.

Albert is buried at Ration Farm Cemetery, La Chapelle-d’Armentieres, and is commmemorated on the Banstead War Memorial, the Garton War Memorial in All Saints churchyard and on the wooden panels in the Memorial Chapel at All Saints. He is also remembered in the All Saints Book of Men Who Served Overseas.

Albert was commemorated with a memorial service on 4th March 2015, the 100th anniversary of his death, at All Saints Church, Banstead. A bell was tolled 100 times at noon in his memory.

Lance Corporal Stanley Sumner – Killed in Action 20th January 1917

Stanley Douglas Selby Sumner was born in Eltham, Kent, on 3rd July 1885. He was the son of Edmund Sumner, a solicitor, and Alice Selby, Edmund’s second wife. Stanley was the tenth of eleven children born to Edmund in his two marriages. Stanley lost his mother when he was just 3 years old and his father when he was 13.

Stanley attended Dulwich College between 1898 and 1903, where he studied on the Modern (science and engineering, etc.) side of the School. He enjoyed playing tennis, swimming and carpentry. After leaving school, he became Scoutmaster of the 21st North East London (Hoxton) Troop and Captain of the Boys Brigade in Bermondsey.

Stanley’s brother, Horace, a shipbroker, had moved to Banstead by 1911, living in Downs View, a large house on the High Street which stood where the loading bay of Waitrose is today. Five of Horace’s brothers and sisters came to live with him or were visiting on census night 1911. Stanley and Horace moved to a newly-built semi-detached villa, Quendon (now number 17), in Court Road, in 1912-13.

By early 1911, Stanley had decided to take Holy Orders and had begun to study Theology. He passed an entrance exam for King’s College, London, in July of that year and started to study for his Theological AKC (Associate of King’s College) degree in October. He gained his degree in the spring of 1915 and went on to study for a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theology at Durham University (King’s had an arrangement with Durham where King’s graduates only had to study at Durham for one year to gain the prestigious Durham BA).

Stanley volunteered to attest under the Derby Scheme in 1915, probably while he was at home for the Christmas holidays, and formally enlisted in London on 15th January 1916. He chose to join the East Surrey Regiment. His Derby Scheme group was called up for military service in February but Stanley applied to the Epsom Rural Tribunal at Epsom Police Court on 30th March for a deferment and was granted a conditional exemption until he finished his studies.

He joined the Army in the summer of 1916 and served with the East Surrey Regiment. Once he had completed his basic training, he was posted to the 12th (Service) Battalion (Bermondsey) in France, probably in October 1916 when they were recovering from the Battle of Flers-Courcelette. He didn’t stay with them long and was transferred to the 13th (Service) Battalion (Wandsworth), who came south to the Somme battlefield at roughly the same time that the 12th Battalion were heading north to leave it. Stanley served with ‘A’ Company of the 13th Battalion.

The 13th East Surreys arrived on the Somme in November just as the fighting came to an end for the winter. They trained for a week, practising the attack, before holding trenches for a week near Hebuterne. The last week of November and most of December were spent training in camp with 40th Division. On Christmas Eve, church parade was held in the morning and a Battalion concert took place in the evening. Christmas Day 1916 began with church parade and the Chaplain organised a cinematograph performance.

Stanley was considered to be officer material and was made up to acting lance corporal at some point during the winter, perhaps whilst in camp. He was to be sent home to England on leave as soon as the Battalion could afford to spare him and then he would take up a commission.

On Boxing Day, they took lorries to Maurepas, in the south of the Somme battlefield. 600 men relieved the 9th Highland Light Infantry in the dug-outs northeast of Bouchavesnes, at the boundary of the British and French sectors, and the remainder of the Battalion joined other men of 120th Brigade for working parties at Camp 20 near Suzanne, nearly ten miles away on the River Somme southwest of Maricourt. It was quiet at Bouchavesnes and many men were employed lining the floor of trenches with duckboards. On 30th December, they moved from the support line into the firing line in the left subsector for two days before being relieved. The poor state of the trenches, impassable in places due to the “exceptionally severe” weather, and “intense” darkness meant that the relief took 7 hours to effect. They went into Camp 21 on the Suzanne-Maricourt road, arriving by lorry in the early hours of New Year’s Day 1917, with one company delayed so much that it was 9am by the time they made it to the Camp. The men were absolutely pasted with mud and their three rest days were spent in cleaning up.

On 4th January, they returned to the frontline, manning the left subsection in the Rancourt sector. Ground conditions were so bad that mules had to be used to carry the rations, water and ammunition, the mud being waist-deep in places, and the journey took them 12 to 15 hours. There were no trenches here, the rain washed them away and then the ground froze too hard to dig, so the line was just a series of outposts in shell-holes or behind piles of sandbags, each manned by Lewis Guns (light machine-guns) and a few men. It was not possible to reach the outposts during the day and so rations and water could only be brought up at night and wounded men would have to wait for dark before they were evacuated. Fortunately the front was quiet except for some shelling by both sides. Two companies were in the firing line, two in the support line, and they swapped places after two days; Stanley’s ‘A’ Company were on the right of the firing line on 4th and 5th January. On the 8th, they went into Brigade Reserve in tents at Camp B, Maurepas, and spent the next few days resting and improving the Camp. When 120th Brigade were relieved on 12th January, the 13th East Surreys returned to Camp 21, south of Maricourt, where the Camp Commandant set them to work cleaning and making “considerable” improvements to the Camp.

On the 18th, they returned to the left subsector at Bouschavesnes, with two companies in the firing line, one in the support lines and the fourth company in reserve at Andover Place (500 yards southeast of Maricourt). It seems likely that Stanley’s company were in the firing line.

The following day, British shelling provoked a response from the German heavy artillery and the firing line was shelled. In the evening, between 9pm and 11:30pm, the Germans dropped between 500 and 600 gas shells on Andover Place. The Battalion had been fitted with the very effective new Small Box Respirator gas mask in November and the 13th East Surreys only suffered 4 casualties.

A British bombardment again needled the Germans into replying on the 20th and the front line and support line were shelled several times during the day. The Germans seemed to be registering their trench mortars that day and a large number of aerial darts were fired at the left company in the firing line. In the evening, the companies in the firing line were relieved. Two men were killed that day; Stanley was one of them. He was 31 years old.

Stanley was buried 1,000 yards east of Maurepas, perhaps close to where he fell if he was killed during the relief, along with Private F Bennett of ‘C’ Company, who was the other man to fall that day. Their graves were marked with wooden crosses and the men were later reburied at Hem Farm Military Cemetery, Hem-Monacu, on the northern banks of the River Somme.

Stanley is commemorated on the Banstead War Memorial, the Garton War Memorial in All Saints churchyard and on the wooden panels in the Lady Chapel at All Saints. He is also honoured in the All Saints Book of Men Who Served Overseas and the Scout Association’s WW1 Roll of Honour.

Dulwich College and King’s College both produced records of the war service of their former students but unfortunately Stanley is not featured in either. Neither is his name on the war memorials at Dulwich College, King’s College or Durham University but it will be added to addenda plaques at both Dulwich and King’s in the near future and hopefully he will be commemorated at Durham University soon too.

On 20th January 2017, a memorial service was held at All Saints, Banstead, to mark the 100th anniversary of Stanley’s death. Calista Lucy and Ed Walter of Dulwich College Archives tolled the bell 100 times in Stanley’s memory.

 

Lance Corporal John Stiles – Drowned 8th January 1917

John Weldon Stiles was born on 31st July 1880. He was the only son of Richard and Harriet Stiles. Richard ran a grocers shop at 69 Church Street, Stoke Newington, Hackney, and the family lived upstairs.

John grew up to become a bank clerk and he joined the London & Midland Bank (later known simply as the Midland Bank, now part of HSBC) when he was 16 years old. He worked at their Tooley Street branch (near London Bridge station) between 1897 and 1902, when he was moved to the Bank’s head office in Cornhill.

He continued to live at home for some time before taking lodgings at 4 Avenue Road, Belmont, in 1910, following the death of his mother. In 1913, John moved to Banstead, lodging with the Daniels family at St Olave’s (now number 33), Salisbury Road, renting a furnished first floor bedroom for 10 shillings a week.

The first week of September 1914 saw the peak of voluntary enlistment and John attested on 2nd September, aged 34, and joined the 18th County of London Regiment (London Irish Rifles). The London Irish Rifles were (and still are) a Territorial Army unit and were popular with London clerks, office and shop workers with Irish roots. The Midland Bank, as most banks did, topped up John’s shilling-a-day Army pay to make it up to his annual salary of £220 and they kept his job open for him.

John would have initially trained with the newly-created 2nd Battalion, the 2/18th, at the Oriental-style white marble-clad exhibition buildings at White City before joinined the 1st Battalion, the 1/18th, at St Albans, Hertfordshire. There they trained for open warfare even as the war of movement in France came to an end.

The London Irish went to France in March 1915 and were stationed in French Flanders. They were unused reserves at the Battle of Aubers Ridge on 9th May 1915 and took part in the Battle of Festubert (15th-31st May 1915), manning trenches at Givenchy and supporting the attack of the neighbouring 142nd Brigade.

At some point before the London Irish won fame by kicking a football across No Man’s Land at the Battle of Loos in September, John was found to be too short-sighted for front line service and he was sent back to England. He was probably assigned a desk job at the London Irish H.Q. or with one of their depots.

John had a sweetheart, Edith Betsy Ryan, a nurse at the London County Council Asylum on Banstead Downs, who he had probably met during his time in Belmont or Banstead as he came into contact with many asylum workers at both addresses. When John returned to England, he moved to Denehurst, Carshalton Road, Sutton, presumably to be near to Edith. They were married at St Mary’s Catholic Church, in St Barnabas Road, Sutton, on 18th September 1915.

John returned to France on attachment to the Military Landing Officer’s staff at Le Havre. The M.L.O. was responsible for disembarking the hundreds or thousands of troops, horses, guns and vehicles and the quantities of victuals, other supplies and mail that arrived each night at the port. 5 or 6 ships steamed in at quiet times and major battles could see 15 or more in the harbour. Each ship and its cargo would have presented its own unique challenge for unloading and there would have been a mountain of paperwork to get through, for which clerks like John would be needed. John’s many years of experience at the Bank, or perhaps his age, brought promotion to acting lance corporal in Summer 1916 and he would probably have supervised more junior members of staff. The rank, although only one step above private, gave him authority over the vast majority of the soldiers in the Army and meant that he would be able to issue orders to the disembarking troops if necessary.

On the night of 8th January 1917, John went out to post a letter. He never returned. It was presumed that he must have fallen over the quayside. Edith had to endure a long wait for news as John’s body was not recovered immediately and it was probably several months before he was found as it wasn’t until August 1917 that he was officially reported dead; he had drowned. He was 36 years old.

John is buried in Sainte Marie Cemetery, Le Havre. His headstone inscription, chosen by Edith, is “In the midst of life, we are death. Sweet Jesus, have mercy.

Sadly, Edith died in 1920 and so John’s name was not added to the Banstead War Memorial. Neither is he commemorated on the Belmont, Sutton or Stoke Newington war memorials.

However, John is remembered on the wooden panels in the Lady Chapel at All Saints, on the London Irish Rifles memorial at their headquarters, Connaught House, and on the London Joint City & Midland Bank memorial (now in HSBC’s office in Canada Square, Canary Wharf), where his name is next to his cousin, Henry, who was killed at the Battle of Arras a few months after John’s death.

A memorial service was held for John Stiles on 8th January 2017, the 100th anniversary of his death, at All Saints, Banstead. The Gray family, who live at John’s old house, 33 Salisbury Road, tolled a bell 100 times in his honour.

2nd Lieutenant Lionel King-Stephens – Died of Wounds 20th December 1916

Lionel Eustace King-Stephens was born at home in Nidney Cottage, Kingston Lane, Teddington, Middlesex, on 8th June 1879. He was the youngest son of Robilliard and Annette King-Stephens. Lionel was their third child and he had two older brothers, Herbert and Arthur, and a younger sister, Helen. His father, Robilliard, was Welsh and Lionel was baptised at Llandyfrydog, in Anglesey, on 24th August 1879.

The family moved to a bigger house, “Salehurst” (number 28), Hampton Road, Teddington, a 10-roomed mansion, when Lionel was a toddler. The family had two live-in servants and the children were brought up by Octavie, a Swiss governess, one of whose duties was to improve the children’s already passable German. Lionel probably attended a prep school before he went up to St Paul’s School, on the banks of the Thames at Barnes, in 1894, aged 14.

Robilliard was a solicitor with the family firm, Messrs Stephens & Stephens, who had offices at 29 Essex Street (just off The Strand) and at 33 Edith Road, West Kensington. His three sons all became clerks. Upon leaving St Paul’s, Lionel joined the London & Provincial Bank, starting as a clerk in their Teddington branch in April 1896, aged 16. He would have to have been guaranteed up to an agreed sum, perhaps £500, by his father or some other person of good standing in the event of Lionel stealing from the Bank. As an apprentice, his starting annual salary would have been about £30 but by 1902, it had increased to £80 and rose at a steady £10 per year almost every year (tax free until it hit £160).

Lionel stayed at the Teddington branch for 16 years before he transferred to their Banstead branch in June 1912 and was promoted to resident clerk. The Bank had opened a temporary branch in a wooden hut (where The Woolpack’s car park is now) in 1905 and then built a permanent branch on the corner of Avenue Road, where Barclays Bank stands today (Barclays took over the London & Provincial in 1918), which Lionel joined as one of its first two members of staff. Beside the bank was a house in which Lionel lived. A manager, probably based in Sutton, oversaw the Sutton, Ewell, Carshalton and Banstead branches and probably visited the branch once a week but most of the day-to-day running of the branch would have been left to Lionel, the senior of the two clerks employed at Banstead.

Lionel, his older brothers and younger sister were all sporty and Lionel was a keen cricketer, hockey player, golfer and a “first class” tennis player. He played for Banstead Cricket Club, the Private Banks Cricket Club and at Fulwell Golf Club. He represented Teddington Hockey Club, later becoming club secretary, playing left wing or inside left. He had a prolific goal-scoring record in his early playing years and also created many goals for his teammates. He went on to represent Middlesex, London and the South of England at hockey and played in the first ever hockey match at Lord’s cricket ground (Middlesex v United Hospitals in November 1904). He also played football for Middlesex (probably) and the South of England. Lionel enjoyed some success in the tennis tournaments that he and his sister, Helen, competed in each year during their summer holidays in Devon and Cornwall and was rarely knocked out in the early rounds. Helen was a fine tennis player and considered to be good enough to play at Wimbledon, eldest brother Herbert was an England international hockey player and Arthur played rugby for Lennox, Rosslyn Park and Middlesex and was a member of the Barbarians team which beat Stade Francais in Paris in December 1898.

When war broke out, Lionel was the first Banstead man to volunteer as a special constable, and served with the Specials for just over a year. He resigned from both the Met and the Bank to enlist as a private in The Artists’ Rifles in September 1915. He passed out of their Officers Training Corps in January 1916 and was commissioned in the 8th Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment (Sherwood Foresters) as a second-lieutenant. He joined his battalion in France in mid-July 1916 and soon became a “great favourite” and established a reputation as a “gallant” officer.

The Sherwood Foresters were with Third Army, just to the north of the Somme battlefield. They had taken part in the opening day of the battle, on 1st July, but were destined to avoid the rest of the fighting. Their sector was peaceful by the standards of the Western Front, their days in the line were uneventful and casualties were low (62 fatalities for the whole of 1916, a remarkably small number in comparison to the losses just a few miles to the south).

November and early December were spent in training for open warfare, perhaps in expectation of a breakthrough on the Somme that never came. By mid-October the fighting had bogged down in a sea of mud and the Battle of the Ancre in November, which was ending just as Lionel’s battalion began a slow return journey towards the front line, marked the last phase in the Battle of the Somme.

The Sherwood Foresters returned to the line near Foncquevillers in early December. The German trench mortars and artillery were busier than usual and on 16th December, Lionel led a wiring party out at night to repair the wire in front of the trenches. Fog allowed them to work on as it got light. As the fog began to clear, Lionel got his men back into the trenches and was just climbing back over the parapet when a shot rang out. Hit in the abdomen, he was evacuated to 43rd Casualty Clearing Station at Warlincourt. Four days later, on 20th December 1916, Lionel died. He was 37 years old.

Lionel was buried in Warlincourt Halte British Cemetery, at Saulty, on Christmas Eve 1916.

He is commemorated on the Banstead War Memorial (as “King-Stevens”), on the Garton Memorial in All Saints’ churchyard, on the wooden panels in the Lady Chapel, All Saints’, on the Banstead Cricket Club Roll of Honour board, on the London & Provincial Bank World War I Memorial at Barclays PLC Headquarters in Churchill Place, London, on the Teddington War Memorial, the Hampton Hill War Memorial in St James’ churchyard, the War Memorial Boards at St Paul’s School, on the Fulwell Golf Club War Memorial and on the Private Banks’ Cricket and Athletic Club Memorial, Catford.

The most unusual of his many memorials is a framed drawing of a war memorial (which did not have a real-world counterpart until a war memorial was commissioned by Barclays Bank relatively recently), which hung on the walls of all branches of the London, Provincial & South Western Bank.

He is also commemorated in the Artists’ Rifles Regimental Roll of Honour and War Record, in the All Saints’ Book of Men Who Served Overseas, in Hampton Hill Parish Magazine’s Roll of Honour, in the London & Provincial Bank Book of Remembrance and in an obituary in the Pauline Magazine.

Major Hugh Murray Forster – Died of Wounds 28th September 1915

Hugh Murray Forster was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne on 8th September 1883. He was the second of four children born to Ralph and Elizabeth Forster.

The family lived at The Grange, Sutton. The grounds stretched between Worcester Road and Grange Road and the house stood where Cadogan Close is now. Ralph was a director of a firm of merchants, Bessler, Waechter & Co, and a very rich man indeed. He was, however, a very generous man too and a great philanthropist. Among many gifts to Sutton were a parish hall at Christ Church, a new pavilion for Sutton Cricket Club and, one year, a tonne of coal and a Christmas pudding to every unemployed married man in Sutton.

Young Hugh attended Banstead Hall preparatory school and then Charterhouse between 1897 and 1902. He studied abroad (possibly in the USA) before returning to England and a job with his father’s firm. He rose to become managing director and travelled extensively in the years leading up to the war.

Hugh was a keen sportsman and played for the First XIs of Banstead and Sutton Cricket Clubs, appeared for the invitational Surrey Club and Ground team, played rugby for Sutton & Epsom and golf at Banstead Downs Golf Club. He was also a Freemason (a member of the Mid-Surrey Lodge) and Honorary District Secretary of Sutton & Cheam District Scouts. He held a commission in the Surrey Yeomanry and then in the 5th (Territorial) East Surrey Regiment but had to give them up due to his work and frequent overseas trips.

Hugh was returning from a business trip to South Africa when war broke out. He was soon in uniform and gave a “straightforward, manly” speech at a recruiting meeting in the Public Hall in Sutton in September 1914. He joined the King’s Own Scottish Borderers as a 2nd lieutenant, serving with the 8th (Service) Battalion. Within months he had been promoted to major and given command of ‘C’ Company.

The Borderers disembarked at Boulogne on 8th July 1915. Their first action was to support the Highland Light Infantry on the first day of the Battle of Loos, 25th September 1915. Leading two platoons of his men after the Highlanders in the direction of Hill 70, Hugh had only just left the shelter of the British trenches when he was wounded, one of nearly 400 casualties of the 8th KOSB. A fellow officer, Captain Horne, stopped to see if he could help. Hugh told him that he knew he was dying and urged him to collect stragglers and push on towards the Hill as quickly as possible. Horne did so and was wounded on the Hill; every one of the Battalion’s officers who went over the top that day was wounded, gassed or killed. Hugh was carried to the 6th (London) Field Ambulance, which had “heaps of wounded coming in.” He was too seriously wounded to be evacuated and died three days later. He was 32 years old.

Hugh is buried in Noueux-les-Mines Cemetery and is commemorated in the Charterhouse School War Memorial Chapel, on the Sutton War Memorial in Manor Park, on the Sutton & Epsom RFC Memorial Stand and the Banstead Cricket Club Roll of Honour board, the memorial panels in Christ Church, Sutton, and on a plaque in the Forster family chapel at Christ Church.

Able Seaman George Bryan – Died of Wounds 25th November 1916

George Ernest Bryan was born in Tadworth on 10th November 1895. He was the eldest son of George and Lottie Bryan, one of eight children, and was known as Ernest when he was young. The family came to Burgh Heath in 1900, living in a cottage on the Green, before moving to 11 (now numbered 22) Oatlands Road in 1906.

George attended the Burgh Heath Church of England School, opposite the site of St Mary’s Church, which was being built at the time. He left school at the standard age of 14 (he was something of a troublemaker at school and his exit doubtless came as a relief to both him and the schoolmaster!) and was apprenticed to an electrician but soon became a postman, probably working from Mr Roberts’ stores and sub-post office which stood where Travis Perkins’ yard is now.

On 1st November 1915, George joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, perhaps with dreams of going to sea, and was posted to the 5th (Depot) Battalion of the Royal Naval Division, the Navy’s fighting force on dry land. He trained at the Naval Centre at Crystal Palace and was drafted to the 2nd (Drake) Battalion at Blandford, Dorset, in May 1916. He specialised as a Lewis Gunner (a machine-gunner) and was transferred to the 6th (Howe) Battalion, joining them in France in August.

The Royal Naval Division were stationed in the mining district around Loos. It was quiet where they were, a long way north of the battle raging on the Somme. Their billets were often comfortable (some were even furnished with proper beds, a real luxury) and there was little in the way of fighting to be done. The good times wouldn’t last long, however, as reinforcements were always needed in the south.

The Royal Naval Division were moved down to the Somme battle zone at the end of September to take part in a planned attack that was to penetrate as far as the village of Miraumont. October rain turned the battlefield into a sea of mud and the attack was delayed until 13th November, by which time it had been scaled down to “just” an assault on the villages of Beaucourt and Beaumont-Hamel, which commanded the entrance to the marshy valley of the River Ancre. At 5:45am, on a cold, gloomy, misty morning, the Navy men went over the top. Their objective was Beaucourt and this was to be the first day of the Battle of the Ancre, the final phase of the Battle of the Somme. They advanced into the mist, with visibility barely 50 yards, behind a protective barrage that moved at a rate of 100 yards every 5 minutes, through three lines of German trenches and to the outskirts of the village itself.

On the left, the men of George’s brigade encountered stiff resistance from a strongpoint which had been untouched by the barrage and whose machine-guns kept doing damage to the advancing troops even when the redoubt had been surrounded. It held out for the remainder of the day and British casualties were high. George was one of the wounded: he had been shot in the back and thigh.

George was evacuated to a hospital at Etaples, far from the front line. Within days he had fallen seriously ill. On 24th November, his condition deteriorated and, at 5:15am on the 25th, George passed away. He was 21 years old.

George is buried in Etaples Military Cemetery. He is commemorated on the wooden memorial panels in All Saints’, Banstead, and St Mary’s, Burgh Heath, and on the Roll of Honour in the Burgh Heath War Memorial Hall.

George was commemorated on the 100th anniversary of his death, 25th November 2016, at All Saints’ Church, Banstead. A memorial service was held during which a bell was tolled 100 times.

Gunner Edwin Weller – Died of Wounds 31st October 1916

Edwin Albert Weller was born in Willesden, Middlesex, in mid-1891. He was the son of Edwin and Elizabeth and had ten brothers and sisters. The Wellers moved to Carshalton when he was a baby and then to Belmont when he was five years old; the family lived at 25 Queens Road. His father worked as a foreman for Sutton Water and Edwin became a plumber’s labourer and fitter for the water company.

In October 1912, Edwin married Jessie Minnie Skelton, the eldest daughter of Charles and Rosa Skelton, at Epsom Registry Office. The Skeltons were originally from Walton-on-the-Hill but moved to 10 Firtree Cottages in Pound Road, Banstead, in the early 1900s. Jessie worked as a general servant in a house called The Gables, which used to stand just off the Brighton Road between Ferndale Road and Lyme Regis Road. She found a new employer and moved to Sunnyside, Benhill Road, Sutton, working as a live-in servant. Edwin and Jessie setup home together at Wyborn Cottage, Grennell Road, Sutton.

On 18th January 1915, Edwin volunteered to serve with the Royal Field Artillery. He probably initially joined ‘D’ Battery of 70 Brigade. The 70th were equipped with 18-pounder field guns and were one of four brigades of the R.F.A. that provided artillery support to 15th (Scottish) Division. The 18-pounder was the British Army’s standard field gun during the war. It was mobile, although usually fired from pre-prepared gun pits, and drawn by a team of six horses. Each gun was manned by a crew of six with another four men keeping it supplied with ammunition. It could fire up to 20 rounds per minute for short periods (more typically 4 shells per minute during the heat of battle or a steady 2-per-minute for most barrages) and had a range of 6,500 yards or nearly 8,000 yards if properly dug in. 70 Brigade consisted of four 4-gun batteries known as ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ and ‘D’, each of which were split into two 2-gun sections, left and right; ‘A’ and ‘D’ made up one section and ‘B’ and ‘C’ formed the other.

They sailed to France in July 1915 and were based in the Mazingarbe/Vermelles area west of Loos. They fought in the Battle of Loos in September, supporting 15th Division’s capture of Loos and their unsuccessful attempt to break the German’s second line. They fired nearly 6,000 shells during the first two days of the battle. Autumn, Winter and Spring were passed in the same area, with both sides engaging in tit-for-tat shelling of the front line, nearby towns and batteries.

A reorganisation which broke up 73 (Howitzer) Brigade and converted it to 18-pounder brigade, saw ‘D’ Battery transferred to 73 Brigade in June 1916, becoming their ‘A’ Battery. They arrived on the Somme battlefield in August and took over guns that were worn out through the constant use that they had seen in the fighting; Edwin’s battery had only one working gun out of four when they first went into action. They had arrived after the capture of a large portion of the German second line during the Battle of Bazentin Ridge and they took part in the struggles to clear the remaining obstacles of High Wood and Delville Wood that must be taken before an advance on the third German defensive system could be made. That advance, the Battle of Flers-Courcellette, came in mid-September and 73 Brigade supported the successful attack of 15th Division on Martinpuich, spearheaded by two tanks. ‘A’ Battery moved forward during the fighting on the morning of the 15th to engage German batteries southeast of Le Sars. The initial advance did not lead to a breakthrough (15th Division’s advance was a rare complete success, even exceeding its objectives) and fighting continued for another week with little further progress.

Returning to the battlefield in early October after a rest, 73 Brigade took part in the fighting at Le Sars and Eaucourt l’Abbaye as the Army tried to advance northwards. Although they usually fired from long range, the guns were mobile and so could be quickly moved to follow up an advance, as they did in late October when the two sections of ‘A’ Battery leapfrogged each other in a move to Prue Copse, outside Flers, just a few hundred yards from enemy lines. Edwin was wounded, probably no later than 28th October, and, on the 31st, he died of his wounds at a casualty clearing station at Dernancourt.

Edwin is buried in Dernancourt Communal Cemetery Extension. His headstone inscription was chosen by Jessie: “Gone but not forgotten.” He is commemorated on the Banstead War Memorial, on the Garton Memorial in All Saints’ Churchyard and on Sutton War Memorial in Manor Park. He was 25 years old.

Edwin’s younger brother, John, also served as a gunner in ‘A’ Battery of 186 Brigade, R.F.A., and was killed in the war; he died on 5th July 1917, aged 24. John is buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetry, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. He has the same headstone inscription as his older brother and is also commemorated on the Sutton War Memorial.

Jessie moved back to Banstead, probably soon after Edwin left for France, lodging with the family living next door to her parents at 9 Firtree Cottages. Three of her brothers are being commemorated as part of Banstead’s World War One remembrance project: Thomas was commemorated in 2015, Alfred will be commemorated in April 2017 and Stanley in 2018.

Edwin was commemorated at All Saints’, Banstead, on the 31st October 2016, the 100th anniversary of his death. The bell was tolled by Ted Bond, a former gunner and Edwin’s nephew by marriage.