Windlesham schoolmaster who died at Jutland

Frank Vincent Wise served in the Royal Naval Reserve and was killed on 31st May 1916, when his ship, the H.M.S. Invincible was sunk at the Battle of Jutland. The story of his naval service is told in the following entry by Brian O’Connell:

https://www.surreyinthegreatwar.org.uk/story/signalman-frank-vincent-wise/

The only child of James Augustus and Katherine Wise, Frank’s parents moved from Henley, where they married, to Virginia Water in Surrey. It appears from census records that James was employed as an under-butler in the household of Constance de Morella and lived in her home whilst his family lived in 4 Christchurch Cottage, Virginia Water. James died in 1912, aged 50.

At the time of the 1911 census, Frank was attending Teacher Training College in London and was living at 26 Kitto Road, St Paul’s, Deptford. In 1915, when he joined up on 20th August, he was living with his mother, Katherine, at Glenisla, Updown Hill and his occupation was schoolmaster. He was described in the records as having brown hair, grey eyes and a fresh complexion. Pertinent perhaps for his service, the form noted that he ‘can swim’.

Writing in the Windlesham Roll of Honour, the Rev A.J. Hutton says of him:

‘Frank V. Wise was assistant Master at Windlesham Council School when war broke out. In August 1915, he joined the Royal Naval Defence and went into training at the Chrystal (sic) Palace where he specialized in signalling. 

On finishing his training, he was posted to H.M.S. Lion but was shortly afterwards transferred to H.M.S. Invincible where he combined the duties of Signaller with those of Teacher. He succeeded so well as a Teacher that he was to have been appointed to a Nautical School at Plymouth in July 1916; But on May 31st 1916 he went down with his ship the Invincible in the Battle of Jutland.’ 

The suggestion about his potential transfer is confirmed in his naval records:

held rating of signalman at time of death; question of transfer to schoolmaster to take effect on 15th July- under consideration’.

The records suggest he served on H.M.S. Pembroke rather that H.M.S. Lion.

In 1913 and 1915, Kelly’s Directory confirms Mrs Wise living in Glenisla, Pine Grove, Updown Hill, Windlesham; however there is no entry for her from 1918 onwards suggesting she may have moved away around the time of Frank’s death. CWGC report her address as Birkrigg, Chesterfield Road, Ashford, Middlesex.

Bibliography

Hutton A.J., date unknown, Windlesham Roll of Honour SHC Ref: Z_682_1 50A

Kelly’s Directory 1913, 1915, 1918, 1919

National Archive ADM 337/38/91 & ADM 339/1/42226

Memorial to Guildford’s 9th Congregational Scout Troop.

The 9th Guildford Congregational Scout Troop was formed in 1909 and met in the Centenary Hall in Chapel Street (what was more recently the Loch Fyne Restaurant).  The troop was linked with the Congregational Church which was sited on the corner of North Street and Leapale Road, Guildford.

During the war, along with other troops in the area, members of the 9th Congregational Troop were active in the community. For example, the Surrey Times and County Express reported on 18th September 1915 on a memorial service for three soldiers  which was attended by scouts including those from the 9th Congregational Troop. They state that ‘boy scouts, by reason of the excellence of their training, have proved their worth in the Great War’.

On 25th November 1916, the paper reported on a church parade of 9th Congregational Scouts held just before their scoutmaster left to take up work with the Red Cross in France. ‘Mr H V Jeffery….. was presented with a silver wristwatch on behalf of the scouts’. Harold Vivian Jeffery’s VAD card shows that he lived in 137 High Street, Guildford and  was 33 when he was engaged by the Red Cross as an ambulance driver at Boulogne. He earned 35 shillings at that time but, by the time his service ended in January 1919, his pay had risen to 41 shillings.

Another article on 25th November 1916 reported that 6000 troops were expected to be billeted in Guildford. This caused much excitement in the town because lighting restrictions, in place because of the fear of zeppelin attacks, were to be lifted. The paper tells of an advance party of 600 troops being served refreshments at Guildford station then ’marched to North Street where they were escorted to their billets by boys of 1st and 9th Scouts.’

It is thought that 83 former members of the troop together with 9 officers and scout leaders served in the forces. Of these, 11 were to die during the conflict. They were all between the ages of 18 and 22.

Clayton, W.V.

9th Congregational Scout Memorial, Guildford - 'Be prepared'

Title: 9th Congregational Scout Memorial, Guildford - 'Be prepared'
Description: Shows part of the memorial only - with scout motto. Photo taken by Moira Nairn by-nc

Facer, W.G.

Fisher, R

Greenway, A.J

Greenway, A.N.*

Jewesbury,M

Manning, R.C.

Prevett, G

Prior, W.E.

Richards, T

More information on each individual is recorded elsewhere on the site. They are listed on a memorial, now located in Holy Trinity Church Guildford.

The original memorial was dedicated in October  1919 by General Ellis and was sited in Centenary Hall.  The grey alabaster shield has, at the top, the Scout Fleur de Lis and the motto ‘BE PREPARED’.   Poignantly, at the bottom, is the scout trail sign for ‘Gone Home’.

9th Congregational Scout Memorial, Guildford - 'Gone Home'

Title: 9th Congregational Scout Memorial, Guildford - 'Gone Home'
Description: Shows part of the memorial sited now in Holy Trinity Church Guildford. Photo: Moira Nairn by-nc

Now badly pitted but with the names still legible, the memorial was re-dedicated on October 12 1991 after Alderman Bernard Parke  had found the memorial stored and campaigned for its preservation.  Dr Kenneth Stevenson agreed that it be placed in its present position in Holy Trinity Church. The dedication service was attended by several former scouts.

* Although shown on the memorial as ‘A.N.’, it should read ‘A.H’. The Greenaways both named were brothers.

My thanks to Bernard Parke for bringing the story of the scouts and their memorial to our attention and to Sarah Best for carrying out the biographical research.

Bibliography

Surrey Times and County Express, 3rd Edition, 18th September 1918, P6, Col C.

Surrey Times and County Express, 3rd Edition, 18th November 1916, P5, Col D.

Surrey Times and County Express, 25th November 1916, P5, Col B.

David Rose, The Guildford Dragon, 27th November 2011

David Rose and Bernard Parke, Guildford Remember When, Breedon Books 2007.

British Red Cross, First World War Volunteers https://vad.redcross.org.uk/

Images

Imperial War Museum War Memorials Register  – https://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/23305   (Copyright Mike Dawson (WMR-23305))

Other images: Moira Nairn

 

‘May 1st – I heard the nightingale’

Before the war, Albert Reynold’s life was that of a countryman. He had been brought up in Pirton in Hertfordshire where his father worked as an agricultural labourer and chimney sweep. By 1911, Albert had moved from the area with one of his brothers and was working as a groom for a family in Hertfordshire. Married to Caroline Bashford in 1907, he was living and, presumably employed, in the Croydon area. By the time of the 1911 census, they and their son, Albert John Louis Reynolds, had moved again, this time to Surrey, as Albert is shown as working as a gamekeeper at Fox Hills, near Ottershaw.

When he joined the Royal Garrison Artillery on 2nd June 1916, he was living in Laurel Cottage, Windlesham.

He embarked in Southampton on 18th January 1917, arriving in Le Havre the following day. In July 1917, he was admitted to hospital with an ankle injury and was invalided home for a spell after this. He returned to France in Spring 1918 only to be wounded in August of that year. He died of his wounds on 9th August 1918.

From the Rev A.J. Hutton’s tribute to Albert Reynolds in the Windlesham Book of Remembrance, we know that Albert kept a diary. Sadly, the whereabouts of this document are no longer known but we are lucky to have these excerpts which help us understand Albert’s thoughts as he fought in France.

The full tribute is shown below.

‘Albert Reynolds was born at Pirton in Hertfordshire. His wife & son were living in Windlesham, Surrey when he joined up on June 1st. He was then 33 years of age. He joined up in the Royal Garrison Artillery 139th Heavy Battery. During the rest of 1916 he was in training at Dover. On January 18th he left Aldershot for France landing at Havre on 19th & reaching Albert on 21st January 1917. He kept a diary from which we know that in 1917 he was moving about between Moulain, Haudricourt,  Dunkirk, St Omer & Rouen & Coyde.

In July whilst grass cutting they were shelled out of Haudricourt. On July 19 he met with an accident whilst fetching forage, which necessitated his going into hospital at St Omer. After undergoing Xrays at Rouen he was sent to Southampton by Hospital ship St George & from there to Leeds & Killingbeck Hospitals where he was until November when he came home on leave. On Jan 5th he left home again for Bullivant. On April 13th 1918 he left Winchester for France again. On April 25th he was in action  ‘1 gun knocked out’ All June and July judging from his diary he was ‘in action’ most of the time till on the 8th of August he was hit & on the 9th he died. He was very fond of natural history & birdlife as the following extract from his diary shows ‘1918. On 23rd March fine morning with heavy dew, the birds singing on the trees and the rooks busy building their nests. The sun was shining very hot towards the middle of the day; a butterfly was flying around and bumble bees were whirling past; thus ended a perfect day’

Another entry in the midst of others ‘in action comes-

May 1st I heard the nightingale’

His wife received a very touching& sympathetic letter from one of his comrades on behalf of himself & all his mates in sub section E as soon as the news of her husband’s death in hospital had reached them at their battery on August 9th 1918.

He was buried in the British Cemetery at Pernois.’

Caroline Reynolds was awarded a pension of 21/8 per week from 17th February 1919. A few weeks earlier, she had been in discussion with the army about the return of her husband’s effects. A document shows that whilst items such as a pierced shilling, a pipe, his belt a pocket knife, two bibles and a cigarette holder were returned, she raised the fact that she had not received his watch or gold ring.

Caroline collected his medals on October 8th 1921.

Bibliography

Hutton A.J., date unknown, Windlesham Roll of Honour SHC Ref: Z_682_1 35A& 35B

Arthur Hennis Perrott – ‘his loss makes a great blank in my day’

Born on 13th June 1885 in Shoeburyness, Essex, Arthur was the second son of Major-General Sir Thomas Perrott K.C.B. and his wife, Lady Gertrude Perrott. Both his parents were born in Youghall, Ireland but, as Sir Thomas was a career soldier who was commissioned into the Royal Artillery at the age of 19, the family lived in itinerant life. Arthur was educated at Windlesham House School (Sussex) and Wellington College (Berkshire).

Arthur Perrott was 13 when he started at Wellington in the Summer term of 1899. In Hill Dormitory, he played cricket and rugby, ran cross country and was made a prefect in his final term. His performance as a member of the First XV(rugby) is described as follows.

Arthur Hennis Perrott - School rugby performance

Title: Arthur Hennis Perrott - School rugby performance
Description: by permission of Wellington College archives by-nc

Whilst at Wellington, he applied for admission to the Royal Military Academy on 27th August 1903. He was at school until  December 1903. On Speech Day 1904 he was given an ‘Honourable Mention’ (i.e. runner-up) for a German Prize, and it was noted that he had gone on to Sandhurst.

He was gazetted to the Princess Charlotte of Wales’ (Royal Berkshire) Regiment in 1905, being appointed as Lieutenant in 1909. He served as A.D.C to the General Officer Commanding the Straits Settlements until 1913 when he was appointed Adjutant to his battalion (the Ist).

His battalion landed at Rouen on 13th August 1914 and he was killed less than one month later on 10th September 1914 towards the end of the Battle of the Marne. His battalion’s War Diary for the day reads:

‘Went about to deploy for further action against hostile artillery. Heavy Shell fire from left. ……Casualties Lt A. H. Perrott and 1 other rank killed. Other ranks 23 wounded……’.

He was buried in the churchyard of the Hautes-Vesne Aisne along with a private from his regiment. A letter from the British Red Cross Society written to his parents in November 1914 is held in Lieutenant Perrott’s file in the National Archive. It describes how the grave is marked with a simple wooden cross with the inscription ‘ Lieut. A.H. Perrott R.I.P.’ and the letter continues:

‘both those graves are well-kept and cut flowers are constantly renewed on them and in addition on that of Lt Perrott some small flowers are planted in the shape of a cross, while a little box is planted to mark the edges.’

His entry in the Roll of Honour published in the College Year Book is shown in this image:

Arthur Hennis Perrott Roll of Honour

Title: Arthur Hennis Perrott Roll of Honour
Description: College Year Book - by permission:Wellington College Archives by-nc

Commonwealth War Graves records show that he was subsequently exhumed and reburied in Oulchy-le-Chateau Churchyard Extension, France.

Arthur’s kit was sold at auction and added to his estate with the following personal items being retained for his family: prayer book, pocket book, silver pencil, wristwatch and revolver.

By the time probate was granted, Arthur’s parents were living in the Green Farm, Bagshot. Arthur is remembered on both Bagshot and Windlesham War Memorials. Further, the Rev A. J. Hutton of St John’s Church, Windlesham writes of Arthur in the Windlesham Roll of Honour:

‘Lieutenant and Adjutant Arthur H Perrott of the 1st Battalion of the Royal Berks Regiment left Aldershot from France on August 12th 1914. He was killed on Sept 10th 1914.

His colonel wrote to his parents –

“your son was my trusted & confidential friend during those days of retirement from Mons; he shared anxieties with me that no one else knew of. In action he was cool & collected and no matter how weary he did his work unflaggingly.-

As my Adjutant you know he had my fullest confidence. He was the most popular officer in the regiment and his loss makes a great blank in my days” ‘

As well as Windlesham, Bagshot and Wellington College, Arthur is further remembered some 400 miles away in the little church of St Colmon in Ayrshire. This beautiful church has a war memorial window by Louis Davis which is a memorial to family and friends of the McConnel* and Wellington* families who lost their lives on the First World War. The inscription below the window reads “To the glory of God and in memory of our kindred and guests whose lives were accepted in the Great War.” Arthur is one of over thirty names listed there.

 St Colmon Church WW1 memorial window

Title: St Colmon Church WW1 memorial window
Description: St Colmon Church, Colmonell Ayrshire; photograph: Moira NairnnArthur Hennis Perrott is remembered there. by-nc

St Colmon Church, WW1 Memorial plaque

Title: St Colmon Church, WW1 Memorial plaque
Description: St Colmon Parish Church, Colmonell, Ayrshire. Memorial plaque containing name of Arthur Hennis Perrott.nPhotograph by permission of Claire Pirrie, Session Clerk. by-nc

*The McConnels are a local family who owned Knockdolian Castle and estate in Ayrshire; members of the family are related by marriage to the Dukes of Wellington.

Bibliography

Hutton A.J., date unknown, Windlesham Roll of Honour SHC Ref: Z_682_1 34A

Kelly’s Directory 1913, 1915, 1918, 1919

National Archive WO339/6284

St Colmon Church Colmonell, Stained Glass Windows

Bagshot Roll of Honour (http://www.roll-of-honour.com/Surrey/Bagshot.html)

War Diary 1st Royal Berkshire Regiment – The Wardrobe (http://www.thewardrobe.org.uk/research/war-diaries/detail/38)

Photographs:

Imperial War Museum IWM HU116870 (https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205387040)

Window Plaque, St Colmon Church, Colmonell:  copyright: Claire Pirrie, Session Clerk, Colmonell

Stained Glass Window, St Colmon Church: copyright: Moira Nairn

Wellington College Roll of Honour and school records: with permission Wellington College Archives.

Walter James Tidbury – ill-health death of army reservist

Walter James Tidbury’s name is not recognised by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and he lies in Windlesham Additional Burial Ground in an unmarked grave. Whilst the reasons for the above are unclear, his service is recognised by the Rev A. J. Hutton in the Windlesham Roll of Honour. His is the last entry there and appears out of the alphabetical order followed by the Rev Hutton for the other entries. The Rev Hutton writes:

‘Walter J Tidbury, bombardier in the Royal Field Artillery, had been for some eight years in the army in India and was on Reserve when War was declared in August 1914. He had only two days left to finish his 2nd Class Reserve on August 4th 1914. He reported on Aug 5th at Woolwich, from where he was transferred to Portsmouth to train young recruits for the front. Here he held the rank of Lance Corporal or Bombardier having been a gunner in the R.F.A.

After about 6 months of this work, he was invalided home suffering from pleurisy which was followed by pneumonia. He was sent to hospital at Aldershot from where he was found to be suffering from consumption. He was pensioned off in 1915 dying on January 17th 1916 at his home in Windlesham.’

Born in Bagshot in 1879, Walter worked as a general labourer until he joined the army on 3rd August 1898. Giving his next of kin as his parents, who were by then living in Church Road, Windlesham, his attestation states that he was 5 foot 7.5 inches tall, weighed 130 pounds and had a 35inch chest. With hazel eyes, a fresh complexion and light brown hair, he had a scar on the palm of his right hand. After training, he was posted as a gunner in the Royal Artillery in 1899 and served in both the UK and India until 8th March 1906.

Later that year in Bagshot Parish Church, he married a widow, Julia Caroline Goddard, née Hickford. She already had a daughter, Margaret Francis Caroline Goddard born in 1902. Walter and Julia had a son, Walter Edward Tidbury in 1907. They lived in 2 Pleasant View, Updown Hill, Windlesham, sharing their home with Julia’s brother, Albert Hickford. Both men were working as carters in 1911.

Walter signed up to general service in the Army Reserve on 22nd August 1910. The Rev Hutton has described his service thereafter. Discharged on 10th March 1915 as ‘no longer fit for war service’ his total army service taken into account for his pension was 16 years and 21 days. In the opinion of the examining officer at Medical Board proceedings on 17th January 1915 ‘two years ago patient had a severe attack of pleurisy – since that time he has never been in robust health – but is becoming more troubled with cough and breathlessness and has lost his voice since November 1914. In my opinion military service did not cause the disease – but played an important part in aggravating it.’

Walter Tidbury Medical Board

Title: Walter Tidbury Medical Board
Description: National Archive Ministry of Pension and Insurance PIN 82/168/28 GBM_WO363-4_007281154_00063 by-nc

Julia lived in Herring Lane, Windlesham until around 1930 when she moved back to Pirbright where she had lived at the time of her marriage to Walter.

Bibliography

Hutton A.J., date unknown, Windlesham Roll of Honour SHC Ref: Z_682_1 52A

National Archives – Ministry of Pension and Insurance PIN 82/168/28

British Army Service Records  WO363

Windlesham Parish Council Burial Records (online).

Charles Magrath Fendall – a ‘most modest, likeable, quiet, shy, amenable boy’.

The Fendall family have long associations with Windlesham.

Charles Bathurst Fendall married Frances Cecilia Pears in St John’s Church Windlesham on December 30th 1858. Charles Bathurst, whose father, William, served in the Army, had been born in India. Charles Bathurst himself was a schoolmaster and clerk in holy orders. At the time of the 1861 census, he was living with his family in Hatton Hall and by 1871, they were living in Woodcote House.

Charles Bathurst and Frances had five children – Mary, Frances, Arthur, Walter and Charles Pears.

Charles Pears was to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps and join the army, he too serving in India where he met and married Rose Emily Ryan. Their three surviving children, Charles Magrath, Frances May and William Pears were all born in Bengal.

Charles, A.J., Emily, and Cecilia Fendall gathered around the stooks in a field near Okotoks. Courtesy of Elaine Thomas (relation)

Charles Magrath Fendall, born in 1892, was educated in the U.K. He probably attended Woodcote School under the care of his grandfather. Subsequently he was a pupil at Downside school in Somerset.

Canada passenger lists show he travelled to Calgary on the Dominion with his Uncle Arthur and his wife Emily. The 1911 census of Canada indicates that he was working as a labourer in Alberta. His Uncle Arthur was living nearby working as a farmer.

There are no detailed records of when exactly Charles Magrath Fendall returned to the UK.  At the time he applied for a commission in October 1914, his address was given as ‘Erica’, Wokingham, Berkshire’.

The Late CM Fendall

Title: The Late CM Fendall
Description: Berkshire and The War The Reading Standard pictorial record. Volume 2. p 297 - permission Reading Borough Library by-nc

The Reverend A J Hutton’s entry in the Windlesham Roll of Honour explains his service briefly:-

‘Charles McGrath Fendall was born August 29th 1892. Commissioned as Temporary 2nd Lieutenant R.F.A. October 1914. Gazetted Temporary Lietnt R.F.A. 1st Dec 1915. He was present at the Battle of Loos Sept 1915 with the Artillery of the 9th Scottish Division. 1915 Star.  War Medal. Victory Medal’

Farewell to Charles Fendall, as published in the Okotoks Review newspaper. Courtesy of Elaine Thomas (relation)

Charles Magrath died on 14th December 1915.  Downside School’s records indicate that his battery had been heavily shelled and he was killed by a shell which struck the office in which he was working.  In their book, letters to his parents are recorded and include the following:

‘The boy was killed by a shell, instantaneously, on the 14th. All our batteries have been getting rather heavily shelled lately. We know of no particular reason except that we are in a salient and, as the leaf comes off the trees, we possibly become visible – flashes at all events – to some enemy points, or observation balloons, or aeroplanes. I saw him myself about two days before. There is not much consolation in my telling you how much we all liked the boy. He was the most modest, likeable, quiet, shy, amenable boy. The cruel part is that we were just going out to ‘rest’, so called, and next week would have seen us out of this and in a back line temporarily. The division has lost a gallant soldier and a good gunner. I can’t bring myself in these times to pity a youngster who dies a gallant death for his country, but I do pity his father and mother’

Death notice for Charles Fendall. Courtesy of Elaine Thomas (relation)

A letter to his father, by now a Colonel based in Dover Castle, is dated 21st January 1916 and held in Charles Magrath Fendall’s Officer’s file within the National Archive. It reads:

‘The Military Secretary presents his compliments to Colonel Charles P Fendall and begs to inform him that a report has just been received from Army Headquarters in the Field which states that the burial place of the late Lieutenant C M Fendall of the Royal Field Artillery is as follows: “Ref Map: – Trench Map and part of Sheet 228 square I 26.b. 80.5.5. The grave is marked with a cross” The Military Secretary ventures to send this information now as Colonel Fendall may not previously have received it.’

 

 

 

A sketch map showing this position was attached.

Sketch map showing position of Charles Fendall's grave

Title: Sketch map showing position of Charles Fendall's grave
Description: National Archive WO339/24941; photograph Moira Nairn July 2018 by-nc

In February 1916, his mother wrote to the authorities confirming that her son had left no will. By this time, her husband, Colonel Fendall, was serving with the East African Expeditionary Force. A note in Charles Magrath’s file from March 1916 states that ‘all personal belongings were taken to England by a servant of the deceased and handed to his mother.’ His brother, William, had written to the Army requesting that the property be despatched to the U.K. by passenger train rather than goods train.

By 1920 when he applied for his son’s medals, Charles’ father was a Brigadier General. By then, the family were living again in the Windlesham area, in St Mary’s Cottage, South Ascot. Charles Pears Fendall died in 1933; his wife Emily dying four years later. Both are buried in Dorset.

Charles Magrath Fendall on the Okotoks Cenataph. Courtesy of Elaine Thomas (relation).

Bibliography

Hutton A.J., date unknown, Windlesham Roll of Honour SHC Ref: Z_682_1 20A

O.S.B. Dom Lucius Graham, 20th June 2006, Downside and the War 1914-1919 P127&128

National Archive WO 339/24941

National Archive WO 372/7/39965

Reading Borough Library –Berkshire and The War the Reading Standard pictorial record. Volume 2. p 297

https://angloboerwar.com/index.php/medals-and-awards/non-boer-war/1886-distinguished-service-order-victorian-1886-1902?option=com_grid&gid=24_pq_0&p=6

William McGildowny, D.S.O.

Now a landscape park on the County Antrim coast, William McGildowny’s family occupied Clare Park in Ballycastle from the 18th century. William’s father, John served as Deputy Lieutenant for the county.

One of a family of six, William was educated at Charterhouse, as was one of his elder brothers, Robert.  Charterhouse records show that Robert joined the Royal Artillery in 1884 but was killed in a fall from his horse in Kirkee, India in 1889. William, in Weekites at Charterhouse after his brother, left there in 1887, following again in his brother’s footsteps by joining the Royal Artillery shortly afterwards.

Joining as a Second Lieutenant, he was appointed Lieutenant on 27th July 1892, Captain on 20th September 1899 and he retired on 27th July 1905. However, The London Gazette on 28th September 1915 shows him appointed Captain (Honorary Major) Adjutant on 9th September 1915. He was awarded D.S.O. and died of wounds in May 1917.

The Rev A.J. Hutton provided an entry in the Windlesham Roll of Honour for all men on the Windlesham War Memorial and that for William McGildowny is reproduced below.

‘Major William McGildowny went over to France in 1915 as Adjutant to Colonel Kaye R.A. in the Royal Siege Artillery. In January 1916 he returned to England to form a Battery of Siege Artillery which he took out to France in August of the same year. He was on the Somme and received the D.S.O. for his services there. In January 1917 his battery was moved up to Arras and on May 26th 1917 he was killed in a very heavy bombardment of our line by the enemy. We had recently taken over this part of the line from the French to relieve them. He was buried quite close to where he fell at the little village of Laurent Blangy about a mile North of Arras in a small cemetery there which is beautifully cared for by gardeners from our own country.

Major McGildowny was educated at Charterhouse and passed into Woolwich from there in 1887 at the age of 17. He retired in 1907 & was on the Reserve of Officers when war broke out.’

William McGildowny and his wife, Agnes Elizabeth Honora (known as Honora), lived in High Chimneys, Westwood Road, Windlesham. They married on 15th June 1901. Kelly’s Directory shows Honora continued to live there after his death until she re-married aged 40 on January 23rd 1922. Honora herself died in 1966.

William is remembered in France, Windlesham, Ballycastle (both in Ramoan Parish Church and on the town War Memorial) and Charterhouse.

Charterhouse Weekites memorial - McGildowny

Title: Charterhouse Weekites memorial - McGildowny
Description: By permission of Charterhouse School by-nc

McGildowny -Ramoan Parish Church board

Title: McGildowny -Ramoan Parish Church board
Description: Photograph by permission of Ramoan Parish Church, Ballyc by-nc

 

Bibliography

Hutton A.J., date unknown, Windlesham Roll of Honour SHC Ref: Z_682_1 31A

London Gazette, 28th September 1915

The Carthusian, June 1917

Kelly’s Directory 1913, 1915, 1918, 1919

National Archive WO372/24/40135

National Archive WO372/12/230830

National Archive WO24/77874

Photographs:

Weekites memorial, Charterhouse School: Courtesy of Charterhouse School

Ramoan Parish Church Roll of Honour board: courtesy of Ramoan Parish Church,Ballycastle

Rowley Snowden – life saved by hip flask

Rowley Chaplin Snowden is remembered in St John the Baptist Church, Windlesham, on the St Albans* memorial board in the south porch there. Both he and his wife, Elsie (Elizabeth) are buried in the churchyard.  Rowley died in 1931 and Elizabeth in 1946.

Rowley Snowden (also known as ‘Chips’) and Elsie (née Fletcher) married on 24th October 1907 in the Parish of Eastham near Chester. Residents of Windlesham for many years, they moved there probably in 1908 shortly after their marriage. The 1911 census shows that they lived in Windlesham Cottage, London Road, with their three sons, Arthur Chaplin, Geoffrey and Raymond. The house remained in the family until 1986 when Chaplin (Chappie), who lived there with his wife, died.

Rowley Snowden - Windlesham Cottage (800x486)

Title: Rowley Snowden - Windlesham Cottage (800x486)
Description: By permission of the Snowden family by-nc

When war was declared, Rowley was working as a Member at Lloyds. He was a Liveryman of the Worshipful  Company of Saddlers (as were his children, grandchildren and now great-grandchildren). He joined the Inns of Court Officer Training Corps on 8th March 1915 and was discharged from there to his commission as a Second Lieutenant in 3/5th Bedfordshires (attached Royal Warwickshire) on 25th August  1915. His application form confirms him to be in good health and he was declared fit for service.

Rowley Snowden (669x800)

Title: Rowley Snowden (669x800)
Description: By permission of the Snowden family. by-nc

He was sent to France on 16th July 1916 but had to leave his unit on August 27th 1916 when he was wounded, in the fighting for Mouquet Farm, part of the Battle of Pozières (23rd July-3rd September 1916). Family records show that, when he was shot, he was somewhere between Constance and Skyline Trenches. His life was saved by his hip flask (still held by the family complete with bullet indentation).

Rowley Snowden hipflask rear

Title: Rowley Snowden hipflask rear
Description: By permission of the Snowden family. by-nc

Although he relinquished his commission on 4th August 1917, he continued to attend medical boards until April 1918 when he was discharged on the grounds of disability. The Board noted the causes to be, firstly, a gunshot wound to the left elbow and, secondly, pulmonary tuberculosis.

Rowley returned to Windlesham Cottage where he was to live for the rest of his life. His family report ‘he never recovered his full strength but was happy being in a place he loved’.

During the period of Rowley’s service overseas, Elsie became part of the VAD. Red Cross archives show that she carried out 192 hours of pantry duties in Windlesham Auxiliary Hospital over 1916-1917.

Elizabeth Snowden

Title: Elizabeth Snowden
Description: By permission of the Snowden family by-nc

*St Albans was a chapel of ease on London Road, Windlesham.

My thanks to the family of Rowley and Elizabeth Snowden (Annabel Lang, Janie Deyong and David Snowden) for providing photos and information about their grandparents.

Bibliography

National Archive WO374/64041

British Red Cross WW1 personnel  index card

Windlesham PCC Burial  Records

Percy George Dennis

Although not initially clear why Percy is noted on the Windlesham War Memorial, investigations show that his mother, Minnie, was baptised in St John the Baptist Church, Windlesham, the daughter of Joseph and Eliza Peto, both of whom are buried in Windlesham Additional Burial Ground. Percy’s father, David Adolphus Dennis was living in nearby Sunninghill with his widowed mother, Elizabeth. David and Minnie married in 1895. David was a career soldier, serving in the 1st Battalion Durham Light Infantry from 1888. Percy and his siblings were born in a variety of locations – Aldershot, Dublin and Barnard’s Castle.

The Rev A J Hutton tells Percy’s story in the Windlesham Roll of Honour:

‘Percy G Dennis was born on November 14th 1898 and joined up in August 1915 in the 1st Battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers. He joined the Regular Army intending to serve seven years & five in the Reserve. The Regiment is known as the Old&Bold and the Fighting Fifth. He was trained at the Depot in Newcastle on Tyne. In June 1916 he went across to France to join his Battalion. In February 1916 he had been promoted to Lance Corporal ands in Janaury 1917 he was promoted Corporal. He was sent home with frozen feet in Decber 1916 and rejoined his battalion again in April 1917. He was badly wounded at Ypres in both arms and chest in May 1917 when he was sent to England. When he rejoined he was sent to the 1/7 Battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers, who were in the fighting line of the Ypres Salient, this was in Decber  1917. He was killed on Dec 31st 1917 by a shell as they were leaving the trenches; nine men were killed including an officer a sergeant and Percy Dennis. He was buried in South Paschendaele, North East Ypres.’

Bibliography

Hutton A.J., date unknown, Windlesham Roll of Honour SHC Ref: Z_682_1 16A

Brian Calkin – St Paul’s chorister and ‘splendid type of young manhood’

Brian Calkin, an ex-St Paul’s chorister and Repton schoolboy, left school to work with his father in the City (Messrs Henry Head &Company Ltd) at the outbreak of war.  He joined the Inns of Court OTC  in June 1915 from where he was discharged to a commission in the 3rd Queen’s Royal West Surrey’s on 20th August 1915. His attestation papers show that he was 6ft 3/4inch tall with a 37 1/2 inch chest.  His application form for a commission was signed by his mother as he was under the age of 21.  He served in France from age 18. His medical reports show that he was gassed twice, once in June 1917 and then at Ypres in September 1917.

Brian Calkin St Paul's chorister

Title: Brian Calkin St Paul's chorister
Description: Photograph courtesy of Paul Calkin and family by-nc

The Kitchener Military Hospital reported ‘He has completely recovered from the effects of shell gas poisoning of the mustard variety’.

After each of these episodes, he returned to France. Whilst on embarkation leave in early 1918, he fell ill with German Measles and was hospitalised in the London Fever Hospital. He was declared fit for service on 19th March 1918. He returned to France for a third time and was killed in action at Loos on 10th July 1918.

Repton School Memorial B Calkin 1 (453x640)

Title: Repton School Memorial B Calkin 1 (453x640)
Description: Photograph courtesy of Paul Stevens, Repton School Archive by-nc

He is remembered in St Paul’s Cathedral, Hampstead, where he was brought up, Repton School and Windlesham where his parents had a country house. The Rev A.J. Hutton provided an entry in the Windlesham Roll of Honour for all men on the Windlesham War Memorial and that for Brian Calkin is reproduced below.

‘Lieutnt Brian P.B. Calkin was in his 21st year* when he joined up.

His parents then had a small country house at Windlesham, Brian Calkin had had five years of his earliest education at St Paul’s Cathedral choir School and had taken part in King George’s & Queen Mary’s Coronation Service in Westminster Abbey. Passing on to Repton, his public school days were cut short by the war & he entered his father’s office at 16 years of age &  insisted then on doing special constable’s work at night . In the Spring of the following year & six month’s under military age, he joined the Inns of Court O.T.C.  and obtained a Commission in August in the 3rd Queen’s RW Surreys. At Sittingbourne, being very keen on physical development, he specialised in & became master of physical training & bayonet fighting to his battalion. His love of music & his interest in his men was such that he gave all his spare time to giving concerts for them. His Orders first took him to France in August 1916, where with the exception of trench fever all went well with him until the following July 1917 when he was gassed. Having recovered from this, he had only rejoined his Regiment a few weeks when he was badly gassed again and invalided to Hospital at Brighton, where he remained some months unfit for service abroad. At Sittingbourne after leaving hospital, he took up his old work of physical training until on April 20th 1918 he left for France for the last time. Here was attached to the 8th Queen’s and was 2nd in command of his company; he was, in fact, temporarily commanding it when on the morning of July 10th 1918 he was struck down & killed by a trench mortar bomb. Later his body was recovered & laid to rest in the military cemetery outside Bethune. His Colonel writes of him: ‘He was more than usually competent for his years, and was completely confident that things would run all right when he was in charge’. The Sittingbourne Gazette writing of him after his death says ‘He was of a bright, cheery nature, a splendid type of young manhood, and the news of his death has quite a gloom over the battalion for he was a favourite with officers & men alike.’’

St Paul's Choristers memorial - B Calkin

Title: St Paul's Choristers memorial - B Calkin
Description: Photograph permission of Hannah Woolley, St Paul's Cathedral. by-nc

*Rev Hutton appears to have incorrectly described Brian as 21 when he joined up. He was probably just over 17.

 

Bibliography

 

Hutton A.J., date unknown, Windlesham Roll of Honour SHC Ref: Z_682_1 12A; Z_682_1 12B

National Archive WO339/39183

De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour 1914-1924

 

Photographs:

Brian Calkin, Chorister: courtesy of Paul Calkin and family

Brian Calkin, office: courtesy of Paul Stevens, Repton School Archives

Repton School Memorial: courtesy  of Paul Stevens, Repton School Archives

St Paul’s Choristers Memorial: with permission of Hannah Woolley, St Paul’s Cathedral