Baptisms of the son and daughter of Thomas Henry Lane

The 1906-1918 Baptism Register for St. Mary the Virgin, Horsell, contains the baptism records for Norman Murray and Norah Minnie Lane, son and daughter of Thomas Henry Lane and Alice Minnie Lane (née Elson). Although born in 1908, Norah Minnie Lane was not baptised until 21 May 1916, only some four months before the death of her father at The Camp, Sittingbourne, Kent.

Horsell Bapts Page 087

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Horsell Bapts Page 003

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Images courtesy of N. C. Kurn.


Ernest Albert Walls – Prisoner of War

Ernest Albert Walls was born on March 28, 1896, at Send, Woking, and baptised on May 24 1896, the second son of Alfred Ernest Walls and Emily Walls (née Barnett), and younger brother of Herbert William Walls, who was killed in action on 25 September 1915.

Ernest Walls joined the Northumberland Fusiliers as a Private on 3 March 1915, and was posted to the Western Front. Just over two months later, on 8 May 1915, possibly during the Battle of Frezenberg Ridge [?], he was captured by the German Army at Ypres in Belgium, serving out the remainder of the conflict as a prisoner of war at the Cellelager Camp near Hanover.

After his return to England, he married Constance Iris Charlotte Evershed at Holy Trinity, Guildford, on 21 September 1921, remaining in the district for some years after. He died in the first quarter of 1973 in the Worthing Registration District of West Sussex.

Sources: Baptism, marriage and Service Medal & Award records –; Prisoner of War records – catalogued under ‘WALL, NORTHUMBERLAND FUSILIERS’ at (Last card in series, PA Nos. 4339 & 7761)

Death of George Edward Hardwick(e), January 1924

The following are unexpugated transcripts of the reports in the Woking News & Mail of the suicide of George Edward Hardwick(e) and subsequent inquest held by Gilbert H. White, Coroner for West Surrey, in January 1924. George Edward Hardwick(e) was the father of George Henry Edward Hardwick, his only son.

Please be aware that these reports contain details which some readers may find distressing.



Woking Man’s Death

A sensational discovery was made at Woking on Wednesday morning, when Mr. George E. Hardwicke, of 45, Arthurs Bridge Road, Woking, was found lying in a pool of blood in a room at his house, and was removed to hospital in a very critical condition.

Hardwicke, who is 68 years of age, is a carpenter, who has lived in the district for many years. He is married, but for some time past his wife has been under treatment in hospital at Guildford, and during her absence Hardwicke has had a housekeeper to help in the house.

It was the housekeeper who discovered Hardwicke on Wednesday morning, and examination showed that his throat had been severely cut, and he also had a cut on the wrist. Presumably the wounds had been inflicted with a carving knife, which was found close by.

The injured man was at once conveyed to the Woking Cottage Hospital, where he was attended by Dr. R. Stafford Foss, and everything possible was done for him. His condition was very critical yesterday (Thursday), and his injuries are so severe that little hope is entertained for his recovery.

As we go to press, we learn that Hardwicke passed away at 7 o’clock last (Thursday) evening.

(Source: Woking News & Mail, Friday, February 22nd, 1924, page 5)




Housekeeper’s Distressing Discovery.

Worry due to his wife’s long absence from home, in hospital, was stated to be the cause of the suicide of George Edward Hardwicke, aged 68, a carpenter, living at 45, Arthur’s Bridge Road, Woking, whose tragic death was recorded in our last issue. Hardwicke was found at his home with his throat cut and an injury to his wrist early on Wednesday morning of last week. He was removed to Woking Cottage Hospital in a critical condition, and, despite every attention, passed away the following (Thursday) evening.

The circumstances attending the distressing occurrence were investigated at the inquest held at Woking Police Court on Friday by the West Surrey Coroner, Mr. Gilbert H. White, who sat without a jury.

Anticipating Wife’s Return.
Evidence of identification was given by Mrs. Gertrude Hutton, a sister-in-law of deceased’s wife, living at 10, Havelock Road, South Wimbledon. She said she was the widow of Mrs. Hardwicke’s younger brother, and had known deceased intimately for many years. She last saw him alive on Sunday, when witness visited the infirmary at Guildford to see Mrs. Hardwicke. Deceased was with his wife at the time.

Mrs. Hardwicke, the witness explained, was suffering from a fractured thigh as a result of an accident, and had been in hospital for 12 weeks. Witness had not visited Woking since the autumn, but she was at the Guildford infirmary just before Christmas. Deceased and his wife had no family, their only son having died on service during the war. Witness understood deceased had a housekeeper.

When witness saw deceased on Sunday he seemed in very good spirits indeed, because his wife was expected to leave the infirmary to come home on the following Saturday. Witness added that deceased had a sister who was in Kingston infirmary suffering from a poisoned arm, which had had to be amputated.

Housekeeper’s Discovery.
Mrs. Packham, deceased’s housekeeper, was then called. She said she had no permanent home, but had been living at 45, Arthur’s Bridge Road. She was a widow, and had acted as Mr. Hardwicke’s housekeeper since his wife went away in December. Witness had lodged there before this, and Mrs. Hardwicke asked her to look after her husband. Deceased had never complained, but said witness did very well for him. Except for a bilious attack on the previous Monday deceased had had good health. After going to the infirmary on Sunday he seemed very pleased at the prospect of his wife returning in a few days. Deceased was away from work on Monday and Tuesday on account of his bilious attack, but arranged to go to work on Wednesday morning. On Wednesday, about 6.15 or 6.30 a.m., witness heard deceased go downstairs as usual. He was in the habit of getting his own breakfast. As witness did not hear him about afterwards she went down about 7 o’clock and found him lying back in an easy chair in the kitchen. At first witness thought he had broken a blood vessel, as there was a quantity of blood on his clothing. Witness went for the assistance of a neighbour, and when she returned she saw a knife lying by deceased’s side. She added that Hardwicke seemed quite cheerful when he went to bed the previous evening.

‘I Was Worried About My Wife.’
Dr. Reginald Stafford Foss, who saw deceased at the Cottage Hospital on Wednesday morning, said he had a very severe laceration of the throat, which had destroyed the greater part of the larynx and also entered the gullet. He died from exhaustion and shock on Thursday evening. There was no doubt that the wound was self-inflicted. Deceased also had a wound in his wrist.
Insp. H. Rendell, of the Woking Police, said at 7.15 a.m. on Wednesday he visited deceased’s house and found him sitting in an armchair close by the fire suffering from a wound in the throat and wrist.

Witness sent for Dr. Foss, who advised the deceased’s removal to the Cottage Hospital. About 18 inches from deceased’s feet witness found a large carving knife covered with blood, and deceased’s hands were covered with blood also.

He was incapable of speech, but as he seemed anxious to convey something witness gave him a piece of paper and a pencil upon which he wrote the following:—‘I was so worried about my poor wife. God bless her. The woman I have is a terror.’

No Suggestion of Bad Treatment.
The inspector added that in the presence of deceased the housekeeper explained to him that she did not wish deceased to have some pastry the previous day.

The Coroner said there could be no doubt whatever that deceased took his own life, and there was little doubt that he was not responsible for his action at the time. There was no suggestion that he had been badly treated. The verdict would be one of ‘Suicide whilst of unsound mind.’

The Coroner asked Mrs. Packham if she was still looking after the house.

Mrs. Packham: Yes, but I want to get out. I suppose I can now?

Mrs. Hutton said she would be remaining for a day or two, and would be arranging for the funeral.

The Coroner remarked that it was a very sad case, with deceased’s wife in the infirmary. This would be a great shock to her.

Mrs. Hutton: I am just going to see her now.

(Source: Woking News & Mail, Friday, February 29th, 1924, Page 2)

Elsie Matilda Goring Marries, 5 April 1924

The following is a transcript of a report in the Woking News and Mail of the marriage of the sister of William George Henry Goring at the Woking Wesleyan Church on April 5th, 1924. As the report states, before she and her new husband left for their honeymoon, Elsie Matilda Hall (née Goring) placed her bridal bouquet on the Woking War Memorial in memory of her brother.



A pretty wedding was solemnised at the Woking Wesleyan Church on Saturday, when two well-known local families, both of whom are engaged in business as contractors, were united. The bride was Miss Elsie Matilda Goring, daughter of Mr. G. Goring, builder and contractor, and Mrs. Goring, of 39, Royal Oak Road, and Well Lane, Horsell, and the bridegroom Mr. Geo. Albert Hall, second son of Mr. and Mrs. Hall, of 18, North Road, Woking. The ceremony was conducted by the Rev. Alfred Smith, minister of the church.

The bride, who was given away by her father, wore a pretty dress of white crepe de chine with satin train. Her veil was surmounted by a wreath of orange blossom, and she carried a lovely bouquet. Miss Elizabeth Ellen Goring and Mis{s} Ivy Isabella Goring, sisters of the bride, were in attendance as bridesmaids, and were daintily attired in frocks of blue crepe de chine with striped silver waistbands, and bands of silver over their hair. They wore gold brooches, the gifts of the bridegroom, and carried bouquets of mixed flowers. Mr. George J. Goring fulfilled the duties of best man.

Over thirty guests attended a reception held at the home of the bride’s parents after the ceremony, and later the newly-married couple left for their honeymoon, which is being spent in London, the bride travelling in a grey costume with hat to match. Before leaving the bride placed the bouquet at the base of the Woking War Memorial in memory of her brother.
Mr. and Mrs. G. A. Hall were the recipients of over a hundred wedding presents.

(Source: Woking News & Mail, Friday, April 11th, 1924, page 5)


Alfred Ernest Walls – Obituary

The following is a transcription of the Obituary of Mr. Alfred Ernest Walls, of Send, which appeared in the Woking News & Mail, Friday, 2 January, 1920, page 2.

The death occurred in the Surrey County Hospital on Monday of Mr. Alfred Ernest Walls, of Thurlow Villas, Send. The deceased, who was 50 years of age, had worked for the River Wey Navigation Co. for a great many years, and was the local secretary of the National Deposit Friendly Society. For about 25 years he had been a member of the Parish Church Choir. He leaves a widow, three sons and three daughters. His eldest son—Pte. Herbert Walls, the Queen’s—was killed at the Battle of Loos, and Pte. Ernest Albert Walls, Northumberland Fusiliers, the second son, was a prisoner of war in Germany.
The funeral will take place on Saturday afternoon at Send Church.

(A report of the funeral appeared in the Woking News & Mail, Friday, 9 January, 1920, page 3.)

Murder of Farnham War Veteran in Hong Kong

The following is a transcript of the report of the alleged murder in Hong Kong on 14 December 1919, of James Leslie (or Leslie James) Speed, formerly of Farnham (Source: Woking News and Mail, Friday, January 2, 1920, page 3).



News reached Farnham this week of the sad fate of Mr. Leslie James Speed, second son of the late Mr. George Speed and of Mrs. Speed, of the Borough.
Mr. Speed was an officer on the staff of the Victoria Prison at Hong Kong, and, according to an official cable which his mother has received, he was murdered on Dec. 14th by an escaped convict.
Details of the crime are not yet to hand.
The news created a painful sensation at Farnham, where the family are so well known and esteemed, and many expressions of sympathy have been received by the family, particularly from residents who had been out to Hong Kong and had made the acquaintance of the deceased when home on leave from service in France.
Thrice Wounded and Gassed in the War.
He was one of the first to respond to the appeal of the old country in 1914 and joined King Edward’s Horse, the fine overseas dominion regiment. He was wounded for the first time during the Irish Rebellion, again whilst fighting on the Italian Front, and at Ypres he was both wounded and gassed.
It seems particularly hard that, having survived the dangers of war, he should have fallen so cruelly at the hands of an assassin
Mr. Speed married whilst stationed in Ireland, and leaves a widow and a young child in Dublin. Only at Christmas his wife received a letter in characteristically cheery vein from him, telling her that the furnishing of their quarters had been completed, and that everything was ready for her coming out. Mrs. Speed was to have sailed early in the New Year.
The deceased had held his appointment for several years prior to the outbreak of war, and had not many years more to serve before he would become entitled to retire on a pension.
Sportsman and Chorister
He was an old scholar of West Street Council Schools, and will be remembered as an enthusiastic all-round sportsman. During his school career he was the champion swimmer, and he was a well-known cricketer and footballer. He was a choirboy at the Parish Church, acting as leading solo boy.
Deceased only returned to Hong Kong in July last. He was a loyal son of the Empire, and it was characteristic of him that as he bade his mother good-bye he should declare, ‘If there’s another war I shall be the first to come’.

James Leslie Speed was born circa April 1890 in Farnham, Surrey and baptised 5 May 1890 at the Parish church of St. Andrew, Farnham, the son of George Speed of Sandwich, Kent and Olive Speed (née Brooker) of Tonge, Kent.

The time-line of his military career is not entirely clear from the surviving records but at the time of his application to join the Royal Garrison Artillery at the age of 19 years and five months in August 1909, he was already serving with the 5th Battalion Queen’s Regiment. He was posted to Hong Kong, but in January, 1912, at his own request and on payment of £18, he was discharged from the Royal Garrison Artillery. Although the Woking News & Mail stated at the time that Speed joined the King Edward’s Horse in 1914, there is a passenger manifest dated 1 January 1916 which shows Speed returning to England from Hong Kong via Sydney and giving his occupation as a Hong Kong policemen. It may be that he joined the King Edward’s Horse whilst in Hong Kong since, in his service records, it is noted that he was refunded £9 of the £18 he had payed to leave the RGA and also that he was at that time (17 April 1916) in the 1st King Edward’s Horse.

Historical records suggest that the King Edward’s Horse transferred to Ireland in April 1916 and it may be that James Speed went to Ireland with the Regiment at this time. At any rate, on 4 October 1917, he married Annie Nolan at St. Laurence O’Toole Catholic Church in North Dublin and  fathered a son. In December 1917, his regiment moved to Italy and then to France in March 1918, where it remained until the end of the war. At some point thereafter, Speed returned to Hong Kong and served as an officer at Victoria Prison until his death on 14 December 1919.

IN MEMORIAM – Doris Luker


LUKER.—In loving memory of our dear Doris (Dot), Q.M.A.A.C., who died in France, Feb. 13th, 1919.—Sadly missed by Mum, Dad and Effie.

Source: Woking News & Mail, Friday 13 February, 1920, Page 5 (and subsequent years).


IN MEMORIAM – Richard Coward


COWARD.—ln loving memory of John Coward, of 143, Church Street, Woking, who died January 13th, 1919; also of Corpl. R. Coward, died in France, Nov. 29th, 1918.

Source: Woking News & Mail, 16 January, 1920, Page 3.

IN MEMORIAM – William George Bartlett


BARTLETT.—In ever-loving memory of our dearest and only son, William George Bartlett, R.N., who passed away January 16th, 1919, aged 21.
On the Resurrection morning, soul and body meet again.
No more sorrow; no more weeping.
No more pain.

Source: Woking News & Mail, Friday, 16 January, 1920, Page 3.

Lost in the H.M.S. Opal Accident, Cletts of Crura, Orkney, 12 January 1918


DENYER.—ln loving memory of Jack, eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Denyer, Goldsworth Road, St. John’s, late of H.M.S. Opal, T.B.D., who went down with his comrades January 12th, 1918.
To live in the hearts of those we love is not to die.

Source: Woking News & Mail, Friday, 16 January 1920, page 3 (and subsequent years).