Major Maurice Nasmith Perrin

Researched and written by Anne Wright

Major M N Perrin
Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC)
Killed, 28.4.1919
Age, 32

Maurice Nasmith Perrin married Susan Frances Preston at St. James’ Church, Weybridge on 28 August 1917. The bride, a resident of Weybridge, was the daughter of Walter and Susan (nee Davidson) Preston of Curlew Hope, Mayfield Road. The groom was already a serving officer with the RAMC which he had joined in August 1914.

He had been born on 28 April 1887 in Hampstead, London to Henry and Ida Southwell (nee Robins) Perrin. His only sister Muriel followed two years later. Henry was a successful merchant and Ida an artist and sculptress. Their home in 1901 was at 23, Holland Villas Road, Kensington. Maurice was educated at University College Preparatory School, followed by Clifton College where he did a special science course in the sixth form. He went up to Pembroke College, Cambridge in 1906 and graduated in Natural Sciences in 1909. Maurice registered at St Bartholomew’s Hospital on 23 September 1909 to pursue his medical studies. He emerged in 1913 with a Bachelor of Surgery degree and as a member of the Royal College of Surgeons. Maurice then served as a house-surgeon under Sir Anthony Bowlby.

When war broke out he was offered a commission with the Royal Artillery and by January 1916 when he became engaged to Susan he was attached to the King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment. If he was a battalion medical officer with this group he would have been responsible for setting up a regimental aid post on the front line. Here the injured were brought in straight from the fighting. The numbers could be overwhelming. He would have encountered vicious wounds, the effects of poison gas and as the war continued increasing cases of psychological trauma then known as ‘shell-shock’. Maurice also served at No. 4 General Hospital which was based at Versailles from September 1914 to January 1916 and he then moved to Comiers until April 1919. This would have been a large facility situated close to rail lines from which the casualties would be unloaded. A general hospital such as this was the final stage in the ‘evacuation chain’ before men were shipped across the channel for further treatment. Some did recover sufficiently to return to the war without needing evacuation. In February 1919 Maurice was appointed medical officer to the Royal Flying Corps in the Midlands.

Maurice Nasmith Perrin's gravestone in Weybridge Cemetery. image courtesy of Anne Wright.

Maurice Nasmith Perrin’s gravestone in Weybridge Cemetery.
Image courtesy of Anne Wright.

On 28 April 1919 he and Captain Edwin Haynes, an experienced pilot, attempted to take off from Castle Bromwich aerodrome in a Bristol Fighter (BF 5098); the engine failed in taking off, the plane stalled and then drove into the ground with such force that the engine was displaced and the radiator plunged into the earth. Captain Haynes was killed and Maurice was admitted to 1st Southern General Hospital, Birmingham. He died the same day.

This was a tragic time for the Perrin family. Maurice’s sister died just a month before him and he left not only a widow but a baby daughter, Moyra, born in May 1918. He was buried in Weybridge Cemetery on 7 May 1919 (grave no. 2382); the inscription on his headstone records that ‘…he entered on the wonderful and peaceful adventure on his 32nd birthday 28 April 1919 – Love Conquers All’. When his wife died in 1974 she was buried in the neighbouring grave and her headstone carried just one inscription – Love Conquers All.

Susan Perrin lived with her parents-in-law and daughter. In 1905 the Perrins had bought a second home at The Cottage, Bushey Heath and became committed members of St Peter’s Church. At the ceremony for laying the foundation stone of a Memorial Chapel in the church Susan, a talented soprano, sang a negro spiritual, Sunset and Dawn as well as Ave Maria ‘with great feeling’. She lived at the family home in Kensington, which she inherited in 1953, until her death. Moyra Perrin did not marry and died in 1999.

Sources:

Perrin, Maurice Nasmith 1906, Archives of Pembroke College, Cambridge
Maurice Nasmith Perrin, Bushey First World War Commemorative Project, www.busheyworldwarone.org.uk
The British Army in the Great War of 1914-1918, The Long, Long Trail – Royal Army Medical Corps in the First World War, www.longlongtrail.co.uk
Brosnan, Matt A Short Guide to Medical Services During the First World War, www.iwm.org.uk
Cripps, David (compiler) Family Record of Maurice Nasmith Perrin and Susan Frances Preston
Military Aircraft crashes in the SW Midlands, 1919-1929, www.aviationarchaeology.org.uk
Service Record for M N Perrin, The National Archives, Catalogue Ref: AIR/76/399
Surrey, England, Church of England Marriages, 1754-1937, www.ancestry.co.uk

Acting Captain Herbert Bernard Mollman

Researched and written by Anne Wright

Acting Captain H B Mollman
4th Battalion, The Prince of Wales’s Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians),
attd. 2nd Battalion of the same Regiment

Killed in action, 1.2.1917
Age, 24

Herbert Bernard Mollman was the son of parents of German birth but died fighting for Britain. He was born in Davos, Switzerland to August Lorenz Wilhelm Mollman and his wife Clara Eleonore (nee Loehuis) in 1893. August who was born on 12 November 1845 came from a long established family of Menslage, Hanover. His wife was born in London on 29 December 1858. The couple married in Berlin on 14 December 1883. Herbert was the youngest of their three children; his elder siblings were August Herman and Clara Mauritia. The family had moved to Britain by 1890 when their home was Northcrofts, Dulwich Common. When August became a naturalized British citizen in December 1900 he was a widower; Clara had died in 1898 and he lived at Woodsome Lodge, St. George’s Hill in Weybridge which would remain the family home. He was a general merchant.

Herbert began his military service with the Royal Sussex Regiment (1976) where he held the rank of Lance Corporal. He then transferred to the 4th Battalion, Leinster Regiment before being attached to the 2nd Battalion of the Leinsters. The 4th Battalion did not serve abroad but the 2nd did, landing at St. Nazaire on 12 September 1914. Herbert did not arrive in France until 1 December 1915 and joined the regiment at Ganspette (close to Calais) four days later as a Second Lieutenant. He spent his first months of combat in Belgium; in and around Ypres at Poperinghe, Zillebeke and Wulverghem. Herbert oversaw working parties, came under heavy shelling, machine gun and rifle fire and experienced gas alerts. By April 1916 his battalion was in trenches opposite Messines (south of Ypres). He was promoted to Lieutenant two months later.

Herbert’s unit was swept up into the Battle of the Somme; they fought in the Battle of Delville Wood (15 July-9 September) where they were engaged in vicious fighting in August. Delville Wood and the un-captured parts of Longueval had to be taken before the successful British attack of 14 July could be capitalised on. They went into the front line at Briqueterie near Carnoy on 18 August, by the end of the month they had suffered significant casualties: 4 officers killed, 1 wounded, 55 other ranks killed, 304 wounded and 41 missing. There was no respite; on 1 September they were in the front line at Longueval opposing an enemy in great strength. In just three days 2 officers were killed, 4 wounded, 30 other ranks killed, 114 wounded and 13 reported missing. Herbert had experienced some of the fiercest fighting of the war but had survived.

Five months later his battalion was in the Loos sector; on 31 January 1917 its War Diary recorded that Herbert was among officers who had been mentioned in despatches (London Gazette, 4 January 1917). At this point the 2nd Leinsters were in the front line at Maroc. The 1 February was a quiet day except for hostile aerial darts and rockets in the morning. Herbert was killed and one of his men was wounded.

On 9th February 1917 a brief notice appeared in the Surrey Herald:

“News has reached Mr. A. Mollman, of Woodsome Lodge, Weybridge, that his only surviving son, Capt. H. M. Mollman, of the Leinster Regt. was killed in action on Thursday of last week. The deceased officer was 24 years of age.”

H B Möllmann is listed on the Charterhouse School Roll of Honour. He attended Charterhouse from 1907 to 1911 where his name is recorded as Hubert Bernhard Möllmann. His entry in the List of Carthusians who served in the British and Allied Forces is annotated with an asterisk meaning he was Mentioned in Despatches.

August H Mollman appears on the 1901 census as a boarder at Charterhouse, Godalming.

August Möllmann senior contributed £50 towards the Chaterhouse War Memorial.

His father continued to live in Weybridge until his death on the fourth anniversary of Herbert’s death in 1921. His funeral took place at St. James’ Church. A very wealthy man, he left £250 to benefit the poor of Weybridge. His daughter, Clara (Merrick) was his main beneficiary, his older son August having died in 1912.

Herbert is buried in the Maroc British Cemetery in the village of Grenay, 15 km south-east of Bethune.

Sources:

The British Army in the Great War of 1914-1918, The Long, Long Trail – The Prince of Wales’s Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians), www.longlongtrail.co.uk
Surrey, England, Electoral Registers, 1832-1962, www.ancestry.co.uk
England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966, 1973-1993, www.ancestry.co.uk
UK, Naturalisation Certificates and Declarations, 1870-1916, www.ancestry.co.uk
UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919, www.ancestry.co.uk
Mr A Mollman’s Legacy, St James’ Church Parish Magazine, November 1921, Surrey History Centre
Charterhouse World War I Memorial, http://charterhousewarmemorial.org.uk/default.aspx

Captain Arnold Stearns Nesbitt

Researched and written by Anne Wright

Captain A S Nesbitt
3rd Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment
Killed in action, 7.11.1914
Age, 35

The Times newspaper of 30 May 1914 carried a report of the first class cricket match between Middlesex and Worcestershire at Lords; Middlesex won by an impressive innings and 56 runs. The wicket keeper for Worcestershire was Arnold Stearns Nesbitt. Six months later he was dead.

Arnold was born in Walton-on-Thames on 16 November 1878 to William Henry (a provisions merchant) and Emily Rose (nee Stearns) Nesbitt. He was baptised at St. Mary’s Church, Oatlands one month later on 19 December. His parents married in 1874 at Holy Trinity Church, Twickenham and Arnold was the third of their five children. He had two older sisters, Nina and Dorothy and two younger brothers, Guy and Philip. The family home was at Cullis Lodge in Rydens Road, Walton-on-Thames. Arnold was educated at Bradfield College in Berkshire from September 1889 to December 1895. He not only shone at cricket but also at football being in the first teams in both sports in 1895. Arnold decided on a military career and by 1901 was a Lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment attending the School of Musketry at Hythe St. Leonard in Kent. Three years later he was promoted to Captain. By 1911 his family had moved to Park House in Oatlands Drive, Weybridge; in the same year he was based at Norton Barracks in Worcestershire.

Arnold’s regiment was in the 7th Brigade of the 3rd Division; when war broke out in 1914 they were one of the first British formations to go to France. They received their order to mobilise on 4 August, the day war on Germany was declared. They disembarked at Le Havre on 15 August as part of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF). On 23rd the 7th Brigade took up defensive positions in reserve at Cipley to the south of Mons in the path of the German right flank sweeping into France. The BEF had established a line along the Mons-Conde canal. Ahead lay the Battle of Mons, the gruelling retreat from Mons, the stand at Le Cateau, pushing the Germans back from the R. Marne to the northern bank of the R. Aisne and the Battles of La Bassee and Armentieres – all in the space of three months.

On 23 August the Germans attacked at 9am; by 3pm the 3rd Division was under heavy fire, they held, but the Germans broke through on their right flank causing a French withdrawal which led the British to do the same. The retreat from Mons had begun. However, on 26 August, General Smith-Dorrien, commander of II Corps, which included the 3rd Division decided to stand and fight at Le Cateau to prevent, he believed, an even bigger catastrophe. Arnold’s battalion occupied two trenches on the northern edge of Caudry, west of Le Cateau on the extreme left of the 7th Brigade’s position. There was a dangerous gap between them and their comrades of the 4th Division to their left. They were very heavily shelled and by about 1pm Smith-Dorrien decided that II Corps would need to retreat or else be surrounded. The Worcestershires finally evacuated their positions at about 4.30pm. Some units did not receive the message and fought on.

The retreat continued until 5 September when the BEF was south of the R.Marne. The French Commander-in-Chief, General Joffre formed a new 6th Army which was positioned north of the Marne and able to attack the flank of the pursuing Germans. The BEF could now turn about and re-cross the Marne on 9 September, capitalising on a gap in the German lines. The German advance had reached its limit; on 10 September they began the retreat to the R. Aisne. The 3rd Division crossed the Aisne at Vailly in the course of 13-14 September. Two days later Arnold’s battalion was in trenches on the northern bank of the Aisne; the Germans were entrenched on the high ground. Trench warfare had begun. The whole BEF was then moved to Flanders in an attempt to outflank the Germans.

There was to be no respite for the Worcestershires; by 17 October they were entrenched near le Hue, north of La Bassee and the battle of that name had begun. They remained in trenches here and at La Quinque Rue until 30 October. The battalion was under constant attack from heavy shelling and persistent sniping and by 2 November the line had been pushed back to west of Neuve Chapelle. Having come out of the line Arnold and his comrades were bussed further north to Neuve Eglise (west of Bailleul) on 1 November. The following day they went into the line just west of the Bois de Ploegsteert where for the next four days they endured heavy shelling and constant sniping. Between 3-4am on 7 November they came under heavy bombardment. At 5am, in thick fog, the enemy broke through the right trenches of ‘C’ Company; despite the support of other units during the day they were not able to reclaim their position. Arnold was one of the day’s fatalities.

He had been on the continent for three months. His war experience had been one of almost constant movement and often desperate combat. Arnold’s body was not recovered; he is commemorated on the Menin Gate (Panel 34) at Ypres (now Ieper) and on a brass wall plaque in St Mary’s Church, Oatlands. He was posthumously mentioned in despatches. His father predeceased him at the family home which was then in Wimbledon in 1910 and his mother died in Kensington in 1929.

Sources:

Bradfield College Roll of Honour, UK Genealogy Archives, https://ukga.org
The British Army in the Great War of 1914-1918, The Long, Long Trail – Worcestershire Regiment, www.longlongtrail.co.uk
England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1837-1915 & 1916-2007, www.ancestry.co.uk
Renshaw, Andrew (ed), Wisden on the Great War, The Lives of Cricket’s Fallen 1914-1918 (2014)
Surrey, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1912, www.ancestry.co.uk
Worcestershire Regiment WW1Database, www.worcestershireregiment.com

Second Lieutenant Stanley Adams

Researched and written by Anne Wright

2/Lt S Adams
9th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers
Died of wounds, 9.9.1917
Age 27

Stanley Adams was born in Kentish Town in 1887, the son of Aaron, a draper, originally from Kingsbridge, Devon and his wife Margaret. Stanley had two younger sisters and by 1901 the family had moved to Weybridge where his father managed a draper’s shop in Baker Street. As a young boy he sang in St. James’ Church choir. By 1911 Stanley was working as a silk salesman and the family home was now the Roundhouse, Weybridge Road, Addlestone. He married Jane (sometimes referred to as Jean) Elizabeth Marchant, of St. Mary’s Road, Oatlands at Marylebone in early 1915. She was from a local family and had been baptised at St. Mary’s Church, Oatlands on 1 April 1888.

Stanley’s first military experience was in the Army Pays Corps which he joined soon after the outbreak of war and where he became a Lance Corporal (3182). However, he was commissioned on 27 March 1917 and subsequently served with the 9th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers. They had been in France since July 1915 and most recently involved in the Arras Offensive which was within days of ending when Stanley joined them in billets at Warluzel on 1 June 1917. He was posted to ‘C’ Company and his first three weeks were taken up with training, sports and church services.

On 20 June Stanley’s battalion moved to St Nicholas Camp (near Arras) and on the following day he had his first experience of trench life. Both sides shelled each other and Stanley saw his unit sustain casualties. After five days they were relieved but were back in the front line on 30 June. Throughout July they were either at St Nicholas Camp or in the line. It was a relatively quiet time apart from shelling but on 18 July two battalion snipers lay in No-Man’s-Land from dawn until dusk and calculated that they had hit seven of the enemy.

They moved from St Nicholas Camp on 3 August when Stanley and his comrades must have been cheered to be played out by five bands and then to march through Arras. Their destination was billets at Bovincourt. From there they marched to the Brigade Reserve at Vadencourt and from there into the front line on 15 August. They found that they were in a quiet sector and on the night of 16 August they had complete control of No-Man’s-Land through the operation of strong patrols. Ten days later they were bussed to Jeancourt in preparation for an attack; they were not in the advance and were moved up to captured trenches on 28 August when they suffered 14 casualties from shelling. They were relieved on 1 September. This month began quietly with the battalion in reserve but on the 5th they went into the line again. They endured three days of frequent shelling; Stanley was wounded on the 9th and died of his wounds on reaching the Dressing Station at Templeux.

Stanley is buried in the Templeux-le-Grand Communal Cemetery Extension (A 21) which is almost 26 km east of Peronne. He was commemorated in Memorial Services held at St. James’ Church and St. Michael’s Church on All Souls Day 1917 for all the men of Weybridge who had died since the beginning of the year. His wife remarried; she outlived Stanley by almost sixty years, her death as Jean Elizabeth Buss aged 88 was registered in Battle, E. Sussex in 1976.

Sources:

England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915, www.ancestry.co.uk
England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007, www.ancestry.co.uk
England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriages Index, 1837-1915, www.ancestry.co.uk
St James’ Church, Weybridge, Parish Magazines, Surrey History Centre, 3204/12/43 1917
Surrey, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1912, www.ancestry.co.uk

Private Robin Woodward

Researched and written by Anne Wright

Pte R Woodward
1st Battalion, Hampshire Regiment
11188
Killed in action, 13.5.1915
Age, 21

Robin Woodward enlisted in Weybridge on 1 September 1914. He was not a long term resident having moved to the town at some point during the previous three years with his brother and his brother’s family. He was born in Aldershot in about 1893 to Alfred, a railway porter, and his wife Martha (nee Kinnear), an upholsterer. They married in early 1879 in Farnham; Robin’s siblings were Alfred Jonas, Frederick Alfred, Albert Edward and Joseph Edward. It has proved impossible to find the whole family living together; in 1891 Martha Woodward lived with (Albert) Edward and her widowed mother at 33, Cavendish Road in Aldershot, in 1901 Martha, Frederick, Edward and Joseph lived at 29, Perowne Street in Aldershot and in 1911 Robin and Edward lived with their brother Frederick, sister-in-law Fanny and their children at 78 Park Road, Aldershot. Alfred Woodward died in 1901; he was dead by the time Frederick married in August of that year but Martha did not describe herself as a widow in the Census on 31 March. She continued to work as an upholsterer throughout these years; Martha died in 1910.

Robin followed his mother and eldest brother in entering the furniture business, though not as an upholsterer, he became a French Polisher. He stood five feet and eight inches tall, had brown eyes and light brown hair. Robin was posted to the 1st Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment; they went to France on 26 January 1915. He and his comrades were sent to a position close to Ploegsteert Wood (12.5 km south of Ypres), in fact their communication trench led back to the Wood. This was a place that had already cost their battalion dearly; the defence of the Wood during October and November 1914 inflicted huge casualties – 29 officers and 655 NCOs and men. However, from January to April 1915 it was a relatively quiet location; they were shelled from time to time but much of their efforts were spent on improving the trenches and communications as well as strengthening their defences. In March they found themselves in support at the rear edge of Ploegsteert Wood. Robin must have been relieved to find that both enemy shelling and sniper fire decreased during this month; the winter weather and living conditions took a greater toll on the battalion than did the Germans – 95 were admitted to hospital through sickness. Nevertheless, to be in rest billets close to Bailleul in mid-April must have been a welcome respite.

Their reprieve did not last long as Robin and his comrades were about to be thrust into the vicious 2nd Battle of Ypres which began on 22 April with a German attack in which chlorine gas was used on the Western Front for the first time. The Germans were keen to destroy the Ypres Salient which bulged into their lines. The gas attack had a devastating impact on the French infantry which caused a gap in the Allied lines; Robin’s battalion was one of the units ordered forward. On 24 April they trained to Poperinghe and the following day marched to Vlamertinghe just west of Ypres with orders to go on to relieve the Canadians north of Zonnebeke at the extreme point of the Salient; the Canadians were forced to withdraw before the relief could take place. The Hampshires entered battered and vacant trenches on 26 April and remained in position for the next eight days. Robin’s Commanding Officer described that period as follows:

The story grows lengthy and no words can describe the passage of those eight days, for sixteen hours of daylight we crouched in the bottom of the trenches listening to the bursting and shrieking of the shells. For eight hours of darkness we toiled at repairing and extending our lines.

The 26 April was their worst day when they sustained over 100 casualties. The German positions gave them shelling access over the narrow salient; no vehicle could safely get closer to Robin’s battalion than three miles behind their line. The logistics of food and ammunition supply and the evacuation of the wounded was a nightmare. They were part of a general retirement on 3 May and by the next day were behind the Yser Canal. In just over a week 6 officers had been killed, 5 wounded in addition to 92 other ranks killed and 227 wounded. The battalion was desperately short of experienced officers and had lost many of its best NCOs.

Their relief was short-lived as on 10 May they were once again in the front line which was now much closer to Ypres and near Wieltje. Once again they endured heavy shelling but then had a fairly quiet day on 12 May. Normal service resumed at 6.15 am the next day with heavy shelling which lasted until 2pm. Robin was among the 37 men who were killed. He has no known grave but is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial (Panel 35) at Ypres (Ieper). Robin’s brother, Frederick and his family were still living in Weybridge in 1945 at 18 Old Palace Road, having moved there from 5 Minorca Road where they had lived until at least 1939.

Sources:

British Army WW1 Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920, www.ancestry.co.uk
England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1837-1915, www.ancestry.co.uk
England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915, www.ancestry.co.uk
Surrey, England, Electoral Registers, 1832-1962, www.ancestry.co.uk
Surrey Recruitment Registers, 1908-1933, www.findmypast.co.uk

Men of Weybridge

Compiled by by Anne Wright.

The list of names below has been taken from the Men of Weybridge memorial.

The names on the memorial are listed in alpabetical order. The names below have been re-organised into a chronological list.

Stories for each person listed on the memorial are being added to this website, the names in blue are linked to their detailed Stories.

Click on a name to read more.

1914 – 1918
IN MEMORY OF THE MEN OF WEYBRIDGE
WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE GREAT WAR
THEIR NAME LIVETH FOR EVERMORE

1914

HERBERT H.A.
FAVELL E.T.
WILLS G.E.W
BARROW J.G.
KEENLYSIDE G.F.H.
LETFORD W.
COLLINS R.P.
GASKELL G.B.
CHIVERS A.W.
RYLEY H.F.B.
NESBITT A.S.
CAULDER L.

1915

HOPKINS J.
LLOYD G.A.
BAGLEY W.J
BROOKER H.B.
WELLS H.
LUCAS G.H.
WOODWARD R.
CAKEBREAD J.
NEWMAN R.A.C.
BROOK A.C.
BULTEEL E.W.
BROWN V.O.
KEENLYSIDE C.A.H.
WOOTTON G.N.
RIGBY C.
SPRING J.W.
HAMMERTON R.S.
MATTHEWS F.W.
WILLS F.N.
LLOYD F.C.A.
SPARROW H.J.
LEGG W.L.
HOLDSWORTH V.M.

1916

SANDERS J.D.G.
TILLEY P.J.
BETHELL C.F.I.
LEMON F.
TIBBS J.
SMITHERS N.
RANDALL W.H.
LEWIS H.
BROMHALL L.C.H.
FERGUSON A.
BALDWIN H.
MANN P.
WHITTET G.
SMITH J.V.
PARSONS W.
HANN J.C.
STURT E.G.M.
MEAKINS R.W.S.
GILLESPIE D.B.
BULLEN H.F.T.
CHALCRAFT A.
SIMMONS S.N.
HARRISON E.B.
FROST M.
PAVEY W.J.
BOORER P.

1917

KEENE T.G.
MOLLMAN H.B.
GUILFORD W.H.
VOKES B.
SHEPHERD W.A.
BROGDEN I.R.R.
CANTLE L.H.
FREER A.G.
FOX C.E.
KEMP-WELCH M.
BULLIMORE W.
NASMITH A.P. [D.S.O]
BROWN H.V.
NASH E.C.
HARDY H.G.J.
MEPSTED P.J.
GASKELL J.C.T.
BURRAGE A.H.H.
TREHERNE C.W.
BUCKLER T.W.
ADAMS S.
SMITH F.
FROST R.W. [M.C]
BROWN A.S.
CHIVERS A.W.
RICE R.R.
SPARROW C.L.

1918

WILLIS H.
NICHOLSON F.J.
STOKES E.
BUCKELL F.W.A.
PRATT A.
RUFFLE H.
WILLIAMS A.E.
WICKHAM H.
GREEN J.J.
FEETHAM E. [C.B C.M.G.]
BATEY J.P. [D.C.M.]
CUTLER T.
BARTLETT A.R.
STEDMAN W.J.
ROWE R.R.
FOSTER E.J.
GENTRY G.E.
RANDALL C.J.
BURGESS T.J.
STOVOLD F.G.
HILEY J.J.
LUCAS C.P.
GIBBONS E.S. [D.S.O.]
BORRETT R.W.
CARPENTER H.W.
GILLINGHAM S.G.
FOSTER F.W.
IZZARD H.
LUCAS L.B.
HARRIS M.M.
CARPENTER W.J.
TILBURY W.
ELEY J.O. [M.S.M]
IVESS T.
HERBERT C.H.
WILTCHER H.B.
SQUIRE J B.

1919

DICKENS G.C [M.M]
WILSON H.J.F.
DUNCAN H.R.
PERRIN M.N.
BUSS J.W
POPE H.W.

1920

LEGGETT H.A.

DATE OF DEATH UNCERTAIN

DEAN W.
MILLS H.

Note and Sources

Stories relating to all ‘The Men of Weybridge’ are constantly being uploaded onto this website.

The main Sources used were:

Adkin, Mark The Western Front Companion, 2013

Banks, Arthur A Military History of the First World War, 1975, repr.
2013

Barton, Peter The Battlefields of the First World War, 2005

Keegan, John The First World War, 2001

British Army War Diaries 1914-1919, The National Archives

Commonwealth War Graves Commission, www.cwgc.org

UK Census Collections 1841-1911, www.ancestry.co.uk

These have been supplemented by a range of other sources listed with each Story.

Click on the images below to see a larger version.

Second Lieutenant Harold John Fossick Wilson

Researched and written by Anne Wright

2/Lt H J F Wilson
King Edward’s Horse
1381
Died, 17.2.1919
Age, 27

Harold John Fossick Wilson enlisted on 4 January 1915; despite being wounded twice he survived the war only to die of influenza and pneumonia in 1919. He was the only surviving child of Henry Fossick and Jessie Dagmar (nee Osborne). His father was born in 1861 in Binfield, Berkshire and his mother in 1866 in Clapham. They married on 18 July 1889 at St Martin in the Fields, Westminster. Henry was a bank clerk and in 1891 the couple’s home was in Jubilee Place, Chelsea with Jessie’s parents. Although Harold’s date of birth on his application form for admission to the Officer Cadet Unit in July 1917 is stated as 4 April 1891 it is more likely that he was born on the same date a year later as his birth was registered in the second quarter of 1892; his place of birth on the admission form was recorded as being Weybridge. The family’s residence in the town is confirmed by the 1901 Census when they lived in Oatlands Drive and by which time Henry Wilson was a clerk with the County Council. Neither Harold nor his mother can be traced on the 1911 Census but his father still resided in Oatlands Drive.

The final two years of Harold’s school education from 1907 to 1909 was spent at Malvern College. At some point he departed for the Malay States where he took up employment as a rubber planter. This may well explain his absence from the 1911 Census. He returned to enlist able to speak Tamil and Hindustani, to ride a horse and sporting tattoos of a tiger’s head on his left forearm and snake on his right foreman! He stood five feet eight inches tall and was declared to be of ‘good moral character’ by the Rector of Weybridge. There is some confusion over whether he joined the 1st or 2nd Battalion of the King Edward’s Horse (KEH). The records of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission record him belonging to the 1St KEH or to just the KEH; some of the KEH regarded themselves as the only KEH and objected to the addition of 1st tending to disregard the 2nd KEH. Harold’s application form to join the Officer Cadet Unit refers to him being a trooper of the 2nd KEH as does his father’s correspondence with the military authorities after his death. The 2nd battalion was formed of men who had returned from the colonies which fits Harold’s profile.

He went to France on 5 May 1915 and stayed with the KEH until 28 July 1917 when he transferred to the Machine Gun Corps (Cavalry; 22991). He returned to the UK on 19 April 1917; this may have been the result of being wounded. When his fitness was classified on 20 November 1917 it was B1; when he enlisted in 1915 it had been A. The same outcome was reported on subsequent classifications on 18 January 1918 and 29 May 1918. Harold had also developed defective vision as the result of a corneal ulcer. In July 1917 he had applied to join the Officer Cadet Unit; he was admitted to the Garrison Officer Cadet Battalion at Cambridge on 8 March 1918 and was commissioned as a 2/Lt to 296 Reserve Labour Company at Blairgowerie. His report from the Officer Training Unit stated that:

….he should make a leader, always a leading spirit in company sport and a very nice type, although he did not pass the final written exam, he should make a good officer.

Harold had little time to enjoy his new status; he was admitted to Dundee War Hospital on 12 December but was well enough to be released for Christmas leave. On his return he was once again taken ill and transferred to the 1st Western General Hospital, Fazakerley in Liverpool where he died on 17 February 1919. His body arrived at Weybridge Station on 24 February to be received by representatives of S. Brown & Sons and transported to the local Cemetery Chapel. His funeral service took place at St James’ Church three days later; he was buried in an elm coffin in Walton & Weybridge Cemetery (grave no. 2113). He is also commemorated on the oak panels of Malvern College’s memorial to their former pupils in the college chapel.

Harold’s father had a long wrangle with the War Office over finances and he was not able to settle the estate and be granted probate until May 1920; an unpaid mess bill of £4 13s 6d being one bone of contention. Henry Wilson remained in Weybridge until his death in 1935; Jessie Wilson had moved to Battersea by the time of her death in July 1956.

Sources:

British Army Officers Service Records, post 1913, The National Archives, WO 339/117681
British Army WW1 Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920, www.ancestry.co.uk
The British Army in the Great War of 1914-1918, The Long Long Trail – 1st and 2nd King Edward’s Horse & Machine Gun Corps, www.longlongtrail.co.uk
England, Select Marriages, 1538-1973, www.ancestry.co.uk
England & Wales, Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966, www.ancestry.co.uk
Wilson Family Tree, www.ancestry.co.uk

Private Horace Baldwin

Researched and written by Anne Wright

Pte H Baldwin
2/1st Battalion, Oxford & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry
4390
Killed in action, 19.7.1916
Age, 30

On 19 July 2010 the final body of 250 recovered from close to Pheasant Wood at Fromelles (south of Armentieres) on Aubers Ridge was buried in the first new cemetery constructed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission for 50 years. This soldier was ‘Known to God’. Ninety-four years earlier, on 19 July 1916, Private Horace Baldwin was among over 7,000 British and Australian casualties killed, wounded or missing at the Battle of Fromelles.

Private Baldwin’s life began in the late summer of 1885. He was born in Ramsgate, Kent to Horace Edmund Baldwin and his second wife, Margaret (nee Forrest). Horace was the third of four sons of this marriage. His father was a draper and by 1901 he had followed in his footsteps. In 1911 Horace was no longer living with his parents and had moved to Wimbledon where he shared accommodation with several other ‘retail drapery assistants’ in Hill Road. His parents had moved to Aylesbury with his younger brother Owen. By the time he enlisted Horace’s place of residence was Weybridge; Kelly’s Directory for Surrey 1913 records a draper’s shop in Baker Street run by H.Baldwin. This could have been the father or the son. It still existed in 1918 and when Horace Edmund Baldwin died in 1928 his address was 3, Rutland Cottages, Baker Street, Weybridge. His effects were left to Owen Baldwin.

Horace Baldwin’s battalion was part of the 184th Brigade in the 61st (2nd South Midland) Division. They landed in France on 24 May 1916. The Division saw its first action on 19-20 July in the Battle of Fromelles. The main Somme battlefield was some 40 miles to the south where fighting had begun on 1 July; the objective of the action at Fromelles was to make the Germans believe that it was a major attack on Aubers Ridge and to divert men and equipment destined for the Battle of the Somme to Fromelles. The 61st was already under strength and tired from the debilitating effort of moving gas cylinders whilst their Australian allies had just arrived and were about to face their first action on the Western Front. The battle was preceded by confusion and changes to timings; the fighting began three days later than planned and the bombardment of the Germans did not begin until 11am on the 19th because of unseasonable mist and rain.

The 2/1st Oxford & Bucks. Light Infantry (Ox. & Bucks L.I.) was designated as an assault battalion and placed in the front line opposite the ‘Sugar Loaf Salient’ and the experienced 6th Bavarian Division which had been victorious at Aubers Ridge in 1915. It probably also still included Corporal Adolf Hitler. The Germans had strengthened their positions with concrete blockhouses, machine gun emplacements and thick barbed wire. The artillery bombardment lasted for seven hours and so the infantry attacked at about 6pm; the Ox. & Bucks. L. I. went through sally-ports into No Man’s Land. This area was flat and exposed to the view of the Germans on the rise of Aubers Ridge. Four waves of infantry were decimated by machine gun fire as No Man’s Land filled with bodies. Those who managed to get through to the German wire found that it was still uncut – the bombardment had not succeeded. Any who were able to retreat later would have been lucky to survive German shell fire. No objectives were achieved.

Horace Baldwin perished in this debacle. There is a faint chance that his remains could now be buried in Pheasant Wood Cemetery but to date (2013) the majority of those identified are Australian as some of them managed to get to the German lines. The Germans gathered the bodies from the territory they recovered and transported them by trench railway to burial pits near Pheasant Wood. However, Private Horace Baldwin is commemorated on the Loos Memorial in Dud Corner Cemetery on the main Lens to Bethune Road along with over 20,000 others who have no known grave.

Sources:

Background to the Battle of Fromelles Part 2: 1916 and the Battle of the Somme, www.fffaif.org.au
The Battle of Fromelles 19 July 1916, www.remembrancetrails-northernfrance.com
Berridge, Steve Remembering Fromelles 1916-2010, www.lightbobs.com
England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966, www.ancestry.co.uk
The Great War 1914-1918, Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery, France, www.greatwar.co.uk
Fromelles: naming the dead World War 1 Soldiers ‘challenging’, The Telegraph, 18 March 2010
Fromelles Pheasant Wood Military Cemetery, www.findagrave.com
1913 & 1918, Kelly’s Directory, UK, City & County Directories, 1766-1946, www.ancestry.co.uk
2 OXF & BUCKS LI 1914-1919, www.lightbobs.com
UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919, www.ancestry.co.uk

Corporal Harold Bertram Wiltcher

Researched and written by Anne Wright

Cpl H B Wiltcher
3rd Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers
3313
Died, 1.12.1918
Age, 24

Harold Bertram Wiltcher was the third of four sons born to Edward Arthur and Frances Elizabeth (nee Fuller) who were married at St Mary’s Church, Reading on 6 April 1889. By 1901 the family, including all four sons, Edward, George Robert, Charles Geoffrey and Harold, who was born on 28 December 1893 in Reading, lived at 15, Soudan Terrace, Clewer in Berkshire. Edward Wiltcher Snr was the foreman of a telephone company. Harold was educated at three schools in Reading: Twyford School, St Mary’s School and, in 1905, Relands School at which juncture his home was at 15, Grange Avenue. Between 1905 and 1911 the Wiltcher family moved to Weybridge where Harold completed his education at St James’ School (Baker Street) and at the time of the 1911 Census lived at 5, Calvert Cottages; Harold was now employed as an assistant in a Clothiers shop.

He was among the earliest volunteers; he enlisted on 13 August 1914. Despite surviving the four years of the war it has proved difficult to trace Harold’s military service in any detail. He was posted to the 3rd Northumberland Fusiliers, a reserve battalion, based in Newcastle and formed in August 1914. This was a training unit which stayed in the UK and became part of the Newcastle garrison. It supplied drafts to the regular 1st and 2nd battalions but there is no evidence that this is what happened to Harold. He became a Company Quartermaster Sergeant in the Labour Corps (346583) which was formed in January 1917 and numbered almost 400,000 men by November 1918. Many men were transferred to the Corps because injuries or illness had rendered them unfit for front line fighting duties. Harold would have been responsible for company supplies including weaponry and ammunition. He was the company’s accountant. The Labour Corps was not an entirely ‘safe’ posting as they often worked within range of enemy guns and could be used as emergency infantry if required.

Harold died on 1 December 1918 in Beaufort War Hospital, Fishponds in Bristol after a short illness. His effects were due to his wife Alice (nee Cain) whom he had married in 1915. She later remarried to James Juett. Harold was buried in Bristol (Arnes Vale) Cemetery (Screen Wall 4.732). His father had died in 1916 and his mother remained in Weybridge until her death in May 1936. Her last address was Marion Lodge in Dorchester Road.

Sources:

The British Army in the Great War 1914-1918, The Long, Long Trail – Northumberland Fusiliers & Labour Corps, www.longlongtrail.co.uk
England, Select Births & Christenings, 1538-1975, www.ancestry.co.uk
England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007, www.ancestry.co.uk
England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915, www.ancestry.co.uk
Memorial to the Masters and Old Boys of St James’ School, Weybridge, Who Fell in the Great War, 1914-1918, St James’ Church
National School Admission Registers & Log Books, 1870-1914, www.findmypast.co.uk
Ryan Family Tree, www.ancestry.co.uk
Surrey, England, Electoral Registers, 1832-1902, www.ancestry.co.uk
UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929, www.ancestry.co.uk

Private Godfrey Neil Wootton

Researched and written by Anne Wright

Pte G N Wootton
1/4th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment
3119
Died of wounds, 24. 7.1915
Age, 22

Godfrey Neil Wootton was the son of two teachers, Job and Annie Elizabeth (nee Godfrey) who were married on 19 June 1884 at St Saviour’s Church, Valley End, Chobham. Job was born in Rowde in Wiltshire in 1858 and Annie in Egham in 1862. Their only son, Godfrey, was born in Chobham on 17 January 1893 and baptised on 26 February in the same church in which his parents were married. When Godfrey was born Job and Annie already had twin daughters: Annie Mabel and Constance Julia. In 1891 both parents taught at Valley End School which was also their home. Ten years later the family had moved to Wylye in Wiltshire and again both parents were teaching. In 1911 they still resided in the School House in Wylye and Godfrey, now aged 18 had joined his parents’ profession as a pupil teacher. When he enlisted he was employed by Surrey County Council as a certificated teacher which explains his link to Weybridge where he was on the staff of St James’ School (Baker Street).

Godfrey enlisted in Salisbury, when is unknown. He was posted to the 1/4th Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment. This unit was in India at the beginning of 1915 and on 7 March their mobilisation orders arrived; they embarked for Basra (then in Mesopotamia, now modern Iraq) six days later, arriving on 17 March. British controlled forces had been successful up to this point and their commanders wanted to capitalise on this success by expanding their influence over the whole of Southern Mesopotamia; key to this was taking Nasiriyeh, the main Turkish supply base. However, this early success had led to complacency; the British and Indian forces were not well equipped, especially lacking adequate medical supplies and they underestimated the fighting ability of the Turks.

Godfrey’s battalion spent April 1915 at the Ashar Barracks near Basra although some of his unit joined the Euphrates Blockade. At the end of April they moved up the Karum River, the entrance to which was just south of Basra. By 7 May they had crossed to the Karkha River; they stayed in positions on the banks of the Karkha until 19 May. By 21 May they were back at the Ashar Barracks. June was a miserable month for them; the weather since 24 May had been excessively hot and oppressive. On 16 June 184 men were in hospital suffering from heatstroke and on the following day 84 NCOs and men were invalided to India. On 24 June they were ordered to join the operation against Nasiriyeh.

They embarked upriver for Qurna on the Blosse Lynch on 25 June. Nasiriyeh was 110 km west of Qurna surrounded by flooded land and tribes hostile to both the British and the Turks. Godfrey and his comrades must have found the ongoing journey to be horrific; the temperature reached 115°F and mosquitoes harassed them. On 7 July they disembarked at Asani on the right bank of the Euphrates. They remained in camp for a week before being transported by barge to trenches close to Shahkair village; the barge had to be abandoned in the mud. When enemy guns opened up on 23 July the 2nd and 4th Companies of the Hampshires moved up to the village through swamps and then on to 16 Palms Trench. By the next day the battle for Nasiriyeh was underway. The 1st Company moved to the rear of 16 Palms Trench in a support role and the 3rd Company was on the bridging barge being towed by the Sumana.

The 2nd and 4th Companies advanced from their trench through open ground with very long grass; they were met with heavy rifle fire and the greater part of the battalion’s casualties were sustained at this stage. The 3rd Company also suffered badly when the Sumana’s engines were hit by shell fire and their barge could not form a crossing point across a creek which was holding up the land attack. The 48th Pioneers and Sappers solved the problem by erecting trestle bridges. The line reformed, bayonets were fixed and the Hampshires and Ghurkha units charged. The Turks started to run when the attacking troops got to about 40 yards from their lines although some held their positions on the flanks until they came under enfilade fire. Shortly afterwards the enemy trenches were cleared and Godfrey’s battalion was ordered to hold the captured positions. The battle was won with the support of Royal Navy gunboats. The next day the Hampshires moved through to Nasiriyeh.

The first entry in the battalion’s War Diary for 25 July reads, ‘no. 3119 Pte Wootton G died of wounds’. His body was taken down river to Basra where he was buried at Makina Masul Old Cemetery, this was later incorporated into an enlarged cemetery known as Basra War Cemetery (II.R.10). Headstones had to be removed in 1935 when it was discovered that they were deteriorating because of salts in the soil. The names from those headstones are now recorded on a screen wall in the cemetery. Godfrey was one of 500 men of the British and Indian forces killed in the Battle of Nasiriyeh.

Sources:

British Army WW1 Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920, www.ancestry.co.uk
Pte Godfrey Wootton, Surrey Advertiser, Saturday, 28 August 1915
Surrey, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1912, www.ancestry.co.uk
Surrey, England, Church of England Marriages, 1754-1937, www.ancestry.co.uk
UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919, www.ancestry.co.uk