Alfred Mace 1896-1919

Alfred MACE was born in Scotland Cottages, Byfleet on the 13 February 1896 the first child of Alfred, a Bricklayers Labourer from Berkshire, and Elizabeth READ, a Byfleet Girl 7 years younger who had been married in Chertsey Registry Office in 1894.  Alfred was baptised at St Mary’s Church on 28 June 1896, and educated at St Mary’s Church of England Primary School.

In the 1911 Census Alfred is living with his parents and 4 younger siblings as a 15 year old Telegraph Boy in Brewery Road Byfleet.  In June 1915 Alfred enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps as a Private (cook) and by the end of the war had been promoted to Leading Aircraft man in number 6 Squadron in the Royal Air Force.

On St George’s Day 23 April 1919 Alfred was working in a Hangar at Tourmignies, France when a DH9A bomber of number 99 Squadron piloted by 2nd Lt D C BAIN attempted to land and hit the Hangar. We do not know the circumstances as he had only flown 30 miles from his base, but he had learnt to fly in 1917 so he was not a Novice and was uninjured in the crash which suggests his Aircraft may have hit the side of the Hangar which then collapsed.

Alfred and another Aircraft man ( AC1 Charles Reginald PEPLOE ) were killed in the Hangar and 4 others injured. Alfred and Charles were buried together in the Tourmignies Churchyard under a propeller inscribed with their names, but the IWGC decided to “concentrate” them into a War Cemetery and the men now lie in adjacent graves under standard Headstones in the Cabaret Rouge British Cemetery some 30 miles Southwest of  Tourmignies.

Less than two weeks after the Accident, 6 Squadron were deployed to Iraq whilst 99 were on their way to India.


Edward William STENT and James John STENT

Edward William STENT is listed here as being remembered on the Maybury School Memorial, the Westfield School Memorial banner and both the Woking Town and Old Woking Great War memorials. He was initially raised by his Mother and Step Father as William FREELAND but, following the death of his mother in 1904 and his step father’s re-marriage, he was raised by his Grandmother as William STENT. He joined the 1st Battalion, The Queens Royal West Surrey regiment on the day that War was declared by the UK and had been promoted to Lance Corporal before being Captured. As a POW he was in a camp near Parchim  in Germany but was not repatriated before he succumbed to the Influenza Pandemic and died on the 23rd September 1918. The POW cemeteries were concentrated into the Ohlsdorf Cemetery near Hamburg in 1923 and he lies there to this day.

As a native and resident of Kingfield he would not have attended the Maybury School and the name on the School Memorial is clearly STENT, J. and is therefore remembering a Man who does not appear on any other Woking Memorials, and is in fact Edward’s 2nd cousin 1 time removed, James John STENT.

James John STENT was born 3 December 1881 in Woking, 5th of 12 children,  his father was a Woking (Kingfield) born Journeyman Bricklayer and after marrying in 1870 in Stoke next Guildford the family moved regularly around the Woking Railway Station until they relocated to the Wimbledon area about 1899. James had joined the Royal Navy in 1897 as a 2nd Class Boy and was transferred to the Royal Fleet Reserve in 1905 having been promoted to an Able Bodied Seaman.
In 1906 James married Margaret ROWLAND in the Kingston, Surrey Registration District (for some reason his first names were reversed) and by 1914 four children had been born. James was recalled to the Navy on the 13 July 1914 and was posted to HMS Good Hope an Armoured Cruiser that had been Mothballed as obsolete in 1913.

Unfortunately HMS Good Hope was part of the Squadron of antiquated ships which were dispatched to the South Atlantic under the Command of Admiral CRADOCK ordered to find Vice Admiral von SPEE’s China Squadron (the modern armoured Cruisers SMS Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and the light cruisers SMS Dresden, Leipzig and Nürnberg) which were attacking shipping in the Pacific before trying to round Cape Horn to return to Germany. The modern British Armoured Cruiser HMS Defence which was assigned to the Squadron and was supposed to be the backbone of the Squadron but was turned around by the Admiralty (Churchill?) whilst still in the Atlantic. The only Battleship in the Area, the antiquated HMS Canopus, was having engine problems compounded by the fact that the senior Engineering Officer was suffering a mental breakdown and was convinced the ship could not exceed 12 knots. So Admiral CRADOCK was left with 2 antiquated Cruisers, one modern Light cruiser HMS Glasgow and some older light Cruisers and converted Liners. and a Battleship that could not keep up with his Squadron.

Admiral CRADOCK misunderstood his orders and split his Squadron leaving some ships to defend the Falkland Islands whilst he rounded Cape Horn and then tried to stop von SPEE’s Squadron, which had 2 Armoured Cruisers with 8 x 8 inch guns each. CRADOCK with his 2 x 9 inch guns (one pointed Fore and one Aft) of the HMS Good Hope and the side mounted 6 inch guns of her and HMS Monmouth was hopelessly out ranged and could not be used in heavy seas, HMS Glasgow which only had a pair of 6 inch guns and HMS Otranto a converted liner with 4 inch guns that could not keep up with the Squadron at Battle speed.  The Squadrons met just off the coast in the bay of Coronel, Chile in the late afternoon and von SPEE’s manoeuvres trapped HMS Otranto which had been left behind the British Squadron in the Bay.  HMS Canopus was 300 miles South guarding the British Colliers and took no part in this action.

Admiral CRADOCK decided he had to rescue the Otranto and the 3 British Cruisers charged the 5 German ships disregarding the fact they were silhouetted against the Setting sun, could hardly see the German Ships against the dark Coast line behind them and the British Guns using Cordite fired with a far brighter flash which gave the German ships excellent aiming points in  the gloom. To cut a long story short CRADOCK was leading his ships into a situation that would become the first Naval Battle that the Royal Navy had lost in over 100 years.

Although the Otranto escaped, in 35 minutes both British heavy Cruisers were sinking whilst HMS Glasgow was totally out numbered and out gunned and had to abandon the unequal fight and flee, the crews of both British Cruisers were all lost except a small detachment from the Good Hope that had been landed on a Chilean Island to set up a Wireless station (this is why one man is in the CWGC records as having been a crew member of the Good Hope when he died in 1915 having fallen sick whilst being taken back to the Mediterranean by the Canopus)

The Number of Casualties that the Royal Navy lost that afternoon varies, depending on the source, between 1,400 and 1,700, whilst the only German casualties were 3 men wounded on the Gneisenau from a Hit by the Glasgow, however CRADOCK is  credited with having forced von SPEE to use half of his ammunition supplies which may have sealed his ships fate at the Battle of the Falkland Islands a month later. HMS Canopus had been beached at Port Stanley for repairs and she played a major role as an unsinkable 12 inch Gun Platform in the Defence of Stanley in the opening phase of that Battle.

The butcher’s bill for the Battle of  Coronel hit the Woking Community hard leaving 5 Fatherless children

The Casualties on HMS Monmouth included the youngest Woking Resident to die in the Great  War –

  • Midshipman John Mydhope PASCOE 15 years and 279 days, son of a Tea Planter in Ceylon who had retired to Woking.

The Casualties on HMS Good Hope included

  • Able  Seaman James John STENT (see above)
  • Able Seaman Stanley William CHEESMAR, son of a baker and Flydriver, born 1894 in Oaks Road, Woking
  • Mechanician Tom Francis HOPTON, son of a Railway Labourer, born Gloucester 1878, married 1899, his only child was born 1908 in Maybury Road, Woking
  • Sub Lieutenant Francis John Anson COTTER, son of a Royal Marines Major General who lived in Maybury, Woking. Francis was born in Salisbury, Wiltshire in 1894

Another man connected to Woking lost that day was

  • Lieutenant Commander Gerald Bruce GASKELL of HMS Good Hope, his brother, Major John Charles Temple GASKELL had married at St Dunstan’s Church, Woking in July 1914, died in Tanganyika in 1917 and is remembered on the Woking Town Great War Memorial
Francis  John Anson COTTER 1894-1914

Title: Francis John Anson COTTER 1894-1914
Description: Parents lived in Woking - lost at the Battle of Coronel 1 November 1914. Remembered on the Portsmouth Great War Naval Memorial by-nc

Tom Francis HOPTON 1878-1914

Title: Tom Francis HOPTON 1878-1914
Description: Lived in Maybury Road, Woking - lost at the Battle of Coronel 1 November 1914. Remembered on the Portsmouth Great War Naval Memorial by-nc

James John STENT 1881-1914

Title: James John STENT 1881-1914
Description: Born in Woking - lost at the Battle of Coronel 1 November 1914. Remembered on the Portsmouth Great War Naval Memorial by-nc

Stanley William CHEESMAR 1894-1914

Title: Stanley William CHEESMAR 1894-1914
Description: Born in Woking, lost at the Battel of Coronel, Remembered on the Portsmouth Great War Naval Memorial by-nc

John Mydhope PASCOE 1899-1914

Title: John Mydhope PASCOE 1899-1914
Description: Lived in Woking - lost at the Battle of Coronel 1 November 1914. Remembered on the Plymouth Great War Naval Memorial by-nc

Gerald Bruce GASKELL 1881-1914

Title: Gerald Bruce GASKELL 1881-1914
Description: Brother of a Woking Resident - lost at the Battle of Coronel 1 November 1914. Remembered on the Portsmouth Great War Naval Memorial by-nc

Septimus Hibbert

Septimus Hibbert was born in Brasted, Kent in 1886 into the long established Hibbert Family of Brewers, the successor company recently celebrated the 250th anniversary of the foundation of the Company, and has a certain notoriety for having supplied a warehouse full of Beer to the Titanic, but these days is a major supplier to Airport Duty Free Shops rather then the originator of the drinks.

Septimus trained as a doctor and then qualified as a surgeon, becoming the House  Surgeon at St George’s Hospital in London.

Septimus joined the RNVR (Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve) in August 1913 and was commissioned in the Spring of 1914 and he spent the early summer on exercises aboard the Battleship HMS Thunderer. At the outbreak of War he was mobilised and posted to the sister Battleship HMS Formidable as one of the Surgical team of 3 Surgeons.

Septimus Hibbert 1886-1915

Title: Septimus Hibbert 1886-1915
Description: Remembered on the Pyrford Great War Memorial by-nc

HMS Formidable was engaged in a Gunnery exercise on New Year’s Eve 1914 off Portland Bill and was torpedoed by a U-Boat at 02:20 on New Years Day, the ships of her division scattered and this was justified as Formidable was hit by a second torpedo strike an hour later when the U-Boat captain realised he was not going to have a second target, after which Formidable rolled over and sank at 04:45.

547 men from a crew of 780 were lost due to severe Seas making the launching of boats nearly impossible, many men were reluctant to go overboard as they could see a large merchant ship passing by and expected her to stop and pick them up, but that ship ignored the signals so many of the men were clinging to life belts and pieces of wood near the ship when she capsized on top of them. Septimus was last seen smoking a Cigarette before calmly jumping into the sea shortly before the capsize, the Sub Lieutenant who jumped with him survived to report this.

Septimus Hibbert 1886-1915

Title: Septimus Hibbert 1886-1915
Description: Surgeon on HMS Formidable remembered on the Chatham Great War Naval Memorial. by-nc

Septimus’ body has not been found and he is remembered on the Chatham Great War Naval memorial, the War Memorial on Shawford Down near Winchester, and both the War Memorial and Memorial hall in Pyrford where his parents were living after the Great War.

My connection? His Uncle Horace married my second Cousin 3 times removed!

Woking Family Tree Project entry  for Septimus Hibbert

Another man (boy) who was lost on HMS Formidable was the 19 year old Royal Marine Light Infantry Private Roland Walter Woods, he had lived in Knaphill briefly in 1899 when his younger sister Dorothy was baptised at Holy Trinity, Knaphill
Woking Family Tree Project entry for Roland Walter Woods

 HMS Formidable was launched in 1898, in 1904 Thomas Philip Walker was appointed Captain and Commanded her until his Promotion to Rear Admiral in 1908,  by 1917 he was appointed Admiral and awarded the DSO. On the 27th November 1920 Admiral Walker donated a White Ensign and a Union Flag to be used for the unveiling of the War Memorial Cross outside St Peter’s Church, Old Woking by himself and Brigadier General Scudamore.  The Brigadier’s son John is remembered on the Old Woking Memorial Tablet having been killed in action at The Battle of Loos (1915) as a 20 year old Second Lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps.  The Flags are now displayed inside the Church.

Harold Joseph FROSTICK 1884-1916

Harold Joseph Frostick was born 5 July 1884 in Goldsworth Road, Woking, his father, Joseph Frostick was a grocer, draper and some time publican from Essex, his mother was Rosa (Rose) Mary Walker from Southwark who had five children by Joseph whilst living in her Mother’s house as Rose Frostick a married woman, but she was not in fact Joseph’s wife.

Joseph’s legal wife died in Essex in 1896 and it appears there was no further contact between Joseph and Rosa after his wife’s death as, in the 1901 Census, Joseph is living in Isleworth, Middlesex whilst Rosa and her three daughters are in the Guildford (Stoke) Workhouse using the surname Walker. Harold cannot be found in the 1901 Census, it is possible he was in the Army? His younger brother,  Frank Herbert Frostick, is living under that name in Woodham Lane, Addlestone where he is a Golf Club Maker Boarding in a Private House near the Victoria Public house.

By by the  1911 Census, Joseph Frostick was a widowed Publican in the Workhouse in Hillingdon, Middlesex  and died in the spring of 1917.
Rose Mary Walker was admitted into the Brookwood Asylum as a pauper patient on 17 September 1906 and died there on 2 September 1917

By the 1911 census Harold Frostick is living with his eldest sister Jessie in Norbury and is described as a Golf Professional and Golf Club Maker.

Following the Outbreak of War Harold joined the London Regiment and was posted to the 1st/16th Battalion (Queen’s Westminster Rifles), he was posted Missing on 10 September 1916 following the action at Leuze Wood during the Battle of the Somme and, as his body had not been found, his name was listed to be engraved on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme.

Harold Joseph Frostick

Title: Harold Joseph Frostick
Description: Engraved on the Thiepval Memorial before his body was recovered by-nc

The Westminsters lost 4 Officers and 52 Other Ranks Killed and 80 Missing in the abortive attack on Leuze Wood. This was in the period of the Battle of the Somme between the Battle of Ginchy and the Battle of Flers-Courcelette.

However in February 1931, shortly before the Thiepval Memorial was dedicated, a body was recovered from an unmarked grave in Leuze Wood and Harold’s pre 1916 Military Service Number was found written on the waterproof sheet used as a shroud, so he was reburied under his name in the “concentration” area of the  Serre Road No 2 Cemetery on the 8th February 1931.

The Williams Brothers

In 1890 a domestic Coachman, Jesse Williams who had been born in 1865 near Weston-Super-Mare, married Annie New, a girl born in Southall, Middlesex, but her Mother Esther Millard was a Woking Girl.

3 sons were born between 1892 and 1897 in the West Country, before Jesse died in 1898, Annie moved to Woking and was claiming Parish Relief whilst living in Board School Road at the time of the 1901 Census.

Annie married Samuel Robert Tutt in 1903, he was born 1871 in India and had just been pensioned off from the Royal Berkshire Regimnt at the Inkerman Barracks after an 18 year Globe trotting Army Career, and was using his Army Training as a Tailor in Civvy street. A son was born in Woking in 1906 to this marriage and by the 1911 Census the family are living on Anchor Hill in Knaphill.

The eldest Williams Boy was Arthur born 1892 in Bristol, in 1911 he was employed as a waiter, by 1915 he was a Private in 1st/5th Battalion, The Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment, and he died in Amara, Mesopotamia 21 June 1918 and lies in the Cemetery there.

The second son was Ernest was born 1895 in Mells, Somerset, in 1911 he was a Labourer and he enlisted on the 14 Sep 1914 and became a Lance Corporal in the 1st/6th Battalion, The Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment. he was posted missing presumed Dead on 9th April 1917 when the battalion attacked “Glasgow Trench” in the opening phase of the Battle of Arras. His body has not (yet) been recovered so he is remembered on Bay 2 of the Arras Memorial to the Missing.

The youngest Williams boy was Leonard and was the first to die as he was serving with the Coldstream Guards when he fell on 22 September 1916 at the Battle of Ginchy (A phase of the Battle of the Somme). His body was recovered in 1919 and he now lies in the Guards Cemetery at Lesbouefs, Somme France.

The boys’ Mother and Step Father moved had moved to Connaught Road, Brookwood and both died in 1923, whilst their Step-brother lived until 1965

Hubert (Hugh) Villiers Wilson 1896-1919

Hubert Villiers Wilson was born 21 March 1896 in Calicut, Kerala, India (aka Kozhikode) the son of an Indian Civil Servant, Villiers Stuart Fellowes Wilson, and Lilian Marguerite Blackburne-Maze, who had married in Kent in 1892. He was a nephew to Norman Pares, the Vicar of Horsell, but as his grandfathers were a Major and a Major-General in the Army, perhaps his destiny was in little doubt.

His parents moved with their 3 children (Hubert was second child and eldest son) to Alveston, Chobham, Surrey and Hubert was educated at St Mary’s School, Horsell, until 1910 when he was sent to Hadlow, Kent, to board with an uncle whilst attending Tonbridge School. He was known at Tonbridge School as Hugh Villiers WILSON which was also the name he later served under, although he had reverted to Hubert by his death.

In 1914 he went up to Emmanuel College, Cambridge, but obtained a commission as a temporary Second Lieutenant in the 13th Battalion (Reserve) of  the Hampshire Regiment on 7 December 1914. He was then posted to the 10th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment and in October 1915 was sent to Salonika, Greece, as part of the replacements for the men lost in the Gallipoli landings.

On 30 September 1916, he was shot in an operation about 75 miles north of Salonika, with damage to his spine, heart and both lungs. Whilst recovering he was promoted to Lieutenant on 26 April 1917, but relinquished his commission on Armistice day, 11/11/1911.

He eventually succumbed to his injuries at the Red Cross Hospital for Officers in Brighton on 15 December 1919 and was buried in St Mary’s churchyard, Horsell, on the 18 December 1919 by his uncle, Norman Pares, and lies under a private memorial. The identical grave marker next to his is the grave of his father (died 1932) and mother (died 1944).

John Doran Macdonald

John Doran Macdonald was born in Edinburgh 23 February 1867 the second son of Sir John Hay Athole Macdonald KCB PC who became Lord Kingsburgh in 1888. Lord Kingsburgh was a keen motorist, he was a founding member of the AA (automobile Association) and became President of the Scottish Automobile Association. He had been one of the first officers to introduce the use of traction engines into the army, and was responsible for the first use by the British Army of a motor car (for mail transport).

In 1892 John was married in Kensington to Katherine Alleyne Borthwick of Bebington, The Wirral. Katherine was the sister of the “Irish” writer and publisher Norma Borthwick who was living with John and Elizabeth in Woking at the time of the 1911 Census.

Following their marriage, John and Katherine spent some time in Florida where their first 3 children were born but returned with the 2 surviving children by May 1898 to occupy Hambledon House in Hampshire (severely damaged by a fire in January 2018), where John was described as a Civil Engineer, and had moved to The Whins on Hook Heath, Woking, by 1904, where John was described as an actor when his sixth and last child was baptised at St John the Baptist, St John’s, Woking.

At some point John had established a link with the Vauxhall Motor Company and he opened a service station on Hook Heath, Woking. At the outbreak of war in 1914, John at the age of 47 volunteered for service with the British Red Cross and was one of the men who converted their own vehicles into ambulances and drove to northern France to help with the evacuation of the wounded from the battlefields; this group known as “the flying unit” was based in Lille. On the 19 September 1914, Fabian Ware was sent out to lead and control them as some of their more adventurous exercises were endangering the status of Red Cross volunteers as non-combatants. Apparently, crossing the front line under a Red Cross and trying to liberate POWs was not supposed to be part of their role.

The waiting time at casualty stations and field hospitals, which were basically tent cities surrounded by ever increasing burial fields, had weighed heavily on the volunteers and they had noticed that although graves were marked at the time of burial, the burial party did not always have waterproof writing equipment, so the drivers and their stretcher bearers started re-marking the crosses with indelible ink supplied by the Red Cross and, later, with metal embossed tags.

However, artillery bombardments and other activities meant that many graves were being lost as the front line swung back and forth, so in October 1914 Ware asked his men to start recording the details (name, number, unit, rank and location) of as many of the graves as they could, sending handwritten notebooks and sheets of paper back to the Red Cross offices in Paris. The authorities in France realised the impact that the unit’s activities were having on morale and issued ID papers identifying them as the “Graves Registration Commission” so that they could access battlefield areas more easily.

Captain John Doran MacDonald 1867-1916

Title: Captain John Doran MacDonald 1867-1916
Description: The CWGC Headstone on his grave. Thanks to GeertB for providing the Image by-nc

These activities were brought to the attention of General Haig and in March 1915 he reported to the War Office that the activities of Ware’s men were having a considerable effect on morale (“a symbolic value to the men that it would be difficult to exaggerate”). The enlisted men knew that for the first time in the history of the British Army a permanent record of the location where they fell in war could be kept. The War Office formalised the Graves Registration Commission as part of the Red Cross in May 1915, by which time this small group had moved 12,000 soldiers to casualty stations and hospitals and recorded 4,300 grave sites. Fabian Ware was appointed an Army Major in charge of the Graves Registration Unit in addition to his role in the Commission, which now concentrated on establishing the permanent cemetery sites by negotiating with the local authorities. His deputy became a Captain and four of his original volunteers “Lieutenant Local Officers”, leading the unit’s teams of four vehicles and 5 men.

The London Gazette shows that John Doran Macdonald was formally commissioned as a British Army Lieutenant 9 September 1915  (backdated to 22 February 1915) when the Commission was transferred to be part of the British Army, having marked and recorded a further 27,000 graves. The Gazette then shows him as promoted to Captain 12 November 1915 (backdated to 30 September 1915)

The Graves Registration Unit continued its work and following Fabian Ware’s principle that all the of dead should be treated equally regardless of rank or class, it was instrumental in getting the exhumation and repatriation of fallen British soldiers by the rich banned following the exhumation under fire of W E Gladstone’s grandson. It became the Directorate of Graves Registration and Enquiries (DGR&E) in February 1916, having registered 50,000 graves and arranged for the creation of over 200 permanent war cemeteries with the local authorities.

John Doran Macdonald

Title: John Doran Macdonald
Description: Remembered on the Woking Town Great War Memorial by-nc

On the 18 March 1916, John was erecting and recording crosses on graves along the Ypres-Menin road when he was injured by shellfire; he died of his wounds and is buried in the Extension to the Bailleul Communal Cemetery.

Woking Family Tree Project entry

The DGRE continued its work until 1917 when in order to encompass all the theatres of war a Royal Charter created the Imperial War Graves Commission, an internationally-funded organisation attempting to provide a service without political interference, which in turn became the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in 1960.

Clifford William Tooley

Clifford William Tooley was born on the Caister Road, Great Yarmouth 14 June 1884  the second son (of 12 Chilren) of Richard Walter Tooley and Annie Agnes (nee Hunt) both natives of Great Yarmouth, Richard was a Book Publishers Travelling Salesman.
By the time of the 1911 Census his parents had died and his siblings are scattered across the Country between Norfolk and London but I can find no trace of Clifford in that Census?

Clifford married Hilda Marion Bonnett in Lincolnshire in 1913 and by 17 January 1914 Clifford is a Golf Professional living in Birchwood Road, West Byfleet where his daughter Kathleen Muriel was born.

Clifford served in the Norfolk Regiment in the 9th and 8th Battalions before he was posted to the 7th Battalion. He was reported Missing during the Battle of Cambrai on 30th November 1917 and his death was later assumed to have happened on or since that day.

His widow and daughter moved to Bournemouth where Kathleen married Charles Philip Willis.

All named people are deceased.
Woking Family Tree Project entry


The Freemantle Brothers

On the Woking Town and the Old Woking  (St Peter’s) Great War memorials the name of James A Freemantle is inscribed. but that is only the start of this story.
James Annals Freemantle was born in Easton, near Winchester, 20 December 1885, the fourth Child and 3rd son of William Frederick Feemantle (a Gardener) and Sarah (nee Annals) who had married in 1880.  Their first son had died as an infant, but another son Thomas was born in Easton in 1888.

By the 1901 Census, 15 year old James is  an Apprentice in a Iron Foundry whilst his younger Brother “Tom” is working as a Gardener presumably helping his Father.

By the 1911 census James has joined the 1st Battalion, Scots Guards as a Guardsman and is with the Battalion in Allahabad, India. At some point James was discharged (to reserves?) and joined the Surrey County Police force as is shown on his Marriage Certificate when he married Grace Mary Hoare at St Andrew, Cobham 12 May 1914, James gave his abode as being Ripley. One could assume he was based at the Woking Police station as he appears on the Woking Memorials, perhaps a newspaper trawl of the prewar period will confirm this,

When War broke out James rejoined the 1st Bn Scots Guards who disembarked at Le Havre, France on the 14th August and were engaged in various battles of the “Race to the Sea” until the 1st Battle of Ypres when the Battalion created new defensive Trenches between Veldhoek Chateau  and Polygon Wood on 1 November 1918.

James was amongst the 161 men the 1st Bn Scots Guards lost (MIA or KIA)  from Companies C and D on the 11th November when the front line trenches near Veldhoek were heavily shelled and then captured by the German advance, only 39 men escaped unwounded out of the 200.

However, the rear trenches held thanks to the British artillery firing over open sights at the advancing Germans less than 200 yards from the Guns, and a heroic counter attack by the cooks and Administrative staff of the Royal Engineers. Altogether the 1st Bn Scots Guards lost over 700 men between the 1st and 12th November but this action played a major role in stopping the German Advance.

Bay 11 of the Menin Gate

Title: Bay 11 of the Menin Gate
Description: James Freemantle followed by his younger Brother Thomas who was killed on the same day in the same Unit by-nc


As above, James is remembered on the 2 Woking memorials,  also a war memorial in Easton,  the Surrey Police Memorial at Mount Browne and on the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing of Ypres.

However on both the Menin Gate and the Mount Browne Memorial his name is immediately followed by T. Freemantle, which in fact is his younger Brother Thomas who was also in the 1st Bn Scots Guards in 1911 (his service number (6268) indicates he may have joined before James (6396) and had presumably followed his brother into the Surrey police before 1914 although the only evidence for this is the Mount Browne Memorial.



The Freemantle Brothers

Title: The Freemantle Brothers
Description: Entries in the soldiers effects register by-nc

It apears from Army record that Thomas fell in the same unit on the same day as his elder brother, both were declared Missing presumed dead, as the bodies were not recovered we will never know if they died in sight of each other. However an anomaly is that the Easton Memorial shows different dates with James having died on the 6th November, which the Battalion War Diary describes as a “Fairly Quiet day”

Woking Family Tree Project entry for James Annals FREEMANTLE



Frederick William Ward

Frederick was born in Burton-upon-Trent on 1899, the eldest of 9 children of Frederick Ward and Mary Jane Hall who had married in Westmorland 29 April 1897. His Father had been born in County Durham in 1869 and worked as an Engine and Boiler Fitter for Electric Light and Power Companies.  The family had moved to Northampton at the time of the 1911 Census but were resident in Courtenay Road, Woking by 1913. Frederick apparently attended the Maybury School and then joined the King’s Royal Rifle Corps when he was old enough.

The losses of 1917 followed by the Spring Offensive of 1918 by the German Army caused  a man power shortage in the British Army and several Regiments were re-organised by merging Battalions. In February 1918 the 1st/6th and 2/6th battalions of the London Regiment amalgamated  into a single 6th Battalion but in April whilst the men were billeted away from the front line a Mustard gas attack caused very heavy Casualties. It appears the that some of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps Battalions were then disbanded and Frederick along with several comrades with similar recruitment dates (ie sequential Service numbers) were attached to the 6th London  (City of London Rifles).

On the 8th August the 6th Battalion was part of the Anglo-American-Canadian Attack force on “Malard Wood” (Bois de Malard) just north of the River Somme as one of the opening moves of the Battle of Amiens. Having captured the Wood the force then attacked Chipily Ridge the next day.
The 6th London Casualty list for the 2 days action was 12 officers and 308 men
– 23 deaths being men from the original 6th London Battalions
– 40 deaths were men posted from the KRRC into the 6th

Frederick and some of his comrades were originally buried in an Extension to the Communal Cemetery at Vaux-sur-Somme, some 5 km from the Battle site but in 1919 the decision was taken to concentrate such “small” Cemeteries into the more easily maintainable Military Cemetery at Villers-Bretonneux

Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, Somme,

Title: Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, Somme,
Description: Photo courtesy of a member of the GreatWarForum by-nc


Woking Family Tree Project Entry