Croydon’s Vignalë Brothers

vRalph and Otho Vignalë were brothers from Trinidad who were living in Croydon when WW1 broke out. Ralph was married to Henrietta and had two young daughters, Beryl Adelaide and Mary Gwendoline. Ralph and his wife had just lost a son soon after birth in 1913. Ralph and Otho both enlisted in Croydon to the British Army, Ralph joining The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment and Otho signing up to the Territorial Force to be trained in artillery.

The policy of the British War Office, influenced by racial politics and theories, was to restrict use of non-white soldiers against white enemies. High casualties and internal government negotiation lead to a relaxation of this policy and a British West Indies Regiment (BWIR) was established in October 1916. Of the 15,204 men recruited from the Caribbean colonies for the BWIR, 66% came from Jamaica.

In 1917, Ralph Vignalë was transferred to the British West Indies Regiment and sent to the Western Front in France. The Caribbean men were largely restricted to providing labour services, such as loading ammunition and digging trenches. Battalions sent to Palestine and Egypt experienced more frontline combat. The BWIR men faced other discriminatory treatment including lesser medical care, being barred from certain promotions and being excluded from Army Order No. 1 of 1918 that granted a pay increase to British soldiers in the final year of the war.

Within months serving on the Western Front, Ralph had experienced acute nephritis of the kidneys and was sent back to the UK for treatment and was then discharged. Illness was the cause of the majority of deaths in the Regiment (1,071). The Vignalës lost a brother, Raymond Vignalë, who served with the Canadian Field Artillery. He died days before the armistice, aged 23 years. Another brother, Percy, served with Army Service Corps and survived.

Ralph returned to his family in Croydon, which had had a new addition with the birth of Joan Vignalë in 1916. His brother, Otho, trained as a dentist and Ralph as a barrister. Ralph left the UK to return to Trinidad and went on to write stories and newspaper columns and to serve as Mayor of Arima. Ralph Vignalë is thought to have died in the early 1960s.

Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment Prisoners of War 1918

This register of prisoners of war, gives number, rank, name, name of ‘adopters’, number of parcels and relatives. It is arranged alphabetically and names were struck through on release.

The index has been supplemented with first names and transcriber’s notes from other sources.  Abbreviations include:

MiC = Medals Index Card
CWGC = Commonwealth War Graves Commission website

 

 

Thomas Arthur Cheal

G/4253 Private Thomas (Tom) Arthur Cheal enlisted in the British Army and was posted to the Western Front to fight in the Great War of 1914-1918. Tom remained resilient throughout his service and fought bravely with his battalion until the ravages of war ultimately claimed his life.

Thomas (Tom) Arthur Cheal was born on 5 August 1894 at 61 St Mary’s Road, Reigate, Surrey, England, the eldest son of Thomas John Cheal (a waterworks labourer) and Kate Skilton. Tom was one of nine children; he had three brothers (Harold, Robert and Walter), and five sisters (Beatrice, Mary, Edith, Lillian and Gladys).

At sixteen Tom and his family had moved to Earlswood, Redhill, where Tom was working as a porter for the local bootmaker. Tom was a mischievous lad. In 1913 his sense of adventure landed him in trouble with the law when he and his brother and a few mates were caught stealing apples from a nearby orchard. Some of the boys were each fined £2 6s. each and ordered to keep out of any further mischief.

On the 19 January 1915 Tom, single and at age 20 years 5 months, signed up and enlisted into the regular army. G/4253 Private T.A. Cheal was assigned to the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment, 1st Battalion.

The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment was based at the Stoughton Barracks in Guildford. It is thought Tom would have commenced basic training such as drill routines, following commands, weapon handling, first aid and specific instruction pertinent to the role he was to fill. No amount of training or experience could have prepared him for what he was about to endure.

Tom’s war medal index card (held by The National Archives) details that on 4 May 1915 he disembarked to serve in ‘Theatre of War – 1. France’.

Tom’s exact movements from that date are not clear. The 1st Battalion’s war diary (held by The National Archives) details a draft of NCOs and men arriving in Le Hamel on the afternoon of 8 May. Tom most likely joined other troops as a reserve and initially was not at the front line.

On 31 May 1916 there is a diary note to say that the first batch of Derby recruits had joined the battalion. ‘Rather a poor lot physically’ it says. Unbeknown to all they were about to become involved in one of the most infamous battles of World War I.

The Battle of the Somme commenced on 1 July 1916 and lasted until 18 November 1916.

On 3 November 1916, G/4253 Private Thomas Arthur Cheal was killed in battle. The 1st Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment’s war diary states

‘At 4pm the Battalion left the trenches and went forward in splendid style in spite of the adverse condition of the trenches and weather. Artillery observing officers spoke very highly of the manner in which the men advanced. After getting about half way to the first objective the advance was held up by heavy rifle and machine gun fire’.

It is not known when Tom’s next of kin was advised of his death.

Tom’s register of effects states on the 28 February 1917 the amount of £10 18 shillings & 6 pence was authorised to be paid to his mother as his sole legatee. A war gratuity of £8 was authorised on 4 October 1919.

For his service, Tom was the recipient of three medals: the British War Medal, the Victory Medal and the 1914-15 Star. The three medals are commonly referred to as Pip, Squeak and Wilfred.

The British War Medal (‘Squeak’) was awarded to all soldiers of British and Imperial Forces who had served between 5 August 1914 and the end of the war (11 November 1918), including soldiers who died during this time.

The Victory Medal (‘Wilfred’) was awarded for serving in France between August 1914 and November 1916.

The 1914-1915 Star (‘Pip’) was awarded for service in any theatre during those two years.

Tom’s final resting place is in the A.I.F. (Australian Imperial Force) Burial Ground, Grass Lane, Flers, France. His headstone has an embellishment of a cross in the centre – G/4253 Private T.A. Cheal, The Queen’s, 3rd November 1916.

Surrey Regiments’ Prisoner of War Funds

Due to intense fighting at the front in October 1914, the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment suffered heavy casualties, with the 1st Battalion reduced from 1000 to 50 men. This motivated Christabel Elias Morgan, wife of Colonel Elias Morgan (commander of the Regiment’s depot at Stoughton Barracks), to set up a comforts fund for the troops at the frontline. This fund drew upon money, food and clothing donated by the local community.

Mrs Morgan also received word from men of the Queen’s held as prisoners of war in German camps, and this inspired her to set up a sister fund to provide for them. She wrote to national newspapers (such as the Daily Mail) to point out that while some prisoners were kept well supplied by relatives, others received no packages. Therefore the Prisoners of War Comforts Fund sent regular parcels to these neglected men of the Queen’s. Local women were also encouraged to act as a ‘Prisoner’s Friend’ by adopting a prisoner and keeping him supplied with parcels on a weekly or fortnightly basis. These women, as well as subscribers and donors to the fund, were publicised by their inclusion in a regular list in the Surrey Advertiser. The community kept the Fund well supplied. For example the 24 June 1916 Prisoners’ Day in Guildford raised £426 14s. 11d.

In mid-1916, the Fund provided parcels for 90 prisoners, and in addition 539 prisoners were cared for by their ‘Friends’. By this point over 70,000 parcels had been sent off. The Fund, which was managed by Mrs Morgan and a Mr H. Neden Harrison (until he became a Red Cross ambulance driver in August 1915), had grown so large that it moved its headquarters to the Stoughton Barracks by May 1915. The prisoners were generally reasonably treated but suffered from an acute lack of appropriate clothing and food supplies beyond scarce rations. Thus Mrs Morgan led campaigns to supply overcoats and 4000 pairs of socks to the men. Further comfort was brought to the men by the dispatch of musical instruments (two cornets and a euphonium) and special Christmas parcels, containing Christmas puddings and carols.

The Fund was also significant for its work in gathering and disseminating information about the prisoners to both the public and the government. Cards and letters received from prisoners acknowledging receipt of their parcels helped to counter concern that they were not being received. The War Office was given the details gathered about all the Queen’s prisoners of war, and advised on regulations concerning this area. For instance, the Fund helped to get a prohibition on the sending of tinned goods withdrawn. There were also communications with other similar prisoner of war relief committees extending from a Norfolk organisation modelled on the Fund to as far away as the Russian Prisoner of War Help committee.

When Colonel Morgan was replaced at the Depot in August 1916, the Fund’s work continued under Mrs Warren, the widow of Colonel Warren of the 1st Battalion Queen’s. New regulations mandating that each prisoner was to receive 6 parcels a month and 6 ½ lb. of bread delivered from Switzerland were met despite the increased cost. By December 1917, a committee under the mayor of Guildford oversaw this work and coordinated with a similar fund for the East Surrey Regiment (with both organisations caring for over 1800 prisoners). They arranged a ‘Welcome Home’ party in Guildford for 500 repatriated prisoners and their wives on January 24 1919.

The Fund’s work was recorded by Mrs Morgan in two scrapbooks in which she collected documentation and newspaper coverage of the Fund and the Queen’s Regiment.

Based on an examination of Mrs Elias Morgan’s scrapbook of newspaper cuttings, held by Surrey History Centre (SHC ref QRWS/30/ELIAA/1-2).

Captain Eardley Apted: The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment

Eardley Apted was born in March 1885 in Reigate, the second son of Oliver Cromwell Apted and Prudence. He had two brothers, Frank Eardley and Oliver Heath and three sisters, Prudence, Winifred Margaret and Margery. The family lived at Doods Brow, 74 Doods Road Reigate. His father worked as an inspector of taxes, ran the family brickmaking business and was also a member and Alderman of Reigate Borough Council.

Eardley attended Holmesdale School before being sent to Cranleigh School, where he became a member of the Officer Training Corps. Upon leaving Cranleigh, he entered Gray’s Inn as a law student and was called to the bar in 1913. (By this time, he was also running the family brickmaking business.)

Politically, Eardley was a keen Liberal and was a well-known figure in parliamentary contests. He joined the local branch of the League of Young Liberals and much of the success in making its influence widely felt was owed to Eardley’s exceptional abilities as an organiser.

In the pursuit of pleasure, he threw himself into every kind of outdoor sport and was a tennis player of no mean order.

On the outbreak of the First World War, he immediately joined the Inns of Court Training Corps at Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, from which he was commissioned into the 9th Battalion, The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment. The 9th was a reserve battalion, involved with training and recruitment.

Eardley proved to be an excellent recruiter and travelled the south, visiting recruitment offices and giving speeches at town halls, and he was often in the Reigate area. The 9th Battalion was disbanded in September 1916 and absorbed into the 5th Training Reserve. It was noted that a large number of recruits passed through his hands, with excellent results. Eardley, a strict disciplinarian, was highly esteemed by his superior officers. However he felt compelled to go to the front and share the dangers with men he had trained.

Both of his brothers were fighting abroad. His elder brother Frank was serving as a Lieutenant with the Royal Engineers in Palestine, but his younger brother Oliver, when serving with the Stockbrokers’ Battalion (10th Royal Fusiliers) in France was badly wounded at the Battle of the Somme and discharged from the army.

Eardley was transferred from the 5th Training Reserve and posted to the 11th Battalion The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment, which was serving in France. He landed on the 7 July 1917 and joined his new battalion a few days later, having been promoted to Captain. The 11th Battalion was preparing for a large attack at the end of the month, which would become part of the great offensive at Passchendaele. On 25 July 1917 the Battalion was moved to the front, to take over Imperial Trench. This took all night, due to the bad state of the ground and the heavy German shelling. The trench system taken over was little more than shell holes, filled with mud and water. On the first day, the Battalion lost nine men killed and 17 more wounded.

On the 28 July an attempt was made to lay out tapes, so the Battalion would know where to form up for the forthcoming attack. Due to the terrible conditions, a job that should have taken a couple of hours overnight took two days! Part of the forthcoming advance was to be over a railway embankment, but the sides were steep and owing to the waterlogged conditions it was virtually impossible to scale. Engineers had to be dispatched to cut steps over the embankment.

At 9.40 pm on 31 July, Eardley and the Battalion moved off, following the tapes and by 1.30am they were in position, without suffering a casualty. Zero hour was 3.50am and the Battalion, advancing behind the creeping barrage, had no difficulty in taking its first objective, but due to the heavy state of the ground the troops had great difficulty in keeping up with the barrage. As they came within 300 yards of the final objective, three concrete pillboxes were discovered, held by Germans, who opened fire with machine guns and rifles.

The barrage and previous bombardments had made no impression on these pillboxes and it appeared there was no chance of taking them. Nevertheless efforts were made to capture them. Two parties of men went forward, one led by Eardley and they worked their way to within 50 yards, but every movement was met with German machine gun fire and casualties were high. A decision was taken to withdraw and return to their original positions at Imperial Trench.

The following day, at roll call, many men were missing. The Battalion had suffered an estimated 200 casualties and Eardley Apted was amongst the missing. He had only been in France for 24 days.

Back in Reigate, Eardley’s family received the official news that he was missing in action. His father had a letter from Eardley’s commanding cfficer, stating that his section had attacked the enemy and obtained their objective (but they hadn’t!). Whilst some of the men had returned, Eardley and others were missing and it was quite likely that he and those other men may have been taken prisoner.

Eardley’s commanding officer kept in contact with his father and again wrote to him:

“I still have a hope you may hear from your son in Germany. My own opinion is that your son went to the furthest objective of the attack, which very few units reached, but was cut off and then captured, killed or wounded. It is impossible to say what has happened, but if you do hear from him, please let me know. I have very great admiration for your son and am very anxious to hear from him. He only came to me whilst we were in training for the attack; yet although he was new to everything and had never been in the trenches, his grasp of the situation was remarkable. I, and the whole battalion have lost a most extraordinarily capable officer, who is much missed by us all”.

The Colonel continued his enquiries over the coming months, until news was received from three men of Eardley’s company who had been wounded and taken prisoner by the Germans. One of them, a Corporal Stevens, wrote:

“I am sorry to say Captain Apted was killed almost at the same time as I was wounded. I must also say that his behavior on that day was splendid; he was wounded by a bullet in the wrist early in the attack but stayed with us lads. About 4pm (1st August 1917), we had become cut off and surrounded, when a bullet, which struck him in the forehead, killed him. Two minutes later I was captured”.

By April 1918, the War Office decided that in all likelihood, he had been killed in action at Passchendaele on 1 August 1917 and his family was officially notified.

Eardley is commemorated locally on the memorial board in Reigate Town Hall and appears on the South Park Congregational Church war memorial. His family also added his name to the family grave in Reigate Cemetery. He is remembered in Belgium on the Menin Gate in Ypres.

Click here for a newspaper report of Eardley Apted going missing.

Brothers in War

William Thomas Woolford was born in November 1868 in Croydon, and was the son of William and Ann Jane Woolford (née Walters). William married Ellen Hicks in August 1901 at Edmonton. On the 1901 Census William and his brother Albert were living in Wimbledon and both were working as painters. On the 1911 Census William was living in Reigate with his wife and four children.

He was obviously very close to his brother Albert, and they both enlisted at Guildford in the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment. His younger brother John had also served in the Queen’s in 1899 for a short period. On enlistment in March 1915, William gave his age as 38, but he was actually 47 and wasn’t eligible. He was then living at 13 Brooks Cottages, Redhill, Surrey and already had five children – Edith Ellen, William Thomas, Albert Edward, Alice Mary and Clara Bessie. They were obviously proud of their father as in one photograph they are all wearing the regimental badge. William was a Private in the British Expeditionary Force and got the 1914/1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.

William spent some time in hospital and was then transferred to the Labour Corps, and was discharged in March 1918 as no longer physically fit for war service. His brother Albert was killed in action in June 1917 in Belgium, and has no known grave and is listed on the Menin Gate and the South Street, Dorking, War Memorial. William died in 1950 at Redhill.

A Brief Guide to the Infantry Battalions and Divisions of the British Army 1914-18

A conversation with colleagues and fellow researchers about a particular British infantry battalion prompted me to write this crib sheet to assist readers with understanding the way in which the British Army expanded during the Great War.  It will be based on the two Surrey infantry regiments, the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment and the East Surrey Regiment.

The Evolution of the British Army 1914-18

The Regular Army – the “two battalion” system

The essential part of any army is the infantry, which is formed into regiments and battalions. In 1914-18 there were differences between continental and British practice as to how these functioned. In the Imperial German and French armies, a “regiment” was a tactical formation which operated in battle in its own right. It was usually commanded by a colonel, contained about 3000 men at full strength, and was divided into three “battalions”, each of about 1000 men. These battalions would most often fight under the control of the parent regiment, but could be detached for special purposes. Hence they are described by reference to their parent regiment, for example 1st Battalion of the 36th Infantry Regiment, or I/36IR (in this abbreviated form Roman numerals are generally used for the battalion number).

In contrast the British “regiment” exists as a mere “parent” for a number of battalions. Its role is formal, so it never appears on a battlefield. The “colonel” of a British regiment has merely a ceremonial role. The tactical component of the British infantry regiment is the battalion, again comprising about 1000 men. A regiment may provide several battalions, but they need not serve together – in fact the British battalion system as created meant that battalions of the same regiment rarely served together. The next higher formation which controls a number of infantry battalions in the British army is the brigade, commanded in 1914-18 by a Brigadier-General. Its usual composition was four infantry battalions (reduced to three in February 1918). Battalions are described by their relationship to the regiment, namely 1st Battalion East Surrey Regiment, or 1st East Surreys. Brigades are numbered consecutively, e.g. 35th Brigade, 174th Brigade, and were usually part of the division whose number represented the brigade number divided by three.  So 2nd Division comprised 4th 5th and 6th Brigades, while 18th Division comprised 53rd, 54th and 55th Brigades.  However this was not universal, as some brigades were moved between divisions, so 5th Division lost 14th Brigade to 32nd Division in exchange for 95th Brigade in 1915, although not all the battalions in the these brigades made the same movement.[1]

Prior to 1881, British infantry battalions did not have names but only numbers, being referred to as regiments of Foot, e.g. 31st Regiment of Foot, or more usually 31st Foot. As new regiments were raised they were allocated a number in sequence, and this identified their place in the order of precedence for ceremonial occasions, which was retained when the regiments acquired names. So the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) regiment, formerly the 2nd Foot, ranks higher than the East Surrey Regiment or 31st Foot. A Foot regiment rarely had more than one battalion, but it was not unknown: the 2nd (Queen’s) Foot had formed such a one in 1857.  However the existence of so many single battalion regiments made it difficult to maintain the strength of those regiments while on imperial service.  So in 1881 it was decided to merge single battalion regiments together to ensure each regiment had two battalions.  One would serve at home, recruiting and training drafts for the other battalion which was serving in the empire. Periodically they would swap over. It was also decided to provide each regiment with a name, usually that of a county or town with which the regiment would be associated. It was hoped that this would generate pride in the local regiment and so encourage recruiting. So from 1881 the 2nd Foot became the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment, with two battalions, while the 31st and 70th Foot merged to become the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the East Surrey Regiment. Often the regiments grouped together shared very few historical links with their new location. The 70th Foot carried the bracketed name of Surrey in its title, but the 31st Foot carried that of Huntingdon! They were now referred to as the 1st Battalion Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment, or 1/Queens, or the 2nd Battalion East Surrey Regiment, or 2/East Surreys. The Guards Regiments, and the two rifle regiments, the Rifle Brigade and the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, were excluded from this localisation, and certain London-based regiments like the Middlesex Regiment, and the Royal Fusiliers fielded more than two battalions.

 

The Militia

Besides the regular army, a variety of part-time units existed, such as the Militia and the Volunteers. The Militia had existed for several hundred years, tracing its ancestry back from the Anglo-Saxon fyrd through the Trained Bands of the 17th century to the Militia of the 18th century. It embodied the duty of each able-bodied man to be prepared to defend his home against attack and was therefore theoretically selected by ballot. It was also seen as a constitutional safeguard against a too-powerful regular army, a hangover from the English Civil War, as their control was vested firmly in the county authorities. It tended to blossom in response to war or threats of war, and at times of peace sank into decline.

 

The Volunteers

In 1859 there arose one of the periodic scares about a possible French invasion. This had several consequences. Certain places like Portsmouth, Chatham, and even London, were protected by lines of modern (for 1860) fixed defences; some of these, like Fort Nelson at Portsmouth, still exist. The first true iron warship, HMS Warrior, was built. And the middle class decided that they wanted to help defend Britain, and so they started the volunteer movement. Numbers of volunteer rifle regiments were created, with names like the Artists’ Rifles and Queen Victoria’s Rifles. The consequent interest in shooting led to the formation of the National Rifle Association, which held its first meeting in 1861 on Wimbledon Common (it moved to a permanent site at Bisley, Surrey, in 1890 partly because “overs” from the meeting were reaching as far as Coombe Hill, near Kingston).

 

The Merger

The inadequacies shown up in the performance of the British army in the second Boer war (1899–1902) were dealt with by a series of reforms in the years leading up to the First World War. Amongst these were various schemes for the creation of a standing expeditionary force until in 1908 the Liberal Secretary of State for War, Richard Haldane, created the embryo of the force that went to France in 1914. In addition he brought the three historic military forces into one. The militia was represented by the creation of a Reserve battalion for each regiment, usually numbered as the 3rd battalion. Some regiments like the East Surrey Regiment, even had a Special Reserve battalion, numbered 4th. The volunteer movement was represented by the creation of the Territorial Army, whereby each regiment, with certain exceptions, gained two territorial battalions primarily for home defence and numbered after the reserve battalions. So in the Queen’s, these became the 4th and 5th battalions, and the 5th and 6th battalions of the East Surrey Regiment. The London Regiment was the territorial arm of the Royal Fusiliers, and was the official regimental title of the well-known volunteer regiments like the London Scottish which were part of the regiment.

 

Wartime Expansion

The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) that went to France in 1914 comprised the six regular infantry divisions (although initially two divisions were held back to counter a feared German invasion of Britain) and one cavalry division. The battalions included many reservists in their ranks; these were not part of the reserve or territorial battalions, but were former regular soldiers whose service in the ranks had been completed, but who still had obligations as part of the reserve to return to the colours if required. Territorial battalions were embodied for home defence, since this was their primary function, but clearly more troops were needed for overseas service and it took time to obtain sufficient men prepared to volunteer for such service. Consequently the Territorial units formed “first-line” units for such service. These took the number of their parent battalion, but were distinguished by a 1/ to denote their “first-line” status. Thus were created the 1/4th Queens, or the 1/6th East Surreys. As the war went on second- and even third-line units of the Territorial battalions were created, to become 2/5th East Surreys or 3/5th East Surreys. However many of these were relatively short-lived, either being disbanded after a short period of existence, or were merged into Reserve or training battalions.

The expansion as a result of Kitchener’s call for volunteers in August 1914 was not made through the medium of the Territorial Army. Kitchener may have distrusted Territorial forces, but it is also probable that he recognised the difficulties faced by this body in preparing for war. For whatever reason he proposed to embody his volunteers as new battalions of existing regiments. These would be numbered after the territorial battalions and being only embodied for war service would be termed “service” battalions. So this process produced battalions such as the 7th (Service) Battalion Queen’s, and 8th (Service) Battalion East Surreys.

There is one further step that should be mentioned. Voluntary recruitment faltered in 1915, with the result that various expedients were tried to increase the flow of men before it was necessary to introduce conscription, a measure deemed to be anathema to tried and tested British principles. In May and June 1915, the mayors and councils of four London boroughs, Bermondsey, Wandsworth, Lambeth and Battersea, prompted the formation of four infantry battalions, two battalions as part of the Queen’s and two as part of the East Surreys, which would carry the name of their sponsoring borough. These became the 10th (Service) Battalion (Battersea) and 11th (Service) Battalion (Lambeth) of the Queen’s, and the 12th (Service) Battalion (Bermondsey) and 13th (Service) Battalion (Wandsworth) of the East Surreys.

 

The Divisions

In August 1914 there were six formed divisions in Britain, numbered 1 to 6, and these were the first to be sent to France. In addition, two further regular divisions, numbered 7 and 8, were created from available regular infantry battalions and went to France in the autumn of 1914. The recall of regular battalions on imperial service and their relief by territorial battalions sent from Britain enabled three further regular divisions, numbered 27, 28 and 29, to be created.

Territorial divisions had been created and had battalions assigned to them, but were not fully formed or trained. They did not initially have numbers but were described by their location, such as the London or the Home Counties Division. When embodied for war service, they were given numbers, starting with 42, but their territorial association was included in their designation, so there came into existence 46th (North Midland) Division, 51st (Highland) Division, and 56th (London) Division. The names given to some divisions raised later in the war indicate that they were raised as second-line units, e.g. 58th (2/1 London) Division.

The service battalions comprising the volunteers responding to Lord Kitchener’s call were formed into tranches of six divisions, each set of six making up one “new army”, usually referred to as K1, K2 etc. Their numbers started at 9, and each set of six divisions carried a designation based on the Home Command whose regiments made up the division, so there came into existence 9th (Scottish) Division, 10th (Irish) Division, 18th (Eastern) Division, and 20th (Light) Division. However this pattern applied only to the divisions of the first and second new armies, or K1 and K2. Later divisions generally had no title, except in a few cases where a certain honorific designation was applied. 38th (Welsh) division was formed in Wales as a result of Lloyd George’s desire to create a “Welsh Army Corps”, while 36th (Ulster) Division was formed from the units of the Ulster Volunteer Force formed to defend Ulster against the threat of Irish Home Rule. One rather unusual formation was 35th (Bantam) Division, in which the battalions initially comprised men who did not meet the height requirements but were allowed to join up in specific “bantam” battalions. The existence of numbers of these men was testimony to the impact that the industrial revolution and urbanisation had on the population.

Two further divisions of note were 63nd (Royal Naval) Division and 74th (Yeomanry) Division. The former was formed in 1914 on the orders of Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty. It was made up of Royal Marines and seaman not allocated to ships or specific jobs. It went to Antwerp in 1914 in a vain attempt to save that city from German occupation, and in 1915 as the Royal Naval Division it went to Gallipoli (the poet Rupert Brooke served in it). When posted to the Western Front from 1916 its existence was formalised as shown above, and it included an army brigade in addition to the naval battalions (named after naval heroes) and the Royal Marine battalions (named after RM bases). The 74th division was formed in 1917 in Egypt from Yeomanry cavalry regiments which had been serving as dismounted infantry (hence its name). It took part in the capture of Jerusalem in December 1917 before being sent to France in 1918.

 

Final Thoughts

Whatever their initial form and composition, battalions did not retain these long after their introduction to combat. The demands of total war and the introduction of conscription, with the corollary that drafts were sent where they were needed regardless of affiliation, drastically altered the composition of a battalion. The increasing commissioning of promising NCOs also had an effect as the commission was always to a regiment other than that in which they had previously served. Yet paradoxically the regimental system and in particular whether a battalion, or even a division, was regular, territorial or “service” continued to govern its character. Regular units retained something of their old army ways in respect of discipline and conduct, while territorial and service units showed more informality characteristic of their status. But over all there existed the regiment, and there is evidence that this was a cornerstone of the resilience shown by the British Army between 1914 and 1918. Those who were commissioned from the ranks were sent to Officer Training units, often based at Oxford and Cambridge colleges, where they were taught to be “officers”, which involved understanding the regimental system and the paternalistic regard required of an officer for his men. It helped to keep the British army in the field until victory.

[1] See www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/order-of-battle-of-divisions/ for the full orders of battle of the divisions.

Surrey Firemen killed in action during the Great War

Before 1941 when a national service was created, fire brigades were organised locally and paid for by their district council. A brigade might have only one permanent fireman, the remaining crew being drawn from local men from a variety of occupations who were ready to respond in an emergency.

Many of these men enlisted during the Great War, although the first Zeppelin raids in 1915 brought a new threat at home in the form of incendiary attacks from the air. With the introduction of conscription in the following year, firemen were not exempt from military service and brigades found it difficult to recruit men to replace those that had gone to fight.

Lingfield - the old Lingfield fire engine and brigade c. 1914. Surrey History Centre ref 7828/2/97/148

Lingfield – the old Lingfield fire engine and brigade c. 1914. Surrey History Centre ref 7828/2/97/148

The Firefighter’s Memorial Trust lists 48 Surrey firemen who were killed in action during the Great War. In some cases, little information is available about them beyond their name and brigade. Official sources, family records and contemporary newspaper accounts shed light on the lives of others. Their ages, backgrounds and occupations vary widely – shopkeeper, lamplighter, house painter, footballer, Charterhouse schoolmaster. In October 2018 a memorial to these men was unveiled at Surrey Fire and Rescue Headquarters, Wray Park, Reigate.

A summary of the biographical information held on this website for 38 of the Surrey firemen who gave their lives for their country is below. Further detail is contained in the individual person records below.

John Francis Barnes
Holmwood Brigade
Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment
Son of James Charles Barnes, of 1, Forge Cottages, Holmwood, Dorking, Surrey, and the late Elizabeth Barnes. Died 27th June 1917 aged 25. Buried at Ypres.

George Frederick Beard
Wallington Brigade
The Buffs (East Kent Regiment)
Born in Camberwell Workhouse. Parents George and Mary Ann. Died on 2nd August 1917 aged 35 years.

Francis George Benson
Byfleet Brigade
South Wales Borderers
Born in Hungerford. Husband of H. T. Benson, of 22, Council Cottages, Byfleet, Surrey. Worked as a Platelayer for London and South West Railways. Was in the Dragoon Guards but then attached to the South Wales Borderers. Died on 21st October 1916 aged 36. Surrey Herald newspaper report says he was shot by a sniper.

George Edward Brant
Southall & Norwood Brigade
Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment
Born in Warfield, Berkshire, the son of John and Caroline Brant. He married Eleanor Cornish in 1899. He arrived in France on 4th January 1915 and died twelve days later on 16th January as a result of German shelling of “D” Company billets. He was aged 39. George Brant is buried in Beaumont Hamel British Cemetery.

Albert George Brind
Sunbury Brigade
Royal Sussex Regiment
Born in 1886 in Sunbury and enlisted there, On 1911 Census is employed as a house decorator/wall paper and living at 7 Amesbury Terrace, French Street, Sunbury. He was killed on 24th August 1918 and is buried at Peronne Road Cemetery, Maricourt, Somme.

George Brooks
Maldens & Coombe
Royal Fusiliers
Born in New Malden. Employed by Malden & Coombe Council for many years and as a member of the local Fire Brigade drove the fire engine a number of times. Joined the Royal Fusiliers along with his brother Henry. A letter from Henry printed in the Surrey Comet of 12th May 1915 states that George was shot in the head by a sniper and killed instantly on 26th April 1915. He was 44.

George Caesar
Godalming Brigade
Royal Sussex Regiment
Lived at 16 North Street, Farncombe. Awarded MM and MSM. Before the war was a leather dresser at Messrs. Pullman’s tannery. A good all-round sportsman he excelled as a footballer, playing for the Farncombe Club, of which he was captain. Known as “Rocky” Caesar. He enlisted in the 8th Royal Sussex Regt. on Sept. 5th, 1914 and went out to France in the following November with the rank of corporal. Died on 7th August 1918 aged 35.He was married to Amy Jane Henson and had a daughter.

Alfred Carpenter
Wimbledon Brigade
Royal Navy HMS Bayano
An Able Seaman aboard HMS Bayano, a former banana boat that had been converted into an armed merchant auxiliary cruiser. It was sunk by Submarine U-27 on 11th March 1915 off the coast of Scotland. Carpenter was one of 194 crew members to lose their lives.

Walter Henry Channell
Ewell Brigade
Machine Gun Company
Born in Worcester Park, the son of Alfred and Elizabeth Channell, he was married to Martha. Worked as a gardener in private homes and for London County Council at Horton Hospital prior to the war. Previously in the QRWS regiment no 6137 before transferring to the Machine Gun Company. Died of Wounds on 6th August 1917 aged 34.

George Cook
Limpsfield Brigade
Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment
Born in Limpsfield, he and his wife Adelaide lived at North Cottage. Died on 8th October 1915 and buried in St Peter’s Churchyard in Limpsfield.

William James Daniels
Woking and Weybridge Brigade
Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment
Lived at Cherry Street, Woking with his wife Esther. Died on 23rd August 1915 aged 44. According to a news report was shot by a sniper whilst trying to retrieve a wounded colleague. Esther remarried, to a man called William Bayes who was himself killed in action in October 1916.

Christopher William Dilloway
Caxton Ltd Guildford Brigade
Queen’s Own, Royal West Kent Regiment
Born in Brighton to Thomas and Elizabeth. He married Lily Georgina Bailey in 1910. A bookbinder who learned his trade at the printers Billings in Guildford. He was a member of the Caxton Ltd Fire Brigade and Football Club. Died of a head wound on the way to a dressing station on 30th August 1918. Buried at Daours Communal Cemetery.

Mark Edwards
Dorking Brigade
Middlesex Regiment
He was the only son of Mark Edwards, the landlord of the Rose and Crown public house on West Street, Dorking. Before the war worked for Dorking Urban Council and was a member of the local Fire Brigade for fifteen years. Lived at Rose’s Cottages, Dorking. Enlisted on March 24th 1916 and went to France on July 13th of that year. He was taken prisoner four months later and died on 9th February 1917 in a Prisoner of War camp in Germany. He is buried at Niederzwehren Cemetery, Kassel.

Albert Oscar Foster
Guildford Brigade
Royal Navy HMS Viknor
Born Sunbury, 24 Jul 1889. Married to Annie Foster, 6 Comyn Road, Clapham Junction. Served on HMS Viknor. He was awarded the Victory Medal, the British War Medal 1914-18, and the 1914 Star. On January 13th 1915 the Viknor disappeared in heavy weather while on patrol close to Tory Island off the coast of Donegal, without sending a distress signal. She took with her the entire 291-man crew.

James Francis
Byfleet Brigade
Royal Warwickshire Regiment
He was born in Byfleet and married to Minnie Gennetta Bayliss. They lived at 12, Binfield Road, Byfleet. Died on 20th November 1917 aged 33.

Wilfred Edwin Geeson
Molesey Brigade
Queen’s Westminster Rifles
Son of Edwin James and Elizabeth Geeson, of Rose Cottage, Aldingbourne, Sussex, he was born in Fulham. Went to school at Ackmar Road School in Hammersmith and Fulham. Before the war worked as a postman and shop assistant at the Post Office at 446 Walton Road, West Molesey and also served in the local Fire Brigade. Enlisted as a Private in the London Regiment in December 1915 and was mobilized to France in the following June. He served in Salonika before joining the Egyptian Expeditionary Force in Palestine where he was killed in action on 8th December 1917 aged 24.

Alfred Glue
Godalming Brigade
Royal Marine Light Infantry
Alfred Glue was born at Slinfold, Guildford in 1880 and was married. He was on board HMS Alcantara when it was involved in an action with a disguised German vessel SMS Greif. He was one of 68 men on the Alcantara who were killed.

Alfred Ernest Harman
Caxton Ltd Brigade
Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment
Spent early years in Deptford before family moved to Guildford. Educated at Stoughton School and employed for a time at Messrs. Angel, Son and Gray and then at Messrs. Billings. On 1911 Census is living at 49 Dapdune Road and employed as a compositor printer at Caxton Ltd. where he was also a member of the Fire Brigade. Two brothers William and Albert also in the army and both fought at Mons where William was wounded and Albert suffered shell shock. Alfred Harman arrived in Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) on 10th December 1915 and was wounded in the chest by gunshot on September 29th 1917 during the Battle of Ramadi. He died on 20th October.

Alfred Arthur Hawkes
Esher and Dittons Brigade
Northumberland Fusiliers
Born in Thames Ditton, the son of Alfred Hawkes and Sarah (nee Tickner). Before the war was a house painter. He was married to Annetta Cilia Hawkes. On 1911 Census is living at 2 Warwick Flats, Thames Ditton. His mother lived at No.6 at the time of his death.

Percival Walker Hepworth
LCC Horton Hospital Epsom Brigade
Royal Navy HMS Hawke
On 1901 Census he was serving in the Royal Navy in Malta on HMS Illustrious. By 1911 he was living at Horton Cottage, Long Grove Road, Epsom and was employed for London County Council as “Foreman Fireman Of London County Asylum Fire Brigade”. He was a stoker on HMS Hawke, an old cruiser that was part of the British Grand Fleet sailing from Scapa Flow in October 1914. HMS Hawke was hit by a torpedo fired by submarine U9 at 10.30am on 15th October and sank within 10 minutes. Percy was amongst the 524 crew members reported missing, believed dead.

Percy Higgs
Byfleet Brigade
London Regiment
The son of Leolin Dousley Daniel and Caroline Higgs, of Lorna Cottage, Byfleet, Surrey. Died on 26th May 1915 aged 21 and remembered on the Le Touret Memorial.

Henry William Jeater
Leatherhead Brigade
Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment
Son of the late Henry Jeater, of Westcott; married to Alice Amy, of Tudor Cottage, Westcott, Dorking. He died on 25th September 1917 aged 28.

William Frederick Lawes MM
Godalming Brigade
Royal Army Medical Corps
Lived at 14 Carlos Street, Godalming. Died on 9th November 1917 aged 26 and buried at Dozingham Military Cemetery.

Henry George John Lewis
Kingston Brigade
East Surrey Regiment
Son of Henry and Elizabeth Lewis, of Ranmore, 39, Caversham Rd., Kingston-on-Thames; husband of Phoebe Selina Lewis, of 6, Fairfield East, Kingston. Was a Lamplighter at a Gas Works before the war. He died on 26th September 1915 aged 32. Buried at the Loos Memorial Cemetery.

Percy William Lipscomb
Holmwood Brigade
Somerset Light Infantry
Son of William Henry Lipscomb, of 6, Clifton Hill, Brighton. Enlisted at Salisbury. Formerly 3050, Hampshire Regiment. He died on 3rd May 1917 aged 21.

Albert Loveland
Maldens & Coombe Brigade
East Surrey Regiment
Son of Elizabeth Loveland, of 12, Beverley Cottages, Kingston Vale, and the late Louis Loveland and Elizabeth (nee Hemming). Died on 5th May aged 22.

Frederick Maidment
Wootton House Brigade
London Regiment
Born in Tollard Royal, Wiltshire. Enlisted at Guildford. Formerly in the Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment service no. 3567. Awarded the Military Medal. Died 22nd August 1918 aged 38, he is buried at Bray Vale British Cemetery, Bray -sur-Somme.

James May
Holmwood Brigade
Possibly James Alfred Tullet May, Son of Matthew and Harriett May, of 4, Spring Cottages, South Holmwood, Dorking, Surrey.

Alfred Stephen Nash
Beddington Brigade
Royal Engineers
Born in 1876 in Tadworth, son of Charles and Ann Nash and married to Elizabeth. They lived at “Aden”, York St., Beddington Corner, Mitcham Junction. Died aged 43 on 22nd August 1918 and buried in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery in Belgium.

Alfred Henry Sargent
Epsom Brigade
Devonshire Regiment
Born in Dorking in 1881, the son of William Henry and Amelia Jane Sargent. A Private in the Devonshire Regiment, he died on 25th September 1915 aged 34. He is buried in Dud Corner Cemetery, Loos.

Percy Skelton
Leatherhead Brigade
Coldstream Guards
Born in Ashtead, the son of Daniel and Betsy Skelton; died on 25th January 1915 aged 31.

Albert William Tate
Dorking Brigade
Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment)
Born in Dorking in 1877, the son of Henry and Sarah Tate, the report of his death in the Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser of August 5th, 1916 states that “he was an old and respected member of the Fire Brigade and was also on the Committee of the Angling Club”. He had only been called up a fortnight before his death on 2nd August 1916, which was possibly caused by a heart attack. He died at the military hospital at Western Heights in Dover. His funeral was attended by a large number of firefighters from Surrey.

Albert James Tayman
Godalming Brigade
Inniskilling Fusiliers
Born at Munstead Farm, the son of Frederick and Mary Ann Tayman, he was married to Edith Jane. They lived in Brighton Road and his mother was a Voluntary Aid Detachment nurse during the war. Albert died aged 27 on 16th August 1917.

Harold Francis Thompson
Godalming Brigade
Rifle Brigade
Harold Frances Thompson was born in 1886 or 1887, 5th son of William Thompson, M.A., Rector of Layde, Cushendall, Ballymena and Sarah Margaret Spratt. He was educated at Dundalk and Trinity College Dublin where he won in succession a sizarship, a scholarship, and gold medals for Mathematics. He was an Assistant Master at Edinburgh Academy from 1904, then at Charterhouse from 1910, being heavily involved with the O.T.C. at both institutions. On the 1911 Census he is listed at Charterhouse. Between November 1911 and November 1914 was Chief Officer of the Godalming Borough Fire Brigade. Enlisted 1914 and made temporary Lieutenant on 18th February 1915. In the summer of 1915 he was commissioned into the Rifle Brigade with the 9th Bn. After some weeks in the trenches, he was wounded in the hand at Hooge and invalided home in the autumn. After recovering from his wound, he was for some time stationed at Seaford and returned to France in the early part of 1916 attached to the 12th Bn. He was killed by a shell burst while walking in a town behind the lines. He was the first Charterhouse master to die in the Great War. His obituary in The Carthusian concludes: ‘Capt. Thompson was a man whose straight and manly character had won him the respect and esteem of all his colleagues, while his genial and generous nature and a truly Irish wit had endeared him to masters and boys alike. His early death will be deeply mourned by all who knew him.’ His name is recorded in a list of Masters killed in the War, near the Headmaster’s seat at the West end of Charterhouse Chapel.

Naylass James Vivash MM
Sunbury Brigade
Tank Corps
Born in Sunbury, he died on 8th August 1918, aged 34, a Gunner in the Tank Corps. He was buried in Heath Cemetery, Harbonneres, Somme, France.

Frederick Whicher
Cheam Brigade
Royal Navy
He was born in Dulwich on 3rd September 1883, and married to Ann Webb. Prior to the war had been a member of the Cheam Fire Brigade. Had a son, Henry Frederick, born on 9th July 1911 and baptized on Sept 3rd 1911 at St Dunstan’s, Cheam. Frederick Whicher died in 1914 and was killed in action during the Battle of Coronel, off the coast of Chile.

Stephen Thomas Woodhouse
Reigate Brigade
Royal Engineers
Stephen was born on 17 September 1876 and baptised at St Mary’s Church, Reigate, on 26 November 1876. His parents were Stephen and Esther Woodhouse (nee Brown) and at the time of his birth they were living in Lesbourne Road, Reigate. In 1891 he was living at 69 Priory Road and working as a butcher’s assistant. On 25 May 1896 he married Ellen Pullen at All Saints Church, Kenley, and gave his occupation as plumber. The couple had five children. He died on 6 July 1917 at no. 3 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station, Belgium, after receiving shell wounds in his chest and knee. The Surrey History Centre in Woking, holds a letter from Helen Drummond, a nursing sister at the Casualty Clearing Station written to Stephen’s wife and describing his final hours: “The poor fellow is so patient and so cheery that it is hard to have to realise how dangerously ill he is”. Stephen Woodhouse was buried in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, near Ypres, Belgium.

William Worsfold
Leatherhead Brigade
East Surrey Regiment
Born on 3rd April 1891, the son of William and Jane Worsfold, of Bridge St., Leatherhead; in the 1911 Census gave his occupation as Chimney Sweep and Firewood dealer. On 21st November 1916 he married Elisabeth Skene Murrison. William Worsfold died on 21st August 1918 aged 27.

Read more about Reigate fireman Stephen Woodhouse – link here.
Read a history of one of Surrey’s Fire Services on the Epsom & Ewell History Explorer website – link here.

Alfred Tredgold: in Gallipoli with the 2/4th Battalion, the Queen’s

Major Alfred Frank Tredgold (1870-1952) of Guildford was a distinguished doctor, specialising in mental deficiency.  Educated at Durham University and the London Hospital, he then held a research scholarship in insanity and mental disease, funded by London County Council.  He entered general practice and in 1905 was appointed as one of the medical investigators to the royal commission on the care and control or the feeble minded which reported in 1908, and was one of the architects of the 1913 Mental Deficiency Act.  He was also a contributor to scientific debates around eugenic theory (at that time in vogue in many countries), and was at one time an active member of the Eugenics Society.

An officer in the Territorial Force since 1905, at the outbreak of war he offered his expertise to the Royal Army Medical Corps but was turned down.  He was transferred from the 5th Battalion, the Queen’s Royal West Surreys, to the 2/4th Battalion, to act as adjutant, and sailed with the battalion through the Mediterranean to Suvla Bay, Gallipoli, in August 1915.  He wrote long, vivid letters to his wife and children while the expeditionary force was bogged down on the peninsula (SHC ref QRWS/30/TRED), which capture the frightfulness of the campaign.  His early optimism (‘As the Colonel said yesterday, it is virtually another crusade, and I don’t suppose we shall stop until the Crescent is once more replaced by the Cross’) was soon replaced by a realisation that things were not going well.  On 15 August, he wrote ‘It is just a week since we landed and it has been simply Hell – there is no other word which can describe it’.  The battalion landed at night and was immediately thrown into action to shore up the line: ‘It was an awful din and a horrible sight.  Men were streaming back wounded, and all around were dead and dying – poor fellows with arms, legs and even heads blown clean away’.  For three days and nights the battalion found itself holding a captured Turkish trench, under a blazing sun and relentless shelling and with very little food and water and no packs which had been left on the landing beach.

Unable to capture the heights of the peninsula and confined to the shore and foothills, British and Empire troops had to endure burning summer heat and then penetrating winter cold and rain.  Tredgold wrote ‘It’s a terrible country to fight in, and one sees war in all its most horrible aspects’.  His letters give an unsparing account of conditions: bathing in the sea during a rest period behind the lines while warships continued the bombardment and shells fell into the water around him; sheltering under a fig tree in a shallow pit which was serving as battalion HQ; drawing meagre supplies of water from a well half a mile away under cover of darkness because of Turkish snipers; and eating hard biscuits covered partly with jam and partly with swarms of flies.  The lack of water for washing and shaving meant that ‘At present our appearance would discredit an ordinary English tramp’.

Dysentery took Tredgold back to Egypt (along with many others) at the end of September and by the time he was sufficiently recovered the battalion had been evacuated and he rejoined it in the Egyptian desert, where it formed part of the Western Frontier Force, keeping an eye on threatening Arab tribes. Christmas 1915 was spent north west of Cairo, with the desert sands stretching around.  When he heard that the Gallipoli peninsula was being evacuated it filled him with despair: ‘when one thinks of all that loss of life and hardship and suffering ending in absolutely nothing it is really enough to make one cry’.  The battalion was then sent to defend the Suez Canal, but by the middle of 1916, Tredgold’s health required him to return to England and he saw out the war in the relative calm of the Stoughton Barracks Depot, living with his family at 6 Dapdune Crescent, Woodbridge Road, Guildford.

After the war he emerged as ‘the leading consultant in mental deficiency in the country’ (Dictionary of National Biography), holding the positions of neurologist at the Royal Surrey County Hospital and physician in psychological medicine at the London Hospital.  He also served as president of the psychological section of the Royal Society of Medicine and was a driving force behind the creation of the Central Association of Mental Welfare, which provided voluntary community supervision for those classed as ‘mental defectives’.  His textbooks became standard texts and went through many editions.

He died at St Martin’s, Clandon Road, Guildford, on 17 September 1952.

Sources

Letters of Arthur Tredgold, SHC ref QRWS/30/TRED

Dictionary of National Biography, article by Matthew Thomson

Alexander Clapp

Family story contributed by June Adams

Alexander Clapp was my grandfather. He was born in 1881 in Compton Chamberlayne, Wiltshire.  He moved Surrey before the First World War, with the family living in the Bletchingley, Godstone, Reigate, Merstham area long after the war ended.

He was a regular soldier, having previously served with 2nd Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment (according to his attestation papers from the First World War). He enlisted with the 5th Battalion, The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment) in 1910 and continue to serve with them into the war period.

Postcard sent to Lily Clapp, from Alexander, following his departure from Reigate train station in October 1914

Title: Postcard sent to Lily Clapp, from Alexander, following his departure from Reigate train station in October 1914
Description: Copyright June Adams by-nc

He left for the war fronts in October 1914, departing from Reigate train station. Unfortunately, his wife gave birth to days after he left, and the baby sadly died only five months later. Alexander never met his child. Alexander fought in India, Mesopotamia and Afghanistan from 1915 to 1918. The family has a beautiful photograph of him with his fellow soldiers taken in Hyderabad (date unknown). He received two “oak leaves” which signify that he was mentioned in despatches in the London Gazette 1918.

Alexander Clapp in Hyderabad (back row, fourth from left; date unknown)

Title: Alexander Clapp in Hyderabad (back row, fourth from left; date unknown)
Description: Copyright June Adams by-nc

He was wounded causing 30% disability to his hips, and was awarded a pension of 9s.9d. plus a bonus of 7s.3d. for his five children.