Memorial to Guildford’s 9th Congregational Scout Troop.

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

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

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

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

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

Clayton, W.V.

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

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

Facer, W.G.

Fisher, R

Greenway, A.J

Greenway, A.N.*

Jewesbury,M

Manning, R.C.

Prevett, G

Prior, W.E.

Richards, T

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bibliography

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

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

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

David Rose, The Guildford Dragon, 27th November 2011

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

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

Images

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

Other images: Moira Nairn

 

Naylass James Vivash

Family story contributed by Wendy Capstick (Great Granddaughter)

Naylass was born on 31 July 1884 in Sunbury-on-Thames, to Charles Albert Vivash (an Engineer) and Jane Stocker Vivash (née Meads). He was baptised in St Mary’s church on 5 October 1884.

Charles and Jane had seven children, five of them survived (1911 census) and Naylass was their third surviving child. His siblings are: Charles Albert (b 1878), Edith Jane (b 1879 ), Elsie (b 1892) and Ernest William (b 1894).

On 13 January 1906 Naylass married Beatrice Turner (her christened name was Emma) in St Mary’s church, aged 21 and 20 respectively. They had 4 children: William Charles James (b 1906), Elsie Rose (b 1909), Nellie Jane (b 1911) and Albert Naylass (b 1914).

Naylas had several jobs during his life. In the 1901 census, Naylass was working as a coachman. In 1906, when he got married, he was a ferryman. In the 1911 census, he was an under gardener. After war broke out he joined the Fire Service in February 1915, to do his bit for the war effort.

When the age limit for enlistment rose from 35 to 38 in May 1915, Naylass and his older brother Charles enlisted in the army. Naylass was originally attached to the RGA but then transferred to the Field Force and later (June 1917) to the Tank Force.  In July 1918 Naylass became a tank driver and was awarded the Military Medal on his first outing. It is reported in the Tank Corps Book of Honour.  A month later, on 8 August 1918, on the first day of the Great Push (the 100 days that led to the end of the war), Naylass was killed by a piece of shrapnel hitting him in the head while in his tank. He is buried in Heath Cemetary, Harbonnieres, France.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone. Courtesy of Wendy Capstick.

He is commemorated on several war memorials:

Sunbury-on-Thames War Memorial
St Mary’s church WW1 memorial
National Fire Brigades Association Roll of Honour 1914 – 1918.

 

Read about Surrey’s firemen during the First World War: https://www.surreyinthegreatwar.org.uk/story/surrey-firemen-killed-in-action-during-the-great-war/

Epsom Grandstand War Hospital

Research and text by Nigel Fryatt

History of the Grandstand Hospital

At the meeting of the Grand Stand Association in Ely Place in London on 2nd December 1913, the committee passed a motion to accept the tender submitted by Messrs Copley Brothers of Epsom (Gibraltar House, High Street) to undertake the erection of the new Luncheon Annex at the back of Epsom Racecourse Grandstand, for the cost of £13,943. It was the lowest bid that the committee received[1]. The committee was chaired by H. M. Dorling. The contract was signed the following day. The Annex was completed in April 1914, to cater for the spring race meeting and the Derby in the first week of June 1914. On completion of the building, the Times Newspaper reported on 16th April that:

The building is about 180 feet long by 32 deep, and is fireproof throughout, with concrete reinforced floors on the armoured tubular flooring system. Water is obtained from a well below the building 360 feet deep, and there is an underground fire tank holding 36,000 gallons. There is electric lighting and hot-water heating throughout.[2]

The building runs parallel to the back of the Grand Stand and is connected via a bridge. It is designed by Charles Williams in a Renaissance style, in brick and cement. It is a four story construction which included public and private luncheon rooms, along with rooms for stewards, ambulance and doctors.

Appealing to the people of Epsom

As war was declared in August of 1914, the doctors of Epsom and Ewell convened a special meeting at the Public Hall in Epsom on Monday 10th August, to discuss a proposal for a hospital on the Downs for the returning wounded soldiers. There was a huge gathering and the hall was full, with hundreds of people unable to gain admission standing outside the venue. The meeting was chaired by Mr A. W. Aston, J.P[3]. He put the proposal to the meeting that the newly built Grand Stand Luncheon Annex should be converted into a hospital to cater for the returning wounded soldiers. Dr E. C. Daniel explained to the crowd that the idea originated with Dr Thornley, who had attended a meeting in London, which culminated in the formation of the Surrey Emergency Committee. Its purpose was to ensure that the efforts throughout the country did not overlap. Having set this up, the doctors looked around Epsom for a suitable premises to house the hospital. They approached Mr N. M. Dorling, chair of The Grand Stand Association, who readily offered the use of the (Epsom) Grand Stand for six months, which they gratefully accepted.

The problem now was equipping the building, and the purpose of the meeting at the Public Hall in Epsom was to raise funds for this. The Annex already housed 80 beds.  Dr Bailey Peacock had offered to reside there as Medical Officer. They also had an offer of a Matron to attend the hospital, who could possibly have been Miss Blainey, currently residing as Matron of the Epsom Nursing Home. In addition they would require six or seven nurses and several voluntary helpers. Other doctors offered to provide lectures and training. The adoption of the scheme outlined by Dr Daniel was then proposed by the Rev. E.W. Northey and seconded by Mr. E. B. Jay.[4] The motion was carried.

The War Office accepted the proposal that the Grandstand Annex be converted into a temporary military hospital. The patients will be transferred from the battlefield to a London hospital (affiliated to the Royal Herbert Hospital in Woolwich) then to Epsom, stated the Epsom Advertiser on 18th September. It opened as a hospital on 21st September 1914 and received its first patients on 12th October 1914.

The hospital Annex was divided up into wards: Derby on the first floor, Oak and City on second floor, and Metropolitan on the third floor. There was also an Isolation Ward and a Day Room for treatment. The ground floor consisted of kitchens and storerooms. The nursing staff were housed in other racecourse buildings. With 65 beds in total[5], The Grand Stand Hospital had been designated as Class A Hospital, meaning it only accepted bedridden patients.

The Epsom Advertiser stated in its 19th October 1914 edition: Few buildings probably lend themselves better for adaptation as a hospital than the grand stand, and from a medical point of view, the rooms – the wards as they are now described – leave little to be desired. They have been admirably furnished, and everything is clean and tidy[6].

Heroes of Mons

At 4pm on 21st October 1914, five hours after King George V had reviewed the troops on the Downs, a large vehicle bearing a red cross on either side drew up to the Grandstand. It contained 4 patients who were shepherded to the wards by the Volunteer Aid Detachment (VAD). A second ambulance drew up with a further six wounded soldiers. All the troops had leg and thigh injuries. Most of the men had received their wounds fighting at the battle of Mons.

The ten soldiers who first arrived in the ambulances were: Private A. Read, aged 28 of 1st [Battalion] Royal Scots [(The Royal Regiment)}; Driver F Densham, aged 23, Royal Field Artillery; Private R. Richardson, aged 20, 1st [Battalion, the Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment)]; Corporal H. Brown, aged 30, 1st [Battalion,] Duke of Cornwall Light Infantry; Private G Harris, aged 28, 1st [Battalion, Royal] Lincolnshire [Regiment]; Private E Buckley, aged 36, 1st [Battalion, the] Middlesex [Regiment]; Private F Mulry, aged 19, 1st [Battalion, Royal Hampshire Regiment]; Private G Russell, aged 26, 1st [Battalion, the Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment)]; ; Private W Simpson, aged 24, 1st [Battalion,] Coldstream Guards; Lance Corporal F Galliford, aged 29, 2nd [Battalion, Leinster Regiment].

It is interesting to note that Private R Richardson and Private G Russell are both credited to the 1st Royal East Kent Regiment in the Patients Admission Register (SCH3434/20/4) but this conflicts with the information published in the Epsom Advertiser of 16th October 1914 which states that these two privates were in 1st Royal West Kent regiment which fought at Mons. Was this a genuine mistake by the newspapers or some deliberate misinformation? The answer may never be known.

The newspaper went on to state that the hospital had been efficiently staffed, and Dr Bailey Peacock, a well-known Epsom resident, had been appointed Resident Medical Officer, and had all the qualifications for this responsible post; while the Matron was Miss Blainey of the Epsom Nursing home. There was also a staff of four fully trained sisters and four male orderlies, a London surgeon (Mr Edward Owen), assistant surgeon (Mr Andrew Macalister), fully qualified chemist (Mr Frost), honorary bacteriologist (Dr B Ridge) and medical visiting staff comprising Doctors Alexander, Braidwood, Coltart, Daniel, Ferguson, Ormerod, Ruyner, Reichardt, Fawnley and Williamson (Medical Officer of Health for Epsom district). The hospital was equipped with an X-Ray apparatus of which Mr J Ede had charge. There were also a number of voluntary nurses ready to give their services if called upon: while Mr A. Vardon was acting secretary to the Resident Medical Officer. The secretaries of the fund connected with the hospital were Mr Collyer Jones and Mr A.E Williams.[7]

The Hospital register though, is a chilling reminder of war. On page one, it recalls the deaths on 16th October 1914 of William Andrewartha, followed by Thomas Simms on 17th October; both men were privates in the Manchester Regiment. On page two it records the death of Edmond Buchanan of North Irish Horse on 23rd October 1914. No further deaths are reported in the register which must be a credit to the hospital staff.

Nursing staff outside Grandstand Hospital. Copyright Bourne Hall.

The Epsom Advertiser reports on 6th November 1914 that good progress was being made by the wounded soldiers and that several of the patients were now convalescent, some being able to walk out onto the Downs. Practically all the men were now out of danger. On the 20th November 1914, the Advertiser, reported that several of the soldiers had now been discharged and that there were currently 55 patients at the hospital, six of which were sent to Mrs Coleman’s Convalescence Home at Burgh Heath. Recitals and shows were arranged at the hospital. In November, Miss Gilander’s Concert Party from Purley performed, and the Tattenham Corner Fusiliers (2nd Battalion of the City of London Royal Fusiliers) visited the Grandstand War Hospital and entertained the wounded soldiers, those contributing to an enjoyable programme arranged by Colour Sergeant Whitehead. Gavin (clarinet solos), Colour Sergeant. Whitehead (comedian), Corporal Besley (songs). Lance-Corporal Tombs (songs), Private Party (mimic), Private Fox (songs), Privates Clapp and Goacher in a turn entitled “The Brothers Nuisance.” The stage manager was Sergeant Rose, and Colour Sergeant Anderson occupied the chair[8]. Mr George Furniss and Miss Vera Stredwick also gave a recital. These entertainments were much enjoyed and greatly appreciated by the soldiers, and were a good morale booster.

In late November, boots – especially size 6, 7 and 8 – were requested from the hospital. Other appeals were made for new-laid eggs. The people of Epsom and surrounding districts had been generous in supplying the boots along with additional clothing for the men. Other less appropriate gifts were received, such as pheasants from the King and game from Lord Rosebery. Queen Mary offered the hospital tobacco and cigarettes for Christmas. As the festivities approached the hospital committee asked for evergreens, flags, and British and Belgian ribbon for the Yule tide decorations.

On Christmas Day 1914, the Belgian soldiers sent a letter to the Matrons, Sisters and Nurses, Gentlemen Directors, Secretary and Doctors of the Epsom and Ewell War Hospital, in which they expressed their gratitude and thanks for their care:

Epsom Downs, December 25, 1914
 
Ladies, Gentlemen,
 
We undersigned Belgian soldiers in treatment at the Epsom & Ewell War Hospital take the respectful liberty to express to you our profound appreciation of the tender and devoted care that you have given us.

While our poor Fatherland is the scene of the most terrible tragedy that the world has ever contemplated and that we have been separated in the most brutal way from all those who are dear to us, we have found a new home where the cordiality that you show us relieves the pain that we feel in thinking about our country, which now suffers in the claws of the invader.
 
We shall as soldiers pay the debt of gratitude to which we have submitted. As soon as we are cured thanks to your care, we shall resume our arms to liberate our country, and assure the safety of the admirable Kingdom which grants us hospitality. The fact that we were fighting side by side with the heroes of the Britannic Empire will increase our strength a hundredfold.
 
We wish you all a Happy Christmas and hope that next year brings the realization of your dearest wishes and nothing less: the victory of the Allies. [9].

By mid-January the flow of wounded soldiers had increased to between 50 and 60 patients. Some of the Belgian soldiers had returned to the front line to fight again. The Downs at this time were covered in a foot of snow. In February the hospital expanded its role and started treating a number of soldiers from the Tattenham Corner Camp in the absence of a medical officer at the camp.

In January 1915 speculation was starting to grow about the longevity of the hospital. The Epsom Advertiser reported on 12th February 1916, that it is now an open secret in the town that there is some doubt as to the continuance of this valuable institution and not unnaturally one is anxious to know what is going to happen, especially those inhabitants who subscribe regularly towards its maintenance[10]. The paper goes on to say: Such being the state of affairs one is forced to inquire what has become of the patriotic spirit which prompted the Grand Stand Association six months ago to make the generous offer of the new building on the Downs for use as a War Hospital so that the scheme of the Epsom & Ewell doctors, who were promptly supported by the local public, could be carried into effect.

Other tensions were bubbling away in the background regarding the availability of the Grandstand during the spring race meeting. The lease for The Grandstand Hospital was due to end on 6th March 1915. In parliament, Mr Davidson Dalziel[11], Member of Parliament for Lambeth Brixton, enquired “whether certain buildings forming part of the outbuildings of the Epsom grand stand, and belonging to the Grand Stand Association, have for some months been used as a hospital for wounded soldiers; whether the officials of the Grand Stand Association have now given notice that, owing to the commencement of the spring racing season, the hospital must be closed and the numerous wounded patients removed elsewhere; and whether, in view of the convenient and healthy situation of this hospital, the Government intend to take any steps to secure a continued tenancy?”

Mr Harold Tennant [12], MP for Berwickshire replied: “The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. The arrangements were made by the Epsom War Hospital Committee, and I understand that the agreement entered into provided that the building should be vacated before the spring meeting. It is the case that the hospital is well situated, and it has done very good work. I am informed that the patients there can now be moved without danger to their health.”

Mr Davidson Dalziel replied: “Is the right honourable Gentleman aware that at the present time there are in that hospital forty-two wounded soldiers, some of them dangerously wounded, and that they would be removed from there to accommodate the spring meeting only with considerable risk?”

Mr Harold Tennant replied: “I am obliged to the honourable Gentleman for the information. I may say at once that it is not in accordance with the information which has reached me, but I will have investigations made.”

A flurry of letters followed to the Editor of the Times on the subject. Lord Portland felt that it should remain a hospital. Captain Greer, Senior Steward of the Jockey Club, writing in the Times on 26th February 1915, commented that: Lord Villiers, therefore, on behalf of the Stewards, interviewed Mr. Dorling (Chairman of The Grandstand Association) on Tuesday last previous to the meeting between the Grand Stand Association and the Hospital Committee and, having reminded him of the above facts, explained that the Stewards were most strongly of the opinion that, in any arrangement that were made at the meeting, the comfort and well-being of the wounded soldiers should be the first and only consideration. He received from Mr Dorling an assurance that he fully shared these views and that it was with the full intention of giving effect to them that he was about to meet the Hospital Committee[13].

H. M. Dorling followed up with a letter to the Editor of the Times, “It had become necessary to have a proper agreement drawn up between the association and the hospital committee, and it was mutually agreed that the committee should on March 25 vacate one floor of the building and another (the basement) on April 10, resuming possession on April 24 of the entire building … Meanwhile I beg to say that if it should be found that any discomfort or inconvenience to wounded soldiers should result from the agreement being carried out we certainly should not allow it to occur[14].” The Jockey Club suspended the Spring Meeting and the Derby.

In parallel with the arguments in the Times, the Grandstand Hospital’s Day Room was converted into a ward allowing up to 88 patients to be treated at one time. Alongside this, a decision was taken in February 1915 that Horton Asylum would become a war hospital, and during March and April of that year over 2,000 patients were transferred to the hospital.

In May 1915 Colonel Simpson, assistant director of the medical supplies for the district, visited the Grandstand Hospital and was very happy with what he saw.  All beds are occupied (88) and it is expected that the hospital will remain full for some time as the War Office regard it as a most healthy spot, reported The Epsom Advertiser.

In July 1915 the hospital was starting to receive patients from the Dardanelles[15] campaign. ANZAC[16] (Mediterranean Forces as the Patients Register states) troops started to arrive. This was increased by a further 15 ANZAC troops in the following month.

The presence of Horton Hospital accommodating over 2,500 patients spelt the end for the Epsom Grandstand Hospital. The Grandstand committee were concerned about funding and staff levels with the opening of the new facilities down the road. Horton continued as a military hospital until October 1919, when it was converted back to an asylum. Between April 1915 and October 1919, over 40,000 troops had passed through the hospital.

The Epsom Advertiser announced on 28th January 1916 that the Grandstand Hospital was to close. It went on to say: “after doing splendid service for the past 15 months, is to be closed at the end of February, owing to the fact that the medical staff are short-handed, two of them on foreign services, and the remainder being employed in other war work”. The Times Newspaper reported on 10th January that a sum of £250 had been voted to the Red Cross Society of the Grandstand hospital. The hospital closed on 29th February 1916; during its time, 672 patients had passed through its doors. Of these 599 were British, 36 were ANZAC, of which 17 were New Zealand troops and 19 Australian soldiers, 30 were Belgians, 6 Canadians, and 1 was French.

Coding for soldiers in the Epsom Grandstand Hospital Admission Book(SHC 6292/22/13)

The building was converted back to a luncheon annex, and was finally demolished in 2007 to make way for the current Duchess of Cornwall Stand.

[1] SHC Document 3434/9/6 Grand Stand Association Minutes Book 1907-1919. pg314
[2] The Times 16th April 1914:p11
[3] Mr A.W. Aston JP. Local dignitary in Epsom, also worked with Horton Hospital & President of Surrey Agricultural Society.
[4] Epsom Advertiser  18th August 1914:p8
[5] Epsom Advertiser 16th October 1914: p8
[6] Epsom Advertiser 19th October 1914:p8
[7] Epsom Advertiser 16th October 1914:pg8
[8] Epsom Advertiser 20th November 1914 pg 8
[9] Translation of document Z/358 SHC
[10] Epsom Advertiser 12th February 1916 p 8
[11] Davidson Alexander Dalziel, 1st Barron Dalzeil of Wooler (1852-1928) was a Conservative MP between 1910 and 1927. He was also a British Newspaper owner. He is buried in Highgate Cemetery.
[12] Harold John Tennant PC (Privy Council) (1865-1935) Scottish Liberal politician.
[13] The Times Fri 26th Feb 1915 pg5 Issue 40788
[14] The Times Fri 5th March 1915 Page 10 Issue 40794
[15] Dardanelles was a disastrous campaign against the Ottoman Empire in the Dardanelles straights
[16] ANZAC –Australia and New Zealand Army Corps

Harry St. Clair Chad

Henry (Harry) St. Clair Chad was born in 1884 in Redhill, Surrey. He married Alice Levina Ireland on 3 September 1911 and they became licensees of ‘The Marquis of Granby’ in Hooley Lane, Redhill, that year. They had a daughter, Joan Lilian, on 19 February 1915. Harry joined the Army Service Corps (Motor Transport) in May 1916 and trained principally at Marlborough. He was sent to the Western Front where he saw 8 months’ service before being transferred to the Italian Front in 1917. He died from pneumonia following influenza in the 24 Casualty Clearing Station, Italy, on 30 October 1918 and is buried in Montecchio Precalcino Communal Cemetery Extension, 8 miles north-north-east of Vicenza, Italy. His wife continued as sole licensee of ‘The Marquis of Granby’ until she retired to Rustington, West Sussex, in 1961 to be near her daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter. Alice died in 1971.

William Charles Layton, Redhill boy given military funeral

Written by Moira Nairn

William Charles Layton was born on 28th May 1898, the first son and third child of Charles Robert Layton and Clara Layton née Clarke. Both parents had been born in South London but, by 1901, had settled with their family in 24 Fengates Road, Redhill where Charles worked as an upholsterer and picture framer. Sadly, in the same year of William’s birth, his sister, Mary Elizabeth, died. A fourth child, Frederick Charles Layton, was born in 1907.

William Charles joined the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment) at the age of 16, joining up on 18th May 1915. After training, he was quartered in the borough where he was working as an orderly.

Newspaper report on William Charles Layton's funeral

Newspaper report on William Charles Layton’s funeral

He took ill suddenly and died of peritonitis on 3rd March 1916. A gun carriage carried his coffin to Reigate cemetery where the Last Post was played and a firing party was deployed. His burial on 8th March was reported in a local paper.

A MILITARY FUNERAL
A REDHILL LAD BURIED AT REIGATE

‘The 2/5th Battalion on the Queen’s West Surrey Regiment, who are quartered in the Borough, have lost a very promising and popular soldier in the person of Pte W.C. Layton, who died after a very short illness on the Reigate and Redhill Hospital on Friday morning and was buried on Wednesday at the Reigate Cemetery with military honours. Pte Layton, the son of Mr C. R. Layton, 24 Fengates-rd., was a keen soldier. He enlisted in the 2/5th Queen’s on the 18th of May 1915, at the age of sixteen, and, with the military training he received at Windsor and other places developed and looked older than he really was. Since the battalion had been in the Borough he has been engaged as a clerk in the orderly room. He was suddenly taken ill last week and removed to the hospital, where he died in the early hours of Friday morning in the presence of his father and mother.

A large number of people witnessed the funeral, which was of an impressive character. The coffin, draped with the Union Jack, was taken on a gun carriage drawn by six horses to Shrewsbury Hall, the Plymouth Brethern Mission, where deceased attended regularly prior to joining the Army. Mr Joseph Burt and Mr F. Kent conducted a service, and kindly and sympathetic reference was made to the dead solider.

After the service the cortege proceeded to Reigate Cemetery, headed by a firing party under Sergt. Tovey. The band of the Battalion attended, and played suitable music en route. The mourning coaches were followed by the “B” Company of the Battalion, to which Pte Layton was attached. Lte.-Col. St. B. Sladen, the Acting Adjutant, Lieut. Chase, and Regtl.-Sergt.-Major Childs were also present.

The mourners included Mr and Mrs C.R. Layton (father and mother), Miss Cissie Layton and Master Fred Layton (sister and brother) and his aunts and cousins. The Battalion Chaplain conducted the service at the graveside. Three volleys were fired and the Last Post being sounded on the bugles, the company dispersed. A number of floral tributes marked the love and affection and esteem in which Pte Layton was held. They were sent by the mother and father, sister and brother, grandma, “Horace.” Aunt Sophie, Aunt Fanny and cousins Flo and Nellie, Mrs Haylar, Mr and Mrs Manning, Mr and Mrs Gandy, the Misses Woodman and Crawley, Mrs. Canter, and Mr and Mrs Bacon. Lt-Col. St. B Sladen, officers and men of the Battalion sent a wreath, Lieut. Sparks a floral tribute, and the men of “B” company also subscribed for a permanent token of respect. The funeral arrangements were placed in the hands of Messrs Geo.Comber and Sons.’

Keith Field, William’s great nephew recalls his grandfather, Frederick Charles Layton, speaking of his childhood memory of the guns being sounded over the coffin. Nine years of age at the time of his brother’s death, the brothers had been close.

Photograph of William Charles Layton with surround

Photograph of William Charles Layton with surround.

The newspaper report concluded by mentioning a ‘permanent token of respect’ given by his regiment to the family. It does not specify what that might be. However, Keith Field has in his possession a framed tribute containing a photo of his great-uncle. The rear of the frame has two metal stamps, one with his great-uncle’s name and service number, and the other with the name of his battalion.

Might this be the ‘token of respect’ referred to in the article?

My thanks to Keith Field for sharing this information about his maternal great-uncle. Keith and his father, Charles Field have also been interviewed as part of the Oral History project where they talk about Charles Field’s Uncle Charles’ WW1 service.

Fred Day

Family story contributed by Brian Gudgeon

Fred Day was born on 10 May 1894, to Alfred John Day and Alice Louisa Day (nee Gaunt), in Nunhead (which is now part of the London Borough of Southwark).  Before the outbreak of war, he worked as a Motor Mechanic’s Assistant, whilst living with his family at 116 Birchanger Road, South Norwood (according to the 1911 Census).

Fred Day’s Royal Navy record, 1917. Courtesy of Brian Gudgeon

In 1915, Fred married Lilian H. White, in Croydon.  His wartime service, unlike his brothers, was spent with the Royal Navy, service number F26490. His first service date was 12 Mar 1917 on HMS President II and his last service date 31 Mar 1918, aboard the same ship. This was not a fighting ship, but the London Accounting Base for numerous naval ships and establishments that were not self-accounting. It is possible he was at the Crystal Palace, which was taken over by the Royal Navy in early September 1914 to be the Royal Naval Division Depot. More importantly, it was the initial training establishment for all the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve recruits and also for officers destined for the Royal Navy Division.

In 1939, Fred and Lilian lived at 75 Keston Road, Croydon; Fred worked as a Fitter Engineer Heavy Worker.  He died in 1953, aged 59, when the couple lived at 90 Harcourt Road, Thornton Heath, leaving Lilian £543 13s. 11d.

Read about his brothers in the First World War:

Arthur Day: https://www.surreyinthegreatwar.org.uk/story/arthur-day/ 

Alfred Day: https://www.surreyinthegreatwar.org.uk/story/alfred-wilton-day/

Herbert Day: https://www.surreyinthegreatwar.org.uk/story/herbert-day/

Sydney Day: https://www.surreyinthegreatwar.org.uk/story/sydney-frederick-day/

Walter Day: https://www.surreyinthegreatwar.org.uk/story/walter-daniel-day/

William Day: https://www.surreyinthegreatwar.org.uk/story/william-day/

Frank Woodger

Family story contributed by Brian Gudgeon

Frank Woodger was born on 24 March 1887, to Thomas Woodger and Emma Woodger (nee Sink), in Ockham.  He was baptised on 26 June that same year, at St Mary’s Church, Byfleet.  By the time of the 1901 Census, the family had moved to 2 Sidney Cottage, Poplar Drive, New Malden, with Frank working as a Page Boy.  In 1910, he married Annie Burningham in late 1901, at Croydon Registry Office.  The couple lived at 26 Warren Road, Croydon, while Frank worked as a Nurseryman.

Frank Woodger WW1 Medal Index Card. Courtesy of Brian Gudegon

In the First World War, Frank served in the 3rd Battalion, London Regiment and the Labour Corps.  He enlisted on 27 March 1916, and was eventually discharged on 23 September 1919, as a result of injuries sustained during his service; he had a pronounced limp as a result of his injuries.

Frank and Mary Woodger (nee Hodge), 1952

At the time of the 1939 Register, Frank and Annie were living at 45 Windmill Road, Croydon, with Frank employed as a Gardener. Sadly, Annie died not long after the recording of this document, in 1943.  Frank remarried a year later: he and Mary Amelia Hodge (Millie) had both suffered the loss of their first spouse (Millie’s first husband, Alfred, had died in 1933).  It was a brief marriage, as Frank died in 1953.

Read the story of Mary Hodge’s first husband, Alfred Day: https://www.surreyinthegreatwar.org.uk/story/alfred-wilton-day/

Alfred Charles Hodge

Family story contributed by Brian Gudgeon

Alfred Charles Hodge was born in early 1879, to Charles Robert Hodge and Louisa Sophia Hodge (nee Pike), in Croydon.  The 1901 Census records that he worked as a Cycle Fitter, and still lived with his parents.  At the age of 24, he married Ellen Muggeridge, in spring 1903; the couple lived at 70 Princess Road, with Alfred working as a Fitter.  He had become a Milk Carrier by 1911, when the couple lived at Flat 5, 85a Elsinore Road, Forest Hill.

In the First World War, Alfred served as a Private with the Royal Army Service Corps (service number M/303082 – [the M denoting that he was involved with Mechanical Transport])

He died in the autumn of 1925, aged 47.

Read about his brother, Ernest Francis Hodge: https://www.surreyinthegreatwar.org.uk/story/ernest-francis-hodge/

Read the story of his brother-in-law, Alfred Day (husband of sister Mary Amelia Hodge): https://www.surreyinthegreatwar.org.uk/story/alfred-wilton-day/

Ernest Francis Hodge

Family story contributed by Brian Gudgeon

Ernest Francis Hodge was born on 24 November 1880, to Ernest Francis Hodge and Louisa Sophia Hodge (nee Pike), in Croydon.   Prior to the outbreak of the First World War, Ernest worked as a Signal Lad for the London, Brighton & South Coast railway company, starting on 18 April 1905 at Anerley station (now in the London Borough of Bromley).  Over the next three years, he was transferred to Norwood Junction and Crystal Palace (where he worked as a Telegraph Clerk).  According to the UK Railway Employment Records 1833-1956, Ernest was dismissed on 11 February 1909 for cloak room ticket irregularities.

In the 1908-1933 Surrey Recruitment Registers, Ernest had moved on to be a Milk Carrier (living with his parents at 15 Ingatestone Road, South Norwood) before enlisting with the 4th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment, at Kingston on Thames.  He was described as being 5ft 4inches, weighing 115lb, with grey eyes and light brown hair.

Ernest’s First World War Service record states that he served as a Driver for the Royal Army Service Corps (service number T/289678).  He was then promoted to T/Sergeant.  [Soldiers with a ‘T’ prefixed to their number usually served in Horse Transport].  In 1915, Ernest married Florence White; the witnesses were Alfred Charles Hodge (brother), Charles Robert Hodge (father) and Mary Amelia Hodge (sister).  The couple lived at 57 Elmers Road, Woodside, Croydon.

At the time of the 1939 Register, Ernest was working as a Milk Salesman and living at 12 Hawthorne Avenue, Croydon.
He died in 1977.

Read the story of his brother, Alfred Charles Hodge: https://www.surreyinthegreatwar.org.uk/story/alfred-charles-hodge/

Read the story of his brother-in-law, Alfred Day (husband of Mary Amelia Hodge): https://www.surreyinthegreatwar.org.uk/story/alfred-wilton-day/

Sidney Harold Langridge

Family story contributed by Brian Gudgeon

Sidney Harold Langridge was born on 19 August 1891, to Sydney John Langridge and Lizzie Langridge (nee Saker), in Croydon.  He was baptised on 4 October that same year, at the Church of St Peter & St Paul, Mitcham.  By 1901, the family had moved to the High Street, Colliers Wood, at Sydney Langridge’s general store.  Ten years later, at the time of the 1911 Census, Sidney and his widowed mother (together with the rest of the family) were living at 31 Carmichael Road, South Norwood; Sidney was listed as working as a Clerk at a General Surgical Instrument Maker’s.

In 1915, a year after the outbreak of the First World War, Sidney was posted to France with the Royal Field Artillery, first as a Driver then as a Gunner.  There are two entries for him in the First World War Service Medals and Award Rolls 1914-1920 (both listing him as ‘Stanley’).

After the war, Sidney married Catherine Wheeler, on 20 November 1927, at St Mary Magdalene Church, Addiscombe, Croydon.  The couple lived at 229 Addiscombe Road, Croydon in 1939, when Sidney worked as a Hospital Supplies Manager.  He died in 1979, aged 87.

Read the stories of his brothers here:

Horace Leonard Langridge: https://www.surreyinthegreatwar.org.uk/story/horace-leonard-langridge/

Cecil Herbert Langridge: https://www.surreyinthegreatwar.org.uk/story/cecil-herbert-langridge/