A Family’s Grief

Contributed by Brian Gudgeon

In Sidlow, near Reigate, and there is a grave stone featuring a very moving epitaph of a family’s loss during the Great War. Not only did they lose a young son but also two more who died fighting in France.

Can you imagine the pain of losing three sons in the space of 11 months? The last two within four weeks of each other. What must they have gone through? As if that wasn’t enough, the 1911 census says they had five children and two had already died, meaning that by the end of the war the parents had lost all of their children.

The gravestone reads: The sons of John and Louisa Huggett – Thomas Noah Huggett who died May 6, 1917 in his 12th year. Also of Harry Huggett killed in action somewhere in France, June 14, 1916, aged 20 years. Also of John Huggett killed in action somewhere in France, April 9, 1917, aged 27 years.

Research of the miniature records reveals that Harry was a private in the 2nd Battalion, Grenadier Guards, and is buried at the White House Cemetery, St Jean-Les-Ypres.  He was the husband of Louisa Huggett of Dovers Green, Reigate.

John was a Private in the 8th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment), and is buried in Faubourg D’Amiens Cemetery, Arras.

Their father, John, was 45 years old in 1911, and was a blacksmith, living at Dovers Green, Reigate. He was born in East Grinstead in 1866 and married Louisa Blunden, five years his senior, in 1886. Despite their horrific family losses, they survived; John died in 1947 at the age of 82, and Louisa in 1948 aged 87. The two other children that died have not been identified as there are no other names in the 1891 and 1901 censuses. The missing two must have been born and died between the marriage in 1886 and the 1891 census or between 1891 and 1901, and/or between 1901 and 1911.

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