Contributed by the Effingham Local History Group
The brothers Archibald and Charles Patten were the elder sons of Frederick and Elizabeth Patten, originally from Somerset.
Archibald was born in 1895 in Muchelney, Somerset, followed three years later by his brother Charles, born in Langford, Sussex. In 1901 the family were residing in Highland Farm Cottages, Leatherhead and by the 1911 census had moved to High Barn, Effingham. Frederick had been variously employed as a farm labourer and carter while by 1911, Archibald was working as a gardener.
Archibald joined the 7th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment, enlisting in Kingston. His medal record says that he served in France from June 1 1915 and was “presumed dead” on October 13th. Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Adelbert Talbot, who was a near neighbour of the Pattens, recorded in a letter to his daughter Muriel on 4th November: “Poor Mrs Patten close by has had her eldest son killed – shot through the head on September 13th, I am told, and the younger son Charles has been seriously wounded in the foot. There is no end to the misery caused by this war”.
We believe Archibald was killed in action during an attack on the Hohenzollern Redoubt. The Surrey Advertiser reported his death on Saturday 11th December 1915, and also provided an update on his brother Charles’ condition:
Charles served as a Private in the Grenadier Guards. His service record has not survived but his medal card indicates that he entered France on August 15 1915. The admissions register of St Lawrence School notes that Charles was “wounded – leg off 1915”. This is corroborated by the above report in the Surrey Advertiser which tells us that Charles was gassed after going to the Front in August 1915. After recovering and returning to action, he was shot in the heel which subsequently led to his leg being amputated below the knee.
Charles survived the war. On April 25 1925 he married Eva Scarff at St Lawrence, Effingham, describing himself in the register as a gardener and his father Frederick as a foreman. Eva, born on October 1 1892, was the sister of William James Scarff, another of our known Effingham war dead.
Author: Jeremy Palmer