Contributed by Brian Bouchard
In addition to Commonwealth War Graves headstones in the churchyard of St Giles, Ashtead, there is a family memorial dedicated to Villiers Henry Plantagenet Somerset.
Mary de Chair Denshire (baptised 3 October 1852 at Baston, Lincolnshire), daughter of Emma, nee de Chair, and William Charles Denshire, married John Henry William Somerset, son of William Henry Plantagenet Somerset, at St Giles, Ashtead, on 3 September 1889. Their son, Villiers Henry Plantagenet Somerset, came to be born at Ashtead on 16 August 1890 – presumably at the Denshire residence, Ashtead House.
After his mother died on 19 March 1892, and his father remarried, 14 November 1893, Villiers went to live with his aunt, Selina, formerly Denshire, and uncle Charles Thomas Edward Wilde at Highfield House, Derby.
He arrived aboard S S Empress of Britain at St John, British Columbia, Canada, on 20 November 1911.
Villiers enlisted for war service at Valcartier Camp, Quebec, Canada, 22nd September 1914, stating his occupation as a gentleman, and his next of kin as C. T. Wilde, of Highfield House, Derby. Having previously served in the Officers Training Corps, he had joined the Canadian Militia. Described as five feet nine and a half inches in height,with a medium complexion, brown eyes and dark brown hair, he was Church of England by religion. He was allocated to the 10th Battalion (Alberta Regiment), 2nd Infantry Brigade, 1st Canadian Contingent , Canadian Expeditionary Force, as private soldier 20375.
He was killed in action in France, on 23 April 1915, aged 24 years.
St Giles’ Churchyard, Ashtead, Plot C1 Stepped cross tablet and kerb
Buried in a nameless grave
laid aside with other brave.
His life for king and right he gave.
An only son.
His name appears on The Menin Gate Memorial.