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Bourton Soldiers of WW1

Updated: Nov 18, 2023

The following Soldiers gave their lives in WW1 and are remembered on the Bourton War Memorial, and also in St. George's Church, on a banner, first displayed in 2019.

The soldier information is the result of research undertaken by Vivienne Edwards and Lynda Grange (GLHS). Please advise the webmaster if there are any errors, or additional information.


William CANDY


E. Frederick C HOSKINS

Daniel E KERR

Emmanuel MOORES

William MOORES


George R PARR




William C WADMAN


Right: Bourton War Memorial photographed by Peter Manley

11 November 2023

BURFITT James Charles

145283 Chief Petty Officer James Charles Burfitt was killed in action in the South Atlantic on 14 September 1914 whilst serving aboard HMS Carmania.

Photo from Western Gazette 16 October 1914

James Charles Burfitt was born on 12 September 1872 at Bourton, Dorset, the son of James and Sarah Burfitt. He was baptised at Bourton on 3 November 1872. In 1881 James was living with his parents, younger sisters Lily and Annie and Aunt Elizabeth in High Street, Bourton and his father was a labourer.

James joined the Royal Navy on his 18th birthday, 12 September 1890, initially signing up for 12 years. He served on many different ships, gradually gaining promotion until he achieved the rank of Chief Petty Officer in 1910. His naval record shows that he was 5ft 8 ins tall with dark hair and blue eyes.

The 1901 census shows him serving on HMS Trafalgar moored at Portland, Dorset. In 1911 he was serving on HMS Melpomene, a 2nd class cruiser, at Port Royal, Jamaica.

On 29 April 1902 at Portsmouth James married Edith Mary Chater. James was almost 30 and Edith was 26. Edith had been born in London but in 1901 was living with her parents at The Radnor Arms, St James Road, Portsmouth where her father was the publican. James and Edith had four children, three born in Portsmouth - Edith born 1904, Charles born 1907, Annie born 1909 and Hilda the youngest was born in 1910 at Silton. In 1911 Edith and her four children were living at Tan Lane, Bourton.

By 1914 James Burfitt had recently transferred to the Royal Navy Reserve but was re-called to serve on HMS Carmania, a Cunard line ocean liner which had been commissioned and armed at the outbreak of WWI. On 14th August 1914 HMS Carmania sailed for Bermuda from Sandon Dock, Liverpool. The ship was then directed from Bermuda to Trinidad for coaling. On 4th September Carmania set sail for the island of Trinidade 500 miles east of the coast of Brazil, with the objective of preventing German ships refueling there.

On 14th September they were engaged in a battle with Cap Trafalgar, a large, new, luxurious liner brought into service by the Hamburg-Sud America line in April of that year to sail between Germany and the River Plate.

Carmania and Cap Trafalgar were of similar size, about 19,000 tons, but the British ship had a much bigger armament: eight 4.7inch guns. The German ships set sail once they saw Carmania approaching and seemed initially to be fleeing, but Cap Trafalgar then turned towards the British ship.

Neither ship had the fire control systems or ammunition hoists of a modern warship, so the action was fought in the style of Nelson’s day, with ammunition being brought to the guns by hand and the guns firing as the target bore.

Carmania’s captain ordered a warning shot to be fired at 12:10 pm at 8,500 yards range. Carmania began to fire her port guns at 7,500 yards, with Cap Trafalgar replying. At 4,500 yards the British switched to firing salvoes, the second and third of which hit the German ship on her waterline. The Germans scored a significant number of hits, but most of them were high, hitting Carmania’s masts, funnels, ventilators and bridge.

At 3,500 yards the German one pounders were in range and the barrels of the elderly British guns were red hot. Captain Grant turned his ship in order to fire with the starboard guns.

Both ships were now on fire and Cap Trafalgar was listing. The German captain tried to use his ship’s superior speed to escape and succeeded in getting outside Carmania’s 9,000 yard gun range. However, Cap Trafalgar was too badly damaged to escape and quickly sank.

Carmania had been hit 79 times and was on fire, leaving her in no position to rescue Cap Trafalgar’s survivors. That evening the remains of five men on HMS Carmania who had been killed in action, including those of CPO James Burfitt, were buried at sea. Four more crew members died on the following days.

James’ widow Edith received a pension for herself and their four children. James and Edith’s son Charles joined the Royal Navy in 1925 but was invalided out due to tuberculosis in 1934. He died in 1940. Edith died in Lincolnshire aged 91 in 1968.

James Burfitt is remembered on Portsmouth Naval Memorial; Bourton war memorial and the memorial plaque in Silton Church.

Entry posted 23 October 2023


CANDY, William Lewis

8790 Private Will Candy of the 2nd Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment died on 22 July 1916 at Baghtche, Turkey where he was a prisoner of war.

William Candy was the son of George and Jane Candy. Born in Mere in 1892, he was living with his parents and four siblings at 13 Zeals Road, Zeals in 1901. Three more children were born later. His father was a furnaceman at the iron foundry and Will was a foundry labourer before he joined the army at the age of 18 on 14 June 1909.

Will had already been serving with the Special Reserve before he signed up for the Dorset Regiment at Gillingham. His attestation papers show that he was 5’4 ½” and weighed 142 lbs. He had a scar underneath his chin and a tattoo on each forearm. He stated that his religion was Primitive Methodist.

On 17 June 1909 Will went to Portsmouth and from October 1910 to September 1911 he was at Blackdown, Farnborough, Hampshire. The 1911 census in March shows him located at Alma Barracks there. In June 1911 he was promoted to Class II and in January 1913 to Class I entitling him to increases in pay.

Will sailed on HT Dongola to India on 27 September 1911, arriving there on 19 October 1911. He then continued to Poona, now known as Pune, in southwest India. In 1913 he was serving at Moshi, Pune and was still in India at the start of World War I but his regiment soon set sail for the Middle East.

On 6 November 1914 he landed in Lower Mesopotamia, now Iraq. Although Will’s regiment 2nd Dorsetshire met little resistance when they landed, they were soon engaged in fighting the Turkish army. By the time they reached Basra on 23 November 1914 they had lost 25% of their strength. Over the next year the men of the regiment endured very harsh conditions and disease was rife as they made their way north. Will’s army record shows that he was wounded in action on 22 November 1915 at Ctesiphon a town south of Baghdad which was taken by the Dorsets. However, the regiment was then forced to withdraw to Kut which was taken by the Turkish army on 28 April 1916. The men who were captured were treated very badly and few of them survived.

They were marched north, and Will’s military record shows he died from enteritis on 22 July 1916 at Baghtche, a prisoner of war camp inside the Turkish border. His death was eventually confirmed by Ottoman Red Crescent to the British War Office and his family on 18 April 1917. The 14-15 Star, British War and Victory medals were sent to his father George living at The Bridge, Bourton.

William Candy is buried at Baghdad North Gate War Cemetery and is remembered on Bourton War Memorial.

Entry posted 23 October 2023


HASLEY, William George

Private William George Hasley 12275 3rd Battalion Somerset Light Infantry died age 19 on 23 March 1917 at Bourton.

William George Hasley was born in on 14 June 1897 in London and baptised on 18 July 1897 at St James’ Church, Piccadilly, London. He was the son of William and Susan Hasley who lived at 11 Coach and Horses Yard, Mayfair and his father was a commissionaire at the time of William’s birth.

The family subsequently moved to Bourton as William’s mother had been born in Zeals. By 1900 the family was living at The Common, Bourton, where William’s sister Susan was born. His brother Sidney was born in 1902. William’s father was an engineer’s labourer but also had an army pension as he served in the Rifle Brigade from 1869 to 1889.

In 1911 the family was living at The Bridge, Bourton and William’s father was an engineer’s labourer at Bourton Foundry. William was still at school but also worked as a newsboy. He gave his occupation as engineer’s fitter on his enlistment papers.

William was only 17 years and 2 months when he enlisted in Somerset Light Infantry at Taunton on 1 September 1914, but he gave his age as 19 years and 2 months. The official minimum age for enlistment was 18 but even during later enquiries by army authorities about his entitlement to a pension his correct age seems to have remained undiscovered. The early date of his enlistment and the lie about his age suggests a young man keen for adventure, possibly inspired by tales of his father’s time in the army.

Despite being fit when he joined the army William became ill in March 1915 whilst serving at Devonport and developed a tubercular condition. According to his records this may have been as a result of sleeping in tents without ground sheets during the cold wet winter. On 5 July 1915 he was discharged from the army as no longer fit for war service.

He subsequently worked for 10 weeks on munitions but from January 1916 was unable to work. The doctor who examined William in September 1916 stated that William had been in hospital several times, he was very thin and that his condition was likely to become worse. William was awarded an army pension of 20 shillings per week.

His war grave is shown on the left. He is also remembered at the Bourton War Memorial and on a banner in St.George's Church.

Entry posted 5 November 2023


HOSKINS, Frederick Eli

3/6591 Private Frederick Eli Hoskins was killed in action on 18 April 1915 in Belgium whilst serving with 1st Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment.

Frederick Eli Hoskins was the second son of George and Emma Hoskins. He was born at Milton in 1882. In 1901 Frederick was living at The Malthouse, Bourton and his father was a carter on the farm. Frederick had an older brother Henry, three younger sisters - Carolina, Beatrice and Edith and a younger baby brother Bertie.

By 1911 Frederick’s family was living at New Cottage, Silton, and now included another brother, Felix, and a sister, Gertie. Frederick, age 18, was working as a carter.

In 1913 Frederick married Mary Jane Coward 1913 at Mere. Frederick and Mary had two sons, but both died in infancy – William 1914- 1915 and Frederick 1915 – 1917. The deaths of her two children as well as her husband must have been a tremendous blow for Mary.

Frederick would have been part of the British campaign during the Second Battle of Ypres and the attempted capture of Hill 60 on 17th April 1915. He was killed on 18th April 1915.

Frederick is buried at Woods Cemetery, near Ypres, Belgium. (See memorials below)

He is remembered on the Bourton war memorial and the memorial plaque in Silton Church.

In 1919 Mary Jane married Reginald E Mills and in 1939 was still living Mere.

Entry posted 10 November 2023


KERR, Daniel Eugene

5933 Captain Daniel Eugene Kerr, Royal Field Artillery, 87th Battery, was killed in action in Belgium on 10 June 1918 aged 40.

Daniel Eugene Kerr was born at St Johns, Cornwall on 22 December 1877. He was the fourth child of Irish parents James and Mary Kerr. In 1881 the family were living at The Redoubt, Lancing, Sussex and Daniel’s father was a corporal in the Royal Artillery. In 1891 the family were living at The Battery House, Pier Road, Littlehampton, Sussex and father James was then a sergeant in the Royal Artillery. By that time Daniel had three more younger siblings.

Daniel, (photo left), followed his father into the Royal Artillery. He served as a sergeant in South Africa during the Second Boer War 1899 – 1902 with 96th Battery Royal Field Artillery, was wounded at the Battle of Colenso on 15 December 1899 and left unconscious when the British retreated. He was picked up later and invalided home to Netley Hospital, but the War Office reported him dead, and it was only on 27th January 1900 that the War Office advised his family that Daniel was still alive. Apparently by that time his father had successfully claimed some insurance money, but Daniel had difficulty claiming his army back pay as he was listed as dead and no longer on the active list.

In 1909 Daniel 29 married Miriam Louisa Pickford 24 at Stourton, Wiltshire. Miriam was born at Stourton and the parish register shows that Daniel was living in Stourton at that time.

In 1911 Daniel was serving as battery quarter-master sergeant in 135th Battery Royal Field Artillery at Headley in Hampshire.

Daniel and Miriam had twin sons Osmond and Bernard who were born and baptised at Stourton in 1912 but baby Bernard died the following year in Belfast, so Daniel was probably serving there at that time.

As a regular soldier Daniel was immediately involved when World War I began and was mentioned in Field Marshall Sir John French’s Despatch on the Battle of the Aisne in October 1914 where he served with 36th Battery RHA. In 1915 Daniel was promoted to 2nd lieutenant.

At the time of his death on 10 June 1918 Daniel was a captain with 87th Battery, Royal Horse and Royal Field Artillery. He was mentioned in despatches, had long service and good conduct medals and the French Medaille Militaire.

Miriam was living at Devereaux House (now The Weavers), Bourton at the time of Daniel’s death and remained living in Bourton for the rest of her life. She died in 1955 and is buried at Bourton. Daniel is buried in Mendinghem Military Cemetery at Poperinge, near Ypres, Belgium (CWGC gravestone right) and is remembered on the Bourton War Memorial.

Entry posted 5 November 2023


MOORES, Emanuel

21557 Corporal Emmanuel Moores of 16thBattalion, Canadian Infantry died on 18 May 1915 aged 38. He was born in 1877 at Bourton and was baptised on 25 December 1877 at Bourton Church along with his older brother Edmund (this may be an error in the records as a later census shows him as Edwin). He was the son of Emmanuel and Mary Moores.

In 1881 the family lived at Chaffeymoor, Bourton and Emmanuel had four older siblings – Charles, Eliza, John and Edwin. His father Emmanuel was a limeburner.

By 1891 all his older siblings had left home, and Emmanuel was employed as a farm labourer. His father was also employed as an agricultural labourer.

Emmanuel hasn’t been found in the censuses of 1901 and 1911. His brothers Charles and Edwin were married and living in London and his brother John was also married and living in Bourton.

It is believed he enlisted with the 3rd Dorset Regt. In September 1892. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission shows the death in 1915 of Emmanuel Moores aged 38, son of Emmanuel and Mary Moores, who served with 16th Battalion Canadian Infantry and is remembered on the memorial at Vimy Ridge, France (see photo below). It also states that the soldier served under the name of John Anderson and served in the South African campaign and in Egypt.

Perhaps Emmanuel moved to Canada, changed his name and joined the Canadian army but it hasn’t been possible to find any evidence of this. It remains a mystery.

Emmanuel is remembered at the Bourton War Memorial.

Entry posted 10 November 2023


MOORES, William

6117 Private William Moores, 1st Battalion Dorset Regiment died in action on 13 Oct 1914 in France.

William Moores was born in 1884 at Bourton. In 1891 William age 6 was living at 6 The Common, Bourton with widower Richard Screetch an engineer’s labourer. William’s brother, Isaiah Moores, age 14 and an agricultural labourer was also living with Richard Screetch and both William and Isaiah were described as lodgers. Their parents Frederick and Sarah Ann Moores lived next door with their three daughters.

William’s mother Sarah Ann died in 1897 and in 1899 William joined the Dorsetshire Regiment.

He spent five years in India and in 1911 was serving as a Private in 2nd Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment at Wanowrie Lines, Poona.

After 12 years’ service he left the army and on 1 June 1914 married Ethel Blanche Cox at Bourton.

William remained a member of Dorset Army Reserve and went to France with 1st Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment at the outbreak of war. They landed at Le Havre on 16 August and saw action at Mons before forming part of the rear-guard in the long British retreat. On 6 September they began to advance again and by October were holding part of the front line at Pont Fixe. They came under a heavy German counter-attack on 12 October when 300 men of the battalion were killed or missing and 122 were wounded. William’s death was recorded on the following day.

According to a report of William’s death in the Western Gazette of 11 December 1914 he was a capable musician and a member of the local brass band.

William’s son William Henry was born early in 1915 so never knew his father. William’s widow Ethel was awarded a war gratuity of £5 and a pension for herself and her son.

Ethel didn’t marry again and in 1939 was living at The Bridge, Bourton with her son. She died in 1963.

William Moores is remembered on Le Touret Memorial, Richebourg, France and on Bourton war memorial.

Entry posted 10 November 2023


O’DONNELL, Patrick

219470 Petty Officer Patrick O’Donnell RN HMS Defence was killed in action at Battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916

Patrick was born 23 October 1886 at Battersea, London. His parents were Timothy and Ellen O’Donnell, and he had a sister Ellen who was born in Fulham in 1897. Nothing more is known of the family until 23 October 1904 when Patrick aged 18 joined the Royal Navy for 12 years. His previous occupation was that of errand boy.

By 1907 he had been promoted to Able Seaman and in 1911 he was serving on HMS Cornwallis at Grand Harbour, Malta. In 1911 Patrick’s mother, sister and aunt were living at Bourton and his mother who was born in Bourton was a dressmaker. The location of Patrick’s father in 1911 isn’t known.

In 1913 Patrick was promoted to Leading Seaman and in 1915 to Petty Officer.

He joined HMS Defence on 2 September 1913 and the ship was based in the Mediterranean when WWI broke out. The ship transferred to the Grand Fleet in 1915 and was escorting the main body of the fleet when she was sunk at the Battle of Jutland, the largest naval battle of the war. She was struck by two salvoes from the German ships that detonated her rear magazine. The fire from that explosion spread to the ship's secondary magazines, which exploded in turn. There was only one known survivor.

HMS Defence below.

At the time of Patrick’s death his parents Timothy and Ellen were living at Beaulah Villa, Bourton.

Patrick is remembered on the Royal Navy Memorial at Plymouth and on Bourton War Memorial.

Entry posted 10 November 2023


PARR, George Roworth

Lieutenant George Roworth Parr of C Company 1st Battalion Somerset Light Infantry died in action on 19 December 1914 in Belgium.

George Roworth Parr was born on 29 November 1892 at 29 Queen’s Gate Terrace, London and baptised at St Mary Abbot’s Church, Kensington.

George was the second son of Major General Sir Henry Hallam Parr, a distinguished soldier, and Lady Lilian Parr. He had an older brother Arthur born 1890.

In 1901 George was living with his parents at Shorncliffe Camp, Sandgate, Kent. His father was in command of the troops based there and his home was a comfortable one with six servants, the valet, groom and coachman also being described as soldiers.

George was educated at Wellington College, Berkshire, the Royal Engineering College, Woolwich and Sandhurst Military College. The 1911 census shows George as a gentleman cadet at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. He was made a 2nd lieutenant on 14 February 1912.

On 22 February 1910 George’s brother Arthur, who was a 2nd Lieutenant serving with Somerset Light Infantry, died of enteric fever in Malta.

On 4 April 1914 George’s father died suddenly at Chaffeymoor House, Bourton where he and his wife had been living since he retired from the army.

George joined Somerset Light Infantry (Prince Albert’s) as a lieutenant on July 1914 and served with C Company 1st battalion. George’s battalion went to France on 23 August 1914 as part of the British Expeditionary Force. They had expected to fight to halt the German advance but found the French had already decided to retreat. After an attack by German troops on 25 August 1914 at Le Cateau George’s battalion also had no option but to beat a tactical retreat. Thirty-seven out of George’s forty- nine men were killed or wounded. George had qualified as a first- class interpreter in German early in 1914 and acted as a liaison officer with the French during the Battle of Aisne in September 1914. However, by October, George’s Company were back on the front line. By 21st October they were within a mile of Ploegsteert Forest and remained there until December.

During this period George Parr’s mother Lady Lilian Parr became Commandant of the Red Cross Hospital at Gillingham. She continued with that work until July 1918.

On 18 December 1914 an attack was attempted without success but the next day they went out again. They were no further than halfway across “no man’s land” when they were met with considerable fire-power. The mud and shell-holes made the going extremely difficult and Lt. Parr who was leading his platoon was wounded in the leg. He endeavoured to rise and continue the fight but was killed almost instantaneously by another bullet to his head. Having achieved virtually nothing, C Company were ordered to return to their trenches.

George is buried at Ploegsteert Wood Military cemetery, Belgium and is remembered on Bourton war memorial and East Clevedon war shrine. A memorial stained- glass window in St Mary Magdalene’s Church, Taunton, the regimental church of the Somerset Light Infantry, is dedicated to George Rowarth Parr, his father Major General Sir Henry Hallam Parr CMG, CB, KCB and his brother Lt. Arthur Henry Hallam Parr.

Entry posted 10 November 2023


POUNDS, Henry Oliver John

M23085 Henry OJ Pounds, Royal Navy died on 10 March 1919 at South Stoneham, Hampshire. He had been severely wounded in an explosion on HMS Zulu on 8 November 1916.

Henry Oliver John Pounds was born on 24th September 1885 at Penselwood, Somerset. He was the son of Oliver and Margaret Pounds and Oliver was a traction engine driver. Henry had two older sisters - Daisy and Lilian.

Henry’s mother Margaret died in July 1886 only 10 months after he was born. In 1891 the family was living at Penselwood and Henry attended Zeals British School and was admitted to Zeals School on 18 May 1896 for his secondary education. At that time his family was living at Brick Buildings, Bourton Bridge. He left school to start work on 14 May 1900 but continued to attend evening continuation school until 1901.

The 1901 census shows Henry as a steam engine maker's fitters apprentice(sic.) living with his father and sister Lilian at Water Street, Bourton.

Oliver re-married in 1907 to Alice Rose Cheasley a widow with a daughter. Henry’s two half-brothers, William Eric and Leslie were born in 1908 and 1909.

Records show that between 27 September 1911 and 17 June 1912 Henry was employed as a fitter for London & South Western Railway at Eastleigh. However, his railway career must have continued beyond that date as he joined the National Union of Railwaymen on 21 September 1912 and his death is recorded in their records.

Henry married Dorothy M Hurley in Yeovil in 1911 and their son Oliver was born in Chard on Boxing Day 1911.

Henry’s naval record shows that he joined the Royal Navy on 2 October 1916 and was previously employed as a fitter. He was assigned to HMS Zulu on 28 October 1916 as an Acting Engine Room Artificer 4th class. HMS Zulu was part of the 6th Flotilla forming the basis of the Dover Patrol.

On 8 November 1916 HMS Zulu was sailing from Dover to Dunkirk when it struck a mine, which exploded under the ship’s engine-room. The ship’s stern broke away and sank. It was brought to Calais by a French Destroyer. Three men were killed, and Henry Pounds sustained scalds to his hands, forearms, face and neck. He was severely wounded and transferred to Victory II shore base. From February 1917 to February 1919, he was at Maidstone and then transferred back to Victory II at Portsmouth.

Henry Pounds died on March 10th1919 from cerebral compression whilst on demobilisation leave. He is buried at Eastleigh Cemetery in a CWGC grave. No.A435

Henry and Dorothy had a daughter Dorothy born at South Stoneham just around the time of Henry’s death. Her mother married Edward Battrick in 1920.

Henry is remembered at the Bourton War Memorial.

Entry posted 10 November 2023


SMART, William Henry Stalard

19573 Private William Henry Stalard Smart, 6th Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment died in action in France on 11 October 1918.

William was born in Bourton in 1895, the youngest child of Jabez and Elizabeth Smart.

In 1901 William, named Henry in the census, was living with his parents and three older siblings - Oscar, Beulah and Godfrey at Sandway Farm, Bourton and his father was described as a steam engine pattern maker.

In 1911 the family were living at Gasper Farm, Bourton and William aged 16 was helping his father on the farm.

William’s military record shows that his original army number was 1060 Dorsetshire Yeomanry so if he was a member of the Yeomanry, it is likely that he would have been called up in the early stages of WWI. The 6th Battalion was raised on 6 September 1914 at Dorchester, but William enlisted at Sherborne. Unlike some other battalions of the Dorsetshire Regiment it included men from many different areas of England. The battalion first went to France in July 1915 and fought there continuously until the end of the war.

In 1918 the Dorsetshire Regiment fought during the Hundred Days Offensive in battles at St Quentin, Bapaume, Amiens, Albert, Havrincourt and Epehy and William would almost certainly have been involved in some of that fighting before the Dorsetshire Regiment’s final battle at Cambrai where he lost his life.

At the time of William’s death his parents were living at Dovehayes Farm, Bourton.

William is buried at Montay-Neuvilly Road Cemetery, Montay which is east of Cambrai, France.

He was awarded the British and Victory medals and is remembered on Bourton War Memorial.

Entry posted 10 November 2023


STACEY, George Ernest Ivan

286230 Private George Ernest Ivan Stacey RAF died 30 October 1918 at a Military Hospital in London.

George Ernest Ivan Stacey was born in 1889 at Bourton. He was the ninth child of Benjamin and Eliza and was baptised on 31 August 1890 at Bourton. In 1891 the family lived at The Common, Bourton and Ivan’s father was described as a gardener (not domestic). Several of the older children had already left home. Only Ivan and two of his older brothers, Henry and Frank, were recorded at the house along with their parents.

The 1901 census shows them still living at The Common but by then his father Benjamin is described as a farmer. As well as George, his elder brothers Henry and Percy were in the household and his older married sister Sarah Bye and her baby daughter. The family also had a servant so possibly their financial situation had improved.

By 1911 George, who may have been known by his middle name of Ivan, was living at The Stables in the grounds of a large house called The Firs in Spaniards Road, Hampstead, London and was employed as a gardener. Another gardener, his wife and a chauffeur were also living at The Stables.

The Firs was a large house with 25 rooms and was occupied by Fritz Dupre a very wealthy ore and iron merchant. Fritz and his wife were born in Germany but had lived in London for a number of years, their six children had been born in London and Fritz became a naturalised British citizen in 1900. There were also nine servants, some of them German, living in the house.

George married Elsie Frances Izzard at St Pancras in 1912 and when their son Gordon Ivan was baptised at Holloway in 1912, they were living at 8 Hargrave Road and George was employed as a gardener. He must have continued in the employment of the Dupre family because when the rest of their children were baptised - Joan born 1914, John born 1915 and Avice born 1917 - the family’s address was given as The Firs, Spaniards Road. Possibly by that time George was the senior gardener and the family was living in the gardener’s cottage there. George was described as a gardener in the children’s baptismal records up to 1917.

George died on 30 October 1918 at a military hospital in Hampstead, London. He was described as working on general duties at a depot. The cause of his death isn’t known. George’s widow received his wages of £3 6s 11d but was not eligible for a war gratuity. War gratuities were awarded for men who served more than 6 months in the UK, or for any length of time overseas, so George’s military service must have been very short. At the time of his death his widow Elsie was still living at The Firs.

George is buried in Hampstead Cemetery where he is remembered on the war memorial and he is also remembered on Bourton war memorial.

Entry posted 10 November 2023


WADMAN William Charles

19070 Private William Charles Wadman 1st Battalion, Dorset regiment died on 11 August 1918, aged 33.

William was born in Gillingham in 1883/1884 to parents Albert and Charlotte Wadman of Higher Langham, Gillingham. He was baptised at St.Mary’s on 16 October 1887. His siblings were Fred (1875), Ellen (1878), Lily (1881), Garnet (1888), Ida (1892), Harold (1894) and Elsie (1899).

Kington Magna Church records of 1907 show that Banns were read in relation to William and Mabel Jane Sharley. It is assumed that the marriage did not take place as in 1909 William married Mary Ellen Lankey. In 1911 William and Mary were living at Madjeston, Gillingham together with daughter Daisy Mabel. Further children followed – Albert William, Emma Maud, and Ellen Elsie and Garnet Charles.

William enlisted at Sturminster Newton on 16 June 1916 and joined 1st Battalion Dorset Regiment.

William was killed in action on 11 August 1918. He was awarded the Victory and British medals.

He is remembered on the Gillingham War Memorial, Bourton Memorial and the Vis-en-Artois Memorial in France.

The French Memorial bears the names of over 9,000 men who fell in the period from 8 August 1918 to the date of the Armistice in the Advance to Victory in Picardy and Artois, between the Somme and Loos, and who had no known grave.

His widow Mary married Edward Aplin of Chaffeymoor, Bourton on 12 June 1919.

William’s brother Harold James died in Israel in May 1918 and his nephew Arthur Bertram died in France in the same month.

Entry posted 10 November 2023 - DJL


WHITMARSH, Reginald John

J/2377 AB Reginald John Whitmarsh, Royal Navy died in action on HMS Invincible at the Battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916

Reginald John Whitmarsh was born at Bourton in 1897 and baptised at Bourton Church on 3 June 1900. He was the second son of Mark and Emily Whitmarsh and had an older brother Victor.

In 1901 the family lived at Woodcock Street, Castle Cary, Somerset where his father Mark was employed as a rural postman.

By 1911 Reginald and Victor had four younger siblings – James, Edith, Ernest and Muriel and the family were again living in Bourton at The Common. Reginald’s father Mark was employed as a general labourer on a farm and Reginald, age 14, was working part-time on a farm but also still attending school part-time.

On 28 February 1913 Reginald, aged 16, joined the Royal Navy as a Boy 2 and initially served on HMS Impregnable. In 1914 he was promoted to Boy 1 and transferred first to HMS Endymion and then briefly to shore base HMS Victory 1. However, Reginald was soon back at sea on HMS Invincible, the first battle cruiser to be built in the world and by December 1914 his ship was involved in the Battle of the Falklands. Invincible was hit twenty-two times, two of her bow compartments were flooded, and one hit on her waterline abreast 'P' turret, flooded a coal bunker and temporarily given her a 15° list.

After temporary repairs at Port Stanley HMS Invincible sailed to Gibraltar where more permanent repairs and alterations were made. She then sailed back to Britain where her guns were replaced and then became the flagship of the 3rd battlecruiser squadron in May 1915.

In August 1915 Reginald Whitmarsh signed up for a 12-year engagement in the Royal Navy and became an Ordinary Seaman. In January 1916 he was promoted to Able Seaman.

In April 1916 the squadron went out into the North Sea after the German bombardment of Lowestoft and Yarmouth but failed to find any German ships in the heavy seas. At this point Invincible was rammed by the patrol yacht Goissa and so was forced to head for Rosyth for further repairs where she remained until May 1916.

At the end of May, HMS Invincible was part of the Grand Fleet to engage with enemy ships heading north. After firing salvoes at the German ships Invincible was then struck by three return salvoes from Lutzow and Derfflinger and sank in three minutes. 1026 officers and men were killed including Rear-Admiral Hood and only 6 survivors were picked up.

At the time of Reginald’s death his parents were living at Church Hill, Bourton. Reginald is remembered on Portsmouth Naval Memorial and Bourton war memorial.

Entry posted 10 November 2023

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It is our intention to include articles here relating to Bourton village. At present we are researching the WW1 soldiers who gave their lives and appear on local memorials. In May 2021 we completed th


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