• David Lloyd

Gillingham Soldiers of WW1 ) (Light - Wiles )

Updated: 17 hours ago

Soldiers of World War One

David Lloyd, Alan Whiffen and Lynda Grange are researching the lives of soldiers with Gillingham connections. Some moved away from home and signed up elsewhere; others had subsequent links to Gillingham or the Dorset regiments. Some returned home and many didn't.


If you can add any information or provide photographs of the following soldiers then please email David, Alan or Lynda at office@gillinghammuseum.co.uk

If you have any WW1 memorabilia for possible display in the Museum please email Penny Peat at office@gillinghammuseum.co.uk


The alphabetical list below is of those soldiers with Gillingham connections who gave their lives in WW1. The Gillingham War Memorial is engraved 'In memory of 85 officers, non-commissioned officers and men from this parish who made the supreme sacrifice'.

There are 82 names on the 'Unveiling List', 89 names on the memorial plaques and 93 names in the Memorial Book held in St. Mary's Church.

The list below is not complete - entries will be added or updated when research has been completed.

New entries March 2021: A N Light, W E Lodge, J K Manger, D R G Martin, E P Matthews, W F Matthews, J E Mitchell, T H J Phillips, A Phripp, C O Randell, E G Randall, W Smart, A B Wadman, H B Wadman, H J Wadman, W C Wadman.

New entries April 2021: R M Nash, M C Offer, W E Pike, A T Read, G Read, H Read, H T Read, H Scott, A Taylor, G H Ware



LIGHT Alan Northeast

447404 Private Alan Northeast Light 31st Battalion Canadian Infantry died on 15 September 1916 aged 28.


Alan was born in 1887 to parents Edward and Agnes Light. Edward was later to become a partner in Freame, Light and Wyld, solicitors. The family lived in Station Road, Gillingham.

Alan was baptised at St.Mary’s on 1 January 1888 and confirmed there on 30 November 1902. He travelled to Canada around 1910 to work as a farm labourer and lived at Medicine Hat, Cypress, Alberta. He travelled back to England in 1913 and returned to Canada in 1914.


He enlisted in the Canadian Infantry on 13 August 1915 and his height was recorded as 6 feet 1 inch. As part of the 31st Battalion he saw service in France and was killed on 15 December 1916 in the advance from Pozieres to Courcelette during the Somme offensive.

He is remembered on the Vimy War Memorial (see below) about 8 kms from Arras and also on the Gillingham War Memorial.


DJL

Entry posted 29 March 2021

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LODGE Wilfred Ernest

29703 Rifleman Wilfred Ernest Lodge 1st/8th Battalion Hampshire Regiment died on 2 November 1917 aged 22.


Wilfred was born in 1895 to parents Ernest and Kate (néePhillips) Lodge. He was baptised at Holy Trinity, Shaftesbury on 14 August 1895. The family were living at ‘Elm View’, Bay Road, Gillingham. Wilfred’s siblings were Percy F (1891), Harry R (1893), Florence H (1899).

In 1911, Wilfred aged 15, was lodging and working with his uncle and aunt, Charles and Alice Phillips in Shaftesbury. The Phillips ran a fish and fruit business at 54 High Street.


Gaza War Cemetery

Wilfred enlisted at Shaftesbury and initially was with the Dorsetshire Regiment (17409). He was transferred to the Hampshire Regiment. He died of wounds in Palestine. He was awarded the Victory and British medals.

Wilfred is remembered at the Gaza War Cemetery (right) and also at the Gillingham War Memorial.


DJL

Entry posted 29 March 2021

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LYDFORD Harold William

200820 Private Harold William Lydford 1/4th Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment died 28 September 1917.

Harold was born in 1895 to parents Frank Henry and Gertrude Elizabeth (née Hanham) Lydford.

In 1901 the family were living in Wyke Street, Gillingham. Harold’s siblings are Florence (1891), Ernest (1893), Reginald (1899) and Cyril John (1906).

In 1911 Harold was an Assistant in a boiler shop (probably Hindleys) and lodging with Charles and Edith Harcourt at Dove Haye Cottage, Bourton.


Harold enlisted in August 1914 and joined the 1/4th Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment.

Records show that Harold was killed in action in Mesopotamia.

He was awarded the Victory and British medals.

He is remembered at the CWGC Baghdad (North Gate) Cemetery, located in a very sensitive area in the Waziriah Area of the Al-Russafa district of Baghdad. The erection of 511 headstones, with new concrete bases, as well as repair to the boundary fence was completed in 2012. Whilst the current climate of political instability persists, at the time of writing, it is extremely challenging for the Commission to manage or maintain its cemeteries and memorials located within Iraq. A two volume Roll of Honour listing all casualties buried and commemorated in Iraq has been produced. These volumes are on display at the Commission's Head Office in Maidenhead and are available for the public to view.

Harold is also remembered on the Gillingham War Memorial.

DJL

Entry posted 29 March 2021

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MANGER John Kenneth

Second Lieutenant John Kenneth Manger of 2nd Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers died on 8 May 1915.

He was born in Gillingham on 9 December 1894 to parents Alfred Thomas and Elizabeth Manger.

The Manger family lived at Stock Hill House, Gillingham and John’s siblings were Winifred (1888) and Gladys (1891).

Memorial in Langham Church

John was educated Durnford Preparatory School and at Wellington College (public school) in Berkshire where he was in the 6th Form, head of his house, winner of Lord Robert's medal for the best all-round boy in the school in 1913 and captain of the college cricket XI. He went up to Christ Church Oxford at the end of 1913. At the outbreak of war he went to Sandhurst and was gazetted to the Northumberland Fusiliers. He went to France in January 1915.


With the 2nd Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers he took part in the 2nd Battle of Ypres at a time when the Germans released poison gas into the allied lines. John was killed in action on 8 May 1915.

He is remembered at the Menin Gate Memorial and on a bronze plaque (see right) on the South wall of Langham Church, Gillingham. He is also remembered on the Gillingham Memorial but regrettably his surname is spelled as ‘Munger’.


DJL

Entry posted 27 March 2021. Updated 3 April 2021

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MARTIN Donald Ralph Gifford

121403 Gunner Donald Ralph Gifford Martin 164th Battery Royal Garrison Artillery died on 11 May 1918 aged 20.

Donald was born in Castle Cary in November 1897 to parents Cornelius and Sarah Ann Martin. Cornelius was a grocer and ironmonger in Castle Cary and in later years was involved as a director of Hudson and Martin Ltd in Gillingham.

In 1911 Donald was a student at Queens College public school at Trull, Taunton. His brother Hugh and cousins Charles and Ernest also attended Queen's.

An Obituary published in Queen's Memorial booklet included the following: 'Donald Martin spent several happy years at Queen's. A quiet , unobtrusive boy, he had a high sense of honour. Religion to him was nothing if not practical. The fact, that in his letters to his home from the Front he often referred to his consciousness of God's presence and help, has been a comfort to his bereaved parents. At the age of 17, Donald volunteered for military service , but was told to wait a year by the military authorities. In October 1916 he enrolled as Private in the Royal Garrison Artillery, but was passed for garrison duty only. After training in Ireland and Shropshire, he accompanied his Siege Battery to France in early 1918. He was killed in action on 11 May 1918 by the bursting of a heavy calibre shell while standing by in the interval of serving his gun. Wounds were located in face, shoulder and left leg of which the main artery was severed. His C.O. expressed regret at the loss of one who had an unstained record and a splendid devotion to duty'.


He was awarded the British and Victory medals.

Donald was buried in the Chocques Military Cemetery – 4kms from Bethune, France.

He is remembered at the Gillingham War Memorial and on a family cross in the municipal cemetery, Castle Cary. He is also remembered on the WW1 memorial board of Queens College, Taunton.

Note: In 1952 a bronze memorial was commissioned listing just those who died. Originally this was placed in the chapel but was moved to the entrance lobby of the main building in the early 20th century. A stone cross was placed on the lawn opposite the main door of the main building in 1919 around which a service of remembrance is held each year.

DJL (with thanks to Geoffrey Bisson for supplying information from Queen's school.)

Entry posted 31 March 2021 & updated 19 April 2021.

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MATTHEWS Edward Philip

Lieutenant Edward Philip Matthews, 8th Battalion Rifle Brigade died on 16 September 1916 aged 20.

Edward was born in 1896 to parents George Gerard and Elizabeth Matthews of Wyke House, Gillingham. He was baptised at St.Mary’s on 17 May 1896.

His siblings were Gerard Blandford (1890), Arthur Morgan (1892), Margaret Victoria (1897) and Walter Franey.

Edward served in the military on 27 March 1915 firstly as a Private in the City of London Regiment. He was later commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 8th (Service) Battalion, The Rifle Brigade.

Edward was in the Somme, France in 1916 and was probably killed in fierce fighting in and around Delville Wood.

He was buried at La Neuville British cemetery at Corbie, some 15 kms from Albert.

In April 1916, No.21 Casualty Clearing Station came to La Neuville and remained there throughout the 1916 Battles of the Somme, until March 1917. La Neuville British Cemetery was opened early in July 1916. Most of the burials date from this period, but a few graves were added during the fighting on the Somme in 1918. Neuville British Cemetery contains 866 Commonwealth burials of the First World War. There are also 27 German war graves. The cemetery was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

He is remembered on the Gillingham War Memorial and also on the Reredos in St. Mary’s Church.

DJL

Entry posted 28 March 2021.

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MATTHEWS Walter Franey

Captain Walter Franey Matthews 4th Battalion Dorsetshire regiment died on 28 September 1917 aged 29.

Walter was born in 1887 to parents George Gerrard and Elizabeth Caroline Matthews of Wyke House, Gillingham. His father was master brewer at nearby Wyke Brewery. His siblings were Gerrard Blandford (1890), Arthur Morgan (1892), Edward Philip (1896) and Margaret Victoria (1897).

Walter attended Kings School Bruton.

In 1914 Walter enlisted at Dorchester and joined as a Lieutenant in 4th Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment, then part of the army’s reserve forces (based on pre-existing Territorial units). In October 1914 the 1/4th Battalion embarked for India at Southampton landing at Bombay. He was in Karachi in February 1916 and his battalion embarked for Basra, sailing from Karachi. The battalion was transferred to the 42nd Brigade and then that Brigade was transferred to the 15th Indian Division. He then saw action at As Sahilan and later the capture of Ar Ramadi in 1917.

Walter was killed in action on 28 September in Iraq and was buried at the Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery.

He is remembered on the Gillingham War Memorial and on the Reredos, given in 1925 by Mr & Mrs GG Matthews in memory of Franey and his brother Edward, in St. Mary’s Church.

He was awarded the Victory and British war medals.

DJL

Entry posted 29 March 2021

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MILES Albert

1441 Private Albert Miles 6th Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment died 12 April 1917 aged 27.

Albert was born at Ditcheat in 1890 to Eliza Miles daughter of George and Mary Elizabeth Miles of Milton-on-Stour, Gillingham. The census returns for 1891, 1901 and 1911 show Albert living with his mother and grandparents at Milton.

Albert was confirmed on 13 November 1904 at St. Mary’s, Gillingham with a group from Milton.

He served with the Dorsetshire Regiment in WW1 and was killed in action on 12 April 1917 in France. His military documents have not been traced.


Albert is remembered on the Arras Memorial in Fauberg-d’Amiens Cemetery, Arras.

The ARRAS MEMORIAL commemorates almost 35,000 servicemen from the United Kingdom, South Africa and New Zealand who died in the Arras sector between the spring of 1916 and 7 August 1918, the eve of the Advance to Victory, and have no known grave. The most conspicuous events of this period were the Arras offensive of April-May 1917, and the German attack in the spring of 1918. A separate memorial remembers those killed in the Battle of Cambrai in 1917

He is also remembered on both the Gillingham and Milton-on-Stour War Memorials.

DJL

Entry posted 1 April 2021

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MITCHELL John Edward

9033 Private John Edward Mitchell, 1st Battalion Wiltshire Regiment, died on 16 June 1915 aged 19.


John was born 14 November 1895 at Teffont Magna, Wiltshire to parents Mark and Mary Ann Mitchell.

In 1911 Mark Mitchell, a shepherd and widower, is at Compton Chamberlyne, Wiltshire together with John. John's siblings were Henry George (1889), Lilian Alice (1890) and Sidney M (1893)

In June 1915 John’s Battalion took part in two attacks on the German Trench System round Hooze Chateau, where fighting was most severe. John was killed in action.

He is remembered on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial – Panel 53.

He is also remembered on both the Gillingham and Milton-on-Stour Memorials but his links to Gillingham or Milton have not yet been traced.

The CWGC certificate refers to John’s father as the late Mark Mitchell of Countess Farm, Amesbury, Wiltshire. However there is no trace of Mark’s death at that time.

DJL

Entry posted 28 March 2021

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NASH Ronald Milsom

B/19859 Private Ronald Milsom Nash 2nd Battalion Royal Fusiliers died on 4 June 1918 aged 21.


Ronald was born in 1896 at Sherborne to parents Henry George and Alma Mary Nash. Ronald’s family lived in Cheap Street, Sherborne where his father ran a drapery business.

Ronald was employed by Lloyds Bank with a spell at the Gillingham branch. He enlisted at St.Paul’s in the London Regiment. He was in Flanders in June 1918 with the 2nd Battalion, Royal Fusiliers where they were in the trenches in the area of Swartenbrough and where Nash was killed.


He is remembered at the Ploegsteert Memorial which commemorates more than 11,000 servicemen of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in this sector during the First World War and have no known grave. The memorial serves the area from the line Caestre-Dranoutre-Warneton, in Belgium, to the north, to Haverskerque-Estaires-Fournes, in France, to the south. Most of those commemorated by the memorial did not die in major offensives., such as those which took place around Ypres to the north, or Loos to the south. Most were killed in the course of the day-to-day trench warfare which characterised this part of the line, or in small scale set engagements, usually carried out in support of the major attacks taking place elsewhere.

He is also remembered on both the Gillingham and Sherborne War Memorials and on the Lloyd’s Bank Roll of Honour.

DJL

Entry posted 2 April 2021

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OFFER Mervyn Charles

9380 Corporal Mervyn Offer 1st Battalion, Hampshire Regiment died on 11 April 1917.


Mervyn was born at Gillingham in 1897. The 1901 and 1911 census show him living in Kings Court Road with his grandparents Albert and Annie Gray. Mervyn was probably the son of one of Annie’s daughters.

He enlisted in 1915 but there are insufficient records available to find more about Mervyn’s military history. However, he reached the rank of Corporal with the 1st Battalion, Hampshire Regiment and fought in France where he died on 11 April 1917. He was awarded the British and Victory medals.

He is remembered on the Arras Memorial in the Faubourg d’Amiens Cemetery. The Memorial commemorates almost 35,000 servicemen from the United Kingdom, South Africa and New Zealand who died in the Arras sector between the spring of 1916 and 7 August 1918, the eve of the Advance to Victory, and have no known grave. The most conspicuous events of this period were the Arras offensive of April-May 1917.

He is also remembered on the Gillingham War Memorial.

DJL

Entry posted 3 April 2021

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PHILLIPS Thomas Henry John

631 Private Thomas Henry John Phillips of the Queen’s Own Dorset Yeomanry died at Gallipoli on 21 August 1915. He was aged 23 years.


Thomas was born in Gillingham in 1892, son of Henry and Agnes Phillips. The family lived at Lower Bowridge (Eddix) Farm where Henry was a farmer. Henry died in March 1901.

Thomas was confirmed on the 11th November 1906 at St. Mary’s.

His siblings were Bessie May (1890), Gertrude Amelia (1889), Willie (1894), Ida Constance (1896), John Henry Edward (1897)

His eldest sister Amelia Gertrude Mary married Stafford W H Roberts of Bowridge Hill, a farmer, on 3rd November 1909 at Milton on Stour Church. Thomas’ mother Agnes was born at Gussage St. Andrew in 1867 and was buried in Milton on Stour Churchyard on 13th May 1946 aged 80 years.

Thomas was a member of Kings Court Masonic Lodge in Gillingham being initiated in September 1913.


Thomas joined the Dorset Yeomanry probable late 1912 or early 1913 judging by his number 631. On joining the regiment, he would have been in D Squadron (the Gillingham squadron).

By the time of embarkation for Gallipoli, the squadrons had been reorganised and reduced to two. Thomas was in No.1 Troop of B Squadron for Gallipoli. In the course of the battle B Squadron attacked on the right flank. They advanced across the plateau to the south of Scimitar Hill which is where Thomas was killed in action on 21 August 1915.

He was awarded the Victory, British and 15 Star medals.

He is remembered on both the Gillingham and Milton-on-Stour War Memorials and the Helles Memorial, Gallipoli, Turkey. His name was added to the family gravestone in Milton-on-Stour Churchyard. (see photo - courtesy Sam Woodcock).

AW & DJL

Entry posted 28 March 2021

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PHRIPP Arthur Thornton Frederick

2nd Lieutenant Arthur Thornton Frederick Phripp died on Friday 19 October 1917, aged 23.

Arthur was born 21 June 1894, son of Frederick and Kathleen Phripp of Slaughter Gate Farm, Gillingham. He attended Miss Samway’s Private Prep School for 3 years before admission to Gillingham Grammar School 5 May 1903. After leaving school on 22 December 1909, he obtained a Civil Service Boy Clerkship in January 1910 and joined the Savings Bank Dept of the Post Office in London. He had one sister; Lucy Mary Isabel born 1899.

He joined firstly the London Regiment and later served with Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding) Regiment becoming a 2nd lieutenant. He first went to France on 16 March 1915.


The manner of his death was recorded by the Western Gazette, in an article of 26 October 1917:

"A rumour that two of the air raid victims in London on Friday were natives of Gillingham was current in the town on Saturday, and was generally discredited. When, however, definite news came through that the rumour was a correct one, the townspeople received quite a shock. The two victims were Mrs Phripp, of Slaughtergate Farm, and her only son, Second-Lieut. Arthur Thornton Frederick Phripp of the West Riding regiment.

Lieut.Phripp was one of the first to respond to his country’s call at the outbreak of war, and left the desk of a London bank and joined the Surrey Rifles, and with them saw some heavy fighting during the two years and six months he was in France. He rose to the rank of sergeant, and was offered a commission, which he accepted, and came home to qualify. He had just completed his training and had been gazetted to the West Riding Regiment stationed at North Shields, and was home on leave.

On Thursday, in company with his mother he journeyed to London to see about the completion of his outfit, as he had to join his regiment on Monday last, and on Friday, accompanied by his mother, he went to His Majesty’s Theatre, and it was after leaving there to return to where they were staying with friends that they were struck down by a bomb. It appears that Mrs Phripp was killed instantly, but Lieut. Phripp was conveyed to the hospital in a serious condition, and in the night succumbed to his injuries. Heartfelt sympathy is expressed with the father and one daughter in their sad bereavement. The funeral took place on Wednesday.[24 October]”


German Zeppelin L45 which dropped a 100kg bomb on Piccadilly

(courtesy of Ian Castle http://www.iancastlezeppelin.co.uk/1920-oct-1917-4/4594081029)


Photograph above of the destruction in London (Courtesy Imperial War Museum)



An article headed London Defences on the Alert was published widely in the press. (See left)

In the Western Gazette of 9 November 1917 it was reported that Mr Frederick Phripp, of Slaughter Gate Farm, was, on the death of his wife Kate and his son Lieutenant A T Phripp, honoured with a telegram from their Majesties the King and Queen and also from the Keeper of the Privy Purse.




Arthur and his mother Kathleen were both buried in Gillingham Cemetery on 24 October 1917.


Arthur was awarded the British, Victory and 15 Star medals on account of his war service in France.

He is remembered on Gillingham War Memorial and the memorial board of Gillingham Grammar School.



DJL & LG

Entry posted 12 March 2021


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PIKE William Ernest

230131 Lance Corporal William Ernest Pike 1st/1st Dorset (Queen’s Own) Yeomanry died 21 November 1917 aged 21.

William was the eldest son of Ernest James Pike, a farmer at Waterloo Farm, Motcombe, and his wife Mary Agnes (née Dowding). He was born in 1896 and baptised at East Knoyle on 19 July of the same year. His siblings were Gerald Frederick (1901), Elsie Kathleen (1904), Eileen Elizabeth (1907).

At the outbreak of war William was one of the first to volunteer for active service and on 9 April 1915 sailed for Egypt. he had joined the Queen’s Own Dorset Yeomanry as No.716 and later became No.230131 and was promoted to Lance Corporal.

He was wounded in the Agagia charge of the Dorset Yeomanry on 26 February 1916. On recovering, he proceeded to Palestine (now Israel) and took part in the capture of Gaza and was killed on 21 November 1917, within sight of Jerusalem. His faithful horse was with him to the end, although twice shot under him.. He was awarded the Victory, British, and 15 Star medals.

William is remembered at the Jerusalem War Cemetery and on the War Memorials at Gillingham and Motcombe and on Sherborne Abbey's Dorset Yeomanry Memorial.

DJL

Entry posted 4 April 2021

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RANDALL Charles Owen

974 Private Charles Owen Randall of the Dorset Yeomanry (Queen's Own) 1st/1st was killed in action in Egypt on 26 February 1916, aged 26.


Charles was born at Langham, Gillingham in 1890 and was baptised on 20 March 1890.

The 1891 Census shows the family at Langham, where James is a blacksmith, and Edward’s siblings are Alice (1873), Henry H (1874), Florence K (1879), Edith (1883), John Hugh (1886), Harold James (1887), Edward G (1889).

The 1901 Census shows the family living at Milton-on-Stour.

Charles was confirmed 27 November 1904 at St. Mary’s Church as part of the Milton group.

In 1911, the Census for Pulshays Cottages, Awliscombe, near Honiton shows Charles, aged 21, as a ‘general labourer – engineering shop’ and living with his brother Henry Herbert and family.

Charles enlisted at Sherborne.

He was killed in action in what was probably the Action of Agagia in Egypt.

He is remembered at the Alexandria (Chatby) Military and War Memorial Cemetery. Chatby is a district on the eastern side of the city of Alexandria, between the main dual carriageway to Aboukir (known as Al Horaya) and the sea. The CHATBY MEMORIAL stands at the eastern end of the cemetery and commemorates almost 1,000 Commonwealth servicemen who died during the First World War and have no other grave but the sea. Many of them were lost when hospital ships or transports were sunk in the Mediterranean, sailing to or from Alexandria. Others died of wounds or sickness while aboard such vessels and were buried at sea. He is also remembered on the War Memorials at Gillingham and Milton-on-Stour.

DJL

Entry posted 28 March 2021

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RANDALL Edward George

Sergeant 7887 Edward George Randall of the 1st Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment was killed in action at the Somme on 10 July 1916.

Edward was born at Langham, Gillingham in 1888 to parents James George and Martha Jane Randall. He was baptised on 21 October 1888.

The 1891 Census shows the family at Langham, where James is a blacksmith, and Edward’s siblings are Alice (b.1873), Henry H (b.1874), Florence K (b.1879), Edith (b.1883), John Hugh (b.1886), Harold James (b.1887), Owen Charles (b.1890).

By 1901, the family had moved to Milton-on-Stour. The Census reveals Edward as an ‘errand and odd boy’. He was later a gardener for Mr A T Manger at Langham.

On 5 November 1903, Edward was confirmed at St. Mary’s Church, Gillingham as part of the Milton group.

Edward was a member of the local 1st Volunteer Battalion of the Dorset Regiment. In 1906 he enlisted with the 3rd Battalion Dorset Regiment at Weymouth and approved at Dorchester 6 February 1906. He was 5ft 4 ½ ins., 112 lbs, of dark complexion, brown eyes and dark brown hair.

He married Lottie WYATT at Wilton, Wiltshire in 1913. Their daughter Betty Eva died 3 March 1915 aged 4 months.

Edward embarked for France on 14 August 1914 and served with the 1st Battalion. In October he was wounded and transferred to hospital at Boulogne. He re-joined the 1st Battalion in the field on 16 July 1915. He was promoted to Sergeant in February 1916.


The Western Gazette of 11 August 1916 reported that Sergeant E.G. Randall, fourth son of the late Mr and Mrs James Randall of Milton, Gillingham, was killed in action on July 10th. A younger brother was killed in action in Egypt on February 26th, in the Charge of the Dorset Yeomanry against the Senussi. A third brother was still serving in France.

He was awarded the Victory medal and Clasp to 1914 Star and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial (Pier+Face 7B) in France and the war memorials at Gillingham and Milton-on-Stour.

Lottie remarried in 1918 and died in 1962.

Historical Information

On 1 July 1916, supported by a French attack to the south, thirteen divisions of Commonwealth forces launched an offensive on a line from north of Gommecourt to Maricourt. Despite a preliminary bombardment lasting seven days, the German defences were barely touched and the attack met unexpectedly fierce resistance. Losses were catastrophic and with only minimal advances on the southern flank, the initial attack was a failure. Sadly, Edward was killed in action on 10 July.

DJL & LG

Entry posted 7 March 2021

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READ Alfred Thomas

50719 Private Alfred Thomas Read 13th Battalion Devonshire regiment died 12 March 1917 aged 45.

Alfred was born in 1871 to parents Samuel and Anne Maria Read and was baptised at St. Mary’s in March of that year. The family lived at Wykes Marsh, Gillingham. In 1881 the family were in Milton Road by which time Alfred’s father was a widower. In 1891 they were living at Culver’s. Alfred’s siblings were Samuel John and Walter Henry.

In 1893 Alfred married Alice Martin and by 1901 were living in Wavering Lane. The 1911 census records that in 17 years of marriage they had 12 children five of whom died and living at home then were Bessie, Ada, Doris and Gertrude.

Enlistment details are unknown, and it is assumed that he was ‘called up’ for ‘home duties’ and served with the 13th (Works) Battalion Devonshire Regiment based in Devon. He was found dead on 12th March 1917. His pension record mentions 4 children Ernest Alfred, Ada, Doris and Gertrude.

His grave is in the Plymouth (Efford) cemetery (church C.4936).

He is remembered on the Gillingham War Memorial as ‘T Read’.

DJL

Entry posted 9 April 2021

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READ Frank Thomas

22404 Private Frank Tom Read of the 6th Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment was killed in action on 12th April 1917.


Frank, born 1886, was the son of Tom and Charlotte Read of Langham Lane. His siblings were Fred, George, Harry, Mary and Henry W. He enlisted at Exeter in the Devonshire Regiment but later joined the 6th Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment.

Frank was one of almost 35,000 servicemen from the UK, South Africa and New Zealand who died in the Arras sector between the spring of 1916 and 7 August 1918 and have no known grave. One of the most conspicuous events of that period was the Arras offensive of April-May 1917.


Frank is remembered on the Arras Memorial, Pas de Calais, France (bay 6) and the war memorias at both Gillingham and at Milton-on-Stour.

DJL

Entry posted 5 October 2016 updated 24 June 2020

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READ Garnet Wolseley

6283 Private Garnet Wolseley Read 1st Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment died 29th January 1915 aged 31.

Garnet Wolseley Read was born in Zeals, Wiltshire in 1883 to parents William and Emily Read. He had two older brothers and three older sisters, and his mother died in 1884. In the 1891 Census William and his family are living at Peacemarsh Place, Gillingham. William married Ellen Francis on 13th August 1884 and had two more sons and two more daughters. At this time William, born in Bourton, was working as a picture frame maker. In the 1901 Census the family were living at the Grocer’s Shop, Peacemarsh - William a self-employed picture frame maker, son Arthur aged 14 a Butter and Cream Maker and Alexander 15 is a painter. Arthur Henry, one of William’s sons, together with Ellen and Garnet’s stepbrother ran the Cycle shop at Newbury Gillingham.

Garnet enlisted in Dorchester in 1904. In the 1911 Census Garnet is shown as serving in India. He entered the European Theatre of War in France on 28th December 1914. Garnet died a month later of Pneumonia and is buried at St. Sever Cemetery, second part M to Z, Department de la Seine- Maritime, Haute- Normandie, France.

He was awarded the Victory, British and 15 Star medals.

Garnet is remembered on the Gillingham War Memorial.

AW & DJL

We thank Elinor Plow for the photo of Garnet available from Ancestry website.

Entry posted 6 April 2021

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READ Henry

3/7631 Lance Corporal Henry Read 1st Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment died on 15 April 1917.

No Attestation Records have been traced so without a date of birth it has been difficult to pinpoint the correct Henry Read. However, it is likely that this soldier was the son of Daniel and Ann Read born about 1880 and who appears on the 1911 Census for No.8 Peacemarsh Cottages with his widowed mother.

Henry enlisted at Dorchester on 23 October 1914. From a Western Gazette cutting of 1917 it appears that his sister was Mrs W Collins and Henry had served in France for 2 years and six months.

Henry was killed on 15 April 1917. He was awarded the Victory, British and 14 Star medals.

He is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial (pier and face 7B) and on the Gillingham War Memorial.

DJL

Entry posted 6 April 2021

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READ Herbert Thomas

SE/17461 Private Herbert Thomas Read Army Veterinary Corps died 22 May 1917 aged 45.

Herbert, born 1872, was the son of William and Emily Read of School Road Gillingham. His siblings were William, Sidney, Harriett and Florence. In 1902 he married Florence Emily Elizabeth Spooner at St Barnabas, Dulwich. The Jury List of 1905 shows him living in Church Lane and his occupation is milkseller. Two children were born in Gillingham – Laurence and Cecil and two in Oxford – Marjorie and Eric. In 1911 Herbert, now a dairyman, was living with his family in Slough, Buckinghamshire.


In WW1 Herbert served with the Army Veterinary Corps and died at Rouen on 22 May 1917. He was awarded the Victory and British War medals.

He is buried at the St.Sever Cemetery Extension at Rouen and remembered at the Gillingham War Memorial.

DJL

Entry posted 6 April 2021

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SCOTT Henry

45082 Private Henry Scott 5th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment died 17 November 1918 aged 19.

Henry was born in Gillingham to parents Robert and Jane Scott in 1899. Robert was from Dumfries in Scotland and worked for his uncle Andrew Johnstone, a draper in the High Street.

In 1901 the family were living in Newbury and Kings Court Road in 1911. In 1911 Henry was at School but also had a part-time job as a Chemist's errand boy. Henry’s siblings were William (1897), Isabella Jane (1903), Mabel E. (1913) and Robert James (1914).


Henry’s military details are scant. He served with the 5th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment and died in France on 17 November 1918.

He is buried in the Terlincthun British Cemertery, Wimille on the northern outskirts of Boulogne.

He is remembered on the Gillingham War Memorial.

DJL

Entry posted 14 April 2021

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SMART Walter William

9054 Private Walter William Smart, C Coy., 15th Battalion Wiltshire Regiment died on 2 September 1916 aged 21.


Walter was born in Gillingham in 1895 to Tom and Elizabeth Smart. He was baptised at St.Mary's on 22 February 1895. Tom Smart, Walter’s father, was the youngest of seven children from a family of agricultural labourers at Kilmington, Wiltshire. The agricultural depression of the 1870s had hit it hard. One of his brothers emigrated to the US, another became a coal miner at Paulton, Somerset, one sister died in the workhouse, and others moved away to become servants.

Tom was a gardener all his life and lived in Gillingham after his marriage to Elizabeth Hiscock in 1884. Her parents lived there and the young couple needed help because their first child, Charles Tom Smart, was severely disabled. He died at the age of twelve, from “deformity and imbecility, epilepsy and coma.” Tom and Elizabeth had seven other children.

At some point after 1891 Walter and his older brother Henry went to live with their maternal grandparents, Robert, a shoemaker, and Charlotte Hiscock in Lydfords Lane, Gillingham. It must have been difficult for Tom and Elizabeth to cope with their disabled child and an increasing number of other children. After their brother’s death, however, Henry and Walter did not return to their parents not even when they moved to Sherborne and then Bemerton for work. Perhaps the grandparents, both by then in their sixties, needed help, or perhaps Elizabeth’s health was too poor. She was in Salisbury Infirmary when the 1911 census was taken.

Whatever the reason, Walter and Henry stayed in Gillingham even after their grandparents died in 1912. It appears that Henry joined the navy and Walter the army as soon as they were old enough, both giving Gillingham as the contact address for next of kin.

Tom and Elizabeth Smart lived at 7 Church Lane, Bemerton, from at least 1911 until their deaths in the 1920s. They are buried at St John’s, Bemerton.


Walter Smart was a farmworker who joined the army before 1914 , enlisting at Dorchester, so he was among the first to land in France and he fought there for two years before he was killed. In the first few months 1000 men from his battalion were killed or wounded, a loss equivalent to their full strength. From late 1914 they fought mainly from the trenches, the only relief being some extended periods in reserve.

In June 1916 they moved towards the Somme but did not take part in the first catastrophic attack on 1 July. On 3 July they took over some captured enemy trenches and launched an attack from there on 5 July. They were relieved two days later by which time 400 men and 26 officers had been killed or wounded.

Further fierce fighting was interspersed with periods out of the front line. On 2 September they were returning to the front from one of those periods, a journey that was always risky, but although the war diary describes the men staying in ‘dugouts under a bank from 3pm to 11pm’ before moving to the front it does not mention a death. Nevertheless Walter Smart was killed in action on that day as part of the on going Battle of the Somme.



He is buried in an extension of Forceville Communal Cemetery (10kms from Albert, France) , created for men killed in that battle.

He is remembered on the Gillingham War Memorial and also on St.John's Church memorial at Bemerton, near Salisbury (see photo left- names are within the arch ). Walter Smart is on St John’s memorial because of his family’s connection with the parish, not because he lived here himself.


Later Family History

Walter’s three surviving brothers all served in the First World War. Henry survived the war but was killed in a naval training accident in 1922 when the submarine he was serving on was rammed by a cruiser.

Arthur, who moved to Bemerton with his parents, joined the mercantile marines (merchant navy). He died in 1921 and his name was added to the St John’s memorial after the other names. An account of his life will be written later.

Albert Charles Smart, the youngest brother, joined the Dragoon Guards and survived the war. He’d been a pageboy for a Salisbury solicitor in 1911 and he returned to domestic service, becoming a butler in Tetbury, Gloucestershire where he died unmarried in 1981.

Walter’s three sisters all married. Elizabeth, the oldest, was a general domestic servant in London in 1901. She married Stanley Edgar, a hotel porter, and lived in London for the rest of her life. Her only grandchild did not have children.

Agnes, born in 1893, married a Church Lane neighbour: George Cossons, a private enquiry agent. They moved to Kent.

Fanny, the youngest of Tom and Elizabeth’s children, married George Blackman in 1928 and died locally in 1933.

Agnes is the only one of the eight siblings who appears to have had great grandchildren.


Earlier Family History

In 1810 Walter Smart’s great grandfather Stephen Hiscock aged fifteen left his life as a labourer in Gillingham, travelled to Reading and joined the 66th Regiment of Infantry. He served for 27 years until his discharge in 1837, by which time he had an Irish wife and two young sons born in Canada. He had spent eight of those years on St Helena as part of the contingent guarding Napoleon.

Stephen settled back into life in Gillingham with his army pension, and was a labourer at the brewery. It is interesting to imagine the tales he had to tell to local people who may not even have travelled outside their home town. Although he died before his great grandsons were born family stories of his life as a soldier perhaps influenced them to join the armed services.

DJL (I am indebted to Bea Tilbrook and Wendy Lawrence who produced the bulk of Walter's story)

Entry posted 28 March 2021

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STONE Gideon

8520 Private Gideon Stone of the 2nd Dorsetshire Regiment was killed in action 17th November 1914.


Gideon Stone was born in Gillingham in 1888, the son of George and Eliza Stone. He was baptised 1Oth July 1888. The family were Iiving at Ham in the 1891 and 1901 Census and by 1901 Gideon was working as an agricultural labourer. His siblings were Rowland (1881), Mabel (1883), Bertha(1884) and Gilbert (1886).


Gideon was attested on the 21st September 1908 in Gillingham and witnessed by B E Freame. His age was 20 years 4 months and he was already a member of the 4th Dorset Regiment. His description was: Height 5 ft 9 ins, weight 136 lbs, of fresh complexion with hazel eyes and brown hair.

ln the 1911 Census he is recorded with the 2nd Dorset Regiment, Wanowrie Barracks, lndia.

His military service was:

25th September 1908 appointed to the Scots Guards in Dorchester.

Home Service 21st September 1908 - 6th October 1909.

lndia 7th October 1909 - 5th November 1914 with the Dorsetshire regiment.

He sailed from Bombay 16th October 1914 for service overseas, and landed 6th November 1914 in Lower Mesopotamia (modern lraq).

Gideon was killed in action at Sahil, Lower Mesopotamia 17th November 1914 serving in the 6th Battalion 2nd Dorsetshire Regiment.

He was awarded the British War and Victory medals and 1914-1915 Star.

He is remembered at the Basra War Cemetery (lraq) and at the Gillingham War Memorial.

AW

Entry posted 15 January 2015 and updated 24 June 2020.

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TAYLOR Archibald

50460 Gunner Archibald Taylor ‘B’ Battery, Royal Horse Artillery died on 23 April 1917 aged 25.

Known as ‘Archie’, he was born in Gillingham in 1890 and baptised Henry Archibald. His parents were William and Elizabeth Taylor. Siblings were George Tom, Sidney James, Frank William, Flora Kate, Louise Emma, Caroline Amelia, Bertram and Alice. In 1891 the family were living in Wyke Street and then in 1901 they were in Common Mead Lane in a cluster of buildings referred to as ‘Nine Houses’.


Records about Archie are scant, but it is believed he first joined the army in 1907. He enlisted in Shaftesbury, presumably for WW1 duty and was with the Royal Horse Artillery. He was killed in action on 23 April 1917 and is buried at the Tilloy British Cemetery, Tilloy-Les-Mofflaines, 3kms south-east of Arras, France.

He is remembered on the Gillingham War Memorial.

DJL

Entry posted 1 April 2021

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TAYLOR William John

Gunner 47340 William John Taylor Royal Field Artillery “B” Battery 116th Brigade died on 16th January 1915 aged 31.


William was born on 17 August 1883 in St.Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands, son of John Lebanon TAYLOR and Margaret TAYLOR (nee Noel). He was baptised at St.Helier on 16 September 1883. His father was in the Armed forces.

The 1901 Census shows John & Margaret Taylor and William living at 12 Mineral Street, Plumstead, Kent. William is described as a Commercial Clerk. The 1911 Census show his parents living in a seven-roomed property at 101 Tuam Road, Plumstead. At the time of William's death, Margaret Taylor, now widowed, was living at 251 Whitehorse Lane, South Norwood, London.


On 15 November 1901, William enlisted with the 17th Lancers at Woolwich at the age of 18 years 3 months. He had blue eyes, brown hair; height was 5ft 8 1/2 ins., weight 119 lbs, chest 34/36. He was dishonourably discharged on 13 July 1903. Records of William’s enlistment during WW1 have not yet been traced.


Gunner Taylor died on 16 January 1915 as a result of pneumonia and he was being cared for in one of the Red Cross Hospitals in Gillingham, Dorset.

The following report appeared in the Western Gazette of 22 January: MILITARY FUNERAL

The first fatality among the R.F.A. who are billeted in the town, occurred on Saturday last when Bombardier W Taylor, of the 359th Battery, succumbed to an attack of double pneumonia in the V.A.D. Hospital, Station Road, at the age of 23.A military funeral was given the deceased on Tuesday afternoon, which was attended by men from each Battery, to the number of nearly 200.Each Battery sent a wreath, which had been subscribed for by the men as a token of comradeship.The very impressive service was conducted by the Vicar, the Rev. W E H Heygate.

The deceased was among a draft from Glasgow, which came into the town about a fortnight ago and two days after arriving he was taken to the Hospital. On Friday his mother paid him a visit, and on Saturday he was so much better that his mother departed. Soon afterwards he had a relapse and passed away. His death was registered in Shaftesbury Registration District, Quarter 1, Vol. 5A Page 348.

He was buried in Gillingham Cemetery (Grave 597) and was commemorated there around 1920 with a Commonwealth War Graves Commission gravestone. See photo left.


DJL

Posted 1 July 2020

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WADMAN Arthur Bertram


43049 Private Arthur Bertram Wadman of 1st Battalion Hampshire Regiment died on 22 or 23 May 1918 (records differ), aged 18.

Arthur was born in 1899 to Ellen Mary Wadman but was adopted by Ellen’s parents Albert and Charlotte Wadman. He was baptised on 14 February 1902. The Wadman family lived at Higher Langham.

He enlisted at Sturminster Newton and served with 1st Battalion, Hampshire Regiment.


In 1918 the 1st Battalion was in action on the Somme then returned to Flanders fighting in the Defence of Hinges Ridge during the Battle of Hazebrouk and in the battle of Béthune in April.

Arthur was killed in action on 22 May 1918 and is remembered at Le Vertannoy British Cemetery at Hinges, not far from Béthune, France. He is also remembered on the Gillingham War Memorial.

He was awarded the Victory and British medals.

DJL

Entry posted 25 March 2021

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WADMAN Harold James

16399 Private Harold James Wadman of 2nd Dorsets died 9 July 1918.


Harold was born 22 June 1894 to parents Albert and Charlotte Wadman He was baptised at St.Mary’s church on 23 September 1898.

The 1901 and 1911 census show the family living at Higher Langham, Gillingham. Harold’s siblings were Fred (1875), Ellen (1878), Lily (1881), William (1884), Garnet (1888), Ida (1892), and Elsie (1899).

His nephew Arthur Bertram Wadman was killed in action in France May 1918.


Harold joined the 2nd Dorsets in January 1916. Little more is known about his military background other than the fact that he was accidentally killed.

He is remembered at the Ramleh War Cemetery (now called Ramla, Israel).

He was awarded the Victory and British medals.


DJL

Entry posted 25 March 2021

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WADMAN Henry Bracher


14837 Lance Corporal Henry Bracher Wadman, 12th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment was killed in action on 3 September 1916.


Henry was born in Gillingham in 1894 to Henry John and Emma Wadman. He was baptised at St.Mary’s on 3 November 1894. Emma (née Bracher) died in 1896. Sarah, the sister of Henry John moved in to look after the young boys.

Henry’s father was a yeoman farmer at Lower Langham, Gillingham and his older brother was John Thomas Bracher. Sadly, in 1909 his father was struck by lightning in one of his fields during a storm and was killed instantly. By this time Sarah had married into the well-known Evercreech family of Leversedge.

In 1911 Henry, was a pupil at Kings College, South Road, Taunton. At school he was a Lance Corporal of the school’s Officer Training Corp. Afterwards Henry took up farming and moved to Evercreech.


He enlisted in Bristol and joined the 12th (Service) (Bristol) Battalion. He went to France in November 1915. The 12th Gloucesters joined the Battle of The Somme on 29th July 1916 near the village of Guillemont. On 3rd September the 12th Gloucesters, part of 95th brigade, attacked the German line south of the village of Guillemont. They progressed as far as Wedge Wood but then suffered heavy casualties from German machine gun fire. Harry’s body was never found.

He was awarded the Victory, British and 15 Star medals.

Probate was granted to his brother John T Wadman and his effects amounted to £3668. Henry was recorded as being of Evercreech. John Wadman was a private in 2/5th London Rifle Brigade.

Henry is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, France and on the War Memorials at Gillingham, Evercreech and St Peter & St Paul Church in Wincanton. The Evercreech Memorial is pictured right. The image left is Henry's memorial in Gillingham Churchyard (photo courtesy of Robert Wellen).


DJL

Entry posted 26 March 2021

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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).

Church records show that Banns were read in relation to William and Mabel Jane Sharley. It is assumed that the marriage did not tale 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.

William enlisted at Sturminster Newton on 16 June 1916 (he may have been living at Marnhull) 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 and the Vis-en-artois Memorial in France. This 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 have 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.

DJL

Entry posted 26 March 2021

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WARE George Henry

9876 Private George Henry Ware 5th Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment died on 21 August 1915 aged 21.

George, the son of William George and Elizabeth Ware was baptised at St. Mary’s, Gillingham on 21 August 1892 not long after his birth.

The census returns for 1901 and 1911 show the Ware family living at ‘Nations’, Bugley, on the outskirts of Gillingham. George’s siblings were Laura Bessie (1888), Florence Jane (1890), Albert John (1896), William Frank (1899), Arthur Hedley (1901), and Beatrice Maud (1905). George was a farm labourer.


Helles Memorial

George enlisted at Gillingham on 10 August 1914 for 3 years in the Colours. He joined the Dorsetshire Regiment at Dorchester on 12 August and became Private 9876 in the 5th Battalion. He embarked 2 July 1915 for the Gallipoli campaign. He was killed in action between Aire Kayak and Susak Kuyu, Suvla, on 21 August 1915. He was recorded as ‘missing, presumed dead’.

He is remembered on the Helles Memorial (panel 137-140) and on the Gillingham War Memorial.

DJL

Entry posted 13 April 2021.

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WILES William James


1013 Private William James Wiles of the 1/1st Queen's Own Dorset Yeomanry was killed in action on 26 February 1916.


William was born in Fifehead Magdalen in 1895 to parents Daniel and Annie Wiles.

By 1911 the family were living in Stalbridge. William's siblings were May (1897), Dorothy (1899) and Lilian (1900).


He enlisted with the 1/1st Dorset Yeomanry (Queen's Own).

In 1915, the QODY were deployed overseas to Egypt, and then onwards to participate in the Dardanelles campaign, where they served as dismounted troops and were involved in the Battle of Gallipoli, the Battle of Sari Bair and the Battle of Scimitar Hill.

After the evacuation of Gallipoli, they returned to Egypt in January 1916 and became part of the 6th Mounted Brigade an independent brigade that was involved in the Action of Agagia in February 1916. At this battle, the retreating Senussi were attacked by the Dorset Yeomanry with drawn swords across open ground. Under fire, the Yeomanry lost half their horses, and about a third of their men and officers were casualties (58 of the 184 who took part).


The Western Gazette of 24 March 1916 reported that Trooper William Wiles, son of Mr & Mrs Daniel Wiles of Chantry Villa, Wyke Street, Gillingham was killed at Agagia on 26 February. His photo appeared in the edition of 31 March.


William is remembered with honour at the Alexandria (Chatby) Military and War Memorial Cemetery and at the Gillingham War Memorial.

DJL

Entry posted 21 February 2016




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