Gillingham Soldiers of WW1 - PART 2 (Light - Wiles )

Updated: May 27

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, S E Shaw, H Shephard, A Taylor, G H Ware.

New entries May 2021: G Stickland, D F Stone, W W Stone, F Street, W H Taylor, W Thick, Vincent H S J



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.

Alan is seen here in the nearest line - third from left.

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.

A portion of the Vimy Memorial showing the name of A N Light

DJL

Entry posted 29 March 2021 and updated 18 May 2021 with photos of Alan kindly donated by Maddy Duke.

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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
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 to 2nd Lt. John Kenneth Manger
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.


Privaqte Ronald Milsom Nash

Ronald was born on 4 January 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 obtained employment with Lloyds Bank and started at the Gillingham branch on 6 April 1915.

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.