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 firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any WW1 memorabilia for possible display in the Museum please email Penny Peat at email@example.com
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.
Entry posted 29 March 2021 and updated 18 May 2021 with photos of Alan kindly donated by Maddy Duke.
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.
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.
Entry posted 29 March 2021
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.
Entry posted 29 March 2021
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).
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’.
Entry posted 27 March 2021. Updated 3 April 2021
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.
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.
Entry posted 28 March 2021.
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.
Entry posted 29 March 2021
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.
Entry posted 1 April 2021
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.
Entry posted 28 March 2021
NASH Ronald Milsom
B/19859 Private Ronald Milsom Nash 2nd Battalion Royal Fusiliers died on 4 June 1918 aged 21.
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.
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.
Entry posted 2 April 2021. Updated 27 May 2021
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.
Entry posted 3 April 2021
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
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
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.
Entry posted 4 April 2021
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.
Entry posted 28 March 2021
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.