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

Updated: Oct 2, 2023

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

If you have any WW1 memorabilia for possible display in the Museum please email Penny Peat at

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


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.

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.


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).

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’.


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


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.


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.

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.

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).


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

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.


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.

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.


Entry posted 7 March 2021


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’.


Entry posted 9 April 2021


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. His parents may have later lived at Ridley Pit, Milton.

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 memorial at Milton-on-Stour.


Entry posted 5 October 2016 updated 7 May 2021


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.


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

Entry posted 6 April 2021


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.


Entry posted 6 April 2021


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.


Entry posted 6 April 2021



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.


Entry posted 14 April 2021


SHAW Samuel Esdaile

20599 Private Samuel Esdaile SHAW Wiltshire Regiment (Duke of Edinburgh’s) 5th Battalion died 23 December 1916 aged 41.

Samuel was born at Brighouse, Yorkshire in 1876 to parents Thomas and Selina Shaw. His known siblings were Annie Selina (1880), Joseph Wilmot (1881), Emily G (1888), Clarie A (1891).

The 1881 and 1891 census show the family living at Brighouse. The latter record describes Samuel’s occupation as ‘Wine Drawers Apprentice’.

In 1897 Samuel married but it is not clear from records found so far as to the name of his bride.

In 1901 Samuel was with 10th Battery Royal Field Artillery based at Harrow Road, Aldershot, Hampshire. It is known that he was 40683 with the Royal Field Artillery.

The 1911 census shows Samuel (married 13 years and no children) living with his parents at ‘Stewart Glen’, Richmond Street, Bridlington.

In 1915 Samuel married Elizabeth A Martin, born 1896, (Marriage registered in Shaftesbury District Q3, Vol 5A P.601).

Samuel served in Mesopotamia and died there on 23 December 1916.

It is assumed that Samuel and Elizabeth lived in Gillingham as he is remembered on the Gillingham War Memorial as well as at the Basra War Cemetery.

Samuel’s widow, Elizabeth, married William H Hatcher in 1920 and lived in Yeovil.


Entry posted 27 April 2021



This name is listed on the Gillingham Memorial as ‘H Shephard’. In the Record of Service it is the same and indicating that his unit was S W B (South Wales Borderers?) serving in France and Belgium, where he was killed in action.

No other records can be found relating this soldier to Gillingham. However, it is possible that he was from Gillingham, Kent, the details being sent by the military authorities to the wrong town.

Any further information will be gratefully received.


Entry posted 29 April 2021


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



The only George Stickland that could be traced is 9083 Private Alfred George Stickland 1st Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment who died on 16 September 1914 aged 19.

He was born at Hinton Martel, Dorset and baptised there on 29 November 1896. His parents were Walter John and Edith Sarah Stickland. An Edith Sarah Stickland died in 1897 and is likely to be George's mother.

In 1901 there is a Albert George Strickland, aged 4, living with Mary Breall and her son Edwin Frank Breall at Queen Street, Gillingham - described as 'boarder' and was born in Hinton Martel.

In 1911 he was living with his grandmother, Mary Stickland, in the High Street, Gillingham and his occupation was errand boy for a bank.

Alfred joined the regiment in 1913 and was killed in action in France.

No military records could be traced. His father’s address was The Railway Inn, Southampton Road, Salisbury.

He is remembered at La Ferte-Sous-Jourre Memorial and at the Gillingham War Memorial. He is listed as George Strickland on the Gillingham Roll of Honour. He is also included in the Salisbury Book of Remembrance in St Thomas’ Church.


Entry posted 4 May 2021



45981 Private Victor STOKES Royal Berkshire Regiment (Princess Charlotte of Wales’s 8th Battalion) died 5 September 1918 aged 18.

Victor was born at Hartgrove, near Shaftesbury, in 1900 to parents Harry and Augusta Stokes.

In 1911 the family were living at Colesbrook, Gillingham. Harry was a coal carter and Victor was at school. Victor’s siblings were Ernest (1903), Daisy (1905) and Percy (1908). By 1918 the family were living at Lodden Bridge.

Victor enlisted at Dorchester in March 1918. He joined the Royal Berkshire Regiment and was posted to France.

He was killed in action and is buried, with a number of other soldiers from the Royal Berks. Regiment at Mericourt-l’Abbe Communal Cemetery near the town of Albert.

Victor is remembered on the Gillingham War Memorial.


Posted 29 April 2021



54251 Private David Frank Stone 13th Battalion Durham Light Infantry died on 20 September 1917 aged 27.

David was born in 1890 to parents Charles and Mary Stone. Charles was a bricklayer.

The following year the census records them at 2 Peacemarsh Terrace, Gillingham together with David’s siblings Sidney (1876), Bertha (1879), Ellen (1881), Albert (1885) and Samuel (1888). By 1901 there is another sibling, Charlie (1894). In 1911 Charles is now a widower and David is a journeyman baker.

In 1914 David married Annie Pike on 29 October at Stour Provost. A daughter, Winifred May was born 10 April 1916.

In 1915 he was ‘called up’, attested on 8 December 1915, and placed on the Army Reserve list. He was mobilized on 9 November 1916 and was posted with the Durham Light Infantry to France on 9 January 1917. It is likely that he was fighting in the 3rd Battle of Ypres. He was reported to be ‘missing’ on 20 September 1917 and was later presumed to be dead.

David is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial, West Vlaanderen (panel 128-131). This memorial is one of four memorials to the missing in Belgian Flanders which cover the area known as the Ypres Salient. He is also remembered on both the Gillingham and Milton-on-Stour War Memorials.

He was awarded the British War and Victory medals which were sent to his widow at Peacemarsh Terrace.

Annie married Francis Harry Nicholls in 1925.


Entry posted 3 May 2021


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.


Entry posted 15 January 2015 and updated 24 June 2020.


STONE Walter William

15005 Private Walter William Stone 5th Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment died on 5 February 1917.

Walter born 1890 was the son of Mary Jane Stone. Mary married Isaiah Blackmore, a widower, at Cucklington Church on 26 January 1891. It is possible that Isaiah was the father as Walter appeared in subsequent Census returns as a Blackmore. The 1891 census shows the family living at Clapton, Cucklington. In 1901 they are in Church Road, Silton and in 1911 Walter is a Farm Labourer with Frederick Tanswell at Whistley Farm. Walter’s sister, Minnie Louisa, aged 15, is recorded at the 1911 census as being at the Shaftesbury Union, Alcester – the Workhouse! It is likely that Isaiah died around that time but his death could not be traced.

Walter enlisted 5 June 1915 and served in France and Flanders with the Dorsetshire Regiment.

War records were not traced. Walter was buried at the Etaples Military Cemetery at Pas de Calais, France and he is remembered on the Gillingham War Memorial.


Entry posted 3 May 2021


STREET Frederick

T/356177 Driver Frederick Street No. 2 H.T. Depot Coy. (Woolwich), Royal Army Service Corps died 29 October 1917 aged 34.

Frederick, son of James and Izitt Street, was born in 1882 and baptised in St. Mary’s on 22 December of that year together with his sisters Kate and Rose. He also had two brothers, Frank and Tom.

In 1891 the family were living in Peacemarsh Terrace then in 1901 in Milton Lane.

In 1909 Frederick married Mary Lillian Green. In 1911 they were living in Milton Lane together with their son Charlie born 1910.

During WW1 Frederick enlisted at Gillingham and became a driver with the Royal Army Service Corps. Further military details are unknown except that he died at home on 29 October 1917. He was buried in Gillingham Cemetery in grave 645 which was later marked by a CWGC gravestone (pictured). He is also remembered on the Gillingham War Memorial.


Entry posted 1 May 2021


STUCKEY Ralph Herbert

G/20820 Private Ralph Herbert STUCKEY 7th Battalion The Buffs (East Kent Regiment) died 5 May 1917 aged 29.

Ralph was born in Bristol in 1888 to parents Robert and Lilly Stuckey. In 1891 the family were living at 6 Tyndalls Park Road, Westbury-on-Trym. In 1901 the family were at 5 Wine Street, Bristol and as Robert was a Confectioner and Caterer they were probably living above the business premises. By 1911 they had moved to 'Athol', Burnham-on-Sea and Ralph was a Bank Clerk.

In 1912 the Electoral Roll shows Ralph lodging with landlord Paul Mereweather at Newbury, Gillingham in ‘2 rooms ground, and first floor furnished’.

Ralph enlisted at Gillingham joined the The Buffs and served in France. He was wounded in battle and became a German Prisoner of War at Féchain. He died of his wounds and was buried at Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery at Souchez, near Arras. He was awarded the British and Victory medals.

A stone memorial was placed in the Burnham-on-Sea

Cemetery by Ralph’s parents and a Memorial board commemorating the WW1 dead, including Ralph, was placed in St Andrew’s Church. A further memorial was placed outside a new hospital called the Burnham Memorial Hospital. This latter memorial was refurbished in 2016. Ralph is also remembered on the Gillingham War Memorial.


Entry posted 29 April 2021


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.


Entry posted 1 April 2021


TAYLOR Harry William

3/8483 Private Harry William Taylor 1st Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment died on 4 September 1916.

Harry William Taylor was born in Gillingham in 1878 to parents Henry and Sarah Jane (née Goddard). He was baptised at St. Mary’s Church on 7 July 1878.

In 1881 Harry and his parents were living at Culvers Corner, Gillingham and by 1901 they were at West Bourton, next to Blackwater Farm. Harry and his father were cowmen. Harry’s siblings were Frederick, Rose, Bertie, George, and Francis.

In January 1900 Harry joined the Dorset Regiment – his attestation declared that he was 21 years 8 months, he was born in Wyke and was living at West Bourton. He also declared that he had a medical condition. With service no.4157 he undertook training and was embodied February 1900 but disembodied July 1901. He was discharged medically unfit 15 May 1905.

On 7 October 1903 Harry married Caroline Mary Stone and by 1911 they were living at The Square, Tucking Mill, Tisbury, Wiltshire with their three children Edith (1904), Albert (1906) and Winifred (1908). A fourth child, Bertie John, was born in 1912.

He attested 7 October 1914 at Gillingham and joined the 1st Battalion Dorset Regiment at Wyke Regis the following day. He was on Home Service 7-22 October 1914, France (Exp.Force) 23 October 1914 – 6 June 1915, Home 7 June 1915 – 4 January 1916.

On 5 January 1916 he was in France with the 1st Battalion. On 4 September 1916 he received gunshot wounds and was reported as ‘missing presumed dead’.

He is remembered on the Loos Memorial (panel 76) and on the Gillingham War Memorial.

He was awarded the 14 Star, British and Victory medals but the military correspondence regarding these, although addressed to Caroline Taylor at 7 Peacemarsh Cottage, was dealt with by Albert Chubb, the children’s guardian. Official record of Caroline’s death has not yet been found.


Entry posted 2 May 2021


THICK William

7218 Private William Thick of the 1st Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment died 2 July 1915.

William Charles Thick was born in Gillingham c. 1886, the son of Henry and Emma Thick. The family were living in Peacemarsh at the time of the 1891 census.

On 19 April 1904 he enlisted with the Dorset Regiment at Dorchester in the name of William Charles Thick. It was noted that he had a ‘lateral curvature of the spine’ but he was not rejected. His height was 5 ft 5½ ins.

His Military service was

Home – April 1904-February 1906

India February 1906-November 1911 He was ‘declared fit for service in India’ in 1906 and sailed there on the troopship ‘SS Ionian’. He was in Poona in November 1911.

Home December 1911-August 1914.

William married Eliza Alice Belgin in 1914.

Two sets of military records have been found for William and it would appear that in 1904 he joined the 3rd Dorset Regiment as 4777 and in August 1914 he was mobilised and served with the 1st Battalion as 7218 Private William Thick.

He was in France 31 August- 9 June 1915 - He was admitted to hospital in Boulogne on 6 June with rheumatism and transferred to England on 8 June with pleurisy.

Home 10 June 1915 - 2 July 1915.

He died from pleurisy at the Norfolk War Hospital. He was buried at Gillingham on 8 July 1915 (grave 610).

His widow was at one time living in Westbrook, Gillingham and later 13 Harold Street, Roath, Cardiff.

He is remembered in Gillingham Cemetery by a gravestone erected by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, (See photo) and on the Gillingham War Memorial.


Entry posted 1 May 2021


VINCENT Henry Sidney John

M4093 Armourer’s Crew Henry Sidney John Vincent, H.M.S. “Bulwark”, Royal Navy died on 26 November 1914 aged 20.

Henry Vincent was born on 8 August 1894 at Milton-on-Stour to parents Frederick James Vincent and Annie Sophia (née Extence) and baptised at St. Mary’s, Gillingham on 7 October 1894 of the same year. Henry’s father was the local blacksmith.

In 1901 the family were living at Pierston, Milton. Henry attended Milton Primary School, Church and Sunday School. He was a bright boy who won a number of school prizes. In 1906 his prize was the book 'Life on the Ocean Wave'. He was always interested in sea adventures and exploration

In 1911, still at Milton, Henry is described as a Coach Smith.

.On 13 February 1912 Henry, not surprisingly, joined the Navy for 12 years. His record shows that he was 17, with a dark complexion, dark brown hair and brown eyes. His occupation was blacksmith, but his year of birth was recorded as 1882.

He served on HMS Excellent from 13 February 1912 until 15 August 1912 and then joined HMS Bulwark. On 26 November 1914 the Bulwark, a 15,000-ton battleship, was moored at Kethole Reach on the River Medway. She was taking on coal. At 07.50, as the crew were having breakfast, an explosion ripped the ship apart. Eyewitnesses stated that once the smoke had cleared there was no sign of the ship. Debris from the explosion fell up to four miles away. In all, the explosion killed 745 men and 51 officers. 14 men survived but all were wounded and 5 of them later died. The subsequent naval court of enquiry found that either a fault with one of the shells or overheating cordite near a boiler room bulkhead could have started a chain reaction which destroyed the ship.

Henry, or Harry, as he was mainly known, was among those who died and is remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, and the War Memorials at Milton and Gillingham.

It must have been a devastating blow to Henry's parents to lose their only son. His father Fred kept a framed portrait of his son in uniform over his mantlepiece and on the wall next to it a framed set of three photographs of the unveiling of Milton War Memorial.

With thanks to Sam Woodcock who obtained the personal information from Fred.


Entry posted 2 May 2021


VOSS Frederick Charles

571064 Sgt. Frederick Voss 2nd Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment died on 6 November 1918.

He was born about 1887 to parents Thomas and Mary Voss. A birth record has not yet been traced.

The census for 1901 shows Thomas and Mary living at Wolverton, Zeals, Wiltshire. Thomas was a brick burner. The children listed are Charles, (1887), John (1890), Beatrice (1891), Daisy (1897) and Albert (1900).

On 28 April 1914 Frederick Charles Voss married Eliza Mary Simpson at St. Martin’s Church, Zeals, Wiltshire. Their son John was born on 21 May 1918.

No military records have been found and it is therefore difficult to cross check the above family details. The following newspaper report from the Western Gazette of 22 November 1918 throws some of the detail in doubt – especially as the report does not mention a wife or children - Sergeant Frederick Voss, Dorset Regiment, brother of Mr Voss of Sherborne Road, Milborne Port, died in Dreux Hospital, France, on the 6th inst., from pneumonia following influenza. Deceased was well-known in Gillingham and the district. His father having been employed at the brickyard for a great many years. The parents have received a letter from his Company officer as follows:-

“Your son was a splendid soldier, and we all feel his loss very deeply, and more so that he should be taken in the hour of victory. We brought him back to the camp and gave him a military funeral which all the Company attended. Many wreaths were given by his officers, sergeants, soldiers of the Company, also by French people in the village. The Mayor of the town attended the funeral and gave an address at the graveside, where he expressed the sympathy of the town with you and your friends at your sorrow and loss.” Sergeant Voss, whose age was 36, served 20 years in the Army, having enlisted at 16. He served five years in India, was in the South African war and was wounded in the retreat from Mons.”

Senoches Communal Cemetery in France
Senonches Communal Cemetery

Frederick died on 6 November 1918. His grave in Senonches Communal Cemetery is the only one for a WW1 British soldier. The burial details record ‘Sgt F Voss 19061 2nd Bn Dorset Regt transferred to (571064) 106th Prisoner of War Coy, Labour Corps. In North (far left) corner. Senonches is a small town and commune 36kms north-west of Chartres, France.

He is remembered on the War Memorials at Zeals, Wiltshire and at Gillingham.


Entry posted 4 May 2021


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.


Entry posted 25 March 2021 updated with photo 15 September 2023


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.


Entry posted 25 March 2021; photo added 2 October 2023


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).


Entry posted 26 March 2021


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 take place as in 1909 William married Mary Ellen Lankey. In 1911 William and Mary were living at Madjeston, Gillingham together with daughter Daisy Mabel. Further children followed – Albert William, Emma Maud, and Ellen Elsie.

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 both the Gillingham and Bourton War Memorials 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.


Entry posted 26 March 2021


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
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.


Entry posted 13 April 2021.


WEBBER George William

8522 Lance Corporal George William Webber 2nd Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment died 31 October 1916.

George was born at Broadmayne, Dorset on 1 April 1889 to parents James and Elizabeth Webber. He was baptised at Broadmayne on 19 May 1889. George’s father was a brickmaker in 1891.

The 1901 census shows James and Elizabeth at The Star Inn, 7 High Street, Shaftesbury. James is an Inn Keeper. George is there, aged 12 together with his brother Samuel and sister Mabel.

George joined the Dorsetshire Regiment on 21 September 1908 for 3 years in the colours and 9 in the Reserve. According to his attestation, George was a railway porter and a Dorset Volunteer with the 4th Dorsets. He was certified fit for the Scots Guards (George’s preference) but joined the 1st Batt. Dorset Regt. as Private 8522. His height was 5ft 8 5/8 ins., 141 lbs, ruddy complexion, blue eyes and auburn hair. He transferred to 2nd Battalion in November 1909.

George was in India 6 October 1909 – 15October 1914. The regiment sailed from Bombay 16 October and landed in Mesopotamia 6 November 1914. He was promoted to Lance Corporal the following month. In September 1915 he was wounded in action at Kut-al-Amara. He was hit in the right shoulder and left forearm.

The siege of Kut-al-Amara between 3 December 1915 and 29 April 1916 is an important episode of the war between the Ottoman Empire and Great Britain. The surrender of approximately 13,000 British-Indian soldiers after 147 days of siege was the worst surrender in the history of the British Army up to that point and a great victory for the Ottomans.

George was reported ‘presumed Prisoner of War on the fall of Kut 29 April 1916’. On 3 September 1917 George was reported ‘as POW interned at Bagtche’. On 21 February 1918 he was unofficially reported as having died at Adana. The date of death was recorded as being between 1 and 31 October 1916.

Military records show that the last address for his parents, was Cowslip Farm, East Stour. George’s siblings were noted as Samuel John, Herbert, Arthur, James, Mabel, Florence, Dorothy and Kathleen.

George was awarded the 14/15 Star, British and Victory medals.

He is remembered at the Basra Memorial (panel 22 & 23) and the War Memorial at Gillingham.


Entry posted 4 May 2021


WILES John Edward

42509 Private John Edward Wiles 9th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment died 15 October 1917.

John was born 1891 at Henstridge to parents John and Ann (née Stokes). Ann died in 1898.

Without military records it has been difficult to satisfactorily piece together John’s history, especially as his father was John and there was another Wiles family living in Gillingham. However, there appear to be family links at Fifehead Magdalen, Henstridge and Kington Magna and he may have lived in Bay, Gillingham.

John was formerly 164245 in the Royal Field Artillery before joining the Yorkshire Regiment.

John was killed in action in Flanders on 15 October 1917.

He was awarded the Victory and British medals.

He was buried at the Tyne Cot Cemetery, Zonnebeke, Belgium and is remembered on the Gillingham War Memorial.


Entry posted 5 May 2021


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.


Entry posted 21 February 2016


Gillingham Museum, Chantry Fields, Gillingham, Dorset, SP8 4UA | Copyright © Gillingham Museum

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