Gillingham Soldiers of WW1 - PART 4 (those that returned)

Updated: May 22

Over 450 soldiers from Gillingham are known to have returned from war service although a large number were wounded or gassed.

A few of those have been researched and are listed below.

If you have knowledge of WW1 soldiers in your family we will be pleased to hear from you and update our file.


SOLDIERS WHO RETURNED


COLLIS John (Sgt)

201427 Sergeant John Collis of the 2/4 Dorsetshire Regiment survived the conflict but was severely disabled in Egypt losing his left arm and left leg.

John Collis was born at Shaftesbury in 1880 the son of John and Eliza Collis. The family farmed at Stock, Gillingham living at 1 Wincanton Road. In the 1891 Census John senior was recorded as a haulier. ln the 1911 Census John aged 30 years is recorded as a domestic gardener, his younger brother Worthy aged 15 years was a farm labourer.

John enlisted in December 1914.


Military service:

Served in lndia and Egypt between 1914 and when he was injured. He was discharged 23 January 1919 medically unfit.

After the war he returned to live at Stock until early 1936, when he fell into a ditch and being unable to help himself get out he suffocated. John was buried 22nd February 1936.

His British War and Victory medals have been donated by S. Smith (nephew) of 2 Hawthorn Villas, Nunney Catch, and brought to the Museum by Mrs. Warren (niece) of Gillingham.

DJL

Entry posted 15 February 2015

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COWELL Edward James

Edward James Elliott Cowell served in the 5th Battalion Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) throughout World War I rising from the rank of Captain to that of Lieutenant Colonel.


Edward Cowell was born in Brighton in 1865 and baptised at Hove on 17 May 1865 at Hove, Sussex. His father James Cowell (1806 – 1875) was an East India merchant in Calcutta who married at Croydon in 1849 Sarah Anne Acreman (1823 – 1906) the daughter of an East India merchant.

In 1871 census Edward was recorded age 6 living at the Bristol home of his uncle Arthur Acreman and his mother Sarah was also living there. His mother was show as having independent means of East India stock. Edward’s father was living in London with his daughter Alice. Both households had servants. Edward’s father died in 1875. In 1881 Edward was a pupil at Uppingham School, Rutland.

Edward married Eliza Nita Mosley on 23 July 1890 in London. Eliza was born in Calcutta in 1865 and her father had also been an India merchant. On their marriage certificate Edward’s occupation is stated to be “gentleman”.

In 1891 Edward and Eliza were living at Wilburndale, Bridstow, Hereford and had two servants. Edward was shown as living on his own means. By 1893 the couple had moved to Ringmore House, Shaldon, Teignmouth, Devon and in 1899 they were living at Exmouth.

On 11 February 1901 Edward joined the Imperial Yeomanry at Exmouth as a Private. He didn’t give an occupation on his Attestation form. On 26 February 1901 he left for South Africa to fight in the second South Africa (Boer) War. He was wounded on 29 May 1901, probably during a surprise attack on British troops at Vlakfontein that day when 57 officers and men died and 121 officers and men were wounded. On 23 October 1901 he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant into 5th Battalion Royal Fusiliers (City of London) Regiment. The war ended on 31 May 1902 and on Monday 28 July 1902 the Exeter and Plymouth Gazette reported that Colonel Weatherall and Mr Cowell returned to Exmouth from the front the previous morning and that preparations had been made to give them a fitting reception on Saturday evening had they returned when expected.

While he was away his wife Nita and children Jocelyn age 2 and Betty age 1 were shown in 1901 census living at The Moorings, Littleham, Exmouth along with three female servants. Mrs Cowell was still living at The Moorings in 1904 when she advertised for a cook.


The 1911 census shows Edward and Nita Cowell living at Pierston, Milton, Gillingham. A butler, cook and housemaid were living with them and Edward’s occupation was Captain Royal Fusiliers Special Reserve. Their son was at a prep school in Kent and the location of their daughter at that time isn’t known. Kelly’s Directory and the Jury List for Gillingham for 1911 show Edward Cowell living at The Kendalls, Milton.

The Cowells were still living at The Kendalls in June 1914 when Captain Cowell advertised for a rough shoot within 10 miles of Gillingham. On 26 September 1914, at the outbreak of WWI, Edward Cowell was promoted to major and he was again promoted on 26 June 1915 to temporary Lieutenant Colonel in in Reserve Unit of 5th Battalion Royal Fusiliers. His medal record card shows that he received the British and Victory medals but didn’t serve overseas.

The Cowell’s only son Jocelyn also served in the Royal Fusiliers but was attached to the Royal Flying Corps. He was killed in a flying accident at Middle Wallop on 28 January 1918 and was buried at Milton churchyard.

It isn’t known when the Cowells left Milton. Their daughter Betty married in London in 1919 and the entry in the marriage register shows her father’s occupation as a army major. By 1927 they were living at Exmouth and in 1929 Edward, his daughter and grandchildren are recorded as hunting with the Culmstock Otter Hounds. The 1939 Register shows Edward and Nita living at the Devoncourt Hotel, Exmouth when Edward gave his occupation as Lieutenant Colonel Retired.

When Edward and Nita both died in 1946, on 17 October and 30 January respectively, they were still living at the Devoncourt Hotel in Exmouth. Edward was buried at Milton alongside their son Jocelyn and Nita’s ashes were also buried there.

LG

Entry posted 24 March 2021

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EDWARDS William Edward

20015 Colour Sergeant William Edward Edwards served with the Dorsetshire Regiment. He joined up in November 1906 and spent time in India and Mesopotamia with the 1st/4th Dorsets. He completed his service on 27 April 1919 and was awarded the British War and Victory medals.

William was born in 1891 to Fred and Sarah Edwards. According to the 1891 Census, Fred was a painter and decorator and the family lived in Bridge Street (now called High Street) two doors away from the Red Lion. William’s siblings were John, Henrietta, Ethel, Mark, Clara, Ellen and Alice.

In the 1911 Census, Fred, now a plumber, is living in Queen Street, next to the Queen’s Head, with Sarah, William now a plumber’s assistant aged 20 and George who is at school.

William married in July 1915.

DJL

Entry posted 15 February 2015


LODGE Percy Frederick

Percy joined the Royal Engineers on 7 Aug 1914 and served in France and Italy. Sapper Lodge received the British War Medal, Victory Medal & 1914/15 Star. His service numbers were 41428 & 41828.

Percy was born on 14 December 1890, son of Ernest and Kate Lodge. The 1891 Census shows them living at ‘Peacemarsh Place', Peacemarsh, Gillingham.

Ernest was a tailor according to the 1901 Census and was living at Bay, Gillingham with his wife and children Percy, Harry, Wilfred and Florence.

Percy’s occupation is described as ‘printer compositor and reports in the 1911 Census and he has 3 more siblings Alfred, Gertrude and Nellie. The family were now living in Victoria Road, Gillingham.

The 1939 Register shows Percy living at Southwick Road, Boscombe with his wife Edith (b.1890) and son Kenneth. Percy died 21 August 1954 and probate was granted to his son Kenneth Percy Lodge, market trader.

DJL

Entry posted 19 January 2015. Updated 24 June 2020

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