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Updated: Jul 1

Listed below are soldiers, associated with Kington Magna, who gave their lives in the 1st and 2nd World Wars.

Research undertaken by Lynda Grange of Gillingham Local History Society.

If you have anything to amend or add to these stories, please contact the website manager at

AYLING William

3347 Private William Ayling, 51st Battalion Australian Light Infantry, was killed in action aged 33 on14 October 1917, in Belgium.

William, known as Willie, was born in Buckhorn Weston in 1883 the son of Thomas Ayling, a potter and his wife Henrietta. He was baptised at Buckhorn Weston on 30 December 1883.

In 1891 William was living in Green Lane, Kington Magna with his parents, younger brother and sister. In 1901 the family lived near the school in Kington Magna and William had another younger brother.

By 1911 he was living alone at Uplands, Milford on Sea, Hampshire and employed as a gardener. He served for three years in the Hampshire Volunteer Regiment before sailing on 26 May 1911 from London to Fremantle, Australia on the Australian Steam Shipping Company’s ship Armadale.

In 1914 he married Letty Hill in Perth, Western Australia. Letty had also emigrated to Australia from England. They didn’t have any children.

William enlisted in the Australian Army on 31 January 1916 at Perth. At that time, he was employed as a gardener and was living at Garrett Road, Bayswater in Perth. On 22 January 1917 he embarked ship at Freemantle, Western Australia and arrived at Devonport, England on 27 March before going to Codford Barracks, Wiltshire. On 25 June he sailed from Southampton to Le Havre, France and joined his unit on 5 July. He received a back injury in August but then re-joined 51st Battalion Australian Infantry. His battalion received battle honours for participation in the operations mounted against German positions on Passchendaele Ridge on 12 October 1917 and William was killed in action there on 14 October 1917.

William was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal and is buried in Passchendaele New British Cemetery XIV A I, West Vlaanderen, Belgium.  In March 1921 his wife Letty in Australia was sent photographs of his grave. He is remembered on Kington Magna War Memorial and on the State War Memorial in Kings Park, Perth, Western Australia.  

Posted 30 June 2024 (LG)


BURT Charles

29225 Private Charles Burt, Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, was killed in action aged 27

 on 4 October 1917 in Belgium.

Charles was born at West Fordington, Dorchester in 1890 and baptised there on 9 November 1890. His parents were William and Hannah and at that time the family lived at Fordington Field.

By 1901 the family had moved to Goathill, Sherborne where his father was a shepherd and Charles had five brothers and a sister. In 1911 Charles was employed as an assistant at a dairy farm at Cerne Abbas, Dorset. Charles married Bertha Gertrude Harding on 9 June 1914 and their marriage certificate described Charles as a farmer. They didn’t have any children.  

Charles initially joined the Dorsetshire Regiment but later transferred to the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry. He was awarded the British and Victory medals but not the 1914/15 Star so didn’t go overseas until later in the war. It is likely that Charles was killed at the Battle of Broodseinde which took place on 4 October 1917. It was the most successful Allied attack of the Third Battle of Ypres. Four of Charles’ brothers also served during WWI and survived.

At the time of Charles’ death his wife Bertha lived at The Glove Farm, Cerne Abbas. She re-married in 1924 to John Allen and lived in Dorchester.

Charles’ parents lived in several places in Dorset including West Orchard and his brother Harry lived in Kington Magna which may explain the reason that Charles’s name is on the war memorial there.   

Charles is remembered on the large memorial at Tyne Cot, Passchendaele, Belgium; Cerne Abbas War Memorial and on Kington Magna War Memorial.    

Posted 30 June 2024 (LG)


COX Frederick Charles

200888 Private Frederick Charles Cox , Dorsetshire Regiment died age 23 on 31 January 1920.

Frederick Cox was born at Kington Magna, the third child of William and Kate Cox, and was baptised at All Saints Church, Kington Magna on 3 April 1897.

In 1901 Frederick was living with his family at Greens Lane, Kington Magna and in 1911 at Church Street, Kington Magna when Frederick aged 14 was already working as a farm labourer.

Frederick returned home to Kington Magna after WWI ended as he is listed on the electoral

register for 1918 – 19. No details are known of his war service but it was probably overseas as he died of malaria on 31 January 1920 and was buried at Kington Magna on 3 February 1920 near his older brother William John Cox who died of wounds received in France in 1916.

His military service must have been the cause of his death as his mother received a pension after his death and his gravestone was erected by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Despite this his name doesn’t appear with his brother’s name on Kington Magna War Memorial or on the memorial tablet inside All Saints Church.

Posted 30 June 2024 (LG)


COX William John

6368 Private William John Cox, London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers) D Company 4th Battalion, died 20 December 1916 age 23.

William John Cox was born at Kington Magna in 1893 and was baptised at All Saints Church, Kington Magna on 24 December 1893. He was the second of William and Kate Cox’s seven children. In 1901 the family lived at Greens Lane and in 1911 they lived at Church Street, Kington Magna when both William John and his father William were farm labourers.

It is possible that William was wounded at the battle of Le Transloy on 7 October 1916 when

D Company was almost wiped out. Le Transloy was the last of the Somme battles that year. William died on 20 December 1916 at VAD Hospital, Sevenoaks, Kent of wounds he received in France and was buried All Saints Churchyard, Kington Magna 23 December 1916. His brother Frederick Charles Cox who died as a result of military service in WWI is buried nearby.   

Posted 30 June 2024 (LG)


EDWARDS Harold Ethelston

Lieutenant Harold Ethelston Edwards of Royal Warwickshire Regiment died aged 20 on 25 September 1915 at the Battle of Loo, Belgium.

Harold was born in 1895 at Kington Magna, Dorset, the sixth and youngest child of Rev. Thomas Hyne Edwards and Sarah Jane Edwards. He was baptised by the Dean of Wells on 24 April 1895 at Kington Magna Church where his father was the vicar. Harold’s maternal grandfather Rev. John Smith had been vicar at Kington Magna in the 1870s.  

In October of the following year Harold’s father died at Kington Magna and in 1901 Harold was living at Sandown on the Isle of Wight with his mother and older siblings Muriel and Eric. His brother Eric served as a lieutenant with the Royal Engineers in Mesopotamia during WWI and was awarded the DSC in WWII.  

Harold was educated at Marlborough College, Wiltshire, joining as a Foundation Scholar in September 1909 and leaving in July 1914. He was elected Senior Classical Scholar of Trinity College, Oxford in 1913 and in 1914 was awarded a Leaving Exhibition at Marlborough.

On the outbreak of war, he obtained a Commission in the 3rd Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Three months later he joined the 2nd Battalion in France and served with them at Neuve Chapelle and Festubert in March and May. He was killed in action at the Battle of Loos on September 25th 1915 being shot in the attempt to cut wire during the assault on a German trench. 

Harold is remembered on Kington Magna Memorial and the Loos Memorial, France.

Posted 30 June 2024 (LG)


GAY Albert Samuel

15010 Quarter Master Serjeant Albert Samuel Gay,  8th Battalion Somerset Light Infantry, died 23 April 1917 Arras, France.

Albert Samuel Gay was born at Axminster, Devon in 1886.  His parents were George, an agricultural labourer and Mary. In 1891 the family lived in Fairy Lane, Axminster and Albert had a sister and two brothers.

It seems likely that Albert’s childhood was impoverished. In January 1897 he was sentenced to six strokes of a birch for stealing a lump of suet from a butcher’s shop. The suet was found in the possession of his mother so the family may have been short of food. In January 1900 Albert was convicted of stealing a ferret which was possibly in an attempt to catch rabbits for food.  As a result of the second theft Albert was sentenced to time at Heavitree Reformatory at Exeter and he was still there, aged 15, on 31 March 1901 when the census was taken.   

In 1907 Albert was living in Kington Magna and working as a farm labourer when he married Martha Bessie Follett on 20 May at Bridport, Dorset. The couple were living at Bowden, Kington Magna in 1911 and by that time had two sons – Albert Thomas born 1908 and Leslie William George born in 1909. Albert’s parents and his brother Frederick and his family were also living at Kington Magna in 1911. 

It isn’t known when Albert joined the Somerset Light Infantry, but he first went to France in September 1915 serving in the 8th (Service) Battalion which was formed in October 1914 at Taunton. It became part of the 21st Division which was formed of men who volunteered for Lord Kitchener’s New Armies.

Albert’s Battalion landed at Le Havre on 10 September 1915 and clearly Albert proved to be a good soldier rising to the rank of Quarter Master Sergeant. Possibly his time at Reform School had extended his education and enabled him to handle army life and the hardships of the Western Front.

Albert was killed on the same day, 23 April 1917, as his commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel John Willoughby Scott at the Allied Offensive collectively known as the Battles of Arras and probably at the Battle of the Scarpe. 

Albert was awarded the 1915 Star and the Victory Medal. His widow Martha received his outstanding army pay of £6 10s 11d, a war gratuity of £15 and a pension for herself and her two young sons. She lived in Bridport for the rest of her life and died in 1971.

Albert is commemorated at Bay 4 of the Arras Memorial, France; on Kington Magna War Memorial and on the Memorial Tablet in St Mary’s Church, Bridport.   

Posted 30 June 2024 (LG)


GIGG Eric Gordon

5437259 Private Eric Gordon Gigg, 2nd Battalion Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry,

died aged 19 on 1 June 1940.

Eric was born in Salisbury, Wiltshire in 1920, the youngest child of George and Rose Gigg who came from Devon.  

In 1939 Eric’s parents were licensees at The Crown Inn, Kington Magna and George may have been living there along with his older sister Frances.   

Eric’s battalion went to France in October 1939 as part of the British Expeditionary Force and remained there until May 1940 when the German army invaded Holland, France and Belgium and along with the rest of the British Expeditionary Force were forced into a retreat to Dunkirk. 

Eric was one of a total of thirty-one men in his battalion reported missing on 1 June 1940 and his name was included on a long list of men circulated to German Prisoner of War camps in an attempt to establish where they were.

He is remembered on Kington Magna War Memorial and the Dunkirk Memorial in France.  

Posted on 30 June 2024 (LG)


HALLETT Edgar Charles

16789 Private Edgar Charles Hallett  3rd Battalion Dorset Regiment died age 26 at Weymouth 1 April 1916.

 Edgar Charles Hallett was born at Kington Magna in 1890, the youngest child of John and Melina Hallett. He had three brothers and two sisters.

Edgar grew up in Kington Magna and in 1911 was assisting his father in the family business. They lived at Chapel Hill and his father John was a carpenter and an organ builder who, over many years, built organs in a lot of churches and chapels in the surrounding towns and villages.

The date of Edgar’s enlistment in the 3rd Battalion Dorset Regiment isn’t known but his battalion remained in the UK and was involved in training new recruits. Edgar died on 1 April 1916 at the isolation hospital at Weymouth, so it is probable that he died of an infectious disease. He is buried at Melcombe Regis Cemetery, Weymouth (see right) where there are 147 Commonwealth War Graves.

He is remembered on the War Memorial at Kington Magna.    

Entry posted 30 June 2024 LG



4230261 Private Hugh Hannam, Dorset Yeomanry died aged 23 on 21 November 1917.

Born at Kington Magna Hugh was the oldest child of Daniel and Bessie Hannam and had three younger brothers and four younger sisters. He was baptised at Kington Magna on 12 March 1894. In 1901 the family were living at Henstridge but by 1911 had returned to Kington Magna where they lived at Rectory Cottage where his father was employed as a gardener. In 1911 Hugh aged 16 was employed as a farm labourer.

Hugh enlisted in the Dorset Yeomanry at Sherborne, but the date of his enlistment isn’t known. The regiment took part in the Dardanelles Campaign in 1915 and in 1916 were deployed to Egypt where Britain and her allies were fighting troops of the Ottoman Empire.  The Yeomanry, which at that time was horse mounted, took part in the charge on Mughar Ridge in Palestine on 11 November 1917. They advanced first trotting and then galloping onto the crest of the ridge. They gained the ridge, but the horses were completely exhausted and could not continue the pursuit of the escaping Ottoman units down the far side and the charge cost 16 killed, 114 wounded and 265 horses.

By 16 November the Ottoman Army had retreated but from the beginning there were problems evacuating casualties caused by difficulties of communication and mechanical breakdowns on the rough roads and tracks which quickly became impassable for motor traffic. It is possible that Hugh Hannam died of wounds he received at the charge. 

Hugh is remembered on the memorial at Jerusalem War Cemetery and on Kington Magna War Memorial.    

Entry posted 30 June 2024 LG


JEANS Jesse Cornelius

45852 Lance Sergeant Jesse Cornelius Jeans  1st Battalion Irish Rifles died 2 October 1918.

Jesse was born in 1890 at Kington Magna, the fourth child of Reginald and Gertrude Jeans. On 7 August 1898 he was baptised at Kington Magna along with three of his siblings.

In 1891 the family lived at South Street, Kington Magna and Jesse’s father was an agricultural labourer. By 1901 they had moved to Newtown, Kington Magna where his father was a cowman on a farm. By that time Jesse had four younger siblings, a brother and three sisters.

Jesse became a baker and confectioner in Bournemouth and in 1911 was lodging with the widowed mother of his future wife Gertrude Robert (1886 – 1969). On 18 September 1911 Jesse and Gertrude married at St Clements Church, Bournemouth. Their daughter Elsie Frances was baptised there on 21 July the following year and a son Reginald was born in 1915.

Jesse enlisted at Aldershot and went with his regiment to France on 4 December 1915. The regiment fought at the Battle of the Somme in 1916 and supported the British offensive at the Battle of Passchendaele in July 1917. Jesse was killed in Belgium on 2 October 1918 during the Hundred Days Offensive that brought about the end of the war in November 1918. 

Jesse is buried at Dadizeele New British Cemetery, Belgium and is remembered on Kington Magna War Memorial and in the Hall of Remembrance at Bournemouth Town Hall.   

Posted 30 June 2024 (LG)


MOORE Frederick William

165 Private Frederick William Moore, 12th Battalion Australian Infantry FA Squadron,

died of wounds on 3 May 1915 at Bombay General Hospital, Alexandria, Egypt.

Frederick William Moore was born at Buckhorn Weston in 1890, the first child of Thomas and Harriet Moore. He was baptised at Buckhorn Weston on 31 August 1890 and in 1891 the family lived at Quarr where his father was a sawyer. Two more children were born in 1892 and 1893 but his father Thomas died in 1895.

His mother Harriet then married Job Stokes, a stone mason, and by 1901 William was living with his mother, step-father, his brother, sister and two step-brothers in South Street, Kington Magna.  

It isn’t known when Frederick emigrated to Australia but his attestation form for Australian Army states that he had been employed as an orchardist and had previously worked as a mason. He signed up with Australian Army on 24 August 1914 at Brighton, Tasmania and was assigned to the 12th Battalion which was one of the first companies to be formed at the outbreak of WWI and was formed of recruits from Tasmania, Western and South Australia.

They left Australia in October 1914 and arrived in Egypt on 2 December 1914. The battalion was part of the 3rd Brigade, which was deployed to Gallipoli, landing on 12 April 1915. Frederick Moore was injured at Dardanelles between 25 and 28 April and transferred to Bombay General Hospital where he died of his wounds on 3 May 1915.

He was buried the following day in Alexandria, Egypt. In June 1916, his mother received a parcel containing Frederick’s watch, chain, and handkerchief. Frederick was awarded the 14/15 Star, British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

Frederick is buried in grave 180 at Chatby War Memorial Cemetery, Alexandria, Egypt and is remembered on Kington Magna War Memorial. He is also commemorated on the Roll of Honour, located in the Hall of Memory Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, Australia on Panel 66.

Entry posted 30 June 2024 LG   


NEWPORT William Albert James

5577442 Private William Albert James Newport,  5th Battalion Wiltshire Regiment, died in action 22 November 1944.   

William Albert James Newport was the son of Albert and Emma Newport and was born on 22 April 1922. The family lived at Marston Magna and he had six older sisters. Two brothers were born after William.  In 1939 the family was living at Rodgrove, Wincanton and William was employed as a farm labourer.

William served with the 5th Battalion Wiltshire, Duke of Edinburgh’s Regiment. Details of his service aren’t available but William’s battalion remained in England until 1944 when it participated in the landings for the Battle of Normandy in June 1944. They were one of the first two British battalions to cross the River Seine in August 1944 and then took part in the unsuccessful Operation Market Garden trying to reach the airborne divisions that landed at Arnhem.

The battalion then participated in the Allied Operation Clipper to reduce the German held Geienkirchen Salient. For 12 days between 11 and 23 November William’s battalion held the village of Birgden while the advance was delayed due to wet weather and it must have been there that William was killed on 22 November 1944.

William is buried at Brunssum War Cemetery located in the far southeast of the Netherlands between Belgium and Germany. He is remembered on Kington Magna War Memorial.  

Posted 30 June 2024 (LG)



M2/130907 Private Robert Yeatman Royal Army Service Corps, attached to 7th Wireless Section Royal Engineers died 11 October 1917 aged 35 years.

Robert Yeatman was born at Marnhull, Dorset, the youngest child of Thomas and Sarah Yeatman and was baptised on 5 May 1880 at Marnhull. He had four older brothers, five older sisters and his father was an agricultural labourer.

In 1901 Robert was employed as a stable worker and groom at Merrist Wood, a large house and estate at Worplesdon, Surrey. On 29 April 1903 he married Alice Eliza Burcombe at Ringwood Parish Church, Hampshire and at that time he was employed as a groom at Ringwood. Their daughter Irene Elizabeth Alice was baptised at the same church later that year.

In October 1915 Robert joined the army at Grove Park, Chepstow, Monmouthshire. He gave his address as Yew Tree Cottage, Llandogo, Chepstow and his occupation as a water bailiff. Llandogo is located close to the River Wye.

Robert was assigned to the Royal Army Service Corps and served on attachment to the 7th Wireless Section of the Royal Engineers. On 25 January 1916 he embarked at Avonmouth on a ship named City of Chester and arrived at Mombasa, Kenya seven weeks later. At that time Kenya was part of the British Empire and British troops were fighting German troops in East Africa.

Six weeks later Robert had his first bout of malaria, and he had another bout in May. In September 1917 he was again suffering from malaria and was shipped to Dar es Salaam in Tanganyika where he was hospitalised with pneumonia and cerebral malaria. He died on there on 11 October 1917 aged 35. His wife and daughter were living in Windsor, Berkshire at the time of Robert’s death and Alice re-married in 1920.  

Robert is buried at CWG Cemetery Stellawood, Durban, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa and remembered on Kington Magna War Memorial because his parents lived there after their family had grown up.

Entry posted 29 June 2024 LG

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It is our intention to include articles here relating to Kington Magna village. In May 2021 we completed the stories of WW1 soldiers featured on Gillingham and Milton-on-Stour memorials. In July 2024


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