World War 1

This is a copy of some of the pages of the book produced by Group Captain A. Neale, OBE, RAF (Rt’d) and with major contributions from Mr. David Allen and Mr. Nigel Burke.

(Any additional photographs or information will be gratefully received and may be included.)
Please contact the

Merrow War Memorial

1914 – 1918

1939 – 1945



has won imperishable praise.
Each has gained a glorious grave.
Not that sepulchre of earth wherein they lie,
but the living tomb of everlasting remembrance
wherein their glory is enshrined.
For the whole earth is the sepulchre of heroes;
monuments may rise and
tablets be set up to them in their own land,
but on the far-off shores is an abiding memorial
that no pen or chisel has traced.
It is graven, not on stone or brass,
but on the heart of humanity.
Take these men for your example.
Like them, remember that prosperity can
only be for the free; that freedom
is the sure possession of those alone
who have the courage to defend it.

Funeral Oration spoken by Pericles, 429BC

Index :

Names on Merrow War Memorial
1914-18 War
1939-45 War

Group Captain A. Neale, OBE, RAF (Rt’d)

An editorial in the ‘Surrey Advertiser’ for 28th December, 1918 noted that ‘in several towns and villages in Surrey steps have been taken to provide local war memorials… The dangers we have passed through have been greater than ever experienced by the British nation and Empire. The sacrifices we have been called to make have been without parallel. The heroism and endurance by those who have won the victory have never been surpassed. Whatever memorials are erected should be worthy of the events they commemorate; they should so far as may be possible be permanent in character …. and they should be really and truly commemorative, bearing upon them in some conspicuous place a simple record of the local contribution to the national effort, together with the names of the men who have made the supreme sacrifice’.

The Merrow village war memorial was unveiled by General Lord Rawlinson on Friday evening, 20th July, 1920 and dedicated by Bishop Hose, formerly of Singapore. The memorial bears the inscription ‘This cross was erected by the people of Morrow in memory of the men of the village, who, in the Great War, 1914-1918, laid down their lives for their King and country, in the cause of justice and humanity’.

In his speech at the unveiling, General Lord Rawlinson said that ‘it was a great gratification to all soldiers to see in a local churchyard like that so admirable a monument erected to the memory of those who died for their fellows’

A further plaque was added to commemorate those who died in the Second World War.

Unfortunately, the passage of 80 years caused considerable structural damage to the memorial and, following consultations with a number of stonemasons, it was realised that the memorial would have to be dismantled to carry out effective repairs. The wisdom of dismantling the memorial became evident when it revealed a meagre foundation, the interior backfilled with rubble and tree roots growing inside the memorial.

The restoration was carried out by Return to Stone (UK) with Mr Kevin Newell being the stonemason in charge of day to day work. The work was completed in January, 2002 at a cost in the order of £18,000. While a significant amount was raised by donations from individuals and local organisations, the Merrow Residents’ Association wishes to acknowledge the generous grants from:

The Heritage Lottery Fund, administered by the Countryside Agency’s Local Heritage Initiative and supported by the Nationwide Building Society.

Guildford Borough Council.

The Queen’s Royal Surrey Regiment Association.

The Friends of War Memorials.

Six Continents plc.

Acknowledgement is also made of the generosity of all those in the local community who contributed to the appeal. The extent of the damage to the memorial discovered during the dismantling meant that the cost of restoration was quadrupled from the original estimate and the work could not have been completed without the fund raising and donations that came from so many areas and all age groups.

The memorial was re-dedicated on Sunday afternoon, 12th May, 2002 by The Right Reverend John Kirkham, former Bishop of Sherborne and former Bishop to the Forces. The service was attended by Mrs Sue Doughty, MP for Guildford, the Mayor of Guildford, Councillor Tony Phillips, and Mrs Phillips, representatives of the Royal British Legion and the three Services and relatives of those who died in the two world wars together with a large congregation from the local community.

As part of the restoration project local residents have researched the names inscribed on the memorial, about whom very little was known, and some of the large amount of material collected has been included in this book. A number of residents contributed to the information but specific mention must be made of the research carried out by Mr David Allen and Mr Nigel Burke. Mr Burke worked painstakingly through local newspaper archives despite his full time job. Mr Allen carried out an enormous amount of detective work into the identification of those about whom nothing was known and unearthed the details of the various campaigns in which Merrow men died. The compilation of the narratives and maps has also been the work of Mr Allen.

The scale of the sacrifice made by the village, during the First World War in particular, was enormous. The population of Merrow during the period 1914-1918 was around 2,000. If a very general assumption is made that half the population was female and that of the male population one third were over the age for conscription and one third were under age, the conclusion can be drawn that approximately 330 were of fighting age. With 41 men being killed or dying as a result of their active service, the casualty rate for deaths amongst those on active service was roughly one in eight and undoubtedly a number of those who survived were in some way injured.

It is interesting to note that of those who died, ten lived in High Path Road and six in Down Road, including Percy De Peare from Down Road Post Office.

The loss of life amongst Merrow Servicemen and Servicewomen during the Second World War was much less, with thirteen men being killed or dying as a result of their active service. For that we must be thankful but at the same time we need to remember the constant anxiety of those left behind as to whether or not their loved ones were alive or dead or whether they would survive until the war was over. Communication by letter with different parts of the world was difficult and it could be months before families had news of those fighting in the various theatres of war.

During the research into the names of the First World War casualties we found additional items related to Merrow during that period. I have included some of them in this introduction to reflect the anxieties that must have been experienced and to mention some of the impact of the war on the village. The expression Roll of Honour was current at the outset of the war but initially at any rate this referred to those serving rather than only to those who had been killed. For example, the Surrey Advertiser and County Times mentioned on 25th September, 1915 that the Merrow Roll of Honour had reached 114, a very high figure for such an early stage of the war.

14th November, 1914 — Two letters from their son Lance Corporal E.E. Balchin of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders to say he is a POW in Hamden, Germany, have been received by Mr and Mrs Balchin of Merrow. He was taken prisoner having been wounded.

28th November, 1914 — East Surrey Regiment: Private W. Vickery of 8, Nursery Road, Merrow, is sick, previously reported missing.

19th December, 1914 — The following names have been added to the Merrow Roll of Honour; H. Burdett, W. Enwood, H.W. Foreman (ROA), W. Frost (5 Queen’s), A. Kemp (2 Queen’s), A.J. Pitt (RE), G. Read.

9th January, 1915 — Over 100 artillery horses are now billeted in the district. The bulk are at the stables of the Golf House and others are accommodated in private stables.

Ronald Pease and Noel Ashley are added to the Roll of Honour.

16th January, 1915 — About 50 soldiers billeted at the Clandon end of the village.

21St August, 1915 — 2/4 Queen’s Battalion, the first Surrey Territorial Battalion to go to the fighting line, have had their baptism of fire.

The battalion was not on board the ‘Royal Edward’ when it was sunk in the Aegean. The battalion has been in action in the Dardanelles, where we know from Sir Ian Hamilton’s report that there has been severe fighting (Privates Gyatt and Cranfield were killed in this battle on
17th and 19th August respectively.

Item about journey – ‘we know nothing of what we are going to do yet and shall
have to wait, but what a roving life this is …. our greatest nuisance is the fly. The natives evidently don’t believe in the kill the fly movement’.

11th September, 1915 – Private A. W. Whapshott of Merrow in hospital in Malta.

No news has been received from Private W.A. Frost (see 19 Dec 14 above), one of the stretcher bearers of the battalion, who is reported missing. Before enlisting he had been for some time the butler at Craigie, Merrow, the residence of Mrs Lomer. On 18th September he was reported safe.

Mrs Smith of Streatly Cottage, High Path Road, received news that her son Private L. Smith passed through the action unscathed. He was under-chauffeur to the Pike Peases.

Mrs Pike Pease arranged an enjoyable entertainment for wounded soldiers in the village hall. The Misses Pike Pease took parts.

1st January, 1916 – the 4th and 5th Queen’s Territorial Battalions have been sent overseas to the Indian Empire (Private Pulling became a casualty in August, 1916).

The 2/4 Queen’s now forms part of the force under General Townsend
operating against the Turks in Mesopotamia.

The paper notes that the National Registration Act of August 1915 requires every adult aged 15 – 65 to register for military service …. A measure of compulsion seems certain’.

15th February, 1916 – Whist drive in the village hall for soldiers’ comforts.

19th July, 1916 – Article stating “… But the price of victory is high and it has to be paid. Never since the war began have we had to publish such a terrible list of casualties amongst Surrey officers and men as appears in our columns today (the casualty lists with biographies cover three and a half columns). Three battalions of the Queen’s took part in the opening battles, and from all we have been able to glean, they acquitted themselves gallantly. But the losses in both regiments have been grievous, indeed heavier than was at first suspected.’

30th September, 1916 – News has been received that Private George Reed, Queen’s Regiment, has been wounded in the wrist and Privates Cole and J. Clark of the same regiment are all in hospital. They are all Merrow men.

Mr J.G. Jones of High Path Road has received letters of thanks from the Queen’s Regiment thanking him for gifts provided with money raised in whist drives.

25th May, 1918 — Listed amongst the killed: Sgt F.A. Branch, Royal Berks (Merrow).

27th May, 1918 — Mrs Branch, who is living with her parents Mr and Mrs Barnes, of Epsom Road, Merrow, has received news that her husband, Sgt F.A. Branch, 2 nd Royal Berks, has been killed in action in France. Captain Wood, writing to Mrs Branch, says that he met his death while leading his platoon and waiting in a barrage for a German attack. He also mentions that Sgt Branch had been awarded the Military Medal.

10th June, 1918 — Rifleman Harry Covey, KRR, aged 36, who was posted missing on April 13th, has sent a postcard to his wife, Mrs Covey of Hall Dean Cottage, Merrow, saying that he is a prisoner of war and wounded. He enlisted in 1916, went to France in 1916, was wounded on April 21st, 1917, 8 months in hospital, returning to France last March. He was taken prisoner of war after just 3 weeks. He had been a gardener in the service of the Duchess of Albany before he joined up.

12th June, 1918 — 2nd Lt Walter Frost’s many friends will congratulate him on having been given a commission. He is attached to the Egyptian Labour Corps and is acting as adjutant and superintendent road making near Jericho in Jordan. Previous to joining up in October, 1914 (see entries for 19th December, 1914 and 11th September, 1915) he was 10 years in the employment of Mrs Lomer, Craigie, Merrow. He went with the 2/4 Queen’s to Gallipoli in July, 1915, and then to Egypt and Palestine where he was awarded the MM after the taking of Gaza.

9th November, 1918 — Sgt William Ezzard, RGA, husband of Mrs Ezzard, Down Road, Merrow, is in hospital in Shrewsbury suffering from wounds to the hands as a result of which he has lost certain fingers. He has been wounded twice and holds the Military Medal.

Armistice. A crowd of many thousands assembled outside the Guildhall …. Large crowds paraded the streets and the Kaiser’s effigy was burned in the High Street. When the news reached Merrow village the bells rang out a victory peal and again later in he day. At half past seven, though the evening was dark and wet, the church was filled with a large congregation for a thanksgiving service, which closed with a solemn Te Deum. The service tomorrow (Sunday) will be of a Thanksgiving character. Communion will be given at 6, 7, 8 and 9.45 (sung) and 12.

Matins will be sung at 11 with an address by General Sir E.R. Ellis. Evensong procession and Te Deum at 6.30.

25th November, 1918 — Sgt F. Baverstock, Down Road, has returned home from Holland. He enlisted in the Queen’s in 1899 and served with them until 1912. He rejoined at the outbreak of war. He was taken prisoner at the battle of the Somme, July, 1916, and was interned in Holland in May this year.

4th December, 1918 — News has been received that Pte P.R. Barnes, 15th Sherwood Foresters, whose parents reside in Merrow, has been awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field in September. He went to France in 1915 and has been wounded once.

28th December, 1918 — Merrow church was prettily decorated for Christmas Day when there were 280 communicants. The service was conducted by the rector, the Rev A. Denny, and the lessons were read by Mr Herbert Pike Pease. For the first time a reproduction of the nativity was erected in the church.

It is hoped that the contents of this book will remind successive generations of the impact of two world wars on the village of Merrow, the dreadful circumstances in which so many Merrow men lost their lives and the scale of the sacrifice made on behalf of future generations.

Tony Neale
May, 2002

Merrow War Memorial

1914-18 War

Name Rank Unit Date of Death
Barton, F St J Captain 1st /4th Bn Hampshire Regt 24th Jul 1915
Bennett, I P W Captain 7th Bn Royal West Surrey 14th Jul 1916
Blake, F Private 12 Bn DCLI 13th Jan 1917
Blake, T J Private 1st Bn Royal West Surrey 25th Sep 1915
Blundell, F B G Sergeant 2nd /4th Bn Royal W Surrey 30th Nov 1918
Brooker, C Private 108th Bn Canadian Infantry 3rd Jan 1915
Butcher, A (MM) Corporal 6th Bn Royal West Surrey 12 May 1917
Cranfield, C W Private 2nd /4th Bn Royal W Surrey 19th Aug 1915
Cryer, G Private 1st Bn Dorsetshire 11 th Aug 1918
De Peare, P A L/Corporal 6th Rn KSLI 20th Sep 1917
Fawcett, W Private 13th Bn Royal Fusiliers 24th Apr 1917
Grover, J Private 7th Bn Royal West Kent 4th Oct 1916
Gyatt, A Private 2nd /4th Bn Royal W Surrey 17th Aug 1915
Imms, T L Steward H.M.S. Pembroke 30th Aug 1916
Kemp, A C Private 2nd Bn Royal West Surrey 30th Oct 1914
Knight, A R Rifleman 16th Rn KRRC 9th Jul 1918
Lickfold, L Private 5th Can Mounted Rifles 1st Oct 1916
Lunn, W H Private 6th Bn Royal West Surrey 9th Mar 1916
Mappledoram, F J Rifleman 11th Bn KRRC 17th Sep 1916
Mears, W Private 9th Sqn MGC (Cavalry) 1st Mar 1919
Moore, S C L Private 29th Bn Canadian Infantry 31st May 1916
Neill, N Captain 13th Hussars 6th Nov 1914
Norris, W F Private 9th Bn East Surrey 26th Sep 1915
Pease, R H P Lieutenant 1st Bn Coldstream Guards 15th Sep 1916
Pullen, C Corporal Labour Corps 29th Oct 1918
Pulllinger, T A Private 1st /5th Bn Royal W Surrey 26th Aug 1916
Rudall, J W Private Army Service Corps 7th Aug 1916
Scarlett, H Gunner Royal Artillery 18th Oct 1918
Slyfield, W T Driver Royal Horse Artillery 8th Nov 1918
Sole, J R (DSM) L/Seaman Seige Guns (Dunkerque) 6th Aug 1917
Stemp, W Private 2nd /4th Bn Royal W Surrey 8th Sep 1918
Strudwick, T Rifleman 17th Bn KRRC 20th Jul 1916
Triggs, G Private 1st Bn Royal West Surrey 31st Oct 1914
Vicary, S Gunner Royal Field Artillery 22nd Aug 1915
Vinall, S Private 134th Fd Amb, RAMC 9th Nov 1916
Wadey, H Corporal 10th Bn Hampshire Regt 29th Nov 1918
Wain, G A L/Corporal 23rd Bn Royal Fusiliers 27th Jul 1916
Wield, C G L/Bdr Royal Garrison Artillery 22nd May 1918
Willard, G W L/Corporal 7th Bn Gloucestershire 13th Feb 1917
Wyatt-Smith, H H Private 2nd /28th Bn London Regt 17th Feb 1916
Wyatt-Smith, J D 2nd Lt 28 Squadron RFC 17th Mar 1918

Full Titles of the Units in the Table

DCLI = Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry

Royal West Surrey = The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment)

108th Bn Canadian Infantry = 108th Bn, Canadian Infantry (Alberta Regiment)

KSLI = King’s Shropshire Light Infantry

MGC (Cav) = Machine Gun Corps (Cavalry unit)

Royal Fusiliers = Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment)

Royal West Kent = The Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent Regiment)

Can Mounted Rifles = Canadian Mounted Rifles (Quebec Regiment)

KRRC = King’s Royal Rifle Corps

29th Bn Canadian Infantry = 29th Bn, Canadian Infantry (British Columbia Regt)

RAMC = Royal Army Medical Corps (Fd Amb = Field Ambulance)

2nd /28th Bn London Regt = 2nd /28th Bn, London Regiment (Artists’ Rifles)

RFC = Royal Flying Corps

Please click here for an Adobe Acrobat pdf Map showing where they fell, and here for a map showing the 1914 positions.

Please return using your web browser’s “Back” arrow (Top Left Corner).

Captain Frederick St.John Barton, died on 24th July 1915, aged 39

He was born on 6th May 1876 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. He was the fourth son of Robert and Catherine Barton, and his father was the Deputy Master of the Melbourne Branch of the Royal Mint. He was educated at Toorak College, near Melbourne.

He volunteered and enlisted in the 5th Victoria Contingent which went to South Africa during the Boer War and, out there, he was tranferred as a Sergeant into the Rhodesian Artillery. He was commissioned into the 2nd Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment on 19 May 1900 as a Second Lieutenant. He took part in military operations in Rhodesia until July and from then until 29 November he was involved in the Boer War operations in the Transvaal west of Pretoria. After that he was elsewhere in the Transvaal until June 1901 and then in the operations in the Orange River Colony until October when he was back in the Transvaal until the War ended on 31 May 1902. He was awarded the Queen’s South Africa Medal with 4 clasps and the King’s South Africa Medal with 2 clasps (i e he took part in six fields of operations). He had been promoted to Lieutenant on 21 March 1902 when he was appointed Adjutant of the Battalion.

Lt Barton was promoted to Captain on 29 January 1907, continuing as Battalion Adjutant until 20 March 1912. He was then appointed as Adjutant of the Hampshire Regiment’s 4th Battalion, which was its Territorial Force. After the outbreak of the War this Battalion became the 1st /4th Battalion, as an additional Territorial Battalion was raised as the 2nd /4th.

Just after the War had started, Capt Barton married his wife Cecily at Merrow on 24th August. She was the daughter of Alfred Bulmer Johnson, of ‘Hensley’, Merrow. This semi-detached house still stands in what is now Swayne’s Lane. On 31st August 1915, a month after her husband’s death, Cecily gave birth to a son, Robert Frederick.

In October 1914, the 1st /4th Battalion went to India and in March 1915 it landed at Basra, in Mesopotamia, with the 12th Indian Division which was part of the Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force fighting against the Turks. The attached plan shows its progress during 1915. The 1st / 4th Hampshires were in the part of the Force fighting up the Euphrates. Capt Barton was mentioned in despatches (London Gazette, 6 April 1916) for his services in the Euphrates operations between 24th June 1915 and 24th July of that year, the date of his death in the Battle at Nasiriya. A detailed account of the battle is recorded in the Battalion’s War Diary (Public Record Office reference WO/ 95/5146), a copy of which we have. This records that Capt Barton was killed just after the Battalion’s advance was delayed for bridging operations to be carried out. On the attached map the * shows the approximate position of Capt Barton when he was killed. The bridging operations were an attempt to cross the mouth of the Majinina Creek, which was subsequently successful.

Capt Barton’s body was buried locally and eventually removed to Basra War Cemetery.

(War Diary.)

Return Merrow War Memorial 1914-1918 Names.

Capt Ivan Provis Wentworth Bennett, died on 14th July 1916, aged 25

Born on 5th February 1891, he was the third son of Mr F J Wentworth Bennett and his wife Eleanor Catherine who, at the time of her son’s death, was a widow living at St Leopards-on-Sea. He was educated for five years at Wellington College, leaving in the Lower Sixth Form, after which he became an articled clerk in Messrs Smallpiece and Co, Solicitors, of 138 High Street, Guildford. By the time he applied on 17th August 1914 for a commission in The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment, he had passed the preliminary and intermediate law exams. He was then living at ‘Carton’, in Merrow, which was presumably the family home. He was a member of the Guildford Golf Club and his name is still to be seen on the wall of the main bar as the 1914 winner of the Pontifex Trophy.

Ivan Bennett served in the 7th Battalion of the Regiment which was formed at Guildford in September 1914. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant on 12th September and became a Lieutenant on 27th January 1915. The Battalion was assigned to the 55th Brigade which was assembling at Purfleet as part of the 18th (Eastern) Division, the other Battalions in the Brigade being the 7th Battalion of the Buffs (East Kent Regt), the 8th Battalion of the East Surrey Regt and the 7th Battalion of The Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent) Regt. The Brigade joined the rest of the Division at Colchester in April 1915 and they all moved to Salisbury Plain in May under the command of Maj Gen F I Maxse, who is widely regarded as one of the most able and successful of the World War One generals.

On 24th June 1915 the Division was inspected by the King and in July it went to France ( the Battalion landing at Boulogne on the 27th) and initially the Division moved to the Third Army area near Flesselles, south of Doulens. It was almost a year before the Division took part in any major action, spending its time in war training and on tours of duty in the trenches. Lt Bennett was promoted to Captain on 12th November 1915.

On 1st July 1916, the first day of the Somme offensive, the Division attacked south and west of the village of Montauban and made good all of its objectives. The losses of the 7th Queen’s Battalion that day were seven officers killed and nine wounded, with 174 other ranks killed, 58 missing and 284 wounded. Captain Bennett, however, was not there, as the Unit’s War Diary (PRO reference WO/95/2051) records that he rejoined the Battalion on 8th July from the 4th Army School. He did take part in the Battalion’s next attack and sadly did not survive it. This was an assault on Trones Wood which started at 7 pm on the 13th and which is fully described in the Appendix to the War Diary. The Battalion’s attack was met with heavy machine gun and rifle fire, and a heavy barrage from 150 mm and 105 mm howitzers and 77 mm guns. Page 5 of that report contains the following paragraph :

“The first line suffered immediate and heavy casualties. The second line reinforced at once but also suffered heavily and in spite of very gallant leading by Capt I P W Bennett and 2 /Lt P R Woollatt was unable to get to within 100 yards of Trones Wood.”
(War Diary 7th Queen’s Regt. from Sergt. Sullivan.)

Both these officers were killed, plus two others, and another two were missing, and seven were wounded. The other ranks suffered 22 killed, 44 missing and 150 wounded.

Among the copies of papers obtained from Capt Bennett’s personal file in the Public Record Office (PRO reference WO/339/27380) is a memo dated 15th August 1915 recording that he was shot in the head and died shortly afterwards. This happened about 150 yards in front of the British trenches. Private Courtman, who was his batman, went to him as soon as he was wounded and tried to bandage him. Courtman courageously stayed with him until he was wounded himself. Capt Bennett’s body was never recovered. The telegram informing his mother of his death (copy obtained) was sent from the War Office on 20th July.

Capt Bennett’s death is recorded as being on the 14th July although the telegram said it was on the 13th. As he was hit just after the attack started at 7 pm on the 13th, it seems more likely that he died on the 13th. He has no known grave, but his name is among the 72,000 inscribed on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme.
Please see this recent information on the grave’s location.
(Map of Battle of the Somme 1 July – 18 November 1916.)

Return Merrow War Memorial 1914-1918 Names.

Private Frank Blake, died on 13th January 1917, aged 33

Born in Send, he was the son of William and Mary Blake, of 3 Downside Cottages, High Path Road, Merrow. In the 1901 Census the family was living at Albury Cottages, High Path Road, William was a general labourer aged 47, and Frank was a butchery worker aged 17.

Frank joined the Army at Guildford and was serving in the 12th Battalion of the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry when he was killed. This unit was a Labour Battalion which was formed at Plymouth in April 1916 and went to France to serve as Army Troops in the Fourth Army. In other words, they were not in any Division, but worked under the direct control of one of the five British Armies in France and Flanders.

It is not known whether Frank Blake enlisted earlier in the War and served initially in another unit, or whether he did not volunteer and was eventually conscripted when this was introduced in 1916.

At the time of his death in 1917, his Battalion was working on a drainage scheme at Bray-sur-Somme (about 9 km south-east of Albert) and also on road repairs in that area. On 13th January, the day he died, Bray was shelled by the Germans. Six men of the Battalion were killed and eleven wounded, one of whom died of his wounds. The Roll of Honour at the Public Record Office states that he was killed in action, and he was therefore almost certainly one of the men shelled on 13th January.

He was buried in Bray Military Cemetery, which was used at that time by a Main Dressing Station and three Casualty Clearing Stations.

Return Merrow War Memorial 1914-1918 Names.

Private Joseph Thomas Blake, died on 25th September 1915, aged 22

Born in Derbyshire registration district of Bakewell, he was the elder son of Walter and Lucy Blake, who subsequently lived at Merrow Common. His father was the head gamekeeper to Earl Onslow at Clandon Park. Joseph had a younger brother Arthur and a sister Nellie.

Joseph was in the Regular Army and was in the 1st Battalion of The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment which at the outbreak of the War was at Bordon, in Hampshire. It was in the 3rd Brigade within the 1st Division, which landed at Le Havre on 13th August as part of the British Expeditionary Force. The 1st Battalion crossed over from Southampton on the ‘Braemar Castle’. Later in the month it fought at Mons (the first battle of the War) along with the other ‘Old Contemptibles’ and took part in the retreat, covering 136 miles in thirteen days ; always tired, always short of food and sleep, but never demoralised and never beaten. The retreat ended on 6th September and the I st Division turned north again to fight at the Battle of the Aisne on the 14th. In mid-October it moved to the Ypres sector and fought there in the First Battle of Ypres. At the end of that battle in November the effective strength of the 1st Battalion was down to two Corporals, three Lance-Corporals and twenty-seven men.

In December the reinforced Battalion moved to the Bethune sector of the Western Front. Its next major battle was at Loos where the British assault was launched on 25th September. The 1st Division commanded by Major-General A.E.Holland suffered appalling losses, particularly in the 1st and 2nd Brigades, and these were contributed to in no small measure by the blunders of its Commander. The 3rd Brigade was initially in reserve but was thrown into the fight and, as reported in the 1st Battalion’s War Diary (PRO reference WO/95/1350), it also incurred heavy losses. The Battalion’s casualties were 4 officers killed or missing, 5 officers wounded, 121 other ranks killed or missing, 7 gassed and 138 wounded. Joseph Blake was among the killed and his body lies in the Guards Cemetery at Windy Corner in the village of Cuinchy, about 7 km east of Bethune.

Return Merrow War Memorial 1914-1918 Names.

Sgt Frank Benjamin George Blundell, died on 30th November 1918, aged 24

Born in Kent registration district of Bromley, he was the son of William Henry and Eliza Hannah Blundell, who later lived at 2 Woodbine Cottages, Merrow, and subsequently moved to Chiselhurst, Kent.

He served in the 2nd /4th Battalion of The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment, a Territorial unit, although he probably enlisted initially in the 2nd /5th Battalion which was formed in Guildford in September 1914 and subsequently transferred about 400 men into the 2nd /4th Battalion. The early history of that composite Battalion is described in our account of Private Archibald Gyatt’s service, including its landing at Gallipoli on 9th August 1915 and its heavy losses soon afterwards. The Battalion was reduced to five officers and 335 men before its evacuation from Gallipoli in December.

The Battalion guarded the Suez Canal until January 1917 and then, as part of the 53rd (Welsh) Division, took part in the campaign against the Turks in Palestine and Syria led by General Allenby. After heavy fighting in three attacks on Gaza, the Battalion reached Jerusalem which surrendered on 9th December 1917.

In June 1918, the Battalion was transferred to the Western Front where it joined the 101st Brigade in the reconstituted 34th Division. It fought on the Marne between 22nd July and 3rd August, and then moved north to Flanders where in September it was in the front line east of Mount Kemmel before taking part in the final advance from 28th September onwards. It was during this period of fighting in Flanders that Sergeant Blundell won the Belgian Croix de Guerre. This award had been established in 1915 to recognise acts of heroism performed by individuals or units. We do not know what Sergeant Blundell did to win the award, but he was clearly a fine soldier and a brave man.

Very sadly, just after the end of the War he became dangerously ill from bronchitis and influenza, and he died on 30th November in an Australian hospital at Wimereux, near Boulogne. He was buried in the Terlincthun British Cemetery which is on the northern outskirts of Boulogne.

Return Merrow War Memorial 1914-1918 Names.

Private Charles Brooker, died on 3rd January 1917, aged 31

Born at Chichester on 27th November 1885, he was the only son of Charles and Matilda Brooker, of Stable Cottage, Craigie, Merrow. Craigie’ was a large private house that used to stand in Horseshoe Lane West where St Thomas’s Primary School now is. Before it was demolished, it was the boarding house for St Peter’s Roman Catholic Boys School in Horseshoe Lane East.)

Before the War, Charles Brooker served for five years in the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, presumably as a cook for that was the trade or calling that he gave when enlisting in the Canadian Army at Winnipeg on 13th December 1915. We have a copy of Charles Brooker’s Attestation Paper when he joined the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force (this was obtained via the internet). The accompanying Medical Certificate identified a slight vascular disease of the heart, but the doctor passed him on the understanding that he would be employed only as a cook.

He joined the 108th Battalion of the Canadian Infantry (Alberta Regiment) and came back to England with his unit. After serving for just over a year his heart gave out and he died in the Ravenscroft Military Hospital, at Seaford, Sussex. He was buried in Seaford Cemetery.

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Corporal Albert Butcher MM, died on 12 May 1917, aged 34

He was born at Alfold Heath, Surrey and was the son of Henry and Mary Butcher, of High Path Road, Merrow. They had twelve children, of whom at least four (Albert, Charles, Henry and Sydney) joined the Army in the War. Their mother re-married, becoming Mrs W Knight, and was living after Albert’s death in Oriston Cottage, High Path Road, Merrow. She had a further two children by her second husband. Albert’s widow was also then living in High Path Road, with their four children.

He served in the 6th Battalion of The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment, which was formed at Guildford. His date of enlisting is not known, but could probably have been at its formation in August 1914 at the outbreak of the War. The Battalion became one of the four Battalions in the 37th Brigade of the 12th (Eastern) Division, the other three being the 6th Battalion of The Buffs (East Kent Regt), the 7th Battalion of the East Surrey Regt and the 6th Battalion of The Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent) Regt. By November 1914 the three Brigades of the Division were in the Hythe area and in Feb 1915 the whole Division had concentrated at Aldershot where it commenced its final training. On 15 May 1915 orders were received to move to France and by 4 June all units had reached an area south of St Omer.

After a period of training in trench warfare, the Division took its place in a section of front line NW of Armentieres. During the following months the Division carried out the usual patrols and generally had a quiet time. The Battle of Loos began in late September 1915 and the Division entered this disastrous battle on 30th September, after relieving the Guards Division at the line east and north east of Loos. On 2nd October the Division Commander, Maj Gen F D V Wing, was killed while inspecting gun positions. The Division played a major role in the capture of the quarries at Hulluch.

The Division left the area in November, but returned in February 1916 to take over positions holding the Quarries and Hohenzollern sectors. Between 2-19 March the Division was involved in heavy fighting around the craters in the area.

On 1 July 1916, the first day of the Somme offensive, the Division was in reserve at Henencourt and Millencourt. On the 2nd, orders were received to attack the village of Ovillers, but this action was not a success and the Division had over 2,300 casualties (killed, missing or wounded). Further Somme engagements during 1916 included the battle at Pozieres Ridge (28 July-13 August) and Le Transloy Ridges (1-18 October). It was almost certainly at Ovillers or Pozieres that Corporal Butcher’s actions won him the Military Medal which was listed in the London Gazette on 14 September 1916. This new medal for acts of gallantry by others than officers had been instituted in March 1916. It was not customary for the Military Medal citations to be included, but it is understood that as a stretcher bearer Corporal Butcher rescued several men whilst under fire.

January 1917 saw the Division in headquarters at Le Cauroy with its men taking their first rest since the beginning of the Battle of the Somme. Soon, however, preparations began for the Battle of Arras which was launched by the British with fifteen Divisions on 9th April and which was the occasion of Cpl Butcher’s death on 12th May. From our obtained copy of the War Diary of his Battalion for 10-12 May (Public Record Office reference WO/95/1863) and, bearing in mind that he has no grave, it is clear that he must have been one of the 17 other ranks who were killed on that day. His name is inscribed on the Arras Memorial which commemorates almost 35,000 servicemen who died in that sector of the front and have no known grave.
(War Diary.)

In its issue of 3rd June 1918, the ‘Surrey Advertiser’ reported that Mrs Butcher had received the Military Medal won by her late husband. She had been asked if she would like to have the medal publicly presented to her, but had preferred to have it sent to her.

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Private Charles William Cranfield, died on 19th August 1915, aged 38

Strangely enough, we believe that he is the H.Cranfield on our War Memorial, the ‘H’ standing for Harry which must have been the name he commonly used and which was incorrectly thought to stand for Henry, the Christian name that is read out at the Annual Service of Remembrance.

We know that Charles William Cranfield was born in Rugby, but enlisted at Guildford and gave his place of residence as Merrow. He was 38 when he was killed in 1915. We also know that his mother was Mrs M.A.Cranfield who, at the time he died, was living in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire.

The 1891 Census shows a Cranfield family living in Downside Cottages, High Path Road, Merrow, comprising Mary Cranfield (born. in Leicestershire) with two sons and two daughters, all but the younger daughter having been born in Rugby. One of the sons, named as Henry, was then 15, which would make him 38 /39 in 1915. The 1901 Census shows him as Harry, aged 25, and a carpenter and joiner. He was then living in High Path Road with his aunt, Harriet Cranfield, and his mother must by then have gone back to Leicestershire.

Charles William Cranfield (‘Harry’), served in the 2nd /4th Battalion of The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment although, like Archie Gyatt, he probably enlisted initially in the 2nd /5th Battalion which was formed in Guildford in September 1914 and then in May 1915 transferred about 400 men into the 2nd /4th Battalion. An account of that Battalion’s early service, its passage out to Gallipoli, its landing at Suvla Bay and its baptism of fire on Scimitar Hill is given in the write-up on Archie Gyatt. Harry Cranfield was killed in action two days after Archie’s death and, like him, has no known grave but has his name inscribed on the Helles Memorial at Gallipoli.

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Private George Cryer, died on 11th August 1918, aged 23

He was the second son of William and Mary Cryer of Orange Cottage, Merrow Street. The 1901 Census shows William as a highways labourer (aged 44) and the children as Emily, William, Mary and George (then the youngest aged 5). George was living in Dorset when he enlisted in the Dorsetshire Regiment, and the records show his wife as living at Gillingham, in Dorset.

George served in the 1st Battalion of the Regiment, but it is not known when he joined this Regular Army unit. He may have been posted to it as a reinforcement rather than having been a Regular soldier.

At the outbreak of the War the Battalion was stationed in Belfast, but it quickly went to France as part of the 15th Brigade in the 5th Division, and fought at the Battle of Mons in August 1914. It remained in the 5th Division until the end of 1915 when it was transferred, along with three other Regular units, into the 32nd Division in place of four New Army battalions in that Division. It could be that Private Cryer joined the Battalion after it had become part of the 32nd Division.

At the commencement of the 1916 Somme offensive on 1st July, the Division fought at the Battle of Albert until 3rd July and then, after a period out of the line, was involved in the operations at Bazentin Ridge on 14-15 July. In October the final 1916 assault on the Somme began at the northern end of the front along the River Ancre, and the Division fought there between 23rd October and 19th November. By the New Year the Division was still by the Ancre, where between 11th January and 15th February further fighting took place. Four weeks later a successful attack on Bapaume was launched which was then followed, until 5th April, by the enemy’s planned retreat to the Hindenberg Line.

Throughout the summer and autumn of 1917 the Division was involved in operations on the Flanders Coast, including the defence of Nieuport on 10-11 July. In April 1918 the Division was once again fighting around the River Ancre following the major German offensive launched on 21st March.

On 8th August 1918 a great Allied assault began on the Somme. The 32nd Division, along with Canadian troops, broke through at Amiens and the final advance of the War started. However, it was on 1 lth August that George Cryer was killed. The Battalion’s War Diary for that day (PRO reference WO/95/2392) describes in our obtained copy the attack on Damery Village and Wood, in which 7 officers were killed and 7 wounded, and the other ranks suffered 26 killed, 42 missimg and 241 wounded. Private Cryer must have been among the missing, as he has no known grave. His name is on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial about 10 km south-east of Arras which bears the names of over 9,000 men with no known graves who fell in the `Advance to Victory’ in Picardy and Artois.

George’s brother William served in the Machine Gun Corps and was wounded.

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Lance Corporal Percy Alfred De Peare, died on 20th Sept 1917, aged 25

Percy was the fourth and youngest son of Alfred and Emma De Peare, and he was born in 1891/92. The 1901 Census shows that the family ran the Post Office in Down Road, Merrow, which was also a shop. There were two other sons serving in the Forces – the second son Sydney was with the Essex Cycle Battalion and the third son Frank was a gunner in the Royal Field Artillery.

Percy joined The King’s Shropshire Light Infantry at Shrewsbury at the outbreak of the War. He was at that time working as a gardener at nearby Chendover Hall, having previously been employed by Lord Rendal at Hatchlands Park, East Clandon. At the time of his death Percy was in the 6th Battalion, but he had only joined that Battalion shortly before, having returned to France five weeks prior to his death. It seems therefore that he must have joined originally one of the other Battalions of the KSLI which were being formed at Shrewsbury at the start of the War. The most likely one was the 5th Battalion, as Percy had been at the front for two and a half years when he was killed and this Battalion is the nearest fit to that.

This Battalion joined the 14th (Light) Division as part of the 42nd Brigade and went to France in May 1915 after periods of training at Aldershot and Chiddingfold. It suffered heavy losses at Hooge, in Flanders, in July where the Germans attacked using liquid fire for the first time. Two months later it took part in the attack on Bellewaard Farm, also in Flanders. In the following year it was in the Battle of the Somme from July to September and in the Battle of Arras in April 1917. During this period Percy had equipment shot away but escaped injury, and once he was gassed. It may have been the gassing which caused his temporary departure from the front and his subsequent arrival in the 6th Battalion in August 1917. The 6th Battalion was part of the 60th Brigade in the 20th Division and when Percy joined the Battalion it was in Flanders.

The Third Battle of Ypres started on 31st July and the Division took part in it at the Battle of Langemark on 16th to 18th August and at the Battles of Menin Road and Polygon Wood on 20th to 25th September. At Langemark the British attack started at 4.45am and the 6th KSLI was heavily involved. Movement was restricted to small columns of men in single file which wound their way between craters full of water or mud. Alouette Farm, the first objective, fell to the Battalion. 100 yards further on they came under heavy fire but eventually captured White House, their final objective.

It was at the Battle of Menin Road that Lance Corporal De Peare lost his life. The Battle is described in a report obtained from the Battalion’s War Diary (PRO reference WO/95/2122). The 60th Brigade’s attack started at 5.40 am, with the 6th KSLI in support of the 12th Rifle Brigade and the 6th Oxfordshire & Bucks Light Infantry. The Battalion was soon involved in very heavy fighting, but the advance succeeded in taking all but the northern part of Eagle Trench. A further assault was launched in the evening after an artillery barrage and Eagle Trench was fully captured and occupied.

Percy was killed early on the 20th September. A 2nd Lieutenant in Percy’s Battalion wrote to his parents as follows :

“He was killed instantaneously by a bullet early on the morning of the 26th while taking part in the great attack. He had not been with his battalion very long but I see he was one of the first to join up. It is terribly bad luck after three years of this. He had not been in my platoon for long before I found how willing he was and how he tried his best in everything. He was made a Lance Corporal and I am quite sure that had he survived he would have soon gained promotion. I did not actually see your son hit but it was just after we had gone over the parapet that the Germans opened a tremendous fire and it must have happened then….”

This letter was printed in the ‘Surrey Advertiser’ at the time, but it seems clear that the date of Percy’s death was misread as the 26th. In fact, on the 26th, the Battalion was not fighting but was resting in the Saragosa Farm area after the battle.)

Percy has no known grave , but his name is one of the 35,000 on the Tyne Cot Memorial in the vast War Cemetery near the village of Passchendaele which was established on a site marking the furthest point reached by Commonwealth forces in Belgium until nearly the end of the War.

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Private William Fawcett, died 24th April 1917, aged 35

He was the son of Caleb and Sarah Fawcett, of Reading, and was born at Bucklebury, a village to the west of Reading. At the time of his death, his wife Emily and their child lived at Eynesbury Cottage, Horseshoe Lane, Merrow, belonging to Mr E.A.Watt who had employed William as a gardener. His widow subsequently moved to High Path Road, Merrow, and named her house ‘Duisans’ after the place 9 km west of Arras where her husband was taken into the 8th Casualty Clearing Station and was subsequently buried in the adjacent cemetery.

William enlisted at Guildford in July 1916. His Battalion, the 13th of the Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regt), was formed at Hounslow at the start of the War and, after a period of attachment in this country to the 24th Division, it joined the 37th Division which was being formed in March 1915 on Salisbury Plain. It was assigned to the 111th Brigade within the Division, the other Battalions in the Brigade being the 10th Bn of the Royal Fusiliers, the 13th Bn of The King’s Royal Rifle Corps and the 13th Bn of the Rifle Brigade. After a period of intensive training, the Division crossed to France in late-July and concentrated around Tilques, north-west of St Omer.

The Division was not called upon to take part in a major attack until the end of the first week of the 1916 Battle of the Somme, when battalions of the Division were sent into action under the command of the 34th Division. In this way, the 111th Brigade fought on the Somme in July and August at the battles of Albert and the Bazentin and Pozieres Ridges. In November, which was the month in which William Fawcett went to the front, the Brigade was placed under the orders of the 63rd (Royal Naval) Division and took part in a successful large-scale attack on the highly fortified village of Beaucourt. This village had remained out of reach on 1st July when it had cost the lives of very many Ulstermen.

William suffered facial injuries during the severe fighting he encountered. On one occasion he became lost with six other men in the battlefield, and they regained the Battalion only after several days. It is not known when these events happened.

On 9th April 1917 two parallel attacks began in the area east of Arras, and the southern advance along the River Scarpe involved the 37th Division in heavy fighting until the 11th when Monchy le Preux was captured The Division was also engaged during the Second Battle of the Scarpe which started on 23rd April and it was in this battle that Private Fawcett was fatally wounded by a bullet. He was taken from the battlefield to the Casualty Clearing Station at Duisans, but died on the 24th.

We have obtained a copy of a narrative of the late-April events from the Battalion’s War Diary (PRO reference WO/95/2532) ; also a copy of a photograph of some of the Battalion taken in July 1916 after one of their attacks on the Somme.

William’s younger brother Caleb, of the Berkshire Regiment, was wounded at Neuve Chapelle and was subsequently discharged from the Army. Another brother, Cpl Samuel Fawcett, of the Devonshire Regiment, served in another theatre of war to William and was hospitalised with fever.

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Private James Grover, died on 4th October 1916, aged 28

He was the son of George and Fanny Grover, of High Path Road, Merrow. The 1901 Census shows him as a boy of 12 (born in Worplesdon), living with his parents and his elder sister Alice at Meadowside Cottage, Meadowside Common, Merrow. At that time his father, aged 52, was a farm carter.

James enlisted in the 7th Battalion of The Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent) Regiment which was formed at Maidstone in September 1914 and went initially to Purfleet. It was assigned to the 55th Brigade which became part of the 18th (Eastern) Division that was assembling around Colchester. The other Battalions in the Brigade were the 7th Battalion of The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment, the 7th Battalion of The Buffs (East Kent Regiment) and the 8th Battalion of the East Surrey Regiment. Another of our Merrow men was in the 55th Brigade, namely 2nd Lieutenant (later Captain) Ivor Bennett who had joined the 7th Queen’s. An account of what the 18th Division did up to the time of its participation on 1st July 1916 in the First Day of the Somme is contained in the write-up on Capt Bennett.

On that day Private Grover’s Battalion was in reserve east of Carnoy for the attack towards the western end of Montauban. ‘A’ and ‘C’ Companies moved forward at 11 am to assist 8th East Surrey in Train Alley. ‘A’ Company was held up at Pommiers Lane with the loss of almost all officers, while ‘C’ Company took and consolidated Montauban Alley. The Battalion suffered 183 casualties. In the Division’s attack on Trones Wood on 13th July (in which Capt Bennett was killed), the Battalion’s assault reached the railway line in the centre of the wood and set up a line along the eastern edge. It was then surrounded and cut off, and isolated parties of troops fought throughout the night until relieved by the 12th Middlesex and the 6th Northamptonshire. Its casualties were 250.

After these battles the Battalion was sent back to St Omer and spent three weeks in training at Puchevillers. It returned to the Somme in late September, and on the 29th captured enemy positions at Schwaben Redoubt, holding them against fierce counter-attacks until relieved on 5th October. The Battalion’s casualties were 250. Only one officer that went into action remained and he had been wounded three times.

Private Grover was killed on 4th October. A copy of the Battalion’s War Diary for that day has been obtained (PRO reference WO/95/2049). A report at 3 pm states that six other ranks had been killed and eight were missing. One of these was almost certainly Private Grover. He has no known grave and his name is among the more than 72,000 on the Thiepval Memorial.

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Private Archibald Gyatt, died on 17 August 1915, aged 19

He was born in Merrow and was the second son of Alfred and Elizabeth Gyatt who, at the time of his death, were living at ‘Grasmere’, Epsom Road, Merrow. At the time of the 1901 Census, the family had been living in Townend Cottage, Merrow Road. This was where Archie was living before he enlisted and he was a gardener.

He almost certainly enlisted initially in the 2nd /5th Battalion of The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment, which was a Territorial unit formed at Guildford in September 1914. In November it moved to Windsor as part of the 2nd Surrey Brigade in the 2nd Home Counties Division. In May 1915, about 400 men of the Battalion joined the 2nd /4th Battalion, which had been raised at Croydon, and thus formed a composite 2nd /4th Battalion commanded by Col Frank D.Watney and stationed at Cambridge. The Battalion became part of the 160th Brigade in the 53rd (Welsh) Division commanded by Major-General Hon. J.E.Lindley. The other Battalions in the 160th Brigade were the 2nd /4th Royal West Kent, the 2nd /10th Middlesex and the 1st /4th Sussex. The other two Brigades in the Division were mostly from Welsh regiments.

A good description of the subsequent early service of the Battalion, which set sail for Gallipoli from Devonport on 17 July 1915, is contained in the attached reports published in the 4th September edition of the ‘Surrey Advertiser’. The Battalion was at Alexandria when Archie wrote a letter to his parents on 3rd August.

The Battalion landed at night in Gallipoli at Suvla Bay on 9th August and the following morning was involved in a fierce fight to capture the heavily defended Hill 70 (Scimitar Hill) which lay beyond the Chocolate Hill referred to in the attached newspaper report. In this badly-planned and ill-organised battle the Battalion’s casualties amounted to two officers killed and six wounded, and 250 other ranks killed, missing or wounded, as reported in the Commanding Officer’s account filed with the Battalion’s War Diary (PRO ref WO/95/4323).

Private Gyatt survived the attack on Scimitar Hill, but he was wounded in subsequent fighting on the 14th and died on the 17th just eight days after he had landed at Gallipoli on his first time in action. He has no known grave and his name is inscribed on the Helles Memorial at Gallipoli.

His elder brother Herbert served with the East Surrey Regiment on the Western Front and spent three years as a prisoner-of-war in Germany, where he worked on the railways before returning to Merrow in December 1918.

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Private Archibald Gyatt  Reports in the ‘Surrey Advertiser’ of 4 September 1915             

It is now possible to give something like a connected, though necessarily incomplete, account of the movements of the 2nd /4th Battalion of the Queen’s from the time they left England until they found themselves under fire on the Gallipoli Peninsular. As is well known, the 2nd /4th Queen’s was recruited from the 2 /4th and 2 /5th Battalions of the Regiment at home and is under the command of Colonel Frank D.Watney, son of Sir John Watney. It was the first complete Surrey Territorial unit to be selected to proceed to the fighting line and, after inspecting the men at Cambridge in May last, the Lord Lieutenant (Col the Hon H.Cubitt C.B.) asked them to remember they had in their keeping the honours and traditions of one of the finest regiments in the British Army, and expressed his confidence that they would live up to them. Col Watney, in acknowledging the Lord Lieutenant’s remarks, assured him that the Battalion would always remember that they represented the County over which he presided, and that they would not forget that they wore the badge of a grand old regiment, whose tradition it would be their constant effort to maintain.


The Battalion went from Cambridge to Bedford, and left there about midnight on the 16th July for Devonport, which they reached the next morning. No time was lost in embarking, and on the evening of the same day – July 17th – they steamed out of port on the ‘Ulysses’. The voyage was a pleasant one, and calls were made at Gibraltar and Malta. Alexandria was reached on 28th July. Three days later the Battalion left for Port Said, reached on August 2nd, and three days later proceeded to Lemnos on the Gallipoli Peninsular where, unfortunately, one man fell down the hatchway of the ship and was killed, being buried at sea the same day.


It was on Sunday night 8th August, just 22 days after leaving England, that the Battalion reached Suvla Bay. They had before this come within sound of the guns and were soon to find themselves under fire. The landing had been made good and the British troops had advanced some distance before the 2nd /4th Queen’s were taken ashore. It was shortly after midnight when the men landed from the lighters in which they were transferred from the ship.

After advancing a short distance the Battalion was ordered to get a little rest, but for the majority sleep was out of the question. The roar of the guns and the screeching of shells overhead, coupled with the anticipation of what was ahead, were experiences too novel and exciting to permit of sleep. At about four o’clock in the morning the order came to go into action and the men, leaving their kits behind, and taking only their rifles, ammunition and trenching tools, moved forward to where sharp fighting was in progress.

The Battalion first came into action in the region of Chocolate Hill – “not at all nice or like chocolate” as one who came through the fighting remarked, and quickly came under rifle and shrapnel fire. “Then” – we write from notes kindly supplied by one who was wounded in the attack – “came the order to capture a certain position held by the enemy. The Queen’s went forward with stirring dashes over by no means easy country. There was no thought or possibility of entrenching. The whole time we were under a devastating fire from an unseen enemy and a fire to which, under the circumstances, our men were quite unable to reply. However, they rushed forward splendidly, taking full advantage of whatever cover could be used here and there. The shrapnel shell and rifle fire with which they were met were both exceedingly heavy and the losses of the 2nd /4th consequently soon became serious. But the Queen’s were undaunted and with magnificent pluck and fighting they captured the coveted ridge, after several hours of the most severe fighting. And what is more, they held the ridge”.

Col Frank D.Watney, who commanded the 2nd /4th Battalion the Queen’s in the recent fighting in the Dardanelles, in a letter home, pays the following warm tribute to his men –

“The Queen’s never wavered, and their dash and enthusiasm were marvellous. We had an awful experience, guns and rifle fire going off incessantly, but we did very well. No one fought further than we did ; at one time we were furthest forward, and we held our position at all costs, and we have strengthened it so that they will not take us now …. Of course, we are all shaken by the want of sleep and want of water and food, but we shall pull right through I hope.”

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Officer’s Steward Thomas Leonard Imms, died on 30th August 1916, aged 27

Thomas Imms was born in Merrow on 26th July, 1889, the son of Thomas and Sarah Imms who lived at 1, High Path Road together with his younger sister Margery. His father, then aged 62 was huntsman to the Onslow family at Clandon Park, a position he inherited from his father.   It would appear that Sarah’s father was the stockman to the Onslows.   A well-worn copper and brass hunting horn exists with a London maker’s mark together with a note inside declaring it to have been used by Thomas Imms’ father.   Another letter, possibly from a historian who was in contact with Margery, known as Madge, records that Lord Onslow showed him a riding crop engraved with the name Thomas Imms. 

 Margery became an established poetess, one poem being called ‘Merrow Downs’, and involved herself in Guildford life with enthusiasm for the countryside together with a great interest in the Imms’ family history.   She recorded that Thomas worked for the Union Castle shipping line before joining the Royal Navy.

Thomas junior enlisted in the Royal Navy, having previously worked for the Union Castle shipping line and, at the time of his death from kidney failure in August, 1916, was an Officers’ Steward 1st Class at HMS Pembroke, the name given to the Naval Depot at Chatham which existed from 1905 until its closure in 1984.

Thomas Imms was buried in Kensal Green (All Souls) in NW London.   The reason for that place of interment is unknown although his sister recorded that their father rode to London each week to receive his orders from Lord Onslow.   That may be a connection.

Recent letters from Great Nephew – Patrick Button, & Grand Daughter – Zillah Harvey.

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Private Alfred Charles Kemp, died on 30th October 1914, aged 22

He was born at Clandon and he lived, when at home, at Holmesdale Cottages, Merrow, with his wife and a little child. His widowed mother lived at 95 Cline Road, Guildford.

He was a regular soldier serving in the 2nd Battalion of The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment which, at the outbreak of the War, was stationed at Roberts Heights, Pretoria, South Africa. It sailed from Cape Town on 23rd August 1914 on the troopship “Kenilworth Castle” and, after calling in at St Helena, reached Southampton on 19th September.

The Battalion joined the 22nd Brigade in the 7th Division at Lyndhurst, and on 5th/6th October embarked on SS Cymric and SS Turkoman for Zeebrugge. It had been intended that the Division would go to the help of the Belgians in defending Antwerp but it proved to be too late to do that and so they were ordered instead to hold certain important bridges and other places that would help the westward evacuation of the Belgian army. Once the Belgians were through, the Division moved west and they entrenched in front of Ypres, being the first British troops to occupy that fateful place.

The Division helped to fight the advancing Germans to a standstill in the First Battle of Ypres which lasted from 18th October to 11th November, and after that it was often known as the “Immortal Seventh”. The 2nd Battalion was involved in very heavy fighting around Zonnebeke and on the 21st incurred losses of 18 killed, 123 wounded and 37 taken prisoner. Towards the end of the month it was in the Ghulevelt area where the 1st Battalion of The Queen’s was also fighting.

The extract obtained from the Battalion’s War Diary (PRO reference WO/95/1664) records the events of 30th October, the day of Private Kemp’s death. The casualties that day were 8 killed, 49 missing and 33 wounded (on top of 92 casualties the previous day). The Battalion was under very heavy shell fire from guns on the high ground south-west of Kruiseecke and from Gernan infantry to the east.

Private Kemp’s body has no known grave and his name is one of the more than 54,000 similar Commonwealth soldiers’ names on the Menin Gate at Ypres where the Last Post is still sounded at 8 o’clock every evening.

(The official notification of death was not received by the family until 10th December and stated that he had been killed on 30th November. That date was clearly incorrect as the Battalion on that day was not in the front line but in reserve, with drill being ordered for the Companies in their billets. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission date of 30th October is the right one.)

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Rifleman Alfred Raymond Knight, died on 9th July 1918, aged 18

He is the most likely person to be the ‘R.Knight’ on our War Memorial, whose Christian name read out at the Annual Service of Remembrance is Raymond. There are no other Raymonds on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, either as a first Christian name or as a second one, who have any stated connection with our locality. Rifleman Knight, however, was born at Ripley and was the son of George and Mary Knight, of East Clandon. There is a War Memorial outside the Parish Church in East Clandon, but his name is not on it. The probable explanation for this is that he was felt to have a closer connection with Merrow than with East Clandon, which would be the case if he had most recently been living in Merrow. The fact that he died of pneumonia in France is most unlikely to have been the reason for his name not being on the East Clandon War Memorial, as there are plenty of names on War Memorials of servicemen who died through illness.

Alfred Raymond Knight enlisted at Guildford and served in the 16th Battalion of The King’s Royal Rifle Corps. This Battalion was raised in London in September 1914, and from April 1916 was on the Western Front as part of the 86th Brigade in the 29th Division. As Rifleman Knight was only 18 when he died, he can have been in France only fora short time before he contracted pneumonia and died, presumably in a military hospital close to the Bleue-Maison Military Cemetery at Eperlecques, to the north-west of St Omer, where he was buried.

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Private Leonard Lickfold, died on 1st October 1916, aged 24

Born at Burpham on 14th August 1892, he was the third son of Lawrence and Mary Lickfold. The 1901 Census shows the family as living in High Path Road, Merrow -believed to be No 54. Lawrence was a carpenter, then aged 37, and there were three other boys – John, William and Arthur – and two daughters, Edith and Mary.

Leonard joined the Canadian Army and we have obtained, from the Canadian National Archives at Ottawa, a copy of his personal records. He enlisted on 28th February 1915 at Cowansville, a town in Quebec to the south-east of Montreal. The unit he joined was the 5th Canadian Mounted Rifles (Quebec Regiment) which had been formed in the preceding month. He gave his trade or calling as ‘Farmer’ and his next of kin as Mrs L Lickfold, of Myrtle Cottage, 39 High Path Road, Merrow. He was medically examined on the same day and declared fit for the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force.

The Battalion sailed from Halifax, Nova Scotia, on 18th July 1915 on SS Lapland and came initially to England. They landed in France on 24th October and it was on the 6th of that month that Leonard wrote out and signed in his Pay Book a simple form of Will leaving “the whole of my effects including insurance and investments to my mother”. His pay was Can $ 1 per day, plus a field allowance of 10 cents per day, and Leonard arranged for $20 per month to be paid directly to his mother.

The Battalion’s War Diary in the Public Record Office (PRO reference WO/95/3873) starts on 1st January 1916 when it was at Meteren, near Bailleul, south-west of Ypres, as part of the 8th Canadian Infantry Brigade. From the beginning of February it served in the trenches near Messines, at the southern end of the Ypres Salient. It suffered its worst experience so far on 2nd June which the War Diary records as “a red letter day in the history of the Battalion, ever to be remembered by those who lived through it”. There was a major enemy attack accompanied by a terrific bombardment of the Canadian trenches. Back at their rest camp on 4th June, the roll call showed that out of the 18 officers and nearly 650 other ranks who went into the line, only 6 officers and 325 other ranks had returned to camp. 63 were killed, 51 were missing and 279 were wounded. Among the killed was their first Commanding Officer, Lt Col G.H.Baker.

The Battalion remained in the Ypres sector of the front until 7th September when it started a move by train, route-marching and bus to the Somme, which took them five days. On 12th September they relieved the 8th Canadian Infantry Battalion in the trenches near Pozieres. On the 15th, they took part in an attack which started at 6.20 am, in which they succeeded in capturing 500 yards of enemy trench and accounted for 250 of the enemy. Their own losses were three officers killed, seven wounded and one shell-shocked. The other ranks suffered 48 killed, 24 missing, 173 wounded, 4 dying of wounds and 19 shell-shocked.

The War Diary for 30th September records the following :

“Tomorrow afternoon at about 3 pm we are to attack, capture and consolidate a line of German trench known as REGINA Trench. As the front of our objective is well wired, the artillery have been heavily engaged today endeavouring to cut the wire. Patrols are to be pushed out as far as possible after dark and report on the cutting. All ranks keyed up and in fine spirits, very eager to attack.”

The other Battalions of the 5th Canadian Brigade were also involved in the attack. The obtained copy of the Battalion’s War Diary for the next day records that “A” Company, the first wave of its attacking force, “went over the parapet at 3.16 pm. When it was about 100 yards from REGINA trench, enemy opened with machine gun and rifle fire which became very intense during the next 50 yards of the advance, causing many casualties. The enemy was then seen to be rapidly evacuating his front line and very few were left when our men got up. Many of the enemy were brought down by our men as they were passing back to their rear line. The captured trench was found to be pretty well blown in.”

“B” Company fared much worse and “a very few only reached the objective, the others coming up against uncut wire on the right and, as their losses were very heavy, the survivors were forced to fall back to their original position”. The fighting continued furiously for the rest of the day and through the night and next day, as is very graphically described in the War Diary. In the end the remaining men of the Battalion occupying part of REGINA trench were forced to relinquish it “as the reinforcements arrived a few minutes too late to retain the trench which had been so stubbornly held”. The War Diary entry concluded in the following way :

“All ranks displayed the greatest gallantry and devotion to duty. They were severely tried, fighting continuously, often practically hand to hand, for 34 hours against superior numbers. Artillery support was unfailing, prompt and accurate. The good work of the detachments of 1st and 2nd C.M.R. Battalions enabled the Battalion to make the gains and hold out so long. Casualties 3 officers and 45 other ranks killed, 1 officer and 1 OR died of wounds, 6 officers and 168 ORs wounded.”

Leonard Lickfold was among the killed although he was initially reported ‘missing presumed dead’. He was, fittingly, buried in the Regina Trench Cemetery, at Grandcourt, about 10 km north-east of Albert.

It can be recorded that Regina Trench was attacked again by the 1st and 3rd Canadian Divisions on 8th October and taken in part by the 18th and 4th Canadian Divisions on the 21st. It was finally cleared by the 4th Canadian Division on 11th November.

Return Merrow War Memorial 1914-1918 Names.

>Private William Henry Lunn, died on 9th March 1916, aged 21

Born in Merrow, he was the eldest son of William and Louisa Lunn. The 1901 Census shows the family as living in High Path Road, Merrow – believed to be No 3. At that time, his father (aged 41) was a carpenter and William was a schoolboy of six, with three elder sisters (Gertrude, Annie and Amy) and two younger brothers, Frederick and Arthur. At the time of his death, his wife Lucy Ada was living at 2 Merrow Road – the name at that time of the Epsom Road where it went through Merrow.

He served in the 6th Battalion of The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment, as did another of our Merrow men, Corporal Albert Butcher, who was killed on 12th May 1917. The story of that Battalion from its formation in Guildford in August 1914 is outlined in the write-up on Corporal Butcher and so is not included here.

The Battalion’s War Diary (PRO reference WO/95/1863) shows that at the time of William Lunn’s death, the Battalion was in the trenches in the Bethune sector of the Western Front. Two days before he died, the Battalion had 15 men wounded, on the next day there were 40 wounded, and on the day he died 3 men were killed and 18 wounded. William was one of those three men, as his death certificate records that he was killed in action.

He is buried in the Dud Corner Cemetery at Loos, believed to be so called because a large number of unexploded enemy shells were found in the neighbourhood after the Armistice. William was buried initially somewhere else and his body was brought into this large military cemetery after the War where it rests with nearly 2,000 others.
(Private Lunn’s War Diary).

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Rifleman Frederick James Mappledoram, died on 17th Sept 1916, aged 36

The spelling of the name on the Merrow War Memorial is Mappledoram, but no one with that spelling has been found. Frederick Mappledoram was born in Taunton in the First Quarter of 1880 and he had three brothers and five sisters, and possibly more. We know that he enlisted at Guildford, but no other connection with our locality has been found.

He served in the 11th Battalion of The King’s Royal Rifle Corps. This was formed in Winchester in September 1914 and joined the 59th Brigade in the 20th (Light) Division at Blackdown, in Hampshire. The other Battalions in this Brigade were the 10th Battalion of the KRRC, and the 10th and 11th Battalions of The Rifle Brigade. In February 1915 the Division moved to Willey and in April to Larkhill on Salisbury Plain.

By June 1915 the Division’s training in the UK was almost complete and it was inspected by the King at Knighton Down on 24th June. A month later the Division completed its concentration in an area to the west of St Omer in Northern France and underwent training in trench warfare before taking a share of duty in the front line near Fleurbaix. The Battle of Loos began on 25th September and the Division took part in it, attacking towards Fromelles.

In January 1916 the Division moved to the Ypres Salient, being subjected to numerous attacks while taking its turn in the front line. On 2nd June the Germans attacked and took Mount Sorrel, and during the next ten days the Division fought alongside Canadian troops, leading to the re-capture of that area on the 13th.

The Division entered the Battle of the Somme in late-July and was particularly involved in the battle at Delville Wood from 27th August, followed by the fighting around Guillemont. On 16th September the Division went into action at Flers and was among the first infantry to serve with tanks in battle.

The War Diary of the 11th Battalion (PRO reference WO/95/2115) records in our obtained extract that it went into the attack at 6.30 pm on the 17th, at which time there was supposed to be an intense barrage of field guns on the portion of German trench to be attacked. However, the Diary states that “At zero hour the intense bombardment was imperceptible”. Because of wrong positioning by the adjoining Brigade , the Battalion had to attempt to right form in broad daylight out in the open and was in consequence met by intense machine gun fire which disorganised the attack. The casualties were heavy and at the end of the operations the Brigade was back in its original line. The Battalion’s casualties were 17 killed, 6 missing , 80 wounded and 4 accidentally wounded.
Battle of Somme July – November 1916.

Frederick Mappledoram was among those killed. His body was never recovered and his name is one of the more than 72,000 on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme.

Private William Mears, died on 1st March 1919, aged 25

He was the son of John and Harriett Mears, of ‘Shenhurst’, Down Road, Merrow, and the husband of Edith Mears, subsequently Mrs Hezeltine, of New Barn, Ockley, Dorking.

It is believed that he started his military service as a Trooper in the 19th (Queen Alexandra’s Own Royal) Hussars which, at the start of the War, was split up with its squadrons joining various Infantry Divisions in France as Division Cavalry. From April 1915 onwards the 19th Hussars as a whole was part of the 9th Cavalry Brigade in the 1st Cavalry Division. The reason for believing that William Mears was in the 19th Hussars is a letter received in December 1914 by his parents from his brother Alfred who was in the 15th (The King’s) Hussars. The letter was written in the trenches on a scrap of soaked paper. As reproduced in the ‘Surrey Advertiser’, it said

“Am all right. Weather ever so much better but cold at night. Willie (his brother Trooper W.Mear(s?), 19 Hussars) had heard from you when I saw him last. I had a narrow shave-the other day. Got out off (sic) – had to walk 52 miles on half a biscuit and water. Lost my horse. There we stood in ditches in 4′ 6″ of water up to my shoulder, but out of the way of bullets. I expect you saw my Troop Officer was wounded, the Hon Harding. I was with him, and my enlisting mate was shot dead by my side. Can’t write more -no more paper.”

The 19th Hussars saw service in a number of famous battles, including the Flers-Courcelette attack on the Somme in September 1916, the Battle of Arras in April 1917 and the Battle of Cambrai in November 1917.

After February 1916 the 9th Cavalry Squadron of the Machine Gun Corps was formed as the Machine Gun Unit of the 9th Cavalry Brigade. William Mears became a member of it and continued in it after the end of the War when it was part of the occupation force in Germany. He died on 1st March 1919, having contracted influenza and pneumonia. He was buried in Cologne Southern Cemetery. Cologne was entered by the Allied forces on 6th December 1918 and was occupied under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles until 1926. In 1922 it was decided that the graves of Commonwealth servicemen who had died all over Germany should be brought together into four permanent cemeteries and Cologne Southern Cemetery was one of those chosen.

Return Merrow War Memorial 1914-1918 Names.

Private Stephen Christopher Lay Moore, died on 31st May 1916, aged 34

Born on 14th June 1880 at Stratford-upon-Avon, he was the elder son of Stephen and Amy Moore of that town. His connection with Merrow was that his brother Charles, whom he declared to be his next-of-kin when he joined the Canadian Army, lived at The Old Cottage, Merrow.

We have obtained a copy of Stephen’s personal records from the Canadian National Archives in Ottawa. They show that he enlisted at Vancouver on 9th November 1914 and joined the 29th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (British Columbia Regiment) after being declared medically fit for the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force. On his Attestation Paper he gave his trade or calling as ‘Secretary, and also stated that he had served for three years in the Oxford University Volunteers.

The Battalion sailed on 20th May 1915 from Canada to England on R.M.S. `Missambic’. Its War Diary (PRO reference WO/95/3833) starts on 1st September 1915 when the Battalion was at Otterpool. On 17th September it embarked on the S. S. `Seriol’ at Folkestone for Boulogne as part of the 6th Canadian Infantry Brigade in the 2nd Canadian Division, and proceeded by train to Cassel (on the Belgian border) and then to a nearby camp. Less than a week later the Battalion was in the trenches near Kemmel, to the south-west of Ypres. It remained in that general area through the winter, with alternate periods in the front line and in billets behind it.

At the beginning of April 1916 the Battalion was still in that sector of the front when, on the 6th, Stephen Moore suffered the wounds from which he never recovered although he lived until 31st May. The obtained copy of the War Diary for 6th April records that shelling of the Canadian trenches “continued terrifically until the afternoon and many casualties were caused “. One hundred bombers from the 18th Battalion and about 50 men from the 29th were ordered to bomb some enemy-occupied craters. “Owing to the very intense shelling, such a barrage was put up that it was found impossible to get through it without heavy casualties. After a very gallant effort had been made and a large number of casualties caused, this was reported to the Brigade who ordered the withdrawal of the attack”. An inspection of the trenches that evening found them to be “in a horrible condition, having been terribly battered about”. The Battalion’s casualties that day in killed, missing and wounded amounted to three officers and 108 other ranks.

Stephen Moore had suffered gunshot wounds to both thighs and had compound fractures of the femurs. He was evacuated to, and died in, No 8 Stationary Hospital at Wimereux (about 5 km north of Boulogne) where the headquarters of the Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps was situated. An announcement appeared in the 3rd June 1916 issue of the ‘Surrey Advertiser’ stating that he had died on 31st May from wounds received on 6th April.

He is buried in the Wimereux Communal Cemetery. Among the other 2,844 Commonwealth servicemen buried there from the First World War is Lt Col John McCrae, the author of the poem “In Flanders Fields”.
The Ypres Salient.

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Captain Norman Neill, died on 6th November, 1914.

Norman Neill was born on 22nd December, 1880 at Broughton, Lancashire, the son of Robert Neill and the husband of Eleanor de Courcy Neill of Yew Tree Cottage, Merrow.

Neill went out to South Africa with a militia unit in May, 1901 and took part in Boer War operations in the Orange River Colony in June/July, then in the Cape Colony until April, 1902 and finally back in the Orange River Colony for the last month of the war.   He was awarded the Queen’s Medal with four clasps.   On 26th March, 1902 he had been commissioned as a second lieutenant in a cavalry regiment, the 19th (Alexandra, Princess of Wales’ Own) Hussars.

Neill was promoted to lieutenant on 3rd May, 1905.   He became adjutant of the regiment on 20th February, 1910 but on 13th July of that year he was appointed a captain in the 13th Hussars whose depot was in Dublin.   He passed through Staff College in 1914 just before the outbreak of the First World War in August.   Neill was then appointed Brigade Major of the 6th Cavalry Brigade which was being formed at Ludgershall, north of Salisbury.  

The newly appointed commander of the Brigade was Brigadier General Ernest Makins who arrived to take command on 21st September, 1914.   The Brigade comprised the Royal Dragoons, the 10th Royal Hussars, the North Somerset Yeomanry and the 3rd Dragoon Guards (who were then in Egypt and did not join the Brigade until a month later in Flanders).   The Brigade was part of the 3rd Cavalry Division commanded by Major General Julian Byng which was to form part of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF).

The Division embarked at Southampton on 7th October, 1914 in 14 transport ships with the 6th Cavalry Brigade HQs travelling in the SS Algerian, a Hull Line ship.   After waiting off Dover for darkness, the convoy was escorted by 12 destroyers across the Channel to Ostend and Zeebrugge.

After the Division had assembled, it proceeded southwards via Bruges, Thorout and Roulers  to Ypres, its task being to protect the 7th Infantry Division.   It was involved from 19th October in increasingly bitter fighting which became the First Battle of Ypres that lasted until the 11th November.

Captain Neill became a casualty on 20th October, when he was Brigade Major of the 7th Brigade.   He was wounded by shellfire and evacuated, eventually being admitted to British General Hospital No.13 which had taken over the Casino at Bolougne.   A building designed for the more frivolous activity of gambling, it offered its patients a rather splendid accommodation in its brilliantly lit gaming halls, cafes and ballrooms, the like of which many of the hospital’s patients had, in all probability, never experienced before.   Norman Neill’s wounds were not severe and after two weeks he was back with the 7th Brigade.

Captain Neill’s death, which occurred less than a week after he had returned to duty, was another great loss to the Brigade.   ‘His death, I think,’ wrote Kavanagh (presumably commanding 7th Brigade), ‘must have been instantaneous and without pain, as I saw him two minutes before he was hit’.   Norman Neill had been sent by Kavanagh to order the Blues into action in support of the 2nd Life Guards after the French had given way on the second occasion.   He was hit while returning to Brigade headquarters.   The last thing Captain Neill would have seen before he fell was the Brigade advancing towards the enemy.

Captain Neill’s grave is in Zillebeke churchyard located 3kms east of Ypres and he is one of over 30 war casualties commemorated there. 

We are grateful to Jerry Murland, author of ‘Aristocrats Go To War’ for the information relating to the events subsequent to Captain Neill becoming a casualty on 20th October and leading up to his death on 6th November.

The Ypres Salient.

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Private Walter Frank Norris, died on 26 September 1915, aged 18

Born at Stoke next Guildford, he was the second son of Albert and Sarah Norris, of
1 Ockford Cottages, Down Road, Merrow. At the time of Walter’s death, Albert was dead and Sarah had become Mrs Searle, but was still living at the same address.

Walter enlisted in the 9th Battalion of the East Surrey Regiment which was formed at Kingston-upon-Thames. It became part of the 72nd Brigade in the 24th Division. The other Battalions in the Brigade were the 8th Battalion of The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regt formed at Guildford, the 8th Battalion of The Buffs (East Kent Regiment) formed at Canterbury, the 8th Battalion of The Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent) Regt formed at Maidstone and a Regular Army battalion, the 1st Bn of The Prince of Wales’s (North Staffordshire) Regt.

The Division began to assemble around Shoreham, Sussex, in September 1914. As Private Norris was only 18 when he died a year later, he may have joined up subsequently but at the start of the War many very young lads were accepted. The Division moved from Shoreham to the Aldershot training area in June 1915. Field-Marshal Earl Kitchener inspected the Division on 19th August and this was followed by a visit from King George V on the 20th. Orders to move overseas were received on the 21st, the troops began to entrain on the 28th and the Division was established between St Pol and Etaples on 4th September.

The Division was not afforded the usual months of trench warfare training and gradual initiation into active service conditions. Plans were already well advanced for an attack by the British First Army on the enemy’s positions around the coal-mining area of Loos. This Army was commanded by General Douglas Haig and he decided to use all six Divisions in his I Corps and IV Corps for the attack on 25th September, on the understanding that XI Corps, in general reserve, would be handed over to him by the Commander-in-Chief (Field Marshal Sir John French) as soon as it was required. The 24th Division had been assigned to XI Corps, which also included another new and inexperienced Division, the 21st. The Corps Commander (Lieutenant-General Richard Haking) had been assured that his men would only be committed after the breakthrough of the German lines had been achieved and would be used to pursue a retreating enemy.

The two new Divisions began their march to the front from St Omer on the night of 20th September. After several night marches they arrived at Lillers, 16 miles from the front, on the 24th (the eve of the battle), by which time the men were already tired and in some disarray, for the staff work had not been good, with the result that some units had not been fed, and arrangements for rest during the four-day march had either not been made or not been enforced. They were then committed to another night march up to Noeux-les-Mines along roads crowded with traffic. Although it was only six or seven miles it took most of the night, so that the men arrived at their billets on the morning of 25th September exhausted, hungry and in some disorder. Their arrival was much later than Haig had expected, mainly because Sir John French had been reluctant to release the reserves from his own control and had kept them too far back from the front.

The British attack by the six Divisions was launched at 6.30 am on 25th September. By the end of the day some advances had been made in the south and centre of the line, though at great cost, but elsewhere the British troops had been forced back into their own trenches after terrible losses. During the morning Sir John French finally agreed, in response to a request from Haig for the divisions of XI Corps, that the 21st and 24th Divisions should be placed under his command and be moved up to the British front-line trenches.

The move-up to the front line must have been a horrific experience for young Private Norris and his comrades. They marched past ambulances crammed with muddy, bloodstained wounded, saw corpses for the first time, and – again for the first time -came under shellfire as they marched towards the thunder of the guns. They halted just forward of Vermelles, waiting for the dawn and for further orders. The Germans were rushing troops to the front and, when dawn broke on the 26th, their position was as secure as the day before. On this day, however, unlike the previous day, there would be no gas discharge to aid the attacking Divisions, no smoke cover, no culmination of a four-day bombardment, no element of surprise, no trained, experienced and well-rested troops ; any development depended on two tired divisions of inexperienced and badly-led infantry.

At 11 am Haig ordered a general assault and the weight of the attack was to be provided by the 21st and 24th Divisions. The men moved forward in broad daylight across shell-pitted ground carpeted with the dead and wounded from the day before, marching towards German wire draped with British corpses. The attacks by both Divisions were terrible disasters. The troops of the 24th Division advanced steadily, though they came under shell, mortar and machine-gun fire from the moment they rose from cover. Their attack was pressed home with great resolution, but without success. The Division lost 4,178 men (killed, missing or wounded) before the German wire that morning, and the losses in Walter’s Battalion were 14 officers and 438 other ranks, as recorded in the obtained extract from the Battalion’s War Diary (PRO ref WO/95/2215). The slaughter in the Division was so terrible, and the situation of the troops so hopeless, that the Germans ceased firing along part of the front to let the survivors fall back and stretch-bearers come up to clear away some of the thousands of wounded. Perhaps the most pitiful remark was made by one of the survivors : “We did not know what it would be like …. but we will do better next time”.

The Battle of Loos lasted, officially, until 8th October. British losses exceeded 59,000 men killed, wounded and missing, of which the killed and missing totalled 15,000, most of whom died in the first two days, including Private Norris. He had been killed on his first day at the front and probably very soon after ‘going over the top’. Guildford must have lost quite a number of other young men that day. Private Norris has no known grave, but his name is inscribed on the Loos Memorial which commemorates over 20,000 officers and men who fell in that area during the War and have no known grave.

The decision to use two raw Divisions in this way was one of the worst mistakes made by the British generals during the War, and was a factor in Sir John French’s removal as C-in-C not long afterwards.

[ Acknowledgement – the description of the sufferings of the 24th Division used in this note comes from a book by Robin Neillands The Great War Generals on the Western Front 1914-18 “.]


Report in the ‘Surrey Advertiser’ of 9 October 1915
The following message was sent by Brigadier-General Mitford, commanding the 72nd Infantry Brigade, of which the 8th Queen’s and the 9th East Surreys formed part, and which was read to the men on Sunday October 3rd. The Brigadier-General himself was unwell and unable to be present. His message was as follows :


“72nd Infantry Brigade. Last Sunday (September 26th) the Brigade went into action for the first time only a year after they came forward at their country’s call. The way the Brigade advanced under very heavy machine gun fire from flanks and rear has evoked the appreciation of the divisional and corps commamders. You were an example in steadiness and determination to carry out your task not only to the New Armies but to seasoned troops, who could not have done better than you did.

I should like all of you who know the relatives of those who are not with us to make known to them how gallantly they fought and how nobly they served their country in whose service they fell and what prestige they brought to the names of the regiments to which they belong.

Men of the Queen’s, Buffs, East Surreys and West Kents – you have added glory to the ancient regiments of which you are the children. You have made the 72nd Infantry Brigade a name which none of you can be other than proud of, and which I know in the future you will never allow to diminish. I feel it a great honour to have had the chance of commanding such troops in service and I shall never forget the ground about Hulluch village”.

Return Merrow War Memorial 1914-1918 Names.

Lieutenant Ronald Herbert Pike Pease, died on 15th September 1916, aged 19

Ronald (known as Ronnie) was born at Stokesley, North Yorkshire, on 3rd Oct 1896, the elder son of Herbert Pike Pease P.C, M.P, D.L, J.P.and his wife Alice, who lived at `Merrow Croft’, Merrow. He was the M.P. for Darlington from 1898 to 1922. He was also the Assistant Postmaster-General, 1915-1923, and was ennobled as Baron
Daryngton, hence the origin of the street name Daryngton Drive. He lived until 1949.

Ronnie went to Eton College and we have a copy of his School Certificate which he passed in December 1912 in six subjects after three years at the school. While at Eton he attained the rank of Sergeant in the Officer Cadet Corps. He was still at school when the War started in 1914, and on 12th December he applied for a commission in the Coldstream Guards, supported by a moral character reference from his House Tutor at Eton. He was interviewed later that month by Colonel Drummond Hay, commanding the Coldstream Guards, and recommended for appointment in the Special Reserve of Officers. He had passed an Army medical fitness examination on 10th December at Windsor, where he was finishing his last term at Eton. The fitness report shows that, at 6 ft 2ins, he was a very tall 18 year old. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant on 28th December, the date when he joined for duty. (Much of our information was obtained from papers photocopied from Ronnie’s personal records still kept in the Public Record Office – reference WO/339/30033.)

Ronnie was posted to the 1st Battalion of the Regiment, which in the early part of 1915 was in the trenches to the north-east of Bethune. The Battalion’s War Diary (PRO reference WO/95/1263) records that he joined them on 9th May and was assigned to No 2 Company. However, two months later, on 12th July, he had to leave the Battalion temporarily because of a problem with his left knee joint. He had apparently had a weakness of that knee from an early age and it had now become swollen with fluid. After a period in an Army field hospital (Lady Ridley’s Hospital, apparently at Le Havre), he crossed over to England on 29th July on the ‘Carisbrook Castle’ and appeared before an Army Medical Board at Carleton House Terrace on 11th August, and was given a month’s sick leave. After receiving suitable treatment by a St Thomas’s Hospital specialist, he went before another Medical Board on 10th September who found him fit for service.

The Battalion was until 25th August 1915 within the 1st Division of the British Expeditionary Force, but on that date it was transferred into the newly created Guards Division.

On 28th September the Battalion took part in an attack at Le Rutoire, near Vermelles Oust north of Loos), in which two officers were killed, two were missing and seven wounded, and there were about 250 casualties of other ranks. On 17th October the Battalion was involved in another attack, on the Hohenzollern Trenches. After a short spell away from the front, they moved in November to the sector around Neuve Chapelle where they remained until February 1916. Meanwhile, Ronnie had a spell of leave in England in December and again went on leave in February. While he was away the Battalion had moved to Flanders and when he returned on 22nd February it was in camp west of Poperinghe. He was then transferred into No 4 Company. In early March, they had a couple of weeks of training near Calais, during which they were inspected by the Commander-in Chief, Douglas Haig. The end of the month found them in the front line in the Ypres Salient, where they remained, in and out of the trenches, until July. Between 16th and 30th May, Ronnie was on leave.

On 30th July, the Battalion was moved by train via Hazebrouck and St Pol to the Lucheux area on the Somme. After being inspected by the King on 9th August they went into the trenches at Beaumont-Hamel the next day. On the 26th they moved to the Morlancourt area and later to Bernefay Wood in preparation for a major British attack along a six-mile front on 15th September. This was the first attack of the War in which tanks, the new British offensive weapon, took part. Although tanks were successfully deployed in the Courcelette – Le Flers area further north, the two tanks assigned to the Coldstream Guards attack from Ginchy towards Lesboeufs never arrived. An obtained extract from the Battalion’s War Diary describes its courageous but disastrous attack in graphic detail. Most of the officers became casualties straight away, including the C.O. and also Ronnie Pease, both of whom were killed. The Battalion went into the attack with 17 officers and 690 other ranks, and came out of it with 3 officers and 221 other ranks, the rest being killed, missing or wounded. The Germans, however, also had a very large number killed and wounded, and later a considerable number were taken prisoner.

Among the papers obtained from Ronnie’s file at Kew is a copy of the original telegram sent from the War Office on 18th September to his parents, brother and sisters at `Merrow Croft’, which reads as follows :

“Deeply regret to inform you that Lieut R H P Pease Coldstream Guards was killed in action September 15th The Army Council express their sympathy”

This would have been delivered to the house by the telegraph boy from Down Road Post Office where, a year later, the De Peare family themselves received a similar telegram.

All the above information has been obtained from records in the Public Record Office, but Nigel Burke has combed through the wartime issues of the ‘Surrey Advertiser and County Times’ and the attached pages show what he found there about Ronnie.

One other document at Kew is a letter sent by the Director of Graves Registration to Ronnie’s father on 3rd January 1917. It stated that his son was buried about 300 yards east north east of Ginchy Church and that the grave was marked by a durable wooden cross with an inscription bearing full particulars. After the War his body was brought to the Guards’ Cemetery at Lesboeufs, the village which had been the objective of his Battalion on the day of his death and which was captured by the Guards Division ten days later.

Surrey Advertiser and County Times – reports following Ronald Pease’s Death

(1) In the Paper. of 23rd September 1916
Under the heading ‘In Memoriam for Pease’, the report reads :

“The greatest sympathy will be felt in Guildford and district as well as in social and political circles generally with Mr H Pike Pease, Assistant Postmaster General, and Mrs Pike Pease, on the loss of their elder son, who was killed on Friday last. Lt R H Pike Pease was only 19 years of age, and was at Eton when war broke out. In the
following December he left Eton to take a commission and was gazetted to the Coldstream Guards. He went to the front in 1915 and in May 1916 was promoted Lieutenant. Lt Pike Pease was a young man of pleasing presence and every prospect of public usefulness, and his death is deeply to be regretted. A memorial service will be held at Merrow Church on Tuesday in which the band of the Coldstream Guards will take part.”

(2) In the paper of 30th September 1916
Extract from ‘The Times’, from the pen of one who knew the gallant young officer :

“Ronnie’s very many friends – their name is legion – would value some memento of his short life, but to cut a cameo of so bright a figure is not easy…. curly headed boy at Broadstairs and Eton, preparing for his brilliant prospects in life, or tall Guardsman preparing for facing the deadly risks of war. He was head boy at Stone House and he entered Eton with the distinction of taking 5th form. In the cricket field he did well first and last …. at Eton he got his 22 colours in 1914. It was his ambition to be in the Eton 11 of 1915 but when next summer came he was playing the game in the trenches. He joined the Army as soon as he could – Christmas 1914 – with a commission in the Coldstream Guards and was at the front after only 4 months training at Windsor. He laid down his life in the glorious rush of the Guards on September 15. He was killed instantaneously leading his men over the parapet – a fine type of the ready sacrifice of happy youth. His boyish manhood of 16 months in the trenches won him many friends as easily did his manly boyhood at Eton. He was a source of joy to all, in his home, as a member of ‘pop’ (an Etonian institution), in his village, and amongst his comrades in the trenches.”

Report of the Memorial Service
Every seat was filled in Merrow Parish Church on Tuesday afternoon. It was a beautiful and moving service and there could have been few present among the large and representative congregation gathered to pay a last tribute to a gallant and popular young officer who were not deeply stirred by its pathos and expressive simplicity. Those present were almost entirely clothed in black, the only relief being the khaki uniforms of the deceased’s brother officers, and the red and gold uniforms of the bandsmen of the Coldstream Guards, which played an important part in the service. Before the service the band rendered ‘0 rest in the Lord’ with deep feeling… The muffled drums were also heard in the opening of Chopin’s ‘Marche Funebre’ The congregation stood whilst the soul stirring music was played to wonderful effect …. Prayers were led by the Rev A H Fletcher, Rector of Merrow, and the concluding hymn was ‘For all the Saints’ in which the sympathetic treatment of the band was very marked. An appropriate extract from the Russian liturgy was read

`Remember those, the brave and the true, who have died the death of honour, and are departed in the hope of resurrection to eternal life. In that place of light where sorrow and mourning are far banished, give them rest 0 Lord, the Lover of Man.’

As the roll of drums died away the Last Post was sounded by buglers stationed in the churchyard.

W.O. Telegraph Message

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Corporal Charles Pullen, died on 29th October 1918, aged 25

He was born at Wilmington, a village to the south of Dartford, Kent. He was the son of Mr and Mrs A.Pullen, of 5 High Path Road, Merrow.

He enlisted at Dartford in the Grenadier Guards in November 1915 and at that time he was living at Stone, a village on the north-east side of Dartford. He is believed to have transferred into The Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent) Regt. At the time of his death from pneumonia at Gravesend in October 1918 he was an Acting Corporal in the Labour Corps.

His funeral took place in Merrow Parish Church and he was buried in its churchyard. His wife, May Lilian Pullen (nee Webb), was then apparently living in High Path Road, probably with her parents-in-law. She later moved to 2 Violet Villas, Romford, Essex.

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Private Thomas Alfred Pullinger, died on 26th August 1916, aged 21

He was the third son of Henry and Emma Pullinger, of High Path Road, Merrow. The 1901 Census shows the family as living in Jubilee Cottages, High Path Road (may now be No 42). Henry, then aged 38, was a domestic gardener. The other sons were Henry and Frederick, and there was a daughter Emma, aged two.

Thomas served in the 1st /5th Battalion of The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment. This was formed at Guildford in August 1914 and was in the Surrey Brigade of the 44th (Home Counties) Division. After short periods at Maidstone and Canterbury, the Division sailed from Southampton in October 1914 for India and landed at Bombay. The Division, which was entirely composed of partially trained Territorial troops, had, like the 43rd Division, been sent quickly to India to replace Regular battalions who were being returned to fight on the Western Front.

The 44th Division was broken up in India and the 1st /5th Queen’s was transferred into the 34th Indian Brigade in the 15th Indian Division. With them, the Battalion (which had been stationed at Lucknow) went to Mesopotamia as part of the Expeditionary Force against the Turks, landing at Basra on 7th December 1915. On 11th Jan 1916 it was transferred into the 12th Indian Brigade in the 12th Indian Division. This was the same Division as the 1st /4th Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment was already in and which was fighting at Nasiriya in July 1915 when Capt Frederick Barton was killed.

By November 1915 the 6th Indian Division had almost reached Baghdad, but was checked by the Turks at Ctesiphon, and its Commander, Maj Gen Charles Townshend, decided to fall back on Kut al Amara. He was besieged there for 143 days, during which unavailing efforts were made by the rest of the British Expeditionary Force to break the siege, and he was forced on 29th April 1916 to surrender with his emaciated 2,700 British troops and 6,000 Indian ones.

The ‘Surrey Advertiser’ on 28 Dec 1918 carried the attached article about the terrible treatment of prisoners from the 1st /5th Queen’s after the capture of Kut. This seems hard to reconcile with the facts that the Battalion landed at Basra on the day that the siege of Kut started and also that it was in a different Division to the one in Kut. However, it has been discovered that drafts from the Battalion were sent from India in 1915 on attachment to the 2nd Battalion of the Norfolk Regiment in Mesopotamia. That Battalion was part of General Townsend’s Division and was besieged in Kut.

The 1st /5th Queen’s was transferred with its Brigade into the newly formed 15th Indian Division on 7th May 1916. Presumably this was a consequence of the loss of the 6th Division a week earlier at Kut. The Battalion was later on moved to Baghdad.

Thomas Pullinger returned to India before his death in August 1916, as he died there at Chakrata as a result of diaphragmatic hernia. He was buried in Kailana Cemetery, at Chakrata. His name is inscribed on the Madras 1914-1918 War Memorial which contains the names of more than 1,000 servicemen who died during that War and who lie in many cemeteries in various parts of India where it is not possible to maintain their graves in perpetuity.
Map of Mesopotamia.



Article in the ‘Surrey Advertiser’ of 28th December 1918


“1st /5th Queen’s and Kut
It has been our sad duty during the last few months to record the deaths of several 1st /5th Queen’s men who were taken prisoners by the Turks at Kut. In almost all these cases the particulars are the same. Though the men died as long ago as August and September 1916, the news has only recently come through, and in most cases the cause of death is given as dysentery, and the place as Yarbaschi. We do not wish to harrow the feelings of relatives, but there is only too much reason to conclude that most of these unfortunate men were victims of the horrible callousness and neglect of the Turkish officials, as disclosed in the report recently issued. The terrible record was supplemented only last week by a letter from an officer who witnessed with horror and nausea the pitiable conditions of the captives. The treatment of these men, weak and ill after a long and heroic siege, their enforced march of 100 miles to Baghdad, and thence 500 miles further across the Syrian desert in the heat of the abnormal summer, without proper food and attention, constitutes one of the blackest chapters in the history of the war. Of the 2,680 British captured at Kut 1,306 died and 449 are untraced, and there is no doubt that a large proportion were left to die by the roadside after having dropped from sheer exhaustion. We hear much of punishment of Germans for the ill treatment of prisoners but we hope the Government are taking steps to trace and deal fittingly with the Turkish brutes who were responsible for condemning so many of our gallant men to a lingering death in Mesopotamia and Syria.”

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John Wingfield Rudall, died on 7th August 1916, aged 26

He was born on 15th February 1890 at his parents’ home, 2 Carshalton Grove, Carshalton, Surrey. He was the son of Arthur Reginald and Jane Rudall. His father was a London barrister, with chambers at 3 New Square, Lincolns Inn. He was a member of the Middle Temple and had been called to the Bar in April 1868, when he was then living in the family home in London, at Montpelier Square, Knightsbridge. At the time of the 1901 Census, Arthur and Jane were living in Shalford and their family consisted of Francis (aged 21), Phyllis (19), Katherine (16), William (13), Naunton (12), John (10) and Montague (8). Not later than 1915, Arthur and Jane came to live in Merrow, into a house called ‘Hallhurst’. This was one of four semi-detached houses which still stand in what is now Swayne’s Lane. Little seems to be known of the family, either in Shalford or Merrow, and nothing appears in local parish records. Arthur’s work in London may have meant that there was little involvement with local life.

There is no trace of John on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website nor on the Roll of Honour of Soldiers who died in World War One. His death is not recorded by the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages, either in the special register for servicemen or in the normal register of deaths. His service records no longer exist, being presumably among those destroyed when their storage warehouse was bombed in 1940. Moreover, his name is not included in the Medal Rolls at the Public Records Office although he would have been eligible to inclusion in them. There is therefore no trace whatsoever of him in the remaining official records.

We were able to make contact with Richard Rudall, of Bexhill-on-Sea, who belongs to a different branch of the family. He told us that the Rudall family was a prominent one in the legal profession in the Nineteenth Century. This is borne out by the fact that Arthur Rudall’s father, William, was also a barrister, having been called to the Bar as a member of the Middle Temple in January 1832. A long time ago the family seat was at Rudhall Manor, near Ross-on-Wye, and subsequently the family had been strongly present at Crediton, in Devon. Mr Rudall was also able to tell us that John had died in 1916, but he did not know the circumstances of this. He suggested that
his death might have been announced in a local or national paper. This indeed proved to be the case, and eventually the following announcement in ‘The Times’ of 24th August 1916 was found in the microfilms kept at the Guildhall Library, in London :

RUDALL. Killed in action on 7th August 1916, John Wingfield Rudall, deeply loved son of Arthur Reginald Rudall, of 3 New Square, Lincolns Inn, aged 25.”

Having obtained John’s birth certificate, it is clear that he was 26 when he died. His mother had died on 27th April 1915, aged 56, and so his father suffered a double blow in just over a year.

Through Richard Rudall we eventually made contact with Nigel Rudall, a grandson of Montague Rudall who lives at 59 Ardmore Avenue, Guildford. We finally learnt from him how and where John Rudall had been killed. In 1908 he was working at Grey’s Garage, in Quarry Street, Guildford. He continued in that line of occupation, as the family records show that in 1915 he was employed as a chauffeur / motor mechanic in Hastings. It was probably in that year that he enlisted in the Army Service Corps. He was killed by shellfire during the Battle of the Somme.

In addition to the announcement of John’s death in ‘The Times’, there is a memorial tablet to him inside the Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul, in Aldeburgh, Suffolk, with the words : “In ever loving memory of John Wingfield Rudall killed in action in France on 7th of August 1916”. The family had visited Aldeburgh a lot, presumably for holidays, and in 1915 Arthur’s wife was buried in the churchyard there.

We believe that Arthur continued to live in Merrow until 1928 and we know that from that year until his death he lived in Guildford. According to his great-niece who is still living in Guildford, he also continued to practise as a London barrister for the rest of his life. He died on 16th March 1934, aged 86, and was buried alongside his wife after his funeral was held in the Aldeburgh Parish Church.
Copy from The Times.

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Gunner Henry Scarlett, died on 18th October 1918, aged 26

He was the son of Charles and Maria Scarlett, of Guildford, and the husband of Florence Mears, of Heath Cottage, Merrow. She later re-married and became Mrs Ricketts, of East Cottage, Merrow Common. Henry (known as Harry) worked at the Friary Brewery in Guildford before the War.

Harry enlisted at Guildford into the Royal Artillery and at the time of his death from pneumonia was attached to the G.H.Q., Royal Artillery, in Cairo. He was buried in the New British Protestant Cemetery in Cairo, in the part of it which in 1920 became the Cairo War Memorial Cemetery.

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Driver William Thomas Slyfield, died on 8th November 1918, aged 20

He was the eldest son of William James and Minnie Gertrude Slyfield, of The Gate House Lodge, Merrow. This Lodge was occupied by the family because of the father’s job as coachman to Bernard and Evelyn Cammell who from about 1910 lived in The Gate House, which stood at the top end of what is now Gateways. It is thought that the Cammell family may have been the shipbuilding one. William Slyfield had come from Wokingham, possibly with the Cammell family, and at some date after the War he moved to High Path Road and became a gardener.

At the time of his death, Driver Slyfield (known as Tom) was serving in the Ammunition Column of the 20th Brigade, Royal Horse Artillery, which was with the 1st Mounted Division in the campaign against the Turks in Palestine and Syria. In fact, at the time of his death, that campaign had been brought to a successful conclusion with the capture of Damascus on 30th September and the occupation of Aleppo on 26th October.

The job of the Ammunition Column was to keep three RHA batteries supplied with ammunition. They were the 1 /1 Berkshire Battery, the 1 /1 Hampshire Battery and the 1 /1 Leicester Battery. By November the Ammunition Column was at Baalbek, in present-day Lebanon. They were suffering a great deal of sickness. At the end of October the War Diary of the unit (PRO reference WO/95/4511) recorded that :

“This month has been a disastrous month for the health of the troops, having approximately 114 cases admitted to hospital, nine being so serious as to cause death. The troops have fought against this decrease exceedingly well, everyone has made great efforts to carry on. During the last two or three days the health of the troops has shown a slight improvement.”

The nature of illness was not stated, but we understand that it was dysentery. At the end of November, the War Diary stated that :

“The health of the troops in the Ammunition Column has vastly improved from the previous months, accounted for chiefly by being in a standing camp for a short period. The casualties to both men and animals have been light. Unfortunately notifications from hospitals have been received during the month of the deaths of 12 other ranks of the Ammunition Column.”

The location of the hospital where Tom Slyfield died is not known, but it could have been a field hospital in the Baalbek area or perhaps he was sent back to a larger hospital in Egypt. He was buried in the Alexandria War Memorial Cemetery, in Egypt.
Map of Palestine. Tom Slyfield’s Posthumously awarded WWI medals. Commemorative Plaque Given to Families of Servicemen who Died during The Great War.

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Leading Seaman James Robert Sole DSM, died on 6th August 1917, aged 25

There is no doubt that he is the `J.R.Sole’ on the Merrow War Memorial, even though the Christian name read out at the Annual Service of Remembrance is ‘George’. He was born at Albury on 4th January 1892 and was the husband of Alice Elizabeth Sole, of 50 Down Road, Merrow.

He joined the Royal Navy and at the time of his death was serving with the Siege Guns ( Dunkirk unit). The January 1917 issue of the London Gazette recorded the award to him of the Distinguished Service Medal, which was the naval equivalent of the Distinguished Conduct Medal awarded to non-commissioned soldiers for distinguished service in the field. The London Gazette entry did not include a citation but just had James Sole’s name in a list of all the recipients of the DSM on that occasion. We therefore do not know what action of his earned him this award.

In the Register of Naval Deaths in the Public Record Office (PRO ref ADM / 104 / 139), he is shown as having been killed in action and as serving on ‘Attentive II ‘. This does not appear to have been a ship and may have been the naval name for the Dunkirk Siege Guns.

He was buried in Coxyde Military Cemetery which was about 10 km behind the front line. In June 1917 the Commonwealth forces relieved French forces on the 6 km of front line from the sea to a point south of Nieuport, on the Belgian coast, and held this sector for six months. Naval siege guns (ie heavy guns) would have been used as part of artillery support for the front line troops. Coxyde Cemetery became the most important of the Commonwealth cemeteries on the Belgian coast and was used at night for the burial of dead brought back from the front line.

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Private William Stemp, died on 8th September 1918, aged 23

Born in Merrow, he was the sixth and youngest son of Thomas and Rhoda Stemp, of Myrtle Cottage, Down Road, Merrow. The 1901 Census shows the family as living there and his father, then aged 45, was a fly driver (a fly was a small horse-drawn vehicle plying for hire like a taxi nowadays – Thomas in later years is shown in Kelly’s Directory as a fly carriage proprietor). William’s five elder brothers were Fred, Sydney, Thomas, Frank and Herbert. In 1901 he also had one younger sister, Kate. Before joining the Army, he was employed at Frensham. Camp and, prior to that, he was a carpenter employed by Brown and Lilly Ltd, of Walnut Tree Close, Guildford.

William enlisted in July 1915 and served in the 2nd 4th Battalion of The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment, going out to Egypt in February 1916 to join it there after its return from Gallipoli. Frank Blundell was one of the Merrow men already there. The Battalion guarded the Suez canal until January 1917 and then took part in the campaign against the Turks in Palestine and Syria. After heavy fighting in three attacks on Gaza in March, April and November 1917, the Battalion reached Jerusalem which surrendered on 9th December. William Stemp was wounded in the left thigh in April, probably in the second battle of Gaza.

In June 1918 the Battalion was transferred to the Western Front and fought on the Marne in July and August before moving north to Flanders where in September it went into the front line east of Mount Kemmel. It was there that William suffered the wounds from which he died on 8th September. He was buried at Esquelbecq Military Cemetery which is about 30 km west of Ypres and adjacent in 1918 to two Casualty Clearing Stations.

William’s five elder brothers all served in France. Fred was a Corporal in a Labour Company, Sydney and Thomas were both in the Cyclists Brigade, Frank was in the Canadian Infantry and Herbert was a Driver in the Royal Field Artillery.
The Ypres Salient.

Rifleman Thomas Strudwick, died on 20th July 1916, aged 20

He was the second son of George and Charlotte Strudwick, of 55 High Path Road, Merrow. He was born at Witley in 1895/96.

He joined the 17th Battalion of The King’s Royal Rifle Corps which was raised in London by the British Empire League on 16 April 1915. Its initial HQs were at Norfolk House, on Laurence Pountney Hill, London EC, and its parades were held in Green Park before it moved to Paddockhurst, SE of Worth, in Sussex. In July 1915 the Battalion was assigned to the 117th Brigade of the 39th Division, the Divisional HQs being in Aldershot. The other Battalions in the Brigade were the 13th Bn of the Royal Sussex Regt, the 14th Bn of the Hampshire Regt, the 16th & 17th Bns of the Sherwood Foresters and the 16th Bn of the Rifle Brigade.

On 1st August the Battalion was taken over by the War Office. In November the Division as a whole moved to Witley, which was Thomas Strudwick’s birthplace (was this an extraordinary coincidence or did he join the Battalion at that stage ?). The Division began to move to France in February 1916, but one of its three Brigades (the 118th) was judged to be not yet ready for service and had to be left behind. Its place within the Division was taken by four Territorial Force battalions already serving in France.

The Battalion landed at Le Havre on 8th March, and by the 17th the Division was fully established around Blaringhem, north of Bethune. During the next few months the Division gained experience in trench warfare. It took its turn in the front line and was active on numerous raids and patrols. The extract obtained from the Battalion’s War Diary (PRO reference WO/95/2586) describes what the Battalion was doing between the 13th and 27th July. Thomas Strudwick died of wounds on the 20th July and it is probable that he had been taken to the 7th Casualty Clearing Station at Merville, as he was buried in the Merville Communal Cemetery which was used for men who had died in this field hospital. In the preceding week the Battalion’s War Diary shows that eight men were wounded on the 13th, six on the 14th, two on the 17th and two on the 18th. The two on the 17th were the result of a shell from a British 4.5 inch howitzer falling short. It is to be hoped that Thomas Strudwick was not killed by a British shell.

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Private George Triggs, died on 31st October 1914, aged 33

He was the son of George and Rose Triggs who had been living at 8 Bleak Cottages, High Path Road, Merrow. His father was an agricultural labourer.

George, junior, was a regular soldier in the 1st Battalion of The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment. The Battalion was at Bordon, in Hampshire, when the War started and it quickly went over to France as part of the 1st Division, taking part in the Battle of Mons and the retreat southwards, as described in the write-up on Private Joseph
Blake who was also in the Battalion. During one stage of the retreat, the Battalion marched 52 miles in 16 1/2 hours and with just 2 1/2 hours rest.

After its advance northwards again and its involvement in the Battle of the Aisne on 14th-18th September (with heavy losses), it withstood a German attack at 4 am on the 26th and was visited and congratulated on the 28th by Sir Douglas Haig. Following further fighting in early-October, the Battalion moved to the Ypres sector and during the First Battle of Ypres it played a big part in the very bitter fighting at Langemarck and Gheluvelt. An extract obtained from the Battalion’s War Diary (PRO reference WO/95/1280) describes the fighting at Gheluvelt alongside the Regiment’s 2nd Battalion on 31st October, in which Private Triggs was killed. In his history of The Queen’s Regiment , Colonel H.C.Wylly wrote that this day “was one of the worst days experienced by the 1st Battalion during the whole war”. Its casualties in killed, missing and wounded reached the staggering total of 624.

George Triggs’ body was not recovered and his name is recorded on the Menin Gate at Ypres along with more that 54,000 others who have no known grave.

(George Triggs’ name is not on the main War Memorial nor on the memorial tablet in the Church. It is, however, on the memorial list of names in the Merrow Village Hall.)

The First Battle of Ypres.

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Please see this letter from George Triggs’ Grand Daughter.

Gunner Sydney Vicary, died on 22nd August 1915, aged 31

Born at Merrow, he was the son of Walter and Grace Vicary. The 1901 Census showed that he was living with his widowed mother in Down Road, Merrow, (probably in Bleak Cottages) and that he was a domestic gardener. He later married and lived with his wife Sarah at Welbeck Cottage, Down Road (may now be No 78).

He served in the Royal Field Artillery and, at the time of his death in August 1915, he was in its 6th Depot which may perhaps have been in Glasgow. Nothing is now known about his military service. He died in Glasgow and was buried in the Glasgow Western Necropolis. This cemetery contains 355 First World War burials. There were several military hospitals in Glasgow during that War, including the 3rd and 4th Scottish General Hospitals (1,200 beds each) and the Merryflats War Hospital (500 beds). It is not known whether Sidney Vicary was evacuated to one of these hospitals or, more likely, was in an RFA Depot in Glasgow.

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Private Sidney Vinall, died on 9th November 1916, aged 25

He was the son of George and Margaret Vinall, of Victoria Cottages, Down Road, Merrow. He had at least two elder brothers, Harvey and William, and an elder sister Mabel. His father was a domestic gardener.

He enlisted at Guildford and was in the Royal Army Medical Corps, serving in the 134th Field Ambulance Unit. This was in the 39th Division which went to France at the end of February 1915 and was initially in the front line north of Bethune. Its first major engagement was on 3rd September 1916 when, as part of the Battle of the Somme, it was ordered to attack north of Thiepval, incurring severe casualties. The Division was subsequently involved in several important and successful engagements before the operations on the Somme ceased on 18th November. By then the rate of Divisional casualties had necessitated reinforcements totalling 50% for officers and 66% for other ranks. The three Field Ambulance Units of the Division would have been extremely busy.

The War Diary of the 134th Field Ambulance (PRO reference WO/95/2579) shows that on 26th August the Unit moved to Acheux, not far behind the Somme front line, taking over, from the 18th Field Ambulance, a Main Dressing Station and the Corps Collecting Station for the wounded. During August the number of cases handled by the 134th Unit had been 418 admissions and 74 transfers, comprised of 99 battle casualties, one self-inflicted injury, 17 accidental injuries and 385 sick patients. However, it was a very different story when the Unit had to deal with the casualties from the major attack on 3rd September, which commenced at 5.10 am. The casualties started arriving at 8.30 am and the number passing through in the next 18 hours approached 1500, of which 414 required treatment in the Main Dressing Station. The casualties had all been treated and fed by 5 am on the 4th. During September as a whole the Unit handled 1700 cases in the Main Dressing Station and a further 2000 passed through the Casualty Clearing Station.

On 1st October the Unit left Acheux and on the 5th it took over from No 56 Field Ambulance at Cadstand. During October the Unit itself sustained five casualties, none of them killed. Sidney Vinall died of pneumonia on 9th November. He was buried in Puchevillers British Cemetery which is 17 km north-east of Amiens and not far from where he had been working.

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Corporal Harry Wadey, died on 29th November 1918, aged 42

He lived in High Path Road, Merrow, and had a wife (Edith Jane), son Harry (1905) and daughter Rhoda (1911).

He initially joined a Battalion of The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment in June 1915 and was transferred into the 10th Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment in November of that year just after it had landed in Salonika, Greece, after serving in Gallipoli. At the invitation of the Greek Prime Minister, Salonika was occupied in October 1915 by three French Divisions and one British Division (the 10th). The Salonika expedition, undertaken for both military and political reasons, became a running sore. It did not save Serbia from attack and occupation by the Central Powers. The Allies, although employing a lot more troops, found themselves confined for nearly a year within their own enclave and unable to break out decisively to the north until September 1918.

At some point in his service in Salonika, Harry Wadey was transferred into the 977th Employment Company of the Labour Corps where he was employed at the Base Depot as a staff gardener growing vegetables for the troops. He died in a hospital in Salonika soon after the end of the War, after a final illness of two days with malaria, bronchitis and pneumonia. The Chaplain who wrote to his family described Harry’s work as most valuable.

He is buried in the Mikra British Cemetery, which is situated 8 kin south of the main town of Thessaloniki.

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Lance Corporal George Arthur Wain, died on 27th July 1916, aged 21

He was born at St Chads, Staffordshire, and was probably related to Charles and Hannah Wain who, in 1914, were living in the gardener’s cottage (the Lodge) at `Merrow Croft’ and were probably George’s parents. George was certainly living in Guildford, and probably in the Lodge, when he enlisted at Guildford.

He served in the 23rd Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment), but it is not known at what point he joined it. This Battalion had the title of 1st Sportsman’s and was raised in London by Mrs E.Cunliffe-Owen in September 1914. Apparently sportsmen, as well as trappers, planters and big-game hunters from all over the world, formed the basis of this Battalion and of its sister Battalion, the 24th. Their recruits were initially enrolled at the Hotel Cecil, in the Strand, London, and Mrs Cunliffe-Owen subsequently quartered and planned the menus for some 1500 men. She took a keen interest in the fitness of her recruits and could often be seen drilling them in the street outside the headquarters. When the first of the battalions was ready, Mrs Cunliffe-Owen sent the following telegraph to Lord Kitchener :

“Will you accept complete battalion of upper and middle class men,
physically fit, able to shoot and ride, up to the age forty-five ?”

In June 1915 the Battalion moved from Hornchurch, in Essex, to Clipstone Camp in Nottinghamshire where it joined the 99th Brigade in the 33rd Division which was then being formed. On 1st July the Battalion was taken over by the War Office. In August the Division moved to Kandahar Barracks, Tidworth, for final intensive training on Salisbury Plain. The Queen inspected the Division at Figheldean Down on 8th November and within a few days it had crossed over to France., concentrating initially around Morbecque.

The Division entered the 1916 Somme offensive on 12th July, having been brought down from the Bethune front three days earlier. It commenced an attack at Bazentin Ridge on the 14th and, in its advance through gas clouds, heavy casualties were incurred from the enemy’s shelling and machine-gun fire. The Division was engaged in this area until the 17th.

On 27th July the Battalion took part in a Division attack on Delville Wood which is described in an extract obtained from the Battalion’s War Diary (PRO reference WO/95/1372). The Battalion captured its objectives but at heavy cost, primarily from the enemy artillery which intensively bombarded the whole of Delville Wood from 11 am until midnight. The Battalion had 5 officers killed and 7 wounded, 51 other ranks killed and 225 wounded. George Wain was among the killed and his body was not recovered. His name is one of the more than 72,000 on the Thiepval Memorial.
Battle of Somme July – November 1916.

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Lance Bombardier Charles George Wield, died on 22nd May 1918, aged 31

He was born in Hambledon, Hampshire, and was living in High Path Road, Merrow, with his wife Daisy when he enlisted in the Royal Artillery. She subsequently lived at `St Faiths’, 13 Recreation Road, Guildford.

At the time of his death, he was serving in the Royal Garrison Artillery Regiment which was part of the 83rd Infantry Brigade within the 56th (London) Division. His Regiment was comprised in May 1918 of the following seven Batteries of heavy guns and howitzers :

– No. 116 Heavy Battery, with six 60 pounder guns
– No. 1 /1 Highland Battery, with four 60 pounder guns
– No.69 Siege Battery, with six 9.2 inch howitzers*
– No. 135 Siege Battery, with six 8 inch howitzers
– No.230 Siege Battery, with six 6 inch howitzers
– No.284 Siege Battery, with five 6 inch howitzers
– No.60 Siege Battery, with two 6 inch Mark VII guns.
(* a howitzer is a gun with a short barrel and high elevation)

The 56th Division was composed of Territorial units and was established in France in February 1916. It fought its first battle on the opening day of the Somme, capturing most of its objectives in the diversionary attack at Gommecourt, but having to pull back to its original line when the other division taking part in the diversion failed. The Division fought again on the Somme, at Arras, Third Ypres and Cambrai, and in most of the 1918 battles up to the Armistice.

During May 1918, the seven Batteries fired the following very large number of shells
– 8,299 rounds by the 60 pounders
– 11,404 rounds by the 6 inch howitzers
– 5,819 rounds by the 8 inch howitzers
– 4,540 rounds by the 9.2 inch howitzers
– 817 rounds by the 6 inch Mark VII guns

It is not known in which Battery Charles Wield served, but it may have been in No. 135 Siege Battery as, on the day he was killed in action, the War Diary (PRO reference WO/95/478) records that it was heavily shelled and suffered seven casualties. All told in May, the Regiment had one officer wounded, two other ranks killed and 31 other ranks wounded.

Charles Wield was buried in Duisans British Cemetery which is about 9 km west of Arras. Between May and August 1918 it was used by divisions and smaller fighting units for burials from the front line. L /Bdr Wield’s unit was then at Fond de Vase which was probably not very far from Duisans.

Return Merrow War Memorial 1914-1918 Names.

Lance Corporal George William Willard, died on 13th February 1917, aged 28

His name is on the memorial tablet in St John’s Church although not on the main War Memorial in the Churchyard. Presumably the latter was completed first and someone subsequently brought forward George Willard’s name. He was born in Portslade, Sussex, and enlisted at Guildford when, presumably, he was living in Merrow.

He served in the 7th Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment, but how he came to be in it is a mystery. This Battalion was formed in Bristol in August 1914 and joined the 39th Brigade in the 13th (Western) Division which was being established at Tidworth. The other Battalions in the Brigade were the 9th Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, the 9th Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment and the 7th Battalion of The Prince of Wales’s Own (North Staffordshire) Regiment. In February 1915 the Division moved to Blackdown, near Aldershot, and on 13th June it sailed from Avonmouth for Gallipoli.

Between 6th and 16th July the Division was at Helles, in Gallipoli, but at the beginning of August was transferred, via the island of Mudros, to Anzac Cove. Between 6th and 10th August the Division fought at Sari Bair and at Russell’s Top, and later in the month played an important role during the assault on Hill 60. It later moved to the front at Suvla where, during the night of 19th /20th December, it assisted with the successful evacuation back to Mudros. The 39th Brigade did good work that night in acting as rearguard throughout the operations.

The Division (less the 38th Brigade) returned to the Gallipoli front line at Helles in the New Year and, after a series of attacks by the Turks on 7th January, took part in the final evacuation during the next two days.

After a period of duty on the Suez defences, the Division moved in February 1916 to Mesopotamia, joining the Tigris Corps at Shaikh Saad. At the beginning of April it took part in the unsuccessful third attempt to relieve the besieged 13,000 British and Indian troops under General Townshend at Kut Al Imara, and the garrison had to surrender to the Turks on 29th April.

During the summer and autumn the intense heat did not permit much in the way of activity by either side. On 13th December, British operations for the capture of Kut began and they were successfully completed by 25th February 1917. However, by that date Lance Corporal Willard had died. At the time of his death in mid-February, his Battalion was close to the River Tigris at Shumran Bend (up the river from Kut), but the date when he was fatally wounded has not been discovered. The Battalion War Diary (PRO reference WO/95/5158) shows in the obtained copy that they were involved in heavy fighting in the 10 days before he died, with 60 other ranks being killed or wounded on the 3rd and 70 on the 10th. During that period the Battalion was fighting in the area indicated by cross-hatching on the attached map.

George Willard’s death certificate states that he died at Shaikh Saad of wounds eceived in action. This is a town on the Tigris about 20 miles down river from Kut where he was presumably taken to a military hospital. He lies buried in Amara War Cemetery, which contains 4,621 burials of the First World War, more than 3,000 of which were brought there after the Armistice. It is very likely that George Willard’s body was one of those moved to Amara after the War.

The Death Certificate states that he was in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. This is at variance with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission records and with the Roll of Honour of Soldiers who died in World War One. The 9th Battalion of the Royal Warwicks was fighting at Kut alongside the 7th Glosters in the 39th Brigade and it seems likely that a mix-up occurred when the Death Certificate was made out.
Map of Mesopotamia.
Map of Shumran Bend.

Return Merrow War Memorial 1914-1918 Names.


Private Hugh Hargrave Wyatt-Smith, died on 17th February 1916, aged 18

He was the eldest son of Rupert and Maud Wyatt-Smith and was born in South Africa. His father was a farmer at Gunton, in the Orange River Colony, but the family had connections with Merrow, and Hugh’s grandmother, Mrs F.Wyatt-Smith, lived at Church House, in Merrow. His parents later on lived at ‘Abersky’, London Road, Guildford.

Like his father before him, and his younger brother Jack after him, Hugh was educated at Sherborne School, in Dorset. He was a brilliant scholar and won the prestigious Longmuir Prize for English. He also had sporting talent, as shown by his presence (with his brother) in the 1915 photograph of the School Cricket M. They spent most of their school holidays with their grandmother in Merrow.

In January 1916, Hugh enlisted in the 2nd /28th Battalion of the London Regiment (Artists’ Rifles). Like the 1st / 28th Battalion, this was a unit which recruited and trained potential officers and, during the War, 10,256 officers were commissioned after training as cadets in the Artists’ Rifles.

Sadly, however, Hugh never completed that training, as he died on 17th February of peritonitis after an operation at the Endell Street Military Hospital in London. He was apparently on embarkation leave when he fell ill with appendicitis. At that time the Artists’ Rifles had a training camp at St Omer, in Northern France, although it was run by the 1st /28th Battalion. Hugh was probably about to join them there.

Hugh was buried with military honours in Merrow Churchyard on 21st February after a funeral service in the Church. The officiating clergy were the Rev A.H.Fletcher -f
(Rector) and the Rev W.H.Careless (Rector of Hornhill, Gloucester). Twenty-four of Hugh’s comrades in the Artists’ Rifles attended, six acting as pallbearers, and others formed the firing squad. Three volleys were sounded over the grave and the Last Post was sounded.

Five years later there was another family funeral at Merrow. Amy Margaret, the sister of Jack and Hugh, caught typhoid while nursing in 1922 and died on 21st June. She is buried in the Churchyard beside her brother. Jack is also commemorated on their gravestone.

Return Merrow War Memorial 1914-1918 Names.

2nd Lt John Drummond Wyatt-Smith, died on 17th March 1918, aged 19

Born on 26th January 1899 at Flicksburg, South Africa, he was the second son of Rupert and Maud Wyatt-Smith and was always known as Jack. His father was a farmer out there at Gunton, in the Orange River Colony. The family had connections with Merrow and Jack’s grandmother lived at Church House, in Merrow. His elder brother was Hugh (see the separate note about him). His parents later on lived at `Abersky’, London Road, Guildford.

Jack, like his brother Hugh, came back to England for his education and initially went to Packwood Haugh Preparatory School. Following in his father’s and brother’s footsteps, he went in January 1913 to Sherborne School where he excelled as a leader and sportsman (as recorded in an obituary from the March 1918 issue of ‘The Shirburnian’ and by a photograph of the 1915 School Cricket XI ). He left the school in July 1917, having applied on 24th June for a commission, preferably in the Royal Flying Corps. He was accepted into the RFC with effect from 1st August and joined them at South Farnborough Airfield (as seen in copies of papers obtained from Jack’s personal file at the Public Record Office (PRO reference WO/339/98170).

Jack was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the RFC on 8 Nov 1917 and was transferred to their Central Flying School at Upavon, in Wiltshire. On 28th January 1918 he qualified as a pilot for service in the RFC and was posted to 28 Squadron which was then serving in Italy as part of a British force sent out there to help the Italian Army after their defeat at Caporetto. The history of this Squadron from the time of its formation until Jack’s death on 17th March 1918 is summarised in the attached note.

It was only a few days after Jack joined the Squadron that he was tragically killed in a flying accident near to their airfield at Grossa, not far from Padua, in Northern Italy. The Chaplain attached to the RFC in Italy, W. S. Bowdon, in a letter to Jack’s father wrote that :

“Your son was with us but a few days, but long enough for us to get to know and like him and for him to have gained the reputation of being a ‘stout’ pilot. We are all deeply sorry to have lost such a pleasant and promising man. He was buried by me at the Canal British Cemetery near Padua – a quiet spot by the banks of a canal running south of that city – about four miles out.”

Jack’s grave is now in the Padua Main Cemetery, which contains a plot of 25 Commonwealth burials of World War One, eleven of which were brought in after the Armistice from the Canal Cemetery at Abano Bagni. He is also commemorated on the gravestone of his brother Hugh and his sister Amy at Merrow.

Return Merrow War Memorial 1914-1918 Names.

28 Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps

This Squadron had been formed at Fort George, Gosport, on 7 November 1915 and had become a training squadron, flying De Havilland 5s, Sopwith Pups and Bristol Scouts. Its motto was : Quicquid agas age – Whatever you may do, do’. After moving to Yatesbury the Squadron was re-equipped with Sopwith Camels in preparation for its move to Flanders which it reached on 8th October under its Commanding Officer, Major H F Glanville. Based at Droglandt, it saw action in the final weeks of the Third Battle of Ypres. On 29 October it received orders to move to Italy, along with four other squadrons, as the air cover for several British Divisions in a Franco-British force sent to help the Italian Army after its disastrous defeat by the Austrians and Germans at Caporetto on 24th October. The Squadron crated up its eighteen Camels and one spare aircraft and left Candas station in two trains on 9th and 10th November, bound for Milan.

From Milan the Squadron went to Verona on 22nd November as the base for its first active operations in Italy. The Italian retreat from Caporetto had been arrested at the River Piave and the Franco-British Divisions were stationed in the hills north and south of Vicenza. The British soon took over the Montello sector of the front and the 28th Squadron moved to Grossa, 4 km north of Camisano, on 28th November. It flew offensive patrols against ground targets, including tethered observation balloons, and it was involved in many dogfights with enemy Albatros aircraft. It also escorted RE8 aircraft on bombing missions, such as a raid on the Austrian HQs at Vittorio on 1st January 1918. The RE8s carried 1121b and 25 lb bombs, and were often attacked by Albatros formations. Flying over very mountainous country, there was little hope of finding suitable ground for crash landings.

In early January the Squadron was transferred from 51 Wing, commanded by Lt Col R P Mills, to 14 Wing commanded by Lt Col P B Joubert de la Ferte. The two Wings, with their total of five squadrons, formed the VII Brigade of the RFC commanded by Brigadier-General T I Webb-Bowen. The Commander of 14 Wing had an illustrious later career in the RAF, becoming an Air Chief Marshal and commanding Coastal Command in World War II.

The Squadron flew up to five patrols a day, with the aircraft customarily flying in groups of four. Sometimes they carried out their own bombing raids. For example, on 19th February they attacked two airship sheds which were being used as an aircraft park. They flew there at a height of 100ft, rising to 200-300ft over the target. Each Camel plane carried four 25 lb bombs, to a total of forty bombs. They scored five direct hits on one of the sheds, setting it on fire, and six hits on the other one.

In early March the British Divisions in the Montello sector of the Piave front were relieved by the Italians and, after the 18th, were moved north-west to a portion of the mountain sector around Asiago. By then, however, 2nd Lt Wyatt-Smith was dead. He had died on the 17th, and his name appears in the Squadron record on a list of officers who had been killed, or died of injuries, as a result of accidents. Presumably most, if not all, of these were flying accidents, as the aircraft of that time were not reliable and many, including the Camel, were difficult to fly.

Return Merrow War Memorial 1914-1918 Names.

The Sopwith Camel F1 was designed by Sopwith Aviation Company, it first flew in December 1916, entering service in May 1917. Between 5,490 and 5,941 Sopwith Camels were produced, serving with the Royal Flying Corps, Royal Naval Air Service (Sopwith Camel 2F1), Australian Flying Corps, Royal Air Force and the United States Air Service. The Sopwith Camel was produced by the Sopwith Aviation Company and at least ten other sub-contractors.

Copyright: Picture from

Return Merrow War Memorial 1914-1918 Names.



Cemeteries and Memorials – World War One        

Overseas Cemeteries

Bleue-Maison Military Cemetery, Eperlecques, Pas de Calais, France (A. R. Knight)

Bray Military Cemetery, Somme, France (F. Blake)

Coxyde Military Cemetery, Belgium (J. R. Sole)



Dud Corner Cemetery, Loos, Pas de Calais, France (W. H. Lunn)
Duisans British Cemetery, Etrun, Pas de Calais, France (W. Fawcett and C. G. Wield)
Esquelbecq Military Cemetery, Nord, France (W. Stemp)
Guards’ Cemetery, Lesboeufs, Somme, France (R H. P. Pease)
Guards’ Cemetery, Windy Corner, Cuinchy, Pas de Calais, France (J. T. Blake)
Merville Communal Cemetery, Nord, France (T. Strudwick)
Puchevillers, British Cemetery, Somme, France (S. Vinall)
Regina Trench Cemetery, Grandcourt, Somme, France (L. Lickfold)
Terlincthun British Cemetery, Wimille, Pas de Calais, France (F. B. G. Blundell)
Wimereux Communal Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France (S. C. L. Moore)
Zillebeke Churchyard, Ypres, Belgium (N. Neill)
Cologne Southern Cemetery, Germany (W. Mears)
Padua Main Cemetery, Italy (J. D. Wyatt-Smith)
Mikra. British Cemetery, Kalamaria, Greece (H. Wadey)
Alexandria (Hadra) War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt (W. T. Slyfield)
Cairo War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt (H. Scarlett)
Amara War Cemetery, Iraq (G. Willard)
Basra War Cemetery, Iraq (F .St J. Barton)



Overseas Memorials

Arras Memorial, Pas de Calais, France (A. Butcher)
Loos Memorial, Pas de Calais, France (W. Norris)
Menin Gate, Ypres, Belgium (A. C. Kemp and G. Triggs)
Thiepval Memorial, Somme (I. P. W. Bennett, J. Grover, F Mappledoram & G A. Wain)
Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, Belgium (P. A. De Peare)
Vis-en Artois Memorial, Pas de Calais (G. Cryer)
Helles Memorial, Gallipoli, Turkey (C. W. Cranfield & A. Gyatt)
Madras War Memorial, India (T. A. Pullinger)



U K Cemeteries

Glasgow Necropolis (S. Vicary)
Kensal Green (All Souls) Cemetery, London (T. L Imms)
Seaford Cemetery, East Sussex (C. Brooker)
St John the Evangelist Parish Church, Merrow (C. Pullen, H .H. Wyatt-Smith)

Photographs of Cemeteries and Memorials where Merrow Men are commemorated.

Return Merrow War Memorial 1914-1918 Names.





Recent updates:


“Subject: Thomas L. Imms. Your WW1 memorial at Merrow.

Dear Sir,

I write to inform you that Thomas Imms, whose name appears on your WW1 memorial list was my great uncle. I came across your MRA website last night after a short search.

Your site mentions Margery, who would have been Thomas’s sister and I can confirm from letters in my possession that their parents did reside at 1 Highpath Road. Indeed, Madge lived there all her long and apparently happy life. She was a published poetess and involved herself in Guildford life with enthusiasm for the countryside, together with.a great interest in the Imms family history. She recorded that her brother Thomas did not follow in their father’s (Thomas senior) footsteps, but instead worked for the Union-Castle shipping line before joining the Royal Navy. It interests me that he is buried in London and I have no knowledge of why. (Madge recorded only that her father rode to London weekly to receive his orders from Lord Onslow)

I was interested to see that their father is described as a “general labourer” on your site because his funeral notice records him as being huntsman to the Onslow family, at Clandon Park, a position he inherited from his father. Aunty Madge, as we called her, passed a rather well-worn copper and brass hunting horn onto my godmother here in South Africa years ago with a handwritten note inside it declaring it to have been used by her father. The horn is now in my possession and bears a London maker’s mark. A letter, possibly from a historian who was in contact with Madge, records that Lord Onslow showed him a riding crop engraved with the name Thomas Imms. Madge records in her family notes that a portrait of her father riding to hounds may or may not hang in Clandon Park. Somehow she was unsure of that fact. Madge’s published poems includes one called, “Merrow Downs”

Incidentally, Thomas and Madge’s mother seems to have met and married their father in the context of her own father also working for the Onslow’s; as their stockman.

Your site does not mention that Thomas and Madge had a sister Marjorie, who came to South Africa and settled. Marjorie was my grandmother and married one Albert William Button. She never returned to England and died in Johannesburg her in her nineties.

Please let me know if anyone in MRA, or others you may know of, is interested in knowing more of the Imms family of Merrow Downs and I will dig out what information I can from the docs. and photos in my possession.

Kind regards, Patrick Button.”


“Dear Sir/Madam,
My name is Diane Helen Zillah Harvey (nee IMMS ) and I am the granddaughter of Thomas Leonard Imms.
I am known as Zillah after my maternal grandmother and reside in Mt.Martha,Victoria,Australia.

I found the MRA website with my husband yesterday, Australia Day, and was excited to read the details
concerning my grandfather and in particular the contents of the letter which you received from Mr.Patrick Button.
Patrick refers to Aunty Madge a lifetime Merrow resident. She was my great aunt and was a guest at my wedding
to John Edgar Harvey on 20 June 1959 at St Leonards Parish Church, Heston, Middlesex.

Thomas Leonard Imms had a son, my father, Thomas Leonard Stuart Imms who was born on 28 January 1913 and
died on 5 January 1957. My father lived with his mother in London which would explain why my grandfather was buried
in Kensal Green, NW.London. My father would have been 3 1/2 years old when my grandfather died.
My father followed in his fathers footsteps and joined the Merchant Navy, in his early teens he had circumnavigated the
world twice. He served at Harwich in the Merchant Navy during WW2 and in civilian life thereafter was a catering manager
until his death at Reading General Hospital.

I have a sister Allison who was born on 13 November 1947 at Heston. Allison currently lives at Henstridge, Dorset. We are both married but are the last known descendants of
Thomas Leonard Imms.”

I would be so pleased to make contact with Patrick or his family in the hope of learning more of the Imms family history.
Kind Regards.
Zillah Harvey (nee Imms)

Captain Bennett

“Dear Sir,

I have read this article with great interest having just returned from Thiepval Memorial. I can advise that Captain Bennett is actually buried in the Thiepval Anglo French Cemetery at the rear of the memorial so his body must in fact have been recovered and identified, not as stated in your article. I have attached a photograph of the gravestone which is on the front row in a prominent position Grave 1.A.11 immediately behind the memorial.

I hope this information assists you.

Best regards,
Ted Humphreys
Merseyside W.F.A.”

Captain Bennett’s gravestone

George Triggs/Ethel Maria Worsfold History

“George Triggs 28th Feb 1880 – 31 Oct 1914
Ethel Maria Worsfold 8th Feb 1890 – June 1972

Joined the Queens 6405 29th March 1900 (South Africa)
Rejoined 1914 Royal West Surrey The Queens private L/6405
Memin Gates Memorial Ypres 11-13 and 14 Panel
(near the bottom on the right far left)

Ethel Maria Worsfold was born in Merrow Guildford, were she lived most of her life, but for a short time when she lived in River Lane Fetcham. Ethel was born on the 8th February 1890 to William Worsfold and Mary Styles, she was their youngest child.

Ethel Maria Worsfold married George Triggs on the 22nd April 1909. George was the only surviving child of George Triggs and Rose Ricketts, George had a brother William who was born at Send in 1885 but was not to the last the year. George was born in 28th February 1880 in Castle Street Guildford. But Ethel and George were only to have a short time of married life as George went missing presumed dead in 1914. It has been found that he died in Ypres, Belgium. He is now remembered in the War Graves and the date is 31st October 1914 in the 1st Battle of Ypres. He is mentioned on the Menin Gates Arch along with thousands of others who were missing, they are remembered every evening when the traffic is stopped to play the Last Post. It seems that the War dairies were also lost at this time. What must have been his thoughts going off to War leaving his wife and 4 young children, at least he was spared a long war and any further suffering.

George and Ethel Triggs had four children
Ethel Rose born 15th July 1909– died 29th November 1966 Epsom Hospital, lived Fetcham.
George 19th September 1910 – died March 1994 Tetbury Gloucestershire.
Bert 18th April 1913 – died December 1994 High Path Road
Herbert known as Albie or Jack 23rd April 1914 – died Jan 1986 Bournemouth
All 4 children grew up in High Path Road.

Ethel married Henry James T Simpkins 3rd September 1933 at Fetcham. Henry was living with Ethel Triggs in River Lane before he married her daughter Ethel Rose, who was working for a Doctor Box in Lower Road. Henry & Ethel had 3 children Doreen their first born died March 1944 2 other children born at the end & after WW2.
Ethel Rose died 29th November 1966 and Henry in March 1998.

George married Marjorie Harvey from Guernsey and later Esme Painter. He had six sons and one Step-daughter. He moved to Tetbury, Gloucester after WW2, where he was to spend the rest of his days with Esme and his family.

Bert married Kathleen May Hayter and had 3 daughters. Bert and Kathleen lived all their married life in High Path Road, Merrow.

Albie married and went to Bournemouth where he lived with his wife and two children.

Ethel Maria Triggs died June 1972 aged 82, in High Path Road, one of the last words she said to me her granddaughter (Irene) is “I will soon meet my man again” after waiting 58 years . My brother remembers Nan saying she could see Georges house from where she lived so George lived in Merrow at the same time.

Ethel also lost her father when she was 5 months old, as William Worsfold was found drowned at Bowers Lock, Burpham, his cloths found folded at the side of the river, he possibly wished to wash before he went to see his Aunt Fanny Grover living at the Green Man Burpham, but we will never know for sure. Ethel then later lost her husband and like her mother had to bring up her children the best she could without the help they are given today and without a war pension.

Irene Dredge