HORACE ALBERT ABBOTT

He was born in July 1897 in Oxford. His family moved to Enstone, where he worked as a farm labourer.

He joined the Royal Navy as a boy sailor in Portsmouth in August 1913. He trained on HMS Ganges and the Victory shore establishment before joining the Dreadnought battleship HMS Agincourt on 7th August 1914. Serving in patrols and escort duties in the home fleet he was made up to Signaller, then Leading Signaller and was involved in the Battle of Jutland at the end of May 1916.

On 16th November 1916 he joined the light cruiser HMS Calliope and was aboard her when she helped sink 4 German trawler minesweepers in the North Sea off the coast of Jutland. He the joined the pre-Dreadnought battle ship HMS Commonwealth on 8th November 1917 and served with her until 1st August 1919. After a spell at Victory shore base, he served briefly on the cruiser HMS Dublin before being invalided out of the Navy on 5th August 1920.

He married Ida Harris in 1921 and had 2 sons and a daughter, living at 5, Goddards Lane in Chipping Norton. Both his sons served in the Second World War. He died in the town in July 1982 aged 85.


FRANK BETTERIDGE ANDREWS

He was born in Chipping Norton in 1896 and had worked as a builder's labourer before joining the Royal Navy. He signed on at Devonport on 9th October 1912 as a Boy Sailor. After training  on the school ship HMS Impregnable he joined the crew of the King George V dreadnought battleship HMS Ajax on 5th November 1913. He was made an Ordinary Seaman on 14th November, HMS Ajax, below, serving with the 2nd Battle Squadron.

On 15th December the Squadron put to sea , intending to ambush the German ships on their return voyage from bombarding Scarborough. They mustered the six dreadnoughts including Ajax and her sisters King George V and Centurion, and stood with the main body in support of Beatty's four battlecruisers. As the 2nd BS was departing Scapa Flow in the darkness, Ajax collided with a trawler, but suffered no significant damage. The screening forces of each side blundered into each other during the early morning darkness of 16th December in heavy weather. The Germans got the better of the initial exchange of fire, severely damaging several British destroyers, but the commander of the High Seas Fleet, ordered his ships to turn away, concerned about the possibility of a massed attack by British destroyers in the dawn's light. He was made up to Able Seaman before leaving the ship on 25th October 1915.

He then joined Ajax's sister ship HMS Centurion, below, on 23rd January 1916.

On 31st May, Centurion, under the command of Captain Sir Michael Culme-Seymour, took part in the Battle of Jutland. She was the third ship from the head of the battle line after deployment. Centurion was only lightly engaged at Jutland, firing four salvos, totalling 19 armour-piercing shells at the battlecruiser SMS Lützow at 1916 before HMS Orion blocked Centurion's view, failing to hit her target. The rest of her service during the First World War generally consisted of routine patrols and training in the North Sea, with one sortie, an abortive attempt to intercept the German High Fleet in August 1918. She was present at Rosyth, Scotland, when the High Seas Fleet surrendered there on 21st November 1918. AB Andrews left the ship on 10th March 1919.

After a spell ashore he joined the crew of the protected cruiser HMS Highflyer, below, in September 1919, serving on the East India station until March 1921, when she was scrapped.

His last ship was the Revenge class battleship HMS Resolution joining her in January 1924, serving with the Atlantic Fleet, he left her in March 1926 and was discharged to the reserves on 25th November 1926.

He had married Charlotte Barber in Stow on the Wold in 1925, living there and working as a builder's labourer. He died in 1979 aged 81.


PHILIP SAMUEL BEDWIN

He was born in January 1895 to parents Walter and Jane of 13, Rock Hill, Chipping Norton. He worked as a shop assistant and had enlisted in the Chipping Norton company of the 4th (Reserve) Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in January 1913. The Battalion was embodied into the Regular army as the 1st/4th Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry and he arrived in France with them on 29th March 1915. As part of the 48th (South Midland) Division the Battalion was involved in the Battle of Albert, the opening action of The Somme Offensive from 1st July 1916. They took part in the next phase the Battle of Bazentin Ridge on 14th July capturing the village of Ovillers and the Battle of Pozieres Ridge between 23rd July and 7th August. They went on to see action in the last two actions of the Somme Offensive,  the Battle of the Ancre Heights between  1st October and 11th November and the Battle of the Ancre  between 13th and 18th November 1916.

In the Spring of 1917 they cautiously pursued the German Retreat to the Hindenburg Line, in which the Division occupied Peronne. On 16th August to 1917 they took part in the Battle of Langemarck during the Third Battle of Ypres going on to fight in the subsequent actions, the Battle of Polygon Wood, the Battle of Broodseinde and the Battle of Poelcapelle between 26th September and 9th October 1917.

In November 1917, along with the rest of the Division they moved to Italy. On 4th May 1918 he was transferred to The Royal Army Service Corps, as a Private in the mechanised transport section.

HOWARD EDMUND BENFIELD

He was born in Chipping Norton in 1883 to parents Charles and Adelaide Benfield. He worked as a baker and married Annie Tracey in the town in 1906. They had a daughter and two sons, living at Rock Hill.

He joined the Army Service Corps as a baker in the supply division and arrived in France on 30th May 1915. He served there with the 14th Field Bakery until 28th April 1919, rising to sergeant, before returning home for demobilisation from what was then the Royal Army Service Corps. He had been offered his old job back in the Co-op in Chipping Norton, where he worked up to 1961, when he was aged 78. In the Second World War he served as an ARP Warden in the town. He lived at Rock Hill and had been Chairman of Chipping Norton Football Club, Secretary of Chipping Norton pig club and served on the board of directors at the Co-op. He died in 1968 aged 84. 


CLAUDE ALEXANDER BIRTS

He was born in Welling, Kent in 1880 to parents John and Clara Birts. In June 1901 he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 2nd West Kent volunteer battalion based in Plumstead. By 1911 he was living and working as a General House Surgeon at the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford. In 1913 he married Mary Green in Wallingford. After this he moved to 15, Market Street, Chipping Norton where he worked as a medical officer in the Workhouse Infirmary. He left there in 1915 and served throughout the war in The Royal Army Medical Corps as a Lieutenant, arriving in France on 19th October 1916 and rising to temporary Captain by the end of the conflict, and was affected by a gas attack. He returned to his old position in the town and he and Mary had a son and daughter in Chipping Norton. However the cold winters in the town began to affect his health and by 1927 he had moved to Worthing, Sussex working as a GP. He died in there in August 1947 aged 66. 

WILLIAM BUNTING

He was born in Chipping Norton in June 1864. He was working as a painter and decorator when he married Ursula Hone in 1893 and lived at Lodge Terrace. They then ran The Railway Inn in New Street in the town and had eight children together. William had joined the 4th (Territorial) Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry and had risen through the ranks to become a Sergeant by the outbreak of war in 1914 and served on the Home Front. After retiring as a master builder and decorator William and Ursula moved to Royal Leamington Spa. He died in 1948 aged 84. Three of their sons all served as below;

 

HAROLD WILLIAM BUNTING

He was the eldest son of William and Ursula and was born in September 1894 in Chipping Norton. He had worked as a grocer's assistant and during the war he served as a Gunner with the Territorial Royal Field Artillery, serving in France from 1916. He remained in the Territorial Royal Artillery after the war. He married Dorothy Etches in Coventry in 1939 and lived in Royal Leamington Spa. Recalled to service at the outbreak of the Second world War, he was with 113th Light Anti-Aircraft Battery in Warwick. He died in hospital in Leamington in November 1960, aged 66.

DOUGLAS VICTOR BUNTING

He was their second son, born in Chipping Norton in November 1896. At the age of 14 he was working as a lad clerk for the Great Western Railway at Ashperton, Hagley, Newnham Bridge and Shipton, before becoming a senior clerk. He enlisted into  served the Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars, a territorial yeomanry regiment, in September 1914. He joined the 1st/1st QOOH in France on 20th January 1915.

They saw action during the Second Battle of Ypres in September 1915 and in 1917 took part in the First Battle of the Scarpe between 9th and 11th April, a phase of the Arras Offensive. They then took part in actions at Cambrai supporting a tank attack between 20th and 21st November 1917, the capture of Bourlon Wood between 24th and 28th November and fighting the German counterattacks between 30th November and 3rd December. In March 1918 they fought against the German Spring Offensive from The Battle of St Quentin on 21st March and then on the launch of the 100 Days Offensive beginning with the Battle of Amiens in August. On the 10th September 1918 was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant into the Territorial Buckinghamshire Battalion of The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, remaining in the TAs until 1927.

After the war he moved to Worcester and resumed working for the GWR. He then became a civil servant working as an assistant traffic superintendent for the Kenya and Uganda railway board and in 1941 becoming District Traffic Superintendent. He was married to Ivy and had a son Brian and a daughter Rosemary. He died in Cheltenham in December 1976 aged 80.

DONALD FRANCIS BUNTING

He was born in Chipping Norton in November 1898, their third son, the next five children all being daughters. He joined the 2nd/1st Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars on 24th May 1915, giving his age as 19 years and 1 month when he was actually 16 and 1/2. He seemed to struggle with army discipline and was confined to barracks on three separate occasions for failing to obey NCO's orders between January and March 1916. In March 1916 he requested a transfer under King's Regulations para 333 to serve with his elder brother Harold in the Royal Field Artillery. This was granted in June 1916 but it was also discovered he had enlisted under age. He was not allowed to go abroad until he had turned 19 after his birth certificate was sent to the authorities by his mother.

He was sent to France on 21st May 1916 but on 8th March 1917 suffered a shrapnel wound to his left shoulder. He was evacuated home and underwent treatment at Stourbridge General Hospital between 14th March and 21st April 1917. He returned to his unit in France on 17th April 1918. On 16th June 1918 he was again injured this time by the effects of a gas shell. He was evacuated back to Britain and treated for gas poisoning and bronchitis at Mill Road Military Hospital between 19th June and 23rd July 1918. He then was transferred to King's Lancashire Convalescent Hospital in Blackpool and then the 1st Southern General Hospital in Edgbaston. He was passed fit for service on 1st October 1918, serving out the rest of his time at the Royal Artillery Command Depot in Ripon.

After the war he married Dorothy Jones in Leamington Spa in December 1922, working as an assistant engine tester and died in 1976 aged 77.

FREDERICK BURBIDGE

He was born in Chipping Norton on the 14th January 1881, one of nine children to parents of William and Emily Burbidge. His youngest brother Edwin died in 1918 whilst serving with The Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He married Lucy Clara Bacon in Hendon in 1904 and lived at 8, Market Street, Chipping Norton with their four children, where he worked as a house decorator.

Fred joined the Royal Naval Air Service on 22nd June 1917 and after basic training at Crystal Palace and HMS  President 11, a shore based establishment, he served as an aircraftman first class at Airship bases at Pulham near Norwich and Mullion in Cornwall. Fred died in Chipping Norton in 1950 aged 69.

EDWARD TANKERVILLE CHAMBERLAYNE DSO MID

He was born in Weddington, Warwickshire on 21st December 1881, into an aristocratic family that traced its lineage back to William the Conquerer. He was educated at Eton and Christ College Oxford and married Susan Katherine Scott Mackirdy in St Georges, Hanover Square, London in July 1908.  He worked as a barrister in the Inner Temple, living at 269 St James Court, Buckingham Gate in Westminster and had one son John Edward Stanes Chamberlayne. They moved to The Elm, Church Lane, Chipping Norton in 1914.  

He had joined The Warwickshire Yeomanry as a Lieutenant in 1905, progressing to Captain of C Squadron on 16th April, 1910. The 1/1st Warwickshire Yeomanry were mobilized in August 1914, but remained in England until 1915, Edward Chamberlayne being promoted to Major on 11th December 1914. On the 10th April 1915 the 1/1st, as part of the 2nd Mounted Division, sailed from Avonmouth bound for Egypt. The horse transport vessel "Wayfarer" was torpedoed on the following day with the loss of five soldiers, including Private Philip Kerby who worked as a groom for the Chamberlaynes.

Major Edward Chamberlayne sailed on the troopship " Saturnia" (below) arriving safely at  Alexandria on 24th April 1915. 

On the 18th August 1915 they landed at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli, dismounted, and took part in attack on Chocolate Hill and Hill 112 on 21st August of that year. In early September 1915, severe sickness coupled with battle casualties resulted in temporary reorganisation, merging with 1/1st Gloucestershire and 1/1st Worcestershire Yeomanry to form 1st South Midland Regiment, 1st Composite Mounted Brigade. They continued in trench warfare activities in Green Hill and Chocolate Hill sectors until evacuated to Mudros on 31st October 1915, being evacuated to Egypt in December 1915. He was mentioned in dispatches and then awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his service in Gallipoli, gazetted on 3rd June 1916. He was second in command in Egypt before returning home to command the second line Battalion of The Warwickshire Yeomanry.

After the war and during the Second World War he served as a brevet Lieutenant-Colonel, in the Territorial Army, a Deputy Lieutenant of Oxfordshire and a Justice of the Peace. He died in Chipping Norton on 2nd May 1963, aged 81 and is buried in Heythrop churchyard.

Susan Chamberlayne's brother Lieutenant David Scott Mackirdy died in 1918, and is on the Chipping Norton war memorial.

DICK DESMOND ALBERT DAYMOND

He was born in Shoreham, Sussex on 11th October 1896. In 1911 he was recorded as living at 30 West Street, Chipping Norton with his parents and 5 siblings and working as a butcher's errand boy. He was working as a builder's labourer when he enlisted into the Royal Navy as a boy sailor on 1st May 1913, aged 16. He trained at the shore based establishment HMS Ganges until November 1913. He then joined the crew of HMS Hawke, below, an Edgar class cruiser, as part of a training squadron in Queenstown, Ireland until March 1914 when he was posted to the shore based HMS Vivid. 

 On 14th April 1914 he joined HMS London, a Formidable class battleship,below, already made obsolete by the advent of the Dreadnoughts.

He was appointed Ordinary Seaman in October 1914, signing on for 12 years service. Upon the outbreak of war in August 1914, the 5th Battle Squadron was assigned to the Channel Fleet and based at Portland. Their first task was to escort the British Expeditionary Force across the English Channel. The squadron transferred to Sheerness on 14th November 1914 to guard against a possible German invasion. While there HMS London was present when HMS Bulwark exploded and her crew joined in the attempts to rescue survivors. The enquiry into the explosion was held aboard HMS London. The squadron returned to Portland on 30th December 1914.

On 19th March 1915 she sailed for Lemnos, joining the British Squadron for service in the Dardanelles Campaign arriving on 23rd March, and supporting the main landings at Gaba Tape and Anzac Cove on 25 April 1915. After this London, along with battleships HMS Implacable, HMS Queen and HMS Prince of Wales transferred to the 2nd Detached Squadron, organised to reinforce the Italian Navy in the Adriatic Sea in the war on Austria-Hungary . She was based at Taranto in  Italy and underwent a refit at Gibraltar in October 1915. In October 1916 she returned home and was paid off at Devonport Dockyard and laid up.

From 27th October 1916 until 25th January 1917 he was at HMS Vivid I, signals shore establishment at Devonport before joining HMS Lochinvar, a Laforey class torpedo destroyer and he served on her until the 25th November 1917 in the waters around Britain. He was attached to various depot ships,  HMS Dido at Harwich, HMS Attentive II at Dover, HMS Hecla at Lough Swill in County Donegal and HMS Apollo in Devonport.

From 26th November 1917 until 10th February 1918 he was back at HMS Vivid in Devonport. He then joined HMS Walker, below, a W class destroyer, on 11th February, and being attached to the depot ships HMS Blake and HMS Greenwich at Scapa Flow and HMS Columbine at Queensferry in Edinburgh.

He was appointed Leading Seaman in October 1918. He was aboard Walker when she took part in the campaign against Bolshevik forces in the Baltic Sea during 1919, seeing action against Russian warships. From May 1919 she participated in a blockade of Bolshevik warships in Kronstadt and suffered two hits from the battleship Petropavlovsk during an attempted breakout by the Bolshevik fleet. HMS Walker arrived home on 8th December 1920.

A further spell at HMS Vivid followed until he joined HMS Revenge, below, lead ship of the Revenge class battleships, on 9th January 1921, part of the British Atlantic Fleet.

He was promoted to Petty Officer in April 1921. The following year Revenge, with her sister ships Ramillies, Resolution and Royal Sovereign were sent to the Mediterranean due to tensions in the area, partly due to the forced abdication of King Constantine I of Greece. She was stationed at Constantinople and the Dardanelles  throughout her deployment. She rejoined the Atlantic Fleet in 1922. PO Daymond left Revenge on 22nd May 1924.

He then served on HMS Thunderer, the last remaining Orion class battleship, which had been decommissioned in 1921 and was serving as a sea-going cadet training ship. He was with her until November 1924. He next served on HMS Delhi, a Danae class cruiser between 18th November 1924 and 27th June 1927.

After a brief spell with the C class cruiser HMS Caradoc he joined the crew of HMS Whirlwind, a W class destroyer on 15th December 1927. He served with her until 3rd January 1928 attached to HMS Carysfort, flagship of the Devonport reserve. On 4th September that year he joined HMS Emerald, below, lead ship of the Emerald class of light cruiser. She was serving in the East Indies as part of 4th Cruiser Squadron, returning home on 15th July 1933.

His next ship was the light-cruiser HMS Carlisle, below, and he served with her on the African station as part of the 6th Cruiser Squadron and was promoted to Chief Petty Officer.  In June 1936 he returned home to Chipping Norton from Durban, travelling on the liner Carnarvon Castle. 

As of yet the rest of his service is not known. He ended up living in the Kensington area of London and died there in September 1963 aged 66.

JOHN WILLIAM DIXON

He was born in Chipping Norton on 9th March 1888, living in Whitehouse Lane with his grandfather, mother Rosina and siblings. 

He had been working as a factory boy when he joined the Royal Navy in July 1903, aged 15, as a boy 2nd class. After spells on training ships HMS Impregnable and Lion and shore based establishments he joined the crew of the gunship HMS Bramble, below, on 30th January 1906.

Built in 1898, the four ships of this class were notable as the final development of the Victorian gunboat tradition, and for being one of the last classes of warship designed to travel under sail. The small dimensions and shallow draught of the Bramble class were designed to facilitate navigation on the complex coastlines and great rivers of Africa, South Asia and the Far East. He was made an Ordinary Seaman in March 1906 and Able Seamen in April 1907, whilst serving aboard her on the China station.

Leaving her in March 1908 he spent time on board the cruiser HMS Royal Arthur, the Victory shore establishment and the training ship HMS Nelson. On 7th August 1909 he joined HMS Topaze, a protected cruiser built in 1902, and serving with the Channel Fleet until January 1911. In 1910 he had married Lillian Ward in Portsmouth, they had lodgings in Southsea. He joined the crew of HMS Superb on 30th May 1911, serving on her until May 1913. HMS Superb, below, was only the fourth Dreadnought type battleship in the world. 

He was made up to Leading Seaman in June 1913. On 21st August 1913 he joined the battleship HMS Audacious, part of the 2nd Battle Squadron of the Grand Fleet based at Lough Swilly in Ireland. On 27th October 1914 Audacious, along with seven other "super-dreadnoughts" left the Lough to conduct gunnery exercises off the Isle of Mull. At o845 whilst executing a turn Audacious went over a mine, laid off Tory Island, off the Irish Coast. The engine rooms began flooding and a list to port of about 15 degrees developed. The Captain, thinking that the ship had been attacked by a submarine hoisted the submarine warning and in accordance with instructions the rest of the squadron steamed away to safety. With the starboard engine still functioning the ship could make 9 knots and it was hoped she could make landfall. At 1000, the decision was taken to abandon the central engine room, but water was also rising in the starboard engine room, so that engine too was stopped. By 1100, the central turbine was submerged and the port side deck was dipping under water as the ship rolled to that side. 

The light cruiser Liverpool stood by, while Audacious broadcast distress signals by wireless. The Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Fleet, Sir John Jellicoe, ordered every available destroyer and tug out to assist, but did not dare send out battleships to tow  because of the apparent submarine threat. Meanwhile, the White Star liner Olympic, sister of the Titanic arrived on the scene. All non-essential crew were ordered off, boats from Liverpool and Olympic assisting, so that only 250 men remained by 1400. 

At 1330, the captain of Olympic suggested that his ship attempt to take Audacious in tow, and with the assistance of the destroyer Fury, a tow line was passed within 30 minutes. The ships began moving toward Lough Swilly, but Audacious was so unmanageable that the tow line parted. Liverpool and the collier Thornhill attempted to take the battleship in tow, but to no avail. By 1600, the forward deck was 4 feet above water, while the stern had no more than 1 foot clearance.

Vice-Admiral Sir Lewis Bayly, commander of the 1st Battle Squadron, arrived on the scene in the boarding vessel Cambria and took over the rescue operation. With dark approachingthe remaining men on Audacious  were taken off at 1915. As the quarterdeck flooded, the ship's whaler broke loose and, slithering across the deck, caused further damage to hatches and ventilators, leading to rapid flooding of the stern. At 2045, with the decks underwater, the ship heeled sharply, paused, and then capsized. The ship floated upside down with the bow raised until 2100, when an explosion occurred throwing wreckage 300 feet into the air, followed by two more. The explosion appeared to come from the area of B magazine and was possibly caused by high-explosive shells falling from their racks and exploding, then igniting the cordite magazine. A piece of armour plate fell on and killed a Petty Officer on Liverpool, which was 800 yards away. This was the only casualty in  connecting with the sinking.

After a spell ashore his next ship was the newly commissioned light cruiser HMS Comus, aboard which he served from July 1915 to January 1916. On 20th January 1916 he joined the Orion class battleship HMS Monarch, below.

At the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916, Monarch's first action occurred at 1833 when she sighted five German battleships. She fired three salvos scoring a hit on SMS Konig herself. At 1914 she then sighted the German cruiser SMS Lutzow and fired 5 salvos, claiming a straddle of hits. this was effectively the end of the battle for HMS Monarch, suffering no injuries or damage. The rest of her war was mainly engaged in sweeps and patrols of the North Sea. He left the ship on 27th February 1917, serving ashore until May 1917. On 25th May he was time expired and was enrolled in the Royal Fleet Reserve and served for the rest of the war on Defensively Armed Merchant Ships. He joined the crew of HMS Canada, a super-dreadnought battleship on 17th September 1917 being promoted to Petty Officer on 1st February 1920 and leaving her in July that year.

THOMAS DRING

He was  born in Ledstone near Enstone in February 1889 to parents James and Harriet Dring, later moving to Spring Street in Chipping Norton. In January 1906 he joined the Great Western Railway, initially as a cleaner at Oxford and then as a locomotive fireman. On 11th January 1909 he enlisted into the Royal Navy in Devonport. After training as a stoker he joined the Majestic class pre-Dreadnought battleship HMS Hannibal, below, in April 1909, becoming a Stoker 1st class in January 1910.

In March 1910 he joined the St Vincent class Dreadnought battleship HMS Vanguard and served aboard her until January 1911. His next ship was another Dreadnought, HMS Bellerophon, below, joining her crew in February 1911 and being made acting Leading Stoker on board.

His next ship was HMS Temeraire, sister ship to the Bellerophon, he served with her from July 1913 to June 1915. He was ashore until 1st February 1916 when he joined the newly commissioned HMS Revenge, the lead ship of the Revenge class of super-Dreadnoughts, below.

On entering service, the ship was assigned to the 6th Division of the 1st Battle Squadron, Grand Fleet, along with the battleships Marlborough (the divisional and squadron flagship), Hercules, and Agincourt. On 31st May 1916 the ship was involved in the Battle of Jutland. In an attempt to lure out and destroy a portion of the Grand Fleet, the German High Seas Fleet with 16 dreadnoughts, six pre-dreadnoughts, six light cruisers and 31 torpedo boats set sail early on the morning of 31st along with five battlecruisers and supporting cruisers and torpedo boats. The Royal Navy's Room 40 had intercepted and decrypted German radio traffic containing plans of the operation. The Admiralty ordered the Grand Fleet of 28 dreadnoughts and 9 battlecruisers, to sortie the night before to cut off and destroy the High Seas Fleet.On the day of the battle, Revenge and the rest of the 6th Division, 1st BS were stationed toward the rear of the British line.

The initial action was fought primarily by the British and German  battlecruiser formations in the afternoon, but by 1800 the Grand Fleet approached the scene.The German fleet quickly came into range and many British ships began to engage them starting at 1817. The British ships initially had poor visibility and Revenge waited several minutes before opening fire at 1822, her target during this period is unclear, and she may have engaged the crippled cruiser SMS Wiesbaden, the German battle line, or both. She fired intermittently for seventeen minutes and made no hits in the haze.

At 1909, Revenge was forced to turn away to avoid a torpedo, she then engaged the battlecruiser Derfflinger. Her first salvo  this fell over but Revenge's gunlayers quickly brought the range down to 10,200 yards  and straddled Derfflinger with their second salvo. With the range found, Revenge quickly scored five hits before shifting fire to the battlecruiser Von der Tann, since other battleships were concentrating their fire on Derfflinger. Two of the hits on Derfflinger disabled her aft turrets; the other three caused less significant damage, with one of them passing through a funnel without exploding. Revenge hit Von der Tann once near her aft conning tower at 1919, doing minor damage.

Revenge had to turn away again at 1935 to avoid a pair of torpedoes. Revenge saw no further contact with German forces, in large part due to torpedo damage incurred by the squadron flagship, Marlborough, that forced the ship to slow significantly. Revenge and the other two ships finally rejoined the fleet at 19:25 on the way back to Scapa Flow.

In the course of the battle, Revenge had fired 102 rounds from her main battery, all of which were of the armour-piercing, capped variety. She also fired 87 rounds from her secondary guns. She was not hit by any fire during the engagement. Thomas Dring was promoted to Petty Officer (Stoker) on 1st April 1917. Revenge saw no further action during the last two years of the war but on 21st November was involved in escorting the German Grand Fleet into internment after the Armistice. He married Elsie Scarsbrook in Gloucester in January 1919 and  was demobilised into the Reserves in December 1919.

He returned to Chipping Norton where he ran a general goods shop in London Road. 

ALBERT KEEN

He was born in Chipping Norton in 1881 to parents Walter and Edith Keen, one of five sons. They lived at 70 Finsbury Place, New Street and before joining the Army Albert had worked as a general labourer and carter.

He was attested into the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry on 4th December 1915 aged 35, and mobilized on 4th April 1916 at Cowley Barracks. He was posted to a base depot in France on 10th July 1916 and then transferred to the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment on 27th August 1916. He was reported missing in action on 4th May 1917 during the Second Battle of Bullecourt, when the British attacked German defences near the city of Arras. He was later reported as being held as a Prisoner of War at Limburg camp near Cologne. He was released on 11th January 1919 and repatriated, being demobilized on 21st March 1919.

He died, the following year, in June 1920 aged 40. His youngest brother Ernest died of sickness whilst serving with the Hampshire Regiment on 1st November 1918.

WILLIAM RALPH HOVARD

He was born in May 1893, the son of Ralph and Anne Hovard. His father was an innkeeper and butcher at the George Inn in New Street. William also became a butcher and he also joined the Yeomanry unit, The Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars as a Trooper in March 1912. 

In 1914, after only a month's training, the regiment received a telegram from the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, instructing them to prepare for immediate embarkation. They were to join the Naval Brigade which he was sending to Flanders to prevent a German advance towards the Channel ports. After landing in France on 14th September 1914, The 1st/1st Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars became the first Territorial unit to see action. It was typical of Churchill's enthusiasm for amateur soldiering that he should have thought up this plan for his old yeomanry regiment, in which his younger brother, Jack Churchill, was then serving. The regiment soon hardened to the realities of war. Although disparagingly nicknamed by men of the regular army 'Queer Objects On Horseback' or 'agricultural cavalry', the QOOH took part in many actions from Ypres in 1914 to Amiens and the final advance in 1918, winning battle honours and the lasting respect of their fellow members of the 2nd Cavalry Division. During the First Battle of Ypres his parents at the George Inn, New Street, Chipping Norton, received the following postcard from their son on 4th November 1914.

"Just a card to let you know I am all right, and that all our boys are well. We have had a hot time, but only lost two and a few wounded. Sorry to tell you one was our leader. It’s terrible out here with people being shelled from their homes. It’s awful to see them hurrying away, some pushing old women on trucks, and wounded soldiers. I have been in the field in the trenches. I am proud to tell you we have had good praise for sticking.” Rumours have been current of several local men of the QOOH. being wounded, but they are of a conflicting nature." (Courtesy of Dougas Rudlin)

As such it was one of only six yeomanry regiments to be posted to a regular cavalry division in the war. As cavalry they spent frustrating periods waiting in readiness to push on through the gap in the enemy's line, which never came. They toiled in working parties bringing up supplies, digging defensive positions, suffering the discomforts of appalling conditions, and frequently dismounting to fight fierce engagements on foot and in the trenches themselves.

William Hovard served with QOOH throughout the war and was disembodied back to a Territorial on 19th February 1919. His younger brother Frederick also served on the Western Front as a Sapper with the Royal Engineers.

In spring 1923 he married Ellen Mount in Romford  and they lived at 41, New Street, Chipping Norton where he worked as a Butchery Manager. he died in September 1971 aged 78.


HENRY JAMES MALPASS

He was born in Ebley, Gloucestershire in 1886 and moved with his parents Arthur and Emmie Malpass to Chipping Norton. He was the elder brother of Leonard and William, below, and had worked as an engineer's clerk. In March 1913 he married Eva Horwood in Chipping Norton, they lived at 35, The Leys and had two daughters. On 1st February 1917 he was conscripted into the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry but was medically classed as C1, fit for home service only. On 5th August 1917 he was transferred to 640th Home Service Employment Company. Based in Oxford the company carried out a wide range of duties vital to the war effort. In September 1917 he was posted to 639 Company in Banbury and was made a Lance Corporal. He was discharged on 8th February 1919. 

After the war he lived in Oxford where he was a director and sales manager of an automobile engineering company. He served in the Royal Observer Corps in the Second World War. He died in June 1965 aged 79.

LEONARD LINDSAY WILLIAM MALPASS

He was born in Chipping Norton in 1895 to parents Arthur and Emmy Malpass of 13, Alfred Terrace, one of five children. They later moved to the Leys and at 15 he was working as a mill hand. He had joined the 4th (ReserveBattalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in December 1913 and promoted to acting Sergeant. He transferred to the 1st/4th Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry being posted to France on the 29th March 1915. He was transferred to the Machine Gun Corps and was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his actions, whilst serving as a Corporal, on 21st January 1918, during a German attack at Loos. His citation reads:

"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He took charge of three machine guns in an attack after an officer became a casualty and got them into action, conflicting heavy casualties on the enemy. Later, he also took charge of the guns on his flank and organised a defensive line. He brought a captured enemy gun into action in addition to his own, and also recovered two guns whose teams had become causalities. He showed great initiative and determination throughout"

He was promoted to acting then full sergeant shortly after this. Len was demobilised on 19th February 1919 and returned to Chipping Norton, working as a haulage contractor. He married Alice Padley in Chipping Norton 1921. On 17th August 1923 he sailed for Canada on his own to take on the running of his late uncle's farm. He returned in 1928 and  moved to Haberton in Devon with his wife, where he was a self employed nurseryman and a part-time worker at the sewerage plant. In the Second World War he served in the Air Raid Protection utility and rescue unit. He returned to Chipping Norton and died in the town in 1975 aged 79.

WILLIAM ALEXANDER MALPASS

He was the younger brother of Henry and Leonard, above, having been born in March 1899. He worked as a solicitor's clerk before enlisting into the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry on 29th April 1917. On 17th April 1918 he was transferred to the newly formed Royal Air Force and selected for pilot training. However the war was over before he could see any action and he was discharged to the reserves on 19th April 1919. He married Hilda Stancombe in Devon in 1925. They lived in Coventry where he was Chief Progress Clerk at a motor manufactures also serving as a Air Raid Protection warden at the plant during the Second World War. He died in Newton Abbott in 1971 aged 72.

 

EDWARD PHILIP MARGETTS

He born in 1883 to parents Philip and Martha Margetts of 15, Disions Lane. He had married Ellen Shepard in 1911. He was working as a house painter when on 12th October 1914 he enlisted into 2nd/1st Territorial Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, aged 32. He joined the 2nd/4th Battalion in France on 12th February 1917. In the spring of 1917  the Germans made a strategic withdrawal to pre-prepared defences on the Hindenburg Line. His Battalion were involved in the cautious pursuit of the Germans, who destroyed everything in their path and left numerous booby traps.

They then went on to fight in The Battle of Langemarck between 16th and 18th August 1917.  Private Margetts suffered a gunshot wound to his right upper arm on 10th September 1917 whilst assaulting positions on Hill 35 near St Julien. After treatment in the 1st South African General Hospital in Abbeville he re-joined his Battalion on 18th January 1918. He was granted leave home on 31st January returning to his unit on 15th February 1918. His Battalion were then involved in fighting the German Spring Offensive from 21st March 1918. Boosted by troops released from the Eastern Front by the surrender of Russia, German storm troopers advanced some 40 miles across the old Somme Battlefield in an attempt to influence the outcome of the war before the Americans arrived in numbers. Private Margetts was again wounded, by shrapnel to his left hand and ear. He was treated in the 6th General Hospital in Rouen, before being evacuated to the UK on the troopship Viper before receiving further treatment in Huddersfield. On recovery he served on the home front until being demobilised in February 1919 and awarded a disability pension. He returned to Chipping Norton, living at Rock Hill and died in the town in 1964 aged 81.

His younger brother Harold was killed in action in 1917.

ERNEST MORRIS

He was born in May 1897, one of 10 children to parents Albert and Ellen Morris of 58, Rock Hill, Chipping Norton and worked as an errand boy. He added an "s" to his name to enlist into 4th (Reserve) Battalion The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry as Private Ernest Morriss whilst underage. He joined the 1st battalion in France before being transferred to the 2nd Battalion, The Leicestershire Regiment. His older brother Len also served with the Ox & Bucks. After the war he married Hilda Higgs in Chipping Norton in 1922. They lived at 34, Albion Street and he worked as a heavy lorry driver, also serving with the Chipping Norton Auxiliary Fire Brigade as an engineer. He died in 1983 aged 86.

LEONARD MORRIS

He was born in July 1896, one of 10 children to parents Albert and Ellen Morris of 58, Rock Hill, Chipping Norton and worked as an errand boy. He joined  the 4th (Reserve) Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry as a Private in February 1914. He was sent to France on 28th June 1915 and joined "D" Company, the 1st/4th Battalion, The Ox and Bucks in the field. He was wounded in action by a shell on 22nd April 1916 whilst in the trenches at Hebuterne. He was treated in hospital and returned to his unit. His Battalion were involved in the Battle of Albert, the opening action of the Battle of the Somme on 1st July 1916. However on 2nd July 1916 he was taken out of the line suffering with an abscess on his back. He was treated at a base hospital and on recovery joined 2nd/4th Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Bucks.

In Spring 1917 the 2nd/4th were involved in the cautious pursuit of the Germans as they withdrew to formidable pre-prepared defences on the Hindenburg Line. On 28th April 1917 he took part on a raid on an enemy trench at Fayet near St Quentin in which his Company Sergeant Major, Edward Brooks, won the VC. On 22nd August 197 they were involved in the Battle of Langemarck, a phase of the Third Battle of Ypres and in September made an unsuccessful attempt to take Hill 35 near Ypres. After this they moved to Arrass and then Cambrai where the battled against German counter attacks in the area.

From 21st March 1918 they fought against the German Spring Offensive and suffered heavy casualties as they fought a fighting retreat to the gates of Amiens. The remnants were moved north to what had been a quieter part of the line on the La Bassee Canal near Bethune. Unfortunately it was near where the Germans launched the second phase of their offensive on 9th April 1918. The Battalion became involved and many casualties were incurred. After this the Battalion was rebuilt and took part in the Final Advance into Picardy in October and ended the war near Cambrai. Demobilisation began in January 1919.

He returned to Chipping Norton after the war, marrying Annie Pither in 1920. They lived at 17, London Road where he worked as a carman, he served as an Air Protection Warden in the Second World War. He died in the town in 1970 aged 74.

FRANCIS HENRY MOULDER

He was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1876 moving to Chipping Norton with his mother shortly after. In 1902 he married Emily Smith in Aston and were living at 76 West Street in Chipping Norton and working as a general labourer. He was also a part-time soldier and served 10 years with the 4th (Reserve) Battalion of The Oxfordshire Light Infantry. On the 12th October 1914, aged 40, he was attested and embodied into Othexfordshire National Reserve. He served on the Home Front firstly with No 1 Company, 4th (Reserve) Battalion of The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry then on to 256 Company, the Royal Defence Company in April 1916, the 18th Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment and 615 Labour Corps. Army officialdom lost track of him and when preparing for his demob they had to write to him to confirm where he was and where he had been. He was demobilized at Fovant, Wiltshire on the 18th March 1919. He returned to the town where he worked at the sewage works, living at 76, West Street. He died in Chipping Norton in 1950 aged 75.

FRANK BENJAMIN MOULDER 

Hewas born in Over Norton in 1886, one of twelve children of Henry and Susan of Over Norton. He married Florence Coombes in Chipping Norton on 8th January 1910. They lived in Over Norton where he worked as a stonemason and had a son and a daughter. His elder brother Frederick was killed in action in October 1914.

He attested on 11th December 1915 and put on the reserve list. On 24th May 1916 he applied for exemption from service, but at a hearing on the 7th June this was refused although a temporary exemption to 19th June was granted. He was mobilized into No 2 Works Company of the Devonshire Regiment at Exeter on 7th July 1916. He served in the Labour Corps on the Home Front until 5th March 1919, when he was discharged as unfit for further service. He was suffering from myalgia, sciatica of the leg and rheumatism of the heels, all aggravated by war service, and awarded a pension of 2 shillings and 4d a week. He returned to Over Norton where he worked as a stonemason. He died in 1955 aged 69.

SAMUEL MOULDER

He was born in Over Norton in 1878, one of seven children of William and Eliza of Over Norton. He married Mary Hardwicke in Chipping Norton on 20th October 1903. They lived in Over Norton where he worked as a general handyman at Over Norton park. They had three sons and two daughters between 1903 and 1915.

He enlisted on the 11th December 1915, aged 37, at Oxford and mobilised on 12th July 1916, initially into the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, but due to defective eyesight and hearing was posted to 164 Company, the 13th Labour Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment. He served in France between 19th September 1916 and 8th August 1917. He returned home to be discharged from the Army on 6th July 1917, suffering from pre-senile cataracts. However in July 1918 he was ordered back for a further re-examination as part of a review into soldiers discharged with disabilities. He returned to Over Norton and worked on the estate there. He died in 1956 in Chipping Norton aged 77.

ALBERT JOSEPH NASON

He was born in 1881 to parents William and Alice Nason of 22, Albion Street, Chipping Norton. He married Louisa Steventon on 7th July 1906 and had a son Albert, born in 1907 and lived at 2, Coneygree Terrace in the town, working as a foreman at a glove factory. He enlisted into The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry at Cowley on 11th December 1915, aged 30. He served on the Home Front in the 9th (Reserve) Battalion, being promoted to Lance-Corporal in November 1918. He was demobilized on 28th January 1919. His older brother Mowbray was killed in action in March 1918 whilst serving with the Ox & Bucks. Albert Nason died in 1961 aged 78.

WILLIAM ALEXANDER NORRIS, DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT MEDAL, MILITARY MEDAL, MENTIONED IN DESPATCHES

He served as a Sergeant Major 1st class in the 1st Battalion, The Cheshire Regiment. He had enlisted into the Cheshires in April 1907 and arrived with the 1st Battalion in  France on 16th August 1914. They took part in all the major engagements of 1914 including the Battle of Mons and the subsequent retreat, the Battles of the Marne and Aisne when the German advance was halted and repelled and the First Battle of Ypres. In January 1915 he was treated in No2 General Hospital in Le Havre for myalgia, or musle pain, commonly  caused by the overuse or over-stretching of a muscle or group of muscles. He spent 8 days in hospital and then time in a convalescent camp before returning to his unit. In 1915 the Battalion was engaged in the Second Battle of Ypres when Company Sergeant Major Norris won the Distinguished Conduct Medal. The citation reads:

“for conspicuous gallantry on 7th May 1915, near Hill 60 (in the Ypres salient), when he voluntarily left a trench crawled over an open space under an accurate fire from the enemy, and dragged in a wounded man. Later in the day he gallantly went out again and brought in a wounded officer, in spite of fire from numerous snipers”


He went on to serve in the Labour Corps then as a sergeant clerk in the Royal Flying Corps and the RAF, and was mentioned in despatches. 

He was born in 1889 in Milton Regis in Kent and his only connection with Chipping Norton would seem to be that he died here, in the Chequers Inn in 1944 aged 55, whilst working as an aerodrome warden at RAF Chipping Norton. He is buried in Chipping Norton Cemetery.

CHARLES ARTHUR PARSONS

He was born in Chipping Norton in 1883, the son of James and Lucy Parsons. He was working as a bottler in the brewery when he enlisted into the 16th(The Queens) Lancers in London on 18th October 1899, giving his date of birth as 1879. He had previously served in the 6th Territorial Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, but had brought himself out. Signing on for 7 years in the colours and 5 in the reserves, he served at home until 12th June 1900. The Battalion was then sent to South Africa The regiment landed at Cape Colony in January 1900 for service in the Second Boer War and took part in the relief of Kimberley in February 1900. He returned to England on 10th November 1904 and served at home until 19th November 1906, when he was transferred into the reserve 8th Cavalry Regiment.

In May 1907 he joined the Great Western Railway as a porter at Chipping Norton Station, being promoted to a carman, delivering goods to houses and businesses, in July 1908. In November 1908 he married Louisa Watts in Colchester, they settled at 3, Alfred Terrace in Chipping Norton and had two daughters. On 7th August 1914 he was mobilized and posted to the 16th Lancers, arriving with them in France on 25th August 1914. As part of the 2nd Cavalry Division they saw action in the Battle of the Aisne and phases of the First Battle of Ypres. On 10th November 1914 he returned home, posted back to the 8th Reserve Cavalary Regiment, based in Curragh, Ireland. On 3rd March 1916 he was appointed Lance Corporal and on 12th July suffered a dislocated thumb when he fell in the stables. On 3rd August 1916 he was posted back to the 16th Hussars in France, but his surviving records end there. The 16th Hussars served in a dismounted role in all the major engagements on the Western Front. He was demobilized on 1st March 1919 and transferred back to the reserves.

After the war he lived at 71, The Leys and worked as a Railway Porter at Chipping Norton Station. He died in January 1953 aged 69 and is buried in the town cemetery.

ARTHUR PEARCE

He was born in 1870 in Lambeth and was working as a letter sorter when he enlisted with the 12th Hussars on 24th January 1890. He served in England until 21st October 1899, gaining his musketry certificate, appointed corporal in March 1893 and full sergeant in December 1896. He was then was posted to South Africa to fight in the Boer War. He served there until 31st August 1902 when he returned home. He was involved in the Battles of Paardeberg, Driefontein, Johannesburg, Diamond Hill, Wittebergen and the relief of Kimberley. He was awarded the King's South African clasps 1901 and 02. He remained in England until 5th January 1903, marrying Louisa Emily Faulkner in Lambeth, in October 1902, they had four daughters together, Agnes, Louisa, Nellie and Grace.

He was posted to India arriving at Umballa station on 6th March 1903. On 22nd October 1904 he contracted malaria and spent a week in hospital and this led to him eventually returning home on 24th January 1905. On 1st March 1905 he was attached to the Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars, his family was then living in Chipping Norton, and was promoted to Squadron Sergeant Major in May 1905. 

He was serving in the 1/1st Battalion when it landed at Dunkirk on 19th September 1914 to help defend the Channel ports and was in the first Territorial unit to embark and see action. The QOOH were involved in the Battles of Messines and Armentieres in 1914 and the first and second Battles of Ypres in 1915. Arthur was appointed acting Regimental Sergeant Major in the field on 1st October 1914. His time in action came to an end on 3rd April 1916 when he was evacuated from the front by field ambulance, suffering from chronic bronchitis, and was taken, via various casualty clearing stations, to No 4 General Hospital in Camiers, arriving on 25th April. On the 4th May 1916 he was transferred home on the Hospital Ship "St Andrew" and admitted to No 5 General Hospital in London now also suffering from malaria. He was discharged from hospital on 2nd June. After his recovery he had several postings in reserve cavalry battalions before joining the Labour Corps until his discharge on 17th December 1918 under GRO 146 (over 41 years old). His character was described by his last Commanding Officer as "exemplary".  He had served his country for over 28 years and went on to join the Yeoman of the Guard. He died in Banbury on the 8th May 1942 aged 72.

A LETTER FROM ARTHUR PEARCE'S DAUGHTER GRACE WRITTEN IN 2013

"My father was born on 17th April 1870.  He joined the 12th Royal Lancers and fought with them in the Boer War, keeping the same horse throughout. 

On returning to England he married my wonderful mother.  Shortly afterwards he had to supervise a shipload of wives travelling to India, replacing a man who had been court-martialled for starving his horses and selling their food.  He was posted to India where he steadily put things right as he loved horses but after a few years caught malaria and it was feared he would die in India, so he was sent home. 

When he was fit enough he took charge of the Oxfordshire Yeomanry – he then lived in Chipping Norton.  At the outbreak of war they were among the first to cross the Channel.  Their duty was to set out at daylight and return at dark to make the enemy think they had more troops there than they did.

One day the Germans found their range.  My father ordered the men to dismount and lead their horses round the perimeter of a field.  He lost neither men nor horses and was nicknamed “The Major” following this incident!.

One time when he was on rest leave he was looking for somewhere to get something to eat and came across a cafe run by women from England.  Asking for his meal, he was told snootily that 'only officers were served here'.  A voice from behind called out that my father was his guest – it was an officer he knew so he was able to eat!

Then they had to give up their horses and man the trenches.  Unfortunately I do not have much information about where he was sent in the trenches.  They suffered gas attacks and were ordered to urinate on their woollen socks and wrap them round their faces.  Those who could not bring themselves to do this suffered badly.

Life in the trenches was horrific.  He told stories of how friends and fellow soldiers were killed and wounded by the enemy.  One day he was hit by an enemy bullet but luckily he was wearing his watch and the bullet bounced off it.  Without the watch he would have been killed – the watch did not survive!

My father managed to survive the rest of the war.  He returned home to Banbury and having the correct height, girth and military service became a Yeoman of the Guard of the King's Bodyguard."

GEORGE HENRY ROBINSON

He was born in Bloxham in 1876 and on 3rd May 1899 married Florrie Wellstood and had three children together. They moved to 25 New Street, Chipping Norton, where  he worked as baker, and on 16th August 1915, aged 39, enlisted into The Army Service Corps. He went to Aldershot for basic training, and also had his skills tested at the ASC bakery, being proven to be a 3rd hand baker. He embarked at Southampton on 31st August 1915, aboard the PS Empire Queen, for Le Havre. After time in base camp he was posted to the 4th Field Bakery on 14th September 1915. Each infantry division had it’s own field bakery staffed by one officer and ninety-two men and produced bread for up to 20,000 men. He was hospitalised for 15 days in March 1916, suffering from measles and then posted to 6th Field Bakery on 2nd September 1916.  He returned home on leave between 4th and 22nd January 1917, and was awarded 1st good conduct badge on 16th August 1917. He was posted to the 15th Field Bakery lastly, before being posted home on 29th October 1918, being demobilised on 24th May 1919. He returned to the town and died there in 1962 aged 85. 


JOHN CLEMENT RUSSELL MILITARY CROSS

He was born in 1888 in Kensington, London and was a medical student at London Hospital when war broke out. He was commissioned into the Royal Field Artillery on 5th October 1914, arriving in France on 9th July 1915 as part of 15th Divisional Artillery. He was gazetted the Military Cross on 3rd June 1916 whilst a temporary Lieutenant. In 1917 he was promoted to Captain and finished the war as an acting Major. In March 1917 he was wounded in action and evacuated to Britain, being treated at the Queen Alexandra's Military Hospital At Millbank, London between 2nd and 12th March.

He returned to his studies after the war and qualified as a doctor in 1919. He worked as a house surgeon and physician at London Hospital until becoming a GP in Chipping Norton in 1925. He died in Chipping Norton in September 1969 aged 81.

WILLIAM ERNEST SCARSBROOK

He was born in Chipping Norton in August 1893, the eldest son of Ernest and Elizabeth Scarsbrook of King Edward Street. He had worked as a builder's labourer and also served in the volunteer battalion of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. He moved to Nechells in Birmingham where he worked as a railway crane hand and enlisted into the Army Service Corps in Handsworth on 20th October 1914. He initially signed on for year in the Territorial North Midlands Division as a Driver in the Horse Transport Train. 

On 4th March 1915 he embarked onto the SS Georgian at Southampton and arrived at Le Havre the following day. As part of the 46th Division they were based in the Ypres Salient. On 28th June 1915 he was granted leave home and married Hilda Harris in Nechells before returning to the front in early July. On 1st July the Division took part in an attack on Gommecourt north of the Somme, a diversionary action for the launch of the Somme Offensive. He was posted into the regular ASC on 1st September 1916 and given leave home between 13th and 23rd December 1916.

1917 found the Division in cautious pursuit of the Germans as they withdrew from the Somme area to pre-prepared positions on the Hindenburg Line. They were then in action in and around the Arras area. On 24th December 1917 Driver Scarsbrook had been given leave home. He was waiting to proceed in the village of Bethune when he was caught up in a German air raid. A bomb exploded on the road where he was standing knocking him to the ground where he struck his head. He continued to England but on 8th January 1918 he was admitted to the 1st Southern General Hospital in Edgebaston, Birmingham suffering from shell shock. His medical report stated that he was in a very high strung condition, suffered from severe tremors, could not speak properly and suffered from bad dreams, waking in terror. He was discharged from the Army on 22nd August 1918 as being no longer fit for war service. His medical report describes him as being in a very highly strung state, very tremulous and unable to speak clearly. He suffered from bad dreams and would awake in terror and from headaches and dizziness. After being discharged he returned home to Nechells. He was awarded the Silver Badge, given to soldiers discharged through wounds or sickness, to be worn on civilian clothing as a mark of their service.

William Scarsbrook made a full recovery despite having a plate inserted into his head. He eventually moved back to Chipping Norton, where he lived at 58, Rock Hill and working as a bricklayer. He had 8 children and four of his sons served during the Second World War. He died in 1998 aged 95.


THE SHADBOLT BROTHERS 

The brothers were four of the twelve children of John Thomas and Emma Shadbolt of Spring Street, Chipping Norton. George, William John and Ernest are pictured with their father and two brothers below. 

ERNEST HARRY SHADBOLT 

He was born in November 1896 at 18, Spring Street, Chipping Norton the sixth son of John and Emma. At school he was awarded bronze medals for being Never Absent and Never Late from 1904 – 1909. After leaving school age 14 he worked as an errand boy. He served as a Private in the 1st/8th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment As part of the 48th Division in Spring of 1917 they cautiously pursued the German Retreat to the Hindenburg Line, in which the Division occupied Peronne. On 16th August to 1917 they took part in the Battle of Langemarck during the Third Battle of Ypres going on to fight in the subsequent actions, the Battle of Polygon Wood, the Battle of Broodseinde and the Battle of Poelcapelle between 26th September and 9th October 1917. In November 1917, along with the rest of the Division they moved to Italy. The Battalion returned to the Western Front on 11th September 1918, joining the 25th Division. They fought in the Battles of the Hindenburg Line and the Final Advance into Picardy that year.

In the picture below he is showing an inverted chevron on his left sleeve which was for two years Good Conduct and also two smaller inverted chevrons on his right sleeve indicating he served two years overseas.

In 1921 he married Gladys Violet Hathaway in Chipping Campden and they made their home there raising nine children. He worked as a Goods Guard for the GWR retiring in 1962 after 47 years service. Tragically both Ernest and Gladys died in a road traffic accident in 1968 and they are buried together in Chipping Campden cemetery.


Many thanks to Ernest's son Robert Shadbolt for the above.

GEORGE THOMAS SHADBOLT

He was born in Chipping Norton in June 1883 and had worked as a rural cycle postman. In 1905 he married Eliza Ann Mullington in Churchill, living in Churchill, they had three children together. He served as a Private, firstly with The East Surrey Regiment and is pictured in their uniform, below.  He arrived in France on 25th September 1917 and was transferred to the 26th (Service) Battalion, The Royal Fusiliers and is pictured in their uniform above, the stripe on his in the right arm denoting he had been wounded. As part of the 41st Division, the Battalion was sent to Italy on 12th November 1917, holding a line on the River Piave until 1st March 1918, when they returned to France. They fought against the German Spring Offensive starting with the Battle Of St Quentin on 21st March 1918 and it was during the fierce fighting that he was wounded on 29th March. He was sent back to Britain for treatment, returning to the Western Front on 29th August 1918. He joined the 10th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers and fought in the Battles of the Hindenburg line in September, The Battle of the Selle between 17th and 25th October, both part of the 100 Days Offensive.

He returned to Britain on 30th October 1918 to attend the funeral of his wife Elizabeth who had died in the John Radcliffe Infirmary and did not return to the Western Front. He returned to his job as a postman and married again to Jane Biles in June 1920, living at 27, West End but tragedy struck again when his son Jim died in 1922 aged only 6. George Shadbolt died in March 1972 aged 56 and is buried in Chipping Norton Cemetery.

WILLIAM SHADBOLT

He was born in Chipping Norton in October 1894 and prior to the war combined working in a factory whilst serving in the 4th (Territorial) Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry as a Private. At the outbreak of war he transferred to 10th (Service) Battalion, The Worcester Regiment as a Lance Corporal, arriving in France in March 1916 but was discharged to be commissioned on 26th June 1917. as a 2nd Lieutenant, He was commissioned into the 1st/5th Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment  as a 2nd Lieutenant. He underwent officer training at Pirbright before joining his unit in the field on 10th August 1917 becoming No 1 Platoon Commander in A Company. On Thursday 4th October during the Battle of Broodseinde, part of the Third Battle of Ypres he led No 1 Platoon on an attack on Vale House capturing it with few casualties and securing the Battalion's flank. However within about 50 minutes Vale House was heavily shelled and No 1 Platoon almost wiped out and 2nd Lieutenant Shadbolt was wounded and evacuated home to England. He later transferred to The Machine Gun Corps and was promoted to full Lieutenant. 

He had married Elsie Woodward in Chipping Norton in the summer of 1916, living at 4, Gloucester Villas in the town. They had a son William and a daughter Margaret together. During the Second World War William served in the Police Reserves. William Shadbolt died in September 1958 aged 63.

WILLIAM JOHN SHADBOLT

He was born in Chipping Norton in 1882, and worked as a slater and a plasterer. In 1904 he married Emma Jane Smith in Heythrop and they moved to Market Street, Charlbury where he worked as a house painter. They had four children, Elsie, William, Cyril and Rose between 1905 and 1911. He joined The Royal Engineers as a Sapper on 8th December 1915 and is pictured above in their uniform. He has a wound stripe on his left cuff, whilst the chevron on his right cuff denotes he has served a year abroad. He was attached to the 17th Battalion, the Northumberland Fusiliers and joined them in France on 8th September 1917. On 24th October 1917 he received a shrapnel wound to the head. He was treated in No 3, Australian General Hospital before being sent to Britain on 18th November 1917 and admitted to the Nottingham Military Hospital. After recovery he rejoined the Royal Enigineers, qualifying as an electrician and serving with 4 Anti-Aircraft Company on the home front.

They had a further daughter after the war, Queenie, born in 1919. William John Shadbolt died in at Cornbury Bridge, Charlbury after being hit by an army lorry,on 7th January 1946 aged 64 and is buried in Charlbury cemetery.


JOHN EDWARD SIMMS

He was born in Chipping Norton in October 1894 and was the second son of Daniel Rutter and Ellen Simms of 13 High Street Chipping Norton.  He is father was a watchmaker and jeweller and also an Alderman of the town as was his Grandfather Charles Rice Simms, whose portrait hangs in the town hall. Before enlisting he was an apprentice watchmaker and jeweller in the family business. His elder brother Herbert Rutter Simms was a pilot in the Royal Naval Air Service and was killed in action in 1916. He enlisted into the Royal Army Medical Corps on 18th October 1915 and served in the Balkans. He returned to the jewellery business and married Olive Felthouse in 1923. He was a member of the Auxiliary Fire Brigade, an instructor in the St John's Ambulance Brigade and served as an Air Raid Protection Warden in the Second World War. He died in 1979 aged 84.

THE SIMS BROTHERS

The brothers were the sons of Harry and Annie Sims, who had 12 children in all. The family lived at 11, Market Street, Chipping Norton where Harry worked as a fishmonger and fruiterer. Their eldest son Harry Lindus Sims was killed in action in France in 1917.

Sims Brothers in Army Uniform

BERTRAND SIMS

He was born in Shipston-on-Stour in March 1896 and worked in the family business. He joined The Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars in 1915, and was posted to France, serving as a Private in "D" Squadron.

In 1917 the QOOH, as part of the 2nd Cavalry Division were involved in The First Battle of the Scarpe between 9th and 11th April, a phase of the Arras Offensive, the Tank Attack, The capture of Bourlon Wood and fighting against German counterattacks during the Battle of Cambrai between 20th November and 3rd December.

In 1918 they fought against the German Spring Offensive in the First Battles of the Somme in which the Division was engaged until between 21st March and 1st April and in The Battle of Hazebrouck 14th and 15th April. Between 8th and 11th August they were in The Battle of Amiens, the first action of the 100 Days Offensive, during which they made a cavalry charge. They went on to fight in the Second Battles of the Somme, The Battles of the Hindenburg Line, and The Final Advance in Picardy between 17th October and 11 November and captured Mons on Armistice Day.

He returned to Chipping Norton after the war, marrying Elizabeth Williams in St Mary's Church in May 1927 and was a fishmonger and fruitier. They had a son also called Bertrand. Bertrand Sims died in Chipping Norton in March. 1979 aged 83.

HUBERT ALFRED SIMS

He was born in Chipping Norton in July 1898. He served as a Private in the 6th Battalion, The Somerset Light Infantry. As part of the 14th (Light) Division they had suffered heavy casualties at the Battle of St Quentin from 21st March 1918, the opening action of the German Spring Offensive. They had been withdrawn to England to reform and landed back in France on 3rd July 1918. They went onto see action during the Final Advance into Flanders. He was demobilised into the reserves on 26th February 1919.

He married Ivy ( known as Annie) Hemmings in St Nicholas Church, Chadlington in September 1920, working as a greengrocer and they had two sons Lindus and Desmond. Desmond, below, was killed in action on 20th August 1944, aged 19, whilst serving as a Private in the Duke of  Cornwall's Light Infantry during the allied advance on Rome. Hubert Sims died in the War Memorial Hospital in December 1953 aged 55.

 

JOHN GEORGE SIMS

Known as Jack, he was born in December 1893 in Shipston-on-Stour. Before the war he had worked as a butcher, before enlisting into The Army Service Corps. He was trained as a driver in the horse transport section, and was posted to France on 3rd August 1915, working his way up through the ranks to become a Staff Sergeant.  In March 1916 he married Fanny Scrivens in Fifield. He remained in the service until 28th April 1919, then joined "Z" Reserves, created in case Germany refused to accept peace terms, until it was disbanded in 1920. 

Returning to Chipping Norton he took over the family fishmonger's and fruitiers at 11, Market Street. He died in December 1978 aged 84.

CONRAD ALBERT TITCOMB

He was born in July 1897 in Little Compton to parents Albert and Mary Titcomb and the youngest of five children. They lived at 53 Rock Hill, Chipping Norton, and before the war he had worked as an errand boy. He had joined the Chipping Norton Company of the 4th (Reserve Battalion), The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry at the outbreak of war in August 1914. The 4th were amalgamated into the 2/4th and arrived in France on 24th May 1916. The Battalion had been operating in The Somme area, when on 23rd February 1917 they relieved The Berkshire Regiment in the Ablaincourt sector. On the morning of the 27th German Howitzer batteries began shelling the sector. The following afternoon the Germans opened up again with trench mortars, rifle grenades with heavy artillery and gas shells pounding the support trenches and HQs behind the lines. It was a clear moonlight light when the German raiding party attacked the trench line held by C company, lobbing grenades into the company HQ, inflicting casualties and taking prisoners, including Private Conrad Titcomb. His comrade from Chipping Norton, Albert White, was wounded in the raid and died in a casualty clearing station on 2nd March, Conrad wrote home from Friedrichsfeld POW camp asking for news of Albert. Thirteen other members of the battalion died in the raid, twelve of which have no known grave.

After the war Conrad married Katharine Wiggins in Birmingham in 1931 and they had three children together. He farmed at Boulter's Lodge in Churchill before  farming at Bearley Farm in  Bearley, Warwickshire and died in February 1958 aged 60.

ERNEST FRANK TOLLETT

Ernest Frank Tollett was born in Chipping Norton on 7th June 1896, the son of Elizabeth Tollett of 7, Victoria Place. He had worked as an errand boy before enlisting into the 4th Territorial Battalion of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in September 1914  as a Private. The Battalion was embodied into the Regular army becoming the 1st/4th Battalion and Ernest arrived in Boulogne with them on 29th March 1915. His older brother George was killed in action on 9th April 1917.

As part of the 48th (South Midland) Division the Battalion was involved in the Battle of Albert, the opening action of The Somme Offensive from 1st July 1916. They took part in the next phase the Battle of Bazentin Ridge on 14th July capturing the village of Ovillers and the Battle of Pozieres Ridge between 23rd July and 7th August. On the night of 8th September 1916 the Battalion were in trenches near the village of  Auchonvillers and were subject to heavy German shelling. Private Tollett was wounded and taken out of the line for treatment in hospital. He did however return to his unit and the Battalion was posted to Italy in November 1917 where they remained to the end of the war.

After returning home to Chipping Norton he worked as a machinist and married Beatrice Aries in October 1921. On the outbreak of the Second World War they were living at 3, Rock Hill in the town. He was working as a house painter and decorator and was also a War Reserve Police Constable whilst his wife served with Air Raid Protection.

Ernest Tollett died in 1969 aged 72. Elizabeth Tollett ended her days living at 3, Alms Houses in Church Street and died in 1949 aged 90.

 

HORACE WILLIAM TOWNSEND

He was born in September 1888 to parents George and Rose Townsend, living at 2 Lodge Terrace, Chipping Norton with his grandmother, parents, four siblings and a lodger and working as a draper's traveller. In 1916 he married Eva Alley in Cornwell. 

He enlisted into the 4th (Territorial) Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in November 1908, rising to Colour Sergeant. He arrived in France with the 1st/4th Battalion on 30th March 1915. As part of the 48th (South Midland) Division they saw action in the Somme Offensive from 1st July 1916 in The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bazentin Ridge in which the Division captured Ovillers, The Battle of Pozieres Ridge, The Battle of the Ancre Heights and The Battle of the Ancre, the last major attack of the offensive between 13th and 16th November 1916.

In the Spring of 1917 they cautiosly pusued the Gremans in their retreat to defences on the Hindenburg Line, in which the Division occupied Peronne. They then went on to take part in phases of the Third Battle of Ypres, The Battle of Langemarck, The Battle of Polygon Wood, The Battle of Broodseinde andThe Battle of Poelcapelle between 2ist August and 9th October 1917.
He then transferred to the 39th Battalion, the Machine Gun Corps where he was Company Quartermaster Sergeant, the second most senior NCO in the company. He won his Distinguished Conduct Medal during heavy fighting defending Amiens during the German Spring offensive of 1918. His citation read:

"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in the heavy fighting east of Amiens from 21st March to 1st April 1918. He succeeded delivering ammunition and rations to his Company under circumstances of extraordinary difficulty and danger. The enemy had forced a continuous retirement of our line, thus causing the location of our sections to change hour by hour. Despite this he got supplies to them daily, with unfailing regularity, and delivered them personally"

The Battalion continued its fight against the German Spring Offensive in the First Battles of the Somme and the Battle of the Lys in March and April 1918. He was demobilised into the reserves on 19th February 1919

His older brother Arthur was killed in action on 31st August 1918 while serving with The Rifle Brigade. 

After the war he was presented with an engraved gold watch by the townspeople of Chipping Norton in recognition of his award. He and Eva had one son, Frederick born in 1921, and  Horace died in Oxford in 1952, aged 63.