PRIVATE HENRY HEDGES

He was born in Chipping Norton in April 1873 to parents George and Eliza Hedges of Burford Road. He was working as a labourer when he enlisted into the 2nd Battalion, The Prince of Wales's Own West Yorkshire Regiment on 11th April 1888 in Aldershot. He was only 15 but gave his age as 18 and was already serving with 4th Battalion Oxford Infantry militia. He served at home until December 1889 when the battalion was posted to India, staying there until 21st bNovember 1892 when it moved into Burma. They left Burma for England in March 1896 having served abroad for over 6 years. He then served at home until 23rd November 1899 went the Battalion was sent to South Africa to take part in the Second Boer War.

On 18th February 1900 he took part in the Battle Of Paardberg, on the Modder River. Lieutenant-General Herbert Kitchener ordered his infantry and mounted troops into a series of uncoordinated frontal assaults against the Boer laager. This was despite the fact that the cost of frontal assaults against entrenched Boers had been demonstrated time and again the preceding months. It was no different this time. The British were shot down in droves. It is thought that not a single British soldier got within 200 yards of the Boer lines. By nightfall some 24 officers and 279 men were killed and 59 officers and 847 men wounded. Judged by British casualties it was the most severe reverse of the war. There he witnessed the death of fellow Chipping Norton soldier Private Isaac Trinder and published in the Oxford Times.

He returned home on 28th January 1901 and was discharged in April that year, being time expired. He had been awarded the Queen's South Africa 1899 campaign medal with the following clasps: Paardeberg, Driefontein, Johannesburg, Diamond Hill, Relief of Kimberley and South Africa 1901. He went to lodge in Cowley where he worked as a machinist. He married Edith and went to live in India some time after.On 14th April he returned from Bombay on the SS Letitia with his wife to live at 38, Windmill Terrace in Chipping Norton. He died in Southborough, Tunbridge Wells in October 1953 aged 80.



DRIVER ERNEST GEORGE SCARSBROOK 1863-1911

Ernest George Scarsbrook was born in October 1863 to parents George and Ellen Scarsbrook of New Street, Chipping Norton. He worked as a glover and later a butcher also serving as a part-time soldier with the Royal Scots. On 8th January 1884 he enlisted into the Royal Field Artillery joining at Colchester on 23rd January as a Driver, for 12 years in the Colours and 4 years in the Reserve.  He served at home until 1st January 1885 and was then posted to Egypt serving there until 26th January 1887. As part of the South Irish Division he was involved in the relief of Khartoum and the reconquering of the Upper Nile after the Mahdist war in Sudan. He then served in England and married Lizzie Warren in Chipping Norton in the summer of 1892. On 7th January 1896 he was discharged to the Reserves, his character being stated as very good. He returned to live in Chipping Norton but was recalled for service on 26th December 1899.

He was posted to South Africa to join in the Second Boer War on 31st January 1900 as part of the Ammunition Column of the 12th Brigade. He served there until 23rd April 1901 and returned home. He was discharged from the Army on 5th May 1901 being time expired. He had been awarded the following campaign medals: Egypt (Upper Nile) 1885-61, the Khedive Bronze Star, relating to his service in Egypt and Sudan. For his service in the Boer War he was awarded the Queen's South African Star 1899 with Cape Colony, Orange Free State and South Africa 1901 clasps. 

He lived at 32, King Edward Street in Chipping Norton with his wife Lizzie and 8 children and returned to his trade as a glover. He died in the town in the summer of 1911 aged 48.



PRIVATE ISAAC DAVIES TRINDER  1869-1900 

Isaac Davies Trinder was born in the spring of 1868, the son of John and Jane Trinder of 8, West Street, Chipping Norton. He enlisted in the 2nd Battalion, The Prince of Wales's Own, Yorkshire Regiment on 27th April 1888 and served for over 7 years, including three years in India and three years in Burma before joining the reserves He married Mary Curtis in the town in 1896 and in 1897 moved to Birmingham to work as a postman. They had two children together before, on 20th November 1899, he was recalled to join his regiment in South Africa.

On 13th January his parents received a letter from him when he was camped at Modder Farm;

"....I am in fine fettle, plenty of grub and a contented mind. Up to now we have had plenty of rations, so we can't grumble. We left Naauwpoort in a big hurry to relieve the Sussex Regiment. It is not more than two hours ride from here, and we got orders on Monday to get ready at once, but they did not turn up as expected, and they were afraid we were going to see trouble, but they arrived safe enough, and we were relieved from outpost duty at 11pm. We slept in the railway carriages and came on here in the morning. When we arrived they were having a tussle and we could hear the guns and see the shells dropping on the plains outside, but no one was killed and two only wounded and thirteen horses wounded. One man has been outside fourteen times and has his horse hit every time, but has not been touched himself, so I would say his luck is in. We have four companies out in two different directions and yesterday we got a sudden order to come out here. The Boers are retiring further away all the time and our column is following them up and apparently we follow up behind to guard the position and see they don't get it back again. Whether we shall ever see action seems doubtful, as when we move off the fighting seems as far away as ever. We are about 10 miles from Renesburg, and had to march it and I suppose we shall have to tramp it the whole of the way we go. We relieved two companies of the Essex Regiment, who have gone further up. I suppose as they advance we shall follow until General French is ready to deal a crushing blow...." 

He was killed on "Bloody Sunday" 18th February 1900 during the Battle Of Paardberg, on the Modder River. Lieutenant-General Herbert Kitchener ordered his infantry and mounted troops into a series of uncoordinated frontal assaults against the Boer laager. This was despite the fact that the cost of frontal assaults against entrenched Boers had been demonstrated time and again the preceding months. It was no different this time. The British were shot down in droves. It is thought that not a single British soldier got within 200 yards of the Boer lines. By nightfall some 24 officers and 279 men were killed and 59 officers and 847 men wounded. Judged by British casualties it was the most severe reverse of the war. His death was described in a letter home from his fellow soldier Private  H. Hedges, also from Chipping Norton, and published in the Oxford Times:

"...then we marched to Bloemfontein, ragged, dirty and foot-sore and dog-tired, and fought one of the fiercest battles out here on Sunday, the 18th of February- a day I shall never forget as long as I live. We fought for thirteen and a half hours with empty water bottles. Two men of ours died from exhaustion and our regiment lost 172, all told. Our colonel got shot, also the captain of my company and several more officers; our company got in a tight fix, as we ran short of ammunition and clung to the ground like leeches, with a hail of explosive bullets flying around us and killing a great number. Then we charged with the bayonet, but could not cross the river to get back to cover. Three of our men crawled down the river bank as they were dying of thirst, and dragged back wounded. While I was bandaging the wounded, young Trinder crept down a gully, got some water and got back safe, and said to me  " Well Henry, I can say I have risked my life for a drink"; after that the wounded man I was attending to cried out for water, but no one dared move on account of the sniping among us, but Trinder took a canteen and started to crawl down the gully gain to the waterside. I sent a man to call him back but he shouted back "It's all right, I'll chance it". He never came back as darkness set in, and the next morning they found him under a bush with two full water canteens and his own water bottle, shot through the head. He risked his own life to get water for the wounded and was in every sense of the word a hero."

He was aged 30 and is buried in Chipping Norton Cemetery.