This symbol under an entry indicates a Poppy plaque has been placed on the serviceman's house in the town.

PRIVATE JAMES ALDRIDGE

He was born in April 1896, the son, one of seven children, of James and Annie Aldridge of The Green, West Street, Chipping Norton, where his father was a dealer in scrap iron. He enlisted into the Chipping Norton company of the 4th (Territorial) Battalion Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry as Private in early 1915. He was posted to France on 7th April 1915 and joined the 2nd Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in the field. The Battalion were occupying trenches south of the Rue du Bois, near Richbourg when Private James Aldridge was killed by a shell on 10th May 1915, the only fatality on an otherwise relatively quiet day. He was aged 19, his burial place was lost and he is commemorated on Le Touret Memorial, having no known grave. 

SERGEANT FREDERICK ALLEN

He was born in 1895, the only son of Elizabeth Allen of 18, London Road, Chipping Norton, where he lived with his grandfather and mother and worked as a porter. He enlisted into the Royal Warwickshire Regiment as a Private at the outbreak of war and was posted to the 1st Battalion in France on 7th April 1915. He was appointed to Lance Corporal and on 27th April 1915 he was wounded in action during the Battle of St Julien, a phase of the Second Battle of Ypres, one of 517 killed, missing and wounded from the Battalion. After recovery he joined the 11th (Service) Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment on its arrival in France in July 1915 and was promoted Sergeant. 

On 15th July 1916, during the Somme Offensive, the Battalion, as part of 112 Brigade were ordered to clear the village of Poziere, their part of the operation was to take up tools and assist in consolidating the ground taken by the 8th East Lancshire  and 6th Bedfordshire Battalions. The Brigade advanced 0920 under an intense artillery bombardment. Pozieres was reported thinly defended with no wire to impede progress. However the Brigade was held up by intense machine gun fire and was immobilized. Heavy shelling added to the difficulties and the Battalion took 270 casualties including Sergeant Frederick Allen, who was killed in action on 16th July 1916. His body was never recovered from the battlefield and he is commemorated on the Thiepval Monument. He was aged 21.

CORPORAL FREDERICK GEORGE ALLEY  

He was born in Cornwell, May 1890 to parents Charles Alley, a gardener, and his wife May. The family moved to 13, Spring Street, Chipping Norton, where he worked as a clerk in the offices of Hitchman's Brewery. He enlisted into the Worcestershire Regiment in Chipping Norton in 1915 as a Private and was transferred to the 4th (Territorial) Battalion, The Royal Buckinghamshire Regiment for training. As the 2/4th Battalion of the Royal Berkshire Regiment, they arrived in France on 27th May 1916. In August that year they came under the command of the 61st (2nd South Midland) Division. In Spring 1917 the 61st was one of the Divisions employed in the cautious pursuit of the enemy, when the Germans carried out a deep withdrawal from the area of the Somme to formidable pre-prepared positions known as the Hindenburg Line, in March 1917. Between 16th and 18th July they were involved in the Battle of Langemarck, a phase of the Third Battle of Ypres and then on 30th November 1917 they fought to contain German counter attacks after the Battle of Cambrai. He was appointed as a Corporal at this time. On 21st March 1918 his Battalion was camped in the village of Ugny in North Eastern France when they received the orders to man battle stations at 0300. This was the beginning of the German Spring Offensive. Bolstered by troops freed up from the Eastern Front by the surrender of Russia, this was an attempt by the Germans to win the war before the Americans arrived in numbers. The Battalion was met by overwhelming numbers of the enemy and heavy machine gun fire and were forced to fall back, suffering heavy casualties. Corporal George Alley was reported as being wounded but was not seen again. He was reported missing presumed dead the following day. He was aged 27, his body was not found until 1922 and identified by his badges and he was reburied in the Ham British Cemetery in Muille-Villette. 

Rose Alley died in Surrey in 1965 aged 75.

PRIVATE GEORGE SAUNDERS APPLEYARD

He was born in December 1892, the son of William Appleyard, an Army tutor and Kathleen Appleyard of West Kensington, London. His mother had been born Kathleen Saunders in Chipping Norton, and he had a twin brother, Frederick. His father inflicted physical and mental abuse on his mother and she divorced him in 1908. George attended Merchant Taylor's school and later worked for the National Provincial bank. He enlisted as a Private into the 20th (Service) Battalion, (Wearside), The Durham Light Infantry in Sunderland on its formation in July 1915. He was appointed Corporal and landed in France with his Battalion on 5th May 1916, coming under the orders of the 41st Division.The Battalion was occupying trenches near Armentieres. when Private George Appleyard was killed in action by a shell on 25th June 1916. He was aged 23 and is buried in Tancrez Farm Cemetery in Ploegsteert, Belgium. 

At the time of George's death his mother was living in Hill Lawn, Chipping Norton. His twin brother saw action with The Machine Gun Corps as a Corporal.

PRIVATE GEORGE HENRY ARIES

He was born in April 1889, the son of Charles William, a groom and his wife Jane of HorsefairChipping Norton and brother of Wallace. By 1911 he had moved to Tylorstown in the Rhondda Valley where he was lodging with his brother, William Charles Aries, both working as a coal miners. He married Mary Hughes in 1914 and they had one son, Howell, born in 1915. He enlisted into the 4th (Territorial) Battalion, The  Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire The Light Infantry in Oxford in 1915 as a Private. He was posted to France to join the  1/4th Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, joining D Company in the field. On 1st July 1916 his Battalion was in action during the Battle of Albert, the opening phase of the Somme Offensive. They went on to see further action on the Somme until November 1916. From March 1917 they were one of the units who cautiously pursued the Germans as they withdrew from the Soimme to pre-prepared defences on the Hindenburg Line near Arras. On 19th April 1917 "D"  Company were ordered to attack Guillemont Farm, a German stronghold, at 1930. Advancing in two lines they came under withering machine gun fire when they reached top of the ridge. The advance continued and several platoons reached within 150 yards of the farm but were halted by heavy shellfire. 8 men lost their lives whilst Private George Aries was serious wounded and taken prisoner by the Germans. He died of his wounds later that day, aged 29. His burial place was lost and he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial for those with no known grave. 

His younger brother Wallace, below, died of his wounds in 1918.

SERGEANT WALLACE ALBIN ARIES (MILITARY MEDAL)

He was born in December 1890, the son of Charles Aries, an ostler and his wife Jane of Horsefair, Chipping Norton and younger brother of George, above, and before the war had worked as a travelling salesman.

He had enlisted into the Chipping Norton company of 4th (Territorial) Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, in January 1916 in Oxford and reached the rank of Corporal. He joined the 11th (Service) Battalion, The Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment in France in October 1917, but in early November the Battalion, as part of the 43rd Division, were moved by train to Italy. The Division took over a sector of front line behind the River Piave, north west of Treviso. In February 1918 they were ordered back to France and by 9th March were concentrated at Doullens and Mondicourt on the Somme. He was by now a Sergeant with "B" Company in the Battalion. On 21st March 1918 The Battle of St Quentin was the beginning of the German Spring Offensive. Bolstered by troops freed up from the Eastern Front by the surrender of Russia, this was an attempt by the Germans to win the war before the Americans arrived in numbers. On this day the Battalion moved up to  Beugny, where they began digging defensive positions. On 23rd April Sergeant Aries' Company moved up to the front line to reinforce the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. The Germans attacked in overwhelming numbers at 1630 and the British were forced to withdraw. Through March and April they were forced to make a fighting retreat across the Somme crossings to the outskirts of Amiens, where the German advance was held. On 1st May the Battalion moved to positions near Ypres. On 10th June 1918 Sergeant Aries was evacuated from the field with influenza returning to his unit the following day.

On 28th September 1918 the offensive known as the Final Advance in Flanders began. On 29th September 1918 his battalion were detailed to attack and secure the Wervicq to Comines railway in Flanders, at 0730. They came under heavy machine gun and shell fire and were forced to fall back. Sergeant Aries was wounded whilst rescuing a wounded officer, his Company Commander, Captain J Hopkinson, from no man's land. The officer concerned asked his mother to send a silver cigarette case to Sergeant Aries inscribed "With heartfelt thanks and in remembrance of that day" but Sergeant Wallace Aries died of his wounds in a field hospital on 10th October 1918  before it arrived. He was aged 27 and is buried in Les Baraques Military Cemetery, Sandgatte, France. He w2as posthumously awarded the Military Medal for his bravery in rescuing his officer.

GUNNER DAVID THOMAS BARNARD

He was born in July 1884, the son of David Barnard, a mineral water manufacturer, and his wife Mary of The Leys, Chipping Norton. He worked as a furniture salesman and also served for three years as a part-time soldier in the 2nd Volunteer Battalion of the Oxfordshire Light Infantry. In 1909 he married Rosina Prat in Chipping Norton Parish Church. They moved to Peckham in Surrey, where he worked as a furniture salesman, and had two daughters May and Violet. 

He enlisted into the Royal Garrison Artillery in Whitehill, Surrey on the 4th December 1915 as a Gunner. His family moved back to Chipping Norton at 26, Burford Road. David Barnard was posted to France on the 1st May 1917 and joined the 144th Siege Battery, The Royal Garrison Artillery in the field on 8th May. He was wounded in action during the Battle  of Polygon Wood, part of the Third Battle of Ypres, by shrapnel in the left thigh and right leg on 3rd October 1917. He taken to the 2nd Canadian General Hospital at Le Treport, where his right leg was amputated after gas gangrene had set in. Gunner David Barnard died from his wounds on the 12th October 1917. He was aged 33 and is buried at Mont Huon Military cemetery at Le Treport. 

PRIVATE GEORGE HENRY BARNETT

He was born in May 1882, the son of Levi Barnett, a labourer and his wife Hannah Barnett of Cornwell. His father died early at 30 of consumption. His mother remarried to George Harrison and moved to 2, Kings Yard in Chipping Norton. Known as Harry in September 1903 he joined the Great Western Railway as a porter at Paddington Station. However on the evening of 23rd December 1905 he entered the station and began playing an accordion. When approached by a policeman he made use of threatening and abusive language and was ejected. As he was deemed to have a bad character he was dismissed from the service. He married Eliza Westwood in 1908 and lived in 2,Workman's Row, Bengeworth, Evesham where he worked as a basket maker and had three sons together. 

He had enlisted into The 2nd Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment in August 1915 as a Private and arrived in France with his Battalion on 12th March 1915, moving to the Salonika theatre in November the same year. During the first four months of 1916 the British Salonika Force had enough spadework to last it for the rest of its life. Large amounts of barbed wire were used and a bastion about eight miles north of the city was created connecting with the Vardar marshes to the west, and the lake defences of Langaza and Beshik to the east, and so to the Gulf of Orfano and the Aegean Sea. This area was known as the 'Birdcage' on account of the quantity of wire used. Private George Barnett was killed in action at Salonika on 27th February 1917. He was aged 34 and is buried in Lambert Road Military Cemetery in Greece. 

He is also commemorated on the Bengeworth war memorial.

CORPORAL GEORGE WILLIAM BARTLETT

He was born in December 1884, one of ten children of George Bartlett, a groom and his wife Mary of Hope Cottages, West Street, Chipping Norton and at 15 was working in the woollen mill. He was married to Martha Bartlett and lived at 55, Brithweunydd Road, Trealaw, Dinas in South Wales.

He enlisted into the 4th (Territorial) Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantryas a Private in Oxford in December 1914. He was posted to the 2/1st Buckingham Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry and landed in France with them on 24th May 1916. As part of the 61st (2nd South Midland) Division, on 19th July 1916 they took part in an attack on German lines at Fromelles in an attempt to draw German Reserves away from the Somme. The attack was a costly failure and such was the damage to the Division's reputation, they were only used in holding trench lines for the rest of 1916. He was appointed to Corporal and in 1917 the Battalion, as part of the 61st Division, had cautiously pursued the Germans in their strategic retreat to pre-prepared defensive positions on the Hindenburg Line. The Germans had destroyed everything in their path as they pulled back across the old Somme battlefields, leaving booby traps behind. On 16th August 1917 they were involved in the Battle of Langemarck, a phase of the Third Battle of Ypres. On 22nd August the Battalion was part of an attack on German positions in a concrete stronghold near the village of St Julien. The 2/1st Buckinghamshire Battalion managed to secure their objective but were unable to garrison it. Corporal George Bartlett was wounded in the attack and evacuated to a Casualty Clearing Station at Lijssenthoek where he died on 26th August 1917. He was aged 32 and is buried in Lijssenthoek War Cemetery, Belgium.

PRIVATE FRANK ERNEST BAYLISS

He was born in December 1889, the son of Martha Bayliss In 1895 she married Benjamin Brain and moved to 3, Alfred Terrace. Frank worked at the Heythrop Hunt kennels in Chipping Norton.

He enlisted into the Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars as a Private in Oxford in 1915 and was posted to the 1/1st battalion in France in 1916. 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. In 1917 they were in action during The First Battle of the Scarpe between 9th and 11 April 1917, a phase of the Arras Offensive. Between 20th and 21st November they supported the Tank Attack at Cambrai and then were involved in the capture of Bourlon Wood on 24th and 28th November and between 20th November and 3rd December fought against German counterattacks both actions at Cambrai.On 21st March 1918, The Battle of St Quentin was the beginning of the German Spring Offensive. Bolstered by troops freed up from the Eastern Front by the surrender of Russia, this was an attempt by the Germans to win the war before the Americans arrived in numbers. The Battalion was met by overwhelming numbers of the enemy and heavy machine gun fire and were forced to fall back, suffering heavy casualties. Private Frank Bayliss was reported as missing and later presumed to have been killed in action on 21st March 1918. He was aged 28, his body was never recovered and he is commemorated on the Pozieres memorial for soldiers with no known grave.

His half brother, Albert Benjamin Brain, was killed in 1917. 

PRIVATE BERNARD CYRIL BENFIELD 

He was born in 1899, the son of Charles Benfield, a haulier and his wife of West Street, Chipping Norton, the family later moved to 36, Over Norton. 

He had enlisted on 13th February 1918 and joined the 2/4th (Territorial ) Battalion, The Hampshire Regiment  in France after the Battalion had returned from Suez in June 1918. He was wounded in action on 4th November 1918 at the Battle of Sambre, suffering gunshot wounds to the head. He was treated in 3rd New Zealand Field Ambulance, evacuated to hospital on No 9 Ambulance train before being repatriated to England. Private Benfield was discharged on 25th September 1919 due to his wounds and awarded the Silver Badge, initially given to discharged soldiers to stop them being accused of cowardice. Bernard Benfield  died of pulmonary tuberculosis at home in Over Norton in May 1921, aged 21 and is buried in Chipping Norton Cemetery. 

He is commemorated on Over Norton war memorial but not on the town memorial. and his brothers Philip and Lionel both died in the War

PRIVATE LIONEL BENFIELD

He was born in August 1895, the son of Charles Benfield, a haulier and his wife Mary of West Street, Chipping Norton. The family moved to 36, Over Norton and worked as a warper tier-on at a cloth mill.

He enlisted into the Princess Charlotte of Wales's  (The Royal Berkshire Regiment) as a Private in Chipping Norton in 1915 and was posted to the 2nd Battalion in France in 1916. In the Spring of 1917, the Battalion, as part of the 8th Division, had cautiously pursued the Germans in their strategic retreat to pre-prepared defensive positions on the Hindenburg Line. The Germans had destroyed everything in their path as they pulled back across the old Somme battlefields, leaving booby traps behind. They then went on to see action in the Battle of Pilkhem Ridge, an opening phase of the Third Battle of Ypres on 31st July 1917. Private Lionel Benfield was wounded in action during the battle and sent to hospital in Rouen. He died of his wounds on 7th August 1917. He was aged 21 and is buried at St Sever, Rouen, France. 

He is also commemorated on the Over Norton war memorial.

PRIVATE PHILLIP CHARLES BENFIELD

He was born in September 1889, the son of Charles Benfield, a haulier and his wife Mary of West Street, Chipping Norton. The family later moved to Over Norton and Phillip worked foe the County Council as a road mender. 

He enlisted into the 2/1st, Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars in Oxford December 1914, later transferring  as a Private into the 6th (Service) Battalion Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, joining them in France in early 1916.As part of the 20th (Light) Division, they saw action on the Somme in the Battle of Deville Wood between 15th July and 3rd September 1916 and the Battle of Guillemont between 3rd and 6th September, in which the Battalion captured all their objectives. They then took part in the Battle of Flers-Courcelette between 15th and 22nd September and the Battle of Morval from 25th to 28th September. They the took part in The Battle of Le Transloy, going into action on 7th October 1916, a period of fighting in terrible weather in which the heavy, clinging, chalky Somme mud and the freezing, flooded battlefield became as formidable an enemy as the Germans. The Battalion captured the Germans first trench line and then took the second line and consolidated their postions despite heavy machine gun fire and counter-attacks. Private Phillip Benfield was killed in action on 7th October 1916 during this attack and his body never recovered. He was aged 27, and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial for those with no known grave

He is also commemorated on the Over Norton War Memorial.

PIVATE RALPH URBAN BENFIELD

He was born in March 1891, the son of Charles Benfiest Street, Chipping Norton and had worked as a gardener.

He enlisted into the Worcestershire Regiment in Chipping Norton in 1916 and was posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion in Mesopotamia later that year.As part of the 13th (Western) Division they took part in The Battle of Kut al Amara, between December 1916 and February 1917 and pursued the Ottoman forces towards Baghdad, which fell on the 11th March 1917. There after they continued thir push through Mesopotamia. In July 1918 the Brigade transferred to North Persia Force and pushed north towards Turkey. Private Ralph Benfield died of pneumonia and influenza on the 3rd October 1918. He was aged 27 and is buried in Tehran War Cemetery in Iran. 

PRIVATE RICHARD HUGH BERRY

He was born in November 1884, the son of Richard and Caroline Berry, farmers of Great Rollright. He had worked solicitor's clerk before becoming a relieving officer of The Registrar of Births and Deaths for Chipping Norton. 

He enlisted on 16th September 1914 in Shepherds Bush, London as a Private in the 22nd (Service) Battalion, The Royal Fusiliers. He married Nellie Hook of Hook Norton in Hackney Registary Office in January 1915. He arrived in France with the 22nd Battalion on 16th November 1915, but on 8th April 1916 contracted scarlet fever. He was taken from the front to No 100 Field Ambulance, then to 23rd Casualty Clearing Station and then by No 12 Ambulance Train to the 16th General Hospital in Le Treport near Dieppe, arriving on 12th April. Complications set in and Private Richard Berry died of acute ulcerative on 13th April 1916. He was aged 30 and is buried in Le Treport Cemetery.

After his death his widow was awarded a 10 shilling a week pension.

He is also commemorated on the Great Rollright war memorial.

PRIVATE ALBERT EDWARD BETTERIDGE

He was born in August 1897, the son of Joseph Betteridge, a labourer, and his wife Amelia of Over Norton. After the death of his father in 1899, the family moved to 2, White House Lane, Chipping Norton. 

He enlisted into the The Princess Charlotte's of Wales, The Royal Berkshire Regiment in Coventry as a Private at the end of 1915 and joined the 1st battalion in France in 1916. During the Somme Offensive 1916, the Battalion saw action in the Battle of Delville Wood and the Battle of Ancre. In March 1917 they were one of the units that cautiously pursued the Germans as they withdrew from the Somme area to pre-prepared defences on the Hindenburg Line near Arras. On 10th March 1917 the Battalion were manning the front line near Irles in the Somme. At 0515, in conjunction with 1st King's Royal Rifle Corps, they launched an attack on Greyvillers Trench. The trench was captured immediately, 100 prisoners taken and a new assembly trench dug for a future attack. 11 men were killed in action on 10th March 1917, including Private Albert Betteridge. He was aged 19, and his body never recovered from the battlefield. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, for those with no known grave.

He was the brother of Ernest Betteridge, below.

GUNNER ERNEST BETTERIDGE

He was born in April 1881, to parents Joseph Betteridge, a farm labourer and carter and his wife Amelia of Spring Fm,ar Little Tew. The family moved to Over Norton and then after his father died in 1899 to 2, White House Lane, Chipping Norton. He married Amelia West in Newport Pagnell in 1907 and lived there, working as a general labourer. They had two daughters Winifred and Gladys and a son who died at birth. 

He had enlisted into the Royal Field Artillery as a Gunner in June 1917 and joined the 118th Battery in Salonika in November 1917. He was admitted to the No 21 Stationary Hospital on suffering from an unknown pyrexia on 19th August 1918, which was diagnosed as malaria. Gunner Ernest Betteridge died of pneumonia in the 2/3rd Northumberland Field Ambulance on 23rd December 1918. He was aged 37 and is buried in Mikra British Cemetery, Kalamaria, Greece. 

CORPORAL HARRY BETTERIDGE

He was born in December 1881,  the son of Henry Betteridge, a farm labourer and his wife Mary of Over Norton.  In 1904 he married Eva Hodges in Kensington, and in 1911 they were living in Grange Lodge, Wykeham Lane, Broughton with their sons William and Frederick and two daughters Eva and Beatrice. He worked as a domestic butler at Broughton Castle. He and his family then moved to Bordon in Hampshire where he was a butler at Headley House.

He enlisted into the Hampshire Regiment in Headley in January 1915. He was posted to France to join the 1st Battalion, The Hampshire Regiment on 16th March 1915. Between 24th April and 25th may 1915, The Battalion were in action in the Second Battle of Ypres. In June 1915 the Battalion were in trenches east of the Yser Canal when Private Betteridge was wounded by a shell. He was evacuated back to England for treatment and returned to his Battalion in June 1916. At 0730 on 1st July 1916, The Battalion attacked German positions in the Battle of Albert, the opening phase of the Somme Offensive. They were stopped by heavy German machine gun fire and suffered heavy casualties including all their Officers. After sheltering in shell holes all day the remains of the Battalion returned to their lines after darkness fell. Harry Betteridge was appointed to acting Corporal at this time. On 1st October they returned to the Somme, seeing action in the Battle of Transloy before bad weather halted major operations.

From April !917, the Battalion saw action in the Arras Offensive as they attempted to dislodge the Germans from strong defensive positions on the Hindenburg Line. On 11th May 1917  the Battalion attacked German trenches in front of their positions, advancing with little resistance. At 0630 they advanced again, in the face of heavy shelling, meeting the objectives laid out in Brigade orders. 4 men where killed by the shelling, including Corporal Harry Betteridge, who was killed in action on 12th May 1917. He was aged 35 and his body not recovered from the battlefield, he is commemorated on the Arras Memorial for soldiers with no known grave.                                          

GUNNER WILLIAM ALBERT BETTERIDGE

He was born in June 1886, the son of John Betteridge, a farm labourer and his wife Martha of Chadlington. He married Charlotte Hitchcox in Chipping Norton in December 1905 had four children born between 1908 and 1913. He worked as a shepherd at Downy Hollow on the Burford Road. After enlistment his family moved to 8,Lodge Terrace in Chipping Norton. 

He joined the Territorial 132nd Oxford Heavy Battery, The Royal Garrison Artillery as a Gunner in Oxford in 1915. The Battery arrived in France in March 1916 and took part in supporting the Somme Offensive from 1st July 1916. In 1917 they supported phases of the Third Battle of Ypres. Gunner William Betteridge was accidentally  killed during the Second Battle of Passchendaele, on 29th October 1917. He was aged 35 and is buried in The Huts Cemetery near Ieper, Belgium. 

ERNEST ARTHUR BICKERSTAFF

He was born in Luton in October 1896, to parents Walter and Annie Bickerstaff, his mother having been born in Chipping Norton. After the death of his father, he and his mother returned to Chipping Norton living with his grandmother at 60, Rock Hill. He enlisted into the Army Service Corps at the outbreak of war as a Private and was posted to the 8th Forward Butchery Unit in France on 5th October 1914.

He was taken ill in the field and evacuated back to England and admitted to the County of London War Hospital in Epsom. Private Ernest Bickerstaff died there of tubercular peritonitis and pleurisy on 17th June 1916 aged 19 and is buried in Chipping Norton Cemetery.

PRIVATE FRANK GEORGE BOLTER

He was born in June 1898, the son of Alfred Bolter, a brewery labourer and his wife Salome of 8, Distons Lane, Chipping Norton and had worked as a printers boy. 

He had enlisted into the 26th(Service) 3rd Tyneside Irish Battalion, The Northumberland Fusiliers in Stratford-upon-Avon, and joined them in France in June 1916. The Battalion, as part of the 34th Division, saw action in the Battle of Albert from 1st July 1916, the opening phase of the Somme Offensive. They went on to dsee further action on the Somme in the The Battle of Bazentin Ridge, The Battle of Pozieres Ridge and The Battle of Flers-Courcelette. In April 1917 they had moved up to trenches near Arras in pre[parition to attack German strongholds on the Hindenburg Line. Private Frank Bolter was wounded in action at this time at this time and died of his wounds in the 102nd Field Ambulance on 7th April 1917. He was aged 19 and he is buried at Azin-St Aubin, Pas de Calais.  

PRIVATE LINDSAY PERCIVAL BOND

He was born in the summer of 1895, the son of Christopher Bond, a threshing machine attendant and his wife Ada Chipping Norton. Prior to enlisting he was living in Salford with his grandmother and worked as a yarn sorter at a Bliss mill. His parents lived in the cottage next door.

He enlisted into the 8th (Service) Battalion, The Norfolk Regiment in Birmingham in early 1915, seen below in their uniform.

He remained in the Reserves and underwent basic training with the Norfolks before being moblized in mid 1915 and joining the 3/7th Battalion, The Worcestershire Regiment, a depot and training unit, based on Salisbury Plain. The Battalion moved to Cheltenham where he was appointed a Sergeant rifle instructor, pictured below.

In January 1917 he moved with the 3/7th Worcesters to Catterick Camp, near Richmond in Yorkshire. Then in Spring 1917 he was posted to France to join the 1/7th Battalion, The Worcestershire Regiment as replacement for losses incurred in the 1916 Somme Offensive, as the Battalion prepared to go into action in The Third Battle of Ypres. He reverted to the rank of Private in his new Battalion. The Battalion went into action in the Battle of Langemarcke on 17th August 1917, attacking German positions on the Steenbeek river in Belgium. Private Percival Bond was killed in action on 17th August 1917,one of 21 of his battalion killed that day, his body was not recovered from the battlefield. He was aged 22 and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial in Flanders for soldiers with no known grave.

At the time of his death his parents were living at 1, Pembridge Terrace, Chipping Norton.

SERGEANT ALBERT BENJAMIN BRAIN

He was born in March 1894 in Islington, London, the son of Benjamin Brain, a cloth dyer, and his wife Martha. They moved to 3, Alfred TerraceChipping Norton, where he worked as a factory operative.

He enlisted into the Rifle Brigade in Birmingham and arrived with the 9th (Service) Battalion in May 1915 serving as a acting Corporal. On 28th July 1915 they were in front line trenches at Hooge, when he was wounded by a shell and evacuated to hospital. After recovery, he joined the 12th (Service) Battalion, The Rifle Brigade as an acting Sergeant. In April 1916 they were in front line trenches north east of Ypres. On 15th April 1916 the trench was heavily shelled and collapsed, 10 men were killed and 6 wounded, including Sergeant Albert Brain. He died of his wounds on 20th April 1916 in 10 Casualty Clearing Station. He was  aged 22 and is buried in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery in Belgium. 

PRIVATE JOHN WILLIAM BRIDGES

He was the son of Caleb and Sarah Bridges of Great Rollright and worked as a farm labourer. He married Annie Woodcock in January 1903 in Chipping Norton. They had six children and lived in Great Rollright where he now worked as a cowman.

He enlisted into the 2nd/4th Battalion Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry as a Private in Oxford in February 1915. After he enlisted his family moved to 5, Burford TerraceChipping Norton. In March 1915 the Battalion were based in Essex, responsible for 14 miles of coastal defences. Private John Bridges was taken ill with pneumonia and admitted to the Eastbourne General Hospital where he died  on 4th January 1916. He was aged 40 and is buried in Eastbourne (Ocklynge) Cemetery.

Annie Bridges died in Enstone in 1943 aged 60.

He is commemorated on the Great Rollright war memorial and on the Eastbourne Central Military hospital war memorial but not on the town memorial.

CORPORAL WILLIAM JESSE BRYAN

He was the son of Benjamin and Elizabeth Bryan, having been born in Steeple Aston. At the age of 16 he was working as a domestic servant in Oxford. In 1910 he joined the Army as a Private with the 2nd Battalion, The East Surrey Regiment and served in Burma. It is not known whether he left the Army or transferred to the reserves, but on the outbreak of war he enlisted into the 4th Battalion, The Worcestershire Regiment in Warwick. William Bryan and was based in Leamington Spa. He married Edith Margaret Haynes, a Chipping Norton girl whom he had met while she was in service in Steeple Aston, in Leamington Spa in February 1915. On 21st March 1915 The Battalion sailed from Avonmouth for Gallipoli, going via Egypt. They landed on "W" beach at Cape Helles on 25th April 1915, one company landed on the original landing "V" beach, the intended disembarkation point, but being cut down by fierce machine gun fire. The Battalion went immediately into action against Turkish positions on Hill 138. After a hard fight they pushed the Turks out and took their trenches, thus relieving pressure on "V" beach. The chances of a swift victory on the peninsula faded with the arrival of Turkish reinforcements and the fighting on Helles became a battle of attrition.

On 4th June 1915 an assault was made towards Krithia and Achi Baba, in the Third Battle of Krithia in an attempt to break out of the stalemate. The attack was repulsed and Corporal William Bryan was killed in action one of 4,500 British casualties that day, his body not being recovered from the battlefield.He was aged 31 and is commemorated on the Helles Memorial, having no known grave.

Edith Bryan returned to Chipping Norton, living at 24, Rock Hill. She did not re-marry and died in the town in March 1937 aged 56. William Bryan is not on the town war memorial but is on Steeple Aston's. He is also remembered on his wife's grave in Chipping Norton cemetery.

PRIVATE EDWIN BURBIDGE

He was born in the summer of 1900, the youngest of nine children of William and   Emily Burbidge of 7, Market Street, Chipping Norton. He was called up for service after turning 18 and joined the 53rd (Young Soldier) Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He was sent for training to Larkhill Garrison on Salisbury Plain. He was taken ill whilst serving there and admitted to Fargo Military Hospital in Amesbury, Wiltshire. Private Edwin Burbidge died there on 7th October 1918 from influenza and heart failure after only six weeks in the Army. He was aged 18 and is buried in Chipping Norton Cemetery.

His older brother, Fred, served in The Royal Naval Air Service. He had a book of poetry called "Simple Verses" published posthumously in 1919. His work shows a sensitivity and compassion beyond his years.

"WHAT OF THE WOMEN"

Our men have gone to face the foe,

That they are brave, we each one know;

They bravely face the shot and shell,

And safely guard our Isle as well.

 

But what of the women left behind-

The loving wife, the mother kind?

Are they not truly brave at heart

When from their men they have to part?

 

They do not sit at home and mourn;

They know the parting must be borne;

And while the men folk do their “bit”

The women, too, have shown their grit.

 

Each day they wear a cheery smile,

Though hearts are breaking all the while;

And still they seek to help and cheer,

The men who to their hearts are dear.

 

Do they not have a load to bear?

Do they not have their share of care?

And yet they smile and bear the pain

And from their tears and sighs refrain.

 

They’ve set to work with right good will

To feed the guns, the land to till,

To tend the wounds the man receive

And do their best, pain to relieve.

 

We all look forward to the day

When men will come back from the fray,

But what of those who’ll look in vain

For ones they hoped to see again?

 

Who’ll dry the lonely widow’s tear,

Or bid the mother be of cheer

In that great day when peace shall reign

Who’ll mend the broken hearts again?

 

Who’ll raise the maiden’s shattered dreams,

When life to her a burden seems.

May she look up to God in prayer,

And find that there is comfort there?

 

So till these days of war be past,

And while the pain of death shall last,

We’ll pray to God, for he is kind,

To bless the women left behind.

 RIFLEMAN JOHN BURDEN

He was born in April 1888, to parents Thomas Burden, a builder's foreman and clerk and his wife Sarah, of 1, Rock Hill, Chipping Norton, At the time of his enlistment was boarding in Upper Clapton, London where he worked as a timber merchant's clerk.

He joined the London Regiment in December 1915 as a Rifleman, joining the 1st/5th (City of London) Battalion (London Rifle Brigade), The London Regiment in France in June 1915. As part of the 169th Brigade in the 56th (London) Division. they saw action on the first day of the Somme Offensive, The Battle of Albert, on 1st July 1916, taking part in a diversionary attack on Gommecourt. On 9th September they fought in the Battle of Ginchy and the Battle of Flers-Courcelette between 15th and 22nd September and the Battle of Morval 25th to 28th September. The Battalion then took part in the Battle of Le Transloy, from 1st October 1916, a period of fighting in terrible weather in which the heavy, clinging, chalky Somme mud and the freezing, flooded battlefield became as formidable an enemy as the Germans. The British gradually pressed forward, still fighting against numerous counter-attacks, in an effort to have the front line on higher ground.   Rifleman John Burden was killed in action on 9th October 1916, his body never recovered from the Battlefield. He was aged 30 and is commemorated on the Thiepval Monument for soldiers with no known grave. 

PRIVATE FREDERICK THOMAS CLARKE

He was born in March 1897 in South Newington, the son, one of Herbert William Clarke, a farm labourer and his wife Mary. The family later moved to Laburnum Cottage, Over Norton. 

He was living in Banbury when he enlisted into the Royal West Surrey Regiment in 1915. He was then transferred to the 1/22nd (County of London) Battalion (The Queen’s) London Regiment, joining them in France on 1st September 1916. From 1st October 1916 they fought in the Battle of Transloy Ridges, one of the last actions in the 1916 Somme Offensive. Private Clarke was wounded in action on 9th October 1916, one of 146 casualties suffered by the Battalion that day. He was evacuated back to England for treatment and did not return to the 22nd Battalion until 24th July 1917. On 8th August 1917 he was transferred to the 2nd/1st (City of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers), joining D Company. They took part in the Third Battle of Ypres seeing action in The Battle of the Menin Road Ridge between 20th and 25th September, The Battle of Polygon Wood between 26th and 27th September and The Second Battle of Passchendaele from 26th October 1917 to 10th November 1917. Private frederick Clarke was wounded in action on 28th December 1917 and  died in the 46th Casualty Clearing Station on 29th December 1917. He was  aged 20 and is buried in Mendinghem Military Cemetery, Belgium. He is also commemorated on the Over Norton war memorial.

PRIVATE GEORGE EDMUND COX

He was born in October 1883, the son of Thomas and Charlotte Cox of Church Street, Chipping Norton. His father, who was a commercial traveller in leather goods, died shortly after he was born. He went on to be a solicitor's clerk boarding with the Bales family in Diston's Lane.

After this he disappears from records until he is shown to have enlisted into the Gloucestershire Regiment sometime in 1915 in Winchester, adding to the confusion this record shows him as being born in Broadstone, Dorset. George was posted to the 3rd Reserve Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment, then based in Gravesend, Kent. They moved to Sittingbourne in May 1916 for service in the Thames and Medway Garrison. He married Louisa Maud Hall in St George Hanover Square in July 1916. On 26th September he was one of 74 other ranks that joined the 1st/5th (Territorial) Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment as replacements. The Battalion was billeted in Vacquerie in the Somme region of France, having suffered casualties in the Somme Offensive. On 14th October 1916 the Battalion moved into front line trenches at Hebuterne and were in action in the Battle of the Ancre Heights. They were in and out of front line trenches during November as the British tried to gain ground in the Battle of the Ancre from 13th November for a resumption of the offensive in 1917. Bad weather brought an end to operations from 18th November as both sides concentrated on enduring the bad weather. From March 1917 they were based in Cappy on the Somme. They took part in the cautious pursuit of the Germans as they withdrew to pre-prepared positions on the Hindenburg Line, hear Arras. The Germans adopted a “scorched earth” policy, destroying everything off value in their path, leaving booby traps and poisoning water supplies, causing great suffering to the local population. The Battalion then occupied the town of Peronne along with the rest of the 48th Division. The Battalion remained in the Somme area until 22nd July 1917 when they travelled by train to Houtkerque, east of Ypres, where the Third Battle of Ypres was underway. On 5th August the Battalion moverd into the city of Ypres in Belgium and took over front line trenches. They came under heavy German artillery bombardment and on 6th August 1917, Private George Cox was killed in action by a shell. He was aged 33 and was buried near where he fell, later being re-interred at the New Irish Farm Cemetery in Ypres.

PRIVATE VICTOR CHARLES DAWE

He was the son of Henry and Druscilla Dawe of Bay Roberts, Newfoundland, one of eight sisters and two brothers. Before enlisting had been a member of the Church Brigade and worked as a teacher. His sister, Belle, had married the Reverend Ernest Weight, an Anglican priest and Victor stayed with them in Chipping Norton when on leave from the front.

He enlisted on 17th February 1915 in Windsor Ontario and arrived with the Canadian Expeditionary Force in England aboard RMS Grampian on 29th April 1915. He joined the 18th Battalion, (Western Ontario Regiment) Machine Gun Company, The Canadian Infantry as a Private. On the night of 21st/22nd June 1916, during the Battle of Mount Sorrell,  Private Dawe accompanied by a Private Kemp undertook a reconnaissance of the enemy wire opposite their trenches. While returning they were discovered and fired on by rifles and grenades from the enemy front line. Both men were wounded, Private Victor Dawe by a bullet in the head, and he later died of wounds on 22nd June 1916 in No. 3 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station. He was aged 25 and is buried in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery. 

PRIVATE ALFRED CHARLES DAWES

He was born in March 1888 to parents Alfred Dawes, a watchmaker and his wife Elizabeth Dawes of the Masonic Lodge, Chipping Norton. His mother died in 1897 and his father remarried and moved to Watford, where Alfred worked as a platten minder in the printing trade.

He enlisted into the 6th(Service)Battalion, The Northamptonshire Regiment as a Private in Watford in 1916, joining the Battalion in France as replacements for losses suffered in the 1916 Somme Offensive. As part of the 18th (Eastern) Division, they pursued the Germans as they withdrew from the Somme in Spring 1917 to pre-prepared defences on the Hindenburg line, leaving a trail of destruction and booby traps behind them. They went on to attack these positions in the Third Battle of the Scarpe, on 3rd May 1917, a phase of the Arras Offensive. From 31st July 1917 they were involved in the Third Battle of Ypres during The Battle of Pilkem Ridge, The Battle of Langemarck, First Battle of Passchendaele and The Second Battle of Passchendaele. Private Dawes was wounded in action in January 1918 and then from 21st March 1918 his Battalion fought against the German Spring Offensive in the Battle of St Quentin. Buoyed by troops released from the Eastern Front by the surrender of Russia, they attacked in large numbers across the lightly defended old Somme Battlefields in a last ditch attempt to influence the course of the war before the Americans arrived in numbers. The Germans advanced 40 miles into Allied territory before the advance was halted on the outskirts of Amiens.

Private Alfred Dawes was wounded in action in the fighting on the Amiens front and died in a Casualty Clearing Station on 2nd August 1918. He was aged 30 and is buried in Vignacourt British Cemetery in the Somme. 

His younger brother Morris had been killed in action in April 1918.

2nd LIEUTENANT MORRIS DAWES

He was born in March 1893 to parents Alfred Dawes, a watchmaker and his wife Elizabeth Dawes of the Masonic Lodge, Chipping Norton. His mother died in 1897 and his father remarried and moved to Watford

He enlisted into the Reserve Regiment of Cavalry at the outbreak of war in August 1914. He was posted to France on 18th October 1915,  joining the 9th (Queen's Own) Lancers in the field. He was wounded in action in late 1915. and evacuated home for treatment. After recovery he joined the Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment. On 30th October 1917 he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant and attached to the 1oth (Service) Battalion, The Essex Regiment. From 21st March 1918 his Battalion fought against the German Spring Offensive in the Battle of St Quentin. Buoyed by troops released from the Eastern Front by the surrender of Russia, they attacked in large numbers across the lightly defended old Somme Battlefields in a last ditch attempt to influence the course of the war before the Americans arrived in numbers. The Germans advanced 40 miles into Allied territory before the advance was halted on the outskirts of Amiens. 2nd Lieutenant Morris Dawes was reported missing during a German assault on Amiens, the Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux on 25th April and presumed dead the following day. His body was never recovered from the battlefield. He was aged 24 and is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial on the Somme.

PRIVATE WALTER DIXON see WALTER HARRIS

CORPORAL ALBERT WILLIAM EDGINTON

He was born in Hampstead, London and married Ann Selina Loveridge in Witney in 1909. He lived in Thrupp near Farringdon where he worked as a farm labourer.

He enlisted into the Royal Army Veterinary Corps as a Private in Oxford on the outbreak of war.He was posted to France with the  12th Veterinary Hospital, Army Veterinary Corps, on 26th June 1915. He was later appointed an acting Corporal. Corporal Albert Edginton died of broncho-pneumonia in the 20th General Hospital in Camiers on 26th March 1917. He was aged 33 and is buried in Etaples Military Cemetery. 

After his enlistment his wife and young son, Albert moved to 19 Middle Row, Chipping Norton. After Albert's death Ann married Joseph Barrett of the town in 1919. They had one son Cyril Ernest Barrett who died in August 1942 during the Dieppe raid. 

Albert Edginton is not on the town war memorial but he is commemorated on a monument in Chipping Norton cemetery.

RIFLEMAN ALFRED EELES

He was born in February 1884, the son of John Eeles, a groom and his wife Mary of 38, West Street, Chipping Norton. Alfred worked as a rural postman and married Sarah Peverill in Battersea in October 1911. He worked there as a barman and had 2 children with a third child being born in the winter of 1916.

He was working again as a postman when he enlisted on 10th December 1915 into the 3/10 Territorial Battalion of The London Regiment as a Rifleman. He was embodied from the Reserves on the 4th August 1916 and arrived in Le Havre on 12th January 1917, joining 1/12th (County of London) Battalion (The Rangers), The London Regiment the 1/12 in the field on 19th February 1917. From 14th March 1917, they pursued the Germans as they withdrew from the Somme to pre-prepared defences on the Hindenburg line, leaving a trail of destruction and booby traps behind them. They went on to attack these positions in the First Battle of Scarpe, between 9th and 14th April 1917, during the Arras Offensive. Rifleman Alfred Eeles was killed in action on 20th April 1917, when his transport column was hit by shells as they left the front line. His grave was lost, he was aged 33 and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial for soldiers with no known grave. 

STOKER 1st CLASS WILLIAM PARK FIDDES

He was born in Banbury in November 1895, the son of William Fiddes, a cloth examiner and his wife Jeannie of 56, New Street, Chipping Norton and before enlisting worked as a factory hand.

He enlisted into the Royal  Navy on 11th March 1915 and trained at HMS Pembroke shore establishment in Chatham. On the 20th July 1915 he joined the crew of HMS Duncan, a pre-Dreadnought battleship, below,  as a Stoker 2nd class.

She was assigned to the 9th Cruiser Squadron  on the Finisterre-Azores-Madeira Station. In late 1915, she returned once again to the Mediterranean, conducting operations in support of the Italian Navy and then against Greek royalists. From 1917, she spent the remainder of the war in England waters as a reserve ship. 

William Fiddes was appointed Stoker 1st class in that year and after a spell at HMS Pembroke he joined HMS Racoon in October 1917. HMS Racoon, below, was a Beagle class, three funnelled coal burning destroyer displacing some 950 tons.

She was built and launched from the Cammell Laird shipyard in 1910. Armaments included one 4" Primary and three 12 lb secondary guns plus  two 18" centreline torpedo tubes with four torpedoes. Her official crew complement was 96 but at the time of her loss she was carrying  91 seamen under the command of Lt. George Napier. During the early hours of January 9th, 1918  she was en route from Liverpool to Lough Swilly to take up anti-submarine and convoy duties in the Northern Approaches, in heavy sea conditions and while experiencing  snow blizzards she struck rocks at the Garvan Isles and sank with the loss of all hands, including Stoker 1st Class William Fiddes. He was aged 23. He is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial for sailors with no known grave.

PRIVATE ALEXANDER FRANKLIN 

He was born in Chipping Norton in 1883, the son of Robert Franklin, a commercial traveller and Sarah Franklin, manageress of the Shaven Crown Hotel, owned by her mother. After his father died in 1900, Alexander lodged at a boarding house in New Street, Chipping Norton where he worked as a brewery clerk for Hitchman's Brewery, although he later moved back to the Shaven Crown, whilst still working for the brewery

He enlisted into the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in April 1916 as a Private in Chipping Norton and joined the 11th (Service) Battalion in France in July that year. He was in action during the Battle of Delville Wood, a phase of the 1916 Somme Offensive and wounded by shrapnel in the chest on 1st August 1916. He was evacuated to hospital on the No 16 Ambulance Train. After recovery he was posted to the 1st Battalion, Between 9th and 14th April 1917 they attacked German strongholds on the Hindenburg Line in the First Battle of Scarpe, part of the Arras Offensive. They then renewed the attack in the Third Battle of theScarpe on 3rd May 1917. Private Alexander Franklin was wounded in action during the attack and taken prisoner of war by the Germans. He died of his wounds in the Belgium town of Charleroi on 7th May 1917. He was aged 33 and is buried in Charleroi Communal Cemetery in Belgium.  

He is also commemorated on the Shipton-under-Wychwood war memorial.  

PRIVATE HARRY CRESWICK FRANKLIN

He was born in January 1898, the son of John Franklin, a wheelwright and Louisa Franklin of 23, Middle Row, Market StreetChipping Norton. He was always known as Creswick.

He enlisted  into the 4th (Territorial) Battalion of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry as a Private in Oxford in 1915. As the 2/4th Battalion, the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, they was sent to France with on 24th May 1916. As part of the  61st (2nd South Midland) Division, an attack was made on 19 July 1916 at Fromelles, a subsidiary action to the much larger battle taking place further south on the Somme. The Division suffered very heavy casualties for no significant gain and no enemy reserves were diverted from the Somme. Such was the damage to the Division and its reputation that it was not used again other than for holding trench lines until 1917. They pursued the Germans as they withdrew from the Somme in Spring 1917 to pre-prepared defences on the Hindenburg line, leaving a trail of destruction and booby traps behind them. Good Friday, 4th April 1917 found the Battalion manning the front line near St Quentin. It snowed all day and conditions were wretched in the shallow trenches. To make matters worse an assault, by the 59th Division on the Battalion's left, brought down German shell fire on their positions. One man was killed and two wounded, including Private Harry Franklin,who was attached to the 184th Light Trench Mortar Brigade at the time. He died of his wounds on 6th April 1917. He was aged 19 and is buried in Vermand Communal Cemetery, Aisne, France.

AIRCRAFTMAN 2nd CLASS FRANK OLIVER FREEMAN

He was born in November 1899, the son of John and Agnes Freeman of 8, Middle RowChipping Norton.  His father was a Hairdresser, Tobacconist & Umbrella Maker.

He enlisted int0 the newly formed Royal Air Force in April 1918 and was posted to 47 Squadron as an Aircraftman 2nd Class, with the trade of general clerk. In April 1919, the Squadron was dispatched to Southern Russia to help General Denikin's White Russian forces defeat the Bolshevik armies. It was equipped with a mixture of aircraft, with flights equipped with Airco DH.9 and DH.9A bombers and Sopwith Camel fighters. The squadron's flights operated independently, carrying out bombing and strafing missions against Bolshevik forces.

AC2 Frank Oliver Freeman was one of the 176 other ranks who disembarked Novorossisk, South Russia on the 9th July 1919.  Following disembarkation each and every one was paraded ashore for roll call and within no time at all were marched to a string of cattle trucks which were waiting to take them to the town of Ekaterinodar  It took almost 2 days to reach the HQ aerodrome. He served with the squadron's "A" Flight on the Volga front. By December "HQ" and "A" Flights (which had been conjoined by this time) and "Z" Flight were maintaining a fighting retreat and forced to move south and east to cross the Don into Kuban country.  They arrived at Krinichnaya on Christmas Eve during a blinding blizzard. On the 27th December 1919 AC2 Frank Freeman died of typhus. He was aged 20 and is buried in Sevastopol British Cemetery and commemorated on the Haidar Pasha Memorial in Turkey. 

PRIVATE WALLACE GARDNER

He was born in 1897, the son of Robert Gardner, a bank porter and his wife Mary of 3, Guildhall PlaceChipping Norton and had worked as a bootmaker before enlisting. 

He enlisted into the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry as a Private in Oxford in 1915. He was posted to the 5th(Service) Battalion, the  Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in 1916, joining A Company. As part of the 14th (Light) Division, they saw action at The Battle of Delville Wood between 24th and 25th August 1916 and in the Battle of Flers-Courcelette on 15th September 1916, phases of the Somme Offensive. They pursued the Germans as they withdrew from the Somme in Spring 1917 to pre-prepared defences on the Hindenburg line, leaving a trail of destruction and booby traps behind them. , They then assaulted these defences in the First Battle of the Scarpe, part of the Arras Offensive from 9th April 1917. The Battalion was assigned to assault the Telegraph Redoubt on Telegraph Hill, south of Arras. The attack began at 0730 on 9th April 1917, the objective was taken and consolidated with the loss of 13 men from the 5th(Service) Battalion, including Private Wallace Gardner who was killed in action on 9th April 1917. He was aged 20 and  originally buried in Maison Rouge Cemetery in Tilloy, but moved after the Armistice to Tilloy British Cemetery.

PRIVATE GEORGE EDWARD GEE

He was born in Gospel Oak, London in May 1898, the son of John Gee, an ironmonger's porter and Ada Gee later of 4, Albion Street, Chipping Norton.

He enlisted into the  1st/25th (County of London) Battalion (Cyclists),The London Regiment as a Private in January 1915 in Fulham. The London Cyclist Battalion patrolled the coast of England to watch for a German invasion. After air attacks began in May 1915, they were based in the Grand Hotel in Lowestoft, bicyclists with signs "Take Cover" warned citizens to find shelter. On 3rd February 1916 they sailed from Devonport on the Troopship "Ceramic" arriving in Bombay on 25th February, then on to Bangalore. On December 16th that year they undertook a 2, 200 mile train journey from Bangalore to Burhan in Uttar Pradesh. Between 4th March and 15 April the battalion served as part of the North Waziristan Field Force. In May 1917 the battalion was dispatched to Tank, a frontier station on the North-West frontier to quell an uprising by the Mahsuds, the inhabitants of Warizistan. During this campaign Private George Gee was mortally wounded and died of his wounds on  on 10th August 1917. He was aged 20 and is buried in Rawalpindi War Cemetery.

CORPORAL ROBY GIBBS

He was born in April 1884, to parents one Joseph Gibbs, a woollen carder and Emma Gibbs of  7, The LeysChipping Norton. He worked as a journeyman butcher before becoming an under-butler for Sir Ernest Cassel, a wealthy banker, at Brook House, Park Lane in London. 

He enlisted into the Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars in Oxford in September 1914 as a Trooper. They were sent to join the Naval Brigade in Flanders to prevent a German advance towards the Channel ports and arrived in France on 12th October 1914,the first Territorial unit to see action. Roby Gibbs joining the 1/1st Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars in France on 24th November, and was appointed to Corporal. In 1915 they saw action in The Battle of Neuve Chapelle between 10th and 12th March, The Battle of St Julien between 26th April and 3rd May, a phase of the Second Battles of Ypres 1915 and The Battle of Bellewaarde Ridge between 24th and 25 May, 

Corporal Roby Gibbs was killed in an accident on 5th June 1915. He was aged 31 and is buried in Le Grand Hansard Military cemetery in Morbecque, Northern France. 

LIEUTENANT THOMAS CHARLES GIBBS (MILITARY CROSS)

He was born in December 1879 in Clapham, London but was brought up by his Aunt Harriet who ran a shop in Rock Hill. He had been a tutor at Heidelberg University prior to the war. He married Marjorie Brooke in the summer of 1913 and lived at Upton Grange near Macclesfield. They had two sons Peter and John, the eldest, Peter, was killed in World War Two whilst serving with as a Second Lieutenant in the Hampshire Regiment in 1944.

He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 1/7th (Territorial) Battalion, The Cheshire Regiment on 20th January 1915, and was posted to France on 6th April 1918, being promoted to Lieutenant. He was attached to the 9th (Service) Battalion, The Cheshire Regiment on 24th April 1918, serving as their Intelligence Officer. On 31st May 1918 the Battalion were holding front line trenches near the town of Sarcy when they came under heavy enemy artillery fire.At 1700 the enemy attacked their positions but were fought off the Battalion suffering heavy casualties in the process. Lieutenant gibbs was reported missing after the battle. For his actions that day he was awarded the Military Cross, his citation reads:

" For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty as battalion intelligence officer. He continually visited the battalion frontage and the units on the flanks, obtaining information and carrying the CO's orders. Later with the CO he rallied the men and led them forward, in spite of a heavy fire of shrapnel shell and machine guns. He set a fine example of courage and energy throughout"

Lieutenant Thomas Gibbs was presumed killed in action on 31st May 1918, his body was never recovered from the battlefield. He was aged 38 and is commemorated on the Soissons Memorial for soldiers with no known grave.

PRIVATE WILLIAM GILES

He was born in Swerford in January 1885 the son of William and Rose Giles. The family moved to Over Norton, where his father was a carpenter,  before his father became an innkeeper at The Parrot in Market Place, Chipping Norton, After this they moved to 23, Albion Street where William worked as a labourer.  He married Ethel Betteridge in 1914 and they lived at 13, Rock Hill, Chipping Norton with their children Ronald and Annie, born in 1914 and 1915 respectively. 

He enlisted into the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in Chipping Norton as a Private in late 1915. He joined the 2nd Battalion the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in France in 1916. He was treated for shell shock during the opening actions of 1916 Somme Offensive. During the Offensive, the Battalion attacked Guillemont Farm on 8th August 1916, as part of the battle of Deville Wood. Private William Giles was reported missing after the attack and presumed killed in action on 11th August 1916. His body was never found. He was aged 22 and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial for soldiers with no known grave. 

His widow never re-married and died in the town in 1954 aged 62, she had also lost her brother Albert in the war.

PRIVATE FREDERICK JAMES GOODMAN

He was born in 1878, the son of William Goodman, a carrier and his wife  Esther of Back Lane, Chipping Norton. In 1901 he was lodging in Thame where he worked as a ropemaker. He married Ellen Cartar White, a widow, of Thame in 1903. He lived in Summertown, Oxford with his two children, Charles and Ivy, and stepson Henry and worked as a tent maker.

He enlisted into The 6th (Service) Battalion,  The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry as a Private on its formation was in Oxford in September 1914, one of Kitchener's "new armies" He was posted to D Company and on 22nd July 1915 the Battalion landed at Boulogne as part of the 60th Brigade in 20th (Light) Division. Their first action was at the Battle of Mount Sorrel, 2nd-13th June 1916, where they fought along side the Canadians to recapture a hill with excellent views across the Ypres Salient. On 3rd September 1916 the Battalion were part of an attack on the village of Guillemont, a phase of the 1916 Somme Offensive. They advanced from their trenches at 1200, following other Battalions, who had secured the first objective, a sunken road. The 6th Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry pushed through this to take the next sunken road. Held up by heavy machine gun fire they suffered 280 casualties including Private Frederick Goodman, who was killed in action on 3rd September 1916, his body never being recovered from the battlefield. He was aged 38 and is commemorated on the Thiepval memorial for soldiers with no known grave.The village was eventually taken 3 days later.

SERGEANT CHARLES HENRY GROVES

He was born in March1877, the son, one of four children of Henry Groves, a clothmaker and Harriet Groves of 64, New Street, Chipping Norton. He worked as a baker and also served as a part-time soldier in the 2nd (Volunteer Battalion), The Oxfordshire Light Infantry.

He joined the 1st Battalion, The Middlesex Regiment in Hounslow in January 1901 for 7 years in the Colours and 5 in the Reserve, having previously worked as a baker and having served in the militia. He served in Ireland then in India from 23rd October 1901 and was promoted to Corporal on 28th March 1905. He elected to serve a full 12 years in the Colours and on 28th February 1911. He married  Hannah Mary Breen in Allahbad. He was promoted to Sergeant in April 1911, and had a son born in November that year. On 5th March 1913 he left the Army and went to live at The Cottage, Upper Dargle Road, Bray, Co. Wicklow.

On the outbreak of war he re-enlisted into the The Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Regiment) in Enniscorthy in Ireland. He joined the 4th Battalion, The Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Regiment)  as a Sergeant in France on 31st August 1914. As part of the 8th Brigade in the 3rd Division, they saw action in the Battle of Mons and the ensuing retreat, the Battle of Le Cateau and the Battle the of Marne, 7th-10th September, which halted the German advance into France. Between 12th and 15th September they counter attacked at the Battle of the Aisne, but were held back and trench warfare began. The Battle of La Bassée began on 10th October 1914 as each side tried to outflank the other. On 20th October the Battalion were billeted and occupying trenches in front of the village of Le Riez when they were hit by German shelling. 14 men were killed including Sergeant Charles Groves. He was killed in action on 20th October 1914 during the Battle of La Bassee. He was aged 36 and is commemorated on Le Touret Memorial for soldiers with no known grave.  

PRIVATE ALBERT ERNEST JESSE HADLAND

He was the son of Jesse Hadland, a coal merchant's carrier and Frances Hadland. His mother had died in 1902, and prior to the war he was living at 65, Spring LaneChipping Norton with his father and step-mother and worked as a mill labourer.

He had enlisted into the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in Barrow-in-Furness in Lancashireand joined the 6th(Service) Battalion, Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in the field in early 1916. On 2nd March 1916 they relieved a battalion of the King's Rifles in trenches north of Ypres. On 4th it snowed all day and night, and on the following day at 1200 the Germans shelled their positions. Private Albert Hadland was one of 4 men killed in action on 5th March 1916. He was aged 20 and is buried in Essex Farm Cemetery, Ypres, Belgium.

ABLE SEAMAN FREDERICK GEORGE BEAMES HAKE

He was the son of Frederick and Sarah Hake, having been born in Dorking, Surrey in February 1889. He was living in Leafield with his family, his father being Landlord of the Fox Inn, where he worked as a Telegraph messenger, when he enlisted into the Royal Navy in Portsmouth as a Boy sailor on 4th June 1904. He trained on the training ship HMS Impregnable and then the cruiser HMS St George between September and December 1905. He then joined the first class cruiser HMS Royal Arthur (below).

HMSRoyalArthur1897.jpg

He served with her on the North America and West Indies station until May 1906 when she returned to Portsmouth. 

He spent time at HMS Victory shore base, signing on for 12 years as an Ordinary Seaman on 25th August 1906. On 16th January 1907 he joined the cruiser HMS Cressy, again on the North American station. After a brief spell on HMS Edgar he joined the crew of HMS Powerful in October 1907, made an Able Seaman, telegraph messenger, based on the Australia station until January 1910. After spells on the shore based stations Terrible, Excellent, Sealion and Victory he joined the battleship HMS Dreadnought, below, on the 28th March 1911 and served with her until 3rd January 1913.

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After this he left the Navy, remaining on the reserves and joined the Oxfordshire Constabulary on 25th January 1913. 

He came to Chipping Norton as a Police Constable at the time of the strikes at Bliss Mill in 1913 and lived at 31, Spring Street, Chipping Norton. He was recalled to the Royal Navy on the 2nd August 1914 and served aboard HMS Europa, a Diadem class cruiser. On the outbreak of war she was assigned to the Ninth Cruiser Squadron operating in the Atlantic and was stationed off Cape Finisterre as flagship until June 1915. In 1915 she was operating off Moudros, participating in the Dardanelles Campaign, for which she received the battle honour Dardanelles 1915. He returned home on 23rd May 1915 and joined shore-based HMS Victory until 23rd August when he was transferred to the Duke of Edinburgh class armoured cruiser  HMS Black Prince, built for the Royal Navy in 1904, below. 

Home on leave in November 1915, he married Edith Stanley in Chipping Norton before returning to the Black Prince. As part of the 1st Cruiser Squadron she took part in the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916. Black Prince briefly engaged the German battleship Rheinland at about 2335, scoring two hits with 6-inch shells. Separated from the rest of the British fleet, Black Prince then mistakenly approached the German lines shortly after midnight. She turned away from the German battleships, but it was too late. The German battleship  Thüringen  fixed Black Prince in her searchlights and opened fire. Up to five other German ships, including the battleships Nassau, Ostfriesland, and Friedrich der Grosse, joined in the bombardment, with return fire from Black Prince being ineffective. Most of the German ships were between 750 and 1,500 yards of Black Prince, effectively point-blank range for contemporary naval gunnery. The ship was hit by at least twelve heavy shells and several smaller ones, sinking within 15 minutes. There were no survivors from her crew, all 857 being killed, including Able Seaman  Frederick Hake. He was aged 26 and is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, his body never being recovered from the sea.

Edith Hake re-married in the town in 1922.

PRIVATE LEWIS HUBERT HALL 

He was born in October 1892, the son of Richard Hall, the Town Hall keeper and Myra Hall of New Street, Chipping Norton. He had lost both parents by the time he was 8 and was living with his eldest sister and four other siblings at 13, King's Yard, Chipping Norton. He trained as an electrical engineer and moved to Camden Town in London. 

In October 1911 he joined the Territorial London Regiment in Camden Town as a part time soldier, joining the 19th (The County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment as a Private. He was with the Battalion when it was sent to France on 10th March 1915. As part of the 47th (2nd London) Division, they took part in the The Battle of Aubers Ridge on 9th May, The Battle of Festubert between 15th and 25th May and The Battle of Loos between 25th September and 1st October 1915. After the Battle of Loos they were in and out of front line trenches to the north east of the town. On 31st October 1915 they were resting in reserve trenches when Private Lewis Hall was killed in action by a German shell. He was aged 23, his burial site lost and is commemorated on The Loos Memorial for soldiers with no known grave. 

PRIVATE BERTIE CHARLES THOMAS HARDING

He was born in March 1896,  the son of John Harding, a groom and his wife Louise of 28, Rock Hill, Chipping Norton, Before the war he had been working as a groom in  Lower Slaughter. 

He enlisted into The Gloucestershire Regiment as a Private in Cirencester and landed with the 8th (Service) Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment  in France on 18th July 1915. As part of the 19th (Western) Division they took part in the opening action of the Somme Offensive, the Battle of Albert on 1st July 1916, capturing La Boisselle and were involved in the Battles of High Wood, Pozieres and Ancre during that campaign. The Battalion were holding front line trenches in Ovillers during the Battle of Le Transloy, one of the last phases of the Somme Offensive from 25th October 1916. Private Bertie Harding was wounded in action when his trench was hit by a shell. He died from his wounds on 1st November 1916 in a Casualty Clearing Station. He was aged 20 and is buried in Pucheville British Cemetery. 

His younger brother Reginald was also killed in action in 1916.

CORPORAL REGINALD FREDERICK HARDING

He was born in February 1898,  the son of John Hasrding, a domestic groom and Louise Harding of 28, Rock Hill, Chipping Norton, He worked as an errand boy and was the younger brother of Bertie Harding (above). 

He enlisted into the 4th (Territorial) Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry as a Private in April 1914 in Chipping Norton, before the outbreak of war. He served as a part-time soldier until being embodied into the 2/4th Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry for overseas service. He was a Corporal when he landed in France with the Battalionas on 24th May 1916 .As part of the 19th (Western) Division, they were involved in an at Fromelles on 19th July 1916. This was  a subsidiary action to the much larger battle taking place further south on the Somme. The Division suffered very heavy casualties for no significant gain and no enemy reserves were diverted from the Somme. The Battalion were in support and Corporal Reginald Harding was killed in action on 19th July 1916 by a German shell. He was aged 18 and is buried in Laventie Military Cemetery.

SERGEANT ARTHUR JAMES HARRIS

He was the son of William James and Ellen Harris and had been born in Deolali, India. His father had been a groom and a member of the Oxfordshire Militia before joining the Army full time in 1881. He had married Ellen Statye in April 1882 in Chipping Norton Registry Office. He served with the 3rd Battalion, the Royal Welch Fusiliers, rising to Sergeant. In 1895 he was posted to India along with his wife and child, serving there for over 8 years and having 5 more children including Arthur in that country. They returned to the United Kingdom in December 1895. On the 26th April 1901 he was discharged from the Army being medically unfit for further service, having contracted malaria. They took over the running of the Chequers Inn in Goddard's Lane but William died in in the summer of 1902, aged 39. Ellen Harris remarried Benjamin Dixon, a chimney sweep, in June 1903 and continued running the Chequers where her son Arthur lived, working as a printer's apprentice.

He enlisted into his father's old regiment, The Royal Welch Fusiliers in Chipping Norton in January 1914 and arrived in France with the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Welsh Fusiliers on 13th August 1914. They moved to Rouen to defend the Lines of Communication before being transferred to the 19th Brigade at Valenciennes on 22nd August. In 1914 he wrote home to his mother, the letter being published in The Oxford Weekly News on 4th November 1914:


“Dear Mother and Father.—Thanks very much for your letter, and please put all fears at ease as I leave here to-morrow (Saturday) for Wrexham. I did not write myself as I was unable, my wound being one from shrapnel on my right elbow. It is nearly well again now, but I cannot bend my arm yet. I expect to be at home with you soon now, so you must please stop worrying. I had a marvellous escape from death, as a piece of shrapnel found its way through the back of my cap and sent it spinning up the trench. In the first day of the action our poor regiment lost 120 men killed and wounded, and six officers were killed when I was hit. I was on my stomach in a five feet deep trench when I got it, so you can tell how the Germans searched our trenches with their deadly shrapnel shells. We had their infantry within 100 yards of our trenches, but could not get at them, as they all got behind a house and peppered us until one of our big guns with a thunderous roar and a well-directed lyddite shell cleared the house and sent the Germans in it to the Devil. Just after this I was hit right on the tip of the elbow, and as I climbed out of the trench my hat went whizzing back again, and I got it by leaning over the trench. One fellow who was getting out of the trench through sheer fright was deficient of a head in about a second, and came a bump back into the trench. I got out and offering up a prayer to God that none of the hail of lead would find me, ran like mad to the nearest village—a distance of about 1 ½ miles with the sleeve of my coat ripped right up to the elbow and blood streaming down my hand. I lost my rifle, bayonet, ammunition and everything, but I got away with a whole body except a slip off my elbow.” Courtesy of Douglas Rudlin.

In 1915 they took part in the action at Hooge on 30th July, where they faced the first use of flame throwers by the Germans and the disastrous Battle of Loos between 25th September and 8th October. 

In 1916 they were in action during the Somme Offensive, taking part in the first day in the Battle of Albert on 1st July. The next phase they were involved in was The Battle of Bazentin Ridge between 15th and 17th July, the attacks on High Wood from 20th August and the capture of Boritska and Dewdrop Trenches during the last phase of the Somme Offensive, the Battle of Le Transloy in October.

In 1917 they were involved in the Arras Offensive between 9th April and 16th May, fighting in The First and Second Battles of the Scarpe, before pursuing the Germans in their withdrawal to pre-prepared defences on the Hindenburg Line. Between June and September they were involved in operations on the Flanders coast in advance of an amphibious landing by British troops which never came about. On 25th September they fought in The Battle of the Menin Road Ridge followed by The Battle of Polygon Wood, phases of the Third Battle of Ypres.

In 1918 they faced the awaited German Spring Offensive in the First Battles of the Somme between 21st March and 5th April. Buoyed by troops released from the Eastern Front after the surrender of Russia an attempt was made to win the war before the Americans arrived in numbers, the Germans attacked in large numbers across the old Somme battlefields. They advanced some 40 miles into Allied held territory before being halted. SergeantArthur Harris was wounded during this time. He died of his wounds in the 9th General Hospital, Rouen on 15th June 1918. He was aged 23 and is buried in the St Sever Cemetery extension in Rouen. 

PRIVATE WALTER EDWARD HARRIS

He was born in January 1891, the son of William James and Ellen Harris and the brother of Arthur (above). He had been born in Peshawar, India where his father was serving in the Army (see above). Before enlisting he had been lodging in Cradley, Worcestershire, where he worked as a baker.

He had joined the 3/4th (Territorial) Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry as a Private in September 1914 in Oxford. They were at camp in Whittle, near Chelmsford when Private Walter Harris died on 22nd March 1915 in Kenilworth Hospital in Chelmsford. He was aged 24 and is buried in Whittle Road Cemetery in Chelmsford. 

His mother re-married Benjamin Dixon in 1903 and adopted Walter. This led to his name being recorded twice on both the Church and Town war memorals as Walter Dixon and Walter Harris.

PRIVATE ALBERT HARRISON

was serving as a Private with the  when he was killed in action during the Second Battle of Ypres  

He was born in 1880, to parents James Harrison, a wool carder and his wife Eliza of Alfred Terrace, Chipping Norton. The family moved shortly after to Thrupp near Stroud in Gloucestershire. He moved to East Brent, Highbridge, Somerset where  worked as a farm labourer and married Hannah Stark there in June 1911. 

He enlisted into the Gloucestershire Regiment in Stroud as a Private  and was posted to the 2nd Battalion, The Gloucester Regiment in France on 26th March 1915. The Battalion were in trenches in Sanctuary Wood, east of Ypres when they went into action in the Second Battle of Ypres. Private Albert Harrison was killed in action on 9th May 1915. He was aged 35, his body was never recovered from the battlefield and is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial for soldiers with no known grave.

He is not on the town war memorial, but is remembered on the East Brent War Memorial.

PRIVATE HENRY HARRISON

He was born in September 1880, the son of George Harrison, a fishmonger and Rhoda Harrison of 4, Paynes Square, Over Norton. He married Laura Mealin in Chipping Norton in 1906 and they lived at 52, West Street, Chipping Norton and he worked as a wool warper.

He enlisted into the he The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry as a Private in Chipping Norton in 1916. He joined the 5th (Service) Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in France later that year, as a replacement for losses in the 1916 Somme Offensive. As part of the 42nd Brigade in 14th (Light) Division, they pursued the Germans as they withdrew from the Somme in Spring 1917 to pre-prepared defences on the Hindenburg line, leaving a trail of destruction and booby traps behind them. They then ssaulted these defences in the Third Battle of the Scarpeon, as part of the Arras Offensive. Leaving their trenches at 0345 on 3rd May 1917 they were immediately attacked by heavy shell, machine gun and rifle fire. They found an undiscovered trench and managed to dislodge the Germans from it and take cover. At 1100 the enemy launched a heavy counter attack and the Division was forced to retreat. The Battalion took heavy casualties, out of an initial compliment of all ranks of 550, 287 were either killed, wounded or missing. Private Henry Harrison was killed in action on 3rd May 1917, his body never being recovered from the battlefield. He was aged 36 and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial for soldiers with no known grave. 

He is also commemorated on the Over Norton war memorial.

ABLE SEAMAN ALBERT WILLIAM HILL

He was born in March 1885, the son of George Hill, a wheelwright  and Sarah Hill of Gilks Yard, Chipping Norton. At the age of 15 he was working as a footboy living in Queens Gate, Kensington. He had been working as a hotel waiter when he signed on with the Royal Navy in Devonport on 12th November 1902 as a Boy 2nd Class.

He trained on HMS Northampton boys training ship and was made a Boy 1st Class. He was then at HMS Victory shore establishment being made an Ordinary Seaman in May 1903. He then served on the training ship HMS Calliope until the end of October 1903. His first ship was the Barham third class protected cruiser HMS Bellona, serving with her until September 1905, and being made an Able Seaman aboard her. Spells on the shore establishments Vernon, Victory and Mercury followed. In July 1907 he joined the crew of the Mersey class cruiser HMS Forth, which had been converted to a submarine depot ship, below, serving with her until January 1913.

Further spells ashore followed including as spell at HMS Dolphin, the submarine training establishment at Gosport, based there between April and September 1914. On 17th September 1914 he was assigned to HMS Arrogant the submarine depot ship based in Dover, joining the crew of HM Submarine C33, below.

By January 1915, she had moved to Harwich and was employed using the U-Boat Trap tactic. In this, a submarine would be towed submerged behind a bait vessel. When challenged by the U-Boat, the bait vessel would transmit instructions to the submarine, which would slip its tow and attempt to torpedo the German U-Boat. The tactic did meet with some successes.

On 4th August 1915, HMS C33 had completed a 'U-Boat Trap' patrol with the armed trawler Malta. The two vessels parted company at 2015 that day and the last contact with the submarine was made by wireless at 2150. No further contact was made with HMS C33 and despite a search, no wreckage or survivors were found. The Admiralty assumed that HMS C33 was lost to a mine with all hands, as the Germans made no claims regarding her loss. Able Seaman Albert Hill was aged 30 and is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, his body never being recovered from the sea.

He left a widow behind in Dover.

PRIVATE FRANK HITCHMAN

He was born in April 1898, the son of William Hitchman, a farm labourer and Fanny Hitchman of 6, Guildhall Place, Chipping Norton.

He enlisted into the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in Chipping Norton in late 1914 as a Private. He joined the 5th (Service) Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in France on 16th July 1915. As part of the 42nd Brigade in 14th (Light) Division, they then took part in the Battle of Delville Wood from 15th July 1916, part of the Battle of the Somme. On 23rd August they occupied trenches on the edge of Delville Wood. On the 24th they attacked and captured German trenches in the wood. They took 200 German prisoners and killed or wounded 300 others. The Battalion lost 41 men including Private Frank Hitchman, who was killed in action on the 24th August 1916. He was aged 18 and is buried in Delville Wood Cemetery in Longueval France.

PRIVATE VICTOR OSWALD HOARE

He was born in January 1884, the son of Agnes Hoare, living with his grandparents at 9, Market Street, Chipping Norton and  worked as a cloth washers assistant.

He enlisted into The Royal Warwickshire Regiment as a Private in Chipping Norton in 1915. He was posted to France to join the 1st/6th Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment in the field in March 1916. As part of the 143rd Brigade, 48th (South Midland) Division they were in action in the Battle of Albert, the opening phase of the Somme Offensive on 1st July 1916. Going over the top, 10 minutes after the first wave, at 0740. Hit by a heavy artillery and machine gun fire they could advance no further than the line held by the previous wave and suffered casualties of 120 killed and missing and 316 wounded. On 18th August 1916, Private Victor Hoare was wounded in action during an attack on German position near Ovillers. After returning to his Battalion, Private Victor Hoare was in the reserve trenches in the area of Asservilles on the Somme when he was killed on the 12th February 1917. He was aged 23 and is buried in Assevillers New British Cemetery on the Somme. 

He had a younger brother Ralph who died of his wounds whilst serving with the Rifle Brigade aged 20 in October 1916.

SURGEON HUGH JAMES HOPPS 

Hugh James Hopps was born on 6th September 1887 to James Montgomery Hopps, an officer of the Inland Revenue and his wife Lucy, and lived at 142 The Leys with his two younger siblings. By the 1901 census they were recorded as living in Edinburgh.  He was educated at George Watson's College in Edinburgh and then Edinburgh University where he graduated M.B., Ch. B. in 1911. He held the appointment of House Surgeon at the Gloucester County Infirmary and subsequently entered the service of P & O, sailing to Bombay on the RMS Himalaya returning at the end of the year in RMS Persia. After a house appointment at Grimsby Infirmary Hugh Hopps joined the Royal Navy in September 1913 and after training at Greenwich and Haslar was appointed ships' surgeon on HMS Pembroke, a shore base at Chatham, before joining HMS Aboukir, below.

HMS Aboukir was a Cressy class armoured cruiser built in 1902. The Cressy class vessels had rapidly become obsolete due to the great advances in naval architecture in the years leading up to the First World War. At the outbreak of the war, these ships were mostly staffed by reserve sailors. Aboukir was one of four ships that made up the 7th Cruiser Squadron.  Shortly after the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914, Aboukir and her sister ships Bacchante, Euryalus, Hogue and Cressy were assigned to patrol the Broad Fourteens of the North Sea in support of a force of destroyers and submarines based at Harwich which blocked the Eastern end of the English Channel from German warships attempting to attack the supply route between England and France.

At around 0600 on 22nd September, the three cruisers had to return to harbour to refuel and were steaming at 10 knots in line ahead when they were spotted by the German submarine U-9,below, commanded by Kapitanleutnant Otto Weddigen.

Although they were not zigzagging, all of the ships had lookouts posted to search for periscopes and one gun on each side of each ship was manned. Weddigen ordered his submarine to submerge and closed the range to the unsuspecting British ships. At close range, he fired a single torpedo at Aboukir. The torpedo broke her back, and she sank within 20 minutes with the loss of 527 men. The captains of Cressy ad Hogue thought      Aboukir had struck a floating mine and came forward to assist her. They stood by and began to pick up survivors. At this point, Weddigen fired two torpedoes into Hogue, mortally wounding that ship. As Hogue sank, the captain of Cressy realised that the squadron was being attacked by a submarine, and tried to flee. However, Weddigen fired two more torpedoes into Cressy, and sank her as well. The entire battle had lasted less than two hours, and cost the British three warships, 62 officers and 1,397 ratings. This incident established the U-boat as a major weapon in the conduct of naval warfare. 

Surgeon Hugh Hopps died aboard HMS Aboukir on 22nd September 1914. He was aged 27 and he is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial, his body never being recovered from the sea.

He is not on the Town War Memorial but is remembered on the Burntisland War Memorial, and on his parents gravestone in Kinghorn, Scotland. His family suffered a further loss when his brother 2nd Lieutenant William Hopps  of the Northumberland Fusiliers died of wounds on 22nd May 1916. 

RIFLEMAN HUBERT FRANK HORWOOD

He was born in February 1894,  the son of William Horwood, a brewery foreman and Helen Horwood of 68, The Leys Chipping Norton, and had worked as a grocer's porter. 

He enlisted into  The 17th (County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (Poplar and Stepney Rifles) in April 1915 as a Private in Pangbourne Berkshire. He  transferred to the 9th (Service) Battalion, to The Royal Irish Rifles as a Rifleman, joining them in France in 1916. On 1st July 1916, they were in action in the Battle of Albert, the opening phase of the Somme Offensive, attacking German positions near Thiepval. In 1917 they fought in the Battle of Messine and then in the Battle of Langemarck, a phase of the Third Battle of Ypres. In August 1917 he was transferred to  2nd Battalion, The Royal Irish Rifles. In 1918 they faced the awaited German Spring Offensive in the First Battles of the Somme from 21st March, starting with the Battle of St Quentin. Buoyed by troops released from the Eastern Front after the surrender of Russia an attempt was made to win the war before the Americans arrived in numbers, the Germans attacked in large numbers across the old Somme battlefields. They advanced some 40 miles into Allied held territory before being halted. Rifleman Hubert Horwood was wounded in action during this time. he died of his wounds in hospital in Rouen on 22nd April 1918. He was aged 24 and is buried in St Sever Cemetery extension, Rouen. 

PRIVATE ALBERT WILLIAM HUGHES

He was born in April 1899, the son of Albert Edward Hughes, a factory operative and Jane Hughes of 1, Distons Lane, Chipping Norton.

He had enlisted into the Hampshire Regiment in Chipping Norton as a Private and joined the 15th (Hampshire Yeomanry) Battalion, The Hampshire Regiment in France in May 1918, based in the Ypres sector. Private Albert Hughes was killed in action on 25th July 1918, when two companies of his battalion carried out a trench raid on enemy positions at Kleine Kemmelbeek in Belgium. The objectives were gained but the flanks were subject to heavy machine gun fire killed two men and wounded four. He was  aged 19 and is buried in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery in Belgium.

PRIVATE WILLIAM HENRY HUNT

He was born in January 1888, the son of Frederick Hunt, a farm carter and Sarah Hunt of Lew near Black Bourton, one of five children. In 1909 he married Maud Webb in Chipping Norton. They lived at 2, Kimberley Place, Chipping Norton, where he worked as a farm labourer. They had three children together, Ellen Maud, William and Percy, born between 1911 and 1914. A fourth child Violet was born in January 1916.

He enlisted into the 4th (Territorial) Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry as a Private on 11th December 1915. He was mobilised on 31st May 1916 and joined the 1/4th Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry at Fienvillers in France in September 1916, part of “D” Company. In November 1916 they were in the front line trenches near La Sars during the Battle of Ancre, the was the last phase of the Somme Offensive. In February and March 1917, the Battalion, as part of the 48th Division, had cautiously pursued the Germans in their strategic retreat to pre-prepared defensive positions on the Hindenburg Line. The Germans had destroyed everything in their path as they pulled back across the old Somme battlefields, leaving booby traps behind. They were once again in action near Herbecourt, west of Peronne. On 19th April, “D” Company attacked Gillemont Farm near Ronssoy to the north-east of Peronne. Thirteen men were killed in action and 48 were wounded of whom five later died. 

In May 1917, after a brief rest, the Battalion marched north to the Front Line near Hermies where they remained until 3rd July 1917. After further training and R & R at Bailleulmont near Doullens, the Battalion entrained at Mondicourt on 21st July 1917, arriving at Godeswaersveldt in Belgium on the 22nd. They were entrenched at the Front along the Steenbeek, north-east of Ypres from 5th to 8th August, during the Third Battle of Ypres. In the early hours of 8th August, the Battalion was relieved by the 1/4th Berkshire Regiment and moved into reserve trenches. The Battalion was awaiting to advance on German positions, when Private William Hunt was killed by a shell whilst writing a letter home, along with five other members of his Company on 8th August 1917. He was aged 29 and his burial site lost, he is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial for soldiers with no known grave. 

His widow remained in Chipping Norton for the rest of her life, dying in 1960 aged 77.

STOKER 1st CLASS ALBERT HARRY HYDE

He was born in Dean in October 1884, the son of Richard Hyde, a carpenter  and Emma Hyde. He had lodged at Heythrop, where he was an estate worker prior to joining the Navy, signing up for 12 years on 15th April 1903, aged 18. His parents meanwhile had moved to  35, Rock Hill, Chipping Norton

He began his service on HMS Nelson, a training ship for stokers and then on the Special services yacht HMS Firequeen. He next served on the cruiser HMS Retribution, Firequeen II and the shore station Erebus. In February 1905 he joined the crew of the new battleship King Edward VII and served in her until March 1907, by which time she had become obsolete by the introduction of the dreadnoughts. A spell at the Victory shore base was followed by a brief spells on another pre-dreadnought battleship HMS Barfleur and the cruiser HMS Royal Arthur. Between  14th August 1907 until 17th March 1908 he was at the shore establishment Pembroke and after until 3rd January 1909 on the crew of HMS Latona, below, recently converted to a minesweeper.

It was during the last two postings that he seemed to have a problem with authority being jailed for three days, seven days twice and fourteen days. From there he joined the battleship HMS Dreadnought, at the time the flagship of the Home Fleet, until 27th March 1911 when he was posted to shore bases Victory and Vernon. Here again he got into trouble being jailed 28 and 60 for "break outs". In July 1913 he joined the crew of the battleship HMS Superb, being jailed again for 14 days, but now promoted to Stoker 1st class. On 29th July 1914 the Superb left Portsmouth when the Grand Fleet relocated to its war base at Scapa Flow. He left Superb in February 1915 and after a spell ashore joined the new "C" class cruiser HMS Castor,below, and saw action in The Battle of Jutland, where his ship was damaged by German fire. He served on Castor until 27th January 1917. 

After service ashore he joined HMS Ruby, an Acorn class destroyer, below, on 1st April 1918. 

Stoker Albert Hyde was serving aboard HMS Ruby,when he died of double pneumonia on 7th October 1918. He was aged 34 and is buried at Bari cemetery in Italy.

LANCE CORPORAL ROBERT HYDE

He was born in 1882, the son of Richard Hyde, a carpenter and Emma Hyde, his parents later moving to 35, Rock Hill, Chipping Norton. He married Susan Smith in 1903 and lived in Southside, Hook Norton with their three young sons and worked as an ironstone digger.  

He joined the Coldstream Guards in February 1915 and joined 3rd Battalion, The Coldstream Guards in France on 3rd October 1915, part of the Guards Division, Robery Hyde was appointed Lance Corporal in the feild. They went into action in the  Battle of Flers-Courcelette, part of the Somme Offensive, on 15th September 1916.  Going over the top at 062o and supported by one tank, the first use of tanks in the war, the Battalion faced fierce opposition from German troops in a nearby sunken road. Once they were silenced the Battalion captured its objective easily. They then fought off a German counter attack at 1800. Lance Corporal Robert Hyde was killed in action on 15th September 1916. He was aged 34 and is buried in Delville Wood Cemetery, Longueval.  

He is also commemorated on Hook Norton War Memorial. His younger brother Albert died in 1918, while serving in the Royal Navy.

PRIVATE CHARLES DAVID JOINES 

He was born in Bodicote in January 1856 and had worked as a farm labourer. When he married Sarah Padley in Chipping Norton in February 1875 he was working as a gasman and after living in Oxford settled at 67, Rock Hill, Chipping Norton where he worked as a bricklayer and mason and they had eight children together. He had also served as a part-time soldier with the 2nd Volunteer Battalion, the Oxfordshire Light Infantry which in 1908 had become the 4th (Territorial) Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. On 9th April 1915 he volunteered for a years service in the full time army, giving his age as 48 although he was actually 59, the upper age limit being 51. He was graded as B2, fit for service on the Home Front only and posted to the 62nd Protection Company of The Royal Defence Corps who were tasked with guarding railways, ports and other installations. He was stationed at the Channel port of Newhaven. In September 1916 he found that he could not swallow solid food and suffered from sickness and emaciation. He was admitted to No 2 General Hospital in Brighton, where he was diagnosed with an untreatable malignant oesophageal obstruction. He was discharged from hospital on 17th December 1916 and returned to Chipping Norton. He was discharged from the Army as being no longer fit for war service on 7th January 1917 and given the Silver War Badge given to honourably discharged soldiers to wear on civilian clothing to prevent them being accused of cowardice. PrivateCharles Joines died at home on 26th January 1917 aged 60 and is buried in Chipping Norton Cemetery.

His son Edward was killed in action on the Western Front in August 1917.

SERGEANT EDWARD GEORGE JOINES

He was born in January 1883 to parents and Charles & Sarah Joines of 67, Rock Hill, Chipping Norton. He had worked as a labourer whilst serving in the 2nd (Volunteer) Battalion, the Oxfordshire Light Infantry, as his father (above) had done, before enlisting in The Royal Field Artillery on 24th September 1900 in London as a Gunner. He served with the 4th Battery, the Royal Field Artillery in the Boer War with distinction, rising to Corporal and being awarded the Queen’s South Africa medal with Orange State and Cape Colony clasps. Whilst serving in Ahmedabad, India he was jailed for 14 days for “conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline” after telling his Regimental Sergeant Major, in no uncertain terms, that he was not attending a riding lesson. In March 1911 he married Laura Winman in Bicester and left the Army in September 1912, although he remained on the reserve list, and  joined the Police Force serving as a Constable in Bicester. In 1913 they moved to Wotton near Woodstock.

On the 5th August 1914 he was recalled to the Royal Field Artillery, being promoted to Sergeant in August of that year. He served in this country until being posted to France on the 7th January 1917. He served with 29 Brigade until the 17th March 1917 when he was hospitalized suffering from myalgia, a disorder brought on by overuse or strain of the muscles. On 30th June he returned to the front line joining "B" Battery, 84th Army Brigade, The Royal Field Artillery. Sergeant Edward Joines  was killed in action on the 17th August 1917, during the Battle of Langemarck, part of the Third Battle of Ypres, one of 10,266 British servicemen killed there. He was aged 34 and is buried in Bleuet Farm Cemetery near the Belgium town of Ypres. 

He left behind his widow Laura and two sons Edward, aged 6 and William aged 4. In 1918 his widow was awarded a weekly pension of 25 shillings and five pence and remarried in 1925.

PRIVATE ERNEST KEEN

He was born in April 1887 to parents Walter and Edith Keen of 10, Finsbury Place, Chipping Norton. He had been a factory worker when he enlisted into the Worcestershire Regiment. Being fit for Home Service only, he was transferred to the Hampshire Regiment and then to the 661st Agricultural Company of the Labour Corps. Private Ernest Keen died in the Peterborough Infirmary from influenza and pneumonia on 1st November 1918, aged 32. He was buried in Chipping Norton Cemetery.

His elder brother Albert had served on the Western Front with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and taken prisoner of war and died in 1920 aged 40.

PRIVATE FRANK KEEN

He was born in July 1898, the son of Joseph Keen, a builder's mason and Patience Keen of 60, Chapel House, Over Norton and the brother of Joseph (below), and had worked as a groom.

He enlisted into the 4th (Territorial) Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry as a Private in Oxford on 28th September 1916. After training he embarked at Southampton for Le Havre, arriving on 21st July 1917. After further training at a base depot he was posted to the 6th (Service) Battalion, The Princess Charlotte of Wales Regiment, (The Royal Berkshire Regiment), arriving in the field on 5th August 1917. The Battalion were in the Ypres area and were in action in the First Battle of  Passchendaele on 12th October and the Second Battle of Passchendaele between 20th and 20th October, phases of the Third Battle of Ypres. He was wounded in action on 19th November 1917, after the  suffering the effects from a mustard gas shell. After time in hospital in Wimereux he returned home on 27th November 1917. On 3rd April 1918 he returned to France, joining the 8th (Service) Battalion, The Princess Charlotte of Wales Regiment, (The Royal Berkshire Regiment) on 14th April 1918. On 1st August he was fined a days pay for being absent at roll call and 4 days Field Punishment No 2, being placed in fetters and handcuffs, for "irregular behaviour". Between 21st August and 3rd September 1918, they took part in the Second Battles of the Somme, pushing the Germans back to the Hindenburg Line as part of the 100 Days Offensive. They went on to break the defensive systems there in the Battles of the Hindenburg Line between 12th September and 12th October 1918. They then fought in the Battle of the Selle, the Battalion was at Le Cateau on 23rd October 1918 when they began the advance on Valenciennes at 0120 under a creeping barrage. The Germans retaliated by shelling the Battalion's lines causing 15 causalities, including Private Frank Keen, who was killed in action on 23rd October 1918. He was aged 20 and is buried in the Highland cemetery at Le Cateau.

He is also commemorated on the Over Norton war memorial.

LANCE CORPORAL JOSEPH HENRY KEEN

He was born in February 1889, the son of Joseph Keen, a builder's mason and Patience Keen of Chapel House, Over Norton.

He had enlisted into the 1st Battalion, Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry as a Private in June 1909, joining the Battalion in Ahmednagar, India. The Battalion, as part of the 6th Poona Division, under command of 17th Indian Brigade,  moved from India to Mesopotamia in November 1914, to protect Persian oil supplies from the Ottoman Empire. The Battalion took part in the march towards Kut-al-Amara with the intention of capturing it from the Ottomans. Joseph Keen was promote to Lance Corporal. The battle for Kut began on 26 September and raged for a number of days until the Ottomans went into retreat and Kut was captured on 28th September 1915. The Battalion then took part in the Battle of Ctesiphon in the effort to capture the capital, Baghdad, which ended in the 6th Poona Division being defeated by the Ottoman forces, with the Battalion sustaining 304 casualties. The Division subsequently retreated to Kut, reaching it on 3rd December 1915, with a garrison of 10,000 Britons and Indians. It was besieged by the Ottomans, from the 7th December. The Ottomans launched numerous attempts to take Kut, all of which were repulsed by the defenders, with both sides suffering heavy casualties. The British tried desperately to relieve Kut, but failed, suffering heavy losses. By 26th April 1916 supplies had dwindled significantly and many of the garrison's defenders were suffering from sickness. The garrison negotiated a cease-fire, allowing the sick and wounded to be transferred to the relieving forces and on 29th April the British-Indian force, now down to 8,000, surrendered to the Turks including 400 men of the 1st Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. Many suffered mistreatment by the Ottomans and only 71 of all ranks of the 1st Ox and Bucks who had been taken prisoner returned home to Great Britain. Lance Corporal Joseph Keen was wounded in the Seige of Kut and died whist a prisoner of war, on 6th August 1916. He was aged 28 and is buried in Baghdad North Gate Cemetery.  

He is also commemorated on the Over Norton war memorial.

PRIVATE ANDREW BERNARD KING

He was born in August 1898, the son  of Alfred King, a pattern weaver and Emma King of 2, High Street, Chipping Norton. 

He had enlisted into the 4th (Territorial) Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry on 5th June 1915. He was discharged 8 days later as he had falsified his age on the attestation form, he was only 16 at the time. He eventually enlisted into the Gloucestershire Regiment as a Private in Banbury in February 1917. He was posted to France in September 1917, joining the 12th (Service) Battalion (Bristol) the Gloucestershire Regiment in the field. The Battalion, part of the 5th Division, saw action in the Third Battle of Ypres in The Battle of Polygon Wood, The Battle of Broodseind, The Battle of Poelcapelle and The Second Battle of Passchendaele between 26th September and 10th November 1917. The Battalion along with the rest of the Division were then sent to Italy, to bolster their efforts in the fight against the Austrians. By January 1918 they held front line positions along the River Piave. However they were hurriedly recalled to France after the German Spring Offensive began on 21st March 1918. They fought in The Battle of Hazebrouck between 12th and 15th April 1918, in which the battalion fought in the Defence of Nieppe Forest. Private King was taken to the 51st Casualty Clearing Station on 10th May 1915, suffering from an unknown pyrexia. The Battalion was moved into the Reserves on 14th August 1918 to rest. They returned to action on 21st August 1918, fighting in the Battle of Albert as the German Army was forced to retreat back across the old Somme battlefields. Private Andrew King was killed in an operation to capture the village of Irles on 23rd August 1918, one of over 200 from the Battalion killed that day. He was aged 20 and is buried in Queens Cemetery, Bucquoy in the Pas de Calais.

PRIVATE LESLIE FREDERICK KING

He was born in April 1898, the son of Frederick and Emily King of 12, Church Street, Chipping Norton.

He enlisted into the 4th (Territorial) Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, as a Private,  at the outbreak of the war in August 1914. He served on the Home Front until being embodied into the 2/4th Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry and sent to France with his Battalion on 21st May 1916. On 19th July 1916 they took part in the Attack on Fromelles, a disastrous and costly diversionary attack during the Somme Offensive. Private Leslie King was later taken ill in the field and evacuated back to England for treatment. He died in Boscombe Military Hospital on 19th September 1917 from pulmonary meningitis and exhaustion, aged 19. He is buried in Chipping Norton Cemetery.

PHILIP CHARLES VALENTINE KERBY (KIRBY)

He was born in February 1894, the son of Henry Kerby, a groom and Matilda Kerby of Eydon. Northamptonshire eventually moving to Mollington in Oxfordshire. Mollington and worked as a groom.

He enlisted into The Warwickshire Yeomanry as a Trooper on the outbreak of war in August 1914, whilst working as a groom for the Chamberlaynes at The Elm, Church Lane, Chipping Norton. Major Edward Tankerville Chamberlayne served in the same regiment. He was with the 1/1st Warwickshire Yeomanry when they boarded His Majesty's Transport Ship Wayfarer at Avonmouth on the 10th April 1915. The Wayfarer, below, sailed from Avonmouth en-route to Egypt, having on board, under the command of Major R. A. Richardson, five other officers with 189 N.C.O.s and men, and 763 horses and mules.

The following day, when 60 miles W.N.W. of the Scilly Isles, the ship was struck by a torpedo from U-Boat U 32 captained by Freiherr Edgar von Spiegel von und zu Peckelsheim. She was hit on the port side just forward of the engine room. Both the engine room and boilers were flooded. All on board went to their boat stations and the boats with their occupants were safely got away. Unfortunately one boat capsized, with the loss of three men of the Warwickshire Yeomanry, including Trooper Philip Kerby, and one of the Army Service Corps. An hour later a small trading steamer, the S.S. Framfield, came to the rescue and all were transferred on board and the Wayfarer taken under tow to Queenstown in Ireland, with the result that only 5 men lost their lives and 760 animals were landed safely. Trooper Philip Kerby was drowned in the Irish Sea on 11th April 1915.  He was aged 22, his body was never recovered from the sea, he is commemorated on the Hollybrook Memorial in Southampton. 

Philip Kerby is also commemorated on Mollington war memorial.

LANCE CORPORAL FREDERICK KNIBBS

He was born in April 1889, the son, of Frederick Knibbs, a slater and plasterer and Sarah Knibbs of 30, Rock Hill, Chipping Norton. He had moved to Wales and was working for the Great Western Railway, firstly as a porter at Llanhilleth then promoted to head shunter at Nantyglo. On 20th March 1908 he unfortunately allowed a crane jib to become tangled in a wagon, damaging the crane beyond repair and was demoted back to a porter and resigned shortly after. He then became a timber waggoner lodging at the Red Cow Inn in Newcastle Emlyn, Wales.

He enlisted into the 9th(Service) Battalion, The Royal Welsh Fusiliers in Llanelly, joining B company as a Private. He arrived with his Battalion in France on 19th July 1915 and was appointed Lance Corporal in the field. On 25th September the Battalion, as part of the 19th (Western) Division, made an attack on German positions at Pietre, a diversionary action for the Battle of the Loos. The preceding artillery bombardement had failed to cut the wire or knock out German strongholds and when the Battalion advanced they faced heavy opposition. Lance Corporal Frederick Knibbs was wounded in action on 25th September 1915. He died in the No2 Canadian General Hospital in Le Treport on 28th September 1915. He was aged 26 and is buried in Le Treport Military Cemetery near Dieppe.

LANCE CORPORAL WILLIAM JAS KNIGHT

He was born in September 1887, the son of William Knight, a grocer and Rose Knight of Over Norton. He married Annie Clack in 1910 and  lived at 10, Guildhall Place, Chipping Norton with their young daughters Edna and Doris. He worked as a groom and coachman for Major Daly at Over Norton Park, along with Frank Murrell, below left, who also died in the war.

He enlisted into 8th (Service) Battalion (Pioneers), The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry as a Private in Oxford in October 1914, joining B Company. He landed with the Battalion in France on 18th September 1915. They were then moved to Salonika in November 1915 where they took part in the Battle of Horseshoe Hill, between 10th and 18th August 1916. On 29th August 1916 Private Knight was taken to the 28th Causality Clearing Station Station, suffering with dysentery. He was evacuated back to the UK on the Hospital Ship Formosa on 24th Srptember 1916. After recover he was posted back to France and joined the 2nd Battalion, The Oxfordshire & euckinghamshire Light Infantry and appointed Lance Corporal. In 1918 they faced the awaited German Spring Offensive in the First Battles of the Somme from 21st March, starting with the Battle of St Quentin. Buoyed by troops released from the Eastern Front after the surrender of Russia an attempt was made to win the war before the Americans arrived in numbers, the Germans attacked in large numbers across the old Somme battlefields. They advanced some 40 miles into Allied held territory before being halted. Lance Corporal William Knight was one of three killed in action by shelling as the Battalion moved into positions near Boisleaux-au-Mont on 1st May 1918. He was aged 30 and is buried in the Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez in the Pas de Calais. 

He is also commemorated on the Over Norton war memorial.

STOKER 1st CLASS HARRY ROWLAND LANE

He was born in September 1889, the son of William Bayles Lane, a stonemason and Sarah Lane, living with his mother and her parents at 2, Alexandra Square, Chipping Norton. Harry had joined the Great Western Railway when he was 16, working as a cleaner first at Oxford Station then at Chipping Norton. He left in October 1908 and worked as a collier before enlisting into the Royal Navy on 16th August 1910. He underwent training as a stoker at HMS Vivid in Devonport before joining the crew of HMS Indefatigable on 24th February 1911, which had been commissioned that day. HMS Indefatigable, below, was a battle cruiser of the Royal Navy and the lead ship of her class.

She was an enlarged version of the earlier Invincible Class with a revised protection scheme and additional length amidships to allow her two middle turrets to fire on either broadside. On 9th July 1913 Harry Rowland spent 6 days in the cells for being drunk and disorderly after being promoted to Stoker 1st class. He served on the Indefatigable throughout, serving with the 2nd Battle Cruiser Squadron(BCS) in the Mediterranean, where she unsuccessfully pursued the battle cruiser Goeben and the light cruiser Breslau of the German Imperial Navy as they fled towards the Ottoman Empire. The ship bombarded Ottoman fortifications defending the Dardanelles on 3rd November 1914, then, following a refit in Malta, returned to the United Kingdom in February where she rejoined the 2nd BCS. Indefatigable was sunk on 31st May 1916 during the Battle of Jutland, the largest naval battle of the war. Part of Vice-Admiral Sir David Beatty's battle cruiser fleet, she was hit several times in the first minutes of the "Run to the South", the opening phase of the battlecruiser action. Shells from the German battlecruiser Vonn der Tann caused an explosion ripping a hole in her hull, and a second explosion hurled large pieces of the ship 200 feet in the air. Only two of the crew of 1,019 survived. Stoker Harry Lane died aboard HMS Indefegatible on 31st May 1916. He was aged 26 and is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial for those lost at sea. 

PRIVATE LEONARD LANGFORD

He was born in North Leigh in April 1887 to parents John Langford, a farm labourer his wife Emily. He later moved with his family to Boulters barn in Churchill, where he worked as a shepherd.

He enlisted as a Private into the 4th (Reserve Battalion), The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in Chipping Norton at the outbreak of the war. After basic training with them he was transferred to the 10th (Service) Battalion, The Gloucester Regiment. after further training on Salisbury Plain, he arrived in France with the Battalion on 9th August 1915 and came under the command of the 1st Division. They saw action in the Battle of Loos from 24th September 1915. On the 1st July 1916 they took part in the Battle of Albert, the opening phase of the Somme Offensive. They went on to be involved in further actions on the Somme between July and Seotember 1916, The Battle of Bazentin, The Battle of Pozieres, The Battle of Flers-Courcelette and The Battle of Morval. In November 1916 the Battalion were holding front line trenches on the Somme when Private Leonard Langford was wounded by a shell. He died of his wounds at a Casualty Clearing station on 20th November 1916. He was aged 29 and is buried in Dernancourt Communal Cemetery Extension. 

At the time of his death his parents were living at 67, Rock Hill, Chipping Norton.

LANCE CORPORAL ERNEST MARGETTS

He was born in March 1890, the only son of Thomas Margetts, a carpenter and Elizabeth Margetts of Over Norton. The family later moving to Rock Hill, Chipping Norton.

He enlisted into the Gloucestershire Regiment as a Private in January 1908 in Moreton in Marsh. He joined the 2nd Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment, which was serving in Malta. At the outbreak of the war the the 2nd Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment were part of an International force in Tientsin, They returned to England, landing at Southampton on 8th November 1914. Ernest married Ivy Timms in Charlbury before embarking to France, on 29th November 1914. He then landed with the 2nd Battalion at Le Havre on 19th December 1914, as part of the 27th Division. Ernest Margetts was appointed as a Lance Corporal in D Company in the field. The Battalion took part in the action of St Eloi where several mines were blown under German positions. The Division took the territory but it was later re-taken by the Germans. From 22nd April 1915 they fought in the Second Battle of Ypres during which the Germans used chlorine gas on a large scale. By the end of the Battle on 30th May 1915, the German had compressed the Ypres Salient allowing their artillery to destroy the city. The Battalion were in billets in Armentieres on 9th July 1915 when Lance Corporal Ernest Margetts was wounded in action by a shell. He died of his wounds on 11th July 1915 in the 81st Field Ambulance. He was aged 26 and is buried in Erquinghem-lys Churchyard in the Pas-de-Calais. 

His widow Ivy remarried in London in October 1918, to Francis Lappin who was serving with the Irish Guards.

PRIVATE HAROLD FRANCIS MARGETTS

He was born in April 1895, one of six children of Philip Margetts, a house decorator and Martha Margetts of 15, Distons Lane, Chipping Norton. By the age of 15, he was living at 20, Roseberry Avenue, Bridgewater, Somerset, lodging with his married sister and working as a grocer’s assistant. 

He enlisted into  the 2nd Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in Oxford in February 1913 and arrived in France with them on 14th August 1914. As part of the 2nd Division, The Battalion saw action in many of the engagements on the Western Front. This included the Battle of Mons, the retreat to the Seine, the battles of Le Cateau, the Marne, the Aisne and the first Battle of Ypres in 1914. The Battles of Festubert and Loos in 1915 and the Battles of Deville Wood and The Ancre, phases of the 1916 Somme Offensive.

Private Harold Margetts was killed in action on on 24th April 1917, during the Second Battle of the Scarpe, a phase of Battle of Arras, when the Germans counter attacked the recently captured village of Gavrelle. He was aged 21, his body never recovered from the battlefield, he is commemorated on the Arras Memorial for those with no known grave. 

He is also remembered on the Bridgewater War Memorial.

COLOUR SERGEANT JOHN HENRY MARGETTS

He was born in August 1882, the son of Harry Margetts, a master butcher and Emily Margetts of New Street, Chipping Norton. He worked as a journeyman butcher for his father before joining the Army. 

He enlisted into the Dorsetshire Regiment as a Private in London in April 1903. He was posted to the 2nd Battalion, The Dorsetshire Regiment and had served in India and Ceylon before the war. At the outbreak of war the 2nd Battalion were based in Poona, India as part of 16th Indian Brigade. On 6th November 1914 they landed in Fao on the Persian Gulf, for the campaign in Mesopotamia to protect oil supplies, as part of Indian Expeditionary Force 'D'. They took part in the capture of Basra in November 1914. John Margetts, now a Sergeant was wounded in action during the Battle of Shaiba between 10th and 14th April 1915, as the Ottoman Forces tried to retake Basra. They went on to capture Amara and advanced towards Baghdad. Following defeat at the Battle of Ctesiphon in November 1915, the British Forces fell back to the town of Kut-al-Amara, where they were beiseged by the Ottomans. Despite numerous attempts to break the seing, the Garrison surrendered on 29th April 1916. Of the 350 men of the battalion captured, only 70 survived their captivity. Colour Sergeant John Margetts died of disease at Tikrit as a prisoner of war of the Turks on the forced march through Mesopotamia on 16th June 1916. He was aged 34 and is commemorated on the Basra Memorial for soldiers with no known grave.  

SERGEANT ISAAC MARSHALL

He was born in January 1885,  the son of Edwin Marshall, a wool dyer and Emma Marshall of Coneygree Terrace, Chipping Norton. 

He joined the 2nd Battalion, The Grenadier Guards as a Guardsman on 2nd October 1904 in Risca, Wales. He was serving as a Sergeant based at Victoria Barracks at Windsor, when he married Marion Deakin in Paddington in January 1912. He left the Army that year to join the Worcester Police but remained in the reserves. He had a son, born in 1913. He was recalled to service, as a Sergeant, at the outbreak of war and arrived in France with his Battalion on 13th August 1914. The were soon in action in the Battle of Mons on 25th August, where they held up the German army despite being heavily outnumbered. They then fought a fighting retreat back to the outskirts of Paris where the German advance was halted at the Battle of the Marne between 6th and 12th September 1914. They then pushed the German Army back in the Battle of the Aisne between 12th and 15th September 1914. The First Battle of Ypres was fought around Ypres in western Belgium during October and November 1914. The battle took place as part of the First Battle of Flanders, in which German, French, Belgian and British armies fought from Arras in France to Nieuport on the Belgian coast. The battles at Ypres began at the end of the Race to the Sea which involved attempts by the German and Franco-British armies to advance past the northern flank of their opponents. Sergeant Isaac Marshall was killed in action on the 25th October 1914, during the First Battle of Ypres, his body never being recovered from the Battlefield. He was aged 29 and is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial for soldiers with no known grave. 

Marion Marshall was living in Great Rollright at the time of her husband's death, she never re-married and lived there for the rest of her life.

PRIVATE JOHN MEADES

He was born in November 1889, the son of Joseph Meades, a stone mason and Jane Meades of 4, Newbridge Terrace, Worcester Road, Chipping Norton. 

He enlisted into The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry as a Private in Oxford in December 1909 and was posted to the 1st Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in India. The Battalion, as part of the 6th Poona Division, under command of 17th Indian Brigade, moved from India to Mesopotamia on 5th November 1914, to protect Persian oil supplies from the Ottoman Empire. The Battalion took part in the march towards Kut-al-Amara with the intention of capturing it from the Ottomans. The battle for Kut began on 26 September and raged for a number of days until the Ottomans went into retreat and Kut was captured on 28th September 1915. The Battalion then took part in the Battle of Ctesiphon in the effort to capture the capital, Baghdad, which ended in the 6th Poona Division being defeated by the Ottoman forces, with the Battalion sustaining 304 casualties. The Division subsequently retreated to Kut, reaching it on 3rd December 1915, with a garrison of 10,000 Britons and Indians. It was besieged by the Ottomans, from the 7th December. The Ottomans launched numerous attempts to take Kut, all of which were repulsed by the defenders, with both sides suffering heavy casualties. The British tried desperately to relieve Kut, but failed, suffering heavy losses. By 26th April 1916 supplies had dwindled significantly and many of the garrison's defenders were suffering from sickness. The Garrison negotiated a cease-fire, allowing the sick and wounded to be transferred to the relieving forces and on 29th April the British-Indian force, now down to 8,000, surrendered to the Turks including 400 men of the 1st Ox and Bucks. Many suffered mistreatment by the Ottomans and only 71 of all ranks of the 1st Ox and Bucks who had been taken prisoner returned home to Great Britain.  Private John Meades died of influenza and pneumonia on 25th September 1918 at Yarbaschi prisoner of war camp in Turkey. He was aged 28 and is buried in Baghdad North Gate Cemetery. 

PRIVATE MOWBRAY MEADES

He was born in May 1891, the son of William Meades, a woollen warper and his wife Ann of 23, Distons Lane, Chipping Norton. He married Emily Lambert in Churchill in 1909 before moving to Thornton Heath, Surrey where he worked as an audit clerk, later becoming an accountant. They had two daughters, Muriel and Eileen, there. 

He enlisted into 11th (Service) Battalion, The Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) as a Private on 17th December 1915, in Croyden. He served in the reserves until being mobilised on 22nd June 191. He was posted to France with as a Private with the 2nd Battalion, The Middlesex Regiment on 10th October 1916. They saw action in the Battle of Pilckelm Ridge, the opening phase of The Third Battle of Ypres from 31st July 1917, fighting to gain control of Railway Wood. His family moved back to Churchill where his wife had been born and where she gave birth to her third daughter Olive in 1917. The Battalion had left the front line and returned to camp. They were bombed by German aircraft on 12th August 1917 and Mowbray was hit in the left thigh, one of 4 killed and 62 wounded. He was invalided home to hospital in Bradford. After recovering he was transferred to the Command depot in Tippperary, where on 4th September 1917 he was hospitalized with further complications with his earlier wound. He returned to France on 20th March 1918 and transferred to the 2nd/6th Battalion, the North Staffordshire Regiment to fight against the German Spring Offensive which had overrun The Somme area in 1918. He was reported missing on the 10th April 1918 and later reported as wounded in action and a prisoner of war. Private Mowbray Meades  died on 9th July 1918 of pneumonia in the German hospital at Lilles. He was aged 26 and is buried in Lille Southern Cemetery. 

In his will he left his wife the sum of £573 8s 7d. Emily moved to 65, New Street, Chipping Norton with her youngest daughter Olive, visiting New York with her in 1948, travelling first class on the Dutch liner "Veendam". She died in the town in 1976 aged 92. 

His elder brother Williamhad died of his wounds in July 1916.

PRIVATE WILLIAM ROLAND MEADES

He was the son of William and Ann Meades and brother of Mowbray, above. He lived at 23, Distons Lane, Chipping Norton and worked as a domestic groom.  

He had enlisted into the 5th Reserve Cavalry Regiment as a Private in Oxford after the outbreak of war in August 1914. He was transferred to the 6th (Service) Battalion, The King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, joining them in France on 17th June 1915. On 30th July 1915, as part of the 14th (Light) Division they held the line near Hooge, 2 miles outside Ypres, when they had the misfortune to be attacked by the Germans using flamethrowers for the first time. He then transferred to the 10th(Service) Battalion, The King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, as part of the 21st Division, took part in the opening phase of the Somme, the Battle of Albert, from 1st July 1916, during which Private William  Meades was wounded in action. He died of his wounds in hospital on 10th July 1916. He was aged 36 and is buried in St Sever Cemetery in Rouen.

PRIVATE RICHARD CECIL MOORE

 He was born January 1886, the son of William Moore, a cabinet maker and his wife Louisa of Leamington Priors, where he worked as a butcher's assistant. He moved to Chipping Norton in 1910, where he managed Eastman's butchers in Middle Row. He married Elsie Savage in the town in January 1916, living at 29, hight Street, Chipping norton.

He was conscripted into the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in answer to the manpower shortage that had arisen at the end of 1917. He joined the 9th (Service) Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment in Mesopotamia where as part of 39th Brigade they were fighting against the forces of the Ottoman Empire. In July 1918 the Brigade was ordered to Persia. There they joined Dunsterforce, an Allied military mission of under 1,000 allied troops  accompanied by armoured cars, deployed from Hamadan some 350 km across Persia. It was named after its commander Major-General Lionel Dunsterville. Its mission was to gather information, train and command local forces, and prevent the spread of German propaganda. Later on, Dunsterville was told to take and protect the Baku oil fields in Armenia. The force was initially delayed by 3,000 Russian Bolshevik troops at Enzeli but then proceeded by ship to the port of Baku on the Caspian Sea. This was the primary target for the advancing Turkish forces and Dunsterforce endured a short, brutal siege on the 14th September 1918, in which Private Richard Moore was killed in action, before being forced to withdraw. He was aged 32 and is commemorated on the Tehran Monument, having no known grave. 

General Dunsterville wrote after the evacuation of Baku : 

"This Brigade, composed entirely of New Army Battalions, had covered itself with glory second to none in the annals of our best fighting regiments, . . . No one in Baku would argue that anything but these brave lads of the English Midland Brigade had kept the Turks out of the town so long."

Elizabeth Moore re-married Richard Lavery in 1924 and went on to run the Lamb Inn in Shipston-under-Wychwood with him.

PRIVATE GEORGE WILLIAM MORRIS

He born in Reading in July 1894, the son of Albert Morris, a basket maker and Ellen Morris. He was living at 58, Rock Hill, Chipping Norton his family and working on a farm prior the war.

He enlisted into the 4th (Territorial) Battalion,  The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in April 1914, as a part time soldier. After the outbreak of war he was called up for service and embodied into the 1/4th Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. He arrived in France with the Battalion on 30th May 1915, as part of the 48th (South Midland) Division. The Battalion saw action in the Somme Offensive of 1916, starting from 2nd July when they attacked German positions in the Battle of Albert. They were then involved in the Battle of Bazentin Ridge from 17th July. Private Morris was wounded in action on 24th August 1916, during a counter-attack on German positions. The Battalion took part in the the Battle of Ancre, the last phase of the Somme Offensive between 13th and 18th November 1916. The Battalion entered the Third Battle of Ypres on 16th August 1917 in the Battle of Langemarck. The Battalion, along with the rest of the Division, was moved to Italy, to bolster its fight against the Austro-Hungarian Empire, in December 1917. Private George Morris was wounded in action on 15th June 1918 during an Austrian attack on their position on the Asagio Plateau. He died of wounds on 17th June 1918. He was aged 23 and is buried in Montecchio Precalcino Cemetery in Italy.

 PRIVATE FREDERICK JAMES MOULDER

He was born in May 1884, the son of Henry Moulder, a factory operative and Susan Moulder of Over Norton, He married Mary Benfield in 1910 and was living at 78 West Street, Chipping Norton with their young daughter Winifred, born in 1911, and worked as an assistant loom tuner. He and seven of his brothers played in The Chipping Norton Brass Band.

He was also a part-time soldier in the 2nd (Volunteer) Battalion, The Oxford Light Infantry, joining as a Private in Banbury in 1902. In 1908 the Battalion became the 4th (Territorial) Battalion, Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. At the outbreak of the war he was embodied into the 2nd Battalion, Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.On 14th August 1914, he landed with his Battalion in France, as part of the 5th Infantry Brigade of the 2nd Division. The 2nd Division was one of the first divisions of the BEF to arrive in France. The Battalion took part in the first British battle of the war, at Mons on 23rd August. The Battalion subsequently took part in the 220 mile retreat, in exceptionally hot weather,  not stopping until just on the outskirts of Paris, then halting the German advance at the First Battle of Marne, between the 5th and 9th September. The 2nd Battalion, theOxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry later took part in all the subsidiary battles of the First Battle of Ypres between 19th October and 22nd November that saw the heart ripped out of the old regular army, with 54,000 casualties being sustained. In the First Battle of Ypres the 2nd Battalion, the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry first engagement with the enemy was on 20th October in an attack on the Passchendaele ridge. The Battalion had heavy casualties: 4 officers killed and 5 wounded and 143 other ranks killed or wounded. Private Frederick Moulder was reported missing after the action and later presumed to have been killed in action on 31st October 1914 during the First Battle of Ypres. He was aged 29 and is commemorated on the Ypres Menin Gate Memorial for soldiers with no known grave.   

Mary, his widow, died at the young age of 35 in 1923.

He is also commemorated on the Over Norton war memorial.

PRIVATE GEORGE FREDERICK MURRELL

was serving as a Private in the 31st Mobile Section of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps when 

He was born in Reading in 1874, the son of James and Mary Murrell, but moved with his family to Wykeham Lane, near Banbury, where his father worked as a coachman. He married Daisy Pinfold in Enstone in 1903 and had two children together. He lived and worked as a groom and coachman at Over Norton Park along with William Knight, below left, who also died in the war. 

He enlisted into the Army Veterinary Corps as a Private in London at the outbreak of war. The Army Veterinary Corps  He was posted to The 31st Mobile Section of the Army Veterinary Corps and arrived in France with them on 20th July 1915. They were  attached to the 19th Western Division, responsible for the medical care of animals used by the army, mostly horses, mules and pigeons. Private George Murrell died from pneumonia, in No 9 Casualty Clearing Station, on 4th September 1915. He was aged 41 and is buried in Lillers Communal Cemetery in France. 

His widow Daisy was living in Lidstone near Enstone when her husband died. In 1918 she re-married to Jihn Lay but died in 1922 aged 40.

PRIVATE MOWBRAY NASON

He was born in the son of William Nason, a glove cutter and Alice Nason of 22, Albion Street, Chipping Norton working as a leather pavior. 

He enlisted into the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry as a Private in 1916. He was posted to France to join the 5th (Service) Battalion, the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry as a replacement for losses in the Somme Offensive in 1916. In February and March 1917, the Battalion, as part of the 14th (Light) Division, had cautiously pursued the Germans in their strategic retreat to pre-prepared defensive positions on the Hindenburg Line. The Germans had destroyed everything in their path as they pulled back across the old Somme battlefields, leaving booby traps behind. They went on to assault the German positions in the Arras Offensive, attacking the Harp redoubt on 9th April 1917, in the First Battle of the Scarpe. They were in action again at the Third Battle of the Scarpe on 3rd May 1917. They then saw action in the Third Battle of Ypres, taking part in the Battle of Langemarck on 18th August 1917. Private Nason was wounded in action at this time and evacuated from the front line. After recovery he joined the 2/4th Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. On 18th/19th March 1918 the Battalion moved up to the front line between Griscourt and Fayet. A German Offensive was expected since the surrender of Russia had released thousands of men for duty on the Western Front. The men were working on improving trenches and wiring and sending out fighting patrols to gain intelligence from captured prisoners. At 0430 on 21st their positions were subjected to a heavy bombardment including gas shells. At 0900, under a heavy smoke barrage, the Germans attacked in overwhelming numbers and penetrating the front lines and inflicting heavy casualties. Private Mowbray Nason was reported missing and presumed to have been killed in action on 21st March 1918. He was aged 36 and is commemorated on The Pozieres Memorial for soldiers with no known grave. 

PRIVATE WILFRED NASON

He was born in February 1885, the son of John Nason, a woolen cloth finisher and Jane Nason of 19,The Leys, Chipping Norton. He had worked as an ironmonger's assistant in the town. He married Edith Allen in Hampshire in 1912 and they lived in Eastleigh, having one son.

He had enlisted in Southampton into  the Hampshire Regiment as a Private, joining the the 14th (Service) Battalion, The Hampshire Regiment in France. He then transferred to the the 1st Battalion, The Duke of Edinburgh's Wiltshire Regiment. His Battalion was in action in the Battle of Pilckem, part of The Third Battle of Ypres, when they relieved tired units on Bellewaarde Ridge. He was killed in action on 3rd August 1917, when the Germans shelled the ridge on 3rd August 1917. He was aged 32, his burial site lost and is commemorated on The Ypres Menin Gate Memorial for those with no known grave.

PRIVATE HAYLOCK ETHER OWEN

He was born in September 1896,  the son of Frederick Owen, a farm, labourer and Louisa Owen of Chalford Cottages, Southcombe, Chipping Norton. He had worked as a farm labourer before enlisting. 

He enlisted into the 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars as a Private in Birmingham in 1916. The Hussars had seen action in the Battle of the Somme in 1916.They returned to the Somme area in March 1917 to clear the small pockets of machine guns left by the retreating Germans. They took part in what would be the Regiment's last mounted charge at Villers-Faucon when, supported by a howitzer battery and two armoured cars, attacked a heavily defended German positions. In March 1918 they were transferred to the 9th Cavalry Brigade, the 9th Cavalary Division.  The Germans began to collapse soon after the allies began their final offensive in August, the 8th fighting at St Quentin and Beaurevoir. On 9th August 1918 they were in the French village of Caix. At 1100 they would ordered to follow the infantry up on an attack to retake Rosieres, captured in the Spring German Offensive in March. Private Haylock Owen was killed in action, one of two men killed in the attack, on 9th August 1918. He was aged 21 and is buried in the Rosieres Communal Cemetery.

RIFLEMAN BERNARD THOMAS PADLEY

He was born in October 1889, the son of John Padley, mason and Annie Padley of 30, Worcester Road, Chipping Norton. He had worked as a spinner and a porter before the war.

He had enlisted as a part time soldier with the 6th (Territorial) Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Resgiment in 1908, serving as a Private for two and a half years. He enlisted into the 9th Battalion, The King's Rifle Brigade on 26th August 1914 in Birmingham a but was discharged on 19th October 1914 having an overlapping toe which caused his feet to swell whilst marching. He tried again in Oxford and on 16th November 1914 and joined the 4th (Territorial) Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, as a Private. On the 25th September 1915 he was transferred as a Rifleman to the 21st Battalion, The Rifle Brigade. The Battalion embarked at Devonport on 30th December 1915 and disembarked at Alexandria on 14th January 1916 to join the Egyptian Expeditionary Force. On the 31st July 1916 he was part of D Company escorting No 3 armoured train when he accidentally drowned whilst bathing in an allotted bathing place in a canal. A Court of Enquiry was held and statements read from the four men bathing with him. They all said he threw up his arms and sunk into the water without a cry before they could reach him, and that he was a strong swimmer. His body was recovered from the canal later. Private Bernard Padley  was aged 27 and he is buried in Kantara War Memorial Cemetery. 

LANCE CORPORAL MARTIN GUY PEARSON

 He was born in October 1890, the son of Martin Knight Pearson, a draper and his wife Elizabeth of 15, The Leys Chipping Norton. He was educated at King's College, Taunton where he was a member of the Officer Training Corps. He was employed as a bank clerk in the Metropolitan bank in Stratford-upon-Avon.

He was also a part-time soldier, joining the 4th(Territorial) Battalion Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry on the 9th January 1913 as a Private, and is pictured in the centre below.

He was mobilised on 4th August 1914 into the 1/4th Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry and appointed as a Lance Corporal. He landed with his Battalion in France on 23th April 1915 being appointed acting Corporal on 23rd January 1916. On 8th February 1916 the Battalion was in trenches at Hebuterne on 8th February 1916, when they came under heavy artillery fire. Acting Corporal Pearson was wounded by shrapnel and invalided home, recuperating in Ballyronan, Ireland. He returned to France on the 1st April 1917 as a Lance-Corporal with 5th (Service) Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. On 9th April 1917, the Battalion attacked German strongholds on the Hindenburg Line in the First Battle of the Scarpe and again on 3rd May 1917 in the Third Battle of the Scarpe. Lance Corporal Martin Pearson  was reported wounded and missing after an attack onFresnoy-Bullecourt near Monchy on the 3rd May 1917 and later assumed killed in action on that date. He had been shot in the thigh and broken his leg whilst jumping into an enemy trench leading his platoon. He was last seen on the battlefield some hours later with his leg blown off and bleeding badly, crawling towards the British trenches.  His body was never recovered from the battlefield. Lance Corporal Martin Pearson was aged 26 and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial for soldiers with no known grave. 

PRIVATE JOSEPH EDWARD PINFOLD

He was born in November 1880, the son of George Pinfold, a farm laborer and Ann Pinfold of 2, Priory Farm, Over Norton. The family moved to Hook Norton and in 1911 he was living there with his widowed mother and working for the brewery. 

He joined the 4th (Territorial) Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckingham Light Infantry as a Private in Oxford in early 1915. He was posted to France in 1916,joining the 1/4th Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckingham Light Infantry.  On 1st July the Battalion were involved in the Battle of Albert, the opening phase of the Somme Offensive. They saw action in further action on the Somme including The Battle of Bazentin Ridge, The Battle of Pozieres Ridge and The Battle of the Ancre. Private Joseph Pinfold was wounded in action at some stage in the Somme Offensive and evacuated back to the UK. He died of wounds in the 2nd London General Hospital in Chelsea on 29th November 1916. He was aged 36 and is buried in Hook Norton Cemetery.

He is not on the town or Over Norton memorials but is commemorated in Hook Norton Church.

LANCE CORPORAL REGINALD LESLIE PINK

 was serving as a Lance Corporal in 2/4th Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckingham Light Infantry when he was killed in action on 

He was born in August 1887, the son of Francis Pink, a clerk at Bliss Mill and Alice Pink of 5, Blenheim Terrace, Chipping Norton, later moving to the Leys.

He was a part-time soldier, having joined the 4th (Territorial) Battalion of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry as a Private in February 1914, training as a signalman and was awarded the Territorial Force War Medal. He arrived in France with the 2/4th Battalion, the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry on 24th May 1916 and appointed Lance Corporal. The Battalion were based in front line trenches at Laventie when Private Reginald Pink was killed in action on 29th June 1916. He was aged 18 and is buried in Laventie Military Cemetery in Northern France.   

After his death his mother received a letter from his Commanding Officer ;

Dear Mrs Pink,

I expect you have by now received notice from the War Office about your son Reg and I am just writing to say how very sorry I am, and how I feel for you and Mr Pink. Will you please both accept my sincere sympathy. I am a signalling officer, and in this have seen a good deal of your son for the last eighteen months, and I can say most truthfully- he was one of my best signallers, very keen, intelligent and as a NCO very smart and he showed promise of steady rising into the ranks as time passed. I have always been pleased with the way he has looked after the men and things in general for me, and he always did his best so far as I could see- and what more can a man do?

As for his character- and it is that I think that is most important and which is the one thing that really counts:- your son was always so cheery, and his bright face was noticed by everyone, our present Adjutant was only talking of this today when his name was mentioned.

It is real rough luck, Mrs Pink, but he died as most of us would, I think wish to die- doing his duty. What more can a man do?

I had given him a message to take to our signalling lamp station and telephone dug-out, and he went off with another signaller from the trench we were standing. There was a bit of a "row on", and on his way he was struck by a bullet which came over the parapet- another officer attended to him, ( I knew nothing till it was all over), but he died in a few minutes.

I am so sorry to lose him- but it all must be for the best. Please accept my sympathy in your terrible loss.

Yours very truly

CSW Marcon (Lieutenant)

He was buried this afternoon in a cemetery in the town, just behind the lines and I will try to get some little memorial or flowers put on the grave- is there anything I can do for you?

Another letter came from his former Company commander;

Dear Mrs Pink,

I regret to have to inform you that your, son Lance Corporal Pink, was killed in action about 10 o'clock last night. Although your son was only in my company a short time before he joined the signallers he has always been on our company strength. Lt Marcon has on every possible occasion detailed him to work the signal office of this company during our training period. He was always most efficient and absolutely reliable as a soldier, signaller and friend, always cheerful under trying circumstances. The men of the signallers and of the company had learned to respect him and valued him at his true worth. Recently he had been attached to Headquarters and was working with the CO when he met his death, an appointment he had received on account of his efficiency.

Officers, NCOs and men of this company wish me to say how much they sympathise with you and Mr Pink in the loss of such a worthy son and soldier, for we all realise that we too have lost a friend and comrade who has given up his life as a soldier whilst taking part in an action which will be remembered in the history of this Regiment.

Believe me

Yours very truly

A H Brucker (Captain)

OC "C" Company

PRIVATE JOHN HENRY RANDALL

He was born in July 1898, the son of Archibald Randall, mason and Annie Randall of The Leys, Chipping Norton. 

He was called up for service in 1917 in Oxford,  joining the Somerset Regiment as a Private and was posted to join the the 1st Battalion, The Somerset Light Infantry in France. On 28th March 1918 The Battalion fought against the German Spring Offensive in the First Battle of Arras. Bolstered by troops released from the Eastern Front after the surrender of Russia, the Germans attacked in numbers across the old Somme Battlefields. They advanced 40 miles into lightly defended Allied held territory in an attempt to influence the outcome of the war before the Americans arrived in numbers. The second phase towards Arras was held by the British in the First Battle of Arras. The Battalion continued to battle the German advances in the area and Private John Randall was wounded in action at this time. He died of  his wounds on 6th May 1918 at a Casualty Clearing Station.  He was aged 19 and is buried in Lapugnoy Military Cemetery in the Pas de Calais. 

PRIVATE CHARLES EDWARD RANDLE

He was born in 1883, the son of Alfred Randle, a brewery labourer and his wife Annie of Burford Terrace, Chipping Norton. and married Emmeline Withers in 1907. They lived at 1 Churchill Road, Chipping Norton and he worked as a yarn spinner at Bliss Mill. At the time of his enlistment he was living in Chilvers Coton, Nuneaton, Warwickshire.

He enlisted into the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in Warwick as a Private in 1916 and was posted to France to join the 1st Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment. On 28th March 1918 The Battalion fought against the German Spring Offensive in the First Battle of Arras. Bolstered by troops released from the Eastern Front after the surrender of Russia, the Germans attacked in numbers across the old Somme Battlefields. They advanced 40 miles into lightly defended Allied held territory in an attempt to influence the outcome of the war before the Americans arrived in numbers. The second phase towards Arras was held by the British in the First Battle of Arras. The Battalion continued to battle the German advances in the area and Private Charles Randle was wounded in action at this time. He died of  his wounds on 16th April 1918 at a Casualty Clearing Station. He was aged 34 and is buried in Lapugnoy Cemetery in the Pas de Calais region. 

His widow Emmeline moved back to Chipping Norton where she remained until her death in 1967.

PRIVATE LEWIS  RHYMES

was serving as a Private with   when he died of his wounds 

He was born in March 1885, the son of Edwin Rhymes, a farm labourer and Eliza Rhymes of Lodge Cottages, Sarsden. He worked as farm labourer and then for Chipping Norton Gas company. He enlisted into the 1st Battalion, The Gloucester Regiment in 1904, as a Private. He left to become a police constable in the Oxfordshire Constabulary on 23rd August 1911, but remaining in the Reserves. He married Ellen Sale of 5, Alexandra Square, Chipping Norton in April 1914. He was recalled to his Regiment on the outbreak of war on 4th August 1914. He joined the 1st Battalion, The Gloucester Regiment in France on 27th August 1914, after the Battle of Mons. They then fought in the Battle of the Marne between 6th and 12th September 1914, where the German advance was halted on the outskirts of Paris. They then pushed the Germans back in the Battle of the Aisne. In October and November 1914 they were in action in  The 1st Battle of Ypres, in which Private Lewis Rhymes was wounded in action. He died from his wounds in the 13th General Hospital in Boulogne,on 25th December 1914. He was aged 29 and is buried in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery. 

His son, Edwin Lewis Rhymes, was born after his father's death, in 1915. Ellen Rhymes remarried in the town in 1919 and died in Brighton aged 70.

PRIVATE ERNEST SANDLES

He was born in April 1897, the son of George Sandles, a factory operative and Sarah Ann Sandles of 32, Over Norton.

He enlisted into the The Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment as a Private in Banbury in 1916. He was posted to France to join the 7th(Service) Battalion, The Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment, as a replacement for losses incurred during the Somme Offensive of 1916. As part of the 18th(Eastern) Division, The Battalion had cautiously pursued the Germans in their strategic retreat to pre-prepared defensive positions on the Hindenburg Line. The Germans had destroyed everything in their path as they pulled back across the old Somme battlefields, leaving booby traps behind. They then assaulted these positions in the Third Battle of the Scarpe on 3rd May 1917, part of the Arras Offensive. They then saw action in the Third Battle of Ypres, and on 9th August the Battalion was based in the Belgium village of Hooge. The Division was were tasked with taking Glencorse Wood. The assault began at around 0500 on 10th, with the 7th's objective being Inverness Copse. They advanced after an artillery barrage to find there were loose wires in front of objective which remained uncut. Behind this the Germans had strongly defended shell holes which had also been left untouched by the barrage. The Battalion eventually took the copse but with casualties of 280, including Private Sandles. The Germans counter attacked later that day, isolating the 18th Division and retaking most of the wood. Private Sandles was reported missing after the attack and presumed to have been killed in action on 10th August 1917, his body never being recovered from the battlefield.He was aged 19 and is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial for soldiers with no known grave.

He is also remembered on the Over Norton war memorial.

PRIVATE GEORGE ALBERT SAUNDERS

He was the son of Albert Edward Saunders, a farm worker and Elizabeth Saunders, postmistress, of the Post Office, Over Norton.

He enlisted into the  Coldstream Guards in Banbury as a Private in October 1916. He was posted to France to join the 3rd Battalion, The Coldstream Guards in 1917, where they were part of the 4th Guards Brigade in the Guards Division. In March 1917 they were involved in the cautious pursuit of the Germans as they made their strategic withdrawal from the Somme battlefields to pre-prepared defences on the Hindenburg Line. The Germans carried out a "scorched earth" policy destroying everything in their path and leaving booby traps. They then took part in the Third Battle of Ypres from 31st July 1917. At the beginning of September the Battalion moved into front line trenches near the town of Elverdinghe, north east of Ypres. On the night of the 10th September 1917 the Germans raided their advanced posts, the attack was repulsed but  Private George Saunders was wounded in the attack. He died of his wounds on 15th September 1917 in a Casualty Clearing Station.  He was aged 19 and is buried in Mendinghem Military Cemetery in Belgium.  

He is also commemorated on the Over Norton war memorial.

PRIVATE WILLIAM SCOTT

He was born in Liverpool in 1872 had come to Chipping Norton in 1890 to work as a blacksmithliving in lodgings in Middle Row. He married Ellen Hurcomb in the town the following year. They had four children between 1892 and 1902 and first living with her parents in 5, Alfred Terrace, and then in their own house at 11, Spring Place. In September 1914 he joined the 4th (Territorial) Battalion of The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry as a Private. He was transferred to the 258th Protection Company, The Royal Defence Corps, charged with protecting ports, railways and other installations in the UK. Private William Scott was  serving at Southampton Docks when he died suddenly of heart failure brought on by valvular heart disease on 8th February 1917, aged 44. He was aged 44 and is buried in Chipping Norton Cemetery. 

Ellen Scott died in 1944 aged 76.

LIEUTENANT CHARLES DAVID SCOTT MACKIRDY

He was the son of William Augustus Scott Mackirdy and Lucy Scott of Birkwood, Lanarkshire, and was the brother of Mrs Susan Chamberlayne of The Elm, Church Lane, Chipping Norton and before the war was an undergraduate at Exeter College, Oxford.

He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant into the 11th (Prince Albert's Own) Hussars on 11th November 1914. He arrived in France on 18th October 1915 to join the 11th Hussars as part of the 1st Cavalry Division. He was promoted to Lieutenant on 17th August 1916. They were in Reserve for The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, between 15th and 22nd September 1916, an phase of The Somme Offensive, but not called into action.. In 1917 they were standing to during the First Battle of the Scarpe between 9th and 12th April 1917. They finally rode into action from 20th November 1917, supporting a tank attack and capturing Bourlon Wood, as part of operations at Cambrai. In March 1918 they were in support in the Somme area. An assault by the Germans was expected after the release of thousands of troops from the Eastern Front after the surrender of the Russians. On 21st March while based at Montecourt they were subject to heavy shelling, and moved up to the front line near Vermand to face the impending attack. At 1000 on 22nd their positions were subject to heavy bombardment followed by an attack all along the front line, which was repulsed. The Hussars clung onto their positions despite intense shelling but at 1140 some 2,000 Germans were seen advancing on Vermand and they were ordered to fall back. Lieutenant Charles Scott Mackirdy was seen to have been wounded in action, and later found to missing. He was taken prisoner by the Germans but had died of his wounds on 23rd March 1918, his burial site being lost. He was aged 23 and is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial for soldiers with no known grave. 

He is also commemorated on the St Silas Church war memorial in Glasgow and the Lesmahagow war memorial in Lanarkshire.

PRIVATE GEORGE SHELLEY

He was born January 1895 to parents Albert Shelley, a and Annie Shelley of Burford Road, Chipping Norton. He moved with his family to Witton, Birmingham just before the turn of century, his father working as a stoker in an ammunition factory, while he worked as a brewer's bottler. 

He enlisted into the Royal Warwickshire Regiment as a Private, in Birmingham in 1916. He joined the 10th(Service) Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment in France in 1917. The Battalion took part in a number of phases of the Third Battle of Ypres between August and September 1917, Private Shelley being wounded in action at this time. After recover he returned to his Battalion to fight against the German Spring Offensive of 1918 in the Battle of St Quentin from 21st March. Bolstered by troops released from the Eastern Front after the surrender of Russia, the Germans attacked in numbers across the old Somme Battlefields. They advanced 40 miles into lightly defended Allied held territory in an attempt to influence the outcome of the war before the Americans arrived in numbers. Private George Shelley was reported to have been wounded in action and later presumed killed in action on 19th April 1918. He was aged 23 and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot memorial for soldiers with no known grave.

He is not on the town's war memorials. His four brothers all served in the Royal Field Artillery.

PRIVATE FRANK SHEPARD

He was born in 1882, the son of William Shepard, a groom at the hunt kennels and Mary Shepard of 1, Gloucester Villas, Worcester Road, Chipping Norton. He was the husband of Mary Alice Shepard, of 47, Storey Square, Barrow-in-Furness. He had worked as a warehouseman at Bliss Mill before moving to the company's mill in Newcastle. At the time of his enlistment he was living in Langholm, Dumfries. 

He enlisted into The King's Own Scottish Borderers as a Private in Dumfries and joined the 1/4th (Border)  Battalion, The King's Own Scottish Borderers in France when they returned from Egypt to France in April 1918. The Battalion took part in the Second Battles of the Somme and the Second battles of Arras, between 20th August and 2nd September 1918, pushing the Germans back to the Hindenburg line, from where they had launched their Spring Offensive in March 1918. Private Frank Shepard was killed in action during an attack on the Hindenburg Line, Canal du Nord in France on 20th September 1918. His body was never recovered for burial. He was aged 36 and is commemorated on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial, Pas-de Calais for soldiers with no known grave. 

PRIVATE WILLIAM THOMAS SHEPARD

He was born in November 1890, the son of John and Emma Shepard of 36, Rock Hill, Chipping Norton and had worked as a drayman at Hitchman's brewery. He had enlisted into the 4th (Territorial) Battalion of The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, serving on the home front. He then transferred to the 646th Agricultural Company, The Labour Corps. He died in the 3rd South General Hospital in Oxford of pneumonia and exhaustion on 16th February 1919 aged 28. He is buried in Chipping Norton Cemetery.

LANCE CORPORAL JOHN ALEXANDER SHERRETT

He was the son of James and Mary Sherrett of 25, High Street Chipping Norton, where his father ran a tailors and outfitters shop. He was  working as a motorcycle tester and was a member of the Norton Defence Rifle Club. On 13th February 1913 he embarked on the Orient Line's SS Orama, below,  in London, bound for Sydney.

His final destination was New Zealand where hoped to be a farmer, although when he enlisted he was working as a chauffeur for Mr E Newman MP.

He enlisted into the Wellington Regiment on 19th October 1915, and promoted to Corporal the following month. On 8th January 1916, he embarked on the troopship Maunganui sailing from Wellington to Suez, Egypt as part of 9th Reinforcements Wellington Infantry of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. He joined the 2nd Battalion, The Wellington Regiment on 19th March 1916, reverting to the ranks. On 8th April they embarked on the Troopship Llandovery Castle, below, bound for France. He was appointed Lance Corporal in August 1916 in B Company. On 2nd September 1916 the Battalion left its billets and marched to the Somme. They took up positions in Check and Carlton front line trenches near Fricourt preparing for an attack on German lines. Lance-Corporal John Sherret was killed in actionby a German shell that hit his trench position on 14th September 1916, during the Somme Offensive. He was aged 25 and is buried in Flatiron Copse Cemetery in the Somme. 

FLIGHT SUB LIEUTENANT HERBERT RUTTER SIMMS

He was born in Chipping Norton on 17th August 1891, the eldest son of Daniel and Ellen Simms of 13, High Street. His father was a watchmaker and jeweller and an Alderman of the town, as was his grandfather Charles Rice Simms. Herbert Simms left home in 1909 to become an apprentice with A. V. Roe at Manchester, helping build some of the early Avro aircraft. In June 1912 he began a flying course at Roe's Flying school at Brooklands, taking lessons in lieu of wages. He was awarded his certificate aged 21 after only 3 hours 10 minutes initial flying time.

In 1913 Herbert Simms joined the Royal Hellenic Navy under the command of Rear Admiral Mark Kerr and was responsible for servicing 2 seat trainers, seaplanes and flying boats of the Greek Navy Flying Corps. After the outbreak of war in 1914 Simms felt he should be doing more for war effort and in July 1915 applied and was accepted for a commission in the Royal Naval Air Service. In August 1915 he was posted to Chingford Naval Station, below, which was a training ground for aviators and in November 1915 sent to Dunkirk on active service joining No 1 Wing based at St Pol-du-Mer Airfield, flying two patrols a day. His first effort at flying a twin engined bomber ended disastrously, however, crashing on take-off. Herbert Simms had at least two kills.  In Nieuport Type 11 Serial no. 3981 he shot down a LVG C11 at Dixmude on 29th February 1916, witnessed by Belgian troops in the trenches. In a Nieuport type 12 he shot down a FF33E seaplane attacking British ships near Zeebrugge on 24th April 1916 He also bombed a submarine off Ostend which he narrowly missed and flew fighting patrols to Ostend and Ypres.. On 15th May 1916 he was flying  Nieuport Type 12 serial no. 8904, below, with his Observer Sub-Lieutenant Cyril Mullens on a patrol to protect the mine and net barrage of the Belgium coast.

A German torpedo boat destroyer V47 was also working in the area protected by two seaplanes. his aircraft was shot down by a German torpedo boat whilst engaging a German seaplane off Ostend. At about 1220 Herbert Simms engaged one of the seaplanes, 638, but was hit by return fire from both the seapolane and the torpedo boat. The engine of his aircraft was stopped and it hit the sea, turned upside down and sank. The pilot of the seaplane went down to 150 feet to try and rescue the crew but was driven off by an approaching Royal Navy vessel. His body was recovered from the sea by a British ship and buried with full military honours in the cemetery at Chipping Norton. Flight Sub-Lieutenant Herbert Rutter Simms was aged 24. Cyril Mullens body was not tonbritishlegion.com)

 see www.chippingnortonbritishlegion.com/herbert-rutter-simms

PRIVATE HARRY LINDUS SIMS

He was born in October 1889 in Shipston on Stour, the son of  Harry and Annie Sims. The family moved to 11, Market Street, Chipping Norton, where his father ran a fishmongers. In August 1910 he married Kate Shadbolt  in St Mary’s, Chipping Norton.

They lived at 7, Horsefair, Chipping Norton where he managed the family fishmongers. They had three children, Irene born 1911, John in 1913 and Ronald in 1916.

He enlisted into the Royal Ordnance Corps as a Private in Chipping Norton in 1916. He was then posted to France and joined C Company of the 2nd Battalion. The Border Regiment in the field. As part of the 7th Division the Battalion took part in the Second Battle of Passchendaele, part of the Third Battle of Ypres, starting on 26th October 1917. They were charged with capturing and holding a line in the Flanders village of Gheluvelt. The attack started at 0540 behind a creeping barrage, over very muddy ground. "C" Company got stuck in waist deep mud and were almost entirely wiped out by machine gun fire. 11 of the Battalion were killed, but 127 were reported missing, lost in the deep mud, including Private Harry Sims, who was presumed to have been killed in action on 26th October 1917 . He was aged 29 and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot memorial for those with no known grave. 

Kate Sims remarried in 1921 and died in 1972 aged 83.

RIFLEMAN GEORGE ALEXANDER TOLLETT

He was born in May 1890, the son of William Tollett, a groom and Elizabeth Tollett of  Rock Hill, Chipping Norton. After his father died in 1895 and the family moved to 7, Victoria Place, Market Street, where he worked as a printer. 

He enlisted into the The King's Royal Rifle Brigade as a Rifleman in early 1916 in Brackley and was then posted to the 2nd battalion in France. The Battalion was involved in several phases of the Somme Offensive including the Battle of Albert, the opening action from 1st July 1916. At stage after he was transferred to the 13th Battalion of the Rifle Brigade joining “A” Company. On 9th April 1917 his Battalion went into action in the First Battle of the Scarpe, the opening offensive of the Arras Offensive. They successfully captured the village of Monchy-Le-Preux. On 23rd April the offensive was renewed in the Second Battle of the Scarpe. They achieved all their objectives that day but Rifleman George Tollett was reported missing in action, later presumed killed in action on 23rd April 1917. He was aged 27 and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial for soldiers with no known grave. 

RIFLEMAN ARTHUR GEORGE TOWNSEND

He was born in March 1890, the son of  George Townsend, a factory operative and Rose Townsend of Albion Street, Chipping Norton. He had previously been working as a hairdresser's assistant for his Uncle in Knutsford, Cheshire. In April 1913 he married Margaret Howard in Easthampstead, Berkshire.

He had enlisted into The Royal Flying Corps as a Private in High Wycombe and served on the Home Front. He was compulsorily transferred being transferred to the 6th Battalion, The Rifle Brigade on 31st March 1918 after troops had been depleted by fighting in the German Spring Offensive. He was attached to the 1/8th (City of London) Battalion (Post Office Rifles) The London Regiment and saw action defending Amiens from several German onslaughts in the First Battles of the Somme from 4th April 1918. After the German Offensive had been halted the Allies went on the offensive in the Battle of Amiens. The Battalion as part of the 58th Division, attacking without the usual artillery barrage, which would have alerted the Germans, Armoured cars and tanks were used to push through the wire and take on the strongholds. The attack was a success, by the end of the day, there was a break in the German lines of almost 15 miles and 12,000 German soldiers had become Prisoners of War. There were heavy casualties on both sides. The advance continued with the Battle of Albert on 22nd August. Private Townsend was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of Baupaume on 31st August 1918. He was aged 28 and is buried in Hem Farm Cemetery in the Somme Region. 

He had a son Arthur born in April 1917, after his death his widow and son returned to their native Somerset.

PRIVATE TOM TRACE

was serving as a Private in   when he was killed in action on 30th July 1916, during the Battle of the Somme. He was aged 19 and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, for soldiers with no known grave. 

He was born in April 1897, the son of Thomas Trace, a gamekeper and Ruth Trace of Showell Farm Cottages, Chipping Norton. His father died in 1897 and the family moved to 27, Over Norton where his mother worked as a shoemaker.

He enlisted into the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry as a Private in Oxford shortly after the outbreak of war. He was posted to France to join Tom Trace arrived in France to join the the 2nd Battalion, Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantryon 17th December 1915 to reinforce the Battalion after the engagements of 1914 and 1915 that had ripped the heart out of the old regular army. On 29th July 1916 they moved up to the front line, relieving the 2nd Battalion, The Highland Light Infantry, to prepare to attack German positions in Delville Wood. The 2nd Battalion were involved in the bloody battle for Delville Wood, a thick tangle of trees, with dense hazel thickets, intersected by grassy rides, to the east of Longueval, on the Somme.

As part of a general offensive starting on 14th July, General Douglas Haig, Commander of the British Expeditionary Force, intended to capture the German second position between Delville Wood and Bazentin le Petit. The attack achieved this objective and was a considerable though costly success. British attacks and German counter-attacks on the wood continued for the next seven weeks.

On 30th July 1916 at 0445 they attacked German positions but were beaten back by heavy machine gun fire and took the Battalion took heavy casualties of 217 killed, missing or wounded, including Private Tom Trace.

CORPORAL ERNEST WATTS

He was born May 1887, the son of William Watts, a gamekeeper and his wife Louisa of White Waltham, Berkshire. He was working as a gamekeeper when he married Sarah Jane Cook in Ascott-under-Wychwood in March 1910and they had three sons together, living in Leafield. 

He enlisted into the Worcestershire Regiment as a Prrivate, in Oxford and joined the 14th (Service) Battalion (The Severn Valley Pioneers), The Worcestershire Regiment on its formation on 10th September 1915. After he enlisted his wife and family moved to 12, Distons Lane, Chipping Norton. The Battalion moved to Larkhill and Codford on Salisbury Plain for training and landed at Le Havre on 21st June 1916 and came under orders of 63rd (Royal Naval) Division. 

In 1914-15 the protracted trench-warfare in France and Flanders had resulted in an ever-increasing demand for skilled labour to supplement the work of the Sappers in the construction of redoubts, emplacements and other field works. It was decided to form special “ Pioneer” battalions to meet that demand. The new units were designed as fully equipped battalions, skilled in constructive work but equally capable of fighting in the fore-front of battle. To indicate their combatant status it was decided that those new “ Pioneer” battalions should be designated as numbered battalions of various regiments of the Line.

Ernest Watts was appointed an acting Corporal in the feild. On the 24th June 1916 the 14th Worcestershire marched forward towards the line, and that evening settled into bivouac in the Bois de la Haie, south of the great ridge of Notre-Dame-de-Lorette. The Battalion was destined to remain in that neighbourhood throughout the ensuing three months working on the surrounding defences. Working parties were under constant fire, and Corporal Ernest Watts was wounded in action during this time. He died of his in hospital in Barlin on 17th August 1916. He was aged 27 and is buried in Barlin Communal Cemetery extension.

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Ernest Watts is commemorated on the Leafield war memorial and church lynch gate, but not on the town memorial. His wife Sarah remained in Chipping Norton for the rset of her life, dying aged 92 in 1981.

ARTHUR WEARING was serving as a Gunner in "A" Battery, The 92nd Brigade, The Royal Field Artillery when he was killed in action  during the Battle of Cambrai on 30th November 1917. He was aged 38 and is commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial for soldiers with no known grave. 

He was born in Enstone to parents Henry and Mary. In 1902 he married to Emily Hurcomb, sister-in-law of William Scott (above). They had four children between 1904 and 1910 and lived at Old Chalford, Chalford Oaks, Chipping Norton where he worked as a general labourer. Emily Wearing died in 1955 aged 79.

He is also commemorated on a plaque in St Kenhelm Church, Enstone.

SAMUEL JAMES WEBB was serving as a Sergeant with the 25th Garrison/Service Battalion, The Middlesex Regiment when he died from dysentery on 13th September 1918 in Siberia. He was aged 42 and is buried in Churkin Naval Cemetery in Vladivostok, but his grave site was lost and he is now commemorated on the Vladivostok Memorial.  

He was the son of  Thomas and Eliza Webb of Over Norton. In December 1891, giving his age as 18 years and 9 months, he enlisted into the Coldstream Guards in London, although he was only still 16. His Army records from therein show him being 2 years older than he actually was. In 1894 he contracted syphilis whilst serving in Dublin, and also suffered a kick in the lips during an inter-regimental fight which failed to heal properly. Despite being hospitalized on several occasions he was accepted for a further 12 years service in October 1898. However early in the following year he suffered a severe relapse and was eventually discharged as medically unfit on 18th April 1900. He moved to 2, Kings Yard, Chipping Norton, working as a journeyman tailor and married Rosa Stayt in December 1900. They had three children together between 1902 and 1906 and moved to Church Lane, Bledington. 

In September 1914, at the age of 39, he enlisted into the Army reserve and was promoted through the non-commissioned ranks to acting sergeant, serving in for 289 days with the 2nd Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry on the home front. In May, 1915 he was hospitalized once more by his previous ailments, suffering from enlarged lower legs and a swollen tongue, amongst others. He refused anti-syphilitic treatment and was discharged as permanently unfit, on 18th June 1915. 

Despite this he travelled to Belsize Park in Middlesex and was accepted into the Middlesex Regiment. The Battalion  sailed from Devonport on 22nd December 1916 and arrived in Hong Kong on 1st April 1917 with two companies going to Singapore. They reassembled as a battalion and landed at Vladivostok on 3rd August 1918.

He is commemorated on the Over Norton and Bledington war memorials but not on the town memorial.

ALBERT HENRY WHITE was serving as a Lance-Corporal with the 2/4th Battalion the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he died of wounds received on 2nd March 1917 aged 18. He is buried in Bray cemetery in the Somme region. 

He was one of six children of Henry and Sarah White of 24, Worcester Road, Chipping Norton. 

He had joined the 4th (Reserve Battalion), The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in March 1914 underage at 15. The 4th were amalgamated into the 2/4th and arrived in France on 24th May 1916. Albert was too young to be serving in France as soldiers were not allowed to serve overseas until they were 19, and this was not changed to 18 years and 6 months until 1918. 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 see: soldiers-of-the-first-world-war.php. Albert White was wounded in the raid and died in a casualty clearing station on 2nd March. Thirteen other members of the battalion died in the raid, twelve of which have no known grave.

GEORGE HENRY WHITE was serving as a Private with The 5th(Service) Battalion, the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he was killed in action on 3rd May 1917, during the Battle of Fresnoy-Bullecourt. He was aged 30 and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial for soldiers with no known grave. 

He was born in Over Norton, then moved to Adderbury where his father was the landlord of The Plough Inn. In 1905 he married Emma Timms in Deddington and lived at The Bank, Hempton and worked as a farm labourer. He had two daughters Elsie and Florence.

He had previously served with the Canadian Army.

He is commemorated on the Over Norton and Deddington war memorials but not on the town memorial.

HARRY WHITEHEAD was serving as an Air Mechanic 2nd Class with The Royal Flying Corps at The School of Technical Training in Reading when he died on 14th January 1918 in Liverpool. He was aged 33 and is buried in Eastbourne Ocklynge Cemetery.  

He was the son of Joseph and Anne Whitehead of Rock Hill, Chipping Norton. He married Myram Maple Stroud in 1908 in Eastbourne and lived there with their young daughter Ethel and worked as a printer. 

He attested on 9th December 1915 and joined the RFC on 21st August 1916 at South Farnborough. He suffered from bad health including bronchitis and epididymitis and was discharged on 10th January 1918 with crippling rheumatism.

He is commemorated on the Eastbourne War memorial but not on the town memorial.

ARTHUR THOMAS WITHERS was serving as a Lance-Bombardier in the 351st Siege Battery, The Royal Garrison Artillery when he died of wounds received on the 11th April 1918. He was aged 24 and is buried in  Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery in Belgium.

He was born in 1894, the son of Arthur and Jane Withers and lived in Little Rollright, where his father worked as a groom. By 1911 he was  living at 4, Worcester Road Chipping Norton, with his parents and four sisters and four younger brothers, working as as a mill hand at Bliss Mill.  In that same year, aged 17, he enlisted in the 4th Battalion (Territorials) Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. This was a popular among many young men at the time, giving an extra income and the chance of adventure away from their normal lives.  He attended two week summer camps at West Lulworth in Dorset, Bustard Camp on Salisbury Plain and Shorncliffe In Kent from 1911 to 1913. In 1913 he married Gertrude Longshaw in the town and had a son, Harold, born later that year.


On the 4th August 1914, the day Great Britain entered the war, he was embodied into the regular army and promoted to Lance Corporal. On 20th September 1914 he signed an agreement to serve outside the United Kingdom, which Territorial soldiers were not obliged to do. He was posted to France with his Battalion, now known as the 1/4th, landing at Boulogne on the 30th March 1915. He was made acting Corporal in February 1916. His time on the front line was dogged by illness, being hospitalized with German measles in May 1915 and influenza and fever at the end of March 1916. After his 5 years service was up he declined to re-engage and returned home for discharge on 30th April 1916.

He did however return to the front, serving as a Lance-Bombardier with the Royal Garrison Artillery, joining the 351st siege battery at the front in November 1917.

Siege Batteries of the Royal Garrison Artillery  were equipped with heavy howitzers, sending large calibre high explosive shells in high trajectory, plunging fire.The usual armaments were 6 inch, 8 inch and 9.2 inch howitzers, although some had huge railway- or road-mounted 12 inch howitzers. As British artillery tactics developed, the Siege Batteries were most often employed in destroying or neutralising the enemy artillery, as well as putting destructive fire down on strong points, dumps, store, roads and railways behind enemy lines.

Arthur Withers was wounded by shrapnel whilst fighting during the German Spring offensive on 8th April 1918 aged 24. Shortly after he was wounded Mrs Withers received a letter;

Dear Mrs Withers,

I very much regret to inform you that your husband was wounded this morning.

Although hit in several places, the leg, arm and hand, I do not think you have any fear as to his ultimate recovery.

I hope it may be some comfort to you to know that I prized Bombardier Withers as quite one of the best of my NCO’s and am genuinely sorry to lose him. Ever since he joined us in November I believe he has always given the greatest satisfaction. It must also be a great consolation that your husband is for a  time at any rate not of this inferno, and I think can safely say he will be sent home to England.

I should be very glad to hear of his progress.

I remain, yours sincerely HH Davidson, Lieutenant RGA.

 

PS  I omitted to mention that Bombardier Withers was hit by shell splinters while fighting his gun in a rather bad strafe.


Another letter followed from the Chaplain of the 10th Casualty Clearing Station on 12th April 1918

 

Dear Mrs Withers,

I am very sorry to have to tell you that your husband Bombardier A T Withers was brought to this hospital with many severe wounds on April 9th. He had lost much blood and to improve the chances of his recovery, blood from another soldier was transfused into him, but even this in the end proved of no avail, and although he seemed to revive for a time he passed away yesterday. I spoke to him several times and also prayed with him. He was interested to know that I was familiar with your town and beautiful church. He asked me to send his love to you and to tell you not to worry. I was with him some time and had a nice chat with him, only a few minutes before he died. He was sitting up in bed and seemed a little stronger. He asked me to help him lie down and  I believe he passed away a very short while after. He was very patient and brave and did not suffer great pain. I know you will carry out his wishes as well as you can and bravely carry on without worrying and look forward with the hope of seeing him again. I enclose a photograph of our cemetery where we laid him yesterday and also a cross which I gave him and which he held in his hand as we prayed together, and after kissing it he asked me to send to you. I also send a little lock of his hair which I am sure you will value.

 

With kind sympathy Yours sincerely Chaplain

 

PS I think you would like to know the name of the man who gave a quart of blood to your husband, although his sacrifice proved of no avail. Bombardier Anscombe, Elms Farm, Isfield Lewes. It would be kind of you to write and thank him.

 

A further letter arrived, sent on 21st April 1918

 

Dear Mrs Withers,

I was very sorry indeed when I heard, two days ago, of the death of your husband. As his section officer I had always found him the most able and cheerful of our NCOs and was more sorry than I can tell you when he was wounded. The battery was being heavily shelled at the time and it was largely due to his pluck and endurance his gun kept firing. He was quite conscious when he was taken away and seemed quite cheerful. I do not think he was in much pain. We had all hoped he would recover and reform with us again and were more sorry that he died.

All ranks of 351 siege battery offer you their heartfelt sympathies and sincerely hope you will be helped to bear your great loss.

I remain, your sincerely E N Elford 2nd Lieutenant RGA.

 

A few days later a final letter about her husband’s death arrived;

 

Dear Mrs Withers,

I cannot say how shocked and grieved I was to hear by your letter that your husband had passed away.

As I have been away from  the battery for several days, this was the first intimation I have received.

Please accept my deepest sympathy and I pray God may give you strength to bear the blow. I hope also you may derive some comfort from the thought that your husband  has given his life in one of the most sacred causes in the world’s history. Such noble sacrifices are not without their reward. We all miss him very much and fully realise how great the loss must be to you. With remembered expression of condolence.

 I remain your sincerely, HH Davidson Lieutenant RGA.


His second son, Raymond, had been born the month before he died. Gertrude Withers remarried in 1926.

FRED WILLIAM WITHERS was serving as a Private in 1/1st (City of London) Battalion (Royal Fusiliers), attached to the 11th(Service) Battalion, The Royal Fusiliers when he was killed in action during the Third Battle of Ypres on 10th August 1917. He was aged 31 and is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial for soldiers with no known grave. 

He was the son of William and Amy Withers of 6, Portland Place, Chipping Norton. He married Sarah Jane Bosworth in Market Bosworth in 1910. He lived at 59 Spring Street, Chipping Norton, working as a Hotel Groom before moving to Nuneaton. 

He had enlisted into the Essex Regiment in Nuneaton, before joining the 1/1sts. August 1917 found him attached to the 11th Royal Fusiliers, and on 9th they moved up into battle positions as part of the 54th Brigade in the 18th(Eastern) Division. Its task was to recapture Westhoek taken by the Germans some three days earlier. At 0435 the Battalion attacked Westhoek Bridge and quickly achieved their objectives. However a strong German counter attack forced them back and by 1900 they were back where they started. Out of a compliment of 928, the Battalion suffered 345 casualties, wounded, killed or missing, including Private Withers who was reported missing in action. 

JOHN WRIGHT was serving as a Gunner with "A" battery, 69th Brigade, The Royal Field Artillery when he died in hospital on 20th May 1916, after attempts to relieve the siege of Kut in Mesopotamia. He was aged 31 and is buried in Amara Cemetery in modern day Iraq. 

He was the son of John and Clara Wright of Spring Street, Chipping Norton. He left home at 16 and was working as a footman at Bruern Abbey and by 1911 was a butler at a house in Westbury on Trym. He was married to Sarah Wright of Halbatch, Farm, Marden, Herefordshire. 

He was with the 69th Brigade as part of the 13th Western Division when they sailed from Avonmouth on 24th June 1915, arriving at Alexandria, Egypt on 6th July as part of the reinforcements for the Gallipoli campaign.  They landed at Anzac between 15th and 19th July and went into action in the attack on the Sari Bair ridge on 21st August, A Battery coming under the temporary command of the 1st Australian Division. The brigade evacuated Gallipoli on 19th December and reassembled at Alexandria on 31st December 1915. The division was now ordered to join Indian Expeditionary Force 'D' for operations in Mesopotamia. It left Alexandria on 18th February 1916 and arrived at Basra on 7th March. The brigade then proceeded up river and arrived at Ora on 4th April 1916 to take part in efforts to relieve the Siege of Kut.

Some of the information and many of the photographs on this page come from the Book of Remembrance in Chipping Norton Museum which was collected by Josephine Madge Byford (9th December 1919 to 9th February 1995).

Madge had served with The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry on an AA battery between 1939 and 1945. After the war ended she volunteered for the Red Cross, and worked to alleviate the suffering of women and children who had been incarcerated at Belsen concentration camp.