The impact of the First World War (The Great War) on UK home life can’t be understated. A population that had been somewhat sheltered from the losses of previous conflicts was greatly affected by the loss of life in The Great War.
One of the visible effects of The Great War was the appearance of numerous war memorials in every town and village in the UK. Whist the UK’s national memorial is the Cenotaph, located in Whitehall (London) and the Grave of the Unknown Soldier in Westminster Abbey (London), every city, town and village had its own memorial.
This section is concerned with the names on Leverstock Green war memorial; a memorial typical of thousands around the UK.
THE FIRST WORLD WAR
The names in the table below are in the order displayed on the war memorial.
|Alderman T||L/Cpl||32nd Royal Fusiliers||15/09/16||–|
|Biswell H||Pte||11th Essex||06/05/16||20|
|Biswell J||Pte||1st Bedfordshire||27/07/16||19|
|Brown G||Pte||110th Labour Corps||16/02/18||41|
|Charge F||Pte||2nd Bedfordshire||12/10/16||–|
|Chisman A||–||10th Royal Fusiliers||31/03/19||50|
|Childs T||Pte||2nd Bedfordshire||01/07/18||34|
|De Berger G||L/Cpl||5th Northants||17/08/15||30|
|Durrant A M||Capt||257th Tunnel Co RE||05/12/16||–|
|Freeman H||Rifle||2nd Royal Irish Rifles||24/03/18||20|
|Freeman F||Pte||101st Labour Corps||23/05/18||–|
|Goodenough G||Pte||2nd Royal Berks||01/07/16||24|
|Hallett J||Pte||15th Welsh||01/08/17||19|
|Harrowell F||Pte||1/1st Herts Yeomanry||03/10/18||–|
|Knox Hart J||Rifle||2nd/5th London||31/10/17||22|
|Johnson F||Pte||1st Bedfordshire||16/04/15||20|
|Oakley B||Pte||6th Bedfordshire||04/12/15||–|
|Perkins V||Pte||7th Bedfordshire||22/03/16||20|
|Sears W W||–||7th Field Company RE||01/01/18||55|
|Secretan R H||2/Lt||1st Hertfordshire||31/07/17||22|
|Smith H||L/Cpl||6th West Kents||19/09/18||–|
|Taylor F||Pte||8th Bedfordshire||15/09/16||34|
|Thorn E||Pte||2nd Bedfordshire||23/10/18||25|
|Timson G||Pte||6th Bedfordshire||23/04/17||19|
|Webb W||L/Cpl||4th Bedfordshire||04/02/17||36|
|Woodwards H||–||1st Grenadier Guards||13/07/16||35|
|Wombwell H||Pte||51st Heavy Bde MGC||21/07/18||19|
|Wright B W||Lieu||4th Squadron RAF||04/05/18||–|
The payments made by the Army to each soldiers’ dependant are extracted from “Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects”. These volumes, contained in the National Army Museum, contains records detailing the money owed to soldiers of the British Army who died in service from 1901 to 1929.
Private in the Royal Fusiliers (no. 11098). Disembarked in France on 30 July 1915. With the 13th Battalion 30 July 1915 to 3 January 1916. Transferred to 32nd Battalion 27 May 1916 to 15 September 1916. Died of Wounds. Buried Dartmoor Cemetery, Becordel-Becourt, France. Entitled to the 1914-15 Star, British War & Victory Medals. Son of David Alderman, New Grant Street, St, Albans. His Father received two payments from the Army: £2 11s 9d on 1 March 1917 and £7 10s on 18 September 1919.
HARRY GEORGE and JOHN BISWELL
Harry George and John Biswell are brothers commemorated on the memorial.
Harry George Biswell was born on 17 November 1895 in Leverstock Green, the son of Harry (a brick maker) and Louisa Biswell. The 1911 Census records Harry Biswell’s occupation as a domestic groom, with him living at home with his parents and six siblings. John Biswell was born on 11 October 1896 in Leverstock Green. The 1911 Census records his occupation as a brush maker.
Harry Biswell enlisted at St. Albans in the Essex Regiment (no. 15030), entering the France & Flanders theatre on 24 August 1915.
John Biswell enlisted at Bedford in the Bedfordshire Regiment (no. 10474), entering the France & Flanders theatre on 11 November 1914; some nine months before his elder Brother Harry Biswell.
On 6 May 1916, whilst serving with the 11th Battalion, The Essex Regiment, Private Harry Biswell died of wounds at the Essex Farm Dressing Station. He was buried in the dressing station’s cemetery, which is now the site of the CWGC Essex Farm Cemetery.
It was in Essex Farm Cemetery that Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae of the Canadian Army Medical Corps wrote the poem “In Flanders Fields” in May 1915. Harry’s Father received two payments from the Army: 11s 5d on 30 June 1916 and £7 on 8 February 1920. Entitled to the 1914-15 Star, British War and Victory Medals.
On 27 July 1916, whilst serving with the 1st Battalion, The Bedfordshire Regiment, Private John Biswell was killed in action on the Somme battlefield. As the location of his remains are unknown, Private John Biswell is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. John’s Father received two payments from the Army: £5 11s 6d on 24 April 1917 and £9 on 25 February 1920. Entitled to the 1914 Star with “5th Aug – 22 Nov 1914” clasp, British War and Victory Medals.
George Brown was a Private in the Royal West Surrey Regiment (No. 17102), before being transferred to the 110th Company, Labour Corps (No. 65492). Died 16 February 1918. No known grave. Commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial. Entitled to British War & Victory medals. Husband of Elizabeth Brown, Pimlico, Hemel Hempstead. His Widows received two payments from the army: £8 1s on 18 July 1918 and £7 on 9 December 1919.
Frederick Charge was a Private in the 2nd Battalion, The Bedfordshire Regiment (no. 18854). Entered France on 30 September 1915. Killed in action on 12 October 1916. Buried in Warlencourt British Cemetery, France. Entitled to the 1914-15 Star, British War & Victory Medals. Son of Arthur & Lavenia Charge, Pimlico, Hemel Hempstead. His Father Arthur received two payments from the Army: £8 12s 6d on 29 March 1917 and £7 10s on 4 October 1919.
Alfred Chisman enlisted with his old regiment, becoming an Instructor at Colchester in 1914. Transferred to France on 31 July 1915 as a Sergeant with the 10th Battalion, The Royal Fusiliers (no. STK/300). After being wounded, he was discharged as unfit for further military service on 10 August 1916. Entitled to the 1914-15 Star, British War & Victory Medals, and Silver War Badge (number 54429). Master of new Isolation Hospital in Bennetts End following discharge (his wife Harriot was Matron), and later School Attendance Officer. Died of pneumonia 26th March 1919 aged 50. Buried in Hemel Hempstead cemetery. A payment was made by the Army to his Widow of £12 on 18 November 1919.
Thomas Childs was a Private in the 2nd Battalion, The Bedfordshire Regiment (no. 30822). Husband of Lizzie Childs, Leverstock Green. Private Childs died on 1 July 1918, and has no known grave. Age 34. Commemorated on Pozieres Memorial. Entitled to the British War and Victory Medals. His Widow received two payments from the Army: £7 5s 4d on 13 September 1919 and £14 10s 8d on 20 October 1919.
GEORGE DE BEGER
George De Beger was a Private (No. 12209) in The Norfolk Regiment, arriving in France on 31 May 1915. Transferred to 5th Battalion, The Northamptonshire Regiment (no, 17376). Died of Wounds on 17 August 1915. Age 30. Buried in Cite Bonjean Military Cemetery, Armentieres. Husband of Minnie De Beger, Leverstock Green. Entitled to 14-15 Star, British War and Victory Medals. His Widow received two payments from the Army: 4s 7d on 11 February 1916 and £3 on 31 July 1919.
ARTHUR MICHAEL DURRANT
Arthur Michael Durrant was the son of the Vicar of Leverstock Green (the Rev. A. Durrant) and Mrs Durrant. Qualified as an Architect, specialising in church buildings. Architect for St. James’s Church, Watford, and worked rebuilding the Parish Church in Broadstairs, Kent.
Joined the Army shortly after outbreak of war in 1914. Enlisted in one of the first London Fusilier battalions rasied. After Christmas 1914, transferred to the 8th Battalion, The Loyal North Lancashire regiment. Obtained a Commission and was attached to the 171st Tunneling Company, Royal Engineers. Second Lieutenant Durrant was awarded the Military Cross. The citation from the Edinburgh Gazette, 25 January 1916 Page 162, is reproduced below:
“For conspicuous gallantry and resource near Frelinghiem on 23rd December 1915. When a charge placed by our miners in a German gallery hand only partially exploded and warned the enemy, Second Lieutenant Durrant with two other Officers succeeded in placing and firing a second charge which demolished the enemy’s gallery. There was imminent danger throughout of the Germans exploding a mine. For several months Second Lieutenant Durrant has been carrying out dangerous work in almost constant contact with the enemy and has set a fine example of coolness and determination.”Edinburgh Gazette, 25 January 1916.
2nd Lieutenant Durrant also received a Mention-in-Despatches (MID): London Gazette 4 January 1917 Page 214.
On one of his leave periods at home, Captain Durrant married Miss Jemima Wilson, a daughter of the late Captain Belford Randolph Wilson, 12th Hussars, of Grey Wells, Hampshire.
Subsequently transferred to 257th Tunneling Company, Royal Engineers, Captain Durrant died of wounds on 5 December 1916. Buried in Pont-du-Hem Military Cemetery, La Gorgue. A payment of £194 19s 6d was made by the Army on 26 July 1917 to his widow.
Frank Freeman was the son of William and Sarah Freeman, Westwick Row, Leverstock Green. In addition to his Parents, the soldier’s service papers also list two brothers: Fred Freeman (age 31, serving on HMS Moth) and William Freeman (age 21, also living at Westwick Row, Leverstock Green).
The 1911 Census has Frank Freeman living as a “Boarder” at 49 Lower Paddock Road, Bushey. Occupation: “General Labourer”. Head of house was George Thorpe (Gas Worker) and his wife Isabella Thorpe.
Private (no. 31149) in the 34th Battalion, The Royal Fusiliers. Transferred to 101st Company, Labour Corps (no. 60133). Entitled to the British War & Victory medals. Died from wounds, sustained during a gas attack, on 23 May 1918. Buried in St. Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen.
Frank Freeman named Isabella Thorpe as his beneficary in the event of his death. In addition to Private Freeman’s medals she received two payments from the Army: £7 8s 2d on 10 September 1918 and £9 on 5 December 1919. Private Freeman’s Mother received his Memorial Plaque and Scroll.
HARRY WILLIAM FREEMAN
Son of James Thomas & Louisa Freeman, Fireman’s Cottage, Apsley Mills, Hemel Hempstead.
Private (no. 26798) in Northamptonshire Regiment, before transferring to the 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles (Rifleman no. 41894). Was award the Military Medal (MM) for gallantry, London Gazette 19 November 1917 page 11965. Died on 24 March 1918. Has no known grave, so is comemorated on the Pozieres Memorial. Entitled to the British War and Victory medals. A payment was made by the Army to his Father: £17 10s 4d on 30 December 1919.
EDWARD GEORGE GOODENOUGH
Edward George Goodenough was the son of Frank Joseph and Emma Elizabeth Goodenough, Bennetts End, Hemel Hempstead. 1911 Census had his occupation as “Paper Factory, Envelopes”. Father’s occupation was Bricklayer. Entered France on 24 March 1915. Served with the 8 Division, Army Cyclist Corps (service no. 387). Transferred to 2nd Battalion The Royal Berkshire Regiment (service no. 27458). Killed in action on 1 July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, age 24. No known grave. Commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. Entitled to the 1914-15 Star, British War and Victory Medals. His Father received two payments from the Army: £2 15s 9d on 26 January 1917 and £8 10s on 15 October 1919.
JAMES EDWIN HALLETT
The 1911 Census records that James Edwin Hallett was born in Leverstock Green, the son of James (a Grocer – Shop keeper) and Kate Ellen Hallett. On Census Day 1911, James is shown as the one of three sons: George (11), James (age 10) and Albert (age 4). The census also records that James was born in Leeds, Yorkshire.
Served in Hertfordshire Regiment (no. 4901), 12th Battalion The Royal Sussex Regiment (no. G/15606) and finally the 15th Battalion Welch Regiment (no. 54957). Killed in action on 1 August 1917 (2nd day of the Battle of Passchendaele). Age 19. Buried in Artillery Wood Cemetery, Belgium. Entitled to the British War and Victory Medals. Army paid to James’ Father: £8 15s 3d on 30 November 1917 and £10 on 10 November 1919.
Fred Harrowell was born in Leverstock Green, the son of Alfred (occupation: brickfield labourer) and Lizzie Alice Harrowell. Fred’s occupation on the 1911 Census was “Labourer – Paper Mill”. One of Fred Harrowell’s siblings was Emily Beatrice Harrowell, who would later marry Walter Charles Rogers (St. Albans District Marriage Registration Jan-Feb-Mar 1925); the parents of Leverstock Green WWII casualty James Sydney Rogers.
Fred Harrowell joined the 1st/1st Hertfordshire Yeomanry (no. 105849). Died of illness, at 76th Casualty Clearing Station Palestine, on 3 October 1918. Buried Ramleh War Cemetery. Entitled to British War and Victory Medals. Army made one payment to his Father: £19 8s on 16 April 1919.
JAMES KNOX HART
James Knox Hart was born in Hemel Hempstead, the son of James Knox and Christine Lewis Knox Hart. The 1901 Census has the family living on Leverstock Green farm, the Father’s occupation being “Woollen Farmer”. Census also shows two sons (including James Knox Hart), five daughters and a nephew. Unfortunately, the 1911 Census sheet has been damaged and is unreadable.
Private (no. 302338) James Knox Hart joined the 2nd/5th Battalion, London Regiment (Rifles Brigade). Served from 25 January to 31 October 1917, when he was killed in action. Having no known grave, Private Hart is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial. Age 22. Entitled to the British War and Victory Medals. Army made two payments to his Father: £6 8s 2d on 2 March 1918 and £8 10s on 21 November 1919.
FREDERICK JOSEPH THOMAS JOHNSON
Born in Tring, Hertfordshire. The 1911 Census records: profession as “Butcher”, age 37 years, living with his Brother, Sister, Niece and Aunt in Akeman Street, Tring.
Private (no. 14478) in the 1st Battalion The Bedfordshire Regiment. Entered France on 2 February 1915. Killed in action on 16 April 1915. No known grave. Commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial. Entitled to the 1914-15 Star, British War and Victory medals. The Army made two payments to his Sister: £4 8s 10d on 24 September 1915 and £3 on 31 July 1919.
BENJAMIN GEORGE OAKLEY
Born at St. Pancras, London. Mother Rachel Oakley. Census 1911 shows Mother’s occupation as “Nurse (monthly)”, living in Bennetts End, Hemel Hempstead. Worked as a “Labourer Flashing Machine”.
Private Oakley joined 1st Battalion, The Bedfordshire Regiment (no. 12404). Entered France 30 July 1915. Died of wounds, at 48th Field Ambulance, on 4 December 1915. Entitled to the 1914-15 Star, British War and Victory medals. Buried in Humbercamps Communal Cemetery Extension, France. Army made one payment to his widow of £5 on 8 October 1919.
WILLIAM LEONARD PARKINS
William Leonard Parkins was born on 1 December 1882, the son of William (1891 and 1901 Census occupation: fishmonger) and Ellen Parkins. The 1911 Census records William Parkins residing in Chipperfield, King’s Langley, working as a cowman. He lived at the residence with his wife Annie Parkins (1911 Census records her age as 24 years old).
William Leonrad Parkins enlisted at a recruitment centre in Whitehall (London) and became a soldier in the (later Royal) Army Service Corps (no. T4/160039).
William Parkins died on 23 December 1916 at The Military Hospital, Sidney Hall, Weymouth. The cause of death was nephrites and anaemia. He was 31 years’ old. The Army made two payments to his widow: £16 5s 1d on 10 April 1917 and £3 10s on 28 November 1919. Entitled to the British War and Victory medals. Buried Leverstock Green churchyard.
VICTOR GEORGE THOMAS PERKINS
Victor George Thomas Perkins was born in Richmond, Surrey, the son of Tom and Mary Elzabeth Perkins, Three Horse Shoes, Leverstock Green. The 1911 Census states that the Father’s occupation was “Beer House and Shop keeper”, Mother’s occupation was “Assisting in Business”. The 1911 Census also states that Tom and Mary Perkins had fours sons (including Victor) and four lodgers whose occupations were general labourer, road repairer, farm labourer and steam road roller driver.
Victor Perkins joined the 7th Battalion, The Bedfordshire Regiment (no. 23762). Died on 22 March 1918, age 20. No known grave, so commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial. Entitled to the British War and Victory Medals. Father received one payment from the Army: £21 9s 3d on 18 December 1919.
WILLIAM WALTER SEARS
According to his service papers, William Walter Sears enlisted in the Royal Engineers (no. 121303) on 25 September 1915: occupation stated was “Carpenter and Joiner”, next of kin was his wife Margaret Sears, Leverstock Green. His papers also listed the names of his six children.
According to the medical report that led to William Sears’s discharge, contained in his soldiers papers, Sears complained about stomach pains during 1916, while serving with 9th Field Company, Royal Engineers in Ypres. While in a trench, Sears stated that he had been struck in the stomach, and that the pain had since become more severe. Sears was admitted to hospital in October 1916. The report records that his weight had dropped from 13 stone to 8 stone 10. Sears was already unable to use his right eye due to it being injured in previous serivce in France. The medical report diagnosed stomach cancer and continues to state that “… the condition is inoperable …” and “… will probably soon be fatal”.
William Sears was discharged as medically unfit for military service. Entitled to the Silver War Badge (no. 207918), the British War and Victory Medals.
William Walter Sears died on 1 January 1918. Buried Leverstock Green churchyard. One payment was made by the Army to his widow: £7 10s on 8 November 1919.
REGINALD HERBERT SECRETAN
Reginald Herbert Secretan was born in Ewell, Surrey, the son of Herbert (an insurance underwriter at Lloyds) and Mary Secretan. Reginald Secretan was educated as a border at Oundle School (Sidney House). After the 1911 Census, the family moved to Bennetts End, Hemel Hempstead.
Initially, Secretan joined the Army Service Corps (later becoming the Royal Army Service Corps), entering the France & Flanders operational theatre on 29 December 1914. In 1916, Secretan was granted a Commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 1st Battalion, the Hertfordshire Regiment.
The Third Battle of Ypres (also known as the Battle of Passchendaele) began on 31 July 1917. The Hertfordshire Regiment’s War Diary for this date is reproduced below.
At 3:50am the Battalion moved forward in four lines behind the 116th and 117th Infantry Brigades. As the 116th Infantry Brigade captured enemy first and second line systems, so the Battalion moved forward in rear finally passing through the 116th and 117th Brigades east of the river Steenbeek. Up till this time the casualties had been very slight indeed but as the Battalion advanced from the Steenbeek towards the Langemarck line (the Battalion objective) casualties grew heavier from snipers and machine gun fire. However the Battalion continued advancing. About half way to the objective, some of No. 3 Company came upon a German strong point which they gallantly charged and captured killing most of the garrison and sending the remainder back as prisoners. On reaching the enemy wire this was found to be practically undamaged (except in one place) and very thick. 2nd Lieutenant Marchington and a handful of men of No. 3 Company got through the only gap into the enemy trench and killed a lot of Germans. The remainder of the Battalion being unable to get through the wire and suffering severe casualties from enfilade machine gun fire and the Germans making a strong counter attack from our left flank about this time had to fall back having suffered exceptionally heavy casualties. The remnants of the Battalion subsequently dug themselves inline with the 1st Cambs. Regiment on the west side of the Steenbeek. Casualties to officers were Lt. Col. F. Page, DSO, Capt. S.H Long, MC, Capt. A.R. Milne, 2nd Lts Gallo, Secretan, Scott and Lt. Macintosh killed. Lt. Head and 2nd Lts. Hardy and Francis wounded and missing; Capt. Fisher, Capt. Charles, RAMC and 2nd Lts Marchington, Edwards, Gilby and Ritchie wounded. Estimated casualties to other ranks were 29 killed, 5 missing believed killed, 132 missing, 68 wounded and missing, 223 wounded and 2 died of wounds. Making a total of 459 casualties to the other ranks.
The following announcment was published (retrived from Andrews Newspaper Index Cards):
In loving and proud memory of Sec. Lt. Reginald Herbert Secretan, The Hertfordshire Regiment, instantaneously killed beyond St. Julien in the Third Battle of Ypres, July 31, 1917, aged 22, leading his platoon against their final objective.Andrews Newspaper Index Cards.
2nd Lieutenant Reginald Herbert Secretan was killed on 31 July 1917. No known grave. Commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial.
The Army made two payments to his Father: £49 8s 2d on 1 January 1918 and £12 on 12 November 1919.
Reginald Herbert’s elder brother, 2nd Lieutenant Humphrey Basil Secretan (Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment), was awarded the Military Cross. The citation from the London Gazette 25 July 1916 Page 7441 is reproduced below:
For conspicuous gallantry. When all the officers of his company had become casualties he took command and did fine work capturing a position.London Gazette 25 July 1916.
Humphrey Basil Secretan survivied the First World War.
Born in Piccott End, Hemel Hempstead, the son of Harry and Rebecca Smith.
The 1901 Census shows Henry Smith living in Apsley End, Hemel Hempstead with his Father (Harry, age 48, pedler), Mother (Rebecca, age 47), two Sisters (Hester age 15 and Victoria age 12) and Brother William Henry (age 5). Both Mother and Sister Hester were employed as envelope makers at the local John Dickinson Paper Mill.
The 1911 Census shows Henry Smith living with his Mother Rebecca and Brother William Henry Smith at Apsley End, Hemel Hempstead. Both Mother and William Henry worked at the local John Dickinson’s paper mill. Mother’s job now shown as a sorter, while her son William Henry is shown as a feeder.
Henry Smith joined the 11th Royal Sussex Regiment (no. G/18758), before being transferred to the 6th Royal West Kent Regiment (G/31387). Lance-Corporal Smith was killed in action on 19 September 1918. Age 19. No known grave. Commemorated on the Vis-en-Artrois Memorial. Entitled to the British War and Victory medals. Army made one payment to his Mother Rebecca: £20 9s 2d on 26 April 1919.
The 1901 Census records Frderick Taylor living in Bennetts End with his Parents George (age 46 – brickyard labourer) and Elizabeth (age 52). Also at home were five Taylor children: Elizabeth (age 19 – millhand envelope maker, Frederick (age 17 – agricultural labourer), Walter (age 15 – brickyard carter), Harry (age 9) and Caroline (age 8).
The 1911 Census records Frederick Taylor living in Westwick Row, with his wife Kate (23) and two daughters Gladys (4) and Phyllis (1). His occupation was “Farm Labourer”.
Private Frederick Taylor served in the 8th Battalion The Bedfordshire Regiment (no. 22080). Death assumed to have occured on 15 September 1916. Age 34. No known grave. Commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. Entitled to the British War and Victory medals. The Army made two payments to his widow: £2 19s 6d on 12 December 1917 and £5 on 24 September 1919.
Edwin Thorn was the son of Walter Thorn, Bennets End, Hemel Hempstead.
Private Thorn served with the 2nd Battalion The Bedfordshire Regiment (no. 4/7136). He entered France on 3 December 1914. During his almost four years of service, Private Thorn was awarded the Military Medal: London Gazette dates 18 July 1917 (page 7286).
The award of the Military Medal medal was made for his conduct during the Battle of Messines Ridge. The War Diary of the 2nd Battalion, the Bedfordshire Regiment contains the following entry:
Battle of Messines Ridge commenced by Second Army. We were in the line, but did not take part in the actual attack OBSERVATORY RIDGE being the pivot of the attack.
On our Right were the 23rd Division (the regiment on our immediate right was the 8th Battalion, KOYLI) they were forming a defensive flank for the main attack. The left of 23rd Division attack was about 300 yards to out right.
Zero hour was at 3.10am and at that hour a number of large mines were exploded, the nearest of these to us was one at Hill 60. Immediately our guns opened a heavy barrage. The hostile artillery retaliated, and our two right companies “A” and “B” were shelled fairly heavily and their trenches somewhat damaged.
The main attack proceeded satisfactory, our counter-battery being most effective.
At 9.30am 2nd Lieutenant A.W. Joyce and 20 Other Ranks got across No Mans Land, to Boches trenches, and were just getting into trench, when they saw it was crowded with Germans. The patrol got back safely.
About 10.30am a party of about 300 Germans came across to Front Line trenches about 300 yards to our right. Our Vickers and Lewis Guns took advantage of this target and accounted for a large number, a few however got into our lines, but these were soon driven out by a bombing party under 2nd Lieutenant T.G. Searle. Some men of the 2nd Canadian Tunnelling Company rendered valuable assistance in this little operation.
From this time on to the time of our relief, we had to extend our right to DAVIDSON STREET, as the Brigade on our right were not strong enough to hold this piece of trench. We had “B” Company 17th Battalion, Kings Liverpool Regiment attached to us for this purpose. For the remainder of our tour nothing unusual occured on our Battalion Front, but the Germans made a strong counter-attack on the evening of the 8th June a little further to the South, but were not successful in regaining their lost ground.
During this spell in Trenches, we had considerable trouble with our own artillery, 18 pounders and 4.5 howitzers; who were shooting short.
Casualties: 2nd Lieutenants A.D. Greenwood (Wounded) and Lieutenant H. Hargreaves (Wounded & remaining at duty).
Other Ranks: Killed 7, Wounded 28, Shell Shock: 2.
The following decorations were awarded for above operations: 2nd Lieutenant T.G. Searle (Military Cross), 17711 Pte. W. Battams (Military Medal), 7489 Pte. G. Kempann (Military Medal), 18817 Pte. D. Flynn (Military Medal) and 7136 Pte. E. Thorn (Military Medal).
Awarded the Bar to the Military Medal; London Gazette dated 29 August 1918 (page 19111).
Killed in action on 23 October 1918; less than one month before the armistice began. Age 25. Buried in Highland Cemetery, Le Cateau. Entitled to the 1914-15 Star, British War and Victory medals. Father received £13 14s 2d from the Army on 15 February 1919.
GEORGE ALBERT TIMSON
On Census Day 1911, George Albert Timson was living with his Mother, Elizabeth Timson (age 60), Brother Thomas (age 31), Sisters Ethel Jane (age 27) and Mabel Edith (age 14). They also had a boarder Harry Stewart (age 33), a farm shepherd. The Mother’s occupation is recorded as “Licensed Victualler”.
George Albert Timson joined the 6th Battalion the Bedfordshire Regiment as Private no. 32171. Killed in action on 23 April 1917. No known grave. Commemorated on the Arras Memorial. Entitled to the British War and Victory medals. The payment from the Army, dated 10 April 1918, was shared between his Brother and Sisters.
The 1911 Census recorded Walter Webb, occupation “Paper Millhand – Collector of Orders”, living in Leverstock Green with his wife Jane (age 17) and Daughter Ethel (age 4).
Walter Webb joined D Company, 4th Battalion the Bedfordshire Regiment (no. 20463). Killed in action on 4 February 1917. Age 36. Buried at Ancre British Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel. Entitled to the British War and Victory medals. Army made one payment to Jane Webb of £1 16s 4d on 15 May 1917. The CWGC record Jane Webb living in Althorpe Street, Bedford.
Harry Woodwards, the son of James and Hanna Woodwards, was born in Leverstock Green. Christened at Leverstock Green Church on 11 December 1880.
In July 1900 enlisted in the 1st Battalion, the Grenadier Guards: Occupation Labourer, Height 5 feet 10 inches, Weight 136 pounds, Chest 34 inches (normal) and 36 inches (expanded), Eyes blue and Hair brown. Transfered to reserve in July 1903. Married his wife Catherine Annie at Bedford on 24 October 1909. Worked as Nurse at Colney Hatch Mental Asylum. Re-enlisted at outbreak of First World War (no. 9003). Entered France on 11 November 1914. Reported sick at Rouen on 24 December 1914. Examined on 23 February 1915, and found to be suffering from Bright’s Disease. Discharged as medically unfit for military service on 2 April 1915.
Returned to his previous job at the Asylum. Died on 13 January 1916. Age 35. Buried Leverstock Green churchyard. Entitiled to 1914 Star, British War and Victory medals. The Army made one payment to his widow: £5 on 19 January 1920.
The Census 1911 records that Herbert Wombwell was born in Triplow, Cambridgeshire, the same place as his parents and siblings: Eli and Elizabeth Sarah Wombwell, three boys Walter, Herbert and Albert Lewis and two girls Florence and Eleanor Emma. A Henry George Brigg (age 23 – born Isham Nottinghamshire) is also shown on the census form. All the family lived at High Wood Hall, near Leverstock Green. Those working members of the family worked on a farm. Eli Wombwell worked as farm labourer, Henry George Brigg as a stockman and Walter as a farm boy. The other children were still at school.
Herbert Wombwell enlisted in 51st Heavy Brigade, Machine Gun Corps as a Private (no. 133310). Died of wounds on 21 July 1918. Age 19. Buried in Terlincthun British Cemetery, Wimille. His Father, Eli, received two payments from the Army: £7 1d on 20 December 1918 and £4 10s on 5 December 1919. Entitled to British War and Victory medals.
BERNARD WILFRED WRIGHT
Bernard Wilfred Wright was born on 24 September 1895 in Watford, the son of Robert William and Isabel Wright. The Census 1911 records Robert William’s occupation as Wheelwright and the family now living in Leverstock Green.
Joined the Royal Flying Corps as an Air Mechanic. Entered France on 19 January 1915. Married Elizabeth Elford in Greenwich during early part of 1918 (GRO Jan-Feb-Mar 1918). Became Lieutenant with No. 4 Squadron, Royal Air Force. Died on 4 May 1918. Buried at Outtersteene Communal Cemetery Extension, Bailleul. His widow received one payment of £7 13s 7d on 28 February 1921.
THE SECOND WORLD WAR
Nine Leverstock Green citizens are commemorated on the war memorial for the Second World War, including the Faulder Brothers.
One pair of Brothers are commemorated on the memorial: George William and Archie Edward Faulder.
|Bagshaw H||C/Sgt||5th Herts & Beds||14/02/42||22|
|Clear GS||F/O||139 Sqd RAF||20/03/43||31|
|Coker F||Pte||Royal Berks||14/04/45||31|
|Collins A||Pte||1st Ox & Bucks||24/08/40||24|
|Cother F||Pte||3rd Parachute||26/02/43||20|
|Faulder GW||Pte||1st Leicesters||12/02/42||27|
|Faulder AE||Gdsm||3rd Grenadier||10/06/44||23|
|Newland J||Cpl||1st Dorsets||04/09/44||32|
HENRY ARTHUR BAGSHAW
Shown as “Harry Bagshaw” on the war memorial, but the CWGC and Army Roll of Honour 1939-45 both confirm the name is Henry Arthur Bagshaw. Born in Surrey. Son of Frank & Daisy Bagshaw. Husband of Joan Henrietta Bagshaw, Hemel Hempstead.
Colour Sergeant Bagshaw was a soldier with the 5th Battalion, The Bedfordshire & Hertfordshire Regiment, which formed part of 18th Division. The main part of 18th Divison landed at Singapore only a few weeks before the surrender. Died on 14 February 1942, the day before Singapore surrendered to the Japanese army. Age 22. Has no known grave, so is commemorated on the Singapore Memorial.
GORDON SAMPSON CLEAR
Number 116769 Flying Officer Gordon Sampson Clear was a member of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR). He was the son of Edwin Arnold and Margaret Ethel Clear, and was married to Joyce Ella Clear. He lived in Leverstock Green, an area of Hemel Hempstead, and a few minutes walk from where he is now buried.
At the time of his death, Flying Officer Clear was stationed with 139 Squadron at RAF Marham. He had been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his previous service during World War Two.
Six Days after Flying Officer Clear died, the citation for his Distinguished Flying Cross was published in the London Gazette:
In March 1943, these officers were members of aircraft crews detailed to attack the Molybdenum Plant at Knaben, Norway. Such a task, necessitating a flight over mountainous terrain covered by a blanket of snow which obscured all prominent features, demanded the highest degree of leadership and skill. At various points the formation had to fly through deep ravines and contend with most treacherous air currents. Despite this the correct target, hidden away in the mountains, was located and subjected to a telling attack from low level. The success achieved reflects the greatest credit on the efforts of these officers whose high courage and faultless work were worthy of the highest praise.
At the time of his death, 139 Squadron was flying two-seater Mosquito Mark IV twin-engine aircraft. Flying Officer Clear was the Observer in the Mosquito piloted by Flight Lieutenant Michael Myers Wayman, DFC, RAFVR.
At 17:50 on 20 March 1943, a Mosquito Mark IV (DZ496 XD-) piloted by Flight Lieutenant Wayman took off from RAF Marham as part of a 12-strong Mosquito raid on the Louvain and Malines Railway yards. However, only the Louvain yards were actually reached.
Flight Lieutenant Wayman/Flying Officer Clear’s Mosquito was hit by flak which disabled one of the two engines. Later that evening, at 19:25, this Mosquito attempted a landing at RAF Martlesham Heath airfield, Suffolk, but Flight Lieutenant Wayman’s first attempt at landing the now one-engine Mosquito was unsuccessful. While preparing for a second attempt, the Mosquito crashed at Foxburrow Wood near Brightwell.
Both Flight Lieutenant Wayman and Flying Officer Clear died later that night, 20 March 1943, at East Suffolk Hospital. Flying Officer Clear was aged 31 years’ old.
Flight Lieutenant Wayman was subsequently buried at Sunderland (Ryhope Road) Cemetery, Durham.
FRANK EDWARD COKER
Number 1688595 Private Frank Edward Coker was a soldier in the Royal Berkshire Regiment. He was born in Buckinghamshire, the son of Edward and Sarah Jane Coker and husband of Rosie Frances Coker. In civilian life, he was a domestic gardener, living in the Pimlico area of Hemel Hempstead.
On 14 April 1945, while on leave, Private Coker died at West Herts Hospital (Hemel Hempstead) of a Perforated Appendix. He was 31 years’ old.
ARTHUR GEORGE FRANK COLLINS
Private Arthur George Frank Collins, 1st Battalion Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry, died on 24 August 1940 age 24; the first Second World War casualty commemorated on the Leverstock Green war memorial. The only Son of Arthur and Emma Collins, Hemel Hempstead.
Private Collins was serving as a despatch rider when he was involved in a collison with a lorry at Culmstock, Devon. Buried in Exeter Higher Cemetery, his CWGC headstone has the inscription “Until the day break and the shadows flee away”.
Born in Hertfordshire. Joined the Army Air Corps as Private no. 5989780. Transferred to the 3rd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment.
In November 1942 the British 1st Army, with the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Parachute Battalions (1st Parachute Brigade) attached, invaded French Morocco and Algeria (Operation Torch). The British airborne operations in North Africa started on 12 November, when the 3rd Battalion carried out the first battalion sized parachute drop, on Bone airfield between Algiers and Tunis. In February 1943, the brigade deployed as normal infantry, serving in the front lines for the rest of the Tunisian Campaign. They fought notable actions at Bou Arada and Tamerza against German paratroopers where they earned the nickname “Die Roten Teufel” (the Red Devils).
Private Cother died on 26 February 1943. As he has no known grave, Private Cother is commemorated on the Medjez-el-Bab Memorial, Tunisia.
GEORGE WILLIAM FAULDER
Born in Hertfordshire. Son of Percy and Lily Faulder. Brother of Archie Edward Faulder.
Private George William Faulder, 1st Battalion Leicestershire Regiment, died on 12 February 1942, thee days before Singapore surrendered to the Japanese army. The 1st Battalion was a Regular Army unit stationed in the Far East on the outbreak of the Second World War. The battalion fought the Japanese in the Malayan Campaign in early 1942 and sustained heavy casualties, temporarily amalgamating with the 2nd Battalion, East Surrey Regiment to create the British Battalion which was, however, later captured and the men of both battalions remained as prisoners of war (POWs) for the rest of the war. Age 27. Has no known grave, so is commemorated on the Singapore Memorial.
ARCHIE EDWARD FAULDER
Born in Hertfordshire. Son of Percy and Lily Faulder. Brother of George William Faulder. Married to Alice Faulder, Gateshead, Co. Durham.
Guardsman Archie Edward Faulder, 3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards, died on 10 June 1944. Age 23. Buried in Bolsena War Cemetery, Italy. The inscription chosen for his CWGC headstore: “No verse can say, No flowers repay, What we have lost. Loving Wife and Son”.
JOHN EDWARD NEWLAND
Born in Hertfordshire. Son of Samuel and Honor May Newland.
Corporal Johm Edward Newland, 1st Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment, died on 4 September 1944. Age 32. One of eight British soldiers buried in Lessines New Communal Cemetery, Belgium; the other seven soldiers date from 18-21 May 1940. The inscription chosen for his CWGC headstore: “Safe in God’s Keeping”.
The 1st Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment was a regular army unit and part of 231st Infantry Brigade, fighting in Malta between 1940 and 1942, Sicily in August 1943, and Italy in September 1943. The 1st Dorsets landed on Gold Beach on D-Day in June 1944 as a part of the 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division and fought with the division in the Battle of Normandy and North-West Europe, until the division was withdrawn in late 1944 and used as a training division.
JAMES SYDNEY ROGERS
Born 16 December 1925, the son of Walter Charles and Emily Beatrice Rogers (maiden name: Harrowell). Both the 1901 and 1911 Census confirm Emily Beatrice Harrowell as Fred Harrowell’s Sister. Fred Harrowell is listed amoung the First World War names on the memorial. The Census 1911 also confirms that Emily Harrowell spent Census Day 1911 at the house of Jane Cooper (age 71), Leverstock Green. His Father died on 26 January 1935 aged 37.
James Sydney Rogers died 6 April 1947 at Ware Park Sanatorium from Pulmonary Tuberculosis. Occupation: Clerk. Age 21. The death was registered by his Uncle Leonard Harrowell (Brother of Fred Harrowell and Emily Beatrice), who lived in Tile Kilm Lane, Leverstock Green.
The gravestone has the text “… from illness contracted during war service” on his grave stone. The Father & Son are buried together at Leverstock Green church.
POST-WORLD WAR TWO
Flight Lieutenant Jeff Bell had just completed a tour with 92 Squadron RAF in Germany, prior to commencing a 4 month detachment to the Falklands as part of the peace keeping force from June to October 1983. Flight Lieutenant Bell was killed in a flying accident (he was the navigator in a phantom jet which hit Mount Osborne) on 17 October 1983, a week before he was due to return home after completing his tour. His remains were returned to the UK and are now buried at Leverstock Green (Holy Trinity) Church.