Category Archives: Gloucestershire

CWG: Gunner Arthur Young

Gunner Arthur Young

Arthur William Young was born on 11th July 1900, in the Gloucestershire village of Charfield. His parents, James and Eliza, were both born in the area, and this is where they raised their nine children.

James worked as a bone turner and sawyer, working the material for things like buttons. This was a family trade, and something that Arthur followed his father and older siblings into when he finished school.

By this point, storm clouds were brewing over Europe. Arthur was too young to enlist when war first broke out, but when his older brother Francis died in Northern France in December 1917, this seemed to have driven him to play his part as well.

Arthur enlisted in the Royal Marine Artillery on 1st July 1918, a couple of weeks before his eighteenth birthday. Assigned the rank of Private, his records show that he was 5ft 9ins (1.65m) tall, had blue eyes, brown hair and a fresh complexion. It was also noted that he had a scar on his right wrist and another on his forehead.

After nine months’ service, Arthur was promoted to Gunner and, by the autumn of 1919, he was assigned to the dreadnought HMS Queen Elizabeth.

On 1st December 1920, while moored in Portland Harbour, Dorset, a concert was held on HMS Warspite. Gunner Young attended, but on the trip back to his own ship, the boat he was on collided with another, and he and three others were knocked overboard and drowned. He was just 20 years of age.

Arthur William Young was brought back to Gloucestershire for burial. He was laid to rest in the family plot in the Congregational Chapelyard in his home village of Charfield.

CWG: Able Seaman Ernest Cornock

Able Seaman Ernest Cornock

Ernest Charles Cornock was born on 16th June 1896, in the Gloucestershire town of Wotton-under-Edge. His parents were carter Charles Cornock and his wife, Millicent, both born and bred in the town, and he was one of eight children.

When he left school, Ernest found work as a rubber winder in the local mill. However, he wanted bigger and better things and so, on 8th April 1913, he enlisted in the Royal Navy. His service records show that he stood just 5ft 3ins (1.60m) tall, had brown hair grey eyes and a fresh complexion. He was also noted as having a scar on his right cheek.

As Ernest was under age when he joined up, he was initially given the rank of Boy 2nd Class. He was sent to HMS Vivid, the Naval Dockyard in Devonport and, after four months’ training, during which he was promoted to Boy 1st Class, he was given his first posting on board the battleship HMS Queen.

After five months on board, Boy Cornock was given another assignment, and was transferred to HMS Lion. While on board, a number of things happened: the First World War broke out, and the battle cruiser fought at Heligoland Bight and Dogger Bank; Ernest came of age, and was given the rank of Ordinary Seaman on his 18th birthday; with ongoing good conduct, in September 1915, he was then given a promotion to Able Seaman.

After a short spell back in Devonport, Ernest served on a further five ships, taking him through to the end of the war. By the start of 1919, however, Able Seaman Cornock’s health was beginning to suffer. Having contracted tuberculosis, he was medically discharged from service on 19th February, and was admitted to a sanatorium back in Gloucestershire. Sadly the condition was to get the better of him, and he passed away on 14th April 1919, at the age of just 22 years old.

Ernest Charles Cornock was brought back to Wotton-under-Edge for burial. He was laid to rest in the graveyard of St Mary the Virgin Church in the town, not far from his second cousin, Albert Cornock, who had been buried just the week before.

As an aside to Ernest’s tale, the newspaper that reported on his funeral also noted that his grandmother, Ruth Cornock, had not long received a message from the King, congratulating her on the fact that nine of her sons had served in the conflict

CWG: Private Albert Cornock

Private Albert Cornock

Albert Edward Cornock was born in 1878, and was one of eight children. His parents, John and Hannah Cornock, were both born in Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire, ant this is where the family were brought up.

John was a labourer, and this was the trade than Albert also fell into. On 2nd August 1903, he married local woman Bessie Carter. The couple settled in their home town and went on to have eight children.

War came to Europe in 1914, and Albert was amongst those to enlist early on. He joined the 10th (Service) Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment in Bristol on 13th November. Albert’s service records show that he was 5ft 4ins (1.62m) tall and weighed 119lbs (54kg). He had a fresh complexion, brown eyes and black hair.

Private Cornock’s initial training was split between Cheltenham and Salisbury Plain, but he was eventually sent out to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force in August 1915. He spent nearly eighteen months overseas, but, towards the end of the following year, he contracted tuberculosis, and was sent back to England for treatment.

Albert’s lung condition was to ultimately lead to his discharge from the army on medical grounds. His last day of service was 8th February 1917.

At this point, Albert’s trail goes cold. He returned home to Gloucestershire, and lived on another couple of years. He passed away at home on 9th April 1919, aged 40 years old: while the cause of his passing is not clear, it seems likely to have been as a result of the illness that saw him discharged from the army.

Albert Edward Cornock was laid to rest in the graveyard of St Mary the Virgin Church in his home town of Wotton-under-Edge. He lies not far from his cousin, Ernest Cornock, another victim of the First World War, who was buried just a week later.

CWG: Private Leslie Vines

Private Leslie Vines

Leslie Vines was born on 16th September 1898, and was one of seventeen children to John and Emma. John was an elastic web maker or braider from Stroud, Gloucestershire, and it was in nearby Wotton-under-Edge that he and Emma raised their growing family.

Braiding and weaving ran in the family: the 1911 census recorded six of the Vines’ children who were over school age were employed in the local mill. When he finished school, Leslie also found work there.

When war came to Europe, Leslie was eager to play his part. He enlisted in the Gloucestershire Regiment on 18th June 1915, just a month after his older brother, Wilfred, had joined up. His service records confirm that he was 5ft 2ins (1.57m) tall: Keen as he was to follow his older brothers into glory, he gave his age as 19 (two years older than he actually was) in order to be accepted for duty.

Private Vines’ eagerness, however, was to be thwarted. On 29th June, less than two weeks after joining up, he was discharged from service. Details are scant, but this seems to have been on the basis that, following his medical examination, he was considered to be unfit for duty.

At this point, Leslie’s trail goes cold and the next available record is that for his death on Armistice Day, 11th November 1918. He was just 20 years of age. While the cause of his passing is not readily available, it was not reported on in any of the contemporary newspapers, so is likely to have been of natural causes.

Leslie Vines was laid to rest alongside his brother, Private Wilfred Vines, in the graveyard of St Mary the Virgin Church in his home town, Wotton-under-Edge.

CWG: Private Wilfred Vines

Private Wilfred Vines

Wilfred Vines was born on 19th March 1897 and was one of seventeen children to John and Emma Vines. John was an elastic web maker or braider from Stroud, Gloucestershire, and it was in nearby Wotton-under-Edge that he and Emma raised their growing family.

Braiding and weaving ran in the family: the 1911 census recorded six of the Vines’ children who were over school age were employed in the local mill. This included Wilfred, who was working as a bobbin collector.

War came to Europe, and Wilfred was keen to play his part. He enlisted on 25th May 1915, joining the 15th Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment as a Private. His records show that he stood just 5ft 2ins (1.57m) tall.

Private Vines was sent for training to the camp at Chiseldon, Wiltshire. It seems that, while he was there, he was injured and, although full details are not available, his wounds were serious enough for him to be discharged from the army because of them. He was formally released on 30th May 1916, and returned home to recover and recuperate.

At this point, Wilfred’s trail goes cold. All that is recorded is that, on 5th November 1917, he passed away at home from his injuries. He was just 20 years of age.

Wilfred was laid to rest in the graveyard of St Mary the Virgin Church in his home town. He shares his grave with his younger brother, Leslie, who died the following year.

CWG: Lieutenant Alan Lloyd

Lieutenant Alan Lloyd

Alan Edward Lloyd was born in around 1899, the second of five children – all boys – to William and Edith Lloyd. Both of his parents were Welsh, and his older brother was born in Cardiff. Railway clerk William moved around the country with work, however, and Alan was born in Lydney, Gloucestershire, his younger brother in Paddington, London, and his two youngest siblings were born in Windsor, Berkshire.

There is little information about Alan’s early life; what is clear is that, by the autumn of 1918, he had been in the army, reaching the rank of Lieutenant. He transferred across to the newly formed Royal Air Force and, in December that year was training as a Flight Cadet at Shotwick Airfield near Chester.

On the 4th December, Alan was flying his Sopwith Camel, when he got into a flat spin; the aircraft crashed and Alan was killed. He was just 19 years old.

Alan Edward Lloyd was brought to Devon – where his family were now living – for burial. He was laid to rest in the graveyard of All Saints Church in Highweek, near Newton Abbot.

Lieutenant Alan Lloyd

CWG: Sapper Percy Hunt

Sapper Percy Hunt

Percy Rendall Hunt was born on 25th May 1893, one of five children to Walter and Mary. Walter was a carpenter for the railway, and had been born in Newton Abbot, Devon, where he and Mary raised their young family.

When Percy left school, he found labouring work, but soon followed his father into carpentry. He met and married a woman called Ellen; the couple married, and went on to have two children. In his spare time, he volunteered for the Devonshire Royal Engineers and, when war broke out, despite now working in Chipping Sodbury, Gloucestershire, this was the regiment he joined.

Sapper Hunt enlisted on 2nd December 1914; his records show that he stood 5ft 7ins (1.70m) tall, had good vision and was of fit physical development. In March 1915, Percy was shipped off to Gibraltar, spending the next eighteen months in the territory. After a couple of months back in England, he was sent to France. He spent the next two years split between serving on home soil and with the British Expeditionary Force, before being demobbed in March 1919.

Percy returned to his old job with the railways, but, in December 1919, he found himself in court, charged with assault. Caroline Webber, an elderly married woman, was on the beach in Dawlish one afternoon, looking for shells, when a man approached her. According to a newspaper report:

“…suddenly he made a grab at me, put his hand under my clothes, and caught hold of my left knee. I screamed, and he ran away. ran after him because I was determined to see where he went. He went over to the railway wall, and disappeared under the archway of Dawlish tunnel.”

Western Times: Wednesday 24th September 1919

Mrs Webber went to the police, who returned to the police with her, then traced a trail of footprints back to the tunnel. Percy was questioned, but denied all knowledge of the incident, and of knowing Caroline. A plaster cast was taken of one of the footprints that evening, and a match alleged with his boots. Percy was committed for trial, with bail being allowed.

When the trial started in January 1920, the boots were again presented as evidence. However, on questioning, the policeman admitted than there had been a delay in getting the impression, and that “there were some other impressions in the sand at the time”.

For the defence, a number of witnesses saw Percy at work around the time of the incident, and the timings seemed to prove that he could not have had enough time to get to the beach and back to carry out the alleged assault. Based on this defence, the jury found Percy not guilty, and the case was concluded.

After this incident, Percy’s trail goes cold for a few months. The next record is that confirming his death, on 18th September 1920. The cause of his passing is not evident, but he was 27 years of age.

Percy Rendall Hunt was laid to rest in the graveyard of All Saints Church in Highweek, Newton Abbot, not far from his family home.

CWG: Captain Fergusson Barclay

Captain Fergusson Barclay

Fergusson Barclay was born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, towards the end of 1877 and was the oldest of six children. His father, Henry, was a retired army captain, and so it is of little surprise that Fergusson and his siblings had something of a privileged upbringing.

The 1881 census recorded Henry and his wife, Agnes, bringing up the family in Tenby, South Wales. With three children under four, the Barclays employed two live-in nursemaids to support them.

Ten years later, the family had moved to Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, living in a large house to the north of the town centre. With fie children now living at home, Henry and Agnes found additional help was needed: they were now employing a governess, manservant, cook and a housemaid. The family were not alone in this support: the 1891 census shows that all of the Barclays’ neighbours had at least one domestic servant.

The new century turned, and a new census followed. Captain Barclay and his family were still living in their three-storey Victorian villa in Weston-super-Mare. By this point, however, only three of the children were still living at home. Fergusson, now 23, was working as an architect, hit brother Herbert was a legal professional, and his sister, Hermione, also still lived there. The house was not empty, however, as the Barclays’ retinue of staff remained. By this point, they were employing a gardener, groom, coachman, parlour maid, cook, kitchen maid and house maid. Agnes, who was around 20 years younger than her husband, also had a live-in companion, spinster Helen Empson.

Little had changed for the family when the next census was recorded in 1911. Henry was by now 84 years old, and he and Agnes had been married 34 years. Fergusson and Herbert were still living at home, fully immersed in their jobs. Helen was still providing companionship for Agnes, and the family still employed four members of staff: butler Daniel O’Brien and his wife, Jesse, who was the cook; parlour maid Rosie Davies and house maid Edith Booden.

In March 1912, Henry passed away, and it was inevitable that things would change for the Barclay household. Fergusson had been a volunteer for the Royal Engineers since the late 1890s and had steadily worked his way up through the ranks. With the outbreak of war, he found himself called into a more formal role.

Full details of his military career are not evident, but it is clear that, by the spring of 1918, Fergusson had gained the rank of Captain. He joined the Royal Air Force and was assigned to 75th Squadron.

On the afternoon of 7th December 1918, Captain Barclay took off from Elmswell Aerodrome in Suffolk, when the engine of his Avro 504K aircraft cut out. He attempted to turn the plane to land, but it nosedived into the ground and Fergusson was seriously wounded. He was taken to hospital, and died of his injuries later that day. He was 40 years old.

Captain Fergusson Barclay’s body was taken back to Somerset – he lies at rest in the Milton Road Cemetery in Weston-super-Mare, walking distance from his family home.

Captain Fergusson Barclay

CWG: Quartermaster Serjeant Percy Macey

Quartermaster Serjeant Percy Macey

Percy George Macey was born in Frome, Somerset, in the autumn of 1889. He was the oldest of six children and the only son to Arthur and Susan Macey. Arthur was a general labourer and domestic gardener from Wiltshire, whose family had moved to Somerset in the 1870s.

When he left school, Percy found work at a local foundry, and, by the time of the 1911 census, was listed as a brass fitter. By this point he had met Winifred Rowe, a labourer’s daughter from Wiltshire, who had found work as a servant to a Frome butcher. The couple married at the start of 1913, and went on to have a son – who they called Arthur, after Percy’s recently deceased father – later that year.

War was coming, and Percy joined the Somerset Light Infantry. Full details of his military service are not available, although at some point during the conflict he was promoted to Serjeant and transferred to the Labour Corps under the Devonshire Regiment. He was awarded the Victory and British Medals, but does not appear to have seen any service overseas.

By the end of the war, Percy had risen to the rank of Quartermaster Serjeant. The end of his life is, however, shrouded in a bit of mystery. He passed away on 15th March 1921 in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire; although no cause for his death is evident, it seems likely to have been from an illness of some sort, as there are no contemporary newspaper reports to suggest anything out of the ordinary. He was just 31 years old.

Percy George Macey was brought back to Frome; he was laid to rest in the Dissenters’ Cemetery in Vallis Road.

CWG: Stoker 2nd Class Lionel Bennett

Stoker 2nd Class Lionel Bennett

Lionel James Fowler Bennett was born on 2nd September 1899, in the village of Cainscross, near Stroud in Gloucestershire. He was the only child of insurance agent Harry Bennett and his wife Louisa, who was a weaver.

By the time of the 1911 census, the young family had moved to the Somerset town of Frome. Louisa’s widowed mother had lived with the family since Lionel’s birth, and had moved to Somerset with her son-in-law. The family had also, by this time, taken in a boarder, presumably to help pay the rent.

With the move, Harry had also changed jobs, and was working as a power loom tuner, honing and fixing the weaving equipment. Lionel went into a similar role when he left school but, by now, war was imminent and, as soon as he was able to, he enlisted for King and Country.

Harry joined up shortly after his eighteenth birthday, serving as a Stoker in the Royal Navy. He was sent to HMS Vivid in Devonport for training in November 1917, but, sadly, this was to be his undoing.

Barracks were notorious breeding grounds for infections and, within weeks, Stoker Bennett had been admitted to the Naval Hospital in Plymouth, suffering from pneumonia. He passed away on 5th January 1918, aged just eighteen years old and having served for just sixty days.

Brought back to his home in Frome, Lionel James Fowler Bennett was laid to rest in the Vallis Road Burial Ground (also known as the Dissenters’ Cemetery).