Tag Archives: 1916

CWG: Driver George Stockley

Driver George Stockley

George Stockley was born in December 1888, one of twelve children to Frank and Mary Ann Stockley. Frank was a clay cutter from Dorset, and he and his wife raised their family in the picturesque village of Corfe Castle.

When he left school, George found work as a house painter but it seemed this was not to be a career. In March 1913, he married Lillian May Stockley, who had been born in Frome, Somerset, but who was working as a barmaid in nearby Weymouth. Later that year, the couple had a daughter, Georgina, and, by the time he enlisted two years later, George was working as a barman, and the young family were living in Bournemouth.

George had joined up on 10th February 1915, and was assigned to the 3rd/6th Hampshire Battery of the Royal Field Artillery. His service records show that he was 5ft 4ins (1.63m) tall, but they also confirm that, when he had his medical examination on 30th May, he was deemed as medically unfit for military service.

Sadly, there is no further information to confirm why Driver Stockley’s military career was cut so short. His trail goes for a year, until, on 20th June 1916, he passed away, aged just 27 years old. The cause of his passing is also lost to time

George Stockley was laid to rest in the Old Church Cemetery in his home town of Corfe Castle.

George shares his grave with his youngest sibling, Albert William Stockley, who died in April 1920. The brothers are commemorated on the same headstone.

CWG: Private Alonsa Dixon

Private Alonsa Dixon

Alonsa Dixon was born in Kingston-upon-Hull, Yorkshire, in 1887, the oldest of seven children to Alonsa and Caroline Dixon. Alonsa Sr was a billiard marker, who raised his family in a small house near the city centre.

Alonsa Jr found work as an errand boy for a grocer when he left school, but went on to find work as a jobbing gardener. By the time of the 1911 census, he had moved out of home, and was boarding with cab driver George Gill and his family.

In April 1912, he married Edith Alice Gill. Trixie, as she was also known, was George’s daughter, and it seems likely that romance blossomed after Alonsa moved in. The couple went on to have a son, also called Alonsa, who was born the following year.

War was coming to Europe, and Alonsa was in one of the first waves of men to volunteer for King and Country. He enlisted in the East Yorkshire Regiment, and was assigned to the 13th Battalion. His service records show that he was 5ft 7.5ins (1.71m) tall, and weighed 144lbs (65.3kg). He was noted as being of good physical development.

Initially serving on home soil, Private Dixon was eventually dispatched overseas, arriving in Egypt in December 1915. Having spent just under three months in North Africa, he was moved to France in March the following year.

Alonsa had some health issues by this point, and was suffering from Bright’s Disease, or nephritis (inflammation of the kidneys). He was treated in a field hospital in Abbeville, but subsequently medically evacuated back to England for further care.

Private Dixon was admitted to the Monastery Hospital in Wincanton, Somerset in April 1916, but his condition proved too severe, and he passed away on 10th July 1916. He was just 29 years of age.

Alonsa Dixon was laid to rest in the cemetery of the town in which he passed away, Wincanton.

Private Alonsa Dixon
(from findagrave.com)

CWG: Private Harry Ashford

Private Harry Ashford

Harry Ashford was born in Sidford, Devon, on 2nd June 1880, the oldest of seven children to Samuel and Fanny Ashford. Samuel was a mason and Fanny worked as a lace worker managing this at the same time as raising her children. The family left Devon in the late 1880s, settling instead in Chard, Somerset.

After initially working as an errand boy, when Harry finished school he found employment as a house painter. He had met lace worker Ada Hancock by this point, and the couple married in Chard’s Methodist Church on 4th May 1901. The couple set up home in the same road as Harry’s parents, and went on to have a daughter, Nora, the following year.

By this point, storm clouds were brewing over Europe, however, and Harry felt the need to play his part. On 22nd September 1915, at the age of 35, he enlisted in the Royal Army Medical Corps. His service record show that he stood 5ft 6ins (1.68m) tall and was of good physical development.

Private Ashford serve on the Home Front, and was based at the Tweseldown Camp near Farnham, Surrey. He served there for a little over a year before he contracted nephritis – inflamed kidneys – and was admitted to hospital. Sadly, the condition proved too severe and he died on 31st October 1916 from a cerebral haemorrhage. He was 37 years of age.

Harry Ashford’s body was brought back to Somerset for burial. He was laid to rest in the cemetery of his adopted home town, Chard.

Both of Harry’s parents passed away not long after he died – Samuel in 1919 and Fanny in 1920. Ada never remarried, and lived a reasonable life, passing away in Nottinghamshire in the autumn of 1932, at the age of 53 years old.

CWG: Gunner William Wellman

Gunner William Wellman

William Wellman was born in March 1890 and was one of nine children. His parents, road builder Thomas and collar machinist Eliza were both born in Somerset, and it was in Chard that they married and raised their family.

William and his siblings found work in the local lace industry – the 1911 census recorded most of the family in Chard, but William was boarding in Stapleford, Derbyshire, with his older brother Fred; both were working as lace hands.

War was coming to Europe, and, as a previous member of the territorial force of the Somerset Light Infantry, William was keen to play his part. In February 1915, he enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery: his records show that he was 5ft 7ins (1.69m) tall, had light brown hair, grey eyes and a slender build, weighing 129lbs (58.5kgs).

Gunner Wellman was sent to Wiltshire for training but, while in barracks, he fell ill. Having contracted tuberculosis of the kidney, he was admitted to a hospital in Sutton Veny. After two months’ treatment, his health did not improve sufficiently enough, and he was discharged from the army on medical grounds in February 1916.

William returned to Chard, but was not to get any better. He passed away at home on 1st April 1916; he was just 26 years old.

William Wellman was laid to rest in the cemetery of his home town, not far from his brother, Private Arthur Wellman.

William and Arthur were not the only two of the siblings to fight in the Great War.

Their youngest brother, Private Bert Wellman fought with the Somerset Light Infantry, and died in fighting in Mesopotamia on 22nd November 1915. He was just 20 years of age.

CWG: Private William House

Private William House

William Brewer House was born in Chard, Somerset, in the spring of 1888, one of eleven children to William and Minna House. William Sr was a farm labourer, and it was dairy work that William went into when he left school.

Little of William Jr’s life is documented. When war broke out, he stepped forward to play his part, enlisting in the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry at some point after October 1915. This particular troop was a territorial force, based primarily in Devon, and it is unlikely that Private House saw service overseas.

Sadly, the only other detail about his life is that relating to his passing. He was noted as having died on 8th April 1916 in the Military Hospital in Plymouth, although no cause is evident. He was just 28 years of age.

William Brewer House was brought back to Somerset for burial. He lies at rest in the Tatworth Cemetery near his home town of Chard.

William’s younger brother Frederick (known as Gordon) House also fought with the Somerset Light Infantry. He was killed in Mesopotamia in the spring of 1917.

CWG: Private Sam Mattocks

Private Sam Mattocks

Samuel Mattocks was born in Combe St Nicholas, Somerset, in 1885, one of six children to farm labourer George Mattocks and his wife, Anna. Sam sought a trade when he left school and soon found work as a butcher.

Documentation relating to Sam’s life is pretty scarce. When war broke out, he stepped forward to play his part, enlisting in the Army Service Corps (presumably because of his profession) by the start of 1916.

Private Mattocks was sent to Hampshire to work at one of the supply depots there. Sadly, this appears not to have been for long as, on 1st April 1916, he passed away at his base in Aldershot. No specific cause of death is evident – his records just note that he died ‘of disease’. He was 31 years old.

The body of Samuel Mattocks was brought back to Somerset for burial. He was laid to rest in the family plot in the graveyard of St Nicholas’ Church in his home village.

CWG: Private William Hicks

Private William Hicks

William John Hicks was born in the village of Northlew, Devon, in the spring of 1886 and one of seven children to John and Sophia Hicks. Both of his parents were born in the village, and that was where John found employment as a farm labourer.

By the time of the 1901 census the family had moved to the southern side of Dartmoor, and were living in Wolborough, near Newton Abbot. William had left school, and was also employed, working as a grocer’s porter in the town.

In December 1908, William married Maud Alice Wotton, and the couple set up home near the town’s station. They went on to have a son, also called William, who was born the following year. By this point, William had found more secure employment, and was working as a wagoner for a flour mill.

War was approaching Europe, and when the time came, William joined up to play his part. He enlisted in the Army Veterinary Corps, and there is no doubt that his pre-war employment stood him in good stead for the role. There is little information about Private Hicks’ military service, but it is clear that he had joined up by March 1916, and, for some part at least, was based in Hampshire.

Sadly, the other other available information relating to Private Hicks is that confirming his passing. He died, of causes unknown, on 19th September 1916, in Aldershot, where he was billeted. He was 30 years old.

William John Hicks’ body was brought back to Devon for burial. He was laid to rest in the graveyard of St Mary’s Church in Woborough.

CWG: Gunner Frederick Webber

Gunner Frederick Webber

Frederick James Webber was born on 6th July 1889, and was one of nine children to Charles and Mary Webber. Charles was a machinist and wheel turner from Wolborough, near Newton Abbot in Devon, and it was in the village that Frederick and his siblings were born and raised.

The year 1902 was to prove tragic for the Webber family as Mary and two of Frederick’s siblings – Charles, who was 16, and Olive, who was 11 – all died. While there is nothing to confirm causes of death, or whether the three were related, there was a smallpox outbreak in Devon at the time, so it seems likely that the family were drawn into the tragedy.

Charles remarried three years later, to local widow Mary Harper; the couple would go on to have two children of their own. Frederick, by this point, seemed keen to make his own way in the world, and found work on the railways. The 1911 census records him as lodging with the Batten family in Penzance, Cornwall, where he was earning a living as a carriage cleaner.

On 4th September 1915, Frederick married Hannah Mary Annear (née Williams). She was nine years older than him, and was a widow with three children. The couple set up home in Redruth, Cornwall, and may have married as, with war raging across Europe, Frederick was on the verge of being called up.

Full details of Frederick’s military service are not available, but it is clear that he joined the Royal Garrison Artillery at some point in early 1916. Assigned to his adopted home county of Cornwall, he nevertheless needed training, and, for this, he was sent to the B Battery of the 1st Anti-Aircraft Brigade in the North East.

It was while here, that Gunner Webber contracted endocarditis. He was admitted to the Jeffery Hall Hospital in Sunderland, but the condition got the better of him, and he passed away on 2nd October 1916, aged just 26 years old.

Frederick James Webber was brought back to Devon for burial. He was laid to rest in graveyard of St Mary’s Church in Wolborough, where his father and family still lived.

CWG: Sapper William Woodham

Sapper William Woodham

William Thomas Woodham was born at the end of 1877 in Peasedown St John, Somerset. One of four children, his parents were coal miner and pit worker William Thomas and his wife, Sarah. The young family quickly moved from Peasedown to nearby Radstock to set up home.

William Jr did not immediately follow his father to the mine: instead, when he left school, he found work as a cowherd for a local farm. By the time of the 1911 census, however, he was recorded as being a colliery stoker.

The following year, William married Matilda Gulliford. She was a local coal miner’s daughter: the couple went on to have three children, Gwendoline, Stanley and Irene.

In his spare time, William volunteered for the Somerset Light Infantry and, when war broke out, he was formally placed on reserve – mining was one of the reserved occupations. However, in June 1915, he transferred to the Royal Engineers, and was sent to the Military Barracks at Taunton for training.

Sapper Woodham was due to be sent to France in the spring of 1916, but started feeling unwell. He was admitted to the Taunton Military Hospital, suffering from pneumonia on 20th February, but his condition worsened. He passed away at the hospital on 1st March 1916, aged 38 years old.

William Thomas Woodham’s body was brought back to Radstock; he was laid to rest in the graveyard of the town’s St Nicholas’ Church.

Sapper William Woodham
(from britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)

CWG: Rifleman Frederick Partridge

Rifleman Frederick Partridge

Frederick George Partridge was born on 26th May 1890 in Kingsteignton, Devon. He was one of ten children to clay cutter George Partridge and his wife, Anna. George passed away in 1903, but Frederick left school, and also found work as a cutter, helping to pay his way at home.

When was came to Europe, Frederick was keen to play his part. He enlisted on 18th November 1915, and was assigned to the King’s Royal Rifle Corps as a Rifleman. His service records show that he stood 5ft 9ins (1.75m) tall and weighed 145lbs (66kg). He was of good physical development, but had slightly flat feet.

After his initial training, Rifleman Partridge was sent to France, arriving in April 1916. His regiment soon found itself on the front line and, that summer, was firmly ensconced at the Somme. Sadly, Frederick was not to escape injury – he received a gun shot wound to his left thigh on 2nd September.

The wound was serious enough for him to be medically evacuated back to England for treatment. He was admitted to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Netley, near Southampton, but died of his injuries on 12th September 1916. He was just 26 years of age.

Frederick George Partridge was brought back to Devon for burial. He was laid to rest in the graveyard of St Michael’s Church in Kingsteignton.