Tag Archives: brothers

CWG: Able Seaman John Clements

Able Seaman John Clements

John Clements was born on 22nd March 1891 in the Lanarkshire town of Airdrie. He was one of seven children to John and Catherine Clements.

There is little concrete information about John Jr’s life. When he left school, he followed his father and two brothers, David and George into the mining industry, working at the New Orbiston Colliery, walking distance from home.

When war broke out, however, John Jr wanted to play a bigger part and – probably to Catherine’s horror – he enlisted in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve at the same time as two of his three brothers also joined up.

Information about Able Seaman Clements’ service is scarce. All that can be confirmed is that, in the autumn of 1917, he was based at HMS Pembroke, the Royal Naval Dockyard in Chatham, Kent.

The base was particularly busy at that point in the war, and John found himself billeted in overflow accommodation in the barracks’ Drill Hall.

On the night of 3rd September 1917, Chatham was bombarded by a German air raid, and the Drill Hall received a direct hit. Able Seamen Clements was among those killed. He was just 26 years old.

John Clements’s body, along the other victims of the Chatham Air Raid, was laid to rest in the Woodlands Cemetery in nearby Gillingham.


Able Seaman John Clements
(from britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)

John and Catherine’s second son had been killed, but, as the local newspaper reported, there seemed to be more trauma ahead:

Private George Clements, Cameron Highlanders, aged 23… is officially posted missing in recent operations in France. He has seen a long period of active service, and previous to enlisting, was employed in the… Hattonrigg Colliery.

Private David Clements, Royal Irish, the eldest son [of John and Catherine] is in hospital in Yorkshire suffering from ‘gassing injuries’. This is the third occasion upon which he has been wounded; fortunately, he is making a satisfactory recovery. He is 28 years of age and was employed in the… New Orbiston Colliery.

Bellshill Speaker: Friday 14th September 1917

Thankfully, George was found and David recovered and John was to be the only casualty of the conflict for the Clements family.


CWG: Stoker 1st Class Albert Cairns

Stoker 1st Class Albert Cairns

Albert Cairns was born on 22nd October 1894, one of ten children to Wilson and Maria Cairns. Both of his parents were born in Northern Ireland, and flax dresser Wilson raised his family in the capital, Belfast.

When he left school, Albert began shop work, but he wanted bigger and better things. On 2nd March 1912, having already been a volunteer in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, he enlisted in the regiment full time. His service records show that he was 5ft 4.5ins (1.64m) tall, weighed 125lbs (56.7kg) and had blue eyes, brown hair and a fresh complexion.

Private Cairns’ army service was brief, however, as, on 23rd March he was discharged for “having made a mis-statement as to [his] age on enlistment.”

Undeterred, six months later, Albert tried again, this time enlisting in the Royal Navy as a Stoker 2nd Class. His determination was clear, as he lied about his age again, giving his year of birth as 1893. This was overlooked (or at the very least not checked), and he was sent to HMS Pembroke, the Royal Naval Dockyard in Chatham, Kent, for his training.

In February 1913, Stoker Cairns was assigned to the cruiser HMS Blonde. He spent the next two years on board, and was promoted to Stoker 1st Class.

For all his desire to serve, Albert’s military career was a chequered one. Over the period of five years, he served on four ships, returning to Chatham after each voyage. His character began as Very Good, but as time went on this slipped to Good and then to Indifferent. On four separate occasions he was detained for going AWOL, and he spent a total of 159 days in the brig.

In May 1917 he was returned to HMS Pembroke; that summer was a busy time for the base, and Stoker 1st Class Cairns found himself billeted in overflow accommodation set up in the barracks’ Drill Hall.

On the night of 3rd September, Chatham came under attack from a German air raid, and the Drill Hall received a direct hit. Stoker Cairns was among those to be killed that night. He was 22 years of age.

Albert Cairns was laid to rest in the Woodlands Cemetery in Gillingham, Kent, alongside the other victims of the Chatham Air Raid.


Tragically, Albert was not the first boy of that name to be born to the family. Albert Wilson Cairns was born in 1888, but died when only a toddler.

Wilson and Maria also had three sons called Wilson: the first, born in 1889, died at the age of two. The second was born in 1892, but passed away at the age of seven months.

The third Wilson Cairns was born in 1896. He went on to become a mill labourer, before joining the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in February 1913. Just like his older brother had done before him, however, he had lied about his age, and was soon discharged. Two years later he tried again, and this time succeeded in joining up.

Private Cairns was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, and soon found himself in France and in the thick of it. Fighting in the Battle of Ancre, he was killed on 23rd November 1916. He was just 20 years of age, and was laid to rest in the Waggon Road Cemetery near Beaumont-Hamel.

Private Wilson Cairns
(from findagrave.com)

The Belfast Telegraph reported on Albert’s death, and noted Wilson’s death ten months previously. It also confirmed that Wilson and Maria’s oldest son, George, had also been wounded, and was recovering in a convalescent camp.

The same newspaper ran a number of messages of condolence for Albert, including one from his loving sweetheart, Katie Rollins.


CWG: Stoker 1st Class Horace Sharp

Stoker 1st Class Horace Sharp

Horace Stanley Sharp was born on 13th April 1894, the oldest of eight children to Harry and Edith. Harry was a labourer from Luton in Bedfordshire, and this is where he and Edith raised their family.

When he left school, Horace found work at a local iron foundry, but he wanted more of a career and, on 25th February 1913, he enlisted in the Royal Navy as a Stoker 2nd Class. His service records confirm that he was 5ft 4ins (1.62m) tall, had brown hair, grey eyes and that he had a fair complexion.

Stoker Sharp was first posted to HMS Pembroke, the Royal Naval Dockyard in Chatham, Kent. Here he would have received his training, but, during this time, he went absent without authorisation, and, as a result, spent 24 days in the cells. It seems that his training was extended as a result of this, as he was not given his first posting – on board the cruiser HMS Sirius – until January 1914.

Over the next couple of years, Horace served on two further vessels – HMS Alert, where he gained a promotion to Stoker 1st Class, and HMS Swiftsure, where he was detained for a further five days. The reason for this second time in the brig is not recorded, but, as it coincided with the death of Horace’s mother, the cause seems likely to have been connected.

In 1916 he returned to HMS Pembroke, before being assigned to the brand new battlecruiser HMS Repulse, where he served for a year, taking part in operations in the Persian Gulf and the Dardanelles.

At the end of July 1917, Stoker 1st Class Sharp returned to Chatham once more. The base was particularly busy that summer, and the large number of extra servicemen meant that Horace was billeted in temporary accommodation in Chatham Drill Hall.

On the 3rd September 1917, the first night air raid carried out by the German Air Force bombarded the town, and scored a direct hit on the Drill Hall; Stoker 1st Class Sharp was among those killed that night. He was just 23 years of age.

Horace Stanley Sharp was laid to rest, along with the other victims of the Chatham Air Raid, in the Woodlands Cemetery, Gillingham.


Stoker 1st Class Horace Sharp
(from findagrave.com)

Horace’s younger brother Harry also fought in the First World War, serving a a Private in the 1st Battalion of the London Regiment. He was assigned to the 13th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers, and fought at the 3rd Battle of Ypres in 1917.

He was wounded on 5th September 1917, receiving a gun shot wound in the back. Private Sharp was admitted to hospital, and died from his injuries later that day. He was just 20 years of age and passed away just two days after his older brother. He was laid to rest in the Reninghelst Military Cemetery in Belgium.


CWG: Lance Corporal Edmund Durnford

Lance Corporal Edmund Durnford

Edmund George Durnford was born in the spring of 1881 in the Somerset village of Pitcombe. The second oldest of twelve children, he was the oldest son to Edmund and Eliza Durnford. Edmund Sr was an agricultural labourer who travelled with the work – the 1891 census recorded the family living in Mells, near Frome.

When Edmund Jr left school, he found work at an ironmonger’s. He moved to Midsomer Norton and, in 1907, he married local carter’s daughter Bessie Welch. The young couple set up home in a terraced house on the road to nearby Radstock, and went on to have two children: Ian, who was born in 1908, and Ronald, born the following year.

War came to Europe, and Edmund was keen to play his part. He enlisted in the Royal Army Service Corps as a Driver, and was assigned to the 827th Company. Full details of his service are not available, but he remained part of the territorial force and was promoted to Lance Corporal.

The local newspaper of the time reported on what became of Edmund:

Lance Corporal Edward [sic] G Durnford, Army Service Corps… son of Mr and Mrs EG Durnford… died suddenly on April 18 at Duston Hospital, Northampton, from shell shock and hemorrhage [sic] of the brain, was 38 years of age. The body was brought back from Northampton, and the deceased accorded a military funeral at Midsomer Norton last week.

Somerset Guardian and Radstock Observer: Friday 3rd May 1918

There are a couple of inconsistencies with the report. The newspaper has Edmund’s name wrong, while his pension record does not mention shell shock as the cause of death (it confirms the cerebral haemorrhage, but also cites a granular kidney). Given that Lance Corporal Durnford did not serve abroad, it seems unlikely that shell shock was a contributing factor.

The same article also places three of Edmund’s brothers in the war, and gives an insight into what had become of them before the conflict. Gunner Percy Durnford was with the Canadian Field Artillery, training in the South of England; Sergeant Major Arthur Durnford, of the Australian Light Horse, was based in Sydney; Bombardier Horace Durnford, of the Royal Garrison Artillery, had served in France, where he had been gassed, but was, at the time of his oldest brother’s death, based in Egypt.

Edmund George Durnford died in Northampton on 18th April 1918. He was 38 years of age. His body was brought back to Somerset, and he was laid to rest in the graveyard of St John the Baptist Church in Midsomer Norton.


Edmund’s younger son, Ronald, served in the Second World War. He joined the Royal Artillery, reaching the rank of Lance Bombardier. Ronald was serving in the Far East early in 1942, and for the next year, no news was heard of him.

However, contact was made in March 1943, confirming that Ronald had been captured by the Japanese, and was a prisoner of war in Borneo. Three months later, his wife, Kathleen, received a postcard from him, confirming he was a prisoner of war, well and unwounded.

Tragic news was quick to follow, however:

In last week’s issue it was stated that Mrs [Bessie] Durnford… had received through her daughter-in-law news that her son, Lance Bombardier Ronald Durnford, was a prisoner of war in Jap hands and was unwounded.

On Saturday she received the sorrowful news that he was dead in the following messages, which her daughter-in-law had sent on:

“I deeply regret to inform you a report has been received from the War Office, that [Ronald], who was reported a prisoner of war in Borneo Camp, had died from dysentery. The date of his death is not yet known, but you may rest assured as soon as any further information is received, I will immediately let you know.”

Somerset Guardian and Radstock Observer: Friday 30th July 1943

Lance Bombardier Durnford was laid to rest in the Labuan War Cemetery in Malaysia.


Further family tragedy, albeit with a life well-lived, was to follow as, on 6th September 1943, Bessie too died at the age of 86. She was laid to rest alongside Edmund in the family plot. Her obituary confirmed that “She leave a husband, seven daughters, and four sons to mourn her loss. One son and one daughter are in Canada, and one son in Australia, and one daughter and son in London.” [Somerset Guardian and Radstock Observer, Friday 17th September 1943]

Bessie had not, in fact, remarried: the husband was, in fact, the one who had died some 25 years before.


CWG: Stoker 1st Class Leonard Fish

Stoker 1st Class Leonard Fish

Leonard Fish was born on 24th November 1893, one of eleven children to Arthur and Elizabeth. Arthur was a maltser (brewer) from Hertfordshire and is was in Ware that Leonard was born.

While Leonard’s older brothers followed in their father’s brewing footsteps, he worked as a farm labourer after leaving school. He wanted bigger things, however, and, on 25th February 1913, he enlisted in the Royal Navy.

Leonard’s service records show that he stood 5ft 9ins (1.75m) tall, had brown hair, blue eyes and a fresh complexion. He enlisted as a Stoker 2nd Class, and was sent to HMS Pembroke – the Royal Naval Dockyard in Chatham, Kent – for training.

Over the next four years, Stoker Fish travelled far and wide. His initial sea posting was on board the battleship HMS King Edward VII; he served on board for nearly two-and-a-half years, gaining a promotion to Stoker 1st Class in the process.

After a brief spell back in Chatham, Leonard was sent to HMS Vivid – a similar shore-based establishment in Devonport – and from there he was assigned to the newly fitted out battleship HMS Royal Oak. Within the month she was at the heart of the Battle of Jutland, and continued to protect the North Sea convoys.

Stoker Fish returned to HMS Pembroke in August 1917. The Dockyard was particularly busy that summer, and the large number of extra servicemen meant that Leonard was billeted in temporary accommodation in Chatham Drill Hall.

On the 3rd September 1917, the first night air raid carried out by the German Air Force bombarded the town, and scored a direct hit on the Drill Hall; Stoker Fish was among those killed. He was just 23 years of age.

Leonard Fish was laid to rest, along with the other victims of the Chatham Air Raid, in the Woodlands Cemetery, Gillingham.


Stoker Leonard Fish
(from ancestry.co.uk)

Leonard’s older brother Frederick Fish also fought in the First World War.

Frederick was born three years before Leonard, and enlisted in the Royal West Kent Regiment in 1915. He was sent to France at the end of July, and gained the rank of Corporal.

He was killed in the fighting at the Somme on 13th July 1916. He was just 26 years of age, and left a widow, Ellen.

Corporal Frederick Fish was laid to rest in the Serre Road Cemetery No 2 in Beaumont-Hamel.

Corporal Frederick Fish
(from ancestry.co.uk)

CWG: Stoker 1st Class Frederick Cable

Stoker 1st Class Frederick Cable

Frederick Charles Cable was born on 22nd November 1890 in Eastbourne, West Sussex. He was the younger of three children to John and Louisa Cable, and the family lived on one floor of a three-storey house in the middle of the town.

When Frederick was born, John was working as a billiard marker, but it seems that this was a poor way to scratch together a living for a young father. The 1901 census found the family in London, where John had been born, and where he was not employed as a hotel waiter.

Sadly, the new set-up was not to last long: John died in 1905, leaving Louisa to raise her boys on her own. The next census record, in 1911, records the two of them living a five-room terraced house in East Finchley. They were not alone, however, as they were sharing it with a widow – Elizbeth Hickinbottom – and her 34-year old son, George.

A year later, George and Louisa married, and went on to have a daughter, also called Louisa. Frederick, meanwhile, was to find love of his own, and, in the spring of 1914, while working as a milkman, he married Dorothy Ada Laurence. They would go on to have a son, who they named after his father, a year later.

By this point, war was raging in Europe, and Frederick was called to do his duty in May 1915. His records show that he was 5ft 7ins (1.70m) tall, had dark brown hair, brown eyes and a dark complexion and was given the rank of Stoker 2nd Class.

Over the next couple of years, Frederick served on two ships – HMS Actaeon and HMS Weymouth – and it was on board the latter that he was promoted to Stoker 1st Class in April 1916. The majority of his time, however, was spent on shore-based establishments: HMS Victory in Hampshire and HMS Pembroke in Kent.

The Royal Naval Dockyard in Chatham (HMS Pembroke) was where he spent most of his time, and was where he returned to in the summer of 1917. It was a particularly busy place at that point in the war and temporary accommodation was set up. Frederick found himself billeted at The Drill Hall, away from the main barracks.

On the night of 3rd September 1917, Chatham suddenly found itself in the firing line, as the German Air Force launched a bombing raid. One of the bombs landed squarely on the Drill Hall, and Stoker Cable was killed instantly. He was just 26 years old.

Ninety-eight servicemen perished during the Chatham Air Raid that night. They were buried in a mass funeral at the Woodlands Cemetery in nearby Gillingham. This, too, is where Frederick Charles Cable was laid to rest.


Frederick’s brother John Cable also fought in the First World War. He served as a Sergeant in the 21st Battalion Middlesex Regiment and was killed at the Battle of St Quentin on 25th March 1918. He was 28 years old and left a widow and three children. #

Serjeant John Cable is commemorated on the Arras Memorial in Northern France.


CWG: Private Graham Grant

Private Graham Grant

Graham Grant was born in early 1891, one of ten children to Charles and Emma Grant. Charles was a sign painter and both he and his wife were from Wiltshire, but it was in Frome, Somerset, that they chose to settle and raise their family.

When he left school Graham found work as an assistant in a jeweller’s shop, but when war came to England’s shores, he was keen to do all that he could for King and Country.

While full details of his military service are not available, it is noticeable that the local newspaper – the Somerset Standard – dedicated a full column to news of his death in 1916, and then a further full column to his funeral a week later. The newspaper reported that:

Private Graham Grant, who was just 25 years of age, was living in Bristol when the war broke out, and in September 1914, he joined the 4th Gloucesters along with his eldest brother, Private Charles Grant, and being in the same platoon they were inseparable companions both in training and in the trenches… They went out to the Front just over 12 months ago – January 1915 – and for practically a year they escaped injury…

Private Grant had not been home since he landed in France, but he and his brother were expecting to have leave at Christmas to visit their family and friends at Frome. On the 23rd December… [he] was with his platoon in a trench, the top of which was some three feet above the heads of the men. At 8:30 in the evening they were about to be relieved… when a German machine-gun opened fire on the trench.

Somerset Standard: Friday 11th February 1916

A bullet hit Graham in the back and he was taken first to a hospital in Rouen, then medically evacuated back to England. Admitted to the Racecourse Hospital in Cheltenham, x-rays showed that his spine had been shattered by the bullet, and he was paralysed from the waist down. “[His] case was regarded as hopeless from the first” and as many friends and family went to see him as possible. Private Grant passed away on 6th February 1916, Emma and his three sisters at his bedside. He was just 25 years of age.

Graham Grant’s body was brought back to Frome, and laid to rest in the graveyard of Christ Church in the town. The funeral, at the family’s request, was devoid of any military fanfare or involvement.


While there was a lot of reporting on both the death and funeral, the vicar of St John’s Church in the town noted in his sermon that Graham had been a member of the choir there, both as a boy and a man. He was also the first chorister of the church to give his life for his country. Reverend Randolph went on to say that:

…there were things connected with Graham Grant’s death for which [he was] thankful… he did not die on the battlefield, maybe after hours of suffering unattended and without succour… he did not die in the hands of the enemy or in the enemy’ country… he died surrounded by his relatives and friends, those who were near and dear to him, and that he had the most skilful medical treatment and tender nursing.

Somerset Standard: Friday 11th February 1916

CWG: Corporal Cyril Allen

Corporal Cyril Allen

Cyril Starr Allen was born on 15th June 1891 in the village of Baughurst, near Tadley in Hampshire. He was the second youngest of five children to Charles and Martha Allen. Charles was a rate collector, and the family moved around the county during Cyril’s early years.

By the time Cyril left school, Charles had become an assistant bursar in Wootton, near Basingstoke. Cyril, meanwhile, had found similar administrative employment and was working as a clerk for a local land agent.

At the start of 1911, Cyril enlisted in the British Army. He joined the 4th Battalion of the Wiltshire Regiment as a Private and was soon based on Salisbury Plain. His service records confirm that he was 19 years and 7 months old, and stood at 5ft 5ins (1.65m) tall. Private Allen served for his initial term of four years, before being remobilised.

In November 1915, Cyril married Mabel Young. She was a printer’s daughter from Wiltshire, and the couple married in Salisbury, before settling down in Frome, Somerset. They went on to have a child, a daughter they called Kathleen.

Remobilised in the autumn of 1915 Private Allen received a series of promotions – to Lance Corporal, Corporal, Lance Sergeant and Sergeant, and, by June 1917, he found himself at the Front.

On 22nd April 1918, Cyril was injured, sustaining gunshot wounds to his shoulder and left arm. He was invalided back to England for treatment, and was hospitalised in the north of the country. He was then transferred to the Royal Welch Fusiliers with the rank of Corporal and sent to Ireland to continue his recovery and work light duties.

While in Ireland, Corporal Allen contracted influenza and was admitted to the Buttevant Hospital in County Cork. Sadly, in his weakened state, it was something he was to succumb to, and he passed away, with Mabel at his bedside, on 15th November 1918. He was just 27 years of age.

Cyril Starr Allen’s body was brought back to England; he was laid to rest in the graveyard of Christ Church in Frome, Somerset.


Corporal Cyril Allen (from ancestry.co.uk)

After the loss of her husband, Mabel went on to live her life. In 1923, she married James Burr, a draughtsman from Frome; they went on to have a child – a brother for Kathleen – called James.


Cyril’s two brothers, Winthrop and Charles, also fought in the First World War.

(from ancestry.co.uk)

Winthrop had emigrated to North America in 1911, but returned to Europe as part of the Canadian Expeditionary Force when war broke out.

Lance Corporal Charles Allen served with the 15th Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment. He fought on the Western Front and was killed near Kemmel Hill in Belgium on 4th September 1918. He was just 21 years old. Charles is commemorated at the Tyne Cot Memorial in Zonnebeke, Belgium.


CWG: Gunner George Hewlett

Gunner George Hewlett

George Henry Hewlett was born on 11th July 1892, the oldest of four children to Henry and Louisa Hewlett. Henry was a painter from Hampshire, who travelled for work. George and his youngest sibling were born in Romsey, while his two brothers were born in Swindon, Wiltshire. By the time of the 1901 census, when George was eight years old, the family had settled in Hammersmith, London.

The next census, in 1911, recorded the family as living in Caterham, Surrey. By this time, George and his father were working as gardeners, while his brothers were working as grocers. Louisa, meanwhile, was employed as a live-in housekeeper for a spinster and her mother just around the corner.

War was coming and George was determined to do his bit. Full details are not available, but he enlisted in the Royal Marine Light Infantry, taking on the role of Gunner. In May 1918 he was on board HMS Iris, a Mersey ferry requisitioned by the Royal Navy for support in the planned raid on Zeebrugge.

On 23 April 1918, HMS Iris was towed across the English Channel to Zeebrugge by HMS Vindictive; she was carrying a couple of platoons of the 4th Battalion of the Royal Marines as a raiding party. When the Vindictive neared the Zeebrugge she cast the ferry aside. Iris tried to pull up to the breakwater under heavy fire in order to off-load the raiding parties which were on board. She sustained heavy fire and a shell burst through the deck into an area where the marines were preparing to land. Forty-nine men were killed, including Gunner Hewlett. George was 28 years of age.

George Henry Hewett’s body was brought back to England. He was laid to rest in the Woodlands Cemetery in Gillingham, Kent, not far from the dockyard at which he was based.


George’s two brothers also fought in the First World War.

John William Hewlett, who was two years younger than George, joined the 1st Royal Marine Battalion of the Royal Naval Division as a Private. He fought on the Western Front, and was killed in fighting on 22nd October 1916. He was 21 years of age. John was laid to rest at the Mesnil-Matinsart Cemetery near the town of Albert in Northern France.

Joseph Herbert Hewlett was born three years after George. When war was declared, he enlisted in the Buffs (East Kent Regiment), joining the 4th Battalion as a Private. Dispatched to India, he was initially based in Bombay, but was injured in fighting. He was sent back to England, and treated at the Military Hospital at Netley, near Southampton. Sadly, his wounds proved too severe – he passed away on 4th April 1915, aged just 20 years old.

In the space of three years, Henry and Louisa Hewlett had lost all three of their sons to the war. After George’s death, a local newspaper reported this was their “sad and proud record”. [Dover Express: Friday 31st May 1918]


CWG: Private Joseph Dodge

Private Joseph Dodge

Joseph Dodge was born in the summer of 1883, and was one of twelve children, including eleven boys. His parents were David and Eliza Dodge, who raised their growing family in Stoke-sub-Hamdon, a few miles to the eats of Yeovil, Somerset.

David was a mason and stone sawyer, but his children went into other roles when they left school; Joseph found work as an agricultural labourer.

In October 1903, Joseph married Elizabeth Ann Case – better known as Annie – who came from just over the Dorset border in the village of Corscombe. Setting up home in Yeovil itself, the couple went on to have two children – both boys – Walter and Norman.

War was coming to Europe, and Joseph was intent on doing his bit. Full service details are not available, but the documents that exist confirm that he enlisted as a Private in the Wiltshire Regiment. Initially assigned to the 1/4th Battalion (which served in Egypt), he transferred to the 2/4th Battalion (which served in India).

Sadly, there is no documentation to give service dates, it is impossible to establish when or if Joseph actually serve in these locations. India seems likely, however, as he later transferred to the 1st Garrison Battalion of the East Yorkshire Regiment, which was based in Lucknow.

Private Dodge survived the war and came back to England, but seems to have contracted pneumonia on the journey home. Admitted to hospital in Liverpool, the condition sadly got the better of him. He passed away on 16th February 1919, at the age of 35 years old.

Joseph’s body was brought back to the county of his birth; he was laid to rest in Yeovil Cemetery.


Joseph came from a very patriotic family, and local newspapers early in the war highlighted that many of the Stoke-dub-Hamdon brothers had enlisted to serve King and Country.

At the time of the article, six had enlisted – Thomas, Arthur and Percy (all in the Somerset Light Infantry), Albert (West Somerset Yeomanry), Evan (Royal Navy) and David (Canadian Infantry).

Corporal David Dodge seems definitely to have distinguished himself. Having emigrated to Canada before the war, he returned to Europe when conflict broke out. An article in the Western Chronicle reported that he had “been awarded the Military Medal for conspicuous bravery on the field under heavy fire.[Western Chronicle: Friday 15th November 1918]

Amazingly, of the seven brothers who fought in the conflict, only Joseph perished.


An earlier series of articles tells the tragic story of another of Joseph’s siblings. Henry Dodge (known as William) had moved to Senghenydd, to the north of Cardiff, in 1910; mining work was plentiful there and he and a number of his fellow villagers had sought money from the black gold.

On the 14th October 1913, and explosion happened in the mine and that and the resulting fire and subsequent poisonous gas outpouring killed more than 430 miners. Initially reported missing, William was later confirmed dead; he was just twenty years old and left a widow and child.