Arthur George Baguley was born in the autumn of 1897 in Warwick, and was one of six children to George and Rosa Baguley. George was a journeyman butcher who had moved his family to Frome, Somerset, by the time Arthur was three years old. George died in 1908, leaving Rosa to raise the younger members of her family alone.
Little information about Arthur’s life remains, and the only other documents that can be directly connected to him relate to his passing towards the end of the war. These confirm that he enlisted as a Guardsman in the Coldstream Guards at some point after April 1918.
Based in barracks in Hampshire, Guardsman Baguley was admitted to the Connaught Hospital in Aldershot, suffering from infective endocarditis, a bacterial infection of the heart. Sadly, he succumbed to the illness, passing away on 13th September 1918, aged just 20 years old.
Arthur George Baguley’s body was brought back to Somerset for burial. He was laid to rest in the graveyard of St John the Baptist Church, Midsomer Norton, where his mother was living by that point.
Alfred Charles Moist was born early in 1887 in the Devon village of Chudleigh Knighton. His parents were William and Mary Moist, and he was the youngest of eight children. William was a clay miner and his neighbours – who included the young Thomas Willcocks – all worked in the same trade.
William died in 1899, leaving Mary to raise the family alone. By the time of the 1901 census, her widowed daughter Emma had moved back in with her son, and was working from home as a dressmaker. Alfred, meanwhile, and his two older brothers Frank and Reginald were all employed as brick dressers and together they earned enough to keep the family going.
The next census – compiled in 1911 – found Alfred still living with Mary, but the household had a different set up. Emma had remarried and was living in nearby Ilsington with her publican husband. Another of Alfred’s sisters, Bessie, had moved in with her daughter, Florence, and was keeping house for her mother. Reginald was also still living at home and was still employed by the brickyard. Alfred, however, had found now work as a police constable.
Mary passed away in the spring of 1913, by which point, Alfred had met Edith Mary Sampson, a labourer’s daughter from North Devon. The couple married in Broadhempston, near Totnes, on 21st November 1913.
War came to Europe, and Alfred enlisted in December 1915. His job in the police force, however, meant that he was initially placed on reserve, and he was not formally mobilised until April 1918, when he joined the Coldstream Guards. His enlistment papers show that he stood 5ft 11ins (1.8m) tall and weighed in at 10st 4lbs (65kg).
Guardsman Moist was barracked in London, but fell ill in September 1918. He was admitted to the Queen Alexandra Military Hospital with a haematoma and renal calculus (kidney stones). He spent a total of four months in hospital before being discharged back to duty.
At this point, Alfred’s trail goes cold. The next record for him comes in the form of the record of his death, which was registered in Hampstead, London. This suggests that he was either still in the Coldstream Guards or that he had been hospitalised again because of his previous illness. Either way, he died on 28th August 1919, at the age of 32 years old.
Alfred Charles Moist’s body was brought back to Devon. He lies at rest in the Graveyard of St Paul’s Church in his home village of Chudleigh Knighton.
James Budgett was born in October 1880 and was one of nine children to Henry and Eliza Budgett. Henry was a labourer, and the family lived in the small village of Stoke St Michael, near Shepton Mallett in Somerset.
While initially following his father in to labouring, James was drawn to the military as a career. He enlisted in the army in August 1899, and was assigned to the Coldstream Guards. James’ bearing would certainly have stood him in good stead for this wing of the army; his medical examination shows he was 6ft 1in (1.85m) tall.
Guardsman Budgett’s initial service was for twelve years; during this time, he spent six months in Australia, but his records show that most of his time was spent on home soil.
When his term ended in August 1911, he enrolled for a further four years. Initially assigned to the Reserve Battalion, he was formally mobilised when war broke out. Sent to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force in August 1914, he was wounded in the foot two months later, and was sent home for treatment.
According to Guardsman Budgett’s medical records, the treatment unearthed a two other issues. One was that he was suffering from syphilis, which was treated. The other was that an x-ray identified an aneurysm in his aortic arch. This was considered harmful enough for him to be medically dismissed from the army, and he left active service on 25th March 1915.
After this, details of James’ life get a bit hazy. His pension records show that he married a woman called Bessie, but there is nothing to confirm when the marriage took place.
The next record for James Budgett is confirmation of his passing. He died from an aneurysm on 4th May 1917, at the age of 36. He lies at rest in the graveyard of St Michael’s church in his home village of Stoke St Michael, Somerset.
Herbert Packer was born in December 1889, the youngest of nine children to Joseph and Ann Packer. Joseph was a railway carrier (or porter) and the family lived in Cheddar, Somerset.
The 1911 census found Herbert on his travels; he was working as a grocer’s assistant, and boarding with a family in Abergavenny, South Wales. He was obviously keen to develop his skills, and soon moved to Barnstaple in Devon to work for the Lipton’s grocery there.
In the autumn of 1914, Herbert married Lydia Snell, a dressmaker from Wales and the young couple lived together in the Devon town where he worked. He was very active in the community; he was a teacher at the local Wesleyan Sunday School, and active in the church choir having, according to a local newspaper, “a capital voice”.
Herbert enlisted in the spring of 1916, and had the honour of joining the Coldstream Guards. He did his training in London, and was due back to Barnstaple on leave before starting his active service when he was taken ill. Admitted to the London Hospital with pneumonia, within a couple of weeks he had succumbed to the condition. Guardsman Packer died on 3rd December 1916, aged just 26 years old.
Herbert Packer lies at rest in St Andrew’s Churchyard in his home town of Cheddar in Somerset.
Joseph Richard Steadman was born in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, in 1892. One of seven children to William and Mary Ann Steadman, his father worked as a slab maker for the local council.
Sadly, Joseph’s mother died in 1899, at the age of just 40. William had moved the family to Birmingham by this point, and, on leaving school, Joseph found work at a jeweller’s as a scratch brusher.
Moving to London, Joseph met Ethel May Tambling, who was originally from Somerset, and the couple married at the beginning of 1914. Ethel already had a child – Frederick – and the young couple also had a son, Alfred, who was born in July 1914.
War was on the horizon, and Joseph was quick to enlist. He joined the Coldstream Guards, embarking for France a month after Alfred was born. An elite force, the Coldstream Guards were involved in some of the heaviest fighting of the war, including the Battles of Mons, Ypres, Loos, Somme, Passchendale and Cambrai. It is likely that Guardsman Steadman was caught up in many of these engagements.
His luck was to run out, however, and Joseph was injured towards the end of October 1917. Shipped back to England for treatment, he was admitted to the King George Hospital in London. Sadly, Guardsman Steadman did not recover from his wounds; he died on 1st November 1917, aged just 25 years old.
Joseph Richard Steadman lies at rest in the Wembdon Road Cemetery in Bridgwater, Somerset.
As a sad aside to this story, two of Joseph’s brothers also died in the war. William Steadman was 29 when he was killed at Ypres in April 1915, while Charles Steadman was just 19 when he died at Armentieres.
Harold Joseph James Dummett was born in early 1900, one of ten children – and the eldest son – of Harry and Elizabeth of Kingsdon, Somerset.
Harold joined the Coldstream Guards, although there are no records to confirm the date of his enlistment. His battalion – the 5th – remained stationed in Windsor throughout the war; it is likely, therefore, that Guardsman Dummett never saw front line service.
His pension records give his mother as his next of kin, while the Register of Soldier’s Effects also name his father.
Guardsman Dummett passed away from pleurisy and pneumonia at the Military Hospital in Purfleet on 15th February 1919. He was 19 years of age.
Harold Joseph James Dummett lies at peace in the quiet All Saints’ Churchyard in his home village of Kingsdon.
While Harold does not appear in the newspaper records, his parents do. In April 1937, the Taunton Courier reports that
Mr and Mrs Harry Dummett celebrated their golden wedding… There was a happy family gathering of all their children and two grandsons.
Taunton Courier and Weston Advertiser – 24th April 1937
William Crossan was born in 1892 in Ballinamore, Ireland. He was the fourth of five children to Patrick and Catherine Crossan.
William disappears from the 1911 Census or Ireland, but has joined the Irish Guards by the time war broke out.
Guardsman Crossan’s battalion was involved in the Battle of Mons, but it was during the fighting at Ypres that he was injured.
Shipped back to the UK for treatment, William passed away on 2nd November 1914. While details are scarce, presumably he died at one of the Red Cross Hospitals in the Sherborne area, as this is where he was buried.
Guardsman William Crossan lies at rest in Sherborne Cemetery.