Tag Archives: Hussars

CWG: Private George Dove

Private George Dove

George Dove was born in Wincanton, Somerset, on 4th December 1883. One of five children, his parents were farm labourer George Dove and his wife, Jane.

George Jr did not follow his father into farm work: the 1901 census found him boarding with a family in Radstock, working in one of the coal mines in the area. Ten years later, he was living back with his family, employed as a groom.

His work with horses stood him in good stead when war was declared. George enlisted early on, and was assigned to the 19th (Queen Alexandra’s Own Royal) Hussars as a Private. By October 1914, he was in France, returning to England with his squadron the following spring.

At some point during the conflict, Private Dove transferred to the Reserve Regiment of Cavalry. He was posted to the 5th Regiment, which trained men for the Northumberland Hussars and Yorkshire Dragoons, amongst others.

Further details of George’s life are scarce; at some point, he married a woman called Emily, although records of the couple’s wedding no longer exist. The only thing that can be confirmed is that George was admitted to the Bermondsey Military Hospital in Surrey, where he passed away on 24th October 1918. He was 34 years old.

The body of George Dove was brought back to Somerset for burial. He lies at rest in the cemetery in his home town, Wincanton.

CWG: Lance Serjeant Frederick Rapson

Lance Serjeant Frederick Rapson

Frederick Ernest Rapson was born in the spring of 1888, one of nine children to Francis and Susan Rapson. Francis was a Serjeant in the 18th Hussars, and the family lived in Dulverton, a village on the edge of Exmoor.

Francis had served in the armed forces for 26 years, but passed away after a short illness in February 1891. According to a local friend and supporter, he had been in charge of the local yeomanry in Dulverton for a number of years and had been ‘in the prime and flower of life’. [West Somerset Free Press: Saturday 28th February 1891]

Susan was left widowed with nine children, the eldest of whom was only 13 years old. Frederick was only three at the time, and had lost his father at a very early age.

In 1895, Susan married a Frederick Howard, who was a painter and carpenter. The family moved to Taunton in Somerset, and Frederick and Susan went on to have three children of their own.

On 6th February 1910, Frederick Rapson married Lucy Knight; by this time, he was working as a compositor for the local newspaper. The couple set up home in the middle of Taunton, and went on to have three children, Francis, Frederick and Ronald.

War was coming, and, while Frederick did not actively seek military service in the same way as his father had done, it was not something he was able to avoid. While his full military records are not available, it’s clear that he enlisted in the Somerset Light Infantry at some point early on in the conflict.

Private Rapson was assigned to the 1st Battalion, who were based on the Western Front for the duration of the conflict. During his time there, he was awarded the Victory and British Medals, but not the 1915 Star, so that would narrow down his enlisting to some point in 1916.

While he was promoted to the role of Lance Serjeant, his service was to be a short one. At the start of 1917, he contracted pneumonia and was admitted to hospital. Sadly, the condition was to get the better of him, and he passed away on 3rd March 1917. He was just 27 years of age.

Frederick Ernest Rapson was buried in a quiet corner of St James’ Cemetery in Taunton, Somerset.