Tag Archives: Royal Horse Artillery

CWG: Gunner Sidney Carey

Gunner Sidney Carey

Banfield Sidney Carey – who was also known by his middle name – was born in 1868 in Farmborough, Somerset. His father, Abel, was a wheelwright, and both he and Sidney’s mother, Hannah, came from the village.

Sadly, little of Sidney’s life remains documented. He married Janet Morgan in Blackburn, Lancashire, in the autumn of 1912; they had had a daughter, Dorcas, five years before, and Janet had another daughter, Viola, from a previous relationship.

War came to Europe and Sidney enlisted in the Royal Horse Artillery as a Gunner (Wheeler), at some point before February 1918. By that year he was based at the regiment’s cadet school in St John’s Wood, London.

On 30th August Gunner Carey suffered a ruptured aneurysm and, despite being rushed to the nearby Hampstead Military Hospital, he died. He was 49 years old.

Sidney Carey was brought back to Somerset for burial in the family plot. He was laid to rest in the graveyard of All Saints’ Church in his home village of Farmborough.

CWG: Gunner Walter Coleman

Gunner Walter Coleman

Walter Coleman was born in the spring of 1887, one of seven children to James and Emily Coleman. James was a hairdresser and the family lives in the Somerset town of Taunton.

Walter didn’t follow his father’s trade; instead, after a spell working at a collar factory when he left school, he was soon employed as a groom.

On Christmas Day 1910, he married Kate Norris, and the couple set up in a two-up, two-down in the middle of the town.

War was on the horizon, however, and when it broke out, Walter signed up straight away. He joined the 72nd Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery as a Driver and trained at the Bulford Camp on Salisbury Plain. It was while he was here on 10th April 1915 that he had an accident and fell off his horse. Sadly, Driver Coleman fractured his skull and died of his injuries that day. He was just 28 years old.

Walter Coleman lies at rest in the St James’ Cemetery in his home town of Taunton.

Walter Coleman (from findagrave.com)

Walter’s older brother Henry James Coleman also served in the Great War. Posted to France as part of the Labour Corps, he died of wounds on 12th April 1918. He was 33 years old, and left behind a widow and four children. He is buried at the Longuenesse Souvenir Cemetery in France.

CWG: Second Lieutenant Archibald Walsh

Second Lieutenant Archibald Walsh

Archibald Charles Mark Walsh was born on 3rd February 1892, the youngest of three children to Henry Alfred Walsh and his wife Ann. Henry had a distinguished military career, and his sons – Archibald and his older brother Theobald – seemed destined to do the same.

Henry’s service took him around the world, and, by the time Archibald was born, the family had settled in Devon. In tracing the family’s life, however, an unusual quirk arises around the turn of the century.

In 1901, the majority of the Walsh family disappear from census records. For someone like Henry, this would not be unusual; his career took him overseas, and it is likely that records were lost or destroyed.

However, Archibald and his sister Gwladys do appear in the records. They are set up in a seafront villa in the Kent town of Hythe, Gwladys is listed as both a school pupil and the head of the household – at the age of 14 – and the two siblings are living there with a governess, Mary Porter.

By the time of the next census, Cadet Walsh had followed his father into the military. He was a student at the Military Academy in Woolwich, and the following year achieved his commission, becoming a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Horse Artillery.

When war broke out, Archibald’s regiment were shipped off to the Western Front. In March 1915, he was caught up in the Battle of Neuve Chapelle, and was badly wounded.

Shipped back to England for treatment, he was admitted to the Hall-Walker Hospital for Officers in Regents Park, London. Sadly, Second Lieutenant Walsh’s injuries were too severe, and he passed away on 18th March 1915. He was just 23 years old.

Brought back to Taunton, near his family home, Archibald Charles Mark Walsh lies at rest in St Mary’s Cemetery.

Second Lieutenant Archibald Walsh

CWG: Driver Thomas Humphries

Driver Thomas Humphries

Thomas George Edward Humphries was born in November 1897, one of six children to George and Annie Humphries, from North Wootton in Somerset. George was a farm labourer, and had been married to his wife for 19 years before her untimely death in at the age of 40.

When war came, Thomas was just 16 years old. He enlisted quickly, though, joining the Royal Horse Artillery as early as the summer of 1915. Driver Humphries joined the 120 Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery, which was one of the many Howitzer brigades moving the large long-barrelled field guns along the front line.

Given the high use of horses during the way, and that Thomas was a Driver, it is likely that his role would have been guiding the animals in his care – this may also account for why his gravestone gives his troop as the Royal Horse Artillery.

Little remains of Thomas’ service records; he was awarded the Victory and British Medals and well as the 1915 Star, so would have been in the thick of the fighting and seen action on the Western Front.

When it comes to his passing, again details are scant. His pension records simply state that he died of ‘disease’, and he passed in the military hospital in Southwark, South London. Again, given when he died and the lack of any contemporary media report on his passing, it seems likely that the cause was a lung condition – influenza, pneumonia or tuberculosis – but that is a presumption on my part,

Whatever the cause, Driver Humphries died on 8th April 1919, aged just 21 years old.

Thomas George Edward Humphries lies at rest in the quiet graveyard of St Peter’s Church in his home village of North Wootton.