Clifford Day was born on 27th November 1897 in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset. He was one of eleven children to John and Sophia Day. John initially worked as a general labourer for a stonemason, but by the time of the 1911 census, he had begun working for a gas company. The family, at this point, were living in a five-room house a short distance from the town centre.
Living in a large household, a dream of escape may have fermented in young Clifford’s mind. To see some of the world, he joined the Royal Navy on 3rd September 1913. Given he was only fifteen, he was too young to formally enlist, but he was given the rank of Boy, and set to work.
Clifford’s service papers confirmed that he stood at 4ft 11ins (1.48m) tall, had brown hair, brown eyes and a fresh complexion. It was also noted that he had a scar on his forehead.
Boy Day’s service began on HMS Impregnable, when he spent nine months learning the ropes. He moved on to HMS Gibraltar in May 1914, before transferring to HMS Vivid – the shore-based establishment in Devonport – at the outbreak of the First World War.
On 3rd October 1914, Clifford was assigned to the battlecruiser HMS Tiger. He was on board for only three weeks, when he was taken back to HMS Vivid, and sent to the Naval Hospital there. He was admitted with a fractured skull, sadly passing the next day – the 26th October 1914 – at the age of just 16 years old. I’ve been unable to locate any further information about his injury, other than that an inquest found that it was accidental death.
Clifford Day was brought back to Weston-super-Mare for burial. He was laid to rest in the Milton Road Cemetery in the town.
Edmund Thomas Bevan was born in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, in November 1867, the son of blacksmith George Bevan and his wife, Mary Ann.
Unfortunately, little documentation remains on Edmund’s early life; after his baptism record, the next evidence for him comes in the form of his military service record, twenty years later.
Looking for a life of adventure, Edmund gave up his labouring job and joined the Somerset Light Infantry. His enlistment papers confirm the date – 12th May 1887 – and showed that he stood at 5ft 4ins (1.62m) tall and weighed in at 120lbs (54.4kg). The papers also note that had dark brown hair, hazel eyes and a fresh complexion. He also had a scar above his right eye.
Private Bevan joined up for twelve years’ service. He spent his first four years at bases in Essex and Hampshire, before being sent to Gibraltar in November 1891. He returned home after two years, and spent his remaining time in the army in his home county, Somerset. Noted that he had shown a very good character, he was discharged to the reserve brigade on 11th May 1899 in Taunton.
Sadly – tantalisingly – Edmund’s trail goes cold again at this point. When hostilities were declared in August 1914, it seems likely that he was brought out of reserve, but given his age at this point – he was 46 – he was assigned to the territorial force. As a Private in the 125th Coy of the Royal Defence Corps, he would have had civil protection in the London area, although again, specific details are not known.
The next confirmation of Private Bevan’s life is his gravestone. This confirms that he passed away 19th July 1917, at the age of 49. While no cause of death is evident, his pension record sheds a little more light onto his life in the early years of the twentieth century.
Edmund had married a woman called Martha, and the couple had gone on to have a child. Martha passed away in September 1913 and, according to the pension record, Edmund passed guardianship on to his brother Henry.
Edmund Thomas Bevan was laid to rest in the Milton Road Cemetery in his home town of Weston-super-Mare.
Charles Badman – better known as Charlie – was born in 1895 in the Somerset seaside town of Weston-super-Mare. His parents were stonemason Henry Badman and his wife Caroline.
Unfortunately, there is little documented information about Charlie’s early life. By the time of the 1911 census, the family were living in a terraced house in Clevedon Road, Weston-super-Mare, a short distance from the sea. Charlie’s four oldest brothers had left home by this point, but his other two siblings – his dressmaker sister Martha and his plasterer brother Arthur – were still living with their parents. Charlie, at this point, was still at school.
When war was declared, Charlie was keen to do his bit. He enlisted in the Royal Army Medical Corps, and was assigned to the 65th Field Ambulance as a Private. This section was connected to the 21st Division, which saw action on the Western Front at Loos, the Somme, Arras, Passchendaele and Cambrai, although it is not possible to determine how Private Badman was involved in these battles. He was awarded, however, the Victory and British Medals for his service.
The only other concrete information available for Charlie is the inscription on his gravestone. This confirms that he was wounded in France on 7th September 1918. It seems that he was medically evacuated to England, and was admitted to a military hospital in Bristol, not far from his family in Somerset.
Sadly, it seems that his wounds proved too severe; he died at the hospital five months later, on 4th February 1919, aged just 25 years old.
Charlie Badman was brought back to Weston-super-Mare for burial. He lies at rest in the Milton Road Cemetery in the town.
Percy Herbert Coward was born in the Wiltshire town of Westbury in the autumn of 1896. He was one of seven children – all boys – to Lily Coward and her weaver husband Charles. Not long after Percy was born, the family moved across the county border to Frome, Somerset, presumably for Charles’ work.
By the time of the 1911 census, the Coward family were living in a five-room end-of-terrace cottage on the outskirts of the town. Charles and Percy were both working as warpers – threading looms – in the cloth industry; two of his brothers were working for a printer in the town. Percy was proving himself an integral part of the community.
[Percy] was very highly esteemed by a large circle of acquaintances… He was a worker with the YMCA and Frome Brotherhood, a member of the band and in other directions showed himself a young man of much promise. He was employed successively at Messrs Houston’s [Woollen Mill] and at the Silk Factory.
Somerset Standard: Friday 26th April 1918
An active member of the town’s territorial force, when the Great War broke out he was mobilised. Initially attached to the Royal Army Medical Corps, he subsequently served with the Royal Army Service Corps and the North Staffordshire Regiment, before obtaining his final transfer to the 42nd Company of the Machine Gun Corps.
During his time in the army, Private Coward would have seen action in some of the fiercest battles of the war – at the Somme, Arras and Ypres. In the spring of 1918, his battalion was involved in the Battles of St Quentin and the Avre, and it was during this last skirmish that he was wounded.
Percy’s injuries were severe enough for him to be medically evacuated back to England and, once there, he was admitted to the Royal Woolwich Hospital in South London. His wounds were to prove too much for him, however, and he passed away at the hospital on 12th April 1918. He was just 21 years of age.
Percy Herbert Coward was brought back to Somerset for burial. He was laid to rest in the Dissenters’ Cemetery, Vallis Road, within walking distance of his family home.
Arthur Edgar Smith was born in the Somerset village of Beckington on 12th January 1890. He was one of eight children to agricultural labourer and cowman George Smith and his wife Hester.
Arthur was after some adventure in his life, and didn’t want to be limited to Somerset. The Royal Navy offered this opportunity, and so, in December 1909, aged 19, he joined the service as a Stoker 2nd Class. His service records confirm that he stood at 5ft 7ins (1.7m) tall, had a fresh complexion, brown hair and hazel eyes. He signed up for the standard 12 years’ service.
After an initial five months’ training at HMS Vivid in Devonport, Stoker Smith was assigned to the battleship HMS Mars. During his two years’ service on board, he was promoted to Stoker 1st Class. In January 1912, he was reassigned, boarding HMS Orion, also a battleship.
Over the next two years, Stoker Smith served on board two further vessels, HMS Hercules and HMS Narcissus. In April 1916, Arthur was transferred back to HMS Vivid, suffering from pulmonary tuberculosis. This ultimately led to him being medically discharged from the Royal Navy, and he left service in June that year.
At this point, Arthur’s trail goes a bit cold. It would seem that his lung condition ultimately got the better of him, and he passed away back at home on 2nd December 1918. He was just 27 years of age.
Arthur Edgar Smith was laid to rest in the Dissenters’ Cemetery on Vallis Road in Frome, where his parents now lived.
Herbert Hastings Rose was born on 19th August 1893 in the Somerset town of Frome. He was one of four children, all of whom were boys, to Hastings and Emily Rose. Hastings was a employed as a labourer, but he died young, passing away in 1900, when Herbert was only seven years old.
Emily was left raising her four boys alone – the youngest of whom was a mere babe-in-arms – and found domestic char work to bring in some money. By 1905, however, local carter Enos Bainton had taken the family under his wing, and the couple married.
The census return six years later found the family living in a small cottage near the centre of Frome. Herbert and his older brother, who were in their late teens by this point, were working with their stepfather, carting coal for a local merchant.
Herbert’s job was to stand him in good stead when hostilities broke out. When the call came in November 1915, he enlisted in the Royal Navy, and was employed as a Stoker 2nd Class. After his initial training on board HMS Vivid – the shore-based establishment in Plymouth – he was assigned to the cruiser HMS Constance. He served on board the ship for two years, gaining a promotion to Stoker 1st Class in the process.
After a month back in Plymouth, Stoker Rose was transferred to HMS Cambrian, another cruiser, on board which he spent three months. He then returned to HMS Vivid. It was during this time that Herbert fell ill. Admitted to hospital in Plymouth with pneumonia, this was to get the better of him; he passed away on 31st October 1918, aged just 25 years old.
Herbert Hastings Rose’s body was brought back to Somerset; he was laid to rest in the Dissenters’ Cemetery in Vallis Road, Frome.
Percy George Macey was born in Frome, Somerset, in the autumn of 1889. He was the oldest of six children and the only son to Arthur and Susan Macey. Arthur was a general labourer and domestic gardener from Wiltshire, whose family had moved to Somerset in the 1870s.
When he left school, Percy found work at a local foundry, and, by the time of the 1911 census, was listed as a brass fitter. By this point he had met Winifred Rowe, a labourer’s daughter from Wiltshire, who had found work as a servant to a Frome butcher. The couple married at the start of 1913, and went on to have a son – who they called Arthur, after Percy’s recently deceased father – later that year.
War was coming, and Percy joined the Somerset Light Infantry. Full details of his military service are not available, although at some point during the conflict he was promoted to Serjeant and transferred to the Labour Corps under the Devonshire Regiment. He was awarded the Victory and British Medals, but does not appear to have seen any service overseas.
By the end of the war, Percy had risen to the rank of Quartermaster Serjeant. The end of his life is, however, shrouded in a bit of mystery. He passed away on 15th March 1921 in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire; although no cause for his death is evident, it seems likely to have been from an illness of some sort, as there are no contemporary newspaper reports to suggest anything out of the ordinary. He was just 31 years old.
Percy George Macey was brought back to Frome; he was laid to rest in the Dissenters’ Cemetery in Vallis Road.
Percy White was born in the spring of 1890, the youngest of four children to Frank and Fanny White. Frank was a tailor from Frome, Somerset, and this is where the family were raised and settled for most of Percy’s life.
By the time of the 1911 census, Frank and Fanny had been married for 30 years. Frank was still working as a tailor, while Percy’s three older siblings – all girls – were working as silk weavers and packers. Percy had moved away from the family’s clothing heritage, and had found work as a hairdresser.
War was on the horizon, however, and Percy was called upon to do his duty for King and Country. He was initially assigned as a Private to the King’s (Liverpool Regiment) when he joined up in the autumn of 1914. Full details of his military service are not readily available, but it seems that he served on the Front Line in France, but was invalided out late in 1917.
By that point, he had met Bessie Cundick, who had been born in Wiltshire. They married in Andover in the spring of 1916, when they were both 26 years old.
Back in England, and discharged from the King’s (Liverpool Regiment), Percy was transferred to the Labour Corps and, for the last year of the war had done agricultural work in Cambridgeshire. After the armistice was signed, Frank fell ill and died on 4th February 1919.
Private White attended the funeral at the Vallis Road Cemetery in Frome with his family, before returning to his unit. By this point, however, he had himself fallen ill with influenza, and was admitted to the East General Hospital in Cambridge. The condition was to prove too much, however, and he passed away on 16th March, less than six weeks after his father’s death. He was just 29 years of age.
Percy’s body was brought back to Frome; he too was laid to rest in the Dissenters’ Cemetery in Vallis Road, Frome.
Daniel Mcauley was born in Belfast in around 1883, one of six children to John and Margaret Mcauley. John was a farmer, and when Daniel – who was named after his uncle – left school, he found labouring work to help the family bring in an income.
In January 1909, Daniel married Annie Fittis, the daughter of a linen tenter (stretching cloth on a loom while it was drying and maintaining the machines). The couple had had a son, John, eighteen months before, and would have another child, Sarah, later that year.
The 1911 census for Northern Ireland found the young family living with Annie’s mother and two sisters in Dayton Street, near the middle of Belfast. Annie and her sisters were working as flax spinners, while Daniel was a labourer. Tellingly, the document lists inhabitants’ religion – Daniel is the sole Roman Catholic amongst a family of Presbyterians.
War was coming to Europe, and Daniel was called on to do his bit. Sadly, full details of his military service was not available, but what is clear is that he enlisted as a Bombardier in the Royal Field Artillery towards the end of 1914. He was shipped to England, and barracked in Somerset, near Frome.
Sadly, the next evidence of Daniel’s life comes in a wealth of newspaper articles that report on the accident that led to his death.
One soldier was killed and another seriously injured as the result of a horse attached to a Royal Field Artillery wagon bolting at Frome Saturday morning. The wagon was on its way to the stables when the horse got out of control and ran along Christ Church Street West.
One man, who was riding in the wagon, in jumping clear was seriously cut about the head and body, and was taken to the hospital. The other, Bombardier Daniel MacAulay, belonging to Glasgow [sic], remained in the wagon trying to pull up the horses, but the vehicle swerved across the road and he was thrown out, his head coming into contact with a street lamp.
He was taken to the hospital on the police ambulance, but died before admission. He was a married man, about 34 years of age, and was to have gone on leave Saturday in order to visit his sick child. In the morning he received a letter form his wife saying that the child had been seriously ill and had gone blind.
Mr Douglas Mackay, deputy coroner, held an inquest at Frome on Tuesday on the body of the deceased. The verdict was “Accidental death.”
Shepton Mallet Journal: Friday 19th March 1915
Other newspapers reported similarly, a couple staring that Daniel was father to three children. There is no evidence that this was the case and, given that all of the reports state that he came from Scotland, when he was Irish, it is likely that this too was an error. Each newspaper give variations of the spelling of his surname too, evidence that spelling was often at the mercy of the person documenting it, even in the media.
Daniel was buried in Somerset and Annie travelled to England to attend the funeral. Again, newspaper reports suggest that Daniel’s brothers also attended, although he had only one male sibling.
Bombardier Daniel Mcauley died on 13th March 1915, aged around 33 years old. He was laid to rest in the Vallis Road Burial Ground in Frome, also known as the Dissenters’ Cemetery (for those who did not follow the English Protestant faiths.
Everett Ferriday was born in February 1899 in the Cornish town of Camborne. The second of four children, his parents were Methodist minister Jonah Ferriday and his wife, Elizabeth. Jonah’s calling took the family around the country, and, by the time of the 1911 census, they had settled in Frome, Somerset.
When Everett left school, he found employment at a motorcycle works in Bristol, and left home to move to the city. War was coming to Europe, however, and things were soon to change.
Everett got the call to join up in January 1917, just shy of his eighteenth birthday. His enlistment papers give his height as 5ft 11ins (1.8m) tall, and confirm that he weighed in at 126lbs (57.2kg). They also confirmed that he had found new employment as an insurance agent.
Private Ferriday was assigned to the 94th Training Reserve Battalion and send to the army camp at Chiseldon, near Swindon at the beginning of March. Tragically, within a matter of weeks, he was admitted to the camp hospital with bronchial pneumonia. Sadly, this was too much for his body to take; he died at the hospital on 3rd April 1917, at just eighteen years old.
Everett Ferriday’s body was brought back to Frome; he was laid to rest in the Vallis Road Cemetery in the town.