Tag Archives: Welch Regiment

CWG: Private Wilfred Follett

Private Wilfred Follett

Wilfred Alson Follett was born in the spring of 1898, and was the second of eight children to Robert and Ellen (known as Nellie) Follett. Robert was a scavenger (or street cleaner) for Chard council, and it was in this Somerset town where his and Nellie’s young family were raised.

Lace making was the predominant industry in the area, and it was for local employer Boden & Co.’s Old Town Mills that Wilfred worked when he finished school. The 1911 census recorded him as being a threading boy in the factory.

War was coming to Europe, however, and Wilfred was keen to play a part. Sadly, full details of his military service are lost to time, but he had enlisted by the spring of 1917, initially joining the Somerset Light Infantry. He soon transferred across to the Welch Regiment, however, and was assigned to the 10th (Service) Battalion.

Private Follett was sent to the Western Front at the start of July 1917, and was soon caught up in the thick of the action at Ypres. He came through the Battle of Pilkem, but was injured at the fighting in Langemark. His wounds were severe enough for him to be evacuated to England for treatment, and he was admitted to a hospital in Bradford, Yorkshire.

Robert was sent for, but sadly did not arrive in time to see Wilfred before he passed away from his injuries. He died on 20th August 1917, at the tender age of just 19 years old.

Wilfred Alson Follett was brought back to his home town for burial. He was laid to rest in Chard Cemetery.

CWG: Serjeant Albert West

Serjeant Albert West

Albert Charles West was born in Aldershot, Hampshire, in 1870. The second of nine children, his father Charles was in the army, while his mother Hannah is listed on the 1871 census as a “Soldier’s Wife”.

By the time of the next census, ten years later, Charles had relocated the family to Wells in Somerset – Charles had been born just up the road in Shepton Mallet, so, in effect, he was bringing his family home. By this point, the Wests were a family of seven; Albert had an older sister, Eliza, and three younger siblings, Mary, Joseph and Earnest.

Albert seemed keen to make his own way in the world; by the 1891 census, he had relocated again, this time to South Wales, where he worked as a minor. He boarded with a grocer in the village of Llantwit Fardre. It would have been a bustling house, because Albert was living there with the grocer, his wife and four children and three other lodgers.

The following year, Albert enlisted in the 2nd Battalion Welsh Regiment. Posted to India, he served there for ten of his twelve years’ service.

After completing his enlistment, Albert moved back to Somerset and married Emily Sparrow in Wells. The couple moved back to South Wales for work, however, this time with Albert working in a mine in Llanwonno, ten miles up further up the Taff Valley from Llantwit Fardre.

When war broke out, Albert re-enlisted, this time joining the South Wales Borderers. Sadly, little documentation of his second time in the army remains. He is recorded as having served in the 51st (Graduating) Battalion, which was a training unit based in Suffolk; presumably his experience made him ideal to train others and enabled him to take the rank of Serjeant.

There is nothing to confirm how Serjeant West died. All that is know is that he passed on 9th July 1918. The lack of any media reports around his funeral suggests it is likely to have been illness, rather than injury, that took him. He was 48 years old.

Albert Charles West lies at rest in Wells Cemetery in Somerset.

Charles and Hannah had nine children in total. Two years before Albert passed, their youngest son – Alfred Augustus West – died suddenly and unexpectedly. Records confirm that he was working on the lines at Wells Railway Station, when his foot got caught in the points. Unable to free himself, he was hit by a train and killed.

CWG: Captain Bertram Perkins

Captain Bertram Perkins

Bertram Falls Perkins was born in December 1872, the third of four children to Alfred and Mary Perkins. Alfred was a Colonel in the army and has met his wife while serving in Madras, India. He had retired by the time Alfred was born, and had brought his family back to England, where he set up as a Country Magistrate, living in the village of Wookey in Somerset.

Bertram was set for good things – by the time of the 1881 census, the family were living in Eastcott House, with a footman, cook, two ladies’ maids, two house maid and a governess to look after them.

Bertram’s military records are a little scant, but can be pieced together from his funeral notice.

The late Captain Bertram Perkins… joined the 1st Vol. Batt. of the Somerset Light Infantry as 2nd Lieutenant in February 1892, and, in November 1894, was transferred to his father’s regiment, the 3rd Batt. Welsh Regt. as Lieutenant… In October 1896 he went to South Africa and joined the Natal Mounted Police, in which he saw much active service… at the relief of Ladysmith and Dundee. Being stricken down with a very severe attack of enteric fever, he had to resign… and return home. As soon as he recovered his health he again retuned to South Africa as a Captain in the 3rd Battalion Welsh Regiment, where he saw much service…

Whilst at Vryburg, he was appointed Provost Marshal, and in recognition of his tact and energy in filling a very difficult position, was presented by the inhabitants of the district with a gold watch and an illuminated address. He was in possession of the Queen’s Medal with four clasps and the King’s Medal with two clasps. On his return home he took to farming… He retired from the Service in 1905, but on the outbreak of the present war was appointed as Captain to the 12th Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters. Unfortunately, his health, which had never been quite restored, broke down, and he was invalided out of the Regiment.

Wells Journal: Friday 16th June 1916

During the Great War, Captain Perkins’ regiment has been the 12th (Service) Battalion for the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment. His unit been shipped out to France in August 1915, but it is likely that he saw little, if any, time on the Western Front. After being invalided out, he succumbed to his ongoing illness on 14th June 1916, aged 43.

Bertram Falls Perkins lies at rest in the graveyard of St Matthew’s Church, in his home village of Wookey, near Wells in Somerset.

CWG: Private James Fowler

Private James Fowler

Thomas James Buckley Fowler – known as James – was born in 1872, the eldest of eleven children to Tom and Ellen Fowler.

Much of his early life is lost to time, but we do know that James married Emily Ann Gregory on December 26th 1898, and the couple went on to have four children – Wilfred, Harold, Violet and Ivy.

On his marriage certificate James lists himself as a shoemaker and, given the family were living in the Somerset town of Street, it is likely that he was employed at the Clark’s factory there. By 1911, however, the family had moved to Glamorgan, where he had taken work as a timber man in the coal mine in the village of Nelson.

Private Fowler enlisted when war broke out, joining the 10th Battalion of the Welch Regiment in October 1914. During his time with the regiment, he was promoted, first to Lance Corporal and then to Acting Sergeant.

He transferred to the Royal Army Medical Corps just under a year later. In November 1915, he was admitted to hospital with enteritis, which led to him being shipped back to England for treatment.

Once he had recovered, Private Fowler was enlisted in the Provisional Company of the RAMC, transferring again to the 7th Company in 1916. He then operated on home soil for the next few years.

James was admitted to the Royal Military Hospital in Bristol on 28th October 1918 with influenza and bronchial pneumonia. He sadly passed away a few days later, on 2nd November 1918. He was 46 years old.

James Fowler lies at rest in the cemetery in Street, Somerset.