by Chris Humby
(An extended paper from a talk first presented in March 2017)
The only recorded history of Parish Halls in Bishopstoke originates from a speech given by Dr Mellor as part of the opening celebrations of the new Bishopstoke Memorial Hall in August 1957. In this speech, Dr Mellor said that the new hall replaced the old wooden and galvanised iron building, which had stood for 50 years. The original hall being constructed from funds raised by Revd Sedgwick.
Sidney Newman Sedgwick was Rector of St. Mary’s Church, between 1905 and 1922. He was also a prolific author of books on Nature and Natural History, which were illustrated with some of his own pictures.
He wrote a number of plays and words and music for operettas in the Gilbert and Sullivan style. These plays and operettas were performed, by villagers, to raise money for church funds and other local causes.
In this picture, members of the cast of a Sedgwick play, pose in the recreation ground. This had been the back garden of the rectory and used mainly as an orchard. You can see the rectory in the background with apple trees and two horses grazing by the goalpost. Makes a change from the donkeys that used to play football for Bishopstoke some of you may be thinking!
Joan Simmonds has established that the first parish hall in Bishopstoke was built in 1906 with £90 raised by Rev Sedgwick. The hall was built by William Whitehead, a Bishopstoke builder, and the ground it stood on was leased at a sum of one shilling a year. This is a family picture, and my uncle is a member of the team whose picture was taken around 1908. Portal Road can be clearly seen in the background. The new building pictured behind the team must be the first parish hall. I remember my father telling me that he remembered the original hall, from when he was a young boy, as being near the end of Portal Road. In March 1922, the Archdeacon of Winchester approved the sale of the rectory and grounds and authorised the sale of the parish hall and the land that it stood on to the hall trustees. The hall, in 1922, stood alongside the Anchor Inn.
History of the early parish hall or halls is very sketchy, and I can offer no explanation as to why the hall moved from the end of Portal Road. Maybe there is something in the name. From 1906 to the mid 1930s, Bishopstoke was served by the parish hall. From mid 1930s, on the current site, it was served by the public hall. It will have to remain a point of conjecture as to which was the original building and location. It can be seen from this conveyance document from 1923 to Mrs Eliza Escombe, that the hall was not included in the sale.
This is a picture of the old tin hall under demolition, which clearly was located where the Memorial Hall stands now.
By 1930 the matter of the condition of the parish hall was raised by Colonel Longhurst, who lived at Stoke Knoll. He wanted a committee to be formed to manage the facility. This was supported by the church treasurer who said the church could not afford to take on the burden of the hall as it was a parish hall, not a church hall, although indications at the time were that the hall and the land that it stood on was owned by the church.
In 1930, Revd Oswald de Blogue posted a note on the front door of the hall to advise that it would be closed and sold, which raised much anguish in the village. A committee was appointed, who immediately set about raising funds to buy the site and delay the closure. This note is probably the catalyst behind the letters, purporting to corruption, written by Mr Bourne, who lived in the Manor House, opposite the hall, which indicated that he would gift this land to the Parish of Bishopstoke, if he could establish true title to it, although because of some of his previous actions relating to the old St Mary’s Church, I suspect that this promissory gift may not have become reality. In 1931, Mr Bourne submitted letters to the Treasurer of the Bounty of Queen Ann, who were a charitable organisation, on behalf of the church authorities, that had received payment from the sale of the rectory and grounds. Mr Bourne claimed the sale was fraudulent. He claimed that there had been no Rector in Bishopstoke at the time of sale because the Parish Church had been demolished in 1910 (Mr Bourne did not recognise the new St Mary’s Church as being properly consecrated), therefore in Mr Bourne’s opinion, there was no authority to sell the rectory associated with the old church. Financial fraud had taken place because payment had been made twice, yet only accounted for once (due to dates not matching on contract documents. Quite simply balance of monies relating to the sale had originally been made towards the end of December, but not recorded until January due to the annual seasonal holiday). It was further claimed that the Archbishop of Canterbury had no jurisdiction over the property, neither did the Bishop of Winchester. Not surprisingly these allegations were refuted. Mr Bourne, suffering from ill health, was not able to pursue the matter further. He died a year later. The land which had formed the Rectory Orchard was later sold to Eastleigh Urban District Council to form Bishopstoke Recreation Ground, although the small part of the ground on which the parish hall stood was not included in the sale, which did cause consternation some years later.
This picture of Mr and Mrs Savage celebrating their 60th Wedding Anniversary with Rev Oswald de Blogue (kneeling) with their friends and family outside Bishopstoke Public Hall was probably taken in the 1930s.
The parish hall was of a simple construction using corrugated iron panelling over a timber frame and was clearly a popular venue for social and celebratory events. Here are pictures of various celebratory meals in the public hall at Riverside, taken in the 1930s. Sadly the occasions are not known.
During the second World War the public hall was taken over by the military and closed to the public. When the hall re-opened after the war it was in poor condition and the decision was made to provide a new hall as a war memorial. Meanwhile the old hall had to continue serving the community whilst funding was sought.
In 1953 the highlight of the year was the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. This is a picture of the tea party that took place in the public hall.
Attendance at the event was by ticket invitation. The red ticket belonged to a lady from 3 Nelson Road who must have been unable to attend as the tear out stubs of her ticket are still intact. She was entitled to a souvenir, tea, supper, and an ice cream. The Coronation Party ticket is my invitation from The Lower Bishopstoke Coronation Committee to an event at Bishopstoke Recreation Ground. I can remember going in to the public hall to collect my souvenir coronation mug and red propelling pencil, both of which I still have. The tickets were both dated for Tuesday 2nd June 1953.
Hall-day weeks started in 1948. Events were organised by the Memorial Hall Fund committee with Dr Mellor as president to raise money to construct a new building. There were week-long carnival celebrations, and the seventh hall-day was held in June/July 1954. Carnival funds prior to 1948 had been used to support local hospitals, but with the NHS being formed in 1948, funds could now be redirected to this local cause. The last hall-day event was held in 1957. By now the carnival fund-raising week had moved to the first week in September.
Many events were organised to raise money to build a new hall for the community. One of the more bizarre was a demonstration, by a 15 year old girl from Fair Oak. Dorothy McIntyre who, in July 1952, played her fiddle perched high on a pole outside the front of the old parish hall. She attracted a good audience as you can see in the first picture, and I believe that she played for some considerable time. How on earth did she get up there?
This picture has recently been discovered which appears to show how. I shudder to think how this would be considered acceptable today and question which was worse, climbing up or coming down. There is a recent addendum to this story. Dorothy still lives in the area. Bishopstoke History Society were asked to contribute background stories about Bishopstoke for an artist who had been commissioned to design signage for permissive paths at Bishopstoke Park (The Mount). He was so intrigued with the pictures and this story that Dorothy and her violin are now a gilded display in a cage in the grounds of the old estate. I do not know if Dorothy still plays the violin, but she was invited to Bishopstoke Park to see her small statue.
In July 1953 Dr Mellor (Hall day President) announced that “this year we are hoping to get to the £2000 mark. I hope by next year you will see the hall starting to grow.”
As early as 1953 land ownership issues with the proposed memorial hall site had been identified. It took until December 1954 for this issue to be resolved. It is not clear when demolition of the old hall began, but it is presumed to be around 1955. I have been fortunate to have been able to access many files relating to the building of the memorial hall, thanks to records that are held by my colleagues Joan Simmonds, Stan Roberts, and Barry Kitchen. I am also grateful to Sue Toher for providing additional information.
In January 1955, Tom Jurd, a local builder from Weavills Road quoted for groundworks to excavate, build footings, concrete over the site, erect brickwork to damp course height and supply and lay all drains to existing connections, for the sum of £655 – 17- 0. Correspondence would indicate that this work was undertaken in June 1956.
The main contractor for the Memorial Hall was Messr’s Blacknell of Farnborough, were specialists in timber framed buildings. They confirmed in January 1955 a sum of £3,266 for supplying materials to this design.
There was much anticipation that fund raising for the new hall would be a success in July 1956. Mr Barnwell, Chairman of the Bishopstoke Memorial Hall Committee drew attention to the fact that that the site of the old parish hall had been almost cleared in readiness for the erection, by voluntary labour, of the new Memorial Hall. He hoped that an all-out effort during Hall day week would achieve the target of £600 so that the new hall would be handed over to the public of Bishopstoke free of debt.
Two of the prize winning entries in the Bishopstoke Hallday week in July 1956.
The Hall day fund raising fete of 1956 was a particularly important event. On July the 19th 1956 a local newspaper announced that a grant had now been approved which would enable the hall to proceed, and Dr Mellor announced that there was no foreseeable snag which should prevent the new hall going up in the very near future. Dr Mellor paid tribute to the committee and stressed the amount of hard work put in by Mr L.E. Barnwell (Chairman) and Mr A. Owens (Secretary). The article highlighted that in the last few years the committee had had a tremendous amount of criticism, mainly from people who did not know the facts, although there is certainly evidence that there were ongoing issues as construction of the hall proceeded.
Correspondence relating to changes to the building was still ongoing in June 1956. One letter from Arthur Owens, secretary of the committee, complains that the first load of sections and components had been due six weeks after ordering, it was now thirteen weeks from order, and he was now being advised it would be further eight weeks delay. This would take delivery to September. The Memorial Hall committee went to extraordinary lengths to micro manage the project. A letter from Blacknell’s in July 1956 addresses this issue and tersely point out that “if the committee require every conceivable design detail to be referred to them, then it would take a very long time for components to be finished.” The inference was that Blacknell’s were prepared to walk away if the committee continued to interfere with what was Blacknell’s contractual design authority.
There remained ongoing difficulties. In February 1957, the internal lining materials were delivered. In March, the committee objected to the quality of the flooring material. Further correspondence at the end of April 1957 shows that this matter had not been concluded.
Although Blacknell’s supplied the components, construction work and fitting out-out of the building was undertaken with volunteer labour organised by the Memorial Hall Committee. This would have been fraught with difficulty. Additional issues were created by changes in planning and construction requirements at local and county level.
In September 1956, the project insurance company advised Mr Fred Bishop, the village postmaster and committee member, that as the labour being employed was entirely voluntary, there would be no need for an Employers Liability Policy, and that Fire and Public Liability Insurance was in place. Should however the committee wish to take out insurance to cover possible injury sustained by a volunteer, this would be extra. Cover would provide £250 for the loss of one limb: and £500 for death or loss of two limbs. An estimate of total costs for the works was submitted to the Ministry of Education for partial grants in support of the project. The estimate was in the order of £5,600.
From photo’s, the Memorial Hall appears to be of steel frame construction, and this had been the original intention, but this is not what happened.
Technically the construction of the Memorial Hall was innovative for its day using lightweight “Woodweld” glued timber frames. These were far cheaper, lighter to transport and erect than steel frames. I suspect that the decision was driven by cost and skills available using volunteer labour.
Work was well under way when this picture was taken with stud portioning being constructed inside the entrance.
Meanwhile work had started to construct the stage towards the rear of the building.
Further progress has been made with the stage area, but the hall flooring appears to have been removed in this picture. This may have been due to the hall committee refusing to accept the quality of the flooring material as late as April 1957.
Externally works were nearing completion and the building was basically weatherproof, as this picture at the rear of the building shows.
This picture was published in the Daily Echo, in August 1957, to show what had been achieved by all the hard work.
Internally a number of items were required to equip the building, and with grants approved orders could be placed. In June 1956 enquiry was made for fireproof stage curtains and an order placed in July 1956. The curtains were ordered in Maroon Velour and the order requested that delivery was not required before mid-September.
Crockery was an important item for the hall committee to consider. In January 1955 enquiries had been made and Dave Moody, the proprietor of the Ironmongers at No 1 Riverside was asked to quote for “Badged Ware.” Items to be marked ‘Bishopstoke Memorial Hall’.
The order was placed in June 1956 for 17 dozen Worcester Tea Cups, Saucers, and Tea plates, plus sundry items, with a rider that should any alteration to estimate be made then the revised figure will have to be brought before committee for acceptance.
Arthur Owens, Hon Secretary of Bishopstoke Memorial Hall Committee was not adverse to using connections to save money, and approached Pirelli General Cable Works, his employer, to ask for help to source electrical equipment.
The request was supported, which this memo, and a number of advice notes issued with no charge for materials supplied.
As early as August 1954 enquiries had been made regarding chairs or the memorial hall. There was a number of letters exchanged between Arthur Owens and Cox & Co. Ltd. Of Watford regarding specification, quantity, and price.
Records show that although discussions for chairs started in 1954, it was not until April 1956 that 200 chairs were provisionally ordered. Even then the specification had not been finalised and there was correspondence relating to what colour was required. There was further exchange in June 1956 relating to extra cost of chairs should the committee wish to choose a colour scheme requiring a two-coat enamelled frame. Finally, on 24th July 1956 the specification was finalised, with Cox & Co. Ltd. Requesting that they be granted at least 3-4 weeks’ notice of when delivery was to take place. It is clear that some instructions for equipment had been issued before funding had been approved, although in reality these would have been very low risk decisions.
The opening ceremony of Bishopstoke Memorial Hall was performed on Thursday the 22nd of August 1957, amid much publicity.
This is a copy of an original advertising poster for the opening of Bishopstoke Memorial Hall.
The headline in the local paper on August 24th, 1957, read, “Bishopstoke’s Hall took a lot of trouble but is worth it”. The article covered the opening ceremonies and dedication by Rev Gordon Rose and includes the following extracts from speeches by the gathered dignitaries.
Dr Mellor paid tribute to all the hard work that had taken place in the last ten years since the idea of building a memorial hall had been conceived and it had been ten years of hard work and many disappointments and frustrations, but now at last they had a great sense of achievement. He concluded by saying, I hope it will always be remembered that it is a memorial hall and the amount of work which went into it. The Mayor, Alderman Soar said he hoped that the forthcoming Hall-day week would be a great success, and that the sum of £400 – £500 needed to make the building free of debt would soon be raised. Alderman Quilley, on behalf of Hampshire County Council, whilst praising a facility to be proud of, said “judging by his experience with other public buildings, he feared that the hall would not be big enough in a comparatively short time.” An understanding based on his experience that, even today, those that manage any future project of this nature may be well advised to contemplate.
Councillor Peter Hickman and his wife, who lived in West Drive, were attendees at the ceremony. Whilst in 1956 it had been hoped that when the hall opened it would be free of debt. As was reported by Alderman Soar on opening day this had not been achieved and events were held raise further funding.
There was a very full programme of events scheduled for the week which lasted from Saturday 31st of August to Saturday the 7th of September 1957, as can be seen on the programme above. The purpose being to raise funds to clear the debt.
This is a ticket to the grand opening dance on Saturday 31st of August 1957. Entry was not cheap for 1957.
Many local organisations were invited to take part, and this is an entry form for entry in 1957.
Raffles were organised to bring in extra funding. The Grand Draw, promoted by Councillor Hickman (pictured earlier) was for a Divan Bed, Mattress and Headboard, which was donated by The Eastleigh Sleep Shop. This business was at 43 Leigh Road and, I believe owned by Peter Green, who went on to develop a major furniture emporium in Southampton Road.
A draw that may not have been as popular at the time, as many people did not own a motorcar was the Grand Motorists Draw, and there are many raffle books remaining. For one shilling (five pence) you could win 20 gallons of petrol as first prize. The prize had to be obtained from Tom Scrivener, who owned the Cycle Shop in Spring Lane. The petrol pump was on the pavement outside his shop.
Bishopstoke Memorial Hall has been home to many clubs, societies, and organisations with long connections to the building. This picture shows the founder members of Bishopstoke Chrysanthemum Society from 1939. Pictured (left to right) top row are W. Wilmot, J. Clarkson, P. Stock, S. Halkes, and T. Jurd. Bottom row, P. Payne, J. Wilmot, H. Ivill, E. Honeybone, and J. Douse.
The Society was highly successful winning many prizes at both local and national competition, winning the Challenge Trophy at the National Chrysanthemum Society Show in London more than a dozen times, and was very active in helping to raise funds for the memorial hall. Sadly, the Society stopped competing in September 2003 through lack of support.
Bishopstoke Players can trace their history to 1939, as they continue the thespian tradition started by Rev. Sedgwick, over 100 years ago, who used proceeds from performances of his plays and musicals to raise funds to build a new village hall. This picture was taken at Bishopstoke Players’ 40th anniversary production in September 1987, “When we are Married” by J. B. Priestley. The television celebrity of the time, Isla St Clair (centre) attended the final performance.
The South Hants Weekly News reported on Thursday the 2nd of September 1997 that Bishopstoke Players celebrated their 50th anniversary. The Society, still active in Bishopstoke, was originally formed in 1939 when a group of friends formed a Bishopstoke branch of the Young Leaguers Union, an organisation working to raise funds for the National Children’s Home.
This led to the formation of a drama section and in 1947 a separate dramatic society was created, to be known as the ‘YLU Players’, the aim to raise money for the National Children’s Home, which it still does, although the name YLU Players was dropped in the 1980s in favour of the name Bishopstoke Players.
As a young man growing up in Bishopstoke, I remember the recreation ground, playing football, the swings, roundabout, and see-saw by the entrance to Portal Road. What I do not remember is when the Memorial Garden was built, it was probably before my time, and probably before construction of the memorial hall. I do remember it was an attractive area, well-tended with roses, shrubs, and a rockery near to the old rectory.
Today this once landscaped and attractive Memorial area has been replaced by the Glebe Meadow Skate Park.
A Memorial now stands alongside the memorial hall dedicated to the memory of the men and women of Bishopstoke who gave their lives in two World Wars.
In St Mary’s Church, this beautifully illuminated book records the names of all the men and women from Bishopstoke who served during WWI. It is annotated with the details of what became of those that never returned.
Also in St Mary’s Church is a plaque dedicated to the London and South Western Railwaymen, from Bishopstoke, who gave their lives in the Great War. The bells are no longer part of the peal at St Mary’s, and were replaced in 1990. Most of the old bells were sold individually to various churches. The old bells from Bishopstoke can now be found in St. James Church, Immingham, Lincolnshire, Tredington Church, Gloucestershire, St. Anne’s Church, Limehouse, London, and Wagga Wagga Church, New South Wales, Australia.
This small plaque is placed on the wall of the old Reading Rooms in Church Road.
The memorial hall carries this plaque as a testament to our fallen of WWII.
Bishopstoke WWI Memorial Memories
Roll of Honour
Great War – 1914 – 1918
|Albert Webb||James Owen|
|Albert Savage||Joseph Dunn|
|Albert Swete||Lionel Daventry|
|Albert Oliver||Reginald Divall|
|Alfred Franklin||Reginald Cox|
|Charles Walkley||Stephen Van|
|Edwin Finney||Samuel Jordan|
|Edgar White||Sidney Osborne|
|Edward Cox||Thomas Rumney|
|Frank South||William Poole|
|Frederick Hutchinson||William Jones|
|Frank Dann||William Baker|
|Frank Pitman||William Wren|
|George Goddard||William White|
|Herbert Pragnell||Walter Brown|
|Henry Pyle||Harry Webb|
Bishopstoke WWI Memorial Memories
This document has been edited and produced by Chris Humby of Bishopstoke History Society, with grateful thanks to Allen Guille and Jane King for additional research. Particular gratitude is extended to Ian Taylor, a Fair Oak resident who undertook similar research of the names on that village’s War Memorials, for supporting this project and providing military insight to the campaigns and conflicts that our casualties endured.
During the course of the research into the background and circumstances behind the men named on our Memorial to the Fallen of WWI, some anomalies have been discovered. These will be explained alongside the names of those who have been remembered.
We have also established that there are others whose names could have been included on our Roll of Honour of the Great War, but for whatever reason, were not. These names have been included at the end of this document.
Whilst conducting research for this project it is my strong opinion that the naming of Bishopstoke Villagers immortalised on our Memorial, were taken at the time. It is not our role, some 100 years, later to question these decisions or interpretations. There could be many explanations of which we are not aware.
Chris Humby MSc – April 2015
Bishopstoke WWI Memorial Memories
2906/331165 Rifleman A.E. Webb – 1/8th (Isle of Wight Rifles) Battalion, Hampshire Regiment. Died 19th April 1917.
Albert Edmund Webb lived at 154 Church Road with his parents and was a farm labourer before he enlisted in the Hampshire Regiment in February 1916. He was drafted to the 1/8th (Isle of Wight Rifles) Battalion. On 19th April 1917, at the age of 20, in the Second Battle of Gaza, his Battalion was in support of the 4th and 5th Battalions of the Norfolk Regiment in an attack on Turkish positions on the Beersheba Road, southeast of Gaza town. The attack met devastating artillery and mortar fire and of 23 Officers and 748 Other Ranks who took part on that day, 21 Officers and 546 Other Ranks were casualties. Albert Webb was one of the 248 declared killed or missing. He is buried in the Gaza War Cemetery, Palestine, where his elder brother Walter also lies.
19128 Corporal A.J. Savage – 10th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment. Died 10th August 1915.
Albert John Savage lived at 29 Hamilton Road with his parents and was employed as a gardener. He was one of the first 200,000 to answer Kitchener’s call in August 1914, when he enlisted in the Hampshire Regiment and was posted to the 10th Battalion. On 6th July 1915, the 10th Battalion embarked in the SS Transylvania for Gallipoli. Landing after dark on 6th August 1915 and with difficult advances over the next 3 days, the 10th Battalion’s positions just west of Chunuk Bair were attacked with some ferocity at dawn on 10th August 1915, by the Turks. In the confused fighting, Albert Savage, at the age of 22, was one of 155 soldiers of his battalion to lose their life. He is commemorated on the Helles Memorial which stands on the tip of the Gallipoli Peninsular, Turkey.
25173 Sapper A.E. Sweet – 57th Field Company, Royal Engineers. Died 19th April 1915.
Albert Edward Sweet (not Swete as shown on the Bishopstoke Roll of Honour) was the son of William and Henrietta Sweet who lived at 4 Portal Road. He enlisted in the Royal Engineers in June 1913. In 1914, the 3rd Division, based at Tidworth and Bulford Camp, of which 57th Field Company were part, embarked with the rest of the British Expeditionary Forces from Southampton between the13th and 15th August. After marching for a week, the Division deployed on the Mons- Condé Canal, where Albert Sweet would have been employed preparing bridges for demolition. The Retreat from Mons followed, ending in the British Expeditionary Force reaching the outskirts of Paris, then to re-advance to the line of the River Aisne. In October, the Division moved north by rail to the Ypres sector. Engineers spent much time in forward trenches on the Messines Ridge to undertake repairs to damage caused by German shelling, and in some cases, mining. Albert Sweet was killed in action at Hill 60 on 19th April 1915 at the age of 22. He is buried in Wytschaete Military Cemetery, Leper (Ypres), Belgium
6136 Lance-Corporal William Oliver – 1st (King’s) Dragoon Guards. Died 30th October 1914.
The roll of honour on the WWI Memorial in Bishopstoke lists an Albert Oliver. In 1911 there was an Albert James Oliver, aged 14, who was working as a Mill labourer and living at 22 Hamilton Road with his parents. There is a record of this same Albert Oliver, regimental number 552, joining the Territorials in 1912, when he volunteered for four years of service in the Hampshire Fortress Corps. In 1912 Albert Oliver’s records show that he is now living at 15 Hamilton Road and working as an engine cleaner for the London and South Western Railway. Despite extensive searches, no records have been found that show Albert James Oliver serving as a regular soldier, or of him being killed in action.
There is, however, a record of a William Oliver, from 108 Hamilton Road, who enlisted in the 1st (King’s) Dragoon Guards in 1909 and died in action during WWI. Serving at the outbreak of war in August 1914, he was immediately sent to France. After taking a distinguished part in the Battle of and Retreat from Mons, and other important engagements, he was killed in action on 30th October 1914, at the age of 24. According to records contained in the National Roll of the Great War, William had been promoted to Lance-Corporal and his next of kin, at the time of his death, are listed as living at 9 Montague Terrace. William is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. It is likely that William Oliver’s name, not Albert Oliver’s, should have been included on Bishopstoke’s Roll of Honour, however, whatever the reasons, it is not our place to question nor change these decisions.
1917 Private AV Franklin – 1/5th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment. Died 6th September 1915.
Alfred Victor Franklin was a pre-War Territorial who enlisted in “F” Company, 5th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment. The Regiment used the Drill Hall in Leigh Road, Eastleigh, which is now a Youth Centre. This is where Alfred probably enlisted, along with his younger brother John who were both born in Bishopstoke. His parents were living at 20 Guest Road in 1911. Alfred was employed as a cleaner on the railway and his name is included in a book which lists all London & South Western Railway employees who were “Killed in Action or who Died of Wounds or Illness” during the Great War. The Territorial Force, which Alfred and his brother John joined, was raised for home service only, but soon after the outbreak of the War many territorial soldiers were volunteering for overseas service. Together with three other Hampshire Regiment Territorial Battalions, the 1/5th sailed for India on 9th October 1914, each battalion going to a different destination. Alfred’s battalion was stationed at Allahabad where he was killed in an accident on the 6th of September 1915, aged only 20. His brother, also serving in the same Battalion, survived the war. The only information Alfred’s family were given in their grief was that he fell from a balcony. He is buried in Allahabad New Cantonment Cemetery, India.
9670 Private C.H. Walkley – 2nd Battalion, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. Died 1st July 1916.
Charles Henry Walkley lived with his parents at 13 Montague Terrace. Before the beginning of WWI, he enlisted as a regular soldier in the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, serving with the 1st Battalion in China and Hong Kong. He was drafted to the Regiment’s 2nd Battalion, following a brief return to the U.K., when he was stationed at Hursley Park before being sent to France. The 2nd Battalion, Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry supported the 16th and 17th Battalion’s Highland Light Infantry in their attack on a feature in the German front line known as the Leipzig Redoubt, on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. On this day, the 1st of July 1916, Charles Walkley was killed at the age of 33. The British Army suffered horrendous casualties, some 60,000 men were killed, wounded, or missing. It was the highest number of casualties recorded in one day of fighting in a single offensive during WWI. German dominance of No Man’s Land prevented the recovery of the dead and wounded. Charles Walkley is one of more than 72,000 names carved on the Thiepval Memorial in France, to the Missing of the Somme.
2nd Lieutenant E. N Finney – 6th Cyclists Battalion, Prince of Wales’s Leinster Regiment. Died 19th May 1917.
Edwin Newland Finney lived at 78 Hamilton Road with his widowed mother and was a student teacher. He was commissioned into the Prince of Wales’s Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians). He was serving with the 6th Cyclists’ Battalion and died on 19th May 1917, at the age of 22. The details surrounding his death are not clear as his battalion is not known to have been in France at this date. It is probable that he was seconded to another Regiment (Officers’ headstones bear the regiment into which they were commissioned, rather than that with which they were serving when killed). He is buried in the Point-Du-Jour Military Cemetery, Athies, Pas de Calais, which contains the remains of soldiers, from various Regiments, who died in the area between April and July 1917.
37606 Private E.A.J. White – 1/5th Battalion, Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry. Died 13th April 1918.
Edgar Arthur John White was conscripted at the age of 18 and lived at 34 Guest Road with his parents, he was their only son. He was drafted to the 1/5th Battalion, Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry which was the Pioneer Battalion (‘labourers’) of the 62nd (South Midland) Division. By March 1918, manpower prevented the manning of a continuous line of trenches, the front line instead being demarcated by a series of outposts. Defending ground north-west of St Quentin in March 1918, the 62nd Division and many others felt the full force of the ‘Kaisersschlacht’ – the German Army’s final gamble of an all-out assault on 21st March 1918. Driven back, in places as much as 40 miles, Edgar White’s unit found itself southeast of Ypres, where he was fatally wounded. In the prevailing confusion, his grave was lost. Edgar White is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial, Hainaut, Belgium. The Ploegsteert Memorial commemorates more than 11,000 servicemen who died in this sector during WWI and have no known grave. Most of those commemorated by the memorial did not die in major offensives, they were killed in the course of the day-to-day trench warfare, which characterised this part of the line.
J11256 Able Seaman E.A. Cox – Royal Navy. Died 3rd July 1914.
Edward Alfred Cox was the brother of Reginald James Cox, who is also listed on Bishopstoke’s Roll of Honour to the fallen of WWI. Their parents lived in Weavills Farm Lane. Edward was born on the 8th of September 1894 and enrolled in the Royal Navy on the 6th February 1911, at the age of 17. He initially served on H.M.S Impregnable, a wooden hulled training ship, before being assigned to H.M.S. Blenheim, as a Painter Boy for a term of 12 years. On his personal details, it is recorded that on his right arm he had a tattoo of cross hands and a heart figurehead on a white ensign, whilst on his left arm he had a tattoo of a girl’s head. Establishing records for Edward Alfred Cox have been extremely challenging and it is thanks to the help of family members, who still live in Fair Oak, that details have finally emerged. According to the records of the Royal Navy Register of Seaman’s Services, 1900 – 1928, Edward Cox was serving on H.M.S Blenheim, a Blake class cruiser, built in 1890, which had joined the Mediterranean Fleet as a destroyer depot ship in May 1908. The ship was laying at anchor off Marmaris, Turkey on 3rd July 1914 when Edward was killed in a “boat accident”. Technically the declaration of war was not made between the United Kingdom and Germany until 4th August 1914, although the widely believed catalyst to the conflict, the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, had taken place on the 28th June 1914. Whilst the Royal Navy would have been on heightened alert, Edward’s death would not have qualified for his name to be recorded on a service memorial to honour the fallen of WWI. The Bishopstoke Memorial Committee clearly took a more pragmatic view and included his name alongside that of his brother Reginald. Our memorial is the only location where his name is remembered.
8115 Private F. South – 2nd Battalion, Hampshire Regiment. Died 7th August 1915.
Frank South’s parents lived at 13 Guest Road. He had enlisted in the Hampshire Regiment as a Regular soldier in 1908, being drafted to the 2nd Battalion, serving in South Africa before a two-year posting to Mauritius. The Battalion was posted to Bombay in December 1913 and then stationed at Mhow, where it was when war was declared against Germany in August 1914. Having been relieved by the Regiment’s 7th Battalion, the 2nd Battalion returned to England to join the 88th Brigade of the 29th Division (later to be known as the ‘Immortal 29th’) who were destined to land from the converted collier, SS River Clyde, at ‘V’ Beach at Sedd el Bahr, on the Gallipoli Peninsula, on 25th April 1915. Within a fortnight of the landing, three quarters of the Battalion had become casualties. Successive attacks had been made on Turkish positions which culminated in an attack on the village of Krithia on the 6th August. It may well be that Frank was one of the 210 wounded, in addition to the 242 killed and missing in this action. He was evacuated only to die at sea on 7th August 1915 at the age of 24. He is commemorated on the Helles Memorial that stands prominently on the Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey.
352049 Battery Sergeant Major F.W. Hutchinson (MiD) 71st Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery. Died 30th November 1917.
Frederick Hutchinson was a pre-war Territorial who most likely served in No 1 Heavy Battery, Hampshire Royal Garrison Artillery and would have attended training in their Drill Hall, which was in Chamberlayne Road, Eastleigh. Frederick Hutchinson lived with his wife and young son at 29 Church Road, prior to WWI and worked as an electrician for the London and South Western Railway Company. Rising to the rank of Battery Sergeant Major (the senior Non-Commissioned Officer after the Officer of the unit), he served with 71st Heavy Battery, which had gone to France in February 1915. The 20th of November 1917 saw the employment of tanks en-masse, when over 400 machines made spectacular advances in an assault on the Hindenburg Line. The Germans were quick to bring up substantial reserves with which to mount a counterattack and re-took the majority of the ground taken in the initial British assault. Already Mentioned in Dispatches for gallant work, Battery Sergeant Major Hutchinson was killed by German counter-battery shellfire on 30th November 1917, aged 37. He is commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial at Louverval, France. His records show that his wife Gertrude was now living at 57 Church Road at the time of his death. A brass plaque bearing his name, along with the names of fellow villagers, the brothers Albert and Walter Webb, who died serving in Palestine, exists in the old Bishopstoke Reading Rooms in Church Road.
203732 Private F. Dann – 2/4th Battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. Died 28th February 1917.
Frank Dann lived with his parents at 11 Montague Terrace according to the 1911 census and was employed as a blacksmith’s striker, probably with the railway. He was called up and drafted to the ‘Ox and Bucks’ 2/4th Battalion, forming part of 184 Brigade in 61st Division, which had recently taken over a sector of the front line near Ablaincourt, south-west of Peronne, from the French. In the fading light of the afternoon of 28th February 1917 preliminary German artillery fire, thickened by trench mortars and rifle grenades, descended on the trenches of the Battalion. This fire prefaced a strong German raiding party which inflicted considerable casualties of which Frank Dann was one. He died at the age of 32 and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France. This memorial is dedicated to the Missing from the battles of the Somme. His casualty records indicate that he had married. His father and wife Ellen were listed as next of kin.
12370 Private F.H. Pitman – 9th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Died 19th April 1916.
Frank Henry Pitman lived with his parents at 18 Portal Road and volunteered to join the 9th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment in 1914. Frank went with his Battalion to Gallipoli, relieving 29th Division in Cape Helles, in July 1915 and later landing to take part in operations against Sari Bair. Evacuated from Gallipoli in January 1916, the 9th Royal Warwickshire Regiment landed in Mesopotamia, 13th Division being part of the force to relieve the besieged Kut-El-Amara. During these operations, Frank was wounded and died of his wounds on 19th April 1916 at the age of 23. He is commemorated on the Basra Memorial, Iraq.
241607 Private G. Goddard (MM) – 2/5th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment. Died 20th November 1917.
George Goddard lived with his parents at 34 Spring Lane and volunteered to serve. After training, he was drafted to the 2/5th Battalion at Secunderabad in India. The Battalion formed part of 232nd Brigade in the 75th Division, which had been newly formed to reinforce the offensive against the Turks in Palestine. Reaching Suez in early April and after training and instruction from 163 Brigade, they took their place in the line south-west of Gaza at the end of June. D Company of the 2/5th Battalion, remained to support the Hampshire’s 8th (Isle of Wight Rifles) Battalion in what was known as the ‘Beach Post Raid’, which was regarded as the ‘Rifles’ finest trench raid of the war. On the night of 14/15th July 1917, a combined British force, some 200 strong, attacked a Turkish post with great success, killing and capturing over 100 Turks at a cost of one man killed, 2 missing and 10 wounded. Private Goddard assisted the raid commander, Lieutenant Brannon, in trying to bring in a wounded man and, for his part in the raid, George Goddard was awarded the Military Medal. In November, the Gaza – Beersheba line having been broken, the 2/5th Battalion were advancing on Jerusalem when, on the 20th November 1917, D Company sustained several casualties in recovering ground lost by another unit. George Goddard, at the age of 19, was one of these casualties. He is buried in the Jerusalem War Cemetery, Israel.
3/3282 Private H.A. Pragnell – 1st Battalion, Hampshire Regiment. Died 27th April 1915.
Herbert Pragnell volunteered soon after war had been declared in August 1914. His parents lived at 79 Stoke Common Road. He was one of several hundred men drafted to the 1st Battalion, Hampshire Regiment, which by the end of 1914 had been reduced from over 1,000 men to 366 ‘originals’. The 1st Hampshire Regiment had seen action at Le Cateau. They were marched over 200 miles to reach what is now Disneyland Paris and from there marched north to the banks of the River Aisne. Moving to the Ypres sector by train in October 1914, the 1st Battalion had a relatively quiet 6 months in the Ploegsteert area, at the southern end of the Messines Ridge, running due south from Ypres. The use of gas by the Germans on the evening of 22nd April 1915 created a grey-green cloud that drifted across positions held by French Colonial troops, who broke ranks, abandoning their trenches and creating an 8,000-yard (7 km) gap in the allied line. However, the German infantry were also wary of the gas and, lacking reinforcements, failed to exploit the break before the line was reformed. Late on 25th April, the 1st Battalion Hampshire Regiment moved to plug part of the gap, north of the village of Zonnebeke. In the confused fighting of the next two days and under heavy shellfire preceding probing infantry attacks, the Battalion sustained 200 casualties, some buried in churned up ground, (a foretaste of the grimness of the conditions in the autumn of 1917 at the Battle of Passchendaele.) Herbert Pragnell was killed at the age of 23. He was one of some 54,896 names of the Missing who fell in the Ypres Salient before 17th August 1917. He is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium, which is inscribed: To the officers and men who fell in the Ypres Salient, but to whom the fortune of war denied the known and honoured burial given to their comrades.
33444 Private H.J. Pile – 11th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment. Died 30th March 1918.
Henry James Pile (not Pyle as inscribed on our Roll of Honour) was living with his parents at 2 Fair Oak Road in 1911 and working as a farm carter. Volunteering to enlist in the Hampshire Regiment in November 1915, he was drafted to the 11th Battalion, the Pioneer (labour) Battalion of the 16th (Irish) Division. As with many formations, this Division was caught in the ‘Kasiersschlacht’ of 21st March 1918. German troops, released from the Eastern Front, after the Russian Revolution of October 1917, mounted its ‘final throw of the dice’ offensive on the Western Front. With an original strength of some 17,000 men, the Division had been reduced to little more than 1,200 soldiers by the time that Henry Pile lost his life at the age of 27. Henry is commemorated on the Pozières Memorial, Somme, France, to the Missing of the 5th Army who lost their lives in the German Offensive of Spring 1918. According to his military records for next of kin, his parents had moved to 22 Nelson Road by 1918.
7019 Sergeant J.H. Owen (MiD) – 1st Battalion, Norfolk Regiment. Died 25th November 1915.
James Henry Owen was born in Gibraltar where his father, a serving soldier, was stationed with the Royal Artillery, manning one of the fortress’ gun batteries. A Regular Soldier, James Owen’s Battalion had landed at Le Havre in mid-August 1914, as a unit of 15 Brigade of the 5th Division. While not directly seeing any heavy fighting, the 1st Norfolks were in the Retreat from Mons all the way to the outskirts of Paris (to the area that is now Disneyland), before turning north again to reach the Aisne. In 1915, the Battalion had been at Festubert and, later in 1915, the 5th Division was one of five Divisions that arrived to take over the line from the French, north of the River Somme. His Mention in Dispatches had been gazetted on 1st June 1915 and, is likely to be as a result of gallant work at Festubert. His death, at the age of 26, was caused either by random shelling, or as a result of a trench raid that was not entirely successful. As the cemetery where he is buried was by the site of a dressing station, it is probable that he died of wounds. He lays in Citadel New Military Cemetery, south of the village of Fricourt, France. At the time of his death, his mother, Louisa Mason, had re-married, after the death of his father and was living at 31 Church Road.
It is with considerable frustration and disappointment that no records have been found for Joseph Dunn. There are many J. Dunn’s listed on WWI Forces War Records, but none can be attributed to a J. Dunn with connections to Bishopstoke. There was a Dunn family living at 29 St Mary’s Road. According to the 1911 census a son, Arthur James Dunn, was listed in the census data as an army reservist at the age of 17. Once again, there does not appear to be a record of his military service either, although it seems highly probable that he would have been called to duty. The records for Joseph Dunn may one day be found. Until then, he will remain our un-known Soldier or Sailor.
44843 Private L. Daventry Greenway – 116th Company, Machine Gun Corps. Died 3rd September 1916.
There is an ambiguity about Lionel Greenway who is listed on Bishopstoke War Memorial as Lionel Daventry. According to census data for 1911, he was living at 4 Stoke Common Road with his parents. Military records indicate that he was also known as Lionel Greenway. He originally joined the South Staffordshire Regiment in June 1915. As his father had been born in Birmingham, it is possible that he may have had family connections with the area or family members in the Regiment. How his name changed, or why this came to be, is not clear. The Machine Gun Corps, in which he later served, worked as advance troops in the front line. It had a less than enviable record for its casualty rate. Some 170,500 officers and men served in the Machine Gun Corps, with 62,049 becoming casualties, including 12,498 killed, earning it the nickname ‘the Suicide Club’. On the 3rd of September 1916, at 5.10 am, a long range machine gun barrage inflicted many casualties on German soldiers who stood up on their parapet to fire on the advancing men as they attacked towards Beaucourt Station, north of the railway running along the Ancre Valley. Retribution was not long in coming and Lionel Greenway was to lose his life in the subsequent fighting at the age of 18. He is buried in Hamel Military Cemetery, Somme, France, a few hundred yards from where he fell.
SD/4884 Private R. Divall – 11th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment. Died 6th December 1917.
The reason for the inclusion of Reginald Divall in Bishopstoke’s Roll of Honour to those who served and died during WWI is, some 100 years later, not entirely clear although it must be accepted that it made perfect sense at the time.
Reginald was the son of Leonard and Hannah Divall of Coleman’s Hatch, East Sussex and, in 1911, he was working in service as a gardener near Hartfield. In early 1916, he married Sarah Carpenter in East Grinstead. Sarah’s family home was 1 St Margaret’s Road, Bishopstoke and she was employed as a parlour maid. It is believed that she was employed in service in Sussex, probably on the same estate as her future husband which would explain how they met. Reginald and Sarah married shortly before Reginald’s Regiment, the 11th Royal Sussex, along with the 12th and 13th Royal Sussex and 14th Hampshire Regiments formed the 116 (Southdown) Brigade of 39th Division which arrived in Le Havre during March 1916. The Division moved to the Aubers Ridge area. Private Reginald Divall survived the fighting on both sides of the Ancre Valley in September and October 1916. He also survived the fighting at Passchendaele. It is likely that he was killed by shelling in the Wieltje area, north-east of Ypres, in December 1916, at the age of 26. He is buried in White House Cemetery, St Jean-Les-Ypres, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. His wife Sarah’s death was recorded, in Winchester, a year later in the Autumn of 1918. It is probable that her father asked that Reginald be honoured on Bishopstoke’s Memorial as his son-in law.
J/23116 Able Seaman R.J. Cox – Royal Navy. Died 31st May 1916.
Reginald James Cox was the son of John and Agnes Cox who lived in Weavills Farm Lane and before the outbreak of war he worked for Hann’s Dairy in Eastleigh. On joining the Royal Navy, he was drafted to the Battle Cruiser H.M.S. Queen Mary. His ship put to sea with the Battle Cruiser Squadron, commanded by Admiral Beatty, on 30th May 1916 to intercept the German High Sea Fleet, which had been reported to be in the North Sea. In the afternoon of the 31st of May, the two naval forces met and at 15.50 the Queen Mary opened fire on S.M.S. Seydlitz. In the gunnery duel that ensued, the German’s shooting was the more effective, 40 minutes after the engagement started the Queen Mary was wracked by explosions and sank with the loss of 1,266 hands, including Reginald Cox who died at the age of 20. There were only 18 survivors. Able Seaman Reginald James Cox is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, which stands on Southsea Common.
7546 Lance Sergeant S.F. Van – 2nd Battalion, Essex Regiment. Died 13th May 1915.
Stephen Frederick Van and his family were originally from Grays, Essex. They had moved to Bishopstoke and ran a Sweet Shop at 1 Hamilton Road, on the corner with Spring Lane. Stephen volunteered on 4th August 1914 and joined the 2nd Battalion, Essex Regiment in 12 Brigade, 4th Division. He was almost immediately drafted to France where he took part in much of the early fighting, including the Battle of and Retreat from Mons, where he rendered excellent service and was promoted to Lance-Sergeant. Stephen’s war had very much followed that of his fellow villager, Harry Pragnell (who is mentioned earlier), serving in 11 Brigade of the same Division. Stephen Van was killed in action on 13th May 1915, aged 30. His name is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium. This memorial is dedicated to the men missing in action. Every night at 8 pm, traffic is stopped at the Menin Gate, as a mark of respect, while members of the local Fire Brigade sound the Last Post under the Memorial’s arches.
PO/12402 Private S.J. Jordan – Royal Marine Light Infantry. Died 18th October 1916.
Samuel J. Jordan – lived with his parents in Middle Street in 1891. By 1911, he was married and serving on HMS Surprise in Portland, Dorset. He served as Private in the Royal Marine Light Infantry aboard S.S. Deventia. He died on 18th October 1916, of illness in Winchester, aged 32. He is buried in Eastleigh Cemetery.
S/9537 Rifleman S.F. Osborn – 2nd Battalion, Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort’s Own). Died 28th June 1916.
Sidney Frank Osborn was born in Lymington, Hampshire. By 1911, he was employed as a ship’s cook in the Merchant Navy, married, with a wife and family living at 143 Market Street, Eastleigh. They later moved to Spring Lane. Sidney joined the 2nd Battalion, Rifle Brigade, as a Rifleman. In October 1914, the 8th Division assembled at Hursley Park and landed at Le Havre on 6th November. Sidney’s Battalion, one of the battalions comprising the 25th Brigade saw action at the 1915 battles of Neuve Chapelle and Aubers Ridge. In June 1916, 2nd Rifle Brigade had been transferred to the Somme area in preparation for the ‘Big Push’ that opened on 1st July 1916. Before then Sidney had been wounded, probably by enemy artillery fire, and was evacuated to a casualty clearing station where he died of his wounds on 28th June 1916 at the age of 33. His surname has been miss-spelt on Bishopstoke’s War Memorial. He is buried in Ribemont Communal Cemetery in Aisne, France.
218901 Leading Seaman T.L. Rumney. – Royal Navy. Died 31st May 1916.
Thomas Lancelot Rumney’s parents lived at 16 St Mary’s Road. In 1911, he was an able seaman in the Royal Navy, serving on HMS Achilles. By 1916, Thomas had been promoted to Leading Seaman and was serving in the battleship HMS Black Prince. At the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916, the Grand Fleet joined action with the German High Seas Fleet. After an exchange of fire with the German battleship Rheinland, the Black Prince steamed towards a line of ships thinking it to be British. Too late, the ship was caught in the searchlights of the battleship Thüringen which inflicted severe damage before Black Prince could return fire. With a pack of five other ships closing on her, Black Prince took more hits. She sank within 15 minutes with all hands. Leading Seaman Thomas Lancelot Rumney, died in this action at the age of 29 and is commemorated, as are all those lost in the Battle of Jutland, on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, which stands on Southsea Common.
J/35890 Boy, 1st Class C.A. Poole – Royal Navy. Died 31st May 1916.
The citation on Bishopstoke WWI Roll of Honour relates to a William Poole. There is no census nor military record of William Poole but there is a record of a Charles Alfred Poole, whose parents, James, and Mary Poole lived at 7 Montague Terrace. Charles Poole would have been aged 15 when he signed on as a Boy Seaman. By 1916, he had risen to Boy, 1st Class and was serving in the modern battlecruiser H.M.S. Invincible, which, with her sister ship H.M.S.Inflexible, had avenged the defeat off Coronel by sinking the German Pacific squadron in the Battle of the Falkland Islands in December 1914. In the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916, H.M.S. Invincible acted as Admiral Hood’s Flagship of the 3rd Battlecruiser Squadron with H.M.S’s. Inflexible and Indomitable. The squadron engaged Admiral Hipper’s squadron of S.M.S’s. Lutzow and Derfflinger. However, H.M.S Invincible’s ‘Q’ turret was hit by a 12” shell which penetrated to the mid-ships magazine and blew the ship in half. Boy Poole was not one of the six survivors. Charles Alfred Poole, who died at the age of 17, is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Southsea Common.
31018 Private W.S.L. Jones – 12th (West Somerset Yeomanry) Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry. Died 2nd September 1918.
William Stanley Lloyd Jones’ parents William, and Eliza, are listed as living at 4 St Mary’s Road on his grave registration documents. In 1917 the 74th (Yeomanry) Division was ‘de-horsed’, and its Yeomanry units formed an infantry battalion of its County regiment. Thus was 12th Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry formed. Conscripted in 1917, William Jones probably joined the battalion after it had landed from Gaza in Marseilles on 7th May 1918. He took part in what was known as the Second Battle of the Somme, as the German advances of March 1918 were reversed during the ‘Last Hundred Days’. In action in the Peronne area, he was killed on 2nd September 1918, at the age of 19. His body lies in the Peronne Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme, France.
Signal Bo’sun W. Baker – Royal Navy. Died 31st May 1916.
William Baker is listed on Bishopstoke’s WWI Memorial. Unfortunately, his records are not entirely clear. There are records of Baker families living in Bishopstoke, recorded in the 1911 census, but William is neither listed amongst them, nor are his family details listed on his grave registration information. It is believed that William served on HMS Queen Mary as Signal Boatswain and saw action at the Battle of Jutland in Admiral Beatty’s Battlecruiser Squadron. In a duel with S.M.S. Seydlitz, the Queen Mary hit her opponent several times. With the range closing, Seydlitz’ fire began to take effect. One shell hit forward and detonated at least one of the two forward magazines, the explosion of which broke the ship in two. Of a crew of 1264, William Baker was not among the 18 survivors. He is commemorated on Portsmouth Naval Memorial on Southsea Common.
D/627 Lance Corporal W. Wren – 5th Dragoon Guards (Princess Charlotte of Wales’s). Died 14th May 1915.
William Wren was the son of Mrs E. Wren who lived at 9 Spring Lane. On the Declaration of War against Germany, William Wren was serving with his Regiment in Aldershot, one of three Regiments of the 1st Cavalry Brigade which sailed for France on 16th August 1914. Whilst not directly involved when the British Expeditionary Force met the German Army at Mons on 23rd August 1914, nor at Le Cateau and the subsequent retreat to the River Aisne, on September 5th
1914, William, with the Dragoon Guards, travelled north by train to the Ypres sector and was soon in action, acting as an infantryman, in trenches dug for the defence of the Messines Ridge, south of Ypres. Still without their horses, the 5th Dragoon Guards were ‘holding the firing line’ in May 1915, between Wieljte and the Menin Road, when on the 12th of May, the Regiment was momentarily driven in by the blast of shell, however the 11th Hussars held the line firm. William Wren was wounded at this time, to be evacuated westwards to the rear in the medical chain. He succumbed to his wounds at the age of 27. Lance Corporal William Wren is buried in the Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension, France.
Lieut W. White (MC) – 2nd Battalion, The Bedfordshire Regiment. Died 12th October 1916.
William White was the son of Henry and Alice White who lived at Oakbank. William had joined the 2nd Bedfords in June 1915 after the battalion had seen action at Festubert. Later in 1915, William saw action at Givenchy and at the Battle of Loos. In January 1916, William was given command of A Company. Whilst not involved in the opening stages of the Battle of the Somme on1st July 1916, his company took part in attacks on Trones and Bernafay Woods. A Company’s attack on Maltzhorn Farm was described as a ‘brilliant success’ accounting for at least 80 enemy dead. (While the citation for his Military Cross (MC) has not been found, it is likely that William White was awarded the MC for this action). Towards the end of the Battle of the Somme, 30th Division were attacking the Transloy Ridge. On 12th October, the objective of the 2nd Bedfordshire Regiment was to advance through Grid Trench, but heavy machine gun fire allowed only a small section of Bite trench to be taken. The battalion suffered severely, with 10 officer and 242 other rank casualties. William White was one of five subaltern officers killed that day at the age of 23. He had led his company for ten months. Lieutenant William White MC is buried in Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval, France.
204104 Private W.C. Brown – 1/4th (Territorial) Battalion, Hampshire Regiment. Died 31st March 1917.
According to the census data for 1911, Walter Cornelius Brown lived with his parents at 6 Montague Terrace and worked as a wood machinist in the Carriage Works. Joining the Hampshire Regiment, Walter was probably drafted to India to join one of the several Hampshire Regiment Territorial Battalions, all of which were periodically required to find drafts for the Regiment’s Battalions fighting in Mesopotamia. The 1/4th Battalion suffered some 30% casualties in operations to recapture Kut, before some hard marching to enter Baghdad on 13th March 1917. There the regiment was assigned to undertake uneventful garrison duty. Walter Brown died on 31st March 1917 at the age of 25, either from wounds sustained in earlier fighting or from one of the several diseases prevalent at the time. He is buried in Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery, Iraq.
201507 Private H. Webb – 2/4th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment. Died 28th August 1918.
There are two Harry Webb’s commemorated on the Bishopstoke Memorial to the fallen of WWI and this has been difficult to resolve.
One of the Harry Webb’s is believed to have lived at 102 Hamilton Road in 1911, with his grandfather, whilst working as a Draper’s errand boy. It is believed that this Harry Webb was called up in 1915 and drafted to the 2/4th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment, which had been in India since October 1914. In May 1917, the 2/4th Battalion saw action in Palestine, before sailing for Marseilles, France, in June 1917 to join the 62nd (West Riding) Division with which it fought in the Ardre Valley, west of Epernay, before transferring to the Somme sector, north of Bapaume in mid-August 1918. On 26th August 1918, orders were received for an almost impossible task of a three-mile advance in appalling weather, over unknown ground, to attack a line of trenches near the village of Vraucourt. While the first objective was taken without difficulty, the second objective was more difficult, and six soldiers were killed. Harry Webb was one of the 30 soldiers wounded in this or the following day’s action and he succumbed to his wounds on 28th August 1918, aged 21. He is buried in Gomiecourt South Cemetery (north-west of Bapaume), Pas de Calais, France.
11432 Bombardier H.F. Webb – A Battery, 86th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. Died 25th July 1916.
There was another Harry Webb, killed in action during WWI, who lived at 9 Mill Street, Eastleigh with his parents and worked as a Baker’s errand boy in 1911. The two Webb families may have been related, or the family may have moved to Bishopstoke to live after 1911, it is not certain.
This Harry Webb enlisted in September 1914 as a Gunner in the Royal Field Artillery, which supported infantry units and comprised one of three Batteries of the Field Artillery of 19 (Western) Division. After assembling and training in the Bulford area of Salisbury Plain, the Division arrived in France in July 1915. On the First Day of the Battle of the Somme, 1st July 1916, the Division famously attacked and held the village of La Boiselle, including the ‘Lochnagar Crater’, still much visited to this day. Three weeks later, successive attacks had won further ground and the Division was holding an area near Bazentin Wood, east of the village of Pozières, captured so gallantly by the 1st Australian Division. By this time, Harry had been promoted to Bombardier (the artillery equivalent to an infantry Corporal), only to lose his life at the age of 20, from German counter-battery fire on “A” Battery. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme in France. Of over 72,000 men commemorated, over 90% died between July and November 1916. Harry is one of three men from Bishopstoke to be commemorated at Thiepval.
This concludes the stories of the men who sacrificed their lives and are commemorated on Bishopstoke’s WWI Memorial.
There are others recorded as being from Bishopstoke, who served and died during WWI but, for whatever reasons, their names were not honoured in our village. Whatever the reasons that led to these omissions, it is not our role to undo or change decisions that were made and accepted at the time. Their names and stories are outlined as follows.
331164 Private W.J. Webb – 1/8th (Isle of Wight Rifles) Battalion, Hampshire Regiment. Died 2nd November 1917.
The omission of Walter John Webb from the names on Bishopstoke’s Memorial is difficult to understand. Walter lived with his parents and younger brother Albert at 154 Church Road and, in 1911, was working as a sawmill labourer. Walter and his younger brother, Albert, are commemorated together on a plaque in the old Bishopstoke Reading Rooms in Church Road. Walter and Albert enlisted in the same Battalion, the 1/8th (Isle of Wight Rifles) Hampshire Regiment which fought on the Gallipoli peninsula before seeing action in Palestine, the Turks again being the enemy. In the first phase of what was known as the Third Battle of Gaza, Walter’s Battalion attacked the Turkish defences. On the 2nd of November 1917, at the age of 23, Walter was one of three officers and fifty-one other ranks to be killed in action. Four Officers and one hundred and twenty-three other ranks were also wounded in the same attack. Walter and Albert may not be re-united on Bishopstoke’s Roll of Honour, but they have been re-united in death and are both buried in the Gaza War Cemetery, Palestine.
Sub Lieutenant K.M.G. Campbell – Royal Navy. Died 7th January 1915.
Keith Morehead Gunning Campbell was the son of Major-General Gunning Morehead Campbell, who lived at “Whitehaugh” in Church Road. It is possible that Keith’s parents, whilst living at Bishopstoke at the time of his death, did not consider that Keith had any great connection with the village, which would explain why he has not been commemorated here. Keith’s father had been born in India and Keith was born at Eastney Barracks, Portsmouth, in 1892. Like many children of high ranking serving officers, Keith was a product of a public school education and was educated at Haskell’s School, Folkestone, Suffolk House, Cheltenham, Pelham House, Folkestone, and Dartmouth Royal Naval Colleges, being Chief Cadet Captain at the latter. After his Cadetship, now aged 18, Keith Morehead Gunning Campbell is recorded as serving as a Midshipman in 1911 on the Dreadnought Battleship, H.M.S. St. Vincent. He subsequently joined H.M.S. Cochrane, a Warrior-Class armoured cruiser, which formed one of the escorts on the occasion of the King’s visit to India in 1912. During 1913, he served on H.M.S. Achilles and H.M.S. Albermarle, before joining H.M.S. Lawford in the spring of 1914. He was present at the sinking of the Konigin Louise and the engagement off the Bight of Heligoland on 28th August 1914, which was the first naval engagement of the War. He was appointed to H.M.S. Arrogant on 30th November 1914, for submarine service. As a Sub-Lieutenant he was serving in H.M. Submarine C.31, a C Class boat built by Vickers at Barrow. On 4th January 1915, the boat sailed from Dover to patrol off Zeebrugge, when she is believed to have been hit by a mine. A search by the Destroyers H.M.S. Lurcher and H.M.S. Firedrake and by an aircraft from the R.N.A.S., on 7th January 1915, failed to locate either submarine or survivors, and she was presumed lost. Keith Morehead Gunning Campbell died at the age of 22 and is commemorated on Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Southsea Common. The date of the boat’s loss is recorded in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Register as 7th January. Before his death, Keith had excelled at sport. A fine rugby three-quarter back, he played several times in the Royal Navy and United Services Fifteens.
K/40031(PO) Stoker, 2nd Class F.G. Cawte – Royal Navy. Died 9th February 1917.
Frank George Cawte was the son of William and Mary Cawte from Twyford and the husband of Alice Emily Cawte of Weavills Road. Prior to his death, at the age of 37, Frank was serving in HMS “Victory” which was the name assigned to the Royal Navy Barracks at Portsmouth. During WWI, there was a no repatriation policy for reasons of hygiene and logistics and men who lost their lives during the Great War lay where they fell, so those who are buried in the U.K. are very much in a minority. Frank Cawte is buried in Bishopstoke’s St Mary’s Church Cemetery in Church Road. The grave registration documents relating to Frank Cawte also mention Eastleigh Military Hospital, which was established in April 1915, as a Clearing Hospital. It is possible that Frank was transferred to this facility, in Chamberlayne Road, Eastleigh, to be near his family.
212204 Leading Seaman A.J. Grant – Royal Navy. Died 12th January 1918.
Albert James Grant was the son of Edward and Kate Grant of Southampton and husband of Emily May Grant of 20 Montague Road. At the age of 15, Albert Grant had enlisted in the Royal Navy and in 1901 was serving in the shore establishment, H.M.S. Boscawen, at Portland. Albert was serving aboard H.M.S. Narborough, a modern ‘M’ Class destroyer launched on the 2nd of March 1916, when she ran onto rocks in a thick snowstorm off Hesta, South Ronaldsay, Orkney Islands, on 12th January 1918. Albert died at the age of 33. Of the crew of 189, there was only one survivor. Albert James Grant is commemorated on Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Southsea Common.
J/31229 Able Seaman A.J. Jacobs – Royal Navy. Died 9th July 1917.
Albert Jacobs grave registration documents show that his parents, George and Isabel Jacobs, lived at Crowd Hill, Bishopstoke. This is the address that was written on the 1911 Census by his father, although at that time, Crowd Hill came under the Parish of Twyford. This could explain why Albert was not included on Bishopstoke’s Roll of Honour. Prior to his death at the age of 19, Albert was serving in H.M.S. Vanguard which was a St. Vincent-class dreadnought battleship launched on 22nd February 1909. Throughout her whole career, H.M.S. Vanguard served with the Home and Grand Fleets, and she took part in the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916. Whilst in Scapa Flow, H.M.S. Vanguard on the 9th of July 1917, suffered what has been described as the most catastrophic accidental explosion in the history of the U.K. and one of the worst accidental losses of the Royal Navy. It is thought that an unnoticed stokehold fire had heated cordite, stored against an adjacent bulkhead, which served the two mid-ships gun turrets. Sinking almost immediately, H.M.S. Vanguard took 804 men with her. There were only two survivors. Albert James Jacobs is commemorated on Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Southsea Common.
194403 AB C.J. Collins – Royal Navy. Died 1st November 1914.
Charles James Collins was the son of Charles James and Elizabeth Collins of Horton Heath, which was once part of the Manor of Bishopstoke. His Navy records show Horton Heath, Bishopstoke, as the residence of his next of kin. He had married Harriet May Purslow in 1908 and, in 1911 he was working as a butcher, and living with his in-laws in Woolton, Liverpool with their two-year-old son Sydney. A reservist, recalled to the Colours at the outbreak of war in 1914, Able Seaman Charles Collins was serving in H.M.S. Good Hope, an obsolescent armoured cruiser in company with H.M.S. Monmouth, when the ships were ordered to engage the more modern and heavily armed cruisers, Scharnhorst, and Gneisnau of the German Pacific squadron, off the coast of Chile. Caught against unfavorable light, both British cruisers were sunk, H.M.S Good Hope with all hands. He died at the age of 33 and is commemorated on Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Southsea Common. Charles is also commemorated on Westbourne War Memorial, West Sussex, where his widow was living, having re-married. He is also commemorated on the tablet, dedicated in 2014, to the names of the men of the Parish of Fair Oak and Horton Heath whose names did not appear on the original tablets commemorating the dead of each of the two World Wars. It is understandable, as Horton Heath was no longer part of Bishopstoke, that he was not commemorated here.
In St Mary’s Church, the illuminated manuscript, shown above, lists the names of all those from the village who served their country during WWI, including the men whose names are recorded on our Memorial. The stories and sacrifices of those who survived will probably never be known. This book also notates the names of the fallen with their regiment in which they served and where they fell in battle. I have included the pages for your reference.
This research has been conducted in grateful memory of those from Bishopstoke who gave, or risked, their lives in the service of their country during WWI.
The families of many of the men listed on Bishopstoke’s Roll of Honour were never given the dignity of knowing where their sons or husbands had been buried. Many of the men listed on our memorial have no known grave.
There is one anomaly that intrigues me. Within the illuminated manuscript held in St Mary’s Church, there is a woman entered in the memorial. She is Fanny Cook Q.A.I.M.N.S.R. Her citation reads Sister, Italy. This would be an indication of where she died, yet I have been unable to discover any records of her death. World War I nurses were members of the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service. The Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service replaced the Army Nursing Service (ANS) and the Indian Nursing Service (INS) by royal warrant on the 27 March 1902. They were named in honour of Queen Alexandra. By 1914 there were 297 regular members of the QAIMNS. The main reason that there were few QAIMNS nurses is because of the strict rules in place at the time. Personnel had to be single, aged over 25 years and of a high social status. These restrictions had to be removed when there were so many casualties during WWI. Over 10000 qualified nurses joined the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service Reserve (QAIMNS[R]) which for the first time in the history of the QAIMNS included married women and those of a lower social class. According to the census data from 1911, Fanny Cook would have been an ideal candidate. Aged 40, and single, Fanny was living with her uncle Henry and his family at 74 Church Road, Bishopstoke. Fanny was working as a midwife, so already had medical training. She would have met all of the criteria to join QAIMNS, presumably at the outbreak of hostilities.
There is one other record that I have been privileged to observe and copy which I would like to share with you. It is a handwritten leger that was loaned to me by a Bishopstoke resident, and it is titled London and South Western Railway – Men Killed in Action, or Died of Wounds, Disease etc. (from WWI). It was donated to Eastleigh Museum, but the whereabouts of this document are now unknown. I doubt that there is another copy in existence.
Data from the Summary page listed 476 men from the L.S.W. Railway Workshops at Eastleigh and 129 other railway men from Eastleigh having enlisted during WWI, although they would have been designated as working in a reserved occupation. 52 of these men were killed. Whilst this is only 8.5% of the men from Eastleigh that enlisted, the Eastleigh men accounted for nearly half the men from the Railway Company who were killed during this conflict.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission Archive Online
The National Archives
Additional Material: Joan Simmonds, Stan Roberts, Sue Toher, Graham Rogers, Reverend Richard Wise, Peter Hickman, Ian Taylor, Jane King, Melvin Hellard.