The Battle of the Somme

100 years ago Field Marshall Haig determined on  great offensive that would push the Germans back from their positions. Bombardment of the German lines began on June 26th and continued for five days and then on July 1st, on the assumption that the Germans had suffered heavy casualties, Haig ordered the assault be the infantry and waves of men were sent over the top.

Unfortunately the assumption that the Germans would have wilted under the bombardment proved to be without foundation. The germans had dug trenches 15 metres deep and reinforced their positions with concrete. The five day bombardment had been wasteful and achieved nothing. This was as nothing compared to the waste of life on July 1st. The advancing British troops were literally mown down by German machine gunners. The losses were devastating. The Middlesex regiment, for example, sent out 740 men and lost 622 in the first 10 minutes. This information did not get back to headquarters in time and a second wave of men was sent out even as it was obvious that they would die in this carnage. 20,000 British soldiers lost their lives on that first day and a further 40000 were wounded. Even more astonishing as we read about it 100 years later was that Haig refused to listen to reports that the offensive was not successful and repeated the same tactics on July 2nd.

The fighting continued, albeit with more realistic caution by the generals. The battle continued for the month with virtually no change of positions but with massive loss of life. Some local men were involved in this battle and here are some reports at first hand from that terrible month.

Regarding their youngest son, 26 year old Sapper Albert Edward Sanders, Royal Engineers, Mr. and Mrs. C. Sanders, of 39, Oxford Street, Wolverton, have received the following letter from Captain F. A. Neill, Royal Engineers;
“I am deeply grieved to have to inform you that your son, Sapper A. E. Sanders, was killed in action on Monday night. Along with a section, he was engaged in wiring a trench captured from the enemy, when he was killed instantaneously by a shell which at the same time wounded two of his comrades. I had known your son 18 months, and during that time had many opportunities of learning his splendid capabilities. I feel that any sympathy I can offer you is so very small in comparison with your great loss, but I am sure you will find a great amount of consolation in that he died serving his King and country and doing his duty bravely and well. In him we have lost a good comrade. Will you please accept from all the officers and men of this company our deepest sympathy”
(Sapper Sanders was killed on Monday, July 3rd, 1916, and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.) W.E. 1916 July 14th
§ Rifleman Thomas Nichols, of the London Rifles, was wounded in the right arm by a shell on the opening day of the advance, and is now in a Canadian Hospital in France. He is the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. H. Nichols, 37, Church Street, Wolverton, to whom he writes that he had to crawl back to camp under cover of darkness, hiding in a shell hole up to his knees in water. He was at one time Secretary of the Wolverton Hockey Club, and when he left for South America the members presented him with a cigarette case. However, after the outbreak of war he left his responsible post on the Central Argentine Railway, and returned home to enlist. W.E. 1916 July 14th
§ Mr. Edward North, of Green Lane, Wolverton, has received a letter from his son, Private T. North, of the 6th Battalion, Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment, stating that in the charge at Fricourt, on July 3rd, he was wounded in the muscle of his left arm, and is now in Middlesex War Hospital. W.E. 1916 July 14th
§ Mrs. W. Morgan, of Wolverton, has received a letter from her husband, Company Sergeant Major W. Morgan, 2nd Battalion, Leinsters, stating that he was wounded in the back by shrapnel on July 6th, and is now in hospital. He has undergone his operation and is progressing favourably, the piece of shell having been extracted. A regular soldier, he has served nine years in the 2nd Leinsters, and was previously wounded at St.Eloi, in February 1915. W.E. 1916 July 14th
On Tuesday morning an intimation was received by Mrs. Young, a widow, that her son, Private John Young, King’s Royal Rifles, was missing. The information stated that he had been selected as one of a party to raid the German trenches, and that he had not returned. On Wednesday morning Mrs. Young then received the following letter, signed by Privates J. George and J. Sable;
“I am very sorry to have to inform you that your son Jack has been reported missing. He was one of a raiding party that raided the enemy’s lines on the 2nd July. I express the hope that the worst has not befallen him, and that he may be a prisoner, as some of his comrades are also reported missing, and we are all hoping that news will be received of them. Should this hope fail I would like to offer you my sincere sympathy. Jack was a son to be proud of and was well liked by all his comrades, and should he have fallen he died doing his duty to his country and those at home, like a true Englishman.”
Before the war, Private Young had been a member of the Church Lads’ Brigade at Wolverton. W.E. 1916 July 14th
§ Lance Corporal Arthur Stephenson, of the Oxon and Bucks Light Infantry, writes home to his mother, who lives in Windsor Street, Wolverton;
“I have had the misfortune to get wounded. It was only slight, and am very thankful, as it hit my head. I was on sentry at the time, and saw this German myself, and could easily have shot him. Up to now I have always given a German a sporting chance and remember many a time instead of throwing a bomb I have thrown a lump of chalk just to give a reminder that he could be hit. From now on I don’t care who and where it is if at any time I come across them they will be picking daisies up instead of drinking Lager beer in Berlin. I am all right and perhaps shall have rejoined my regiment by the time this reaches you. It was a near thing, but I don’t want you to worry, as I am quite well and only waiting to go out of the rest camp, which is not far from the firing line. I have had the luck to have new potatoes, cabbage, and roast meat for dinner, and am thinking I would like another scratch just to get a dinner like it again. It is a good bit of news I am letting you know – that your humble has been recommended for the Military Medal; four out of my Company counting myself. It might not go through, but am hoping it will as I deserve one and a rest after 23 months’ fighting and not scrounging, as many are doing at the present time.” W.E. 1916 July 21st
Lance Corporal A. Fincher, 2nd Bucks Battalion, was killed in action on July 19th. Aged 19, he was the third son of Mr. and Mrs. F. Fincher, of 43, High Street, Stantonbury, to whom Second Lieutenant Floyd writes;
It is with feelings of deepest regret that I write to inform you of the death of your son, No. 1477, Corpl. A.O. Fincher. He was killed on the night of the 19th inst., whilst in charge of a machine gun section, and will be missed very much, as he was a general favourite, and a very efficient N.C.O. He was in my platoon and I considered him to be one of my best N.C.O.s. Again tendering you my sincere sympathy.”
Two brothers are in the Forces. One was wounded a while ago in France, and the other is at Salonica. W.E. 1916 July 28th
Private Frederick Thomas Willis, of the Bucks Battalion, Oxon and Bucks Light Infantry, was killed in France during a heroic and desperate bayonet charge against the Germans on the night of July 19th. In a letter to the bereaved mother, 2nd Lieutenant J. R. Floyd writes;
“It is with feelings of deepest regret that I write to inform you that your son was killed in action on the night of the 19th inst. He was a very reliable and efficient soldier, never complaining if there was any hard work to do or if everything was not quite as it might have been. He was in my platoon, and I shall miss him very much. Again asking you to accept my sympathy, yours sincerely, J. R. Floyd, 2nd Lieut.”
Twenty three years of age, the late Private Willis had enlisted last November 11th and went with his regiment to France nine weeks ago. Before volunteering, he had been employed as a body maker in the Wolverton Carriage Works and being a man of exemplary character, he was well known and greatly respected in Hanslope. A devoted church worker, and a prominent member of the local branch of the Church of England Temperance Society, he was also a member of the band of church bellringers. B.S. 1916 July 29th
§ Mrs. Phillips, of 128, Windsor Street, Wolverton, has received a notification that her son, Private C. Phillips, has been severely wounded in the left leg and lower jaw, and is now in the 37th Casualty Clearing Station. Writing to his mother he says;
“I have been wounded, being hit between knee and thigh in about ten places. It is a nasty leg and done up in irons. I also got a piece in my jaw to make it worse, but still keep never minding.” W.E. 1916 July 28th (Charlie Phillips was a regular sight around Wolverton in the 1940s and 50s. He was postman and although he had a wooden leg, as a consequence of the above injuries, he gamely did his daily rounds. He also used a tricycle with a fixed wheel so that he could pedal with one leg.)
Regarding her eldest son, Private S. Bissell, of the Royal Warwicks, Mrs. S. Bissell, of 23, St. Giles Street, Stantonbury, has received the following letter from Private Arthur W. Jencock, of the same regiment;
“As Sam and I promised each other to write home if either of us got hit, it is my very painful duty to tell you that he got killed in action on Monday, July 17th. He was shot through the head by a sniper and died instantly, and we buried him behind our trench at night. I hardly know how to express my great sympathy with you, nor to tell you how greatly I miss him, as we have been the best of pals since we first came to France. He died as he lived, cheerful and playing the game. I am sorry I cannot tell you more, so will close – again expressing my greatest sympathy with you.”

Aged 23, Private Bissell had been in the Bucks Territorials for four years, and on rejoining was sent up from base with the Warwicks.  W.E. 1916 Aug. 4th

Football on the Front

A lot of Wolverton men ended up in Salonica in October 1915, where, after the initial failed assault on Gallipoli, there was little action. Here is an account of a football match played there 100 years before the present European Cup. The teams included some useful players: lewis a former Watford FC goalkeeper and Laddie Brown from Cosgrove, who was an exceptional young talent.

Private Frank Williams, of “D” Co., 7th Oxon and Bucks Light Infantry at Salonica, sends the following letter to the editor;
“A very interesting football match took place last Friday, March 24, in the vicinity of Salonica between two Companies of the 7th Oxford and Bucks. L.I., who are now doing active service in Greece, the two Companies being ‘D’ Co, and the Headquarters Company. This match was played after the Tommies had had a hard days work with the pick and the shovel, kicking off at 5.30 with an Aegean breeze. ‘D’ Co, won the toss, and the Headquarters kicked off before a fair crowd, consisting of British and French troops. After a little even play the Headquarters were having all the game in their favour, and with a little excitement, Tolley, of the Headquarters, only just missed scoring. The Headquarters, only the sea breeze in their favour, were well over their opponents. Sherwood, at centre half, was showing his Northants. League form for the Headquarters, but was unable to find Lewis, the old Watford goalie weak, and as the whistle blew half-time it was no score. During the next half play was very even. E. Bennett, of the Headquarters, was very consistent at left half, but as the crowd emerged from the ground A. J. Ross placed the ball well in the goal mouth, and after a very excitable time, Laddie Brown scored the only goal of the match. Thus ‘D’ Company won by 1 goal to nil. Look out for further accounts of other matches later on. Hoping you are in the best of health, as it leaves me top hole. We are having extraordinary hot weather.”
Private Williams is the son of Mr. W. H. W. Williams, of Green Lane, Wolverton. W.E. 1916 Apr. 14th

Unfortunately, Laddie Brown had only a few months to live as he was killed in action on August 19th 1916.

Aged 31, Lance Corporal William “Laddie” Brown, 7th Battalion, Oxon and Bucks Light Infantry, was killed in action on Saturday, August 19th. A native of Cosgrove, he had been a keen sportsman, and some years ago played some ‘sterling games’ for the Cosgrove and Wolverton football clubs. His parents, William and Margaret Brown, of 62, Peel Road, Wolverton, have now received the following letter;

“Dear Mrs. Brown. – It is with feelings of heartfelt sympathy and deepest regret that I write to tell you of the death of your ever brave and cheerful son ‘Laddie’ (he was known as ‘Laddie’ throughout the whole battalion and was immensely popular). On the night of the capture of Horseshoe Hill, your son went with me and the rest of the left-half company through an intense barrage of shrapnel and high explosives which the Bulgarian batteries were sending over. We were carrying tools so that we could get ‘dug in.’ We managed to get there and had to dig in solid rock. Everything seemed hopeless, but ‘Laddie’ and the rest of the boys stuck it, even though we were being shelled all the time and were without water or rations. On the afternoon of the 18th Captain Martin, Mr. Steele and myself were discussing how we were going to hold the position in the event of the counter attack being made, and your son was less than three yards away on our left. Suddenly an immense 3.4 high explosive shell burst about 15 yards to our left, and your brave boy was hit in the abdomen and in the leg. He rolled over and fell at my feet, and gasped,”Oh! I am bleeding to death.” We tried our best but, Mrs. Brown, it was a hopeless case and your gallant boy died in twenty seconds. His death unnerved the rest of the platoon as he was such a favourite amongst us all, and took from me bits of the best of good fellows (sic). The Oxfords, who got through, have lived through absolute hell, as we were exposed to frontal fire, enfilade fire from both flanks and defilade fire from our left flank by the Bulgarian batteries, which were absolutely raining shrapnel and high explosives on to us. Some of the high explosive shells were ??, and never will I be able to realise how the fellows got through that barrage of fire, how they escaped casualties in repelling two counter attacks made by 600 Bulgars, and how any of us got out of that hell-spot alive. I have other letters to write to the relatives of my wounded men, so I will conclude after once more expressing my deepest regret. I am, yours very sincerely, A.P. Boor, Lieut., O.C. 15th Platoon. “D” Co.”
The deepest sympathy is extended in the village to the bereaved parents, who lost another son, Private Joseph Brown, at the battle of Hooge nearly 12 months ago.
(Private William Brown is buried in Karasouli Military Cemetery, Greece.) W.E. 1916 Sep. 22nd 

Some experienced soldiers meet their end

Two years int the Great War, men and resources were being used up. Two New Bradwell men, both of whom had done military service before 1914, sadly died in April and May 1916. 
Louis Kent had fought as a professional soldier in India on what was then known as the North West frontier. Frank Bowles had served in the Boer War in South Africa. Both men were in their early thirties and were called up as reservists at the outbreak of war in 1914.  The two reports below come from the Bucks Standard.

The youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. Simon Kent, of 31, High Street, Stantonbury, was killed in action on April 5th. He was 34 year old Corporal Louis Victor Kent, of the 1st Royal Warwickshire Regiment, who, having always been interested in soldiering, was in his younger days a member of the Bucks Volunteer Corps. In fact in 1900, at the camp at Sandgate he had rescued a comrade from drowning, and in recognition of his bravery received the vellum of the Royal Humane Society. Subsequently he joined the regular Army, and in 1908 received the Indian North-West Frontier medal. After 16 years service he then left the Army, being presented by General Gatacre on his departure with a framed emblem of the Warwickshires. He then passed the necessary exams for the post of army schoolmaster, having a short time before received a first-class certificate for education. At the outbreak of war he was called up on the Reserve, and in the early days of hostilities took part in much hard fighting in France. At Neuve Chapelle he was wounded in the thigh, and was later drafted with the Indian Expeditionary Force. He leaves a widow (the eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Cornhill, of Oxford-street, Wolverton, and formerly of Newport Pagnell) and two little girls. B.S. 1916 May 13th

With full military honours, Private Frank Bowles, of the 2nd East Kent Regiment (The Buffs), who died on the 15th inst. in a London hospital, from wounds received in action, was buried in Wolverton Cemetery on Saturday afternoon last. Aged 33, prior to the war Private Bowles lived with his wife at Stantonbury, where he was much respected. In civilian life he was employed in the electric shop of Wolverton Works, and being called up as a reservist at the outbreak of war, he saw a good deal of hard fighting in France and Flanders. He leaves a widow and two young children. B.S. 1916 May 27th


WWI Soldiers from McCrquodales

Recently I became aware of a book that had been prepared and printed by McCorquodales to commemorate their former workers who served in the 1914 – 1918 war.

This copy, which is by now extremely rare, was salvaged from a skip by a New Bradwell history teacher, Tanya Kenny, at the time that McCorquodales was being demolished. Tanya has agreed to share this with a wider audience and I asked Steve Clarridge to photograph the book. Here are photographs from the Wolverton section.

The men range in age from the very young to men like Edward Beard who enlisted in August 1914 in his mid-thirties and saw almost four years of action before meeting his end in 1918.

Names and details are included with each photograph.

The Opening Days of War

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the first hostilities of what was sometimes called the Great War and now generally known as the First World War. Over the following days the media and various military historians will explain how the world got itself into this mess, but here, reported in the Wolverton Express 1914 Aug. 28th, was one account (anonymous, as no name was given in the paper0 of how a group of holidaymakers found themselves more-or-less stranded at the outbreak of war.
“We started on Thursday, July 30th, a party of ten, from Charing Cross railway station, to join a conducted tour under the auspices of the London Polytechnic, through beautiful Italy. Nothing eventful happened on our outward journey, and it never really dawned upon one of our number of the adventurous journey we should experience before we placed foot again on English soil. 
Our first stopping place was Lucerne, a city well known to tourists in Switzerland. After a short stay we left Lucerne on Saturday with a total party of 40, passing through the Bale customs all right. 
Arriving at Genoa on the north-west coast of Italy, we spent one day sight-seeing, continuing the next day to the famous city of Rome. The first news of the war cloud threatening Europe was made known to us when in this Roman city. The news came with startling effect upon our party and caused great anxiety, especially by the fact that the way we had come was now closed to us for the return journey. Following this news came a telegram advising us to economize, warning all tourists not to spend any money, as it would probably be a long time hence before they could leave the Italian capital. 
We at once commenced to cut our expenses, to such an extent that our midday meal consisted of a penny glass of soda, two bananas, and one apple, which was not a sumptuous repast. The next day came further startling communications, the British Consul announcing that Britain had declared war on Germany. The party, realising to the full extent the nature of the situation, immediately sought to get their credit notes etc., cashed, but a disappointment here awaited them, as every bank had closed its doors. An English sovereign fell from 25 to 20 francs – thus we lost nearly 4/2 in the £. Our party included Americans and Australians, and everyone rushed to their respective ambassadors and consuls to seek advice. All were eager to leave Rome, and all advice was angled for in order to make our departure. 
When we arrived at the British Consul’s Building we were plainly given to understand that we could not leave the country, neither could we have any money sent to us as all telegraphic communication was held by the military. Upon the return to the hotel where we were staying, our guide called a meeting and read a telegram from the headquarters instructing him to take no responsibilities, but let the party decide if it would remain in Rome or continue the tour. After some deliberation we ultimately decided to remain for a week. This period we spent in visiting the various sights of the famous city. By the end of the week the party, one by one, began to be affected by the heat and the rumours of the war which were broadcast. 
It was then decided to go on to Venice, the ‘Queen of the Adriatic.’ Two days were spent here, when the party heard of a possibility of getting to Lucerne via Chiasso (a town on the Italian and Swiss frontier), which was a rather out of the way route. So with this news in mind we were a little relieved of our anxiety, and started next morning with light hearts on our journey. Arriving at Chiasso about mid-day, we passed the customs officials all right. But here we received a severe check by the train on which they were travelling being commandeered by the military, and the news that we could not proceed any further. At this point our guide ceased to have anything to do with the party, so we split up into small parties, and our party, whose adventures are being related, consisted of eight. After putting up at a hotel for dinner, we went to Como, a lake city in the north of Italy, by tram. At this place we had news of an early train departing the following morning at 5 o’clock, for Lucerne. The journey would take 14 hours’ travelling where under ordinary circumstances it would occupy about six hours. 
Everybody was up next morning without knocking, and we caught the train, arriving at Lucerne about 7p.m. This was Saturday, and we were now three days over our time. No news reached us from the British Government as to our train. (The train referred to here is the special train chartered by the Government for the benefit of all British tourists.) At Lucerne we found a British Committee set up for the purpose of taking names of British subjects and to give any advice which was required. Our party consisted of a Scotch gentleman and his two sisters, a gentleman and his wife, and myself and two sisters, and we all went to seek advice. Here we received another check by being informed that on no account could we leave Lucerne. Determined to do our utmost to continue our journey home, we went for fresh advice to the Consul, who gave us our passports. We visited Cook’s Tourists’ Office, enquiring relative to a train. We were given to understand that there was one departing for Geneva next morning. Whether it would get there or not they could not state. However, we took our tickets for Geneva, which is direct west of Lucerne, practically on the Swiss and French frontier. Geneva was our first stopping place on our way to Paris. 
Strange to relate, when we arrived at the Railway Station at 5a.m., we found two or three of the British Committee, a man from Cook’s, and the representative from the Polytechnic, who had all advised us to stay in Lucerne and yet they all seemed eager to take their departure! All went well until we reached Bellegarde, where we again had the ordeal of the rather inquisitorial attention of the customs, which we passed again all right. Immediately we had reseated ourselves for the continuation of our journey we met another of our small parties from Lucerne who had travelled all night. After about nine hours’ travelling we arrived at Embericu, where we were ordered out of the train and instructed to take our luggage outside the station, where we remained for four hours. 
During this time the train was utilised for the conveyance of wounded who were brought in. Most of the unfortunate fellows seemed to have been shot in the legs and arms. When this work was finished we were allowed to entrain, and our journey was comfortably resumed as far as the ancient town of Dijon in the east of France, arriving at 9p.m. Here again we had to change. 
Things now took an exciting turn. Everybody was determined to get home, and in many cases our fellow travellers apparently forgot the phrase of “Ladies first.” This was seen at the arrival of the next train, when a mad rush was made for the accommodation. Two of our ladies and a gentleman were knocked down. We decided to wait for the next, which came along at 2a.m., and which took us safely to Paris after a journey occupying 30 hours and changing about eight times. 
We stayed in Paris for the night, but Paris was not the Paris we were used to. All theatres and shops were closed, and cafes were ordered to be closed at 8p.m. At Paris we paid our first penny to the War Fund which was paid on the hotel bill as a penny “extra.” It had been decided upon in Paris to charge the extra penny for the War Fund on all hotel bills and theatres. We left Paris next morning at 6 o’clock, arriving at Boulogne safely and crossing between two rows of battleships to Folkestone, relieved to a certain extent from all war rumours and anxiety. The ladies of our party have decided to stop in England for some time to come after these adventures. The nearest we got to the war zone was Belfort station. (Belfort is a fortified town in the east of France on the German frontier.) The fight was some 17 miles away, and being so close, the party was made to detrain and go by a loop line about 12 miles out of our way.”

Wolverton Works in WW I

While some railwaymen were off fighting the railway companies played a key role in the war effort. At the war’s outbreak the Government invoked the Regulation of Forces Act of 1871 and effectively nationalized the 120 railways companies, and managed them as a single system under a Railways Executive Committee. The railways were commandeered for troop transport, evacuation and the shipping of war materials. The constructon of new locomotive, carriages and wagons was reduced to a bare minimum and the spare capacity was used to  manufacture munitions and machinery.


In Wolverton’s case the war production was itemised:

368 vehicles for ambulance trains

one train of 17 vehicles for Military HQ

400 20 ton goods wagons and 40 35-ton trolleys were built for war purposes

1350 general service road vehicles were built

50 packing cases for aeroplanes (I wonder what purpose these served?)

2550 ambulance stretchers

4,000,000 munitions parts

676,000 18 pounder catrridge cases were repaired

48,000 18 pounder shells were painted



This also changed the workforce in significant ways. Older men came out of retirement to replace the younger men who went to war and women were allowed to enter  work areas hitherto populated only by men.


I have a photograph of the accounts staff from about 1910 with not a woman in sight. 





The railways were also a casualty of war. The four years spent supporting the war effort meant that little heed was paid to replenishing locomotives and rolling stock and after the war they were all confronted with a huge demand for capital investment. Unfortunately the government chose to be stingy about compensation and the railway companies were really hurting in the 1920s. The solution they came up with was to “group” the railway companies into four reginal companies. Thus the London Midland and Scottish Railway was born in 1924 and Wolverton found itself part of this. Unfortunately, by 1939, when the companies were just beginning to recover there was another war and the railways were expected to respond in the same manner as the first and were treated just as abysmally after 1945. Nationalisation in 1948 was almost a relief, although it was not a solution.







Citation for Gallantry 1914-18

Following on from yesterday here is the detail for those railwaymen who were awarded medals during this war. The descriptions tell some remarkable stories. Take these two instances, from what I assume was the Battle of the Somme, which alone accounted for 1.5 million casualties:

2405. Sjt H. C. Baker (Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry). For conspicuous gallantry during a bombing attack when he went forward alone and reconnoitred the position under heavy shell fire and, returning, led up his section driving off the enemy and consolidating the position which he held for two hours until assistance arrived. (16-11-1916).

2244. Cpl W.G.Barnwell (Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry). 

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during operations. The enemy were seen massing for a counter-attack, but Corporal Barnwell, though wounded, moved his machine-gun out in front of the captured trench and opened fire with such effect that he was largely responsible for the enemy’s retreat. (21-11-1916). 

LNWR WW1 GALLANTRY AWARDS WOLVERTON MEN
NAME
Grade
Gallantry Awards
Citation
Notes
MASON, C. L.
Assistant to Carriage Superintendent
Military Cross
Died of wounds 24th August,
SMITH, F. W.
Cleaner, Carriage Department
Military Cross
1916
703. Pte P. Austin 2nd S.Mid Mtd Bde.
Transport and Supply Colm, A.S.c.
(T.F) LG 27th July 1916. For
conspicuous bravery and devotion to
duty when assisting his officers in
Distinguished
dressing and carrying out of action
Conduct
under heavy rifle fire several wounded
AUSTIN, P.
Clerk, Carriage Department
Medal
men
2405. Sjt H. C. Baker (Oxfordshire &
Buckinghamshire Light Infantry). For
conspicuous gallantry during a
bombing attack when he went forward
alone and reconnoitred the position
under heavy shell fire and, returning,
led up his section driving off the enemy
and consolidating the position which he
held for two hours until assistance
BAKER, H. C.
Finisher, Carriage Department
Distinguished Conduct Medal
arrived. (16-11-1916).
2244. Cpl W.G.Barnwell (Oxfordshire
& Buckinghamshire Light Infantry).
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion
to duty during operations. The enemy
were seen massing for a counter-attack,
but Corporal Barnwell, though
wounded, moved his machine-gun out
Distinguished Conduct Medal.
in front of the captured trench and
Also awarded the Military Medal
opened fire with such effect that he was
and the Russian Medal of
largely responsible for the enemy’s
BARNWELL, W. G.
Body-maker, Carriage Department
St.George, 2nd Class
retreat. (21-11-1916).


265193. Cpl A Brawn (Oxfordshire &
Buckinghamshire Light Infantry). For
conspicuous gallantry and devotion to
duty. A party of the enemy had
advanced and occupied a position close
to his post. He at once left his post with
his bombers and with great gallantry
attacked and dispersed a superior force.
BRAWN, A
Rubber, Carriage Department
Distinguished Conduct Medal
(18-7-1917)
13880. Sjt S. J. Clarke. Wiltshire
Regiment, 7th Battalion (Bletchley). He
was Acting C.S.M of the left leading
company during the attack on the Foret
de Marmol on the 4th November 1918.
When all the officers of his company
became casualties he took command of
the company and led them most
gallantly to the final objective where he
superintended the consolidation and
continued in command until an officer
was sent forward from the reserve
company to assume command. His
initiative and resource at the critical
moment ensured the success of the
CLARKE, S. J.
Labourer, Carriage Department
Distinguished Conduct Medal
operation. (2-12-1919).
1208. L/Cpl (1st Btn Oxfordshire &
Buckinghamshire Light Infantry TF).
For consistent good work on patrol
duty for the past six months. (11-03-
GOSTELOW, G.
Apprentice Fitter, Carriage Department
Distinguished Conduct Medal
1916).


49308. Sjt G. C. Hill. R.E (LG 20th
Oct, 1916). For conspicuous and
consistent gallantry during operations.
He has over and over again shown great
bravery when in charge of working
parties under heavy fire. He took out
Distinguished Conduct Medal.
his section on ten consecutive nights,
Also awarded the Military Medal
and did fine work under heavy fire,
and the Russian Medal of
though suffering very heavy casualties.
HILL, G. C.
Finisher, Carriage Department
St. George , 1st Class
He was finally wounded himself.
265610. Sjt T. P. Hopcroft
(Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light
Infantry). For conspicuous gallantry
and devotion to duty. He led his men in
the most gallant manner and succeeded
in capturing an enemy machine gun.
HOPCROFT, T. P.
Coachmaker, Carriage Department
Distinguished Conduct Medal
(18-06-1917).
265539. Sjt H. J. Hurst (Oxfordshire &
Buckinghamshire Light Infantry)
Wolverton. For conspicuous gallantry
and devotion to duty in attack. He was
in command of a platoon and, though
wounded, he continued to lead them
gained his objective and consolidated
the position. He then made untiring
efforts to bring in the wounded, and
saved the lives of an officer and several
men. He inspired all his men by his
HURST, H. J.
Coachmaker, Carriage Department
Distinguished Conduct Medal
energy and leadership. (26-1-1918).


20056. Pte E. H. Owen 6th Btn
Northamptonshire Regiment.
(L.Edmonton). (LG lOJan 1920). For
conspicuous gallantry as runner in
operations near Preux, on 4th
November 1918. When his Platoon had
been seriously depleted by casualties
and their objectives were still ungained,
he, operating by himself, succeeded in
capturing twenty prisoners. He has
done continuous good work, and has
OWEN,E.H.
Labourer, Carriage Department
Distinguished Conduct Medal
been three times wounded.
2238. Bugler J. E. Scragg (Oxfordshire
& Buckinghamshire Light Infantry).
For conspicuous gallantry during
operations he was orderly to the
company commander, and when he saw
him fall immediately ran to him,
attended to his wound under heavy fire,
and dragged him fifty yards in broad
daylight into safety. He has many times
shown great coolness under fire. (22-9-
SCRAGG, J. E.
Body-maker, Carriage Department
Distinguished Conduct Medal
1916).
BRADBURY, G.
Labourer, Carriage Department
Military Medal
Military Medal.
Also awarded Medaille
D’honneur avec glaives en
BUCK, W. C.
Fitter, Carriage Department
bronze
CHURCH, B. J.
Labourer, Carriage Department
Military Medal
COLTON, R. J.
Fitter, Carriage Department
Military Medal
Apprentice Finisher, Carriage
COOK, W. F.
Department
Military Medal


Military Medal.
Also awarded Bar to Military
DANIELLS, G.
Labourer, Carriage Department
Medal
FRANCKLOW, R. G.
Painter, Carriage Department
Military Medal
HART, A J.
Finisher, Carriage Department
Military Medal
Military Medal.
Also awarded Meritorious
HENSON, H.T.
Finisher, Carriage Department
Service Medal
HOLLYOAKE, A G.
Brass Finisher, Carriage Department
Military Medal
Missing, and presumed dead
HULL, A
Brass Finisher, Carriage Department
Military Medal
Killed in action, 4th June, 1918.
IRESON, E. J.
Coachmaker, Carriage Department
Military Medal
JONES, W. G. H.
Labourer, Carriage Department
Military Medal
Military Medal.
Also awarded Medaille
D’honneur avec glaives en
LANE,G.
Fitters Labourer, Carriage Department
bronze
Military Medal.
MASON, W.
Labourer, Carriage Department
Also mentioned in despatches
MAY,A E,
Fitter, Carriage Department
Military Medal
Military Medal.
Also awarded the Italian Croce
ODELL,G.H.
Labourer, Carriage Department
di guerra
ROGERS, R. A
Coachmaker, Carriage Department
Military Medal
Military Medal.
Also awarded First and Second
SANDERS, W.
Finisher, Carriage Department
Bars to Military Medal
SIMONS, W.J.
Coachmaker, Carriage Department
Military Medal
STONE, F.
Machinist, Carriage Department
Military Medal
Military Medal.
Also awarded Medaille
D’honneur avec glaives en
STONES, J. T.
Rubber, Carriage Department
bronze
TAPP, G. J.
Lifter, Carriage Department
Military Medal
TOWNSEND, A W.
Fitter, Carriage Department
Military Medal
WALKER, A W.
Labourer, Carriage Department
Military Medal


Workshop Checker, Carriage
WILLINGHAM, H.
Department
Military Medal
WILLIS, A T.
Labourer, Carriage Department
Military Medal
WISON, S.
Cleaner, Carriage Department
Military Medal
WISE, W. F.
Coachmaker, Carriage Department
Military Medal
AGER, W.G.
Labourer, Carriage Department
Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal.
CANVIN, H. A
Fitter, Carriage Department
Also a Mentioned in Despatches
COLES, S.
Clerk, Carriage Department
Meritorious Service Medal
COX,J. T.
Inspector, Carriage Department
Meritorious Service Medal
DA VIES, S. M.
Body-maker, Carriage Department
Meritorious Service Medal
HENSON, F. V.
Electric Fitter, Carriage Department
Meritorious Service Medal
JONES, E.
Trimmer, Carriage Department
Meritorious Service Medal
LLOYD, J.
Fitter, Carriage Department
Meritorious Service Medal
MACKEY,F.
Finisher, Carriage Department
Meritorious Service Medal
McBRIGHT, S.
Clerk, Carriage Department
Meritorious Service Medal
NICHOLSON, H. P.
Fitter, Carriage Department
Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal.
TAYLOR, P. H.
Finisher, Carriage Department
Also a Mentioned in Despatches
Meritorious Service Medal.
TAYLOR,W.F.
Painter, Carriage Department
Also a Mentioned in Despatches
Meritorious Service Medal.
WAINE,H.
Painter, Carriage Department
Also a Mentioned in Despatches
WILLSON, A J.
Clerk, Carriage Department
Meritorious Service Medal
HILL, W. R.
Fitter, Carriage Department
French Croix de Guerre
Roumanian Medaille Barbatie Si
JONES, F. G.
Rubber, Carriage Department
Credinta, 1 st Class
Roumanian Medaille Barbatie Si
WOOLLEY, F. B.
Polisher, Carriage Department
Credinta, 1 st Class
CARTER, J. H.
Gas Fitter, Carriage Department
Mentioned in Despatches
GARDINER, W. G. J.
P.
Fitter, Carriage Department
Mentioned in Despatches
IBELL, J. O.
Coachmaker, Carriage Department
Mentioned in Despatches
SYRETT, G. A
Labourer, Carriage Department
Mentioned in Despatches


TABERNER, T. M.
Clerk, Carriage Department
Mentioned in Despatches
WARREN, J. D.
Clerk, Carriage Department
Mentioned in Despatches
WILLIAMS, H. M.
Assistant to Carriage Superintendent
Mentioned in Despatches

Railwaymen at War – 1914-1919

Brendan Sheridan has kindly shared with me some of his research on the railwaymen from Wolverton who lost their lives in WW1. At the end of the war the L&NWR published a book detailing the lives lost and honours gained in this hugely wasteful conflict. The book was presented to each of the next-of-kin of those railwaymen who died. Brendan Sheridan is presently working on a WWII compilation which will be equally important and useful and if any readers out there know of any documents that might help him in his research, please, in the first instance, contact me through the email facility.

As you can see from the listed occupations some of these men were apprentices when they signed up and sadly their lives were very short.

Besides reproducing this list as a record of the sacrifice of these men, it occurs to me that it may have use for those doing genealogical research, and for those interested in railway occupations 100 years ago.

In the next few days I will publish the awards for gallantry and something about the role of Wolverton Works and the Railway in the war. I then plan to go on to examine other conflicts under the general heading of Wolverton at War.

LNWR
WOLVERTON RAILWAYMEN DIED 1914-1919
NAME
Grade
Naval or Military Rank
Adams, A
Fitter
Aircraftsman
Adams, E.
Lad
Sergeant
Adams, H.W.
Coachmaker
Private
Andrews, F.H.
Coachmaker
Private
Applin, E.H.
Fitter
Private
Atkins, FJ.
Labourer
Private
Bailey, F.B.
Carriage Cleaner
Private
Bailey, H.E.
Porter
Private
Barcock, H.R.
Glazier
Sapper
Barnes, H.
Trimmer
Private
Barnwell, DJ.
Labourer
Lance-Corporal
Bartlett, WJ.
Labourer
Private
Bason, E.E.
Fitter
Private
Bates, H.
Rough Painter
Private
Battams, A.E.
Sawyer
Sergeant
Battams, W.H.
Labourer
Lance-Corporal
Baxter, P.E.
Labourer
Lance-Corporal
Bennett, W. E.
Labourer
Private
Biddiscombe, AJ.
Foreman’s Clerk
Lance-Corporal
Biddle, W.
Engine Fireman
Private
Bishop, J.P.
Rubber
Private
Bissell, S.B.
Moulder
Private
Booth, E.H.
Painter
Private
Bowles, F.
Labourer
Private
Brightman, E.
Fitter
Private
Britten, W.E.
Engine Cleaner
Private
Brown, W.
Fitter
Lance-Corporal
Burnell, H.
Fitter
Private
Burnell, W.
Painter
Private
Burnham, WJ.
Gas Fitter
Private
Bush, D.E.
Trimmer
Private
Casemore, J.
Painter
Private
Chilton, J.
Labourer
Private
Clare, J.E.
Labourer
Private
Clarke, R.A
Paint Cleaner
Private
Coey, WJ.
Painter
Lance-Corporal
Cole, GJ.
Brass Finisher
Sergeant
Coleman, G.
Painter
Private
Compton, B J.
Coachmaker
Lance-Corporal
1


Cooper, L.M.
Labourer
Private
Craker, E.A
Painter
Private
Cripps, G.
Labourer
Private
Crisp, AW.
Labourer
Private
Cross, J.T.
Smith
Private
Cross, W.e.
Fitter
Private
Cross, W.H.
Fitter
Sergeant
Cunnington, W.
Brass Polisher
AB. Seaman
Davidge, H.I.
Machinist
Private
Davies, S.
Sawyer
Private
Dudley, P.G.
Labourer
Private
Edmunds, H.
Labourer
Private
Eno, AG.
Painter
Private
Evans, AA
Coachmaker
Corporal
Farthing, AW.
Labourer
Private
Faulkner, W.
Painter
Lance-Corporal
Fessey, F.W.
Painter
Bugler
Finch, W.I.
Labourer
Private
Fincher, AV.
Painter
Lance-Corporal
Fletcher, H.
Clerk
Private
Flint, A
Finisher
Corporal
Foddy, W.H.
Painter
Corporal
French, e.A
Labourer
Private
French, G.A
Striker
Private
French, W.T.
Rubber
Private
Gammage, H.H.
Painter
Private
Garratt, A
Sawyer
Private
Garratt, J.W.
Coachmaker
Sapper
Geary, W.W.
Electrical Fitter
Pioneer
Gibbard, R.I.
Messenger
Lance-Corporal
Glenn, S.
Labourer
Private
Goodridge, AG.
Trimmer
Private
Goodridge, J.
Finisher
Private
Grace, W.
Labourer
Private
Gregory, G.V.
Fitter
Private
Groves, E.
Labourer
Corporal
Guntrip, RW.
Labourer
Private
Hale,F.
Carpenter
Private
Hall, A.I.
Labourer
Private
Hardwick, F.G.
Youth
Private
Hardwike, A
Polisher
Private
Harris, C.I.
Labourer
Private
Harris, W.E.
Labourer
AB. Seaman
Harrison, S.H.
Carriage Cleaner
Private
Hellenburgh, A
Coachmaker
Lance-Corporal
2


Hensman, E.A
Rough Painter
Rifleman
Henson, e.
Labourer
Corporal
Hepworth, e.
Brass Finisher
Private
Herbert, F.I.
Coachmaker
Rifleman
Hewitt, B.
Painter
Private
Holland, W.
Coachmaker
Private
Hollis, W.e.
Brass Finisher
Lance-Corporal
Holloway, G.A
Fitter
Sergeant
Hollyoake, AG.
Brass Finisher
Private
Holt, W.
Rubber
Private
Holton, P.
Fitter, Apprentice
Private
Hongson, S.P.
Painter
Private
Hopkins, B.
Fitter
Sapper
Howe, H.
Rubber
Private
Howes, L.F.I.
Fireman
Sapper
Hull, A
Brass Finisher
Private
Ingram, W.
Labourer
Private
Jackson, F.I.R
Painter, Apprentice
Private
Johnson, D.
Coachmaker
Lance-Sergeant
Jones, W.G.
Carriage Cleaner
Private
Keech, AE.
Finisher
Private
Kettle, RA
Labourer
Sergeant
Kightley, K.G.
Coachmaker
Corporal
King, S.S.
Finisher
Lance-Corporal
Kitchener, AT.
Clerk
Private
Knight, E.W.
Labourer
Pioneer
Knopp, A
Painter
Driver
Lamble, P.
Machinist
Driver
Lawrence, AH.
Labourer
Lance-Sergeant
Leonard, E.W.
Coachmaker
Sapper
Lewis, E.H.
Wireman
Private
Lock, W.H.
Painter
Private
Lovesay, P.M.
Labourer
Private
Lucas, RH.
Finisher
Private
Malcher, P.e.
Stripper
Lance-Corporal
Mander, AV.
Machinist
Private
Maycock, H.J.
Sawyer
Private
McKay, P.H.
Finisher
Private
Mead, W.
Rubber
Private
Millward, E.G.
Electrical Fitter
Sapper
Moore, E.S.
Carpenter
Sapper
Moore, J.H.G.
Youth
Private
Moore, W.H.
Labourer
Gunner
Morris, E.
Striker
Private
3


Morris, W.I.
Coachmaker
Private
Mundy, E.
Moulder
Private
Newton, F.I.
Carter
Private
Odell, S.
Painter
Private
Old, H.W.
Painter
Private
Oldham, J.W.
Labourer
Private
Pass, E.A
Painter
Private
Phillips, W.B.
Foreman’s Clerk
Sergeant
Pittam, AA
Labourer
Private
Pittam, G.
Porter
Private
Plumb, H.
Labourer
Private
Pollard, J.
Trimmer
Lance-Corporal
Powell, L.
Coachmaker
Private
Ratcliffe, G.R
Labourer
Private
Richardson, P.R
Labourer
Lance-Corporal
Riddy, W.e.
Rubber
Private
Riley, N.
Labourer
Private
Roberts, G.I.e.
Fitter
Private
Roberts, H.S.
Drop Hammer Attendant
Private
Robinson, T.A. R
Painter, Apprentice
Private
Rolfe, RH.
Labourer
Private
Rose, W.E.
Labourer
Private
Ruddlesdin, L.
Brass Finisher
Private
Ruffhead, H.A
Machinist
Private
Sapwell, AF.
Engine Cleaner
Private
Savage, H.G.
Fitter
Private
Sayell, S.M.
Rubber
Private
Seamarks, H.S.
Labourer
Private
Shakeshaft, A
Labourer
Private
Shaw, E.F.
Labourer
Sapper
Shaw, W.I.
Clerk
Sub-Lieut
Shepherd, J.G.A
Labourer
Lance-Corporal
Sherwood, e.E.
Trimmer
2nd-Lieut
Shouler, A
Sawyer
Private
Shouler, S.G.
Machinist
Private
Simms, AT.
Painter
Private
Simpson, H.
Fitter
Private
Sirett, G.A
Labourer
Sergeant
Slater, J.J.
Painter
Private
Smith, AW.
Painter
Gunner
Smith, E.
Labourer
Private
Smith, F.
Watchman
e.S.M.
Smith, F.W.
Clerk
e.S.M.
Smith, M.
Labourer
Private
Smith, W.E.
Labourer
Private
4


Spong, AH.
Trimmer
Private
Spriggs, J.
Rough Painter
Private
Stewart, A
Painter
Private
Swaine, A.E.
Shunt Horse Driver
Private
Tack, AE.
Painter
Acting-Corporal
Tapp, R.
Inside Painter
Driver
Tarr, A
Painter
Private
Thompson, J.M.
Fitter
Lance-Corporal
Todd, H.
Brass Finisher
Private
Tombs, W.A
Sawyer
Private
Tooley, W.I.
Trimmer
Private
Tooth, T.E.
Fitter
Private
Townsend, H.
Finisher
Corporal
Umney, B.D.
Painter
Private
Wadsworth, AR.
Labourer
Private
Walters, A
Striker
Private
Watson, E.E.
Striker
Private
Watson, J.R.
Finisher
Private
Welford, R.
Painter
Private
Welham, P.H.
Labourer
Corporal
Wells, S.
Fitter
Private
West, A
Painter
Lance-Corporal
West, G.
Coachmaker
Rifleman
Whatley,R.
Labourer
Private
Whitbread, P.H.
Coachmaker
Private
White, S.
Labourer
Private
Whitehead, W.A
Machinist
Private
Whitfield, E.E.
Fitter
Private
Whitlock, Ae.
Labourer
Private
Willett, AI.
Labourer
Private
Willett, M.
Labourer
Rifleman
Willis, F.T.
Coachmaker
Private
Winsor, W.P.
Trimmer
Corporal
Wood, H.P.E.
Painter
Private
Wood, W.
Coachmaker
Rifleman
Worker,E.
Striker
Private
Worker, J.
Coachmaker
Rifleman
Worringer, F.E.
Fitter
Private
Wright, AW.
Labourer
Private
Wright, E.H.
Painter
Private
Yakes, J.
Labourer
Pioneer
5