Newborough Role of Honour 1914-1918©


Paul Cooper

Newborough War Memorial contains the names of twenty five Newborough men who lost their lives during the First World War. There are actually twenty six men who died. For some reason George Beasley was omitted from the memorial. So far I have a list of 105 men and 1 woman who served their country in the military, of these 26 were killed, giving a death rate of 1 in 4, the average across the whole military during WW1 was 1 in 10. Of those killed there were five pairs of brothers, one of these pairs were twins. Two Newborough men were awarded the Military Medal.

I have listed the men in the date order in which they died:


Percy James Reedman (Private 39464): born1893 in Newborough to Daniel and Rebecca (nee Sutton) Reedman. The 1901 census shows them living in Willow Drove where dad Daniel was a domestic groom. By 1911 they had moved to Bridgehill Road, where his is described as a farm labourer. Percy had six brothers and sisters but only two survived; Ernest born 1896 and Lillian born 1897. Percy enlisted as a Private 39464 in the 1st Bn Northamptonshire Regiment on 20th September 1914, enlisting in Peterborough. He was killed in Action on 9th November 1914 at the beginning of the first battle of Ypres, possibly by shellfire; The first days of November directly affected the town. Each day Ypres was shelled and civilian casualties were high. This tactic set the scene for what Ypres was to suffer for several more years” (Northamptonshire Regt War Diary) Percy has no known grave and his death is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial, Panels 43 and 45. Percy died aged 21. According to the official regimental records the 1st Battalion on 04.08.1914 was stationed at Blackdown near Aldershot as part of the 2nd Brigade of the 1st Division. From 13.08.1914 it was mobilized for war and Landed at Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including 1914, The Battle of Mons and the subsequent retreat, The Battle of the Marne, The Battle of the Aisne, First Battle of Ypres. What is not known is if Percy had any previous military experience. Having enlisted in September 1914 and then being sent straight out to Belgium after only a few weeks training appears a bit soon. In normal circumstances during WW1 the basic training and fitness development was considered to be 14 weeks. However, in times of emergencies this has been known to be reduced to six weeks and in desperate circumstances even as low as three weeks. So it is possible that with the situation the British Army found itself in during November 1914 that six weeks training is quite possible. This would mean that Percy was only in Belgium between 1 and 4 weeks before he was killed. Percy holds the unfortunate title of being the first person from the parish of Newborough to be killed in WW1. The War Diary from the period from 26th October to 14th November 1914 has been lost. This was explained on November 16th as the diary continued. Following constant action against the enemy the diary has been lost. Due to this constant action the battalion has been reduced in numbers to two officers and around 300 men. This is from a nominal size of 1000 men and 36 officers. An indication as to the intensity of the fighting and the terrible losses encountered by the 1st Northamptonshires.


Harry Lane (Private 9799): Born in 1899 to Charles and Jemima Lane. Harry was one of nine children; he had four brothers and four sisters, they lived in Borough Fen. The 1911 census still shows Harry attending school. He joined the 1st Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment, enlisting in Northampton, and was killed during the battle of Aubers on 9th May 1915. According to records he probably died between 5.30am and 6.30am when the 1st Battalion left their trenches to advance upon the enemy positions. The preceding bombardment had not been successful in destroying the German positions and heavy casualties were inflicted on his regiment. Harry has no known grave but he is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial, Pas de Calais, France; Panel 28-30. If the date of registration of birth and date of death are accurate he was only 16 years old when he was killed in Action. In an enquiry in to his missing in action status carried out by by the British Red Cross and Order of St John Enquiry List of the wounded and missing on 26th June 1915 he is recorded as being missing in action since May 9th 1915, unable to trace his body and his letters have been returned to sender.

George Henry Beasley: Born in 1894 George is not actually commemorated upon the Newborough War Memorial. He died at home on 31st July 1915 and was buried in the north quarter of Newborough Church Yard on 4th August 1915. Cause of death is unknown. He was born in Gedney Hill Fen to Henry and Phoebe (nee Jackson) Beasley. Henry died and Phoebe remarried Matthew Whitby in 1903 giving George two step brothers; Robert 1907 and Walter 1910. Before enlisting George lived in Holbeach St Johns with his mother and stepfather, his occupation was as a 2nd Horseman on a farm. Although Phoebe was born in Paston she had moved to Milking Nook after 1911. It is here according to the records that George died. When he died George was a serving Private R4/06268 in the Royal Army Service Corp (RASC) George died aged 21.

Alfred George Lane (known as George Alfred, Private 12861): Alfred was born in 1895 and his birth was recorded as being in Thorney, Peterborough. Although by 1901 he was living with his parents (John, who was a Mole Catcher and Annie Hopkins), his three sisters (Rosie b1891, Lillie b1898 and Hilda b1901) and his brother George (b1896), in Bridgehill Road, Newborough. In June 1910 Alfred was reported in the Stamford Mercury for having damaged a gate belonging to Arthur Bellairs from Newborough. He and his accomplice George Wright were found guilty and fined 5s. By 1911 he had left home and was working as a Waggoner and living with the Taylor family in Postland near Crowland. Alfred enlisted into the 6th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment in Spalding. He was killed in Action on 9th August 1915 at Gallipoli. The 6th Battalion landed at Sulva on the 7th August so he was killed two days later. He has no known grave but is commemorated on the Helles War Memorial, Turkey; Panels 44-46. Alfred was 20 years old.

David Henry Hopkins (Private 16263): David was born in 1894 whilst his family was living in St Martins Road, Newborough. His parents were Robert and Charlotte Hopkins. Dad Robert was an Agricultural Labourer. David had one sister, Charlotte Jane born 1884 and one brother, Charles Herbert born 1897, who also served in the army (7th Bn Northamptonshire Regt). The 1911 census shows David living with the Foreman family in Thorney Causeway, Eye. He is described as a Farm Horseman. After he enlisted in Peterborough in August 1914 he found himself in “C” Company 5th Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment. He was Killed in Action on 4th October 1915 in France. The Northamptonshire Regiment took part in the failed Battle of Loos between 21st and 28th September 1915. It was six days after the end of this battle when David was killed. He was 21 years old.


Joseph Walter Sharpe (Private 14844): Joseph was born in 1894 and was the younger of the two Sharpe brothers killed in 1916. He was the son of Edward and Eliza (nee Allen) Sharpe. He was born in Crown Road although the family moved to Guntons Road, thought to be Jessons Cottages, sometime before 1911. Their Father, Edward was a Farm Labourer. They had two other brothers Edward Ernest b1888 and William James b1885. Before enlisting for the army both Joseph and John were also Farm Laborers.

Records from the 51st Field Ambulance Hospital show that Joseph was admitted on 9th December 1915 suffering from influenza. He was discharged and returned to duty on 14th December. Looking at the list of admissions there are a number of gunshot wound injuries but also several “shell shock” victims, trench foot and other ailments which are related to the dreadful conditions these men were living under.

Joseph was Killed in Action on Thursday 2nd March 1916. He had enlisted into D Company, 7th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment at Spalding. During the spring of 1916 the 7th Battalion was involved in fighting at the Bluff (south east of Ypres on the Comines canal), part of a number of engagements officially known as the Actions of Spring 1916. It was during one of these engagements that Joseph lost his life. He has no known grave and he is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) memorial Belgium, panel 21. Joseph was 22 years old.


Frederick William Barnes (Private 14940): Frederick was born in 1897. His parents, Charles and Mary, lived in Peterborough Road, Newborough. In the 1911 census dad Charles is identified as an Agricultural Labourer/ Traction Thrashing Machine Driver. At the age of 13 Frederick was already working as an agricultural labourer. He had four other brothers; Charles b1893, Archibald b1894 (Archie served in the 5th Bn Northants and lost his right leg), Alfred Herbert b1895 Bertie b1903 and a sister, Lilian Mabel b1899. After enlisting into on the 9th September 1914 he was posted to C Company of the 7th Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment the next day. At the time of attestation Frederick is described as being 5ft 4in high, fair complexion, light brown hair and a small scar on his right forehead. Frederick saw action in France and Flanders between 1st September 1915 and his death in 1916; he was in the same regiment as both the Sharpe brothers. He was reported missing between 17th and 18th August 1916. His mother, who was now recorded as living on Bull Bank Newborough, was notified he was missing on 11th September 1916. He was later officially reported as being killed on Thursday 17th August 1916. The War Diary records that the Northamptonshire’s were part of 73 Brigade, 24th Division and on the 17th August 1916 assembled in trenches ready for an attack on GUILLEMONT. In this action they lost 372 men. Frederick was 19 years old. The army document listing all of Frederick’s next of kin, dated 10th April 1919, was signed by his mother and countersigned by the Reverend Trott. At the end of the war he was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.


John Herbert Sharpe (Private 22872): John was the elder brother of Joseph above, he was born in 1890. He joined the same regiment as his brother (7th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment) although he enlisted in Lincoln. John was actually called up for service on the 11th April 1916 and actually enlisted on the 14th April when he was posted to the 7th Bn. John joined the same battalion as his brother Joseph although John was sent to France in August 1916 five months after his younger brother was killed.  John’s medical record shows that he was quite tall at 5ft 10.5inches tall and weighed in at 129lbs. That is just over 9 stone which would have meant he was quite lean. His declared age was 25 years and 300 days and occupation listed as a labourer. After training in England John boarded a troopship at Folkestone on 24th July 1916 and arrived in France the next day where he was assigned to the 8th Bn Linc’s before being transferred to the 7th Bn on 19th August 1916. He went straight into the field and remained there until his death.

John was Killed in Action on the 3rd November 1916, almost exactly 8 months after his younger brother. He has no known grave but is commemorated on the Thiepval memorial, Somme, France. Both his mother and father are buried in Newborough Churchyard. On the gravestone is an inscription to the memory of both their sons who were killed in action. John was 26 years old.




William “Willie” Jeffries (Private 202076): William or “Willie” as he appears on the 1901 census was born in Newborough in 1895. The 1901 census shows him living on Thorney Road. His father Henry is listed as an Agricultural Labourer. By 1911 the family had moved to Clarks Farm, Crowland, Peterborough where Henry is now a Farmer, with Willie as a Farm Labourer. He lived with his family; mum Martha, sister Amelia b1890 and brothers John Tom b1892 and Henry Jnr b1897. It would appear that his father Henry died sometime between 1911 and 1917 as his war record shows his parent as Mrs H Jeffries. William enlisted into the 4th Bn Lincolnshire Regt at Spalding, Lincs. William was killed in Action on 26th February 1917. At this time the 4th Lincolnshires were part of the 46th Midland Division in action on the Ancre front along the Somme. During January and February 1917 as series of attacks by the Division captured German positions over a 5000 yard front. “Willie was 22 years old. Willie is buried at the Bienvilliers Military Cemetery, France. Grave reference VI.B.4.


Horace Barlow (Private 31452): Horace was the twin brother of Harry Barlow also killed in WW1. They were born in 1899 in Newborough to William and Mary Anne Barlow from Thorney Road, Milking Nook. There were three sisters (Elizabeth Anne b1873, Jemima b1882, Charlotte b1887) and five brothers (John William b1877, James b1884, Horace and Harry b1889 and Arthur Robert b1892). Their father William died in 1918, after Horace was killed but before Harry died. Horace enlisted into the army in Peterborough and was assigned to the 1st Bn East York’s Regt. He was killed on 9th April 1917. On this day his regiment was involved with the opening offensive of the first battle of the Scarpe. Horace was killed on the first day of the offensive which proved to be a great success along a wide front. He is buried in the Cojeul British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France. Grave reference C.39. Horace was 28 years old.


Frederick John Lane (Private 201334): Frederick Lane was born in Thorney in 1892; he is thought to be the brother of George Alfred Lane who was killed in Gallipoli in 1915. The 1901 census shows them both living with their parents John and Annie in Bridgehill Road, Newborough. Although his army record lists his mother’s name as Eliza and living in School Road at the time of his death. Frederick enlisted into the 4th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment leaving his job as a Horse Keeper employed by the Playfor family. As well as his brother George, Frederick had four sisters; Annie, Rosie, Hilda and Lillie. Frederick enlisted into the 4th Bn Lincolnshire Regt in Lincoln.

In March 1917 his regiment relieved the 24th Division in front of Lens in the Lievin sector, and it remained there for four months. During this time much hard fighting took place. It is thought that during one of these actions Frederick was mortally wounded. He finally died of his wounds on 29th April 1917; He is buried in Bethume Town Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France. Frederick was 24 years old. He was awarded the Victory Medal and the British War Medal.


Thomas Henry Barnes (Corporal 9794): Thomas was born in 1894 in Newborough to Thomas and Rose Ann Barnes of Crown Road, Newborough (Now School Road). Thomas Snr had been a professional soldier serving as a private in the 2nd Bedfordshire Regt and served in the South Africa war, he died sometime between 1908 and 1911. By 1911 the road had changed name to School Road where Thomas continued to live with his mother and sister (Jane Beatrice b1893) and four brothers (William George b1898, Cyril Redvers b1902, Lawrence Victor b1905 and Albert Edward b1908). The 1911 census shows Thomas as a Farm Labourer even though he was only 14 years old. Thomas enlisted into the 1st Battalion Northamptonshire Regt in Northampton; he was one of five Newborough “Lads” who served with this battalion.  He was promoted to the rank of Corporal. Thomas was killed in Action on Tuesday 10th July 1917 alongside another Newborough man Jarvis Jesse Stacey.


Jarvis Jesse Stacey (Private 28060): Jarvis was born in Newborough in 1890 and lived on Thorney Road. His parents were Jarvis and Betsy Emma Stacey. Jarvis Snr is described in the 1901 census as an Agricultural labourer and Drain Navvy. He had three sisters (Betsy Ann b1884, Ellen b1887 and Harriett b1886) and three brothers (William Henry b1878, John Oldham b1880 and Walter b1892). At the time of enlisting Jarvis and his parents had moved to; The Bungalow, Milking Nook, Newborough. He enlisted into the 1st Bn Northamptonshire Regt in Northampton on 23rd February 1916. When he enlisted he was recorded as being a “Small Holder” Jarvis is described at his attestation as being 5ft 4ins tall and 135lbs in weight. The medical examination identifies a small scar on his left buttock and his teeth are described as defective but not sufficient to make in ineligible for military service. He married Gertrude E Skipp on 23rd October 1916 at New Road Chapel in Peterborough. Following their marriage Gertrude went to live with her parents at Clapgate Farm, Farcet, Nr Peterborough.

Following his basic training Jarvis was stationed in England until he was sent to France to join the 1st Bn Northamptonshire Regiment on the 8th December 1916. The unfortunate Jarvis was wounded four days later. He was assigned with a work party to dig a communication trench near the front lines. One of the work party struck an unexploded bomb with his spade and detonated it. In the resulting explosion Jarvis was wounded in the legs and eyes. As it was a result of direct enemy action an enquiry was set up and Jarvis was deemed to not be at fault for his injuries. The injuries were severe enough for him to be hospitalised. He was evacuated to the field hospital in Rouen, then on to Calais before returning back to the field and re-joined his regiment on 11th January 1917. Jarvis’s eventful stay in France continued when he was charged with having a dirty rifle on parade by Sergeant Rivett on 13th March 1917 and received 2 days Field Punishment No 2.


Jarvis was also killed in Action on 10th July 1917 in the same action as Thomas Barnes.

At the beginning of July the Battalion found itself in the sand dunes close to Nieuport on the extreme left of the Western front. The tour started quietly and the men enjoyed some fine weather, shelling started ferociously on the 10th July with such intensity that it destroyed the front line, after a day of intense shelling the regiment was attacked by the German Marine Division. The survivors of the shelling put up a heroic resistance but were eventually over run. Apart from a few survivors who escaped across the river the rest of the regiment were killed or captured. Neither Jarvis Stacey nor Thomas Barnes have any known grave but are both commemorated on the Nieuport Memorial, Belgium. Jarvis was 27 years old and Thomas was 23 years old. In an internal communicate a request was made to amend Jarvis’s records on the basis that “The army council has decided that This soldier (Jarvis Stacey) is to be regarded for official purposes as having died on or since 10th July 1916. In a further twist to Jarvis’s story records have been found to suggest that Jarvis was fatally wounded on 10th July but passed into captivity as a Prisoner of War. He is listed as having died on the same day. In 1921 his wife Gertrude received his British War Medal and the Victory Medal. Jarvis is commemorated on the Nieuport Memorial, Belgium.


Langley Lilley (Private 306883): Langley was born in 1896 to George and Elizabeth Lilley of Werrington Bridge Road, Milking Nook, Newborough. Father George was a Farm Labourer. He had four older brothers (George b1889, William b1886, Harry b1891 (served 4th Linc’s) and Charles b1892) and one sister (Ada b1881). Langley enlisted into the army in Peterborough and was assigned to the 1/8th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby) Regiment. Langley was killed in action on Thursday 13th September 1917. The following is an extract from the battalion history for the period 11th to 13th September 1917. It is thought that Langley was killed whilst on sentry duty as the following extract from the war diaries describe the action of 12th/13th September;

C Company were again unfortunate the following night, when they were bombarded with heavy trench mortars, and suffered nine more casualties. (Extract from War Diary)

Langley was one of the casualties mentioned in the text above, he was 23 years old.

He is buried the Cambrin Military Cemetery, France grave L.15


John Hillson (L/Cpl 325667): John Hillson was born in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire to Mary Ann Hillson. The 1901 census shows her as unmarried. She married John Thomas Wright (Born in Thorney) in 1902. The 1901 census shows John living with Mary’s widowed mother in Marston Moretaine as a lodger. He is described as a labourer. John’s grandfather, also a John, was a war hero from the Crimean War. He died in 1894 but had been a Chelsea pensioner for many years. John Jnr moved to Falls Bridge, Dowsdale Bank near Crowland with his mother and stepfather and was a labourer when he left school.

John enlisted into the Cambridgeshire Regt later to be transferred to the 1st Bn Cambridgeshire Regt. He was Killed in Action on Wednesday 26th September 1917. At this time the 1st Cambridgeshire’s were part of the 39th Division. The division were in the initial attack on the German lines on the first day of the “battle for Polygon Wood” They advanced through boggy ground to successfully capture an area known as “Tower Hamlets” only to be forced back 200 yards by a German counter attack. It is reasonable to suggest that John lost his life during one of these actions this day. John was 23 years old. John has no known grave and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium, panel 148.


George William Lane (Private G/64211): George was the brother of Harry Lane who was killed in 1915. George was born in 1993, six years older than Harry. Like his brother he was born at Hill Farm, Boro Fen, Newborough. He enlisted into the army at Peterborough Recruitment office and was initially assigned to the Royal Sussex Regiment (Cyclists) However; he was later transferred to the 2nd Bn Queens (Royal West Surrey Regt). It was with this regiment that he was Killed in Action on 26th October 1917. His records show his residence at the time of death was Werrington. This may be because he married a Mabel May Sharman sometime between July and September 1915 and she was from Peterborough.

From the war diaries it records that the regiment was in positions in trenches on Routal Ridge, east of Ploygon Wood. During this time attacks were taking place against the enemy to the North and South of their positions. This attracted a response of intermittent enemy barrages on their positions. Over the 26th and 27th October OR (Other Ranks) 1 killed and 11 wounded. It would appear that the one killed was George, he was 22 years old. He is buried in Guillevelt Cemetery, Belgium. His name also appears on the memorial at the Memorial hospital in Peterborough.




Henry Jeffries (Gunner 157142): Henry was born in Newborough in 1897 and was the brother of William Jeffries who was killed in 1917. Before the war he was a labourer at Clark’s Farm Crowland which his father farmed. He enlisted at Peterborough and was assigned to the 178th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery.

Siege Batteries (RGA) were equipped with heavy howitzers, sending large calibre high explosive shells in high trajectory plunging fire. The usual armaments were 6 inch, 8 inch and 9.2 inch howitzers.

During March 1918 the German Army began an offensive which took the British by surprise and forced them back several miles. It was a new tactic by the Germans who used for the first time “storm troopers” in consequence the British Army was in full retreat and near to collapse. However, the German offensive ran out of supplies and was halted. The subsequent British counter attack would lead to the end of the war as the stalemate of trench warfare had been broken. Henry’s battery was in the line of the initial German attack and it is likely he was killed as his battery was overrun. He is buried at Hermes Hill British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France. Grave reference I.G.16 He was 21 years old.


Frederick Wright (Private 11611): Frederick was born in 1893 in Willow Drove, Newborough. He was one of ten children to George and Eliza Wright. George was a shepherd and moved to Newborough from Etton in 1888. Five of the Wright boys served in WW1, two of them being Killed in Action. By 1911 Frederick had left home and was working as a “servant/farm lad” for Joseph Bratley at The Manor, Bainton. He enlisted into the army in Spalding on the 2nd September 1914. He was assigned to the Lincolnshire Regiment finally finding himself in the 2/5th Battalion. He was posted to France in with his regiment in 1915. His records show that he was wounded in action on 1st March 1916 when he received gunshot wounds to the head and neck. After a period in various field hospitals he re-joined his regiment. He was posted as “Missing” on 21st March 1918 and later declared to have lost his life on this day. There is no known grave for Frederick although he is commemorated on the Arras Memorial in the Pas de Calais. From 1915 the battalion was part of the 59th Division and during 1916 spent time in Ireland quelling the rebellion there. On 21st March 1918 the battalion was involved in the opening attack in the Battle of St Quintin. There were heavy casualties and in consequence they were reduced to a cadre on 8th May. Frederick was 24 years old.


Robert Cave MM (Private 15092):  Robert was born in 1891 to John William and Emily Cave from Bull Bank, Newborough. He had four brothers (John William Jnr b1890, Edward b1895, James b1899 and Walter b1892) Robert was a Farm Labourer working on his father’s farm before joining the army. He enlisted in Peterborough on 4th September 1914, being assigned to the 6th Bn Northamptonshire Regt the next day. He was in England until his regiment went to France on 26th July 1915. According to his records he only came home once, in 1917 on two weeks leave and to receive his Military Medal. Robert won his MM at the Battle of the Somme between 1st and 14th July and was gazetted in the London Gazette on 21st December 1916. See the next section War Diary Reports” for an explanation of the action in which he was awarded the medal. On the 5th April 1918 the 6th Battalion carried out a counter attack at Hangard Wood during this action Robert was mortally wounded and later died at 43 Field Hospital on the same day. His family were notified of his death on the 20th April, Robert was 27 years old.


John William Smith (Private 27511): John William Smith Jnr born in 1891 was the only son of John William and Betsy Smith of Thorney Road Newborough. John Snr is described in the 1891 census as being a drill man and farm labourer, a machine man in 1901 and an engine driver in 1911. The 1911 census shows John Jnr as being a small-holder. John had one sister, Mabel b1897. John enlisted into the 6th Battalion Northamptonshire Regt in 1914 and must have served alongside fellow Newborough man Robert Cave; both men were 27 when they died so close together, it is possible they grew up together and went to school together. John married Hettie Dickinson in 1913; their address is given as Thorney Road Newborough. John died on Monday 13th May 1918. To date I have not been able to identify an action in which he was killed, possibly by shell fire as the battalion were constantly in the front line during this period. John was 27 years old. He is buried in the Ribemont Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme, France. Grave reference IV.B.1


Harry Barlow (Private 11948): Harry, born in 1899, was the twin brother of Horace who was killed a year earlier. Of six brothers in the family, Horace and Harry were the only two who served in the military. Before enlisting into the army on the 10th September 1915 at Market Deeping he was described as a Millers Wagoner living at Maxey Hill, Market Deeping, working for Isaac Loweth. Prior to him joining up there was a report in the Stamford Mercury, published 19th August 1910.Harry had got himself into trouble with the law and he was fined £2 for riding a horse furiously through Market Deeping in July of that year. Inspector Ford gave evidence against him. He joined the 8th Bn Lincolnshire Regiment. Harry was killed on 21st August 1918 during the first day of the Battle of Albert. This was the third battle of that name and was the opening of the second battle of the Somme. As part of 37 Corps Harry’s regiment was in the initial attack on the town of Albert. Due to the fierce resistance by the Germans, and after heavy British casualties, it was not captured until the 22nd. Harry was 28 years old. He is commemorated on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial, France, panel 4.


William Albert Dyson (Corporal 142497): William was born 1889, the son of William and Sarah Dyson from Thorney Road, Milking Nook, Newborough. He had one brother (Thomas James b1891) and two sisters (Mary Anne b1878 and Lillie Victoria b1900) He was also the cousin of John and Joseph Sharpe and Jarvis Stacey, all of whom were killed in the war. William joined the army for six years on 1st July 1907. He joined the Royal Horse Artillery and after training became a driver. This meant he lead the team of horses on the gun carriage. He was 19 years old when he joined the army, before joining he had been a farm labourer. In 1908 he was posted to India where he stayed until 30th October 1913. During his time in India he was involved in an accident which damaged his knee whilst riding a team of horses without using his stirrups. The following inquirery exonerated him of blame as he was under orders at the time. He left the army and transferred to the reservists when his time expired on 1st November 1913. The following year he was mobilised then sent to France. He was involved in the fighting there and received a gunshot wound to his back on 9th October 1914. He returned home the next month. He spent the remaining time of the war in Britain, some of the time on the Anti-aircraft guns at Woolwich Docks. He was recommended for the Distinguished Service Medal in 1917 but there is no record that he received it. William was admitted to Parkhurst Hospital IOW on 22nd October 1918 with influenza. He died four days later on the 26th due to heart failure caused by pneumonia and influenza. William was buried in Newborough Church Yard on 31st October 1918. He was 29 years old.


Harry Woodcock (Private G/39298): Harry was born at Farcet Fen, where his father was a general farm labourer. His actual birthplace is listed as Union Fen and in 1911 he is shown as living at Union Cottages, Farcet Fen, Hunt’s. He was born in 1898 to George and Sarah Woodcock. Harry had two sisters (Harriett b1889 and Emily b1891) he also had three brothers (George William “Willie” b1892, James b1992 and Arthur b1903) Willie also served in WW1 in the Norfolk Regt. Harry enlisted into the Royal West Kent Regiment at Northampton, approx 1916, although he was later transferred to the 2/20th London Regt. The family moved to Newborough sometime after 1911 where they lived in Guntons Road. At the age of 13 Harry was already a farm labourer. He was serving with the 2/20th London Regiment when he was fatally wounded during the fighting advance, chasing the German retreat during September and October 1918. It is quite probable that he received his wounds at the second Battle of the Sambre (4th November 1918), in which his regiment played a prominent part, he died in a field hospital at Rouen, France on 8th November 1918. Just three days before the end of hostilities. Harry was 20 years old. He is buried at the St Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen, France. Grave reference; S.III.DD.10. His is also remembered on his mother’s grave in Newborough Churchyard where reference is made to him dying of his wounds in Rouen.


Charles Wright (Private 14876): Charles was born in Willow Drove Newborough ion 31st October 1897 to George and Eliza Wright. He was the brother of Frederick Wright who was killed in March 1918. Three of his other brothers; Arthur, Herbert and Walter were also in the army. There were eleven children in the Wright family and apart from the five serving brothers there were three other brothers (John William b1883, George b1886 and Harry b1889) the three sisters were; Annie (Curtis) b1880, Emily (Peet) b1883 and Florence b1896. Before enlisting on the 1st October 1915 Charles had been a farm labourer. He enlisted in Peterborough and went D Company, 1st Bn Northamptonshire Regt. Charles died on 12th November 1918, a day after hostilities ended. It is recorded that he died rather than “Killed in Action” or “Died of Wounds” so it can only be surmised that he died from illness. He was 20 years old. Recent information revealed shows that Charles received shrapnel wounds to his left leg and was taken prisoner of war POW on 10th July 1917 at Nieuport, Belgium. He was transferred to Dulman POW camp on 19th September 1917. There is no reason to suggest that Charles did not receive the best medical care for his wounds available at the time. His transfer to Dulman POW camp, Germany would not however, have been very comfortable. Reports from other soldiers describe cramped conditions in cattle trucks with very little to eat or drink. Once at the camp they were processed, assigned to huts and had their hair shaved off to deter lice infection and their uniforms fumigated. Many prisoners were assigned work, mainly in local industries and agricultural. Due to the British blockade food was scarce and severely rationed. The diet at the camp was very poor with nothing more than a mug of coffee made from burnt barley, a slice of black bread and a bowl of veg water which may sometimes contain small amounts of vegetable pieces. The difference between the POW food and the guard’s food was that the guards had the first pick of the vegetables. Sadly Charles died the day after the war officially ended. The fighting may have stopped but the suffering for those who were prisoners would continue for a while longer.


Walter Sutton (Private 43491): Walter was born on 23rd July 1896 at 45 Taverners Road, Peterborough to John Henry and Sarah Sutton. John at this time was a railway porter. By 1911 his family had moved to Moor Cottage, Newborough where John was a farm Labourer. Walter was also described as a farm labourer in the 1911 census. Walter had three brothers (Charles Henry b1899, John William b1901 and Frank b1908, Charles served in the Royal Navy during WW1) and two sisters (Elsie b1903 and Hilda Sarah b1908) Walter initially enlisted into the Northamptonshire Regiment but was transferred to A Company, 13th Bn Essex Regt. Walter died on 20th November 1918, again his record shows died rather than KIA or DOW. We do know that at the time of his death he was a Prisoner of War and it is unfortunate that he died nine days after hostilities ceased. It is not known at this stage in which action he was taken prisoner. We do know now for certain now that Walter was taken prisoner on 21st April 1917 at Oppy, France, a village Northeast of Arras. He was incarcerated at Friedrichsfeld POW Camp, Germany. The conditions he endured would have been very similar to that of Charles Wright. The last record of Walter is in a POW register dated 17th February 1918. He is buried in the Hamburg Cemetery, Germany. Walter was 22 years old.


John Barnes John is commemorated on the Newborough War Memorial, but it is proving to be difficult to trace him. There was a John Barnes who lived in Eye Green and his father George was born in Newborough. Apart from that there is no other record for him that exists. If I find any other information I will ask the magazine editor if they will add it later.

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