MARCH

Private Alfred Butcher 203975 2/5 Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment

The 2/5 Gloucesters with the 61st Division were sent to France in May 1916, and were first engaged in the disastrous fighting at Fromelles. They were withdrawn until 1917 when they pursued the German withdrawal from the Hindenburg Line. They were involved in fighting around Ypres and then Cambrai. On the first day of the German Spring Offensive, March 21, 1918, Alfred Butcher was killed as the enemy broke their lines near St Quentin. He iscommemorated on the Pozières Memorial.

 

Alfred was the son of a shepherd who worked for some time at Farmcote. At his death, his mother Sarah was widowed and wrote to Eleanor Adlard seeking help to find her missing son. Dear Madam. Would you kindly enquire if my son Alfred is a POW in Germany….. 

Pozières Memorial

Corporal Frank Hall 96336 156 Field Company Royal Engineers

Frank Hall volunteered in 1915 and was posted to 156 Field Company in the 16th Irish Division. They arrived in France at the end of 1915, and were involved in fighting on the Somme at Guillemont and Ginchy in 1916. In early 1917 they were moved towards the Messines area , where Frank Hall died on March 4., apparently in an accident. He was buried in the military cemetery at Dranouter.

 

Frank Hall was the youngest son of William Lee Hall who owned the chemist shop at the Cross, by bis second wife Elizabeth. The family was fairly prosperous but kept only one servant. They moved out to Ivy Lodge in Greet, when Frank was very young, and he later lived there with an older brother from his father’s first marriage His two full siblings had already died, and his half-brother died in the flu epidemic in 1919.

Dranouter Military Cemetery

Private Sidney Holder 15254 16th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers

The village of Authuille was taken by the British in the summer of 1915 and held until the German Spring Offensive of 1918. Sidney Holder belonged to a unit fighting to maintain control of the village before the battle of the Somme and died on March 10, 1916, possibly of wounds. He was buried in the Authuille Military Cemetery used by Field Ambulance units.

 

The Holders moved to Winchcombe from Matson in the late 1880s with two sons, one of whom later worked with his father as a stonemason. The family lived at the Coates, where Sidney and his twin sister were born in 1889. Sidney worked as a groom for the wealthy John Gibbons at Boddington Manor before the war, living in a room over the stables.

Dranouter Military Cemetery

Sergeant Richard Jackson 8391 1st Battalion Worcestesrhire Regiment

The 1st Worcesters were recalled from Egypt on the outbreak of war in August 1914 and sent to France. 

Initially they were not involved in fighting but took part in the heavy fighting for Neuve Chapelle against the 21st Bavarian Division as the weather improved in the spring of 1915 . Richard Jackson was killed towards the end of the battle on March 14. He is commemorated on the Memorial at Le Touret. His death was not confirmed to his family for a month.

 

Richard Jackson was the middle child of five. His family lived first in Silk Mill Lane, then in Castle Street. He started work as a railway clerk, but decided to join the regular army and was already a corporal in Norton Barracks in Worcester by 1911.

The Memorial at Le Touret

Rifleman William Willett 47608 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles Formerly T4/035788 RASC

The date of William Willett’s transfer is not known, The 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles fought on the Somme and then at Paschendaele. They were in the area of St Quentin at the beginning of the German Spring Offensive on March 21 1918, and William Willett was killed at the beginning of the fighting on March 24. His body was not identified and he is commemorated on the Pozières Memorial. 

 

William was the oldest of the twelve children of Joseph and Hannah Willett. Joseph had worked as a carter. First at Condicote then in Greet, where the family lived next to the Pottery, and later on the Greet Road. William worked as farm labourer before he joined the army.

Pozières Memorial

Clifford Bird leaving home 1914

2nd Lieutenant (Francis) Clifford Bird 3rd Battalion Kings Shropshire Light Infantry

Clifford Bird was keen to volunteer when war broke and was offered the chance of a commission via a local farmer with connections to the Shropshire Light Infantry. He went for training at Pembroke dock, and after the losses and the winter of 1914-5 the battalion was sent to the Belgian front in February 1915. Clifford was killed on the front line by a sniper, after only three weeks, on March 2. He was buried in the Voorzemeele Enclosure No.3

 

Clifford was the elder son of Francis, a director of the paper mill, and Mary Bird, who lived at Cotswold. He had attended Cheltenham College, where he had been in the Officer Training Corps, and become a keen cricketer. On leaving school he intended to follow the family into the paper mill. Clifford was the first local volunteer, the first officer and the first local teenager to be killed. He was 19.

Sapper Lloyd Davies 16568 2 Field Company Royal Engineers 

Lloyd Davies had joined the 1st Gloucester R E Company while training as a carpenter with Mr Green on the Gretton Road, and joined the army formally in 1907. He was judged a superior carpenter, and remained in the army after suffering an accident in 1909. He then worked as an electrician, but appears to have been retained as a reservist, and in August 1914 was listed as again on active service. His Unit was attached to the 8th Division at the beginning of the war. Lloyd Davies killed at the beginning fierce fighting for Neuve Chapelle against the 21st Bavarian Division on March 10, 1915. He is commemorated in the Memorial at Le Touret,one of the many British casualties. His death was not confirmed to his family for three months.

 

Lloyd Davies was the son Lydia Davies, who had hoped to become a teacher, but who helped her father William Davies, the parish clerk, at Three Gables near the church. She kept Lloyd with her. He had trained as a carpenter with Mr Green on the Gretton Road, and later moved to Sutton Coldfield after 1909. He married Marguerite Collins on January 14, 1913 at Sutton Coldfield, where they lived after the wedding. After the war, Marguerite Davies moved to Oxford. Lydia Davies never married and died at Three Gables in 1951 aged 88.

Sergeant Roger Clements Hunt 24696779 Royal Logistic Corps

Roger Clements Hunt was killed whilst on active service in Germany on March 8, 2001. His MOD Leyland DAF was in collision with a Danish Heavy goods vehicle. Questions concerning the accident were later raised in the House of Commons when it appeared that the German police had investigated. 

In the course of his career, he had been been based in London, Catterick, Hullavington, and in Herford in Germany. He was based in Osnabruck when he died. He had done tours in Canada, the Falklands, and Bosnia. 

 

Roger Clements-Hunt joined the Catering Corps after leaving Winchcombe School, joking that he hoped he would grow taller than his 5’4”. He was the much loved husband of Mandy and father of Bethan and Jacob. He was buried in Winchcombe Cemetery.

Clifford Bird’s grave at 

Voormezeele Enclosure No. 3 

The Memorial at Le Touret

Winchcombe  Museum, High Street,

Winchcombe, Cheltenham, GL54 5LJ

 

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