OCTOBER

Sapper William Bartlett 5186073 6 Field Squadron Royal Engineers

Field Squadrons were attached to infantry units to provide specialist support. In the summer of 1942, the first battle of Alamein had succeeded, with heavy losses in halting the Axis advance on Alexandria. Fighting in the area continued with the aim of succeeding in a second battle and William Bartlett was killed during this preliminary phase. An important part of their work in the desert was clearing mines for other troops but the circumstances of Sapper Bartlett's death on October 8 1942 are not known. He is buried in the Alamein War Cemetery.

 

William Bartlett was the son of Rose Bartlett, who had probably been working at the paper mill when he was born in 1915. Rosa married when William was still a child. He married Dorothy Davis in 1935, and they had a daughter Lola the following year. 

The cemetery at El Alamein

Private Wincel Clegg 17170 9th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment

An early recruit to the 9th Gloucesters who arrived in France in September 1915 after training in the Cheltenham area. The battalion was sent to Greece in November that year to the Salonika Front against a largely Bulgarian army. Wincel Cleeg was killed on October 3 in the Vladaja Ravine as under heavy artillery fine and 'whizz bangs' , as the Gloucesters had relieved the 7th Berkshires in thunderstorms, attracting enemy attention. Unusually for a private, is death was recorded in the unit diary. H is buried at the Karasouli Military Cemetery near Polikastron in Greece.

 

Wincel Clegg was born in the Winchcombe workhouse, the son of Louisa Clegg. He must have spent time in the workhouse and the Guardians sent him the training ship Warspite as a teenager, but he returned to work at Stanley Pontlarge, where he is also commenorated.

Karasouli Military Cemetery

Sergeant Reginald Conn 29725 1st Battalion Worcestershire Regiment

Reginald was born in 1899 nnd was not eleible for service until he was 18, which makes it all the more remarkable that he had reached the rank of sergeant.The 1st Worcesters were heavily involved in the fighting of the Spring Offensive to repulse the German advance in 1918 and Reginald Conn was fatally wounded and died on October 14, in one of the Casualty Clearing Stations there. He is buried in the Duisans Cemetery near Etrun.

 

Reginald was the oldest son of William and Martha Conn who moved from Vineyard Street to North Street before the war. Martha had already lost a brother and a nephew.

Duisans Military Cemetery 

Private Norman Curtis 510145 140th Field Ambulance Unit RAMC

Noman volunteered early in the war and was in France in January 1915. in 1916, the 140th Field Ambulance Unit was attached to the 41st Division fighting on the Somme and at Paschendaele before being sent to Italy in November 1917. They returned to France in March 1918 taking part in the final push to drive the Germans back in Flanders. Norman Curtis was wounded in fighting to dislodge German forces from Courtrai, and died on October 25, 1918. He was buried in the Kortrijk St Jan Communal Cemetery.

 

The Curtis family moved to Winchcombe from Hereforshire, then Malmsbury, by 1901. William Curtis ran a clothiers shop in the High Street. Norman helped his father and later went to help a widowed aunt at her draper's shop in Glastobury. 

Kortrijk Communal Cemetery

Private Ernest Stewart 13494 10th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment

Ernest volunteered for the army at the beginning of the war and after training was sent to France in August 1915. The first big engagement of the 10th Battalion was at Loos, where the huge flat battlefield was overlooked by German troops on the huge coal tips. Ernest was killed in action on October 15, 1915, but his body was not found. He is commemorated on the Loos Memorial at Dud Corner.

 

Ernest was one of the older children of Charles Stewart, a carpenter, who lived on the Cheltenham Road. He originally helped his father but then moved to Strood in Kent where he worked at a military ammunition magazine, possibly at Cliffe or Chatham. He married Hilda Hopkins at St John's Cheltenham in February 1915.

The Loos Memorial and Cemetery

Lance Corporal Frederick Evans 8573 2nd Battalion Worcestershire Regiment

The 2nd Worcesters were among the first units to be sent to France at the outbreak of war in August 1914. They were involved in the heavy fighting around Mons, and took part in the retreat towards the Marne. The Worcesters were engaged in halting the German advance on Ypres. Frederick Evans was killed in the heavy fighting there on October 24, 1914. He is commemorated on the Menin Gate.

 

Frederick Evans was born in 1886, the oldest of three sons and two daughters of William and Mary Evans. William was then a labourer, and the family later moved to Guarlford and then by 1911 to Coventry as William got more regular work. Frederick married and was working as a postman, but appears to have also been a reservist, called up on the outbreak of the war.

The Menin Gate with more than 

54.000 names unveiled, 1927 

Private Walter Fisher 7730 1st Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment

The 1st Gloucesters were among the first troops to land in France and engage the Germans at Mons in August 1914. Walter Fisher was reportedly injured by an exploding shell at Mons, but could continue on the retreat to the Marne and then continue fighting at Ypres. He was wounded and died in a Casualty Clearing Station , or possibly killed killed in the fighting near Langemarck and buried in the Poperinge Old Military Cemetery, just beyond the area of fighting, on October 25, 1914. 

 

Walter Fisher was reservist and corporation employee from Gloucester who had married Eliza Musty, a local girl, in April 1914. She went to stay with his family in Gloucester, where she gave birth to a daughter Lilian shortly before he left. He was remembered at St Peter's just after his death.

Poperinge Old Military Cemetery

Sergeant Mowbray Ronald Forty 927159 12 Squadron RAFVR

!2 Squadron was engaged in fighting from the beginning of the Second World War, flying Fairey Battles over France in 1940, and on their return to England in June via Finningley and then Binbrook. The squadron was then equipped with Wellington bombers. Ronald Forty was a wireless operator/air gunner in a crew of six, flying on a raid to Bremen on October 22/23 October 1941. Their plane crashed on landing on a row of married quarters, killing all except the rear-gunner. Ronald Forty was buried in Winchcombe Cemetery.

 

He was the younger son of Charles and Edith Forty, who also had three daughters. They lived at Coates Mill House for some years. Charles Mowbray had been a coal merchant and later turned to farming.

Captain Henry Sidney Hopton Hadley Hall 3rd Battalion Queens Own Royal West Kent Regiment

Henry Hall had been commissioned in Kent but in 1910 was seconded to the North Borneo Civil Service. In After numerous attempts to rejoin his old regiment, he succeeded in 1917 and went back to India., where he died in the influenza epidemic on October 24, 1918. He is buried in the Bhowanipore Cemetery in Calcutta.

 

Henry Hall's connection with Winchcombe is tenuous. His father was a miller and grain dealer from Stroud, but the family lived in Hastings. Henry's father Joseph,appears to have retired to Winchcombe and lived in Glenbrook. He died in 1907 leaving his affairs to Ernest Smith Wood a local solicitor. Henry had left to teach at Ashford Grammar School in Kent. He then joined the army as a regular soldier, His name appears to have been added to the Winchcombe memorial at the request of his family, who were then once again based in Hastings.

Bhowanipore Cemetery Calcutta 

Private Harry Stewart 202805 12th Battalion Gloucesteshire Regiment

The 12th Glosters arrived in France in November 1915, with the 32nd Division, but it is not certain when Harry Stewart joined them. The Division took part in much of the fighting on the Somme before pursuing the Germans in the retreat to the Hindenburg Line in 1917. They were then involved in the Third Battle of Ypres - Paschebdaele. The Battalion was in the front line at Gheluveldt and then withdrew to Sanctuary Wood with heavy casualties. Harry Stewart was killed during this fighting on October 4, 1917 and is buried in the cemetery at Tyne Cot , Ypres

 

Harry Stewart was the second of the seven children of a carpenter, Fred Stewart, who lived next door but one to his father, Charles .on the Cheltenham Road. On leaving school, Harry went to work as a telegram messenger boy for the Post Office.

Private Walter Howe 7469 1st Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment

The First Gloucesters were among the first units to land in France in August 1914, and engage the enemy around Mons. The small British Expeditionary Force was heavily outnumbered and forced to retreat fighting to the Marne, where the German advance was halted. They were then sent to halt the German advance in Belgium at Ypres. In confused fighting and before systematic recording of casualties, Walter Howe , killed in action on October 20, was not found or identified. He is commemorated on the Menin Gate.

 

Walter was a regular soldier who had also served on Malta, one of seven children. His father, Thomas was a farm worker, and had moved several times. When war broke out the family was living at Farmcote, and several of the other children were working on local farms.

The Menin Gate

Lance Corporal Thomas Jeffries 11th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment

Thomas joined the 11th Battalion first formed in 1914. When tranied they joined the 37th Division and were sent to France in July 1915. after being inspected by George V. Their first big engagement was during the Battle of the Somme, when they fought in deteriorating weather along the river Ancre, and on the Transloy Ridges. He was killed on October 1, 1916, and buried in the Cemetery of Tranchee de Mecknes, begun by French Moroccan troops, and taken over by the British in 1916.

 

Thomas Jeffries was born in Winchcombe in 1892 on of eight children - his family lived in Gloucester Street. He left home to work as a pork butcher in Huddersfield and lived in digs, but returned south to join up.

Private George Price 240391 1/5 Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment

George Price had volunteered with others in Winchcombe early in the war and arrived in France early in 1915. They were involved in fighting on the Somme, which may have been where George Price was seriously wounded. He became paralysed and was discharged from the army on April 4, 1917. He was admitted to the St Martin's Home in Cheltenham, which had previously been used as a hospital, and remained open after the war to care for paraplegics. Early care for such injuries was virtually non-existent and it was assumed that patent's life expectancy was very short. George Price died on October 25 1920, aged 23, and was buried in Winchcombe Cemetery.

 

George Price was the son of a shepherd, originally from Twying. Like many farmworkers he had moved jobs several times, and George, one of the younger children, was born in Oxenton. and at 14 was also working on a farm. At some time during the war, the Price family seems to have moved into Winchcombe, possibly to Gloucester Street. 

Sergeant John Seabright 7409 !0th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment

John Seabright was a regular soldier, and served as did at least three of his brothers. before the war he was first with the 1st Gloucesters. They arrived in France in December 1914 and were involved in the retreat from Mons, the Battle of the Aisne and the defence of Ypres. He suffered frostbite and was hospitalised but returned to the front sent to the 10th Battlaion. In October 1915, he was wounded in fierce fighting at Loos, on September 27, but on October 1 died of wounds in the hospital at Etaples, where he is buried,

 

John Seabright was the sixth of twelve children of a farm labourer, who lived in Gloucester Street. At fourteen he had gone to work in the mines of South Wales, but left to join the army. As a corporal he was based at Portsmouth, and had be promoted again to sergeant before he died.

Tranchee de Mecknes Cemetery with French and British graves

John Seabright's grave at Etalples

Private Edwin Shillum 0173313 9th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment 

Edwin Shillum's name appears in the first part of the list of men in St Peter's Church joining the 2nd Battalion which landed in France in 1915 . They were quickly sent to fight in Greece. At some stage he was transferred to the 9th Battalion which returned to France in September 1915. In October 1918, pushing forward from Amiens to take Le Cateau, held by the Germans since 1914, the Allies were successful. Edwin Shillum was killed in continued fighting in the area, on October 27, 1918 and is buried in the Le Cateau Military Cemetery.

 

 

Edwin's father, also Edwin, was a cowman on the Sudeley estate when Edwin was born and the family lived in Vineyard Street when Edwin was a child. He seems to have attended the local boys' school and may have moved to Cheltenham to work before joining up.

Le Cateau Military Cemetery 

Private William Styles 201990 1/4 Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment

The 1/4 Battlaion lnaded in France in March 1915, and took part in many of the battles on the Somme in 1916. They were moved to Italy in 1917 and during 1918 fought in some of the final battles on the Asiago and then Vittoria Veneto. William Styles seems to have been killed in the fighting between these two major offensives, on October 24, 1918., against units of the Austro-Hungarian army. He was buried in the cemetery at Granezza on the Asiago Plateau.

 

William Styles was probably a railway man who had originally lived in this area, but who later married and was living in Leeds. His name does not appear on earlier lists in Winchcombe, which suggests he returned to the area to work on the railway and then joined the local regiment.

Granezza Military Cemetery

Gunner George Taylor 83201 Royal Garrison Artillery 177th Siege Battery

Royal Garrison Artillery batteries manned heavy guns and howitzers with a number of men manning them. this unit was probably mechanised rather than relying on horses. George Taylor would have been in France from at least 1916, and killed in heavy fighting on October 11, 1916, when the position of the group of guns would have been obvious to the enemy who would counter attack. He was buried in the Bienvillers Military Cemetery. 

 

George Taylor was originally from Holt in Worcestershire but appears to have come to the Winchcombe area with his wife Alice before the outbreak of the war, and is remembered in Gretton. After his death his wife returned with their child to Hartpury.

Bienvillers Military Cemetery

Corporal Hubert Woodward 19985 25th Battalion Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)

Hubert enlisted early in the war in the Somerset Light Infantry,but seems quickly to have transferred for training with the Machine Gun Corps, an elite corps formed in October 1915 and disbanded after the war. He landed in France in May 1915, but was probably returned to England for specialist training within months. He was killed in fierce fighting around Pommereuil to capture the village on October 23, 1918 , and was buried in the cemetery there.

 

Hubert was the son of the Winchcombe Relieving Officer, who had several other posts, and had come to the town from Bristol. They lived in North Street, and Hubert worked with his father. He was also a member of the local football eam.The family retained some links with the West Country, and Hubert had marrried May Balmond in Axbridge at the beginning of the war. They had had a son before he was killed.

Bienvillers Military Cemetery