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Gillingham Museum Montage

Accredited Museum Arts Council England

Dorset Museums Association



Gillingham at War

Soldiers of World War One
David Lloyd and Alan Whiffen are researching the lives of soldiers with Gillingham connections.  Some returned home and many didn't; some moved away from home and signed up elsewhere; others had subsequent links to Gillingham or the Dorset regiments.

If you can add any information or provide photographs of the following soldiers then please email davidlloyd@gillinghammuseum.co.uk
If you have any WW1 memorabilia for possible display in the Museum please contact Penny Peat, email pete.penny@ic24.net

The list will be alphabetical with the latest entry/ies on top.
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New Entry
READ Frank Thomas
22404 Private Frank Tom READ of the 6th Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment was killed in action on 12th April 1917.
Frank, born 1886, was the son of Tom and Charlotte Read of Langham Lane. His siblings were Fred, George, Harry, Mary and Henry W.  He enlisted at Exeter in the Devonshire Regiment but later joined the 6th Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment.
Frank was one of almost 35,000 servicemen from the UK, South Africa and New Zealand who died in the Arras sector between the spring of 1916 and 7 August 1918 and have no known grave.  One of the most conspicuous events of that period was the Arras offensive of April-May 1917.

Frank is remembered on the Arras Memorial, Pas de Calais, France and the war memorial at Milton-on-Stour.
Entry posted 5 October 2016


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BRACHER Frederick William
14713 Lance Corporal Frederick William Bracher of the 1st Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment was killed in action on 19 September 1915.
He is remembered at the Gillingham War Memorial and is buried at the Citadel New military Cemetery, Fricourt, Picardie, France.
Frederick was born in Gillingham in 1887 to Frederick John and Sarah Stockdill Bracher (nee Ridout).  The 1891 Census records the family living at Newbury, Gillingham with his father described as a cabinet maker.  Next door lived Edward Bracher, builder, and his family.  Frederick’s family are living at Wincanton at the time of the 1901 census and father is recorded as a manager of a furnishing business.  By 1911 Frederick William is a Police Constable in the Metropolitan Police Force but in the census he is a patient at the Royal Naval Hospital, Haslar, Alverstoke, Gosport.
On 6th September 1914 Frederick enlisted with the Dorsetshire  Regiment at Harringay, Middlesex.
His military service included serving with The Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry with service no.19955.  He went to France on 6 May 1915 and died on 19 September.  He was awarded the Victory Medal, British War Medal and 1915 Star.
Entry posted 14 February 2015

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CARTER Edwin James Gordon
24947 or 24047 Private Edwin James Gordon Carter of the 1st Battalion the Devonshire Regiment died 9 May 1917.

He is remembered on the Gillingham War Memorial and is buried at the Arras Memorial at Faubourg-D'Amiens, Arras, France.

He was born in Brighton Sussex in 1883 the son of Jane Carter.
ln the 1891 census he was living with his mother and grandparents at Berwick St.James, Wiltshire. There was also a visitor listed as Jonas Wells a member of the Royal Engineers.  ln the 1901 Census, he was a boarder in Milford, Salisbury, Wiltshire living with William and Elizabeth Hallett, working as a draper's porter aged 16 years.  On the 1911 census he is in Court Street, Tisbury, Wiltshire a boarder with Thomas and Arundell Hull working as a domestic chauffer. He married their granddaughter Alice May Hull at the end of 1915.

Military Service: Edwin enlisted at Gillingham, Dorset on the 31 May 1916 with the Devonshire Regiment. He was killed in action at the battle of Fresnoy-en- Gohelle in north eastern France.  ln records of the battle it states: ‘The 1st Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment on the 8/9 May 1917 fought on when battalions to their left and right were late in the attack.’

Starting on 28 April 1917 the village Fresnoy was virtually destroyed. A quote from Ernst Junger, who wrote Storm of Steel, recalled the barrage on the village, "Fresnoy was one towering fountain of earth after another. Each second seemed to want to outdo the last. As if by some magical power, one house after another subsided into the earth, walls broke, gables fell, and bare sets of beams and joists were sent flying through the air, cutting down the roofs of other houses. Clouds of splinters danced over whitish wraiths of steam. Eyes and ears utterly compelled by this devastation."
A few weeks later on the 5 May the Canadians captured the village.  It was lost however when ferocious German attacks were launched on 7 May and pushed the Canadians and British back.
Entry posted 15 February 2015
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CHURCHILL  Lionel  George
Cpl. 2215 Lionel George CHURCHILL served with the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars Battalion of the Household Cavalry & Cavalry of the Line Regiment. He died at sea (probably on a hospital ship) on August 24 1915 from wounds received at Gallipoli.

Lionel was born in Gillingham in 1882, son of Mark and Elizabeth Churchill. He had a sister Ethel.  His father is recorded in the 1881 census as a Foreman dairyman (Salisbury, Semley and Gillingham Dairy) and in 1891, 1901 & 1911 as the Manager of Gillingham Dairy in Station Road.

According to the 1901 census, Lionel was an outfitters assistant. In the 1911 census, Lionel is a shop assistant (hosier) living in Eastgate Street, Gloucester.  Lionel enlisted at Gloucester on 20 August 1914.  When Lionel died his parents were living at Kirby House, Station Road, Semley, Wiltshire.

The Three Shires Advertiser for 18 September 1915 contained the following report:
TWO GILLINGHAM HEROES KILLED “There was general grief in the town when it became known that as a result of the terrible battle for Hill 70 in the Gallipoli Peninsula two highly respected Gillingham young men had lost their lives, viz Mr Lionel Churchill, only son of Mr and Mrs Mark Churchill, who was attached to the Gloucester Hussars and who died of wounds received in that engagement; and Mr Bertie Hiscock of Bay, Gillingham, who was attached to the Queen’s Own Dorset regiment and who died of wounds in the same engagement.  Mr Churchill had been for some time in a situation at Lincoln. Both young men volunteered at the outbreak of the war and the news of their death cast quite a gloom over the town.”

He is remembered on the Helles Memorial, Gallipoli, Canakkale, Turkey (panel 18) but records note that his final resting place is unknown.   He is also remembered on the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars Yeomanry War Memorial, College Green Gloucester, St.Leonard’s Church, Semley and the Gillingham War Memorial.
Entry posted 11 January 2015
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COLLIS John (Sgt)
201427 Sergeant John Collis of the  2/4 Dorsetshire Regiment  survived the conflict but was severely disabled in Egypt losing his left arm and left leg.

John Collis was born at Shaftesbury in 1880 the son of John and Eliza Collis. The family farmed at Stock, Gillingham living at 1 Wincanton Road.  In the 1891 Census John senior was recorded as a haulier. ln the 1911 Census John aged 30 years is recorded as a domestic gardener, his younger brother Worthy aged 15 years was a farm labourer.
John enlisted in December 1914.

Military service:
Served in lndia and Egypt between 1914 and when he was injured.  He was discharged 23 January 1919 medically unfit.

After the war he returned to live at Stock until early 1936, when he fell into a ditch and being unable to help himself get out he suffocated. John was buried 22nd February 1936.

His British War and Victory medals have been donated by S. Smith (nephew) of 2 Hawthorn Villas, Nunney Catch, and brought to the Museum by Mrs. Warren (niece) of Gillingham.
Posted 15 February 2015
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COWARD Robert Sgt
3/7375 Sergeant Robert Coward of the 1st Battalion the Dorsetshire Regiment died 24th April 1915.

He is remembered on the Gillingham War Memorial and is buried at Woods Cemetery, Ypres, West Flanders, Belgium. He was buried here on 1st November 1918.

Robert was born in Gillingham, Dorset and baptised on 1st April 1883, the son of Henry and Anna Sarah Coward.
ln the 1891 Census the family are living at 3, Peacemarsh Terrace, Gillingham with the family consisting of Anna Sarah five brothers and a sister. Robert was aged 8 years.  On the 1911 Census he was living in Piccadilly Middlesex.

Military Service: Robert joined the Dorsetshire Regiment in December 1899 serving for 8 years and then 4 years as a reservist. He then attested in Gillingham on the 10th August 1914 with his trade listed as a Butler His personal details were given as height 5 feet 6.5 inches, weight 140 pounds, hazel eyes and brown hair with a tattoo on his left forearm. Robert enlisted in Marylebone, Middlesex aged 31 years and joined the 1st Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment.

Service: Posted to Wyke Regis, Dorset 19th August 1914, made up to a Lance Corporal 30th August 1914, Corporal 12th September 1914 and a Sergeant 13th October 1914. He was posted on Active Service on 25th March 1915 joining the Battalion on 29th March 1915. Robert was killed in action with the B.E.F. (British Expeditionary Force) in Flanders.

His widow Nellie Coward of 2, Herbert View, Belmont Road, Westgate on Sea, Kent, having one child, received his medals, 1914-15 Star, on 22nd May 1920 and the British War and Victory Medals on 1st June 1921.

The Second Battle of Ypres 1915 comprised of four battles in the northern sector of the Ypres salient. The first of these began on the 22nd April 1915 as a surprise attack by the German Army on the French sector of the allied front. This attack witnessed the first use of a new German weapon on the Western Front: a cloud of poisonous gas, its deadly effect was carried on a gentle breeze towards French troops and as a result its devastating effect on the Front Line. During the following four weeks after the surprise gas attack, the allied forces of Belgium, France and Britain fought to
hold off German advances to retain ground that had been lost over all the north of Ypres.  The battle ended 25 May 1915.
Posted 15 February 2015
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EDWARDS William Edward
20015 Colour Sergeant William Edward Edwards served with the Dorsetshire Regiment.  He joined up in November 1906 and spent time in India and Mesopotamia with the 1st/4th Dorsets.  He completed his service on 27 April 1919 and was awarded the British War and Victory medals.
William was born in 1891 to Fred and Sarah Edwards. According to the 1891 Census, Fred was a painter and decorator and the family lived in Bridge Street (now called High Street) two doors away from the Red Lion.  William’s siblings were John, Henrietta, Ethel, Mark, Clara, Ellen and Alice.
In the 1911 Census, Fred, now a plumber, is living in Queen Street, next to the Queen’s Head, with Sarah, William now a plumber’s assistant aged 20 and George who is at school.
William married in July 1915.
Posted 15 February 2015
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FLETCHER Harry Luke
Corporal 200165 Harry Luke Fletcher served with the 1st/4th Dorsetshire Regiment in India and Mesopotamia.  He died of pneumonia whilst home on leave on 5 April 1919.  He is buried in Gillingham Cemetery (grave 669) and is remembered at the Gillingham War Memorial.
Born in 1889, Harry was the son of James and Mary Fletcher.  The 1891 Census shows the family living at Langham, Gillingham. Siblings are Lilian (1867), Edwin (1873), Ellen (1880, Bessie (1883), Nora (1887).

The 1901 Census shows them living at Wyke.  They are still at Wyke in 1911, next to ‘Trelawn’ when Harry is described as a printer.  In fact he was working for Messrs J Nicholsons & Co., Station Road.

Harry’s death was reported in the Western Gazette of 11 April 1919.  Harry had joined the Dorsetshire regiment in January 1911. He was in training with the Territorials on Salisbury Plain when war broke out and in January 1915 was sent to India with the 1/4th Dorsets.  He served all through the Mesopotamia campaign and landed home on 21 March after an absence of 4 years.  He had made arrangements to return to his printing job after the end of his leave.  Unfortunately he contracted influenza a week later and after complications developed he passed away on 5 April.  He was due to marry his fiancée at Easter, later that April.
Entry posted 18 January 2015
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FOOT(E)  James Charles
202843 Private James Charles Foote of the 1st/4th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment died 23 April 1917.
He is remembered on the Gillingham War Memorial and is buried in the Etretat Churchyard extension, Department Seine-Maritime, Haute Normandie (plot I.D.14)

James was born in Gillingham in 1884, the son of Anna Maria Foote.
In the 1891 Census, Anna is single, head of the household and occupied as a charwomen.  She is living at Chantry with James and Linda.
In the 1901 Census Anna is living in Cemetery Road with James, a box maker, her daughter now married to Walter Bealing and their child Gladys.
In the 1911 Census Anna and James were living with Walter & Linda Bealing and family. James is a boxmaker (in wood) at the sawmills, (probably Hudson & Martins, timber merchants).

James enlisted in Dorchester on 12 May 1916, joining the 1st/4th (City of Bristol) Battalion (T.F.) of the Gloucestershire regiment.
He died at the age of 33 of wounds received at the Battle of Aras, 2nd Battle of the Scarpe.
James was awarded the British War and Victory medals.
Entry posted 15 February 2015

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LODGE Percy Frederick
Percy joined the Royal Engineers on 7 Aug 1914 and served in France and Italy.  He was a 2nd Corporal and received the British War Medal, Victory Medal & 1914/15 Star.  His service numbers were 41428 & 41828.
Percy was born in 1891, son of Ernest and Kate Lodge.  The 1891 Census shows them living at ‘Peasmarsh Place, Peasmarsh, Gillingham.
Ernest was a tailor according to the 1901 Census and was living at Bay, Gillingham with his wife and children Percy, Harry, Wilfred and Florence.
Percy’s occupation is described as ‘printer compositor and reports in the 1911 Census and he has 3 more siblings Alfred, Gertrude and Nellie.  The family were now living in Victoria Road, Gillingham.
What happened to Percy when he returned home is not known.
Entry posted 19 January 2015
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STONE Gideon
8520 Private Gideon Stone of the 2nd Dorsetshire Regiment was killed in action 17th November 1914.
He is remembered at the Basra War Cemetery (lraq) and at Gillingham War Memorial.

Gideon Stone was born in Gillingham in 1888 the son of George and Eliza Stone. He was baptised 1Oth July 1888. The family were Iiving at Ham in the 1891 and 1901 Census and by 1901 Gideon was working as an agricultural labourer. His siblings were Bertha, Rowland, Mabel and Albert.

Gideon was attested on the 21st September 1908 in Gillingham and witnessed by B E Freame. His age was 20 years 4 months and he was already a member of the 4th Dorset Regiment.  His description was: Height 5 ft 9 ins, weight 13 stone 6 lbs of fresh complexion with hazel eyes and brown hair.
ln the 1911 Census he is recorded with the 2nd Dorset Regiment, Ceylon and lndia.


His military service was.
25th September 1908 appointed to the Scots Guards in Dorchester.
Home Service 21st September 1908 - 6th October 1909.
lndia 7th October 1909 - 5th November 1914.
He sailed from Bombay 16th October 1914 for service overseas, and landed 6th November 1914 in Lower Mesopotamia (modern lraq).
Lower Mesopotamia 6th November 1914 - 17th November 1914.

Gideon was killed in action at Sahil, Lower Mesopotamia 17th November 1914 serving in the 6th Battalion 2nd Dorsetshire Regiment.
He was awarded the British War and Victory medals and 1914-1915 Star.
Entry posted 15 January 2015
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WILES William James
The Western Gazette  o f 24 March 1916 reported that Trooper William Wiles, son of Mr & Mrs Daniel  Wiles of Chantry Villa, Wyke Street was killed at Agagia on 26 February.  His photo appeared in the edition of 31 March.  William James Wiles, born in Fifehead Magdalen in 1895, was Private 1013 of the 1/1st Queen's Own Dorset Yeomanry.
 
In 1915, the QODY were deployed overseas to Egypt, and then onwards to participate in the Dardanelles campaign, where they served as dismounted troops and were    involved in the Battle of Gallipoli, the Battle of Sari Bair and the Battle of Scimitar Hill.
After the evacuation of Gallipoli, they returned to Egypt in January 1916 and became part of the 6th Mounted Brigade an independent brigade that was involved in the Action of Agagia in February 1916. At this battle, the retreating Senussi were attacked by the Dorset Yeomanry with drawn swords across open ground. Under fire, the Yeomanry lost half their horses, and about a third of their men and officers were casualties (58 of the 184 who took part).

William is remembered with honour at the Alexandria (Chatby) Military and War Memorial Cemetery and at the Gillingham War Memorial.
Entry posted 21 February 2016