Waddesdon is a village in Buckinghamshire. The population in 1901 was 1,547.
The War Memorial records 62 names and of these, 35 were members of the Methodist Church.
The names of the 35 are recorded on two plaques placed on opposite walls of the chapel.
Henry Allen, known as Harry, was born in 1890 in Waddesdon, and christened on the 12 of October. He was the son of Jasper Allen the village chimney sweep and his wife, Mary Ann, and one of eight children, of whom six survived. A younger brother, Frederick, lost an eye in the same war. Their father died in 1912.
Harry joined the 1/1st Bucks Battalion, Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry, enlisting in the nearby town of Aylesbury, as private 2411.
He was killed on the morning of 18th of July, 1916, aged 26, while bringing in the wounded, and was buried in Pozieres British Cemetery, Ovillers-La Boisselle, Somme, France.
Two Waddesdon Methodist men were killed on that day: Harry, and Thomas Cyril Atkins. The remains of Thomas were never found, but his name is recorded below that of Harry.
THOMAS CYRIL ATKINS
Tom Atkins was Waddesdon’s fourteenth casualty of the Great War.
Thomas Cyril Atkins was only 20 when he was killed on the 18th of July, 1916. He was born in Waddesdon in 1896, the son of Thomas and Sarah Ann Atkins of Frederick Street in that village. His father worked at the large Waddesdon Manor estate, and Thomas himself is described as a carpenter’s apprentice on the 1911 census. Five children had been born to this couple, but only Tom and a sister were still alive in 1911. By the beginning of the war, both parents had died, leaving Thomas’ married sister, Ada Speed, as next of kin.
Thomas enlisted at Aylesbury as private 1934, in the 1/1st Bucks Battalion, in the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, and died fighting in the Somme. His remains were never found, He is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial.
His death was recorded in the same edition of the Bucks Herald as the death of Harry Allen.
“Bucks Herald 29 July 1916
LOCAL ROLL OF HONOUR
Pte Tom Atkins, Bucks Batt. A letter has been received by Mrs J Speed, Frederick-street, Waddesdon, from the Captain of his Company, stating that this soldier was killed in an attack on the German lines on July 18th, and expressing sympathy from all his comrades. Tom Atkins was the first Waddesdon soldier to join after the declaration of war, and had been in France since August last. His age was 20 years.”
Mrs J Speed Tom’s sister, Ada was 23 years older than him. Five months later, her eldest son, John who was the same age as her young brother, was killed in the battle for the Somme.
Lance Corporal Hubert Biswell (number 266341) of the 2/1st Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, was the son of George and Mary Ann Biswell. He was born in Waddesdon, and, was baptised on the 24th of May, 1896 at the Parish Church at the age of 3 months. It was Whit Sunday. Three baby boys baptised that day – all Methodists – were to perish on the Great War the other two being Frederick Arthur Cripps and Frederick John Wheeler.
George, father of Hubert, was a railway platelayer, known as “Musical George” to differentiate him from the other George Biswell living in Waddesdon at that time. This George also lost a son in 1917.
Waddesdon, although only a village of 1569 people in 1911, possessed two schools, a Church of England one, and the other, non-denominational, which welcomed the children of the village Methodists. It was this school, the “British School” that Hubert attended.
Herbert attended the Wesleyan Sunday School and was a cornet player in the Waddesdon “Old Prize Band”, as were his two elder brothers. By 1911, Hubert, at the age of 15 was a bootmaker.
He had enlisted at Aylesbury, the nearest town in and on 29 July 1916 the local paper had reported both him and his brother Stanley, as wounded:
“The Bucks Herald
Pte Hubert Biswell, Bucks Batt., and Pte Stanley Biswell R.F.A., sons of Mr George Biswell, New-street, Waddesdon whose other son, Pte Sydney Biswell Royal Fusiliers, is still in hospital suffering from wounds received earlier in the war necessitating the amputation of the right leg. The father is an old soldier and served throughout the South African Campaign.
All the wounded are progressing well.”
Hubert recovered from his wounds and went back to the front, being promoted soon after to Lance Corporal. He was killed in action, aged 21, on the 22nd of August, 1917. He is commemorated on the Tyne Cot memorial, Zonnebeke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. His body was never found.
Thomas was one of the nine children of Arthur and Susan Biswell. He was born in Waddesdon, and baptised at the age of three months on the 28th of June, 1898. In 1911, the family were living in Frederick Street, Waddesdon, and Arthur was a domestic gardener.
Enlisting at Aylesbury, Thomas joined the 6th Battalion of the Royal Berkshire Regiment, number 32876. He was killed in action on the 10th of August, 1917, and is commemorated at Ypres on the Menin Gate Memorial to those men with no known grave.
SIDNEY JAMES BURGESS
Baptised on the 26th of November, 1882, aged 7 weeks, Sidney was the son of Joseph and Elizabeth Ann Burgess. One of seven children, of whom two had died young, Sidney was living with his widowed mother in the High Street Waddesdon in 1911. He was a gas stoker before he joined the Royal Engineers, (number 79957) and had become a corporal before his death. 1911 was also the year he married Lillian E Syrett; sons Sydney in 1912 and Leslie in 1914 soon followed.
Sidney died of wounds received while in service, on the 12th of March, 1919 and was buried in the churchyard of St Michael and all Angels Waddesdon, the Methodists not having their own burial ground. His widow married Cyril Evans in 1923.
THOMAS ATKINS COX
Both Waddesdon people, Demas Cox married Mary Ann Atkins in 1877. Middle child of three, and eldest boy, their son Thomas had Atkins as a middle name. Living in Quainton Road, Waddesdon, father and sons were all general labourers. Demas died in 1905, and in 1911, both Thomas and his brother were still living with their widowed mother.
On 19th of June, 1916, aged 33 Thomas, private 2666713 of the Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry 2/1st Bucks Battalion was killed in the battle of Loos. He is listed on the Loos Memorial, in the Pas de Calais department, one of 20,610 British and Commonwealth soldiers with no known grave.
Aged 35, James was a married man when he was killed in action on the 3rd of October, 1918. He had travelled to London to enlist in the Kings Royal Rifle Corps, 18th Battalion as rifleman A/203757.
Living in 2, Stanley Villas, Stanley Road, South Harrow in 1911, the couple were parents to two little boys, Arthur and Albert, who would have been aged 8 and 6 when their father died. Married in the Borough of Islington in 1906, Louisa’s maiden name was Shrimpton. She had been born in Clerkenwell, and both boys in Harrow.
James had originated from Waddesdon, son of Henry and Ruth Creed, and one of 11 children who all survived to adulthood. The 1901 census finds father and son in Feltham, Middlesex. Both bricklayers, and with another Waddesdon man, they were in lodgings while away from home in the house building trade. Just months later the death of Henry is recorded aged 54, back in the Waddesdon area.
James had been born on the 7th of January, 1883 in Waddesdon, but was not baptised until the 17th of August, 1885, aged two, and at the same time as siblings Ernest Albert (aged 6), Archibald (aged 5) and the baby, Mildred. It was not unusual at that time to take children to the local Church of England church to be baptised, while staying active Methodists. In these cases, occasionally, several children in a family might be taken at the same time.
James was buried at the Hooge Crater Cemetary, Ieper, Belgium.
FREDERICK ARTHUR CRIPPS
One of seven children, Frederick was the third child of Henry George and Fanny Cripps. At the age of three months, he had been baptised at Waddesdon on the 24th of May, 1896. Henry, his father and a former coachman, became a carter on the large Waddesdon Manor estate, and by 1911, Frederick himself, having reached the age of 15, was errand boy to a grocer. In the same year, the whole family were still living together in Quainton Road, Waddesdon.
Enlisting with the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry 1/1st Bucks Battalion, at Aylesbury, he had been promoted to Lance Corporal (266325) before being killed in action, aged 21 on the 16th of August, 1917. He is buried in the New Irish Farm Cemetery, Ieper, Belgium.
Married in 1887, Eli James Cripps, a bricklayer, and Louisa his wife, became parents to 10 children, of whom 4 died young. Born in Quainton Road, Waddesdon on the 24th of August, in 1895, their son Harry was baptised on the 18th of November. A keen musician, Harry was a member of Waddesdon ‘Old Band’, and by the age of 15 was an assistant to a market gardener.
His first attempt at enlistment was rejected, but he improved his physical fitness, tried again, and became Private 267354 in the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry 2/1st Bucks Battalion. He also joined the Battalion Band.
22nd of August, 1917 was a grim day for Waddesdon. In Ypres, six men from the village, (not all Methodists) were killed. One of these was Harry Cripps. He is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial to those with no known grave, which is in Zonnebeke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.
Both of Eli and Louisa’s other sons were involved in the two major conflicts of the 20th century. Frank, younger than Harry by two years, served in the 2nd Bucks Battalion on the Western Front, but survived and returned home. Joseph, the youngest child, born 7.4.1907 was too young to serve in The Great War, but had a miraculous escape from death at Dunkirk. Having had a leg almost severed from a burst of machine gun fire, he was dragged to safety by his nephew (Frank Knight), and carried to a cellar. The building collapsed, but Joseph was dug out, and taken to the Convent of St. Omer. He was nursed back to health by the nuns, but became a prisoner of war for more than three years, before returning to Waddesdon in 1943.
THE EVANS BOYS
Both born in Waddesdon, Edwin, a farm labourer, (who in later years used the forename Edward,) and Sarah Evans his wife, had married on the 29th of October, 1872, going on to have 14 children, two of whom had died in infancy. Of the eight surviving boys and four girls, six boys were still at home with their parents, in Quainton Road, Waddesdon in 1911. By 1916, tragedy had struck, and three of the sons had been killed.
The Bucks Herald of 1st September, 1917 reports:- Mr and Mrs E Evans, of Quainton Road, Waddesdon, have had official information that their sons, Private John Evans of the Machine Gun Corps, and Private Alfred Evans of the Royal Warwick Regiment, who had been previously reported missing, are now believed to have been killed on the dates that they were reported missing. Mr and Mrs Evans, with whom much sympathy is felt, have now had three sons killed in the war, and they have four others serving with the colours.
Born in 1878, fourth child and third son of Edwin and Sarah, Alfred was a stockman on a farm in 1901, but a bricklayer ten years later. In 1911, he was still living with his parents and five of his brothers.
Enlisting in Aylesbury, he had initially been private 22942 in the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, and laterly number 29929 of the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He died on the 3rd of September, 1916, being the third of Edwin and Sarah’s sons to be killed in eight months. He is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme.
Sixth child and fifth son of Edwin and Sarah, John had been baptised on Whit Sunday, 13th May, 1883 at Waddesdon. He gives his occupation as builder’s labourer in 1901 and, more specifically, bricklayer’s labourer in 1911 when he was still living at home with his parents.
Like his brothers Alfred and Walter, he had initially enlisted in the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry (number 21246) but later in the war had become private 7236 in the Machine Gun Corps Infantry, 115 company. Killed in action on the 17th of July, 1916, he was the second of Edwin and Sarah’s sons to die in the war. He is buried in the Flatiron Copse Cemetery, Mametz, France.
Walter had been baptised on the 12th of October, 1890 at Waddesdon, being the 10th child and 7th son of Edwin and Sarah. He was already in the 1st Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry aged 20 on the 1911 census as part of the overseas military at Wellington, Nilgris, India. He had apparently been able to enlist in Waddesdon (private 8945) and became part of the British Expeditionary Force in Mesapotamia.
The 1st Oxford and Bucks, as part of the 17th Brigade, 6th (Poona) Division left India for Mesopotamia (now Iraq) in November, 1914; there, the Battalion took part in the campaign against the Ottoman forces that ruled the country. By the 3rd of December, 1915, the 6th (Poona) division, was in its entrenched camp at Kut where they were besieged by Turkish forces. There were very heavy casualties, including Walter Evans who died of wounds on the 31st of December, 1915, the first of Edwin and Sarah’s sons to be killed. He is buried in the Kut War Cemetery, Iraq.
Alfred was born on the 18th October, 1876 in Waddesdon, son of John and Mary Fowler who had married in 1870. As were most of his siblings, he was baptised in the nearby town of Aylesbury, in the Methodist Church there, on the 22nd of January, 1877. John and Mary were a Waddesdon couple, and John, a gardener, was 2nd cousin once removed to William Fowler, father of the ‘Fowler Boys’.
Alfred left Waddesdon, and in 1901 was lodging at 179, Desborough Road, Eastleigh, Hampshire, aged 24. He was a railway labourer. Still in lodgings, he was in Holborn in 1911, and later in that same year, married Margaret Fowler of Waddesdon, a distant (3rd) cousin.
‘Waddesdon Soldiers and Sailors’ records Alfred as being in the 3rd Bucks Battalion, in January, 1916, but he also served with the Northamptonshire Regiment, 7th Battalion, enlisting in Hemel Hempstead, (number 201972). He died of wounds on 8th June, 1917 and is buried in the Dickesbusch New Military Cemetary Extension, Ieper, Belgium.
His widow, Margaret, died in 1918, before the end of the war. She was cycling down a hill when her brakes failed. She went straight into a bridge and was killed outright.
The couple are both commemorated on a gravestone in Waddesdon churchyard.
THE FOWLER BOYS
First cousin once removed to both Evans families, (fellow Methodists whose sons had become war casualties) Sophia Ann Evans was a silk knotter before marriage. A small silk factory had been founded in Waddesdon in 1843 and by 1881 was providing work for just over 20 local women. In 1882 Sophia married William John Fowler, an agricultural labourer who eventually became a railway plate layer. Both Waddesdon people, the couple raised eleven children, eight boys and three girls, nine of whom were still living at home in Wood Street Waddesdon in 1911. Six years later three of their sons had been killed.
ARTHUR JOHN FOWLER
Eldest of the eleven Fowler children, Arthur was baptised on the 13th of July, 1883. He began his working life as an agricultural labourer, becoming a bricklayer’s labourer by 1911. He was also a member of Waddesdon’s ‘Old Prim’ band.
Arthur enlisted in Burnham, Somerset, becoming Pioneer 129616 of the Royal Engineers 5th Battalion. He was killed in action on 14 July, 1916, aged 34, and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial.
ERNEST HENRY (HARRY) FOWLER
Just five days after their eldest son died, fifth son and seventh child, Harry, was killed in the disastrous battle of Fromelles, on 19th July, 1916. He had been baptised on 5th of April 1896, and during his school days had been nicknamed ‘Jum’.
A labourer on the vast Waddesdon Estate, he had enlisted in Aylesbury, becoming Private 266604 of the Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry 2/1st.
In the early evening of the 19th of July, 1916, near the village of Fromelles in northern France, two divisions one of which was Australian attacked a 4,000 yard section of the German frontline. They suffered terrible casualties in a matter of minutes. No tactical advantages resulted from the action and it remains the worst day in Australian military history.
Bodies of Allied soldiers killed in the area re-taken by the Germans were buried in mass graves shortly after the battle. Most of these pits were discovered by official post-war burial campaigns during the 1920s, which resulted in their re-interral in Commonwealth War Grave Cemeteries.
Toward the end of the twentieth century, speculation arose regarding the existence of an unmarked and forgotten mass grave in a field at the edge of a small wood on the outskirts of Fromelles. Bodies had been transported there by German soldiers on 22nd July, 1916 and then buried.
In 2008 an archaeological team began an exploratory dig at the site, now named Pheasant Wood, and on 31st July, 2008 it was announced that all human remains discovered would be exhumed and re-buried, with full military honours, in individual plots at a new war cemetery situated close to where the soldiers were found.
In 2009 a website of possible soldiers who might have been amongst those found was listed, and DNA samples were to be taken from the remains to increase the chances of identification. There was speculation that Harry might be one of those men, and anyone related was invited to come forward to be tested.
The earthy remains of twenty year old Harry, however, were not among those discovered. He is listed on the Loos Memorial, Pas de Calais, France.
WILLIAM JAMES FOWLER
Baptised on the 29th of April, 1888, William was his parent’s fourth child, and third son. Nicknamed ‘Larder’, he had followed his father’s footsteps by becoming first a farm labourer and then a railway worker. In 1911, he was aged 23 and living with his parents. The Great War had begun on the 28th of July, 1914. Two months later William married Olive Elizabeth Lester on the 26th of September, 1914, at Waddesdon. The couple’s daughter, Evelyn Muriel Maud was born on the 20th of October, 1915.
William enlisted at Aylesbury in the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, 1/4th Battalion as Private 203046. He was killed aged 29 at Peronne in the Ronnsoy advance on 26th March, 1917, and is buried in the Roisel Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme.
His daughter, Evelyn was not baptised until war was over, on the 12th of December, 1918. She eventually became both a grandmother and great grandmother.
EDWARD THOMAS HUMPHREY
Although he had been born in the Ratcliff area of Stepney, in 1876, both of Edward Thomas Humphrey’s parents were Waddesdon people. Thomas Edward Humphrey, his father, and Emma Bull Moscrop had married on the 27th of February, 1865, in St Leonards Shoreditch. Thomas, a police constable in the Hertfordshire village of Aldenham in 1871, had risen to police sergeant by 1881 and the family were living in 5 Bells Building, Ratcliff. At least nine children were born to the couple, their birthplaces revealing the family had also lived in Hampstead, Finchley and Edgeware before 1871.
Edward’s mother, Emma, was daughter of William Moscrop, who was originally from Bolton, and had lived as a child in Silk Street Waddesdon, at the silk factory, as at that time, her father was the factory foreman. By 1881, however, William Moscrop had become a baker and grocer, and an older brother of Edward ( William George) was with him and his wife in Waddesdon. This was to form a pattern as ten years later, Edward’s 16 year old sister Ada and Edward himself, aged 14 and a baker’s assistant, were living with him in the Waddesdon co-op stores. Edward was the baker and grocer and now situated in the High Street by 1901, assisted by sister Millicent, and with elder sister Helen and retired grandfather William Moscrop aged 85 living there also.
Edward’s parents had retired to Pole Cat Lane, in the village of Prestwood, but in 1902, his father Thomas died. His widowed mother Emma now came to live with him in Waddesdon. Still a baker and grocer, the premises now also housed the Waddesdon sub post office. A photograph taken in January, 1909, exists, showing the first payment of the ‘old aged pension’ to villagers, posed outside the shop, which clearly proclaims post office, as well as E T Humphrey. The shop is a solid looking premises with two wide windows and a central door. Emma and daughter Millie looked after the shop and post office; Edward (Teddy) did the baking and delivered outside the village.
Edward enlisted at Oxford as Private 28741 East Surrey Regiment, 6th Battalion, dying of wounds aged 42 on 19 April, 1918. He is buried in Hamburg Cemetery, Hamburg, Germany.
WILLIAM NORMAN JONES
The Jones family had originated from Weston Turville, a Buckinghamshire village about nine miles from Waddesdon. William had been baptised there on the 8th of July, 1894 and his parents, James Jones and Elizabeth Ann Deering (sometimes known as Ann Elizabeth) had married there on Christmas Day in 1872. Elizabeth had been born in the nearby village of Wendover, and was a plaitmaker aged 18 when she married. In 1891 the family were living in West End, Weston Turville and James is described as a thrashing machine engine driver. Ten children were born to them in the village before the family moved to Waddesdon, sometime after 1898.
1901 found the family in Quainton Road, Waddesdon, and ten years later, just the youngest two sons, William and James, both general labourers were still at home.
William enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery in London as Gunner 94716. He was killed in action aged 23 and buried in the Underhill Farm Cemetery, Hainaut, Belgium.
‘Underhill Farm’ and ‘Red Lodge’ were the names given to two buildings on the north-western edge of Ploegsteert Wood. They were occupied by dressing stations and the cemetery which they used, was close to the farm. The cemetery was begun in June 1917 and used until January 1918. It fell into German hands in the Spring of 1918, but was recovered in September 1918.
David Kirtland, an agricultural labourer, and Mary Ann Hickman were both born in the Buckinghamshire village of Grendon Underwood, and were married there in 1877, Mary Ann being about 10 years younger than her husband. Eight children were born over the next few years, but it was not a happy marriage. In 1881, the family were living at 4, Ham Cottages, Waddesdon, and the following year, on 15th April, 1882, local newspaper THE BUCKS HERALD records proceedings from the AYLESBURY PETTY SESSION that had taken place on Saturday April the 8th.
DESERTING A WIFE
David Kirtland was charged by the Aylesbury Board of Guardians with deserting his wife and children, and leaving them chargeable to the Union. Defendant admitted the offence, and urged that he had only deserted his wife “under great provercation.” During the four years he had been married,he said, he had led “the life of a dog.” – The Bench committed him to prison for fourteen days’ hard labour.
The family, including the eldest four children, George, David John (known as John), Emma and Annie were reunited and lived in the hamlet of Kingswood, where they remained until at least 1886. The fifth child, Jesse died in infancy in 1885 but twin boys were born in 1886. The death of baby Thomas was recorded in the Bucks Herald as occurring on the 9.7.1886, the surviving twin was William.
The family again appeared in the local paper on Saturday 21st May, 1887
AYLESBURY PETTY SESSION
SATURDAY, MAY 14TH
THE EDUCATION ACT
David Kirtland of Waddesdon, was summond in respect of his daughter. – (Defendant said he did not properly understand the law. He had put up with many hardships abroad fighting for his country, and had eight children.) – Fined 5s –
He was fined a further 5s. For the same offence in October of that year, and on
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18TH 1888
David Kirtland of Waddesdon, was summond for a breach of the Education Bye-laws. – From the certificates of the school teachers in the village it appeared that the child did not attend school at all. – Defendant said that he instructed his wife to send the child, and he could not stay away from his work to see that she went. – Mr Hodgkinson said that the defendant had been summond twice before. – The Bench find defendant 5s.
These cases at the petty session court give some indication of the family into which William had been born.
By 1891 the family had split up. Mary Ann Kirtland (39) a married lacemaker, and children, George 14, John 13, Emma 10, Annie 7, Agnes 5, and William aged 4 are all in the Aylesbury Union Workhouse. The whereabouts of David is not known.
The family do not appear together in official records again.
George in 1911 was still in Waddesdon, unmarried and living in Frederick Street. John, at the age of 18 years 3 months joined the Buffs (East Kent Regiment) on 3rd August, 1897. Agnes, by 1911 was a domestic servant living in Uxbridge. Mother, Mary Ann lived a very unsettled life. To quote a contemporary source, – “the most spectacular local resident was old Mrs Kirtland, Mother, or Old Ma, Cutland to everybody. This colourful character led a semi gipsy life, and when ‘in her cups’ (drunk) presented a fearsomesight to all, tall, gaunt, smoking an old clay pipe, woe betide any children crossing her path. She was known in the many nearby villages also.”
Inspite of all this, William was known to be a member of the Methodist congregation, and, a most respectable gentleman….
In 1901, he was houseboy to Charles Rogers, at Littleton Manor Farm, and the 1911 census shows he was a private in the 1st Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, in Wellington, Nilgris, India. Aged 25 in 1913 he married Agnes Annie Allen from Waddesdon, but his happiness was to be short lived.
First Battle of Ypres, had begun on the 19th of October, 1914.
This battle occurred in the late autumn at a crucial point in the “Race to the Sea”, when the Allied Armies and the German Armies were engaged in an attempt to outflank one another in a desire to reach and secure the ports on the northern French coast. The British Expeditionary Force (B.E.F.) had moved to Artois and Flanders to extend the left flank of the French Army and hold back the German advance towards the coast.
In September 1914 four new German Army Corps had been formed. Over two thirds of the men were young, inexperienced volunteers between 17 and 19 years of age. As a result of the young age of so many of the soldiers, the Corps became known as the “Kinderkorps”. By 19th October, with only a few weeks of training, they were on the march towards Ypres from the north east. From 20th October they encountered the experienced, well-trained soldiers of the British Expeditionary Force (B.E.F.) who were holding a series of positions making up the forward British Line north-east and east of Ypres.
The Battle of Langemarck was fought between 21-Oct-1914 — 24-Oct-1914
German casualties were very heavy especially in the vicinity of Becelaere and Langemarck. The inexperienced “Kinderkorps” were cut down in their hundreds. The British battalions fought to hold their ground but also lost casualties in dead, wounded and prisoners.
On 21st October, 1914, private 8078 William Kirtland aged 28, of 2nd Battalion Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry was killed in action ‘in France and Flanders’. Sixty three members of the Ox and Bucks were killed that day. Forty eight were never found and are commemorated at Ypres on the Menin Gate, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. William was one of the forty eight and his name can be found on panel 37-38.
His widow married an ‘old contemptible’ in 1916.
JAMES HENRY LITTLECHILD
James Henry Littlechild was not originally from Waddesdon. Born in 1884, he was son of William and Louisa Littlechild, of Cowlinge, Newmarket, (Suffolk). William, a groom, had married the then Louisa Marsh in 1873, and they settled in Hobbles Green, Cowlinge. The couple had ten children, James being the sixth child and third son. Cowlinge still is a small picturesque village with many beautiful thatched ‘chocolate-box’ cottages in rolling Suffolk countryside, and near to both the historic town of Bury St Edmunds, and the seat of learning at Cambridge.
By Sun 5 April, 1891 the two eldest children, Jane Ann 18 and Frederick William 16 had left home, Jane as a servant at Cowlinge Vicarage, and Frederick as a pageboy in Bury St. Edmund. Toward the end of August twin babies Archibald George and Mabel Grace were born, completing the family of ten. However total devastation was about to strike.
The local newspaper reported on 8th September, 1891 – COWLINGE – diptheria has broken out yet again in this village, and has unfortunately proved fatal to a little girl, Minnie Littlechild second daughter of William aged 14 years. The newspaper was woefully out of date.
Over a sixteen day period six of the children were buried. On the 2nd of September, two week old Mabel and her thirteen year old sister Minnie Lucy. Three week old Archibald followed on the fifth. Emma Maria four and Harriett Eleanor aged ten, on the tenth, and finally Frank Theodore on the eighteenth.
The 22nd September, 1891 edition of the newspaper continues…..
The Risbridge Guardians
In reference to the case of William Littlechild of Cowlinge, who with his wife and children, have been suffering from diptheria, and which disease has proved fatal with five of his children, the Board sanctioned the expenses which have been occurred up to this date, amounting to £11.10s 5d. The newspaper was again out of date by the time it was published, as the sixth child had died.
Only Edward John a fourteen year old groom, James Henry seven and the two older children survived. One cannot imagine the grief in that home.
James next appears in the records on the 1901 census. He is now his parents only child still at home, aged 16 and a game keeper. Ten years later, now 26, he is a game keeper on the Rothschild estate at Waddesdon, and boarding with the Evans family at the gas works Westcott, a village one mile west of Waddesdon. Five years later as war broke out, James married a Waddesdon girl, Gertrude Sarah Franklin. They settled in Frederick Street.
James enlisted in the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment) 10th Battalion at Horsham, Sussex, giving his residence as Crawley. On 24.2.1917 Private James Henry Littlechild (12873) aged 32 was killed in action. He was buried in Klein-Vierstraat British Cemetery, Heuvelland, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. Ref. I. C. 18.
Born Albert Leonard Radwell in Waddesdon in 1896, and baptised aged 6 weeks on 29th November, Leonard was son of Ernest Albert from Waddesdon, and Rosa Ashby from the village of Merton in Oxfordshire. They had married in 1879. Leonard was one of 13 children, although 3 of them had died by 1911. Aged 14, he was a farm labourer like his father, and living at 8, Frederick Street, Waddesdon.
He was killed aged 20 on 22nd of October, 1916 having joined the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry 2nd/1st Bucks Battalion, service number 20865. His grave reference is II. B. 20. in the Pont-Du-Hem Military Cemetery, La Gorgue, France
From the Bucks Herald
THE ROLL OF HONOUR
Another Waddesdon soldier has given his life for his country, news having been received of the death in action of Pte. Leonard Radwell, of Frederick Street, the youngest of six brothers, all serving with the Forces, and son of Mr and Mrs Ernest Radwell. The deceased soldier was 20 years of age; he joined the County Regiment in May last year.
The following letters have been received:-
“Oct 27 DEAR MRS RADWELL – I regret to say that your son was killed in action on October 22 by a German Rifle grenade, which came over into the front line trenches where he was. I buried him with a comrade who was killed at the same time by the same grenade, side by side in a burial ground which will be well cared for: a cross will be erected with a name on, etc May God bless you and comfort you in this your great sorrow. – Yours truly, J P Foster, Chaplain. BEF France –
“DEAR MADAM, – it is with the greatest regret that I have to inform you of the deat of your son, Pte. L Radwell. He was sitting in a fire-bay at 4 o’clock yesterday afternoon with Pte. J Morris, when a German rifle grenade fell between them and killed them both instantly. He was buried today with military honours in the presence of his platoon officer and a few of his friends, whom it was possible to spare from the firing line. Please accept my deepest sympathy in your sorrow. – Yours faithfully, B J NEWBERY, 2nd Lieut., Officer Commanding D Company, October 23, 1916.”
THE READ BOYS
Martha Ann Allen Slade, a lacemaker from Waddesdon, and Edward Read, a bricklayer’s lab, from the nearby village of Quainton, were married at Quainton on the 21st September, 1863, living in various parts of Waddesdon, The Green, Bethel Place and Back Road until settling in Frederick Street where they were living on both the 1901 and 1911 census.
Martha was daughter of one of the ‘Buckinghamshire machine breakers’ dubbed ‘swing rioters’ who had been charged and found guilty of events that had taken place on 31st October, 1832. Her father was convicted but discharged and ordered ‘to keep the Peace and be of good Behaviour during the remainder of his life.’
By 1911 Edward and Martha were living in Frederick Street. They had been married 49 years and had 13 children, although by that date, 4 had died. The youngest four children, Arthur Charles (9), Sarah Jane ( 7), Harry (5), and Robert Charles (4) had all been baptised on 11th May, 1887 at the parish church.
Born on 10th November, 1881 at Waddesdon and growing up there, Harry had been a general labourer in 1901 and a plate layer for a railway company in 1911. On 11th August, he had married his cousin Sarah Jane Cook, who had been born and brought up in Wotton Underwood, by parents who were both from Waddesdon. She, also, was a grandchild of the ‘swing rioter’, James Allen. By 1911 the couple were living at Station Road, Quainton, although they had been living in nearby Kingswood in 1907. On the census, they state they are both 29, have been married 7 years and have 5 children.
Harry enlisted at Aylesbury and initially served in the Royal Army Service Corps (Private 1418050) and later in the 7th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment (Private 50582). He died aged 36 on 28th April, 1917 in Arras and is commemorated on the Arras memorial, Bay 4/5.
ROBERT CHARLES READ
Robert was born in Waddesdon on 15th January, 1884 and on censuses 1901 and 1911 he is a general labourer. He is recorded as being the last of their children still living with his parents in 1911. He enlisted in the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry 1/4 Battalion at Aylesbury, and was killed in the Battle of the Somme, aged 31 on 24th August, 1916. He is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme.
James Roads, a carrier, from Winslow, Bucks, and Jane Humphrey from Waddesdon, married in her village church on the thirtieth of January,1859. Fifteen children followed the marriage, with Harry Roads, born in 1875, being the ninth child and fourth boy. He was eventually christened, aged eleven, on 16th July, 1886, with five of his siblings, (William aged 14, Walter 10, Rosa Bessie 8, May 3, and Arthur the baby).
In 1881, ten of the children were still at home, at 66, High Street and Harry was 6. His father had, by this time although still a carrier, become a shop keeper also. By 1891, still living in the High Street, 16 year old Harry is described as a carrier’s assistant.
In 1899, Harry married Emma Boughton from East Claydon, Bucks, and on the 1901 census they are living at Woodside Farm, Doddershall, (a hamlet of the village of Quainton), with baby Ivy Bessie aged 10 months. Harry is now a farmer. Three more baby girls were born to the couple, Gladys Lily, in 1902, Ruby Ellen 1903 and Violet Marjorie in 1905.
In 1906, mother Jane had died at Collet Farm, Waddesdon, and in 1912, The Bedford Advertiser and Luton Times reported the following ‘Mr James Roads, a well known farmer in the Waddesdon district, took some visitors to one of his fields to see a newly-born calf. The cow turned on him and inflicted severe injuries, which were followed by congestion of the lungs and syncope, from which death ensued’.
Shortly after, Harry’s brother William emigrated to Australia and became a farmer in Sydney NSW, Walter with his wife and three children followed in 1913.
Harry enlisted in the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry at Buckingham and joined the 8th Battalion Private 15819. He died of wounds back at Woodside Farm aged 42 on 11th June, 1916. Harry was buried in Buckingham cemetery.
Arthur Rolfe was born in Waddesdon on the 4th of March, 1890 and baptised at the village church, St Michael and All Angels on the 12th of October 1890, aged 7 months. His parents were both Waddesdon people, Stephen Charles Rolfe, known as Charlie, nicknamed ‘Chang’ and Elizabeth Evans who had married 27th December, 1880. They spent their married life in High Street, Waddesdon, Charlie being one of the few working men in the village to own his own home, brick built but with a stone facia. Here they raised their ten children, of whom two died young.
The 1901 census shows the six youngest surviving children still at home. Arthur is described as scholar. There were at this time, two schools serving the village, a National School which took the C. of E. children, and a British School, which served the rest. As a Methodist, it is probable that Arthur went to the British School, which was nondenominational.
During the decade that followed, four of Charlie and Elizabeth’s sons and then later one daughter emigrated to Canada. William went first in 1905, then Frederick, a bricklayer, travelling on the Corean, arrived at Halifax, Nova Scotia on 28th March, 1906 on his way to Winnipeg. Arthur himself left in 1909, and the fourth son Charlie (another Stephen Charles) emigrated in 1911. Annie, the eldest daughter was the last to leave, marrying a Canadian soldier after the war. The 1916 Canadian Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta finds Arthur living with his brother Fred, now a farmer and Fred’s wife Beatrice Marion (Blomfield). They were living in Chester, Qu’appelle, Saskatchewan. Arthur is described as ‘brother’ and no trade is given although he worked as a bricklayer.
Although listed on the 1916 census, Arthur had actually already ‘joined-up’, enlisting at Regina Saskatchewan. His Attestation papers show he had enlisted with the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force on 8th July, 1915, giving his mother Elizabeth Rolfe, back in High Street, Waddesdon as his next of kin. He was at that date aged 25 years 3 months, his height was 5’ 5 1/2”, Complexion – fair, with grey eyes and brown hair.
Private 427418 Arthur Rolfe joined the 16th Battalion Canadian Infantry (Manitoba Regiment) eventually reaching Demuin, Somme, France. The village of Demuin, 5 kilometres from Villers Bretonneux had been lost and recaptured on the 30th of March, 1918, then lost again on the 31st, but on 8th August, 1918 it was retaken by the Canadians. The Allied forces surprised the Germans on the first day of battle, 8th of August, and made rapid progress eastwards of several miles, taking hundreds of German prisoners on the way. The advance recaptured much of the ground lost by the Allies in March, earlier in the year. This battle marked the end of the stalemate of trench warfare on the Western Front, with the effective combination of infantry, air and tanks. It was the beginning of several battles from August to November 1918, which became known as the Hundred Days Offensive. The Allied success of 8th August was a black day for the German Army.
However 43 men including Arthur Rolfe, knew nothing of the hundred days, and they now lay buried in the Demuin British Cemetery, Somme, France, 40 of them being Canadian. The cemetery itself being made by the 3rd Canadian Battalion in August, 1918.
Thomas and Harriett Scott of Quainton Road, Waddesdon had been married 42 years by 1911 and ten children had been born, although three had died by this time. Three of their sons, Joseph, aged 41, Thomas 32 were general labourers, and William 36, a bricklayer’s labourer, were still living at home. George, 32, had married Rose, and was living at 25, Oxford Street, Watford. They had no children, but by 1911, Eli aged 28 had joined them. Both men were general labourers.
While still living in Watford, Eli enlisted in the 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment as Private 27903. He was killed in action in France on 13th June, 1917 and is buried in Wancourt British Cemetery, Pas de Calais.
Wancourt is a village about 8 kilometers south-east of Arras and 2 kilometres south of the main road from Arras to Cambrai. The village was captured on 12 April 1917 after very heavy fighting and the advance was continued on the following days. The cemetery was opened about ten days later but was in German hands from March 1918 until 26 August, when the Canadian Corps recaptured Wancourt. The cemetery now contains 1936 burials.
THOMAS JAMES SHARP
Thomas Sharp’s father and grandfather were also called Thomas, and all three of them became wheelwrights. Grandfather Thomas had been born in Quainton, the village next to Waddesdon, but raised his family in the hamlet of Arncott in Oxfordshire. Two of his sons, Thomas James (Senior) and George had left Arncott in their 20’s and established themselves as wheelwrights in Waddesdon, both raising families there. Thomas James (Senior) married Emily Evans of Waddesdon in 1881 and they settled in Frederick Street.
Nine children were born of the marriage, although one had died young. Thomas James (Junior) was baptised on 25th March, 1883 at Waddesdon, aged 14 weeks. In 1901, Thomas (Junior) was aged 18 and described as a builder’s carpenter, but by 1911, aged 28, and still living with his parents in Frederick Street, he is a wheelwright in Waddesdon, as are his father, Uncle and cousins.
Thomas enlisted at Aylesbury in the Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry, 1/1st Bucks Battalion Labour Corps, Private 3850. Aylesbury, and died aged 33 on 15th August, 1916 in France. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme.
His death was anounced in the local paper:-
BUCKS HERALD – Saturday 9 September 1916
THE ROLL OF HONOUR. Mr. and Mrs, Sharp, of Frederick-street, Waddesdon, have received official intimation that their eldest son, Private Thomas J. Sharp, aged 33, of the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, has been killed in action at the Front. The news was received in the village with general regret, the deceased soldier being so well known as a member of the Old Band for many years. It will be seen from the following letters that he was also highly esteemed by his comrades, and died a gallant death while taking a brave part in the great advance.
Captain P. A. Hall, the officer commanding Company, writes:
August 20th, 1916. Mrs. Sharp,—l deeply regret to inform you that your son, Pte. T. J. Sharp, was killed in action on Aug. 15th last. It was while holding a trench recently captured by us from the Germans that he met his end. The trench was subjected very heavy bombardment, and your son was struck by a piece of shell which burst close to him, and he was killed outright. Please accept sincere sympathy with you in your loss.
P. A. Hall, Capt.
Officer commanding C Company.
Private R. C. Cripps, also a Waddesdon lad, and a comrade and friend, in the same Company, writing to Mrs. Sharp, says:-
13. E. Force, 20/8/16.
Dear Mrs. Sharp,— lt is with sincere regret I am writing these few lines to inform you that your son Tom was killed in action on the 16th inst. We had made an assault the on enemy’s trench and took it successfully, but in doing so were shelled very heavily, and it was whilst this was on that poor Tom was killed. I was with him to the last moment. We were posted together on barricade when shell burst and killed him instantly, and buried me. But my chums succeeded in getting me out unhurt, and it was not till after that I knew the terrible news. It is one consolation to know he suffered no pain, and died a most noble death, giving his life for his country’s sake and for the ones I know he loved at home. Please accept my deepest sympathy, as well as all the Waddesdon boys’. It is a great blow us to know that so good a chum as he is taken away from us. Once more I tender my deepest sympathy you in this your great loss.
THE LATE PTE. T. J. SHARP.
“No mother or father saw him die; No sister or brother to say ‘Good-bye.’ No friend or relative to clasp his hand; But we hope to meet in that Better Land.’*
(Robert Cyril Cripps who wrote the letter to Mrs Sharp died in Genoa, Italy on 9 May 1918
PERCY ALLEN SLADE
William Slade and Elizabeth Allen were married in Waddesdon on 14th June, 1807 at Waddesdon. James was baptised on the 28th. He used the names Slade or Allen interchangably in various documents, and while each of his nine children carried the surname Slade, they all had the middle name Allen. James’ youngest son John, born in 1858 continued with this tradition, with all but the first of his ten children being christened and registered as Allen Slade. James is recorded as James Allen Slade on the 1871 census, but his wife and children merely as Slade.
John had married Rebecca Mary Southam on the 16th of January, 1876 at Waddesdon and Percy Allen Slade, the second youngest of his family, was born on the 7th March, 1893 and baptised on 28th May, 1893, aged 3 months. By 1901, Percy is 8 and the family are living in Baker Street. John is an agricultural labourer, and only the youngest four children are still at home. 1911 Percy, now aged 18 fills in the census return for his family. He is a butcher’s assistant, and the family are now living at Quainton Road, Waddesdon.
On 18th of August, 1915, Percy married Lilian Rose Carter. at Waddesdon and a baby girl, Florence Alice Allen Slade was born on the 26th October, 1916.
Percy enlisted at Aylesbury in the Royal Field Artillery “A” Battery 174th Brigade as a gunner, service number 249625. He died of wounds aged 25 on the 9th May, 1918 and is buried in the Bagneux British Cemetery, Gezaincourt. His young wife and child were living in Milton Cottage, Frederick Street, and his parents the High Street, when they received the news. He never knew he was father to a second little girl, Lilian Mary Slade was born just 10 weeks later on 19th July, 1918.
George Southam was born on 21st of February, 1891 at Waddesdon. Methodisim was strong in Waddesdon at the time, the new Chapel had been built 14 years previously and there had long been a Methodist cause in the village, but nevertheless, he was christened in the Methodist Chapel in the nearby town of Aylesbury, (as were four of his siblings), as Frederick George Southam on the 27th of April, 1891. George, as he was known, was the fourth child of seven. Both of George’s parents were Waddesdon people. Frederick Charles Southam and Alice Atkins, who had married in 1885 were staunch Methodists, although Frederick himself had grown up in a Strict Baptist Household, and his own parents were eventually buried in the tiny graveyard of the Strict Baptist Chapel on Waddesdon Hill, just outside the village.
Frederick recalled that when he was nine years old and working outside in extreme weather, he had suddenly had a vision of Christ. He is remembered as being a remarkable man. By the time he was 23 he had become a self taught builder. In 1885 he built number 70 and 72 Frederick Street, number 70 for himself and his bride, Alice Atkins, and number 72 for his parents. He was to eventually build other houses in Frederick Street, and build houses not only in Waddesdon but also Aylesbury and the neighbouring villages. He was eventually joined by his talented son Stanley, who sadly died at the early age of 35.
Frederick worked on the building of the new Wesleyan Chapel, little thinking that a plaque bearing the name of his eldest son would one day in the future be affixed to the wall. He eventually became Superintendent of the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel Waddesdon for over 20 years in the early 20th century.
George grew up in this strict teetotal household, with his father playing the harmonium for Hymns sung on Sunday evenings at home.
By 1911, George had left home and was living at Tilgate Lane, Bletchingley, Surrey. He is aged 20, and boarding with the Gocher family and filled in the 1911 Census for them. He is a shop assistant to a baker.
George became Private S/3440440 in the Royal Army Medical Corps dying a month before his 27th birthday on 22nd January, 1918. He is remembered on the grave of his parents in the country churchyard at Waddesdon.
John Harold Speed was born in Waddesdon in 1896. His parents were both local people, Henry John Speed and Ada Jane Atkins who were married in 1895. Henry had been born and brought up in the hamlet of Warmstone, Ada in Waddesdon, and once married they lived in Frederick Street.
John was the first of four children, two boys and two girls, and by the age of 14 was working on the land like his father, who worked with cattle. His brother, William, 13, was an errand boy for a house decorator.
He first joined up with the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, enlisting at Aylesbury, (Private 4082) but by 1916 was in the Machine Gun Corps (Infantry), 9th Company. He was killed, aged 20, in the Somme, and buried in the Euston Road Cemetery, Colinamps.
The father of Frederick Stanton had been born in the Oxfordshire hamlet of Blackthorn to a blacksmith and his deaf wife. By 1881, still in Blackthorn, three of the sons, including 17 year old George were blacksmiths too, living at home.
About eight miles away, in 1874 Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild had bought what became the Waddesdon Estate – originally nothing but farmland. He wanted a country retreat built in the style of a châteaux and soon engaged the French architect Gabriel-Hippolyte Destailleur. The foundation stone was laid in 1877. After buying the estate, Baron Ferdinand was quick to get to work on the land. The top of the hill was levelled, drives and banks were cut, and mature trees and formal gardens were planted, and by 1883 an aviary was built. Aviaries were often a feature of Rothschild gardens.
By 1891 four of the Stanton sons were lodging in Waddesdon. Thomas, 29, and James, 19, were blacksmiths, but William, aged 22 was an avairy keeper. Elsewhere in the village, was George Stanton aged 28, the future father of Frederick Stanton, and also an avairy keeper. The next year, George married Mary Ann Ward from Waddesdon and the couple settled down in Frederick Street, with Fred, the second son, (and registered as Fred) born in the summer of 1895. He is 6 years old and living in Frederick Street in 1901 but by 1911 with four children in the Stanton household, he is working and described as a Doctor’s House Boy. The family are now living in the High Street, and his father is still employed as an aviary keeper.
By 1915 he is living in Horsham, Sussex, and on 25.11.1915 he took the oath at Guildford. He first joined the Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment, 6th Battalion. He was 19 years 8 months on enlistment, 5′ 6″ tall with his physical development stated as ‘good’. He was admitted to hospital, at Redhill for 15 days between the 9th of May, 1916 and the 23rd of May, 1916 with German Measles, then on 31st August 1916 he was part of the expeditionary force to France. He embarked at Southampton and disembarked at Le Havre. His days of service in France are recorded as 1 year 195 days before he was killed, aged 22, on the 7th of June, 1917, by this date of the London Regiment, 1/23rd Battalion and Private 703200. He is recorded on the Menin Gate Memorial, at Ypres.
His property, listed and returned to his parents, was 2 discs, letters, photos, a pipe, a tobacco pouch and a photo case.
RALPH COOK THICKENS
On the 1911 census Ralph is described as a boarder aged 11 and living with Henry and Ellen Thorp and their 26 year old son, William Henry. His surname is spelt Thickins. Ralph’s place of birth is described as not known, but he was registered in the King’s Norton area of Worcestershire at the end of 1899, again with his surname spelt Thickins. In 1911 he is still at school.
Private Ralph Cook Thickens, 8/3629 joined the Royal Hampshire Regiment, Number 49925, enlisting at Aylesbury. As one of the Royal Irish Fusiliers, 1st Battalion he died of wounds on 19 May 1918. He is buried in Gwalia Cemetery, Ypres, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.
WILLIAM HENRY THORP
Near the entrance to the Waddesdon churchyard, is the resting place of William Henry Thorp. He had been baptised in the church on the 30th August, 1885 aged 9 weeks, son of Henry Thorp and Ellen Blunt Castle who had married 1882. His sisters were baptised there too, Mary Elizabeth in 1883 and Gertrude Ellen in 1888.
The 1901 census finds the family together in the High Street. Henry is a carter, and William aged 15 is a labourer. Mary is 17 and Gertrude 12. Two years later Mary had left home and married Herbert George Owen, and on 29th May, 1904, Gertrude May Owen was baptised. The name Gertrude is poignant, as sister Gertrude had just died, aged 15. Mary herself died in 1906 aged only 23.
Ten years later, Henry and Ellen had been married 28 years but Henry is described as a 48 year old invalid. Son William is now 26. Grand-daughter Gertrude Owen, 7, is living with them, as is an 11 year old boarder who is to be killed in the same conflict – Ralph Thickens.
Private 266566 William Henry Thorpe of the Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry, 2nd Battalion had enlisted at Aylesbury, but died of wounds at home aged 33 on 23rd of August, 1917. The last of Henry and Ellen’s three children.
THE WHEELER BOYS
Mrs Wheeler lost two sons in the First World War and one in the Second. Mrs Wheeler was born Alice Rebecca Timms in Waddesdon and married Thomas Edwin Wheeler from Oakley in 1894. A domestic servant in the village of North Marston before marriage, her husband-to-be worked on the land. Settling in Wood Street, the couple had four children by 1901, Elsie 6, Frederick John 4, Arthur Thomas 2 and Hilda Annie 1. Ten years later, Alice aged 35 has been married 16 years. Eight of their 10 children are still living at home, Elsie has left, and one child has died. Husband Thomas is a 42 year old Cow Man on the Rothschild Estate.
FREDERICK JOHN WHEELER
Frederick John, remembered as John, the couple’s second child, and eldest boy was baptised on the 24th of May, 1896, aged 6 weeks. Living in Wood Street and aged 14 he is an estate labourer in 1911.
He enlisted in Oxford in the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, 2nd 4th Battalion, Regimental Number 201112. He was killed in action on 25th March, 1918 aged 21 and is remembered in Poziers, Somme, Picardie on a memorial recording 14,673 others.
ARTHUR THOMAS WHEELER
Arthur was baptised on the 29th of May, 1898, Thomas and Alice’s third child. He was still a school child on the 1911 census.
He enlisted at Aylesbury, in the 8th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment, Private 37927. He was killed in action on 28th March, 1918 just three days after his brother. The Arras Memorial commemorates almost 35,000 servicemen from the United Kingdom, 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. The memorial was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and is chillingly inscribed with the words, “Believed to be buried in this cemetery”.
Alice was a widow when her youngest son, was called to arms in the century’s second great conflict. Lance Corporal 5393640 GEORGE EDWIN WHEELER, 225 Field Company, Royal Engineers died 12th May, 1944 aged 37 and is buried in Cassino War Cemetery, Italy. He is recorded on a further plaque at Waddesdon.