The Men from Hyde – Richard John Heard

Richard John Heard was born in Alverstoke (Gosport) in 1896, a year after his parents married in Winchester.  His mother, Fanny Luff, was the daughter of a miller in Sutton Scotney; his father, John H Heard, had been born in Exeter, Devon, and was a Corporal in the Rifle Brigade.  At the time of their marriage John was 33 and Fanny 39 years old.  Eighteen months before they married, Fanny gave birth to a baby girl, registering her as Marie Louise Heard, so the baby appears to be John’s daughter.

In the 1901 census, John, Fanny, and their children Marie (7) and Richard (5), are living at 46, Prince Alfred Street, Alverstoke, Gosport.  John is now a Sergeant in the Rifle Brigade.

In the 1911 census, the family is now living in Winchester at 43, Monks Road. John has now retired from the army and is working as a local government clerk.  Fanny states that she has been married for 16 years.  In answer to the question of how many ‘children born alive to present marriage’ she has answered one child, still living.  This refers to Richard, since Marie was born before they married.  Marie, now 17, is an apprentice dressmaker. Richard, 15, is an apprentice outfitter.

In March 1915, John re-joined the army and became a Staff Quartermaster Sergeant, but two years later in March 1917 was invalided out as ‘no longer physically fit for war service’. John was awarded a Silver War Badge in recognition of his inability to serve.

On 24th November 1915 at the age of 19 Richard enlisted in the 2nd/4th Hampshire Regiment as a private and was given the regimental number 201708.  He joined the rest of the regiment in India and in April 1917 embarked for Egypt.  His Division was engaged in various actions in Palestine including The Third Battle of Gaza, The Capture of Junction Station, and The Battle of Nabi Samweil.  Richard was attached to the section of the Hampshires that had to be brought back in May 1918, landing at Marseilles on 1st July 1918, to deal with the impact of the final German offensive on the Western Front – the Kaiserschlacht (‘Emperor’s Battle’).

When Russia’s armed forces collapsed in the wake of the October Revolution in 1917, the Germans imposed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk on Trotsky’s negotiating team (his slogan of ‘No peace, no war’ having cut no ice with the German Army negotiators).  The exit from the war of all the Russian forces enabled the Germans to switch large numbers of troops to the Western Front, using the advantages of Germany’s central position at the heart of Europe. When the storm broke over the Allies in the West in late March 1918, the possibilities of Ludendorff’s offensive splitting the French armies from their allies and capturing the railway junction of Amiens were deeply concerning to General Haig and the Allied commanders.

But enough Allied troops were transferred from other theatres of war to prevent this happening, and the Germans made serious errors on a strategic level to waste the very real opportunities of victory.  The battalion war diary on 25th July 1918 describes a skilful German retreat through woods and over hills, and it was during this time that Corporal Heard was killed.

He was 22 years old and is commemorated on the Soissons Memorial with 3,879 other Allied soldiers.  The town of Soissons stands on the River Aisne, approx 100 km north-east of Paris.

Richard’s sister Marie married Bernard Rafferty in 1921.  By 1933 they had had four children, whose births were all registered in Sunderland.

The Men from Hyde – Alfred Wyatt

Alfred’s father George was born in Gosport in 1823 and worked as a sawyer in Alverstoke/Gosport. George married Mary Ann Lloyd across the water at Portsea in June 1854; George was 31 but Mary Ann only about 16 years old.

In the 1851, 1861 and 1871 censuses they can be found with their children living in Joseph Street, a street away from George’s parents in Newtown, Gosport. They had many children: George Edward (b. 1857), Maria Clara (b. 1858), Elizabeth (b. 1860), Jane (b. 1863), Alice (b. 1866), James (b. 1869), Ada (b. 1871), all born in Newtown. In the 1871 census George Jr, now 14, is working as an errand boy; (Maria) Clara, now 12, is a domestic servant.

In the 1881 census there are three more children: Kate (b. 1874), Rose (b. 1877) and Alfred (b. 1879). The family is still living in Joseph Street.

It appears that a young son William died in 1882 aged one year. In 1883, Edith Gertrude was born. The following year Mary Ann (wrongly noted as Mary Hannah) died at the end of 1884, aged only 47. A one-year old son, Edward Albert, died at the same time. Without ordering their death certificates it is impossible to know why they died, but it is probable that Mary Ann and her son died of an illness.

In the 1891 census George, a widower, is working as a general labourer, aged 69. He is now living at 4, Peto Street, St Mary’s, Southampton, with his children Alice (25), Kate (17), Rose (14), Alfred (11) and Edith (7).

George died in 1894, aged 72.

In 1900, Alice Wyatt married Henry Jones in Winchester. A year later in the 1901 census Alice and Henry are living at 21, High Street, Winchester.  Henry is a licensed victualler, employed on a ship elsewhere. With Alice are her sisters Maria Clara (42) and Gerty (Edith Gertrude, 17) and brother Alfred, now 21 and working as an assistant in a bar.

Ten years on, the family is living together at 33, Monks Road. Alice (45) has been married for 10 years and has had three children: Henry Alfred (6) and Lenard [sic] Victor (4); one child has died. Maria Clara (52), Edith Gertrude (27, a shop assistant) and Alfred (31, a waiter) are also living with her. There is no sign of her husband.

Alfred Wyatt married Emily Amelia Pook in the March qtr 1918 in Winchester. Alfred was 38, Emily 26. They do not appear to have had children.

At some point they moved to London and were living in Marylebone (56, Barkham Terrace, Lambeth Road) when Alfred enlisted in the army. He first joined 4/3rd London Regiment in Marylebone (service number 6436) but was later moved to the 4th (City of London) Battalion (Royal Fusiliers) of the London Regiment with service number 283679.

There are no army records for Alfred, but we know that he was Killed in Action on 26th August 1918, aged 40. He is buried at Peronne Road Cemetery, Maricourt, 10 Km from Albert on the Somme. Alfred would have fought during the Second Battles of the Somme which began on 21st August. British Third and Fourth Armies began offensive operations on the same ground over which the 1916 Battle of the Somme was fought and made deep advances.

Maricourt, where Alfred is buried, was, at the beginning of the Battles of the Somme in 1916, the point of junction of the British and French forces, and within a very short distance of the front line; it was lost in the German advance of March 1918, and recaptured at the end of the following August at the time Alfred died.

No trace can be found of Alfred’s widow, Emily Amelia. She may have remarried.

Alfred’s sisters, who had lived together in Monks Road, remained in Winchester. Maria Clara died in 1927 aged 68. Alice died in 1931 aged 65.

In the 1939 Register, Edith Gertrude can be found living alone in Winchester. She died in 1958 aged 75.

In the same 1939 Register, Alfred’s nephews Henry Alfred Jones and Leonard Victor Jones can be found still in Winchester.

The Men from Hyde – James John Mitchell

James John Mitchell was born in the third quarter of 1868 on Portsea Island, Portsmouth.  His story is best told through this article from Hampshire Chronicle, May 12th, 1917:


Many heard with regret on Tuesday, May 8th, of the death, which took place at the Red Cross Hospital, St. Thomas’ Street, of Sergt. James Mitchell, Hampshire Regt., at the age of 49 years. The deceased, who was probably as well known in the regiment as any N.C.O.

in peace time, and through whose hands many thousands of recruits have passed, was for several years attached to the Hampshire Depot as gymnasium instructor. On the completion of his twenty-one years of service he retired into civil life about eight or nine years ago, obtaining employment at Sheffield. When the war broke out he was one of the first to rejoin, and was posted to the Depot as drill instructor, which appointment he held until in July of last year he was taken ill. He recovered, however, sufficiently to permit of his return to duty, but early in the present year he was again taken seriously ill, and had been in hospital ever since. He passed away, as already stated, on Tuesday morning.

The late Sergt. Mitchell held the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal. He leaves a widow and five children. His father, Mr. Robert P. Mitchell, who resides at Woolston, is an old Crimean veteran (Royal Navy), and two of his brothers have been connected with the Navy; one, Mr. Tom Mitchell, being an ex-Chief Stoker, and the other, Mr.Fred Mitchell, a Chief Stoker, who is still serving. The funeral took place with full military honours on Friday, May 11th, the Garrison Chapel. The Rev. Precentor Wickham, as Chaplain of the Red Cross Hospital, officiated. The coffin, covered with the Union Jack, was borne from the house, 38, Hyde Abbey Road, to the Cemetery in a Washington car, preceded by the band of the 2nd Batt. Hampshire Regt., under Mr. W. H. Orbinski, playing funeral marches en route, and a firing party, under Sergt. Sheward.

Immediately behind walked Sister Hardwicke, Nurses Riddell, Warner, and Addington, from the Red Cross Hospital, and three wounded soldiers, named Salter, Wiltshire, and Tracey; also Captain Hunt, Lieut. Emerson, Sergt.-Major H. Cross, and a number of staff-sergeants and sergeants of the Depot and Service Battalions, Hampshire Regt., a company of men, as also Mrs. Hughes, the Misses Wareham, Schoolmaster Summers, Barrack-wardens Roberts, Hill, and Gostelo v, Mr. and Mrs. W. T. McCall, and others. The family mourners present were the widow and three of the children, Mr. Robert P. Mitchell (father), Ex- Chief Stoker Thomas Mitchell, R .N. (brother), Mrs. Appleby (sister), Mrs. E. Mitchell (sister in- law), and Mr. Symonds (friend). After the coffin had been lowered into the grave the firing party fired three volleys over the grave, and the buglers sounded the “Last Post.” The coffin was of polished oak, and the inscription on the breastplate ran: “James Mitchell, died May 8th, 1917, aged 49 years.”

Several beautiful wreaths were laid by the graveside, these being sent as follows: ” With love to my darling husband, from his loving and sorrowing wife and children ” ; To dear Jim, from his two sailor brothers, Tom and Jim ” ; ” With deepest sympathy from sister Agnes and family ” ; ” With deepest sympathy, from father, to my dear son, Jim ” With sympathy, from Sister Hardwicke and the nurses of ‘ Jellicoe ‘ Ward, Red Cross Hospital” ; “With sincere sympathy and deep regret from Col. H . G. Westmorland and officers of the Hampshire Depot “;” With sincere sympathy, from the W .O.’s, Staff sergeants, and Sergeants, Hants Depot ‘, ” From old comrades, members of the Sergeants ‘ Mess, Hants Regiment, Gosport ” With sympathy and remembrance, from Mr. and Mrs. W. McCall and Kathie,” etc. Messrs. Stroud and Sons carried out the funeral arrangements. The widow and relatives of the late Sergt. J. Mitchell wish to return their sincerest thanks for the kind sympathy in their recent bereavement, and also for the beautiful flowers sent; also to the officers, non-commissioned officers, and men, Hampshire Regiment, for their presence at the funeral, and to the doctors, the Matron, sisters, and nurses of the Red Cross Hospital, St. Thomas’ Street, for all their kind attention to Sergt. Mitchell in his long and serious illness.

Also these three further pieces from the Chronicle:


Just at the hour appointed for the meeting, half-past two, the funeral cortege of the late Sergt. J. Mitchell, of the Hampshire Regt, was crossing the Barrack Square, and at the sound of the band all present at the meeting rose to their feet, and remained standing till the music had ceased in the distance. Sergt. Mitchell was present at the annual meeting of the Fund last year.

MITCHELL On May 8th, at the Red Cross Hospital, St. Thomas Street, Winchester, James John Mitchell, Sergt. Hampshire Regiment, dearly-beloved husband of Jean Mitchell, 38, Hyde Abbey Road, Winchester, aged 49.

3/5226 Sgt James Mitchell, died 8.5.1917. Was serving at the Depot, Hampshire Regiment. Buried at Winchester (West Hill) Old Cemetery.

The Men from Hyde – Frank Dunn

Frank Dunn was born in 1878 in Sturry, Kent. His parents, John and Harriet (nee Buss) married locally a year before his birth. John was a tea dealer (grocer) all his life.

In the 1881 census John (32) and Harriet (26) are living at the Old Mill in Preston, Kent, with 2 year old Frank and a baby. It seems they are living with John’s brother, Henry, a master corn miller, and his young family.

In the 1891 census, the family is back in Sturry; Frank is now 12 years old and has 5 siblings.

In the 1901 census, John and Harriet are still living in Sturry with their 3 youngest children. Frank has now become a “boot salesman” in Windsor, Berkshire.

In 1902 Frank’s younger sister Nellie married Arthur Thomas Verrall in Blean (Sturry).

In 1905 Frank Dunn married Elizabeth Emily Digby in Winchester. He was 27 and Elizabeth 24. Unfortunately it is not clear what brought them both to Winchester.

In the 1911 census Frank, now 32, is a “boot maker (dealer)”. Elizabeth is 29 and states that she has been married for 5 years and has had 2 children, both of whom are still living. The couple are living at 6 Arthur Road with Euginie (sic) aged 4 and Sydney aged 1. Elizabeth’s younger sister Amy (17) is visiting.

On 25th November 1915, at the age of 37, Frank enlisted in the army. Fortunately his service records exist. His occupation is given as boot shop manager. He is 5’ 8¾“ tall. Frank states that he married Elizabeth Emily Digby on 27th August 1905 at Hyde Church, Winchester (ie St Bartholomew) and has 2 children: Winifred Eugenie born 5th October 1906 and Frank Sidney born 8th May 1909, both born at 6 Arthur Road.

His medical history record taken on the same day states that Frank’s physical development is “fair”.  His eyesight is very good and he has been vaccinated as a baby.

Frank enlisted in the 15th (Reserve) Battalion London Regiment and was given the regimental number 535043. The following dates are noted from several documents:

  • Attested – 25.11.15
  • To Army Reserve – 26.11.15
  • Mobilized – 15.02.17
  • Posted (1/15 London Regt) – 15.02.17
  • Embarked at Soton – 24.06.17
  • Disembarked at Le Havre – 25.06.17
  • Posted with 1/15 London Regt at Base Depot Havre – 24.07.17
  • Posted (2/12 London Regt) – 11.08.17

Frank Dunn fought at the Third Battle of Ypres (also known as Passchendaele) from 31 July – 10 November 1917. The offensive began with encouraging gains but terrible summer weather soon bogged it down. By August the offensive was clearly failing in its objectives. New techniques by both sides led to agonisingly slow forward movement for the British, at enormous cost in casualties to both sides.

Frank Dunn’s Regiment, the 1st London Regiment, took part in the following battles at Passchendaele:

  • The Battle of Langemarck, 16 – 18 August 1917
  • The Battle of the Menin Road, 20 – 25 September 1917
  • The Battle of Polygon Wood, 26 September – 3 October 1917

Frank Dunn was reported missing on 26th September 1917, at the start of the Battle of Polygon Wood. His service record states: “Officially accepted as Killed in Action” on the same day.

The service records note that by August 1917 Elizabeth had moved from Winchester to 1 Renilford Road, Balham, London, to be near her sister Amy.

Elizabeth was awarded “a pension of £25 5s a week, for herself and two children, with effect from the 27.05.18.”

On 18th June 1919, Elizabeth signed the form which lists all living relatives:

  • Widow: Elizabeth E Dunn  –  186 Cavendish Road, Balham
  • Children: Eugenie W b Oct 1906  –  ditto
  • Frank S  b [08.05.]1909  –  ditto
  • Father: John Dunn  –  Sturry nr Canterbury
  • Mother: Harriet Dunn  –  ditto
  • Full blood brother:  Sydney Dunn, age 37, 12 Bouverie Road, Folkestone W
  • Full blood sister: Nellie Verrall, age 40, 28 New Street, Westerham [Kent]

Frank’s mother Harriet Dunn died at Blean (Sturry) the following year (1920), aged 66.

On 13th December 1921 Frank’s wife signed for British War and Victory medals for Private F Dunn, 15th Bn London Regt.

Frank’s sister Nellie Verrall (nee Dunn) died in 1922 at Westerham (Sevenoaks), aged only 41. His brother Sydney Dunn died in 1931 at Elham (Folkestone), aged 48.

Frank’s son Frank Sydney Dunn died in 1972 in Taunton, aged 63. Frank’s wife Elizabeth Emily Dunn died in the same qtr in 1972 in Brighton, aged 91! There appears to be no information about Eugenie Winifred’s whereabouts.

Elizabeth’s sister, Amy Digby, remained in London, dying in 1974 in Hammersmith, at the age of almost 80.

The Men from Hyde – Albert Jubilee Barnes

Albert Jubilee Barnes was born on 12th November 1887 to Charles and Mary Jane Barnes; he was named after Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, celebrated in June that year to mark her 50 years on the throne. Charles was brought up at 6 St Thomas Street, his father working as a stableman. Charles and Mary Jane married in Birmingham in 1878, and they can be found in the 1881 census at 35 Tower Street with their first baby. Charles followed his father’s line of business and worked as a cabman.

In the 1891 census Charles, described as a coachman, is living at 4 Hyde Church Path with his family, including 3 year old Albert.

In the 1901 census the family is living at 3 Hyde Church Path. Albert, aged 13, is a printer’s compositor, a skilled job.

At the age of 18 Albert joined the Royal Navy to serve 12 years. His service number was 310323. On his service record he is described as 5’5 ¾ “ tall with brown hair, grey eyes and fresh complexion. He has an array of tattoos: a palm tree, snake, sailor, woman, bracelet on right forearm; rings on 3 fingers of right hand; snake, butterfly, woman, beetle, bracelet on left forearm; rings on 3 fingers of the left hand. His service record also states that he was a boot maker!

In the 1911 census Albert is serving on HMS Hermes. He is aged 23 and a stoker 1st class. His religion is noted as “CofE”. Albert’s parents are still living at 3 Hyde Church Path. Charles, aged 60, is a labourer at the “Corporation” (city council?). Mary Jane states that she has been married for 39 years and has had 5 children, 2 of whom have died.

Charles Barnes died at the end of 1914 in Winchester, aged 64. Mary Jane remained at 3 Hyde Church Path.

Albert served on 8 different ships, including several times on Victory II. He began as a stoker 2nd class, then becoming a stoker 1st class. Soon after he joined Invincible in August 1914 he became Acting Leading Stoker, and in October 1915 Leading Stoker. He saw action at Heligoland and the Falkland Islands.

Like Alfred Wyatt, Albert was killed on 31st May 1916 at the Battle of Jutland. He was 27 years old. He too is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

The Men from Hyde – Charles William Gray

Charles William Gray joined the Territorial Force before the start of  WW1 and was enlisted into the 4th Battalion the Hampshire Regiment – he was allocated the number 4/2206 (the 4 stands for 4th Battalion); he was later reallocated the number 200349.

The 4th Battalion were on their annual camp on Salisbury Plain and because of high recruited were split in two to form 1/4th and 2/4th and were sent to India where the Territorial battalions took over garrison duties from the Regular battalions.  Although the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) has he being listed as being part of 1/4th Hampshire, according to the Medal Register is was 2/4th Hampshire.  Having landed at Karachi on 11th January 1915 the 2/4th proceeded to Quetta where they were stationed.

In October 1915 the Battalion sent 5 officers and 230 men to the 1/4thHampshire in Mesopotamia and I strongly suspect that he was one of them.  His medal index card lists him as qualifying for the 1914/15 Star as well as the British War Medal and the Victory Medal – had he stayed with the 2/4th he wouldn’t have got the 1914/15 Star as you only qualified for a medal when you entered a theatre of war and the 2/4th stayed in India until 1917.

The CWGC has him being in D Coy so it is most unlikely that he was not holed up in Kut el Amara and more likely that he was involved in the battle of Umm el Hannah which took place on 21stJanuary.  The War Diary states that 124 were wounded on that day, which would be consistent with him dying of his wounds on 30th January.

The Men from Hyde – Albert Ernest Brooks

Albert Ernest Brooks was born in the third quarter of 1896 in Winchester. His father, Richard had begun married life as an Assistant Superintendent for a Life Assurance company and at the 1891 census was living with his wife (born Southampton) and two small children – Harold aged 3 years born 1888 in Maidenhead and Frank born 1890 aged 1 year at 52 St Catherine’s Road, Chilcombe. To help with the expense of a young family they had an 18 year old boarder.

By the 1901 census the family had grown. Albert was 4 years of age, 3rd of 4 boys born to Richard and Laura. Richard had left the Life Assurance business and is described as a bread baker from Oxford. The newest addition to the family was Edward, a baby of 2 months. The younger three boys were all born in Winchester. At this time they lived at 28 North Walls.

Albert’s family appear again on the census of 1911. They had moved next door to no 27so we know nothing more about his growing up except that he probably attended school in Hyde. Albert signed up in Southampton to the 9th Hampshire Regiment, in October 1915.This was a cyclists’ regiment. His service number was 29472. Perhaps Albert had a keen interest in cycling which prompted him to volunteer. However, the cycle regiments did not serve abroad and he may have been disappointed when he was transferred to the 2nd/9th Battalion. By this time his family had moved to 3 Edgar Road, his last home, where the family remained until his death.

His unit moved to France probably March 1916.and he entered a theatre of war with the 14th (1st Portsmouth) Battalion. Albert survived the advance by night from Vlamertinghee that the Hamsphires made during the Battle for Ypres. He was lucky to come through a situation where the war Diary reports: ‘There were dead men and horses strewn all along the roads, all of which were being heavily shelled’.

Albert’s next serious action the Battle of the Somme on 1st July when the Hampshires pushed the Western Front a short distance forward. On 3rd September 1916 Albert was required to take part in the push forward from Hamel at the Eastern End of the Somme offensive. He was killed in action and his body never found.

A quarter of a million British soldiers were blown to bits over ten months in a five-mile stretch of the Front to the North, North-East, and East of Verdun. Attacks were hugely expensive in terms of lives lost while the gains made were not reinforced or supplied adequately and frequently retaken. Some commentators consider that a fatal mistake in planning was made on the first day of the Somme offensive.  British troops were required to take 3 rows of German trenches. Had they taken and adequately held the just first line, they may well have had overall success.

This was a major front for the French who suffered the worst firepower of the War so far. The majority of French troops ‘a fait Verdun’ (‘did’ Verdun). A memorial ossuary at Douaumont contains the bones of 1.3 million French dead.

His brother Harold Herbert, who signed up in 1916, despite being married, spent most of the war in Mesopotamia. He survived the war.

Albert’s death is recorded Anglo-French Memorial to the Missing at Thiepval Somme, France and at St Bartholomew’s and St John the Baptist.

The Men from Hyde – Cyril Scott

Cyril Scott was born in 1893 in Dunstable, Bedfordshire. His parents, Burton George Scott and Emma Astling, were married there in 1887 when Emma was 18.

In the 1891 census Burton and Emma are living in Dunstable with 2 children. Burton is a hay and straw binder aged 28; Emma is 23.

In the 1901 census, Burton and Emma are still living in Dunstable and have 6 more children including Cyril aged 7.

In the 1911 census the Scott family is now living at “St Ives” in Arthur Road, Winchester. Burton is now aged 50 and still working as a hay and straw binder. Emma states that she has been married for 27 years and has had 11 children, all still alive. Cyril is 17 and, like his father, working as a hay and straw binder for a “forage merchant”. The family had moved to Winchester within the previous two years, but it is not clear why they came to Winchester. Burton and Emma did not take all their children with them; their elder son Frederick, now 24 and manager at a forage merchant’s, remained in Dunstable and can be found in the 1911 census married with a one year old child, and also looking after his sisters Daisy Rose (11) and Ivy May (8).

There are no service records for Cyril, but various websites state that he enlisted in Winchester in the Duke of Edinburgh’s (Wiltshire Regiment). The Winchester War Service Register states that Cyril enlisted in January 1916 with the 6th Battalion as a private, with the service number 23014. His address is 32 Nuns Road.

The 6th (Service) Battalion was formed in September 1914. In July 1915 it was mobilised for war and landed in France, engaging in action on the Western Front. Cyril may well have been present at the following battles in which the Wiltshire Regiment took part:

1916  The Battle of Albert, The attacks on High Wood, The Battle of Pozieres Ridge, The Battle of the Ancre Heights, The Battle of the Ancre.

Cyril was wounded, probably in the Battle of Messines which took place between 7th – 14th June 1917. The Battle of Messines was a brilliantly planned and executed attack that resulted in the capture of the Wytschaete-Messines ridge south of Ypres, a feature that had given the British problems since 1914 and which was important to hold for future offensive operations in Flanders. It began with one of the heaviest artillery bombardments of the war and the explosion of 19 enormous and long-prepared underground mines.

Cyril died of his wounds on 14th June 1917, the last day of the battle. He was 24 years old. Cyril is commemorated at the Locre Hospice Cemetery in West-Vlaanderen, Belgium, an area between Bruges and Ypres. Locre (now Loker) was in Allied hands during the greater part of the war, and field ambulances were stationed at the Hospice of St Antoine. The Hospice Cemetery began to be used in June 1917 by field ambulances and fighting units. The cemetery now contains 244 Commonwealth burials and commemorations of the First World War.

Cyril’s older brother Ernest William Scott enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery as a Wheeler (equivalent to Private) on 4th August 1914, becoming a Bombardier (equivalent to Corporal). He was wounded once and gassed three times, but survived the war.

Cyril’s parents can be found in the 1939 Register, living in Woking with their married daughter Ivy May.

Cyril’s father, Burton, lived to the age of 83, dying in Winchester in 1944.

The Men from Hyde – James Charles Lovelock

In the third quarter of 1887, James Charles  Lovelock is listed as being born in Winchester. No one called James is listed so it appears that he chose to be called by his middle name.

1901 census show the Lovelock family at 2, King Alfred Terrace. These were new houses. George, 34 years of age is head of the house and a master baker at The King Alfred Bakery – ‘ We never burn the cakes’. George was born in Ditchling, Sussex. His Kate, was then aged 33 years and from Winchester and so it is here they have settled. They have a large family – Winifred is 9 years old, Caroline is 8, George is 6, James is 4, Daisy is 2 and there are twins! Sidney and Hettie are 9 months old. Quite a houseful. All the children were born in Winchester.

By 1911 the census shows the family has grown. The new additions are Frank aged 4 years and Alfred aged 9 years. George aged 16 years is now working with his father as a baker. There are still 7 children in the house. James is 14 years old and Winifred has moved out, presumably married. Hettie, it seems, sadly did not survive as she no longer appears in the records.

The family moved to King Alfred Place, No 1 Alswitha Terrace. James at first worked for Messrs. W. Carter &Co, Parchment Street, as did Sidney Callen. Not happy with his work or seeking adventure elsewhere, he joined the army, signing up in September 1914 with the 1/4th Hampshire Regiment on Salisbury Plain alongside his friend from King Alfred Terrace and colleague, Sidney Callen. Their service numbers are just 2 apart.

After intensive training the unit were shipped in December on the H.T. Caledonia to Karachi. Stationed at Quetta, both young soldiers received training in mountain warfare. In October 1915 they were sent to Mesopotamia but were disembarked in Egypt where they received further training. The unit moved to El Arish, Sinai and thence to Rafa on the borders of Egypt and Palestine serving with the Egypt Expeditionary Force. Both boys entered a Theatre of War (Palestine) 16th August 1917 with the 2/4th Battalion attacking up position about 8 miles south of Gaza. The History of the Territorial Force Association reports an incident suggesting that the British forces were not sufficiently aware of the threat posed by the Turkish troops:

‘Bathing was interrupted by long-range fire from the Turks, who had good observation of the approaches to the beaches.’

Surviving this and later ‘intermittent shelling’ during skirmishes over the next month on the borders, conditions were harsh for all. The Regimental Journal reports:

‘The great heat by day, the cold at night, the roughness of the ground, the plague of flies and other pests, the extreme shortness of rations and, above all, of water, combined to make the operations very exhausting’.

James received his fatal wound -killed in action aged 21 years on 24th November 1917. Sadly, just two days prior to his death he wished to assure his family that all was well in a letter stating that he was in good health. He is buried in Jerusalem War Cemetery. His brother George served in France as a Private, later Lance-Corporal in the Lincoln Regiment and was wounded 12th April 1917 but survived the war. James and his colleague and neighbour Sidney Callen, are buried near to each other in Jerusalem War Cemetery.

James was entitled to the British War Service Medal and the Victory Medal.

The Men from Hyde – William Jesse Bendle

William Jesse Bendle was born in the fourth quarter of 1893 in Poole, Dorset. Census records are few for his family so we do not know when he came to Winchester. His parents were Ernest and Ruth and lived at 12 King Alfred Terrace. Possibly he attended St Thomas Higher School. He was considerably older than most starting work and so may have stayed longer at school.  Colour Sergeant Leach, significant in the story of William Bendle was one of the teachers at his school.  William gained work as a dental mechanic in 1911 aged 17 years.

His career did not satisfy all his instincts though and he enlisted in the Hampshire Regiment in Winchester in September 1914. He was first sent to Salisbury Plain to practise bomb throwing and machine gunning, one of 319 Other Ranks and 11 Officers in the 1/4th Hampshires.  A verbal instruction was received from HQ to ‘move at once’ to Southsea. Shortly aftewards he was shipped out to Iraq and anchored at Ali-el-Ghabi entering a Theatre of War (Mesopotamia) when he was just 21 years of age on 25th October 1915. Sniping from the Turkish enemy would have been his first experience of active service. Travelling on barges, they arrived at Kut-el-Amara on 29th October and bivouacked on the quay. There they stayed until 31st December when they left Kut and reached Ali Ghabi. The next few months were spent marching, digging in, crossing and recrossing the River  Euphrates as the Turks put them under heavy pressure. There was a great shortage of water – a deadly irony when surrounded by great rivers of the Tigris and Euphrates. Water had to be fetched by mule at night, or during the heat of the day when mirages might confuse a sniper.

On 21st January a battle was fought at Umm el Hanna. The History of the Territorial Force Association and War Record of Units records that ‘ The enemy ‘s position was a very strong one, having at least 3 lines of trenches, with the right resting on the Tigris and their left on the large marsh which runs for many miles towards the Persian Hills.’ A frontal attack was supposed to be preceded by a bombardment to dent their enemy defences. However, in the event, there was just 10 minutes of bombardment which came an hour late so that when the troops moved forward out of their trenches they came under heavy fire. Support troops apparently lost direction and were not effective in relieving the beleaguered forces.

The attack was unsuccessful with 231 men of Other Ranks dead, wounded or missing plus 12 Officers killed or wounded. The following months were spent retiring, digging in and suffering intermittent shelling and sniping attacks. The History reports that ‘About this time conditions were very bad indeed’ although the author does not say why.

In April 1916 Bendle is recorded as presumed taken prisoner by the Turks following the disastrous siege of Kut.  Here in a loop of the Tigris River, flooding with winter rains, the decision was made to hold the town against fierce Turkish opposition. The decision was made by To allow the local population to stay rather than turn them out in the cold, wet conditions of winter. Such kindness put a severe strain on food supplies. First to be cut was the tea ration on January 20th. operations Four days later half rations of bread and meat were issued with just half an ounce of sugar a day. The bullocks that towed carts were first to be added to the meat ration, followed by the pack mules and horses with just the officers’ mounts being spared in the hope that they would be useful if relief operations attempted in March were successful. They were not and those animals were also eaten. All kinds of expedients were used to supplement the meagre rations. One officer became a good shot of starlings, others fished and some ate the grasses and plants of the marshes of the Tigris. In the end men were rationed to 4 ounces of four and a thin slice of horse or mule meat daily.

As the men and population weakened, so the sick-rate rose. Dysentery affected most and the death rate grew in the increaing heat. Communication with the outside world was kept up by radio, but attempts to relieve the siege and drop supplies by plane failed. The end of the siege came on 29th      ‘ for which Turkish incompetence and carelessness as well as sheer brutality and cruelty were responsible’.

William Bendle was one such prisoner of war who died on May 5th 1916 just days after his capture apparently at Shanram one of the camps along their death march. Another report collated by Mrs Bowker in Winchester from information supplied by Colour Sergeant Leach records his death at Baghdad 5th May 1916, but it seems unlikley that he got that far.  ( CHECK LEACH’s DIARY)

Colour Sergeant Leach, earned the respect of both his men and their captors. He was allowed to send news back to Britain of deaths. His careful records show the terrible truth of the inhuman conditions they endured. Of the men from Kut who included the 7th Rajput and 2nd Battalion of the Dorsetshire regiment, 50% died in the first year following captivity. Bendle was among them. All survivors were put to hard labour working on railway building for 12 hours a day with minimal nourishment. 50% of them died before the Armistice.

William’s father, had sent a letter to the Hampshire Regiment HQ asking for information about his son. Sadly no good news found its way back via Mrs Bowker, wife of the captured Colonel, and on ??? his parents were informed of his death.  His death is commemorated on the Basra Memorial, Iraq.