Hyde 900 Poetry Competition – Winners Announced!

Thank you to everyone who took part in the Hyde 900 First World War Poetry Competition.  The winners, judged by Edward Fennell and his panel, were announced on Saturday 27th October at Hyde Parish Hall, and beautifully read by local actor, Nigel Bradshaw.

The shortlisted poems were:

‘Theatre of War’ by Patsy Rath

‘The Potato Field’ by Kevin Barrett

‘Home’ by Jenny McRobert

‘Woman in War’ by Sue Wrinch

‘Missing Soldiers’ by Sue Wrinch

‘Hero’ by Jacqueline Norris

‘To our Unshared Childhood’ by Hilary Hares

… and the winners were …


First Place:

‘The Potato Field’ by Kevin Barrett

Winter is about to drop
From a dark cloud,
And the smell
Of old potato mould

Clings to the last haulm,
The crunch of hobnails on gravel
Breaks the silence,
And in the flames

I see vacant eyes
Staring across a wind stroked field
Where the spade
Unsure in gun calloused hands,

Scattered the first tubers
Onto the free black soil,
Such are the things I contemplate,
When I stand alone

In a field stroked by the wind,
When winter is about to drop.


Second Place:

‘Home’ by Jenny McRobert

You come home to me
with peonie arms, their petals
quiet-fall covering my face.
Your feet tread over new day poppies
that open to receive your touch.
Your face fades
like warm summer wind
as you move towards me.
Behind your eyes I see the mud flood
and slip through.

Pale in false lightening, strung together
like rows of newly ripe fruit
hanging on a fragile bough,
they turn their driftwood eyes
to those that wait, who fix the horizon.
Limp fingers fumble
the tattered fabric of their lives,
as point on point they stitch
through time’s treacle-tread.

Your gentle hand
whispers my moistened cheek.
Folding my sadness into your palm,
you pick up your knapsack
and turn to resume your journey.
Like foot-padded night,
you carry the swag
of my sweet sleep
your shoulder.


Third Place:

‘To our Unshared Childhood’ by Hilary Hares

He’s the boy who stands and grins
behind the cricket stumps

and, in another shot, Goliath, braced
behind the plywood shield my father made.

If I’m bored, I’ll make him into a game
of knights and dragons on the kitchen floor.

When I play up he’s the sword
the Red Queen raises – I pretend

we share the step where I’m sent to sit.
Today he’s the man who carries

wartime back from the camp
in a bag of kit;

the man I’ve never met,
the soldier, who, my mother says,

will live with us and call me

The Men from Hyde – Herbert Frederick Collins

Herbert Frederick Collins was born in Winkfield (a village between Bracknell and Windsor in Berkshire), at the end of 1897, the son of Edwin James Collins and his wife Sarah.  His father Edwin was born in Newmarket, Cambs, and worked as a domestic gardener throughout East Anglia. The family were living in Winchester by 1907, since their youngest son Ernest died that year in Winchester aged 6.

In the 1911 census, the family is living at The Nursery, Park Road, Winchester where Edwin is now a nurseryman, employing others to run the nursery, including his son Bernard William, aged 18.

In November 1914, at the age of 17, Herbert enlisted in the Hampshire Regiment as a Trooper, with the army number 33443.  He served with the Pioneers, the 11th (Service) Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment.  The 11th Battalion was formed in Winchester in September 1914, and their main function was the repair of trenches, maintenance of roadways and tracks, bringing up coils of barbed wire and picket posts.  When the need arose, they would convert to full fighting troops.

The Battalion moved to Ireland and Aldershot to train, before being mobilised for war on 18th December 1915.  They landed at Le Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western Front.

By mid-February 1918, the Germans had moved many divisions from the now collapsed Eastern front to the West.  The Allies had been expecting an attack in March, and it came as a massive onslaught of the Kaiserschlacht (Emperor’s Battle), a series of assaults on the Allied lines that was supposed to bring the Germans victory in the West after the defeat of Russia in the East in 1917.  Thus began the First Battles of the Somme which took place from 21st March – 5th April 1918. The first phase was the Battle of St Quentin (21st -23rd March) and Herbert was Killed in Action on 22nd March 1918.  He was 20 years old.

The Battle diary of the 11th Battalion begins the entry for 21st March 1918 with “German barrage put down on the Front Line and back area very heavily shelled –  gas and High Explosive shells”.  The Battalion had to retreat though “stampede was avoided and transport removed without casualties”.  On the

morning of 22nd March, “Enemy commenced his attack at 10:30am in a heavy mist … The right flank of the ST EMILIE position being now completely turned, the withdrawal continued to VILLERS FAUCON, Battalion suffering several casualties during the withdrawal.  Successive positions were taken up on the railway embankment and on the high ground.”

Herbert was buried at Pozieres Cemetery which is some way to the west of the site of the action on 22nd March.  Some idea of the scale of the fighting on the Western Front at this stage of the war is given by the sheer number of burials in the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery at Pozieres: the total number of Commonwealth troops buried here is 14,708 – and this is just one cemetery. By May 1918, the Battalion had lost so many men that it had been reduced to becoming a training cadre.

Herbert’s older brother, Bernard William, enlisted in the army much earlier, in 1912, aged 18 or 19, as a Private in the Hampshire Regiment.  He served in India, Mesopotamia (Iraq), and Persia.  He survived the war and married May Louisa Munt in 1922 in Winchester.

The Men from Hyde – Thomas Bernard Loader

Thomas Bernard Loader was born in 1887 in the Winchester registration district.

His parents, Edward Loader and Emily (nee Roberts), had married in Shoreditch at the end of 1873 when Emily was only 21.  In the 1881 census they can be found at 9, Clement Street. Edward is aged 33, a grocer’s porter, born in Colden Common; Emily is 29.  They have 4 children: Kate (9), Edward (6), Mary (3), and Teresa (1). Emily and her children were all born in Winchester.

In the 1891 census, the family is living at 17, Hyde Close.  Edward, 44, is a porter. There are now four more children: Albert (8), James (7), Thomas (4) and Margaret (2).

In the 1901 census, the family is living at 16, Hyde Close (is the address of 17, Hyde Close in 1891 a mistake? Or did they move next door?).  Edward is still a grocer’s porter and two of his sons have followed him in the trade: James, 16, is a draper’s porter, and Thomas, 14, a grocer’s porter.  The older five siblings have left home (Albert had enlisted in the Royal Navy on his 18th birthday).  Since the last census, two more daughters have been born: Emily (8), and Florence (6).

In the 1911 census, Edward, 63, is now a porter for a wine and spirit merchant. Emily states that she has been married for 39 years and has had 11 children, two of which have died.  Only Florence, aged 16, is now living with them at 16, Hyde Close.

Where was Thomas?  He was by then aged 23 and working as a stable lad for racing horses in Chilcomb (just outside Winchester).

Thomas’ father Edward died in 1914, aged 69.

Thomas’ brother Albert was lost at sea when his ship Alcantara sank in February 1916.  The following month Thomas enlisted in the 1st Battalion Hampshire Regiment and was given the regimental number 22302, but later attached to the 14th Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment in the Machine Gun Corps.  The Winchester War Register states that he was wounded three times: in August 1916, and in July and December 1917 in Flanders.  He did not recover from his wounds and died on 2nd February 1918, aged 31, almost exactly two years after his brother Albert was lost at sea.

Thomas is buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery in Belgium.  During the First World War, the village of Lijssenthoek (20 miles south-west of Dunkirk) was situated on the main communication line between the Allied military bases in the rear and the Ypres battlefields.  Close to the Front, but out of the extreme range of most German field artillery, it became a natural place to establish casualty clearing stations.  The cemetery contains 9,901 First World War Commonwealth burials.

Albert’s widowed mother Emily died in the September quarter of 1918 aged 66, only months after Thomas’ death.

It is not known if Edward and James, brothers of Thomas and Albert, served in WW1.

The Men from Hyde – ‘Harry’ Haviland White

Harry White was born Haviland White in 1880 in Holdenhurst, Bournemouth, the son of William and Eliza White.  He appears to have used both names, calling himself Harry Haviland White.

In the 1881 census, the year after Harry was born, he is living at the ‘Three Elms Inn’ at Holdenhurst where his father is the landlord.  William and Eliza (both 32 years old) have three children: Catherine (9), Henry (6, registered in 1875 as Harry White), and Haviland (1). The whole family was born in Holdenhurst.

By 1891, the family had moved to Winchester where they are living at 64, Canon Street.  William (42) is now working as a builder.  As well as Henry (15), Catherine (13), and Haviland (10), there are 3 further children: Eva (9), Lot (7), and Sydney (5).

In the 1901 census, the family is living at 3, King Alfred Place.  Only two of the siblings are now living at home: Lot (17) is working as a carpenter’s apprentice, and Sidney (14) is a bricklayer’s assistant.  Haviland cannot be traced in the census.

However, by the 1911 census, Haviland had returned to his parents at 3, King Alfred Place.  He is now 30 and working as a carter. His sister Eva (29) is at home, also his brother Sidney (24) who is a carpenter.  His mother Eliza states that she has had 6 children, one of whom has died: Lot had died in 1907 aged 23.

In 1912, Haviland married Ellen May Dumper in Winchester.  Ellen had been born in Winchester in 1887 and went on to have two children with Haviland: Doris (born 1913) and Harry (born 1916).

Haviland enlisted in the Royal Navy in August 1914 as a stoker, with service number 283351.  He served with HMS Venus, a light cruiser with a crew of 450.

HMS Venus

Venus had left Portsmouth in July 1914 to patrol the Irish waters, and a year later sailed for Gibraltar and then Aden.  It is not known at what point Haviland joined the ship.  In February 1916, Venus sailed on to Sri Lanka, in May to Singapore, then the Philippines, and in August 1916 to Hong Kong.  After several months in the area, Venus left for Singapore in March 1917 and then on to Sri Lanka in June 1917.

The log book for HMS Venus gives the numbers of sick men: in early August 1918 in Aden there were up to 45 each day, and Haviland may well have been one of these.  Haviland, by this time a Leading Stoker, was sent to Portsmouth to HMS Victory.  This ship was based in Portsmouth as a training school, though by 1906 the school had been moved to the Royal Naval Barracks in Portsmouth, retaining the name of Victory as another name for the Barracks.

Haviland died at the Royal Navy Barracks on Thursday 19th September 1918 from illness, though this is not specified.  He was buried at Winchester (West Hill) Old Cemetery.

Haviland’s children were aged 5 and 2. His widow Ellen remained in Winchester until her death in 1957, aged 69.

The Men from Hyde – Frederick George Woods

Frederick George Woods was born on 17th November, 1899 at the Shorncliffe Army Base near Folkestone, Kent.  His parents were William Henry and Annie Elizabeth (nee Martin) Woods, who had married on 10th December 1891 on Portsea Island, Portsmouth.

Frederick and his siblings were born and brought up in different parts of the world as their father served in the army for many years as a musician. Fortunately, the army records of Frederick’s father are available and give much information on the family.

In 1881, William Henry Woods enlisted in the army in Roorkee, a town in the far north of India, at the age of “14 years and 2 months”!  As he was already in India, it can be assumed that his father was also in the army. He served in the Dorset Regiment, then the Hampshire Regiment, in India, Aden, Malta and Britain.  He became a Bandsman at the age of 16, rising to becoming a Bandmaster.

William’s army records give detailed information on his children:

Beatrice Annie  born August 1893 in Belfast

William Charles  born April 1895 in Belfast

John Thomas Martin  born October 1897 in Malta

Frederick George  born November 1899 at Shorncliffe

Godfrey James  born July 1906 in Dorchester

By the time William left the army in 1908 he had served for almost 27 years. He then enlisted in the Territorial Force of the Hampshire Regiment in 1909 for a further 4 years as a musician, serving ‘at home’ in Britain.  When WW1 began, William was sent to India in October 1914, not being demobilized until February 1919.  He left the army with long service and good conduct medals.

However, William returned to the army in 1920 and was accepted as a Bandmaster in the Territorials at the age of 53. He finally left the army in 1923.

1914 Wife Annie living at 6 Wilson Rd, Portsmouth

Home address 26 Nuns Rd 21.3.19

Died 11 June 1944 at 26 Nuns Rd aged 77

Informant: B G Marcham, 26 Nuns Rd

His parents were living in 26, Nuns Road when the war broke out.  He was enlisted in the Bedfordshire Regiment.  By this stage in the war, there was not much link between where a man enlisted and the territory linked to the name of his new regiment.  Serving soldiers were frequently attached to different regiments as the war progressed.  He was allocated to the 2nd Garrison Battalion of the Bedfordshires.  They were based in India, and that is where Frederick spent the war, with no record of his unit being in combat.  He died of Malaria on 6th December 1918.

The Men from Hyde – William Frank Leach

William Frank Leach, known to all as Billy, was the son of William and Alice Mary Leach (nee Sawkins).  He was born in 1888 in Alderbury, near Salisbury. His parents had married in London in 1883 and went on to have seven children, only one of which was a son; William.

In the 1891 census, the family is living over a grocer’s shop at 41 Castle Street, Salisbury.  William Snr is a grocer and wine merchant.  He and Alice are both 35 years old. With them are their children Maud Sarah (7), Alice Winifred (6), Dorothy (4), William Frank (2), and Margery (under 1 month).  William Snr’s sister Sarah Leach is visiting.  The whole of the family was born in Salisbury.  William’s business appears to be thriving as he has two live-in nurses and a general servant.

In the 1901 census, the family is leaving in Bemerton, Wiltshire.  William Snr is described as a grocer’s traveller.  Maud is now 17 and a Pupil Teacher at an elementary school.  Another daughter has arrived since the last census: Mary, aged 3.  William is 12 years old.

According to the Winchester War Register, William enlisted in the Hampshire Regiment in 1906 at the age of 17.  This was probably a part-time role as in the 1911 census William Frank is 22 years old and a schoolmaster at an elementary school.  He is boarding with George Wheeler and his wife at 2, Alswitha Terrace, Winchester.  George Wheeler is probably a friend of William Leach as they were both born in Salisbury and George is described as a ‘Traveller grocer and provisions, wine and spirits’ like William Leach Snr.

William joined the Hampshire Regiment as a private, but rose to the post of Colour Sergeant Major, the highest rank open to a non-commissioned officer. He was sent to India with the 1/4th Hampshire Regiment, embarking at Southampton on 9th October 1914 and in March 1915 moved to Mesopotamia (Iraq), landing at Basra.  He was taken prisoner by the Turks, captured after the surrender of Kut al Amara on 29th April 1916.  By then William had been Mentioned in Despatches and had earned rapid promotion to the rank of Regimental Serjeant Major.

The capture of the British and Indian forces at Kut in central Iraq led to great hardship and many deaths; in particular the other ranks.  Ottoman central control was weak and haphazard, and as the Allies resumed their advance in the Middle East under, among others, General Allenby, the Ottomans marched prisoners away from their retreating front line to camps in the interior of their Empire.

William died on 2nd May 1918 of typhoid at the age of 30, caught, it was claimed, by those who were there, as he looked after British and Indian prisoners in the PoW camp at Nuseybin to the north west of Mosul.

There are several items belonging to William in the Royal Hampshire Museum.  One is a letter from a British officer who had been with him at his death.  The address from where it written is Afyon KaraHisar; William died at Nuseybin; he is commemorated in a very sensitive part of modern Baghdad, near the University.  The three places are separated by 850 miles.

Another letter from a British PoW who knew Billy says that he was “one of the few unfortunates who have died in this country who have received a decent burial”.  The inscription on his headstone says: “He did his duty”.

William Snr died in either 1919 or 1929 in Salisbury.  Alice Mary died in Romford, Essex in 1938 aged 83.

The Men from Hyde – Henry Charles Hall

Henry Charles Hall’s grandparents, George and Charlotte Hall, lived at 2, Jewry Street in 1861 while his father, Henry George Hall, aged 13, was at boarding school nearby at Trafalgar House in Trafalgar Street.  By 1871 the family was living at 69, Hyde Street where they remained for many years.  George Hall was a farmer, born and bred in Winchester, as were his wife and children.  His son Henry George Hall, the father of Henry Charles, married Annie Cook from Alresford in 1875.

In the 1881 census, Henry George, now 33, has taken over from his father at 69, Hyde Street; he is a farmer of 200 acres and employs 7 men.  At this time he has 3 children: George (3), Annie (2), and Ethel Mary (1).  There is also a domestic servant.

Henry Charles was born in 1884, the sixth child of Henry George and Annie.

A few years later, in the 1891 census, Henry Charles has 6 siblings, all born in Winchester and looked after by a governess, Florence Castle, aged 25. There is also a domestic servant.

In the 1901 census, there are two more children: Thomas Pain (7) and Norah K (2 months). Of the siblings, only the eldest are present: Annie (23), Ethel Mary (22), Walter (20), and Henry Charles (17); the others are possibly at boarding school. There are two domestic servants.

Henry Charles’s mother Annie died in 1911 aged 56, around the time of the census.  Her husband Henry George is 63 and states that he has been married for 35 years and had 10 children, 4 of whom have died.  The family is still living at 69 Hyde Street and running the farm with the help of Walter (29), Henry Charles (26) and Thomas Pain (16).  There is a general servant, but daughter Annie (33) is running the household (“maid of all works”) with Margaret (24, washerwoman).

Henry George Hall died three years later in 1914, aged 66.

It is not known when Henry Charles enlisted in the army.  He enlisted first in the Wiltshire Regiment and was then moved to the 1/1st Hampshire Yeomanry.  The Hampshire Yeomanry was also known as the Hampshire Carabiniers – as a Yeomanry cavalry regiment formed during the French Revolutionary Wars – and known as the Carabiniers.

The 1st Line regiment was mobilized at Winchester in August 1914 and moved to the Portsmouth defences.  In March 1916, the regiment was split up as divisional cavalry squadrons.  The Regimental Headquarters and ‘B’ Squadron of the Hampshire Yeomanry were based at Hyde Close.  Both joined the 60th (2/2nd London) Division and landed at Le Havre on 25th June 1916.  A few days later, RHQ joined IX Corps Cavalry and ‘B’ Squadron joined XVII Corps Cavalry.  Both rejoined as one regiment on 25 January 1917, serving as IX Corps Cavalry Regiment up to 25 July 1917.  On 25 August 1917, the regiment dismounted and went to be trained as infantry.  On 27 September 1917, the regiment joined 15th Battalion the Hampshire Regiment and was renamed the 15th (Hampshire Yeomanry) Battalion.

The Battalion was in 122nd Brigade41st Division.  On 12 November 1917, it moved to the Italian Front with the division, but returned to the Western Front at the beginning of May 1918 and remained there until the end of the war.

The ‘Advance in Flanders’ in Belgium took place between 18 August – 6 September 1918 when the Second and Fifth Armies began operations in the Lys valley, recapturing the ground lost in April 1918.  Henry Charles Hall was by then a 2nd Lieutenant in the Second Army. He was Killed in Action on 4th September 1918 aged 34.

Henry is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial in West Flanders, one of four memorials to the missing in Belgian Flanders which cover the area known as the Ypres Salient, formed during the First Battle of Ypres in 1914.  The battles of the Ypres Salient claimed many lives on both sides and it quickly became clear that the commemoration of members of the Commonwealth forces with no known grave would have to be divided between several different sites.

The Menin Gate Memorial commemorates those who died in the Salient before 16 August 1917, and those who died after that date are named on the memorial at Tyne Cot, a site which marks the furthest point reached by Commonwealth forces in Belgium until nearly the end of the war.  Tyne Cot bears the names of almost 35,000 officers and men whose graves are not known.

Henry has three service records:

Service record 1: No 100240, Corporal in the 1/1st Hampshire Regiment

Service record 2: No 204660, Corporal in the 15th Hampshire Regiment

Service record 3: 2nd Lieutenant in the Wiltshire Regiment

Henry Charles’s brother, Thomas Pain Hall, served as a 2nd Lieutenant with the Hussars and survived.  The Winchester War Service Register gives the address of Henry Charles and Thomas Pain Hall as 32, Hyde Street, Winchester.

In 1925, at the age of 30, Thomas Pain Hall married Kathleen M Gray in Winchester.

The Men from Hyde – Charles Frank Dearlove

The parents of Charles Frank Dearlove were Charles James and Sarah Dearlove who had married in Winchester in 1882. Sarah was a widow who had married William Triphook in 1874 but lost both her husband and 4 year old son in 1880. She had a daughter from this first marriage, also called Sarah.

Sarah’s second husband Charles James Dearlove was born in Whitechapel, the son of a dock labourer, and he worked as a carman.  Charles and Sarah lived in London and Kent.  Charles Frank was born in 1887 in Shorncliffe, Kent.

In the 1891 census, Charles Frank is aged 4 and living in Bethnal Green with his father Charles (41, carman), mother Sarah (38, tailoress), step-sister Sarah (17, boot finisher) and siblings Annie Eliza (10, born Winchester) and Emily (2, born Whitechapel).

Charles’s father died in 1897 in Whitechapel, aged 46. His mother Sarah moved back to Winchester with her children. In the 1901 census she is living at 32 Eastgate Street, aged 48, and working as a dressmaker and tailoress.  Her daughters Sarah (27) and Annie Eliza (18) are both working at a laundry. Charles Frank is 14 and working as an errand boy. The youngest, Emily, is aged 12. Sarah’s nephew, a groom born in Ireland, is staying with them.

In 1902, Charles’ step-sister Sarah Louisa Triphook married William James Payton in Winchester.  In 1905 Charles’ sister Annie Eliza married Walter Ward, also in Winchester.

In the 1911 census, their mother Sarah is visiting family in Mansfield with her daughter Annie who is 28 and now has three children. They are visiting Annie’s sister-in-law, Fanny Rose (nee Ward).

In the same census, Charles is aged 24, working as a milkman and still living at 32, Eastgate Street with his step-sister Sarah Louisa Payton (28, laundress) and her husband William Payton (44, stableman).

In 1914, Charles Frank Dearlove married Ethel Louisa Wild in Winchester.  Ethel had been born in Winchester in 1889 to Herbert and Ann Elizabeth Wild. Herbert was a railway plate layer and brought his family up at 21, Victoria Road, Hyde.  In the 1911 census, Ethel’s mother states that she has had 13 children, 5 of whom have died. In the same census, Ethel, aged 22, is working as a servant for a retired naval man at ‘Cedar Gwent’ in Winchester.

Charles Frank and Ethel Louise had two children: Leonard (born 1915) and Doris (born 1917). We can assume from this that Charles did not enlist until around the end of 1916.

Charles joined the 8th (Service) Battalion Somerset Light Infantry (also known as Prince Albert’s Regiment) and received the regimental number 27875.  His records state that at the time of his enlistment his mother Sarah was living at 32, Eastgate Street and his wife and children at 8, Swan Lane. There is some difficulty searching for information on his army life as he is recorded as both Charles Frank and Frank Charles Dearlove.

The 8th Battalion was in the 37th Division of the Third Army and took part in several battles on the Western Front. The Second Battles of the Somme took place from 21st August until 3rd September 1918 when the British Third and Fourth Armies began offensive operations on the same ground over which the 1916 Battle of the Somme was fought. They made successful advances.

Charles would have taken part in the Battle of Albert between 21st-23rd August 1918.  He was Killed in Action on 25th August, though we do not have his service records to explain the circumstances. He was 30 years old.

Charles is buried at the British Cemetery at Grevillers (10 miles south of Arras, 30 miles north east of Amiens). In March 1917 the village of Grevillers was occupied by Commonwealth troops who began the cemetery and used it until March 1918, when Grevillers was lost to the Germans.  On 24th August (the day before Charles died), the New Zealand Division recaptured Grevillers and in September Casualty Clearing Stations came to the village and used the cemetery again. After the Armistice, 200 graves were brought in from nearby battlefields, possibly including that of Charles Frank Dearlove.

Charles’s daughter Doris married Arthur Stannard in 1935 and had a son, Brian C L Stannard, born in 1936.

Charles’ son Leonard married Edwina Gillett in Winchester in 1938; they do not appear to have had children.

Charles’ mother Sarah cannot be found after 1911.

Charles’ widow Ethel appears to have died in Havering, Sussex, in 1971, aged 82.

The Men from Hyde – Sydney Hubert Seeviour

(written as ‘Sidney’ on the memorial)

Sydney Hubert Seeviour was born in 1888 in Holdenhurst, near Bournemouth. His parents Joseph and Eliza Bessie (nee Bruffett or similar) had married locally in 1879.

The parents cannot be traced in the 1881 census.  In the 1891 census, Sydney is aged 2 and living at 3, West Cliff Grove in Holdenhurst with his parents and siblings.  Joseph is aged 34 and a ‘cab proprietor’; Eliza is 32.  Sydney’s siblings are George C (10), Maud (9), and Berkley J (5).  They have a domestic servant and a lodger.

In the 1901 census the family is living at 29, St Michael’s Road, Bournemouth. Joseph (44) is still running his own cab business.  George and Maud have left home.  Berkley (15) is a harness maker; Sydney is aged 12 and still at school.  They have a domestic servant.

Sydney had been a student at Winchester Diocesan Training College from 1908-10, and on leaving college took up a job as assistant master at Hyde School.

Ten years on in the 1911, census Joseph (54) is running his cab business and Eliza (52) is assisting him.  They are at the same address and have a domestic servant.

Meanwhile, Sydney is lodging at 25, Hatherley Road, Winchester, with Charlie Wheeler, carpenter, and his wife.  Sydney is aged 22 and a schoolmaster at an elementary school, which would have been Hyde School. There are two more boarders at the address.

On 13th March 1914, Sydney was appointed Headmaster of Hyde School.  He was also Choirmaster at St Bartholomew Church, and sang in the choir at the Cathedral.  Gifted with a splendid voice, he often sung in public concerts in the city.  As a schoolmaster he was beloved by his pupils.

On 3rd June 1916, Sydney enlisted as a private in the 2/4th Battalion Hampshire Regiment (regimental no 202556).  His army records have not survived, but the 2/4th Battalion was in Karachi (now in Pakistan) in 1916, moving to Egypt on 29th April 1917 where the Division was engaged in various actions in Palestine.  In May 1918, Sydney’s Battalion moved to France, arriving at Marseilles on 1st July 1918.  The Battalion joined the 186th Brigade of the 62nd Division and engaged in various actions on the Western Front.

Sydney’s Battalion took part in the Second Battle of Bapaume (part of the Second Battles of the Somme) from 31st August-3rd September 1918, but presumably during preliminary attacks Private Sydney Seeviour was seriously wounded in both arms and legs and died in hospital on 28th August 1918; he was 30 years old.  Sydney was serving in ‘C’ Company of the 2/4th at the time of his death, and the Regimental Journal indicates that he had been recommended for a commission in the weeks before he was killed.  He is buried in the British Cemetery at Ligny-Sur-Canche (20 miles east of Arras).  On his headstone is the inscription “Mother, cease thy weeping, we are only parted for a little while”.

Sydney was awarded the Military Medal, awarded for acts of gallantry and devotion to duty under fire or for individual or associated acts of bravery.  Details are not known, but he may have earned the award at the time of his death.  This Gallantry Medal was established in 1916 for personnel of the British Army and Commonwealth countries who were below commissioned rank; it was the other ranks’ equivalent to the Military Cross (awarded to Commissioned Officers).  The London Gazette lists him on 10th December 1918 (Supplement 31061, page 14660):

Military Cross

Hampshire Regiment

202556 Pte. Seevior, S. (Bournemouth)

2/4th Bn. (T.F.)

Sydney was a member of the National Union of Teachers and is listed in their War Record of fallen teachers and Medal List of those awarded gallantry medals. He is described as at “St Bartholomew’s Church School”.

At the time of his death, Sydney’s parents were living at 123, Ensbury Park Road, Bournemouth.

Very sadly, Sydney was engaged to be married to a Miss Coventry of Elm Road, Winchester.  The only Coventry family in Winchester in the 1911 census was living at 17, Elm Road.  The head of the family was Edward Jones Coventry, a ‘Journeyman Tailor’.  Of his unmarried daughters, only Emma May (21) and Annie Bertha (18), both milliners, are probable candidates as Sydney’s financée. In 1920, two years after Sydney’s death, Emma married Charles Roberts.  Annie never married, dying in 1969 in Winchester at the age of 76.

The Men from Hyde – Frederick Harold Verrall

(wrongly named as Harold Frederick Verrall)

Frederick Harold Verrall was born in 1892 in Winchester.  Unfortunately, the memorial at St Bartholomew Church names the fallen soldier as Harold Frederick Verrall, who was a completely different man!

To understand this, we have to look at two different but related Verrall families.

Frederick’s grandfather Charles VERRALL married Elizabeth Towell in Portsea in 1857.  They had 4 children including William (born 1865) and Frederick (born 1872) who both went on to marry two Osmond sisters.

Frederick’s other grandfather George OSMOND married Elizabeth Bishop in 1856 in Poole, Dorset.  They had 5 children including Emily (born 1862) and Hetty (born 1866).

In the 1881 census, Emily Osmond, aged 19, is visiting relatives in Hyde Street, Winchester. She married William Verrall in 1888 in Winchester.  In the next census in 1891, William and Emily are living in Hyde Street, a few doors away from Emily’s relations. They now have a 2 year old girl, Hetty, named after Emily’s sister. Emily’s mother Elizabeth Osmond is also with them.

In the 1901 census, the family is living at 33, Egbert Road with 4 children: Hetty (12), William (7), Florence (5), and Egbert (3). Their son Frederick Harold (9) is a patient at the Royal County Hospital in Romsey Road; his illness is not specified.  William Verrall Snr is working as a bricklayer. In the 1911 census, William and Emily are now living at 27, Egbert Road with their daughters Hetty and Florence.  It is not known where their son William is at the time of the census; Egbert is visiting his cousin living two doors away.

Returning to Emily’s sister, Hetty:

In the 1891 census, Hetty Osmond, aged 24, is working as a servant for Mrs Warner of Northlands, Worthy Road.  That same year, Hetty married George Woodnutt Ford in Winchester, but George died 4 years later, aged 29. They had no children.

Hetty Ford nee Osmond then married Frederick Verrall (her brother-in-law) in 1898 in the South Stoneham registration district (Eastleigh area).  In an earlier census, Frederick had been a ‘Punch & Judy Showman’ in Camberwell!

In the 1901 census, Frederick and Hetty are living at 29, Egbert Road (Hetty’s sister Emily is at No. 33).  Frederick is 29 and working as a bricklayer; Hetty is 34.  Her widowed mother, Elizabeth Osmond, is staying with them. The following year, their only child, Harold Frederick, was born. In the 1911 census, the family is still living at 29, Egbert Road.  Harold Frederick is now 8 years old, and his cousin Egbert has come over from No. 27 to visit.

The confusion arises as Harold Frederick Verrall, born 1902, is NOT the fallen soldier as previously believed, but his cousin born in 1892.

The military records for Frederick Harold all name him Harold Frederick, except – fortunately – for his service record.

Frederick’s service record shows that he had been an apprentice tailor for 5 years, and his apprenticeship ended on 31st December 1910.  Five days later, on 5th January 1911, he enlisted in Southampton with the Dorsetshire Regiment on a ‘short service’ i.e. for 7 years. He was 19 years old.  Frederick was already serving part-time with the 4th Hampshire Regiment when he enlisted.

His service record gives the following description:

Height 5ft 9¾”   

Weight 145 lbs [10st 5lbs]

Chest girth when fully expanded: 37½”

Eyes: grey    

Hair: Brown

Religion: Methodist

Tattoo left upper arm – female hand with bouquet; large mole right breast

Two months later, in the 1911 census, Frederick can be found as a private in the Dorsetshire Regiment.  In his service record he is recorded as serving at “home” i.e. in the UK, from 5th January 1911 until 1st July 1912.

He was appointed (unpaid) as Lance Corporal on 28th June 1911, but some time later he reverted to being a Private – “at his own request”.  He was discharged on 1st July 1912 “at his own request, on payment of £18 under Art. 1038(i) Pay Warrant”.  The reason is not given.

In 1917, Frederick Harold married Agnes Emma Farthing in Winchester.  The following year their daughter Betty M Verrall was born in Winchester.

At some point, Frederick rejoined the Dorsetshire Regiment and served as a Sergeant with the 6th Battalion with the service number 40595.  In 1915 the battalion was mobilised for war, landing at Boulogne.  During that year it held front lines in the southern area of Ypres salient. In 1916 it fought at the Battles of Albert and Delville Wood.  In 1917, the battalion was present at the First and Second Battles of the Scarpe, the capture of Roeux, and the First and Second Battles of Passchendaele.  In 1918, the battalion fought at The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of Amiens, The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of Havrincourt, The Battle of Epehy, The Battle of Cambrai, The pursuit to the Selle, The Battle of the Selle, and The Battle of the Sambre.  The Battle of the Sambre took place on 4th November 1918. Frederick was Killed in Action that day; he was 27 years old.  His body was never found.

Frederick is commemorated on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial in France (7 miles south-east of Arras).  The Memorial bears the names of over 9,000 men who fell in the period from 8th August 1918 to the date of the Armistice and who have no known grave.  They belonged to the forces of Great Britain, Ireland and South Africa.

Frederick’s widow, Agnes, married William Newman in 1920 in Suffolk (where she had been born).  Frederick’s service record states that his widow, now remarried, is living at 2, Maypole Villas, Grange Road, Eastleigh.

Frederick’s brothers also served in the First World War: William enlisted in the Warwick Yeomanry in 1915 and served in France; Egbert enlisted in the Royal Garrison Artillery as a Gunner in 1914 and was gassed in France.  Both brothers survived.

Frederick’s only child, Betty, married Harold Thompson in 1940 in Winchester and had a son, Andrew F Thompson, who was born in Winchester in 1953. Andrew married Janet Miglaw in 1977 in the Southampton registration district.

Frederick’s widow died in 1966 in the Southampton registration district, aged 79.