The Men from Hyde – Frank Samuel Lewington

Frank Samuel Lewington was born in 1890 in Winchester. His parents were James John and Alice Lewington (nee Stubbs) who had married in Winchester in 1883.

Frank’s father James was born in 1860, also in Winchester, one of 8 children who lived in the Middle Brooks ‘Tenement’ and Colebrook Street.

In the 1891 census, James is living with Alice and their children George Henry (7), William C (4) and Frank S (8 months) at 72 Lower Brook Street. James is a rural postman.

In the 1901 census, 10 year old Frank Samuel is staying with his uncle and aunt, John and Elizabeth Heath, in Beckenham, Kent.  Meanwhile his parents are living at 77, Canon Street with two children Wilson C (14, errand boy; should be William) and John James (4), and Alice’s mother Ann Stubbs, aged 84.

In the 1911 census, James (51) is still working as a rural postman.  He gives his place of birth as ‘St Peter’s, Cheesehill’ (now called Chesil Street).  Alice is 50 years old.  Their youngest child John James (14) is with them, also two young boarders aged 9 and 10, and an elderly lodger, ‘deaf and dumb from birth’.  The family is now living at 14, North Walls. Where is Frank? He is registered in the census as a visitor at the home of Ernest and Amelia Rendle in St Denys, Southampton.  He is aged 21 and works as a dyer and cleaner.  His brother William Charles is a servant, aged 24, working as an ‘ostler and boots’ servant at the Crown Hotel in Alton.  In the same census, a relative, perhaps an uncle, Wilson Charles Lewington, is a Post Office pensioner at the age of 41, and lives with his wife of 10 years and three children at 15, Nuns Road; this will later provide the Hyde connection.

It is not known when Frank enlisted.  He gives his home address as 14 North Walls, the address of his parents in the 1911 census. He joined the 9th (service) Battalion of the Norfolk Regiment with the service number 17218, first as a Corporal and then as a 2nd Lieutenant.  The Battalion was formed at Norwich in 1914 and mobilised for war in August 1915.  The Battalion landed at Boulogne and was engaged in various actions on the Western Front.

The First Battles of the Somme were fought from 21st March – 5th April 1918. After transferring very large forces from the now-collapsed Eastern Front, the German Army committed to a series of large-scale offensives and inflicted large losses on the Allies.  British battle positions were penetrated at various points, especially near St Quentin.  The Battle of St Quentin lasted from 21st –23rd March 1918.  Frank was Killed in Action on the first day of the battle. He was 28 years old.

He is commemorated on the Arras Memorial which 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 7th August 1918, the eve of the Advance to Victory, and who have no known grave.

Frank’s parents are noted as living in Paynes Lane, Broughton, Stockbridge, at the time of his death.  His father James died in 1930 in Stockbridge, aged 70. His mother Alice lived to the age of 95, dying in Bournemouth in 1955.

The Men from Hyde – Samuel Perrin Jeffery

The parents of Samuel Perrin Jeffery were George and Elizabeth (nee Attwood) who married in Winchester in 1868.  Samuel was born in 1877, the sixth of seven children.  George was a bricklayer, born in Winchester.

Samuel’s mother died in 1880 at the age of 37.  A year later his father George can be found in the 1881 census, living at 46, Lower Brook Street, a widower looking after six children between the ages of 2 and 11.

Three years later in 1884, George married Mary Garnett on the Isle of Wight. The couple can be found in the 1891 census, still at 46, Lower Brook Street, with Frederick (15, a porter), Samuel (14, errand boy), and Leonard (12). George is 48, still working as a bricklayer, and his wife Mary is 44.

By the 1901 census, Samuel has left home.  He is now aged 24, living at 2, Tower Street and working as a house painter.  His father and stepmother are still at 46, Lower Brook Street.

In the 1911 census, Samuel is living at 2, North Walls, boarding with William Carter, also a house painter.  Samuel is 35.  At 46, Lower Brook Street, Samuel’s father George is 69 and calls himself an invalid; Mary is 64 and states that she has been married for 22 years and had no children.

Samuel’s father George Jeffery died at the end of 1914 at the age of 72.

It is not clear when Samuel enlisted as a Sapper in the 77th Field Company of the Royal Engineers.  He was given the regimental number 154608.  He is not listed in the Winchester War Register, nor are there any surviving army records for him.

Royal Engineers recruits were required to be at least 5 feet 4 inches tall. They initially enlisted for six years with the colours and a further six years with the reserve or four years and eight years.  Unlike most corps and regiments, in which the upper age limit was 25, men could enlist in the Royal Engineers up to 30 years of age.  They trained at the Royal Engineers Depot in Chatham or the RE Mounted Depot at Aldershot.

In 1915, in response to German mining of British trenches, the corps formed its own tunnelling companies. Manned by experienced coal miners from across the country, they operated with great success until 1917, when after the fixed positions broke, they built deep dugouts such as the Vampire dugout to protect troops from heavy shelling.

From October 1916, the Royal Engineers worked underground, constructing tunnels for the troops in preparation for the Battle of Arras in 1917.  Beneath Arras itself there is a vast network of caverns called the boves, consisting of underground quarries and sewage tunnels.  The engineers came up with a plan to add new tunnels to this network so that troops could arrive at the battlefield in secrecy and in safety.  The size of the excavation was immense.  In one sector alone, four Tunnel Companies of 500 men each worked around the clock in 18-hour shifts for two months.

The Royal Engineers fought at the Battles of Ypres at the end of 1917.  Samuel Jeffery was injured and died of his wounds on 8th January 1918, but the circumstances surrounding his death are not known.  He was 41 years old.

Samuel is buried at Mont Huon Military Cemetery at Le Treport, about 25 km north of Dieppe.  The inscription on his headstone reads “So dearly loved so deeply mourned”.

The Men from Hyde – Arthur Evelyn Alexander

Arthur Evelyn Alexander was born in 1888 in Winchester, the youngest child of John and Harriet Alexander.  John and Harriet Mary Parker had married in Winchester in 1873.

In the 1881 census, Arthur’s father John (aged 27, a coachman from Wield, 5 miles north of Alresford) and Harriet (aged 35, born in Easton) are living at 10, King Alfred Place with their children John (6), Albert Edward (4), William Henry (2) and George Thomas (3 months).

In the 1891 census, the family is living at 2, Staple Garden[s]. John Snr is a groom, and Albert, 14, has also become a groom. John Jnr has left home. Since the last census there are 3 more children: Annie Olive (8), Frank Martyn (5), and Arthur Evelyn (3).  All children were born in Winchester.

In the 1901 census, John Snr (48) is a groom at a hotel and Harriet is 55.  Of their 7 children, only Annie (18, dressmaker), Frank (15, Solicitor’s clerk) and Arthur (13) are still at home. Albert was by now married and working as a caretaker at a Southampton auctioneer’s. George had become a police constable at Alton police station.

Arthur’s father John Alexander died in 1910 aged 57.

In the 1911 census, Arthur’s widowed mother Harriet is now 65 and still living at 2, Staple Gardens.  She states that she has been married for 37 years and had 7 children, all of whom are still alive.  Annie (28, dressmaker), Frank (25, Law clerk) and Arthur (23, grocer’s assistant) are living with her.

Arthur married Harriette Ada Waterman in 1914.  Harriette was born near Fordingbridge, and in the 1911 census, aged 29, had been working as a parlour maid for Miss Alice Bowker at St Waleric in Park Road, Winchester.

In May 1916, two years after his marriage, Arthur enlisted in the Royal Berkshire Regiment but was later moved to the 2nd Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment where he became a Lance Corporal. His regimental number was 26115.

Since 1914 the 2nd Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment had been stationed at Poona in India, moving to Mesopotamia (Iraq). On 29th April 1916, shortly before Arthur enlisted, the battalion (350 men) was captured at Kut-el-Amara. During the siege at Kut-el-Amara a new battalion, composed of returned wounded and others from the 2nd Dorsets and 2nd Norfolks, was formed (nicknamed the “Norsets”), under the command of the 21st Indian Brigade, 7th Indian Division.  This battalion was broken up in July 1916 and the 2nd Dorsets re-established.  It transferred to 9th Indian Brigade, 3rd Indian Division in January 1917 and moved to Egypt, landing at Suez in April 1918 with Arthur Alexander.

Arthur died in hospital in England on 5th July 1918, aged 31. His grave registration document states that he died of phythsis (tuberculosis) and it seems he was sent back to England to be nursed. It is not known which hospital he was in but it could have been Netley Military Hospital near Southampton where many soldiers were treated on arrival in Britain. Arthur is buried at Winchester (West Hill) Old Cemetery. The cemetery contains 114 First World War graves, scattered throughout the cemetery.

His widow Harriette was living at 44, Nuns Road at the time.  It seems Arthur and Harriette did not have children.

Arthur’s mother Harriet can be found in the 1939 Register living in Winchester with her son Frank Martyn Alexander and his wife Kate (nee Moreton) whom he had married in 1912.

Arthur’s widow Harriette died in Winchester in 1961 aged 81.

The Men from Hyde – Herbert James Samuel Long

Herbert Long was born in 1887 in Lymington, the son of George Long and Elizabeth (nee Doe) who had married in 1873.

In the 1881 census, George and Elizabeth (both aged 27) are living in Bridge Road, Lymington, with four children aged between 1 and 6.  George is a grocer’s carman.

In the 1891 census, the family can be found living in Stanley Road, Lymington. George, now 37, is still a carman for a grocer.  He has several more children ranging from 1 year to 14 years old; Herbert is 4.  In total, George and Elizabeth had 11 children.

The family is still living in Stanley Road in the 1901 census, and George is still working as a grocer’s carman.  Frederick (Frank) is now 19 and working as a baker; Herbert is 15 and also working as a baker. There are two more siblings: Arthur (13), and Harold (7).

In 1904, at the age of 18, Herbert enlisted with the Royal Garrison Artillery as a Gunner with the regimental number 20108.  His brother Harold joined the Royal Navy in 1908 at the age of 15.

It appears that their mother Elizabeth died in 1906 aged 54, which may have been the reason why Harold enlisted so young.

In the 1911 census, Herbert is aged 25 and a Gunner in S Company of the Royal Garrison Artillery.  In the same census, his younger brother Harold, now 18, is working aboard HMS Duke of Edinburgh in Gibraltar.

Herbert married Annie May Mills in Portsmouth in 1915.  He was 28 years old; Annie was 19.  By the end of the year they had had a son, also named Herbert James Samuel Long, who was born in Bristol.

Herbert served in France with the 13th Siege Battery, landing in France in June 1915.  The Heavy Batteries of the RGA were equipped with heavy guns, sending large calibre high explosive shells in fairly flat trajectory fire.  The usual armaments were 60 pounder guns.  As British artillery tactics developed, the Heavy Batteries were most often employed in destroying or neutralising the enemy artillery, as well as putting destructive fire down on strongpoints, dumps, store, roads and railways behind enemy lines.

A Heavy Battery of the RGA tows its 60-pounder guns along the roads of Northern France.

The First Battles of the Somme took place between 21st March and 5th April 1918.  During this time Herbert was wounded and died of his wounds on 27th March 1918 at the Canadian Stationary Hospital.  He was 31 years old and had become Acting Bombardier.  Herbert is buried at the Doullens Communal Cemetery, about 30 km north of Amiens on the road to Arras.

Herbert’s widow Annie was by then living at The Prospect Cottage, Nursling, Southampton, though the address listed in the Winchester War Register for Herbert and his brother Harold is 4, Victoria Road, Winchester.

Herbert’s younger brother, Harold, served in the Falkland Islands, Dardanelles and the Grand Fleet aboard HMS Duke of Edinburgh, Inflexible and Blenheim. He survived the war.

In 1923, Annie May Long married Herbert’s younger brother Arthur Leonard Long in Southampton, a few months after the birth of their child, Mabel, who was born in Stockbridge.

In the 1939 Register Annie’s son Herbert (aged 24) is living at the same address in Romsey/Stockbridge as his half-sister Mabel (aged about 16).  Arthur Long lives at a different address in the same area, but it is not clear where Annie is.

Annie died in the Romsey area aged 76 in 1942.  Her daughter Mabel died unmarried in 1955 in Romsey aged 63.  Annie’s son, Herbert, married Dora Kershaw in Bournemouth in 1972; they were both aged around 57.  Annie’s second husband Arthur died aged 86 in 1973.

The Men from Hyde – John Barrow Dunmill

John Barrow Dunmill was born in Maidstone on 17th May 1885, the only surviving son of Alfred Thomas Dunmill, a banker’s clerk, and Mary Elizabeth (nee Copping) who had married at Marylebone in August 1884.

In the next 5 years, Mary Elizabeth had another 3 children: Maud Mary (1886), Irene Cornwallis (1889), and Alfred Julian, who died shortly after birth in 1890.

John Barrow Dunmill and his parents cannot be found in the 1891 census but his father Alfred Thomas appears in the electoral registers for Sevenoaks in 1892 and in 1896-99 for Tonbridge.  The only member of the family found in 1891 is Maud Mary who is staying with her grandfather, John Copping (60), a police inspector of weights and measures in Huntingdonshire.

The archives of Watford Grammar School contain an application on behalf of John Barrow Dunmill on 25th April 1899, when John was almost 14 years old. The address given is 4, Loates Lane, Watford, Hertfordshire, and his father is A T Dunmill, Bank official.

In the 1901 census, the family is still at 4, Loates Lane, Watford.  Alfred is 42 and a banker’s clerk; his wife Mary is 44. Their three children are John B (15), Maud M (14), and Irene C (12), all born in Maidstone. They have a live-in servant.

In the 1911 census, the family is living at 96, Breakspears Road, Brockley (Deptford/Greenwich).  Alfred is 52 and now a bank manager.  Mary Elizabeth is 55 and states that she has been married for 26 years and has had 4 children, one of whom has died. With them are John (25, now a bank clerk), Maud (24), and Irene (22).

The following year, John Barrow Dunmill married Maggie Roberts at Paddington.  The next year, his sister Irene married Edward Curry in Luton.

John enlisted in the Royal Garrison Artillery in 1917 in Winchester; the address of his next of kin, his wife Maggie, is ‘St Clement’s’, Hyde Street.  John enlisted as a gunner with the service number 163556.

John then served in France as a Bombardier with the 110th Siege Battery of the RGA.  The Heavy Batteries of the RGA were equipped with heavy guns, sending large calibre high explosive shells in fairly flat trajectory fire. The usual armaments were 60 pounder guns.  As British artillery tactics developed, the Heavy Batteries were most often employed in destroying or neutralising the enemy artillery, as well as putting destructive fire down on strongpoints, dumps, store, roads and railways behind enemy lines.


A Heavy Battery of the RGA tows its 60-pounder guns along the roads of Northern France.

According to the Winchester War Register, John was Killed in Action on 2nd February 1918.  The circumstances of his death are not known as there are no surviving army records, but it was shortly before The First Battles of the Somme.  He was 32 years old.

John was buried at Tincourt New British Cemetery, between Cambrai and Saint-Quentin, on the Somme.  The inscription on his headstone reads: ‘Loving and Beloved Alike in Life and Death’.

At that time, Tincourt was a centre for Casualty Clearing Stations. The cemetery was used until September 1919.  After the Armistice it was used for the reburial of soldiers found on the battlefield, or those buried in small French or German cemeteries.  There are now nearly 2,000 1914-18 war casualties commemorated in this site.

John’s father, Alfred Thomas, lived to the age of 75, dying in Luton in 1933. His mother Mary Elizabeth died in 1940 in Surrey, aged 84.

His wife Maggie remained in Winchester and can be found here in the 1939 Register.  She died in 1972 at the age of 91.  She had no children.

The Men from Hyde – John Henry Rowlands

John Henry Rowlands was born at the end of 1880 in Aldershot.  His parents, Samuel Wilson Rowlands and Mary Ann Bright, married in the June qtr of 1880 in Winchester.

Unfortunately, the family cannot be traced in the 1881 census.  A second son, William Charles, was born in 1886.  Samuel died in 1889 at the age of only 32.

Two years later, Mary Ann married Edward Edwin Savage in Winchester in the March qtr of 1891.  The 1891 census took place soon after and they can be found living at 2, Spring Gardens, Durngate.  Edward is a painter’s labourer and Mary Ann a laundress; both are 34 and born in Winchester.  A few houses along live Mary Ann’s parents, William and Eliza Bright, at 9, Spring Gardens. Their grandson, William Rowlands (5), is with them.  John Henry, aged 10, is a patient at the County Hospital in Winchester.  Soon after, in the June qtr of that year, Edith May Savage was born.

In the 1901 census, Edward and Mary Savage, both 44, are living at 20, Union Street, Winchester, with John Henry (20, bread baker), William Rowlands (15, draper’s porter), and their daughter Edith (9).  Edward is a house painter and Mary a charwoman.

Unfortunately, Mary Ann died in 1909 at the age of 51.

In the 1911 census, John Henry is boarding with his step-father Edward Savage (54, house painter) at 2, Greyfriars Terrace, Lower Brook Street, Winchester.  John is working as a house painter for a builder.  His brother, William Charles (25, storeman for a brewery), is also living there.  Edward Savage states that he is a widower and has had two children, only one of whom is still alive: Edith May, aged 19, who acts as his housekeeper.

On 16th November 1911, John Henry Rowlands married Annie Louisa Jessie Hoskins in Milton, Gillingham, Dorset.  Annie was born 25th March 1887 so was 7 years younger than John. They lived at 5, Hyde Close, Winchester, and had two children: Cyril John (b 3rd September 1912), and Constance Annie Mary (b 7th April 1916), both born in Winchester.

In December 1915, at the age of 35, John enlisted with the Royal Berkshire Regiment as a private but a year later on 6th December 1916, was transferred to the 1st/5th Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment with the service number 47962.  He trained in the UK until July 1917 and was then sent to Egypt on 19th July 1917.  Cairo was headquarters to the United Kingdom garrison in Egypt and, along with Alexandria, it became the main hospital centre for Gallipoli in 1915, dealing with the sick and wounded from operations in Egypt and Palestine.  John was wounded once (details unknown).

From October-November 1917, John would have been involved in The Third Battle of Gaza, The Capture of Junction Station, and The Battle of Nabi Samweil.  In 1918, the Devonshires took part in The Battle of Tell’Asur and The Battle of Berukin.

In March 1918, John Henry was promoted to Lance Corporal, but he became ill with appendicitis and died on 25th June 1918.  He was 37 years old. John is buried at Cairo War Memorial Cemetery, situated about 5km south east of the centre of Cairo.

In August 1918, John’s widow Annie signed the Declaration ‘by the Widow of a Soldier in support of her to Pension for herself and for her children’. The army record gives more details:

Annie Louisa Jessie Rowlands – married 16 Nov 1911 at Milton

Gillingham Dorset to John Henry Rowlands, 47962 L Cpl 1.5 Devons,

who died at 31 General Hospital Cairo on 25 June 1918 aged 37 years.


Cyril John  b 3 Sept 1912

Constance Annie Mary  b 7 April 1916

Both of 5 Hyde Close, Winch

Date of birth of widow: 25 March 1887

Witnessed by magistrate on 3 August 1918

Recommended by Major Atkinson, Exeter, and a person at 26 Jewry St, Winchester

John’s younger brother, William Charles Rowlands, enlisted in the Hampshire Regiment in June 1917 as a Private. The Winchester War Register states that he served with the Worcester Regiment and Hampshire Cyclists.  William served in France and was gassed in 1918, but he survived the war.  His address in his army record is 21, North Walls.

John’s widow Annie remained in Winchester.  She and her son Cyril (27) can be found in the 1939 Register still living at 5, Hyde Close.  That same year her daughter Constance married Francis N Heapey in Winchester.


The Men from Hyde – Percy George Perry

Percy George Perry was born in Winchester, the son of Albin George Perry, a gas lamp lighter. Albin had been born and bred in Winchester, the son of a fellmonger (a dealer in hides or skins, particularly sheepskins).

Albin married Emily Harfield in 1885 in Winchester and they went on to have three children: Ethel Selina (b 1886), Percy George (b 1888) and Arthur Albin (b 1890). In the 1891 census the young family is living at 54 Wharf Hill.

In the 1901 census Percy George (13) and Arthur Albin (11) are staying with their aunt and uncle, Lucy and Alfred Perry, at 45 Cheesehill Street (now called Chesil Street). This may have been due to their mother Emily being ill as she died shortly afterwards.

Three years later in 1904 Percy’s father Albin married Bertha Ward in Winchester, and they went on to have their own children. In the 1911 census Albin and Bertha are living at 39 St Catherine’s Road, Highcliffe, with their children Hilda Dorothy Evleny (6), Edward Arthur Albin (5), Daisy Gertrude Gladys (3) and John Thomas William (1). Albin is a retired policeman, now working as a grocery storeman.

In the same census Albin’s youngest children from his first marriage are working as domestic servants: Francis (18) is working for a landowner in Winchfield (between Hook and Fleet); Alice (14) is working for a family at 21 Romsey Road.

By 1911 Percy George Perry had enlisted in the 12th King’s Lancers and at the time of the census was based at Potchefstroom, 50 miles south west of Johannesburg, South Africa. It seems he left the army and re-enlisted in August 1914 when he was given the regimental number GS/69524. Percy became a Trooper in the 7th Battalion (Extra Reserve) Royal Fusiliers (London Regiment), formerly 139 12th Lancers & 897 Army Veterinary Corps.

In August 1914 the battalion was stationed at Finsbury, London, then moved to Falmouth in Cornwall. In July 1916 the soldiers were mobilized for war and landed at Le Havre, remaining on the Western Front for the remainder of the war.

At the start of 1917 Percy married Harriet Marsh at South Stoneham (outskirts of Southampton). Percy’s army record gives the address of his wife as 14 Canada Road, Woolston (south of Southampton, nr Netley).

A short time later Percy’s father Albin died in Winchester, aged 53.

During 1918 Percy’s regiment was involved in The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of Albert, the Second Battles of the Somme, The Battle of Drocourt-Queant, the Second Battles of Arras, The Battle of the Canal du Nord, The Battle of Cambrai, and the Final Advance in Picardy.

Percy was Killed in Action on 9th May 1918. The circumstances of his death are not known; there was no particular battle fought at the time. He was 30 years old. Percy is buried in the Mesnil Communal Cemetery, about 6 km north of Albert. Mesnil was close to the Allied front line from March to August 1918.

Percy’s older brothers served in the war too. [Arthur] Albin enlisted in November 1914 as a sapper in the Royal Engineers and served in Mesopotamia [Iraq] and India; Frank [Francis] enlisted in September 1914 as a private in the Royal Air Force and served in France. Both brothers survived. All three brothers are listed in the Winchester War Register as living at 21 Victoria Road.

Percy’s widow Harriet cannot be traced. There appear to have been no children.

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.