Chadlington is a village in West Oxfordshire nestling on the northern slopes of the Evenlode Valley between Chipping Norton to the north and the Wychwood Forest and Charlbury to the south.
FIRST WORLD WAR
CHARLES GEORGE BATTS was serving as a Gunner with the 4th Seige Battery, The Royal Garrison Artillery when he was killed in action defending the German Spring Offensive on the 21st April 1918. He was aged 30 and is buried in Forquieres Churchyard Extension in the Pas de Calais. He was the son of George and Ellen Batts, of Chadlington. In 1908 he was working as a porter for the Great Western Railway at Maesteg in Wales, moving on to work in the coal mines.
The Siege Batteries were deployed behind the front line, tasked with destroying enemy artillery, supply routes, railways and stores. The batteries were equipped with heavy Howitzer guns firing large calibre 6, 8 or 9.2 inch shells in a high trajectory. The German Spring offensive of 1918 was a series of German attacks along the Western front during the, beginning on 21 March 1918, which marked the deepest advances by either side since 1914. The Germans had realised that their only remaining chance of victory was to defeat the Allies before the overwhelming human and material resources of the United States could be fully deployed. They also had the temporary advantage in numbers afforded by the nearly 50 divisions freed by the Russian surrender. The Allies concentrated their main forces in the essential areas (the approaches to the Channel Ports and the rail junction of Amiens), while leaving strategically worthless ground, devastated by years of combat, lightly defended. The Germans were unable to move supplies and reinforcements fast enough to maintain their advance. The fast-moving stormtroopers leading the attack could not carry enough food and ammunition to sustain themselves for long and all the German offensives petered out, in part through lack of supplies.
FREDERICK JOHN BATTS was serving as a Private in the 2/4th Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he was killed in action during the German Spring Offensive, on 1st April 1918. He was aged 26 and is buried in the Hangard Communal Cemetery Extension in the Somme.
He was the son of George and Ellen Batts of Chadlington, and the brother of Charles, above. He worked as a carter before enlisting.
The 2/4th Ox & Bucks were a Territorial unit which arrived in France in May 1916. Frederick Batts was killed in fighting at Hangard Wood, defending Amiens and access to railheads and the Channel Ports from the German advance of 1918.
JAMES COOPER was serving as a Private in the 9th Battalion, The Royal Welch Fusiliers when he was killed in action at the Battle of Messines, on the 7th June 1917. He was aged 40 and is buried in Croonaert Chapel Cemetery in Belgium.
He was the son of James and Elizabeth Cooper, of Chadlington. He married Mary Dore in Northleigh in 1910, they were living in Stonesfield where he worked as a house carpenter. Later they where living in Church Walk, Wolvercote, and had two children together.
He enlisted into the 4th Battalion of The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, a Territorial unit, on 11th November 1916. He was posted to France on 26th April 1917 embarking at Southampton and arriving at Rouen the following day. After further training at base camp he was transferred to the Royal Welch Fusiliers, joining them in the field on the 22nd May 1915. He was reported missing on the first day of The Battle of Messines, an attempt to deprive the German 4th Army of the high ground south of Ypres on the 7th June 1917. He was later reported as being killed and buried on the field. After his death his widow was awarded 22s/6d pension.
ERNEST HUBERT HAVELL was serving as a Private in the 2nd Battalion, The Princess Charlotte of Wales's (Royal Berkshire) Regiment when he was killed in action on the 6th October 1918 during the advance on Germany. He was aged 18 and is buried in Brown's Copse Cemetery, Roeux in the Pas de Calais.
He was the son of Thomas and Sussanah Havell and had been born in Chadlington but at the time of his death his parents were living in Erdington, Birmingham. He had previously served in the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry.
RALPH JOHN HOARE was serving as a Rifleman with "B" Company, the 1st Battalion, The Rifle Brigade when he died from wounds received during the Battle of the Somme, on the 31st October 1916. He was aged 20 and is buried in Etaples Military Cemetery.
He was the son of Agnes Ann Hoare and stepson of Henry Busson, he had moved to Bledington, where he worked as a grocer's assistant. He joined the Rifles in Oxford in April 1915, he arrived to join the 1st Battalion in France on 27th December 1915. He was in action in the Battle of Albert on 1st July 1916, the first phase of the Somme Offensive. After this they were engaged in trench holding duties until the 10th October when they went into action at the Battle of Transloy Ridges, the last offensive on the Somme in 1916. On 18th October, 11th Infantry Brigade, 1st Rifle Brigade and 1st East Lancashire Regiment prepared to advance from flooded trenches. Again initial success towards Rainy Trench and Dewdrop Trench was countered by strong resistance and counter-attacks which inflicted heavy casualties. Rifleman Hoare was wounded in action on that day with gun shot wounds to the shoulders and arms. He was put on the No 4 Ambulance train for hospital in Etapes but succombed to his wounds two weeks later.
He is also remembered on the Bledington War Memorial.
ABNER PERCIVAL KITCHING was serving as a Guardsman in the 1st Battalion, The Coldstream Guards when he died of wounds received at the Battle of Mons on 24th September 1914. He was aged 25 and is buried in Netley Cemetery, in Southampton.
He was the son of Abner Kitching of Crouch Farm in Highworth, having been born in Chadlington. He was working as an agricultural labourer when he enlisted into the Coldstream Guards on 28th February 1910 in Swindon. He had married Elizabeth Maud Collins in Highworth in April 1914 and on 14th August that year left with his Battalion to join the British Expedition Force in France. He was wounded on the 23rd August during the Battle of Mons and was being repatriated to England aboard the Hospital Ship Asturias, below, when he succumbed to his wounds on 24th September.
His widow gave birth to a daughter in March 1915. He is also remembered on the Highworth war memorial.
WILLIAM GEORGE LANE was serving as a Private with the 1st Battalion, The Worcestershire Regiment when he died of wounds received, during the Battle of the Somme, on the 7th July 1916. He was aged 20 and is buried in Mericourt-l'Abbe Communal Cemetery Extension in the Somme region.
He was born in Chadlington to parents Edwin and Bessie Lane, they were living in Fulwell where he worked as an under cowman. At the time of his death his parents lived in Bidford-on-Avon. He enlisted in 1915 and joined the Worcesters in France on the 2nd September 1915. He was wounded during the Battle of Albert, the opening action of the Somme Offensive from 1st July 1916.
ERNEST PRATT was serving as a Lance-Corporal in the 2nd Battalion, The Princess Charlotte of Wales, Royal Berkshire Regiment when he died of his wounds on the 30th September 1915. He was aged 22 and is buried in Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension.
He was the son of John and Ann Pratt of Chadlington and had joined the Royal Berkshires, along with his older brother William, in April 1911 aged 18. At the outbreak of war he was with his Battalion in India, they returned home on the 22nd October 1914 arrived in France on the 6th November 1914. In 1915 he was in action during the Battle of Neuve Chapelle on 10th March 1915 and the Battle of Aubers Ridge on 9th May 1915.
On 25th September the Battalion were invoved in a diversionary attack for the Battle of Loos, on German positions at Bois Grenier. A four day artillery bombardment preceded the attack, as did the blowing of two mines although they were too deep and did little damage. The attack began at 6.00am with 2nd Royal Berkshire Regiment attacking through the centre, 2nd Rifle Brigade on the right, 2nd Lincolnshire Regiment on the left and 1st Royal Irish Rifles in support. 1st London Regimentand 8th Middlesex Regiment were in reserve. Both flanking groups made good ground and captured both the front line and support trenches. However 2nd Royal Berkshire in the centre found a stronger defence and were not able to capture all the trenches allocated to them, leaving a sector in German hands.This allowed the Germans to bring up reinforcements to counter-attack and, running out of bombs, the positions were abandoned by mid-afternoon. L/Cpl was wounded in the attack and was taken to no 8 casualty clearing station where he died.
ROLAND SOUCH was serving as a Pioneer in the 5th Special Battalion, The Royal Engineers when he was killed in action, during the Battle of The Somme, on the 14th July 1916. He was aged 29 and is buried in Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval.
He was the son of William and Mary Souch, of Brook End, Chadlington. He had worked as a farm labourer before the war.
He had previously served with the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, before joining the RE. The Fifth Battalion consisted of four companies. They were equipped with the 4" Stokes mortar which fired phosgene, smoke, Thermite and tear gas filled ammunition. During the early part of the Somme battle, they were employed firing smoke rounds, but from September were issued with tear gas ammunition.
CLAUDE VINCENT GEORGE TRINDER was serving as Private in 8th Battalion, The Princess Charlotte of Wales, Royal Berkshire Regiment when he was killed in action, during the second Battle of the Somme on the 27th August 1918. He was aged 19 and is buried in Longueval Road Cemetery on the Somme.
He was the son of John and Mary Trinder of Chadlington, the family later moving to Stanton Harcourt.
FREDERICK DAVID VINER was serving as a Private in the 2nd Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he was killed in action on 13th November 1916 during the Battle of the Ancre. He was aged 30 and is buried in Waggon Road Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel in the Somme area.
Born in Barnard Gate near Eynsham, he was living in Chadlington when he enlisted into the 1st Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire in 1904, seeing service in India. He transferred to the 2nd Battalion and arrived in France on the 14th August 1914. They were one of the first Battalions to arrive in France and took part in the Battle of Mons, First Battles of Ypres and the Marne and the Battles of Festubert and Loos. Frederick Viner was killed in the Battle of the Ancre, the last action of the Battle of the Somme, whilst acting as a stretcher bearer. He is remembered on the roll of honour in Bledington Church.