Charlbury  is a small town and civil parish in the Evenlode valley, about 6 miles north of Witney in West Oxfordshire. It is on the edge of Wychwood Forest and the Cotswolds.

                                 

FIRST WORLD WAR


WILLIAM FRANCIS ALLEN was serving as a Guardsman in the 3rd Battalion, The Grenadier Guards when he was killed in action on 10th October 1915, during the Battle of Loos. He was aged 18, and he is commemorated on the Loos Memorial for those with no known grave.

He was the son of Francis and Matilda Allen, having been born in Blackfriars, London and had worked as an errand boy.

He joined the Grenadier Guards in September 1914 and arrived in France with the 3rd Battalion on 27th July 1915. On 3rd October they moved into billets in the ruined village of Vermelles.  On the night of 4th they moved into front line trenches on the Hohenzollern Redoubt. On 8th October the Battalion war diary reports:

In the afternoon we were heavily attacked all along the line. The enemy bombers rushed our left flank and came bombing down the line. They surprised and surrounded our own bombers killing most of them. The two companies who occupied the finger nos 2 and 3 were ordered to retire down the communication trench and make way for bombs and bombers who were rushed up the support companies. The bombers of the 3rd Bn: Coldstream Guards who were on our right in the advanced line managed to stop the rush and our bombers coming back by various communication Trenches assisted in clearing the enemy out and the Trench was re-occupied. After the attack was over. (It was repulsed along the whole line with great loss to the enemy) two companies of the 1/Scots were sent to relieve our 2 forward companies.

Guardsman Allen was reported missing in action after the attack and presumed dead on 10th October 1915.

ALBERT BILES was serving as a Private with the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion, The Wiltshire Regiment when he died of illness on 30th September 1915. He was aged 40 and is buried in Melcombe Regis Cemetery in Dorset.

He was the son of  Edward and Ellen Biles and was born in Charlbury. He was working as a labourer and was a part time soldier with the 4th Territorial Battalion of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he enlisted into the Royal Berkshire Regiment on 15th August 1894 aged 19, signing on for 4 years in the colours and 7 in the reserves. He served as a Private at home, in the West Indies and in Gibralter. On 19th November 1901 he was sent to South Africa to fight in the Second Boer War, being awarded the South African Medal with clasps "Cape Colony", "1901" and "1902". On return to England he was demobilized into the reserves on 4th October 1902. On 17th August 1905 he was discharged from the reserves having been found to be unfit for further service.

He was living in St Clement, Oxford, working as a labourer and coal porter when, on 12th November 1914, he enlisted into the 4th Territorial Battalion of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry at the age of 40. Passed fit for home guard duty only he served as a sentry on railways installations in Malden, Essex. He served in this capacity until 232nd July 1915 when he was discharged, having re-enlisted into the Wiltshire Regiment. He was posted to the 3rd Battalion, a training/depot battalion at Littlemore Camp in Dorset. He was taken ill and admitted to hospital in Weymouth, where he died.

He is not on the village war memorial.

JOHN BRADLEY was serving as a Lance Corporal with the 1st/5th Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment when he died of his wounds on 25th August 1917. He was aged 28 and is buried in St Sever Cemetery Extension in Rouen.

He was the son of Henry and Emma Bradley, of Waterman's Lodge, Charlbury, having been born in Kingham and worked as a carter on a farm. He enlisted into the Somerset Light Infantry before being embodied into the RWR. He left for France with the 15th Battalion on 15th November 1915 and was involved in several phases of the 1916 Somme Offensive from the attacks at High Wood on 20th July until the Battle of Morval on 25th October. He was promoted to Lance Corporal at this time. He was wounded by shrapnel to his right arm and leg and was taken to hospital on 31st Ambulance Train in Boulogne. After recovery he joined the 10th Battalion before joining the 1/5th. He was wounded in action during the Battle of Langemarck, a phase of the Third Battle of Ypres between 10th and 12th August 1917. He died in hospital in Rouen.

He is not on the village war memorial.

CECIL RUPERT BROOKE was serving a a 2nd Lieutenant with the 8th Battalion, The Gordon Highlanders when he was killed in action on 24th April 1917, during the Arras offensive. He was aged 20 and his body was never recovered from the field, being commemorated on the Arras Memorial. 

He was born in Devon, his father Frederick Brooke being a member of the Member of the Royal College of Surgeons. In 1911 he and his  siblings were living at Hawthorn Cottage in Charlbury with his aunt, Miss Gertrude Moore, a private school teacher.

On 3rd September 1914 he enlisted into the 4th (Territorial) Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in Oxford, but was discharged the following day as medically unfit, having a poor physique. Undaunted he got a commission into the Gordon Highlanders,  joining the 8th Service Battalion in France on 14th December 1915. He took part in the Battles of the Somme from 1st July 1916 then the First Battle of the Scarpe on 17th April 1917, being killed in the Second Battle of Scarpe, both actions in the Arras offensive.

FREDERICK ARTHUR JOHN ROBERTSON BROOKE was serving as a Captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps, attached to the 1st Battalion, The Wiltshire Regiment, when he was killed in action on 27th May 1918, during the Third Battle of Aisne. He was aged 55, and his body was never recovered from the field, being commemorated on the Soissons Memorial. 

He was born in Cambridgeshire into a medical family, his father and brother both being physicians. He trained at Epsom Medical College and the London Hospital, qualifying as a surgeon. In 1895 he married Constance Moore in Derbyshire, and had 7 children with her, including Cecil (above) who was killed in action in 1917. The family lived in Charlbury whilst he worked in various locations. At the outbreak of the war he was a physician at the Tidworth military hospital on Salisbury Plain. On 14th September 1916 he was posted to France with the RAMC. In the spring of 1918 the Germans launched an offensive designed to win the war before the arrival, in numbers, of American troops. Bouyed by troops released from the Eastern Front after the surrender of Russia, they made great inroads into the Somme region. On 27th May the 1st Wiltshires faced an overwhelming assault by the Germans. The Battalion Diary states:

 5.30p.m. Enemy attacked when owing to greatly superior forces the Battn was compelled to retire and splitting up into small parties slowly withdrew, fighting rearguard actions. Lieut Col Furze DSO, MC, was killed, as was Capt Brooke RAMC.

BETRAM BROOKFIELD was serving as a Private in the 1st Battalion, The Duke of Edinburgh's Wiltshire Regiment when he was killed in action on 5th August 1917, during the Third Battle of Ypres. He was aged 21 and is commemorated on the Ypres Menin Gate Memorial for those with no known grave. 

He was the son of Thomas and Charlotte Brookfield, of Station Hill, Charlbury.

He enlisted in the Somerset Light infantry before transferring to the Wiltshire Regiment. He was one of 4 men killed when a shell hit a support trench near the Menin Road.

WILLIAM ROWLAND BROOKS was serving as a Corporal with the 1st Battalion, The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry when he was killed in action on 14th April 1918. He was aged 35 and is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial, having no known grave.

He was the son of  Rowland and Sarah Ann Brooks of Charlbury, his father was a blacksmith in the village. By 1911 they had moved to Chinor Road in Thame, where William worked as a grocers manager. In April 1911 he married Beatrice Bryant in Cowley. They were living in Oldbourne, Wiltshire when he enlisted into the Wiltshire Regiment. He was transferred to the 1st Battalion DCLI when they returned from Italy to France in April 1918. He died in action during the Battle of Hazebrouck in which the battalion fought in the defence of Nieppe Forest, a phase of the German Spring Offensive of 1918.

He is not on the village war memorial

WILFRED BRYDEN was serving as a Private with the 2nd/15th Battalion, The London Regiment (Prince of Wales' Own Civil Service Rifles) when he was killed in action on 15th September 1916 during the Battle of The Somme. He was aged 19 and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial for those with no known grave.

He was the son of Frederick and Rose Bryden, of Thames Street, Charlbury and had been a boarder at Burford Grammar School.

WILLIAM EDWARD BUCKLAND was serving as a Private with the 1st/1st Battalion, The London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers) when he was killed in action on 16th May 1916. He was aged 23 and is buried in Hebuterne Military Cemetery in Pas de Calais.

He was the son of John and Ellen Buckland, of Vine Cottage, Sheep Street, Charlbury, having been born in Badgeworth and had worked as an ironmonger's assistant. He enlisted into the Londons in July 1915, whilst he was living in Brentwood, Essex. The 1st/1st Battalion moved to France on 5th February 1916. They where manning front line and support trenches near Hebuterne in the Somme Region, when they were subject to a heavy barrage, Private Buckland was one of 9 men killed by shell fire.

HERBERT ROBERT CASTLE was serving as Private in the 17th Company of the Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) when he died of wounds received during The Third Battle of Ypres on 4th August 1917. He was aged 31 and is buried in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery in Belgium. 

He was born in Ducklington to parents Robert and Jane Castle but on enlisting was living in Charlbury, working as a domestic gardener. He enlisted into the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, before joining the MGC. The 17th Company MGC where in action in the Third Battle of Ypres from 31st July 1917 in the Battle of Pilkhem Ridge, during which Private Castle was mortally wounded.

The Machine Gun Corps was one of the most difficult and dangerous roles in the Army, operating the Vickers .303 Mk 1 water-cooled machine gun, capable of firing 450-550 rounds a minute.  The MGC saw action in all the main theatres of war. In its short history the MGC gained an enviable record for heroism as a front line fighting force. Indeed, in the latter part of the war, as tactics changed to defence in depth it commonly served well in advance of the front line. It had a less enviable record for its casualty rate. Some 170,500 officers and men served in the MGC with 62,049 becoming casualties, including 12,498 killed, earning it the nickname 'the Suicide Club'. 

WILLIAM JOHN CLACK was serving as a Private with the Machine Gun Company (Cavalry) when he died on active service on 31st December 1917. He was aged 19 and is commemorated on the Chatby Memorial in Alexandria, Egypt, his body never being recovered for burial.

He was the son of  Samuel and Elizabeth Clack having been born and lived at Spelsbury Road, Charlbury, working as a butcher's errand boy. He was living with his parents in Wescott Barton when he enlisted into the 3rd/1st Queen's Own Oxfordshire  Hussars. He was embodied into the Machine Gun Corps and on 17th December 1917 boarded His Majesties Troopship Osmanieh at Southampton. She was carrying troops and a large party of medical staff to Alexandria, Egypt, over a thousand in all. At 103o, on Monday 31st December, as she was approaching the swept channel leading to Alexandria she struck a mine laid by German U-Boat UC 34 under the command of Horst Obermuller at the entrance to the harbour which exploded on the starboard side. She sank very quickly taking with her Lieutenant Commander D.R. Mason her captain, 2 officers, 21 crew members and 167 troops and eight nurses.

He is not on the village war memorial.

CLAUDE PHILLIPE DELMEGE was serving as a Midshipman, The Royal Navy, aboard HMS Cressy when he died on active service on 22nd September 1914. He was aged 16, his body was not recovered and he is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial. He is also remembered on a plaque in Charlbury Parish Church.

He was youngest son of Alfred Delmege MVO, honourary surgeon to His Majesty King George V, and Deputy-Inspector of hospitals and fleets, Royal Navy, and his wife Mary. Born in Southsea he entered the  Royal Naval College at Osborne House, Isle of Wight in 1911, aged 13. He was appointed Midshipman in August 1911 aboard the armoured cruiser HMS Cressy.

The 7th Cruiser Squadron was as a blockading force of the used to close the English Channel to German traffic. It was employed patrolling an area of the North Sea known as the Broad Fourteens in support of vessels guarding the northern entrance to the Channel. The Squadron was made up of 5 obsolete Cressy class armoured cruisers, Aboukir, Bacchante, Euryalus, Hogue and Cressy, mostly staffed by reserve sailors  At around 0600 on 22 September 1914, the cruisers had to return to harbour to refuel and were steaming at 10 knots in line ahead when they were spotted by the German submarine U-9 commanded by Kapitanleutnant Otto Weddigen, who ordered his submarine to submerge and closed the range to the unsuspecting British ships. At close range, he fired a single torpedo at Aboukir. The torpedo broke her back, and she sank within 20 minutes with the loss of 527 men. The captains of Cressy and Hogue thought Aboukir had struck a floating mine and came forward to assist her. They stood by and began to pick up survivors. At this point, Weddigen fired two torpedoes into Hogue, mortally wounding that ship. As Hogue sank, the captain of Cressy realised that the squadron was being attacked by a submarine, and tried to flee. However, Weddigen fired two more torpedoes into Cressy, and sank her as well. The entire battle had lasted less than two hours, and cost the British three warships, 62 officers and 1,397 ratings. This incident established the U-boat as a major weapon in the conduct of naval warfare. There was a public outcry at the losses. The incident eroded confidence in the government and damaged the reputation of the Royal Navy, at a time when many countries were still considering which side they might support in the war. 

The Delmege family were frequent visitors to Charlbury and worshipped at the Parish church, where Claude's older brother is also commemorated on a plaque. 

ALBERT DIX was serving as a Private in the 2nd/4th Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he died of wounds received during the German Spring offensive, on 29th April 1918. He was aged 19 and is buried in Berguette Churchyard in the Pas de Calais.

He was the son of Benjamin and Sarah Dix of Sheep Street, Charlbury.

Private Dix was killed by a shell which hit the trench he was in near the village of Robecq. 

DAVID DIX was serving as a Private with the 1st Battalion, The South Wales Borderers when he was killed in action during the Battle of the Selle on 18th October 1918. He was aged 20 and is buried in Busigny Communal Cemetery Extension.

He was the son of David and Nora Dix, of Hixet Wood, Charlbury and had worked as a farm labourer on Bevis Farm in Charlbury. 

He enlisted in Swansea into the South Wales Borderers. The Battle of the Selles was part of the Final Advance in Picardy between 17th October and 11th November 1918. The hardest-fought of the final offensive actions the First, Third and Fourth Armies exploited their success in breaking the Hindenburg Line by pushing on across the Rivers Selle and Sambre, recapturing Valenciennes and finally in liberating Mons, where it had all begun for the British Expeditionary Force more than four years before. At 1030 on 18th October the Battalion advanced from the village of Molain, in Picardy, under the cover of smoke. The smoke, however, was not thick enough and they attracted artillery fire. As they advanced on the enemy they came under machine gun fire, but the posts where eliminated by bayonet charges. They secured their last objective of the day at 1430, but Private Dix was one of 9 men of the Battalion killed that day.

FRANCIS WILLIAM DRINKWATER, known as Frank, was serving as a Private in the 5th(Service) Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he was killed in action on the first day of the First Battle of the Scarpe, 9th April 1917. He was aged 31 and is buried in the Tilloy Military Cemetery in the Pas de Calais.

He was the son of George and Sarah Drinkwater, of Charlbury. Born in Spelsbury in 1911 he was living at Park Street, Charlbury with his two sisters and younger brother Frederick, working as an assistant grocer. His brother Horace killed in action in 1918.

He had enlisted into the 4th Territorial Battalion of the Ox and Bucks in 1913 transferring to the 5th, one of the new armies, when it was formed in Oxford in August 1914. Under the orders of the 42nd Brigade in 14th (Light) Division, they landed in Boulogne on 21st May 1915. They took part in The Action of Hooge, in which the Division had the misfortune to be the first to be attacked by flamethrower and The Second Attack on Bellewaarde later that year. In 1916 they were involved in The Battle of Delville Wood and The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, actions of the Battle of the Somme.

On 8th April 1917 the Battalion were in assembly trenches in preparation for an attack on the Telegraph redoubt, part of the Harp on the Hindenburg Line. They attacked at 0730, despite fierce resistance the objective was achieved with 45 men of the Battalion killed, including Private Drinkwater.

HORACE DRINKWATER was serving as a Private with the 2nd Battalion, Princess Charlotte of Wales's, The Royal Berkshire Regiment when he was killed in action, defending against the German Spring Offensive on 27th April 1918. He was aged 29 and is buried in the Crucifix Corner Cemetery in Villers-Bretonneux, in the Somme.

He was the son of George and Sarah Drinkwater, of Charlbury. His older brother Frank was killed in action in 1917.He was working and living as footman at Whittlebury, Towcester in 1911. 

He arrived to join the Royal Berkshires in France on 19th October 1915. In 1916, as part of the 8th Division, the Battalion took part in the Battle of Albert, the first action of the Somme. In 1917 they pursued the Germans as they retreated to the Hindenburg Line and took part in phases of the Third Battle of Ypres. A big German offensive was expected in 1918 as troops were released from the Eastern front after the surrender of Russia.

CHRISTOPHER HANDEL DYKE was serving as a Private in the 1st Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he was killed in action during attempts to relieve the Siege of Kut-el-Amara on 6th April 1916. He was aged 18 and is commemorated on the Basra Memorial, having no knownn grave.

He was the son of Edward and Annie Brooks Dyke, of Hazledene Cottage, Playing Close, Charlbury. He had worked as a baker's errand boy whilst still at school. He enlisted into the 4th Reserve Battalion of the Oxford and Bucks in 1914, aged only 17. 

The original 1st Battalion, as part of the 6th Poona Division  moved from India to Mesopotamia in November 1914, to protect Persian oil supplies from the Ottoman Empire. The Battalion took part in the march towards Kut-al-Amara with the intention of capturing it from the Ottomans. The battle for Kut began on 26th September and raged for a number of days until the Ottomans went into retreat and Kut was captured on 28th September 1915. The Battalion then took part in the Battle of Ctesiphon in the effort to capture the capital, Baghdad, which ended in the 6th Poona Division being defeated by the Ottoman forces. The Division subsequently retreated to Kut, reaching it on 3rd December 1915, with a garrison of 10,000 Britons and Indians. It was besieged by the Ottomans, from the 7th December 1915.  

Private Dyke arrived in Mesopotamia as part of  reinforcements and were formed into  provisional Battalion, later after the surrender of Kut renamed the 1st Battalion.  The British tried desperately to relieve Kut, but failed, suffering heavy losses. He was  killed in an ill-fated assault at Sanniyat along the banks of the River Tigris.   The garrison surrendered to the Turks on 29th April 1916.


WILLIAM EELES was serving as a Lance-Corporal with the 6th (Service) Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he was killed in action on 27th February 1917. He was aged 32, he is  commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial having no known grave.

He was the son of John and Fanny Eeles of Mount Pleasant, Charlbury, and had worked as a baker's assistant. He enlisted into the 2nd Battalion of the Ox and Bucks in Oxford before joining the 6th in France. From 9th February the Germans began a strategic withdrawal from the Somme to prepared defensives on the Hindenburg Line. The Battalion pushed slowly forward and L/Cpl Eeles was killed as the British cautiously pursued the retreating Germans.

ROBERT FELLOWES was serving as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 1st Battalion, The King's Royal Rifle Corps when he was killed in action on 10th March 1915, during the Battle of Neuve Chapelle. He was aged 18 and his body was never recovered from the field, being commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial. 

He was the son of Charles Arthur and Mary Fellowes, of Rangers' Lodge, Charlbury, having been born in Norfolk. He attended Winchester College between 1910 and 1913. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant into the King’s Royal Rifle Corps in 1914, and fell in action at Givenchy-lez-la-Bassée on March 10th 1915, on the first day of the Battle of Neuve Chapelle. 


ARCHIE ANDREW GOMM was serving as a Private with the 6th Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he was killed in action on 27th February 1917. He was aged 25 and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, having no known grave.

He was the son of  Andrew and Harriet Gomm of Charlbury, later lodging in Deddington where he was a flour mill worker. He was living in Alveston, Warwickshire when he enlisted into the Ox and Bucks arriving in France to join the 6th Battalion on 29th September 1915. As part of the 20th (Light) Division they took part in the Battle of Mount Sorrel in June 1916, as the Germans tried to divert troops away from the build up on the Somme. They then joined in the Somme Offensive with the Battle of Delville Wood from 15th July 1916 and served throughout on the Somme until the Battle of Le Transloy the last action in November. He was killed on the front line near the village of Guillemont on the Somme during a relatively quiet period.

He is not on the village war memorial.

FREDERICK HALL was serving as a Private in the 1st Battalion, The Northamptonshire Regiment when he was killed in action on 19th September 1914. He was aged 18 and his body was never recovered from the field, being commemorated on the La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, Seine-et-Marne. 

He was the son of William and Annie Hall of Pound Hill, Charlbury. He joined the Army in 1911 and embarked with his regiment to France on 13th August 1914, landing in Le Havre. They took part in the Battle of Mons and the subsequent retreat, halting the Germans at the Battles of Marne and Aisne, during which Private Hall was killed.

GORDON HARRISON was serving as a Private in the 1st/4th Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he died of wounds received during the Battle of the Somme on 23rd November 1916. He was aged 24 and is buried in Dernancourt Communal Cemetery on the Somme. 

He was the son of Henry and Georgina Harrison having been born in Witney. In 1911 he was living with his widowed father at Park View, Charlbury. He had worked as manservant and joined the 4th Territorial Battalion of the Ox & Bucks in 1914. The 4ths were absorbed into the 1st/4ths and sent to France on 29th March 1915. As part of the 145th Brigade in 48th (South Midland) Division they took part in various actions in the Battle of the Somme. Private Harrison died in the 1st/1st South Midland Casualty Clearing Station in Dernancourt.

WILFRED HOWES was serving as a Private in the 7th Battalion, Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment when he was killed in action during the Battle of Somme on 4th October 1916. He was aged 21 and his body was never recovered from the field, being commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

He was the son of William John and Ann Howes, of Hixet Wood, Charlbury. In 1911 he was lodging in Witney, where he worked as shop assistant. He was living in Golders Green when he enlisted into the Royal West Kents in Hendon. The Battalion arrived in France in August 1915. Private Howes was killed during the Battle of Ancre Heights, an action of the Battle of the Somme.

BERT JOHN HUGHES was serving as a Sapper in the 1st Field Company of the Canadian Royal Engineers when he died of his wounds on 1st December 1917. He was aged 22 and is buried in Etaples Military Cemetery in the Pas de Calais.

The 1st Field Company sailed from Quebec on 3rd October 1914 on the Troopship Zeeland arriving in England on 15th. They arrived in France on 12th February 1915. Sapper Hughes received shrapnel wounds to his back and wrist and died in No 1 Canadian General Hospital, Etaples. 

HERBERT THOMAS LAINCHBURY was serving as a Private with the 1st/4th Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he died of his wounds on 23rd September 1916. . He was aged 21 and is buried in Mailly-Maillet Communal Cemetery Extension in the Somme.

He was the son of Thomas and Dinah Lainchbury, of Highfield, Charlbury and was a boarder at Burford Grammar School. He joined the 1st/4th in August 1914 in Oxford and arrived in France with them on 30th March 1915. They went into action in the Battle of Albert, the opening phase of the Somme Offensive on 1st July 1916. They went on to fight at Bazentin Ridge, to capture Ovillers in that month. In August they fought in the Battle of Pozieres Ridge and held trench lines in and around Le Sars for the rest of the campaign. Private Lainchbury was injured by shrapnel and died in the 132nd Field Ambulance at Mailly-Maillet.

WILLIAM RICHARD LANE was serving as a Regimental Sergeant Major with 1st/4th Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he killed in action on 5th August 1917.  He was aged 38 and is buried in Track X Cemetery in Belgium.

He was born in 1879 to parents Thomas and Susan Lane in Birmingham. In 1901 he was living with his uncle in Charlbury, working as a journeyman carpenter. He  joined the 4th (Territorial) Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in April 1908 in Chipping Norton. In April 1909 he married Mildred Trigg in St Marylebone, London, they settled in Knaves Knoll Cottage, Charlbury.

At the outbreak of war the 4th became the 1st/4th Battalion and landed in Boulogne on 30th March 1915. They fought as part of the 145th Brigade in 48th (South Midland) Division. They went into action in the Battle of Albert, the opening phase of the Somme Offensive on 1st July 1916. They went on to fight at Bazentin Ridge, to capture Ovillers in that month. In August they fought in the Battle of Pozieres Ridge and held trench lines in and around Le Sars for the rest of the campaign.

In 1917 there was a strategic German withdrawal to a series of fortifications that had been planned and built during the winter of 1916-1917. To complete the withdrawal on 9th February the German Army initiated a 'Scorched Earth' policy to ensure that anything which might be useful to the Allies was destroyed. Buildings were demolished, roads and railways mined, bridges blown up and water courses poisoned. When Allied patrols discovered the German retreat beginning on 6th March, the Allied armies began to follow them. On 16th March, the1st/4th Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry captured La Maisonnette for the loss of only one casualty. They then went on to capture Peronne. In August 1917 they were at Dambre Camp in reserve during the Third Battle of Ypres. On 5th August at 1930 the Battalion set out to march to relieve 39th Division entrenched along the Steenbeck. RSM Lane was one of several casualties from shell fire as the Battalion moved into the trenches.


AUBREY MALTA LOCKWOOD was serving as Rifleman with the 9th (Service) Battalion, The Rifle Brigade when he was killed in action on 9th August 1915. He was aged 22 and is commemorated on the Ypres Menin Gate Memorial, having no known grave. 

He was the son of Malta William and Florence Lockwood, of Crabro Villas, Charlbury, having been born in Suffolk, and worked as a carter on a farm. He enlisted into the Rifle Brigade in Winchester on 3rd September 1914. He embarked for France on 21st May 1915, landing at Boulogne. The Battalion, under the 14th (Light) Division, took part in the action at Hooge.  Following the detonation of a mine under the German lines on 19th July, British troops fortified the resulting crater, turning it into a defensive position. Pre dawn on 30th July a strong German counter attack commenced with the detonation of charges in the ruins of Hooge Chateau, followed immediately by jets of burning liquid aimed at the British trenches. The 'Flammenwerfer' or flame-thrower had arrived on the Western Front, an intense German artillery barrage fell on the British lines. At the time the Germans struck, 14th (Light) Division were holding the VI Corps sector around Hooge. A counter attack on 31st July was repulsed by the Germans.

HARRY PRATLEY was serving as a Private with the 1st/4th Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he was killed in action during the Battle of the Somme on 16th August 1916. He was aged 24 and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, hving no known grave. 

He was the son of Mrs Ann Pratley, of Hixet Wood, Charlbury. At the outbreak of war the 4th became the 1st/4th Battalion and landed in Boulogne on 30th March 1915. They fought as part of the 145th Brigade in 48th (South Midland) Division. They went into action in the Battle of Albert, the opening phase of the Somme Offensive on 1st July 1916. They went on to fight at Bazentin Ridge, to capture Ovillers in that month. From 13th August they fought in the Battle of Pozieres Ridge and Private Pratley was killed in action in this action.

ERNEST HAROLD PRICE was serving as a Sergeant in "A" Squadron, the 1st/1st Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars when he was killed in action on 10th April 1917, during the Battle of Arras. He was aged 23 and is buried in Tilloy Military cemetery in the Pas de Calais.

He was the son of Henry and Edith Price, of Myrtle Cottage, Church Street, Charlbury, and had worked as a butcher's apprentice. He joined the QOOH, a Territorial Yeomanry unit, in Oxford in September 1914. After only a month's training, the regiment received an unexpected telegram. It came from the First Lord of the AdmiraltyWinston Churchill, who had served with the QOOH, instructing them to prepare for immediate embarkation. They were to join the Naval Brigade which he was sending to Flanders to prevent a German advance towards the Channel ports.They arrived in France on 12th October 1914 and became the first Territorial unit to see action. 

As cavalry they spent frustrating periods waiting in readiness to push on through the gap in the enemy's line, which never came. They toiled in working parties bringing up supplies, digging defensive positions, suffering the discomforts of appalling conditions, and frequently dismounting to fight fierce engagements on foot and in the trenches themselves. On 10th April 1918, Sergeant Price was leading his men in an assault on the Harp Redoubt on the second day of the Battle of Arras. He was cut down by shell shrapnel and originally buried by the German fort on the Redoubt, latter being re-interred at Tilloy.

JOSEPH SACKVILLE SEAR was serving as a Private in the 11th Battalion, The Australian Infantry when he was killed in action during the Gallipoli Campaign on 6th August 1915. He was aged 21 and is buried in Shell Green Cemetery in Turkey. 

He was the son of Sarah Ann Sear, born in Wednesbury near Bicester. By 1901 he was living with his Uncle at Dustfield Farm in Charlbury working on the farm after school. He also served in the 4th Territorial Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. On 23rd August 1913 he emigrated to Australia sailing on the "Ajana" (below) from London for the 54 day voyage to Freemantle.

On 11th June 1915 Joseph Sackville Sear enlisted into the Australian Infantry in Blackboy Hill, Western Australia. On 25th June 1915 he sailed to Alexandria aboard the Troopship "Karoola". On 1st August 1915 he embarked on the Troopship "Berrima" (below) landing on the Dardenelles on 4th, as part of the 7th Reinforcements.

Within 48 hours of Private Sear's arrival at Gallipoli he had been killed in action, hit by a shell.

ALBERT SHAYLER was serving as a Private in the 1st/1st "D" Squadron, The Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars when he was killed in action on 21st June 1917 . He was aged 22 and is buried in Unicorn Cemetery, Vendhuile in the Aisne Region.

He was the son of Jesse and Matilda Shayler, of Hixet Wood, Charlbury, he had worked as a glover's apprentice. He had joined the QOOH, a Territorial Yeomanry unit in September 1914,  joining the 1st/1st in France on 12th February 1915. As cavalry they spent frustrating periods waiting in readiness to push on through the gap in the enemy's line, which never came. They toiled in working parties bringing up supplies, digging defensive positions, suffering the discomforts of appalling conditions, and frequently dismounting to fight fierce engagements on foot and in the trenches themselves. On 1st December 1915 he spent 5 days in No 7 General Hospital in St Omer, suffering from scabies. He was killed in action in front of Guillemont Farm and buried near where he fell. he was re-interred to Unicorn Cemetery on 20th August 1919.

EDWARD GEORGE SIRETT was serving as a Lance Corporal in the 1st/5th Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment when he killed in action on 4th November 1918, during the Second Battle of Sambre. He was aged 19 and is buried in Landrecies British Cemetery in the Nord Region of France.

He was the son of Caleb and Mary Sirett, of Newington House, Charlbury, having been born in Cutsdean, Worcestershire. His mother died when he was only 1, and his father remarried and moved to Charlbury, where he was a Baptist Minister and ran a draper's shop with his wife. He enlisted into the Glocesters in Leamington Spa and joined the 1st/5th in France in September 1918, the Battalion had just returned from Italy.  Attached to 75th Brigade in 25th Division, they took part in the final advance through Picardy. On the 4th November the Division fought the passage of the Sambre-Oise Canal at Landrecies. The crossing of the canal was a considerable feat, it was 55 feet wide and over 6 feet deep. Fortunately, wooden foot bridges left by the Germans were captured quickly, thanks to a brilliant rapid advance in which the suppression of stubborn machine gun posts was a feature. It was in this action that Lance-Corporal Sirett died, 7 days before the Armistice. 

ALBERT VICTOR STATYE was serving as Private with the 2nd/6th Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment when he was killed in action on 12th April 1918. He was aged 20 and is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial, having no known grave.

He was born in Hixet Wood, Charlbury to parents John and Lavinia Stayte, his father dying in 1903. He was then a resident at the Boys Home in Swansea House, Kingham Hill. His mother remarried Frederick Bond in Kings Norton, Birmingham and he then joined them, living in Kings Heath, Birmingham. He was working as a paper maker when he enlisted into enlisted into the Territorial 6th Battalion of the RWR on 15th November 1915. However he was discharged on 27th March 1916 under King's Regulations para 392 iii cc, being unfit for further duty after three months service.

He was eventually conscripted into the RWR and with the 2/6 Battalion was in France when the German Spring Offensive broke on 21st March 1918. The enemy launched what was intended to be a decisive offensive, attacking the British Fifth and Third Armies on the Somme in overwhelming strength. The 61st (2nd South Midland) Division, of which the 2/6 RWR was a part,was holding the forward zone of defences in the area northwest of Saint Quentin in the area of Ham and lost many men as it fought a chaotic but ultimately successful withdrawal back over the Somme crossings over the next ten days. By the time it was relieved after fighting all the way back to the very gates of Amiens in the First Battles of the Somme 1918, the Division  was mostly exhausted. The remnants were moved north to what had been a quieter part of the line on the La Bassee Canal near Bethune. Unfortunately it was near where the Germans launched the second phase of their offensive on 9th April 1918 and Private Statye was killed in this attack.

His older brother, below, was killed in 1915. Albert Statye is not on the village war memorial.

DAVID HENRY STAYTE was serving as a Private in the 1st Battalion, (Western Ontario Regiment), The Canadian Infantry when he was died of wounds received on 14th December 1915. He was aged 23 and is buried in Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension in the Nord Region of France.

He was born in Hixet Wood, Charlbury to parents John and Lavinia Stayte, his father dying in 1903. He worked as a shoemaker before emigrating to Canada, sailing from Liverpool on 13th March 1911 on the Lake Champlain for St John in New Brunswick.

In Canada he worked  as a machinist and also joined the 22nd Oxford Rifles a Militia unit. On 15th September 1914 he enlisted into the Canadian Infantry. The battalion was created on 2 September 1914 with recruits from Military District 1 which was Western Ontario. The Battalion set off for England on board the "Laurentic" berthed in Quebec. They arrived in England on 14 October 1914 with a strength of 45 officers and 1121 men. As part of the 1st Canadian Division they embarked to France in February 1915 taking up positions on the Ypres salient. After fighting in the Second Battle of Ypres and the Battle of Festubert, the Canadians began a long period of static trench warfare which would last them throughout the winter of 1915. During this period he suffered gun shot wounds to the chest and died in No 2 Canadian Casualty Clearing station in Bailleul.

His younger brother albert was killed in 1918, above.

RALPH HENRY TAYLOR was serving as a Private in the 2nd/7th Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment when he was killed in action on 8th August 1918. He was aged 19 and is buried in Tannay British Cemetery, Thiennes.

He was the son of Henry and Louisa Taylor and was born in Neat Enstone, later moving to Millars Barn, Fawler near Charlbury. He enlisted into the Warwicks in Oxford. His Battalion was operating in the Merville area of France when on 8th August he was killed in action by enemy shelling whilst advancing on German positions.


ALFRED THORNETT was serving as a Driver with the 45th Battery, 3C Reserve Brigade, The Royal Field Artillery when he died, probably from illness, on 20th April 1918. He was aged 26 and is buried in Portsmouth Milton Cemetery. 

He was the son of Alfred and Minnie Thornett of Ditchley Road, Charlbury and had worked as a farm labourer. In the summer of 1914 he had married Emily Smith in Monmouth. He died in the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Corsham, Hampshire. His younger brother George was killed in action in 1918.

GEORGE THORNETT was serving as a Private in the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers when he died of wounds received, during the Final Advance in Flanders, on 29th September 1918. He was aged 19, and his grave site is unknown, he is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial. 

He was the son of Alfred and Minnie Thornett of Ditchley Road, Charlbury. Enlisting in Oxford he was first posted to the Devonshire Regiment before joining the Royal Inniskillings.

ERNEST GEORGE WALLIS was serving as a Private in 3rd/4th Battalion, The Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment when he was on killed in action during the Third Battle of Ypres on 17th September 1917. He was aged 32 and is buried in the Sunken Road Cemetery, Fampoux in the Pas de Calais.

He was born in Great Warley, Essex to parents Thomas and Sarah Wallis. In 1908 he married Elsie Ann Holifield in Charlbury. In 1911 he was living at Rosborough in South Devon, working as a gardener, whilst his wife remained in her father's house, 2, Thames Gardens, Charlbury. He enlisted in Worcester, originally joining the Norfolk Regiment. He transferred to the Royal West Kent's landing in France with his Battalion in June 1917. As part of the 17th Northern division they took part in the Arras offensive and the First Battle of Passchendaele. 

FRANCIS CHARLES BARTHOLOMEW WEST was serving as Lieutenant Colonel in 4th South Midlands (Howitzer) Brigade, 243 Brigade, The Royal Field Artillery when he was killed in action during the Battle of the Somme on 28th September 1916. He was aged 33 and is buried in Aveluy Communal Cemetery Extension on the Somme.

He was born in 1883 to parents Charles and Mary West at the Vicarage, his father being Vicar of the parish of Charlbury with Chadlington. After the death of his father, the family moved to Christchurch near Cheltenham. He qualified as a barrister and in 1909 married Agatha Dewar in Bilton, Warwickshire where they set up home and had 4 children together.

The 4th South Midlands Brigade were a territorial unit of the RFA which served together until the British artillery reorganisation of 18 May 1916. Major Francis West commanded the unit which was sent to France on 29th March 1915. For full details of his service and information regarding the 4th South Midlands Brigade please visit:

https://sites.google.com/site/4thsouthmidlandbrigade/


JOHN ARTHUR PERROT WHINNEY was serving as a 2nd Lieutenant with the 1st/1st Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars when he was killed in action on 22nd June 1917. He was aged 20 and is buried in the Unicorn Cemetery, Vendhuile in the Aisne region of France.

He was the son of Sir Arthur Whinney, K.B.E., and Amy Whinney of Lee Place, Charlbury, having been born in Hampstead. His father was assistant-genearal accountant to the Royal Navy and had houses in London and Charlbury. He studied at Rugby school and then Magdaglen College, Oxford in 1915. The same year he obtained a commission in the QOOH, joining the 1st/1sts in France on 7th February 1916. He remained in the reserves during the Battle of the Somme and Arras. On 22nd June 1916 2nd Lieutenant Whinney was out with his troop as a wiring party, enforcing the barbed wire that protected their trenches in front of Guillemont Farm. The work was nearly finished when the Germans opened up with a heavy mortar barrage followed by a trench raid. As soon as the shelling ceased, 2nd Lieutenant Whinney, who had been slightly wounded, led his men back to the trenches. Unfortunately the Germans had taken temporary possession of a support trench and 2nd Lieutenant Whinney was shot in the heart. 

   

SECOND WORLD WAR


JOHN WILLIAM BOWEN was serving as a Sapper with the 675 Artisan Works Company, The Royal Engineers when he died when the HMT Lancastria was sank on 17th June 1940. He was aged 28, his body was washed up on the Ile D'Oleron off La Rochelle and his buried in Dolus Communal Cemetery.

He was the son of Albert and Beatrice Bowen, of Charlbury. He married Pearl Buckingham in Charlbury in 1934.

The Lancastria had been launched in 1920 and was a liner belonging to the Cunard shipping company. She was requisitioned as a troopship in April 1940 and ha assisted in the Norway evacuation. On 14th June 1940 she sailed from Liverpool to the French  port of St Nazaire to take part in the evacuation of British troops, including Royal Engineers, and nationals from France, 2 weeks after the Dunkirk evacuation. She arrived in the mouth of the Loire estuary on 16th JuneHer captain had been told by the Royal Navy to ignore International Maritime regulations and to load as many people on board as possible. Estimates range between 4,000 and 9,000 on a ship whose official capacity was 2,200. At 1350, during an air-raid, the nearby Oronsay, an Orient Liner had been hit on the bridge by a German bomb. Lancastria was free to depart and the captain of the British destroyer HMS Havelock advised her to do so, but without a destroyer escort as defence against possible submarine attack her captain decided to wait. A new air raid commenced at around 1540 by Junkers 88 bombers of 11 Gruppe of Kampfgeschwader 30. The Lancastria received 3 direct hits causing the ship to list first to starboard then to port. She rolled over and sank within twenty minutes. Over 1,400 tons of fuel oil leaked into the sea and was set partially on fire. Many drowned, were choked by the oil, or were shot by strafing German aircraft.  There were 2,447 survivors and 1,738 confirmed deaths, although more than 4,000 are believed to have perished. For further details please see:

http://www.lancastria.org.uk/

RONALD ALFRED COLLINS was serving as Flight Sergeant, Pilot, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve with 12 Squadron and was killed when his Avro Lancaster was short down over Germany on 9th October 1943. He was aged 22 and is buried in Hanover War Cemetery. 

He was the on of Alfred Edward and Maud Louise Collins, of Herne Hill, Londo, his connection with Charlbury is unclear.

Avro Lancaster Mk111 EDPP5 PH-X took off from RAF Wickenby in Lincolnshire at 2315 on 8th October 1943 on a mission to bomb Hanover. At 0155 the aircraft crashed in flames at Hameln on the east bank of the Weser, a victim of an anti-aircraft battery. 6 of the 7 crew perished, only the bomb aimer baling out and becoming a prisoner of war.

KENNETH ERNEST COOPER was serving as a Private with the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, attached to the 1st Indian Infantry Brigade Workshop when he died at sea on 5th December 1941 when the SS Chakdina was sunk. He was aged 25 and is commemorated on the Alamein Memorial.

Son of Ernest and Laura Cooper of Charlbury, he had married Elsie Mabel Jennings in 1939. He had been wounded in action during the seige of Tobruk in the North Africa campaign in 1941. On the afternoon of the 5th December 1941 some 380 wounded servicemen were loaded on the SS Chakdina, stretcher cases being put in the holds of the commandeered cargo ship. The ship set sail for Alexandria with two escorts at 1730. Just as the moon was rising, a little after nine o'clock, the Chakdina, which was not a hospital ship, was attacked by an Italian torpedo-carrying aircraft. Approaching at a height of barely 50 feet, the plane released a torpedo which exploded in one of the aft holds. Immediately the ship began to sink by the stern and in three and a half minutes it had disappeared. 79 men, mostly wounded servicemen, died in the sinking. 

WILLIAM EDWARD DONOVAN was serving as an Aircraftman 1st Class when was killed on active service at RAF Marham on 17th September 1941. He was aged 30 and is buried in Charlbury Cemetery. 

He was the son of William and Elizabeth Donovan, having been born in Claines in Worcestershire. In summer 1934 he married Annie Archer in Market Harborough, Leicestershire and in 1938 had a daughter together. He was serving at RAF Marham when a Vickers Wellington of 57 Squadron returning from a raid on Hamburg crashed landed and burst into flames. Two crew members and two on the ground, including AC Donovan, were killed.


TREVOR CHARLES KILBY was serving as a Corporal with the 5th Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he died, in Amersham, on 30th June 1943. He was aged 21 and is buried in Charlbury cemetery.

He was the son of Frederick and Alice Kilby, of Charlbury. The 5th Ox and Bucks were a Territorial Battalion raised shortly before the outbreak of war in September 1939. The battalion was assigned to the 184th infantry brigade, 61st Infantry Division. The 5th Ox and Bucks remained in a training role throughout the war and did not see active service outside the United Kingdom, aside from briefly serving in Northern Ireland. 

HENRY THOMAS MALING was serving as a Gunner with the 90th(City of London) Field Regiment, the Royal Artillery when he died in Uckfield, Sussex on 6th March 1940. He was aged 21 and his buried in Charlbury Cemetery. 

He was the grandson of William and Hannah Maling, of Charlbury. The 90th Field Regiment were a Territorial unit of the RA. The regiment was embodied on 1st September 1939, and on 3rd September went to its war station defending London's Royal Docks. By November it was in Sussex helping to guard Southern England with 1st London Division. At first the regiment was equipped with four 4.5-inch howitzers of WWI vintage.

WILLIAM CHARLES PARSONS was serving as a Private in the 2nd (Airborne) Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he died of his wounds on 20th June 1944. He was aged 22 and is buried in Ranville War Cemetery in Normandy. He was the son of George and Mary Parsons, of Charlbury. 

The Allied offensive in north-western Europe began with the Normandy landings of 6th June 1944. Ranville was the first village to be liberated in France when the bridge over the Caen Canal was captured intact in the early hours of 6th June by troops of the 6th Airborne Division, who were landed nearby by parachute and glider. Private Parsons was wounded in action during the assault on Ranville.

PETER ANTHONY RYDING was serving as a Captain with the 4th Battalion, The Welch Regiment when he was killed in action on 2nd July 1944. He was aged 24 and is commemorated on the Bayeux Memorial for those with no known grave, who died in the Normandy campaign.

He was the son of John Thackeray and Gertrude Alice Ryding, having been born in Croydon, Surrey. In 1940 he married Helen Janet Shilson in Charlbury, she having been born in the town.

He joined the 4th Battalion, The Welch Regiment on 22nd June 1942, becoming Carrier Commander on 12th August 1943, operating the Universal or Bren Carrier tracked vehicle, below.

The beginning of June found the Battalion based at Herne Bay in Kent, preparing for deployment to Normandy. On 21st June they embarked with their vehicles on landing Craft T93 in London and moved downstream to anchor in convoy off  Southend. They eventually arrived off the coast of Normandy at 2130 on 26th June, unloading the following day. On 30th June the Battalion moved to forward concentration area between Caen and Bayeux prepared to move into Odon Bridgehead. On 2nd July Captain Ryding led a carrier patrol through a gap in a minefield in front of their position. The patrol was attacked from behind a destroyed Churchill tank, with anti-tank, machine gun and mortar fire. Captain Ryding was hit as he tried to rescue his sergeant in the lead carrier. 

WILLIAM ARTHUR SANDALLS was serving as an Able Seaman when he was killed in action aboard Motor Gun Boat 502 on 16th April 1944. He was aged 20 and is buried in Charlbury Cemetery.

He was the son of William George and Elizabeth Caroline Sandalls, of Charlbury.


AB Sandalls was a crew member aboard MGB 502 when it took part in Operation Scarf. Leaving Dartmouth at 2000 on 15th April 1944, in company of MGB 718, his boat carried 6 Special Operations Executive agents as passengers for Beg-an-Fry in Brittany. Anchoring 3/4 mile offshore their passengers were taken to shore on surf boats. They then embarked six men, three women and one small boy. Two of the ladies were Suzanne Warenghem and Blanche Charlet, both SOE agents who had escaped from the infamous Castres prison, where the Germans held hostages from whom they would select a number to be executed as reprisals for attacks on their forces. Both 502 and 718 weighed anchor at 0306 and course was set for the return passage at ten knots. At 0336 three ships were sighted on the port bow, very low in the water and were identified as either LCT’s or gun coasters. The enemy ships appeared to be stopped, but when the two British boats were at a range of about 500 yards abeam, the Germans challenged. There was a pause then there was a burst of gunfire lasting no more than fifteen seconds. Able Seaman William Sandalls was badly wounded in the arms, chest and stomach and died before the crew could get him into the charthouse. The return trip was thereafter without incident and they reached Dartmouth at 0848 on the Sunday morning, 16th April 1944. Both ships entered harbour with ensigns at half-mast 502 turned to port to land Able Seaman Sandalls’ body at Dartmouth Railway Jetty where an ambulance was waiting.


THOSE WHO SERVED IN THE FIRST WORLD WAR

ERNEST JOSHUA TIMMS was born in 1894 to parents George and Agnes Timms of Charlbury. He worked as an ostler at the Marlborough Hotel in Witney before becoming a porter for the Great Western Railway at Pontycymmer in the South Wales Valleys, between November 1912 and January 1913. He then worked as a general labourer before signing on in the Royal Navy at Chatham on 23rd August 1913. After training in Portsmouth he joined the battleship HMS Queen, below, as an Ordinary Seaman in October 1913, serving on her until February the following year.

His next posting  was to the depot ship HMS St George, joining her on 18th February 1914. On 5th May 1914 he was sentenced to 28 days detention after going absent without leave. Rejoining the St George on 13th June he was made up to an Able Seaman, but on 13th December went absent again and was detained for 21 days. He was then posted to barracks in Chatham on 8th February 1915. On 17th May 1915 he married Ada Ashmore in Charlbury. He failed to return to Chatham and was arrested for desertion and jailed for 40 days. On 28th July 1915 he was jailed for 72 days for breaking out of his ship and was discharged on the completion of his sentence, service no longer required. He returned to his family in Charlbury and worked as a coal haulier.

Sadly his return to civilian life was short lived as he was called up and enlisted into 13th Reserve Battalion The Royal Berkshire Regiment on 5th August 1916. He was rated B2, fit for service in lines of communication or garrisons at home or in France. Unfortunately his problems with military discipline continued and on the 2nd October 1916 he was reported missing from a tattoo, being found later in bed and was fined 5 days pay. The same thing happened on 20th October and this time he received 14 days Field Punishment No 2. This involved being shackled or put in irons for up to two hours a day. On 10th May 1917 he was posted as a Private in the 164th Company of the Labour Corps. He was sent to France on 20th September with the 71st Company Labour Corps attached to 362nd Forestry Company, the Royal Engineers at Dieppe Base, working as a woodman. On 3rd May 1918 he was transferred to the Royal Engineers as a Sapper with 362nd company. He went absent on almost a monthly basis between the hours of 2130 and 2330 and earned himself a total 60 days Field Punishment and also loss of pay. After the Armistice he was given leave back to England on 28th December 1918, and whilst there demobilized from the army.

He returned to live in Fawler, Charlbury and worked as a farm labourer and died there in 1959, aged 64.