Enstone is a village and civil parish in Oxfordshire about 4 miles east of Chipping Norton. The civil parish is the largest in Oxfordshire, comprising the villages of Church Enstone and Neat Enstone (referred to collectively as Enstone) and the hamlets of Chalford, Cleveley, Fulwell, Gagingwell, Lidstone, and Radford. RAF Enstone, northeast of Church Enstone, was a Bomber Command Operational Training Airfield in the Second World War.
FIRST WORLD WAR
ARTHUR FREDERICK GEORGE AKERS was serving as a Driver (Shoeing Smith) with the 37th (Howitzer) Brigade, The Royal Field Artillery, when he was killed in action on 15th September 1914 during The First Battle of Aisne. He was aged 37, his body was never recovered from the field, he is commemorated on La Ferté sous Jouarre Memorial, Seine-et-Marne.
He was the son of Arthur and Matilda Akers of Cleveley, Enstone and had served as a professional soldier with the RFA. In 1909 he married Florence Howard in Woodstock and by 1911 they were living in Cleveley, Enstone with their 2 children, he worked as a farm labourer. They went on to have 3 more children, before Arthur Akers was recalled to the RFA on the outbreak of war.
The 37th Brigade RFA was equipped with 4.5 inch Howitzers and sent to France as part of 4th Infantry Division in the British Expeditionary Force in August 1914. The First Battle of Aisne was an offensive against German oppositions after the Retreat to the Marne, and began on 12th September.It saw the beginning of trench warfare on the Western Front. Artur Akers was killed in the village of Bucy-le-Long.
ERNEST AKERS was serving as a Private, 2nd Battalion, Princess of Wales’s (Royal Berkshire Regiment) when he died of wounds received on 6th October 1915, in the 2nd Casualty Clearing Station in Bailleul. He was aged 27 and is buried in Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension, Nord.
He was the son of Thomas and Sarah Akers of Enstone and had been living in Rousham when he enlisted into the Royal Berkshires in 1907. He landed in France with the 2nd Battalion on 6th November 1915, as part of the 25th Brigade 8th Division and saw action in the Battles of Neuve Chapelle and Aubers Ridge.
He is not on the memorial plaque in St Kenelm's Church.
FRANK ADKINS was serving as a Gunner with the 5th Reserve Brigade, The Royal Field Artillery when he died on 6th February 1917, in Tooting Graveney in London. He was aged 27 and is buried in Tooting St Nicholas Churchyard.
He was the son of John and Emma Adkins of Church Enstone. He was posted to France on 25th August 1915, and after service abroad joined the 5th Reserve Brigade based in London.
ERNEST WILLIAM BARTLETT was serving as a Private with the 6th Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he was killed in action on 13th September 1915. He was aged 19 is buried in the Royal Irish Rifles Graveyard, Laventie.
He was the son of William and Elizabeth Bartlett of Lower Cleveley, Enstone, having been born in Kencott. His family had moved around and he had lived at Broughton, Brize Norton and Clapton where he worked as a farm labourer. He was living in Lower Cleveley, Enstone when he enlisted into the Ox and Bucks in Oxford. He landed in Boulogne with the 6th Battalion on 22nd July 1915. He was probably killed in a trench raid, wiring or a similar action as he was initially buried in the German Cemetery at Sailly-sur-La-Lys, being re-interred after the Armistice.
He is not on the memorial plaque in St Kenelm's Church, but is remembered on his brother's gravestone in the churchyard.
SIDNEY ARTHUR BENNETT was serving as a Private in the 2nd Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he committed suicide on 29th March 1916. He was aged 33 and is buried in Shorncliffe Military Cemetery.
He was the son of William and Angelina Bennett of Jubilee Cottages, Enstone and had worked as a mason's labourer before enlisting into the Ox and Bucks in Oxford. He arrived in France with the 2nd Battalion on 14th August 1914, part of the 5th Brigade in the 2nd Division, one of the first infantry divisions to arrive in France.
The Battalion took part in the first British battle of the war, at Mons, where the British defeated the German forces that they had encountered on 23rd August. A combination of German numerical advantage and the French fifth Army's retreat led to the Battalion subsequently taking part in the 220 mile retreat, in exceptionally hot weather, that began the following day, not stopping until just on the outskirts of Paris, then halting the German advance at the First Battle of the Marne between 5th and 9th September. The 2nd Ox and Bucks later took part in all the subsidiary battles of the First Battle of Ypres between 19th October and 22nd November that saw the heart ripped out of the old regular army, with 54,000 casualties being sustained. In the First Battle of Ypres the 2nd Ox and Bucks first engagement with the enemy was on 20 October in an attack on the Passchendaele ridge. The battalion had heavy casualties with 152 other ranks killed or wounded. In 1915 trench warfare commenced with both sides developing impregnable defences, leading to high casualties in return for minimal gains. At the Battle of Festubert between 9th and 16th May, launched in support of the French attack south of Vimy Eidge and included the first British night action of the war, the 2nd Ox and Bucks were part of the second wave of the 5th Brigade attack and suffered just under 400 casualties. The 2nd Ox and Bucks were involved in heavy fighting at Richebourg l'Avoueon 15/16th May and saw action at the Battle of Loos from 25th September to 8th October.
WILLIAM CHAMBERLAIN was serving as a Rifleman in the 22nd (Wessex and Welsh) Battalion, The Rifle Brigade when he died in 28th General Hospital in Greece on 25th October 1918. He was aged 24 and is buried in Mikra British Cemetery in Kalamaria, Greece.
He was the son of John George and Sarah Chamberlain of Lidstone, Enstone. He had enlisted into the 11th Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment before being transferred to the Rifle Brigade, in August 1916. The 22nd was a Territorial Battalion formed in October 1915. After training at Halton Camp they embarked on the Troopship "Olympia" bound for Alexandria. After garrison duties in Egypt they sailed on the "Royal George" for Salonika, arriving in January 1917. In April 1917 the Allies staged a major offensive against the Austro-Bulgarian forces in Macedonia, the French and Serbian Armies attacked west of the River Vardar, while the British opened an offensive at Dorian. Rifleman Chamberlain was evacuated from the field suffering from influenza during an outbreak that hit the Battalion in the Autumn of 1918. He was admitted to the 28th General Hospital in Kalamaria on 22nd August, after developing bronch-pneumonia and died 3 days later.
HARRY CLARIDGE was serving as a Private in the 2nd Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, when he was killed in action on 31st October 1914 during the First Battle of Ypres. He was aged 27, his body was never recovered from the field and he is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres.
He was the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Claridge of Cleveley, Enstone having been born in Charlbury. He had joined the The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in 1905, serving with the 1st Battalion in India. He joined the 2nd and embarked for France with them on 14th August 1914 as part of the 5th Brigade in 2nd Division. They took part in The Battle of Mons and the subsequent retreat and the Battles of Marne and the Aisne. They then took part in the First Battle of Ypres when the British fought the Germans to a standstill from 19th October 1914. Private Claridge was one of 9 from the Battalion killed on 31st October clearing woods near Zewarteleen of Germans.
ALFRED JAMES CROSS DCM was serving as a Sergeant with the 2nd Battalion, The Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort’s Own), when he was killed in action on 31st July 1917 during the Battle of Pilekem Ridge. He was aged 21, his body was never recovered from the field and he is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres.
He was the son of Charles William and Harriett Cross, Ellen's Lodge, Ditchley, Enstone. He joined the Rifle Brigade in July 1914, just before the outbreak of war. He embarked for France on 9th October 1914, joining the 2nd Battalion as part of the 25th Brigade in 8th Division. He saw action in The Battle of Neuve Chapelle, The Battle of Aubers and The action of Bois Grenier (a diversionary attack coinciding with the Battle of Loos) in 1915, The Battle of Albert (the first phase of the Battles of the Somme) in 1916 and the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line in 1917. On 18th June 1917, in the run up to the Third Battle of Ypres he received the Distinguished Conduct medal. His citation reads:
"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He led out a patrol and established two posts about 70 yards from an enemy strong point. He set a splendid example of courage and initiative."
He was killed on the first day of the Third Battle of Ypres.
he is not on the Enstone Memorial, but remembered on Spelsbury War Memorial.
PRIVATE WILLIAM THOMAS DEAN was serving as a Private with the 1st Battalion, The Royal Berkshire Regiment when he died of his wounds on 31st August 1918. He was aged 19 and is buried in Ligny-sur-Canche British Cemetery.
He was the son of Harry and Jane Dean of Barn Cottages, Tracey Farm near Great Tew, having been born in Fulwell. He had enlisted in Oxford, first joining the 6th Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry before joining the Royal Berkshires. s part of the 2nd Division his Battalion was involved in the Second Battle of the Somme from 21st August 1918 when the Allies advanced across the old 1916 Battlefields. He was wounded in action on 31st August during the Battle of Bapaume and died shortly after in a Casualty Clearing Station at Ligny-sur-Canche.
He is not on the Enstone Memorial, but is remembered on the Great Tew War Memorial.
WALTER DICKENSON was serving as a Lance Corporal in the 1st Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, when he died in the hands of the Turks on 15 August 1916. He was aged 27 and is buried in North Gate War Cemetery, Baghdad.
He was the son of Henry and Mary Ann Dickenson of Enstone. He joined the The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in 1908, whilst living in Bloxham, and served with the 1st Battalion in India. The Battalion, as part of the 6th Poona Division, under command of 17th Indian Brigade, 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 26 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, with the Battalion sustaining 304 casualties. 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. The Ottomans launched numerous attempts to take Kut, all of which were repulsed by the defenders, with both sides suffering heavy casualties. The British tried desperately to relieve Kut, but failed, suffering heavy losses. By 26th April 1916 supplies had dwindled significantly and many of the garrison's defenders were suffering from sickness. The garrison negotiated a cease-fire, allowing the sick and wounded to be transferred to the relieving forces and on 29th April the British-Indian force, now down to 8,000, surrendered to the Turks including 400 men of the 1st Ox and Bucks. Many suffered mistreatment by the Ottomans and only 71 of all ranks of the 1st Ox and Bucks who had been taken prisoner returned home to Great Britain.
He is not on the memorial plaque in St Kenelm's Church, but is on the Bloxham War memorial.
JOHN THOMAS DORSETT was serving as a Private with the 9th Battalion, The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers when he was killed in action on 15th October 1918 during the Battle of Courtrai. He was aged 20, his body was never recovered from the field and he is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial.
He was the son of John and Beatrice Dorsett and was born in Glympton, Enstone and before enlisting had worked as a farm labourer. He joined The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in Oxford before being posted to the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in France. As part of the 109th Brigade, 36th (Ulster) Division the 9th Inniskillings took part in the 1918 Battles of the Somme and Lys before taking part in the Final Advance through Flanders during which Private Dorsett was killed.
OLIVER GRIFFIN was serving as a Private with the 2nd Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he died of wounds received on 1st December 1917, during the Battle of Cambrai. He was aged 20 and is buried in Rocquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery, Manancourt on the Somme.
He was the son of Edward William Griffin of Little Tew, Enstone, having been born in Cornwell near Chipping Norton. He enlisted with Prince Albert’s (Somerset Light Infantry) before being transferred to the Ox and Bucks.
ALFRED HAWTIN was serving as a Sergeant in the 1/1st Battalion, The Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars when he died on 2nd April 1918 from wounds received during the German Spring Offensive. He was aged 30 and is buried in Namps au Val British Cemetery, in the Somme.
He was the son of Joseph and Esther Hawtin of Church Enstone and had worked as a farm labourer. His elder brother Frederick died in 1915, above. He had joined the Territorial B Squadron of the QOOH and had gained the rank of Lance Corporal by the outbreak of war.
In September 1914 the regiment received an unexpected telegram. It came from the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston 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. The German offensive around St Quentin began on March 21st 1918 and succeeded in driving back the allied forces some forty miles in ten days before their advance was halted. The QOOH were among many regiments who fought valiantly but to begin with unsuccessfully to stop the German advance. Eventually the enemy were brought to a halt . Two battles were especially important in stopping the Germans and preventing them from seizing the city: the battle of Moreuil Wood on March 30th, and the battle for Rifle Wood on Easter Monday, April 1st. Both battles were carried out almost entirely by cavalry regiments. Moreuil Wood was fought mainly by the three regiments of the Canadian Cavalry Brigade whilst Rifle Wood was fought by the survivors of these three regiments plus three British Cavalry units The Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars, 3rd (King's Own) Hussars, and 20th Hussars. The QOOH, about 120 men in total, and the 3rd Hussars about 80 strong, formed the First Wave of the three waves of the attack formation. (20th Hussars formed the Second Wave and the Canadian Cavalry Brigade was the Third Wave). The Oxfords suffered fifty percent casualties, killed and wounded.
Sergeant Hawtin was wounded in action on 1st April and died in a casualty clearing station the next day.
FREDERICK HAWTIN was serving as a Private with the 2nd Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he was killed in action on 25th September 1915 on the first day of the Battle of Loos. He was aged 35, his body was never recovered from the field and he is commemorated on the Loos Memorial.
He was the son of Joseph and Esther Hawtin of Church Enstone, his younger brother Alfred died in 1918, below. In 1901 he was boarding with his brother Albert and his wife, in Leeds, where he was working as a groom.
He joined the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in 1903, and served with the 1st Battalion in India.In 1904 he married Matilda Mayo in Headington. On 14th August 1914 he embarked for France with the 2nd Battalion as part of the 5th Brigade in the 2nd Division, one of the first infantry divisions to arrive in France. The battalion took part in the first British battle of the war, at Mons, where the British defeated the German forces that they had encountered on 23rd August. A combination of German numerical advantage and the French fifth Army's retreat led to the Battalion subsequently taking part in the 220 mile retreat, in exceptionally hot weather, that began the following day, not stopping until just on the outskirts of Paris, then halting the German advance at the First Battle of the Marne between 5th and 9th September. The 2nd Ox and Bucks later took part in all the subsidiary battles of the First Battle of Ypres between 19th October and 22nd November that saw the heart ripped out of the old regular army, with 54,000 casualties being sustained. In the First Battle of Ypres the 2nd Ox and Bucks first engagement with the enemy was on 20 October in an attack on the Passchendaele ridge. The battalion had heavy casualties with 152 other ranks killed or wounded. In 1915 trench warfare commenced with both sides developing impregnable defences, leading to high casualties in return for minimal gains. At the Battle of Festubert between 9th and 16th May, launched in support of the French attack south of Vimy Eidge and included the first British night action of the war, the 2nd Ox and Bucks were part of the second wave of the 5th Brigade attack and suffered just under 400 casualties. The 2nd Ox and Bucks were involved in heavy fighting at Richebourg l'Avoueon 15/16th May and saw action at the Battle of Loos from 25th September to 8th October.
JOHN DENNIS HIGLEY was serving as a Private with the 5th(Service) Battalion, The Princess Charlotte of Wales’s (Royal Berkshire Regiment) when he was killed in action on 30th November 1917 during the Battle of Cambrai. He was aged 23, his body was never recovered from the field and he is commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial, Louvreral.
He was the son of John and Susan Higley of Mill House, Church Enstone.
The 5th Battalion, one of Kitchener's new armies, had arrived in France in May 1915 as part of the 36th Brigade in the 12th(Eastern) Division. They saw action in the Battle of Loos in September 1915 and in the Battle of the Somme in 1916, In 1917 they took part in the Battle of Arras from January, before moving to the Cambrai front in October.
WILFRED HENRY HUCKIN was serving as a Private in the 3rd Battalion, The Grenadier Guards when he died on 30 September 1915 from wounds received during the Battle of Loos. He was aged 20 and is buried in Noeux les Mines Communal Cemetery in the Pas de Calais.
He was the son of Fred and Sarah Huckin, Fir Tree Cottage, Church Enstone and had worked as a farm labourer before enlisting into the Grenadier Guards in December 1914. The 3rd Battalion landed at Le Havre on 26th July 1915 and joined the 2nd Guards Brigade, Guards Division in August. They joined the Battle of Loos on 26th September 1915, Private Huckin being wounded and dying whilst in the care of the 4th Field Ambulance.
FRANCIS CHARLES HUNT was serving as a Private in the 1st Battalion, The Lancashire Fusiliers when he was killed in action on 9th October 1917 during the Battle of Poelcappelle. He was aged 20, his body was never recovered from the field and he is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial.
He was the son of Victor and Gertrude Hunt of Church Enstone, having been born in Kiddington.
The Battle of Poelcapelle marked the end of the string of highly successful British attacks in late September and early October 1917, during the Third battle of Ypres. The ground along the main ridges had been severely damaged by shelling and rapidly deteriorated in the rains, which began again on 3 October, which in some areas turned the ground into a swamp. Dreadful ground conditions had more effect on the British, who needed to move large amounts of artillery and ammunition to support the next attack. The battle was a defensive success for the German army, although costly to both sides. The weather and ground conditions put severe strain on all the infantry involved and led to many wounded being stranded on the battlefield.
JOHN RICHARD JONES was serving as a Telegraphist, Royal Navy on HM Submarine E30 and died on active service when his submarine was lost on 22nd November 1916. He was aged 19, his body was never recovered and he is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial.
His father, also John Richard Jones, had been a collier in Wales, joined the Grenadier Guards in 1893, rising through the ranks to Quartermaster Sergeant Major. In 1896 he married Rose Cross in St Johns Church, Little Tew and in 1897 John Jones was born. By 1901 they had left village and were living at Hythe St Leonard in Kent where his father was attached to the school of musketry until retiring in May 1914.
John joined the Royal Navy at Chatham in January 1913 as a boy sailor training on the shore bases HMS Ganges and training as a telegraphist at HMS Impregnable. Leaving there in February 1914, he was aboard the scout cruiser HMS Attentive until November 1914 when he was posted to HMS Dolphin at Gosport, the navy's submarine training base. On 8th November 1916 he was allocated to the submarine depot ship HMS Maidstone at Harwich and joined the crew of E30. HM Submarine E30 hit a mine off Orford Ness with the loss of all her 31 crew members.
GEORGE HERBERT KNIBBS was serving as Private with the 2nd Battalion, The Hampshire Regiment when he died of fever whilst a prisoner of the Turks, on 8th November 1916. He was aged 19 and is buried in Baghdad North Gate War Cemetery in Iraq.
He was born in Swerford to Sarah Knibbs Rose and had been living in Great Tew with his grandparents, working as a farm labourer.
He had enlisted into The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in 1914 then transferred to the Hampshires. They sailed from Avonmouth on 29th March 1915 for Gallipoli, going via Egypt. They landed at Cape Helles on 25th April 1915, as part of the 88th Brigade, 29th Division and fought in the Gallipoli Campaign. During this Private Knibbs was taken prisoner.
GEORGE EDWARD KNIGHT MM was serving as a Gunner with "D" Battery, 286th Brigade, The Royal Field Artillery when he died on 9 April 1918 from wounds received. He was aged 23 and his final resting place is unknown, he is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial in Hainaut, Belgium.
He was born in Banbury in 1894 to Alice Knight, who in 19o1 married James Hobday, and had worked as a greaser on the Great Western Railway before enlisting.
GEORGE FREDERICK MURRELL was serving as a Private in the 31st Mobile Section of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps when he died on 4th September 1915 aged 41, from pneumonia in No 9 casualty clearing station. He is buried in Lillers Communal Cemetery in France. He was born in Reading in 1874 but moved with his family to Wykeham Lane, near Banbury, where his father worked as a coachman. He married May Fowler in 1903 in Chipping Norton and had one son, James born in 1909. He worked as a groom and coachman at Over Norton Park along with William Knight, who also died in the war. At the time of his death his wife and son were living at Lidstone, near Enstone.
The Royal Army Veterinary Corps was responsible for the medical care of animals used by the army, mostly horses, mules and pigeons. The 31st Mobile Section was attached to the 19th Western Division. George Murrell arrived in France with his division on the 20th July 1915.
He is also remembered on the Chipping Norton War Memorials.
WILLIAM JAMES PINFOLD was serving as a Private with the 1st/4th Battalion, The King's (Shropshire Light Infantry) when he was killed in action on 4th November 1918 during the Passage of the Great Honnelle. He was aged 19 and is buried in Jenlain Communal Cemetery,
He was the son of William and Margaret Pinfold of Neat, Enstone. After training in the reserves he joined the Shropshires. His Battalion was involved in the Final Advance in Picardy, fighting in the Battle of Sambre of which the Passage of the Great Honnelle was an action of, losing his life 7 days before the Armistice.
EDWARD FELIX OWEN REGAN was serving as an Able Seaman, Royal Navy when he was killed on active service when HM Submarine E22 was torpedoed on 25 April 1916. He was aged 23, his body was never recovered and he is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.
He was the son of Owen and Ina Regan of the Harrow Public House, Neat Enstone, having been born in Steeple Barton. He had worked as a telegraph messenger before joining the Navy in March 1910 as a Boy Sailor, training at HMS Impregnable in Devonport. He was made up to Ordinary Seaman aboard the submarine depot ship HMS Arrogant in October 1911. He had a spell aboard the armoured cruiser HMS Good Hope between January and December 1912, being promoted to Able Seaman.
Postings to training bases Vernon and Dolphin and various ships followed until he was posted to the submarine depot ship HMS Maidstone at Harwich. Here he was assigned to submarine E22 in March 1915.
In early 1916 E22 was involved in experiments in the North Sea in an attempt to intercept Zeppelins. Two Sopwith Schneider seaplanes were carried on the casing of E22, The boat would submerge in calm waters allowing the planes to float and take off. They would return afterward to Felixstowe, Suffolk. In the first launching trial the fragile seaplanes were destroyed by choppy seas before they floated free. One successful trial was carried out, but the scheme was abandoned as impractical.
E22 was torpedoed by the German U-boat UB-18, whilst on surface passage off Great Yarmouth in the North Sea on 25 April 1916. There were only 2 survivors from the crew of 33.
He left a wife behind in Portsmouth.
FRANCIS JOSEPH REYNOLDS was serving as a Lance Corporal in the 3rd Battalion, The Grenadier Guards when he died from wounds received on 21st April 1916. He was aged 34 is buried in the Reservoir Cemetery, Ypres.
He was the son of Richard and Mary Reynolds, born in Great Tew. He joined the Grenadier Guards in 1901 and served in the Boer War in 1902, afterwards joining the reserves. In 1907 he married Alice Arthur in Enstone, they had 2 children together and lived in Sandford St Martin, where he worked as a gardener. He was recalled to the Grenadier Guards at the outbreak of war to Wellington Barracks in London. The 3rd Battalion mobilised for war and landed at Havre .on 17th August 1915, transferred to the 2nd Guards Brigade of the Guards Division and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including The Battle of Flers-Courcelette and The Battle of Morval in 1916. Between 14th March and 5th April 1917, The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, During Somme fighting the Germans constructed a formidable new defensive system some miles in their rear. From February 1917 they began to withdraw into it, giving up ground but in carrying out “Operation Alberich” they made the ground as uninhabitable and difficult as possible, as below on the road to Peronne. British patrols eventually detected the withdrawal and cautiously followed up and advanced, being brought to a standstill at the outer defences of the system. It was at this point that L/Cpl Reynolds was wounded and died.
CHARLES SHEFFIELD was serving as a Corporal with the 1st Battery, 45th Brigade, The Royal Field Artillery, when he was killed in action on 15 August 1917, during the Third Battle of Ypres. He was aged 20, his body was never recovered from the field and he is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres .
He was the son of George and Mary Sheffield of Spring Hill, Enstone, at 13 he was working as a labourer on a farm. His brother Frank, below was killed in 1915 . He joined the RFA in France on 24th July 1915 being hospitalized suffering from eczema from 6th until 15th September. As part of the 8th Division his Brigade fought in the Battle of the Somme, the German Retreat to the Hindenburg Line and phases of the Third Battle of Ypres, during which Corporal Sheffield was killed.
FRANK SHEFFIELD was serving as Gunner with "C" Battery, 100th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery when he was died on 18th September 1915. He was aged 21, his final resting place is unknown and he is commemorated on the Theipval Memorial.
He was the son of George and Mary Sheffield of Spring Hill, Enstone, and elder brother of Charles, above. He had worked as a farm labourer before enlisting into the RFA, arriving in France with the 100th Brigade on 6th September 1915. As part of 22nd Division, they were concentrated near Flesselles by 9th of the month.
WILLIAM ALFRED SIMMS was serving as a Private with the 7th (Service)Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he died from disease on 25th October 1918. He was aged 29 and is buried in Doiran Military Cemetery, Greece.
He was the son of William and Sarah Simms of Enstone and had worked as farm labourer. He joined the 7th Battalion, one of Kitchener's New Armies, in Oxford in September 1914 . After training they embarked for France, landing at Boulogne on 21st September 1915 as part of the 26th Division. They did not stay long in France as in November 1915 they were sent to Salonika via Marseilles. The regiment's time in the Balkans was mostly quiet, experiencing sporadic fighting, but it included the repulsing of a Bulgarian invasion of Greece at Lake Doiran in April 1917. The regiment saw very heavy fighting against the Bulgarians around Doiran the following September, after the Allies had launched an offensive in July 1918 with the intention of ending the war in the Balkans. The war ended on 30th September 1918 with Bulgaria signing an Armistice with the Allies. The 26th Division had suffered casualties of 8,022 killed, wounded and missing during the war but vastly larger numbers sick with malaria, dysentery and other diseases rife in the Salonika theatre.
FREDERICK CHARLES SIMONS was serving as a Private with the 9th(Reserve) Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he died of cerebro-spinal meningitis in the 3rd Southern General Hospital in Portsmouth on 2nd February 1915. He was aged 27 and is buried in Highland Road Cemetery in Portsmouth.
He was the son of Edwin and Mary Simons of Radford Bridge, Enstone. He married Elsie Crutch at Kiddington Parish Church in June 1908. They lived in Glympton where he worked as a carter on a farm.
ARTHUR SMITH was serving as a Private with the 61st Battalion, The Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) when he was killed in action fighting on the Somme on 21st March 1918. He was aged 26, his final resting place is unknown and he is commemorated on the Pozières Memorial.
He was son of Thomas and Sarah Smith of Radford, Enstone, having been born in Great Tew. He had lived in Kiddington Hall working as a gardener, he enlisted into the The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry before being transferred to the MGC. After the German Spring offensive of 1918 in which the Germans overran the devastated areas of the Somme, machine gun teams operated well in front of the line. served well in advance of the front line, a very dangerous place to be. 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'.
RALPH HENRY TAYLOR was serving as a Private in the 2nd/7th Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment whe 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.
LOUIS or LEWIS MOREWOOD TAYLOR was serving as a Private in the 2nd Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, when he was killed in action on in the Battle for Delville Wood on 30th July 1916. He was aged 23, his body was never recovered from the field, he is commemorated on the Theipval Memorial.
He was born in Ledwell, near Enstone to parents William and Elizabeth Taylor later living in Middle Barton with his parents working as a farm labourer. On enlistment he was living in Chipping Norton, joining the Ox and Bucks at the outbreak of war in August 1914. He joined the 2nd Battalion in France on 29th November 1914. The Battalion, as part of the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division took part in the Battles of of Festubert and Loos in 1915 before Delville Wood, a phase of the battle of the Somme in 1916.
BERTIE GEORGE TUSTIN was serving as a Private in the 11th Battalion, The Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment), was killed in action on 17th February 1917. He was aged 26, his body was never recovered from the field, he is commemorated on the Theipval Memorial.
He was the son of George and Eliza Tustin of Cleveley, Enstone
He had enlisted in The Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Regiment), before transferring to the Londons. He arrived in France with the Battalion on 26th July 1915 as part of the 18th (Eastern) Division. They fought in many of the phases of the Battle of the Somme from 1st July 1916. He was killed in action during opertions on the Ancre.
ARTHUR WEARING was serving as a Gunner in "A" Battery, The 92nd Brigade, The Royal Field Artillery when he was killed in action during the Battle of Cambrai on 30th November 1917 aged 38. He is commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial for soldiers with no known grave.
He was born in Enstone to parents Henry and Mary. In 1902 he married Emily Hurcomb. They had four children between 1904 and 1910 and lived at Old Chalford, Chalford Oaks, Chipping Norton where he worked as a general labourer.
He is also remembered on Chipping Norton War Memorial.
ALFRED WIGGINS was serving as a Private with the 45th Remounts, The Royal Army Service Corps, when he died from dysentry on 12th January 1919. He was aged 30 and is buried Mikra British Cemetery, Kalamaria.
He was the son of George and Mary Wiggins of Lidstone, Enstone, having been born in Eastleach. He had worked as a carter on a farm until he enlisted into the Army Service Corps in Oxford on 2nd April 1914. He served at home until 3rd February 1916 when he embarked on the "Huanchaco" at Southampton, arriving in Alexandria on 19th. He was posted to 45th Remounts and sailed on HM Troopship "Flavia" to Salonika, arriving there on 16th November 1916. He was appointed a rough rider, someone who breaks horses into the saddle, on 5th November 1918. He suffered from dysentery later that month, but recovered, but was admitted to 42nd General Hospital in Kalamaria with a further outbreak on 6th January 1919, dying 6 days later.
SECOND WORLD WAR
KENNETH ARTHUR BENFIELD was serving as a Painter 3rd Class in the Royal Navy when he was on HMS Calcutta on 1st June 1941. He was aged 31 and is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, his body never being recovered from the sea.
He was the son of Francis and Edith Benfield of Church Enstone and had joined the Royal Navy before the war. He had married Peggy Sonnen in Portsmouth in the spring of 1936, and they had a son together.
HMS Calcutta was a C class light cruiser commissioned in 1918. In 1939 she was converted to an anti-aircraft cruiser in 1939. Calcutta served during the Norwegian Campaign and the evacuation from Dunkirk in 1940. She was used to escort allied convoys across the Mediterranean. During the airborne invasion of Crete, from 20th May 1941, she was part of the British Mediterranean Fleet deployed to counter any sea-borne reinforcement of the German forces. On 27th May, the deteriorating situation on Crete resulted in the evacuation of Allied forces being ordered, with Calcutta along with the cruisers Coventry, Phoebe and Perth, the destroyers Jervis, Janus and Hasty and the transport Glengyle evacuating 6,000 troops from Sfakia on the night of 29/30 May 1941. Calcutta and Coventry set out from Alexandria on 1st June to provide extra anti-aircraft protection , but the two ships were attacked by two Junkers 88 bombers of Lehrgeschwader 1 about 100 nautical miles northwest of Alexandria, which dived out of the sun, giving little warning. Calcutta was hit by two bombs and sank, with 255 men being rescued by Coventry and 107 men killed or missing.
GEORGE FREDERICK CANNING was serving as a Guardsman (Signalmam) in the 1st Battalion, The Grenadier Guards when he died on 11th June 1943. He was aged 33 and is buried in Enstone St Kenhelm Churchyard Extension.
He was the son of Arthur and Lily May Canning of Enstone. His father had served with the The Royal Field Artillery in France until he was wounded and invalided out. George had been working as a gardener when he married Lily Aries in Cowley St James church in July 1929. They had a son together and lived in Enstone. The 1st Battalion of the Grenadier Guards had seen action with the BEF in France in 1940 and evacuated from Dunkirk. At the time of Guardsman Canning's death in Essex County Hospital in Colchester they were part of the Guards Armoured Division.
DIARMUID EDWARD DONOVAN was serving as a 2nd Lieutenant with the Royal Engineers when he died of his wounds on 26th May 1940. He was aged 20 and is buried in Abbeville Communal Cemetery Extension.
He was the son of Richard and Edith Donovan, he was born in Manchester and educated at Campbell College in Belfast between 1933 and 36. He pursued a career in mining, visiting South Africa in 1939. He the joined 141st Officer Training Cadets, Royal Engineers and was made 2nd Lieutenant on 23rd April 1940. He joined the British Expeditionary Force in France. On 20th May 1940 he was seriously wounded and taken prisoner by the Germans. He died in Chateau d' Un hospital in Amiens on 26th May. At the time of his death his mother was living at the Old Vicarage in Stoke Lynn whilst his father was serving as a Squadron Leader with RAF General Command in Cairo.
FREDERIC HUBERT FAULKNER was serving as a Private with the 7th (Territorial) Battalion, The Worcestershire Regiment when he was killed in action between 21st May and 15st June 1940 during the Battle of France. He was aged 20 and is buried Longuenesse Souvenir Cemetery, St. Omer.
He was the son of Hubert and Kate Faulkner of Cleveley, Enstone. The 7th Battalion sailed from Southampton on 14th January 1940, on the Amsterdam, and at the time security measures were sufficient to ensure that officers and men did not know their port of embarkation. The subsequent disembarkation on 16th January at Le Havre was hardly a happy affair. A high snow-storm was on and they were met by guides who seemed to have no idea whatsoever where to lead their companies. From 11th May the Battalion began to move up to the Belgium border taking up positions behind lakes south east of the Foret de Soignes on the Belgium border. From 16th May 1940 they were forced into a fighting retreat behind the Brussels Canal. Private Faulkner was missing from this date and was originally buried, near where he fell, in Aix Churchyard, probably by local people. He was re-interred at St Omer in 1951.
COLIN HENRY GUNTRIP was serving as a Corporal with the 1st Battalion, The Leicestershire Regiment when he died of his wounds on 23rd April 1945. He was aged 19 and is buried in Jonkerbos War Cemetery in the
He was the son of Charles and Lemada Guntrip of Ludgershall, Buckinghamshire.
The 8th Battalion, formed in Leicestershire in 1940, changed its designation to 1st Battalion in May 1942, to replace and carry on the high tradition of the old 1st which was lost when Singapore fell. It landed in Normandy on 3 July 1944, came under command of 147th Brigade of the 49th Division. After taking part in the fighting in the bridgehead, it advanced to the Seine and took part in the capture of Le Havre. From there it carried out some short, sharp engagements against the retreating enemy in Belgium and Holland. The Battalion was in the Nijmegen Bridgehead when Corporal Guntrip was mortally wounded.
VICTOR ALFRED LEWIS was serving as a Sergeant with 107 Squadron, Royal Air Force when he was killed on active service on 11th June 1941. He was aged 24 and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, having no known grave.
He was the son of Alfred and Alice Lewis of Enstone and had joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. He joined 107 Squadron and on 11th June 1941 was air gunner aboard Bristol Blenheim Mk IV V6367 which took off from RAF Massingham at 0913 on an anti-shipping sortie. The aircraft was recalled due to a lack of cloud cover but disappeared over the North Sea, with the loss of all three aircrew.
ALBERT EDWARD CHARLES POVEY was serving as a Sergeant with 144 Squadron, the Royal Air Force when he was killed on active service on 29th September 1939. He was aged 30 and is commemorated on the Rummymede Memorial, having no known grave.
He was the son of Albert and Mary Povey of Lasham, Hampshire.
He was based at RAF Hemswell in Lincolnshire, serving as an Observer, from 3rd March 1939. The squadron’s first operation, a patrol over the North Sea, had been just three days earlier and been uneventful. The squadron's next mission, another armed reconnaissance over the North Sea on 29th September, was a very different story indeed. Eleven Handley-Page Hampden Mk Is, split into two sections, a section of five led by Wing Commander J Cunningham, the CO, and a section of six led by Squadron Leader WJH Lindley, were detailed to search part of the Heligoland Bight to within sight of the German coast. Cunningham in Hampden L4134 I left Hemswell at 0640 and was shot down in flames by Messerschmidt BF109 flown by Uffz Pirsch of 1./ZG26. Three of the crew including Sergeant Povey where killed whilst the Air Gunner parachuted to safety but was captured. None of the 5 aircraft of Wing Commander Cunningham' section made it home.
HUBERT PRATLEY was serving as a Gunner with the 16 Defence Regiment, the Royal Artillery and died whilst a Prisoner of War of the Japanese Army between 1st and 31 August 1943. He was aged 22 is buried in Kanchanaburi War Cemetery.
He was the son of George and Jane Pratley of Kiddington. He was taken prisoner after the fall of Singapore on 15th February 1942. Set to work on the notorious Burma Railway he died in South Tohcon Camp in Siam and was buried in the cemetery there, being re-interred in 1946.
SOME OF THOSE FROM THE VILLAGE WHO SERVED IN THE FIRST WORLD WAR
THE ABBOTT BROTHERS
Thomas Henry Abbott was born in 1848 in Oxford and had married Hannah Prickett in 1883 in Woodstock. They moved to the Marylebone area of London where Hannah died in 1888 shortly after giving birth to her second child John, below. Thomas returned to live with his parents in Oxfordshire and married again in 1892 to Mary Ann Smith in Stanton Harcourt. They moved to Enstone and had 8 more children together, two sons serving in the First World War. Their son Montageaue, known as Old Mont, was the subject of a splendid book called "Lifting the Latch", and the photos below come from there.
GEORGE FRANCIS ABBOTT was born in Oxford in 1895, his family later moving to Enstone, where he worked as a horseman on a farm. He enlisted into the 1st Life Guards Regiment in the summer of 1913. Up to August 1914, the Life Guards were stationed at barracks in Hyde Park, handily placed for the many royal guard and ceremonial duties that they were called upon to perform in London. George is pictured below in his ceremonial uniform.
Soon after the declaration of war, his squadron was detached to help form the Household Cavalry Composite Regiment, which moved to France with 4th Cavalry Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division on 14th August 1914. They saw action at Mons and in the subsequent withdrawal to and beyond the Marne, the decisive battle of the Marne, and later at Ypres. The Composite Regiment was broken up on 11 November 1914, and the squadron rejoined the regiment, which was by now itself on the Western Front.
The main body had crossed to Belgium, landing on 8th October 1914, under command of the 7th Cavalry Brigade of the 3rd Cavalry Division. Other than in the first two weeks when it was used in the traditional cavalry, for mobile reconnaissance, it fought most of the war as a dismounted force. The regiment was heavily involved at the Second Battle of Ypres in April and May 1915, The Battle of Loos in September and October 1915 and then saw action in the Arras Offensive in April 1917. At other times, it took its turn in holding various sections of the front line trenches, and at other times prepared to exploit breakthroughs in battle, but opportunities rarely presented themselves.
On 10 March 1918, it was detached from 7th Cavalry Brigade, with which it had served from August 1914. It was formally dismounted and converted into the No 1 (1st Life Guards) Battalion of the Guards Machine Gun Regiment. It was while this unit was being trained at the great base camp at Etaples that it was hit by an enemy air raid, a very frequent occurrence in the densely populated coastal area behind the front, on 19th May 1918. Shortly before midnight, two bombs fell on the Life Guards camp. No fewer than 42 men were killed and 83 wounded in this incident. George is pictured below on the right, his brother John is on the left with his sister Lottie. The chevron on his left cuff denotes one years service overseas and this picture must have been taken in 1915, he also wears two good conduct stripes on his left cuff.
After demobilization George Abbott moved to Islington in London and married Winifred Seaman in May 1921 and had a son together. He died in 1969 aged 73.
HORACE ALBERT ABBOTT was born in July 1897 in Oxford. His family moved to Enstone, where he worked as a farm labourer.
He joined the Royal Navy as a boy sailor in Portsmouth in August 1913. He trained on HMS Ganges and the Victory shore establishment before joining the Dreadnought battleship HMS Agincourt, below, as a boy sailor on 7th August 1914. Serving in patrols and escort duties in the home fleet he was made up to Signaller, then Leading Signaller and was involved in the Battle of Jutland at the end of May 1916.
On 16th November 1916 he joined the light cruiser HMS Calliope, below, and was aboard her when she helped sink 4 German trawler minesweepers in the North Sea off the coast of Jutland.
He the joined the pre-Dreadnought battle ship HMS Commonwealth on 8th November 1917 and served with her until 1st August 1919. After a spell at Victory shore base, he served briefly on the cruiser HMS Dublin before being invalided out of the Navy on 5th August 1920.
He married Ida Harris in 1921 and had 2 sons and a daughter, living at 5, Goddards Lane in Chipping Norton. Both his sons served in the Second World War. He died in the town in July 1982 aged 85.
JOHN HENRY ABBOTT was born in Marylebone in 1887 and was working as a porter when he enlisted into the 1st Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment in Reading on 28th December 1904. He served in Egypt between September 1905 and December 1906 and in India thereafter until November 1912. He returned home after and elected to be transferred to the Reserves. He then became a policeman until the outbreak of war, being recalled to his unit on 5th August 1914.
He arrived in France with the 1st Battalion on 13th August 1914, as part of the 2nd Division. Concentrated at Rouen they moved up to fight in the Battle of Mons on 23rd August, holding the German advance up for 24 hours. They conducted a fighting retreat from 24th and Private Abbott was wounded in action on 28th August near the village of Landrecies. He was evacuated home to England on 2nd September 1914. After recovery he was sent back to France, joining the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Berkshire Regiment in the field in December 1914. On 10th March 1915 the 2nd Battalion took part in the Battle of Neuve Chapelle where they captured the village from the Germans. Private Abbott was again wounded in action and evacuated to England on 13th March 1915.
He married Dora Baker at Watlington Parish Church on 15th January 1916. After recovering from his wounds he was transferred to the Military Foot Police as a Corporal, serving on the home front. Whilst serving in Portsmouth his wife was taken ill at their home in Watlington. He returned home but on 3rd July 1918 she died of pneumonia and heart failure aged just 25. The effects of his wounds and the loss of his wife caught up with him and on 12th September 1918 he was discharged from the Army being no longer physically fit for war service. He was awarded the Silver Badge to be worn on civilian clothes, to stop wounded soldiers being accused of cowardice.
THOMAS GEORGE ADKINS was born in Cleveley, Enstone in 1896 to parents Thomas and Jane Akers and had worked as a plough boy. He was working as a cowman and living with his parents at Hennel Cottage, Fulwell, Enstone when he enlisted into the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in Oxford on 29th May 1915. He was posted to France, destined to join the 2nd Battalion, on 30th September 1915. However on 27th November 1915 at the depot base he was on sick parade, complaining of back pain and unable to carry his pack. He was admitted to 26th General Hospital in Etaples on 12th December 1915 and invalided back to England on the Hospital Ship "St David" on 23rd December 1915. He was admitted to the Military Hospital at Boscombe on Christmas Day 1915 and remained there until 23rd March 1916. He was found to have curvature of the spine caused by adolescent rickets but aggravated by his military service. A medical board recommended his discharge as no longer fit for war service, and this happened on 15th April 1916. He was awarded a certificate and a the Silver Badge, worn on civilian clothing to stop discharged men being accused of cowardice.
He married Lilian Bosher in 1926 and died in Chipping Norton in 1972.
EDWIN BECK was born in Cleveley, Enstone in September 1866, the son of Maria Beck. He had worked as a farm labourer and then a groom before enlisting in the Royal Garrison Artillery in Woolwich on 21st October 1887 at Woolwich. He served in Devonport as a Gunner until October 1894 when he transferred into the reserves. In Spring 1899 he married Elizabeth Perkins and they lived in Millbay, Plymouth where they had a son and a daughter. He worked as a general labourer, his service in the RGA reserves ended in October 1899 when he was time expired. In November 1901 he re-enlisted into the RGA and served at home until reaching 41, in 1907, when he was discharged again as time expired, his character being stated as very good.
In 1909 his wife died at the age of 36, his children went to live with their grandparents in Tavistock whie he returned to Cleveley, living with his step father and working as a farm labourer. He was working as a shoe smith when he volunteered to serve his Country again on 20th January 1915 at the age of 44. He joined the RGA at Fort Rowant in Gosport serving as a Gunner until 8th March 1917 when he was transferred to the Royal Engineers. He was sent to France on 27th March 1917, posted as a Sapper to the Inland Waterway Transport Corps. He worked as a fitter servicing the many different craft that plied the canals and rivers of France and cross-channel barges. He served in France until 19th March 1919 and returned home for de-moblization into the "Z" Reserves, formed in case of any German infringements of the Armistice, in April.
He died in September 1958 aged 92.
FRANK WILIAM BENNETT was born in 1886 to parents William and Angelina Bennett of Neat Enstone and worked as a gardener. On 7th February 1903 he joined the Royal Navy in Devonport as a Boy Sailor. Heserved on various training ships and shore bases until 23rd April 1904 when he joined the Cressy Class armoured cruiser HMS Euryalus (below) as a Boy First Class.
He remained with her until March 1906, being made up to an Ordinary then Able Seaman, Euryalus serving as flagship on the Australian Station. Various postings followed until he joined the crew of HMS Cumberland, a Monmouth class armoured cruiser in January 1907, serving as a training ship for the Home Fleet. His next ship was HMS Argyll, a Devonshire class armoured cruiser, which he joined in February 1910. She was part of the 5th Cruiser Squadron of the Atlantic Fleet and in 1911 was detached to escort the Royal Yacht during King George V's tour to India. He was made up to Leading Seaman before leaving the ship in March 1912. In May 1912 he joined the destroyer HMS Avon (below) assigned to the 7th Destroyer Flotilla at Devonport, tendered by the depot ship HMS Leander. In September 1914 the 7th was redeployed to the Humber River. Her employment within the Humber Patrol included anti-submarine and counter-mining patrols.
He left her in March 1915 joining HMS Warspite, a Queen Elizabeth class battleship on 1st April, where she was part of the 5th Battle Squadron. On 31st May Warspite deployed with the squadron to fight in the Battle of Jutland, the largest naval encounter between Britain and Germany during the war. Following a signalling error, the battleships were left trailing Beatty's fast ships during the battlecruiser action, and the 5th Battle Squadron was exposed to heavy fire from the German High Seas Fleet as the force turned away to the north, although Warspite was able to score her first hit on the battlecruiser Von der Tann. Warspite was holed 150 times during the battle, and had 14 killed and 16 wounded and it took 2 months to repair the damage. Frank Bennett was promoted to Petty Officer in November 1916 having passed his exams back in 1911. He served with Warspite (below) for the rest of the war based at Scapa Flow but saw no further action in battle. On 21st November 1918 she escorted the German High Seas Fleet into internment at Scapa Flow.
He left Warspite in June 1921 and joined HMS Vanquisher a V-class destroyer in July and serving on her until September 1924. He then joined the S-Class destroyer HMS Torch (below) and was promoted to Chief Petty Officer in January 1925.
He retired from the Royal Navy in February 1925. In 1934 he married Hester Sturdy in Spelsbury and he died in 1968 aged 81.
THE HAWTIN BROTHERS.
Joseph and Esther Hawtin who farmed in Church Enstone had seven sons and three daughters. Five of those sons served in the First World War. Frederick and Alfred both gave their lives and they are listed above.
CHARLES HAWTIN was the fourth son born in November 1884 and was assisting on the farm and working as a baker's assistant when he enlisted into the Royal Navy in August 1901, aged 16. He was a Boy 2nd Class on the training ship HMS Impregnable and served there until November 1902, leaving as an Ordinary Seaman. His first ship was the Apollo Class protected cruiser HMS Indefatigable, serving with her to January 1905 and being made Able Seaman. Spells aboard various shore establishments and depot ships until he joined another Apolla class cruiser HMS Iphigenia in January 1906. He next served on the torpedo boat carrier/depot ship between May 1908 and October 1909 then time at the shore establishments Fisgard and Vernon. On 16th May 1911 he joined the crew of the battlecruiser HMS Invincible (below), serving with the Mediterranean Fleet, where Invincible was involved with a collision with submarine HMS C34. She returned to Britain in December 1813 for a major refit.
His next ship was HMS Argonaut a Diadem class of protected cruiser and then the armoured cruiser HMS Drake. On 14th June 1914 he joined the Canopus class battleship HMS Glory (below). Following the outbreak of World War I, Glory acted as a guard ship at Nova Scotia and conducted operations in support of the North America and West Indies Station. She participated in the Dardanelles Campaign from June 1915 until the end of the campaign in December that year. She returned home for a refit 1916 and he left the ship in April that year.
He was next assigned to the destroyer depot ship HMS Sandhurst on 9th September 1916 based at Scapa Flow. He was a crew member of newly launched HMS Rapid an M Class destroyer and was made a Leading Seaman in August 1917 and serving with her on until September that year. He served ashore in Portsmouth until being discharged on 27th June 1919.
He married Ivy Priest in Ploughley in 1935 and died in Surrey in 1939 aged 55.
EDMUND JOHN HAWTIN was the youngest son, born in 1898, and had worked as a horseman on the family farm. He enlisted into the Royal Field Artillery on 8th October 1916, mustered as a Driver. He was posted to "A" Battery of 352 Brigade RFA in March 1917, serving on the home front. On 22nd September 1917 he was posted to France, joining "C" Battery of the 296th Brigade in the field. As part of the 59th Division (2nd North Midland) Division they were in action in the Third Battle of Ypres in 1917. In March 1918 they defended against the German Spring Offensive and the Second Battle of the Somme. He was given 14 days leave home to England in September 1918 returning to fight in final advance in Artois and Flanders up until the Armistice. On 21st November his father Joseph had written to the OC of the RFA requesting Edmund's early release:
"He and a brother now killed in action, both worked at home for me before joining up for the duration. Five of my sons served in the war and two have been killed. It has been hard work for me to keep the farm running as I am 70"
On 7th January 1919 he embarked at Dunkirk to return home for discharge and took over the running of the farm after his father's death in 1925. He married Gertrude Ray in Deddington Parish Church in October 1927 and died on 4th May 1963 and is buried in Enstone Churchyard.
ABEL WILLIAM NEWMAN was born in Westcott Barton in 1894 to parents Andrew and Mary Ann Newman, later moving to Enstone where his father was a shepherd. After school Abel worked as a farm labourer and in April 1913 joined the Territorial Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars as a part time soldier. he was mobilized shortly after the outbreak of war. After only a month's training, the regiment received a telegram from the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, 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. The QOOH landed in France on 20th September 1914 and became the first Territorial unit to see action. The regiment soon hardened to the realities of war. Although disparagingly nicknamed by men of the regular army 'Queer Objects On Horseback' or 'agricultural cavalry', the QOOH took part in The First Battle of Ypres between 19th October and 22nd November 1914.
In 1915 he was transferred to the 1st/1st South Midlands Field Company of the Royal Engineers before returning to the QOOH in 1916. He was transferred back to the Royal Engineers serving as a Pioneer with the Roads and Quarries Unit until demobilization.
In the summer of 1920 he married Mary Blackwell at St Kenhelm Church in Enstone and worked as a roadman with the County Council, living at Woodford in Enstone. They had 2 children together. Abel Newman died in Chadlington in March 1982 aged 87.
HORACE FREDERICK PEACHEY was born on 30th May 1895 to parents Frederick and Emma Peachey of Sidings Road, Churchill. He had worked as a domestic gardener after leaving school, but in 1913 he emigrated to Canada, working as a farm labourer in Neepawa, Manitoba. His parents moved to Neat Enstone where they took over the running of the Litchfield Arms public house.
On 20th November 1916 Horace enlisted into the 190th Overseas Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, The Winnipeg Rifles, in Franklin, Manitoba. The Battalion sailed for England in May 1917 and was absorbed into the 18th Reserve Battalion, providing reinforcements for the Canadian Corps in the field. The Canadians were involved in the Battles of Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele in 1917. Since they were mostly unmolested by the German army's offensive manoeuvres in the spring of 1918, the Canadians were ordered to spearhead the last campaigns of the War from the Battle of Amiens on August 8, 1918, which ended in victory for the Allies when the armistice was signed on November 11, 1918. Private Peachey returned to Canada on 1st March 1919 on the Troopship Belgic, below, sailing from Liverpool to Halifax, Nova Scotia.
He did not stay in Canada long, arriving back in England on 12th January 1920 on the SS Scandanavian at Liverpool and returned to live at the Litchfield Arms, below. In September 1920 he married Annie Mary Nursey and took over the running of the Litchfield Arms from his father, also working as a coal merchant.
He died on 6th May 1963 aged 68 and is buried in Enstone Churchyard.
WORLD WAR TWO PLANE CRASHES IN ENSTONE
RAF Enstone was built during World War II as a typical triangular three runway Royal Air Force Bomber Command airfield. It opened 15th September 1942 as a satellite airfield for RAF Moreton-in-Marsh, and was used by Vickers Wellingtons of 21 Operational Training Unit until April 1944. A detachment of Harvards and Airspeed Oxfords of 17 Flying Training School subsequently arrived at Enstone. Below are some of fatal crashes that occurred on and around the airfield.
On 15th April 1943 Vickers Wellington Mk1c Z1142 of 21 OTU suffered a burst tyre and swung off the runway while taking off at RAF Enstone. The aircraft hit the windsock and crashed in flames killing three of the crew.
Flying Officer Geoffrey Henry Druce, air bomber, aged 20. He is buried in Reading Henley Road Cemetery and was the son of John and Ethel Druce of Caversham, reading.
Sergeant Charles Alfred Good, pilot, aged 26. He is buried in Douglas Cemetery in the Isle of Man and was the son of Charles and Bessie Good of Douglas.
Sergeant Frank Townsend, pilot, aged 20. He is buried in Streatham Park Cemetery and was the son of Ernest and Edith Townsend of Clapham Common.
Sergeant Cecil Rhodes, air gunner Royal Australian Air Force was severely burnt, and taken to Banbury hospital. He was repatriated, but did not recover and died on 21st May 1946 aged 23. He is buried in the Sydney War Cemetery.
On 16th November 1943 Vickers Wellington Mk 1c, DV918, from 21 Operational Training Unit took off from RAF Enstone at 2010 to carry out a training exercise. The aircraft crashed ten minutes later in the circuit of Enstone airfield, at Hookerswell Farm on south-east side of Little Tew. It was thought that the pilot may have been a little bit premature in raising the flaps, thus losing valuable height while still close to the ground. Four of the crew were killed and Sergeant Selby, air gunner, was injured.
Flight Sergeant Samuel Harrington Thrower, aged 30, pupil pilot of the Royal Australian Air Force. He is buried in Oxford Botley Road Cemetery and was the husband of Zena Margaret Thrower, of Wooloowin, Queensland, Australia.
Flying Officer Walter Roderick Matheson, aged 22, bomb aimer. He is buried in Sandwick Cemetery in Ross and Cromarty and was the son of Walter and Annabella Matheson, of Stornoway.
Walter Matheson joined the RAF before the war. He served for a time as a wireless operator, but was selected for a commission and sent to Canada for training. His selection was well merited and shortly after his return to this country with the rank of Pilot Officer, he was promoted Flying Officer. While still at school he had made a name for himself as a Gaelic singer.
Sergeant Douglas William Pike, aged 22, navigator. He is buried in Leeds Harehill Cemetery and was the husband of Joyce Pike of Leeds.
Sergeant Walter Douglas Cole, aged 20, Wireless Operator/Air Gunner. He is buried in Bideford Church Cemetery in Devon and was the son of Alfred and Lottie Cole of Stoneygate, Leicestershire.
A Court of Inquiry into the accident stated : “ The aircraft was engaged on local night circuits and landings and the accident occurred after one hours flying. The Pilot had received one check circuit from a Screened instructor who had then watched him do two further circuits solo. On the third circuit the aircraft opened up at about 100 feet to go round again, but it crashed one mile from the flare path".
The Group Captain commanding RAF Moreton-in-Marsh stated : “The accident was due to inexperience and to the advent of a sudden emergency. The possible failure of the engines is being investigated, but the circumstances of the accident point to insufficient air speed and a possible “Dorn Drop” of air from the crest of the hill facing the runway.”
On 11th December 1943; Vickers Wellington Mk1c DV 914 from 21 Operational Training Unit took off from RAF Enstone and crashed at 1538 hours. All the crew were uninjured in the crash except Flight Sergeant Albert John Smith, aged 20, bomb aimer of the Royal Australian Air Force who was killed. He is buried in Oxford Botley Road Cemetery and was the son of Thomas and Holly Smith, of Waroona, Western Australia.
A Court of Inquiry into the accident stated that : “ The accident occurred just after the Pilot had been dual instruction and had been sent solo by his instructor. As Bassie (the pilot) states he was making his second solo approach when this was obstructed by another aircraft. He opened up and went round again. At approx 690 feet and when immediately over the runway in use, the port engine failed and flames appeared in the engine cowling. The wheels and flaps were up but full boost and RPM was still being used. The Pilot throttled back the engine placed the pitch control to fully coarse and turned off the fuel supply and switches and ordered the Bomb Aimer to press the Graviner switch. When the engine failed the Bomb Aimer asked whether he should abandon the aircraft, but the pilot was too busy to reply. Having completed his drill of immediate action the pilot discovered that the Bomb Aimer was missing. So he leant across and pressed the Graviner switch. The failure of the port engine and subsequent fire compelled the Pilot to make an emergency landing. He made no attempt to lower his undercarriage but contented himself with an efficient wheels up landing. When the bomb aimer disappeared he had not gone to take up his crash station as the Pilot believed, but had opened up the front hatch and abandoned the aircraft. The WAG witnessed the incident, but thinking that the altitude was too low and having received no orders to abandon, he took up his crash position with the other members of the crew. The Air Bomber chute was fully opened but this did not occur at a height sufficient to save him from fatal injury. “
An examination of the engine by a Technical Officer revealed that the No 3 cylinder had fractured circumferentially about four inches from the bottom. The top of the cylinder had lifted , the piston broke up and the front of the engine was covered with oil causing the extensive fire The cause of the engine failure was unknown.”.
The Group Captain commanding RAF Moreton-in-Marsh stated : “ Flight Sergeant Bassie was on his first solo and is to be commended for his coolness in making a safe landing under difficult circumstances. It is evident that the Bomb Aimer abandoned his aircraft without orders from the Captain to do so. His death is clearly due to a flagrant breach of crew discipline.”
On 16th September 1944 at 00.55 Vickers Wellington LN771 with an instructor and pupil crew were signalled to take off from RAF Enstone at the same time as Wellington LN429 had been given permission to land. A collision occurred on the airfield and both aircraft caught fire and were destroyed after the crews had evacuated. However the wireless operator Sergeant Nevil Luker, 20, unfortunately died from complications brought about by smoke inhalation. The accident was caused by a failure by the airfield controller.