Horley is a village and civil parish in the north of Oxfordshire about 3 miles north-west of Banbury.

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FIRST WORLD WAR

JOHN ALLINGTON, known as Jack, was serving as a Corporal with the 1st/4th Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, attached to 145th Trench Mortar Battery, when he died of his wounds on 8th June 1917. He was aged 22 and is buried in Hermies British Cemetery.

He was the son of Edward and Annie Sophia Allington of Horley and worked as a horseman on a farm. He had enlisted into the 4th Reserve Battalion of the Oxford and Bucks in Oxford during September 1914. He landed in France with the 1/4th Battalion in France on 30th March 1915 as part of the 145th Brigade in 48th (South Midland) Division, by now a Corporal. In 1916 they were in action during phases of the Somme Offensive and was attached to the newly formed 145th Trench Mortar Battery. In 1917 they pursued the Germans in their strategic withdrawal to pre-prepared defences on the Hindenburg Line. In June he was manning trenches near Hermies when he was wounded by shelling and died in the Casualty Clearing Station.

JOE WATSON BAGNALL was serving as an Able Seaman, The Royal Navy on HMS Broke when he was killed in action on 21st April 1917. He was aged 21 and is buried in Horley St Etheldreda Churchyard.

He was the son of William and Mary Bagnall, farmers of the Manor House, Horley. He had joined the Royal Navy on 23rd May 1912 as a Boy Sailor aged 16. After training on HMS Ganges, Hawke and Victory bases he joined the crew of the battleship HMS Bulwark, below.

He was made an Ordinary Seaman aboard her, serving with the 5th Battle Squadron at Portland. He left the ship in January 1914. He then joined the armoured cruiser HMS Achilles until 26th July 1915, serving on the 2nd Cruiser Squadron and being promoted to Able Seaman. He then attended the Royal Navy Gunnery school HMS Excellent on Whale Island, Portsmouth between 27th July and 21st August 1916. On 22nd August he joined the crew of the destroyer HMS Broke, below. 

On 20th April 1917, two groups of torpedo boats of the German Navy raided the Dover Strait to bombard Allied positions on shore and to engage warships patrolling the Dover Barrage, the field of floating mines that prevented German ships from getting into the English Channel. Six torpedo boats bombarded Calais and another six bombarded Dover just before midnight. Two flotilla leaders of the Royal Navy HMS Broke and Swift  were on patrol near Dover and engaged six of the German ships early on 21 April near the Goodwin Sands. In a confusing action, Swift torpedoed SMS G85. Broke rammed SMS G42, and the two ships became locked together. For a while, there was close-quarters fighting between the crews, as the German sailors tried to board the British ship,before Broke got free and G42 sank. Able Seaman Bagnall was one of 22 men killed in the action, HMS Broke was heavily damaged and had to be towed into Dover.

STANLEY BELL

ARTHUR HENRY COLEMAN was serving as a Private with the 3rd Depot Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he died on 19th May 1916. He was aged 21 and is buried in Horley St Etheldreda Churchyard.

He was the son of Arthur and Ada Coleman of Horley and had worked as a farm labourer before enlisting into the Oxford and Bucks in Banbury.  He was posted to the 3rd Battalion, based in Portsmouth, for training. He was taken ill and died of heart failure in Alexandria Hospital in Cosham.

RICHARD SELBY LOWDNES MAUL was serving as a 2nd Lieutenant with the 2nd Battalion, The Oxfordshire Light Infantry when he was killed in action on 30th July 1916. He was aged 29 and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, having no known grave.

He was the son of Major Henry Compton and Mary Maul of Horley House, Horley. He had worked for a time in Argentina on a cattle ranch but returned to England to join the 2nd King Edward Horse as a Private on its formation on 24th August 1914. He arrived in France with them on 4th May 1915. He was commissioned into the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry on 5th March 1916 and joined the 2nd Battalion on 9th March. On 30th July the Battalion  made an attack on German positions near the village of Guillemont on the Somme.They were met by heavy machine gun fire and only a few men and no officers from the three platoons involved came back. A cross marked the spot near where they all fell, this was removed after the Armistice and is now in Broughton Poggs church in Oxfordshire.

FELIX THOMAS SHAMBROOK was serving as a Gunner with the 28th Siege Battery, The Royal Garrison Artillery when he was killed in action on 25th May 1917. He was aged 21 and is buried in Bailleul Road East Cemetery, St. Laurent-Blangy.

He was the son of Alfred and Edna Shambrook of Horley and had worked as a farm labourer. When he enlisted into the RGA in Birmingham on 16th November 1914 he was working as a railway porter. He arrived at Le Havre with the 28th Siege Battery on 5th September 1915. Siege Batteries RGA were equipped with heavy howitzers, sending large calibre high explosive shells in high trajectory, plunging fire.The usual armaments were 6 inch, 8 inch and 9.2 inch howitzers. He was sent home on leave between 16th and 23rd June 1916 and on return to the Western Front was in action with 28th Battery as they supported the Somme Offensive. He was killed during the Arras Offensive of Spring 1917.

WILLIAM SOMERTON

HARRY VARNEY was serving as a Gunner with "A" Battery, 348th Brigade, The Royal Field Artillery when he died of illness on 22nd November 1918. He was aged 27 and is buried in Stratton St Margaret Churchyard in Wiltshire.

He was the son of Albert and Jane Varney of Horley and had worked as a coachman. He married May Snell in Kingsdown, Swindon in 1916. They had a daughter born the following year. Harry Varney died in the Military Hospital in Grimsby, probably from Spanish Influenza.

PERCY FREDERICK VARNEY was serving as a Stoker 2nd Class, The Royal Navy aboard HMS Abdiel when he died of pneumonia on 14th May 1917. He was aged 21 and is buried in Horley St Etheldreda Churchyard.

He was the son of Frederick and Laura Varney, of Endells Cottage, Horley and had worked as a farm labourer. He signed into the Royal Navy for hostilities only on 19th September 1916 and trained as a stoker at the Pembroke shore base, having been in the Royal Naval Reserves. He joined the crew of the Marksman class destroyer, HMS Abdiel, below, on 17thApril 1917. The destroyer had been converted for minelaying duties and was based in Immingham on the Humber, operating in the North Sea.

On 5th May 1917 he contracted measles and then developed pneumonia, dying at the City Hospital in Edinburgh.

GEORGE WALDEN was serving as a Private with "E" Company, the 2nd Battalion, The Grenadier Guards when he died of his wounds on 20th November 1914. He was aged 26 and is buried in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery.

He was the son of  William and Emma Walden of Horley. He enlisted into the Grenadier Guards in January 1908 in Banbury, signing up for 4 years with the colours and 8 in the reserves. He was called back to his Battalion on the outbreak of war and was sent to France on 14th August 1914. As part of the 4th Guards Brigade in the 2nd Division they were in action at the Battle of Mons on 23rd August 1914. They took part in the fighting retreat and the Battle of the Marne from 6th to 12th September, when the Allies halted the German advance, east of Paris. They went on the offensive in the Battle of the Aisne between 13th and 28th September and then fought the Germans to a standstill in the First Battle of Ypres from 9th October 1914. On 14th November they were in front line positions at Zillebeke nrear Ypres.Over the next few days they endured shellfire and fought off a determined German attack, all in freezing conditions, Private Walden was wounded at this time and evacuated to the 11th General Hospital at Boulougne where he died.

MARK WALDEN, possibly Robert Mark Walden who was the son of William and Emma Walden and older brother of George, above. He died on 17th April 1916 and is buried in St Etheldreda Churchyard in the village. He does not have a Commonwealth Grave and had not served abroad, further research needed.

ASHTON FULLER WHITE was serving as a Corporal with the 1st/8th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire e was killed in action on 18th October 1918. He was aged 21 and is buried Highland Cemetery, Le Cateau. 

He was the son of John and Sarah Jane White and was born in Hampton, Middlesex. He had enlisted into the Army Service Corps in London and sent to France on 12th February 1915. He transferred to the Royal Warwicks and waspromoted to Corporal.

SECOND WORLD WAR

RICHARD HENRY LEIGH MAUL was serving as Captain with the Royal Marines aboard HMS Dunedin when he was killed on active service on 24th November 1941. He was aged 24 and is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, his body not being recovered from the sea.

He was the son of Major Henry Crompton Maul and Frances Maul of Horley House, Horley. He was commissioned into the Royal Marines on 1st January 1936 as a 2nd Lieutenant, made full Lieutenant in February 1938. In 1939 Between January 1938 and August 1939  he was assigned to the battleship HMS Hood. On 26th August he joined the light cruiser HMS Dunedin, below, and promoted to Captain in January 1940.

In early 1940 Dunedin was operating in the Caribbean Sea, and there she intercepted the German merchant ship Heidelberg west of the Windward Passage. Heidelberg's crew scuttled the ship before Dunedin could take her. A few days later, Dunedin, in company with the Canadian destroyer Assiniboine, intercepted and captured the German merchant ship Hannover near Jamaica. Hannover later became the first British escort carrier, Audacity. Between July and November, Dunedin, together with the cruiser Trinidad, maintained a blockade off Martinique, in part to bottle up three French warships, including the aircraft carrier BĂ©arn.

On 15 June 1941, Dunedin captured the German tanker Lothringen and gathered some highly classified Enigma cipher machines that she carried. The Royal Navy reused Lothringen as the fleet oiler Empire Salvage. Dunedin went on to capture three Vichy French vessels, Ville de Rouen off Natal, the merchant ship Ville de Tamatave east of the St. Paul's Rocks, and finally, D'Entrecasteaux.

Dunedin was still steaming in the Central Atlantic Ocean, just east of the St. Paul's Rocks, north east of Recife, Brazil, when on 24 November 1941, at 1526 hours, two torpedoes from the German submarine U-124 sank her. Only four officers and 63 men survived out of Dunedin's crew of 486 officers and men.