WALTER JAMES BOWELL was serving as an Able Seamen with the Royal Navy aboard HM Submarine K14 when he drowned on duty on 31st January 1918. He was aged 22 and is buried in Long Compton Cemetery.
He was the son of George and Amy Louisa Bowell, of 9, Council House, Long Compton and at 15 was lodging in Bath working in a corset manufacturers. He joined the Royal Navy in Portsmouth in December 1911 as a boy sailor , serving on the training bases Impregnable and Ganges. He joined the battleship HMS Zealandia, as an Ordinary Seaman on 13th August 1913. He was slightly injured when the cutter he was in was crushed between the Zealandia and the collier "Greenhill" on 25th July 1914. He then joined the battleship HMS Queen Elizabeth on 22nd December 1914 and saw action with her in the Dardanelles, during the Galipolli Campaign, (below).
On returning to England he spent time at the Vernon shore base, the Depot ship HMS Dido and on 3rd April 1917 the submarine training establishment HMS Dolphin. He was assigned to HMS Crescent, the Depot ship for the 3rd Submarine Flotilla, based at Rosyth. He joined the crew of HM Submarine K14 on 1st January 1918.
K14 was built by Fairfields in Govan, Scotland. She was laid down in November 1915, and commissioned on 22 May 1917. She was steam powered but also fitted with a diesel engine. Vice Admiral Beatty devised Operation EC1 to exercise his cruiser squadrons and practice deployments. It was to be a full scale exercise comprising of Beatty in his flagship Queen Elizabeth, 26 battleships of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th divisions of the Battle Fleet, along with 9 cruisers, 4 light cruisers, and a number of destroyers. From the base at Rosyth, there would also be 2 battleships from the 5th Battle Squadron, 2 ships, HMS Courageous and HMS Blanche from the 2nd Battlecruiser Squadron, 14 ships from the Light Cruiser Squadrons, several destroyers, and the two K-Class Submarine Flotillas. The Operation began at 1830 on 31st January on a cold clear night.
To avoid attracting German U-boats, particularly as one was suspected to be in the area, after dark each vessel showed only a dim stern light to the following vessel and they all maintained radio silence. As each group passed the Isle of May at the mouth of the firth, they altered course and increased speed to 20 knots. As the 13th Submarine Flotilla passed the island, a pair of lights (possibly minesweeping naval trawlers) were seen approaching the line of submarines. The flotilla altered course sharply to port to avoid them but K14's helm jammed and she veered out of line. Both K14 and the boat behind her, K12 turned on their navigation lights and eventually K14s helm was freed and she tried to return to her position in the line. The next submarine in line, K22 had lost sight of the rest of the flotilla in the mist and veered off the line with the result that she hit K14. Both submarines stopped whilst the rest of the flotilla, unaware of what had happened continued out to sea. K22 radioed in code to the cruiser leading the flotilla to say that she could reach port but that K14 was crippled and sinking. Two submarines were lost and three other submarines and a light cruiser were damaged. 104 men died, all of them Royal Navy. Although it took place during the First World War it was an entirely accidental tragedy and no enemy forces were present. It was therefore not a Battle and was only referred to as such with black humour. The subsequent investigation and court martial were kept quiet, with much of the information not released until the 1990s.
AB Bowell was one of two men on K14 drowned when water flooded into the crew compartment.
CHARLES THOMAS CLARK was serving as a Private in the 11th (Service) Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment when he was killed in action on 15th July 1916 during the Battle of the Somme. He was aged 26 and is commemorated on the Thiepval Monument, having no known grave.
He was the son of Thomas and Esther Alice Clark, of 39, Main Road, Long Compton, where he worked as a farm labourer. He enlisted with the Battalion in Birmingham and arrived with them in France on 31st July 1915. As part of the 34th Division they saw action in The Battle of Albert from 1st July 1916, the opening phase of the Somme Offensive. He was killed during an attack on the village of Pozieres.
LEONARD COWLEY was serving as a Lance Corporal with the 2nd Battalion, The Hampshire Regiment when he died of his wounds on 28th November 1917. He was aged 23 and is buried in Rocquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery.
He was the son of Theophilus and Harriet Cowley having been born in Sturminster Newton in Dorset. He was living in Devizes, Wiltshire , and working as a printer, when he enlisted into the Wiltshire Regiment in Trowbridge. He was transferred to the 2nd Hampshires and was made an unpaid Lance Corporal. H was wounded in action during the Battle of Cambrai which began on 20th November 1917.
ROBERT WILLIAM COWLEY was serving as a Private with "C" Company, the 7th Battalion, King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment) when he died on 23rd March 1920. He was aged 28 and is buried in Birmingham Yardley Cemetery.
He was the son of Robert and Emily Cowley having been born in Aston, Birmingham, later moving to Long Compton, where he worked as a waggoner on a farm. He married Charlotte Davis in the spring of 1916. He served with the 1st and 7th Battalions in the war and died as a result of his war service in Aston.
PERCY JOHN HEMMINGS was serving as a Private in the 9th (Service) Battallion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment when he died of his wounds on 28th December 1916. He was aged 18 and is buried in Amara War Cemetery.
He was the son of John and Clara Hemmings of Crockle Street, Long Compton. He enlisted in the Royal Warwickshires in Stratford 0n Avon and was posted to the 9th Battalion in Mesopotamia. He was wounded in action in an attempt to relieve the seige of Kut-al-Amara.
ALFRED JAMES SHERBON was serving as a Private in the 1st Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment when he was killed in action on 12th August 1916, during the Battle of the Somme. He was aged 20 and is buried in Essex Farm Cemetery in Belgium.
He was the son of Alfred and Alice Sherbon having been born in Ashted, Birmingham. he was living in Long compton when he enlisted into the Royal Warwicks. He arrived in France on 13th July 1915 to join the 1st Battalion in the field. On 1st July 1916 they were involved in the Battle of Albert, the opening phase of the Somme Offensive. On 22nd July the Battalion moved by train to the Belgium town of Poperinge, west of Ypres, where their camp was visited by the Prince of Wales. In August they took up positions on the Yser Canal Bank, north of Ypres at Boezinge, and on 12th August Private Sherbon was killed by machine gun fire.
WILLIAM BERRILL TAYLOR was serving as a 2nd Lieutenant with the 10th (Service Battalion), The Sherwood Foresters (Nottingham and Derby Regiment) when he was killed in action on 31st July 1918. He was aged 40 and is buried in Harponville Community Cemetery Extension in the Somme.
He was the son of Thomas and Mary Taylor of Clarendon Street, Long Compton where his family had a maltsters business.
He enlisted into the 1st/5th Battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment as a Private on 1st September 1914. He arrived with the Battalion in Boulogne on 16th April 1915, and took part in the Battle of Ancre Heights in May of that year. In 1916 they took part in the Somme offensive beginning with the Battle of Albert on 1st July They fought in several phases of the Battle of the Somme and in 1917 were involved in operations on the Flanders coast. Private Taylor was sent back to England at the end of June 1917 for training as an officer,He was commissioned into the Sherwood Foresters in October 1917 and joined the 10th Battalion in the field on 30th January 1918. On 21st March 1918 the Battalion, as part of the 17th (North Riding) Division, were holding positions in the village of Bertincourt, north east of Amiens, when the Germans launched their Spring Offensive. Bouyed by troops released from the Eastern Front after the surrender of Russia, the Germans attacked across the old Somme Battlefields in overwhelming numbers. The Division fell back on the town of Bapaume fighting there on 24th/25th March, before the Germans were halted outside Arras. On 31st July the Battalion was holding positions in Abveluy Wood, north of the town of Albert when 2nd Lt Taylor was killed by enemy shelling.
GEORGE TENNANT was serving as a Private in the 7th (Service) Battalion, The Leicestershire Regiment when he was killed in action on 14th July 1916 during the Somme Offensive. He was aged 33 and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, having no known grave.
He was the son of James and Ann Tennant of Long Compton and had worked as a labourer. In July 1912 he married Annie Stores in Nuneaton, settling in Attleborough. On 1st September 1914 he enlisted into the Leicestershire Regiment in Nuneaton. Initially serving in the 10th Reserve Battalion he was then posted to France on 27th August 1915 and joining the 7th Battalion in the field. When the Somme Offensive began on 1st July 1916 the Battalion, as part of the 21st Division, took part in the opening action, the Battle of Albert. They were holding positions in Bazentin Le Petit Wood when the next phase, The Battle of Bazentin, A well planned and novel night attack on 14th July which took British troops through that system in the area of Bazentin. Private Tennant was killed in the attack.
GEORGE HENRY TIMMS was serving as a Private in the 1st Battalion, The Essex Regiment when he was killed in action on 23rd August 1918 during the Second Battle of the Somme. He was aged 18 and is buried in Foncquevillers Military Cemetery.
He was the son of Herbert Richard and Loiusa Timms of Stone Down, Long Compton, having been born in Kingham. He enlisted into the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in Stratford on Avon. He was transferred to the 10th Stallion of the Bedfordshire Regiment before joining the Essexs. as part of the 37th Division, the Battalion had fought in the Battle of Ancre on 5th April 1918, part of the First Battle of the Somme, in which the German Offensive had been halted. They then went on the offensive in the Second Battle of the Somme and were involved in the Battle of Albert from 21st August 1918, and Private Timms was killed in this action.
WILLIAM WATTS was serving as a Private in the 1st Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment when he was killed in action on 9th May 1915 during the Second Battle of Ypres. He was aged 31 and is commemorated on the Ypres Menin Gate Memorial, having no known grave.
He was born in Long Compton and joined the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in Warwick in November 1903. In 1904 he married Anne Louisa Margetts in Chipping Norton. On 2nd May 1915 he arrived in France and joined the 1st Battalion in the field on 5th May. As part of the 4th Division the Battalion was involved in defending the Belgium town of Ypres. Private Watts was killed during a heavy bombardment of their psitions near the Yser Canal.