Milton-under-Wychwood is a village and civil parish about 4 miles north of Burford, Oxfordshire, just off the A361 road between Burford and Chipping Norton. Lyneham is a village and civil parish about 5 miles southwest of Chipping Norton. It is bounded to the southwest by the River Evenlode. Bruern or Bruern Abbey is a hamlet and civil parish on the River Evenlode about 6 miles north of Burford. The fallen of all three are remembered on a plaque in St Simon and St Jude Church, Milton-under-Wychwood.

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FIRST WORLD WAR

CHARLES BALL was serving as a Private in "C" Squadron, 4th Battalion, The Canadian Mounted Rifles when he was killed in action on 2nd June 1916. He was aged 20 and is commemorated on the Ypres Menin Gate Memorial, having no known grave.

He was the son of Charles and Jane Ball who had lived in Milton-under-Wychwood and had worked as an assistant decorator. In 1912 the family emigrated to Canada,  settling in Paris. Ontario.

On 28th November 1914 he enlisted into the Canadian Expeditionary Force in Toronto. They embarked for England on 18th July 1915 and arrived at the Canadian Depot at Shornecliffe Camp in Kent on 3rd August 1915. He was posted to the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles on 16th August and arrived in France with them on 24th October 1915. He was hospitalized on 22nd April taken to 6th Canadian Field Ambulance with gastritis. He rejoined his battalion on 4th April but suffered from trench fever He was admitted to 3rd Divisional Rest Station, until 22nd May. On 1st June 1916 the Battalion moved up to front line trenches at Mount Sorrel in the Zillebeke sector. On 2nd June 1916 the Germans exploded three mines under their positions prior to launching an attack. Private Ball was on duty at a bombing station when a mine went off beneath his post, he was never seen again.

ERNEST JOHN BARNES (Jack on the War Memorial) was serving as a Sergeant with the 10th (Service) Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment when he died of his wounds on 22nd October 1915. He was aged 22 and his buried in Lapugnoy Military Cemetery.

He was the youngest son of George and Mary Barnes of the Heath, Milton-under-Wychwood and had worked as a carter on a farm.  In February 1913 he enlisted into the Royal Regiment of Artillery and was posted to Fort Rowner in Gosport as a Gunner. However on 5th April he brought himself out of the service on a payment of £10.

He joined the 10th Battalion, one of Kitchener's new armies, and after training on Salisbury Plain they were sent to France on 6th August 1915.  As part of the 1st Division they went into action in the Battle of Loos between 25th September and 13th October 1915, during the battle Ernest Barnes was made an acting Sergeant. He survived the battle but was wounded by a German shell a week later, and died in the 23rd Casualty Clearing Station.

THOMAS JAMES BOND was serving as a Private with the 16th Manitoba Battalion, The Canadian Infantry when he was killed in action on 2nd September 1918. He was aged 33 and is buried in Dominion Cemetery, Hendecourt-les-Cagnicourt.

He was the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Bond of Fern Cottage, Milton-under-Wychwood, having been born in Northleach. On 12th April 1909 he boarded the SS Lake Manitoba at Liverpool bound for Brunswick, Canada. He became a farmer in Reston, Manitoba until enlisting in the Canadian Expeditionary Force on 13th December 1915.

Posted to 226th Overseas Battalion he arrived in England on the SS Olympic on 26th December 1916. He was then posted to the 14th Reserve Battalion in Shornecliffe camp as an acting Sergeant. Returned to the ranks he arrived in France on 22nd June 1917 and joined the 16th Battalion in the field on 11th July. He was wounded in action on  16th February 1918 with a gun shot wound to the right arm and was treated at No 1 Casualty Clearing Station before rejoining his unit on 23rd February. On 13th April 1918 he was taken ill and treated at the 7th Canadian General Hospital in Etaples returning to his Battalion on 30th June 1918.

The Battalion were in action in the Battle of Amiens between 8th and 11th August 1918 and the Battle of Scarpe between 26th and 30th August. At 500on 2nd September 1918, Canadian and British forces attacked the Drocourt–Quéant Line supported by tanks and aircraft. The Drocourt–Quéant Line was a system in depth and incorporated a number of mutually supporting lines of defence. The system consisted of a front line system and a support line system, each consisting of two lines of trenches. The system incorporated numerous fortifications including concrete bunkers, machine gun posts and heavy belts of barbed wire. Private Bond was killed instantly between the jumping-off trench and the final objective.

GEORGE THOMAS BRIDGES was serving as a Private with the 1st Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he died on about 2nd May 1916. He was aged 33 and is commemorated on the Basra Memorial, having no known grave.

He was the son of George and Mary Bridges of Lyneham, having been born in Churchill.

He joined the 1st Battalion the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in the summer of 1906. In 1911 he was serving with the Battalion in Ahmednagar, 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 died of natural causes in Shamrun prisoner of war camp in Turkey. His brother Walter below died in 1918 

WALTER CHRISTOPHER BRIDGES  was serving as a Private with the 3rd Battalion, The Worcestershire Regiment when he died of broncho-pneumonia on 21st November 1918. He was aged 23 and is buried in Busigny Communal Cemetery Extension.

He was the son of George and Mary Bridges of Lyneham and had worked as a hay tier on a farm. He enlisted into the Worcestershire Regiment in January 1913 and landed in France with the 3rd Battalion on 12th August 1914 and were based at Rouen. As part of the 3rd Division they were involved in all of the main actions of 1914, the Battle of Mons and the fighting retreat to the Marne where the German advance was halted and the First Battle of Ypres. In October 1915 they transferred to the 25th Division and in 1916 took part in many phases of the Somme Offensive, starting with the Battle of Albert on 1st July 1916. In 1917 they took part in the Battle of Messines, part of the Arras Offensive in spring and then phases of the Third Battle of Ypres.

1918 saw them held in reserve but as the awaited German Offensive threatened, the Battalion as part of 74th Brigade, were moved nearer the front line. The offensive began on 21st March with the Battle of St Quentin, when the Germans, buoyed by troops released from the Eastern Front by the surrender of Russia, attacked in numbers across the old Somme battlefields. The fight against the offensive continued through April and May  with the Battles of the Somme and Lys. After the German offensive had been halted the Battalion was continually involved in the Final Advance into Picardy, as part of the 19th( Western) Division. The Division advanced across Marlborough’s old battlefield at Malplaquet on 8th November, after which it was withdrawn into XVII Corps Reserve. When the Armistice came into effect at 1100 on 11th November 1918 the units of the Division were in billets near Bavay.

Having survived all this Private Bridges succumbed to broncho-pneumonia and died in hospital.

HENRY BURRUS was serving as a Private with the 10th (Service) Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment when he was killed accidentally on 24th December 1915. He was aged 30 and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial. having no known grave.

He was the son of Thomas and Annie Maria Burrus, of Frogmore Lane, Milton-under-Wychwood,  having been born in Windrush. He had enlisted into the Gloucestershire Regiment in February 1904 and served for 7 years before being discharged into the reserves, and working as a farm labourer.

Recalled for service on the outbreak of war he joined the 1st Battalion iln France on 27th August 1914. As part of the 1st Division they were involved in all of the main actions of 1914, the Battle of Mons and the fighting retreat to the Marne where the German advance was halted and the First Battle of Ypres. He transferred to the 10th Battalion and saw action in the Battle of Loos between 25th September and 13th October 1915.

ALBERT EDWARD CLEMSON (Military Medal) was serving as as a Private with the 2nd Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamhire Light Infantry when he died of his wounds on  25th August 1918. He was aged 22 and is buried in St Hilaire Cemetery Extension, Frevent.

He was the son of Thomas Thornhill Clemson and Ellen Matilda Clemson, of Lyneham and had worked as a carter on a farm. He enlisted into the Oxford and Bucks in Oxford being posted initially to the 6th Battalion. He was sent to France on 1st October 1915,  joining the 5th Battalion in the field.

As part of the 14th (Light) Division they were involved in the bloody battle for Delville Wood and the Battle of Fleurs-Courcelette, phases of the 1916 Somme Offensive. In 1917 they cautiously pursued the Germans in their strategic retreat to the Hindenburg line, fought in the Arras offensive and phases of the Third Battle of Ypres, including the First and Second Battles of Passchendaele. In 1918 they faced the German Spring Offensives in which the enemy, bolstered by troops released from the Eastern Front by the surrender of Russia, advanced across the old Somme battlefields in overwhelming numbers. From March 21st they fought a fighting retreat back to Amiens in the Battles of St Quentin and Avre, suffering heavy casualties.

He then transferred 2nd Battalion and took part in the Second Battle of the Somme as the Allies went on the offensive, pushing back the Germans across the Somme basin. Private Clemson was wounded in action during the Second Battle of Bapaume and died in a Casualty Clearing Station. 

His older brothers Frank and George both served, see below.

GEORGE ERNEST CLEMSON was serving as a Stoker 1st class with the Royal Navy when he died on active service when HMS Cressy was sunk on 22nd September 1914. He was aged 26 and is commemorated on the Chatham Naval memorial, his body not being recovered from the sea.

He was the son of Thomas Thornhill Clemson and Ellen Matilda Clemson, of Lyneham. He had been working as a farm labourer when he signed up to the Royal Navy on 18th October 1906 for 5 years. Posted to the Base ship HMS Acheron as a Stoker 2nd class until February 1908. He then joined the Cressy class armoured cruiser HMS Bacchante as a Stoker 1st Class, serving with the Mediterranean Fleet. He returned home in may 1919 and joined the crew of the Invincible class battleship HMS Indomitable, below, in May 1910.


He served with her on the Nore Division of the Home Fleet until 30th September 1911 when he was posted to a shore base for transfer to the Royal Fleet Reserves at Chatham on 16th October 1911. He was recalled for service on 25th July 1914 and joined the armoured cruiser HMS Cressy, below, on 28th July.

The Cressy class vessels had rapidly become obsolete due to the great advances in naval architecture in the years leading up to the First World War. At the outbreak of the war, these ships were mostly staffed by reserve sailors. HMS Cressy was one of four ships that made up the 7th Cruiser Squadron.  Shortly after the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914, Cresssy and her sister ships Bacchante, Euryalus, Hogue and  were assigned to patrol the Broad Fourteens of the North Sea in support of a force of destroyers and submarines based at Harwich which blocked the Eastern end of the English Channel from German warships attempting to attack the supply route between England and France. 

At around 0600 on 22nd September, the three 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. Although they were not zigzagging, all of the ships had lookouts posted to search for periscopes and one gun on each side of each ship was manned. Weddigen 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.

CHARLES RICHARD COOMBES was serving as a Private in 1st battalion, The South Staffordshire Regiment when he was killed in action during the First Battle of Ypres on 7th November 1914. He was aged 22 and is commemorated on the Ypres Menin Gate Memorial, having no known grave.

He was the son of Charles and Emily Coombes, of The Downs, Milton-under-Wychwood. He enlisted into the South Staffordshires in July 1909. Before the war he had been serving with the 1st Battalion in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa but returned to England, landing at Southampton 19th September 1914. They came under orders of 22nd Brigade in 7th Division and on 6th October 1914 they landed at Zeebrugge. From 13th October 1914 the Division was in action in the First Battle of Ypres and fought the German Army to a standstill, taking heavy casualties in the process. Private Coombes went missing in action he was presumed dead on 7th November 1914.

THOMAS COX was serving as a Rifleman with the 13th (Service) Battalion, The Rifle Corps when he was killed in action on 11th April 1917. He was aged 27 and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, having no known grave.

He was the son of James and Amelia Cox of Milton under Wychwood. He had married and lioved with his wife Mabel  in West Croydon, where he worked as a kennel man.

He had enlisted into the Rifle Brigade on 10th September 1914 in London and posted to the 13th Battalion on 1st October. He was sent to France with his Battalion on 21st July 1915, under the orders of the 37th Division. They were billeted in Hannescamps, south of Arras when suffered severe shrapnel wounds to the hands on 29th September and was evacuated home to England. After recovery he returned to France on 3rd February 1916 and joined his Battalion in the field on 14th April. In July the Battalion had moved up to the town of Albert, the scene of the opening battle in the 1916 Somme Offensive, and occupied the old British front line trenches at La Boiselle. On 10th July they relieved the 5th Staffordshire Battalion on the front line and Rifleman Cox was wounded again by a shrapnel wound to the face and treated in the 104th Field Ambulance, returning to his Battalion 4 days later, who were now back at La Boiselle. On 14th November 1916 they were in action in the Battle of the Ancre, one of the last phases of the Somme Offensive. He was killed in action as his Battalion attacked German positios near the village of Monchy-le-Preux during the First battle of the Scarpe on 11th november 1917, a phase of the third Battle of Ypres.

PHILIP HENRY HALTON DAVIS was serving as a 2nd Lieutenant with the 3rd Reserve Battalion, attached to the 9th Battalion, The Manchester Regiment when he died of his wounds on 9th November 1918. He was aged 34 and is buried in Busigny Communal Cemetery Extension.

He was the son of William and Charlotte Davis and had been born in Glen Innes, New South Wales, Australia and been educated at St Oswald's College, Shropshire. Before the war, he had worked as a commercial traveller in South America, importing cotton goods, and was fluent in Spanish and Portuguese. He lived with his widowed mother in South Manchester between trips abroad. After returning from Canada he enlisted as a Private on 28th June 1917 into the 28th Battalion, London Regiment (The Artists Rifles). He successfully applied for officer training and was commissioned into the Manchester Regiment. On 6th May 1918 he married Lucy Mayman at Milton-under-Wychwood Parish Church who lived in Kohima House in the village. 

On 17th August 1918 he was sent to France and joined the 9th Battalion on 24th August, who were billeted in the village of Haudricourt south east of Dieppe. The rest of August and September were taken up with training, route marches and sporting contests and moving into camps nearer the front line. On 8th October they went into action in the Battle of Cambrai. 2nd Lieutenant Davis had conducted his company into position but was then sent back to join the B team of the Battalion who remained at base. On 10th October they attacked the Germans in the village of Le Cateau where they came under heavy artillery fire and Blue Cross gas. "B" an"D" companies took over positions manned by the Connaught Rangers before being relived by the Northumberland Fusiliers the following daymoving back to Elincourt where Lieutenant Davis was put in charge of Lewis gun instruction at Battalion HQ. On 6th November the Battalion moved up to Brigade Reserve in La Tuillerie. On 8th November 2nd Lieutenant Davis led a patrol up to the front line to liase with the 5th Connaught Rangers. They were caught by shell fire and he suffered multiple shrapnel wounds, one other man also being injured. He died in 48th Casualty Clearing Station in Busigny the following day.

FREDERICK JOHN DORSETT was serving as a Lance Corporal with the 1st/4th Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he was killed in action on 14th April 1917. He was aged 31 and is commemorated on the Thiepval memorial, having no known grave.

He was born in Milton-Under-Wychwood in 1886 and had married Elizabeth Miles there in 1907. They lived at The Nest, Church Grove, Hampton Wick in Surrey, where they ran a boarding house.

He had enlisted into the 4th Territorial Battalion of the Oxford and Bucks in 1915 in Leicester and posted tong the 1/4 in France. 

HARVEY EWART DUESTER was serving as a Private in the 11th(Service) Battalion, The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment) when he was killed in action on 30th April 1918. He was aged 19 and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, having no known grave.

He was the son of Thomas and Sarah Duester of Lyneham. He had enlisted into the 4th Reserve Battalion of The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry before joining the West Surreys in France, as part of the 41st Division, the Battalion had just returned from Italy. The expected German Spring Offensive began on 21st March with the Battle of St Quentin, when the Germans, buoyed by troops released from the Eastern Front by the surrender of Russia, attacked in numbers across the old Somme battlefields. They fought a fighting retreat back to the outskirts of Amiens, where the advance was halted. On 28th March they were involved in the Battle of Arras, repulsing a second German offensive near the town. Between 9th and 29th April 1918 they fought the Battles of the Lys, the third German offensive  in Flanders with the objective of capturing key railway and supply roads and cutting off British Second Army at Ypres. After initial successes the German attack is once again held after British and French reserves are somehow found and deployed. Private Duester was killed in action during the battle.

ROY DUESTER was serving as a Private in the 3rd/4th Battalion,The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment) when he was killed in action on 6th November 1917. He was aged 20 and is commemorated on the Tyne CotMemorial, having no known grave.

He was the son of Thomas and Sarah Duester of Lyneham and had worked as a farm labourer. He enlisted into the Royal West Surreys and arrived with the Battalion in France on 9th August 1917 coming under the orders of 21st Division. Their first major action was at the Battle of Polygon Wood, a phase of the Third Battle of Ypres on 26th September 1917. All the ground captured in the attack and on 4th October took part in the next phase, the Battle of Broodseind,e in which heavy casualties were inflicted on the German 4th Army. He was killed in action in the Second Battle of Passchendaele, hit by shell fire whilst mannong trenches near the village of Reutel, east of Ypres.

BERNARD WILLIAM HAWCUTT was serving as a Private in the 5th (Service) Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he died of his wounds on 26th August 1917. He was aged 31 and is buried in St Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen.

He was the son of Thomas and Mary Hawcutt of Bruern and before the war worked as a gardener at Bruern Abbey. He joined The 5th Oxford and Bucks just after the outbreak of war and landed in Boulogne with them on 21st May 1915, under the orders of the 14th(Light) Division. On 30th July 1915 they were in trenches in Railway Wood near the village of Hooge when they were attacked with flame throwers, the first time the Germans had used this weapon. On 25th September 1915 the Battalion were involved in The Second Attack on Bellewaarde, a disastrous diversionary attack for the Battle of Loos. In 1916 they saw action in the Battles of Delville Wood and Fleurs-Courcellette, phases of the Somme Offensive. In the spring of 1917 they were involved in the Arras Offensive. On 16th August the Battalion was in action in the Battle of Langemarck, part of the Third Battle of Ypres. Private Hawcutt was wounded in action during this engagement and died later in hospital at Rouen.

His younger brother Esau died of sicknessin 1919, see below.

ESAU  HAWCUTT was serving as a Gunner  in the 186th Siege Battery, The Royal Garrison Artillery when he died of sickness on 4th February 1919. He was aged 27 and is buried in Saints Simon and Churchyard, Milton-under-Wychwood.

He was the son of Thomas and Mary Hawcutt of Bruern and before the war worked as a gardener at Bruern Abbey. 

He enlisted into the RGA on 19th November 1915 whilst living in Small Heath, Birmingham where he worked as porter. He was posted to France on 28th July 1917 and joined the 86th Siege Battery on 22nd August.  On 22nd August 1917 he was admitted to hospital with influenza rejoining his unit on 27th August. However on 24th November he was taken sick again and admitted to the 2nd Canadian General Hospital before being invalided home on the Hospital Ship HMS Princess Elizabeth on 4th December. On recovery he was sent back to France, joining the 186th Siege Battery in the field on 22nd March 1918. On 9th September 1918 he was taken ill with Pyrexia of Unknown Origin, or Trench Fever and admitted to hospital before being invalided back to England again on the Princess Elizabeth. He was admitted to Cambuslang War Hospital, Glasgow on 27th September 1918 and moved to a convalescence hospital on 22nd November 1918. However he contracted meningitis on 2nd February 1919 and returned to Cambuslang, where he died two days later.

WALTER RICHARD HOPKINS was serving as a Private with the 11th (Service) Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment when he was killed in action during the Somme Offensive on 11th October 1916. He was aged 26 and is buried in Tranchee de Mecknes Cemetery.

He was the son of Edward and Hannah Hopkins of The Heath, Milton-under-Wychwood and worked as a shepherd before the war. He had enlisted into the Somerset Light Infantry, before joining the 11th Warwicks in France. 

WILLIAM JACKSON was serving as a Pioneer with the 7th Labour Battalion, RE, The Royal Engineers when he was killed accidentally on 16th November 1916. He was aged 48 and is buried in Newbury Newtown Road Cemetery.

He was the son of  Henry and Maria Jackson of 75, High Street Lyneham. He was living in Worcester in 1891 living with his sister and her husband working as a shop porter.

He enlisted into the Royal Engineers in London on 4th September 1915, stating he was a labourer of no fixed abode. He was posted to France on 18th September 1915, joining the 7th Labour Battalion, RE. The Labour Battalions were were formed from men of the navvy class and from men who were over military age or from men who, because of wounds, injury or illness, were no longer fit for front line combat service. The overage personnel were enlisted at a special rate of pay of 3 shillings per day. He was charged with being drunk on duty on 15th November 1915 and deprived of two days pay. On 7th February he was admitted to hospital suffering from pleurisy , returning to his unit 5 days later. On 17th July 1916 he was found to be drunk on duty again and this time sentenced to 7 days field punishment No 1. This consisted of the convicted man being placed in fetters and handcuffs or similar restraints and attached to a fixed object, such as a gun wheel or a fence post, for up to two hours per day.  On 12th August 1916 he was back in hospital again after being in an accident with a motor tractor, being knocked unconscious and rejoining his unit on 19th August. He was involved in another accident on 4th October 1916, whilst not on duty, suffering broken ribs. He was sent back to England for treatment and admitted to Queen Mary's Hospital in Southend on 6th October.

He was discharged from hospital on 7th November 1916 and went to stay with his married sister in Newbury. On 16th November at around 1600 he set out on his own for a walk when he was hit by a motor van and suffered a fractured skull. He died in Newbury General Hospital at around midnight, without regaining consciousness. An inquest was held and the driver of the van stated that he was driving at a steady 14mph at about 1845 when he came across a soldier walking in the middle of the road, about 8 yards away. As he approached the soldier dodged out of the way, but then moved back again and was hit by the wing of the van. He told the inquest that the soldier seemed very confused by the lights. His sister, Emily Hayward, told the inquest that since staying with her, her brother had been getting on nicely. He had admitted to her that he found the lights at night baffling and that his nerves had been shattered by his experiences in France. A doctor who had attended him after gave his opinion that his past experiences had caused his confused stte on the night of the accident. A verdict of accidental death was returned, with no blame being attached to the van driver.

He is not on the village war memorial.

ARTHUR GUY MACE was serving as a Lance Corporal with the 1st/4th Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he was killed in action on 16th June 1918 during the Battle of Asiago. He was aged 32 and is buried in Boscon British Cemetery.

He was born in Milton under Wychwood to parents John and Elizabeth Mace, and was a boarder at Burford Grammar School. He later lived in Witney, working as a bank clerk for Midland Bank. InAugust 1914 he enlisted into the 4th Battalion Ox & Bucks, at the time he was living in Manor Farm, Kingham. After seven months’ training at Writtle, Essex, the Battalion, now the 1/4th proceeded to France on March 29th, 1915, underwent a period of instruction, and took over the line near Ploegsteert on April 17th, remaining in this area till July, when it moved south to Hebuterne. Trench routine continued till the Somme battle of July, 1916, when the Battalion was soon in action, on the 19th near Albert and again about Pozieres on the 23rd, while on August 13th it beat off a heavy attack by the Prussian Guard near Ovillers. In March 1917, in the British advance, the Battalion captured Roisel, helped to take Ronssoy, and made a gallant but unsuccessful attack on Guillemont Farm on April 19th. On August 16th it took part in an attack north of St. Julien (Langemarck), and on November 23rd proceeded with the 48th Division to Italy. For six months the Battalion was holding the line, and at rest, and in support. It was in the trenches opposite Canove when the Austrian attack burst on June 15th, 1918, and though driven out of the front line, held on to the position, and completely restored it at nightfall, capturing hundreds of prisoners and much material, and earning a Mention in the Despatch of the British Commander-in-Chief in Italy. 

ALBERT PERCY MILES  was serving as a Private with the 1st/1st Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars when he was killed in action on 1st April 1918. He was aged 30 and is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial, having no known grave,

He was the son of Maria Miles of High Street, Milton-under-Wychwood and before the war had worked as a gardener. As part of the 2nd Cavalry Division the QOOH were involved in the First Battles of the Somme. fighting against the German Spring Offensive in 1918. the enemy, bolstered by troops released from the Eastern Front by the surrender of Russia, advanced across the old Somme battlefields in overwhelming numbers. From March 21st they fought a fighting retreat back to Amiens in the Battles of St Quentin and Avre, suffering heavy casualties. Private Miles was killed in action during the fighting on or before 1st April 1918.

ALFRED MILES was serving as a Private with the 32nd Battalion, The Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) when he was killed in action on 15th September 1916 during the Somme Offensive. He was aged 27 and is buried in Delville Wood Cemetery.

He was the son of James and Caroline Miles of Milton-under-Wychwood and had worked as a farm labourer before the war. He enlisted into the Royal Fusiliers in Oxford and arrived in France with his Battalion on 15th May 1916, under orders of the 41st Division. They saw action in the third phase of the 1916 Somme Offensive on 15th September fighting in the Battle of Flers-Courcelette. The Battle of Flers–Courcelette was the third and final general offensive mounted by the British Army, which attacked an intermediate line and the German third line to take Morval, Lesboeufs and Gueudecourt, which was combined with a French attack on Frégicourt and Rancourt to encircle Combles and a supporting attack on the south bank of the Somme. The strategic objective of a breakthrough was not achieved but the tactical gains were considerable, the front line being advanced by 2,500–3,500 yardsand many casualties were inflicted on the German defenders. The battle was the debut of the Canadian Corps, New Zealand Division and tanks of the Heavy Branch of the Machine Gun Corps on the Somme. Private Miles was one of 98 dead or missing at the end of the engagement

TORREY ALFRED MILES was serving as a Private in the 3rd Battalion, The Worcestershire regiment when he was killed in action on 20th October 1914. He was aged 20 and is commemorated on Le Touret Memorial, having no known grave.

He was the son of David and Jane Miles of Milton-under-Wychwood and before the war had worked as a waggoner. He enlisted into the Worcestershire Regiment in February 1913 in Oxford. The Battalion arrived in France on 12th August 1914 as part of the 3rd Division and reached Mons on 22nd August.  At Mons, the British Army attempted to hold the line of the Mons–Condé Canal against the advancing German 1st Army. Although the British fought well and inflicted disproportionate casualties on the numerically superior Germans, they were eventually forced to retreat due both to the greater strength of the Germans and the sudden retreat of the French Fifth Army, which exposed the British right flank. Though initially planned as a simple tactical withdrawal and executed in good order, the British retreat from Mons lasted for two weeks and took the BEF to the outskirts of Paris before it counter-attacked in concert with the French, at the Battle of the Marne, in which the attalion helped to halt the advancing Germans between 7th and 12th September. The then saw action in the follow offensive the Battle of the Aisne between 12th and 15th September. Private Miles was killed in action near the village of La Bassee on or before 20th October 1914.

 JAMES  MONK was serving as a Private with the 3rd Depot Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he committed suicide on 8th August 1917. He was aged 38 and is buried in Clanfield St Stephen Churchyard.

He was the son of George and Elizabeth Monk of Clanfield and had worked as an agriculural laborer. in 1903 he married Edith Temple from near Milton-under- Wychwood. He had seen service in France with the 2nd Battalion of the Oxford and Bucks and been invalided home.

LINDOW RONTO PARSLOE was serving as a Private with the 1st Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he was killed in action on 27th December 1915. He was aged 23 and is buried in Kut Cemetery.

He was the son, one of 10 children, of Leonard and Annie Parsloe of the Mill, Milton-under-Wychwood. he enlisted into the Oxford and Bucks in the autumn of 1910 and was posted to India joining the 1st Battalion. 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, Private Parsloe being one of those killed in action.

HUBERT RATHBAND was serving as a Lance Corporal with the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Berkshire Regiment when he was killed in action on 18th September 1918. He was aged 19 and is buried in Roclincourt Military Cemetery.

He was the son of Edwin and Fanny Rathband of the Square, Milton-under-Wychwood and had worked as draper's errand boy before the war. He had enlisted into the 4th (Reserve) Battalion, The Oxfordshire Light Infantry in Oxford, transferring to the 6th Royal Berks and then the 2nd Battalion. In March 1918 the Royal Berkshires were pitched into the Battle of St Quentin, defending against the German Spring Offensive. Buoyed by troops released from the Eastern Front after the surrender of Russia, the Germans attacked across the old Somme battlefields in overwhelming numbers. The Allies were pushed back some 40 miles through March and April in a fighting retreat known as the First Battles of the Somme. After halting the Germans and suffering heavy casualties. The fight against the German offensive continued into May and June, with the Third Battle of the Aisne. The next action the Battalion were involved with was the Third Battle of the Scarpe, where the Allies pushed the Germans back from Arras.

On 18th September 1918 Corporal Rathband was part of a patrol that was sent to reconnanoitre  enemy positions near the village of Rouvroy west of Vimy. Advancing across a vacated battlefield they came under machine gun fire and Corporal Rathband was killed.

His older brother Harry served with the Royal Engineers in France and survived the war.

HAROLD RATHBONE was serving as Corporal in the 13th (Service) Battalion, The East Surrey Regiment when he was killed in action on 26th November 1917. He was aged 24 and is commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial, having no known grave.

He was the son of Charles and Annie Rathbone of Orchard Cottage, Milton-under-Wychwood and before the war was working as a gardener at Toddington Gardens in Gloucestershire. He was living in Roehampton, Surrey when he enlisted into the East Surreys in Kingston. He landed with his Battalion in Le Havre on 4th June 1916, and came under orders of  120th Brigade in 40th Division. They saw action at the Battle of Ancre a phase of the 1916 Somme Offensive. In 1917 they cautiously pursued the Germans in their strategic pursuit to the Hindenberg Line. On 23rd November 1917 they moved up to Hindenburg Support line and took part in operations in Bourlon Wood as part of the Battle of Cambrai and by 27th had secured their objectives. Corporal Rathbone was one of 110 of the Battalion who were killed or missing after the action.

His younger brother Sydney was killed in action in 1915.

SYDNEY THOMAS RATHBONE was serving as a Private in the 1st/4th Battalion, The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment when he was killed in action on 15th June 1915. He was aged 19 and is commemorated on Le Touret Memorial, having no known grave.

He was the son of Charles and Annie Rathbone of Orchard Cottage, Milton-under-Wychwood and had worked as a carter before the war. He enlisted into the Loyal North Lancashired in Preston and arrived in France with them on 4th May 1915. From 13th May, as part of the 54th Brigade in 51st (Highland) Division, they went into action in the Battle of Festubert At 6pm on the 15th June the attack was launched by the 1/4th Loyal North Lancashire and the 6th Scottish Rifles. The attack was at first successful, the west end of the German salient was carried, and the attack pushed on to the main German line near the Rue d`Overt, and for a time the third German trench was occupied and held. Unfortunately the attack by the Division on the right of the 51st made little or no progress, and when night fell the 154th Brigade had penetrated the German line on a narrow front, but had both its flanks in the air. The attack consequently failed with heavy casualties including Private Rathbone.

HOWARD NELSON SALTER was serving as a Gunner with 4th (Reserve) Battery, The Royal Field Artillery when he died on 26th February 1917. He was aged 27 and is buried in Brighton Bear Road Cemetery.

He was the son of Rice and Maria Salter of the School House, Lyneham and worked as a farm labourer before the war. He died in Brighton, probably from natural causes.

CECIL MARKHAM ANNESLEY SAMUDA  was serving as a Major with the 2nd Battalion, The Somerset Light Infantry, attached to the 13th Battalion, The Royal Fusiliers, when he died of his wounds on 2nd July 1917. He was aged 38 and is buried in Bailleul Cemetery Extension. 

He was the son of  Cecil and Cecile Samuda of Bruern Abbey, having been born in Cowes on the Isle of Wight. He was educated at Eton and then Christchurch College, Oxford, and was a keen polo player and a member of the MCC. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Somerset Light Infantry in April 1900, having previously served in the Militia. He saw action in the South African War until 1902 and promoted Lieutenant in May 1903. He was promoted Captain in December 1909 and served in Malta and India, before returning to England. He married Phyliss Caulfield -Stoker in Kensington in July 1914 . He was posted to France on 19th February 1915 and attached to the 13th (Service) Battalion, The Royal Fusiliers, being promoted to Major on 1st September 1915. He was 2nd in command of the Battalion. On 1st July 1917 the Battalion HQ at Messines was heavily shelled by the Germans and Major Samuda was gravely wounded by a shell which landed yards from the entrance to the house he was in. He died the following day in a Casualty Clearing Station. His son had been born 10 days before he died.

GEORGE HENRY SKIDMORE was serving as a Private with the 1st Battalion, The South Wales Borderers when he was killed in action on 18th April 1918. He was aged 33 and is buried in Gorre British and Indian Cemetery.

He was the son of Arthur and Sarah Skidmore of Milton-under-Wychwood. In June 1909 he married Ellen Haggett in the Parish Church in the village. living in the High Street and working as a stone mason. He had enlisted into the Royal engineers before being transferred to the Borderers. In 1918 the 1st Battalion of the SWB had been seen in action in phases of the Battle of Lys, defending against the second wave of the German Spring Offensive. They fought at the Battle of Estaires between 9th anfd 11th April where the helped to halt the German advance on that town. On 12th to 15th April they halted a German advance in the Battle of Hazebrouck and on 18th repulsed a German attempted breakthrough at Bethune, during which Private Skidmore was killed.

SIDNEY WILLIAM SKIDMORE was serving as a Sapper in the 68th Field Company, The Royal Engineers when he was killed in action on 16th March 1918. He was aged 27 and is buried in Philosphe British Cemetery, Mazingarbe. France.

He was the son of Edward and Charlotte Skidmore and had been born in Milton-under-Wychwood. Around the turn of the century the family moved to Abertillery in Monmouthshire where he worked as a mason. In 1914 he married Florence Ryall in Bedwellty. He enlisted into the Royal Engineers in Abertillery and served with them in France.

He is not on the Milton-under-Wychwood war memorial.

ALBERT HENRY SOUCH was serving as as a Private with "D" Company, the 2nd/4th Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamhire Light Infantry when he was killed in action on 28th April 1917. He was aged 21 and is commemorated on the Theipval Memorial, having no known grave.

He was the son of William and Mary Souch, having been born in Lyneham. The family moved to Swinbrook where he worked as a gardener and then to Chilson, near Chadlington, from where he enlisted into the Oxford and Bucks. He joined the 2/4th Battalion and landed in France with them on 24th May 1916. They saw action in the Battle of Fromelles a disastrous diversionary attack for the Somme Offensive on 17th July 1916. The battalion then moved to the Somme area but owing to the casualties sustained at Fromelles, were only used in trench holding duties. In March 1917 the Germans began their strategic withdrawal to their pre-prepared defences on the Hindenburg Line, leaving a trail of destruction behind them. The Battalion was involved in the the cautious pursuit of the enemy, clearing and repairing roads as they did.

On 28th April 1917 "D" Company and platoons from "C" Company took part in a trench raid in the village of Fayet, near St Quentin. The aim of such a raid was to kill or capture as many Germans as possible, then retire. The raid was a success, but Lance Corporal Souch was killed. The Company Sergeant Major, Edward Brooks was awarded the Victoria Cross in the action.

He is not on the village war memorial. His brother William John Souch was also killed in 1917.

ALBERT JOHN SOUCH was serving as a Private in the 5th (Service) Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when was killed in action on 3rd May 1917. He was aged 25 and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, having no known grave.

He was the son of Henry and Emma Souch, of Lyneham and had enlisted into the Oxford and Bucks in Oxford. He joined the 5th Battalion in France, in 1917 they were involved in the Arras Offensive after the German's strategic retreat to the Hindenburg Line. On 3rd April the Battalion as part of the 14th(Light) Infantry launched an attack on enemy positions near Arras at 0345. They came under heavy machine gun and rifle fire but managed to occupy a German front line trench, but due to heavy casualties could advance no further. At 2000 the Germans launched a strong counter attack and the survivors were forced to retire to their original positions. Private Souch was killed in action, one of  287 killed, missing or wounded from the Battalion that day.

WILLIAM JOHN SOUCH was serving as a Private in the 1st/1st (City of London) Battalion (Royal Fusiliers) when he was killed in action on 16th November 1917. He was age 25 and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, having no known grave.

He was the son of William and Mary Souch, having been born in Lyneham before moving to Swinbrook, where he worked as a farm labourer. On 24th June 1911 he joined the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway, working as a wagon checker in  Willow Walk goods depot in South London. living in Southwark. He was also a member of the 19th Volunteer Battalion of the London Regiment. In April 1915 he left the railway for mobilization. He was sent to France on 6th August 1917,  joining the 1st/19th Battalion, being transferred to 1st Battalion on 22nd of that month. As part of the 56th (London) Division they took part in several phases of the 1916 Somme Offensive. In 1917 they pursued the Germans in their strategic withdrawal to the Hindenburg line in March and April, then taking part in the Arras Offensive and phases of the Third Battle of Ypres. Whilst on leave home in September 1917 he married Annie Fountain in Lambeth, and was killed in action two months later.

He is not on the village war memorial, his brother Albert Henry Souch, above, was also killed in 1917

FREDERICK JOHN TOVEY was serving as a Private with the 1st Battalion, The Coldstream Guards when he was killed in action on 1st January 1915. He was aged 16 and is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial, having no known grave.

He was the son of John and Jane Tovey having been born in Milton-under Wychwood but later moving to Notgrove and then at Heythrop and worked as a farm labourer before the war. He enlisted into the Coldstream Guards in February 1914 in Coventry, underage at 15. He joined his Battalion in France on 1st November 1914. They were in trenches at Givenchy when Private Tovey was reported missing, later presumed dead.

His elder brother George, below, had been killed in action in 1914.

GEORGE TOVEY was serving as a Private in the 2nd Battalion, The Worvestershire Regiment when he was killed in action on 14th September 1914, He was aged 18 and is commemorated on the La Ferté-sous-Jouarre Memorial, having no known grave.

He was the son of John and Jane Tovey having been born in Milton-under Wychwood but later moving to Notgrove, where he worked as a carter. He enlisted into the Worcestershire Regiment in Worcester in March 1913, aged only 17 and was sent to France with the 2nd Battalion on 12th August 1914. As part of the 2nd Division the Battalion saw action in the The Battle of Mons and the subsequent retreat, including the the Affair of Landrecies, the Rearguard affair of Le Grand Fayt and the Rearguard actions of Villers-Cotterets. He was killed in the Battle of the Marne in which the British and the French halted the German advance towards Paris, inflicting a heavy defeat on the enemy.

His younger brother Frederick was killed 4 months later.

ALBERT TURNER was serving as a Private in the 1st/4th Battalion of the Oxfordshire and buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he was killed in action on 28th September 1917. He was aged 39 and is commemorated on Tyne Cot Memorial, having no known grave.

He was the son of Alfred and Jane Turner and was born in Shipton-under-Wychwood and worked as a carter on a farm. In 1904 he married Hannah Claridge and they had a son together, he was now working as a cowman. They were living in Milton-under-Wychwood when he enlisted into the Ox and Bucks in Oxford, intially joining the 5th Battalion. He joined the 1st/4ths in France and in March and April 1917 they cautiously pursued the Germans in their strategic withdrawal to pre-prepared defences on the Hindenburg line. They were in action in the first phase of the Third Battle of Ypres, the Battle of Langemarck from 16th to 18th August. They were the involved in the Battle of Polygon Wood from 20th September, another phase of the Third Ypres. On 28th September they were occupying trenches near St Julien and came under heavy German artillery fire. Private Turner was on of two men killed that day.

WILLIAM ROBERT TURNER was serving as a Private with the 2nd Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he died of his wounds on 17th February 1917. He was aged 25 and is buried in Contay British Cemetery.

He was the son of Robert and Rose Turner of Milton-under-Wychwood, having been born in Shipton-under-Wychwood and worked as a carter. He enlisted into the Ox and Bucks in Oxford joining the 3rd Depot Battalion then the 6th before joining the 2nd Battalion in France. He was wounded in operations in the Ancre area and died at a Casualty Clearing Station in C ontay.

CECIL WELLESLEY WARD was serving as a 2nd Lieutenant with "A" Battery. 143rd Brigade, The Royal Field Artillery when he was killed in action on 11th September 1917. He was aged 40 and is buried in Lindenhoek Chalet Military Cemetery near Ypres.

He was the son of the Reverend George and Mary Ward, having been born in Headingley, Leeds. He trained as a solicitor and in July 1910 married Flora Mayman in Milton-under-Wychwood parish church. A witness to the marriage was Philip Henry Halton Davis who married Flora's sister the following year and died in the war in 1918, see above. The couple moved to Manchester where he worked as a solcitor until being commissioned into the RFA in 1915. He joined "A" Battery in France in February 1917 and they were in action in the Arras Offensive in April and May 1917. On 31st July 1917 they were involved in the Battle of Pilckem Ridge, the opening phase of the Third Battle of Ypres and he was wounded later in this battle, dying in a Field Ambulance.

Flora Ward returned to live at Kohima in Milton-under-Wychwood, and died in 1939 aged 62, she is buried in the village churchyard.

GERALD HENRY M WATTS  was serving as a Private in the South African Infantry when he died on 1st July 1917. He was aged 29 and is buried in Bordon Cemetery, Hampshire.

He wasborn in Whittlebury, Northamptonshire in 1888 and moved to Milton-under-Wychwood with his parents, working on the family farm. No records of his service or death have been traced as yet.

HENRY STANLEY WAY was serving as a Captain in the 16th Battalion, the Tank Corps when he was accidentally killed on 6th May 1919. He was aged 22 and is buried in St. Pol British Cemetery.

He was the son of  Henry Edward Hoyle  and Saralyne Way, of Redhill, Lydney, Gloucestershire he was educated at Oxford Prepatory School and Blundells in Tiverton. His family moved to Frogmore House in Milton-under-Wychwood. Captain Way had previously served in Palestine.

JOHN HAROLD WHEELER had served as a Private with the 7th (Service) Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.

He was the son of William and Elizabeth Wheeler and was born in Cheltenham in 1895. He moved in with his brother in law Thomas Townsend who ran the Butchers Arms in Milton-under-Wychwood, working as an assistant butcher. On 7th September 1914 he enlisted into the Oxford and Bucks in Oxford and was appointed as a shoeing smith. In June 1915 he was taken ill complaining of pain in the chest and coughing. He was found to have pulmonary tuberculosis and discharged under King's Regulations para 392 (xvi) , no longer physically fit for war service. He moved into lodgings in Marlborough Street, Oxford but died on 24th February 1916. He was aged 20 and is buried in St Aldates Churchyard in Oxford.

CHARLES WILLIAM WIGGINS was serving as a Lance-Corporal in the 1st Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he died on 21st June 1915. He was aged 25 and is commemorated on the Basra Memorial, having no known grave.

He was the son of George and Beata Wiggins of Milton-under-Wychwood. He enlisted into the Oxford and Bucks in January 1910.   In 1911 he was serving with the Battalion in Ahmednagar, 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. L/Cpl was either wounded or suffered illness and was being evacuated by hospital ship to Bombay when he died, and was buried at sea.

Two of his brothers also died in the war, see below.

ROY GAFFNEY ARGYLE WIGGINS  was serving as an acting Sergeant with the 3rd Battalion, The Worcestershire Regiment when he was killed in action on 16th June 1915. He was aged 20 and is commemorated on the Ypres Menin Gate Memorial, having no known grave.

He was the son of George and Beata Wiggins of Milton-under-Wychwood and had worked as a farm labourer before the war. He enlisted into the Worcestershire Regiment, as a Private, in January 1913 and arrived in France with the 3rd Battalion on 12th August 1914, as part of the 3rd division they saw action in The Battle of Mons and the subsequent retreat, including the the Rearguard action of Solesmes. They were involved in halting the German advance on the outskirts of Paris in the Battle of the Marne and the following offensive, the Battle of the Aisne during September 1914. Between 19th October and 12th November they were engaged in the First Battle of Ypres and the subsequent flanking operations in the race to the sea. He was promoted to Lance Corporal then full Corporal and in 1915 the Battalion took part in the First attack on Bellewaarde. On 16th June 1915 the Battalion were ordered to attack German trenches north of the village of Hooge. While the first objectives were taken without loss, at 1515 the Battalion were ordered to advance through the second line of trenches to take the third. They came under heavy German artillery fire and took heavy casualties of 30 killed and 266 wounded.  24 men were missing, including Roy Wiggins now an acting Sergeant, killed and and buried during the heavy bombardment by the enemy.

His older brothers both died in the, see above and below.

THOMAS HENRY WIGGINS was serving as a 2nd Lieutenant with 99 Squadron, The Royal Air Force when he was killed on active service on 27th June 1918. He was aged 27 and is buried in Chambieres French National Cemetery in Metz.

He was the son of George and Beata Wiggins of Milton-under-Wychwood. He had been working as a farm labourer when on 11th June 1909 he enlisted into the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry for 7 years in the colours and 5 in the reserves. He served as a Private with the 2nd Battalion in the UK until 9th February 1912, when he bought himself out on payment of an £18 bond. He then took over the running of the Quart Pot Inn in Milton-under-Wychwood until enlisting into the 7th (Service) Battalion of the South Wales Borderers shortly after the outbreak of war. He was promoted to Sergeant and arrived in France with his Battalion on 6th September 1915. He then joined the Lancashire Fusiliers and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant on 25th September 1917.

He was then attached to the newly formed Royal Air Force in April 1918 and trained as an observer and returned to England to train as an observer with 99 Squadron. On 13th November 1917 Thomas Wiggins married Ada Gascoigne in Milton-under-Wychwood Parish Church. In April 1918 99 Squadron was equipped with the De Havilland DH9medium bomber, below, and sent to France.

Image result for de havilland dh9a 99 squadron

Based near Nancy the squadron flew its first mission on 21 May and continued to take part in large scale daylight raids against targets in Germany, sustaining heavy losses both due to the unreliable nature of the DH.9 and heavy German opposition. On 27th June 1918 he was paired with his pilot Lieutenant Elliot Chapin and sent with others to bomb the railway at Thionville, north of Metz. After successfully dropping their bombs, the formation was attacked by a large number of Fokker Albatros fighters. In a desperate fight a shot passed through the petrol tank of their plane, causing an explosion which sent the machine down in flames from 1300 feet. The aircraft fell at Thionville, 25 miles within the enemy lines. As the machine went down the pilot was seen to turn to Thomas and shake hands with him. Both men died in the crash and were buried in the same grave nearby, being re-interred in Metz after the Armistice.

Two of his brothers died on active service during the war, see above.

SECOND WORLD WAR

ALEXANDER FREDERICK DOUGLAS-SMITH was serving as a Major in the 5th Battalion. The Royal Berkshire when he was killed in action on 8th October 1944. He was aged 26 and is buried in Jonkerbos Military Cemetery.

He was the son of  Mr and Mrs R T Smith of  Harlesden, Middlesex and was educated at the Birbeck College, University of London. He joined the 5th Territorial Battalion in May 1939 and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in August that year. He was promoted to Captain in November 1940. In September 1941 he married Hazel Scragg in High Wycombe and they moved to Milton under Wychwood. He was promoted to Major  on 21st September 1943.

The 5th (Hackney) Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment (formerly the 10th London Regiment Hackney), became the 5th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment in 1937. The Battalion was based in various locations in England between 1939 and 1943. It was not until June 1944 that the 5th Battalion went to Europe. The 5th Battalion landed with the Canadians at Juno Beach, Normandy on D-Day, 6th June and remained there as part of a beach group with core responsibility for the landing ground. Although still technically a Beach Group they served as infantry in the Battle of Normandy where they were down to 16 officers and 136 other ranks by August 1944 and were disbanded. Many of the men being posted to other infantry battalions who required battle-casualty replacements. Many went to the 4th & 5th Battalions of the Wiltshire Regiment, including Major Douglas-Smith. During Operation Market Garden, the 4th and 5th Wiltshires formed part of the relief force that tried to reach the airborne troops of the US 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions, as well as the British 1st Airborne Division fighting at Arnhem. After the failure of Market Garden and the ensuing stalemate, both battalions participated in the Geilenkirchen Offensive in October 1944, during which Major Douglas-Smith was killed.

JOHN CHARLES GOLDINGHAM was serving as a Captain with the 3rd Battalion, The 8th Gurkha Rifles when he died of his wounds on 13th March 1945. He was aged 23 and is buried in Taukkyan War Cemetery in Burma. 

He was the son of Major Philip Reginald Goldingham, formerly of Royal Army Service Corps, and Phyllis Mary Goldingham, of Charlbury. He was commissioned into the Indian Army on 12th December 1942 as a 2nd Lieutenant, made a full Lieutenant on 12th June 1943 and promoted Captain on 22nd July 1943. He was wounded in action as the 7th Indian Division crossed the Irrawaddy River between 11th and 20th February 1945. He was originally buried in Mandalay War Cemetery but re-interred after the war.

HUBERT LESLIE HANKS was serving as Corporal in the 2nd Battalion, The Glasgow Highlanders, Highland Light Infantry (City of Glasgow Regiment) when he died of his wounds on 16th June 1944. He was aged 30 and is buried in Bayeux War Cemetery.

He was the son of William and Emma Hanks and was born in Stow on the Wold. He married Dorothy Mary Couling, of Lyneham in June 1939, living at The Leys in the village and working as a hardware salesman.

The 2nd Battalion of the Glasgow Highlanders was a Territorial  served in England as part of the 46th (Highland) Infantry Brigade, 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division. They arrived on the Normandy beaches on 13th June 1944. The battalion fought in the Battle of Normandy in Operation Epsom and the Second Battle of the Odon, during which Corporal Hanks was mortally wounded.

KENNETH CHARLES EDWARD KNIGHT was serving as Captain with the 4th Royal Tank Regiment, The Royal Armoured Corp when he was killed in action on 30th November 1941. He was aged 29 and is buried in Tobruk War Cemetery.  

He was born in Coventry in 1912 and had married Margaret Cooper in Milton under Wychwood in the summer of 1935. He was commissioned into the Royal Tank Regiment as a 2nd Lieutenant in 1941.

On 18th December 1940 the 4th RTR had sailed in a convoy from Liverpool in HMT City of London. They experienced an Atlantic hurricane, a collision at night with another ship in the convoy and an engagement with the German "Admiral Hipper", but eventually they arrived at Port Tewfik, Suez on 16th February 1941. Their Matilda II tanks, below, arrived in April and after conversion the 4th were ready for battle, destined to help relieve the Seige of Tobruk.

Operation Brevity, between 15th and 16th May, was a limited offensive, to inflict attrition on the Axis forces and to secure positions for a general offensive towards Tobruk. The British attacked with a small tank-infantry force in three columns and seized the top of the Halfaya Pass, Bir Wair and Musaid, then pressed on and took Fort Capuzzo. However all ground lost was eventually retaken by the Germans. On 15th June 1941 they were involved in "Operation Battleaxe" another failed attempt to lift the siege of Tobruk.

In late September 1941 the 4th was moved by lighter from Mersa Matruh into the Tobruk enclave. The next major clash was to be Operation Crusader. The aim was to trap and destroy the Afrika Korps in Eastern Cyrenaica and to break out from Tobruk. A total of ten Royal Tank Regiments would take part totalling 756 tanks and generous reserves. 4 RTR, now complete in Tobruk, and 'D' Sqn the 7th RTR were to lead the break-out sortie. Op Crusader was set to begin at first light on 18th November 1941 and then break out on the night of 20th/21st November The break out was successful but sadly Captain Knight was killed in action at Ed Duda Ridge as 4RTR counter attacked the German 15th Panzer unit. Tobruk was to fall to Rommel on 21st June 1942 and the 4th Royal Tank Regiment destroyed whilst defending the garrison.

Officers of 4RTR pictured before the break-out from Tobruk, Captain Knight is standing far right.

SOME OF THOSE WHO SERVED IN THE FIRST WORLD WAR

JAMES JOSEPH BEANEY was born in 1895 to parents Alfred and Grace Beaney in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. He was living in Eastbourne and working as an ironmonger's porter until enlisting in the 1st Battalion, The Coldstream Guards, in January 1912. He was a Lance Corporal when he was sent to France on 12th August 1914, as part of the 1st Guards Division. They saw action in all the major engagements on the Western Front, the Battle of Mons, The Aisne and the 1st Ypres in 1914. He was promote d to Sergeant seeing action in The Battle of Aubers and Loos in 1915. Home on leave he married Margaret Hopkins in Milton under Wychwood on 27th May 1916. Her brother Walter was killed in action on the Somme in October that year.

On return to his unit he was in action in the Somme Offensive taking part in the Battle of Albert, the opening phase of the offensive, from 1st July 1916. They went on to fight in several more phases on the Somme up until the Battle of Morval in September 1916. On 1st February 1917 he was transferred to the Guards Machine Gun Regiment seeing action at the Third Battle of Ypres, including the Second Battle of Passchendaele in October 1917. In 1918 they fought against the German Spring Offensive from 21st March until July before embarking on the 100 day offensive to win the war.

He returned home to Milton under Wychwood to his wife and daughter, they had a son born in 1920. Sadly his peace time life was cut short when he died on 31st March 1921 aged 26. He is buried in the village churchyard and his brother in law  is also remembered on his gravestone. Whether his premature death was as a result of his war service is not as yet known.


FRANK THOMAS CLEMSON was born in to Thomas Thornhill Clemson and Ellen Matilda Clemson, of Lyneham and had worked as a cowman on a farm. Two of his younger brothers served, Albert dying of his wounds in 1918 whilst Ernest had served with the Wiltshire Regiment. He successfully applied for officer training and was commissioned into the Manchester Regiment on 3rd May 1918, training with the 3rd Battalion.

He enlisted into the 4th (Reserve) Battalion of The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in May 1915. His application was only approved after dental work to provide him with dentures was carried out. In March 1916 he was  transferred into the Royal Engineers and joined the 3rd Special Company in France on 30th March as a Pioneer (Chemist). The Special Companies of the RE had been formed to handle gas as a new weapon. In the 1916 Battles of the Somme, the British army released 1,120 tons of gas, mostly White Star, in 98 separate attacks. During on of these operations on 14th July 1916, he received a gun shot wound to the scalp and was taken to 34 Casualty Clearing Station and then admitted to No 6 General Hospital in Rouen, returning to his unit on 27th July. He was granted leave to England between 12th and 23rd July 1917 returning to see action in the Third Battle of Ypres. On 5th November 1917 he was wounded again, by the effects of a gas shell, and admitted to the 3rd Stationary Hospital before being evacuated to hospital in England.  He returned to his unit in France on 8th April 1918 but this was short lived as he was admitted to N0 51 General Hospital in Etaples suffering from pleurisy. He was evacuated back to England and treated at Queen Mary's Hospital in Whalley, Manchester. there it was discovered he was suffering from syphilis, and as a result his pay was stopped for contracting VD, until 6th May 1918. Transferred to Base depot in Devonport he was hospitalized again in June for syphilis, spending 51 days in hospital and then contacting bronchitis and spent from 18th Sepember 1918 to 31st January 1919 in hospital. He was discharged to the "Z" reserve, formed in case Germany infringed the terms of the Armistice on 1st March 1919.

He died in September 1963 aged 77.

THE DUESTER BROTHERS. Thomas and Sarah Duester of Lyneham had 5 sons and 4 daughters. They lost  two  sons, Roy and Harvey to the war within six months of each other, see above. Their eldest and  second youngest sons served and survived:

HORACE ALBERT DUESTER (Distinguished Conduct Medal) was born in 1895 and had worked as a farm labourer. At the outbreak of war he enlisted into the 5th (Service) Battalion of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. They were sent to France on 21st May 1915, coming under the orders of the 14th(Light) Division. On 30th July 1915 they were in trenches in Railway Wood near the village of Hooge when they were attacked with flame throwers, the first time the Germans had used this weapon. On 25th September 1915 the Battalion were involved in The Second Attack on Bellewaarde, a disasterous diversionary attack for the Battle of Loos. The left column of the Ox and Bucks was all but wiped out inn the attack on enemy positions at Bellewaarde Farm, their objective. 360 men of the Battalion were killed or missing. Private Duester was awarded the DCM, his citation reads:

"For conspicuous bravery and resource on 25th September 1915 during the attack on Bellewaarde. Private Duester was one of a party of ten, the survivors of the left column which had been destroyed by shell fire.With great bravery he led this party into the German lines, and with great bravery bombed his way into the second line, showing great determination and power of leadership. When the line fell back, his party was nearly cut off, but with judicious bombing and the use of German bombs he successfully extricated them. He was recommended for award by his surviving comrades."

He was promoted acting Sergeant before transferring to Princess Charlotte of Wales's (Royal Berkshire) Regiment, seeing action in most of the major engagements on the Western Front. He was discharged into the "Z" Reserves in April 1919, formed in case of German transgression of the terms of the Armistice.

He married Keziah Victoria Pratley in May 1921 in Leafield and lived in Lyneham for the rest of his life dying in June 1963 aged 68.

HUBERT CLARENCE DUESTER was born in January 1900 and like his brothers was a farm labourer. He enlisted into the Royal Navy on 14th January 1918 and trained as a Stoker, joining and joined the crew of the Invincible class battleship HMS Indomitable, below, on 21st May 1918.

Indomitable carried out routine patrols in the North Sea and being made a Stoker 1st Class. In March 1919 he was transferred ashore for demoblization. After this he joined the Great Western Railway, as an engine cleaner at Oxford in April 1920. He died in December 1926 aged just 26.

ARTHUR DURHAM KIRBY (CB CMG)was born in Umballa, Bengal, India in 1867  to parents Frederick and Annie Kirby, his father being a civil engineer. The family without his father moved back to the United Kingdom living in Denbeigh, Wales. Annie Kirby successfully sued her husband for adultery and desertion in 1884 and the family then moved to Heath House in Milton-under-Wychwood. He was educated at Haileybury College and the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. Arthur Kirby was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant into the Royal Artillery in July 1887 and a full Lieutenant in July 1896. He was appointed Captain in July 1898 and served as Garrison adjutant in Egypt and then in South Africa between October 1899 and February 1901, seeing action during the 2nd Boer War. He was promoted to Major in November 1900.

He was made a Lieutenant Colonel and was sent to France as a staff officer on 15th October 1914. In November 1915 he was promoted Brigadier General and became commanding the Royal Artillery component of the 34th Division in France. He was awarded the Companion of the Order of Bath in the King's Birthday Honours in 1917. In February 1917 he was appointed to the 2nd Army and remained in this post until 24th August 1919. He was made awarded the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George in the 1919 Birthday Honours aand both the French and belgium Croix de Guerre. after the war he lived in the Manor House in Tadmarton for a time until being posted as a Colonel commanding the Royal Artillery in India on 2nd May 1921.

In October 1921 he married Mary Wilson in Bombay and retired from the Army with the rank of Honoury Brigadier General on 21st October 1924. He settled in Galloway with his wife and died there on 30th October 1948, aged 81.

He was the older brother of Stuart below.

STUART RODGER KIRBY was born in Punjab, India in October 1873 to parents Frederick and Annie Kirby, his father being a civil engineer. The family without his father moved back to the United Kingdom living in Denbeigh, Wales. Annie Kirby successfully sued her husband for adultery and desertion in 1884 and the family then moved to Heath House in Milton-under-Wychwood. Stuart Kirby was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 6th Dragoon Guards, a cavalry  on 15th March 1893, becoming a full Lieutenant on 4th September 1895. He served as Adjutant to between February 1900 and December 1903, being promoted to Captain in May 1900. He served in the 2nd Boer War in South Africa between 1899 and 1902, taking part in the Relief of Kimberley in February 1900. He was promoted to Major in October 1905. In 1906, the regiment took part in the parade at the Grand Durbar, for the visit of the Prince and Princess of Wales to Bangalore.

The 6th Dragoons landed in France on 16th August 1914, as part of the 4th Cavalry Brigade in the 1st Cavalry Division. They  took part in the Battle of Mons in August 1914, the First Battle of the Marne in September 1914, the First Battle of Ypres in October 1914. In November 1914 he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel commanding the 6th Dragoons and saw action in the Second Battle of Ypres in April 1915. In November 1915 he was promoted Brigadier General and  became a Staff Officer commanding the 4th Cavalry Brigade. In the King's Birthday Honours of the same year he was made a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St George. He retired from the Army on 8th April 1918 with the rank of Honourary Brigadier General.

He returned to live at Heath House in Milton-under-Wychwood, his mother Annie died in 1923. On 18th March 1930 he married Kathleen Paisley in Milton-under-Wychwood Parish Church. Kathleen was the widow of Captain Thomas Nelson Paisley formerly of the 4th East Lancashire Brigade. He had been wounded in action and after the war farmed in Cumberland before dying prematurely in Northumberland in 1928. He is buried in Milton-under-Wychwood churchyard, his wife was living at Kohima House in the village. A witness at the wedding was Flora Ward, widow of Cecil Ward, above.

Stuart Kirby died in January 1959 aged 84, his widow remained living in Heath House until her death in 1972.

AIR CRASH IN 1942

On 16th September 1942 Vickers Wellington Mk III BJ728 of 12 Operational Training Unit took off from RAF Chipping Warden for a night navigation excercise. At around 0610, while over the town of Conway in Caernarvonshire, the starboard engine failed. They set course for base, but just over an hour later the pilot announced he was going to make a precautionary landing at Little Rissington. However, soon after entering the circuit, the port engine faltered and at 0710 the aircraft came down at Lower Farm, Milton-under Wychwood and burst into flames. Four of the five crew where killed in the crash, they were;

Sergeant WILLIAM JOHN FERGUSON, Royal Air Force, 2nd Pilot, aged 23 and is buried in Little Rissington Churchyard. He was the son of William and Rose Ferguson, of Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand. 

Sergeant ROBERT GEORGE McCARTHY, Royal New Zealand Air Force aged 27, he was buried in Little Rissington Churchyard. He was the son of Robert and Margaret McCarthy of Haumoana, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand.

Sergeant JOHN FISHER SMITH RICHIE, Royal Air Force Volunteer ReserveWireless, Operator/Air Gunner, aged 21 he is buried in Cumbusnethan Cemetery in Lanarkshire. He was the son of Mr and Mrs Garvie Ritchie of Wishaw, Lanarkshire.

Sergeant DOUGLAS GORDON WILLIAM ARNOLD, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, Observer, aged 22 he is buried in Drybrook Holy trinity Churchyard in Gloucestershire. He was the son of  Arthur and Eva Arnold of Drybook and had been a schoolmaster before enlisting.

The tail gunner, Sergeant A Lyon of the Royal Canadian Air Force was found lying the wreckage by a Mr Roberts, a civilian clerk working nearby, who had run to the scene and pulled the airman free.  Sergeant Lyon had been trying to locate his crew members in the wreck and had suffered 2nd degree burns He was taken bto sick quarters at RAF Rissington, then by air to hospital at RAF Halton.