FIRST WORLD WAR 


PRIVATE JOHN HENRY BEACHAM

John Beacham was the son of George and Fanny Beacham, having been born in Bourton on the Water. He then moved with his family to Lyneham, where is father worked as a cowman. They then moved on to Churchill where John worked as a farm labourer.

He enlisted into the 10th(Service) Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment in Oxford  in September 1914. He arrived in France with the Battalion on 9th August 1915, joining the 1st Infantry Division. On 25th September the British launched the Battle of Loos. Attacking across open fields the Battalion was in ranbe of German artillery and machine guns and suffered heavy casualties. Private Beacham was killed in action on that day, his body was never recovered for burial. He was aged 20 and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial for those with no known grave.

He is not on Churchill War Memorial.

PRIVATE ALFRED GEORGE BETTERIDGE

Alfred Betteridge was born in August 1895, the son of John Betteridge, an estate worker, and Ruth Betteridge of Churchill. He was working as an under carter on a farm when he enlisted into the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry as a Private at the outbreak of war in August 1914.

He was embodied into the 6th Battalion and sent to France with them on 22nd July 1915, serving in the Battalion’ s machine gun section. In October 1915 the Machine Gun Corps was formed, absorbing all the battalion’s machine gun sections. Private Betteridge transferred to the 99th Company, The Machine Dun Corps, attached to the 99th Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division. The Machine Gun Company was one of the most difficult and dangerous roles in the Army, operating the Vickers .303 Mk 1 water-cooled machine gun, capable of firing 450-550 rounds a minute, often in front of the British lines.  

They were first in action between 25th July and 7th August 1916 in the Battle of Deville Wood, a phase of the Somme Offensive of that year. They were then involved in the unsuccessful  attack on Waterlot Farm at Guillemont on 8th and 9th August. Next they took part in the Battle of Ancre  between 13th and 16th November, the last big operation on the Somme in 1916.

From 11th January 1917 they resumed operations in the Ancre area. On 22nd March 1917 Private Betteridge was hospitalised with inflammation of the connective tissue and evacuated from the front by No 4 Ambulance train for treatment. On return to his unit they were in action in Arras Offensive of 1917, fighting in the Battle of Vimy Ridge between 12th and 14th April,  the Battle of Arleux between 28th and 29th April and the Third Battle of the Scarpe on 3rd May. He was wounded in action in September 1917 but returned to see action in the Battle of Cambrai on 27th and 28th November, helping to capture Bourlon Wood then fighting against the German counter attacks between 30th November and 1st December.

On 28th February 1918 the company was amalgamated with three others to form the 2nd Battalion, The Machine Gun Corps. From 22nd April 1918 the Battalion faced the German Spring Offensive in the Battle of St Quentin.  Buoyed by the release of troops from the Eastern Front after the surrender of Russia, the Germans attacked across the lightly defended old Somme Battlefields. Hoping to influence the outcome of the war before the Americans arrived in numbers, they advanced more than 40 miles into Allied held territory. 

Private Betteridge was wounded again in action and evacuated to hospital and eventually returning to England. He returned to Kingham after being demobilised but suffered from ill health. He died in the Radcliffe Infirmary in August 1920, his war service was a contributory factor to his death. He was aged 24 and is buried in Churchill churchyard.

His older brother Hubert died of his wounds in 1916, below.


CORPORAL HUBERT BETTERIDGE

He was born in October 1891, the son of John Betteridge, an estate worker, and Ruth Betteridge of Churchill and the older brother of Alfred, above. He had worked as a labourer before the war. 

He enlisted into The 4th Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light infantry in Oxford just after the outbreak of war in 1914. He transferred to 10th (Service) Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment, one of Kitchener's new armies. Appointed Lance Corporal he arrived in France with them on 9th August 1915, as part of the 1st Infantry Division. The Battalion were in action in the Battle Of Loos between 25th September and 8th October 1915 where the British were defeated by superior German defensive tactics. In 1916 the Battalion moved to the Somme area and Hubert Betteridge was appointed Corporal. They took part in the Somme Offensive starting with the Battle of Albert between 1st July and 13th 1916 and then the Battle of Bazentin Ridge between 15th and 17th July 1916. They were back in action in the Battle of Pozieres between 23rd July and 7th August1916. Possession of Pozieres was key to making possible any further advances towards Bapaume, the capture of the Thiepval ridge and the breaking of resistance at High and Delville Woods. The battle for Pozieres and nearby Mouquet Farm became an epic in its own right, with tenacious German defence keeping determined British-Australian attack at bay for several weeks. 

He was wounded in action on 2nd September 1916 and died in No 2 Field Ambulance. He was aged 24 and was originally interred in Bottom Wood Cemetery in Fricourt where the Field Ambulance was based. The cemetery was destroyed during the German Spring Offensive in 1918. He was re-buried in Dantzig Alley British Cemetery in the Somme region in 1923. He is also mentioned on a special Kipling Memorial, named after the poet Rudyard Kipling, who worked with the Commonwealth Graves Commission. It’s inscription reads:

“To the memory of these 15 soldiers of the British Empire who were killed in action in 1916 and were for a time buried in Bottom Wood Cemetery, whose graves were destroyed in later battles. Their glory shall not be blotted out”

PRIVATE GILBERT GEORGE COOK

He was born in February 1885, the son of the Philip Cook, a baker, and Ellen Cook, of Churchill. By the age of 16 he was boarding in Brightside, Sheffield working as a clerk in a steel works, his parents remaining in Churchill.

He enlisted into the 12th (Service) (Sheffield) Battalion, The York and Lancaster Regiment in Sheffield on 1st June 1915, at the age of 30. On 20th December 1915 he embarked with his Battalion at Devonport for Alexandria, arriving there on 1st January 1916, as part of 31st Division. The Division took over the No 3 Sector of the Suez Canal defences and Divisional HQ moved to Kantara on 23 January. The stay in Egypt was short, and between 1st and 6th March 1916 the Division sailed to Marseilles for service on the Western Front. In May 1916 they took over front line trenches at Colinchamps in the Somme region. On 16th May their lines were subject to a severe bombardment by German  artillery, carried out to cover a trench raid on the Royal Berkshires on their right. Private Cook, in B Company, was one of 15 killed by the shellfire that day. He was aged 31 and is buried in Sucrerie Military Cemetery in the Somme area.

 He is not on the Churchill War Memorial.

 

PRIVATE LEWIS COOPER

He was born as Lewis Cooper Harris, the son of  James Cooper Harris, an estate worker, and Mary Jane Cooper Harris of Chipping Norton Road, Churchill. His mother died in 1899 and his father re-married in 1907, after which he dropped the Harris surname. He had worked as a farm labourer but on 14th March 1913 he embarked on the SS Virginian at Liverpool, bound for Halifax, for a new life in Canada.

He was working as a labourer when enlisted into the Canadian Army on 30th August 1915 in Sussex, New Brunswick, being posted to 40th Reserve Battalion. He arrived in  England on 28th October 1915 and was sent for further training at Shorncliffe Camp in Kent. He was posted to the 5th Canadian Mounted Rifles and embarked for France on 15th March 1916. After a month he was hospitalized in the 3rd Canadian General Hospital suffering from enteritis, whilst based near Ypres. He was shipped back to England and admitted to the 3rd Northern General Hospital in Sheffield. After treatment he was sent to the Canadian Convalescence Hospital in Uxbridge and discharged as fit on 18th August 1916. He was sent back to Shorncliffe Camp but on 5th October 1916 admitted to hospital at Moore Barracks, Shorncliffe after reporting pains in the left side of his chest on exertion. He was diagnosed with bronchitis, a TB test proved negative, and he was eventually sent back to Canada from Liverpool on 17th November 1917 aboard the HMTS Saxonia for disposal. The Saxonia arrived in Halifax on 50th November 1917 and on arrival Private Cooper posted to the 40th Battalion, Canadian Infantry and granted a furlough until 6th December 1917. On that day he left the house where he was staying and headed for the port area of Halifax. He was never seen again.

On the morning of 6th December  1917 at 0845 The SS Mont-Blanc, a French freighter fully loaded with wartime explosives, was involved in a collision with the Norwegian vessel SS Imo. Although the collision was at low speed and caused little damage,  barrels of benzol, a highly flammable fuel, stored on the deck were punctured. The fuel flooded the deck and sparks from the collision ignited it. Seeing an explosion was imminent the Master of the Mont Blanc ordered his crew to abandon ship. The blazing ship eventually beached itself near pier 6 by Richmond Street. Crowds of people descended to the harbour area to watch the spectacle. At 0904  the fire on board the French ship ignited her explosive cargo, causing a cataclysmic explosion that devastated the Richmond District of Halifax.

Approximately 2,000 people were killed by debris, fires, and collapsed buildings, and it is estimated that nearly 9,000 others were injured. The blast was the largest man-made explosion prior to the development of nuclear weapons. 

Evidence was given to a Court of Enquiry that on the morning of 6th December 1917 that Private Cooper was seen opposite Richmond Pier at the time the explosion occurred and he was presumed to have died in the explosion. He was aged 28, no trace of his body was found and he is remembered on the Halifax Memorial.

His younger brother Percy was killed in action in 1915, below.

PRIVATE PERCY COOPER (HARRIS) 

He was born as Percy Cooper Harris, the son of  James Cooper Harris, an estate worker, and Mary Jane Cooper Harris of Chipping Norton Road, Churchill. His mother died in 1899 and his father re-married in 1899, after which he dropped the Harris surname. He was working as a farm labourer  when he enlisted into the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in Oxford In October 1911.

On 5th December 1914 he was posted to join the 1st Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckingham Light Infantry in Mespotamia, modern day Iraq. As part of the 6th Poona Division, the Battalion had moved from India to Mesopotamia in November 1914 to protect oil supplies against the forces of 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 1915 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. 635 officers and men of the Battalion fought in the battle of Ctesiphon and 304 became casualties. Private Cooper Harris was killed in action on 22nd November 1915, during the Battle of Ctesiphion. He was aged 22 and is commemorated on the Basra Memorial for those with no known graves. His name on the village memorial is Percy Cooper but Commonwealth Grave and Army Roll of Honour records show him as Percy Cooper Harris.

PRIVATE WILLIAM KEEN

William Keen was born in  December 1896, the son of Job Keen, a farm carter and Bertha Keen of Sarsden Lodge and prior to the war had worked on a farm. He joined the Worcestershire Regiment on the outbreak of war in August 1914.

He was posted to the 4th Battalion, The Worcestershire Regiment in Gallipoli on 15th July 1915. The Battalion attacked the Turkish trench H13 on 6th August 1915, part of a diversionary attack to cover Allied landings at Suvla Bay and suffered heavy casualties as a result. Despite heavy shelling and mortar fire the Turkish machine guns were not taken out, and the Battalion were cut down as they attacked. One small party managed to occupy trench H13 but were forced to retire at night fall. The Battalion suffered 768 casualties, including Private Keen who was reported missing after the attack. Presumed killed in action, his body was never recovered. He was aged 19 and is commemorated on the Helles Memorial for soldiers with no known grave.

PRIVATE CECIL WILLIAM PEACHEY

Cecil Peachey was born in May 1896, the son of William Peachey, a haulier, and Sarah Peachey of Churchill and before the war had worked as a groom for his father.

He joined the 6th(Service) Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry as a Private on its formation in Oxford in September 1915, as part of Kitchener’s New Army. They came under orders of  the 60th Brigade in 20th (Light) Division and arrived in France on 22nd July 1915. In 1916 they were involved in various stages of the Somme Offensive. The Battle of Delville Wood, The Battle of Guillemont, The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, The Battle of Morval and The Battle of Le Transloy between 14th July and 11th November.

In the Spring of 1917 the Germans withdrew from the Somme Area to pre-prepared defences called the Hindenburg Line, near Arras. The Battalion were one of those that cautiously pursued  the Germans who adopted a scorched eart policy, destroying everything of use, poisoning watercourses and leaving booby traps.  The Battalion moved up to the Ypres area in early August 1917 to take part in the Third Battle of Ypres. They were camped near the Belgium village of Langemarck when Private Peachey was one of two killed and seven wounded when the Germans shelled their positions on 10th August 1917. He was aged 21 and is commemorated on The Ypres Menin Gate Memorial for those with no known grave. 

PRIVATE WILFRED PEACHEY

William Peachey was born in July 1898, the son of Harry Peachey, a farm cowman and Elizabeth Peachey of Churchill. He enlisted into the 6th (Service) Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry as a Private in Oxford, when they were formed in Oxford in September 1914 as part of Kitchener's new armies, aged 16 . They trained at Lark Hill Camp on Salisbury Plain. On 22nd July 1915 the Battalion crossed from Folkestone to Boulogne on the railway ferry "The Queen".


Heavy and often dangerous duties were performed by the Battalion during the next few months at a cost of nearly 300 casualties, yet without the satisfaction of taking part in any important engagement. The principal work which fell to its lot was holding various parts of the line in France and in Flanders. In October the Battalion were camped on the La Basse Road. On 26th they relieved 6th Shropshires in front line trenches and Private Peachey was killed in action on 27th October 1915 when a shell hit his position, 3 other soldiers being wounded. He was aged 17 and is buried in Rue-du-Bacquerot No.1 Military Cemetery Laventie in the Pas-de-Calais. He had given a false age to be there, the minimum age for serving abroad in 1915 being 19.

Postcript: When Wilfred Peachey's family visited his grave, they found his name had been misspelt as Peachy. I contacted the Commonwealth War Graves on their behalf to point out the error. They very quickly changed their records and within a month or so had erected a new headstone. Thanks to the CWGC for their brilliant work. 

Steve Kingsford

PRIVATE JOHN PERROTT

John Perrott was born in December 1892, the son of  John Perrott, a general labourer and his wife Jane of Church Street, Winsham, Chard, Somerset. He had worked as a farm labourer and came to live in Churchill in 1912.

He had enlisted in Oxford into The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry as a Private. He transferred to the 10th(Service) Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment, one of Kitchener's new armies ,and arrived with them in France on 9th August 1915. The Battalion came under the orders of the 1st Brigade in 1st Division. Between 25th September tand 8th October 1915 hey saw action at the Battle of Loos. was the biggest British attack of 1915, the first time that the British used poison gas and the first mass engagement of New Army units. The French and British tried to break through the German defences in Artois and Champagne and restore a war of movement. Despite improved methods, more ammunition and better equipment, the Franco-British attacks were largely contained by the Germans, except for local losses of ground. The British gas attack failed to neutralize the defenders and the artillery bombardment was too short to destroy the barbed wire or machine gun nests. German tactical defensive proficiency was still dramatically superior to the British offensive planning and doctrine, resulting in a British defeat. Private Perrott was reported missing in action on 13th October 1915 and presumed dead. He was aged 23 and is commemorated on The Loos monument for soldiers with no known grave. 

He is also remembered on the Winsham War Memorial.

 

PRIVATE ERNEST WEBB

Ernest Webb was born in November 1890, the son of John Webb. A farm labourer,  and Caroline Webb of Churchill and before the war had worked as a farm labourer. 

He had enlisted into The Royal Field Artillery in Stratford-upon-Avonbefore being transferred to the 5th Battalion, The Duke of Edinburgh's Wiltshire Regiment as a Private. He joined them in Gallipoli on 16th November 1915 , the Battalion being at Suvla Bay at the time. They were evacuated from Suvla Bay to Helles bridgehead on 19th December 1915. On 7th January 1916 they fought against the last Turkish attacks on the garrison at Cape Helles before being evacuated to Egypt on the 8th and 9th of that month. 

By the end of January 1916 the Battalion was concentrated at Port Said and held forward posts in the Suez Canal defences. In February 1916 they began to move to Mesopotamia, to strengthen the force being assembled for the relief of the besieged garrison at Kut al Amara. By 27th March, they had assembled near Sheikh Sa’ad and came under orders of the Tigris Corps and took part in the attempts to relieve Kut. After these efforts failed and the garrison at Kut surrendered to the Turks, the British force in the theatre was built up and reorganised. 

Private Webb was taken ill with typhoid and was being evacuated by hospital ship to Egypt when he died at sea on 16th October 1916. He was aged  25 and was buried at sea. He is commemorated on the Basra Memorial.


GUNNER FRANK WEBB

Frank Webb was born in November 1883,  the son of John Webb, a farm labourer. and Caroline Webb of Churchill, brother of Ernest, above.

He had enlisted as a Gunner into the 82nd Battery, 10th Brigade, The Royal Field Artillery in Birmingham as a regular soldier before the war, and were based in India. They came under command of the 6th (Poona) Division of the Indian Army and sailed for Mesopotamia to protect oil supplies there from the forces of the Ottoman Empire. They arrived there on 12th November 1914 and quickly had a number of successes against the Turkish forces as they advanced towards Baghdad. On 31st May 1915 Gunner Webb’s battery supported the Division as the attacked the town of Amara. The town was captured on 3rd June 1915 but while based there Gunner Webb died of an unspecified disease on 17th July 1915. He was aged 31 and is buried in Amara Cemetery in modern day Iraq.

SECOND LIEUTENANT ARCHIBALD WIDDOWS

Archibald Widdows was born in 1893 in Malvern, Worcestershire to parents Charles and Sarah Widdows. In 1909 he joined the Great Western Railway as a "lad clerk" at Warwick goods depot and by 1911 he was living at Kingham station, where his father was Station Master and he was the station clerk. At the time of death his family had moved to Rock Villa in Radstock in Somerset, where his father was then stationmaster.

He had joined the 2/1st Queens Own Oxfordshire Hussars in 1915 serving as a Lance-Corporal on the home front. He was commissioned into the 11th Reserve Battalion of Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry as a Second Lieutenant on 6th July 1916. On 31st December 1916 he was posted to Mesopotamia, attached to the 8th Battalion, The Cheshire Regiment Cheshires as a Lieutenant. He took part in the Battle of Kut-al-Amara and the pursuit of Turkish forces to Baghdad and its subsequent capture. When he died, cause of death unknown, he was working in Railway Transport in Lahore, India on 7th October 1918. He was aged 25 and is buried in Lahore War Cemetery, which is now unmanaged and he is commemorated on the Karachi War Memorial.

 


SECOND WORLD WAR

ALBERT WILLIAM BRYON was serving as a Private with 5th Battalion, The Cheshire Regiment when he died in Anglesey on 11th August 1943. He was aged 20 and is buried in Churchill All Saints Old Churchyard.

He was the son of Harry and Annie Bryon of Mapledene, Churchill. 


DONALD GEORGE HAMILTON(Military Cross) was serving as a Major with the 1st Battalion, The King's Shropshire Light Infantry when he died on active service 15th February 1942. He was aged 26 and is buried in Churchill All Saints Old Churchyard.

He was the son of Alfred Henry John and Lilian Hamilton, of Sarsden Gorse, Churchill, having been born in Southampton. His father had served in the Royal Indian Navy in the First World War as a Lieutenant Commander.

Donald Hamilton was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 1st KSLI on 31st January 1935 after graduating from Sandhurst Royal Military College. He served in Kamptee, India before the war.

The Balttalion landed in France as part of the British Expeditionary Force in September 1939. In the early days of the German onslaught against the west in May 1940, the 1st KSLI advanced into Belgium via Brussels but was then caught up in the fighting retreat to Dunkirk. As one of the rearguard units, 1st KSLI saw a great deal of hard fighting and was one of the very last British battalions to leave the port of Dunkirk. The citation for his Military Cross, awarded whilst he was an acting Captain reads;

"For conspicuous gallantry and outstanding leadership during the defence of the River Escaut on 19th May 1940. His Company was heavily attacked and the enemy finally penetrated the unit on his right. He at once formed a defensive flank and by his own personal example avoided what might have been a very serious situation. The subsequent withdrawal of his Company that night whilst in close contact with the enemy was carried out with great skill and without loss."

After returning to Great Britain, the Battalion served on the home front, defending against a possible German invasion. They then undertook rigorous training for the North Africa Campaign. Donald Hamilton was promoted Major and was sent for training at the Special Training Centre at Inverailort House, Loch Ailort in Inverness. During an exercise Major Hamilton was injured in both legs by a accidental mortar bomb explosion. He was taken to Onich Military Hospital but died after suffering blast lung.

RICHARD JOHN HORLOCK was serving as a Flight Sergeant, Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, Royal Air Force when he was killed in action on 25th June 1942. He was aged 21 and is buried in Sage War Cemetery in Germany.

He had joined the 49 Squadron in November 1940 as a Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, flying the Handley-Page Hampden light bomber. He flew 30 missions from RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire. On 7th July 1941 he was rested from operations and posted to 16 Operational Training Unit as a instructor, training night bomber crews.. The unit was based at RAF Upper Heyford and flew the Hampden. On 25th June 1942 a 1000 bomber raid was planned, using every serviceable Bomber C0mmand aircraft along with planes from Coastal Command and the OTUs. F/Sgt Horlock joined a crew from 14 OTU to take part in the raid. They took off from RAF Cottesmore in Rutland at 2252 on Handley-Page Hampden Mk1 P5312 GL-J3. At the controls was experienced pilot, Flight Lieutenant Count Tristan Salazar DFC. The other crew members were Observer Sergeant Thomas Gaffney of Royal Australian Air Force and Wireless Operator/Air Gunner Sergeant Sydney Cusden. Their Hampden was hit by intense anti-aircraft fire over the Dutch city of Borkum and crashed near there. Only Sergeant Cusden survived the crash, suffering from terrible burns he died in hospital in September 1942. The crew were intially buried in the Lutheran Cemetery on 30th June 1942, but were reinterred at Sage in September 1947. Of the 960 aircraft that participated in the raid 48 were lost.


Flight Sergeant Horlock is on the right 

CHRISTOPHER CHARLES SPENCER was serving as a Private with the 2nd Battalion, The Glasgow Highlanders,  The Highland Light Infantry (City of Glasgow Regiment) when he was killed in action on 6th August 1944. He was aged 27 and is buried in the St Charles de Percy War Cemetery in Normandy. 

He was the son of Christopher and Emily Spencer, having been born in Staffordshire in November 1916. He lived at 9, Hastings Hill, Churchill, working as a coal wharf hand. He was married to Mary Jane Spencer and had a son Christopher with her, who he never got to see. He was called up into the 4th Territorial Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry before being embodied into the Glasgow Highlanders.

The 2nd Battalion, The Glasgow Highlanders, The Highland Light Infantry were a Territorial unit formed in 1939 remaining in the UK until 13th June 1944 when they landed on the Normandy Beaches. As part of 46th Brigade, 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division they almost immediately took part in Operation Epsom. Epsom was an attack  that was intended to outflank and seize the city of Caen which had, over the last few weeks, bore witness to much bitter fighting. Epsom did not achieve its overall objective but forced the German Army to abandon their offensive plans and tied most of their armoured units to a defensive role. They then took part in Operation Jupiter, the battles to capture hill 112 from the Germans. Private Spencer was killed during Operation Bluecoat, an attack from 30th July 1944 to 7th August 1944. The objectives of the attack were to secure the key road junction of Vire and the high ground of Mont Pinçon. Strategically, the attack was made to support the American exploitation of their breakout on the western flank of the Normandy beachhead. He was originally buried in Au Cornu Cemetery, being re-interred in 1947.



ALBERT PETER WATKINS was serving as a Private with the 5th Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he died in Portsmouth on 11th February 1940. He was aged 20 and is buried in Churchill All Saints Old Churchyard.

He was the son of Arthur George and Alice Gertrude Watkins, of Churchill.

SOME OF THOSE WHO SERVED IN THE FIRST WORLD WAR

ADRIAN ERIC ANDREWS was born in June 1897 to parents Charles and Mary Andrews of Junction Road, Churchill. He had worked as a farm labourer and later a stonemason before signing on for the Royal Navy, for the duration of hostilities, on 8th August 1916. Training as a stoker at shore bases Pembroke and Actaeon he joined the crew of HMS Boadicea as a Stoker 2nd class on 5th December 1916.  

HMS Boadicea was a scout cruiser completed in 1912 and was assigned to the battleship squadron in the First World War. She was converted into a minelayer in December 1917 and completed three missions in that role, laying 184 mines. Adrian Andrews served on her for the rest of the war, being promoted to Stoker 1st class on 31st May 1917. He was demobilized on 19th February 1919. He married Fanny Geal in 1926 in East Preston, Sussex. He died in Sussex in 1975 aged 79. 


HORACE FREDERICK PEACHEY was  born on 30th May 1895 to parents Frederick and Emma Peachey of Sidings Road, Churchill. He had worked as a domestic gardener after leaving school, but in 1913 he emigrated to Canada, working as a farm labourer in Neepawa, Manitoba. His parents moved to Neat Enstone where they took over the running of the Litchfield Arms public house.

On 20th November 1916 Horace enlisted into the 190th Overseas Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, The Winnipeg Rifles, in Franklin, Manitoba. The Battalion sailed for England in May 1917 and was absorbed into the 18th Reserve Battalion, providing reinforcements for the Canadian Corps in the field. The Canadians were involved in the Battles of Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele in 1917. Since they were mostly unmolested by the German army's offensive manoeuvres in the spring of 1918, the Canadians were ordered to spearhead the last campaigns of the War from the Battle of Amiens on August 8, 1918, which ended in victory for the Allies when the armistice was signed on November 11, 1918. Private Peachey returned to Canada on 1st March 1919 on the Troopship Belgic, below, sailing from Liverpool to Halifax, Nova Scotia.

He did not stay in Canada long, arriving back in England on 12th January 1920 on the SS Scandanavian at Liverpool and returned to live at the Litchfield Arms, below. In September 1920 he married Annie Mary Nursey and took over the running of the Litchfield Arms from his father, also working as a coal merchant. 

He died on 6th May 1963 aged 68 and is buried in Enstone Churchyard.


AIR CRASHES

On 12th June 1942  Vickers Wellington Mk 1C  Z1177 of 12  Operational Training Unit took off from RAF Chipping Warden for a cross-country night training excercise. At 0200 the aircraft became iced up and stalled, crashing at Conduit Farm, Churchill killing all the crew;

Pilot Officer Warren Percy Bolton, (below), aged 23, pilot Royal Air Force. He is buried at Brookwood Military Cemetery and was the son of John and Edith Bolton, of Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.


Pilot Officer Bede Joseph Stourton Vavasour aged 19, observer Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. He is buried in Creswell St Mary's Roman Catholic Churchyard and was the son of Oswald Joseph and Mary Dorothy Vavasour, of Draycott-in-the-Moors.

Pilot Officer Alfred James Majury aged 23, wireless operator/gunner Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. He is buried in Sutton Bridge St Matthew Churchyard and was the husband of Gwendoline Majury, of Sutton Bridge.

Sergeant John Ernest Counihan aged 26, wireless operator/gunner Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. He is buried in Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey and was the husband of Mary Counihan, of Ealing, Middlesex.