FIRST WORLD WAR

PRIVATE ARTHUR WILLIAM BOWLES

Arthur Bowles was the son of Albert Bowles. a gardener, and Elizabeth Bowles of Cornwell, having been born in Fairford in January 1896. He enlisted into the The Devonshire Regiment in Okehampton as a Private in 1915.

He was posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion, the Devonshire Regiment was one of Kitchener's New Armies in France in 1916 based on the Somme along  with the 8th Battalion, The Devonshire Regiment. they moved to the Somme area. On 1st July 1916 The Somme Offensive began with Battle of Albert. On that morning the 9th led the attack towards Mansel Copse, where well-placed machine guns, whose crews had survived the preliminary bombardment, cut down hundreds of advancing men. Arthur Bowles was killed in action, along with 160 officers and men from the 8th and 9th Devonshires. He was aged 23 and was buried on 4th July in the trench from which they had launched the attack, along with the other fallen. Their units were among the few that achieved their objectives on that fateful day. The site of their graves became the Devonshire Cemetery, Mametz on the Somme.

He is also remembered on the Bratton Clovelly War Memorial.

PRIVATE FREDERICK HENRY GEORGE HILL

Frederick Hill was born in Salford in 1897 to parents George and Elizabeth Hill, at the time of his death he was living at Park Farm Cottage, Cornwell, where his father worked as a waggoner. He joined  the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, a depot and training unit in 1914. Whilst training on Salisbury Plain contracted pneumonia. He died in the Alexandra Hospital in Cosham on 2nd June 1915. He was aged 17 and is buried in Cornwell St Peter's Churchyard.


CHARLES BURNETT PARTRIDGE was serving as a Captain with the Royal Marines Light Infantry when he was killed in action when HMS Good Hope was sunk on 1st November 1914, during the Battle of Coronel. He was aged 34, his body was never recovered and he is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

He was born in May 1880 the son of Lieutenant-Colonel and Mary Partridge of Portsea Island, Hampshire and a relative of the Reverend Richard Parry Burnett, Vicar of Cornwell Parish Church. He was commissioned into the Royal Marines in 1899 as a 2nd Lieutenant. He was promoted to Lieutenant in January 1900 and Captain in January 1910. He was well regarded by his superiors and a first class sportsmen and marksman. He had served as an instructor of musketry in Malta and a swimming instructor at Deal depot. He served on HM ships Mars, Gladiator, Ergmont, Melpomene , Hermione and Drake before joining the Drake class armoured cruiser HMS Good Hope (below) on 1st August 1914.

When war was declared in August 1914, Good Hope was ordered to reinforce the 4th Cruiser Squadron and became the flagship of Rear Admiral Christopher Cradock. Cradock moved the available ships of his squadron later that month to the coast of South America to search for German commerce raiders. He was then ordered further south to  to block any attempt of the German East Asia Squadron to penetrate into the South Atlantic. Cradock found the German force off Chile in the late afternoon of 1st November 1914, and decided to engage, despite being out numbered by more powerful ships, starting the Battle of Coronel. He tried to close the range immediately to engage with his shorter-ranged six-inch guns and so that the enemy would have the setting sun in their eyes, but Vice Admiral von Spee, the German Fleet Commander kept the range open until dusk, when the British cruisers were silhouetted in the afterglow, while his ships were hidden by darkness. HMS Good Hope was heavily disadvantaged because the high seas had rendered her main-deck six-inch unusable and her crew partially trained. However she charged towards the German Fleet. Spee ordered his armoured cruisers to concentrate their fire on the British flagship and she soon drifted to a halt with her topsides all aflame. At 1950 her forward magazine exploded, severing the bow from the rest of the ship, and she later sank in the darkness with the lose of all hands, a total of 926 officers and ratings.. The other Armoured cruiser in theS quadron, HMS Monmouth was also sunk with all hands.  This battle was the first defeat of the Royal Navy in a naval action in more than a hundred years.

 

The officers of HMS Good Hope, Captain Partridge is fifth from the left in the back row and below. His parents lost two others sons to the war, both serving in the Army.

THE FOLLOWING MAN FROM THE VILLAGE SERVED AND SURVIVED

ABLE SEAMAN FRANCIS HERBERT WILLIAMS

He was born in December 1898 to parents John and Emma Williams in Cornwell, his father was butler at the Cornwell House. He was working as an ironmonger's apprentice when he signed on as a boy sailor at Devonport in November 1915, aged 16. He trained on HMS Impregnable, a training ship, becoming a Boy 1st Class on 13th May 1916. He served aboard the destroyer HMS Beaver between 12th June and 16th September 1916, patrolling in the English Channel and escorting Hospital ships to and from France. On 29th September 1916n he joined the crew of HMS Bellerophon, below, a dreadnought battleship.

He was made an Ordinary Seaman aboard her on 2nd December 1916, signing on for 10 years service. Assigned to the Grand Fleet at Scapa Flow, Bellerophon spent her time training and carrying out routine patrols in the North Sea. He left the ship in March 1918. He then went ashore spending time on depot ships and HMS  Defiance torpedo training school. He married Mabel Griffin in Churchill in April 1922. He served on the minesweeper HMS Melpomene between December 1924  and July 1926 and then the Queen Elizabeth class battleship HMS Malaya, between August 1926 and September 1927 then joining her sister ship HMS Queen Elizabeth, below.

He served with her with the Mediterranean Fleet until 25th August 1928 when he returned to Portsmouth for discharge, his time expired. He moved with his family to Thunder Creek, Saskatchewan, Canada in 1930, where he farmed. He died in Canada in November 1992 aged 91.


THE VICKERS WELLINGTON CRASH


On 14th October 1941 Vickers Wellington Mk 1C R1654 of 22 Operational Training Unit took off from Wellesbourne for a navigation exercise.  Encountered poor weather conditions and while flying in cloud lost control and dived into the ground at 1044 not far from the Gloucestershire-Oxfordshire border about 1 mile west of Cornwell, 3 miles west of Chipping Norton.  Five aircrew were killed; 

Sergeant William Leslie Falardeau, aged 19, pilot, Royal Canadian Air Force. He is buried in Little Rissington churchyard and was the son of Earl and Hilda Falardeau of Winnipeg, Canada.

William Leslie Falardeau was a camera grip on the 1940 Powell and Pressburger film "49th Parallel" and also played an aviator on the rescue float plane as it arrives at Cape Wolstenholme . In the film, he was shot and apparently killed by the Nazis before they commandeered the aircraft. A second role for him was as a double for Raymond Massey in a few scenes. He died before the film was released. He had been a keen aircraft enthusiast and won cups for his model planes. He joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in November 1940 and left for England in August 1941.

Sergeant Bill Ingalls Hoese, aged 26, Royal Canadian Air Force. He is buried in Little Rissington churchyard and was from Worthington, Indiana, USA.

Sergeant Leslie Bernard Woodfield aged 20. He is buried in Birmingham Lodge Hill Cemetery and was the son of Arthur and Ellen Woodfield of Birmingham.

Sergeant Ronald Mcnamara, aged 24, wireless operator/air gunner, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve . He is buried in Cranston St Dunstan's Cemetery in Middlesex.

Sergeant Alfred Hildebrandt, aged 28, air gunner, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. He is buried Wallsall Bloxwich Cemetery and was the husband of Daisy.