BROUGHTON AND NORTH NEWINGTON
The war memorial in St. Mary the Virgin Parish Church, Broughton, records the names of the war dead from both the above villages. In the churchyard there are two Commonwealth War Graves from World War One.
THE FALLEN OF THEFIRST WORLD WAR
PRIVATE GEORGE BUTLER
He was the son of William and Mary Ada Butler of Broughton, having been born in Watchfield Berkshire. He had worked as a carter on a farm.
He joined The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in Oxford after the outbreak of war. He joined the 5th (Service) Battalion, one of Kitchener's new armies in France on 16th July 1915. On 25th September 1915 the Battalion, as part of the 42nd Infantry Brigade, 14th Light Division were tasked with a diversionary attack on Bellewaarde Farm in support of the Battle of Loos. The attack on German held trenches at Bellewaarde and Hooge was a disastrous and costly failure with the assault being decimated by German artillery and Machine gun fire. The 5th Battalion achieved some of their objectives but were then pushed back by German counter attacks before consolidating their gains.
Private Butler was wounded in the attack and evacuated home, dying of his wounds in Edmonton Military Hospital in Middlesex on 5th October 1915. He was aged 21 and is buried in Broughton St Mary Churchyard.
EDWARD DAVIS CARTER was serving as Gunner with "C" Battery, the 162nd Brigade, The Royal Field Artillery when he killed in action on 12th December 1917. He was aged 24 and is buried in Tyne Cot Cemetery.
He was the son of Mrs. Ellen Carter, of Fletcher House, North Newington and had been a journeyman bread maker.
He enlisted into the 4th Territorial Battalion, The Oxfordshire Buckinghamshire Light Infantry on 3rd August 1914. He was posted to the Royal Field Artillery arriving with 162nd Brigade in France 6th December 1915, under the orders of 33rd Division Division. They saw action in the Battle of Albert from 1st July 1916 and other phases of the Battle of the Somme. In 1917 they fought in the Battles of Arras and the Third battle of Ypres. He was killed in action in the Passchendaele area and originally buried in Waterloo Farm, being re-interred after the Armistice.
ARTHUR CLUTTERBUCK was serving as Private in the 5th (Service) Battalion, Princess Charlotte of Wales's Royal Berkshire Regiment when he died of wounds received on 5th April 1918. He was aged 23 and is buried in Varennes Military Cemetery.
He was the son of Thomas Henry and Ann Clutterbuck, of North Newington and had been a footman at the Resident's House at Trinity College, Oxford.
He enlisted into the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in September 1914 and landed with "C" Company of the 7th (Service) Battalion in France on 21st September 1915. In November 1916 however the Battalion, as part of the 26th Division, were transferred to Salonika. On 10th August 1916 they were in action at the Battle of Horseshoe Hill. The 7th Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry rushed the Bulgarian positions, captured Horseshoe Hill and consolidated their gains by dawn on 18th August. Private Vlutterbuck was wounded in action during the battle, with severe shrapnel wounds to the right thigh. He was initially treated in the 31st Casualty Clearing Station before being evacuated back to England in the Hospital Ship Gloucester Castle.
After recover he joined the 5th Royal Berkshires in France. In 1917 they took part in the Battles of Arras and Cambrai and then took up positions on the old Somme battlefield in March 1918 to face the German Spring Offensive. In an attempt to win the war before the Americans arrived in numbers and supported by troops released by the surrender of Russia, the Germans unleashed an assault on the Allied lines. The Royal Berkshires were involved in a dogged resistance as they were pushed back, Private Clutterbuck being one of 1,634 casualties of the Division.
GUARDSMAN SIDNEY COOLING
He was born in May 1891, the son of James and Frances Cooling, of Broughton.
He had been working as a hotel waiter and lodging in the Edgeware Road, Paddington when he joined the Grenadier Guards in March 1915. He joined the 1st Battalion in France on 6th November 1915 and saw action in the latter stages of The Battle of Loos. As part of the Guards Division they saw action during the 1916 Somme Offensive, on the front line for two phases, the Battle of Flers-Courcellette between 15th and 22nd September and the Battle of Morval between 25th and 29th September 1916. Both assaults achieved strategic and tactical gains for the British and inflicted severe losses on the Germans.
Between 14th March and 5th April 1917 the cautiously pursued the Germans as they withdrew from the Somme area to pre-prepared defences on the Hindenburg Line. The Germans left a trail of destruction in their wake, destroying everything of use, leaving booby traps and poisoning water supplies. After this the Battalion was in reserve until returning to the front line to take part in the Third Battle of Ypres seeing action in the Battle of Pilkem between 31st July and 2nd August 1917, The Battle of the Menin Road between 20th and 25 September, The Battle of Poelcapelle on 9th October and The First Battle of Passchendaele on 12th October 1917. Initial Allied advances in the latter battle were soon lost to a German counter attack and heavy rain and mud made further advances impossible, 30,000 Allied troops were killed or wounded. After this they fought in The Battle of Cambrai between 20th November and 3rd December 1917. The Allies made great advances on the first day using tanks in large numbers for the first time working in co-operation with the infantry. However the Germans made the biggest counter attack seen seen since 1914, giving them hope that an offensive in 1918 could win the war before the Americans arrived.
The German Spring Offensive was launched on 21st March 1918, when the German Army, buoyed with men released from the Eastern Front, attacked across the old Somme battlefields, launched from the Hindenberg Line. The 1st Battalion, The Grenadier Guards fought the following actions in The First Battles of the Somme 1918, The Battle of St Quentin 21st to 23rd March, The Battle of Bapaume 24th to 25th March and The First Battle of Arras 1918 on 28th March. At Arras the outnumbered British Firth Army fought the Germans to a standstill. The Germans had advanced over 40 miles but in doing so had outrun their artillery and supply columns and taken heavy casualties. The war was turned one of attrition again until the Allies were ready to go on the offensive. The 100 Days offensive began on 8th August 1918 with The Second Battles of the Somme 1918 and the 21st Battalion were once again in action in The Battle of Albert which opened on 21st August. The attack was a great success and the Germans were pushed back 35 miles across the Somme battlefields.
However Private Cooling's luck ran out and he was seriously wounded on 23rd August 1918. He died on the 28th August 1918 in the village of Moyenville which he had just helped capture from the Germans. He was aged 27 and is buried in Moyenville Two Tree Cemetery.
HARRY DALE was serving as a Driver with the 11th Division Ammunition Column, The Royal Field Artillery when he was killed in action on 5th June 1917. He was aged 20 and is buried in Wulverghem-Lindenhoek Road Military Cemetery.
He was the son of Joseph and Minnie Dale of North Newington and had worked as a boilerette polisher before the war.
He was killed in the run up to the Battle of Messines which commenced with one of the heaviest artillery bombardments of the war.
CAPTAIN JOHN EUSTACE TWISTLETON-WYKEHAM FIENNES
He was born in August 1895, the son of Lieutenant Colonel The Hon. Sir Eustace Fiennes, Bart., Governor of Leeward Islands, and the Hon. Lady Fiennes, O.B.E., of Government House, Leeward Islands, British West Indies. His father was MP for Banbury and also Personal Private Secretary to Winston Churchill between 1912 and 1914.
John Fiennes was educated at Winchester and Eton and was enrolled at Cambridge College, Cambridge but did not attend due to the outbreak of war. Instead he attended the Royal Military College at Sandhurst in 1914 and was gazetted as a 2nd Lieutenant on 11th November 1914. He was then posted to France arriving on 7th December 1914 and joining the 2nd Battalion, The Gordon Highlanders in the field. He was promoted to Lieutenant in January 1915 but on 20th of that month was taken ill, having lost all feeling in his feet and was in great pain. Fever and dysentery followed and his was sent to England to recover. He was then appointed Captain in April 1915 and returned to France and attached to the 1st Battalion, The Gordon Highlanders. They were heavily involved in the fighting on the Western Front. As part of the 20th Brigade of the 7th Division, known as the “Immortal Seventh” in 1915 they saw action at the Battles of Neuve Chapelle, Aubes, Festubert, Givenchy and Loos.
He was wounded in action on 11th June 1916 and after recovering from his last injury he was offered a staff course in Cambridge, but chose to return to his regiment instead. In 1916 they participated in phases of the Somme Offensive and were in action on the opening assault, The Battle of Albert on 1st July and Captain Fiennes led his company over the top to attack the German lines in the village of Mametz, which was subsequently captured. They fought in further actions on the Somme, The Battle of Bazentin and the attacks on High Wood between 14th and 17th July followed by The Battle of Delville Wood and The Battle of Guillemont until 15th September 1916.
Between 14th March and 5th April 1917 the 2nd Gordon Highlanders were involved in the cautious pursuit of the Germans as they withdrew from the Somme area to pre-prepared defences on the Hindenburg Line. The Germans left a trail of destruction in their wake, destroying everything of use, leaving booby traps and poisoning water supplies. At the end of April, Captain Fiennes was transferred to the 1st Battalion, The Gordon Highlanders, taking over command of B Company. They then took part in the Arras Offensive in the Third Battle of Scarpe on 3rd May 1917 attacking, unsuccessfully German positions on Infantry Hill. On 13th May they assisted in the capture of the heavily fortified village of Roeux. On 14th June 1917 the Battalion launched another attack against Infantry Hill. They captured the German trench known as Hook Trench and held it despite fierce German counter attacks and shelling.
On 18th June the Battalion were being relieved by the Kings Own Shropshire Regiment at 0130 when they came under another artillery bombardement and Captain Fiennes was severely wounded by shrapnel . He was taken to the 8th Casualty Clearing Station at Etrun but died on the following day, 19th June 1917. He was aged 21 and is buried in Duisans British Cemetery in Etrun.
JOSEPH GARDNER was serving as a Lance Corporal, 1st Battalion, The Duke of Edinburgh's Wiltshire Regiment when he was killed in action on 6th July 1916 during the Battle of Albert. He was aged 20 and is buried in Connaught Cemetery in Thiepval.
He was the son of Edward and Selina Gardner of Burton Dassett, and before enlisting had worked as farm labourer, living with his grandparents in North Newington.
He had joined the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry before being posted to the Wiltshires, joining the 1st Battalion in France on 15th May 1915. As part of the 25th Division they took part in the Battle of Albert from 1st July 1916, the opening action of the Battle of the Somme. The day started with the Battalion resting after their march to Varennes, a full kit inspection and church parade followed, before they spent the night in the assembly trenches in readiness to advance. On 2nd July they moved up to Aveluy Wood and on 6th July were holding and consolidating captured trenches on the Leipzig salient. The Germans counter attacked with heavy shelling and rifle grenades, L/Cpl Gardner being killed at this time.
FREDERICK GASCOIGNE was serving as a Private with the 6th(Service) Battalion, King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment) when he died from dysentery on 2nd July 1916. He was aged 30 and is buried in Amara War Cemetery in Iraq.
He was the son of James Edward and Mary Gascoigne, of North Newington and had worked as a farm labourer and later working as a footman in for the Duke of Newcastle at Forest Farm, Winklield, Berkshire. In 1913 he married Eva Jane Donnelly in North Newington. On enlistment he was still in the Duke's employ at Clumber Park, near Worksop.
He enlisted into the Royal Lancasters after the outbreak of war, the 6th Battalion was one of Kitchener's new armies and had beeen sent to Gallipoli in June 1915 as part of the 13th (Western) Division. They took part in the following battles in August, The Battle of Sari Bair, The Battle of Russell's Top and The Battle of Hill 60. In 1916 they defended the last attacks by the Turks at Helles in January before being evacuated to Egypt in January. There they held positions defending the Suez Canal at Port Said. In February 1916 they moved to Mesopotamia and took part in attempts to relieve the seige of Kut-al-Amara, suffering heavy casualties from the fighting and disease, including Private Gascoigne.
His wife, Eva, also served the war effort being a nurse at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, London.
ALBERT GRANT was serving as a Private in the 7th (Fife) Battalion, The Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) when he was on killed in action during the Battle of Estaires on 9th April 1918. He was aged 23 and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial for those with no known grave.
He was the son of George and Eliza Grant of North Newington and had worked as a farm labourer.
He had enlisted in Banbury into the Seaforth Highlanders, later transferring to the Black Watch. The Battle of Estaires, an action of the Battles of Lys , began on 9th April 1918 when the Germans launched a second phase of their spring offensive. The Battalion as part of the 51st Highland Division moved into defensive positions behind Richebourg Saint Vaast, where it played a key part in beating off an incessant attack at great cost of 2,500 men, including Private Grant.
GEORGE ENOS GREEN was serving as a Private in the 1st/4th Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he was killed in action during the Battle of Langemarck on 16th August 1917. He was aged 37 and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial for those with no known grave.
He was the son of George and Emma Green of North Newington and had worked as a shepherd. In 1901 he married Gertrude Rose Mobley. They had two sons and a daughter living in North Newington, now working as a mason's labourer.
He joined the Ox and Bucks shortly after the outbreak of war and joined 1/4ths in France on 18th September 1915. Under the orders of the 48th (South Midland) Division the Battalion saw action in several phases on the Battle of the Somme in 1916 and the cautious pursuit of the Germans to the Hindenburg Line in early 1917. At 0400 on 16th August 1916 all companies of the Battalion were assembled west of the Steenbecke river. They had four objectives assigned to them, the first was to take German strongholds between St Julien and Langemarke. The attack started at 0445, accompanied by two tanks, and at first met little opposition. However 200 yards from the first objective they came under heavy machine gun and rifle fire from strong concrete emplacements which had escaped the earlier artillery barrage. In repeated attempts to knock out the German strongholds. 65 of the Battalion were killed including Private Green.
FRED MEAD HANCOCK was serving as a Lance-Corporal in the 2nd/1st, The Queen's Own Worcestershire Hussars (Worcester Yeomanry) when he died of menegitis on 25th June 1915. He was aged 28 and is buried in Broughton St Mary's Churchyard.
He was the son of Charles and Ellen Hancock and was born in Morebath, Devon, his father was a farmer firstly in Brailles then at Ley Farm in Enstone and lastly at Park Farm, North Newington. Fred had been a boarder at St Oswald's college in Shropshire and then joined the Great Western Railway as lad clerk in 1902 aged 15 firstly at Chipping Norton then Evesham and Littleton & Badeley. He was then a goods clerk at Moreton in Marsh, Evesham and in 1910 Chief Clerk at Pershore, where he stayed until enlisting. He was engaged to Miss G Derrett of Wyre.
In September 1914 he enlisted into the Worcester Yeomanry. The 2/1sts were formed in September 1914 as a training/supply reserve for the 1/1sts. They moved to Cirencester in April 1915, where Fred Hancock died. He had suffered sunstroke whilst drilling and steadily his condition worsened.
OWEN HARVEY was serving as a Private with the 2nd/6th Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment when he was killed in action on 1st June 1918. He was aged 22 and is buried in Aire Communal Cemetery in the Pas de Calais.
He was the son of Joseph and Mary Harvey of Shutford and had worked as a farm labourer, his mother later moving to North Newington.
He enlisted into the Royal Warwicks in Southam, the Battalion arrived in France on 21st May 1916 as part of the 61st (2nd South Midland), and took part in the Battle of Fromelles, a disastrous diversionary attack during the Battle of the Somme. In 1917 they cautiously pursued the retreating Germans to the Hindenburg line and later that year fought in phases of the Third Battle of Ypres.
On 21 March 1918, the enemy launched what was intended to be a decisive offensive, attacking the British Fifth and Third Armies on the Somme in overwhelming strength. The Division was holding the forward zone of defences in the area northwest of Saint Quentin in the area of Ham and lost many men as it fought a chaotic but ultimately successful withdrawal back over the Somme crossings over the next ten days. In the initial clash, the South Midland faced three enemy Divisions and only began to retire on the afternoon of 22nd March, when ordered to do so in consequence of the enemy’s progress at other parts of the line. By the time it was relieved after fighting all the way back to the very gates of Amiens in the First Battles of the Somme 1918, the Division had been involved in continuous action since August 1917 and was most exhausted. The remnants were moved north to what had been a quieter part of the line on the La Bassee Canal near Bethune. Unfortunately it was near where the Germans launched the second phase of their offensive on 9 April 1918. The Division became involved and many casualties were incurred.
FRANK WILLIAM MARSHALL was serving as a Lance-Corporal with "D" Company, the 1st Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment when he killed in action during the First Battle of Ypres, on 1st November 1914. He was aged 20 and is commemorated on the Ypres Menin Gate Memorial for those with no known grave.
He was the son of Joseph Marshall of North Newington and had worked as a gardener before joining the Army.
He joined the Gloucesters in August of 1912 and arrived in France with them on 13th August 1914 as part of 3rd Brigade in the 1st Division. They saw action at the Battle of Mons and the subsequent retreat and in the Battlers of Marne and the Aisne. From 19th October they took part in the series of battles comprising the First Battle of Ypres. On 31st October 1914 "D" Company under Major Gardner, now only 80 strong, were ordered to re-capture a front line trench recently taken by the Germans. They advanced in the face of heavy shell fire and jumped into front line trenches to find they were still in the hands of the British. The Major led his men further forward, across very open country to a sunken road where the remaining men rallied. There were now only 30 left. Knowing the urgency of the situation and not willing to wait for reinforcements, Major Gardner ordered an advance from the road. He and fifteen men were felled almost immediately whilst the rest fell back to the sunken road until they were overwhelmed by the Germans and taken prisoner. L/Cpl Marshall was reported missing in the attack, later presumed dead.
JOHN WILLIAM WELBANK was serving as a Gunner with "D" Battery, 286 Brigade, the Royal Field Artillery when he on killed in action on 11th October 1918. He was aged 26 and is buried in Naves Communal Cemetery Extension.
He was the son of Alice Welbeck having been born in Norfolk and was managing the boilerette works in North Newington. In 1911 he married Carrie Darville in Eton, Berkshire. They had two sons, living in North Newington.
286 Brigade of the RFA was a territorial unit formed in February 1915 and coming under the orders of the 57th Division. They saw action at the Second Battle of Passchendaele in October and November 1917. They fought against the German Spring offensive in 1918, during the Battles of Lys in April. On the offensive in August they took part in the Second Battles of Arras and assisted in the capture of Cambrai, shortly after which Gunner Welbank was killed.
WORLD WAR TWO
ERIC RALPH BUSBY was serving as a Second Officer with the Merchant Navy when he was killed in action on 18th August 1944 when SS Nairung was torpedoed. He was aged 24 and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial for those of the Merchant Navy who have no grave.
He was the son of Harold James Busby and Emily Agnes Busby, of North Newington.
The SS Nairung was a cargo vessel built and launched in Glasgow in 1941, On 18th August 1944 she was en-route from Bombay to Durban with a cargo of government stores and general cargo.
U862 was one of a number of German U-boats belonging to what was known as the Monsun Group using Penang as a base. When she sank the S.S. Nairung she was operating in the Mocambique Channel between Portugese East Africa and Madagascar. She located the S.S. Nairung during daylight hours on 18th August 1944. She carried out an unsuccessful attack while submerged. The electric torpedo missed and the ship continued on her course, seemingly unaware of the attack. Once clear the U-boat came to the surface and recommenced the slow process of stalking at the limit of visual range. As twilight approached the ship continued to zig-zag, making the final approach difficult. It needed all the U-boat crew’s skill to maintain contact. Nevertheless, by 1900 they were moving into an attack position. The sea was mirror smooth, the night pitch black , but the bright starlight provided ample visibility. The range opened to 1000 metres and a fan of two torpedoes was fired at the Nairung. There was a tremendous detonation. A yellowish red wall more than 100 metres high stretched out before the U-boat. The steamship disintegrated into thousands of fragments. Within moments the hot pressure wave of the explosion hit the U-boat with a resounding crack. U862 was shaken throughout her length. Those on the bridge were knocked to the deck and left feeling concussed and disorientated. Those inside the hull were thrown violently against the bulkheads. The freighter’s cargo continued to explode, gigantic flames stabbing into the air. Pieces of wreckage up to half a metre across flew over the U-boat’s bridge and rattled on the casing.. There was a gigantic red mushroom cloud and heavy rain of explosive fragments and ship parts. It was a good minute before the holocaust subsided, leaving behind only a thick, black smoke cloud. All of the crew of 91 were lost.
HERBERT LESLIE GEORGE DODSON (DFM) was serving as a Flying Officer, Air Gunner, with 83 Squadron the Royal Air Force when he was killed on active service on 20th January 1944. He was aged 25 and is buried in Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery.
He was the son of Herbert and Edith Annie Dodson having been born in Lewisham in London. He married Joan Annie Busby in North Newington in 1942. He had worked for the Refuge Assurance Company and lived at Orchard House in North Newington.
He won the Distinguished Flying Medal in April 1942 whilst a Sergeant with 37 Squadron flying in the Vickers Wellington in the Middle East. He was promoted to Flight Sergeant in July that same year. He later joined 83 Squadron, part of the 8th Pathfinder Group, flying the Avro Lancaster operating as a marker unit for the main Bomber Command force. Flying from RAF Wyton its first operation in this role being a raid against Flensburg on the night of 18/19th August. During the last three months of 1942 the squadron took part in ten attacks against Northern Italy; the targets were Genoa and Turin and involved flights of about 1,400 miles. The tempo of operations rose throughout 1943. The year began with the dropping of the first 250-lb TIs (target indicators) on Berlin. The squadron was prominent in the Battle of the Ruhr which began in March and also in the Battle of Hamburg which was fought in July and August. Fifteen Lancasters of No. 83 Squadron took part in the heavy raid against the German V-weapons experimental station at Peenemunde on 17/18th August 1943. Lancaster Mk III ND414 took off from Wyton at 1614 and was hit by flak 19,000 feet over the target and exploded over Grosszhieten.
SERGEANT, THE HONOURABLE INGELRAM IVO TWISLETON-WYKEHAM-FIENNES
He was born in September 1922, the son of Ivo Murray Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, 20th Baron Saye and Sele, and Lady Hersey Cecilia Hester Saye and Sele of Broughton Castle, and was born in St George Hanover Square in London. He was educated at Eton College and was a member of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
He was a pilot, serving with the Overseas Delivery Unit of the Royal Air Force of Vickers Wellington Mk II W559 which had left Cornwall on a delivery flight to Malta. The aircraft stopped over in Gibraltar and took off from RAF North Front on 30th August 1941 for RAF Luqa on Malta. South of the Italian Island of Lampedusa around 100 miles off Malta they were intercepted by Italian Fiat CR42 biplanes, and shot down in flames into the sea. All 6 crew members died in the crash.
He was aged 19 and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, his body never being recovered for burial.
CLEMENT JOSEPH GARDNER was serving as a Gunner with the Royal Artillery when he died on 13th February 1945. He was aged 42 and is buried in Broughton St Mary Churcyard.
He was the son of George and Mary Jane Gardner of North Newington. He died in St Michael's Church House in Louth, Lincolnshire.
SERGEANT ROBERT CHARLES GIBSON
He was the son of Frederick and Lily Marion Gibson of Wykeham Road, Broughton, his father worked as a butler at Broughton Castle.
He had enlisted into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and trained as an air gunner. posted to 405 Squadron, The Royal Canadian Air Force, part of the elite No 8 Pathfinder Group based at RAF Gransden Lodge in Cambridgeshire. On 30th January 1944 they took off in Avro Lancaster Mk III JA924 LQ-R at 1714 for a mission to Berlin.
After releasing their bombs over the target at 20,000 feet they came under sustained attack by a German night fighter. A fierce fire broke out on the port wing of the Lancaster and it spiralled down out of control. At 15,00 feet a violent explosion occurred which catapulted two crew members out of the plane. They parachuted to become prisoners of war, whilst the other 5 crew members died in the explosion.
Sergeant Gibson was aged 21 and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, his body never being recovered.
JOHN WILLIAM HANCOCK was serving as a Private with the 2nd Battalion, The Somerset Light Infantry when he was killed in action on 23rd June 1944. He was aged 21 and is buried in Assisi War Cemetery, Italy.
He was the son of John Tustain and Emily Ethel Hancock of Shutford. In 1942, whilst serving in the army, he married Megan Grant of North Newington, in Broughton Parish church. He was killed in action in the Allied advance towards Rome.
He is also remembered on Shutford War Memorial.
LANCE CORPORAL JAMES NORTON SOUTHAM
He was born in August 1908, the son of William and Ellen Southam of Turnpike Cottage, Broughton, where his father was a cowman. He was a professional soldier with the 2nd Battalion, the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. In late September 1939, the battalion was sent overseas to France to join the British Expeditionary Force on the Franco-Belgian border, where it remained for many months, not involved in any major engagements. The battalion fought in the Battle of France in May 1940, fighting at the defence of the Escaut, Wormhoudt. As part of the BEF's retreat to Dunkirk the Battalion was involved in holding the road that runs southward from Bergues through Wormhoudt, Cassel and Hazebrouck to delay the German advance.The British troops at Wormhoudt were overrun by advancing German forces. Having exhausted their ammunition supplies, the soldiers surrendered to the SS troops assuming that they would be taken prisoner according to the Geneva Convention.
After their surrender, a large group of soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment including Lance Corporal Southam, 4th Battalion Cheshire Regiment, and gunners of the Royal Artillery as well as French soldiers in charge of a military depot were taken to a barn in La Plaine au Bois near Wormhout and Esquelbecq on 28th May 1940. The Allied troops had become increasingly alarmed at the brutal conduct of the SS soldiers en route to the barn, which included the shooting of a number of wounded stragglers. On arrival at the barn the most senior British officer in the group, Captain James Lynn-Allen, protested but was immediately rebuked by an SS soldier. When there were nearly 100 men inside the small barn, soldiers from the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler, threw stick-grenades into the building, killing many POWs. The grenades failed to kill everyone, largely due to the bravery of two British NCOs, Sergeant Stanley Moore and CSM Augustus Jennings, who hurled themselves on top of the grenades using their bodies to suppress the force of the explosion and shield their comrades from the blast. Upon realising this, the SS called for two groups of five to come out. The men came out and were shot. Concluding that these methods were too slow, the SS troopers simply fired into the barn with their weapons. A total of 80 men were killed. While 15 more were wounded, their wounds were so severe that within 48 hours all but six of them had died.
Lance Corporal James Southam was murdered by Waffen-SS soldiers from the 1st SS Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler on 28th May 1940. He was aged 26 and is buried in Esquelbecq Military Cemetery.
SOME OF THE MEN WHO SERVED IN AND SURVIVED THE FIRST WORLD WAR
CAPTAIN JOHN ARTHUR DAVISON MC
He was March 1897 in Seal in Kent to parents Major Arthur Davison and his wife Dorothy. Dorothy had been born in Banbury and they had a house, The Grange, in Broughton. He was educated at Winchester College and then at the Royal Military College at Sandhurst, passing out as a 2nd Lieutenant on 11th August 1915 and being posted to the Rifle Brigade. He was promoted to Lieutenant in November 1916 and on 5th December 1916 arrived in France to join the 1st Battalion in the field. On 9th April 1917 the Battalion took part in the First Battle of the Scarpe part of the 1917 Offensive against German positions on the Hindenburg line, they captured and held a redoubt near the village of Gavelle. For his part in the operation Lieutenant Davison was immediately awarded the Military Cross gazetted on 18th July 1917 his citation reads:
“For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He was in command of a defensive position, which he held under continuous shell fire for eighteen hours. His personal bravery and coolness were a fine example to the men under him “
On 10th August 1917 he was promoted to acting Captain and became the Battalion Adjutant. On 1st October 1917 the Battalion took part in the Battle of Polygon Wood, a phase of the Third Battle of Ypres and followed up with the Battle of Broodseinde on 4th October and the First Battle of Passchendaele between 12th and 13th October. During the latter battle the Battalion succeeded in capturing their objectives despite heavy rain and thick mud and the right flank of their Brigade being exposed to heavy machine gun fire.
In March 1918 the Battalion faced the German Spring Offensive. The German Army, boosted by troops released from the Eastern Front by the surrender of Russia, attacked in numbers across the old Somme battlefields in an attempt to win the war before the Americans arrived in numbers. They took part in the Third Battle of Arras. There were 80 German Divisions facing 15 British Divisions and, with no reserves and no strongly defended line to its rear, fought a 38-mile rearguard action, contesting every village, field and farmhouse. The British fought the German offensive to a standstill on the Ancre, not retreating beyond Villers-Bretonneux and thwarting German ambitions to advance on Paris.
The Germans renewed their assault from 9th April with a plan to drive on towards the English Channel and cut the British Forces’ supply lines. On 12th April they advanced towards the important supply centre in the town at Hazebrouck. The Battalion along with the rest of the 4th Division, was ordered forward to defend Hinges Ridge, which they did successfully in the Battle of Hazebrouk until 15th April. After this the war descended back intone of attrition until the Allies launched the 100 Days Offensive that would defeat the Germans.
The Battalion was involved in the Battle of the Scarpe between 26th and 30 August 1918 during which they captured the village of Eterpigny. They then took part on the attack on the heavily fortified defensive Drocourt-Queant Line which was captured on 2nd September 1918. On 28th September John Davison relinquished the rank of acting Captain and was posted to England for 6 months, to serve as a staff officer with the rank of Lieutenant. He remained with the Army after the war and served with the Department of the Adjutant General to the Forces and was promoted to Captain in May 1921.
After the war he had married Cynthia Beckett in 1919 in London. After leaving the Army he joined the police force and on the outbreak of the Second World War was the Assistant Commissioner of the City of London Police. He died in Maidstone, Kent in October 1945 aged 45.