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16 September 2020

Hove and the First World War; A - I

Judy Middleton 2020

 copyright © J.Middleton 
The Great War graves in Hove Cemetery

These pages are indebted to the sterling work undertaken by John William Lister (1870-1951) Chief Librarian of Hove, who made it his mission to collect information, and if possible photographs, from all the families affected by the war; this included details not just of those who died, but also those who survived. It was a daunting task because there are no less than 642 names recorded on the Roll of Honour brass plaques in the library’s vestibule. This unique and valuable collection became Hove’s Roll of Honour Archive, which is stored at Hove Library to this day. Not every name is mentioned in this page, but here are some of the most interesting stories.

Lieutenant Noel Roland Abbey
copyright © Brighton Library
Lieutenant Noel Roland Abbey

His grandfather, Henry Abbey, was Mayor of Brighton in 1875, while his father and his brother John both became High Sheriff of Sussex. John Roland Abbey had a passion for collecting books, particularly those with beautiful bindings or fine illustrations. He donated some items to Hove Library, while the rest of his collection sold at Sotheby’s in the 1960s for an astonishing £378, 313. The Abbey family made their money through their brewery business, which in the 1930s acquired the familiar name of the Kemp Town Brewery.

Noel was the second son of the family, and was educated at Windlesham House, Brighton, and then at Eton, where he won football colours. His parents, William and Florence Abbey, lived at 71 The Drive, which apparently was called Uckfield House. Young Noel served with the 4th Battalion, Grenadier Guards and was only aged 20 when he ‘fell in the service of his country’ on 12 April 1918. ‘In this very critical action the Guards held up the German advance for three days suffering severe losses’. These words are from the wall plaque in All Saints Church, Hove; there is another memorial in St Andrew’s Church, Nuthurst. In the north aisle of Chichester Cathedral there is a memorial tablet besides the gates of a chapel that reads, ‘This ancient chapel of St Thomas and St Edmund of Canterbury was restored in memory of Noel Roland Abbey’.
copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums
Hove's War Memorial in Grand Avenue.

Lieutenant Colonel Spencer Acklom DSO & Bar, MC

The Acklom family had been associated with Hove for many years; Spencer’s parents, Colonel and Mrs Acklom, lived at 13 Tisbury Road, and his grandparents had also lived at Hove. Spencer was born in 1885, and embarked upon his military career in 1901 when he joined the 72nd Battalion, Highland Light Infantry (Glasgow Highlanders). It was stated that he was an expert with a revolver, as well as being a boxer of note. In 1906, while he was stationed in India, he won the light-weight championship of All-India at the Lucknow Assault-at-Arms. When the First World War broke out, Acklom was appointed adjutant to the 9th Battalion, Highland Light Infantry, and went to France in November 1914. In July 1916 he was given command of the 22nd Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers; in the same year he was awarded the Military Cross at Richebourg, and the Distinguished Service Order at La Boiselle. He was Mentioned in Despatches no less than four times. On 21 March 1918, aged 35, he was killed in action at Mons.

Leading Signalman Ernest George Aldous RN

He worked as a shop porter before joining the Royal Navy as a boy in 1904. He was sent to the training ship HMS St Vincent, and afterwards he served from 1904 to 1905 aboard HMS Terrible on a tour to India. He also saw service at the Battle of Heligoland and the Battle of Falklands in December 1914. His final battle was at the Battle of Jutland 31 May/1 June 1916 where he was killed in action aboard HMS Invincible. His parents lived at 114 Montgomery Street.

HMS Invincible was Admiral Hood’s flagship of the 3rd Cruiser Squadron. She had eight 12-in guns and was a massive ship of 17, 250 tons. Unfortunately, during heavy fire, one shot found its way down ‘Q’ turret, causing the magazine to explode, and the ship sank. Not only that, but the blast was fierce enough to cause the ship to split into three parts. Admiral Hood and some 1,025 officers and men were killed with just six survivors. Other local men lost aboard Invincible were Carpenter Henry Marshall Arthur Patching, Chief Engine-Room Artificer Robert Darney Ramsay (both from Hove) and Chief Stoker Arthur Corney (from Portslade).

The Battle of Jutland was a complicated one with heroism and mistakes on both sides. The British fleet was smaller with 21 ships while the Germans had thirty-seven. The British death toll was 6,097 while only 2,551 German men died. Germany hailed it as a great victory and celebrated, while Britain mourned her dead and flew flags at half-mast. However, if the Battle of Jutland had indeed been such an overwhelming victory, it would have been more than likely that Germany might win the war too.

Lieutenant Eric Bernard Andrews RAF

He was born in 1897 at Hove. He was the younger brother of Private William Frederick Andrews, mentioned below. Like his brother young Eric attended Hove High School in Clarendon Villas, and he was still at school when war broke out. He at once joined Brighton Field Artillery, Territorial Force. In October 1916 he obtained his commission and was sent to France in January 1917, and thence to Italy after the Austro-German offensive in that country. He returned home to England, and in February 1918 he joined the Air Service. After training, he was sent to serve on the Western Front. On 16 September 1918, aged 20, his plane flew beyond German lines and did not return. He was posted as missing, but it was hoped he might have been taken prisoner. A member of his squadron wrote to his parents:

He was with a very good pilot and he himself being a particularly good observer, I can scarcely imagine that they would come to grief in ordinary combat with the enemy.’ Meanwhile, his unfortunate parents, Mr W. R. and Mrs E. E. Andrews, who lived at 2 Osmond Gardens, and had already lost one son, remained on tenterhooks until Eric’s death was reported in December 1918. His commander wrote, ‘He was one of our very best observers and a great loss to the squadron.’ His plane was shot down near Valenciennes.

copyright © J.Middleton
Hove High School's First World War Memorial

Private William Frederick Andrews

He was the elder brother of Lieutenant Eric Bernard Andrews, mentioned above. William was educated at Hove High School in Clarendon Villas. In December 1915 he joined the 2ndBattalion, Royal Sussex Regiment, and was later attached to the Indian Army and sent to India. It was while he was on active service in Waziristan, on the north-west frontier of India that he was taken ill, and he died, aged 21, on 7 August 1917. He was buried in Peshawar Cemetery. Both brothers are remembered in the war memorial to Old Boys in the doorway of the house at 49 Clarendon Villas.

Private William Percy Andrews
copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums
First World War Poster

In civilian life, Andrews lived in a comfortable flat because he was head porter at Gwydyr Mansions, Hove, where a whole raft of important people lived – his flat being numbered 10a. On 3 June 1916 he joined the 4th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment, but his military career only lasted six months. He was badly injured on 13 November 1916 at Beaumont-Hamel during the Battle of the Somme, and he never recovered properly, dying at Rouen on 28 December 1916.

Private David Irvin Ansell

He was born in 1891 at Hove, and educated at the Portland Road Schools. In civilian life he worked as a box-maker. In April 1916 he joined the 1st Battalion, Suffolk Regiment, and on 6 October 1918 he died of malaria, aged 27, at Salonika.

Trooper John William David Ansell

He was born in 1879 at Woolwich, but his family soon moved to Hove where John was educated at the Ellen Road Schools. He then became a brick-maker for a while before deciding to become a professional soldier, and joining the 11th Hussars in 1896. He held the South African Medal and the Mons Star. He saw some action in the First World War and was wounded but it was the influenza that killed him at home, aged 39, on 6 November 1918, where he lived with his wife at 10 Alpine Road; his mother lived at 69 Tamworth Road.

Gunner Arthur Atkinson RNVR

Nothing much is known of this alert Hove sailor who was singled out for a mention in the List of Distinctions in the book Hove and the Great War. He was serving aboard HMS Lion, Admiral Beatty’s flagship at the Battle of Jutland in 1916, and he must have been on watch when he suddenly spotted a German submarine, which was subsequently sunk. For this feat, he was awarded the grand sum of £5. Presumably, he survived the war – his name not appearing on the Roll of Honour.

Lance Corporal Charles Avis

He served with the Royal Engineers during the war, and he was the only one of the four Avis brothers to survive. At the time of the outbreak of war Mr and Mrs Thomas Avis were living at 37 Mortimer Road, Hove. But it seemed the family moved around Sussex, probably in the quest for work. For example, their sons were born in different villages – George was born in Rodmell, and Harry was born in Piddinghoe.
copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums
First World War Poster

Signaller George Avis

George was born at Rodmell in 1883. When he grew up he, and his brother Harry, two of the four Avis brothers, worked as labourers at Hove before joining up. George served in the 5th Battalion, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry and was killed during the Battle of the Somme on 16 September 1916. His name is inscribed on The Thiepval Memorial

1st Class Stoker Harry Avis

Harry, one of the four Avis brothers, was born at Piddinghoe in 1883. Harry was a stoker in the Royal Naval Reserve, and died on 1 November 1914 aboard HMS Good Hope when she was lost with all hands off the coast of Chile in a disastrous battle with elite vessels of the German East Indies Squadron.

Fellow local men also lost in HMS Good Hope were Able Seaman Frederick John Gates and Lieutenant Gordon Evelyn Eliott Gray, both from Hove, plus Lieutenant Edward John French from Portslade. (For details of the battle, please see Portslade and the First World War).

Lance Corporal William Avis

William, one of the four Avis brothers, lived in the family home at 37 Mortimer Road. Before joining up, he worked as a billiard marker at the busy Cliftonville Hotel, Goldstone Villas. He served in the 11th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment, and was killed in action, aged 28, on 3 September 1916 at Becourt, during the Battle of the Somme.
copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums
First World War Poster
 Private Albert John Back

He was born at Hove, and educated at the Ellen Street Schools. He lived at 135 Clarendon Road, and earned a living as a van-man. In September 1914 he enlisted in the 2nd Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment. He took part in the Battle of the Somme. His mother received a letter from G. Rolfe of A Company, 7th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment, dated 23 July 1916, that stated:

In answer to your letter I am sorry to have to tell you that your son is wounded and missing. He was hit while attacking a German trench on the 7 July. Since then he has not been seen or heard of so I am afraid you must be prepared for the worst. I have made enquiries of those left in his platoon but can get no definite news except that he was seen to be wounded. His captain was killed at the same time.’

There was also a letter from J. Glover of C. Company 6th Battalion, The Buffs, dated 3 August 1916, with some more information:

My friend Drummer Skinner and I found him this morning and we buried him in a respectable manner under the circumstances. I herewith enclose the remains of his things, the others of which my friend sent on to his young lady.’

But it seems that in the confusion of war Private Back’s grave was never located, and his name is inscribed on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing. The records state that he died at Ovillers on 7 July 1916.

2nd Lieutenant Frederick Athelstan Fanshawe Baines

copyright © J.Middleton
The memorial tablet is in memory of 
2nd Lieutenant Frederick Athelstan Fanshawe Baines.

He was born 2 February 1896, and baptised on 4 March of the same year at All Saints Church, Hove. His parents lived at 29 First Avenue, Hove. His father, Athelstan Arthur Baines, was a member of legal firm Fitzhugh, Woolley, Baines, and Woolley of 3 Pavilion Buildings, Brighton, and his mother, Kathryn Mary, was the eldest daughter of Revd Frederick Fanshawe. A relative was Lieutenant Colonel Cuthbert Athelstan Baines of 41 Medina Villas, Hove.

Frederick was educated at Winchester Collage, and joined the 4th Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps. His military career was heartbreakingly brief – he joined his battalion on Sunday and died on Tuesday. As his memorial tablet at All Saints Church states ‘he was killed in action on the night of May 24th / 25th in an attack on the German trenches at Bellewaards Wood near Ypres.’ It was the 2nd Battle of Ypres in 1915, and he was 19 years old. Beneath these details, is the familiar quotation Dulce et Decorum est pro Patria mori (it is sweet and glorious to die for one’s country). However, this quotation from Horace has been somewhat tarnished by becoming the title of a bitter poem by Wilfrid Owen.

His parents received many letters of condolence, and the following is quoted from the letter sent by Captain Grattan-Bellew:

I only knew your son for a week but even so had time to get very fond of him … We travelled up together to the Front, having a very cheery time. In fact while we were waiting on the road to Ypres for orders to advance we had a game of Bridge together with Mr Ballance. We all knew that night what was before us and I don’t think any of us expected to come out of it … On Monday morning we were called out to attack some trenches the Germans had from us that morning by the use of gas. We came under fire about midnight. I was in command of the first line and your son was with the third line … My line was badly cut up and scattered in front of the German trenches and apparently your son’s line met the same fate; and it was then he was killed. Last time I saw him he was in great spirits and as cool as the oldest hand there. A few of my Company were in his line and spoke most highly of his behaviour under one of the hottest fires seen in the war. He died about the best possible death for an officer, without a thought for himself, only for his men.’

His old headmaster from Winchester College wrote:

This is the saddest blow I have felt so far; he was such a wholesome, honourable and attractive fellow, truly a white soul, if ever there was one. Everyone was admiring him when he stayed here only thirteen days ago.’

It seems his body was never discovered, but his name is recorded at the Menin Gate, Ypres.

Private Reginald Banks

He lived at 29 Waterloo Street, Hove, with his wife and two young children, and was an assistant master at the Park Street Schools, Brighton. In October 1915 he enlisted in the Royal Army Medical Corps and was present at the Battle of the Somme. He died of wounds on 1 November 1916 near Carnoy.

Private Robert Frank Banks
copyright © H. Shipley

His father Thomas Banks married Annie Woolgar at St Andrew’s Old Church, Hove, in 1882. Shortly after their marriage, the couple moved to Hampstead where they had six children. Unhappily, one child Margaret Ethel died in 1890, the same year in which she was born. The last of the Hampstead-born children was Robert Frank, known as Bob. By 1895 the Banks had moved back to Brighton, and three more children were born there.

Thomas Banks was a florist by trade, and in 1913 he purchased the lease of 40 Church Road, Hove. The family lived ‘over the shop’ and Thomas Banks ran a successful business providing ‘bouquets, wreathes and crosses’.

Bob enlisted in the 9th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment on 12 September 1914. His demise at Ypres in February 1916 was very sad. The official statement was that he died from wounds on 20 February 1916. However, a friend in the same company took the trouble to visit the family at 40 Church Road, and tell them what really happened. It is even more of a tragedy in that Bob volunteered for a dangerous operation at a crucial moment, the object being to try and secure an advanced trench. During this action Bob was wounded in the head. It did not kill him outright, but it completely disorientated him so that he did not know where he was. In fact, he kept on stumbling towards enemy lines, while his two frantic friends shouted at him to turn around. Bob did not take any notice, and the fighting became so fierce that the rest of the men were obliged to retreat. When they did manage to find Bob, he was still alive but suffering badly from frostbite as well as the head wound. He was carried from the battlefield, and died either in the casualty clearing station, or the field hospital. The date of death is also not clear. The Royal Sussex Regimental War Diary states there was heavy shelling of trenches on the 13 and 14, and another action on the 19; but it is only the officers who fell who are named, while the ‘other ranks’ were not. Bob’s mother, Annie Banks, was awarded a War Pension on 5 May 1928, but sadly died just over a year later in June 1929.

Bob’s brother, Charles Albert Banks, was also in the Army, but he survived the war, although he did not return home until 1919. He served with the Royal Artillery as a driver, and in 1917 he was part of the Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force, in modern-day Iraq. (Information kindly supplied by H. Shipley).

Private Albert Henry Barber

He was born at Hove in 1889, and educated at the Ellen Road Schools. He worked as a barman, and lived with his wife at 4 Mortimer Road. He served with the 11th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment.

Bombardier William Barker

He was born at St Andrews, and became a professional soldier, having joined the colours on 24 November 1908; he served with the 53rd Battery, Royal Field Artillery. For a while he was stationed at Preston Barracks, before coming to Hove in 1914 where he and his wife Alice lived at 33 Blatchington Road. Barker served in France from 17 August 1914, seeing action at Mons and Ypres, and he was wounded. But he was fit enough to be sent to the Dardanelles to take part in the Gallipoli Campaign of 1915. It was not a bullet that felled him there, but a dose of enteric fever plus dysentery. He was invalided home to recuperate, but once he had recovered, it was back into the fray. He was in France again from January 1916 to August 1917 and it was during the 3rd Battle of Ypres that he became ill once again – this time it was pleurisy. He was sent back to England, and was treated at Trent Bridge Military Hospital, Nottingham, for six months before he died, aged 27 on 25 February 1918.
copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums
First World War Poster

Captain Jack Henry Woolf Barnato

He was born on 7 June 1894, and his first name was actually Isaac but he preferred to be called Jack. It seems that name-changing ran in the family because his father, the famous Barney Barnato, had the name Barnett Isaacs on his birth certificate. Barney Barnato was born in Petticoat Lane, London, and he and his brother Henry received their education at the Jews’ Free School in Bell Lane, leaving there at the age of fourteen. The fortunes of the Barnato brothers was a true case of rags to riches because whereas their father scraped a living as a second-hand clothes dealer, his sons headed for South Africa, to join the rush for diamonds. They worked very hard, and eventually built up a massive diamond-dealing business in Kimberley. Indeed, the Barnato Company was such a success it even gave Cecil Rhodes a pause for thought, fearing it might threaten his imperial ambitions. Instead in 1888, Cecil Rhodes bought out the company for a sum in the region of £5,000,000.

Unlike his predecessors, Jack Barnato received a privileged education, starting off at Windledham School, Brighton, before going on to Charterhouse, and finishing with Trinity Hall, Cambridge. When war broke out, he was so keen to enlist that he spent a year serving in the ranks as a private, in the Public Schools Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, before joining the Royal Naval Air Service in 1915. He became a pioneer too because he flew in one of the earliest episodes of waging war from the air. In April 1916 he was one the first four aircraft to bomb Constantinople and Adrianople for which feat he was Mentioned in Despatches.

On 13 October 1917 Jack married Dorothy, the only child of Mr and Mrs Joe Lewis of South Africa. The bride was very young, and the marriage heartbreakingly brief. A year later the gallant captain caught influenza, which within a few days developed into septic pneumonia, and he died on 20 October 1918 at Duke Street Mansions, Grosvenor Square, London. The on-line Roll of Honour states his death took place on 25 October 1918. His widow was aged just eighteen. Jack was buried at Willesden Jewish Cemetery. His mother, the widow of Barney Barnato, lived at 4 Adelaide mansions, Hove, and Jack often came to stay with her although he had his own house at Colwyn Bay, Wales. Captain Barnato left £661,000 – a modest amount when compared to the one-time diamond fortune.

Jack’s younger brother, Woolf Barnato served with the British Forces in Palestine.

Private Percy Mackenzie Bell

He was born at Brighton in 1888. He was a widower and he lived at Hove, while his mother lived at 2 Wilbury Crescent; His sister, Miss Bell, was a matron at the Lady Chichester Hospital at 70 Brunswick Place – this was before its removal to New Church Road. Bell enlisted in August 1914, and joined the 7th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment. He was killed at the Battle of the Somme on 7 July 1916.

Rifleman Douglas Bradford Bennett

He was born at Brighton in 1888. He earned his living as a grocer, and lived at 27 Davigdor Road, Road. On 17 June 1915 he enlisted in the 16th Battalion, London Queen’s Westminster Rifles. He served a very short time in the Army because on 1 July he was posted as missing. It was presumed that he was killed at Gommecourt, and the date of death was later given as 1 July 1916; he was aged 27.

Ordinary Seaman Sydney Benton RN
copyright © Hove Library
Ordinary Seaman Sydney Benton RN

He was privately educated at Hove High School in Clarendon Villas, Hove. The First World War found him aboard HMS Newmarket bound for the Dardanelles. The vessel was pressed into wartime service as an auxiliary minesweeper, having been a civilian ship built in 1907 to carry cargo or passengers. On 17 July 1917 in the Aegean Sea south of Nikaria Island, German submarine UC-38 torpedoed Newmarket and 70 lives were lost, including Benton. Meanwhile, his father, Arthur Benton of 208 New Church Road, was desperate for news of what might have happened to his son, and approached the Admiralty for information, receiving the following reply dated 20 August 1917.

I have to state for your information that HMS Newmarket sailed from Port Laki, in the Aegean Sea, on the 16th ultimo, to go to the assistance of a vessel attacked by an enemy submarine. Nothing further has been heard of the ship, and despite a most exhaustive search of the whole neighbourhood, no trace has been found of her or her crew. In these circumstances, it is deeply regretted that all on board must, it is feared, now be definitely regarded as having lost their lives.’

Private Alan Bernard

He was privately educated at Hove High School in Clarendon Villas, and later became a surveyor’s pupil, living at 61 Carlisle Road. In October 1916 he joined the Royal Sussex Regiment. He died on 20 January 1917 at Newhaven. Perhaps it was illness, or a tragic training accident, but his name is not on the war memorial.
copyright © Hove Library
Major Arthur Louis Bickford

Major Arthur Louis Bickford

He was born in 1870 and became a professional soldier who served in India, joining the 5th Punjabi Rifles (Frontier Force), Indian Army on 13 August 1892. Hove and the Great War states he was in the Khyber Rifles. At any rate, he was entitled to wear a wonderful piece of headgear, which together with his bristling moustache created a very military appearance.

During the First World the 5th Punjabi Rifles received orders to travel to the Middle East, where they served with the 28th Indian Infantry Brigade. In early 1916 at Mesopotamia (Iraq) they endeavoured to relieve the 6th (Poona) Division who were besieged at Kut-al-Amara without success. There was heavy fighting and many casualties including Major Bickford who was wounded. The on-line Roll of Honour records his date of death as 9 March, whereas the date on his photograph at Hove Library puts it as 8 March and he died of his wounds. (See also The Siege of Kut).

Private Bernard John Blaber

In civilian life Hove-born Blaber worked as a carter for a local farm, and he lived at 102 Wordsworth Street with his parents Stephen and Martha Blann. The young man enlisted in February 1916, and joined the 11th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment. He was killed, aged 20, in action on 19 October 1917 during the 3rd Battle of Ypres.

4th Class Engine-Room Artificer George Henry Blackburn RN

He was educated at Greenwich School. Unfortunately, we know little about his background because it was his aunt of 21 Stoneham Road who filled in his service card for Hove Library with the barest of details. Apparently, his father used to live at Hove but moved to Penge. All we know is that he was killed in action aboard HMS Queen Mary at the Battle of Jutland in 1916.

HMS Queen Mary was a modern battle cruiser, and was in fact the last to be launched before hostilities started. At Jutland she put up a tremendous fight but was targeted by German ships Seydlitz and Derfflinger. The Queen Mary was hit amidships and exploded, sending debris high into the air before raining down on two adjacent British ships. The Queen Mary’s death toll was 1,200 officers and men – the only survivors being one officer and one man. Fellow local men lost from the Queen Mary were Acting Leading Stoker Richard Harry How, Leading Stoker Ernest Lightfoot (both from Hove) and 1st Class Stoker Albert Bertie Colbourne (from Portslade).

Gunner David Henry Blanch
copyright © Hove Library
Private Albert Ernest Blann

He was born in 1899 at Hove, and educated at the George Street Schools, later known as St Andrew’s Church of England School. In civilian life he was a market gardener and lived at 96 Montgomery Street. In September 1915 he enlisted in the Royal Garrison Artillery, and he was a prisoner of war in France when he died on 29 August 1918.

Private Albert Ernest Blann

He was born at Worthing, son of Mr and Mrs William Blann, but by 1914 he was living at 23 Lansdowne Street, Hove, and earning his living as a grocer. On 30 December 1914 he enlisted, and joined the 13th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment. He was aged 27 when he was killed in action on 1 August 1917 at St Julien during the 3rd Battle of Ypres. His body was not found, and his name was inscribed on the Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing.

Major Henry Griffith Boone DSO

He was born in India in 1880, the son of Colonel F. B. Boone, Madras Staff Corps, and Mrs Boone of 7 Langdale Road. Henry was educated at Wellington, and then went on to the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. On 6 January 1900 he obtained his commission, and was sent first to Gibraltar, and then on to India where he joined a mountain battalion. While he was serving in India, he became a first-class polo player and won many trophies. In 1904 hr became part of the Tibet Expedition, and received the Tibet Medal and clasp.

copyright © Brighton Library
Brighton Graphic 8 July 1915
On his return to England, he exchanged into the Royal Field Artillery, and in 1914 became acting adjutant. In August 1914 he was sent to France where he saw plenty of action, including the Battle of Mons, and the Retreat from Mons. On 15 September he was wounded at the Battle of Aisne, and was invalided home to recuperate. It must have been a serious injury because he was not deemed fit to return to the Front until one year later. He was twice Mentioned in Despatches and was awarded the DSO for ‘distinguished service and personal bravery under fire’. He was mortally wounded at Ypres on 5 September 1917 ‘when regardless of everything but his duty, he went to look after the safety and welfare of his men during heavy shelling.’ He died, aged 36, the next day at Proven in Belgium. His wife was recorded as Margaret Boone of Chiselhurst.

Lance Corporal John Boxall

He was born at Hove in 1892, son of Mr and Mrs M. A. Boxall, and educated at the Portland Road Schools. He later lived at 10 Malvern Street, and worked as a shop assistant, before joining the colours in September 1914. He served as Company Writer in the 6th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment, and he had previously been in the 8th Battalion of the same regiment. He was killed by a bomb dropped from an enemy aircraft on 14 October 1917 during the 3rd Battle of Ypres. The captain wrote to his mother:

He was unique; no detail was too small for his thorough way; no duty too irksome; and no task too dangerous. You have lost a dear and noble son, beloved of all his comrades, one of the original battalion stock.’

Private Guy Venour Brewer

He was born in London in 1890. Later on, he lived at 17 Pembroke Avenue, Hove. He endeavoured to do the patriotic thing and join the Army. But first of all he had to pass his final examination on the road to becoming a chartered accountant. With that under his belt, he tried to enlist in the Artists’ Rifles and Inns of Court Training Corps, but was rejected on medical grounds. However, as the war progressed, and with so many casualties, the authorities became less strict about medical concerns.

copyright © Brighton Library
John Leslie Bright
Brighton Season 1915-16
 In January 1916 Brewer managed to join the 7th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, and was then attached to the 63rd Battalion, Royal Naval Division. He died from wounds received at Beaumont-Hamel on 15 November 1916 during the Battle of the Somme. Brewer must have been involved in some fierce fighting because his body was not recovered, and he has no known grave; his name is inscribed in the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing.

2nd Lieutenant John Leslie Bright

His parents were John and Mary Bright who lived at 8 Bigwood Avenue, their house being called Pembridge. John Leslie was a married man and his wife was Dorothea Margaret Bright, but it is interesting to note that she lived in Uckfield.

John Leslie joined the 7th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment, and went to France where he was soon commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant. He came home for a short spell of leave and upon returning to France he joined the 2nd Battalion of the same regiment. He took part in the great advance near Vermelles, and was killed in action on 25 September 1915.
copyright © Brighton Library
Kenneth Bright
Brighton Season 1915-16

2nd Lieutenant Kenneth Bright

By coincidence, on the very same day and in the same campaign as his brother was killed, 2nd Lieutenant Kenneth Coldwell Bright of the 7th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment, was badly wounded in the head, and invalided home. 

When he recovered, also like his brother, he was transferred to another battalion of the same regiment – at first it was the 3rd Battalion, and then it was the 9th Battalion.
On 18 August 1916 he was killed in action, aged 23, at Guillemont. His home address was 8 Bigwood Avenue, and he had formerly been an assistant in an ironmongery company. However, having joined up, he did so well that he was promoted to sergeant in less than two months.

Private Arthur Noel Brooks

His parents were William and Mary Brooks; two addresses are recorded – 117 St Leonard’s Avenue, and a house named Highbury in Old Shoreham Road, Hove. Their five sons all saw service with the Army. By 1918 one son was a prisoner-of-war in Germany, and three others were on active service in France. The youngest son, Private Arthur Noel Brooks of the 6th Battalion, Royal West Surrey Regiment, was killed in action on 12 September 1916 aged 18. He had previously worked for the Brighton and Hove Society and they published the following obituary:

He was an apprentice in the Composing Department of the offices of this paper. He was a steady, persevering lad, and would have made a splendid workman, but on reaching the age of eighteen he was called to the colours. Only so recently as August 4 he sent a most cheerful letter to his late employers and a letter was sent in return wishing him “all luck” but this letter apparently did not reach him, as the date on the letter was the actual day on which he made “the great sacrifice”, so that one more young life has been laid down in order that in future England shall be a better land and free of the terrible menace of German aggression that has been our nightmare for years.’

Sergeant Frank Bernard Brown RFC

He was born in 1898 at Hove, and educated at the George Street Schools, later known as St Andrew’s Church of England School. His parents, Frederick Edward and Alice Adeline Brown, lived at 177 Westbourne Street. When Frank left school, he earned his living as a brass furnisher. He enlisted in August 1914; he joined the Royal Flying Corps, and was sent to Number 6 Training Depot Station in Wiltshire to learn the art of flying in a biplane designed by Geoffrey de Havilland known as a DH6. Unfortunately, he was killed, aged 19, on 3 August 1914 in his DH6 at Yatesbury by ‘running into a hill in a mist’.

Private George Burchell

He was born on 22 November 1893 at Hove, and his parents lived at 45 Wordsworth Street. In civilian life George continued to live at home while working as a butcher. On 3 September 1914 he enlisted in the 7th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment. He died at home, aged 22, on 10 November 1916 from wounds received in France, and was buried in Hove Cemetery. He was the brother of Sergeant Burchell.
copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums
First World War Poster

Sergeant Henry William Burchell

Like his brother, William also joined the Royal Sussex Regiment. In October 1915 while on active service in France, he suffered a bad head injury that apparently blew off part of his skull, and blinded him in one eye. Not surprisingly he was discharged from the Army as medically unfit, to be left suffering from severe headaches and epilepsy. He was given a pension of eighteen shillings and nine pence a week to live on, but for some inexplicable reason, someone in authority decided this amount was too generous, and his pension was slashed to twelve shillings and sixpence. He could not exist on such a pittance, and was obliged to seek work in transport at Newhaven. It is sad to record that Henry died in his sleep of an epileptic fit. It is also sad to note that his name does not appear on any Roll of Honour although his war injuries were ultimately responsible for his death. It was definitely not a ‘good’ war for the Burchells – there were two other brothers who served in the war, as well as their father, who was also injured.

Private Alfred William Percy Burden

He was born in 1895 at Hove, and educated at the George Street Schools, later St Andrew’s Church of England School. After school, he worked as an assistant in some general stores. In August 1914 he enlisted in the 7th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment; he was killed in action at Ovillers on 7 July 1916 during the 3rd Battle of the Somme

Horace Burden MM

He was not a Hove resident, but taught at the Connaught Road Schools, Hove. Horace was a member of the Sussex Yeomanry, as were two other masters at the same school – Walter Heather and H. J. Meaton; there were two other masters from Connaucht Road Schools who also joined the colours. Horace Burden received his Military Medal at Buckingham Palace.

2nd Lieutenant Leonard Righton Burrows

His father, Right Reverend Leonard Hedley Burrows, was Bishop of Lewes and vicar of Hove from 1909 to 1914. He was a handsome man with a large female following who, no doubt, snapped up the many postcards produced featuring him at various local events. He then became the first Bishop of Sheffield, but he and his wife maintained some ties with Hove.

Their son Leonard was educated at Charterhouse, and afterwards he went to Oriel College, Oxford, where he obtained a 1st class degree. In November 1912 he set off for Allahabad with Revd W. E. F. Holland to serve in the Educational Missions. When he heard about the outbreak of war, he felt he must return home to volunteer. He arrived back in November 1914, and in January 1915 he enlisted in the 9th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers. He had become a 2nd Lieutenant by the time he was killed, aged 26, in action on 2 October 1915. Mr Lister offered to add his name to Hove’s Roll of Honour, and his parents were pleased. Louisa Burrows wrote, ‘Leonard and I would love him mentioned … Hove Vicarage was his last home on earth.’ Another son became a priest – he was Revd Hedley Burrows.
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First World War Poster

Company Sergeant Major Bernard Norris Butcher MC DCM

He was born on 23 June 1892 in Livingstone Road, Hove, and educated at the Ellen Street Schools. His parents, Alfred and Ellen Butcher, later lived at 161 Westbourne Street, Hove. Young Butcher became a professional soldier, joining the Royal Sussex Regiment in 1907 as a Private. By the time war broke out he was a seasoned soldier. He was also a fortunate man because he was part of the original Expeditionary Force, and served continuously from August 1914 to August 1916, and fought wherever the Royal Sussex Regiment was engaged in battle.

He became an exemplary soldier, highly thought of by his officers who noted that his ‘presence and example are tremendous assets in his Company and in his Battalion’. On 29 January 1915 Butcher fought at Cuinchy; the British liked to re-name sites with hard-to-pronounce names, with Ypres being known colloquially as ‘Wipers’. The fierce fight at Cuinchy was known as the Battle of the Brick-stacks or the Battle of The Keep. The task of Butcher and the other soldiers was to repel a German attack, and he managed to inspire his fellow combatants, keeping them up-beat, even when all the officers were felled or wounded. He received the Distinguished Combat Medal for his conduct, which was awarded to him at Newhaven.

Butcher earned a Military Cross during an action that took place in the summer of 1916. It was yet another occasion when there was high rate of casualties amongst the officers. Lieutenant-Colonel E. W. B. Green, Commanding 2nd Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment, recommended Butcher for the MC writing, ‘for distinguished conduct on many occasions, notably on 9th May and 2nd June, on the latter date when a German mine exploded under the trenches occupied by his Company … Absolutely fearless himself, he inspired confidence wherever he is. Has done invaluable work in charge of bombers and as an instructor of bombers.’ Butcher was awarded his Military Cross at Buckingham Palace. People might not realise the significance of this, but it was customary practice for a Military Cross to be regarded as the sole preserve of officers, while non-commissioned officers and other ranks would receive a Military Medal. An interesting article in the Sussex Daily News had this to say:

The award of a Military Cross to no. 8881 Company-Sergeant Major Bernard Norris Butcher, Royal Sussex Regiment, deserves more than a parting notice. The honour thus conferred … and through him upon his regiment, is a very exceptional one, this being the first instance of a Military Cross being conferred upon a warrant officer of the Royal Sussex Regiment. The announcement has been received with the greatest pleasure by all ranks, and by them is recognized as a thoroughly well deserved reward for conspicuous and consistent gallantry throughout the campaign … Butcher went out as a corporal with the original Expeditionary Force, and since August 14 has been in the thick of things. He received the Distinguished Conduct Medal early in the campaign for meritorious service. It would be easy to enlarge on upon the many occasions upon which he has distinguished himself. By his never-failing example of pluck and cheerfulness and his zeal at all times doing all he could to uphold the high ideals of his battalion, Butcher has done work throughout the campaign which can only be fully appreciated by those who have had the privilege of serving with him. May his good luck continue.’

Butcher returned home safely to Sussex where in 1919 he married a Miss Scutt in September 1919. He continued to serve with the Royal Sussex Regiment, and was posted to the garrison at Jamaica, where he became ill – the illness was not specified, but it was bad enough for him to be sent back to England and he was treated at the Military Hospital, Plymouth, where he died in 1921. He was buried in Hove Cemetery.
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1st Class Torpedo-man Albert Victor Butland RN

His parents were Mr and Mrs Ralph Herbert; Albert was born at Hove in 1893 and educated at the George Street Schools, later St Andrew’s Church of England School. Two addresses are recorded – 33 Belfast Street, and 46 Belfast Street. Albert joined the Royal Navy as a boy on 6 February 1911 and trained aboard HMS Ganges II. He was killed on 27 May 1915 at the age of 21 while serving aboard the mine-layer HMS Princess Irene. Tragically, his death was not the result of battle, but of a dreadful accident, which was later blamed on defective mine charges. At the time, the Princess Irene was moored on the River Medway in Sheerness Harbour, and had some 500 mines on board. The explosion was so fierce that debris and body parts rained down on nearby villages. The number of crew members killed came to 255. But the severity of the explosion meant that there were other casualties too – 160 other ratings plus workers at the dockyard.

Lieutenant Frank Wilfrid Butt RAF

He was the son of Revd Arthur Butt, rector of Rodmorton, Gloucestershire, and his wife Dora. Frank was educated at Brighton College, and joined the 102nd Squadron (night-bombers); he was only aged 19 when his plane went down on 26 May 1918.

1st Class Engineer John Wilfrid Butterworth RN

He was part of the Grand Fleet moored at Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands aboard HMS Vanguard, when the vessel suddenly blew up on the 9 July 1917, and he was killed. She was one of the largest vessels in the British Navy, and a dreadful toll of 843 lives were lost in the disaster. There were just three survivors, and one of them succumbed shortly afterwards. Only seventeen bodies were recovered for burial ashore, and thus the sunken ship was declared a war grave.

Naturally, at first it was suspected that a German U-boat had managed to penetrate the defences of Scapa Flow, but this turned out not to be the case because the explosion was an accident. There was an official inquiry into all the possible causes, including the notion that the cordite on board was past its sell-by date, and the sad fact that the explosion was not hampered by the water-tight doors being shut – the vessel being in port, these doors were wide open.

Bombardier Hubert Mallet Caddy

His parents were William and Catherine Caddy of 41 Waterloo Street. W. H. Caddy was a respected furniture-maker and wood-carver. Among his known works were the reading desk carved out of solid oak for Brighton, Hove and Sussex Grammar School, and the trestle tables and chairs for Hove College – he also carved their war memorial. Caddy passed on his skills by teaching at Hove Technical Institute. Young Hubert helped out in the family business too. He was a married man with a baby boy when he joined the Army on 20 May 1916, and became a gunner with the Royal Field Artillery. He was killed during the 3rd Battle of Ypres on 16 November 1917 when a shell burst nearby.

2nd Lieutenant Alan Victor Cain
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2nd Lieutenant Alan Victor Cain

He was born on 12 January 1892. At the outbreak of war, he enlisted in the Hampshire Carabiniers, and served with them until February 1915 when he received his commission. He was attached to the Hampshire Regiment and served with the 29th Division during the Gallipoli Campaign, where he also acted as an observer in the Royal Naval Air Service. While serving in the trenches he became severely incapacitated with frostbite and rheumatism, and was invalided back to the military hospital in Malta, and afterwards to England.

When he had recovered, Cain was sent to the Western Front, and from July 1916 served with the 2nd Battalion, Hampshire Regiment. He had a premonition that he would die on the battlefield, and the day before he went into battle he attended a service of Holy Communion. He wrote to his family, ‘I am only (doing) what thousands of other fellows are doing and my only anxiety is that I may not fail at the critical moment as so many other lives depend on my steadiness.’ He was aged 24 when he was killed in action on 18 October 1916 at the Battle of the Somme, and, mercifully, it was a swift death – he was shot through the heart.
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William Cheslyn Callow

Private Albert Edward Callow

He was born in 1895 at Hove. In civilian life, he and his older brother William worked as printers at 20 Church Road, on the corner of Second Avenue, Hove. His parents lived at 41 Cambridge Road. He enlisted in the 9th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment, and was killed in action on 25 September 1915 at Loos.

Private William Cheslyn Callow

He was born at Hove in 1893. He and his younger brother Albert worked as printers at 20 Church Road, on the corner of Second Avenue, Hove. His parents lived at 41 Cambridge Road. William enlisted in the Royal Fusiliers, and was serving in the 24th Battalion when he was killed in action on 13 November 1916 during the Battle of the Somme.

Able Seaman Joseph Card

He lived at 51 Coleridge Street, and joined the Royal Navy on 18 August 1914. He served in Nelson Battalion of 63rd Royal Naval Division, and was killed at Gallipoli on 13 July 1915. His name also appears on the War Memorial at Cuckfield.

Captain William Thomas Carter

He was born in Kent in 1892, but the family later moved to Sussex where young William was educated at Hove High School in Clarendon Villas, Hove, and at Shoreham Grammar School. In civilian life he worked as a clerk in the Anglo South American Bank in London, but when war broke out he lost no time joining up, and enlisted in August 1914, joining the 7th Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders. He was killed on the 12 October during the Battle of the Somme, leading his company at Eaucourt L’Abbaye. Presumably, he must have fallen in the thick of battle because his body was never recovered; his name is inscribed on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing.

His parents lived in Silverdale Road, and Rose Carter wrote, ‘My son was recommended by his colonel and the brigadier general for a permanent commission in the regular army and this was granted on 2 December (two months after his death). His colonel reported that he was a first class company leader and very much liked.’

Flight Lieutenant Charles Hamilton Murray Chapman RNAS

He was born in 1892 at Chiselhurst, Kent; he was educated at Monmouth Grammar School, and Manchester University. His parents lived at 10 Modena Road, Hove. When war broke out he offered his services to the Royal Navy because he had some knowledge of wireless telegraphy. He became a wireless operator in one of the ships that took part in October 1914 in the action under Admiral Hood off the Belgian coast. Later, he transferred to a minesweeping trawler, and spent the first winter of the war on duty in the North Sea. On one occasion his ship undertook a week of voluntary service in a heavily mined area.

In June 1915 he obtained a commission in the Royal Naval Air Service, and in November of the same year he was sent with a squadron to France. He received severe injuries in an accident after his aircraft developed engine trouble, and needed six months to recuperate. On 22 March 1916 he married Olive Simpson, and for fourteen months undertook valuable work as an instructor at a home air station. His family stated that ‘he loved this job and was never so happy as when exploring the wonders of cloudland.’ On 23 February 191, aged 25, he was killed in a flying accident at Eastchurch. His obituary stated:

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Stephen James Chapman RAF
His bright and vivid personality endeared him to all. A great lover of nature, he was a keen student of all matters relating to science and natural history, and a story book for children on the subject, written and illustrated by himself, is to be published.’

Lieutenant Stephen James Chapman RAF

He was born in 1891 at Byron Street, Hove, and educated at the East Hove Schools (Davigdor Road Schools). He was his parents’ only son, and in civilian life he worked as an engineer. When war broke out he was on a visit to his sister in Canada, and it was not until January 1915 that he enlisted back in England. At first he served as a dispatch rider but then he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps. 

He was in a hurry to marry his sweetheart Leonie who was an only child, and grand-daughter of Major William Percy, Military Knight of Windsor. A special licence was obtained and the couple married on 5 March 1918; just three months later Mrs Chapman was a widow. It was on 6 June 1918 that Lieutenant Chapman was killed in an aeroplane collision at Littlestone-on-Sea, Kent.
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George Leonard Cheesman
Brighton Season 1915-16

Lieutenant George Leonard Cheesman

His parents were George and Mary Cheesman of 15 Albany Villas. The lieutenant was an educated man, having attended university and been awarded a Master of Arts degree before he enlisted in the 10th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment. He was sent to the Dardanelles where he was killed in action aged 30 at Suvla Bay on 10 August 1915.

Lieutenant Charles Chrimes RAF

By 1918 Lieutenant Chrimes was stationed at Malta. He was awarded the Italian La Croce al Merito de Guerra, and a commemorative medal for his service in Liberia. A newspaper report stated, ‘After their return Lieutenant Chrimes and his second pilot were feted at the expense of the Italian Government.’ Reference was made to ‘the way these British aviators had achieved their task in the face of the most determined opposition on the part of the enemy.’ Finally, Lieutenant Chrimes took the salute as 5,000 troops marched past. Lieutenant Chrimes survived the war.

Private Reginald Clarke

He was an Old Boy of Belmont School, which was just over the border in Brighton. It seems boys from Belmont School went to the church of St Thomas the Apostle in Davigdor Road, Hove. Clarke’s name is inscribed in a separate mention of ‘Old Boys of Belmont School’ on the outside war memorial at the church (now known as St Abraam and St Mary). Reginald was the son of Mr and Mrs Clarke of 72 Highdown Road, Hove, and he enlisted in the London Regiment. He died at the age of 21 on 2 November 1918. 

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The War Memorial on the east wall of the Church of St Thomas the Apostle, Davigdor Road (now known as St Abraam and St Mary - Coptic Orthodox Church)
Sub-Lieutenant Ernest Alfred Clifford

He was born at Datchet in 1874 and joined the Royal Navy as a boy on 3 April 1889. By 1914 he was living with his wife at 3 Coastguard Cottages, Kingsway, and he was the Naval gunnery instructor at the local RNVR base. He was sent to Gallipoli as part of Howe Battalion, 63rd Royal Naval Division, and was killed in action at Gallipoli on 4 June 1915. His widow received a letter from Sub-Lieutenant Joseph Sandbach, who was to be killed just six weeks later, that said Clifford had died ‘leading his men in as gallant a charge against the Turks, as was ever known in history: out of 118 men who he was leading only 25 returned.’ Lieutenant Colonel Charles Collins, commander of Howe Battalion, also wrote a letter to Mrs Clifford when he arrived back in England.

As soon as we heard we were going to leave the Peninsular, we prepared a strong cross of hard wood, covered it with brass from empty shell cases and had it erected close to the spot where your husband lost his life … The consecration service took place in the night before we left and was very impressive. A quarter moon was shining, and to our right lay the sea, which he loved so well, lit up persistently by the Turkish searchlights from the Dardanelles, whilst over us an artillery duel raged unceasingly … all of us felt terribly sad at leaving this ground, which we had so hardly won and which had cost us so many precious lives. Of all those left behind I doubt if there was one who did his duty so gallantly and conscientiously as your husband … his example will ever be an inspiration to those who knew him of how an Englishman should behave.’

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First World War Poster
Trooper Harold Colbourne

He was born at Willesden Green in 1897, and educated at Hove High School in Clarendon Villas. In November 1914 while still a schoolboy, he enlisted in the 3rd Battalion, 1st Sussex Yeomanry. He was sent to the Dardanelles where he was felled not by a bullet but by dysentery, and as a result was invalided back to England. On 11 May 1916 he died of pleural pneumonia at home, 12 Raphael Road. He was buried in Hove Cemetery.

Private Reginald Coomber

He was born on 23 September 1899 at 75 Clarendon Road, Hove, and was educated at the Ellen Road Schools. When he left school he worked as a labourer, and still lived in Clarendon Road, but at number 78. He enlisted in the 2nd Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment and was killed by a sniper near Veldhoek, Ypres, on 13 November 1914.

2nd Lieutenant William Martin Vernon Cotton RFC

He was born in 1892 at Exeter, and educated at Brighton Grammar School, and Shoreham Grammar School. He was the son of Lieutenant-Colonel G. W. V. Cotton (late of the 75th Foot) and Mrs Sarah Cotton. The connection with Hove is not apparent because no address was recorded, and his name does not appear in the Hove War Memorial Plaques. William later settled in Canada where he earned his living as a bank clerk. When war broke out he enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force in 1914, and in 1916 he was commissioned to the Royal Flying Corps. He served as an observer and was killed, aged 24, when his plane was shot down on 21 December 1916. A handwritten note on his record card at Hove Library reads, ‘His machine was brought down behind the German lines in Flanders.’

2nd Lieutenant Hubert Lyon Bingham Crabbe RFC

He was born in County Limerick Ireland, and his father was Major A. Bingham Crabbe of the 8th Hussars. Hubert was educated at Marlborough, and afterwards joined the 3rd Hussars, but on 5 January 1917 he was attached to the Royal Flying Corps. On 15 May 1918 he was reported as missing, and presumed killed in action. There is a terse note in his record card at Hove Library, ‘no trace, flying’. When Hove and the Great War was published in 1920, his name appeared under the heading ‘Missing – Presumed Dead’. The on-line Roll of Honour states he was killed in action on 15 August 1918.

2nd Lieutenant Cyril Frederick Crapp RFC
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Cyril Frederick Crapp RFC
St Leonard's churchyard 

The young lieutenant had no connection with Hove in life, but he died in a collision with another plane in the skies above Aldrington, and was subsequently buried in the churchyard of St Leonard’s Church, Aldrington. He had only joined the Air Service in July 1916, and was killed just ten months later. The Brighton & Hove Gazette (23 May 1917) carried the following report:

A distressing tragedy of the air was witnessed at Hove yesterday evening, resulting in the death of two young officers of the Royal Flying Corps. Shortly after 6 o’clock four aeroplanes were high up near the western border of Hove, nearly to Portslade. The evening was beautifully calm, with practically ideal conditions for air tactics. Suddenly two of the machines collided. One fell a shapeless mass in Marine Park (Aldrington Recreation Ground) the exact spot being at the western end and towards the south-west of the enclosure, where the engine partially embedded itself in the fresh green turf; while the other came down on the sands opposite Hove Seaside Villas, a residential terrace of houses which stands right on the foreshore. Each machine had one occupant. The officer who was piloting that which descended on the park was terribly injured and dead, but his hands still grasped the steering wheel. Amongst the broken parts of the other machine, its pilot also lay dead, having been instantaneously killed … For a little while after the collision portions of the machines descended to earth at various parts, a portion of the tale of one being found in the churchyard of St Leonard’s Church … pieces were also picked up in Worcester Villas and other places.’

Flight Lieutenant Alfred Richard Creese RAF

His home address was given as 41 Langdale Gardens, Hove, but when he joined the Air Service in 1917 he was an Oxford scholar. He saw active service in Italy from April to September 1918. He contracted influenza and pneumonia and died on 13 November 1918 at Cliff Military Hospital.

2nd Air Mechanic Ernest Crewe RFC

He was the son of George and Harriet Crewe. In civilian life Ernest ran a business as a motor car proprietor at numbers 8/10 St John’s Road, Hove, - the same road where he was born. On 29 March 1917 he joined the Royal Flying Corps. Unhappily, his service life was regrettably short because after working hard in very bad weather conditions, he contracted pneumonia, and died, aged 32, on 11 April 1917 at Farnborough Military Hospital, and was buried at Hove Cemetery. He left a widow, and three young children.

Private Eustace Charles Crowther

His parents lived in Finsbury Park, and he lived at 8 Modena Road, Hove. He ran his own business as a wholesale stationer, printer and paper bag manufacturer. He enlisted on 1 May 1916, and served in the 1st Battalion, 14th London Regiment. His military career lasted just over five months and he was killed in action on 7 October 1916 during the Battle of the Somme. His body was never recovered, and thus there is no known grave, but his name is inscribed in the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing. It is sad to record that Crowther left a widow, and two little girls – one aged 29 months and the other aged 16 months.
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First World War Poster

Private William Bernard Dancy

He was born at Hove in 1899, but when war broke out he was a fruit-grower in Canada. On 7 August 1914 he enlisted in the 7th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (British Colombia Regiment). He was present at the 2nd Battle of Ypres (22 April to 25 May 1915) and was killed in action on the 24 April 1915 at the notorious Hill 60 near Ypres.

In 1914 the Germans occupied Hill 60, but the British plotted to capture it. British sappers were busy constructing tunnels leading from their trenches to Hill 60 where they branched out. The sappers knew full well from the sounds they heard that the Germans were engaged in a similar operation. Thus it became a race against the clock to be the first to finish the project. The British achieved their objective by a few hours, and seven bombs were detonated underground with dramatic effect. The British troops rushed over only to be met with clouds of chlorine gas, lobbed in cylinders by the Germans – it was their first use of gas in the war. British troops had no proper protection against the gas, the only way to cope was to secure wet rags around the nose and throat. Several soldiers injured at Hill 60 and Neuve Chappelle were sent to convalesce at the Red Cross Hospital, 6 Third Avenue, Hove.

Able Seaman John Henry Day RNVR

He was born at Hull but when war broke out he was living at 1 Clarendon Villas with his parents John Frederick and Eliza Day; John was working as a dentistry apprentice. In August 1914 he joined the RNVR as a bugler. At the age of eighteen he was sent over the Channel to assist in the Relief of Antwerp, and returned home safely. On 1 March 1915 he sailed for the Dardanelles, being attached to Howe Battalion, 63rd Royal Naval Reserve. He fought in the trenches throughout the whole of the Gallipoli campaign and emerged unscathed. In this he was fortunate, unlike four other Hove men in Howe who died. But sadly, Day was killed on 2 August 1917 while serving his gun aboard SS Newlyn. He was one of four crewman killed on that day as a result of a torpedo attack from a German U-boat, off Prawle Point on the south Devon coast.

Lieutenant John Malcolm Dickinson

His parents were Captain Malcolm Dickinson of the Royal Artillery and Mrs Paget Davies Dickinson, and the couple lived at 25 Brunswick Terrace; the lieutenant’s grandfather was General Dickinson.

John Malcolm Dickinson was educated at Marlborough and Sandhurst, and enlisted in the 2nd Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment. He was still only 20 years of age,when he was killed in action on 12 June 1918, and buried in Pernes Military Cemetery. There is a brass memorial tablet to him in St Andrew’s Church, Waterloo Street, which was obviously the family’s local church.
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Captain Thomas Malcolm Dickinson DFC

He was the brother of Lieutenant John Malcolm Dickinson. Thomas was born in 1893 and educated at Marlborough and Sandhurst. His memorial at St Andrew’s Church, Waterloo Street, is unique in Hove and Portslade in setting out the details of his military career, concluding with the heartfelt sentiment, ‘A warrior sans peur et sans reproche – Valiant in Fight. Patient in Tribulation’.

In 1912 Captain Dickinson became a regular officer in the 16th Cavalry, Indian Army, but was later attached to the 1st Battalion, Grenadier Guards. In May 1915 he was wounded in the left arm while fighting at Festubert. Upon recovery, he was attached to the Royal Flying Corps, and he undertook sterling work in dropping food supplies to the starving garrison of Kut. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his ‘excellent work in Mesopotamia’, besides being twice Mentioned in Despatches. (For further details, please see The Siege of Kut).

Captain Dickinson was then deployed to France where in June 1917 he was wounded in air combat, receiving gunshot wounds in both legs. Also in 1917 he was taken prisoner on the Western Front. In 1918 he evacuated 6,000 British prisoners-of-war ‘being himself last to leave the fatal camp of Parchim’. But his war experiences had taken their toll, and his wounds were not healing properly. In Egypt he underwent an operation to try and correct the problems, but died on the operating table on 4 June 1921; he was aged 27.

Lieutenant Edward Francis Egan

He was educated at the private boys’ school called Marlborough House, Hove, and his name appears on the school’s Roll of Honour in All Saints Church, although because he was not a Hove resident, his name is not on Hove’s Roll of Honour.

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The Marlborough House War Memorial is situated near the font.

He met his death while serving aboard HMS Ardent. The ship was part of the 4th Destroyer Flotilla and was present at the Battle of Jutland on 31 May / 1June 1916. Ardent survived the battle without much damage and so her subsequent fate is all the more tragic. After the noise of battle, suddenly Ardent found herself on her own and unsure of the whereabouts of the rest of the Division – this was hardly surprising since that Division had ceased to exist. Ardent set sail towards the south, and when a plume of smoke was spotted on the horizon, sailed towards it. Unfortunately, it was a German ship but Ardent at once went on the attack, although the light was failing. Suddenly, Ardent was transfixed under the searchlights of four German battleships that completely dazzled the eyes of the British crew. The German Dreadnought Westfalen delivered the coup de grace, then the German ships switched off their lights and sailed away, leaving the British sailors to die in utter darkness. Probably, the German captain thought the event would never be reported because it was against common decency as well as the unwritten law of seafarers. Although 77 men died, Lieutenant Commander Marsden and one crewman survived to tell the tale.
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2nd Lieutenant Herbert Flowers

2nd Lieutenant Herbert Flowers

He was born in Steyning on 25 November 1879. He went to Hertford College, Oxford, where he gained a Bachelor of Arts degree. He became a solicitor, going into partnership with his father at Steyning, although Herbert lived with his sister at 8 Salisbury Road, Hove. He was man who enjoyed many hobbies, including ornithology and photography. Although he was of a mature age when war broke out, he must have felt impelled to play his part and enlisted in September 1914. He served with the 8th Battalion, West Kent Regiment. He was killed aged 36 in action on 1 November 1916 near Delville Wood during the Battle of the Somme.

2nd Lieutenant John Arthur Flowers

It seems likely that the two soldiers with the surname Flowers were related because they were both born at Steyning but had connections with Hove. John was the son of Mr and Mrs Arthur Flowers of 18 Hove Park Villas, and he was educated at Lancing College. He served with the Royal Sussex Regiment, and a sniper shot his dead on 31 August 1916.

Captain Robert Cecil Colville Frankland

His parents, Colonel Colville Frankland and his wife Mary, lived at 67 Brunswick Place. But it is interesting to note that Robert and his brother Thomas were both born in Ireland – Robert, on 7 July 1877 in County Wicklow, and Thomas on 17 October 1879 at Cork. Both boys were educated at Charterhouse, and followed the family tradition of joining the Army. The brothers served during the Boer War, and Robert must have found South Africa so congenial that he settled there, and managed to divide his time between military service, and a post in the South African Civil Service. But at the outbreak of war, he decided to come home and serve his country, joining his brother who was based at Eastbourne. Robert joined the South Staffordshire Regiment, but was later attached to the 1st Battalion, 8th Lancashire Fusiliers. He was sent to the Dardanelles where he was killed in action at Gallipoli, in an attack on a place called The Vineyard, near Krithta, on 7 August 1915.

Brigadier Major Thomas Hugh Colville Frankland

He was the brother of Captain Robert Cecil Colville Frankland, and was born in 1879 at Cork. He was educated at Charterhouse, and like his brother served in the Boer War.

While Thomas was in South Africa, he was taken prisoner-of-war, together with a young soldier by the name of Winston Churchill. They shared a dormitory in the States Model Schools where they were kept. Churchill encouraged Frankland to draw coloured maps so that they could keep abreast of developments in the Boer War, as and when, they could glean information. Frankland does not seem to have harboured any resentment when Churchill managed to escape, leaving him behind to languish as a prisoner. But perhaps something weighed on Churchill’s conscience because six months later in the camp to which the prisoners had been moved, Frankland was astonished to see two khaki-clad figures galloping towards them. The riders were Winston Churchill and his cousin the Duke of Marlborough who had boldly outstripped the advancing British Army to tell Frankland he was a free man.

It was in 1899 that T. H. C. Frankland joined the 2nd Battalion, Royal Dublin Fusiliers, and he remained with the regiment throughout his military career, although he was transferred to the 1st Battalion. He was sent to the Dardanelles, and took part in the very first day of the Gallipoli campaign on 25 April 1915 at ‘V’ beach. He was careful to ensure that his men took the safest route up the cliffs, and when the situation got hot, he took a rifle from a fallen soldier and shot four Turkish solders at a range of 20 to 30 yards. Captain Farmer of the Headquarters Staff, 29th Division, wrote to his family because Frankland was killed in action aged 30, ‘I attribute the success of the landing and progress on the first day largely to Frankland’s bravery, skill and example. He gave the right lead.’ Winston Churchill was also informed of Frankland’s death and wrote:

I am very much indebted to you for sending me an account of my cherished and gallant friend’s death. It was a sorrow in these sad times to me to learn that he had fallen. We had always kept in touch with one another since the armoured train fight in Natal in 1899. He was every inch a soldier, and in him the army and the country loses an officer of high ability and absolute self-devotion … I should be glad if you would endeavour to procure me a photograph of Tom, preferably in his uniform.’

Lieutenant Ernest James Garner RAF

He was born in 1893 at Hove, and educated at the Portland Road Schools, and the Connaught Road Schools. He lived at 50 Cowper Street, and was a motor mechanic by trade. He enlisted in the Royal Naval Air Service on 9 September 1914 as an air mechanic, 1st grade. At some stage in his service, he was rescued from the North Sea, and taken to a prisoner-of-war camp in Holland from where he was released on 2 September 1917. He was Mentioned in Despatches and awarded the Air Force Cross for consistent good patrol work and bombing work from 1 April 1918 to 30 October 1918. He survived the war.

Able Seaman Frederick John Gates RN

He was born at Hove on 31 August 1880, son of Mr and Mrs Charles Gates. Before the war he earned his living as a postman and lived with his wife Ada Rose at 37 Lennox Road. He died aged 33 on 1 November 1914 while serving aboard HMS Good Hope off the coast of Chile, when the vessel was in a furious battle with elite German ships and was lost with all hands. By this time Ada Rose Gates had moved to 34 Ingram Crescent.

Fellow local men also lost from Good Hope were Stoker Harry Avis and Lieutenant Gray from Hove, and Lieutenant Edward John French from Portslade. (For details of the battle, please see Portslade and the First World War).

Captain George Brian Gates DFC
copyright © Hove Library
Captain George Brian Gates DFC

He was born on 21 July 1899 at Hove. On 22 June 1917 he joined the Royal Naval Air Service. In 1918 Gates was assigned to Number 1 Squadron, which had been one of the earliest to be formed, and came into existence on 17 October 1914. In this elite squadron were eighteen flying aces, including young Gates. The year of 1918 was a time of victories for Gates, who was credited with downing no less than fourteen enemy aircraft, plus an observation balloon. He flew all his sorties in a British single-seat Sopwith Camel biplane. This was a relatively new biplane, having only come into service in 1917 on the Western Front. Of course should the biplane be in inexperienced hands, it was a difficult machine to control, but with an able pilot it became a deadly weapon. In fact, the Sopwith Camel had more ‘kills’ than any other British aircraft. Gates was injured in September 1918, but he was fortunate to survive the war.

In November 1918 he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the award having been instituted on 3 June 1918 for commissioned officers and warrant officers. The following is Captain Gate’s citation published in the London Gazette (2 November 1918).

On a recent occasion this officer single-handedly engaged two enemy two-seaters, bringing them both down in flames. He has in addition destroyed a third machine and shot down two kite balloons in flames. On whatever duty engaged – bombing, attacking troops on the ground, or fighting in the air – this officer displays courage and skill.’

Hot on the heels of this decoration, he was awarded a Bar to his DFC. The citation in the London Gazette (3 December 1918) reads:

This officer sets a fine example to the other pilots of his squadron being conspicuous for his cool courage and brilliant leadership. During the past month he has accounted for six enemy two-seaters, five driven down in flames, and one crashed.’

Private Arthur James George

He was born on 19 February 1894 at 123 Livingstone Road, Hove, and was educated at the Ellen Road Schools. He became a mechanic, but was also an enthusiastic club footballer in his spare time. He captained the Glendale Football Club, which became the champions of the Hove & District League.

Mr and Mrs George had no less than six sons serving during the First World War – what a huge worry life must have been for them. Perhaps, as a precaution, the sons joined different regiments – Royal Fusiliers; Royal Engineers; Ordnance Corps; Royal Army Medical Corps; and the Rifle Brigade. Arthur served with the 11th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment, and was killed in action on 3 September 1916 during the Battle of the Somme. By that time his parents were living at 115 Livingstone Road.
copyright © Imperial War Museum

Miss Maud W. Gibbins, Land Army

Nothing much is known of this young lady whose name is to be found inscribed on the brass Roll of Honour tablets in the vestibule of Hove Library. All that can be deduced is that she too did her bit for her country’s welfare by working on the land when so many young men had joined the colours. Perhaps she was not used to hard, physical work, perhaps the winter weather was bitter, but whatever the precise details, it was acknowledged that she died because of her war service. She was taken ill at West Grinstead and died on 8 May 1919. Serving in the Land Army, she worked at Cuckfield, Chailey, and West Grinstead. Sussex Daily News (10 May 1919)

Lieutenant Alfred Gledhill RNVR

He was born at Hove in 1889 and educated at the Connaught Road Schools. When war broke out he was serving at sea, but not in the Royal Navy – he was aboard a White Star Line vessel. But at once he offered his services to assist in the war effort. At first he was engaged in transport, and it is interesting to note that he was sent on an Australia-bound ship in order to take on board the first contingent of troops from that country. Then he went on patrol duties in the North Sea, where it was officially noted, ‘his sterling seamanship earned him the esteem of is superior officers and crew who on his promotion to navigating lieutenant on another ship presented him with an inscribed gold watch.’

The year 1915 saw Gledhill serving aboard submarine E-6 and in December the vessel left Harwich to patrol an area of the North Sea near the Horn Reefs in search of enemy submarines. It was a tragedy that a message sent to E-6 from a passing torpedo boat warning about the danger of mines in the area was not properly evaluated. Instead, E-6, who should have been on high alert, ploughed resolutely on, struck a mine, and was lost with all hands on 26 December 1915.

The local Press reported, ‘ Many residents of Brighton and Hove will learn with regret that Lieutenant Alfred Gledhill met his death while in the execution of his duty … He will be remembered by many as a chorister of the old parish church, Hove.’ (St Andrew’s Old Church).

2nd Lieutenant Barre Herbert Goldie

His father Colonel James Ord Goldie spent his entire military career in India, before he retired to Hove and lived at 12 Tisbury Road for 25 years, becoming an enthusiastic supporter of the Sussex County Cricket Club. He died in July 1919. Other members of the Goldie family also had connections with India. Colonel J. O. Goldie’s father served in India, and so did his elder brother Colonel Barre Goldie, before his retirement to Hove.

2nd Lieutenant Barre Herbert Goldie, Colonel James Ord Goldie’s son, served with the Patiala (Rajindra) Rifles but during the war he was sent to Egypt, where at the age of 35 he succumbed to disease on 29 April 1915

Major Kenneth Oswald Goldie OBE

He was the son of Colonel Barre Goldie, mentioned above, and therefore a cousin of 2nd Lieutenant Barre Herbert Goldie. Colonel Barre Goldie enjoyed an arduous and honourable career with the Royal Engineers in India, before retiring to Hove where he lived at 46 Selborne Road for thirty years. He served as churchwarden at St John the Baptist’s Church, Hove, for many years, and was a committee member of the Convalescent Police Home in Portland Road. He died in November 1922.

Major Goldie of the Lancers, Indian Army, saw a considerable amount of service before being appointed Military Secretary to Lord Willingdon, Governor of Bombay at Madras, a post he still held in 1919. He was awarded the OBE in 1918.

Private Harold Austen Goldsmith

copyright © J.Middleton
This memorial tablet is in memory of Private Harold Austen Goldsmith.

He was born at Eastbourne, son of Edwin and Laura Goldsmid, who later lived at Hove. Harold served in the Royal Fusiliers but was later attached to thr 12th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment. He was aged 30 when he died on 1 October 1916 from wounds received in action at Thiepval. There is a memorial plaque to him at All Saints Church, Hove, and at the end of the inscription is the following quotation God’s Arms are round the undying dead who serve Him.

2nd Lieutenant Ernest William Gould

He was born in Wickworth, Derbyshire, but his parents, William Henry and Gertrude Gould, later moved to Hove where they lived at 72 Lyndhurst Road. Ernest joined 4th Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment, but was later attached to the 1st Battalion, 5th Somerset Light Infantry. When he was just 19 years old, he was killed in action on 10 April 1918 in Palestine. Besides Hove’s Roll of Honour, his name also appears on the outside war memorial at the Church of St Thomas the Apostle, Davigdor Road (now known as St Abraam and St Mary).

Lieutenant Gordon Evelyn Eliott Gray RN
copyright © Hove Library
Lieutenant Gordon Evelyn Eliott Gray RN

Gray’s father was deputy commissioner in Assam when his son was born there on 19 December 1887. Like many Indian-born British children, he was despatched home to England for his education at a tender age. He was around six years old when he arrived at Hove to live with his grandmother and aunt at 52 Norton Road. He was educated at Windlesham House, Brighton, (the school later moved to Portslade) and at Bedford Grammar School. In 1902 he proceeded to the training ship HMS Britannia where he gained several first-class certificates in his Naval examinations. When he was appointed to the submarine A-4, he was the youngest submarine commander in the Navy. He then transferred to the hydro-graphics department, and was serving in that capacity in Bermuda when war broke out.

His brilliant career ended prematurely serving aboard HMS Good Hope when the ship was lost with all hands on 1 November 1914 off the coast of Chile in the devastating Battle of Coronel with elite ships of the German East Indies Squadron. Also sunk in the same battle was HMS Monmouth, with the result that 1,600 lives were lost.

A heart-breaking hand-written note survives in Hove’s Roll of Honour Archive at Hove Library. ‘If I come back I shall have tales to tell, and if not you will know that I have done my duty.’

Fellow local men also lost from HMS Good Hope were 1st Class Stoker Harry Avis and Able Seaman John Gates, both from Hove, plus Lieutenant Edward John French from Portslade. (For details of the battle please see Portslade and the First World War).

Lieutenant Benjamin Pelham Knowle Greenhill RNVR

He was born in 1881 at Knowle Hall, Bridgwater, Somerset. He was in the fortunate position of not having to earn his own living because he had private means. In view of this, it is surprising that he lived not in one of the grander houses to be found at Hove but at a modest address – 18 Seafield Road – where he lived with his wife. Perhaps, it was because it was near the sea-front and he must have had an interest in the sea, having joined the RNVR before war broke out, and on 4 August 1914 he was called upon to do his duty, joining as a sub-lieutenant.

Greenhill served in the Navy for almost two years before being lost aboard HMS Hampshire on 5 June 1916. Greenhill’s body was recovered from the disaster, and he was buried in Lyness Royal Navy Cemetery.

The Press made a great fuss about the loss of the Hampshire because there was a very important man aboard – namely the formidable Lord Horatio Herbert Ktchener, war minister, who was off to an important meeting in Archangel with Tsar Nicholas II. It was a foolhardy voyage because the weather conditions were dreadful, but it must have been considered too important to postpone. In the event, the Hampshire had only been at sea for an hour when the captain took the decision to return to Scapa Flow. Unhappily, she sailed straight into a minefield of 22 devices planted a few nights previously by German submarine U-75. It was at a site between the Brough of Birsay and Warwick Head that the Hampshire exploded, and sank quickly. There should have been many survivors because the shore was only 1½ miles away but the severe weather meant that some lifeboats snagged in the rigging, or were smashed against the ship. Indeed, more men died of exposure than from injuries. Some survivors reported that Kitchener was still alive after the mines were struck, and they were ordered to make way for him, but no trace of him was ever found.

1st Class Petty Officer Harry Hammond RN

Hammond was an experienced sailor, being the holder of a Long Service Medal as well as a Good Conduct Medal. When on shore, he lived with his wife Alice at 15 Suffolk Street, Hove. He was aboard HMS Hogue, and together with HMS Aboukir and HMS Cressy, the three British armoured cruisers were patrolling the seas off the Dutch coast on 22 September 1914. Unhappily, the cruisers were not zig-zagging as they were supposed to do, but neither could the vessels be called state-of-the-art because they were fourteen years old. When HMS Aboukir suffered some damage, Captain Drummond assumed the ship had hit a mine, and ordered the other two ships to come to his assistance. Thus Hogue and Cressy stopped and lowered their lifeboats. Then came the dreadful realisation that the damage was due to a torpedo, and the Captain ordered the other vessels to move away, but it was too late. Torpedoes from the German submarine U-9 caused all three ships to sink within an hour and a half. The vessels contained some cadets and many reservists, – 1,159 men were killed, including Hammond, aged 40. There were at least some survivors, and some 837 men were plucked from the sea, mostly by passing merchant ships.

Although the subsequent Board of Enquiry laid some blame on Rear Admiral Christian and the captains of the three lost ships, the Admiralty itself did not escape censure. It was felt that continuing to order aged vessels to patrol the area of the North Sea known as the Broad Fourteens was unwise. Many senior officers were of the opinion that such vessels were no match to cope with a modern German threat. Indeed, ships engaged in patrolling this area were popularly known as the ‘live bait squadron’. It is interesting to note that no more such patrols were sent out afterwards. It was also stipulated that no major ship should stop for any reason in areas known to be dangerous, while the necessity of speed and zig-zagging were firmly re-iterated – but the three lost ships were quite unable to maintain a top speed.

Sergeant Harold Harris DCM

Some men were fortunate enough to experience what was called a ‘good’ war. In civilian life Harold Harris was the manager of Lloyd’s Bank, Palmeira Branch, Gwydyr Mansions, and he continued in his duties for the first twenty-one months of the war. Then, in May 1916 he enlisted, and became a sergeant in the 7th Tank Battalion. The first six months were spent in Belgium, and he commented, ‘where the tanks were hardly a success on account of the mud’. Harris was present at the Somme, and both battles of Cambrai in 1917 and 1918, and on 29 September he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his services in crossing the Canal du Nord, clearing away barbed wire for the infantry, and attacking Bourlon village. Harris wrote jovially, ‘Fortune favoured me and I came home in perfect health’. In fact, it was in the nature of a miracle because those early tanks were notoriously unreliable and could easily became death traps. When Hove was offered a real tank as a war relic in honour of its wartime fundraising efforts, the gallant sergeant volunteered to drive the tank (called Hova) from Hove Station to Hove Park, but his offer was not taken up.

Lieutenant Claude Ernest Vincent Hawkings RN

He was the younger son Percival and Leanore Hawkings of 49 The Drive, Hove, and later of 21 Adelaide Crescent. Claude was educated nearby at Marlborough House School, which was also situated in The Drive. His name appears on the school’s Roll of Honour inside All Saints Church, as well as Hove’s Roll of Honour. It was back in May 1908 that he joined the Royal Navy as a Cadet. He served in HMS Orion during the Battle of Jutland, and then was aboard HMS Erin. He was attached to HMS Iris during the Zeebrugge Raid of 22/23 April 1918. HMS Iris and HMS Daffodil both had humble origins, having worked as ferries across the Mersey before being commandeered by the Navy.

The Zeebrugge Raid is one of those controversial actions that some historians view as fool-hardy, while others see it as a glorious effort, and even a necessary one. The crux of the matter was that this small stretch of the Belgian coastline had been turned into a German Naval and Military powerhouse. Although today we view Bruges as a quiet and picturesque place, in those days there were valuable dockyards that meant, for example, that a damaged German submarine could be quickly repaired and be ready for action without the necessity of trundling back to home base. At Zeebrugge there was a gigantic mole stretching for over 1½ miles, and rising to a height of 29-ft, which protected the entrance to the Bruges canal. The British plan was to sink three aged vessels, heavy with cement, and block the canal, meanwhile mounting an attack on the mole as a diversion.

It was a massive undertaking involving some 1,700 men (all volunteers) and 78 craft ranging from coastal motor boats to seventeen destroyers. The problems at the mole were severe, with a high swell, plus German firepower. The idea was that boarding parties should land on the mole with the aid of specially made boarding ramps, and Iris and Daffodil plus HMS Vindictive were involved in this part of the action. The unfortunate Iris experienced nothing but bad luck – forty precious minutes were spent attempting to secure her to he mole, then a large shell tore a hole through the deck, and exploded, killing 49 of the 56 marines waiting to clamber up the mole. There was an attempt to use scaling ladders before the vessel was properly secured. Hawkings managed to reach the parapet before the scaling ladder was smashed to pieces just as he stepped off. ‘This very gallant young officer was last seen defending himself with his revolver. He was killed on the parapet.’ These words come from the official citation and it was Hawkings’ heroism that was mentioned first. However, it was Lieutenant Commander G. N. Bradford who was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross while 22-year old Hawkings merited a mere Mentioned in Despatches.

Private James George Heath

He was the son of Sergeant James Henry Heath, mentioned below, and he still lived in the family home at 92 Clarendon Villas when he enlisted. He served with the 7th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment, and aged just 20 was killed in action on 18 September 1918.

Sergeant James Henry Heath DCM

He was born in 1874, and educated at the Ellen Road Schools. He worked as a labourer, and lived with his wife Mary at 92 Clarendon Road. He enlisted in the 18th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment (Pioneers) and was sent to France the following November. He served throughout the battles of the Somme, Arras, Nieuport, and Ypres, as well as taking part in the final ‘big push’. In April 1918 he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal, ‘For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty and consistent good work during a long period. He has maintained a high standard of discipline and efficiency among his men, and has always shown great skill and determination in his work.’ After all this activity, he ended up in hospital with lumbago, and was finally demobbed on 7 March 1919. It is ironic that he survived, while his 20-year old son was killed in action in 1918, just weeks before the end of the war.

Captain Walter Heather

He was born at Hove in 1889, and later lived with his wife in Church Road. He taught at the East Hove Schools (Davigdor Road Schools) and in 1910 joined the Sussex Yeomanry, being mobilized in August 1914. He was attached to the Royal Field Artillery and served throughout the Gallipoli Campaign. He served in France for two years, and in June 1917 was sent home from Egypt to be commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant. He was awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre, and survived the war. In September 1919 he resumed his teaching career.

Lieutenant Colonel Henry William Ernest Hitchens
copyright © Hove Library
 Lieutenant Colonel Henry William Ernest Hitchens

He came from a military background, being the only son of Major General Hichens. His mother was said to be one of the oldest residents of Hove. It is interesting to note that her address was East Lodge, Belmont. Although the site is situated east of Dyke Road, and was added to Brighton during the ‘tidying up’ of boundaries in the 1920s, during the First World War, Belmont was firmly within the boundaries of Hove.

Henry was born in 1865, and was educated privately before proceeding to Sandhurst. In 1886 he became a 2nd Lieutenant in the 1st Battalion, Manchester Regiment, and by 1895, he was a Captain. In November 1897 he was appointed Adjutant of the Volunteers attached to the regiment, and managed to increase their numbers from 600 to 1,000 men. During this time, it was recorded of him, ‘He was one of the most genial and loveable of men, invariably got the best out of those under him and many of his subordinates could tell of countless kindnesses performed.’

In 1906 he went to India with his regiment, and was present at the magnificent Coronation Durbar. He enjoyed his time in India, taking a keen interest in polo and hunting; he was known as a fine horseman, and an excellent judge of horses.

By 1914 he had been promoted to Major, and in the absence of the Lieutenant Colonel, Hitchens took command of the 1st Battalion, Manchester Regiment. He then had the task of mobilizing the regiment for war service, and in August he left India with the 3rd (Lahore) Indian Division, arriving in France on 26 September 1914.

On 20 December 1914 Hitchins was with the 1st Manchesters when they re-took Givenchy, plus two lines of enemy trenches; the critical action had lasted for 30 consecutive hours. It was noted that Hitchens was ‘quite fearless and heedless of himself but was all the time thinking about his men.’ For his actions in Givenchy he was Mentioned in Despatches; he was also shot through the thigh, necessitating his return to England for hospital treatment.

On 10 March 1915 he was appointed Lieutenant Colonel of his own regiment, and by 1 April was deemed fit enough to return to the Front. During the 2nd Battle Ypres (22 April to 25 May 1915) Hitchins was ‘brave as a lion’ and again Mentioned in Despatches. But on 26 April ‘the gallant colonel of the gallant Manchesters’ was shot through the heart at Wieltje, near Ypres. It was said of him, ‘He possessed those qualities, which made men trust him in a crisis, his coolness and imperturbability in action won the admiration of all ranks.’ He was aged 49.

There is a bronze plaque to the memory of Lieutenant Colonel Hitchins inside the church at Lynsted Village, Kent, placed there ‘in memory of a much loved cousin’ by a lady with a spectacular surname – Mary Vivian Roper-Lumley-Holland. The sad postscript was that the ‘gallant colonel’ was due to marry this lady.

Captain Adrian Wrigley Fosbrooke Hobbes MC

He was born in 1896 in Sutton Coldfield, but his parents moved to Hove, and he was educated at Brighton Grammar School. His parents lived at 54 Sackville Gardens, and his father was a doctor. Adrian joined the Royal Horse Artillery, and he served in France from May 1915 to October 1915, and in Mesopotamia from December 1915 to June 1916. Then followed a spell in India, and from November 1917 to June 1919 he was to be found serving in Palestine and Syria. His Military Cross was bestowed on him in the Jordan Valley on 14 July 1918 for galloping across open ground under heavy fire, directing the fire of the battery against a counter-attack by the Turks and the Germans, and with two other men, capturing six officers, 120 men and twelve machine-guns. He survived the war.

His brother, Captain Alan J. Fosbrooke Hobbes served in the Tank Corps in France, and returned home safely too. Another brother, Johnstone Fosbrooke Hobbes was in South Africa.

Private Archibald Holland

There is a tragic note hand-written on his service card at Hove Library. ‘He was found in the country by Mrs Holland’s son and was being ill-used; they brought him home with them and Mrs Wood brought him up. Nothing was known about his birth or his parents.’ The on-line Roll of Honour records his birthplace as Nottingham, and his foster mother as Mrs H. Wood.

At the outbreak of war Archibald was living at 88 Cowper Street, and working as a shop assistant. In 1914 he enlisted with the 12th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment, and was killed in action in France on 10 October 1917.

Corporal Richard Charles Holmes

He was born at Harwich in 1882 but later moved to Hove where he lived at 63 Ellen Street. He earned his living as a cab-man, before enlisting in March 1915 in thr 7th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment. He had the distinction of being awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre for bravery and devotion to duty on the Ypres Front in October 1917. He was also wounded and gassed, but managed to survive the war.

Private Arthur William Hopkins

His parents, Mr and Mrs A. R. Hopkins, lived at 71 Carlisle Road, Hove. In civilian life Arthur earned his living as a draper’s assistant. He enlisted in November 1915, and served in the 1st Battalion, Honourable Artillery Company. He was killed in action at Ancre on 14 November 1916 at the Battle of the Somme

copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums
First World War Poster
Corporal George Harry Hopkins

Hopkins had been a professional soldier since 1903, and thus became a time-expired man, and when he re-enlisted in 1914, it was as a reservist; he served in the 1st Life Guards. Between his two stints in the Army, Hopkins lived at Hove and was employed by the Brighton & Hove Bus Company. On 6 November 1916 he was killed in action by being shot in the head at Klein Zillebeke, which is less than two miles south east of Ypres. There was some very fierce fighting, and the British action was hampered by German gunners hidden away in the woods. Afterwards, there were only six officers left in the 1st Life Guards, and four in the 2nd Life Guards. That night Squadron Corporal Major Robert W. Sensier wrote a letter to the sister of Corporal Hopkins:

When we lost your brother, Miss Hopkins, we lost someone who it seemed we could never replace. We always spoke of him as our Happy Corporal. He always seemed to be laughing and he was brave as he was happy. Nothing was too much trouble for him; he was a typical big-hearted British soldier. He has spoken to me of his wife (if I remember right she is an invalid). I’m so sorry for her but trust she will be cared for.’

Private William Strickels Hopkins

In civilian life he was a porter, and lived at 35 Bolsover Road. He enlisted in July 1915 and served in the Royal West Kent Regiment, before being attached to the 1st Battalion, London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers). He was wounded on 1 July 1916, but recovered from that injury only to be killed in action during the 3rd Battle of Ypres on 20 September 1917 when a sniper shot him in the stomach.

Acting Leading Stoker Richard Harry How RN

He was born on 2 January 1894 at Plumstead. He was educated at East Hove Schools (Davigdor Road Schools). On leaving school, he worked as a grocer’s assistant. He was killed in action on 31 May 1916 aboard HMS Queen Mary at the Battle of Jutland. His mother, Mrs E. Kirkman, lived at 7 Ruskin Road.

Fellow local men killed aboard the same ship were 4th Class Engine-Room Artificer G. H. Blackburn, Leading Stoker Ernest Lightfoot (both from Hove) and 1st Class Stoker Albert Bertie Colbourne (from Portslade). (For further details of the Queen Mary, please see under 4th Class Engine-Room Artificer G. H. Blackburn).

Trimmer William Henry Hughes

He was born in 1877. In civilian life he earned his living as a gas labourer, and lived at 3 Conway Place; he was also a member of the Royal Naval Reserve. In 1917 he served aboard the training ship HMS Ganges. After the war, he was serving aboard the minesweeper Queen of the North when on 20 July 1919 the vessel hit a mine off Orfordness and he drowned in the North Sea. Although this sad event happened in peacetime, it was still treated as a war casualty. When his mother was informed of the tragedy, she suffered such a severe mental breakdown that she had to be confined in Hellingly Asylum. His widow Florence lived at 2 Conway Place.

Private George Humphrey

He was born in 1880 at Brighton, but by the time war broke out he was living at 20 Payne Avenue. For eight years he worked as an ice porter for the Ice Company in Holland Road. In June 1916 he enlisted in the 2nd Battalion, Manchester Regiment, but then his wife Maggie Caroline became ill, and he was given two months’ exemption. He re-joined the Army, in the Royal West Kent Regiment, and during the one year and five months during which he served, he was wounded three times. On 1 March 1918 he was taken prisoner-of-war. He could not have been treated well because he died on 9 October 1918. He was on a forced march, but he felt so weak he had to fall out of line; he perished at the roadside from starvation, leaving a widow, and two sons, living on their own at 20 Payne Avenue.

2nd Lieutenant Charles Hawkins Inwood

He was the second son of Revd Charles and Mrs Emma Jane Inwood of 14 Hove Park Villas. Revd Inwood was a famous missionary who spent 25 years travelling all over the world to spread the Christian message. He came from a devout Wesleyan Methodist family and his father and grandfather were Wesleyan preachers too, while he and his three brothers all entered the Wesleyan ministry.

Perhaps young Charles also wanted to travel because at the outbreak of war he was in the USA, where he was an official of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Alatoma. But when he heard the news he thought it was his duty to return home immediately and do his bit. He enlisted with the Royal Fusiliers (Public School Battalion) but was gazetted to the Royal Sussex Regiment, and then to the Machine Gun Corps. He took a strenuous part in the fighting at Arras and the Ypres Salient. During the 3rd Battle of Ypres he was aged 26; on 19 November 1917 he was informed that his servant, Private Hartle, had been wounded, and at once he climbed out of his shell hole to go to the one where Hartle lay. But he was hit in the head by a fragment of shell and killed.

copyright © J.Middleton
A section of 100 year Commemoration poppy display on Hove's seafront in 2014

 See also Hove and the First World War; J-Z


Argus (15/10/13 / 19/1/15)
Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade
Brittain, Vera Testament of Youth (1933, Virago Centenary Edition 2018)
Mason, Ernie, A Working Man: A Century of Hove Memories (1999)
Middleton, J. Hove and Portslade in the Great War (2014)
Roll of Honour, Hove, Sussex.
Roll of Honour First World War Archive at Hove Library
Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
Trethwey, R. Pearls Before Poppies: The Story of the Red Cross Pearls (2018)
Walbrook, W. H. Hove and the Great War (1920)

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