In Memoriam -

Brookwood Memorial Halls
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In Memoriam
They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
Lawrence Binyon (1869 - 1943), "For the Fallen"

When you go Home, tell them of us and say,
 For your Tomorrow, we gave our Today
John Maxwell Edmunds (1875 – 1958), epitaph, War cemetery, Kohima, India

The Brookwood Cubs and Scouts took on a project to find out about those named on the commemorative plaque in the Memorial Hall, and have presented moving statements on the individuals at successive Remembrance Day services, bringing home the reality of their youth and of the hardships they suffered.

Their stories are respectfully told below, which are incorporated into a Book of Remembrance at the Halls.
Copyrights are gratefully acknowledged.  Research credits –Jane Pettinger, Janet Stone, Susan Thornton.

Wilfred Bolingbroke
Wilfred lived in Brookwood in 1 Victoria Villas with his parents until 1913 when he was 16. They moved into the newly-built home called The Homestead, at 142 (now 158) Connaught Road. His father Alfred was employed as a Monumental Engraver by the London Necropolis Company, who owned and managed Brookwood Cemetery and the surrounding land where Brookwood village now stands.

Wilfred was born in 1896 and early into the Great War enlisted in Bisley, joining the third battalion of the Tank Corps (formerly the Machine Gun Corps). He served as a Private in Flanders and France. It is highly likely that he was part of the Battle of Cambrai - St. Quentin (27th September - 9th October 1918). This was the main British contribution to the attack on the Hindenburg line and succeeded in pushing back the Germans to the River Selle. The war was to last just one month more, but sadly Wilfred was killed in action on 8th October 1918, aged just 22 years.

A condolence letter sent to his parents indicates he was killed whilst gallantly fighting the retreating Germans. His tank received two direct hits; Wilfred died instantly. His loss is said to have broken his mother's heart. He was her only child. His body lies in the Cemetery at Busigny.

Sources - Commonwealth War Graves Casualty Record and grave photo, Medals Roll, 1911 Census, Busigny cemetery photo, Condolence letter, Photograph. Earlier grave photo  Family photo   Family photo2    
Thanks to The Brookwood Cemetery Society editor Margaret Hobbs, and to Charlotte Howard for sharing her family photos.

John Leopold George Brock
John’s parents baptised him at Thornton Heath near Croydon on 26th December 1908. His parents were Leopold Charles Brock (1881-1953), a builder, and Emily Caroline Gater Brock (1885- 1923). The family lived in 1911 with his grandfather George Frederick Gater (a baker) and his aunt Minnie Jane Gater at 1 York Road, West Croydon. His sister Elsie Minnie married in Woking in 1937. In 1935 John was living at Gibbs Acre, Pirbright and working as a hospital attendant, probably at Brookwood Hospital. On 1st May 1935 he married Kathleen Florence Rands of Brookwood at St. Michael and All Angels Church in Pirbright. Her father lived in Brookwood and was a coachman. John and Kathleen had a son, Michael J Brock, in late 1939. John joined the Royal Artillery and fought as a Bombardier in the Western Europe campaign during 1944-45. He was killed in action on 13th June 1944, seven days after the D-day landings in Normandy. That day the Germans counter-attacked the advancing Allied troops at Villers-Bocage. John was likely involved. John was buried at Ranville War Cemetery, Calvados, near Caen.

Sources - Baptism and Registry records, The Croydon Roll of Honour,  War Graves record, Cemetery photo, gravestone.

Albert Devereux
Albert was the son of William and Mary Devereux. He was born in 1897. They lived at 2 Connaught Road. He joined The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment.

He served as a Private in the 6th Battalion and was sent to France on 1st June 1915. The Queen’s became involved in the Battle of the Somme from the start and sustained heavy losses almost immediately. They remained at the front line until 14th August 1916 when they were moved to an area described as quiet, although still very close to enemy lines. His battalion often took part in night raiding parties to gather information on the enemy.

On the night of 5th December 1916, Albert was one of 74 men who took part in an exploratory night raid against the enemy trenches. The conditions were good, with the night sky covered in cloud. Then the cloud cleared, revealing a bright full moon. The Captain recalled the men to the British lines, but too late. Two heavy trench shells fell, killing Albert and three of his comrades. He was just 19.

Albert was awarded the 1915 Star, and the Victory and the British Medals. Albert is buried in Wailly Orchard Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.

Sources - Commonwealth War Graves Casualty Record and grave photo, Medals Roll,   Report on action with cemetery photo, and trenches map and photo.

Frank Laurence Fulton
Frank was the son of George and Isabella Lansdown Fulton who lived at 4 Victoria Villas, Brookwood. He was born on 15th September 1897 and baptised on 25th March 1911 according to Saint Michael and All Angels Church, Pirbright baptism records.

War was declared on 4th August 1914 and that month, nearly seventeen years old, he volunteered for foreign service. He became a Corporal with the 2nd/16th Battalion, London Regiment (Queen’s Westminster Rifles) and went on to serve in France and Greece.

He was killed in action on 20th March 1917 in the Balkans, aged just 19. He is buried in Karasouli Military Cemetery in Greece.

Frank is also commemorated at St Michael and All Angels Church, Pirbright, and the Pirbright Historians have provided a separate record of his life.

Sources - 1911 Census,  Commonwealth War Graves Casualty Record,   cemetery and grave photo, and Medals Roll.    

Frank Mitchell
Frank was born on 8th February 1892 to George and Martha Mitchell. His father was a carter on Lawford’s Farm in Bridley. He was christened on 9th April 1892 at Pirbright Parish Church. He lived at 1 Connaught Cottages, Brookwood with his three brothers and a sister in 1911.

His regiment was the 19th (Queen Alexandra’s Own Royal) Hussars. He was sent to France on 23rd August 1914.

He died of pneumonia on 3rd March 1919 at 44 Casualty Clearing Centre near Cologne, some four months after the Armistice of 11th November 1918. His regiment was part of the first British Army of the Rhine, created in March 1919 to control troops in the British occupation zone along the Rhine.

The First World War officially ended on 18th June 1919 when the Treaty of Versailles was signed. He lies in Cologne Southern Cemetery. He was awarded the 1914 Star and the British and Victory Medals.

Sources - Baptism, Census and War Grave Commission  records and photographs.

Charles Frederick Neve MSM
Charles was born in 1882 in the Heigham district of Norwich, the son of George and Mary Anne Neve. By 19 he had become a career soldier and was stationed in Heavitree, Devon. In 1911 he was 29 and had been promoted to Sergeant, stationed at Deepcut near Brookwood.

Charles was awarded the Star Medal for war service in 1914, and the British and Victory Medals. Additionally, he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, which entitled him to use the initials after his name. We do not have any details of when this medal was awarded. When he retired he had achieved the rank of Temporary Warrant Officer 1st Class in the Royal Field Artillery.

At 35 he married Amy Mabel Taylor from Pirbright, ten years his junior, in 1916 at St Michael and All Angels Church in Pirbright, and they lived at 141 Connaught Road. Charles died at home of tuberculosis in 1923 aged 41.

Thanks to Colin Light for his recollections.

Cyril John Overton-Davies
Cyril was born in Shropshire in 1917, the son of John Harold and Lucy Overton-Davies. He married Doris Eileen Hill of Brookwood. Her brother Bob ran the garage and his wife the cafe at the end of Connaught Road.

Cyril served in the 1st Battalion of the Grenadier Guards Armoured Division and rose to the rank of Lance Serjeant. Cyril took part in the Allied Offensive in North Western Europe, which began with the Normandy Landings of 6th June 1944 (D - Day). It must be remembered that this historic day was just the beginning of the liberation of France; there were to be many tumultuous days ahead as the allies pressed through France. One of their key objectives was liberation of the city of Caen. Operation Greenwood was an attack launched on 18th July 1944 by the British Army to the east of the city.

Major Chappell, a friend of Cyril, recalled later that the bombardment began at 5.30 a.m. with a heavy bombardment by air and sea on German positions, lasting some two and a half hours. "I remember the sky full of aircraft, wave after wave pounding enemy defences”, he said. “At the church in Cagny... we came under fire from enemy mortars.” Major Chappell was injured in the attack in which sadly Cyril lost his life. He is buried at the military cemetery in Banneville-La-Campagne, alongside over two thousand other Commonwealth citizens who perished in the same campaign.

Following the war, Cyril’s family lived in Brookwood at 222 Connaught Road.

Sources - Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Skegness Standard article 2 Nov 2009

John Frederick Painter, DFC
John was born around 1918 and lived at 175 Connaught Road, then known as “Maryland”. His father William was the coal merchant; he married Edith Mary Fulk. The coal yard was to the left of the house just where 171a - 173a and their garages are today.

He joined the Royal Air Force and was stationed at RAF Kinloss, Morayshire, 19 Operational Training Unit, flying Armstrong Whitworth Whitley bombers used to train bomber pilots. He was flying out of RAF Forres, a satellite airfield to Kinloss. He later became a Flying Officer with 102 Squadron of Bomber Command.

On 22nd October 1940 he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in recognition of gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations. This was probably given at the end of a tour of operations, perhaps the one when the squadron was loaned to Coastal Command. They spent six weeks in September - October 1940 carrying out convoy escort duties from Prestwick. Soon after however, on 7th November 1940, at 2.40 pm, John’s plane N1440 dived from 1200 feet over Forres, crashed and exploded in the garden of a house called Glenernie in Tolbooth Street, Forres. All six crew were killed. No civilians were injured. He was just 22 years old.

He is buried in Brookwood Cemetery in St. Matthew’s Avenue.

Arthur Pickersgill
Arthur was born in Halifax, the son of Harry and Florry Pickersgill. In the 1930’s , Arthur completed a year’s training at Morris’s car making plant in Birmingham.

In 1938, he moved to Pirbright Camp with the aim of helping to set up the Transport Division. Soon, his wife May (known to all as Mrs. Pick) and his children (June aged 4 and a half and Leo aged 2) followed to a house in Brookwood. Arthur rose to the rank of Serjeant with the Coldstream Guards: June recalled clearly his wonderful sense of humour and smart uniform, complete with impressive Bearskin! Leo, too, was very proud of his soldier father and often stood at the front gate, dressed in his soldier’s uniform, saluting all the troops as they marched past.

Sadly, Serjeant Pickersgill was killed on Tuesday 24 th March 1942. He is buried in Brookwood Military cemetery. When the war ended, his widow, Mrs. Pick, worked hard on the committees formed to make the building of Brookwood War Memorial Hall possible. She died in 1993. Leo - who was a 1st Brookwood Cub - became an inspector in the London Metropolitan police. We thank June Pickersgill very much for her personal memoir of her father.

Sources – Commonwealth War Grave Commission, record and Cemetery photo

Alonza Charles Platts
Alonza was born in 1900, the third of seven children of Freeman William and Rhoda Platts, a Leicestershire coal miner and blaster. In 1911 the family lived in Griffydam, near Ashby-de-la-Zouch.

He joined the Royal Leicestershire Regiment in 1918. On 19th December 1920 Alonza married Elizabeth Mary Fain of Pirbright at St. Michael and All Angels Church in Pirbright.

Alonza went with the 1st Battalion to India in 1924 and was promoted to Quartermaster in 1926. He served in Egypt and again later in India, returning to England in 1931 to become Regimental Quarter Master.

He served in the Second World War and was promoted to Lieutenant in 1941. He was invalided out of service due to poor health in 1942. He died on 26th April 1943 and is buried at Coalville (Hugglescote) Cemetery.

His wife Mary died in 1985 aged 90 and was buried with him.

Sources - 1911 Census, Church registry,  London Gazette,   War Graves Commission records,  Royal Leicester Regiment archive, Probate record, Gravestone picture.

Sydney George Eric Reason
Sydney was born in 1910 to Sydney Alfred and Charlotte Reason, and in 1911 lived with his parents and his elder brother Kenneth in Leamington, Warwickshire. His father was a Carman on the Great Western Railway.  Sydney married Hilda Waite in Chelsea during late 1936.
He joined the Coldstream Guards and rose to become a Drill Sergeant - Warrant Officer 2nd Class.

He died on 14 September 1944 aged 37. He is buried in the Leopoldsburg War Cemetery 42 miles east of Antwerp in Belgium.

Cyril Henry Sheather
Cyril fought in both the First and the Second World Wars.  Cyril was born in Peasmarsh, Sussex in March 1899, the son of Henry and Mary Sheather. Cyril joined the Grenadier Guards under-age in 1914. 19 was the legal minimum age for armed service overseas.

Cyril was promoted to Lance Sergeant before the Great War ended in 1918, and was awarded the British Medal and the Victory Medal. Cyril was also officially recognised for Gallant Conduct. Cyril had become a regular soldier, and was posted to the Chelsea Barracks in London after the War. Whilst performing ceremonial duties, he was stationed at Wellington Barracks, by Buckingham Palace. He rose to be the Regimental Sergeant Major of the First Battalion Grenadier Guards before the Second World War broke out in 1939.

Cyril married Norah in 1929 between the Wars, and they had two daughters and a son. The young family stayed in the married quarters in London. Norah's sister lived in Brookwood - Mrs Minnie Giles, who lived at 135 (now 225) Connaught Road. The Sheather family used to visit Brookwood regularly from their home in married quarters in London. The young family went to Egypt from 1933 to 1936 to Casa Nil Barracks in Cairo. The Grenadier Guards were posted there to defend the Suez Canal. The family returned to London in 1936.

After the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, the Grenadier Guards were posted to the front line in Europe. Sadly, Cyril was killed on Saturday 1st June 1940, during the defence of the Dunkirk-Nieuport perimeter. He was 41. Cyril is buried in Coxyde Military Cemetery, Belgium.

After Cyril died in 1940, Norah and the three children (Maureen- 8, Noel-7, and Theresa-18 months) had to leave their quarters, and came to live in Brookwood with her sister Minnie Giles and her children Patricia,  Nora and Denis. Noel became a Cub and later a Scout with the 1st Brookwood group. Akela then was Miss Helah Johnston, who became Mrs Helah Hill. Helah was instrumental in founding the Memorial Hall, and stayed in Brookwood remaining closely involved in its management and oversight until her death.

Noel stayed in Brookwood until 1958. Noel recalls 19 incendiary bombs targeted for the Guards Camp at Pirbright landed in the cemetery, and that a doodle bug V-1 flying bomb went over Brookwood and exploded past Pirbright Railway Junction.

Noel has visited his father's grave in Coxyde with his two sons, Richard and James. Richard followed in his grandfather's career footsteps and joined the Military Police, also rising to the rank of  WO1. Norah, Cyril's widow, remained in Brookwood until her death in 1972. Minnie's younger daughter Nora stayed at 225. Nora worked in Oram's food shop.

Many thanks to the Sheather family for their information.

Sources Medals Roll, medals, Army and Commonwealth War Graves Commission Gravestone photo. Family photo1 and photo2  and commemorations - thanks to Noel Sheather.

Edward Stevens
Edward was the younger brother of John and Walter Stevens (see following entries), born on 9th August 1896. He also joined The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment, in Guildford in 1916. He was posted to France after a short period of initial training.

He died in action aged just 19 on the Somme battlefields on 15th July 1916; his body was never recovered.

He was awarded the Victory and the British Medals. His name is listed on the Thiepval Memorial 20 miles northeast of Amiens.

John Stevens
John James Stevens was the second son of Walter and Emma Stevens. His father was a plasterer living in Pirbright when John was born on 1st January 1894. The family later lived at 2 Rose Cottage, later 113 Connaught Road, Brookwood. In 1911 John lived at the same address, with his elder brother Walter, and younger siblings Winifred, Edward, Emma, Reginald and a new baby brother.

John stated on enlistment in Guildford on 26th January 1915 (with his brother Walter) that he worked as a labourer.

He had just turned 21, and he at first joined the Queen’s Regiment with Walter. He was transferred after initial service training to the Northamptonshire Regiment.

He was posted abroad with the British Expeditionary Force to France on 27th July 1915, and was wounded in action in July 1916 from a gunshot wound in the left knee.

He was evacuated back to England, and was in hospital in Gravesend, Kent until October 1916 before being transferred to Shoreham by Sea for recuperation until March 1917. He was then classed as Category B and transferred to Sittingbourne, where he presumably was based.

On 21st April 1918 he returned to France and joined the 3rd Batallion. He was wounded on 8th July 1918 and he died in France on 31st August 1918. He was 24 years old.

The telegram sent to his parents read “Regret to inform you 45625 Pte. J. Stevens, 6th (Batallion) Northampton Regiment, Died of Wounds in 33 Casualty Clearing Station, France August 31st 1918.”

John must have been bravely involved in his final military action, as he was awarded the Military Medal, recorded in the London Gazette on 13th March 1919 and 1st April 1919. John is buried in the Daours Cemetery east of Amiens.

Walter Oliver Stevens
Walter was the elder brother of John and Edward Stevens, also commemorated on the plaque in Brookwood Memorial Hall. He is the third member of the Stevens family on the plaque. Walter was born on 20th January 1893, and was baptised the next day at home. This happens when a baby is not expected to live more than a few days. He survived, and was “received” into the Church a week later.

Walter joined up to the 7th Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment when he had just turned 22, with his younger brother John, in Guildford on 26th January 1915 declaring he was a labourer. He was wounded in France on 1st July 1916 by shrapnel, fracturing his left ankle. He was transferred to England from Rouen on 7th July 1916 on Hospital Ship Asturias to convalesce at 2nd Manchester General Hospital. Following no improvement to his ankle, he was discharged on medical grounds on 1st June 1917 with a surgical boot to support his ankle.

Walter was awarded 1915 Star, and the Victory and British Medals. Also, he was awarded the Silver War Badge. The Badge was introduced by the government, to be worn at all times, to display the wearer as having served and been discharged honourably.

He was re-employed as a plasterer by Messrs Faggeter, Builders in Brookwood. He was working as a porter at Brookwood Station on 22nd July 1919 when he was accidentally knocked down by a passing train and died, aged 26. The accident may have resulted from his disability caused by his war injury.

Edward John Veale
Ted was born on 15th November 1894 in Ringwood, Hampshire and lived in Brookwood at 5 Connaught Road from around a year old, for around five years from 1896, with his parents Henry (Harry) and Mary, and elder brothers George and William and elder sisters Alice and Cicely (Cissy). His father ran a refreshment cafe from their home, which may have been an old railway carriage. The family moved to Knaphill around 1900 initially living in Market Place, later at 5 Holly Thorn Cottages, Queens Road. Ted stayed on at Brookwood School until he was ten and then transferred to Knaphill school. Ted enlisted on 11th September 1914 in Norwich with the Norfolk Regiment. He was posted to France six months later, in May 1915. He was wounded in action within three months, receiving gunshot wounds to his right foot. Ted convalesced in France and rejoined his regiment four weeks later in September 1915. He died of wounds received in action on 19th February 1916 aged just 21 years old. He is buried in Vermelles British Cemetery near Béthune. Ted was awarded the 1915 Star, the Victory Medal and the British Medal.

Frederick Webb
Frederick was born at Lock Cottage on 29th October 1896, where he lived with his father and mother, Edward John and Margaret, and two elder children. In 1901 they moved to near the Royal Oak public house in Pirbright whilst Edward worked as a builder’s labourer, the canal trade having diminished in competition from the railways. The family moved later to Connaught Road and then back to Lock Cottage. The children went to Brookwood School. In 1911, Frederick was 15 and was working as a butcher’s boy, living in the lock cottage with six other siblings.

Frederick enlisted with the 5th Batallion, Royal Irish Regiment and sailed for the Dardanelles in July 1915, when he was 18 years old. They landed in Suvla Bay, Gallipoli on 7th August, and met heavy opposition from the Turks under the mismanaged invasion. They were re-deployed to Salonika in September and advanced north to Macedonia before retreating from the opposing Bulgarians. Frederick was reposted to the Western Front and joined the 2nd Batallion, Prince of Wales Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians) there a few months later. In the summer of 1916 the unit was engaged in trench digging near Trônes, and suffered from heavy bombardments.

After a spell of rest near Ameins, Frederick moved north to Loos, where heavy trench mortar activity took place in late October. Frederick was injured and died on 27th October. Two days later he would have reached just 20 years old.

Frederick was buried in Barlin Cemetery, south of Béthune. (Thanks to Pirbright Historians for all this information.)

Source Pirbright Historians

T. Price
We have yet to learn about T. Price and shall be grateful for any information to complete our project   registered charity 304981
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