1914 – 1918
Frederick James Abley
In the 1911 Census Frederick Abley was aged 16 and working as Gamekeeper Assistant. He was living at Keepers Cottage, Eardiston with his parents Martin & Emily Abley, his brother Walter, and sisters Lily, Edith and Norah.
16274 Private FJ Abley had enlisted in Tenbury in the 1st Battalion Worcestershire Regiment. He was killed in action aged 20 on 28 June 1915 at Neuve Chapelle in France & Flanders, Western European Theatre, where the Worcesters were holding the line from May to June 1915. Private Abley is buried in Grave K4 at La Trou Aid Post Cemetery at Fleurbaix, Département du Pas-de Calais, Nord-Pas-de-Calais.
William Edward Blount
In the 1911 Census, William Blount was aged 29 and working as a waggoner. He was living in Eardiston, where he had been born, with his wife Sarah. Living at the same address were Richard, Percy and Charles Painter (see later entry), and William Dennis.
Sergeant WE Blount (Service Number T4/038923; Regimental Number S2SR/01217) had enlisted in Worcester in the Royal Army Service Corps (799th Horse Transport Company). He died aged 36 on 17 October 1918 in the Balkan Theatre and is buried in the Mikra British Cemetery, Kalamaria near Thessalonika, Greece, in Grave 552.
The Mikra British Cemetery contains 1,900 burials of Commonwealth Servicemen of the 1st World War who lost their lives in that theatre. The cemetery also contains The Mikra Memorial which commemorates 500 Nurses and Officers and Men who died when transport ships were lost in the Mediterranean and who have no known grave but the sea.
Thomas Henry Bridges
In the 1911 Census Thomas Bridges was aged 12 and was still at school. Born in Lindridge, he was then living at Marlbrook Cottages, Neen Sollars with his parents Thomas and Sarah Bridges and brothers Charles, David and William, and sister Elizabeth.
22337 Lance Corporal TH Bridges had enlisted in Tenbury in the 9th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment. He was killed in action aged 18 on 17 January 1917 in Hai Salient, Mesopotamia in the Asiatic Theatre. He is buried in the Amara War Cemetery. All the headstones have been removed from the cemetery due to salt deterioration and a memorial wall has been constructed to commemorate the more than 4,000 WWI dead. Lance Corporal Bridges is remembered at Amara with a grave reference XXIV C 36.
Albert Victor Drapier
In the 1911 Census Albert Drapier was aged 23 and was working as a brick layer. He was living at Frith Common with his parents George and Emily Drapier.
38242 Private AV Drapier had enlisted in Worcester in the 3rd Battalion Worcestershire Regiment. He was killed in action aged 28 on 1 August 1917 whilst serving in the Ypres Salient in France & Flanders in the Western European Theatre. Private Drapier is buried in Plot 1 B 15 at The Huts Cemetery, near Ypres.
John James Francis
In the 1911 Census Wilfred Hudson was aged 12 and was still at school. He had been born in Lindridge, the youngest of five children, and was living at Harry’s Yelde, Lindridge with his parents Robert & Mary Hudson and his brother Wilfred.
Private 67503 WS Hudson enlisted at Swansea and served with the 5th (POW) Battalion (Territorials) Devonshire Regiment. He was killed in action aged 20 on 12 September 1918 in Picardy/Artois, Western European Theatre. He is remembered on Panel 4 of the Vis-en- Artois Memorial, Pas de Calais, France. This Memorial commemorates over 9,000 Commonwealth troops who fell between 8 August and the Armistice and who have no known grave.
Frederick James Instance
In the 1911 Census Frederick Instance, who was born on 23 June 1895 in Menith Wood, son of Charles and Rachel Instance of Frith Common, was aged 16 and was working as a farm labourer. He was living at Moorend Farm, Mamble with the Aston family. Frederick emigrated to Canada from Liverpool, travelling on the Lake Manitoba, and arrived on 16 April 1914 aged 19 at St John, New Brunswick. He was registered as living in Minnedosa, Manitoba.
1001140 Private FJ Instance, served with the 16th Battalion Canadian Infantry (Manitoba Regiment). He died of wounds received in action aged 23 on 1 October 1918 at Sancourt. On 29 September his regiment had assaulted and captured Sancourt village. He is buried in Plot II B 27 in the Commonwealth Graves Commission Sancourt British Cemetery near Cambrai, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France. This cemetery is given over almost entirely to that action and contains over 200 graves.
Thomas John Jenkins
In the 1911 Census Thomas Jenkins was aged 13 and was still at school. Born in Little Hereford, he was now living at Old Wood, Tenbury, with his grandparents John & Elizabeth Jenkins. He was the second child of Thomas & Fanny Jenkins of The Nest, Nash. Thomas Jenkins Snr had been a farm carter and the family had previously lived at Kyre.
43793 Private JT Jenkins enlisted at Tenbury and served with the 3rd Battalion Kings Own Shropshire Light Infantry. He died of his wounds aged 21 on 1 July 1918 at home, and is buried in Lindridge churchyard. His tombstone reads:
IN LOVING MEMORY OF
PTE THOMAS JOHN JENKINS
ELDEST SON OF THOMAS AND FANNY JENKINS
LATE OF THIS PARISH WHO DIED JULY 1 1918 AGED 21
GREATER LOVE HATH NO-ONE THAN THIS
THAT A MAN LAY DOWN HIS LIFE FOR HIS FRIENDS
George Henry Knott
In the 1911 Census George Knott was aged 13 and was working as a waggoner’s boy. He was living in Frith Common with his parents William and Ellen Knott, and his brothers Ernest, Harry and Stanley.
PO/1226(S) Private GH Knott served with the Royal Marine Light Infantry, 190th Brigade Machine Gun Company, RN Division. He served with the Royal Marines Battalion in Ireland from 26 April – 14 May 1916 during the Irish ‘Easter Rising’ Rebellion. He then embarked in the Royal Marines Brigade on 30 May 1916 and was drafted into the British Expeditionary Force on 3 September 1916 where he served until his death. He was killed in action aged 19 on Friday 10 February 1917 and is buried in Plot VII E 6 in the Ancre British Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel, France. The cemetery is in the Department of the Somme, about 2 kilometres south of the village of Beaumont-Hamel.
The Royal Naval Memorial commemorating the capture of Beaumont-Hamel is a stone obelisk erected by the main road from Arras to Albert, at Beaucourt-sur-Ancre, 500 metres northeast of Beaumont-Hamel railway station.
John and Edna Knott of Frith Common still have George Knott’s two medals, the large commemorative penny and the scroll sent out to the family of servicemen who were killed in the war. It reads:
He whom this scroll commemorates was numbered among those who,
at the call of king and country,
left all that was dear to them, endured hardness, faced danger,
and finally passed out of the sight of men
by the path of duty and self sacrifice, giving up their own freedom.
Let those who come after see to it that his name be not forgotten
Private George Henry Knott, RM, RN Division
Charles Lambert was born in Lindridge, the son of William Lambert of Kidderminster.
11499 Private C Lambert enlisted in Worcester and served in the 4th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment. He was killed in action on 6 August 1915 in Gallipoli aged 26. He is remembered on Panels 104 and 113 of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Helles Memorial.
Charles James Lambert
Charles J Lambert was the son of Charles and Emma Lambert of Lindridge.
16593 Private CJ Lambert served with the 4th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment. He died of wounds received on the Somme on 1 December 1916 aged 23. He is buried in Grave II E 30 in the Grove Town Cemetery, Meaulte, France. This cemetery contains some 1,400 graves of Allied Servicemen brought into the London Casualty Clearing Stations from the Somme Battlefields.
Reginald Lambert, born in the parish in 1898, was the son of Thomas and Sarah Lambert of 11 Sheep Cottages, Eardiston. His two cousins, Charles Lambert and Charles James Lambert (see above) are also commemorated on Lindridge War Memorial.
48151 Private R Lambert enlisted in Tenbury in the “C” Coy 4th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment. He was killed in action aged 19 on 30 November 1917 at Cambrai, France in the Western European Theatre. He is buried In the Département du Nord, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France. He is remembered on Panel 6 of the Cambrai Memorial at Louverval. This memorial commemorates over 7,000 Allied Servicemen who died in the Battle of Cambrai in November 1917 and who have no known grave.
The Lambert Family, who still live in Frith Common, have kindly allowed us to include here a photo of Reg and three letters from that time that they have kept since then.
The following letter was found amongst Reg’s mother’s personal belongings. It would seem to have been sent to Reg before he went to the war. Tom was Reg’s brother and served in the Navy in WW1.
This letter is from Tom, an elder brother to Reg. Kate was his wife. It shows how men at the Front were feeling at that time and how special reminders of home were to them.
The following letter is particularly poignant. From the records we know that Reg was killed in action in November 1917. If that was the case why in January 1918 is no-one is aware of this?
In the 1911 Census Christopher Painter was aged 15 and was working as a labourer on a farm. He was living at Cutt Mill, Eardiston with his parents Edwin and Eliza Painter and his brother Albert.
31149 Private C Painter enlisted in Worcester and served with the 1st Battalion Devonshire Regiment. He was killed in action aged 22 on 21 August 1918 at the capture of Bucquoy in the Pas de Calais (Western European Theatre). Bucquoy had been taken by the Allies in March 1918 but partly lost in April and not regained until 21 August. Christopher is buried in Grave III E 19 in the Commonwealth War Graves C Cemetery at Bucquoy, Pas de Calais. Christopher was the younger brother of Charles Gilbert Painter who had died of wounds earlier in the war.
Charles Gilbert Painter
In the 1911 Census Charles Painter was aged 17 and working as a labourer. He was living in Eardiston, boarding with William & Sarah Blount. He was the 5th of 7 children of Edwin and Eliza Painter of Dumbleton Brook, Eardiston.
108698 Private CG Painter enlisted in Abergavenny and served in the Machine Gun Corps (Infantry). He died of wounds sustained in action on the Somme aged 24 on 30 March 1918. He is buried in Grave 544 at Lihons French National (Somme) Cemetery, which contains 4,200 French graves and 6 Commonwealth soldiers’ graves. His younger brother, Christopher, was also to lose his life in France later in the war.
James Adams Pennell de Woodston Partridge
In the 1911 Census James Partridge, born on 26 August 1894, only son of James Adams and Constance Partridge of Lindridge House, was at school in Shrewsbury. Following a classical education at Shrewsbury (1909-1913) where he had been head of house and played football for the school 1st XI, he went to Canada. His Attestation Paper describes him as unmarried, living at Kamlooks and working as a rancher. He was disappointed not to be able to join the Canadian Expeditionary Force in 1914 but came back to England with his regiment in 1916.
687168 Private JA Partridge serving with the 54th Battalion Canadian Infantry (Central Ontario Regiment) was killed in action on 20 January 1918 in France aged 23. He had been on home leave at Christmas and, having just returned to France, was killed by shellfire whilst taking rations to the front line. His mother received a letter from his Commanding Officer in which he was described as “one of the best and bravest soldiers”. He is buried in Plot X B 17 of the Commonwealth War Graves Villers Station Cemetery, north of Arras.
The cross pictured above (and please click on it to take a closer look) originally marked the grave of Private Partridge; it reads:
IN MEMORY OF
687168 PRIVATE JA PARTRIDGE
DIED IN ACTION
20TH JANUARY 1918
Charles Thomas Porter
In the 1911 Census Charles Porter was aged 16, living with his parents, John and Alice Porter, brother Christopher and sister Elsie in Frith Common and working as a farm labourer.
203804 Private CT Porter served with the 1st/7th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment and died at Wimereux Base Hospital on 6 September 1917 aged 24. The regiment at the time was engaged in the Ypres Salient and it is presumed Charles was wounded there, taken to Wimereux for treatment but later died of his wounds. He is buried in the Commonwealth War Graves Wimereux Communal Cemetery near Boulogne in Plot VIA 18 A. Wimereux was an important hospital centre throughout the war and medical units used the cemetery for burials, of which there are over 3,000. Due to the sandy soil the headstone in this cemetery are laid on the ground. At the time of Private Porter’s death, the men of the 7th Worcestershire Regiment were in the line at Ypres.
Geoffrey Robert Wallace
In the 1911 Census Geoffrey Wallace was aged 14 and was a boarder at Uppingham School in Rutland. He was born in London, the second son of Lewis and Mabel Wallace of Lennox Gardens, Sloane Square, London and Hawford House, Claines. He was the grandson of the George Wallace of Eardiston.
Captain GR Wallace MC & Bar 1st/7th Battalion (Territorial) Worcestershire Regiment was killed in action near St Julien, between Ypres and Passchendaele in the Ypres Salient, on 27 August 1917 at the age of 21. He is remembered on Panels 75/77 at the Commonwealth War Graves Tyne Cot Memorial which records over 34,000 men killed at Ypres Salient with no known grave.
He is remembered at Claines Church and in Worcester Cathedral. In Lindridge church, set alongside the pulpit, is a marble memorial tablet to Captain Wallace MC:
IN PROUD AND LOVING MEMORY OF
GEOFFREY ROBERT WALLACE, MC
CAPTAIN 1/7TH WORCESTERSHIRE REGT
SECOND SON OF LEWIS ALEXANDER WALLACE
AND GRANDSON OF THE LATE GEORGE WALLACE OF EARDISTON
WHO WAS KILLED LEADING HIS COMPANY
NEAR ST JULIEN, BELGIUM, ON AUG 27TH 1917 AGED 21.
THREE TIMES MENTIONED IN DISPATCHES
He was a highly decorated young officer. Details of the actions for which he was decorated are taken from WWI History of the Worcestershire Regiment by Captain H FitzM Starcke MC:
In August 1917 heavy rain turned the ground into a quagmire. Knee deep and sometimes waist deep in the mud the soldiers attempted to advance through the shell holes whilst enemy snipers and machine gunners opened fire from every side. Captain Wallace led A Company forward most gallantly, having passed Vancouver Farm and nearing a concrete fort behind it, when two German snipers rose from a shell hole nearby. They shot Captain Wallace and he died within two hours. He was mentioned in despatches in the London Gazette on 18 December 1917.”
Wilfred Alexander George Williams
In the 1911 Census Wilfred Williams, born in Leominster and aged 15, was living with his mother Harriet and sisters Mabel and Violet in Kingsland Herefordshire. He was working in a laundry.
14144 Lance Sergeant WAG Williams enlisted at Shifnal and served with the 2nd Battalion Worcestershire Regiment. He was killed in action on 5 November 1916 on the Somme aged 20. He is remembered on Panels 5A and 6C of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Thiepval Memorial This memorial commemorates over 72,000 Allied officers and men who died in the Somme Sector and have no known grave.
At 11am on 5 November 1916 the 2nd Battalion were attacking Transloy Ridge and details of the action in which Sergeant Williams probably lost his life are taken from the official records of the Worcestershire Regiment:
A terrific storm of rain beat down with much lightning. Through the rain came German shells but in that slough many of them failed to explode. Presently the rain passed; the night became quiet and very cold.
The companies set to work to dig themselves in. As they worked the officers noticed a favourable sign. The wind which for days had brought rain from the west was changing; and it soon blew from the east, bitter cold indeed but rapidly drying the mud.
Dawn broke and the troops crouched in the cover they had made. In front of them, beyond the sunken road, a low crest-line, as before, hid the enemy’s position.
With the first light a German aeroplane drifted overhead. The enemy machine suddenly dived down to the position of the Battalion, circled close above the crowded companies, rose again amid a splutter of firing and made off to the eastward. Urged by their officers the troops dug feverishly while there was yet time.
Twenty minutes later the German shells came crashing down about the flimsy trenches, mostly not more than 4 foot deep by that time. The troops huddled close in their cover. The bombardment continued fiercely and without intermission. The two leading companies suffered many casualties. Both the company commanders, Captain HM Eyles and Captain EJW Warlow were killed, and all the other officers of D Company were hit. Hour after hour the bombardment continued, while the platoons lay close among the shell holes.
Precisely at 11 am the British artillery suddenly opened an intense fire. Thirteen minutes later the word was given to advance. The four companies of the 2nd Worcestershire scrambled to their feet and pushed forward to the attack. D Company, the opening ‘wave’, had already lost all their officers. Lieutenant Bennett, commanding C Company, went forward to them, started them off led by their NCOs, and then returned to lead his own Company.
The attack was met by a storm of fire. A barrage of heavy shells crashed down along the sunken lane and through the shell bursts could be heard the stammer of machine guns.
Led by a few brave NCOs, D Company advanced through the barrage across the sunken road and up the slope.
Close behind followed the other three companies. As he reached the sunken road, Lieutenant Bennett, commanding C Company, was struck down by a shell burst. He collapsed half-stunned into the lane where his wounds were bandaged by a kindly Frenchman. Dazed by the shock he watched the two rear companies pass forward through the fire. Beside him in the sunken lane he found other wounded men, among them a Sergeant and a 2nd Lieutenant. Together they peered forward through the smoke of the German barrage.
For a moment the smoke drifted aside and they could see the situation in front. The attack had stopped. The last few NCOs of D Company had been hit, two German machine-guns from the right flank had raked the line and the young soldiers, brave enough but utterly bewildered, had halted and lain down. The other companies had closed up to them and had likewise stopped. All four companies were crowded in the open under a fierce fire.
The little group in the trench were horror-struck. “God,” cried the 2nd Lieutenant, “are we going to fail again?” The wounded Sergeant grasped the situation and tore at the steep bank to make a step. “The boys will go on all right if there’s someone to lead them,” he said. He clambered up and dashed forward into the fire. Twenty yards from the trench he was struck and fell. Close on his heels followed the 2nd Lieutenant.
Lieutenant Bennett found a spade and cut himself a step in the embankment. Then he too ran forward through the bursting shells. As he ran he passed the 2nd Lieutenant struck dead. Still grasping the spade, he reached the troops, dashed through them and signalled them to advance. The whole Battalion rose behind him and flooded forward in one wave over the crest-line and down onto the flank of the German trenches.
From the front and from the right flank came a hail of bullets from the German machine-guns; but the ground was so broken that the platoons afforded no constant target as they struggled down into and up out of the countless shell holes… “we were like a swarm of rats in a ploughed field.” (EP Bennett). Before that onslaught the German garrisons of ‘Mirage’ and ‘Boritzka’ trenches gave way. Such as survived of the enemy fell back across the broken ground and Lieutenant Bennett led the attack forward along the whole length of the objective. Then, in pursuance of their orders, the 2nd Worcestershire faced to their right and pushed forward down the slope for some five hundred yards. Orders were given to dig in, and the remnant of the Battalion consolidated a new line beyond the captured ground.
The enemy actively disputed the advance and the new line was entrenched under a hot fire of musketry from close range. Lieutenant Holland, who had shown great gallantry throughout the attack, was shot and killed during the work of entrenchment. At first the new position was dangerously isolated but presently an officer of the 16th King’s Royal Rifles made his way forward to the line. His battalion had captured ‘Hazy Trench’ and had made good their ground. The left flank of the Worcestershire was thereby secured.
The survivors of the Battalion held their ground all the rest of that day, answering shot by shot and digging themselves into cover. Great gallantry was shown by 2nd Lieutenant Watts who reorganised his men and carried out a dangerous patrol to the front in which he was wounded (he was awarded the MC). They were exposed to a fierce fire all the afternoon and there were many casualties. After dark came relief. The 5th Scottish Rifles took over the captured line and the Worcestershire moved back. Very few were left of the four companies. Lieutenant Bennett could muster not more than about 60 all told, with one young subaltern besides himself. The little force marched back through the French lines, where they were heartily congratulated, to Battalion Headquarters at Les Boeufs.”