Banstead War Memorial.


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WWI
H
HARDEN, HARRY ELBERT

Gunner 60931

Royal Garrison Artillery


Died 19-June-1917 aged 29

Son of Mr. and Mrs. Amos Harden, of 4, Salisbury Rd., Banstead, Surrey;
husband of Louisa A. Harden, of 77, Lansdowne Rd., Walthamstow, London.

Grave Reference: XIV. E. 20.

LIJSSENTHOEK MILITARY CEMETERY Poperinge, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

Source : Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
All Saints Church Memorial, Banstead, Surrey.
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Hary Elbert, All Saints Church Memorial, Banstead,Surrey.
Harry Harden,Wood Panel, All Saints Church Banstead

Wood panel
All Saints Church
Banstead
HARDING, HARRY

Private G/4383

The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment) 1st Bn.


Died 1-November-1915 aged 29

Son of George Harding and Ellen Day whose marriage was registered in the second quarter of 1881 at Lewes in Sussex. In 1901 they were recorded as living at Fletching, also in Sussex.

Husband of Annette Mary Harding formerly Wise. of 12, Mint Cottages, Banstead, Surrey. Their marriage was registered in the second quarter of 1908 at Tonbridge in Kent.

The following year they had a son also named Harry. The birth of Harry Bertram Harding was registered in the third quarter of 1909 at Ticehurst and the family were still resident there in 1911.

Harry enlisted at Guilford Surrey and eventually found himself at the frontline in France.

The war diary shows that the 1st battalion of the Royal West Surrey Regiment were told that they would be taking over the trenches from the 19th Brigade. They marched to Cambrin on the 29 October 1915. This was a small village, about 800 metres from the front line trenches and the diary records sniper activity in the area.

Snipers operated on all sides during the war; in static trench conditions the ever-present danger of snipers ensured that it was not advisable for any soldier to raise head or arms above parapet-level, even fleetingly.

The quality of sniping was such that fatalities were common even where men exposed themselves to fire for a fraction of a second. This was partly because snipers were expected to thoroughly accustom themselves to the lay of the land which fell within their domain; this included the exact composition of enemy trench lines. Eagle-eyed sharpshooters proved extraordinarily deft at detecting slight changes in geography.

Harry Harding, Wood Panel, All Saints Church BansteadJust three days later, on the 1st of November 1915, the same war diary reports :

"Enemy still showing more activity with snipers, but no shelling on our section.
Casualties - Two killed and one wounded."

Harry had been shot and killed by a sniper.

Of the 1,000 men of 1st Battalion The Queen’s Royal Regiment who landed in France in 1914 only 17 were alive at the Armistice.

Cambrin Churchyard Extension picture courtesy of Pieter van Elteren The Fletching War Memorial - Photo courtesy of Geoff IstedHarry is remembered along with his brother Fred Harding of The Royal Hussars, on the Fletching War Memorial.

After his death, his wife Annette went on to marry Charles Champion, in the first quarter of 1917 at Epsom, Surrey.

Grave/Memorial Reference: H. 33.

Cemetery: CAMBRIN CHURCHYARD EXTENSION Pas de Calais, France.

Source : Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
War diary entries from The Great War Diaries.
Family research by Christine Kent.
Sniper activity from First World War.com.
Photo of Cambrin Churchyard Extension by Pieter van Elteren at www.peterswar.net.
Details of death provided by Geoff Isted who is researching the men on the Fletching War Memorial.

Note from webmaster: Geoff has searched long and hard for details of Fred Harding but at the time of writing (March 2009) he has found very little. If you have any information about this Harding family please contact me and I will forward the information to Geoff.

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Private Jack Hillman WWI postcard showing cap badge of the Royal Fusiliers HILLMAN, John (Jack)

Private G/82083

Royal Fusiliers 26th Bn.


Died 14-July-1918 aged 19

Son of Alfred and Helen Hillman, of Park Farm, Banstead, Surrey.

Jack was born in 13 July 1899 at Park Farm Cottages, Holly Lane, Banstead. his birth certificate shows the name John but he was always called Jack . His father, Alfred, was employed as a carter and ploughman by Mr and Mrs Garton. They owned the Banstead Wood Estate which included Park Farm and the cottage where the Hillman family lived.

Jack had  an elder brother, William, and in January 1905, a daughter, Helen, was born. All three children attended Banstead Village School. This involved a walk along Holly Lane until just past Chipstead Road where they turned right up a path and across the fields which emerged at The Mint public house in Park Road. The route then continued along Park Road until another footpath took them across the Village Cricket Green to the school at the corner of Court Road and the High Street.


Helen and Jack Hillman school photos
Helen, had fond memories of Jack giving her a lift on the crossbar of his bike, part of the way to school.

When Jack left school at 14 he joined his elder brother William to work as a gardener at Banstead Place.

Jack was musically gifted; Helen always said that, he could get a tune out of anything!  He was a choir boy at Banstead Church and helped and encouraged Helen when she struggled to master the violin. 

Jack became a member of the Banstead Silver Band playing a trumpet. This band practised in a barn located near Court Road and Bolter's Lane.  The early members were described as 'being pretty poor in terms of wealth - but not in playing prowess'.  Most of their engagements were at local fetes and parks, and they often provided the music for open air dances at the Lady Neville Recreation ground.

Jack was a lively and likeable character and according to his sister, popular with the girls.

In 1915, his brother William reached the age of enlistment, (18) and off he went to join the East Surrey Regiment. Jack however would not reach 18 until July 1917 but before that time, a white feather arrived anonymously by post.

The white feather was bestowed on 'slackers' by chauvinist women in the First World War. The notion of a white feather representing cowardice goes back to the 18th century, arising from the belief that a white feather in the tail of a game bird denoted poor quality. To 'show the white feather' was therefore to be 'unmanly'.

Jack Hillman - Banstead Band uniform
Jack, aged sixteen  in (Year 1915)
Banstead Silver  Band uniform .
This photo was taken at Farm Cottages,
Park Farm. The wall in the background
remains in situ to this day although the
dwelling was demolished around 1950.
Jack was a healthy lively lad and someone evidently thought he was older than he was and should be in the forces like all the other eligible men. Jack's parents were stunned and saddened the day that he announced he was no coward, as he had enlisted, months before his 18th birthday. He must have lied about his age.

Jack became a private in the Royal Fusiliers and the photograph above shows him carrying a trench bugle which he must have been very proud of. His particular battalion also had a band but of course the battalion had more important work to do at the time. Buglers had more of a practical use on the field of battle but they were used sparingly in WWI.

A copy of Trumpet & Bugle Sounds for the Army, with Instructions for the training of Trumpeters and Buglers 1914 states that "The following trumpet and bugle sounds are to be strictly adhered to on all occasions, and no others used in his majesty's service. General Officers Commanding, may at their discretion, order all or any of the peace calls to be used on active service".

Examples include: 
Continue or commence firing
Stand Fast or Cease Fire
Execute orders received


Bugle calls were sometimes used to inspire the men as they made their attack. It was usual that once their training in England was completed, and they arrived ready for war in France, the bandsmen put away their instruments and became stretcher bearers or riflemen.

WWI postcard message from Pte J Hillman
This card was sent to Helen, Jack's sister.
The picture on the front was the Royal Fusilier's cap badge shown above
It is not known when Jack  arrived in France but he almost certainly was there from January 1918.  A card sent back home before he got to the front shows his full confidence in the abilty of the Royal Fusiliers who were attached to the 41st Division.

This Division was comprised of three brigades each of which had four battalions.  Jack was attached to the  26th Battalion of the London Fusiliers  known as the Bankers. Originally this was a large battalion of some 1500 men formed in 1915 and made up of bank clerks and accountants from all over the country. They operated in the Ypres salient, the scene of much savage fighting where troops sought shelter in underground tunnels when not engaged in an actual attack or defence.

The more elaborate dugouts, as these tunnels were known, were often forty feet deep with a main shaft descending through the layer of blue clay well below the surface. The blue clay was impermeable to water and was the cause of so much mud on the battlefield  as the heavy rain had nowhere to go. The Royal Engineers built the tunnels below the blue clay and sufficiently deep to avoid damage from the shells of the German heavy guns. Each tunnel had basic sleeping bunks where weary soldiers, probably officers, could get some respite from the dangerous, noisy and wet conditions up above.

Jack made it to his ninteenth birthday on 13 July 1918 but was to die just one day later. He lies buried with a few hundred others, at La Clytte Military Cemetery, Belgium.

Jack Hillman Headstone His parents never saw his grave but amongst the items returned to them was a small pencil sketch of Park Farm, Jack's home in Banstead. It is something he carried with him to remind him of 'HOME SWEET HOME' and was almost certainly retrieved from his pocket after he was killed.



 

Jack Hillman, All Saints Church Memorial, Banstead
The Garton WWI memorial in
All Saints Churchyard Banstead
Jack Hillman, Wood Panel, All Saints Church Banstead
One of the wood panels in the Lady Chapel at All Saints church Banstead.
Grave Reference: IV. F. 12.

LA CLYTTE MILITARY CEMETERY Heuvelland, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

William 'Billie' HillmanJack's brother William survived the war but not without serious injury.
He was gassed at the Somme and returned to England for treatment. He went back to the front where he later suffered serious wounds to his back, and had to have one leg amputated. After months of treatment and the fitting of an artificial limb, he became the caretaker at Banstead Church Institute.


Source : Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
All Saints Church Memorial, Banstead,Surrey
Personal details and photographs contributed by Roy Nicholson, son of Jack's sister, Helen Hillman
Details of Bugler's duties and instructions form a discussion on The Great War Forum
Family research by Christine Kent
Updated 14 November 2008
Pending - Enquiry to the horncollector


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HUNT, GEORGE George Hunt - picture courtesy of Katherine Barnard nee Hunt

Private 3950

The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment)


Died 19-February-1916 aged 32

George Hunt was born in India.

Later in life, he married Martha and they lived in Ferndale Road Banstead. The photo below  shows the terraced houses on the left hand side of Ferndale Rd, where three generations of the Hunts, including George Hunt lived.

Ferndale Road Banstead - part postcard from Lewis Wood collection George and Martha had four children,
Edith, William, Albert and Alfred.






George was attached to the 1st Battalion The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment) and their war movements are listed below:

August 1914 : in Bordon Camp. Part of 3rd Brigade, 1st Division.
Landed at Le Havre 13 August 1914.
8 November 1914 : transferred to I Corps.
21 July 1915 : transferred to 5th Brigade, 2nd Division.
15 December 1915 : transferred to 100th Brigade, 33rd Division.

The 100th Brigade included
16th (Service) Battalion (Public Schools), The Middlesex Regiment (until February 1916)
16th (Service) Battalion (Church Lads Brigade), King's Royal Rifle Corps
1st Battalion, The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment) 
2nd Battalion, The Worcestershire Regiment 

The Regimental war diary shows the regiment was in the area of Bethune in January 1916 then Annequin la Fosse and Beuvry. The diary records a relatively quiet period with "ordinary routine" shown against quite a few days. Other entries record patrolling the trenches and occasional shelling.  The enemy line was reported to be very thick and unpassable even by a single man.

 In the first 18 days of February a total of 6 men were killed and 5 wounded. On the day that Private George Hunt was killed, the diary records the following;-

Katherine at her grandfather's (G Hunt) graveside" Shelling caused at about 10.30 am 600x behind our trenches (front line). Sergt ARCHER A. H. recommended for bravery and helping mechanic under heavy shell and M.G. (machine gun) fire....
2 killed 10 wounded. "

George Hunt, Wood Panel, All Saints Church Banstead It was normal practice not to name the lower ranks killed and but it is likely that George Hunt was one of the two men killed on that day.

Katherine Barnard, nee Hunt, George's granddaughter researched her family history and made a point of visiting her grandfather's grave in France.

Grave Reference: F. 7.

CAMBRIN MILITARY CEMETERY

 

George Hunnt 100th anniversaryOn the 100th anniversary of George's death, Kathy attended a commemoration service at All Saints church in Banstead,where the bells were tolled one hundred times in honour of George Hunt.

Kathy was able to wear the very medals awarded to George after a collector found his story on this website and got in touch.



Source : Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Regimental war Regimental diary entries from The Queens Royal regiment Archive  
Enquiry re uniform sent to allthequeensmen.co.uk   4 May 2009
G Hunt picture supplied by granddaughter Katherine Barnard in May 2009

Photo on left by James Crouch.

All Saints WWl Memorial Banstead Surrey.

Wood panel All Saints Church Banstead.
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Last updated: 10 Sept 2016