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Royal Field Artillery

( May be the James John Taylor RFA Bdr 86740 a new addition to the CWGC)


To date we have been unable to positively identify this man.

If you have any information, please do contact us.


Research by Rachel and Jim Stapleton


Beechholme WWI memorial

TAYLOR, James John Alfred (Canadians)

 19th Canadian Infantry




Private 454233


Killed in Action 14 September 1916.



James John Alfred Taylor was christened at St Mark’s Notting Hill on the 9 July 1898, the birth having been registered in the July quarter of that same year. According to his military records his birth date was 30 June but the year is not given.He was the fourth child of George James and Agnes, nee Woodley. George was employed in the brewing trade.Agnes was from Berkshire and married very young at around 16 or 17 years of age according to the age given on the census. Their first two children Walter and Edith were born in Berkshire. By the birth of their third child the family were living in Portland Road, Notting Hill. This was a very poor area, the houses being built in the 1850’s on waste land between the downmarket Norland Estate which was home to the squalid piggeries and potteries, and the fancy new Ladbroke Estate.After James’ birth another child was born in 1901 and another child George the following year.


At some time between 1901 and 1908 James along with his older sister Edith were resident in Beechholme. From immigration records held by the Library and Archives of Canada both of them were sent to Canada as “ Home Children” via the Liverpool Sheltering Homes. They were part of a mixed party of 84 boys and girls. James was aged ten and his sister fourteen when they sailed on the Corsican from Liverpool arriving at Quebec on 23 May 1908.


By the 1911 English census two more children from this family were resident in Beechholme, the youngest of them George.

The 1911 Canadian census shows James living with a family in North Gower Township. He is described as being 14 years old and  coming from England in 1908. James was now a naturalised Canadian and a family called Salter have adopted him. The father is employed as a farmer. His sister Edith is living in Fitzroy Township and employed as a domestic.


James’ family in England have proved elusive after the 1901 census. There is a death of an Agnes Taylor in 1908 within the Kensington registration district which fits her given age on the 1901 census. James’ father cannot be traced at all , nor can the other two siblings. James later sends his army pay to his younger brother George.


James enlisted on 12 April 1915 and his age is given as 19 years and 9 months. His next of kin is listed as his sister Edith of 193, Spark Street, Ottowa. His occupation is listed as farmer. James is described as being 5 feet 4 inches in height of medium complexion with grey eyes and dark brown hair. Under the column “distinctive marks” are listed a split upper lip, a scar above his right cheek and eight vaccination scars on his arm.


The 19th Canadian Infantry were part of the second contingent of Canadian regiments to go to France as part of the Canadian Expeditionary Force.

The battalion was originally raised at Exhibition Park in Toronto, Ontario on 6 November 1914. As part of the 4th Infantry brigade, 2nd Canadian Division they left their station in Toronto to West Sandling Camp in Shorncliffe, Kent, England on 23 May 1915 and from there to France on 14 September 1915.


                                  James John Alfred Taylor Beechholme WW1




They took part in the action at St Eloi Crater on the Ypres Salient in 1916 which was the first major engagement for the 2nd Canadian Division. It ended in disaster following two weeks of hard, confused fighting in mud filled craters and with very little cover. This action was followed by the Battle of Mount Sorrel from 2 June to 14 June.The battle took place between Hill 60 at Zwarteleen and Hooge, much of the ground here was wooded. The Canadian Corps suffered a total of 8,430 men killed, wounded or missing in this one action.


September 1916 saw the battalion in scattered billets in the village of Nordausques.

On the 9th of the month they marched to Albert and from then were in and out of the line.

Here is an extract from the war diary :-


14 September In the Line.


“Artillery very active all night. Three patrols covered our working parties  during the night. Small party of enemy seen digging for a short time. The sapping was completed with exception of joining up a few yards between sap map reference R35 d 3 1/2 2 ½ and the next one to the right. This is almost impossible as German line is only 15 yards away at this point. “D” Company was relieved by “C” Company in left sub sector at 3 pm. D Coy becoming battalion reserve. Two platoons each of A & B Coys were relieved at 6pm in front line by bombardments of our front line during day and a heavy bombardment about 7.15 pm. The enemy trenches were bombarded by our heavy artillery from 9.15 am to 9.50 am and from 7.10 pm to 7.50 pm.

Captain F.L.Henderson, Lieutenant H.Cassles, and Lieutenant H.M.Harman wounded.

Other Ranks 5 killed and 80 wounded.”





            James John Alfred Taylor_Beechholme WW1              







                  James John Alfred Taylor Beechholme WW1



 The Canadian Grave Register states killed in action at Somme. It is likely that James’s medals were sent back to Beechholme as no next of kin could be traced.



Research By Rachel and Jim Stapleton with special thanks to Dr John Dickenson, retired reader in Geography, University of Liverpool..

SOURCES:- Ancestry, Find My Past, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, The Long,Long Trail, Canada Library and Archives

Canadian War Museum, Wikepedia, A Brief History of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, War Diary- Reference No:-MIKAN-1883233


Beechholme WWI memorial

THEED, Albert

Private 3888


3rd Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment )


Killed in Action 9/3/15. 


Albert Victor Theed was born on the 10th of June 1897 and baptized on August the 15th of the same year in the parish of Hampstead St John. He was the son of Thomas and Sarah nee Goney. His father was employed as a dustman. Albert was the eighth youngest of eleven children born to the couple.

In 1905 Albert’s father died at the age of 43 and by 1911 Albert was resident in Beechholme at the age of thirteen. His admission date to Beechholme is unknown. His mother was employed as a charwoman supported by two of Albert’s older brothers who were employed as a lamp cleaner and a greengrocer’s errand boy respectively. Two younger sisters are also living with their mother in Hampstead.

The 3rd Royal Fusiliers became part of the 85th Brigade, 28th Division and as such landed at Le Havre on the 18th January 1915. Albert enlisted at Kilburn and from his medal index card his date of entry was the 5th May 1915. No service records survive for him but he only lasted four days before being killed on the Western Front.

The 3rd Royal Fusiliers were  heavily involved in the 2nd Battle of Ypres. On the 20th April they moved into Gravenstafel trenches when it was obvious a German attack was imminent. They endured two German gas attacks on the 22nd and 24th of April, the 22nd being the first time poison gas was used. After the last attack they fell back to the south west of St. Julien. On the 3rd May the battalion moved back to bivouac in the wood north of Vlamertinghe-Poperinghe road where they were inspected by the Divisional Commander on the 4th May.

At noon on the 8th of May they were ordered to support an attack made by the East Surrey and the 3rd Middlesex regiments between Verlorenhoek road and railway to regain some trenches lost in that vicinity. The battalion took no more active participation on this occasion than that of being the victim of perpetual sniping from their front and right. However,  they were relieved on the 12th of May following a reinforcement of several large drafts.

During the four days of active support their losses were as follows :- 2 Officers killed. 40 Non Commisssioned Officers killed and some 141 wounded. All of the men killed on the 9th of May have no known graves and are commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres.

The 3rd Royal Fusiliers were highly complimented by the Commander-in-Chief for their services and operations extending from April 22nd to May 13th.

 Albert Theed Beechholme WW1 Map

All five of Albert’s brothers served during the war, his oldest brother James also being killed serving with the Royal Fusiliers and his name is inscribed on the Thiepval Memorial to the missing.

Albert's mother was his sole legatee.

GRAVE REF :- Panels 6 & 8 Ypres Menin Gate Memorial.

Research by Rachel and Jim Stapleton

SOURCES :- CWGC,, Find My Past, Map courtesy of ’Linesman’,  ‘The Royal Fusiliers in the Great War’ by Herbert Charles O’Neill.

Last updated: 26 Feb 2017.

Beechholme WWI memorial


Private 634147

38th Eastern Ontario Canadian Infantry

Died of Wounds 3 September 1918

Age 20 approx

Brother of Bertha Mabel Whitford of London.

Thomas Townsend was born in 1898. The 1901 Census records his place of birth as being Nottingham but this is unlikely and should in fact read Notting Hill as this is where his older sister was born. His parents were Isaac Townsend a butcher, and Bertha Mabel nee Wilstead. No marriage entry could be found for his parents. Indeed by 1901 there is no trace of Isaac, and Bertha is employed as an upholsteress. The family are living at 9, Princes Road, Kensington and includes one older sister Bertha Mabel. One older brother had died in early childhood.

Thomas’s mother gave birth to another child Alice Evelyn in 1902 and then in 1905 his mother dies.Thomas was admitted to Beechholme on the 24th of January 1906 and adopted.

On the 3rd January 1910 both Thomas and his younger sister Alice are found on an immigration form arriving in Quebec, Canada. They had sailed from Liverpool on the ‘Virginian’. They travelled as  part of a group of children from the Liverpool Sheltering Homes organisation.

Thomas cannot be traced on the 1911 Canadian census but his young sister is employed as a domestic in a household in Ontario. She is eight years old.

Thomas enlists with the Canadian Eastern Ontario Regiment on May 23rd 1916. He was eighteen years old. His occupation is given as farmer and his next of kin as his older married sister in London. 

 The 38th regiment were heavily involved in the breakthrough at the Drocourt -Queant line switch of the Hindenberg Line just south of the town of Dury. This action took place on 2 and 3September 1918 during a period known as ‘Canada’s Hundred Days’

From an entry in the 38th Canadian War Diary dated 2 September 1918:-

‘ The Red Objective was on the forward slopes of a hill and it was necessary for advancing troops to advance over the crest of the hill in the open and was directly under fire of scores of machine guns and a great many trench mortars.’

Losses of 3 Officers and 57 Other Ranks Killed and 7 Officers and 176 Other Ranks injured.

From the Canadian Circumstance of Death form is the following entry:-

“Died of Wounds 3/9/18 at No 2 Canadian Field Ambulance, Date of Casualty 2/9/18.

Next of Kin Mrs. B.M. Whitford, 5, Waverley Road, Paddington, Harrow Rd, W2.”

Next of kin notified 5/4/19.

Confirmed burial report- Tigris Lane British Cemetery, Wancourt. Three and a half miles South East  of Arras.

A Communication addressed to his younger sister on  2/8/1922 regarding his burial place was returned undelivered . This was due to the fact that she had married. It was from her Canadian marriage entry that details of Thomas’ father were obtained.

 Grave Ref : II. B. 2

Tigris Lane Cemetery,Wancourt.


Research by Rachel and Jim Stapleton

SOURCES:-, Find My Past, CWGC,"Western Front 1918-Advance to Victory" courtesy of the CWGC,
War Diary of the 38th Eastern Ontario Canadian Infantry (online), Canadian WW1 Attestation (online),
Canadian Immigration & Marriage Entry courtesy of Ancestry.  Canadian Library & Archives.

Last updated 19 Feb 2017

Beechholme WWI memorial

TUCKER, Edward                     

2nd Royal Irish Fusiliers


Private 2/9291


Died by 1920 following discharge for "Paralysis"



Edward Tucker was born in 1891 in Kensington.


He was admitted to Beechholme on the 11th of August 1896 with his older brother Owen. He also had a younger sister called Jessie. All the children were illegitimate. The Poor Law records state that the putative father was a Mr J. Jones and that their mother was Matilda who had abandoned the children and whose address was unknown. It is also recorded that Edward was adopted.

Edward was discharged from the school on the 24th of August 1906 to the 3rd Munster Fusiliers band. A report issued on him states " 4th Munster Fusiliers, Kinsale, Ireland. Character good. Progressing well." A later report adds " Will not make a good musician as has no ear for music., otherwise progressing favourably."


Ten years later and Edward is already in the army. His occupation is given as musician and his rank is given as rifleman with the 2nd battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles. They are based at the Citadel Barracks, Western Heights, Dover Castle in Kent.


Edward’s Medal Index Card gives him a qualifying date of 16 August 1914. It also states that he was awarded a silver war badge.


The 2nd battalion were based at Tidworth when war broke out in 1914 and they landed at Rouen on 14 August 1914.

The silver war badge number 423,904 was awarded to Edward when he was discharged for “paralysis” and he was discharged as no longer fit for army service on 8 July 1918. Without the death certificate it is impossible to determine what the term paralysis meant at that time. Despite searching records and obtaining a possible death certificate we have been unable to determine when and where this man died.

The card also notes that he enlisted on 24 August 1906.


The Beechholme book states that he had died by 1920 and also notes that he was a good footballer.


He is not on the Commonwealth War Graves site and no service or pension records can be found for him.

Research by Rachel and Jim Stapleton

SOURCES :- Ancestry

Last updated: 22 Feb 2017

Beechholme WWI memorial

TUCKER, William John

 Sergeant H/45459, 8th Kings Royal Irish Hussars


Died of Wounds on 25th of April 1918


Age 31


Husband of Ellen Gertrude Tucker of Dundas House, Strand, Ryde, Isle of Wight.


William John Tucker was born around 1888 in Paddington and he was the fourth of at least five children, and only son, born to William Tucker and Elizabeth his wife. Elizabeth’s maiden name is unknown as the marriage entry for this couple could not be found. William senior was employed as a plumber or a plumber’s labourer.


On the 1891 census the family are living at 123, Fifth Avenue, Chelsea. This accommodation was shared with one other family and consisted of just two rooms. In 1894 William senior dies at the age of about thirty-seven. No further trace can be found of Elizabeth and there are several deaths in the London area that could relate to her.


William was admitted to Beechholme on the 18th of December 1894 and his mother was given as his next of kin. She was living at 33, Lankerfield Street. An older sister is in service and there is no further trace of the youngest sibling. Young William and one of his sisters are resident in Beechholme on the 1901 census, William aged thirteen.


Another ten years on and William is a private in the 8th Kings Royal Irish Hussar. He is stationed at the Campbell barracks, Dilkusha, Lucknow, India. His occupation is given as musician.


In the January quarter of 1918 William marries Ellen Gertrude Tiller on the Isle of Wight. They would have had very little time together before he was killed. They had no children.


The 8th Kings Royal Irish Hussars were in Ambala in India in August 1914 as part of the Ambala Cavalry Brigade. They moved with the brigade to France as part of the 1st Indian Cavalry Division, landing at Marseilles on the 10th of November 1914.

William’s date of entry is the 11th of November 1914, obtained from his medal index card.

The motto of the 8th  Kings Royal Irish Hussars is “Pristinae Virtutis Memores “ which translates from the Latin as “ the memory of former valour”

The regiment entered the trenches on the Western Front for the first time on the 9th of December 1914, not having arrived in time to take any part in the Retreat from Mons.


The first action that they encountered was in December 1914 at the Battle of Givenchy, but the majority of their time was spent sending large parties forward to dig trenches, and this continued for the whole of the war.


In May 1915 the regiment took part in the 2nd Battle of Ypres where the Germans first used chlorine gas.

In September 1915 the 8th Hussars transferred to the 2nd Indian Cavalry Division.The majority of the casualties that the regiment incurred were from the unsanitary conditions of the trenches, the cavalry being held almost exclusively in reserve waiting for the “gap,” constantly warned of, but never used.


In July 1916 they fought at Bazentin then Fleurs-Courcelette, both battles being in the Somme region. They then returned to the Somme area in March 1917 to clear the small pockets of machine guns left by the retreating Germans. They took part in what would be the regiment’s last mounted charge at Villers-Faucon.


During the German Spring Offensive of 1918 “C” Squadron defended the village of Hervilly in March until forced to retreat, only to recapture it with casualties. This area would be the logical place for William to have been wounded as the battalion war diary reveals that nothing much was going on in the month of April, and indeed there were no casualties for the whole of that month.


The war diary entry was very hard to read, the writing being very faint, but the following is part of it that was legible.


23/3/15 3.00 am. ”Regiment advanced to BOIS DE CERSY between HERVILLY and JEANCOURT”

11.00am. “ HERVILLY being reported in the hands of the enemy. 8th Hussars were ordered to attack and re-occupy. 3 tanks were picked up and co-opted. Infantry were seen falling back on the high ground towards ROISEL. Large numbers of enemy advancing at HERVILLY and HERVILLY WOOD.”

The next few paragraphs are hard to read up until the following :-

23/3 “While crossing the river an officer galloped ap and told Major A.Curell to advance as quickly as possible as the German Cavalry were coming up. While advancing up the hill the regiment was met by 30 stampeding horses of the 19th Hussars and it was necessary to turn off the road into a chalk pit. A shell burst into the chalk pit and more horses stampeded.

We were ordered to follow the 19th Hussars who were moving around the hill. On approaching the crest heavy shell fire and machine gun fire was met.

8th Hussars moved towards FALVY. The village and bridges being heavily shelled. Our infantry reported that the German cavalry were moving down to the outskirts of the village. As direct fire was being brought to bear on the bridge and no men were left to guard the approaches-all being required to assist the horses over and as the horses were being continually hit and becoming unmanageable it was decided to get all the men over and abandon the horses.

This was done and orders were received to hold the eastern side of the village.

Remained in position until relieved by the infantry when the regiment rejoined the horses and marched to CURCHY.


Casualties -1 Officer wounded

                8 Other Ranks- wounded and missing

                1 Other Rank- missing

                1 Other Rank-shell shock.



Premont is a village some 19.5 kilometres south east of Cambrai on the road to Guise and a little south east of the main straight road from St Quentin to le Cateau.

The cemetery of Premont where William is buried lies 1.5 kilometres south east of the village on the south side of the road to Bohain.

Premont British Cemetery was made and used by and for casualty clearing stations in October 1918 and was closed the following December.

Some years later 165 graves were added to it from other sites.

One cemetery in particular, Seboncourt, contained the graves of 6 soldiers from the United Kingdom buried by the enemy in January, February , March and April 1918.


Soldiers Effects records held by Ancestry state that William died in the war hospital at Bohain.

His wife was his legatee and she had the following inscription put on his gravestone "Until the Day Breaks".


GRAVE REF :-Premont British Cemetery IV.B.16


Research by Rachel and Jim Stapleton

SOURCES:- Ancestry, Find My Past, The Long Long Trail, Commonwealth War Graves Commission,  Wikepedia, War Diary-WO/95/1115/

Last updated: 26 Feb 2017 

Beechholme WWI memorial