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|WALLIS, William Albert
Grenadier Guards 3rd Bn.
Died 31-July-1917 aged 36
Son of Francis and Eliza Wallis.
The family is recorded as living at Flint Cottage, High Street Banstead.
Albert's brother Alfred Ernest Wallis survived the war.
Memorial Reference: Panel 9 and 11.
YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.
This panel is extremely high and difficult to photograph well. The photo shows the panel for the Grenadier Guards. The inscription for Private W A Wallis is the 3rd one down on the left.Source : Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
All Saints Church
WATERS, Albert ......(Probably)
Born in Polegate/Hailsham, Sussex, early 1884. Living at Albert Place, Hailsham in 1891. Disappears for 20 years. Married Nellie (probably nee Morton) from Waltham Abbey in 1910 (probably in Edmonton, Middlesex). In 1911, they were living at The Creamery, High Street, Banstead (3 rooms) where Nellie was manageress of the dairy and Albert was dairyman’s [foreman?]. They have a son, Edric, registered in Epsom district in third quarter of 1915. No further children.
Derby Scheme man, enlisted in the 6th (Reserve) Royal Fusiliers in December 1915 at Banstead. Gave his address as Shirley, Lyme Regis Rd (which agrees with memorial book). Was automatically called up when conscription came into force in May 1916. He was made Corporal and after completing his training, he served (very briefly) with the 22nd Royal Fusiliers (29th Sept 1916 - 12th Oct 1916, a period which probably covered his travel time to France) and then with 32nd Royal Fusiliers (13th October 1916 onwards).
There is some uncertainty over his date of death, the effects register and medal roll records 19th-22nd Sept 1917, SDGW says 22nd and All Saints memorial says 20th. The 32nd RF took part in an attack from the 19th-22nd in the Battle of Menin Road Ridge (part of the Battle of Passchendale). The 32nd were in support of the 10th Queen’s attack on the Tower Hamlets spur. The Queen’s were to seize their objective (the first, “Red”, and second, “Blue”, lines of German trenches) and then the 32nd would leapfrog them to take their objective trench (the third, “Green Line”).
The 10th Queen’s suffered terrible casualties and were wiped out as an attacking force early on when caught in a bunch by machine-guns (the numbers are not recorded in their war diary but they had to be reinforced from many other units and only about 200 of the men still serving a few weeks later were originally from the 10th Queen’s). The artillery barrage was ineffective and too far in front of the 32nd Fusiliers and they - bunched together like the Queen’s were - came under considerable fire from undamaged machine-gun emplacements. They lost 36 killed, 8 died of wounds, 234 wounded and 29 missing, about 70% of those casualties before they even reached the Red Line (mostly bullet wounds). 77% of officers and 60% of other ranks taking part in the attack for the 32nd became casualties. There were 22 decorations for bravery during the attack.
If Albert survived the early stages of the action, it’s highly likely his officers were out of action, and as a corporal it would fall upon him to lead his section of men onwards. The officer commanding the 32nd’s report is critical of the lack of self-confidence shown by the non-commissioned officers once they lost their officers and of the lack of confidence that the men had in them, but even so their morale held up well enough to repel subsequent German counterattacks.
Most casualties were suffered on the 20th and so the All Saints memorial is probably correct. There is a good report on the battle in the war diary
Memorial Reference: Panel 28 to 30 and 162 to 162A and 163A.
TYNE COT MEMORIAL
Research by James Crouch
Commonwealth War Graves Commission.(2 day discrepancy on Date of Death.)
SDGW Albert Waters 42301
Medal Index Card Albert Waters GS/42301
Medal Index Roll Albert Waters G42301
Register of Soldier’s Effects Albert Waters G42301
Surrey Recruitment Register A Waters 1967
War Gratuity Calculator
WO95-2643 10th Queen’s War Diary
WO95-2644 32nd Royal Fusiliers War Diary
WO95-1372 22nd Royal Fusiliers War Diary (nothing useful here
1911 Census England & Wales marriages 1837-2008 Transcription Albert Waters 1910 Edmonton
Wales births 1837-2006 Transcription Edric M Waters 1915 Epsom
Wales births 1837-2006 Transcription Albert Obed Waters 1884 Hailsham
The Long, Long Trail on 6th, 22nd, 32nd Royal Fusiliers
All Saints Church
WELLER, Edwin Albert
Royal Field Artillery "A" Bty. 73rd Bde.
Died 31-October-1916 aged 24
Son of Edwin and Elizabeth Weller, of Sutton, Surrey;
Husband of Jessie Minnie Weller, of 9, Firtree Cottages, Pound Rd., Banstead, Surrey.
Grave Reference: IV. B. 38.
DERNANCOURT COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION Somme, France
Source : Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
All Saints Church Memorial, Banstead, Surrey.
Headstone at DERNANCOURT photofraphed by Clive Gilbert in May 2008.
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Last updated 6 June 2008 - Headstone photo added
|WIGGLESWORTH, Gill Montague
Northamptonshire Regiment 6th Bn.
Died 22-August-1918 aged 36
Husband of Ethel Wigglesworth, of "Strathnavis," Ferndale Rd., Banstead, Surrey.
Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 7.
Source : Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
All Saints Church Memorial, Banstead, Surrey.
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|WINGROVE, George Stephenson
Midshipman H.M.S. "Formidable."
Died 1-January-1915 aged 16
Son of Stephen and Eleanor Sarah Wingrove, of Buff House, Banstead, Surrey.
Born at Banstead.
It was sunk by the Germans in the English Channel on 1 January 1915.
The battleship was with the 5th Battle Squadron serving with the Channel Fleet. She left Sheerness on 30 December 1914 to take part in a firing exercise off Portland.
HMS Formidable was struck by a torpedo on the starboard side abreast of her foremost funnel and sank with the loss of 547 lives.
For the full report, visit HMS Formidable - Lyme Regis Philpot Museum
A short extract from the report follows:
The first torpedo hit the number one boiler port side; a second explosion caused the ship to list heavily to starboard. Huge waves thirty feet high lashed the stricken ship, with strong winds, rain and hail, sinking it in less than two hours.
Captain Loxley, his second-in-command, Commander Ballard, and the signaller stayed at their posts throughout, sending flares and rockets off at regular intervals. There was no panic, the men waiting calmly for the lifeboats to be lowered. Someone played ragtime on the piano, others sang. The Chaplain, (Revd. G Brooke Robinson who was formerly Curate of Burton Bradstock) went down with the ship by risking his life going below to find cigarettes. Suddenly the ship gave a tremendous lurch, the Captain shouted 'Lads, this is the last, all hands for themselves, and may God bless you and guide you to safety'. He then walked to the forebridge, lit a cigarette and, with his terrier Bruce on duty at his side, waited for the end, in true Royal Naval tradition.
A special plaque and inscription dedicated to George Wingrove
Memorial Reference: 8.
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All Saints Church
WRIGHT, Albert Jesse
Albert Jesse Wright was born at home at 30 Gladstone Road, Chesham, Buckinghamshire, on 8th February 1895. He was the eldest child of Mark and Agnes Wright. Mark and Agnes moved from Buckinghamshire to Banstead in the late 1890s, bringing their three young children with them. They lived at 9 Pound Cottages in Pound Road;
On 21st August 1899, Albert and his younger siblings Edith and William were baptised together at the local church, All Saints. Mark and Agnes went on to have at least three more children: Hilda, Horace and Eva. Mark worked as a labourer when the family lived in Chesham but became a policeman when he moved to Banstead. He was one of 18 police constables (and 6 sergeants) working out of the police station at Banstead.
After leaving school, Albert went into service and by 1908, aged 13, he was working as a boot boy at Banstead Hall, the dogsbody in a staff consisting of cook, dressmaker, 5 housemaids, kitchen maid, scullery maid, butler and 2 footmen. Banstead Hall was a private boarding school, one of several in the village, which was owned and run by Mrs Ethel Maitland.
Albert, 5ft 10in tall, fresh complexion, brown hair and blue eyes, worked his way up to footman (the photograph was taken a week before his 17th birthday but in January 1913 Mrs Maitland decided that she needed an older, more experienced man and let him go. He immediately joined the army, signing up for 12 years service with the Royal Field Artillery. He joined 112th Battery at Athlone, Ireland, and soon gained his 3rd Class Certificate of Education, which would allow promotion as far as corporal. "A good hardworking man. Promises well," wrote his commanding officer.
On 8th September, they arrived at Southampton docks and embarked for the crossing to France. They arrived at St Nazaire, a long way from the action, but even there there were so many men pouring into France that the 24th were kept waiting in harbour for two days before they could disembark. Over the next few days they marched halfway across France, an almost unbelievable distance travelled each day, to arrive at Paars, 75 miles northeast of Paris on 19th September. They spent a couple of weeks resting and training and as the tide of the retreat started to come in they were ordered to dig gun pits. They lost their first man on September 30th.
The next few days saw the British Army on the move at night to conceal their intentions from the Germans and the 24th Artillery Brigade made a series of short night marches back towards Paris before they were shipped north by train to St Omer, near the Channel coast, and then marched eastwards to meet the enemy and block them from capturing the Channel ports. At St Omer, Albert Wright's 112th Battery had been detached and assigned to the 12th (Howitzer) Artillery Brigade. They moved east, supporting infantry attacks in the Race to the Sea.. By 18th October they had come to a halt, billeted at Bois Grenier, near Chapelle d'Armentieres, where they would remain for many months.
The line of troops was now unbroken all the way to the sea. The Germans threw their 6th Army at the British, attempting to break through the hastily-dug defences and cut off the Ypres salient to the north. They fought for two weeks, attack and counter-attack, Albert's battery busy repelling the enemy or covering his comrades' advance. The Germans made a small gain in Albert's sector for heavy losses and they decided eventually that the game wasn't worth the candle and poured their efforts into the 4th Army's offensive at Ypres.
From early November onwards, the war had lost steam and in the winter of 1914-15 there was only the day-to-day routine of shelling the German trenches or counter-battery fire. It was just as well because six months of fighting had nearly destroyed the professional army and had exhausted ammunition supplies. Guns capable of many rounds per minute were being supplied with only handfuls of shells each day.
It did not help that the artillery had gone to war with the wrong kind of shells, too many shrapnel shells, ideal for open warfare but ineffective in cutting barbed wire in trench warfare, and not enough high explosive. The nature and scale of the war had caught everyone napping. In just a few months time the ammunition scandal would bring down the government.
On 4th March 1915, days before Albert's brigade would take part in the Battle of Neuve Chapelle, Albert was acting as a telephone operator in the trenches, relaying his lieutenant's firing instructions back to the guns when he was shot in the head and killed.
He is buried in Ration Farm cemetery in Chapelle d'Armentieres. His headstone inscription, chosen by his mother, is "Jesus Shall Reign Where'er the Sun". He was 20.
Albert is commmemorated on the Banstead War Memorial, the Garton War Memorial in All Saints churchyard and on the wooden panels in the Memorial Chapel at All Saints. He is also remembered in the All Saints Book of Men Who Served Overseas.
Albert was commemorated with a memorial service on 4th March 2015, the 100th anniversary of his death, at All Saints Church, Banstead. A bell was tolled 100 times at noon in his memory.
Research by James Crouch of The Banstead History Research Group
Photograph by courtesy of The Sutton Past on Glass project.
Last update: 21/11/2019. Photograph and full story added.