World War One



Berkshire Yeomanry
Service number 1876

Enlisted prior to WWI in Newbury

Fred S. Gale, known as Spadger, local Berkshire dialect for a sparrow, in reference to his small build, was born in Chieveley and lived in Newbury. He was the nephew of Rhoda Bosley who lived at Curridge Green.

He went with his squadron to Egypt in 1915 where he contracted dysentery and was sent home. Upon recovery he went back to Egypt where he served for 2 years and was then killed in action in Palestine on 20th November 1917 on his 22nd birthday.

The official record states that Lance Corporal F. Gale was wounded and put on a camel cahelot along with Captain W.H. Thomas. One of his fellow soldiers, Trooper Fred Marshall, who witnessed the day Fred Gale died subsequently recounted;

"Well Thomas was a huge man and the camel couldn't cope, so Spadger was taken off and left by the roadside to die."

Fred Gale's name is commemorated on Panel 4 of the Jerusalem Memorial, which stands 4.5 kilometres north of the walled city on the neck of land at the north end of the Mount of Olives. It was erected for soldiers who died in operations in Egypt and Palestine and who have no known grave.




Royal Berkshire Regiment 1st/4th Battalion
Service number 202093

Enlisted at Willesden, Middx in 1915

'Charlie' was born in the family home in Horsemoor, Chieveley in 1886 and attended St. Bartholomews Grammar school 1896-1900.   Both his father Henry and mother Ellen are buried in Chieveley churchyard, along with brother Albert (Bert). He transferred to the Royal Berkshire Regiment so that he could serve with his brother Bert when he signed up. They served together in France, Egypt and Italy.

Charles Garrard was wounded in the face in March 1917 and in the leg on 16th August 1917 on the Somme.

He was in action in Asiago in Italy fighting the Austrians when he was killed on the 13th September 1918. His brother Bert was badly injured in the same action and recalled how "a shell landed in the trench and wounded me and killed Charlie".  The Italians entered the war on the Allied side, declaring war on Austria in May 1915. Commonwealth Forces were at the Italian front between November 1917 and November 1918.

Charles Garrard is buried in Plot 2, Row A, Grave 6 in the Barenthal Military Cemetery in Italy, which contains 125 First World War burials, nine of them unidentified.

The cemetery, which is situated on the Asiago plateau in the province of Vicenza, is rarely accessible from November to May due to deep snow falls.




Berkshire Yeomanry
Service number 2803

Enlisted October 1915

Sidney Beach Mathews was born in Colchester, Essex. On moving to Chieveley he lived at Middle Farm House.

At the beginning of the war the Berkshire Yeomanry stayed in the UK on home duties, but by April 1915 it was sent to Egypt, complete with horses, although by August 1915 it was decided the Yeomanry would fight dismounted.

Sidney was killed in action at Palestine on the 28th November 1917.

The Newbury Weekly News of June 16th 1927 records the following :-

Holy City Grave of Chieveley Man
The Vicar, the Rev. Dr. Attlee and Mrs. Attlee paid a visit to the cemetery on the Mount of Olives (Mount Scopus) at Jerusalem where the memorial was unveiled by Lord Allenby. Mrs. Attlee laid a bunch of flowers sent by his mother on the grave of Trooper S. Beach Mathews of the Berks Yeomanry, a former choir boy of Chieveley Church, who was killed at Nabi Samwil. 




Royal Field Artillery ‘B' Bty. 74th Brigade
Service number 132505

Enlisted 1914

Gunner Alfred William Chamberlain was the son of Alfred Chamberlain of Rose Cottage, Chieveley. He died on the 30th June 1917 in Belgium at the age of 25, and is buried in the Ferme-Olivier Cemetery at Elverdinge, Belgium in Plot 3, Row G, Grave 8.

The Newbury Weekly News reported his death on the 19th July 1917

"A heavy bereavement has fallen on Mr. and Mrs. Chamberlain, of Rose Cottage, Chieveley, in the death of their son, Alfred William, whose loss is also mourned by his fiancée, Miss Wise. The deceased was a signaller in the Royal Field Artillery. He was among the earliest to offer himself on the outbreak of war. Instead of being accepted for active service he was attached as a private to the St. John's Ambulance, and engaged as an orderly at Ewell War Hospital until February 28th, and was then transferred to the Royal Field Artillery, and sent to Luton where he was in training for a year.

On March 30th 1917 he left for France as a signaller, and was there just three months when he was killed at 4.30 on the afternoon of June 30th. He was having tea in a dugout when a shell dropped at the door, killing the deceased outright and wounding three others. A piece of shell entered his back and came out at his chest.

He was buried in a Military Cemetery on the following afternoon, the Army chaplain reading the service, and several of his friends and an officer being present. The letter speaks of him as having been one of the most willing and keen workers, always cheerful and would never mind what he had to do, and as a consequence was very popular with all the other men. The officer adds: I have had all his personal effects collected and these will be forwarded to you. Amongst these effects was a watch, which he requested before his death should be sent to Miss Wise. Mr. and Mrs. Chamberlain have one other son who has been in France for 13 months, in the R.F.A."



Grenadier Guards 4th Regiment
Service number 27102

Enlisted at Wokingham October 1914

Montagu Miller was the second son of Job Miller of Curridge. His battalion was sent to France on the 8th Aril 1917 and he was killed on the 26th July 1917, aged 28.


(Known as Cecil)

Hampshire Regiment 1st /4th Battalion
Service number 200588

Enlisted October 1914

Cecil Pocock was born in Reading in 1894, the son of Samuel and Anne Elizabeth Pocock of Down End, Chieveley. The family formerly lived at Armada Villas in Graces Lane.

Cecil became ill while in France and was sent back to England to recuperate. When his train stopped at Newbury he decided to get off to make a quick visit to his mother in Chieveley to check she was well. As this visit had been made without permission he was punished by the cancellation of his recuperation leave and immediately posted to Baghdad.

At the beginning of the war Baghdad was the headquarters of the Turkish Army in Mesopotamia. The city fell in March 1917 and became the Expeditionary Force's advance base with two stationary hospitals and three casualty clearing stations.

The already sick Cecil quickly succumbed to fever and died on the 21st September 1917 at the age of 23.

He is buried in the Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery, grave memorial reference number XVI.D.4. The cemetery is 800 metres beyond the North Gate of the City of Baghdad. 



(Named H. Brace on the memorial)

Royal Berkshire Artillery

Sergeant Brace, a professional soldier, was married and lived at East Lane, Chieveley. The Newbury Weekly News of October 1917 tells his story.

"The sad tidings of the death of Sergt. Brace, published in last issue, reached his wife at East Lane, Chieveley, in letters from three of his officers, a chum, and also the chaplain by whom the burial service was conducted. All these letters speak very highly of him, and say that his death has left a place in the battery they can never hope to fill.

He met his death by a German shell, while sleeping in the gun pit with four others; none of them was disfigured. He was buried with full military honours, his body being drawn to the cemetery on a gun carriage, by the gun team he was so fond of, followed by a detachment of officers and men, his favourite pony being led with them to the grave.

The deceased joined the Army in 1904 and served in Malta and Sièrre Léone. He was on the reserve, and so was called up on the outbreak of war, and went to France on the 5th of March 1915. His first engagement was the Battle of Neuve Chapelle and afterwards at Hill 60, second battle of Ypres, Somme, Messines, and various other smaller places.

He had been wounded twice and once buried by a shell; also last October and November he was in hospital with fever. Recently he had been home on a month's leave having completed 13 years service, and had only returned to France on the 11th September.

The deceased sergeant has one younger brother in training at Crowborough and expects to go to France shortly. Another brother was killed in action in September 1916 and a brother in law, Pte L Wooldridge of Kintbury (2nd Royal Berks Regt), was taken prisoner by the Germans on the 16th of August this year. Sergt. Brace was well liked by all who knew him; he was a devoted husband and leaves a wife and one child to mourn their loss."



Royal Berkshire Regiment 7th Battalion
Service number 15925

Enlisted at Newbury

James Albury, born in Hampstead Norris, was the son of farm worker William and Annie Albury who lived in Curridge Common.

The 7th Battalion was raised in August 1914 and was in France by September 1915. It was then sent to Salonika at the end of 1915, this new theatre being something of a backwater with things remaining quiet for some time. This benefit was however offset by the heat, dirt and generally uncomfortable circumstances found there. More serious fighting started in April 1917 and James Albury was killed on the 9th May 1917.




Royal Berkshire Regiment 5th Battalion
Service number 15508

Born in Beedon, Samuel Wakefield was the son of Charles and Elizabeth Wakefield who lived in The Cottages, Curridge.

The 5th Battalion served the whole of the war in France. Samuel was killed in action on the 24th June 1917 and is buried in the Happy Valley British Cemetery, 5 kilometres from Fampoux. Happy Valley was the long valley along which Commonwealth troops fought their way during the early stages of the Battle of Arras. 




Royal Berkshire Regiment 5th Battalion
Service number 10882

Enlisted May 1915

Christopher Tanner was the eldest son of Mrs Deacon who lived in East Lane, Chieveley. The 5th Battalion went to France in May 1915 and served the whole of the war in France.

Christopher Tanner was wounded in action on July 3rd 1916 and then was reported missing. He probably lost his life in the Battle of the Somme which started on the 1st July. The Somme offensive was supposed to be brutally simple; for 7 days along 25 miles of the Front, 1.7 million shells, the biggest artillery barrage in history, was to shred the barbed wire defences and kill all the opposing Germans in their trenches. The Infantry would then walk over and occupy those trenches. This objective was unattainable: neither the wire nor the enemy in their deep dugouts were destroyed. As soon as the barrage ended the Germans emerged to man their machine guns and British soldiers were mown down by the thousand.




Royal Berkshire Regiment 1st/4th Battalion
Service number 5789

Enlisted at Newbury

James Bateman was the son of James and Elizabeth Bateman of Curridge. He died aged 36 on the 14th August 1916 and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France, pier and face IID.

His battalion the 1st/4th would have been involved in the offensive launched by thirteen Commonwealth forces on the 1st July 1916 on a line from north of Gommecort to Maricourt. Despite a preliminary bombardment lasting seven days, the German defences were barely touched and the attack met unexpectedly fierce resistance. Losses were catastrophic and with only minimal advances on the southern flank, the initial attack was a failure. In the following weeks huge resources of manpower and equipment were deployed in an attempt to exploit the modest successes of the first day. However, the German Army resisted tenaciously and repeated attacks and counter attacks meant a major battle for every village, copse and farmhouse gained.



Sergeant (Acting Corporal)

Royal Berkshire Regiment 8th Battalion
Service number 18334

Enlisted at Newbury

Sidney Budden, born in Winterbourne in Dorset, was the son of Charles and Maria Budden who lived at The Firs, Curridge.

Sidney was killed in France in the attack at Highwood on the 3rd September 1916 when he was just 23 years old. He is buried in the Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval, grave number XV.H.28. There is also an inscription on the cross in the churchyard at Oare.

Caterpillar Valley was the name given by the Army to the long valley which rises eastwards, past ‘Caterpillar Wood' to the high ground at Guillemont. The ground was captured after very fierce fighting in the latter part of July 1916, but lost in the subsequent German advance of March 1918. By August the area was recaptured and a little cemetery was made. After the Armistice the area was turned into a huge cemetery of more than 5,500 men and officers who were brought in from other smaller cemeteries and battlefields of the Somme, the majority of these soldiers having died in the autumn of 1916.

During the terrible influenza epidemic of 1918 Mr. and Mrs. Budden lost their daughter.




Royal Berkshire Regiment 8th Battalion
Service number 16134

Enlisted at Reading 1915

The 8th Battalion, the last of the service battalions to be created, went to France in August 1915 and almost at once took part in the Battle of Loos, where it saw severe fighting. On the 25th September 1915, the day Sydney Smith died, the 8th Regiment was immediately to the south of the Vermelles to Hulloch Road, their first objective was the southern part of Hulloch village some 2,500 yards ahead.

Sydney Smith's name is commemorated on panel 93-95 on the Loos Memorial for Officers and Men who fell in the area from the River Lys to the old southern boundary of the First Army, east and west of Grenay, who have no known grave, of which there are 20,000.

Two soldiers of the 8th Battalion recall the day Sydney Smith died 25th September 1915

"At 3.30 a.m. the order came along to ‘stand to arms', meaning every man had to be on the lookout. The day of the great advance had arrived and we were all ready and cheerful waiting for the order which would make the great difference to the war. At 6.00 a.m. the order came to fix bayonets, which was done in great silence, broken by a terrible bombardment of the enemy's trenches which were some 250 yards away from ours.

Then the enemy replied. The din was fearful, shells dropped everywhere, shrapnel flying, gas shells bursting. It was really indescribable. We were all wound up to kill all the Germans in the world. A few of our men were dropping here and there in the trenches. About 10 minutes before the attack a few of us gave messages to our chums to send to our homes in case we were killed."

"It was awful. Never shall I forget it! I can well remember looking at my watch about 5 minutes before we had to leap out of our trenches. Those remaining minutes seemed like years but they had an ending. The whistles sounded all along the line and over we went to meet the awful fire of the Germans."



Stoker 2nd class

Royal Navy HMS Victory

Service number K29588

Alfred Taylor, born in 1884, was a carpenter living at Beedon, the son of William Taylor.

He was serving on the ship HMS Victory and died at the age of 32 on the 5th February 1916, and is buried in St. Mary's Churchyard, Chieveley.



(On memorial as Sidney Harold Victor Pocock)

Royal Berkshire Regiment 1st/4th Battalion
Service number 3032

Enlisted at Reading

Harold Pocock, born in Reading on the 29th November 1891, was the eldest of the three sons of Samuel and Anne Elizabeth Pocock of Down End, Chieveley and older brother to Cecil Pocock, who also died in the Great War.

Harold PocockHarold died in France on Monday the 10th April 1916 at the age of 24. He and his fellow soldiers were on duty in a trench when the post arrived. One of his colleagues had been distracted while opening his post and had stepped onto the firing step, catching the attention of a German who fired a Whiz Bang shell which burst in the trench, killing five soldiers. Harold was seriously wounded in the stomach, patched up, but sadly died later in the day.

A letter he had written home to his mother in September 1915, reproduced below, demonstrates how the soldiers shielded their families from the true ghastliness of their situation in the trenches.

Harold is buried in the Hebuterne Military Cemetery, France, Plot l1, Row C, Grave number 6. Hebuterne was taken over from the French by British Troops and remained subject to shell fire during the Battles of the Somme. The dreadful conditions in which casualties were buried explain the irregularity of the rows.


My dear Mother,

Once again I am writing to thank you for your nice letter and parcel. No 25 reached here safely. I am very pleased to hear you are all well, as I am still in the best of health, fancy nearly a twelve month ago since I joined the army. I hope by this time next year we shall all be settled down in our work once more.

I suppose Fred and Alf are in France by this time, you must let me no there address when you write. I am very pleased to hear the wedding went off well though I am sorry I was not there, to enjoy the fun, what I have missed since I have been in France. Did I tell you the gardener at Wintle Hall has left after 16 years at the same place, they tell me the fellow that came in his place is a very nice chap.

Dear Mother will you put a few candles in next time, and a few matches as we cant get any here, the days are getting in now worst luck. I hope to see you all soon, good luck to you, love to all.




Royal Berkshire Regiment 2nd Battalion
Service number 7074

Enlisted at Reading in October 1914

Killed in action on the 9th May 1915, the article in the Newbury Weekly News of the 29th July 1915 tells the story of Albert John Hyde.

"Mr. Isaac Hyde, of Horsemoor, Chieveley, is justly proud of having four sons fighting for their country. Pte. Albert John Hyde had served for two years with the 1st Battalion and had been a National Reservist for six years when he was recalled to the colours at the outbreak of the war. With but a short stay at Aldershot, he embarked at Southampton on the 13th and arrived at Rouen, France the next day.

He took part in the retreat from Mons and his Regiment were in the thick of the fighting in the Battle of the Aisne, and during this engagement a bullet struck him in the leg. On September 14th he entered a hospital but had to be transferred to another, and later on October l7th was brought to England and it was while in hospital at Plymouth that the enemy's bullet was successfully extracted. His relations were glad to see him home for a fortnight, but on his convalescence the call of duty came and he left for France on February 2nd, joining the 2nd Royal Berks.

Spells in the trenches were continuous and he wrote saying he was very thankful to survive through the terrible struggle at Neuve Chapelle, at which the losses were heavy. Then followed the contest for Hill 60, and it is thought that he received further wounds at this battle. Two official circulars have been received, one stating missing and the other arriving last week, conveying little further news by stating wounded on May 9th, and missing".

Albert Hyde is likely to have been in line on Christmas Day 1914 and may have shared the brief but unofficial truce observed in many parts of the Front.




Royal Berkshire Regiment 2nd Battalion
Service number 6484

Enlisted at Newbury

Before the war William Miller had been employed at Barlows Wood Merchants in Hermitage. He died on the 1st June 1915 at Cambridge from wounds he received at Ypres. He is buried in the Cambridge City Cemetery grave number D2479.



Private (L/Cpl)

Royal Berkshire Regiment 1st Battalion
Service number 7613

Enlisted Newbury

Arthur Smith was the son of John and Elizabeth Smith who lived at Curridge Common, Berks. Arthur was killed in action during the Battle of Loos on the 25th September 1915, aged just 17. The battalion had captured its objectives in September but the enemy thrust back with the result that heavy casualties were incurred with little significant change in the position of the two armies.




Royal Berkshire Regiment 1st Battalion
Service number 8242

Enlisted at Newbury 1914

In August 1914 the 1st Battalion was at Aldershot. Nine days after the declaration of war it was in France and ten days later was in action. Trench warfare started in September. The Battalion fought at the first Battle of Ypres, described as ‘the graveyard of the old regular army'. Huge casualties were suffered giving a terrible foretaste of things to come.

Thomas Wakefield died on the 19th September 1914 and is named on the La Ferte-Sous-Jouarre Memorial, commemorating 4,000 officers and men of the British Expeditionary Force who died in August, September and the early part of October 1914 and who have no known grave.




Grenadier Guards 1st Battalion
Joined on 16th August 1913

A professional soldier, William Smith, the son of Richard, a carter, and Anna Smith of Middle Farm, Chieveley, was posted to France on 4th October 1914. He was listed as missing by the 26th October and later listed as having died on or after 20th October 1914. He would have been just 19 years old.

The 1st Battalion took part in the first Battle of Ypres in October and November of 1914, when a small British Expeditionary Force succeeded in
securing the town before the onset of winter, pushing the German forces back to the Passchendaele Ridge.

William Smith's name is commemorated on Panel 9 - 11 on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.



1st Battalion Grenadier Guards

Henry Blake was born in Abingdon in 1894. He joined the Grenadier Guards on the 21st July 1913.

Along with most of the Army's stock of trained soldiers he was killed very early in the war, on the 22nd November 1914 during the first battle of Ypres. He was just 20 years old.


World War Two



Kings Own Scottish Borderers 2nd Battalion
Service number 63588

The son of Captain J.A. Hammond-Chambers-Borgnis-Borgnis, David Borgnis, born 1914, was a pupil of Radley School from September 1928, where he was Captain of the Cricket XI in 1932 and President of the Musical Society. His school obituary states ‘David Borgnis was one of those quiet, unassuming, friendly creatures to whom every school owes so much; and yet he contributed his full share to the common life of his generation. ... From Sandhurst it was only natural that he should go into K.O.S.B. of which his great uncle Brigadier General D.A. Macfarlane, O.R. was Colonel.'

David Borgnis died of blood poisoning at the age of 29 years on the 3rd September 1943, and is buried in the Ranchi War Cemetery, India, 2.B.7.

Ranchi is a town in the state of Jharkhand, some 419 kilometres north west of Calcutta. After the fall of Rangoon in March 1942 the probability that the Japanese would occupy the whole of Burma constituted a grave threat to India and Ceylon.

The forces available for defence were dangerously weak: apart from those deployed on the north west frontier and on internal security, there were only seven divisions, and these lacked ancillary troops and equipment. The air force and airfields were inadequate and the fleet as a whole was in no position to dispute command of the Bay of Bengal, where in March and April 1942 100,000 tons of shipping were sunk.

Internal disturbances in India presented an additional threat, and some of the worst troubles occurred in districts of Bihar. Further divisions reached India in 1942 and the air force strength was increased. Ranchi became an important base, and the 70th Division, less one brigade in Ceylon, was posted there to meet any sea-borne attack on the Orissa coast, and to form the only reserve to support Assam or Bengal.

David Borgnis left a widow Elizabeth, the daughter of Captain R.A. Hay.



Yeoman of Signals

Royal Navy HMS Quorn
Service number P.JX 151667

H.G. Kernutt was the son of Eva Kernutt of Curridge. He died on the 3rd August 1944 at the age of 23. He is buried at La Delivrande War Cemetery, Douvres III.B.6, 14 kilometres north of Caen.

During 1941 to 1944 HMS Quorn, the ship upon which H.G. Kernutt served, a Hunt Class Escort Destroyer, survived numerous skirmishes with enemy E-Boats, attack by German aircraft, contact with two mines and bombardment from German batteries on the French coast, although not without loss of life.

In October 1942 Quorn played a key role in the sinking of the German Cruiser Komet. Also heavily involved in the deception operations which preceded it, Quorn spent D-Day, and the following month, escorting troop ships to the beachhead, and patrolling the French coast, successfully shooting down a Dornier in late July 1944. 



Royal Berkshire Regiment
Secondary regiment R. Coy 1st Suffolk Regiment
Service number 5344732

The eldest son of Harry and Elizabeth Fanny Wild of 62 Worlds End, Beedon and the husband of Emily Wild of Downend, Reginald Wild died aged 29 years on the 16th October 1944.

He had been a pupil of Beedon Church of England School and before joining H.M. Forces had been a store man at the RAF depot. His obituary says he was well known and popular and respected in Chieveley and Beedon.

His little daughter Shirley was in the Infants School when her father died, being taught by Miss Pearson. Somebody came to the school door and spoke to the teacher who got Shirley out of the class to be taken home and told that her father had been killed.

Reginald Wild is buried in the Venray War Cemetery, Netherlands, II.A.5.
The Netherlands had fallen to the Germans in May 1940 and was not re entered by Allied Forces until September 1944. The town of Venray was liberated by Allied troops in the middle of October 1944, which must be when Reginald Wild died



Royal Engineers
Service number 1946744

The son of Newton Ernest and Edith Kate Martin-Atkins of Little Dene, Curridge. Francis was enrolled at the FMA, an agricultural college, in readiness for taking over his father's farm when he joined the Army. He died on the 17th December 1944 at the age of 24 and is buried in the Caserta War Cemetery, Italy, grave VII.D.6.

The Royal Palace at Caserta served as headquarters for the Allied Armies in Italy for the greater part of the duration of the Italian campaign. The Second General Hospital was at Caserta from December 1943 until September 1945. Some of those buried in this cemetery died in the hospital, others as prisoners of war before the Allied invasion.




Royal Berkshire Regiment 4th Battalion
Service number 5339209

The son of William and Annie Baldwin and the husband of Marjory Annie Baldwin of The Green, Curridge, G.W. Baldwin died, aged 25 years, on the 4th June 1940, from wounds in his chest received while fighting in Belgium. As well as leaving a widow he left two young children.

He is buried in Shaw Cemetery, Newbury, grave number 226.




Pioneer Corps Aux. Mil.
Service number 13021186

The eldest son of Jesse James Bowman and Ada Kate Bowman of Oare Common, Hermitage, Harold Bowman died, aged 20, on the 26th August 1940 and is buried in St Mary's Churchyard, Chieveley, Grave number 6.



Flying Officer

261 Squadron Royal Air Force
Service number 70821

The son of Robert and Jane Taylor of Oare Farm, Hermitage, Frederick Taylor died on the 26th February 1941 at the age of 23, and is commemorated on the Malta Memorial, Panel 1 column 1, erected to commemorate almost 2,300 airmen who lost their lives during the Second World War whilst serving with the commonwealth Air Forces and who have no known grave.


Leading Aircraftman (Pilot)

Royal Air Force
Service number 657000

The youngest son of Charles Wade Cann and Sarah Elizabeth Mary Cann of The Post Office, Chieveley, and a former pupil of Newbury Grammar School, John Cann joined the local Company of the Territorials in April 1939 at the age of 17 and was in camp with them at the outbreak of war.

He was mobilised just before the war started and served in the Royal Berkshire Regiment as Lance Corporal, later obtaining a transfer to the R.A.F. He was nearing completion of his training as a pilot when he died, aged 20, on the 9th December 1941, in a tragic flying accident while on active service.

He is buried in St Mary's Churchyard in Row C Grave 1. 


Chieveley War Memorial