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Lydney war memorial
Lydney War Memorial
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Dennis Potter

The Lydney War Memorial Trust was founded by Lord Bledisloe in 1921.

The trust built a group of four almshouses on Church Road just north of the church, to be occupied predominantly by Lydney men disabled during the First World War or for the dependants of those killed.

The Memorial was erected at the same time and forms a focal point in front of the buildings.

In 2015 a grant of £1,730 was awarded through the War Memorials Trust Grants Scheme to undertake cleaning and re-pointing work to improve legibility of the inscriptions and the memorial was cleaned using soft bristle brushes and water. The joints were then re-pointed using a lime based mortar to match the original.

The Forest of Dean at War

Lydney's War Memorial

The memorial stands close to the road outside St. Mary's Church, Lydney, and commemorates the residents of the district who were killed or missing in both World Wars. A large percentage of those lost worked in the local tin-plate industry.


Lydney War Memorial A-F Lydney war memorial G-P

Lydney Memorial P-T

Lydney 1914-1918
We are trying to add more information about the families of the men recorded on this memorial. Should you notice any obvious errors, or can help with more information, we would be very grateful for your input.    deanweb@talktalk.net

When war was declared in 1914, local newspapers reported that a number of men left the Lydney Tin Works and enlisted to fight 'The Hun'.  They were -  William Addis, Joseph Bailey, George Beard, Jim Beard, Thomas Beard, Reginald Blower, Thomas Blower, William Charles Bucknell, J. Byng, Bert Christie, Samuel Cottle, Ernest Darters, Harvey Davis, Francis Dowdeswell, Reginald Dowdeswell, George Fisher,William Fisher, George Fletcher, William Fletcher, Albert Freeman, Leonard Gardener, Hartley Grail, James Haffenden, Frank Hale, Rosser Harris, William Harper,Walter Hatherley, Charles Hopkins, H. Howell, John Howell, Burt Hughes, Charles Hughes, Clifford Hussey, Frank James, Frank Hussey, H. James, Ellis Jones, George Jones, Lionel Jones,  Mansell Jones, A. Jordan, Charles Lewis, George Lewis, Wallace Mallard, Fred Miles, Albert Morgan, Richard Morgan, George Munday, William Neale, John Nelmes, Harry Page, James Partridge, Harvey Prosser, Charles Powell, Samuel Reddings, Richard Remnant, Harry Richards, Thomas Richards, Albert Rowland, Albert Saunders, Arthur Saunders, John Shillam, William Shillam, John Simpson, Reginald Slee, Thomas Thurston, B.Virgo, and R. Watkins.

By 26th January 1915, 69 men from Lydney Tin Works had enlisted, and 68 from Norchard Colliery.

In David Wainwright's 'Men of Steel', it is mentioned that when volunteers from the Lydney works joined the services, the managing director, Richard Beaumont Thomas, inaugurated a joint War Fund where the company made up the service pay of each serving soldier, or sailor, so that his wife and family did not suffer any financial deprivation by his absence.  He also arranged for parcels and clothing to be sent to Richard Thomas workmen serving in the trenches.


The 1914-1918 Memorial Window at Lydney Church has the same names inscribed as those on the memorial outside, plus those on the plaque at Aylburton.

Percival William ADAMS, Pte 11432, 8th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment. 27 year old son of William Adams and twice widowed Mary Ann Wilkes (1856-1921) of Foundry Cottages, Lydney. He was a railway porter in 1911 who enlisted at Lydney on September 1st 1914. Killed in action on July 30th 1916, he is buried at Thiepval, Departement de la Somme, Picardie, and commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

William Charles APLIN, Pte 30120, 4/5th The Loyal North Lancashire Regt. Formerly of Norfolk Regiment. 27 year old son of Charles and Rose Aplin of 38 Queen Street, Lydney. Tinplate catcher 1911. Killed in action 26 Oct 1917. Burial place-Zonnebeke, Arrondissement Ieper, West Flanders (West-Vlaanderen), Belgium. Commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium.

Joseph Samuel BAILEY, Pte 15251 8th Gloucestershire Regiment. 29 year old son of Richard & Ellen Bailey. Was a tinplate catcher living with his married brother at 32 Mount Pleasant, Lydney, in 1911, and a serving soldier when he married Hannah Williams at Lydney church on April 10th 1915. Killed in action 23/7/1916. Commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme.

Percy William BAXTER, Pte 027609, 7th Mobile Workshop, Royal Army Ordnance Corps. Formerly 141475, R.H. and R.F.A.  21 year old son of tinplate worker Joseph Baxter & Dora Frances Baxter, of Church Road, Lydney. Died 8/10/1918. Buried in Montecchio Precalcine Communal Cemetery Extension, Veneto, Italy.

Harry BAYLIS. Pte 18230 13th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment. 19 year old son of George & Harriett Baylis of Primrose Hill, Lydney. Worked as tinplate catcher pre-war. Died of wounds 5th April 1918 and is buried at Saint Sever Cemetery Extension, France.

Thomas BEARD, Lance Corporal, 13531 8th Gloucestershire Regiment age 24. Tinplate worker in 1911. Enlisted at Gloucester. Son of Tom & Fanny Beard of 28 Tutnalls, Lydney.

Died 20/9/1917 and commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium.

George Albert BRICE, Pte 36070 1st Welsh Regt., formerly 18677 3rd South Wales Borderers. Born at Pensall, Staffordshire in 1883, and married there in 1902, he was the husband of Susannah Mumford, and a father of four. After his marriage he lived briefly at Lydney where his eldest son George William, was born in 1903. In 1911 he was still employed as a tinworker but now living over the border at Abertillery, in Monmouthshire. He originally enlisted in the South Wales Borderers at Newport in 1914, but was on the strength of the 1st Battalion, Welch Regiment when he was killed in action on 25th May 1915.


In memory of George Brice who died 25 May 1915.

John Brice and Maria English were married in Westbury on Severn district in 1870 before moving to the Midlands where he was employed as a coal miner. George Albert, the youngest of 5 children, was born in Pelsall, Walsall in 1883.

John died in 1888 and the family were still in the Midlands in 1891. Maria died in 1898 with her death being registered in Chepstow. George was living with his brother Charles and family in 116 Oak Rd, West Bromwich in 1901 and was employed in the ironworks.

He married Sarah Mumford in the Parish Church, Walsall on 4 May 1902 before briefly moving to Lydney where his eldest son George William, was born in 1903. They then moved to South Wales where they are shown living in 12 Glan Ebbw Terrace Abertillery in 1911 with their 4 children.

George was living in Pontymister when he enlisted at Newport. Records show that he was originally in the South Wales Borderers, Service number 18677 before transferring to the Welsh Regiment. He went overseas and landed in France on 5 May 1915, and was reported missing presumed dead just 10 days later.

He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Menin Gate memorial in Ypres.

He is also commemorated on the Lydney and Pelsall, Staffordshire War memorials.

He was entitled to the British War medal, the Victory medal and the 1915 Star.

Steve Veysey


Frederick T BRINKWORTH, Pte 12191, 7th Gloucestershire Regt. 21 year old son of Samuel and Emily Brinkworth, 35 Tutnalls, Lydney.

His father, Samuel, worked as a drayman for the GWR at Lydney. The couple had eight children. Their eldest son, Frederick, was employed as a tinplate worker in 1911 and enlisted with the Glosters in November 1914. He was killed in action at Gallipoli on 7th of August 1915 and is commemorated on the Helles Memorial, Turkey.
Ernest COMLEY, Sgt, 13580 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards, died of his wounds on 20/3/1915 age 38. He was the son of plate-layer John Comley (1846-1928) & his wife Ann (1845-1923) of Cross Hands, Lydney, who moved to the area from Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire, in the early 1870s and eventually settled at Lydney. He is buried in Bethune Town Cemetery, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France.
John William Herbert DAVEY, Rifleman R/15809, 12th King’s Royal Rifles Corp. Born at Lydney, he was the 18 year old son of Bath, Somerset, baker, Benjamin Gold Davey (1867-1898), and his wife Maud Probert, from Lydney. John enlisted at Chepstow and was killed in action 18/9/1916.
Commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France

William George DAVIES, (or Davis), Pte 10185, 7th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment. Mother, Nellie Maria Davies of 3 Highfield Road, Lydney. He disembarked at Gallipoli 19th June 1915. Killed in action 8th August 1915 and is commemorated on the Helles Memorial at Gallipoli.

Angus John Charles Dodgshon, Lieutenant, 2/5th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment. Angus was born at Alltyrheiny, Cilgerran on 21 April 1895, the only son of John Julius and Ada Charlotte Dodgshon, who lived at Bream Lodge, Aylburton. After being educated at Hurst Court and at Wellington College, he entered Trinity College, Cambridge. Angus had a very keen interest in magic, and in 1913 joined the Magic Circle, where he became well known for his enthusiasm. However at the outbreak of war, Angus realised his duty, and joined the Officer Training Corps, from where he was gazetted as 2nd Lieutenant with the 2/5th Battalion of the Gloucester Regiment in October 1914. The battalion served on Home Service during the early part of the war, and moved to France on the 23 May 1916 as part of 184 Brigade, 61st Division. Angus remained in Britain for a while, where he was promoted Temporary Captain, and he himself moved to France on 31 August 1917. The division was by then at Ypres, taking part in the Third Battle of Ypres, and in late August and early September it was involved in the efforts to push the line forward at positions around Schuler Farm and Aisne Farm near Kerselaar. The Division then moved south, where it was to take part in the Battle of Cambrai. Angus was however killed here during the build up to the battle, on 10 November 1917. He was just 22 years old, and is buried at Sunken Road Cemetery, Fampoux. One of his fellow officers wrote a short letter of condolence to his parents soon after; "During his short time with us he became very dear to me, and always kept us jolly with his amusing tricks and happy-go-lucky ways. He was getting on so well in the Battalion, and all the men loved him." from the Cilgerran War Memorial, Pembrokeshire.
Francis C DOWDESWELL, Pte 15488 1st Gloucestershire Regt died 9/5/1915 age 24. A railway worker in 1911. Son of Albert & Emma Dowdeswell, 2 Memorial Houses, Lydney.
Commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial, France.
Reginald J DOWDESWELL, Pte G/21446 7th Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent Regt) died
18/9/1918 age 24. Was a tin-worker in 1911. Son of Albert & Emma Dowdeswell, 2 Memorial Houses, Lydney. Commemorated on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial France.

Charles Arman DYKINS, Leading Stoker 285058 HMS “Active” Royal Navy. Born Lydney on 10th December 1874 he was employed as a shipping clerk in his teenage years.

Charles joined the Royal Navy, originally on a 12 year engagement, in 1897. Records list him as the nephew of both shipping agent William Dykins (1828-1892) of Cookson Terrace, Lydney, and James Hooper of Primrose Hill, Lydney.

He served as a stoker on a number of ships until posted to the cruiser HMS Active in early 1914. He was taken ill and died on 25/12/1914 and was buried at sea.

Gilbert Percival EDWARDS. Private 35266,13th Battalion Welsh Regiment. Born at Albert Street, Lydney, he was the 24 year old son of mason Thomas Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth, of 37, Newerne St., Lydney, and was employed as a tinplate worker at Gorseinon, Glamorganshire, in 1911. He was killed in action on 27/08/1918, and is commemorated on panel 7 of the Vis-en-Artois Memorial, Pas de Calais, France.
William Osborne ELLAWAY, Pte CH/2644(S) 1st R M Bn R.N. Div Royal Marine Light Infantry. Enlisted 16/1/18 age 22. Died 28/9/1918. Tin-plate worker in 1911. Son of George (1868-1918) and Rosanna (1874-1912) of Allastone Mesne.
Buried in Sucrerie British Cemetery, Graincourt, les-Havrincourt, France.
William John ELLAWAY, born Lydney 1883. Tin-plate worker. Pte in Gloucestershire Regiment, 8th Service Battalion. Regimental Number 23595. Son of George & Mary Ann Ellaway of 5 Highfield Road, Lydney. Died Arras, France, 28 March 1918.
Montague FERRIS, Pte 20954 1st Garrison Battalion Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry. Born Lydney 1884. Tinplate worker. Son of Thomas & Elizabeth Ferris of Albert Street, Lydney. Enlisted at Bristol. Formerly with Somerset Light Infantry. Died India 1/10/1918. The Ottoman campaign ended after the Armistice of Mudros with the Allies on 30 October 1918. Montague was buried at Bellary Military Cemetery and commemorated on the Madras 1914-1918 War Memorial, Chennai, India.

George FISHER, Pte 13554 12th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment. 24 year old son of Charles (1857-1899) & Sarah Matilda Fisher (1858-1946) of Middle Forge, Lydney. His father Charles was a collier at Norchard who died in a rock fall there in 1899. George and two of his brothers, one only 13, are recorded as tinplate workers on the 1911 census. He enlisted at Gloucester in 1914 and died from his wounds on 25th June 1918. George is buried in Thiennes British Cemetery.

George Gerald Frank FISHER, Pte 38584, 4th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment. 34 year old son of William Bowen & Mary Jane Dowle, of Rose Cottage, Primrose Hill, Lydney, and older brother of Ralph, recorded below. George was recorded as single, and an insurance agent, living at the family home, on the 1911 census. He enlisted in November 1914 at Lydney, was killed in action on 20th November 1917, and is buried at Marcoing British Cemetery in France.

Ralph Leslie FISHER, Gunner 168227 124th Battery, 28th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. Born to insurance agent, William Bowen Fisher and his wife Mary Jane Dowle, at Rose Cottage, Primrose Hill, Lydney on 18th May 1890. He was employed as a tinplate worker in 1911, married Lillian Gertrude Doble at Newport in 1913, and settled in Cwmbran. He enlisted in the army at Newport. Ralph died from his wounds on 26th April 1917, and is buried in Barlain Communal Cemetery.
Charles Norman FLETCHER Pte 40981 2/7th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. 19 year old son of railway engineer William Thornton Fletcher and Martha (Price) Fletcher of 10 High Street, Lydney, and younger brother of George Reginald Fletcher, recorded below. Killed in action 1st November 1918.
George Reginald FLETCHER, Pte 15479 1st Gloucestershire Regt. 29 year old former tinplate worker. Son of railway engineer William Thornton Fletcher and Martha (Price) Fletcher of 10 High Street, Lydney. Died 12/9/1916. Buried in Heilly Station Cemetery, Mericourt-l’-Abbe, Somme.

John William FLETCHER Gunner 92212 66th Battery Royal Field Artillery. 24 year old son of John and Elizabeth Ann Fletcher of New Mills, Lydney. Born at Bream in 1893, John was listed as a tinplate worker in 1911. Killed in action on 13th July 1917, he is commemorated on the Basra Memorial.

Albert FREEMAN, Pte 40241, 2nd Worcestershire Regiment. He was the 20 year old son of Esau and Florence Freeman of Highland House, Lydney. His father was a railway ticket inspector. Albert, a tinplate worker, enlisted at Lydney on 22nd October 1914. He originally served as Private 2573 Royal Gloucestershire Hussars. He was killed in action 2nd November 1916, and is buried in London Cemetery & Extension, at Longueval, France.

Charles FREEMAN, M.M, L/Cpl 23261, 26th Royal Fusiliers. Son of bank manager Charles Sharpe Freeman and Clara Freeman, of Bank House, Lydney, he was born at Newbury, Berkshire in 1894 but moved with his family to Lydney when his father took over the management of a bank there. He was educated between 1907-1909 at Colstons School near Bristol, and in 1911 was a bank clerk boarding at 41, Droitwich Road, Worcester.

In January 1916 he was living at Winchester when he enlisted in the 26th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers (Bankers Battalion) which was composed largely of bank clerks and accountants. Lance Corporal Charles Freeman was wounded in January 1917 and awarded a Military Medal for his bravery at Dammestrasse Ridge on 7th June 1917. He was killed in action on June 12th 1917 and is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial, at Ypres.

Stanley James GRAIL, Pte 2807 of the 6th South Staffs Regiment, was the second son of George Henry Grail, the local superintendent of the Prudential Insurance Company, who lived with his wife Kate at 9 Bathurst Park Road, Lydney.

Stanley was only 17 when he enlisted in September 1914. He received the wound that led to his death on his 18th birthday, the 11th of May. His left thigh was fractured and it was found necessary to amputate. He did not survive the operation and died on 5th June 1915. Private Stanley Grail was buried in St Sever Cemetery, at Ruen, France.

Clifford George GRAIL, Capt, 7th North Staffs Regiment, was the eldest son of George Henry Grail, and brother to Private Stanley Grail (above).

Born at Soudley in 1891, he was educated at Cambridge University, and before enlisting in August 1914, was a teacher of languages at a grammar school in Bromley, Kent.

Landing at Cape Helles, Gallipoli on July 11th, 1915, and wounded on July 19th, he died on July 23rd, only six weeks after his brother, and is commemorated on the Helles Memorial in Turkey.

Frank T HAILE Pte 13162, 10th Gloucestershire Regiment, was the 29 year old son of mason Hubert Haile and his wife Esther, of 21 Tutnalls Street, Lydney, who were married at Gloucester in 1876. Frank, a tinplate worker, married Alice Darters at Lydney in January 1910. They lived at 16 Tutnalls Street and had one daughter, Christina Mildred (bn 1910).

He enlisted in the 10th Gloucesters at Lydney in November 1914. Private Frank Haile was killed in action on 25th September 1915 and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial in France. 310 officers and men from the 10th Gloucesters lost their lives on the Loos sector 1915-16.
H J HAMBLIN, Able Seaman RNVR 12505 Bn R Naval Div., Royal Navy died 13th November 1916. There was a local boy, Henry John Hamblin (bn 1891), the only child of John & Emma Hamblin of Blakeney, but we cannot find a service record. He is recorded working as an engine cleaner with the GWR in 1911.
George HAMBRIDGE, L/Sgt 18662 10th Worcestershire Regt died 3/7/1916. Born Banbury 1893, son of Elizabeth Hambridge. Fireman with the GWR at Lydney. Enlisted at Coleford. Killed in action during the Battle of the Somme, when capturing La Boisselle, and being involved in the attacks on High Wood. Commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.

Wilfred Jenkins HARRISON, Trooper 2418, Guards-Household Cavalry, Household Battalion.

29 year old son of Alfred Jenkins Harrison and his wife Adeline of Tuthill Lodge, Lydney, and was employed as a colliery labourer in 1911. He enlisted at Lydney on December 26th 1916. Wilfred died of his wounds on 24th June 1917, and is buried in Duisans British Cemetery, Etrun, France.

Frank George Edward HAYWARD, Pte 31494, 12th Gloucestershire Regiment. Born at Tutshill, he was the 20 year old son of farm worker Francis Hayward and his wife Mary Ann of Highfield Lodge, Lydney. He enlisted at Bristol and was killed in action on April 14th, 1918. Frank is buried in Morbecque British Cemetery, France.

Henry Charles HISCOCKS, Pte 35454, 1st Battalion, Duke of Edinburgh's Wiltshire Regiment. Born at Down Farm, Tetbury, he was the 19 year old son of farmer Richard Hiscocks and Mabel Bellingham, who were married at Dartford, Kent, in 1886. From around 1908, his family were living at Nurshill Farm, The Purlieu, Lydney.Henry enlisted in the Wiltshires at Bristol. He was killed in action on September 30th 1918, less than six weeks before the Armistice, and is buried in Hautmont Communal Cemetery, France.
Sidney Reginald HOCKADAY, Capt, 2nd Monmouthshire Regt died 2/9/1916 age 24.  Born Sydney, Australia 1892. Lost both parents. Father in 1902 when he drowned trying to save his two sons, and their mother through illness in 1904. Adopted by coal-mine owner Frank Step Hockaday from Highbury House, Lydney. Sidney attended Monmouth Grammar and Birmingham University. Commissioned 2nd Lieutenant 2nd Monmouthshires, 20 Aug 1914.   Lt. (temp. Capt.) from 5th May 1915. Wounded and gassed on 2 May 1915 at Ypres, Belgium. He was then fatally wounded on 30th August 1916, again at Ypres, and died on 2nd September 1916. Buried in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium.
Charles James HOPKINS, M.M. Pte 6130 1st Somerset Regt.  Born at Iron Acton, South Gloucestershire to William Henry Hopkins and his wife  Emily Jane Armat, in July 1884. Lived mainly in Bristol. Was a regular soldier with 2nd Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry at Malta in 1911. Awarded Military Medal for bravery July 1917. Gave his place of residence as Lydney. Killed in action 25/10/1917. Buried in Monchy British Cemetery, Monchy-Le-Preux, France.
Henry Harold HOWELLS, Pte 12369, 2nd Battn. Gloucestershire Regiment. Tin-plate worker. 21 year old, one of the eleven children of Charles & Elizabeth Howells of 20 Tutnalls Street, Lydney. He enlisted over the border at Gorseinon and was killed in action on 10th May 1915.

John HUGHES 29584 Private 2nd Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment, the 29 year old son of Lydney wheelwright, John Emmanuel Hughes, and his wife Annie, of Brick House, Oldcroft, near Lydney. John junior, who enlisted at Bristol, was employed as a coach painter by his father. 

He lost his life at Salonika on December 7th 1916 and is remembered on the Doiran Memorial.
William Clifford HUSSEY, L/Cpl15267 8th Battalion Gloucestershire Regt. 25 year old son of tinplate works foreman James Hussey and Emily Frances Robbins, of 10 Station Road, Lydney. William was employed as a tinplate worker before enlisting at Gloucester. He was killed in action on 30/7/1916, and is buried in Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval Somme, France.

Albert Henry HYETT, Pte 29804 2nd Gloucestershire Regiment. Born at Lydney in 1888, the only son of coal shipper Walter Hyett and his wife Anne, who lived at 14 Mount Pleasant, Lydney. Albert was a hairdresser. He married Elizabeth Eleanor Collins in October 1914 and moved to 13 Bath Place, Lydney. He enlisted in the Glosters at Bristol and was killed in action at Salonika, Greece, on 25th October 1917. 29 year old Albert Hyett is buried in Struma Military Cemetery.
Frank JAMES, Pte 28642, 1st Battalion Hampshire Regiment, 18 year old son of tin-plate worker Henry James & his wife Ann, of Allastone Mead, Lydney. Enlisted Lydney. Killed in action 21st April 1918. Buried in Mont- Bernanchon British Cemetery, Gonnehem, France.

George Richard JAMES, Ordinary Seaman J/44132, Royal Navy, HMS “Vanguard”. The son of coal shipper George James, and his wife, Frances Annie Legge, of 9 Cookson Terrace, Lydney, George was only 16 when he signed up as a boy sailor on a 12 years engagement with the Royal Navy in September 1915. On July 9th 1917 he was killed on board the battleship, HMS Vanguard, when it exploded at Scapa Flow. His name is remembered on the Plymouth Naval Memorial.

On the night of 9 July 1917, the battleship HMS Vanguard was anchored in Scapa Flow. In a matter of seconds a devastating internal explosion destroyed the ship, killing all but two of the 845 men on board at the time. The explosion that sank Vanguard is believed to be the result of an internal explosion from faulty cordite. The loss of Vanguard was one of the most tragic accidents in the history of the Royal Navy. The bodies that could be recovered are buried in Lyness Royal Naval Cemetery, Hoy, and the wreck itself is afforded statutory protection as a designated war grave under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986.

Percy William JOHNSTONE, Pte, Royal Marine Light Infantry. 20 year old son of tailor, Samuel George Johnstone and Emma Rowley of Woodbine Villa, Stanford Road, Lydney.

Killed as a direct result of enemy action on 19th March 1918 while serving with the 2nd Royal Marines Battalion. Buried in Guards Cemetery, Les Boeufs, Somme, France.
Hugh JONES M.C. CAPT. 13th Glosters (Forest of Dean Battalion). Only son of William (Billy)Jones JP. Aged 29, Hugh played cricket for Lydney and Gloucestershire. His father was a builders merchant and ship-owner of the steamer Black Dwarf, which carried tin-plate out of Lydney Harbour to Avonmouth. The family lived at Moorlands on Hill Street, and William Jones was also chairman of Lydney Rural District Council, and on the committee of Lydney Cricket Club.
Lt. Hugh Jones, who had worked as a clerk in his father's shipping office, and was secretary of the Town Hall committee, earned his Military Cross for gallantry at the Somme and was promoted to Captain. He died on the 10th November 1918 of pneumonia after being hospitalised with Spanish influenza.

Ernest Alfred JONES, Pte 15294, 10th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment. Born at Mitcheldean, he was the 21 year old son of colliery engine driver, William Frederick Jones, and his wife Emily, who lived at Nine Wells, near Coleford. Recorded as a colliery worker in 1911, Private Ernest Jones was only 20 when marrying Cheltenham girl, Ethel Alice Bradstock, at Leckhampton on July 18th 1915, but was tragically killed in action only two months later. He is commemorated on the Loos Memorial in France. 310 officers and men from the 10th Gloucesters lost their lives on the Loos sector 1915-16.
Albert Henry JORDAN, Pte 16196,  3rd Gloucestershire Regiment, & 2nd Battalion. The 35 year old son of Harry & Ellen Jordan of Primrose Hill.  A tinplate worker, he married Lucy Gardener from Blakeney in 1906. The couple had two daughters. He enlisted with the Glosters at Bristol, and was killed in action on 1st October1918. Albert is buried at Mikra British Cemetery in Salonika, Greece.
Percy JORDAN, L/Cpl 13193 10th Gloucestershire Regt. 26 year old son of Walter & Esther Jordan of 25 High Street, Lydney. A grocer's assistant at Lydney in 1911. He enlisted at Coleford and was killed in action 16th June 1916. Buried in Maroc British Cemetery, Grenay, France.
Ernest (Buller) Frederick LEWIS, Pte 38476 1st King’s Shropshire Light Infantry (formerly with 8th Glosters) died 16/5/1918 age 24. Lydney tinplate worker in 1911. Son of Charles (1870-1900) and Rosina Lewis (1872-1908) of Queen Street, Lydney. Buried in Arneke British Cemetery, France.
James S LEWIS, 1st Officer, SS Singapore, Mercantile Marines, died 19/10/1918. Residence Lydney. He was the son of Lydney's harbour master, Samuel Kingscote Lewis. It is speculated that this merchant seaman may have died from Spanish Influenza. He is buried in Mazargues War Cemetery, Marseilles, France. Mazargues is a southern suburb (the 9th Arrondissement), some 6 kilometres from the centre of Marseilles.
Albert MORGAN, Pte 17341 10th Gloucestershire. Tinplate worker. 26 year old son of Samuel and Fanny Morgan of 5 Station Road, Lydney. Killed in action on September 25th 1915, he is buried in Dud Corner Cemetery, Loos, France.

One of his officers, 22 year old Lt. Clement Aubrey Symons, who had been on the staff of Lloyds Bank at Lydney, and a prominent member of the town's AFC and Cricket Club, was also killed that day.

Charles Henry MUNDAY, Pte 267012, 2nd Battalion, 6th Gloucestershire Regiment, was the 34 year old son of railwayman Charles Munday (1854-1910) and his wife Eliza Liddington (1854-1947) who lived at Highfield Lane, Lydney, and had nine children.

Charles Henry Munday enlisted in the Glosters at Bristol. He was killed in action on December 2nd 1917 and is commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial at Louverval, France.

George Harold NASH, L/Cpl 15318, 10th (Service) Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment. 22 year old son of tinplate worker Edwin Nash (1869-1947) and Edith Wickson (1862-1952), who were married in 1892. The couple had five sons and one daughter and lived at 32 Queens Street, Lydney. George, a hairdresser, was the eldest, and with two of his brothers, enlisted in World War 1. He was part of the machine gun section and was killed instantly, by an enemy shell during an artillery bombardment, on December 19th 1915, and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial, in France. 310 officers and men from the 10th Gloucesters lost their lives on the Loos sector 1915-16.
William Guy (Jack) NELMES, L/Cpl 13939, 8th Battalion (Motor Transport), Gloucestershire Regiment. Tinplate worker. 27 year old son of Guy & Abigail Nelmes of 21 Albert Street, Lydney. Enlisted 23rd September 1915. Killed in action 23rd July 1916. Commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.
Edward William PARSLOE, Pte 7799, 2nd Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry. Eldest son of Edward William and Alma Parsloe, of the Lodge, Blenheim Rd, Gloucester. He married Gertrude Annie Kear, of 9 Station Road, Lydney, in January 1914. Their daughter, Mavis Parsloe, was born at Lydney in December 1914. 22 year old Edward was never to see his daughter, he was killed in action on October 21st 1914 and is  buried in the China Wall Perth Cemetery, Belgium.

Charles PINCHIN, Pte 25733, 14th Worcestershire Regiment. Born Tormarton, South Gloucestershire, the 28 year old son of Chipping Sodbury born tinplate worker, William Henry Pinchin, and his wife Louisa Redwood, of 39 Queen Street, Lydney, who moved to this area around 1900. He married Annie Elizabeth Austin from Aylburton on January 31st 1916 and their son, William Ernest Pinchin, was born in July that year. Charles Pinchin died from his wounds at Chelsea Hospital on 11th September, and was buried with full military honours four days later, in St Mary’s Churchyard, Lydney. His son, William, was baptised at the same church two weeks after his father's death.
William Henry POWELL, 2nd Grenadier Guards. No casualty details. Born Lydney 1894, the son of GWR engine driver William Henry Powell and his wife Hannah. By 1911 the family had moved to Acton, Middlesex, where young William was employed as a railway number taker by the GWR.

William POWELL, Pte 6086, 1st Gloucestershire Regiment. The 31 year old son of tinplate worker Richard Powell and his wife Mary Jane, who lived at Victoria Road, Lydney, he appears on the Horfield Barracks 1901 census as a regular soldier with the 1st Glosters. He probably continued to serve with the reserves, as the 1911 census records him employed as a tinplate worker and living with his parents.

William, then living at Newbridge, Monmouthshire, married 27 year old, Lydney born, Annie Elizabeth Lee, the daughter of ostler John Lee and his wife Mary Ann Morgan, at Crumlin, near Pontypool, Monmouthshire, in 1912.

The 1st Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment, a part of 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, landed at Havre on the 13th August 1914. Killed in action on November 7th 1914, William Powell was one of Lydney's earliest recorded casualties of the war. He is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres in Belgium. His widow, Annie Powell, was married at Abercarn in January 1918 to 48 year old widowed fireman, John Matthews, and remained in Newbridge.
PROSSER James Lionel, Pte 15499 2nd Battalion, South Wales Borderers.Tinplate worker. 28 year old son of Thomas & Hannah Prosser from Primrose Hill, Lydney, and husband of Edith Emily Morgan who he married in 1910. Killed in action at Gallipoli 19th June 1915.
Albert Edward  REEKS, Pte 10188 1st Battalion Gloucestershire Regt,was the 17 year old son of Lydney born mariner William Reeks, and his wife Matilda. A tinplate worker in 1911, he enlisted at Lydney in August 1914. Albert died from his wounds on the 17th anniversary of his baptism at Lydney, 23/12/1916, and is buried in Dernancourt Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme. The personal effects record named the sole legatee as his sister Violet.
Harry RICHARDS, Pte 13587 8th Gloucestershire Regiment, age 27. Only son of tinworker Joseph Richards and Eliza James, who were married at Lydney in 1887. Joseph, who lived at Ivy Dene, Primrose Hill, Lydney, was recorded as an an engine driver in 1917. Harry, who was a tinworker in 1911, enlisted at Gloucester in August 1914. He was killed in action on 23rd July 1916 and is buried at Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Somme. He is also commemorated with a window in St. Mary's Church bearing the inscription "Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life. In ever loving memory of Harry Richards No. 13587 8th Gloucesters who fell in action July 23rd 1916 aged 27 years only son of Joseph & Eliza Richards & Grandson of the late Jamesimm, all of Primrose Hill, Lydney."
Thomas RICHARDS, Pte 13240 10th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment. 25 year old son of George & Alice Richards of 1 Factory, Lydney. Tinplate worker 1911. Enlisted before January 1915. Killed in action 25 September 1915. Commemorated Loos Memorial, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France. (see Albert Morgan who died the same day)

Frederick George SANDFORD, Pte 84233, 51st Bn Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) was the 29 year old son of Frederick and Emily Sandford, of 31 Albert St, Lydney.

Formerly a colliery worker, he was employed in a Bristol box factory after marrying Edith Price at Bedminster, Bristol, in September 1913. Their son Frederick George, was born on 24th July 1914, and a daughter, Minnie, was born in 1916, but only lived for less than a month.

Fred enlisted in the army in July 1916. He was wounded in the back and right hand by shrapnel in August 1917 and, after treatment in the UK, was granted home leave in September and October. He was posted back to France on April 2nd 1918 and was killed in action on April 11th.

Records show that Edith was granted a pension of one pound and five pence per week to support her and her child.

Their only son, AC2 Frederick George Sandford, lost his life in World War 2 while serving with the RAF at Singapore during the Japanese invasion in 1942.

He was the husband of Edith Mary Joyce Sandford, of Leckhampton, Cheltenham, and is commemorated on the Singapore Memorial.

Arthur SAUNDERS, Military Medal, Sgt 13072, 8th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment. He was the 25 year old son of John James Palmer Saunders (1857-1896) and his wife Sarah Beard (1862-1937). Tragically John died on 15th May 1896. He drowned after falling in the water, probably following a heart attack, while fishing with a lava net at Lydney docks. Arthur's widowed mother married William Thorne in 1900.

The 1911 census shows three Saunders brothers, including Arthur, employed as tinplate workers, and living at 14 Albert Street, Lydney.

A well known Gloucester and County rugby forward, Arthur enlisted at Gloucester in August 1914. The family address was then 31 Mount Pleasant, Tutnalls, Lydney. He was killed in action on November 1st 1916, and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, at Somme in France.

Charles Ivor Willis Saunders was the 29 year old son of John & Sarah Saunders, and brother to Arthur (above). He was employed as a tinplate worker and served three years with the 2nd Battalion, Gloucester Regiment(Reserves?), before migrating to Canada where he worked as a painter. He enlisted in the Canadian Artillery on September 15th 1914. Charles died of his extensive wounds at No.10 Stationary Hospital, St. Omer, on 6th September 1917 and is buried at Souvenir Cemetery, St. Omer.

Another brother, Albert Henry Saunders (born 1883), served with the Somerset Light Infantry and survived the war. He married Elizabeth Margaret Rees at Lydney, on 1st June 1925 when he was 42 years old.
Victor John SAUNDERS, Cpl 201167 13th Gloucestershire Regt.  29 year old youngest son of Victor & Helen Saunders of 7 Hill Street, Lydney. Tinplate worker 1911. Enlisted Bristol 27 January 1915. Died 22/3/1918. Buried near Peronne Communal Cemetery Extension.

George Henry SAYSUM, Pte 16113, 7th Gloucestershire Regiment and a private (6542) in the Military Police, was the 22 year old son of tinplate worker William Saysum and his wife, Martha Miles, of Allastone Mesne, Primrose Hill, Lydney, and husband of Florence Saysum of Ryden Lane, Charlton Pershore, Worcs. George enlisted in the Glosters on 25th November 1914. He was married at Tamworth, Staffordshire in 1916, and had one son, George Geoffrey, who was born in 1919. Wounded in his right eye on November 4th 1918, he was posted back to the UK. He was able to spend some time with his family, but was back in London's Hampstead Military hospital in 1919 where he died on November 26th. George is buried in St Mary’s Churchyard, Lydney. Our photo shows him with his sister Elizabeth (Cissie) in 1918.
Arthur William SMITH, Pte 14400, 12th Gloucestershire Regt died 28/4/1917 age 29. The son of John F B & Rose Eleanor Smith of the Swan Hotel, Lydney, Arthur was employed as a chauffeur to a farm bailiff at Christchurch in Hampshire during the time of the 1911 census. He enlisted with the Glosters at Bristol. Arthur died from his wounds on 28th April 1917 and was buried in Barlin Communal Cemetery Extension, France.
S J STOCK, Royal Garrison Artillery. No results from CWG or local family history sources on this one. Another researcher and the FODFH site suggests he is Pte Stephen John Stocker of Uplyme in Devon, but there is no obvious connection. His name is not on the earlier memorial inside Lydney Church.  Can anyone help?

William STRATTON, Pte 12219, 2nd Battalion and 7th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment. 20 year old son of bell-hanger Edward Stratton and his wife Jane of Tutnalls, Lydney, and later of Woodside, Bream. Willy enlisted at Lydney in September 1914, and was killed in action on May 2nd 1915. He is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres, Belgium.

Arthur Thomas THURSTON M.M., L/Cpl 13602, of ‘B’ Company, 8th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment, was the 29 year old son of mariner, Josiah Thurston and his wife Elizabeth Hughes, of 25 Albert St, Lydney. A tinplate worker, he enlisted with the Glosters on September 5th 1914 at Gloucester. Arthur's Military Medal, for bravery in the field, was reported in the local press on 20th February 1917.

He was killed in action on April 12th 1918 and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial in Belgium.
Donald Victor TOOP, Pte PLY/2415 1st Royal Marine Light Infantry. 19 year old son of dairyman William Alfred Toop and Jane Cuttriss of 9 Albert Street, Lydney, who were married at Sherborne, Dorset in 1894. His father died in 1911. Donald had been employed as a railway porter when enlisting with the marines in September 1917. He died of his wounds in 149th (RN) Field Ambulance (SW left leg) on 29th September 1918, and is buried at Louverval Military Cemetery, Doignies, France.
Harold TOWNSEND, Pte 28236 1st Battalion, Prince Albert's Somerset Light Infantry. 19 year old son of John & Annie Townsend of Clearwell. Enlisted at Bristol. Died 4/10/1917. Commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium.
Ralph TURLEY, Pte 21729 11th Royal Warwickshire Regt, was the 34 year old son of self-employed mason William Turley (residence High Street, Cinderford in 1911) who married Ellen Pollard. Employed as a walling mason at a colliery, he married Cinderella Hyett from Viney Hill in 1912. The couple lived at Lower Old Croft, Lydney. Ralph originally enlisted in the 11th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment (29261) but was on the strength of the Royal Warwickshires when he was killed in action on 11th April 1917. He is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France.
William Henry TURLEY, Pte 32332 12th Hampshire Regt, was the 37 year old son of mason William Turley and his wife Ellen. (see above) He married Rhoda Duck from Moseley Green at Viney Hill in 1908 and the couple had five sons. He died only two weeks after his brother Ralph on 25/4/1917 and is commemorated on the Doiran Memorial, Greece.
George John Lancelot WARREN, Pte 7488 King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, attached to the Royal Engineers. Born Cardiff 1885, and baptised at Lydney in 1888, the 31 year old son of Welshman George Warren and Lydney born Rosanna Warren. He married Emily Bishop in 1907 and had three children. He was a collier at Cardiff in 1911 but gave his residence as Lydney when enlisting. George died 14th July 1916 and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme.

Harold George WELLINGTON, Pte 15077 8th (Service Battalion) Gloucestershire Regiment. Son of engine driver Thomas Wellington and Mary Jane Robins who were married in 1874. The family lived at 1 Queen St, Lydney, but in 1911 Harold was away from home, employed as a tinplate worker at Caerphilly in Wales. He enlisted at Gloucester, was killed in action on July 30th 1916, and is buried in Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, France. He is also remembered on the grave of his parents at St. Mary's, Lydney, where his 'death penny', a six inch diameter bronze disc issued to relatives, was set into their headstone.

William Thomas (Billy) WILCOX, Cpl 37293 M.M, 50th Btn. Machine Gun Corps, and formerly 26854, Gloucestershire Regiment. The 21 year old son of tinplate worker William Wilcox and his wife Eleanor Parry, who were married at Lydney in 1893. The family lived at Mount Pleasant in 1901, and in later years, at 67 Church Road, Lydney.

Billy was employed as a tinplate worker when he enlisted in the Glosters at Lydney, and serving with the Machine Gun Corps when awarded a Military Medal, for bravery in the field, in August 1918. He died in a prisoner of war hospital near Kassel in Germany, on October 20th 1918, and was buried at Neiderzwehren Cemetery at Kassel.
William John WILLIAMS, Pte 20903 10th South Wales Borderers age 22. Son of William & Johanna Williams, 9 Walter Street, Abertysswy, Monmouthshire. Resident of Lydney when enlisting. Killed in action 3rd March 1916. Buried in Le Touret Military Cemetery, Richebourge-L’Avoue, France.

William WOODWARD, Pte 29503 1st East Surrey Regiment, and Pte 18341 12th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment. Born at Ross-on-Wye in 1896, he was the 22 year old son of farm labourer, Arthur Woodward, and his wife Elizabeth, who lived at 7 Church Street, Lydney. William was posted to the East Surreys on October 8th 1918, and was killed in action 12 days later. He is buried at Bethencourt Communal Cemetery in France.

Gilbert James WOOLES, Pte 204073 2nd/5th Gloucestershire Regt, was the 32 year old son of publican Allan Wooles (1856-1887) and his wife Ann who were the landlords of the Greyhound Inn at Lydney. Gilbert was a self-employed plasterer and married the daughter of another publican, Ada Agnes Jones, at Lydney church in June 1911. He was landlord of the Rifleman's Arms in 1912. They had one child, Agnes, who was born in 1913. He enlisted at Bristol and was killed in action on 31/3/1918.

Pte Gilbert Wooles is buried in Han British Cemetery, Muille-Villette, France.
Arthur Thomas Joseph WYMAN. Pte 28249 1st Somerset Light Infantry. Born at Lydney in 1898, he was the son of baker Herbert Maurice Wyman from Westbury, and Mary Millward from Merthyr Tydfil, who were married at Merthyr in 1897. 

Arthur received gunshot wounds to his left thigh and buttock on 4th October 1917 at Poelcapelle 5 miles north-east of Ypres. In this action his battalion lost 9 officers and 282 other ranks. The wounds must have been serious as he was then sent to a military hospital in France for 3 months and then repatriated to the UK on 5th January 1918. There are no records available but he died at Bath in 1923 aged 25. One can only guess that he was possibly a long-term patient at the Bath War Hospital.


Lydney Cricket Club's Memorial

F J B Cowley
G Fletcher
W J Harrison
S Hockaday
A H Hyett
Hugh Jones
F Osborne
C A Symons
V Saunders
This Memorial was placed here by the members of the Lydney Cricket Club to keep in remembrance their club mates who gave their lives in the Great War.
'They played the Game.'
Three of those named, F J B Cowley, F R Osborne, and C A Symons, do not appear on the Lydney war memorial.


2nd Lieutenant Frederick John Bodenham Cowley. 23 year old son of Frederick James Bodenham Cowley and Florence Emily Cowley, of Holmleigh, Falkner St., Gloucester. An employee of Lloyds Bank, he was vice-captain of Lydney AFC in 1913. John was commissioned with the Gloucestershire Regiment January 1918.  Attached to 1st Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment, he was killed in action in France on 11th August 1918, and is buried in Bouchoir New British Cemetery. He is also commemorated on a plaque in Gloucester Park and on the Lydney Cricket Club memorial.

Sergeant Francis Raywood Osborne, 10th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers.

Raywood was born at Campden Grammar School, the eldest son of Francis Bazley and Mary Ann Osborne, and was baptised at St. James’s Church on 1 June 1890. He was educated at Campden Grammar School, where his father was headmaster, and then at Christ’s Hospital in Horsham. In 1906 he obtained a clerkship in the Capital and Counties Bank in Gloucester before he moved successively to branches in Shrewsbury, Ludlow, Lydney and finally to Head Office in Threadneedle Street in London. He was a member of the Institute of Bankers. At the outbreak of war Raywood enlisted in the 10th Battalion (Stockbrokers’ Battalion), Royal Fusiliers in London and in September 1914 he was gazetted to a commission in the Army Service Corps. This he declined as it was a non - fighting unit. In 1915 he was again offered a commission but this time in his own battalion, which he again refused as it entailed a longer stay in England.

Raywood arrived in France as a sergeant on 13 October 1915. On the night of 4 May 1916 he was in charge of his platoon at Monchy-au-Bois, south-west of Arras, when the Germans made a surprise attack. Though wounded, he refused to leave his men. He was wounded a second time and was being carried away by the stretcher-bearers when he was hit for a third time by a shell splinter. His wounds were fatal and he died soon afterwards. He is remembered on both the Chipping Campden and Blockley war memorials, and the Lydney Cricket Club memorial plaque.

Lieutenant Clement Aubrey Symons was born at Banbury in 1893. He was the third son of Edward William Symons and Katherine Elizabeth Symons and resided at 20, Belmont, St Swithin's, Bath. Edward Symons was headmaster of King Edward's School, Bath. Clement attended King Edward's School where he was a prominent member of the cricket and football teams and a member of the School Officer Training Corps. 

In the years immediately before the war he was employed as a clerk with Lloyds Bank at Lydney and he joined the town's cricket team. At the outbreak of war he immediately applied for and was appointed to a Temporary Regular Commission as a Second Lieutenant on 17th September 1914 and posted to the 10th (Service) Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment. On September 25th 1915, 16 out of 21 officers were lost. Lt Symons was killed, as were Captain E H Moss, Capt J W C Tongue, Capt I R Gibbs, Capt E H Sale, Lt G G W Leary, Lt G W Robinson, Lt H A Whiffin and 2Lt G W Field. 2Lt P V N Neems was severely wounded and died of wounds in the UK on 9th October 1915. His body was never found or recovered from the battlefield and he is listed on the Loos Memorial To The Missing.

He is commemorated on the Bath War Memorial and the Lydney Cricket Club memorial. Photographs of Clement Symon's Great War campaign medals and Bronze Commemorative Plaque are held by the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum. He was a nephew of the poet A E Housman, and before departing for France, wrote the following verses. 

The Conflict

The queen of air and darkness

 Begins to shrill and cry,

"O young man, 0 my Slayer,

"Tomorrow you shall die".

"O queen of air and darkness,

"I think 'tis the truth you say,

"And I shall die tomorrow."


Another Lydney born bank clerk, who is not named on the memorial, died at home in Ruardean on 24th March 1920 after serving in the Middle East and Russia with the 9th Worcestershires.

Lt. Francis Austin Chivers HOWELLS was the 23 year old son of Lydney born art master Howard Howells, and a Ruardean grocer's daughter, Ida Chivers, who, after their marriage, lived at 149 Bream Road, Lydney.

A bank clerk in civilian life, Austin joined the 5th Worcestershires in February 1915 and was posted to India in November after receiving his commission as a temporary 2nd Lieutenant. A posting to Karachi followed in November 1916.

At Basra in March 1917 he joined the  9th Worcesters but unfortunately contracted malaria at Mesopotamia in May and was hospitalised. He rejoined his unit in August and was posted to Russia and the Caucasus, and later to Salonika.

He was demobilised with medical problems on December 16th 1919.

His home in 1920 was London House, Ruardean, where he died from pneumonia on March 24th 1920. An online passenger list for the SS Philadelphia reveals that he was due to sail to San Francisco on March 27th as a clerk with the Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation.

Austin is buried in a CWGA grave at St. Mary's churchyard in Lydney.


Aylburton Memorial


Macarthur BALLINGER, R/1102, Able Seaman, Drake Battalion, 63rd (Royal Naval) Division, was the 24 year old son of farmer Edward Dennis Ballinger and his wife, Norfolk born Rosa May Skinner, from Lodge Farm, Aylburton.

Arthur's mother died when he was only 19 days old, and his father, Edward, married Rosa's cousin, Alice Skinner, in 1895.

He worked on his father's farm before enlisting in the Royal Navy in April 1917.

Arthur was originally with Howe Battalion, a RN infantry unit based in France, from September 1917, but was invalided back to the UK in February 1918 suffering from trench fever.

Following hospital treatment he was sent back to France, joining Drake Battalion on May 21st 1918.

He was killed in action on 21st August 1918 and is buried at Achiet-le-Grand Communal Cemetery Extension.

Raynor Henry Leonard CHARLES, Royal Navy Able Seaman J 47206, was the 20 year old son of tinplate worker Leonard George Charles and his wife Matilda Howells, from Aylburton who were married in 1894.

Raynor was a tin-plate worker from the age of 14 till he joined the GWR in March 1915.

When enlisting with the Royal Navy in December 1915 his record shows that he had been employed as a fireman. He joined HMS Vala on May 1st 1917. On 20 August 1917 it was torpedoed and sunk about 120 miles south-west of the Scilly Isles by German submarine UB-54. The submarine's war diary indicates survivors made it to the boats, but it appears they were lost in the weather conditions following.

Raynor has no known grave and is remembered on the Plymouth Naval Memorial.

Arthur ELLIS, Pte PLY/2459(S),of 1st Royal Marines Battalion, Royal Naval Division, was the 28 year old son of mason, Arthur Ellis, and his wife Laura, from Church Road, Aylburton. He was employed as a baker before joining the Marines. Posted to France, he died from his wounds on June 1st, 1918, and is buried in Etaples Military Cemetery Extension, France.

Evan Rosser GILLHAM, Colour Sergeant 14032, 11th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers, the 28 year old son of tinplate works manager, Richard Gillham, and his wife Ada, he was born at Aylburton in 1890. Before enlisting in the Welsh Fusiliers, Evan was a clerk in a tinplate works and living at Whitchurch near Cardiff. Two of his brothers also joined up, Percy in the RFA, and Cyril in the Welsh Fusiliers. Evan died in the UK in March 1919 and is believed to be buried in Whitchurch cemetery.

George Lionel HADDOCK, Private 41228, Suffolk Regiment, 4th Battalion, formerly of the R.A.S.C, was the 24 year old son of Aylburton collier William Haddock, and his wife Caroline Collins, who were married in 1886. The couple had six children, all born at Aylburton. The 1911 census records George at home in Albert Street, Lydney, helping his mother and sisters operate a small brewery, but his father and eldest brother, William, had moved to the Rhondda Valley in South Wales, looking for work. The family had settled at Blaenrhondda, Treherbert, in Glamorganshire, when George enlisted in the R.A.S.C at Pentre.

He was serving with the Suffolk Regiment when he died from his wounds on May 30th, 1917, and is buried at Sunken Road Cemetery, Boisleux, St. Mark.

Henry (Harry) Stoppard HARRIS, Private 51871, B Company, 8th (Service) Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment. He was the 20 year old son of Aylburton farmer, James Harris and his wife Mary Ann Hewlett. The couple had three sons and a daughter. James Harris was farming at Pool Farm in 1901 and 1911 but was only 48 years old when he died in 1912. The family then moved to nearby Lodge Farm where his eldest son,17 year old Joseph Harris (1895-1976), and his younger brother, Henry Stoppard Harris (1898-1918), helped their mother run the the farm.

Henry (Harry) enlisted in the 8th Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment. He was killed in action on October 21st 1918, only three weeks before the Armistice, and is buried at Romeries Communal Cemetery extension.

William James KEMBRY, Guardsman 12192,1st Battalion, Grenadier Guards, was born at Weston-Super-Mare. He was the 28 year old son of William & Mary Kembry from Bristol, and husband of Edith Cracknell who he married at Bristol in 1909. A grocer's porter at Aylburton in 1911, and father of two children, Beatrice (1910), and William James (1914), he joined the Grenadier Guards at Bristol in 1914. William was killed in Flanders on October 25th 1914 and is commemorated on the Ypres Menin Gate Memorial. His widow Edith married Aylburton widower, Thomas Hoskins, at Lydney in April 1919.

Bertram KNIGHT, Private 23303, 10th Battalion, Welsh Fusiliers (Machine Gunner). He was the 29 year old son of Aylburton shipwright, Robert Knight, and his wife Sophia Walker. The couple were widower and widow, both with children, when marrying at Lydney in 1888.

Baptised Sydney Hewlett B Knight in 1889, and registered as Sidney Hubert B Knight, he was more commonly known as Bert. He married Daisy F Morley at Paddington, London, in 1910, and was employed as a tinplate worker at Pontymister, near Newport, South Wales, in 1911.

Bert enlisted with the Welsh Fusiliers in February 1915, and was killed in action on March 3rd 1915. His home address was then given as Stockwell Cottage, Aylburton. He is commemorated on the Ypres Memorial (Menin Gate) Panel 22.

James MORSE, 12302 Lance Corporal, 8th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment. He was the 22 year old son of Henry Morse and his wife Elizabeth Baker, who were married at Drybrook in 1883. The couple, with three of their children, migrated to America around 1890. Two more sons, James (1894), and Henry (1896) were born there.

The family returned to the UK and settled at Cottage Farm, Alvington in 1899 where Henry worked as a collier. Local records show that his two youngest American born sons, James and Henry, were baptised in November that year. From 1902 until 1914 Henry (Boxer) Morse was the landlord of the Traveller's Rest on Aylburton Common. Local papers show he received at least two summonses for serving drinks outside of licensing hours.

In September 1914 20 year old James enlisted in the Gloucestershire Regiment.

He was killed in action on July 3rd 1916 and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

William Frank PEARCE, Private 201291,1/4th Battalion Welsh Regiment, was the 25 year old son of Staffordshire born iron moulder, James Pearce, who married Mary Ann Sullivan at Lydney in 1873.

From 1901 the family had moved to Great Western Terrace, Llanelly in South Wales, where James was employed by the same company, Richard Thomas, as a moulder.

During WW1 his Lydney born son, William, who worked in the same tinplate works, joined the Welsh Regiment. He was killed during action in Iraq on March 4th 1918 and is buried in the Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery.

William POWELL, Private 26893, 14th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment, baptised at Aylburton in 1882, he was the eldest son of railway plate-layer, James Powell, and his wife, Mary Ann Haddock, who were married at Lydney earlier that year and lived on Aylburton Common. William enlisted in the Worcestershires on 17th November 1915 and was killed in action a year later, November 14th 1916.

He is buried at Ancre British Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel .

Harry ROBINS, Pte 4274, 13th Division Cycling Corps, was the 24 year old son of blacksmith's labourer, Henry Colwell Robins (1854-1903), and his wife Edith Mary Addis (1861-1919). He was working as a colliery engine driver when he enlisted with 7th (Service) Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment, at Lydney in August 1914. He transferred to the 13th Division Cycling Corps on January 11th 1915 and was part of the 13th Division Signals Corps attached to the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, when he arrived at Basra, Iraq, in February 1916. Harry was killed in action on April 23rd 1916. He is commemorated on the Basra Memorial.

Charles Edward SEABRIGHT, Acting Bombardier 78359, Royal Garrison Artillery, 227 Siege Battery. He was born at Cinderford in 1887, the son of Police Sergeant Hubert Seabright (1863-1933), and a Littledean policeman's daughter, Annie Trinder, who were married at Cheltenham in 1884.

A telegraph boy in 1901, when he enlisted in the RGA Charles was employed as a brewery clerk and had married Kate Wilcox (b1890) at Lydney in February 1910.

The couple had one child, Irene Kathleen, born 27th November 1910, and lived at 'Glenthorne', Aylburton.

He arrived in France on January 7th 1917. In April Charles was injured near Arras and taken to No.8 Casualty Station. He died from his wounds on 20th April 1917 and is buried at Duisans British Cemetery, Etrun.

Percival James STEPHENS, L/Corp 56225, 2nd Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers, was the 27 year old son of grocer James Stephens (1844-1898) from Chepstow, and Mary Ann Davis from Aylburton, who were married in the Chepstow District in 1889 (Mar Qtr). James died in 1898 and Mary Jane and Percy are recorded on the 1901 census living at her parents' home in Aylburton. In 1911 she and her mother were now living with Percy in Abercarn, South Wales, where he was employed as a clerk in a tinplate works.

L/Cpl Percival James Stephens was killed in action on May 28th 1917 and is buried at Boisleux-Au-Mont Communal Cemetery, St. Marc, France.



Commonwealth War Graves


Forest of Dean Family History site

"In the Shadow of Lone Tree - Battle of Loos 1915" by Nick Christian

1911 Census


Local newspapers

We are also very grateful for the advice and assistance of Mike Akerman who is compiling a database of the soldiers of the Gloucestershire Regiment.

Lydney 1939-1945

John Norman ADDIS, Lt 149784 (99th The Royal Bucks Yeomanry) Field Regt Royal Artillery died 22/3/1945 age 26. Son of John & Marie Victorine Addis of Lydney. Buried in Taukkyan War Cemetery Mynmar, Burma.

John ALLEN, Capt 138824 10th Gloucestershire Regt. Died 17/8/1944 age 25. Son of Rev. Victor Augustus Charles & Eva Sarah Louise Allen, the Vicarage, Angersleigh. Buried in Taukkyan War Cemetery Maynmar, Burma. Brother of Mark listed below.

Mark ALLEN, Leading Airman FAA/FX86978, HMS Implacable, Royal Navy. Died 29/4/1945 age 20, son of Rev. Victor A & Eva S L Allen, the Vicarage, Angersleigh. Commemorated on the Lee-on-Solent Memorial, Hampshire.

Frederick John BARNETT, Stoker 1st Class D/KX98588 HMS “Acasta” Royal Navy died 8/6/1940 age 46. Son of Frederick & Mary Ann Barnett, husband of Margaret Barnett of Lydney. Commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial Devon

Raymond George BEARD, Drv T/122898 2nd Bridge Coy, Royal Army Service Corps died 2/6/1940 age 21. Son of Ralph Henry & Maisie Lavinia Beard, Littledean. Commemorated on the Dunkirk Memorial, Dunkirk

Francis Albert BURNELL, Cpl (Trooper) 5190753, 1st Royal Tank Regt, Royal Armoured Corps died 31/3/1945 age 26. Buried in Reichswald Forest War Cemetery Germany.

Ernest John COMLEY, Pte S/186177 10th Field Bakery, Royal Army Service Corps died 3/7/1942 age 26. Son of Mr & Mrs Arthur Comley, Cross Hands, Glos. Commemorated on the Brookwood Memorial, Surrey.

Leonard Charles CLUTTERBUCK, Flt/Sgt (Navigator) 1319227 166 Sqdn Royal Air Force died 22/5/1944 age 22. Son of Richard Charles & Florence Clutterbuck, husband of Zeana May Clutterbuck of Lydney. Buried in the Hook of Holland General Cemetery.

Leonard Charles CLUTTERBUCK, Flt/Sgt (Navigator) on Lancaster III ND579 AS-M. Operation Duisburg. Took off from RAF Kirmington at 2230 hrs. Shot down by a night-fighter (Hptm Martin Drewes. III./NJG1) and crashed in the sea off the coast of Holland. 

Ronald Beynon DAVIES, L/Cpl 5189721 1st Gloucestershire Regt died 31/5/1942 age 28. Son of William Henry & Magdalene Davies, husband of Eveline Mary Davies of Lydney. Buried in the Delhi War Cemetery India.

John EMERY, Pte 5182282 Gloucestershire Regiment. Born in Herefordshire, he was the 25 year old son of farm-worker John Emery and his wife Emily Jane, who were married around 1906. He was living at Bristol when joining the Glosters. The family settled at Lydney and two of his brothers married local girls. John was killed at Dunkirk around June 1st 1940.

William Thomas HAINES, Seaman D/JX305731 HMS “Charubdis”, Royal Navy died 23/10/1943 age 21. Son of William C & Kate Haines of Lydney. Commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon

Trevor HOWELL, Flying Officer (Obs/Air Bomber) of 150 Squadron Royal Air Force, died 20/11/1942 age 34. Husband of Mabel Alice Postgate of Stockton on Tees, County Durham (She was born at Thornaby, Yorkshire in 1907). Trevor is buried in Thornley on Tees Cemetery, Co Durham.(No record of his connection with Lydney)

150 Sqn Wellington III BK538 JN-U crewed by Sgt E.O. Booth, P/O T. Howell, Sgt. J.H.N. Lisson, Sgt. L.J. Somerville, and P/O Julian Frederic Sweet, crashed at 2300hrs 20th November 1942 at RAF Manston in Kent. The aircraft had taken off from Kirmington at 1910hrs on the 20th for a mission over Torino. Sgt. Booth was injured but the rest of the crew were killed.

Alfred George LOVE, Drv. T/11259274, 503rd Bulk Petrol Coy, Royal Army Service Corps. Died 22/3/1945 age 36. Son of William & Elizabeth Love, husband of Bella Love of Lydney. Buried in Brussels Town Cemetery, Belgium.

William Lionel MOGFORD, Sgt (Obs) 927587 115 Sqdn Royal Air Force died while part of the crew of Wellington bomber X3604 on 26/3/1942 age 25. Son of William Charles & Sarah Jane Mogford, husband of Cynthia Mogford of 38 Bridge Street, Risca, Monmouthshire, he was born near Newport in 1916. William is buried at Wichmond General Cemetery, Warnsveld, Gelderland Netherland. see story about the crash

Edwin James Harold NASH, Pilot Officer 130942 Royal Air Force died while in training at No.31 Operational Training Unit, Debert, Nova Scotia,  27/1/1943 age 20. Son of Frederick E & Frances A of Tunstalls, Lydney. Buried in Truro Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Cemetery Nova Scotia Canada.

The crew of Hudson AM890 were returning from a navigation exercise, and approaching to land, when the aircraft swung through 180 degrees to the left and spun into the ground two miles south-west of the aerodrome at Debert.

Edward Lionel PARRISH, Sgt (Flight Engineer) 1851463 90 Squadron Royal Air Force died 26/2/1944 age 20. Son of Frederick & Eva C Parrish of Lydney. Buried in St Mary Churchyard, Lydney.

90 Squadron Stirling Mk.III bomber EF198 WP-H. Overseas Operation 25th /26th February 1944.
Airborne 19:55 25th Feb 1944 from RAF Tuddenham to plant mines in the Baltic. On return, and while descending through cloud, the aircraft struck some trees atop a hill 250 ft above Mean Sea Level then crashed  02:55 at Denham Castle, 6 miles WSW of Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk.

Thomas Edward ROE, Sgt. (Flight Engineer) 1609482 died in Lancaster ND410 of 12 Sqdn Royal Air Force on 20/2/1944. It was the 52nd confirmed victory for Luftwaffe pilot Major Radusch, at that time Kommodore (C.O.) of the 2nd Night Fighter Group. Tom Roe, a local rugby player married Eileen Harris in 1938 and was the father of two daughters. His body was washed up on the Island of Overflakkee south of Rotterdam and buried in the village cemetery at Ouddorp. Tom's name is also on the Second World War Memorial in Salem Church, Berry Hill.

Philip Alan SANDS, Aircraftman 1st Class, Royal Air Force, of 21 Church Road, Lydney. Believed to have died in an accident on 30/10/1943 aged 19. Buried November 3rd 1943 in St Mary's Churchyard, Lydney.

John Trevor SMALE, Pilot, Sgt 1252037 Royal Air Force stationed at RAF Abingdon, he died 18/5/1941 age 19. Born in Lydney he was the son of electrical engineer John Arthur Smale & his wife Hilda Marguerita Watts. Buried at St Mary Churchyard, Lydney on May 23rd 1941.

David Clement Raymond SMITH, Flt Sgt 3025447, 299 Squadron Royal Air Force. Stirling bomber aircrew. Died 31/3/1945 age 20. Nephew of Mr T R Smith of Lydney. Commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey.

We think the above may have been KIA in March 1945 as one of the crew of  Stirling PK 255 believed to be found recently in the North Sea. David [schoolboy DOB 24 Dec 1924] was living at 28 Victoria Road Lydney with Thomas Raymond Smith and his wife Evelyn [Evelina] Beatrice in 1939. Thomas Raymond Smith worked on the railways.   Mary Ghrist - Stirling Aircraft Society.

Frank SMITH, Drv T/221542 Royal Army Service Corps died 14/2/1942 age 24. Son of Albert & Elizabeth Smith, husband of Rosa May Smith of Lydney. Commemorated on the Tel El Kebir Memorial, Egypt.

Leonard Willoulby SNOW, Pte 788833 1st Gloucestershire Regt died 5/5/1942 age 22. Commemorated on the Rangoon Memorial Mynmar, Burma.

Kenneth John SNOW, Guardsman 2665301 4th Coldstream Guards. Died 30/7/1944 age 21. Son of Leonard Horace & Mary Snow. Buried in De Percy War Cemetery, St Charles, France.

Lawrence Clayton THOMAS, Trooper 7942287 3rd Carabiniers (Prince of Wales Dragoon Guards) Royal Armoured Corps died 13/3/1944 age 20. Son of Maldwyn & May Thomas of Lydney. Commemorated on the Rangoon Memorial, India.


Colyn James STINCHOMBE, Leading Seaman P/JX 139021 HMS Submarine Grampus Royal Navy. Died 24/6/1940 age 23. Son of William Henry & Harriet Anne Stinchcombe of Lydney. Commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

Ronald George Frederick WILKS, Ordinary Telegraphist D/JX206143, HMS Rajputana, Royal Navy. Died13/4/1941 age 26. Son of George Frederick & Ellen Wilks of Lydney, husband of Rosalind Wilks of Lydney. Commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon.



Forest of Dean War Heroes
Francis George Miles VC

Francis George Miles VC (9 July 1896 – 8 November 1961)was a Forest of Dean recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. After leaving school at Clearwell, Francis Miles went to work at the Princess Royal Colliery in Bream.

On 28th December 1914, he enlisted with his stepfather Fredrick Clack, into the 9th Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment. After training, the battalion was sent to France where Miles was wounded and hospitalized back to England.
Meanwhile his battalion was sent to Salonika without him.

Following his recovery, and because of his experience as a miner, he was attached to the Royal Engineers as a tunneller, but was again wounded being the only survivor of fifty men after an explosion in a mine. On recovering from his injuries he returned to the Gloucesters and joined the 5th Battalion in time to be sent to the Italian Front.
In September the regiment was recalled to France for the final weeks of the War. It was during the Battle of the Selle, to the east of Le Cateau, in October 1918, that the Gloucesters were given the task of clearing part of the Bois l'Eveque close to a mill. They met with stubborn resistance from several machine gun posts, which stalled the advance. It was here that Private Francis Miles performed his act of outstanding heroism.
He was 22 years old, when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
On 23 October 1918 at Bois-l'Évêque, Landrecies, France, when his company was held up by a line of enemy machine-guns in a sunken road, Private Miles, alone and on his own initiative went forward under exceptionally heavy fire, located a machine-gun, shot the gunner and put the gun out of action. Then seeing another gun nearby, he again went forward alone, shot the gunner and captured the team of eight. Finally he stood up and beckoned to his company who, acting on his signals, were able to capture 16 machine-guns, one officer and 50 other ranks.
Francis Miles was invested with his Victoria Cross by King George V at Buckingham Palace on the 30th May 1919. He returned to Clearwell to hero's welcome where the villagers presented him with a gold watch. The presentation by fellow VC winner Captain Angus Buchanan took place at a ceremony at Berry Hill which included a brass band, a boxing tent, and an athletics display.
Francis obviously missed service life as he again joined up in World War II and served with the Pioneer Corps. After WWII, Francis Miles returned to work in the colliery, but had poor health for the rest of his life. He died aged 65 on the 8th November 1961 and is buried in St. Peter's Clearwell. There is now a plaque on the side of Private Miles’ home at Lower Cross, Clearwell.
His medals, including the Victoria Cross were sold at auction in 2005 for £72,000. They are on public view in the Lord Ashcroft Gallery at the Imperial War Museum, London.Our photo shows Francis Miles being 'chaired' at Clearwell in 1919.

Angus Buchanan, VC MC

Angus Buchanan, VC MC (11 August 1894 – 1 March 1944) was a Forest of Dean recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Angus was the son of a doctor from Coleford. He was educated at Monmouth School, where he was head boy. He went on to Jesus College, Oxford in 1913 to study Classics. One of his tutors described him as "Thoroughly Scotch and rather reserved, but a hard worker and likely to be a good influence in the College".

He rowed for Jesus College in 1914, played rugby and was Secretary of the Athletics Club. He then joined the South Wales Borderers, and served in Gallipoli and Mesopotamia.


He was awarded the Military Cross in 1916, and mentioned four times in despatches.

Angus Buchanan was 21 years old, and a temporary captain when the following deed took place on 5 April 1916 at Falauyah Lines, Mesopotamia, for which he was awarded the VC.

The award was announced in a supplement to the London Gazette of 26 September 1916, and read:

War Office, 26th September, 1916. His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned Officer, Lt. (temp. Capt.) Angus Buchanan, S. Wales Borderers for most conspicuous bravery. During an attack an officer was lying out in the open severely wounded about 150 yards from cover. Two men went to his assistance and one of them was hit at once. Captain Buchanan, on seeing this, immediately went out and, with the help of the other man, carried the wounded officer to cover under heavy machine gun fire. He then returned and brought in the wounded man, again under heavy fire.


In July 1916 he was also awarded the Russian decoration of the Order of St. Vladimir 4th Class (with Swords).

Angus was invalided out of the army after being blinded by shrapnel in 1917. He returned to Jesus College after the war and read law, rowing for the college in 1919 despite his blindness. After graduating in 1921, he worked in a solicitor's office at Oxford before returning to Coleford where he worked until his death in 1944.

He returned to Monmouth School in 1921 for the ceremony marking the dedication of the school's war memorial.

Funds were raised in Coleford to mark his bravery, which he asked to be used to give children somewhere to play.

He is buried in Coleford Cemetery, next to the recreation field named in his honour. His Victoria Cross is displayed at the South Wales Borderers Museum in Brecon.

Coleford's Gilbert Fern of RAF 236 Squadron

Intelligence gathered by Major Ben Cowburn of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) in the early Spring of 1942 showed that the Germans paraded down the Champs-Elysees every day between 12.15 and 12.45. With this information, Air Chief Marshal Sir Philip Joubert de la Ferté, the Commander-in-Chief of Coastal Command, devised a propaganda idea to boost the morale of the French by draping the Arc de Triomphe with the French Tricolour.

He called in Flt Lt Gatward to see if he would volunteer for the "unsafe" mission. Gatward had already undertaken numerous low-level day light attacks, so he, along with his navigator, Sgt Gilbert 'George' Fern, both agreed. The plan was to fly low level down the Champs-Elysees, strafe the German soldiers on parade, and as a back up target, attack the Kriegsmarine headquarters in the Ministre de la Marine (the former home of the French Naval Ministry). On the 5 May 1942 Gatward and Fern began to practice for the daring raid by attacking a shipwreck in the English Channel. They also pored over maps of Paris and the best routes to both get in and out of the city.

Prior to the raid, Gatward and Fern obtained a Tricolour from Portsmouth Harbour and had it cut into two. Each section was weighted with iron and they tested dropping them from a hangar roof to see how they unfurled. The flags were then installed on their Bristol Beaufighter (code ND-C, serial T4800). One section was to be draped over the Arc de Triomphe, the other over the ministry. They first attempted the raid on May 13, but encountered poor weather after crossing the French coast. They were under orders to return if this happened.

On 12 June 1942, Gatward and Fern took off again at 1129 hours from Thorney Island in heavy rain. Initial weather conditions of ten tenths cloud at 2,000 feet with heavy precipitation were encountered and the aircraft set course for the target at 1131 hours. Crossing the French coast a few miles eastward of Fecamp at 1158 hours, the cloud cover thinned out and by they reached Rouen there was bright sunshine. The operation to boost French morale involved flying through the Paris suburbs and up the Champs Elysee below roof level to avoid being shot at. It was Gilbert's job to negotiate the plane's route through the streets and to drop the weighted flag onto the famous landmark


The aircraft flown by Gatward & Fern -  Bristol Beaufighter Mark IC,T4800 'ND-C', of 236 Squadron

With excellent visibility the aircraft passed over the suburbs of Paris at a very low altitude and some light flak was encountered for the first time. They circled the Eiffel Tower at 1227 hours. During this low level flying he suffered a bird strike in his starboard engine radiator but managed to fly on. At approximately 1228 hours he banked to port and headed towards the Champs-Elysees.

The intelligence information about the time of the parade was incorrect so there were no German soldiers to strafe, but Fern released the first Tricolour down the flare shute over the Arc de Triomphe. Gatward then attacked the Ministre de la Marine in the Place de la Concorde, and strafed the building with 20mm cannon shells, scattering German sentries. Fern, then dropped the second part of the Tricolour.

 They then turned for home at 1230 hours and landed at RAF Northolt at 1353 hours. Later intelligence confirmed that the parade had been assembling at the time of the attack but had to be abandoned due to the confusion following Gatward’s raid. Gatward was awarded an immediate DFC for his actions that day and Gilbert Fern received the DFM. When he had completed his service with the RAF after the war he had worked his way through the ranks to Squadron Leader.

When demobbed Gilbert resumed his career as a handicraft teacher, which incorporated woodwork, metalwork and technical drawing and soon returned to the Forest to take up a post at East Dean Grammar School in Cinderford where he taught for more than 30 years.

After retiring in 1982 he working as an O-Level and A-Level examiner until into his eighties. As well as his talent for teaching woodwork Gilbert put his practical skills to good use as a set builder for the Coleford Dramatic Society. He also set up the RAF Association in Coleford and was a member of the town's Tennis Club. He had two children, Pat and John, from his first marriage and a third, James with his second wife Judith who was the daughter of author and historian Cyril Hart. They were married for 38 years living first in Coleford and later in Chepstow.

Gilbert died in September 2010 and his funeral was held at St Mary's Church, Chepstow.


I have just been reading the account on Gilbert Fern. The account whilst very good does contain an inaccuracy. East Dean Grammar School was in Cinderford, not Coleford as stated.

Mr Fern was a quiet unassuming man and I well remember some of his little quips for wrong answers in Technical Drawing. Whilst there were many stories about his role in the War, many were schoolboy embellishments. Thank you for the correct version of accounts.  Graham Meek

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