West End Soldiers in the Great War

West End Soldiers in the Great War

West End History Project

John Smith and Mick Glazier

The Great War

War with Germany was declared on the 4th August 1914, hostilities ended 11th November 1918.  143 men from West End enlisted to fight for King and Country.  47 of them were killed and are listed on the Roll of Honour in Holy Trinity Church.  12 were decorated for Gallantry; [we have records of 7].  29 names are inscribed on our Memorial Wheel Cross; the other 18 are commemorated outside West End.

 

During the war, Mrs Robbins the vicars’ wife was appointed to represent the Parish for “The Incorporated Soldiers and Sailors Help Society” and Mrs Temple was Secretary of the Red Cross Society.  The Institute [now the Social Club] as well as holding fund raisers for the war was the headquarters of The War Emergency Committee and the West Chobham Volunteer Training Corps.  These organisations all working together throughout the war, sent parcels containing 5 shillings, letters and cigarettes to all the serving men from West End.  Replies to these letters and sad news were often published in the West Chobham Parish Magazine.  One family lost two sons, two stepsons and a brother in law, 9 local men were taken prisoner some never returned.  One family had 23 relatives serving, another 6 and yet another 5.  One family lost two sons, two stepsons and a brother in law.

Letters From The Front

To the Rev M Robbins,

Dear Sir,

Many thanks for your letter and cigarettes, which I received today.  Glad to say I am still in the best of health-happy with it all, like the rest of the boy’s.  We have struck a rather hot position this time, but never worry we will do our best-never say die.  If I get a lump of lead put it down to hard luck, but we never think anything about it-just keep going on, no matter what happens; but all the same I shall be glad when it is all over.  It is an awfully rough life we lead; we sleep in barns on straw, and rats run over us when we try to sleep; I have never seen such a country for rats, they are everywhere we go.  We get plenty of food and clothing, which we need.  You should see us going about through the mud!  One has to laugh; we look more like mud-larks than soldiers.  Well Sir, I must close, as time is rolling round and I have my duty to do.  Remember me to all.

 

Dear Sir-I am taking the greatest pleasure in writing to thank you, and to ask if you would thank the people of Chobham for there very great kindness in sending me the most lovely parcel, which I received quiet safely. It came as a great surprise to me after we left that awful Gallipoli Peninsular, and I cannot tell you how much I appreciated your kindness.  I am very sorry I was not able to write before, but I did not know who to write to until I found out from my people.  You will be pleased to know, Sir, that I am quite well and feeling very fit.

Again thanking you and the people of Chobham for their great kindness,

Believe me to remain yours sincerely

 

The citation for one of our men who received the Military Medal reads as follows; for gallantry and devotion to duty at Kemmel on 15th during a nine hours bombardment.  This Pte, by his cheerfulness and high morale kept his comrades [who were mostly unfits] in very good fighting order and although they suffered numerous casualties were full of fight at the end of it, due greatly to the fine example of bravery set by this Pte., who is himself permanently unfit.

 

An article in the West Chobham Parish Magazine records that; A Corporal from West End serving in the E York’s received the D.C.M. and £20 for carrying the wounded out of the firing line; wounded in carrying the fourth; came home on leave, returned, and was killed in action four days later.

 

 

Over Christmas 1914 an unofficial ceasefire took place along the Western Front.  Troops from both sides exchanged Christmas greetings and even played football together.  The Battle of the Somme where the British and French fought the German Army took place between 1st July and 18th November 1916 on both sides of the river.  Over one million men were killed or wounded in this battle.

 

The men from West End, Woking, Surrey, who were killed in the 1st World War are listed below.

20th September 1914 Albert Oliver

22nd September 1914 Samuel C Wilson

1st November 1914 George Elson

6th November 1914 John T Crane

20th November 1914 Harold J Macdermott

13th April 1915 Raymond E Wheeler

5th September 1915 William Avis

18th September 1915 William Rapley

18th September 1915 Walter Rapley

25th September 1915 Charles H Parsons

8th October 1915 Frederick James Chuck

8th October 1915 Arthur J Crane

before January 1916 Arthur Critcher

14th March 1916 Albert Cheeseman

3rd April 1916 Frederick Street

4th April 1916 Charles Grainger

24th April 1916 Henry Godfrey

5th June 1916 Charles West

23rd June 1916 William Chuck

7th July 1916 Osborne A Underwood

15th July 1916 James Elson

17th July 1916 Aaron Glazier

25th September 1916 William T H Cox

10th November 1916 Francis Holmes

18th November 1916 Harold C Rapley

22nd February 1917 Thomas D Rance

9th April 1917 Ernest C Rance

20th April 1917 Arthur E Holt

19th May 1917 Oliver Rance

13th July 1917 William H Hawthorn

5th September 1917 William Skilling

26th September 1917 Arthur S Street

1st December 1917 Levi Underwood

22nd March 1918 Geoffrey H E Nutter

29th March 1918 Horace Daborn

28th March 1918 Henry C Davis

26th April 1918 Leonard E Mepham

7th July 1918 Frederick J Austin

26th August 1918 Thomas E Smythe

28th August 1918 Frederick H Rance

2nd September 1918 Valentine W Dodd

13th September 1918 Frederick Hone

9th October 1918 Spencer Herbert Gosden

22nd November 1918 Phillip Charles Nix

We have been unable to find any information on these three men from West End

David S Mitchell

Edward W Everitt

James Vance