What Royston Did …

The Great War

Home on leave for Christmas

image 17 men home on leave

This photograph was taken in Stamford's Yard on Boxing Day 1917.

There are 17 men in the photograph some in uniform, some in civilian clothes. The latter wear or received Silver War Badges to acknowledge their service and to stop criticism from the general public.

The yard, off Kneesworth Street behind the Museum, was the premises of the Stamford family who ran a coaching business for many decades. The son of the family, James Burrell Stamford ‘Bert’, had recently died on active service in France. This left his mother Hannah Maria to continue the business. She was widowed in 1908 on the death of her husband, also James.

Our research shows that the men all served in WW1 but some had been wounded and, as a result, discharged.

Not all lived in the Town in 1911, although most have a connection to Royston and District in some way.

Like Herbert and Percy Godfrey, some of the men had relatives who appear on the Royston War Memorial. Others, like Alfred ‘Curly’ Humphrey, returned to the fighting after their Christmas leave. Alfred died on 5th April 1918 is commemorated on the Memorial.

The men in the photograph

image 17 men home on leave (numbered)

Herbert Woodcock called the photograph ‘Royston Boys’. He appears in the photo and also named the men. He gave it to F John Smith who published it in Vol II of Royston in Old Postcards. It may have been taken by well known local photographer, Robert H Clark.

1 - Herbert George Woodcock - Private, Light Infantry
2 - Ted Thomas - Believed to be Edward Alfred Thomas - Private, British Expeditionary Force
3 - George Victor Rowles - Lance Corporal, 1st Cameron Highlanders
4 - Bird - Believed to George Bird - Bedfordshire Regiment
5 - Bird - Believed to Arthur William Bird - Private
6 - John (aka Jack) Gray - Private, Signalling Corps, Royal Engineers
7 - Frederick Sharp - Private, 1st Hertfordshire Regiment (No. 5173) and 12th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment (No. 15572)
8 - William George Freestone - Gunner, Royal Field Artillery (No. 88373)
9 - Charles Carter - Lance Corporal, Royston Company, 1st Hertfordshire Regiment (No. 2502)
10 - Sydney Carr - Lance Corporal, Leicester Regiment (No. 2/17034)
11 - Bird - Believed to be Willian John Bird, DCM - 37 Signal Company, Royal Engineers (No. 60092)
12 - Alfred Joseph “Curly” Humphrey - Sergeant, Lincolnshire Regiment (No. 235052), formerly Hertfordshire Regiment (No. 2524)
13 - Stamford - Believed to be George Stamford - Lance Corporal, Military Foot Police, (No. P/220)
14 - Joseph (aka Joe) William Hamshaw - Sergeant, 4th East Anglian Brigade, Royal Field Artillery (No. 120), later Second Lieutenant, Royal Army Service Corps
15 - J Herbert (aka Bert) Sharp - Private, 1st Wiltshire Regiment (No. 20035)
16 - Percy Godfrey - Sergeant Instructor, 11th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment (No. 22022)
17 - George Edward Beale - Lance Corporal, 11th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment (No. 24028)