What Royston Did …

Men who fought - Battle of the Somme

The following are brief summaries of the stories behind some of the men from Royston and its surrounding district who fought at the battle. Images of the men, except where stated, are taken from the series “Local Patriots” which was published weekly in the Royston Crow during 1917. Those who were killed in the fighting or who later died of their injuries are indicated by a small poppy against their entry.

Frederick Blunt

image frederick blunt

Private, 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment
No. 46916

Son of Mary and James Blunt of Back Street, Royston.

On the 12th October, The 2nd Battalion were engaged in the battle for Le Transloy where they took heavy casualties. Frederick Blunt suffered shell shock and a wound in his knee.

Frederick was taken prisoner in March 1918, dying in captivity in July and is buried at the Cologne Southern Cemetery, Germany and is remembered on the Royston War Memorial.

Frederick George Chapman

image frederick chapman

Private, Bedfordshire Regiment
No. 23758

Son of George Chapman, born 1891, Royston. He married Sarah Jane Reed at the parish church, Royston, in July 1914.

Enlisting in the army in 1909 he served for 5 years. Discharged and a reservist, he re-enlisted in the Bedfordshire Regiment at the declaration of war in 1914.

Frederick was wounded in the chest and arms on 3rd September during operations around the Falfemont Farm area, south east of the town of Ginchy.

His brother-in-law, Private William Reed, was killed in March 1915.

George William Coote

image george coote

Sergeant, 4th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment
No. 19399

Son of Susan and Joseph Coote, born 1887 Royston.

A past member Royston E Company he enlisted in January 1915, embarking for France in the July of 1916. Sergeant George Coote died in action on 13th November, shot in the head while leading an attack at Beaumont Hamel.

No known grave, he is remembered on the Thiepval War Memorial, France and the Royston War Memorial.

Alfred Coxall

image alfred coxall

Private, 8th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment
No. 15446

Son of Martha Ann and Alfred Coxall, born 1895, Royston. (Born Albert Percy).

He was deployed to France at the end of August 1915.

While in action at the section known as Quadrilateral, east of Ginchy, Private Coxall was badly wounded and died of his injuries on the 15th September. He was described by his captain as a “brave soldier, a good fighter, willing and always cheerful”.

No known grave. He is remembered on the Thiepval and Royston War Memorials.

Leonard Flack

image suffolk regiment badge

Private, 11th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
No. 16690

Son of Charlotte and William Flack, born 1891, Thriplow, Cambridgeshire. Employed in Royston when he enlisted in September 1914.

He was killed in action on the 1st July when the 11th Suffolks, positioned on the right of the town of Albert, advanced and was felled by the machine gun fire coming from the German lines.

No known grave, he is remembered on the Thiepval War Memorial.

Lionel Beaufoy Frost

image lionel frost

Private, 4th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
No. 4062

Son of Sarah and William Frost, of 23 Melbourn Street, born 1895, Baldock. Family moved to Royston during 1902.

Lionel enlisted in early 1916 and was deployed to France.

During the fighting, on 30th August along the frontline between Longueval and High Wood, Lionel was among the men killed by ‘shell’ fire.

No known grave, he is remembered on the Thiepval War Memorial, France and the Royston War Memorial.

Sidney George Gatward

image sidney gatward

Private, promoted Lance Corporal, 4th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers
No 14507

Son of Emily and Henry Gatward, born 1891, Therfield.

Enlisted in the army in 1911 and deployed with the
4th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers to India. In 1914, the regiment returned from India.

Promoted to Lance Corporal of the 4th Battalion, he embarked for France on the 18th January 1915. During the fighting at the Somme, Sidney was wounded in the left hand and having recovered returned to his regiment.

He died in action during the Battle of Arras on the 4th April 1917. No known grave, he is remembered on the Arras and the Royston War Memorials.

Arthur Hallum

image arthur hallum

Rifleman, Post Office Riffles, 8th London Regiment
No. 372862

Son of Susan Muncy (Hallum) and Arthur Hallum, born 1891, Royston.

Enlisted 6th April, he embarked for France on 18th July.

Operations in the vicinity of Le Transloy had begun on 1st October.

During action to capture and secure trenches in the section on 7th October, he was injured by shrapnel in his right arm and leg.

William George Horn

image william horn

Private, 2nd Battalion, Grenedier Guards
No. 25509

Son of Sarah and William Horn, born 1897. Royston.

He was wounded during action on the 25th September which successfully attacked and captured the village of Lesboeufs.

Repatriated home, he died on the 17th October at King George’s Hospital, London.

He is buried at the Additional Burial Ground, Royston and remembered on the Royston War Memorial.

George Ingrey

image george ingrey

Private, 11th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
No. 13587

Son of Emily and Edwin Ingrey of Bassingbourn, born 1896, Royston.

Enlisted at Royston 5th September 1914. Embarked for France in January 1916.

George Ingrey was killed in action on the 1st July when the 11th Suffolks, positioned on the right of the town of Albert, advanced and were felled by the machine gun fire coming from the German lines.

No known grave, he is remembered at the Thiepval.

James Valentine Jacklin

image james valentine

Lieutenant, 10th Battalion, Essex Regiment

Son of Ellen and Arnold James Jacklin, born 1892, Royston.

Enlisted at Royston, July 1915.

During the fighting at Delville Wood, he was wounded by shrapnel in the thigh on the 4th July.

Photograph taken in WW2

James (Jim) Jeffries

image bedfordshire regiment badge

Private, 8th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment
No. 15623

Son of Martha Ann and Alfred Samuel Jeffery, born 1896, Shanklin, Isle of Wight. Baptised by the name of Jim Jeffery at the Methodist Church, Sandford.

Enlisted Royston, September 1914.

On 15th September, his Battalion was ordered to attack the Line Morval – Lesboeufs. With the artillery barrage, men were caught up in shell holes which resulted in severe casualties, Private Jeffries among them.

Repatriated to the Casualty Clearing Station at Grove Town, he died of his wounds on 17th September and is buried at the Grove Town Cemetery, Meaulte, south of Albert. He is remembered on the Royston War Memorial.

Henry Charles King

image hertfordshire regiment badge

Private, Hertfordshire Regiment
No. 5584

Son of Selina and Henry King, born 1898, Royston.

Enlisted July 1915.

He was wounded in action on 13th October at the Battle of Ancre Heights and repatriated to recover at the 1st Scottish Hospital, Aberdeen.

Harold Lilley

image harold lilley

Private, Northumberland Fusiliers
No 292673

Silver War Badge No. 243692

Son of Mary Ann and Dennis Lilley, born 1896, Barley, Royston.

Enlisted in the Hertfordshire Regiment August 1914, he was transferred to the Northumberland Fusiliers and left for France in the August of 1916.

During the Battle of Ancre on the 16th November, he was severely wounded in the left arm which had to be amputated. 

Archibald Wallace Mottram

image archibald mottram

Private, Hertfordshire Regiment
No. 26534

Briefly attached to the Gloucester Regiment

Son Of Alice and Ebenezer Mottram, born 1889, Royston. Brother of William Mottram and a member of the Royston Football team.

He enlisted 6th November 1914.

While attached to the Gloucester Regiment, he was wounded by a piece of Shrapnel in his foot on 12th August. Treated at the base hospital, he returned to his duties at the front.

William Mottram

image william mottram

Lance Corporal, Royal Sussex Regiment
No. G/1087

Son of Alice and Ebenezer Mottram, born 1891, Royston. Brother of Archibald Mottram, employed at Hassocks, near Brighton in Sussex where he enlisted soon after war had been declared in 1914.

While in action, he was wounded in the hip when a bullet passed through his water bottle on the 16th August.

Charles William Nelson

image charles nelson

Private, 2nd Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment
No. G/11270

Son of Emma and Thomas Nelson of The Prince of Wales PH, Barkway Street, born 1890, Royston.

Volunteering in 1914, he was discharged medically unfit. Successfully recruited in March 1916 he embarked for France in August. During the attack on enemy positions at High Wood on 9th September, Private Nelson was among the 204 casualties on the day.

He is buried at the Caterpiller Valley Cemetery, Longueval and remembered at the Royston War Memorial.

Alec Francis Patterson

image alec patterson

Sapper, 11th Field Royal Engineers
No. 49140

Son of Eleanor and James Paterson of Victoria House, Old North Road, born 1890, Royston.

While repairing the wires near High Wood, he was hit by a sniper’s bullet and died of his wounds on the 27th August.

Buried at the Flatiron Copse Cemetery, Mametz, France and remembered at the Royston War Memorial.

William Thomas Peachey

image william peachey

Private, 1st Battalion, Hertfordshire Regiment
No. 4128

Son of Lucy and Alan Peachey, born 1895, Barley.

He enlisted at Royston in October 1914 with his twin brother George.

On the 13th November advancing towards the Hansa Line, the 1st Battalion succeeded in their objective. On the day they took 20 casualties, among them Private Peachey.

He is buried at the Connaught Cemetery, Thiepval.

His twin brother George survived the war.

Harold Pepper

image harold pepper

Private, 4th Field Ambulance, Canadian Army Medical Corps

Son of Mary Ann and John George Pepper of Factory Cottages, born 1894, Royston. He migrated to Canada in February 1912 to join his four brothers.

At the declaration of war he enlisted for the Canadian Field Ambulance and arrived in France, September 1915.

While carrying out his duties at the front, Private Pepper was injured under artillery fire and died of his wounds on 29th September.

He is buried at the Albert Communal Cemetery extension and remembered on the Royston War Memorial.

William Robert (Bob) Pigg

image wiiliam pigg

Lance Corporal, 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment
No 8059

Son of Martha and William Pigg, born Royston 1887. Employed as a compositor with the Royston Crow.

Enlisted at the outbreak of the war in 1914 and his letters printed in the Royston Crow during 1914, 1915, and 1916 provided a personal view of the conflict.

While in the trenches during operations near the town of Longueval in the August, a shell burst nearby burying them. In his words: “Buried twice, suffering from shell shock and blown out of the trench”.

Harry Richardson

image harry richardson

Private, Hertfordshire Regiment
No. 5232

4th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment
No. 266746

Silver War Badge No. 472018

Son of Eliza and James Richardson, born 1878, Royston.

During operations at the front, he was wounded in the knee on 13th July when a shell burst and again on the 14th November when, during operations on the north bank of the River Ancre, he was wounded in the back.

Repatriated to England and hospitalised at Cambridge.

Ralph Sharp

image ralph sharp

Lance Corporal, 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment
No. 14098

Son of Alice and Stephen Sharp of Gower Road, born 1895, Royston.

During operations at Longueval, an attack on the enemy lines and with the severe shell fire all around, Ralph was killed by an enemy shell on 27th July.

No known grave, his name is recorded on the Thiepval War Memorial, France and at the Royston War Memorial.

Herbert Sidney Shaw

image herbert shaw

Private, 6th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment
No. 12249

Son of Eliza and Richard Shaw, born 1894, Chesterton, Cambridgeshire. Employed as a postman in Royston and residing at the William IV Public House at Baldock Street with his Aunt Matilda Frost.

He enlisted in 1914 and embarked for France 30th July 1915.

During the attack on the town of Pozieres on the 15th July, he was wounded in the thigh by machine gun fire.

Robert Shaw

image rober shaw

Private, “Z” Company, 2nd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
No. 20147

Son of Sarah and Samuel Shaw of Mill Road, born 1885, Royston.

During fighting at Delville Wood in the August, he was severely wounded in the leg. Hospitalised for two months and unable to save the limb, he died in a French hospital following an operation to amputate the leg on 6th October.

After a military funeral service, he was interned at the Abbeville Communal Cemetery. He is remembered on the Royston War Memorial.

Geoffrey (Stanley) Slater

image geoffrey slater

Private, 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment
No. 14946

Son of Sarah Ann and Thomas Slater, born 1894, Barley.

He enlisted at Royston in September 1914.

He died during the fighting at Longueval on the 31st August.

The Commanding officer of his regiment had commented that “he was one of my best men”.

No known grave. He is remembered on the Thiepval War Memorial.

Horace Jack Thurley

image horace thurley

Private, 11th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment
No. 15506

Son of Emily and Richard Thurley of Queens Road, born 1897, Royston.

Enlisted in August 1914 serving in the Hertfordshire Regiment.

Transferred to the Royal Sussex Regiment, he embarked for France in August 1916.

During action to recapture Stuff Redoubt, north of Thiepval on 21st October, he was wounded in the leg and repatriated to England to recover from his injuries. 

Alfred John Welch

image alfred welch

Private, 1st Battalion, Hertfordshire Regiment
No. 5848

Son Annie and Alfred Welch, born 1887, Stevenage. Husband of Rosa May Carter of Rock Road, Royston.

He died on the 10th September when a shell exploded by their trench.

He is buried at the Knightsbridge Cemetery, Mesnl-Martinsart. He is also remembered on the Stevenage War Memorial.

Herbert George Williamson

image herbert williamson

Private, 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment
No. 7143

5th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment
No. 203157

Son of Agatha and John Williamson, born 1898, Royston.

Enlisted August 1914.

In early September 1916, the battalion had been positioned near the Village of Gorre, at ‘Givenchy’ trench line. During artillery fire by the enemy on the trenches, he was wounded.

Upon recovery, he transferred to the 5th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment and was discharged with honours 6th July 1919.

Alfred Witts

image alfred witts

Rifleman, 1/9th Battalion, London Regiment
No 7663

Son of Sarah and Thomas Witts, born 1897, Alton, Hampshire. Resident of Royston 1911.

Enlisted in March 1916 embarking for France in June.

The battle to capture the villages of Morval, Guedecourt, and Les Bouefs began on the 25th September. The Battle of Morval, lasted till the 28th. The 1/9th London Regiment were part of British Fourth Army and during the attack on enemy lines at Morval, he was reported missing and later it was confirmed that he had died in action on 25th September.

No known grave, he is remembered on the Thiepval War Memorial, France and the Royston War Memorial.

Herbert George Woodcock

image herbert woodcock

Private, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry
No. 202565

Silver War Badge No. 215766

Son of Martha and Jacob Woodcock, born 1897, Royston.

His regiment, based at Bouzincourt, north west of Albert were ordered to support the fighting in the neighbourhood of the Usna Redoubt.

During the fighting on the 19th August Herbert was injured with “severe wounds in the chest, right knee and left leg”. As a result of his injuries, he was discharged on the 20th June 1917, unfit for war service.

Percy Thomas Wooding

image percy wooding

Private, 10th Royal Lancashire Regiment
No. 23432

Son of Annie and Thomas Wooding, born 1892, Bedford. Husband of Deborah Prentice Walford.

Reported in the Royston Crow, September 1916 that he was:
“wounded in the left arm on 3rd September. Returning to England on the 7th where he is in hospital at Napsbury, near St. Albans making satisfactory progress.”

Returning to France, he was severely wounded the following year during the Battle of Passchendale and died on the 24th September 1917 at the West Lancs Field Hospital, France.