Memorial Cross

Every year at the 11th hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, we stand outside in the cold, crisp air to pay tribute, and to remember the men of this village who fell in the Great War, and every year as I listen to the names being read out I wonder about the men behind those names. So this year being the 100 years anniversary, seemed like an opportune moment to find out just who they were.

The first thing I found was that not only do we have two sets of memorials in St Andrew, one behind the altar emblazoned in gold, and one written in stone on the memorial, but we also have a third set in the Memorial Hall (which was built incidentally to commemorate the fallen of both wars), AND one in each of our two schools. And surprise surprise they don't match! My list of the fallen has steadily grown and to date I currently have 50 plus names and hopefully this will prove correct unless you can tell me any different!

The ages of the men range from 18 to early 30's, some married but most single. Not all the men were Ombersley born and most were farm workers of one sort or another, but they all had Parish connections. Like Frank Bellamy who was a private in the Worcestershire Regiment, born at Powick, enlisted at Kidderminster and was a farm labourer at Comhampton, later to be killed at Ypres aged 34 years. Remembered with honour on the Menin Gate where they still honour the men at a nightly service there. Frank must have died during the 3rd battle for Ypres before the capture of Passchendaele which was in November 1917, 4 months after he died.

Young Percy Biddle, the son of Henry and Ann worked at Ombersley Court and was 19 yrs. old when he died in France.

We have brothers Albert and Joseph Butler of Mortimer Terrace, aged 18 and 28 respectively when they died. Joe is buried in St Andrew's churchyard, you can find him just by the big fir tree in the middle of the churchyard if you want to pay your respects. Albert was a corporal at 18 and is buried on the Island of Malta.

James Wainwright Blount was aged just 19 when he died of wounds at sea. His parents lived at Chadwick. His death confused me as he died at sea yet was a corporal in the 4th battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment, so what was he doing on a ship?

An example of a soldier who wasn't local but had local connections, was John William Hincksman who emigrated to Canada and became a rancher there. He became an Infantryman one of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces. He is described on De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour as the most promising officer who was due for immediate promotion for all the good works he had done for his unit. He was, it says, a thoroughly efficient, courageous, reliable officer of a most pleasant character. His mother lived at Sinton. Mrs Hincksman had 3 sons on active service.

Henry Sheppard lived at Sarah House, Boreley and was dad to 4 young children when he was killed aged 29, and I am pleased to say that I have a picture of Henry resplendent in his bowler hat with a magnificent moustache!

Lastly Aubrey Herbert Bower Webster was the only son of John Webster, the Vicar of this church. Killed in April 1916 Aubrey was 27 yrs old and a schoolmaster at a boys boarding school in Tonbridge, Kent. When he died, Aubrey left a will containing 215 7s 7d . There is a memorial to Aubrey behind the choir stalls.

I hope I have given you just a small insight into the lives of some of these brave, ordinary men. Please take some time to think of them on this anniversary of what is the worst loss of life in conflict ever; after all they did give their tomorrow so you could be here today.

November 11th 2018 is the 100th Anniversary of the Great War and for every month we feature the names of the Tommies who gave their tomorrow for your today.

Thomas Ashmore aged 19 years
Edward Berry
Harvey Barnes aged 26 years
Frank Bellamy aged 24 years
Percy Biddle aged 19 years
Henry Brown aged 29 years

James Blount aged 19 years
Wilfred Brooks aged 18 years
William Burgess aged 36 years
J Brown
Albert Butler aged 18 years
Joseph Butler aged 28 years

Charles Chesshire
Marcus Cragg aged 28 years
Samuel Cotterill aged 26 years
George Cotterill aged 21 years
Henry Cotterill aged 20 years
William Childs aged 24 years

Percy Davies aged 23 years
Allen Davies aged 23 years
Alfred Farley aged 34 years
Henry Farmer aged 26 years
Percy Green MM aged 26 years
Rowland Green MM aged 27 years

Ernest Griffin aged 26 years
John Haffner aged 29 years
Albert Hicks aged 21 years
Albert Hill aged 30 years E Hill
John Hickesman aged 27 years

Herbert Hobday aged 23 years
Alfred Hobday aged 23 years
Harold Houghton aged 20 years
Claude Kershaw aged 20 years
Richard Knight aged 33 years
Ernest Knight aged 26 years

Fredrick Keyte aged 25 years
Reginald Moule aged 21 years
Elias Marshall aged 23 years
Joseph Master aged 25 years
Albert Miles aged 28 years
William Morris aged 30 years
Albert Norman aged 24 years
Wilfred Page aged 32 years
Charles Pardoe DCM aged 23 years
Fredrick Pardoe aged 39 years
Joseph Pardoe aged 27 years
David Price aged 34 years

Alfred Passey aged 32
Charles Phillips aged 19
Ernest Phillips aged 20
Frank Phillips aged 23
George Phillips aged 21
Leonard Pitman aged 24

Henry Read aged 42 years
Henry Rice aged 27 years
James Roberts aged 19 years
Alfred Skerrett aged 18 years
Alfred Smith
Herbert Smith aged 40 years

Henry Smith aged 23 years
Henry Sheppard aged 29 years
John Taylor aged 28 years
Oswin Taylor aged 26 years
John Warner aged 30 years
Aubrey Webster aged 27 years
Joseph Weston aged 20 years

Charles Williams aged 25 years
Christopher Wigley aged 26 years
Frederick Wild aged 27 years
Harry Wild aged 35 years
Reginald Wild aged 22 years
George Wood aged 27 years
Charlie Worth aged 20 years

Their Name Liveth Forever more

I would love to hear from anyone who has further information or photographs about any of the men named.

Jeanette Horn

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