THERE has been much discussion recently about the neglected state of
Britain's war memorials and the lack of interest in either their
upkeep or the names commemorated thereon. Happily this is not the
state of affairs in Stansted.
However, the Imperial War Museum and others have suggested that they
would like to make a permanent recorded collection of information
about town and village memorials. In writing the book West
Kingsdown, the story of three villages in Kent, short biographies
were compiled of the Kingsdown names which excited interest from
several West Kent villages.
I was therefore asked by the British Legion to record what is known of
the names carved in stone on Stansted's memorial and this paper is the
Lastly, may I take the opportunity to acknowledge the help received
from Mr F. Hohler about the background to the Memorial, and
information on Craven Hohler, as well as encouragement from many
others in Stansted to complete these short biographies.
These are all listed in the order in which they appear on the carved
stone plinth. Those relating to the First World War appear on the
south face whilst the casualties of the Second World War are carved on
the east face. At the foot of the south face there is a small bronze
plaque bearing the following words - "Presented together with the
land to the Parish Council of Stansted by G.F. Hohler, Esq. KC,
MP". Finally, on the north face is the five-verse poem Recessional
written at the time of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee on the 22nd
June, 1897 by Rudyard Kipling:-
our fathers, known of old ─
Lord of our far-flung battle-line -
Beneath whose awful Hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine ─
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget, lest we forget!
The tumult and the shouting dies ─
The captains and the kings depart ─
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget, lest we forget!
Far-call'd our navies melt away ─
On dune and headland sinks the fire ─
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget, lest we forget!
drunk with the sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe ─
Such boasting as the Gentiles use
Or lesser breeds without the Law ─
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget, lest we forget!
For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard ─
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding calls not Thee to guard ─
For frantic boast and foolish word,
Thy Mercy on Thy People, Lord!
AFTER the First World War, when the
enormity of the losses were brought home to the British population and
the returning servicemen remembered their fallen comrades, there was a
national movement to recognise their contribution. Generally it took
the form of the erection of memorials in town and village. Mostly the
designs were of a regular or standard pattern featuring the
However, Stansted was to be much more fortunate. It was to have an
individual memorial of high artistic merit.
The project was conceived by Sir Thomas Hohler KCMG, CB, JP, who in
1920 was the Head of the British Legation in Budapest, Hungary. In
this post he was in touch with cultural trends and figures in that
country. He was aware that the sculptor Alois Stroebl (Alajos Stróbl,
b.1856 - d.1926) had created a statue of a female palmbearer in 1898.
Back in Stansted Sir Gerald Hohler, KC, MP, was contemplating the
erection of a memorial, and for this at Sir Thomas's request Stroebl
created a modified version with a different head which was more
suitable in Sir Thomas's view for the War Memorial.
The new bronze was cast in Budapest by the well-known founders Galli
és Vignale. Sir Gerald meanwhile, in Stansted, prepared and readied a
Portland Stone square base and had the names carved from a list given
to him. One hitch before the work was complete was the mis-delivery to
Stanstead, Essex, of the bronze from Hungary, an episode repeated more
than once since then for foreign deliveries. The Memorial was finally
erected and unveiled by Sir Gerald in 1923.
Other works by the fin de siècle, art nouveau, sculptor
Stroebl were commissioned by Sir Thomas and included a Perseus with
Medusa's head for his old college, Eton. In his own country
Stroebl had created statues of Erkel, Liszt, Spontini and Cherubini
for niches on the façade of the Budapest Opera House. Whether it is
the original bronze or a re-casting of the Palm Bearer, it is today
incorporated in and crowns the Freedom Monument which stands besides
the Citadel on the crest of the Gellért Hill high above the Danube
overlooking the city of Budapest.
Since 1923, the statue has been twice stolen. On the first occasion in
1964 it was recovered from a quarry in Dartford, but the second time
in 1995 it was finally lost and never recovered.
The replacement of today was prepared by the modern sculptress, Faith
Winter, and erected in 1996. Mrs Winter's other work includes the full
length statue of Lord Harris of Chepping Wycombe standing outside the
RAF Church of St Clement Danes at the junction of the Strand and Fleet
Street. Lord Harris was Sir Arthur Harris, Bt. GCB, OBE, AFC, LlD, Air
Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Bomber Command from February 1942 until
September 1945. It was unveiled by the Queen Mother.
1914 - 1918
Lieutenant-Colonel ARNOLD HENRY GRANT
KEMBALL, CB, DSO, came from a military background as the son of
Major-General John Shaw Kemball, formerly a Colonel of the 5th Gurkha
Rifles (Indian Army), who retired in 1910 to live first at Fairseat
House and then in Wrotham. His mother was Alvilda Kemball from Kaslo,
British Columbia, Canada.
The Headquarters of the Canadian Corps in France was for a time in
Villers-au-Bois, in the Département of the Pas-de-Calais, close to
some of the famous actions in which Canadians were involved. One part
of the Canadian Corps was the 54th Battalion of the Central Ontario
Regiment with which Lt.-Col. Kemball served with distinction. Here, in
the battle for Vimy Ridge in which the Canadians so distinguished
themselves, Lt.-Col. Kemball died on Thursday 1st March, 1917, aged 56
and is buried in grave VI E1 of Villers Station Cemetery.
Lt.-Col. Kemball is also recorded on a stone memorial tablet affixed
to the west wall of St. Mary's Church, Stansted.
Major WILLIAM N. PITT, of the 2nd Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment,
was the son of Colonel William Pitt, CMG, late of the Royal Engineers,
and Mrs Pitt of Fairseat House, Fairseat.
The little village of Chocques in the Pas-de-Calais was a British
centre from late autumn 1914 until the end of the First World War and
was also, for a time, the Headquarters of the British 1st Corps. From
January 1915 to April 1918 it was also No.1 Casualty Clearing Station.
For the seriously wounded brought here from the Bethune front it was
inevitable that many died. Major Pitt was just one such casualty who
died there on Sunday 20th August, 1916, and is buried in grave 1F19 of
Chocques Military Cemetery.
Lieutenant JAMES MAXWELL PITT of the 1st Battalion, the Dorsetshire
Regiment, was the younger son of Colonel William Pitt, CMG, late of
the Royal Engineers and Mrs Pitt of Fairseat House.
As a regular officer in a county regiment he was among the first to
set foot in France after the declaration of the First World War. The
1st Battalion of the Dorsetshire Regiment formed part of the 15th
Infantry Brigade in the 5th Division, one of the six original
divisions, of the British Expeditionary Force which fought at Mons, Le
Cateau, the Marne and the Aisne before being called upon again.
In the early days of the German offensive when troop movements were
still relatively fluid, the 2nd Army Corps under the famous Sir Horace
Smith-Dorrien was asked to pivot his army on Givenchy and attack the
enemy's right flank and rear, south of La Bassée. In this action the
1st Battalion of the Dorsetshire Regiment greatly distinguished
themselves between the 12th and 15th of October, 1914.
On Tuesday 13th October, 1914, at Pont Fixé they held their position
under intense fire such that 130 were killed, including their
Commanding Officer, and 270 were wounded. It was in this action that
Lt. Pitt died aged 26 and is buried in grave Sp. Mem. 3 at Brown's
Road Cemetery, Festubert, a small town which figures in the battle
honours of many British regiments.
Sergeant-Major ALEXANDER MANN KIRTON, 450, was Quartermaster-Sergeant
of the 11th Battalion of the Australian Imperial Forces.
He was born in Bunbury, Western Australia, the son of Richard G.
Kirton and Mary Ann. In civilian life he was a bank clerk who enlisted
on the 14th August, 1914. In the AIF he rose rapidly through the
ranks; from corporal, to sergeant and then ended as
quartermaster-sergeant. He embarked at Freemantle on the fleet
transport Ascanius on the 2nd November for the Dardanelles
campaign. In Gallipoli during 1915 he became seriously ill and was
taken off, first to the island of Lemnos (where Rupert Brooke died in
1915) and then to hospital in Alexandria.
After recovery he was posted, as instructor, to the infantry training
school at Zeitoun where on the 17th February, 1917 he was mortally
wounded in the head and chest in a hand grenade accident. He died in
hospital from these injuries on Friday the 18th February, 1916, aged
22. He is buried in grave D321 of the Cairo War Memorial Cemetery.
Both parents had connexions with England and travelled backwards and
forwards on more than one occasion but the Stansted link is less
Company Sergeant-Major JAMES FREDERICK JOHNSON, 6939, of Company D,
9th Battalion of the King's Royal Rifle Corps, was the son of the late
Frederick and Alice Johnson and the husband of Daisy Johnson of
Brattons, Stansted. He was born in the Christchurch Parish of
Macclesfield, Cheshire, and enlisted in the very same town. Everything
points to CSM Johnson as being a regular soldier in a distinguished
His 9th Battalion crossed over to France on the 21st May, 1915,
together with the 7th and 8th Battalions of the Rifle Brigade who were
part of the 14th Light Division consisting only of "Rifle"
Regiments and Light Infantry Regiments. During July, 1915, the total
casualties of this battalion were 361 killed, wounded and missing,
during the fighting in the Yprés salient.
CSM Johnson was killed in action on Friday the 30th July, 1915, aged
27. His name is on panels 51 and 53 of the Menin Gate Memorial in
Yprés. The Memorial is sited on the eastern side of the town on the
road which leads to Memin and Courtrai.
Private A.T. BETTS, M/279820, was a member of the 623rd Mechanical
Transport Company of the Royal Army Service Corps who died in South
London on Monday 22nd January, 1917, aged 29.
He was the son of Alfred Thomas and Alice Betts of Forest Hill, SE23,
and the husband of Jessie Maclean Betts of Forge Cottage, Stansted.
Since the Army Service Corps were employed on all war fronts it is
hard to tell where Private Betts was mortally wounded. He was sent
home to a military hospital, one of scores across London and
south-east England. Private Betts is buried in Nunhead All Saints
Cemetery, SE15, and commemorated on one of the six screen panels
Private HENRY GEORGE BLACKMAN, 11499, of the 4th Company, 1st
Battalion, Grenadier Guards was a regular soldier who enlisted in
1904. He was the son of Mrs Eliza Blackman of 44, Napier Road,
Tunbridge Wells, and his late father Henry Blackman who lived in
He was one of the BEF (British Expeditionary Force) who reached France
in the autumn of 1914. Sent into action forthwith, Private Blackman
was wounded in December, 1914, quite possibly at Neuve Chapelle.
Henry Blackman was rehabilitated and back in action on the Somme by
summer 1916. As with so many others he died on Thursday, 14th
September, 1916, aged 34. His name appears on the Thiepval Memorial on
pier and face 8D, along with 72,000 others who have no known graves.
Driver FREDERICK C. BOWYER, 32524, of the 1st King George's Own
Sappers & Miners, attached to the RENG.
He omitted to list his next of kin, or the information was omitted
from his papers. At the end of the First World War people who knew of
him were aware that he came from Fairseat and therefore his name was
carved on the Memorial. From the 1891 Census he appears to be the son
of George Bowyer, a farm labourer and his wife Anne, at an unnamed
location in Fairseat, and later at Brattons Cottages.
It is a possibility that his family name is connected in some way with
Bowyer's Farm or Bowyer's Cottages on the main road but how is
What is certain is that he died aged 31 on Thursday, 29th November,
1917, in operations against the Turkish Army of occupation in what was
Mesopotamia and is now Iraq. He is buried in the War Cemetery at North
Gate, Baghdad in grave III F8.
Private LIONEL VERNON BROWN, L/9057, of the 2nd. Battalion of The
Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment), to judge from his number, age
and unit, might have been a regular or territorial reservist soldier.
He was the son of Thomas Charles and Emily Brown of Linden Wood
The 2nd Battalion of The Queen's was another part of what the Kaiser
referred to as the "contemptibly little army" [verächtlich
kleine armee] that was landed in Boulogne and Le Havre and they were
quickly entrained for the front. In October, in order to stem the
allied retreat from western Belgium the British 1st and 4th Army Corps
were to hold Yprés, (Iper).
Private Brown and the rest of the 2nd Queen's were part of the 23rd
Infantry Brigade of the 7th Division in General Rawlinson's 4th Army
Corps and they were to take part in particularly fierce fighting which
became known as the 1st Battle of Yprés. It opened in earnest on the
21st of October at 08.00 hours after an hour of heavy enfilading fire
from the Passchendæle ridge overlooking the position of the 22nd
Brigade in its trenches around Zonnebeke. The enemy came forward in
massed formations. One officer of the 2nd Queen's recorded in his
diary how close they came to being overwhelmed but managed to extract
themselves. By the evening of the 21st the 2nd Queen's had lost seven
officers and 171 other ranks, and it was here that Private Brown was
among those numbers. He died on Wednesday 21st October, 1914, aged 25.
He is buried in the famous Tyne Cot Cemetery in grave LXVII E15 over
which the ebb and flow of the war took place with it changing hands
more than once. There are nearly 12,000 men commemorated on this site.
"Tyne Cot" or Tyne Cottage was the name given by the Army to
a barn which stood some 64 metres West of the level crossing on the
Driver VICTOR RANDOLPH BROWN, L/11631, of the 33rd. Reserve Battery of
the Royal Field Artillery, was the son of Thomas Charles and Emily
Brown of Linden Wood Cottage, Fairseat, and was probably the younger
brother of Lionel.
Members of the RFA were involved on all the war fronts but in the case
of Victor Brown we can be fairly certain that he was on the Western
Front. He must have been either badly wounded or gassed to have been
sent back home. Here, he died on Friday 21st July, 1916, aged 22 and
is buried in the North West part of St. Mary's Churchyard, Stansted.
His carved Portland Stone memorial there bears his Royal Artillery
insignia and inscription Ubique Quo Fas et Gloria Ducunt
centred on a cross and below that the following inscription, for his
elder brother, Also in Loving Memory of Pte. L.V. Brown Queen's
R.W.S., Killed in Action, Oct. 21st 1914, Age 25.
The initials of Private ERNEST JOHN BURNETT, G/11186, were carved on
the Stansted War Memorial as "E.C." and as belonging to the
3rd Battalion of the Royal West Kent Regiment. Moreover, on the framed
illuminated parchment Roll of Honour of all those who served
overseas in the Great War Private Burnett's initials are given as
"E.E." and again as a member of the 3rd Battalion. However,
on looking through the Regimental Roll of Honour he is
confusingly listed there as Burnell, owing to a probable mis-reading
of the handwritten last two letters of the surname.
The correct record of Private Ernest John Burnett should show him as
belonging to the 1st Battalion, The Queen's Own (Royal West Kent
Regiment). He was the son of Fanny and Edward Burnett, the farm
bailiff of Parsonage Farm who in later years retired to 1, High Goss
At the declaration of the First World War on the 4th August, 1914, the
1st Battalion was in Dublin as part of the 5th Division. Nine days
later they were embarked for France and after landing carried out long
forced marches in the August heat to entrench themselves along the
On the 23rd August they, aided by only a cavalry squadron and a
cyclists' company some 300 in total, faced the full onslaught from a
greatly superior army under von Kluck. It was here the apocryphal
story of the marksmanship of the regular British army convinced the
enemy that they were faced by massed machine guns. This action,
together with three days of ceaseless rearguard fighting at Le Cateau,
was to be known as the Battle of Mons. The long retreat was ended in a
counter-attack from the River Marne to the banks of the Aisne.
Switched to Neuve Chapelle, the Battalion was again in constant action
from the 23rd October marching over to join the 1st Battle of Yprés
on 13th November to stem a further German drive which was finally
bogged down for the Winter of 1915. With the better weather the
storming of Hill 60 was accomplished on the 17th April only to be lost
on the 22nd in what became known as the 2nd Battle of Yprés.
Indicative of this grinding Flanders fighting was the arrival of 1,100
draft replacements during the spring.
Whether Private Burnett had been with the 1st Battalion since landing
in France or whether he was among these replacements is difficult to
say at present. But what is certain is that a great new offensive was
being readied. Private Burnett and the 1st Battalion came into the
front line trenches on the Somme front for the first time on July 19th
taking up a sector between Longueval and Bazentin le Grand. On the
22nd July a special objective was allotted to the 1st ─ a German
trench entitled Wood Lane which lay 400 yards ahead over the crest of
a gentle slope so that it could not be seen from the jumping off
point. Neither were they aware that their flank was open to enfilading
machine gun fire from High Wood to their left. After their withdrawal
from the line just 250 answered the roll-call and their strenuous
efforts had cost 400 casualties among whom was Private Burnett who
died on that Saturday, 22nd July, 1916, aged 35. His name is
commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial on pier and face 11C.
The name "Private L.A. MARTIN" of the 28th Battalion of the
Australian Imperial Forces is carved thus on the stone base of the
memorial but regretfully this is incorrect. The correct name, rank and
number should be: Lance Corporal JOHN ALFRED MARTIN, 4489, of the 28th
Battalion, Australian Imperial Force.
He was the son of John and Sarah Martin of Cuballing, Western
Australia. There is a strong possibility that they were immigrants as
Lance Corporal Martin is recorded as a native of Stansted. Remaining
in this country, and recorded in Wrotham and Meopham are several
families of Martins which may well have had connexions.
Lance Corporal Martin was among the soldiers of five infantry
divisions that the Australian Imperial Force deployed in France on the
western front during the First World War. The AIF along with the
allied armies were heavily committed in fighting off the German
offensives of March and April 1918. The Australian forces were
concentrated around Villers-Bretonneux, east of Amiens, and stabilized
the front there.
In this fighting Lance Corporal Martin was killed in action on
Wednesday, 22nd May, 1918, and is buried in the Méricourt-L'Abbé
Communal Cemetery, some 6 kilometres south-east of Albert on the road
The name "Driver L. SOLOMAN of the Post Office Rifles" is
carved thus on the Memorial. However, it would appear that his surname
should be spelt Solomon and from the records his name and number as
Rifleman Leonard Solomon, 4740, of the 1st/8th Battalion The London
Regiment (Post Office Rifles).
Arthur Leonard Solomon, his full name, was just one of the million who
responded to Kitchener's call Your Country Needs You. As with
so many others, whole groups ─ offices, warehouses, factories
and the like joined en masse. The Post Office in London raised
sufficient volunteers for their group to be called The Post Office
Rifles which had its origins in a Territorial Army unit which was
known as the 1st/8th London Regiment. Private Solomon was almost
certainly a Post Office driver as his name is carved as such.
He was born in Kemsing, whether the Village as such or the detached
portion of the Parish adjacent to South Ash Manor is not clear.
Although his next of kin was not recorded, it is clear from the
reading of the family memorial in St Mary's churchyard that he was the
son of Sarah Ann and James Solomon, a substantial farming family in
Private Solomon left these shores from Southampton never to return. He
embarked on the S.S. Empress Queen on the 17th March, 1915, for
Le Havre. Later in March and through to May the Battalion was in
action, particularly around Messines in May, and during the 3rd Battle
of the Yprés Salient.
In mid September the 1st Battalion was allocated what they thought
were cushy trenches around Arras to prepare for an attack on Cambrai.
Their sector was in Oppy Wood in the village of Gavrelle. Here on
Saturday 7th October, 1916, Leonard Solomon died, aged 26, in one of
the ordinary, everyday undistinguished encounters on the Western
Front. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Pier and Face 9C
and 9D and on his parent's headstone memorial in the churchyard at St.
Private BENJAMIN RALPH STREATFIELD, G/1558, 7th Battalion, The Queen's
Own (Royal West Kent Regiment). At what date Private Streatfield
joined up is hard to say. It is probable that he was one of the
million that joined the "New Army" of Lord Kitchener. He was
aged 22 and living at home with his father Walter and mother Elizabeth
Mercy Streatfield at Bowyer's Cottages on the Maidstone Road.
By the time he arrived on the Western Front he was on the strength of
the Battalion. The new service Battalions 7 and 8 had been training in
England at Purfleet, Colchester, Codford and on Salisbury Plain. His
7th Battalion arrived in France landing at Le Havre on the 27th July,
1915, as part of the 18th Division in the newly formed 3rd Army.
These new units relieved the French on the right bank of the River
Somme at Bray before being inducted into the methods of trench
warfare. Throughout late 1915 the Battalion was stationed in the
comparatively quiet sector of Carnoy. 1916 opened with the 7th
enjoying two months out of the line and later at Quarrieux and La
Houssoye employed on railway construction as part of the Division's
School. By March it had returned to the trenches, and in May a brief
respite for more training before going back by June to Carnoy.
The build-up of forces and matériel throughout the early
summer of 1916 indicated to all that some large-scale offensive was in
the offing. This was to be the Battle of the Somme. For this the 7th
Battalion was initially in reserve when the attack south-west of
Montauban commenced at 07.30 on Saturday 1st July, 1916. Resistance by
the enemy was firm as they had been in the occupation of their ground
since October, 1914. By the end of the day all four companies, A, B, C
& D, had been committed for some gains in ground but on roll-call
the 7th had suffered 180 casualties, 37 killed, 142 wounded and one
missing. Private Streatfield was among them and may well have been the
missing member as he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, pier
and face 11C.
The name of Lieutenant GILBERT ANTHONY GOODMAN, Royal Air Force, was
not carved on the base of War Memorial on the Green but his name does
appear on both the Parchment Roll of Honour and the marble Stone
Memorial tablet in the Church. He was the son of Alfred William and
Penelope Mary Goodman of 1, The Cloisters, The Temple, in London and
Lessness House, Belvedere, Kent.
Lieutenant Goodman started his military career in the 1st Battalion of
the Loyal North Lancs Regiment and like many others transferred from
the Army to the Royal Flying Corps which became the Royal Air Force
when it was established on the 1st April, 1918.
He joined the No.66 Fighter Squadron which was formed in June, 1916,
in England and flew to France in March, 1917, in time to play a
prominent part in the air operations during the Battle of Arras. In
June 1917 the Squadron moved to Calais to patrol the Straits of Dover
to intercept enemy aircraft raiding England. Shortly after it returned
to Army co-operation duties before it was one of four squadrons
transferred to Italy by the end of 1917 where they were divided into
two groups. One to Asiago to cover the counter offensive on the River
Piave, the other to the Adriatic to operate against Durazzo and
Cattoro in Albania.
The No. 66 Squadron has as its emblem a coiled rattlesnake above the
Latin Cavete: Praemonui or Beware! I have given warning,
and in Italy it had a distinguished record. It inflicted heavy losses
on the Austrian air force and suffered relatively lightly itself.
However, on Monday, 28th October 1918, at the age of 23 Lieutenant
Goodman died and is buried in the Tezze British Cemetery Plot 6, Row
A, Grave 16. He and 300 others who fell during the crossing of the
Piave and the subsequent Battle of Vittorio-Veneto in October remain
in this small Italian village some 30 miles north of Venice.
1939 - 1945
Lieutenant-Colonel GEOFFREY CHARLES
PHILIP LANCE, DSO, 56660, Commanding the 7th Battalion, Somerset Light
Infantry, was born into a military family as the son of
Brigadier-General Frederick F. Lance and Gladys Maud Lance, and the
husband of Daphne Yvette Lance of Selsey, Sussex.
The training of the allied armies in Britain for the forthcoming
invasion of France was intensive and thorough. During the Spring
build-up, the Somerset Light Infantry as part of the 43rd Division
were among the troops who gradually moved south into their positions.
All their vehicles were checked over, painted with the Wyvern
Divisional sign and embarked on four L.C.I.s in the Thames Estuary.
Meanwhile the Battalion moved further south through Kent, first to
Battle in Sussex and then to Newhaven by the 16th June. Embarking on S.S.
Biarritz, they sailed for France and landed over Juno beach at
Courseulles sur Mer at 07.00 on the 22nd June. Assembly was completed
by the 25th behind Arromanches.
From there they moved due south to Brecy, Norrey, taking Hill 100,
thence to Tourville and Verson. On the morning of the 10th July their
next battle was to be for Hill 112 and the Château de Fontaine,
south-east of Caen. Here they came under devastating mortar fire and
shelling from the formidable German 88mm guns. While sitting in a
jeep, Lt.-Col. Geoffrey Lance, together with the R.A. Battalion
Commander Major Mapp, was killed, and the S.L.I. Battalion adjutant
Captain Scamell was wounded, from a direct hit.
Lt.-Col. Lance died there, aged 31 on Monday the 10th July, 1944, and
is buried in grave X.J.6 of the St. Manvieu War Cemetery, Cheux, in
the Département of Calvados.
Wing-Commander CRAVEN GORING HOHLER, 90000, of the Royal Auxiliary Air
Force, was the son of Edwin Theobald Hohler and Agnes Venetia Hohler (neé
Goring) from The Court Lodge, Stansted.
The hectic early days of the Second World War in the Mediterranean are
told in the HMSO publication East of Malta, West of Suez, and
in particular that of the day 27/28th November, 1940.
Wing Commander Hohler joined the long established 148 Squadron at
their base at Stradishall in West Suffolk. The bomber squadron had an
insignia of two crossed battle axes over the motto Trusty. The
whole squadron left Britain for Egypt, flying in long hops, via
Gibraltar over unfriendly seas to reach their stop over in Malta. The
very experienced Wing Commander Hohler was flying first pilot in a
crew of six in a Vickers-Armstrong Wellington, T2894 of 148 Squadron
which took off from Luqa airfield, on Malta's neighbouring island, at
09.01 hours on the 28th November and set a course for the Middle East.
His last sighting was by his comrades on course, covering an incoming
convoy which at the time was under attack from an Italian bomber
During this mêlée Wing Comm. Craven Hohler and crew were lost at sea
as their ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) Egypt came and went. He was,
therefore, presumed missing, lost at sea, on Thursday 28th November,
aged 33. His service is commemorated and recorded on the RAF Memorial
at Runnymead, Surrey.
Petty Officer CHARLES KINGSLEY HOOPER, C/M 37992, was the son of Cyril
Stanley and Ada Hooper, and the husband of Muriel Hooper of Fairseat.
Things had not gone particularly well with the military campaign in
northern Norway and for the Royal Navy manoeuvres in the restricted
waters of the fiords it was also difficult. Nevertheless during the
second Battle of Narvik in April 1940 a force of destroyers and
cruiser penetrated deep into Ofot fiord.
On the 13th April the day went well with up to ten German vessels sunk
but H.M.S Cossack was damaged in running aground and another
destroyer H.M.S Eskimo was torpedoed at 14.50.
Charles Hooper was a sick-berth attendant on board H.M.S. Eskimo
when she went into action and died on that Saturday the 13th April,
1940, aged 36. He is commemorated on the Chatham Memorial 39, 1. which
overlooks the town and can be approached from a steep path from the
Town Hall Gardens.
Leading Stoker ARTHUR WILLIAM COLEGATE, D/KX89777. This sailor's next
of kin was not recorded, but his family were known to have lived at
Mungram Cottages. However, what is certain is that he was a member of
the crew of H.M.S. Glorious.
It is now clear that the circumstances surrounding the loss of the
aircraft carrier H.M.S Glorious are somewhat controversial.
Towards the end of the Norwegian campaign when evacuation was being
undertaken, H.M.S Glorious at Harstad took on the last of the
land-based Hurricane and Gladiator fighter aircraft. She left early
for Scapa Flow on the 8th June, 1940, accompanied by only two
destroyers, H.M.S Ardent and H.M.S Acasta, as screens
and without waiting for the rest of the fleet.
At 16.00 on the 8th June the large silhouette of the Glorious was
sighted by the superior German force of Scharnhorst and Gneisenau.
With utter simplicity Scharnhorst shelled H.M.S Glorious and by
17.20 she was stopped and on fire, and eight minutes later abandon
ship was ordered.
H.M.S Ardent went into action and fired all her torpedoes in an
effort to stop Scharnhorst and was sunk. At 18.08 H.M.S Acasta
had loosed off all her torpedoes and was overwhelmed and sunk. One of
her many torpedoes reached Scharnhorst and damaged it so that she
retired to Trondheim, without attempting to pick up any of the
hundreds of survivors.
Stoker Colegate did not survive and died on that Sunday, 9th June,
1940. After much searching, two and a half days later on the 11th,
just 35 men and three officers were picked up from the scene. He is
recorded on the Plymouth Memorial in Devon on panel 40, column 3. This
Royal Naval Memorial is sited centrally on The Hoe overlooking
Private EDWARD ROY GOULD, 14710191, of the 8th Battalion, Royal Scots
apparently did not leave details of his next of kin, although it is
known that his father was the chauffeur at Court Lodge and that the
family lived in the Horse & Groom cottages.
Private Gould was probably a late conscript and possibly even
allocated from a reinforcement depôt. The Royal Scots are Britain's
first Royal Regiment and historically the 1st Regiment of Foot. This
heritage Private Gould would have been made aware of in his training.
The Royal Scots, as part of the 21st Army Group, landed in Normandy on
the 14th June 1944 and fought all the way up through France and
Belgium, taking part in clearing the vital Scheldt Estuary, and on
into Holland to the Nijmegen Salient.
Pausing to cross the Rhine and pass into the Lower Rhineland and over
the River Emms they reached the outskirts of Aurich, a small town
halfway between Emden and Wilhelmshaven, by May 1st. Here after days
of constant patrolling and mopping-up the last resisters of the
defeated German army in the Stats Forest 19-year-old Edward Gould died
on the 2nd May, 1945, just six days before the end of the war in
Europe was officially over. He is buried in grave 2A F9 in the Hamburg
Cemetery on the outskirts of that city.
Pilot Officer PETER ALBERT NASH, Royal Air Force, V.R., 172182, was
the son of Albert and Muriel Nash and the husband of Winifred Nash of
Stansted. He had been flying some time with "B" flight of
No.57 Squadron based at East Kirby, Lincolnshire, when on November
15th, 1943, they were allotted eleven new Lancaster Mk B1/IIIs to form
a new 630 Squadron there as part of No.5 Group. His first operation
with the new squadron was on the night of the 18th November, 1943, to
Throughout the darkest days of the Second World War he flew with 630
Squadron during which they accomplished 2,453 sorties losing 59
aircraft or 2.4% of their strength in 180 bombing raids and 22
minelaying operations. A further 11 were lost in crashes.
Most Groups were engaged during May, 1944, in softening up targets in
France prior to the invasion of 5/6 June. On the nights of 1/2 May
Tours was attacked, 3/4 Mailly-le-Camp, 6/7 Sable-sur-Sarthe, 7/8
Salbris, 8/9 Brest, 9/10 Gennevilliers, 10/11 five marshalling yards,
and on the 11/12 Bourg-Léopold.
During these extensive operations Pilot Officer Nash made it back to
East Kirby but died on Monday 15th May, 1944, aged 22. He is buried in
grave 14308 Cambridge City Cemetery in ground set aside for the RAF
casualties from the airfields of East Anglia.
Attached to the walls of St. Mary's Church there are three further
memorials dating from the First World War. The first is a polished
marble tablet on which is carved the following:-
"Their name liveth for
Lt.-Col. A.G. Kemball, C.B., D.S.O. 54th Canadians
Major W.N. Pitt, 2nd Lincolnshire
Lt. J.M. Pitt, 1st Dorsetshire
Sgt. Major, A. Kirton, 11th Australians
Private A.T. Betts, R.A.S.C.
Private H.G. Blackman, 1st Grenadier Guards
Driver F. Bowyer, R.E.
Private L.V. Brown, 2nd Royal West Surrey Regiment
Driver V.R. Brown, Royal Field Artillery
Private E.E. Burnett, 3rd R.W.Kent
Private J.A. Martin, 28th Australians
Private L. Solomon, Post Office Rifles
Private B.R. Streatfield, 7th R.W.Kent
Lt. G.A. Goodman, R.A.F.
To the Honoured Memory of the Men
of this Parish who fell in the Great War 1914-1918
Perhaps the most significant item on
this carved memorial is the name of Lt. Goodman, which on careful
inspection appears to be an afterthought or late addition and it is
the one name which does not appear on the base of the carved stone
memorial on the Green.
The second memorial is to Lt.-Col. Kemball. It takes the form of an
oval of two layers of highly polished coloured marble on which the
[a small-bas relief maple leaf] To the Glory of God and in
proud and loving memory of COLONEL Arnold Henry Grant Kemball C.B.,
D.S.O. 54th Canadians late of the 5th Gurkha Rifles who fell at Vimy
Ridge March 1st 1917
"This is the happy Warrior this is He That every Man in arms
should wish to be" [a small-bas relief of crossed Gurkha
The third item is an illuminated hand written, framed list as
follows:- Parish of Stansted Roll of Honour of Men who served Overseas
During The Great War 1914-1918
E.J. FORD E.
I am most grateful to Mr F. Hohler of Court Lodge, Stansted, for his
help in preparing this paper and to Mr R.A.C. Cockett, the Southfleet
archaeologist, for his aid in unearthing some salient facts, and to my
son Alaric for his support.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
About the author, who is a graduate in
mediaeval history from U.C.L., and was chosen by the late Chairman of
the U.N. Committee for the International Decade for Natural Disaster
Reduction, Professor Sir James Lighthill, the noted applied
mathematician and physicist, to assist him on the grounds as he said
"to bring an historical perspective and balance" to their
Mrs Bamping was the author of West Kingsdown, the story of three
villages in Kent in 1983 and is currently working on a second
volume of this work. Formerly editor of the K.F.H.S Journal for
six years and contributor since then to many other Kent history
©Zena Bamping 13th
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