The First World War, or The Great War as it was generally known before 1939, began on the 28th July 1914, with Great Britain entering on 4th August. By the time the armistice was signed on the 11th November 1918 886,939 soldiers, sailors and airmen from Great Britain alone had been killed and a further 1,663,435 were wounded. No part of the country was untouched by the slaughter. In Tadmarton 48 men served their country in various roles and 6 never returned to their families, cottages and farms. 11 men were wounded out of the 43 that served abroad in France or Mesopotamia. It is difficult to imagine the horrors that these men, who led simple but hard lives, faced. Most of them were employed as agricultural workers and you can only wonder at how they coped with what they had witnessed and experienced, but most of them did returning to their jobs and families and the village they were born in. Unfortunately 60% of service records from The Great War were destroyed in the Blitz in 1940. I have pieced together parts of their stories from what remains and will keep researching.

The men below were recorded on a Roll of Honour that is on display at St Nicholas Parish Church. Those that never returned are recorded on The Fallen World War 1. 

Ernest, Frank and Jack Gibbs with their sisters Ethel and Gladys, pictured in the early 1900's. Both Jack and Frank served in the 1st Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in the Mesopotamian theatre, with Jack sadly dying in 1916.

"D" Squadron (Banbury) of the Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars

 THE FOLLOWING MEN WERE SERVING AT THE OUTBREAK OF WAR

LIEUTENANT LLEWELLYN CAVE  

He was born in Culham in 1866 and married Jane Kilby in November 1893 in Souldern. They moved to Tadmarton and were farmers first at Campsfield Farm and then at College Farm with their three children.

Llewellyn Cave was also Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars in 1906 an Imperial Yeomanry calvalry unit as a part-time soldier. He was promoted Sergeant in 1st October 1910 and was a Colour Sergeant by the outbreak of war.

He transferred to the Army Service Corps, serving on the home front and being commissioned as a Lieutenant on 1st July 1917. At 38 he was the oldest Tadmarton man to serve in the war.

He died in March 1924 aged 58 and is buried in Tadmarton churchyard.

DRIVER RALPH KILLBY CAVE

He was born in 1895, the son of Llewellyn and Jane Cave of College Farm, Tadmarton He worked on the family farm and was also a part-time soldier serving as a Trooper in the Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars before the war. After the outbreak of war he served as a Private in the Army Service Corps in England, involved in the supply of horses to the 4th New Army Group. He was sent to France in 1916 serving as a Driver moving supplies up to the front line. 

Returning home he married Kate Stanbra in Wiggington in November 1921 and took over the running of the dairy farm at College Farm. He died in Aylesbury in 1978 aged 83.

GUNNER WALTER JOHN GREEN

 

He was born in July 1895, one of 10 children to parents John and Mary Green, in Milton. He was living in Tadmarton with his family and worked as a general labourer and was also as part-time soldier in the 4th (Territorial) Battalion The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. 

 

He enlisted into the Royal Garrison Artillery at Oxford in June 1913. After training at Fort Rowent in Gosport he was posted to 122 (Heavy) Battery in October 1914. He was posted with his Battery to France on the 8th March 1915, and promoted to Bombardier in the field. The battery took part in fighting at Armentieres, the Second Battle of Ypres, Hooge, the Bluff, St Elois, the Somme, Bullecourt (in the ANZAC Corps), Messines. On the 7th August 1917 he was seriously wounded, with shrapnel wounds to the left arm and knee, during the Third Battle of Ypres or Passchendaele. He was evacuated to England and hospitalised at the 31st Southern General Hospital, Dudley Road, Birmingham. He was honourably discharged as medically unfit for war service on the 19th February 1918, and awarded the silver badge, originally given to be worn on civilian clothing to prevent discharged soldiers being accused of cowardice.

 

He married Evelyn Roberts in Battersea later that year. He and his wife lived at The Lodge, Tadmarton House where he worked as an agricultural tractor driver. He died in January 1942 aged 47 and is buried in Tadmarton churchyard. 

His older brother George had been killed in action during the Battle of Pozieres in 1916. 

 

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SERGEANT JAMES WILLIAM HATFIELD

 

He was born in Marston St Lawrence in 1894 and later lived in Lower Tadmarton with his parents Harry and Charlotte Hatfield and six siblings, where he worked as a cowman. His brothers Harry and Gilbert both served their country, with Harry dying in 1919.

      

In 1910, aged 17, he signed up as a part-time soldier with the Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars. The QOOH went to France on 19th September 1914 to assist the Royal Navy Division to protect the Channel ports. However James did not go with them, now a Sergeant he remained at home to train the influx of new recruits. 

 

He was  eventually posted to France in early 1916 joining the 1st/1st Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars in the field. 1916 saw no notable actions for the QOOH however. As cavalry they spent frustrating periods waiting in readiness to push on through the gap in the enemy's line, which never came. They toiled in working parties bringing up supplies, digging defensive positions, suffering the discomforts of appalling conditions, and frequently dismounting to fight fierce engagements on foot and in the trenches themselves. In 1917, as part of the 4th Cavalry Brigade in the 2nd Cavalry Division,  they fought in the First Battle of the Scarpe between 9th and 11th April, a phase of the Arras Offensive. They went on to support the mass tank attack during operations at Cambrai on 20th and 21st November, were involved in the capture of Bourlon Wood between 24th and 28thNovember and battled against the German counter-attack on Cambrai on 30th November 1917.

 

In 1918 they fought against the German Spring Offensive in the Battle of St Quentin and the Battle of Hazebrouck from 21st March 1918, suffering heavy casualties until 1st April when they were withdrawn from the line. They were back in action on in the 100 Days Offensive, starting with the Battle of Amiens between 8th and 10th August 1918. Here they eventually fulfilled their original purpose. Allied forces advanced over 7 miles on the first day, one of the greatest advances of the war. The division  made a cavalry charge to capture and hold a ridge near the village of Royes. The Oxford Hussars were the leading Regiment on the right of the attack and made good progress until stopped by concentrated machine gun fire. They were then involved in pushing the Germans back across the Somme and then breached the German defensives on the Hindenburg Line. They then took part in the Final Advance in Picardy and on 11th November 1918, Armistice Day, liberated the town of Mons. After this they formed part of the Army of Occupation in Germany. They returned to the UK on 1st April 1919.

 

He married Annie Toft in April 1927 in Pontefract,  Yorkshire settling in Ripley, Derbyshire where he worked as a labourer in an ironworks. He died in Chelmsford, Essex in 1963 aged 69.

 
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LIEUTENANT GERALD HENRY PAUL

 

He was born in August 1897, the son of Captain Robert Paul (Royal Navy retired) and Caroline Paul of the Highlands, Lower Tadmarton. He was the younger brother of George, above. followed his father into the Royal Navy, attending RN college at Whippingham in the Isle of Wight from May 1910.

 

He joined the pre-Dreadnought Lord Nelson class battleship HMS Agamemnon, below, in August 1914 as a midshipman.

 

She was assigned to the Channel Fleet when the First World War began in 1914. The ship was transferred to the Mediterranean Sea with Lord Nelson in early 1915 to participate in the Dardanelles Campaign. She made a number of bombardments against Turkish fortifications and in support of British troops. Agamemnon remained in the Mediterranean after the conclusion of that campaign to prevent the German battlecruiser SMS Goeben and light cruiser Breslau from breaking out into the Mediterranean. 

On 5th May 1916 Agamemnon shot down  the German Zeppelin LZ55 with its 12 pounder anti-aircraft guns as it was bombing Thessalonik Harbour in Salonica. On 22nd May 1916 Gerald Paul was promoted to Acting Sub-Lieutenant and joined the crew of the destroyer. HMS Fury. In October he joined the  Beagle class destroyer HMS Renard, below, based in the Mediterranean and was promoted to Sub-Lieutenant in May 1917.

 

He served with her until 15th July 1917 when he was transferred to HMS Temeraire, below, a Bellaphonon class Dreadnought battleship.

He was promoted to Lieutenant aboard her on 15th September 1918. Her service at that time consisted of routine patrols and training in the North Sea. She was transferred to the Mediterranean Fleet in October 1918 and he served with her until   8th December 1918. He then returned to the UK and between January and September 1919 undertook courses at Cambridge University. He then served at the “stone frigate” HMS Excellent school of gunnery in Portsmouth. between September and December 1919.He was given the rank of Lieutenant-Commander and joined the retired list in August 1920.

He was given permission by the Admiralty to travel to India, where he worked as exchange broker. In November 1933 he married Cecilia Haythorne in Calcutta and the couple returned to England in  March 1936 with their young son. At the outbreak of the Second World War they were living in Brighton. Lt-Commander Paul was recalled to service at the outbreak of war and served in London with the Royal Navy Press department and later the Direct Planning Department. He reverted back to the retired list on 3rd October 1945.

He died in Cerne Abbas, Dorset in 1975 aged 78. 

 

THE FOLLOWING MEN TOOK COLOURS DURING THE WAR 



DRIVER THOMAS ABBOTTS

He was born in January 1889 to Thomas and Sarah Abbotts. He worked as a groom at the hunting stables at New College Farm, where his father was a farm carter.

He enlisted into the reserves of the Royal Engineers whilst working as a dairy foreman in Brierley Hill, Staffs on 7th December 1915. He was mobilised on 22nd January 1917 and mustered as a Driver, He served in France from 17th May 1917 until 31st January 1919 when he returned home for demobilisation.

He returned to Brierley Hill after the war and in 1923. They lived in Seisdon, Staffordshire where he worked as a groom at riding stables. He died in Buckinghamshire in 1972, aged 83.

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DRIVER ALFRED ROBERT AUSTIN

He was born in 1896, the son of Alfred and Susannah Austin of Tadmarton where he worked as a farm labourer. 

He enlisted as a Gunner in the Royal Field Artillery on the 9th August 1915 aged 19. He trained in England with the 3rd Depot Brigade until 19th January 1916 when he was posted to France. He joined 115th Battery in the field, armed with 4 x 18 pounder field guns, part of the 25th Brigade, The Royal Field Artillery. They came under the command of the 1st Division and remained with them throughout the war on the Western Front.

The Battery was in action in The Battle of Albert from July 1st 1916, The Battle of Bazentine, The Battle of Pozieres, The Battle of Flers-Courcelette and The Battle of Morval, all phases of the Somme Offensive.

The Division was warned to prepare for an operation along the Belgian coast, Operation Hush, in summer 1917. It moved to the Dunkirk area for specialist training. Several mobile units were attached in readiness. The operation was cancelled when the initial assaults in the Third Battle of Ypres failed to progress as expected. They returned to the Front in October 1917 to support the 2nd Battle of Passchendaele, part of the Third Battle of Ypres.

In April 1918 they took part in the Battle of Lys fighting against the German Spring Offensive. The Germans, supported by troops released from the Eastern Front by the surrender of Russia, attacked in numbers across the old Somme battlefields in an attempt to influence the outcome of the war before the Americans arrived in numbers. An advance of 40 miles was made into Allied held territory before being halted. The Division suffered heavy casualties and was withdrawn from the line to rest and refit. On 17th August 1918 he was mustered as a driver, which increased his pay to 3d a day. They returned to the front in September 1918, the 125th Battery providing cover for the 100 Days Offensive that led to the defeat of Germany. They fought in the Battle of Drocourt-Queant and The Battles of the Hindenburg Line in September and The Battle of the Selle in October. Their last action was The Battle of the Sambre, in which the Division fought the Passage of the Sambre-Oise Canal on 4th November 1918.He was granted leave home between 16th and 30th November 1918. The 1st Division was selected to advance into Germany and form part of the Occupation Force at Bonn after the Armistice.

He returned to the UK on the 18th June 1919 for demobilisation to the Reserves. In October 1928 he married Minnie Pearson in Tadmarton Parish Church and lived at Fortnum Cottages and worked as a builder's labourer. He died in 1974 aged 79.  

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PRIVATE ALFRED JESSIE BOURTON

He was born in February 1891, son of John and Sarah Bourton of Tadmarton. He worked as a farm labourer and a builders labourer. 

He enlisted in the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry on the 10th August 1915 in Oxford as a Private. On 10th December 1915 he arrived in India, joining the Indian Expeditionary Force Depot for training. On 6th July 1916 he was posted to Mesopotamia joining a provisional battalion that had been formed out of reinforcements intended for the 1st Battalion of the Ox and Bucks. The 1st Battalion had been either killed or taken into captivity after the surrender of the Kut Garrison to the Turks in April 1916. The provisional battalion were engaged in protecting lines of communications before being renamed the 1st Battalion on 24th July 1917. They joined the 15th Division and helped defeat the forces of the Ottoman Empire, who surrendered on 30th October 1918. He returned to England on the 14th April 1919 and was transferred to the Reserves on 11th May 1919.

On 1st November 1922 he married Una Wright in St Mary's Church, Banbury. They lived in Springfield Avenue in Banbury, where he worked as an aluminium machine shop labourer. He died in 1971 aged 80.  

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PRIVATE HUBERT HARRY BOURTON

He was born in 1886, older brother of Alfred above. Aged 15 he was undertaking stable work in Tadmarton before moving to Marchington in Staffs where he worked as a groom. He served as a Private in the Army Service Corps in England based in Northampton. He married Nellie Heath in Tadmarton in 1917 and moved to Rugby, where he worked as a groom. He died in Rugby in June 1955 aged 69.

PRIVATE GEORGE BUCKINGHAM

He was born in August 1895 to Harry and Sarah Anne Buckingham of Tadmarton, one of 9 children and worked as a farm labourer. He served in France as a Private with the Army Service Corps before joining The Royal Horse Artillery. Image result for royal horse artillery cap badge

PRIVATE HARRY BUCKINGHAM

 

He was born November 1892 to parents Harry and Sarah Buckingham of  Upper Tadmarton, one of 9 children and worked as a farm labourer. His younger brother of George, above.

He had been working as a groom and gardener when he enlisted In Chipping Norton into the Northumberland Fusiliers on the 23rd September 1914 having been previously rejected on height grounds, (he was 5ft 4ins). He was, however, accepted  this time for service as a Private in the Army Service Corps remounts section only, looking after horses as a strapper (groom). He served in France with the ASC, supporting the 2nd Infantry Brigade between the 14th October 1914 and the 20th October 1916. He served during the First and Second Battles of Ypres and the 1916 Somme Offensive. He was then transferred to the 88th Training Reserve Battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers  on 24th October 1916. From here he was posted as reinforcements for the 9th (Service) Battalion, The Northumberland Fusiliers in France on 19th January 1917. The Battalion was involved in the First battle of the Scarpe between 9th and 14th April 1017, part of the Arras Offensive. After the battle Private Buckingham was evacuated from the field and found to be suffering from an inguinal hernia. He was sent to 52 Field Ambulance then transferred to No 6 Stationary Hospital in Frevent before being invalided home where he was further treated for a bacterial infection of his testicles in hospital in Eastleigh.

After recovery he returned to serve with the Army service Corps Remounts Section Depot on 28th November 1917 at Romsey, Hampshire, where he served for the rest of the war. He was demobbed on the 9th May 1919 into the Reserves.

He married Gertrude Joyner in November 1921 in St Nicholas Parish Church in Tadmarton. He worked as a valet in Drayton before running  the butchers shop in Tadmarton. He died in 1978 in an old people's home in Adderbury, aged 85 and is buried in Tadmarton Churchyard.

PRIVATE THOMAS ADRIAN BUCKINGHAM

He was born in February 1884 to parents James and Elizabeth Buckingham of Tadmarton. By the age of 17 he was living with relatives in Birmingham whist working as a railway carter. He the found lodgings and worked as a labourer for Birmingham Corporation. He served with the Devonshire Regiment on the Home Front. He died in Birmingham in 1977 aged 63.

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PRIVATE WILLIAM MASON BUCKINGHAM

He was born in 1894 in Milton, the son of Frederick and Mary Buckingham. In 1911 he was a servant to one Annie Watkins, a carrier living in Tadmarton. 

He enlisted into the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry and after training was posted to France to join the 5th (Service) Battalion on 1st October 1915. As part of the 14th (Light) Division they saw action in the 1916 Somme Offensive taking part in the bloody Battle of Delville Wood between 14th July and 15th September and the Battle of Flers-Courcelette from 15th September until 22nd September.

In the Spring of 1917 the Germans withdrew from the Somme area to pre-prepared defences on the Hindenburg Line. They destroyed everything of use in their path, set booby traps and poisoning water supplies. The 5th Battalion was one of those that cautiously pursued the Germans. They then took part in attacks on these defences in The Arras Offensive seeing action in the The First Battle of the Scarpe between 9th and 14th April 1917 and The Third Battle of the Scarpe between 3rd and 5th May. Next they were involved in the Third Battle of Ypres and saws action in The Battle of Langemark between 16th and 18th August, The First Battle of Passchendaele on 12th October and The Second Battle of Passchendaele between 26th October and 10th November 1917, below.

On 21st March 1918 the Battalion were at billets near St Quentin when they were ordered up to the front line between Benay and Essigny at 1130. The German Spring Offensive had begun. Supported by troops released from the Eastern Front by the surrender of Russia, attacked in numbers across the old Somme battlefields in an attempt to influence the outcome of the war before the Americans arrived in numbers. The Battalion took part in fierce hand to hand fighting most of the day falling back on  in a fighting retreat. By the end of the Battle of St Quentin on 23th March 1918 the now exhausted Battalion had been pushed back some 15 miles to the town of Guiscard. The Battalion took part in a further action, The Battle of Avre on 4th April 1918, after which, along with rest of the 14th Division, had suffered severe casualties they were withdrawn from the front line and placed on the construction of a new defensive line in the rear. On 26th April, the Battalions was reduced to a training cadre and with the Division was moved to England for re-establishment on 17th June 1918, The 5th Battalion the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry was absorbed into the 18th Battalion, the Gloucestershire Regiment. 

After the war William Buckinghamshire married Mabel Kavanagh and they lived at Laurel Cottage, Barford St Michael, where he worked as a stonemason. He died in 1973 aged 79.
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 PRIVATE ALFRED FREEMAN

He was born in December 1899 to parents John and Ada Buckingham of Tadmarton and worked as a farm labourer. 

He enlisted into 2/5th Battalion, the Gloucestershire Regiment on 11th December 1915. He transferred to the 18th (Service) Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment, and arrived in France with them on 1st August 1918 under orders of the 16th Irish Division. They went into action in the  Final Advance in Artois between 2nd October and 11th November 1918, liberating the French coalfields, Lens and Douai. He was wounded in action and was honourably discharged in 1919, being no longer physically fit for war service and awarded the silver medal, given to discharged servicemen to prevent them from being accused of cowardice.

He returned to Tadmarton, living in Bakers Lane, working as a carter on a farm, he married Dorothy Morbey in Swalcliffe in 1930 and died in 1969, aged 69 and is buried in Tadmarton Churchyard.

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GUNNER ARTHUR HENRY FREEMAN

He was born in 1891, the eldest son of Thomas and Elizabeth of Tadmarton. He was working as a farm labourer when he enlisted into The Royal Field Artillery in 1914. He had married Amy Young in 1915 whilst on leave in Tadmarton Parish Church. He was posted to join the 253rd Siege Battery which was sent to France in January 1917, equipped with 6 to 8 inch Howitzers and saw action in the Battle of Messines Ridge between 7th and 14th June 1917.

The Battle of Messines Ridge was one of the most successful local operations on the Western Front during the war. The  target of the offensive was a natural stronghold south-east of Ypres and a small German salient since 1914. The battle was a precursor to the 3rd Battle of Ypres, known as Passchendaele. It was to be launched by the detonation of 22 mines in shafts tunnelled under the German lines. Heavy preliminary bombardment of the German positions began on the 21st May, involving 2,300 guns and 300 heavy mortars ceasing on the morning of the 7th June at 0250. The German troops sensing an imminent attack rushed to their defensive positions. At 0310 the mines, some 600 tons of explosives were detonated under them. The German defences were devastated, some 10,000 men dying in the explosions. In its wake nine divisions of infantry advanced under the protection of a creeping barrage, tanks and gas grenade throwers. All initial objectives were taken within three hours. The battle greatly boosted the morale of the allies. It was the first time on the Western front that defensive casualties had exceeded attacking losses; 25,000 against 17,000. battle and evacuated to the UK for treatment. Gunner Freeman was seriously injured by shrapnel during the battle and evacuated home for treatment.

After the war he worked as a links labourer at Tadmarton Heath Golf Club, living in Fortnum Cottage, Upper Tadmarton.He died in December 1945 aged 54 and is buried in Tadmarton Churchyard. 

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PRIVATE CORBETT FRANK FREEMAN

He was born in 1888 to parents Oliver and Matilda in Tadmarton, where he worked as a farm labourer.

He enlisted as a Private in the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry on 16th August 1915 and after training sailed from Devonport on HM Troopship Alannia on 20th January 1916 and arrived at Basra on 20th February. He joined the 1st Battalion, which had been reformed after the surrender to the Ottoman forces of the Kut garrison. The Battalion served in Mesopotamia and he was granted one months leave to India in April 1917. They took part in the Capture of Ramadi between 28th and 29th September 1917, the Occupation of Hit on 9th March 1918 and the Action of Khan Baghdadi between 26th and 27th March 1918. An Armistice was signed with the Ottoman Empire on 30th October 1918.

On 9th December 1918 embarked on HM Troopship Shuya and joined the British forces in Salonika. He served there until 14 March 1919 returning home to be demobilized on 24th April 1919. 

He married Harriet Jackman in 1925 and had two sons, working as a general labourer. Corbett Freeman died in April 1959 aged 71 and is buried in Tadmarton churchyard.

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PRIVATE ERNEST WILLIAM FREEMAN

 

He was born in September 1885 to parents James and Hannah Freeman of Upper Tadmarton and he worked as a farm labourer.  He married Florence Howkins in the village in October 1911 and they went on to have  four children together. He was working as a groom when he enlisted into The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry on the 9th August 1915 in Oxford.

 

After training he was posted to France on the 17th December 1915 and joined the 2nd Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in the field. He was in action with his Battalion in the 1916 Somme Offensive during the Battle of Delville Wood between 15th July and 3rd September 1916. During this battle he suffered an injury to his right knee on 25th July and was treated at the 13th Casualty Clearing Station, returning to duty on 28th July.

He was next in action in another phase of the Somme Offensive, the Battle of Ancre on 13th November 1916. He suffered a shrapnel wound to his right arm on that same day. He was treated in No 5 Field Ambulance before being evacuated to a General Hospital in Rouen and then on to a Convalescence Depot. He returned to his unit on 8th December 1916 and went on leave to the UK from 25th January 1917 until 4th February 1917.

 

He returned to his unit and was in action again in the First Battle of The Scarpe, a phase of the Arras Offensive between 9th and 14th April 1917. On 20th April he was again hospitalised with a contusion to the back, re-joining his unit on 28th April. He was immediately in action in another phase of the Arras Offensive, The Battle of Arleux on 28th and 29th April. On 20th November 1917 the Battalion were once more in action in the Battle of Cambrai, where they faced the biggest German counter-attack since 1914, lasting until 7th December 1917 when bad weather put a halt to operations. He was admitted to hospital again on 28th December, re-joining his umit on 4th January 1918. He had 10 days leave home in February 1918, returning to the front to face the German Spring Offensive. Bouyed by troops released from the Eastern Front after the surrender of Russia, the Germans attacked in large numbers across the old Somme battlefields in an attempt to win the war before the Americans arrived in numbers. From 21st March 1918 they fought in the Battle of St Quentin, the Battle of Bapaume and the First Battle of Arras, eventually halting the German advance. On 15th June 1918 he was struck down with trench fever and evacuated from the field to the 43rd Casualty Clearing Station. 

He was admitted to the 2nd Canadian General Hospital in Le Treport before being sent back to England for further treatment on 26th June 1918 at Carlisle War Hospital. He remained in hospital until 25th October and then served at home until being demobilized to the Reserves on 18th October 1919.

 

He returned to Tadmarton living at 14, Swalcliffe Road and worked as a roadman. He died in 1966 aged 82.

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BOMBARDIER HERBERT GEORGE FREEMAN

 

He was born in Tadmarton in June 1883 to parents James and Anna Freeman. In 1901  he was working and lodging in Lewisham as a butcher's assistant. On 7th March 1902 he enlisted into the Royal Field Artillery as a Gunner in Woolwich. He was discharged as medically unfit for further military service in April 1905 and his records stated he had a very good character.

By 1906 he was back in Tadmarton having and in April of that year he married Alice May Handsworth on the Parish Church and by 1911 they had had four children and he was employed as a horsekeeper. 

 

Herbert enlisted on August 9th 1915 in Oxford into his old regiment the Royal Field Artillery as a gunner. As a former soldier unfit for active service he undertook farm work joining 5th Agriculture Company of the RGA in Putney Heath, being promoted to Bombardier on 13th June 1916. On 20th June he was admonished for returning late from leave by 1 hour and 10 minutes. In March 1917 his wife gave birth to a fifth child, Gertrude Maud Freeman. In August of 1917 his commanding officer received a letter from a Miss Maud Eagle of Twickenham enquiring of his whereabouts having not seen him from over a month. The records do not show why she was so anxious to contact him. On 21st December 1917 he was transferred to 646th Agriculture Company Royal Berkshire Regiment, based at Adderley Park, Birmingham. He was demobbed in March of 1919 being unfit for duty and returned to Tadmarton working as a builder’s labourer. 

 

He and Alice had another son Bernard Austin Freeman in 1919 who died in 1944 in the hands of the Japanese. Herbert Freeman died in 1955 aged 72 and is buried in Tadmarton Churchyard.

 

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GUARDSMAN PERCY THOMAS FREEMAN

 

He was born in November 1893 in Tadmarton to parents Thomas and Elizabeth Freeman and worked as a farm labourer. 

He was living in Coventry and working as a labourer when he enlisted into the 5th Reserve Battalion of the Coldstream Guards as a Guardsman on 29th November 1915 aged 22. 

He was posted to France on 26th August 1916 joining the 1st Battalion in the field on 2nd September. He saw action in two phases of the Battle of the Somme, The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, between 15th and 22nd September 1916 was a large-scale general renewal of the offensive after the weeks of attritional fighting for the third German system at Pozieres, High Wood, Delville Wood, Guillemont and Ginchy. It is historically noteworthy for being the first time that tanks were used in battle. Few in number, mechanically unreliable and as yet without proven tactics for their best use, the small numbers of tanks that actually went into action had an important positive effect. High Wood and Delville Wood were finally cleared and a deep advance was made to Flers and towards Combles. Next was the The Battle of Morval, between 25th and 28th September 1916. Having broken through the prepared lines of German defence, the British force now faced a new set of challenges as it was now fighting in much flatter, open ground and approached the distant gentle slopes of the Transloy ridges. Fighting was, as before, severe but gradually the British chipped away and pushed forward. The weather began to turn autumnal, bringing rain, making the battlefield increasingly difficult and stretching men to limits of their physical endurance.

The Battle of the Somme ended on 18th November 1916 as winter set in. Percy Freeman was to remain in France seeing further action in the Second Battle of Passchendaele. He was granted leave home on 7th November 1917. He returned to the Western Front on 21st November.

 

In March 1918 the Guards Division fought against the German Spring Offensive. Buoyed by troops released from the Eastern Front after the Russian surrender, this was an attempt to win the war before the Americans arrived in numbers. In two operations, German troops pushed the Allies back across the devastated 1916 Somme battlefields being halted outside Amiens. The attack failed and then it was the Allies turn to launch the 100 days Offensive that won the war. 

Percy Freeman contracted influenza whilst on the front line on 8th August 1918. He was treated in a field ambulance, then on to hospital in Rouen before embarking for England on the hospital ship "Gloucester Castle" on 26th August 1918, below.

He spent 46 days in the Northumberland War Hospital. After recovery he served at Shoreham-on-Sea until demobilized on 9th February 1919. Later that year he married Emmeline Freeman from Tadmarton in the Parish Church. They lived at the Bungalow on Tadmarton Heath Road where he worked as a greenkeeper at the golf club.

 

Percy Freeman died in 1967 aged 74 and is buried in Tadmarton Churchyard

 
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PRIVATE WALTER FREEMAN

He was born in Lower Tadmarton in 1881 to parents Oliver and Matilda Freeman, elder brother of Corbett, above. From an early age he lived with his maternal grandparents in Brackley. He remained in Brackley, marrying Eliza Isham there in 1911  and working as a coal porter. He served as a Private in the Army Service Corps (kitchens department) in France. He died in Brackley in 1962 aged 81.

PRIVATE FRANK GIBBS

He was born in Broughton on 15th May 1897 later moving to Upper Tadmarton, working as a cowman. 

He enlisted on the 8th August 1915 in Oxford aged 18, along with his elder brother John. He joined the 3rd Depot Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, as a Private for training. On 8th May 1916 he was confined to barracks for 3 days for being absent at the Adjutant’s parade at 0615. He was then sent to India on 23rd May 1916 and on 4th August 1916 he was posted to Mesopotamia to join a provisional battalion formed after the remnants of 1st Battalion had been marched into captivity after the surrender of Kut-al-Amara on 29th April 1916. 

He joined "C" company and the provisional battalion served in the Lines of Communication force.  In May 1917 he was sentenced to 3 days confined to camp for "using an improper article for water". In July 1917 the battalion was renamed as the 1st Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry joining the 50th Indian Brigade.

They continued in the fight against the forces of the Ottoman Empire, taking part in the Capture of Ramadi between 28th and 29th September 1917, the Occupation of Hit on 9th March 1918 and the Action of Khan Baghdadi between 26th and 27 March 1918. Fighting halted with the surrender of the Ottomans on 30th October 1918. 

Frank Gibbs returned to England on 21st March 1919 and went to live in Coventry, where he married Winifred Allcoat in 1921. He died in the town in 1947.

 His brother of John died on the Hospital Ship Syria from dysentery on 20th June 1916. 

 

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PRIVATE ALFRED GREEN

He was born in 1899 in Milton and lived in Tadmarton with his parents John and Mary and his 9 siblings. He served as a Private with the 3rd Reserve Battalion, The Devonshire Regiment in Ireland. After the war he married Rose Keen in 1932 and moved to Burdrop. He died in 1965 aged 66.

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PRIVATE JAMES HALL

He was born in Lower Tadmarton in 1897 to parents James and Harriet Hall and worked as a farm labourer. 

He served as a Private in the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. On 6th July 1916 he was posted to Mesopotamia joining a provisional battalion that had been formed out of reinforcements intended for the 1st Battalion of the Ox and Bucks. The 1st Battalion had been either killed or taken into captivity after the surrender of the Kut Garrison to the Turks in April 1916. The provisional battalion were engaged in protecting lines of communications before being renamed the 1st Battalion on 24th July 1917. They joined the 15th Division and helped defeat the forces of the Ottoman Empire, who surrendered on 30th October 1918.

He returned to England on the 14th April 1919 and was transferred to the Reserves on 11th May 1919. He married Annie Messenger in 1923 in Epwell, living there at The Mount and working in the Aluminium factory in Banbury. He died in 1955 aged 58.

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PRIVATE WILLIAM EDWARD HANDSWORTHd

He was born in 1878 in Tadmarton. He married Edith Freeman in August 1905 in Tadmarton Parish Church and had one son called Arthur. He lived in the village and worked as a cowman. He joined the 4th Territorial Battalion of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in September 1914. He then transferred to the Labour Corps and served with them in France from 1916.

After the war he worked as a general labourer at Tadmarton Heath Golf Club. He died in Cuckfield, Sussex in 1962 aged 83.

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RIFLEMAN GILBERT ELDIN HATFIELD

 

He was born in Marston St Lawrence in 1895. In 1911 he was living in Lower Tadmarton with his parents Harry and Charlotte and his 6 siblings and worked as a newsagent's assistant.

 He enlisted as a Private with the 17th(Service) Battalion, The King's Royal Rifle Corps, one of Kitchener's new armies, arriving in France with them on 8th March 1916. 

They went into action during the Battle of Pozieres, a phase of the 1916 Somme Offensive, Gilbert Hatfield was seriously wounded during the assault on Thievpal Ridge on the 2nd September 1916. After he recovered he was transferred to D Company of the 12th Battalion King’s Royal Rifle Corps. He was hospitalised again  in February 1919 and take by hospital train to Rouen for treatment. He re-joined his unit on  20th February 1917. The Battalion then took part in phases of the Third Battle of Ypres, fighting in the Battle of Langemarck between 16th and 18th August, the Battle of the Menin Road Ridge between 20th and 25th September and the Battle of Polygon Wood between 26th September and 3rd October 1917. On 20th November the Battle of Cambrai began with first mass use of tanks supporting the infantry. Good advances were made but then the Germans launched the biggest counter-attack since 1914. Rifleman Gilbert Hatfield was taken prisoner when British lines were overrun on the 30th November 1917. He was released from captivity on 9th December 1918.

 

After returning home Gilbert Hatfield married  Beatrice Conopo in Monks Kirby Parish Church, Warwickshire in July 1920. They lived in Coventry where he worked as a pipe fitter. He died in 1971 in Coventry aged 77 and is buried in Tadmarton Churchyard.

His brother Harry Walter Hatfield died in 1919 from smallpox whilst on active service whilst another brother James.

 

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GUNNER ERNEST HOWKINS

He was born in April 1882 in Tadmarton to parents Thomas and Sophia Howkins working as a farm labourer. His three younger brothers, George, John and Richard, all served with Richard dying in 1918. In August 1905 he married Louisa Smith in Swalcliffe Parish Church, living in the village with his two daughters, son and step-daughter and working as a carter on a farm. 

He served as a Gunner in the 10th Heavy Battery of the Royal Garrison Artillery in Egypt and Palestine.

His  son Richard Joseph Howkins, born in 1920 and named after Ernest's brother who died in 1918, was to be killed in action in Italy in 1944. He later lived in Lower Tadmarton and died in 1961 aged 79.

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TROOPER GEORGE THOMAS HOWKINS

He was born in 1885 in Tadmarton to parents Thomas and Sophia Buckinghamshire and worked as a farm labourer. In 1911 he was boarding in Souldern, where he worked as a groom on a farm. 

He enlisted in May 1915 as a Trooper with the Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars and joined D Squadron of the 1st/1st QOOH in France in 1916. He was wounded at Gillemont Farm near Bony, Northern France on the 20th May 1917. He suffered shrapnel wounds to his left arm and face and was evacuated to hospital in the No 7 Ambulance Train.

He married Margaret Westbury in Souldern in 1919 and died in Shipston on Stour 1957 aged 72.

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PRIVATE JOHN WILLIAM HERBERT HOWKINS

He was born in Tadmarton in December 1887 to parents Thomas and Sophia Howkins and worked as a gardener and later a shepherd. He married Florence Newport of Tadmarton in the Parish Church in April 1912. They had a son and a daughter and lived in the Old Post Office, Tadmarton. 

He served as a Private (horsekeeper) in the Army Veterinary Corps in France. He died in Neithrop Hospital in Banbury in December 1956 aged 69 and is buried in Tadmarton Churchyard. 

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GUNNER WILLIAM GEORGE HOWKINS

He was born in Tadmarton in 1896, the son of William and Hannah Howkins and worked as a farm labourer. 

He served as a Gunner with the 129th Heavy Battery of the Royal Garrison Artillery and arrived in France with them on 27th March 1916. He was seriously wounded on the 22nd March 1918 during the German spring offensive, suffering shrapnel wounds to the head. He was evacuated to the UK for treatment and whilst recovering marrir Gertrude Richardson in April 1918. He was discharged from the Army on 11th January 1919.

Ater the war he became a policeman in Cirencester and at the outbreak of World War Two was a Sergeant in the Gloucestershire Constabulary.He died in Cirencester in December 1947 aged 52.

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LIEUTENANT GEORGE CHARLES PAUL (MILITARY CROSS)

 

Hewas born in 1895 the son of Captain Robert Paul (Royal Navy retired) and Caroline Paul of the Highlands, Lower Tadmarton and older brother of Gerald Paul RN.

On 5th May 1913 he joined the Royal Navy as a Midshipman, however after passing out he was found to suffer from severe seasickness which affected his heart, He was withdrawn from the service by his father in September that year.

 

He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 11th (Prince Albert's Own) Hussars on 1st October 1914. He joined the 11th Hussars, part of the 1st Cavalry Division in France on 20th June 1916 and promoted Lieutenant. He saw action, both as mounted troops and in the infantry role during the Battle of Fleurs-Courcellette, part of the Somme offensives in 1916. They fought in the First Battle of the Scarpe between 9th and 11th April, a phase of the Arras Offensive. They went on to support the mass tank attack during operations at Cambrai on 20th and 21st November, were involved in the capture of Bourlon Wood between 24th and 28thNovember and battled against the German counter-attack on Cambrai on 30th November 1917.

 

In 1918 they fought against the German Spring Offensive in the Battle of St Quentin from 21st to 23rd March 1918. He was wounded in action on 22th March, suffering shrapnel wounds to his right ankle. He was treated at the 72nd Field Ambulance before being evacuated to hospital on 17th Ambulance Train. He returned to his unit on 4th April. For his actions in the battle he was awarded the Military Medal, gazetted on the 26th July 1918, his citation reads:

 

"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during an enemy attack. When a neighbouring unit had been driven back he ran out, and led them forward again,    re-establishing the line. By his cheeriness and total disregard of danger he completely restored the confidence of all ranks with him."

 

The 11th Hussars were  in action on in the 100 Days Offensive, starting with the Battle of Amiens between 8th and 10th August 1918. Here they eventually fulfilled their original purpose. Allied forces advanced over 7 miles on the first day, one of the greatest advances of the war. The division  made a cavalry charge to capture and hold a ridge near the village of Royes. The They were then involved in pushing the Germans back across the Somme and then breached the German defensives on the Hindenburg Line. They then took part in the Final Advance in Picardy up until 11th November 1918, they were in the village of Lens on Armistice Day. After this they formed part of the Army of Occupation in Germany.

After the war he remained in the Army and he served with the 11th Hussars in India and Egypt, attached to the Egyptian Army and promoted to Major in November 1934, when the 11th Hussars gave up their horses and were mechanised. He attained the rank of Colonel whilst serving during the Second World War.

He married Norah Wayland in Ashford in 1927 and they lived in Moreton, near Dorchester, Dorset. He died in Somerset in 1985 aged 90. 

 

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SIGNALLER ALFRED PHIPPS

He was born in Tadmarton in October 1894 to parents Ezekiel and Alice Phipps. He was the younger brother of Arthur (below) and worked as a farm labourer. 

He enlisted into the Royal Garrison Artillery and arrived in Egypt on 19th July 1915 serving as a signaller. Later transferred to France, he was awarded the Italian Bronze Medal for Military Valour, gazetted on 26th May 1917. He was slightly  injured at Wystchaete Farm during the Battle of Messines on the 16th July 1917.  He was transferred to the Reserves on 22nd July 1919. 

He married Edith Johnson nee Freeman in Tadmarton Parish Church in August 1920. She was the widow of Stanley Inkerman Johnson of Towcester who had been killed in action in 1918. He worked as a labourer at Tadmarton Heath Golf Club and during the Second World War served as an Air Raid Protection warden.

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PRIVATE ARTHUR EDWARD PHIPPS

He was born in September 1886 one of 10 children to Ezekiel and Alice Phipps of Tadmarton. He married Lily Lake at St Mary's Church, Banbury in 1909 and they lived in Lower Tadmarton where he worked as a cowman for Walter Mullins and had three young sons when he enlisted. 

He was mobilised into the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, joining the 3rd Depot Battalion on 27th November 1916 in Banbury. He was then transferred to the Machine Gun Corps on 16th January 1917 but after training he was medically downgraded as B2, unfit for general service abroad but fit for base or garrison service at home and transferring  to the 4th Battalion, Machine Gun Corps on 16th January 1917 as a driver and to the 5th Battalion on 28th April 1917. Tragedy struck on the 21st May 1917 when his son Edward died at the age of 2 from gastro-enteritis. He received a bill for signing the death certificate for 2 shillings and seven pence from Dr Higgins of Balscote a few days later. On the 8th December 1918 he was transferred to 646 Agricultural Company in Oxford where he worked as a ploughman until demobbed on the 12th February 1919.  

He and Lily had 2 daughters in 1920 and 21 and moved to North Road, Banbury, working as an ironstone labourer. Arthur Phipps died in March 1965 aged 78.

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AUBREY  POWELL was born in 1884 in Wiggington. He lived and worked as a farm labourer in Tadmarton before enlisting on 10th December 1915. He was classed as C2 fitness level, for home service only, and thus served in the Labour Corps working on the land. He was discharged on the 22nd May 1919 aged 40 after being hospitalised with chronic bronchitis. He was classified with 20% disability and discharged with a gratuity of £5, his medical report stating he was poorly developed and of a low type of mentality. 

After the war he lived at Tadmarton Allotments working as an agricultural labourer and died in 1951 aged 67.

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LIEUTENANT ARTHUR ESMOND SELWOOD RIDDLE

 

He was born in October 1890, the eldest son of Arthur Riddle, the Rector of Tadmarton and Edith Riddle. Both his younger brothers served in the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in the First World War.

 

He had been an undergraduate at Oxford before joining up. He was gazetted as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion, The East Lancashire Regiment  in September 1914. He arrived in France on 29th June 1915, being attached to 2nd Battalion The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry on 21st August 1915. On 6th September the Battalion moved into front line trenches at Givenchy. He was wounded at Le Plantin on the night 0f 7th September 1915 by some bombs exploding prematurely in his trench, not far from where his brother Francis had died a few months earlier during the Battle of Festubert. He returned to England for treatment. After recovery he was assigned to the 3rd Depot Battalion of the Qxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. He embarked on the troopship Saturnia, below, in Devonport on 14th March 1916 and sailed for the Persian Gulf.

 

Promoted to Lieutenant he joined the reformed 1st Battalion of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry and took part in clearing the troops of The Ottoman Empire out of Mesopotamia, serving there into 1919.

 

After the war he became a vicar at Lady Margaret’s Church in Walworth, South London.  At the outbreak of the Second World War he was living in a religious retreat at a Priory in Hitchin, where he was working as a housekeeper and gardener.

 

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2nd LIEUTENANT GERALD KENNEDY RIDDLE

 

 He was born in February 1897 the youngest son of Arthur Riddle, Rector of Tadmarton Church and his wife Edith. His elder brothers Arthur and Francis both served in the war with Francis being killed in action in 1915.  On 19th March 1914 he boarded the SS Royal George at Bristol docks, bound for St Johns in Newfoundland in Canada where he worked as a clerk. 

 

On the 3rd August 1915 he enlisted into 122nd Overseas Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. They sailed for England in June 1917, he was promoted to Sergeant and the Battalion was then absorbed into the Canadian Forestry Corps. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant on 10th September 1918 and attached to the 2nd Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light infantry.

 

He remained in England and married Dorothy Ussher in Westbury, Buckinghamshire in 1921. At the outbreak of the Second World War they were living in Newton Abbott where he had a smallholding and was also an officer in the Home Guard whilst his wife was an Air Raid Protection warden. They later moved to Rhodesia where he died in 1967 aged 70.

 

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HORACE FREDERICK SALMON was born in 1871 and worked on the family farm in Tadmarton. He enlisted as a Private into the Royal Army Medical Corps on 27th August 1915 for service on the home front only. In March 1918 whilst working at the 1st Southern General Hospital in Edgbaston he married Emily Webb in Aston Brook. He was discharged from the Army on 21st October 1918, no longer fit for war service and awarded the Silver Badge. He was incapacitated by his war service and went to live in Burdrop with his wife and children. He died in 1947 aged 76.

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PRIVATE GEORGE HENRY SMITH

 

He was born in 1891 in Tadmarton to parents John and Harriet Smith and worked as a hostler at the George and Dragon Hotel in Fenny Compton. His brother Charles was killed in action in 1915.

 

He served as a Private in the 7th (Queens Own) Hussars in Mesopotamia from November 1917 as part of the 11th Indian Cavalry Brigade. They saw action at Khan Baghdadi between 26th and 27th March 1918, the Action at Fat-ha Gorge on the Little Zab between 23rd and 26th October 1918 and the Battle of Sharqat between 28th and 30th October 1918, after which an Armistice was signed with the Turks. The 7th Hussars returned to England and Private Smith was demobilized to the reserves on 17th April 1919.

 

In September 1919 he married Ellen Lightfoot at Tadmarton Parish Church, she was the widow of Joseph Lightfoot who was killed when HMS Queen Mary was sunk at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916. 

Before the Second World War they were living in High Street, Bloxham where George worked as a scaffolder. George Smith died in November 1939 aged 49 and is buried in Bloxham Churchyard.

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GUARDSMAN AUSTIN JOSEPH TEW

He was born in Cheadle Staffordshire in April 1890. He later lived in Mill House, Lower Tadmarton, where he farmed with his parents John and Sarah Tew. 

He joined the 1st Battalion, The Coldstream Guards as a Private in September 1914 and was sent to France on 9th February 1915. They were involved in the Battle of Loos from 25th September 1915 and in 1916 fought in two phases of the Somme Offensive, tthe Battle of Flers-Courcelette and The Battle of Morval between 15th and 28th September. In 1917 they took part in the Third Battle of Ypres including the First Battle of Passchendaele on 12th October and then the Battle of Cambrai between 20th November and 3rd December. In 1918 they fought against the German Spring Offensive from 21st March in the Battle of St Quentin before joining the 100 days offensive in the Battle of Albert and the Second Battle of Bapaume between 21st August and the Battles of the Hindenburg Line between 12th September and 9th October. They then fought in the Battle of the Selle and the Battle of the Sambre on 4th November 1918. On the 10th November he was taken out of line with connective tissue problems with both feet and treated in hospital in Rouen before returning to England on the hospital ship "Guildford Castle", below.

After the war he moved to Derbyshire where he worked as a pigman at Mickleover mental hospital. He died in Shardlow, Derbyshire in 1947 aged 57. 

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GUNNER HARRY TIMBRELL

He was born in Minety, Wiltshire in 1885. He married Minnie Smith in Croughton in 1910 before running the Lampet Arms in Tadmarton with his wife. 

He served as a Gunner in the Royal Field Artillery in England. After the war he returned to running the Lampet Arms and was a smallholder until his death in the Horton Infirmary in March 1922 at the age of 39.

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PRIVATE GEORGE WILLIAM WYATT

Hewas born in 1896 in Brackley and moved to Tadmarton with his parents James and Emma and three siblings, working as a French polisher.

He enlisted as a Private in the Army Service Corps on 8th November 1915. He served in France but was discharged on 12th May 1917 as no longer fit for war service due to sickness. He was awarded the Silver badge given to honourably discharged soldiers to prevent them from being accused of cowardice.

In October 1917 he married Gertrude Tims in St Mary's Church, Banbury, they lived at 29, Council Houses where he worked as a builder's carpenter. He died in 1966 aged 70.

THE FOLLOWING MOVED TO TADMARTON AFTER THE WAR

MAJOR ERIC CROSSLEY OBE JP

He was born on 23rd May 1878 to parents Sir William and Mabel Crossley in Altringham, Cheshire. A wealthy and influential family, his father had founded the successful Crossley engineering company. In 1903 he married Janet Boyd Merriman in Bucklow, Cheshire and in 1908 the family moved to Sun Rising, near Tysoe in Warwickshire

At the outbreak of the First World he joined the 11th (Prince Albert's Own) Hussars as a 2nd Lieutenant. He joined them in France as part of the 1st Cavalry Brigade of the British Expeditionary Force. The 1st Cavalry would remain on the Western Front throughout the war. It participated in most of the major actions where cavalry were used as a mounted mobile force, and were also  used as dismounted troops and effectively serve as infantry. These included the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, between the 15th and 22nd September 1916, a subsidiary of the Battle of the Somme and the first time tanks were used by the British. They were also involved in the Battles of Vimy and Scarpe, 9th to 14th April 1917, part of the Arras Offensive and the advance of 1918. 

On 11 November 1918, orders were received that the Division would lead the advance of Second Army into Germany, by 6th December the Division had secured the Rhine bridgehead at Cologne. He finished the war as a Major. He was invested as a Officer, Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.) in 1919.

After the war the family moved to Park Farm, Wykeham Lane near Bodicote where Eric farmed, he also developed farming interests in South Africa spending a few months there each year, sailing between Southampton and Cape Town. He was also a director of Banbury Cattle Market, and in 1922 he became the first captain of Tadmarton Heath Golf Club, and was a Justice of the Peace. In the early 1930s the Crossleys moved to Tadmarton House in Lower Tadmarton, below, where they continued farming. At the outbreak of the Second World War, Major Eric Crossley had three sons on active service. Nigel a Lieutenant-Commander in the Royal Navy and captain of HMS Gipsy, John in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve and Michael in 32 Squadron, Royal Air Force. Eric Crossley did his bit too, serving as Lieutenant Colonel in the 1st Oxfordshire (Banbury) Battalion of the Home Guard.

He died in May 1949 in Transvaal, South Africa aged 71.

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SAPPER WILLIAM HAROLD DAY

He was born in  November 1890 in Barton on Heath in Warwickshire to  parents William and Eliza Day, one of  9 children. He worked as a house decorator and  then a farm labourer when he married Laura Lake at St Mary’s Church in Banbury in May 1911.

He enlisted into the Royal Engineers on 28th November 1914 as a Sapper and was sent to France on 26th May1915. The Field Companies of the Royal Engineers maintained telephones and other signalling equipment and built the front line fortificastions and defence systems. H e was wounded in action during the Battle of Loos between  25th September and 8th October 1915. After recovery he was posted to the 66th Field Company of the Royal Engineers who were serving with the 10th (Irish) Division in Salonica. Here they fought in the Battle of Kosturino  between 6 and 12 December 1915 in which after initial gains the Bulgarians successfully counter-attacked the Allied lines and pushed them back. On 12th November 1916 Sapper Day was hospitalised suffering from a septic finger and  armpit and was evacuated home on the Hospital Ship Panama. He was further  diagnosed with  Neurasthenia, or shell shock  and was transferred to the 3rd Depot Battalion  of the Royal Engineers back in the UK. He was discharged from the Army on  6th August 1918, being no longer fit for war service owing to  Neurasthenia.

After the war he and his family moved to Lower Tadmarton and remained there until 1928 when he moved to Adderbury, working as a carpenter. He died in 1973 aged 82.

 

 

CAPTAIN FREDERICK GARDINER MC JP

He was born in Allerton, Lancashire in May 1889. He became a farmer taking Crewe Farm in Kenilworth. He was commissioned into the Royal Engineers as a 2nd Lieutenant on the outbreak of war. He arrived in France on 16th May 1915, joining  the 5th Corps Signal Company. Promoted to Lieutenant, he was awarded the Military Cross, gazetted on 31st May 1916. His citation reads:

"For conspicuous gallantry whilst laying and repairing telephone wires under heavy fire. He has volunteered for dangerous work on many occasions."

He married Beryl Mayfield in Meriden, Warwickshire in 1917 and finished the war as a Captain. In the 1920's they moved to Tadmarton Lodge and farmed there. At the outbreak of the Second World War he was a Justice of the Peace and the Commandant of No 4 Group (Oxford) Royal Observer Corps while his wife was assistant commander of the Banbury Area Red Cross. Later they moved to Partway House near Swalcliffe and Beryl Gardiner died in 1947. He married again to Violet Williams in 1955 and died in January 1958 in the Hornton Hospital aged 68. He is buried in Swalcliffe Churchyard.


PRIVATE ROBERT ERNEST PADBURY

He was born Deptford in May 1898 and later moved to Thornton Heath. He worked in his father's engineering company in Deptford until joining the Army in London on 25th May 1916. He was originally posted to the Middlesex Regiment before transferring to the 2/6th (Service) Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. As a second line unit the Battalion was not sent to France until February 1917, as part of the 66th (2nd East Lancashire) Division. Robert was attached to the 204th Company of the Machine Gun Corps, also attached to the 66th Division. He saw action in the Battle of Poelcapelle between 7th and 10th October, a phase of the Third Battle of Ypres. He was hospitalised with trench foot on 24th January 1918.

On 21st March 1918 the expected German Spring Offensive began with the Battle of St Quentin. Buoyed by troops released from the Eastern Front the Germans made lightening attacks across the old Somme battlefields in an attempt to win the war before the Americans arrived in numbers. The Division was pitched into a desperate fighting retreat in the Battle of St Quentin, The actions at the Somme Crossings and the Battle of Rosieres between 21st and 27th March. His Battalion suffered heavy casualties and almost ceased to exist. Robert found himself attached to 253rd Tunnelling Company, Royal Engineers, who had been called up to the front to act as infantry. Machine gun teams, often operating in front of the lines out in no man's land, were very vulnerable. Robert received gun shot wounds to his left forearm and was left behind during the retreat. His wounds were treated by a German doctor and he was well looked after before being returned to British lines at night. He was sent to the 15th Convalescent depot in Trouville near Le Havre before being evacuated to England on 12th May 1918. 

He was admitted to 3rd Western General Hospital in Cardiff, he is pictured above in hospital blues, before moving to the Western General Hospital in Newport. From there he moved to the Welsh Metropolitan War Hospital which had beds for both orthopedic and shell shocked patients. After this there was a spell at Samuel House Auxiliary Hospital in Cardiff before returning home to 33, Lodge Road, West Croydon. He was discharged from the Army on 30th October 1918, being no longer physically fit for war service due to his gun shot wound. He was awarded the Silver badge, originally given to wounded soldiers to be worn on civilian clothing to stop them being accused of cowardice.

He then spent time working as a boundary rider on farms in New Zealand and Australia, clearing forest paths and log jams on rivers in Canada and took pedigree cattle to Brazil. In 1936 he became Landlord of the Lampet Arms then a tenancy of Brackley brewers Hopcroft and Norris. He served with the Home Guard between 11th July 1940 and 31st December 1944, his loaded rifle was kept behind the bar just in case. He is in the centre in the photo taken on the church tower. His son Robert who lived at the pub witnessed the Wellington crash on 31st May 1942.

The Padbury family left the Lampet Arms in 1955 and Robert Ernest Padbury died in Bromley in December 1983 aged 85.

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CAPTAIN REGINALD ARTHUR POLEHAMPTON

He was born in Hatfield, Kent in October 1874 and was educated at Lancing College. He married Gertrude Lowe in St George Hanover Square in London in 1899. He was a keen croquet player taking part in the Open Championships in 1904 and 1906.

On the outbreak of war in August 1914 he enlisted into the 3rd County of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters). On 24th April they arrived in Egypt where they dismounted and moved to Gallipoli as part of 2nd Mounted Division. They advanced onto Chocolate Hill and suffered heavy casualties in the Battle of Scimitar Hill. He was then sent home to be commissioned as an officer. He joined the Queens Own Oxfordshire Hussars on 18th September 1915 as a 2nd Lieutenant, serving on the home front with the 2nd line Battalion. He retired as an honourary Captain on 28th July 1917.

He came to Tadmarton where he worked as the secretary of Tadmarton Heath Golf club and was there through the Second World War when the course was turned over to crops and became an American tank training ground. He died in Weston-super-Mare in 1954 aged 79.

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