World War

World War I

The parish register contains the following note, which appears to have been written after the war:

"In August 1914 war was declared against Germany & volunteers asked for to check their advance through France & Belgium. The need of men becoming serious the whole country was recruited & organised for service abroad or work at home. The making of munitions with its attendant dangers & employing thousands of women as well as men because a necessity as great as the supply of men & very high wages were paid, so much so that wages began to increase".

In the same section of the register is a list of those who served and also of those who died in the war. Many of the names are recognisable village surnames - Abbott, Linell, Peck, Forscutt etc - but there are also a number of individuals listed who were not born in the village but clearly had a connection to the village, though now often not known. For example, William Walter Tiney, who is recorded on the Great Addington war memorial was born and lived most of his life in Woodford, but was for a period of time prior to the war living in Great Addington as a tenant. His step-son, Benjamin Reeve, and his brother in law, Arthur Green, also lived in the same house and both served in the war.

Shown below is the list held by the Imperial War Museum (IWM), London, of all those who were recorded as having served in World War I and who had a connection with Great Addington. The IWM records that:


The IWM records has errors with names being misspelt. Where possible I have corrected the names held by the IWM and then searched the available records to identify the regiment that they served with, their regimental numbers, and rank if known. In some cases, individuals served with more than one regiment. Unfortunately I have not been able to fully identify all those named, nor find associated military records. Those individuals highlighted in the list below died in service and I have shown the date of death.

Villagers Who Served in WW1

  • Arthur Abbott 7th Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment, Lance Corporal, 16982, died 18/08/1916

  • Bernard Abbott 6th Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment, Private, 200802

  • Edgar Abbott

  • Ernest Abbott Royal Air Force 16735

  • Leonard Abbott Northamptonshire Regiment & Leicestershire Regiment, 2nd Lieutenant, 9975

  • Francis Joseph Ball Army Service Corps : Mechanical Transport, 222416

  • Charley Beeby

  • Harry Cole 1/7 Middlesex Regiment, Lance Corporal, 202270

  • Fred Dickens

  • Frank Dunkley

  • Frederick William Ellis

  • George Farell

  • Reginald Feary Northamptonshire Regiment, 200548

  • Harold Forscutt Machine Gun Corps (MGC/101 B 59), Private, 90152

  • Herbert Forscutt 9th Essex Regiment & 1/8th Worcestershire Regiment, Private, 260158 & 202060

  • Victor Gibbons

  • Arthur Henry Green

  • William Hepton Royal Army Service Corps, Private, M2/18261, died 06/04/1919

  • Arthur Hull

  • Ernest Morgan Jones Royal Sussex Regiment, 201721

  • Fred Linnell

  • Charles Loakes The Queen’s, Royal West Surrey Regiment, Private, TF/205423, died 04/12/1918

  • Reginald Mayes Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment & Northamptonshire Regiment, Private, 68111 & 30947

  • John Mumford

  • Frederick Edwin Neal Royal Fusiliers, 68835

  • Joseph Ernest Neal 10th Bedfordshire Regiment, 26699

  • John Neal

  • Harold Peck 1st Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment, Private, 27765, died 10/07/1917

  • Sydney Peck 1st Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment & Suffolk Regiment, Private, 24843 & 60953

  • Wilfred Arthur Peck Yorkshire Regiment, Acting Sergeant, 202303

  • Benjamin Molton Reeve Northamptonshire Regiment & Cambridgeshire Regiment, Private, 32345, 41821, 41513, 70271

  • Wilfred George Sharp Essex Regiment & 7th Indian Division Machine Gun Corps (Egyptian Expeditionary Force), Private, 201590 & 97436

  • Fred Smith

  • William Walter Tiney Northamptonshire Regiment, Private, 16510, died 23/07/1916

  • George Arthur Tyler

  • William Harry Tyler

  • George Warr

  • Harry Wright

The Somme and the Thiepval Memorial

Two of the four men from Great Addington who died in WW1, died just a few weeks apart during the Battle of the Somme. There were over 415,000 UK & Commonwealth casulaties during the 5 month long offensive, including some 95,675 who were killed. Both Arthur Abbott and William Tiney are among the 72,000 men killed in the area who have no known grave.

The Battle of the Somme started on 1 July 1916 when, supported by a French attack to the south, 13 divisions of UK & Commonwealth forces launched an offensive on a line from north of Gommecourt to Maricourt. Despite a preliminary bombardment lasting 7 days, the German defences were barely touched and the attack met unexpectedly fierce resistance. Losses were catastrophic and with only minimal advances on the southern flank, the initial attack was a failure. In the following weeks, huge resources of manpower and equipment were deployed in an attempt to exploit the modest successes of the first day. However, the German Army resisted tenaciously and repeated attacks and counter attacks meant a major battle for every village, copse and farmhouse gained. At the end of September, Thiepval was finally captured. The village had been an original objective of 1 July.

Attacks north and east continued throughout October and into November in increasingly difficult weather conditions. The Battle of the Somme finally ended on 18 November with the onset of winter. In the spring of 1917, the German forces fell back to their newly prepared defences, the Hindenburg Line, and there were no further significant engagements in the Somme sector until the Germans mounted their major offensive in March 1918.

The Thiepval Memorial, the memorial dedicated to those who died during the Battle of the Somme, bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave. Over 90% of those commemorated died between July and November 1916. The memorial also serves as an Anglo-French battle memorial in recognition of the joint nature of the 1916 offensive and a small cemetery containing equal numbers of Commonwealth and French graves lies at the foot of the memorial.

Arthur Abbott

The image shown is taken from the photograph of the Great Addington football team in 1904 when Arthur was 18.

Original WW1 map of Guillemont. The area highlighted shows the location of the 7th Battalion of the Northamptonshire Regiment on the morning that Arthur Abbott was killed.

Arthur Abbott

Lance Corporal, Service Number 16982, 7th Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment

Birthplace: Great Addington

Died: 18 August 1916

Son of Simeon and Mary Sarah Abbott. Enlisted at Kettering, 11th January 1915. Arthur was working as a footman in Gloucestershire before joining up. His enlistment papers tell us that he was 6ft 2inches high. He and his comrades were sent to France on 1st September 1915 and he was killed in action aged 30 in the attack on Guillemont, France during the first Battle of the Somme. One of 50,000 killed in 4 months of fighting. Commemorated on Thiepval Memorial (panels 11A/11D). His father, the next of kin on his record, was not notified of his death until 20th October 1916, two months after he had been killed. He has no known grave.

The Northamptonshire Regimental War Diary for 18th August 1918 indicates that Arthur was probably one of several killed early in the morning between 12:40am and 8:55am - just before the start of the Battle of the Somme. The diary mentions "2 O.R. killed, shell fire....2 O.R. missing" by 8.55 am. As Arthur's body was never found then it is probable that he was one of the 2 men listed as missing due to shell fire. The reference to "O.R." in the diary means "other ranks" i.e. not officers.

"The War diary for 18th August:

12:40am 73 IB O.O (revised) received altering Brigade attack to a 2 Battalion frontage and M.G Reserve from four to six guns.

Two guns attached to 9th Royal Sussex Regt detached from them and placed in reserve at BRICQUETERIE

5:30 Verbal message received from Sergt CARTER that 2nd Lt ANDERSON’S team had suffered severely and that the gun was out of action having been disabled by shell fire.

Ordered Sergt DISNEY to take forward one of the second line guns to replace damaged one and for old team to report to Company HdQrs

6:30 Obtained leave from Brigade to replace Sergt Disney’s gun in second line by gun from reserve. Cpl Evans and team sent forward.

8:00 Disposition of guns now as attached

8:55 ZERO time received being 2:45pm

Private Swame i/c B Gun team reported to Company HQ with gun and team having found himself in wrong assembly trenches and being unable to obtain any information from the 13th Middlesex Regt and being ordered by them to rejoin his company

Casualties up this time MGC 2 Officers killed, shell fire 2nd Lt E.L. BLECK and 2nd Lt G.R. ANDERSON 2 O.R killed , shell fire 4 O.R wounded 2 O.R missing.

O.R attached 4 wounded 2 missing

2:45pm Attack started

5:15pm Private Gatenby (wounded) stated right hand guns held up with 13th Middlesex Regt but going forward with Leinsters who were relieving them.

Sergt Carter (wounded) stated his gun went forward and succeeded in establishing themselves 50 yards in front of line being consolidated by 7th Northamptonshire Regt and about 100 yards to right of QUARRY

7pm Information received through Major Murphy (temporarily in command of 7th Northamptonshires) that his left flank was being covered by gun under Sergt Disney who had succeeded in getting forward and establishing himself on his flank

TOTAL CASUALTIES FOR DAY: MGC 2 Officers killed, 2 O.R. killed, 8 wounded , 2 missing

Attached O.R. 14 wounded 2 missing

The 7th Northants had 372 casualties."

William Hepton

Private, Service Number M2/18261, Military Transport, Royal Army Service Corps

Birthplace: Great Addington

Died: 16 March 1919

Son of George & Elizabeth Hepton, born in Kettering in 1891. His parents lived in one of the terraced houses near the church that have now been demolished. His father, George, is listed as a Watch-maker in the village directories of 1903, 1906, 1914 & 1940.

In 1911, William was working as a Footman in Colston Bassett Hall, Nottinghamshire.

He originally joined the Middlesex Regiment on 8th September 1914 which would mean he was in the first rush of volunteers at the outbreak of the war. The 2/8th Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment was formed in Sept 1914 at Hampton Court and were then sent to Gibralter in February 1915 and then onwards to Egypt in August 1915 where they served as part of the Western Frontier Force in order to response to the Senussi Uprising and were involved in action at the Battle of Agagia, and the re-capture of lost Egyptian territory.

He later transferred to the Royal Army Service Corp, 6th April 1916, and joined the Mechanical Transport section. He died aged 27 on 16th March 1919 - after the armistace of November 1918 , but before the official end of the end of the war in 1919 - and is buried in All Saints Churchyard, Great Addington. The cause of death is not known. Th e place of death is given on the military records as Great Addington.

Charles Loakes. Source unknown.

Charles Loakes

(not listed on the Great Addington Memorial)

Private, Service Number TF/205423, 3/4th, 6th, and 8th Battalion, The Queen’s, Royal West Surrey Regiment

Birthplace: Great Addington

Died: 04 December 1918

Charles was born in 1882, the son of Joseph Chapman Loakes and Elizabeth Loakes of Great Addington. He was their second son. He later lived in Woodford after marrying in April1909 he married Margaret Mary Bailey of Woodford. In 1915, when he moved to Midland Road with his family. They had three children, Doris, Mildred, and Edna. He set up the business W. and C. Loakes, Builders and Contractors, with his brother William.

He enlisted on February 1 1917, joining the Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment and was despatched to France in June 1917. He was wounded in the arm in March 1918. He later contracted influenza and died aged 36 during the Spanish Flu Pandemic one month after the armistice and is listed on the Thrapston memorial. Buried in Valenciennes (St. Roch) Communal Cemetery, Grave I.F.39.

Entry in the soldiers effects register showing the "presumed" death of Harold Peck "on or since" 10th July 1917.

Harold Peck

Private, Service Number 27765, 1st Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment

Birthplace: Great Addington

Died: 10 July 1917

Harold was the son of Samuel and Kate Peck and was born in 1897. In the 1911 census he is working as a Sole Tacker in a shoe factory, aged 14. He enlisted in Irthlingborough.

In July 1917 the 1st Battalion of the Northamptonshire Regiment was near the Belgium coast at Nieuport with the Germans to their east and the river Yser to their west. The Germans had learnt of a planned amphibious assault by the allied forces and decided to attack first using mustard gas for the first time in the artiliary barrage.

All but one of the bridges over the Yser River were demolished, isolating the 1/Northamptonshire and 2/KRRC of 2nd Brigade, 1st Division on the extreme left flank. The German bombardment continued throughout the day. The British artillery attempted a counter-barrage but several guns were knocked out and the German infantry were well protected.

The German Marines Korps launched the infantry assault, by which time the two British battalions had suffered 70-80% casualties. The German stormtroopers attacked down the coast, outflanking the British. Their attack was then followed by waves of German Marines, supported by flamethrower teams to mop up dugouts. The British battalions were overwhelmed. The Northamptonshire Regimental War Diary for the day makes for appalling reading as it records the events of the day:

"lost 20 officers and about 570 men, all missing....the bridges....blown to pieces....

7:45pm Enemy attacking

7:52pm Enemy has overrun Right Battalion, probably also left

...a few have swam across the river and report they are absolutely overrun

Enemy have reached...Dugouts burning

8:15pm Enemy advancing

8:20pm Enemy working round our left

8:45pm Dugout near right Battalion HQ burning

9:13pm Enemy....trying to surround Battalion HQ

Survivors of 'C' Company...state that their company resisted until practically all of them were knock(ed) out, and the remnant almost surrounded. There are no survivors from the other companies"

The Northamptonshire Regiment war diary records that of the 20 officers and 508 men who were east of the Yser river before the German advance only 9 men managed to reach the safety of the west bank.

Harold is commemorated on Nieuport Memorial, Belgium. He has no known grave.


The Nieuport Memorial bears the names of 547 officers and men of United Kingdom forces who died during World War I in operations on the Belgian coast, and whose graves are not known. A small number of those commemorated were casualties of 1914, mainly of the Royal Naval Division, who died in the attempt to hold Antwerp in October. The majority were killed in the same battle as Harold and their bodies never found.

A contemporary trench map of the Yser brideghead prior to the Strandfest attack. In the centre the River Yser can be seen with the town of Nieuport-Bains on the (left) bank. The North Sea coast is at the top of the map. The British front line is sketched in light blue to the right of the image, with the German front in red facing it. It was here that the 1st Northamptons and 2nd King’s Royal Rifle Corps suffered such heavy casualties on July 1917.

William Walter Tiney

Private, Service Number 16510, 1st Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment

Birthplace: Woodford

Died: 23 July 1916

William Walter Tiney was the son of Frederick and Jane Tiney of Woodford. His birth was registered in early 1880, but is believed to have been born in late 1879. He was christened at St Marys Church, Woodford, on 5 April 1880. His elder siblings were Amos, Thomas, Harriett, and a younger sister Elizabeth.

Soon after William’s birth the family had fallen on hard times and were living in the Thrapston Workhouse but by the time of the 1891 census the family had returned to Woodford and were living in Church Street. In 1901 William aged 21 was living in Mill Terrace with his sister Harriett and brother in law Herbert (Allen).

In 1908 when Walter was 29 he married Ethel Reeve (original maiden name Green), aged 33, a widow, who was also from Woodford. He signed the marriage register with a "X" so clearly was unable to read or write. William worked as a Furnace Labourer filling barrows at the nearby Iron ore works. They had 3 children; Kathleen, Annie, and William Walter (jnr). Ethel had two children from her previous marriage, Benjamin Reeve (see below) and Dorothy Reeve.

When he enlisted, on the 23rd November 1914 in Kettering, Walter gave his address as Bourneville (Cottage), Great Addington. He is unable to fill out the papers himself and again has to sign with a "X". He was 35 years old and 5ft 7inches tall. He puts Ethel's name as next of kin, but her correspondence address is later given as Ivy Cottage, Great Addington.

Between Nov 1914 and March 1915 his battalion remained in the UK. He was sent to France on 6th March 1915, but was back in the UK by the 20th March 1915. There is an entry on his service record that says "wounded" and is dated to 14th March 1915 and shows that he was first treated at a field hospital in France before being sent back to England on the 18th March 1915. On his service record there is an entry for Lichfield hospital dated 20th March 1915 that states:

"Gun shot wound (shoulder) - shoulder penetrated by gun shot"

He was discharged from hospital on 10th April 1915 and came back to Great Addington where he stayed for 13 days with his family. He was granted additional leave to the 7th May 1915. He returned to barracks on the 30th May 1915.

He was sent back to France in November 1915 any may have been in an administrative roll for a time before rejoining the battalion on 12th April 1916. Walter was killed in action on the 23rd July 1916 during the first Battle of the Somme; one of 50,000 killed in 4 months of fighting. He is also listed on Woodford Memorial and commemorated on Thiepval Memorial, panels 11A/11D, (along with Arthur Abbott who died one month later). He has no known grave.

The 1st Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment war diary for that week reports on their activities near Contalmaison, France as part of the Battle of Albert, which was the first few weeks of what we now generally refer to as the Battle of the Somme.

"23 July 1915 12:30 AM - attack commenced. All units late at forming up positions. Great congestion in Gloucester Alley (trench). K.R.R advanced and...reached German lines. B.Cos of 1st Northamptonshire...advanced close behind K.R.R and got into German trench with them, bombing (mortars) to both flanks - about 300ft of trench held. Capt. Chisholm C..B. Cos. 1st Northamptonshire took command of the combined parties, and consolidated the trench gained. The German trenches to the right and left had not been taken, and Germans were bombing from both flanks, therefore, as his supply of bombs was exhausted, Capt Chisholm withdrew his party back to Lancashire trench...B. Cos 1st Northamptonshire returned to OG2.

OG2 heavily shelled, Lt E.D. Badock killed, 2/Lt E.S.G. Robinson wounded, 2/Lt E.H.G Ramsay wounded.

Since 12th (July)...8 officers and 260 other ranks, including many platoon sergeants, have been killed and wounded."

Ethel was notified of his death several weeks later on 15th August 1916. She had now been widowed for the second time. In February 1917 Ethel was awarded a widows pension of 23 shillings per week for herself and “three orphans”. She remarried in 1945, but died in 1947, aged 70.

Ethel's son from her first marriage, Benjamin Molton Reeve, also served in WW1 and survived to come home.

Ethel's brother, Arthur Henry Green, had been a boarder with William and Ethel in the house in Great Addington prior to the war, and was the third member of the household to serve during the war. He survived to return to the area.


In comparison to WW1, there is surprisingly little information available regarding WW2. Much of the information held by the National Archives regarding WW2 - particularly the regimental war diaries - has yet to be digitised and is not available online. Information such as medal cards, military records etc are also not released unless you can provide a family connection. The little information that is available is listed below.

John Joseph Wright

Corporal, Service Number 5892021, 2nd Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment

Birthplace: Great Addington

Died: 24 May 1944

Son of Henry and Rose Annie Wright (nee Mayes) and married to Anne Lilian Wright. He died on the 24 May 1944, aged 21, at Anzio in Italy.

John had joined the army in February 1942 and had been posted overseas in June 1943. Prior to enlisting, John had worked as a bricklayer and had also been a member of the Home Guard. Anne Lilian Wright had formely lived in Scarsborough Street in Irthlingborough and at the time of John's death was living with John's parents in Great Addington at The Post Office (now known as Leopard House).

On 3 September 1943 the Allies invaded the Italian mainland, the invasion coinciding with an armistice made with the Italians who then re-entered the war on the Allied side. Progress through southern Italy was rapid despite stiff resistance, but by the end of October, the Allies were facing the German winter defensive position known as the Gustav Line, which stretched from the river Garigliano in the west to the Sangro in the east.

Initial attempts to breach the western end of the line were unsuccessful. Operations in January 1944 landed troops behind the German lines at Anzio but defences were well organised and the men of the Northamptonshire Regiment - one of a number of regiments involved in the operation - were effectively pinned down on the beach for many days and suffered a high number of casualties. A breakthrough was not actually achieved until five months later in May 1944.

The site of the cemetery at Anzio originally lay close to a casualty clearing station. Burials were made direct from the battlefield after the landings at Anzio and later, after the Army had moved forward, many graves were brought in from the surrounding country. Beach Head War Cemetery contains 2,316 UK Commonwealth burials of World War II, 295 of them unidentified. John Wright is buried in grave XV B4, the inscription on his grave stone reads:

"Goodnight beloved till we meet again".

Stanley William Hicks

Lance Corporal, Service Number, 13055569, Pioneer Corps

Birthplace: Walthamstow, London

Died: 10 January 1944

Stanley William Hicks was born in Walthamstow, Essex, on 21st September 1912. Son of James Hacker Hicks (Service no. 8487, Royal Marines) and Ivy Agnes Hicks (nee Hillson), of Great Addington. He was the youngest of 4 sons; James (b. 1905), Ernest Montague (b. 1907) and Leonard (b. 1911).

He married Wilhelmina Kinnaird Murry McCaskie in 1938.

In 1939, Stanley & Wilhelmina Hicks were living at 6 High Street, Rushden. Stanley was working as an Omnibus Conductor.

Stanley died aged 31 in1944. The manner and circumstances of his death are unknown. He is buried in All Saints Churchyard, Great Addington.

Beach Head War Cemetery, Anzio