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:
"IN COMMEMORATION OF THOSE WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE GREAT WAR AND THOSE WHO SERVED THE MEMORIAL CLOCK WAS PLACED IN THE CHURCH TOWER IN 1921."
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
Ernest Abbott Royal Air Force 16735
Leonard Abbott Northamptonshire Regiment & Leicestershire Regiment, 2nd Lieutenant, 9975
Francis Joseph Ball Army Service Corps : Mechanical Transport, 222416
Harry Cole 1/7 Middlesex Regiment, Lance Corporal, 202270
Frederick William Ellis
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
Arthur Henry Green
William Hepton Royal Army Service Corps, Private, M2/18261, died 06/04/1919
Ernest Morgan Jones Royal Sussex Regiment, 201721
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
Frederick Edwin Neal Royal Fusiliers, 68835
Joseph Ernest Neal 10th Bedfordshire Regiment, 26699
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
William Walter Tiney Northamptonshire Regiment, Private, 16510, died 23/07/1916
George Arthur Tyler
William Harry Tyler
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.
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.
"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."
Charles Loakes. Source unknown.
Entry in the soldiers effects register showing the "presumed" death of Harold Peck "on or since" 10th July 1917.
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.
William Walter Tiney
WORLD WAR II
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
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
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