Sidney Albert MAHON (1895-1916) GB
Pte (24715) 10 Gloucestershire Regiment
Sidney, born at Charlton Kings in 1895, was the second son of William, a builder’s labourer, and Mary (nee Williams) who married in 1891 at SS Philip & James Church, Leckhampton. In 1901 they lived at 37 Rutland Street and William was a labourer at the Gas Works. By 1911 the family had moved to 84 Stanhope Street when William was a builder’s labourer and Sidney was a member of the Gordon Boys’ Brigade. Mary, his mother, died in 1910 aged 40. Sidney’s siblings were: William H J born in 1892, Winifred A born 1900 and Alice E born 1904, all in Cheltenham. In 1918 Sidney’s father was living at 20 St George’s Street, Cheltenham.
Graham Wilfred MATTHEWS (1891-1915) GB
L/Cpl (281) Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (CEF)
Graham, born on 8 January 1891, was the son of Frederick W and Clara Edith (nee Boulton). His parents married in Chorlton District, Lancashire in 1884 where Frederick worked as a hot water engineer. Graham went to the Infants School at Charlton Kings and on 26 June 1899 moved to Lyefield School. He had previously been at Holy Trinity School and on 16 July 1900 he and his brother Frederick returned to Holy Trinity. On 3 December 1900 Mrs Matthews, who was deaf, wrote to Lyefield School saying her son, aged 9, was no longer at Lyefield as she had sent him to Holy Trinity in order that he might work in the Gordon Boys’ Brigade during his spare time. Graham did become the drum major of the Gordon Boys’ Brigade. In 1891 the family lived at 2 Fairview Terrace and in the 1901 Census they had moved to the Brickyard in Ryeworth. In 1911 Graham’s family were living at 3 Ewlyn Terrace, Fairfield Road and were still there in 1918.
Graham had four sisters: Clara Edith born 1884 in Cheltenham, Evelyn Mary born 1885 in Manchester, Fanny Bevis born 1887 in Manchester and Emily born 1898 in Cheltenham. He had five brothers: Frederick C born 1888, Alfred Rowland born 1893, William George 1894, Ernest F born 1897 and Birt born in Charlton Kings who died aged 6 months in 1900. With their mother Clara keen to get the boys working as Gordon Boys, it is highly likely some of Graham’s siblings were also in the Brigade. William and Ernest were “errand boys” in the 1911 census which often meant that they were messengers in the Brigade.
Graham’s brother Frederick married Clara Cooper at St Marys, Charlton Kings in 1910. Gwendoline E was born in 1910 and the family were living at 2 Grange Terrace, Charlton Kings in 1911.
By Christmas 1912 Frederick, William and Alfred were in Canada for a Christmas reunion on Alfred’s farm. Graham was employed by Messrs H H Martyn, Architectural Sculptors at Sunningend Works, Cheltenham prior to emigrating to Canada in 1913 to join his brother at Palmerston, Ontario to work as a blacksmith. On 28 August 1914 he volunteered for the Canadian Expeditionary Force. On his enlistment form Graham stated that he had previously served for 2 years in the Gloucestershire Regiment. In 1922 William sailed to Quebec from England arriving on 17 November to join his brother Frederick at 62 Clarence Street, London, Ontario. He intended to work as a motor mechanic.
Alfred Rowland MATTHEWS (1893-1915)
Pte (13330) 10 Gloucestershire Regiment
Alfred was born 16 August 1893 in Cheltenham. He went to school in Charlton Kings on 1 May 1900. His last school had been the Infants and he left Charlton Kings on 21 January 1902 to go to Holy Trinity. He married Edith Isabel Turner in 1914 in Cheltenham. In 1915 she gave birth to a son Alfred E F Matthews.
Raymond MILES (1897-1918) GB
Spr (358887) Royal Engineers
Raymond was born in Eastington, Northleach in 1897 the youngest son of Alfred and Elizabeth (nee Watts) who married at SS Peter & Paul, Northleach in 1881. In 1871 Raymond’s father, born in 1841 at Eastleach Turville, was the schoolmaster at the Northleach Union Workhouse. By 1881 he had been appointed Northleach Relieving Officer and in 1891 he was also a Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages living in High Street, Northleach with his wife and five children. In 1901 he was the Workhouse Master, his wife was the Matron and his eldest daughter, Edith Rebecca the Assistant Matron at the Union Workhouse, Eastington. Their children were: Edith born in 1881, Frederick George born 1883 both in Hampnett, Elizabeth Annie born 1884, Louisa born 1886, Maggie Ellen born 1888, Alfred William born 1889, Frank born 1892 all in Northleach, Ethel Harriet born 1894 and died 1895 and Arthur Charles was born 1896 and died the same year.
In December 1910 Raymond was working at the Midland Railway in Cheltenham as a Gordon Boy. He enlisted (number 27713) in the Liverpool Regiment in Cheltenham in 1915 when under age. He was promoted acting corporal in December 1915 but reverted to private in November 1916 and transferred to the Royal Engineers on 1 February 1918. He was a clerk, 5’7” and 118 lbs with a “deficient” chest measurement but had good physique. When Raymond died in Belgium his brother William, who was in the same unit, informed his parents. Raymond was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal on 26 February 1922. His father retired to Chargrove, Gloucester Road, Cheltenham in 1915 with his wife and Raymond’s brothers Frank and Alfred. Their father died on 24 November 1919.
Montague “Ernest” MORTEN (1885-1918) GB
Pte (202700) 2/5 Gloucestershire Regiment
Ernest was born in Rodborough on 3 September 1885 the son of William, a commission agent born Watford, and Sarah (nee Walker) born at Apperley Bridge, Yorkshire. Ernest had a sister Maud Ethel, born in the Stroud District, who died in 1886 aged 2 months. In 1896 the family lived in Folly Lane, Cheltenham. Ernest was admitted to the Practising School at the Training College in St Pauls, Cheltenham on 5 March 1894 and left on 3 June 1894 having achieved Standard VII. His name appears again in the admission register showing he was admitted on 27 January 1896 and left on 16 February the same year. By 1901 the family lived at 1 Durban Cottages, Folly Lane and in 1904 Ernest married Lily Rose Fox in Cheltenham. In 1911 the couple were living at 12 Victoria Place, Bath Road with two children, Wilfred E born 1906 and Winifred P born 1910 both in Cheltenham. By 1918 Lily and the children were living at 18 Cleveland Street, Cheltenham.
Ernest was one of the best cricketers in the Cheltenham Gordon League between 1904 and 1908. Every year the Gordon League entered the competition for the Cheltenham Cricket Challenge Cup Competition (CCC) as well as playing friendly matches. In 1905 he was on the losing side when they played Martyn’s Athletic; beat Prestbury in Divison I of the CCC and Bishops Cleeve. They lost to Gas Works in a Cup match, 115 to 71 runs, Morten took 1 for 17. 1906 was an excellent year for the Gordon League and in a Division II CCC match at Marle Hill on 7 July 1906, the Gordon League beat All Saints Old Boys by 34 runs. Grinham took 6 for 8 and Morten 3 for 4 for the winners. Their next match was against Martyn’s Athletic which the League won 92 to 25 runs. Morton scored 24 not out and took 3 wickets for 9 runs. They lost their match against St Paul’s Old Boys by 13 runs. Morten who took 5 for 10 bowled well. The Cheltenham Gordon League won the Second Division Challenge Cup Competition. At a special dinner in November the Cup was presented to the League and medals, given by the local Association, were presented to team members. A bat was presented to Morten who had the best bowling figures in the Division, 36 wickets for an average of 2.26 runs. In 1907 the League again took part in the Challenge Cup Competition in Division II. They won their first match on 25 May against Christ Church by 6 runs when Morten bowled and batted splendidly. They lost to Imperial by 54 runs and to Charlton Kings by 72 to 61 runs. Morten scored 18 runs. In 1908 Morten played for the League in the Challenge Cup Competition, Division I. Roseleigh won their match against the Gordon League by 32 runs. The match against Cavendish in Division I ended in a win for Cavendish by 164 to 106 runs. Cheltenham Gordon League batted at 6pm and in less than an hour were 9 for 53 but C Booy and H Gregory, much to the amusement of spectators and frequent changes in bowling, added 50 runs for the last wicket – the matched ended at 7.45pm.
William Edward MULHEARN (1883-1917) GB
Spr (504105) Royal Canadian Engineers (CEF)
William was son of George Edward, a blacksmith, and Fanny Elizabeth (nee Griffiths) who married in 1869 at Gloucester. William was born on 12 March 1883 and the family lived at 36 Whitehart Street in 1894. He went to the Parish Church School on 19 November 1894 and left on 19 February 1896 to join the Gordon Boys’ Brigade. William had four brothers and two sisters: George James born 1869 in Gloucester, John M born 1874 in Cheltenham, Beatrice Fanny born 1880 in Gloucester, Thomas H born 30 November 1884 in Charlton Kings who went to the Parish Church School on 19 November 1894 having previously been to Highbury School and he left on 10 January 1899, Stephen Albert (aka Albert Stephen) born 13 July 1886 in Charlton Kings started school with Thomas having also been at Highbury School. Albert left the Parish Church School on 21 December 1899 “qualified for work” and Ellen S (aka Nelly) born 1887 in Charlton Kings.
William married Elsie Violet Morgan in 1904 in Cheltenham and they had five children, three born in Cheltenham, William, Eric (Jack) and Reginald and two in Canada, Violet and Isabel. The family emigrated to Winnipeg in 1911. They sailed from Liverpool to St John New Brunswick on the SS Empress of Britain arriving on 18 February.
William’s brother, Albert Stephen, joined the Royal Marine Light Infantry, Plymouth Division on 6 February 1902. By 1916 Albert was in Canada living with William and his family. On 6 March 1916 Albert joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force and gave his sister-in-law, Elsie, as next-of-kin.
Albert, accompanied by Elsie Violet, sailed from New Bruswick to Liverpool on the Empress of France arriving 12 April 1952 enroute to 44 Hamilton Road, Derby. Albert died 20 October 1966 and was buried in Winnipeg.
As part of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in June 1897 the Brigade took part in a sports day at Pittville Park when William won the under-15 50 yards swimming race.
The Cheltenham Gordon League played whist in the winter months against local teams and William was a member in 1900 and 1901. His usual partner was John Hopkins. In 1901 the League played All Saints and won by six points – William and his partner scoring 19. The League played All Saints in March at the Gordon League Headquarters for the fourth time that season and it proved to be an easy win for the visitors, the League having previously won twice. William and John scored 16 points. In the first match of the new year in 1901 John and William played in a match against Crosby and the League won by 1 point – William and John scoring 12. John Hopkins, who joined the Gordon Boys’ Brigade in 1891, emigrated to Australia in 1901 where he spent 2 or 3 years. He then moved to New Zealand and died on 6 December 1912 from a fall while disinfecting a ship.
William played more than forty games of rugby for Cheltenham Gordon League between October 1900 and November 1903. One of their best games, in 1900, was against Charlton Rovers on 3 November and they were congratulated on a magnificent fight. The blue and white brigade played a grand game and a draw of a try each was a fitting result. The game was fast and well contested from start to finish and the League forwards showed great improvement and were a match for their heavier rivals. The halves were evenly matched and the defence of the back division was very sound, the tackling of the Crisp brothers being especially so. On the Charlton side, Wheeler was by far the best of the home backs. C Booy at full-back for the League, was greatly superior to his opposite number, his line kicking often saving his forwards a lot of work and his fielding was all that could be desired. The Cheltenham Gordon League team was C Booy – back; W Lewis, C Norman, T Crisp, F Crisp – three-quarters; T Taylor, F Franklin – halves; J Hopkins, C Lewis, F Brown, W Crisp (Capt), W Mulhearn, E J Slade, P Norman, C Arnold – forwards. Most weeks William was in the rugby team against teams such as Cheltenham II, Barnwood and Naunton Park. In 1901 there was a large attendance when the League played St Paul’s Old Boys. Other teams included Cheltenham A, Berkeley and Sharpness, Gloucester Gordon Wanderers, Painswick, Ryecroft and Hucclecote. 1902 saw William and Cheltenham Gordon League playing the usual teams plus a newcomer in November, Gloucester West End. Cheltenham A were played at the start of the new year in 1903, then Barnwood, St Catherine’s Rovers, Gloucester Gordon Wanderers, Stow-on-the-Wold, Barnwood and Naunton Park, William being an ever present member of the team, usually in the front row.
John PAGE (1878-1917) GB
Pte (102314) Labour Corps
John was born in 1878 the son of the late Jeremiah, a coachman, and Catherine (nee Boucher) who married in Cheltenham in 1868. His father died in 1887 aged 48. His mother was a cook and they lived at 20 Portland Street in 1881 and 1891 and at 55 Duke Street in 1901. John was one of the early members of the Gordon Boys’ Brigade. He had two brothers and three sisters: Caroline born 1869 in Hallow, Worcestershire, Frederick J born 1872 , Annie L born 1874 , Mary E born 1876 and William born in 1885 all in Cheltenham. In 1901 Mary was a dressmaker’s assistant, John was a paperhanger and William a house painter. William was a regular soldier who enlisted in the 1 Battalion South Wales Borderers in Newport prior to the war. It is very likely that William was also a Gordon Boy.
John married Annie (nee Clarke) of Upton-on-Severn when John was a builder. They had seven children all born in Cheltenham: Catherine Annie born 1910, Ellen A born 1910 and died the same year, Ellen E born 1912, William J born 1913, Lilian E born 1914 and died 1918 aged 4, Edith R born 1914 and Hilda M born 1916. They lived at 18 York Street and were still there in 1917 when John died. John played a game of cricket in 1896 between Telegraph Messengers and Gordon Boys’ Brigade which the Messengers won by 8 wickets. The Gordon Boys’ Brigade team was Quiney, J Hitchman, Booy, Nash, Minett, E Hitchman, Tanner, Norman, Trigg, Page and Hemmings.
George Edward RANSOM (1891-1914) GB
Pte (8961) Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment
George was born at Rosehill Cottage, Charlton Kings on 9 September 1891, the son of James Edward and Emily Louise (nee Leach) who married in Cheltenham in 1888. He went to All Saints School on 1 November 1898 leaving on 30 January 1903. In 1901 the family lived at 7 Beaufort Buildings. George had seven siblings: James Victor (aka Victor) born 1889 in Cheltenham, Louisa G born 1890, Frederick W born 1892, Eva M born 1894, a girl who died at birth in 1895, Hilda G born 1897 all in Charlton Kings and Reginald born 1899 in Cheltenham. Victor was a keen worker for the Conservative Party and was one of the ward secretaries of the Junior Imperial League.
After leaving the Gordon Boys’ Brigade, George enlisted, in Cheltenham, as a drummer in the 2 Battalion, The Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment on 30 March 1906 at the age of 14½ when he was 4’10¼”. During his army career he was posted to Gibraltar, Bermuda and South Africa. Letters from George, in Bermuda, were read out at the Old Gordon Boys’ Dinners in 1913 and 1914. He joined the British Expeditionary Force on 4 October 1914. It was announced at the OGB Dinner in January 1915 that he was one of the boys serving their country and was now missing. He was awarded the 1914 Star, British War Medal (1914-19) and Victory Medal on 28 February 1921 when the family lived at 31 Marle Hill Road, Cheltenham.
Ernest William George RIVERS (1889-1916) GB
Pte (9387) 1 Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry
Born in Prestbury in 1889 the second son of Charles and Selina (nee Harper) who married in 1883 at St Peters, Cheltenham. In 1891 the family lived at 3 Griffiths Gardens, Cheltenham and by 1901 they had moved to 15 Rutland Street and Selina was the head of the family working as a needlewoman. Her sister-in-law, Amelia, lived with them and worked as a laundress. Ernest was a Gordon Boy in about 1903. By 1911 he had enlisted in the Ox and Bucks Light Infantry and was stationed at Cowley Barracks, Oxford. His family were living at back of 82 High Street, Cheltenham.
Ernest had three brothers and four sisters: Frederick Charles born 1885 who died 1888, Frances Beatrice born 1887, Edgar Percival born 1893, Sybil P born 1894, Reginald A born 1897 who died 1898 aged 7 months, Alice A born 1900, Selina S born 1902 and Jennie L born 1903.
William James SMITH (1878-1915) GB
Band Cpl (1882) 1/5 Gloucestershire Regiment
William was born at Coberley in 1878, the son of Alfred, a carter born at Elkstone, and Emily “Jane” (nee Williams) who married in 1877 at St Mary, Charlton Kings. Jane, born in Charlton Kings, died in 1883 aged 34. Alfred then married Elizabeth Miles in 1885 in Cheltenham who was born in Ashchurch. They had two sons, Charles R born 1886 Charlton Kings and Henry G born 1889 Charlton Kings. William was a Gordon Boy and then became an apprentice plumber employed by Mr Yates of Bennington Street, Cheltenham probably because of his Gordon Boys’ Brigade connections. William played a cricket match for the Cheltenham Gordon League against Imperial in July 1907 in the Cheltenham Cricket Challenge Cup Competition, Division II which resulted in a win for Imperial by 73 to 19 runs. He was a member of the Territorial Army and had been in the Rifle Band for 15 years playing the euphonium. In 1900 he married Alice Cooper at St Marys, Charlton Kings and they had two daughters, Dorothy P born 1901 and Frieda E born 1905 in Cheltenham. William volunteered for overseas service when war broke out and went to a training camp at Chelmsford. He was invalided out of the army in October 1914 and went to the Cotswold Sanatorium at Cranham suffering from consumption. He was discharged as incurable and died at home on 18 February 1915. He left a widow and two children at 12 Churchill Road, Naunton Park. She remarried and changed her name to Collett and moved to 22 Garden Lane, Chester.
Arthur Edward SMITH (1894-1917) GB
L Cpl (43667) Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)
Arthur was born in Charlton Kings, 7 November 1894 the son of William (born Leckhampton and served as a Pioneer in WW1) and Mary Ann Smith (nee Hewer formerly Carter born Ablington). They married in 1888 at St Giles, Coberley and William was a jobbing gardener. By 1901 they were living at Hillview Cottage, Charlton Kings and in 1911 they were at 1 Croft Parade, Charlton Kings having moved from 13 Little Herberts Road.
Arthur’s siblings were: Charles H born 1891 Coberley, Gertrude E born 1893, Arthur E born 1895, Raymond Frederick born 1897 (q.v.), Dorothy M born 1899, Margery P born 1902 and Victor H born 1903 all in Charlton Kings. Arthur went to Lyefield School 1 May 1901 from the Infants and left on 10 February 1909 to go to the Gordon Boys’ Brigade when the family were living at East End. When Arthur died his officer wrote, “he was very popular with his men and I had a great regard for him both as a soldier and as a man”.
Raymond Frederick SMITH (1897-1917) GB
Pte (34219) 8 Loyal North Lancashire Regiment
Raymond was born 17 August 1897 at Charlton Kings. He went to Lyefield School on 1 May 1903 from the Infants and went to work on 16 May 1911 in the Gordon Boys’ Brigade. On 17 February 1915 Raymond enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery as number 86413. He was 5’10” tall and weighed 116 lbs and had been working as a grocer’s assistant. Six days later, however, he was considered not likely to become an efficient soldier and was released. On 15 May 1915 Raymond again enlisted, this time at Bristol as number 21450 in the Gloucestershire Regiment. He was later transferred to 8 Loyal North Lancashire Regiment as number 34219. Both he and his brother are commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial.
George Edward TURNER (1894-1916) GB
Pte (240177/1723) 1/5 Gloucestershire Regiment
George was born at Brimpsfield, the son of Thomas a gardener and Emma (nee Hunt) who married in 1891 at St Michael, Brimpsfield. There were three brothers and three sisters: Alfred James born 1893 at Brimpsfield, John Wilfred born 1907, Dorothy May born 1898, Katherine/Kathleen born 1901, Magery E born 1904 and John Wilfred born 1907 all at Prestbury. In 1901 the family lived in Pope’s Elm, Prestbury. and by 1911 they had moved to 2 Elmfield Cottages, Pittville and George was a Gordon Boy. He enlisted in the 1/5 (Territorial) Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment in Cheltenham in late 1912 after he left the Gordon Boys’ Brigade.
Henry “Harry” TURNER (1881-1914) GB
(AB Seaman) Stoker 1st Class Royal Navy (HMS Good Hope) 293608
Henry (aka Harry) was the twin son of Charles, a chimney sweep, and Mary “Ann” (nee Donaldson born in Birmingham in 1854) who married in Birmingham in 1874. Harry was born on 20 February 1881 and in 1888 the family lived at 40 Rutland Street. Harry was at the Practising School from 23 April 1888 to 20 December 1893.
In 1894 he was fined 1 shilling for throwing stones at birds in the Promenade. He was a member of the Gordon Boys’ Brigade. Sgt Morse, Superintendent of the Brigade, offered to provide a suitable punishment but the rules of the court did not allow this. In 1895 John Cleary, a Gordon Boy, witnessed an assault by a publican. Harry and another Gordon Boy gave evidence in support of the complainant. Harry had a twin brother Edward but there is no evidence that he was also in the Brigade. The Chairman of the Brigade only named Harry when he announced his death in 1915 in the Naval fight off Chile at the annual dinner. Henry married Fanny Edith Brookes in 1906 at St Pauls, Cheltenham and they had two children: Nellie Elsie Elizabeth born 1907 Ryde, Isle of Wight and Charles A H born 1911 in Cheltenham. In 1911 Fanny was living at 24 Columbia Street, Cheltenham and Henry was a Stoker 1st Class on Torpedo Boat No. 14 stationed at Portsmouth.
Harry’s siblings were: William Thomas born 1875 and Elizabeth born 1876 both in Birmingham; Charles Richard born 1879 and died aged 1 in 1881 in Cheltenham; Mary Ann born 1882 and Charles R born 1885 both in Cheltenham; Samuel Robert died aged 8 months in 1887 in Cheltenham.
Harry’s mother died and his father then married Frances Elizabeth Flowers in 1890 at St Mary’s, Cheltenham. They had seven children: Sarah L born 1891, Agg G D born 1892, Sidney F S born 1893, Ernest J born 1894, Reginald born 1897, Alfred E born 1900 and Percival born 1903 all in Cheltenham.
The twins died together on HMS Good Hope 1 November 1914.
Charles Henry WARD (1885-1916) GB
L Cpl (3227) 2/5 Gloucestershire Regiment
Charles was the second son of William Reeves (general Labourer) and Ellen (nee Brown formerly Castledine) who married in 1881. Charles was born in 1885 in Cheltenham. His siblings were: Thomas born 1882 who died aged 2 days, William born 1883, Mabel E born 1888, Frederick A born 1889 and Arthur E born 1895 all in Cheltenham. Charles, Frederick and Arthur all went to the Parish Church School. The family lived at 31 Albert Street in 1891 where they still lived in 1901 when Charles was a Gordon Boy. He played four games of rugby, as a forward, for the Cheltenham Gordon League IIs between October 1901 and February 1902. His first match was against Naunton Park IIs on 26 October 1901 which they lost by 14 pts to Nil. A return match was played on 2 November. On 13 December 1901 the Gordon League played Charlton Rovers. His last match was against Naunton Park IIs. In 1909 Charles went to the Old Gordon Boys’ Annual Dinner.
Every year from 1910 to 1913 Charles sent a letter from Canada to his Cheltenham comrades in the Old Gordon Boys’. Each letter was read out at their Annual Dinner held in the following January. However, he continued to rent a property in Albion Parade, Market Street which was also occupied at times by his cousin Thomas C Ward.
Charles’ brothers were keen sportsmen. In 1896 William was awarded first prize in an under 14s swimming competition and played water polo for the Brigade two years later. William was also a keen cricketer and rugby player having been involved in 10 games of cricket and 19 games of rugby between 1898 and 1905. Arthur was awarded a life saving certificate in about 1909 by the Parish Church School.
Charles married Ada Shaw in 1908 in Cheltenham and they had three children: Vera M born 1909, Charles A born 1913 and Annie A born 1914 all in Cheltenham. In 1911 they lived at 16 Albion Parade, Market Street, Cheltenham when he was a labourer at the Gas Works. By 1914 they had moved to 2 College Terrace, Swindon Road when he enlisted in the 2/5th (Territorials) Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment on 21 September.
William, Charles and Arthur were all in the Gordon Boys’ Brigade – was Frederick, who also died in WW1, a member of the Brigade?
Frederick A WARD (1889-1916)
Pte (25401) 12th Battalion, Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry
Frederick was the brother of Charles Ward, (q.v.). In the 1901 Census his employment was given as an errand boy porter. His unit filled the role of a Labour Battalion to the 4th Army in the Somme Sector.
Harry St Clair Clifford WEBB (1877-1918) GB
Band Sgt (34991) 3/6th Gloucestershire Regiment
Harry was the second son of James and Sarah (nee Harris) who married in 1872 at St Michael, Dowdeswell. He was born in 1877 and was one of the first members of the Cheltenham Gordon Boys’ Brigade. In the 1891 Census Harry lived with his uncle William C Webb and aunt Martha Webb at Grove Cottage, London Road. His siblings were: Oliver L J born 1873, James A C born 1880, Florence E born 1896 and Robert J born 1897 all in Charlton Kings. William was a porter and Martha a laundress in 1891.
In January 1891, on the anniversary of the death of General Gordon, the Brigade were given their annual supper and entertainment by Mr Friskney (conjuring tricks, etc) and Mr Burton (magic lantern exhibition). The Brigade assembled in the newly constructed workshop at the back of Liverpool Place and the room was decorated with flags for the anniversary. The Brigade were all “off-duty” for the afternoon and evening and about seventy sat down to a substantial meal. The Mayor, Alderman Col Thoyts, addressed the lads and then he presented prizes to four of the boys who had been adjudged most worthy to receive them and L/Cpl Webb received a knife. Oranges and bon-bons were distributed and the entertainment followed.
In 1897 the Annual Gordon Boys’ Christmas Dinner was held as usual in January and tables were laid for 136 of which 63 were old boys. Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, vegetables and plum pudding plus nuts, oranges and apples were served. Dinner was proved by the committee and subscribers, the meat baked by Mr Sims and the remainder of the meal cooked by Mrs Morse the Matron. By late November 1897 the Cheltenham Gordon League had been formed by Col Blaxland for old Gordon Boys so the Committee could keep in touch. Harry Webb was an officer on the Committee in 1898/99 and helped to organise cricket, rugby and whist matches and gymnastic competitions. When John Scott, an old Gordon Boy died suddenly in January 1900 from typhoid, Harry acted as one of the bearers at the funeral.
In 1897 Harry played 11 rugby matches including one against St Pauls Old Boys’, Arlington, Charlton Rovers and Painswick who they beat by 5pts to 3 pts. In 1899 he played three rugby matches and he was captain when Cheltenham A played the Gordon League at Monpellier and won by 1 goal and 1 try to nil. He also played 6 cricket matches between 1896 and 1898. The Gordon League beat Roseleigh A and Roseleigh II’s. In July 1898 the League beat Painswick 62 runs to 20.
In 1900 Harry married Winifred Helen Furley at St Mary’s, Cheltenham and they had Lizzie W C born 1901, Charles H C born 1916 and Harry S C born 1918 all in Cheltenham. In 1911 the family lived at 2 St George’s Retreat and in 1918 at Whitecross Square, Naunton Lane, Cheltenham.
Harry was a painter employed by Mr C E Rainger. In May 1913 he signed on for 4 years in the Territorial Force (5th Gloucestershire Regt) when the family lived at 2 St Georges’ Retreat. He was aged 34, 5’9” tall and had good physical development. He played solo horn with the Territorial Band. After joining the regular army he was constantly engaged in the training of bands of different kinds. On the outbreak of war he was asked to volunteer for overseas service. However, he was not one of the band that went to the front when the 1/5th Glosters went out, his health not being good enough. He was stationed in Northumberland when, in January 1918, he died of heart disease. It was thought that his death was through over work.
Frederick J WHITTINGHAM (1890-1914) GB
Drummer (L/8356) 2 The Queens (Royal West Surrey Regt)
Frederick was the second son of William, a machine maker, and Elizabeth Whittingham (nee Jackson and later Follett) of Cromwell House, Cromwell Street, Gloucester and previously of All Saints Dairy, Cheltenham and the Unicorn Hotel, Winchcombe. He was born 5 September 1890 in Plymouth. He had two brothers and three sisters: Bessie born 1875, William born 1883, both in London, Kate Marion born 1885, Jessie Helen born 1887 and Albert born 1892 all in Plymouth. In 1891 the family lived at 18 King Street, Plymouth. Between 1894 and 1898 the family lived in Union Street, Cheltenham and by 1901 they had moved to 52 Fairview Road, Cheltenham. Frederick went to All Saints Infants School 24 September 1894, he was admitted to Holy Trinity on 19 August 1895, joined All Saints School 12 February 1900 and left 5 September 1904 and joined the Gordon Boys’ Brigade. Frederick enlisted as a Drummer in the 2nd Battalion, Royal West Surrey Regiment in Cheltenham prior to the war and served in South Africa and Bermuda. He sent letters from Bermuda in 1912 and 1913 and these were read out at the Old Gordon Boys’ Annual Dinner in January 1913 and in January 1914.
Albert John YEATES (1888-1918) GB
L/Cpl (240270/1879) 8 Gloucestershire Regiment
Albert was born in Cheltenham in 1888 the second son of Joseph and Amanda (nee Leach) who married in 1885 in Cheltenham. He had 6 siblings: Joseph H born 1886, Amanda Victoria born 1887 and died aged 2 weeks, Florence born 1890, Horace Edward born 1894, Maud M born 1897 and Frank Herbert born 1902 but died aged 5 months, all in Cheltenham. The family lived at 1 Marsh Terrace, Marsh Lane, Cheltenham. Albert attended the Practising School, and left on 28 November 1902 and joined the Gordon Boys’ Brigade. Later he became a house painter.
Albert’s brother Joseph married Frances Florence Yeend at Wesley Chapel, Cheltenham in 1906. They had seven daughters and one son: Amanda E born 1908, Elsie F born 1909, Albert V H born 1912, Amy F born 1914, Edith M born 1915, Muriel J born 1920 and Betty D M born 1923 all in Cheltenham. In 1911 they lived at 29 Queen Street, Cheltenham.
Albert’s brother Horace Edward married Mildred Florence Wise in 1924 in Cheltenham and they had a son Colin Edward born 1924 and a daughter Jean Audrey born 1933. Horace became a Gordon Boy and then began an apprenticeship in French polishing with Dale Forty. He was a private in the 1/5th Gloucestershire Regiment in WW1. He was wounded in the war and spent some time in Southsea Hospital and he suffered from pleurisy. His son Colin went to Cheltenham Grammar School and became a pharmacist. Colin married Enid Dorothy Gear at St Mary’s, Cheltenham in 1948. Enid had a stroke when only 25 and they had no children. Horace’s daughter Jean married Cyril Philip Morgan at St Peter, Cheltenham in 1954. Jean had a daughter Amanda J born 1960 and 20 months later, in 1961, gave birth to twin boys Christopher J and Robert J.
All brigade records are lost but I believe about 1,200 boys were members over the 35 year period. I have not been able to find all the Gordon Boys who died in WWI and I would be very grateful for any information so that all the boys can be remembered.
By Audrey Dingle, 01242 573381.