HoC - Research Exhibits - Commemorative Booklet - 1917
1917 is probably best known for the Allied Spring Offensive in Artois and Champagne, following the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line. Unlike the previous year, there was no one day which the casualties were concentrated, though the total for the year represents the greatest number of casualties on the St Michael’s Roll of Honour. Two of Chiswick's sons, the Larners, died within a few weeks of each other.
Stanley Turton (b. 1895 d. 27 February 1917)
Stanley Turton was born in Lincoln. At the outbreak of war he lived at 77 Wavendon Avenue with his father Alfred, a clerk to a leather manufacturer, his mother Ellen and a domestic servant. He was an only child.
He enlisted in Luton in the 1st/4th Battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment. He died on 27th February 1917 and is buried at Fonquevillers Military Cemetery, near the Somme, but it is not known how he died.
Leslie Trice (b. 1892, d. 24 February 1917)
At the outbreak of the war Leslie Trice lived at 60 Burnaby Gardens, with his parents Charles, a commercial traveller, and his mother Edith. He had 2 sisters - Phylllis a nursery governess and Constance.
He had briefly been a pupil at Latymer Upper School and was employed as a Jeweller’s clerk. He enlisted in 1914 at Stamford Brook in the 10th Battalion Middlesex Regiment but at the time of his death he was a private in the 1st/5th Battalion of the Buffs (East Kent) Regiment
He died in Mesopotamia (Iraq) from heatstroke on the day the Turkish forces began to retreat from their 15 month siege of the town of Kut. He is buried there in a Commonwealth War Grave in Amari Cemetery.
Alfred James Larner (b. 1895 d. 1 March 1917)
and Corporal Charles Richard Larner (b. 1893 d. 9 April 1917)
The Larner family ran a grocery shop at 17 Gordon Road and lived in Staveley Gardens. Daniel and Charlotte Larner had five sons, four of whom served in the forces and two of whom were killed. Alfred was a private in the 2nd Battalion, Royal Fusiliers. He first served in the Balkans in 1915 and then transferred to the Western Front where he died of wounds on 1 March 1917.
Charles was a Corporal in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, having originally enlisted as a reservist in the 6th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers. He had been twice injured and invalided home, only to return to the Front when fit. He was killed in action five weeks after his brother died. ‘It was sudden’, according to his platoon sergeant ‘and he suffered no pain, and was buried by four men of his platoon’.
Alfred is buried in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, Charles in Tilloy British Cemetery near Arras.
Ernest Richard Arundell (b. 1890 d. 29 March 1917)
Born in London, Ernest was the son of a prosperous local builder, Robert Arundell and his wife Annie. Ernest left employment in the family business and his home, 21 Grove Park Terrace, in 1911 to join his uncle in Australia and began a new life as a farmer. When war intervened Ernest enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force. Service records describe him as being five feet eight inches tall with brown eyes and hair, a dark complexion and weighing 129 pounds.
Ernest died at No. 3 Casualty Clearing Station from wounds sustained on 28 March 1917. His injuries, caused by high explosive, included wounds to the arm and a compound fracture of the femur. He is buried at Aveluy Cemetery Extension, France. His effects including a damaged metal watch, fountain pen, metal mirror, tobacco pouch, pipe, purse and letters were returned to his family.
Rodney James Mansfield Bowdidge (b. 1895 d. 10 April 1917)
Rodney was born in Chicago of British parents, James and Catherine. He was among the earliest recruits to the 10th Battalion Royal Fusiliers, also known as the Stockbrokers Battalion, raised in August 1914 from City workers. He departed for France in July 1915.
Rodney died in the attack on Monchy-le-Preux during the battle of Arras. Many soldiers were killed when, advancing under cover of snowfall, they were revealed to the enemy when the snow suddenly stopped. His death is commemorated on the Arras Memorial in France.
Robert Dudley (Bob) Gidley (b. 1900 d. 26 April 1917)
Like his elder brother Geoffrey, Bob was a keen scout with the Third Chiswick Troop, and an account of his life is included in “The Scouts Book of Heroes”, which starts: “Perhaps few stories could equal that of Bob Gidley, for heroic perseverance.”
When 13, Bob Gidley rescued a child from drowning at Strand on the Green. On 16 April 1915, aged just 15, but claiming to be 19, he enlisted in the Royal Naval Air Service. After fourteen months’ service, he was recommended for a commission in the Army, but after six months the training was so severe that he broke down in health, and his age – then only 16 years and 10 months – was discovered. He was discharged from the Army on 17 March 1917.
Not to be deterred, in March 1917, Bob sailed to France as part of the Section Sanitaire Ecossaise 20, attached to the French Red Cross. Bob Gidley was killed on 26 April 1917 when the ambulance that he was driving to the Front was hit by a shell. Bob was awarded the French Croix de Guerre as a mark of his devotion to duty.
Bob is buried in Suippes French national cemetery. He is the only Englishman in 4500 French graves.
Howell Whitehead Williams (b.1884, d. 17th July 1917)
Howell was the son of Elsie May Bennett of 6 Grove Park Terrace and Edmund J.W.H. Williams.
Howell was working as a counting house clerk in Fulham when he enlisted for four years in the Territorial Force at Stamford Brook on 14th August 1914.
Howell was Lance Corporal. 2101 / 290467 1st/10th (T.F.) Battalion Dukes of Cambridge’s Own. His regiment was engaged in the Asiatic Theatre of War. Tragically, Howell died from heat exhaustion en route to hospital in Mesopotamia on 17th July 1917. He is buried in Basra War Cemetary.
Horace Walter Hardy (b. 1886 d. 20 September 1917)
Horace Hardy was born in Shepherd’s Bush and followed his father William into the hosiery trade. His mother Clara had 9 children, though several appear to have died in infancy. Horace was the youngest son. By 1911 Horace’s father had died and the family had moved to 41 St. Mary’s Grove. Two years later Horace was renting a room at number 15 St Mary’s Grove.
He joined the 7th London Regiment and died fighting at Ypres. Like so many whose bodies were never found, he is commemorated at the Menin Gate.
Sergeant Edward Pius Bendix (b. 1892 d. 13 October 1917)
Edward’s father, Gustav, a German, and a shipping agent in the firm ‘Lindsay, Bendix & Co., lived in England after marrying Annie Hodge. The family, including Edward’s siblings Frederick and Therese, had homes in Prittlewell, Essex, where Edward grew up, and London.
Edward worked in the business and joined the Territorial forces in 1910. In 1914 he re-enlisted in the Essex and Suffolk Regiment, then transferred to the Royal Field Artillery where he was promoted to Sergeant and saw service on the Western Front. He fell at Ypres in the controversial Battle of Passchendale. Weather made artillery operations difficult. General Gough reported ‘Men of the strongest physique could hardly move forward….and became easy victims…’ Edward lies in Larch Wood (Railway Cutting) Cemetery, Ypres.
Edward’s connection with Chiswick is unclear. The Parish Magazine lists his address as 12 Elmwood Road, the Tunstall family’s house. Possibly Edward lodged with the family or ‘walked out’ with the Tunstall’s daughter, Elsie. We shall never know with certainty.
Lance Corporal Harold Burgiss-Brown (b. 1889 d. 30 October 1917, aged 28)
762428, D Company, 1st/28th Bn London Regiment (Artists Rifles)
Harold Burgiss Brown, also known as Harold Burgess Brown, was the fifth and youngest child of John and Mina Burgiss Brown and was born in Maidstone, Kent. At the outbreak of the First World War, Mina and her youngest daughter, Dorothy, were living at 23 Ellesmere Road, Chiswick. Harold seems to have enlisted originally in December 1915 but was posted to the Army Reserve.
He received a call-up notice the following summer and was medically examined on 11th September 1916, which appears to have been his 27th birthday. He joined the 28th battalion of the London Regiment (Artists’ Rifles) and was posted to the Expeditionary force in France on 4th November.
He was appointed unpaid Lance Corporal on 18th October 1917 but was killed in action twelve days later in France, on 30th October.
2nd Lieutenant Tristram William Jourdain Wilson (b.1889 d.24 November 1917)
Son of William Wilson and of Caroline Martha Wilson (nee Jordan), William was born in an affluent suburb of Derby. He attended Derby School, where he displayed an “insatiable love of reading”, winning prizes for both English and German.
After William’s father died the family moved to Ellesmere Road, Chiswick. When William left school he worked first in the Oxford Chronicle (where he added the name Tristram) and then for the Birmingham Post. His Officer Training Corps. Service record describes him as “Reliable and conscientious and should make a good officer, but is afflicted by a slight impediment of Speech”.
He enlisted as a private but was awarded a commission at the second attempt, joined the 11th Battalion, the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and was sent to Ypres. His regiment was part of the 37th Division that took part in the Third Battle of Ypres from 26 September to 10 November 1917, including the first and second battles of Passchendael. He, and two other officers, were killed in an air raid back at the camp known as ‘Moated Grange’ on the night of 24 November.