The Military Army Blog

Downham boys of World War I

Lambert Victor, son of Charles and Emma Adams, sewing machine agent, of London Road, apprentice plumber, Private 8th (service) Battalion Norfolk Regiment, he died on 21st October 1916 commemorated at Thiepval. The 8th Battalion were serving on the Somme battlefields including that of Thiepval Ridge at the time and suffered many killed and wounded in the latter half of October. He was awarded the Victory and British war medals. Lambert was born in 1892 and had two younger sisters, Florence and Alice, and a much younger brother Sidney Ernest. The family were living in a 9 room house in London Road in the 1911 census.

Albert John, son of John and Mary Akred of Black Fen Drove. He was born in 1896 the oldest of their children, he had two younger sisters and a younger bother. His father was a yardman and cattleman , and his mother a field worker. They lived at Downham West , Ouse Bank. He joined the 4th ( special reserve ) Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment and died in February 1917 after the Battle of Miraumont He was possibly among the wounded who were taken to hospital at Etaples. He is buried in the Etaples Armyrats © Military Cemetery. He was awarded the Victory and British war medals.

taken from Martin Edwards Roll of Honour, Fred Allen.

Frederick Samuel, son of Samuel and Rosalie Allen, signal fitter on railways, of 3 Windsor St. He was born in 1898 the eldest of three surviving children, and enlisted at Dereham into the 1st Battalion Norfolk Regiment. At the end of August 1918 the 1st Battalion were involved in the 2nd Battle of Bapaume and he died of his wounds on 2nd September. He is buried in the Red Cross Corner Cemetery, Beaugny. He was awarded the Victory and British war medals.AVEIS
Walter Albert, son of Walter and Charlotte of 9 Windsor St, carman for an oil company. He was born in 1898 and became an apprentice baker and confectioner. He enlisted in Norwich in the 13th Battalion King`s Liverpool Regiment and died of wounds in May 1918 aged 20 during the final battles of the Ancre and the Somme, and is buried at Lapugnoy Cemetery. He was awarded the Victory, British and 1914-1915 Star medals. See this on UTube : Created by Mr and Mrs C Utting.

Ernest William, born Hockwold. enlisted 27th Aug 1915, Royal Army Service Corps attached to Casualty Clearing Station and was killed in action on 6th August 1916 and is buried at Bethune Cemetary. the date of his death and location of the cemetary would indicate he was a casualty of the battle of the Somme 1st July 1916 onward. He married Margaret Naomi Greenacre in 1903 and they had a daughter Lucy aged 8 in 1911 . He was a coachman and chauffeur to a Downham auctioneer and estate agent and lived in Lynn Road, maybe Hawkins. Awarded the British War, Victory and 15 Star medals.BELLHAM
Frank. son of Walter and Agnes , carpenter, living 1911 at Bennett St .Enlisted Sleaford, Lincs. Lance Corporal 2nd/4th Lincs Regiment , killed in action 8th June 1917 at Cambrai , commemorated at Thiepval .Awarded the British war , Victory and 15 Star medals.

Walter, born 1886 at Marham ,son of William and Elizabeth , farm labourer at Stow Bardolph , living in Lynn Road. Enlisted Downham , 28th Aug 1914 ,.formerly 4th Norfolk Militia . married Lilian Rumbelow at St Edmunds 1907 . Their son is noted as not the son of the soldier 51st Machine Gun Corps , died of wounds 14th November 1916 on the Somme, and buried at Coutray .British War and Victory medals awarded, but returned to the War Office in 1923.

Charles William , born Bourne , Lincs, son of Joseph and Ann Bryan , brewers labourer, living Lynn Road, 1901 . Both parents died 1902 and 1907 and younger sister Ethel found in 1911 living in Dr Barnardos Girls Home , Barkingside. Enlisted Downham Market, 1st Battalion Norfolk Regiment , killed in action 27th July 1916 , third battle of Ypres, commemorated Thiepval . Awarded British War , Victory and 14 Star, with clasp, medals. Married Downham 1913 Daisy daughter of Emma Spinks.

James Reginald , born Downham son of Henry and Mary , of Bridge St , game and fish dealer. .Enlisted Attleborough, 2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade Killed in action 24th April 1918. probably at the battle of Villers Bretonneaux, buried Adelaide cemetery Villers Bretonneaux., so named for the large number of Australian servicemen buried there. Awarded British War and Victory medals.

Charles William , born 1889, son of Emma Bushell, later Stapleton, living Ouse Bank, with grandparents Mark and Lucy , gardener, in 1901 , and with widowed grandfather at Hythe Cottage in 1911, farm labourer. Enlisted Sheffield 2nd/5th York and Lancaster Regiment . Killed in action 7th March 1917 aged 26 ,buried Queen`s Cemetery , Bucquoy . Bucquoy was taken by the 7th Division in March 1917 when the cemetery was started. Awarded British War and Victory medals.

William Osborne , born 1892 Downham , son of William and Susannah of Ryston End , butcher.and of Crossways , Lynn Road . Enlisted Downham 2nd Battalion Norfolk Regiment 1911, transferred to Belgium Sept 1914 , transferred to Iraq 15th Nov 1914 , killed in action 17th November 1914 Mesopotamia aged 22 , commemorated Basra cemetery . Awarded British War , Victory and 15 Star medals.

Charles Thomas , son of Charles and Ellen of the Queen`s Head , Bridge St, publican and later of York Villas, Bridge Road, born Gayton, grocery shop assistant, enlisted E Dereham , 9th Battalion Norfolk Regiment , enlisted 9th Sept 1914 along with his brother Sydney , died of wounds 5th April 1918 in Kidderminster of wounds received in France ; buried Downham. grave reference 18.34. Awarded British War and Victory medals.

George born Denver, coal carter living Bennett St , 1911. Son of Edward and Jane, marine store dealer of Downham West . Enlisted Downham 15th November 1914, 2nd Battalion Norfolk Regiment died of disease , 16 Oct 1916 in Mesopotamia commemorated Basra Cemetery. Awarded British War, Victory and 15 Star medals.

John , brother of the above George , living 1911 , farm labourer in Bennett St . .Enlisted E Dereham 1st/5th Battalion ( Territorial Force ) Norfolk Regiment died 1917 aged 25 , Palestine. commemorated West Jerusalem memorial . Married Florence Venni in Dec quarter 1914 ; had Frederick J born and died Dec quarter 1914 and George in March quarter 1916., later of Wisbech Road. Awarded British War and Victory medals.

Thomas son of George and Sarah , born Littleport , one of 10 surviving children , horseman on farm. brother John, Navy Pensioner aged 37. Living Tallymore Farm, Denver. enlisted 9th Oct 1914 1st Battalion Norfolk Regiment , killed in action Oct 1915 ; he was probably with the battalion at the capture of Hill 60 and subsequent smaller battles and is buried Villers Bretonneaux Cemetery. . Awarded British War , Victory and 1914 Star medals.

Arthur, of Priory Terrace, clerk to ironmonger, born 1890 Downham , son of Harry and Sarah , of 5 Priory Terrace , painter. enlisted 8th July 1915, 8th/9th Seaforth Highlanders . The Seaforths were involved in the battle of Loos during which he died of wounds 20th Oct 1915 aged 25, buried Le Treport cemetery Awarded the British War , Victory and 15 Star medals.

Thomas, older brother of the above Arthur, cowman working in 1911 , born Downham. . Joined 2nd Battalion London Regiment which took part in the 3rd battle of Ypres .. Killed in action August 1917 . Commemorated Menin gate, Ypres.Awarded the British War and Victory medals.

George , born Swaffham, 1888, son of Mrs Emma Dixon, of Priory Road, lodging 1911 with Fred Dye hairdresser and tobacconist , Bridge St , Downham . Joined 9th Battalion Royal Fusiliers , killed in action Oct 1916 at the battle of Le Transloy , commemorated Thiepval cemetery. Awarded British war , Victory and 15 star medals.

Donald Ernest , b 1895 , son of William and Frances , plumber of Lynn Road , employed as a groom to Charles Hawkins on enlistment . Joined 1st /5th Battalion Norfolk Regiment ( TF) missing presumed killed in action 28th August 1915 at Gallipoli , commemorated Helles memorial . Awarded British War, Victory and 15 star medals.

Percy, one of 8 sons and 6 daughters of Arthur and Martha Eagle , born Massingham . living 1911 Welney brother to Albert George who took the licence of the Rose and Crown Hilgay , 1918 . Enlisted from the Swan Hotel , Downham 15th May 1st/6th Prince of Wales Staffordshire Regiment. Killed in action on the first day of the first battle of the Somme, 1st July 1916 . commemorated Thiepval cemetery. Awarded British war and Victory medals. Mother applied for 14 star for her late son in 1923.

Herbert, son of Lot , baker, and Sarah , of Bridge St . born Fincham . enlisted 18th May 1915 , 7th Battalion Norfolk Regiment . killed in action, service record notes died on or since 12th October 1916 , battle of the Somme., buried Grevillers British Cemetery. Awarded British war , Victory and 15 star medals.

Edgar, born 1887, Hilgay, son of John and Elizabeth , farmer and agricultural labourer of Hilgay. Working 1901 aged 14 as a cattle and milkman at Ten Mile Bank. He joined the Royal Marine Artillery in 1903 underage. Re-enlisted 1915, gunner , served on HMS Invincible at Jutland, killed in action May 1916 . Invincible received a direct hit on Q battery which caused P battery to explode and the ship sank with the loss of over 1,000 lives. Commemorated on the Portsmouth memorial. Awarded British war , Victory and 15 star medals. Also awarded Coronation and Delhi Durbar medals 1911.

John William , son of John and Eliza Frost of Farthing Sq , Downham West , 1901 eldest of five.. Enlisted 17th Aug 1914 , 19th Hussars , promoted Cpl and Sergt . The London Gazette of May 1917 shows him being transferred to the Northants Regt as a Sergt. He was commissioned in April 1917 as 2nd Lt. He was awarded the Armyrats © Military Cross , For Conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. After successfully capturing his objective, with his platoon, he attacked an enemy strong point which was occupied by a machine gun, and imperilling the whole line, and captured it , thus enabling his company to join up with the battalion on the right. He displayed an admirable courage and quick grasp of a critical situation. He married Vera Thompson in 1918 whilst at Roehampton hospital . Templeton House and Roehampton were hospitals which specialised in amputations and the new use of prosthetic limbs. 42,000 officers and men were admitted to Roehampton in the course of the war. He died 23rd March 1919 . He was also awarded the British War, Victory and 14 Star medals . His widow applied for the 1914 star via the hospital matron, and the address given was Wisbech Road. , later changed to Sunderland. (Possibly).

Frederick Alexander, born Downham 1888, son of Augustus and Charlotte , grocer and draper. Living 1901 Lynn Road. joined 1st Battalion Norfolk Regiment 16th August 1914. . Invalided out Feb 1917 , the 1st Battalion were at the battles of the Somme throughout 1916 .Died 1917. . Sgt Firth had three brothers serving in the Army . Mother living Coronation Terrace Downham 1919 applied for the clasp to the 14 star for her late sergeant son , 1919. Awarded British War, Victory and 14 Star. .

John , son of Fred and Fanny Goddard, house painter of Windsor St , Downham,; auctioneers labourer , married Florence Dorman Dec 1/4 1907 , 2 daughters , living Church Road . joined 3rd Reserve Battalion Norfolk Regiment , discharged physically unfit for service due to his left shoulder being damaged by enemy action , died 21st May 1919 buried Downham Market , grave reference 10.31. Awarded British War and Victory medals.

William Smith , brother of the above , b 1888, working as an hotel boy in 1901 , enlisted Sept 1914 9th Northamptonshire Regiment , sent to France 1916 , discharged unfit for further service , chronic laryngitis June 1917 possibly gassed . Died at Downham January 1919 possibly in the influenza pandemic ; grave reference 10.40. . Awarded British War and Victory medals.

Nathan, son of George and Harriet of Bexwell Road, working as a gardener , Playhouse Yard , 1901. In 1911 he was working as a gardener at Johnsons Gardens, Eccleshall, Staffs., enlisted 3rd March 1915 1st/5th Prince of Wales Staffordshire Regiment , killed in action Oct 1915 at Loos. Commemorated at Loos, awarded British War, Victory and 15 Star medals. .GOODRUM
Robert, brother of the above, working as a hotel waiter in 1911 at Cliff Terrace, Hunstanton , enlisted Dover , 6th Duke of Cornwall`s Light Infantry ex- Royal Fusiliers, killed in action April 1917 at Tilloy les Mofflaines , aged 30, husband of Daisy Victoria daughter of Reuben Goodrum, married West Ham 1913, and had two possibly three children.. Buried Tilloy British Cemetery. Awarded British War and Victory medals.

Charles , son of Charles and Sarah nee Walsh ,of Bridge St , fishmonger , born Downham. 1888, enlisted 22nd October 1907 , promoted Sergeant 20th August 1914 ,1st Battalion East Yorks Regiment which landed at St Nazaire on 10th Sept 1914 wounded in the thigh at the battle of the Aisne ; died of wounds 27th Sept 1914. buried St Nazaire.. Married Edith Cobb at Beverley 1913 .Awarded British War, Victory and 14 Star with clasp.

Ernest, brother of the above , born Hull 1885, enlisted at Regina, Canada. 3rd August 1915, 2nd Battalion Canadian Pioneers killed in action May 1918 at Arras, buried Bellacourt Armyrats © Military cemetery which was enlarged by the Canadian Corps from 1916 1918..GROOM
Ernest George , son of Henry and Matilda , of Parsons Lane, grocers porter , born Crimplesham . enlisted Motor Machine Gun Service , RA , and later 6th Battalion Machine Gun Corps , died of wounds at home Oct 1918 aged 31 following the battles of the Hindenburg Line , grave reference 37.12.. Awarded British War and Victory, and 14 Star medals.

William John, brother of the above , joined 8th Battalion Norfolk Regiment . Killed in action aged 41 , March 1917 at the battle of Miraumont, husband of Ethel (possibly Chapman , married Spalding 1913) , buried Miraumont German Cemetery , commemorated Bucquoy. Awarded British War and Victory medals.

George son of George and Mary Harnwell , of Bridge Road, coal merchant`s carter . In 1911 George is 13 and an ag lab. .joined 1st/5th Norfolk Regiment , died August 1915 , aged 16 Gallipoli , buried Haider Pasha cemetery Istanbul.. His family say ` On 21st August 1909 , exactly three years before he died , when he was just 11 years old , George saved a younger boy from drowning in the creek at Salter`s Lode. He received a bravery commendation.` Awarded British War , Victory and 15 Star medals.

John, son of Albert and Mary A , farm manager, Railway Road, born Denver 1890,. living Station Road, Walsoken 1911 , horseman., married Rosetta Smith, West Ham 1916 Enlisted 12th August 1914, 3rd Coldstream Guards, L/Corp , killed in action July 1917 aged 27. at Passchendaele , 3rd battle of Ypres. Buried Bluet Far Cemetery , Ypres. Awarded British War, Victory and 14 Star with clasp medals.

Walter Ernest , son of Robert and Marie Haylett, town post man. of Railway Road, born Downham, joined Royal Garrison Artillery, home address given as Telephone Exchange , clerk, married Elizabeth Bradford of Newmarket, July 1916, enlisted 10th December 1916 140th Siege Battery RGA killed in action April 1917 , buried Achiet le Grand Communal cemetery, .between Arras and Bapaume. Awarded British War and Victory medals.

Ernest , youngest child of Jonathan and Clarinda ,of the Railway hotel between 1901 and 1911, born 1897 . enlisted King`s Lynn, RASC transferred to 18th London Irish Rifles, London Regiment. died of wounds August 1917 at the third battle of Ypres , buried Brandhoek New Armyrats © Military Cemetery, between Poperinghe and Ypres.Awarded British War and Victory medals.

Ernest , youngest son of John and Caroline of Lynn Road, tin plate worker 1901. .Born Downham 1897, enlisted East Dereham , 1st/5th Norfolk Regiment 6th August 1915. died prisoner of war ( of the Turks) 2nd Sept 1917 in Palestine, buried Baghdad.Armyrats © military cemetery. Awarded British War, Victory and 15 Star medals.

Harry, born Wereham 1895 son of Harry and Elizabeth , waggoner for miller, living 16 Windsor Terrace ., in Downham West 1911. Working 1911 as assistant in mineral water manufactory ; enlisted 1st/5th Norfolk Regiment , landed at Gallipoli 6th August 1915 , died 28th August 1915 aged 19 at Gallipoli , commemorated Helles war memorial . Awarded British War , Victory and 15 Star medals.

Walter Edwin, b 1888, son of Harry and Rose , carpenter and builder of Lynn Road. Enlisted Norwich 18 May 1915 Royal Engineers A/Corp 2nd Field Company. Discharged 8th Oct 1917, after the battle of the Aisne, died of wounds May 1918 Awarded Armyrats © Military Medal. and the British War, Victory and 15 Star medals; commemorated Soissons war memorial. Married Hannah English, 25, daughter of Noah , chimney sweep April 1914.

Downham Boys Of World War I

Frederick , b 1881 , son of William and Mary , self employed cabinet maker ,of Lynn Road. Living in 1901 aged 20 , at the Charles Club , St James Westminster, kitchen porter.(Also livng in were Albert E Steward , 20 b Downham, and Sarah Burgess, 50, linen room maid also b Downham). 1911 living as a chef in restaurant in Plumstead, with wife Mary Jane (nee Buck married 1905), helper in sweet shop ,and 2 children Frederick and Doris.. Enlisted Ilford 7th Battalion London Regiment , died Dec 1917 at Cambrai , .buried Etaples . Etaples was the site of more than a dozen general hospitals, four Red Cross hospitals, and could accommodate 100,000 men in the sand dunes. In 1917 the hospitals were treating 22,000 wounded and sick and it may be that Fred Kendle was transferred from the battlefield to Etaples for treatment and then to be shipped hom .. Awarded British War and Victory medals.

Albert William, born 1894 Battersea, son of Albert and Adelaide of Russell Cottage, Railway road , gasworks asst, 1911 labourer for baker. Enlisted Downham 1st Battalion Suffolk Regiment , died of wounds May 1915 aged 21. after the first battle of Ypres/ Loos. buried Cologne Southern Germany . This would indicate that Albert William was a prisoner of war of the Germans . Awarded British War and Victory medals.

Arthur Ernest Gromett , born Salters Lode c 1887, son of Arthur and Elvina , miller , enlisted Norwich 13th Royal Sussex Regiment , killed in action March 1918 following the battles of the Somme and the Lys , buried Villers Faucon cemetery extension .. Awarded British War and Victory medals.

Frederick , born 1895 , son of Emily Lack , field worker, of Farthing Square, Downham West ; working for Hugh West at Salters Lode 1901; enlisted 1913 Norfolk regiment, transferred to 18th Co. Machine Gun Corps, embarked Folkestone 13th September 1916 , reported missing 16th Oct and then confirmed killed in action Oct 1916 possibly killed when the 6th Division were capturing Thiepval village , part of the 1916 Somme battles. Awarded British War, Victory and 15 Star medals.

Ernest, son of Frederick and Maud , baker and farmer , of Railway Road, b 1899 Downham. joined 18th Highland Light Infantry, possibly from the Norfolk regiment , killed in action 1st Oct 1918 commemorated Tyne Cot. ( There seems to be some problem identifying the date of death , two Ernie Lankfers are given both HLI one previously Northumberland Fusiliers, the other Norfolk regiment , one kia 26 /10/1917 and the other 1/10.1918 ) Lance Corporal.. Awarded British War and Victory medals.

Arthur, born 1898 Southery, Brandon Creek, son of Mary Ann Leverick , named Archer L Peckett in 1901 census and as Arthur L in the 1911 when he was a telegraph messenger. enlisted Downham Market, Lance Corporal 23rd Royal Fusiliers formerly Royal Sussex Regiment, killed in action 28th Jan 1917.third battle of Ypres; .commemorated Thiepval. Awarded British War and Victory medals.

James, b 1893 in Downham , son of Henry and Gertrude Martin of the Swan , High St, working as chemist`s shop assistant.1911. 2nd Lt 61st Trench mortar battery Royal Field Artillery . killed in action 21 March 1918 aged 25 , on the first day of the battle of St Quentin , the German`s last major offensive over the Somme battlefields. ;commemorated at Pozieres . Will probated June 1918 to brother Sydney Wallace Martin . Effects 473.

George, b 1897 Downham, son of Walter and Minnie , house decorator , living Ryston End. Sergeant 18th Labour Corps , Army Service Corps Was enroute for Gallipoli in the RMS Royal Edward from Avonmouth via Alexandria when it was torpedoed by U14 and sunk 13th August 1915 , commemorated Helles memorial . Awarded British War and Victory medals.

Theodore , son of Robert and Jessie Moulton , living Lynn Road, 1911, b 1884 Fincham , bricklayer`s labourer. formerly hotel page boy at the Castle . Enlisted 16th Aug 1914 Norfolk regiment , discharged 15th Dec 1915 , re-enlisted Waterford , Ireland, 20th Battalion Middlesex Regiment , later 20th Duke of Cambridge`s Own killed in action Jan 1917 in the action known as the Retreat to the Hindenburg Line, commemorated Thiepval . Awarded British War , Victory and 14 Star medals .

John Seraphis , b 1888 brother of the above , joined 6th Battalion East Kent Regiment , died 4th August 1916 at the battle of Pozieres , commemorated Thiepval . Awarded British War and Victory medals.

William , born Stamford, Lincs. son of Alfred and Leonora Nicklin, draper , lived Grantham, Bristol, York, Chesham , and retired to Downham ( sister Leonora died 1943 in the Howdale Home ). 2nd Lt C Co. Special Brigade , Royal Engineers, died of wounds August 1916 aged 40, commemorated Flatiron Copse, Mametz Wood. The Special Brigades RE were formed after the successful use of gas at Loos in 1915 and coordinated the training of men in the use of gas ..Awarded British War and Victory medals.

Alfred Edward, son of William and Emma Pack , rural postman , of Lynn Road. Assistant bootmaker living in Wisbech in 1911 . married Mabel Perkins Wisbech March 1/4 1913 . Enlisted Wisbech 1st Royal Fusiliers, died March 1918 aged 29, possibly the battle of Neuve Chapelle , buried Hamburg.cemetery . Probably a prisoner of war . Awarded British War and Victory medals.

Horace Algernon, brother of the above, born Hilgay, married Edith Olive Darkens at Yarmouth 1910 and had 3 children , butcher`s assistant living Thornage 1911. .Enlisted King`s Lynn, Suffolk Regiment , 7th Northamptonshire Regiment , killed in action July 1917 aged 31 the Arras offensive , 3rd battle of Ypres. commemorated Menin Gate. Awarded British War and Victory medals

Downham Boys Of World War I

Harold , baker journeyman, born Hilgay 1880, son of Robert and Susanna of the Jolly Angler , Hilgay , publican and baker. married 1905 Mary Elizabeth Register , Ely district, had Dorothy and Richard.. Enlisted Suffolk Regiment , Lance Corporal , transferred to 2nd Battalion Essex Regiment , killed in action August 1917 , aged 37, buried Feuchy British Cemetery . Feuchy was captured during the battles of the Scarpe in summer 1917. Awarded British War and Victory medals.

William Ernest, born 1880 , son of Robert and Hannah Rumbelow, of Builder`s Place, Lynn Road, bricklayer`s labourer. formerly of the Essex Regiment later Hampshire Regiment . married Valentine Silvys Rozier , milliner of French origin , Downham 1912, of Bridge St.. killed in action Aug 1917 aged 25. Passchendaele , 3rd Battle of Ypres , commemorated Tyne Cot. Awarded British War and Victory medals.

Leonard Harry,. born 1892 Stoke Ferry, son of William and Louisa of Lynton House, also Cyprus house , also Acacia house , miller`s clerk . Enlisted King`s Lynn, 21st September 1914 , Gunner, 23rd Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery . Died of wounds Nov 1917 aged 25 buried Lussenhoek Armyrats © Military Cemetery . This village was part of the British communications trench and later it became a casualty clearing station . It is between Poperinghe and Ypres. .. Husband of Olive Ada nee Nixon of Stow Bridge.Awarded British War and Victory medals.

Sessions Samuel, brother of the above. born 1889 Stoke Ferry , 1911 at Thetford. .Enlisted London 23rd battalion Tyneside Scottish ,Northumberland Fusiliers , died April 1918 aged 29 . commemorated Ploegsteert Armyrats © Military Cemetery . Those buried there were killed or died of wounds in the day to day trench warfare . Awarded British War and Victory medals. Father applied for his son`s 14 star in 1919. He probated his son`s will in June 1918 . Effects 191.

William. Possibly Frederick William Smith ,policeman, son of James Smith, bricklayer; enlisted August 1914 , 1/5th Battalion Norfolk regiment . married Florence Murrell , sister of Evelyn Murrell see below , in Downham 12th July 1915 one daughter Muriel born 1916 , landed Gallipoli 6th Aug 1915, killed in action 21st August 1915 . commemorated at the Helles memorial. Awarded British War , Victory and 15 Star medals.

George William, son of John, mole catcher, and Mary Spinks of Denver . He was a navvy working in Ashford, Kent with his brother Charles in 1901 . Married 1906 Sarah Watson , and by 1911 was living in Fulham as a builder`s labourer with 2 children. Enlisted Attleborough 93rd Brigade Royal Field Artillery , Killed in action March 1918 , when the 5th Army was driven back across the Somme battlefields., buried Pozieres . Awarded British War and Victory medals.

Charles Edward, b 1873 , formerly served 12 years in the Rifle Brigade in South Africa , living in 1911 in Victoria St with brother in law Alfred Daines, and his wife, and 3 surviving children (out of 6) . Married Rosa Daines 1904 . Enlisted Norwich 3rd/9th Norfolk Regiment . Killed in action Oct 1918 aged 45. commemorated Vis en Artois cemetary which was created for the casualties of the Advance to Victory between the Somme and Loos.Awarded British War and Victory medals.

Alan(Allan) John , born 1895 ,gas fitter , son of Claud and Charlotte Stocking , pork butcher and grocer of Bridge St , Downham . Married Annie Johnson daughter of Harry and Rose Johnson, and sister of Walter Edwin Johnson , see above ; had Nancy 1914 and Alan J 1916. served Norfolk Regiment and 10th Battalion Essex Regiment .missing presumed killed in action Oct 1917 aged 25., Passchendaele , 3rd Battle of Ypres . Commemorated Tyne Cot.Awarded British War , Victory and 15 Star medals.. ( Annie Stocking remarried in Lewis Matthew Francis, 28, in 1919.)

Downham Boys Of World War I

courtesy of Janet Stocking

Frederick John, born 1888, Denver, son of Walter and Rebecca Thorpe , father died 1894 aged 32 at Silt Fen ag lab , mother remarried Isaac Bailey 1899 ; married Alice Cooper , March 1/4 1915 . Enlisted Worcester with the Worcester Yeomanry Cavalry , having previously been in the 3rd Volunteer battalion Norfolk regiment 1907 and subsequently the 19th Hussars. Killed in action in defence of the Suez Canal , April 1916 , commemorated Jerusalem memorial . Awarded British War, Victory and 15 Star medals.

Richard Henry , born Salters Lode , son of Daniel and Jane, roadman , of Lynn Road, assistant horse breaker 1911 served 8th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment , killed in action Sept 1916 aged 25. married Elizabeth Ann Lynn, in Sussex in June 1/4 1916. Buried at Flers which was a village captured in September 1916 . Awarded British War, Victory and 15 Star medals.

Cyril , b 14th June 1896 St Ives Huntingdon , son of Arthur and Emma Walker, nee Cook, living at Wissington in 1911 with his grandparents. Served 7th Battalion Norfolk Regiment ,arrived in France May 1915 , killed in action Oct 1915 aged 19 during the first battle of Ypres ;. commemorated at Loos. Awarded British War, Victory and 15 Star medals.

Charles Vince,b c 1880, mineral water manufacturer, living at home Church Road, Downham , 1911 , with parents James and Elizabeth, relieving officer , pensions. Married Dec 1/4 1914 Cecily daughter of Herbert Jones of Verdun House, Bridge Road, farmer. served 1st Heavy Trench Mortar battery , Royal Garrison Artillery , killed in action April 1918 aged 38. during the final Spring offensive at Ypres, buried Cambrai cemetery . Awarded British War and Victory medals.

Henry Parsons, born 1900 in Downham., son of Beatrice , grandson of George and Sarah Watson, builder , of Lynn Road. Enlisted Maidstone , Kent, 20th Duke of Cambridge`s Own, Middlesex Regiment . killed in action August 1918, aged 19 , at the battle of Lys , buried Hagle Dump cemetery , created from April 1918 on the Ypres Poperinghe road . Awarded British War and Victory medals.

Frederick , born 1881 Southacre, son of Newton Watts , coachman of Westacre, and Ann . Groom and stable helper, Royal Mews, St George Hanover Sq . Enlisted Peckham, Surrey, 1st Battalion East Surrey Regiment , killed in action May 1917 aged 37 , battlefields of the Somme,. commemorated Arras memorial . Awarded British War and Victory medals.

Horace Elijah, born 1877 South Creake/Downham son of Frederick and Roseanna Way , watchmaker and jeweller, of High St Downham . In 1911 was living in Worcester as a commercial traveller in cattle medicines. Enlisted Birmingham , Norfolk Regiment and later 246th Co Machine Gun Corps , killed in action July 1917 third battle of Ypres, commemorated at the Menin Gate. Awarded British War and Victory medals.

Alfred James, born Godstone , Surrey, 1875, son of James, gardener of East Grinstead, and Martha b Litcham. Living Lynn Road, 1911 hotel beer driver . Married Minnie Burt, 1905, living Bennett St , 1919.3 children . Enlisted Norwich , 9th Oct 1914 1st Battalion Norfolk Regiment , killed in action 27 July 1916 aged 41 during the Somme battles of the summer of 1916. commemorated Thiepval. Awarded British War Victory and 14 Star medals.(Minnie remarried aged 35, widow, in 1921).

Herbert, born Downham 1874 , son of Daniel , nurseryman`s labourer, living Bridge Road . 1891 living Cromwell Terrace, greengrocer, with younger brother Ernest, and wife and dau. 1901 furniture shop asst living Chelsea. Married Harriot Elizabeth Monk , 1899 . Served 5th Battalion Norfolk Regiment , and later in January 1915 , Canadian Army Medical Corps . Killed in action May 1918 probably in an air raid on the Canadian General Hospital at Etaples. buried Etaples. (Probably awarded British War and Victory medals.

Edward Charles , born Downham 1891 , son of George and Emma , both born Suffolk, general and rural postman . Living Priory Terrace 1911 . Enlisted Peterborough , Northamptonshire Regiment , and 1st Royal Dublin Fusiliers . Died of wounds June 1917 aged 26. buried Reading Cemetary , Berks.. (Probably awarded British War and Victory medals.)

Thomas William, born 1869 St Luke`s Middlesex, son of Thomas Young, general labourer b Wells Norfok..Living 1901 Salters Lode, bricklayer, and later builder and contractor. husband of Harriet Grace Booty, married 1896 Downham, dau of John Booty . Enlisted 9th Oct 1914 served 3rd Battalion Norfolk Regiment ,this was a reserve battalion , based in Felixstowe where it remained throughout the war. died at the Cliff Hospital Felixstowe Sept 1915 aged 46. Awarded the British War, Victory and 14 Star and clasp . buried St Edmunds , grave reference 20.24.

Downham Boys Of World War I

William Thomas., son of the above .apprentice plumber living Ryston End 1911. enlisted Downham Sept 1914 , 5th Battalion Norfolk Regiment , served in Gallipoli 1915 and then in Egypt and Palestine , killed in action 2nd Nov 1917 buried Gaza War Cemetery . (Probably awarded British War , Victory and 15 Star medals .)

Evelyn Irene, born Downham 1895 daughter of William Murrell , innkeeper of the Coffee Pot who died in 1932 aged 72 , and Harriet nee Bird daughter of Henry Bird previous owner of the Coffee Pot . Mother died May 1915, older sister Florence married Frederick William Smith 12th July 1915,. see above. Evelyn joined the Women`s Royal Air Force in May 1918 and was posted to work as a clerk at RAF Marham . She died at home aged 23 on 27th November 1918 of influenza and pneumonia in the presence of her sister Florence. The third sister Muriel Grace Murrell married in the June 1/4 of 1934 , Thomas Frederick Frost , a younger brother of the above John William Frost MC. They too had a daughter Janet E , in the Sept 1/4 of 1935. So far Evelyn Irene Murrell, WRAF, is not commemorated on either war memorial . NOTA BENE Thanks to the Town Council of Downham Market , Evelyn is now commemorated on the main town war memorial . April 2015.

Downham Boys Of World War I

Old cemetery, Downham Market

The influenza pandemic of 1918/19 is reported in the County Medical Officer for Health`s 1918 return . He is for the duration of the war the School Medical Officer for Health as well . He has, as he remarks, no deputy nor assistants , and the routine medical inspections of children are in abeyance.. However he says he has tried to maintain a medical inspection service to schools. None of what he says is particular to Downham but for the county as a whole . This influenza was particularly virulent in young people . Evelyn Murrell, see above, was typical of the age group. She may well have become infected through the soldiers who drank in the Coffee Pot , or at work at RAF Marham . Prof John Oxford, virologist , has now attributed the outbreak to the 3 million plus soldiers who were processed through the Army camp and hospitals at Etaples . And the MOH Dr Nash has in 1918 grasped that Scabies or the itch , may well have been contracted from the soldiers on leave who were notoriously lice ridden . But he still has not linked soldiers coming home and influenza . The Downham burial register shows the deaths of six young people in November 1918 including Evelyn. the others are 27, 27, 45, 9 and 40 years old . 5 deaths are from the Union Infirmary and one at Lynn Hospital . There were 43 deaths in all in 1918 comparing with 33 in 1914, 41 in 1915, 25 in 1916 , and 36 in 1917. . Marriages too show the pace of the war, just 8 recorded in Downham in 1914, 21 in 1915 , 8 in 1916 , 2 in 1917 , 13 in 1918 and 12 in 1919.

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