Aldershot Military Cemetery Part Four

The majority of Great War burials in the cemetery, 454 in total, are to be found here, in Plot AF. 

The headstones closest to the camera, although they look older,…

…mark the graves of inter-war burials,…

…the three closest to the camera on the right from 1929 & 1930, and in the centre middle distance,…

…this 17th/21st Lancers trooper died in 1926.

The burials directly ahead of us, closest to the camera,…

…include these two men, on the left, Private J. Gordon, R.A.M.C., who died on 6th August 1917, and on the right,  Corporal R. Bennett, (R.)A.S.C., who died on 24th January 1918, and forgive me if I find it amusing to find a Private Gordon buried next to a Corporal Bennett, but I do.  In the row behind,…

…the grave now in the centre is that of Flight Sergeant Walter Eric Major Stidolph (pictured in 1915 as a corporal), Royal Flying Corps, who died in a flying accident piloting an S.E.5a on 1st May 1917.  Apparently, it was an ‘Error of judgement in landing. It was the opinion of the Court of Inquiry that the machine was in perfect condition before flight. Unknown circumstances caused pilot to lose control of machine and allow it to wobble and nose dive.’

Private E. Wright, Royal Fusiliers, who died on 22nd January 1916, and Private Frederick William Atherton, Welsh Regiment, who died on 9th March 1916.

Two A.S.C. privates, both of whose headstones are correctly inscribed simply with Army Service Corps (hooray!), on the left, Private R. Byrne, who died on 1st October 1915, and on the right, Private A. Cliff, who died of sickness on 31st October 1915 aged 45,…

…although the headstone of the A.S.C. private buried closest to the camera here, William Wenbourne, who died on 1st May 1915, has the usual, incorrect, ‘Royal’ inscribed upon it.

Damn.  I appear to have mentioned it again.

Wandering back along the second row,…

…these the graves of Lance Corporal Stewart Henry Allen, XIIth Royal Lancers, who died on 26th September 1914 aged 26, and Private G. Patterson, Seaforth Highlanders, who died on 13th October 1914 aged 42.

On the left, Private Cyril Shaw, who died of heart failure, aged 23, on 20th August 1919, and next to him, Private E. H. Trevor, Northumberland Fusiliers, who died on 18th November 1914.  The cross in the row behind marks the grave of Sergeant James Rose, Royal Engineers, ‘who died 3rd November 1914 in the Cambridge Hospital from wounds received in action at Bailleul 18th October 1914 aged 29.’

How many men buried here died in the nearby Cambridge Military Hospital (above), either from wounds or of sickness contracted on active service abroad, I have no idea, but you have to presume that it must be by far the majority.

Serjeant Major Charles Albert Green, King’s Royal Rifle Corps, who died on 4th January 1915 aged 41.

Private Frank Colwill, Devonshire Regiment, died of scarlet fever on 21st April 1915 aged 20,…

…and Corporal W. M. Sage, 8th Bn. Canadian Infantry, on the left, died of wounds on 9th June 1915, aged 23.  On the right, the grave of Private William Brown, Royal Sussex Regiment, who died on 1st July 1915 aged 25.

Private Edward Percy Townshend, Royal Army Medical Corps, who ‘met his death by lightning on the parade ground at Twezeldown Camp on June the 7th 1916 aged 22 years.’  How unfair is that?

Sergeant Thomas Arthur Condron, Royal Flying Corps, who was killed in a flying accident in Lincolnshire on 5th February 1918 aged 19.  Only a hundred feet or less from the ground his F.E.2b apparently tilted sideways and crashed to earth.  Rescuers found him pinned beneath the engine and he died soon after without regaining consciousness.  Condron lived in Farnborough, hence his burial here.

*The F.E.2b was a pusher, meaning the engine and propellor were behind the pilot; crashing nose first would cause the pilot to hit the ground, swiftly followed by his engine.

In the foreground, Lance Corporal P. R. J. Henry, Military Police Corps, who died on 14th December 1919 aged 36, and in the row behind on the right, Corporal John Vincent Middleton, who died on 15th March 1920 aged 32.  The cross marks the grave of Corporal Wilfred Charles Bollen, R.A.M.C., aged 23, who died on 7th January 1920 from wounds received during a German bombing raid on the hospitals at the huge British base at Etaples that had taken place some seventeen months earlier, on 19th May 1918.

2nd Air Mechanic Richard Silverwood, R.F.C., who died on 3rd March 1917 aged 35, and 3rd Air Mechanic Frederick William Davis, Recruits Depot, R.F.C., who died of sickness on 17th May 1917 aged 32.

Serjeant Arthur J. Whittington, (R.)A.S.C., on the left, is the earliest Great War burial in the cemetery, and it couldn’t have been made much earlier, really, as he died on 5th August 1914, aged 33.  Next to him, Lance Corporal S. H. Allen, XIIth Royal Lancers, died on 26th September 1914 aged 26.

Air Mechanic Henry Wilfred Carter, Royal Flying Corps, who was killed whilst flying at Farnborough on 12th May 1914 aged 25.  One of those headstones you often find – we saw one in Part Two – ‘Erected by his comrades’.  Flight Magazine reported on 22nd May 1914 that, ‘On the afternoon of 12 May 1914 two Sopwith Tractor Biplanes (Nº 324 and Nº 325) of Nº 5 Squadron RFC collided in mid-air over Farnborough. Nº 324 had just taken off from Farnborough Aerodrome when Nº 325, returning from Brooklands, flew into it, the upper starboard mainplane of the former making contact with the lower port mainplane of the latter. They separated and flew on for some 600 feet before both aeroplanes then crashed onto the nearby Aldershot Golf Course. Nº 324, which was being flown by Captain Ernest Vincent Anderson with Air Mechanic Henry Wilfred Carter as his passenger, dived in vertically. Both men were killed on impact with the ground as a result of broken necks. Nº 325, which was being flown by Lieutenant C (Charles or Christopher) William Wilson, spun in with a damaged wing. He survived the crash with a broken jaw and bruising. An inquest was held at Aldershot on 14 May 1914. Lt. Wilson did not attend or give evidence. The jury returned a verdict of accidental death on Capt. Anderson and AM Carter. Blame for the accident was not attributed.’  On the right of this picture is the grave of Private B. A. Wadd, Army Service Corps, who died on 14th August 1914.

Rifleman George Richard Hunter, King’s Royal Rifle Corps, who died on 4th October 1914 aged 28, his grave marked by a nice new Botticino marble headstone, as are a number of others in the cemetery.

Quarter Master Sergeant John Cropper, Manchester Regiment, who died on 11th June 1915 aged 50.

The non-CWGC headstone in the foreground is that of Lance Corporal Wilbert Gordon Lunan, 116th Bn. Canadian Infantry, who died on 21st August 1916 aged 18.

Closest to the camera, Pioneer G. Staples, Royal Engineers, who died on 9th July 1918.

You can quite imagine, as you wander the hillside, men marching along the road at the bottom, to and from billets, month after month, and looking up as the number of crosses & private headstones on the hill grew, month after month.  And wondering.

Private D. Kennedy, 4th Reserve Regiment of Cavalry, who died from pneumonia on 16th March 1917 aged 20, and 3rd Air Mechanic Colin Rankin, Royal Flying Corps, who died on 30th May 1917.

Left to right: Private Reginald William Christie Anderson, Army Service Corps*, who died on 13th April 1915 aged 39, Driver B. M. Staines, R.F.A., who died on 24th April 1915, & Private S. Dowie, Royal Fusiliers, who died on 9th May 1915.

*It’s somewhat ironic, if you think about it, that I am unsure if I have ever seen a private headstone with Royal Army Service Corps incorrectly inscribed upon it when it should say Army Service Corps, and yet so many of the CWGC A.S.C. headstones across the U.K. & Europe are wrongly inscribed.

Closest to the camera, Private W. T. Ayres, 3rd Reserve Regiment of Cavalry, who died on 7th September 1914.

Second Lieutenant Mervyn Colomb, 1/4th London Regiment, wounded near Ypres, who died on 11th May 1915 aged 28.

Corporal Edward Wilson, Reserve Aircraft Park, Royal Flying Corps, who died of accidental injuries received at Farnborough on 27th April 1916, aged 19.  Unfortunately, he was struck in the head and chest by a biplane propellor he was assisting to turn (even worse, he had been told his assistance was not required and to stand clear), and killed instantly.

This impressive cross marks the grave of Thomas Wilfrid Jones, Royal Fusiliers, who died on 26th October 1918 aged 20, with Rifleman C. P. Kent, City of London Rifles, who died on 7th August 1918, buried alongside him.

Acting Bombardier Walter Henry Hawkins, R.G.A., who died of wounds on 11th December 1916 aged 29, and Private William Trampleasure, 187th Bn. Canadian Infantry, who died on 25th January 1917 aged 31,…

…and the view looking down the hill, Trampleasure’s headstone nearest the camera.

These graves towards the bottom of the hill at the north eastern corner of the plot are later burials, the man on the right closest to the camera a casualty from December 1920, and in total, forty seven men buried in this plot died in 1919 & 1920, and three in 1921.

Further up the hill the two graves in the foreground are from 1918, the remainder from 1917,…

…although as we head back along the top rows of the plot we are once again among earlier burials, from left, Private Walter Henry Woodrow, Army Veterinary Corps*, who died on 15th November 1915 aged 38, Private William Blamey, 35th Bn. Canadian Infantry, who died of meningitis on 17th December 1915 aged 25, and Driver Frederick Charles King, R.A.S.C., who died on 14th January 1916.

*For your information, the Army Veterinary Corps received its ‘Royal’ prefix after the Armistice in 1918.

The early graves continue; Battery Serjeant Major F. Marshall, R.F.A., closest to the camera, died on 1st December 1914, and Private A. Burner, Devonshire Regiment, died on 19th December 1914 aged 31,…

…and here, on the right, Serjeant Charles Gunner, Royal Fusiliers, died of wounds on 7th October 1914, alongside Sapper Robert Hamilton Boyle, R.E., who died on 11th September 1914 aged 29.

Closest to the camera, Private F. Saunders, Coldstream Guards died on 11th November 1914, and next to him, Private C. Cooper, R.A.M.C., who died on 1st December 1914.

Private Joseph Henry Crossley, Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, who died on 11th November 1914 aged just 16.

Private Maurice Cunningham, R.A.M.C., who died on 21st June 1915 aged 21, and Private Albert James Argyle, Hampshire Regiment, who had served in South Africa and who died of accidental injuries on 1st August 1915, aged 44.

From left; Private R. Hill, 125th Bn. Canadian Infantry, who died on 16th December 1916, Private Frederick Hathaway, 187th Bn. Canadian Infantry, who died on 2nd February 1917 aged 22, and Lance Corporal William Harold Salmon, 11th Training Reserve Bn. and Royal Army Ordnance Corps*, who died on 2nd April 1917 aged 20.

*The Army Ordnance Corps, it might not surprise you to know, was granted the prefix ‘Royal’ in 1922.  You work it out.

And then we come to this, very unusual, (replacement) headstone.  G. W. Drage was a Barrack Warden* who died on 30th August 1918 at the age of sixty.  Almost certainly an ex-serviceman, he would have been a civilian employee at the time of his death, hence his job title coming after his name on the headstone.  You won’t find his name on the CWGC database, and I have extreme doubts as to whether he is (officially) entitled to a CWGC headstone, but I’ll keep quiet about it if you will.

*we saw another Barrack Warden’s headstone in Part Two.  Same applies.

Two men who died during the Great War are remembered on this memorial,…

…Lance Corporal Lawrence Bradley, 5th Royal Irish Lancers, who died of wounds in Boulogne on 16th May 1915 aged 23, and whose body, very unusually, and presumably expedited because he died at one of the French ports, was brought home for burial here, and his brother, Private Berthold Bradley, Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry*, who was killed in action in Flanders on 26th November 1914 aged 20, his name to be found today on the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing.

*They liked to be called the 52nd Light Infantry, hence the inscription on this memorial.

The inscription on this side reads, ‘In loving memory of the dearly beloved sons of Francis Bradley, Bandmaster 52nd Light Infantry 1887 t0 1912.  Then bandmaster of the R.A.M.C.’

On the left, Private George Middleton, The King’s Liverpool Regiment, who died on 19th September 1914 aged 38, on the right, Company Serjeant Major R. McGarvey, Royal Scots Fusiliers, who died on 24th October 1914, and in the centre,…

…well, suffice to say that this is one of those headstones that, sadly, rewards a closer look.

‘In ever loving memory of my dear son Frederick Henry Mills, Sergt of the R.S. Fusiliers, who died bravely fighting for King & Country at the Battle of Ypres Oct. 24th 1914, aged 25 years. Also my dear husband James Mills, died Oct. 12th 1914 aged 56 years. In loving memory of my dear son Bertie James Harold Mills of the Hampshire Regt, killed in action April 23rd 1917 aged 25 years. In loving memory of my dear son Wilfred Hiram Mills of the Warwick Regt, killed in action Oct. 26th 1917 aged 23 years.’  And a daughter who died in 1897 aged twelve.

Cross of Sacrifice (above & below),…

…and the view from the top looking away to the south.

Next, we turn our attention to the CWGC headstones behind the Cross, and those non-CWGC ones beyond.

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2 Responses to Aldershot Military Cemetery Part Four

  1. Margaret Draycott says:

    A very interesting post M, I didn’t know there was such a variety of headstones to commemorate those who died in the wars, so many provided by families, so used to seeing mostly those provided by CWGC, Thankyou for enlightening me.

    • Magicfingers says:

      Hello M. How goes it? I have to say that when I am confronted by a hill of headstones such as these, it’s the private ones that mark my journey across the hillside, and of course you often get extra information on a private headstone. I’m glad you enjoyed this post – it really is a most interesting place and I should have visited years ago. Bit like you and Brookwood Military Cemetery I reckon (private tours available – no charge!!!).

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