St Mary’s, Norton, has a nominal roll that claims to record all villagers who served in the armed forces during the Great War. The list is in no apparent order;
Jack Arbuthnot, Howard Archer, Charles Berry, Harry Collins, Walter Edge, Edgar Groves, Gilbert Hopkins, Harry Lively, Edward Phipps, *Charles Ridley, Albert Stephens, *Harold Stubbs, Harry Trigg, William Wheeler, Harry Bird, George Miles, Edward Stubbs, George Walker, *Francis Bevan, Samuel Hughes, William Eades, William Hyett, Victor Underhay, Hubert Marston, Charles Stubbs, Alfred Oakley, Albert Turner, Cecil Cherrington, William Mullens, Albert Giddings, William Gardner, Archibald Arbuthnot, Albert Barnes, ? Berry, ? Collier,*George Eagles, *James Groves, Harry Jones, Frederick Mullens, William Piff, Arthur Ridley, Frank Watkinson, *Percy Simmons, Horace Stubbs, Ernest Turner, Arthur Whitmore, Sidney Freeman, Anthony Ridler, Gilbert Chamberlayne, Clarence Barnes, Richard Berry, Charles Church, William Lawrence, Walter Rogers, Leonard Bird, George Newstead, Thomas Gibson, Alfred Hall, Norman Creeth, Percy Stubbs, Horace James, Ronald Arbuthnot, Walter Berry, Harry Cook, *Cyril Edge, *Frederick Eagles, William Hopkins, ? Luker, ? Mealing, Oliver Ridler, Albert Stephens, Hubert Stubbs, Hubert Townsend, ? Underhay, William Watson, Frank Freeman, Harry Stubbs, William Preston, William Trigg, Robert Edge, Alfred Hyett, Herbert Longney, David Collier, George Hughes, William Longney, *Sydney Archer, Leonard Edge, Francis Chamberlayne, Hubert Cherrington and Nelson Archer.
I have not researched all of these persons at this time but include a few notes regarding certain individuals where I have information to hand. I also include notes for others with Norton connections who do not appear on the list.
FRANCIS ARTHUR CHAMBERLAYNE
The Chamberlayne family appear to have arrived at Norton in approximately 1887, in 1889 were definitely at Yew Tree Farm and in 1891 Frederick John Chamberlayne of Moreton Valance, wife Louisa Emma (nee Cook) of Boddington, and children John William, Francis Arthur and Charles Frederick, all of whom were born at Norton, were in residence.
Frederick Chamberlayne may still have been resident at Yew Tree Farm in 1897 but in 1898 gave his address as 135 Southgate Street, Gloucester. He appears to have been back at Yew Tree Farm by 1899 but was not in the village again in 1901 when the family were living at 71 Southgate Street, Gloucester, where Frederick was employed as a farmer and butcher and the family had extended by three children; Gilbert H, Maurice E and Eleanour. It is likely that Frederick owned Yew Tree Farm throughout this period but at times lived elsewhere.
Francis Arthur Chamberlayne married Annie Elizabeth Lane and they had at least two children; Nancy Joyce (1912 – 2009) and Francis John (1915 – 2000).
The next we know of Francis Arthur was on 1st August 1916 when he attested into the Canadian Expeditionary Force as No 339138 at Vancouver. At this time his date of birth was given as 28 April 1888, his occupation was recorded as an electrical operator and his next of kin was recorded as his wife Mrs Annie Elizabeth Chamberlayne of Coghlan, British Columbia. His attestation document records that he had previously served for 4 years with the Gloucestershire Yeomanry. His medical examination at Vancouver in June 1916 reported that he was 5ft 8ins tall, had a 38 inch chest, fair complexion, blue hair and brown eyes. It also records that he had a mole on the left side of his abdomen, a scar on his right eyebrow and a scar on the right side of his scalp.
It would appear that he did not remain in Canada as in 1938 he traveled from Liverpool to New York and then back to England again shortly afterwards. Annie Elizabeth died in 1966 and Francis Arthur in 1977.
REV HERBERT LUCIAN ORLANDO CHERRINGTON
The Gloucester Journal newspaper of 16 September 1911 reported; “The Rev H L O Cherrington, curate of Brislington, in the diocese of Bath and Wells, has been presented by the Dean and Chapter of Bristol to the vicarage of Norton, vacant by the cession of the Rev A J Maclean, who went there in 1907”. Graduated from London University.
The following is recorded in the Churchwarden’s Accounts from a meeting of 10th April 1917 :- “The vicar having offered his services for his country and the date fixed for him to leave the parish on the following morning, the following resolution was carried unanimously with acclamation. That this meeting desires to place on record its deep sense of appreciation of the action of our Vicar (the Rev HLO Cherrington) in following what appears to him to be the path of duty in the terrible time through which we are passing and that we all wish him every success, God speed, and a safe return”.
Rev Cherrington then went to France with the Church Army. He returned safely as he continues taking services after the war with his last burial, before his resignation, being conducted on 6 September 1920. The Gloucester Journal newspaper of 25 September 1920 reported; “The vicar of Norton has been made the recipient of a cheque for £35, subscribed for by the parishioners, as a mark of respect and appreciation for the work he has done in the parish during the nine years he has been incumbent. In making the presentation, the Chairman (Mr H E Archer) expressed the regret of the parishioners that the Vicar was leaving, and paid a tribute to the good work he had done in the parish, more especially in regard to the renovation of the school and playground. The Vicar suitably acknowledged, and the meeting terminated with the best wishes of the people for his success in his new parish of Bleasby, near Nottingham”. Rev Cherrington died on 11 November 1942. Details of his Will were published in The Citizen newspaper of 3 March 1943; “The Rev Herbert Lucian Orlando Cherrington, of The Vicarage, Newbold Pacey, Warwick, formerly vicar of Norton, in Gloucester, who died on November 11 last, aged 68 years, left £4,393 6s 6d gross, with net personalty, £3,188 1s”.
Cecil Cherrington recorded on the list would almost certainly have been a relative of the vicar.
Private Harry/Henry Collins, No 241242, 4th Reserve Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment. Had a medical examination at Gloucester on 2 January 1915 and was described as being 5ft 7ins tall, weighing 10 stone, with a 35ins chest. Enlisted at Gloucester on 5 January 1915 when his medical category was recorded as A1. On 24 May 1916 he embarked from Southampton landing at Le Havre, France, the next day. Served in France and Belgium as an infantryman before he received a shrapnel wound in the left knee whilst in action in France on 24 April 1918. He was transferred to No 51 Casualty Clearing Station, was initially treated at 30th General Base Hospital, Calais, and later returned to England where he received further treatment at Rose Heath VAD, Winchmore Hill, London, between 30 April and 24 May 1918. Was granted furlough between 28 September and 4 October 1918 to return to Norton from the 4th Glosters base at Seaton Delaval, Northumberland. On 11 October 1918 was found guilty of going absent without leave for 1 day from Seaton Delaval and was punished with 2 days confinement to barracks and the forfeiture of 1 day’s pay. He was again found guilty of going absent without leave on 31 December 1918 and was punished with 5 days confinement to barracks and the forfeiture of 1 day’s pay. He later complained of pain in the knee when he tried to walk far and was examined at Seaton Delaval on 27 February 1919. The Medical Board decided that he could walk well, had no wasting of the leg and that his disability was only slight, assessed at 20%. Proceeded to Chiseldon Camp on 28 February 1918, was disembodied 29 March 1919.and awarded a conditional pension for 26 weeks commencing on 30 March 1919 as a result of his knee injury.
Henry was born on 26 December 1891, son of Jeremiah Collins and Ellen, nee Pinchin. Jeremiah had married Ellen Ann Pinchin at Norton in 1876 and the earliest record of this Collins family at Norton was in 1881 when Jeremiah, a cowman and farm labourer, originally from Tirley, was living at The Green with wife Ellen and son John. In 1908 we find Jeremiah living at No 20 The Green, renting the property from the Norton Court Estate for £4 4s per annum, and in 1910 he was at Tythe Cottages, Norton. I am guessing that these were all the same property and it was the address at Norton Green that Henry used on enlistment and upon discharge. Henry was later a member of the Gloucester Conservative Benefit Society. Prior to WW1 he was employed as a gardener for Mrs Buller of Norton Court. Married 21 August 1918.
HENRY ARTHUR COOK
‘Harry’, as he was known, was born at Norton on 15 July 1897, the son of Arthur Joseph Cook and Mary Elizabeth nee Pope. The Cook family appear to have arrived at Norton from Boddington in the late 1870s and took over the tenancy of Court Farm. By 1901 Arthur had taken over the farm from his parents and Harry was there with a brother and two sisters. All were still in residence at Court Farm in 1911, about the time the following photo was taken.
Harry, standing, to the left with his family at Court Farm.
With the outbreak of the First World War Harry received a call up notice through the recruiting office in Cheltenham and on 11 January 1915 attested into the Royal Engineers as Sapper No 55775. Prior to his acceptance he had attended a medical examination at Cheltenham on 5 January when he was described as being 5ft 5ins tall, 124lb in weight, with a 32½ ins chest. He had a pale complexion, blue eyes and black hair. He was considered ‘fit for service’ and allocated to the Royal Engineers Depot Company Railway Troop at Longmoor, Hampshire. His enlistment was Short Service (three years with the colours); however, it went on to say “…unless the War lasts longer than three years, in which case you will be retained until the War is over”. His attestation document also looked on the positive side of things; “If, however, the War is over in less than three years you will be discharged with all convenient speed”. Harry recorded his civilian trade as rigger and was enlisted into the Royal Engineers Railway Troop. He was transferred to 113th Railway Company as a Sapper on 14 January and on 14 April 1915 was posted as part of the British Expeditionary Force to France.
Harry spent a week in hospital in August 1916 although neither where this was nor the reason for admittance is recorded. He spent another week in hospital over new year 1916/1917.
On 11 January 1917 he was awarded the 1st Good Conduct Badge. This was an inverted stripe worn above the left cuff and can be seen on the following photo. It was worth an additional 1d per day pay.
On 25 January 1917 Harry left 113th and was posted to join 296th Railway Company upon its formation. On 20 March 1917 he was still with 296th Railway Company when he was appointed Acting Lance Corporal (Paid) and this was made substantive from the same date; “to complete the establishment”.
Harry spent another week in hospital in late August 1918 but again no details are recorded. He also spent time at No 18 General Hospital between 31 October and 30 December 1918 before rejoining his unit on 7 January 1919.
On 28 February 1919 he was medically assessed again, whilst still in France, prior to discharge and stated that he wasn’t suffering from any disability as a result of his military service. At the time he was serving as L/Cpl, No WR/251076, No 296 Railway Company, RE.
He was sent back to the UK on 4 March 1919 and transferred to Class ‘Z’ Army Reserve on demobilisation wef 4 April 1919.
With his release from the army Harry returned to Court Farm, Norton, and married Vera Eliza Silk at St Matthews, Cheltenham, on 22 April 1925. After a time at Hill Farm, Norton, the couple took on Court Farm from his parents in 1948 where they remained until 1966, retiring from farming and moving to Evington Villa, Coombe Hill. On several occasions I have seen Harry referred to as ‘Mr Norton’ such was his good works for the village.
In 1985 the couple celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary. The Gloucester Citizen of April 1985 reported;
“Their Major Day. This week has seen a major day in the lives of 87 year old Harry Cook and his wife 89 year old Vera, when the couple celebrated their diamond wedding at their home, Evington Villa, Coombe Hill, Gloucester. Mr and Mrs Cook who have four children, nine grandchildren and four great grandchildren marked the occasion with a day long family gathering at their home. Before moving to Coombe Hill, when they retired 19 years ago, the couple farmed at Hill Farm, Norton, and then at Court Farm, Norton, where Mr Cook had been born. Mr Cook could be described as ‘Mr Norton’ such were his good works for the village. He was chairman of the Norton and Leigh Horticultural Society, and a churchwarden at St Mary’s, Norton, for 40 years as was his father before him. Along with the vicar of the day he was responsible for creating the first Norton Village Hall which has since become a popular centre for village activities. The couple were married on April 22, 1925, in St Matthew’s Church, Cheltenham. Mrs Cook is still a member of the Norton Mothers Union and Women’s Institute".
Vera died, aged 95 years on 1st August 1991 and Harry, aged 96 years, on 4 September 1993. They have a memorial in the churchyard at St Mary’s, Norton.
THE FREEMAN FAMILY
As well as the Arthur Frederick Freeman recorded earlier who was killed during the War there were at least three further members of this family who served in the army at this time.
In January 1812, a John Freeman was baptised at Bleddington in the Cotswolds, son of William Freeman, a labourer, and his wife Elizabeth. A few years later, on Christmas day 1815, his brother Joseph was also baptised at Bleddington. It is not known when the family came to Norton, but, there were her by 1838. John and Joseph both married and by 1841 we find them living with their families at Priors Norton as were their parents.
The 1851 census is a little more descriptive and we have William and Elizabeth living at High House, Priors Norton, where Elizabeth gives her place of birth as Norton, so that may have been what bought the family here in the first place. They also have a son, Benjamin, born at Norton in 1825, so maybe the family had been here a while.
John Freeman was married to Jane, of Wootton Under Edge, and was living at Worlds End, Priors Norton. They appear to have remained at Norton throughout their lives with John employed as an agricultural labourer and they were to have at least ten children amongst whom was George Edwin, born in 1857.
Joseph Freeman married Elizabeth of Norton and in 1851 they were living at Church Hill, Priors Norton. They too appear to have remained at Norton throughout their lives with Joseph employed as an agricultural labourer and they were to have at least eight children amongst whom was James, born in 1850.
George Edwin Freeman married Elizabeth Young at Norton in 1883 and in 1901 they were living at The Green, Norton, with George employed as a general labourer, and with four children including Arthur Frederick (1892) and Leonard John (1896).
James Freeman married Ellen Hughes at Norton in 1870 and by 1871 the couple were living at Twigworth with James employed as a bricklayer. By 1881 they had returned to live at Cold Elm, Norton, and in 1891 they were living at Dunsworth Farm. They were to have at least ten children including George Ernest (1883) and Sidney T (1889) and by 1901 the family had moved again to the New Inn, Longford, where father James and son George were employed as bricklayers.
Leonard John Freeman George Ernest Freeman Sydney T Freeman
George Ernest was born in 1883, son of James and Ellen Freeman. His parents married at Norton, by 1871 had moved to live at Twigworth, by 1881 had returned to live at Cold Elm, Norton, and in 1891 were living at Dunsworth Farm, Norton. By 1901 the family had moved once again to the New Inn, Longford, where father James and son George were both employed as bricklayers. When the First World War commenced in 1914 the Freeman men were not to be found wanting and several of the family including George Ernest all enlisted. I have recently been contacted by a grandson of George, Gareth Williams, who has added a few more details which I am happy to include here. “My grandfather from Norton, George Ernest Freeman, served with the Royal Engineers (Railways) in WW1, however I can find no information about his service as the Engineers records were mostly destroyed in (ironically) a WW2 air raid. The only information I can offer you is that he was a WO2 and his service number was 68578, he was gassed on the battlefield and suffered with respiratory problems for the rest of his life, eventually dying from them in 1955”. George is buried at St Mary's, Norton, but has no memorial. [Through correspondence with Gareth I have learnt where his grave lies and have been able to update my churchyard records accordingly].
THE GROVES BROTHERS
Since I began researching Norton for the History Society’s monthly publication The Journal, I have been in quite regular contact with several descendants of the Groves boys.
I met Mrs Riddick, the sister of Pvte James Edward Groves recorded on the memorial approximately 14 years ago at which time she was aged 97 years, and living with her daughter, Averil, in Dursley. The Groves family lived at Church Farm and later Ivy House Farm at Norton. Mrs Riddick remembers that at the outbreak of war one villager went around stirring up the emotions of the young men and encouraging them to enlist but when the time came did not enlist himself. As can be imagined this did not make him too popular in the village and when news of deaths started to come back to the village feelings got worse. The Groves boys wanted to join the Glosters but because there were too many volunteers they were enlisted into the Worcestershire Regiment. Jim Groves’ younger brother Edgar was serving alongside him at the time he was killed and was later captured and held prisoner, working down the mines in Westphalia, Germany. The Cheltenham Chronicle & Gloucestershire Graphic of 8 June 1918 recorded the following alongside a photo; “Pte Edgar H Groves, Worcs Regt. Officially reported missing since April 10, after nearly three years’ service abroad. Second son of Mr & Mrs J E Groves, Ivy House Farm, Norton, near Gloucester. His parents have since heard from him in Germany”.
Albert E Groves Edgar H Groves
Their eldest brother Bert also served, in the Hussars. Their father became seriously ill requiring a long spell in hospital as a consequence of which he became unable to keep the farm at Norton causing the family to leave in the early 1920s.
WILLIAM CALEB HOPKINS
Caleb Hopkins and Bertha (nee Wardle) lived near to Ivy House Farm at Church Hill, Priors Norton. Their son William Caleb (Billy) Hopkins served as a signals sergeant in the 5th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment, in France. Billy married Mary Eliza Margueritte (Madge) Mullens at Norton in 1927 at which time he was living in Linden Road, Gloucester, and they left the village moving to Twickenham later. Madge died in 2008 shortly after her 100th birthday. Fred and William Mullens were Madge’s brothers and children of James Mullens and Fanny (nee Stubbs).
THE HUGHES BROTHERS
William Hughes was born in 1860 at Norton, son of John Hughes, a labourer, and Ann, and he grew up in the village. Banns were read on 7th, 14th and 21st September and William married Eliza Ellen Cummings on 2 October 1884 at St Marks, Gloucester. At the time of their marriage they were both living at Guinea Street, Gloucester, with William employed as a labourer. In 1891 the family had returned to Norton and were living at Marlpit Cottage, and they were likely at the same address ten years later. They appear to have had 8 children but by 1911 only four were still alive; Arthur William, Henry Albert, George David and Sidney Joseph.
The eldest of these children, Arthur William, was baptised at St Mary’s, Norton, on 25 October 1885. He was still living with his parents at Cold Elm in 1911 employed as a factory labourer. At the time of his marriage he was still living at Norton and was employed as a carpenter. Married Alice Veronica Stephens at St Mary’s, Norton, on 20 February 1914 and they had one daughter Dorothy May Lorraine born on 6 January 1915. When Arthur attested into the army on 30 August 1916 at Gloucester he was living with his family at 14 Dainty Street, Gloucester, employed as a carpenter and joiner. He enlisted as Sapper, No 242130, No 16 AA Company, Royal Engineers. At the time of enlistment he underwent a medical examination at Horfield Barracks, Bristol, that described him as being 5ft 6¾ins tall, weighing 114lbs, with a 32½ins chest and poor physical development. After enlistment was sent for a trade test at Portsmouth where he was assessed as being ‘proficient’ in the trade of carpenter. Was mobilised on 6 March 1917 and on 23 March 1917 was transferred to London Electrical Engineers at Westminster still as a Sapper where he undertook another trade test at Chatham and was again assessed as being ‘proficient’ in the trade of carpenter. Was demobilised on 20 January 1919 at which time his specialist skill was recorded as an electrician, and he returned to Gloucester. Arthur was still resident at 14 Dainty Road when he died on 11 March 1939 although his place of death was recorded as Estcourt Road. On 10 July 1939 Administration was granted at Gloucester to his widow for his effects totalling £453 6s.
William and Eliza’s next son, Henry Albert, was born on 2 December 1886 and was baptised on 23 January 1887 at St Mary’s, Norton, where he grew up in the family home at Cold Elm. At the time of his marriage Henry was living at Norton employed as a grocer’s assistant. Banns were read on 4th, 11th and 18th July at St Mary’s, Norton, and Henry married Kate Barrow at St Andrews, Whitminster, Gloucs, on 2 August 1915. Kate was born in 1891, the daughter of Andrew Barrow, a labourer, and at the time of marriage was living at Whitminster employed as a domestic servant. After their marriage they lived at 36 Coney Hill Road, Gloucester, with Henry employed as a grocer’s porter. They were to have at least two children Henry Arthur (1916) and Thomas John (1920). On 6 December 1915, Henry enlisted into the army but I can find no record of his service. On 3 September 1917 he transferred to being Private, No 2435, in the Royal Marines, at their Depot at Deal. Henry was 5ft 6¼ ins tall. On 26 October 1917 Henry was posted to the 1st Reserve Battalion, Royal Marine Light Infantry and on 4 January 1918 he passed 1st Class Musketry Course. On 22 January 1918 he was posted as part of the British Expeditionary Force to France where he remained until 23 September 1918. His name does not appear on the Commonwealth War Graves Debt of Honour as having died during the war and Henry appears to have died at Gloucester in 1926 aged 39 years.
Third son was George David and he is documented under the article for the village War memorial.
William and Eliza's youngest surviving son was Sidney Joseph, born at Norton on 8 April 1894 and is also believed to have served during the First World War but no service record has been confirmed for him. It is said that he served with 2/5th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment, was batman to an officer, and was gassed at the Third Battle of Ypres. [The 2/5th Battalion were at the Third Battle of Ypres in 1917].
The British Army medal index cards 1914-1920 include a record for a Private, No 4585, later No 241535, Sidney J Hughes, Gloucestershire Regiment, which could be ‘our’ man. Further checking with the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum reveals that this person actually served with the 2/5th Battalion making it more likely that this was ‘our’ Sidney. The Gloucester Journal records that an S J Hughes of Norton enlisted into the 5th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment (Depot Company), in November 1915. Sidney returned to Norton after the war, married Louisa Mary Stephens at St Mary’s, Norton, in 1919, and raised a family in the village over the following years. Sidney died in 1955.
Descendants of Sidney Joseph Hughes were told that both of his brothers (George and Henry) were killed during the war and it is of course possible that their death, coming so shortly after the end of the war, were related to wounds received during service.
HORACE RALPH EDGAR JAMES
Horace was born in 1898 and was the son of Ralph James and Laura (nee Simmons) who were innkeepers at The Red Lion Inn, Wainlode, at the time of his birth. Not too much is known about Horace’s military service except that he joined the Royal Navy and appears to have spent much of the war serving aboard HMS Valiant. He kept up correspondence with Mary Esther Cook of Court Farm, Norton, throughout the War. A postcard dated August 1918 indicates that he was posted with HMS Exmouth at Devonport. After the War Horace and Mary were married at St Mary’s, Norton, in 1924 at which time Horace was employed as a fitter and was living at Skewen, South Wales.
Over the last year or so I have been in correspondence with Bryan James, a nephew of Ralph, who has added a few more details about him. “Horace James was my father’s elder brother and was an interesting character. A Schoolboy rugby international [wing threequarter] champion sprinter and swimmer [held several records for his age group.] He became chief safety officer at the big oil refinery near Neath. He had a driving licence when he had a motor bike briefly in the 20’s. The licence in those days covered both bikes and cars – and he kept renewing it until he retired when he bought his first car – [a mini]. He taught himself to drive [he had the licence!!] and used to bomb around Skewen, Neath and the Mumbles like Jenson Button. He took my wife and I on a trip round the local beauty spots once and we had our eyes shut most of the time! I gather he finished WW1 as senior Chief Petty Officer on the Flagship. Not bad for a someone in their early 20’s – he used to say that made him the ‘senior Chief Petty Officer in the Royal Navy’ but he said it with the sort of grin that made you wonder if you were not having your leg pulled – he was great joker”. [Bryan James, 2018]
The reference that he may have been a schoolboy rugby international caught my attention and I have now discovered that this was indeed the case. The Gloucester Journal newspaper of 9 March 1912 reported; “Schools Rugby International. Gloucester Boys Honoured. The annual Rugby International match between the schoolboys of England and Wales is being played today at Cardiff. Two Gloucester boys had the honour of being selected to play for England, viz, Horace James and Fred Davies. … James attends the National School, London-road, and lives at Wainloads Hill. He is a well-made lad, being 5ft 3ins in height, and turning the scale at 8st 3lbs. James has shown splendid form at three-quarter for his school team this season, and has scored 25 tries in ten matches. He takes and gives passes accurately, and is clever at ‘feinting’. Besides being a fast runner, James is a good swimmer, and has been a member of the school (relay) running and swimming teams”.
HUBERT GEORGE JAMES
Born in 1883. Married Mary Maud Golsworthy on 20 July 1904 at Cardiff and by 1916 had three children; Hubert (15 April 1907), Leonard William (25 May 1909) and Ernest Roy (16 January 1916).
At the time of his enlistment in 1916 he was living at 52 Mount Stewart Square, Cardiff, employed as a storekeeper and waterman with Red Hand Compositions Ltd. He was described as being 5ft 77/8 ins tall, weighed 117lbs, with a 33 ½ ins chest. He had a scar on the middle finger of his left hand. Attested at Cardiff on 10 August 1916 as Sapper, No 208213, Inland Water Transport Corps, Royal Engineers. Upon entry he was classified as a ‘pioneer’ on 13 November 1916 he was upgraded to ‘proficient’. On 30 April 1917 was posted with British Expeditionary Force to France as a clerk with ‘skilled’ engineers pay. On 30 October 1917 was raised to ‘superior’ engineers pay in the trade of waterman. On 30 April 1919 he was again upgraded to ‘very superior’. Was granted 28 days furlough upon his return to the UK from France and was transferred to Class Z Army Reserve on 20 November 1919 as Sapper, No WR503894, 18th Company, Royal Engineers. His specialist military qualification was recorded as being constitution work and he was ordered to report back to Longmoor, Hants, in case of emergency. Gives his discharge address as 40 Oxford Street, Roath, Cardiff.
WILLIAM HERBERT LONGNEY
Born in approximately 1879 at Newent, son of William and Susannah (nee Price). By 1901 the family had moved to Norton and were living near The Green, probably in the cottage where the family were to remain for many years, Park Cottage. William Jnr was employed as a bricklayer’s labourer. William married Edith Ann Trigg in April 1903 at St Mary’s, Norton, and over the coming years they were to have six children; Thomas William(1904), William Albert(1906), Walter Jabez(1907), Susannah Edith(1908), Florence Mary(1911) and ? Frederick(1913).
When war broke out William was employed at Norton as a bricklayer. On 30 August 1916 he enlisted into the 13th Devonshire Regiment as Private No 44014 for the ‘duration of the war’. He doesn’t appear to have seen any active service overseas and on 26 October 1918 he was posted to a Labour Centre from No 599 Agricultural Company, Horsfield Barracks, Bristol. On 3 November 1918 he was transferred to the 38th Battalion, Dorset Regiment, as Private No 44867, and was posted to Weymouth. On 6th March 1919 he proceeded to Dispersal Centre, Chiseldon, and on 17th March was transferred to the Class Z Army Reserve on demobilisation.
A E LYNE
The Gloucester Journal of March 1918 also refers to another Norton connection :-
“Mrs Lyne, 33 Barton Street, Gloucester, has received official intimation that her husband, Sgt A E Lyne, Reserve MLI, has arrived in Holland from Germany for internment. Sgt Lyne who in civil life was chauffeur to Capt. G N Walker was taken prisoner at Antwerp nearly 31/2 years ago”
FREDERICK GEORGE MULLENS
Fred was born at Norton in 1896 and was the son of James Mullens and Fanny (nee Stubbs). At the time of his birth his parents were living at The Gardens where his father was employed as gardener at Norton Court.
Fred enlisted at Gloucester as No 11497 in the 7th (Service) Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment. He trained as a signaller at Blackdown Camp, Aldershot, before setting sail with the Regiment for the Middle East. He saw action at Gallipoli, Egypt, Mesopotamia and Persia. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal and was discharged as a sergeant whilst serving on policing duties at the Black Sea, Russia, on 20 May 1919.
With the arrival of World War II, Fred enlisted again as Sergeant, No D/40751, in the 8th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment, on 18 March 1940 and served as a radio/signals instructor. He was finally discharged on 10 February 1945.
The above photograph was taken in India in 1917 whilst on R&R leave from Mesopotamia. Fred married Margaret Emily (Peggy) Parker in 1921 and they lived all of their married lives at Yew Tree Cottage, Norton.
WILLIAM HENRY NORTON MULLENS
Born at Norton in 1898, the son of James Mullens and Fanny Stubbs and was known as Harry and later Bill. Lived in Norton until the late 1920s when he married Winifred Eleanor in Trowbridge.
Harry pictured at Norton with sister Madge.
Became Manager of Lloyds Bank in Trowbridge and later in Gloucester. Lived in Painswick where he remained until his death in 1985.
GEORGE WILLIAM NEWSTEAD
George William Newstead was born in December 1879 at Wickmere, Norfolk. He married Kate Louise Green at Zion Chapel, Tisbury, Wilts, in April 1904, and over the coming years they had three children whose places of birth tells the story of their frequent movements; Cecil Francis George(1904) at Fonthill Gifford, Salisbury, Dorothy Kathleen(1910) at Hall Court, Botley, Hants, and Edith Mary(1915) at which time the family had arrived in Norton and were living at The Lodge, Norton Court, where father George was employed as the butler.
On 31st August 1916 George enlisted into the 4th Royal Berkshire Regiment as Private No 7029 for the ‘duration of the war’. From his army records it would appear that he had previously been rejected for service and on 13th September 1916 he underwent a medical examination at Gloucester. He was 5ft 4ins tall, weighed 154 lbs, had a 42 inch chest and was diagnosed as being flatfooted but ‘not sufficient to cause rejection’. On 28 October 1916 he transferred to the Oxford and Bucks Regiment and on 3rd March 1917transferred again to the Machine Gun Corps as Private No 87277. On 6th May 1917 he embarked at Folkestone bound for Boulogne, on 7th May reported to the Machine Gun Corps Base Depot at Camiers, France, and on 1st June he joined No 50 Company in the field. On 1st February 1918 he was appointed Unpaid Lance Corporal and on 1st March was granted leave to go to the UK through Boulogne and upon his return to France he was appointed Paid Lance Corporal on 12th April. On 19th January 1919 he travelled to Chiseldon via Le Havre aboard SS Charles for demobilisation and was struck off the strength of the Expeditionary Force. On 18th February 1919 he was transferred to the Army Reserve Class Z.
ALFRED WILLIAM OAKLEY
Alfred was born at Norton in 1885, son of William Oakley and Clara nee Burrop, of Norton Green. He married Edith Bunner on 28 March 1910 at Tewkesbury Baptist Chapel and by 1916 he was living at 299 Barton Street, Gloucester, employed as a builder, carpenter and joiner. On 29 August 1916, Alfred Oakley attested as Private, No 46005, in the 13th (Works) Battalion, Devon Regiment. On 1 September 1916 he had a medical examination at Horfield Barracks, Bristol, at which time he was described as being 5ft 8ins tall, weighed 118lbs, and had a 34ins chest. On 24 February 1917 was transferred to No 32 Infantry Works Company and on 28 April 1917, was transferred again, as Private, No 171829, to 310th H S Works Company, where he was employed as a carpenter. On 22 May 1917 he was medically downgraded to category B1. On 13 December 1917, in the rank of Corporal, he was tested in the workshops of Army Ordnance Department, HM Gunwharfe, Devonport, and proved himself to be a ‘fair’ carpenter. On 18 April 1918 was examined at No 1 Travelling Medical Board, Gloucester, and placed back in medical category A, although his record states that he was subject to attacks of valvular disease. Having been medically upgraded he was transferred from Gloucester back to his Company, 3rd Reserve Battalion, Dorset Regiment, Wyke Regis, Weymouth, on 19 April 1918. His conduct at Gloucester was assessed as ‘exemplary’. He was later transferred as Private, No 40251, to the Dorset Regiment. On 12 July 1918 he qualified as a first class shot at Wyke Regis and on 7 August 1918 was posted to the British Expeditionary Force, France. Arrived at Rouen, France, on 11 August 1918 and on 20 August was posted to 6th Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment, Rouen. He was posted into the field on 31 August 1918 where he remained until 4 December when he was admitted to hospital at No 21 Casualty Clearing Station suffering from influenza. Transferred to No 5 General Hospital, Rouen, on 9 December and to No 2 Convalescent Depot, Rouen, on 23 December. On 5 January 1919 he returned to 6th Battalion in the field. On 2 February 1919 he was examined at Frucourt, The Somme, France, prior to discharge from 6th (S) Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment. On 6 February 1919 his time in France was complete and he embarked from Rouen to return to Chiseldon. On 9 February 1919 was granted 28 days furlough and on 9 March 1919 he was transferred to Class Z Army Reserve on demobilization at Exeter and returned to 299 Barton Street, Gloucester. Was awarded the British War and Victory medals.
CLINTON DANIEL PHELPS
Clinton was born at Edgbaston in 1897, the son of Henry Humpidge Phelps and Sarah Hannah nee Gill. Father Henry originated from Rudford, Glos, and mother Sarah from Tiverton, Devon, and the two of them had married at Newnham in 1887. In 1901 the family were living at 102 Varma Road, Edgbaston, Warks, where Henry was employed as a fruit merchant. By 1911 the family had moved to 17 Speedwell Road, Birmingham, where Henry was still a fruit merchant (dealer) and Clinton was now attending school. Henry traded at Smithfield Market, Birmingham.
Clinton’s first employment was as a clerk with Abstainers and General Insurance Co Ltd, 142 Edmund Street, Birmingham, but with the outbreak of the First World War he enlisted into the Warwickshire Yeomanry as Pvte No 3174 on 11 November 1914. At the time of his enlistment he was 5ft 4½ ins tall and had a 32½ ins chest, when fully expanded. Although enlisting as No 3174, he appears to have also been allocated No 311038.
Clinton was posted for duty on 12 November 1914 and on 23 October 1915 he embarked at Devonport bound for Mudros on the Greek island of Lemnos arriving on 6 November 1915 before reaching his final destination of Alexandria, Egypt, on 28 November. Throughout 1916 and 1917 Clinton was briefly admitted to hospital on 12 occasions; once at Sahia, three times at El Ballah, at Kantara, Bir el-Abd, Maraket, Arish, and some ‘in the field’, all I believe in the Suez Canal zone. His complaints included appendicitis, venom from a sting insect and several occurrences of constipation.
Clinton finally left this part of the world when he embarked at Alexandria on 17 June 1918 arriving back in Europe at Taranto, Italy, on 21 June. Apparently the ship he was travelling on was sunk by a German U-boat and survivors were rescued and returned to shore by a Japanese destroyer. Upon arrival in Europe Clinton was compulsorily transferred from the Warwickshire Yeomanry to the Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) for the period of the war, in his present rank at Cavalry rates of pay with effect from 13 June 1918. He was allotted his third service number of the war, No 164837, and posted to B Battalion, MGC. Good news arrived shortly after this when the OC 100Bn MGC granted Clinton leave to the UK between 31 August and 14 September 1918, rejoining his unit in the field on 18 August.
On 10 October 1918 he was injured at Le Cateau, France, where he received a gunshot wound that resulted in an injury to the head and a compound fracture to the 2nd and 3rd metacarpals of the right hand. He was immediately sent to No 41 Casualty Clearing Station, in the field, then on 12 October to No 5 General Hospital, Rouen, where he stayed for 4 days before being repatriated to the UK aboard Hospital Ship Formosa on 16 October. He received surgery on the wound at the time and the injury was eventually to result in a medical discharge. On 8 April 1919, whilst still serving with No 110 Machine Gun Corps, Clinton was given the opportunity to make a statement concerning his case. He stated that he had served in Egypt and Palestine between October 1915 and June 1918 then he served in France until October 1918, all service apparently with the Warwickshire Yeomanry and Machine Gun Corps. He had been at 2nd Western General Hospital, Manchester, between 16 October 1918 and 27 March 1919 when his injury was recorded as gunshot wound to head and hand Five other hospitals in Manchester and Rochdale were listed where he had received treatment for his injury prior to attending 1st Southern General Hospital, Edgbaston, on 28 March 1919.
On 12 April 1919 a medical report was put together prior to his discharge which stated that his hand had healed but that his fingers couldn’t be flexed more than halfway nor could they be extended at the inter phalangeal joints. He also had another injury that caused him to tremble. The report concluded that the state of the disability to the right hand should ease in six months.
On 15 April 1919 he was finally discharged under Para 392 (XVI) of King’s Regulations as ‘no longer physically fit for war’. A summary of his military services states that he had served in the UK between 11 November 1914 and 22 October 1915, Expeditionary Force Egypt between 23 October 1915 and 22 May 1918, ‘en-route’ with British Expeditionary Force between 26 May 1918 and 15 October 1918, then back in the UK between 16 October 1918 and 15 April 1919. This gave him a total of 4 years and 156 days in the army to qualify towards a pension. He gave his address on discharge as 17 Speedwell Road, Edgbaston; his parents home prior to the war.
Clinton was awarded the Silver War Badge, issued to those who were discharged due to wounds or sickness, in 1921 and the following certificate stating that he had ‘Served with honour and was disabled in the Great War’.
After the war Clinton married Edna Keen at Haresfield in 1926 and had two children; Michael and Judith. Clinton and family arrived at Norton in 1930 when they took over the tenancy of Yew Tree Farm where he was to remain for the rest of his life. Wife Edna died in 1990, her husband Clinton Daniel in 1992 and both share a memorial at St Mary’s, Norton. Yew Tree Farm passed to Clinton’s son Michael and more recently Michael’s son Jeremy took over the reins.
WILLIAM THOMAS PIFF
William Thomas, was born on 16 June 1895 at Norton, son of Thomas Piff and Sarah Ann nee Calcutt. His father Thomas died when William was only 7 years old and he grew up in the household of his mother at Bradley Cottages, near The Green, Norton. William served with the army during the First World War returning to Norton after the conflict ended. In 1922 he married Ethel Margaret Taylor at St Mary de Crypt, Gloucester, and they were to have three children; Arthur, Ronald and Betty.
William Thomas Piff at 23 Bradley Cottages, Norton
In 1925 he signed an agreement with the Norton Court Estate to allow his mother to continue residing at 23 Bradley Cottages, at a yearly rent of £5 12s 6d. His mother Sarah died in 1939 and still has a memorial in the churchyard at St Mary’s, along with her husband. During the 1940s it appears that William took on some responsibility for the maintenance of the churchyard.
The following are some memories of her time at Norton that their daughter Betty has shared with us; “William worked at Norton Court as a labourer and also looked after some livestock. Betty (born 22/06/1928) remembers going to the Norton Court house at Christmastime to sing carols and when the door was opened the singers were given an orange each. At Bradley Cottages, William had a large garden where he kept pigs and bantams and also grew a variety of vegetables; potatoes, carrots, greens, peas, rhubarb, along with apple, plum and pear trees. Betty loved apple pies made from the Blenheim apples on Sundays. The pigs were fed on boiled potatoes, which Ron, the middle brother, would help himself to, as a young boy he would always be hungry. The pigs were walked to Gloucester market and half a pig would be hung up in the kitchen resulting in lovely liver and bacon meals. Even the fat from fried bacon spread on bread was a treat. William also grew flowers… just for the garden and not to be picked for the house much to Maggie's dismay. The toilet was in the garden. William would dig a trench and inside the shed would be a long plank of wood with two holes; one for adults and one for children ! No toilet tissue, just newspaper that you ripped up yourself. Near the front door of the cottage was a water pump and a big stone which was sat on and the neighbours, the Hoopers, would chat to the Piffs”.
William’s garden must have given him pride and at the village horticultural show in 1948 he won the largest number of prizes. William died in 1959 and was interred at Norton. Wife Ethel followed him in 1976, living at that time in Cheltenham, and they still have a memorial together in St Mary’s churchyard.
William Preston was most likely related to the Preston family of Norton Mill although when he married Dorothy Wheeler at Norton in 1915 he was recorded as a soldier of Chelmsford; perhaps this is just where he was stationed at that time. Indeed I have seen a postcard sent to Pvte Percy Marston Simmons dated September 1914 addressed to 5th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment, c/o Alma House, Chelmsford, which suggests that William Preston may have been serving in the same Battalion.
Walter Rogers was born in September 1882 at Llanelli. He married Emily Creefe at Llanelli in 1914 and by the following year they had arrived at Norton and were living at High House, near the church, where Walter was employed a motor mechanic and driver for JRPope, Milliners, Westgate Street, Gloucester.
On 31st May 1915 he attested into the Royal Army Service Corps (Motorised Transport) as Private No M2/102141. He attended an initial medical examination at which time he was 5ft 7ins tall, had a 39ins chest, brown eyes and a tattoo on his right arm.
On 5th April 1916 he embarked at Southampton aboard SS Queen Alexandra to Rouen, to the 8th GHQ Ammunition Park, 341 Company. He was posted to 207 GHQ Ammunition Park on 10th January 1917 and to 51st Auxiliary Bus MT Company on 28 January 1917. Further postings to No 15 Auxiliary Bus Company on 27 February 1917 and to 51st Auxiliary Bus Company on 16 October 1917 where he appears to have remained until 20th November 1918. He had a period of furlough between 21st November and 5th December 1918 before returning to France until 3rd February. He remained in the RASC(MT) until 12th March 1919. In September 1916 he invested £3 2s of his wages in War Savings Certificates through the pay office of 8th Ammunition Park RASC(MT).
Walter also had disciplinary problems during his service. Whilst at Abingdon on 28th June 1915 he was found guilty of “making a wilfully false statement to a military officer by wish in respect of prolongation of furlough (Confirmed by Police letter)”. He was sentenced to 7 days No 2 Field Punishment, which briefly was hard labour in excess of his normal duties. On 25th September 1915, whilst still at Abingdon, he was charged with being absent from 08:55 parade and was sentenced to 7 days imprisonment. He appears to have cleaned up his act after this and on 31st May 1917 he was awarded a Good Conduct Badge. On 17 December 1917, however, perhaps his worst offence of all, occurring whilst in the field, was the disobedience of camp orders by “failing to have a lighted lamp under the bonnet of his lorry”. He was fined 5 day’s pay.
He appears to have suffered with influenza throughout his service in France and reported to hospital in Rouen on two occasions for treatment whilst he was with 3rd Water Tank Column and it was this that ended his time there. On 4th March 1919 he was invalided to England aboard Hospital Ship Panama. His influenza occurred again after the war when, on 19th February 1919, he was admitted to hospital on Dudley Road, Birmingham. At this time he stated that he hadn’t had any such problems prior to his enlistment.
ALBERT JOHN STEPHENS
Albert served in the army during the Boer War and his full service record is recorded there. With the commencement of the First World War Albert enlisted again for four years’ service with effect from 5 March 1914 at Aston, Warwicks. He was embodied on 5 August 1914, promoted to Temporary Corporal on 2 September 1914 and confirmed in the rank from the same date. Was posted to the British Expeditionary Force, France, between 22 March 1915 and 15 November 1916 when he returned to the UK. Although the records are not clear he would appear to have been Court Martialed again on 31 July 1915 for failing to appear on parade due to drunkenness and was sentenced to be reduced to the ranks, Private, and imprisoned for 3 months from 2 August 1915. Returned to British Expeditionary Force, France, between 11 June 1917 and 9 January 1918. Between 10 January and 20 March 1918 was posted sick and on 16 February 1919 was disembodied on demobilization at Warwick. In recognition of his two periods of overseas service he was entitled to wear three blue chevrons.
There are many Stubbs recorded on the above list. Edward would have been Enoch Edward, son of Enoch Edward and Eliza (nee Hamblett) of Twigworth. Edward was living at Smithfield Cottage, Norton, in March 1915 when he enlisted into the Grenadier Guards. Charles and Percy Stubbs were two of his brothers. Herbert William Stubbs was the son of Francis Herbert and Eliza-Ann (nee Hancock) and the brother of Harold Stubbs, remembered on the Memorial. The Gloucester Journal of April 1918 recorded the following :-
“CAPT STUBBS SERIOUSLY WOUNDED. Mrs Stubbs, wife of Capt Stubbs, RFA, of Newton, Aschurch, nr Tewkesbury, has been informed that her husband was in hospital having undergone an operation for a shrapnel wound in the thigh from which he was slowly recovering. Capt Stubbs has had about twelve years service. At the outbreak of war he was in the police force at Newcastle. He rejoined his regiment in 1914 and has been in France the whole time. Early in the war he was mentioned in dispatches and quickly gained promotion in the ranks until he attained his present position. He is the second son of Mr and Mrs Stubbs, now of Strensham, formerly of Norton, near Gloucester, who have previously lost one of their sons during the war”.
GEORGE NORTON WALKER
The George Walker on the list is assumed to be George Norton Walker for so many years of Norton Court. The Gloucester Citizen of 27th December 1956 carried the following report; “One of Gloucestershire’s best known landowners and business directors, Captain George Norton Walker, died at his home, Courtfield, Charlton Kings, on Christmas Eve, aged 85. Captain Walker, who moved to Charlton Kings from Norton Court, near Gloucester, four years ago, was a director of Price Walker and Company, the well-known firm of timber importers of Gloucester, for 60 years. He was chairman of directors for about 50 years and when he retired from that office a few years ago he remained on the board. Another important county undertaking with which Captain Walker was associated was the Gloucester and Sharpness Dock Company of which he was a director until it was nationalized. As a young man Capt Walker became an officer in the 1st Gloucestershire Royal Engineer Volunteers and in the First World War he served with the 4th/5th Gloucesters and then in Bermuda with the East Yorkshire Regiment. Captain Walker inherited from his father the extensive Norton Court estate which had been bought by his grandfather nearly 100 years ago and he largely devoted himself to the pursuits and affairs of the countryside. He was very keen on shooting and fishing and took a great interest in forestry maintaining the woodlands at Norton.
He was churchwarden at Norton for about 30 years and for many years served on the Diocesan Board of Finance. Since moving to Charlton Kings he was a regular churchgoer there, last attending service only a fortnight ago. Captain Walker’s first wife died in 1906 and he is survived by his second wife. The only son by the first marriage is Major C S Norton Walker”.
ERNEST EDWARD GREEN
The Green family were resident in Norton from at least 1831 when a John Green, son of Henry Green of Barnwood, was born. In the early 1860s John married Mary Ann from Ashleworth and in 1871, along with their five children; Laura, Ellen, Henry James, Herbert F and Ernest Edward, they were in residence at Norton House Farm.
John Green was still on the Norton electoral roll in 1879 but by 1881 the family had temporarily left Norton and were living at Whitfield Court, Apperley, farming 412 acres. By 1889 Norton Farm was occupied by Henry James Green and with father John Green dying on August 15th 1890 aged 61 years by 1891 Mary Ann Green, now a widow, was living at Norton Farm with her son Ernest. By 1897 Norton House Farm was briefly being referred to as The Elms and Mrs Mary Ann Green, widow of John, was still recorded as the farmer with Ernest Edward Green recorded as running hunting stables at the farm. In 1901 we find Ernest Edward Green living with his brother Henry James Green and wife Mary along with a sister Ellen Green at Hillend Lodge, Longdon, Worcs where Henry was a farmer and Edward was recorded as having no occupation.
Edward disappears off our radar at this time until reappearing on 23rd November 1915 when he attested into the Canadian Expeditionary Force as No 183446 at Calgary. At this time his date of birth was given as 26 January 1871, his occupation was recorded as horse trainer and his next of kin was recorded as his mother, Mary Ann Green, who was then living at Inglenook, Churchdown. His medical examination at Calgary in March 1915 reported that he was 5ft 10ins tall, had a 37½ inch chest, fair complexion, brown hair and eyes.
Unfortunately we have no idea what happened to Edward Green during or after the War.