Latest and Recent News

3rd July 2002.   Commemorative VAD plaque damaged.   The ceramic plaque at the site of the old St John Hospital used in the Great War (originally the Council Schools in Gloucester Road, then The Cheltenham Technical High School then, finally, the Cheltenham & Gloucester College of Higher Education Annex) was found to be damaged after its apparent attempted removal by persons unknown.   Local lady Mrs Mary Nelson, reported the damage to Friends Of War Memorials and others, who managed through the town council to get the plaque boarded up to save it from further damage until a decision is made for its future.   The plaque has been subsequently transferred to Cheltenham Museum for safekeeping and a grant of 250 for its restoration was secured from the FOWM.

 

 

5th July 2002.  Long lost Roll of Honour is discovered.   On Friday 5th July 2002 whilst casually searching the old Church of St James, Suffolk Square, Cheltenham, a church redundant for over 30 years and currently being used as a church hall, Dave James literally stumbles across a Great War Roll of Honour listing 42 Cheltonians who gave their lives.   Sadly the ROH was in a neglected state and lying on the floor propped up against a wall.   However, contact has been made with the church authorities who will, hopefully, arrange for the Roll to be restored and we expect it to be returned to the public domain probably in St Philips and St James Church, Leckhampton.   By 3rd December 2002 the ROH was transferred, as expected, to the St Philip & St James Church for safe keeping.  

11th September 2002.   Unveiling ceremony.   The unveiling ceremony of a plaque to Major Richard WILLIS, VC, at Cheltenham Crematorium is attended.   He was awarded the VC for outstanding bravery on W Beach, Cape Helles, Gallipoli on 25th April 1915.

Major Willis was an adopted Cheltonian, moving to the Cotswolds after WW2.   He spent the last 8 years of his life at the Lillian Faithfull Home in Suffolk Square Cheltenham.   He died in Cheltenham on 9th February 1966 and was cremated in Cheltenham Crematorium.

 

 

12th March 2003.   Denis Artus, grandchild of Sgt Ernest Richard Artus, who was serving with 10th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment when he was killed in action on 25th September 1915, the first day of The Battle of Loos.   Cheltenham lost 44 of its native and adopted sons on that day.   Denis is reading the book "In The Shadow Of Lone Tree - The Ordeal Of Gloucestershire Men At The Battle Of Loos - 1915" by Nick Christian.

 

2nd November 2003.   A simple wooden remembrance cross, on the site's behalf, is placed in the Cheltenham Garden of Remembrance next to the Borough War Memorial.   The cross commemorates  Charles Henry William Pearce who was killed in action in Mesopotamia on 10th February 1917 serving with 7th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment.

 

The Garden of Remembrance is prepared next to the Cheltenham War Memorial every year in early November to allow for families, friends, service organisations and others to remember the dead of any conflict.

 

Our cross is the first in the Gloucestershire Regiment section but all sections will be full to overflowing by the time of the Remembrance Day Parade in the Promenade on Sunday 9th November 2003.

 

 

9th November 2003.   The Friends of War Memorials is represented at the wreath laying ceremony at Cirencester (St John The Baptist Church) War Memorial, on Remembrance Sunday.

The war memorial had very recently undergone conservation and repair funded, in part, by the FOWM.

The inclement weather did not spoil a moving ceremony attended by the young and old alike.

9th May 2004.   The Friends of War Memorials is represented at a parade and wreath laying ceremony at Quedgeley War Memorial.

The war memorial had very recently undergone conservation and repair funded, in part, by the FOWM.

 

 

25th July 2004.   Allan and Anne Davis are photographed at the Cheltenham War Memorial.   The Davis's, native Australians, had discovered through the website that two of Allan's ancestors are commemorated on the War Memorial and decided to visit Cheltenham during a European tour.  The tour concluded with a visit to the War Memorial and the laying of a wreath in memory of Cpl Alfred Davis and Pte Ernest Davis.   The wreath laying was featured in an article which was published in the Gloucestershire Echo on 27th July 2004.   In the photo, Allan is pointing to Ernest's commemoration. In the foreground is the book "Leaving Cheltenham and All That Was Dear" by Graham Sacker and Joe Devereux, the inspiration behind the website.

18th October 2004.   Information received today from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) provides some very good news.   Last July the CWGC had been informed that Pte Lindsey had not been included in the Debt of Honour Register as an official war casualty.   A detailed case for his inclusion was prepared, supporting by documentary evidence, suggesting that his death was attributable to war service and, consequently, was entitled to an official recognition and a CWGC headstone.   The Ministry of Defence has accepted the case and William Lindsey is now recognised as a war casualty.   He is buried in Shurdington (St Paul's) Churchyard in an unmarked plot.   Further news and photos will be published in due course (see below).

 

 

16th October 2004.   A readings from 'A War in Words' - The First World War in Diaries and Letters by Svetlana Palmer and Sarah Wallis held at the Everyman Theatre Cheltenham on Saturday 16 October 2004.  Svetlana (on the left) and Sarah are relating how the project came together; this was followed by young actors reading Diary extracts from the book.  

The book is published by Simon & Schuster UK Ltd, and was recently Book of the Month at Ottakars Bookshops.

11th November 2004.   Mr Ron Lambert of Gillingham contacts the site for assistance in tracing relatives of 2Lt Gwilliam Emmanual Henry Ross of Cheltenham who was killed in action in France on 3rd July 1916, aged 25.   Mr Lambert is very keen to return Gwilliam's "Dead Man's Penny" to the family.   A notice placed in the Gloucestershire Echo by Mr Lambert fails to bring a response.    Graham Sacker, co-author of the book "Leaving All That Was Dear" is contacted.   Graham, a noted local historian and militaria collector, agrees with Mr Lambert that Gwilliam's Death Plaque should return to Cheltenham and be that it is placed in Graham's care.

Gwilliam was born in 1891 in Lymington in the New Forest and later resided at Marle Hill Parade Cheltenham. and later at 37 Clarence Square.  He married Gladys Berrow of Aurora, Cirencester Road, Cheltenham.   He was killed in action on 3rd July 1916 at La Boisselle, during the Battle of the Somme.   He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial To The Missing, France.

 

 

25th September 2005.   A service of remembrance is held at Christ Church, Cheltenham, to commemorate the 44 Cheltonians who gave their lives on 25th September 1915, the first day of the Battle of Loos.   An article was published in the "Gloucestershire Echo" on 7th April 2005 giving details of the service and requesting descendants/relatives of the fallen to contact us to seek further details of the service.   A total of 38 did make contact and attended what was an emotional and poignant service.

The picture shows those remembrance crosses laid by relatives and others in Christ Church during the service are re-laid adjacent to the Cheltenham War Memorial in the Promenade.

23rd November 2005.   A service at the Cambray Baptist Church, Cheltenham, celebrating 150 years of the Cheltenham YMCA, is attended.

Coinciding with the service was the publication of the book "Tales of the red triangle   A social and pictorial history of Cheltenham YMCA 1855 - 2005"   The author, Mr Peter Worsley, was involved in the celebrations and spoke about the book during the service.

Part of the book remembers the 33 young men associated with the Cheltenham YMCA who gave their lives in the Great War.

The book is available now in bookshops (ISBN 10 0-9551677-0-1).

 

 

27th September 2006.   The unveiling of a bronze commemorative plaque to Maj Gen Daniel Marcus Beak, VC, at the Cheltenham War Memorial   Official guests included Philippe Drouin, Vice-President of the Somme Remembrance Association and Teddy Colligan, Custodian of the 36th (Ulster Division) Tower, Thiepval Wood.

 

The Rev Lionel Fitz (President Cheltenham YMCA and Acting RBL Chaplain) leads the unveiling ceremony.   Wreaths were laid by Mayor of Cheltenham Jacky Fletcher, Philippe Drouin Vice President Somme Remembrance Association (front of picture) and Didy Grahame, VC and GC Association.

Captain RN Kevin Wilson and Brigadier Kit Jebens, CBE, read accounts of Daniel Beak's career in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve and in the South Lancashire Regiment, respectively.

28th September 2006.   Patrick and Diane Anderson of Letham, Forfar, Scotland had contacted the site and requested that they lay a commemorative cross at the grave of Lt George Frederick Delmar-Williamson in St Peter's Churchyard, Leckhampton.   Diane is related to George and wanted to say that he will never be forgotten.

George was killed in an aircraft accident on 12th July 1918 over Chippenham, Wilts.   His co-pilot, Captain Douglas Gabell of Swindon Village, was also killed in the accident.   Douglas is buried in St Lawrence's Churchyard, Swindon Village.   The cross was laid at George's grave on 28th September 2006.

 

 

November 2006.   Shurdington soldier Pte William Lindsey, who died on 17th March 1920 of wounds received in the Great War has been officially remembered.   Granted war casualty status by the Ministry of Defence in November 2004, the CWGC have erected an official headstone in Shurdington (St Paul's Churchyard) near the southern entrance gate.   As his actual final resting place could not be determined the headstone bears the inscription "Buried Elsewhere In This Churchyard".

Pte Lindsey was severely wounded in late March 1918 whilst serving with 2/5th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment, at the Battle of St Quentin during the German Operation Michael, part of their Kaiserschlacht Offensives in 1918.

He was evacuated to the UK and received hospital treatment for his wounds being eventually discharged from the Army on 28th September 1918.   He died at his home at the New Inn, Shurdington, on 17th March 1920, aged 22.

18th December 2006.   Information has been received from the CWGC that a case submitted earlier in 2006 for Driver Frederick George Lodge, 5th (Reserve) Battery, Royal Field Artillery, to be classified as a war casualty has been accepted by the Ministry of Defence.   Fred Lodge was seriously injured in 1916 when he was thrown from his horse whilst serving in France, and after treatment was discharged from the Army.   He returned to the USA where he had emigrated before the Great War and subsequently died as a result of these injuries on 9th February 1920 in Boston.   He was buried in an unmarked grave in Forest Hills Cemetery, Boston.   The grave will be marked by an official headstone in due course.   Dvr Lodge is commemorated on the Cheltenham War Memorial.

The CWGC informed us on the 19th October 2007 that an official headstone had been erected on Dvr Lodge's grave in Forest Hills Cemetery.

 

 

18th December 2006.   Information has been received from the CWGC that a case submitted earlier in 2006 for Captain Edmund Marsden, 64th Pioneers, Indian Army, to be classified as a war casualty had been accepted by the Ministry of Defence.   Capt Marsden died of malaria in Myitkyina, Burma on 26th May 1915 but for some reason his name was not forwarded to the CWGC when Debt of Honour Register was complied in the 1920s.   As he lies in an unknown grave he will be remembered on a commemorative plaque which will be erected in Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma (now Myanmar).   Captain Marsden is commemorated on the Cheltenham War Memorial and on the Cheltenham College Roll of Honour.  (Special Memorial subsequently erected at Plot 27.J.2 at the Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma).
14th February 2007.   Information has been received from the CWGC that a case submitted earlier in 2006 for Private Charles Francis Fletcher Barton, 30th Australian Infantry Battalion, to be classified as a war casualty had been accepted by the Australian authorities.   Pte Barton died of TB, contracted whilst on active service, on 28th July 1917 and he is buried in Rookwood Necropolis, Sydney, NSW.   A small plaque, indicating his military service, will be placed on his gravestone.   Pte Barton is commemorated on the Cheltenham War Memorial.

 

1st March 2007.   Information has been received from the CWGC that a case submitted earlier in 2006 for Private Robert Browell Chiverton, Royal Army Medical Corps, to be classified as a war casualty had been accepted by the Ministry of Defence.   Pte Chiverton died of illness on 24th February 1917 after discharge from the Army in July 1916.   He had enlisted into the Army on 10th September 1914 and by December 1914 he was serving with the RAMC in France.   He developed TB in 1916, was medically discharged on 8th July 1916 and went to live with his sister Ethel Leadbetter in Enfield.   He was buried in Lavender Hill Cemetery, Enfield, in Plot 102B.   Pte Chiverton is commemorated on the Wesleyan Church Roll of Honour and his father, Mr Frank Chiverton, resided at 18 Clarence Street, Cheltenham.

 

10 July 2007.   Information has been received from the CWGC that a case submitted earlier in 2007 for Private Charles Ernest James BROOKES to be classified as a war casualty had been rejected by the Ministry of Defence.   Pte Brookes died of illness in Cheltenham on 17th October 1915 after discharge from 11th (Reserve) Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment on 9th September 1915.   He had enlisted into the Army on 26th June 1915 and during training in Belhus Park, Aveley, near Purfleet he was diagnosed with TB and discharged to the Cranham Sanatorium.   He died at his home at 3 Ambrose Street, Cheltenham, on 17th October 1915 and is buried in Plot L/16527 in Cheltenham Cemetery, which remains unmarked.   Pte Brookes is commemorated on the Holy Trinity Church War Memorial and on the Holy Trinity School War Memorial.   His parents, Alfred Henry and Mary Ann Brookes, resided at 8 Sherbourne Street, Cheltenham.

 

15 November 2007.   Information has been received from the CWGC that a case submitted in February 2005 for Cpl Douglas CLEE to be classified as a war casualty has been accepted by the Ministry of Defence.

  

Cpl Clee died of the effects of shell shock on 3rd February 1919 in a hospital in Brentwood.   As his final resting place could not be identified his name is to be inscribed on the Brookwood Memorial.  

His parents resided at Saxony House, Pittville, and he is commemorated on the Cheltenham War Memorial and on the Cheltenham Grammar School Roll of Honour.

 

His brother, Percival Harry Clee, served with the New Zealand Army during the Great War and he died in New Zealand on 6th June 1923.   The brothers are commemorated on the family plot in Cheltenham Cemetery.

 

25th August 2010.   Information has been received from the CWGC that a case which was submitted in April 2007 for Pte Oliver ARKELL to be classified as a war casualty has been accepted by the Ministry of Defence.

  

Pte Arkell died of illness on 23rd March 1918 in Cheltenham.   His final resting was located at Plot L/2251, Cheltenham Cemetery and an official headstone will be erected here in due course.

 

His family resided at 3, Brunswick Place, St Paul's, and he is commemorated on the St Paul's Church War Memorial.

Pte Arkell enlisted into the 5th Bn Glos Regt (TF) on 26th August 1909 and was discharged from the Army due to illness whilst the battalion were training in Chelmsford for war service, on 7th January 1915.

 

In the photo on the left, taken in 1913 at the Cheltenham Air Rifle League, Pte Arkell is standing top right.

 

12th November 2010.   Information has been received from the CWGC Leamington Office that they will visit Cheltenham Cemetery to amend the official headstone of Dvr Albert Preston (Plot E.843).

Incorrect details on his stone was reported to CWGC Head Office at Maidenhead in 2007 and again to the UK Area Office at Leamington on 27th October 2010.

 

Dvr Preston's middle initial of "E" was inscribed as a "C".

  

March 2011.   Headstone has now been amended

When the headstone of Cpl Hudson, RAMC was replaced a couple of years ago, the Royal Engineers Regimental Badge instead of that of the RAMC was inadvertently inscribed on his stone.   CWGC have acknowledged the mistake and will replace the headstone in due course.

 

A photo of Cpl Hudson's headstone showing the RE badge is on the right.

 

25th September 2015.   The unveiling of Commemorative Paving Stones for Captain Arthur Forbes Gordon Kilby and Captain Anketell Moutray Read at the War Memorial in The Promenade took place at an open serviceto commemorate the opening day of the Battle of Loos.  44 Cheltenham men were killed at Loos, including two who were awarded the Victoria Cross; Captain Read and Captain Kilby.  

The Department for Communities and Local Government had commissioned commemorative paving stones to be produced for each VC recipient in WW1, to be installed by the appropriate local government where recipients were born.   The paving stones for Kilby and Moutray Read were unveiled during the service, on the centenary of the battle and their deaths. There was also an accompanying exhibition, open to the public.

Sunday 18 September 2016.  The unveiling of the newly refurbished War Memorial on the Promenade took place during The Battle of Britain Service.   It was the very first event to take place at the Memorial following a 12 week restoration, and as part of the service, new names added to the memorial were unveiled and an acknowledgment was made of the restoration work. 

The council worked with local historians to research and identify people whose names were, due to error or lack of information at the time, omitted from the war memorial.  Six people were found, who fit the criteria of being born or living in Cheltenham (under its present day boundary) at the time they joined up; who died in active service, or of wounds or illness before 31st August 1921, and who are not on any other UK memorial.  The names are:  Elizabeth Hannah Jane Roberts, (the first female to be named on the memorial); Private John George Cox; Private Leonard Ivin; Private Richard Fox; Rifleman Thomas Henry Baker and Private Alfred Belcher.  Members of the families of those men and women whose names were added to the memorial attended the service along with representatives of the regiments in which they served.  Full details can be seen here:   https://ww1cheltenham.org/2016/09/28/unveiling-of-the-newly-restored-cheltenham-war-memorial/

   

 

Page last updated:   22nd November 2016

 

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