Thursday, June 08, 2006

More on Chailey's First World War Dead

Lieutenant Gerald Sclater Ingram, killed in action on 21st October 1914, was Chailey's first fatality. He was connected to the parish by dint of the fact that at one stage he had lived at Ades mansion on Cinder Hill but he had almost certainly moved away from Chailey some years before the war started. Ten days after Lieutenant Ingram was killed, Private Charles Wood of the 2nd King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry was also killed in action. Charles had been born in Chailey in 1889 but the parish magazine did not add his name to its Roll of Honour until May 1918. Four days after Charles Wood was killed, Trooper Frederick Drummond of the East African Mounted Rifles was killed in a skirmish in the Longido Hills, Africa. A brass plaque in the now redundant St Mary's Church in Chailey records his sacrifice.

Six Chailey men lost their lives in 1915. In 1916, 13 more men were killed and in 1917, another 17 men died. In 1918, Chailey suffered its worst year of the war with 20 men being killed in action or dying of sickness or wounds. That brought the total to 59. In 1920, with the war memorial on Chailey Village Green almost completed, Frederick Albert Jonathon Wood, formerly of the Army Veterinary Corps, died of either a war related injury or sickness (I have been unable to determine which). His name was added to the Roll.

The blackest months for the parish were August and September. In later years, parishioners would remember 18 men who died between 4th August and 29th September. George Turner of the 9th Royal Sussex Regiment and Robert Jessop of the 1st Rifle Brigade died on 23rd August; George in 1916, Robert in 1918. Arthur Snelling of the King's Royal Rifle Corps and Thomas Chatfield of the Lancashire Fusiliers were both killed towards the end of the war on 25th August 1918 while Charles Jarrett Willey of the 12th Suffolk Regiment and Frederick Heasman of the 13th MGC, Australian Imperial Force were both killed on 26th September 1917. Frederick is commemorated on the Menin Gate at Ypres, Charles on the Thiepval Memorial on the Somme.

United by their parish, a number of Chailey's men are also united in death. William Brazier, Alfred Bird, Frederick Smith, John Ford, Charles Buckwell and William Spice are all commemorated on the Arras Memorial. Robert Jessop and George Trayton Washer are commemorated on the Loos Memorial, Frederick Heasman and Gerald Ingram on the Menin Gate at Ypres; Cecil Langridge and Sidney Bristow on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial; Albert Thompsett, Edward Wells and Alexander Plummer on the Pozieres Memorial and Harry Gates, Frederick Cottingham, Thomas Wood, George and Henry Saunders and Charles Willey on the Thiepval Memorial on The Somme. No fewer than 27 of Chailey's men have no known grave.

In future years, the loss of Chailey's men would be keenly felt both by their families and their parish; a story repeated in villages, towns and cities throughout the United Kingdom.

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