Commemorating and remembering the lives of the men and women of Chailey, Sussex during the Great War 1914-1918 and remembering too the sick and wounded soldiers nursed by Sussex 54 VAD. This is their story.
William Ivor Grantham was born on 14th May 1898 at Cadogan Place, Chelsea,
birth registered in the district of Chelsea on 22nd June that year.His birth certificate notes that his father,
William Wilson Grantham, was a Barrister at Law living at 60 Cadogan Place, London.
on the 1901 census of England
as a two year old living at 17
Cadogan Place, London.The household comprised William Wilson
Grantham (1861-1942), his wife Sybil Grantham (1877-1952) and their two
children: William Ivor and Myrtle Irene Grantham aged eight months.William Wilson, aged 35 and born in South Norwood, had married Sybil de la Rue, twelve years his
junior, on 17th July 1897.Also noted at 17 Cadogan Place are eight domestic
servants including a nurse and under nurse employed to look after the two
appointed to a commission as second lieutenant with the 6th (Cyclist)
Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment on 25th October 1915 and seconded for duty with the 9th
Provisional Cyclists’ Company.Chailey
Parish Magazine first mentions him however, in January 1916, noting: Grantham, 2nd Lieutenant I, Royal Sussex
following month it amends that information to: Grantham, 2nd Lieutenant W I, 9th Provisional Cyclist Company.
In March 1917, Ivor’s records state that he was Restored to Establishment, meaning that his period of secondment to
the 9th Provisional Cyclists’ Company came to an end and he returned to the 6th
Royal Sussex.In the same month Chailey
Parish Magazine noted that he was serving with the 15th Royal Sussex
Regiment.It seems likely, that the 15th
Royal Sussex Regiment is a mis-transcription of the 1/5th Royal Sussex to which
he was attached and which Chailey’s parish magazine correctly notes in July
It is unclear from his surviving records, exactly when Ivor Grantham
proceeded overseas.He was however, promoted
lieutenant on 1st July 1917.In his unpublished memoirs, written for his
niece, he recalls life on the Western Front:
“… a night operation in the front line in the Ypres
salient in the autumn of 1917, at the end of which he returned to Battalion
Headquarters located in dug-outs stretched along both sides of the YserCanal.Wet through, and shivering from the cold he
decided to have a really stiff drink of rum before turning in, and knowing that
no other member of his Company’s Mess ever touched rum – nor did he usually –
he consumed the whole lot of that night’s ration for his fellow members.To reach his own dug-out to turn in for the
rest of that night, your uncle had to cross to the other side of the canal by a
narrow plank bridge.He remembers
starting to cross, sitting down on the plank half way over, and then noticing
that the sky above him and the water below appeared to be changing places.His next recollection was being told that the
Brigadier had wished to see him at that morning, but had been pleased to excuse his attendance
on learning of the events of the previous night.”
He also remembers a night fatigue in which his platoon was engaged in
carrying supplies up to the front line at Ypres
through “indescribable mud pitted with shell-holes” along a duck-board track:
“Suddenly your uncle became conscious of an extraordinary feeling - ahead
of him there appeared to be an invisible barrier, which restricted movement in
a forward direction.Following the line
of least resistance, he found that he could move to the right, at right-angles
to the track.Although unable to account
for this feeling, your uncle decided to act upon it, and word was passed back:
“Move to the right in line”.The line
became extremely ragged, and much grumbling could be heard; but all did their
best until about fifty yards had been covered.Then suddenly a salvo of shells exploded upon the duck-board track two
or three hundred yards ahead, just where the column would have been if they had
continued to move forward along the track.Your uncle’s reputation for good luck immediately became almost
unbearable, as men began volunteering for tasks which it was known would be
under his direction ; and it was a distinct relief when a week or two later he
found himself knocked out by a stray piece of shell which penetrated a certain
part of his anatomy.”
According to his surviving service record, the “certain part of his
anatomy” was his right buttock and the shell wound was sufficiently deep for
him to be classified as “very severely wounded”.He was wounded on 4th October 1917 in the Ypres
salient which means that the photo at the top of this post, according to the caption, must have been taken on the 1st October. He was:
“… carried back to a First Aid Post by stretcher bearers, assisted by his
batman, the son of a Lewes picture-frame maker, who kindly wrote to your
grandparents [William Wilson and Sybil Grantham] with details of the
event.After a week at the MilitaryHospital at Rouen your uncle made the journey home, lying
on his face, on board a Hospital-ship which took thirty hours sailing down the
river and crossing the Channel to Southampton.”
Ivor embarked for England on 9th October and disembarked at Southampton
the following day.He was despatched to
The London Hospital at Whitechapel where he would remain for the next year.
While he was recuperating, a photo of Lieutenant Ivor Grantham and his
platoon, photographed three days before he was wounded, appeared in a local Sussex
newspaper.The caption noted that his
father had visited him in hospital in London
that week and found that he was making good progress.
Ivor Grantham spent the next eleven months in hospital, appearing before
various Medical Boards during that time, all of which regarded his recovery to a
state of A1 fitness, a long way off.In
August 1918, a note on his file states that the “Ministry of Labour requires
this officer’s services” but Ivor was still recuperating and on 25th September 1918 a
further Medical Board stated:
is suffering from the effects of a GSW Right Buttock [unclear] a [unclear]
[unclear] [unclear] wound with injury [unclear] external [unclear] [unclear]
[unclear] [unclear] Great sciatic nerve resulting in right [unclear] drop,
sensory loss and wasting of muscles of Right Leg.
a special treatment he has regained sensation [unclear] muscle power is slowly
have now completely healed [unclear] he is recommended for transfer to a
convalescent home where he can have electrical treatment for two months at the
end of which time he would [unclear] probably be fit for sedentary duty.”
Ivor Grantham takes up the story.
“[I was transferred] to a private Convalescent Home in Hove
run by a lady in her own home on the front.Her “guests” – ten or twelve in number – were individually received by
the butler at the front door on their arrival, and were then solemnly announced
by rank and name to their hostess as she stood ready to receive them in the
It was here in Hove that, sitting on the seafront close to the
convalescent home, dressed in civilian clothes and with his crutches on the
ground, Ivor Grantham was “handed a white feather by a lady with a handful of
such feathers” leaving him amused and speechless.(While he was in France he had also learned
from family members that a military escort had arrived at his family residence
in Balneath with a warrant for his arrest for failing to report for duty when
called up at the age of nineteen a few months earlier.The corporal and soldier accompanying him
were appropriately informed of Ivor Grantham’s current status).
On 27th January 1919,
Lieutenant Grantham assumed duties with the Ministry of Labour, remaining there
until he was disembodied at CrystalPalace on 2nd August 1919.On his discharge certificate, he gave his
civil occupation as student and his address as Balneath Manor.He was medically categorised as C2.
He then appears to have returned to complete his studies at Cambridge.A letter written from his tutor at TrinityCollege and received by the KitchenerHospital in Brighton
on 5th December 1919 states:
“I hereby certify that Lt W I Grantham, an under graduate of this
college, at present in residency, is detained in Cambridge until 10th December by reason of
his academic work.He will have kept his
time on that date and will be free to leave.”
In later life, Ivor married Helen Murray Walker (May 1933) and, after she
died, married Anne Ridgeway (October 1973).There was no issue from either marriage.
As Chailey resident Mick Pateman remembers, the Grantham family was
aristocratic, “property owners like the Blencowes and the Slessors.”William Wilson Grantham was Lord of the Manor
of Balneath and when he died in 1942, his son Ivor inherited the title.His entry in Burke’s Peerage (circa 1952),
under the title, “Grantham of Chailey”, reads as follows:
“William Ivor Grantham OBE, of Buckle’s Wood, Chailey, Sussex, Lord of
the Manors of Camois Court and Balneath, JP (1949) Sussex, Barrister-at-Law,
Inner Temple (1922), Royal Sussex Regt (TF) 1915-19, in legal branch RAF
1931-46, W/Cmdr, Deputy Judge Advocate-Gen, Middle East, Iraq and Aden,
1934-36, served in World Wars I and II, O.st.J; b 14 May 1898, educ Harrow and Trin Coll Camb (MA LLB)
m. 27 May 1933, Helen, dau of Murray Walker of The Wilderness, Woodbridge,
William Ivor Grantham died in Lewes in November 1986 aged 88.His title of Lord of The Manor passed to his
niece.An obituary published at the time
paid tribute to, amongst other things, his work as a Braille transcriber for
the National Students’ Library; his efforts in establishing the Arthritis and
Rheumatism Council in Lewes, and his abiding interest in the Anglican church.His father, William Wilson Grantham, also served
his King and Country during the First World War.
Wilson Grantham was born on 7th
January 1866 in South Norwood, Surrey.He was the
eldest son of William and Emma Grantham and appears on the 1871 census living
with his family in Croydon.The
household comprised William Grantham (head, aged 35, a Lewes-born barrister at
law), his wife Emma (aged 28) and four children: William Wilson (aged five),
Emma L Grantham (aged three), Constance M Grantham (aged two) and Frederick
William Grantham (aged eight months).Also noted on the census are four servants including a nurse and under
nurse to look after the children.
time the 1881 census was taken, William was boarding at HarrowSchool
and a few years later, in December 1885 he began his long association with The
Militia (the fore-runner of the Territorial Force).Surviving service papers held at The National
Archives show that between 16th
December 1885 and 17th
November 1888 he was a lieutenant (and latterly captain) with the
Cambridgeshire Regimental Volunteers.
then a two and a half year lull in matters military but by 6th May 1891 William was
with the 14th Middlesex Regiment Volunteers as a second
lieutenant.He would remain with them
until 31st March
1908 being promoted to lieutenant in May 1892 and captain in
meantime he had also married Sybil de la Rue on 17th July 1897.In his booklet, “This and That in Chailey and
Barcombe” Edwin Matthias quotes from Barcombe Parish Magazine for August 1897
which rejoices that:
Mr W Grantham has chosen as his
wife one who has already made a favourable impression upon the people of
Barcombe and wishes Bride and Bridegroom all happiness and prosperity, and
congratulations to Sir William and Lady Grantham on their son’s marriage.In celebration Barcombe Place [purchased by William
Wilson’s grandfather, George Grantham in 1839] opened its gates to offer
welcome and hospitality to all.A
temporary ballroom was erected for a ball on Aug 31st; entertainment
of the school children on the 1st and a ball for tenants on the 2nd.The children were presented with Jubilee mugs
by “Sir William and Lady Grantham on the marriage of Willie and Sybil”.A Ladies’ Band provided the music.
time the 1901 census was taken he was heading the
household at 17 Cadogan Place,
London.The couple had two children: William Ivor Grantham (aged two) and Myrtle Irene Grantham aged
eight months.The house was also shared
with eight domestic servants including a nurse and under nurse employed to look
after Ivor and Myrtle.In time, William
and Sybil would have five more sons and two more daughters.
For William, the Militia appears to have been a
dedicated interest but a career with the military seems not to have been an
option.Like his father before him he
was earning good money as a barrister.
Between 1st April 1908 and 27th September 1911 he is noted as
a captain at The Inns of Court OTC and from 28th September 1911 until 15th April 1913
as a captain in the Territorial Army on its unattached list.On 16th April 1913 he joined the 6th Royal
Sussex Regiment as a captain and remained with them until 1922.Although he finished the war as a major, he
appears not to have travelled overseas with the battalion.He would have been 48 years old when war was
declared on Germany
and was presumably too old for active service.Nevertheless, Chailey Parish Magazine published his name in its first
published roll of honour in October 1914 and would continue to do so every
month up until the final published roll call in July 1919.
Major Grantham appears to have almost
single-handedly revived the sport of stoolball during the First World War and
there are a number of articles about this on the web. The following extract can
be read in its full context here (http://www.sabruk.org/examiner/11/stoolball.html)
Major Grantham was serving on the Military Tribunal. His eldest son had
been badly wounded in France,
and the Major was moved to provide some sport for the "battered heroes of
the war in our military hospitals". Cricket and tennis were deemed to strenuous
for those who had lost limbs or otherwise handicapped; stoolball seemed to be
the ideal game. A seminal match was played that year on the SussexCounty
Cricket Ground, between soldiers from the PavilionHospital
"damaged by wounds" and a team of ancient lawyers, including Major
Grantham, "damaged by age". The soldiers won.
He also brought the game closer to home and there are
a number of reports in local Sussex
papers of recovering soldiers at Chailey playing games of Stoolball.On 24th June 1917 The Sussex Express reported a
game at “… Balneath Manor, the residence of Major W W Grantham, between officers
of the Royal Flying Corps from Brook House, the new convalescent Hospital, and
a team from Beechlands Convalescent Hospital.Those from Brook House were easy winners.Needless to say, Mrs Grantham entertained the
company present to tea.”
According to the East Sussex News, published five days later, The Royal
Flying Corps officers were easy winners by 50 runs.Major Grantham for his part appears to have
taken his revived game on a tour of the county; in September 1917 there is a
report of a match between Major Grantham’s team and Miss Norton’s team from DitchlingRedCrossHospital.The game also got as far as Lords as reported
During the 10 years
after WWI, Major W.W.Grantham organised, with the permission of the M.C.C.
Committee, a series of annual games at Lord's Cricket Ground with the last game
on Saturday September 24th 1927 played between Major Grantham's Own XI and the
Japanese Embassy; Major Grantham's team won by 53 runs.
The current National
Stoolball Association was … formed to replace the "Stoolball Association
for Great Britain"
which ceased to function in 1942, possibly due to WWII and the death of Major
W.W.Grantham. It was he who founded the original Association in 1923 and was
instrumental in the phenomenal upsurge in the popularity of stoolball after
WWI. In 1927 there were over 1000 clubs playing stoolball.
January 1922, William wrote to the War office from his chambers at
6 Crown Office Row, Temple,
London.“Dear Sir”, he began, “… I was recently
informed that I am now entitled to the Territorial Decoration as I have been an
efficient volunteer and/or Territorial since, and including 1884.I received the VD in the spring of 1907 and
am told that my War Service from August
4th 1914 to November 1919 (ie five years and three
months) counts double service towards the 20 years service for the TD.”
The following month he received what must have been a disappointing
reply.“… as you have not completed the
necessary 40 years qualifying service it is regretted that you are ineligible
for the Territorial Decoration.” [He’d completed 37 years and 11 days]
William Wilson Grantham died on 18 Feb 1942. There are a number of family papers
lodged at The East Sussex records office at Lewes and also what is known as the
“Grantham Collection of Number Ones” at the Institute of Education, University of London.According to the university, the collection “consists
of the first issues of a variety of journals on all subjects, first published
in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was put together by Major William
Wilson Grantham (1866-1942), at one time Deputy Chairman of the London County
Council, and deposited at County Hall in 1933; it then passed to the Institute of Education, along with other materials
from the Inner London Education Authority, in 1990.”
Sybil Grantham died in 1952.In
her will she left a plot of land known as Hoggs Mead upon which she desired
houses to be built for elderly gentlewomen in distressed circumstances.The flats were duly built and today Grantham
Close and Nym Close opposite it provide housing for 35 pensioners.
As previously mentioned, William Wilson’s son Ivor also served his King
and Country during the First World War.His brother, Frederick William Grantham and Frederick’s son Hugo Frederick Grantham were
both killed in action during the First World War.Frederick
was killed in action near Richebourg L’Avoue on 9th May 1915.His son Hugo was killed at Gallipoli a few
weeks later on 28th June.
Oliver Godley first makes an appearance in Chailey Parish Magazine in
October 1915 as Godley, Corporal O, RE, England.By March 1916 it is noted that he is in France and by
the following month, that he has been promoted to sergeant.
In November 1916, the parish magazine notes that he is now quartermaster
sergeant and in May 1918, this is further updated with: Godley, Company Quarter Master Sergeant O, MFW, RE.By July 1919, Oliver had been promoted again,
this time to regimental sergeant major.According to the parish magazine, he still held this rank in July 1919
although his medal card at the National Archives indicates two references:
corporal and later warrant officer class 1 (above). He was discharged to Class Z of the Army Reserve in August 1919.
The 1911Census of England
reveals a strong candidate in 32-year-old Oliver Godley, a carpenter and joiner born in Maryhill, Glasgow and living with his 36-year-old wife, Connie, and two children, Thelma Connie (aged six) and Oliver Godley (aged two). The family were living at Warren Cottages, North Common, Chailey. Thelma was born in Brighton but Oliver junior was born in Chailey, suggesting therefore that the family may have moved into the village some time after 1904.
According to his surviving Territorial Force attestation papers (Army
Form E.501), Charles Godward was born at Southwater, Horsham, Sussex
in about January 1893.I could however,
find no evidence of his birth on either the 1901 census return or the England and Wales civil
registration index (1837-1983).
Employed by The Reverend Theodore Harry Lee Jellicoe of Chailey as a
groom and gardener, Charles Godward volunteered with the Royal Sussex Regiment
at Brighton on 10th August 1914.He gave his address as North Common, Chailey,
stated that he was unmarried and previously belonged to the boy scouts.He gave his age as 21 years and seven months
and it was noted that he was five feet six and a half inches tall, had good
vision and good physical development and was considered fit for the army.
He was embodied in the 1/6th Sussex (Cyclist) Regiment on 10th August 1914
as 595 Private Charles Godward.This was
a territorial unit which had been formed four days previously at Montpelier
Place, Brighton and which, between August 1914 and the end of 1915 would be
stationed at Norfolk and attached to the 1st Mounted Division.On joining the battalion, Charles Godward
also certified that he was “able and willing to provide myself with a bicycle
during my period of service as cyclist in the Cyclist Battalion”
In October 1914, Chailey Parish Magazine noted that he was serving his
King and Country and Charles Godward then spent the next fourteen months with
the 1/6th Sussex before being posted to the 2/6th
Battalion on 3rd December 1915.
The 2/6th (Cyclist) Battalion TF had been formed at Brighton
in November 1914 and between August and September 1915 it was attached to the
68th Division at Bedford.In November 1915 it was moved to Chiseldon
where it was converted to infantry.On
4th February 1916 the battalion sailed from Devonport To India with the 1/9th
Hampshire Regiment, 1/25th London Regiment and 1/1st Kent Regiment, these four
battalions forming a brigade which had originally been intended for East
Godward remained in India
September 1917 when he returned home sick.He was discharged from the army on 10th November 1917
and issued with silver war badge number 313197 on 16th January 1918.His total reckoned service amounted to three
years and 93 days.
On his King’s Discharge Certificate, sent on 25th November 1918. Godward’s
address is given as The Cottage, Worthing
Road, Southwater, Horsham, Sussex
and his next of kin given as his mother, Mary Anne Godward, at the same
His cause of discharge was noted as tubercule of the lung; a condition
which had been aggravated by his war service. He was awarded a weekly pension
of 27 shillings and sixpence.
At some point, Charles Godward must have transferred to the South
Staffordshire Regiment as this detail plus a new number – 204321 – is noted on
his discharge certificate and his medal information card held at Kew in London.
to nothing is known about this man.He
appears once in Chailey Parish Magazine in a report on the village’s peace
celebrations in August 1919 where he came first in the 200 yards’ race for soldiers and first in the 100
yards’ hurdles for soldiers.
is nobody by the name of Graham listed on the 1901 or 1911 census for Chailey.
Gorringe appears in a special list of attested men in January 1916 and appears
for the last time in the same list in April 1916.
He appears on
the 1901 census as a 21 year old brick yard labourer living at home with his
father, Amos Gorringe, at South Common, Chailey.Amos is noted as the head of the family; a 61
year old widower also working as a brickyard labourer.
My thanks to Hannah Dennison, a former inhabitant of Durrants on Chailey Green, for sending me this superb photo of Durrants which dates to around 1905. The house behind Durrants has long since disappeared. Does anyone know the name of it or when it was demolished?
Otto Gatland, born in 1847, owned the smithy to the left of Durrants and worked there between 1887 and 1913. He died in 1915. Durrants, now a four-bedroomed property, was last sold in 2013 for £650,000. The photo below appears on the rightmove website.