The history of Clophill, Bedfordshire, UK
Including historical descriptions, maps and statistical analysis.
Thanks to Sue and Richard Pearson for preparing this.
If you have any photographs that you would like to share or would like further information please contact me.
James Adams In March 1917 Ampthill News reported “Mr. James Adams (late organist), now Pte. J. Adams, A.S.C., writes that he has been removed from Bath to Aldershot. He finds Army life very strange and greatly misses his Sunday duties.” Nothing further is known about James.
Lewis (or Louis) John Ansell was a Private in the East Surrey Regiment. He lived on the High Street. He was born in Clophill in 1891 and on the 1911 Census is living with his parents and 4 siblings on the High Street. His father, William was a bricklayer and Louis was a bricklayer’s labourer. He joined the Bedfordshire Regiment and served in Egypt. His term of service expired but he then joined the East Surreys. In April 1918 “Ampthill News” reported that he had been wounded again in France. He married Doris Sutton in Luton in 1926 and he passed away in Biggleswade in March 1958.
Ernest Ambridge. Acting Corporal 516394, Labour Corps. Born and resident Silsoe, enlisted Ampthill. Killed in action 13th September 1918 in France and Flanders. Formerly 17217 Royal Garrison Artillery. Buried in Hersin Communal Cemetery Extension, Pas de Calais, France. Grave III.E.12
In September 1918 Ampthill News reported that “Profound sympathy prevails for the bereaved wife and family of Corpl. Ernest Ambridge, R.G.A., the news of his death being notified on Saturday morning."
George Appleby (identity unclear but possibly William George born in Clophill 1863?)
Ampthill News reported that George served with the ASC Mechanical transport and by 1916 was promoted to Corporal and was home on leave. He had been discharged due to rheumatic fever but re-enlisted as soon as recovered.
In 1917 the paper reported as follows:-
“Corpl. G.W. Appleby, who is on active service in France, has been transferred from the Heavy Artillery Motor Transport to the 1st Field Survey Company, R.E. He tells a rather "tall" story of the laundry work in his part of the line. A chum of his, who noticed that his shirts generally came back minus the buttons, tried to give a gentle hint that he would like to have some buttons sewn on, by piercing holes in the lid of a small tin and sewing it on to the collar of his shirt. His chagrin can to be imagined when, on the return of the shirt from the wash, he found that the laundry had worked a buttonhole to fit the "button".”
By 1918 – the paper said that George had served for 16 months.
F Ashley – in March 1915 Ampthill News reported that F. Ashley, had been wounded, but was now progressing as favourably as can be expected.
It is probable that this is Frank Ashley, born in Clophill in 1878. Frank married Ethel Fennemore in 1907 and by 1911 he is working as a House Decorator, living at 63, High Street. Frank & Ethel continued to live there until his death in 1956.
William Billington was a Sapper in the Royal Engineers. He joined up in January 1917 and was immediately posted to France. There he was involved in Road Making at Vimy Ridge, Ypres, Cambrai and on the Somme. He remained overseas until the cessation of hostilities and returned to the UK to be demobilised in March 1919. He received the General Service and Victory Medals. He lived at 1, Barton Cottages, High Street, Clophill.
He was born in Silsoe in April 1877 and on the 1901 census is living in Silsoe with his wife Ada (Roberts), who is 34 years old. William is slightly younger (33) and they have 4 daughters and 2 sons living with them. 1 child had died previously. William was a Market Gardener. In the 1911 census they were now living in Bedford Cottages, Jacques Lane, Clophill. William passed away in April 1955, aged 77.
George Bone was born in Caldecote in 1887 and was the son of James and Emma Bone of Glen Farm, Great Lane. He was therefore brother of John Bone who is named on our village memorial. He married Emily Sharman in 1909, by 1911 he was a Cowman living in Turvey. He enlisted with the 1st Bedfordshire Regiment, known as the Yellow Devils when war broke out and was wounded at Mons. After he convalesced he was promoted to Corporal. In 1916 George was twice wounded at Ypres and was sent back to Winchester to spend months in recovery. Later that year he confirmed receipt of parcels that he and H Harris had received in the trenches. By 1918 he had been promoted to Sergeant and had joined the Command Depot in Ampthill to recover from trench feet, however he was involved in a cycle accident and had to go to Cambridge for “an amputation.” By July he had returned to the unit in Ampthill.
In 1939 he was working as a Farm Carter and living in Cold Brayfield nr Newport Pagnell. He died in Bedford Hospital in 1940.
Thomas Boyles was born in Aylesbury in 1886. He married Charlotte Peat in Clophill in 1912. He enlisted in 1915 in Watford, where he was living at the time. His address was later given as High Street, Clophill (his wife’s family home.) He gave his occupation as Grocer/Draper’s Porter. He became a Private serving with the 3rd Battalion, Buffs (East Kent) Regiment in Salonika (Macedonian Front.). In 1918 he had to return to their Depot in Canterbury as he had malaria.
He died in 1952 having had one son, David, born in 1920.
Frederick William Braybrook was born in Clophill in 1871. He married Emma Wildman and they lived in “Main Street,” Clophill until at least 1901. He was a shepherd at this time. They had 10 children together, 7 of whom survived. Sometime before 1911 they moved to Luton where Frederick worked as a Carter for the Borough Council.
Frederick was a Private in the Bedfordshire Regiment; he volunteered in March 1915 and was drafted to India where he was engaged in duties at various garrison outposts. He was sent home and discharged in 1918 for causes due to his service in July 1918. Upon his return he learned of the death of his eldest son detailed below. He died in 1938 in Luton.
Frederick Leslie George Braybrook was born in Clophill in 1893, by 1911 he was working as a moulder at an Iron Foundry and was living with his parents in Luton. Frederick enlisted and served as a driver with the 54th Signals Co., Royal Engineers and in January 1915 and was posted to the Dardanelles and then Egypt. He took part in the Battle of Gaza and then other engagements as part of General Allenby’s offensive. He was 5’ 4” and blotted his disciplinary record a little by being late and on another occasion insolent to an NCO! He had also suffered a leg injury in 1916. He died of typhoid on 14 October 1918 at the age of 25.
Frederick Brown is thought to be the Frederick Brown that was born in 1879 in Maulden. He married Kate Braybrook (sister of F W Braybook above) in 1900. In 1901 they were living in Back Street and he worked as a Shepherd. By 1911 they had moved to Church End, Haynes. They had had 5 children by this time. Fredrick served as a Private with the Bedfordshire Regiment. He was sent to India in 1916 and was still there in July 1918 when he wrote to his wife stating that the climate was “very trying.” By 1939 the family are living in Ampthill and Frederick is working as a Market Garden Labourer.
Frank Bull was a Private in the 860th Area Employment Company. He lived on the High Street from at least 1918 to 1922. It is believed he was Frank Lancelot Bull, born in Islington in 1884, married locally to Rosetta Palmer (who’s family lived on the High Street) in 1909. They had a daughter called Marjorie and went on to live in Southgate, London where Frank worked as a jeweller’s shop assistant.
Frederick Horatio Bunny lived in The Slade. He enlisted in the Surrey Regiment on 18th November 1914 but was discharged through sickness in the following September. He must have recovered as in 1919 he was a Sapper in the Royal Engineers and by 1921 had been promoted to Lance Corporal.
Edward Crawford Burrows was a Captain in the Essex Regiment. He lived on the High Street. In the 1914 Census he is shown as owning Ivy House, although he was living in Temple Court, London. He appears on several censuses as the owner of Ivy House but always living at an address in London. He qualified as a voter in North Bedfordshire constituency (as it was then described) because of the ownership.
James Burton was born in Little Cranfield, Essex in 1872, he worked in 1911 as a market gardener’s labourer, living in The Slade, Clophill. He enlisted in Bedford in 1916, serving with the Road Construction Company, Royal Engineers. His service papers show his occupation as “Roadman.” He was married to Selina, and had 4 children by 1911 - Sydney, Arthur, Selina & Fredrick. He died in 1938.
Sidney Charles Burton was born in Little Canfield, Essex, on 19th July 1894 and he lived in Hoddesdon with his parents and siblings at the time of the 1901 Census. By 1911 they were living in The Slade, Clophill. His father, James was a Market Gardener’s labourer (see above). His mother was Selina and Sidney (or Sydney) was, like his younger brother, Arthur, a Farm Labourer. He became a Private in the 100th Labour Corps. He died in Ampthill on 29th February 1988.
Earnest J. Bushby (or Ernest) was a Private in the Grenadier Guards (Machine Gun Regiment). He joined in January 1918 and after completing his training worked with his unit in England. As he was medically unfit, he was not transferred to an overseas theatre of war. He was demobilised in January 1919. He lived in Jacques Lane, Clophill.
In 1911 Ernest was one of 6 children (of 9, 8 of whom survived) living with his parents George (47), a shepherd, and Eliza (49) in Jacques Lane. Ernest was a schoolboy born in April 1899. When he enlisted he gave his occupation as Market Gardener and his height as 6’ 1”. He was accepted as a Reservist in June 1918. He died in March 1965, aged 65.
George Frederick Bushby was a Private in the 2nd London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers) having joined in June 1916. In 1917 he was drafted to France but soon after his arrival on the Front was wounded and taken prisoner. He was held in captivity until after the Armistice, when he was released and sent home. He was demobilised in March 1919 and he received the General Service and Victory Medals. He lived in Jacques Lane, Clophill.
George was 1st cousin to the Bushby brothers above and below. He was born in 1898 and on the 1911 census was a schoolboy living with his parents Frederick, an Agricultural Labourer, and Emily (Hare). They were living in Jacques Lane and in addition to George Frederick there were also 2 further sons and 1 daughter. George died in Pontefract, Yorkshire in September 1981, aged 83.
William Bushby was a Rifleman in the King’s Royal Rifles. He volunteered in October 1915 and in April 1916 was drafted to Egypt. He later proceeded to Palestine and was involved in fighting at Jaffa, Gaza and Haifa. He returned home and was demobilised in April 1919 and he received the General Service and Victory Medals. He lived in Jacques Lane, Clophill.
He was Ernest Bushby’s elder brother. William was described as a Jobbing Gardener on the 1911 census. He was born in April 1892.
Frederick William Case was a Lance Corporal in Motor Transport, Army Service Corps. He was born on 26 Jan 1895 and on the 1911 Census he lived on the High Street with his parents, elder brother and niece. His occupation was Labourer, Market Gardener. He married Edith Deacon in December 1918 and died in Bedford in 1978
Thomas James Clark was born in Lewisham in 1889. He was a tailor who had married Isobel Phillimore in 1913 in Deptford. They had 3 children. His connection to Clophill is uncertain, but his address was given as the High Street in 1918 & 1919’s Absent Voters List. He was a Private in the Machine Gun Corps, serving in Belgium & France. He had influenza in 1917 and in 1918 he was shot in the jaw and underwent a critical operation in Guys Hospital in 1916. He died as a victim of WW11 in 1944 in Deptford.
Edward James Cole was living in Silsoe Road, Clophill when he enlisted at Bedford on 11th December 1915. He was born in 1881 and gave his age as 34 years and 2 months. His occupation was stated as Fruit gardener (late shoeing smith). His next of kin was Edith Nellie Cole and they had been married on 10th August 1908. At this time they had 4 children, Nevil James (27.06.11), Effie Ruth (07.07.12), Irene Frances (07.09.13), and Edith Nellie (27.05.15). Later there would be Raymond Charles (09.07.17). His enlistment was approved at Woolwich on 28th June 1916 and during his early service he passed a test to qualify as a shoeing smith. As part of the service record there is reference to him being a “cold shoer”. When he was demobbed on 10th January 1919 his rank was described as s/smith and his address was given as Water End, Maulden.
William Cole was a Corporal in the 5th Lancers. He was born in about 1895 in Hall End, Maulden. In the 1911 Census he is shown as living at 3 Forester’s Cottages, Back Street with his parents, 1 brother and 5 sisters. His father, Charles, was a Gardener’s Labourer and William was a Farm Labourer. Two of his sisters were Hat Machinists. “Ampthill News” reported in February 1916 that William had been home on leave and had recently been promoted to Corporal. In December the paper reported that “ Corpl. Farrier William Cole, of the Lancers, eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Cole, was home from Dublin last week on final leave. He was formerly in the employ of Mr. Arthur Cakebread as shoeing-smith.”
Jack Coleman (also known as John) was a Private in 10 Queen’s Royal Regiment West Surreys. He was born in Clophill in 1881 and in 1891 lived in the Slade with his father, Albert, a Farm labourer, his mother, Mary, and 3 brothers and 3 sisters. By 1901 Jack was also a farm labourer and had 2 more sisters. By 1911 there were only one brother and one sister plus Jack living with their parents, who had had 14 children in total, 12 surviving.
William Collis was born in Kettering in 1872, he married Elizabeth Richardson in 1909, in Clophill. In 1911 they lived in Back Street, with their daughter, Mabel and Elizabeth’s 3 other children. He was a farm labourer. William had signed up in 1891, serving with the Northamts Regiment until transferring to the Bedfordshire Regiment in 1913. During this time he served in India, Singapore and South Africa. In 1914 he reenlisted (aged 42) with the Bedfords and was later transferred to the Royal Defence Corps.
He died in 1941 at the time of his death he lived at 18 Bedford Road, Clophill.
Ernest William Cooper lived in Mount Pleasant, Clophill and served with the Agricultural Labour Corps. We are unable to find any other certain information relating to Ernest, however in 1909 an Ernest Cooper was fined for keeping his son, Albert, from school whilst his wife was at work and Ampthill News reported in 1918 that Ernest Cooper was awaiting orders sending him to India.
Lionel Healey Cunnington lived in the High Street. He was a Telegraphist in the RNVR on HM Tug “Marsden”. He was born in Clophill on 28th August, 1898 and lived with his father, Humphrey, a Schoolmaster, his mother Mary (Ladds), a Schoolmistress, and his 3 brothers and sisters. He was still living at home in 1923 but on the 7th of June, 1924 he married Daisy Marion Warwick. They had 2 daughters and one son. Lionel was a schoolteacher and the family lived in many areas of England. They were in Twickenham for many years but by 1939 they were in Ottery St. Mary, Devon. In 1945 they were living in The Vicarage at Eaton Bray, although he & Daisy also appear on another Electoral Roll as living in Dunstable. They also lived at 61, Woburn Road, Heath & Reach. Daisy died in 1981. Lionel passed away on 3rd July 1992 in Chichester, aged 93.
Owen Alexander Diggins
Owen enlisted in the 1st King’s Shropshire Light Infantry as 31434 on a 3 year Short Serve Commission in November 1914. He gave his age as 20 years and 2 months, which would mean that he was born in 1894. He was actually born on 23 September 1895. He was born in Clophill and lived in 1911 in Hall End. He was a “Gardener Domestic.” He joined up in Oswestry and gave his occupation as Chauffeur. He was promoted to Acting Lance Corporal in December 1915 and Acting Corporal in February 1916. These temporary promotions were signed off by 2nd Lt. W. Deedes, who was the father of Bill Deedes, personal friend of Denis Thatcher, Cabinet Minister and long time editor of the Daily Telegraph. Owen was made Acting Sergeant in February 1917.
At the end of 1917 Owen joined the Training Reserve Battalion and reverted to the rank of Private. He was drafted to the Western Front in March 1918 and promoted to the substantive rank of Lance Corporal in May 1918 and Lance Sergeant in October of that year. He took part in numerous engagements in the Retreat and Advance of 1918, including those near Arras, Ypres, the Marne and the Aisne. He joined the Army Reserve in March 1919 as a Lance Sergeant. On leaving military service he was described as “Military Character Good” and was living at Hall End. Medically he was described as A1. He received the Victory Medal and the British Medal.
He later married Amy Blagg, she was one of the first women to join the WRAF and was based at Cardington. He died in January 1972, aged 76.
Many thanks to Mary Stokes for supplying the photo of Owen.
Arthur John Dimmock was born in Clophill and joined the army on 14th December 1914. He joined up in Woolwich but was living at 4 Bedford Cottages, Jacques Lane. He was then aged 26 and was married to Alice Gills on 29th January 1910. He had 2 daughters, Alice Rose, born 28.05.11, and Mabel Florence, born 15.01.14. He described his occupation as shoeing smith and was posted to France with the British Expeditionary Force on 8th November 1915. He served in France until 16th February 1918, when he returned to England. He was demobbed in Purfleet on 14th March 1919 and returned home to live at The Lodge, Church End, Haynes. There is little about what Arthur did in France but having looked at other service records for men with similar occupations it is possible that he carried out his peacetime work while in the army. (There was also an Arthur John Dimmock from Luton who served in the Beds. Regt.)
Harold Doggett lived in 2, Bedford Cottages, Jacques Lane. He was a Private in the 3rd Sussex Regiment. On the 1911 Census, 20 year-old Harold was living with his widowed mother Hannah, (aged 65), 2 older brothers and a younger nephew. His mother has no occupation shown but she had given birth to 16 children, 11 of whom were still alive. His father, William, a farm labourer had died sometime between 1911 and the 1901 Census. Harold is described as a Domestic Horse Keeper and having been born in Clophill. He married Grace Shotbolt in 1927. In 1959, according to the Electoral Roll, Harold and his wife, Grace, were living at 16, Bedford Road along with Hubert and Emily Berrington. In 1962 just Harold and Grace lived there. Harold passed away later that year, aged 71.
Frederick John (Jack) Durston
Jack was born in the Rising Sun, Clophill in 1893, his grandparents (The Garners) had been the licensees. He continued to live at The Rising Sun when his father became the licensee. Long Jack, as he was known was working as Farm labourer in 1911. He was one of 8 children.
He served with the Sportsmen’s Battalion, playing as a Drummer in their band. He went to France in 1915, serving as a Corporal. Jack also became a Goalkeeper for the Royal Engineers and made 2 appearances for Clapton Orient during leave in 1917, playing against Chelsea on both occasions. He also played for Queens Park Rangers, Brentford, Northfleet and Bedford Town.
Jack married Lily Hill in 1916 and had 2 children.
He went on to become a first-class cricketer who played for Middlesex and England. He is a member of the Middlesex Hall of Fame. He ran a cricket school in Middlesex between 1924- 58. He travelled extensively in this role.
He died in Ealing in 1965.
Jeffrey Thomas Eddy was a Private in the King’s Royal Rifles. Later, he was in the Labour Corps. He was born in Clophill in 1899 and lived in the Slade at the time of the First World War. In 1901 he was living in Jacques Lane with his father, Frank (an Agricultural Labourer) and his mother, Clara – along with 3 brothers and 3 sisters. Sadly, he died in 1924 aged just 25.
Charles Eddy was a Private in the Agricultural Company, Labour Corps. He was born in Clophill in 1883 and lived on Silsoe Road. In the 1901 census he was described as a ‘Carter on a Horse Farm”. He was living with his father, Daniel, mother, Priscilla, and 4 siblings. By 1911, however, aged 27, he was living at the Maida Barracks, Aldershot with the 1st Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment. His brother was Percy Thomas Eddy, who was killed in action in 1916.
In 1920 Charles married Rose Willey in Medway, Kent. He died there in 1934.
Eli Fossey was a Private in the Machine Gun Corps and joined in June 1916. He trained in England but owing to medical grounds was not transferred overseas. He was demobilised in March 1919. He lived in High Street, Clophill. He died in 1959.
Percival Victor Garner was a Private in the 1st/5th Bedfordshire Regiment. He was born in Clophill in October 1897 and in 1901 was living in The Strand with his parents Harry and Emily (Harris). Harry was an Agricultural labourer. They were still living there in 1911 but had been joined by Percival’s younger sister, Nora Ella. He died in December 1971 in Shardlow, Derbyshire.
PC John Gibson and his wife Elizabeth had four sons that served in WW1. The family had been born in Bedfordshire, but had not moved to Clophill until after 1911. They lived at 15 High Street Clophill – the police house- as John worked as the local police officer.
Algernon John Gibson born in 1889 was the oldest of the sons. He had worked as a carpenter & wheelwright. He travelled to Australia in 1911 and joined the Australian Navy in 1913. His war started as a stoker on-board the Australian Battleship “Encounter.” During WW1 the cruiser became the first ship of the RAN to fire in anger when she bombarded Toma Ridge.
“Encounter” operated in the New Guinea, Fiji-Samoa, and Malaya areas until 1916, when she returned to Australian waters. The ship spent the rest of the war patrolling and escorting convoys around Australia and into the Indian Ocean.
Algernon also served on “Penguin”- a depot ship. No further information is available for him.
Herbert Archibold Gibson was born in 1892 and worked as a Railway Clerk in 1911 when he lived in Lincolnshire. He served with the Irish Lancers. He had an accident in 1917 but was able to return to France later that year. He returned from the war to live with his parents in the High Street. Herbert married Florence Ellis locally in 1922 and they lived in Biggleswade and he continued working as a Railway Clerk. Herbert lived until 1958.
Harold Francis Gibson was born in 1895. He worked as an apprentice Wheelwright in 1911. He served with the 12 Lancers from Dublin. He served at the Somme and worked with the Machine Gun Corps. He was badly hurt in 1917 during a charge in France. He spent a long period in hospital and was eventually discharged as unfit in 1918. Harold also lived with his parents, in Myrtle Cottage, High Street, after the War. He married Edith Paige in 1918 and they went on to have at least 10 children and lived at 13 The Green, Clophill. Harold worked as a House decorator. Harold died in 1974.
Albert Edward Gibson was born in 1899, he served with the Royal Sussex, having originally enlisted with the Bedfordshires. He suffered a shell wound in France in 1916 and was discharged as unfit in 1917. In 1919 he married Mabel Cooper in Mortlake. Their home was in Streatham, Surrey and Albert was an engineer.
Born in Walton-le-Dale, Lancashire in 1886. He joined the Navy in 1904. He married assistant teacher, Edith Appleby in Clophill in 1912. After their marriage they lived at Glebe Cottage - now Taylor's Cottage -106 High Street. They had two daughters. In 1914 William was called to serve in the First World War as a Gunner Warrant Officer, re-joining his ship, HMS Mermaid at Dover. During WW1 he also served on HMS Afridi and HMS Forester. He served in the Navy for 44 years, also serving in WWll, gaining the DSO and the rank of Commander. His medals and many of his records are to be seen at the Imperial War Museum in London. In 1923 the family had the “The Moorings” built (also in the High Street) as their family home. He died in 1955.
He was a Private in the Machine Gun Corps (having also served initially with the 4th Beds.). He volunteered in November 1915 and was drafted to France the following year. He served at Albert, the Somme and Ypres. In March 1917 he had a gunshot wound to the shoulder whilst at Bapaume and was admitted to hospital in France. He convalesced in Lytham. He was severely wounded at Cambrai in November 1917 and was sent back to England for treatment. He subsequently returned to the Western Front and he was seriously wounded and gassed in March 1918. He was demobilised the following year and he received the General Service and Victory Medals. He lived in High Street, Clophill.
He was born in Clophill on 29th August 1896 and in 1911, George was a 14 year old Labourer to a Market Gardener. He was living in the 118 High Street with his father, Joel (42), a Labourer/Woodman, his mother Sarah (41) and 6 siblings. An elder sister was no longer living at home. The family were called Gobby on the 1901 census. George died in December 1978, aged 82.
Harry Gobey was a Private in the Bedfordshire, then East Lancashire and then the 2/1st Suffolk Yeomanry and in 1911 lived in the Slade with his parents John and Mary and 4 of his siblings. His parents had had 9 children, seven of whom had survived. His father was a farm labourer as was Harry. He was born in 1896 in Clophill. In July 1916, Ampthill News reported that Harry had been wounded in the head and was now recovering in a hospital in Scotland. It said it was the second time he had been wounded. In September 1916 the paper reported that he had returned to France and had been on the Frontline since the start of the war and was “an expert bomber.” He was awarded the Star.
John Gray was initially a Private with the 5th Bedfordshire and in 1914 lived at Church House (now 91) High Street. He was later transferred to the Royal Defence Corps and by 1918 had been promoted to Corporal. He was demobbed in 1919.
It is believed that he was John Palmer Gray, born in Marston Moretaine in 1865. >He married Florence Clarke in 1889, but by 1895 he had been widowed and remarried Florence Welch Sheffield. He kept the George pub in Silsoe from 1890 to 1914. From 1918 to 1935 he lived in Bedford. He died locally in 1936.
Arthur Grummit was born in Clophill in 1876 he served as a Private with the Royal Defence Corps. In 1911 he was a market gardener living in Back Street with his parents. His mother had had 12 children, 4 of whom had died. He died in 1925.
Frederick John Gudgin was a Private in the Agricultural Labour Corps and lived on Great Lane. In 1911 he was 24 years old and lived with his parents, John and Alice Elizabeth on the High Street. Frederick had an elder brother and 2 younger brothers and 3 sisters. He was a Farm Labourer. One of his younger brothers, Charles was killed and is commemorated on the Clophill Memorial.
George Gudgin was born in 1882 in Clophill and at the time of his enlistment in March 1916 was living at 6 The Strand and listed his mother, Eliza, as next of kin. He described himself as a labourer and single on his enlistment form. He joined the Bedfordshire Regiment but was transferred to the South Wales Borderers on 30th May 1916. George sailed from Devenport on 7th June 1916 and travelled to the Middle East. He suffered a gunshot wound to the head on 12th April 1917 while serving in Mesopotamia. He was invalided to hospital in Bombay in July 1917 but returned to Basra for and in November 1917 transferred to “34 Welsh” with a return to the field on the 29th of that month. He took part in numerous engagements until the cessation of hostilities including those at Kut and Baghdad. He was granted “Proficiency Pay Class 1” in June 1918 and joined the Army Reserve on demobilisation on 27th April 1919. His home address was still The Strand. He was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal and received these in November 1921. George died in 1941 aged 58.
Phillip H Gudgin (or Philip) was Private in the King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment) and Labour Corps. He joined in June 1916 and was drafted to Salonika in November of that year. He served in the Advance on the Doiran front and also at Vardar. During this period of service he was wounded (this may explain why he was later in the Labour Corps). He was demobilised in April 1919 and he received the General Service and Victory Medals. He lived at 2 Forester’s Cottages, Little Lane, Clophill.
Philip was born in Clophill in about 1877. He first appears on the 1881 census living in the Strand with his parents William, a Gardener, and Mary, a Sewer of Straw Hats. They have a visitor living with them, Charlotte Lomas (25) a Straw Plaiter. By 1891 Phillip is 14 and gained a sister Sophia and a brother Frank. They are living on the High Street and Philip is now a Farm Labourer. In 1901 Philip was living as a Boarder in Cheshunt, where he was a Domestic Gardener. (The family minus Sophia) were now living in Back Street. In 1911 he had returned to live with his parents and brother in Back Street, Clophill and his occupation was now Gardener (Estate). Philip married Ellen Sharman in early 1912. Ellen was a Domestic at Warren Farm in 1911. Ellen was a sister of Walter Sharman. Philip died in June 1938, aged 61.
Frank Gudgin lived on Back Street and was a Private in Queen’s Royal Regiment West Surreys. Frank was the younger brother of Philip (above) and in the 1911 Census is described as a Farm Labourer. He was born in about 1887. In August 1918 “Ampthill News” reported that Frank was in hospital suffering from pneumonia. In November he was home on leave and in February 1919 he had returned to his usual occupation having been demobilised.
Samuel Hall was Corporal 58555 in the Royal Engineers Home Port Security Depot. He lived on the High Street, served in France and was awarded the Star. No further information is available for this person.
Herbert Harris was a Private in the 1st Bedfordshire Regiment. He volunteered in December 1914 and served with his unit in England until August 1916, when he was sent to France. He took part in severe fighting at Ypres, the Somme and Vimy Ridge, where he was taken prisoner. On his release he returned home and was demobilised in May 1919. He lived in Jacques Lane, Clophill. In 1911, aged 27, he was living in Jacques Lane with his wife, Sarah Anne (26) and 4 children, Herbert John (6), Evelyn Daisy (3), Leslie (1), and Sidney James (5). Herbert, a Market Gardener Labourer, and his 2 eldest children had been born in Flitton, while his wife and 2 youngest children had been born in Clophill.
Thomas Harris was a Lance Corporal in the Royal Defence Corps and he joined in 1916. He was engaged in guarding munition works. He was demobilised in March 1919. He lived on the High Street, Clophill.
In 1911 Thomas (36), a Bricklayer’s Labourer, was living with his wife Emily (39) and 4 children, Beatie (15), Evelyn (9), Jessie (7), and Andrew (2) on the High Street. Thomas and the children had all been born in Clophill whereas his wife had been born in Canada.
John Thomas Haywood was a Sergeant in the Royal Engineers. He lived on the High Street. No further information is available for this person.
Roland George Herbert was a Private in the 4th Bedfordshires (23359). He volunteered in November 1915 and was drafted to France in July 1916. He took part in the severe fighting in the Somme and other engagements. He was wounded at Gavrelle in April 1917 and invalided home. He was discharged in October 1917 owing to his injuries. He received the General Service and Victory Medals. He lived at 11 The Strand, Mill Lane, Clophill.
In 1911 Roland was living at home with his parents George (55), Woodman on Estate, and Elizabeth (51). There were also 4 siblings – Ernest, a Shepherd on Farm, and 3 schoolchildren, Violet, Gladys and Arthur. Roland’s occupation was given as Farm Kitchen Boy. There were 2 other people in the house, George Braybrooks (77), an OAP, who was Elizabeth’s father, and 30 year old Sarah Elizabeth Rooxs, who was described as Married and a Cook Domestic. They were all born in Clophill. Roland also had 3 other older brothers and a sister, Mary. Roland was born on 22nd February 1897 and died aged 85 in September 1982. Ernest is commemorated on the Clophill Memorial.
Frank John Hinton was born in Clophill in 1891.
Frank lived on the High Street and in 1911 was a Market Gardener. He married Ethel Minnie Bottoms in 1917- whilst on leave. Ampthill News reported “ The wedding presents were choice and valuable. After the honeymoon the bridegroom rejoined his regiment for foreign service.” The couple had three children. His youngest child, Denis died during WW2 in a motor accident.
Frank was a Corporal in the Royal Garrison Artillery. He served at Ypres in 1918 and Ampthill News reported that he had been awarded the Military Medal for coolness and devotion to duty whilst under heavy shellfire later that year. He returned home and resumed his working life as a farmer, initially in Clophill and at Kiln farm and later at Old Wellbury Fram, Hitchin. His last home was in Meppershall. He died in 1978.
Arthur Huckle was born in 1884 and lived in Great Lane, moving to Haynes by 1911 by which time he was married to Ellen, had 4 children and worked as a cowman. He later moved to Biscot. He became a sergeant in the 8th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment and was killed in action in the Somme on 15/9/1916. He is remembered on the memorial in Leagrave.
Bruce William Huckle was born in 1896 and lived in Hall End. He became a gardener and later served as a Corporal with the 12th Lancers, and later the Machine Gun Corps. In 1918 his charger fell on and injured his leg. The horse died. He was demobbed in 1919. In 1920 he married Bertha Bone. He died in 1984.
Albert Leonard Izzard was born in Hall End in 1895 and known as Len. He lived most of his life at 126 High Street, Clophill, where his father- Charles ran a market garden. On the 1911 Census Len was living with his parents, Charles & Emily in what was then known as Church Lane. Charles was the Sunday School Superintendent at Clophill Methodist Chapel. Len volunteered in February 1915, with four friends after an evening at the Rising Sun (much to the distress of his mother- especially as Len was an only child!) joining the 3rd Bedfordshire Regiment. He served initially in a horse-mounted regiment and later as a sharp shooter. He was sent to France in December 1916. Len was wounded and later gassed. He was hospitalised in the UK, later returning to fight and took part in a number of important engagements including Cambrai.
He was demobilised in January 1919 and awarded the General Service and Victory Medals. He married Elsie Gobey in 1916 and they had one daughter, Florence Ethel, known as Ethel. Ethel became the music teacher at St Mary’s school, working there for 30 years. Her married name was Mason. Len passed away in September 1968, aged 72.
Many thanks to Tony O’Connor for supplying Len’s photograph and life story.
Alfred William Jeffrey was born in Clophill on 17 July 1897 and lived with his father, William, and mother, Mary, on the High Street from the 1911 census. William is described on there as an Agricultural Labourer (see below) and Alfred as a Farm Labourer. He later became a self-employed Market Gardener. In this census their surname is given as Jefferies. We have been unable to trace Alfred’s military record but we know from his daughter that he was a drummer boy and served with the Dorset and Hampshire Regiments in India and in Mesopotamia.
Among his memorabilia are 3 photographs taken when he was serving and the medals that he was awarded; these were the Victory Medal and the British Medal. In addition the family also has the medal “presented by the parishioners of Clophill in recognition of services rendered in the Great War 1914-1919”. There is also a tin given as a gift from HRH Princess Mary’s Christmas Fund 1914. This contained a packet of cigarettes and a packet of tobacco along with a card wishing a Happy Christmas and a Victorious New Year. There were 426,000 of these tins. We wonder how many, like this one, still contain the cigarettes and tobacco?
Alfred lived in Clophill for the remainder of his life, marrying Frances Mary Cook in 1929. He was Church Warden at St. Mary’s Church, Clophill for 40 years. He died in 1987.
Percy Jeffrey was a Private in the East Surrey Regiment. He joined in June 1918 and in October of that year was drafted to France. He fought at Cambrai and Ypres and he was present at the entry to Ypres at dawn on Armistice Day. He was demobilised in August 1919 and he received the General Service and Victory Medals. In the 1911 census he was 11 years old and at school. He lived with his parents William and Mary on the High Street along with his brother Alfred William (see earlier) and his 2 sisters Florence and Gladys.
William Jeffrey was a Private in the Labour Corps. He was 39 years old at the time of the 1911 census and was an Agricultural Labourer. He volunteered in February 1915 and served on important agricultural duties. He was not transferred overseas and was demobilised in January 1919 after 4 years’ service. Because of William’s age he may not have been considered for “active” service but, nonetheless, he served his country for 4 years.
Ernest Johnson was a Sapper with the Royal Engineers Inland Water Transport. He enlisted in 1914 and was demobbed in 1919. He lived in Back street with his wife Elizabeth (they married in 1907 in Bedford, where they had previously lived) and their 4 children. Ampthill News reported in February 1918 he was “home on leave from France.” Also in 1918 he had had an accident when a ladder broke and he fell in a dockyard, head first onto a plank placed between a barge and the dock. He was a machinist.
Henry Jones lived in Mill Lane and was a Private in the 2nd Gar. Battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers. No further information is available for this person.
James Sydney Jones was a Corporal in the Royal Army Medical Corps. He was mobilised at the outbreak of activities and in July 1915 was drafted to the Dardenelles and he took part in the landing at Suvla Bay and the engagements that followed. After the evacuation of the Peninsula he was drafted to France, where he fought in many battles, notably Ypres, the Some and Cambrai. He was twice wounded. He was awarded the 1914-15 Star and the General Service and Victory Medals. After the War his address is given as “The Rising Sun”, High Street, Clophill.
John James Joyce
James lived in The Strand. He was awarded the Star – serving as a Stoker on HMS Laurel a British Destroyer. HMS Laurel served with the 3rd Destroyer Flotilla on completion and transferred to escort duties after 1917. HMS Laurel was damaged in the Battle of Heligoland Bight in 1914, losing 11 men. She was also involved in the Battle of Jutland in 1916, rescuing 18 of HMS Queen Mary’s survivors.
John Kedge lived at 22 The Slade; he was a Gardener’s labourer and in 1911 lived with his wife, Mary, their 2 sons, and his Grandson. He was born in Clophill about 1860. He was 5ft 7inches tall. From 1879 to 1888 he was not a stranger to Bedford Courts, (8 offences) starting with infringement of Game Laws, sentenced to 1 month hard labour or a fine of 32 shillings and sixpence; to Drunkenness and Trespass where he was sentenced to '14 days hard labour or 24s 6p and 1 month or 43s. He seems to have paid the fines. He served as a Private in the 43rd Protection Company of the Royal defence Corps. He died in 1930, aged 70.
Alan Ord Laurie was born in Birkenhead in 1884. At the time of the 1911 census he was living with his widowed mother- Elizabeth still in Birkenhead. Later in 1911 he married Jessie Stevenson. He was sent to France in 1915, serving as a Lieutenant with the King’s Liverpool regiment and then the Royal Engineers. After the war they lived in London and then Kent, where Alan died in 1960. His address appears as Back Street, Clophill on the Absent Voter’s list in 1918 but otherwise his connection to the village is unknown.
Ernest William Lincoln was born in Clophill on 20th July 1885. His son Ernest Albert George Lincoln was killed in WWII and his name is on the Clophill war memorial. He lived on the High Street until about 1908 when he married Ada Crates in Camberwell. They had 4 children, Elsie, Florence, Ernest & Frederick. He worked as a Gas Works stoker. He enlisted in Deptford in 1915 and was posted overseas in 1916. He served at the Somme. He was injured in 1916, breaking his Tibia & Fibia. He spent nearly 9 months in Hospital in Manchester, needing surgery. He was discharged in 1917 and returned to Clophill. He played the organ in the church and worked as a pump attendant at the Waterworks.
He served with the 137th Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery. The Heavy Batteries were equipped with very large guns. The usual armaments were 60 pounder (5”) guns, although some had obsolescent 5“ howitzers. As British artillery tactics developed, the Heavy Batteries were most often employed in destroying or neutralizing the enemy artillery, as well as putting destructive fire down on strongpoints, stores, roads and railways behind enemy lines. Upon discharge he was described as “sober, steady & well behaved.” He died in 1972.
Many thanks to Laura Sharp for the information and photograph supplied relating to her Great Grandfather.
Jack Lomas was born in Haynes and was the brother of Joseph Lomas, who is commemorated on our memorial. He lived with his wife, Florence, and daughter, Miriam, in Back Street when he joined the 5th Bedfordshire Regiment in May 1911. Jack signed up for 4 years at the age of 23 years and 2 months. He was a labourer for Lord Lucas. He was stationed in England until July 1915, when he travelled on the “Braemar Castle” from Devenport to Alexandria. He suffered a gunshot wound to his legs in August 1915 and spent 5 weeks in hospital in Cairo. He returned to duty in Egypt and returned to England in April 1916, being discharged in May after 5 years service. Jack was awarded the 1914/15 Star and the British War Medal and Victory Medal.
Frank Lowe lived on Great Lane and was a Corporal in Army Veterinary Corps. Nothing further is known about Frank.
Arthur Samuel Taylor Maddams
He lived at Brickwall Farm, with his parents John and Maria and his siblings, one of whom, John George is listed on our village memorial. Arthur was born on 15th December 1898 and joined the Machine Gun Corps in 1917, he was a Private. In 1917 his enlistment papers show his occupation as Engineer’s apprentice, he was just 18. In 1918 he was punished for overstaying his leave in Clophill by 14 hours. He was demobbed in 1919. He returned to live at Brickwall Farm but travelled extensively between the two wars, and lived for some time in Singapore.
Arthur married Joan Wallace in 1934 in Dorset. Arthur also served in WW2 and was a 2nd Lieutenant, sadly it is believed that he was a prisoner of war in Singapore for many years. In June 1947 he gained a Private Pilot’s licence (see 1947 photo) in an Auster at Cowes Aero Club, his address at that time was c/o Wilmington Lodge, Ampthill. His occupation is given as a Planter, which was his occupation when he lived in Singapore. He died in East Sussex in 1992.
Rev. Cecil Lloyd Matthews lived in the Rectory and was a Senior Chaplain to the Forces. He was awarded the Star. He was born in 1881, educated at Oxford and eventually became Archdeacon of Leicester. He married Ennis Beddoe. He died in 1962. See the full story here.
Harold Matthews lived at 15 Back Street. He was a hat blocker 1911 when he lived with his sister and parents, Levi and Charlotte (nee Gudgin) He was one of their 10 children, 8 of whom had survived. He served with the Bedfordshire Yeomanry who were absorbed into the 5th (Royal Irish) Lancers in 1917, when, along with the rest of 3rd Cavalry Brigade the 5th Lancers fought in such actions as Gillemont Farm and Bourlon Wood. Towards the end of 1917 they fought at Cambrai.
In 1918 when the Germans launched their Spring Offensive the 5th Lancers were heavily involved in the defence of the British line at the Crozat Canal and at the Canal du Nord where they suffered their heaviest casualties of the war in face of the massive German onslaught. On 11th November 1918 the regiment, along with the Canadian 3rd Division entered Mons and earned for itself the honour of being the first British regiment to enter the town from which they had been the last regiment to leave in August 1914.
Sidney Matthews lived on the High Street and was a Private in the Army Pay Corps. He was born in Clophill in 1891 and in 1911 lived at “Cross Tree” (now No.87) High Street, Clophill with his parents, Thomas & Emily and his 4 siblings. He worked from home as an agent for the Refuge Assurance company. His father was a thatcher. He married Mary Martin in 1912.
Francis Eden Meade was a Captain in the Royal Engineers and lived on Back Street. No further information relating to Clophill has been discovered for Francis.
Arthur Middleton lived on Back Street and was a Private in the 4th Bedfordshires. Arthur was the son of Martha and Joseph (a Coal Merchant,) born in Clophill in 1896. In 1911 his parents had moved to Ampthill and Arthur was living with and assisting in his Grandfather – Isaac Woodcraft’s business of Market Gardner in Back Street. Arthur married Mabel Emerton and had 2 children. He died in Canada in 1951.
Ernest Trevor Mitchell lived on the High Street and served as Engine Room Artificer in the Royal Navy on H.M.S. Boadicea. In 1921 Ernest was stationed at Chatham Barracks. By 1925 he had moved to Pulloxhill.
Henry Victor Negus, was born in the Autumn of 1897 in Flitton, Ampthill. In the 1911 census he was shown as living in Back Street Clophill as a scholar with his aunt, Charlotte Mary Willmore, a widow and also her son Ernest John, an agricultural labourer. Henry (also known as Harry) joined the Royal Artillery and was a driver – on 26.10.15 and gave his age as 19 years and 3 months (he was 1 year younger). He was living with his now married mother in Clitheroe and joined up in Preston. He was discharged (de-mobbed) from the army 27th January 1920. Harry was hospitalised while in the army with tonsillitis. He died in Lancashire 4th April 1993 aged 95. He had never married.
Edward Norris was a Private in the Army Service Corps and lived on the High Street from at least 1918 to 1923. It is thought that he was born in 1877 in Marylebone and later married Mary. However, he was an unmarried shop porter, living in Paddington when he enlisted in 1915 (and only 4’ 11”). He was demobbed in 1919. His mother was called Louisa Amelia.
Percy James Northwood was a Private in the 3rd Bedfordshire Regiment and the Hertfordshire Regiment. He joined in March 1916 and in the following December was drafted to France. He took part in the Battles of Attas, Ypres III, Passchendale and Cambrai. He was wounded in the Retreat of 1918. He was later gassed and returned to England, being demobilised in August 1919. He received the General Service and Victory Medals. He lived in The Strand, Clophill
Ernest James Osborn lived in Little Lane during WW1 with his sister Clara and brother William in what is now The Old Thatch. He lived there for most of his life. Ernest was an agricultural labourer, but his particulars state that he was a qualified cook. His mother had died before he was 10. He enlisted in 1916 and was posted to France almost immediately. He was a Private in the 8th Leicestershires. He died in 1955.
Samuel Page – It is believed that Samuel was born in Clophill in 1884, the son of Samuel and Hannah. The family lived in 6 Bedford Cottages, Jacques Lane. Samuel was a farm labourer. He married Mary Line in 1906. They lived in East End, Flitwick by 1911. He served with the 3/5th &/or 8th Bedfordshire Regiment seriously wounded in France in 1916, hospitalised in Oxford, returning to France in the autumn of that year. In 1917 Samuel was wounded again and went to hospital in Blackpool. Samuel had 5 children, however his son, Sidney Lewis died in Thailand in WW2. By 1939 the family were living in Flitton and Samuel was working as a Horseman. Samuel died locally in 1968.
Frederick James Palmer was born in Clophill in 1881 and lived at 33, High Street and was a Private, Motor Transport, A.S.C. In 1911 he lived with his parents Charles and Mary and was a butcher, as was his father working at the shop at 33 High Street. He later married Lilian Shotbolt and died in Bedfordshire at the age of 91.
Arthur Samuel Peat was a Signalman in the Royal Navy. He joined the service in January 1917 and was posted to H.M.S. “Calypso” and served in the North and Baltic Seas. He was in action against the Bolshevik Naval Forces at Reval in December 1918 as well as other engagements. He was wounded and invalided out of the service in July 1919 and he received the General Service and Victory Medals. He lived in High Street, Clophill.
He was a 13 year old schoolboy in 1911, living on the High Street with his father Richard, a Machinist, his mother Emmeline and 3 sisters. His mother and elder sister, Lillian Annette Mary, were also Machinists, as was Emmeline’s mother Clarissa Upton, who also lived with them. The 2 younger sisters Gladys May and Alice Emmeline were school girls. Richard and Emmeline had been married for 28 years. All of the children had been born in Clophill.
Arthur Sydney Peat was born in 1900, he had brown hair and blue eyes. In 1911 lived at 12 High Street with his parents – David and Ellen. When he signed up he was a Market Garden labourer. He served as a Signaller on HMS Benbow (an Iron Duke- Class Battleship) and also served on the Ganges and Victory. It is believed that he married Nellie and had at least 3 children and that by 1939 he was working as a cabinetmaker and carpenter and the family lived on the Shefford Road, Clophill. He died locally in 1964.
John Francis Peat was a Private in the Irish Rifles. In 1918 Ampthill News reported that he was in hospital in Cairo. He was born in Clophill in 1890. In 1911 he lived with his wife, Sarah - nee Bandy (they had married in 1907) and 2 children at 1 Free Cottages, Back Street. He worked as a farm labourer. He died in 1950.
Arthur Samuel Peck was born in Clophill, and lived at 43 High Street with his father, a machinist, and the rest of their family. He joined up in Ampthill on 18th November 1915, giving his occupation as a horsekeeper. His army number was 31518 and he joined the Machine Gun Corps, sometimes being with 101 Company and sometimes with Right Wing Company. He served in France but had periods of disability with both dysentery and enteritis. He was reported in June 1918 in the “Particulars of Character” as being “very sober, exceptionally reputable, very intelligent and a very good NCO, (he was a corporal) with a good command and control and being tactful in the handling of men.
He did have a couple of disciplinary blemishes on his record though, both for being late on parade. He was transferred to the reserves on 8th March 1919 having returned to England in Spring 1918. He received the Military Medal. Arthur, father of Jean died in 1981.
Thomas Pegg was a Private in the Agricultural Labour Corps and lived on the High Street. Joined the Army in May 1915 and was discharged in November 1918 having served in France. Nothing further is known about Thomas.
Walter F. Penwarden lived on The Green and was a Sergeant in the Signal Section of the Royal Engineers. He was awarded the Military Medal. Research indicates that, although he appeared on the missing voters register in 1918 for Clophill, he may have had little connection with the village. He was born in about 1887 in Battersea and was living at home there in 1911. He was an Electrical Light Wireman, which may explain his War occupation.
William Matthew Edmund Perkins lived at Mount Pleasant. He was a Gunner (Bombardier) in the Royal Garrison Artillery. He was the youngest son of Mr. & Mrs. H. Perkins and he suffered from Trench Fever, being sent to Newcastle-upon-Tyne Military Hospital in July 1918. He was born in Clophill in about 1890 and appears on the 1901 as living in The Slade. In 1911 he is living (as a boarder) in Lincolnshire and, aged 21, is working as a Signalman on the Great Northern Railway.
William Henry Pigrum – William enlisted in 1915 at Ampthill Park, he served initially with the 7th Bedfordshire Regiment and at the time of his medical discharge in 1919 he was a Private with the Labour Corps Home Service company. He had suffered with myalgia. He was born in 1884 in Toddington and had lived and worked in Luton in later years as a Straw hat maker. By 1919 he was living in Newmarket with his wife, Eliza and their 3 children. When they lived in the village they lived in the High Street. Ampthill News reported in January 1918 that he was returning to the front and in May 1918 that he was in hospital, hoping to be well soon. He died in 1963 in Lincolnshire.
William James Pitts was a Private in the 867 Garrison Guard. He was born in Clophill in 1878. He lived at 7 Mount Pleasant, Back Street, although in 1911 he was a Greengrocer in Holloway. He married Nellie Matthews and they had 5 children. By 1939 was working as a Market Garden Labourer. He died locally in 1953.
Joseph was a Sapper in the Royal Engineers (Airline Section) who was originally from the Liverpool area. He volunteered in August 1914 and proceeded overseas the following year. He served on the front line in many parts of the Western Front and was engaged on important constructional duties. He was present at the Battles of the Somme, Cambrai, Arras and Ypres. He was demobilised in March 1919 and received the 1914-15 Star, General Service and Victory medals. He lived at 11, the Strand, Clophill. His daughter Doris was born in 1916 and married Jack Pitts, who lived with his family at Mount Pleasant.
Doris said she could remember he father flying over Clophill in an aeroplane and waving to her. Her father was based at RAF Henlow. As Joseph had been in the Royal Engineers, this may have been post-War.
Ralph Rainbow was born in Meppershall in 1894. In the 1911 Census he is living with his parents, 3 brothers and 1 sister in Beadlow. In 1911 he was a Fram Labourer. and was a Private in the 2/5th Manchester Regiment. He was a Prisoner of Was in May 1918. He was able to return home by early December of that year. He married Ethel Bland in 1923 and they lived later at addresses in Hitchin Road, Clifton. There is reference Betty Rainbow and Horace Rainbow. Ralph passed away in September 1963.
Noel Rawnsley was a Lieutenant in the British Red Cross Society as part of the Royal Engineers. He lived on the High Street according to the Absent Voters List/Electoral Rolls in 1918 and 1919. This may relate to his War service as there doesn’t seem to be any other connection with the village.
(Alfred) William Richardson was a Private in the 2nd Bedfordshire Regiment. He enlisted in December 1910 and at the outbreak of war was sent to the Western front in October 1914. He was in action at Ypres and Neuve Chapelle and was wounded at Festubert in May 1915. He rejoined his unit and took part in engagements including the Battles of Ypres and Vimy Ridge. He was invalided home on account of wounds received at Dickebusch on 21st April 1917. After medical treatment he served at the depot of his Regiment until he was demobilised in March 1919. He was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the General Service Medal and the Victory Medal. He lived in The Strand, Clophill.
Alfred Richardson was born in 1894 and lived in Jacques Lane with his family (1901 and 1911 censuses). Later he lived on the High Street and was a Private in the 1st Bedfordshires. We have not been able to find out more about him at this time.
Arthur Richardson – little is clear regarding Arthur- it is believed he was married in 1910 to Lillie Tuffnell. He was the son of Alfred Richardson. Ampthill News reported in 1916 that he served in the 8th Bedfords and had gone missing after being posted to France. It states that Mrs Richardson (presumably his wife but possibly his mother formerly resided at Clophill Rectory. The paper later reports that Arthur had been badly wounded in April that year at the Battle of Mons) and head been taken prisoner. He had written to his wife informing her that he was only just able to walk about the ward at Karthausurgasse Hospital. In 1917 it was reported that he had written to his relative F Page in a “cheerful mood, but his enclosed photograph shows a thin and careworn face.” In May 1918 the paper states that he had escaped but later advises that he was now interned in Holland. He was seriously ill and not out of danger. The paper states that he had written to his wife complaining of his treatment by his captors who had “taken everything from him, even his child’s photograph.” Arthur returned home in August 1918.
Arthur Roberts was born in Clophill in November 1895 and lived on the High Street with his parents and siblings. In 1911 he was living in St. Albans and worked as a Messenger at a Printers. However, he joined the Royal Navy later that year and first served on “Impregnable” He served in the Royal Navy Flying Corps as a Wireless Operator on HMS Gloucester during the Great War (among many other ships). His last ship was Victory 1 and he left the Royal Navy in August 1927.
Horace Roberts was born in Clophill in 1890. In 1911 he lived on the High Street with his parents and was a Farm Labourer. He attested in 1915 and served as a Private in the 1st Bedfordshires. He was badly wounded in the wrist in 1918 and returned from Cambrai to hospital in Nottingham. He was demobbed in 1919. Horace died locally in 1938.
George Gordon Rolfe was born in London in 1883. He married Elizabeth Collip in 1906 in Wandsworth when he worked as a Coachman. They had 4 children. In 1918 his address was given as the High Street, Clophill. He was a Driver in the Royal Field Artillery and wrote home detailing his service. In 1917 he wrote that he had spent 18 months in the vicinity of Ypres. In April & July 1918 he advised that he was “in the thick of it.” In August ’18 he wrote that his Battalion was on the Somme and had been involved in a “brilliantly successful operation,” and that they were constantly under fire. He died in Maulden in 1958- where they had been living since his return from the war. He worked as a Builder’s Labourer.
Joshua George Rose was born in Newark, Notts in 1882. By 1911 he was a teacher living with his parents- George and Mary Jane at 41 High Street, Clophill. He served as a Corporal in the Royal Artillery Medical Corps. He continued to be based in Clophill until at least 1919. He married Ethel Evelyn Berwick in 1919. By 1939 they were living in Herne Bay and he continued to work as a teacher. Joshua died in Bournemouth in 1950.
Frank Rutland was a Private in the 23rd Middlesex Regiment. He joined in March 1917 and was drafted overseas the following July. He served on the Western Front and took part in several battles including Passchendale and Dickebusch. He was sent to Italy in February 1918 and after a brief period of service on the Italian Front he returned to France in April 1918. He fought at Kemmel Hill and was gassed in June. He was demobilised in February 1919 and he was awarded the General Service Medal and the Victory Medal. He lived in The Strand, Clophill.
Cecil Sharman was born in Clophill in 1897, he was the son of William and Emily. In 1911 he worked as a Farm Labourer and lived at Beadlow. The family had lived in Back Street in previous years. He was brother of James (see below).
Cecil was an Ordinary Seaman, he started his naval service in 1916. He was based on HMS Pembroke, which was the name for the shore barracks at Chatham. He served on H.M.S. Titania a submarine depot ship, and H.M.S. Dido and H.M.S. Hecla which were both depot ships. He was a fireman and described as of good character. He was 5’ 6” tall. He served until 1919. He married Elizabeth (possibly Odell in 1916). By 1939 they were living in Wolverton and Cecil was an Electrical Store Keeper.
James Sharman was born in Clophill and had served in the 3rd Bedfordshire Regiment from 1911. He signed up for 4 years service, describing himself as married, aged 31, and working for Lord Lucas as a labourer woodman. Lord Lucas owned and lived at Wrest Park but also owned a number of Market Gardens in Clophill.
James was a Corporal during this first period of service but at his own request reverted to the rank of Private in April 1915, while in Newmarket. He joined up again on 15 August 1916 as a member of the 5th Bedfordshire Regiment. He also served in the Dorsetshire Regiment. He gave his age as 37 years and 2 months and his address as High Street, Clophill. He served in England until the beginning of 1917 and arrived in France on 1 February 1917, where he fought in many battles including those at Arras, Cambrai and the Somme. He arrived back in England on 25 July 1917 having received “a severe Gun Shot Wound” to the thigh and was invalided out and discharged from the services on 23 November of that year, but spent many months in hospital.
James had married Mary Jane King in Haynes on 17 November 1900 and according to his War Record had 6 children up to the time of his discharge. They were Thomas James born 1901, Arthur Charles born 1904, Reginald John born 1907, Daisy Florence born 1909, Cyril Henry born 1912, and Frederick Thomas George born 1917. The family lived in Jacques Lane.
Walter Sharman was born in Clophill in 1888. He was a Horseman in 1911 and his parents were William & Mary Ann. The family lived in Jacques Lane. He married Mary Webb (sister to Augustus & Herbert Charles on our memorial) in 1912. Later his occupation was describe as “in the employ of the County Surveyor.” He was a Private in the Royal Army Medical Corps. He joined in October 1915 and was in France in 1916. He was severely wounded at Thiepval in September 1916 and invalided home for hospital treatment.
Walter was demobilised in March 1919 and he received the General Service Medal and the Victory Medal. He returned to live in Jacques Lane with his wife until 1927 when they moved to 119 High Street. His occupation in 1939 was County Council Labourer. Walter died in 1965.
William Sharman lived on the High Street and was a Private in the 1/5th Bedfordshires. (This entry on the Absent Voter’s List may relate to the soldier below.)
William Sharman was a Private in the 2nd Bedfordshire Regiment. He volunteered in August 1914 and served with his Battalion in the UK until drafted to Egypt in March 1917. He took part in fighting at Gaza during the British Advance through Palestine. After the Armistice he proceeded to India and in 1920 he was still serving. He was awarded the General Service Medal and the Victory Medal. His home address was Jacques Lane, Clophill. It is possible that William was brother to Sydney Sharman who is commemorated on our memorial, sons of Josiah and Emma.
Ernest Shotbolt was a Private in the 2nd/4th Royal Scots Fusiliers. He joined in June 1916. After training in the UK he was declared medically unfit and because of ill health invalided out of the service in March 1918.
He lived at 4 Barton Cottages, High Street, Clophill in 1911 and was a 21 year old Farm Labourer. The head of the household was his Step Father, James Page, a 62 year old Police Pensioner. James had been married to Ernest’s mother, Mary Ann (56), for 4 years. Ernest had also been married to James’s daughter, Grace (20), for 1 year. So not only was Ernest James’s Stepson but he was also his son-in-law. Also residing at the house were Ernest’s brother, Walter (20), a farm Labourer and James Edward (an infant), the son of Ernest and Grace.
A S Simpson was a Corporal in the 1st Queen’s (Royal Surrey Regiment). He joined in April 1917 and in March 1918 he was despatched to France. He saw service at Albert and Le Cateau. He was also engaged on clerical duties with the Royal Army Ordnance Corps at GHQ at Wimereux and Boulogne. He was demobilised in April 1920 and he received the General Service Medal and the Victory Medal. He lived at High Street, Clophill.
Frederick George Skipworth lived at “The Gables”, Clophill. was born on 31 August 1870. He was the son ofGrey Skipwith and Fanny Elizabeth Tudor. He married Bertha Sylvia Chapman, daughter of Charles Augustus Chapman, on 16 June 1903. He died on 29 January 1964 at age 93, without issue.
He was Colonel 1st Battalion Royal Warwicks Regt, Sudan , Boer War 1901–02, WW I (despatches) Expdn 1898. He was educated Wellington. He was made Companion, Order of St. Michael and St. George (C.M.G.) in 1919. He was married secondly to Nora (died 8 Jan 1958), widow of Major Charles Hacket on 8 March 1954.
Charles Smith was the son of Sarah Ann Lomas (née Smith). He was born in Haynes in about 1886 and is probably half-brother to Jack Lomas above. The family lived at Mount Pleasant (now Back Street). Charles enlisted with the Bedfordshires in 1915 and was a Private in the London Yeomanry. Nothing further is known about Charles.
Frederick Hargreaves Smith is thought to have been born in 1869 in Lancashire and had been a Major in the army at the turn of the century. It is believed he married Elizabeth Hamilton in 1900 and they went on to have 2 children. By 1915 until at least 1919 his address was Clophill House, High Street. He was a Major in the Army service Corps. In later years his occupation was given as “artist.” He died in Jersey in 1955.
Arthur Edward Stevens was born in Clophill in about 1882, he lived with his parents-Samuel and Ann in the High Street. In 1901 he worked as a railway labourer. He married Bertha Pitts in 1909 and in 1911 they lived in Southgate and he worked as an insurance agent. He served as a Private in the 6th reserve section of the Royal Veterinary Corps. By 1939 the couple lived in Devon where he worked as a motor fitter. He died in Devon in 1939.
Reginald Walter Stratton was born in Kempston in 1876. He married Annie Maud Quenby in Clophill in 1905. In 1911 Reginald was a verger, living with Annie in Bedford. He attested in 1915, firstly serving with the 3rd Battalion, Northampton Regiment, then the 3rd Royal Lancaster’s and finally he became a Lance Corporal in the 201st Labour Corps, Royal Artillery Medical Corps. He served in Salonica with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force. He was demobbed in 1919 and his papers state that at this time he was considered 20% disabled. His address in the 1920s until about 1935 was Back Street and later it was given as 12 The Slade and his occupation as Decorator (disabled). Reginald died locally in 1945.
David Yeo Bartholomew Tanqueray lived on the High Street and was a Captain in the King’s Royal Rifles. He was born in Totnes, Devon on 20 Aug 1896 and had one older brother, Andrew and an older sister, Margaret. His father, Andrew Hawkins Tanqueray was born in Tingrith on 3 Feb 1964. David’s mother was Alice Lucy Cory. Andrew senior was a brewer in Ampthill and then in Totnes before becoming the owner of a Mechanical Engineering Company, when the family lived in Finchley. Although Andrew appears on the 1910 electoral role for Finchley, none of the family appears on the 1911 Census.
David was posted to France on 20 May 1915 as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 9th Battalion of the KRR. He was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. On his record his address in 1921 is given as Ivy House, Clophill. Also on his record are the words “Vologda Force” and NREF. So it is likely that David served in the North Russian Expeditionary Force, an adventure that was not a success. At some stage he moved to the Peterborough area and with others he was involved in the patenting of a laundry ironing machine. He travelled widely and visited New York twice and Quebec. The manifest on the ships lists him as a Director and he must have been wealthy in that he travelled First Class, including on the Queen Mary.
David married Marjorie Edith Bryant in March 1938, although some records indicate that her surname may have been McDonald. In 1938 David & Marjorie travelled to Southampton from Durban on the Windsor Castle. They had 2 children. David was born in 1939 and Davina in 1941. They were then living at The Old Vicarage, Helpston, Peterborough. David died at the age of 47 in West End Hospital, Regent’s Park, London on 21 March 1944.
William Harold Thurley was born in Northampton in 1887. In 1911 he was married to Ethel Guest with one daughter and lived in Sandy. His occupation was Rural Postman. In the 1918 Absent Voters List his address is given as Jacques Lane, Clophill. He served as a Private in the 1st Scottish Rifles. Ethel and William (sometimes known as Harold) had 4 more daughters. In 1938 they were living in Tempsford. He died in 1939.
Frederick William & Alice Titmas of Woodview, (now 51) High Street, saw 3 sons go to war. All 3 sons were born in Clophill and return to live with their parents until at least 1923.
Frederick Ernest Titmas
Known as Ernest, he was born in 1887 and in 1911 was a Gunner for the Royal Navy serving in China and East India. In WW1 he was a Gunner Royal Marine Artillery, serving on HMS Commonwealth a King Edward V11 class battle ship which was used to supplement the Grand Fleet's cruisers on the Northern Patrol, and HMS Lord Nelson. Nelson was a pre-dreadnaught battle ship with served at Ernest’s time in the Dardanelles.
Ernest was 5’ 10” and considered to be of good character. He had enlisted in 1903. He married Minnie Sanders in London in 1926. They continued to live at 51 High St until approximately 1939 when they moved to Blair Cottage, Mill Lane. Ernest died in Bedford Hospital in 1959.
Jesse Titmas was born in 1882. In 1911 he was working as an assistant to his father who was a Dairy Farmer. Jesse was a Private in the Royal Artillery Medical Corps. He was often reported on in Ampthill News. In 1916 they reported that he was home on leave, suffering greatly from the effects of gas but that he had been on active duty for 17 months. They also report that he has lost a brother in law in Gallipoli and that he has another brother in law and 2 brothers serving. Later they report that he has sprained an ankle whilst on duty but subsequently returns to convey injured prisoners by train to Switzerland. In 1917 he served in France, near Etaples.
In 1917 he wrote home:-
“I suppose you are busy now digging potatoes. We're having pouring rain, but never mind, the weather will be better soon, and thank God we can say "All's well." I came across Rev. C.L. Matthews the other day, and had a long chat with him. He wished to be remembered to the parishioners of Clophill. The wounded are most complimentary in their remarks about him, and everybody appears to like him. The other day, I was going to see my brother Sam. Our train stopped within five miles of him overnight, but when I woke in the morning I found I was miles away. Well, what is your opinion about the war? Do you think we shall win? All the boys out here are confident of victory, and there opinion is that it is not far distant. I heard rather an amazing piece the other day from an Australian Sergeant. His company had just accomplished an excellent piece of business when his officer came up and says "Come on boys, let's go back on the battlefield and kill a few more Fritz's, and understand we spare none, wounded or not." Immediately on their return they came across a helpless Fritz in a shell hole weakly murmuring "Kamerad." The officer and sergeant bandaged the poor fellow up and gave him a drop of brandy. That's a specimen of the chivalry shown by our lads in France. Well to change the subject, how are the crops looking? They are excellent out here, but they will have the greatest difficulty to harvest them owing to the shortage of labour, but then, the French are exceptionally hard working.”
In 1918 Ampthill News reports that he has refused promotion and by his own request is returning to his pre-war battalion of the RGA.
It is believed that Jesse emigrated to Australia before WW2 and that he died there in 1954.
Sam Titmas was born in 1896. In 1911 Sam was described as an Apprentice (cycle). Sam joined the Royal Flying Corps on 4th November 1915 as an Airman 2nd Class. He embarked to France in December 1916. He received several promotions through Airman 1st Class, Acting Corporal, Corporal, and then to Sergeant on the 1st of July 1917. He was transferred to the Royal Air Force in April 1918, the day on which it was formed. He left the RAF in January 1919 but joined the RAF Reserve the following month, finally being discharged at the end of April, 1920. His record shows him as being a Joiner and just over 5ft 11ins. tall. He married May Wadsworthin 1928. In later life (1939 onwards) they are resident in Westbury Gardens, Luton. He continued to work as a Carpenter. Sam died in March 1979.
Lewis Carl Tiffin was born in Kent in 1890. By 1911 he was working as a footman in Ramsgate. There he met Flora Whittamore who had been born in Clophill and was working as a cook just a few doors away. They married in 1916 and went on to have a daughter called Myrtle. During WW1 Lewis was a Corporal in the Motor Transport Army Service Corps, giving his address for the Absent Voter’s list as the High Street, Clophill. After the war the family lived in Wandsworth, where he worked as a grocery shopkeeper and where he died in 1973.
Bertie Tuffnell was born in Clophill in 1884. His family kept the Stone Jug from 1876 to 1959. Sadly Bertie’s father died when he was 4 and so his mother, Mary, takes over as licensee of the Jug. So in 1891 we find Bertie and one of his sister’s living with an Aunt on the High Street. It is believed that in 1901 he was living as a boarder, at the age of 16, in Hendon. He was working as a General Labourer. His whereabouts are not known until his activities are reported on in Ampthill News. It states that he was wounded in 1915 whilst serving in General Botha’s Army in South Africa. In 1916 the paper reports that he “is enjoying the beautiful breezes in Alexandria” and that he served throughout the Boer War and has since been in many military engagements under Botha and had been wounded. Later that year it states that he has again been seriously wounded and is in hospital in London. He is promoted to Corporal in 1916.
In January 1917 Ampthill News reports “Bert. Tuffnell, South African Infantry, has been discharged as medically unfit for further service. He was in South Africa at the commencement of Hostilities, his regiment helped conquer German South West Africa. Later he served in Egypt, where he was badly wounded in the shoulder. He has spent a long time in hospital, but has not been able to regain the use of his arm, and has consequently been invalided.”
No further information is known about Bertie.
Frederick Tysome was born in Meppershall in 1889. By 1911 he was living in Old Warden and working as a Farm Labourer. His parents were called William & Ann. Frederick was a serving soldier and was drafted to France in 1914. He fought in many engagements including Ypres, Festubert, Loos, Givenchy and the Somme. He was badly gassed and returned to England in 1917 and was invalided out of the service as a result- being granted the Silver medal as he was discharged due to sickness. Frederick married Margaret Waddell in St Albans in 1918 and by 1919 they lived in Little Lane. From at least 1934 until his death in 1959 the family lived at 14 Bedford Road, Clophill. In 1939 his occupation is given as War (Disability) Pensioner. It is believed that the couple had 4 children.
William and Caroline Upton lived in 44 High Street. They had both been widowed and proceeded to have 2 sons together – they both served in WW1. William died in 1913.
Henry (Harry) Upton was born in Clophill in 1896. He worked on a farm (Simpson’s Firs) belonging to a Mr. Williamson in 1911, here he met with a serious accident ( at the age of 15,) when he was driving a horse which was working the chaff-cutting machine and Harry’s foot was caught in the cog-wheels. However, he enlisted with the Bedfords in 1915 by which time he was 5’ 10” tall. He became a Lance Corporal. He was sent to France in 1916, where he spent the duration of his war. He was hospitalised several times for Dysentery, Pleurisy and the effects of gas attacks. He approximately 140 days in hospital over a period of 12months. Unfortunately his relatives had been advised in 1916 that he had been killed by shellfire but soon after they were informed that this was not the case. His medical papers also state that he suffered from Laryngitis and Rheumatism. He was demobbed in 1919 with a pension for a 5% disability, which related to the after-effects of gas. When he was demobbed the family were living in St Albans. Nothing further is known about Harry.
Charles Robert Kimberley Upton was born in 1900. He enlisted just after his 18th birthday with the Bedfordshire Regiment. He did his training at Brockton Boot Camp at Cannock Chase. He was A1 fit despite having a scar on his left leg. He was 5’ 5 ½ inches, with grey eyes and auburn hair. He had flu in June that year, spending 16 days in hosipital. He was demobbed in 1919 after another two weeks in hospital. He was living in St Albans at the time of enlistment. He married Daisy Gibbard in 1929 and by 1939 was Head Gardener for the Gorhambury Estate, St Albans. He died in 1971.
Richard James Warwick was born in Surbiton, Surrey on 21st April, 1888 and in 1901 lived in Wter End with his father James, a Domestic Gardener born in Ridgemont, his mother Mary Jane (Brown), who was born in Middlesex, and 2 sisters. His father died in 1910 and in 1911 he was living in Back Street with his mother (now a Dressmaker) and his younger brother William John. There is no mention of sisters although his older sister, who reached middle age, may have been living elsewhere by then.
His military service is not easy to follow as the records show that he joined the Royal Navy on 21st June 1916 and served on HMS President II ( an accounting base) until 31st March 1918 with the occupation as Chauffeur but he rank of Aircraftman Second Class, then Aircraftman First Class. From 1st February 1918 he became Air Mechanic Second Class. On 1st April 1918 he was transferred to the newly formed Royal Air Force. He was transferred to Reserve in March of the following year. In 1924 he married Ida Jane Payne and at some time they lived in Langford. He died in Berkhamstead in 1966.
William Thomas Watkins lived on the High Street and was a Company Sergeant Major in the Royal Engineers. He was awarded the “Star” in 1915. Nothing further is known regarding this man.
Isaac and Eliza Webb had 6 sons that served in WW1. The family lived at 11 Jacques Lane.The family were mostly farm Labourers, although Lewis was a carpenter and Albert a milkman. All of the sons were born in Clophill.
Albert Webb was born in 1879. He married Florence in 1900 and by 1911 they were living in Ealing. Albert enlisted in 1916 (aged nearly 37yrs) and served in France with the Army Service Corps ( Motor Transport) as a Lorry Driver. He was 5’ 5.25” tall and was described as sober, reliable & intelligent. Unfortunately he faced a disciplinary action whilst serving near Cologne in 1919 as he was “improperly dressed” – he was not wearing a belt! He was demobbed later that year.
Sidney Webb was born in 1886. He was 5’ 6” tall and had blue eyes with brown hair. He had joined the Kings Royal Rifle Co. in 1903, aged 18. He spent time with his unit in Bermuda where he suffered with rheumatic fever. His officers described him as being good, sober and hardworking. He was also a keen sportsman. Later he became a Sergeant and was sent to France in 1914 and his exploits were regularly reported in Ampthill News. In 1915 he had written to say that “as a sniper several Germans had realised the accuracy of his rifle.” And later that year he informed his parents that he and 5 others from his company were cut off from their comrades by the enemy, but after 2 days of hot pursuit and severe privation they had succeeded in re-joining their regiment. In May he tells his mother that he had had a bullet pass through the collar of his coat, but it fortunately only grazed his neck, but he is hearty and well. Later in May he lets his family know he has been slightly wounded in the face and back by shrapnel. He came home briefly in October 1915 and brought his blood-stained bayonet with him! In 1916 he is temporarily hospitalised but soon returns to “sniping.” His term of service expired in 1916 and it is not known if he re-enlisted. In 1939 he was still working as a Market Gardener’s Labourer, still living at 11 Jacques Lane with his father. He died locally in 1955.
Ernest Webb was born in 1889. He was a sapper in the Royal Engineers. After the war he returned to Jacques Lane until 1922. Nothing further is known about Ernest.
William Thomas Webb was born in 1893. He was employed by the Burgoynes in Maulden. William enlisted in 1915 and was a Private in the 6th Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment. He served in France- near Etaples where he suffered a shrapnel wound to his hand in 1917 and later that year a gun shot wound to his arm and head. William seems to have had time keeping issues as he was disciplined for overstaying his leave by 1 day in 1917 and in 1918 he was absent from parade for 1.5 hours! He was demobilised in 1919. After the war he returned to Jacques Lane until 1930. It is believed that by 1939 William is living at 7 The Green, with his wife Kate. He is working as an assistant to a Waterworks Engineer.
Lewis James Webb was born in 1896. He worked for Lord Lucas (owner of Wrest Park) and was a keen sportsman. Lewis enlisted with the Bedfordshire Regiment in 1911, where his age was given as 17. He became a Private in the Loyal N. Lancs. He returned from the war to live at Jacques Lane until 1922. Nothing further is known about Lewis.
Percy Cyril Webb was born in 1898. Percy was a Fitter in the Royal Field Artillery. When he returned from the war he lived with his father and brothers in Jacques Lane until 1925. He died in 1983. Nothing further is known about Percy.
Alfred Webb gave his address as Beadlow for the Absent Voter’s Register, however his family connection cannot be proven. He may have been a son of Henry & Sarah Webb who lived at Beadlow and lost two sons, Augustus and Herbert in the Greta War. Alfred was a Private, Motor Transport., Aux. Patrol Co., Army Service Corps.
Bertie John Webb was born in 1894 in Clophill. In 1911 he worked as a gardener. His parents were William & Ann and the family lived in the High Street. He was a Driver with Royal Army Service Corps (Motor Transport) and he volunteered in June 1915, being transferred overseas the following month. While on the Western Front he undertook transport duties in the Loos, Arras, Cambrai and Somme sectors. He received the 1914-15 Star and the General Service Medal and the Victory Medal.
He is shown on the 1911 census as being 19 years old and living at the western end of the High Street (probably The Green) with his parents William and Ann, who had been married for 37 years. He is employed as a “Gardener Domestic”. The military records for the end of the War give his address as The Nook, (now 2 Mill Lane) – the same address as Len Izzard. Bertie was a first cousin of Frank & Walter below.
Levi and Sarah Webb had two sons who served and survived. Both sons were born in Clophill. The family lived in 81 High Street Clophill.
Frank Webb was born in 1894. He enlisted with the Bedfords and was then connected to the 7th Royal Fusiliers Intelligence Dept. He served on the Somme and by 1917 had served for 2 years in France. In 1918 he was gassed at Armentiers. Later that year he was “back in the thick of it.” It was reported in November 1918 that “on one occasion he had just dressed 2 wounded comrades, and was rendering other assistance when a shell burst close to them and killed them both, leaving him unhurt.”
Frank married Ivy Odell in 1922 and by 1939 they were living in Ampthill and he was working as a Public Works Contractor. It is believed that he died in Biggleswade in 1973.
Walter Webb was born in 1884. In 1901 he was working on a farm in Ripley, Derbyshire, but by 1911 he had returned to Clophill. He enlisted in 1915 and was a Gunner in Railway Construction Troops Depot in the Royal Engineers. He served in Mesopotamia in 1916 and Salonica in 1917. Nothing else is certain about Walter – it is probable that it is the same Walter that lived In The Nook – now 2 Mill Lane with Violet (possibly his wife,) after the war until they moved to 16 Bedford Road.
William Webb lived on the High Street and was a Private in the 692 Agricultural Company, Labour Corps. It is probable that William is the brother of Bertie John above and was born in 1880 in Clophill. By 1901 he was working as a Groom in Uckfield and in 1911 as a Gardener in Welwyn. It is thought that William died in 1958.
William West was born in Clifton in 1892 and by the age of 14 was working as a farm labourer. He married Ethel Emily Sharman in 1915 and it is thought that they had at least 2 children. William enlisted in 1916, he served with the Bedford’s, the Middlesex Regiment and with the 9th Battalion East Surrey regiment. He was quickly sent overseas but received a gun shot wound to the face in June 1917 and was wounded again in September that year in the right arm and chest. He resumed his duties and served in the field throughout 1918. He was demobbed in 1920. It was noted that he had 3 disciplinary issues; he made an unauthorised alteration to his clothing; he was absent from the Tattoo; and he left a working party without permission. His address through the 1920s was given as 96/Auckland Cottages, High Street, Clophill. In 1939 his occupation is given as Builder’s Labourer and his address as Shefford Road, Clophill. It is believed that he died locally in 1980.
William George Whittamore was born in Clophill in 1888 and the family lived on Silsoe Road, later on the High Street. His father, James, was a Carpenter. His mother was called Ann. (He was often referred to as “George” rather than William. He enlisted in Coldstream in 1914 in the King’s Own Scottish Borderers. At the time his occupation was as a gardener. He was 5’ 3.5”. He was posted to France in February 1915 having been promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal. He received a severe shrapnel wound the following month and returned to England until November 1915, when as a Corporal he returned to France. He had been a patient in Leicester Hospital. He remained in France until February 1918, being promoted to Sergeant in January 1916. He received a commission in February 1918 and left the Army later that year as a 2nd Lieutenant, having been awarded the Military Medal. At the time of his commission he had been transferred to the Machine Gun Corps. In 1919 it is believed he married Hilda Wrench locally. They went on to live in the Hampstead area and later Reigate. William died in Old Windsor in 1975.
Hubert Whittamore lived on the High Street and was a Private in the 9th Cheshire Regiment per the Absent Voters Register. He was born on 14th February, 1885 in Clophill and in 1901 lived in Silsoe Road with his prents and siblings. In 1911 he was an Apprentice Carpenter (his father was a Carpenter). William George (above) was one of his older brothers. He joined up in November 1915 as a mechanic (carpenter) in the Royal Flying Corps but later he was a sapper in the East Africa Royal Engineers, spending some time in East Africa. Later, he was transferred to the Cheshire Regiment and served in France. In 1939 he was living at 123 Clophill Road, Maulden with his wife, Lilian, and their daughter, Daphne (later Goodhall). Hubert died in 1960.
Fredrick Willison was a Private in the 4th Bedfordshire Regiment. He volunteered in November 1915 and was drafted to the Western Front the following July. He fought in various engagements including Ypres, the Somme, Beaumont-Hamel and the Retreat and Advance of 1918. He was wounded 3 times. He was demobilised in March 1919 and he was awarded the General Service Medal and the Victory Medal. He lived in Jacques Lane, Clophill.
Ernest John Willmore was born on 13th March 1884. In 1891 he was living in Back Street with his father, George, a carter, and his mother, Charlotte (Lammas), a Straw Plaiter. In the 1901 census Ernest is described as a Gardener’s Labourer, while his father is now a Sheep Shearer. George died in 1909 and in 1911 Ernest was a Farm Labourer living with his widowed mother and a male cousin.
He enlisted in 1916, aged nearly 32. He was 5” 8.5” tall. He moved between the Middlesex Regiment, the Labour Corps and the 29th Battalion of the London Regiment. He left the Army in 1919. Ernest married Gertrude Ethel Swindon in Market Harborough on 9th June 1919. They appear to have then lived In Clophill and they had 3 sons and 4 daughters. Ernest died on 8th September, 1965, when he was living in Readshill.
A W Wilson DSM A.B. (Gunner), R.N.
He served on H.M.S. “Inflexible”, joining up in 1912 and was sent to the North Sea at the outbreak of war. The ship was then sent to the Dardenelles and he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for his conspicuous gallantry in bringing back a picket boat single-handed. He was wounded 3 times while with his ship.
After the evacuation of Gallipoli he returned aboard his ship to the North Sea. He served until July 1919, when he was demobilised. As well as the DSM he was awarded the 1914-15 Star and the General Service Medal and the Victory Medal. He lived in Jacques Lane, Clophill. Nothing further is known about this man.
Horace Ensor Wootton was born in Clophill in 1885. He was the Grandson of James Wootton, the Postmaster/Sub-postmaster of Clophill. We don’t know which of James’s children was Horace’s parent –possibly his father was Frederick James Wootton. Ampthill News recorded that Horace wrote regularly to his sister at the Post Office. Horace was living in Queen Square, Holborn, in 1901 and was a boarder working as an “Errand Boy - Port”.
Horace appears in the 1911 Census as a Lance Corporal in the Second Hampshire Regiment. At the time of the Census, the Regiment was based in South Africa. His army career varied across the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Regiments. By 1914 he was a Sergeant and later Warrant Officer 2nd Class. He was in France from the early days of the War. In June 1916 he was temporarily incapacitated because of foot problems. He was home on leave in December of that year. In April 1917 he was badly injured by “barbed wire entanglements”. In June 1917 he was in hospital in France suffering from Trench Fever. At that time he was a Quartermaster Sergeant. By August he had returned to the front. He had been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal in 1915 for conspicuous bravery on the battlefield. He was home on leave in November 1917. In May 1918 he was promoted to Company Sergeant Major. He had been recommended for a Commission but had declined it. From 1918 until at least 1924 he is a resident in High Street, Clophill. On 16th August 1919 there was a “Peace Fete” in the village. The participating soldiers were commanded by Horace.
Horace seems to have been something of a traveller. In April 1924, Horace, his wife, Rose, son Peter (aged 2), and daughter Patricia Rose (aged 1) arrive in London from Singapore on the “Karmala”. It is stated in the ship’s record that they intend to return to “British Possessions”.
In May 1932, Horace, Rose and Patricia arrived at Southampton aboard “Sibajak” from Malaya. Their address was given as 46, (Wootton House) High Street, Clophill.
In October 1945, Horace and Rose arrived in Liverpool from Singapore aboard “SS Nieuw Holland” and their address is given as “Central Stores”, High Street, Clophill. Horace gives his occupation as Club Manager. With them is Oliver William Wootton, an Accountant. Oliver is 51, 9 years younger than Horace. Possibly they may have been in Singapore during the Second World War. Again, Horace and Rose have advised that they intend to return to the British Empire, not stay in Britain.
Horace and Rose were living at that address in 1946. Horace on his own arrives from Malaya at Southampton on board another ship in July, 1947. Subsequent Electoral Rolls show Horace and Rose as living in High Street, Clophill. Sometimes there’s reference to Linden C Wootton living either next door or at the same address.
Horace died on 10th March 1957 and his address is given as 46, High Street
Frank Reginald Young was the brother of E W Young who is commemorated on our memorial. He was born in 1895- Clophill and in 1911 lived in Hall End with his widowed mother – Hannah. His father was William, also a butcher.Frank worked as a butcher in the family business, until after asking the doubtful Medical Officer to allow him to enlist, he served as a trooper with the mounted section of the Bedfordshire Yeomanry . He went on to marry Winifred Garton in 1924 and the family lived at 17 High Street (now the site of entrance to Cainhoe Road.) The couple had a son called Robert and Frank continued to work as a Butcher. He was a Police Sergeant in Clophill during WW2. He died in 1984, having moved to 26A High Street.
George and Elizabeth Young had four sons who served. George was the brother of William above. They had also lost one son in infancy and then lost Sydney William who is commemorated on our memorial. In 1911 the family lived in 9 The Strand:-
Arthur Charles Young was born in Clophill in 1886. Arthur lost his first wife in 1917. He was in the merchant service and then served with the Royal Navy Brigade in Malta and the Dardanelles. Ampthill News described him as a “gallant naval man and hero of Gallipoli.” He was hospitalised in Glasgow in February of that year and underwent several operations.He married Annie Dolan in 1928. They worked as servants at Tempsford Hall and by 1939 were working as Butler and Cook at Stonebridge House, Biggleswade. Arthur died in Clapham in 1968.
Edward George Young was born in 1887. He was Corporal in the Bedfordshire Yeomanry and became a Trooper in the City of London Yeomanry. He was on active service in France in 1917. Later he was seriously injured when a horse kicked him. He was taken to hospital in Warrington. Nothing is known about his later life.
Hubert Young was born in 1892, he had lived on the High Street and by 1911 was an Apprentice Butcher living as a boarder in Dunstable. He enlisted in 1915 and was demobbed in 1919. He was a Private, Mechanical Transport Army Service Corps. By 1931 he had emigrated to the US, and was living in Clarkstown, New York State with his wife- Ethel (née Reeves)- whom he married that year. By 1935 he was working as a farmer. He died in Indian Lake, New York, US in 1966.