Tag Archives: disease

CWG: Gunner Samuel Watts

Gunner Samuel Watts

Samuel Reginald Watts was born in 1897, the seventh of eight children of Samuel and Augusta Watts.

He followed his father and brothers into the main industry in the area – coal mining – and was certainly working down the pits by the time of the 1911 census.

Samuel enlisted on 21st April 1918, and joined the Royal Garrison Artillery, which focused on heavy, large-calibre guns and howitzers that were positioned some way behind the front line. He was 5’5″ (1.65m) tall and weighed 144lbs (65kg). According to his war records, he had brown hair, hazel eyes and a fresh complexion.

His service started the very next day, when he was transferred to the Citadel in Plymouth for training.

After feeling unwell, complaining of headaches and a sensitivity to light, Gunner Watts was admitted to the Netley Hospital in Southampton on 18th June 1918. He was diagnosed with cerebrospinal fever, more commonly known as meningitis, and was treated over the next week.

Sadly the treatment did not work, and Gunner Samuel Watts passed away on the evening of 26th June 1918. He had been in the army for a little over two months and had not seen active service.

Samuel Watts lies at peace in the graveyard of St John’s Church, Farrington Gurney.

CWG: Stoker Frederick Pople

Frederick Richard Pople was the second son of Frederick and Emma Pople, born in 1887 in Street, Somerset. He married Beatrice Cox in 1910 and, by the following year the newlyweds had moved to South Wales, when Frederick wound work on the railways.

Frederick joined relatively late into the war – he was 30 when he enlisted on 25th January 1918. He training took place at HMS Vivid II in Devonport and, by March of that year, he was serving as a stoker on the HMS Attentive III, part of the Dover patrol.

Sady, Stoker Pople’s service was short-lived. While he continued to work on the HMS Attentive after the conclusion of hostilities in November 1918, passed away from pneumonia on 11th February 1919. He is buried in Glastonbury Cemetery.