Tag Archives: injury

CWG: Corporal Sidney Hornby

This blog has focused a lot on the Commonwealth War Graves I have found on my travels around (initially Somerset) churchyards.

One of my other hobbies is family history, and I have uncovered a number of my ancestors who fell in the Great War. None that have researched so far did so on home soil, however, and so they are not buried in the UK.

It is only fitting, though, that I commemorate their loss here too.

The first of these is Corporal Hornby.

Sidney Horace Hornby was born to John and Emily in March 1880. John was a tailor’s assistant from Paddington, and the family – Sidney was the eldest of six siblings – initially lived in the Greenwich.

Sidney enlisted in the army in 1898. He joined the East Kent Regiment for a short service of seven years and was sent to South Africa. In March 1900 he was wounded at the Battle of Driefontein. His service, though, saw him promoted through the ranks from Private to Sergeant.

Something must have happened during his enlistment, however, as on 2nd September 1901 Sergeant Hornby’s military record marks him as having deserted.

Sidney’s records pick him up again on 24th April 1908, when he is put on court martial. Found guilty of desertion, he is reduced to the ranks and and sentenced to three years’ penal servitude (later reduced to two years’ hard labour).

His attitude seems to continue, however, as within a matter of months he was discharged due to misconduct and denied any pension for his previous service.

Sidney’s family had moved from Greenwich to Kent at some point before the 1901 census, and his father died three years later. By the 1911 census, he had moved back in with his mother, and worked as a labourer to help look after them.

The Great War called, however, and it seems that Sidney’s previous misdemeanours did not excluding him from fighting again. He joined the Royal West Kent Regiment although his full service for the 1914-18 campaign are not accessible. Again, his service seems to have been good, as he was elevated to the rank of Sergeant for a second time.

Hints of Sergeant Hornby’s rebellious nature remain, however, as he was court marshalled again in February 1916. He was convicted of drunkenness, and reduced to the rank of Corporal.

That was the summer of the Battle of the Somme, and by the autumn Corporal Hornby was one of the many who fell during that time. He died on 4th October 1916 and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

Sidney Horace Hornby was my 1st cousin, four times removed.

For the stories of more of the fallen from the Great War, take a look at my Commonwealth War Graves page.

CWG: Private Arthur Ashford

Private Ashford

Arthur James Ashford was born in the Dorset village of Okeford Fitzpaine, to John and Tryphina Ahford. His father died when Arthur was only seven years old, leaving Tryphina to raise him and his three siblings.

Arthur had had a military career before the start of the Great War. He had enlisted into the Dorsetshire Regiment in 1891 and, while I have not been able to locate his records from that time, the regiment had been stationed in Ireland in the 1890s.

In 1899 he married Amy Upshall, at which point he was employed as a labourer. The couple had six children, though sadly, two of them – Arthur George and Elsie May – died in childhood.

He enlisted within months of the First World War beginning, returning to the Dorsetshire Regiment he had previously served on 30th September 1914. (It is interesting that on his enlistment papers he said that he had previously served for 12 years, although the dates don’t fully tally up.) This time, however, Private Ashford served on the Home Front, in Dorchester and Portland.

On the evening of 22nd December 1916, Arthur fell down a gulley in Portland. He was taken to the Verne Military Hospital in the town, but died of his injuries – a fractured skull – in the early hours of the following day.

Private Arthur Ashford was buried in his home village of Evercreech on Thursday 28th December 1916.

CWG: Private Herbert Andrews

Private Andrews

Herbert Andrews was born in July 1896, the eldest of seven children of Hugh (known as Henry) and Jane Andrews from Evercreech, Somerset.

By the time war broke out, Herbert was helping out on his grandfather’s farm in nearby Thornford. He enlisted into the army on 15th November 1915, joining the Gloucestershire Regiment.

Private Andrews served in France from March 1916, eventually spending eighteen months on the front line (not counting leave), and received a gun shot wound to the face on 27th August 1917. (He was treated in France, and remained there for a further five months.)

Herbert seems to be the only member of his family to have seen active service. His brother Norman was the only one of his siblings to have been old enough to enlist and, while he did so in 1917, he was assigned to the Experimental Company of the Royal Engineers, testing munitions and gases in Porton.

It appears that while Herbert was on leave in February 1918 he fell ill. Ultimately, he was discharged as medically unfit for service on 7th September.

Just three days later, Private Herbert Andrews passed away three days later, succumbing to a combination of chronic Bright’s disease and haemoptysis.

CWG: Private Thomas Moody

Private Moody

Thomas Edward Moody was born in 1890, the second of five children for Thomas and Emily.

By the start of the war, “Little Tommy Moody” was working with his father in the quarries around Shepton Mallet and was the eldest son living at home.

He joined the North Somerset Yeomanry and was shipped out to France, where he was badly injured. An article in the Shepton Mallet Journal, included after his funeral, says as much about the life of this young man as it does about the Edwardian approach to military matters.

DEATH AND FUNERAL OF A SOLDIER – The death has taken place of Thomas Edward Moody, son of Thomas Moody, of Stoney Stratton, Evercreech, at the age of 18, and who as a 1914 man, joined the North Somerset Yeomanry and went out to France. He was badly wounded, resulting in the loss of an eye, and after some time in hospital and a short leave at home, he was sent back to rejoin his regiment, the 3rd Reserve Cavalry, in France. This was about two years ago. He spent his last leave home at Christmas. After a time in hospital at Devonport, he was removed to Bath early last month, discharged from the army as incurable, and there he died on May 5th, the cause of death being consumption of the brain. The funeral, on Saturday afternoon last, was of military character. The corpse, brought from Bath the day before, was borne from the deceased’s home at Stratton on a hand bier, attended by a bearer party of eight men from Taunton Military Barracks, to the Parish Church, where the first portion of the service was taken. The Union Jack enshrouded the coffin, on and around which a number of floral tributes rested. Sixty members of the Evercreech Branch of the Comrades of the Great War, and a couple of marines, joined the funeral cortege at the home, and on leaving the Church lines up on wither side, as the body of their dead comrade was borne hence on the shoulders of four of their number to the cemetery. The vicar, Rev. RY Bonsey, officiated. The Last Post was sounded by Bugler Tucker, of Shepton Mallet, and another bugler from Tauton Barracks. “Little Tommy Moody”, as he was familiarly called amongst his chums, was a conspicuous member of the Evercreech Football Club previous to the War.

Shepton Mallet Journal – 9th May 1919.

(It is interesting to know that the date of death in the article does not match that on the gravestone. I would be inclined to believe the latter.)

Private Moody was obviously a fighter and a strong character – returning to the front after losing an eye, some time in hospital and a short leave – and you can guarantee he was missed in the village.

He lies at rest in Evercreech Cemetery.