Losses at the Front

August 1915:-


A Memorial Service was held in the Parish Church on the afternoon of Sunday, July 18th. There was a very large attendance, as was to be expected, for Mr. Garforth was widely known and respected, and his death is a great blow to us. His many friends from the place and neighbourhood, the employees of Ascott, the Home Guard, etc., etc., attended. The service consisted of Psalm XC., portions of the Burial and Visitation Offices, and a beautiful prayer from the Liturgy of the Russian Church. The special lesson was I. Thess. iv.13. The service was concluded with our Wing Battle Hymn (the last verse so fitting for to the occasion), Chopin’s “Marche Funebre” and “God Save the King.” The Vicar, after the reading of the lesson, said:-

“I have asked you, my friends, to come here to-day to remember before God one who was a constant worshipper and a communicant in this Church, who was known more or less to all in Wing and was very dear to many of us, and yet is but a representative of thousands of our countrymen and fellow subjects who have offered their lives for the defence of our Motherland in this terrible war. From every part of our worldwide Empire they come, and from every rank of life, and each day adds fresh names to that lengthening Roll of Honour which we scan with such painful interest. We read it with very mingled feelings. With sorrow, of course, first of all, that so many brave men have had to sacrifice their lives, and secondly with thankfulness and pride that British courage, British sense of honour and duty are still (in spite of some fears to the contrary) what they always have been, and thirdly with sincere sympathy for the bereaved and for the many who are mourning their nearest and dearest all over the land. And as we join in this service of prayer for our brethren, whether living or dead, particularly for him whom we have lost from our midst and think how some to whom but the other day we said “Goodbye! God bless and keep you!” are now laid to rest on a foreign soil, it is hard to realize that, though lost to us, they are on a higher plane than we are now. It brings the meaning of death and of life home to us in a startling manner. There is a sort of sacredness about them now. We treasure anything that recalls them to us-  their photograph, their last letter, or perhaps some kindly act or simple word which we thought nothing of at the time. And their memory becomes to us almost an inspiration. William Garforth was just a specimen of a gallant young Englishman, a God-fearing, clean-living, upright and honourable gentlemen, sans peur et sans reproche, fond of wholesome and manly sport, dong his arduous work, and all that his hand found to do with all his might. He had no particular leaning to a soldier’s life, but, when his country called him to go, he just went. It was his duty-and that was enough for him. And we were hardly surprised that he had soon become a promising and an efficient officer, trusted by his superiors, respected by his men, and when the sad news was confirmed of his death, regretted and mourned by all who knew him. ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. ‘ So said our Divine Master, the Captain of our salvation, Who laid down His Life for us, and in a way still associates each act of self-sacrifice of ours with His own supreme offering on the Cross. He also said: ‘I have given you an example that ye should do as I have done to you.’”

“And so for him, our dear friend, and all who have given themselves to save our beloved country from the horrors and frightfulness of a German invasion, we humbly offer our memorial of thanksgiving and devotion to Almighty God, humbly praying that when our turn comes to be weighed in the balance, we may not be found wanting, and that we may do or duty after their example and with the same simple faith and courage as they.”

Almost the only empty seat in the Church was the little pew in the north aisle, in which Mr. Garforth was wont to sit. It was covered with the Union Jack and several laurel wreaths. The cards from the wreaths were afterwards sent to his mother (he was, like so many of the fallen, an only son), who writes as follows:-

Weston Hall, York.

Dear Miss Tatham,- Will you convey to our son’s friends at Ascott, Burcott and Wing how deeply Major Garforth and I feel their testimony to his memory. It cost him much to leave them all, feeling he might possibly not return, but he was right to fight for his King and country, and in dying for them he could not have done more. We shall always remember the kindness shown to our son at Ascott, and value the proof of his friends’ esteem in attending the memorial service at the beautiful Parish Church-a Church he held in such reverence.

Yours sincerely, Hyda Garforth.

September 1916:-

It is with much regret that we have to record the death of William Pease, whose name is added to the list of those who have fallen in their country’s service. Also that Frank Pickering is reported to be wounded and taken prisoner.

November 1916:-

Pte. Oscar Remington was killed while taking part in a reconnoitring expedition. His brother-in-law, Archie Pitchford, was at his side when he fell, and thought he was wounded in the shoulder, but the Chaplain wrote later that he was shot through the head. In his letter he says: “Dear Mrs. Rimington, I regret to inform you that your husband has been killed in the recent fighting. He and other comrades laid their own lives for their country when taking part in a brave and successful piece of work. The whole battalion sympathises with you in your loss. May God give you comfort.” His platoon officer also wrote regretting the loss of a good soldier. Oscar Rimington was in charge of the telephone at Ascott House for some years, and was known as a trusty and excellent young man. Since his father died he has been a great comfort and help to his mother and her large family. He joined the Queen’s Own Oxford Hussars in January, 1915, and in France was attached to the Oxon. And Bucks. L.I. He was married two months ago, and went abroad immediately after.  Mr. and Mrs. Edward Rogers have received the sad news of the death of their only son, Pte. Joseph Rogers, of the Oxon. And Bucks. L.I., which he joined in October 1914. He had seen much service. He was buried twice in the trenches in April last, and it took three hours to extricate him, and he was wounded on June 21st.  He was killed on Oct. 9th. Sidney Fountaine, of the Australian Forces, has been reported wounded and missing. He emigrated with his brother to Australia six years ago, and joined there in February, 1915, was in the second fighting at the Dardanelles, and went through the Gallipoli campaign and thence to Egypt. He was transferred afterwards to France, and was wounded at Pozieres. John Hammerton is also reported “missing,” and we are grieved to say that there is still no news of Frank Pickering, of the King’s Royal Rifles.

May 1917:-

Pte. Frank Bryant, Northants. Regt., who was killed at the beginning of the recent advance. Gnr. Joseph Brand, R.F.A., died in hospital at Rouen. Pte. Sidney Guess, Australian Contingent, was missing eight months ago, and is now officially reported as “killed.” This is the same also in the case of Pte. Frank Pickering.

June 1917:-

We regret to announce the death of Harry Pratt, formerly in the carpenter’s shop at Ascott. He enlisted among the first in the autumn of 1914, being a member of the Wing C.L.B. Both his Captain and Lieutenant wrote to his parents expressing their sorrow for his death, and their admiration for his character.

November 1917:-

During the last month Leonard Oakley, of the Oxf. And Bucks. L.I., was killed instantaneously by a bomb; Harry Gardner, son of Mrs. Gardner at the Handpost, has fallen; and lastly George Woodwards, he emigrated to Canada six or seven years ago, and came over with a Contingent last year. After training in England, he went abroad some months ago, and was killed on Sept, 22, but as the sad news of his death was communicated to his wife in Canada, it has only just reached Wing. His brother, Arthur, was killed on August 16th.

December 1917:-

MAJOR EVELYN ROTHSCHILD.- We record with deep sorrow the death of Major Evelyn Rothschild, second son of the late Mr. Leopold and Mrs. Rothschild. He died on November `17th at Cairo, whither he had been conveyed after being severely wounded in a cavalry charge in Palestine. Evelyn Rothschild was well known in Wing, particularly in the hunting field, and we looked forward to the years to come when we should know him better. Our hearts are with Mrs. Rothschild in this her second bereavement. She and her late beloved husband have always devoted themselves to the best interests of Wing, and won the respect and affection of us all and we feel her sorrow and her loss to be ours also. We also have to lament the death of Captain Hon. Neil Primrose, younger son of Lord Rosebery, who fell in the same engagement. Mr. Primrose had already distinguished himself in Parliament, and held high office under the last Government. He was regarded by all who knew him as a man of the greatest promise.

We have another sad loss to record during last month. Pte. Frank Page, youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. David Page, of Ascott, was killed in action only a few months after he went. He was a member of our Troop of Boy Scouts and a very exemplary lad in every way. A Memorial Service was held at the Wesleyan Chapel on Sunday, 25th, and among the many wreaths sent was one from his old Scoutmaster, Pioneer W. J. Long, “In loving memory of Frank, a true friend, a perfect Scout, fully prepared, who died for us.

January 1918:-

NAMES ON THE ‘ROLL OF HONOUR’ AT THE CHURCH DOOR.- James Paxton, James Bull, William Garforth, Frank Bryant, Joseph Brand, Sidney Fountaine, Henry Gardner, Sidney Guess, Dennis Horne, Lionel Jordan, Frank Pickering, Henry Pratt, William Pease, Edward Randall, Harold Randall, Oscar Remington, James Rogers, William Woolhead, Arthur Woodward, Leonard Oakeley, Ernest Pollard, George Woodward, John Hammerton, Frank Page, Evelyn Rothschild, Ernest Syratt. In addition to these we have to report John Hammerton, George Jordan and Ernest Willis as ‘missing’.


June 1918:-

We regret to announce the death in action in France of Driver Arnold Paxton, R. F. A. Mrs. C. Green has received a letter from the Chaplain speaking in the highest terms of her son’s character. Corpl. H. Samuels, M.G.C., and Pte. H. Bolton, Oxford and Bucks L.I., have written to their relatives from Germany. News is anxiously awaited from other missing men.

This is not a comprehensive list as some magazines are missing and it closed in June 1918 so the final months of the war are not catalogued.


One thought on “Losses at the Front

  1. May 1917 it was Sidney Fountaine finally confirmed as dead, not Sidney Guess as listed. Hope you don’t mind the correction. Thank you for remembering them all.


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