Monday, 11 September 2017

Eton Wick Census 1901

The United Kingdom Census of 1901 was taken on Sunday 31st March, that year and was the seventh of the UK censuses to include details of household members. The total number of persons returned as living in England and Wales at midnight on Sunday, March 31st, 1901, was 32,526,075. This shows an increase of 3,523,550 upon the number enumerated on April 5th, 1891, and gives a decennial rate of increase of 12.17 per cent.

Details collected include:

Place: street name, house number or house name.

Houses: inhabited, uninhabited or a building and the number of rooms.

Names of each person who was resident in the house on the night preceding the census.

Age and sex of each person: The actual age in years or months for babies under one year are recorded in the 1901 census.

Rank, Profession or Occupation.

Birth place, county and country.

Whether Blind, Deaf or Dumb.

The Superintend Registrar's District was Eton, Bucks and the Registrar's district was Eton. Enumeration District No. 6. The enumerator was John Langridge.

The area for the 1901 census included was the entire parish of Eton Wick comprising The Eton College Sanatorium, Eton Pumping Station, The village of Eton Wick, Bell Farm, Saddocks Farm, Manor Farm and Eton Great and Little Commons and half the River Thames between Deadwater Cut and the point opposite Clewer Mills.

The 1901 Census reveals that there were 104 households and 414 people in residence in the village at midnight on the 31st March. The oldest person, Mary Greenwood at the age of 83, she was born in 1818. There was one other resident in their 80’s. Florance Giles was youngest at one month, she was the only child of William and Ada. Sarah Ann was the only baby born in the first three months of 1901 within the civil parish of Eton Wick.

Click on this link to see our transcription of the 1901 census records for Eton Wick. We will be looking deeper into what the census reveals about Eton Wick and publish our findings in future articles.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Henry Hill - H.M.S. Aster

Henry Charles Hill (Stoker 1st Class No. 1</18991) - H.M.S. Pembroke
Chatham - Royal Navy

Henry Hill was born on July 16th 1894 and it is believed he attended the Eton Wick Infants' School until at the
age of seven he went to Eton Porny. His parents were Alfred and Sarah and their home was No. I Albert Place, Common Road. When Henry was 10 years old the family moved beyond Dorney Common and he then left the Porny School and his school chums and presumably attended the Dorney Village School.

Sometime later they returned to Eton Wick and lived in 12, Castle View Terrace, Victoria Road. Father, Alf, was very well known and generally referred to as General Hill. Apparently, this was a nickname accorded him on account of being a handyman or tinker and was in no way a military achievement. His workshop was across the road from Castle View Terrace and a few years later it became William Hearn's garage-cum-workshop and bungalow home. This established the rights for later industrial use.

A register in the Kew Public Record Office records Henry as joining the Royal Navy for an engagement of 12 years in April 1913, 16 months before the Great War started. His age was given as 19 years, his height as 5 feet 3¾ inches and his civilian occupation as a cycle fitter.

Initial training was at Chatham Naval Barracks H.M.S. Pembroke before being posted to H.M.S. St. George. Four months later, in April 1914, he joined the battleship King George V. In January 1915, with the war five months old, Henry returned to H.M.S. Pembroke (Chatham) for further training. From May 1915 until July 1917 he served on H.M.S. Aster. The village memorial misleadingly records "H. Hill. - H.M.S. ASTER" perhaps inferring it was on Aster he lost his life. In fact, H.M.S. Aster was sunk on 4th July 1917 and almost certainly Henry was on the ship but survived the tragedy. Another man named Henry Hill was also a crew member, but he was a Devonshire man and 35 years old - he did not survive. On 26th July Henry returned to the familiar shore base of H.M.S. Pembroke.

An Eton Wick lady remembered Henry who she thought may have joined the Navy together with her brother Roland Bond and Arthur Morrell. She said that he was killed in an air raid on Portsmouth. There was in fact no air raid on Portsmouth causing Navy casualties during the Great War, but there was such a raid on Chatham on 3rd September 1917. The raid was by four giant Gotha bombers, each carrying a 300 pound bomb load, at first attacking Margate and causing little damage before altering course for Sheerness and Chatham. About Il p.m. a bomb fell on the Chatham Naval Barracks killing 131 sailors and injuring a further 90. It was with a touch of irony that the village man escaped death at sea in July only to be killed in an air raid a few weeks later. It has not been established that the three young men did join together. Certainly in 1913 when Henry Hill enlisted Roland Bond was only 15 years old. He could have joined, but he was four years younger than Hill. He was amongst the guard of honour when the Eton Wick Memorial was unveiled in 1920 and it is not difficult
to imagine his thoughts as he stood proudly at one corner of the memorial and the haunting call of the Last Post rang out.

Henry was one of Eton Wick's and Boveney's two air raid fatalities of the Great War, both killed by German Gothas, and he was also one of the village's two sailors to lose their lives. The headstones in the Gillingham Naval Plot are very different to most C.W.G.C. headstones, being grey in colour and appreciably larger.

Henry's grave is No. 16 Row 837. He is commemorated on the Eton Wick and Boveney Memorial and on the bronze Memorial Plaques attached to the pillars of the Eton Church gates. He was single and 23 years old.


This is an extract from Their Names Shall Be Carved in Stone  

and published here with grateful thanks to the author Frank Bond.

Henry Hill: There no record of Henry Hill on the Lives of the First World War as yet.

The Eton Wick War Memorial page on Buckinghamshire Remembers website  










Sunday, 20 August 2017

Eton Wick Census 1871

The United Kingdom Census of 1871 was taken on Sunday 3rd April, 1871 and was the fourth of the UK censuses to include details of household members. The enumerated population of England and Wales was 22,704,108 souls. This is an increase of 2,637,884 over the numbers living at the previous Census and exceeded the Government's expectations. To the above numbers the Army, Navy, and Merchant Seamen Abroad needed to be added. Foreigners were numerous in England, but their numbers were set-off against the numbers of Englishmen of other classes abroad. 


Details collected include: 

Place: street name, house number or house name.

Houses: inhabited, uninhabited or a building.

Names of each person who was resident in the house on the night preceding the census.

Age and sex of each person: The actual age in years or months for babies under one year are recorded in the 1871 census.

Rank, Profession or Occupation.

Birth place, county and country.

Whether Blind, Deaf or Dumb.

The Superintend Registrar's District was Eton, Bucks and the Registrar's district was Eton. Enumeration District No. 6. The enumerator was Alfred Holderness.

The area classed as Eton Wick for the 1871 census was part of the Parish of Eton comprising all the houses and cottages west of the Great Western Railway including Eton Wick, Lillywhites Farm, Saddocks Farm and Aldridges Farm.

The 1871 Census reveals that there were 106 households and 452 people resident in the village on the 3rd April. The oldest person, Mary Deverell age of 81, he was born in 1790. There were two other residents in their 80’s. Sarah Ann Croxford was youngest at three weeks old, she was the fifth child of James and Lydia. Sarah Ann was one of eight babies born in the first three months of 1871.


Click on this link to see our transcription of the 1871 census records for Eton Wick. We will be looking deeper into what the census reveals about Eton Wick and publish our findings in future articles. 

Monday, 31 July 2017

ALFRED BROWN - GRENADIER GUARDS


Alfred Brown (Private No. 11811) - 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards
4th (Later 1st) Guards Brigade - Guards Division

Alfred was a regular serving soldier whose family home had been in Aylesbury. It was probably as a married man he came to live at Violet Villas, Alma Road, Boveney Newtown, and this decision was undoubtedly influenced by his Grenadier Guard service at Windsor.

At the outbreak of the Great War the 2nd Battalion was stationed at Chelsea as part of the 4th (Guards) Brigade. Eleven days later, August 15th 1914, they landed at Havre and were soon marching toward Mons to stem the German advance through Belgium. French forces, on their right flank, were obliged to withdraw and this in turn caused the British I and Il Corps to also fall back. It was during this exhausting retreat from Mons, in September, when Eton Wick suffered its first war fatality, with Sergeant Caesar, also of the 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards, being killed at the Forest of Villers Cotteréts. Despite very different ranks, both men had much in common. Both came to the village as married men, they both lived in Alma Road, both served in the same unit and when eventually the war ended, each had left a widow with a young family. Happily both widows married again.

The 2nd Battalion Grenadiers went on to take part in the Battle of Loos in 1915 and the Battle of the Somme in 1916. In August 1915 they had left the 4th Brigade and joined the 1st Brigade Guards Division. The Somme offensive of 1916 was five weeks old when the Battalion first became involved. In September they cleared enemy trenches near Ginchy at the point of the bayonet. Casualties were heavy and amounted to 378. Ten days later during another assault, they suffered a further 351 casualties.

The following year, in 1917, the Battalion saw more fierce action in the Third Ypres battles, culminating at Passchendaele. We know Alf came home on leave in 1915 before taking part in the Battle of Loos, and that this was probably his last trip home. Following an intense artillery bombardment of two weeks, the Ypres battle started along a 15 mile front on July 31st 1917. The front extended northward from the Lys river opposite Deûlémont to beyond Steenstraat. Alf was with the Guards Division as part of the 5th Army, which held half of the 15 mile front and was situated on the left of the line with the French Army on their left flank.

Unfortunately torrential rain had accompanied the shelling, causing sticky quagmire conditions for the advancing troops. Initially the Guards were able to occupy German trenches with relative ease, because the enemy thought mines were about to be detonated in the area. The general allied attack was launched at 0350 hours on the 31st but because of the Guards' advanced positions their attack took place 33 minutes later. On this day Alfred Brown was killed. It could have happened during the initial attack at 0423 hours or later in the day, there is no way of telling. Under appalling conditions the Passchendaele battle raged on until, nearly four months later, the ridge was taken and the fighting stopped.

Artillery Wood Cemetery
All Battalions suffered heavy casualties throughout the war. Accurate figures for the losses suffered by the Grenadiers are not easily available, but it may be instructive to look at a similar unit, the 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards. They served alongside the 2nd Grenadier s, marched away from Windsor barracks on August 15th 1914 at full strength of approximately 1000 men. When they returned in 1919 only 15 soldiers remained of the original Battalion.

Alf was buried in Artillery Wood Cemetery at Boesinghe north of Ypres, Belgium. The cemetery was first used by the Guards after the Pilkem Ridge battle on July 31st 1917. It continued to be used until March 1918. There are 1295 recorded burials in the cemetery, 1243 of them being from the U.K., 40 Canadian and Newfoundlanders and the others from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Alf left a widow, an infant daughter, Hetty, and a baby son, Omar, who was himself destined to be killed in the 1939-1945 war. Mrs Brown married again, and as Mrs Wicks had another daughter, Gladys. The family moved to 6 Northfield Road, Boveney Newtown.

Alf's grave in Artillery Wood Cemetery is No. 19: Row C. Plot 13. He was aged 34 years. He is commemorated on the Eton Wick Memorial and on the Eton Church Memorial Gates. The spelling of his surname on these memorials is at variance. The grave headstone in Belgium and the Eton Wick Memorial give the name as A. Brown, but at Eton it is spelt as Browne. His son Omar, killed in 1941, is given as O.A. Browne and the cemetery register reads "L. Cpl. Omar Alfred Brown, son of Alfred Browne and Ester Ada Browne of Eton Wick, Buckinghamshire".



This is an extract from Their Names Shall Be Carved in Stone  
and published here with grateful thanks to the author Frank Bond.





Graves Registration Report - CWGC

Burial Returns - CWGC

 

Comprehensive Report of
Headstone Inscription
CWGC



Friday, 21 July 2017

Eton Wick Census 1861

The United Kingdom Census of 1861 was taken on April 8th, 1861 and was the third of the UK censuses to include details of household members. The total population of England and Wales and the Islands in the British Seas, amounting to 20,223,746. This included those serving in the Army, Navy and Merchant Seamen.

Details collected include: 

Place: street name, house number or house name.

Houses: inhabited, uninhabited or a building.

Names of each person who were resident in the house on the night preceding the census.

Age and sex of each person: The actual age in years or months for babies under one year are recorded in the 1861 census.

Rank, Profession or Occupation.

Birth place, county and country.

Whether Blind, Deaf or Dumb.

The Superintend Registrar's District was Eton, Bucks and the Registrar's district was Eton. Enumeration District No. 6.

The area classed as Eton Wick for the 1861 census was the remainder of the Parish of Eton west of the Great Western Railway including Eton Wick, Lillywhites Farm, Saddocks Farm and Aldridges Farm.

The 1861 Census reveals that there were 78 households and 276 people resident in the village on the 8th April. The oldest person, Thomas Pusey age of 86, he was born in 1763. There were three other residents in their 80’s. William Miles was youngest at three months old was the second child of Henry and Sarah Miles. William was the only baby born in the first three months of 1861.


Click on this link to see our transcription of the 1861 census records for Eton Wick. We will be looking deeper into what the census reveals about Eton Wick and publish our findings in future articles. 

Sunday, 9 July 2017

C. MILES - H.M.S. VANGUARD

Charles Miles (Stoker 1st Class K25314) - H.M.S. Vanguard Royal Navy

Charles was a local lad, born on December 22nd 1896 to Alfred and Emily. He had at least two brothers and was probably the eldest. The family was well known in Eton Wick where his father had a small building business and for many years was also the village undertaker. Later on, during the 1930s, undertakers were increasingly expected to have proper premises, limousines instead of hand pushed biers and later still, even a chapel of rest. Alf's income increasingly depended on the building work. Charles early years were spent living at Bonacord Cottages, on the Eton Wick Road: these are the four houses situated between Clyde Place and Ada Cottage. The family later moved to 24 The Walk and lived in the first terraced house on the right.

Charles attended the village infant school until the age of seven when he went to Eton Porny. In 1910, when he was 14 years old, he left school; the reason given in the register stated: "to be a milk boy". This we can presume meant working for one of the village farmers: there were at least six, and all delivered their milk to the Eton College and village homes. It was, of course, all ladled from churns at that time.

He probably did not stay a milk boy for long because at the time of joining the Royal Navy on 13th April 1915 he gave his occupation as a fitter's mate. He was then 18 years old and at five feet one inch was probably the shortest village serviceman. Charles's service career started at H.M.S. Pembroke - the shore base of Chatham. His service number prefix "K" denotes he was a stoker. Upon completion of training, he joined the crew of H.M.S. Vanguard. From the local paper dated 31.6.17 we read:

Charles Miles of 24 The Walk, Eton Wick, 1st Class Stoker on H.M.S. Vanguard lost at sea on July 9th 1917, age 20 years.

Throughout the early summer months of 1917 British shipping losses had been quite severe. On May 27th the hospital ship, Windsor Castle, had been sunk, with 600 wounded troops on board. Fortunately, they were rescued. Then six weeks later on July 9th the Royal Navy suffered a terrible calamity when the Dreadnought Class battleship H.M.S. Vanguard was lost. The great ship was lying at anchor with the fleet at Scapa Flow when without any warning, she blew up. Her entire crew of 804 officers and men were drowned when the ship sank. The mysterious internal explosion which sank the Vanguard was very similar to the loss of another battleship, H.M.S. Bulwark, and also of the cruiser Natal.

The Chatham Naval Memorial
(Photo: C.W.G.C.)
The Vanguard, on which Charles served, displaced 19,250 tons and carried ten twelve inch guns in her armament. Several young men of Eton Wick chose to serve in the Royal Navy, and Charles was one of the village's two naval fatalities. Most sailors have unmarked graves and of the 20,000 who died in the Great War no less than 18,600 are without marked burial places. After the war, memorials were erected to commemorate these men.

Charles Miles is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial in Kent. The names of 8,515 sailors are cast on bronze panels placed on the buttresses of the memorial. Buttresses support the four corners of the tall stone tower, each with a lion couchant. Toward the top the tower branches out into the form of four ships' prows. The memorial overlooks the town of Chatham and can be approached by a path from the town hall gardens.

Charles was single and 20 years of age. Many years later his brothers built fine houses in many parts of the village, including Cornwall Close and the west end of Queens Road. We can but speculate whether Charles, had he survived the war, would have worked in the family business. He is commemorated on the Eton Wick Memorial and on the Eton Church Memorial Gates.



This is an extract from Their Names Shall Be Carved in Stone  
and published here with grateful thanks to the author Frank Bond.

Charles Miles Lives of the First World War website at this time.

Grave Registration Documents


Further information now available about the Miles family. The 1911 census reveals that Alfred and Emily Miles had six children of which Charles was the eldest. The family are recorded as living at 24, Clifton Cottages.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

A. BUNCE - WORCESTERSHIRE REGIMENT

Arthur Bunce (Private No. 39794) - 3rd Battalion Worcestershire 
Regiment - 7th Brigade - 25th Division

Arthur lived with his parents at No. 3 Gordon Place, Alma Road, Boveney Newtown and was their eldest son. There was no apparent relationship to Harry Bunce, the local farmer and councillor, who lived on the Eton Wick Road. One Bunce family did move from Boveney Newtown to Somerville Road, Eton, in the 1920s, and perhaps these were related to Arthur. He was born in Slough around 1896, moved to Eton Wick and when the war came he enlisted at Reading.

At the time he joined the army he was No. 3029 in the Berkshire Yeomanry, but sometime later he transferred to the 3rd Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment. The reason for this is not clear, but it was by no means uncommon, particularly when troops left their unit to recover from wounds or sickness. Another reason for his move might be the change of roles for the Berkshire Yeomanry Battalions. The 1st Battalion after service in Gallipoli in 1915 the 2nd Mounted Division, saw the Division broken up into independent Brigades and some became the C Battalion of the Machine Gun Corps, while the 2nd/1st Berkshire Yeomanry became a cyclist unit.

But by 1917 3rd Worcesters as a Battalion with the 25th Division, were in the Ypres war zone. It was June and for months British tunnellers had been toiling underground to place one million pounds of explosive at 21 separate points under the German held positions. The enemy was in a commanding position on high ground between Messines and Wytschaete, above St. Eloi, a village south of Ypres. At 03.10 in the morning of June 7th 1917, nineteen of the 21 huge mines were detonated. Two failed to explode. The earth shook as the awe-inspiring spectacle occurred and nine Divisions rushed the enemy positions while the Germans were still in a state of shock. From left to right of the British line were three Divisions of the X Corps, then three from the IX Corps, and finally on the right, the Anzac corps comprising of the Australian 32nd Division together with the New Zealanders. The 25th Division, which included the 3rd Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment, were in the attack with the Anzac troops against the Messines Ridge, and it was here, following those great earth rendering explosions, that Arthur Bunce gave his life. The taking of the Messines Ridge was considered very necessary for the forthcoming Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele) that was to be launched on July 31st.

The Windsor & Eton Express of June 30th 1917 reported:-

Bunce A. Eldest son of Mr & Mrs C. Bunce of 3, Gordon Place, Boveney Newtown, Eton Wick, Private in the Worcestershire Regiment Killed in Action June 7th 1917 age 21 years.

Messines Ridge British Cemetery (CWGC)
Arthur was buried in the Messines Ridge British Cemetery, Messines, Belgium Plot 2, Row F. Grave 19. The cemetery is six miles south of Ypres. It was created after the war from isolated graves and small burial sites, and at that time recorded 990 UK graves, 338 Australian, 125 New Zealand, 60 South African and 13 other memorials. A memorial to New Zealanders, missing with no known graves, is also in the cemetery.

Arthur Bunce was single and 21 years old. He is commemorated on the Eton Wick Memorial, and on the Parish Memorial tablets at the Eton Church gates.

This is an extract from Their Names Shall Be Carved in Stone  
and published here with grateful thanks to the author Frank Bond.

Arthur Bunce; Lives of the First World War website at this time.
The Eton Wick War Memorial page on Buckinghamshire Remembers website  


CWGC Grave registration reports

CWGC Headstone schedules

CWGC Burial returns