Wednesday, 15 August 2018

The Story of Oliver James Stannett in his own word - Part One

I was born on 25th April 1903 at Chertsey in Surrey. Dad worked on the Thames Conservancy repairing the Chertsey lock gates. 

According to my mother, when I was about three years old I was missing for about three hours. Nobody could find me.

There was a large gravel pit at the bottom of the garden. Dad came home and looked around the gravel pit and he said that he found me hanging on to a bush with my feet touching the water. How long I had been there I don't know.

I knew nothing about this until I was sixteen years old. When I asked Mum and Dad why I was so frightened of water they told me what happened at Chertsey.

You see I was a pupil at Eton Porney School, Eton and the class went bathing at Athens which was the Eton College boys' baths. I absolutely refused to go into the water with the boys so the master told some of the boys to throw me in. Some of them managed to do it but I must have kicked up such a fuss that they had to fetch me out. I told Mum about it when I got home and she wrote a note to the master explaining the reason for my behaviour. Anyway, after that I used to sit on the bank and watch them.

I think that (the gravel pit) was the reason why Mum and Dad left Chertsey and moved to Arthur Road in Windsor close to the Gasworks where Dad got a job on the retorts.

I think that I must have been about four years old because they tried to get me into the school at the other end of Arthur Road. St. Michael's it was called but they would not have me at that age.
I was playing in the road one day and a man in plus fours asked me why I was not at school. He was the School Board man. Mum told him. I don't know how he managed it, he only had one arm and rode a bike, but he picked me up put me on his saddle and took me to school. After that Mum took me to school as they agreed to let me go there.

The School Board man used to go to the school and find out who was not there. Then he would go round to their homes and take them to school. Nobody liked him. He was still around during the 1914 - 18 war when I saw him last. Dods I think his name was.

All that I did at school was to play with sand on a tray, trying to make sand castles etc. I got fed-up with this so I decided not to go to school. Across the road from us where two roads met there was a sweet shop that had three steps going up to the shop door which I hid behind until the School Board man had been and gone.

Anyway I left my hiding-place and went home. Mum 'created' at me for not going and offered me a farthing to get a liquorice long stick which was a foot long and half an inch wide. These, 1/2d Caliboncas and Port Wine toffee were all the sweets we ever got. I must have gone to school because I remember sitting in the classroom with paper and pencil. I think it was then that Mum and Dad moved to the other end of the road close to the school.

It was a square of houses built together and the only way that you could get into the square was through an archway in the middle of each side.

It was supposed to be a playground for kiddies but it was all gravel. The Church Army Band played there on Sundays. Dad grew flowers there. It was not big enough for veg. and he had several rabbit hutches there. The rabbits were white with pink eyes and the flowers were all colours.

I became interested in the sticks stuck in each plant with a flowerpot with straw put in it. Of course, I had to go and look. While I was doing that I had left the rabbit hutch door open and they were out into the garden! One good point was that they could not get out of the garden and Dad managed to catch them. I had a good talking to so I never touched them again.

Dad was always good to us. He never hit one of us. Not that I know of anyway.

Dad used to chew tobacco. One day I fell over and cut the palm of my hand. Of course it hurt and I yelled. Dad came out. "Let's have a look," he said. He looked at my hand, spat on it and then rubbed it in. “There you are," he said. I do not remember what happened after that.

Then something happened which I have never forgotten when I had toothache in both sides of my face which were swollen like balloons. Mum got a piece of flannel, mixed some vinegar and mustard together into a paste and spread it on my face. The pain went away and it kept me from school but I still had the swelling.

I must have been six years old when I was let out of school early. There was nobody in and I saw a bottle of beer on the kitchen table. I thought I would try it. So I took the bottle into the scullery, took the screw stopper out and had a good swig. Then I realized that it was paraffin! I choked and spluttered gasping for breath. As it happened the next door neighbour heard me and came to help. Mum came in and said, "Wait till your father gets home," but Mum and Dad just laughed their heads off. Dad said, "I think he has learned his lesson. I think he has been punished enough. "I have often thought on the big old fashioned clothes mangle with big rollers that I clung to when trying so hard to breathe. Soon after that we moved to Eton Wick. 

This is an extract from the autobiography written by Oliver James Stannett (1903 - 1988) and republished here with the kind permission of his relatives who still live in Eton Wick.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

The Way Things Were — Temperance

It is believed Eton formed a branch of the Temperance Guild in 1878 and Eton Wick about 6 - 8 years later. The following are a few extracts taken from the Parish Magazines of 1884 to 1904, with particular regard to the vices of drink, cigarettes and gambling. 

February 1884 Eton - "On January 8th a tea was held by the Temperance Guild (children) followed by music. On January 3rd  the Guild and friends had a tea. On January 10th senior members had supper at the (Eton) vicarage. On the 11th nearly 100 women were entertained to a substantial tea followed by singing and an address by Miss Haslam the Secretary of the Eton branch of the C of E Temperance Society. On January 16th entertainment was given in aid of funds for the Eton Institute, the second part of the entertainment being a Christy Minstrel performance by members of a club from a neighbouring parish. On the 17th there was a similar entertainment at Eton Wick in aid of a Drum and Fife Band in the village" etc……

 Two months later a Parish Magazine report (Eton) "Rev Donaldson of Maidenhead gave a talk to the Temperance Society on the evils of grocers selling spirits. It was resolved to petition Parliament. The subject of Sunday closing of public houses was also debated." 

Parish Magazine 1888 - "At the last meeting of the Eton Temperance Society interesting information about the licensing claims of the Local Government Bill was given by Mr Stephen Bourne. The C.E.T.S. (presumably the Church of England Temperance Society) recommends these clauses generally, but urges petitioning in favour of some amendments. It would place some limitations on the time allowed for compensation. Steps have been taken by the Society toward securing allotments for working men. The ground proposed is just opposite the Sanatorium (Eton Wick Road). We hope before many weeks to have three acres under cultivation in this way. Applications for holdings must be made at once." 

Parish Magazine February 1888 - (Eton and Eton Wick) "During the week commencing 13/2/88 the powerful Temperance missionary known as the 'Paddington Dustman' will speak in different parts of the Parish daily, and we trust his efforts to reclaim those who are enslaved by drinking habits will be abundantly blessed, and that many may be helped to begin a Christian life in real earnest. 

The C.E.T.S. Benefit Society is doing well. At the close of 1887 each member received £1.1s.7½d (£1.08p) back from his payment of £1.3s (£1.15p). By the rules of members, they contribute 6d (2½ p) a week and are entitled to 10 shilling (50p) a week during sickness, up to three months and to 5 shilling (25p) a week for the following three months." 

In August of that year, the Parish Magazine wrote: "Let me say a word or two to the fathers and mothers who send their little ones with a jug or a bottle to the public house to fetch them beer. When you do this, you forget you are doing a great harm. Some children have very inquisitive minds and will have a look inside to see the colour and then perhaps taste it to see if it is nice; on the sly; and you forget you are undoing six days in the week, what the friends in the 'Band of Hope' for an hour or so on one night a week are trying to instil into your little ones. Do you not think that if anyone ought to care for your children and to see they are kept out of danger, you yourself ought to do so." 

In April of 1888 the same magazine reported "The Temperance Society (Eton) held on Easter Tuesday a tea. During the tea, they were regaled with music from the 'Guards Pipers'. At 8pm a grand meeting was held in the upper school (College). The Bishop of London made a speech. Members of the Parochial Branch, including the Children's Guilds, numbered 500. During the summer meetings will be held fortnightly. Twice during the last fortnight our special preachers have called attention to the prevalence of gambling. It is an evil attracting much attention and calls for special warnings at this time. A preacher said "Young men, the vice from my experience and from testimony of others is devastating your lives at least as seriously as drink is gambling. Covetousness is the idolatry of this age. Gambling, you forget that you are the holders of what God gives you for his glory. You forget that you are trying to get money without fulfilling the dignified condition of work. You forget that your success, if it goes to anything, at least like large dimensions means another's misery. You become victims not only of the idolatry of covetousness, but of the intoxication of chance. Young men! I have seen ruined homes, ruined lives and ruined loves. Come away from this increasing and debasing vice. For God's sake gamble no more."

June 1888 Parish Magazine - Children of the Eton Temperance Guild will have their summer tea on July 31st  at the school (Porny). After tea, weather permitting, all will adjourn to the Vicar's lawn for entertainment prepared by Rev'd A Treherne and Miss Wilkinson, starting at 7.30pm. Members of the Church of England Temperance Society being admitted free. On July 17th the Annual Fete of C.E.T.S. will take place in Mr Everards' grounds. 

February 1904 Parish Magazine - A report of the Eton Wick Temperance Juniors Society since Christmas 1903. "Among many advantages of membership are that all regular members are paid ½ pence (1/5 of present pence) per attendance. The fourteen Lieutenants each receive 1d, the seven Captains 1½d; and the Colonel 2½d (per meeting) the General 3d". (On Smoking) "It is a great pity that the boys of England should undermine their constitutions and spoil their powers of usefulness by this poisonous form of entertainment (Boys Smoking) The law will probably step in to prevent the sale of this cheap rubbish to small boys…… etc; another danger lately is the poisonous nature of many of the vile concoctions sold as wholesome beer and spirits"..... etc. 

These extracts were taken from the Eton Parish Magazines of the late 19th to early 20th century. At that time Temperance Groups were increasingly vociferous, perhaps not without cause. The period coincided with the building of Boveney Newtown's Methodist Chapel in Alma Road and certainly, its creator, Annie Tough, would have worked hard for Temperance. 

We must remember there was no electricity or gas to provide comfort at home, no buses or cars, pubs did have a good open fire for warmth while most homes at best had only the cooking range; warm but not visually inviting. Perhaps the legacy of allotments owes something to Temperance, where men were encouraged to dig rather than drink and I am sure old habits die hard. Thirty years after the Eton Wick Temperance Society I was attending Eton Porny School, where boys of 13 years had allotments. The plots were on the South end of the Slads and adjacent to the Eton Recreation Ground. The headmaster, Mr Frampton, personally supervised the afternoon sessions of allotment tending. No matter how hot the conditions we were forbidden to have a drink or use the pump for a drink until 3pm. He always said, 'men do not work well after drinking.' 

Frank Bond

This article was first published in the Eton Wick News Letter - Our Village in August 2010.

The complete Our Village Collection can be found here. The Eton Wick History Group republish Our Village with the kind permission of publishers, the Eton Wick Village Hall Committee. 

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Bell Farm House

This photograph of Bell Farm House, taken at the turn of the 19th century, shows farm manager Charles Tough with a shot gun on his lap and a black gun dog sitting at his feet. Presumably, the shotgun is pointing somewhere between his wife Annie seated opposite, and the unidentified man seated in the doorway. Charles and Annie came to Eton Wick from Kent. Charles had been appointed by the Council to manage their recently acquired farm, the fields of which were primarily to be used as the Eton Sewage Farm. Annie was the major driving force behind the building of the Methodist Chapel in nearby Alma Road in 1886.

Bell Farm House was the home of several generations of the Bell family, who were major property owners and farmers in and around the district during the 16th and 17th centuries. The house is circa 1360 in origin and is timber-framed with brick infilling. There have been many alterations over the centuries. In the mid-1850s, the south elevation was tile hung and a Victorian porch replaced the gabled mediaeval bell tower. It is a Grade II Listed Building.

The 14th century Granary belonging to Bell Farm House was converted to living accommodation in 1963. As part of the conversion the pigsties beneath the granary (see top photograph) were made into garages. Bricks were turned weather face inside, and the whole timber frame raised to comply with Building Regulations.

A clipping for the sale of Bell Farm estate. The description of the properties that were then part of the estate (including Prospect Place) and the names of the occupiers makes interesting reading. The reference to 'newly built' Prospect Place dates this to the 1830s.

This is an excerpt from A photographic history of Eton Wick & Eton first publish in 2000. 
Copywrite Eton Wick History Group.

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

The Development of Boveney Newtown

For the first three-quarters of the nineteenth century the theme for the growth of the village had been one of 'divide and increase'; but in the 1880s the village spilt over into the parish of Boveney. For fifty years the Shepherd's Hut had stood isolated from the main village, the only house of Eton Wick (not counting Bell Farm Cottages) across the boundary.

The story began with the financial difficulties of Arthur Bott, a cowkeeper who had the cottage he already lived in and the adjoining one. These were Hope Cottages, whose gardens at this date stretched as far as the Eton Wick Road. Within a year he had taken of the times and sold part of his garden and added a cottage to the two already standing. He then purchased a field called Little and Great Groves from Bell Farm and added three more to the others. However, he had now over-reached his resources and in 1880 his creditors foreclosed on his mortgages. Here this story of an incident important to few others besides Arthur Bott might have ended, but the sale of the land had far-reaching consequences. Its purchaser was a local man of astute business sense and within a few years the field had been divided and resold, plot by plot as building land. Even before the end of the decade, the bustling community of New Town had been created.

Its roads, Alma, Inkerman, Northfield and Moores Lane were planned, named and laid out as one scheme, though the houses and terrace blocks were named and built for many individuals. The actual builder of a high proportion of them was Henry Burfoot, a villager with considerable ambition. He built for himself a show-house in Alma Road. Its bright red bricks and hanging tiles contrasted sharply with the yellow and purple of the majority of the New Town houses. But on these there were new details such as bay windows and pleasing individual touches in the use of red bricks to make string courses and above the doors and windows, decorated tiles and coloured glass panels. Few of the houses had more than tiny front gardens and several opened their doors onto the street. Wash houses and outside privies were standard and water was obtained from pumps, often shared.

South of the Eton Wick Road another road was laid out about the same period, that of Victoria Road. The row of houses though properly called Castle View was soon to be known as Klondike for no better reason than that they were near a piece of waste ground on which scrap was allowed to accumulate and which proved to be a treasure trove of spare Fields and hedgerows separated these three parts of Eton Wick and would continue to do so for another half-century.

This is an extract from The Story of a Village: Eton Wick 1217 to 1977 by Judith Hunter

Sunday, 15 July 2018


Horace Charles Dobson (Private No. 32908) - 5th Battalion Duke Of Wellington's (West Riding) Regiment - 2nd West Riding Brigade - West Riding Division.

Charlie, as he was generally known to family and friends, was born on March 18th 1889. Edward and Agnes, his parents, lived at Knaphill in Surrey and moved to Boveney Newtown when Charlie was 10 years old. The Eton Porny School records state he started school there on May 15th 1899, and that his previous school was Naphill, [sic] Woking.

Dobson was a familiar name in Eton Wick before 1899, but may not have been related to the Surrey family. The home address was at Garrod Place in Alma Road. Three months before his 14th birthday, Charlie left school and gave as his reason for leaving, "to work in a barber's shop". It is not known how long he stayed at this work, but later records state that his occupation was a coach painter. His mother died in 1901, two years after moving to Boveney Newtown, and two years before her son left school.

The 5th Battalion, Duke of Wellington's, was a territorial force unit at Huddersfield when war was declared on August 4th 1914. It has not been established whether Charlie was himself a territorial soldier. The 4th and 5th Battalions were at first engaged on coastal defence duties near Hull and Grimsby until, on November 5th 1914, they moved into billets at Doncaster. On April 14th 1915 they landed in Boulogne and four weeks later became part of the 147th Brigade, 49th Division.

The great Somme offensive started on July 1st 1916 with the 5th Battalion positioned in the front line near Thiepval Wood. Parties of men were ordered to support the 36th (Ulster) Division at the Schwaben Redoubt. On the following day a withdrawal was made to Aveluy Wood. On July 3rd and subsequent days they were moved to Martinsart, to Hedauville and to Martinsart Wood. From Authuille they again took over front line trenches on the 8th July, and on the 16th they moved back to support lines before a further spell in the front line at the Leipzig Salient. The Somme offensive raged on throughout August and into September, with similar Battalion movements and always with appalling casualties. In fact on September 20th they were again at Martinsart Wood and a few days later still fighting between Foncquevillers and Gommecourt, where they relieved the 5th Scottish Rifles.

During an engagement in September 1916 they fought on, having lost all the officers and N.C.Os and suffered 350 casualties of the 450 who attacked the German lines. The following year the Battalion became attached to XV Corps, Fourth Army, engaged in operations close to the Flanders coast, during the series of battles known as Third Ypres. In October they fought along with the Anzac Corps at Poelcapelle. In the following February (1918) the 5th Duke of Wellington's became part of the 186 Brigade and fought at Bapaume and at Arras during the spring German offensive.

By this time Charlie's active war role was probably over on account of an illness which
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proved to be terminal. He died on July 15th 1918, in the East Leeds War Hospital, from a cerebral tumour and his body was conveyed to Eton Wick to be buried in his mother's grave. He left a widow, Alice, whose address was given on the death certificate as 63, Princeville Street, Bradford.

As Charlie is named on the Eton Wick War Memorial, it would appear the address given by Alice was perhaps a temporary one used by her during her husband's illness, enabling her to be near him. Because Charlie was buried in his mother's grave he has no official C.W.G.C. headstone, but is of course recorded in their roll of the dead. The grave is situated near the north east corner of the Eton Wick Church and has a simple kerbstone surround. The kerb inscription reads:

In Loving Memory Of Agnes Dobson Who Died May 7th 1901 Aged 42 Years. Also of Charlie Who Died 15th July 1918 Aged 29 Years.

On the opposite kerb edge is inscribed:

Also Edward Dobson Who Died 22nd November 1944 Aged 83 Years. Charlie Dobson is commemorated on the village 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.

The Eton Wick War Memorial page on Buckinghamshire Remembers website.

Note Charles Dobson was working and living in Bradford with his wife Alice at the time he joined the Army. As he was was not living in the village at the time he joined up his burial in his mother's grave in Eton Wick is likely to be the reason why his name appears on the Village War Memorial.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Eton Wick Newsletter: Our Village April 2010

The Making of Eton Wick  -  Edward Littleton Vaughan

Among Eton Wick's numerous benefactors were two, both now long since departed, whose work and generosity was exclusively for the community. One was Edward Littleton Vaughan whose unstinting interest and help had such a wide scope, covering the School, Church, Youth, Sports and social activities.

(pictured here in his mid 70s)
It is just 70 years since Mr Vaughan, usually referred to as 'Toddy'; died aged 89 years. Very few today can claim to have known him and those of us who can will only remember him as an elderly, well dressed man, short, stocky and serious, having much difficulty walking around.

Being young ourselves we found it difficult to accept Edward Littleton Vaughan had once himself been young and certainly did not appreciate all he had meant to Eton Wick in the previous five decades.

Annually we saw him at the Eton Wick Horticultural Show (surely 'The Day of the Fair' in those pre WW2 years) whereas President he gave a speech and presented many prizes. We saw him at St. John the Baptist Church where he always read the lessons and even explained the odd passages; we saw him at the Boys' Club where he occasionally 'dropped in' to play one of us at skittles, shove 'a-penny, draughts or Lexicon. Also we met him following Confirmation, when he gave first time communicants a signed copy of the New Testament or Prayer Book. This was not necessarily understanding him, though we did appreciate the respect accorded him, but not all he had meant to Eton Wick.

Let us look at his earlier years. He was born in 1851, educated at Eton College 1865 — 1870 then at Balliol College, Oxford until 1874 and at Leipzig University until 1876. Apart from a short break he returned to Eton College as a Master for the next 43 years. In 1884, when 33 years old, he became a 'College' housemaster; a position he held for 29 years. He retired in 1919 when 68 years old and two years later he married Dorothea. He returned from his honeymoon in France bringing small novelty gifts for each of the girls at Eton Wick School, an unusual pursuit when on honeymoon but typical of his generosity. I have read that at one time he knew all the children by name.

After the Great War he retired from College to spend his married life at 'Willowbrook' in Eton; a home he had built for himself and Dorothea.

At this time he undertook the daunting job of recording the sacrifice of Etonian's in the recent conflict. Of the 5,610 who served in the forces 1,124 were killed and 1,068 were wounded. They had been awarded 13 Victoria Crosses, 554 Military Crosses, 407 Distinguished Service Orders and many other gallantry medals. Medici were commissioned to suitably bind this work for posterity. Of other personal achievements, in 1879 as a 28 year old he climbed the Matterhorn and I was once told his lameness was due to a horse riding accident while going over private jumps in Boveney. He had two houses in the village, Boveney Cottage and Wheatbutts Cottage. He never did live in Wheatbutts but most of his village influence emanated from that house and its orchard, now a housing estate. He first leased the property from the Eton Poor Estate and in 1919 purchased it.

Eton Wick's first school was built in 1840 along the main road at the top of what later became The Walk. In 1888 the building had been outgrown so the school moved to its present site in Sheepcote. It is believed Mr Vaughan had already established a Young Men's and Working Men's Club and it was now able to function more expansively in the original and empty old school building. So much was happening in the village about this time and probably not all was attributed to 'Toddy' but so much was. The village football club was formed in 1889 and he became its President. The cricket club was formed and he was a Vice President. When the football team won a competition he treated them to a meal at 'The Three Horseshoes' public house.

In 1894 Eton Wick had its own Council (until 1934) and 'Toddy' was Chairman for the first 20 years, with most Council meetings being held at his Wheatbutts Cottage. In 1897 he planted an oak tree on the common, close to Wheatbutts, in commemoration of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. For its first 40 years the young oak was protected from grazing cattle by a high iron guard. 'Toddy' also kept a close watch on the tree, which as lads we could testify to. Every November we built a bonfire near the tree and he would ask us not to burn it by being careless. In recent years that grand mature oak was judged as one of the three best trees in the Royal Borough.

In 1903 the old school building was sold for shop development so he made Wheatbutts Cottage available for the Young Men's Club and various other organisations, including The Village Rifle Club and later a Harriers Club. His orchard beside being used annually for the Horticultural Show was now made available for Children's parties with entertainment, bun and orange etc., He then gave the land and cash to build the Eton Wick and Boveney Institute and Vaughan Club. This was opened in 1907 and with extensions over the years we now know it as the Eton Wick Village Hall. He equipped the upstairs room with climbing ropes and vaulting horses for a gym group. In fact the ropes are still there but have been tucked above false ceiling tiles.

His influence bought about the early library; The Women's Institute and a Boy's Club in 1935. He had a major role in the formation of the Eton Wick and Boveney Scouts, Wolf Cubs and Guides in the 1920s and the building of their hutted HQ in Wheatbutts orchard around 1926. On occasions he took Cubs and Guides to their annual camp and reportedly paid for the very poor. In 1905 a public meeting was held in the new school to obtain unanimous approval to free the proposed Institute site of laminas restrictions.

There was so much more to Mr Vaughan. During the Great War he proposed purchasing a boar to service the many privately owned pigs in the village, thereby producing a scarce meat supplement. And so it went on. He died at 89, as did Dorothea 13 years later. She too was a strong, determined lady, carrying on 'Toddy's' village interests and being President of The Women's Institute and the newly formed post WW2 mixed youth club. Following 'Toddy's' death the College Vice Provost wrote "Edward Vaughan had two loyalties, one to Eton College and the other to Eton Wick and both have every reason to revere his memory".

Frank Bond

The complete Our Village Collection can be found here. The Eton Wick History Group republish Our Village with the kind permission of publishers, the Eton Wick Village Hall Committee. 

Monday, 2 July 2018


Isaac Springford (Gunner No. 197731) - Royal Garrison Artillery (Formerly The 2nd Battalion, Life Guards)

Isaac was born in February 1897 and was one of a large Eton Wick family. He attended the
village infants school until 1904, when at the age of seven he went to Eton Porny. The school register records his home address as 4, Hope Cottages, Common Road but some years later the family home was at 3, Victoria Place, Common Road a move along the road of about 100 yards. On February 28th 1910, in mid-term, Isaac was just 14 years old and he left school. The reason recorded in the register was "to help father". It was not recorded what father did apparently took up employment at Eton College, in the service of Mr Headlam and was later working in the Officers' Mess at Windsor's Combermere Barracks. 

He enlisted with the 2nd Battalion Life Guards, and it is possible that he was a soldier at the time of his barrack employment. There were six Springford brothers serving in the forces by 1918, although only two of these are recorded in the Parish Magazine in 1915 as serving at the end of the first year of war. These were Albert and Harry who both survived the war, although Albert was wounded in 1916. We do not know the date Isaac joined the Life Guards or the date he transferred to the Royal Garrison Artillery. 

The 2nd Battalion Life Guards served on the Western Front as part of the 3rd Cavalry Division from October 1914 until March 1918 when they left to become No. 2, Battalion Machine Gun Regiment. Perhaps this change of role precipitated Isaac's transfer. 

The 520th (Siege) Battery R.G.A. was formed with members of the Household Cavalry and served in France in 1918 using six-inch guns and it is reasonable to presume that this battery included Gunner Springford of the Household Cavalry. He was the only known village man to die of gassing in either of the two world wars. 

We first read from The Windsor & Eton Express of July 13th 1918: 

We regret to record the death of Gunner Isaac Springford of 3, Victoria Place, Eton Wick, of the Royal Garrison Artillery, Son of Mr Springford of Eton Wick. The deceased was formerly in the service of Mr Headlam of Eton College, and was subsequently employed in the Officers' Mess at Combermere Barracks. He joined the 2nd Life Guards, and was afterward transferred to the R.G.A. While in France he was badly gassed and died at the Canadian General Ontario Hospital, Orpington; Kent on July 2nd (1918). He was 21 years old. This is the second son of Mr Springford, lost in the war, and Ihur others are still serving. The deceased was buried with full military honours at Eton Wick, the body having been conveyed home. The band and two troops of Life Guards attended, and a large number of the village was present to show their sympathy and respect for the deceased, who was much esteemed. The vicar, Reverend Evans assisted by the curate of Eton Wick officiated. 

The Great War had claimed the lives of two Springford brothers, but it spared the other four. William George Springford was one brother who returned safely after service with the Royal Flying Corps. By W.W.II he was living in Eton and himself had four sons and a daughter serve in that war. 

Isaac has a standard Commonwealth War Grave Commission headstone in the Eton Wick Church Yard. He was unmarried and 21 years old. His name is also on the tablets at the Eton Church Gates and on the Eton Wick Memorial. Springford is still a well known Eton Wick name.

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

Isaac Springford: The For King & Country page.

The Eton Wick War Memorial page on Buckinghamshire Remembers website.

Grave register courtesy CWGC

Headstone records courtesy CWGC


The 1911 Census records Isaac's father, William Isaac working as a Fly Driver. Isaac is recorded as being an Errand Boy.

Isaac Springford signed his Attestment document on December 2nd 1915 at the Cavalry Barracks in Windsor and his age is given as 19 years and 18 days. This would indicate his date of birth as November 14th 1896. His Army service records are held in the National Archive and they show that he transferred to the Royal Garrison Artillery on December 20th 1917. After more than two years of home service, he was transferred to France at the beginning of April 1918, he was a Gunner in the 521st Siege Battery. On June 24th 1918 the Battery suffered several casualties due to gas. 

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