The War Dead (Names beginning with ‘B’)

Thomas Ball

Service Number 8762, a Private in the East Surrey Regiment – 7th Battalion. He was born in Battersea in 1874, and was the husband of Elizabeth (nee Eyles – born Hammersmith 1861).  Thomas was a Carman General by trade and the family lived at 63, Garfield Road, South Wimbledon. By 1911 they had six children: – Thomas (born Southfields 1900), Daniel (born Southfields 1901), Lily (born Southfields 1903), Philip (born Southfields 1905), Isabel (born Wimbledon 1908) and Eva (born Wimbledon 1910). Thomas enlisted in Kingston, when he declared his occupation to be that of a general labourer. He died on the 13th August 1916 during the Battle of the Somme. On 10th August, 1916, 7th East Surrey moved into the front line between Ovillers and Pozières which had been the scene of recent heavy fighting. Along with the 6th Royal West Kent they were ordered to make holding attacks to prevent 35th Brigade from being fired on from their right flank. The assault began at 10.33pm after an intense 3 minute bombardment of the enemy trenches under the cover of which the two front line companies of 7thEast Surrey worked their way as far forward as possible prior to the attack. But when they charged the last few yards to the German line they met such fierce machine gun fire and a flurry of bombs (grenades) that they were forced to go to ground in what cover they could find. They tried twice more that night to breach the enemy line but were unable to do so. A third company entered the fight but with no more luck and their efforts just added further to the casualty list which included Thomas Ball who was killed in action. His remains were never found but he is commemorated on the Pier and Face 6 B and 6 C.THIEPVAL MEMORIAL. His effects totalling £6 6s 6d were sent to Elizabeth.

The Thiepval Memorial

William J. Barrett

Service number F3368, he served in ‘D’ Company, 4th Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment. Born in Long Ditton, Surrey, William was the son of William and Charlotte Elizabeth Barrett and the husband of Ada Mary Barrett. He lived at 82, Garfield Road, Wimbledon. He died on 28th April 1917 aged 31. He is buried at Brown’s Copse Cemetery, Roeux.

Brown’s Copse Cemetery, Rouex

Frederick William Bates

Service Number G/2448, a Private in the 24th Battalion, the Royal Fusiliers. The youngest of four children, he was born in Marylebone in 1891. A painter by trade, he was the son of Benjamin Thomas Bates – Carpenter & Joiner of 6, Hardy Road, Wimbledon. He was enlisted into the army at Paddington and died in Flanders on 29th April 1917. At the time of his death he was married to Florence who received £6 6s for herself and their children. He lies in grave V. H. 15. At the ORCHARD DUMP CEMETERY, ARLEUX-EN-GOHELLE.

Orchard Dump Cemetery,

William Godfrey Batho

Service Number 17076, a Private in the 12th Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers. Born in Wimbledon in 1896 he was the eldest of five children and an errand boy in 1911. He was the son of John Charles Batho (born Lambeth 1869 – a Railway Shunter) and Nellie (born Portsmouth 1868) of 7, Harcourt Road, and had five siblings.  He died at Salonika on 14th September 1916 aged 19. He is commemorated on the DORIAN MEMORIAL 

The Dorian Memorial

Albert Beard

Service number 6935, 2nd Battalion, East Surrey Regiment. Born in Sutton, Surrey, he was the son of George Beard (a Carman) and Annie who lived at 68, Merton High Street, South Wimbledon.  He was one of six children. He was enlisted into the army in Kingston and died at Salonika on 14th June 1916. He is commemorated on the DORIAN MEMORIAL

The Dorian Memorial

John Charles Bell

Service Number 1116, he was a Private in the Australian Infantry, A.I.F.  7th  Battalion. He was the son of Henry – an Artesian Well Engineer Worker and Fitter – and Alice M.D. Bell of 22, Cowper Road, Wimbledon, London.  He was born 1897 in Clapham – the eldest of seven children – and in 1911 was living at 13 Meadow Road, High Street Merton. His occupation was a Law Stationer’s Office Boy. On 25th April, 1915, British, Australian and New Zealand forces landed on the Gallipoli peninsula. The plan was that these forces would soon defeat a demoralised Turkish army, knock Turkey out of the war, open up the Mediterranean to the Russian navy and threaten Austro-Hungary from the south. None of these things were achieved despite nine months of hard fighting in terrible conditions. It was an heroic failure.  John died on the first day of the campaign, 25th April 1915 aged 18, and is commemorated on Panel 28. LONE PINE MEMORIAL. His brother Herbert also fell.

The Lone Pine memorial

Herbert Cyril Bell

Service Number 15604, he was a Private in the 13th Battalion of the East Surrey Regiment. He was born in Clapham in 1900 and was still at school in 1911. He was the son of Henry – an Artesian Well Engineer Worker and Fitter – and Alice M.D. Bell of 22 Cowper Road, Wimbledon, London. He died on 27th December 1916 at the age of 17 and is commemorated at O. IV. A. 3 ST. SEVER CEMETERY EXTENSION, ROUEN.

The St. Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen

William George Bellingham

Service Number 9517, he was a Corporal in the 1st Battalion of the East Surrey Regiment. The son of George Henry Bellingham, he was born in Bromley, Kent and lived at 46, East Road, South Wimbledon. He was enlisted into the army at Kingston and was killed in action at Flanders on the 28th May 1915 at the age of 25. His effects – totalling £17 7s were sent to his father. His grave is I. B. 8. WOODS CEMETERY.

Woods Cemetery, Belgium

Charles Horace Bentley

Service Number K/16169, he was a Stoker 1st Class on the Royal Naval Ship H.M.S. Queen Mary.* He was born in Wimbledon, Surrey in 1898, the son of Charles Bentley (born Clapham 1868 – a House Keeper), and Elizabeth Sophia Bentley (born Harwell 1870), of 42, North Road, South Wimbledon. The family had three children – Joseph Henry (born Wimbledon 1893 – a carman), Charles Horace (born Wimbledon 1898) and Frederick Thomas (born Wimbledon 1903). The family had also adopted Charles Stacey Thornton (born Mitcham 1907). By the age of 12 Charles was employed as a porter and joined the navy as a boy on 4th September 1912. He was described as 5ft 6ins tall, ‘fair of complexion’, with brown hair and brown eyes. He served initially as a stoker 2nd Class on the ship Victory II before transferring to the Renown, followed by Victory II again, and subsequently the ships Revenge and Albermale. His final ship was the Queen Mary. He died at Jutland on the 31st May 1916 at the age of 18 at an undisclosed location. His body was never recovered for burial, but he is commemorated at 17 PORTSMOUTH NAVAL MEMORIAL. His brother Joseph also fell.

The Portsmouth Naval Memorial

*HMS Queen Mary was the last battle cruiser built by the Royal Navy before World War I.  On 31 May 1916 Queen Mary put to sea with the rest of the battle cruiser fleet to intercept a sortie by the High Seas Fleet into the North Sea.  Fire from the German Ship Derfflinger hit her twice before 16:26. One shell hit forward and detonated one or both of the forward magazines, which broke the ship in two near the foremast  A further explosion, possibly from shells breaking loose, shook the aft end of the ship as it began to roll over and sink.  1,266 crewmen were lost; eighteen survivors were picked up.  Queen Mary, along with the other Jutland wrecks, has been declared a protected place under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986 to discourage further damage to the resting place of 1,266 officers and men.

H.M.S. Queen Mary

Joseph Henry Bentley

Service Number 23049, he was a Lance Corporal in the 6th Battalion of the Border Regiment. The elder brother of Charles (see previous entry), he was born in 1893 at Wimbledon – the son of Charles -a House Keeper – and Elizabeth Sophia Bentley, of 42, North Rd, South Wimbledon.  A Carman by trade, he died at Flanders on 7th June 1916 aged 24 and is commemorated at the Sp. Mem. B. 7.WYTSCHAETE MILITARY CEMETERY 

Wytschaete Military Cemetery

Frederick George Blackwell

Service Number K/16517, he was a Stoker 1st Class on the Royal Naval ship H.M.S. Invincible.  Born on the 17th January 1892, he was the son of Mr. and Mrs. H. Blackwell, of 19, Gilbert Road, and died on the 31st May 1916 aged 24. His body was never recovered for burial but he is commemorated, along with his brother, at 17 PORTSMOUTH NAVAL MEMORIAL

Portsmouth Naval Memorial

Invincible took part in the Battle of Jutland in May 1916.  At 6:30 on the 31st Invincible abruptly appeared as a clear target before Lützow and Derfflinger. The two German ships then fired three salvoes each at Invincible and sank her in 90 seconds. At least one 305 mm (12-inch) shell from the third salvo struck her midships ‘Q’ turret.  The shell penetrated the front of ‘Q’ turret, blew off the roof and detonated the midships magazines, which blew the ship in half. The explosion possibly ignited ‘A’ and ‘X’ magazine.  Of her complement, 1026 officers and men were killed, including Rear-Admiral Hood. There were only six survivors picked up.

H.M.S. Invincible

George Boreham

Service Number G/14133, a Private in the 10th Battalion of the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment). He was the son of George – a Domestic Gardener – and Elizabeth Boreham, of 28 Fairlawn Road, Wimbledon. He died on 9th October 1916. He is commemorated on the Pier and Face 5 D and 6 D. THIEPVAL MEMORIAL.

The Thiepval Memorial

William Bowden

Service Number L/16593, a Private in the 7th Battalion of the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment). Born in Wimbledon in 1897, he was the son of Treby and Caroline Bowden – a Laundress – of 13, South Road, South Wimbledon.  He had two elder and three younger sisters. An errand boy by trade, he died at Flanders on the 13th July 1916 at the age of 19. On 1st July 1916 the British Army launched a massive offensive along a section of the front line running north of the River Somme. By 14th July, the British Army was ready to renew the offensive along a broad front stretching from Longueval to Bazentin-le-Petit, but in order to improve the chances of success it was vital to capture Trones Wood. 7th Royal West Surrey attacked the north of the wood from Longueval Trench, but concentrated fire from Longueval Ridge meant that they could not get within 100 yards of their objective. They sustained 200 casualties in the attempt and, as they started off with only 280 officers and men, they practically ceased to exist as a battalion. One of the many casualties was William Bowden. His remains were never found. His effects were sent in equal part to Harriet, Alice, Emma, Caroline and Ellen his sisters – each receiving 15s 10d. His commemoration is at I. B. 5.THIEPVAL ANGLO-FRENCH CEMETERY, AUTHUILE

The Thiepval Anglo-French Cemetery

Frank Bradshaw

Service Number L/11078, a Private in the 1st Battalion of the Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment. Born in Wimbledon, he enlisted at Kingston-upon-Thames and died at Flanders during the Battle of the Somme on the 15th July 1916.  Their orders for 15th July were to attack the German trench, the Switch Line, running in front of Martinpuich. They set off across the 900 yards of no-man’s-land and were almost immediately hit by machine gun and rifle fire from High Wood on their right and from the Switch Line in front. They got to within 100 yards of their objective but found the wire uncut and had to seek cover in the long grass and try to dig in as best they could. There were many casualties, one of them being Frank Bradshaw. His remains were never found and his effects – totalling £7 19s 8d –  were sent to his father Charles. Frank is commemorated on the Pier and Face 5 D and 6 D.THIEPVAL MEMORIAL

The Thiepval Memorial

William Bradshaw

Service Number J/49288, he was a Boy 1st Class on the Royal Naval Ship H.M.S. Vanguard. He was born at Fulham in 1901 and was one of seven children. He was the son of Herbert Favil Wiles Bradshaw –Joiner – and Ivy Maud Bradshaw, of 34, Haydon’s Rd., Wimbledon, London. He died at Scapa Flow due to an internal explosion on ship 9th July 1917 aged 17.

H.M.S. Vanguard

The eighth HMS Vanguard of the British Royal Navy was a St. Vincent-class battleship, an enhancement of the “dreadnought” design built by Vickers at Barrow-in-Furness. She was designed and built during the Anglo-German naval race and spent her life in the British Home Fleet. On the afternoon of 9 July 1917, the ship’s crew had been exercising, practising the routine for abandoning ship. She anchored in the northern part of Scapa Flow at about 18.30. There is no record of anyone detecting anything amiss until the moment of an explosion at 23:20. A great deal of debris thrown out by the explosion landed on nearby ships; a section of plating measuring five feet by six feet landed on board Bellerophon. It was matched with a sister ship, and was found to be from the central dynamo room, which reinforced the evidence suggesting that the explosion took place in the central part of the ship. There were several theories. The inquiry found that some of the cordite on board, which had been temporarily offloaded in December 1916 and catalogued at that time, was past its stated safe life. The possibility of spontaneous detonation was raised, but could not be proved. It was also noted that a number of ship’s boilers were still in use, and some watertight doors which should have been closed in war-time, were open as the ship was in port. It was suggested that this might have contributed to a dangerously high temperature in the magazines. The final conclusion of the board was that a fire started in a 4-inch magazine, perhaps when a raised temperature caused spontaneous ignition of cordite, spreading to one or the other main magazines which then exploded.

William Arthur David Brown

Service Number 22780, a Private in the 11th Battalion of the Border Regiment. The son of Thomas Brown – a labourer – and Annie Brown, the family lived at 106, Deburgh Road, South Wimbledon. William was baptised at All Saints’ by the Rev. Blakiston on Oct0ber 6th 1897. He was enlisted into the army at Wimbledon on 22nd April 1915 at the age of 19.  By this time he was a ‘Roundsman’ and lived at 60, Wandle Road, South Wimbledon. He was killed in action on 30th March 1918 and is buried at BELLACOURT MILITARY CEMETERY, RIVIERE.

Bellacourt Military Cemetery, Riviere

William Alfred Bush

Service Number M/22781, he was a sergeant in the Army Service Corps – 364th Mechanical Transport Company, Base Depot (N). He was born in Wimbledon in 1879. A house painter by trade, he was married to Elizabeth Jane and they had two children. The family lived at 5, Goodenough Road, Wimbledon. He enlisted at Chatham, Kent and died of wounds in Flanders on 12th August 1918. He is buried in grave IV. E. 4. LES BARAQUES MILITARY CEMETERY, SANGATTE.

Les Baraques Military Cemetery, Sangatte

Ernest Albert Burrows

Service Number R/33316. He was a Rifleman in the 11th Battalion of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps. Born in Walworth in 1898, he was the son of William Alfred Burrows – General Labourer – and Alice Elizabeth of 102, Deburgh Road, South Wimbledon. He was one of five children. He enlisted into the army at Whitehall, Middlesex and was killed in action, aged 19, on 21st October 1917. He is buried in grave II.  A. 5.  FINS NEW BRITISH CEMETERY, SOREL-LE-GRAND 

Fins New British Cemetery,

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