Hethe War Memorial unveiled by George Mansfield on 29th August 1920
“This memorial was raised by the inhabitants of Hethe in memory of those men of the village who served in the Great War”
Roll of Honour for Hethe
Cyril Joseph George Adams – Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry
John Walter Fathers – Royal Berkshire Regiment
Harold Alfred French – Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars
Percy James French – Royal Marines Light Infantry
Edwin Francis Lane – Wiltshire Regiment
Albert Langford – Worcestershire Regiment
George Meads – Canadian Army Medical Corps
Frank Smith – Dorsetshire Regiment
William Thomas Stevens – Royal Warwickshire Regiment
William Arthur Trafford – Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry
Henry George Watkin – Queen’s Own Hussars
Henry Pyers Ronald Lloyd-Mostyn – Royal Armoured Corps
Oliver George Wakefield – Wiltshire Regiment
The following is the story behind the men named on the memorial for WW1
The following “Fell in Action”:
Major H G Watkin
Henry George Watkin was killed in action on 21st August 1915. He was a Major in the 4th Battalion Queen’s Own Hussars (Household Cavalry) and had a residence in Kensington. He was born in Tunbridge Wells in 1874. In 1881 he was living in Woolwich with his parents, then Captain (later Colonel) Henry SS Watkin Royal Artillery (born in India in 1844) and Sophia Annette (born in Hertfordshire in 1849). Between 1886 and 1891 Henry was a scholar at Brighton College. In 1911 he was living in Colchester with his wife Evelyn Constance, who was born in India in 1875. They had married in 1902 in Bolarum, Madras, India. There is no record of their being any children from this marriage.
Major Watkin was a professional soldier who had originally been commissioned into the 4th Hussars. However, in August 1915 he had been posted as Brigade Major, essentially Chief of Staff, in the 2nd South Midland Mounted Brigade, a unit of predominantly yeomanry cavalry sent to take part in the aftermath of the Sulva Bay landings at Gallipoli. On 21st August 1915 the brigade had been dismounted to reinforce the lines at Sulva Bay as part of the desperate second landing to attempt in vain to salvage something from the wreckage of the original Gallipoli landings in April. During the battle of Scimitar Hill at Sulva Bay on 21st August, Henry Watkin was wounded and died of his wounds later the same day. The whereabouts of his grave is not recoded and it is possible that he was buried at sea after having died on a hospital ship anchored in Sulva Bay.
Major Watkin is listed on the Helles Memorial, Gallipoli, Cannakkale, Turkey, age 41. His final resting place is unknown (as is his connection with Hethe).
Evelyn, the wife of Major Watkin, died in France in 1951. She was the daughter of Lt Col Sir David William Keith (died 1916) and Lady Constance Barr. Lt Col Barr was from a military family who served for several generations in India. They were both born in India.
Lance Corporal C Adams
Cyril Joseph George Adams was born in Hethe in 1897 the son of Gregory from Hethe and Jane from Stoke Lyne. In 1901 Gregory was a labourer for a road contractor and in 1911 a “cow man”. They lived in Hethe with Cyril’s grandparents, Thomas (a tailor) and Anne. Cyril was one of four children in 1911.
Cyril died in France and Flanders, in the Western European Theatre, on 25th September 1915, while serving in the 5th Battalion Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. He was buried in Belgium, West Vlaanderen at the Harlebeke New British Cemetery.
The 5th Battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, was raised at Oxford in August 1914 as part of Kitchener’s First New Army and joined 42nd Brigade, 14th (Light) Division. It was formed of volunteers. After training they proceeded to France, landing at Bologne on the 21st May 1915. They fought in the Battle of Hooge, Belgium, in July 1915, being the first division to be attacked by flamethrowers.
It appears that Cyril died in the Second Attack on Bellewaarde, part of the Second Battle of Ypres, which took place from 25th to 26th September 1915.
Thank you to David Adams for permission to reproduce the photo of his Great Uncle Cyril’s grave.
Private E Lane
Edwin Francis Lane was born in Hethe in 1897. He was the son of James (a stonemason born in Chipping Norton) and Agnes Jane Adams who was born in Hethe. Edwin was one of eleven children.
Edwin was a labourer who was still living in Hethe before joining the Duke of Edinburgh‘s Wiltshire Regiment. He was killed in action in France and Flanders on 6th June 1915, aged 17. He is listed on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial Panel 53.
In June 1915 the 1st Battalion Duke of Edinburgh‘s Wiltshire Regiment took part in two attacks on the German Trench system round Hooge Chateau, where the fighting was most severe. At the same time, the 2nd Battalion were one of the leading battalions in the attack at Givenchy where after taking significant casualties the operation was cancelled.
Private W Trafford
William Arthur Trafford was born in Horspath, Oxford, in 1887 and was resident in Hethe when he joined the 5th Battalion Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry. His parents were Willoughby and Sarah. Willoughby was a horseman at Conygre Farm and previous to that a “Carter on a Farm” while living in Juniper Hill and an agricultural labourer in Headington.
William was a farm labourer and had eight siblings, three of whom died as children. In 1911 he was living at Conygre Farm with his parents and two younger brothers, Frank Willoughby and Henry.
William died on 25th September 1915 in France and Flanders. He is listed on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial Panel 37 and 39.
It appears that William died alongside Cyril Adams in the Second Attack on Bellewaarde, part of the Second Battle of Ypres, which took place from 25th to 26th September 1915.
Trooper H French & Private P French
Harold and Percy were the sons of James French (of Stoke Lyne) and Ellen (Barnard of Wooton).
Harold Alfred French was born in Stoke Lyne in 1896 and was living there while working as a “cowman on a farm” in 1911. He had 5 siblings, including Percy.
Harold was one of 20 soldiers from the Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars who were killed in action on Easter Monday 1st April 1918 at the Battle of Rifle Wood. He was aged 22. He is buried in the Moreuil Communal Cemetery Allied Extension, Somme, France.
Percy James French was born in Hethe in 1898 and was living in Stoke Lyne in 1911. He died of his wounds on 22nd August 1917, aged 19, while serving in the RMLI (Royal Marines Light Infantry). He is buried in the Duisans British Cemetery, Etrun, Pas de Calais.
During World War I, in addition to their usual stations aboard ship, Royal Marines were part of the Royal Naval Division that landed in Belgium in 1914 to help defend Antwerp and in 1915 took part in the amphibious landing at Gallipoli. The division also served on the Western Front in the trenches.
Private J Fathers
John Walter Fathers was born in Hethe in 1899 the son of John Charles (a mason born in Hethe) and Alice (from Witney). He had fifteen siblings of whom two had died as children. In 1911, John was eleven years of age and at school in Hethe with five of his siblings – Herbert, Percival, Millie, Roland and Ernest. His elder sister, Gertrude, was a domestic servant.
John was killed in action on 26th August 1918 in France and Flanders while serving with the 5th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment. He is buried in the Peronne Road Cemetery, Maricourt, Somme, France. His medal card shows that he received the Victory and British Medals.
The 5th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment was formed at Reading on 25th August 1914 as part of Kitchener’s First New Army and placed under command of 35th Brigade in 12th (Eastern) Division. The battalion landed in France on 31st May 1915.
Private F Smith
Frank Smith was born in Hethe in 1888, the son of Edwin (a labourer born in Kidlngton) and Rose (Sandell born in Wiltshire). He was one of nine children, one of whom had died as a child, and had a twin brother Albert.
Frank died of his wounds on 2nd October 1917 in France and Flanders while serving in the 1st Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment. He is buried in the Zuydcote Military Cemetery, Nord, France.
The Dorsetshire Regiment was an infantry regiment of the British Army from 1881 to 1958, the county regiment of Dorset. The 1st Battalion served on the Western Front throughout the war.
Frank may have died after taking part in the Battle of Passchendaele (also known as the Third Battle of Ypres). The battle took place on the Western Front, between July and November 1917 for control of the ridges south and east of the Belgian city of Ypres in West Flanders. Passchendaele lay on the last ridge east of Ypres, five miles from a railway junction at Roeselare, which was a vital part of the supply system of the German Fourth Army.
Private G Meads – “Canadians”
George Meads was born in Mixbury on October 12th 1888. His parents were Richard (born in Mixbury) and Fanny (born in Morton Pinkney, Northants). Richard was an agricultural labourer who died aged 49 in 1901. Fanny had three children and in 1911 lived with her brother George Page (a labourer with a railway contractor) in a small cottage in Hethe – “Hethe Green“. Fanny died in 1927.
George, who like his father was an agricultural labourer in 1901, moved to Toronto, Canada, in 1910 where he was an engineer. He was engaged to Lucy Hall of Stratford, Canada, when he signed up to the Canadian Over-seas Expeditionary Force to serve in the 2nd Field Ambulance, Canadian Army Medical Corps.
George died of influenza in Salisbury, Wiltshire, on 27th December 1914, and was buried in Bulford Church Cemetery, Wiltshire.
Private W Stevens
William Thomas Stevens was born in Chetwode in 1881. His mother was Charlotte from Preston Bissett. He was a farm labourer living with Thomas and Elizabeth Watson in Hethe in 1901. In 1911 William was living on his own in Hethe.
William joined the 9th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment and died in Mesopotamia on 20th March 1917. He was buried in a war grave in Iraq. He is listed on the Basra Memorial (Panel 9).
William must have served in the 9th (Service) Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
The Royal Warwickshire Regiment was raised at Warwick in August 1914 as part of Kitchener’s First New Army and joined 39th Brigade, 13th (Western) Division which assembled on Salisbury Plain. They moved to the Mediterranean from the 13th June 1915 landing at Alexandria then moving to Mudros by the 4th July to prepare for a landing at Gallipoli. They were involved in many battles across the Gulf region which lead to the “pursuit of the enemy towards Baghdad”. Units of the Division were the first troops to enter Baghdad, when it fell on the 11th March 1917. The Division then joined “Marshall’s Column” and pushed north across Iraq.
Private A Langford
Albert Langford was born in Bicester in 1891, the son of Henry (a shepherd born in North Lee) and Emma (Welch). He was one of twelve children, seven of whom had died by 1911 when he was employed as a Carter and was living with his family in Hethe.
Albert joined the Worcestershire Regiment. He died after the war had ended on 20th February 1919 and was buried in the Cambrai East Military Cemetery, Nord, France.
Records from Hethe during WW1….
Reproduced from Page 12 of the Oxford Journal Illustrated of 17th February 1915.
A group of the Belgian refugees at Hethe House, Bicester (the residence of Mrs Slater Harrison), who are being maintained by donations from the surrounding villages and friends in the neighbourhood. One of the refugees is an ironworker and has proved his worth, having just completed a pair of wrought iron gates for Mrs Gosling of Stratton Audley Park. Another is a cabinet-maker, and a third works in the garden at Shelswell Park. The women are busy making socks and shirts for Belgian soldiers.
© Oxfordshire County Council, Oxfordshire History Centre
The Village School
On 16th September 1914 it was recorded in the School Log Book that “we are devoting time to war efforts”. On the next day “commenced eight pairs of socks for the soldiers and distributed flags, medals, brooches, toy pistols, etc”, and on the following day:
Mrs Dewar Harrison visited. The Archdeacon has been in school several times during week. Poor Mr Durrant attended, his first visit since the most sad loss of his only son, and only living relative, who was drowned in the Pathfinder”. Mr Durrant was the Relieving Officer and Registrar for local schools. He lived in Bicester. His son Cyril had been killed on board HMS Pathfinder which had been the first ship sunk by a torpedo launched from a submarine in the First World War.
On 14th November 1914 “two little Belgian boys” were admitted to the school.
The following is the story behind the men named on the War Memorial for WW2
Lt H P R Lloyd Mostyn
Second Lieutenant Henry Pyers Ronald Lloyd-Mostyn died on 27 May 1940 while serving in 15th/19th The King’s Royal Hussars, Royal Armoured Corps, and is listed on the Dunkirk Memorial in France. He had been mentioned in dispatches and the following was reported in the London Gazette on 6th March 1942:
The KING has been graciously pleased to approve that the following be Mentioned in recognition of distinguished services in France and Flanders.
2nd Lt. H. P. R. Lloyd Mostyn (85587). (Since died.)
At the outbreak of the Second World War the 15th/19th The King’s Royal Hussars was based at York. They were deployed as part of the British Expeditionary Force, and fought in the Battle of France, suffering heavy losses during the German advance and, having left all its armour and vehicles behind, took part in the Dunkirk evacuation.
It is understood that Lt Lloyd-Mostyn was leader of the 5th Troop, 15th/19th The King’s Royal Hussars, and that he was the only individual from his troop to escape the battle at Assche and make his way across Belgium and France to the coast. He is reported to have then boarded a ship which was sunk crossing the channel and he was drowned.
He was the son of Margaret Eleanor & Colonel (Retd) Morys Lancelot Lloyd-Mostyn who lived in the Old Rectory in Hethe. In 1939 Morys was listed as “Retired Private Means” and they had a Parlour Maid, Agnes Harris. Morys served as High Sheriff of Oxfordshire in 1950 and died in 1968. Margaret Eleanor died on 4th April 1974 aged 91 years.
The grave of Margaret Eleanor & Morys Lancelot Lloyd-Mostyn is in the north part of Hethe graveyard.
PTE O G Wakefield 1st Wilts
Oliver George Wakefield died 11th August 1945 aged 21 and is buried in the Karachi War Cemetery. He was in the 1st Battalion of the Wiltshire Regiment.
Karachi War Cemetery was created to receive Second World War graves from civil and cantonment cemeteries scattered throughout northern Pakistan where their permanent maintenance could not be assured. The cemetery contains 642 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War.
At the start of the Second World War, the 1st Battalion of the Wiltshire Regiment was stationed in India. It remained there, performing internal security duties at the outset of the war and later serving along the North-West frontier (which includes the Khyber Pass) before the offensive to recapture Burma from the Japanese.
Pte Wakefield died four days before the Japanese surrendered.
Other WW2 Casualties who were buried in Hethe
Sgt J G Fruchtl
John George Fruchtl was a Sergeant Pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). He died when his aircraft crashed in flames near the Holy Trinity Catholic Church. It is said that he avoided crashing on some children in Main Street. He was 26 and is buried in the Holy Trinity Churchyard.
Sgt Fruchtl was attached to 5 GTS (Glider Training Squadron) at RAF Bicester. The base was an important training centre for British and Commonwealth aircrews until 1944.
Three other airman from WW2 are buried in the Holy Trinity Churchyard (they did not die in Hethe). They all served at RAF Bicester with 13 OTU (Operational Training Unit):
Sgt C F X Leighton RAF died 23 March 1941
Sgt (Pilot) W F Boggs RCAF died 26 December 1941
Sgt (Pilot) M E Tuttle RAF died 24 July 1942
13 OTU was formed in April 1940 as part of No 6 Group RAF Bomber Command to train Bristol Blenheim bomber aircrew.
Colonel Lloyd Mostyn was appointed as O.C. Bicester Company Local Defence Volunteers (LDV) on 20th May 1940. At this time there was only one battalion in the county, each of the present battalions (later) was then a company of the County Battalion. On May 26th General Courage called the first meeting of the LDV in Oxford for all Company, Platoon and Section Commanders.
Colonel Lloyd Mostyn lived at The Old Rectory – see the above entry for Lt H P R Lloyd Mostyn.
Awards Announced at the
Stand-Down of the Home Guard
15th December 1944
The KING has been graciously pleased to give orders for the following promotions in, and appointments to, the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in recognition of Meritorious Service in the Home Guard:
Company Sergeant Major T. H. Allen, 2nd Bn. Oxford Home Guard.
Thomas Henry Allen was a cycle dealer in 1939 living at The Shrubbery. He was the father of Gordon and Raymond Allen (both included in the photograph below).
Photograph taken in 1995 during the celebrations for 50 years of peace
following the end of the Second World War.
Back row: Bryan Pheasey, Derek Priddy-Smith, Cyril Mansfield, Gordon Allen, Dennis Bowers, Bill Mansfield, not known, John Sermon, John Mansfield, Pete Milne
Front row: Fred Hawkins, Douglas Starie, Walter Gough, Babs Dean, Eva Bowers, Jane Mansfield, Alice Mansfield, Raymond Allen, Bernard Lane