FLITCHAM WAR DEAD

Some details of the 24 individuals from The Great War who are honoured on Flitcham's war memorial - plus a few who are not - and listed here chronologically according to the date of their death. There is only one page - you will need to scroll down to see them all. It is intended to add the names from World War 2 at a future date.

World War 1 began in July 1914 and lasted until November 11, 1918 by which time 30 countries had been involved and over 9 million soldiers had been killed, with another 21 million wounded. Millions of civilians died from disease and famine, as well as from direct military action.

It is said that when the British government asked for 100,000 volunteers to join the army at the outbreak of war, 750,000 applied in the first month. Incredibly, British soldiers were not issued with steel helmets until December 1915 but by early 1916 they had been improved to offer protection against a shrapnel ball (the main cause of death for an infantryman) travelling at 750 ft/sec. There was then an immediate and significant decrease in deaths, though as might be expected, this decrease was largely matched by an increase in non-fatal head wounds.

At some time, new slate tablets with the names of the war dead were added to the Flitcham war memorial, the original inscriptions having become barely legible through erosion. It may be that some of the names were re-inscribed incorrectly or perhaps they had been transcribed incorrectly by the authorities originally: where there is any doubt the list below retains the spelling on the memorial today though the notes may refer to the most likely individuals as indicated by available records. The Sandringham Estate was a major employer and attracted workers who were not local - particularly when depleted by the early volunteers. There are 2 men listed on the memorial for whom we have no details - G H Bird and E Burger- one wonders whether any living relatives of them are aware that they are remembered in the village. Any further information relating to individuals as listed will be welcomed.

(Family history research by Rosemary Thorburn)                                                                                                 

"G H Seaman"

(possibly) Private George Seaman who died 20/10/1914. He was born at Metfield and enlisted at Harleston (ie 60 miles from Flitcham) and who served in the Norfolk Regiment, 1st Battalion

or

Private George Frederick Seaman of Foulsham who died 14/2/16 aged 25 years and served in the Northampton Regiment (Foulsham is 23 miles from Flitcham).

Arthur Bridges

 

Private Arthur Bridges died of sickness on 13/3/1915 aged 25 years, some 5 months before his Battalion embarked from Liverpool for Gallipoli. He was one of 8 children born to George and Jemima Bridges of Flitcham. He enlisted at Sandringham and served with the Norfolk Regiment 1st/5th Battalion. He is buried at the north-east end of the church in Flitcham churchyard where his elder brother Allen is also buried having died from wounds in 1917.

Charles Hunter

 

Lance Corporal Charles Hunter died 12/8/1915 aged 25 years with no known grave. He enlisted at Hillington and served in the Norfolk Regiment 1st/5th Battalion (Territorial) and his name is recorded on the Helles memorial in Turkey.

He was the son of Emma Jane (neé Grove) and Henry Hunter of North Pickenham, where Charles was baptised in March 1891. They had had 12 children, only 7 of whom survived childhood. Henry & Emma Jane's known children were, Lizzie, Ethel Eliza, Edward, Emma, Mabel, Eva , Clara and Charles. In 1911 Charles was living with his parents and 2 of his sisters at Flitcham: his father being a farm labourer and Charles a horseman. (Over 8 million horses perished during the Great War - 480,000 of them from Britain).

William Rudley

 

Private William Rudley 20581 was lost 13/8/1915 when the 11,000 ton Royal Edward troopship was torpedoed by U14 in the Aegean Sea en route to Gallipoli from Alexandria. He was 21 years old and was the son of Joseph Rudley of Wiggenhall St. Germans (where William was baptised on 4 September 1894) and Sarah Maria Seaman of East Lexham. In 1911, William aged 16 was living with his parents and two sisters Ethel and Eva at Newton Road, East Lexham, Swaffham when he was described as a yardman on a farm (William and Ethel were twins). At the time of enlisting he was residing in Hillington.

He was one of 300 men who volunteered to transfer from the Norfolk Regiment to an operational unit - the Essex Regiment 1st Battalion - and 175 of them were on the Royal Edward when it was hit astern and apparently sank in less than 6 minutes. There is some dispute about casualties but The Times reported a total of 1602 men and crew on board of whom some 1,000 were lost, 866 being soldiers. Only 18 of the former Norfolks survived. His name is recorded on the Helles memorial in Turkey (Gallipoli).

Leonard A Bridges

 

Private Leonard Arthur Bridges died at Gallipoli 21/8/1915 (as did the next individual). He was born in 1892 at Flitcham where he was brought up by his grandparents Susannah (neé Linford) and William Bridges. (William's brother George was father to the 2 brothers Arthur and Allen - both of whom are in this list). He enlisted at East Dereham and served in the Norfolk Regiment 1st/5th Battalion. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Helles Memorial, Turkey.

 

William J Humphrey

 

Private William John Humphrey died at Gallipoli 21/8/1915 (as did the previous individual). He is believed to have been born at Grimston, enlisted at Flitcham and served in the Norfolk Regiment 1st/5th Battalion (Territorial). He has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Helles Memorial, Turkey.

 

William C Grimes

 

Lance Corporal William Charles Grimes died 12/9/1915 at Gallipoli. The son of William Carter Grimes and Martha (née Turvey), he was born at Congham in December 1889 and was one of 3 brothers to die in the War, dying just 2 months before his brother Charles who served in the same Battalion (below). The 3 brothers had a sister Anna, 2 other brothers Arthur and Robert and 1 half brother, Herbert. Their mother Martha had predeceased them all in 1906.

He enlisted at Hillington, serving in the Norfolk Regiment 1st/5th Battalion. He is buried at Haidar Pasha Cemetery in Turkey.

George Henry Williamson

 

Corporal George Henry Williamson died 13/10/1915 in France. He was born c1885 at Flitcham where his father, also named George, was a blacksmith. His mother Anna (née Sadler) was originally from Docking and had 11 children, 3 of whom died young and one son was called Percy Frederick (see below). In 1901 the family were living next door to George and Jemima Bridges whose own son Arthur had died back in March. George Henry served in the Norfolk Regiment 7th Battalion and his name is inscribed on the Loos memorial near Lens in Northern France.

Charles Edward Grimes

 

Private Charles Edward Grimes died 18/11/1915. The son of William Carter Grimes and Martha (née Turvey), he was one of 3 brothers to die in the War and died just 2 months after his brother William who served in the same Battalion (above). The brothers had a sister Anna, 2 other brothers Arthur and Robert and 1 half brother, Herbert. Their mother Martha had predeceased them all in 1906.

He was born and baptised at Congham in April 1894 and enlisted at Flitcham, serving in the Norfolk Regiment, 1st/5th Battalion. He is buried at the Field Ambulance Cemetery in Turkey.

Arthur Robert Beckett

 

Private Arthur Robert Beckett died 20/3/1916 aged 21 years. He was born at Anmer and was the son of Henry and Hannah Beckett of 3 Abbey Rd, Flitcham. He enlisted at Norwich, serving with the Norfolk Regiment, 7th Battalion. He is also listed on the Sandringham war memorial and is listed on the Loos Memorial near Lens, France which records the names of 20,000 men who fell in that area with no known grave.

"W Mickleborough"

 

Lance Corporal William Mickleburgh (Mickleborough/Mickelburgh) died 31/7/1916 aged 34 years and has no known grave. His father Arthur Herbert, who had been born at Horningtoft, married Hannah Crane of Tattersett and in 1911 was farm bailiff at Valley Farm, Hillington. As well as William, they had at least 6 other children - Elizabeth; Emily; Herbert; Sarah; Winifred and Cecil. William married Elizabeth Twite in 1903 and they had 2 young daughters: Emily (b.1903) and Edna (b.1906).

William was born at Colkirk in 1882. He enlisted in Norwich on 4 Feb 1915 when resident at The Dams, Harpley and served with the Border Regiment 8th Battalion. William embarked for France on 29 Dec 1915, arriving at his unit on 1 Jan 1916. From the 19 Feb 1916 to 26 Feb 1916 William suffered from measles. His widow Elizabeth was living at "75 near The Post Office, Fitcham" where his belongings and medals were sent after his death. She was awarded a pension of 18s 6d on 12 Feb 1917. His name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial, France.

"L Thwaites"

 

(Probably) Private Arthur Twaite (Twite?) who died in France 10/8/1916 aged 31 years. He was born in nearby Roydon, the son of Mrs Martha Twaite of Trinity Hospital, Castle Rising. He served in the Norfolk Regiment, 8th Battalion. He is listed on the Plegsteert Memorial, Comines-Warneton, Belgium and has no known grave. (Also listed on the Sandringham War Memorial).

"S Rayner"

 

(Possibly) Private Sidney William Rayner who died on the 12/10/1916 aged 19 years. The son of John and Eliza Rayner of Shipdam near Thetford who served with the Royal Irish Fusiliers 1st Battalion

or

(Possibly) Private Sidney Rayner who died 27/3/1918 with no known grave. A resident of "Harlesden" (sic) and husband of Elizabeth Garnham, he was born at Wortwell near Harleston and enlisted at Bury St Edmunds. He served in the East Surrey Regiment, 9th Battalion and is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial, Somme.

(Not included on the memorial)

 

Private William Bates died 1/11/1916 aged 20 years. He was the son of "Louisa Barnes (sic) of 57 Abbey Rd, Flitcham" but was born in Gayton. Mary Louisa Bates' own mother had died very young and Mary had been brought up in Flitcham by her grandmother. In 1901 when William was just 6 years old, Mary Louisa was in Snettisham workhouse and William was living with her sister in Great Bircham. By 1911 he had moved to Liversedge near Dewsbury in Yorkshire to live with another aunt whose family had moved from Flitcham to work in the mills. It was there that William eventually enlisted in the York Infantry. He served with the Machine Gun Corps 83rd Battalion and is buried at Struma Cemetery, Greece. (Note: The Bates (Bateson) family had lived in Flitcham for many generations and William should not be confused with a distant cousin also called William and of the same age who was resident in the village at this time).

William Smith

 

Private William Smith died on 1/11/1916 during the Battle of the Somme aged 29 years. He was the husband of Elizabeth Smith of Rose Cottage, Flitcham. He served with the Royal Fusiliers 7th Battalion and is buried at Knightsbridge Cemetery, Mesnil-Martinsart (Somme). (The location of Rose Cottage is not known)

Frederick Bridges

 

Private Frederick Bridges died 27.1.1917. He was a native of Flitcham and worked on the Sandringham Estate. He served in the Essex Regiment 1st Battalion having originally enlisted in the Norfolk Regiment 1st/5th Battalion at Norwich on 4th August 1914. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval memorial, Somme.

Thomas Grimes

 

Pte Thomas Grimes 240354 died 19/4/1917. He and Walter Mindham served in the same Battalion and died on the same day. Thomas was born and baptised at Congham in August 1892 but was living with father William Carter Grimes and step-mother Georgiana in Flitcham in 1911. All the family were farm labourers. One of three brothers to die in the War (above) their mother Martha (née Turvey) had predeceased them all in 1906. The 3 brothers also had a sister Anna, 2 other brothers Arthur and Robert and 1 half brother, Herbert.

He served with the 1st/5th Battalion, Norfolk regiment and died in Jerusalem District, Israel.

Walter William Mindham

 

Private Walter William Mindham died 19/4/1917. He and Thomas Grimes served in the same Battalion and died the same day. He was born at Snettisham in 1893 and was one of eight children born to Henry (born Snettisham) and Harriet Mindham (born Great Dunham). In 1901 the family were living in Congham and in 1911 were living at 7 Abbey Road, Flitcham where Henry is described as a horseman and Walter as a labourer. Walter enlisted at Flitcham and served with the Norfolk regiment 1st/5th Battalion (Territorial). He is buried in the Gaza cemetery in Israel/Palestine. (Gaza fell to the Turks in the Second Battle of Gaza 17-19 April).

Robert John Overman

 

Private Robert John Overman died 14/5/1917 aged 24 years. He was born at Rotherham and was the son of Walter and Rachel Overman of White City, Titchwell. He enlisted at Flitcham and served in the Norfolk regiment 1st/5th Battalion (Territorial). He is also listed on the Sandringham memorial and is buried at the Alexandria (Hadra) Cemetery in Egypt.

(Not included on the memorial)

 

Private Frank Nicholls died 27/5/1917. He was born at Great Hockham and was the son of Mrs Mary E Webb of Docking Rd, Flitcham. He served with the Royal Berkshire Regiment and is buried in Beachamwell churchyard near Swaffham.

Allen Bridges

 

Private Allen (Allan) Bridges died 16/8/1917 aged 36 years. He was the son of George and Jemima Bridges of Flitcham and served with the Bedfordshire Regiment 2nd Battalion, enlisting at Norwich. He died at the Napesbury war hospital in St. Albans and is buried in the north-west corner of Flitcham churchyard. His brother Arthur also died in the war.

(Not included on the memorial)

 

Lieutenant Cyril Gordon Jones died on 20/11/1917 aged 25 years. He was the son of a former Vicar of Flitcham, the late Rev David Jones and his wife Emily and was the husband of Doris Margaret Jones of 75 Albany Rd, Southtown Great Yarmouth. A photo of him at a family wedding at Flitcham church can be seen here. His father had died relatively young in 1906.

He served with the Norfolk Regiment "C" Company 9th Battalion and is buried at the Fifteen Ravine British cemetery at Villiers-Plouich in northern France. This cemetery was used for casualties from the Battle of Cambrai which was the first battle where tanks were employed tanks en masse and which started on the day Lieutenant Jones died.

"B E Broadwater"

 

(Almost certainly) Private Henry Edward Broadwater who died 13/4/1918 aged 23 years with no known grave. The son of Arthur and Thirza Broadwater of Weasenham All Saints, he was born and baptised at Bramerton in 1894, 1 of 7 surviving children. The family had moved to East Harling by 1911 and later to Weasenham. He served in the Queen's (Royal West Surrey) Regiment, 1st Battalion and his name is recorded on the Ploegsteert memorial in Belgium.

Ernest Rix

 

Private Ernest Rix died 8/5/1918 aged 34 years with no known grave. He was a native of Flitcham and 1 of 3 children whose parents were also born in the village - Thomas a self-employed fish dealer and Mary (née Woodward). He served in the Bedfordshire Regiment, 2nd Battalion and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot memorial Zonnebeke in Belgium.

(Not included on the memorial)

 

Gunner Sidney Brereton died 10/8/1918 aged 42 years. He was the farmer son of George Brereton and Mary Beck Brereton of Flitcham House, Flitcham. He married Beatrice Lewis in Heacham in May 1900 and they had 3 children and in 1911 were living in an 11-room house with housemaid, cook and governess. He was called up from the Reserve and enlisted on 23 November 1915 at King's Lynn. He served with the Royal Garrison Artillery, 177th Heavy Battery and died from an accidental gunshot wound on 10 August in Sedgford. He is buried in Sedgeford churchyard extension.

"P F Williamson"

 

(Almost certainly) Percy Frederick Williamson (b.1892) but date of death unknown. Not listed on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. His brother George Henry who was 7 years older is also listed on the memorial. Percy is listed in the 1911 Census as being employed as a grocer's assistant and living with parents George and Anna together with brother George and other siblings (see above).

"G H Bird" No information available at present. He is not listed on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website.
"E Burger" No information available at present. He is not listed on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website.