|Banstead War Memorial.
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CASELTON, ROBERTS MAJUBA
The Boer War had been going badly until late February but now the nation was celebrating the relief of the besieged town of Kimberley and a major victory at Paardeberg. Walston was with Field Marshal Lord Frederick Roberts at Paardeberg and so the family named the new baby "Roberts" in honour of the British Commander-in-Chief and "Majuba" as the victory had come on Majuba Day, the anniversary of an infamous British defeat now avenged by the capture of 4,000 Boers at Paardeberg.
Roberts was the fourth of six sons born to Walston and Louisa. When war came in 1914, his father and his three elder brothers joined up. Roberts was not to be left out. Aged 14, he claimed to be "19 years and 355 days" and attested under his brother William's name with The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment) in February 1915. Roberts joined the 8th (Service) Battalion of The Queen's, part of 72nd Brigade, which was made up of four battalions from Surrey and Kent. Their training was poor, equipment was in short supply and rifles were not available until July. In the summer of 1915, the men of Kitchener's New Army poured into France in preparation for the "Big Push" at Loos and the 8th Queen's arrived in France on 1st September. There was little for the men to do as they waited in camp for three weeks. Discipline suffered and Roberts spent three days in shackles for an unknown offence. They finally marched onto the battleBield on 26th September, the second day of the Battle of Loos, and straight into a killing zone.
They came under heavy machine-gun fire from in front and from both sides, point-blank German artillery fire and were even shelled by British artillery. When they finally reached the undamaged German wire, they could not cut their way through. The German soldiers stood and shot "as rapidly as they could pull their triggers." The Surrey and Kent battalions of the 72nd Brigade suffered over 2,000 casualties that day. The Germans called the battleground "The Field of Corpses." The 8th Queen's had been gutted, they had lost half of their men within the space of just a few hours. Roberts, just 15 years old, was promoted to corporal in the aftermath of the battle.
The 8th Queen's took their first spell in the trenches in October and spent much of the autumn and early winter battling the weather more than the Germans. Constant work was required to stop the rain washing away their parapets and flooding their trenches. They rested and refitted in December, returning to the trenches in the New Year. With so many men crowded together in insanitary conditions, disease was a constant menace and Roberts fell victim to one of the most common ailments: scabies, a skin mite infestation that causes severe itching. Most sufferers went on to develop complications as the scratched, broken skin was easily infected and Roberts was no exception. He soon suffered from sores and blisters brought on by impetigo and was sent to a specialist hospital for treatment. His health was failing; he developed pneumonia and was transferred to an isolation hospital where, a fortnight later, he contracted meningitis.
Roberts died on 17th April 1916. He was 16 years and 2 months old, the youngest man from Banstead to die in the war.
Roberts' real identity came to light after the war and he is buried under his own name in Etaples Military Cemetery, France. His headstone inscription reads "Who passed from a world at war to a paradise of peace." He is commemorated on the family monument in All Saints' churchyard, on the Banstead War Memorial, on the Garton War Memorial in All Saints' churchyard and on the wooden panels in All Saints' Lady Chapel. Roberts was awarded the British War Medal, Victory Medal and the 1914‐15 Star.
Research by James Crouch
Last updated: 10 Sept 2016
Caselton family memorial.
All Saints Church
|COUCHMAN, CHARLES EDWARD.
Son of Charles and Eleanor Couchman. Charles and Eleanor, nee Seymour, were married in the 2nd Qtr of 1879 and the marriage was registered at Kensington. The 1881 census shows them living at 52 Castle Street, St Giles In The Fields. At that time Charles was a Brewers Servant.
Their son,Charles Edward Couchman was born on the 18th March 1882 and his birth was registered at St Giles South in the County of Middlesex. The 1891 census shows Charles Edward aged 9 as a Scholar.
Sometime between 1891 and 1901 it would appear that Charles Edward Couchman left England and went to live in Ireland. His father Charles died, and his mother Eleanor remarried in 1894. Her second husband was Frederick Davis.
The 1901 census shows Eleanor and Frederick living at Park Road Cottage Banstead with two of Eleanor’s children from her first marriage and another two children that she had with Frederick.
On the 7th June 1904 Charles Edward Couchman married Mary Anne Coyle in Ballyshannon in the county of Donegal. His profession is given as 'Soldier' and it is very likely that he served with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers an Irish infantry regiment of the British Army, formed in 1881. The regiment recruited mainly from the counties of Donegal, Londonderry, Tyrone and Fermanagh in Ireland, with its garrison depot located at Omagh.
The birth certificate for Charles' and Mary's daughter Bridget, born on the 16th January 1916, does show Charles Edward as a soldier of the 4th Battalion Inniskilling Fusiliers.
Just twenty months later, on the 26th September 1917, Private Charles Edward Couchman died whilst serving with the 2nd Battalion Inniskilling Fusiliers.
Charles Edward was the second son in the family to die during WWl as his step brother Frederick George Davis died two years earlier, in September 1915. Thus both brothers are listed on the Banstead War Memorial.
Frederick and Eleanor were still in Banstead but had moved to Dehra Doon in Lyme Regis Road.
Grave Reference: IV. B. 21.
COXYDE MILITARY CEMETERY Koksijde, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.
Source : Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Cemetery Photos courtesy of Des Cronin.
Family research by Christine Kent.
All Saints Church Memorial Banstead (shows 25th September 1917).
Last updated 12 August 2008
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|CROSS, EDWARD JASPER
Army Service Corps 341st M.T. Coy.
Died 8-March-1916 age - about 42
Grave Reference: New ground.
ALL SAINTS CHURCHYARD Banstead, Surrey.
Edward, was born Edward James Seal C1873 and was baptised at Carshalton Parish Church on 22 July 1873. His mother Harriet Seal, was unmarried at the time although an Edward Cross was lodging with the Seal family from 1871. They were married in 1875 so it's probably reasonable to assume that Edward Cross senior, was the father. This also explains why the young Edward was called Jasper. He and two other children born before the marriage assumed the name Cross.
Jasper started working at The Oaks in 1899, living at the Lower Lodge, on Woodmansterne Road. The Oaks was owned by Lucy James, widow of Harry James, who had made his fortune in South America. By 1901, Jasper was working as the "odd man domestic" or odd job man and probably living in the house.
There was an E Cross playing cricket for Woodmansterne at about this time and perhaps it was Jasper. In 1903, Jasper was living in Woodmansterne and working as a carpenter when he married Edith Eliza Bruce in Essex. They were both 30 years old. A couple of years later they were living in a cottage at Oaks Farm, The Oaks estate's "model farmery", and in 1909 their first and only child, Evelyn, was born there.
Mmotorcars were starting to replace horse-drawn carriages and Jasper became the chauffeur at The Oaks. In 1911, the family moved closer to the house, living in the loft above the carriage-house, part of the stable block, which still survives today. Presumably the car was parked in the carriage-house but, by 1912, another building had been converted into a "capital" triple garage (with a petrol store, an inspection pit, heated by hot water and lit by acetylene gas) and the lodge by the gate on Croydon Lane had been turned into a chauffeur's cottage, where Jasper would have lived and acted as gatekeeper.
Following Mrs James' retirement to London and the impending sale of The Oaks to the Surrey Joint Poor Law Commission, Jasper and his family moved to the cottage at Well House, in Banstead (where Well House Flats stand today), where he probably worked as a chauffeur for Mrs Aileen Arthur.
In early 1915, the Army was desperately short of drivers and adverts were taken out to persuade motor drivers to sign up, pointing out the generous pay and beneBits. The R.A.C. and A.A. wrote to their members urging them to let their chauffeurs go to the front and to hold their jobs open for them for when they had Binished serving their country. Jasper answered the call. He joined the 341st Mechanical Transport Company of the Royal Army Service Corps, where he most likely trained to drive a lorry. They were to sail to France and run the Fourth Army's ammunition dump.
The British Army was the most mechanised of all in the Great War, when it came to using motor vehicles for transport. A large total of ASC Mechanical Transport Companies existed at some time in the war, in various categories such as the ASC MT Companies in the Divisional Supply Columns. No. 341 ASC MT Company was one of those allotted as Divisional Ammunition Parks. These companies called Ammunition Parks operated dumps, or stores, of ammunition including the larger calibres of artillery shells which required special handling equipment, smaller shells, mortar rounds, grenades and small arms ammunition too. ASC 341 MT Coy as part of the 23rd Division saw service in France.
The Division took responsibility for a front line sector between Ferme Grande Flamengrie to the Armentieres-Wez Macquart road. CIII and CV Brigades RFA were attached to 8th Division for operations in connection with the Battle of Loos. At this time, 23rd Division was holding the front at Bois Grenier where it remained for some considerable time. The Division was relieved after a lengthy five-month spell in the front line, between 26 January and 8 February 1916. Divisional HQ was eventually established at Blaringhem and the units concentrated around Bruay.
On 3 March 1916 orders were received to relieve the French 17th Division in the Carency sector. The front to be held was between the Boyau de l'Ersatz and the Souchez River, including the posts on the Notre Dame de Lorette hill behind. Artillery was positioned in the area Carency - Ablain St Nazaire - Bois de Bouvigny, an exposed position in which it was subject to severe shelling.
Edward did not make it that far. He fell ill and his death certificate shows that he died on 8 March 1916 in the Military Hospital, Sidney Hall, Weymouth, Dorset, of Bronchial Pneumonia and Cardiac Failure. He was forty-two and he died with his wife at his bedside.The family address at the time of his death was Well House, Banstead, and the Banstead War Memorial was to be erected just five years later within a few yards of the perimeter wall of this large property.
Research by Lewis Wood and James Crouch
Last updated :10 Sept 2016
Royal Fusiliers 2nd Bn.
Died 24-April-1917 aged 29
Memorial Reference: Bay 3.
Source : Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
All Saints Church Memorial, Banstead, Surrey.
IDENTIFICATION ISSUES - Link to Banstead area not yet established.
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All Saints Church