War Dead

Private Alfred Dewsberry, 19583
Alfred was the son of Henry James and Mahala Dewsberry of Ivy Cottage, Little Thetford. His photograph is stored in Stretham Church records. Born in Soham, enlisted in Sheffield.

He served with 10th Battalion, The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), and he lost his life on 25th September 1915, at an unknown age.

He is commemorated on Loos Memorial France, panels 57 and 59 (Memorial Register 19, part 3). Loos-en-Gehelle is a village about five kilometres north-west of Lens. The Loos Memorial, which forms part of Dud Corner Cemetery, is about one kilometre west of the village, on the main road from Bethune to Lens.

Gunner Arthur James Dewsberry, 200831
Arthur was the son of Henry James and Mahala Dewsberry of Ivy Cottage, Little Thetford. His photograph is stored in Stretham Church records.

He enlisted at Ripon with 'D' Battery, 124th Brigade Royal Field Artillery. This brigade was a Kitchener's New Army Unit, part of 37th Division, which served on the Western Front from the end of July 1915 to the end of the War. He lost his life on 19th October 1918 at the age if 23.

He is buried in Grave 5, Row C of Viesly Communal Cemetrey (Cemetery Record France 1396). Viesly is a village and commune in the Department of the Nord, six Kilometres north-west of La Cateau. The nearest railway station is the halt at Briastre, on the line from Valenciennes to Hirson.

Private Eric Dewsbury, 201861
Eric was the brother of Miss Lily Mary Dewsbury of Round House, Little Thetford. His photograph is stored in Stretham Church records.

He enlisted in Ely, with 'C' Company of the Suffolk Regiment. He embarked at Folkestone for Boulogne on the 28th August 1916 and joined the 4th Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment on the 12th September 1916. He was killed in action, at Newville-Vitasse, on the 12th April 1917, at the age of 23.

He is buried in Plot 6, Row G, Grave 14 of Wancourt British Cemetery (Cemetery Record France 162). Wancourt is a village about eight kilometres south-east of Arras. It is two kilometres south of the main road from Arras to Cambrai. The Cemetery is a short distance south-east of the village.

He appealed against conscription in March 1916. He was described as a labourer and milkman, and he said he had to keep his father and sister and pay the rent. His appeal was refused.

Private Clement Claude Driver, 2126A

Born in Waterbeach, mother lived in Haddenham, lived in Little Thetford in 1901, at the age of 6.

He served in the 3rd Battalion, Australian Infantry. He was killed on Sunday 29th August 1915. Buried in Lone Pine Cemetery, ANZAC, Turkey, Grave II, A.

He is also on Haddenham Memorial.

Sergeant James Pate Gent, S/13839
James of Brick House, Little Thetford, son of Barford and Hannah Gent of Blackwing Drove, Prickwilliow. He photograph is stored in Stretham Church records.

He served with 8th Battalion, The Rifle Brigade. He lost his life at Cherisy, on 3rd May 1917, at the age of 21.

He is commemorated on Arras Memorial France, Bay 9 (Memorial Register 20, Part 8.The Arras Memorial forms part of Faubourg-d'Amiens Cemetry, which is in the western part of Arras, in Boulevard du General de Gaulle, to the south of the road to Doullens.

Private Sidney C. Gage, 17515

The son of Mrs S. Gage, of 5 Ely Road, Little Thetford.

He served with the 11th Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment. Born in Mildenhall, Suffolk. He enlisted in Ely. He died of his wounds on the 1st July 1916, the opening day of the 'Battle of the Somme” at the age of 33.

He is buried in Plot 1, Row BB, Grave 3 of Serre Road Cemetery (Cemetery Register France 742). Serre Road Cemetery No 1 is in Puisieux, which is in the Department of Pas-de-Calai, and contains the villages of Puisieux and Serre. Serre Road Cemetery No 1 is about 1300 metres west of the village on the north side of the road from Maily-Maillet to Serre and Puisieux.

'The Battle of the Somme' opened at 7.30 am on the 1st July 1916. A faulty tactical battle plan drawn up by General Rawlinson and his staff left the attacking British infantry exposed in No Man's Land to German machine gun teams, who had survived the week long preliminary bombardment in deep dug outs. The attacking units suffered 57,470 casualties that day - 21,392 killed, died of wounds or went missing, 35,493 wounded and 585 prisoners of war. These are the worst casualties in the history of the British Army. Serre was at the northern end of the main battlefield.

Sergeant Albert Gage, 34809

The son of Mrs S. Gage of 5 Ely Road, Little Thetford, served with the Royal Field Artillery.

He was born and enlisted at Mildenhall, Suffolk. He lost his life on 16th October 1917, at the age of 34. He was called up with Reserves at the outbreak of the War and went to France with the First British Expeditionary Force. He had been wounded four times and saw twelve years service, eight of which had been in India.

He is buried in Plot 2, Row A, Grave 26 of Trois-Arbres Cemetery, Steenwerck. Steenwerck is a village and commune in the Department of Nord. The cemetery is about six kilometres south-east of Bailleul, and to the east of the main road from Bailleul to Estaires. It is situated to the north-east between the village and the main road from Bailleul to Armentieres and north of recently built motorway.

Private David Howard, 19913
David was the son of Mr and Mrs David Howard of the River Bank, Little Thetford. He lived on the Barway side of the River, near the old chain ferry. His photograph is stored in the Stretham Church records.

He enlisted in Ely, on the 5th November 1916, with the 7th Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment. He was killed in action on 30th November 1917, at the age of 23. The action was part of the Arras area offensive, Germans in enormous masses swarmed the area and the 7th Battalion were in hand to hand fighting for many hours.

He is commemorated on Panel 4 of the Cambrai Memorial France (Memorial Register 17, Part 3). The Cambrai Memorial is at Louverval. Loverval is a village some 24 kilometres south-east of Arras and 14.5 kilometres south-west of Cambrai on the straight main road to Bapaume. The Cambrai Memorial is in Louverval Military Cemetery, which is situated to the south of the village on the north side of the road. The Memorial commemorates over 7,000 service personnel who have no know grave.

Private James Lombe Lowe, 7471
James was the son of Mr George and Mrs Rebecca Lowe of Watsons Lane, Little Thetford. He was born in Little Thetford and enlisted in Cambridge with 'C” Company 1st Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment. He joined the Suffolk Regimental Old Comrade Association in 1909, which cost him one shilling. His O.C.A. number was 1278. He joined the army in 1908-1909. His photograph is stored in the Stretham Church records.

At the outbreak of war the 1st Battalion were in Khartoum, and were recalled to England. On the 16th January 1915, they were marched from Winchester to Southampton and sailed in S.S. Mount Temple to Havre and disembarked on the 18th January 1915. He was killed in action on 24th April 1915, just north of the road between Ypres and Zonnebeke, in a trench called 'Little Willie”. His age was 28.

He is commemorated on Ypres (Memim Gate) memorial, Belgium (Memorial Register 29, Part 25). Ypres (now Ieper) is a town in the Province of West Flanders. The Memorial is situated at the eastern side of the town on the road to Memin and Courtai, and bears the names of 55,000 men who were lost without trace during the defence of Ypres Salient.

Private Thomas William Mason, 7158
Thomas was the son of John and Eliza Mason of Little Thetford. Born in Stretham. He enlisted in Ely, with the 2nd Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment. He joined the Suffolk Regimental Old Comrades Association in 1090, which cost him one shilling. His O.C.A. number was 1503. His photograph is stored in the Stretham Church records.

On the 13th August 1914 half the battalion sailed from Dublin in the S.S. Lanfranc. On the 14th August 1914 the other half sailed from Dublin in the S.S. Poland. Both halves met at Havre on the on Sunday 16th August 1914 at 8 p.m. He was killed in action on the 26th August 1914, at the age of 26.

He is commerated on La Ferte-Sous-Jouarre Memorial France ( Memorial Register 15, Part 2, names listed by regiments). Le Ferte-Sous-Jouarre is a small town 66 kilometres to the east of Paris, with which it is connected by rail on the main line to Epernay and Nancy. The Memorial is situated in a small park on the south bank of the River Marne, just off the main road to Paris.

On the 26th August 1914 the British Expeditionary Force, under Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien, turned and made a stand against the German First Army at La Cateau, during the retreat from Mons.

The 2nd Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment was in the front trenches facing Le Cateau. Nearly all day they were under very heavy artillery fire, and they suffered appalling casualties. On the morning of 26th August 1914, at 4.30 a.m., the Battalion Roll Call was 996 men. On the morning of the 27th August 1914, at 5 a.m., the Battalion Roll Call was 111 men. 885 men of the 2nd Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment were killed in 24 hours.

The 2nd Battalion won a notable honour at La Cateau, when it held the British Right until surrounded and decimated in the retreat from Mons. This action is commemorated in the second verse of the Suffolk Regiment Song 'Stabilis'.

A hundred odd years later and its touch and go
The Suffolk guard the British Right no far from Le Cateau
Though hope had almost vanished, and the shells are falling fast
They remember the motto and are 'steady' to the last
Is it 'Steady': no they aren't in need of steadying
It is 'Stabilis' by nature through and through
So they kept the watchword well, as the numbers left can tell
And they passed it on to chaps like me and you

Sergeant Major James Berthold Scarrow, S4/090107
James was the brother of George Scarrow, who lived in the Half Way House. His photograph is stored in the Stretham Church records.

He served with the Royal Army Service Corps. attending 73rd Field Battery, 5th Brigade Royal Field Artillery. He died on 4th May 1917, of cerebral malaria, at an unknown age. He is buried in Plot 1, Row D, Grave 4 of Dodoma Cemetery (Cemetery Register East Africa 1).

He was generally known as 'Bert'. He followed his trade as a baker, and served in the Dardanelles, where he contracted fever, and was sent home. After his recovery he was sent to East Africa, where he was promoted to Company Sergeant Major. He lived originally in Norfolk and his family moved to Little Thetford during the war. He left a wife and three small children.

Gunner John Wright, 163893
John was the son of Tom and Louisa Wright of Little Thetford. His photograph is stored in the Stretham Church records.

He served with the 6th Siege Battery, 41st Brigade, Royal Garrison Artillery. He lost his life on the 15th April 1918, at the age of 23.

He is buried in Plot 1, Row B, Grave 6 of the Mont-Noir Cemetery, St-Jan-Cappel. (Cemetery Register France 856). St-Jan-Cappel is a village in the Department of the Nord, 3 kilometres north of Bailleul and the Mont-Noir rises a little north of the village close to the Belgian border. Mont-Noir Military Cemetery is on the southern slope of the hill.

Rifleman Owen Yarrow, 3755358
Owen was the son of James and Mary Yarrow, and the husband of Laura Yarrow of Holt Fen, Little Thetford. His photograph is stored in the Stretham Church records.

He served with the 1st Battalion Post Office Rifles, and the 5th Suffolk Regiment. He lost his life on the 30th November 1917, at the age of 33.

He is commemorated on Cambrai Memorial France (Memorial Register 17, Part 5). The location of the Memorial is given in the section on Private David Howard.

He was killed on the same day and in the same action as Private David Howard, during the battle of Cambrai. On November 30th 1917, General Georg von der Maritz, Commander of the German Second Army, launched a ferocious counter-attack. His objective was to capture the 3rd and 4th British Corps with thrusts from Bourlon and westwards from Honnecourt. The attack from the north was held, but to the south the German left wing made great headway.