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Second Lieutenant FRANK BOWER

1914-18 War Plaque in Church:

BOWER Frank  March 1917 2nd Lieut. Northumberland fusiliers, attached RFC

60th Sqdn., Royal Flying Corps and Northumberland Fusiliers

died aged 18 on 31 March 1917 Remembered with honour at BRAY MILITARY CEMETERY Frank was born in Scarborough in 1899 whilst the family where living at 15 Fulford Road. He was the youngest child of four to Joshua and Louisa Bower, and grandson of Mr Thomas Bower of Stradishall Place, near Newmarket.  Joshua was a tea planter in Ceylon and farmer and in 1906 he bought the Croft Estate in Somerford Keynes. Joshua also served in the war, first on voluntary Red Cross work, and then with frontline French ambulances and was awarded the Croix de Guerre.  His eldest son, Ian Bower, also served in the trenches in France. They were a patriotic family. Frank was educated first at ‘Marlburia’, Montreux, and the preparatory school of Stancliffe Hall, near Matlock and from here he passed to Repton.  He entered Sandhurst in January 1916 and in August of the same year he joined the Northumberland Fusiliers, attached Royal Flying Corps.  Passing out from Reading, Netheravon, to Upavon, he finished his tests in record time, and gained his wings on Christmas Eve.  Very soon afterwards, he was sent to Gosport, where he completed his training, and on the 21st February he received orders for service with the British Expeditionary Force in France. Almost immediately he was attached to the 60th Squadron, and during his brief career he personally accounted for some German machines.  Twice he had his machine badly damaged by gun fire, but managed to get back and land safely. Once he attacked a double-seater German ‘plane carrying two men and four guns’, and single-handed destroyed it; he having a wing shot off and landing in a shell-hole just in front of British lines. However, after these adventures, on the 31st March 1917 he was fatally wounded in a fight with several German machines.  He was eighteen when he met his death. Frank was flying a Nieuport 23 aircraft of No. 60 Sqn, tail number A6774 on 30 March 1917 and engaged enemy aircraft over Fouquieres (to the northwest of Lens) at 11.45am.  As a result of the combat, Frank was wounded, and forced to land near Albert, to the south of the engagement.  He died as a result of his wounds the next day. A ‘first-hand’ account of Frank’s brave actions which led to his death are found in the account of Billy Bishop (Billy Bishop Went to War). Billy's world completely turned around between March 28 and August 16. On March 28, he led his first patrol, an event that proved completely uneventful. However, the same was not true on March 30, when the inexperienced Billy led his second patrol. His flight was decoyed into a numerically superior German force and his friend Lt. W. P. Garrett was shot down and killed. An explosive bullet from behind struck Frank Bower, another friend. Bower, in a state of severe shock, in extreme pain and with blood pouring from massive abdominal wounds, held his intestines in his body with one hand and flew back to base using his other hand to control the plane. After landing, he managed to walk 40 yards from his plane before collapsing. He died the next day, and the day after that Billy led his third flight, a flight in which he again was caught by a German ambush and in which two of his pilots were killed. During this period in France the average life of a British pilot in France was 45 days and 60 Squadron's casualty rate was 105 percent. Frank Bower was Mentioned in Despatches which were published in the London Gazette on 15th May 1917, probably awarded for his action with Lt Binnie that resulted in the bringing down of an enemy aircraft on 25th March 1917. His Commanding Officer describing his last encounter with the enemy:- ‘I write to give you such details as I can of the fight in which your son lost his life, and of his splendid courage.  In a very strong west wind, six of our machines, of whom Frank Bower was one, pursued eight Albatross scouts to the east of Douni.  He was soon to be in difficulties, and another of my pilots engaged a Hun machine that was firing at Bower. He was lost sight of in the clouds, and when next we heard of him he had flown back some 10 miles or more in bad weather, and landed his machine, shot riddled as he was, perfectly, so that this morning it was flown back by another pilot without any repairs being effected. Frank Bower was shot in the body and when taken into hospital from his aeroplane he was seen to be grievously wounded.  I had already recommended him for a decoration when the news came an hour ago (about 30 hours after the flight) that he had died at 13.50. Please accept both my congratulations on your son’s fine spirit and my deepest sympathy in the loss which I and the 60th Squadron share with you.  We all loved him and are deeply grieved at his loss.’ I can conclude the loss of Frank with an account of how the news reached Somerford Keynes from a correspondent. ‘On Sunday last a telegram reached the Croft announcing that Lieutenant Frank Bower of the Northumberland Fusiliers attached to the RFC had been seriously wounded in France.  Lieutenant Bower, who was only 18 years of age, was the youngest son of Mr J Bower, who himself having had a few days’ home from his duties in France, had with Mrs Bower, gone to bid his father goodbye before again departing for France on Monday morning.  Too late to acquaint them by other means, Miss Alice Bower journeyed to London by the first train on Monday, but scarcely had she left home when a second telegram arrived telling of his brother’s death.  The sad news has cast a gloom over the village, and the deepest sympathy is felt for the family.  The bright face and cheery manner of this gallant gentleman had made him a special favourite with everybody, whilst his genius, ability and courage made him especially suited for the RFC.’
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War Memorials in All Saints Church


1914-18 War Plaque in Church:

HAYWARD Albert Edward 1st Wilts April 1917 20672 2d Bn, Wiltshire Regiment who died on 9th April 1917 Remembered with honour on Arras Memorial Bay 7 Stone 16 In my search to-date I have not found where Albert Hayward was born.  I cannot find any evidence that he was born in Somerford Keynes, Shorncote or Ewen, in that he has not shown up on the census for 1901 or 1911.  I therefore, assume that he was working here in 1914 when war broke out.  However, the account I have from the Wilts and Glos Standard for 12 May 1917 indicates that he went to school here.  Unfortunately, the article does not actually say that he was from Somerford Keynes, but parts of the account it do tie up and he is remembered on our memorial. I have another article from the Wilts & Glos Standard that states that 4 young men joined up in March 1915 (could be May?) and I believe those to be, Corp Bowley, Albert Hayward, Corp F Telling and Francis Whitman.   Here is the article from the Wilts & Glos Standard Sat 12 May 1917 ‘Lance Corporal Albert Edward Hayward died by a German bomb on the 8th inst was the eldest son of Mr & Mrs F Hayward.  Advised very strongly that their king and country needed them and that their places were at the front, he, with four other companions, all under age, and two others of whom have been wounded, joined the Army in May 1915 and have been in France for over a year.  This plucky young soldier earned his stripe by his attention to duties there, taking part in a lot of fighting.  On Sunday evening last the Vicar included in the service the lad’s favourite hymns, and after reading the King’s message and proclamation took for his text the 6th verse of the 18th chapter of the Epistle of the Romans.  “Therefore you must need be subject not only for wrath but also for conscience sake”.  He escorted his bearers to economy in food stuffs not only from a fear of famine but from a cheerful sense of duty to enable those in authority to be able to overcome the submarine menace.  In rendering honour to whom honour was due, in the advice and account of the Apostle he found not hint of suggestion that could reasonably be used on behalf of the insanity and the disloyalty both King and democracy of those creatures whose argument as Richard Hooker said, were more curious than wise, and who got the illogical name of conscientious objectors.  Those in England were temporarily residing in the seclusion of Dartmoor gaol.  Thankful King and country must be that no such precepts as their found, followers, or abettors in that parish.  There would be no difference of opinion of Albert Edward Hayward, whose gallant death had been announced through the War Office.  Deceased’s popularity with his school mates had earned him the name of ‘Bonnie’, and the few who remain in the village would grieve at the loss of his witty, cheerful disposition.  In the church he would be remembered as singer in the choir, and he (the preacher) was sure the chaplain’s letter, and the wish of a wounded soldier at the Red Cross Hospital in Cirencester to tell his people of deceased’s life and death as a soldier, that the same high spirit, gay wit, and cheerful obedience and soldierly good conduct held good of his reputation and career in France.  Their sympathies and sorrow went out to his home and relative who must miss him sorely.’ Lynda Isherwood 2014


1914-18 War Plaque in Church:

HAYWARD Frank 1st Gloucesters April 1918 2289 1st/6th Bn., Gloucestershire Regiment who died on 9th October 1917 Remembered with honour on Tyne Cot Memorial Panel 73 We find Frank Hayward accounted for in the 1911 census living in the village at the Neigh Bridge end.  He was described as a general labourer, single and of 32 yrs and was recorded as having been born in Oaksey in 1879.  He was living as a boarder with Job Arnold aged 60 yrs, a poor crippled man. He was the younger brother of Edward J Hayward. Wilts & Glos Standard of November 17th 1917  ‘Somerford Keynes Man Missing’: ‘This week we have to record the receipt by his aunt of a notice announcing that Private Frank Hayward 2289 of the Gloucesters was missing.  He was an old campaigner, having been through the South African War.  Having no home, he lived with a poor crippled old man in the village.  In civilian life he was of an easy nature, not taking life too seriously, but on the outbreak of war his soldierly instinct re-asserted itself and he at once volunteered to his old regiment, going to France in August 1914, being the first man to volunteer in the village.  But before going he thoughtfully sought help for his old friend in the cultivation of his garden.  Private Hayward has been in France nearly the whole time since, with the exception of a few holidays when his only grievance was to see other single young men still being held in the village, whose home ties were no more than his own and whose places could have been as easily refilled.  He also had a short enforced stay in England by an attack of rheumatism.’ Lynda Isherwood 2014 From the Commonwealth War Graves Commission:- Around the eastern boundary of Tyne Cot Cemetery near the town of Ieper in Belgium stands the Tyne Cot Memorial. It bears the names of some 35,000 men of the British and New Zealand forces who have no known grave, nearly all of whom died between August 1917 and November 1918. This area on the Western Front was the scene of the Third Battle of Ypres. Also known as the Battle of Passchendaele, it was one of the major battles of the First World War.

Lance Sergeant CHARLES MORRIS HAYWARD (correct spelling MAURICE)

1914-18 War Plaque in Church:

HAYWARD Charles Maurice Grenadier Guards Oct 1915 16070, 2nd Bn.  Grenadier Guards who died age 25 on 18 August 1915 Son of Mr and Mrs John Hayward of Cirencester; husband of Violet May Hayward of 19 Oak St., Niagara Falls, Canada. Remembered with honour Bethune Town Cemetery I cannot find a reference to Charles having lived in Somerford Keynes at the time of the 1911 census and can only assume that he was working here once war broke out.  However I have found that Charles was living with his family nr Tetbury and they were all farm labourers.  His father was John and his mother Louisa so this ties up with the War Graves Commission details.  I have yet to find details of Violet May Hayward his wife in Canada. However, it would appear from passenger records that Charles set off to Canada in July 1911 so maybe he found a wife whilst he was in Quebec.  On the 1911 census I have found that Charles is the brother of Jesse who also died in the war and is remembered on our memorial. Charles was born in Crudwell in 1889 and his brother Jesse born in Somerford Keynes, so the family had lived here at one time. Lynda Isherwood 2014


1914-18 War Plaque in Church:

HAYWARD Edward 1st Royal Berks Missing 1st Royal Berkshire Mlsslng Edward has not been  definitively identified in CWGC or regimental records. He lived in Water Lane, Somerford Keynes at the tlme of the census in 1911, was thlrty-eight years old and a Farm labourer. He lived with his wife, daughter and three sons. Edward was born in Oaksey. Edward and Frank (Francis) Hayward were brothers. He was the son of Joseph and Eliza Anne Hayward of Oaksey. Lynda Isherwood 2014  If you have any information about this man, we would be pleased to see it. 


1914-18 War Plaque in Church:

HAYWARD Jesse Gloucester Hussars Nov 1917 235273, 2nd/4th Bn., Gloucestershire Regiment died on 31 October 1917 Remembered with honour Duisans British Cemetery, Etrun Block 5, Row C Jesse and Charles were brothers and were living with their parents near Tetbury in the 1911 census.  They were both described as farm labourers so it was appear that their work had brought them to Somerford Keynes at the time of the outbreak of war.  Jesse was 31 years old when he died, he was born in Somerford Keynes in 1885.  His brother Charles died in August 1915.  Their parents had now lost two of their sons (the parents had given birth to 13 children). Lynda Isherwood 2014


1914-18 War Plaque in church: RADWAY Henry 13th Gloucesters May 1917 30070. 12TH Bn., Gloucestershire Regiment Who died aged 19 on 8th May 1917 Remembered with honour at ARRAS  MEMORIAL Henry Radway was born in Somerford Keynes in 1897, his parents were Charles and Annie Radway.  His father Charles had been born in Somerford Keynes and was a Wheelwright.  His mother Annie had been born in Co. Durham.  Charles and Annie had given birth to 8 children, in 1911 it was recorded on the census that 6 were living and 2 had died.  Henry had only known this corner of Gloucestershire whilst he was growing up and had attended the local school. Henry signed up with the Gloucestershire Regiment in Bristol.  The village has been given a picture by the Radway family of Henry dressed up in his uniform.  He obviously was given home leave before he set off for France as there is also another picture of him with his family looking very proud. Henry lost his life at the Third Battle of Arras in the campaign near the front line trenches at Fresnoy.  It was misty and the trenches were in a muddy state due to recent rainfall.  Fresnoy had been captured by the 1st Canadian division on 3rd May 1917,  it was retaken on the 8th May by the Germans and finally regained by the British on 6th October 1918. Lynda Isherwood 2014


1914-18 War Plaque in Church:

RADWAY William Canadians March 1918 862758 29th Bn., Canadian Infantry (British Columbia Regiment) Who died aged 27 on 21 August 1917 Remembered with honour Vimy Memorial William was born in Somerford Keynes in September 1890, his parents were John and Ellen Radway.  He was a cousin of Henry Radway.  In the 1911 census William is aged 20 living with his father then a widower (his mother died in 1907), two sisters and a cousin.  William, his father and cousin are all Labourers on the road with the Rural District Council.  They were living in 3 rooms.  William had attended the local school.  It would appear from my research that William set off to America in 1913 as I have found him on a Passenger List for the Oceanic on 7th May 1913 bound for New York from Southampton.  According to records his address was Brampton, Ontario when he enlisted for war with the Canadian Infantry.  He was 25 when he signed up and his occupation was a Florist.  He was described as single, 5ft 6 inches tall.  He was killed near Lens, and is buried at Vimy Memorial, Pas de Calais, France.  William is also remembered on a tombstone in the churchyard along with his mother, father and sister. Lynda Isherwood 2014


1914-18 War Plaque in Church:

SCHALL Henry Frederick 2nd Lieut Royal Garrison Artillery September 1916 150th Rotherham Heavy Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery Who died aged 25 on 24th September 1916 Remembered with honour Heilly Station Cemetery, Mericourt-L’Abbe The first reference of Henry that can be found is in Geoffrey Gibbon’s book ‘Through the Saxon Door’ in which he states that Henry’s father rented the Manor, and that Henry was remembered as a generous and kindly friend to the children of the village.  Henry was born on 1 July 1891 in North Walsham, Norfolk.  The only child of Christian and Margaret Schall. By the 1901 census he was a pupil of St Vincent’s School in Eastbourne.  He is also remembered there on the Ascham Arch, which is a memorial to the 51 men who died in World War 1 who had attended the Ascham Vincent’s Prep School. On 18 January 1907 Henry entered Epsom College, Forest House, the family were registered as living at 16 Rood Lane, London.  However, Henry was there only a short time as he left at Easter due to ill health.  He was due to go to Harrow but owing to his illness he was unable to proceed there and completed his studies with a tutor.  He sailed to New Zealand with his mother and returned on 1 August 1910 from Wellington on the ship Corinthia.  He was strong enough then to enter the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester, where he served in the OTC from 1910-13 which was attached to 3 Wiltshire Regiment. From the 1911 census it was clear the family were wealthy, living in a 14 room house in Hamilton Terrace, Marylebone, London, NW.  Henry’s father was described as an importer and exporter of pig tin.  They employed a cook, a parlour maid and a housemaid. Henry joined the Honourable Artillery Co (HAC) as a Gunner (Private) 959 on 6 July 1915. By then he was giving his permanent address as The Manor House, Somerford Keynes.  He was appointed at Acting Bombadier from 16 October 1915 until 3 December 1915, when he was discharged to a commission in the RGA Special Reserve. His headmaster at St Vincent’s confirmed that he had attained a good standard of education when he left the school.  His medical showed that he was 5ft 11ins tall, had a 35in chest with a 3inch expansion, a good physical development and was fit for active service.  He had good eyesight.  After serving 151 days at home he was sent to France on the 29 July 1916. He died of multiple wounds on 24 September 1916 at 38 Casualty Clearing Station Cemetery about 10 km south west of Albert, France.  A brother Officer wrote: ‘He was absolutely fearless and lived and died a brave officer and a gallant gentleman’. He was awarded the British War and Victory medals. Lynda Isherwood 2014 Acknowledgement:  “Through the Saxon Door” by Geoffrey Gibbon Elizabeth Manterfield, Epson College Liz Moloney, Eastbourne History Society The Royal Agricultural University


died after the Church War Memorial was made R4/06642O Army Service Corps Who died aged 44 from wounds suffered in Salonika Remembered with Honour in Somerford Keynes Churchyard Percy Henry Bartlett was born in Banbury in 1877 to Mary Bartlett. ln September 1904 aged 27 he married Janet Beesley in her home village of Coln St Aldwyns. On his marriage certificate his occupation is listed as Groom. Between 1904 and 1911 they had three children and on the 1911 census they were living in Stapleford nr Crawley, Sussex, Percy's occupation was noted as Coachman Domestlc. Percy enlisted in the Army Service Corps in March 1915, he was 38 years 11 months. At this time he was living in Swindon. He joined the Remount 'E' Squadron, which was made up of older men. All his time in the army service was spent in the area of Salonika. This was because Bulgaria threatened to invade the Serbs who the British supported. The front line was stretched across Albania, Serbia and Greece. The British Salonika force was known as the 'Forgotton Army’ of the World War 1. Percy was mentioned in despatches twice, once on 28 November 1917 as a driver and Acting Sergeant, and the second was 11 June 1916(?), but it is not known for what reason. The family believed he was gassed during his war years which led to ill health. He was demobilised in May 1919 and died 7th November 1919 aged 44 years. He is buried in All Saints Church yard with a Commonwealth War Grave headstone. It is not know why the family came to live in The Cottage, Somerford Keynes but I think he was possibly a groom for one of the larger houses. After his death his widow Janet, and her 6 children moved to Ashton Keynes where they lived for 15-20 years. Thanks to Jenny Naldrett and her family for this information on thcir grandfather/great grandfather Lynda Isherwood 2014


Died after the Church Memorial was made 19307 Wiltshire Regiment Who died on the 7th May 1920, Aged 30 Remembered with Honour in All Saints Churchyard, Somerford Keynes Raymond was the son of Humphrey and Sarah Ann Hawkes of Somerford Keynes.  Raymond was not actually listed as having been born in the village; he had been born in Poole Keynes in 1889.  In the 1911 census, his mother was a widow and it was noted that she had 2 living children.  Raymond’s occupation was listed as under carter and his mother, Sarah, was a school cleaner.  She was then 64 years of age.  Their cottage had one room downstairs and two up. It was recorded on his War Record Card that he had enlisted on 4th September 1915, and that he served in the Balkans.  The report in the Wilts and Glos Standard of 17 June 1917 noted that Private R Hawkes had been wounded in the left arm and right leg.  However, Raymond died in May 1920 after the war had ended from a diabetic coma.  He was buried on 11th May 1920 after a service taken by Vicar R C Johnson. Lynda Isherwood 2014


1914-18 War Plaque in Church:

WHITMAN Frank 5th Wilts April 1916 19310   C Coy, 5th Bn., Wiltshire Regiment (Duke of Edinburgh's) Who died oged 19 On 13 April1916 Remembered with honour on Basra Memorial Francis (Frank) was born in Somerford Keynes in 1896 to parents Henry and Minnie Whitman. He was christened at All Saints Church on 25th October 1896. Francis attended the local school and was described as a farm labourer in the 1911 census. His mother was by then a widow living in a 3 roomed house with four children, She was a glovemaker working from home. Lynda Isherwood 3014 From CWGC:- Francis died of his wounds in Mesopotamia and is remembered on the Basra Memorial. The Basra Memorial has been moved by Iraqi presidential decree in recent times because of the Gulf Wars and was resited from the naval dockyard at Maqil to 32 kilometres on the road to Nasiriyah. It has been rebuilt in its entirety. As visiting may be difficult, a Roll of Honour is on display at CWGC Headquarters in Maidenhead.
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