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1914-18 War Plaque in Church

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

Second Lieutenant FRANK BOWER

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

Citation: ‘HAYWARD Albert Edward 1st Wilts April 1917’ Lance Corporal ALBERT EDWARD HAYWARD 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

Citation:  ‘HAYWARD Frank 1st Gloucesters April 1918’ Private FRANCIS ROBERT HAYWARD 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.

1914-18 War Memorial Citation

‘HAYWARD Charles Maurice Grenadier Guards Oct 1915’ Lance Sergeant CHARLES MORRIS HAYWARD (correct spelling MAURICE) 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 201

1914-18 War Memorial Citation

HAYWARD Edward 1st Royal Berks Missing EDWARD J HAYWARD 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 tabourer. 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 Memorial Citation

Private JESSE HAYWARD 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 2 of their sons (the parents had given birth to 13 children). Lynda Isherwood 2014