Burbage During the Great War
Burbage During the Great War

1st Battalion, The Wiltshire Regiment

7027 Pte Arthur BUSHNELL


Arthur Bushnell was born in 1887 in London but was living in Burbage with his grandfather Charles Bushnell at 75 High St at the time of the 1891 Census.  By 1901, age 13, he was living with his elder brother William (b 1875) in Reading while his mother and sister were in London. 


Arthur joined the Militia in 1904.  His attestation papers, signed in Devizes, record that before joining the 3rd Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment, he was living at Hampstead Marshall near Newbury and working as an agricultural labourer.  Arthur's Army number at the time was 7545.  He was 5ft 5 1/2ins tall, weighed 107lbs, he had light brown hair and blue eyes. 


By the time of the March 1911 Census he was living with his mother, Martha Jane Bushnell (b 1856) at 89 High St, Burbage.


On mobilisation, Arthur rejoined the Colours, was given a new regimental number and served with 1st Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment which deployed to France as part of the 7th Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division.  The Battalion embarked at Southampton on 13th August for France, arriving the next day.


Arthur was killed in action on Tuesday 13th October 1914, age 27.  The entry in the regimental diary suggests Arthur was a member of C Company:


(Monday) 9.30a.m. Bde marched from HINGES to neighbourhood of LA COUTURE, where Worcesters, S Lancs and R I R became engaged with the enemy along the left bank of the river LOISNE. C Coy went in to fill gap between 7th & 8th Bdes and D Coy went to reinforce the Worcesters, but, were ordered back about midnight. B Coy remained with 42nd Bde R F A as escort.


(Tuesday) Bde advanced across the river LOISNE driving the enemy back. Battn H Q removed to E entrance to LA COUTURE which was shelled at intervals throughout the day. 8.45p.m. C Coy returned from the firing line reported 9 killed 8 wounded.


Arthur Bushnell's sacrifice is recorded by Commonwealth War Graves Commission at Le Touret Memorial and in De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour, 1914-1919 and on Burbage War Memorial.

33553 Pte Frederick Thomas HOPE


Thomas was born on 25thApril and baptised in Burbage in May 1898.  He was the youngest son of William Henry Hope and Annie Elizabeth Hope (nee Hillier) of 60 High Street, Burbage.  William was a platelayer in the railways.


Before joining the Army, Thomas was schooled in Burbage and was a server at all Saint’s Church.


33553 Pte Frederick Thomas Hope enlisted at Marlborough and joined the Wiltshire Regiment.  His service records have not survived.  However, his medal card and medal roll confirm his service with the Battalion albeit both are listed to Frank Thomas Hope!


On 1stApril 1918 the 1stWiltshires were in trenches near Ploegsteert Wood in Belgium before moving to the Catacombs where they rested and had baths. During the evening of the 7ththe Battalion relieved the 10thCheshires.  The Portuguese Expeditionary Force to their front were heavily attacked by the enemy on the 8thbeing driven back to the River Lys, thus uncovering the right flank of the 2nd Army and imperilling the whole of the Armentieres Ploegsteert Sector. During the afternoon of 10ththe Battalion suffered a heavy bombardment and the enemy attacked at 3.30pm. The Battalion suffered 13 killed, 90 wounded and 75 missing that day.      


Pte Hope was probably one of those missing. It was later reported that he died on 10thApril 1918 and he is buried at the Strand Military Cemetery, Ploegsteert.


Pte F T Hope is not listed in the Battalion War Diary transcription Roll of Honour, perhaps because he was originally listed as missing.  Although some records incorrectly name him Frank Thomas, the Register of Effects has his correct name against his regimental number and battalion. 

9030 Arthur Reginald MATTHEWS


Arthur was born in Burbage and Christened at All Saints’ Church in September 1893.  His father, George, a lawyer, died in 1899 age 50; his mother Eliza Ann from Great Bedwyn died in early 1900 age 49.  The 1901 census shows Arthur, age 7, living with his brother Albert, age 20, sister Kate and Frederick & Ellen Hillier (brother in law and wife) at 34 Stibb. 


In the 1911 Census, Arthur, age 17, is listed as a Cowman still living at 34 Stibb Green.


Arthur enlisted with the Wiltshire Regiment and served with the 1st Battalion in France and Flanders from 14 August 1914.  He later transferred to the Military Foot Police.


7318 Ernest Charles STONE


Ernest Charles (Chas) Stone was born in 1887, son of Alfred and Mary Ann (nee Inns).  He was baptised at All Saints’ Church on 29 May 1887.  In 1891, Chas was living in Stibb with parents, 3 brothers and 3 sisters.  His father was described as a brick layer born in Burbage.  Ten years later, Chas, age 13 was living as a lodger with Herbert and Henrietta Pearce in Stibb.  Chas’s mother died, age 40 in 1894 when Chas was 7 years old.  His father remarried.


Service records show Chas joined the 3rd (Militia) Battalion Wiltshire regiment in 1904 (age 17 years and 4 months).  He was 5ft 9ins tall and weighed 111 lbs.  By the time of the 1911 Census, Ernest, age 23 and single.  He was enumerated with the 1st Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment at Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.  Three years later at the outbreak of the Great War he would have been based at Tidworth.   Records show he arrived in France on the 14th August 1914.


At some stage during the Great War, Chas joined the newly formed Machine Gun Corps and was given a new Regimental Number (18076).  He served until May 1917 and was discharged for health reasons.  He was awarded the Silver War Badge.  

19871 LCpl Albert (Bertie) STONE


Bertie, son of Alfred and Mary Ann (nee Inns) was baptised Albert Thomas Stone at All Saint’s Church, Burbage on 17 May 1891.   His mother died in 1894 and his father married Alice in 1900.  They lived at 78 Ram Alley in the parish of Easton Royal.


Bertie followed his brother Ernest and joined the 1st Battalion in Belgium on about the 13th May 1915.

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