In my last post I listed the 38 men from Sutton and the surrounding area who lost their lives on 1st July 1916. On Remembrance Day, as the centenary of the end of the Somme campaign approaches, I thought it would be appropriate to remember some of the other 137 locals who were killed from 2nd July – 18th November 1916.
The known number of Somme casualties (excluding 1st July) commemorated on the main local memorials are as follows:
Wilfred’s family lived in Worcester Road, Sutton. He attended Tonbridge School and was a member of the Officer Training Corps. When war broke out he volunteered, despite being underage (18), and was commissioned as an officer in the East Surreys after his parents consented to him serving overseas. He was shot whilst leading an attack near Guillemont on 16th August but died of his wounds during the casualty evacuation process.
Bernard lived at 21 Cowper Avenue in Sutton, was a member of the local Scout troop, and played football for Carshalton Athletic. He was killed in action during an operation to capture Switch Trench, located south of Flers, supported by two tanks – the first time they had been used. The battalion had to advance over 1,000 yards taking another trench on the way. Although the attack was a success the enemy continued to harass the troops with sniper and machine gun fire and artillery barrages. Casualties in the battalion were 331, including ninety-eight missing.
A resident of Egmont Road, Sutton. Owen attended Dulwich College and worked at Coutts bank before enlisting in 1915. The attack in which he was killed was the first time he had been in action.
Robert was killed by shell fire as he left a German dugout near the Usna Redoubt, just off the Albert–La Boisselle road. His captain said, ‘I have lost an excellent officer, of a type that cannot be easily replaced, and as a man and a member of our mess we had a great affection for him.’ He is also commemorated in All Saints church, Carshalton.
Samuel died of wounds received whilst attacking a German strongpoint south west of Guillemont. The battalion war diary records that ‘During the bombardment several of the 18 pounders fired short and caused casualties among our own attacking party in the trenches, during the whole of this bombardment the enemy’s machine guns were very active and never ceased firing…’ Samuel left a widow and three children.
Ernest had enlisted in September 1914 (possibly underage) with his cousin Thomas Wyatt – they have consecutive service numbers. He was killed during the fighting around Guillemont. Ernest lived in the Wrythe area of Carshalton and is commemorated on the ‘Willie Bird Cross’ in Carshalton All Saints graveyard.
Maurice had attended Sutton County School and had previously been wounded at Loos in September 1915. He was shot by a sniper whilst part of a bombing party attacking the Schwaben Redoubt.
Cecil was Carshalton’s last casualty of the Somme campaign, killed during the attack on Beaucourt. One of the men from his battalion recalled ‘while digging in on the outskirts of Beaucourt, I saw No 4740 Pte. Carpenter C.H., enter a shell hole immediately in front of my position distance some ten yards away. During the day we were subject to heavy shelling and at about 4pm, a large shell exploded either in or very close to the shell hole which Pte. Carpenter had not been seen to leave. The force of the explosion blew me out of the back of the trench and covered me with earth. I feel quite convinced the Pte. Carpenter was in the shell hole at the time and must have been killed by the explosion.’
A resident of Heathdene Road in Wallington, Richard emigrated to Australia in 1911, where he worked as a shipping clerk. He enlisted shortly after war broke out and served in Gallipoli before proceeding to France. He was wounded at Flers on 5 November 1916 and died the following day at a dressing station. Richard is also commemorated on a plaque at St Michael and All Angels Church in Wallington
Corporal Wilfred Charles DAWSON, 190th Brigade RFA, 26/09/1916, age 34. Buried Longueval Road Cemetery.
Wilfred was educated at Birmingham University and had previously been headmaster of a school in Shackleford, near Godalming. His battery of guns was located near Longueval and had begun bombarding the German lines around Gueudecourt on 24 September in preparation for the attack on the village. Four men from the battery were wounded on 26 September. Wilfred lies buried alongside another man from his battery who died the same day. He is also commemorated on the Birmingham University war memorial.
The Farmer family resided at Cheam Park House. Charles attended Eton school. On 18th August the 7th KRRC attacked Orchard Trench, north of Delville wood. The battalion came under heavy fire from a German strongpoint in the north east corner of the wood. Farmer was the battalion’s bombing officer and he and the bombers tried to suppress the German fire by throwing grenades. However he was soon killed.
Frederick lived in St. James Road and later Grove Road. He was wounded at Shelter Wood, near Fricourt, and died the following day. He is commemorated on a plaque at St. Nicholas church, Sutton.
You can find out more about the men commemorated on Carshalton war memorial in my book: Their Name Liveth for Evermore: Carshaltons First World War Roll of Honour
Mapping Carshalton’s casualties: https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?hl=en_US&mid=1sdKQZcrAw6dbJgdLIeD4kMSqliA