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Alderbury & Whaddon

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War Heroes

This page tells the story of some of those who served in the two world wars. As the page is updated, older stories will move down, but will be retained to form an archive. For those who want more detail, see our book on those commemorated on the village war memorials – ALDERBURY WAR MEMORIALS: In Freedom's Cause

 

Sydney Hazel

 [Editors note: there is a second article on Sydney Hazel (and photograph), further down]

Alderbury sailor drowned on HMS Hampshire 100 years ago

Of the twenty-nine men from the village commemorated in Alderbury War Memorials as having died in the First World War only one was serving at sea. This is perhaps not surprising as Alderbury has no real connection with the sea. His name was Sydney Hazel, he was aged just 18 at the time of his death and he died in illustrious company for the ship of which he was one of the crew – HMS Hampshire – was carrying the Secretary of State for War, Lord Kitchener, on a mission to Russia when the ship struck a mine and sank.

Sydney Hazel was born in Romsey in 1898, the second son of William and Alice. On his father’s side the family had been in the village since at least the 1700s, living at Shoot End and operating the ferry crossing over the River Avon to Britford. William had originally been a tailor but much of his working life was spent on the railway as a platelayer and fencer and within a few years of Sydney’s birth the family had moved back to Alderbury, living close to William’s widowed mother, Jane. At the time of the 1911 Census the family consisted of the parents, three sons – William, Sydney and Thomas – and a daughter, Gwen. The three youngest children were still at school at this time whilst William was a milk boy on a farm.

Sydney joined the Royal Navy in June 1914 for a 12-year period. Prior to signing-on he was a garden boy. What prompted this move it is impossible to say. As noted above, the village had no real connection to the sea, although interestingly his younger brother Thomas subsequently also joined the navy and served on HMS Venus. In the latter case it could have been the wish to serve the country during times of war that led to his enlistment, although when Sydney joined up the crisis that was to result in the First World War had not even occurred. It seems a bit far-fetched to suggest that operating the ferry across the river ignited an interest in the sea but it is always possible. Having joined the navy he spent eight months on HMS Impregnable, a static training ship for boys at Devonport. From February to October 1915 he was assigned to HMS Agincourt. This was a battleship which had originally been built in a British shipyard for the Turkish navy but had been seized under the orders of Winston Churchill – then First Lord of the Admiralty – upon the outbreak of war.

After being based in Portsmouth at the Royal Naval Establishment on HMS Victory for several months on 8 March 1916 Sydney was assigned to HMS Hampshire as an ordinary seaman. This ship, which had started the war on the China Station, was now an armoured cruiser forming part of the Second Cruiser Squadron and so a unit of the Grand Fleet based at Scapa Flow. As such the warship took part in the Battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916 and, as far as we know, Sydney Hazel was aboard at the time. According to letters from officers and men of the crew a three-funnelled German cruiser steamed straight towards Hampshire, apparently intending to make a torpedo attack. Hampshire opened fire on its opponent, missing with the first salvo but hitting with the second, which caused a great explosion. The German vessel was hit again but she disappeared into the mist, apparently badly damaged. Hampshire was then said to have encountered five German submarines and to have rammed one of them but this was never verified.

Along with the rest of the surviving vessels of the Grand Fleet (three battle cruisers, three armoured cruisers and eight destroyers had been sunk) HMS Hampshire returned to Scapa Flow on 1 June but she was already scheduled for a new assignment and it was to be her last. On 26 May the Cabinet had approved a mission by Lord Kitchener to Russia. Lord Jellicoe, the C-in-C of the Grand Fleet chose Hampshire for the task of carrying him to Archangel, his initial destination. On 4 June Kitchener took the night train from King’s Cross to Thurso, on his way to Scapa Flow. Originally it had been planned that he would  board the Hampshire in Thurso Bay and proceed at once to sea on his mission to Russia. However, the day after Jutland he decided to visit Jellicoe and the Grand Fleet first. This was just one of a series of events which sealed his fate and that of Sydney Hazel. On 29 May the German submarine U75 laid twenty-two mines between the Brough of Birsay and Marwick Head in the waters off Orkney. This was not a route the major units of the Grand Fleet normally used and it is believed that the U-boat captain mistook his position. Jellicoe had originally planned that HMS Hampshire should sail north-east from Scapa Flow into the open sea but the extreme force of the gale than raging meant that the escorting destroyers would not be able to keep up. The best alternative route was through the Pentland Firth, then westward to Cape Wrath and finally north but it was reported (falsely as it turned out) that an enemy submarine was in the area. So the fatal decision was taken to send the Hampshire via a route only normally used by fleet colliers and store ships as Kitchener did not wish to delay any longer.  

At 4.45pm on 5 June the Hampshire set sail with her escorting destroyers but the latter were soon ordered back to port by the cruiser’s captain. At about 7.50pm watchers on shore at Marwick Head saw a small cloud of black smoke at the water-line under the ship’s bridge followed by a sheet of flame and yellow smoke from under the forward gun. Within a quarter of an hour the ship had sunk and although many of the crew survived the initial explosion only twelve reached the shore alive. Lord Kitchener and Sydney Hazel were not amongst them. They probably drowning or were killed by the intense cold, as were so many others, 643 in total.  Many of the bodies were never recovered. 

A memorial to Lord Kitchener, paid for by public subscription, was set up on Marwick Head. Now, on the centenary of the sinking on June 5th 2016, a low granite wall containing  all the names of those who died on the Hampshire , has been built around it, organised by the Orkney Historical Society.  The wreck is an official war grave. In addition to being commemorated on Orkney, Sydney Hazel is remembered at the Portsmouth Naval Memorial and by a monument and Book of Remembrance in Winchester Cathedral. He was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal whilst his family received a memorial plaque. His brother Thomas survived the war and the Hazel family continued to live in the village until about 1937.

 

REMEMBERING THE SOMME 1916

 

On 1 July 1916 the Battle of the Somme opened. On that day just under 20,000 British troops were killed. One of them is commemorated in the Alderbury & Whaddon Local History Group’s publication Alderbury War Memorials. However, he is not mentioned on either of the village’s war memorials. His name was Thomas Charles Pearman and his family hailed from Middlesex, prior to that they had lived in Alton in Hampshire. When they moved to Alderbury is unclear, they do not appear in the village in the 1911 Census nor is the family name found on the electors’ lists for 1915 or 1918. Thomas’ sister Edith died in 1921 aged 15 and he is commemorated on her gravestone in Alderbury churchyard along with their parents Rosalind and Thomas who died in 1934 and 1936 respectively. This leads us to the conclusion that the family must have moved to the village after Thomas’ death in action and quite possibly after the end of the war. The move might well have been  because of family connections as one of the young men from the village who died in the First World War (also on the Somme) was Thomas Pearman Bundy whose mother Ellen was also from Alton and had lived in Alderbury for many years with her husband and children. An ‘in memoriam’ notice in the Salisbury Times dated 22 July 1921 states that the family was living in Whaddon at that time. By 1925 they were living in Junction Road in a house called ‘Somme’, the house has since been rebuilt but retains the name.

Thomas was serving with the 2nd Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment at the time of his death aged just 18. The battalion was part of the 8th Division and five minutes after zero hour advanced in waves towards Pozières to be caught in crossfire from the German machine guns in the strong points of Ovillers and La Boiselle. Many of the men became casualties including Thomas Pearman who was killed in action. He is buried at Ovillers Military Cemetery.

The second man with Alderbury connections to die on the Somme was Edward Hatcher of the Welsh Guards who died on 10 September 1916 at Ginchy. He was the eldest son (of three) of Edward and Annie Hatcher. His father was a retired police sergeant, probably from the Hampshire force, who had been born in Alderbury about 1854 and had returned to the village with his family prior to 1901. The family lived at Pines Cottage in Whaddon and the years 1913 to 1916 must have been tragic for them: in 1913 the youngest son Willie died aged 23, then Edward was killed in action aged 28 just over five weeks after having married Elizabeth Mary Williams at the parish church of Llyswen in Brecon, finally John Phillip was killed – also on the Somme – on 20 December 1916 aged 27. Only their daughter Annie was left to her parents.

Edward, who like his father was a policeman, enlisted in the Welsh Guards in Brecon, aged 27. Presumably he was one of the first recruits to the regiment as it was only founded in 1915. From 1 May 1915 he underwent three months of training at the Guards depot in Catherham in Surrey before being posted to the 2nd Reserve Battalion stationed at the Tower of London. Four days after his wedding he joined the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards (part of the Guards Division) at Ypres before going to the Somme early in September. At 7am on 10 September 1916 it was very misty and there was little light and the enemy launched a strong attack. The Welsh Guards, who had been ordered to relieve the British troops north and east of the village of Ginchy, were forced to fall back to a wood which was one in name only, being a mass of deep shell holes, demolished houses and felled trees. Fighting was fierce and hand-to-hand until the enemy were forced to withdraw but just before noon the Germans launched another attack and the battle continued all day. The British eventually captured the village but their losses were heavy and amongst them was Edward Hatcher. He is commemorated on the gravestone in Alderbury churchyard with his two brothers, next to that of his parents. His grave is in Longueval Cemetery, Plot 9, Row E, Grave 21.

Five days after Edward Hatcher’s death Arthur Cecil Bundy was killed in action at Mouquet Farm, close to where Thomas Pearman had died two and a half months earlier. Arthur had lived at 37 Silver Street with his parents Edward and Eveline, two brothers and four sisters and in the 1911 Census he was described as a carter. He later emigrated to Canada as did his two brothers Ernest and William, all three serving in the war with the Canadian Corps. He joined up at Brandon in Manitoba on 24 November 1915 and was described as an unmarried farmer, 5’6” tall with dark brown hair and blue eyes. He was initially attached to the 79th Battalion but by the time he landed in France on 7 June 1916 he was a member of the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles (Saskatchewan Regiment) which formed part of the 3rd Canadian Division. He joined his unit in the field two days later, shortly after his younger brother Ernest had been killed whilst serving with the same unit at Ypres. In late August 1916 the whole of the Canadian Corps moved to the Somme. On 15 September the Canadians attempted to capture Mouquet Farm (known to the British as ‘Mucky Farm’ and to the Australians as ‘Moo-Cow Farm’) which had previously been attacked nine times by the Australians without success. Arthur’s unit was ordered to carry out a raid as part of this attack, which took place at 6.30am and was described as ‘successful’ despite suffering 8 dead and 16 wounded and returning at 7.30am with only one prisoner. Arthur Bundy was initially reported as missing but was later confirmed to have been killed on that day. He and his brother Ernest are commemorated on their parents’ gravestone in Alderbury churchyard and he is also commemorated in Serre Road Cemetery No 1, V11, E10 in the Pas de Calais. He was 23 years old at the time of his death.  

Although the Battle of the Somme officially ended on 19 November 1916 men continued to die on that sector and two of them were from Alderbury. The first of them was Thomas Pearman Bundy who died on 18 December 1916, probably of wounds sustained three weeks earlier. He was aged 28. His father Robert was a railwayman for well over twenty years, certainly a signalman for at least some of that time, and when Thomas was young the family lived in the High Street, later moving to ‘Littleton’ in Junction Road. In the 1911 Census he was described as a ship’s steward. Thomas married Winifred Anne Bundy of Lynwood Cottage, Laverstock. He enlisted in the 8th Battalion of the Wiltshire Regiment on 30 August 1915. This was a holding battalion based at Wareham. He subsequently transferred to the Machine Gun Corps early in 1916 and was sent to Grantham for training and then to the Corps depot at Camiers in France. His unit at the time of his death was No2 Machine Gun Company and in the autumn and early winter it was active around Mametz Wood, Bazentin-le-Grand and High Wood. During the whole of November and December his unit’s war diary records only one casualty: a man wounded on 28 November when a gun took a direct hit, this man may have been Thomas. He is buried in the Bazentin-le-Petit Military Cemetery, C3. His younger brother Robert died sixteen months later near Bethune. Both are commemorated on their parents’ gravestone in Alderbury churchyard.

The last victim in 1916 of the Somme from Alderbury was John Phillip Hatcher ,Edward Hatcher’s brother . He was domiciled in Salisbury when he enlisted in the Hampshire Regiment in Birmingham. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, which formed part of the 4th Division. It had previously taken part in the assault towards Le Transloy on 23 October. From 2 November to 7 December 1916 the unit was billeted at Abbeville spending the time training and marching, on exercises and divisional and brigade competitions. The battalion then moved to Bray-sur-Somme, nearer to the front line and then a week later to the front at Priez Farm near Combles, where it spent four days in brigade reserve. It then relieved the 1st Battalion of the East Lancashires in some muddy shell holes and was subject to ‘decidedly active’ enemy artillery fire. During this time John Hatcher was killed, aged 27. He is buried in the Sailly-Saillisel British Cemetery, V1, H3.

All the men remembered here were awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal and all were private soldiers. At least three of them had only been at the front a matter of weeks before they were killed and all five were under thirty when they died. Unfortunately, we do not have photographs of any of them. 

There were three additional war deaths of men from the village in 1916 but surprisingly it was not the worst year, at least in terms of numbers. That dubious distinction goes to 1918, the year of ultimate victory, when ten servicemen lost their lives. The number lost in 1917 - the year of Passchendaele where one man from Alderbury lost his life - was nine. Prior to 1916 only one man from the village had lost his life in the war, at Gallipoli in 1915.

 

ALDERBURY HERO WHO FELL AT GALLIPOLI, APRIL 1915

25 April 2015 is the centenary of the start of the Gallipoli campaign

The first man from Alderbury to lose his life in the Great War was Lance Corporal Edgar Mouland, one of the sons of the village blacksmith. He was living in Australia at the outbreak of war and he answered the call to arms by enlisting on 7 September 1914 in the Australian Imperial Force, 1st Division.  He was a motor driver and unmarried.

On 1 November, the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, famously known as the  ‘Anzacs’,  set sail for  England - the greatest fleet ever known then to cross the Indian Ocean with some 29,000 men,12,000 horses and some pet kangaroos. They were diverted  to Egypt and then to the island of Lemnos in the Aegean Sea, some 17 miles from the peninsula of Gallipoli where British, French  and Indian troops were  amassing.  Turkey had forsaken its neutrality to support Germany and the Central Powers thus threatening British interests in the Middle East and the passage of supplies from Russia.

After naval attacks failed, a secret plan was devised to land infantry forces on the European side of Gallipoli with the aim of defeating the Turks and capturing Constantinople (now Istanbul). The Anzac troops were shipped 13 miles around the western coast supposedly to a cove at Gaba Tepe in order to seize the beach and then advance inland to cut off the Turks as they retreated from British landings at Cape Helles.

Unfortunately the Anzacs were landed at the wrong location and faced precipitous cliffs instead of the low sandy bank they expected. Edgar Mouland’s 3rd infantry brigade reached the shallows just as dawn broke and he and his comrades leapt into the water carrying their bayonets and equipment. They found half a division of the enemy waiting above them. As the Anzacs tried to climb up the cliffs under fire, many lost their bearings in the half-light or fell on the rocks. Some managed to cling on and haul themselves to the top to engage in hand- to- hand fighting. Edgar Mouland was one such, but was later reported missing. 

Months afterwards, during a Red Cross enquiry, three witnesses from his company   provided statements from their hospitals in Egypt and England. He was last seen by two of the witnesses two miles back from the beach at about 4pm in the afternoon of 25 April. He was not seen again.

Edgar was one of the 8,900 Anzacs killed during the nine months of the Gallipoli Campaign.

 

70th ANNIVERSARY OF DUNKIRK

June 2010 is the 70th anniversary of Dunkirk

Several Alderbury and Whaddon men were successfully evacuated from the beaches of  Dunkirk: a number of these died in later campaigns.

Sadly, Lance Sergeant Frederick William Carter, 17th Field Company Royal Engineers was drowned on 1 June 1940 during the withdrawal. At the time of his death his mother, Florence, was living on Clarendon Road in Alderbury.  He was born in Peterborough in 1911 and enlisted into the Royal Engineers as a boy soldier in 1927 at the age of 15. As an army apprentice tradesman he qualified as a mason at the age of 18.. He was then promoted to Sapper and in 1931 was posted to 2nd Field Company RE serving in Egypt, protecting the Suez Canal. In 1939 he returned to Britain and promoted to Corporal. On 19 September he left for France with the 17th Company RE, a mechanised unit, part of the 3rd Division of the British Expeditionary Force. He was promoted to Lance Sergeant in February 1940. At the retreat to Dunkirk his division was on the left flank of the BEF. The Royal Engineer units were involved in blowing up bridges and roads to slow the enemy advance. He is commemorated on the Dunkirk Memorial as "presumed to be drowned while being evacuated from Dunkirk".

He was awarded the War Medal 1939 –45 and the 1939-45 Star. He is also commemorated on the Alderbury War Memorial on the Green and on the Parish Church memorial.

 

WORLD WAR I

GALLIPOLI CAMPAIGN

The 25th of April 2010 marks the 95th anniversary of the WW1 Gallipoli campaign

 

 

It was doomed to failure but has gone down in the annals of military history as an example of great fortitude and heroism. To this day Australia and New Zealand mark Anzac Day on 25 April in honour of the bravery of their troops who fought in this harrowing campaign – their first involvement in the First World War. An Alderbury man fought in this campaign with the Anzac troops. He was living in South Australia at the outbreak of the war and immediately responded to the recruitment drive in Australia to assist the Allied cause. His name was Edgar Mouland, one of the sons of John Mouland, the village blacksmith of the Forge near The Green in Alderbury. In his attestation papers he was described as a driver, unmarried , 5 feet 9 inches tall with black hair and blue eyes.

On 1 November 1914, the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps set sail from Albany in Western Australia, the largest fleet ever to cross the Indian Ocean. They were bound for England but plans were changed en route and the fleet diverted to Cairo in Egypt to take part in the Gallipoli Campaign.

After unsuccessful attempts to capture and open up the Dardanelles, a vital sea-link between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean and closed by the Turks in support of their German allies, Britain and France embarked on a plan to take the Gallipoli Peninsula on the European side of the strait. The Mediterranean Expeditionary Force consisting of some 75,000 British, French Anzac and Indian troops, plus 300 vehicles and thousands of animals amassed on islands in the Aegean Sea and a huge fleet stood by to transport them to various secret landing sites where the troops would disembark into landing craft to take them to the beaches. On 1 April 1915 Edgar Mouland was promoted to lance corporal.

In the early hours of 25 April, the Anzac troops were shipped 13 miles around the western coast to a cove at Gaba Tepe. Lance Corporal Edgar Mouland of the 12th Battalion, 3rd Infantry, 1st Australian Division was in the vanguard and just as dawn broke his brigade reached the shallows. Carrying their bayonets and heavy packs of equipment, the men leapt into the water and made for the beach under fire from the headland above. A nasty surprise awaited them. It became apparent that the boats had brought them to the wrong location. Instead of a low sandy bank, as expected, with routes leading inland, they found themselves a mile further north at Aru Burnu under precipitous cliffs. The pathless, scrub–covered ridges above them were dominated by Chunuk Bair 250 metres high. As the troops tried to climb the cliffs under fire, men lost their bearings, became separated or fell into the rocks and crevasses below. Determined, men clutched at roots and stones to haul themselves to the top where they engaged in hand-to-hand combat with the Turks. Some penetrated a mile or more inland. Edgar Mouland may have been one of these as he was last seen inland that afternoon. He was reported missing. Months later, during a Red Cross enquiry, three wounded witnesses from his company provided statements from their hospitals in Egypt and England. One stated that he had seen Edgar Mouland at about 9am on the morning of 25 April and two witnesses said that he was seen about two miles back from the beach in the afternoon. He was not seen again.

More about the Gallipoli campaign and two men from Alderbury in the 5th Wiltshire’s who took part, can be read in our book "Alderbury War Memorials – In Freedom's Cause".

 

MICHAEL VANDELEUR CHRISTIE-MILLER

207659 Lieutenant, Coldstream Guards

Died 30 July 1944,  Aged 22 years

 

The invasion of France in WWII was launched on 6 June 1944, a date that goes down in history as D Day. Allied forces landed in Normandy in the largest amphibious landing in history. Despite determined defence by the Germans, the Allies soon penetrated inland. The Breakout from Normandy started on 25 July and Lieut Michael Christie-Miller of Clarendon Park was killed at the Battle of Caumont during The Breakout.

Born in 1922 Michael was the youngest son of Mr and Mrs SR Christie-Miller of Clarendon Park. He was educated at Eton and then worked at the Experimental Station at Porton under Sir Joseph Barcroft. During this time he formed the Clarendon section of the Home Guard. He joined the Coldstream Guards in 1941 and after training was posted to the 4th (Motor) Battalion Coldstream Guards which was equipped with Churchill tanks.

On D Day, the 4th Battalion Coldstream Guards were in reserve as part of the 6th Guards Armoured Brigade. They left for France on 19 July from Southampton where the tanks had been loaded onto LCTs. They had a calm Channel crossing. and rolled off onto Juno and Gold beaches. They were then held in reserve in the vicinity of Bayeux.

On Friday 28 July they advanced in preparation for battle in front of Caumont where a strong enemy force was holding up the American advance down the Cherbourg peninsular. The 6th Guards Tank Brigade that included the Coldstreams was supported by the 15th Scottish Division.

Michael Christie-Miller is listed as part of the Headquarters Squadron but on the day of his death he was attached to No 3 Company as Squadron Rear Link with responsibility for communications to Battalion HQ. No 3 Squadron Coldstream tanks advanced along the Caumont to St. Martin road to attack Hill 309, and the Regimental history records:

No 3 squadron ran into the enemy at the small village of La Morichesse, so the Commanding Officer decided to turn east and make straight across country to Hill309. A little later Lieut. Christie-Miller who had been travelling some distance behind and had not heard of the diversion as he was in the spare Rear-Link tank, went straight on into the village of La Morichesse, and was knocked out by a Panther at 200 yards range, he and 2 members of his crew were killed.

Friends of his report that he was separated from the group because of engine trouble with his tank and it is also possible that his wireless may not have been in working order and he did not receive the message to divert.

He is buried at St. Charles de Percy War Cemetery to the north of Vire in Normandy, this cemetery is the southernmost of the Normandy cemeteries and the majority of the 809 burials are of those killed in late July and early August 1944 in the major thrust to drive a wedge between the German 7th Army and Panzer Group West. He is commemorated on the Alderbury memorials.

Allied forces were victorious at the Battle of Caumont and it has been described as the first and finest battle for the Guards Tank Brigade, few of whose men had seen action before.

 

Tanks

The tanks used by the Coldstream Guards were Churchill tanks, manufactured in Luton by Vauxhall and served by a crew of five. After the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940, the British Army had only about 100 tanks left and a new tank was designed, developed and built in just less than 12 months.

The Churchill first entered service in 1941, was well armoured, mechanically reliable and had a relative high top speed of 17mph with a range of 90 miles. It had a very good turning ability and strong suspension and chassis which enabled it to be modified for a number of specialised uses such as assaults on fortified positions, and as carpet layers and flame throwers. The Churchill was outgunned by its German counterpart but had thick protective armour. A total of 5,640 Churchill tanks, versions Mark I – VII were manufactured.

The tanks used by the German Army in Normandy were Panther tanks. For the first few years of the World War II and especially for Blitzkrieg strategy, the German army had used the Panzer tanks versions I – IV. After the successful resistance to this tank by the Red Army during the Russian Campaign a new tank had to be commissioned.

The Panther entered service in November 1942 and between 1942 – 5 Germany produced 4,814 Panther tanks. The tank had a 650hp engine and 75mm armour-penetrating gun. With sloped armour to deflect shot, torsion bar suspension and interleaved road wheels, it could travel at 28mph.

 

Sydney Hazel

J/ 31460 Ordinary Seaman

Royal Navy

 

 

Sydney Hazel lived with his parents at Ferry Cottage, Shute End, Alderbury, the place from where members of the Hazel family had operated the Alderbury to Britford ferry for more than a century. In June 1914, at the age of 16, Sydney joined the Royal Navy for a 12-year period, only a few months before the Great War began.  He learned his seamanship skills on the Impregnable , a static training ship for boys at Devonport and then aboard the Agincourt before being based at the Royal Naval Establishment, HMS Victory, at Portsmouth. He was assigned to the battle cruiser HMS Hampshire  in March 1916. The ship was in the second line of support at the great naval Battle of Jutland in June 1916 but was never engaged in the action.

However, only six days later , on 5 June 1916,  the Hampshire set out on a secret mission. The ship left the naval base at  Scapa Flow, in the Orkney islands, carrying aboard Britain's most famous war hero, the Secretary for War, Field Marshal Earl Kitchener, and his staff. Kitchener was bound for Archangel in Russia  to meet the Tsar for an important  Council of  War.

That night a force nine gale was blowing and at the last minute the route was changed to a more sheltered westerly one. Possibly due to the terrible weather, this route had not recently been swept for mines. The sea was very rough and the two escorting ships were ordered back to base.  The Hampshire continued on alone. At 7.40pm, about a mile and a half off the cliffs of Marwick Head, an explosion shook the ship and smoke bellowed out from a hole in her keel. She began to sink rapidly. The ship had hit a mine laid a few days earlier by a German U-boat.  Only 12 of the crew managed to survive. Clinging to life-crafts they managed to get ashore. Lord Kitchener was never seen again: it is said that he was last observed calmly standing on the fore-bridge in his greatcoat.

 Sydney Hazel was one of the 643 men lost that night.  He was 18 years old. He is commemorated at the Portsmouth Naval Memorial and at Winchester Cathedral on the monument and in the Book of Remembrance.

The wreck of HMS Hampshire is now an official war grave and lies upside down on the seabed about 65 metres below the surface.

 

JACK WILLIAM SNOOK

161695 Pilot Officer Nav.

90 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.

Died 19 November 1943, aged 25

 

 

Jack Snook was born in Salisbury on 2 October 1918 and, when he was eight years old he moved to Alderbury with his family. The family who lived in Firs Road consisted of his parents, William and Ada, his sister Marjorie and his brother Eric. He attended Alderbury School and later, Bishop Wordsworth’s Grammar School in Salisbury. He was a very keen sportsman like his father who was a founder member of Alderbury Bowls Club. Jack had a Saturday job at Occomore’s Bakery, now the Whaddon Post Office.

In February 1937 he joined the Post Office Engineering Department. which was responsible for the telephone systems in Salisbury. The following year when he was 19 years old he was accepted into the Portsmouth Police Force. In November 1940 he was promoted to the CID.. During his time in the Portsmouth Police Force he received two Commendations, one from the Salisbury Police for his assistance during a disturbance in the city and the other from the Chief Constable of Portsmouth for keen observation, zeal and initiative in connection with an arrest.

On 10 April 1941, he enlisted in the RAF Volunteer Reserve and was sent to Canada, for RAF training. He met his wife at Scarborough in 1943 whilst at an Operational Training Unit for Stirling Bombers. Records show that he was awarded a Commission for the Emergency as a Pilot Officer in the General Duties branch of the RAF Volunteer Reserve on 28 September 1943.

Jack Snook was attached to 90 Squadron.RAF based at Wratting Common, Cambridgeshire. He flew over 20 operations in Stirling bombers, these planes played a major part in the strategic offensive of the RAF over Germany in WWII as they could fly long distances carrying very heavy bomb loads. He was due for leave with one more mission to go

 

HIS LAST MISSION.

At 5.10pm on 18 November 1943 he took off from Wratting Common aboard Stirling Mark III EH996 WP-H destination Mannheim/Ludswigshafen in Germany.

There were 395 bombers on that raid including 114 Stirling's of which 17 were from 90 Squadron at Wratting.

The force attacked effectively in difficult weather but more importantly appears to have diverted many of the German night fighters away from Berlin, which was then attacked by a further force of 440 Lancaster bombers.

On the return leg of the raid Jack Snook’s plane was listed as having crashed at Fussgonheim some 10km WSW of Ludswighafen. Seven of the crew of eight were killed including Jack Snook and one, Sgt E Northard, was taken POW. Two Stirling's from 90 Squadron were lost on the mission.

Jack Snook was survived by his wife, and a daughter who was born after his death, he is commemorated on both Alderbury memorials. He is also commemorated on the Bishop Wordsworth School Memorial, the Portsmouth Police Roll of Honour and 90 Squadron Roll of Honour in Tuddenham St Mary’s Church, Cambridgeshire, the home of 90 Squadron. He is buried at Rheinberg War Cemetery in Germany. The majority of those buried there are airmen whose graves have been brought in from numerous German cemeteries in the area.

 

William Foster GC, MC, DCM

(1880-1942)

 

 

William Foster was born on 12 December 1880 and served in the Boer War.  In WW1 he served with the Royal Fusiliers and the Army Service Corps, At the start of WW2 he was too old to rejoin the army and served in the Home guard. He died on 13 September 1942, when he threw himself upon a live grenade (a Mills bomb) during an accident in training at Ashley Hill, thereby saving the lives of 30 other people. For this tremendously selfless act of bravery he was posthumously awarded the George Cross. The event is commemorated on a memorial tablet in the church which bears a replica of his medal. There is a medal displayed in the church (sealed and a copy, not the original), under the memorial tablet. There is also a memorial bench on the village green. William Foster is buried in the graveyard in Alderbury, grave no. 164, marked with a Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone bearing the George Cross insignia. It is in good condition, well kept and easy to find in the churchyard, to the north of the church itself. William Foster's name is read out each year during the Remembrance Day Service in St Mary's Church, in recognition of him giving his life so that others may live.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The post office

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inns & Alehouses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Village war memorial

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

St Mary’s Church

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Historical walk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Views of Alderbury

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current research

 

 

War memorial, on the village green

 

 

 

 

 

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