Fallen in October 1915:
Hubert John Oldring
3rd Bn., King's Royal Rifle Corps
Killed in Action Sunday, 3rd October 1915
Remembered with Honour, Thiepval Memorial, Somme, Picardie, France, Pier and Face 13 A and B
Christopher Godman, known to his family as Chris, was born in early 1890 in Chipperfield near Kings Langley, Hertfordshire, the youngest child of George Godman and Charlotte Whitney who already had a large family. Chris had five brothers and sisters who were: Alice Mary, George William, William George, Alice Kate, Ruth, Leonard, Edward James and James. The oldest girl Alice Mary died in 1874 aged three and Christopher’s brother, Edward James, fought and died in the Great War on 15th September 1918. His biography also appears in this book.
When Christopher was born the family lived at Chapelcroft in Chipperfield and his father George, worked as a farm labourer on a nearby farm. There was a sixteen-year age gap between Christopher and his two oldest brothers who were both in full time employment when he was born. George was a Royal Marine and sixteen-year-old William was a servant in a large home in nearby Kings Langley.
By 1901, eleven-year-old Chris was at school and his father worked as a Carter and with Horses on a farm. His sister Ruth and brother Leonard had left home by this time, she worked as a Domestic Servant in Hemel Hempstead, he had joined the Royal Navy. The family had moved home but remained in Chipperfield and lived at the quaintly named ‘Old Kennels Cottages’
Chris finished his education at Apsley Boys School leaving on the 17th February 1902 to start work with John Dickinson and Co as an ‘Envelope Packer’. He was still at Dickinsons by the time of the next census in 1911 and was living with his parents and two of his brothers at 11 Rucklers Green, Kings Langley close to Shendish Manor.
On the outbreak of war Chris enlisted with the King’s Royal Rifle Corps (KRR), attesting at Watford in January 1915 after receiving permission from his employer to join the colours. He was posted to 3rd Battalion KRR which had returned from India in November 1914 and gone to France in December as part of the 80th Brigade in the 27th Division.
Chris completed his basic training over the next three months initially at Magdalen Hill Camp near Winchester and then at Sheerness with the 5/6th (Reserve) Battalion.
He was sent to France in May 1915 and landed at Le Havre on the 25th of the month before proceeding to join with ‘C’ Company 3rd Battalion KRR near Ypres. He arrived just after the Second Battle of Ypres had concluded and for the next four months the KRR were in reserve in the Armentieres area and suffered relatively light casualties (less that forty-five Killed, Missing or Wounded). Sickness was a much greater concern and during this period over 500 men reported sick for one reason or another, not unusual in the difficult conditions in the billets and the trenches.
The routine of rest in billets, relieving other units in the trenches and general trench work continued into October 1915. The Battalion War Diary recorded events at the start of the month; "3rd October Enemy very troublesome with Minenwerfers and Rifle Grenades especially opposite our C Company in the subsection GARENNES. We had 3 men killed and two wounded. Got our howitzers to retaliate by shelling the GARENNE CARPEZAT."
Chris was one of the men killed on Sunday, 3rd October 1915 and just over a week later his sweetheart, Miss Lane, received a letter from Rifleman E. Chattwood which described how Chris had been killed.
also received notification in a letter from his Company C.O. expressing
sympathy and describing Chris as “a brave
boy and a good soldier” who was popular with his comrades.
These were both published in the following week’s edition of the Hemel Gazette. (see extract)
Chris had been a bell ringer at his local parish church, All Saints, Kings Langley, and on the 30th April 1917 he was remembered in a special memorial service along with fourteen other men from the village who had fallen.
Extract from The Hertfordshire, Hemel Hempstead Gazette and West Herts Advertiser 16th Oct. 1915
Thiepval Memorial, Picardie, France (Courtesy: CWGC)
He is commemorated on the Kings Langley war memorial as well as the John Dickinson and Co. Limited war memorial in Apsley End.
Christopher is Remembered with Honour at the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, Picardie, France, Pier and Face 13 A and B.
He was 25 years old when he died.
Chris was eligible for the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Allied Victory Medal.
HUBERT JOHN OLDRING
No. 1 Coy. 4th Bn., Grenadier Guards
Killed in Action Saturday, 16th October
Remembered with Honour, Loos Memorial, Pas de Calais, France, Panel 7A
Oldring was born in Hemel Hempstead in 1894 the youngest son of George Oldring
and Ellen Lovell of 10 Glenview (Gardens) Road, Hammmerfield. Hubert had eight
older siblings who were: George, Harry, Benjamin, Ellen, Mary Ann, Winifred,
Annie, and Edward Manning. Edward also died as a result of his war service in
February 1919 and his biography also appears on this site.
The Oldring family were involved in the Grocery trade and Hubert’s father George had his own grocery store at 25 St Peter Street, St Albans in 1881 employing two boys. By 1891 it seems his fortunes had taken a downturn and he worked as a Grocer’s Assistant in Hemel Hempstead where he had brought his growing family. They lived at Cemmaes Terrace on the Cotterells and the two oldest boys George and Harry were working as a Grocer’s Apprentice and an Errand Boy respectively.
By the time Hubert is seven in 1901 his father is no longer in the Grocery trade and instead worked as a Bricklayer’s Labourer. The family had moved again to Glenview (Gardens) Road in Hammerfield where it remained until George’s death in 1941.
Hubert started work in 1904 as a ten-year-old, when he was employed by Mr George Washington Brooke, a Baker at 80 St John’s Road in Boxmoor. He worked for Mr. Brooke until he enlisted in 1914.
1911, Hubert’s oldest sister Ellen was married in Hemel Hempstead to Percy
Stanley Hampson, a printer from Forest Hill in London. However, the union was
short-lived as Percy tragically died five months before Hubert in 1915.
Percy had enlisted at the outbreak of war and joined the 7th Battalion Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment). On the 22nd May 1922, he along with 214 soldiers, mainly Royal Scots Territorials heading for Gallipoli, were killed in The Quintinshill rail disaster. This was a multi-train rail crash outside the Quintinshill signal box near Gretna Green in Dumfriesshire, Scotland and is still the worst rail disaster in British history. Percy, along with his comrades, was interred with full military honours in a mass grave at Rosebank Cemetery in Edinburgh, where an annual remembrance service is held to this day.
Shortly after the outbreak of war, Hubert enlisted with the Grenadier Guards attesting in London in November. He was assigned to the 4th (Reserve) Battalion completed his basic training at Chelsea Barracks before being posted to the newly formed 4th Battalion Grenadier Guards in 1915.
Hubert returned home to Hemel Hempstead in early August prior to mobilisation and according to a later report in the Hemel Gazette seems, to have had a prescient view of his fate telling his friends ‘it was the last time they would see him’. This sense of foreboding must have been common given the large numbers of deaths at the Front and the fact that thirty-nine Hemel soldiers had already been reported killed.
The 4th Battalion Grenadiers landed in France on the 16th August 1915 to
join the 3rd Guards Brigade of the Guards Division. In September
Hubert saw action at the Battle of Loos surviving the initial assault but sadly
he was killed in action near Hohenzollern on Saturday, 16th October
1915 as the Germans counter-attacked. His death was reported in the Hemel
Gazette along with a short obituary in early November 1915. (see extract)
His death was also used as a clarion call for more young men to recruit.
following week a eulogy for Hubert was published in the Hemel Gazette. (see extract)
been an active member of Marlowes Baptist Church and on the 29th October
1916 he was commemorated there along with seven other members of the Church who
had fallen. The Pastor the Rev. T. Percy George led the service and a brief
report appeared in the next edition of the Gazette. (see extract)
He had been in France for exactly two months when he was killed.
Hubert is Remembered
with Honour on the Loos Memorial, Pas de Calais, France on Panel 7A.
He was 21 years old when he died. Hubert was eligible for the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Allied Victory Medal.
Extract from The Hertfordshire, Hemel Hempstead Gazette and West Herts Advertiser 29th Oct.1915
Pte. Hubert John Oldring c 1914 (Courtesy: The Hertfordshire, Hemel Hempstead Gazette and West Herts Advertiser)
Pte. Percy Stanley Hampson – Hubert Oldring’s brother-in-law (Courtesy: Great War Forum)
Extract from The Hertfordshire, Hemel Hempstead Gazette and West Herts Advertiser 6th Nov.1915
Extract from The Hertfordshire, Hemel Hempstead Gazette and West Herts Advertiser 13th Nov.1915
Loos Memorial, Pas de Calais, France (Courtesy: CWGC)
7th Bn., Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action Monday, 18th October 1915
Remembered with Honour, Loos Memorial, Pas de Calais, France, Panel 38B
William Mead was born in Hemel Hempstead on Sunday, 18th of October 1891 at 17 Paradise. He was known as Willie to his family and his parents were William Mead and Emma Woodstock. Willie was the fifth child of ten born to William and Emma and he had seven sisters and two brothers. They were in order; Lily, Florence, Edwin and Nellie, then Lizzie, Annie Elsie May, Herbert James and finally Grace Ellen.
Willie started his education at Bury Mill End school in 1897 before moving to Boxmoor JMI school on the 25th March 1901. He left Boxmoor at the end of May 1903 and completed his education at nearby Two Waters Board School leaving in 1904 aged thirteen.
Willie was living at 47 Albert Road in Luton and boarding with the Butterfield
family. He worked for Luton Corporation as a Tramway Conductor. Luton
Corporation Tramways opened its five-and-a-half mile network in February 1908 and by 1911
Balfour Beatty was operating the service on behalf of the Corporation. Willie would have earned up to £1 per week
depending on experience in what was considered to be a secure job at that time.
On the outbreak of war, Willie enlisted with the Suffolk Regiment and attested at Watford in early 1915 and was assigned to the 7th Battalion. The Battalion had been formed at Bury St Edmunds in August 1914 as part of K1 (Kitchener’s First Army) and came under command of 35th Brigade in 12th (Eastern) Division.
initially posted to Aldershot where he received his basic training and from where
the Battalion was mobilised for war on 29th May 1915 and sent to
France. Willie disembarked at Boulogne the following day before the Battalion
marched to the Meteren-Steenwerk area where Divisional H.Q. was established
near Nieppe, Nord Pas-de-Calais.
There was then a period of instruction from the more experienced 48th (South Midland) Division before taking over a section of the Front Line at Ploegsteert Wood on the 23rd June 1915. By September Willie was in action with the 7th Battalion at the Battle of Loos and after the initial assault the position had been was consolidated on the 30th September, despite heavy German shelling and counter attacks.
On the 13th October he was again in action at the Hohenzollern Redoubt as the Battalion captured ‘Gun Trench’ and the south western face of Hulluch Quarries. It was here that Willie was killed on Monday, 18th October 1915 ironically on what the war diary describes as ‘a quiet day’. Sadly, this was also Willie’s twenty-fourth birthday.
He was one of the 3,354 men of the 12th Division killed or wounded during this period and he was also the eighth man from Hemel Hempstead to die at the Battle of Loos.
an active member of the congregation at Marlowes Baptist Church in Hemel
Hempstead and along with seven other soldiers who had died, he was remembered during
a memorial service at the church on Sunday 29th October 1916. A
brief report about the service appeared in the following week’s edition of the
Hemel Gazette. (see extract)
Willie is Remembered
with Honour on the Loos Memorial, Pas de Calais, France on Panel 38 B.
He was 24 years old when he died.
Willie was eligible for the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Allied Victory Medal.
Luton Corporation Tramways – Inspector, Conductor and Motorman c 1910 (Courtesy: Ashley Birch)
7th Suffolk Regiment cap badge WW1
Extract from The Hertfordshire, Hemel Hempstead Gazette and West Herts Advertiser, 4th Nov. 1916
Loos Memorial, Pas de Calais, France (Courtesy: CWGC)
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