Skeyton War Memorial
This is another war memorial that I often pass. It is situated on a small rise overlooking the area and records the names of nine men from Skeyton who made the ultimate sacrifice in the Great War. What is nice about this particular blog is that I can put faces onto all the names bar one.
However, sadly, as with a number of memorials in this area, there are three brothers listed on it. These are Alfred, Bertie and Percy Allard. They were the sons of Edward John and Anne Elizabeth Allard of Burgh Road in Aylsham. Alfred and Bertie died within day of each other and we will look at both of these first.
Alfred became Gunner 30620 in the 72nd Heavy Battery Royal Garrison Artillery and is recorded as having died on 6th June 1916 at the age of 28. He had enlisted at North Walsham. He had landed in Mesopotamia, now modern day Iraq, on 27th December 1916.
Alfred’s battery were part of the Indian 3rd (Lahore) Division who had been moved from the Western Front to Mesopotamia where elements began landing on 8th December 1915. They came under the command of the Tigris Corps, who were sent as part of the relief force with the Indian 7th and the British 13th Divisions in an attempt to relieve the 6th (Poona) Division at Kut-al-Amara. As you might have read in my previous blog on the 2nd Battalion Norfolk Regiment this effort failed. The fact that Alfred is listed as having ‘Died’ may be due to illness as opposed to enemy action but sadly there are no records that survived to confirm how he died. However, according to one source he is listed as having died from fever. He is now laid to rest in grave VI. M. 5. in Basra War Cemetery.
Bertie John Allard became Driver 85319 in the 209th Field Company Royal Engineers. I will be writing about this unit along with the 2 other field companies that were raised in Norwich in 1915 in July. But Bertie died of wounds when the company were at Dernancourt on 1st June 1916. On this day they were constructing a tramway when they were shelled. Two men were wounded and died whilst being treated at the 64th West Lancashre Field Ambulance post. He was 23 and is now laid to rest in grave British. 1 in Buire-sur-L’Ancre Communal Cemetery.
Percy joined up under age on 20th September 1915 and was discharged from the King’s Own Scottish Borderers on 6th July 1916 when this was found out. He had stated that his birthday was 14th July 1897, he had, in fact, been born on 14th July 1899 making him 17.
But when he was 18 he became Private 38239 in the East Surrey Regiment but by the time he was serving in France he had become G/69409 in the 6th Battalion Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment). He was also residing in Barford and had enlisted in Norwich.
On the day he was killed the battalion was taking part in the ongoing Battle of Amiens and he was one eighteen other ranks who is listed as being killed that day.
Percy has no known grave and is commemorated on Panel 3.on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial
William Atkins is recorded on two memorials in this area. He is listed on the war memorial at Scottow as well. But the 1911 Census records his a boarder at the Goat Inn at Skeyton where he was working as an Agricultural Labourer.
He initially became Private 201846 in the Norfolk Regiment but when he landed in France he was given the new number of 300061 and was sent to the 16th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment. William died on 20th June 1918 and he was born and resided in Scottow and enlisted in Norwich. There is not much to see on the war diary and it looks as though William was killed during the relief of the battalion as they moved out of the line. He was 33 and was the son of Elijah Eliza Atkins of Scottow. He is now laid to rest in Row C. Grave 9 in Thiennes British Cemetery.
The last man we will look at in Part One is Frederick Horace Claxton. Frederick is listed on the 1911 Census as a Farm Labourer and was the son of George and Emily Claxton of Skeyton.
He initially sevred in the Norfolk Regiment where he enlisted in November 1915. But his war service was initially with the 1/4th East Yorkshire Regiment where he served as Private 7921 and then the 1/4th Northumberland Fusiliers as Private 4/5212. He was killed in action in on 29th October 1916..
On the day he died the battalion was in front line trenches facing the Butte de Warlencourt on the Somme. There is not much within the war diary but it notes that the enemy shelled Hexham Road and that companies were relieved in the Flers Line.
Frederick was 19 years old when he died and has no known grave and is commemorated Panel Reference Pier and Face 10 B 11 B and 12 B on the Thiepval Memorial.
The second part of this blog will be posted later on this week.