Skeyton War Memorial
Part two of this blog on Skeyton’s war memorial looks at the last four men commemorated on it who were killed in WW1.
George Dennis was the son of Thomas William and Ellen Dennis of Skeyton and he enlisted on 6th July 1915 landing in France on 9th February 1916. By then he was Rifleman R/14431 in the 9th Battalion King’s Royal Rifle Corps (KRRC).
The 9th KRRC took part in the initial phase of the Battle of Arras on 9th April 1915 and George was one of sixty nine other ranks killed when they assaulted a German strong-point known as the Harp. In total the battalion lost ten officers killed or wounded and 205 other ranks killed, wounded ot missing. He was aged 20 when he was killed in action and has no known grave and is commemorated on Bay 7 on the Arras Memorial.
Bernard Doughty was born in Victoria in British Columbia but was educated at Skeyton School and Paston Grammar School. The 1911 Census records him living with his parents, James and Emily at Victoria Villa on Bradfield Rd in North Walsham. But he enlisted in 1915 where he joined the 47th Battalion Canadian Infantry serving in ‘G’ Company where he became a Lance Corporal with the service number of 706030.
On 27th September 1918 left the Canadian Corps reached the Douai-Cambrai road and made its main objective, the Blue Line, by 2:00 p.m. But they faced a reawakened German resistance at Chapel Corner but advanced roughly four kilometers but were held up just past Bourlon Wood. George was 22 when he was killed and is now laid to rest in grave B. 37 in Queant Communal Cemetery British Extension
William Arthur Howard was born in Skeyton and enlisted in Norwich serving as Gunner 130768 in the 512th Siege Battery Royal Garrison Artillery. He was the husband of Ellena and father to Dorothy, William and Maurice and was living in Burgh prior to WW1. Sadly whilst he was serving he lost a daughter Joy, aged 3, on 4th January 1917 to Bronchitis.
William enlisted on 9th December 1915 but did not go to France until 12th June 1918 later on he was posted to 354 Siege Battery. The 354th Siege Battery had left Southampton on the 22nd May 1917 and disembarked Le Havre the next day. Initially the battery had four 6″ Howitzers but was made up to 6 guns from the 512th Siege Battery on the 18th June 1918 hence his posting to that battery. He was one of eleven men killed in action on 11th August 1918 and is now laid to rest in grave I. H. 8 in Heath Cemetery at Harbonnieres.
Frederick James Sendall was born in Skeyton in 1896 to Edward and Sarah M Sendall. He enlisted in Norwich on 11th June 1915 and became Private 19596 in the 7th Battalion Norfolk Regiment. He landed in France on 29th December 1915. In 1916 he was attached to the 173rd Tunnelling Company and was wounded in an accident whilst working at a mine shaft. He went back to the 7th Battalion on 18th September 1917.
Both the 7th and 9th Norfolks would see action at the Battle of Cambrai, fought between 20th November and 7th December 1917, the first battle to see the mass use of tanks. The 9/Norfolks took part in the assault on the village of Ribecourt, overrunning the enemy tanks and meeting with stiff resistance until their own tanks caught up with them. By 9 a.m., 20th November, the battalion had captured 500 Germans. But success at Cambrai ended in failure when the Germans counter-attacked on 30th November. By this time the 7/Norfolks were in the line at Villers-Guislain and it was here that enemy forces confronted them at 8 a.m. that morning. Although they put up a staunch defence they were overwhelmed with terrible losses, including their commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel H.L.F.A. Gielgud, and 351 officers and men killed, wounded or captured.Frederick was also amongst those that were killed and like many of his comrades from that action he has no known grave and is commemorated Panel 4 on the Cambrai Memorial at Louverval.