Frederick Cecil Harrington was born in 1899 in Coggeshall Road, Earls Colne. He was the son of William and Ellen/Alice Harrington. William was employed as a horse keeper on a farm. During our research we have been unable to find any obvious link to White Colne, consequently at this stage we do not understand why his name has been included.

However, we shall continue our research and hope to find the answers!

Frederick joined the Lancashire Fusliers 5th Battalion. His service number was 40365. He was awarded the Victory and British medals.

Frederick died on 25th March 1918 aged 19

His grave can be found at:

L’homme Mort British Cemetery

Ecoust/ St Mien, France

Grave I.C.1.

Historical note: The hamlet of L'Homme Mort saw fighting in March and August 1918. Plot I, Row A, of the cemetery was made in August 1918; the rest of this Plot and the whole of Plot II were formed after the Armistice when graves were brought in from the neighbouring battlefields. The cemetery now contains 166 burials of the First World War, 104 of them unidentified.

Where is the cemetery? Ecoust-St Mein is a village 10 kilometres north-east of Bapaume and L'Homme Mort is a hamlet nearly 3 kilometres to the south-west. The Cemetery is near the east side of the Braucourt-St Leger road, the D36E.

Lewis Charles Halls was born in White Colne in 1892 to Charles and Matilda Halls, residing in Bures Road, White Colne. Lewis was baptised in White Colne Church in August 1892. Lewis was the youngest of three children. In 1901 his father Charles was employed as an agricultural labourer and his brother, who was 10 years his senior, worked as a gardener.

At the time of enlistment Lewis was living in Chigwell, Essex. He enlisted in 7th Battalion Essex Regiment and later served with the Rifle Brigade 10th Battalion. His rank was given as Rifleman, service numbers B/200502 and 4364. Lewis was awarded the Victory and British Medals.

Lewis died on 2nd December 1917 aged 25

Lewis’s grave can be found at:

Quievy Communal Cemetry Extension


Grave E.31

Historical note:

Quievy Communal Cemetery Extension was made by German troops, and carried on by the 62nd (West Riding) Division after the capture of the village in October 1918. The extension contains 89 Commonwealth and 102 German burials of the First World War, 27 being unidentified.

Where is the cemetery?

Quievy is a village 15 kilometres east of Cambrai and about 7 kilometres north of Caudry. The Cemetery is situated east of the village on a minor road to Viesly.

Cecil Ernest Ellis was born in 1897 in White Colne. In 1901 he was living with his parents Joseph and  Sarah, his elder brother George and four sisters in Colneford Hill. His father Joseph worked as a groom in the stables of the Hunt family.

Cecil enlisted in Warley, joining the Kings Royal Rifle Corps 7th Battalion. His rank was RFN (L/Corp) service number 5/5112. He fought in France and Flanders. Cecil was awarded the Victory medal, the British medal and the 1915 Star.

Cecil died on 30th January 1916 aged 19

Cecil’s grave can be found at

Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery,

West Vlaanderen. Belgium

Grave IV.C.46

Historical note: During the First World War, the village of Lijssenthoek was situated on the main communication line between the Allied military bases in the rear and the Ypres battlefields. Close to the Front, but out of the extreme range of most German field artillery, it became a natural place to establish casualty clearing stations. The cemetery was first used by the French 15th Hopital D'Evacuation and in June 1915, it began to be used by casualty clearing stations of the Commonwealth forces. From April to August 1918, the casualty clearing stations fell back before the German advance and field ambulances (including a French ambulance) took their places. The cemetery contains 9,901 Commonwealth burials of the First World War and 883 war graves of other nationalities, mostly French and German.. It is the second largest Commonwealth cemetery in Belgium.. The cemetery was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.

Where is the cemetery?  Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery is located in Belgium, 12 Kms west of Ieper town centre, on the Boescheepseweg, a road leading from the N308 connecting Ieper to Poperinge.

James Gordon

Reported in the Halstead Gazette on 23rd February 1917

Private James Gordon, a native of White Colne and belonging to the Essex Regiment has been invalided from the battlefield, suffering from dysentery and frozen feet. He is now in hospital at Reading and going on well. Before enlisting in the Army he was employed on the Colne Valley Golf links.

Alfred George Duncombe was born in Pebmarsh in 1886. He was the second son of James and Elisabeth Duncombe and in 1901 lived at Pannels Farm, Bures Road, White Colne with his parents, his two brothers Willie and Albert and younger sister Amy. He worked as a yardman on the farm, his father James being employed as the horseman.

Alfred originally served in the Suffolk Regiment no 306690 but later served in the 7th Infantry Labour Corps of the Queens ( Royal West Surrey Regiment)  Service numbers: 68523 and 41453. He was awarded the Victory and British medals.

Alfred died, aged 32, on May 23rd 1918 near Arras, in France. At the time of his death his widowed mother was living at the Green, Wakes Colne.

Alfred’s grave can be found at the



Grave 11 D 19

Historical note: The cemetery was made in March 1918 by the 7th, 20th and 43rd Casualty Clearing Stations, but when the German advance began at the end of that month, their place was taken by field ambulances of the units fighting on the Arras front, notably the 31st Division and the Canadian Corps.

In August and September, when the Germans had been pushed back, the 45th and 46th Casualty Clearing Stations were posted to the neighbourhood.

Bac-du-Sud British Cemetery contains 688 Commonwealth burials of the First World War. There are also 55 German war graves. The cemetery was designed by Charles Holden.

Where is the cemetery? Bailleulval is a village in the Department of the Pas-de-Calais about 13 Kms south-west of Arras, and the Cemetery is  1 Km west of the village on the north side of the main road from Arras to Doullens (N25).



Clicking on a name in the following table will display the known information relating to the soldier.

The table will be updated as more information is discovered.

George Walter Thomas Taylor was born in 1898 in Great Yeldham. In 1901 he was living with his parents Thomas and Clara and baby brother in Colne Engaine. His father Thomas, was employed as a railway porter.

At the time of enlistment, George was still living with his parents, but in the railway house at White Colne (now our village hall).

George enlisted in Colchester, joining the Essex Regiment 11th Battalion.

He was a private, service number 28618 and fought in France and Flanders. George was awarded the Victory and British medals.

In  April 1916 George’s twin brothers were baptised in White Colne Church. One of the children was baptised Kenneth Kitchener obviously after the much loved Lord Kitchener who was killed that same year when HMS Hampshire was sunk by a German mine while taking him to Russia.

Reported in the Halstead Gazette - 30th November 1917

Mr and Mrs Taylor of the Railway Station, White Colne have received official information that their son Pte G Taylor of 11th Essex Regiment was dangerously ill at No 15 Casualty Clearing Station France, having been wounded in the back by gunshot. The news was first received by telegram but a letter has since been received, confirming the sad tidings, and also regretting that permission could not be granted for anyone to visit him.

George died on November 23rd 1917 aged  19

George’s grave can be found at:


New British Cemetery

Somme, France

Grave II.F.8

Reported in the Halstead Gazette - 7th December 1917

In our last issue we reported that Pte G Taylor of 11th Essex Regt and son of Mr and Mrs Taylor of the Railway Station, White Colne had been dangerously wounded in the back by gunshot. Since then the sad news has been received that he died of wounds. The following is a copy of the letter which has been received from the hospital to which Pte Taylor was taken:

I very much regret to have to tell you that your son, Private G Taylor of the 11th Essex Regt died of wounds in this hospital on November 23rd. He was severely wounded in the back and chest and from the first there was practically no hope of saving his life. Everything that could possibly be done for him was done, but his injury was too severe and he did not rally. He is buried in the British Military Cemetery here, and his grave will be marked by a cross with his name, number and regiment, and the date.

This is the second son Mr and Mrs Taylor have lost in the war, their other son Driver Arthur Taylor, died in Turkey.  (This is wrong – see next item)

Reported in the Halstead Gazette - 14th December 1917

It has been erroneously reported that Mr and Mrs Taylor of White Colne Railway Station have lost two sons in the war. This is not so: Pte G. Taylor whose death we reported last week is the only son Mr and Mrs Taylor have lost, fortunately.

Historical note:  The villages were occupied by British troops in March, 1917, during the German Retreat to the Hindenburg Line; and from the following May until March, 1918, Tincourt became a centre for Casualty Clearing Stations. On the 23rd March, 1918, the villages were evacuated; and they were recovered, in a ruined condition, about the 6th September. From that month to December, 1918, Casualty Clearing Stations were again posted on the site of Tincourt. The cemetery was begun in June, 1917, and used until September, 1919; the few German burials, during their occupation of the village, are in Plot VI, Row A. After the Armistice it was used for the reburial of soldiers found on the battlefield, or buried in small French or German cemeteries. There are now nearly 2,000, 1914-18 war casualties commemorated in this site. Of these, over 250 are unidentified and special memorials are erected to seven soldiers from the United Kingdom and one from Australia, known or believed to be buried among them. Other special memorials record the names of 21 soldiers from the United Kingdom, two from Canada, one from Australia and one from South Africa, buried in other cemeteries, whose graves were destroyed by shell fire. The cemetery covers an area of 6,149 square metres.

Where is the cemetery? Tincourt is a village about 7 kilometres east of Peronne

and Tincourt New British Cemetery is on the west side of the village, just off the D199.

John Tracey was born in Bures in 1886 the third of five children born to William and Ann Tracey. William was employed as a farm ploughman and in 1891 they lived near to Lower Jennies in Bures Road. By 1901 they had moved into Fox and Pheasant Farm in White Colne, with 15 year old John working as an agricultural labourer. Not only has John Tracey been overlooked for the memorial in White Colne, but also his name has been incorrectly spelt on his grave. We hope to correct these inaccuracies in time.

John enlisted in Colchester, joining the Rifle Brigade 2nd Battalion as a Rifleman service number 2278. He was sent to France in November 1914 and was awarded the Military Medal for gallantry, as well as the 1914 Star, the Victory and British medals.

John died on 1st August 1918 aged 32

John’s grave can be found at:

Villers Station Cemetery

Villers au Bois,France

Grave: XIII. B. 14

Historical note: This cemetery was begun by the French but was used by Commonwealth divisions and field ambulances from the time they took over this part of the front in July 1916 until September 1918. It is associated particularly with the Canadian Corps whose headquarters were nearby and many of the graves in Plots V to X date from April 1917 and the Battle of Vimy Ridge. After the Armistice, a few graves were brought in from isolated positions in the neighbourhood and in June 1923, the French graves were removed, the great majority to Notre Dame-de-Lorette French National Cemetery. Villers Station Cemetery now contains 1,208 Commonwealth burials of the First World War and 32 German war graves. The cemetery was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.

Where is the cemetery?  Villers-au-Bois is a village in the Department of the Pas-de-Calais, 11 kilometres north-west of Arras. The Cemetery is about 2 kilometres north-west of the village along a track from the Villers-au-Bois to Servins road (D65).

Arthur Taylor was born in November 1890 in White Colne. His parents, John William and Ellen Taylor lived in Colchester Road. John was employed as a horseman on a farm. Arthur was the first child of 8, the eldest of two sons. At the time of Arthur’s death his family were living at Berwyck Hall Cottage, White Colne.

Arthur enlisted as a driver in the Royal Field Artillery 76th Battalion. His service number was 60550. He was “sent to the Asiatic” in November 1914. He was awarded the Victory, British and 1915 Star medals. He was a prisoner of war in Turkey and died of debility.

Arthur died on 6th April 1917 aged 27 in Turkey

Arthur’s grave is situated at:

Baghdad Northgate Cemetery


Grave XVI. Y.14

Historical note: In 1914, Baghdad was the headquarters of the Turkish Army in Mesopotamia. It was the ultimate objective of the Indian Expeditionary Force 'D' and the goal of the force besieged and captured at Kut in 1916. The city finally fell in March 1917, but the position was not fully consolidated until the end of April. Nevertheless, it had by that time become the Expeditionary Force's advanced base, with two stationary hospitals and three casualty clearing stations. The North Gate Cemetery was begun In April 1917 and has been greatly enlarged since the end of the First World War by graves brought in from other burial grounds in Baghdad and northern Iraq, and from battlefields and cemeteries in Anatolia where Commonwealth prisoners of war were buried by the Turks. At present, 4,160 Commonwealth casualties of the First World War are commemorated by name in the cemetery, many of them on special memorials. Unidentified burials from this period number 2,729. The cemetery also contains the grave of Lieutenant General Sir Stanley Maude, Commander-in-Chief of the Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force, who died at Baghdad in November 1917 and the memorial to the 13th Division which he commanded.

Where is the cemetery? Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery is located in a very sensitive area in the Waziriah Area of the Al-Russafa district of Baghdad. The main entrance to the cemetery is located opposite the College of Arts and the Institute of Administration in Baghdad University and adjacent to the Iraqi Cigarette Factory in Waziriah Area and the Press of Ministry of Defence

NOTE: Whilst the current climate of political instability persists it is not possible for the  Commonwealth War Graves Commission to manage or maintain its cemeteries and memorials located within Iraq. Alternative arrangements for commemoration have therefore been implemented and a two volume Roll of Honour listing all casualties buried and commemorated in Iraq has been produced. These volumes are on display at the Commission's Head Office in Maidenhead and are available for the public to view. The Commission continues to monitor the situation in Iraq and once the political climate has improved to an acceptable level the Commission will commence a major rehabilitation project for its cemeteries and commemorations.

Thomas George Smith was born in 1877 in  Colneford Hill,White Colne. His parents  James and Levinia had 6 children, 5 of them boys. James was employed as an agricultural labourer.

Thomas enlisted in Paddington, where he had been working as a milkman. He joined the Royal Fusiliers 34th Battalion as a Private, service number 31288. He fought in France and Flanders and was awarded the Victory and British medals.

Thomas died on 31st January 1917 aged 40.

Thomas’s grave can be found at:

Varennes Military Cemetry

Nr Amiens, France

Grave I.H.15

Historical note: The cemetery was laid out by the 39th Casualty Clearing Station in August 1916, during the Battle of the Somme, but the first burials were made during August and September by more mobile divisional field ambulances. The 4th and 11th Casualty Clearing Stations then used the cemetery from October 1916, joined by the 47th from December 1916, but by May 1917 Varennes was deserted and remained so until the Germans launched their offensive in this quarter in April 1918. The cemetery was then extended by the 17th and 38th (Welsh) Divisions by the addition of plots II and III, and at the beginning of September 1918, the 3rd Canadian and 59th Casualty Clearing Stations arrived at Varennes. The cemetery contains 1,219 burials of the First World War, two of which were brought in from Varennes Communal Cemetery in 1934. The cemetery was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.

Where is the cemetery?

Varennes is a village in Northern France, 11 kilometres from Albert and 18 kilometres from Amiens.

Reported in the Halstead Gazette - 2 November 1917

Local casualties. Mr Osgood Smith of Chalkney Mill, White Colne, has received a card dated Oct 22nd from his son Signaller Jack Smith of the 10th Essex Regt, stating that he had been wounded in the left leg. Later news was received that he had been admitted into a base hospital in France and is progressing favourably. Previous to enlistment Signaller Smith was employed at Chelmsford, and prior to going to Chelmsford he was for a short time teacher at the Halstead Council School.

Hugh Scillitoe was born in White Colne in 1887. His parents Albion and Elisabeth Scillitoe lived in Colchester Road, White Colne close to the Kings Head Pub. The landlord of the pub was also named Scillitoe but it is uncertain if they were related. Hugh was the middle child of three, and in 1901 was working with his elder brother as a thatcher’s labourer. A small family enterprise, as their father Albion was the local thatcher.

Hugh joined the East SurreyRegiment 1st Battalion. His service number was 34370.

He was awarded the Victory and British medals.

Hugh died on 22nd October 1918 aged 31

Hugh’s grave is situated at

British Cemetery Manancourt

Rocquigny – Equancourt Road

Grave XIV.A.22

George Purves was born  in 1896 in Roxburghshire, the son of  William and Jeanie Kemp Purves.  George lived with his wife, Gladys Florence at the Vent House, Bures Road White Colne.

George’s son, Robert George Purves was baptised at White Colne Church on 23rd December 1917.

George enlisted in Edinburgh, joining the Royal Scots (Lothinian Regiment) 9th Battalion as a private. His service number was 335570. He fought in France and Flanders. George was awarded the Victory and British medals.

George died on May 7th 1918 aged 22.

George’s grave can be found at

St Sever Cemetery

Rouen, France

Grave P. IX. F. 2A

Historical note: During the First World War, Commonwealth camps and hospitals were stationed on the southern outskirts of Rouen. A base supply depot and the 3rd Echelon of General Headquarters were also established in the city. Almost all of the hospitals at Rouen remained there for practically the whole of the war. They included eight general, five stationary, one British Red Cross and one labour hospital, and No. 2 Convalescent Depot. A number of the dead from these hospitals were buried in other cemeteries, but the great majority were taken to the city cemetery of St. Sever. In September 1916, it was found necessary to begin an extension, where the last burial took place in April 1920. The extension was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.

Where is the cemetery? St Sever Cemetery and St. Sever Cemetery Extension are located within a large communal cemetery situated on the eastern edge of the southern Rouen suburbs of Le Grand Quevilly and Le Petit Quevilly.

Reported in the Halstead Gazette - 14 December 1917

Mrs C Percival of Colchester Road, White Colne has received news from the War Office that her husband

Sgt C Percival of 5th Battalion Essex Regt, was wounded on November 27th. Sgt Percival has been in Egypt 28 months and was wounded in the recent fighting in Palestine.

Basil Lyons was born in 1887 in Woolwich, London. He was the third  of four sons born to William  and Mary Lyons. By 1901 Mary was widowed, living with her children in High Street Halstead, with Basil employed as a clerk for the Colne Valley Railway. A few years later Basil joined the Ist Kings Dragoon Guards and served in India for 9 years.

He joined the Royal Berks Regiment 5th Battalion travelling to France in November 1914.

Basil was promoted to Second Lieutenant on June 3rd 1917. He was awarded the 1914 Star and the Victory and British medals.

At the time of his death, his address was given as Sunnyside, Bures Road, White Colne, where he lived with his wife Ada Lucy.

Basil died on 19th July 1917 aged 30

Basil has no  known grave but his name is entered on the

Arras Memorial


Historical note: The French handed over Arras to Commonwealth forces in the spring of 1916 and the system of tunnels upon which the town is built were used and developed in preparation for the major offensive planned for April 1917. The Commonwealth section of the FAUBOURG D'AMIENS CEMETERY was begun in March 1916, behind the French military cemetery established earlier. It continued to be used by field ambulances and fighting units until November 1918. The ARRAS MEMORIAL commemorates almost 35,000 servicemen from the United Kingdom, South Africa and New Zealand who died in the Arras sector between the spring of 1916 and   7 August 1918, the eve of the Advance to Victory, and have no known grave. The most conspicuous events of this period were the Arras offensive of April-May 1917, and the German attack in the spring of 1918.

Where is the Memorial? The Arras Memorial is in the Faubourg-d'Amiens Cemetery, which is in the Boulevard du General de Gaulle in the western part of the town of Arras. The cemetery is near the Citadel, approximately 2 kilometres due west of the railway station.

Percy Lewis was born in 1894 perhaps in Halstead.

This is another name which has given us a great deal of trouble – trying to establish a link with White Colne. We are unable to confirm his family details – we know there was a Lewis family living in Colne Engaine at the turn of the century and they baptised their children in White Colne, but Percy was not amongst them.

The military details we have for Percy is that he was a private in the Royal Fusiliers and he entered the war in September 1915. His service number was G/2898. Percy was awarded the 1915 Star, and the Victory and British medals.

Percy died on 27th November 1916 aged 22

His grave can be found in

St Andrews Church, Earls Colne.

His name is not on the Earls Colne war memorial.

George Hicks was born in White Colne in 1895. In 1901 he was living with his parents Charles and Jane Hicks, and elder sister Alice at Baggarretts Farm, White Colne. Charles was employed as a horseman on the farm.

George enlisted in Colchester, joining the Royal Army Service Corps as a driver. At the time he was working for Bones, the builders in Colne Engaine and was obviously well known in that village. We believe this is why his name was entered on their war memorial.

George’s service number was T4/040354

George died on October 29th 1918 aged 23

Georges’ grave can be found at:

Pont de Nieppe Cemetery

Nord, France

Grave II.11.22

Historical Note: The bridge at Pont-de-Nieppe was seized by the 1st Hampshires on 16 October 1914 and the village then stayed within the Allied lines until 11 April 1918, when the 34th Division were driven out of neighbouring Nieppe after hard fighting. Nieppe was recaptured by the 29th Division on 3 September 1918. Pont-de-Nieppe Communal Cemetery was used by Commonwealth field ambulances and fighting units from October 1914 to March 1918, by German troops during the summer of 1918, and by Commonwealth troops again in September-November 1918. The German graves were later removed to the adjoining German cemetery.

Where is the cemetery? Nieppe is a village 4 kilometres north-west of Armentieres on the road to Bailleul. The Communal Cemetery is east of the village, some 500 metres to the north of the main Armentieres-Bailleul road.

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