Brookwood Memorial Halls
Registered charity 304981
Lawrence Binyon (1869 - 1943), "For the Fallen"
plaque inside Brookwood Memorial Hall
Wilfred lived in Brookwood in 1 Victoria Villas with his parents until 1913 when he was 16. They moved into the newly-built home called The Homestead, now 158 Connaught Road. His father Alfred was employed as a Monumental Engraver by the London Necropolis Company, who owned and managed Brookwood Cemetery and the surrounding land where Brookwood village now stands.
Wilfred enlisted in Bisley, joining the third battalion of the Tank Corps (formerly the Machine Gun Corps). He served as a Private in Flanders and France. It is highly likely that he was part of the Battle of Cambrai - St. Quentin (27th September - 9th October 1918). This was the main British contribution to the attack on the Hindenberg line and succeeded in pushing back the Germans to the River Selle. The war was to last just one month more, but sadly Wilfred was killed in action on 8th October 1918, aged just 22 years.
His body lies in the Cemetery at Busigny.
Sources - Commonwealth War Graves Casualty Record and grave photo, Medals Roll, 1911 Census, and Busigny cemetery photo.
Albert was the son of William and Mary Devereux. He lived at 2 Connaught Road.
He joined The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment). He served as a private in the 6th Battalion and at some point was sent to France. The Queen’s became involved in the Battle of the Somme from the start and sustained heavy losses almost immediately. They remained at the front line until 14th August 1916 when they were moved to an area described as quiet, although still very close to enemy lines. His battalion often took part in night raiding parties to gather information on the enemy.
On the night of 5th December 1916, Albert was one of 74 men who took part in an exploratory night raid against the enemy trenches. The conditions were good, with the night sky covered in cloud. Then the cloud cleared, revealing a bright full moon. The Captain recalled the men to the British Line – but too late: Two heavy trench shells fell, killing Albert and three of his comrades. He was just 19.
Albert is buried in Wailly Orchard Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.
Sources - Commonwealth War Graves Casualty Record and grave photo, Medals Roll, Report on action and cemetery photo , and trenches map and photo.
Frank Laurence Fulton
Frank was the son of George and Isabella Lansdown Fulton who lived at 4 Victoria Villas, Brookwood.
War was declared on 4th August 1914 – and that month, when barely seventeen years old, he volunteered for foreign service. He became a corporal with the 2nd/16th Battalion, London Regiment (Queen’s Westminster Rifles) and went onto serve in France and Greece. He was killed in action on 20th March 1917 in the Balkans, aged just 19.
He is buried in Karasouli Military Cemetery in Greece.
Sources - Commonwealth War Graves Casualty Record, cemetery and grave photo, Medals Roll and 1911 Census.
John Frederick Painter, DFC
John was born around 1918 and lived at 175 Connaught Road, then known as “Maryland”. His father was the coal merchant. The coal yard was to the left of the house just where 171a – 173a and their garages are today. He joined the Royal Air Force and he became a Flying Officer with No 102 Squadron of Bomber Command.
On 22nd October 1940 he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross “in recognition of gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations”. This was probably given at the end of a tour of operations, perhaps the one when the squadron was loaned to Coastal Command. They spent six weeks in September – October 1940 carrying out convoy escort duties from Prestwick.
Soon after, however, on 7th November 1940, John’s plane was shot down and he was killed. He was again just 22 years old.
He is buried in Brookwood Cemetery in St. Matthew’s Avenue.
Arthur was born in Halifax, the son of Harry and Florry Pickersgill. In the 1930’s , Arthur completed a year’s training at Morris’s in Birmingham. In 1938, he moved to Pirbright Camp with the aim of helping to set up the Transport Division. Soon, his family, his wife May (known to all as Mrs. Pick) and his children (June aged 4 and a half and Leo aged 2) followed to a house in Brookwood.
Arthur rose to the rank of sergeant with the Coldstream Guards: June recalls clearly his wonderful sense of humour – and smart uniform, complete with impressive Bearskin! Leo, too, was very proud of his soldier father and often stood at the front gate, dressed in his soldier’s uniform, saluting at all the troops as they marched past.
Sadly, Sergeant Pickersgill was killed on Tuesday 24th March 1942. He is buried in Brookwood Military cemetery.
When the war ended, his widow, Mrs. Pick, worked hard on the committees formed to make the building of this hall possible. She died in 1993. Leo – who was a 1st Brookwood Cub - became an inspector for the Metropolitan police.
We thank June Pickersgill very much for her personal memoir of her father.
Cyril Henry Sheather
Cyril was born in Peasmarsh, Sussex in 1899, the son of Henry and Mary Sheather.
Cyril joined the Grenadier Guards under-age in 1914 and served in the 1st World War. Cyril was a Lance Sergeant when the Great War ended in 1918, and was awarded the British Service Medal and the Victory Service Medal. Cyril had become a regular soldier, and had risen to become the Regimental Sergeant Major of the First Batallion Grenadier Guards when the Second World War broke out in 1939. Sadly, he was killed on Saturday 1st June 1940, during the defence of the Dunkirk-Nieuport perimeter. He was 41. Cyril is buried in Coxyde Military Cemetery, Belgium.
Cyril married Norah between the Wars, and they had two daughters and a son. Norah's sister lived in Brookwood - Mrs Minnie Giles, who lived at 135 (now 225) Connaught Road. The Sheather family used to visit Brookwood regularly from their home in married quarters in London. After Cyril died in 1940, Norah and the three children (Maureen-8, Noel-7, and Theresa-18 months) had to leave their quarters, and came to live in Brookwood with Minnie. Noel became a Cub and later a Scout with the First Brookwood group. Akela then was Miss Helah Johnston, who became Mrs Helah Hill and still lives in Brookwood. Norah, Cyril's widow, remained in Brookwood until her death in 1972. Minnie's younger daughter Nora still lives at 225.
Many thanks to the Sheather family for their information.
John Stevens was the son of Walter and Emma Stevens, who lived at 2 Rose Cottage, later 113 Connaught Road, Brookwood. He was born in Pirbright and stated on enlistment that he worked as a labourer. He was just 20 and first joined the Queens Regiment, then was transferred after initial service training to the Northampton Regiment. He was posted abroad with the British Expeditionary Force to France in July 1915, and was wounded in action in July 1916 from a gunshot wound in the left knee. He was evacuated back to England, and was in hospital in Gravesend, Kent until October 1916 before being transferred to Shoreham by Sea for recuperation until March 1917. He was then classed as Category B and transferred to Sittingbourne, where he presumably was based. In April 1918 he returned to France and joined the 3rd Batallion. He was wounded on 30 July 1918 and he died in France on 31 August 1918. John must have been bravely involved in his final military action, as he was awarded the Military Medal, recorded in the London Gazette on 13 March 1919 and 1 April 1919. John is buried in the Daours Cemetery.
Sources - Commonwealth War Graves Casualty Record, cemetery and grave photo, Medals Roll, medical records and transfer records.
Frank was born in 1892 to George and Martha Mitchell. He lived at 1 Connaught Cottages, Brookwood. His regiment was the 19th (Queen Alexandra’s Own Royal) Hussars. He died on 3rd March 1919, some four months after the Armistice of 11th November 1918. So what was his story? It is easy to presume that everything changed the moment the Treaty was signed but of course Germany was a very uncertain place. Whilst we do not (yet) know his war record, his regiment was part of the first British Army of the Rhine, created in March 1919 to control troops on the British occupation zone along the Rhine.
Cyril John Overton-Davies
Cyril was born in Shropshire, the son of John Harold and Lucy Overton-Davies. He married Doris Eileen Hill of Brookwood. (Her brother Bob ran the garage and his wife the cafe at the end of Connaught Road). Cyril served in the first battalion of the Grenadier Guards Armoured Division and rose to the rank of Lance Sergeant.
Cyril took part in the Allied Offensive in North Western Europe, which began with the Normandy Landings of 6th June 1944 (“D–Day”). It must be remembered that this historic day was just the beginning of the liberation of France: There were to be many tumultuous days ahead as the allies pressed through France. One of their key objectives was the city of Caen. Operation Greenwood was an attack launched on 18th July 1944 by the British Army to the east of the city. Major Chappell, a friend of Cyril, recalled later that the bombardment began at 5.30am with a heavy bombardment by air and sea on German positions, lasting some two and a half hours. "I remember the sky full of aircraft, wave after wave pounding enemy defences," he said. “At the church in Cagny... we came under fire from enemy mortars.” Major Chappell was injured in the attack in which sadly Mr. Overton-Davies lost his life. He is buried at the military cemetery in Banneville-La-Campagne, alongside over two thousand other Commonwealth citizens who perished in the same campaign.
Following the war, Cyril’s family lived in Brookwood at 222 Connaught Road.
Sources - Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Skegness Standard article 2 Nov 2009
Research is still in progress on the following souls. If you can provide any information, please forward it to us -
J. L. G. Brock
A. C. Platts