The Great War

o       War Memorial Names

o       Obituaries given in the Parish Magazines

o       Those not named on the memorial

o       Building the War Memorial

o       Roll of Honour

o       Other Parish Magazine reports of Great War related activities

o       Commemoration of the 100th anniversary ...and the addition of a new plaque

o       Great War Armistice Celebrations ...then and in 2018

o       Honouring the Goldhanger men killed 100 years on

o       Goldhanger Red Cross members

o       The Goldhanger Flight Station

o       Zeppelin Busters over the Blackwater

o       HMS Osea

followed by. . .

o       Memories of World War Two

War Memorial Names

Compiled mainly from information in the parish magazines of the day


The Goldhanger War Memorial

in the form of a Calvary,

was dedicated on Friday 25 July 1919


The inscription on the plinth reads




The names inscribed on the memorial

and are listed in approximate order

of date of death.



William Hume       William Hummerston

Thomas Coker     James Seaborn        

Harry Johnson     Henry Lewis

Sydney Brewer   John Wakelin

Ernest Brazier      Lionel Hover

Walter Brewer     Harry Pennick

Cyril Gardner       Sydney Armstrong

Ernest Everett      Augustus Crowley

              Dick Phillips


William Hume

The Parish magazine of November 1914 records:

With deep regret we have to record the death of William Hume. Whose life was sacrificed in the service of his country on HMS Hawke, which was sunk by a torpedo from German submarine in the North Sea. The Hawke sank in a few minutes, with the loss of her Captain, 26 officers and 500 men - only 4 officers and 60 men were saved. Very deep and genuine sympathy has been felt for his mother, Mrs. Hume, and for all members of his family in the heavy grief that has befallen them.

William Hume was the first Goldhanger man to lose his life in the Great War and the 15th October 2014 was the 100 year anniversary of William’s death. To mark the occasion the bells of St Peters were rung at 11am on that day. Hear the bells at...

William Hume's 100th year aniversary

In recent years more information has become available about this tragedy. Here are images and websites dedicated to that event...

William Hume and the sinking of HMS Hawke

Thomas Coker

8019 Private 2nd Battalion Essex Regiment. Died 5 March 1915. Age unknown.

Buried at Calvoire (Essex) Military Cemetery in Grave I.H.1.

The Parish magazine for April 1915 records:

The account published in our last number –for March- of the death of Mrs. Thomas Coker (Ethel Emma), on February 14th, meets with its tragic sequel in the death of her husband in the trenches 3 weeks later; which it is our painful duty to record here. He appears to have been alive and well at one moment and dead the next, as he was seen and spoken to by a friend the same morning. It happened at Le Gheers (Belgium), on Friday, March 5th. He rejoined the 2nd Batt. Of the Essex Regiment on the outbreak of war, and had so far been untouched. He appears to have been struck by a stray bullet, and the effect was instantaneous.


Harry James Johnson

1829 Private 5th Battalion Essex Regiment. Died 17 August 1915. Aged 18.

Son of Samuel James and Ellen Johnson of 2 Church Street, Goldhanger. Unknown grave. Commemorated on Panel 144 to 150 or 229 tp 233 of the Helles Memorial (on the tip of the Gallipoli peninsula). The Allies landed there on 25/26 April 1915 and evacuated during December 1915 and January 1916 there having been no serious action after the end of August 1915.


The Parish magazine for October 1915 records:

The terrible news of the early death of dear Harry was a great shock to us all. It was a noble death for a lad to die - no end can be more glorious than dying for one’s country in a righteous cause – but then, he was so young. He died at Alexandria, on August 17th, in hospital, from wounds received on August 9th, and on August 21st fell his birthday, when he would have been 19 years of age! Such a child - simple, kind-hearted, and generous of nature. At his memorial service held in the church on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 5th, fully 60 were present, including the members of his sorrowing family, for whom such deep sympathy is felt, as well as a genuine sorrow for the promising young life thus suddenly cut short.

P.S. Dear Sir.

You are at liberty to put this in the magazine so as the people of Goldhanger can see it and be very proud of your good deed.”

Many of us will pray that his soul may be granted eternal Rest and Perfect Peace.


Parish magazine December 1915:

Harry Johnson

The Officer Commanding the 1/5 Essex at the Dardanelles, Lt. Col. Gibbons, has written a letter to the Rector respecting the death of Harry Johnson, which he concluded by saying, “His relatives may like to know that I am satisfied that the Officer’s account is correct, and that he died from the shock of the shell, his death being instantaneous. He was a fine young fellow, and although I had frequently to admonish him for untidiness in his dress, he was a good soldier with a good character in the Regiment, and absolutely without fear. I only wish I had many more like him.”

Of such a tribute of praise his family may feel proud.


Sydney Charles Brewer

8018 Lance Corporal 1st Battalion Essex Regiment. Died 1 July 1916 (The Parish Magazine quotes 20 July) during the Battle of the Somme. Aged 30. Husband of Lavinia Maud Page (formerly Brewer) of 8 Priory Gardens, Great Yarmouth. Buried at Knightsbridge Cemetery, Mesnil-Martinsart Grave F.44.


The Parish magazine for June 1915 records:

With deep regret we record that Sidney Brewer, serving at the front with the 2nd Essex Regiment, has been wounded again – for the third time – this time in the back and legs, probably a shell wound, and is again in hospital – for the fourth time. We hope he may be invalided home. Deep sympathy is felt for his wife and parents in their great anxiety, and many, we are sure, will pray for his recovery.


Parish magazine August 1916 reported:

The sad news came to us on Thursday, July 20th, that Sidney Charles Brewer had been “killed in action”. Nothing further has at present been received but we hope to hear particulars later on. A Memorial Service was held, on Sunday evening, July 23rd, and a large number were able to attend and show their deep sympathy. It is hard to lose a relative or friend, but who can grudge them the honour of serving their country even to the sacrifice of their lives.

Ernest (Dick) Victor Brazier

6610 Private 2nd/4th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment. Died 19 July 1916 during attack on Fromelles by 61st (South Midland) Division. Aged 21. Son of Joseph and Sarah Brazier of Highams Farm, Goldhanger. Buried in Grave II.G.15 at Laventie Military Cemetery, La Gorgue.



The Parish magazine of August 1916 reported:

Following closely came the news that “Dick” had lost his life at the front. His Commanding Officers wrote sympathetic letters to Mrs. Brazier, in one of which it was said, Dick was a “brave, fearless soldier and very well liked in the Battery, he made many friends and, needless to say, is very much missed”. A memorial service was held, in Church, at 3-45, on July 30th. Many came to show their sympathy for his family and the last token of respect for him. What more can be said of both? They did their duty. May they rest in Peace.



Walter Arthur Brewer

Died of wounds 22 October 1920, aged 24, son of Henry and Eliza Brewer of Fish Street. He is buried in St Peter’s Churchyard next to Dick Phillips.


Walter Brewer’s funeral card

Parish magazine November 1920 reported:


Seldom has the passing of a young life made a deeper impression, or stirred up a deeper sympathy than that of Walter Brewer, whose call to Rest after a long and trying illness of which little or no hope could ever be entertained, came on Friday evening, October 22nd, at 7 o’clock, when he passed peacefully away. He joined the “Buffs” and went out to France at the call of duty in 1917, three months later he contracted his fatal illness, and was discharged from the Army in October of that year. With what strength remained to him, he took the keenest interest in the Parish Room (in Head Street where ‘Wheelwrights’ now stands) recreations of which he was the energetic secretary, and in everything that concerned the social well-being of the Village.

His remains were laid to rest in the Churchyard, in the presence of a very large and sorrowful gathering on Wednesday afternoon, October 27th, at 3-30. The bearers were six of his friends. The choir, accompanied by the Rector, the Rev. B.H. Durrant-Field and the Rev. C.A.M. Stewart, met the Funeral Procession at the Church gates. “O Rest in the Lord” was played on the organ as the Church was entered. “Thy will be done” and “The radiant morn has passed away”, the two hymns chosen, were sung with deep feeling, followed by “The Dead March” as the move was to the grave-side.



Cyril Gardner

Lieutenant 3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards. Died 14 September 1916. Age unknown. Son of the Revd. Gardner, Rectory of Goldhanger and Little Totham at the time. Commemorated on Pier and Face 8D of the Thiepval Memorial to the "Missing of the Somme", he being one of the 72,000 officers and men who have no known grave. The East window in Little Totham church is a memorial to him.



Parish Magazine November 1916:

The Rector writes. . .


Dear People,

I desire to thank you for your many expressions of sympathy with me and my dear wife in our grief. It was unfortunate that it happened to come just at a time when I had so little strength to stand against it. We have received many letters (over 400) all expressing sympathy, or eloquent in appreciation, including a number from Officers and Men of the Grenadier Guards. I am glad to know so many were present at his Requiem that Saturday morning.


The following obituary from the “Morning Post” was also reproduced:

Lieutenant CYRIL GOWER GARDNER, Grenadier Guards (recently returned as missing, believed killed, and now officially reported killed in action, September 15) was the elder of the surviving sons of the Rev. Frederick and Mrs. (Ethel Mary) Garner, of Goldhanger Rectory, Witham, Essex. After being educated at Bilton Grange, Stubbington House, and Haileybury College, he passed into the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, in April last year, where he became sergeant of his company.


He joined the Grenadier Guards as second lieutenant on September 15th, and received promotion to Lieutenant from that date. He went out to the front last August, and took part with the Guards Brigade in the successful advance of September 14th, and was killed on the 15th (the first anniversary of his joining) almost instantaneously from a bullet wound. During his short career he had become a popular young officer, and his Colonel speaks of the great promise he showed. In writing of the battle on that day a brother officer says: “No officer there went forward more bravely or more resolutely to do his duty than he did,” and regrets that “such a charming-personality has been lost to the regiment.”


A Memorial Service was held at Goldhanger Church simultaneously with the service for the fallen officers and men of the Grenadier Guards held in London. Lieutenant Gardner was nineteen years of age.


Parish magazine January 1917:

H.M. the King has been graciously pleased to send the Rector the following telegram:


Buckingham Palace. November 27th.

The King and Queen deeply regret to learn that it is now officially confirmed that your son who was previously reported as missing has fallen in the service of his Country. Their Majesties deplore the loss which you and the Country have sustained and truly sympathize with you in your sorrow.


Keeper of the Privy Purse


Ernest Everett

29334 Lance Corporal 1st Battalion Essex Regiment. Died 14 April 1917. Age unknown. Unknown grave. He is commemorated on the Jerusalem Memorial in Israel.


The Parish magazine of May 1917 reported:

The anxiety of Mrs. Everett and Mrs. Frost for their son’s safety is deeply shared by us all and the two families are receiving the sympathy as well as the prayers of not a few. In the Battle of Gaza, on March 26th, Willie Frost was wounded, and is now somewhere in hospital, but where, is not at present known.


On the same day, Ernest Everett was also wounded and is reported as “missing” as well, which is far more serious and we can only pray for his ultimate restoration to us. The writer has received three letters about him from the War Office, and at present no further details can be gathered, but every enquiry is being made.


William Hummerston

54892 Lance Corporal 16th Battalion Welsh Regiment. Died 1 August 1917. Age unknown. Grave IX.E.38 at Ypres Reservoir Cemetery.

See Parish magazine entries for September 1917 and October 1917 below…


Allen James Seaborn

393019 Rifleman 1st/9th Battalion London Regiment (Queen Victoria’s Rifles). Died 13 August 1917. Aged 21. Son of Joseph and Alma Seaborn, of Baker’s Green, Little Totham, Maldon, Essex. Commemorated on Panel 54 Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.


Parish magazine September 1917:



A heavy cloud of sorrow has burst over us this last month. The battlefield has claimed two more precious young lives from us here in Goldhanger that we could never spare.

William Hummerstone has become one of us through his marriage here two years ago to Lily Phillips, and the depth of the tragedy of her short and happy married life being so pitilessly and suddenly cut short cannot easily be measured. Everybody grieves for her, and quite rightly. He fell in action, bravely doing his duty, on or about August 1st but where, it is not stated, and full enquiries are being made. He was of blameless character and his influence was for good wherever he went.


James Seaborn fell between August 12th and 14th. He had been transferred from the Essex Regiment to the 1/9 London Regiment, but where or how he fell is not yet definitely known. As all are aware who knew him – his lovable nature and charming disposition – a boy for any parent to be justly proud of, and all our hearts go out in the deepest sympathy to his father and mother and brothers and sisters, as well as to her to whom one day he was to make his wife. The spirit of resignation is there, and we can only pray that time will prove to be a healer to their sorrow. He was 21 years of age.



Ernest Henry Lewis

202529 Private 2nd/4th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment. Enlisted in Chelmsford. Lived in Witham. Died 21 March 1918 (Soldiers Died in the Great War CD says 3 April 1918). Aged 25 (24 in Parish magazine). Son of Maurice and Emily Lewis of Church Street, Goldhanger. Buried near N.W. corner of Churchyard at Ugny-L’Équipée.


Harry Lewis was a member of the bellringing band. On 31st October 1914 a short peal of 720 College Exercise was rung “as a farewell to H. Lewis on joining the Army.” On 28 April 1918 a short peal of 360 Plain Bob was rung on muffled bells “as a last mark of respect” for H. Lewis.



John Sidney Wakelin


Private 29360 of the 10th Battalion Essex Regiment and a former Territorial soldier. He enlisted in Chelmsford. John Wakelin Died 24 March 1918, aged 27 and is commemorated on panel 51 and 52 at Pozières Memorial and a window in the south wall of St Peters, Goldhanger, as shown here. He was one of 14,000 troops with no known grave killed at Rouen Wood on the 4th day of a German counter attack over the Somme battlefields.



Lionel Douglas Hover

202173 Private (Signaller) 11th Battalion Essex Regiment. Died 28 October 1918. Aged 21. Son of Henry Alfred & Beatrice Hover of 12 Spring Crescent, Tolleshunt D’Arcy. Buried in Grave I.B.32 at St Souplet British Cemetery.


Parish magazine December 1918:



The deepest and truest sympathy has everywhere gone out to Mr. and Mrs. Hover, in their loss of one of the most promising of sons. Lionel has been killed in France. He was lying in his shelter in the act of writing to his mother at the very end of October. Full particulars are not yet to hand. He was thoroughly good and beloved by everyone. He was the first Volunteer to offer himself at our recruiting meeting at the outbreak of the war, and turned out to be such a keen and efficient soldier. So soon he might have been home, with the laurels of Victory upon him, but God willed it otherwise. Fuller particulars may be given next month, meanwhile we all mourn his loss.


Joseph Harry Pennick

Joined 5th Bn Essex Regiment of the Territorial Army on 16 May l 913 and Joined the regular army in March 1916: G/21608 Private, 2nd Air Mechanic, 59 Squadron, The Royal Flying Corps. Contracted Tuberculosis on active service in France and was discharged as unfit on 3rd Oct 1917. Died of TB on 27 March 1918 aged 21 at his home in Fish Street. Buried in plot 162 Goldhanger churchyard, a cast iron memorial cross lies against the back wall of the churchyard. He was the son of John and Charlotte Pennick of Fish St.

The Parish magazine of May 1918 reported:

The Storm Cloud has cast a very deep shadow over Goldhanger during the past month, and was to be expected, has at length burst, bringing with it heavy sorrow not only to the three homes most directly affected, but to every inhabitant who mourns a very serious loss. The three lives that have been taken were very valuable and all so full of great promise, each greatly loving, and also vey much beloved. They have been taken out of tribulation to enter on e much fuller and happier life, in far closer union with their common Lord. Their end in each case was the noble coming (crossed through and the word ‘crowning’ pencilled in the margin) of a good life. We see in that the bright side to this dark cloud.


Sydney Armstrong

2nd Lieutenant Royal Flying Corps formerly with Royal Field Artillery. Died 17 February 1918. Buried in St Peter’s, Goldhanger Churchyard.  There is more about Sydney Armstrong in... Flight Station casualties.


Parish magazine for March 1918 records:



With deep regret we record the death of Lieut. Sydney Armstrong R.F.C. which occurred in the early hours of Monday morning Feb. 18th, while in the performance of his duty. His remains were brought to the Church on the following day, where they were received by the Rev. B.H. Durrant Field, and were buried on Wednesday afternoon, February 20th, at 2.30 p.m. with full honours, a full choir were in attendance, a firing party and bugler for the Last Post. The bells were rung in half muffle. There was a great gathering of airmen and sympathisers. Mrs. Armstrong and Miss Armstrong (mother and sister) were the chief mourners. The service was conducted by the Rector and the Rev. B.H. Durrant Field, all of which, except the “Commital” was taken inside the Church. There were many beautiful wreaths. His age was 18 years.


Frederick Augustus Crowley

2nd Lieutenant Royal Flying Corps. Died 26 February 1918. Aged 20. Son of Mathew and Mary Crowley of Drigole, Bantry, Co. Cork, Ireland. Buried in St Peter’s, Goldhanger Churchyard. There is more about Frederick Augustus Crowley in... Flight Station casualties


The Parish Magazine of March 1918 records:



On Tuesday morning, February 26th, at nine o’clock, Lieut. Crawley, R.F.C. met with his death through his machine coming to earth in the performance of his duty. He was buried in the Churchyard on Tuesday afternoon, February 28th, at 2.30 p.m. according to the Rites of the Roman Church, with full honours. His age was 20 years, and his death was a heavy shock to us all, especially to those whose painful experience it was to witness it. His home was in Ireland.




Dick Phillips

13th Battalion Royal Fusiliers later Essex Regiment (probably after he was wounded). Died on August 24th 1921, aged 22. Military Medal May 1916 for capturing machine gun single handed. Bar two months later on the Somme. Buried in St Peter’s Churchyard next to Walter Brewer.


Parish magazine September 1921 records:

In Memoriam


The call to poor Dick came very sudden, and never for many years has there been such an outpouring of sympathy and genuine sorrow as his death has elicited. Yes, we say, poor Dick, because he would have loved to have lived on and to have fulfilled his bright hopes in life, to have lived and loved and brought sunshine into the lives of those near and dear to him, but God willed it otherwise. His end was in full keeping with his life and he passed happily away on Wednesday morning, August 24th, the Feast of S. Bartholomew.


He was a victim of the War, a proud victim, one of the many noble lives sacrificed. The way in which he captured a German Gun, on August 23rd, 1918, after his own had been put out of action, in a great advance, and turned it on the retreating foe, after nearly all his own Company had been wiped out, which won for him the proud distinction of the Military Medal, to which the bar was added for a further fine achievement two months later, when with his machine gun he practically saved his own Company from destruction and enabled them to get back to cover are achievements which speak for themselves and are not likely to be forgotten. But it was on November 4th in that year, in a further attack that he was so badly wounded and had to be sent home.


Of the nineteen men named on the War Memorial:  six are buried in the Churchyard,

seven are buried overseas,  four have no known graves  and two were lost at sea.

All are named on battlefield and Royal Navy memorials.

Obituaries given in the Parish Magazines

of men whose names did not appear on the original war memorial

and who were added to the new plaque in 2014

Ernest Albert Belcher

The Parish magazine for April 1917 records:

One great support Mrs. Belcher and her daughters will receive in their crushing sorrow is the knowledge of the depth to which it is shared by everyone, and none, except those to whom the full circumstances are known can measure the depth of the tragedy. He died in a Hospital, at Brighton, on Tuesday, March 6th, after a bare five weeks of military training in the service of his Country. He left home on February 1st, to join the Royal Field Artillery and soon contracted a serious illness which proved to be fatal. His loss came as a heavy shock to all who knew him. As a member of the choir of so many years standing, his loss will long continue to be felt.

His remains were brought home for burial and were laid to rest, in the churchyard, on Tuesday afternoon, March 13th, at 3-30, the last offices being performed by the Rev. B.H.D. Field and the Rev. H.F. Pattison. The Rector was not well enough to attend. The members of the choir were present and a very large gathering of sympathisers and friends. Mr. Kirby at the organ played “The Dead March”, and hymns, “God moves in a mysterious way”, and “There is a Blessed Home”. Among the many wreaths was one from the choir. His age was 28 years. R.I.P.


Thomas Woolford

The Parish magazine May 1915 records:

Till lately one of our coastguards, at the outbreak of war was called up, and went in the North Sea for four months on the “Royal Arthur”. He then was sent aboard an armed liner, the “Clan McNaughton”, and left Liverpool on Jan. 23rd, nd the last time she was heard of was Feb 3rd. The Admiralty have lately given notice that she has been lost with all hands, how and when is not known. His high character made him a general favourite with all here, and we mourn his loss and our deep sympathy goes out to Mrs. Woolford in her heavy affliction.

Thomas Woolford was the second Goldhanger man to lose his life in the Great War and the 3rd of February 2015 was the 100 year anniversary of Thomas's death. To mark the occasion the bells of St Peters were rung at noon on that day. Hear the bells at...

Thomas Woolford's 100th year aniversary


Obituary in the Parish Magazine of a fatal accident at the Flight Station...

William Quintus Newsom Richardson

2nd Lieutenant Royal Flying Corps. Died 6 October 1917. Buried in Grave 42. 54. at Maldon Cemetery.

The Parish magazine for November 1917 records:

“on Saturday, Oct. 6th, in the afternoon about 4 o’clock, the first fatal accident at the Air Station occurred here, when a new-comer, Lieut. Richardson, who had only been on the Station about 24 hours, was upon a practice flight, and his machine fell to the ground from no great height, as the result of a sideslip. Death appears to have been instantaneous and the machine was wrecked.”

The Rector wrote a letter of sympathy to his bereaved mother (a widow) in behalf of himself and the people of Goldhanger, which was acknowledged with grateful thanks. His remains were taken to Maldon for burial. He was 19 years old.



Building the War Memorial

Several short extracts follow from the many detailed reports in the Parish magazines of the time, recording the fund raising, planning, building and dedication of the memorial…

Parish magazine December 1918:

Our Fallen

A meeting was held at the Rectory on Thursday afternoon, November 14th, of the Parents and Relatives of those who have been killed in the War. Everybody attended except Mr. and Mrs. Hover, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis, prevented through illness. The Rector (Revd Gardner) presided, the object of the meeting was to consider the erection in the Churchyard, in front of the Tower, of a suitable Memorial. The meeting opened with Prayer. Various designs were considered. All were unanimous in adopting a representation of the “Great Sacrifice” to be executed in stone and about 20 feet in height, which it is hoped will be completed next July, and which it is their intention to erect.

The Rector, in the face of the splendid record of Goldhanger in the War, has applied to the Authorities for the grant of a German Field Gun to be placed in front of our Parish Memorial which is to be erected in front of the Church Tower. We hope the response in money will be generous from everybody towards our Memorial. It may then be possible to have new wide gates and a wide path from the road to the Tower, to place the Memorial in the centre of the path, and with the Gun in the foreground if granted would be a noble completion.

see newspaper articles in. . . Plans from the past - captured field gun

Parish Magazine July 1919:

The War Memorial

If some generous contributor who possibly may not so far have subscribed at all, or only given a small contribution, were to offer to pay for the inscription of the names on the War Memorial, then the total sum required will have been either promised or given. It is a noble and wonderful performance on which we may well congratulate ourselves. A further sum is, however, required in order to commemorate, either by means of a tablet in the Church or in some other way the names of all those who went forth from this parish in order to defend their country in her hour of peril. Their names should never be forgotten. The foundations for the Calvary are to be laid at once, and it may be erected before July is out. Its design, which has been so much admired for its suitableness and beauty, is now being included in an exhibition of memorials in South Kensington Museum. The final sum raised was ₤394.

Parish magazine August 1919:

Peace Rejoicings

The Village was in full holiday garb on Saturday, July 19th, the streets were gay with flags and streamers, and the Church bells rang joyous peals. There were sports for children and adults in the Rectory grounds, and the returned soldiers, about 30 in number, were entertained to a capital dinner.

The Memorial is up – and very beautiful it is. The names are inscribed in Gothic lettering in keeping with the Gothic design of the Memorial. They are placed on three panels and add greatly to the enrichment of the Cross.


Parish magazine August 1920:

Dedication of the War Memorial

Friday, 25th July, will be a day never to be forgotten in the annals of Goldhanger.

It was the day set part for the Dedication of the magnificent War Memorial erected in the Churchyard to the memory of the brave men and boys of this Parish, who nobly sacrificed their lives in the Great War. The Lord Bishop of the diocese preached an eloquent and impressive sermon after which he dedicated the stained glass window placed in the south wall of the Church to the memory of John Wakelin, who was killed in action. Then the Choir, preceded by the Cross and followed by the Clergy and Bishop, walked in procession and took up their places in front of the Memorial. A number of our soldiers, under the command of Chief Coastguard H. Hover, acted as a guard of honour on three sides of the Memorial.

A special form of prayer was used and Psalm 130 was said. The hymn “When I survey the wondrous Cross,” was sung with much feeling, and the Memorial was dedicated by the Bishop to the Glory of God and in Memory of the men of this Parish who had fallen in the Great War. The Bishop addressed the large congregation present, after which the hymn, “Abide with me” was sung and the memorable service concluded with the Benediction of the Lord Bishop.

A postcard image of the War Memorial as it appeared at the time of the dedication


an artist’s impression of the dedication ceremony.

No photograph has been seen of this event,the sketch is based on the Parish Magazine article above

and photos of similar dedication ceremonies held elsewhere.

zoom in on the above sketch


zoom in on a high-definition reconstructed image of the War Memorial as it would have appeared in 1920


zoom in on a high-definition image of the Memorial as it appears in recent years


Listen to the dedication hymn:




In the Parish Magazine of July 1919 the Rector wrote:

“A further sum is, however, required in order to commemorate, either by means of a tablet in the Church or in some other way the names of all those who went forth from this parish in order to defend their country in her hour of peril. Their names should never be forgotten”.

It appears that this tablet was never produced, or at least is not now to be seen anywhere in the Church, so in 2008 as part of the research into the involvement of the village in the Great War this “Roll of Honour” was produced...


The Great War Roll of Honour

( as recorded in Goldhanger parish magazines and elsewhere )




























Belcher +

Brazier +




Brewer +

Brewer +




Coker +
























Everett +



Gardner +




Hume +

Hummerston +


Johnson +




Lewis +






























Phillips +


Pennick +


Seaborn +








Wakelin +




Woolford +



200 men were listed as residents in the 1911 census

60 were known to have served in the war

these 17 were killed in action  +



There were many other Parish Magazine reports of Great War related activities in the village at the time.

From the East Anglian Daily Times of June 1939:

“Partly because of the tower, the building seems singularly striking, and is rendered even more so by a stone Calvary facing the village, an affair impressive and noble of aspect, which is Goldhanger's memorial to the men of the parish. . . “


Commemorating the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War

and the addition of a new plaque on the War Memorial

To commemorate of the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War special events were organised in the village over “Remembrance Weekend” on the 7, 8 & 9th of November 2014. The details of this event are at... Commemoration of the 100th anniversary


The Goldhanger Red Cross volunteers during the Great War are identified in...

Registration cards for each are available, but there is little more information on them.  Here is a summary...




Goldhanger Red Cross volunteers during the Great War


Mrs  Barbrook,

Head St


Miss Connie Francis,

Head St

Mrs. (Thomas) Taber,



Mrs  Boyess,

Head St.

Miss Angela Gardner,

The Rectory (Rector’s daughter)


Mrs  (Arthur) Taber,

Falcon Hall


Mrs  Kate Buckingham,

Rectory Cottage, Maldon Rd


Mrs  Ethel Gardner,

The Rectory (Rector’s wife)


Mrs  Ellen Turner,

Head St


Mrs  Bunting,

Highams Farm


Miss Huxter,

Maldon Rd

Mrs  Ware,

Church St


Mrs  Clark,

Fish St


Mrs  Johnson,

Church Street

Mrs  W. Wenden,

The Post Office, Head St



Samuel Crowland

30yrs old, ambulance river


S. A. Moss

19yrs old, ambulance driver

Mrs  E. White, 

Church St


Miss Hylda Easton,

The Rectory (Rector’s employee)


Mrs  Everett,

Maldon Rd


Mrs  Norton,

Maldon Rd


Miss Lizzie White, Fish St

Mrs  Francis, Head St


Mrs  Sparke, Head St.


Mrs. (John) White, Fish St

Mrs. Willsmore







The Goldhanger Flight Station

In August 1915 Goldhanger was chosen as a suitable location to intercept Zeppelins en route from Germany to London as they were known to be flying up the Blackwater Estuary. In his published diary, local GP Dr Salter made 32 references to Zeppelins passing overhead in the area between 1915 and 1916. Initially it is said that just one bi-plane was stationed Gardners Farm, with the pilot given “bed & breakfast” at the farmhouse. The first hangar arrived in 1916. The Name “Flight Station”, given by The Royal Flying Corps, was derived from it having only one flight located there. The Royal Flying Corps later became the Royal Air Force, with 37-Squadron stationed at Goldhanger, when it became know as Goldhanger Aerodrome. It was absorbed into 39-Squadron in 1919 which was finally disbanded in 1957. The Station closed down in March 1919. There is no visible trace left today of the Flight Station to indicate that there was once a operational airfield within a mile of the village. It was located alongside the B1026, on the south side of the road close to the seawall, in fields that still belong to Gardener's Farm. Today there is a farm shop on the field.

To commemorate of the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Flight Startion a plaque has been installed at the location and a special event was organised in the Village Hall close to the 2015 Remembrance Day. See... Zeppelin Busters over the Blackwater

Goldhanger Flight Station was closely linked with Stow Maries and Rochford Flight Stations. Their headquarters was at The Grange on the Southend Rd. at Woodham Mortimer. Many comparisons have been made between the three sites:  Stow Maries was largely constructed of brick buildings which have survived, whereas the buildings at Goldhanger were mostly of wood and have not survived. However, it seems Goldhanger was the most active of the three with about 50% of operational flights in 1917, 33% from Stow Maries and 17% from Rochford, In Fields of the First written by A Doyle and published in 1997 the 4-page description of the Goldhanger Flight Station includes a comparison is make between the personnel and facilities…


map showing the layout and buildings at Goldhanger Flight Station


artist’s impression of the airfield - select to enlarge

Some 29 structures were built on the western edge of the aerodrome site including four aeroplane sheds. In October 1919 the Ministry of Munitions offered of all the buildings on the site for sale. However, the four aeroplane sheds survived on the site until 1922 when, after being purchased by May & Butcher of Heybridge Basin, two were sold on to Crittall's for their factories at Silver End and Witham and were used as a canteen and store. When that business closed in the 1990s, and having been in use for some 74 years, they were acquired by the Brooklands Museum at Weybridge where they remained unused until they had to be destroyed due to rot. They are circled in red on these 1930s aerial photos...


at Crittall's site in Witham                                              at Crittall's site in Silver End

In the 1920s the Bentall’s agricultural engineering company at Heybridge acquired two WW-1 hangers, which almost certainly came from Goldhanger. They were re-erected on the Bentall site, but was never effectively used and became known by the workers as “The White Elephant”. They was removed and replaced by a new foundry building in 1949.


The former Goldhanger hangars on the Bentalls site at Heybridge in the 1930s (in the red circle)

May & Butcher purchased many of the wooden buildings from both the aerodrome and from HMS Osea and sold them on. In 1920 the Bentall family acquired the Sergeants Mess hut from the aerodrome site and installed and commissioned it in Heybridge Basin as St Georges Chapel in memory of their son who was killed in the war, where it remains today...

St Georges Chapel, Heybridge Basin, formerly the Sergeants Mess


The hangars at Goldhanger.


                 Shooting Butt at Goldhanger                   the Guard House (last remaining building)


No.37 Squadron pilots stationed at Goldhanger - those mentioned on this page are probably in these photos


                        BE12s at Goldhanger


             BE2e at Goldhanger                          Sopwith Camel at Goldhanger


From log books we know At least 11 different types of aircraft were based at Goldhanger at different times, although there were thought to be never more than 8 aircraft based there at any one time. By comparison with Zeppelins these bi-plans were remarkable small fragile machines. They struggled to reach the altitude of the Zeppelins, and pilots had to cope with both sub-zero temperatures and a lack of oxygen. The aircraft had open cockpits, no radios, no brakes, no flaps and no parachutes! Most had 80 horse-power engines with fuel for only 2 hours flying time. To overcome the problem of short flying time, a series of Night Landing Grounds with minimal facilities were created: mowed grass strips, landing flares, a fuel tank and a shed with a telephone.                                              Select this image to enlarge it...

The FE-2 was designed at the Farnborough Aircraft Factory and 'FE' stood for 'Fighting or Farman Experiential', but despite the name they had a major role as Zeppelin chasers during the war. Over a 1000 were built and 200 were used for Home Defence. Similarly, the 'BE' in 'BE-2' stood for ' Bleriot Experiential', a de Havilland designed machine, of which over 3,500 were built by 20 manufacturers.

There is a 1-minute silent film of an FE-2 being moved out of ' sheds' which are remarkably like those once at Goldhanger (but it probably wasn't filmed at Goldhanger), which can be seen at... - Royal Aircraft Factory FE2

Today, with many restorations and reproductions of these WW-1 biplanes we can now see high definition close-ups of them in full colour, both on the ground and in the air, which was not possible in the early 1900s due to the limitations of photographic technology at that time.

Select this image to view the high definition photos and zoom in...


BE-2 from Goldhanger Flight Station in the centre of Chelmsford during Aeroplane Week in 1918

Incidents recorded at Goldhanger Flight Station...

Captain Frederick Sowrey, who was based at Goldhanger, was awarded a DSO after he shot down Zeppelin L32 at Billericay in Essex having taken off from Sutton Farm on the 23 September 1916. His final tally was twelve victories other than the L32, six enemy airplanes destroyed and six driven down out of control and was finally awarded the Military Cross.


Zeppelin L32                                   L32 at Billericay

Captain Frederick Sowrey DSO, MC, AFC


Second Lieutenant L.P. Watkins was involved in one of the most notable patrols from Goldhanger which occurred on 16/17 June 1917 when he took off in B.E.12 to pursue a Zeppelin returning from a raid on London. Loudon Pierce Watkins was a Canadian citizen. The L48 Zeppelin was attacked near Orfordness and Second Lieutenant Watkins was credited with shooting down the airship which crashed at Holly Tree Farm, near Theberton, Suffolk and was awarded the Miltary Cross. All but three of the seventeen crew perished, and it was the last airship to fall on English soil.


        Zeppelin L48                                                             L48 at Theberton

In 1918, at the age of 21, Captain Loudon Pierce Watkins was killed in action in France and is buried at Ligny-St. Flochel British Cemetery, Pas-de-Calais...

It is not known what significance this piece of Marconi history has to Loudon Pierce Watkins and Goldhanger…

...however, Zeppelin L48 is clearly shown on this BT phonecard.  More at...  Marconi WW-1 Direction Finders

Captain Arthur Dennis

On the 29th of January 1918 Captain Arthur Dennis of No37 Squadron at Goldhanger made an emergency landing in the field beside the Canal at Heybridge Basin...

Capt. Dennis’s BE-12 in a Heybridge field

Captain Dennis had intercepted a German Giant bomber in an unsuccessful attack with a fellow No37 Squadron pilots. His plane was damaged and he made emergency landing in this field. Here is an extract from No37 Squadron operational records...

Captain Arthur Dennis

a set of operational records for 32 sorties of 37 Squadron at Goldhanger between 1917 & 1918 are here...

 Operational Records     (13-page PDF file)

Major Mick Mannock VC, DSO, MCO as the flight commander of the newly formed No. 74 Squadron flew his Squadron to Goldhanger aerodrome in March 1918 on route to Ypres, and he wrote to a friend: “Our three days at Goldhanger were due to an air-raid scare, bur we neither saw nor heard any enemies there. Our brief stay in this cheerless spot was enlivened the night before we left by a little excitement caused by the great big chief of the village (thought to be Dr Henry Salter, who was the “Chief Special Constable” for the area) who objected to the Squadron singing some of the renowned R.F.C. songs in the Chequers Inn“. Major Mannock resented the intrusion, and offered to throw out the big noise but gave him the alternative of staying and accepting a drink. The Arm of the Law fortunately saw the funny side of the offer and chose the drink. The next day Mannock and his pilots, some more than likely still “hung over”, left for France. Many of them did not come back. Major Mannock himself was shot down and killed between Calonne and Lestreme in the July. He won the Military Cross twice, was one of the rare three-time winners of the Distinguished Service Order after shooting down 20 German planes in May 1918, four of them in one day. He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross and is still regarded as one of the greatest fighter pilots.


Major Mick Mannock - “the highest scoring WW1 Ace with at least 75 kills”


The four pilots from No.37 squadron at Goldhanger lost their lives during the war. . .

Sydney Armstrong

In February 1918 Second Lieutenant Sydney Armstrong suffered engine failure in his BE-12 while attacking a Giant R.25 bomber. He had stopped over at the Easthorpe Night Landing Ground, but then crashed between Tolleshunt Major and Goldhanger. He is buried in a military grave in St Peter's Church Goldhanger.

His name is on the Goldhanger War Memorial.

The Flight Station log recorded:

On the 17/18 Feb. 1918 there was a single Giant raid on London. 69 UK planes were involved with 4 from Goldhanger. 21 were killed & were 32 injured in the raid. One of them was 2nd Lt. Sydney Armstrong who was killed when his engine was damaged and he crashed in a field between Goldhanger and Tolleshunt Major. The log also recorded: “It is believed that Lt. Armstrong intercepted Giant R.25 and the engine of his aircraft was damaged”

Frederick Augustus Crowley




Also in February 1918 Second Lieutenant Frederick Augustus Crowley crashed in his Sopwith Camel in a field in the centre of Goldhanger close to the Cricketers Inn. He is also buried in military grave in St Peter's Church and his name is on the Goldhanger War Memorial.


William Quintus Newsom Richardson

2nd Lieutenant Royal Flying Corps. Died 6 October 1917.

The Parish magazine for November 1917 recorded:

“On Saturday, Oct. 6th, in the afternoon about 4 o’clock, the first fatal accident at the Air Station occurred here, when a new-comer, Lieut. Richardson, who had only been on the Station about 24 hours, was upon a practice flight, and his machine fell to the ground from no great height, as the result of a sideslip.  Death appears to have been instantaneous and the machine was wrecked.”

The Rector wrote a letter of sympathy to his bereaved mother (a widow) in behalf of the people of Goldhanger, which was later acknowledged with grateful thanks.  William Richardson was 19 years old, and photograph has been found. His remains were taken to Maldon Cemetery for burial at Grave 42 54

There is more about William Richardson at...

Alexander Bruce Kynnock

Capt. A B Kynnoch (or Kynoch) was born in Essex in January 1894. On the night of March 7/8, 1918 he took-off from Goldhanger, in a BE.12 to do battle with six invading Gotha bombers. During the engagement he collided with an SE.5a flown by Captain H C Stroud from 61 Squadron at Rochford, and entangled together, The two aircraft fell to the ground, crashing near a railway line at Shotgate, Essex. Both pilots were killed and are remembered by two memorials at the site.

Captain Kynnock's final resting place is in the St Pancras and Islington Cemetery in north London. He was awarded the 1914 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

There is more about Alexander Kynnoch at...

(then scroll down the page a liitle)



 these officers graves are maintained by the War Graves Commission

The memorial at Stow Maries unveiled in 2000 identifies the four airmen stationed at Goldhanger

Brass plate unveiled at Gardeners Farm in August 2015

See also...  Zeppelin Busters over the Blackwater

and...  37-Squadron Night Landing Grounds



HMS Osea

Although not part of Goldhanger Parish, the story of Goldhanger’s involvement in the Great War would not be complete without including the history of HMS Osea, which was just across the estuary on Osea Island. Also several Goldhanger residents worked at HMS Osea as civilians which they described in a BBC TV programme recorded in 1981 and available on YouTube at... Osea Island Reminiscences.  A very large naval base was established there with all the facilities for the operation of a fleet of high speed motor torpedo boats called ‘Coastal Motor Boats’ and well known as CMBs. Work became in 1917 using existing facilities built by Frederick Charrington as a retreat for those suffering the effects of alcohol.

The new occupants rapidly developed and expanded the site into a base for over 1000 personnel with 40 operational boats and all the support facilities. In fact, military involvement with Osea Island had started as early as 1913 when trials of prototype seaplanes were held there. See… Estuary Activities - Seaplane trials. The CMBs were designed and initially built by Thornycroft Ltd. but during WW-1 production of the wooden boats took place in several boat yards. Judging by the scenes of the HMS Osea workshops in this IWM video on the Island it would seem that final assembly of the boats and fitting of the torpedoes took place on the island.


CMB from HMS Osea at speed                                         model and section drawing of a CMBs

select to enlarge and zoom-in

The purpose of the base was kept very secret at the time but the CMBs, or “skimmers” as they were called locally, were very active on the Blackwater Estuary practicing and developing their skills and plans to take on the German fleet. In total 40 Coastal Motor Boats from the base patrolled the North Sea searching for German submarines and small naval vessels and laid mines. They also took part in famous raids on Zeebrugge and Ostend when the Royal Navy attempted to block the entrances to the German submarine bases there.

The torpedo was launched from the rear of the CMB by being hydraulically pushed out the back, so the boat had to do a rapid 180 degree turn to avoid being hit by its own weapon! There were no reports of deaths resulting from getting this manoeuvre wrong.


torpedo mounted in the CMB                                           the launch maneuver

Royal Navy map from the time showing the CMB storage & maintenance buildings, rail tracks, pier, slipway and accommodation huts

select the map to access an  interactive version  with links to 30 views from the ground taken at the time

a list of personnel stationed on the Island

North                                                                                                                              East

panoramic views of the island taken from the water tower (water works on map above) showing most of the buildings on the base

East                                                                                                                           South

CMB boat sheds and launch tracks


postcard views of HMS Osea


HMS Osea - a photographic re-construction of the CMB sheds, tracks and slipway on the island

The map and panoramic views indicate that over 40 huts were built on the island to accommodate over 1000 navy personnel, which including a large number of personnel from the newly formed Women's Royal Naval Service (WRNS). The Imperial War Museum website has a collection of photographs of HMS Osea showing the personnel at work (search Google images for: IMW HMS Osea).

About 30 large accommodation huts were built on Osea island and another eight on the Goldhanger aerodrome site. After the war, it seems most of these, and another eight on the Goldhanger aerodrome site, were purchased by May & Butcher of Heybridge Basin and were sold on as private homes and holiday cottages. Many were re-built along the Goldhanger Rd, Basin Rd and Wharf Rd in Heybridge.

The huts were known as Armstrong huts having acquired the name after a Major B H O Armstrong of the Directorate of Fortifications and Works, that issued sets of drawings and orders for the huts in August 1914. Although all of the same design and appearance, there were several sizes: The basic size was 60 feet by 20 feet designed to accommodated 30 men, other sizes included 60 ft by 15 ft, 24 ft by 15 ft and 12 ft by 9 ft. The huts were assembled on site by teams of carpenters, including many women, using prefabricated parts and could easily be dismantled and moved. The history of these buildings is given at…

About a dozen buildings remained on the island and have been adapted and re-used…

Of the many that were moved to the mainland and re-used as private homes, sixteen can still be seen in Wharf Road, Basin Road and the Goldhanger Road in Heybridge. Most have undergone much re-modelling over the years…

Many other smaller huts were also sold on and re-used as farm buildings and garages, etc. and remain in private hands the vicinity…


The remnants of the slipway can still be seen on the island and other relics remain. The large number of people and their operations on to the island are said to have had an effect on the water table in the surrounding area and the wells that people relied on for drinking water in Heybridge and Goldhanger had to be re-dug to maintain local supplies.


HMS Osea’s best known achievements

Perhaps the most important and best know achievements of HMS Osea took place just after the Great War when the UK’s attentions turned towards the Bolsheviks and the Baltic Sea. In late 1918 Commodore Augustus Agar was asked to “volunteer” for a mission in the Baltic Sea and CMBs were to be used to ferry British agents back and forth from Bolshevik Russia

Commodore Augustus Willington Shelton Agar, VC, DSO, RN (1890-1968) was a recipient of the Victoria Cross while based at Osea Island. In late 1918 he was asked to “volunteer” for a mission in the Baltic Sea and CMBs were to be used to ferry British agents back and forth from Bolshevik Russia. Agar and his crews dressed in civilian clothes, they had a uniform on board in case they were in danger of capture. Without the uniform, they could be shot as spies. The Bolsheviks had seized much of the Russian fleet at Kronstadt, Agar considered these vessels a menace to British operations so took it upon himself to attack them. They attacked a Russian cruiser, the 6,645 ton Oleg and sunk it, after which Lieutenant Agar retired to the safety of the open bay under heavy fire. For this he was awarded the Victoria Cross and was promoted to Lieutenant Commander on 30 June 1919.

On 18 August 1919, Agar took his remaining boat against the Russians, acting as guide-ship to a flotilla of six others, leading them through the minefields and past the forts. Agar's boat was ordered to stay outside the harbour, and the attack was lead by Commander Claude Dobson, but they entered Kronstadt harbour, this time sinking two battleships, the 23,360 ton dreadnought Petropavlovsk and the 17,400 ton pre-dreadnought Andrei Pervozvanny, and a submarine depot ship, the 6,734 ton Pamiat Azova. In 1961 Captain Agar published his mémoires in "Footprints in the Sea".




From The Admiralty  Register of  1919…

The King is pleased to approve of the award of the Victoria Cross to the under mentioned Officers:


Commander Claude Congreve Dobson, D.S.O., R.N.

conspicuous gallantry, skill and devotion to duty in the

attack on Kronstadt Harbour in CMB-31. 18th Aug 1919


Lieutenant Gordon Charles Steele, R.N.

conspicuous gallantry, skill and devotion to duty in the

attack on Kronstadt Harbour in CMB-88. 18th Aug 1919


Lieutenant Augustine Wellington Shelton Agar, DSO, RN

conspicuous gallantry, coolness and skill under

extremely difficult conditions in action. 22nd Aug 1919


Commodore Agar’s CMB at Duxford

Four IWM WW1 films of HMS Osea have been identified and can be accessed via the… Goldhanger related videos page.


There are also many photographs of HMS Osea held in the IWM at… osea


a plaque on Osea Island


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