Private Arthur Frederick Benton
Arthur was born in Doddinghurst in 1883 and was working at Covers Farm in Doddinghurst before he enlisted in November 1914. He was wounded in October 1915 and sent home to recover. He returned to the front early in 1917 and served in the Labour Corps of the Northamptonshire Regiment until his death on September 6th, 1917, following a fall from a train. Arthur is buried in the Brandhoek Military Cemetery, near Ypres.
Private Harry Benton
Harry was Arthur’s younger brother. He was born in Doddinghurst in 1890 and was also working at Covers farm when he enlisted with the Middlesex Regiment. He died on September 16th, 1916, during the Battle of the Somme. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial which remembers all the soldiers who died during that battle and have no known grave.
Private George Everett
George was born in 1886 and moved to Frog Street in Doddinghurst as a young boy. He was working as a horseman on Cow Farm when he enlisted. He served in the Northamptonshire Regiment and later in the Suffolk Regiment. He died on November 13th, 1916, five days before the end of the battle of the Somme.
He is buried at Queen’s cemetery, Puisieux in northern France.
Private Arthur John Hammond
Arthur was born in Doddinghurst in 1881 and was working on a local farm when he enlisted with the Essex Regiment. He was killed in action on April 28th, 1917, the same day as Harry Riglin and James Roast (see below), probably during the Battle of Arleux.
Arthur is commemorated on the Arras Memorial as one of the 35,000 allied soldiers who died during the Arras offensive and have no known grave.
Private George Hammond
George was Arthur’s younger brother. He was born in Doddinghurst in 1882. He, too, was an agricultural labourer, working locally. He joined the Suffolk Regiment and was killed in action on March 21st, 1918, on the first day of the German Spring Offensive. He is also commemorated on the Arras Memorial.
Private Herbert Miller
Herbert was born at Swallows Cross in the Parish of Doddinghurst in 1890 and was working as a farm labourer when he enlisted with the East Surrey Regiment in 1915. He died on October 21st, 1918, about three weeks before the signing of the Armistice. He is buried in Cologne Southern Cemetery in Germany. It is probable that he was a prisoner of war.
Second Lieutenant Gerald Wellesley Pigott
Gerald was born in 1896 and moved to Blackmore House in Hook End in the Parish of Doddinghurst as a young boy. He was the only child of Captain (later Lieutenant Colonel O.B.E.) Wellesley George Pigott and his wife, who was the organist at All Saints’ Church. Gerald was gazetted Second Lieutenant in the Essex Regiment in August 1914. He was wounded in action during the second Battle of Ypres and died soon after on May 14th, 1915. He is buried at the British Officers’ Cemetery, Bailleul.
Private Harry Riglin
Harry was born at Swallows Cross in the Parish of Doddinghurst in 1886. He was employed as a butcher before joining the Suffolk Regiment. He was killed in action during the Battle of Arleux on April 28th, 1917, the same day as Arthur Hammond and James Roast (see below). He is, like them, commemorated on the Arras Memorial.
Private James Roast
James was born in 1891 and lived with his parents at Blackmore House in Hook End, where his father was a gardener employed by the Pigott family. He was working as a groom when he enlisted with the Essex Regiment. He was killed during the Battle of Arleux on the same day as Arthur Hammond and Harry Riglin.
He is, like them, commemorated on the Arras Memorial.
Lieutenant St George Swaine Showers
St George was born in India in 1897 where his father was a tea planter. He was educated at Wellington College where he was in the same year as Gerald Pigott. He joined the same regiment as Gerald – the Essex Regiment and fought in France from March 1916 until his death on August 9th, 1917. He had no link with Doddinghurst apart from his friendship with Gerald.
He is buried at Monchy le Preux, about six miles from Arras, but there is no known grave. In Theydon Garnon Church, where his parents were married, there is a stained glass window dedicated to his memory. His name is also inscribed on the Theydon Garnon war memorial. The inclusion of St George’s name on the plaque in All Saints’ Church may well have been at the instigation of Gerald Pigott’s parents.
These names were taken from the plaque on the north wall of the church erected in 1919 and their stories researched by Laurie Gray, a member of the War Memorial Committee.
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