Remembering Worthing’s fallen

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The Worthing men who died in January 1915 while serving their country in the First World War.

Gunner George Bungard

Royal Navy, HMS Formidable

Died January 1, 1915, aged 38

George Bungard was born in Worthing on the June 13, 1876, and baptised at Broadwater Church on February 25, 1877.

His father, Thomas, was a postman and his home was at 26 West Street, Broadwater.

Later, the family moved to 33 Orme Road.

At the age of 14, George was working as a gardener.

In 1893, George enlisted in the Royal Navy for 21 years.

He served on board many ships including HMS Excellent, HMS Vulcan and HMS Renown.

At the outbreak of the First World War, he was serving on HMS Formidable, patrolling the English Channel off Portland Bill, when his ship was torpedoed by the German submarine U24.

The first torpedo hit the ship at 2.20am. 80 men were rescued by other ships in the convoy.

At 3.05am, when the ship was rolling and sinking, she was hit by another torpedo.

Another 150 men were rescued by local boats as daylight broke, but sadly, George was not among the survivors.

The ship`s captain stayed on the bridge and went down with the ship, together with his fox terrier, Bruce.

The dog`s body was washed ashore and buried in Abbotsbury Gardens cemetery.

George is commemorated on the Naval memorial at Chatham.

His family also received a message of sympathy from the King and Queen for their sad loss.

L/8760 Lance Corporal Horace George Hillyer

2nd Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment “C” Company

Died January 1, 1915

Horace Hillyer was born in Worthing in 1891.

He was the eldest child of four, born to William Hillyer, a house painter, and his wife, Fanny, née Head.

The family was living at 20 Paragon Street, Worthing, when Horace`s sister, Alma, tragically died aged four.

Later, the Hillyers moved to Anglesea Street, first to number 3 and then to number 10.

He attended St Andrew’s School in Clifton Road.

Horace had been working as a paper hanger when he enlisted with the Royal Sussex Regiment on July 8, 1907.

He was 18 years and three months old, with blue eyes and light brown hair, just over 5ft 6in tall and weighing 112lbs.

He served four years and 336 days with his regiment, during which time he spent 18 days in Belfast Hospital with pneumonia.

When Horace left the army in June, 1912, he was recommended for a career in the police force.

His conduct had been described as very good and he had committed no offence during the whole time of his service.

At the start of the FIrst World War, Horace rejoined his regiment on August 12, 1914, and went to France with the British Expeditionary Force.

On January 1, 1915, he was in action near Cuinchy and reported as missing after a bayonet charge.

He was later presumed to have died on that day.

He is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial, Pas de Calais, and also on the war memorial at Holy Trinity Church, Worthing. Trinity Church, Worthing.

GS/309 Private Alfred Henry King

Royal Sussex Regiment 2nd Battalion

Died January 1, 1915, aged 39

Alfred King was born in the St Peter’s district of Brighton in 1876.

His parents Amos, a brewers labourer, and Anne came from the Henfield/Albourne area of Sussex.

In 1898 Alfred married Dorcas Thorneycroft in Brighton.

She was the daughter of a publican from Alciston, in East Sussex, and Alfred also went into the licensing trade in Brighton.

He and Dorcas were living at 9 Sydney Street, Brighton, at the time.

However by 1911, they had moved to Cavendish House, Teville Road, Worthing.

At this time Alfred was working as a jobbing gardener in the area.

At the start of the war Alfred enlisted at Brighton into the Royal Sussex Regiment 2nd Battalion.

He went to France with his battalion as part of the British Expeditionary Force.

On January 1, 1915, the artillery was bombarding the German trenches near Cuinchy with Lyddite.

Alfred was one of several men killed in this action that day.

Seven men were also wounded and ten went missing on that day.

Alfred is remembered on the Le Touret Memorial at the Pas de Calais.

187215 Petty Officer 1st Class Albert Strudwick

Royal Navy, HMS Formidable

Died January 1, 1915, aged 34

Albert Strudwick was born on March 2, 1880, at 30 Church Street in the village of Amberley, to parents Henry, a bricklayer, and Henrietta, née Leach. Henrietta died in 1888.

By the time he was 13, Albert was in lodgings with the Jackson family, of Middle Street, Amberley, and working as a labourer.

In 1907, Albert married Charlotte Lucy Restall, of 3 Cranmer Road, West Tarring.

A daughter, Kathleen Charlotte, was born in 1909.

In 1911, Charlotte and her daughter were living at 14 Paragon Street, Worthing, and Charlotte was working as a dressmaker.

By now, Albert had joined the Royal Navy and in 1913 he was serving on HMS Nelson, of the 2nd Battle Squadron of the Home Fleet.

By the start of the war, Albert had risen to the rank of Petty Officer 1st Class and was serving on HMS Formidable.

On January 1, 1915, the ship was torpedoed by a German submarine in the English Channel, off Portland Bill.

While a rescue mission was taking place, a second torpedo hit the ship. Up to 600 sailors lost their lives and Albert`s body was never recovered.

He is remembered on the Chatham Naval Memorial.

Another Worthing sailor, Gunner George Bungard, also lost his life in the disaster.

Lieutenant Arthur Langton Airy

Northamptonshire Regiment 3rd Batalion, attached 1st Battalion

Died January 11, 1915, aged 39

Arthur Airy was born on May 3, 1876, at Kidbrook, Blackheath, Kent, the son of Dr Hubert Airy and his wife, Susan.

His grandfather was Sir George Biddell Airy, Astronomer Royal, 1831-1881.

Arthur was educated at Eaton House School, Woodbridge, Suffolk, and later studied art at the Herkomer Art School, at Bushey, Hertfordshire.

He joined the Northamptonshire Regiment in 1900 and saw service in South Africa.

In 1903 he retired from the army on the death of his father, with the rank of lieutenant.

Also in 1903 he married Grace Wood, daughter of the Rev William Wood.

They had two sons, both born in Battersea, London.

By 1911, the family had moved to South Lodge, Broadwater Road, Worthing, where Arthur worked as an artist.

He was a member of the Ipswich Art Club and exhibited at the Royal Academy.

He was also a prominent member of Worthing Golf Club.

Later, the family moved to Hillcot, Shakespeare Road, Worthing – now 24 Shakespeare Road.

At the start of the war, Arthur re-enlisted in the army.

He was killed in the trenches near Cuinchy, his company supporting an attack by the King’s Royal Rifle Corps.

He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial.

He is also remembered on the war memorials of St Paul’s and Heene Church.

Probate was granted with effects of £14,863 9s. to his widow, Grace Airy, who later moved to South Kensington, London.

1273 Driver William Arnold Frank Daughtrey

Royal Field Artillery 1st Sussex Brigade Territorial Force

Died January 16, 1915, aged 20

William Daughtrey was born in Lancing in 1895.

He was the eldest of the seven children of William and Elizabeth Daughtrey.

William Sr was an invalid and in 1901, Elizabeth and her two eldest children were lodgers at the Lausanne laundry behind Park Crescent, Worthing.

At this time, Elizabeth was also working at the laundry.

By 1911, the Daughtreys had moved to 1 Sandys Cottage, South Lancing, and 16-year-old William was working as a labourer. He later went to work for a nurseryman.

On October 1, 1913, William enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery, Territorial Force.

He enlisted at the Elite Drill Hall, Worthing, as a driver.

His address at that time was 77 Sugden Road and he was 18 years and three months old. On November 6, he started his four years service in the UK.

The following year, on October 29, William set sail for India with his regiment.

He was to serve only 80 days in that country. On January 16, 1915, William died.

Records show that he died of a disease, but further research revealed that he was accidentally shot by a comrade.

Two witnesses stated that they heard a gunshot and on investigation found William collapsed with a bullet wound in his right breast.

He died within 20 minutes.

A colleague, Driver Johnson, who was holding a gun, was arrested but later released without charge.

It took many months, if not years, for the truth to reach the UK.

Meanwhile, William’s widowed mother wrote repeatedly for her son’s death plaque and scroll.

William is buried at Kamptee Cemetery, Maharashtra, India.

He is remembered on the war memorials at St. Paul’s and West Tarring.

G/1253 Private Frederick Victor Stead

2nd Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment

Died January 26, 1915, aged 18

Frederick Stead was born at Marylebone, London, in 1897 to William and Ellen.

The family later moved to Worthing and lived at Havelock Cottage, Lyndhurst Road – now 11 Providence Terrace.

In 1911, Frederick is described as a greengrocer’s assistant.

Frederick joined the 2nd Battalion Royal Sussex regiment and landed in France in August 1914.

They were soon in action and fought at most of the battles in the early months of the war – Mons, Marne and the Aisne.

The battalion was soon in action again at Givenchy.

The battalion diary states that they were heavily shelled on January 26, 1915, and fought off several attacks by the Germans.

Frederick was killed in a bayonet charge.

He has no known grave and is remembered on the Le Touret memorial.

The details given on the Commonwealth War Grave Commission memorial states that he was the son of Ellen Novell (formerly Stead), of Ennismore, High Street, Worthing, and the late William Stead.

He is also remembered on the St George’s School memorial.

The 2nd Battalion lost 1,723 men in the war, more than any other battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment.

S3/030285 Private Frederick Charles Hayler

Army Service Corps “K” Supply Company

Died January 28, 1915, of scarlet fever, aged 23

Frederick Hayler was born on December 15, 1891, at Warnham, and baptised there on March 27, 1892.

He was the elder of the two sons of Charles Hayler, a stockman, and his wife Jane.

Home was at 16 Church Street, Warnham.

Before the war, Frederick was living at 2 Alexander Terrace, Worthing – now 40 or 42 Lyndhurst Road – and working as a butcher.

On November 18, 1914, he enlisted into the Army Service Corps at Worthing.

His medical records reveal that he was 5ft 8in tall and weighed 154lbs at that time. He was also slightly flat-footed in his left foot.

On November 26, 1914, he was sent to Aldershot where he continued in his former occupation.

He later underwent a test and was awarded a certificate to prove he was a `fair butcher`.

In January, 1915, Frederick contracted scarlet fever and was transferred to the isolation hospital at Aldershot.

He never recovered and died there on January 28, 1915.

He was buried in the beautiful churchyard of St Margaret`s, Warnham, where he was baptised 23 years before.

His sorrowing parents erected an impressive headstone to his memory, with the following words: “We loved him, yes no tongue can tell, How deep, how dearly and how well. God loved him, too, and thought it best, To take him home with him to rest.”

L/10136 Lance Corporal Jesse Albert Butt

Royal Sussex Regiment 2nd Battalion, 1st Division

Died January 31, 1915, aged 20

Jesse Butt was born in Worthing in 1895.

Frederick, his father, was a gardener and Fanny, his mother, worked as a laundress.

A year after Jesse’s birth his father died and a few years later his mother Fanny married her brother-in-law, James Butt, a market gardener.

The family home was at 30 Ham Road.

Jesse was a pupil at St George’s School, Lyndhurst Road, and at the age of 15 he had left school and was helping his mother as a laundry boy.

Later, the family moved to The Bungalow, 14 Brougham Road, Worthing.

Jesse enlisted in the Royal Sussex Regiment at Chichester.

Before the start of the war and achieved the rank of Lance Corporal.

He was sent to France with the British Expeditionary Force.

On January 31, 1915, he died of wounds received in a Royal Sussex Regiment bayonet charge at La Bassee.

He is buried in Lillers Communal Cemetery.

He is also remembered on the memorial to the former pupils of St George’s School, now situated in the Sidney Walter Centre, Sussex Road, Worthing.