Remembering Worthing’s fallen

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

Lieutenant Howard Matthew Belchem

Northumberland Fusiliers 1st/5th Battalion

Died March 19, 1915, aged 36

Howard Belchem was born in Guildford, Surrey, on September 15, 1878, and baptised there on October 6 of that year.

He was the son of Captain Frederick Belchem and his wife Mary Ann, and was the fifth child in a family of four sons and six daughters.

In the 1881 census, the family was residing at Stoughton barracks at Stoke, near Guildford.

Ten years later 12 year old Howard was a pupil boarder at Ardingly College, near Haywards Heath.

Howard enlisted in the Northumberland Fusiliers and went on to have an illustrious career, serving in the Sudan and South African wars.

In 1904 he married Margaret Comer West at Wynberg, South Africa, and their first two children were born at Bloemfontein.

Four more children were born to them after their return to England.

In 1911 Howard, now Quarter Master Sergeant, and his family were at Hillsborough Barracks, Sheffield.

At the start of the War, Lieutenant Belchem was posted to France with his regiment.

On March 19, 1915, he was killed by a sniper while on active service near Ypres. He was 36 years old.

He is buried in the Ramparts Cemetery at Lille Gate, Ypres.

His widow, Margaret, who was living at ‘Kylemore’, Harrow Road, (now 12 Rugby Road), died at Worthing in 1922.

4087 Rifleman Albert Edward Brown

Rifle Brigade 2nd Battalion

Died March 14, 1915, aged 22

Albert Brown was the son of George and Ellen Brown.

His father, born in 1837 in Tarring, worked as a bricklayer and married Ellen Caroline Grevatt on December 28, 1878, at St Mary’s Church, Broadwater.

They raised a family of ten children, seven boys and three girls, Albert being the sixth child.

The family home was at Alma Cottage, 76 High Street, which has since been demolished.

After attending St George’s School, in Lyndhurst Road, Albert joined his father in his building company.

In 1911 Albert enlisted in Brighton with the Rifle Brigade as Rifleman 4087, and was living in barracks in Winchester.

When war commenced he was sent to France and was killed in action at Neuve Chapelle.

He has no known grave but is commemorated on panel 44 of the Le Touret Memorial.

Albert’s parents died within a month of each other in September and October 1927 and are buried in Broadwater Cemetery.

On their grave (above) is a scroll which says: “In loving memory of our dear son (Bert) Rifleman A E Brown 2nd Batt. Rifle Brigade aged 22 years – who fell in the great battle for Neuve Chapelle March 14th 1915. He died for his King and country. Greater love hath no man than to give his life for others.”

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

1902 Rifleman William Clark

Rifle Brigade The Prince Consort’s Own 4th Battalion

Died March 22, 1915

William Clark was born at 9 Stanhope Road, Worthing, in 1890 to Joshua, a saddler by trade, and his wife Blanche.

He was the third child in a family of four sons and one daughter.

He was a pupil at Christ Church School, in Chapel Street (now Portland Road).

Later, the family moved to 1 Cranworth Road.

William enlisted in Worthing with the Rifle Brigade, and in 1911 he was serving with the 4th Battalion in Egypt at The Citadel, Cairo.

He was sent to France at the start of the Great War.

On March 22 he died from wounds received while fighting in the battle of Neuve Chapelle.

13,000 British men lost their lives in this battle.

William is buried in Bailleul Communal Cemetery and remembered on the St Paul’s War memorial in Chapel Road, Worthing.

He is also remembered on the Christ Church School war memorial.

8474 Guardsman Stanley Henry Haylor

Scots Guards 1st Battalion

Died March 31, 1915, aged 21

Stanley Haylor was born in Worthing in 1894.

He was the youngest of the six children of George, a bricklayer, and his wife Emily.

The family lived in Cranworth Road, Worthing, first at number 53 and later at number 21.

Stanley attended St George’s School, in Lyndhurst Road.

In 1914 Stanley joined the 1st Battalion, The Scots Guards.

They were stationed at Aldershot and were one of the first units of the British Expeditionary Force to be sent to France.

The Battalion landed at Le Havre on August 14, 1914, and was soon in action at the battles of Mons and Marne.

Early in 1915 Stanley was captured and sent to Poznan, Poland, as a prisoner of war.

He died there on March 31, 1915, and is buried in the Poznan Old Garrison Cemetery, which also contains 126 Commonwealth and British graves.

Stanley was the second soldier from Cranworth Road, along with William Clark, to be killed in 9 days.