This webpage is placed here in the hope that it will stimulate the people of Colchester, and the surrounding district, into creating and/or participating in events commemorating the centenary of the First World War, 1914 to 1918.


In March 2014, a meeting was convened and chaired by MP for Colchester Sir Bob Russell, to explore ways in which Colchester could commemorate the centenary of the First World War. Those persons who attended gave a positive reponse and comprised members from the armed forces, the Royal British Legion, youth organisations and private individuals. It was agreed that a vigil should be held on the evening of the centenary of the first day of war being declared, 4th August 2014.

Further commemorative events would be held to align with centenaries of import actions during that war, culminating with a full blown celebration of the end of the hostilities on 11th November 1918. The aim of the group is to welcome others to join them, to create appropriate events to commemorate the various happenings and to link up with others who are planning similar events within the town and the locality generally.

Welcome to this new page. Please assist us if you can, by spreading the word around your friends. We need ideas for events to commemorate various WW1 battles and happenings. Most importantly we want to support other events of this type, to avoid clashes. Does your locality's war memorial need sprucing up? Has anybody done a transcription of your war memorial. Do you have pictures of these men and women who served during WW1 and and stories to go with them?



4th August 1914

A Vigil to Commemorate the centenery of this epic event. Was held at 6.30pm on Monday 4th August at the War Memorial in High Street, Colchester, as a mark of respect, remembrance and unity? This was an informal gathering of people, some with a story to tell, some who lost members of their family, some who simply wanted to show their repect, etc. This simply took the form of a two minute silence at the memorial, at 7pm. It was joined by members of the armed forces, British Legion, and others. BBC television covered this and asked people to start to gather at 6.30pm, bringing grandad's old war medals, photographs, memorabilia, etc. The event went out on the BBC Look East that evening with supporting footage taken at the old Le Cateau barracks.

The floral display in Castle Park.

Sir Bob Russell, MP for Colchester, addresses those who gathered for the vigil for the centenery of the declaration of war against Germany.

Our Colchester Boys who lost their lives in 1914.

Our Youngest


Rank:Boy 1st Class Service No:J/27386 Date of Death:15/10/1914 Age:16 Regiment/Service:Royal Navy H.M.S. "Hawke." Panel Reference: 3. Memorial:CHATHAM NAVAL MEMORIAL Additional Information: Son of Mr. and Mrs. Rogers, of 73, New Park St., Colchester.

Our first losses

At the Battle of Le Cateau, 26th August 1914, Colchester lost many of its sons. Four are shown below, all from the Suffolk Regiment. The total British casualties at Le Cateau amounted to 7,812 of all ranks, killed, wounded and missing. 38 field guns were lost. It is said by some that, through the course of the entire war, never were British troops as heavily outnumbered.


Rank:Lieutenant Colonel Date of Death:26/08/1914 Age:49 Regiment/Service:Suffolk Regiment 2nd Bn Awards: D S O, Mentioned in Despatches Panel Reference: Memorial: LA FERTE-SOUS-JOUARRE MEMORIAL Additional Information: Son of the late Lt. Col. Arthur Brett (A.P.D.), formerly of the 2nd Dragoon Guards (Queen's Bays), and of the late Mrs. Georgina Brett (nee Hannay); husband of Enid Geraldine Brett (nee St. George), of 20, Cambridge Rd., Colchester. (Despatches - France and Flanders (and in the South African War, DSO - South Africa).


Rank:Private Service No:8743 Date of Death:26/08/1914 Age:20 Regiment/Service:Suffolk Regiment "D" Coy. 2nd Bn Awards:Mentioned in Despatches Panel Reference: Memorial:LA FERTE-SOUS-JOUARRE MEMORIAL Additional Information: Son of Thomas Hazell, of 17, Nunns Rd., Colchester.


Rank:Serjeant Service No:5931 Date of Death:26/08/1914 Age:30 Regiment/Service:Suffolk Regiment 2nd Bn. Panel Reference: Memorial:LA FERTE-SOUS-JOUARRE MEMORIAL Additional Information: Son of Mrs. Charlotte Jaye, of 27, West Stockwell St., Colchester.


Rank:Private Service No:6610 Date of Death:26/08/1914 Age:26 Regiment/Service:Suffolk Regiment 2nd Bn. Panel Reference: Memorial:LA FERTE-SOUS-JOUARRE MEMORIAL Additional Information: Son of David and Alice Sargeant, of The Foule, Blackheath, Colchester; husband of the late Alice Maud Sargeant.


The following Colchester boys have been found from a CWGC search looking for the Essex Regiment and Suffolk Regiment only. There were 49 men listed with a Colchester connection but we only searched these two regiments. Please advise us of any that we have missed.


Rank:Private Service No:9874Date of Death:15/10/1914 Age:19 Regiment/Service:Essex Regiment "C" Coy. 2nd Bn. Grave Reference: I. D. 33. Cemetery:HAZEBROUCK COMMUNAL CEMETERY Additional Information: Son of Mr. and Mrs. W. Burgess, of 39, Mile End Rd., Colchester. Native of Ipswich.


Rank:Private Service No:8231 Date of Death:21/10/1914 Age:27 Regiment/Service:Essex Regiment 2nd Bn. Panel Reference: Panel 7. Memorial:PLOEGSTEERT MEMORIALAdditional Information: Son of Ellen Jackson, of 2, St. James School Yard, East Hill, Colchester, and the late George Jackson.


Rank:PrivateService No:10020Date of Death:04/11/1914Age:19Regiment/Service:Essex Regiment 2nd Bn. Grave Reference: III. B. 24. Cemetery:BOULOGNE EASTERN CEMETERYAdditional Information: Son of Ralph and Rose Beaumont, of 25, Mill Rd., Mile End, Colchester.


Rank:Lance Corporal Service No:9588 Date of Death:24/11/1914 Age:21 Regiment/Service:Essex Regiment "D" Coy. 2nd Bn. Grave Reference: I. C. 5. Cemetery:CALVAIRE (ESSEX) MILITARY CEMETERY Additional Information: Son of Elizabeth H. Bather, of 22, Northgate St., Colchester.


Rank:Serjeant Service No:2512 Date of Death:03/12/1914 Age:57 Regiment/Service:Essex Regiment 6th Bn. Grave Reference: S. 7. 92. Cemetery:COLCHESTER CEMETERY Additional Information: Husband of Alice Onn, of 48, Lisle Rd., Colchester.


Rank:Bandsman Service No:7737 Date of Death:29/12/1914 Age:25 Regiment/Service:Essex Regiment 2nd Bn. Grave Reference: I. B. 11. Cemetery:CALVAIRE (ESSEX) MILITARY CEMETERY Additional Information: Son of Thomas and Eliza Soughan, of 44, Lisle Rd., Colchester.

Our Allies.

These four Belgian soldiers died in Colchester in 1914 and are buried in Colchester Cemetery, presumably having died of their wounds. These are some of Colchester's earliest casualties.

Baudour, Fernand Emile Louis Jules

Verdoodt, Pierre Felicien

Coquette, Camille Augustin

Van Bossuyt, Jean Baptiste Rene

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 There is more information about our war dead at:


External Links

Ted Sparrow - men of Tollesbury

To contact us please email:

Jess Jephcott at



page created

28th March 2014

revised 31st July 2017