This webpage is placed here to tell of those men of Colchester, and the surrounding district,
who were remembered by the people of Colchester, on the occasion of the centenary of the ending of the First World War,
brought about by the signing of the armistice on 11th November 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 they 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 important 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 was to welcome others to join them, to create appropriate events to commemorate the various happenings and to link up with others who were planning similar events within the town and the locality generally.
This web page gives details of some of the events that happenied in Colchester, together with general information about famous periods during 'The Great War'. There are more than 1200 casualties recorded on our town's memorial, but we are only able to mention some of these here. The full casualty list that we have is shown here.
If you have any pictures or stories to add, please let us know.
THE OUTBREAK OF HOSTILITIES
4th August 1914
A Vigil to Commemorate the centenery of this epic day 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 respect, 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's Look East programme that evening, with supporting footage taken at the old 'Le Cateau' barracks.
The floral display in Castle Park.
Sir Bob Russell, MP for Colchester (later to become High Steward of Colchester), addresses those who gathered for the vigil for the centenery of the declaration of war against Germany.
'The Colchester Boys' who lost their lives in 1914.
With details mostly taken from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission web site.
ROGERS, ERNEST JOHN
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.
BRETT, CHARLES ARTHUR HUGH
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.
SARGEANT, DAVID JOHN
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.
BURGESS, GEORGE ERNEST
Rank: Private Service No: 9874 Date 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.
JACKSON, JOB JACK
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 MEMORIAL Additional Information: Son of Ellen Jackson, of 2, St. James School Yard, East Hill, Colchester, and the late George Jackson.
BEAUMONT, RALPH EDWARD
Rank: PrivateService No: 10020Date of Death:04/11/1914 Age:19 Regiment/Service: Essex Regiment 2nd Bn. Grave Reference: III. B. 24. Cemetery: BOULOGNE EASTERN CEMETERY Additional 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.
ONN, JOHN CHARLES
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.
These four Belgian soldiers died in Colchester in 1914 and are buried in Colchester Cemetery, presumably having died of their wounds here in Colchester. These are some of Colchester's earliest casualties.
Baudour, Fernand Emile Louis Jules
Verdoodt, Pierre Felicien
Coquette, Camille Augustin
Van Bossuyt, Jean Baptiste Rene
Colchester Men at Gallipoli
please follow this link for further information.
MEN FROM COLCHESTER WHO WERE KILLED IN ACTION AT
THE BATTLE OF JUTLAND 31st MAY TO 1st JUNE 1916.
Involving some 250 ships and 100,000 men, this battle off Denmark's North Sea coast was the only major naval surface engagement of World War I. The battle began in the afternoon of May 31, 1916, with gunfire between the German and British scouting forces. When the main warships met, British Admiral John Jellicoe manoeuvered his boats to take advantage of the fading daylight, scoring dozens of direct hits that eventually forced German Admiral Reinhard Scheer into retreat. Both sides claimed victory in this indecisive battle, though Britain retained control of the North Sea.
The Reader's Companion to Military History. Edited by Robert Cowley and Geoffrey Parker. Colchester information researched by Joan Soole.
NOTES ON THE SHIPS:
HMS INVINCIBLE, BATTLE CRUISER, SIX SURVIVORS
HMS BLACK PRINCE, CRUISER, ALL HANDS LOST
HMS FORTUNE, DESTROYER, ONE SURVIVOR
HMS DEFENCE, CRUISER, ALL HANDS LOST
HMS INDEFATIGABLE, BATTLE CRUISER, TWO SURVIVORS
HMS QUEEN MARY, BATTLE SHIP, BLEW UP, TWO SURVIVORSNOTES:
* NOT LISTED ON THE ROLLS OF THE FALLEN.
** STATES ON THE CERTIFICATE FROM THE CWGC THAT HE WAS ONE OF FIVE BROTHERS AND ONE SISTER WHO SERVED IN WW1. ACCORDING TO THE 1901 CENSUS HE LIVED AT 9, STRAIGHT ROAD, LEXDEN. HIS FATHER WORKED FOR THE POST OFFICE. THEY ARE NOT LISTED ON THE 1911 CENSUS AS LIVING IN COLCHESTER.
*** CONTACT WITH THE STEP GT GRANDSON OF BERTIE EVERITT.
MEN FROM COLCHESTER WHO WERE KILLED IN ACTION ON THE FIRST DAY OF
THE BATTLE OF THE SOMME ON 1st JULY 1916.
MEN FROM COLCHESTER WHO WERE KILLED IN ACTION AT
THE BATTLE OF PASSCHENDALE
31st July 1917
On July 31, 1917, the Allies launch a renewed assault on German lines in the Flanders region of Belgium, in the much-contested region near Ypres, during World War I. The attack was to begin more than three months of brutal fighting and was to become known as the Third Battle of Ypres.
After an opening barrage of some 3,000 guns, General Haig ordered nine British divisions, led by Sir Hubert Gough's 5th Army, to advance on the German lines near the Belgian village of Passchendaele on July 31st. They were joined by six French divisions. In the first two days of the attacks, while suffering heavy casualties, the Allies made significant advances; in some sectors pushing the Germans back more than a mile and taking more than 5,000 German prisoners. The battle was to continue for three months.
On November 6, 1917, Haig finally called off the offensive, claiming victory, despite some 310,000 British casualties, as opposed to 260,000 on the German side, and a failure to create any substantial breakthrough, or change of momentum, on the Western Front. Given its outcome, the Third Battle of Ypres remains one of the most costly and controversial offensives of World War I, representing, at least for the British, the epitome of the wasteful and futile nature of trench warfare.
One Colchester man died on the eve of the battle, on 30th July 1917, with seven more on the following day (with an additional who was buried at Calais and perhaps died elsewhere), when the battle began. Others were to follow.
Here are the nine:GILLON, PATRICK
Rank: Lance Corporal, Service No: 10491, Date of Death: 30/07/1917, Age: 24, Regiment/Service: Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) 2nd Bn. Awards: M M. Grave Reference: XVI. G. 2A. Cemetery: LIJSSENTHOEK MILITARY CEMETERY. Additional Information: Adopted son of Emma M. Pullin, of Ardleigh Court Cottage, Ardleigh, Colchester.
Rank: Private, Service No: 40051, Date of Death: 31/07/1917, Age: 28, Regiment/Service: Essex Regiment 10th Bn. Grave Reference: VI. G. 1. Cemetery: PERTH CEMETERY (CHINA WALL) Additional Information: Husband of Winifred Fincham (formerly Canham) of 8, Hospital Rd., Colchester.
Rank: Private, Service No: 40132, Date of Death: 31/07/1917, Regiment/Service: Northamptonshire Regiment 7th Bn. Panel Reference: Panel 43 and 45. Memorial: YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL. Additional Information: Son of Robert and Ellen Mattock, of School St., Stoke-by-Nayland, Colchester.
DYER, GEORGE HENRY
Rank: Private. Service No: 66326. Date of Death: 31/07/1917. Age: 25. Regiment/Service: Royal Fusiliers 12th Bn. Panel Reference: Panel 6 and 8. Memorial: YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL. Additional Information: Son of George Henry Dyer, of 23, Colne Rd., Lexden, Colchester, Essex.
CORNELL, EBENEZER JAMES
Rank: Private. Service No: 41653. Date of Death: 31/07/1917. Age: 40. Regiment/Service: Manchester Regiment 17th Bn. Panel Reference: Panel 53 and 55. Memorial: YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL. Additional Information: Son of William and Ellen Cornell; husband of Mary Esther Cornell, of 34, Canterbury Rd., Colchester.
KEMP, ARTHUR R.
Rank: Lance Corporal. Service No: G/42807. Date of Death: 31/07/1917. Age: 22. Regiment/Service: Middlesex Regiment 16th Bn. Panel Reference: Panel 49 and 51. Memorial: YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL. Additional Information: Son of A. William and Rosina Kemp, of 46, Walsingham Rd., Colchester, Essex.
JACOBS, GEORGE THOMAS
Rank: Private. Service No: G/28692. Date of Death: 31/07/1917. Age: 19. Regiment/Service:Middlesex Regiment 2nd Bn Panel Reference: Panel 49 and 51. Memorial: YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL. Additional Information: Son of Mrs. Louisa Jacobs, of 47, New Park St., Colchester, Essex
RANCE, CHARLES JOHN WELTON
Rank: Rifleman. Service No: Z/433. Date of Death: 31/07/1917. Age: 23. Regiment/Service: Rifle Brigade 2nd Bn. Panel Reference: Panel 46 - 48 and 50. Memorial: YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL. Additional Information: Son of William Rance, of 27, New Town Rd., Colchester, Essex.
Rank: Private. Service No: 240451. Date of Death: 31/07/1917. Age: 27. Regiment/Service: Bedfordshire Regiment 4th Bn. Grave Reference: Plot H. Row 1. Grave 11. Cemetery: CALAIS SOUTHERN CEMETERY. Additional Information: Son of Harry and Alice Baines, of Colchester; husband of Lillian A. Baines, of Cooling Common, Cliffe-at-Hoo, Kent.
The final casualities, recorded for the last ten days of the war, leading up to the armistice on 11th November.
There were many more who died after the armistice was declared and in following years, as a longer term result of their casualties.
In true Colchester Castle Park style, the gardeners excelled themselves, yet again, with bringing the town a remarkable floral display to mark the centenary. Here are a few pictures of the displays.
On Sunday 11th November 2018, people of Colchester gathered for their annual act of remembrance at the town's wonderful war memorial.
A video recording of the occasion was made and it may be viewed here.
TOMMIES' WOOD - AN ENDURING LEGACY TO THE FALLEN
In 2018, a piece of land in the Castle Park was set aside for the planting of Tommies' Wood.
'Tommies' was, of course, the name given to British soldiers by the enemy.
From the Colchester Gazette, 'Across the country, towns and villages fell silent as people remembered those who had paid the ultimate sacrifice. Never had Remembrance Sunday been more emotive than this year, the centenary of Armistice Day when the guns stopped and the world reflected on what had passed. Commemorative events took place the length and breadth of the country to remember all those who had fallen in the theatre of war and of the lives lost and the pain suffered. Colchester was among those towns which came to a standstill to remember. As a Garrison town, it had a special significance and troops and cadets joined the proud march along the High Street.
In all, more than 6,000 people in Colchester joined together in tribute to those who had lost their lives in conflicts since the Great War. But when the dust settled, when the wreaths had been laid, youd be forgiven for thinking the event had passed. It will be a long time until another such significant anniversary.
But Colchester Borough Council has made sure there is an enduring legacy and one which will not face as the years pass. The council is behind the initiative for Tommies Wood. Situated in lower Castle Park, the first saplings of birch, hazel and alder were set in the ground of Colchesters most popular beauty spot.
Memorial gardens are not a new concept, and, of course, there are others in Castle Park itself. But this one will be truly special. Each of the 200 trees will eventually be dedicated to a specific individual or group and many will bear pictures or letters for loved ones who lost their lives in conflicts across the globe. Not only will the wood serve as a permanent reminder of these loved ones, all of the proceeds will go towards supporting the Royal British Legion. Tommies Wood will, day by day, grow into a living memorial of lives lost and be a focal point for future events to commemorate anniversaries.
Colchester's mayor, Peter Chillingworth, planted the first tree at the site and spoke of his pride. He said: I am immensely honoured to have planted the first tree in Tommies Wood and also delighted we were able to celebrate National Tree Planting Week by creating such a poignant tribute to all those who fought and died in World War One and other conflicts since. Tommies Wood will persist as a living memorial to their valour and ensure their sacrifice is remembered for generations to come.
All of the woodlands 200 trees will be managed by the council in the years to come.
The following photographs were taken by Angela Burgoyne are all dated from April 2019. Early days!
Please also follow us on Facebook at:
There is more information about our war heroes at:
Ted Sparrow - men of Tollesbury
To contact us please email:
Jess Jephcott at email@example.com
28th March 2014
revised 21st April 2019