Wiltshire Publications

Westbury at War – Those who did not return

This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 11th, 2015 at 9:14 am.
The Society have received this photograph of Stuart George Pearce from his great grandson, of him and his family that must have been taken in the early months of 1915.

The Society have received this photograph of Stuart George Pearce from his great grandson, of him and his family that must have been taken in the early months of 1915.

As the hundredth anniversary of the Battle of Chunuk Bair, part of the Gallipoli Campaign, comes round, we are reminded that three men whose names appear on the Westbury War Memorial lost their lives on the same day – 10th August 1915.

Stuart George Pearce was born to Tom and Harriet Pearce, at Longbridge Deverill near Warminster in 1872; the youngest of three children.

He started his military service at 18, when in December 1893 he enlisted in the Wiltshire Regiment. The enlistment papers describe him as single and a bricklayer. These records show that from September 1893 to April 1903 he served in the East Indies.

On his return home in 1903 he married Charlotte Lucy Goodenough in Westbury. The 1911 census shows them living on the Warminster Road, Westbury and they had three sons.  Stuart’s occupation is given as ‘leather parer.’  They had two more children by the time Stuart enlisted in the 5th Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment in Devizes.

William George Palmer was born, in Westbury, in 1896, to George and Ann Palmer, the third of five children.  In 1910 he was attending the Westbury Church of England Boys School, now the pottery at the corner of Bratton Road and Newtown.

The 1911 census shows the family living at Eden Vale Terrace. His father was a glover cutter and his two older sisters were machinists, also in the gloving industry. William, aged 14, was an errand boy for a grocer. He also served with the  5th Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment and was a Lance Corporal

The third person to die that day was Private Charles Henry Young, born in Norton Bavant in 1895. By 1903 he, his parents William and Eliza Annie and two sisters were living at Chalford and he was attending Westbury Leigh School. In 1911 he was working as a dyer at the leather works.

On 10th August 1915 Westbury lost two young men and a father, the 5th Battalion Wiltshire Regiment lost 150 men. There were approx. 1,000 British losses during the Battle of Chunuk Bair

The Westbury branch of the Wiltshire Family History Society are under taking a project to find the names of the men from Westbury and the surrounding villages who joined up and served in WW1.

Do you know anyone from this area who served in WW1; if so the Westbury Family History Group would like to hear from you. They can be contacted on westbury@wiltshire fhs.co.uk