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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Men of Horley 1914-1918


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On behalf of Horley Town Council I am researching the details of 122 men who died in WW1 and are named on Horley's War Memorial.

I have completed 120 of them but have drawn a blank with 2 men. I know from numerous looks at this site as a visitor that your members include some very knowledgeable people who have greater skills than I do at this kind of research - and hopefully access to more extensive databases.

The two men who we cannot trace and link with Horley are Frank Cooper and Frank Mills (no middle names). they should have a clear link to the Town as the War memorial Committee specified this when pruning their list before sending the final names to be inscribed to the builders in August 1921. They also published a Roll of Honour when the Memorial was unveiled in February 1922; Frank Cooper does not appear on this though Frank Mills does although no unit is given for him as it is for most men.

At about the same time a plaque (including some additional men and excluding others on the war memorial) was put up in our parish church, St Bartholomews, and both men are listed on it - no units are included on this plaque.

I have tried to work my way through the lists on Ancestry and the CWGC website but cannot connect any likely men with Horley.

I can hear some of you saying "I bet I could trace them!".....please try for us so that this worthwhile project can be completed.

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Just wanted to say hallo as I lived in Horley from 1964-1987! (and my parents stayed till 2005).

I do hope someone can help you.

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Many thanks for the suggestion.

Francis H Cooper appears on our war memorial as well as Frank Cooper.

I have considered that he could have been known as Frank to some people but put some faith in the fact that the War memorial Committee looked at each man carefully to check that they had a connection with the Parish. Francis worshiped at Horley Baptist Church so may have been known to the chairman of the committee who was Rev H T Lewis, the vicar of St Bartholomews.

Francis is listed on the church plaque (as is Frank Cooper) and was listed on the original Roll of Honour.

Notwithstanding all the above I have to keep the possibility open that they could be the same man.

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The 1911 census has Francis Hezekiah (mis-transcribed Hezebish) born 1885 living in Reigate, but neither a Frank or a Francis of any sort living in Horley.

Surrey History Centre might be able to help you locate the Baptist Church membership list?

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There was a Mills family, probably related to George William Mills, b Brighton who married a Mary Ann Child(s) in Rye, Sussex in 1896, born Mary Ann Winton, showing as having several children born in Horley area...... can't trace a Frank/Fred/F Mills having any discernable link to Horley though....

Perhaps a trawl through any local Horley newspaper archives may produce the answer?

I see you also have a claim for Horley having the oldest known WW1 casualty in Henry Webber, over 40 years a member of the London Stock Exchange.

I'm afraid to advise that I have sifted through the CWGC database for Horley area addresses and for WW1 alone it reaches 111, leaving only 11 without an address being shown on CWGC.

It doesn't include Luscombe or Hoare either. If you contact me by PM with your email address, I can send you the Excel worksheet from the CWGC database.

Are you including the men buried at St Bartholomew and St Etheldreda, as some may have no connection to Horley but may be far from home, so they ought to be included.

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There's a Horley in Oxfordshire as well - are you sure yours are all Surrey ones? Just checking...


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Frank Miler is only listed on a memorial plaque in St Barts Church but Frank Mills is on the WM and the plaque and the Roll of Honour used at the WM dedication in 1922.

Frank Miller should probably have been on the WM. He lived in Horley and lost his life in action. I have heard from a descendant of his.

I have an open mind as to whether a transcription error could have been made between Mills and Miller but at present i am treating them as separate men.

this project started with the aim of producing a Book of Remembrance for the 122 men listed on the WM. It has become apparent that quite a lot of additional men could

have also been on it and I shall certainly list these missing men.

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  • 7 months later...

I'm having a quiet chuckle to myself as I now see that I am now corresponding with Horley LHS over the SON of Lt Henry Webber, (the oldest recognised WW1 BATTLE casualty - in fighting, not the town!

From David Hall's letter to the Rye and Battle Observer:-
From Birmingham University website: "No 103: 'Squib' Webber :
Brigadier-General Norman William Webber (1881-1950) was a Royal Engineer who spent most of the war in staff positions, including periods as BGGS GHQ, BGGS Fifth Army and BGGS Canadian Corps in 1918. His MIC is almost packed to overflowing, having reached France as early as 17 August 1914, less than 2 weeks after War had been declared.
There are 5 portraits of him in the National Portrait Gallery, from 1919.
Brig.-Gen. Norman William Webber lived at Lingwood, Camberley, Surrey. He was decorated with the award of the Companion, Distinguished Service Order (D.S.O.). He was invested as a Companion, Order of St. Michael and St. George (C.M.G.).
Birth: 22 Feb 1881. Horley, Surrey,. Death: 19 Apr 1950 - Battle, Sussex. Parents: Henry Webber, Emily nee Morris.
Probate: Webber, Norman William CMG, DSO of The Old Mill, Caldbec Hill, Battle, Sussex died 19 April 1950 at Bexhill Hospital, Bexhill on Sea Sussex. Probate London 24 May to Maud Frances Augusta Hume Webber, widow. Effects £3,009 6s 8d.
Death was registered at Battle, which presumably refers to The Old Mill being his last residence.
He had been baptised at St Bartholomew, Horley on 24 March 1881.
This may be him in 1911 Census, married 11 years no children. That puts marriage though as 1900 which mid Boer Wars....
William Norman James Webber, 34; Frances A Webber, 39.
That also adds a James to his forenames and misses the Maud - although quite common for Census records to show just what they felt like calling themselves!
Maud may have been a Hume before marriage - if that's her...
My best guess is that he would be buried in St Mary's, Battle.
He had one daughter, Joan who married into the Bethell family. She died in 1966.
His father, Lieutenant Henry Webber (7th Battalion South Lancashire Regiment), a London stockbroker, was killed in action on the Somme on 21 July 1916 at the age of 68, the oldest recorded battle death of the Great War.
Name: WEBBER, HENRY . Rank: Lieutenant. Regiment: South Lancashire Regiment
Unit Text: 7th Bn. Age: 68 Date of Death: 21/07/1916
Grave/Memorial Reference: I. E. 54. Cemetery: DARTMOOR CEMETERY, BECORDEL-BECOURT .
Additional information: Son of William Webber, M.D., and Eliza Webber (nee Preston); husband of the late Emily Webber (nee Morris).
Native of Horley, Surrey. For over 40 years a member of the London Stock Exchange.
Henry Webber is the oldest known battle death recorded for the First World War.
One other notable fact about Dartmoor Cemetery (since we are referring to fathers and sons)....
Sergeant George Lee and his son Robert lie in plots 1.A.35 and 1.A.36 in Dartmoor cemetery. They were both KIA on 5th September 1916.
I see you managed to complete your research into all 122 men. http://www.horleyhistory.org.uk/publications.html
Each of the 122 men named on the Horley War Memorial are considered in detail along with where and when they died and where they lived in Horley. It also identifies men named on other local memorials and those who were thought to have been missed off the Horley War Memorial, with comments. It puts the above into context by considering what Horley was like in 1914 and during the 4 years of war along with the post war struggle to raise funds, locate a suitable site and build the Memorial. This is the first book to cover the period in Horley’s history in such detail one hundred years after the event along with national statistics for comparison.
Researched and written by Doug Cox. Published in 2014
Price £15.99 plus postage and packing £2.15 (because of its weight and envelope requirements)
Well Done!!
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Since I lived in Horley 1964-1987 (amd my parents till 2005) I may have to buy a copy of this...

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