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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Pte S G Felton - 1st BN Northamptonshire Regiment


AdyOdds

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Hi all,

Firstly, GREAT Forums. A real wealth of Information and expertise. Great way to remember the fallen. Good job guys.

Now, to the point...

I am after some info on my Wife's Great, Great Uncle. Details below:

Rank: Private

Name: Stephen George Felton

Service No: 8766

Unit: 1 Bn Northamptonshire Regiment

KIA: 13/10/1915

Loos Memorial panel 91 to 93.

From my Wife's family, they have some of his effects. These include his 'Soldier's Small Book' detailing his service. He enlisted 14/7/1908 and served in the UK between 14/7/08 to 18/1/11, Malta 27/1/11 to 11/1/14 and Egypt from 18/1/14. No further entries.

Also within these effects, is the 1914 Star (with August/November clasp) and the Victory Medal. Also, sadly, the Bronze Plague acknowledging his sacrifice.

There is also a News Paper Clipping detailing his Obituary. Interestingly it mentions that he was killed whilst assisting a Wounded Officer. Does anybody know who this Officer was and did he survive ?

If anyone can shed any light on Stephen during his service would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Ady

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The dates listed in his Small Book are "standard" dates of service with the 2nd Battalion. He would have had about 4 months basic training (then called recruits training) at Northampton before being posted to a battalion in the UK. This was the 2nd Battalion in 1908, the 1st Battalion being on duty in India. The 2nd Battalion were stationed at Colchester from 1906 to 1911. A man would usually serve for two or three years (sometimes more) in the UK before being posted to the overseas battalion. In February 1911 the 1st battalion returned from a long tour of duty (15 years!) in India, with 2nd Battalion heading out to Malta in January. January 1914 saw them move to Egypt where they were in August 1914 when war was declared. They waited in Egypt until a replacement battalion had had arrived and returned to England in September 1914 arriving in October. After a few weeks of refitting the battalion headed to France on 4th November 1914, landing on 6th November. Privae Felton's medal index card shows him going overseas with 2nd Battalion on 6th November 1914 - i.e. with 2nd Battalion.

8766 Private S Felton is shown as serving in "D" Company (of 8 company structure) per a Muster Roll taken at Colchester on 24th/25th July 1910 when the 50th Anniversary of the presentation of the Battalion's Colours was celebrated. He later appears as a Private with 2nd Battalion at Floriana Barracks, Malta per the 1911 Census (Single), age 21 - born at Tilbury, Essex.

The 2nd Battalion spent most of the next few months in the area near Neuve Chapelle, and his wounding in January 1915 may have extended his life a few months as few of the 2nd Battalion made it unscathed through the Battle of Neuve Chapelle (10th to 13th March 1915) and the Battle of Aubers Ridge (9th May 1915), both of which ably demonstrated the need for the development of new warfare tactics in the face of masses of barbed wire and machine guns.

Stephen Felton served this first three months in France with the 2nd Battalion rather than the 1st Battalion. He was reported as Wounded as a Private per the Times Casualty Lists of 6-3-1915 (base date 13-2-1915). This would be consistent with the January 1915 wounding mentioned in his obituary, but I cannot narrow it down further.

The Times also reported him as Killed as a Private with 1st Bn. per the Times of 8-11-1915.

On 13th October 1915, the 1st battalion took part in an attack (by 1st Brigade of 1st Division to whom they had been loaned; the 1st Northamptons officially belonged to 2nd Brigade of 1st Division) on the south-west corner of the village of Hulluch (not far from the village of Loos-en-Gohelle after which the Loos sector was named). The war diary particularly notes the casualties taken by the battalion as they were struck by three direct hits by heavy artillery in the reserve trenches as they waited to move forward. "A" Company's commander, Captain Wilfred Jervois, was wounded before the off and handed over to Lieutenant Eric Layton Purdy. Lt. Purdy led a "strong patrol" of "A" Company towards the German lines, though they were so badly cut up as they went over the top that 60 men were put out of action before they even reached the British front line. Lt. Purdy was "badly wounded in the shoulder and practically half the company was either killed or wounded in the space of a few minutes."

I suspect that it was Eric Purdy that would have been the officer involved. He transferred to the Tank Corps on recovery and was one of the first tank commanders on 15th September 1916 when he was awarded one of the first Military Crosses to the Tank Corps. He transferred to the RAF Reserve after the war and later rejoined in 1939 as a Lieutenant in the RAF Volunteer Reserve. He was from Sydney, Australia though spent some time in England in the 1920s, 30s and 40s before returning to Australia. He died in 1984.

Steve.

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What can I say !! Extremely grateful for your reply and research. I will pass this onto my Wife's family. I have ordered the book about the Northampton Regiment 1914 - 1918 and look forward to reading it.

Once again, many thanks.

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  • 2 years later...
Guest philipgiddings

Hello, 

 

My name is Philip Giddings. I came across your post about Stephen George Felton who was also my great great uncle. My father, John Beanland is descended from his older sister Florence May Felton (born 1887) . I noticed that your wife's family is the connection. Is your wife part of the Stone family? Who are descended from Kitty Felton (who married Samuel Stone).

 

During his convalesence Stephen stayed with Florence Felton on Southampton where he made an embroided tapestry as part of his therapy. This hung in Florence's bungalow in Southampton until 1967. 

 

Just wondered whether or not we already knew of your wife as we were very interested when we came across this post!

 

look forward to hearing from you

 

Philip Giddings

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