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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Tonbridge War Memorial


johndavidswarbrick
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Dear All,

As you can see from my sidebar I have been researching the men whose names appear on the Tonbridge Memorial. I have been working with Pam Mills, an officer of the local branch of the British Legion, alongside many others, as part of the project to renovate the memorial and better commemorate the men who served and died. Most of that work has now been completed – see here for further details:

http://www.tonbridgememorialgardenstrust.net/

We have also completed our research into the men and have managed to identify all but a few. The results of our research, recording data such as date and place of death, medal entitlement, service record [if survived], family census and birth records, newspaper mentions, etc., have now been published in book form and copies lodged with the local library, the parish church, the record office, and the British Legion. [There are no current plans for mass publication]. The Tonbridge Historical Society, in addition to holding a copy of the full results, have hosted on their website the short biographical sketches we have written for each man, these can be viewed here:

http://www.tonbridgehistory.org.uk/people/dead-of-ww1.html

If anyone out there can identify any of the few remaining men with whom we have drawn a blank, we’d love to hear from you.

Our next job is to research the so called “lost men” – those men who died and had connections with Tonbridge, but, for whatever reason, did not have their names recorded on the memorial.

My thanks to all those, too numerous to name, who helped in any way to further this work.

Dave Swarbrick

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Perhaps one of your possibles? T. Watts - Thomas Richard Watts of the Royal West Surrey's (L/7693) DoW 3rd October 1914 - here in the 1911 Census:

Name: Thomas Watts

Age in 1911: 25

Estimated birth year: abt 1886

Gender: Male

Birth Place: West Farleigh, Kent

Civil Parish: Horsmonden

County/Island: Kent

Country: England

Street address: Botany Bay, Horsmonden

Marital Status: Single

Occupation: Plumber And Painter

Registration district: Tonbridge

Registration District Number: 50

Sub-registration district: Brenchley

ED, institution, or vessel: 10

Household schedule number: 111

Piece: 4102

Household Members:

Name Age

Phyllis Watts 46

Thomas Watts 25

Author Watts 12

Florrie Watts 11

Dorothy Watts 8

Percy Watts 6

Phyllis Watts 3

Great job by the way..

Mike

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Hi Mike,

Thanks for the suggestion, and the appreciation, - I'll check him out and see what else I can dig up.

Dave Swarbrick

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A lot of work there, Dave.

Have you thought of working with these people who have also researched Tonbridge men, to a greater or lesser degree?

http://www.kentfallen.com/PDF%20REPORTS/TONBRIDGE%20SLADE%20SCHOOL.pdf

and this, for WW2...

http://www.kentfallen.com/PDF%20REPORTS/TONBRIDGE%20NATWEST.pdf

There are some post WW2 deaths, I assume the Memorial is all encompassing?

Well done

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Just as an aside, though I am sure of no interest whatsoever to many, is seeing the link from Kevins post that I was a pupil at Slade School in the 50's and I remember seeing this plaque on a daily basis on the wall outside the headmasters study. Well it was of interest to me anyway ;)

In the excitement I forgot, I am sure that Fred Hubble is mentioned on the Hildenborough memorial on the London Road not far from the church.

Regards

Peter

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Hi Peter,

Fred Hubble D.C.M., M. M. & bar is on the Slade School Memorial, in 1911 he was living at 87, Priory Street. No sign of any George at that address, though, obviously, there may well be a connection - we just haven't found it yet. Fred is not on the London Road Hildenborough Memorial - we think he survived the war:

http://www.kentfallen.com/PDF%20REPORTS/HILDENBOROUGH.pdf

Dave Swarbrick

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Hi Mike,

I've had a good look at Thomas Richard Watts and I can't find any connection to Tonbridge. He was born in West Farleigh - lived for most of his life in Horsmonden. His service record survives - he was pre-war enlisted in 1903 [3 years + 9 years] and the only recorded address is that of his widowed mother in Horsmonden. He was re-called on the outbreak and went to France in September, died of wounds received in action near St Nazaire. His next of kin form shows all his sisters as unmarried - ditto his brothers - and no address other than that of his mother.

Thanks again for the suggestion, but it looks unlikely that it was him.

Regards,

Dave Swarbrick

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Hi Dave,

Sorry not clear about your reference re George ? Clearly my error re Fred Hubble being on the Hildenborough memorial, it is over 50 years since I lived in Hildenborough. Though I do remember seeing the Slade School memorial when I was a pupil at Slade during the 50’s.

Regards

Peter

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Hi Peter,

George Hubble's name appears on the Tonbridge Memorial and is one of the few men that we have not identified. I thought that you had seen him on the Tonbridge Historical Society website and were offering Fred as a possible clue or connection to George - sorry if I was mistaken in that. Hope that clarifies matters,

Dave Swarbrick

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Hi Peter,

Quick note on:

Colin Blythe - he didn't join the KOYLI on the outbreak of war, he actually enlisted with the Kent Fortress Engineers and transferred to the KOYLI in the summer of 1917.

Lawrence le Fleming: I do not believe he passed through Sandhurst, but was on the staff there. He joined the 4th East Surrey in 1898 and transferred to the regulars, the 2nd Battn, on 11 Oct 1899, the day war was declared on the Boers. He became an Instructor at Sandhurst in 1910. He played for Kent CCC 1897-1899, then his Army career took priority, although he did appear for the Kent 2nd XI a week before war was declared in 1914. His first wound came not during Ypres but La Bassee whilst serving with the 1st East Surrey. On his return to France he was given command of the 2nd East Surrey. After his third trip to the front in 1917 to take command of the 9th East Surrey he received news his wife was ill, and she died before he reached home. Le Fleming was killed on the opening day of the 1918 German Spring Offensive, leaving his two infant daughters with no mother or father.

I recently published a book on the Kent cricketers who served in the war and have plenty of information on both these men. I did in fact visit the Memorial Gardens when I was researching at Tonbridge School. Le Flemings father was military tutor at the school, which LJ and his brothers attended, eldest brother John also becoming military tutor there, and also representing Kent at cricket.

I would also say what a fantastic record you have created. The book "Tonbridge School and the Great War of 1914-1919" was an incredible production and it is good to see the town hasn't lost it's touch.

Regards, Paul

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