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Remembered Today:

Soldiers from Tortington, West Sussex


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I am the Sussex representative for the Churches Conservation Trust. We care for seven redundant churches of historical, archaeological or architectural importance (yes, yes, I am getting to the point!) One of these is at Tortington, a tiny hamlet south of Arundel with no war memorial. Recently whilst clearing out the (very damp) vestry I found in a cupboard two framed paper items, one of which was headed 'Pray for Our Men at the Front' and the other ''They Gave Their Lives for King and Country', and realised these are, in fact, Tortington's equivalent to a war memorial. They are both in quite a bad state and the Trust is having them professionally conserved. I am going to research as much as I can about them, and digital copies will then be returned to the church whilst the originals will be stored at the West Susex Record Office. We hope to hold a special service of remembrance at the church next November, and anyone with a connection with any of these men would be specially welcome -- even more if you can add to our information about them (I've only just started). Because of the state of the items, we can't read all the names yet. The information I have at the moment is as follows: Dead Ernest Nicholson aged 26 at death in 1917 and came from Priory Cottages, born 1891; Frank Nicholson aged 29 in 1918 and married to Annie in Guildford, born 1889; Charles Upperton; William H French; Others Wounded William Beasley, Gilbert Bleathman, Ralph Bryder, Frederick Burdfield, Alfred Clark, Leonard Clark, Prisoner William

George Dempsey, Robert Ralph, Other (ie listed as serving soldiers but not as dead, wounded or prisoner) Patrick Brooks, Alfred Chatfield, William Chatfield, Philip Clark, Robert Cole. There are more but until they are read electronically by the conservator I don't know them. I do hope there's someone out there with a link to one of these people, please let me know.

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Hi Frances, welcome to the forum,

I wonder how long these have been iding in the cupboard? I recently discovered my local Roll of Honour in the cupboard under the stage at my local village hall, pleased to say that they were dry but certainly in need of attention.

Ernest Nicholson - could be this fella, Pte. L/10566 2nd Bn. Royal Sussex Rgt, born Edburton, Sussex, enlisted Arundel. Died 6th May 1917.

Frank Nicholson - could be this fella, Pte. 21382 Coldstream Guards, born Edburton, Sussex, enlisted Ascot and was a resident of Guildford. Died of wounds 27th March 1918.

cheers, fo now,


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Indeed welcome. I am sure the pals on here can help you with your research. Indeed a worthy cause.

To add to Jon's input:

From the CWGC lists:


Initials: E

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Private

Regiment/Service: Royal Sussex Regiment

Unit Text: 2nd Bn.

Age: 26

Date of Death: 06/05/1917

Service No: L/10566

Additional information: Son of William and Elizabeth Nicholson, of 61, Priory Cottages, Tortington, Arundel, Sussex.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: I. R. 2.




Initials: F

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Private

Regiment/Service: Coldstream Guards

Unit Text: 2nd Bn.

Age: 29

Date of Death: 27/03/1918

Service No: 21382

Additional information: Husband of Annie Nicholson, of Guildford, Surrey.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: V. E. 12.



Charles Upperton - needs a SDGW lookup, as CWGC only have three, all with initial C (but two with further initial) and no next of kin info, nor full first name.


William H French - possibly this man but it will also take a SDGW lookup to confirm:


Initials: W H

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Private

Regiment/Service: The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment)

Unit Text: 1st Bn.

Age: 18

Date of Death: 21/09/1918

Service No: 69059

Additional information: Son of Mr. and Mrs. H. French, of 18, Chichester Rd., Arundel, Sussex.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: V. D. 3.



Frances, you might like to trawl through the local newspaper archive (usually local library on microfilm) as these papers often carried weekely casualty lists with write-ups and sometimes photos. And not just of casualties but sometimes with enlisted men from the village, wounded, etc.

Good luck


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With the more unusual surnames it is easier to identify them amongst the Medal Index Cards:

Medal card of Bleathman, Gilbert

Corps Regiment No Rank

Royal Engineers 32507 Driver

Royal Engineers 32507 Driver

Medal card of Burdfield, Frederick

Corps Regiment No Rank

4th Royal Sussex Regiment 203331 Private

Royal Defence Corps 73415 Private


Then the possibles (assuming because of regiment!) but not to be taken as certain (yet):

Medal card of Ralph, Robert

Corps Regiment No Rank

Royal Sussex Regiment G/4861 Private

Royal Air Force 370182 Serjeant

Medal card of Chatfield, Alfred

Corps Regiment No Rank

Royal Sussex Regiment 5/787 Serjeant

Royal Fusiliers GS/141605 Serjeant

Royal Sussex Regt had at least three different William Chatfields!

The others have numerous entries for the same names, so without knowing more info such as regiment or service number it is difficult to pinpoint for the moment.

Do the rolls carry any service info?


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Tempting to think this is one, but with many William Dempsey listings it

is just a guess, but he is the only one with the initial G. But, with many plain

William Dempsey it is impossible to be sure just from the MIC.

Medal card of Dempsey, William G

Corps Regiment No Rank

Manchester Regiment 48879 Private


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Cpl 94239 Charles Upperton Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) - formerly 8945 Royal Sussex Rgt. Born North Stoks, Sussex, enlisted Arundel. Killed in action 8th September 1918.

William French as Ian has mentioned, born Arundel, Sussex, enlisted Brighton and a resident of Arundel. Killed in action 21st September 1918 his service no. has a 'G' prefix.

A quick search of SDGW reveals 78 enlisted Arundel. 27 resident of Arundel. There is also a Charles Merrydew who is the only one listed as born Tortingon. If there are names that are illedgable on the Rolls, then I can see that perhaps SDGW will be a good sorce for the missing names.

Will pop in again later,

cheers, Jon

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Thanks, Jon.

Then from CWGC:


Initials: C

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Corporal

Regiment/Service: Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)

Unit Text: "A" Coy. 30th Bn.

Date of Death: 08/09/1918

Service No: 94239

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: V. G. 30.



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In case it is useful - Royal Navy servicemen born Tortington.

They may or may not have served in WW1, but I list the names in case.

Name Chandler, William

Official Number: 144301

Place of Birth: Tortington, Sussex

20 September 1871 ADM 188/203

Name Goddard, Leonard George

Official Number: 207418

Place of Birth: Tortington near Arundel, Sussex

19 April 1882 ADM 188/361

Name Shepherd, Edward

Official Number: 203465

Place of Birth: Tortington, Sussex

13 July 1882 ADM 188/353

Name Goddard, James Henry

Official Number: 182994

Place of Birth: Tortington, Sussex

16 February 1880 ADM 188/306

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Hi Frances. The 1901 census has:

Charles Upperton son of Walter and Mary Ann. He was 16 years old and a farm labourer. He was living in Tortington but was born North Stoke Sussex.

William Henry French son of Henry and Kate. Born Arundel Living Arundel aged 1. His father was a bricklayers labourer.

Ernest Nicholson aged 10. Living Perching?? Fulking. Born Edburton. Parents William and Elizabeth. He had a brother called Frank W aged 12, a carter boy on a farm also born Edburton. Could be the one you are looking for but probably needs more investigation.

Good luck with your very worthwhile project. Sue S

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Dear everybody

I am absolutely stunned by the speed and enthusiasm with which people are responding. I had got the CWGC references to the Nicholsons but for some reason (despite having paid the Trust's good money!) the 1901 census refused to believe Tortington existed, so thanks particularly for those references.

I am very encouraged by your support: it really looks as though we can hope to honour these men as they deserve. I hope to have the rest of the names by the end of January from the conservators (in ultraviolet form if not legible to the naked eye) and will post them up as soon as I have them. Obviously regimental histories and the like later on will help me understand which battles they took part in, and so on.

Thank you all again. Keep it coming! I will try and post a picture of Tortington Church, which is extremely pretty, soon.


Churches Conservation Trust

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Nicholson of the Coldstream Gds died of wounds at 3 Can S H (Canadian ? Hospiital) - cant recall what the S means)

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  • 2 months later...

I now have the full list of soldiers listed on the Tortington document, which has been most beautifully conserved and reframed. We will be holding a service at the church on 15 November 2008, when the two items will be officially dedicated as the hamlet's war memorial.

If anybody has an interest in any of the names, please let me know! We should really like to hear from you. It would be wonderful to find some photographs and personal details about these people, beyond what I can get from official records. And if you have a family link, it would be great to meet you at the dedication service.

This list is of all the men who served in the War, not just those who died. These are indicated on the document with RIP. W is wounded, P is prisoner. M is maimed ??

William Beasley W; Gilbert Bleathman W; Patrick Brooks; Ralph Bryder W; Frederick Burdfield W; Alfred Chatfield; William Chatfield; Alfred Clark W; Leonard Clark W; Philip Clark; Robert Cole; William George Dempsey P; William Elliott; Ernest Farmer; William H. French RIP; George W. Geering; Albert J. Gibbins W; Ernest G. Gibbins; Henry W. Gibbins; Arthur Grinnell; William H. Hull; Edward Mant; Frederick Mant W AND M; George J. Mant; Joseph Matthews; Robert G. Matthews; William Matthews; Frederick Mills W; Charles Nicholson; Ernest Nicholson RIP; Frank Nicholson RIP; Frederick Nicholson; Sidney Nicholson; William Nicholson; Edward Oram; Robert Ralph P; Thomas Ralph; Leonard Spiers W ; Charles Standing; William Standing; James Harold Stedman W; Arthur J. Suter W; Ernest Parker; Charles Upperton RIP; Leonard G. Wilson; Charles Horn; Stanley Horn; Alexander Ewens; Leonard Upperton; Joseph James Upperton W; Bert Upperton; Frederick George Brooks

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M is for Missing.

I shall see how I can help more than this !

Best wishes


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Frederick Mant W AND M (Wounded and Missing)


Initials: F

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Private

Regiment/Service: Leicestershire Regiment

Unit Text: 7th Bn.

Age: 36

Date of Death: 01/10/1917

Service No: 43039

Additional information: Son of James George and Ellen Mant, of Climping, Littlehampton, Sussex.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 50 to 51.


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A colleague who lives near Dixsmuide will make a journey to Wulverghem to photo the grave of C Upperton,and to Tyne Cot for the memorial panel of F Mant,if you wish to make a record of these things.

That is unless one of our Forum members can do it for you before mid March.

Best wishes


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Cameramen etc

I now have the pics mentioned in Post 16 and they are with Frances,so stay your shutters !


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  • 4 weeks later...

We have had some good progress on this topic and I would now like to give everyone the chance to see results to date. Please make use of anything which is useful, but please let me know if you have an interest in one of these soldiers! Firstly I would like to make sure we don't waste time covering the same time and secondly I hope very much that you'll be able to come to the war memorial dedication service on 15 November 2008 (see above, previous posts). Many thanks to sotonmate and his Belgian pal for the pics of Mant's name on the Tyne Cot memorial and Upperton's gravestone. If anyone would like to do the same for the Nicholson brothers, that would be great, then I'd have pics for all the 4 who died.


Notes: all information about their service in the war as I currently know it is given here. Note that of course men often moved from one regiment to another, and indeed from one branch of the services to another. In a few cases I know what order these changes came in and their career is given in chronological order, otherwise the information given is all I know and I also don't yet know whether they served in other capacities before or afterwards! Service numbers are given wherever known. These changed when the man moved to a different regiment. All addresses given (eg Arundel Arms Cottages) are in Tortington, Sussex. All information is believed to be correct unless preceded by a ?? Information relating to 'wounded', 'prisoner' or 'missing' is taken from the original document at Tortington Church.

William Beasley: wounded

Gilbert Bleathman: 32507 Driver, Royal Engineers. Wounded.

Frederick George Brooks:

Patrick Brooks:

Ralph Bryder: son of Arthur and Lydia Bryder of Arundel Arms Cottages. Born 1895 Northchapel. Aged 19 in 1914. Royal Marines HMS Avoca 16122

Frederick Burdfield: 20331 Royal Sussex Regiment, Private. 73415 Royal Defence Corps, Private. Wounded.

Alfred Chatfield: 70 Church Cottages. 49086 Gunner, 297th Siege Battery, Royal GA.

William Chatfield: 70 Church Cottages. K27218 HMS Commonwealth.

Alfred Clark: Wounded.

Leonard Clark: Wounded

Philip Clark:

Robert Cole:

William George Dempsey: Taken prisoner. ?? 48879 Private Manchester Regiment.

William Elliott: son of Frederick and Frances Elliott of Priory Farm Cottages. Born 1882 ??Metraugh, Sussex. Aged 32 in 1914. Cowman in 1901.

Alexander Ewens: 64 Broad Green Lane. Gunner, 17th Anti Aircraft Corps, RGA, 88520

Ernest Farmer: 68715 B Company, 7th Plat, 17th Royal Fusiliers.

William Henry French: son of Henry and Kate French, 18 Chichester Road. Born 1900 Arundel. Aged 14 in 1914. Enlisted in Brighton. Private Royal West Surrey Ist Bn. Died 21 September 1918 aged 18. Buried Villers Hill British Cemetery, Villers-Guislain.

George W. Geering:

Albert J. Gibbins: Wounded

Ernest G. Gibbins:

Henry W. Gibbins: 60 Priory Cottages. Royal Marine, HMS Cochrane. 16126.

Arthur Grinnell:

Charles Horn:

Stanley Horn:

William H. Hull: 60 Priory Cottages. HMS Ulster 236581.

Edward, Frederick and George Mant were all sons of James and Ellen Mant of Climping. They were all three born in Climping. Separate information for each of them is as follows:

Edward Mant: 71 Church Cottages. Born 1892. Aged 22 in 1914. K14768 HMS Speedwell.

Frederick Mant: Born 1881. Aged 33 in 1914. 1901 carter. Private Leicestershire Regiment 7th Bn 43039. Wounded and missing. Has no known grave. Name is listed on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Panel 50/51 (photograph of the memorial and the panel provided by informant)

George J. Mant: Born 1895. Aged 19 in 1914.

Joseph Matthews: Chichester Road. Born 1882, Barnham. Aged 32 in 1914. Agricultural labourer in 1901. 2/6th Royal Warwick Transport Section 24184

Robert G. Matthews:

William Matthews: Chichester Road. 3rd Mess HMS Marjoram.

Frederick Mills: Wounded.

Charles, Ernest, Frank and Frederick Nicholson were all sons of William and Elizabeth Nicholson of 61 Priory Cottages, and were all born at Edburton. Possibly Sidney and William Nicholson were too but there is no evidence to prove so at present. The separate information on each of them is as follows:

Charles Nicholson: 162877 101st Berks and Bucks Machine Gun Cy

Ernest Nicholson: Born 1891. Aged 23 in 1914. Enlisted Arundel. Royal West Sussex 2nd Bn L/10566. Died aged 26 on 6 May 1917 and is buried in the Noeux les Mines Communal Cemetery, which was used by the 7th Casualty Clearing Station.

Frank Nicholson: Born 1889.Aged 25 in 1914. Carter's boy in 1901. Enlisted Ascot (resident of Guildford at the time). Married to Annie. Coldstream Guards 2nd Bn 21382. Died of wounds 27 March 1918. Buried in Doullens Communal Cemetery Extension no. 1.

Frederick Nicholson: 4th Bn Rifle Brigade 56707

Sidney Nicholson:

William Nicholson:

Edward Oram: 66 Rookery Cottages. Private 11th West Yorks. 51618

Robert Richmond Raymond Ralph: Royal Sussex G/4861; Private 75920 2/2 London R/F; RAF Sgt 370182 [?? two different people]

Thomas Ralph:

Leonard Spiers: Wounded

Charles Standing:

William Standing:

James Harold Stedman: The Arundel Arms. Born 1897, Tortington. Son of James and Emily Stedman, who were innkeepers from London. Aged 17 in 1914. 381 Co, MT, Army Service Corps, 404735

Arthur J. Suter: Brickfield Cottage. Born 1869, Arundel. Aged 45 in 1914. General labourer married to Eliza in 1901. Private, Army Service Corps, 209314.

Ernest Parker:

Albert, Charles Aylwin, and Leonard Upperton were all sons of Walter and Mary Ann Upperton of Rookery Cottages, and were all born at North Stoke. Possibly Joseph James Upperton was too, but there is no evidence to prove so at present. The separate information on each of them is as follows:

Albert Upperton: Born 1883. Aged 31 in 1914. In 1901 was labourer in the iron foundry, lodging with the Carter family of California Terrace as their nephew.

Charles Aylwin Upperton: Mile House Lodge. Born 1885. Aged 29 in 1914. Royal Sussex Regiment 8945, then Corporal A Section 221 Machine Gun Corps A Coy 30th Bn 94239. Died 8 September 1918 aged 33. Buried at Wulvergham-Lindenhoek Road Military Cemetery.

Joseph James Upperton: Wounded

Leonard Upperton: Mile House Lodge. Born 1890. Aged 24 in 1914. L-Cpl, 1st Armd Motor Bty, Peshawar, India, 163418

Leonard G. Wilson:

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