World War I Fallen

People of Buckland

World War I Fallen

The following1 represents a small selection of the men who gave their lives during the First World War and who are commemorated in Buckland St Mary the Virgin church.

World War 1 Memorial

James, Thomas and William Brogden

The Brogden brothers were born into a large family of farm labourers living in Cote, to the north of Buckland. Their parents John and Susan Brogden had fifteen children, however, the census return for 1911 reveals that only seven were still living by then.

William Brogden was the eldest of the three and had married Nellie Sparrowhawk in Bampton in 1906. They had four children – Evelyn, Gladys, William and Kathleen. During the war he served with the 132nd Heavy Battery of the Royal Garrison Artillery. He died at home on 7th March 1916 of pneumonia and is buried in Aston churchyard. He was 35 years old.

James Brogden was born Percival James and married Jane Jones in St Peter’s Church, Filkins on 13th October 1913. During the war he served in the 1st Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment. He died on 22nd November 1914 at St Nazaire of wounds received in action. He was 28 years old.

Loos Memorial2

Thomas Brogden was married to Alice Florence Watts in July 1912 and they had two children together. During the war he served in the 8th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment. He was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of Loos, during the attack on the German trenches at Hulluch on 25th September 1915. It is likely he was one of the many casualties the battalion took whilst struggling through the wire between British and German positions, which the massive artillery bombardment had failed to cut. He was 20 years old, and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial.

Francis Maurilyan Butler

Passchendaele in late 1917

Captain Francis Butler was born in Norbiton and educated at Charterhouse. He married the American heiress, Josephine Lawrence in 1902 and they lived in Carswell Manor, near Buckland, after buying the house from the Niven family in 1912. During the First World War he served in the B Battery of the 93rd Army Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. He was killed in action on 8nd October 1917 at the Battle of Passchendaele, near Ypres. He is buried in Canada Farm cemetery, Belgium.

William Edward Graham Niven

William Edward Graham Niven was the father of British actor David Niven. The son of the architect William Niven and Helen nee Boustead, he was born on 24th June 1877. He was educated at Wellington College and Merton College, Oxford. His father gave him Carswell Manor in 1902 and his second child, Max, was born in Buckland.  He sold the manor in 1912 to Mrs Josephine Butler.

He served as a Lieutenant in the 1st Line Unit of the 1st Berkshire Yeomanry in the First World War. He was killed in action on 21st August 1917 at the Battle of Scimitar Hill in Gallipoli, Turkey. His unit was an easy target as they attacked across the Salt Lake; the Berkshire Yeomanry lost 1,200 men whilst advancing just three kilometres. William Niven had reached the Turkish trenches before his death. He is buried in Green Hill Cemetery, Gallipoli.

Francis and Herbert Pearce

Francis and Herbert were born in Buckland to Ephraim and Frances Pearce. Their father was a farm labourer and their parents had eleven children, although only nine were still living in 1911. Both men were still living with their parents in 1911 when Francis was working as a farm labourer and Herbert as an odd job man.

Francis George Pearce served as a private in the 2/4th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment. He was killed in action during a German attack at Marteville on 21st March 1918 at the age of 41 and is commemorated at the Pozières Memorial, France.

Herbert Pearce served as a private in the 2nd Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment . He was killed in action on 1st July 1916 during the battalion’s attack on Ovillers on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. He was 26. Herbert is commemorated at the Ovillers Military Cemetery.

Fred Pearce

Croix de Guerre3

Fred Pearce was the youngest child of Caleb and Sarah Pearce. His father was a carpenter and his uncle was Ephraim Pearce, the father of Francis and Herbert Pearce (above). Fred joined the army prior to the outbreak of war in 1914 and is recorded in the 1911 census as a 23 year old private serving in India with the 2nd Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment, the battalion that his cousin Herbert would join during the war. By 1916 he was a sergeant, had been mentioned in dispatches and awarded the Croix de Guerre. He was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme (1st July 1916), as was his cousin Herbert. He was 27. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

Harry and Potter Whiting

Military Artist drawing of the Battle of Delville Wood, The Somme. July 1916

Sons of Charles James Whiting and Ann Simms, Harry and Potter lived with their step father Ernest Dowling in Buckland following their father’s death in 1897. Potter was a farm labourer at the age of 14 in 1911; by this time Harry had joined the Royal Berkshire Regiment and was serving in India. He went on to serve with the 1st Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment during the Somme campaign, and was killed on 27th July 1916 during the attack on Delville Wood. He was 32. The battalion advanced 270 yards during the attack and formed new positions, which they held under heavy shelling for eleven hours.

Potter joined the 8th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment during the war, probably around or shortly after his brother was killed. He himself was killed in the trenches on 14th March 1917. Both he and Harry are commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

William Bernard Whiting

Born 1884 to William James and Jane Pendle. William was an agricultural labourer, and was married to Daisy Winifred Rose Woodley in 1911 at Bampton parish church. They do not seem to have had any children before William was called up to the 1st Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment, where he served alongside his cousin Harry Whiting. He was killed in the same attack as Harry at Delville Wood during the Somme campaign, 27th July 1916, at the age of 32. Daisy was remarried in 1918 to a Londoner, Percy H Toull. She died in London in 1963.

William James Whiting

Son of Adam Whiting and Charlotte Cotterill, William James was born in 1899. Harry, Potter, and William Bernard Whiting were his cousins. He served with the 6th Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry, and would not have been able to join up until 1917, at which point all three of his cousins serving with the Royal Berkshire Regiment had been killed. He was captured and died of pneumonia as a prisoner of war on 17th July 1918, less than four months before the end of the war. He was 19.

He is buried at the Berlin South Western cemetery, a later cemetery formed when remains from various prisoner of war cemeteries were grouped together in 1924-5.

  1. We were aided in producing this information by the work of Michael Sheil in identifying the individuals named on the memorials and locating their Commonwealth Grave Commission records []
  2. No machine-readable author provided. K!roman assumed (based on copyright claims)., Dud corner cemetery-Loos memorial-2, CC BY-SA 3.0 []
  3. Paris75000 13:31, 3 May 2007 (UTC) fr:Utilisateur:fantassin 72, Croix de guerre 1914-1918 française, CC BY-SA 3.0 []