Great War Memorials - Surnames V

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VERE, Walter (New 21/08/2018)
VERNEY, George (New 25/08/2015)
VINCENT, William Morris (Revised 27/11/2014)
VOKES, William (New 17/08/2015)
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VERE Walter, Gunner. 301946.

39th Battery, 10th Brigade Canadian Field Artillery.
Died 2 May 1918, aged 37.

Walter's inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
Walter's inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2018

Walter Vere was born in Beard, Derbyshire on 2 January 1881 (GRO reference: Mar 1881 Hayfield 7b 830 transcribed as Vier), the son of John and Margaret Vere (nee Donohoe). His parents had married in Manchester Cathedral on 29 March 1864.

The 1881 census records the family living at Bake Mill, Whitle, Derbyshire where Walter was the youngest of ten children. His father worked as a coal miner to support his large family. Walter's older siblings Lucy aged 16, Joseph aged 15, James aged 14 and Samuel aged 13 all worked as labourers in a paintworks. Ada aged 10, John aged 8 and Hannah aged 7 were at school while their mother was at home with Lilian aged 4, Florence aged 1 and Walter himself aged 3 months.

Walter, his mother and his siblings sailed from Liverpool aboard SS Polynesian and landed in Quebec, Canada on 8 June 1886 to join his father who had emigrated the previous year. The 1891 Canadian census lists 9 year old Walter and his siblings Joseph aged 23, James aged 21, Samuel aged 20, Ada aged 18, John aged 17, Annie aged 16, Lilian aged 15, Florence aged 10 and Sarah aged 7 as living with their parents at Lethbridge. Walter's father and eldest brother were working as miners.

When the 1901 Canadian census was taken Walter was recorded on his own in The Territories, Lethbridge. No occupation was noted.

In 1905 Walter married Eliza Hackett in Cardston, Alberta. Their daughter Frances Mabel was born the following year. Their son Edward Gilbert was born in 1908 followed by Ada Mary in 1909. Walter's father died on 23 February 1911. The following year Walter and Eliza's daughter Marguerite May was born followed by Phyllis Dorothy in 1914.

Walter attested in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada on 12 October 1915. He stated that his next-of-kin was his wife Eliza; he worked as a miner and his 'apparent' age was recorded as 33 years 9 months. Walter was 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighed 148 lbs, had a chest measurement of 37 inches with an expansion of 1 inch, a fair complexion, blue eyes, light hair and his religion was Church of England.

Walter embarked from St. John, Canada on 26 February 1916 aboard SS Missanbie and disembarked in Plymouth, England on 13 March.

The 1916 Canadian census, started on 1 June, records that Walter, a miner, was 'Overseas' and that he and his wife Eliza had five children, Frances aged 11, Edward aged 8, Ada aged 7, Marguerite aged 4 and Phyllis aged 2. The family's religion was noted as Methodist.

On 13 July 1916 Walter embarked at Portsmouth and landed at Havre, France on 14 July. On 22 July he wrote his will, leaving everything he owned to his wife Eliza. He was granted leave between 3 October and 15 October 1917.

On 2 December 1917 Walter was admitted to No. 10 Canadian Field Ambulance, and then to No. 58 Casualty Clearing Station at Lillers, France, suffering with plastic pleurisy. He was transferred to No. 83 General Hospital at Boulogne on 5 December and was diagnosed as suffering from 'Bronchial Pneumonia Severe'. He was evacuated to England and on 30 December he was admitted to St. Luke's War Hospital, Halifax, Yorkshire. On 19 March 1918 he was transferred to the Canadian Convalescent Hospital at Woodcote Park, Epsom and then on 15 April he was moved to the Manor War Hospital, Epsom, where on 1 May he was declared to be seriously ill.

He died the next day and was buried on 6 May in grave K237 in Epsom Cemetery where he is commemorated on the Screen Wall.

Walter's British War medal, Victory medal, Plaque and Scroll, and Silver Canadian Memorial Cross were all sent to his widow in 1922.

The CWGC states that he was:
The husband of Eliza Vere, of 1120, 9th Street North, Lethbridge, Alberta.

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VERNEY George, Pioneer. 232457.

Inland Waterways and Docks, Royal Engineers (RE).
Died 10 August 1917, aged 40.

George's inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
George's inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert

George Verney was born in 1877 in Beddington, Surrey (GRO reference: Jun 1877 Croydon 2a 255) to James and Harriett Verney (nee Saunders). George's parents had married on 15 January 1876 in St. Peter and St. Paul's church in Mitcham.

In the 1881 census the family lived at 23 Beddington Corner, Beddington. George's father was a 40 year old 'Leather Dresser'; his mother was aged 29. Three year old George had a sister Lucy, aged 1.

The death of George's father, aged 50, was recorded in the September quarter of 1889 in the Croydon registration district.

The 1891 census records the family living at 'Blue Houses' (Ravensbury Arms), Mitcham. George's 39 year old widowed mother was the head of the family and earned her living as a 'Beer Retailer'. George aged 13 had four siblings, Lucy aged 11, Rose aged 8, Edith Mary aged 4 and Florrie aged 1. Also living there was George's grandfather George Saunders, aged 76, a 'Cattle Dealer', and Harriett Fletcher, a domestic servant. Another sister, Harriet, who had been born in1884, was not living with the family on census night.

George married Sarah Jane Hill on 10 December 1899 in the parish church, Mitcham. They had three children, Nellie Harriett Mary, born 3 March 1903, George Edward James, born 22 September 1906, and Rose Ada, born 25 December 1908.

In the 1901 census George and his wife Sarah lived at 41 North Road, Wimbledon, where George was a 'Beer House Keeper'.

In 1911 George and his family lived at The Railway Inn, 30 Earlswood Common, Earlswood, Surrey, where George was described as a 'Beer House Keeper with Wine Licence attached', working on his own account. George's wife recorded that they had been married for 11 years and that their three children, Nellie aged 8, George aged 4 and Rose aged 2, were all still alive. Also living there was George's mother's sister Ada Amelia Hill.

Although George attested on 11 December 1915 in Marlow, he was not medically examined until 5 August 1916, and was not called upon to serve until 30 January 1917. He stated that his age was 38 years and 8 months, that he lived at the Nags Head, Dean Street, Marlow, and that he was a 'Licensed Victualler'. George was 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighed 159 lbs and had a chest measurement of 39 inches with an expansion of 5 inches. His eyesight was not perfect at 6/9 in each eye, and his medical category was B1. George was assigned to the 'Inland Water Transport Corps' of the RE. He went to France on 2 February 1917 but was not there for long as he was admitted to Horton War Hospital on 10 June 1917.

George died at 2pm on 10 August 1917 at Horton (County of London) War Hospital, Epsom. The cause of death was 1. Acute Landry's paralysis; 2. Cardiac Failure. His wife was with him when he died.

George was buried in grave K647 in Epsom Cemetery. He shares the grave with eight others.

With effect from 11 February 1918 George's widow was awarded a weekly pension of 26 shillings and 3 pence for herself and three children and on 3 March 1922 she signed a receipt for George's British War medal and Victory medal.

The CWGC states that he was the:
Son of James and Harriett Verney, of Mitcham, Surrey; husband of Sarah Jane Verney, of Dean Street, Marlow, Bucks.
George is also commemorated on the All Saints Church memorial, Marlow.


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VINCENT William Morris. 2nd Lieutenant.

8th Battalion Suffolk Regiment, attached 1/4th Battalion, Essex Regt.
Killed in Action 26 March 1917, aged 26.

William Morris Vincent was born on 1 July 1890 in Wanstead (GRO reference: Sep 1890 W. Ham 4a 235) to William and Elizabeth Mary Ann Vincent (nee Morris). His parents had married in the West Ham registration district in 1889. On the 23 July 1890 he was christened at St John the Baptist church in Leytonstone, Essex.

In the 1891 census ten month old William was with his 25 year old mother, living at his grandparents' house at 25, Eversfield Place, Hastings. Grandfather, 58 year old George, worked as an auctioneer and valuer. His father was at home in 'Beech Holm', Cliveland Road, Wanstead, Essex.

I have been unable to find William in the 1901 census, but his father William, a 38 year old solicitor, his mother now aged 34, his brother Harold Graham aged 9 and sister Maud Doris aged 5 were all recorded as living with his widowed grandfather George Field Morris at his home in "Maderia" Cambridge Park Wanstead Essex.

Between 1904 and1907 William was a pupil at Haileybury School, in Lawrence House. He also received education in Switzerland.

In 1911 the family was living at 101, Southchurch Road, Southend. William, now aged twenty, was working as a solicitor's articled clerk, possibly for his father. The family employed two servants. His brother Harold Graham was attending William's old school, Haileybury.

On 6 December 1911, in London, William was admitted to the 'Freedom of this City by Patrimony, in the said Company of Clothworkers'. The honour is passed from father to son regardless of the individual's present occupation. Thus, although he went on to become a solicitor he retained the clothworkers freedom through his grandfather. The Freedom of the City document gave William's place of birth as South Woodford, Essex.

In 1914 he was admitted as a member of the firm of solicitors, Vincent and Vincent, of 20 Budge Row, London, EC1.

When the family moved to Epsom is uncertain but William, aged 25, was living at Ebbsfleet, Epsom when he married 27 year old Florence Marianne Grellier on 10 December 1915 in St. Martin of Tours church, Epsom. Florence's address was given as St. Martins Croft, (in Downside), Epsom. Florence's brother Gordon Harley Grellier was also to lose his life during the war.

On 6 October 1914, at 10, Stone Buildings, Lincoln's Inn, London, W.C., William attested into the Inns of Court Officer Training Corps (OTC) as Private, number 1565. He applied for a Temporary Commission on 2 December 1914, stating a preference to join the infantry in the 8th Battalion Suffolk Regiment, was accepted, and after 67 days in the OTC, he received his commission on 11 December 1914. He was 5 feet 9½ inches tall, weighed 145lbs, had a chest measurement of 38 inches with an expansion of 3 inches, had good hearing, good teeth, normal vision and normal colour vision.

William embarked from Liverpool aboard RMS Olympic on 3 January 1916, arriving at Alexandria, Egypt on 20 January and joining his battalion at Rahman on 11 February. He suffered from scarlet fever and was admitted to hospital 5 May 1916 and discharged on 13 July.

The first battle of Gaza, lasting only two days, commenced on 26 March 1917. The town, defended by mainly Turkish forces, with some German and Austrian troops, was to be attacked and taken by British and ANZAC forces. The 1/4 Battalion Essex Regiment was in the 161st Brigade, 54th (East Anglian) Division. The Brigade was initially held in reserve but joined the attack later in the day. The town was not taken and the attackers were forced to withdraw. Gaza did not fall until the third battle, which raged from 27 October to 7 November 1917.

Map showing troop dispositions on the first day of the two day first battle of Gaza - Click image to enlarge
Map showing troop dispositions on the first day of the two day first battle of Gaza
Click image to enlarge

Over the two days of 26/27 March 1917, the 1/4 Battalion Essex regiment lost 181 Other Ranks and four officers including William killed in action.

William has no known grave and is commemorated on the Jerusalem Memorial to the missing.

With William's service papers is a 'NOTICE', dated 12 April 1917, that reads:
Any person or persons having claim or claims against the estate or estates of the following Officers, deceased -
There then follows a list of 25 officers including William.
or any of them, should forward their claims, with proofs, to the President, Committee of Adjustment, 3rd Echelon, G.H.Q., E.E.F., on or before Thursday 19th day of April, 1917, after which date no claims will be considered.
3rd Echelon, G.H.Q., E.E.F.                                                         Lt. Col.
12/4/17.                                                                                   President
                                       Committee of Adjustment
To facilitate the return of William's kit to his next-of-kin, an inventory was prepared, signed off by 2nd Lieutenant K.F. Ware, (officer in charge of 'Officer's kit bureau'), and date stamped 5 May 1917. His kit consisted of:

1 Wooden box containing.
Life saving waistcoat 1 Travelling rug 1
Pillow 1 Scarf, woollen 1
Books 19 Cheque book 1
Camera in case 1 Puttees, pairs 1
Mitts, pairs 1 Boots, ankle, pairs 1
Socks, pairs 1 Handkerchief 1
Collar 1 Tie 1
Braces, pairs 1 Underpants, pairs 2
Fleece lining 1 Pack of cards 1
Tins 6 Piece of calico 1
Trousers, S.D. pairs 1 Breeches, pairs 1
Waterproof coat 1 Jacket, S.D. 2 collar badges 1
Tea infuser 1 Brush 1

1 Kit bag containing
Tie 1 Collar 1
Handkerchief 1 Socks, pairs 2
Underpants, pairs 2 Undervest 1
Mosquito net 1 Towel 1
Shirt 1 Lanyard 1
Breeches, pairs 1 Hair brush 1
Boots, ankle, pairs 1 Strap 1
Books 4    
Camp bed 1    

William's estate amounted to £453 6s 10d and on 6 July 1917 probate was granted to his widow Marianne.

The following appeared in Part three of de Ruvigny's Roll of Honour:
Vincent, William Morris, 2nd Lieut., 8th (Service) Battn. The Suffolk Regt., attd. 4th (Territorial) Battn. The Essex Regt., elder son of William Vincent, of Ebbsfleet, Epsom, Solicitor, by his wife, Elizabeth Mary, dau. of George Field Morris, of Wanstead; b. Wanstead, co. Essex, 1 July, 1890; educ. Haileybury, and in Switzerland; was admitted a Solicitor in July, 1914; joined the Inns of Court O.T.C. the following Oct.; was gazetted 2nd Lieut. The Suffolk Regt. 12 Dec 1914; served with the Egyptian Expeditionary Force in Egypt and Palestine from Jan. 1916, being attached to the 4th Battn. The Essex Regt., and was killed in action at Gaza 26 March, 1917. He m. at Epsom, 10 Dec. 1915, Florence Marianne (St. Martin's Croft, Epsom), dau. of Harley Mair Grellier, of Epsom.
The Epsom Advertiser dated 27 April 1917 printed the following:
LIEUT VINCENT KILLED.-The death has occurred in action of 2nd Lieut. William Morris Vincent, Suffolk Regiment, who was attached to the Essex Regiment. He was the elder son of Mr. and Mrs. William Vincent, of Ebbsfleet, Epsom, and his wife (who was a Miss Grellier) resides at St. Martin's Croft, Epsom. The deceased officer was 26 years of age.
The St Martin's church Roll of Honour states that:
WILLIAM MORRIS VINCENT, of the Suffolk Regiment was attached to the 4th Battalion Essex Regiment in Palestine, and in the first attack on Gaza, on the 26th March 1917, he was killed in action.
William was awarded the British War medal and the Victory medal.

The CWGC states that he is the Son of, William and Elizabeth Vincent, Ebbsfleet, Epsom; husband of Florence Marianne Vincent, of St. Martin's Croft, Epsom, Surrey.

William's mother died in 1927, aged 60, at Ebbsfleet, Ashley Road, Epsom, and was buried in grave A274A on 29 January 1927. His father died in 1933, aged 70, at Middle House, Dorking Road, Epsom, and was buried in grave A275A on 10 August 1933. William's widow did not remarry and died aged 90 in 1979 in the Crawley registration district.


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VOKES William, Pioneer. 65004.

Royal Engineers (RE).
Died 13 November 1917, aged 37.

William's inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
William's inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert

William Vokes was born on 28 April 1880 in Walworth, London (GRO reference: St Saviour 1d 137) to William Housham and Emily Vokes, maiden name unknown. His father's middle name was William's grandmother's maiden name.

When the 1881 census was taken the following year, William and his 5 year old sister Emily were living with their parents at 13 Locks Square, Walworth. William's father was a carpenter but he was recorded on the census as being a sawdust hawker while William's mother worked as a paper sorter.

William commenced his schooling on 23 February 1885 at St John and All Saints School, Lambeth, whilst living at 17 Harriet Street.

The family had moved to 9 Norfolk Place, just off Lambeth Road, by 1891. William was aged 10 and his sister Emily 15. Two more siblings were also recorded, Jane aged 4 and Edwin aged 2. Their father was now a Timber and Sawdust dealer.

William's sister Emily was aged 18 when she married on 3 December 1893 in St. Mary's church Lambeth. Their sister Ellen was baptised on 28 December 1895 in the same church.

In the 1901 census the family lived at 2 Stones Buildings, Ethelred Street, Lambeth. William, aged 20 was a 'Sawdust, Timber, Labourer' whilst his father was a 'Sawdust Dealer, Employer'. Also living there were William's siblings, Edwin aged 12, Annie aged 9 and Mary aged 2.

In 1911 William, aged 30, a motor cleaner, was living with his parents at 10 Frank Street, Lambeth, S.E. His 57 year old father was a 'Sawdust Dealer' working on his own account. His mother was aged 54 and stated that she had been married for 36 years and that four of her nine children had died. However no marriage record around 1875 has been found for them. Also living there were William's siblings; Edwin aged 21, a motor fitter; Annie aged 19 and Mary Ann aged 12.

William married Gertrude Maude Barnard on 10 July 1911 at Lambeth Register Office. They had one child, Doris Annie Louise, born 3 January 1912, in Camberwell. William's father died in 1913.

William attested in Camberwell on 18 January 1915, into the RE; he was 34 years and 8 months old, lived at 112 Wyndham Road, Camberwell, London and worked as a 'Motor Fitter's Mate'. He allotted 6 pence per day from his pay to his family. He was 5 feet 5 inches tall, had a chest measurement of 36½ inches with an expansion of 2 inches and had scars on his forehead and abdomen.

A reference from his employer, 'The British Motor Cab Company Ltd', dated 19 January 1915, read:
This is to certify that W.Vokes of 112, Wyndam Road, Camberwell, has been in our employ about 5½ years, as Fitters Mate.
During this period he has proved himself to be a steady, reliable and industrious worker, and a good timekeeper.
He leaves us this day of his own accord, and with our good wishes.
Works Manager
On 24 January 1915 he was sent to the 103rd Field Company, RE, then on 28 August he was sent to the Engineers Training Centre at Newark, Nottinghamshire. From Newark he went to France on 5 December 1915, but was only there for just over three months, as on 18 March 1916 he was admitted to the 23rd Field Ambulance, then to No. 2 General Hospital, Le Havre and on 28 March he was sent back to England and was hospitalised in Netley Military Hospital.

On 12 April 1916 a Medical Board found him to be suffering from General Paralysis of the Insane and discharged him from the Army. The Board wrote:
Origin unknown. He was in France, was not under fire. Developed delusions of persecution. His mental state has not improved. Cause:- Syphilis (about 16 years ago). Active service contributory - stress of campaign. Permanent.
He was pensioned off from the Army and received 2 shillings per week for his child Doris Annie Louise. William's discharge papers tell us that his complexion was fair, his eyes were grey and his hair was brown. Also noted was his trade 'Fitter', but against this was written 'indifferent'.

On 26 April 1916 an Army medical board reported that due to William's mental condition he would be unable to 'complete his discharge documents', and arrangements were to be made to transfer him to a 'civil asylum'. He was duly transferred to Long Grove Asylum, Epsom.

William died at Long Grove 13 November 1917 and was buried in grave K649, with eight other servicemen, and is remembered on the screen wall there.

With effect from 21 November 1917 William's widow was awarded a pension of 18 shillings and 9 pence for herself and her daughter. William's mother died soon after her son's death in the early part of 1918.

William was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War medal and the Victory medal.


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