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Bugbrooke and the Great War - Page 12 October to December 1917

Page 1 - Overview, Info & Articles Page 2 - August, September 1914 Page 3- October 1914 - January 1915
Page 4- February 1915 - May 1915 Page 5 June 1915 - September 1915 Page 6   October15-January 1916
Page 7- February 1916 - May 1916 Page 8- June 1916 - Sept 1916 Page 9 December 16 - January 1917
Page 10 February - May 1917 Page 11 June - September 1917 Page 12 October17 - December 1917
Page 13 February - May 1918 Page 14 June - Septemberr 1918 Page 15 -Oct 1917-Dec 1918
100 Years Ago. October-November 1917
The memorial plaque in church to the 27 Bugbrooke men who fell in the Great War, lists them in order of rank. The first two are Lieutenant HORACE WHITE and Sergeant
FRANK NIGHTINGALE and both of these men were killed within a month of each other in
October and November 1917, along with another man listed on the plaque, Pte RICHARD DAVIS. All dying 100 years ago. There is a moving article following this one on FRANK NIGHTINGALE written by a member of his family, so no more will be said of him here.
HORACE WHITE and RICHARD DAVIS however should be mentioned.

HORACE ARTHUR WHITE was born in 1893 in Bugbrooke, the son of ARTHUR WHITE, a master bricklayer who worked for the Grand Junction Canal Company. He attended Bugbrooke School and went on to Northampton Grammar School for Boys. He
must have volunteered soon after the outbreak of war, for he joined as a Private gaining
rapid promotion to Temporary Second Lieutenant from 18 December 1914, and later
posted to the Northamptonshire Regiment. Horace went to France in September 1915,
and was serving with the Royal Irish Fusiliers when he was severely wounded in the head on 20 November 1917. Sadly, he died of his wounds two days later. The first curt and un-punctuated telegram to his family – his father in Bugbrooke – reporting that Horace had a dangerous gunshot wound and compound skull fracture.

In the school log book on the 23rd October, Frank Wright the Headmaster, received a telegram from France saying that Lieutenant HORACE WHITE had been killed. The flag was flown at half mast on the school flagpole. Frank Wright reported that he was well liked by all who knew him, and that he had only been married that midsummer.

RICHARD DAVIS was born in Bugbrooke in 1886. His father ran the village newsagents and his mother a private school in the village. Aged 15 we know he was working as an apprentice baker in Daventry and he enlisted in Bethnal Green, Middlesex. His war record sadly was one of the many destroyed by fire during the second world war, but we do know that he was killed in action at Ypres on the 18th October 1917. He is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial at Zonnebeke in Belgium.

FRANK WILLIAM WRIGHT, son of the village headmaster, had enlisted in September 1914. He served on the front until he was discharged on 17th October 1917 due to a wry neck aggravated by active service. His discharge papers along with his wallet were lost on Huddersfield station and he spent many years battling bureaucracy to get replacements. After the war he moved to London and worked for the Daily Express. Men were still being called up under conscription, and in this period ARTHUR JEYES and GEORGE ALLEN from Bugbrooke, joined up and spent until 1919 in France and Germany.

In early October, several children were admitted to the school from London, sent
here to escape the Zeppelin raids there. However on the 19th October, Zeppelin L 45,
one of a squadron of 11 airships which attacked England, was trying to reach Sheffield, but instead meeting strong head winds, dropped bombs on Northampton and London. The Zeppelin passed over Castle Station in Northampton and dropped 22 bombs near it, killing one woman outright, her twin daughters dying soon after. The area was now in the war zone, and the deaths were the first war deaths in Northampton since the civil war.
L 45 then reduced altitude to try to escape the winds but was forced back into the higher
air currents by aircraft. The airship then had mechanical failure in three engines and was
blown over France, eventually coming down near Sisteron. It was set on fire and the
crew surrendered. A memorial has recently been placed in St James to commemorate
the 100th anniversary of this event and the ensuing deaths.

In the village, the school children were very busy picking blackberries.Throughout
the country rural schools were instructed to ‘employ their children in gathering
blackberries during school hours’ for the Government jam making scheme.

Bugbrooke School rose to the challenge and supervised by their teachers groups went out into the fields from 1st October to the 22nd October; to harvest what was obviously a bumper crop. The School Log records that the school children gathered a total of 622lbs of blackberries, which were taken to Northampton to be sent to the jam factories set up for jam to be sent to the troops. Jam was a valuable source of vitamins, vital to keep troops healthy.

There is no mention of any payment for this work, but the next year in 1918, when food rationing had been introduced, the school did similar work and was paid money which was distributed amongst the children.

In the war, Peru, Uruguay and Brazil all declared war on Germany in October. Russia on the other hand, was going through its revolution, and the new Bolshevik government under Lenin, was in discussions with Germany to conclude a separate if humiliating peace treaty. The eventual withdrawal of the Russian troops from the war, would be countered by the American forces arriving on the Western Front.

The war had just one year left to run and another 12 Bugbrooke men were to die in
that time.
Geoff Cooke for the 100 Years Project.
























This is the panel of the Chatby Memorial devoted to those fromthe Bedfordshire Regiment who drowned during the war including Pte. Fred JOYCE.








100 Years Ago, December 1917 – January 1918
As 1917 drew to a close and the New Year of 1918 began, there was little sign that the
Great War (once thought to be “all over by Christmas 1914) was any closer to a conclusion. It had spread around the world and resulted in the death, physical and mental injury of millions.
On the Home Front, Frank WRIGHT, the head of Bugbrooke School, noted in the Log on December 12 1917 that the classrooms were too cold to work in (between 4°C and 7°C, or 40°F and 45°F if you prefer). He telegraphed the Secretary of the County Council and then took the children for a walk to Heyford to warm them up and then sent them home when no fuel was forthcoming. A little coke arrived the following day but by the 14th even Frank was complaining that he was unwell due to bronchitis and may not be able to remain at school. Still he struggled on and three days later the rest of the coke had still not arrived, and one of his teachers was off sick. As part of the War Work the school was supposed to do, the boys were sent to collect brick-ends and stone from The Close and repair a roadway.
It was about this time that George Thomas Wheeler COLLINS joined up around his eighteenth birthday. He was one of three children of Thomas COLLINS, a Bugbrooke butcher, and his wife Ellen. George was a Pupil Teacher and had been given temporary exemption to allow him to finish his training. George was to serve most of the war on garrison duty in Dover. He eventually went to France as a very young Second Lieutenant a week before the end of the war, to survive the war and live in Cheshire.
At the end of November there had been initial successes by the mass Allied attack at Cambrai with tanks forcing their way across the barbed wire. This was shortly followed a
few days later by a German counter-attack. By early December most of the British gains were lost and the previous stalemate resumed. Up to this point the Russians had been fighting on the Allied side. On December 17, following the Russian Revolution, they signed an Armistice with the Germans and Austria-Hungary. The Germans had lost a huge enemy and made vast territorial gains plus 6 Billion Marks compensation from the Russians.
Fred JOYCE was born in Bugbrooke in 1895 to James and Edith. He enlisted in December 1915, one of five brothers to go to war. Unfortunately his service record is one
of the many destroyed in a fire during the Second World War. However we do know he
was in the Northants Regiment, no. 20232/43368. On 30 December 1917 he was one of the 2700 people on board the ARAGON at Alexandria, Egypt as a member of the 5th
Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment. The liner ARAGON, was taken over by the Government from the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company during the war and employed as an auxiliary transport. When Fred was aboard she was taking reinforcements to the army operating in Palestine under General Allenby escorted by the destroyer HMS Attack. On arrival at Alexandria, the Aragon was initially permitted to enter harbour, but was subsequently ordered out again by HMS Attack. Outside the harbour she was an easy target and was duly torpedoed and sunk with a total loss of 610 people, of whom 19 were crew. She sank quickly and trawlers and destroyers at once closed in to pick up those who had succeeded in jumping clear. The destroyer HMS Attack was one of those engaged in the rescue but was itself literally blown in two by a mine and disappeared with 10 of her crew and many of those she had just taken on board. The German submarine UC-34 was responsible for both losses. Fred is remembered on the Chatby Memorial in Alexandria. His medals – 1914-15 Star, the Victory Medal, the War Medal were all awarded posthumously. A vivid personal account of this event by a survivor can be read on the WW1 section of the Bugbrooke LINK website.
On the Middle East front for which the ARAGON had been bound, the Allied forces
were making substantial gains. Philip CAMPION in the war diary he wrote up in 1919 (it can be viewed on the Bugbrooke LINK website) recalls how a mounted charge, artillery and an infantry assault resulted in the capture of Bethsheba. However, this was not before the last enemy aeroplane to take off from there dropped six bombs on t h e British  and Australian troops. One of the bombs killed Vic PERRY a friend of Philip’s. Shortly afterwards Gaza fell and then the way was
open to Jaffa and Jerusalem. Philip comments that they were fighting on the old battlefields of the Bible and camped in towns whose names were familiar from childhood. On December 9th they took Jerusalem and on the 11th General Sir Edmund ALLENBY made his official entry to Jerusalem through the Jaffa Gate.
William PAXTON (photo left) was one of nine children of Thomas PAXTON, a farm labourer, and his wife Bessie. He was born at Biddleston in Buckinghamshire but when he
married Alice SHIRLEY in 1911 they set up home in Church End, Bugbrooke. They had two children, Arthur James, and Edith Marjory.
William attested as a private soldier (Gunner)
for service in the Royal Garrison Artillery on 9
December 1915. He was allocated number 86432 and sent home to await mobilisation. He declared previous service with the Buckinghamshire Yeomanry and his civilian employment as a ‘Motor Driver’. He was eventually mobilised on 24 May 1916 and after training was posted to the Western Front from 25 August that year, remaining in an Army
‘pool’ of reserves until posted again, to 37 Siege Battery on 25 February 1917. He was invalided home on 19 October that year and discharged on 29 November as ‘No longer physically fit for war service’. He spent time at Creaton Sanitorium and died in Northampton on 11 February 1918 of Tuberculosis, and his death was reported in the Northampton Mercury of 15 February. Not all war deaths were through enemy fire. He was awarded the Silver War Badge, number 273748, as listed on 14 November 1917. He also qualified posthumously for the British War Medal and the British issue of the Allied Victory Medal, sent to his widow in December 1924, by which time she had re-married, to Andrew EALES (in
early 1920). He is remembered on the Memorial Plaque in Bugbrooke Church. It is
probable that he was buried in Bugbrooke Church Graveyard but no headstone has been found.
In January the school was still lacking coal and coke for heating. On the 16th there was a very heavy fall of snow overnight and only 25 children turned up for school. They were kept at the school for the day but the register wasn’t taken. The following day the roads were “well nigh impassable” and the children that arrived were sent home. The coke was re-ordered and finally arrived on the first day of February. The last issue of Bugbrooke LINK had an article about the death of Sergeant
Frank Nightingale and his brother Wallace being taken prisoner, both in 1917. The School Weekly Letter of July 28 1917 records the details of the letter sent to Mrs Nightingale by Lieut. Sims about Wallace’s capture. It states that on the night of the 10 July Lance Corporal Wallace NIGHTINGALE was in charge of two guns in the lines when the Germans attacked successfully and took a number of men prisoner including Wallace. It goes on to say he was an excellent corporal, well liked by his officer and men and did everything he could have done before he fell into the hands of the
Dave Marshall for the 100 Year Project