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Chambers to Driver 

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Private, 13216 William Webb CHAMBERS
1st Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment
Killed in Action, 9th May 1915

William Webb Chambers was just 19 when killed in action at the Battle of Aubers Ridge in May 1915, a battle which claimed six Raunds and Stanwick men in one day. The son of William Webb and Caroline Elizabeth Chambers of 18, Beech Hill, he was born in Raunds in 1896 and became a shoehand before enlisting at Northampton in the 1st Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment, joining ‘B’ Company.

He was awarded the 1914/15 Star, British War and Victory medals and is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial, France, panels 28 to 30.

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Private, 28349, William John CHAPMAN
2nd Battalion, Royal Dublin Fusiliers
Died of Wounds, 19th October 1918

William John Chapman is not named on the Raunds War Memorial but is included in this book of remembrance as he was a resident of the town at the time of his death. He was born in Chesham, Buckinghamshire in 1889, one of seven children of William and Kate Chapman. 

By 1901 his widowed mother had moved the family to Rushden where she worked as a boot closer while William attended the local school. During the war years William lived with his wife in Westbourne Grove before enlisting at Ely.

He is buried in Roisel Communal Cemetery, France, grave reference I.C.5 and is also remembered on Ireland’s Great War Roll of Honour. He was awarded the British War and Victory medals.

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Private, G/37059, Arthur CLARK
7th Battalion, The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment)
Killed in Action, 18th November 1916

Arthur Clark was the eldest son of John Bunyan and Mary Anne Clark of 86, High Street, where he partnered his father in the running of their general stores. He was born in Raunds in 1885 and a member of the Baptist Chapel Bible Class before enlisting at Thrapston. 

He is buried in Stump Road Cemetery, France, grave reference A.70 and was awarded the British War and Victory medals. He is also remembered on a family gravestone in the Methodist Chapelyard and on the Baptist Chapel Roll of Honour of Old Scholars.

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Private, G/50495, John William CLARK
12th Battalion (Duke of Cambridge’s Own), Middlesex Regiment
Died, 31st December 1917

Known as “Willie” by his family, John William Clark was born in Raunds in 1892, the son of William and Sarah Clark of 17, Francis Terrace. He was employed by E W Stanley & Company, boot makers prior to joining the Royal Fusiliers at Northampton.

Private Clark was 25 years old when he died and was subsequently awarded the British War and Victory medals. He is buried in Haringhe (Bandaghem) Military Cemetery, Belgium, grave reference I.C.11.

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Private, G/42849, Arthur CLARKE
16th (Public Schools) Battalion, Duke of Cambridge’s Own (Middlesex Regiment)
Killed in Action, 19th July 1917

Arthur Clarke was born in Chatteris, Cambridgeshire, possibly in 1890 but by 1917 he and his wife lived in Swincroft Place. He was working on the Raunds Distributive Co-Operative Society farm when he was called up in March 1917.

He is buried in Bard Cottage Cemetery, Belgium, grave reference III.E.13 and was awarded the British War and Victory medals.

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Private, 201100, Cyril James CLARKE
2nd Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment
Died of Wounds, 3rd August 1917

Cyril James Clarke, the son of Thomas Seymour and Mary Jane Clarke of High Street, was born in Raunds in 1894. He worked in the boot and shoe trade. He enlisted at Northampton joining the 2nd Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment, one of three brothers who served in the Army during the Great War.

He is buried in Brandhoek New Military Cemetery, Belgium, grave reference IV.B.9 close to double Victoria Cross winner Noel Chavasse. He is also remembered on a family gravestone in Raunds Cemetery.  

Private Clarke was awarded the British War and Victory medals.

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Private, 202838, Richard COBLEY
1st Battalion, Norfolk Regiment
Died of Wounds, 12th October 1917

Richard Cobley was born in Raunds in 1896, one of the seven children of Owen and Ellen Cobley of 5, Marshall’s Road. The parish register actually records him as being baptised “Dick”, a name repeated after his death on a family memorial in Raunds Cemetery. By a curious coincidence, he was baptised on the same day, 15th August 1897, as future fellow Great War casualties Arthur Knighton and Harry Rice. Before the war he worked for Adams Brothers.

Dick is buried in Godewaersvelde British Cemetery, France, grave reference I.P.20. A plaque in the Memorial Gardens, Raunds records that his relatives also remembered him by contributing to the provision of trees and shrubs in the new home of the town war memorial. He was awarded the British War and Victory medals.

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Rifleman, A/204822, Jack Chapman COLES
11th Battalion, Kings Royal Rifle Corps
Killed in action, 29th March 1918 

The name of Jack Chapman Coles does not appear on the Raunds War Memorial but he was born in the town in 1899 to Herbert and Sophia Coles of Rotton Row. The family appear to have originated in the Olney/Lavendon area of Buckinghamshire before temporarily moving to Raunds but by the time of Jack’s death in 1918 they had returned to their home county and were living in Newport Pagnell.

Rifleman Coles, J C is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial, France, panels 61 to 64 and he was awarded the British War and Victory medals.

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Private, G/13879, John James COLES                                                            

1st Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment)

Died, 29 March 1921

John James Coles was born in Ringstead in 1883, the eldest of the five children of William and Elizabeth Marie Coles. In 1903, after his father died, his widowed mother moved the family to Raunds and married John Parker, who already had four children.

John first worked as a shoehand but then joined a company of travelling amusement caterers as a showman and was in this occupation when he enlisted in the Middlesex Regiment before transferring to the 1st Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment).

He is buried in Raunds Cemetery, grave plot 315, block 1, on 1 April, the grave is unmarked. His death was the last of the men named on the Raunds War memorial. He was awarded the British War and Victory medals.

His brothers, Enos Owen Coles, Luther William Coles (see below), and step-brother, Ernest Parker were also Great War victims, thus making his mother's composite family the hardest hit in Raunds, losing four out of six serving sons! 

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Gunner, 102340, Luther William COLES
168th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery
Killed in Action, 26th July 1917

Luther William Coles was born in Swineshead, Bedfordshire in the summer of 1891, the son of William and Elizabeth Marie Coles. In 1903 his widowed mother remarried and moved to Raunds setting up home at 75, Marshall’s Road with her new husband, John Parker and their combined family of eight sons and at least one daughter.

Luther was a member of the Church Vestry Class in the years up to the outbreak of war. He worked as a shoehand for Adams Brothers and was often seen smoking his pipe. His papers suggest that he first enlisted at Great Yarmouth in November 1915 but served for only 6 weeks before being discharged. He then re-enlisted at Raunds on the 10th July 1916.

In October 1918, Enos Owen Coles, one of Luther’s elder brothers, became the 3rd son to fall victim of the war. A resident of Stanwick, he is remembered on their War Memorial and Church Roll of Honour. His eldest brother John James also later became a victim of the war (see above). 

Luther Coles is buried in Belgian Battery Corner Cemetery, Belgium, grave reference I.G.6 and was awarded the British War and Victory medals.

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Private, 42614, James George COOPER
2nd Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment
Killed in Action, 29th September 1918

James George Cooper, the son of John George and Emma Cooper, was born in Raunds in 1898. At the time of his death in 1918, his widowed mother had remarried and was living as Mrs W Matson at 86D, High Street. Prior to being called up he was employed as a shoehand by C E Nichols but in the final year of the war he enlisted at Kettering joining the 2nd Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment. 

He was awarded the British War and Victory medals and is buried in Villers Hill British Cemetery, France, grave reference V.A.8.

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Private, 477195, Sidney James COPE, MM
Royal Canadian Regiment
Killed in Action, 9th April 1917

Only two of the Raunds men awarded the Military Medal during the Great War did not survive the conflict. Ernest Stringer is still well remembered in the town but Sidney Cope is not, most probably as he is not named on the war memorial. 

Sidney James Cope was born in Raunds in 1893, the son of Frank and Ellen Cope. However, like several other Raunds men of the pre-war period he left this country to seek his fortune in Canada and prior to the outbreak of war was employed as a labourer by Nicholson & Co, builders and contractors of Toronto.

Private Cope, MM is buried in La Chaudiere Military Cemetery, France, grave reference IX.B.9 and is also remembered on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial and on page 220 of their Great War Roll of Honour. In addition to his Military Medal he was also awarded the 1914/15 Star, British War and Victory medals.

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Private, 3/8652, Frederick CUTHBERT
1st Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment
Killed in Action, 9th November 1914

Frederick Cuthbert was born in Raunds in 1890, the son of William and Thurza Cuthbert. A member of the Wesleyan Church and a keen footballer, representing Raunds Town, he had served for six years in the Militia and was immediately called up at the outbreak of the war.

Described as a “sociable fellow, very much liked and respected”, 24 year old Private Cuthbert was awarded the 1914 Star with Clasp, British War and Victory medals. He has no known grave so is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium, panels 43 & 45 and also on his parents’ gravestone in the Wesleyan Chapelyard.

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Private, 38542, Wilfred DAMS
9th Battalion, Essex Regiment
Died of Wounds, 19th September 1918

Wilfred Dams, the son of William and Fanny Dams, was born in Blatherwycke in 1881. He followed in his father’s footsteps and became a butcher, first learning his trade in Stamford, Lincolnshire. He then worked for Raunds butcher James Webster before setting up in business as a “butcher and dealer” in Thorpe Street. He married Eva Florence Draycott in late 1905 and they lived in Primrose Hill with their two sons.

Private Dams is buried in Doingt Communal Cemetery Extension, France, grave reference I.A.10 and is also remembered on the WW1 Roll of Honour in Blatherwycke Church. This Roll of Honour records that his older brother Clement also served in the war. He was awarded the British War and Victory medals.

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Private, 242091, Ralph DRIVER
7th Battalion, Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent Regiment)
Killed in Action, 12th October 1917

Ralph Driver was born in Chelveston in 1883, the son of George and Raunds born Sarah Driver of Manor Street. A former member of the Church Vestry Class, by the time of his enlistment he had moved to Chopwell, County Durham and consequently joined up at Newcastle upon Tyne.

He was awarded the British War and Victory medals and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium, panels 106 to 108. He is also remembered in Chopwell on their War Memorial and on the Roll of Honour in St John’s Church.

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