Remembering Arthur Robert Buck

With many thanks to the Wood Norton Remembers project for this post. As ever if you or your local history group has any research to share please do get in touch.

Arthur Robert Buck was born on the 2nd May 1878, the youngest son of Robert and Elizabeth Buck, and was baptised on the 19th May 1878 in Stibbard parish church.

Figure 1: Extract from the Stibbard Baptisms Register, 1878

The British Army WW1 Service records 1914-1920 do not appear to have survived for Arthur, but from the extant records it can be seen that Arthur was serving with the Bedfordshire Regiment  when he was killed in 1918 (see Figure 2).[1]

Figure 2: Medal Roll Index Card
for Arthur Buck

Arthur died during the Somme conflict in May 1918, and the war diary for the 4th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment indicates that this was at Forceville, in Picardy.[2]  The diary records that on the 25th May 1918, amongst the officers and men killed or wounded, there were

6 OR’s Killed, 11 OR’s missing, 31 OR’s wounded, 1 gassed

Arthur’s Record of Soldiers’ Effects notes 25.3.18 Death Presumed France.  An amount of £14 9s 6d, including a war gratuity of £12 10s, was paid to his sister, Jane (as sole legatee), in 1919.[3]

Arthur is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial (see Figure 3).  The memorial relates to the period of crisis in March and April 1918, when the Allied Fifth Army was driven back by overwhelming numbers across the former Somme battlefields, and the months that followed before the Advance to Victory which began on 8th August 1918.  It commemorates over 14,300 casualties of the United Kingdom and South African Forces who have no known grave and who died on the Somme from 21st March to 7th August 1918.[4]

Figure 3: Pozieres Memorial – Arthur Buck
(reproduced by kind permission of the Buck family)

There is a memorial to Arthur on the headstone for his niece, Alice, in Wood Norton churchyard (she died on the 25th February 1919, aged 26).  The inscription reads:

Also Arthur Robert Buck, uncle of the above, killed in action in France, May 25th 1918, aged 41 years.

Further research into Arthur’s family reveals that his father, Robert Buck, was born c.1833 in Stibbard, the son of James and Elizabeth Buck.[5]  He married Elizabeth Sayers on the 14th November 1856, in Stibbard parish church.[6]  Elizabeth (Betsy) Sayers was baptised on the 4th June 1827 in Stibbard, the daughter of William and Martha Sayers.[7]  Elizabeth Buck died in 1894, aged 57, and is buried at Stibbard.[8]  Robert Buck (a farm labourer) died in 1897, aged 64, and is buried at Aylsham.[9]  The census returns for Stibbard from 1861 to 1891 record Robert and Elizabeth’s growing family, with six sons and four daughters being born between 1857 and 1882:

 

Name Born Died
William 1857, in Stibbard (baptised 18th October 1857).[10] 1937, aged 79.[11] William is buried in Wood Norton.
John 1860, in Stibbard (baptised 25th March 1860).[12] 1942, aged 82.[13]
James 1862, in Stibbard (baptised 16th November 1863).[14]  
Jane 1865, in Stibbard (baptised 30th June 1865).[15]  Jane married William Wright on the 24th December 1891, in Wood Norton parish church. [16]  Their son, Alfred Wright (Arthur’s nephew) was killed in action in 1917 (Palestine). 1950, aged 84.[17] Jane is buried in Wood Norton.
Lucy 1868, in Stibbard (baptised 11th March 1868).[18]  Lucy married William John Snowling in 1896.[19] 1954, aged 86.[20]

 

Thomas 5th May 1870, in Stibbard (baptised 9th June 1870).[21]  
Samuel Henry 1873, in Stibbard (baptised 23rd February 1873).[22] Samuel joined the Royal Engineers on the 14th January 1897, and served for 23 years.  He served at home and abroad, including postings in Sierra Leone, Malta and Hong Kong, before applying for his pension in March 1918.[23] 1938, aged 65.[24]
Eliza 1875, in Stibbard (baptised 11th April 1875).[25] Eliza married Edward James Harrold on the 5th February 1898 in Wood Norton parish church.[26] 1956, aged 81.[27]
Arthur Robert 2nd March 1878, in Stibbard.

In the 1911 census for Wood Norton, Arthur is aged 32, and a gardener.

25th May 1918, the Somme
Mary Elizabeth 16th June 1882, in Stibbard (baptised 10th September 1882).[28]  Mary married Joseph Grint in 1914.[29] 1959, aged 74.[30]

According to the 1901 census for Wood Norton, Arthur was living with his sister, Jane, and brother-in-law, William Wright.[31]  In the 1911 census for Wood Norton, Arthur was lodging with Robert Dack’s family (Robert was the blacksmith and publican of the Sun Public House), and gave his occupation in the census as a gardener.  The 1918 electoral roll lists him as an absent voter, and living at The Brush, Wood Norton.

 

The headstone for Arthur’s niece, Alice, also includes an inscription for Arthur’s nephew, Alfred Wright (Jane and William Wright’s son), which reads:

Also Alfred, their second son, killed in action on Dec. 8th 1917, buried at Enab in Palestine, aged 22 years.

Beneath these inscriptions are the words from Alfred’s military headstone: Death Divides but Memory Clings.

[1] British Army WW1 Medal Roll Index Cards, 1914-1920 (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[2] War Dairy, 4th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, May 1918 (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[3] UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects 1901-1929 (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[4] CWGC information for Pozieres Memorial (www.cwgc.org)

[5] 1841 census, Stibbard (p.9, Enumeration Schedule 8)  (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[6] Marriage Register, 1856, Stibbard (www.ancestry.co.uk); FreeBMD Quarter to December 1986, Walsingham Vol.4b (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[7] 1841 census, Stibbard (p.16, Enumeration Schedule 11) (www.ancestry.co.uk); Baptism Register, 1837, Stibbard (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[8] FreeBMD, Quarter to June 1894, Walsingham Vol.4b, p174 (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[9] FreeBMD, Quarter to  December 1897, Aylsham Vol.4b, p64 (www.freebmd.org.uk); Burial Register, 1897, Aylsham (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[10] FreeBMD, Quarter to September 1857, Walsingham, Vol.4b, p.270 (www.freebmd.org.uk); Baptism Register, 1857, Stibbard (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[11] FreeBMD, Quarter to June 1937, Aylsham, Vol.4b, p.84 (www.freebmd.org.uk); Transcript and Index to Wood Norton, Norfolk, Parish Registers, compiled by Keith and Shirley Howell (February 2000), Burials, 1937 (p.132)

[12] FreeBMD, Quarter to March 1860, Walsingham, Vol.4b, p.309 (www.freebmd.org.uk); Baptism Register, 1860, Stibbard (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[13] FreeBMD, Quarter to December 1942, Wayland, Vol.4b, p.225 (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[14] Baptism Register, 1862, Stibbard (www.ancestry.co.uk); FreeBMD, Quarter to September 1862, Walsingham, Vol.4b, p.274 (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[15] Baptism Register, 1865, Stibbard (www.ancestry.co.uk); FreeBMD, Quarter to September 1865, Walsingham, Vol.4b, p.267 (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[16] FreeBMD, Quarter to December 1891, Aylsham, Vol.4b, p.269 (www.freebmd.org.uk); Transcript and Index to Wood Norton, Norfolk, Parish Registers, compiled by Keith and Shirley Howell (February 2000), Marriages, 1891 (p.97)

[17] FreeBMD, Quarter to June 1950, Fakenham, Vol.4b, p.374 (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[18] FreeBMD, Quarter to March 1868, Walsingham, Vol.4b, p.303 (www.freebmd.org.uk); Baptism Register, 1868, Stibbard (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[19] FreeBMD, Quarter to December 1896, Loddon, Vol.4b, p.555 (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[20] FreeBMD, Quarter to December 1954, Lothingland, Vol.4b, p.799 (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[21] Baptism Register, 1870, Stibbard (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[22] FreeBMD, Quarter to March 1873, Walsingham, Vol.4b, p.288 (www.freebmd.org.uk); Baptism Register, 1873, Stibbard (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[23] British Army WW1 Pension Records 1914-1920 (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[24] FreeBMD, Quarter to December 1938, Mitford, Vol.4b, p.275 (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[25] FreeBMD, Quarter to June 1875, Walsingham, Vol.4b, p.285 (www.freebmd.org.uk); Baptism Register, 1875, Stibbard (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[26] FreeBMD, Quarter to March 1898, Aylsham, Vol.4b, p.155 (www.freebmd.org.uk); Transcript and Index to Wood Norton, Norfolk, Parish Registers, compiled by Keith and Shirley Howell (February 2000), Marriages, 1898 (p.98)

[27] FreeBMD, Quarter to December 1956, E. Dereham, Vol.4b, p.411 (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[28] Baptism Register, 1882, Stibbard (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[29] FreeBMD, Quarter to September 1914, Norwich, Vol.4b, p.215 (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[30] FreeBMD, Quarter to March 1959, Norwich, Vol.4b, p.755 (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[31] 1901 census, Wood Norton (p.3) (www.ancestry.co.uk)

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Remembering Thomas Walter Doughty

With many thanks to the Wood Norton Remembers project for this post. As ever if you or your local history group has any research to share please do get in touch.

 Thomas Walter Doughty was born in 1892, the son of Thomas George and Anna Maria Doughty.  He was baptised on the 24th January 1892 in Wood Norton parish church.[1] (see Figure 1).


Figure 1: From the Baptisms Register, Wood Norton, 1892

Whilst the British Army WW1 Service Records 1914-1920 do not appear to have survived for Thomas, there are some extant records that indicate that he served in two branches of the military – as a driver in the Army Service Corps (later the Royal Army Service Corps), and as a rifleman in the 1st Battalion the Royal Irish Rifles (see Figure 2).  Thomas was serving with the Royal Irish Rifles when he was killed during the First Battles of the Somme in 1918.

Figure 2: Medal Roll Index Card for Thomas Walter Doughty, showing that he served in the ASC and the Royal Irish Rifles

The Royal Irish Rifles war diary[2] for March 1918 records that they were at Essigny, in northern France.  They had been involved in heavy bombardment at the beginning of the month which was followed by a quieter period with training.  The 17th March, St Patrick’s Day, was

… observed as a holiday.  1st and 2nd Battalions united at Mass by Revd. F. Gill D.S.O, M.C.; first time since 1854.  Football match in morning. 1st Battn. 2 goals. 2nd Bn. 1 goal. … Battalion sports in afternoon.

On the 20th March the men were working on the trenches in the Battle Zone and at Artemps.  The Battle HQ moved from the village to Battle Dugouts in the Quarries, as a German offensive was expected to start the next morning, according to information received from prisoners.  The offensive came at around 04.30am on the morning of the 21st March 1918, when the Germans launched operation Michael, with heavy bombardment near Saint-Quentin.  The aim was to confront what was perceived as a weakened British Expeditionary Force (BEF); outflank it, attack the lines of communication and cut off the supply lines from the channel ports, thus defeating the British and forcing a French armistice.[3]

On the 24th March, the Battalion was at Beaumont en Beine, and marched to Montelimont on Cugny-Villerselve Road and dug in.  A general engagement opened up and reinforcements approaching from the rear were badly shelled.  At 3.30pm the Battalion was practically surrounded and had to retire on Villerselve, where a defensive position north and west of the village was taken up.  The 9th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers were seen to counter-attack, the enemy now approaching rapidly in large numbers.  On the 26th March further fighting took place at Erches, where the enemy approached the village, securing posts by the use of French uniforms whilst using the white flag to distract our soldiers, until it became necessary to warn our soldiers to fire on all fronts.  Fighting continued on and off until the end of March.  The war diary records that the Battalion covered 168.7 kilometres during the month, and that

During these operations the following casualties occurred: 31 O.R. killed, 248 wounded, 155 missing. 9 wounded and missing – a total of 439.

Following the fighting in March, Thomas’s parents presumably received a communication with the dreadful news that their son was missing in action.  They wrote to the Red Cross (as many families of missing soldiers did) to seek help in locating their son, and the index card for Thomas survives in the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) records (see Figure 3).[4]

Figure 3: International Red Cross index card for Thomas Walter Doughty

The card records the date Thomas went missing, his regimental details, and his parents’ address.  It is stamped 14 AOUT 1918 (14th August 1918) on the reverse.  The enquiries made by the Red Cross are listed on the card (in August, September, October and November 1918), but each came with the response ‘Négatif envoyé’ – the soldier was not registered as a prisoner, so there was, therefore, a negative response.  The final communication with Thomas’s family was on the 27th February 1919 – ‘ne plus comm. prisonniers Rap’ (which may mean that there had been no further information received from repatriated prisoners).

Thomas, had, in fact, been killed in March 1918, and his Record of Soldiers Effects drawn up in September 1919 records ‘Death accepted 24.3.18’.[5]  An amount of £39 13s 2d was paid to his father, Thomas George Doughty in March 1920, which included a War Gratuity of £18.

The Commonwealth War Grave Commission’s Burial Return dated 3rd November 1919 records that Thomas’s body was interred in Bouchoir New British Cemetery (see Figure 4).[6]  The Burial Return lists individuals who have been recovered or exhumed from their original burial location and moved to a particular cemetery.  The return includes the original trench map grid reference, and indicates that Thomas had been buried in an unmarked grave; five out of the six men recorded on this return having been recovered from the same location.  Thomas’s body was identified by his identity disc, Army Service Corps badge and Royal Irish Rifles numerals. The body was recovered from trench map grid reference 66E Q4b 90.15, near Erches, where the Battalion had been involved in fighting on the 26th March 1918 (which possibly might indicate that although Thomas’s death was recorded as being on the 24th March 1918, he may have died two days later).

Figure 4: CWGC Burial Return, November 1919

Figure 5: Thomas Walter Doughty, Bouchoir New British Cemetery (reproduced by kind permission of The War Graves Photographic Project)

Further research into Thomas’s family reveals that his father, Thomas George Doughty was born in 1870 in Wood Norton, the son of Thomas and Martha Doughty.[7]  He married Anna Maria Waterson on the 9th January 1892 in Wood Norton parish church.[8]  In the 1911 census for Wood Norton, Thomas George is recorded as aged 40 and a farm labourer.  He died in 1943, aged 72, and is buried in Wood Norton – the Burial register notes that he was living in the Council Houses (in Church Road) at the time of his death.  Anna Maria Waterson was born on the 27th February 1874 and baptised on the 12th August 1877 in Stibbard parish church, the daughter of Mary Waterson.[9]  She died in 1945, aged 72, and is buried in Wood Norton.

The 1911 census reveals that of Thomas George and Anna Maria’s seven children, five had survived:

Name Born  Died
Thomas Walter 1892, in Wood Norton.

In the 1911 census, Thomas is aged 19, and a farm labourer.

24 March 1918; France, the Somme.
Rosalie Mabel 1897, in Wood Norton (baptised 2nd May 1897).[10]

In the 1911 census, Rosalie is aged 14, and at school.

Bessie Edith 1899, in Wood Norton (baptised 21st March 1900).[11]

In the 1911 census, Bessie is aged 12, and at school.

Bessie married Edgar Reynolds in 1924, and died in 1980, aged 80.[12]
Harold Charles 1902, in Wood Norton.[13]

In the 1911 census, Harold is aged 9, and at school.

1933, aged 31.  Harold is buried in Wood Norton.  The burial register transcript records that he was buried by Coroners Order following a fatal accident, and that he was living at 1 Council Houses.
Hilda Grace 1910, Wood Norton.[14]

In the 1911 census, Hilda is 10 months old.

Hilda married Thomas William Taylor on the 2nd April 1938, in Wood Norton.  She died in 1987, aged 76, and is buried in Wood Norton. The burial register transcript records she was living at 1 Council Houses.

 

We have been fortunate to be able to contact Thomas Doughty’s family, and they have kindly provided us with a photograph of his memorial plaque (see Figure 6).

Figure 6: Thomas Walter Doughty’s Memorial Plaque (reproduced by kind permission of the Doughty family)

[1] FreeBMD, Quarter to March 1892, Aylsham, Vol.4b, p.75 (www.freebmd.org.uk); Baptism Register, Wood Norton, 1892 (www.familysearch.org)

[2] 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles war diary for March 1918 (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[3]  Royal Irish website: Battle Honour St Quentin – German Spring Offensive 1918 (www.royal-irish.com/events/battle-honour-st-quentin-german-spring-offensive-1918); Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Michael)

[4] ICRC 1914-1918: Prisoners of the First World War ICRC Historical Archives (https://grandeguerre.icrc.org)

[5] Record of Soldier’s Effects (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[6] CWGC Concentration of Graves (Exhumation and Reburials) – Burial Return for T.W. Doughty  (www.cwgc.org)

[7] FreeBMD, Quarter to September 1870, Aylsham Vol.4b, p.81 (www.free.bmd.org); 1871 Census, Wood Norton (p39) (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[8] FreeBMD, Quarter to March 1892, Aylsham B Vol.4b, p.143 (www.freebmd.org); Transcript and Index to Wood Norton, Norfolk, Parish Registers, compiled by Keith and Shirley Howell (February 2000), Marriages 1892 (p.97).

[9] Baptism Register, Stibbard, 1877 (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[10] FreeBMD, Quarter to June 1897, Aylsham, Vol.4b, p.80 (www.freebmd.org); Baptism Register, Wood Norton, 1897 (www.familysearch.org)

[11] FreeBMD, Quarter to September 1899, Aylsham, Vol.4b, p.92 (www.freebmd.org); Baptism Register, Wood Norton, 1900 (www.familysearch.org)

[12] FreeBMD, Quarter to December 1925, Mitford, Vol.4b, p.694 (www.freebmd.org); Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007, Quarter to March 1980, Norwich Vol.10, p.1831 (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[13] FreeBMD, Quarter to March 1902, Aylsham, Vol.4b, p.82 (www.freebmd.org)

[14] FreeBMD, Quarter to September 1910, Aylsham, Vol.4b, p.71 (www.freebmd.org); Baptism Register, Wood Norton, 1900 (www.familysearch.org)