Killed in Action World War 1

Police Constable Donald Dow
2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys) 


Born on 4th October 1871 at Comrie, Perth, Scotland, he joined the Constabulary on 17th March 1897, the  same year that he married Bessie Bennett in Wiltshire. They then moved to Middle Street in Stroud, where Donald was stationed.
In early 1899 at the outbreak of War in South Africa, Donald enlisted with the 2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys) a Cavalry Regiment of the British Army. After active service, he returned  to the Piershill Barracks in Edinburgh, but sadly died there from double pneumonia and heart failure on 30th August 1901, before he could rejoin the Constabulary. His only daughter Bessie was born at Minchinhampton in 1900 and so never knew her father.

Private 3410 Dow was entitled to the Queen’s South African medal, along with the following 3 clasps – Relief of Kimberley, Paardeburg, and Driefontein.


Police Constable Charles Batts
The Royal Garrison Artillery

Charles was born on 20th January 1888 in Chadlington, Oxfordshire, his first job  was as a plough boy until he moved to Caerphilly, where he worked as an underground haulier before joining the Police. He joined the Constabulary on 1st January 1913, and was sworn in with the warrant number 4019, he first joined the County Reserve at Cheltenham, but was soon posted as Constable 3rd Class to the Gloucester Division. He was confirmed in the rank of Constable 2nd Class on 1st March 1914, and then as Constable 1st Class on 1st March 1915 whilst in the Campden Division.

In September 1916 he was transferred to the Forest of Dean and on 3rd June 1917 he enlisted in the Army.

He joined the 4th Siege Battery of The Royal Garrison Artillery as Gunner 163036. Before going off to War Charles asked permission from the Chief Constable to marry Lilian Way, a domestic servant from Chepstow, permission was granted, and they married on 2nd September 1917 in Chepstow.

Soon after Charles embarked for France and was killed in action 7 months later on 21st April 1918, aged 30 years. He is buried at the Fouquieres Cemetery extension, in Plot II, grave B8. Charles received 2 commendations during his Police service, and was entitled to the British War and Victory medals.

Police Constable George Boulton
Royal Garrison Artillery



George was born on 22nd December 1884 in Long Newton, near Tetbury, he worked as a farm labourer until he joined the Constabulary on 23rd July 1906. He was given the warrant number 3835 and posted to the Bristol Division. He was confirmed in the rank of Constable 1st Class on 1st September 1911 while stationed at Kingswood Police Station.

He married Rosina Witchell, a servant from Kingswood, on 5th August 1912 and in January 1915 their son George was born at Keynsham. Four months later, on 5th May 1915, George voluntarily enlisted with The Royal Garrison Artillery. He served as Gunner 291687 with the 129th (Bristol) Heavy Battalion.

He served in France until he was injured in action and returned to the Frensham Hill Military Hospital in Surrey where he died of his wounds on 21st February 1917,aged 32 years. George is buried in the Malmesbury Cemetery in Wiltshire, grave 138C. He was entitled to the British War and Victory medals for his military service.

Police Constable Valentine Arthur Baylis Carter
Grenadier Guards

Known as Arthur, he was born on 5th August 1886, at Painswick in Gloucester. He first worked as a gardener then in 1903 he joined the Grenadier Guards and served in London with the 2nd Battalion. On 25th October 1906 he joined the Constabularyand spent the majority of his service on the Tewkesbury Division but he did  spend some time in Cheltenham. His warrant number was 3840.

During his time in London he met Annie Hazell, a servant from Stanwell, and on Arthur’s 26th birthday, in 1912, they married at Staines in Middlesex. His new wife stayed in London with family whilst Arthur served in Gloucestershire and visited her regularly. In August 1912 their first son Edwin was born in London.

On 5th August 1914 he was recalled to the Colours and returned to the 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards, 4th (Guards) Brigade, as Private 10806, Arthur landed in France on 23rd November 1914. Whilst in France his wife gave birth to their second son Kitchener who was born in July 1915 in London. It is not known whether Arthur ever got to see his youngest so, as on 12th October 1915 he was killed in action, aged 29 years. He was killed at the Battle of Loos, when the Guards Division took the Hohenzollern Redoubt.

He has no known grave but is remembered on the Loos Memorial, panel 5-7. He was entitled to the 1914/15 Star, British War and Victory medals and landed in France the day after the entitlement to the 1914 Star and clasp. His name appears on the Painswick Village War Memorial.


Police Constable 112 Charles Chamberlain,
(Military Medal with bar)

 The Royal Garrison Artillery

Born on 19th June 1888, at Guiting Power, Gloucestershire  he worked there as a plough boy. In 1901 he worked as a groom at Soudley Manor then on 27th December 1905 he joined the Army and served on the 97th Battery of the Royal Field Artillery. He left the Army on 27th December 1908  and joined the ‘B’ Army Reserves.

Charles joined the Constabulary on 23rd February 1909 with the warrant number 3907 and wore the number 112.G on his tunic collar, he then was posted to Cinderford in the Forest of Dean. Two years later during 1911, he was twice seconded to Cardiff to help Police the Seaman’s Strikes and when he returned he was stationed at Yorkley. Whilst there, in 1912, he was fitted with new uniform for mounted duties.

On 26th March 1912, Charles was performing mounted duties at Cheltenham Race Course when he was commended for his actions, which resulted in the arrest and committal of a notorious thief. He married Annie Hale a Cheltenham barmaid, in Tewkesbury on 2nd October 1913. The following year he was posted to Gloucester and they lived in Widden Street,which is also where their daughter Doris was born.

In August 1914 Charles was recalled to the Colours and went into the 29th Reserve Battery of the Royal Garrison Artillery as Sergeant 40915, he landed in France on 19th August 1914. On 24th June 1915 he rescued a comrade from a burning gun pit in France and for his gallant actions was awarded the Military Medal. It was at that time he was promoted to Battery Sergeant-Major.

Sometime later he transferred into C Battery, 310th Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery and on 4th November 1918, aged 29 years, was killed in action at Ruesnes in France. Charles was posthumously awarded a bar to his Military Medal, which gives evidence that his death involved an act of gallantry.He is buried at the Ruesnes Communal Cemetery, Plot I, grave A2, and was entitled to the 1914 Star and clasp, the British War and Victory medals, along with his Military Medal and second award bar. His name appears on the Cheltenham War Memorial.

Police Constable 173 William Arther Curry
The Royal Garrison Artillery

William was born on 25th February 1880 at Bedminster Bristol. His father was Police Sergeant Curry of the Gloucestershire Force and as a child William moved around with his family living at various stations such as Newnham and Avening. He started working as a printer whilst also volunteering with the 1st Herefordshire Rifle Volunteer Corps before deciding to join the Police. On 8th January 1901 he joined the Constabulary with warrant number 3631, but 12 days later he resigned. Then on 7th February 1901 he enlisted with the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry at Hereford and became Private 7600.

His Army papers describe him as 22 years old,  5′ 8″ tall, 138 lbs, 36″ chest, with blue eyes, a fresh complexion, and dark brown hair. He served during the Boer War in South Africa between 23rd March 1901 and 5th June 1902, then after returning home, he rejoined the Constabulary on 16th June 1902, and was issued a new warrant number of 5100. He served on the Bristol Division, and later on in 1911 was seconded to Cardiff to assist with the Seaman’s Strikes there, interestingly he would have been there with Police Constable Chamberlain. In September 1914, due to the outbreak of World War I, he was posted as an armed guard for protection of the Severn Bridge, he was probably chosen because of his past military service.

On 16th July 1915, he enlisted with the 119th Heavy Battery of the Royal Garrison Artillery, and became Gunner 122107. He served in France but was injured and died of his wounds at a casualty clearing station on 9th October 1918, aged 39 years.

William never married, and is buried at the Delsaux Farm Cemetery at Beugny, France, plot I, grave C8. He is entitled to the Queen’s South African medal along with the 5 following clasps – Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal, South Africa 1901 and South Africa 1902 also the British War and Victory medals.

Police Constable 221 William Henry Drake
Gloucestershire Regiment 

William was born on 29th August 1883 at Charlton Kings in Cheltenham. His first job was that of a gardener in the Cheltenham area, then in 1907 he joined the Army and went into the 1st Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment. He served for 3 years and then on 10th March 1910 he joined, Gloucestershire Constabulary and was given the warrant number 3930. He was posted onto J Division, and lived at the Police Station, Badbrook, Stroud. During 1911 he was seconded to Cardiff to assist in policing the Cardiff Seaman’s Strike. On 28th March 1912 William married Ethel Blanch, a tailoress from Pagenhill, Stroud and they lived together at Broomfield Cottages, Middle Street, Uplands, Stroud. Their first child Edna May was born on 1st March 1913 and their second, John Henry was born on 21st December 1913.

On 5th August 1914 William was recalled to the Colours and went back to serve in 1st Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment as Private 6294, only 26 days later he landed in France. On 6th November 1914 his Battalion was at Zillebeke in Belgium  where the german Army continued it’s desperate attempts to take the City of Ypres. Orders were received for the Gloucesters to clear the Germans out of the wood just east of Zillebeke but they were held up by barbed wire and machine gun fire and had to withdraw to a new line between the wood and the village where they dug in. At 9 o’clock the next morning a further attack was ordered but this again failed for the same reasons and the Battalion had to lie out in the open all day before they could return to thier lines at nightfall. At roll call that night only 213 men answered and it was estimated that about 300 casualties had been sustained, mostly killed and missing. William Drake was never found.

On 7th November 1914, less than 3 months after arriving, he was officially reported as missing in action, believed dead in Belgium. He was 32 years old and has no known grave but is remembered on panels 22 and 34 of the Ypres, Menin Gate, Memorial. His name also appears on the Cheltenham, Charlton Kings, and St Mary’s Church War Memorials. He is entitled to the 1914 Star and Clasp, British War and Victory Medals.

Police Constable 363 William Francis Hawkins
Gloucestershire Regiment

William was born on 17th February 1885 at Stinchcombe near Stroud, by the age of 16 worked as a market carpenter in the area. On 11th October 1906 he was accepted as a Police Constable with the Gloucestershire Constabulary and given the warrant number 3839. He commenced duties in Cheltenham  then soon afterwards transferred to F Division, where he was stationed at Tutshill Police Station near Chepstow. Twice during 1911 he was seconded to assist in the policing of the Cardiff Seaman’s Strikes but returned  to Tutshill.

He served a total of 7 years with the Constabulary but on 1st February 1912 for unknown reasons he resigned. Three years later in Gloucester City, he signed up to the 7th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment, becoming Private 11294, and on 19th June 1915 he sailed from Avonmouth to enter the Balkans theatre of War.

On 8th January 1916 during the last Turkish attacks at Helles, William, aged 31, was killed in action with 7th Battalion at Sulva Bay, Gallipoli, the following day his Battalion was evacuated from Helles.

William never married, was the eldest child, and had 3 brothers who also all served in the Army during WWI. He is remembered on Panels 101-104, The Helles Memorial, Turkey, he is also named in the Great War Memorial Book of the Central Council of Church Bell-Ringers on page 12. Private Hawkins was entitled to the 1914/1915 Star, along with both the British War and Victory medals.

Police Constable Walter Sidney Howes
Gloucestershire Regiment

Walter was born on 23rd November 1888 in Tredworth, Gloucester. He was the son of Police Constable 6 (Merit Class) William Howes, a well respected and long serving officer, who was the recipient of the 1911 Coronation medal. During his youth Walter lived with his parents at many different Police Stations throughout the county, and then worked in at Cheltenham Hotel before he joined the Force.

He joined the Constabulary on 1st May 1909 with the Warrant number 3913 and completed his initial training at the Cheltenham HQ’s, before being posted to Gloucester Division. In September 1910 he was transferred to Cheltenham Division, then one month later he was again transferred to Cirencester Division.

Whilst on C Division he was stationed at Lechlade Police Station, and it was whilst there on 19th July 1911, he was dismissed from the Force for neglect of duty and ineffciency. It is not known what Walter did after being dismissed, but it must have been of great disappointment to his father who retired on pension the following year, after 31 years meritorious service.

Due to the outbreak of World War I, Walter enlisted for the Army at Cheltenham in December 1914, and joined 9th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment as Private 17214, he went on to serve in A Company of the 9th. He landed in France on 21st September 1915 and in November 1915 was moved to Salonika in Greece, with 78th Brigade, in the 26th Division.

On 25th April 1917 aged 28, Walter was killed in action during the 2nd day of The Battle of Doiran. He is remembered on the Doiran Memorial which is situated in North Greece close to the Yugoslav Frontier, and the Cheltenham War Memorial. He was entitled to the 1914/1915 Star, British War and Victory medals.

Police Constable George Ingram
Grenadier Guards

Born on 6th August 1891 in Thorncote, Cricklade, Wiltshire, he later lived with his family at Kemble near Cirencester, where he worked  with his father as a farm labourer. On 1st May 1912 George joined the Gloucestershire Constabulary, given the Warrant number 3997 and four months later was posted to the Stow Division. He later served on the Gloucester Division until he resigned from the Force on 7th September 1914, to allow him to voluntarily enlist with the Army.

He joined the 2nd Battalion, Grenadier Guards becoming Private 18519 and was later promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal. George landed in France on 24th May 1915 but only five months later was injured in action and had to return to England for treatment. He became a patient at the Southmead Hospital in Bristol and died there of his wounds on 14th October 1916, aged 25.

He is buried at the Kemble Village Churchyard in Gloucestershire, and is remembered on Panel 2 of the Kemble War Memorial. He was entitled to the 1914/1915 Star, British War and Victory medals.

Police Constable 260 William Tilling Kilbey
Grenadier Guards

William was born on 27th August 1886 in Harnhill, Cirencester,and five years later lived with his family at The School and Post Office, Driffield. It is believed he worked for the local Railway until 1907 when he joined the Army and went into the 3rd Battalion of the Grenadier Guards. He served for 3 years, and left the Army, but remained on the Reserve list. On 6th April 1910 he joined the Gloucestershire Constabulary with the Warrant number 3933 and was posted to Cheltenham Division. In January 1911 William was transferred to the Tewkesbury Division where he worked from, and lived at,  Bishops Cleeve Police Station. During his Police service he was commended twice, one of which included his arrest of a shop breaker in Cheltenham

On 5th August 1914 William was immediately recalled to the Colours at the outbreak of war and went back into the Grenadier Guards, but this time he served with the 1st Battalion as Private 13076. Following a short period of training he landed at Zeebrugge on 7th October 1914. On 29th October 1914 his Battalion were in defensive positions at Gheluvelt and were attacked at 7:30am by three battalions of the German Army which pushed the Guards back and by noon they were holding a ditch south of the Menin Road. They did, however hold the advance at the cost of 470 killed and wounded, many during hand-to-hand combat during that day.

Private Kilbey was only declared as missing in action on 17th December 1914 but infact he had been killed in action, aged 28, on 29th October 1914 as he had been one of those 470 brave men at Gheluvelt. He has no known grave but is remembered on Panels 9 and 11 of the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, and the Cheltenham War Memorial in the Promenade. William never married, and was entitled to the 1914 Star with clasp, and the British War and Victory Medals.

Police Constable 162 Francis Thomas Nash
Grenadier Guards

Francis was born on 11th June 1892 in Hamfallow near Berkeley, Gloucester and during 1909 in Bristol, he joined the 1st Battalion of the Grenadier Guards, where he was posted to the Wellington Barracks, Westminster, London.

During his three years military service Francis performed ceremonial duties at the 1911 Coronation of King George V and became the recipient of the 1911 Coronation medal. Also in 1911 he was either injured or became sick as in that year’s census he is shown as a patient in the Royal Alexander Hospital in London.

He left the Army a year later, becoming a reservist and on 1st August 1912 he joined the Gloucestershire Constabulary with the Warrant number 4007. After completing his training he was posted to Cheltenham Division and was stationed at the Bath Road Police Station. In June 1914 he was transferred to Tewkesbury Division and was stationed at  Coombe Hill on the A38.

Two months later on 5th August 1914, Francis was recalled to the colours and rejoined the Grenadier Guards this time serving as Private 14398 with the 3rd Battalion. He landed in France on 23rd November 1914. Francis was killed on 17th October 1915 during the actions round the Hohenzollern Redoubt during the Battle of Loos, this was only 3 days after Police Constable Carter was killed in the same action. On 3rd October 1915 the 3rd Grenadiers returned to the line in the Vaudricourt , opposite the German trench known as ‘Big Willie’. The battalion then set about repairing the trench system whilst being continually shelled and bombed. On the date of Francis’s death the enemy’s shelling was reported as being even more accurate, 11 men were killed and 32 wounded.

Never married, he has no known grave but is remembered on Panels 5-7 of the Loos Memorial, and is commemorated on the Cheltenham and Berkeley War Memorials. He was entitled to the 1911 King GV Coronation Medal (Military issue), the 1914/15 Star, British War and Victory medals. Francis landed in France the day after the entitlement to a 1914 Star and clasp.

Police Constable Leonard Conrad Joe Reubinson
Royal Garrison Artillery

Leonard was born on 6th July 1894 at Nailsworth, Gloucester, and his father was Police Constable Thomas Reubinson from Avening Police Station near Tetbury. The family lived at the station until 1911 when they moved to West End, Minchinhampton. Leonard worked for 4 years as a Grocers Assistant until he followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the Gloucestershire Constabulary on 19th August 1914. He was sworn in with the Warrant number 4065, and following training was posted to Gloucester Division, the following year he was transferred to Durlsey Division.

On 5th May 1915 he voluntarily enlisted with the Army, and went into the 129th Heavy (Bristol) Battalion of the Royal Garrison Artillery, where he became Gunner 291683. This was the same battalion as Police Constable George Boulton.
He fought in France until he was killed in action, aged 23 years. He is buried in grave B7 of the No Man’s Cot Cemetery, Leper, France. Leonard never married, and his father retired from the Force on pension in 1919. He was entitled to the British War and Victory medals.


Police Constable Walter Charles Saunders
Royal Navy Reserve

 Walter was born on 25th March 1890 in Crudwell, near Malmesbury, Wiltshire. By 1911 he was working as a labourer but the following year was employed as a stone mason until he joined the Gloucestershire Constabulary on 1st May 1913, with the Warrant number 4027. Following his training he worked on the Cheltenham, Tewkesbury and finally the Dursley Divisions until the Chief Constable was required to send 8 more men for Military Service. Walter was one of the 8 men chosen and was relieved of police duty, he then had to enlist with the Royal Navy on 4th June 1917.
He became Able Seaman R/1694 and was assigned to the Anson Battalion, 188th Brigade in the 63rd (Royal Navy) Division. This was a Division created in 1914 after it was realised there was a large surplus of reserve men who could not find any jobs onboard ships of war. There were sufficient numbers to form two  Naval Brigades and one Marine Brigade for operations on land.

Walter would have been involved with his battalion at the Second Battle of Passchendaele during October and November 1917, then late in December he was again in action at Welch Ridge, a series of trenches near Villers-Plouich in France.

He was wounded in action on 30th December 1917 at Welch Ridge, and died of his wounds on New Years Day 1918, aged 27 years. Walter never married and was the only policeman from Gloucestershire to enlist with the Royal Navy during WWI. He is buried at Plot A, Grave B, of the Sunken Road Cemetery, France, and was entitled to the British War and Victory medals.

Police Constable 252 William Silas Shute
The Royal Gloucestershire Hussars

William was born on 19th March 1885 in Chilfrome, Dorset, where he lived with his parents at the Poorton South Dairy House, Poorstock, Dorset. By 1901 he was working as a Dairy Labourer and did so for 5 years until in 1906 he moved to Walton near Symondsbury, where he started work as a Baker.

On 1st January 1909 he joined the Gloucestershire Constabulary and was issued the Warrant number 3904 and was posted onto J Division at Stroud. Between 1911 and 1914 he recieived two commendations for larceny arrests and recovering valuable stolen property. In December 1914 he was transferred to G Division where he remained until he enlisted. In April 1912 at Teddington near Tewkesbury he married local girl Jane Attwood, a servant. Their first child George was born in the same year.

On 5th May 1915 William voluntarily enlisted with the Army at Gloucester, and joined The Royal Gloucestershire Hussars, he became Sergeant-Major 2917, and landed in Egypt on 6th November 1915. In January 1916 he joined the  1/1st Royal Gloucestershire Hussars which had just become part of the newly formed and independent command Brigade, known as the 5th Mounted Brigade.

On 23rd April 1916 (Easter Sunday) William was killed in action in Egypt, this meant he never saw his second child, Charles, who was born on 23rd February 1916 in Tewkesbury. William is remembered on Panel 3 of the Jerusalum Memorial in Israel, and on The Royal Gloucestershire Hussars Memorial, College Lawn, at Gloucester Catherdral. He was entitled to the 1914/1915 Star, British War and Victory medals.

Police Constable Henry James Surrett
The Royal Garrison Artillery

 Henry was born on 30th April 1891 in Highbury, London, and lived with his parents at Islington in London until he joined the Police. By 1910 he was employed as a wine and spirits sales assistant, then on 4th December 1912 Henry joined the Gloucestershire Constabulary with the Warrant number 4015. He was first posted Gloucester Division then in October 1913 he was transferred to Bristol Division.

On 5th May 1915 he enlisted with the 129th Heavy (Bristol) Battalion of the Royal Garrison Artillery, where he became Gunner 291650 and went to France.

On 5th July 1917 Henry was killed in action, aged 26. He is buried in Grave 15, Row G, Plot 3, at the Ferme-Olivier Cemetry in France. He never married and was entitled to both the British War and Victory medals.

Police Constable 73 Dick Townsend
The Royal Gloucestershire Hussars

Dick was born at Stratton, Cirencester on 3rd August 1893, then a few years later moved with his family to the village of Painswick near Stroud. In 1910 he started working at a hotel and remained there for 4 years until he joined the Police. He started with the Gloucestershire Constabulary on 1st October 1914 with the Warrant number 4081, and was posted to the Gloucester Division.

Only 7 months later, on 5th May 1915, he voluntarily enlisted with the Army and joined The Royal Gloucestershire Hussars, and became Acting Sergeant 2918. Dick enlisted the same day and place as his G Division friend and colleague Police Constable William Shute, and they both went into the Hussars with service numbers one apart, 2917 & 2918.

He landed in Egypt on 6th November 1915, which was the same day as Police Constable Shute, so by now they must have been close friends.

On 23rd April 1916, which was Easter Sunday, Dick was killed in action whilst serving with 1/1st Royal Gloucestershire Hussars in Egypt. He was killed the same day as his best friend Police Constable William Shute, and one can  presume they fought together until the end.

Dick and William had come such along way together from walking the beat in Gloucester City, to fighting together in Egypt, then finally being remembered on the same panel of the Jerusalum Memorial in Israel, neither of the brave men have any known grave. Dick was entitled to the 1914/1915 Star, British war and Victor Medals. He to is remembered like William on the College Lawn Memorial at Gloucester Catherdral.

Police Constable Dick Townsend was the youngest Gloucestershire Policeman to be killed during World War One, he was just 22 years old.

This page was added on 29/03/2017.

Comments about this page

  • I read with great interest the stories of the Glos policeman who died during WW1. then I was absolutely astounded to read PC221 William Drake lived at Broomfield Cottages Uplands, I used to live at 4 Broomfield Cottages in Uplands. I would love to know which house he lived in.

    By Janet Leaper (10/11/2018)
  • Thank you for your comment. Police Constable Drake’s personnel file just says Bromfield Cottages and letters to his widow are similarly addressed.

    By Sue Webb (12/11/2018)

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