Benhilton, All Saints

Benhilton suffered the joint third-highest death rate of all the towers, with two of the four men who served never returning to the tower after the war (the highest was Merstham, with neither of its men returning, second-highest was Redhill with three out of five ringers killed, and sharing the 50% rate were Hersham, with again two of four members returning, though one of those who died had emigrated to New Zealand some years previously; and Carshalton lost one out of two men who served). However, both Benhilton men lie in the churchyard of All Saints, within sight and sound of the tower where they must have spent so much time. Some images of the churchyard can be seen on the cemetery page within the Central Council roll of honour , the photos include the war memorial in the churchyard on which both men are named. The men are:

  • Private Sidney Frank Rayner † Killed 10 November 1918 — East Surrey Regiment; No 437 Agricultural Company, Labour Corps [The roll shows him as killed, he is described in Soldiers Died in the Great War as simply “Died” which usually indicates accidental death or illness. As shown below, the G Rayner also listed on the roll was probably his brother. Some sources give his name as Sydney Frank Rayner]
  • Serjeant-Major John Webb † died 28 November 1918 — Q Motor Transport Company, Army Service Corps [the original CWGC cemetery register for Surrey shows he died of pneumonia, with the timing of his death this makes it likely he was a victim of the Spanish flu]
  • Private Walter Hodges — 1st Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers. Discharged 21 November 1914 [one of the very small number on the roll with pre-war regular army service, his first name is given on one army document as William, on another as Walter, which overall seems to be more likely. The roll describes him as being wounded in 1914, an army document states he was discharged due to sickness]
  • Private George Thomas Rayner — Royal Fusiliers [there were two George Rayners in the area at the 1911 census: George Thomas was the brother of Sidney Frank Rayner listed above – and ringing often ran in families; the other is George Alfred Rayner]

Not listed on the original roll, but contemporary reports clearly show that he was a regular ringer at Benhilton and living in Sutton is:

More information about the current ringers can be found via the tower’s page on the Surrey Association website. Both men are also named on the main Sutton War Memorial in Manor Park. Here, thanks to Alan Seymour of the Sussex County Association, are photos of the two panels showing their names:

Thanks to Andy Arnold for the original information that they were commemorated there, you can see some general photos on his website about the Carshalton War Memorial, though not in sufficient detail to see the names.

4 thoughts on “Benhilton, All Saints

  1. Pingback: Benhilton page added | halfmuffled

  2. Pingback: Arthur Ernest Plowman (1898-1917†): missed from the roll | halfmuffled

  3. Pingback: Streatham update: H F Daniels identified as H V Daniels | halfmuffled

  4. Pingback: Major J H R Freeborn FRIBA FRICS (1887-1971), Benhilton’s almost Olympian hammer thrower | halfmuffled

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