Bletchingley, St Mary the Virgin

Bletchingley (or Blechingley as it was often spelled at the time) sent one of the larger contingents of members to war – 11 in all, all of whom survived the war, although many (generally older men serving with the Royal Defence Corps) became ill as a result of their service and were discharged from the forces as a result. A very high proportion of the men (5 out of 11 in this case) give their occupation as house painter or house decorator, leading one to wonder if the job or the bell ringing came first. The 11 men were:

  • Sapper Frederick George Balcombe — Royal Engineers, Inland Waterways and Docks; discharged due to illness, 12 December 1918 [name given as Frederick George Balcomb in birth registration, and that is the form of his surname used on the original roll, but most sources list him as Balcombe]
  • Private Thomas James Coppard — 7th Supernumerary Company, 2/5th Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment; 6th Battalion, Royal Defence Corps; Discharged due to myalgia and rheumatic pains aggravated by military service, 20 March 1918 [Only service with the Queen’s is mentioned on the original roll, one page of his record seems to indicate, 1st, rather than 7th, Supernumerary Company]
  • Private Leonard Francis Goodwin — Royal Fusiliers; Labour Corps [only Labour Corps service indicated on original roll, Royal Fusiliers service also seems to have been in a battalion used for labour duties]
  • Gunner/Signaller Horace Gordon Kirby — Royal Garrison Artillery [Initial given as G only on the original roll. The roll describes him as signaller, but there is no matching army record, there is however a Medal Index Card for a Gunner Horace G Kirby, RGA. Officially only gunner and driver were used for privates in the RGA, but signaller was a common unofficial usage]. Son-in-law of Thomas James Coppard above.
  • Private William Mayne — 7th Railway Company, 3/5 Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment; 41 Company, 6th Battalion, Royal Defence Corps; Discharged due to sickness (debility) on 17 October 1917 [Only RDC service is listed on the original roll. Father of William Inwood Mayne below]
  • Corporal (Acting Serjeant) William Inwood Mayne — 4th Battalion, Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment [Middle initial given as J on original roll, but no match with that initial. Son of William Mayne above]
  • Private George Potter — 4th Labour Company, Northamptonshire Regiment; 142nd, 52nd and 53rd Companies, 782 and 780 Area Employment Artizan Companies, Labour Corps [only Area Emploment Artizan Company mentioned on original roll. These companies contained semi-skilled labourers, Potter is recorded as a quarryman on his attestation form, stone for making up roads was a vital commodity for the BEF in France, and was produced from local French quarries]
  • Private Sidney Thomas Plumridge or Sydney Thomas Plumridge — Horse Transport, Army Service Corps; 12th Battalion, Manchester Regiment; 10th Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers [unit is given on roll as 10th Lancers, but there is no such unit, the closest cavalry regiment is 10th Hussars. It seems Lancs Fus, for Lancashire Fusiliers, got misread (or misheard) as lancers. Fortunately a service record survived)
  • Driver John William “Jack” Weeks — Royal Field Artillery [surname is given as Weeke on original roll, but no-one of that surname in Bletchingley]. Served as Jack Weeks, continued as a reservist after the war.
  • Private William John Wilson — Royal Army Medical Corps [middle name is uncertain, some possible records appear to give I as middle initial. Army service unconfirmed – too many possibilities without any definite link to Bletchingley]
  • Private Harry Thomas Wren — 16th Battalion, Manchester Regiment

Information about the current ringers can be found on the church’s own page about the bells and the Surrey Association website

2 thoughts on “Bletchingley, St Mary the Virgin

  1. Pingback: Bletchingley page added | halfmuffled

  2. Pingback: William Henry Johnson VC and other updates | halfmuffled

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