Five members from St Martin’s, Epsom went to war, all returned home (as did the seven from Christ Church, Epsom Common), though there are some interesting examples of the smaller domestic tragedies that are often overlooked in the narrative of war. Frederick Ernest Coldman had married in mid-1910, he signed up for service with the Royal Army Medical Corps on 23 April 1915. He was discharged in October 1919, but immediately re-enlisted for a year’s service in the Military Foot Police with the Allied Police Commission under the Black Sea Force occupying Turkey. On his re-enlistment papers he states that he is separated from his wife. One can’t help wondering if there is also some connection with an incident at the end of December 1917, when he was late returning from leave for which he was admonished and forfeited two days’ pay — was he trying to resolve some domestic affairs? The five men were:
- Serjeant Joseph Morgan Lamprill — 5th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment; Labour Corps; Machine Gun Corps?; Disabled?.[He is listed on the original roll as MGC and disabled. There is no matching medal card — there is a medal card for a man serving with 5th East Surreys, who would have spent most of the war in India, he has a 7-digit number indicating he continued to serve after 1920 (so his records may well still be with MOD). Seems to have spent some time with the Labour Corps, which could be an indication of not being fully fit].
- Private Alfred David Young — National Reserve, Epsom Company; 5th (reserve) Battalion, East Surrey Regiment; 41 Protection Company, Royal Defence Corps. Discharged due to sickness, 15 September 1916. [Aged 49 at the outbreak of war, a former Met policeman and member of a volunteer battalion of the Middlesex Regiment. The National Reserve was a sort of holding register for men with previous military training, but too old for active sevice, most of these men were eventually transferred to the Royal Defence Corps (see information on the various types of army reserves from the Long, Long trail)]
- Acting Serjeant Dresser Albert Claude Coleman — Royal Army Veterinary Corps, attached 52 Brigade, Royal Field Artillery; Discharged 12 February 1919, sickness. [one of 16 men from Epsom involved in the racing industry who joined the RAVC on the same day]
- Lance Corporal Frederick Ernest Coldman — 3/3 Home Counties Field Ambulance, 142 Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps; Allied Police Commission (Black Sea Force), Military Foot Police.
- Private ?William John? Hart — Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment; Labour Corps. [Initials given as J W, not W J, on original roll, but no other real candidates in census. At first sight seems an unlikely candidate for service in the ranks of the Labour Corps, a 51-year-old City solicitor at the outbreak of war. However, his father was a long-serving NCO, and he was brought-up in the accommodation provided for the instructor-serjeant at the Tottenham drill hall. He could be another like David Young who began their service as a National Reservist.]
The bellringers today are affiliated to both the Surrey Association and the Guildford Diocesan Guild. Information about the tower can be found on the Surrey Association website, the Guildford Diocesan Guild website, the church website and the ringers’ own website.