Four men from Hersham served, two did not live to tell the tale, one of the worst casualty rates in the Association. However, Ernest James Hamblin and his family had in fact left Hersham in 1909, they were in Woking for the 1911 census, and Ernest emigrated to New Zealand later that year, joining his brother Stephen Charles Hamblin (also a ringer) who had gone there earlier. They were joined in Auckland by his parents and two sisters in 1913. His father was also a ringer and they all (father and two sons) continued ringing at St Matthew’s-in-the-City in Auckland. Both Ernest and George Basil Edser jr were also members of the Winchester Diocesan Guild (Edser was a former honorary secretary of the Yorktown District), they are recorded under that Guild on the Central Council roll of honour, and also on the WDG memorial in the tower of Winchester Cathedral. Edser’s father (George Basil sr) was also a ringer at Hersham. Coincidentally neither man has a known grave, and they died within two months of each other. Both are commemorated by photographs in the ringing chamber.
- Rifleman George Basil Edser jr † Killed in Action, 9 August 1917 — 9th (County of London) Battalion (Queen Victoria’s Rifles), the London Regiment; 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles. [only Royal Irish Rifles service listed on roll, nor any indication of fact father shared same name]
- Private Ernest James Hamblin † Killed in Action, 4 October 1917 — 3rd Battalion, Auckland Regiment, NZ Expeditionary Force. [initial given only as E on original roll]
- Private John Loveridge — 4th and 11th Battalions, East Surrey Regiment; 21st Battalion, Training Reserve (renamed from 11th East Surrey); 29th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment; 339 (Home Service) Works Company, Labour Corps. [No overseas service, medical records in service record sugest he had a cleft palate. Seems to have wanted to join Royal Engineers, as in civilian life he was a plumber’s assistant.]
- ?Captain William Alfred Woodrow; Railway Operating Department, Royal Engineers. [Initials given as W R in original roll, but there is a Ringing World obit for this man, and no-one with those initials in census, father was also a ringer. No evidence found for rank of captain. There is a recruitment entry register entry confirming he went to “Railway Troops”, original roll lists him as R Engineers (ROC), the Railway Operating Department was divided into Railway Operating Companies. Some men from the railways were given honorary commissions, railway records show he was an audit clerk at Waterloo on a salary of £100pa at the time he joined up, so it’s psosible his rank was honorary.]
Listed on the roll as a Banstead ringer is Frederick George Woodiss who learnt to ring at Hersham where his father was also a ringer. Lieutenant A D Sowell of St Kea, Cornwall, Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, is also recorded as ringing at Hersham while stationed at Witley.
The Hersham tower is no longer “In Union” with the Surrey Association, affiliating to the Guildford Diocesan Guild only. More information can be found on the Guildford Guild website and on the church’s website.