Our History

The Large 'Memorial' Hall was built on land donated by the London Necropolis Company, which once owned Brookwood Cemetery and surrounding land and property in the village. These funds, raised by public subscription commemorate the Brookwood residents who gave their lives for our freedom during the two World Wars. There is information about the soldiers commemorated in the hall below.

Wilfred Bolingbroke
1896 - 1918

Wilfred lived at 1 Victoria Villas in Brookwood with his parents until 1913 when, aged 16, the family moved into the newly-built 'Homestead' (158 Connaught Road).

Born in 1896, Wilfred enlisted in Bisley early into the Great War by joining the third battalion of the Tank Corps. He served as a Private in Flanders and France. Sadly Wilfred was killed in action just over a month before World War I ended, on 8 October 1918, aged just 22 years old.

A condolence letter sent to his parents indicates he was killed whilst gallantly fighting the retreating Germans. His tank received two direct hits and Wilfred died instantly. His loss is said to have broken his mother's heart - he was her only child. His body lies in the Cemetery at Busigny, France.

Thanks to The Brookwood Cemetery Society editor Margaret Hobbs, and to Charlotte Howard for sharing her family photos.

Cyril Sheather
1899 - 1940

Cyril fought in both the First and the Second World Wars.  
Born Cyril Henry Sheather in Peasmarsh, Sussex in March 1899, Cyril would go on to fight in both World Wars.

In 1914, aged just 15, Cyril joined the Grenadier Guards (19 was the legal minimum age for armed service overseas).
Cyril was promoted to Lance Sergeant before the World War I ended, and was awarded the British Medal and the Victory Medal. Cyril was also officially recognised for Gallant Conduct.

Cyril had become a regular soldier, and was posted to the Chelsea Barracks in London after the War. Whilst performing ceremonial duties, he was stationed at Wellington Barracks, by Buckingham Palace. He rose to be the Regimental Sergeant Major of the First Battalion Grenadier Guards before World War  II broke out.
Cyril married Norah in 1929 between the Wars, and they had two daughters and a son. The young family stayed in the married quarters in London. Norah's sister, Mrs Minnie Giles, lived in Brookwood at 225 Connaught Road. The Sheather family used to visit Brookwood regularly from their home in married quarters in London.

They lived in the Casa Nil Barracks in Cairo, Egypt between 1933 and 1936 to as the Grenadier Guards were posted there to defend the Suez Canal. The family returned to London in 1936.
After the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, the Grenadier Guards were posted to the front line in Europe. Sadly, Cyril was killed on Saturday 1 June 1940, during the defence of the Dunkirk-Nieuport perimeter. He was 41. Cyril is buried in Coxyde Military Cemetery, Belgium.
After Cyril died in 1940, Norah and their three children (Maureen - eight,  Noel - seven, and Theresa, eighteen months) had to leave the married quarters, and came to live in Brookwood with her Minnie, and her children Patricia, Nora and Denis. 
Many thanks to the Sheather family for their information.

Albert Devereux
1897 - 1916

Born in 1897, Albert lived at 2 Connaught Road. He joined The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment and served as a Private in the 6th Battalion. Sent to France on 1 June 1915, his regiment became involved in the Battle of the Somme from the start and sustained heavy losses almost immediately. They remained at the front line until 14 August 1916, when they were moved to an area described as 'quiet' - although still very close to enemy lines.

His battalion often took part in night raiding parties to gather information on the enemy, and on the night of 5 December 1916, Albert was one of 74 men who took part in an exploratory night raid. Conditions were good, with the night sky covered in cloud. Then the cloud cleared, revealing a bright full moon. The Captain recalled the men to the British lines, but it too late. Two heavy trench shells fell, killing Albert and three of his comrades. He was just 19.

Albert was awarded the 1915 Star, and the Victory and the British Medals. He is buried in Wailly Orchard Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.

John Brock
1908 - 1944

Born John Leopold George Brock near Croyden in 1908, his family lived at 1 York Road, West Croydon. In 1935 John was living at Gibbs Acre, Pirbright and working as a hospital attendant, probably at Brookwood Hospital. On 1 May 1935 he married Kathleen Florence Rands of Brookwood at St. Michael and All Angels Church in Pirbright. John and Kathleen had a son, Michael J Brock, in late 1939. John joined the Royal Artillery and fought as a Bombardier in the Western Europe campaign between 1944 and 1945. He was killed in action on 13 June 1944, seven days after the D-day landings in Normandy. John was buried at Ranville War Cemetery, Calvados, near Caen.

Frank Mitchell
1892 - 1919

Born on 8 February 1892, Frank lived at 1 Connaught Cottages, Brookwood with his mother and father, three brothers and a sister.

He was sent to France on 23 August 1914 with his regiment,  the 19th (Queen Alexandra’s Own Royal) Hussars. 

He died of pneumonia on 3 March 1919 at 44 Casualty Clearing Centre near Cologne, some four months after the Armistice on 11 November 1918. His regiment was part of the first British Army of the Rhine, created in March 1919 to control troops in the British occupation zone along the Rhine.

He lies in Cologne Southern Cemetery. He was awarded the 1914 Star and the British and Victory Medals.

Frank Laurence Fulton
1897 - 1917

The son of George and Isabella, Frank lived at 4 Victoria Villas, Brookwood. Born on 15 September 1897, he volunteered for foreign service at the tender age of 17 just a month after World War I was declared.

He became a Corporal with the 2nd/16th Battalion, London Regiment (Queen’s Westminster Rifles) and went on to serve in France and Greece.

He was killed in action on 20 March 1917 in the Balkans, aged just 19. He is buried in Karasouli Military Cemetery in Greece.

Frank is also commemorated at St Michael and All Angels Church, Pirbright where he was baptised as a child, and the Pirbright Historians have provided a separate record of his life.

Arthur Pickersgill
Died 1942

Arthur was born in Halifax. In the late 1930's, having completed a year’s training at Morris’s car making plant in Birmingham, Arthur moved to Pirbright Camp in 1938 with the aim of helping to set up the Transport Division. Soon, his wife May (known to all as Mrs. Pick) and his children (June - four, and Leo - two) followed to a house in Brookwood. Arthur rose to the rank of Serjeant with the Coldstream Guards: June recalled clearly his wonderful sense of humour and smart uniform, complete with impressive Bearskin! Leo, too, was very proud of his soldier father and often stood at the front gate, dressed in his soldier’s uniform, saluting all the troops as they marched past.

Sadly, Serjeant Pickersgill was killed on Tuesday 24 March 1942. He is buried in Brookwood Military cemetery. When the war ended, his widow, Mrs. Pick, worked hard on the committees formed to make the building of the Brookwood Memorial Halls possible. She died in 1993. Leo - who was a 1st Brookwood Cub - became an inspector in the London Metropolitan police. We thank June Pickersgill very much for her personal memoir of her father.

Charles Neve MSM
1882 - 1923

Born in 1882 in the Heigham district of Norwich, by age 19 Charles had become a career soldier and was stationed in Heavitree, Devon. By 1911, aged 19, he'd been promoted to Sergeant and was stationed at Deepcut near Brookwood.

Charles was awarded the Star Medal for war service in 1914, and the British and Victory Medals. Additionally, he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, which entitled him to use the initials after his name. By the time he retired, he'd achieved the rank of Temporary Warrant Officer 1st Class in the Royal Field Artillery.

Aged 35, he married Amy Mabel Taylor in 1916 at St Michael and All Angels Church in Pirbright, and they lived at 141 Connaught Road. Charles died at home of tuberculosis in 1923 aged just 41.

Sydney Reason
1910 - 1944

Born Sydney George Eric Reason in 1910 he lived with his parents and his elder brother Kenneth in Leamington, Warwickshire. His father was a Carman on the Great Western Railway.  Sydney married Hilda Waite in Chelsea during late 1936.

He joined the Coldstream Guards and rose to become a Drill Sergeant - Warrant Officer 2nd Class.

He died on 14 September 1944 aged 37. He is buried in the Leopoldsburg War Cemetery 42 miles east of Antwerp in Belgium.

Alonza Platts
1990 - 1943

Born in 1900, Alonza Charles Platts was the third of seven children. In 1911, his family was living in Griffydam, near Ashby-de-la-Zouch.

He joined the Royal Leicestershire Regiment in 1918. On 19 December 1920, Alonza married Elizabeth Mary Fain of Pirbright at St. Michael and All Angels Church in Pirbright.

Alonza went with the 1st Battalion to India in 1924 and was promoted to Quartermaster in 1926. He served in Egypt and again later in India, returning to England in 1931 to become Regimental Quarter Master.

He served in World War II, being promoted to Lieutenant in 1941. He was invalided out of service due to poor health in 1942. He died on 26 April 1943 and is buried at Coalville (Hugglescote) Cemetery.

His wife Mary died in 1985 aged 90 and was buried with him.

Frederick Webb
1896 - 1916

Frederick was born at Lock Cottage on 29 October 1896, where he lived with his parents and two elder children. In 1901 they moved to near the Royal Oak in Pirbright, later moving again to Connaught Road, and then back to Lock Cottage. The children went to Brookwood School. In 1911, Frederick was 15 and working as a butcher’s boy, living in Lock Cottage with six other siblings.

Frederick enlisted with the 5th Batallion, Royal Irish Regiment and sailed for the Dardanelles in July 1915, when he was 18 years old. They landed in Suvla Bay, Gallipoli on 7 August, and met heavy opposition from the Turks under the mismanaged invasion. They were re-deployed to Salonika in September and advanced north to Macedonia before retreating from the opposing Bulgarians.

Frederick was reposted to the Western Front and joined the 2nd Batallion, Prince of Wales Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians) there a few months later. In the summer of 1916 the unit was engaged in trench digging near Trônes, and suffered from heavy bombardments.

After a spell of rest near Ameins, Frederick moved north to Loos, where heavy trench mortar activity took place in late October. Frederick was injured and died on 27 October, just two days shy of his 20th birthday.

Frederick was buried in Barlin Cemetery, south of Béthune. (Thanks to Pirbright Historians for all this information.)

Edward Veale
1894 - 1916

Born Edward John Veale on 15 November 1894 in Ringwood, Hampshire, Ted lived in Brookwood at 5 Connaught Road from around a year old, with his parents Henry and Mary, two brothers, and two sisters. 

His father ran a refreshment cafe from their home, which may have been an old railway carriage. The family moved to Knaphill around 1900 initially living in Market Place, later at 5 Holly Thorn Cottages, Queens Road. Ted stayed on at Brookwood School until he was ten and then transferred to Knaphill school. 

He enlisted on 11 September 1914 in Norwich with the Norfolk Regiment. He was posted to France six months later in May 1915, but was wounded in action within three months, receiving gunshot wounds to his right foot. Ted convalesced in France and re-joined his regiment four weeks later in September 1915. 

He died of wounds received in action on 19 February 1916 aged just 21 years old. He is buried in Vermelles British Cemetery near Béthune. Ted was awarded the 1915 Star, the Victory Medal and the British Medal.

John Painter, DFC
1918 - 1940

Born John Frederick Painter around 1918, John lived at 'Maryland' (175 Connaught Road).

He joined the Royal Air Force and was stationed at RAF Kinloss, Morayshire, Scotland as part of the 19 Operational Training Unit, flying Armstrong Whitworth Whitley bombers used to train bomber pilots. He was flying out of RAF Forres, a satellite airfield, to Kinloss. He later became a Flying Officer with 102 Squadron of Bomber Command.

On 22 October 1940 he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in recognition of gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations. This was probably given at the end of a tour of operations, perhaps the one when the squadron was loaned to Coastal Command. They spent six weeks between September - October 1940 carrying out convoy escort duties from Prestwick. Soon after however, on 7 November 1940, at 2.40 pm, John’s plane, N1440, dived from 1200 feet over Forres, crashed and exploded in the garden of a house called Glenernie in Tolbooth Street, Forres. All six crew were killed. He was just 22 years old.

He is buried in Brookwood Cemetery in St. Matthew’s Avenue.

Edward Stevens
1896 - 1916

Edward was the younger brother of John and Walter Stevens - both men commemorated in the Large 'Memorial' Hall.

Born 9 August 1896, he also joined The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment, in Guildford in 1916. He was posted to France after a short period of initial training. He died in action aged just 19 on the Somme battlefields on 15 July 1916; his body was never recovered. 

He was awarded the Victory and the British Medals. His name is listed on the Thiepval Memorial 20 miles northeast of Amiens.

Thanks to Colin Light for his recollections.

John Stevens
1894 - 1918

Edward's elder brother, John James Stevens was born on New Year's Day, 1894. The family at 2 Rose Cottage, and later at 113 Connaught Road, Brookwood. By 1911, there were five sons and two daughters in the family living under one roof.

John stated on enlistment in Guildford on 26 January 1915 (with his brother Walter) that he worked as a labourer.

He had just turned 21, and at first joined the Queen’s Regiment with Walter. He was transferred after initial service training to the Northamptonshire Regiment.

He was posted abroad with the British Expeditionary Force to France on 27 July 1915, and was wounded in action in July 1916 from a gunshot in the left knee.

He was evacuated back to England, and was in hospital in Gravesend, Kent until October 1916 before being transferred to Shoreham-by-Sea for recuperation until March 1917. He was then classed as Category B and transferred to Sittingbourne, where he presumably was based.

On 21 April 1918, he returned to France and joined the 3rd Batallion. He was wounded on 8 July 1918 and died in France on 31 August 1918. He was 24 years old.

The telegram sent to his parents read “Regret to inform you 45625 Pte. J. Stevens, 6th (Batallion) Northampton Regiment, Died of Wounds in 33 Casualty Clearing Station, France August 31st 1918.”

John must have been bravely involved in his final military action, as he was awarded the Military Medal, recorded in the London Gazette on 13 March 1919 and 1 April 1919. John is buried in the Daours Cemetery east of Amiens.

Thanks to Colin Light for his recollections.

Walter Oliver Stevens
1893 - 1919

The elder brother of John and Edward Stevens, Walter Oliver Stevens was born on 20 January 1893, and was baptised the next day at home (common practice when a baby was not expected to live more than a few days). He survived, and was 'received' into the Church a week later.

Walter joined up to the 7th Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment when he had just turned 22, with his younger brother John, in Guildford on 26 January 1915 declaring he was a labourer. He was wounded in France on 1 July 1916 by shrapnel, fracturing his left ankle. He was transferred to England from Rouen on 7 July 1916 on Hospital Ship Asturias to convalesce at 2nd Manchester General Hospital. Following no improvement to his ankle, he was discharged on medical grounds on 1 June 1917 with a surgical boot to support his ankle.

Walter was awarded 1915 Star, and the Victory and British Medals. He also received the Silver War Badge, which was introduced by the government to be worn at all times, to indicate that the bearer had served and been discharged honourably.

He was re-employed as a plasterer by Messrs Faggeter, Builders in Brookwood. He was working as a porter at Brookwood Station on 22 July 1919 when he was accidentally knocked down by a passing train and died, aged 26. The accident may have resulted from his Disability caused by his war injury.

Thanks to Colin Light for his recollections.

Cyril Overton-Davies
1917 - 1944

Born in Shropshire in 1917, Cyril John Overton-Davies later married Doris Eileen Hill of Brookwood.

Cyril served in the 1st Battalion of the Grenadier Guards Armoured Division and rose to the rank of Lance Serjeant. Cyril took part in the Allied Offensive in North Western Europe, which began with the Normandy Landings on D-Day (6 June 1944).

Major Chappell, a friend of Cyril, recalled later that the bombardment began at 5.30 a.m. with heavy shelling by air and sea on German positions, lasting some two and a half hours. "I remember the sky full of aircraft, wave after wave pounding enemy defences”, he said. “At the church in Cagny... we came under fire from enemy mortars.” Major Chappell was injured in the attack which sadly Cyril lost his life. He is buried at the military cemetery in Banneville-La-Campagne, alongside over two thousand other Commonwealth citizens who perished in the same campaign.

T. Price

We have no information regarding T. Price but would be grateful for any facts about him.