war memorial at dusk, photographed by Michelle Cooper

World War I



Surnames S part 2 of 3
(Surnames S (part 1 of 3, Sa to Sha) are here, Surnames S (part 3 of 3, Sq to end) are here)

Sherren, A. O.
Arthur Oswald Sherren was a Captain in the 4th battalion of the Buffs (East Kent Regiment). He was appointed adjutant to the battalion in 1915. He died on 3 August 1917, at the age of 38, and is commemorated on the Menin Gate memorial, Ypres, Belgium.

A member of Corinthian Lodge no 1208, initiated on 19 March 1906, he was born in Lambeth, Surrey and was the son of the late Frederick George, a former Excise Officer, and Ellie Sherren (Emma Kempton Bishop). In 1881 the family were living at 132 Lowden Road "Milkwood Villa", and at that time Arthur was one year old and had two elder sisters, Mary and Alice. Arthur was also the brother of Hugh (below), who was born in Dover the following year.

Arthur was married on 20 December 1902 at St Michael's Church, Woods Green, Middlesex, to Bessie Jane Paine) of 118, Folkestone Road, Dover. Then Arthur was a civil engineer and was living at 9 Saxon Street, Dover.

There was an extensive report in the Dover Express:

It is with deep regret that we have to record the death of Captain A O Sherren, of the Buffs, who was killed by a shell on August 3rd. Captain A O Sherren, when the war broke out, was in command of the Dover Company of the 4th Buffs. He was 37 years of age, and was educated at Dover College, and afterwards became a pupil of Mr H E Stilgoe, the Borough Engineer and Surveyor, and afterwards he was Assistant Engineer and Surveyor of Dover till 1906, when he was appointed Surveyor to the Cheriton District Council.

He was one of the earliest members of the Dover Rifle Club, and subsequently joined the Territorials, and rose to the rank of Corporal. Offered a commission in his Battalion, he accepted it, and before very long he attained the rank of Captain, and was placed in command of the Dover Company. After the war broke out he was engaged in coast defence work, and was a Director of Coast Defences, ranking as a major, and was at Lowestoft during the bombardment. He went to France in April last.

An officer has written to Mrs Sherren as follows:- "It was while in command of my Company that your husband's portion of the line was subjected to the heaviest shelling from the enemy. He went out to see exactly what the situation was, when he was suddenly struck by a piece of shell.  His death was instantaneous and in consequence there was no pain. We buried him as best we could where he fell. Your husband was one of the most popular and dearest officers in the Battalion. No one had anything but the very best opinion of him."

The greatest sympathy will be extended to Mrs Sherren and her three children who are left. Mrs Sherren was a daughter of the late Captain Payn, formerly Commandant of the South Eastern and Chatham Railway Marine Service.

Previous to the war Captain Sherren, by being frequently attached to Regular Battalions at Shorncliffe, had made himself a very efficient soldier, and he was also a fine rifle shot, and a very good revolver shot, and on more than one occasion won the Battalion championship.

At the Cheriton Urban District Council meeting last week, the Chairman alluded to the deeply regretted news of the death in action, on August 3td, of Captain A O Sherren, the Surveyor and Sanitary Inspector to the Council. He remarked that Captain Sherren had held that office under the Council since 1906, and during the whole period of his employment up to the outbreak of war, had filled his position with an efficiency which left nothing to be desired; and the work which he performed, no matter how arduous, was always carried out willingly and conscientiously, and to the entire satisfaction, not only of the Council, but of the general public. The speaker added that, personally, he entertained for Captain Sherren feelings of admiration and personal regard, and on hearing the news, he felt that he had lost a personal friend, as well as the Council being deprived of the services of a valuable official. He moved that a letter be sent expressing the heartfelt sympathy of the members of the Council with Mrs Sherren, and members of the deceased officer's family. Mr Foster, Mr Quested, and Mr G J Taylor, also, in paying warm tributes to Captain Sherren, voiced the esteem and regard in which he was universally held; and the motion, which was seconded by Councillor Kindness, was carried unanimously in silence.     

Sherren, H. G.
Hugh Godwin Sherren died of typhus on 28 February 1920, when he was 37. He was a Major, mentioned in dispatches, in the Royal Army Medical Corps. He is buried at Haidar Pasha Cemetery, Turkey.

He was born in Dover but his mother later moved to 31 Grange Road, Ramsgate, and his address at death was 14 St Mildreds Road, Ramsgate. He was brother to Arthur, above. In 1901 he was a medical student and was with Isaac and Henrietta Jones at 76 London Road, Dover. Henrietta, née Bishop, was his mother's sister.

W H Shillito, courtesy Dover ExpressShillito, W. H.
WH Shillito name on Arras, by Andy and Michelle Cooper
William Harry Shillito, G/9735, is commemorated on the Arras memorial in France. He was a Lance Corporal in the 6th battalion of The Buffs (East Kent Regiment) and he was 20 years and 9 months when he died in action on 11 July 1917.

Born, enlisting, and living in Dover, he was the son of Mr David Henry, a carpenter and joiner, and Mrs Ada Shillito of 26 Balfour Road, Dover, formerly 55 Astley Avenue, Dover, and in 1911 of Dodds House, Dodds Lane, Dover. At that time William's sister Florence Agness had also been at home, and William had been an apprentice to French polishing at the Connaught Coach Building works.

Shillito announcement, courtesy Dover Express  

Released from strife, from sin, and pain,
And free from every care,
By angels' hands to heaven conveyed,
To rest for ever there.
We had to part; but oh! the pain
It caused us to endure;
But God thought best that he should rest
In heaven for evermore.

From his sorrowing Father, Mother, and Sister

Shingleton, A. R. 
Arthur Robert Shingleton, 1624, enlisted and lived in Dover. He was a Driver in the Royal Field Artillery, 3rd Home Counties Brigade. He died on 12 February 1916, and is buried in the south part of the Riverhead (St Mary) Churchyard, Kent.

1925 - In ever loving memory of my dear son - from his loving Mother, Sisters, and Brothers. RIP

Shott, H. H.  
Henry Hammond Shott was born on 13 October 1877 at Dover. He was a Captain in the Princess Charlotte of Wales' Royal Berkshire Regiment, 1st battalion, and received a DSO. He gained his Royal Aero Club Aviator Certificate, no 530 with a Bristol Biplane on 30th June 1913 at the Bristol School, Brooklands.

He was 38 when he was killed in action on 26 August 1914. He is buried at Maroilles Communal Cemetery, France, grave ref not known

He was the son of Nils Shott, from Dover, and the husband of Hazel Morris Shott of 245 North Broadway, Yonkers, New York

H F Sidders, courtesy Dover ExpressSidders, H. F.
Harry Frederick Sidders, 50194, was a Driver in the 56th battery of the Royal Field Artillery. He died on 28 July 1919 in India when he was 34, and is commemorated on the Kirkee 1914-1918 Memorial, India. 

Born in Deal, he was the brother of John (below), and the son of Henry Sidders and his wife Hannah Mary (nee Hodges), who married in 1882 in the Eastry area, near Dover. They lived at 10 Edgar Road, and in 1911 at 76 Balfour Road. Harry Sidders was then working as a warehouseman in a wholesale grocer's.

J Sidders, courtesy Dover ExpressSidders, J. J. 
John James Sidders, 45496, was a Private in the A section, 37th Field Ambulance of the Royal Army Medical Corps. He was a winner of the Military Medal and mentioned in dispatches for his work during heavy fighting. He was killed in action on 4 October 1916, when he was 23, and he is buried at Dartmoor Cemetery, Bercordel-Bercourt, France.

He was the brother of Harry, above, born at Hougham, but enlisting in Margate. In 1911 he was working as a shop assistant in a boot dealer. He had at least one sister, Edith, born in Dover.

Siffleet, A. L. 
Alfred Lionel Siffleet, 205169, was a Serjeant in the Royal Tank Corps, 12th battalion (formerly 1720 REK, MR). He was 26 when he died on 2 September 1918, and is buried in the Mory Abbey Military Cemetery, France. He had also served at Gallipoli.

He was the husband of Florence Alice Siffleet, who lived at 12 St George's Road, Eastbourne, and he enlisted at Broad Oak, Sussex. He was the son of Mrs Goodwin, formerly Haslam, formerly Siffleet, and the late Alfred Lionel Siffleet, who had died at the age of 43 in 1903. Alfred Siffleet senior was born in Chatham, Kent, and he was a Lance Corporal in the infantry. The couple's children had been born in various countries: Edward and Alfred in Malta, Charles and George in Bermuda, Mary in Barbados, and Stephen in the Isle of Wight. Mary, his wife, came from Warwick.

In 1911 Alfred was living at 3 Hawkesbury Court with his mother, Mrs Haslam, his sister Sarah and his half-sister Alice, both born in Dover. He was then working as a butcher's assistant.

Alfred is also named on the memorial at Eythorne, near Dover

Simmonds, G. H. 
George Henry Simmonds, M2/103476, was a Private in in the Army Service Corps, attached to the GHQ Signal Company of the Royal Engineers. He was 32 when he died on 31 October 1918, and is buried at Staglieno Cemetery, Italy. 

Born in Loudwater, Buckinghamshire, he enlisted and lived in Dover. He was the husband of Daisy L. Simmonds, née Brockman, of 21 Buckland Avenue, Dover, whom he had married in 1912. He was brother-in-law to John J B Thompson.

Simmons, C. D.   
Charles Douglas Simmons was a Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Naval Reserve. He served aboard the HMS "Otranto" and gained a DSO. He died when he was 37 on 6 October 1918, when his vessel was lost in a collision off the Isle of Islay. He is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial in the United Kingdom.  

He was the son of Charles and Mary Simmons of Dover, who in 1891 were living at 16 Maison Dieu Road, where Mr Simmons was working as a wholesale grocer provision merchant. He had a younger brother, John, like him born in Dover. By 1901 Charles was a midshipman in the Naval Reserve. He gained his 2nd Mate's ticket on 10 January 1902, and in 1911 he is recorded as a 2nd Officer Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Reserve, aboard the Minesawa at Tilbury Docks. He was the husband of Marjorie Simmons, who lived at 17 Worbeck Road, Anerley, London.

Simmons, H.    
Harold Simmons was born in Dover in 1884, the son of Sylvia Ann née Vincer and George John Simmons, who married in 1873.

George Simmons was born in Dover, and in 1881 was a coachworker. The family were then living at Ivy Cottages, Chapel Street, Felton Chertsey, when there were four children - Frederick, aged 6, born Grantham, Louisa, aged 4, born Croydon, and two born in Southampton - Arthur, aged 2, and Ernest, aged 1.

George died Dover in 1889, and in 1891 Mrs Simmons was living at 7 Worthington Lane, Dover, and working as a charwoman. With her were Arthur, Ernest, and Harold, then aged 7. Mrs Simmons remarried on 27 July 1891 to Edward Henry Comper, a school instructor, and in 1901 Harold, then a clerk in the ships' stores, was living with them at 18 Castlemount Road. Doris Crockett, aged 1 and born in Scotland, was there too; she was Harold's niece, the daughter of Louisa, who had married George Davidson Crockett in Dover in 1898.

Harold joined on a short service as no 5191 in the Army Ordnance Corps at Woolwich on 6 October 1902, having been considered fit for service on 4 October at Dover Castle.  He had previously been considered unfit owing to his chest measurement being under requirement. He was transferred to the Army Reserve on 27 December 1905 and saw service in Bermuda from 20 November 1906. He returned home on 27 January 1910, and at the 1911 census was living at 22 Royal Military Avenue, Cheriton, working as a storeman for the Army Ordnance Department. He was eventually struck off from the Reserve after failing to render a life certificate on two consecutive occasions in December 1911 and March 1912. 

Harold's mother and stepfather remained in Dover, living at the Dover Institute in Biggin Street, where Mr Comper was a steward. Mrs Comper died in Dover in 1926, aged 83(?). Mr Comper in 1927 at the age of 73.

with thanks to Joyce Banks for this identification

Harold's stepfather may have been the father of Ernest Comper

Simmons, J. H.    
John H. T. Simmons was a time-serving Bandsman from the Northumberland Fusiliers,  Mrs Simmons house, by Simon ChambersHe was 32 (34?) when he died on 20 June 1920, from wounds caused by gas.

He was buried on 23 June at Charlton Cemetery in Dover, 3H 31, J Simmons gravestone, by Simon Chambers (under very difficult conditions)with military honours, and with the Last Post being sounded by the band of the Connaught Rangers. Amongst the mourners, with his wife and his father-in-law, Mr Hart, were members of the Dover Branch of the National Federation of Discharged and Demobilised Sailors and Soldiers

He was the son of Mrs F Kenworthy and the husband of Mrs F. Simmons of 183 Clarendon Street, Dover, where he died. She later became Mrs Bennett. She stated that her husband "never got over" being gassed during the war, though he had served all through.

At the bottom of his gravestone are the words:

He died for us

Simpson, D. P. T.     
Douglas Percy Thomas Simpson, G/23516, was a Private in the 10th battalion of The Buffs. He died in action on 13 August 1918 at the age of 43. He is buried at Pont-Du-Hem Military Cemetery, La Gorgue in France.

Born, enlisted, and living in Dover, he was the husband of Emily Simpson, of 118 Clarendon Street, Dover. In 1911 he was working as a warehouseman in a grocery, and the couple had three children; George, Ethel, and Mabel, all born in Dover.

Skiggs, V. J.      
Victor John Skiggs, 64042, was 21 when he died in action on 12 July 1918. He is buried in the British Extension of the Bully-Grenay Communal Cemetery, France. He was a Private in the 1st battalion of the Royal Fusiliers (formerly 201635 The Buffs), and was born in Sandon (or Broadwater, according to 1911 census), Hertfordshire, but enlisted and lived in Dover

He was the son of Mr Edward Charles and Mrs Ruth Skiggs, of 88 Union Road, Dover. In 1911 the family were living at 108 Union Road, where Victor was a baker's boy, and his father was working as a general labourer in the Gas Works. He had three siblings, Francis, Kathleen, and Hilda, who was born in Buckland, Dover.

"In daily sacred memory of Victor John, who made the supreme sacrifice" From Mother, Brother and Sisters. Mr Skiggs died in 1938, aged 63.

Smart, G. H.      
George Henry Smart was a Captain in the 4th battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales' Own), attached to the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. He was killed on 22 December 1914, and is commemorated on Le Touret Memorial, panel 9 and 10.

He was an Old Dovorian (old boy of Dover College), and in 1901 he was at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. By 1911 he was a Captain in the Special Reserve and in receipt of retired pay after eight years service in the regular army. He had been born in Bombay.

A Smith, courtesy Dover Express*Smith, A.      
Arthur Philip Smith, 308719, lived at 87 Snargate Street, Dover, in which town he was born on 19 June 1886. He was the son of John Taylor Smith and his wife Mary.

In 1891 the family were living at 5 St John's Place, Snargate Street, and Mr Smith was working as a corn merchants' labourer. There were then six children, Selina, 11, John, 9, Charlotte, 7, Arthur, 5, Thomas, 3, and Ellen, six months. Ten years later there were another three children, William, then aged 8, Mary, 6, and George, 4. Selina was working as a general domestic servant and John was a corn miller labourer like his father. All the family were born in Dover.

Arthur had already begun his career in 1901, working as a boiler cleaner. He became a 1st class Stoker Petty Officer, and was lost with the "Aboukir" on 22 September 1914.  He is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial in the United Kingdom. His father was notified of his death at 71 Snargate Street.

*Smith, C.      
Charles Smith, 18411, enlisted and lived in Dover, and served as a Private in the Royal Fusiliers, 25th battalion. He died in action on 18 October 1917, and is buried in the Dar Es Salaam War Cemetery, Tanzania.
Smith, C.      
Charles Smith,  served in the West Riding Regiment
Smith, F. W.      
Frederick W. Smith
GA Smith, grave at Etaples, by Simon Chambers

Smith, G. A.
George Arthur Smith, 37105, was a Serjeant in the Royal Garrison Artillery, 346th battery. He enlisted at Hamilton, Lanark. He died of wounds on 19 April 1918, and is buried at Étaples military cemetery in France, XXIX G 5A. He was a winner of the Military Medal, gazetted on 29 August 1918, p10135.

The words at the bottom of his headstone read:  

He died for us
May he rest in peace

Born in Prospect, Bermuda, George was the son of George Francis Smith and Louisa Beatty Smith, née Clarke of 295 Folkestone Road, Dover.  Mr Smith, born 6 October 1870, had been a drapers' assistant before joining up at Warrington on 1 March 1889; he was then described as having grey eyes and dark brown hair, with a sallow complexion.

On 31 August 1895 at St John, Pembroke, Bermuda, he married Miss Clarke, thereafter completing 7 years of service in Bermuda, between 10 February 1891 and 10 March 1898. On 22 October 1898 he was re-engaged at Dover for the Army Pay Corps, in order to complete 21 years service, becoming a Staff Quartermaster Sergeant. He eventually left the service after nearly 29 years, having gained during his career a Long Service and a Good Conduct medal.

George Arthur Smith had several brothers and sisters, including Bernard Francis, born on Christmas Day 1897, and Doris Muriel, born on New Year's Day 1910, who married Clifford Richdale on 4 August 1934 at St Paul's RC Church, Dover. Madeleine M married Stanley Byrne in 1931, while a third sister became Mrs A Vanhoeck. Bernard in 1941 was working as a taxi-driver in Dover.

Mr Smith died on 18 April 1943 at his home at 295 Folkestone Road. He was buried at St James, after a mass at St Paul's RC church, his coffin having been left there overnight. Mrs Smith died in 1953.

photo with thanks to Madeleine Masterson

Smith, J. W.      
J Smith, courtesy Dover ExpressJohn William Smith, probably PW/6529, a Private in the Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Regiment), from the 21st battalion. He was born in Sandhurst, the son of James, a labourer, and Harriet Smith.

On 7 November 1901, at St Bartholomew's, Charlton, Dover, he married Mary Jane Battley. She was the daughter of mariner Robert John Battley, and living at 10 Alexandra Cottages, Tower Street. John Smith was also living in Tower Street, at number 19, and was then working as a carter.

In 1911 the couple were living at 66 Tower Hill, Tower Hamlets, and with them were three sons, John, 8, Albert, 7, and Henry, 5. They would be joined by Ernest, born 1913, and Robert, born 1915. John Smith was then working as a bricklayer's labourer.

 He is said to have been working for Flashman's in Dover before enlisting in Canterbury. He died on 8 or 9 April 1917, and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial in France, pier and face 12D and 13B

In 1918 Mrs Battley inserted an In Memoriam, "In ever loving memory of my dear husband, Private J. W. Smith, Middlesex Regiment, who was killed in action on April 8th 1917.

A loving husband, always kind,
Loved by those left behind,
No friend like him earth I find.
Never forgotten by his Wife and Children."

TJ Smith, courtesy Dover Express"He whom this scroll commmerates ...", courtesy Lorraine AmosSmith, T. J.      
Thomas Joseph Smith, GS/371, was a Private in the 2nd battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment and part of the BEF. He was 26 when he was killed in action at Richbourg, L'Avoue, on 9 May 1915.

His death was confirmed four months after he had been reported missing, and he is commemorated on Le Touret memorial, France.

He was the fourth son of Peter and Susannah Smith, from 10 Woolcomber Lane, Dover, born and enlisted in Dover. In  1891 the family was living at 8 Queen's Court, and in 1901 at number 7 Queen's Court, Dover. The ancestral family had originated in Ireland (Roscommon/Longford)and moved to Barnsley and Doncaster before coming to Dover.

Before Thomas enlisted he had worked on the erection of the Marine Station (now the Cruise Terminal). He was considered by those who knew him as "a fine young fellow".


verse from death announcement, courtesy Dover Express
No mother's care did him attend,
Nor o'er him did a father bend;
No sister by to shed a tear,
No brother by his words to hear.
Sick, dying in a foreign land,
No father by to take his hand:
No mother near to close his eyes,
Far from his native land he lies.

Edward Smith, wearing glasses, courtesy Lorraine AmosOne of Thomas's brothers was Edward Matthew Smith, and he owned a confectioner's shop at 45 Woolcomber Lane. During the second World War, Edward (left, wearing glasses) was an observer in a bunker at East Cliff, Dover.

Their father, Peter, was an army veteran, stationed in 1871 at Cheriton, Folkestone. He later came to the Grand Shaft Barracks, Dover. He and his wife Susannah, nee Parks, are buried in St James, Dover. Their gravestone reads:


Peer and Susannah Smith's gravestone, courtesy Lorraine Amos In
Loving Memory
Peter Smith
passed away 8th Nov 1921
aged 66 years
also of his Beloved Wife
Who Departed This Life
10 March 1940, Aged 88 years
"At Rest"

"These Men Shall Not be Forgotten"

with thanks to Lorraine Amos

Smith, W. T.
William Thomas Smith, L/9391, was the son of William Smith and Sarah Jane nee Keigwin. Born on 15th November 1893 at Abbey Street, Faversham, Kent, he had a twin sister, May Elizabeth Smith, and was the youngest of eleven children.  In 1901 the family were living at 34 Lower Brents, Faversham.

William lived in Dover, and in the Great War he enlisted in Canterbury to become a Private in the 2nd battalion of The Buffs (East Kent Regiment). He died when he was 22 on 3 May 1915, and is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial.

His mother, who, with her brothers and sisters, had been born at the Dover Workhouse, Union Road, had died in 1905, and his next of kin was given as his sister, Mrs Eliza Ann Page, from 39 Marine Parade, Dover.

"Remembered with Gratitude and Honour. To be Never Forgotten. You did so much for our Freedom".

with thanks to Lorraine Amos

Smith, W. T.      
William Trayton Smith, L/8019, was a Serjeant in the 6th battalion of The Buffs. He had seen ten years service with the Buffs in India before being sent to France. There he died in action on 13 October 1915 when he was 27. He is commemorated on the Loos Memorial in France.

Born and enlisted in Dover, he was the son of Aaron Smith, of 58, Odo Road., Dover, and lived at Tower Hamlets. He was the brother of J J Smith, of 20 Charlton Avenue, Dover.


William is in the centre of the picture. On his left is his brother Lance Corporal J Smith, who was invalided home with frozen feet. He took part in the first battle of Ypres. On the right is their brother Sapper S. Smith, who served in the Royal Engineers from the beginning of the war.

Albert Snelling, courtesy Mick DistonA Snelling, close up, courtesy Mike DistonSnelling, A. H.
Albert Henry Snelling, 125179, was a Gunner in D battery of the 122nd Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery. He died of wounds on 29 April 1918. He is buried at Esquelbecq Military Cemetery, France. 

Enlisted at Woolwich and living in Dover, he was the son of Mr and Mrs A. E. Snelling, of 1 West Mount, Priory Hill, Dover.




with thanks to Mike Diston

E W Sole, courtesy Dover ExpressSole, E. W. 
Edward William Sole, 8742, enlisted in Canterbury and was a Pioneer Sergeant in the 1st battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment. In 1911 he was in the 2nd Battalion at Victoria Barracks, Portsmouth, working as a carriage smith.

He died in action on 20 October 1914, at the age of 24. He is commemorated on Le Touret Memorial, France.

Born and living in Dover, he was the nephew of Harry Sole, below, the son of Harry's brother Edward W. Sole. His wife was Harriet S Culley (formerly Sole) of 16 George Street, Dover, who had two children when her husband was killed. His brother, William, below, also died.

H Sole, courtesy Dover Express*Sole, F. H. (H. F.?)
Harry Sole, 9846, was born in Dover and enlisted as a Private in the East Surrey Regiment, 3rd battalion. He was well-known in Dover, being a veteran soldier later employed by W Smith and Co, and for two or three years before at Messrs Palmer.

In his army career he had served in the Matabeleland Campaign of 1896, in Mashonaland in 1897, through the South Africa war, and in the Zulu rebellion of 1906. In the Great War he was called up as a Reservist, being the first in Dover to apply for a railway ticket, and saw action at Mons, Aisne, Marne, and La Basse. He was wounded on 14th October 1914 (which was believed by the family to be the same day that his nephew Edward Sole was killed).

He was invalided out of the army on 9 July 1915, and died on 20 May 1916 from injuries following an air raid on Dover, when a bomb struck near the Grand Shaft Barracks. He was buried at St James cemetery, Dover in the United Kingdom.

announcement, courtesy Dover Express Oh how swift has been the parting,
Oh how keen has been the pain,
Yet I know that some day, somewhere,
He and I will meet again.

No one knows how much I love him,
How I'll miss him more and more;
Yet I know that he'll be waiting
For me on the other shore.

from his sorrowing little Em

H Sole gravestone, by Simon Chambers

The funeral was conducted by the Rev A W Dawes with full military honours, with the band of the East Surreys attending and the same regiment supplying the firing party. There were many mourners, including from his family his mother, his fiancée Miss Emily Smith, his married sisters Mrs Collard and Mrs Maynard, with Mr Maynard, his nephews David and Harry Sole, his nieces Anne, Nellie, and Maisie Sole, his brother, Sergeant E. W. Sole, of the Buffs, and his cousin Mr Dunk. There were also many flowers, from his family and his comrades, including those from his cousin Ellen Fielding, his step-brothers, three tributes from the army, and his friends at the "Lord Nelson".  

The gravestone reads:

In Loving Memory
Private H. S. Sole
3rd East Surrey Regiment
who died May 20th 1916
aged 34 years
Also of Pnr Sergeant E W Sole
1st Lincoln Regiment
who was killed at Laventie, Flanders
October 20th 1914, aged 24
Also of  Private W. H. Sole
6th Buffs
who was killed in France
May 3rd 1917
aged 20 years
Nephews of the Above

His brother, Sergeant E. W. Sole, father of Edward, had been for many years a member of the Territorial Buffs, and then served in the Kent detachment of the 2/4th Buffs. He was an acting drill instructor, and lived at 29 Chapel Place.  Another brother, Corporal W. J. Sole, served in South Africa in the Pretoria Regiment, E Company, fighting through the German South Africa campaign. 

A view of St James cemetery. In the centre is Private Sole's gravestone, amidst rows of CWGC headstones.

In the distance, beneath the cross,  can be seen the graves of the raid on Zeebrugge, 23 April 1918.

Note: Private Sole's name is in doubt because his gravestone gives an initial letter of "S" for his second given name, while the CWGC records him merely as "H. F. Sole", though gives the grave reference of the grave pictured, and a contemporary report suggests the name of this casualty is "Frederick H. Sole". The birth index gives "Henry Frederick Sole" born in Dover in 1882, as does the newspaper announcment.   

WHD Sole, courtesy Dover ExpressSole, W. H. D.
William Henry David Sole, G/13610, enlisted in Canterbury and served as a Private in the 6th battalion of The Buffs. He died in action on 3 May 1917 in the third battle of the Somme at the age of 20. He is commemorated on the Arras memorial in France.

Born and living in Dover, he was the son of Edward William and Sarah Ann Sole, of 57 Longfield Road, Dover, who had formerly lived at 29 Chapel Place. He was the brother of Edward, above, and they were both nephews of Harry Sole, above.

The picture above left we believe was taken in 1915. Left is the reverse of the frame. It notes Private Sole as being number 4264 of 2/4 battalion The Buffs, and beneath are the words "To Harry 1917" Also on the reverse are the words "killed in action May 3 1917, somewhere in France" and a further note "Cherisey, left of Arras" (Note: This is Chérisy, south east of Arras.)

Below is a cutting of an "In Memoriam" announcement frm the newspaper, in memory of both William and his Uncle Harry Sole.

pictures on left and death plaque by kind courtesy of Peter Silk


Solley, E. W.  
Ernest William Solley, Railway Operating Division. He was born in Dover on 20 February 1889, the son of John Solley and his wife Catherine Sarah Gasson, née Terry, who had married at St Andrew's on 13 November 1886. Ernest was christened at the same church on 14 April 1889, when the family were living at 280 London Road.  He was the second child and had an elder sister, Ellen Elizabeth, born in 1888. Other children were Benjamin George, born in 1890, Francis John, born in 1895, and Florence May, born in 1897.

Mr Solley was a tailor, and in 1891 the family were living at 17 Oxford Cottages, Buckland. In 1901 and 1911 they were at 2 Magdala Road. On 22 November 1924 Mr Solley wrote from Rose Cottage, St Radigund's Road, requesting that his son should be included on the 1934 panel on the Town War Memorial. He would not see the panel himself, as he died in 1929; Mrs Solley, who was living at 9 Salisbury Road when her husband's will was proved, however did and saw also the outbreak of World War II, as she died in 1942.

Benjamin Solley served in the Great War in the RAMC. He was demobbed on 1 July 1919, and also became a tailor. He was married in 1917 to Dorothy Walton, whose address as his next-of-kin was given as 4 Union Road.

Southen, W. R.  
William Richard Southen, M/5222, was born in Folkestone on 31 January 1892, the son of William Richard, a plasterer, and Margaret Southen. There were at least eight children in the family; William was the third and the first son. In 1901 the family were living at 7 Barton View, Dover, and in 1911 at 94 Oswald Road, Dover. Then, living at home, were Lily, Margaret or Louisa, Maudie, Elsie, Ernest, Winifred, and Florence, as well as William who by then was working in a bakery.

In 1915 William married Ada Hayward, the daughter of Mr and Mrs Hayward of Alfred Square, Deal. He continued working as a baker in Deal before joining the Royal Navy. He was serving as a Cook's Mate in the Royal Navy, HMTB "No 11" when the vessel was mined and sunk with the loss of 24 men 7 March 1916. He is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial in the United Kingdom.

with thanks to Judith Gaunt
image from Roll of Honour published T F Pain, East Kent Mercury,

A Spain, gravestone, by Simon ChambersSpain, A.
Alfred Spain, 198647, had been an Able Seaman in the Royal Navy, serving aboard the HMS Mars. He became a Gun-layer in the reserve, and worked for Mr Morgan, a builder of Dover. He died on 25 August 1914, aged 30, as the result of an accident during gun practice.

His body was brought home after it was landed at Grimsby, and he was laid to rest on a Saturday afternoon at SS Peter and Paul, River, Dover.  There were many mourners at the ceremony presided over by D A Townend, which began at the church with the hymn "Rock of Ages" and continued with the dead march from "Saul", played on the organ by Rev Townend.  Four of his workmates, Messrs Parker, Todd, Wood, and Hilton carried his coffin, followed by three other comrades, Messrs Lewes, Vallentine, and Lawrence. The coffin bore the inscription "Alfred Spain, died August 1914, aged 33 years"

Mr and Mrs R Spain, his parents, who lived at the Royal Oak cottage, River, Mr G. Spain, his brother, with his wife, and Mrs Sayers, who lived at 45 Winchelsea Street, Dover, and Mrs Leeming, his sisters, with their husbands, were also present. The notes attached to the wreaths revealed that he was well respected and loved:

"In loving remembrance of dear Alfred, from his sorrowing Mum and Dad"
"To Alfred, with love from little Gwen"
"In loving memory of an old chum and shipmate, from Mr and Mrs C Terry"
"With the sympathy and love of his sorrowing messmates, Mess No 2"
"From the ship's company with deepest sympathy"
"A token of respect and sympathy from Mr G Grounsell"
"With Mr Charles Copus' deepest sympathy and regret"   
"With deepest sympathy and sincerest regret, from his comrades working at "Woodlands", and in loving remembrance of a kind-hearted and loving friend"

Spain, E. S. S.
Edward Sidney Stephen Spain, 235099, was a Leading Seaman in the Royal Navy, lost in the submarine attack on HMS "Pathfinder" at the Firth of Forth on 5 September 1914. He was 25. He is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial in the United Kingdom.

He was the son of  Mr and Mrs Edward George Spain, of 63 Mayfield Avenue, Buckland, Dover.

Spain, T. E.
Thomas Edward Spain, 151075, was a Sapper in the Inland Water Transport of the Royal Engineers. He died from accidental injuries on 31 October 1916 at the age of 30. He is buried at the Aire Communal Cemetery, in France.

Born and enlisted in Dover, he was the son of Thomas Jarvis and Hannah Jane Spain from Dover, husband of Lizzie Spain of Limekiln Street, Dover

WG Spendiff, courtesy Dover ExpressSpendiff, W. G.
William George Spendiff, 203998, was in the 6th battalion of the Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment). He died in action on 24 August 1918, aged 37, and is buried at Meaulte Military Cemetery, France. His brother Walter, below, had died the year before.

Born in Deal, William was the eldest son of George Richard William Spendiff, son of Sarah, and his wife Emma Jane, née Johncock, born 27 December 1859, who had married in 1877. In 1891 they were at 4 York Place, Dover, with Mr Spendiff working as a bricklayer's labourer. There then were Winnie May, 1878, in Newnham, William George, 1881, and in Dover, Robert John, 1883, Rosa Jane, 1885, and Walter Sydney Gauntlett, born 21 April 1889.

In 1901 the family were at 1 Douglas Road with Mr Spendiff working as a plasterer and Mrs Spendiff away, in the home of the Brett family at 44 Limekiln Street, where she was a monthly nurse. Florence Esther Blanche had joined the family on 20 July 1891, by which time the family were at 4 Mangers Place and Mr Spendiff was a gardener, with  Olive Annie Matilda born on 26 April 1894, and George Stanley in 1898, who died the same year. William had become a blacksmith.

Living with the family in 1901 was Rhoda Edith Relf, born in Chelsfield, Bromley, who was a domestic servant. She married William on 1 January 1905 at St Bartholomew's, Charlton,  and by 1911 the couple had two daughters, Edith, born in Dover, and Rose, born in Hornsey, Middlesex. They were then living at 10 Salisbury Road, Noel Park, Wood Green, Middlesex, with William working as a cellarman for a Railway Company Refreshment Department. Also there was William's mother-in-law, Sophia Relf.

Meanwhile, in 1911, Mr Spendiff, a general labourer, was at 87 South Road, with Walter, then a blacksmith's hammerman. His daughter Winnie, her husband, a blacksmith, and her son were also there. Mrs Spendiff was visiting the family of Robert Johncock in Sittingbourne.


Mr George Spendiff died on 11 January 1936 at 87 South Road and was buried at Charlton, in the grave of his mother-in-law, Esther Johncock, who died in 1917 aged 84. The first part of the burial service was held at the Salvation Army Citadel. Mrs Emma Spendiff died on 28 February 1947 at 4 Douglas Road.

William and Walter Spendiff were brothers-in-law of John Martin, who married their sister Florence.

WSG Spendiff, gravetson, by Simon ChambersWSG Spendiff, courtesy Dover ExpressSpendiff, W. S. G.
Walter Sidney Gauntlett Spendiff, 3316, was in the 43rd battalion of the Australian Infantry, serving as a Private.

Born in Dover, the brother of William, above, he was an old boy of St Bartholomew's School. He had brown eyes and dark brown hair. Aged 24 when he arrived in Australia, and working as a labourer,  he was 5 feet 6 inches tall when he enlisted in Adelaide on 29 March 1916, at the age of 26 years and 11 months.  He stated he was a Methodist. He left for the Western Front aboard the Malakuta on 27 June 1916. His battalion arrived at Devonport on 22 August.

On 25 November he was transferred overseas, unfortunately then to spend a short while in hospital with scabies. He had also a tendency to flat feet, though this caused no problems. He rejoined his battalion on 20 December, was dispatched to 171st company on 16 February 1917, and then returned to his own battalion on 26 March. He was killed in action on Friday afternoon, 20 April, 1917. He was 29 (28).

He is buried at the Berks Cemetery Extension, Belgium. The words at the bottom of his gravestone read: "Peace Perfect Peace". He is also commemorated on the South Australian War Memorial, North Terrace, Adelaide.

A third brother was also living in Australia - Mr Robert John ("Bob") Spendiff, of Berri, River Murray, where he was a fruit-grower and building contractor, based at Winkie, outside Berri, in south Australia. He later chaired the local district council. He was executor of Walter's will. 

with thanks to Sarah
with thanks for extra details to Peter Sheppard

Spinner, W. G.
William George Spinner, 168545. Before the war he had been an electrician, working first at the Dover Electricity Works and then for an electrician, Mr Val Martin. He became a Battery Quartermaster Serjeant in the 8 Springfield Road, by Simon Chambers179th Siege Battery of the Royal Garrison Artillery. He died from typhoid on 12 November 1918 at Clivedon Hospital, Taplow, Buckinghamshire, aged 24. He left a wife, Minnie E. Spinner, of 8 Springfield Road. His parents were Charles and Mary Spinner, from Dover.

William had been married only five months. On 8 June 1918, home from the Front for a month's leave, he wed Minnie Ethel Hollaway at the Primitive Methodist church in London Road. She was the niece of Mr and Mrs Stephen Lewis, of Fernbank, 75 Barton Road. The groom's parents lived at 9 Belgrave Road. The Rev Goldstraw officiated, while Minnie's cousin Mr W S Lewis played the organ. Minnie wore a gown of white silk striped voile, with an embroidered veil, and her bouquet of lilies was a gift from the groom. He had also bought her a golden pendant. The bridesmaids wore white silk also, trimmed with lace, topped by mob caps with pink streamers, and they carried baskets of pink and white flowers.  A reception for thirty guests was held at the bride's uncle's house, and the honeymoon at Tunbridge Wells, with the bride wearing a navy blue costume and a pink hat.

A fortnight later, on June 23, the newly-weds attended another ceremony at the Castle. BQMS Spinner had been awarded the Military Medal for especial bravery. This occasion was on 10 April 1917, at Vimy Ridge. He was serjeant of his company and there was a call for volunteers. Twenty men were needed to capture a couple of German guns. They did so and manned them, and within 700 yards of the German lines and under heavy fire, maintained them until both guns were knocked out of action. 

William's funeral was held on the afternoon of Saturday 16 November. The service began at 2.30 in the London Road Primitive Methodist Church, and the cortège then went to St James, where he is buried. He was attended by many members of his family, and his wife laid a floral tribute, "In loving memory of my darling, from his Minnie".

His headstone reads:
headstone, by Joyce Banks In Loving Memory
William George Spinner MM
who died on Active Service
November 12th 1918
Aged 24 years
And with the morn those Angel-Faces smile,
Which we have loved long since, and lost awhile.

William Spinner was a member of the London Road Primitive Methodist Church. On the Sunday evening following his burial, the Rev W W Goldstraw, who had conducted the funeral, spoke of the life and death of BQMS Spinner. The hymns included his favourite, "Nearer my God to Thee", and "Abide with Me", which William Spinner had sung as a solo at the church the evening before he had returned to France at the end of his last leave.

It is possible that William Spinner was the uncle of Freddie Spinner. Freddie's father was Frederick Thomas Spinner, as was a brother of William's.

photo of headstone and transcriptions with thanks to Joyce Banks

see also The Primitive Methodist Church memorial

Spittle, R. G.
Reginald George Spittle, 8937, was born at Aylesbury (Soldiers Died says Marylebone), Buckinghamshire. He enlisted in Hounslow, but lived in Aylesbury, and served as a Private in the London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers), 1st battalion.

He died of wounds on 2 February 1915, at the age of 20, and is buried on Cite Bonjean Military Cemetery, Armentieres in France.

Surnames S (part 1 of 3 - Sa to Sha) are here
Surnames S (part 3 of 3 - Sq to end) are here

Copyright 2006-18 © Marilyn Stephenson-Knight. All Rights Reserved