Analysis of war memorials

Out of curiosity, I have compiled a list of all the men (and one woman) commemorated on the war memorials we are currently researching. I have done some analysis of the list which might be of interest to the rest of the group.

Altogether, there are 230 names on the 10 memorials we are looking at, including the extra Lodsworth men not actually on the memorial. There is only one woman commemorated, Nurse Cecily Elger, who is shown on the Rogate memorial. John Pay is commemorated on both Petworth and Rogate, although there is some doubt about the identification of the Rogate man by the Roll of Honour website.

At present, there are 17 men which the Roll of Honour website has not identified, although the Midhurst memorial does at least give the regiment that 8 of those served in.

Of the 213 men whose ranks have been identified, nearly ¾ (154) were privates or equivalent rank, with 39 NCOs and 20 officers. The highest ranking men killed were Lieutenant-Colonels Theodore Eardley-Wilmot and Arthur Lambert (both Petworth) and Commander (RN) George Nixon (Rogate).

The average age of the men killed was 27. The youngest men killed were Boy 1st Class Cornelius Bridger (Stedham), aged 16 years and 190 days and Midshipman John Sims (Lodsworth), aged 16 years and 44 days. The oldest man commemorated is Private James Pidgeon (Trotton) who died of cancer in January 1920, aged approximately 42 years and 7 months. The oldest man to die on active service was Captain Anthony Capron Hollist (Lodsworth) aged 42 years and 79 days. Only two men were born in the 20th century, Private Albert Waller (Bepton), born 24 June 1901 and Airman Reginald Bowyer (Midhurst), baptised 29 April 1900.

Not surprisingly, a large number of men from the area joined the Royal Sussex Regiment. Of the 219 men whose regiment is known, 61 (28%) were with the Royal Sussex Regiment when they were killed (several others had originally enlisted in the Sussex regiment, but later changed to another). 15 men were in the Royal Navy and 17 with the Royal Artillery. The only other regiment/service with double figures was the Hampshire Regiment with 10 men, mostly from Rogate and Iping. The remaining men served with a whole variety of regiments etc., including 2 from Lodsworth with the Canadian Infantry. I can only assume that local men would have only enlisted in such regiments as the Scots Guards, the Yorkshire Regiment or the South Wales Borderers because of family connections.

Of the 207 men whose place of death is known, nearly half (102) were killed in France and a quarter (48) in Flanders. 19 (including Nurse Elger) died in England, mostly after the war. Other war zones included Gallipoli (3), Mesopotamia (6), Palestine (8) while 13 man were killed at sea.

The worst single month in terms of deaths was September 1916 when 11 men were killed; the period from July to November 1916 accounted for 41 deaths, nearly all in the Somme.

The worst single day was 31 May 1916, when 4 Royal Navy men were killed at the Battle of Jutland. Another 3 Royal Navy men were killed on 26 November 1914, when HMS Bulwark exploded off Sheerness. There are several other instances of three local men being killed on the same day, on 14 September 1914, 25 September 1915, 3 September 1916, 14 November 1916, 23 April 1917 and 3 May 1917, often in the same battle.

David Earley
27 April 2014

 

Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project