Private Allan George Stovold

Regiment:  4th Battalion Royal Sussex
Service No:  TF/2761
Date and place of birth:  2nd qtr 1897 in Midhurst, Sussex
Date and place of death:  7 August 1916

Family background

Allan George Stovold was born in 1897 in Midhurst, the son of Thomas Stovold, a draper’s assistant, and his wife Jane, nee Bailey. This was Thomas’s second marriage and took place in the Midhurst district in the   2nd quarter of 1893.  Thomas, who was born at Northchapel, Sussex, in 1849, was previously married to Sarah, born at Harting, Sussex, in about 1852. They had, between 1879 and 1892, five sons and three daughters. In 1891 Thomas and Sarah and five children were living at No.3 The Square, Midhurst. In 1901 Thomas and Jane Stovold were living at 3 Cobden Road, Midhurst with three children from his previous marriage and five children from the present marriage. These were Daisy (7), Percival (6), Allan G (3), Gertrude (1) and Frances (7 months).  Ten years later in 1911, Thomas and Jane were still living at 3 Cobden Road with two additional children: Ronold (sic) (7) and Winifred (3).

In 1891, Jane Bailey, a general servant domestic (aged 19) was living with her parents William Bridger Bailey and Jenny (sic) Bailey at No.2 The Square, Midhurst.  Also there were her two adult brothers and two grandsons of William Bailey, including William B Bailey aged 7 months.  By 1901, William Bailey and his family, including grandson William B Bailey, now aged 10, had moved to 1 Cobden Road, Midhurst.

Military service

Allan George Stovold enlisted at Haywards Heath.

The 4th Territorials were absorbed into the 12th (Service) Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment and were mobilised for war as part the 116th  Brigade of the 39th  Division, and were based in both Aldershot and then Witley. They finally landed in Le Havre 5/6 March 1916 and by 11 March their Brigade was complete.

On 30 June they formed part of the diversionary attack, prior to the ‘First day of the Somme’, on the Boars Head near Richebourg l’Avoue. Just under 1,100 casualties, the majority of which were from Sussex, were logged as either dead, wounded or taken prisoner, on that one single day.

Allan George Stovold was listed as dying of his wounds, so it could be presumed that he was one of those injured on that day.

The 116th Brigade were posted to the Western Front for the entire war until the spring of 1918. The 12th  Battalion were disbanded on 8 February and personnel were transferred to the 11th  and 13th  Battalions, who were by then reduced to training cadres.

He was awarded Victory and British medals.

Death & commemoration

He died of wounds on 7 August 1916.  He is buried at Chocques Military Cemetery, grave I.J.32. He is commemorated on Midhurst War Memorial, on Memorial Panels in Midhurst Parish Church and on a headstone in Midhurst Cemetery (with his father Thomas and brother William).

Memorial headstone in Midhurst Cemetery
Memorial headstone in Midhurst Cemetery

His mother was listed on his military records as being a widow and living at The Old Vicarage, North Street, Midhurst.

Subsequent family history

His father Thomas died at Midhurst aged 63 on 20 February 1912 and is buried in Midhurst Cemetery.  Jane Stovold married Charles Varndell in  1923 in the Midhurst district.

Listed on the Memorial Panels in Midhurst Parish Church are  Howard Stovold, John Stovold (wounded), Percival Stovold (wounded) and William Bailey Stovold (deceased).

Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project