In the latest part of our series which looks at the fallen of RHS Garden Wisley during the First World War, we remember those former staff and students who died in 1916
Douglas James Powell (1895 -1916) was a Diploma student at Wisley 1909-1911. He enlisted in the Worcester Yeomanry, The Queen’s Own Worcestershire Hussars. His Regiment was mobilised for war and landed in Egypt on 24 April 1915. He was a corporal when he was killed in action in Egypt on 23 April 1916 and is commemorated on the Jerusalem Memorial in Israel, panels three and five. Corporal Powell was awarded the Victory Medal, the British War Medal and the 1915 Star.
Fritz Bowyer (1893-1916) was a student at Wisley from 1909 to 1911. He moved from Wisley to Redhill in 1912 and joined Messrs Clapham of Dunmow (seed growers) the following year. After enlisting in the Royal Flying Corps, he was posted to France on 12 June 1915, where he served as an air mechanic. Second Class Air Mechanic Bowyer was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant on 17 June 1916 and then transferred to the 9th Squadron as an Observer. He was shot down and killed over Delville Wood on 25 July 1916, during the Battle of the Somme, and is commemorated on the Arras Flying Memorial at Arras Pas de Calais, as he has no known grave.
Edward Swatridge Privett (1896-1916) was a student at Wisley between March and October 1914. Believing it was his duty to enlist, he left the RHS and joined the 8th Battalion Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment as a private in 1914. The 8th Battalion was mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne on 31 August 1915. Private Privett died on 24 December 1916. He is buried in the Philosophe Military Cemetery at Mazingarbe, Nord Pas de Calais. He was awarded the Victory Medal, the British War Medal and the 1915 Star.
John Fletcher Lee (1892-1916) (pictured right) was a student at Wisley in 1912, having previously worked for three years at a nursery in Weston-Super-Mare. He was a popular student who worked and played hard, and who earned the affection and goodwill of all his colleagues.
He emigrated to Canada in the belief that he would find more opportunities in horticulture than were available in England, although while in Canada he was employed as a telephone linesman. He enlisted on 16 November 1914 at Edmonton, Alberta and served in the 31st Battalion Alberta Regiment.
Private Lee was wounded at 'The Bluff' near the Spoilbank to the north of St Elooi, Belgium. He died at No.10 Casualty Clearing Station from multiple shrapnel wounds to the chest on 5 July 1916. He is buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery Belgium and his name appears on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.
Read Debora's previous blogs on this subject
For information on searching for a lost relative visit the Imperial War Museum website, or the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website to search for First World War graves.
More about RHS Libraries
Exhibitions and events
The libraries hold exhibitions of photography, botanical art and more, along with talks and courses.
As well as books and periodicals, discover, art, photos and archives. Open to all.
Our libraries can help with your academic research and provide access to digital resources too. RHS members can borrow from the thousands of gardening books held in the Lindley Libraries.