In grateful remembrance

Debora Hodgson, Librarian at the Wisley Library, marks this Rememberance Sunday by remembering the fallen heroes of Wisley who died in action during 1917.

In the fourth part of our series, commemorating the fallen of Wisley during the First World War, we remember those former staff and students who died in 1917.

Eric Corderoy Cheshire (1895-1917)

Eric Corderoy Cheshire was a student a Wisley 1910-13. After gaining his Diploma in 1913 he went to work on a fruit farm in East Grinstead.

In 1914 he joined the 2nd City of London, Royal Fusiliers.

He was a Lieutenant when he was killed in action on 3 May 1917, during the battle of Arras. He was last seen ‘gallantly leading his men after his Captain had been killed and his fellow Junior Officer had been severely wounded’. He is commemorated on the Arras Memorial (Bay 3) in France as he has no known grave.

For his service, Lieutenant Cheshire was awarded the Victory Medal, The British War Medal and the 1915 Star.

Hugh Francis Clough (1889-1917)

From 1908-10 Hugh Francis Clough was a student at Wisley, passing out first in his Diploma class. After leaving Wisley he joined Veitch’s fruit nursery at Langley and then ran a fruit farm in Sevenoaks.

He joined the Territorial 4th Battalion the Queens Own Royal West Kent Regiment as a Private and was commissioned as a temporary 2nd Lieutenant on the 4 June 1913. He was drafted to the front in 1915 and was promoted to Lieutenant on 18 May 1916.

On 14 March 1917, he was killed in action on the Tigris above Baghdad. He had been wounded about a year before, but had made a good recovery and was Brigade Signalling Officer at the time of his death. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Basra Memorial. 

His General said: 'He was beloved by all who knew him – quiet, steady, conscientious, energetic and painstaking; kindly and a man who left those who knew him the better for having known him. He was such a fine fellow in every way.'

Norman Arthur Phillips (1889-1917)

Norman Arthur Phillips was a student at Wisley 1907-09. He left Wisley in 1909 to join his friend and fellow student Lancelot Robson; to start a fruit farm at Burpham.

2nd Lieutenant Phillips served with 54th Squadron Royal Flying Corps and gained his Royal Aero Club Aviators' Certificate on 24 June 1916 at Military School Birmingham.

He was killed in aerial combat in France on 25 March 1917, whilst escorting another aircraft, and was buried in Grand-Seraucourt British Cemetery at Aisne, Plot IX. F.9. He is remembered on the Basingstoke War Memorial and the Burpham War Memorial.

His Squadron Commander wrote: ‘The loss of Lieutenant Phillips was keenly felt by the Squadron as he was so stout-hearted and such cheery company, and the sentiment will be fully shared by all his friends at home.’

2nd Lieutenant Phillips was awarded the Victory Medal and The British War Medal.

William Harold Streeter (1896-1917)

William Harold Streeter became a student at Wisley in 1913, arriving on a scholarship from Surrey County School. After gaining his School Diploma in 1915 he was employed at Wisley as a Journeyman but left along with many of his contemporaries to join the army.

He enlisted in the Royal Fusiliers - City of London Regiment - in August 1915, under the command of the 36th Brigade, 12th Division. The Brigade underwent training at Colchester and Aldershot before proceeding to France. The Division landed at Boulogne 29 May - 1 June 1915.

Private Streeter was killed during the First Battle of The Scarfe in the Arras Sector on 10 April 1917. He is buried at Feuchy Chapel, British Cemetery in Wancourt, Pas de Calais, plot 1.D.5

Private Streeter was awarded the Victory Medal and The British War Medal.

Sidney Harriss Smith (1896 -1917)

Sidney Harriss Smith joined Wisley as a student in 1912.

After war was declared, he immediately enlisted in the 7th Middlesex Regiment and served first at Gibraltar, then in Egypt from 24 August 1915 and finally in France.

He transferred to the Queen Victoria's Rifles as a Rifleman and was killed in action on 14 April 1917 at Arras. He was buried at Cuckoo Passage Cemetery in Heninel, Pas de Calais, Plot A.8.

He wrote many letters full of cheer to his friends from the front despite the less-than-cheerful surroundings in which he found himself.

Rifleman Smith was awarded The British War Medal, the Victory Medal and the 1915 Star. 

Harry Langton Foster (1893-1917)

Harry Langton Foster was a student at Wisley 1909-11. After leaving Wisley he succeeded his father as Head of the Times Experimental Station at Sutton Green. He later became Assistant Instructor in Horticulture for Kent County Council.

He enlisted as a Private in the London Regiment arriving in France on the 18 March 1915. After recovering from a wound received on the Western Front he was commissioned in the Queen’s Own Royal West Regiment on 25 October 1916.  

He was killed in action during the Battle of Messines Ridge on 7 June 1917. He is buried at Bus House Cemetery, Ypres Belgium, Plot B.13.

​He was well liked by all who knew him, energetic and genial, he had great promise.

He was awarded the Victory Medal, The British War Medal and the 1915 Star.

William Charles Croom (1897-1917)

William Charles Croom was a student at Wisley 1913-15. After gaining his Diploma he was employed to assist with fruit tree experiments.

In 1915 he joined the London Regiment - Artists’ Rifles - Officer Training Corps. 2nd Lieutenant Croom was commissioned on the 11 July 1916.

He was killed in action, on 7 June 1917, during the Battle of Messines Ridge, serving with the 6th Battalion London Regiment. He is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres (Panels 52–54); there is also a brass memorial plaque inside St Michael's Church, Dinder.

In letters to his friends, while serving in France, he recalled a particularly daring and successful raid, in which he had been involved, where many of the enemy were captured. He was known for being ‘painstaking, dogged and cheerful, always ready to “do the next thing,” always putting his best into it.’

2nd Lieutenant Croom was awarded the Victory Medal and The British War Medal.

Find your forgotten war heroes

For information on searching for a lost relative visit the Imperial War Museum website.

To search for First World War graves visit the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website.

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