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The Great War in St John’s Parish: Derby Road

World War One in Derby Road

At the time of the Great War there were 15 households in Derby Road. Six men served, four in front line units and one in the navy.

HMS Chatham

No. 2 Frank Hills bombardier/gunner in the Royal Field Artillery. Served in France in 1915. Baptised his son at St John’s 20/1/1919.

No. 4 H Porter private with 12th Suffolks. He was welcomed home 17/1/1919.

No. 5 John Bowyer born 1874 private 129818 in the Army Service Corps. He was a motor cycle mechanic. He married Jemima and had three children. He was reprimanded for excessive speed over a level crossing in 1918 and deprived of 2 days pay.

No. 6 The Ferguson family (no.6) lost their son Alfred, a private in the 1st Camb. Regiment, on 7th January 1918. In 1911 Alfred was a 15 year old ‘office lad’ at the Cambridge Evening News. He joined his regiment as a signaller. The circumstances of his death are unknown but he was buried with full military honours at Mill Road cemetery in the presence of his fiancée and many members of his family and old friends.

No.9 The Wilby family saw two sons depart, Frank as a private in the Suffolk Yeomanry and Alexander as a gunner on HMS Chatham. This was a light cruiser that saw service in the Mediterranean. (The name of the ship lives on; the crew of the Chatham in 1922, serving under a New Zealand flag, donated a cup to the NZ football association, now its premier trophy.)


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