Victor Leopold Stevens Bedwell
4th Battalion Suffolk Regiment
Victor Leopold Stevens Bedwell was the son of the late Thomas Bedwell and of Mary Louisa Bedwell, of 52, Beechhill Rd., Eltham, London. Born in 1894 Victor had and older brother and sister; Edward lived until he was 90 years old and Constance until she was 98. In the 1901 census his father’s occupation is given as School Master and Clergyman (Church of England) The family are living at The College, Saham Toney, Norfolk. It appears that Thomas Bedwell was in charge of a small school of eleven boys ranging in age from 16 years to 7 years. Assissting in this task was an assistant schoolmaster and two servants. Victor was aged 6 years at the time and no doubt was also educated at the college with the younger children.
No 1911 information has been found for Victor L S Bedwell. However, the online Wisden on the Great War ‘The Lives of Cricket’s Fallen 1914 – 1918’ records that he was educated at St. John’s, Leatherhead and was a member of the cricket eleven in 1912 and 1913. It is also known that he was a Craven Scholar at Oxford University in 1915 and that the Bedwell Prize was founded at Exeter College, Oxford, in memory of his brilliant learning and personality.
Victor is commemorated on the family grave of his parents and grandfather. Victor was killed in action on 18 April 1916 during the fighting around the Somme and he has no known grave. He was 22years old. His name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing Pier and Face 1C and 2A.
The entry below shows the details of his estate upon his death.
Arthur Penton Strong
Lieutenant 7th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers
Arthur Penton Strong was the son of Arthur and Kate Strong, of Reading. He is commemorated on the footstone of the family grave. The 1891 census indicates that Arthur had three younger brothers and an older sister his father was a builder and contractor. Kate’s brother also lived with the family. They lived at 5. Zinzan Street, Reading. By 1901 Arthur’s father had died and the family were living at 215, King’s Road, Reading. Arthur was now aged 17 and employed as a factory clerk. In 1911 Kate was living at 30. Telford Avenue with her younger sons. It has not been possible to trace Arthur through the 1911 census.
Arthur was killed in action on 26th October 1917, Aged 34. This was the first day of what came to be known as the Second Battle of Passchendaele. On this day the British and their allies improved their positions from Passchendaele to Poelcapelle. Matrix tells us that the attack began at 5.40am. On either side of the Menin road the British 7th and 5th Divisions were frustrated by marshes. The Australians and Canadians took their objectives moving off in a mist that became a heavy rain as the day progressed. The Canadians had 70% casualties. Poelcapelle means church in the bog and it was in a bog that the British fought. Several days later New Zealand troops came upon the remains of the Northumberland Fusiliers and Durham Light infantry lying in rows where they had been mown down by German machine guns as they had made their advance on the first day of the battle.
Arthur Penton Strong is buried in Poelcapelle British Cemetery. Location XXXVII. F. 19
This cemetery was made after the Armistice by the concentration of graves from other cemeteries and from the battle fields. The great majority of the dead fell in the last five months of 1917, particularly the month of October.
Driver J. Starkie
T/16298 292 Company
Army Service Corps.
J. Starkie was 34 years old and died on the 8th August 1915. He was the son of Samuel and Mary Starkie of Blackburn, Lancashire and the husband of Sophia Starkie, of 40, Sunny Bank, Mytholmroyd, Yorkshire.
Starkie died in a tragic boating accident whilst based near Reading. He and Private J. J. McKeever, an Irish man born at Waterside, were in a Canadian canoe on the Thames at Tilehurst when the canoe capsized and both soldiers were drowned. Neither man could swim. The Coroners verdict was that of “Accidental Drowning”.
During the war years there were many such accidents on the Thames, sometimes of army personelle and sometimes civilians and children. Many drownings were accidental, some were acts of suicide.
Mrs Starkie attended the funeral and also Thomas Logue, the brother in law of McKeeveer. A volley was fired and the “Last Post played”. The grave of Driver Starkie is marked by a CWGC war pattern headstone. Private McKeever is also buried in the cemetery in Division 14