Category Archives: Trinitiy Congregational Church War Memorial

Horace Harding

Horace Harding
Private 19963
1st Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers


Horace was killed in action on 25 October 1916 and he was buried at Euston Road Cemetery, Colincamps, Somme, location I.C.6. This cemetery was a frontline burial ground during and after the unsuccessful attack on Serre on 1 July. The whole of Plot I represents the original cemetery. After the Armistice graves were brought to the cemetery from outlying areas.

The notification of Horace’s death was published in the Reading Standard on 2 December 1916 but no family details were given.

Initially, it was quite difficult to identify the H. Harding named on the Alfred Sutton War Memorial. CWGC records showed over sixty men named H. Harding but many lacked the personal details that would link an individual to Reading. However, an article about the unveiling of the Trinity Congregational Church War Memorial in the Reading Standard revealed the name of Horace Harding along with a number of the other Boys who attended the church. Yet again Soldiers Died was invaluable and a search indicated that Horace was a private, with the 1st Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers.

Accessto Ancesty UK revealed that Horace was the son of George and Annie Harding of 88. Amity Road, Reading. His year of birth was given as 1897. He was 13 in 1911 and no occupation is given so it is assumed that like his younger sister that he was still in school. George Harding and Horace’s older sister and brother all worked at the biscuit factory.  Details of his attestion reveal that he was a shop assistant when he attested in August 1915, his age is given as 18years and 8 months. He probably lied about his age when he attested. No picture has been found of Horace but the military record states that he was fair haired with blue eyes, 5ft 2inches tall and weighing 116lbs.


Henry Thomas Eighteen


Henry Thomas Eighteen
Private 20350
1st/4th Royal Berkshire Regiment

At the time of the death of Henry Eighteen on 24 November 1916 the 1st/4th Battalion was serving on the Somme in the area of the Butte de Warlencourt. The Butte was an ancient burial mound some fifty feet high held by the Germans. In the gently undulating fields of the Somme it gave the occupying force not only an observational advantage but also a strong point of defence. The Butte was part of the last line before Bapaume. The Germans had the visual advantage in an area where the British trenches were dangerous with gaps in their defence. Conditions for the Berkshire men were dreadful and it was common for the 1st/4th to suffer six or seven casualties each day for the period they occupied these trenches.

s death refers to him having been killed in action in Albert. The Butte de Warlencourt is on the Albert to Bapaume Road about 10 miles from Albert.

Private Eighteen is buried in Adanac Military Cemetery, Miraumont, Somme.
This cemetery is a concentration cemetery. It was made after the Armistice by the concentration of graves from the battlefields and small cemeteries surrounding Miraumont, and particularly the Canadian battlefields around Courcelette. The cemetery name comes from reversing the name Canada and the maple leaf is much in evidence. It was fortunate that Henry’s original grave was well marked and that it was not lost during later battles, as often happened.

Henry’s story illustrates how information must be gleaned from several sources in order to give a complete picture. In his case the local newspapers have been particularly valuable. Henry Thomas Eighteen is now known to be one of the five sons of Mr Frederick Syer Eighteen and Mrs Charlotte Ellen Louisa Eighteen (nee Smith) of 30, Leopold Rd., Reading. Work done on the Eighteen family tree available throught Ancestry UK indicates that there were 12 children. The 1911 census indicates that Frederick senior was a fish salesman, sons Stanley and John were both helping in the business and the rest of the children, including Henry Thomas were in school.

The Reading Chronicle 31 August 1917 gave notification of the wounding in the eye of Stanley James Eighteen on 18 August; he had been in service 18 months and had spent 14 months in France. This notice indicated that there had been five sons serving in the army, two had been killed, two wounded and one was still serving. From another report came information about John Bernard Eighteen, Driver 10213 ‘D’ Battery 75th Brigade Royal Field Artillery. It is now known that he was Henry’s older brother. John Eighteen died of wounds and is buried at Wimereux Cemetery. Wimereux was the site of many base hospitals. At the time of his death on 25 June 1917 John was aged 21. Stanley James was an older brother to both Henry and John and he survived the war living until 1956.

Both Henry and John Eighteen are commemorated on the memorial of the Trinity Congregational Church, Reading.  On the second anniversary of Henry’s death another ‘In Memoriam’ was published in The Reading Chronicle, 22 November 1918. It was particularly poignant because the Armistice had just taken place and people were looking forward to loved ones returning, it should be noted that in this document the father appears to be a widower:

Eighteen – In ever loving memory of Henry Thomas killed in action November 24th 1916.

He left his home in the flower of youth, he looked so strong and brave,
We little knew how soon he was to be laid in a soldier’s grave;
But the hardest part has yet to come, when the heroes all come home,
And we miss among the cheering crowd one that will never return.
From his loving father, sisters and brothers.

The name Eighteen is not particularly common, only three soldiers of that name appear in Soldiers Died although it was a well known name in Reading.  The impact of the war is illustrated by another entry in The Reading Chronicle September 1915 when it was reported that H. Eighteen, Horse dealer of Reading, had sold his business when both his son and nephew enlisted.


Horace Lacey Pinker

Horace Lacey Pinker
Private 203760
1st/4th Royal Berkshire Regiment

Pinker HL grave

Private Horace Lacey Pinker was the son of John and Jane Pinker of Reading.  He was killed 5th April 1917, aged 22.  The 1901 census information indicates that his father was a master stone mason. The family were living at 69,London Road and it was from there that John Pinker ran his business. There were then three children with Horace being the middle child, older brother was called Stanley and the younger Harold. By 1911 Jane was a widow, still living at the same address. Horace is misrecorded as Florence and the census return also bears other mistakes. There is no occupation given for Horace and it is assumed that he is either still at school (he was then aged 15) or had no job.

At the time of his death actions were taking place between Cambrai and St. Quentin.  

Private Pinker would have experienced the events which follow in the weeks leading up to his death.   (Details are taken from Petre – History of the Royal Berkshire Regiment)

During misty weather in February 1917 the German army made its secret withdrawal to the Hindenburg line, masked by continuous shelling of the British positions.  Allied Commanders had not fully realised the extent of the withdrawal but partial and curious retreats resulted in more raiding parties to collect prisoners and information. In March as the retreat became obvious and the 48th Division was in the forefront of the chase and open warfare once more took place.  The 1st/4th’s reached Peronne on 20th March.  The mudscape of the battlefields was now far behind and for the first time in many months the men were in open and green countryside where signs of spring breaking could be seen.  The battalion engaged with the enemy again only as they approached the well defended Hindenburg line.

 At the beginning of April the battalion was involved in fighting around Ephey and the village of Ronssoy where a heated battle took place and several men were also killed when the British barrage fell on them by mistake.  It may be that Private Pinker was killed during this fighting.  However, the spirits of the 1st/4th were high.  After this battle the battalion moved back to Hamel for a rest, returning on 13th April to Ronssoy.

 Private Pinker was buried at Templeux-Le-Guerard British Cemetery, the Somme. Grave location I. A. 13.