Category Archives: Berkshire Yeomanry

Horace John Hodges

Horace John Hodges
Trooper 50109
Berkshire Yeomanry and Imperial Camel Corps

Hodges HJ photo

 Horace John Hodges was the son  of John Henry and Alice Mary Hodges 95 De Beauvoir Road.  He joined the Berkshire Yeomanry in 1912 and was killed in action on 1st May 1918 aged 23.    In spite of the intimation that his body had been found he had no known grave and is commemorated on the Jerusalem Memorial panel 7.

Casualty Record Detail


An article, reproduced below, was published in the Reading Chronicle 26th June 1918.

Signaller’s Death 

Mr Hodges of 95, De Beauvoir road, Reading, has received the sad intelligence that his son Horace, who was a signaller, was killed in action on the banks of the Jordan on May 1st.  His Lieutenant writes that owing to the corps having to yield ground at the time the deceased was left where he fell with three or four others but on going over the ground again that night graves were found, the deceased no doubt being one of them.  The lieutenant added “he and all the boys had done well that morning, carrying out their duties and disregarding personal danger.  Signaller J. T. Rhodes, a Reading lad, who was formerly under Mr. W. J. Hodges in the Spring Gardens Band, writes: ”We were called out at midnight and had to march all night.  We had to  advance over the hills.  When we got in close contact with the enemy it was awful – absolutely raining bullets.  Poor Horace laid down and only fired one shot before he was hit, a bullet penetrating his heart.  His loss is deeply regretted by all his friends.”  Signaller Hodges joined the Berkshire Yeomanry six years ago, when he was 17 years of age, and arrived in Egypt with the first contingent on April 22nd 1915, the anniversary of his birth.  He had been in Egypt continually since that time, not having taken any leave.  He did not take part in the Gallipoli* fighting, as he was suffering from poisoning at the time, but he went through the Arab campaign, having been transferred to the Imperial Camel Corps, and has been in much sever fighting since his last letter, which has recently arrived telling of hardships and difficulties of the fighting in the Palestine hills.  He was 23.

 * When he recovered from his illness he was put in charge of the horses in Cairo.

Francis John Harper

Francis John Harper
Private 2351
1st/1st Berkshire Yeomanry

Division 24


Francis J. Harper was aged 32 when he died.   He had been a member of the Berkshire Yeomanry for 12 years, resigning some years before the war at the rank of sergeant.  When war broke out he re-enlisted as a trooper (the equivalent of Private)  and  would have been entitled to be promoted because of previous experience.   He contracted a severe chill at Bear Wood whilst training and was brought to the Royal Berkshire Hospital where he died on the 6th January 1915  from double pneumonia.

The military funeral was attended by 140 officers and men of the Yeomanry, employees of Mr J. White, Castle St., staff from Whitley Special School, his brother Mr W. Harper of 102 Radstock Rd. himself an old Bucks. Yeoman,  his sister and widowed father.  A detachment of  men from Bear Wood followed his flag draped coffin to the grave, over which the customary three volleys were fired.

There was a wreath from the children of Whitley Special School, whom he used to drive to and from school.  The Standard reported that the  children had the kindest regard for Mr Harper, who when he enlisted received a letter from the physically defective pupils saying –  

Dear Mr. Harper,

We are all very glad to hear you are going to the front, but we are very sorry to have to say good-by to you.  We hope you will someday return safely, and come back to drive our carriage once more.  We have collected just a little money and we hope you will buy something you like with it.  The socks are knitted by the girls.  Thanking you for all your kindness to us. 

Yours sincerely the Children of P.D.SIDE 

P.S.  Will you please let  us know where you are stationed  so that we may write to you sometimes.

Francis John Harper is interred in a Registered War Grave with a war pattern headstone.

Edward Gooch

Edward Gooch
Private 40171
3rd  Battalion Worcestershire Regiment  formerly a
Sergeant in the Berkshire Yeomanry

 Division 27

Gooch E photo


Edward Gooch was the son of Arthur and Miriam Gooch, of 12, Stanley Grove, Reading. He was killed in action on 9th October 1916, aged 28.  He is commemorated upon the kerb stones of his parents grave in Reading Cemetery.  The grave number is 12671.  The Berkshire Family History Society classification is 27E31.

In the 1911 census his occupation is given as a Clerk at the Gas Works; he is living at home with his parents and two brothers. Miram Gooch had borne seven children.

The 3rd Worscesters were part of the 25th Division and in September 1916 moved to a position south of the River Ancre in the Somme battlefield.  After many small scale raids and operations, a major attack was made by the Division on 9 October. The condiditons on the ground were poor and although there was success in beating off German counter attacks before capturing their objectives it was in this action that Edward Gooch lost his life.

The CWGC site tells us that Edward Gooch was buried in Poiziers British Cemetery, Ovillers. grave identification Plot IV, Row T, 24.