Ernest Walter Kearse

Ernest Kearse
Private 19679
5th Royal Berkshire Regiment

 Division 24

Kearse E photo


Ernest Kearse was killed in action on the 3rd  July 1916. His initials “E.K. fell in action July 1916” is commemorated on a small scroll stone.  Burial records revealed the family name as Kearse.  CWGC information indicates only that he is listed on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing.  Pier and Face 11 D.

The 5th Royal Berks. battalion was attacking Ovillers as part of the 12th Division.  Ovillers was a first day objective on the opening of the Somme battle which had resisted capture.  Zero hour was 3.15a.m. although the leading waves left the trenches and crawled forward at 3a.m.

The initial attack went well breaching the German front line.  The Germans, in deep dug outs, were forced out with grenades and hand to hand fighting took place.  However, by 9a.m. the Berkshires had run out of bombs.  Some men reached the village but became isolated and were killed.  Others were  killed by land mines, detonated by trip wire, between the German first and second lines.  The machine guns were murderous and survivors who tried to retreat were cut down as they sought cover in shell holes.  In a general withdrawal to a sunken road more men were killed by artillery, of both sides, and more machine gun fire.

Losses for the battalion were 91 killed, 212 wounded, 104 missing.  Among these were Ernest Kearse.  The British Official History of the action in which 2,400 men of the 12th Division lost their lives stated “to have reached the German trenches at all was an outstanding feat of arms”.

It is believed that Ernet Kearse was the son of Henry and Louisa Kearse of 67, Blenheim Road. At the time of the 1911 census he was an apprentice compositor at a printing works his older brother had the same occupation. His father was a forman at Huntley and Palmers. His younger sister a dressmaker’s assistant.


Percy Francis Kington

Percy Francis Kington
Rifleman 554923
16th Battalion London Regiment, Queens Westminster Rifles

Kington PF grave

Percy Francis Kington  was the son of John and Marion Kington (nee Blow) of 1, Hamilton Road. He was one of six children according to the 1901 census. No records have been found of Percy in 1911. He is believed to have been born in 1899.

He is buried at Maroeuil British Cemetery, in the Pas-de Calais,  location IV. H.11.  He died on 16th March 1918, killed in action, in the build up to the German Spring offensive which is officially deemed to have begun on 21st March 1918. Percy was about 19 years old.

Percy Francis Kington is also commemorated on the family grave in the Reading cemetery.  His name can be found on the kerbs in Division 62, 13103.  The headstone bears the names Kington, Hooper-Blow and Greaves.  (Berkshire Family History Classification is 62D41) His name is commemorated on the Alfred Sutton School memorial and also that of the YMCA

Stanley George Frederick Charles Knight

Stanley George Frederick Charles Knight
M/10392 H.M.S. “Zinnia”
Royal Navy

 Division 26


Stanley Knight, was the eldest son of Frederick Charles and Clara Ellen Knight, of 30, Shepherd’s Bush Road, London.   The 1911 census indicates that he did office work at an iron foundry, his father was a swith man on the London tube – Central line. He had a younger brother and sister. No service records are available.

He died of influenza on the 7th July 1918, he was aged 23. 

His is a registered war grave with a CWGC war pattern headstone, number 14141.