Ernest Arthur Webb
Private 10510 “B” Company
5th Batt. Royal Berkshire Regt.
Ernest Arthur Webb is commemorated on the headstone of the family grave. He was initially reported missing and later as killed in action on the 3rd July 1916 during the Somme campaign. He had his 21st birthday on the 1st July 1916, the first day of the battle when Britain lost more men in one day than at any time before or since.
Ernest Webb has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval memorial to the missing. Pier and Face 11D.
Ernest was the eldest son of Arthur and Jane Webb, of 55, Queen’s Road, Reading. (late 221 Southampton St.) The 1911 census indicates that he had four siblings. Two older sisters and two younger brothers. At the time he was an apprentice driller at the engineering company. This company was Pulsometer Engineering and his name is commemorated on their war memorial. Pulsometer Engineering was the company where Trooper Frederick Owen Potts, the Reading V.C., also worked. Arthur Webb worked in the sugar wafer department and sister Daisy was a teapacker in the tea warehouse.
Charles Edward Weeks
1st Batt. Royal Berkshire Regt.
Charles Edward Weeks, was the son of Charles William and Agnes Esther Weeks, of 180 Kings Rd. Reading. The 1911 census indicates that at the age of 17 Charles was working as a grocers assistant. His father had his own business as a book keeper and his younger brother, Cyril aged 9, was in school. Charles had attended Wokingham Road School, now known as Alfred Sutton Primary School and it is assumed that this was the school Cyril attended. Agnes had given birth to four children but only Charles and Cyril had survived.
Charles joined the army in Sept. 1914. The Standard of August 19th 1916 gives an account of the wounding, in both legs, one arm and head, which Charles Weeks received on July 30th 1916. He had been left for dead when a 9.2inch (250lb.) shell fell in front of him but was brought out by the Warwick’s. After the usual field dressings had been administered and treatment at a casualty clearing station he was transferred to Etaples and later evacuated to England where he spent some time in a war hospital in Norfolk. Writing from hospital he commented that the food and treatment was A1. Swelling in his face had gone down and he was now able to see out of both eyes. His left thigh and right knee were still painful. In total he had twenty three injuries but only considered eleven to be bad.
Charles Weeks survived these injuries and returned to France where he was killed on 25th March 1918*, his body was never found. A headstone in Division 32, of the Reading Cemetery, describes him as “Missing in France”, he is officially commemorated on the Arras Memorial, Bay 7, he was 24 years old.
* Four days from the start of the German Spring offensive.
11th Battalion Devon Regiment attached to Hampshire Regiment
John Weeks home address was 39, Northumberland Avenue, Reading. He joined the army in Exeter in September 1914 and was quickly awarded a commission. Census evidence suggests that he was a law clerk in 1911 and boarding with a family in Exmouth. His father was William Weeks; his name is on John Weeks attestation papers.
John Weeks was 26 years of age when he was lost at sea in the “Royal Edward” disaster, 13th August 1915. The transport ship was carrying 1,380 officers and troops and a ship’s crew of 220 officers and men, when it was sunk by a German submarine in the Ægean Sea with great loss of life. Only 600 were saved. The disaster was particularly tragic, because so many lives were lost. The men had spent a long time in training. In the report the men were described as “burning to meet the foe”. The ship’s destination was the Gallipoli peninsula. Details outlining the history of the ship and how it was sunk can be found on Wikipedia.
John Weeks was buried in Syra New British Cemetery, Greece. The grave location II.A.5. The cemetery is on an island in the Cyclades, about 75 miles south-east of Athens. The cemetery was made in 1921, to take the scattered British War graves from the islands of the Cyclades. In total there are 111 War Graves registered.
The commemoration on the grave in the cemetery has been recorded by the Berkshire Family History Society but the author has mislaid the details of the headstone inscription.