The graves of the Farren brothers are not the only Commonwealth War Graves in the Churchyard of St Peter’s. There are two other graves for men who were on active service at the time of their deaths in 1915.
Neither was a native of the parish, nor strictly speaking a resident for any significant period of time. The first burial was that of Frank Charles Liddle, who was given a military funeral after his death from enteric fever in 1915. The other, Algernon Hanbury-Tracy, was an older brother of one of the men commemorated on the Parish War Memorial and, while he was not officially of the parish, the influence of his mother’s Tollemache connections, and the fact that Lady Sudeley moved from Ormeley Lodge to Petersham at about that time, were probably sufficient to seal the deal.
9166 Private Frank Charles Liddle, 2/East Surrey Regiment
Frank Liddle was the son of a blacksmith, George Robert Liddle and his wife, Eliza Caroline Howard. George and Caroline were married at All Saints’ in Wandsworth, and moved to live in Kingston Vale, then part of the parish of Ham, where all their children were born. By the time of George’s death, in 1900, the family was living at 94 Washington Road, except for Frank’s elder sister, Mary Ann Elizabeth, whose move to Petersham—after her marriage in 1897 to Harry Marks Randall—may have been what brought Frank’s mother, and eventually Frank himself, to River Lane. Harry and Mary Ann lived at Elm Lodge Stables for many years.
Frank worked as a carter in Kingston before deciding to enlist in the East Surrey Regiment in 1907.His Service Table suggests that, after a short spell in Jersey, Frank spent the next seven years with the Second Battalion in India and Burma, until eventually, in November 1914 they were ordered back to Europe, arriving on the H.T. Malda. The Battalion’s Diary notes that 21 officers and 908 men arrived at Devonport on the evening of 23 December, departing that night, by train to Winchester. The exceptions were one officer and one private, who “were there left sick and unfit for service”. As Frank’s Service Table records his embarking on the Malda, but not his disembarking at Devonport, it would seem that he was probably the private left behind when the battalion, moved off to join up with reinforcements from other battalions in Winchester. For his battalion, 1915 was a fearful year. After intensive training and mobilisation, they were sent to Le Havre in mid-January where they continued to train for battle. Battalion records reveal that of the 1000 men of the Battalion who went “up the line” in 1915, only 200 survived.
I think it very likely that Frank spent his remaining months in an isolation hospital in Sussex, which is where his death was registered. Although he cannot have lived in Petersham himself, for very long, if at all, he was given a military funeral and accorded buried in the Churchyard, near to where the Parish War Memorial was later erected. His grave was, in fact, the first CWGC grave in that burial ground.
I began my research into Frank by locating his burial in the parish register, and working from that to locate his family. Viewing the same page in the burial register earlier today, I saw a name immediately below his, which now had added significance. That burial entry, made about eight weeks after Frank’s death, records the burial of Harry Marks Randall, Frank’s brother-in-law, and also of River Lane.
Major the Honourable Algernon Henry Charles Hanbury-Tracy, Royal Horse Guards, C.M.G.
Algernon Hanbury Tracy was born in Westminster on 11 April 1871, the third child and second son of the 4th Baron Sudeley and his wife, Ada Maria Katherine Tollemache. He went into the Army, like so many of his Tollemache and Hanbury Tracy relatives, serving in Uganda, Abyssinia and South Africa, and being ‘Mentioned in Despatches’ three times. He married Frederica Darley in 1905 and there were two children of the marriage, Ursula and Richard.
Algernon died of heart failure at 96 Westbourne Terrace, Hyde Park on 3 December 1915, almost a year after the death of his younger brother, Felix. He is buried in the Churchyard of St Peter, within a stone’s throw of Reston Lodge, where his mother lived for the last few years of her life.
The Second World War was in turn, to bring more grief to the families of Algernon’s children. His son, Richard Algernon Frederick Hanbury-Tracy, by then the 6th Baron Sudeley, was, like his father, a Major in the Royal Horse Guards at the time of his death. He died at sea, off the coast of Norway, while serving with the No. 8 (Guards) Commando in 1941.
Algernon’s daughter, Ursula Katherine, was the wife of Brigadier Claude Nicholson, who led the brigade which became famous for its heroic defence of Calais in May 1940. His bravery and leadership continued to be exceptional throughout his captivity, but the unremitting demands of this led to his death, in tragic circumstances, three years later.