Frank Bernard Wearne VC (1 March 1894 – 28 June 1917) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Wearne was born to Frank and Ada (Morris) Wearne, the third of their five children. One of his brothers, Captain Keith Morris Wearne (1892–1917), was another casualty of World War I, falling in the Battle of Arras on 21 May 1917, aged 24. His only sister, Edith Ann (1889–1956), married Thomas Clinton Pears (1882–1912), a great great grandson of soap manufacturer Andrew Pears. Thomas and Edith were passengers on the RMS Titanic. Edith survived while Thomas was lost.
Before joining the British Army he attended Bromsgrove School. Wearne was 23 years old, and a second lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion, Essex Regiment, British Army, attached to the 10th Battalion during the Great War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
On 28 June 1917 east of Loos, France, Second Lieutenant Wearne, commanding a small party in a raid on the enemy’s trenches, had gained his objective in the … Read the rest
Lieutenant Colonel Augustus Charles Newman, VC, OBE, TD, DL (19 August 1904 – 26 April 1972) was a British Army officer and recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Newman was educated at Bancroft’s School, Essex. On leaving school he joined a firm of Civil Engineering and Public Works Contractors and was commissioned into the part-time Territorial Army in 1925, rising to the rank of major by 1939.
He was 37 years old and a lieutenant colonel in The Essex Regiment, British Army, attached to No. 2 Commando during the Second World War, when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross (VC).
On 28 March 1942 in the attack on St. Nazaire, France, Lieutenant Colonel Newman was in charge of the military forces and he was one of the first ashore, leading his men and directing operations quite regardless of his own safety. Under his inspiring leadership the troops fought magnificently and held vastly superior numbers of the enemy at bay until the demolition parties had done their work. The colonel then … Read the rest
Alfred Richard Stocks, born in 1915, a pre-war regular was serving as a Private (No.6596188) with the 1st Battalion, Essex Regiment during the Arab rebellion in Palestine in 1936. It is likely that he was with the Battalion when it was sent to join the International Force overseeing the Saar’s referendum in 1934. The records state that by that time Alfred had attained the rank of Lance Corporal.
During World War 2 his unit saw service in the Sudan, where having broken and retreated in disorder was withdrawn from the frontline and sent back to Palestine for a period of time.
The 1st Battalion later served in Burma as part of the 23rd Infantry Brigade of the 2nd Chindit Expedition. In 1944, the Infantry Brigade fought in the Naga Hills to the north and east of Kohima, and while a part of Wingate’s Special Force they were the only Long Range Penetration Unit that did not take part in Operation Thursday, the principal Chindit operation in 1944.
Alfred was evacuated to England and later died at Southend Municipal Hospital, Rochford on 16th May 1944. He is buried at Eastwood (St. Laurence and All … Read the rest
The Essex Regiment was a line infantry regiment of the British Army in existence from 1881 to 1958. The regiment served in many conflicts such as the Second Boer War and both World War I and World War II, serving with distinction in all three. It was formed in 1881 under the Childers Reforms by the amalgamation of the 44th (East Essex) Regiment of Foot and the 56th (West Essex) Regiment of Foot.
In 1958, the Essex Regiment was amalgamated with the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment to form the 3rd East Anglian Regiment (16th/44th Foot). However, the existence was short-lived and, in 1964, was amalgamated again with the 1st East Anglian Regiment (Royal Norfolk and Suffolk), the 2nd East Anglian Regiment (Duchess of Gloucester’s Own Royal Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire) and the Royal Leicestershire Regiment to form the Royal Anglian Regiment. The lineage of the Essex Regiment is continued by ‘C’ Company of the 1st Battalion of the Royal Anglian Regiment.
The Essex Regiment was formed in 1881 by the union of the 44th (East Essex) and 56th (West Essex) Regiments of Foot, which became the 1st and 2nd battalions respectively of the new regiment. This merger was part … Read the rest
Arthur Freeman, son of Abraham & Louisa Freeman, husband of Alice Maud Freeman of 61 South Street, Braintree, Essex was born in Leyton, Essex in 1886
Athur went to France on 22nd August 1914 with the 2nd Battalion, Essex Regiment and qualified for the Aug-Nov 1914 Clasp. The 2nd Battalion took over the firing line south of Pont Edal Farm railway crossing near Chapelle-d’Armentieres
Arthur was killed in action on 30th October 1914 and is buried in Ration Farm Military Cemetery, La Chapelle-d’Armentieres, France
Frederick John Hickford, 5th Battalion, Essex Regiment was the son of Mrs A.Kemp of Clare Rd, Tilbury, Essex. Frederick fought in Gallipoli with the 5th Battalion and landed on ‘A’ Beach, Suvla Bay on 9th August 1915. He was wounded at Gallipoli on 17th August 1915 and subsequently transferred to the 10th Battalion.
Frederick was killed in action on 13th May 1917 and buried in the Wancourt British Cemetery, Somme, France. Frederick is also commemorated on the ‘Tenpenny Benefice’ Roll of Honour, Frating, Essex.
Sydney Stanley French was born on 9th November 1894 and would see service as a Private and later Acting Corporal (No. 19743) with the 9th Battalion, Essex Regiment on the Western Front from 16th December 1915. He was noted as wounded in the Suffolk and Free Press on 20th September 1916, this during the Battle of the Somme where the battalion saw action at Ovillers and La Boiselle, and he would later be discharged due to wounds and sickness on 18th July 1917.
Sydney would go on to serve during the Second World War as part of an Air Raid Protection Rescue Party, this being confirmed on the 1939 Register, where he is noted as living at Roseberry Road, Chelmsford.