TitleFallen of Birch, Layer Breton, Layer Marney and Layer de la Haye

Birch, Layer Breton & Layer Marney Local History

The Fallen of Birch, Layer Breton, Layer Marney and Layer de la Haye
and Parishioner's Service in the Great War

Originally published on August 2014

The Fallen of Birch, Layer Breton, Layer Marney and Layer de la Haye

More information about the Fallen, and the impact of the World Wars on local people, is to be found on this website in the Centenary Chronicles, Number 1 , Number 20 and Number 24

Birch and Layer Breton
The War Memorial commemorating The Fallen of Birch and Layer Breton stands on a small green in front of St Peter's Church, Birch, opposite Birch School. The original memorial, in the form of a cross, was constructed from roof timbers taken from the former Layer Breton Church. By spring 2002, after nearly 85 years, the old cross was suffering badly from the effects of the weather, some rot and death watch beetle, and had to be removed. A fine replacement has been made and this was erected in August 2002. The considerable task of carving the inscription and all the names of the fallen on the new memorial was undertaken by Mr Tony Blyth of Layer Breton, and the joinery by Mr Tommy Wayman of Birch. The names on the old memorial, reproduced on the new one, are as follows:

1914 - 1919
C Higginbotham
A Procter
T Finney
F Batterham
R Baker
J Gooch
L Potter
H Warner
A Goody
C Partner
E Taylor
H Pepper
J Sparling
A Mead
S Gower
B Stowe
A Smith
C Smith
A Wade
V Mawbery
F Luard
C Partner
A Cansdale
C Hellen
H Burmby
B Curtis
H Smith
1939 - 1945
S Gamble
F Green
P Moore
H Norton
O Round
J Salmon
R Taylor
R Smith
G Studley

Layer Marney
The War Memorial commemorating The Fallen of Layer Marney is to be found in the village's Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin, which is adjacent to Layer Marney Tower. The memorial, in the form of a wall plaque, bears the following names:

1914 - 1919
A Powell
A Wade
H Burmby
E C Mansfield
W French
H Kirkham
G Sach
A Sach
S S Harrington
H C Pettican
E W Playle
G W Bell
A Harvey
H Knight
1939 - 1945
 B Wadley 

Layer de la Haye
There are two War Memorials commemorating The Fallen of Layer de la Haye. One is the Cross, originally erected in 1921 and replaced in 1997, which stands on the small green opposite the end of Malting Green Road. The other is in the South aisle of the church. They both bear the following names, but in slightly different orders:

1914 - 1918
Robert Baker
George Barton
Ernest Baldwin
Frank Bland
Ernest Burleigh
Arthur Cansdale
George Clarke
Horace Clarke
Cyril Crees
Frank Curry
Bertie Curtis
Frank Fenning
Leonard Gardiner
Ronald Horwood
Cecil Howard
Bertie Kettle
Frederick King
George Pamplin
Frederick Palmer
Christopher Radford
Donovan Stanford
William Stork
John Thompson
Harry Vinson
Walter Vinson
William Willsmore
Clifford Woods
1939 - 1945
Alfred Chambers
William Gamble
Edward Parsons
Reginald Curtis
Thomas Lee
Douglas Thorburn
Alec Towler

Footnote: The names of Robert Baker, Arthur Cansdale and Bertie Curtis also appears on the Birch and Layer Breton memorial.

Parishioners' Service in the Great War
The January 1919 issue of the Birch, Layer Breton, and Layer Marney Parish Magazine, carried the following article about parishioners who served in the Great War. It gives a picture of just how many members of a small rural community were caught up in this devastating conflict which changed for ever the course of history and the life of our villages.

Birch and Layer Breton
The Parish and the Great War

Served in Army, Navy, Air Force, Nursing Service - 160
Killed in Action or died on Service - 27
Wounded or Gassed - 37
Prisoners of War - 3
Invalided or Discharged - 14
Awarded Military Honours - 12
Received Commissions - 3

Killed in Action or Died on Service
Arthur Smith
Charles Smith
Victor Mawbery
Frank Luard
Harry Smith
Arthur Wade
Charles Partner
Claude Partner
Arthur Cansdale
Claude Hellen
Horace Burmby
Bertie Curtis
John Gooch
Lewis Potter
Henry Warner
Arthur Goody
Ernest Taylor
Harry Pepper
Alfred Mead
Basil Stowe
John Sparling
Sydney Gower
Charles Higginbotham
Arthur Procter
Thomas Finney
Frank Batterham
Robert Baker
(The last 7 were the husbands of Parishioners living in the Parish.)

Wounded or Gassed
Charles Pooley (4 times)
Leonard Polley (4 times)
Arthur Pepper (3 times)
William Fisher (3 times)
Harry Taylor (twice)
Ernest Taylor (twice)
Charles Humphrey (twice)
Walter Andrews (twice)
William Martin (wounded and blinded)
James Rogers
Arthur Taylor
Samuel Bullock
Reginald Smith
Arthur Fletcher
Ernest Everitt
Percy Moss
Bertie Taylor
Arthur Pitt
Arthur Clark
Samuel Sheppard
William King
John Smith
Frank Luard
Charles Taylor
John Gill
Fred Warren
Fred Fisher
Ernest Cansdale
William Everitt
Ernest Auger
Alfred Manning
Walter Pepper
Percy Smith
Gardner Church
William Taylor
Albert Chaplin

Prisoners of War
William Martin Charles Pooley Samuel Sheppard

Invalided or Discharged
William Duke
Percy Hawes
Charles Taylor (Birch St.)
Charles Taylor (Layer Breton)
Bertie Taylor
Herbert Potter
Samuel Bullock
John Smith
William Fisher
Charles King
Arthur Pitt
Alfred Clark
James Nice
Herbert Holden

Military Honours

Distinguished Conduct Medal - Sergt-Major A Worsley.

Distinguished Service Medal - Basil Hutton, RN.

Military Cross - Sergt-Major J Williams.

Military Medal
Sergt A Manning, Pte Walter Partner, Pte Alfred Mead (Birch Green),
Sapper Albert Chaplin, Pte Arthur Taylor.

Royal Red Cross, 1st Class - Miss Mary Bishop, Miss Kathleen Smith.

Royal Red Cross, 1st Class with Bar - Miss K E Luard.

Order of the Nile - Lt-Col Trant B Luard.

Mentioned in Despatches
Colonel Frank Luard (twice), Miss K E Luard (twice), Miss Kathleen Smith.

John Gill, Basil Stowe, Sydney Sheldrick.

As will be seen above we have two more Military Medals to record:
Sapper A Chaplin, RE, for gallant conduct in bridge making during the final advance; and Pte Arthur Taylor, 9th Essex, for bravery in the Field, of which details are not yet known. We offer our warm congratulations to them both. Arthur Taylor has probably been in France longer than anyone in this Parish, except Miss K E Luard. Birch Green has now three Military Medals.

Footnote: The Luards mentioned above were relatives of Rectors of Birch, The Revd Bixby Garnham Luard, MA, who was Rector from 1908 to 1919, and and Edwin Percy Luard, MA, who was Rector from 1919 to 1947. Luard Way, off Mill Lane (Birch Green), is named after Edwin Luard.

PublishedAugust 2014
SourceMersea Museum / Breton Heath