Albert John Butchers, died 25th September 1917, aged 20. Private G/21142, 1st Battalion, The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment).

Albert Butchers was born in the summer of 1897 in Goudhurst, according to the record in ‘Soldiers Died in the Great War’. He was baptised in Horsmonden on 23rd July 1897. In 1901 he was living with his parents, Albert and Jane Butchers, at Parsonage Cottages in Lamberhurst, and by 1911 they were at New Cottages, Smallbridge, about a mile north-west of the village of Goudhurst, towards Horsmonden. Albert enlisted in Goudhurst, probably in 1916. His first front-line action with his battalion may therefore have been at the Battle of Arras where it suffered very heavy casualties on 23rd April 1917. Its next major action was during the 3rd Battle of Ypres, where it entered trenches beside the Menin Road on the night of 24th/25th September 1917 with a view to attacking the Germans. However, the enemy attacked first, using a heavy artillery barrage followed up by infantry astride the Menin Road west of Gheluvelt. The battalion suffered 401 casualties, more than half of them deemed ‘missing’. Albert Butchers was among this latter category, and his name is recorded on the Tyne Cot Memorial on panel 15. He is also commemorated on the war memorial in Horsmonden.


Charles Eyles, died 10th April 1917, aged 33. Private, G/18085 Royal Sussex Regiment.

Charles Eyles was born in Catsfield, Sussex on 12th February 1884, the son of Charles and Mary Ann Eyles (née Carter). He had three brothers. At the time of the 1891 census the family were living at Brightling, Sussex, but by 1901 they had moved to Bedgebury Cross, between Kilndown and Goudhurst, and on that census Charles senior and junior both gave their occupation as blacksmith.

Charles enlisted at Eastbourne on 22nd March 1916, when he was living at Horam Road, near Heathfield. He probably joined his battalion in France soon after they had suffered grievously on no fewer than three separate occasions during the Battle of the Somme between July and October 1916 (see William Hall, below). Their next major action – which proved to be the first and the last for Charles Eyles – was on the opening day of the Battle of Arras, 9th April 1917. The battalion successfully accomplished its role in the first phase of the attack on the north side of the Arras – Cambrai road, but Charles was seriously injured and he died of his wounds the next day.

Charles Eyles is buried in Duisans British Cemetery at Etrun, west of Arras, where his grave reference is III C 7. Although not commemorated on either the Goudhurst or Kilndown war memorials, as a member of the Goudhurst Branch of the Oddfellows ‘Loyal Men of Kent’ Lodge no. 3963, his name is engraved on the wooden memorial to their members.