Sam Apps, died 17th September 1916, aged 17. Private 20398,

10th Battalion, Alexandra, Princess of Wales’s Own (Yorkshire Regiment)

Sam was born and baptised on 4th November 1898 in Horsmonden, the sixth of seven children of Samuel Apps, a farm bailiff, and Mary Jane (née Blunt). Long before that, his grandfather, also Samuel Apps, had served in the Royal Marines for 21 years before moving to Goudhurst in the 1860s; when he died in 1911, aged 88, he was accorded a military funeral. The 1901 census shows the entire family living together at Nevergood Farm near Horsmonden Church. By 1911, however, circumstances had changed for the worse: both of Sam’s parents had died (mother in 1904, father in 1906) and, of his siblings, one had died, two were living in separate parts of Goudhurst, two in other parts of the country, and the whereabouts of the other cannot be traced. Sam himself, then aged 13, is recorded as an ‘inmate’ of the Gordon Boys’ Home for Waifs and Strays in Croydon.

It is hardly surprising to learn that Sam joined the army in 1915, enlisting in the Yorkshire Regiment. He went to France in October 1915 and was reported as wounded in November. He was awarded the Military Medal in 1916 and was subsequently “shot while carrying a message” during the Battle of Flers-Courcelette on the Somme. His body was never identified, so his name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing, Pillar 3. As far as is known, Sam’s name does not appear on any war memorial in England.

Kent & Sussex Courier 8th December 1916

Pte S Apps

Private S Apps has been killed in action. He enlisted at the beginning of the war in his seventeenth year and went out to France where he distinguished himself in carrying despatches between trenches under fire and was once wounded but recovered sufficiently to return to the firing line. His Commanding Officer, in a sympathetic letter to the parents, says that Private Apps was shot while carrying a message during the Somme fighting. His officers had every confidence in him and greatly admired his bravery. Private Apps has two brothers serving and he is a grandson of the late Mr Samuel Apps of Goudhurst who served twenty-one years in the Royal Marines.


Hugh Barden, died 28th July 1916, aged 20. Private G/20967, 12th Battalion Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment).

Hugh Barden was born in Goudhurst on 16th December 1895, the son of William Thomas and Ada Florence (née Goble). Shortly after Hugh’s birth, William and his family moved to Dartford, where he had obtained work as a bricklayer. Hugh enlisted in Dartford. His battalion took part in the Battle of Delville Wood, one of the early phases of the Battle of the Somme, in which he was seriously injured. He was transported back to hospital in Rouen, but he died of his wounds and is buried in St Sever Cemetery, Rouen, where his grave reference is A 35. 3.