William John Hall, died 31st March 1917, aged 32. Lance-Corporal G/88, 7th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment.

William Hall was born in Goudhurst in November 1884, the son of Eliza Hall. The identity of his father has not been traced, but it is known that Eliza married a George Brazier at about the same time; William’s enlistment papers name George as his stepfather. In 1914 William was living in lodgings in Wadhurst and working as an agricultural labourer. He enlisted ten days after the outbreak of war and gained promotion to Lance-Corporal only three weeks later.

William went to France with his battalion on 31st May 1915, though their first serious engagement did not come until 3rd/4th March 1916 when they fought off a major assault by the Germans near Loos. However, they were heavily involved in the Battle of the Somme, initially making an attack on Ovillers on 7th July 1916 which cost 461 casualties out of a strength of 675; William was put out of action by shell-shock on this occasion but returned to duty only ten days later. In the week beginning 30th July the battalion suffered a further 224 casualties, most of them in an assault near Pozières. William survived this but was hospitalised in September due to trench fever, re-joining his battalion after two months. Ten days before the battalion was to take part in the Battle of Arras, William was one of eight men in a working-party killed by “an unlucky shell” (Battalion history). He is buried in Faubourg D’Amiens Cemetery, Arras, where his grave reference is II M 25.


William Frank Hampton, died 22nd February 1915, aged 26. Acting Corporal, L/8296, 1st Battalion, Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment.

William Hampton was born in Goudhurst on 19th November 1888, the son of William George and Frances (née Pearson) from Iden Green, who had married in Goudhurst in 1885. His father was an agricultural labourer and the family evidently moved frequently in order for him to obtain work: shortly after William’s birth they were living in Headcorn, then Ulcombe, Sutton Valence and, in 1901, Larkfield.

The 1911 census shows that William was a Private serving in the 1st Battalion of the Royal West Kent Regiment at the Quebec Barracks in Borden, Hampshire. By the time war broke out in 1914, he had taken the option to return to civilian life and was a Reservist as far as the army was concerned. The battalion, mostly comprising Regular soldiers, was among the first in the British army to see action, but after mobilisation William himself only left for France on 26th August 1914, by which time they were on the Retreat from Mons. He probably reached them about ten days later when they were beginning to turn the tide of the German invasion, so he would have then been involved in the ‘return push’ by the Allies back up towards Belgium.

William Hampton and his battalion spent the winter of 1914/15 in and out of the front line just south of Ypres. He was among 21 West Kents killed at Zillebeke on 22nd February 1915 in an onslaught during which the Germans “brought a big trench mortar to bear on our trenches” (Battalion history). He is buried at Bedford House Cemetery, just south of Ypres, where his grave reference is IV A 54 in enclosure No. 2.