In the trenchesThis year we remember the outbreak of the first World War, the so-called ‘war to end all wars’ which turned out be just the first of a long line of 20th Century conflicts. Many young and not so young men from Mortlake and East Sheen were killed in action or died of wounds or disease. Their bodies were not repatriated and some were never found, making it even more difficult for grieving relatives who could not afford to travel to France or Belgium to view their loved one’s grave or memorial. The War Memorial at Sheen Lane crossroads did not exist at the time and so many names were inscribed on a Roll of Honour at the Parish Church – St Mary the Virgin Mortlake. There is also a Roll at St Mary Magdalen Roman Catholic Church in North Worple Way.

As part of our attempt to remember those who died we’ve been asking for help to research the stories of the real people who lie behind the names. You can access the List of Names here

We are very grateful to local resident Dr Peter Reder for his meticulously researched bound volume generously donated to the church on 20th March 2014 which sets out the official information available about each name. He has also produced a fascinating background paper which can be read here.

We are still hoping to obtain more photographs and personal information.

Information about the names listed and photographs will be added below as they become available. Names for which information has been received are in bold type.

O'Sullivan M

Private Michael O’Sullivan with two of his daughters.

Private Michael O’Sullivan was born in County Kerry and moved to the UK in the 1890s. He was married with four children. He enlisted in the East Surrey Regiment in 1914 but was transferred to the Border Regiment. He went missing on the Somme on 25th October 1916 aged 40. His body was never found. His name is recorded on the Memorial at Thiepval.

Frank Pharro

Frank Pharro (right) and his brother

Private Frank Pharro‘s name is for some unknown reason not on the Memorial but he was a Mortlake resident. He and his brother George enlisted in the East Surrey Regiment. Frank died on 24 July 1918, his body was never found, but his name is inscribed on the Tyne Cot War Memorial in Belgium. He was 26.

Admiral Sir Horace Hood

Admiral Sir Horace Hood

Admiral Sir Horace Lambert Alexander Hood was born in 1870, the son of Francis Wheler Hood, 4th Viscount Hood and Viscountess Hood, husband of Hon. Ellen, Lady Hood, of East Sheen Lodge, Sheen, Surrey.  The couple had two sons, Samuel Hood, 6th Viscount Hood (1910–1981) and Alexander Lambert Hood, 7th Viscount Hood (1914–1999) The scion of a distinguished naval family, Hood first joined the navy at the age of 12, graduated regularly at the top of his class and became one of Britain’s most respected wartime Admirals. He served as Winston Churchill’s Naval Secretary in 1913.  He also travelled with Churchill during the latter’s daring visit to Antwerp in October 1914 to view Belgian fortress defences at first hand. The same month Hood was placed in command of light forces at Dover before being involved in the defence of Flanders. During the summer of 1915 Hood was transferred to the Sir John Jellicoe’s Grand Fleet in command of the Third Battlecruiser Squadron, Jellicoe’s heavy scouting force at the start of the Battle of Jutland. Hood was himself killed during the battle (having performed with distinction at the start of the engagement) when the Invincible exploded under the weight of sustained fire from German battle cruisers on 31 May 1916. His body was never recovered and remains in his ship, now a designated war grave. He was 46.
Revd_Francis_Roche-1Francis Cavendish Roche, son of George Major Roche and Jane Roche was born in Dublin. He was Chaplain to the Church Lads Brigade in Ballymena and served in the South African (Boer) War as a trooper in the Irish Horse before becoming a priest in the parish of Mortlake from 1910 – 1915. He served as Chaplain to the Forces (4th Class) from 26th September 1914. He died of typhoid fever at Alexandria on 14th November 1915 aged 33 and is buried in the Chatby War Memorial cemetery, Egypt. A canopy to the priest’s stall in the chancel at St Mary’s was erected by parishioners in his memory. There is also a memorial in his name in Trinity College Dublin.


Captain Richard Vaughan-Thompson

Captain Richard Vaughan-Thompson

Captain Richard Henry Vaughan Thompson, the Royal Fusiliers (City of London regiment)  [first of 3 names on the Altar Frontal Cupboard inscription] The only son of Colonel Edward Vaughan Thompson of East Sheen, and Emily Charlotte Vaughan-Thompson. He went to Trinity College, Cambridge in 1901 and graduated with Honours in Jurisprudence. After leaving Cambridge he became a partner in his father’s firm (Messrs Beachcroft, Thompson & Co, solicitors of Theobald’s Road, London) and later was elected to Holborn Borough Council. He had served for some years before the war in his father’s old regiment of Volunteers, the 3rd East Surreys, and in August 1914 he re-enlisted in the Inns of Court OTC. In September he obtained a commission in the 11th Battalion Royal Fusiliers and went to the front in July 1916. He fell at Thiepval, in an area known as Brawn Trench, on 26th September 1916, leading his company to the assault of a strongly fortified position. He was mentioned in despatches. He had married in 1915 the Hon. Isabel Shaw, youngest daughter of Lord Shaw of Dunfermline and lived at 1 Palace Gate, London.  His name is the first of three inscribed on a brass plate on the altar frontal cupboard at St Mary’s. ‘For many years offered service and praise in the choir. In the Great War they gave their lives for their country A. D. 1916-1917’
2nd Lt Edward James Brunsden, son of Edward and Sarah Brunsden of 21 King’s Rd. Mortlake was a clerk at the London Stock Exvhange. He sang in St Mary’s Choir. He joined the 45th Company Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) and died of his wounds in France on 25th April 1917 aged 30. He is buried in Duisans British Cemetery Etrun and his name is also inscribed on the brass plate on the altar frontal cupboard at St Mary’s.

Second Lieutenant Vernon Leslie Morgan son of Edward and Florence Morgan was born in France c1895. He joined the 70th Squadron Royal Flying Corps and 4th Battalion,The Buffs (East Kent Regiment). He died on 21st September 1916 aged 21 on the Somme and is buried in the Gezaincourt Communal Cemetery.

Lance Corporal Roland Lewis Ridler, husband of Jenny Ridler joined the Middlesex Regiment, 1st Battalion. He died on 25th September 1915 and is buried in Cambrin Churchyard Extension

Company Sergeant Major Henry Charles Sillence, husband of E. Sillence of Rock Avenue, son of Ben Sillence joined the 2nd Battalion, The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment). He died in France on 16 May 1915 aged 46. His name is inscribed on the Le Touret Memorial, Richebourg-l’Avoue, Nord-Pas-de-Calais.

Private Frederick Arthur Young joined the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He died on the on November 18th 1916. His name is inscribed on the memorial at Thiepval.

Archibald Charles Thatcher was a Private in the 1st Battalion, East Surrey Regiment.  He died on 23 July 1916  aged 33. He is buried in the Thiepval War Cemetery.

Private Albert Gossington joined the Royal Fusiliers. He died on 31st July 1917 aged 22 and is buried in Mendinghem Military Cemetery, Proven, West Vlaanderen Belgium.

Private Frederick George Ireson, served with the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry. He died aged 24 on December 16th 1916 and is buried in the  Salonika (Lembet Road) Military Cemetery.

Myler Barnes Falla died of his wounds on 10th November 1916. He left a widow Isabella and parents George and Ellen Farra.

Second Lt Arthur William Goodale son of William and Elizabeth Goodale was born in Barnes in 1895. He joined the Artists’ Rifles in August 1914. He went to France in February 1915, was commissioned in the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry in July 1915 and died on 9th August 1915 aged 20. He is buried at Ypres, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

Lance Corporal Frederick Nappin, son of Emily Nappin joined the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry. He died at Loos on 25th September 1915 aged 32. His name is on the Loos Memorial.
Private William Patrick Cooney, husband of Alice Cooney served in France and Flanders. He died of his wounds on 17th May 1915. He was 33.

Private Arthur Hillard, son of Mary Ann Hillard served in France and Flanders and was killed in action on 10th August 1915. He was 31.

Corporal William Henry Grant son of W.A. and Emma Grant served in France and Flanders. He died of wounds on 15th October 1915. He was 26.

Private John Joseph Constable served in France and Flanders. He was killed in action on 19th July 1915.

Second Lieutenant John Stanley Palmer, (not named on the Memorial) was the youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Palmer, of 36 East Sheen Avenue. He was educated at King’s College, Wimbledon, and entered Guy’s Hospital in 1910. He qualified L.D.S. of the Royal College of Surgeons, Eng., in 1913, and was appointed dental house surgeon. He served for five years in the Artists’ Rifles and entered Sandhurst in May 1915 being appointed to the Durham Light Infantry in October 1915. He went to the front in May 1916 and became sniping and intelligence officer, being complimented for his work by Divisional Headquarters. He was acting adjutant when wounded. He died of his wounds on 18th October 1916 aged 26. He is buried in Grove Town Cemetery, Meaulte.

Pioneer John Henry Whiting Dorrell son of John and Caroline Dorrell and husband of Amy Dorrell joined the Royal Engineers attd. 72nd Army Bde Royal Field Artillery.He died on 2nd June 1918. Age 31 and is buried in Bienvillers Military Cemetery

Private William Frith, son of Mrs E. Frith served in France and Flanders. He was killed in action on 3rd July 1918. He was 27.