St. Mary’s Apsley End Church (Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire) is another example of a local church with war grave headstones in the churchyard.
THE FIRST WOLRD WAR
G/48463 Private Ernest Finch was a member of the 23rd Labour Company, The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment.
The 1911 Census provides the following information about Ernest Finch:
- Born in Watford, Hertfordshire.
- Occupation: Labourer (unemployed).
- Residence: Apsley End, Hemel Hempstead.
- Lived with his widowed Father Alfred (81).
- Lived with brother Charles (under gardener, his wife Alice and their five children.
The Soldiers’ Effect documents, held by the National Army Museum, record that Ernest Finch died in a Northamptonshire hospital on 13 March 1917, aged 33.
Private Finch’s grave is located in the north-east corner of the graveyard.
T/277534 Driver Sidney Fortnum was a member of the 662nd HT Company, (later Royal) Army Service Corps.
The 1911 Census provides the following information about Sidney Fortnum.
- Born Abbots Langley, Hertfordshire.
- Occupation was ledger clerk at a stationery firm.
- Lived with his Father Dan (a paper cutter) and his Mother Mary.
The Soldiers’ Effect documents, held by the National Army Museum, record that Sidney Fortnum died in the Royal Herbert Hospital, Woolwich, on 22 December 1916 aged 23 years’ old. Also a payment of £2 3s 5d was made to his Father.
27019 Private William Hutton was a soldier in the 7th Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry.
William Hutton was born the son of George and Elizabeth Hutton. He was married to Amy Hutton and they lived in the Apsley area.
The Soldiers’ Effect documents, held by the National Army Museum, record that William Hutton died at Bermondsey on 25 November 1918, aged 31. They also record that a payment of £35 14s 11d to his widow.
14301 Private Vernon Alan Lawrence was a soldier in “D” Company, 7th Battalion The Bedfordshire Regiment.
The 1911 Census provides the following information about Vernon Alan Lawrence.
- Son of William Markwell (compositor) and Ada Lawrence.
- Sister Josephine (teacher).
- Vernon and his brother Eustice worked as apprentices at the paper mill.
- Family lived together in Apsley, Hertfordshire.
Volunteered for service in September 1914. Entered the France and Flanders theatre of operations on 26 July 1915.
The National Roll of the Great War contains the following passage about Lawrence.
He volunteered in September 1914, and was sent overseas early in the following year. During his service on the Western Front he fought in several important battles, including those at Hill 60, Givenchy, Passchendaele, Arras and the Somme. He was wounded in action at Cambrai in 1918 and taken prisoner, and subsequently died from the effects of his wounds on 3 March 1919.The National Roll of the Great War (11 Volumes).
Private Vernon Alan Lawrence is entitled to the 1914-15 Star, British War and Victory medals.
V/44572 Private S. Poulter was a soldier in the Hertfordshire Regiment when he died on 23 July 1918. No other details are known about this soldier.
J/93453 Boy 2nd Class R.W. Rhodes (Royal Navy) was born in Hemel Hempstead on 23 June 1902. A member of training establishment at HMS Ganges, he died on 28 November 1918 from Bronco-Pneumonia.
THE SECOND WORLD WAR
1774443 Bombardier Leslie Arthur Picton, 508 Coast Regiment Royal Artillery, was the son of Arthur and Mabel Ellen Picton and married to Iris Eileen Picton of Hemel Hempstead. Bombardier Picton died on 29 November 1944 aged 34 years’ old.
W/158563 Lance-Corporal Elsie Louisa Sharman, Auxillary Territorial Section, was attached to 550 Battery, 151 HAA (M) Regt. Sharman was the daughter of Joseph and Annie Sharman, of Wood Lane, Hemel Hempstead.
Lance-Corporal Sharman was 31 years’ old when she died on 14 February 1943 at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley, Hampshire. Her Death Certificate lists the “Cause of Death” as Meningitis.