Category Archives: War Memorial

The Battle of the Somme – 100 years on, local men who fell

The Battle of the Somme started on 1st July 1916, and the first day is notorious for the number of men who died or were wounded on the first day, making it the worse day in the British Army’s history.

The following men are from Horton Kirby and South Darenth, and they died during this battle, which lasted from 1st July to 18th November 1918

Bombardier Robert Leonard Couchman, Royal Field Infantry, 58th Battery, 35th Brigade. attd. “X” 7th Trench Mortar Battery.

Robert died on the first day of the battle, and is described as killed in action, at the age of 27 and was buried at Citadel New Military Cemetery, Fricourt.

Robert was a regular soldier and was in the Royal Field Artillery by 1911.  His parents and his siblings were living at Franks Farm Cottages, Horton Kirby, and his father was described as a Cowman in 1911.

Rifleman Percy Allen Bean, King’s Royal Rifle Corps, 17th Battalion

Percy died on the 2nd July, the second day of the battle, and was also killed in action, and is buried at Le Touret Military Cemetery, Richebourg-L’Avoue.

Percy was born in 1895 in Horton Kirby, the son of John and Elizabeth Bean, and the second of six boys. By 1911 the family were living at 3 Drays Cottages, Horton Kirby, where his father John was working as a horseman on a farm, Percy was working as a farm labourer, and his brothers Leonard and Lionel were working at the paper mill.

Percy enlisted on 22 November 1915 at Bromley, and gave his address as 6 Bexley Cottages, stating that he was a carpenter (working for Mr Fox, a builder in Horton Kirby), and he was 22 years  and 10 months old.  He went out to the front in France in April 1916, so did not serve for long.

Three of Percy’s brothers also served during the Great War, Lionel served as a stoker in the navy, Reginald was a rifleman in the Rifle Brigade and Lionel served in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps before being invalided out.

Remembering Dunkirk – 75 years later

As the 75th Anniversary of the Evacuation of Dunkirk takes place,  there are two men on the War Memorial who did not come back from France.

William E Burberry was a Driver in the 17th Field Company, Royal Engineers, and died on the 1st June 1940 at the age of 25.  He was the child of Herbert and Ellen Burberry, of Horton Kirby, and is commemorated on the Dunkirk Memorial.

Donald L Gardner was a 2nd Lieutenant in the 2nd Searchlight Regiment, Royal Artillery, and was killed between the 22nd and 23rd of May, and is commemorated on the Dunkirk Memorial. Donald had been born in Malaysia, and had come back to England as a young child, his father Donald S Gardner lived at Kirby Hall in 1940.

<img class="wp-image-84" src="http://hksdlhs.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Dunkirk-memorial-cwgc.jpg" alt="Dunkirk memorial – cwgc" width="600" height="416" srcset="http://hksdlhs.org viagra au naturel.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Dunkirk-memorial-cwgc.jpg 768w, http://hksdlhs.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Dunkirk-memorial-cwgc-300×208.jpg 300w, http://hksdlhs.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Dunkirk-memorial-cwgc-624×432.jpg 624w” sizes=”(max-width: 600px) 100vw, 600px” />

Dunkirk Memorial – courtesy of CWGC