A surname that appears on the Aldbourne memorials for both World Wars is ‘Wakefield’. Another is ‘Brind’.
With many thanks to Phil Comley whose meticulous research has made possible my attempts to trace their stories, including a surprise connection between the two families.
F H Wakefield and E H Wakefield were both sons of Martha and John Wakefield who lived at ‘Kandahar’.
John Wakefield, of the old Wiltshire Regiment … talked of the terrible march to relieve Kandahar. Scarcely was this ordeal over than he was caught up in the first Boer War, where on Majuba Hill his regiment suffered most grievous losses. But again an Aldbourne man showed the power to live an active life in spite of all he had previously endured, when he settled down in Lottage in a house which he named Kandahar. Not only did he often walk 16 miles a day as an auxiliary postman, but he gave physical instruction to the children and taught musketry to the young men. At his funeral five soldiers carried his coffin and a bugler from his old regiment sounded the Last Post.The Heart of a Village – an intimate history of Aldbourne by Ida Gandy (1975)
In 1911 Sapper Ernest Haynes Wakefield was a 19 year old regular soldier; a carpenter with the Royal Engineers based at Bulford Camp, Salisbury (thanks Phil!).
I first heard of the young Frederick Henry Wakefield in a newspaper report
The village is proud of Fred Wakefield, who came from Chile, left his job at £40 a month, paid £50 fare. Landing at Liverpool he was a soldier again in five minutes … Several regiments wanted him, but Wakefield said ‘No, I am a Wiltshireman, and for the Wilts I shall fight’.Swindon Advertiser 6 October 1916 ‘Aldbourne – The Village’s Fine Record’
Corporal Frederick Henry Wakefield, Wiltshire Regiment, died 21 March 1918 aged 24. Buried at Savy British Cemetery, Aisne, France and remembered on his family grave in St Michael’s Churchyard.
Martha Wakefield died in 1928, her husband in 1940. Major Ingpen’s notes in the library at the Wiltshire Museum, Devizes show a record of this old soldier’s enduring service and a resumé of his later years as a village postman. A list of mourners at his funeral includes Sergeant E H and Mrs Wakefield
Ernest Wakefield married Florence Alice Brind in Aldbourne in 1929. Florence was the widow of Herbert Colin Brind (named on the WW1 Aldbourne memorials). Ernest and Florence are on the 1939 Register as living in Reading. (Thanks again Phil!) Ernest is described as a carpenter. He died in November 1943 in Leicester. There is no Commonwealth War Grave registration of Ernest’s death. Pure guesswork suggests that he was still contributing to the war-effort with his carpentry skills or perhaps in the Home Guard. His family ensured that he was remembered here in Aldbourne.