Watford men who won millitary decorations, 1914-1918

This information has been gathered​ from editions of the West Herts and Watford Observer between 1914 and 1918. The information focuses on recipients of military decorations who lived in Watford and whose information is given in the articles in the newspapers.  

25 September 1915 - Private E B Jackson

Private E B Jackson, 2nd Royal Fusiliers, has written to his mother, Mrs Stacey, 14 Stanmore Road, Watford, stating that he has won the Distinguished Conduct Medal at the Dardenelles. He has been in the Fusiliers for five years and previously worked at Messrs Andre and Sleigh Limited.

20 November 1915 - Sergeant A J Taylor

Sergeant A J Taylor, 7th City of London, who was billeted last winter with Mr C R Green, 84 Bradshaw Road, Watford, has won the Distinguished Conduct Medal for “Conspicuous Gallantry on September 25 at Loos” when he showed great powers of leadership in cutting off and capturing a party of Germans. He also displayed great bravery and coolness in the German counter-attack on the Double Crassier when he held the enemy back until the trench was double-blocked.  Sergeant Taylor was very well known in Callow Lane and gained many friends during his stay from November 5 1914 to March 17 1915.

1 January 1916 - Second Lieutenant Sidney Phillip Hannam

Second Lieutenant Sidney Phillip Hannam, R F A , S R, son of Mrs Hannam, Hazeldene, Nascot Road, Watford, was last week decorated by His Majesty with the Military Cross which he won under the following circumstances:  “For conspicuous gallantry and ability on September 25th 1915, near Meulin Du Pietre, when, acting as Forward Observing Officer, with an Infantry Battalion, he kept up communications with his battery throughout the day under heavy fire and sent back valuable information.

12 February 1916 - Captain F Higginson

Captain Forbes Higginson, R E , whose home is at Rickmansworth Road, Watford, has been awarded the Military Cross.

24 June 1916 - Flight Sub-Lieutenant Herbert Glynn Hall

Flight Sub-Lieutenant Herbert Glynn Hall, R N A S, son of Dr C Herbert Hall, High Street, Watford, has been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross: “In recognition of his services on the morning of April 25 1916 when he carried out an air patrol with an observer during the attack by a raiding squadron of enemy ships on Yarmouth. Although severely wounded in the shoulder by shrapnel, and weak from loss of blood, Flight Sub-Lieutenant Hall succeeded in piloting the machine back to his station and landed safely.”

1 July 1916 - L. Sergeant E E Stocking

L. Sergeant E E Stocking, 2/3 Battalion London Regiment of 8 Brixton Road, Watford, has been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal “for conspicuous devotion to duty. By his fine example and cheerfulness, he kept the garrison of an advance post alert and efficient under trying circumstances, and organised rescue parties to save men dying of exposure.”

Before joining the colours in September 1914, Stocking was a clerk in the General Manager’s officer at Euston. He made many friends amongst the Athletic Club at Wembley, being an enthusiastic cricketer and footballer.

25 November 1916 - Corporal W Clark

Corporal W Clark, A S C , of 58 Copeswood Road, Watford, has been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. The medal was publicly presented to him by General MacKenzie on the training ground at St Albans Road on Wednesday morning. The particular act for which the medal was awarded was rescuing a wounded officer from a dug-out which had been wrecked by shell fire. At the time there was very heavy shelling and Corporal Clark responded to a call for a volunteer.

9 December 1916 - Lance Corporal (now Sergeant) H E Morse

Lance Corporal (now Sergeant) H E Morse, Herts Regiment (attached Gloucesters), son of Mr B S Morse, High Street, Watford, has gained the Military Medal for conspicuous bravery: “on the 22-23 July, when his officers and sergeants had become casualties, Lance-Corporal Morse took charge of a carrying party of 25 men and reorganised them under heavy shell fire. He made three journeys with ammunition through the enemy barrage along a road where all units had suffered heavy casualties.”

23 December 1916 - Lance-Sergeant Roberts

Lance-Sergeant Roberts of the Devon Regiment, youngest son of Mrs Roberts of 38 Brightwell Road, has been awarded the Military Medal “for conspicuous daring and courage on patrol and readiness to volunteer at all times for work in front of the lines.”

6 January 1917 - Captain the Honourable Francis Grosvenor

Captain the Honourable Francis Grosvenor, youngest son of Lord and Lady Ebury, has been awarded the Military Cross. During the very heavy shelling of the advanced post at Hooge, Captain Grosvenor showed conspicuous gallantry and resource, setting a fine example to this mean, being everywhere where there was a danger. When the relief was completed, he was the last man to leave and carried a wounded man under very heavy fire. He made a dangerous partial reconnaissance, obtaining most valuable information on the enemy’s dispositions, and on several occasions has been brought to notice for gallantry under fire.

17 February 1917 - Company Sergeant Major Ward

Company Sergeant Major Ward, Beds Regiment, of Watford, has been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for gallantry in the field. He has been in the army for approximately ten years and, when a youth, attended school in Bushey. Before the War he was stationed at Bedford, and is now convalescing in France. It is understood that the award was made for gallantry in capturing prisoners after the officers had been incapacitated.

31 March 1917 - Sergeant E A Turner

Sergeant E A Turner of the Middlesex Regiment, son of Sergeant Harry Turner, A S C, of 102 Estcourt Road, Watford, has been awarded the Military Medal. On February 21st Sergeant E A Turner was out on patrol and lost himself in a fog. Afterwards he successfully extricated his officer from a wire, although hit by a bomb. Fortunately his injuries were not serious.

9 June 1917 - Lance Corporal G W Batchelor

Lance Corporal G W Batchelor, Bedford Regiment, of 34 Cannon Street, Watford, has been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal.

16 June 1917 - Lieutenant H J Marsden

Lieutenant H J Marsden, Royal Fusiliers of 27 Nascot Street, Watford, has been awarded the Military Cross. “On April 9 1917 in the attack on the Observation Ridge he organised a platoon from different units to protect the flank and succeeded in knocked out a machine gun that was holding him up. He again showed his excellent leadership in reorganising a platoon of mixed units and effectively consolidated his position”. Before the War Lieutenant Marsden was an attendant at Leavesden Asylum. He volunteered for service at the beginning of the War and after serving in France for several months was recommended for a recommission.

15 September 1917 - Lieutenant Herbert John Mason

Lieutenant Herbert John Mason of the Manchester Regiment, a son of Mr W Mason and Mrs Mason, of 137 Ridge Street, Watford, has been awarded the Military Cross “for most gallant and exceptional leadership”. “This officer led his party of fifteen men through the wire, into enemy trenches with the greatest of determination, inflicted losses upon the enemy, captured two machine guns, and actually carried one back himself to the Battalion headquarters, over a thousand yards away. He really is a splendid example.” Lieutenant Mason, whose age is 29, was educated at the Callow Lane and Watford Fields Schools and, on leaving school, was for a time in the service of the late Lord Essex. He has a splendid record of service.”

29 September 1917 - Second Lieutenant F G Newcombe

Second Lieutenant F G Newcombe, a Master at Watford Grammar School, has been awarded the Military Cross “for conspicuous devotion to duty in taking his guns to a forward position under gas and shell fire.”

3 November 1917 - Lance Corporal A F Gully

Lance Corporal A F Gully, of the London Regiment, who lives at 6 Cross Road, Oxhey, has been awarded the Military Medal. After having been lost in the fog with six comrades for 24 hours, engaging in combat with Germans who advanced on three sides and fighting his way back to the British lines, he volunteered to return and bring in a wounded soldier. They succeeded in doing so under shell fire. Lance Corporal Gully who was an old London School boy was employed at Messrs David Allen Works at Harrow.


24 November 1917 - Second Lieutenant Frederick Leslie Ballard

Second Lieutenant Frederick Leslie Ballard, R F A, of 36 Oxhey Avenue, Watford, has been awarded the Military Cross. “The enemy were shelling and caught a company of infantry. A few minutes later he heard cries of “Help!" Second Lieutenant Ballard immediately picked up a stretcher and went out into the darkness under heavy fire, dressed the wounds of abandoned men, and later organised stretcher parties and got these men away. It was entirely due to his efforts that the lives of these men were saved, as the enemy continued to shell for over an hour. Second Lieutenant Ballard has given a fine example to the Battery by his coolness when the Battery had been shelled in action by putting out a fire of ammunition and by clearing the way for ammunition wagons under a very heavy fire.”

5 January 1918 - Major the Hon. F E Grosvenor

Major the Hon. F E Grosvenor, son of Lord and Lady Ebury, has been made a member of the Distinguished Service Order and has also been awarded a bar to the Military Cross for gallant and distinguished service at the successful Canadian attack on Paschendaele Ridge.

12 January 1918 - Captain J E G Smith

Captain J E G Smith, Somerset Light Infantry, son of Mr J G Smith of Wiggenhall, Watford, has gained an honour (Military Cross?).

12 January 1918 - Lance Corporal Nash

Lance Corporal Nash, a signaller in the Bedford Regiment, has written home to his parents, Mr and Mrs Nash of Market Street, Watford, informing them that he has been awarded the Military Medal. Nash, who was an old Holy Rood schoolboy, joined up on September 13th 1914 and this is his third winter in France. He has previously been commended by his Commanding Officer for obtaining valuable information concerning the enemy.

19 January 1918 - Captain Percy Carr

Captain Percy Carr, M G C, only son of Mr S Bird of the firm Durand, Sedgewick and Bird, High Street, Watford, has been awarded the Military Cross.

2 February 1918 - Lance Corporal C W A Hobbs

Lance Corporal C W A Hobbs, Somerset Light Infantry of Watford, has been awarded his Distinguished Conduct Medal under the following circumstances: “Although twice wounded, he brought his Lewis Gun into action and stopped a rush of 20 of the enemy, killing and wounding every one.”


2 February 1918 - Corporal C J French

Corporal C J French, son of Mr J French, Market Street, Watford, has returned to England to take up a commission with the R F C. Corporal French, who is an old Grammar School boy, won the Distinguished Conduct Medal for keeping a wireless station in action when subjected to heavy fire and repairing damage on four consecutive days, so that communication could be maintained with aeroplanes. He was attached to the Artillery in France from April 1916 to June 1917 as a wireless operator.

9 February 1918 - Private H T Stevens
Private H T Stevens from Watford, East Surrey Regiment, has been awarded the Military Medal.

16 February 1918 - Corporal R R Milne

In the playground of Chater School, Watford, on Tuesday before a parade of officers and men of the Flying Corps, Corporal R R Milne of the Bedford Regiment was presented with the Distinguished Conduct Medal which he recently won in France. Major Stevens, the Commandant of the R F C School of Inspection, made the presentation and heartily congratulated Corporal Milne on his bravery. The medal was presented “for conspicuous gallantry when he threw back enemy bombs which had not exploded. His bravery and coolness were remarkable.” Corporal Milne, who resides at 47 St James Road, is an Old Volunteer and Territorial, and was employed at Benskin’s Watford Brewery for 16 years.

23 February 1918 - Private Arthur King

Private Arthur King, Gloucester Regiment, son of Mr and Mrs King, 74 Benskin Road, Watford, has been awarded the Military Medal “for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in rescuing wounded officers and men on September 20th”. He was a member of the Herts Regiment and went to France in 1914. He played for the St Michael’s Football Club, keeping goal for some years.

23 March 1918 - Private Arthur King

Private Arthur King, Gloucester Regiment, son of Mr and Mrs King, 74 Benskin Road, Watford, was on Tuesday at Huddersfield Hospital presented with the Military Medal by Major General Berkeley Moynilien C.B.. The circumstances under which he won the award are as follows:- “For most conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty, during the operatives at Kien-Lillebeke on September 20th and 21st last year, when acting as a stretcher bearer to his company, he continued to receive wounded officers and men until severely handicapped by his helpers getting wounded. He afterwards called for volunteers to assist him and successfully got all the wounded men away. He displayed a splendid example of devotion to his wounded comrades.” He went out to France in 1914, afterwards being transferred to the Gloucesters.

6 April 1918 - Lance-Corporal G W Batchelor

At Chater School on Tuesday, Major Stevens, R.A.F., presented to the mother of the late Lance-Corporal G W Batchelor, Bedford Regiment, the Distinguished Conduct Medal won by her son. The award was given for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He led a bombing attack on a farm that was strongly held by the enemy, and rendered valuable assistance to protect his flank. His initiative largely contributed to the success of the operations. Lance-Corporal G W Batchelor enlisted when he was 16 and was killed when he was 19.

20 April 1918 - Corporal R Roberts

On Tuesday morning the Military Medal, awarded to the late Corporal R Roberts, Devonshire Regiment, was presented to his mother, Mrs M.E. Roberts, of 38 Brightwell Road, by Major Stevens, R.A.F.. Before the War Corporal Roberts was in the regular army, and on the outbreak of hostilities was sent to France. On May 4 1917 he was wounded in the chest and died in a base hospital. The Military Medal was awarded to him for conspicuous courage and daring on patrol, and readiness to volunteer for work in front of the lines at all times.

1 June 1918 - Corporal T E Mead

Corporal T E Mead. Royal Berkshire Regiment, has been awarded the Military Medal for good work in the retreat in March. He has been twice wounded. He is the son of Mr and Mrs Mead of Woodside Cottages, Garston, and husband of Mrs T E Mead of 9 Pretoria Road, Watford. Previous to joining up, Corporal Mead was employed at Bushey Hall Golf Club.

15 June 1918 - Lieutenant P H Jones

Lieutenant P H Jones, Royal Engineers, eldest son of Mr and Mrs E H Jones of “Lindisfarne”, Langley Road, has been awarded the Military Cross.


15 June 1918 - W Hawker

W Hawker, Otterspool, Watford, has gained the Military Medal for devotion to duty. He joined up in March 1915.

22 June 1918 - Private C Clark

Private C Clark, Northants Regiment, son of Mrs Clark, May Cottages, Watford Fields, an apprentice at the Watford Observer Printing Works, has won the Military Medal for gallantry on May 29th. He was slightly wounded by “carried on”. Private Clark was a bugler in the Watford Church Lads’ Brigade.

20 July 1918 - Sergeant Albert Bolt

Sergeant Albert Bolt, West Riding Regiment, late Herts Regiment, son of Mr and Mrs Bolt, 7 Cross Street, Watford, has been awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field. Sergeant Bolt was called up in August 1914, having previously been in the Territorials. Before the War he was a sugar boiler at the Victoria Works.

27 July 1918 - Captain F B Broad

The Military Cross has been awarded to Captain F B Broad, Middlesex Regiment, second son of Mr T J Broad, Earlsgate, Rickmansworth Road, Watford.

27 July 1918 - Private S J Winch

Mr and Mrs Winch of 62 Judge Street, Watford, have received news that their second son, Private S J Winch, has won the Military Medal for gallantry in the field.

3 August 1918 - Lieutenant A Rice-Oxley

Mrs A Rice-Oxley, of Conisboro, Rickmansworth Road, Watford, has received news that her son, Lieutenant A Rice Oxley, has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for bring down five German machines. Lieutenant Rice-Oxley had been at the Italian Front for just a fortnight when he was awarded his distinction.

An old Grammar School boy, he joined up with the 4th Shropshires at the outbreak of War. He was transferred to the RAF and has seen service in France. There he was wounded and has since been doing instructing and light duties in England. His C.O. comments his flying in the highest terms.

5 October 1918 - Private F G Wells

Private F G Wells, London Regiment, formerly employed by the Watford Gas Company in charge of their Bushey branch, has been awarded the Military Medal for bravery in action during the recent heavy fighting in France. From particulars that have come to hand, it appears that he volunteered to bring in a wounded man who would probably have had to remain in a perilous position for at least 14 or 15 hours.

12 October 1918 - Sergeant C F Player

Sergeant C F Player, Tank Corps, son of Mr and Mrs W Player, 18 King Edwards Road, Oxhey, has been awarded the Military Medal for coolness and bravery in action.

26 October 1918 - Second Lieutenant E G Catton

Mrs M E Catton, of 46 Southsea Avenue, Watford, has received news this week that her eldest son, Second Lieutenant E G Catton, London Regiment, has been awarded the Military Cross.

9 November 1918 - Captain A Rice-Oxley

Captain A Rice-Oxley, son of Mr E C Rice-Oxley, of Rickmansworth Road, Watford, a member of the Watford Urban District Council, won the Distinguished Flying Cross by gallantry, officially described as: “In company with another machine, this offer attached an enemy formation of 15 aeroplanes and promptly destroyed two of them. He then repeatedly attacked the remaining thirteen machines who were crowding in on his companion, and the battle ended in the destruction of six of the enemy and one driven down out of control. Two days afterwards he destroyed two more enemy aircraft. The gallantry displayed by this officer, and his companion Captain C E Howell, in attacking 15 machines, was of the very highest order.”

23 November 1918 - Second Lieutenant W Ross

Second Lieutenant W Ross, Royal Fusiliers, youngest son of Mr and Mrs Ross, 7 Shaftesbury Road, Watford, has been awarded the Military Cross “for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He brought up his two platoons most skilfully in support of an attack, and under heavy fire showed great coolness and able leadership. His fine example did much to hearten his men.”

30 November 1918 - Sergeant W A Ellis

Sergeant W A Ellis, Bedford Regiment, 69 Sutton Road, Watford, has been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. Before joining up in 1914 he was employed as a Junior Porter at Watford Junction. He has been in France three and a half years and was promoted to Sergeant in September 1918.

7 December 1918 - Private Ernest Dawes

Private Ernest Dawes, Yorks and Lancs Regiment, of 78 Merton Road, Watford, has been awarded the Military Medal. Before joining up he was an assistant at the Co-operative Society.