Early casualties of the war recalled - November 1918

World War I daily bulletin from the Horsham district
World War I daily bulletin from the Horsham district
Share this article

On this notable Armistice Day which commemorates in particular the First World War we have something different for our regular feature.

Following our recent daily news item concerning the possible first Horsham district man to die in the Great War we are indebted to Rosemary Mountjoy who sent us these details of James Cudby, Edgar Towse and other men which gives us a better picture of local heroes who died in that terrible conflict.

Sullington War Memorial (near Storrington) has Edgar Towse who was killed in action at Mons on 23rd August 1914, age 29, Driver No. 36978, 23rd Battery, 40th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery (previously 3rd Battalion Royal Sussex Regt).

He was a regular artilleryman who enlisted in London 11 Apr 1905, resident of Thakeham, occupation Gardener. Buried in St Symphorien Military Cemetery, Mons, Hainaut, Belgium, Plot: I. A. 20.

This was the cemetery visited by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on 4 Aug 2014. Nearby in Plot 1. A. 10, is buried possibly the first British casualty of WW1, John Henry Parr, who may have been killed 21 Aug 1914. In addition, on the opposite side of the path to John Henry Parr, in Plot 1. B. 23 is commemorated George Edwin Ellison, the last British soldier to be killed in action in WW1, on 11.11.1918. Neither were local lads, but interesting nonetheless.

Details for Edgar Towse: born Q2 1887 Thakeham (reg 2b/360) son of Frank Towse and Rose (née Hills) of Abingworth Cottage, Thakeham. Bapt Thakeham 7 August 1887.

1891 census at Greenhurst, Thakeham, age 3 (father Frank Towse, age 34, General Labourer).

1901 census Servant at White Horse Hotel, Storrington, age 13, occupation ‘Boots’.

1911 census at Royal Artillery Barracks, Butt Road, Colchester North West, Private 115th Battery RFA, age 25, unmarried, (born Horsham, Sussex)

Medals: 14 Star with Clasp 2/2856, British War and Victory. 14 Star applied for by father: F Towse of Threals, Roundabouts, Storrington, Sussex.

James William Cudby is commemorated on Thakeham War Memorial. Private 9119, 2nd Battalion, Welsh Regiment, 1st Division (formerly 1st Battalion Welsh Regiment in Egypt in 1911).

He was killed in action on the Marne, 18th September 1914, aged 26. Commemorated on The Ferte Sous Jouarre Memorial, La Ferte-sous-Jouarre, Departement de Seine-et-Marne, Île-de-France, France. Commemorated on Thakeham War Memorial and on a memorial plaque at one time at Horsham Police Station. He was Born in 1888 in Upminster, Essex, son of James and Anee Cudby later of “Merrywood” West Crook, Thakeham.

He joined the West Sussex Constabulary 4 May 1914, posted to Horsham 28 May 1914, before enlisting at Steyning, residence listed as Thakeham.

Medals awarded: 1914 Star, British War and Victory Medals.

His brother Walter Cudby is also on Thakeham War Memorial. Notes: Private G/14699, 6th Battalion, Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent) Regiment, 11th Division, enlisted Worthing, 12 December 1915, age 30, occupation Gardener. Killed in action Flanders, France 5th December 1916, aged 31.

He is buried in Wailly Orchard Cemetery, Departement du Pas-de-Calais, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France, Plot I. H. 4.

Medals awarded: British War and Victory.