One of the highlights of the war memorial project last year was being able to buy the British War and Victory medals of Private Alfred Hope, along with the memorial plaque sent to his family after his death. Alfred served with 10th Battalion of The Royal West Kents, was wounded on 1st June 1916 and sent home, later dying of his wounds. Because of this, I was able to visit his grave at the church of St Lawrence at Seal Chart, near Sevenoaks, with his medals, ninety eight years after his death.
Sevenoaks Chronicle covers Alfred’s story
Later in the year I was lucky enough to purchase the medals of Private William Miles. William was born in 1880 in Malling, Kent, was recorded in 1891 residing at Ivy Hatch and by 1901 was living at Seal and working as a stone mason. William enlisted at Maidstone and served with the 18th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge’s Own). He died of his wounds in October 1916 and is buried in the Warlincourt Halte British Cemetry, Saulty, France.
William’s war medals
Despite searching for relatives of William, I couldn’t find anyone with a connection to him to find out more about his life and war service and to reunite them with his medals. To my surprise, after the service at the war memorial last Remembrance Day, a cross had been left with William’s name and service details written on it.
It would be lovely to find this person and see if they know more about William’s story. Both his and Alfred Hope’s medals are currently on loan to Sevenoaks Museum for their Objects of the War exhibition, which is well worth a visit.
So, if anyone does have a connection to Alfred or William, I’d be delighted to hear from you.