Many men from Sevenoaks and the surrounding area decided, in the early years of the last century, to seek a better life and emigrate, either by themselves or with their families. Some headed to Canada and others to Australia and New Zealand. I have written in my book, Sevenoaks War Memorial, The Men Remembered, about those who were killed while serving with Australian or Canadian forces.
Those who served with the Australian Imperial Force include the oldest man remembered on the war memorial, Francis George Carnell. Francis was born in Sevenoaks in 1859 and had spent time in Africa, serving as a captain in the Cape Mounted Rifles and in peacetime as part of the Cape Mounted Police. He was thirty five when he arrived in Australia and enlisted soon after the outbreak of war on 5 September 1914. Francis was fifty five and serving at Gallipoli when he was shot in the chest in August 1915. He was evacuated to a hospital ship where he died of his wounds three days later.
The other Sevenoaks Anzacs named on the memorial are George Lauder Hutchison Drummond, a Presbyterian who served with 11th Australian Infantry Battalion; friends Arnold Jarvis and George Marshall, who emigrated together in 1912; Frederick Harold Bourne, a sergeant with 13th Australian Infantry Battalion, who was awarded the Military Medal; Frederick Herbert Clouting, a sergeant with 16th Army Service Corps, who was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal and George Richter, the last of the Sevenoaks Anzacs to be killed, who was fatally wounded by shellfire in August 1918. As well as the excellent photo of Francis Carnell, I have been able to find newspaper photos of both George Richter and Frederick Bourne and met relatives of Arnold Jarvis and George Marshall. I would very much like to hear from anyone else connected to these men, all of whom have fascinating stories of bravery and sacrifice.
Tracing these men made me curious as to how many others from Sevenoaks made a similar journey and then fought with their adopted country’s forces. Fortunately, the Australian and New Zealand service records have survived in excellent condition, many having been made freely available online and I have been able to compile the list below:
Thomas James Allen, enlisted 21 February 1917
William Waters Avis, enlisted 26 August 1914
Frank Barton, enlisted September 1915
Henry Blake, from Shoreham, enlisted 1916
Harold Victor Brooker, from Otford, enlisted 22 November 1915
Hildren Berkley Henn, enlisted 25 April 1918
Horace Brooks, enlisted 28 February 1915
John Reginald Carey, enlisted 4 September 1915
Jack Chandler, enlisted 4 September 1914
Eric Duce, enlisted 24 July 1915
William Edgar, enlisted 26 January 1915
Arthur George William Farrants, enlisted 11 January 1915
George Fleet, enlisted 31 May 1916
George Thomas Gorham, enlisted 29 August 1914
William Gorham, enlisted October 1914
Walter Sylvanus Griffin, enlisted 18 March 1916
John Henry Henderson, enlisted 1 April 1916
William John George Kerry, enlisted 1916
George Henry Nevill, enlisted 20 September 1916
Robert Prendergast, enlisted 16 July 1917
Walter James Roots, enlisted 14 July 1915
George Henry Seal, from Chipstead, enlisted 28 January 1916
Horace Simmons, enlisted 29 November 1916
Frederick Walter Standen, enlisted 24 March 1916
John Basil Steane, from Shoreham, enlisted 26 August 1914
John Henry Tester, enlisted 2 March 1916
Cyril Henry Theobald, enlisted 1 March 1916
Charles George Wood, enlisted 26 January 1917
Oscar John Videan, enlisted 7 March 1916
Percy Wallis, enlisted 21 April 1915
Alec Waterhouse, from Brasted, enlisted 1 October 1915
Harry Worship, enlisted 8 September 1914
Together with the only woman I have discovered so far, nurse, Maie St Clair De Lisle.
George Holden Clarke, enlisted 1915
Harry Hodgson Cripps, enlisted 1916
Kenrid Horace Davey, enlisted 1915
William James Parsons, enlisted 6 April 1916
No doubt this is not the complete list but it gives an indication of the number of emigrants from Sevenoaks and the surrounding area who fought as Anzacs The youngest, John Henry Tester, was eighteen when he joined up, the eldest were in their forties. Some were invalided, some killed in action and others survived the war. Not all of those killed were commemorated in Sevenoaks or on nearby memorials, perhaps because they had emigrated with their entire families and there was no one left behind to ensure that their names were added. Some interesting stories have already emerged, such as that of Alec Waterhouse, who had a remarkable war. He was wounded in battle in France and taken prisoner. He escaped from PoW camp twice before making it back to the family home in Brasted. He related the whole story of his capture and escapes to a UK parliamentary group after the war and I am researching the full transcripts of his submission and that of a comrade who escaped with him. His brother William (Jack) also served with AIF and was wounded in battle. There are also photos of Alec and others of the men, such as Walter James Roots, a carpenter who was nearly fifty when he enlisted but gave his age as forty four.
As we approach Anzac Day on 25 April and the hundredth anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign, I hope to hear from anyone with a connection to these men and women. All of them took the decision to leave Sevenoaks and seek a better or at least a different way of life in Australia and New Zealand. Later, they took the decision to enlist and crossed half way around the world once again to fight in the war. There is no doubting their bravery and I would be thrilled to hear from anyone who has a connection to any of these names.