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A village with a big story
Little Holland cottages at top of Green no longer there
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Claypits Pond with Horses 1905
Long Melford Coronation fancy dress competition at the British Legion in Cordell road1953
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French

Selected Biographies

French, Alfred – Born: Long Melford, Suffolk on 12.7.1894.[1]  Parents: Not known.  Home: Great Garlands, Stanford-le-Hope, Essex (1939).  Occupation: Agricultural Labourer [1913], Horseman on Farm (1939).  Married: Amy.[2]  Service Record: Alfred enlisted on 2.1.1913 as Stoker No. SS13427 in the Royal Navy.  From May 1913 to March 1914, he served on the depot ship HMS St. George and from 1.4.1915 to 31.3.1916 on the protected cruiser HMS Blenheim off the Gallipoli Peninsula.  In 1917 he was promoted to Acting Leading Stoker, serving on HMS Lowestoft from 18.12.1917 to 30.6.1919 as part of the 8th Light Cruiser Squadron in the Mediterranean, receiving his discharge in May 1921.[3]

[1] Date of birth taken from the 1939 Register for Stanford-le-Hope, Essex and also from his Royal Navy record.  [2] Spouse’s forename is taken from the 1939 Register; however no definitive marriage record has been found.  [3] Registers of Seaman’s Services [ADM 188/1119/13427].  See also his Medal and Award Rolls [ADM 171/102].

French, Charles William – Born: Long Melford, Suffolk on 30.4.1884.[1] Parents: Charles Robert French (Coconut Mat Weaver) and Mary Ann [née Potter].  Family Connections: Brother to George Albert French [b1889] and Harry Ernest French [b1892]; also, half-brother to Arthur Robert Potter [b1873] and brother-in-law of Richard Sidney Debenham [b1881], William Charles Gridley [b1888], David Howe [b1893] and Henry Quarterman [b1889].  Home: Bull Lane, Long Melford (1891 to 1911).  Occupation: Coir Yarn Sorter (1901), Agricultural Labourer (1911).  Service Record: Charles attested as Pte.26735 with 7th [Service] Battalion, Suffolk Regiment and was posted to France as part of 35th Brigade, 12th [Eastern] Division.[2] Died: Charles was killed in action on 9.8.1916 at ‘Ration Trench’ during the Battle of Pozières.  He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme [pier and face 1c and 2a], Somme, France and on the Long Melford War Memorial.[3]

[1] Date of birth from the Baptism Register 3.8.1884, Holy Trinity Church, Long Melford.  [2] For details of 7th Suffolk’s movements see War Diary [WO 95/1852/1-2], and Murphy, Lieutenant-Colonel C. C. R. The History of the Suffolk Regiment 1914-1927 [London: Hutchinson and Co, 1928], pp.129-33 and 177-79.  See also his Service Medal and Award Rolls 1914-1918 [WO 329] and Service Medal and Award Rolls Index Cards 1914-1922 [WO 372].  [3] Commonwealth War Graves Commission record and British Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929 file [ref: 358435].

French, George Albert – Born: Long Melford, Suffolk on 25.3.1889.[1]   Parents: Charles Robert French (Coconut Mat Weaver) and Mary Ann [née Potter].  Family Connections: Brother to Charles William French [b1884] and Harry Ernest French [b1892]; also, half-brother to Arthur Robert Potter [b1873]; also, brother-in-law of Richard Sidney Debenham [b1881], William Charles Gridley [b1888], David Howe [b1893] and Henry Quarterman [b1889].  Home: Bull Lane, Long Melford (1891 to 1939).  Occupation: Horseman on Farm (1911), Horseman and Ploughman for H. Turner of Acton, Suffolk [1916], Agricultural Labourer (1939).  Married: Minnie Hardy in 1923.  Service Record: At the Melford Military Service Tribunal in August 1916 George’s employer Mr H. Turner of Acton applied for his exemption, which was refused.[2]   Conscription should have followed shortly after; however, no definitive military record has been found.  However, a member of the family has identified George as a returning veteran on the Melford Hall commemorative photograph and provided the group shot, showing him in his hospital ‘Blues’ recovering from an injury.  Died: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk in 1971.

[1] Date of birth from Baptism Register 2.6.1889, Holy Trinity Church, Long Melford.  [2] For the Tribunal’s ruling see Suffolk and Essex Free Press 16.8.1916.

George in his hospital blues (seated right foreground)

French, Harry Ernest – Born: Long Melford, Suffolk on 26.2.1892.[1]   Parents: Charles Robert French (Coconut Mat Weaver) and Mary Ann [née Potter].  Family Connections: Brother to Charles William French [b1884] and George Albert French [b1889]; also, half-brother to Arthur Robert Potter [b1873] and brother-in-law of Richard Sidney Debenham [b1881], William Charles Gridley [b1888], David Howe [b1893] and Henry Quarterman [b1889].  Home: Bull Lane, Long Melford (1901 and 1911), 22 Abbots Walk, Bexleyheath, Kent (1939) to [1971].  Occupation: Agricultural Labourer (1911), Bus Driver (1939).  Married: Ethel May Saddington in 1915.  Service Record: Harry was conscripted on 11.12.1915 as Pte.102097 with the Machine Gun Corps and posted overseas, although in which theatre and battalion is not known.  On 16.7.1918 he was issued with a Silver War Badge and discharged, due to wounds.[2]   Died: Greenwich, London on 16.12.1971.[3]

[1] Date of birth from the Baptism Register 1.5.1892, Holy Trinity Church, Long Melford.  [2] Service Medal and Award Rolls, First World War, Silver War Badge [WO 329] record [ref: 430237], Service Medal and Award Rolls 1914-1918 [WO 329] and Service Medal and Award Rolls Index Cards 1914-1922 [WO 372].  [3] Date of death from the Bexleyheath Cemetery Register.

The French family outside Bull Lane Cottages circa 1920

Related Biographies

Debenham, Richard Sidney – Born: Long Melford, Suffolk on 29.12.1881.[1]  Parent: Naomi Debenham (Domestic Servant) [married Charles North in 1888].  Family Connections: Brother-in-law of Charles William French [b1884], George Albert French [b1889] and Harry Ernest French [b1892].  Home: Recorded as Sidney Debenham boarding with Elizabeth Mott in Hall Street, Long Melford (1891), Cock and Bell Lane, Long Melford (1901), 28 Dumont Road, Stoke Newington, London (1911), 4 Chalmers Terrace, Victoria Road, Stoke Newington [1914], 14 Ingleton Road, Tottenham, Middlesex (1939), 13 Back Lane, Long Melford [1946].  Occupation: Boots at Hotel (1901), Potman (1911), Town Carman [1914], Tailor’s Presser (1939).  Married: Kate Agnes French in 1904.  Service Record: Richard enlisted on 19.10.1914 as Driver, later Bdr.16033 with ‘D’ Battery, XC Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, posted to France from 20.7.1915.  On 30.8.1916 Bombardier Debenham transferred to ‘C’ Battery, XCII [Howitzer] Brigade, RFA, part of 20th [Light] Division, seeing action during the Somme Offensive of 1916 and the Third Battles of Ypres the following year.[2]  He received a gunshot to his right hand also suffering a fracture to his left femur on 9.7.1918, being issued with a Silver War Badge and discharged due to wounds in June 1919.[3]  Died: Colchester, Essex on 30.4.1946.[4]

Gridley, William Charles – Born: Long Melford, Suffolk on 19.9.1887.[5]  Parents: Daniel Gridley (Horsehair Weaver) and Ellen [née Potter] (Horsehair Weaver).  Family Connections: Brother to Harry Albert Gridley [b1871], Daniel Gridley [b1884], Archie Stephen Gridley [b1890]; also, cousin of Alfred Gridley [b1876], Charles Gridley [b1879], Harry William Gridley [b1893] and Bertie Harry Gridley [b1896], and brother-in-law of George John Pettit [b1868], Charles Clarke [b1875], Charles William French [b1884], George Albert French [b1889] and Harry Ernest French [b1892].  Home: Westgate Street, Long Melford (1891 and 1901), Hollands, The Green, Long Melford (1911), Westgate Hill, Long Melford [1916], Cock and Bell Lane, Long Melford (1939).  Occupation: Ostler (1901), Groom [1909], Labourer (1911), Miller’s Carter for Frederick Branwhite and Sons [1917], Contractor’s Labourer (1939).  Married: Frances Ellen French in 1911.  Service Record: Before 1907 William was a member of 2nd [Volunteer] Battalion, Suffolk Regiment.  He enlisted in 1909 as Pte.10322 with ‘C’ Company, 3rd [Reserve] Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment, transferring to 1st Leicesters and posted to France from 9.11.1914 to 11.02.1916 as part of 16th Brigade, 6th Division, transferring on 17.11.1915 within the division to 71st Brigade.[6]  At the end of December William broke his ankle when he was digging in trenches near Ypres and was sent to No. 12 Casualty Clearing Station at Hazebrouck in northern France for treatment.  He was considered unfit for further service and issued with a Silver War Badge and discharged on 11.7.1916.  This should have ensured that he would return to civilian life, however within a fortnight his employer Frederick Branwhite had to apply for his exemption from renewed enlistment, which was granted until the end of October.  Returning in November, Branwhite again asked for his exemption, this time being granted for a period of six months.  By August 1917 he is again before the Tribunal, his employer once again asking for exemption, which was ultimately refused.[7]  William Gridley was conscripted in 1917 as Pte.M/348079 with the Mechanical Transport Section of the Army Service Corps, it is not known if he was posted overseas.[8]

Howe, David – Born: Stanstead, Suffolk on 29.5.1893.[9]  Parents: Walter Howe (Agricultural Labourer) and Amelia [née Roper] of Long Melford.  Family Connections: Brother to Walter Thomas Howe [b1891]; also, cousin of Thomas Howe [b1881], and brother-in-law of Charles William French [b1884], George Albert French [b1889] and Harry Ernest French [b1892].  Home: Lower Street, Stanstead, Suffolk (1901 and 1911), 36 High Street, Long Melford [1917], 9 Council House, High Street, Long Melford (1939).  Occupation: Agricultural Labourer (1911) Stockman for Samuel Bigg Turner of Cranmore Farm [1917], Gardener and Air Raid Warden (1939).  Married: Blanche Lilla French of Long Melford in 1915.  Service Record: David was conscripted on 24.6.1916.  At the Military Service Tribunal in early July 1916, his employer, Samuel Turner of Cranmore Farm, applied for his exemption.  The case was adjourned and re-examined at the end of the month, where the panel granted him his final exemption up to 31.10.1916.[10]  David Howe was mobilised on 17.1.1917 as Pte.330996 of 3/1st [Reserve] Battalion, Cambridgeshire Regiment, transferring on 5.4.1917 as Pte.97507 to 69th Machine Gun Company, being posted to France from 3.6.1917 as part of 69th Brigade, 23rd Division.  In November 1917 he was sent to Italy where his Division was stationed at Montello, covering a section of the front line against the forces of Austria-Hungary.  On 1.4.1918 his unit was incorporated as ‘B’ Company of 23rd Battalion, Machine Gun Corps, within the same Division.[11]  Less than two weeks later he received a gunshot wound to his left knee, initially treated at No. 62 General Hospital then moving to No. 16 Convalescent Depot in Marseilles to recuperate, returning to his battalion in late August.  David received his discharge in February 1919.[12]  Died: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk in 1970.

Quarterman, Henry – Born: Fulham, London on 4.6.1889.[13]  Parents: John William Quarterman (Milkman) and Mary Ann Sophia [née Phillips].  Family Connections: Brother-in-law of Charles William French [b1884], George Albert French [b1889] and Harry Ernest French [b1892].  Home: 54 Ancil Street, Fulham, London (1891), 152 St George Road, Islington, London (1901), 39 Parkham Road, Battersea, London (1911), 30 Canonbury Street, Islington [1915], 22 Applegarth Drive, Newbury Park, Ilford, Essex (1939) to [1964].[14]  Occupation: Butcher (1911), Engineer’s Labourer (1939).  Married: Laura Gertrude French of Long Melford in 1915.  Service Record: Henry is recorded as a Soldier [unit unknown] at the baptism of his daughter at Holy Trinity Church, Long Melford in August 1917,[15] however no definitive military record has been found.  Died: Redbridge, Essex in 1970.

Notes to Related Biographies –[1] Date of birth from the Baptism Register 5.2.1882, Holy Trinity Church, Long Melford.  [2] For details of 15th and 92nd Brigades’ movements see War Diaries [WO 95/2105/5] and [WO 95/2105/3].  [3] Soldiers’ Documents, First World War ‘Burnt Documents’ [WO 363], Service Medal and Award Rolls, First World War, Silver War Badge [WO 329] record [ref: B241372], Service Medal and Award Rolls 1914-1918 [WO 329] and Service Medal and Award Rolls Index Cards 1914-1922 [WO 372].  [4] Date of death from the National Probate Calendar.  [5] Date of birth from the Baptism Register 6.11.1887, Holy Trinity Church, Long Melford.  [6] For details of 1st Leicester’s movements between 1914 and 1916 see War Diaries [WO 95/1611/2 and WO 95/1621/1].  [7] For the Tribunal’s rulings see Suffolk and Essex Free Press 26.7.1916, 29.11.1916 and 1.8.1917.  [8] Soldiers’ Documents, First World War ‘Burnt Documents’ [WO 363], Service Medal and Award Rolls, First World War, Silver War Badge [WO 329] record [ref: 417153], Service Medal and Award Rolls 1914-1918 [WO 329] and Service Medal and Award Rolls Index Cards 1914-1922 [WO 372].  [9] Date of birth from the Baptism Register 30.7.1893, St James Church, Stanstead, Suffolk.  [10] For the Tribunal’s rulings see Suffolk and Essex Free Press 5.7.1916 and 26.7.1916.  [11] For details of 69th Brigade Machine Gun Company’s movements on the Western Front see War Diary [WO 95/2184/5] and for 23rd Battalion MGC in Italy see War Diary [WO 95/4233].  [12] Soldiers’ Documents, First World War ‘Burnt Documents’ [WO 363], Service Medal and Award Rolls 1914-1918 [WO 329], and Service Medal and Award Rolls Index Cards 1914-1922 [WO 372].  [13] Date of birth from the 1939 Register of Ilford, Essex.  [14] Address taken from Electoral Roll for Ilford.  [15] For his daughter’s christening record see Baptism Register 5.8.1917, Holy Trinity Church, Long Melford. 

Genealogical Table

Research by David Gevaux MA © 2022
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