Men who died in World War One (1914-1918)

No war memorial was erected in Markfield after the First or Second World Wars. Instead, after WWI, the villagers raised funds for what became the Memorial and Miners' Welfare Institute. Hoewever, each Church has its own list of names of men who died in or as a result of wars. The Parish Church, St Michael's, also records men who served but were not killed.

This page shows the names of Markfield men who died in World War One and are inscribed on the 2014 War Memorial by St Michael's Church. As explained on the War Memorial page, these names were selected by the local history group.

The men whose names are shown on the war memorial are W Bailey, WH Bott, HE Brown, JM Burrows, A Cave, RC Cramp, E Dowell, F Frith, HE Joyner, AL Lee, WC Pell, AHB Shipley, GH Spence, AW Spence, W Swain, WT Timson, A Wardle, J Watson, HW Whittle and CHE Wilson.

Details of each man, largely drawn from records accessible to the public, are being added below (as at May 2018). The available records vary significantly from person to person, so more information has been found for some men than others.

Walter Bailey

He was born in 1894 and baptised on 7th March in Markfield, the son of William (a well sinker and quarryman) and Emma Bailey (nee Hughes). He was brought up in Main Street.  By the age of 17 he had left home and moved to Field Head where he lived with John Walton (farmer) and was the under Cowman. He had 10 siblings.

Walter signed up in Coalville, as a Private in the Royal Leicestershire Regiment.  Later he transferred to the Northumberland Fusiliers, and then to the 5th Battalion, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. He died on 1st October 1918 of wounds while fighting near Grevillers/Bapaume in Pas de Calais, France. He was not married.

The register of soldiers' effects shows that he had credits of £7 7s 6d, which was paid to his father in April 1919. In December 1919, his father received a war gratuity of a further £8 10s 0d. The war gratuity was introduced in December 1918 as a payment to be made to those men who had served in WW1 for a period of 6 months or more home service, or for any length of service overseas. 

Private Bailey is buried/commemorated at the Grevillers British Cemetery, by a Memorial Plaque and window in St Michael's Church, and also on the Roll of Honour on the Organ (but not shown as having died). His brother, Lewis Bailey, also fought in WW1 and possibly died.

William Harold Bott  (also known as Harold William Bott)

He was born in Markfield in the first quarter of 1891 and brought up in Hill Side. His parents were William Bott (a shoemaker) and Mary (nee Widdowson). He had 7 siblings.

At the age of 18, in 1909, he enrolled as a sapper with the Royal Engineers.  In November 1914 he received a gunshot wound in the right leg while fighting in Armentieres, France.  He was paralysed from the knee down.  He returned home and was discharged from the army in December 1915. He continued to have regular medical reviews.  In September 1918 he was diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB) from which he died on 15th November 1918.  The army medical report said the TB was not attributable to his army history. He did not marry. His father received a war gratuity of £7 10s in 1920, his earlier death being noted on the records.

He is buried/commemorated in Markfield Cemetery and by a Memorial Plaque and window in St Michael's. 

H Bott is included on the Roll of Honour on the Organ in St Michael's, but it is not clear that this is William Harold Bott, as he is not shown as having died.

His brother Simeon Smith Stanley Bott was born in 1895. He enrolled in September 1914 as a saddler in the Royal Field Artillery. He sailed to France in July 1915 and returned to Markfield uninjured in June 1919.

Harry Edward Brown

He was born in 1897 and baptised on 12th July, in Markfield. His parents were Edward Brown (coal miner, later a blocker at the quarry) and Sarah Elizabeth (nee Mee). He had 8 siblings. Harry was brought up in Main Street, Hollywell Lane and Ashby Road.  By the age of 13 he was a farm labourer.

He enlisted in Coalville, Sapper 196331 with the Royal Engineers, later with the 198th Quarrying Company. He died on 24th November 1917, although it is not clear how.

Sapper Brown is buried/commemorated in Les Baraques Military Cemetery, Sangatte, Calais, by a memorial plaque and window in St Michael's, Markfield, and on the Roll of Honour on the Organ. He did not marry.

Reginald Charles Cramp

He was born in Markfield in 1886, the son of Karen Jane Cramp. He was brought up in Main Street by his widowed grandmother, Thirza (one of a number of spellings) Cramp. His mother worked in Leicester, where she married Walter Read in 1892. Reginald then came to have four half siblings. In 1900, his grandmother died. In 1901, he and his uncle John Cramp were boarders at a house in Main Street, where he probably lived until 1905. Aged 14 in 1901, he was a coal miner. It appears that he never lived with his mother.

In 1905, whilst still working as a collier, he signed up with the 2nd Batallion of the Leicestershire Regiment. In 1906, he was posted to India for 7 years. His military records show that he had various spells in hospital. Upon the conclusion of his army service, he transferred to the reserves and returned to England in 1913. In March 1914, he married Alice Clapham in Leicester and they had two children.

He was recalled to the army and posted to France in September 1914. His family went to live in Aylestone Park in Leicester. Private Cramp was killed in action near Ypres in Belgium on 21st December 1915, aged 29. He is commemorated at the White House Cemetery, St Jean-Les-Ypres in Belgium.


Ernest Dowell

He was born Ernest Ross in Lutterworth in 1880, the son of Ada Lucas Ross, with whom he and his sister lived in Ullesthorpe. When he seven years old, his mother married James Dowell of Markfield and they had five more children. Ernest and his sister took the name Dowell. Through the 1890s the family lived in Knighton and by 1901 Ernest was a postman. In 1905, he married Violet Money and soon after they moved to Markfield where Ernest was the postman, living on Main Street. They had four children.

He enlisted with the 2nd Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment. Private Dowell was killed in action on 17th August 1915, aged 34, and is buried in a military cemetery at Laventie near Armentieres in Northern France.

On the afternoon of Sunday, 19th September 1915, a muffled peal was rung on the bells of St Michael's Church in his memory.

Frederick Frith

He was born in Whitwick in 1892. The family soon moved to Shepshed, and by 1901 had moved to Markfield.  His mother died in 1908. By 1911 he had moved to Battle Flats, Bardon, with his father and brother Charles.  He was working, like his father, as a carter.  Later in 1911 his father remarried to Martha Elizabeth Gardener and they moved to Cliffe Farm, Markfield.  In 1915 his occupation was waggoner.

He enlisted in December 1915 in Loughborough, with the 6th Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment and was mobilised in January 1916. Private Frith was killed in action on 27th May 1918 in France when the Germans mounted an overwhelming attack on the allied positions near the river Aisne, pushing the allies back across the Aisne to the Marne. He did not marry.

He is commemorated at the Soissons Memorial, with no known grave, on a memorial plaque and window in St Michael's Church, and also the Roll of Honour on the organ.

Harry Ernest Joyner

He was born in 1878 in Birmingham, and brought up by his mother in West Bromwich. He was baptised twice in the same parish, in 1878 and then again in 1880! The 1911 census records him as living in Handsworth, Staffordshire, working as a baker.

He joined the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Private Joyner was killed in action on 1st April 1917, in France and Flanders. He is buried in Epehy Wood Farm Cemetery. His residence was recorded as Handsworth.

E Joyner is included amongst the name of those remembered during the Act of Homage at St Michael's Church. His link to Markfield appears to be that his brother Thomas Joyner was the Church Warden at the time of the war.

George Harry Spence

Born in Markfield in 1891, he was the youngest of the nine children of Matthew Edward and Eliza, and was known as Harry. His father was a baker who ran the Co-op on Main Street for many years. By the 1901 census, the family had moved next door into the George Inn (where the Co-op is  now). His father was the publican for a short time before retiring.

In the 1911 census, George was living in Alma Villa on London Road, with his parents and one of his brothers. He was a coal porter, although out of work. In 1912, his mother Eliza died.

Soon after the war started in 1914, he signed up with the Leicester Yeomanry. Private Spence was killed in action on 13th May 1915, aged 23. The Yeomanry were holding trenches on the Menin-Ypres road in Belgium, when there was a violent attack by the Germans. The Yeomanry had to retire (withdraw), but later mounted a furious attack to regain their positions. This was the most significant battle of the war for the Yeomanry. In Harry's squadron of 78 men, only 8 survived. Harry was unmarried. He is remembered at the West-Vlaanderen Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.


Archibald Lewis Lee

Born in 1894 in Ellistown, his parents were George Jordan Lee (Colliery Clerk) and Mary Ann (nee Coleman). His first couple of years were spent in Ellistown.  His father died when he was 5 years old. He is next recorded living in Blaby with his uncle and aunt and his mother and brother.  In 1906 his mother married William Morcombe, the butler to the Lillingstons at Ulverscroft.  His mother moved to Ulverscroft as cook to the Lillingstons, but he and his brother stayed with their uncle and aunt in Blaby.  He became an apprentice joiner in Blaby.

He enlisted in Leicester with the 15th Field Company, Royal Engineers. Sapper Lee died on 3rd January 1916, near Versaille in France,  probably as a result of wounds as the cemetery in which he is buried was a hospital cemetery. He did not marry.

He is buried/commemorated at Les Gonards Cemetery, Versaille. He is listed on the Roll of Honour on the Organ in St Michael's.