SHALFLEET IN WORLD WAR 1
Those of you who were in church on Sunday will have seen the display, erected by Hilary Higgins, to commemorate some of the men and women of Shalfleet Parish who served in the First World War. It also shows how the war affected those at home. We would welcome any stories or photos from the family album you could share with us, and are very grateful to the families for sharing these items with us. The display will be in the church until the end of the month, so do take the opportunity to pop in and see it.
BENJAMIN TRELOAR 1881-1917
Born in Portsmouth in 1881, Benjamin moved to the Island around 1900 where his father was a prison warder. Benjamin joined the Royal Navy in 1904 as a Domestic Rating and served for three years. In 1911 he was a railway porter at Ryde.
At the outbreak of war all former naval personnel were recalled to service. Benjamin served on two RYS yachts which were requisitioned for war service. These beautiful yachts, which normally graced Cowes week, were painted grey and armed. He served firstly on Hersilia a 454 ton steam yacht which was armed with a 12 pounder. The peacetime crew was usually taken on with the requisitioned yacht and it is thought Benjamin was already crewing on Hersilia in Cowes. She was part of the Auxiliary patrol in the Stornoway area.
During leave in 1915, Benjamin married Mildred Hannah Downer of Calbourne and they lived in the Malthouses, Newbridge.
In January 1916 Hersilia was wrecked in a storm while hunting a U-boat and Benjamin transferred to Yacht Vanessa stationed nearby.
By 1917 he had transferred to the Army, joining the Hampshire Regiment. In April he was wounded at Arras, France when the regiment suffered heavy shelling and was sent home to Newbridge to recover.
He returned to service in September that year and was sent to Palestine with the regiment’s 2nd/4th Batallion. He was part of the attack on Gaza and then continued to Jerusalem. Here on 22nd November Benjamin became one of the very many losses in the battle to take the city. At first he was reported injured and it was some time before his death was confirmed to Mildred. He was buried in Jerusalem War Cemetery.
Sadly his wife was expecting their baby who was born at the Malthouses the following May. Their grandson still lives in Newbridge.
Charles Rayner, 1889-1916
Another local family affected by the War was the Rayner family from Shishford, who lost their son Charles at the Somme. Charles was serving with the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.
Their daughter Kit was mentioned in dispatches for nursing the wounded and later became Matron at Ellerslie House Hospital which rehabilitated wounded and paralysed servicemen. Their other daughter Elsie was a VAD nurse.
These and other local families feature on the display in Shalfleet Church, and are just some of the men and women of the parish who were so terribly affected by the events of the Great War.
We will remember them.