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The Grenadier Guards

The Grenadier Guards was formed in 1656, the regiment has fought in almost every major campaign undertaken by the British Army. during the Great War 1914-1918, four battalions of the Grenadier Guards saw action in all the principle battles of the Western Front. 12,000 casualties were suffered.

Battalions during the Great War 1914-1918

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Those known to have served with The Grenadier Guards during the Great War 1914-1918.

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L/Cpl. Edward George Merrilees 1st Btn. Grenadier Guards (d.14th Sep 1916)

L/Cpl Edward George Merrilees of the 1st Btn Grenadier Guards was born 18 July 1893 Died 14 September 1916 aged 23 he was killed in action on The Somme, France and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial

Sheila Andre


Pte. Charles Henry Trull 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards (d.17th Oct 1915)

Charles Tull was the first of my Great Grandfathers brothers killed in WW1, I will apply to the Grenadier Guards for his service record one day. The only information I have is his obituary which reads:

The first of the four sons of William and Margaret Trull to fall in action. He met his death on the western front on October 17th,, he was only 23 years of age, and had been in the army about 3 years.

Charles may have been killed in very early action at the Battle of Loos, he has no known grave but is commemorated on panels 5-7 of the Loos Memorial.

Jon Eeley


Pte. George S. Steed 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards (d.21st Oct 1918)

George S Steed is my father's uncle. He served overseas in the 1st Grenadier Guards. He came home with shrapnel wounds in the head. He died in Torquay later of his wounds on 21st october 1918 aged 25. He was then in the Grenadier Guards, 5th Battalion, 6th Coy and is remembered on two memorials in Torquay, Devon. One is in the public gardens in Torquay near the seafront and the other is on a Commonwealth War Grave Memorial in St Mary Churchyard. He was the son of William Steed and Emma Jane Steed. The local newspaper in Torquay did a feature on him a year or two ago in the paper. The family are very proud of him.

Rosalind Sparkes


Gdsm. Noah Clarke 3rd Btn. Grenadier Guards (d.18 Oct 1918)

Noah Clarke was born 1880 in Cheshire. In 1899 he joined the Grenadier Guards. He then served with the regiment in South Africa (Cape Colony). He then joined the reserves 1902. He re-engaged March 1911 was mobilised August 1914 posted to France October 1917. He was killed 18th October 1918 fighting on the Hindenburgh line. His grave is at St.Hilaire-les Cambria British Cemetery.

Paul Brevitt


Pte. Samuel Liddle 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards

My grandfather, Samuel Liddle, was born 10/9/1889 and enlisted to the Grenadier Guards pre-war in 1907 on his 18th birthday. His peacetime service was spent with 2nd Bttn in 1907 at Aldershot, 1908 Wellington Barracks London, 1909 in Chelsea Barracks London and 1910 Wellington Barracks where he would have carried out Palace Duties.

In October 1914 he was recalled to The Colours where he went with 1st Bttn to France and was counted as one of the "Old Contemptibles" disembarking at Zeebrugge from the "Turcoman" at 6am on 7th Oct 1914.

He served with 1st Bttn Guards 20th Infantry Brigade under Maj Gen T. Capper at 1st Ypres from 20th - 28th October 1914.He returned to England in 1915 on leave then was sent back to France to join 4th Bttn and remained with them till the end of the war and was discharged in February 1919. On 1/5/1918 he suffered "Gas shell poisoning".

My Grandfather was just an average soldier, no hero as such but by the sheer fact that he served his King and Country in the most horrific conflict ever he is considered by his family as a hero. He was, according to his service history absent on several occasions often referred to as cowardice (maybe?)(wrongly in most peoples opinion considering the horror) due to drunkenness! He served the full term of the war and died in the 1950's as an indirect result of the gassing in 1918.

I am currently trying to research his campaigns and movements and have been sent some very interesting documents from my sister Lynne who still lives in the UK so will update as soon as I can.

Michael Donohue


Pte. Noah Clarke 3rd Btn. Grenadier Guards (d.18 Oct 1918)

Noah Clarke joined up in May 1899. He served in South Africa from Jan to Oct 1902 earning the Kings South African medal with clasp. He then transferred to the army reserve. In March 1911 he was re-engaged. He was mobilised August 1917 and was posted to the 3rd Battalion in France. He was killed in action on the 18th of October 1918. The battalion was fighting on the Hindenburgh Line at the time.

Paul Brevitt


Gdsm. Walter Henry Moulson 2nd Btn. Grenadier Guards (d.16th Sep 1914)

Walter Henry Moulson was my great uncle. I believe that he joined the Grenadier Guards in 1911 enlisting at Chester. He was born in Worthenbury in Ceshire in 1883 and whilst a young child his family moved to Sareshill near Wolverhampton. Walter was the eldest child of seven. His father, a groom, died at the young age of 41 years in 1899 when Walter was just 16. His mother remarried in 1901 but this happiness was short lived as she died in childbirth aged 36 years in 1902 leaving Walter to be the head of the family. He was a tile carrier for several years until his siblings grew up and when they were all settled he joined the army.

His service number was 12390 and when World War One began he travelled from Chelsea to Le Havre between 4-15th August 1914 where, as a member of the British Expeditionary Force he was one of the first soldiers to go to France serving with the 2nd Battalion of the Grenadier Guards. It is believed that he fought at the Battle of Mons and then the Battle of the Marne. He was killed in action on 16th September 1914 believed during the 1st Battle of the Aisne. I have no further information of the incidents leading up to his death or how he died but i suspect that as it was the early part of trench warfare he may have been shot whilst digging a trench or hit by a morter shell. Unfortunately, I have no photograph of my great Uncle Walter who was my paternal grandmother's brother. He is remembered with honour by myself and at the ancient church of St Marys in Shareshill village where there is an inscription to the fallen residents of the village during the great war.

John Scott


L/Cpl. Louis Corbin 3rd Btn. Grenadier Guards (d.27th Nov 1917)

My Grandfather, Louis Corbin, died in WW1 on 27 November 1917. He was in the Grendier Guards, 3 Btn. Quite a sad story really. My grandmother, Maggie Corbin, was born in a remote location in the north west corner of Ireland in County Donegal. She had been married and had a child who had died probably in childbirth and in the 1911 Census she was living in Donegal in her parent's house because her husband had already died. That was a pretty poor situation for a woman in those days in that area where there was virtually no employment for men, never mind woman, she was also 37 years of age and her prospects would not have been good, but she was strong woman like the rest of her family.

Anyway, she made her way to London and met Louis Corbin and they married in 1915. Louis Corbin was from Nynehead near Wellington in Somerset. They lived in Battersea and he was based in Wellington Barracks according to their marriage certificate. Louis Corbin went off to war and sent postcards home etc and came back on leave, my grandmother became pregnant and my mother, Eileen Corbin, was born on 6 Dec 1917. Louis Corbin at this time was in France and had taken part in the battle of Cambria and according to the records died on 27 Nov 1917 so he never saw his child and my mother never met him. I don't think my grandmother became aware of his death immediately and she would have no family members in London so must have been quite a shock. According to my mother all my grandmother knew was that the whole battalion had been wiped out and all bulldozed into a mass grave.

It such a shame that these two people could not have lived happily ever after but that's the reality of war. Louis Corbin would have been looking forward to seeing his child in a few weeks but it was not too be. My grandmother moved back to Ireland with her child and raised her next door to her own parents in Donegal in a beautiful spot. My grandmother lived in Donegal from about 1918 until her death in 1957 and never married again.

The sad thing is my grandmother never knew where my grandfather's grave was, and neither did my mother. All her life my mother never knew where he was buried, she had an idea that he was from a region around South Wales in a place called Port Talbot and travelled there a few times to see if she could find out anything about him but could never find anything. She never even knew where he was buried. There was no Google then. My sister then, in the eighties, tracked him down to Somerset and travelled there. But could find no relatives or where his grave was. My mother died in 1984 and never found out anything about her father, although she searched all her life. You have to remember the area my mother was brought up in in Donegal was very remote, no electricity till the seventies, no running water till the seventies, no phones in houses till late seventies, so when my grandmother was living in the 20's to 40's it was almost impossible to communicate in any meaningful way.

I was named after my grandfather and I wish I knew more about him but of course now we have the Internet and I finally found his grave. Well, I did not, a friend of mine saw my grandfather's medals and typed the info into the Internet and The Commonwealth War Graves Commission Website came up and revealed his resting place in the Louvrral Memorial in Northern France. I visited his grave in 2005 and it was sad to think that the poor man had lain alone here for so many years before some one came to visit him, not for the want of caring but because we never knew where he was and I am happy I know where he is now. I have inscribed his name on my mother's gravestone in Donegal so at last they are united in a strange way. I feel sorry for these people imaging what they went through and not knowing whether they would be alive the next day.

I would like to know more about my grandfather and where he was before the war and where his battalion was based. If anyone could help I would be most grateful. He will be dead 100 years in 2017. It would be great if I could find some of his descendants to let them know he is not forgotten.

Louis McGee


Pte. Arthur Scripps 3rd Btn. Grenadier Guards (d.3rd Nov 1918)

Arthur Scripps enlisted in Royston and joined the 3rd Battalion The Grenadier Guards. He died in the Capelle region of Flanders near Bapaume, on the 3rd of November 1918, only eight days before the Armistace. He is buried at Delsaux Farm Cemetery, Beugny

Chris Allan


Gdsm. Percey Horace Drayton 2nd Btn. Grenadier Guards (d.21st Dec 1915)

Percey Horace Drayton a horse keeper from Smith End, Barley, he enlisted at Walthamstow on the 16th of December 1902 as a gunner with the Household Cavalry and Royal Artillery. Occasionally reprimanded for being out after curfew in Canada (8 days confined to barracks) and for causing a disturbance in a girl's school at night in Allahabad (14 days detention), admonished for drunkenness twice in 1903 and hospitalised for diphtheria and Malaria 1907 and 08. After completing his colour service he transferred to the Reserve before reenlisting as a Guardsman in the 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards. He went briefly AWOL 14th Sept 1914 after being wounded on the Western Front. He died of his wounds, 21st December 1915 having been transferred back to England two weeks earlier.

Chris Allan


Capt William Amherst Cecil MC. 2nd Bn. Grenadier Guards (d.16th Sep 1914)

Capt William Cecil was 28 years old and died apparently after being shot by a German sniper during the First Battle of the Aisne, one of the opening clashes of the conflict. Capt Cecil, of the 2nd Bn Grenadier Guards, a career soldier, had been sent to France just eight days after the outbreak of war and was part of the army that found itself in pursuit of retreating German forces near the Aisne river, in north-eastern France. When the Germans turned to face them, the two sides engaged in a bloody confrontation. With neither side able to dislodge the other, both began to dig themselves into defensive positions, beginning the strategic stalemate that was to endure for four years. Capt Cecil, who would have become Baron Cecil of Hackney if he had lived, was killed on the 16th of Sept 1914, two days after the first order to entrench was made.

Posthumously, his courage was recognised, he was decorated with the Military Cross, the third-highest honour available to officers, and was promoted from lieutenant to captain. One memoir notes that he was among the first aristocratic casualties of the war.

S. Flynn


Pte Frank Moore 1st Bn Grenadier Guards (d.25th Sep 1916)

Only found out that I had a member of my family in the Great War when my grandad died. In his brief case was a cut out from a newspaper saying that Pte Frank Moore had been killed in action in France in 1916. Also found postcards sent to and from him that my great nan kept.


Pte. James George Handford 1st Btn. Grenadier Guards (d.20th Dec 1916)

James Handford was my father's uncle, son of James and Sarah Handford of 19 Peel Street Derby. He was one of five children and was their only son. James worked at the Derby railway works as a spring maker's assistant, and in his spare time played football for a local team and enjoyed fishing. He volunteered in December 1915 aged 25, and, following in the footsteps of his great grandfather, joined the Grenadier Guards. He went to Caterham for training in January 1916 and was sent to France at the end of August the same year.

He died of wounds on 20th December 1916. There are no details in his service record of the nature of the injuries, but a friend of the family who was serving alongside him and saw him in the field hospital told the family that his spine was injured and it's thought that he would probably have been paralysed had he survived. His mother (my great grandmother) never got over his death and wore black from then on. My great grandfather who had been a devout church-goer and lay reader, completely lost his faith.

James' name appears on the large War Memorial near the railway station in Derby which commemorates railway staff who lost their lives. He is buried in Grove Town Cemetery near the French town of Meaulte. His sacrifice has never been forgotten by his family.

Alison Hiscock


Pte. John Thomas Cowens 4th Btn Grenadier Guards (d.6th Jul 1916)

John Cowans died age 32 whilst serving with the 4th Btn Grenadier Guards. He was born in Jarrow in 1884 Son of Thomas and Isabella Cowens (nee Gibson) He was native of Bishopton, Ferryhill. John Thomas Cowens age 27, bricklayer, listed as living with his parents Thomas and Isabella Cowens and family at Bishopton, Ferryhill on the 1911 census. He enlisted in West Hartlepool.

John is buried in La Brique Military Cemetery No. 2.

Vin Mullen


Sgt. Thomas Henry Brain 1st Btn. Grenadier Guards (d.24 Sep 1916)

Thomas Henry Brain was born in Gloucestershire in 1866 to Worthy James Brain and Sarah (Clissold). He was a cloth weaver before he joined the Grenadier Guards. He was 30 when he died in France of wounds and is buried in St. Sever Cemetery, Rouen, Seine-Maritime.


Grdsm. John Bradon 2nd Btn. Grenadier Guards (d.12th Oct 1917 )

John Bradon was born in Dublin and enlisted in Manchester. He served with the Gtrenadier Guards 2nd Battalion and was killed in action in October 1917.

s flynn


L/Cpl. Lees Mills 4th Btn. Grenadier Guards (d.23rd Mar 1918)

Lees Mills served with the Grenadier Guards 4th Battalion and died on 23rd March 1918.


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