Biggin War Memorial

Welcome to the Biggin War Memorial page, were you can find out more about the memorial plus details of the twelve men from both World Wars who are remembered on the memorial. The Derbyshire War Memorial website is also an excellent reference source.

Biggin War Memorial 

There was a heatwave in the Peak District during the summer of 1914. The papers on the 21st June described the heat being broken by storms that included thunder, lightning and hail. On Thursday 25th June 1914 King George V and Queen Mary visited different locations in Derbyshire including Bolsover, Ilkeston and Heanor. On Sunday 28th June Archduke Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated setting in motion a chain of events that would result in the Great War.

By the 31st July the possibility of war was being discussed but more focus was being given in the newspapers to the Irish troubles.

War was declared on Tuesday 4th August 1914. There was an immediate appeal for recruits. Every town in Derbyshire had a recruiting office. The Venerable Archdeacon Crosse of Chesterfield preached that men were duty bound to answer the call to arms. Farmers went to Bakewell market as usual that week but had to find other means of getting home if they had travelled to market by horse. By the end of August 200 horses had been requisitioned from Bakewell by the army.

By the middle of August Biggin had resolved upon its own response as recorded in the local paper:

Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal

Friday 21 August 1914


Army Recruiting. – A meeting was held August 17th, in the schoolroom to consider what response should be made to the appeal which his Grace the Duke of Devonshire had issued to the men of Derbyshire. Mr T.H.P. Cook took the chair, and briefly explained the object of the meeting. Mr. Evelyn Wood first responded asking that his name might be enrolled in the Territorial Force was followed by Mr. Ben Gould, Mr James Archer, Mr George Slater, Mr Wilfred Buxton, Mr Sam Slater, Mr Charles Naylor, Mr Maurice Wagstaff, Mr John Warrington, Mr William Webster, Mr Arthur Wagstaff, Mr Thomas Dawson (Biggin), Mr Peter Gould, Mr A Clayton, Mr Fred Kirkham, Mr Ernest Hyde, Mr Thomas Twigge, Mr Thomas Dawson (Friden), Mr Walker Bosley and Mr William Wagstaff. In addition to the forgoing there were present the Rev. C.P. and Mrs Jamas, Mr and Mrs T. Slater, Mr M Featherstone, Mr J.W. Brindley, Mr T.P. Simms and others. The proceedings were marked with great enthusiasm and were concluded with the singing of God Save the King.

The Duke of Devonshire has issued the following proclamation

To the Men of Derbyshire.

The King and nation, in this supreme crisis, call for men to serve their country in almost every capacity. To meet the request those who wish place their services at the disposal their country, the Territorial Force Association has decided to open a list in every Urban District and Parish Council area m the country upon which the names of such men and their capacity for usefulness can be placed and forwarded to the authorities. Nothing further than recording names is required for the moment. The list is in the hands of the Urban or Parish Council (or meeting), with whom all willing to serve are requested to communicate.

(Signed) Devonshire,

President Territorial Force Association, Derbyshire.

Derby, August 12th, 1914.

God Save the King.

Saturday 15 August 1014

Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal

One of the men listed in the article, Thomas Twigge is remembered on the Parwich War Memorial: TWIGG Thomas Pte 70719. He was in the Sherwood Foresters (Derby Regt). He died on the 4th March 1917 aged 20. He was the son of William and Catherine Twigge of West View, Parwich. He is also commemorated at Thiepval Memorial Somme. 

Those remembered on the memorial

In Biggin, the war memorial commemorates the lives of eight men who died during the Great War as well as four men who gave their lives during the Second World War. More details about each man can be found after the summary below.  Additionally, please refer to the attached file that shows the war graves located within the churchyard of St Thomas's

World War I 

Private Joseph William Brindley DCM : (CH/19896) 1st Royal Marines Battalion, Royal Naval Division, 5 September 1918. Aged 20
Private John William Buxton : (92796) 2nd Battalion, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment, 21st March 1918. Aged 26.
Private Wilfred Buxton : (240738) A Company, 1st/6th Battalion, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment, 13 August 1917. Aged 21 
Private Fred Naylor: (260076) 2nd/6th Battalion, North Staffordshire Regiment, 29 November 1917 Aged 34.
Sergeant George Percival : (241748) 2nd/6th Battalion, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment, 21st March 1918. Aged 22
Private Albert Sealy B Sutton : (20159) 3rd (Reserve) Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment, 24th April 1919. Aged 22
Private William Wagstaff : (18548 and 43126) Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment) and 8th Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment, 11 May 1917, 
Sergeant William Webster : (240729) 2nd/6th Battalion, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment 21 March 1918. Aged 21

World War II

Flying Officer Michael Lloyd (Pilot):  122507 12 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve Died 22nd October 1943 aged 21
Private Charles Riley: (14885293) Pioneer Corps Died 10th March 1946 aged 19
Trooper Kenneth Sims: (7905766) 2nd Derbyshire Yeomanry, Royal Armoured Corps Died 10th July 1941 aged 20
Trooper Victor Wilton: (7905762) 53rd Regiment, Reconnaissance Corps, Royal Armoured Corps. Died 28th February 1945 aged 25

Further details of the twelve men can be found below, along with an attachment which shows any relevant copies of documents, pictures etc. 

World War I details

Private Joseph William Brindley DCM : (CH/19896) 1st Royal Marines Battalion, Royal Naval Division, 5 September 1918. Aged 20

1898 15 January Joseph William Brindley was born. His parents were David Joseph Brindley and Miriam Wood.

13 March Joseph was baptised in St Thomas’s Church, Biggin.

1900 2 November Frank Clarks Brindley was born. He was baptised on the 30th December in St Thomas’s Church.

1903 23 May John James Brindley was born. He was baptised on 14thJune in St Thomas’s Church.

1911 April The census listed the Bridley family living in Biggin and gave David Brindley’s profession as that of joinery. Joseph, then aged thirteen, was a school pupil. He would go on to win a scholarship to Ashbourne Grammar School.

1915 7th May Joseph enlisted having been passed fit. He was 17 years and three months old, not yet old enough to serve overseas. He was sent first to Whitehall and then to Deal. Joseph’s diary, sent back with his personal effects after his death, records the sight of Zeppelins and the sound of artillery fire across the Channel. During his basic training he learned to swim, to shoot and to use Mills grenades and trench mortars.

1916 Joseph travelled to Egypt via Gibraltar and Malta.

1917 Joseph was hospitalised with eye disease and ulcerative keratitis. He would travel back to Europe via Italian Ports. On Friday 24thAugust he reached Lyons before arriving in Southampton on 30thAugust.

19th September Joseph came home to Biggin on 14 days leave. He notes the familiar and much loved places that he visited before returning to the war.

1918 12th February Joseph was drafted for the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) leaving England from Folkestone.

25th February He joined the 1st Marines Battalion

5th April – 21st April Joseph joined 188th Brigade Light Trench Mortar Battery. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission do not record this in the information that they provide.

25th August Joseph was part of an attack near Grévillers for which he won the Distinguished Conduct Medal.

3rd September The last entry in his diary records Cambrai was in sight.

"DCM London Gazette 16/1/19 (1st RM Bn. attached 188th Brigade Light Trench Mortar Battery) "On 25/8/18 near Grévillers, when his detachment was advancing in the early stages of an attack, their progress was impeded by the fire of an MG. He went forward & single-handed captured the MG, taking the whole of the team prisoners. His gallantry & determination were a splendid example to all ranks." ; A Clerk ; Son of J.D. & Miriam Brindley, Biggin, Hartington, Buxton, Derbyshire.”

Joseph was remembered by his family with a bass plaque on the south wall of the nave.


Private John William Buxton : (92796) 2nd Battalion, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment, 21st March 1918. Aged 26.

1893 11th September James William Buxton was baptised in St Thomas’s although the war memorial identifies him as John. Together with the census returns and baptismal records James is the most likely official identity for Private John Buxton. His parents were Thomas Buxton and Mary Featherstone.

1901 April The census shows James living with his grandparents Peter Featherstone, listed as a general labourer, and Hannah Alice Pett as well as other members of his extended family.

1911 April The census lists John or James living with his grandparents. His grandfather Peter Featherstone and Hannah Alice Pett. John was a brickworks labourer, of Friden Brickworks.

1915 John/James Buxton enlists in the 2nd Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters at Buxton. His date of enlistment and entry into the war made him eligible for the War medal and the Victory medal. His experiences would have been similar to the other men who signed up under the Derby Scheme and who died alongside him on the 21st March 1918.

1917 18th November Whilst on leave Private Buxton married Hilda Slaney at Youlgreave.

1918 21st March Private Buxton was killed in action. His body was never found. He is commemorated on the Arras Memorial. The army register of soldiers’ effects lists the £5.00 gratuity that his wife received along with his pay.

At the time of his death, his wife was living in Grimethorpe in Yorkshire. In 1919 she married Charles Mangham. In 1921 she died aged twenty-six.


Private Wilfred Buxton : (240738) A Company, 1st/6th Battalion, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment, 13 August 1917. Aged 21 

1896 27th May Wilfred Buxton was born. Wilfred’s mother, Emma Hollis, came from Mayfield. She married Benjamin Archer, a farmer, and had three children: Edith, James and Emma. The family lived at Heathcote but Benjamin died on the 9th January 1894. Three years later Emma married Harold Buxton, a railway platelayer, and went on to have two more children – Wilfred (not baptised until April 26th 1908) and Mary born in 1898 and baptised alongside her brother.

Wilfred and James joined the army together. Before the war both of them had been brickyard labourers at Friden’s Brickyard. The regiment that they joined was the 6th battalion, Sherwood Foresters. This was a territorial force that was part of the North Midland Division. Prior to Haldane’s reforms of 1908 the battalion had been known as the High Peak Rifles.

1915 31st July the Germans attacked the British in the trenches at Hooge using flamethrowers for the first time.

19 August Wilfred arrived in Flanders at Poperhinge, north-east of Ypres.

Prior to his arrival the battalion had been holding trenches lay on the south-eastern edge of Sanctuary Wood near the village of Hooge. The battalion suffered a stream of casualties.

Thursday 19th August the battalion was relieved by the 4th Royal Fusiliers.

Sunday 23rd August Wilfred will have found himself being sent to the front line near the Ypres-Commines Canal at the centre of the salient. It was open and exposed to rifle and machine gun fire. In some places the German trenches were only 200 yards away or even closer. Wilfred must soon have become familiar with the routine of stepping troops up and down from the front line during the night as well as the shelling.

1916 March Wilfred found himself on Vimy Ridge at a place called Folie Farm. The Sherwood Foresters had to repair and strengthen the front line and reserve trenches. Many men develop trench foot during this time and some of them had such severe frostbite that they had to have their feet amputated. During this time Leonard Twigge from Parwich who had been with Wilfred when he arrived in France was killed.

19th of April Wilfred was issued with a steel helmet until this time all British soldiers wore a cloth cap.

May The Sherwood Foresters moved once again in preparation for the “Big Push” that was planned for that summer. They now found themselves opposite Gommecourt Wood. Men were issued with shovels and picks to dig more trenches.

June the battalion was sent to Foncquevillers and placed in a supporting position. They dug more trenches – it was dangerous work undertaken at night.

1917 13th August The War Diary reveals that Wilfred’s company “raided the enemy trenches inflicting severe casualties on the enemy. The Corps commander expressed his satisfaction with the raid. Wilfred was one of the men killed in action that day.


Private Fred Naylor: (260076) 2nd/6th Battalion, North Staffordshire Regiment, 29 November 1917 Aged 34.

1883 Fredrick Naylor was born. When he was two a sister Mary was born and when he was five another sister called Clara arrived. His brother Thomas was born in 1881. All the children were baptised in St Thomas’s, Biggin. Fred’s mother Annie appears on the census of 1881 as a servant working at the King’s Arms, Mill Street, Bakewell. She was nineteen. In 1891 she appears on the census working as a servant on a farm in Great Longstone. She married George Heathcote in 1897. He died in 1904. Three years later Annie married Samuel Weston.

1911 April The census records that Fred was with his grandmother Annie Prince (nee Palfreyman) who lived at Green Sides. Fred was a brickmaker at Friden’s.

1915 Initially Fred, who enlisted in Ashbourne, was sent to the Lincolnshire Regiment where his identity number was 203788. The British Army underwent a reorganisation at this time. He was ultimately sent to the 2/6th North Staffordshire Regiment. This was a territorial battalion which had been raised in Burton-on-Trent in 1914. It became part of the British Army’s 59th Division and was located in St Albans prior to being sent overseas.

1916 April Fred would not yet have completed his basic training when the battalion was sent to Dublin and then Curragh to quell the troubles there with the 59th Division.

1917 January The battalion was sent to Fovant, Salisbury Plain.
25th February Fred was mobilised for war and landed in France. During that year he was part of the pursuit of the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The Battle of the Menin Road Ridge, The Battle of Polygon Wood and the capture of Bourlon Wood.

1917 13th and 14th November The 2/6th war diary for November reveals that Fred was on the front line north of Avion. The battalion were relieved by a Canadian regiment and moved back to Alberta Camp at Souchez.

19th November The battalion headed for Simoncourt where they received orders to proceed to the Courcelles area.

21st November The battalion marched overnight, arriving at 5.30 am on November 22nd.

23rd November Orders arrived at 8.00 pm to march to Heudicourt. The battalion arrived at midnight.

27th November The battalion were sent to the front lines to relieve the Coldstream Guards.

28th November The battalion took over a front line system in Bourlon Wood.

29th November The 2/6th were heavily shelled with shrapnel and mustard gas. There were heavy casualties. One of them was Fred Naylor. The battalion suffered so many casualties on the 29th and 30th that it had to be relived at once.

Fred has no known grave. He is commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial.


Sergeant George Percival : (241748) 2nd/6th Battalion, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment, 21st March 1918. Aged 22

1896 George was born in Biggin. His parents were Thomas Percival and Ann Elizabeth Seamer known as Elizabeth. His sister Margaret was born two years later.

1901 April George was listed on the census as living with his parents, older sister Nellie and younger sister who is listed as Maggie.

1911 April The census lists him as a farmer's son, working on the family farm whilst his sister Margaret, then aged twelve, was a scholar at Biggin School.

1913 April George’s mother was registered as dying.

1915 George enlisted in Buxton as part of the Derby scheme

1916 26thApril Embarkation for Ireland. The Sherwood Foresters, who had not yet completed their basic training, found themselves in Dublin facing the Easter Rising. During the summer the men of the 2/6thremained in Ireland on garrison duty and provided men for flying columns before returning to England.

1917 25th February Embarkation for France from Folkestone to Boulogne. George fought during the The German Retreat to the Hindenburg Line. In September he saw combat at the Battle of Passendale and in December he survived the Battle of Cambrai

1918 21stMarch The first day of Operation Michael which was the German counter attack. George, an experienced non-commissioned officer was killed in action. The Army Register of Soldiers’ effects shows his pay being sent to his next of kin along with a war grant on death of £15.0.0

He is commemorated on The Arras Memorial at Faubourg-D´Amiens Cemetery, Arras


Private Albert Sealy B Sutton : (20159) 3rd (Reserve) Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment, 24th April 1919. Aged 22

1896 The Suttons were a Hartington family. Joseph, born in 1861 was one of nine children. He became a draper’s assistant and travelled in the Midlands and Yorkshire with work. In 1881 he was in Stoke-Upon-Trent; 1891 Newcastle Under Lyme, although later that same month he was in Huddersfield marrying Mary Louisa Fox. Five years later the couple were living in Sheffield in the Eccleshall district when their son Albert was born.

27 May 1896 Albert baptised at All Saints, Brightside, Sheffield.

1900 Albert’s younger brother Robert was born. The family were still there in 1901 according to the census return.

1910 5th August Albert won a scholarship to Ashbourne Grammar School. It is reported in the Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal – (Friday 05 August 1910) see document in attached file

1911 April The family lived at Victoria House, Hall Bank, Hartington.

1914 Spring. Mary Louisa died. Albert is not listed amongst the men who met in Biggin’s schoolroom in August 1914.

1915 Albert enlisted in the Gloucester Regiment having spent a month in Biggin as the school teacher’s assistant. We do not have his attestation papers as they are amongst the burned documents that were destroyed during the Blitz of World War Two. According to the record transcription his town of residence on enlistment was given as Hartington.

By spring 1915 it had become clear that voluntary recruitment was not going to provide the numbers of men required. The Government passed the National Registration Act on 15th July 1915 as a step towards stimulating recruitment and to discover how many men between the ages of 15 and 65 were engaged in each trade. The results of this census became available by mid-September 1915 and on 11th October 1915, Lord Derby was appointed Director-General of Recruiting. He brought forward a scheme five days later, always called the Derby Scheme, for raising the numbers. It was half-way to conscription. Disappointed at the results of the Derby Scheme, the Government introduced the Military Service Act on 27 January 1916. All voluntary enlistment was stopped as all British males were now deemed to have enlisted - that is, they were conscripted - if they were aged between 18 and 41 and resided in Great Britain (excluding Ireland) and were unmarried or a widower on 2 November 1915. Conscripted men were no longer given a choice of which service, regiment or unit they joined, although if a man preferred the navy it got priority to take him. This act was extended to married men on 25 May 1916.

Albert was sent to Bristol on home defence duties where he remained, it would appear – provided he was in the 3rd Battalion. However, the Gloucestershire Regiment archives lists him in 12 Battalion, which was the Bristol Pals Battalion. Soldiers unfit for front line duties might be rotated to home battalions. Thus it is likely, though not confirmed at this stage, that Albert went to France in November 1915 with the 12th Battalion as identified in Gloucester Regimental records.

1916 The battalion became part of the 5th Division of the British Army and found itself on Vimy Ridge near Arras.

July The battalion was moved to reinforce at the Somme. They saw action at High Wood, the Battle of Guillemont, the Battles of Flers-Courcelette, Morval and Le Transloy before being repositioned in October at Festuberland.

1917 23 April Albert discharged due to sickness (Par:392 (xvi)). His town of residence was given as Bristol.

03 May He is listed in the Silver War Badge Roll

1919 June Quarter Death registered in Ashbourne.


Private William Wagstaff : (18548 and 43126) Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment) and 8th Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment, 11 May 1917,

Private William Wagstaff had two service numbers: 18548 and 43126

William Wagstaff enlisted in Buxton although the date is not known. We can see from his medal records that he did not see oversees service until November 1915 when he saw service in the Balkans.

He originally joined the Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment) having a number 18548 and again it is not known when he transferred to the 8th Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment, number 43126 , although it is evident that several men transferred between the two regiments at the same time.

We are unsure of William’s exact movements through the war although his company war diary reveals what he went through in April of 1917 in the weeks leading up to his injury and death as a result of wounds on 11 May 1917.

He is remembered at the Etaples Military Cemetery.


Sergeant William Webster : (240729) 2nd/6th Battalion, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment 21 March 1918. Aged 21

1897 24th March William was baptized at St Thomas’s Church, Biggin. His parents were Joseph Webster and Ann Dawson. He already had an older sister Elizabeth (1892) and his parents would go on to have Margaret (1899), Rebecca (1900), John Joseph (1905), Charles (1907) and George who was born and died in 1911.

1911 April The census listed William as a cowman in the household of John Thomas Birds, a farmer, of Friden Grange.

1915 He enlisted in Ashbourne. His attestation form which he complete upon joining the Territorial Force tells us very little about him. He gave his age as eighteen and his trade as a labourer. See document in attached file

11 July William married Elizabeth Banks who was baptized in Hartington and can be found on the 1911 census as a domestic servant for the Smedley family of The Woodlands, Ashbourne. The Army Register of Soldiers' Effects records that after his death she received a "war gratuity" of £23.

William Webster - Register of Soldiers' Effects. See document in attached file

William fought in France and Flanders in the same locations as Sergeant Percival and Private Buxton. Like them he would also have been to Ireland at the time of the Easter Rising in 1916.

On the 21stMarch 1918 the day began for the 2nd/6thwith 53 officers and 883 other ranks including George Percival, John Buxton and William Webster. The war diary reveals that there was a “Very heavy enemy barrage on front line from 5.0 am to 9.30 am. Enemy attacked at 9.30 am. Battn suffered very heavy casualties” The Register of Soldiers' effects lists William's death as being officially accepted on the same day. His body was never found. His name is commemorated on the Arras War Memorial.

William's widow remarried in 1931.


Word War II details

Flying Officer Michael Lloyd (Pilot) 122507 12 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve Died 22nd October 1943 aged 21

See attached document for two pictures - the Lancaster shown is Michael’s plane as it went on its last raid - it is the last image of Michael Lloyd.

1922 Michael is born in Henty, Victoria, Austalia. His parents are Norman Austin Lloyd and Millicent Greta Priestly.

1923 11 December The Lloyd family arrive in Southampton aboard the S.S. Ceramic. Michael’s father Norman Lloyd has taken a job as works manager with the Friden Brickworks in Derbyshire.

1935 Michael is sent to Tonbridge School, Kent. He excelled at cricket as well as his lessons. He was head boy in the academic year 1939-1940. His teachers remembered him for his kindness and his loyalty. The school magazine reported that he had hoped to study medicine but instead of going to university entered the R.A.F. having finished his school life by playing in a cricketmatch at Lords.

1939 The Lloyd family together with Michael’s aunt Constance Lloyd are listed as living at Friden House, Hartington. By the end of the war the family moved to Over Haddon.

1942 7 March Sergeant Michael Lloyd commissioned Pilot Officer.

1942 16 June Gazetted – this means that Lloyd’s new rank was printed in the London Gazette.

Pilot Officer Lloyd was sent to 1656 Heavy Conversion Unit based at RAF Lindholme, South Yorkshire. He learned to fly a Tiger Moth II before flying a Wellington, a medium bomber. From there he progressed to the Lancaster, which was a heavy bomber.

1943 20 October Lloyd arrived at RAF Wickenby in Lincolnshire from 1656 Heavy Conversion Unit to join 12 Squadron.

1943 18.00, 22 October Lancaster JB287 PH-F, piloted by Flying Officer Lloyd, took off on a mission to bomb Kassel. It was Lloyd’s second mission. The crew was:

F/O. M. Lloyd
Sgt. G. Hood
Sgt. R O. Williamson
Sgt. G E. Parkes
Sgt. G A. Davis
Sgt. G F. Allison
Sgt. J D. Walton
Sgt. R. Puddle

The R.A.F. Wickenby Station Diary states that the aircraft was part of a force of 322 Lancasters and 247 Halifaxes.

There was high night fighter activity, moderate heavy flack barrage and moderate to intense light flack.

1943 24.00, 22 October Lancaster JB287 PH-F crashed in Schildesche Germany, a suburb of Bielefeld approximately 65 miles NW of target Kassel. Schildesche is about 15 miles West off track of the first leg out of the target. JB287 may well have strayed over Bielefeld defences. Its crew were all killed.

1943 27 October All the crew were laid to rest in Bielefeld. They were later moved to Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany.

One thousand and eighty men died whilst serving with 12 & 626 squadrons at RAF Wickenby between 1942 and 1945.

In Kassel 150,000 people lost their homes and another 10,000 died. The bombing caused a fire that lasted seven days. Kassel was almost completely destroyed.


Private Charles Riley: (14885293) Pioneer Corps Died 10th March 1946 aged 19

Grandson of Mary Riley, of Biggin.
Buried in Biggin (St. Thomas) Churchyard, Derbyshire

In September 1939, the Military Training Act was overtaken by the National Service (Armed Forces) Act. This act imposed a liability to conscription of all men 18 to 41 years old. Charles Riley became liable for conscription in 1945.

At this time St Thomas’s has no further information about Charles Riley.


Trooper Kenneth Sims: (7905766) 2nd Derbyshire Yeomanry, Royal Armoured Corps Died 10th July 1941 aged 20

See attached document for a picture of Trooper Sims

1920 Birth of Kenneth Sims. His parents were Alice Ollerenshaw and Thomas Pett Sims. The couple married in Biggin on 23 February 1914 in St Thomas’s.

1929 5 April Thomas Pett Sims dies.

1939 Alice registered as Biggin’s sub postmistress.

1940 19 October The 2nd battalion of the Derbyshire Yeomanry, a specialist Royal Armoured Corps Battalion with a reconnaissance role, was sent to Ripon for training.

1941 April Part of the battalion was deployed to Bristol to assist with the aftermath of the Bristol Blitz. We do not know if Trooper Sims was part of this detachment.

1941 10 July Kenneth Sims died whilst on home service.

Kenneth Sims is buried in St Thomas’s churchyard.


Trooper Victor Wilton: (7905762) 53rd Regiment, Reconnaissance Corps, Royal Armoured Corps. Died 28th February 1945 aged 25

The Reconnaissance Corps trained its men in Lochmaben, Scarborough and Catterick. Private Wilton, on call up, would have been sent for three months infantry and weapons training then granted seven days leave. Then a further three months vehicle driving repair and maintenance training then another seven days leave. Theirs was a tactical and independent thinking role that has led to them being described as an elite force. Once training was complete Private Wilton would have been allocated to one of many regiments. In this case the 53rd Recce who were the eyes and ears of the 53rd Welsh Infantry.

1942 April Privates became Troopers.

1942 May The regiment took part in Exercise Tiger. They encountered Churchill tanks for the first time.

1942 June The regiment replaced all it’s out dated Bedford armoured cars with Humbers. By the end of the year Churchill had visited the regiment. The division was also sent to defend Kent.

1944 28 June The 53rd Recce landed in Normandy and were involved in heavy fighting before starting the push for Belgium. The regiment was part of the campaign to widen the salient at Eindhoven which had it been successful would have improved the chances of Operation Market Garden capturing Arnhem. The regiment continued its push into Holland and from there into Germany.

1944 December The Germans make a counter attack in what has become known as the Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes. This was mainly an American battle but a number of British regiments were involved including the 53rd. The Reconnaissance Corps was absorbed into the Royal Armoured Corps.

1945 January The Battle of the Bulge officially came to an end.

1945 8th February Operation Veritable begins. Canadian forces, the Seaforth Highlanders and the 53rd Recce now became involved in the fiercest fighting of their war so far in the Battle of the Reichswald Forest on the Lower Rhine against German paratroopers. The landscape was described as similar to the fighting of the First World War with “winter rain, mud and flooding.” The 53rd Regiment suffered 2,500 casualties including Trooper Victor Wilton. He is buried in the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery.

Biggin_War_Memorial_-_document_archive_, PDF


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