Remembering Worthing’s fallen

Service at Worthing War Memorial. Photo by Derek Martin - DM154259a

Service at Worthing War Memorial. Photo by Derek Martin - DM154259a

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The Worthing men who died in February 1916 while serving their country in the First World War.

L/11066 Private Charles James Figg

Royal Sussex Regiment 3rd Battalion

Died February 7, 1916, aged 17

Charlie, as he was known, was one of the youngest soldiers from Worthing to lose his life in the war.

His father, Arthur Albert, was born in 1871 in Liphook and married Mary Ann Merritt in 1894.

In 1901 the family was living at 46 Richmond Road, Worthing, with their four children; George (born 1895), Edith (1896), Charles (1898) and Victoria (1901).

Arthur was employed as a coachman.

By the time of the 1911 census the family had moved to 5 Heene Mews, now known as Heene Place, with Arthur employed as a domestic chauffeur.

By this time the family had a third son, Frank, born in 1906.

Charlie enlisted at Hove with the 3rd Battalion Royal Sussex (militia) Regiment.

The 3rd Battalion was raised in August 1914 and remained in England during the war.

In January 1916 the Battalion was stationed at Newhaven.

Charlie contracted meningitis and died at home on February 7, 1916.

He was buried in Heene Cemetery, where his mother was also buried in 1943.

At the time of Charlie’s death his father was serving in Egypt in the Army Service Corps.

He was discharged sick from the Army in October 1918 and died in 1947.

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Drummer G/1595 Stanley George Heather

Royal Sussex Regiment 9th Battalion

Died February 14, 1916, aged 26

Stanley Heather was born in Worthing in 1889.

Known to his family as Sunny, he was the youngest of three children born to William, a chimney sweep, and his wife Elizabeth.

Stanley grew up at the family home at Brooklands Terrace, Tarring Road, and later at 59 Tarring Road.

On leaving school Stanley worked as a window cleaner.

In 1915 he married Elsie Harriet Apted and they moved in with Elsie’s widowed mother at 56 London Street.

A son, Eric Heather, was born in September 1916.

Sadly he never knew his father as Stanley was killed a few months before his son’s birth.

Stanley enlisted at Worthing with the 9th Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment.

On the evening of February 14, 1916, the 9th Battalion was in trenches at Hooge under heavy German shelling.

At 5.45pm the enemy exploded two mines under the British trenches.

Stanley was among the 141 men who lost their lives.

He is buried in the Menin Road South Cemetery.

In Broadwater Cemetery there is a memorial plaque to Stanley with the poignant words: “Only for a little while, I soon again shall meet, My own, my dearly loved, Around the saviour’s feet.”

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142 Corporal Walter Dale

Royal Field Artillery, 27th Division Ammunition Column

Died February 14, 1916

Walter Dale was born in Worthing in 1890.

He was one of six children of Albert, a general labourer, and Ruth Dale who were both born in the Sussex village of Washington.

When Walter was born the family home was at 8 Market Street, Worthing.

Later they moved to 3 Paragon Cottages.

Walter attended Christ Church Boys’ School in Chapel Street, now Portland Road.

On leaving school he worked as a window cleaner.

In 1912 he married Minnie Dora Stanford and they set up home at 7 St Anselm’s Road. A son, Sidney Dale was born in 1916.

On February 19, 1913, Walter enlisted at Hove into the Royal Field Artillery.

He was posted to the 27th Division Ammunition Column on January 30, 1915, and was promoted to Corporal on April 20 that year.

In February 1916 Walter became ill with pneumonia and was sent to a military hospital in Malta.

He died there on February 14 and is buried in the Pieta Military Cemetery, Malta.

He is remembered on the Christ Church Boys’ School memorial.

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Captain William Howard Nicholls

Royal Army Medical Corps

Died February 22, 1916, aged 24

William Nicholls was born in Eastbourne on April 23, 1891, to Dr Howard Nicholls, a retired surgeon, and his wife Harriet.

He had an older sister, Violet, born 1888.

By 1901 the Nicholls family had moved to Bramber Lodge, Downview Road, Worthing.

William was educated at Bradfield College and later went on to medical training at Guy’s Hospital.

Although he was near qualifying for a degree at London University, at the outbreak of war William immediately enlisted with the Royal Army Medical Corps. In 1915 he was promoted to Captain.

William had an interest and knowledge of mechanics and while medically in charge of the Norwich Flying Corps, he learned to fly.

On January 9, 1916, he obtained his pilot’s certificate, taking the examination in a Maurice Farman biplane – an unusual distinction in the R.A.M.C.

Soon after this he was posted to India.

It was at Jhansi, Central Provinces, that he was killed by an accidental gunshot wound on February 22, 1916.

He is buried in the Jhansi Cantonment Cemetery and commemorated on the Madras War Memorial at Chennai, India.

A keen sportsman and lover of the sea and yachting, he was greatly missed by his friends in Worthing.

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