First World War service of Upper Beeding builder

Walter Frederick Elms, the son of Frederick and Keturah Elms, was born in 1884 and baptised on March 2 at Upper Beeding church.

Friday, 12th June 2015, 2:00 pm
Walter Frederick Elms is seated second from right. His first son, Frederick, is stood on the far right of the back row, and his other son, Ted, is seated on the left, holding a little dog

He had four older and two younger siblings.

Kelly’s Directory for 1903 listed him at Adur House, Upper Beeding, but by the time of the 1911 census the family was at Riverside House.

Walter married Annie Trower in 1912 and they had three children, all born in Upper Beeding.

Walter Frederick Elms with his wife, Annie, and daughter, Olive, c1922

Their first son, Frederick Howard Elms, was born in 1912 and, in the Second World War, served in Burma as a sergeant with the Royal Sussex Regiment.

Their daughter, Olive Alice, was born in 1914.

In the First World War Walter served in the Royal Army Medical Corps as a stretcher bearer, and was sent to France on May 19, 1915.

He was awarded the British War Medal, Victory Medal and 1915 Star, as well as a medal for bravery under fire.

His second son, Edgar Gordon Elms (known as Ted), was born after the war in 1920.

He later served in North Africa for five years during the Second World War, as one of Desert Rats.

Walter was a builder by occupation.

One of his jobs was to build an extension to Bramber Church, and it is said that he left a farthing at the 12th brick above the end window.

He started the Steyning walking races in which his sons took part.

With his sons, he also built Dacre Villas, in Shoreham Road, around 1940.

He continued to live at Riverside House, Upper Beeding, where he died in 1945.

His memorial inscription in Upper Beeding churchyard extension reads: “In loving memory of dear Father and Mother, Walter Frederick Elms, who died June 21st 1945 aged 61, and Annie, his wife, who died Feb 15th 1949, aged 67.”