Remembering Worthing’s fallen
The Worthing men who died in June 1915 while serving their country in the First World War.
2329 Driver Charles William Newman
Royal Field Artillery
Died June 4, 1915, aged 36
Charles Newman was born in Worthing in 1880 while his parents were lodging at 1 Childs Place, Stanhope Road.
He was the second child of John Newman, a plasterer, and Eliza, his wife, a dressmaker.
The Newman family later moved to Campion Terrace, High Street.
On leaving school Charles found work as a house painter and later became an assistant groundsman at Worthing Sports Ground.
In 1903 he married Ellen Stillwell, a cook, and the couple set up home at 24 Lanfranc Road.
Charles enlisted in the Home Counties Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery as a driver.
He had just been transferred to Westerham, Kent, when, on June 4, 1915, he suffered a fatal accident involving a runaway horse.
At an inquest it was revealed that Charles was driving a water van when the horse took fright and bolted.
He was thrown off and died of his injuries.
His body was brought back to Worthing for burial in Broadwater Cemetery with full military honours.
At the funeral there was another bizarre incident involving a horse.
One of the six horses pulling the gun carriage bearing the coffin reared up and fell to the ground entangled in the traces.
The animal was soon calmed and on its feet again, and the cortege was able to continue on its way.
Driver Newman’s grave has a Commonwealth War Grave headstone.
He is also remembered on West Tarring Church war memorial.
SUSSEXZ/76 Petty Officer Charles Stubbs Thomas
Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve Collingwood Battalion
Died, June 4, 1915, aged 30
Charles Thomas was born in Worthing on May 23, 1885.
His early years are something of a mystery.
He is known to have been a fisherman before joining the Royal Navy, where he served eight years as a stoker.
In 1901, aged 16, he was in Portsmouth serving on HMS Duke of Wellington, a screw ship of the line, serving as a depot ship.
In 1909 he married Mabel Bashford, a fisherman’s daughter from Field Row.
In 1911 Charles and his wife were lodging at 17 Market Street and Charles was working as a labourer.
A daughter, Edna, was born to them that year, followed by another daughter, Elsie, born 1913.
On September 26, 1914, Charles re-enlisted as a Petty Officer in the Royal Navy, Collingwood Battalion.
On June 4, 1915, he was killed in action in the Gallipoli campaign and has no known grave.
He is remembered on the Helles Memorial in Turkey.
That year, his wife gave birth to their third daughter, Kathleen.
They were living at 3 Dagmar Street at the time of Charles’ death.
Second Lieutenant John Halsted Cortis
The Wiltshire Regiment 2nd Battalion
Died June 15, 1915, aged 20
John Cortis, born at Worthing on December 21, 1894, was the son of Arthur Brownbill Cortis and Lilian Rose, née Papps, a British subject born in Russia.
Arthur Cortis was a well-known chemist with a shop in South Street, Worthing.
The family home was at Outspan, Downview Road (on site of 11 Downview Road).
Arthur’s cousin was Alfred Cortis, the first Mayor of Worthing.
John Cortis was educated at Christ’s Hospital, Horsham.
On leaving school he took a position as a bank clerk at the Hungerford Branch of the Capital and Counties Bank.
Shortly after the outbreak of war he joined the Public School Corps, later transferring to the Officer Training Corps.
He initially joined the Royal Fusiliers as a Private but was discharged to a commission in the Wiltshire Regiment.
After training he was sent to France on May 25, 1915.
Officer casualties were high and young officers were needed to fill the gaps.
On June 15, 1915, he was killed while leading an attack on German trenches.
He had volunteered to take the place of a sick officer in this action and his commanding officer spoke very highly of him.
Second Lieutenant Cortis has no known grave and is remembered on the Le Touret Memorial.
He is also commemorated on the St Paul’s and Heene Church memorials, and the memorials at Christ’s Hospital and Hungerford.