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Reginald Colin Winterbourne

Lifetime: 1894-?

Reference: MH47/97/38


Winterbourne's stores, c.1905

Reginald Colin Winterbourne was the eldest brother of Allan John and Percy G Winterbourne who both enlisted in the Honourable Artillery Company, both also dying in 1917. His father, Colin John Winterbourne had a long established grocery business at 12 High Street and 14 High Street, Hampton Wick.

Conscription was introduced in 1916. His father applied for a conditional exemption for Reginald. Initially, it appears form the records of the Tribunal (MH47/97/38) held by the National Archives that he was granted various temporary exemptions from March 1916. Early in 1917, he applied for a further exemption for his son. The Tribunal’s decision was initially adjourned in February pending a medical examination. When Reginald was passed fit (Category A), his father made a further application for an exemption for his son on the grounds that his services were “indispensable”; the business was “necessary and important for food distribution”; his son was “of delicate constitution” and that his two other sons and all other assistants of military age were serving in the forces. In fact, by the date of the application (22 May 1917) his youngest son, Percy, was already dead.

The decision of the Local Tribunal (held in Hampton Wick and presumably formed from the ranks of the local business community) was sympathetic to the Winterbournes apparently because the father was in ill-health. They appear also to have been swayed by the fact that Colin Winterbourne had already lost his eldest son (in fact his youngest son) in action and his second son had been injured in action. They stress that Reginald was now his only (underlined) son left to assist him. Accordingly, the Local Tribunal granted Reginald a temporary exemption for two months from 5 June 1917 on the grounds that serious hardship would ensue if he were called up “owing to his exceptional business obligations”.

However, the Military Authorities were less easily swayed by emotion. They immediately appealed against the decision of the Local Tribunal. The Military Representative argued that it was in the national interest that Reginald should fight. He was single, fit and of military age (aged 23). The Military Representative demolished the suggestion that he was essential to the business as he was not the owner of the business but merely an assistant to his father “who is the owner and is himself actively employed besides having 3 or 4 quite capable assistants over military age”. Accordingly, the grant of the exemption certificate was overturned with a concession that he would not be called up until 4 August 1917.

In the Christmas 1917 edition of his old school, Hampton’s, magazine there is a reference in the Obituary Notice for his brother, Allan, to the fact that the only surviving Winterbourne brother, Reginald, was serving in the Queen’s Westminsters. Reginald survived the war and served in his father’s shop until it was sold to the Co-Op in 1925.

Allan John Winterbourne

Rank: Private

Lifetime: 1896-1917

Reference: 5551


Private Allan John Winterbourne's obituary in The Surrey Comet dated 12 January 1918

Private Allan John Winterbourne (5551) of the 2nd Battalion of the Honourable Artillery Company (“HAC”) died, aged 21, on 9 October 1917. He has no known grave but is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial.

He was the youngest of the three sons of Colin John Winterbourne who had a long established grocery business at 12 High Street and 14 High Street, Hampton Wick. Already established at the premises in 1893, by 1905 it was described in an advert as a “High Class Grocer”. The grocery business continued to operate in Hampton Wick as Winterbourne Stores in the 1920s until it was taken over by the Co-Op in 1925.

In the 1901 Census Allan John Winterbourne is said to be four years old having been born in Hampton Wick in about 1896. His father moved to the area as he was born elsewhere in 1864, but Allan’s mother, Helen Elizabeth Winterbourne (nee Hill), had been born in Hampton Wick in 1868. Allan had an older brother, Reginald, born in about 1894 who, by the time of the 1911 Census, was listed as a Grocer’s Apprentice.

Allan attended Hampton Grammar School. Following his studies there, according to his obituaries in The Surrey Comet dated 17 November & 12 January 1918 (in which he is referred to as “Allen”), he trained for 2 years at Pitman’s School , Southampton Row, London. Subsequently he joined London & South-Western Bank at Westminster.

We are indebted to the detailed discussions about his war service in the online Great War Forum generated by a question posed by a History teacher at Allan’s old school, Hampton School, and to the report in the December 1917 edition of The Lion (Hampton’s school magazine) from which it appears that Allan John Winterbourne, having enlisted in September 1915 at Armoury House, was admitted to the HAC on 24 November 1915 when he gave his place of residence as Hampton Wick. Allan John was sent overseas, according to his obituary in The Surrey Comet, in September 1916 and “took part in much fighting” presumably on the Somme. This information conflicts slightly with the records of the HAC which state that Allan Winterbourne joined up in May 1915 and was sent to France in October 1916. The version set out in the obituaries is probably more accurate as the HAC’s version relies on record cards submitted by relatives at a later date in 1919.

He was invalided back to the UK on 18 March 1917 (having contracted trench fever in January 1917). The Hampton School magazine, The Lion, reports that he was invalided out of the army for 7 months (having contracted trench fever in January 1917)returning to the battlefield on 23 July 1917 and was killed in action on 9 October 1917 at Reutel. Apparently Reutel is about 8km west of Ieper (known as Ypres) and 1km west of Polygon Wood. On the day that Allan John Winterbourne died, his battalion lost 72 men. He was initially reported missing with his death only finally confirmed in January 1918.

His older brother, Reginald, also an old pupil of Hampton School, survived the war to take over his father’s grocery business to which he had been apprenticed before the war.

Percy George Winterbourne

Rank: Private

Lifetime: 1896-1917

Reference: 3641


Obituary of Percy George Winterbourne in The Surrey Comet dated 24 March 1917

Private Percy George Winterbourne (3641) of the 1st Battalion of the Honourable Artillery Company (“HAC”) died on 8 February 1917 (eight months before his younger brother Allan John Winterbourne). He was buried at 41 Ancre British Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel.

His father had the high class grocers on the High Street and his sons, Percy and Allan, in 1917. Only his eldest son, Reginald, lived to take over the business.

Again, we are endebted to the discussion generated by a teacher at his old school, Hampton School, on the on-line Great War Forum for further details of Percy’s service career. Like his brother, he enlisted at Armoury House giving Hampton Wick as his place of residence. According to the records of the HAC, he enlisted in May 1915 as a Private in the 2nd Battalion (at that date the Reserve Battalion) only being transferred to the No 2 Company of the 1st Battalion when he was sent to France. He was one of 17 men killed in his Battalion on 8 February 1917.

Percy Winterbourne’s obituary in The Surrey Comet dated 24 March 1917 states that after he left Hampton School he had worked in the Mayor’s Court at the Guildhall in the City of London. He is described in his obituary as “a dear and promising lad..a great favourite with all at the Guildhall”. He voluntarily enlisted and was sent to France in July 1916 when the Battle of the Somme had just commenced. After his death, on 28 February 1917, a memorial service was held at St John the Baptist for Percy. It was described as “of a simple but impressive character” attended by a representative of the Lord Mayor’s Court. His younger brother, Allen Winterbourne who died on 9 October 1917 at Passchendaele, is also commemorated on Hampton Wick’s War Memorial.

The first phase of this Project is to gather information about the men commemorated on the Hampton Wick War Memorial who fought in the Great War, also known as World War I, WWI or the First World War.

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