This First World War memorial was fixed to the wall on the Myer’s Bedstead Factory in Vauxhall Walk. After being removed for safekeeping it was restored to the building in 2013.
The Horatio Myer & Co Great War Memorial
To the Memory of those Employees of
Horatio Myer & Co. Ltd.
who laid down their lives in the Great War
James William Adams
Rifleman, King’s Royal Rifle Corps
Service no. 12387
Died of wounds on 30 July 1915, aged about 20
Remembered at Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium
Born in Lambeth; lived in Vauxhall
In 1911 the Adams family lived in five rooms at 42 Neville Street, Vauxhall. At that time, three members of the family worked at the bed factory. George Thomas Adams, 42, was a bedstead painter; and two daughters, Alice, 20, and Ada, 15, were mattress weavers. James Adams, then 16, had no apparent occupation. There were three other children, all still at school.
James’s Army Service records have not survived.
James Edward Bryon
Private, 20th Hussars, “B” Squadron
Service no. 31373
Killed in action on 31 May 1917, aged 31
Buried at Unicorn Cemetery, Vendhuile, Aisne, France
CWGC: “Son of Howard and Louisa Bryon, of London; husband of Julia Catherine Bryon, of 23, Calmington Rd., Albany Rd., Camberwell, London.”
James Edward Bryon was born in Lambeth in 1885. At 22 he married 21-year-old Julia Catherine Hollins on 4 August 1907 at St Philip’s Lambeth. On the marriage certificate he gave his address as Monckton Street and his occupation as carman.
In 1911, 25-year-old James Bryon was living in four rooms at 86 Sancroft Street with Julia and his one-year-old daughter Julia May. He again gave his occupation as carman; his industry was “bedsteads”.
James’s Army Service records have not survived.
Lance Corporal, Rifle Brigade, 13th Battalion
Service no. S/27392
Killed in action on 4 November 1918, aged about 20
Buried at Ghissingnies British Cemetery, Nord, France
After attesting in May 1915, Albert Budd, previously a packer for Myer’s, survived for more than three years. A gunshot wound to the thigh caused him to be repatriated by hospital ship in May 1916 but he subsequently recovered and was sent back to France.
He was killed in action only a week before the Armistice.
At the time of joining in 1915 the Army medical, conducted at The Bricklayer’s Arms, Old Kent Road, found that Budd was 5 feet 2 inches tall, with a 37-inch chest (expandable by 3 inches). His physical development was described as “good”.
Budd’s Army career was generally unremarkable. There is only one incident on his Conduct sheet: while at Aldershot he used improper language to an NCO, for which he was punished with 14 days’ confinement to barracks.
Budd’s family lived at 23 Tinworth Street, which is adjacent to Vauxhall Walk and a stone’s throw from Myer’s. The 1911 census lists eight children of Thomas and Sarah Budd but the return states also that there were 14 children born alive to the couple, with 11 surviving at the time of the census. The census gives no occupation for Albert (he was born in 1897 and was still a schoolboy) but two of his brothers, 18-year-old Alfred and 16-year-old Charles, are described as labourers working for bedstead makers.
Another brother, Thomas, a Lance Corporal in the Middlesex Regiment, also died in the war. In 1911 he was a 21-year-old carman at Providence Wharf (his details are given below). Thomas’s Army Service records have not survived.
Another brother, Alfred John Budd, survived the war. His service records show that he joined the Royal Fusiliers on 18 April 1916, transferring to the West Riding Regiment in 1917. His attestation papers describe him as a bedstead filler. Alfred medical papers state that he had only “fair” physical development; however, at nearly 5 feet 7½ inches and 132 pounds he was more substantial than Albert. Alfred had a contracted little finger on his left hand and a lazy left eye.
Apart from a couple of minor transgressions – missing kit and a short period of absence without leave in 1919 – Alfred’s Conduct sheet was clear. He was wounded in the right elbow but later returned to service. He was demobbed in mid 1919.
Lance Corporal, Middlesex Regiment, 1st Battalion
Service no. G/7693
Killed in action on 23 October 1918, aged about 28
Buried at Cross Roads Cemetery, Fontaine-au-Bois, Nord, France where, 634 of the 638 men interred died between 1 October and the Armistice.
London Regiment, 24th Battalion (The Queen’s)
Died of tuberculosis on 5 July 1917, aged 30
For unknown reasons, Edward Embleton does not appear on the 1911 census. However, he is listed, aged 14, on the 1901 census, along with his family, at 11 Spring Gardens, very close to Vauxhall Walk. The household consisted of his mother, Mary Embleton – at 36 already a widow – three siblings (including a brother Thomas, who may have been his twin), his grandmother (also called Mary Embleton) and a boarder. Both Marys were born in Cork, Ireland and the family were, according to Edward’s discharge papers, Roman Catholics. Edward’s occupation is given on the 1901 census as iron foundry boy and it seems likely that he was employed at Myer’s). Thomas worked as a laundry van boy.
In 1911 two of Edward’s siblings, Ellen Embleton, then aged 25, and Thomas Embleton, 24, are listed as living apart from the family. Ellen was working as a housemaid at The Manor House in Ewell, Surrey and Thomas was a chauffeur and living with his wife and young child in Forest Gate.
In 1916, aged 28, Edward Embleton was called up and he attested at Lambeth.
His Army career was tragically short-lived. He gave his trade as “mattress maker” and stated that he lived at 110 Ethelred Street, Kennington. He was measured as 5 feet 10½ inches tall, and described as fair-haired with a pale complexion. On 30 March 1917, however, he was discharged from the Army as unfit for service under Para 392 XVI King’s Regulations. The Army doctor described his condition:
“First complained of rheumatic pains in back, was called up in August 1916 and after about three weeks while at camp was sent to hospital with pain in back and because he couldn’t carry on. He never did any drill [the doctor’s emphasis]. Reported sick as soon as called up.”
Edward was immediately admitted to hospital at Winchester, where a spinal abscess was operated on, and he was later transferred to Folkestone. But, continues the medical report, “the wound has never healed.” He was diagnosed with tuberculosis.
The medical report described how Embleton had lost 2½ stone since he joined the Army. “He is very thin. Has been running a temperature every night for months. There is a discharging sinus … about 2½ inches long… He is confined to bed and has been for about eight months.”
Embleton’s discharge due to “total incapacity” was approved on 9 March 1917, and although his illness was defined as “not caused by service” he was nevertheless given a £65 gratuity. He had served 1 year and 110 days.
His notes are appended with the line – “Man died 5.7.1917”.
Edward’s brother Alfred who is also apparently missing from the 1911 census, also joined the Army. He served in the East Kents (The Buffs) as a private and survived the war.
Lance Corporal, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry), 142nd Company
Service no. 71572
Formerly no. 2122, London Regiment
Killed in action on 9 December 1917
Remembered at Arras Memorial to the Missing, Pas de Calais, France
Born in Bermondsey; lived in Vauxhall; enlisted in Kennington
A tentative identification. There is no evidence that the James Faulkner whose details are given above is connected with Myer & Co. and I can find no trace in the available records of a James Faulkner born in Bermondsey in the relevant time frame. Although I cannot identify a Faulkner family on the 1911 census, there is a note appended to James’s medal roll card: “Mrs Faulkner makes application for medals due to her late son, Pte J. Faulkner. 28 May 1920. 21 Tyers Street, Lambeth SE11.” This at least is evidence that a close relative of J. Faulkner was living a few streets away from the Myer’s factory. Another Faulkner family lived at 35 Jonathan Street, but this one did not, apparently, include a J. Faulkner.
Serjeant, Somerset Light Infantry, 8th Battalion
Service no. 16025
Killed in action on 1 July 1916, aged 27
Buried at Gordon Dump Cemetery, Oviller-la-Boisselle, Somme, France
CWGC: “Son of Mr. T. and Mrs. A. Hood; husband of Norah Hood, of 65, Livingstone Rd., Battersea, London.”
Born in Lambeth; lived in Vauxhall; enlisted in London
Awarded the Military Medal
This is an extremely tentative identification. The J. Hood above is the only one listed in Soldiers Died who was noted as born in Lambeth. Soldiers Died also states that he lived in Vauxhall. Unfortunately, I can find no trace of his marriage and his Service records have not survived.
W. J. Jones
J. A. Neave
James Albert Neave
Serjeant, Lancashire Fusiliers, 11th Battalion
Killed in action on 10 April 1918, aged 25
Formerly no. 2158, Norfolk Regiment
Remembered at Ploegsteert Memorial, Hainault, Belgium
Enlisted in Norwich, Norfolk
A tentative identification. This is the only entry for “J. A. Neave” in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database. I can find no evidence in Soldiers Died linking him to the Vauxhall area.
J. H. Tilbury
Joseph Henry Tilbury
Rifleman, London Regiment (Queen Victoria’s Rifles), 9th Battalion
Service no. 392806, formerly 6507
Killed in action on 31 August 1918, aged about 26
Buried at Fins New British Cemetery, Sorel-le-Grand, Somme, France
A tentative identification. In 1911 19-year-old Joseph Henry Tilbury was working as a printer’s labourer and living at 95 Sancroft Street, Kennington with his widowed mother, Sarah Ann Tilbury, 57, a laundry worker, and two sisters, Dorothy Amelia Tilbury, 16, a servant, and Ethel Tilbury, 14, a flower-maker. There were five other children and further four had died before 1911.
On Christmas Day 1915, aged 24, Joseph married Emily Amelia Seaman, a 24-year-old “artificial florist” at St Mary’s Church, Lambeth.
A. T. Weekes
Horace Frank Wigger
Private, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry), 22nd Company
Service no. 19119, formerly 1172, Royal West Surrey Regiment
Killed in action on 9 March 1916, aged 21
Buried at Citadel New Military Cemetery, Fricourt, Somme, France
CWGC: “Husband of Mrs. M. A. Wigger, of 24, Vauxhall Walk, Lambeth, London.”
Born in St. James, Norwich; enlisted in Southwark
In 1911, Horace Frank Wigger was a 16-year-old crucible-maker’s hand living at 42 Vauxhall Walk with his parents, 46-year-old Horace Wigger, a brewery worker, and Hannah Wigger, 45, and his sister, Anna Wigger, 9. The family occupied two rooms. Horace and his parents were born in Norwich; Anna in London.
On 2 November 1913, Horace married Mary Ann Apsey at St Paul’s Parish Church, Southwark. He claimed to be 21 but was probably only 18.
S. V. Yates
Sidney Valentine Yates
Corporal, Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), 3rd Battalion
Service no. 18347
“Accidentally drowned” on 22 July 1917, aged 20
Buried at Rosskeen Parish Churchyard Extensions (or Burial Ground)
A tentative identification. I found no information linking Sidney Valentine Yates to Myer & Co.
In 1911 Sidney Valentine Yates was a 14-year-old schoolboy living at 37 Worfield Road, Battersea (on the west side of Battersea Park) with his father, Joseph Harry Yates, 39, a gas meter maker from Wolverhampton, mother Elizabeth Yates, 42, from Canning Town, and two younger siblings, Lilian Maud, 7, and Cecil Leslie, 5.
A note on his medal roll says that Sidney was “accidentally drowned”. No further details were given, and his Army Service record has not survived. He is listed in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database he does not appear in Soldiers Died in the Great War.