Centenaries in April
6 April 1918 Benedict Godfrey Allen Bell aged 27. Son of Canon James Allen Bell and Mrs Sara Georgina Bell née Megaw (b Hollywood, Co Down) of Wimbledon. Benedict worked for Asiatic Petroleum in Singapore where he was also a member of the Singapore Cricket Club. In March 1917 he arrived back in the UK and joined the Royal Air Force, training at Oxford, Rendcombe and Biggen Hill. He was a 2nd lieutenant in the 48th Squadron and was posted missing, shot down and killed in action. He has no known grave. He is commemorated on the Arras Flying Services Memorial, Pas de Calais, France and also on the Wimbledon and Putney Commons war memorial together with his brother James Donald Allen Bell (photo above). A third brother, George Kennedy Allen Bell, became Bishop of Chichester.
25 April 1918 Henry Graham Achurch aged 29. Son of Mr Henry and Mrs Mathilda Achurch. He was born in Wintringham in Hampshire, where his father was a farmer, and attended Kimbolton Grammar School. In 1910 Graham went to Singapore, sent by his company Hitlermann Brothers, a merchant company based in Manchester, to work for Brinkmann and Co. In Singapore he was a member of the Singapore Cricket Club, where he is remembered on the war memorial. He was also a member of the Singapore Volunteer Artillery. In May 1916 Graham returned to England and joined the Royal Flying Corps (later the Royal Air Force) in August 1917. In January 1918 he was gazetted as a 2nd lieutenant. During a night-time training exercise at Belper, his aeroplane crashed and he was killed. He was buried in near his home at St Neots Cemetery, then Huntingdonshire, now Cambridgeshire.
Anniversaries in April
11 April 1917 Harold Lewis Millard (42). Son of Rev Frederick Millard and Mrs Martha Amelia Millard. Harold was a lawyer and partner with Donaldson and Burkinshaw in Singapore, where he was admitted to the Bar in 1903. He was also a captain in the Chinese Company of the Singapore Volunteer Infantry and a member of the Singapore Cricket Club. At the outbreak of the war he returned to the UK and was commissioned with the rank of captain in January 1915 in the 8th Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment, served in Gallipoli and went to the Western Front in August 1916 with the 7th Battalion, by which time he had been promoted to major. Harold died of wounds at the 74th Field Ambulance and is buried at Fosse No.10 Communal Cemetery Extension, Sains-en-Gohelle, Pas de Calais, France.
18 April 1915 Charles Mervyn Payton aged 23. Son of Sir Charles Payton and Eliza Mary Lady Payton née Olive. Charles went to Singapore in 1912 to work on a rubber plantation, but later worked as the chief clerk of the Government Secretariat. He had been a 2nd lieutenant with the Reserve Battalion of the Royal West Kent Regiment in 1910, promoted to lieutenant in 1911. Upon his return to the UK at the outbreak of the war, Charles rejoined his old regiment and went to France in January 1915. He was killed in the 2nd Battle of Ypres on Hill 60. He has no known grave and is remembered at Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.
20 April 1917 Leonard Victor Lowe. Leonard was an accountant with Penang Estates. He was returning to the UK to join up when the Japanese ship he was travelling on was sunk by torpedo two days out from Tilbury. Although he and a colleague survived the sinking and made it to a lifeboat, Leonard succumbed to the elements and died of exposure. We have no family details for Leonard, but we believe he came from Caledonia.
22 April 1916 Alexander Bryant Cumming aged 20. Son of Alexander Cumming and Mabel Beatrice Carver (widow remarried) née Ginbey. Alex was born in Singapore in 1895. After his father’s sudden death in 1905, he returned to the UK with his mother and brother. In 1914 he matriculated from Felsted School and began a course in September at the Central Technical College for Engineers, but two days later enlisted in the Public Schools Battalion, Middlesex Regiment. In December 1914 he was admitted to Sandhurst, was given a commission as a 2nd lieutenant in the Black Watch. He saw action on the Western Front from October 1915. In 1916 he was with the Indian Expeditionary Force in Mesopotamia as Machine Gun Officer when he was injured in the Battle of Sheik Road Saad and invalided to Bombay. He later joined the Kut Relieving Force as a lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) on the Tigris. Alex was killed in action at the Relief of Kut, Sann-i-Yat. He is buried at Amara War Cemetery in Iraq.
28 April 1917 Reginald Vaux Cuthbert aged 37. Son of Mr Hugh and Mrs Anne Cuthbert née Wilknson. Reginald was born in Edinburgh. In Singapore he worked for Adamson, Gilfillan & Co Ltd and later for Nestlé Swiss Condensed Milk. In all he lived 13 years in the East, including Java. In Singapore he was a member of the St Andrew’s Society, the Singapore Volunteer Artillery and the Singapore Cricket Club, where he is commemorated on the club’s war memorial. In July 1915 he returned to England and was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the 10th Seaforths but served with the 8th Battalion the Seaforth Highlanders, Ross-shire Buffs The Duke of Albany’s. He went to France in September 1916. He died of wounds and is buried at Duisans British Cemetery, Etrun, Pas de Calais, France.