The Fallen of Aston and Weston – 1917
Private William Henry Riley of the Army Service Corps. He enlisted in September 1916 and was a member of the Mechanical Transport Section based at Grove Park, South London. Whilst at this base camp he was taken ill and eventually transferred to the home of his wife’s parents Mr. and Mrs. James Bullock of Castle Hill, Duffield, Derby. Despite being afforded the very best medical treatment he passed away on the 29th March 1917. He was 30 years of age. Before enlisting in September 1916 he worked for the Crompton and Evans Bank in Matlock. His funeral took place at Aston parish church, where at one time he was a member of the church choir, the mourners were led by his wife Ethel whom he had married in 1912. He also left a two year old son. The funeral was followed by interment in Moor Lane Cemetery.
Private Frederick Hackett of the Machine Gun Corps. He was killed in action at the age of 21 and is buried in the Monchy British Cemetery at Monchy-Le-Preux near Arras. He had left his job as a gardener with Messrs Dickinson and Henshall of Shardlow to enlist in October 1915. He was killed by a bomb from a German trench mortar during a heavy bombardment on July 28th. His officer wrote to his mother – “Your son had been with this company about a week and in this short time had become very popular amongst his comrades. He was a good soldier, willing, and never grumbled at his task. He was buried behind the lines”.
Private Albert Edward Hackett of the 16th Battalion Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment) died on the 5th August and has no known grave. He is remembered with honour on the Menin Gate at Ypres, Belgium. He was 18 years of age when he fell and had served in the army for only 6 months.
Lance Corporal James Simpson of the 10th battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment was killed in action on the 6th August at the age of 23. He joined the army in September 1914 and was sent to France in June of the following year. He was struck in the chest by a shell and death was instantaneous. His parents, Thomas and Elizabeth Simpson of Weston Road, Aston, received a letter from one of his comrades which said – “we shall miss the best non-commissioned officer and pal there was in this company. He died the death of a soldier, standing beside his gun to the last”. His officer also wrote to his parents stating that – “he had a great respect for him as one wholly devoted to his duty”.
Major Guy Winterbottom, of the Derbyshire Yeomanry. He was the son of Lieut. Colonel William Dickson Winterbottom of Aston Hall and the late Clara Craven Winterbottom. He was killed in action on the Salonika front on the 9th August 1917. He had been on active service since the outbreak of war and only a week before he met his death he had been slightly wounded, but continued with his duties. Whilst riding between outposts he was fired upon from long range and mortally wounded. He was 27 years of age and is buried at the Struma Military Cemetery in Greece. Guy Winterbottom was married in 1912 to Reva Morrison, daughter of a family of Faceby, Northallerton. Major Guy and Reva Winterbottom resided at The Cottage, Rolleston on Dove where they owned a farm. There were no children. Rifleman Charles William Hackett of the 11th Battalion Rifle Brigade was killed in action on the 10th August whilst serving with a trench mortar battery. He was 25 years of age and was buried at Bard Cottage Cemetery, north of the town of Ypres, Belgium. Before enlisting in September 1914 he had worked as a gardener’s labourer for Messrs Z. Smith and Co., Shardlow. His parents received a letter from his commanding officer who wrote – “It has been a great blow to the officers and men of the battery to lose him. He was a wonderful man; so brave, and always did his duty thoroughly well as a soldier should. He was recommended for the meritorious service medal at the beginning of the year, but up to the present nothing more of this has been heard”.
Gunner Henry Hackett of the 115th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery. He had worked as a gardener before enlisting in February 1915. After training at Scarborough and Yarmouth he was sent to France in June 1916. He died from wounds on the 7th December at the age of 27 and his remains lie in the St. Julien Dressing Station Cemetery near Ypres, Belgium.