27 October 2018


Stanley Frank Staden, born 21 December 1896 in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, was fourth of the eight children of John & Annie (nee Erswell).  Christened on 19 May 1897 in St John's church, he grew up in Bury St Edmunds and, by 1911, was a butcher's assistant living with his family (his mother died in 1907 and his father had remarried in 1910) at the Unicorn Inn, in Eastgate Street in the town.

When war came he joined up.  On 8th August.  At the age of 17, in the Suffolk Regiment, and was sent to the Western Front the following year.

I have thought a lot about this young man in the last few years.  The way he enlisted straight away, fought all the way through the war, earned the Military Medal; only to be killed 15 days before the Armistice.  I have no words for this short life which still, amongst all the others, has the power to bring me to tears, and leave the final part of this eulogy to others.

Extract from the History of the Suffolk Regiment: 

On the 27th [October 1918] the battalion was ordered to advance and  ascertain the enemy's strength on the river Rhonell, and if possible to  force a passage and form a bridge-head.  The Germans were found in  strength on both banks of the river, especially the north.  "A" Company  got a section over on the left, but these gallant men were all killed  before their success could be exploited, the remainder of the company  being driven back by machine-gun fire with many casualties.  In this  operation Cpl. S.F. Staden, M.M., displayed most conspicuous gallantry.   In the face of close-range fire he led his platoon to the river - which  he himself crossed carrying a Lewis gun - in a vain but heroic attempt to  rush an emplacement.  When the enemy had been driven back the grave of  this corporal was discovered marked with a cross (with his identity disc  fastened thereto) on which was inscribed in German the epitaph, "To a  very brave Englishman".

BURY FREE PRESS, 30th November 1918: 
BURY LAD KILLED BY MACHINE GUN BULLET.  Mr and Mrs J T Staden, of Eastgate Street, Bury St Edmund's, have received official intimation of the death in action, in France, of their second son, Cpl Stanley Frank Staden, 9722, Suffolk Regiment.  In a letter to the bereaved parents, the Chaplain of the battalion writes: "I am very sorry to tell you what you perhaps already know - that your son was killed instantly by a machine-gun bullet through the head during a very gallant attempt to cross the bridge at Maneches on October 27th.  His grave is in the garden of the house on the left-hand side of the road over the bridge coming from Sepnues.  His body was in the hand of the Germans, and I give them the credit for performing the last offices and placing a cross over the grave.  It will be hard for you to bear this sorrow in the midst of universal rejoicings.  May God comfort you and help you to feel that your brave son has given his precious life for the cause best worth living or dying for."

Corpl.Staden enlisted on August 8th, 1914, and was drafted overseas the following July.  He was wounded in February, 1916, his wounds necessitating his return to England for hospital treatment, and after three months was sent back to France.  For bravery in the field he was awarded the Military Medal last summer, and came home on leave last September, returning to duty on October 3rd.  

The deceased lad was only 21 years of age.  He was well known in the borough, and his cheery and lovable nature ensured for him a host of friends wherever he went.  Sincere and heartfelt sympathy is extended to the parents in their sorrow.

He is buried in Cross Roads Cemetery, Fontaine-au-Bois.

We will remember them.

22 October 2018


Two weeks ago I wrote about Ernest Culpin; today I write about his older brother Amos Culpin, who was born in Littlehampton, in 1885, oldest of the six children of Henry & Charlotte (nee Fielder).  By 1901 he was working as a telegraph messenger and, continuing the link with the outdoors and a bicycle, he became a postman in Oakham by 1911.

In 1912 Amos married Alice Stamp in Oakham and their son Arthur James was born later in the year.  When war came, Amos enlisted in the Army Service Corps, serving in the Balkans.  He died on 22 October 1918 and the Grantham Journal reported it thus:

"Died on active service.  Culpin - At the Detention Hospital Salonika, on 22 October 1918, of broncho-pneumonia following influenza, Amos, the dearly-loved eldest son of Mr & Mrs Culpin, Ashwell-road, Oakham, aged 33 years."

The final word, though, goes to his wife, via the columns of the Grantham Journal:

"In Memoriam:  In loving memory of my dear husband Corpl. Amos Culpin, who died October 23rd. 1918.  Only those who have lost can understand.  From his loving WIFE and JIMMY."

We will remember them.

8 October 2018


Ernest Henry Culpin, to give him his full name, was born in Littlehampton, Sussex, in 1886, second of the six children of Henry & Charlotte (nee Fielder).  The family moved to Odell in Bedfordshire in the next year or so and Ernest was shown as a five-year old scholar in the 1891 census.

Ten years later he was in Burton Latimer, Northants, boarding out, and working as a railway clerk, and by 1911 he was working on his grandfather's farm in Egleton, Rutland.  Come the war he enlisted at Oakham into the Northamptonshire Regiment and was sometime transferred to the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

The Grantham Journal  of 26th October 1918 has more detail: 

"Pte E H Culpin, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, of Oakham
The death as the result of being wounded, which necessitated the amputation of an arm, took place at a Casualty Clearing Station, in France, on the 8th October, of Pte. Ernest Hy. Culpin, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, second son of Mr and Mrs Culpin, of 14, Ashwell-road, Oakham.  The usual official notice, from the Infantry Record Office, at Dublin, was preceded by a War Office telegram, notifying Pte. Culpin had died of wounds after the left arm had been amputated, and the following letter has also been received:- “12th CCS, BEF, France.  11/10/18.  Dear Mrs Culpin, I write to express my sincere sympathy with you on the death of your son.  He was admitted to hospital on the 8th and died the same day, at 2.45pm.  I don’t think he suffered much, as he was unconscious most of the time.  I buried him in the British cemetery here.  May he rest in peace, and may God accept the noble sacrifice he has made in the war.  My heart goes out to you poor mothers.  God help you.  Yours truly, H A Griffiths, Chaplain.”  

Pte. Culpin, who was 32 years of age, was home on leave some six weeks ago, after a long absence, during which period he been seen service in Salonica, Egypt, and Palestine, and was one of the first to enter Jerusalem afters its capture, being in the city when General Allenby rode through it on horseback.  He afterwards came to the Western front.  Deceased had been in the Army three years, being previously herdman for Lord Lilford, at Lilford Hall, Northants.  A brother, Corpl. A Culpin, of the MTS, is at the present time attached to the Servian Army, while a brother-in-law, Pte F E Garner, RAMC, of Oakham, died on service two years ago."

Ernest was buried in the Tincourt New British Cemetery.

We will remember them.