Joseph Daniel CLARGO died 13 March 1914

This month we remember Joseph Daniel Clargo, a Private in the Worcestershire Regiment who died on 13 March 1914, age 35 He was killed during the Battle of Neuve Chapelle which opened with a massive artillery barrage on 10 March. Before the war Joseph Clargo had been in the 1st Battalion, Manchester Regiment for over eight years and served in India and in South Africa during the Boer War. He had been awarded the Queen’s South Africa Medal with bars for the defence of Ladysmith (3 November 1899-28 February 1900) and the Battle of Belfast (26-27 August 1900), he was also awarded the King’s South Africa Medal. He left the Army at the end of the Boer War but joined the Reserve and was drafted into the Worcestershire Regiment in 1914. Private Clargo has no known grave but is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial near Bethune, France.

He was the son of James, an agricultural labourer who had died in 1892 and Harriet Clargo (nee Cuss) and in 1901 and 1911 Harriet was living at 5 Dynevor Terrace.

8 March 1915

Bishop’s Visit

The Bishop of Gloucester (Dr Gibson) paid a visit to Fairford on Monday [8 March], and held a confirmation service in St Mary’s Church. There was a large number of candidates from Fairford Rural Deanery. In the evening the Bishop dedicated a reredos and altar in the Lady Chapel in Fairford Church which has been presented by Earl Beauchamp in memory of his direct ancestors, Sir Roger and Lady Lygon, who are buried in a vault in the North Chapel of Fairford Church. There was a large attendance at the dedication service. Early on Tuesday morning the Bishop consecrated the new altar and celebrated Holy Communion to about sixty communicants.

Gloucestershire Echo Wednesday 10 March 1915

The Loxley family and their connection with Fairford

In JanuArthur Stuart Loxley, Vicar of Fairford 1878-1888ary I came across newspaper reports of the sinking of HMS Formidable in the English Channel. She was captained by Captain Arthur Noel Loxley. He was the son of the Rev Arthur Smart Loxley, Vicar of Fairford from 1878 to 1888, who died suddenly on Easter Day 1888 at the early age of 42. There is a memorial to Rev A.S. Loxley at the north end of the altar table which was put in situ in 1921 during the re-design of the high altar by Sir J Ninian Comper. Four of the vicar’s five children were baptised in Fairford Church. Arthur Noel was the eldest and baptised at Lamport, Northants in 1874, where his father was curate. After the death of their father when the youngest child was only one year old, the family moved to Gloucester. 

Photo: Rev Arthur Smart Loxley, Vicar of Fairford from 1878-1888 (FHS Archive)

Arthur Noel had joined the Royal Navy in 1890 and risen to the rank of Captain by 1911. In the early hours of New Year’s Day 1915 HMS Formidable was torpedoed by a German submarine with the loss of 547 lives of about 750 aboard. The reports state that Captain Loxley remained at his post until the very last moment as the ship was still signalling when it sank. His name is listed on the Chatham Naval Memorial.

On 13 November 1916, the second son, Vere Loxley, a Captain in the Royal Marine Light Infantry who was serving with the 1st Royal Battalion of the Royal Naval Division was killed in action. He had served in Gallipoli and after being slightly wounded in France had returned to his battalion in October. One of the men who saw him fall said, “He died leading his men magnificently.” He is buried at Knightsbridge Cemetery, Mesnil-Martinsart, France.

On 18 October 1918 the youngest son, Captain Reginald Loxley, RAF died in Paris of pneumonia following influenza and is buried in the city cemetery at Clichy. He had flown with the Royal Naval Air Service at Gallipoli and in France had been wounded in action and joined the Department of Aircraft Production liaising with the French in the supply of aero engines.

Of the five children only Gerald, the fourth child, who had also flown with the RNAS and RAF during the war and was demobilised as a Major in 1919, and their daughter Gladys, who married a clergyman, survived.

Not only that, Arthur Noel’s son Peter who was a diplomat in the Foreign Office and rose to become 1st Secretary and Aide to Winston Churchill was killed 1 February 1945 when his aircraft, in which he was a passenger along with several more of Churchill’s staff, was lost over the Mediterranean.

The Loxley family certainly served their country well.

Private John Brind – died 19 November 1914

This information is an updated version of Fairford ‘s War Memorial and Roll of Honour, 2005

Private (1533)
“A” Company, 2nd Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
Died 19 November 1914, age 28

The first of Fairford’s fallen to die in action during the Great War was John Brind, the son of blacksmith Charles Brind and his wife Emma who lived in Milton Street, Fairford. Sometime after 1901 John made his way to the West Midlands where in 1912 he married Emma Sturman in Coventry. They lived at 216 Lockhurst Lane in the town where John worked on the railway.

At the outbreak of war in August 1914 John was a Private in ‘A’ Company of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. This regiment landed at Zeebrugge on 6th October 1914 and became one of the first British units to entrench at Ypres as part of the 7th Division.

Just a few weeks after arriving at the Front Line Private Brind was wounded in the neck by a piece of shrapnel. He was being taken back to a hospital behind the lines when he was wounded again, this time in the legs, by an artillery shell that landed close by.

John survived long enough to be evacuated back to England and was taken to the Northern General Hospital in Leeds, Yorkshire where he died on 19th November with his wife at his bedside. He was buried in Leeds (Lawns Wood) Cemetery.

Curiously, the information in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s register for John Brind states that he was the son of Mr and Mrs John Brind of Swindon, which is an error. However, John’s Medal Rolls Index Card (Service no.1533) is correct in stating that Mrs Charles Brind, his mother, applied for his medals in 1925.

Belgian Refugees

As a follow up to the article about Belgian refugees in the October 1914 Parish News, one of our FHS members has some information about one Belgian refugee family who came to Fairford. The Van Goidsenhovens were staying in Park Street and they seem to have become good friends with a family who worked at Fairford Park. The father worked in the Belgian Congo and had three children. The postcards were written by the Belgian son, Joseph, who seems to have returned to Belgium and enlisted in the Belgian Army (at one time with Z-258-3 Compagnie), probably in late 1917 or early 1918.

There are seven postcards sent in 1918, two from Belgium, Stavele and Antwerp. In April 1918 he sent a postcard to say that he had been wounded in his feet and is in hospital at Calais. He recovered and sent more from Bonsecours, a suburb of Rouen, and Coutances, due south of Cherbourg, obviously moving with Belgian Army.

The other two are pictures of soldiers one with the inscription ‘Unis pour vaincre’ and the other ‘Armée Belge Recevez mes meilleures amités’. These postcards with pictures of Belgian soldiers were probably produced behind the lines in France to sell to soldiers. There are many examples on the Internet. The last one is a Christmas 1920 postcard.

Bonne Annee 001

Bonne Année

Many wishes to you & Arthur and your parents. Hoping that this New Year will give you all much of luck from your old friend which still think at your home


Van Goidsenhoven

[address illegible] 1.1.1921

Fairford’s first casualty of the War

Tagg, Walter Joseph

Private (2156)
Royal Gloucestershire Hussars, Yeomanry
Died 4 October 1914, age 52

Private Tagg was the only son of the late John and Emma Tagg and was born at Carshalton, Surrey. He was the groom for Mr Albert J Palmer of Fairford Park from at least 1901. It is possible he joined as groom with the then Lt Colonel Palmer who was in command of ‘A’ Squadron, Royal Gloucestershire Hussars. He died of illness or accident and is buried in Fairford (St Mary) Churchyard.

From the Parish News: Belgian Refugees

October and November 1914


An appeal was made to all Fairford people at the beginning of September to try and do something for the relief of the homeless and destitute Belgian Refugees, who were arriving in England in such large numbers. Many of them lost everything, and had nothing in the world but the clothes in which they stood.Mrs Carbonell and Miss Keble called a meeting on the subject at the Croft Hall on Sept 11th, when a [Fairford Belgian Relief] Committee was formed an a ‘house to house’ collection was arranged. The sum of £14 6s 5d was raised in this way. Part of it has been spent in the purchase of material which will be made up and forwarded to one of the London Committee that are dealing with the matter. The complete account will be published in due course.The Committee also met at Croft Hall on Sept 15th, to receive gifts of clothing, and to make further arrangements for distributing material for various garments to the many volunteers who had expressed their willingness to help in making them up.Large parcels of clothing weighing several hundredweight were received and dispatched to London, and in some scores of houses in the Parish other garments are now being manufactured. These will be collected and forwarded as soon as finished.We are doing no more than our bare duty when we try to help the brave little country which at such an awful sacrifice held up the flower of the German army long enough to give the French and English troops time to collect and save the situation.

“…. Many meetings have been held (by kind permission of Mr Arkell) in the Croft Hall, and several large consignments, weighing altogether more than 7 cwts, have been sent up to the distributing depot in London. The Committee are most grateful to all those who have given clothing as well as their Cutters, Seamstresses and Knitters, who have made scores of useful garments. Most welcome these will be to or Belgian guests, who have many of them arrived with nothing but a few bundles which containall that they have from their burnt out homes. Our hearts go out to them in their terrible trial, more especially as we have now, through the liberality of Mrs Palmer, some of them living in our midst.”

Farmors School logbooks 1914

Boys School

October 30 – Have admitted 2 Belgian refugees this week one 10 & the other 16 neither say a word of English or in fact French either.

November 6 – I found out afterwards that the Belgian boys understood very few English words & some French. Progress has been very slow. They are however getting on.

November 20 – Belgian boys slowly progressing with the help of other boys.

Girls School

October 30 – A new pupil from Belgium has studied here this week, and has made good progress.

From the Parish News September, 1914 – the Vicar’s message

Canon Carbonell’s message to his parishioners on the outbreak of war.


  The German nation has torn up its treaties as so much waste paper. It had promised to respect the neutrality of Belgium. That promise meant that, in any quarrel with France, Germany would keep her troops off the neutral territory of Belgium. Germany broke her pledge word and insisted on marching through Belgium. The strong nation would bully the weak one and force her against her will to allow the German Army to pass. The Belgians were and are friends and good friends to England, so we could not in honour, stand aside and see them trampled on.

   Nor could we allow a military despotism to override the rights of European nations and tear up treaties to which we amongst the rest were ourselves signatories.

Our government did all that was possible for the preservation of peace, and only after every effort had failed were they compelled to break off all communications with a country that refused point blank to be bound by its plighted word.

   And so we find ourselves in a conflict such as the world has never seen before. Look at the map of Europe and mark off in your mind the countries which are at war. How large a part of the whole continent! And the issue at stake is almost incalculable. If England should be beaten in the struggle, then farewell, a long farewell to all her greatness.

It may be doubted whether, even now, our people realize how much success or failure means to them.

   There are signs, however, that we are beginning to take the matter seriously. Luxuries are given up. Sports and games are abandoned. Recruits are rolling up. Selfishness is giving way to patriotism.

   All this is good as far as it goes. It shows that we are beginning to realize how much humanely speaking depends on us, and the way in which we face our foes in the next few weeks, or perhaps the next few months.

   This is not time for letting events take their own course. This is no time for hesitation or delay. No time for sitting still, amusing ourselves with sports and games, while we leave it to others to bear the brunt of the battle.

   It is time when every Englishman who is worthy of so great a name should be up and doing.

The noble words which our great poet [Shakespeare] puts into the mouth of Henry the Fifth have a ring about them which fits the times:-

In peace, there’s nothing so becomes a man

As modest stillness, and humility:

But when the blast of war blows in our ears,

Then imitate the actions of the tiger

Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,

Disguise fair nature with hard-favoured rage…….

I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,

Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot;

Follow your spirit; and upon this charge,

Cry – God for Harry, England, and St George!

From King Henry V. Act 3 Scene 1

Fairford War Memorial

 Recently FHS learned that, as part of their WW1 initiative the Imperial War Museum was asking for information about the country’s war memorials. Fairford’s War Memorial was already listed on the UK National Inventory of War Memorials but IWM was asking for more details and pictures.

Fairford War memorial canopied cross

As part of the project a close-up of the top of the cross was taken. This is difficult to see from the ground. According to the write up of when the War Memorial was unveiled it is supposed to represent the tree of life with the three upper arms of the cross representing the branches and this can be seen quite clearly on the photograph, less weathered on the west side.

FHS has the original framed plan in the FHS Archive, in converting from inches to metres it was discovered that memorial was built approximately 850mm smaller than the plan. This may have been because it was originally designed for the Market Place.

Monday August 4 2014

To commemorate a hundred years since the outbreak of World War 1, Fairford Town Council planted a good sized oak tree and unveiled a commemorative plaque. This was in Gassons Field by Mill Lane. Ernest Cook Trust donated the tree guard.


The Mayor, Caroline Mountford opened the ceremony, followed by a minute’s silence led by the Royal British Legion. The station commander of RAF Fairford gave a short, moving address and the Reverend John Swanton led the prayers.

About 30 people attended the ceremony. The symbolic planting was carried out by Navy Training Corps cadets and local children present scattered poppy seeds around the tree.


The date of the plaque 28th July 1914 was the day that Austro-Hungary declared war on Serbia which led to directly to the outbreak of war in Europe.