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Commonwealth War Graves

In St Andrew's churchyard revealed
7 Nov 2022
News
Grave of Captain Radford-Norcop back right
Grave of Captain Radford-Norcop back right

As Remembrance Sunday approaches we focus on the Churchyard of St Andrew’s at Bradfield which holds 5 gravestones listed on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) website.

The names of those commemorated include 3 local people from the Bradfield area, an Old Bradfieldian and a former member of the College teaching staff. Information about them and their lives which we have discovered is shown below, as we remember them.

Captain Peter John Church Radford-Norcop, 3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards.

Died 14 July 1940 and is buried in the West end of the churchyard.

Private Frank S Cox, 4th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment.

Died 10 November 1918 at 26 years old and is buried near the northwest of the church.

Son of James Stewart Cox and Annie Cox, Frank was born at Bradfield.

Private Charles J Knapp, 1st Battalion Hampshire Regiment.

Died 19 March 1919 and is buried near the northwest corner of the church with a traditional CWGC headstone.

Bradfieldian Captain Eustace Richard Allen Calthrop Cox, Devonshire Regiment.

Died 18 March 1917 and is buried near the southwest corner of the church.

Eustace was born in May 1887 in Lynton, the second son of Rev W E and Mrs Cox of Dartington Parsonage and one of seven brothers five of whom were all serving in the war. He studied first at King’s College Choir School, Cambridge where he was a chorister and later at Bradfield College from Jan 1901 to 1906. He was a Prefect during his time at Bradfield, in the Cricket XI 1905-6, Captain in 1906 and a keen member of the Cadet Corps. On leaving school he went to the Argentine and worked for some time for the Santa Fe Land Company leaving in October 1914 to volunteer for the War. He obtained a commission in the Devonshire Regiment in December 1914 and went to the front the following March 2015 and was gazetted Captain in June 1915.

In the Spring of 1916, he received an appointment on the Staff and was awarded the Military Cross. Returning to England at the end of 1916 as Brigade-Major, he was at work training his brigade up to the very moment that his division left for the front, when he was sent to hospital where he died from an illness contracted at the front. Captain Cox was twice Mentioned In Despatches and was equally beloved by his brother officers and his men.

In January 1916 he married Gertrude Agnes, daughter of Mr E B Traill and Mrs Traill. A no mean opponent at polo and lawn tennis, he was also a good shot and a fine fisherman. His obituary in the Bradfield Chronicle of June 1917 notes that one of his Generals writes of him “He was a splendid officer and the best of comrades, and to me he was such a help and a real loyal friend … His coolness in danger and his patience and gallantry set a fine example to all the brigade.”

He was buried on March 22 1917, at Bradfield, the first part of the service being held in the College Chapel and the College O.T.C. attending.

 He is also commemorated at St John’s the Baptist Anglican Church in Buenos Aires.

Image source: Imperial War Museum: Lives of the First World War

Medals including Military Cross, 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. Image credit: IWM: Lives of First World War.

Major Thomas Barnard Sills who led the Officers’ Training Corps at Bradfield College.

Thomas died of influenza two weeks after Armistice Day at Bradfield on 19 November 1918.

He is buried southwest of the church on the south boundary.

He is pictured as the moustached figure with other officers of the Cadet Corps in the photograph taken at Bradfield in 1908 below.

His Obituary in the Bradfield Chronicle reads: “When we marched in glad procession on Armistice Day, we little dreamt that in less than a fortnight, we should be bearing down the village street to his last resting place in the churchyard one to whom our rejoicings might have seemed almost a personal triumph. Major Sills was justly proud of Bradfield’s contribution to the victory. That shall be the memory that he leaves behind him – the memory of a great triumph shadowed by a great loss.”

More about Major Sills can be read here

Photographs of their headstones are shown below. Those of Private Charles Knapp and Captain Eustace Cox are close to the current St Andrew’s building project, thus explaining their temporary protection/fencing or limited access at this time.

There is only limited information about 3 of those named and we would love to discover more about their lives if anyone has any additional details about them and their families.

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