West Watford History Group

History of West Watford

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WW1 Project

Posted by Watford on July 9, 2014 at 2:45 PM

The West Watford History Group is currently working on a very exciting project to research all WW1 combatants with a West Watford connection. With the help of  'Ancestry' and 'Find My Past' websites, you will be able to find out what the people living in your house in West Watford did in the war. 


For example, in 1914, Frank Bonham Ryder was a dairyman at 15 Harwoods Road (now West Watford Community Centre). Married to Dorothy in 1911, Frank attested in 1915, which showed he was willing to serve, but would like to delay his service for business reasons. Like many, he was given a brief exemption by the local Tribunal, but by 1917 helping his dairy farmer father was not enough reason to delay joining up, so he became a Gunner in the Royal Garrison Artillary (RGA) aged 29.


The RGA was responsible for firing the heavy guns positioned behind allied lines and would have received similar shells from the enemy. Seriously wounded in the fighting, Frank's leg was amputated at the thigh in a Belgian hospital from where he was sent to a military hospital in Edmonton to recover. 


Discharged on 20th March 1919 as unfit for further service, but of good character, as a married man he was awarded an initial pension of 27/6d reducing to 16/6d for life and 7s per week for his two children for as long as they were eligible. 


Make a note in your diary for the Heritage Weekend, 13th/14th September and find out more. 

Categories: History Group Talks