DURING the Great War most of the family got involved in ‘war work’ in some form or other.

The Badcock family were one such family. Originally from Devon and Cornwall, John, a carpenter, and his wife Eliza-Jane moved with their children to the expanding town of Bournemouth in 1897, where there was plenty of work.

“They settled in Boscombe, where my father, William ‘Charlie’ was born in 1898, and he and his siblings went to St Clement’s School,” said John F Badcock, formerly of Bournemouth but now living at Stockton-on-Tees.

Fred was a hardware store rounds man when he enlisted in the Hampshire Regiment, 2nd Wessex Division and sailed for India in December 1914, before being re-deployed to Egypt in May 1917.

“Now attached to the 233rd Brigade, 75th Division, they arrived in Marseilles, France in June 1918. They then travelled to the Western Front and joined the 186th Brigade, 62 Division,” said John.

“The 62nd were at the Battle of Tardenois, fought in the Andre Valley and captured Mory, near Arras, from the enemy, as well as Cambrei, Marcoing and Masnieres. Fred was also fighting with the 62 Division at the crossing of the river Selle, at the town of Solemes. In early November as the Germans retreated, the 62nd attacked Orsinval, on the River Sambre, and entered Maulbeuge.”

After hostilities ceased the 62nd formed part of the Rhine Bridgehead Force and crossed into Germany. Fred remained there until March 1919.

Fred was in poor health when he returned home. In November whilst undergoing emergency surgery in Boscombe Hospital for appendicitis, he died of septicaemia, aged 25. He was buried in an unmarked grave at Boscombe East Cemetery.

His younger brother Charlie worked at Cluetts in Bennett Road when he joined the Hampshire Regiment in October 1916 and was sent to France as a stretcher bearer, taking part in the battle of Passendaele in 1917.

“A few days later, at the battle of Cambrei he was captured, along with 9,000 other British troops, and was sent to a prisoner of war camp at Minden, Westphalia in Germany. Wounded, he spent a short time at the camp hospital, and then assisted the nurses with looking after his fellow injured prisoners,” said John. Prisoners were sent out in working parties to nearby farms and were treated well by the farming families. The conditions in the camp were basic but the British POWs were treated well by the guards.

Discharged from the army in 1919, Charlie returned to work at Cluetts. He later worked for the council as a carter before horses were phased out and then was employed on a road repair gang until he retired in 1963. Charlie died in 1972 and is buried in Kinson Cemetery.

Their sister Dorothy served in the Women’s Royal Air Force, but little is known what she did or where she was based, only that she would have enlisted in 1916 at the earliest because of her age. In 1919, she was struck down in the Spanish Flu epidemic and died. She was 20. Dorothy has a RAF memorial stone over her grave in Boscombe East Cemetery and is remembered on the RAF Roll of Honour in York Minster.

The father, John Badcock, was too old to be in active service during the war. Instead he used his skills as a master carpenter to build barracks for military bases around England for the War Department. His wife Eliza-Jane became an auxiliary nurse helping wounded soldiers at the Mont Dore Hotel which the War Office had turned into a hospital.