When George Edward Fletcher died in 1932 aged 71 years, a retired police superintendent of the Bristol Corporation at Fishponds; and then his wife Selina in 1952 aged 91 years – their two sons who died in World War One on active service were also added to their grave stone.
Albert Fletcher Royal Engineers Killed in Action June 15 1918 age 26 Reginald Fletcher Royal Field Artillery Killed in Action September 27 1918 age 24
In truth, four of their sons served in World War One. But it seems that for the Fletcher family, it would be 1918 would be the pivotal year.
In May 1918, news had been sent that Sergeant Oswald Edward Fletcher, Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery had been awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field. He was the fourth of the Fletcher sons born 1896. Oswald survived the war.
In June 1918, Albert, the second son born 1893 was killed in action on the Asiago Plateau in northern Italy. On the 15th June 1918, Lance Corporal Fletcher of the 48th Signalling Company, Royal Engineers was killed on the first day of the last real Austrian offensive called the Asiago Offensive; he was just 26 years of age. Albert Fletcher is buried at Boscon Cemetery amongst the trees. Upon his grave, his parents’ thoughtful words:
Gone but not forgotten by father and mother
Just three months later, George and Selina Fletcher got news at the police station that Reginald Fletcher had died of wounds at an advanced dressing station in France on September 27th 1918. He was the third son and aged just 24 years. Before enlisting in September 1914, he had been a clerk at the tramway company’s office in Bristol. A gunner with the 107th Battery, Royal Field Artillery, his grave at Roisel Communal Cemetery Extension on the Somme bears familiar words:
Never forgotten by father and mother
It seems just that, that they were never forgotten.
Just nearby Joshua and Charlotte Victoria Neale made a fond farewell to their son buried far away at St Martin Calvaire British Cemetery near St Martin-sur-Cojeul south-east of Arras in France. Percy Reginald Neale was a draper’s assistant in Stonehouse when we catch sight of him in the 1911 census. When next written history catches up with him he is first a Private in the Gloucestershire Regiment, then transferred into the Machine Gun Corps. Percy gained a commission from Private to 2nd Lieutenant in August 1917. With the 101st Machine Gun Corps, Percy was killed in action on the 20th December 1917. He was the only child. He left everything on his death to his parents living in College View Terrace, Stonehouse. 22 years old. His name is written on the Stonehouse War Memorial and their own headstone in Stonehouse Cemetery.
They wrote on his headstone in France:
At rest A dearly loved and only son of devoted English parents
What more could I say.