From towers to trenches, we remember Robert Joseph Seddon
In the ringing chamber of St Barnabas Church, Linslade is a small memorial containing the names of the four bell ringers who lost their lives whilst serving King and Country in the Great War. Amongst these four was Robert Seddon; born in nearby Heath and Reach ca 1895 to Frederick and Elizabeth Seddon.
Robert enlisted in Wandsworth, Surrey and became a private in the 5th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment.
On the 14th November 1916 Robert found himself on the French Somme fully engaged in the Battle of Ancre. The battle had started the previous day having been severely delayed. The core objective was the elimination of the German salient between the Albert-Bapaume road and Serre, with Beaumont-Hamel at its head. V Corps was tasked with the main attack eastward against the German defences north of the Ancre; south of the river, II Corps would seize the enemy lines beyond the recently-captured Schwaben Redoubt down to St Pierre Divion.
The general assault was launched amidst a tremendous artillery bombardment in darkness and thick fog at 5.45am on Monday 13 November. The attackers had to contend with deep mud, heavy enemy fire and poor visibility. The fighting was finally called off due to worsening weather conditions on the 19th November but it was already too late for Robert, who lost his life on the 14th.
Robert was buried at the nearby Martinpuich British war cemetery. His father paid for the words “Lo, I am with you always” to be added to his headstone.
Census records for 1901
The National Archives