Military

There have been five significant periods in the military history of Pulford and Poulton: Roman from the first until the beginning of the fourth century; Norman from 1066; the English Civil War, 1642-1646; World War I, 1914-1918; and finally, World War II, 1939-1945.

RAF Poulton

This article first appeared in Essentials Mag in November 2017

by Michael Nethercott

Poulton served an important role in the Second World War in pilot training as a satellite airfield to RAF Hawarden. Occupying the Duke of Westminster’s land close to Eaton Hall, the airfield of three runways, taxiways and dispersals was completed by George Wimpy & Co. in March 1943 to become the base for No.41 Operational Training Unit (OTU), amongst other units. It provided pilot training on a variety of military aircraft including Harvards, Oxfords, Hurricanes, Mustangs and Spitfires. More specialised Beam Approach Training (BAT) flights took place with the Airspeed Oxfords, an automatic radar flight landing system.

A detachment of Bristol Blenheims was based at Poulton for a short time in early 1944.

Although RAF Poulton was short lived, it closed operationally in June 1945, it provided the essential pilot training for RAF, Royal Canadian Airforce and ‘Free French’ pilots, and some other nationalities, before their posting to Operational Units. At the height of its operations, there were over 1,000 personnel at RAF Poulton. Within the vicinity of Yew Tree Farm and Chapelhouse Farm were the main accommodation units, namely officers mess, sergeants’ mess, ‘airmen’s institute’ and WAAF quarters. Only remnants of the runways now remain at Poulton, all buildings including the Control Tower having been demolished many years ago.

Eaton Hall itself served as a military hospital during part of the war, before becoming the temporary home of the Royal Naval College after the college buildings at Dartmouth were bombed.

The peaceful nature of this small farming community would have been totally transformed with the hive of activity on the airfield and the neighbouring roads during those two years, to say nothing of the impact of wartime air raids in the area.

Poulton Airfield

Pulford War Memorial

Pulford War Memorial
Names on the Memorial
Menu Card from Memorial Dinner, 5th December 1919
World War I Roll of Honour
Charles Broadhurst
Richard Broadhurst
John Stockton
Ernest Thelwell

Summary details of the fourteen individuals named on the Pulford War Memorial who died in the First World War are given here, together with one from the Second World War. The memorial stands in front of the Village Hall. There is a second memorial in the grounds of St. Mary's Parish Church, commemorating all who served in the First World War.

The Roll of Honour at the 'Welcome Home Dinner' given at the Grosvenor Arms, Pulford, in December 1919, lists 61 survivors and 11 fallen (although the Memorial gives 14 names) out of a population of about 600.

Fuller details of family history and military service are contained in the digital archive. It has not been possible to find the records of everyone and there is one who does not appear to have any obvious links with the parish. In some cases assumptions have been made based on the best information available (e.g. the actions their unit was involved in at the time of death).

1914-1918

Charles Broadhurst

  • Born Pulford, 2nd June 1897
  • Private, 1st Battalion, Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment)
  • Posted missing at the Battle of the Aisne, 27th May 1918
  • Name listed on the Soissons Memorial, Aisne, Pas de Calais, France

Richard Broadhurst

  • Born Pulford, 31st July 1893
  • Private, 3rd Company, 13th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment
  • Died of wounds on Vimy Ridge, 4th May 1916
  • Buried in Aubigny Communal Cemetery Extension, Pas de Calais, France

George Alfred Davies

  • Born Bow, London, about 1892
  • Private, 2nd Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers
  • Died of wounds at the 2nd Western General Hospital, Manchester, 19th November 1918
  • Buried in St Mary's Churchyard, Pulford

Joseph Davies

  • Born Poulton, Wallasey, September 1897
  • Private, various units, Cheshire Regiment
  • Killed in action in Flanders, September 1918
  • Commemorated on Pulford Memorial but link with parish uncertain

James Davies

  • Born Poulton, about 1893
  • Sergeant, Royal Field Artillery
  • Killed in action in Battles of the Somme, 12th April 1918
  • Buried in Bienvillers Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France

Thomas Davies

  • Born Rossett, about 1877
  • Private, 1st. Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers
  • Killed at Battle of Loos, 25th September 1915
  • Commemorated at Loos Memorial, Pas de Calais, France

Edward Edwards

  • Born Tattenhall, 1892
  • Private, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiments and Lincolnshire Regiment
  • Injured in Battles of the Somme, 1916
  • Died of wounds in hospital in Rouen, 29th September 1916
  • Buried in St. Sever Cemetery, Rouen, France

Harry Gibson

  • Born Pulford, about 1897
  • Gunner, Royal Field Artillery
  • Killed in action at the Battle of Passchendaele (Third Battle of Ypres), 20th September 1917
  • Buried in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Flanders, Belgium

Cecil Griffiths

  • Born Pulford, 10th December 1899
  • Private, 1/4th Battalion, East Yorkshire Regiment
  • Killed in action, 3rd October 1918 (action uncertain)
  • Buried in Glageon Communal Cemetery Extension, Glageon, France

Bertie Jones

  • Born Saighton, Cheshire, about 1897
  • Private, 1st/15th Battalion, London Regiment - Prince of Wales' Own Civil Service Rifles
  • Killed in action at First Battle of Bapaume (the Somme), 25th March 1918
  • Commemorated at Arras Memorial, Pas de Calais, France

Ernest Leech MM

  • Born Rossett, 1887
  • Lance Sergeant, 2nd Battalion, Grenadier Guards
  • Awarded the Military Medal, January 1918
  • Killed in action at Battle of The Scarpe, 27th August 1918
  • Final resting place unknown; named on panel at Vis-en-Artois Memorial, Pas de Calais, France

Joseph Probin

  • Born Barrow, Cheshire, 2nd October 1888
  • Private, 3rd Battalion, Coldstream Guards
  • Killed in action at the Battle of Poelcappelle, Flanders, 9th October 1917
  • Reburied from battlefield burial ground at Artillery Wood Cemetery, Boezinge, Ypres, Flanders, Belgium

John Stockton

  • Born Croxton Green, Cholmondeley, September 1878
  • Private, 8th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers
  • Died from wounds at Bait 'Isa, in attempt to relieve Kut-al-Amara, Mesopotamia (Iraq), 21st April 1916
  • Buried in Amara War Cemetery, Iraq

Ernest Thelwell

  • Born Woodchurch, Birkenhead, 22nd March 1892
  • Private, King's Company, 1st Battalion, Grenadier Guards
  • Killed in action in the Battles of the Somme, 25th September 1916
  • Commemorated at the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, Pas de Calais, France


1939-1945

William Woodall

  • Born Nantwich, 27th June 1919
  • Sergeant Navigator, 70 Squadron, RAF Volunteer Reserve
  • Died in Yugoslavia, 19th November 1944
  • Buried in a collective grave in Belgrade War Cemetery, Serbia