The Newman family

Stop number ORANGE 13: Walk around to the other side of the trees and look in the direction of the Priory Road entrance. Some distance ahead of you there will be a broad white headstone, seen edge on. This is the grave of Frederick Thomas Newman.
Newman plot
Newman plot
Read the family stories, below, and when you are ready to move on click on the dot/circle for the Fletcher story.

Grave of Frederick Newman Hughenden
Grave of Frederick Newman Hughenden Road (SWOP BFP03163)
Rosetta May Turner nee Newman 1891-1948?

My name is Rosetta May Turner, nee Newman, and I was born in High Wycombe in 1891. I lived at 117 Hughenden Road with my family including my brother Edgar, but you will hear his story soon.

I always enjoyed school and so it was no surprise to my family that, when I grew up, I became a primary school teacher. A good number of teachers in this area were supporters of the women's suffrage movement, keen to get us women the vote. The Association of Headmistresses held annual conferences at local schools such as Wycombe Abbey where they discussed how best to achieve this goal and the meetings were well attended. The First World War, however, divided opinion within the various suffrage groups. Emmeline Pankhurst was a keen supporter of the war where as her daughter Sylvia was very much against it. However, the work which many women undertook during the conflict proved their worth and, in 1918, women over thirty years old who met certain conditions finally gained the right to vote. That was a happy day unlike so many other days during the war.

During my lifetime I had to watch my father and younger brother, Edgar leave our home and go off to fight for our country. It was a tearful but proud time for my family, as it was for everyone.

My father was Frederick Thomas Newman, who is buried just here. He was born in 1865 and during his working life, he was for a time an insurance agent and also a very popular postman. In 1915, my father who was then 50 years old volunteered to defend our nation as he felt that this was his duty, no matter how old he was. He was a national reservist and a Lance Corporal in the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry. Sadly, he did not make it to France or the war as he wanted to but instead died from an accident during intense training at Winchester barracks. He died 3 weeks later on June 19th.

He is one of the oldest soldiers in the cemetery. I remember his funeral so well- a number of national reservists and his friends from the Post Office formed a guard of honour at the church where the service was held. It was such a sad day.

We were offered a Commonwealth War Grave but my mother chose instead to give him what she felt was a more personal family headstone.

My mother kept strong during the war and held our family together, however it was up to me to provide for my mother and younger sister Edna, whilst my brother Edgar was away fighting.

And now to my brother Edgar.

Newman memorial at Wycombe Hospital West End Road
Newman memorial at Wycombe Hospital West End Road (SWOP BFP06253)

Edgar Fred Newman 1893-1916

Hello, my name is Edgar Frank Newman. I was born in 1893 and we lived first on West End Road and then at 117 Hughenden Road in High Wycombe. After leaving school I started work as a wood carver. Life as a wood carver was not very exciting.

That chance of excitement came in August 1914 when the war started. I joined the 59th Royal Field Artillery in September, 1914, along with my mates. It seemed like a big adventure; where I got to go abroad with my friends and kill some Germans. We’d be home by Christmas.

After I joined the Royal Field Artillery we were trained how to use the large field guns. Using the field guns was an incredible experience as the loudest thing I had heard before them was the dull throb of the chair factories and I was morbidly curious about what a howitzer could do to the Germans on the other end of it.

At the end of June 1915 we were finally going to see some action and we sailed for Gallipoli in Turkey, from Liverpool. We landed at Suvla Bay on the 6th of August. We faced little resistance when we arrived in Suvla, however the Lieutenant General failed to make use of this advantage and so we barely pushed past the beach before the enemy caught on to our attack and left us in what could have been so much more than a stalemate. Over the next few months there were multiple offensives in which we participated by constantly shelling the Ottomans however, after months of doing the same thing over and over again, it was clear that it wasn’t working.

On the 20th December 1915 we were finally withdrawn from Gallipoli, and we moved to Egypt and took over a section of the Suez Canal defences. Although a nice change from Suvla, still, we didn’t appreciate having to sit in the same place for another 6 months; however the Suez Canal was our main access to India and beyond.

On June 17th 1916 we then moved to France to reinforce the army on the Somme. In early July we departed from Alexandria and, by the 27th, we were in the front line on the Somme. I took part in a lot of the fighting during the battle including the capture of the Wundt-Werk and the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, which started on the 15th of September and proved to be a resounding success as we managed to advance 3km into the German lines in just 7 days. We used tanks for the first time. The Germans lost 130,000 men in September which meant that it was the most costly month for the Germans of the entire battle.

The Battle of Thiepval was the next encounter we had with the enemy. It was a huge offensive taking place along the Albert-Bapaume road. We were located in Ovillers, where my childhood friends in the Buckinghamshire Battalion had been stationed just a few months ago. I even saw some of the graves of men I had known from back home.

On October 1st we shelled the Germans constantly but on October 2nd some of my friends in A battery were very accurately shelled back by the Germans. This was suspicious as there had not been any German aeroplanes over here for some time so we did not know how they knew we were here. It was discovered that the Germans had captured a British aeroplane and were using it to direct artillery strikes on our men!

On the 16th October, just two weeks after the start of the offensive, some German planes returning home from a patrol emptied their machine guns into our positions. There was one casualty. I died on the 16th of October, 1916, 17 months after my father had died; another casualty of the Great War. I was buried in Ovillers near the men of Wycombe who had fallen just a few months earlier.

Rosetta Turner, nee Newman, researched and performed by Lotty, Wycombe Abbey Edgar Newman researched and performed by Greg Kite, JHGS
Rosetta Turner, nee Newman, researched and performed by Lotty, Wycombe Abbey
To see the performance on YouTube click here.
Edgar Newman researched and performed by Greg Kite, JHGS
To see the performance on YouTube click here.

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