1909: Crimean War hero laid to rest in Cuckfield in accordance with his wishes


Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 21 December 1909


DEATH OF A CRIMEAN VETERAN.


We regret to record the death of Ex-Sergt. William Godsmark, the “call” being received Saturday evening. For the past two years he had lived with his relatives, Mr, and Mrs. G. Homewood, in Church Street, and was frequently seen about the town.


He possessed remarkable vitality, and although at death’s door on more than one occasion he surprised his friends by turning round about and marching back to health. To look at him one would scarcely guess that he had passed his 83rd year.


Previous to death his mind wandered, and the veteran thought himself back again in the trenches at the Crimea. The deceased was a native of Hurstpierpoint, and in his early days he lived at Balcombe and West Hoathly. He entered the Army in 1847, joining the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards. While in the Crimea he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant. At the close of the campaign he received the Crimean medal (with clasps tor Alma, Balaclava, Inkerman and Sevastopol) and the Turkish medal, and on leaving the Army after 21 years’ service he was awarded a medal for long service and good conduct which he highly prized.


November 5th 1854: British soldiers before the Battle of Inkerman

He settled in Cuckfield for a time, being acquainted with another veteran, Mr. Sherlock, who lived at Canton Cottage, Haywards Heath. For a brief period he acted as instructor for the Cuckfield Volunteers, and the Company made great strides towards efficiency under his guidance.


The late Rev. R. E. Wyatt (father of the present Vicar of Haywards Heath) interested himself in Mr. Godsmark, and was mainly instrumental in securing for him the post of watchman during the election of Leavesden Asylum. On the completion of the building, Mr. Godsmark was offered the job of porter, which he accepted, and held for nearly thirty years, when he retired on a pension. This, together with his Army pension, enabled him to live very comfortably.


Some of the happiest days in his life were spent at Cuckfield, and in accordance with his wish his remains will be laid to rest under the shadow of the old Parish Church. The funeral is fixed for 2.30 p.m. to-morrow (Wednesday).

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