top of page

Cuckfield Funeral for teenage casualty of the Great War

Updated: Sep 27, 2020

Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 18 June 1918


Day by day in Mid-Sussex the chord of human sympathy is being touched by the loss of gallant sons in the war. "Died of wounds" is a significant phrase—indicative of suffering and the "greatest gift of all" for the Empire's cause—and patriotic Cuckfield has shown that it honours the memory and mourns the death of its young heroes.

First Air Mechanic Albert Franklin Young, Royal Air Force, of The Studio, Cuckfield, was wounded in France last March, when an aerodrome was bombed by the enemy, and he was brought to hospital in London, underwent operations, and passed away on the 9th inst. He was given a military funeral at Cuckfield on Wednesday afternoon. The "D" Company, 8th Batt. Sussex Volunteer Regiment, met at the old Drill Hall, Second Lieutenant F. H. Bocquet being present, with members from Cuckfield, Haywards Heath and Lindfield. Platoon-Sergeant Ferguson had control of a firing party, with Platoon-Sergeant Green as Acting Corporal, and the bearers comprised Corporal Carter (in charge), Lance-Sergeant Purvey, and Privates Willsman, Boniface, Godsmark and Slatter. The Company marched to The Studio, presented arms when the coffin, which was covered with the Union Jack, was brought out, and as they approached the grand old Parish Church it was seen that three Union Jacks in the locality were flying at half mast.

The Volunteers came on with slow and measured tread and arms reversed, and at the lychgate the order was given: "Firing party, rest on your arms reversed." Here Canon Wilson (Vicar of Cuckfield), the Rev. J. H. Layton and the Choir met the funeral cortege, and the opening sentences of the burial service were uttered. Mr. W. Herrington carried the processional cross.

In addition to the three family mourners, we noticed Mrs. C. H. Waugh, Mrs. Stewart, Mrs. Wilson, the Misses Wilson, Mrs. Neate, Mr. W. E. Mitchell, Mr. and Mrs. H. Stevens, Mr. Askew, Mr. and Mts. A. Burtenshaw, Mrs. Avery, Miss Avery, Mrs. Bowen, Mrs. Murrell, Mrs. Biggs, Mr. R. T. Anscombe, Mr. A. Robinson, Mrs. Glyde, Mrs. Purkiss (Brighton), Miss F. Mitchell, Miss Wells, Mrs. Butcher, Mrs. Bartlett, Gunner Stevens, R.M.A., Mr. F. Hounsell, 2nd Air Mechanic N. V. Bransden, Royal Air Force, and many others. Canon Wilson very impressively conducted the service, and the Rev. J. H. LAYTON read the lesson. Mr. T. E. P. Attewell was at the organ. The hymns "Brief life is here our portion," "Abide with me," and "Jesus lives" were sung, also a Psalm and the Nunc Dimittis.

At intervals the Volunteers stood at the "present," on either side of the pathway, and the cortege emerged from the Church and passed between the lines. The scene in Cuckfield's famous churchyard was very solemn and pathetic, yet beautiful and effective, and as all moved forward to the grave, and viewed the fair expanse of the Sussex Weald, the sweet melody of the Choir and the emphatic words of the favourite hymn were ringing in our ears—"I triumph still, if Thou abide with me."

The Vicar having concluded the committal portion of the service, the Volunteers paid their final respects to the deceased. Volley firing with blank cartridges—load! present! —fire! Three fine volleys were got off. Then the men fixed bayonets and presented arms, and Sergeant-Bugler F. Hounsell sounded with wonderful clearness "The Last Post." A peep into the grave revealed the following inscription on the coffin, on which were deposited the family wreaths :

1st Air Mech.


Died 9th June, 1918,

Aged 18.

Floral tributes were sent by Father and Mother; Kath; Mr. and Mrs. Constable and Family; Rev. Canon and Mrs. Wilson ; Mr. and Mrs. C. Gibbs; Mrs. C. H. Waugh; Mrs. and Walter Pinder; Mrs. Manvell; Douglas and Leslie Black; and Mrs. and Miss Butcher.



bottom of page