Chiddingly Church 

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Commonwealth War Graves

There are two Commonwealth War Graves in Chiddingly Churchyard,
and they are in what is termed the Chiddingly Churchyard Extension, which is the main graveyard to the south of Church.

There is this one, and the other one is for Gunner Harry William Smith

Private K Latter,  8087, of the 5th Dragoon Guards, (Princess Charlotte of Wales's).  Died June 6th., 1919

Almost all the information here has been provided by the York Army Museum.

The York Army Museum says that the Dragoons take their name from the muskets they used in the seventeenth century, 
which blew out puffs of smoke like dragons when they were fired.  It is the York Army Museum which holds records 
of the 5th Dragoon Guards.

Private Latter's grave has a formal CWG headstone; it is to the left of the main path down the churchyard,
about one third of the way down, and curiously the headstone has been put in position facing away from the path.

Below the headstone is a small tablet, on which is written:

Irene May Johnson
(nee Latter)
died July 17th 1965
Aged 69 years.

Private Kenneth Latter, 8087
B Squadron, 5th (Princess Charlotte of Wales’) Dragoon Guards  

What follows here is a summary of his service as traced through the archives of 5th Dragoon Guards housed at York Army Museum.  

According to the 1901 English census, Kenneth Latter was born circa 1898 at Ninfield, Sussex. However, a Kenneth James Latter was also born in January 1898 at Hailsham. It seems likely that these were the same person.  In 1901, Kenneth, aged 3, lived at 136 Grove Hill in the civil parish of Hellingly, rural district of Hailsham, with his parents – William & Hellen –, his three sisters – Hellen, Florence & Irene – and his two brothers – William & Victor.  In 1911, the family had moved to Lime Kilns, Chalvington, Hellingly. Kenneth was then 13 years old and still at school.

On 15th August 1914, right after the outbreak of the war, Kenneth Latter embarked for France with the 5th Dragoon Guards, B Squadron, as a Private, service number 8087. At that time, he was only 16 or 17 years old. In theory, a recruit to the Army had to be aged between 18 and 38 and couldn’t be sent overseas until he was aged 19. However, at the outbreak of the war, 250.000 boys and young men under the age of 19 volunteered and were sent overseas. It is very likely that Kenneth was one of them.

It seems that Pte Latter served with the 5th Dragoon Guards from August 1914 until 21st March 1919 when being sick, he embarked for England. As most of Kenneth Latter’s individual records, with the exception of his medal records, were amongst those destroyed by fire in the London Blitz in 1940, we can only assume he served with the same squadron of the same regiment throughout the war.  

A Kenneth James Latter was mentioned in a civil registration death index. His place of death was South Stoneham. After some research, it appears that South Stoneham was a rural district during the First World War. Now disappeared, it covered much of modern-day north Southampton suburbs and the Borough of Eastleigh. This means that the Royal Victoria Military Hospital - located at Netley - was part of this rural district in 1919.  

The Royal Victoria Military Hospital was, at some point, England’s biggest building. It was created after the Crimean War of 1853-1856 and was demolished in 1966. Via this link, you’ll find more information about this place, even though only a few records remained to document Netley’s story: https://www.netley-military-cemetery.co.uk/

Private Latter's death certificate records that he died aged 24 on June 6th 1919 of pulmonary tuberculosis.  This suggests he was born in 1895, which is not what records above show - perhaps he gave a false age so that his initial posting overseas would be lawful.  He was subsequently buried in Chiddingly, where he lived before the war and where his family might still have lived in 1919.

For his service in the First World War, Private Latter was awarded three campaign medals. The first of these was the 1914 Star, given to men who served in France and/or Belgium with the British Army between 5th August 1914 and 23rd November 1914. The second was the British War Medal, given to those who served the British Army in an active overseas theatre of war between 1914 and 1919 with the British Army. The third medal Private Latter was awarded was the Allied Victory Medal, this was given in slightly differing formats to members of all 42 victorious allied nations’ armed forces.

Footnote:  When a soldier died in the Great War, they were supposed to be paid a war gratuity calculated on length of service. As Pte Latter has a CWGC tombstone, itI was an expectation to find this document but it could not be found.. So maybe he wasn't any longer serving in the Army when he died but because he got sick as a soldier, he did get a CWGC tombstone.