The 9 Sons of Kempley


In October 2014 the village of Kempley unveiled a Commemoration Stone to the following 9 men who lost their lives in two world wars.



In 1891 Frederick became the first born and only son of six children to William and Sarah Dyer, of The Lower House, Kempley.  Prior to enlisting in 1912, Fred had not followed his recently deceased father into farming but instead worked as a tram conductor based in Worcester.  As Corporal (Gunner) in the Royal Garrison Artillery, his service took him as far away as India where, in Peshawar, near the War’s end in 1919 he died of pneumonia.  His cousin Dudley Dyer appears on the Dymock Memorial.



Although William’s parents hailed from Dymock, the family home became Stonehouse Cottage, Kempley and father and sons worked laboring on the land.  Already a member of the Territorial Army prior to the outbreak of WW1, William was transferred to the Herefordshire Regiment (1st Battalion) and served on the fields of Flanders and France.  He lived to be the oldest of the 9 Sons, dying of pneumonia aged just 32 in Flanders, Belgium in 1918.



Born in 1895, one of eight children, Henry’s mother ran a grocer’s shop at Rose View Cottage on Kempley Green.  The family was nonconformist and the local Baptist chapel was sited at the bottom of their garden.  Henry volunteered in 1914 alongside his neighbour Hubert Powell and they have consecutive service numbers.  As members of the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry they were sent to fight in France and Flanders.  Lance Corporal Henry Jones aged 22 was the youngest of the 9 Sons to lose their lives, dying in Flanders, Belgium in 1917.



Kempley born and bred and baptized in St Mary’s church, Samuel’s family home Stonehouse Oaks, lies on the oak tree lined borders of the village and in close proximity to neighboring Stonehouse Pitch, home of fellow serviceman Alfred Manns.  Samuel was to follow Alfred into the Army and into War on the Western Front.  Both men perished in the battles at Ypres, in 1915 and 1917 respectively.  Killed in action, aged 24, Samuel’s remains were unrecoverable and his grave will be forever unknown. 



Benjamin was the only married serviceman of the group.  He and Rosina Sleeman, a nurse from the local Kempley vicarage, had a daughter, Mary, in 1913 before WW1 broke out.  Benjamin lived at Coles Acre before moving to Broad Marsh (now demolished) and worked as a Cowman/farm servant.  In the South Wales Borderers regiment Benjamin was sent to serve in Egypt and Mesopotamia where he died aged 30 in 1917.  He is buried in Al Basrah, Iraq.



Alfred, also know as Frederick, and Frank Manns were first cousins.  Both lived in the village and both were professional soldiers by occupation who’d enlisted some years before the start of the war.  Alfred joined the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry in Hereford prior to 1911 and Frank served with the South Wales Borderers.  A year separated Alfred and Frank’s birthdays but only two months separated their deaths in 1915.  Alfred was killed in action in Ypres in February 1915, aged 23 and Frank was killed during the Gallipoli Landings in April 1915, aged just 22.



The Powell family lived in The Wood Cocks which is sited at the southern end of Kempley and initially lay outside of the village boundary.  Hence in 1889 Hubert, the youngest child, was born and baptized not in Kempley but Upton Bishop.  Alongside neighbour Henry Charles Jones, he enlisted in the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry and served on the Western Front in France and Flanders.  Hubert died in France in 1915, aged 26.  His grave lies in Laventie at the Rue-Du-Bacquerot No 1 Military Cemetery.



Colin Robert Morley was born in Kempley at the end of WW1, to Alfred and Mable Morley who resided at The Hollies.  Of Jewish descent, the family’s original name was Moses but due to post war anti-german sentiment and like the Royal family, they were forced to adopt the more English sounding - Morley.  After graduating from Reading University Colin joined the Royal Air Force to become Flight Sergeant Morley of the 220 Squadron Volunteer Reserves.  He served and was killed in action in Northern Ireland in 1942, aged 23.  A commemorative stained glass window in St Mary’s church was installed in 1950 as a memorial to those lost in World War 11.


For more information why not download our interactive App:

This app contains maps, photographs and other material that will help you trace the landscape and history of these men.
"9 Sons of Kempley", honours the memory of these young men who were born and grew to manhood in and around the village. In the 1914-18 war 8 of these young men were sent far and wide to die in battle or of disease. The ninth"son" was born in 1919 and serving in the RAF became a casualty of World War 2. As you follow their lives on this "app" you can see, almost unchanged, the beautiful landscape they left behind.  for Apple – iPhones – iPads – iPods  for Android phones and tablets


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Kempley WW1 and WW2 victims: