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Friday, 28 October 2016

Ozleworth Church

Ozleworth is a small village nestled in a valley of the Cotswolds above Wotton-under-Edge. It is most well-known for its two manor houses of Newark Park (now National Trust) and Ozleworth Park. Just outside the grounds of Ozleworth Park is the beautiful Norman church of St Nicholas of Myra, with its hexagonal tower.


We stumbled across the church on a walk through the village and I was very pleasantly surprised to see inside two original First World War grave markers, dedicated to Lieutenant Clutterbuck and Captain J.N. Black.

          


Lieutenant James Edward Power Clutterbuck was the son of Surgeon-Major Edward Richard Power and Catherine Annie Clutterbuck. The Clutterbuck family owned many large homes in the area, including that of the hunting lodge of Newark Park, and thus it seems Edward Power unusually took his wife's name as it was more influential upon their marriage in 1891.
Their son James was born in 1894, just three years before Edward's death, and was educated at Haileybury School in Hertford. He initially served with the Royal Field Artillery before transferring to the Royal Flying Corps. However, his records do not survive so it is not known how much flying he did on service.


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An RE8 plane in flight (source)
On 25th June, 1917 he took off on his final flight as the observer to Lieutenant Leslie Spencer Bowman, flying a RE8 biplane above the Ypres Salient. They were to be shot down by the infamous Red Baron, Manfred von Richtofen at approximately 18:40, the 56th of his 80 victories. Clutterbuck's body was found and buried at Strand Military Cemetery, near Ploegsteert. However, Bowman's was not and he is remembered on the Arras Flying Services Memorial.

Captain John Neill Black was the son of William Neill Black, an East India merchant, and May Gordon, of Ozleworth Park. He was a year younger than Clutterbuck, born in 1895 and educated at Malvern College. He became a 2nd Lieutenant on 29th August, 1914 and went to France in May 1915 with 6th battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry, a battalion raised from Kitchener's Army.

As part of 14th division, the unit saw action at the Second Battle of Ypres in 1915 before entering the Somme during the Battle of Delville Wood in August 1916. He rose to the rank of Captain and was an Acting Major at the time he entered the first day of the Battle of Arras on 9th April, 1917. The attack east of Arras was slow but ultimately successful, pushing forwards to capture Devil's Wood, Feuchy and Monchy-le-Preux in the intial stages. However, casualties were heavy and among the fallen was Neill Black, buried at Tigris Lane Cemetery, Wancourt. At just 22 years of age, he was remarkably young for his high rank, probably due both to the position of his family and his competence on the battlefield.


On either side of the church's nave there are laurel wreath plaques bearing the names of the village's fallen from the First and Second World Wars. In addition to those above, there are three other men remembered from 1914-1918. The memorial is remarkable (and very helpful!) for the amount of information it provides for each man.
John Edward Avenell, Cpl, RW Surrey, Poelcapelle 21 Oct 1917, aged 40
Son of a gardening family in Ozleworth, he became a stableman in Chipping Sodbury before the war.
Philip Whitley Place, 2nd Lieut, North Fusiliers, France 19 Aug 1918, aged 22
Son of Rev. Ernest William and Lilian Mary, Cape Town, South Africa, I have not placed his connection to Ozleworth.
Harold Jones, Cpl 39th MCC, Mesopotamia 24 Oct 1918, aged 26
Born in nearby Horsley, it seems Jones worked in Ozleworth prior to serving in the war.

 Kathryn

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