Gravestones in St. Michael and All Angels' Churchyard
Robert Mansfield and the first world war
Private Robert Mansfield is commemorated on the Pickersgill family gravestone in the churchyard of St Michaels and All Angels.
He was born in Richmond and recorded as living with his family in Tower Street in 1891. On the 1901 Census, he is recorded as an 18 year old servant and agricultural labourer on the Pickersgill’s farm in Hudswell, a position he still held on the 1911 Census. (There is a slight discrepancy in his recorded age.)
In January 1915, Robert Mansfield enlisted in the Army Service Corps. No doubt kept fit by his working life and standing at ‘6 feet and six inches tall’ , he would be warmly welcomed!
On 19th May 1915, it is noted that he was given 21 days number 8 field punishment for being drunk in Strada Stretta (a notorious red light district!) in Valletta, Malta.
By late May 1915, he seems to have been in hospital in Alexandria, Egypt, prior to being sent to Gallipoli. It was standard practice for British soldiers to be trained in Egypt for the Gallipoli Campaign.
Like so many young men eager to fight for his country,Robert Mansfield’s Army career-and his life- were tragically cut short.
On 15th August 1915, he was admitted to a Gallipoli Campaign hospital at Mudros on the Greek island of Lemnos, suffering from dysentery. Robert Mansfield died there on 11th September 1915 and was buried in Portianos Military Cemetery.
The gravestone in Hudswell reads:
In affectionate remembrance of John Pickersgill of Hudswell who died 10th July 1897 aged 78 years.
Also Mary his wife who died 14th may 1903 aged 77 years.
Also their son john pickersgill who died 8th june 1936 aged 77 years.
Also pte robert mansfield died on active service at the dardanelles 11th sept 1915 aged 29 years. interred at mudros