Monthly Archives: January 2015

Sutton Scouts who served in World War One

Thirty three former Boy Scouts and Leaders of the Sutton-at-Hone Boy Scouts Troop served during World War One, and three former Boy Scouts lost their lives and are commemorated on the War Memorial.

Thanks to an article published in the Dartford Chronicle on 7th February 1919, we know the names of all those former Boy Scouts who served during the Great War.

H. J . Kadwill – Scoutmaster – Jack Kadwill founded the Scout Troop, was the village Schoolmaster, a parish councillor, and lived in the School House by the School.  When teachers were allowed to join up, he joined the London Regiment and was a 2nd Lieutentant, 1/13 Brigade

T. Elliott – Assistant Scoutmaster

S. M. Smith – Assistant Scoutmaster

B. Elliott – believed to be Bertie Elliott, the brother of Charles and William Elliott, who were both killed in the Great War and are commemorated on the Sutton at Hone War Memorial.  Bertie served with the Army Ordnance Corps.

B. Turner – awarded the Military Medal

Arthur Charles Trimmer – lived at Alexander’s Cottages, Sutton at Hone and served in the Machine Gun Corps as a Private, No. 145389

George Mantle (Mantell in the  1911 census) – lived at 4 Ship Lane, Sutton at Hone and served with the 1/5th Battalion of the Royal West Kent Regiment as a Private, No. 240461

Hugh Taylor – lived at Lane Cottages, and served as a Gunner with the A/116 Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, No.71209

Harold Smith – Killed in Action

Alfred Cook

Thomas Ovenden – Killed in Action

H. Smith – Wounded twice

Hector Ovenden – brother of Thomas Ovenden, and lived at Cromwell Villas, Sutton at Hone.  Hector joined the Navy in 1915, at the age of 15, and served until 1920 when he was invalided out (possibly with TB).

Mornington Hibbert  -Both Hibbert brothers were the sons of Carl Hibbert, landlord of The Greyhound, Sutton at Hone, and Carl and all his seven sons served during the Great War. Mornington served as a Signaller with the Royal Horse & Royal Field Artillery at the Signalling Training Centre

Leonard Hibbert – youngest son of Carl Hibbert, born in 1901, no record of where he served has been traced.

George Gunner – Returned Prisoner of War – served with the Northumberland Fusiliers, and his family lived at The Stores, Lower Sutton.

B. Taylor

T. Davis

J. Smith

Arthur Budd

H. Bennett

Harry Stubbs – lived at 4 Fair View, Ash Road, Hawley,  before he joined up he had worked for J. & E. Hall in Dartford.  After joining up (probably in 1915), he served with the King’s Royal Rifles and went to the Western Front in March 1916.  Harry had become Lance-Corporal, but was wounded by a shell in early December 1916, and had an arm amputated that Christmas Eve in a hospital in France.

E. Richards

(Harry) Basil Packman – lived at Cromwell Villas, Sutton at Hone, and signed up for service on 8th August 1918 at the age of 22, and had been working as a tool fitter at Vickers in Dartford. Harry served with the 26th Battalion, Tank Regiment as a Private, No. 311086

Leslie Thorne – lived at Crown House, served with the Royal Field Artillery, 121 Brigade, as a Driver, No. 234273

Thomas L. Dancer – Tom lived at 24 St John’s Terrace, Sutton at Hone and was a nurseryman when he enlisted in 1916.  Tom was finally called up in 1917 and served as a Gunner in the Royal Artillery in India and Mesopotamia, and was released in October 1919.

Frank Mantle (Mantell in the 1911 census) – lived at 4 Ship Lane and served with the Rifle Brigade, as a Private, No. S/31674

Harry Acton – lived in Ship Lane and served with the 9th Royal Sussex Regiment,  as a Private, No. 19375

Arthur Wright – Killed in Action

J. Lane

Ronald Barlow

Tom Relph – lived at East Hill, South Darenth, and enlisted on 27 December 1917, just after his 18th birthday.  Tom was a ‘fitter and turner apprentice’ before the war, and joined the Royal Flying Corp to be an Air Mechanic.

Nelson Yeatman – Nelson lived at Victoria House, Hawley, and enlisted on 12 February 1918, and served with the Royal Air Force, before he had enlisted he had been working as an Engineer.

During the absence of Scoutmaster Kadwill, the troop ‘carried on’ under Acting Scoutmaster Thompson.

The article notes that as Sutton at Hone was the oldest troop in the district, they had become the Senior Troop of the new Dartford District, which had been formed in 1918, from the old Central North Kent district (which had included Gravesend, Sidcup, Erith, Bexleyheath).

1919 Christmas & Boxing Day Football Matches

Once the Great War had concluded, Sutton at Hone (known as Sutton Athletic) and Hawley Football clubs started up again, as local football leagues had been abandoned in 1914 “for the duration”.  Both Sutton Athletic and Hawley played in the Darenth Valley League, and Hawley also played in the Dartford & District League.

On Christmas Day morning in 1919 the local ‘big’ match was between Hawley and Sutton Athletic, with the teams playing at Hawley, where Hawley won 3 – 2.

hawley - football field

The Football Field in Hawley – with cattle grazing. This postcard shows Leigh Place (in the middle of the card) and Hawley Terrace (to the right), with Shirehall Road in the distance. Part of this field is now covered by the M25 embankments.

On Boxing Day the return match was played at Sutton, when Hawley lost to Sutton for the first time that season, the score being 2 – 0, and it is noted that the match was watched by some 1,000 spectators.  The first Sutton Athletic goal was scored by J. Foster after 15 minutes, and their next attempt was blocked by Hawley’s W. Chalcraft.  The second Sutton goal was again scored by J. Foster, before half time, and J. Foster had scored both Sutton goals during the Christmas Day match the day before.

However the Christmas Day match in Hawley ended with two court cases thanks to brawling in the Bull Hotel at Hawley after the match and both cases were caused by the same incident.

On Tuesday 30th December at Dartford Police Court, Harry Tidy, papermaker, living at Bank Houses, Hawley, was charged with afflicting grievous bodily harm on Alfred Couchman, licensee of the Bull Hotel in Hawley on Christmas Day.

After the Hawley v Sutton Athletic match on Christmas Day, a group of about 14 men entered the Bull Inn and called for three glasses of bitter each at about 2.40pm.  At 2.55pm, time was called as the pub was due to close at 3pm, and it was very full,  but the group tried to order another 14 glasses of bitter but were told that it was closing time and they were too late.

Mr Tidy first swept a tray with 14 glasses off the counter, breaking them all and damaging the piano with broken glass.  Mr Tidy (who was not known to Mr Couchman) then went after Mr Couchman, striking him in the chest with his fist, knocking him down, injuring his back, chest and arm.

After the assault “the party had to be got rid of by a sort of scramble” and Mr Tidy managed to smash several bottles of  wine and spirits before he was safely back on the ‘public’ side of the bar and removed from the premises.

Edward Langridge, a stoker, of 2 Leigh Place, Hawley, corroborated the account given by Mr Couchman.

PC Clayton stated that he had been contacted at 3.15pm and then went in search of the prisoner, whom he found the following day (Boxing Day) at the football ground in Sutton at Hone.  Mr Tidy, when asked if he  was present at the time of the assault , said “Yes, but I do not know what happened.  I am very sorry“.

As Mr Couchman thought his arm had been broken in this attack, he consulted Dr Renton, and had his arm x-rayed at the Livingstone Hospital.

The case was adjourned as Dr Renton was unavailable, and his opinion was required

On Thursday 1st January (it was not a public holiday), Dr Renton stated that Mr Couchman was suffering from shock and was knocked about when he examined him on Boxing Day.  After x-raying his arm it was clear it was not broken but it appeared to have been twisted and it would be a considerable time before he could lift weights with it.

Mr Tidy was committed for trial.

The following day, a second court case took place at the Dartford Petty Sessions,  where Frederick John Barnett (48) and Frederick William Barnett (20), father and son, pleaded not guilty to assaulting Ernest Couchman at Hawley on Christmas Day.

Ernest Couchman, the son of Alfred Couchman, had tried to clear the pub at closing time and he was hit by Frederick Barnett senior and Frederick Barnett Junior stripped and wanted to fight. During the struggle Ernest Couchman’s jacket and waistcoat were pulled off, he was much hurt and assistance had to be fetched to get rid of both the Barnetts.

Sydney Arthur Dimond, 4 St John’s Terrace, Sutton at Hone, said he saw both the Barnetts at the Bull on Christmas Day and Mr Barnett senior had struck Ernest Couchman in the back.  Edward Langridge, Frederick James Castle and Alfred Couchman corroborated.

The magistrates took a serious view of the case but as neither Barnett previous convictions, the were given the option of either a fine or going to prison. Frederick Barnett senior was fined £4 or a month and Frederick Barnett junior was fined £2 or 14 days.

Mr Tidy was back in court the following week where he pleaded guilty to common assault. It was stated that until this incident he had had an exemplary character, and had served in France and Gallipoli, and had been gassed.  Mr Tidy expressed regret to Mr Couchman for the injury he suffered as an indirect result of the blow.

The Bench decided, in light of his previous good character, to bound Tidy over for 6 months for the sum of £10.


Sir Thomas Smythe and his tomb

Visitors to St John the Baptist Church in Sutton at Hone will have noticed the large monument to Sir Thomas Smythe, and this monument has recently been restored and conserved.

Sir Thomas Smythe Tomb

The tomb of Sir Thomas Smythe

On Sunday, 30th November 2014, a Service of Evening Prayer and Thanksgiving for the Conservation of the Tomb of Sir Thomas Smythe was held at St. John the Baptist Church.  This service was attended by representatives of the Worshipful Company of Skinners, Tonbridge School, the Japan 400 Project and The Japan 400 Project, whose generous donations had paid for the restoration and conservation of the tomb.

After the Bishop of Rochester blessed the tomb, Dr Karen Hearn gave a brief lecture telling the family history of the Smythe family, and Dr Tessa Murdock followed telling us about Sir Thomas’s time as Ambassasor to the Russian Court.  The carriage that Sir Thomas presented as a gift to the Russian Tzar is on display in the Hermitage Museum in Moscow.

Sir Thomas Smythe retired to Sutton at Hone and he lived at Sutton Place, although the large Tudor house has long gone, and only the boundary wall remains (it runs along Parsonage Lane from the Sutton Corner roundabout).  However he is commemorated in the village as Smythe Place (off Ship Lane) was named after Sir Thomas in the 1920s when Dartford District Rural Council built the houses.

The Sir Thomas Smythe’s Charity was founded by the will of Sir Thomas and provides financial and pastoral support to people in need in twenty six parishes in West Kent.

smythe inscription blog

The inscription on Sir Thomas Smythe’s tomb

The lower inscription alludes to Sir Thomas’s varied career and Sutton at Hone  is referred to as ‘To this obscured VILLAGE he with drewe’.  

SAh Church smythe tomb inscription blog

The lower inscription on Sir Thomas Smythe’s tomb


The fine carving of the effigy shows the wealth of Sir Thomas in the richness of his clothes.

smythe arms blog

Sir Thomas Smythe


Sir Thomas’s cloak is fur lined, as can be shown in the armholes of the cloak

Smythe fur lined jacket blog

The fur lining to Sir Thomas Smythe’s cloak


Sir Thomas’s elegant shoes

Smythe feet blog

Sir Thomas Smythe’s feet


If you are interested in more details about Sir Thomas Smythe, there are two good biographies on the Tonbridge History website and on the History of Parliament website.