Two soldiers of the Great War remembered on a single headstone

'The Memory of 204802 Pte. W Lumber and 34141 Pte. H Noyce, Hampshire Regiment, 30th June 1918, one of whom is buried in this grave’.

La Clytte Military Cemetery

La Clytte Military Cemetery is a concentration cemetery located eight kilometres to the south west of Ypres in the village of Klijte.

Walk through the main entrance to the end of one of the six rows of headstones nearest the War Stone and you will find an unusual headstone, possibly unique, dedicated to ‘The Memory of 204802 Pte. W Lumber and 34141 Pte. H Noyce, Hampshire Regiment, 30th June 1918, one of whom is buried in this grave’.

William James Lumber was born in East Stoke near Wareham, Dorset.

East Stoke, Dorset. Maps contains Ordinance Survey data. CC BY-SA 3.0

He was the son of William Henry Lumber (shepherd/farm labourer) and Lois Lumber.

His Pension Card is the starting point for revealing his story.

The Pension Card for William Lumber from The Western Front Association Pension Card digital archive on Fold3 by Ancestry

At the 1911 Census there were 5 adults, his parents, children and a 67 widower (a visitor) living in a 3 room dwelling  on Holme Lane, Wareham, Dorset. William enlisted in Winchester and joined the 1/1st Hampshire Carabiniers Yeomanry.


Group of the 1/1st Hampshire Carabiniers Yeomanry cleaning rifles from a postcard taken in September 1914

On the 27th September 1917 they amalgamated at Caestre in France with the 15th (Service) Battalion, Hampshire Regiment.

Henry George Noyce was born in Southampton 25 May 1893 (possibly the son of James and Harriet Noyce) and married Annie Marie (née Turner) in 1912. The couple had three children: Gladys Winifred (born 24 Feb 1913) Dorothy Emily (born 18 Sept 1915) and Henry George (born 19 July 1917) - detailed revealed by his Pension Card.

The Pension Card for Henry Noyce from The Western Front Association Pension Card digital records on Fold3 at Ancestry

He enlisted in Southampton and initially served with the 2nd Battalion, Hampshire Regiment before being later posted to the 15th (Service) Battalion. When Henry died his children were ages 5, 2 and 11 months.

On 29th June 1918 the 15th (Service) Battalion, Hampshire Regiment marched from the Watou area, west of Poperinge, to Abeele where it bivouacked for the night near the Canadian Casualty Clearing Station at Remy Siding. The following evening at 9.00pm it resumed its march and relieved the 1st Battalion, 103rd French Army in the front line near La Clytte. The relief was completed by 2.00am but they suffered 7 casualties, 3 killed and 4 wounded.

Private W. Lumber and Private H. Noyce were killed along with 8481 Company Sergeant Major J Nunn, DCM, MM.

Speculation is that that Privates Lumber and Noyce had been seen together when hit by a shell. Presumably only one, unidentifiable body, or parts of bodies, could be found for burial and so the occupant of the grave is either Private Lumber or Private Noyce.

The CWGC website advises that originally the burial was in Leicester Camp Cemetery before being moved to La Clytte Military Cemetery.

James Nunn was born in Camberley, Surrey and was married to Elizabeth. He also served with the 2nd Battalion, Hampshire Regiment, seeing action in Gallipoli, before also later joining the 15th (Service) Battalion.

He won the Military Medal (MM) in 1916 when a Sergeant and in 1917 the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM).

The citation for the DCM reads ‘For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. With a few men he rushed an enemy strong point which threatened to hold up the advance of a whole brigade. Though wounded in the advance, he was the first to reach the objective, and when the enemy counter-attacked he took command of his company and held his position when the troops on both flanks were driven back. His conduct throughout was beyond all praise’.

CSM James Nunn also is buried close by in La Clytte Military Cemetery.

30 June 1916 killed in action


Research by Chris Ludlam, WFA Yorkshire Branch with additional search by Jonathan Vernon. 


Sources: 1901, 1911 Census of England, UK, World War I Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914-1923 from The Western Front Association archive on Fold3 by Ancestry, 1911 England Census, Commonwealth War Graves CommissionWar Diary of the 15th (Service) Battalion, Hampshire Regiment, The Long, Long TrailGreat War Forum