The Mint and the First World War – Part 2


Posted on Friday, November 09, 2018 by The Royal Mint Museum

WWI memorial Royal Mint

The memorial from the entrance hall of the main Mint building on Tower Hill which lists all the Mint men who fell in the First World War.
In total 11 members of Mint staff lost their lives in the service of their country. Their names are carved into a memorial that used to hang in the entrance hall of the main Mint building on Tower Hill. It provided a focus for remembrance for Mint employees and the Museum’s Senior Research Curator recalls staff gathering round the memorial in the 1960s as the Deputy Master led a minute’s silence to remember the fallen.

The desire for this monument seems to have come directly from colleagues of the fallen men, whom they had known as workmates and friends.

The unveiling of the memorial took place on 11 November 1921 and the role fell to the recently retired Sir John Cawston. He had been Deputy Master during the latter part of the war and was present on the day in June 1917 when the Mint was bombed. In a letter written by his daughter in 1953 she recalled, ‘I remember as if it were yesterday him coming home to York House after doing all he could to help – he was violently sick and could not eat his dinner’. The names of the four men killed that day are included on the memorial alongside the 11 who died on active service.

While the dedication on the memorial lists those Mint employees who were killed, their names do not represent the full loss suffered by Mint staff. Family members were also lost and one senior official, William Hocking, who was also the first Curator of the Royal Mint Museum, suffered the blow of losing his youngest son on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

Today the memorial occupies a place of honour in the Royal Mint Museum.

Killed in action

Charles William Clements, 1884-1918

Mint Service: Appointed 29 May 1901. Second Class Workman in the Cutting Room.

War Service:Enlisted 21 June 1915 and served as a Private (421966) in 10th City of London Regiment. Killed in action 27 March 1918.

Herbert Henry George Cocks, 1895-1917

Mint Service:Appointed 8 February 1915. Temporary Artificer.

War Service:Enlisted 25 May 1915 and served as AMT Sergeant (T/985). Died as a result of gas poisoning 3 October 1917.

George Luther Arnott Gelder, 1896-1915

Mint Service: Appointed 8 February 1913. Laboratory Attendant in the Assay Department.

War Service: Enlisted 29 June 1915. Served as Corporal (106070) in the Royal Engineers working as a chemist in 188th Special Company, one of four special companies responsible for Britain’s chemical war effort, which were formed after the first use of poison gas by the Germans at Loos in 1915. Killed 21 December 1915.

Oswald John Dyer, 1883-1917

Mint Service:He began his Civil Service career as a Boy Tracer in the Ordnance Survey Department before joining the Mint on 16 March 1899. In 1914 he was a Second Class Workman in the Operative Department working in the Cutting Room.

War Service:Enlisted 22 February 1915 and served as a Corporal (645) in the Royal Army Medical Corps. Died after an operation at Horton War Hospital, Epsom, 24 February 1917.

Frederick George Roadnight, 1895-1917

Mint Service:Appointed 10 May 1912. Temporary Third Class Workman in Rolling Room No. 1. He also had a brother at the Mint.

War Service:Enlisted on 17 May 1915 and at the time of his death he was serving as a Sergeant (18036) in Princess Charlotte of Wales’ (Royal Berkshire) Regiment and had previously served in the Royal Marines from 6 June 1911 to 8 February 1912. He died of his wounds on 15 December 1917.

William Kennedy Ryan, 1873-1915

Mint Service:Appointed 8 August 1914. Temporary Third Class Workman.

War Service:Resigned to re-join the Navy. At the time of his death he is shown as serving as a C. S. M. (10397) in Princess Charlotte of Wales’ (Royal Berkshire) Regiment, 8th Battalion. Killed in action 25 September 1915. He is listed on the Loos Memorial.

Albert Lallie Snare, 1865-1914

Mint Service:Appointed 18 January 1911. Worked as a Temporary Third Class Workman in Rolling Room No.1.

War Service:Albert had previously served in the Royal Navy between 14 November 1883 to 13 May 1906. His date of re-enlistment is unknown but he served as a Petty Officer on board HMS Hawke, a cruiser on blockade duty, which was sunk off the coast of Aberdeen by U-9 on 15 October 1914. His body was not recovered.

William Ward, 1897-1917

Mint Service:Appointed 21 August 1914. Boy in the Operative Department.

War Service:Enlisted 4 January 1916. He was killed in action 3 December 1917 while serving as a Private (354248 formerly 3243) in 7th City of London Regiment.

William Arthur Whitehouse, 1886-1918

Mint Service:Appointed 13 August 1914. Temporary Third Class Workman in Rolling Room No. 1. He also had a brother at the Mint.

War Service:Enlisted 16 June 1915. At the time of his death he was serving as a Private (48209, formerly 60276) in the 7th Battalion, South Wales Borderers. Killed in action at Doiran, 17 September 1918.

Harold Ernest Williams, 1891-1917

Mint Service:Appointed 20 April 1914. Part-time Clerk in the Cutting Room.

War Service:Enlisted 15 June 1915. Rifleman (301523) in the 5th City of London Regiment. Killed in action 20 September 1917.

Killed in Mint by enemy bomb during the Air Raid of 13 June 1917

Howard Mitford Avery, 1890-1917

Appointed 1 October 1914. Temporary Packer and Teller in the Pyx Office at the start of the war. Transferred to Blacksmith’s Shop as an Artificer 21 June 1915.

William Beadle, 1899-1917

Appointed 10 March 1916. Temporary Artificer.

Albert Henry Crabb, 1900-1917

Appointed 8 April 1916. Boy Clerk.

George Frederick Cavell, 1873-1917

Appointed 10 February 1908. Artificer in the Mechanical and Electrical Branch.


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