Staff and the First World War

Staff turnover due to the First World War. 

Research from: Normansfield Staff Book; Census Records; British Army ‘burnt’ records; Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Staff who left due to the War

Staff in-post before August 1914)

  • 16 attendants (inc. 4 reservists)
  • 4 houseboys
  • 1 storeboy
  • 2 laundry/boilermen

Staff taken on after August 1914

  • 5 attendants
  • 3 houseboys
  • 1 sculleryman

Some staff in post in April 1918

T H Hooley  Garden Labourer  December 1916  Age 77

E Harvey  Houseman  January 1917   Age 67

William Rann  Attendant   Returned retiree  Age 67

J Colquhoun  Laundry Stoker  November 1916  Aged 71

Where did they go?

Wartime Roles

Infantry  16

Artillery  8



Royal Army Service Corps 2

Labour Battalion 3

Royal Navy  2

Munitions  3

Unknown 4


  • 2 died in action
  • 21 definitely survived
  • 21 whose fate is unknown but there is no record of their death or being missing in action

Returned to Normansfield

  • Henry Lemmer (attendant)
  • Thomas Mills (laundry)
  • Thomas Pettit (boilerman)
  • Frederick Stephens (attendant)

John Dowson Brooks

(May 1878 to 13/02/1918)

He worked as Coachman/Chauffeur to the Langdon Downs from May 1907 until approximately 1914.

Born in May 1878 in Brentford as the son of a Thames Lighterman.

John was attached to the Langdon Down personal household staff. He joined Normansfield on the 6th April 1907 as 2nd Coachman when he was 28. By 1911, the census describes him as a “Chauffeur in Private Service”.

He married Florence Christina Chapman in 1909 in Brentford and a year later they had a son.

During the War, John joined the 358th Repair Unit of the Royal Army Service Corps.

He died on the 13th February 1918, and is buried in the military cemetery of Ljissenthoek near Ypres in Belgium.

Horace Frederick Porter, (1889-1962)

Attendant at Normansfield June 1911 – July 1914.

Joined the Royal Fusiliers and went to France. Suffered a gunshot wound to head and eyes

September 1916: admitted to Royal Ophthalmic Hospital and then the Star and Garter Home

August 1917: Trained as a boot repairer at St Dunstan’s training centre in London

1939 Register: occupation is a boot maker

Married Christina May Winsley on the 1st May 1915

Horace died on the 30th November 1962 in Kingston at the age of 73.

Ernest Gerald Stanley Porter, (1894-1971)

Attendant at Normansfield May 1913 – Sept 1914

Male nurse at West London Infirmary

Joined the Royal Army Medical Corps and posted to Egypt. Developed neurasthenia and discharged Nov 1916

“Report on a Case of Mental Disability”

Ernest died in Kingston in March 1971 at the age of 77.