Cyril John Wadley, maternal relative: Aisne, Passchendaele 27 Aug 1917

Cyril John Wadley was related to me via my mothers side of my family. He was born during April 1898 at Hartpury, Gloucestershire, England and was killed in action when his unit, part of the 183rd Brigade, 61st (2nd South Midland) Division were involved in renewed activity on the Aisne in the Ypres Salient, Belgium on 27th August 1917. He is buried in Tyne Cott Cemetery, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

The actual lineage to me is:

  • Cyril John Wadley (1898 - 1917) - 1st cousin of wife of brother-in-law of 2nd cousin 3x removed
  • William Wadley (1866 - 1939) - father of Cyril John Wadley
  • Michael Wadley (1840 - 1927) - father of William Wadley
  • Fanny Wadley (1868 - 1946) - daughter of Michael Wadley
  • Rosaline Annie Wadley (1887 - 1958) - daughter of Fanny Wadley
  • Myles (John) Fildes (1883 - 1951) - husband of Rosaline Annie Wadley
  • John Fildes (1838 - 1903) - father of Myles (John) Fildes
  • John Tremble Fildes (1878 - 1960) - son of John Fildes
  • Alice Gertrude Priday (1878 - ?) - wife of John Tremble Fildes
  • Joseph Priday (1849 - 1916) - father of Alice Gertrude Priday
  • Richard Priday (1812 - 1890) - father of Joseph Priday
  • William Priday (1763 - 1850) - father of Richard Priday
  • Nathaniel Priday Sr I (1794 - 1870) - son of William Priday
  • Nathaniel Priday Jr II (1830 - 1900) - son of Nathaniel Priday Sr I [so called because there ae too many Nathaniel's]
  • Joseph Priday (1853 - 1933) - son of Nathaniel Priday Jr II
  • Joseph Priday (1888 - 1954) - son of Joseph Priday
  • Alice May Priday (1917 - 2009) - daughter of Joseph Priday (my mother)
  • William G Hyde - me

His Family

Cyril John Wadley's father was William Wadley, the son of a farmer born in the nearby (to Hartpury) village of Maisemore.

William Wadley was born during October 1866 and was the second born of six children. His father was Michael Wadley, 1840-1927 (who was born in the Crown Inn, Newent, Gloucestershire). Michael married Jane Clark (1839-1908) at St James church in the city of Gloucester on 20 February 1860. In 1861, Michael Wadley was described as a Horse Dealer and it is presumably through those dealings he raised enough to buy his 150 acre farm.

Michael & Jane raised 6 children:

  • Dora Anne Wadley - 1864–1944
  • William Wadley - 1866–1939
  • Fanny Wadley - 1868–1946
  • Michael Jennings Wadley - 1869–1941
  • Louisa Jane Wadley - 1872–1952
  • Mary Ann Wadley - 1876–1956

William Wadley, Cyril's father, was also part of his father Michael's Horse Dealing business at the time he married Kate Burford, a local girl from Hartpury, in Gloucester during July 1885. William & Kate set up home at Gloucester Rd, Hartpury and set about raising a family that eventually ran to 15 children:

  • Florence (Florrrie) Wadley - 1886–1966
  • Hilda Ann Wadley - 1889–1958
  • Michael Thomas Wadley - 1890–1976
  • William Wadley - 1892–1972
  • Phyllis Annie Wadley - 1894–1982
  • Melville Wadley - 1895–1969
  • Violet Rose Wadley - 1897–1987
  • Cyril John Wadley - 1898–1917
  • Agnes Dora Wadley - 1899–1928
  • Mountall Charles Wadley - 1901–1985 
  • Oscar Wadley - 1903–1920
  • Adolphus Dennis Wadley - 1904–1983
  • Howard Wadley - 1905–1989
  • Myrtle Kate Wadley - 1907–1997
  • Leslie Albert Wadley - 1908–1974

Hartpuy church, GloucestershireCyril John Wadley did not marry nor have any children.

His Village

Cyril John Wadley was born in Hartpury, Gloucestershire, which at the time of his birth was a village in the lower division of the hundred of Dudstone. The parish of Hartpury is in a fertile rich area of Gloucestershire, situated on the river Leadon (or Leden) and the river Severn, which passes to the east.

In a 1888 account, it was stated that Hartpury was known for its cider and perry orchards allowing for the great quantities of excellent quality drink to be made locally. The village name ‘Hartpury’ is derived from the Saxon word for the pear: Hardepirige – a hard pear tree that is one with hard fruit like the wilding or perry pear. There is a perry pear known as the Hartpury Green recorded as early as 1662. The 1888 account goes on to state that the land is divided between arable and pasture. The soil is a loamy clay, and the surface undulating. There are brick-kilns near the village, providing additional employment for locals. The village, in 1888, had a Post Office, Railway Station, Church and the principle residency was Hartpury House. Much of the land, at that time, was owned by the manor of Maisemore, the next village along the main road towards Gloucester.

The church is dedicated to St Mary the Virgin and today is Grade 1 listed for its fine Norman architecture with 14th century tower and 15th century porch. Inside there is a Jacobean font (1603-1625).

His Military Service

Cyril John Wadley was ineligible to join up when war was declared on 4th August 1914. So he had to wait until his 18th birthday (in 1916) to be able to join up with his regiment. Unfortunately (and unusually), a copy of his enlistment record is not currently available, so this recod is based on known Regimental movements and other official records.

Organisation of the Gloucestershire Regiment at start of WW1

Immediately prior to the outbreak of the Great War, the Regular Infantry of the British Army consisted of four Guards Regiments and sixty-nine Infantry Regiments. In the case of the Gloucestershire Regiment, consisted of two active Battalions, with one Battalion serving overseas and one in the UK and a Reserve Battalion, based at the Regimental Depot, which trained new soldiers and supplied reinforcing drafts to the two active Battalions. The active Battalions were numbered the 1st and 2nd, and the Reserve Battalion numbered the 3rd (Reserve).

The Gloucestershire Regiment, also had Territorial Force (TF) Battalions. These were made up of part-time officers and soldiers who had signed up for Imperial (overseas) or Home Service, and each of these Battalion trained its own personnel so there was therefore no requirement for the TF to be established with Reserve Battalions. The TF Battalions were numbered after the Regular and Reserve Battalions of the Regiment and often had a second title linking them with their home city or town. In the Gloucestershire Regiment these were numbered 4th (City of Bristol), 5th and 6th Battalions TF.

Each of the active Battalions, overseas and UK based, were grouped with a Brigade and/or Division and immediately prior to the outbreak of war, Battalions of the Gloucestershire Regiment were deployed as follows:

  • 1st Battalion (Regular) - Based at Bordon, Hants, part of 3rd Brigade/1st Division.
  • 2nd Battalion (Regular) - Based at Tientsin, China (protecting the British Concession in the City).
  • 3rd (Reserve) Battalion - Based at Horfield Barracks, Bristol.
  • 4th Battalion (TF) - Based at Queen's Road, Clifton, Bristol. Part of the Gloucestershire and Worcestershire Brigade, South Midland Division (TF) - later 144th Brigade, 48th Division.
  • 5th Battalion (TF).   Based at The Barracks, Gloucester - Part of South Midlands Brigade, South Midland Division (TF) - later 145th Brigade, 48th Division.
  • 6th Battalion (TF) - Based at St Michael's Hill, Tyndall's Park, Bristol. Part of the Gloucestershire and Worcestershire Brigade, South Midland Division (TF) - later 144th Brigade, 48th Division.

The Re-Organisation at the Outbreak of War

In the TF Battalions, those personnel who had signed up for Imperial Service were formed into the First Line of the Battalion, designated (for example) 1/4th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment (TF), for service overseas. Those who had signed for Home Service (and could not or would not sign up for Imperial Service) were formed up into the Second Line of the Battalion (eg, 2/4th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment) for Home Service only. These Battalions continued to recruit and train their own personnel. In the Gloucestershire Regiment, after the First Line Battalions joined their respective Brigades/Divisions, the Second Line Territorial Force Battalions raised were:

  • 2/4th Battalion (TF) - Based at Bristol, part of 2nd Gloucestershire and Worcestershire Brigade, South Midland Division (TF) - later 183rd Brigade, 61st Division.
  • 2/5th Battalion (TF) - Based at Gloucester, part of 2nd South Midland Brigade, South Midland Division (TF) - later 184th Brigade, 61st Division.
  • 2/6th Battalion (TF) - Based at Bristol, part of 2nd Gloucestershire and Worcestershire Brigade, South Midland Division (TF) - later 183rd Brigade, 48th Division.

1916 Reorganisation

However, the development of the war and the terrible first year, which saw many Regimental units devastated, if not virtually destroyed, forced the Gpvernment into a rethink. The result of this rethink was the introduction of mandatory enlistment of all males in England & Wales, Scotland & Northern Ireland aged between 19 and 41 who were single or widowed on 2 November 1915 (Military Service Act introduced on 27 January 1916). Conscripted men were no longer given a choice of which service, regiment or unit they joined, although if a man preferred the navy it got priority to take him. This act was extended to married men on 25 May 1916.

Therefore, by the time Cyril John Wadley became 18 (in April 1916) it was pure chance that the Army allocated him to the Gloucestershire Regiment as a Private. He was allocated regimental Number 38361 and quickly shipped off to the Gloucester Regimental Depot & Barracks at Horfield on the northern edge of Bristol for medicals, kitting out, general instruction in Army life & basic training (square bashing).

Horfield Depot & Barracks

Horfield Barracks Gloucs regmt 1950sThe barracks were built in the 1840s amid government nervousness about unrest among the population. Bristol had been the site of a major riot in 1831, and now the establishment was terrified of the agitation of the Chartists, a mostly working-class movement which, among other things, was demanding that all men should have the vote.

It was decided that troops should be permanently stationed in Bristol, and so in 1843 the War Office purchases a field in Horfield – West Bartholomew Leaze – and built the barracks, which could accommodate up to four companies of infantry (over 400 men) or two troops of cavalry.

The total cost was £57,000 and the new facility was opened in April 1847. According to popular legend, the Duke of Wellington, hero of Waterloo and former Prime Minister, came to Bristol to open the barracks. Hence the Duke of Wellington pub close by, and the naming of Wellington Hill.

From the 1880s to 1940 Horfield was the home of the 3rd Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment, and the regimental depot. The 3rd Battalion supplied freshly-trained drafts of men for the first two battalions.

The site was decommissioned after the Second World War and almost all the buildings demolished in the 1960s. The site was sold to the GPO (later British Telecom) who established a telephone engineering works on the site. Nowadays the area is covered in housing and flats.

All that remains of Horfield Barracks are some of the walls, and the old garrison chapel, which was built immediately to the south of the barracks after local people complained that the local parish churches were being overwhelmed by soldiers each Sunday. It is a Grade II listed building and is nowadays a children's nursery.

His Death

Although he joined the Gloucestershire Regiment, the whole of the Regiment had been aborbed into the 183rd Brigade, 61st (2nd South Midland) Division in August 1915 and it is to their records we must look to find out what hgappened to Cyril John Wadley.

The 183rd Brigade, 61st (2nd South Midland) Division, during 1917, were involved in:

The Operations on the Ancre


The German Retreat to the Hindenburg Line.

The 61st was one of the Divisions employed in the cautious pursuit of the enemy, when the Germans carried out a deep withdrawal from the area of the Somme to formidable pre-prepared positions that the British called the Hindenburg Line, in March 1917. On 17 March, it captured Chaulnes and Bapaume.

Later in 1917, the 183rd Brigade, 61st (2nd South Midland) Division were involved in The Battle of Langemarck (16-18 August 1917), which formed part of the Third Battle of Ypres - also known as the Battle of Passchendaele.

On the 27th August 1917,the 183rd Brigade, 61st (2nd South Midland) Division were involved in renewed activity on the Aisne and it was during this action that Cyril John Wadley was killed.

His Burial

Tyne Coo Cemetery - CJ Wadley grave positionCyril John Wadley is buried in the Tyne Cott Cemetery at West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. His grave reference is VII. A. 19 (marked in red on the plan). Tyne Cott is the final resting place for 3605 victims of the battlefields who have marked graves.

Tyne Cott Cemetery


Tyne Cot or Tyne Cottage was a barn named by the Northumberland Fusiliers which stood near the level crossing on the road from Passchendaele to Broodseinde. Around it were a number of blockhouses or ‘pillboxes'.

The barn, which had become the centre of five or six German blockhouses, was captured by the 3rd Australian Division on 4 October 1917, in the advance on Passchendaele.

One of these pillboxes was unusually large and was used as an advanced dressing station after its capture. From 6 October to the end of March 1918, 343 graves were made, on two sides of it, by the 50th (Northumbrian) and 33rd Divisions, and by two Canadian units. The cemetery was in German hands again from 13 April to 28 September, when it was finally recaptured, with Passchendaele, by the Belgian Army.

Tyne Cot Cemetery is in an area known as the Ypres Salient. Broadly speaking, the Salient stretched from Langemarck in the north to the northern edge in Ploegsteert Wood in the south, but it varied in area and shape throughout the war.

The Salient was formed during the First Battle of Ypres in October and November 1914, when a small British Expeditionary Force succeeded in securing the town before the onset of winter, pushing the German forces back to the Passchendaele Ridge. The Second Battle of Ypres began in April 1915 when the Germans released poison gas into the Allied lines north of Ypres. This was the first time gas had been used by either side and the violence of the attack forced an Allied withdrawal and a shortening of the line of defence.

There was little more significant activity on this front until 1917, when in the Third Battle of Ypres an offensive was mounted by Commonwealth forces to divert German attention from a weakened French front further south. The initial attempt in June to dislodge the Germans from the Messines Ridge was a complete success, but the main assault north-eastward, which began at the end of July, quickly became a dogged struggle against determined opposition and the rapidly deteriorating weather. The campaign finally came to a close in November with the capture of Passchendaele.

The German offensive of March 1918 met with some initial success, but was eventually checked and repulsed in a combined effort by the Allies in September.

Tyne Cot Cemetery was greatly enlarged after the Armistice when remains were brought in from the battlefields of Passchendaele and Langemarck, and from a few small burial grounds, including the following:

  • Iberian South Cemetery and Iberian Trench Cemetery, Langemarck, 1,200 metres North of Frezenberg, close to a farm called by the Army "Iberian". These contained the graves of 30 soldiers from the United Kingdom who fell in August-September 1917, and March 1918.
  • Kink Corner Cemetery, Zonnebeke, on the road to Frezenberg, containing the graves of 14 soldiers from the United Kingdom, nine from Canada and nine from Australia, who fell in September-November 1917.
  • Levi Cottage Cemetery, Zonnebeke, near the road to Langemarck, containing the graves of 10 soldiers from the United Kingdom, eight from Canada and three from Australia, who fell in September-November 1917.
  • Oostnieuwkerke German Cemetery, in the village of Oostnieuwkerke, containing the graves of 20 soldiers and two airmen from the United Kingdom and two soldiers from Canada who fell in 1915-1917.
  • Praet-Bosch German Cemetery, Vladsloo, in the forest on the road from Kortewilde to Leke. Here were buried six officers of the R.F.C. and R.A.F. who fell in 1917-18.
  • Staden German Cemetery, on the South-East side of the road to Stadenberg, containing the graves of 14 soldiers from the United Kingdom and 10 from Canada who fell in 1915-1917.
  • Waterloo Farm Cemetery, Passchendaele, 650 metres North-East of Gravenstafel, containing the graves of 10 soldiers from Canada, seven from the United Kingdom and two from New Zealand, who fell in 1917-18.
  • Zonnebeke British Cemetery No.2, on the road between Zonnebeke and Broodseinde, in which the Germans buried 18 men of the 2nd Buffs and 20 of the 3rd Royal Fusiliers who fell in April 1915.

Tyne Cott CemetetryKing George V visited Tyne Cot Cemetery in 1922 during his visit to the cemeteries of the First World War. At his suggestion, a Cross of Sacrifice, also called the Great Cross, was placed on the original large blockhouse. Two remaining German blockhouses can be seen today.

There are now more than 11,900 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in Tyne Cot Cemetery. More than 8,370 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to more than 80 casualties known or believed to be buried among them. Other special memorials commemorate 20 casualties whose graves were destroyed by shell fire. There are also four German burials, three being unidentified.

The Tyne Cot Memorial forms the north-eastern boundary of Tyne Cot Cemetery and commemorates nearly 35,000 servicemen from the United Kingdom and New Zealand who died in the Ypres Salient after 16 August 1917 and whose graves are not known. The memorial stands close to the farthest point in Belgium reached by Commonwealth forces in the First World War until the final advance to victory.


The cemetery was designed by Sir Herbert Baker and John Reginald Truelove. As one of three Principal Architects working for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Baker designed many of their cemeteries and memorials in France and Belgium.

Sir Herbert said he wished the cemetery to have ‘the appearance of a huge, well-ordered English churchyard with its yews and cedars behind the great flint wall, reminiscent of the walls of the precincts of Winchester [College]’.

The entrance is a round-headed arch. On either side of the central arch are the dates of the First World War, 1914 on the left and 1918 on the right.

The two surviving blockhouses are located towards the western end of the cemetery. They are made of concrete and are surrounded by four tall poplar trees.

The rear of the cemetery is occupied by the curved Tyne Cot Memorial, also designed by Sir Herbert and Truelove. The memorial commemorates a further 35,000 soldiers of the British and New Zealand forces who have no known grave.