Ernest Withers & his Brothers-in-law (Redlynch)

This article has been prepared by Carolyn Birch, Chair of Redlynch and District Local History Society:

The following information was provided by Mrs Beatrice Harrison, a local resident who has lived in Woodfalls all her life.  Although she was born after WW1, she was able to talk about the experiences of several relatives who all lived in Redlynch or Morgan’s Vale at the time of the Great War.

Her father was Styles William Crook.

Styles Crook was married to Emily Plaskett and had seven children. He was a sergeant in the 5th Wiltshire Regiment and served at the front. He was seriously wounded in August 1915, which resulted in one leg being shorter than the other so he had to wear a built-up shoe. He was discharged on the 29th March 1916. Before the war he was an assurance agent with the Prudential but by 1927, Kelly’s Directory shows him to be a boot and shoe repairer. Two of his sons, Frederick and Leonard were killed in the Second World War.

Mrs Harrison’s Aunt Alice (her mother’s sister) was married to Ernest Withers who was sadly killed during the Great War.


Ernest Withers and Alice Plaskett

Ernest Withers, born in Aldershot, was a local postman who married Alice Plaskett in 1912. Records indicate that he enlisted in January 1917 and joined the ‘Victory 1’, a shore based Naval establishment in Portsmouth. He served as an ordinary seaman in the Royal Navy on HMS Tartar, joining the ship on the 6th June 1917.

The Tartar
The Tartar

He died on 17th June 1917, aged 29years, in a mine explosion in the Straits of Dover. He was buried in St Mary’s Churchyard on 23rd June 1917. He was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. His widow Alice received his watch and a letter from Buckingham Palace. His name appears on the Redlynch War Memorial in Quavey Road and on the memorial in St Mary’s Church.

His older brother William, who lived in Aldershot, had also been killed in action on 17th September 1914 in France. He was a Private with the 1st Battalion of the Queen’s (Royal West Surry Regiment). A second brother, Sydney, one of a twin, joined the Victory 1 on March 8th 1916. He survived the War.

Ernest Withers Memorial card
Ernest Withers Memorial card


Ernest Withers letter from Buckingham Palace
Letter from Buckingham Palace


Memorial in honour of postal workers, showing Ernest Withers’ name. Salisbury Postal Sorting Office.
Memorial in honour of postal workers, showing Ernest Withers’ name. Salisbury Postal Sorting Office.


Local Press cuttings
Local Press cuttings

Beatrice’s uncles were William, John and Ernest Plaskett.


William George Plaskett was born in 1882 and in 1911 was recorded in the Census as being a farm labourer. He served with the Kings Own Yorks Light Infantry and was badly gassed during the War, but survived and lived to be 87years old. He was buried in Redlynch Churchyard. His name appears on the roll of honour on Redlynch War Memorial in Quavey Road.


Ernest was born in 1890 and in 1911 was recorded as being a house carpenter. He served as a stretcher-bearer in the War and survived. He is buried in Eversley Churchyard, Basingstoke.


John Plaskett - known as Jack

John was 28years old in 1914. He was a farm labourer in 1911 and enlisted on the 15th August 1916 in the Royal Navy, surviving the War.  His large heavy trunk was delivered by train to Downton Railway Station and then carried by horse and cart to Redlynch. He later married and lived in Downton and was buried in Barford Lane Cemetery. He is also listed on the Roll of Honour on Redlynch War Memorial.

John Plaskett’s Naval Hat Box

John Plaskett's naval hat box

John Plaskett name tag for naval hat box


Articles, documents and photographs – Copyright Redlynch Local History Society

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