WESTON AIR SHOW 2018: Ex-servicemen remembered by families ahead of Armed Forces weekend

The families of former Weston servicemen with tommy Josh Cottrell. Picture: Eleanor Young

The families of former Weston servicemen with tommy Josh Cottrell. Picture: Eleanor Young - Credit: Eleanor Young

Former World War One servicemen will be remembered around the country in November but six Weston-super-Mare families’ war stories will be told at the Armed Forces weekend.

The Red Arrows at Weston Air Festival. Picture: Mark Anstee

The Red Arrows at Weston Air Festival. Picture: Mark Anstee - Credit: mark anstee

During this year’s festival, to be held in Weston this weekend, there will be a number of one-off displays to mark the centenary year of World War One and to pay tribute to those who fought in ‘the war to end all wars’.

A performance of Only Remembered will close the weekend along with the Last Post and the national anthem.

On both Saturday and Sunday the organisers of the Armed Forces village have teamed up with the Worle Operatic Society and six Weston families whose great-uncles and grandfathers’ fought in the war.

The Mercury chatted to four of the families to find out more about their ancestors:


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Percy William Jackson MM

The families of former Weston servicemen with tommy Josh Cottrell. Picture: Eleanor Young

The families of former Weston servicemen with tommy Josh Cottrell. Picture: Eleanor Young - Credit: Eleanor Young

Andrew Jackson recalled his great uncle, Percy William Jackson, who served and fought during World War One.

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Percy had served as a police officer before enlisting with the army.

He died while serving on the Western Front in France and is buried in Sunken Road Cemetery in Boisleux-St Marc near Arras in northern France.

Andrew said: “I have visited his grave on many occasions and plan to visit again on September 17 on the centenary of his death together with my mother.

“There is a commemorative plaque in Redhill Church which honours Percy, together with the four other young men from Redhill who gave their lives during World War One, which I believe was erected by my family.”

Stanley Follot Hook

Ann Baxter with tommy Josh Cottell. Picture: Eleanor Young

Ann Baxter with tommy Josh Cottell. Picture: Eleanor Young - Credit: Eleanor Young

A Weston man who served in not one but two world wars was remembered by his daughter Ann Baxter.

Stanley Follot Hook was born in Hopkins Street in Weston where he worked as a sign-writer with his father for many years. He was called up to serve the day war broke out in Europe on August 4, 1914 where he spent the day buying horses before travelling to Frome with his friend Jim Patch where they were attached to the 1/2nd South Western Mounted Brigade.

He left Liverpool on September 25, 1915 where he travelled to Gallipoli, Palestine and Egypt.

He served throughout the war until suffering from appendicitis in 1918.

In World War Two he was once again called up to serve, this time under Weston’s Home Guard.

He held the post of Quartermaster Colour Sergeant but died at the age of 48 as one of the casualties of the bombings in Weston when he was shot by enemy fire while on duty on June 30, 1943.

He died of his injuries the following day.

Ann said: “I did not meet my grandfather as he died eight years before I was born. My brother and I feel honoured and grateful that he has a war grave in Milton Cemetery, very near to the grave of his mother and father.

The families of former Weston servicemen with tommy Josh Cottrell. Picture: Eleanor Young

The families of former Weston servicemen with tommy Josh Cottrell. Picture: Eleanor Young - Credit: Eleanor Young

“He served his country and Weston well throughout his short life, and we feel proud to remember him especially at this time and as the years roll on.”

Stanley William Smith

Julie Oldroyd’s great uncle Sergeant Stanley William Smith died in the Battle Of The Somme on September 16, 1916 when he was just 24 years old.

The families of former Weston servicemen with tommy Josh Cottrell. Picture: Eleanor Young

The families of former Weston servicemen with tommy Josh Cottrell. Picture: Eleanor Young - Credit: Eleanor Young

He was the youngest son of John and Susan Smith who both lived in Weston.

The final resting place of Stanley is not known but his name features on the recently-restored war memorial in the town’s Grove Park.

His name also appears on the Thiepval Memorial in France.

Julie’s father is the only child of Stanley’s sister Rose Baker and was born two days after the armistice in 1918.

He was named Stanley in Rose’s brother’s memory.

Stanley Hugh Skidmore

Stanley joined the Royal Navy on November 9, 1915 along with his bother Gillard.

The families of former Weston servicemen with tommy Josh Cottrell. Picture: Eleanor Young

The families of former Weston servicemen with tommy Josh Cottrell. Picture: Eleanor Young - Credit: Eleanor Young

He was posted to the Machine Gun Company of the 188th battalion of the Royal Naval Division.

He served during the war until he was shot in the elbow on February 17, 1917.

He was admitted to Rouen General Hospital before being transported back to England where he spent some time at the Second Southern General Hospital in Bristol.

His grandson, David Skidmore, said: “He was still there on March 24, 1917 but when he was granted leave, he would have stayed there to recover from his injuries, which I can only assume were quite serious.”

After spending some time in hospital and at Ashcombe House in Weston, Stanley was finally discharged from the navy in January 29, 1919, almost two years after being shot.

Stanley, along with his parents and three surviving brothers, went on to run Skidmores in Worle High Street.

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