Born in 1894 at Woodford, son of George (Wholesale Tea and Coffee Dealer, later a Blender and Expert Taster) and Annie Gertrude Compton. 1901: With his family at “Clevedon” Chelmsford Road South Woodford.1911: A Farm Pupil boarding with William Passmore and family, on their grazing and dairy farm at Applesham, Shoreham by Sea, Sussex.
This Old Bancroftian left farming to join the Royal Garrison Artillery in August 1914, but instead volunteered for 11 Royal Sussex Regiment. Sent to France in March 1916, he transferred to 13 Royal Sussex, sustained at gunshot wound to his arm in July 1916 and was repatriated to England. Posted to 18 OTC at Priory Park Bath, he gained a Commission in 9 Royal Sussex on 23th ay 1917. He had won the DCM for gallantry forcing his way with another Sergeant through uncut barbed wire and heavy machine gun fire, organising a bombing party which cleared 100 yards of a German trench, and holding the gain. His MM was gained by bringing to safety a wounded man while under fire. He returned to France in June 1917. On his second night in the trenches at Ypres, he impressed his Battalion Commander while showing him around various posts, and encouraging the men of his Company. The next night he undertook a reconnaissance patrol some way from British lines, returning with valuable intelligence.
During 16/17 July 1917, he was waiting for heavy German shelling to end, when after a five minute lull, his Sergeant Major suggested it was quiet enough to leave the trench. Within seconds of doing so, another shell landed, killing him and Lance Sergeant Oliver Brackpool. It was noted that there were no more incoming shells for “a very long time afterwards”.
He was second in charge of his Company and described as a brave and capable Officer. The Battalion Commander also wrote “Compton’s two medals were an outward sign of only a small part of his real worth”.
X/R: Lieutenant Rex Compton (Brother).
Research by Adrian Lee, Local Historian
For more information on this individual please see The Old Bancroftian website.