Leverstock Green Men Who served their country in the Great War of 1914~1918 
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- the Women who served in WW1
an in-depth history of one village in Hertfordshire UK.
This page was last updated: May 27, 2021
ABOVE: Cecil Parkins & some of the other lads sampling the delights of camel tavel in Egypt. -  LEFT & BELOW: CECIL PARKINS, who served in Egypt with the Royal Engineers.
ABOVE:CECIL PARKINS (right with cigarette) appeared to have enjoyed his time in Egypt with the Royal Engineers. 
Parker, W
  • Cavalry Brigade
  • enlisted by May 1915
Parkins, Cecil
  • Royal Engineers
  • enlisted by March1916
  • Served in Egypt.  
  • son of William Parkins (fishmonger)
  • Later became landlord of The Leather Bottle, marrying Olive Seabrook daughter of the previous landlord.

LEFT: Walter Parkins  ABOVE LEFT: Walter Parkins (behind groom) at his sister Annie's wedding to Jim Jordon, Jan 1918
ABOVE RIGHT: Cap badge of the 11th Hussars
WILLIAM LEONARD PARKINS (Right) - Number T4/160039 Driver William Leonard Parkins was born and resided in Leverstock Green (Hemel Hempstead). He enlisted at a recruitment centre in Whitehall (London) and became a soldier in the (later Royal) Army Service Corps. William Parkins died on 23 December 1916 at The Military Hospital, Sidney Hall, Weymouth. The cause of death was nephrites and anaemia. He was 31 years' old.
Parkins, William
  • Private, 
  • aged 31
  • known as Will 
  • Driver T4/160039, 
  • Royal Army Service Corps. 
  • Died 23rd December 1916 at home. 
  • Born Leverstock Green, 
  • enlisted Whitehall, 
  • resident Rickmansworth. 
  • Buried south of the church, near path, in HOLY TRINITY CHURCHYARD, LEVERSTOCK GREEN, HEMEL HEMPSTEAD.
  • son of William Parkins (fishmonger)
Driver William Parkins gravestone in Holy Trinity Churchyard.
Parkins, Thomas
  • at the time of his father, William Parkins' death in 1916, he was said to be serving aboad.
  • Married Emily Sygrave in Oct 1914
  • In Royal Engineers
ABOVE: Thomas & Emily Parkins.  
TOP LEFT: Thomas Parkins, TOP RIGHT: Unmarked photo, possibly Thos. Parkins.  BOTTOM RIGHT: Thomas & Emily's banns 1914
Parkins, Walter
  • possibly in 11th Hussars
  • son of William Parkins
Parkins, Fred
  • with Herts Regiment at the beginning of the war
  • son of William Parkins (fishmonger)
  • beleived discharged Dec 1917 on account of wounds received at Vimy Ridge


William Parkins, the fishmonger of Westwick Row, had 8 children: two daughters and 6 sons. The younger four children: Frederick (born 1894),Cecil (born 1897), Walter, (born 1898) & Henry, (born 1903), were from his second marriage to Lydia Ashwell. His elder sons, William (born 1884), & Thomas (born 1886) were from him first marriage to Ellen Winch,along with Annie & Ellen.

Many of the family photos were unmarked, and it has not always been easy to sort out which brother is which as they are all very much alike.  To add to the complication of identification, another local family was called Perkins (they ran the Three Horseshoes)

William Parkins the elder died on November 3rd, 1916.  His eldest son, also William (see below), died on 23rd December 1916, and four of his sons were known to be serving with the colours,(assuming the Gazette got that right!) and I beleive three to have been Cecil, Walter & Thomas. Harry was too young to have been in the forces. As the early photos seem to show Fred, 

William's daughter Annie married Jim Jordon in January 1918 (see photo below). Fred, was the only adult brother NOT in uniform or not in the picture because they were overseas.

In the Gazette for 5th January 1918 were reports of other members of the Leverstock Green community either on leave discharged. 

     "2nd Lieutenant Wright, R.F.C., whose father is an undertaker and wheelwright  at Leverstock Green,  was recently home on two days leave.  Leverstock Green was also glad to welcome home on leave during Christmas the following: Rifleman C.A. Ingham, Queens Westminster Rifles;  Private T. Charles, who has served for thirteen months; and Percy Dell, wounded while fighting in France. --Private F. Perkins has got his discharge on account of a wound received whilst fighting at Vimy Ridge.-- Rifleman C.A. Ingham came home unexpectedly on Christmas Day. Joining the Q.W.R.'s whilst they were stationed at Leverstock Green, he has seen over two years service in France.  Curiously enough he was also fortunately able to get leave about this time of year.

From the evidence of the wedding photo showing Fred in civvies, it seems likley that it was Fred Parkins, not Fred Perkins who was discharged from the forces.
ABOVE & RIGHT: Both these photos were unlabled, and intially the one above was thought to show either Walter or Fred Parkins.  As the photo was almost certainly taken at the Ashridge TA camp immediatly prior to the outbreak of war, then it has to be Fred as Walter was too young at that stage.  Similiarly the right hand photo was thought to be of Walter.  Given Walter's age, and the positive ID left and at the Jordon's wedding,  it is almost certainly of Fred. 
The Wedding of Annie Parkins & Jim Jordon, January 1918

On rug L-R:  Winnifred Read, -?- ;Front Row L-R: Fred Parkins, Ellen Read, Jim Jordon, Annie Parkins/Jordon, -?-, Lydia Parkins; Back Row of adults includes William Read (L), Walter Parkins (Centre in uniform), Thomas Parkins (R) with his wife Emily to his right.   It is thought Harry Parkins is the young man to the right of the very back row of children.

Will Parkins in a clip from his sister Ellen's wedding photo in 1905.
Perkins, Victor George Thomas (known as Vic)
  • Bedfordshire Regiment,
  • enlisted by March 1916
  • Private, 237262, 7th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment
  • KIA 22.3.1918 aged 20
  • son of Tom & mary Elizabeth Parkins of The Three Horsehoes PH
  • Memorials: panel 28 & 29 Poziers Memorial, Leverstock Green, Hemel Hempstead.
Randell, W F
  • RN Flying Corps
  • enlisted by 1914
  • enlisted by March 1916
1st January 1918 - death of  William Walter Sears - The following reports appeared in the Gazette.

"We deeply regret having to record the death of a well-known and much respected local tradesman, who was truly to be recorded as a war hero. Mr. W.W, Sears, of Leverstock Green, whose death occurred last Thursday from an internal complaint, from which he had suffered since last June [sic].  He was unfortunately wounded at Ypres, losing one of his eyes whilst serving with the Royal Engineers, and from the time he left hospital he had never regained his health.  Mr. Sears who was born at Leverstock Green, his family having lived in the village for many years, left there at the age of ten, but later returned, and has resided there during the last 17 years.  Before he enlisted in the Royal Engineers he was one of the Hemel Hempstead Volunteers.  He was also a member of the local Conservative Association.  It seems hard to realise a man of so strong and active a constitution should have passed away at such a comparatively early age.  His death is a great loss not only in Leverstock Green itself but in the neighbourhood generally.  The interment will take place quietly at Leverstock Green today (Saturday).  One of his sons is at present at Sandwich, serving also in the Royal Engineers, but owing to a motor cycle accident whilst serving in France he is now retained for Home Service."


With every token of respect the funeral of the late Mr W W Sears of Leverstock Green , whose death was recorded in our last issue took place on Sat afternoon.  The first part of the service was held in the parish church of Holy Trinity, the whole of the ceremony being conducted by the vicar the Rev A Durrant.  In accordance with his last wishes the service was very quiet. The coffin which was of polished elm with brass  fittings bore the inscription: William W Sears died January 1st 1918 aged 55 years” The following were the principle mourners: Mrs WW Sears (widow), Mr W A Sears,  Sergeant P Sears, Arthur Sears, Alfred Sears and Ronald Sears (sons)..............(+ other relatives) To show the esteem and respect in which he was regard by his neighbours several of them united n subscribing for a wreath as a last token.  ........(details of who contributed followed plus all the other floral tributes.
Sears, William Walter
  • member of Hemel Hempstead Volunteers
  • enlisted by joining Royal Engineers, aged 56
  • wounded at Ypes and lost one eye
  • buried Holy Trinity Churchyard
  • Memorials: Leverstock Green, Hemel Hempstead
  • Name miss-spelt on LG memorial as Sear
  • He left a widow (Maggie) and 6 dependant children aged 5-15.
Sears, Dick (Albert)
  • joined Marines
  • enlisted by May 1915
  • cousin, and brother-in-law of WW Sears
  • Sears,Percy
  • Royal engineers
  • Sgt. - at the time of his father's death (see acount of WW Sear's funeral) he was retained for home service and serving in Sandwich, Kent, following a motorcycle accident in France.

  • Son of Arthur Seabrook, landlord of The Leather Bottle.
  • Leslie was in later life to become Mayor of St. Albans.
  • Promoted to Lance-Corporal.
Three photos showing Leslie Seabrook during WW1
Secretan, Humphrey Basil
  • New Army
  • enlisted 1914
  • Second Lieut.
  • Awarded Military Cross 
  • youngest son  of Herbert E. Secretan & Mrs Secretan, The Dells, Bennetts End.(Tile Kiln Lane)



We regret to hear  the news has been received of the death in action of  the son of Mr & Mrs Secretan of Bennetts End, Leverstock Green.  The gallant young officer was one of three from Leverstock Green who won the Military Cross.  The other two were Captain Durrant, son of the Vicar of Leverstock Green, and Lieut.. Bessant.  Capt. Durrant met his death some time ago. [Gazette August 11 1917]

2nd Lieut. R H SECRETAN

The son of Mr & Mrs Secretan whose death was announced last week, was the youngest son, and not the one who was awarded the MC.  The following notice appeared in “The Times”:

Second Lieutenant R H Secretan, the Hertfordshire Regiment, killed in action July 31st, aged 22; youngest son of Mr & Mrs Herbert Secretan of Leverstock Green  near Hemel Hempstead and nephew of  the late Henry Richardson of  Marlborough.  He was educated at Hildersham House Broadstairs, and Oundle School.    On the outbreak of war, having just left school, he tried 8 times to enlist, but was rejected for short sight.  Finally he was accepted for the M.T.A.S.C. and went to the front in December 1914.  After serving 18 months in France as Motor Driver and dispatch rider, he came home in August 1916 to take up a commission.  He joined his regiment at the front in January 1917.  The Commanding Officer writes: n He was killed instantaneously while leading his platoon against our final objective.  His men tell me that nothing could have been more gallant than the way in which he led them.  He was always so cheerful and ready to do everything that he was a great favourite with everyone.  There was no braver boy in the whole army.

A friend writing to his parents says: “I shall never forget your boy in the first days of the war, dashing about the country on his motor bike, entreating to be enlisted anywhere and in any regiment.”  Second Lieutenant R H Secretan was Captain of his house and his housemaster had a “vast regard” for him.  He was very keen on all games, at many of which he excelled.  In his last letter home on his way up to the front he says: “I am awfully bucked with life, I have been given a good job and the men could not have been better.  One of his men said he always took any shelling like a football match.  He loved his men and they loved him.  “A splendid lot” he called them.  The Chaplain writes: One of his men tells me that he rallied his men to the attack on our final objective shouting “Come on No 8” and was instantly shot.  [Gazette August 18th 1917]
Secretan, Reginald Herbert
  • M.T.A.S.C. ( drove a motorbike)
  • enlisted 1914
  • Hertfordshire Regiment
  • KIA at St. Julien July 31st 1917- Herts Regiment -aged 22
  • Memorials:Leverstock Green, Hemel Hempstead,Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial
  • son  of Herbert E. Secretan & Mrs Secretan, The Dells, Bennetts End.(Tile Kiln Lane)
ABOVE: Reginald Herbert Secretan
ABOVE: William Walter Sears.  According to his Granddaughter, Angela Sears, “Grandfather volunteered aged 56 because he felt not enough men in the village were volunteering, and he might set an example.”   BOTTOM RIGHT: WW Sears (back row second from right) with his regiment at their barracks. TOP RIGHT: The Elms
RIGHT: Dick Sears. According to his great-neice, Dick's experience's on the Somme turned him into a pacifist, and on returning home to LG he burned his uniform on the lawn at "The Elms".
RIGHT: Percy Sears & family, 1916.
ABOVE: Humphrey Basil Secretan MC
MARJORIE'S WAR - featuring the diaries of Marjorie, Humphrey and  Reggie  Seretan during WW1. By Charles & Reginald Fair Fair - click to transfer to sale site.
Victor Perkins as a Boy Scout 1908