S. H. Compson
Service no. G/19059
Private, Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent Regiment), 10th Battalion
Died aged about 21 on 23 March 1918
Awarded the Military Medal
Remembered at Arras Memorial, Pas de Calais, France
Enlisted at Maidstone, resident at Hunton, Kent
British Army Service Records 1914-1920
Stanley Henry Compson was assumed dead on 23 March 1918. Like so many other families of soldiers, the Compsons not only had no body – generally only those gravely injured soldiers who managed to get back to Britain were buried at home – but no imagined foreign resting place.
Grieving families clung to whatever was left in order to mourn their dead. Memorials such as St Mark’s and Stockwell went some way to fill the gap left by the absence of a funeral. They are places to focus on and a place to point to with pride. Medals do the same – physical remnants of the deceased. Perhaps this is why Compson’s father, Joseph H. Compson, enquired often about the medals.
On 17 July 1919, he wrote to the military authorities with is change of address (he had moved to 77 St Agnes Place, SE11). “What is to be done about his M. M. [Military Medal]?” he asked. He requested that his was presented “publicly” and the medal arrived on 20 January 1920.
On 17 February 1921 he wrote again: “When may I expect to receive the medals due to my late son?”. Again, on 8 November 1921 he sent a change of address and added, “By the way, when may I expect to receive any medals that he is entitled to?”
A notice in the Edinburgh Gazette Supplement of 22 October 1917 stated that “His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Military Medal for bravery in the Field to the undermentioned Non-Commissioned Officers and Men” includes Compson’s name.
Information from the 1911 census
In 1911 Stanley Henry Compson was 14 and working as an errand boy for a grocer’s. He lived with his grandmother and other family members at 240 South Lambeth Road, London SW8. The household included
Jane Compson, 60, widowed, the mother of 6 children, 3 surviving: Joseph (Stanley’s father), Albert and Alfred.
Her son Albert Compson, 31, a motor cab driver
Another son, Alfred Compson, 28, also a motor cab driver
A granddaughter Lilian Compson, 16, a dressmaker’s assistant
Stanley Compson, 14
All the Compsons were born in Lambeth
Henry Hussey, 43, a boarder, working as a motor cab driver, born in Greenwich.
Information from the 1901 census
In 1901 four-year-old Stanley Henry Compson lived at 6 Wynyard Terrace, Lambeth, with his family: his father, Joseph H. Compson, a 27-year-old stockbroker’s clerk born in Lambeth; his mother, Catherine B. V. Compson, 23, born in Kennington; his brother, William E. Compson, 10 months, born in Kennington. Stanley was born in Brixton.