Downes, Archer Chernocke


Third son of Lieutenant Colonel Charles Villiers Somerville Downes J.P., and Catherine Downes of Aspley House, Aspley Guise, Bedfordshire, and one of three Wykehamist brothers, another of whom, Lieutenant Villiers Chernocke Downes (A, 1905-1909), Bedfordshire Regiment, died of wounds on October 18th 1914 (see individual entry). Another brother, Edward Chernocke Downes (A 1900-1902) died in the College Sanatorium in March 1902 and is commemorated by a plaque in Cloisters. Both Archer and Villiers entered Chernocke House from the Reverend E.F. Miller’s school at Woburn Sands: Archer was ninth man for Wimbledon VIII, coxed School IV for two years and was appointed a House Prefect in 1910. In 1911 he followed his brother to Trinity College, Oxford where he served three years in the University OTC.

At the outbreak of war he obtained a commission in the Cheshire Regiment and was attached to the 1st Battalion. He died of wounds at Poperinghe on November 20th 1914, just a month after his brother. He had left the trench at Neuve Eglise to bring in a private soldier who was lying wounded between the lines and himself sustained a fatal injury in the attempt.

His mother was informed by telegram and she replied to the War Office on 27th November 1914 asking for details, the name of the surgeon who looked after him, and asking for all particulars as soon as possible. It is not known whether anyone replied.   On 16th December the staff in France sent all his personal effects to the War Office, listed as: 1. One cheque (Messrs Cox & Co.) number T/X53304. Blank. 2. One cheque book (London County & Westminster Bank, Ltd., Oxford Branch) containing one blank cheque No.A/ P53875. 3. Correspondence. (Private). 4. One Field Service Stationary Wallet. Without being told what they were, Downes’ mother was asked what she wanted done with his belongings, to which she responded: “I am much obliged for your letter, and shall be glad if the effects of my son, the late Lieutenant A.C. Downes, Cheshire Regiment, can be sent to the above address, all large packages; but should there be a wrist-watch, signet ring, or any small books, will you kindly send them to me, to the address where I am at present staying, viz.: 72 Senegal Road, S. Bermondsey, SE.  Also please write to me here”.   In December the War Office informed her that her son’s belongings were on their way to her, and were received on New Year’s Day 1915.

War: World War 1

  • Surname: Downes
  • Forenames or initials: Archer Chernocke
  • House: A
  • Years in School: 1906-1911
  • Rank: Lieutenant
  • Regiment: Cheshire Regiment
  • Date of Birth: 5th August 1892
  • Date of Death: 20th November 1914
  • How Died: Killed while attempting to rescue a wounded soldier
  • Location in War Cloister: Outer D4
  • Decoration: NA
  • Burial Site: POPERINGE COMMUNAL CEMETERY: Grave I.B.5