A name on the wall at Tyne Cot

Report by Harry Naylor, 4th Form pupil.  

Whilst we were preparing for the Ypres school trip to Tyne Cot cemetery outside of Passchendale, near Zonnebeke in Belgium, my Mum mentioned that she thought that at least one of her grandmother’s brothers had been killed in the First World War. My Great Grandmother’s maiden name was Guppy; so throughout the trip I was on the look out for any memorial to someone with the surname Guppy. I had had no luck until at Tyne Cot cemetery, I was browsing the perimeter walls when I saw the name ‘Guppy R.J.’ I decided to take a photo to bring home as evidence.

Through a combination of internet research and asking relatives, I discovered that R.J. Guppy was Reginald John Guppy, a Private in the 18th Lancashire Hussars Battalion, The King’s Liverpool Regiment. He was born in 1892 and was killed in action in 1918 at St Quentin, aged 27. He belonged to a large family from Sherborne in Dorset and was the 7th child of Arthur John and Bessie Guppy. Reginald was one of 15 children, one of whom was my Great Grandmother, Rose Maud. This makes Reginald my Great Great Uncle. We also established that one of Reginald’s older brothers – Arthur, was also killed in action during WW1. He died in August 1915 at Gallipoli.

Incredibly, through a distant relative still known to my Grandmother, I was able to obtain this photograph of Reginald.

Summer Holidays 2018

Whilst we were staying with my Granny who lives in South Somerset, we crossed over into Dorset and visited Sherborne Abbey where the town’s war memorial is located. Both Reginald and Arthur are commemorated on that memorial.


I have been unable to find anything out about Reginald’s life prior to the war, nor when he joined the Army. However, given the fact that we know he was 27 when he died; his age at the outbreak of the war makes it seem probable that he would have joined up in 1914. The saddest thing for me about Reginald’s death is that he was so close to surviving the war. He died on 8th May 1918, six months before Armistice Day on 11th November. This means that he was only six months away from seeing the peace he had been fighting for.

I still can’t believe that R.J. Guppy turned out to be related to me. Nor that all this time, my Grandmother had a certificate tucked away in a box commemorating the death of Private R Guppy, the same individual whose name I saw on the wall at Tyne Cot Cemetery and whose life I have now seen remembered in stone on both sides of the English Channel.


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