Wilfrid Stanislaus STAPLETON-BRETHERTON
Born on November 26th 1886, in Fareham, Hampshire, Wilfrid Stanislaus Stapleton-Bretherton was the fourth son of Frederick Annesley Stapleton-Bretherton and Hon. Isabella Mary Petre. The 1891 Census states that Wilfrid aged 4 was living in Fareham with his parents and eleven siblings; Frederick (18), Robert (15), Evelyn (14), Agnes (13), Edith (12), Winfride (11), Edmund (9), Ethel (7), Monica (5), Vincent (2), Gertrude (2 mths). There were also eight servants at the house.
Like his brothers Edmund and Vincent, Wilfrid was educated at the Roman Catholic Beaumont College in Old Windsor, Berkshire. In 1906, aged 20, he was awarded a commission as Second Lieutenant with the 3rd Battalion, Hampshire Regiment. He transferred to the Royal Fusiliers on January 22nd 1908 and was promoted to Lieutenant on August 18th 1911.
On the outbreak of war, the 4th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) was based on the Isle of Wight. They were very quickly mobilised, moved to Le Havre on August 13th 1914 and were involved in the early actions of the war in the Mons area. Lt. Wilfrid Stapleton-Bretherton arrived in France on October 25th 1914. The War Diary for the 4th Royal Fusiliers states that he joined them on October 28th 1914 after heavy losses,
“ ……only 8 officers and 350 officer reserves left now……" An entry in the War Diary for November 8th reported:
“… still in trenches, very heavily shelled all day several attacks by the enemy on our trenches all repulsed. One particularly heavy attack on ‘Y’ Company at about 6pm was repulsed with heavy losses to the enemy. ‘Y’ Company under Lt. Stapleton-Bretherton charged the enemy who were advancing on our trench. The Company drove the enemy away but went too far as Lt. Bretherton, 2nd. Lt. Jackson and most of the Company are missing.”
The exact date of Wilfrid’s death remains uncertain. A newspaper report suggests he died on 11th November 1914 three days after being wounded, but the family memorial states he died on 8th November 1914. The whereabouts of his grave is unknown.
In February 1915, the Liverpool Echo reported the death of Wilfrid Stapleton-Bretherton
The medals Wilfrid would have been entitled to are shown here