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© Barns Green - A Local History of The Great War 2014
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Isaac Thomas Loder  Gratwicke (1886-1918) - Pte 35433 4 th Bn Royal Sussex Regiment At the time of  Isaac Gratwicke’s birth in 1886 his father Thomas, who was uncle to Albert and Peter Gratwicke, was an agricultural labourer and the family lived at the splendidly named Rats Castle at Possession House, Itchingfield. Isaac went to Itchingfield School from 1892 – 98 when he left to work as a carter’s boy on a local farm. For   a   short   while,   from   18 th    April   1906,   Isaac   also   served   in   the   Royal   Navy   as   a   Stoker   (SS102852)   and   the   picture   to   the   right   is   him   in uniform. However he was discharged from the Navy on the 6 th  May 1909 on medical grounds due to problems with his eyes. Isaac married Edith Emily Pelling in Horsham in 1909 and settled there although for a time the family lived at Salt Box in Barns Green. They had four children, Annie May (b 1911); Jack (b 1912 d 1913); Thomas Jack (b 1914) and Jesse (b 1915). At the outbreak of war, Isaac enlisted and joined the 3 rd /4 th  Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment for his training but was then transferred to the 695 Agricultural Company of the Labour Corps as Pte 356064 around August 1917. It was often the case that men passed as fit during initial screening were then found to be unsuitable for active service during training. It is likely that this is what happened to Isaac – possibly related to his earlier eye problems - and it is this that led to his transfer to the Labour Corps. What is unusual however is that, although no record exists to suggest he served overseas, and although he does not appear to have earned any service medals, following his death from pneumonia at home on the 18 th  November 1918, he was granted a memorial and citation by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Family   oral   history   claims   that   he   was   amongst   those   detailed   to   look   after   German   POW   farm   labourers   in   Horsham   in   1918.   This   is certainly   a   role   that   would   have   fallen   to   the   men   of   the   Labour   Corps   and   it   is   a   matter   of   record   that   a   number   of   German   POWs designated   for   farm   work   were   billeted   both   at   28   North   Street,   and   in   a   disused   brewery   on   the   corner   of   Worthing   Road   and   the Bishopric in Horsham between October 1918 and January/February 1919. Isaac is buried in Hills Cemetery, Horsham and remembered on the Southwater War Memorial.  
The Fallen