Clifford Whittington GREEN (1890–1915)
© Radley College
Clifford Whittington Green was born at West Lavington, Wiltshire in 1890, the elder child and only son of Ernest Henry Green (born in Chelsea/Brixton/Kennington in 1858) and Maud Whittington (born in St John’s, Canada in 1863/4). His parents were married in the Farnham district in the third quarter of 1889 and had two children:
- Clifford Whittington Green (born at West Lavington on 16 August 1890)
- Ellen Ruth Green, known as Ruth (born at Lavington in 1893/4,
registered first quarter of 1894).
In 1881 Clifford’s father Ernest (22), the son of a wine and spirit merchant, was living as a farm pupil with William Sainsbury, who had a 784-acre farm in West Lavington. It must have been there that he met his wife Maud, whose maternal grandfather was the asylum doctor in that village. Maud’s own father, George John Charles Whittington, was a military man who eventually became a Colonel, and the 1871 census suggests that when Maud’s family were in the country, they stayed in West Lavington.
By the time of the 1891 census Clifford’s father (33), now married, was himself a farmer, living at Hunt’s House, Church Street, West Lavington with his wife and eight-month-old Clifford, plus four servants (a cook, nurse, nursemaid, and housemaid).
By 1899 the family had moved to Brumcombe on Foxcombe Hill. They can be seen there in the 1901 census: Clifford was now ten, and his father (43) was living on his own means. They still had four servants (this time a butler, cook, maid, and housemaid). Later that year they must have moved to Sunningwell House, where they are listed in Kelly’s Directory for 1902. The 1903 directory shows that Clifford’s father was the gentleman farmer of Yatscombe Farm, and by that year had taken on as his farm bailiff James William Balls, whose son was also to die in the First World War; and by 1905 he had handed the farm over to him (taking it back in 1916 when Balls moved away from Sunningwell).
Clifford was first educated at Cothill House School near Abingdon and then entered Radley College in 1905, playing hockey for the Berkshire and Oxfordshire county teams. He was admitted as a Commoner to Lincoln College, Oxford on 10 October 1908. His academic career was not illustrious, however, and it appears that may not even have scraped a Pass degree.
Clifford’s parents were involved with the management of Sunningwell School, and on 4 April 1910 his mother was elected a Sunningwell parish councillor.
The 1911 census shows Clifford’s parents and sister at home at Sunningwell House on census night with two servants (a cook and housemaid); but Clifford himself, now in the Easter vacation of his third year at Oxford, was staying at the seaside with his uncle, Herbert William Green (Massandra, 16 Greenhill, Weymouth).
In 1912 Clifford Whittington Green (whose maternal grandfather was a Colonel) joined the 3rd Militia Battalion of the Berkshire Regiment as 2nd Lieutenant, and was soon promoted to Lieutenant.
From 1913 the Green family are listed in Kelly’s Directory as living at Bayworth Manor, Bagley Wood.
At the outbreak of the First World War Clifford Whittington Green received a regular commission in the Royal Berkshire Regiment on 14 August 1914, joining the 1st Battalion in France on 27 November. He served with them through the winter campaign of 1914–15, including the fight at Givenchy on 22 December. He was promoted temporary Captain and at Richebourg on 20 May 1915 he led his company in the attack.
He died in hospital at Lillers in France at the age of 24 on 27 June 1915 from wounds received in action at Cambray the previous day when directing his men to take cover when the enemy started shelling their headquarters.
Clifford Whittington Green is buried at Chocques Military Cemetery (Grave 1. B. 17), and is remembered on the war memorial of Radley College; Lincoln College, Oxford; and St Leonard’s Church in Sunningwell (and is also remembered on his parents’ grave there).
His memorial service was held in Sunningwell Church at 5.45pm on 3 July 1915.
Left: Photograph of Clifford Whittington Green’s grave in France, kindly supplied by British War Graves. The text reads:
[Emblem of the
Royal Berkshire Regiment]
ROYAL BERKSHIRE REGIMENT
27TH JUNE 1915 AGE 24
“… THE JOY
THAT WAS SET BEFORE HIM”
HEBREWS XII.2 VERSE
This is one of the 40% of war graves that bears a personal message at the end (for which the family had to pay 3½d per letter).
Green also has a plaque inside Sunningwell Church that reads:
A.M.D.G. [Ad maiorem Dei gloriam]
In everlasting memory of
Clifford Whittington Green
Captain 1st Royal Berkshire Regiment
Born August 16th 1890
Died in France June 27th 1915 of wounds received
while placing his men under cover from shell fire
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life / for his friends.”
Imperial War Museum's Database: Capt. C. W. H. Green
Administration was granted to Green’s father on 24 August 1915, and his total effects came to just £226.
Green’s sister Ruth regularly put a notice in the “In Memoriam” section of The Times on the anniversary of his death on 27 June. The last appeared in 1961 and read:
WHITTINGTON-GREEN—In proud and happy memory of my brother CLIFFORD WHITTINGTON-GREEN,
Captain, 1st Royal Berkshire Regiment, died of wounds in France, June 27, 1915, aged 24.—RUTH
Clifford Whittington Green’s mother
- Maud Whittington Green (Mrs Ernest Henry Green) died at Bayworth Manor, Sunningwell at the age of 51 on 8 April 1923 and is buried in Sunningwell churchyard.
- Ernest Henry Green died at Bayworth Manor, Sunningwell at the age of 81 on 15 January 1940 and is buried in Sunningwell churchyard.
- (Ellen) Ruth Green (29) married Thomas Herne Liddiard (33) at Sunningwell Church on 2 July 1923. He was the son of Nathaniel Liddiard (died 1949), who founded a butcher’s firm at Newbury, and initially they continued to live at Bayworth Manor with Clifford’s widower father while Liddiard served as Rector of Abingdon and an Honorary Canon of Christ Church. On his retirement he and Ruth went to live at his family home in Newbury (The Shrubbery in Oxford Street), where they remained for the rest of their lives: Thomas died at Northampton on 26 September 1964 (with his funeral at Sunningwell Church), and Ruth in 1976.
- Brumcombe, the house where the Green family lived until 1901, was later known as Glynde House and then Sandridge. In 1939 it became the official residence of the Bishop of Oxford, and then in 1954 it was acquired by Plater College. In 1976 Warnborough College bought first Brumcombe, and then in 1978 the adjoining property Yatscombe; the college closed down in 1996.
- CWGC: Whittington-Green, Clifford
- Wikipedia: Royal Berkshire Regiment
- Death announcements in The Times: Green himself on 1 July 1915; his mother on 10 April 1923; his father on 17 January 1940; and his brother-in-law on 28 September 1964
- Obituary of Green in The Times of 1 July 1915
- Obituary of Green in the Radleian of 29 July 1915
- De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour 1914–1918: Entry for Green, with photograph (right)
- Information on the Liddiard family, under the obituary of Miss Rebe Dreweatt