Reginald Wyndham Berryman
Reginald ("Reg") Berryman was the son of
William Lewis and Emily Kate Berryman - one of eight children, one of whom
died in infancy; he was born 31 Mar 1892 in Merthyr Tydfil.The
family home was 10 Norman Terrace, Merthyr Tydfil. His siblings were:
At the age of 17, Reg left Wales and went off to an unknown uncle to
try his hand at being a "farmer's boy". However, after a month, he moved to
London, and in 1912 he landed a job with The London and Southwestern Bank.
William Melville "Willy"
20 Aug 1890, Cefn Coed
23 Mar 1891, Cefn Coed
11 Nov 1899, Cefn Coed
10 Jan 1900, Cefn Coed
Gwladys M "Daisy"
Mar 1902, Cefn Coed
In 1915, Reg went off to war - initially with the General Service Corps. He
was admitted to the Honourable Artillery Company (HAC), as a Private, on 24
January 1917 and was originally in 'A' Company of the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion.
His regimental number was 10002. He travelled from Southampton to Le Havre on
the SS Londonderry on 15 April 1917, joining 'D' Company of the 1st Battalion
HAC on 14 May, having norrowly missed the fighting at Gavrelle, where two of the
Batallion's officers were awarded the VC..
A record book on the 1st Battalion, compiled by the Quartermaster, Major
George H. Mayhew, notes that he went to hospital on 1 July 1918 and rejoined the
Battalion on 28 October. On 2 December 1918 he went to the HQ of the 2nd Army as
O/S [Officers' Steward?] of Captain C. W. Holliday of the 1st Battalion, then
transferred to the Military Police, and at the end of the war, he went with his
regiment to the army of occupation in Germany. He survived relatively unscathed,
and returned to work as a cashier in the London and Southwestern Bank at
Waltham Green, London (later to be merged with other smaller banks to become
Barclays Bank). A regimental number register notes that he was demobilized in
England on 24 September 1919. His address in the printed membership list for
1920 was 10 Norman Terrace, Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorgan. On 6 Jan 1920, he married
Daisy Constance ROGERS.
1925, Reg was moved to the newly-constituted Barclays Bank at 311 North End
Road, Fulham, at the corner of Lillie Road, where the family lived over the Bank
premises. He was later promoted to 'Clerk in Charge' of Barclays Bank, 220 Horn
Lane, Acton, and then to the Millbank branch, not far from the Tate Gallery on
the Thames Embankment, as Chief Cashier. Later, he became the youngest Manager
in Barclays Bank.
In World War II, Reg joined the Local Defence Volunteers in Ealing (later to
become the Home Guard, or "Dad's Army"). Starting as a sergeant, he progressed
to lieutenant before the Home Guard disbanded.
retired slightly early from Barclays bank in 1951 due to ill health. He lived in
comfortable retirement in Clatterfield Gardens, Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex with his
beloved wife, "Connie", until his death in 1966.
"In the Nick of Time", written by Reg's son,
Neville ("Nick") contains the following passages about him:
Reginald Wyndham, my father, went to school in nearby
Cyfartha, which now houses a large museum. At the age of 17, he then went
off to an unknown uncle on his mother's side, to try his hand at being a
"farmer's boy". A more unlikely candidate for such an occupation would
have been hard to find. After a month, he made swiftly off to London and
landed a job with The London and Southwestern Bank in the year of 1912.
Victorian-parented fathers probably found it imprudent
to pass on too much information regarding their teenage and early
adulthood, and the years 1910 to 1915 in my father's life are a complete
mystery to me. From treasured family photographs however, and knowledge of
the man's character, I can at least conjecture.
Handsome he certainly was, and with his naughty sense
of humour I can only think that the ladies of Walham Green could have been
set off into something of a dither. Though not a natural sportsman, he
played the socially acceptable game of tennis at a reasonable standard,
belonged to clubs and did all the things that such clubs encompass.
Summer, I think, must have been his favourite time for
sport. He loved the River Thames and was wont to go off punting on many
occasions, always dressed for the part. Picnics on a river were one of his
favourite pastimes. Dirty winter games like soccer or hockey were out, and
he couldn't "punt a soccer ball for nuts!"
He obviously had his own idea about winter sports, but
he liked the theatre and theatre came under that heading. He was no snob,
but although he enjoyed "doing things properly" he was just as much at
home in Music Halls as he was at the traditional theatre, and again he
dressed for the occasion. I still have his silk white scarf, white cotton
gloves and opera hat which, with built in collapsible spring top, has been
a source of great amusement to successive generations of children.
Not adverse to a pint or a short (whichever he could
afford) it was not unknown for him to cross swords with the Law. One Boat
Race Night, the Oxford Crew and the Vine Street Police Station figured in
one of his off the cuff chats. I suspect he may have later regretted it,
as he had no wish to encourage by example an elder son who was, by nature,
only too capable of following suit (and who did so some 20 years later).
In both our cases, however, we got off with a caution, a form of police
disciplinary action which sadly appears to have disappeared along with the
cuff around the back of the head.
The dawning of 1915 signalled the start of a new era. A
poignant year for many and no less so for my father Reginald Wyndham. He
left behind him the Bank, tennis, river and theatre, as he departed for
France to defend King and Country. He was a good communicator, lover and
loving father. My family have over 100 war postcards, posted between 1915
and 1919 giving his whereabouts in war-torn France.
Leave was non-existent. Constantly in the front-line
trenches, he never suffered the traumas of having to bayonet a Hun, but
there was no doubt that short rations, mud, shell holes, dead bodies, lice
and filth were the order of the day. The horrors of the war made a great
impact on him. Certainly, my brother and I were never allowed to waste
food on any account, even to the extent of near fanaticism. He said he had
seen men fight for a crust of bread. It must have been terrible for him to
be dirty. He hated it, and the fact he was not circumcised was a constant
source of annoyance to him. "Had to spit on the damn thing to keep it
clean", he would say, as he later exhorted me to greater personal hygiene.
It has always amazed me that he never rose in rank or
became commissioned. Certainly, World War II forces would have required
him in commissioned rank, but then that was a different War.
When Reginald eventually returned to England in 1919,
having also served in the Army of Occupation, the London and Southwestern
Bank welcomed him back with open arms as cashier in the Walham Green
branch. He no doubt set the feminine hearts of Fulham fluttering on
He then describes Reg's service with the Honourable Artillery
Company (HAC) in World War I:
Father joined the Infantry Division of the Honourable
Artillery Company (HAC) as a Private Soldier in the First World War. He
was trained at the Tower of London Headquarters, and then spent the rest
of the War in or near the front line in France, ending finally with the
Army of Occupation in Germany. The HAC is an old and distinguished
Regiment, and at the time of the First World War it had been specially
re-organised as an active-service Officers' Training Unit. This was in
common with one or two other special regiments then, such as the Inns of
Court Regiment and the Artists Rifles, which also recruited in all ranks
from the professions.
Like many others in his position, Reg probably had no
great ambition to be commissioned. He was in good company, and with the
Bank making up his Army pay to his full civilian income, he may well have
thought himself as altogether better off than the officers standing in the
mud beside him. Whatever he thought, he remained in the ranks throughout
the War, and was not to be commissioned until joining the Home Guard in
the Second World War.
One day at the front, a French unit passed through the
HAC trenches. Unlike the HAC, they had been fed. One of the French
soldiers dropped a piece of bread in the mud as he passed by. Reg promptly
rescued it from beneath the marching feet. With most of the mud scraped
off, it was the best hunk of bread he had ever tasted. Later the HAC was
taken out of the front line for rest and re-equipment. Still desperately
hungry, Reg tried the Toc H, the Church Army, and every canteen he could
find. He was turned away by them all except the Salvation Army. In later
life he never failed to contribute to their cause. When they were
collecting, he always bought their "War Cry" magazine, and he gave his
children hell if a single scrap of food was ever left on their plates.
On another occasion the HAC was ordered to provide an
armed guard for visiting Royalty. Being well behind the line at the time,
the party happened to include a number of ladies with their
ladies-in-waiting. Reg recalls a friend of his standing guard outside one
of the bedrooms on the first evening.
He said, "The ladies murmured 'goodnight sentry', as
they retired and shortly after I heard that most heavenly of feminine
sounds, not heard for a very long time."
"What was that?" asked Reg, possibly misjudging the
answer. "Why? A Maiden saying her prayers."
Eventually the 'gentlemen rankers' experiment in World
War I was considered a failure. With so many potential leaders packed
together in the firing line, there was an appalling and concentrated loss
of life. Reg was gassed, often half-starved, and was indeed fortunate to
Today the Gunner Division of the Honourable Artillery
Company still exists as a corps d'elite on a 'Territorial' basis,
maintaining its old traditions, and frequently prominent on State
occasions (eg firing the gun salutes at the Tower of London). They still
maintain the tradition of gentlemen-rankers, all ranks being on equal
terms except when 'on parade,' but never again will they fight in this
particular formation. The experiment was far too costly.