© IWM (HU 123194)

Born: 5th April 1890, Shotley, Suffolk.

Died: 8th March 1917; age 26; KiA – whilst crossing the River Dialah, Mesopotamia.


Rank: Captain.

Regiment: Suffolk Regiment, 10th Battalion attached 6th Battalion, King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment).


Medals Awarded: Victory & British War + Distinguished Service Order awarded February 1917 – For distinguished service in the field in Mesopotamia: For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. Although his right flank was exposed, he held and consolidated the captured trenches for sixteen hours against determined enemy bombing attacks. It was mainly owing to his untiring energy and organising powers that the position was maintained and the enemy finally driven back. Gazetted on the 17th March 1917


Grave Reference:

XIX. E.4.

Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery,



Relatives Notified & Address: Son of the late John & Ada Hempson, of Shotley; Husband of Frances G.M. Hempson, of ‘Beechcroft’ Woodbridge Road, Ipswich.




1891   Hill House Farm, Shotley, Suffolk.


Claude was a year old and living with his parents, siblings & cousin.

John Hempson, 39, a Farmer – employer, born St. Osyth, Essex.

Ada Hempson, 31, born Statton Hall, Suffolk.

John Spencer Hempson, 4, born Shotley.

Olive Ada Hempson, 3, born Shotley.

Edith Dawson, 9, born Nacton, Suffolk.

1 cook


1 housemaid.


1901   Hill House Farm, Shotley, Suffolk.


Claude was 10 years old and living with his parents & siblings.

John, 49, a Farmer – employer.

Ada, 40.

Olive, 13.

Phyllis Mary Hempson, 9, born Shotley.

1 governess

1 housemaid

1 cook.


Attended Framlingham College – 1901 – 1906. Sub. Prefect & Shooting Captain. His brother John also attended from 1900 – 1902.


Claude’s father John Hempson died 1911, Ipswich.


On the 7th January 1915, Alfreton, Derbyshire, Claude married Frances Georgina Maude Leary, born 1890, Demerara, British Guiana.

They had 1 son:

John George Godfrey Hempson, born April 1916, Alfreton, Derbyshire.


Frances’s father, Dr. Edward George Leary was a Government Medical Officer in the British Guiana, South America for 18 years. Frances and her brother George were both born at Demerara. The Leary family returned to England in 1891, where Dr. Edward Leary succeeded the Dr. Fielding practice at Alfreton, Derbyshire. They made their home in an old house with spectacular grounds in the High Street, at Alfreton.


Derbyshire Courier – 15th June 1915



Brilliant weather favoured the nuptials of Lieutenant Claude Dawson Hempson, of the 10th Suffolk Regiment, and Miss Frances Georgina Maude Leary, at Alfreton Parish Church on Monday. The bride is the only daughter of Dr. and Mrs. E.G. Leary, of High Street, Alfreton. The bridegroom is the only son of the late Mr. John Hempson and of Mrs. Hempson, of Shotley, Suffolk.

Early in the afternoon the townsfolk, by whom Miss Leary and her family are held in high esteem. had gathered within the church and along the approaches to it. The invitations to the wedding were necessity limited owning to the war. Many of the well-wishes in the church were in khaki, and they included a party of wounded soldiers from Wingfield Hall, with the matron, Miss Ball.

Miss Leary has worked enthusiastically in connection with many movements necessitated by the war, and particularly for the Alfreton Belgian Relief Committee. A pretty little incident, expressive of gratitude, occurred as the bride and bridegroom left the church, when a Belgian resident in Alfreton handed the bride a bouquet of lilies and sweet pea tied with the Belgian tri-colour. The interior of the church, at the chancel step and near the altar, was artistically decorated with palms, lilies, and other white blooms.

 At the porch the bride was met by the surpliced choir and by the Revs. T. Allen Moxon, R.D. (vicar), C.G. Everitt (curate) and N.D. Coleman (assistant curate). Preceded by them and escorted by her father she proceeded to the chancel steps, attended by a “demoiselle d’honneur,” Miss Olive Hempson, the bridegroom’s sister. As a processional hymn “Love Divine, all love excelling,” was sung, and later in the service “O God our help in ages past.” Mr. G. Marshall presided at the organ, and played the “Postlude” (Gray), Bridal March from “Lohengrin” (Wagner), and the “Wedding Song” (Dubois) during the assembling of the guests and the signing of the register, and the Wedding March (Mendelssohn) as the bridal party left the church. The Vicar addressed suitable words to the newly married pair at the conclusion of the bridal vows.

Lieutenant Hempson, who was in full service uniform, had the assistance of Mr. Neville Smith, of Ipswich, as best man. Second-Lieutenant Godfrey Leary, of the 10th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment also in uniform, discharged the duties of usher with the assistance of Mr. Gibson.

 What The Bride Wore.

The flesh-tinted satin chosen by Miss Leary for her bridal robe suited her fair colouring to perfection. The dress was simple and without a train, the satin being veiled with silver tissue and white ninon. A full overdress of marquinette had a scalloped edge of taffeta, and was surmounted by a broad-swathed belt of satin, the silk tulle veil fell to the hem of the dress, and was held in place by a classic wreath of orange buds. The bride’s only ornament was a necklace of seed pearls with a clasp of blue enamel and pearls, the gift of the bridegroom, and she carried an exquiste bouquet of lilies and exotic blooms and smilax trails.

Lemon brocade was utilised for the gown worn by the “demoiselle d’honneur,” and the style was somewhat suggestive of the mediæval. On her “Bergere” leghorn hat were damask and pink roses and saxe blue ribbon. The bridegroom’s gifts were gold bar brooch with three pearls, and the bouquet of ivory-coloured roses she carried.

After the ceremony Dr. and Mrs. Leary entertained their guests at their residence in High Street. Mrs. Leary, the bride’s mother, was in flowered ninon of a dainty blue shade. her hat of transparent black lace had chiffon roses on and under the brim. Mrs. Hempson, the bridegroom’s mother, wore mauve poplin, with a tagel hat of the same shade, on which were stocks and a flowing veil.

Mrs. Godfrey Leary, the bride’s sister-in-law, made a charming picture in her gown of palest grey ninon, brightened with silver and “rebel” hat in the same shades. White embroidered Indian muslin, sashed with blue, was worn by Miss Phyllis Hempson, and her black hat with lace brim was trimmed with pink roses and blue ribbon streamers. Lady Godfrey was in dark blue satin taffeta with a black picture hat and flowing veil.

The handsome three-tiered wedding cake was ornamented with regimental badge of the 10th Suffolks, the bridegroom’s regiment, and the initials of the happy couple interwoven, Mrs Hempson cut the cake, with her husband’s assistance, with his sword.

Later in the day Lieutenant and Mrs. C.D. Hempson left for a motor tour in Devonshire. The bride travelled in a fawn-grey costume with motor bonnet trimmed with blue figured ninon and white veil with tasselled ends.

List of Presents


Bridegroom to bride – Seed pearl necklet with seed pearl drops and pearl and enamel clasp.

Mother of bride – Hammered silver toilet set.

Father of bride – Cheque.

Lieut. & Mrs. Godfrey Leary – Dessert knives & forks.

Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Hyde – Silver serviette rings.

Dr. and Mrs. Leary – Cake stand.

Bride to Bridegroom – Gold cigarette case.

Mother of bride – Silver pocket flask.

Father of bride – Pipes.

Mother of bridegroom – Silver revolving dish.

Misses Olive and Phyllis Hempson – Silver tea-pot.

Mr. Spencer Hempson – Cheque.

Mr. and Mrs. G. Hempson – Cheque.

Randall and Ted – Silver match box.

Mr. and Mrs. Godfrey Hempson – Fish knives and forks.

Mr. and Mrs. W.H. Allen – Fruit spoons.

Mrs. J.C. Dawson – Cheque.

Mr. and Mrs. S. Dawson – Salt cellars.

Mr. and Mrs. B. Dawson – Entree dish.

Mr. and Mrs. H. Dawson – Cheque.

Mr. P. Dawson – Cheque.

Mrs. E. R. Turner – Cheque.

Mrs. W. Brown – Cheque.

Col. and Mrs. Roberts – Match box.

Capt. and Mrs. Richardson – Umbrella.

Mrs. Birch – Coffee tray.

Mr. and Mrs. H. Cooper – Tea knives.

Mrs. H. Hamilton – Crumb scoop.

Mrs. McGeogh – Old mahogany stool.

Mr. S.W. Blackhouse – Ink stand.

Capt. and Mrs. H.W.R. Gaze – Silver cake stand.

Mr. M.H. Smith – Silver cigarette case.

Mr. and Mrs. Rallim – Cheque.

Mr. Langdon – Wedding cake.

Dr. and Mrs. McAllister – Breakfast cruet.

Mr. Whitley – Cheque.

Sir Joseph and Lady Godfrey – Cheque.

Miss A. Watson – Carrick-ma-cross lace collar and cuffs.

Mr. T.W. Bardlie – Cheque.

Mr. and Mrs. Boyd – Silver salt cellars.

Dr. and Mrs. Corkery – Entree dish.

Mr. E.F.H. Taylor – Silver card case.

Rev. T. Allen Moxon and Miss Johnson – Tea knives.

Mr. and Mrs. Frank Everitt – Cake basket.

Rev. C.G. Everitt – Vase.

Mr. F.J. Morris – Pendant.

Mr. and Mrs. T.W. Taylor – Ironstone china vase.

Mrs. Moore and Edith – Tortoise shell and paste.

Mr. J.G. Wilson and Misses Wilson – Silver cream jug.

Mrs. and Miss Loverook – China jar.

Mr. W. Mortimer Wilson – Pair of silver candlesticks.

Miss Dora and Miss Lucy Bigham – Pendant.

Miss Nettie More – Crown Derby pot.

Mr. Francis E. Gibson – Silver inkstand.

Mr. and Mrs. Windle – Silver photo frame.

Miss Radford – Pictures.

Mrs. Radford – Piece of old china.

Capt. Palmer-Morewood – Silver tea knives.

Miss Crampton – Purse and work-bag.

Mr. Gordon Lang – Silver powder box.

Mr. G. Butcher – Silver photo frame.

Mrs. Maxwell Fox – Fruit spoons.

Dr. F.N. Burwell – Egg stand.

Mrs. Balls, Vivienne and Walter – Silver fitted motor dressing case.

Miss Challoner – Embroidered tea cloth.

Mrs. Nesbitt – Serviettes.

Miss Price – Embroidered tea cloth.

Mrs. Cupitt – Tea set.

Miss Whiteley – Old Jesus spoon.

Miss G. Eardley – Silver button hook and show horn.

Miss D. Eardley – Silver serviette ring.

Miss Daisy Todd – Cut glass vase.

Mrs. J.J. Bingham – Silver trinket box.

Mrs. Greta Wilson – Silver bonbon dishes.

Mr. and Mrs. J.G. Severn – Inlaid table.

Mr. and Mrs. N.B. Jackson – Silver muffin dish.

Mr. F.E. James – Silver candle sticks.

Mr. and Mrs. Osborne Sampson – Velvet jewel case.

Mr. and Mrs. L.S. Stroyan – Silver candle sticks.

Miss Evelyn Stroyan – Glass powder jar.

Miss B. Barclay – Silver mirror.

Miss Iris Branfill – Silver photo frame.

Miss Buxton – Silver inkstand.

Mrs. Eardley – Silver topped scent bottle.

Mr. J.E. Crozier – Silver cake basket.

The Alfreton Belgian Refugees – Picture.

Mr. Sweeting – Knife rests.

Miss Mabel Thorpe – Silver-topped scent bottles.

Mr. G.S. Blake – Sugar sifter.

Miss G. Lawson – Tea cloth.

Servants at Alfreton – Toast rack.

Cook and her sister Nellie – Tea cloth.

Blagdon and Miss Bailey – Salt and sugar sifters.


Probate to Frances Georgina Maude Hempson – widow.


Soldiers’ Effects to Mrs. Frances Georgina Maude Hempson – widow.


Frances’s mother, Lilian, after the death of her husband, Dr. Edward Leary, in 1918, moved from Alfreton, Derbyshire to join her in Ipswich.


Frances Hempson’s brother George Godfrey Whitley Leary also lost his life during the war. He was killed on the 25th September 1915, during the first advance on Loos. Godfrey was ranked a Lieutenant for the 10th Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment. He was laid to rest at St. Mary’s Advanced Dressing Station British Cemetery, Haisnes, France. Godfrey was 23 years old, he had recently married in March 1915, to Edythe Simpson Balls.

Frances’s parents were both called out of St. Martin’s Parish Church at the evening service of the harvest festival to receive the fateful telegram.


In July 1919, two memorials in oak and bronze were erected on the north wall of St. Martin’s Parish Church, Alfreton, Derbyshire to commemorate Capt. Claude Hempson and his brother-in-law Lieut. Geo. Godfrey Whitley Leary.



Inscription words:” To the Glory of God and Loving memory Capt. Claude Dawson Hempson D.S.O. Suffolk Regiment attached 6th Battalion, King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment. Killed in the crossing of the Diala.  March 8th 1917. Erected by his wife.”


Claude is also remembered on the war memorial at The Framlingham College, Suffolk, and at St. Mary at Stoke Church, Ipswich.

(1930 image of the North Lancashire Regiment memorial at Dialah)

Fellow Ipswich man lost in the action: WILFRID HOWARD MASON

The river Dialah, a tributary of the Tigris. Armed with artillery and well dug in, the Turks held a formidable defensive position. On 7th March 1917 the 6th Battalion KORLR seized Dialah village on the left bank of the river, but received Turkish fire from the left bank. In an attempt to cross the river, the Battalion launched pontoons, but were driven back. The operation cost 40 casualties. A battalion of the North Lancashire Regiment completed the crossing early on the 10th March.
The 13th Division of the British Army was now able to advance on Baghdad.

Captain O.A.Reid, 6th Loyal North Lancs and Pte Jack White, 6th Kings Own received the Victory Cross for the action.


King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment):



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