John Cutler

SE/3322 Acting Serjeant John Cutler, Army Veterinary Corps

Born on 20th February 1889 in Little Gaddesden
Died on 8th April 1933 in Tring

Family and Home 1, 2, 3, 4

John Cutler was born in Little Gaddesden, the third of the 4 children of Frederick Thomas Cutler and Elizabeth née Mayling. He was baptised in St Peter & St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden on 21st April 1889.

His sister Alice was born in 1883, his brother Frederick James Cutler on 5th May 1886 and his brother Harry Cutler on 13th January 1893.

His family lived in Lamsey Lane and his father was an Agricultural Labourer who, their address indicates, worked on Church Farm for Mr Underwood.

Education 5

John Cutler started at Little Gaddesden School on 10th April 1893 when he was about 4 years old.  His next door neighbour, 4 year old Albert Impey, son of the Church Farm Shepherd, started the same day.

On 15th July 1895, the Headmaster received:

A note from Mrs Cutler to inform us that her children have Chickenpox & that Dr Bontor has recommended her to keep them at home for some little time.

Five years later, John was seriously ill again. On 10th July 1900:

Mrs Cutler called to say John would not be able to come to School for a week or two as the Doctor was afraid he had an attack of pleurisy.

By 1901, the family lived at Coldharbour, Ashridge where his father was a Farm Stockman and his 14 year old brother Frederick Cutler a Farm Cowboy. His sister Alice, however, had left home and was a Parlour Maid at the Manor House, Little Gaddesden in the household of Colonel Wheatley, father of Philip Wheatley. 12 year old John and 8 year old Harry Cutler were still at school.

However, the following year, on 6th March 1902, John left school with a Certificate of Attendance.

Employment 4, 6

John has not been definitively identified in the 1911 Census but he is believed to be the man named as 22 year old “Joesoph” Cutler, a Domestic Groom born in Little Gaddesden, a visitor at Lord Rothschild’s Ascott Hunting Stables, Wing. His Army Pension Record gives his occupation as a Groom and names Lord Rothschild of Tring Park as his employer. However, John’s parents and his brother Harry Cutler had stayed in the local area and moved to 16 Ringshall by 1911.

Marriage and the Birth of a Son 1, 6

On 4th June 1913, John Cutler married Edith Usher Williams in Wandsworth. Their son Harold John Cutler was born on 13th August 1913.

Military Service 6, 7

On 11th January 1915, John attested for the Army Veterinary Corps to serve as a Horse Keeper for the duration of the War. At that time, he was a 25 year old Groom, living at 8 Grove Road, New Mill, Tring. Private John Cutler, Service Number SE/3322, was then posted almost immediately to the British Expeditionary Force in France, where he arrived on 19th January 1915.

John and Edith’s second son, Harry Frederick Cutler was born on the 29th May 1915.

From 4th September 1915 to 17th October 1918, John served as a Temporary Serjeant in the Army Veterinary Corps attached to B Battery, 123 Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. His Discharge Papers give his final rank as Paid Acting Serjeant.

Wounded in the Course of his Duties 6, 7, 8

On 12th October 1918 at Cambrai, John received a gunshot/ shrapnel wound to his right hand and ring finger. This was first treated at the 3rd Canadian Casualty Clearing Station and the 9th General Hospital in Rouen, before he returned to England on 18th October. He then had further treatment first at Graylingwell War Hospital Chichester and, from 30th November, at the Convalescent Military Hospital, Eastbourne. John was allowed leave from 19th to 30th December. However, he then went to Napsbury War Hospital, St Albans for dispersal, before being demobilised and transferred to Class Z Reserve on 27th February 1919. For his War Service, John was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Allied Victory Medal.

Returning Home 7, 9

After his discharge, John returned to at 8 Grove Road, New Mill, Tring. He was granted an army pension of 8 shillings and 10 pence per week, which included 2 shillings and 4 pence per week toward the keep of his two children. His pension continued until May 1921.

Men who have answered their country’s call in defence of a “Scrap of Paper” 9, 10

John Cutler is named on the Roll of Honour, which hangs in St Peter & St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden and lists 119 men from Little Gaddesden, Ringshall and Hudnall who served in the 1914 – 1918 War. On the original Roll his unit is abbreviated to “Veterinary Corps”; on the Centenary Revision of the Roll this has been recorded more formally as “Army Veterinary Corps”. John’s brothers Frederick Cutler, Mechanical Transport and Harry Cutler, 1st Battalion Hertfordshire Regt., are also listed on both Rolls, as are his cousins John Mayling, 10th Bn. Bedfordshire Regt. and William Mayling, 3rd Bn. Hertfordshire Regt.

Rolls of Honour photos: Jane Dickson, Michael Carver

Although John and his brothers moved away from Little Gaddesden, his parents stayed at 16 Ringshall. His father died there in 1928 and his mother stayed until at least 1930.

Later Life 1,4, 9, 10, 11

On 12th June 1921 John and Edith’s third son, William Ted Cutler, was born in Tring. By then John was a Builder’s Labourer working at Halton Camp for McDonald & Co. John continued to live at 8 Grove Road until his death, aged 44, in the Royal Bucks Hospital, Aylesbury on 8th April 1933.


1. England & Wales births 1837-2006 Transcriptions and pdf copy of Birth Certificate

2. Little Gaddesden Baptism Register 1813 – 1947

3. The 1939 Register

4. 1891 – 1921 England, Wales & Scotland Census Transcriptions 

5. Little Gaddesden School Log Books 1887 – 1906

6. British Army WWI Service Records, 1914-1920

7. British Army WWI Pension Records, 1914-1920

8.  British Army WW1 Medal Rolls Index Cards 1914-1920

9. Electoral Registers 1832 – 1932

10. England & Wales Deaths 1837-2007

11. National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations) 1858 – 1995

Do you have any questions about the information recorded here? Or do you have any further information that you can share with us about those from Little Gaddesden who died or fought for their country? In either case, please contact Jane Dickson at

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Research, text and (unless otherwise credited) photos: Jane Dickson