Hethen's Hill | Parish of Kingsbury Episcopi

Ben Russ

The forgotten soldier Hethen's Hill | Parish of Kingsbury Episcopi

Rank, service number and regiment

Gunner 206207 D Battery 152nd Brigade, Royal Field Artillery (RFA)


South Petherton. Precise date not yet known.

Home address

Born in West Lambrook. When married, lived on Heathen’s Hill, East Lambrook, now re-named Hawthorne Hill. This is the address given on the Absent Voters List 1914/15. The house may have been one of the cottages that has since been knocked down. The photo above shows these cottages.

Date of death

5 September 1918

Age of death

25 years

Circumstances of death

The 152nd Brigade RFA were engaged in the Battles of Soissonais, Ourcq and the capture of Baigneux Ridge. Ben was injured in this battle and transferred to a Casualty Clearing Station behind the lines at Esquelbecq, where he died of his wounds.

Where buried

Esquelbecq Military Cemetery, Flanders, France.

Date of birth & full name

1893. BEN RUSS


Farm labourer


Walter Russ and Elizabeth Russ (nee Best) married 1884 at South Petherton. They lived at West Lambrook, possibly in the east end of Tanyard House, The Cross, West Lambrook. Ben was still living at home in 1911, but married in 1915 and then moved to Heathen’s Hill.

Spouse & children

Married at St Martin’s Church K.E. on 8 November 1915, to Bessie Down (a glover), sister to Henry and John Down of Rosebank, Owl Street, East Lambrook.


British War Medal, Victory Medal.

Other information

Witnesses at Ben and Bessie’s wedding were Henry Down and George Down, Bessie’s brother and father. Henry (Harry Down) was killed on 23rd July 1916. Another brother John was killed on 3rd March 1918. So Bessie lost her husband and two brothers in WW1.
The 1911 census shows the members of the Russ family who were living in West Lambrook:
Walter aged 46
Elizabeth aged 49
Gertrude aged 24
Edward aged 21
Alice aged 20
Ben aged 18
William aged 16
Mary Best (mother in law) aged 84
Ben’s sisters were glove makers. Ben, his father and brothers were farm labourers.

The photo below shows Esquelbecq Military Cemetery, Esquelbecq, France, near to the Belgian frontier, where Ben is buried.
The Russ family was a large family in the Parish. Russ descendants from New Zealand visited St.Martin’s Church in 2018. They shared family research of how the Russ family migrated to the Nelson area in the 1840s and prospered, with members of the family eventually becoming members of the NZ parliament and owners of vineyards and brewing enterprises.