Dudley Dennett Cummins

Dudley Dennet Cummins*

Dudley Dennet Cummins*

Date of birth: 1887
Place of birth: Southampton
Service No.: 6117
Rank: Private
Regiment: Scots Guards
Battalion: 1st
Died: 29th October 1914 aged 27 years
Death location: Belgium


Before the War
Dudley was born in Southampton in 1887, the 2nd of 4 children born to Alfred (1863 – 1936) and Kate Eliza (nee Smith, 1862 – 1949).  His parents were married in Southampton in 1884.

Dudley’s siblings – 1 sister and 2 brothers – were:

Graham (1885 – 1966)
Graham served in WW1.  He served as Sergeant 6765 with the Hampshire Regiment, Sergeant 27470 and finally Acting Warrant Officer Class 2, both in the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry.  He was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, the Victory and British War Medals.
Married Alberta May Howland (17/01/1892 – 1986) in Southampton in 1926.

Grace Louise (1889 – 1935).  Grave never married.

Leonard Dixon Cummins (1893 – 21/05/1917)
Leonard served in WW1 and was killed in action on 21st May 1917.  He is buried in La Clytte Military Cemetery.
Please select Leonard’s name to read more of his story.

The 1891 census shows Dudley was living with his mother, one brother and sister at 18 Howards Grove, Shirley, Southampton.  His father was recorded as living and working as a groom at Northlands House Stables, Banister Road, Southampton.  In the 1890s some of the local gentry moved out of town and built imposing red-brick villas, complete with stables, in Northlands Road.

When the 1901 census was taken Dudley was living with his family at 6 Railway View, Upper Ivy Road, St Deny’s, Southampton.  His father was employed as a Brewers Drayman.

The 1911 census records the family at the same address.  Leonard was working as a Stable Lad.  Graham was serving in Africa and Mauritius with the 2nd Hampshire Regiment and Dudley was serving in Egypt with the 1St Battalion of the Scots Guards.


Military History
Dudley served in the 1st Battalion of the Scots Guards.  They were sent to Egypt in 1911 and returned in 1913.

The Scots Guards along with the Grenadier, Coldstream and Irish Guards, formed parts of the original British Expeditionary Force.  The 1st Battalion was sent to France on 14th August 1914 and served on the Western Front throughout the war.

An extract from the Scots Guards War Diary for August 1914 read:
‘Aug 14th. Arrived at Le Havre at about 1 a.m.  Disembarked and marched to camp near Harfleur (6 miles).  Horses which were left behind when Battalion embarked arrive at about 11 a.m.’

Dudley was one of the ‘Old Contemptibles’.  In 1914 The British Expeditionary Force which went to France was made up of volunteers and much smaller that the German Army.  They were, allegedly, described by the Kaiser as ‘a contemptible little army’, and all those who served in France and Flanders between 5th August and 22nd November 1914 were entitled to call themselves ‘Old Contemptibles’.  There is a memorial to them in Westminster Abbey and the inscription reads:

“Remember THE OLD CONTEMPTIBLES The British Expeditionary Force which served in Flanders within range of the enemy mobile artillery between 5 August and 22 November 1914. At the first battle of Ypres their stand against a force of ten times their number prevented the German advance against the Channel ports. Unveiled 15 July 1993 by H.M. Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother”.

Dudley was killed in action on 29th October 1914.  At this time the 1st Battalion was involved in the First Battle of Ypres which took place between 19th October and 22nd November 1914.  On 29th October 1914, in an attempt by the German Army to take Ypres, they attacked the British Line on the Menin Road at Kruisecke Crossroads, East of Gheluvelt.  It cannot be proven but maybe this is where Dudley died.

The War Diary entry for that day read:
‘In trenches at GHELUVELT.  Attack commenced punctually at 5.30 a.m. on North front.  Heavy execution done by C and LF.  At about 12 noon, the line on the East side of the Cross roads on the YPRES road, held by the Gloucesters, is broken, and the Coldstream and the Black Watch are successfully rolled up and retire.  RF., ½ B Co. and 2 sections of C Co. are thus isolated and surrounded, and nothing more heard of them.  2 platoons of C Co. and ½ of LF are brought to E, side and with the help of stragglers collected by Capt. Stephen, hold enemy off all day and account for many Germans.  3rd Brigade is brought up in the evening and line readjusted.’

Field Marshall Sir John French wrote, “All said and done, however, the main element of success was to be found in the devoted bravery and the stern, unyielding determination to ‘Do or die’ displayed by the rank and file of the ‘Contemptible Little Army’ and its reinforcements.”

Dudley was awarded the Mons Star with clasp, the 1914 Star, Victory and British War Medals.

He is remembered with Honour on the Menin Gate Memorial.  Panel reference: Panel 11.  This memorial is one of four which commemorate the service men missing in Belgium Flanders.  Each night at 8 pm the traffic is stopped at the Menin Gate while members of the local Fire Brigade sound the Last Post in the roadway under the Memorial’s arches.

With very grateful thanks to Caroline and Andrew for  the wonderful photo.
* This photograph is the copyright of the family of Dudley Cummins. Please do not use this photograph without seeking their permission.


Researcher: Jackie Chandler
Published: 31st July 2015
Updated: Insert dates here

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