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Lieutenant Andrew Trapp

Reg. No. 126891 (41st Battery Royal Field Artillery)

Killed In Action: 23 April 1918

Buried: Anzin-St Aubin British Cemetery, France. Grave III. C. 1.


Andrew Trapp's name does not appear on the Thurleigh War Memorial, although there is a plaque to his memory inside St Peter's Church. The absence of his name is probably due to the fact that he did not reside in Thurleigh at the time, but his links with the village, and Bedford, go back many years.

Benjamin Trapp Snr (1777 - 1849)

Andrew Trapp's ancestry is well documented, not just because of the family's business status within Bedford, but also because they belonged to the Moravian Church, whose records are well-documented. Andrew's great-grandfather, Benjamin Snr, was born on 22 April 1777 and baptised the following week (27 April) at the Moravian Church on St Peter's Street. In the late 19th century, the church relocated to its present site in Queens Park.

Benjamin was first married to Ann Fletcher (b 1779) on 4 September 1800 at St Paul's, Bedford. She died on 20 Jul 1810 and was buried on 26 July. It appears that there were three daughters from the marriage: Ann (b 13 May 1807), Mary (b 8 Nov 1808) and Elizabeth (b 20 Jan 1810). Benjamin remarried the following year to Elizabeth Smith. Records suggest that they had two ceremonies. The first was at St Saviour's Church, Southwark on 28 Oct 1811, followed a month later by a ceremony at the Moravian Church in Fetters Lane, London on 28 Nov 1811. The couple returned to Bedford to live where local directories show that Benjamin was a cabinet and upholsterer, working in the High Street.

This marriage appears to have produced at least five children: Benjamin Jr (b 16 Oct 1812 and baptised in the Moravian Church on 25 Oct), Elizabeth Ellen (b 16 Mar 1814 bpt. 20 Mar 1814), John (b 6 Dec 1815 bpt 24 Dec 1815), Francis (b 10 Aug 1817 bpt 17 Aug 1817) and Martha Maria (b 6 Feb 1819 bpt 14 Feb 1819).

Benjamin Snr died on 21 September 1849 and was buried on 27 September, aged 72.

John Trapp

Andrew's great-uncle, John Trapp was a Draper in Bedford and in 1829, together with Joseph Margetts Pierson, established a private bank 'Pierson & Trapp'. By 1839 it was trading as 'Trapp, Halfhead & Co.' and was also known as the Bedford and Bedfordshire Bank. In 1849 it was acquired by the London & County Banking Co., which subsequently formed part of the Royal Bank of Scotland group.

Rev. Benjamin Trapp MA (1812 - 1900)

Benjamin Trapp Jr, Andrew's grandfather, was to become the longest serving vicar of Thurleigh from 1838 to 1900. He studied at Clare College, Cambridge, from where he received an MA. The University records show him being there in 1833, when he would have been in his early 20s. He took up the post in Thurleigh at the age of 26, but didn't marry for another 9 years, to Caroline Sarah Seddon, aged 20. They married on 21 September 1847 in Hastings, Sussex. Records do not suggest how he would have met and married a young woman from that part of the country.

Benjamin and Caroline had four children: William Seddon (1848 -1896), Charles John (1850-1922). Caroline Edith (1857-1945) and Mary Annabel (1863-1912). Of these, William also became a Clerk in Holy Orders, serving a parish in Huddersfield around 1880 before becoming Rector of Marsham, Norfolk where he remained until his death.

Benjamin Trapp died on 1 June 1900 and is buried in St Peter's churchyard together with his wife, Caroline, who died on 16 Jan 1910, aged 81. The Probate on Benjamin was made in Northampton on 11 Mar 1901, leaving £4626 8s 9d to his widow. This was re-sworn in July of that year to the sum of £4690 15s 5d.

Following the death of her husband, Caroline moved to Bushmead, Eaton Socon with her daughter, Caroline Edith, a spinster and farmer, to whom Probate was granted on 4 May 1910 to the sum of £6850 3s 3d, later re-sworn at £7453 13s 10d. Even though recorded as 'living by own means', they were able to afford a Parlour Maid and a Groom. When Caroline Edith died in 1945, her estate was valued at just over £900.

Charles John Trapp (1850 - 1922)

Charles was the father of Andrew and there is little recorded about him after the 1861 census until his death. It is clear that, at some stage, he lived in Russia, probably Moscow, where he met his future wife, Olga. It was there that Andrew was born in about 1896. There was also another son, George Trapp, who was born on 1 Jun 1891 and died on 23 April 1977 at the age of 86, in Cambridge. He too is buried in the family plot in St Peter's churchyard, together with his wife, Eliza, who died on 27 Nov 1977.

One can assume that Charles and Olga either returned to England at the outbreak of the revolution in 1917 or the following year upon the death of their son. They returned to England to Bushmead, presumably to live with his sister, Caroline Edith, whose property is listed as having 10 rooms in the 1911 census. It was at Bushmead that Charles died on 10 August 1922, probate granted on 12 September 1922 to Olga to the sum of £1779 4s 4d. This was later amended on 30 November to the benefit of John Trapp, a company secretary, for £210 8s 9d, the reasons for this not being clear.

Olga died on 30 Jul 1926 at 7 Knaresborough Place, South Kensington, London. Probate was granted on 22 Sep to John Trapp and George Trapp, a Director, to the sum of £1712 0s 1d. Both she and Charles are buried in St Peter's churchyard where her age is given as 63, which means she was born around 1863.

Mary Annabel is also buried in the family plot, although the inscription refers to her as 'Amabel'.

Andrew Trapp (c 1896 - 1918)

Much of Andrew's life, as can be determined, has already been documented. We know that he was born in about 1896 in Moscow and the only other documentation, apart from a few war records, shows him as a Boarder at Bedford Modern School in 1911, living in the Boarding House at 97 Ashburnham Road, Bedford. His age, at the time, was 15 so one presumes that he left school at the outbreak of war. He enlisted with the Royal Horse Artillery before being commissioned, as a Lieutenant to the Royal Field Artillery on 26 May 1916. He was killed in action on 23 Apr 1918 and is buried at Anzin-St Aubin British Cemetery, France.

Andrew's estate amounted to £192 13s 9d, which was granted to his father on 2 Aug 1918, him being described as a gentleman.

The cemetery was begun by the 51st (Highland) Division early in April 1917, and carried on by artillery units and field ambulances until October 1917. It was then used by the 30th and 57th Casualty Clearing Stations. The 51st Division came back to it in April 1918 and it was closed the following September. The cemetery contains 358 First World War burials, 145 of which belonged, or were attached, to Artillery units.

It is not possible to determine in which campaign Andrew was killed, but it was possibly at the Battle of Lys, which took place throughout April 1918.


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