Rifleman Stanley Rolfe
1st/16th Battalion, London Regiment
Died 10 September 1916
It is not immediately apparent why Rifleman 2096 Stanley Taverner Rolfe should be commemorated on Wigtown War Memorial. A soldier with the 1st/16th Battalion, London Regiment (Queen’s Westminster Rifles) whose parents lived in Shepherd’s Bush, London, Rifleman Rolfe died at the age of 25 on 10 September 1916. However, investigations show that Stanley Rolfe was popular and well known in Wigtown from the time he spent working at the local branch of the Clydesdale Bank in the town (now 29 South Main Street, next to the Post Office). During that time he lived with his aunt, Mrs Anderson, of Broadfield farm, before moving back to London prior to enlisting in August 1914. He landed at Le Havre with his regiment in November that year.
News of Rifleman Rolfe’s death was reported in the Galloway Gazette on 11 November 1916:
Official intimation has been received that Private Stanley Rolfe, Queen’s Westminster Rifles, was killed in action on 10th September last. The first report received was to the effect that he was missing, but subsequently his body was found and was identified by means of his pay-book. Private Rolfe, who was a nephew of Mrs Anderson, late of Broadfield, was trained in the Clydesdale Bank, Wigtown, and previous to enlisting he was on the staff of a London Bank. Shortly after the outbreak of war, he joined the Queen’s Westminster Rifles, and was nearly two years in France. He was well known in Wigtown and neighbourhood, where his kindly disposition and pleasing manner made him a general favourite.
Despite that report it appears that Stanley Rolfe’s body was buried in an unmarked grave, or its location was lost, as he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme. It bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave. Over 90% of those commemorated died between July and November 1916.