Monday, 31 August 2009

18/289 Cpl Oswald Charles Ash, 18th Bn, Northumberland Fusiliers


18/289 Cpl Oswald Charles Ash of the 18th Battlaion Northumberland Fusiliers was killed in action on the 31st August 1916. He was born in North Ormesby and enlisted at Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

The 18th (Service) Battalion (1st Tyneside Pioneers) Northumberland Fusiliers was formed on 14th October 1914 and Oswald's number indicates that he joined shortly after that date. The battalion didn't go overseas until 8th January 1916 and it seems likely that George, as an original battalion member, probably arrived in Le Havre on this date. Certainly his medal index card only notes entitlement to the British War and Victory medals.

Oswald was 21 years old when he died, and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission adds the additional information that he was the son of James and Martha M E Ash of 12 Beech Street, Jarrow-on-Tyne. He is buried in Contalmaison Chateau Cemetery; grave reference II.B.3.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

Sources:

Ancestry.co.uk (MIC)
Army Ancestry
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
The image of Contalmaison Chateau Cemetery and its ruined chateau just after the war, appeared in a Michelin guide to the battlefields. It also appears on the WW1 battlefields site.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

9062 Pte Arthur Harpham, 2nd Bn, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry


9062 Pte Arthur Harpham of the 2nd Battalion, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, was killed in action on the 30th August 1914. Arthur was a Nottinghamshire man who was born at Selston in Notts and enlisted at Nottingham. His army service number suggests that he originally joined up in 1906 or 1907.

Arthur arrived in France with his battalion on 10th August 1914 and according to his medal index card was presumed dead on the 26th August. This was subsequently revised to the 30th and it is this date which appears on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database.

Arthur Harpham has no known grave and like Stuart Laverty, who I remembered on the 24th August, is commemorated by name on the La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial on the Aisne.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

Sources:

Ancestry.co.uk (MIC)
Army Ancestry
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission

The image on this post dates to later in the war and shows two American servicemen - Lt Bain and Lt Houston - on the station platform at La Ferte sous Jouarre. Photograph courtesy of the State Historical Society of North Dakota. There are some very interesting photos in this series.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

41419 Pte Harry Gelderd, 2/5th King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment


Seven hundred and twenty men lost their lives on this day - 29th August - in 1918. Without wishing to diminish the sacrifices made by today's generation in Afghanistan and Iraq, these Great War losses - which were unrelenting - seem almost incomprehensible. I wonder how today's British media would deal with a British army casualty list of 720 men on one day. Thankfully, it's unlikely we'll ever find out.

41419 Private Harry Gelderd of the 2/5th King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment was one of the 720 casualties on 29th August 1918. He was killed in action on this day and is buried in the HAC Cemetery at Ecoust St Main. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission gives detailed information about this cemetery. Click on the link to read more.

Soldiers Died in The Great War notes that Harry was born in Leeds and enlisted in Leeds. His medal index card shows entitlement to the British War & Victory Medals only and his number indicates a joining date of some time in 1917. There is only one Harry Gelderd on the 1901 census and that is the 18 month old boy living at 3 Spring Close Street in South East Leeds with his parents - James (25) and Edith (23) - and his young sister Florence, aged three. So it seems likely that Harry was born in late 1899 and was therefore called up on or shortly after his 18th birthday. He probably hadn't been in France very long before he became a casualty - another name on a list that was 720 names long.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

Sources:

Ancestry.co.uk (MIC, 1901 census)
Army Ancestry
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Photo from the website dedicated to Nelson, Glamorgan during WW1

Friday, 28 August 2009

K/13859 Pte James Murt, 4th Bn, King's (Liverpool) Regiment


K/13859 Private James Murt of B Company, the 4th Battalion, King's (Liverpool) Regiment, died on this day - 28th August - 1916.

James was born in Kirkdale, Lancashire and was 34 years and 16 days old when he attested at Seaforth on the last day of August 1914. He was five feet, six and a quarter inches tall and weighed 137 pounds. He had a "fresh" complexion, grey eyes and dark brown hair. He had married Mary Brown at St Mary's, Kirkdale on 21st July 1898 and the couple had four children: Robert Murt, born on 6th August 1899, Christopher Murt, born on 17th May 1901, William Murt, born on 30th June 1910, and Thomas Murt born on 31st July 1912. At the time of James's enlistment, Mary was pregnant again and would give birth to another child on 5th October 1914.

James has some minor misdemeanours noted on his service record including an unauthorised absence of 15 days between 4th January and 18th January 1915 for which he was punished with seven days' Field Punishment No 2.

James arrived in France on 4th March 1915 and was certainly awarded one leave between 19th February and 26th Feb 1916. This would have been the last time that Mary and her children saw him alive and after he was killed, Mary was awarded a pension which was subsequently raised slightly to 25 shillings a week for herself and four children, effective from 26th March 1917.

On 30th August 1918, James Murt's identity disc was returned to his widow and in time she would also receive his 1914-15 Star, British War and Victory Medals and memorial plaque with scroll.

James is buried in Bulls Road Cemetery, Flers; grave reference H.H.9.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

Sources:

Ancestry.co.uk (MIC, Service Record in WO 363)
Army Ancestry
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Bulls Road Cemetery photograph from Australians on the Western Front 1914-1918.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

11211 Pte Frank Dence, 2nd Bn, Ox & Bucks Light Infantry


11211 Pte Frank Dence of the 2nd Battalion Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry was killed in action on this day, 27th August, in 1915; one of 175 British soldiers to die on this day.

Frank was born in Wadhurst, Sussex and gave Wadhurst as his place of residence when he enlisted in late August or early September 1914. He enlisted at Chesham in Buckinghamshire. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission notes that he was 25 years old and the son of Edmund and Ellen Dence of Moseham Hill, Wadhurst in Sussex.

Frank Dence's medal index card indicates that he arrives overseas in France on 27th April 1915 and he is buried in the Guards Gemetery at Windy Corner, Cuinchy; grave reference II.C.6.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

Sources:

Ancestry.co.uk (MIC)
Army Ancestry
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

2nd Lt Ernest Ewart Gladstone Alderwick, 11th Bn, Suffolk Regiment


2nd Lieutenant Ernest Ewart Gladstone Alderwick of the 11th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment, was killed in action on this day, 26th August, in 1917.

Ernest was 31 years old when he died and according to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, he was the son of Francis and Emily Alderwick, of Bristol and the husband of Florence A Alderwick of 4 Harcourt Road, Redland, Bristol. His medal index card is quite detailed and shows that he joined the Gloucestershire Regiment as a private in August 1916 (number 30580). He arrived in France on the 19th June 1917 and must have almost immediately been posted to the 93rd Training Reserve Battalion and then to the 2nd Battalion of the Dorset Regiment where he was appointed lance-corporal. Shortly after that he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant with the Suffolk Regiment.

Ernest was one of 34 Suffolk Regiment soldiers to die on this day and he is buried in Hargicourt Communal Cemetery Extension on the Aisne.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission states:

"Hargicourt was occupied by British troops in April, 1917, lost on the 21st April, 1918, and recaptured by Australian troops on the 18th September, 1918. The Cemetery was made in August, 1917, and January, September and October, 1918, beyond a German Extension of the Protestant Communal Cemetery; the 177 German graves have been removed, and the British Extension is now isolated. There are now over 70, 1914-18 war casualties commemorated in this site."

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

Sources:

Ancestry.co.uk (MIC)
Army Ancestry
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Photograph courtesy of Oliver02 and Google Earth.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

13501 Pte Archibald Southwell Barnes, 2nd Bn, Bedfordshire Regiment


13501 Pte Archibald Southwell Barnes of the 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment was killed in action on this day, 25th August, 1915. Soldiers Died in The Great War notes that he was born in Ramsey St Mary's, Huntingdonshire and was living there when he enlisted. He joined up at Huntingdon.

Archibald's number indicates that he enlisted for wartime service only in the first week of September 1914. His medal index card indicates that he arrived in France on 1st April 1915.

Archibald Barnes is buried at Brown's Road Military Cemetery in Fetsubert; grave reference I.D.11.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

Sources:

Ancestry.co.uk (MIC)
Army Ancestry
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Inter-war photograph of Brown's Road Military Cemetery from Alan Jennings's WW1 Battlefields' page on Festubert.

Monday, 24 August 2009

L/581 Stewart Alexander Laverty, 9th Lancers


L/581 Stewart Alexander Laverty of the 9th (Queen's Royal) Lancers was killed in action on this day, 24th August, 1914. He was born in Acton, West London and gave his residential address as Hammersmith at the time of his enlistment. He enlisted in Winchester.

Stewart's number indicates that he joined the Lancers in 1907; probably around October that year. That in turn almost certainly suggests that he was coming to the end of his seven year commitment to the Colours when Britain went to war with Germany in August 1914. His medal index card records that Stewart arrived in France on the 15th August and he'd therefore been overseas for just nine days when he was killed.

Stewart Laverty has no known grave and he is commemorated on the La-Ferte-sous-Jouarre memorial on the Marne. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission information about this memorial reads:

"The La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial commemorates nearly 4,000 officers and men of the British Expeditionary Force who died in August, September and the early part of October 1914 and who have no known grave. The monument consists of a rectangular block of stone, 62 feet by 30 feet and 24 feet high, with the names of the dead engraved on stone panels on all sides of the monument. The monument is surmounted by a sarcophagus and a trophy carved in stone. At the four corners of the pavement are stone piers with urns, carved with the coats of arms of the Empire. The memorial was designed by G.H. Goldsmith and unveiled by Sir William Pulteney on 4 November 1928."

Stewart's medal index card notes that he died "on or since 24/8/14" and that he was entitled to the 1914 Star and the British War and Victory medals. These latter two medals were returned, either because the impressed naming was incorrect or because the addressee had moved. Nevertheless, in 1919 Stewart's brother applied for the clasp and roses on his behalf and these were sent to him at his home address in Shoreham, Sussex.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

Sources:

Ancestry.co.uk (MIC)
Army Ancestry
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
La-Ferte-sous-Jouarre memorial image taken from the page dedicated to Edward Martin Panter-Downes of Clifton Rugby Football History Club.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

10339 Pte Robert Wraight, 15th Hussars


10339 Pte Robert Wraight of the 15th (King's) Hussars was killed in action on this day, 23rd August, 1914; the day on which the British Expeditionary Force engaged the German Army at Mons.

Robert was born in Islington and living in London when he enlisted with the 15th Hussars in August 1913. He gave his place of residence as Upper Holloway. He appears on the 1901 census as Robert H Wraight living with is widowed mother and siblings at 69 Hampden Road, Upper Holloway. The household comprised Mary Wraight (aged 39, widow, born in Ireland) and her sons: George L Wraight (aged 18), Leonard Wraight (aged 16), John W Wraight (aged 14), Arthur W Wraight (aged 12), Robert, and William Wraight (aged two); and one daughter: Mary E Wraight (aged five). George had also been born in Ireland, Leonard and John in Maidenhead, and all the other children in north London.

Robert's medal index card indicates that he arrived in France on 16th August 1914 and he'd therefore been there for just one week when he was killed in action. He is buried at Hautrage Military Cemetery in Belgium; grave reference IV.A.20.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

Sources:


Ancestry.co.uk (MIC, 1901 Census)
Army Ancestry
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
The Great War I Was There - cavalrymen photographed in Belgium on 22nd August 1914

Saturday, 22 August 2009

24327 Pte Ernest Alfred Valentine, 2nd Bn, Suffolk Regiment


24327 Pte Ernest Alfred Valentine of the 2nd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment, died of wounds on this day, 22nd August, in 1916. Soldiers Died in The Great War records that he was born in Duston, Northamptonshire and enlisted in Northampton. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission adds no additional regimental or family information but of course records his last resting place - Heilly Station Cemetery at Mericourt-L'Abbe - and the following note:

"The 36th Casualty Clearing Station was at Heilly from April 1916. It was joined in May by the 38th, and in July by the 2/2nd London, but these hospitals had all moved on by early June 1917. The cemetery was begun in May 1916 and was used by the three medical units until April 1917..."

Ernest's number indicates that he joined the Suffolk Regiment in January 1916 and therefore he probably hadn't been in France very long before he was critically injured.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

Sources:

Ancestry.co.uk (MIC)
Army Ancestry
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
I've borrowed the photo of Heilly Station from a fascinating blog by Sue Light which is dedicated to women who served as military nurses from the Boer War through to the end of the Great War. It's called This Intrepid Band.

Friday, 21 August 2009

9800 L/Cpl Bertie Cull, 1st Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers


9800 L/Cpl Bertie Cull of the 1st Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers was another Gallipoli casualty. He lost his life exactly ninety four years ago today: 21st August 1915.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission notes that Bertie was 24 years old and the Son of Mary A Cull of Grange Terrace, Newtownstewart, Co. Tyrone, and the late James Cull. Soldiers Died in The Great War states that he was born at Clogher, County Tyrone, and enlisted at Navan, County Meath.

Bertie's number indicates that he was a regular soldier who joined the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in January or February 1910. His medal index card at the National Archives notes his entitlement to the 1914-15 Star and the British War and Victory medals. He first arrived overseas, at Gallipoli, on 25th April 1915.

Like so many Gallipoli casualties, Bertie has no known grave and he is one of nearly 21,000 men commemorated on the imposing Helles Memorial.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

Sources:

Ancestry.co.uk (MIC)
Army Ancestry
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
I've borrowed the image on this post from The Irish in Uniform website. War artist L A Wilcox painted this scene of the 1st Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers landing at Gallipoli on the day that Bertie Cull "arrived": 25th April 1915.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

41625 Pte George Locker, 2nd Bn Northamptonshire Regiment


41625 Pte George Locker of the 2nd Bn Northamptonshire Regiment died on this day, 20th August, in 1918. He was 36 years old, the son of Thomas Beven Locker and Sarah Locker and the husband of Florence Emily Locker of 49, 4th Avenue, Brownhills, Walsall.

Soldiers Died in The Great War (SDGW) notes that he had previously served with the South Staffordshire Regiment where he had the number 1056. Through a process of elimination, it would appear likely that that number belonged to the series in use by the 5th or the 6th (Territorial Force) Battalions. If it was the former, the number dates to July 1915. If the latter, to April 1909.

SDGW gives little additional information, stating that he enlisted at Rushall in Staffordshire, but George's medal index card notes another regiment - the Suffolk Regiment - and the service number 40610. This number dates to 1916 and I think therefore that George went to France with the 5th or 6th (but probably the 5th) South Staffs and transferred in France to a Suffolk Regiment battalion and then to the Northamptonshire Regiment. He was entitled to the British War and Victory Medals and therefore must have arrived overseas on or after 1st January 1916.

George Locker is buried in St Pol British Cemetery; grave reference II.B.12.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

Sources:

Ancestry.co.uk (MIC)
Army Ancestry
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Image of St Pol British Cemetery from the British War Graves website.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

7763 Pte Frederick John Blackall, 1st Bn Royal Berkshire Regt


7763 Pte Frederick John Blackall of the 1st Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment was killed in action on this day, 19th August, in 1915. Soldiers Died in The Great War records his name incorrectly as Blackhall and gives his birthplace as Oxford, his place of residence as Westhill, Oxfordshire, and his place of enlistment as Reading.

Frederick was a career soldier who originally joined the Berkshire Regiment in June or July 1904. Unless he extended his period of service, he would have been on the Reserve when was was declared and in any event, arrived overseas with his regiment on the 13th August 1914.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records that Frederick was serving with B Company and that he was the son of George and Ellen Blackall of 94 West Street, Henley-on-Thames. He is buried at Vieille Chapelle New Military Cemetery, Lacouture, France.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

Sources:

Ancestry.co.uk (MIC)
Army Ancestry
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Image of Vieille Chapelle from WW1 Cemeteries.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

265 Pte Michael Drum, 2nd Leinster Regiment


40 year old 265 Private Michael Drum of the 2nd Leinster Regiment was killed in action on 18th August 1916, one of 1,838 men to die for his King and Country on this date. He was born in Kells, County Meath and enlisted at Drogheda, County Louth.

It is difficult to determine, from his number, exactly when he joined up. His medal index card though, states that he first arrived overseas in the Balkans on 9th July 1915. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records that he was the son of son of John Drum, of Newrath, Kells, and the late Bridget Drum, and he is buried in Serre Road Cemetery Number 2.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

Sources:

Ancestry.co.uk (MIC)
Army Ancestry
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
I've borrowed the photograph from this excellent Serre Road Cemetery Number 2 page.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Captain Albert Barr Montgomery, 1/7th Bn, Worcestershire Regiment


Twenty-six year old Captain Albert Barr Montgomery of the 1/7th Worcestershire Regiment was one of 40 Worcestershire Regiment to die on this day, 17th August, in 1917. He was the son of Alexander and Lisa Alberta Montgomery of Perth, Western Australia. and he was born in Launceston, Tasmania. At the time of his death he had put his education on hold but he had been studying law at Gray's Inn, London.

Officers Died in The Great War records Albert's rank as Acting Captain and notes that he died of wounds. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission, as well as noting the information in paragraph one, above, also mentions that Albert had been Mentioned in Dispatches. His medal index card, which indicates entitlement to the British War and Victory medals, indicates that his next of kin was his father - A Montgomery - and gives the address as Mines Department, Perth, Western Australia.

Albert Montgomery is buried in Brandhoek New Military Cemetery Number 3; grave reference I.A.5.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

Sources:

Ancestry.co.uk (MIC)
Army Ancestry
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Image taken from the memorial website dedicated to the men of Nelson in Glamorgan.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

133926 Pte Edgar George Udy, Machine Gun Corps


133926 Pte Edgar George Udy of the 61st Battalion, Machine Gun Corps, died of wounds on this day, 16th August, 1918. Edgar was 19 years old, the son of Elizabeth Udy of Old Ford, East London. Soldiers Died in The Great War records that he was born in Hackney and enlisted at Bethnal Green.

He appears on the 1901 census as a two year old living at Percy Road Hackney. Also living in the household were his siblings Josiah Udy (aged nine), Arthur Udy (aged four) and the boys' infant sister, Eva Udy (aged three months). The children's parents are recorded as Arthur Udy (aged 34, a shoe cutter) and his wife Elizabeth Udy (aged 28, also working in the boot and shoe trade).

Edgar is buried at Longuenesse (St Omer) Souvenir Cemetery in France; a huge cemetery which seems to have been largely populated by men dying of wounds in various hospitals in the St Omer region.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

Sources:

Ancestry.co.uk (MIC)
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Soldiers Died in the Great War
The photo on this post shows French graves at Longuenesse and comes from the Our Lady of Reconciliation War Memorial site.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

10924 Pte Thomas Vizard, 2nd Bn, Middlesex Regiment

10924 Pte Thomas Vizard of the 2nd Battalion, Middlesex Regiment, died of wounds on the 15th August 1917. According to Soldiers Died in The Great War, Thomas was born in Stowbridge, Worcestershire and enlisted in London. He was a career soldier who had originally joined the Middlesex regiment in 1906 and who had first set foot in France on 7th November 1914.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission adds no additional information about this man. He is buried in The Huts Cemetery near Ypres, grave reference II.C.18.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

Sources:

Ancestry.co.uk (MIC)
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Soldiers Died in the Great War

Friday, 14 August 2009

1843 Pte Robert Peele Burrell, 1st Northern Cyclist Bn, Army Cyclist Corps


1843 Pte Robert Peele Burrell of the 1st Northern Cyclist Battalion, Army Cyclist Corps was killed in action on this day, 14th August, in 1916. He was born in Heaton, Northumberland and enlisted at Newcastle-on-Tyne. His number suggests an enlistment date of about 10th May 1915.

Robert's medal index card notes that he was attached to the Northumberland Fusiliers and the Commnwealth War Graves Commission adds that this was the 20th Battalion. He was entitled to the British War and Victory medals which in turn means that he must have arrived overseas no earlier than 1st January 1916.

Robert Peele Burrell is buried in Cabaret Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez; grave reference IV.C.14.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

Sources:

Ancestry.co.uk (MIC)
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Soldiers Died in the Great War
Photograph of the impressive domed entrance to Cabaret Rouge British Cemetery courtesy of Pierre's Photographic journey through the Western Front.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

49278 Pte Ernest Wilberforce Davies, RAMC


49278 Private Ernest Wilberforce Davies of the 39th Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps died on this day, 13th August, in 1915. He had previously served with the Welsh Regiment (number 13279) and, according to Soldiers Died in The Great War, he was born in Llanelly and enlisted there as well.

Ernest was the son of Thomas Rhys Davies and Margaret Ann Davies and was 23 years old when he died. He is buried in the 7th Field Ambulance Cemetery in Turkey, grave reference SP.Mem.B.25.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

Sources:

Ancestry.co.uk (MIC)
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Soldiers Died in the Great War

34281 Pte George Frederick Heaton, 6th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment


34281 Pte George Frederick Heaton of the 6th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment, died this day - 12th August - in 1918. Soldiers Died in The Great War notes that he was the only Leicestershire Regiment casualty on this day and that he was born in Blackpool and enlisted in Halifax, Yorkshire.

George is buried in Tincourt New British Cemetery having died - according to his service record - in Germany. This seems unlikely but it may well be that he died whilst in German hands and was originally buried in a cemetery made by the Germans. His water-damaged service record survives in the WO 363 (Burnt Documents) series at The National Archives, and the following information is taken from this.

He attested at Halifax on 22nd February 1917 with the Leicestershire Regiment, giving his address as 16 Prescott Street, Halifax. He was a young man, his age noted as 17 years and 353 days, and his occupation is recorded simply as "Clerk". He was just short of five and a half feet tall and his next of kin is recorded as his mother, Annie Heaton, also of 16 Prescott Street.

George was posted to the Leicestershire Regiment's 3rd (Reserve) Battalion on 24th February 1917 and then to No 12 Infantry Base Depot in France on 19th January 1918. He was immediately posted to the 8th Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment on the same day, and was posted again on 3rd February 1918 to the 6th Battalion.

There is no legible information on his service record which indicates where he was captured, but the sheet giving medical information states, as I indicated earlier, that he died in Germany. He was 20 years old.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

Sources:

Ancestry.co.uk (MIC, WO 363 service record)
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Soldiers Died in the Great War
The image, taken from USGenNet, shows British graves in Tincourt just after the war.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

5510 CSM Bertram Charles Arter, 1st Bn, Wiltshire Regiment


5510 Company Sergeant Major Bertram Charles Arter of the 1st Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment, was killed in action on 11th August 1917. Soldiers Died in The Great War (SDGW) notes his rank as "Colour Sergeant, Acting CSM" whilst the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) records his rank as CSM. His medal index card, showing entitlement to the British War and Victory medals only, notes his rank as Acting Warrant Officer Class 2.

CWGC also notes that Bertram was a veteran of the South African campaign (the Boer War) and the husband of Margaret Mary Arter of The Bungalow, Rocky Knapps, Dorchester Road, Weymouth. SDGW notes that he was born in Devizes, and enlisted at Devizes but gave his residential address as Wandsworth, London. That enlistment date, judging by his number, would have been early 1900.

CSM Arter was 35 years old when he was killed and is commemorated on panel 53 of the Menin Gate at Ypres.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

Sources:

Ancestry.co.uk (MIC)
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Soldiers Died in the Great War
Photograph courtesy of Australians on the Western Front 1914-1918, shows the unveiling of the Menin Gate on 24th July 1927

Monday, 10 August 2009

3364 Pte William Doyle, 1st Bn, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment


3364 Pte William Doyle of the 1st Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, was killed in action on 10th August 1916.

William Doyle was not a Lancashire man. Soldiers Died in The Great War notes that he was born in Whitechapel and enlisted at Stratford, and his army service number gives us a number of possibilities.

We can rule out enlistment into a service battalion because they were all numbering in the 11000s when Britain went to war. Their number series was a continuation of the series that had been used by the regular battalions since 1881, and to find when number 3346 was issued you have to go right back to about September 1891. That leaves three options: the Special Reserve or the two Territorial Force battalions: the 4th and the 5th.

3346 would have been issued to a King's Own Special Reservist in August 1914, to a 4th Bn territorial in April 1915 and to a 5th Battalion territorial in December 1914. I incline towards the Special Reserve only on the basis that the Territorial Force battalions were recruiting territorially in Lancashire. There are no real clues on William's medal index card which shows entitlement to the British War and Victory medals only and therefore means that whichever battalion he joined, he didn't actually go overseas until 1st January 1916 at the earliest.

Perhaps William was an old soldier who joined the Special Reserve on the outbreak of war, was retained in the UK at the regimental depot or in the capacity as an instructor, but was subsequently posted to a line battalion and then killed on the Western Front.

William at least has a known grave and that is in Essex Farm Cemetery, reference III.C.29. The cemetery contains 1100 First World War graves.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

Sources:

Ancestry.co.uk (MIC)
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Soldiers Died in the Great War
Essex Farm Cemetery, photographed just after the war, courtesy of Flanders Fields Music.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

13218 Pte William Robert Middleditch, 7th Bn, Suffolk Regiment


13218 Private William Robert Middleditch of the 7th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment, was killed in action on this day, 9th August, in 1917. Thirty eight other Suffolk Regiment officers and men also died on the same day.

Soldiers Died in The Great War records that William was born in Moulton, Suffolk and enlisted at Newmarket. It gives his battalion as the 7th Suffolk Regiment, as does the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. However, his medal index card at the National Archives states the 9th Battalion which implies that he was posted from the 9th to the 7th some time after arriving in France. He originally arrived overseas on 31st August 1915.

William has no known grave and is commemorated on Bay 4 of the Arras Memorial in France.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

Sources:

Ancestry.co.uk (MIC)
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Soldiers Died in the Great War

Saturday, 8 August 2009

9836 Pte Ernest Poulton, 1st Bn, Coldstream Guards


With the war gainst Germany just five days old, 9836 Private Ernest Poulton of the 1st Battalion, Coldstream Guards, died in England. Soldiers Died in The Great War records that he was born in Islington, was living at Enfield, and enlisted in London. His army service number indicates that he joined the Coldstream Guards in November 1912.

Ernest is buried at Aldershot Military Cemetery; grave reference AF.1711. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds the additional information that he was the brother of Herbert Poulton of 34 Grove Road West, Enfield Wash, Enfield, Middlesex.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

Sources:

Army Ancestry
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
The photo on this post was taken at Aldershot Military Cemetery but does not, as far as I know, show Ernest Poulton's grave. It comes courtesy of Pictures of England.

Friday, 7 August 2009

11091 Pte William Henry Bird Abson, 8th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers


11091 Private William Henry Bird Abson of the 8th (Service) Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers, was killed in action on this day, 7th August, 1915. He was one of 23 Northumberland Fusiliers other ranks to lose his life on this day.

Soldiers Died in The Great War records that he was born at Leeds and enlisted at Wallsend-on-Tyne. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the war memorial at Helles, Gallipoli.

William was born in about 1889. He appears on the 1891 as a two year old infant living with his parents, siblings and maternal grandmother at number 2 Wakefield Street, Rothwell, Yorkshire. The household comprised his parents: John Abson (head, aged 37, a carpenter and joiner) and Sarah Abson (aged 32); their children: Thomas Abson (aged eight), Martha Abson (aged six), William, and Beatrice S Abson (aged three months). Ellen Bird (aged 61) was Sarah Abson's mother.

I've not found a convincing match for William on the 1901 census an no military service record appears to survive for him. His army service number though, suggests that he joined the Northumberland Fusiliers in September 1914, and his medal index card states that he arrived in the Balkans on 10th July 1915.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

Sources:

Ancestry.co.uk (MIC, 1891 census)
Army Ancestry
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Helles Memorial photo from e.turkey.net

Thursday, 6 August 2009

23251 Pte Frank Rance, 7th Battalion, Border Regt


23251 Private Frank Rance was one of five 7th Battalion, Border Regiment other ranks to die on this day, 6th August, 1916. Four of the men, including Frank, were killed in action whilst the fifth died of wounds.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission notes that Frank was the son of Charles and Daisy Rance of 1 Queen's Road, Berkhamstead, Hertfordshire whilst Soldiers Died in The Great War records that he was born in Berkhamstead and was living there when he joined up. His place of enlistment though, is given as Bedford.

Frank Rance came from a large family. The 1901 census lists eleven members headed by his father, 44 year old Charles Rance, a general labourer, and his wife Mary aged 43. In age order their children are recorded as follows: Ada Rance (18), Harry Rance (16) and William Rance (14) both working as errand boys; Lily Rance (12), Bertie Rance (10), Frank (aged eight), Amy Rance (aged six), Alice Rance (aged four), and finally Horace Rance (aged two).

Frank originally joined the 7th Norfolk Regiment and was given the army service number 12144. This ties his joining date down to the first couple of weeks of August 1914 and so he was an early and willing Kitchener volunteer. He sailed for France with the 7th Norfolks, arriving there just in time to qualify for the 1914-15 Star on 30th December 1915. Whilst in France, I'm guessing, he transferred to the Border Regiment and whilst I'm not sure of the precise date of this transfer, I'm guessing that it would have been pretty soon after he arrived. Further research is necessary to determine the exact date. Of his three medals though, the 1914-15 Star bears his Norfolk Regiment details, whilst the British War and Victory Medals carry the Border Regiment information.

Frank Rance was 24 years old when he died. He has no known grave and is one of over 72,000 men commemorated by name on the massive Thiepval Memorial on the Somme.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

Sources:

Ancestry.co.uk (MIC, 1901 census)
Army Ancestry
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
The photo on this post shows the Thiepval Memorial under construction in 1930. It would be unveiled in 1932. Photo courtesy of Australians on the Western Front 1914-1918.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

6087 Pte Arthur Brisendon, 2nd Battalion, Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regt)


6087 Pte Arthur Brisendon of the 2nd Battalion, Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regt), was killed in action on 5th August 1915. Born in Southend in Essex, he enlisted in Derby. If his number belongs to the series in use by the regular battalions, it suggests that he joined the Sherwood Foresters in 1898. If it belongs to the series used by the 3rd (Special Reserve) or 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalions, it indicates that he joined up after war was declared.

Arthur was 42 years old when he died and appears to have had considerable soldiering experience. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) notes that he was serving with B Company and that he was the "son of John and Charlotte Brisendon, of the Royal Military College, Sandhurst." CWGC also records that he formerly served with The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) and also served in the South African Campaign (The Boer War).

Arthur's medal index card records that he arrived in France on 23rd February 1915. This being the case, I think that he almost certainly joined either the 3rd (probably) or 4th Sherwood Foresters as a time-expired regular soldier. If that was the case, his number - 6087 - would have been issued around the 21st August 1914.

Arthur Brisendon is buried in Perth Cemetery, China Wall near Ypres; grave reference IV.C.16.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

Sources:

Ancestry.co.uk (MIC)
Army Ancestry
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Post-war photo of China Wall cemetery from the informative World War One Battlefields site. There is also a good deal of information here about the cemetery.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

18/724 James William Crozier, 18th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry


Ninety five years ago today, Britain went to war with Germany. And on this day in 1918, 18/724 Private James William Crozier of the 18th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry, was killed in action, one of four DLI men to lose their lives on this day.

Soldiers Died in The Great War notes that James was born at North Shields and was living there at the time of his enlistment. He actually enlisted though, in Sunderland, and his number indicates that he was an original member of the 18th (1st County) Battalion and that he joined up in the last week of September 1914.

James first went overseas in December 1915, arriving in Egypt on the 22nd December 1915 and thus qualifying - just - for the 1914-15 Star. This from The Long, Long Trail website:

"...often known by the name of the Durham Pals. Formed at Cocken Hall in County of Durham on 10 September 1914 by Col R Burdon and a committee. Moved in December to Fencehouses, then back to Cocken Hall in February 1915 and to Fencehouses again in March. In May 1915 it moved to Cramlington then Ripon, attached to 93rd Brigade in 31st Division. Went to Fovant in September. On 6th December 1915 it sailed from Liverpool for Egypt, arriving at Port Said on 21st December. Went on to France, arriving 11th March 1916."

The Commonwealth war Graves Commision notes that James Crozier was 32 years old when he died, the "eldest son of Elizabeth and the late John Robert Crozier, of North Shields. Husband of Isabel E. Crozier of 11 Vicarage Street, North Shields." He is buried in Le Grand Hasard Military Cemetery in Morbecque; plot 2, row C, grave 7.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

Sources:

Ancestry.co.uk (MIC)
Army Ancestry
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
The Long, Long Trail
Image of Le Grand Hasard Cemetery from Panoramio

Monday, 3 August 2009

S/14695 Pte Horace Mountain, 7th Battalion, Gordon Highlanders


S/14695 Pte Horace Mountain of the 7th Battalion, Gordon Highlanders, died of wounds on this day, 3rd August, 1917. Soldiers Died in The Great War records that he was born in Leeds and enlisted at Edlington, Lincolnshire. The Commonwelath War Graves Commission (CWGC) does not provide any additional information other than to record that he is buried in Brandhoek New Military Cemetery near Ypres in Belgium. Horace's grave is reference II.G.6.

Horace was born in Leeds in 1895, his birth registered in the December quarter of that year. By by the time the 1901 census was taken, he was a five year old living with his parents and siblings in Leeds. The household comprised his parents - Lindley and Lousia Mountain (both aged 29) and their four children: Edward Mountain (aged seven), Horace, his twin sister Blanch, and their infant sister Maude Irene Mountain (aged one month).

Horace's army service number indicates that he joined the Gordons in June 1916. This being the case, he could well have been overseas before 1916 was out.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

Sources:

Ancestry.co.uk (BMD, 1901 census, MIC)
Army Ancestry
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Soldiers Died in the Great War
Image from Wikipedia

Sunday, 2 August 2009

319 L/Cpl Fred Manning, 10th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment


319 L/Cpl Fred Manning of the 10th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment, died of wounds on 2nd August 1916. The 10th Battalion was a Pals' Battalion, also known as the Grimsby Chums, and Fred's number indicates that he must have joined it in mid September 1914.

Soldiers Died in The Great War notes that he was born in Hull and enlisted at Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) adds that he was the son of Henry and Lucy Manning of Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire.

CWGC also records Henry's age - 18 - which means at the very least he must have been 17 when he took the King's Shilling. He appears on the 1901 census as a three year old, living with his parents and siblings at West Street, Alford. The household comprised Henry Manning (head, aged 47, a piano tuner and dealer, born in Gloucestershire), his wife Lucy Manning (a 37 year old Yorkshire woman) and their six children. In age order, the children are: Lily Manning (14), Harry Manning (12), Flora (nine), John (eight), Samuel (four) and Frederick bringing up the rear.

Fred's medal index card indicates entitlement to the British War and Victory Medals. The 10th Lincolns, arrived in France on 9th January 1916 and it would seem likely that Fred, as an original Grimsby Chum, was amongst that contingent. Less than seven months later he was dead, probably dying of his wounds at either the 3rd or 44th Casualty Clearing Station.

Fred is buried at Puchevillers British Cemetery, grave reference II.C.50. He is probably also remembered by name on the war memorial at Mablethorpe, although I can't be sure about this. There is an image of the Mablethorpe war memorial HERE.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

Sources:

Ancestry.co.uk (BMD, MIC)
Army Ancestry
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Soldiers Died in the Great War
Image of the Puchevillers' Cross of Sacrifice from Pierre Vandervelden's excellent In Memory website.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

3/5442 Pte Ernest Holloway, 6th Battalion, Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry


3/5442 Pte Ernest Holloway of the 6th Battalion, Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry (DCLI), died of wounds on 1st August 1915. According to Soldiers Died in The Great War, he was one of 130 Other Ranks to die on this day and on of five men from the 6th DCLI, four of whom died of wounds.

Ernest was a Londoner, born in Bermondsey and living in Lewisham when he enlisted. His number indicates that he originally joined the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion in August 1914 and he must have been subsequently posted to the 6th (Service) Battalion. His medal index card also notes S Res [Special Reserve].

Ernest arrived in France on 4th December 1914. He was presumably sent as part of a draft to the 1st Battalion, which was the only DCLI battalion on the Western Front at that time. He was then possibly wounded and then posted to the 6th Battalion which didn't arrive in France until 22nd May 1915. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission does note yield additional information about Ernest, but I think it's a good bet that he was probably a time-expired soldier when he joined the Special Reserve, and was then shipped out to France pretty soon to make up losses sustained by the 1st Battalion.

Ernest was probably fatally wounded on 31st July 1915. I don't have the war diary for the 6th DCLI to hand but 30 men from the battalion died on this day, one dying of wounds, the remainder killed in action. A quick look at the casualties for this day shows that Ernest was by no means a lonely Londoner in a battalion full of Cornishmen. Seven men had come from the west country but the majority of the remainder were also Londoners, with a couple of men from Birmingham and one from Lancashire making up the total. Three of the thirty men were special reservists and one of the Birmingham men was a regular soldier who had originally joined the DCLI in 1906 and must have been on the reserve when war was declared.

Ernest is buried in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, grave reference I.D.9A.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

Sources:

Ancestry.co.uk (MIC)
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Soldiers Died in the Great War

Naval & Military Press