Thursday, 31 December 2009

3355 Pte Benjamin Peel, 1st Bn. Loyal North Lancs

3355 Private Benjamin Peel of the 1st Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, was killed in action on the 31st December 1914. He was born in Chadderton, Lancashire, and enlisted withe the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion at Oldham on the 31st August 1914. Less than a month later he was posted to the regular 1st Battalion and it was whilst serving with this battalion that he was killed.

Benjamin had previously served with the 3rd Loyal North Lancs Regiment and was 37 years old and time expired by the time he signed on again in August 1914. His occupation is noted as railwayman.

Benjamin was a married man with children. He had married Jennie Robinson at Stockport on the 5th July 1902 and the couple had four children: Francis, Jeannie, Edward and Benjamin. At the time of their father's death, the children would have been eleven, nine, five and three years old respectively. The family's address is noted as 5 Warrington Street, Lees, Oldham.

In August 1915, Jennie Peel was awarded a weekly pension of 22 shillings and sixpence for herself and her four children. She appears to have subsequently re-married as by 1921, receiving her late husband's clasp for his 1914 Star, the acknowledgement slip is signed, Mrs J Clayton.

Benjamin Peel has no known grave and is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial.

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

Sources:

Ancestry.co.uk (MIC, WO 363)
Army Ancestry
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Soldiers Died in The Great War

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

25188 Sgt Fred Mossop DCM, MM, 1st Bn, King's (Liverpool) Regt


Eight hundred and twenty-eight British army officers and men died on the 30th November 1917. Highly decorated, 25188 Sgt Fred Mossop DCM, MM of the 1st Battalion, King's (Liverpool) Regiment, was one of the men killed in action on this day.

The following information, and the photograph above, are taken from Alan Mossop's Mossop family history website which I came across when searching for Fred on the web.

Fred Mossop was born on the 25th September 1896 at 8 Station Terrace, Moor Row, Cumberland. He was the son of Emily Ann Vickers and he was registered as Fred Vickers at birth, although his surname was changed to Mossop when Emily married his father, Charlie Mossop.

On the 1901 census he is shown living at 9 Dalzell Street, Moor Row, Cumberland with his parents and his sister.

Fred joined the King's (Liverpool) Regiment at Darwen in Lancashire. His number indicates that he must have joined at the end of March 1915 and by the 31st May 1915 he was in France.

Fred was a highly decorated infantryman and was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal twice, and the Military Medal. His mother also believed that he had been Mentioned in Dispatches and she would later try (unsuccessfully) to have this acknowledged.

The citation for the award of the DCM which appeared in the Supplement to The London Gazette on the 27th July 1916 reads:

25188 Cpl. F Mossop, 1st Bn., L'pool R, (attached 6/2nd Light Mortar Battery)
For conspicuous gallantry. He went out under heavy shell fire to recover a mortar from an advanced position when the man who was bringing it down was killed. He has proved himself on many occasions to be a cool brave man.

Fred's local newspaper, The Whitehaven News, carried an article about his award of the DCM on Thursday, August 3, 1916:

THE DCM FOR A PARTON LAD. A LOCAL YOUTH'S BRAVERY

The "Darwen Gazette" says:- The roll of Darwen heroes who have distinguished themselves by conspicuous bravery on the field of battle is assuming one of commendable proportions, and it is our pleasure this week to announce that to the list of local heroes is to be added the name of Corporal Fred Mossop, of the Light Trench Mortar Battery. The son of Mr and Mrs Mossop, of 12 Alexandra View, and formerly of 192 Duckworth Street, the Corporal had had a distinguished part in the war. He won promotion from the rank of Private by bravery on the field some time ago, and has been prominent in later occasions and mentioned for honours. Now the announcement is made that he has been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal, popularly referred to as the D.C.M., for bravery on the 1st and 2nd ult. In a letter to his home the young Corporal says that the honour has been conferred upon him for "getting my gun back to the support line during a heavy bombardment after other men had fallen". After his great success under most perilous conditions his Brigadier General approached him and said "I will shake hands with a brave man". The matter was brought to the notice of Major-General W. G. Walker, who wrote to Corporal Mossop on the 9th ult., saying "Your commanding officer and brigade commanders have informed me that you have distinguished yourself by conspicuous bravery on the field. I have read their reports and I should like you to know that your gallant action is recognised, and how greatly it is appreciated".

Corporal Mossop, who is referred to above, is 18 years of age, and was born at Parton, where his parents resided for many years. For a time he was in the employ of Messrs Musgrave and Dobson, wholesale grocers, West Strand, Whitehaven, and was serving his time with Messrs H. and T. Burns, Duke-street, Whitehaven, as a plumber, when his family left Parton for Darwen, to which place he ultimately followed them.

Corporal Mossop had previously received the Military Medal, and his stripes were both won on the field of battle. The father of Corporal Mossop is Mr Charles Mossop, a native of Keswick, and well known as a fell racer, and who was employed for several years at Preston-street goods station and at Moor Row. The gallant young Corporal has two uncles still resident at Parton, Mr Thomas Vickers and Mr John [unclear]. During his term of service Corporal Mossop was wounded in the head and back by shrapnel, while acting as a bomb thrower.

In the fourth Supplement to The London Gazette dated 30th April 1918, notification of a second DCM was published:

25188 Sjt. F. Mossop, DCM, MM, L'pool R. (Darwen)
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. On the enemy suddenly attacking in mass formation and overwhelming the front line by weight of numbers, he checked their advance to the second line by firing upon them steadily with a Stokes gun, which caused a great number of casualties. Seeing that he was in danger of being out flanked, he used his rifle with good effect, while his men withdrew the gun. He then rejoined his team, and after obtaining a new supply of ammunition continued to fire on the enemy. He displayed conspicuous courage and set a heroic example to his men.

Citations for the award of Military Medals rarely appear in the London Gazette, and Fred Mossop's award is no exception. It was however, gazetted on the 10th August 1916.

Fred's medal index card at the National Archives indicates that his mother claimed an emblem (that is, the oak leaves awarded to a soldier who had been mentioned in dispatches) in August 1919. She applied again in 1924 but Fred was inelligible for this award and the oak leaves were not sent.

Fred Mossop is buried in Hermies Hill British Cemetery, France. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission notes that he was 21 years old, the son of Charlie and Emily Ann Mossop, of 412 Beaver Street, Sewickley, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. He is also commemorated on the war memorial in Parton, Whitehaven, Cumberland.

On 10th January 1918, The Whitehaven News carried Fred's obituary.

SERGT. F. MOSSOP, DCM & MM, KILLED IN ACTION IN FRANCE.
A SPLENDID RECORD.
Mr. and Mrs. Mossop, Post Office House, Parton, have received the sad news that their son, Sergt. F. Mossop, D.C.M. and M.M., King's Own [sic] Liverpool Regiment, late of Darwen, was killed in action on 30th November 1917. Sergt. Mossop enlisted shortly after the declaration of war and has seen much fighting, being the holder of two medals. He was also recommended for distinction a third time on the 30th October last. The letter from his captain conveying the sorrowful news is as follows:- "Dear Mrs. Mossop, - It is my sad duty to have to write to tell you that your son, Sergeant F. Mossop, was killed in action early this morning. He was firing his gun when he met his end, and he could not have died in a nobler or braver manner. His body is lying well cared for, and will be buried by the C of E Chaplain as soon as circumstances permit. Your son was a splendid fellow, and about the bravest I've met. He was always cheerful and foremost in any games when we were behind the lines. He was really loved by all the officers, N.C.O's and men in the battery, and we all feel our great loss tremendously. With heartfelt sympathy in your great sorrow".
N.C. HARRISON, Capt.

I have italicised one sentence above. The reference to the recommendation for the distinction is probably what would later lead Fred Mossop's mother to apply for the oak leaves emblem in 1919 and 1924.

Another letter received from Lieutenant Arthur Robinson reads:-

"Dear Mrs. Mossop, - It is with the very deepest sorrow I write to inform you of the death of your son, Fred, in action on the night of the 29th-30th December. I was in charge of a gun a few yards from him, and was the first to get to him. He died practically instantaneously and as bravely as he lived. He only asked me how the fellow with him was, and then said "Jack," "Jack". In your great sorrow it may be a consolation to you to know that your son was the finest man it has ever been my lot to meet. He has done the most magnificent work during the last six weeks, and was the cheeriest of the whole battery, no matter how unpleasant things were. His place cannot be filled, and there is not a single man who had such a hold on men. They would one and all have gone through anything for him. I feel his loss as though he was my own brother, and so did Captain Harrison. If there is any further information I can give you I will do so to the best of my ability, and perhaps I may have the chance some day to see you and tell you about Fred. The C.O. myself, and all the battery offer you and your family our deepest sympathy, and he will always be in our memories. - Yours truly."
ARTHUR ROBINSON, Lt.

The Whitehaven News also carried a death announcement from his family on the same day:

MOSSOP - In loving memory of Fred (Sergeant) Mossop, aged 21 years, the beloved son of Charles and Emmie Mossop, Parton, who was killed in action in France, December 30th, 1917. "They miss him most who loved him most" Ever remembered by Father, Mother and Sister (Parton), and by Elsie Bibby, Duke Street, Whitehaven.

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
Soldiers Died in The Great War
My grateful thanks to Alan Mossop for allowing me to quote so extensively from The Mossops of West Cumberland website.

Monday, 28 December 2009

17755 Cpl John Derry Perks, 10th Bn, KOYLI

17755 Corporal John Perks of the 10th Battalion, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, was killed in action on the 29th December 1915. He was just eighteen years old.

John Perks was born in Hednesford, Staffordshire, but enlisted at Doncaster. He appears on the 1901 census as the three-year-old son of Thomas Perks (a 37-year-old coal miner) and Ellen Perks (aged 35) living at 5 Rawnsley Road, Cannock in Staffordshire. Five siblings are also recorded on the 1901 census - all brothers - ranging in age from 12 years to nine months. John Perks was the second youngest of the six brothers.

The 1901 census records John as John D Perks, and the birth of John Derry Perks was registered at Cannock in the December quarter of 1897. Both Soldiers Died in The Great War and The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), however, omit his middle name.

John's army number dates to September 1914 which means that he was probably approaching his 17th birthday when he joined the 10th KOYLI, and probably didn't need to do too much to persuade the recruiting sergeant that he was nineteen years old. He arrived in France on 11th September 1915 (still only seventeen years old) and was killed just over three and a half months later. CWGC notes that he was the son of Thomas and Ellen Jane Perks, of 3 Kenyon Street, South Elmsall, Pontefract in Yorkshire. He is buried in Houplines Communal Cemetery Extension in France.

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

Sources:

Ancestry.co.uk (MIC, 1901 Census, BMD index)
Army Ancestry
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Soldiers Died in The Great War

8971 Sgt Edgar Milton, 2nd Bn, Royal Sussex Regt

8971 Sergeant Edgar Milton, of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment, was killed in action on the 28th December 1914. He was 26 years old and the son of Mr G R and Mrs J Milton of 75, Dudley Road, Eastbourne.

Sergeant Milton, who was born in Brighton, had originally joined the Royal Sussex Regiment at Eastbourne on the 8th January 1908. He was eighteen years and eleven months old and a labourer by trade. He stood five feet, ten and a half inches tall, weighed 135 pounds, had a pale complexion, brown eyes and dark brown hair. He also had an inch long scar on the top of his head. His religion is noted on his surviving papers as Wesleyan.

Edgar Milton was appointed temporary lance-sergeant on the 28th September 1914, and sergeant (temporary) on the 28th December 1914. He was killed at La Bassee and is commemorated by name on the Le Touret memorial. His military character is noted as "very good" and, from a civil employment point of view, "thoroughly reliable and trustworthy". In July 1914 however, he had applied to extend his period of army service to complete 12 years with the Colours and therefore, as it turned out, would have no need of civil employment. When Britain went to war and the Royal Sussex Regiment sailed for France, Edgar - with his two good conduct chevrons sewed onto his lower left sleeve - sailed with them. He arrived on the French mainland on the 12th August 1914.

Edgar's older brother William James Milton also served in the 2nd Royal Sussex Regiment (he joined in September or October 1902) and like Edgar, he too arrived overseas with the battalion on the 12th August 1914. He though, survived the war and was discharged as no longer physically fit for war service in November 1917.

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
Soldiers Died in The Great War

Sunday, 27 December 2009

96761 Gnr Arthur Babb, RFA

96761 Gunner Arthur Babb of the 6th Divisional Ammunition Column, Royal Field Artillery, died on the 27th December 1916, possibly as a result of sickness, and probably at the 33rd Casualty Clearing Station. He is buried in Bethune Town Cemetery. He had been overseas since the 29th July 1915.

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
Soldiers Died in The Great War

Saturday, 26 December 2009

8343 Pte Hubert E Norvill, 1st Bn, SWB

8343 Private Hubert E Norvill of the 1st Battalion, South Wales Borderers, died of wounds on the 26th December 1914. He was 27 years old, the son of Harriett and the late Albert Norvill, and the husband of Kate Norvill, of 3 Bath Street, Newport, in Monmouthshire.

Hubert was born in St Woollos, Newport, (Mon) and enlisted at Pontypool in either late 1903 or early 1904. He was therefore probably on the Reserve when war was declared but nevertheless, was back in khaki and marching on French soil by the 13th August 1914. He almost certainly died in a hospital at Lillers and is buried in the communal cemetery there.

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
Soldiers Died in The Great War

Friday, 25 December 2009

43048 Pte Owen Rohan Waters, 7th Bn, Norfolk Regt

43048 Private Owen Rohan Waters of the 7th (Service) Battalion, Norfolk Regiment, died on Monday 25th December 1916 aged 25 years. I am grateful to Chris Basey of Norfolk for suggesting that I commemorate Private Waters this Christmas Day, and also for providing the following information about him.

Four of the Waters family saw Military service during the First World War. Owen was born on 31st October 1891 the son of James and Fanny Waters of Borderland Farm, Acle in the county of Norfolk. His father was Surveyor to the Blofield Rural District Council and Owen was a Postal Clerk when he enlisted at Norwich on 29th October 1915 at the age of 24.

His medical record shows that he was only five feet in height and weighed 8st 5lbs. However, he was passed fit to serve in the Territorial Force and the 6th Cycle Battalion of the Norfolk Regiment with whom he would have undergone training.

At the time of enlistment he was courting Laura Wilkerson, the daughter of the local blacksmith. They were married at the Registry Office in Bridlington on 5th May 1916. Soon afterwards, on 24th May their son Owen was born.

By the end of July, Owen had arrived in France and, following a period at the Brigade Depot, he was transferred to the 7th Battalion, Norfolks. The Battalion War Diaries (at the Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum, Norwich) describe the early days of December 1916 as a ‘quiet time’ whilst they were in and around Arras. After marching the eight miles from Arras to Wanquetin they took up new positions. The Battalion was at Gouy-en-Ternois and on 17th December we read "the enemy has bombarded our lines today with TM’s (trench mortars) and fishtail bombs causing casualties; one killed and four wounded."

One of the last recorded wounded at Hope Street, Arras was Owen Waters. He was taken to 41 CCS (Casualty Clearing Station) in the village of Wanquetin. The following from the unit’s war diary:

12th December: fall of snow this morning. Remaining patients 123.
14th December: RE (Royal Engineers) started putting up electric light
16th December: considerable air activity, one of the Armstrong units hit by a ‘time fuse’
19th December: very cold day – snow in the afternoon
23rd December: ‘The Bluebirds’ (30 Div) gave concert in the evening
25th December: Xmas Day, concert for patients. Admissions 5 inc. 1 officer, 1 wounded. No 43048 Pte Waters O.R. died , sw arm (shrapnel wound arm). Remaining 143.

Owen was buried in Wanquetin Communal Cemetery Extension in France. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission adds the additional information that he was the "son of James Curtis Waters and Fanny Marie Waters, of Acle; husband of Laura Waters, of Old Road, Acle, Norfolk."

In due course, Laura Waters was awarded a weekly separation allowance of 14 shillings and allotment pay of 3/6d which was eventually replaced in July 1917 with a pension of 18/9d per week for herself and one child.

In 1922 Owen Waters (junior) was one of two lads whose fathers had died during the war who unveiled the village memorial.

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

Thursday, 24 December 2009

47182 Pte Cecil Ernest Brill, 19th Bn, Manchester Regt

47182 Private Cecil Ernest Brill of the 19th Battalion, Manchester Regiment, was killed in action on the 24th December 1916. He is buried in Douchy-Les-Ayette British Cemetery in 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
Soldiers Died in The Great War

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

12268 Pte Benjamin Rimmer, 11th Bn, King's (Liverpool) Regt

12268 Private Benjamin Rimmer of the 11th Battalion, King's (Liverpool) Regiment, died of wounds on the 23rd December 1917. He was born in Kirkdale, Liverpool, and enlisted at Seaforth. He was a resident of Liverpool.

Benjamin's number indicates that he was an early volunteer for King and Country, probably joining the 11th King's (the regiment's first service battalion) in early to mid August 1914. He first arrived overseas on the 19th May 1915.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission gives no additional details about this man, but he was possibly the same Benjamin Rimmer whose birth was registered in the September quarter of 1892 and who would therefore have been 25 years old at the time of his death. He is buried in Ypres Reservoir Cemetery.

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
Soldiers Died in The Great War

11210 Pte Alfred Charles Oliver, 1st Bn, Coldstream Guards

339 British soldiers died on this one day in 1914. 11210 Private Alfred Charles Oliver of C Company, 1st Battalion, Coldstream Guards, was killed in action on the 22nd December 1914. He was 22 years old, the son of William and Eliza Ann Oliver of 61 South Park Road, Wimbledon, south London. Soldiers Died in The Great War notes that Alfred was born in Torquay and enlisted at Exeter. His place of residence at the time was West Bay in Dorset.

Alfred's army numbers usggests that he joined the Coldstream Guards in late August 1914 and he arrived in France on the 8th December that year. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the war memorial at Le Touret.

Alfred has a three-line entry in De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour which adds the additional information that he was the son of William Oliver of West Bay, Dorset and that he was killed in action at Givenchy.

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

Sources:

Ancestry.co.uk (MIC, De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour)
Army Ancestry
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Soldiers Died in The Great War

Monday, 21 December 2009

8513 Pte Arnold Balmforth, 2nd Bn,York & Lancs Regt

8513 Pte Arnold Balmforth of the 2nd Battalion, York & Lancaster Regiment, was killed in action on the 21st December 1915. He was 29 years old and the son of John Balmforth.

Arnold was born in Rossington, Doncaster and enlisted in Doncaster on 9th October 1906. He is buried in La Brique Military Cemetery No 2 in France. His partial service record survives in the WO 363 series at the National Archives (and also on Ancestry).

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
Soldiers Died in The Great War

Sunday, 20 December 2009

6170 Pte William Rennie, 2nd Bn, KOSB

6170 Private William Rennie of the 2nd Battalion, King's Own Scottish Borderers, was killed in action on the 20th December 1914. William, serving with H Company, was 26 years old at the time of his death. He was born in Annan, Dumfrieshire and enlisted at Dumfries.

William's number dates to around August 1908 and belongs to the series issued to men joining the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion of the KOSB. He almost certainly transferred to the 2nd Battalion in the autumn of 1914 and, retaining his 3rd Battalion number, arrived in France on the 26th October that year.

William was the son of William and Agnes Rennie, of Fish Green Lodge, Auchencairn, Castle Douglas. He has no known grave, and like so many others who fell in the Ypres salient, is commemorated on the Menin Gate.

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
Soldiers Died in The Great War

Saturday, 19 December 2009

6018 L/Cpl Harry Edge, 1/5th Bn, Sherwood Foresters

6018 Lance-Corporal Harry Edge of the 1/5th Battalion, Sherwood Foresters, was killed in action on the 19th December 1916. He was born in New Mills, Derbyshire, was living at Stockport, Cheshire, and enlisted at Chesterfield, Derbyshire. He was the son of Stephen Baynton and Ellen Jane Edge, of 7, Bridge Mont, Whaley Bridge, Stockport.

He is buried at Foncquevillers Military Cemetery in 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
Soldiers Died in The Great War

Friday, 18 December 2009

100227 Dvr Edward Switzer, RFA


Five weeks after the Armistice had been declared, men continued to die on active service. 100227 Driver Edward Switzer of C Battery, 76th Bde, Royal Field Artillery, died of wounds on the 18th December 1918. Edward, born in Dublin, appears in Ireland's Roll of Honour (see above). He enlisted at Dundalk and had originally arrived overseas on the 26th December 1915, thus just qualifying for the 1914-15 Star. He died in England and is buried in Brookwood Military Cemetery in Surrey.

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

Sources:

Ancestry.co.uk (MIC)
Ireland, Casualties of World War 1, 1914-1918
Army Ancestry
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Soldiers Died in The Great War

Thursday, 17 December 2009

3/1584 Pte Albert Marwood, 9th KOYLI

Doncaster-born, 3/1584 Private Albert Marwood of the 9th Battalion, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, was killed in action on the 17th December 1915. He was one of 138 British Army officers and men to die on this date.

The 1901 census yields just one possibility for an Albert Marwood born in Doncaster, and shows him living with his parents and siblings at 196 Cleveland Street, Doncaster. Albert's father - Henry - was a fifty year old saddler; the children's mother is recorded as 41-year-old Annie Marwood, and there are four children: Reuben (aged ten), Chris (aged eight), Albert (aged four) and Ada (aged one). All four children were born in Doncaster.

There were certainly other siblings too. Reuben Marwood appears as a nine-month-old baby on the 1891 census, and also noted (this time at 45 St Thomas Street, Doncaster) are Walter Marwood (aged eighteen) and Anne Marwood (aged two). Henry Marwood's trade is recorded as railway labourer. Going back a further ten years, the 1881 census shows Henry married to Mary Marwood, and one child - Walter - as an eight-year-old. Henry is recorded as a labourer in an iron works.

Mary Marwood would die in 1885 (aged 39) and then Henry would quickly re-marry. His marriage to Annie Tutton is recorded in the June quarter of that year. Thus, Walter Marwood was the half brother to Albert and his siblings. Anne Marwood, the two-year-old who appears on the 1891 census, would die in late 1894 or early 1895. Her death (aged six years) was recorded in the March quarter of 1895.

I can find no evidence that Reuben or Chris Marwood served in the army during the First World War. Walter Marwood though, had joined the 5th KOYLI on the 14th March 1911 and he would serve until March 1916 when his period of engagement terminated. He did not serve overseas.

Albert's army number indicates that he originally joined the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion, probably in August 1914, and he must have subsequently been posted to the 9th Battalion. He arrived in France on the 14th October 1915 and was the battalion's only fatality on the 17th December that year. He is buried in the Houplines Communal Cemetery Extension in France.

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

Sources:

Ancestry.co.uk (MIC, 1881, 1891 and 1901 census returns, Free BMD, WO 364 army pensions)
Army Ancestry
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Soldiers Died in The Great War

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

7563 Pte Ernest Pottage, 2nd Bn, East Yorkshire Regt

7563 Private Ernest Pottage of the 2nd Battalion, East Yorkshire Regiment, died of wounds on the 16th December 1914. He was a regular soldier who had been overseas since 8th September 1914 and who, judging by his army number, had joined the East Yorkshire Regiment in mid October 1903. This being the case he was almost certainly on the Reserve when Britain went to war with Germany in August 1914.

Ernest was born in Hull and enlisted there. He appears on the 1901 census as the fifteen year old son of William and Maria Pottage. The family (William and Maria and their five children) were living at 5, Edith Terrace, Sculcoates, Hull.

Ernest would have been 28 years old at the time of his death. He is buried in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery in France.

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
Soldiers Died in The Great War

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

4907 Rfm George Denham Massy, 18th Bn, London Regiment

4907 Rifleman George Denham Massy of the 18th Battalion, The London Regiment (London Irish Rifles) was killed in action on the 15th December 1916. George had originally joined the 6th London Regiment back in 1908, and before that - in all probability - was serving with the 2nd London Volunteer Rifle Corps. His number with the 6th Londons - 205 - indicates that he was one of the initial intake into that battalion, almost certainly joining within the first two weeks of April 1908.

Soldiers Died in The Great War records that George was living at Fulham and enlisted at Ealing. There is no place of birth recorded and I have been unable to find him on English census returns. Given his surname and the fact that he would later join the London Irish Rifles, it seems a possibility that he was born in Ireland and later moved to England, probably for work.

George's 18th Londons number dates to late March or early April 19156 and it would appear that shortly after Britain went to war with Germany in 1914, George was posted to a second or third line battalion of the 6th Londons before being transferred later on to the 18th Londons. He probably went overseas shortly after that transfer - probably within a matter of days - and he lost his life in the great WW1 killing zones around Ypres. He is one of 2033 men buried in the Railway Dug-outs Burial Ground close to that town.

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
Soldiers Died in The Great War

Monday, 14 December 2009

3/1355 Pte John Anthony Scaife, 8th Bn, KOYLI

3/1355 Private John Anthony Scaife of the 8th Battalion, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, died of wounds on the 14th December 1917. He was 21 years old, the son of Charles and Mary Sophia Scaife of 38 Victoria Street, Carlinghow, near Batley in Yorkshire.

John Scaife's number indicates that he initially joined the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion, almost certainly pre 1914, and was later posted to the 8th (Service) Battalion. No service record survives for him, but his medal index card indicates that he arrived overseas in France on the 7th April 1915. He died of wounds in Italy and is buried in Giavera British Cemetery.

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
Soldiers Died in The Great War

Sunday, 13 December 2009

2212 Shoeing Smith Oliver William Holness, Royal East Kent Yeomanry

2212 Shoeing Smith Oliver William Holness of the Royal East Kent Yeomanry, was killed in action on the 13th December 1915.

Oliver was living at Herne Bay and enlisted at Broad Oak. That enlistment date was after August 1914 and he arrived overseas in Egypt on the 18th October the following year. He was killed in action in Gallipoli and is buried in Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery; a last resting palce he shares with 1133 other identified casualties.

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
Soldiers Died in The Great War

Saturday, 12 December 2009

8324 Pte Alfred James Mabbutt, 2nd Bn, Northamptonshire

8324 Private Alfred James Mabbutt of the 2nd Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment, was killed in action on the 12th December 1914. He was 29 years old, the son of Josiah and Elizabeth Mabbutt of St. Andrew's Lane, Titchmarsh, Thrapston, in Northamptonshire. Alfred was born in Moulton and enlisted in Northampton. He was serving with A Company at the time of his death.

Alfred joined the Northamptonshire Regiment between 28th December 1906 and the 1st January 1907. This means that unless he'd extended his service with the Colours, he would have been on the Reserve when war was declared; a seasoned campaigner with seven years of soldiering under his belt. In all probability though, Alfred was probably overseas with the regiment, waiting to come home. The 2nd Battalion was in Mustapha Barracks in Alexandria, Egypt and did not sail for England until the beginning of October, arriving at Liverpool on the 16th.

The bulk of the battalion sailed for France on the 4th November, arriving at Havre the following day. Alfred though, arrived on the 6th November. December appears to have been a fairly quiet month for the 2nd Northants but two Northants Regiment men died on this day in 1914, although Alfred was the only man to be killed in action and die overseas. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial in France.

Alfred came from a large family and the surviving members must have felt his loss. The 1901 census shows them living at Manor Farm Cottage in Horton St Mary, Northants. Josiah, a 47 year old waggoner, headed the family with his wife, Elizabeth, aged 37. Their children, in age order, are recorded as Alfred (aged 15), Albert (aged 12), Harry (aged nine), Sarah (aged seven), Frank (aged five), Florence (aged three) and Arthur (aged one). Alfred is noted as an assistant waggoner.

There were also two other half brothers who must have left home by the time the 1901 census was taken. They appear on the 1891 census as John G Mabbutt (aged 15) and Charles E Mabbutt (aged 14).

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

Sources:

Ancestry.co.uk (MIC, 1891 & 1901 census returns)
Army Ancestry
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Soldiers Died in The Great War

Friday, 11 December 2009

2543 Cpl Harry Oswald Mordy, 1/4th Bn, Gloucs Regt

2543 Corporal Harry Oswald Mordy of the 1/4th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment, was killed in action on the 11th December 1916. He was a Bristol man, born and bred, and so the 1/4th (City of Bristol) Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment must have been an obvious choice for him.

Harry's number dates to early September 1914 and he enlisted in Bristol. After a short period of training he was sent overseas, arriving in France on 31st March 1915.

No service record appears to survive for Harry Mordy, but a quick glance at the birth registers shows that his birth was registered in Bedminster district, Somerset in the June quarter of 1895. That in turn tells us that Harry was 21 years old at the time of his death. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the 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, Free BMD)
Army Ancestry
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Soldiers Died in The Great War

Thursday, 10 December 2009

21045 Pte Percy William Swatton, 1st Bn, Wiltshire Regt

Two hundred and seventy two British officers and men died on the 10th December 1917.

21045 Pte Percy William Swatton of the 1st Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment, was killed in action on this day. He was born in Axford, Wiltshire and enlisted at Trowbridge, probably towards the end of May or the beginning of June 1915. At the time of his enlistment he was living at Marlborough.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records basic information about this man, but his unusual surname means that he is easily identified in other archive material. He appears on the 1901 census as a seventeen year old living with his parents and siblings at 25 Head Street, Marlborough. His father Thomas is recorded as a 40 year old bookmaker and shopkeeper running a business on his own account. His mother, Lucy Annie, was older by nine years, and the couple had four sons living with them at the Head Street address. Percy was working as a grocer's porter and then follow Albert Tom Swatton, a 16 year old carpenter's apprentice, William Levester Swatton, a 14 year old shop assistant, and finally James Fergusson Swatton, aged nine.

Albert and James certainly served during WW1 as well, Albert with the Royal Engineers and James with the Wiltshire Regiment. James appears to have joined the regiment two or three months earlier than his brother and he was overseas by 19th July 1915. Percy though, would not go abroad until 1916 at the earliest.

Percy's birth was registered in the June quarter of 1883 which means that he was 34 years old at the time of his death. He is buried in Grevillers British Cemetery. His brothers survived the Great War.

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

Sources:

Ancestry.co.uk (MIC, Free BMD, 1891 and 1901 Census)
Army Ancestry
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Soldiers Died in The Great War

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

701 QMS Walter John James Mant, RAMC

701 Quartermaster-Sergeant Walter John James Mant of the Royal Army Medical Corps, died from enteric fever on the 9th December 1914. He had contracted enteric fever - more commonly known as typhoid fever these days - whilst on active service, and he died in England. He is buried in Folkestone Old Cemetery.

Walter Mant was serving with the 2nd Home Counties Field Ambulance at the time of his death and his number suggests that he had been a Territorial since the unit's formation in April 1908, and had almost certainly served in a volunteer capacity before then.

I have been unable to find a medal index card for Walter Mant and so it looks as though he did not serve overseas. No service record exists, although his small, three line entry in De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour indicates that he was married. A check through the marriage registers shows that he married in Canterbury in the September quarter of 1895. This in turn ties in with the information on Soldiers Died in the Great War which records that he was born in Eastbourne and living in Canterbury when he enlisted.

Walter's bride was Minnie Sunderland and the couple appear on the 1901 census living at 7 Watling Street, Canterbury with their two children - Walter aged three, and Alice, aged one. Walter senior is noted as being 28 years old, a postman by trade. His wife Minnie, was 31 years old, a British Subject born in the USA. I do not have access to the 1911 census but it would seem reasonable to assume that other children followed in the years between 1901 and Walter's untimely death in 1914. If he was 28 in 1901, he would have been about 41 years old in 1914.

Walter and Minnie's son, Walter Gilbert Mant, also served during WW1 and he survived. His pension record notes that he joined the Royal West Kent Regiment at Dover in September 1915, and was discharged in June 1916 as no longer physically fit for war service.

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

Sources:

Ancestry.co.uk (MIC, WO 364, 1901 Census)
Army Ancestry
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour
Soldiers Died in The Great War

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

22441 Pte George Feast, 5th Bn, Royal Irish Fusiliers

22441 Private George Feast of the 5th Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers was killed in action on the 8th December 1915. George was 49 years old when he died; the son of Robert William and Eliza Feast, and the husband of F G Feast of 13, Caroline Place, East Road, Cambridge.

George, who was born in Ely and living in Hereford when he enlisted, originally joined the Bedfordshire Regiment (number 16491). That number dates to September 1914 and his Royal Irish Fusiliers number probably to October 1915.

George's medal index card notes that he arrived overseas in France on 3rd December 1914 and so it seems likely that he probably had prior military experience and was possibly a time-expired regular who re-joined shortly after Britain went to war. I can see no other explanation why a 48 year old private would be sent overseas so soon after joining up. I'll conjecture further that George was wounded or returned home sick whilst serving with the Bedfordshire Regiment in France, transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers in the United Kingdom, and subsequently served in Salonika. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Doiran Memorial in Greece.

Monday, 7 December 2009

L/8893 Pte Sidney Richard Patch, 1st Bn, East Surrey Regt

L/8893 Private Sidney Richard Patch of the 1st Battalion, East Surrey Regiment, died of wounds on the 7th December 1914. He was 24 years old and the son Robert and Mary Patch of 114 Courthill Road, Lewisham, London.

Sidney Patch has a small entry in De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour which, however, adds nothing to the information above other than that he died at Bailleul. He is buried at Bailleul Communal Cemetery (Nord); grave reference A.17.

Far more information, of course, can be gleaned from Sidney's service record which survives as a burn document in the WO 363 series. He joined the East Surrey Regiment on 17th August 1906 aged 18 years and three months old, giving his trade as carpenter's mate. He was nearly five feet six inches tall, had a fresh complexion, brown eyes and brown hair. Tattoos of a flag and apple are noted on his left forearm.

Sidney certainly spent time overseas. Having served with the 1st Battalion in England for just over two years, he sailed for India. and service with the 2nd Battalion. On 19th October 1908 he was inoculated against typhoid at Mhow in India, and then given a second jab - still at Mhow - two months later. He'd arrived in the country on the 10th October and would do the bulk of his soldiering in India and Burma. He was treated for malaria in 1911 and during the course of his seven years with the Colours, paid several visits to hospitals for a variety of ailments which also included bronchitis. He left India in late November 1913.

Typically, for soldiers' service records of the time, Sidney's regimental defaulter sheet has a number of entries containing mostly - from today's perspective - trivial misdemeanours: being absent from rifle sentry, making an improper reply in the ranks, stating a falsehood to an NCO, not complying with an order and finally, being absent from the bungalow when section orderly. These entries probably explain why, on his discharge to the Reserve, he only had one Good Conduct badge and not the two to which he could have been entitled.

Having served his obligatory seven years with the Colours, Sidney was discharged to the Reserve on 1st December 1913 with one Good Conduct badge, a 3rd class certificate of education, and training in mounted infantry duties. He had also qualified as a marksman and had served 12 months with the regimental and garrison police. His conduct and character during his time with the Colours are described as Good.

Additional details - infrequently seen on surviving service papers - are included in Sidney's file. At the time of his transfer to the reserve his chest measurement was 39 inches, his waist was 32 inches and he had grown in stature. His height is recorded as five feet, 10 and a quarter inches. His helmet size is recorded as 21 and a half and his boot size as 8-4. He had also acquired more tattoos, described as "small figures, flags, heads etc, both forearms".

Sidney's service record is badly faded / water-damaged in places but he wasrecalled to the Colours on the outbreak of war and by 16th August 1914 he was in France. He was reported missing on 12th September 1914 and admitted to the 14th Field Ambulance with a gunshot wound to the head in November 1914 (the exact date is unclear). He died of his wounds at the 2nd Casualty Clearing Station at Bailleul.

On 29th March 1915, the Infantry Record Office at Hounslow returned Sidney Patch's last effects to his father in Lewisham. These are recorded as: 1 diary, 1 bundle of letters, 1 post card, 1 identity disc, 1 clasp knife, 1 pipe, 1 belt, 1 watch and chain, 2 Indian coins. These were acknowledged by Robert Patch on the 3rd April 1915.

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

Sources:

Ancestry.co.uk (MIC, WO 363)
Army Ancestry
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour
Soldiers Died in The Great War

Sunday, 6 December 2009

28664 Pte Ivor Francis Gordon Rogers, 2nd Bn, Gloucs Regt

28664 Private Ivor Francis Gordon Rogers of the 2nd Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment, was killed in action on the 6th December 1916, one of 154 soldiers to die on this date. He was the son of Walter William and Ellen Rogers, of Selsley, Stroud, Gloucestershire and was 20 years old when he died.

Ivor Rogers has no known grave and is commemorated on the Doiran Memorial in Greece.

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
Soldiers Died in The Great War

Saturday, 5 December 2009

77829 Bdr John William Ironmonger, RFA

Nearly 500 British soldiers died on this one day in 1917; 497 to be precise. 77829 Bombardier John William Ironmonger of 115 Battery, XXV Brigade, Royal Field Artillery was one of those casualties. He died of wounds on the 5th December 1917 and is buried at Duhallow ADS (Advanced Dressing Station) Cemetery at Ypres.

John Ironmonger was a regular soldier and an early arrival in a theatre of war. He had arrived in France on 16th August 1914 and had therefore been serving for over three years at the time of his death. His number dates to around April 1914 and therefore he was not very long into his army career when Britain went to war with Germany. He was originally from Nottingham.

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
Soldiers Died in The Great War

Friday, 4 December 2009

4797 Rfm Richard Arthur Rendell, 1st Bn, Rifle Brigade

4797 Rifleman Richard Arthur Rendell of the 1st Battalion, Rifle Brigade, was killed in action on the 4th December 1914. He was a Somerset man, born in West Coker and enlisting at Somerset in September or October 1912.

Richard was just 19 years old when he died. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission notes that he was the son of Richard and Ann Rendell, of Manor Street, West Coker in Yeovil, and his medal index card records that he arrived in France on the 19th October 1914; a young Old Contemptible. He would have been entitled to the clasp for his 1914 Star but this appears not claimed for him.

Richard Rendell is buried in Rifle House Cemetery at Ploegsteert Wood in Belgium; one of 228 casualties at rest there. He was the only Rifle Brigade casualty on the 4th December 1914.

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
Soldiers Died in The Great War

Thursday, 3 December 2009

95489 Pte Horatio Fitzhughes, 5th Bn, King's (Liverpool) Regiment

Twenty two days after the Armistice was declared, 15 British soldiers died of their wounds. 95489 Private Horatio Fitzhughes of the 5th Bn, King's (Liverpool) Regiment, succumbed to his injuries on the 3rd December 1918.

Horatio was a Manchester man who had enlisted at Manchester. He had previously served with the Lancashire Fusiliers (number 19263) and appears to have enlisted under an alias. A note on his Commonwealth War Graves Commission record states that the family name was Hughes. His medal index card records Horatio Fitz-Hughes. No service record survives.

Horatio is buried at Terlincthun British Cemetery on the outskirts of Boulogne. The cemetery was begun in June 1918 and was chiefly used for burials from base hospitals.

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
Soldiers Died in The Great War

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

7672 Pte George Carter, 1st Bn, East Lancashire Regt

7672 Private George Carter of the 1st Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment, died of wounds on the 2nd December 1915. George was an old soldier who had joined the East Lancs in 1903 and who therefore almost certainly on the Reserve when war was declared in August 1914. His medal index card is a little faded but it looks as though he arrived in France on the 22nd August 1914 and was therefore entitled to the clasp for his 1914 Star (indicated on his medal index card).

George was born in Accrincton and was stll living there when he enlisted. He is buried in Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension (Nord).

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
Soldiers Died in The Great War

Naval & Military Press