Sunday, 31 January 2010

Captain Malcolmson Gardiner Donahoo MC, 8th Bn, KOYLI

Captain Malcolmson Gardiner Donahoo MC of the 8th Battalion, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, died of wounds on the 31st January 1917. He was 43 years old, the son of Thomas Malcolmson Donahoo and Anna E M Donahoo, and the husband of Annie Donahoo of The Cottage, Wonersh, in Guildford. He was a native of London.

He originally arrived in France on the 27th August 1915, holding the rank of Second Lieutenant. He is buried in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery in Belgium.

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, 30 January 2010

5478 Pte Jeremiah Shirley, 2nd Bn, Royal Dublin Fusiliers

5478 Private Jeremiah Shirley of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Dublin Fusiliers, was killed in action on the 30th January 1915. He was the son of Mrs. Annie Robertson, of Nelson Street, Athy, County Kildare.

Private Shirley was almost certainly a Special Reservist who was posted to the regular 2nd Battalion shortly after was was declared. His number - 5478 - dates to around 1913. He arrived overseas on the 26th December 1914 and so had only been in France and Belgium for just over a month when he was killed. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial. His medals were later returned to the issuing office and disposed of.

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, 29 January 2010

1647 RSM James Young DCM, 1/4th Bn, Royals Scots Fusiliers

1647 Regimental Sergeant Major James Young DCM of the 1/4th Battalion, Royals Scots Fusiliers, died on the 29th January 1918. He had originally arrived overseas in the Balkans on the 6th June 1915 and was possibly a regular soldier attached to the 1/4th (Territorial Battalion), RSF. Had he been a territorial, I would have expecetd to have seen a six digit number on his medal index card as well, but this is noticeably absent.

RSM Young was born in Glasgow and enlisted there. He was living at New Cumnock in Ayrshire at the time. He probably died of disease or sickness but he has no known grave and is commemorated on the Chatby Memorial in Egypt.

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, 28 January 2010

9735 Pte John Harold Noble, 1st Bn, Lincolnshire Regt

9735 Private John Harold Noble of the 1st Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment, was killed in action on the 28th January 1916.

John Noble was born in the village of Girton near Newark in Nottinghamshire. He was living in Normanton when he enlisted at Lincoln in June or July 1914. He arrived overseas on the 19th January 1915 and had therefore served on the Western Front for just over a year before he was killed.

John's birth was registered at Newark in the June quarter of 1896. He appears on the 1901 census as the four-year-old son of John and Emma Noble, and the sibling of George Noble (aged six), Albert Noble (aged three) and Horis Noble (aged one). John Noble senior was working as a domestic gardener and the family was living in Girton. Private Noble is buried in the Cite Bonjean Military Cemetery in Armentieres, France. He would have been eighteen years old when he died.

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

Sources:

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

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

21451 Pte John William Thistlethwaite, 88th Bn, MGC

21451 Private John William Thistlethwaite of the 88th Battalion, Machine Gun Corps, was killed in action on the 27th January 1917. Soldiers died in the Great War records that he was born in Hutton Roof, Westmorland, and was still living there at the time of his enlistment. He joined up at Kendal. SDGW also notes that he had previously served with the Royal Field Artillery - number 80392.

John's medal index card records that he had served with the Essex Regiment (number 20197) and it was with the Essex Regiment that he had landed in France on the 31st October 1915. There is no mention on his card of the RFA and so presumably he had served with this regiment in Britain, transferring to the Essex Regiment before sailing for the Western Front. The RFA number dates to around February 1915, the Essex Regiment number to July the same year.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records that John was 21 years old when he died and that he was the son of Son of Adam and Jane Thistlethwaite of Hutton Roof, Carnforth, Westmorland. He appears on the 1901 census with his parents, aged five years old. No siblings are noted and it is possible that he was an only son. Adam Thistlethwaite is recorded as the 37 years old "beerhouse keeper" at the Lowther Arms in Hutton Roof. His son's birth had been registered in Westmorland in the June quarter of 1896 and he appears to have had another middle name as he is recorded in the register as John William T Thistlethwaite.

John Thistlethwaite is buried in the AIF Burial Ground at Flers.

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

Sources:

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

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

3406 Pte Guy Barclay Pollexfen, 10th Bn, King's (Liverpool) Regt

3406 Private Guy Barclay Pollexfen of the 10th Battalion, King's (Liverpool) Regiment, was killed in action on the 26th January 1915. He was the son of Francis Harry and Elizabeth Pollexfen.

Guy's partial service record survives in WO 363 and so we can see that he joined the 10th King's at Liverpool on the 30th August 1914, giving his address as New Brighton, 3 Shrewsbury Road, Oxtow, Cheshire.

Guy arrived overseas on the 1st November 1914 and thus qualified for the 1914 Star as well as the British War and Victory medals. Some while after his death, in August 1916, a kit bag containing Guy's personal effects and his identity disc were received by - presumably - his brother, P E Pollexfen, who was then a captain serving with the Cheshire Regiment.

Guy Pollexfen is buried in Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery in Belgium.

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

Sunday, 24 January 2010

15227 Pte Stephen Wallace Gamblin, 2nd Bn, Leinster Regt


15227 Private Stephen Wallace Gamblin of the 2nd Battalion, Leinster Regiment, was killed in action on the 25th January 1918. He had previously served with the Durham Light Infantry (number 33602).

Stephen Gamblin was born in South Shields, County Durham and was living in the town when he enlisted. He was a married man and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission notes that he was married to M E Gamblin of 187 Victoria Road, South Shields. His entry on the Irish Casualty Roll (see above) gives no further information and his medal index card at the National Archives shows entitlement to the British War and Victory medals which in turn means that he must have arrived overseas on or after the 1st January 1916. No service record survives.

M E Gamblin is Mary Ellen Elstob whom Stephen had married in South Shields in 1906. Their marriage is recorded in the June quarter of that year. Stephen would have been about 23 years old then, his bride a similar age. He appears on the 1901 census as a 17-year-old carpenter living with his parents and older brother Owen (aged 25) in South Shields.

By the time Stephen went to war, he and his wife had at least one child - Rebecca E Gamblin was born in 1914 - and may have had other children who my basic research on this man has failed to uncover.

Stephen Gamblin is buried in Hargicourt British Cemetery in France.

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 One)
Army Ancestry
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Soldiers Died in The Great War

8398 Cpl Alfred Beetles, 2nd Bn, York & Lancs Regt

8398 Corporal Alfred Beetles of D Company, the 2nd Battalion, York & Lancaster Regiment, died of wounds on the 24th January 1915. Alfred was a regular soldier who was born in Holy Trinity, Bradford and who joined the York and Lancs Regiment at Pontefract in early 1906. At the time he joined up he was living in Bradford and already serving with the militia. He was five feet, five and a quarter inches tall.

Alfred enlisted for three years with the Colours and nine on the Reserve and he certainly spent time in Quetta and Karachi. Whilst overseas, he was also hospitalised as a result of malaria.

At the time of his death, Alfred was unmarried. His parents are recorded as George Forbes Beetles and Emma Beetles of 305a Leeds Road, Bradford. He also had one brother and five sisters. He is buried in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery.

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

Saturday, 23 January 2010

22200 L/Sgt John Fisher, 12th Bn, Suffolk Regt

22200 Lance-Sergeant John Fisher of the 12th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment, was killed in action on the 23rd January 1917. He was born in Glasgow and enlisted in Northampton. His number indicates that he joined the Suffolks around the 20th October 1915. He is buried in the Guards' Cemetery in Combles.

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, 22 January 2010

26/893 Sgt Michael Finan, Northumberland Fusiliers

26/893 Sergeant Michael Finan of the Northumberland Fusiliers was an old soldier who died in England on the 22nd January 1916. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission notes that he was 56 years old at the time of death and that he was attached to the Northumberland Fusiliers Depot, although his number belongs to the series in use by the 26th (Service) Battalion (3rd Tyneside Irish). Soldiers Died in The Great War records his battalion as the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion.

Two pages of service papers survive for Michael Finan. On 29th March 1900 he attested with the Royal Northern Reserve Regiment as a 41-year-old time expired regular who had served with the Durham Light Infantry. His occupation in 1900 was that of a miner and he was a widower, living in Durham. His next of kin is recorded as his mother, Mrs Mary Finan, of 62 South Street, Durham, and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission also notes that he was the son of Peter and Mary Finan of 14 Millburngate, Durham, and the husband of Elizabeth Finan.

The 1901 census has Michael Finan as the head of the household at 91 Framwellgate, Durham. He is recorded as a 41-year-old Durham-born general labourer, living with his 66-year-old mother, his 35-year-old married sister, Rose Hall; his six-year-old niece, Sarah Jane Hall, and his daughter, six-year-old Lizzie Finan.

Ten years earlier, the 1891 census has 31-year-old Michael living at 84 Framwellgate with his wife Elizabeth, and two daughters: Agnes (aged three) and Bridget (aged two). Michael's trade is again recorded as general labourer and presumably he had already served his time with the Durham Light Infantry by this stage. I have been unable to find him on the 1881 census and presume that he was soldiering abroad at the time the census was taken. If he joined up at the age of eighteen, he would have already served three years in the army by 1881 and it's quite conceivable that he was overseas.

Agnes Finan would die in 1893, aged six years but Bridget appears to have survived into adulthood; at least, I have been unable to find her name on pre-1915 death registers.

Michael's wife, Elizabeth Finan, died in 1894, her death being registered in Durham in the September quarter of that year. It's possible that she died during childbirth or as a result of complications arising from the birth of Lizzie, although this is pure conjecture on my part. Michael though, appears not to have re-married. He is buried in St Bede's Roman Catholic cemetery in the city of Durham.

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

Sources:

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

Thursday, 21 January 2010

73903 Pte William John Tanner Burrows, Labour Corps

One hundred British soldiers died on this single day in 1918. 73903 Private William John Tanner Burrows of the Labour Corps was one of those men. He died of nephritis on the 21st January 1918 and is buried in Dozinghem Military Cemetery.

William was born in Buckingham and enlisted at Hitchin in Hertfordshire. He originally joined The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regt) on the 26th February 1917 and went to France almost immediately. His surviving papers note that he was in England for just twelve days before he sailed for France. William was 32 years old when he joined up; a married man with three young children aged four, three and one. His occupation is noted as packer and warehouseman and he was medically classified as C2.

William was given the number 47268 and was sent to a labour battalion before transferring to the 124th Company, Labour Corps in May 1917. His papers indicate that he was granted leave between the 23rd December 1917 and the 6th January 1918 and presumably he returned to England to see his wife and children. Little would they realise of course, that it would be their last Christmas and New Year together and that just over a fortnight after he left them, he would die in a Belgian hospital.

Three months after his death, May Burrows received her husband's effects. These are itemised as: disc, wallet, letters, razor, scissors, photos, strop, cap badge, lock of hair, three religious books, purse, and a defaced 50 cent note.

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, 20 January 2010

1390 Henry Monk, 2nd Bn, Royal Sussex Regt

1390 Henry Monk of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment, died of wounds on the 20th January 1915 after a little over two weeks in France. He'd arrived there on the 4th January 1915.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission notes Henry's number as 9/1390, Soldiers Died in The Great War gives G/1390, whilst his medal index card is unclear and could be 3/1390 or G/1390. Henry was 18 years old when he died and so we can pretty much rule out the 3/ prefix as he would have been too young when this number was issued to a man joining the Special Reserve. The 9th (Service) Battalion did not go overseas until April 1915 although of course, men had been joining the newly forming battalions since war was declared, and G/1390 would have been issued to a man joining up in early September 1914. Nevertheless it seems remarkable that a man who had joined as new and inexperienced recruit in September 1914, would find himself side by side with the regulars just five months later. That, however, would appear to be what happened in Henry's case.

Soldiers Died notes that Henry was born in Beckley and enlisted at Hastings. CWGC adds that he was the son of Mrs. Annie Carman of Winchelsea Road, Rye, Sussex and that he was a native of Horn's Cross, Northiam, Sussex. He is buried in Beuvry Communal 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, 19 January 2010

G/24255 L/Cpl William Abrey, 10th Bn, Royal West Kent

G/24255 Lance-Corporal William Abrey of the 10th Battalion, Royal West Kent Regiment, died of wounds on the 19th January 1917. According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, he was the eldest son of the late Mr and Mrs William Abrey of High Street, Ingatestone, Essex; and the husband of Agnes M Abrey of 80, Russell Street, Peterborough, Northants. He was 23 years old when he died.

William appears on the 1901 census as a five year old living with his parents and two sisters (one older, one younger) in Ingatestone High Street. His father's trade is noted as "Horseman in Brickfield".

William probably joined the Royal West Kent Regiment in the autumn of 1916 and therefore had probably not been overseas very long before he was fatally wounded. He is buried in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery in Belgium.

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

Monday, 18 January 2010

114641 Pioneer Abel Bowtell, RE

114641 Pioneer Abel Bowtell of the 3rd Labour Battalion, Royal Engineers, died on the 18th January 1916; probably as a result of sickness or disease. He was born in the pretty Essex village of Little Dunmow and was living in Chipping Ongar when Britain went to war with Germany. He enlisted in London.

Abel's medal index card indicates that he arrived in France on 25th August 1915. My data for Royal Engineers army numbers is patchy and so I am not able to estimate his likely joining date. He was, however, 44 years old when he died and it's conceivable that he had prior military experience. He is buried in Henu Churchyard in France, one of 17 identified casualties from the First World War.

He was the son of John and Ann Bowtell and appears on the 1891 census as an eighteen-year-old agricultural labourer living at Grange Lane, Little Dunmow. He had siblings as well. Ellen and Emma Bowtell are recorded as being five years old and three years old respectively, on the 1881 census, whilst the 1891 census notes Benjamin Bowtell (aged ten). I have been unable to find Abel on the 1901 census.

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

Sources:

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

Sunday, 17 January 2010

7533 Pte Stephen Charles Sadgrove, 2nd Bn, York & Lancs Regt

7533 Pte Stephen Charles Sadgrove of the 2nd Battalion, York & Lancaster Regiment, was killed in action on the 17th January 1915. He was a Londoner, born in Hoxton, and had enlisted with the York and Lancs as an eighteen-year-old. That was back on the 1st December 1903 at Stratford, east London. He stood five feet eight and a half inches tall, had a fresh complexion, brown eyes and brown hair. He had a small scar on the back of his neck.

Stephen enlisted for the then general terms of service of three years with the Colours and nine on the Reserve. He would have therefore just been approaching the end of that long period on the Reserve when he was recalled to the Colours at Pontefract on the 4th August 1914.

During his short time with the Colours he appears to have served only in the UK. He had been appointed lance-corporal in October 1904 but been deprived of this stripe in June 1905.

Stephen Sadgrove was killed at Chapelle D'Armentieres and he is buried in the old military cemetery there. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission notes that he was the son of Joseph and Maude Sadgrove of London. He also had a sister, Daisy Sadgrove, who appears to have been the only surviving member of the Sadgrove family by 1919. Joseph Sadgrove had died in 1900 and thus been spared the news of learning that his son had been killed. Maud Sadgrove though, was not so fortunate and died in 1916 at the age of 67.

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

Saturday, 16 January 2010

10314 Pte Alick Frazer, 1st Bn, DLI

156 officers and men of the British Army died on this single day - 16th January - in 1918. 10314 Private Alick Frazer of the 1st Battalion, Durham Light Infantry was one of these casualties. He died - probably as a result of disease or sickness - whilst in India. His grave may well still exist in one of the many cemeteries, used by the British, that dot Pakistan but in any event he is commemorated on the Karachi 1914-1918 War Memorial.

Alick (or Aleck according to his medal index card) was born in Hebburn and was living there at the time of his enlistment. He enlisted at Jarrow in 1908 and had probably been stationed in India at some point during his military career. His MIC though, notes that he arrived overseas on the 21st August 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

Friday, 15 January 2010

2nd Lt Rutherford Lamond Fortune, 16th Bn, Royal Scots

Second Lieutenant Rutherford Lamond Fortune of the 16th Battalion, Royal Scots, died of wounds on the 15th January 1917. He was 20 years old, the son of Rutherford and Janet Lamond Fortune, of 35 Mansion House Road, Edinburgh. The 1901 census for Scotland shows the family living at Mansion House Road, four-year-old Rutherford (born in Edinburgh) noted as a scholar. His father's profession is recorded as solicitor and he and his wife had two boys, Mackenzie Fortune being two years older than his brother. I can find no evidence on-line that Mackenzie served during WW1.

Robert Fortune's service record may survive at the National Archives. The following information though has been gleaned from his medal index card which is accessible on-line. He originally joined the 9th (Territorial Force) Battalion as a private soldier, around the 26th March 1915. He was given the army number 3183 but then discharged to commission with the 17th Royal Scots on the 1st June 1915. He certainly did not go overseas until January 1916 at the earliest but again, being an officer, his arrival there is no doubt documented in the battalion war diary.

The London Gazette of 24th August 1916 notes, for the 1st June 1915, that temporary 2nd Lt R L Fortune was transferred from a reserve battalion (presumably the 2/9th Royal Scots).

There is no mention of the 16th Battalion on his medal index card but the Commonwealth War Graves Commission states that it was whilst serving with this battalion that he died of wounds. Robert is buried in the Erquinghem-Lys Chrurchyard extension in France.

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

Sources:

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

Thursday, 14 January 2010

L/9588 Dmr Robert Earwicker, 2nd Bn, Queen's

L/9588 Drummer Robert Earwicker of the 2nd Battalion, The Queen's (Royal West Surrey) Regiment, died of wounds on the 14th January 1916. Robert was a regular soldier who had enlisted at Colchester, probably towards the end of 1912, and had been in France since the 4th October 1914. He was born in Penge and was living in Beckenham at the time of his enlistment.

I have been unable to locate Robert's record on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's website but a quick search of the 1901 census locates him as a six year old living at 123 Parish Lane in Penge. He would therefore have been about 21 years old at the time of his death.

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, 13 January 2010

L/6899 Pte Harry Jarvis Bobbins, 1st Bn, Middx Regt

L/6899 Private Harry Jarvis Bobbins of the 1st Battalion, Middlesex Regiment, died of wounds on the 13th January 1915. He was born in St George's, west London and enlisted in London in January or February 1901.

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Harry was the son of Mrs. Amelia Bobbins, of Marylebone Lane, London, and the husband of Mary Bobbins, of 75, Northway, Brentfield Estate, Willesden, London. He also has an entry in De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour (Volume 1, page 40), which however, yields no additional information. His medal index card indicates that he arrived overseas on the 14th September 1914.

Harry appears on the 1891 census as a 10 year old resident at Leopold House in Mile End, east London. This was a home for orphaned boys between the ages of ten and 13 and had been opened in 1883. You can read more about Leopold House, and see photographs of it, here. Harry is recorded on the census simply as being ten years old and having been born in England. I have been unable to find Harry on the 1901 census but he would certainly have been serving with the Middlesex Regiment at this time.

Harry married Mary Hodgkiss at Willesden, west London, in the June quarter of 1910. Unless he had extended his terms of service, he would have been on the army reserve at this time. The following year, a son - also named Harry Jarvis Bobbins - was born. His birth was registered in the September quarter of 1911. A second son - John C Bobbins - followed in 1912 (birth registered in the December quarter of that year) - and a daughter - Alice M Bobbins - whose birth was registered in the March quarter of 1914. When he died, therefore, Harry left a widow and three children aged four, two and under one year - coincidentally almost exactly the same ages as my own three children on this date, 95 years on.

Harry Bobbins is buried in Cite Bonjean Military Cemetery in Armentieres.

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, BMD, 1891 census)
Army Ancestry
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Soldiers Died in The Great War

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

15618 L/Sgt Albert Edward Gooderham, 11th Bn, Essex Regt

15618 Lance-Sergeant Albert Edward Gooderham of the 11th Battalion, Essex Regiment, was killed in action on the 12th January 1916. He was born in Norwich but enlisted at Stratford, east London, probably around mid November 1914.

Neither Albert's medal index card nor his entry in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's Debt of Honour register record either of his first two names. The former however, notes that he was a lance-corporal when he arrived in France on the 30th August 1915, and a corporal at the time of his death. Soldiers Died in The Great war notes his rank as acting lance-sergeant, whilst CWGC gives the rank (or appointment) of lance-sergeant.

Albert is possibly the same man whose birth was registered in Norwich in the March quarter of 1883 - indeed, I can find no other match for him. This would have made him around 32 years old at the time of his death. If this is the same man, he was the son of Philip and Martha Gooderham, and appears on the 1891 census with his parents and two step-sisters, living at 16 Edinburgh Road, Heigham, Norwich. I have been unable to locate him on the 1901 census.

Albert is buried in the Potijze Burial Ground Cemetery in Belgium.

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

Sources:

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

Monday, 11 January 2010

202495 Pte William Unwin, 2/4th Bn, York & Lancs

202495 Private William Unwin of the 2/4th Battalion, York & Lancaster Regiment, was killed in action on the 11th January 1918. He is buried in Roclincourt Military Cemetery in France. Regrettably, I know nothing further about this man.

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, 10 January 2010

12440 Rfm Samuel Stewart, 15th Bn, Royal Irish Rifles

12440 Rifleman Samuel Stewart of the 15th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, was killed in action on the 10th January 1917.

According to Soldiers Died in The Great War, Samuel was born in Ballymena, County Antrim and enlisted at Belfast. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission adds that he was the son of Matthew and Catherine Stewart, of Ballymena, County Antrim, and the husband of Annie Stewart of 3 Lower Urney Street, Belfast.

Samuel's medal index card notes his number as 15/12440 which in turn dates his enlistment with the Royal Irish Rifles to September 1914. He arrived in France on 5th October 1915. He is buried in St Quentin Cabaret Military Cemetery in Belgium.

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, 9 January 2010

1758 L/Cpl Myles Mack, 10th Bn, King's (Liverpool) Regt

1758 Lance-Corporal Myles Mack of the 10th Battalion, King's (Liverpool) Regiment, was killed in action on the 9th January 1915.

Myles was a long-serving Territorial who had originally enlisted with the 10th King's on the 23rd February 1909. He was 21 years and two months old at the time of enlistment, and was working as a railway signalman. His address is noted on his attestation papers as Old Swan, Liverpool. Myles stood five feet ten and a half inches tall and had good physical development.

Myles enlisted under an alias, his real name being Myles McNamara, and it is by this latter name that he is commemorated by the Commonwealth war Graves Commission. The Commission notes that he was 27 years old at the time of his death and "(Served as MACK). Son of Thomas and Mary McNamara; husband of Ethel M. McNamara, of 52, Farnworth Street, Farnworth, Widnes." Ethel would later be awarded a pension of ten shillings a week, effective from 10th July 1916.

Myles McNamara is buried in Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery.

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

Friday, 8 January 2010

G/1926 Pte Charles Smith Samways, 8th Bn, Royal Fusiliers

G/1926 Private Charles Smith Samways of the 8th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, was killed in action on the 8th January 1916. He was 26 years old, the husband of Effie Grocott (formerly Samways), of The Avenue, Cheadle, Stoke-on-Trent.

Soldiers Died in The Great War (SDGW) records his number as 1026, and his regiment as the Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment). Both are incorrect. According to SDGW, Charles was born in Norbury, Derbyshire and was living there at the time of his enlistment in Rocester (Staffordshire).

Charles's number indicates that he joined the Royal Fusiliers in August 1914, and his medal index card states that he was overseas in France by the 1st June 1915. He is buried in Brown's Road Military Cemetery at Festubert.

At the time he enlisted, Charles had been married to Effie (nee Marlow) for less than a year. Their marriage was registered at Uttoxeter in the December quarter of 1913. After his death, and as confirmed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Effie married John B Grocott, their wedding registered at Cheadle in the June quarter of 1918.

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, 7 January 2010

2310 Pte Ronald Ashley Ottewill, 10th Bn, Middx Regt

2310 Private Ronald Ashley Ottewill of the 10th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment, died of dysentry in India on the 7th January 1915.

He enlisted with the 10th Middlesex at Stamford Brook on the 3rd September 1914. His surviving attestation papers note that he was living at 27 Silver Crescent, Gunnersbury and that he died at Barrackpore (Calcutta, West Bengal). He was 20 years old when he joined up, and stood just five feet and three inches tall. His physical development and vision are recorded as "good".

Surviving papers record that Ronald was the son of Ashley and Ellen Ottewill of 35 Uplands Road, Hornsey, and the brother of George, Leslie, May, Violet and Olive Ottewill. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records his surname as OTTEWELL and notes that he was buried in Barrackpore New Cemetery and commemorated on the Madras Memorial in Chennai. Today, the cemetery is in ruins and has been vandalised over many years and it would appear unlikely that if it still exists, Ronald's grave is identifiable.

Ronald, who'd taken the imperial service obligation in September 1914, sailed for India on the 29th October. He'd been in khaki for less than two months, but the 10th Middlesex and other Territorial Force battalions like them were needed to free up regular battalions in some of the British Empire's far-flung outposts.

Ronald Ottewill was entitled to the British War Medal and this would have been sent to his father after the war.

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, 6 January 2010

T4/238040 Sgt Gwilym Guy Collins, ASC

T4/238040 Sergeant Gwilym Guy Collins of the Army Service Corps, died in Gibraltar on the 6th January 1918. He was 22 years old, the son of Francis James and Florence Collins of "Southview," 16 Castle Road, North Finchley, Middlesex. Gwylm (or Gwyllm, according to Soldiers Died in the Great War), was born in Finchley and enlisted at Barnet.

Sergeant Collins is buried in Gibraltar's North Front Cemetery which "was used throughout the 1914-1918 War for the burial of sailors and soldiers who died on ships passing Gibraltar, or in the Military Hospital" (CWGC).

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, 5 January 2010

40096 Harry Nixon, 1st Bn, South Staffs Regt

My namesake, 40096 Harry Nixon of the 1st Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment, was killed in action on the 5th January 1917. He was born in Longton, Staffordshire, was living in Hanley, Staffs, and enlisted at Stoke-on-Trent.

Harry had previously served with the North Staffordshire Regiment and sailed to France with them, arriving there on the 5th January 1915. His North Staffs army number - 7913 - suggests that he was either a regular soldier and still serving in the ranks, a recalled reservist (having enlisted in 1905 and now on the reserve) or a member of the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion, having enlisted in 1911 or 1912. 7913 also falls within the range of numbers issued to men joining the 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion, but this number was allocated to another man in October 1913.

The 40096 South Staffordshire Regiment number looks to fall within a batch of numbers issued overseas but I do not currently have any idea when this number would have been issued.

Harry Nixon is buried in Beaumont-Hamel 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

Monday, 4 January 2010

360 Gunner Herbert Charles Collingbourne, RHA

360 Gunner Herbert Charles Collingbourne, a Territorial Force soldier who had enlisted with the Warwick Royal Horse Artillery in 1913, died of wounds on the 4th January 1916.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission notes that he was 23 years old when he died and was serving with the 1st Warwick Battery. He was the son of David Charles and Sarah Jane Collingbourne, of 52 St Nicholas Street, Coventry.

Herbert was born in Coventry and enlisted at Leamington. He was an early arrival overseas, his medal card recording that he landed in France on the 31st October 1914. He is buried in Longuenesse (St Omer) Souvenir Cemetery in France; one of nearly 3500 identified casualties in that 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

Saturday, 2 January 2010

2040 Pte James Ian Innes, 14th Bn, London Regt

2040 Private James Ian Innes of the 14th Battalion (The London Scottish), The London Regiment, was killed in action on the 3rd January 1915.

James was a Scot, born in Perth but living in London when he enlisted. His number indicates that he joined the London Scots in March 1914, and he arrived in France on the 23rd November 1914 as part of a draft for the battalion.

James Innes was the son of William and Christina Innes, and - according to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, late of Clinterly, Kinellar, Aberdeenshire. He was 21 years old when he was killed 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)
Army Ancestry
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Soldiers Died in The Great War

S/7194 Pte Samuel Freel, 14th Bn, Royal Highlanders

S/7194 Private Samuel Freel of the 14th (Fife and Forfar Yeomanry) Battalion, Royal Highlanders, died of wounds on the 2nd January 1918. He was the son of Michael and Elizabeth Freel, and the husband of Isabella Muir Freel, of 108 Watsonville, Motherwell.

Samuel was born in Maryhill, Glasgow, and his number indicates that he joined the Royal Highlanders in December 1914. He arrived overseas in France on the 10th May 1915 but succumbed to his injuries whilst serving in the Middle East. He is one of 3,300 Commonwealth burials from the First World War interred in the Ramleh War 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

Friday, 1 January 2010

Ernest Herbert Sharp Gomersall, 1/5th Bn, West Yorks

New Year's Day. Traditionally a time for hope and optimism and the wish that the new year is going to be better than the last. For Ernest Gomersall's family however, 1916 could not have got off to a worse start. He died of wounds in a Boulogne hospital on the 1st January and was buried in the town's Eastern Cemetery.

Ernest was one of 140 soldiers to die on New Year's Day 1916. 127 soldiers had died on 1st January 1915; 277 would die on 1st January 1917 and 148 would die on New Year's Day 1918.

Ernest, born in Harrogate, was 26 years old when he died, the son of the late Mr and Mrs Sharp (according to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission). His army number indicates that he joined the 1/5th West Yorks in August or September 1914, and he arrived in France on the 15th April 1915. His medal index card at the National Archives incorrectly spells his name as GOMORSALL.

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