Wednesday, 31 March 2010

12192 Cpl William Alfred Willis, 7th Bn, DCLI

12192 Corporal William Alfred Willis of the 7th Battalion, Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, was killed in action on the 31st March 1916. He was 22 years old, the son of William John and H L Willis of 434 Wick Road, Hackney Wick, London.

William was a Londoner, born in Hackney, who was living at Victoria Park and enlisted at Finsbury Barracks, London. His number dates to around 31st August / 1st September 1914 and he was overseas by 23rd July 1915. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Menin Gate at Ypres.

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

Sources:

Ancestry (MIC)
Soldiers Died in The Great War
Army Service Numbers
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

285835 Pte Joseph Markham, 1st Bn, Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars

285835 Pte Joseph Markham of the 1st Battalion, Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars, died of wounds on the 30th March 1917. He was 18 years old.

Joseph was born in Blackthorn in about 1899. He appears on the 1901 census as a two-year-old living with his parents - Frederick and Annie Markham - his four-year-old sister - Jane Markham - and eight-month-old brother - Frederick Markham. At the time of his enlistment he was living in Bicester but joined up at Oxford. His original number was 2951 which suggests that he originally enlisted - under age - in late 1915. He was certainly serving abroad, however, befeore the Territorial Force was re-numbered and he received his six digit number.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission notes that Joseph was the son of Frederick and Annie Markham, of Blackthorn, Bicester, Oxon. He is buried in Duisans British Cemetery in Etrun.

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

Sources:

Ancestry (MIC)
Soldiers Died in The Great War
Army Service Numbers
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Monday, 29 March 2010

S/22736 A/Sgt Cyril Robertson Aikman, 7th Bn, Cameron Highlanders

S/22736 Acting-Sergeant Cyril Robertson Aikman of the 7th Battalion, Cameron Highlanders, was killed in action on the 29th March 1918, one of over a thousand British soldiers to die on this date. He was born in St Pancras, London but enlisted in Inverness around May or June 1916.

Cyril was serving with C Company at the time of his death. He was 26 years old, the son of Mrs. Jessie Aikman of 36 Falkland Road, Kentish Town, London. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial.

Despite the fact that he was killed in action, papers exist for Cyril in the WO 364 (pensions) series at the National Archives. He first enlisted as a territorial with F Company, the 9th Londons, on the 21st February 1910. That was at 56 Davies Street, London and Cyril was 17 years and three months old and working as a clerk, possibly for a coffee merchant although the writing on his attestation form is difficult to decipher. He was five feet, eight inches tall and in good health. He was given the number 1147.

On 1st April 1912, Cyril was appointed lance-corporal and he attended the battalion's annual camps for each of the four years he served with the Queen Vic's. He was discharged on the 28th March 1914 as a time-expired territorial. His next of kin is recorded on these papers as his mother who was living at 320 Easton Road, London NW.

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

Sources:

Ancestry (MIC)
Soldiers Died in The Great War
Army Service Numbers
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Lt Leslie St Leger Blakeney, 2nd Bn, Lancashire Fusiliers


Lieutenant Leslie St Leger Blakeney of the 2nd Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers, drowned on the 28th March 1915. He was 23 years old, the son of the Reverend William Purdon Blakeney and Elizabeth Adeline Blakeney (nee Wilson), of Woodside, Bideford, North Devon. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission gives the additional information that he was educated at Marlborough College and Sandhurst.

Leslie's birth was registered in the "Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire - West Riding" district in the June quarter of 1890 and he appears on the 1891 census as an eleven month old infant living at 4 Pierpoint Terrace in Cheltenham. He is recorded as the grand nephew of Emma Wilson, a 61-year-old widow living on her own means. Leslie's place of birth is recorded as Thorpe Salvin, a small village which today lies within the metropolitan borough of Rotherham and which in 2001 had a population of just 502. There would have been even fewer residents, of course, in 1890. William Blakeney, Leslie's father, was the resident vicar - presumably of St Peter's Church - at Thorpe Salvin between 1886 and 1916.

The Peerage website tells us that Leslie was born on the 13th April 1890. At the time of his death he was attached to the Gold Coast Regiment, The West African Frontier Force, and drowned when the SS Falaba was torpedoed off Liverpool. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Hollybrook Memorial in Southampton. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's information about this memorial states:

"The Hollybrook Memorial commemorates by name almost 1,900 servicemen and women of the Commonwealth land and air forces whose graves are not known, many of whom were lost in transports or other vessels torpedoed or mined in home waters."

Dixons Medals which, at one time, had Lieutenant Blakeney's medals for sale stated:

"The Elder Line steamship Falaba was en route from Liverpool to Sierra Leone, carrying 151 passengers and 96 crew, and with a cargo valued at £50,000. At 11.40 on the morning of the 28 March 1915, when 38 miles west of the Smalls Lighthouse, she was signalled to stop by the German submarine U-28 (Cdr. Baron von Forstner). Unable to out-run the submarine, Captain Davis of the Falaba complied with the order and was attempting to abandon ship when the U-Boat, unprovoked, fired a torpedo at a range of 150 yards.

"The resulting hit and explosion sent the Falaba to the bottom in less than 10 minutes. Captain Davis and Lieutenant Blakeney were two of the 104 persons who perished in the attack.

Leslie's medal index card indicates that he arrived in Africa as a second lieutenant on the 12th August 1914 and that therefore he must have been promoted to Lieutenant after this date. He had been commissioned with the Lancashire Fusiliers in 1910 and served with the Togoland Force in Africa. There is useful discussion concerning the sinking of the SS Falaba on the Great War Forum.

In 1922, an application was made - presumably by Leslie's father - for the oak leaf, signifying a mention in dispatches. This was duly awarded as can be seen from the attached photo, courtesy of Dixons.

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

Sources:

Ancestry (MIC)
Soldiers Died in The Great War
Army Service Numbers
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Saturday, 27 March 2010

18154 L/Cpl Herbert Skingley, 1st Bn, Royal Berks

18154 Lance-Corporal Herbert Skingley of the 1st Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment, died on the 27th March 1917. Herbert, 29 years old at the time of his death, enlisted at Chelmsford, Essex and was living in the nearby village of Highwood at the time. His number dates to May 1915 and he arrived in France on the 16th of December that year.

Herbert's 1915 Star was originally issued in the name of SKINGSLEY but was returned and re-issued in May 1920. He was the son of George and Martha Skingley and is buried in St Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen. It appears likely that he died in a hospital in Rouen, probably as a result of sickness.

There are three Skingley men on the war memorial at the parish church of St Paul in Highwood. Essex. I know this to be so because I took a ride out there this morning. I picked Herbert's name completely at random today and it was just pure coincidence that he happens to have lived a couple of miles from where I am currently staying. This being the case, I thought the least I could do would be to visit his local church and try and find him - on this, the 93rd anniversary of his death.

The war memorial at St Paul's is a wooden one, probably modern, and commemorates eleven men of the parish who died during the 1914-1918 war. The Skingley men are given only one initial each: H, E and W.

W Skingley is 250892 Private William Stephen Skingley who died of wounds on the 4th November 1917 whilst serving with the 5th Battalion, The Essex Regiment. His number indicates that he joined the battalion in May 1915. He was the son of Henry and Lucy Skingley, of Montpeilers Cottages, Writtle, and is buried in the Deir El Belah War Cemetery in Israel (Palestine, at the time). He was 22 years old. Soldiers Died in the Great War records that he was living at Highwood and enlisted there.

E Skingley is Ernest Skingley who was the son of Walter Skingley of Highwood, and the husband of husband of Edith Maud Pledger (formerly Skingley) of 3 The Avenue, Woodford Green, Loughton, Essex. Ernest was a sailor, SS/108634 Stoker 1st Class, who died on the 2nd October 1917 whilst serving aboard HMS Brisk, an Acorn Class destroyer. He is also commemorated on the Naval memorial at Chatham.

I presume the three men are cousins.

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

Sources:

Ancestry (MIC)
Soldiers Died in The Great War
Army Service Numbers
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Friday, 26 March 2010

G/12311 Pte Ruben Cecil Harradence, 20th Bn, Middx Regt

The Kaiser's men continue their push forwards and 1786 British Army officers and men die. 26th March 1918.

G/12311 Pte Ruben Cecil Harradence of the 20th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment, was killed in action on this date. He was born in Shepherd's Bush, was living in Lower Edmonton, and enlisted at Mill Hill. Pages from his service record survive in the WO 363 series at the National Archives, and the following information is taken from this.

Ruben Harradence enlisted on the 1st February 1916. He was 19 years and six months old, five feet five inches tall, and he gave his address as 21 Balham Road, Lower Edmonton. His occupation is recorded as clerk.

Ruben was posted to the 15th Battalion on the 9th February and, after a brief period training, was sent to France. He arrived there on the 3rd May 1916 and was immediately posted to the 13th Battalion. He was posted again, this time to the 12th Battalion, on the 19th June.

In 1917, Ruben was back in England, recovering at the war Hospital Huddersfield as a result of trench fever (PUO or pyrexia of unknown origin according to his service record). At that stage he was with the 15th (2nd Reserve) Battalion, but a transfer document notes that he is to be transferred to the 20th Battalion. He had arrived back in England on the 11th March and so that transfer to the 20th Battalion post dates this. He was granted leave to see his family between the 7th and 16th April 1917. A month later, on the 25th May 1917, he returned to France for the last time.

Ruben Harradence sailed for France with the 13th Battalion, was posted to the 16th Battalion on the 20th July, and finally to the 20th Battalion on the 11th February 1918. He was granted leave between the 21st February and 7th March 1918 and this would have been the last time that his family saw him alive.

Ruben Harradence (Reuben according to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission) has no known grave and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial.

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

Sources:

Ancestry (MIC)
Soldiers Died in The Great War
Army Service Numbers
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Thursday, 25 March 2010

19496 L/Cpl Harold Dell Cansfield, 4th Bn, Grenadier Guards

19496 Lance-Corporal Harold Dell Cansfield of the 4th Battalion, Grenadier Guards, died of wounds on the 25th March 1916. Harold was born in Manchester and enlisted in London around the 25th September 1914. He had served in France since the 15th August 1915 and he is buried in the Menin Road South Military Cemetery in Belgium.

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

Sources:

Ancestry (MIC)
Soldiers Died in The Great War
Army Service Numbers
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

L/10382 Pte Timothy Peskett, 1st Bn, Royal West Kent Regt


L/10382 Private Timothy Peskett of the 1st Battalion, Royal West Kent Regiment, died of wounds on the 24th March 1915. His entry in De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour reads:

PESKETT, TIMOTHY, Private No. 10382 1st Battn, Royal West Kent Regiment, s[on] of George Peskett of 12 Queen Street, East Greenwich, S.E. Served with the Expeditionary Force in France; died of wounds 24th March 1915.

Pages from Timothy Peskett's service record also survive and the following information is taken from this.

Timothy enlisted with the Royal West Kent Regiment's Special Reserve at Woolwich on the 14th January 1914. He declared his age as 17 years and 126 days and gave his trade as "labourer in cable works" and his place of birth as Cork. He was given the number 8946.

Timothy's time with the 3rd Royal West Kent Regiment was short-lived however and on the 15th June 1914 he decided that life in the army suited him and signed on at Maidstone as a career soldier with the regular battalions. He was now 17 years and 272 days old.

Timothy's next of kin was recorded as his father - George Cornelius - and mother - Hannah Peskett. An older brother - George Patrick - and two younger brothers - Michael Frederick and Patrick William - are also recorded. In fact, Timothy had other siblings as well. Frederick and William Peskett would have been about ten years and seven years old in 1914. Two sisters, Eileen and Theresa - would have been about three years and one year old respectively. After his death, Timothy's mother would give birth to two more children: a girl, Mary, in 1916 and a son who she would name Timothy, in about 1918.

At the time of his enlistment in the special reserve, Timothy was described as five feet, three and a half inches tall, weighing 98 pounds, with blue eyes and brown hair. His religion is recorded as "Church of England".

Having attested with the regular army, Timothy remained at the Royal West Kent Regimental depot until the 8th July 1914 when he was posted to the 1st Battalion. He was posted to the 3rd Battalion on the 19th August 1914 - presumably because he was still under eighteen years old - and remained with the battalion until the 6th December that year. He was posted to the 1st Battalion the same day and sailed for France on the 7th.

Timothy Peskett died of wounds at the 3rd Casualty Clearing Station in Belgium and on the 2nd May 1919, Hannah Peskett wrote to the military authorities asking where her son was buried. She received a reply on the 9th May informing her that he was buried in Poperinghe Old Military Cemetery.

Hannah Peskett lost two other sons in the years to follow. Nineteen year old Michael Peskett, a rifleman with the King's Royal Rifle Corps, was killed in action on the 28th August 1918. He is buried in Sucrerie Cemetery at Ablain-St Nazaire. Twenty-seven year old George Patrick Peskett, who had won the Military Medal, and who had served with the Royal West Kent Regiment since 1911, died in England on the 13th March 1919. He is buried in Greenwich Cemetery. Michael and Timothy Peskett are both commemorated in Ireland's World War 1 Casualty Roll (above).

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

Sources:

Ancestry (MIC, De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour, Ireland Roll of Honour)
Soldiers Died in The Great War
Army Service Numbers
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

T/207034 Sgt Alfred Woolnough, 11th Bn, The Queen's

T/207034 Sergeant Alfred Woolnough of the 11th Battalion, The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment), was killed in action on the 23rd March 1918, one of over 3000 men to die on this date.

Alfred was a Suffolk man; living in Saxmundham and enlisting at Ipswich. He originally joined the 64th Provisional Battalion (a Home Service only battalion) which later became the 14th Battalion. His number with the 14th Battalion was 290238. This indicates that he joined the 14th Suffolk Regiment between June and October 1916 and may well have served with another battalion prior to this.

Alfred has no known grave and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial. In December 1922, his widow, Mrs S A Woolnough, applied for her late husband's medals.

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

Sources:

Ancestry (MIC)
Soldiers Died in The Great War
Army Service Numbers
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Monday, 22 March 2010

614316 Pte William James Fincher, 2/19th London Regt

22nd March 1918: The Kaiser's Battle moves into its second day and another 3,782 British Army soldiers lose their lives.

614316 Private William James Fincher lost his life in Palestine. He was 31 year old, the husband of Julia Fincher of 77 Beak Street, Regent Street, London. William was born in Westminster and was living at Teddington when he enlisted. He originally joined the 9th London Regiment in November 1915 and later transferred to the 19th Battalion in April 1917. His original four digit number with the 19th Londons was 8511.

William Fincher, who was 31 years old when he died, is buried in the Jerusalem War Cemetery in Israel.

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

Sources:

Ancestry (MIC)
Soldiers Died in The Great War
Army Service Numbers
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Sunday, 21 March 2010

53200 Pte Henry James Coppen, MGC

The 21st March 1918, a day heralded by a misty morning along the Western Front, marked the opening day of the Kaiser's Battle. On this day, nearly eight thousand British Army officers and men would die, and half this number would fall the following day.

Last Tuesday, in Afghanistan, Lance-Corporal Scott Hardy of the Royal Anglian Regiment, was killed by an explosion in Helmand Province. Another soldier died with him. Scott Hardy came from my home town of Chelmsford in Essex, and so too did Henry James Coppen of 54 South Primrose Hill. He was killed in action on the 21st March 1918, 92 years ago today. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) records him as 53200 Private Henry James Coppen of the 25th Company, Machine Gun Corps and notes that he was the son of Ernest Albert and Emma Coppen. Scott Hardy was 26, Henry Coppen, 24.

CWGC notes that Henry was killed on the 21st March 1919 but this is incorrect. Soldiers Died in the Great War gives his correct date of death and adds the additional information that he had previously served with the Essex Regiment (it would now be the Royal Anglian Regiment) and had the number 28585.

Henry Coppen has no known grave and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial.

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

Sources:

Ancestry (MIC)
Soldiers Died in The Great War
Army Service Numbers
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Saturday, 20 March 2010

27836 Pte Allan Ernest Brame, 6th Bn, Northamptonshire Regt

27836 Private Allan Ernest Brame of the 6th Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment, was killed in action on the 20th March 1917. He was a Norfolk man - born in Diss - but enlisted in Ipswich. His number indicates that he joined the Northants in September 1916. He is buried in St Leger Cemetery.

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

Sources:

Ancestry (MIC)
Soldiers Died in The Great War
Army Service Numbers
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Friday, 19 March 2010

G/17762 L/Cpl William Dickin, 4th Bn, Royal Fusiliers

G/17762 Lance-Corporal William Dickin of the 4th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers died at Etaples - probably as a result of sickness or accident - on the 19th March 1916. He was the only son of William and Jane Dickin of Weston Lullingfield, Shropshire. He is buried in Etaples Military Cemetery in France.

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

Sources:

Ancestry (MIC)
Soldiers Died in The Great War
Army Service Numbers
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Thursday, 18 March 2010

32897 Pte Cyril Crees, MGC

32897 Private Cyril Gordon Crees of the 67th Company, Machine Gun Corps, died of wounds on the 18th March 1917. He was 20 years old, the son of Richard Peplow and Janet Crees of Colchester, Essex. Cyril was born in Tiptree and enlisted at Colchester. Soldiers Died in The Great War notes that he had previously served with the Essex Regiment and had the number 1113.

Cyril's service record survives in WO 363 and so from this we can see that he joined the 8th (Cyclist) Battalion as a 17-year-old on the 5th August 1914. He gave his trade as "builder" (in the employ of Mr Crees - presumably his father) and his address as Berechurch Lodge. Cyril's papers indicate that he was 17 years and 11 months old, five feet ten inches tall and of "fair" development.

Cyril was transferred to the Machine Gun Corps on the 27th Aporil 1916 and sailed for Salonica on the 5th July that year. He was wounded in action on the 17th March 1917 and died at the 28th Casualty Clearing Station the following day. He is buried in Karasouli Military Cemetery in Greece.

A return completed by his father in March 1920 indicates that by then, the family was living at 26 Mile End (presumably Mile End Road), and that Cyril had three brothers (one of these serving with the RAF on HMS Furious, and one at the 5th Indian General Hospital in Cairo), and two sisters both living at home with their parents and the only other brother still in the UK.

Crees Earthmoving Contractors is an established Essex business in White Colne today and it seems plausible, given the uncommon surname, that this is a descendant of Richard Peplow Crees's business.

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

Sources:

Ancestry (MIC)
Soldiers Died in The Great War
Army Service Numbers
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

7579 Pte John Barry, 2nd Bn, Irish Guards

On St Patrick's Day, 17th March 1917, 7579 Private John Barry of the 2nd Battalion, Irish Guards, was killed in action. He was born and enlisted at Listowel in County Kerry and, according to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, was 22 years old when he died. He was the son of Bridget Barry of Knockanune, Newtownsandes, Co. Kerry. He is buried in Sailly-Saillisel Cemetery in France.

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

Sources:

Ancestry (MIC)
Soldiers Died in The Great War
Army Service Numbers
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

121070 Spr Percy Shackleton, RE

121070 Sapper Percy Shackleton of the 74th Field Company, Royal Engineers, was killed in action on the 16th March 1916, one of 164 British Army officers and men to die on this date. He was born in Ingrow, Yorkshire and was living at Keighley at the time of his enlistment. The Commonwealth war Graves Commission records that he was 34 years old and married to Mary Helen Shackleton of 6 Cherry Street, Brow, Haworth in Keighley.

Percy Shackleton is buried in Noeux-Les-Mines Communal Cemetery.

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

Sources:

Ancestry (MIC)
Soldiers Died in The Great War
Army Service Numbers
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Monday, 15 March 2010

15261 Pte Samuel Moore, 12th Bn, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

15261 Private Samuel Moore of the 12th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, died in Ireland on the 15th March 1918. He was born in Conwall, County Donegal and was living at Letterkenny when he enlisted. He enlisted at Finner Camp.

Samuel Moore is buried in Grangegorman Military Cemetery in County Dublin, Ireland.

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

Sources:

Ancestry (MIC)
Soldiers Died in The Great War
Army Service Numbers
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Capt Thomas Joseph Fitzherbert-Brockholes, 2nd Bn, Rifle Brigade

On what is, today, Mothering Sunday in the United Kingdom, 724 mothers' sons died on this single day in 1915. Ninety three of these men died of wounds and Captain Thomas Joseph Fitzherbert-Brockholes of the 2nd Battalion, Rifle Brigade was one of these casualties.

Thomas was 27 years old, the son of William Fitzherbert-Brockholes CBE, and Blanche Fitzherbert-Brockholes, of Claughton Hall, Garstang, Lancashire. He would be mentioned in dispatches, this appearing in the London Gazette of 22nd June 1915.

According to his medal index card, Thomas arrived overseas as a second lieutenant and adjutant with the 2nd Rifle Brigade, disembarking on the 7th November 1914. He was subsequently appointed Captain and held this rank at the time of his death.

Thomas Fitzherbert-Brockholes is buried in Estaires Communal Cemetery and Extension. In December 1921 his father applied for his dead son's medals. Thomas's younger brother Roger, a lieutenant aboard HMS Glory, was lost at sea on the 2nd July 1919.

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

Sources:

Ancestry (MIC)
Soldiers Died in The Great War
Army Service Numbers
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Saturday, 13 March 2010

8632 Pte John James Owen, 1st Bn, Worcestershire Regt

8632 Pte John James Owen of the 1st Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment, was killed in action on the 13th March 1915. He was 22 years old, a Birmingham man; the son of Ann Owen of 1 Goldschmidt Street, Stockport Road, Ardwick, Manchester, and the late John James Owen. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial.

John Owen's number dates to August or September 1904 and it seems likely that he was on the reserve when Britain went to war in 1914. Furthermore, because the terms of enlistment in 1904 were 3 & 9, it's also a possibility that John only had three years' experience as a regular soldier under his belt when he was recalled to the colours in 1914. He arrived in France on the 12th December 1914 and was killed at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle.

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

Sources:

Ancestry (MIC)
Soldiers Died in The Great War
Army Service Numbers
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Friday, 12 March 2010

9228 Pte Frederick Handforth, 2nd Bn, Cheshire Regt

Day three of the Battle of Neuve Chapelle: 12th March 1915. On this day in 1915, the British Army lost 1050 officers and men, and 9228 Pte Frederick Handforth of the 2nd Battalion, Cheshire Regiment was one of these casualties.

According to Soldiers Died in The Great War, Frederick was born in the parish of St Michael's in Macclesfield and enlisted at Macclesfield. He was a Special Reservist who had joined the 3rd Battalion, Cheshire Regiment in February 1912. Pages from his service record survive in WO 363 and the following information is taken from this.

Frederick was 17 years and two months old when he joined the Special Reserve. He indicated on his attestation paper that he was a serving member of the 7th (Territorial Force) Battalion (he had joined the battalion the previous month). He was five feet, four and a quarter inches tall, had grey eyes and dark brown hair.

Having joined the Special Reserve, Frederick Handforth immediately commenced training and completed this in June 1912 (four months). The following year he completed one month's musketry training. He was present at the annual training camps in 1913 and 1914.

Frederick sailed for France on the 7th October 1914 and remained overseas until the 8th January 1915. He was back in England between the 9th January and the 5th March, returning to France the following day. Had he stayed in England for one week longer, there might have been an entirely different outcome to his military career.

Frederick was twenty years old when he died. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission notes that he was the son of Elizabeth Belfield (formerly Handforth) of 28 George Street West, Macclesfield, and the late Ralph Handforth. He is buried in Wulverghem-Lindenhoek Road Military Cemetery in Belgium.

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

Sources:

Ancestry (MIC, WO 363)
Soldiers Died in The Great War
Army Service Numbers
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission



Thursday, 11 March 2010

3/9695 Pte Percy Dudman, 2nd Bn, Wiltshire Regt

Day two of the Battle of Neuve Chapelle and another 537 British Army deaths (according to Soldiers Died in The Great War). 3/9695 Private Percy Dudman of B Company, the 2nd Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment, was killed in action on the 11th March 1915. He was born in Tollard Royal, Wiltshire and enlisted at Salisbury.

Percy's number indicates that he originally joined the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion in January 1912. When Britain went to war he presumably transferred to the 2nd Battalion fairly soon afterwards but retained his 3rd Battalion number. His service record does not survive, but his medal index card indicates that he arrived overseas on the 20th October 1914.

Percy came from a large family. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission notes that he was 21 years old, the son of Thomas and Emily Dudman of Hill Side, Pitton, Salisbury. In 1901, Percy appears as an eight-year-old living at Hindon, Wiltshire with his parents and siblings. Thomas Dudman, the head of the family is recorded as a 37-year-old police constable, and Emily was also the same age. The couple had eight children: Albert Dudman (aged 15), Thomas Dudman (aged 14), Daisy M Dudman (aged 12), George Dudman (aged ten), Percy, Walter F Dudman (aged six), Herbert Dudman (aged five), and Harold Dudman (aged two).

There is a birth registered in the June quarter of 1893 for a Percy Charles Dudman and this is probably almost certainly him.

Percy has no known grave and is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial. His younger brother Walter, also a Wiltshire Regiment regular soldier, was killed in action on the 4th May 1916. He is buried in Ecoivres Military Cemetery, Mont St Eloi.

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

Sources:


Ancestry (MIC)
Soldiers Died in The Great War
Army Service Numbers
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission



Wednesday, 10 March 2010

2nd Lt Fritz Portmore Crawhall, 6th Bn, KRRC

Today, 10th March, marks the 95th anniversary of the opening of the Battle of Neuve Chapelle. The British and Indian armies sustained over 11,000 casualties and gained two kilometres of French mud before the campaign was officially abandoned on the 13th March. Read more about The Battle of Neuve Chapelle HERE.

One thousand, one hundred and thirty British soldiers lost their lives on this, the opening day of the battle. Nineteen year old 2nd Lieutenant Fritz Portmore Crawhall, the son of the Reverend E L Crawhall, Vicar of Herriard, Basingstoke was one of the officer casualties on this day. He lost his life whilst serving with the 6th Battalion, King's Royal Rifle Corps. Like so many, he has no known grave and is commemorated instead on the Le Touret Memorial in France.

Second Lieutenant Crawhall's commission was gazetted in the 21st August issue of the London Gazette. SEE HERE. He also appears in the wordily titled, "Roll of the sons and daughters of the Anglican Church clergy throughout the world and of the naval and military chaplains of the same who gave their lives in the Great War, 1914-1918". He is listed as, "Crawhall, 2d. Lt. Fritz Partmore [sic], K.R.R.C, Rev. Edmund Isaac Laroche Crawhall, Vicar of Ganton."

After the war, Fritz's father - presumably - paid for an entry in De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour which reads as follows:

CRAWHALL, FRITZ PORTMORE
2nd Lieut, 6th King's Royal Rifle Corps; y[ounge]r s[on] of the Rev Edmund Isaac Laroche Crawhall, vicar of Herriard, co[unty] Hants, and later of Granton, co[unty] York, by his wife Isabella Duncan, dau[ghter] of Captain James Grant RN; b[orn] Ryde, Isle of Wight, 15 Aug 1895; educ "Cordwalles", Maidenhead and Winchester College (scholar) and received his commission in the 6th King's Royal Rifle Corps, 15 Aug 1914. After the action at Neuve Chapelle on 10 March 1915 he was officially reported "missing" but his Capt stated that he saw him fall dead in a German trench. He was captain of the College VI at Winchester 1912-13 and 1913-14, and open classical postmaster of Merton College, Oxford.

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

Sources:


Ancestry (MIC)
Soldiers Died in The Great War
Army Service Numbers
De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

G/4947 Cpl John Rota, 9th Bn, Royal Fusiliers

G/4947 Corporal John Rota of the 9th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers died of wounds on the 9th March 1918. He was 23 years old and the son of Louis and Catherine Rota of 39 Beach Road, Littlehampton, Sussex. He is buried in Merville Communal Cemetery Extension.

John Rota's medal index card notes his battalion as the 13th Royal Fusiliers and indicates that he had been overseas since the 9th March 1915. His number indicates that he joined the regiment towards the end of September 1914.

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

Sources:


Ancestry (MIC)
Soldiers Died in The Great War
Army Service Numbers
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Monday, 8 March 2010

9455 Cpl Adam McLachlan, 11th Bn, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders

9455 Corporal Adam McLachlan of C Company, the 11th Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders was killed in action on the 8th March 1917. He was born in Paisley and was living in Glasgow when he enlisted. His number dates to around the 3rd June 1915.

Adam arrived overseas on or after 1st January 1916 and presumably remained in France until he was killed in March the following year. He was 28 years old, the son of Adam and Janet McLachlan, of Maryhill, and the husband of Elizabeth Devine McLachlan, of 113, Burnhouse Street, Maryhill, Glasgow.

Adam McLachlan is buried in Fauberg D'Amiens Cemetery in France.

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

Sources:


Ancestry (MIC)
Soldiers Died in The Great War
Army Service Numbers
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Sunday, 7 March 2010

12004 Pte Joseph Charles Everall, 1st Bn, Worcestershire Regt

12004 Pte Joseph Charles Everall of the 1st Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment, was killed in action on the 7th March 1915. He was a Nuneaton man, born in the town and enlisting there in late December 1909 or early January 1910.

Joseph arrived in France on the 5th November 1914 and presumably served there without pause until he was killed the following March. He is buried in Euston Post Cemetery in Laventie.

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

Sources:


Ancestry (MIC)
Soldiers Died in The Great War
Army Service Numbers
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Saturday, 6 March 2010

S/766 Pte Joseph Titterton, 6th Bn, The Buffs

S/766 Private Joseph Titterton of the 6th Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment), was killed in action on the 6th March 1916.

Joseph was a Londoner who was born in Southwark, was living in Bermondsey, and enlisted at Finsbury [Park], Middlesex. Pages from his service record survive at the National Archives, and the following information is taken from these.

When he joined The Buffs Special Reserve at Finsbury Barracks on the 15th October 1914, Joseph Titterton was 40 years old and working as a labourer. He was five feet, five and a half inches tall and was also an old soldier, having served six years with the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry and been discharged in 1899. The number scrawled on the front of his attestation paper is SR/EK/GS/766: Special Reserve / East Kent / General Service; the number falls into a special series for men who joined the Special Reserve during war-time.

Joseph was a married man with children. He had married Rose (or Rosina) Smith at St Mary Magdelene Church, Bermondsey, on the 15th October 1899, and the couple had three children: Joseph George Titterton (born in August 1900), Albert Edward Titterton (born in May 1902) and Hilda Elizabeth Titterton (born in July 1904). All three children were born in Bermondsey.

Joseph was posted to the 3rd Battalion on the 1st November 1914, then to the 2nd Battalion on the 14th April 1915. He sailed for France the same day but had not been there long before he was wounded. He returned to England and, posted back to the East Kent Regimental Depot (1st May 1915). He was again posted to the 3rd Battalion on the 15th June 1915 and then finally, spent six days in the Southern General Hospital with a slight gunshot wound to his left shoulder. Having recovered, he was posted to the 6th (Service) Battalion on the 30th June that year and it was whilst serving with this battalion that he was killed.

Joseph Titterton has no known grave and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial. His number is variously recorded as G/766 and S/766 but I give the version that appears on Soldiers Died in The Great War and The Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

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

Sources:

Ancestry (MIC)
Soldiers Died in The Great War
Army Service Numbers
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Friday, 5 March 2010

R/37932 Rfm Thomas Kent, 11th Bn, KRRC

R/37932 Rifleman Thomas Henry Alfred Kent of the 11th Battalion, King's Royal Rifle Corps died - probably as a result of sickness or disease - on the 5th March 1918. He was a Londoner, born in Hackney and living in Clapton, when he enlisted at Stratford in 1917. He is buried in Valenciennes (St Roch) Communal Cemetery.

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

Sources:

Ancestry.co.uk (MIC)
Soldiers Died in The Great War
Army Service Numbers
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Thursday, 4 March 2010

9189 Cpl Joseph Stacey, 2nd Bn, Northants Regt

9189 Corporal Joseph Stacey of the 2nd Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment, was killed in action on the 4th March 1917. He was one of 541 men to die on this date.

Joseph Stacey was born in St Margaret's, Leicester, and enlisted at Northampton. Papers from his service record survive in the WO 363 series at the National Archives, and the following information is taken from these.

When he joined the Northamptonshire Regiment on the 9th August 1910, Joseph Stacey was a serving member with the 4th Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment. This was a Territorial Force battalion and so Joseph's commitment would only have been of a part-time nature. He obviously felt, however, that he was cut-out for army life and wanted to make a career of it. His attestation papers record that when he joined the Northants Regiment he was 18 years and five months old and working as a printer. He was five feet four and a half inches tall, had a fresh complexion, blue eyes and brown hair. On his right forearm he had a tattoo of Buffalo Bill's head and also a woman's head.

In common with many regular soldiers, Joseph clocked up a few misdemeanours during his time with the army: dirty and untidy quarters are noted in February 1912; absent from pass and being improperly dressed are also recorded for the same year. In October 1914 he was again absent from his pass for a few hours. Such "crimes" seem trivial these days and even then they weren't sufficiently serious to prevent him from being awarded his first good conduct badge in August 1912.

On 13th March 1913, having spent two and a half years in England, Joseph Stacey sailed for Malta. Whilst there, he was inoculated twice for typhoid, a disease which had exacted a heavy toll on British forces during the Boer War. He remained there until the 17th January 1914 and then sailed for Egypt. He was still in Egypt when Britain went to war with Germany, and he headed back for England on the 16th October that year. On the 4th November 1914 he arrived in France, thus just qualifying for the 1914 Star and clasp; an Old Contemptible - just.

Joseph Stacey was certainly wounded twice before he was killed. On the 5th July 1916, with the Battle of the Somme raging, he was promoted corporal. Two days later he received a shell wound to his right shoulder.

He was wounded again on the 21st October 1916, this time receiving a gunshot wound to his right arm. He spent eight days in the 5th General Hospital at Rouen, was transferred to a convalescent camp at Etaples on the 4th November, and was back with his battalion by the 15th. Three months later, his luck ran out.

On the 15th November 1917, letters, photos and postcards, the sole remaining personal effects of 9189 Pte Joseph Stacey, were despatched to his aunt, Miss Sarah Ann Stacey, at 4 Canning Street, Leicester. In due course, his medals would also be sent to the same address.

Joseph Stacey is buried in Fins New British Cemetery at Sorel-Le-Grand in France.

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

Sources:

Ancestry.co.uk
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Soldiers Died in The Great War
Army Service Numbers

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

22622 Pte Marmaduke William Huitson, 2nd Bn, DLI

22622 Private Marmaduke William Huitson of the 2nd Battalion, Durham Light Infantry, was killed in action on the 3rd March 1916, one of 282 British soldiers to lose his life on this date.

Marmaduke was 36 years old at the time of his death and left a widow, Kate Huitson, of 14 Prospect Place, Thornaby-on-Tees (his place of birth). Pages from Marmaduke's service record survive in the WO 363 series, and the following information is taken from this source.

Marmaduke Huitson was 35 years and four months old when he attested at Thornaby on Tees on the 21st December 1914. He gave his trade as "Plater's Helper". At five feet, three and three quarter inches, he was quite a small man, but with a chest expansion of 38 inches he was obviously well-built. He had married Katie Barr Malcolm at Thornaby-on-Tees on the 21st August 1900 and the couple had four children: Robert Malcolm Huitson (born on 4th June 1901), Richard Allen Huitson (born on 6th November 1903), Janet Stewart Huitson (born on 7th August 1908) and Katie Barr Huitson (born on 28th January 1911). Twins would follow on the 12th November 1915: Doreen Gladys Huitson and the patriotically named, Marmaduke Kitchener Huitson. All of the children were born at Thornaby-on-Tees (and presumably at 14 Prospect Place which is the only address given).

Marmaduke joined the regiment at Newcastle and was given the number 22622. He was posted to the 17th Battalion on Christmas Eve 1914 and remained with this battalion until 24th August 1915 when he was posted to the regular 2nd Battalion.

Three minor offences are recorded on Marmaduke's service record during his time in England; all for overstaying his pass. He was admonished twice and confined to barracks for five days when he repeated his misdemeanour for a second time.

Private Huitson remained in England until the 23rd August 1915 and arrived in France the following day. Katie Huitson would have been six months pregnant with twins at the time, although whether Marmaduke ever saw his babies is unclear from his service record. He was certainly wounded in 1915 but it was not serious enough for him to return to England. His medical papers record that he received a shell wound to his buttock on the 16th December 1915, was admitted to the 18th Field Ambulance the following day, and rejoined his battalion on the 19th December.

On the 11th September 1916, six months after her husband's death in action, Katie Huitson was awarded a weekly pension of 29 shillings for herself and her six children. Her husband rests in Poperinghe New Military Cemetery in Belgium.

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

Sources:

Ancestry (WO 363 service record)
Soldiers Died in The Great War
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Army Service Numbers

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

20141 Pte Robert Liversedge, 9th Bn, KOYLI

20141 Private Robert Liversedge of the 9th Battaliuon, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, died on the 2nd March 1916. He was a native of Leeds and is buried in the Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension (Nord).

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

Sources:

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

Naval & Military Press