Search results for ROTD.

3 May 1917 Lieutenant Robert Grierson Combe VC

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Robert was the youngest of six children of Presbyterian parents James and Elizabeth Combe. On 24 April 1906, Robert emigrated to Canada via Liverpool, destination Montreal. He arrived 1 May.  A pharmacist from Moosomin, Saskatchewan, on 1st April 1915 he enlisted at Sewell Camp into the Canadian Expeditionary Force. He had previously served i…


22 May 1917 Pte Herbert Killian

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Age 13, in 1911, Herbert Killian (or variously Killiven or Killioen) was employed in a nut and bolts works. He lived with his father Michael, a coal miner (hewer), and his mother Margaret, who worked in the cotton mill. Herbert had one older sister and by the time of the 1911 census eight further younger siblings.  The family of ten were living …


9 August 1915 : CPL Alexander Burton VC

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On enlisting, age 21 1/2, then an ironmonger, on 18 August 1914, he joined the 7th Battalion Australian Imperial Force. He had served for 4 years in the cadets.  On 19 October 1914 her embarked at Melbourne on active service. He was wounded 25 May 1815, rejoining the battalion on 18 May. Having volunteered and taken part in the forcing of …


21 August 1918 : Sgt Sebastian Mitterhofer, 7 Komp, Kgl Bay 10 Inf Regt ‘König'.

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He was married with one child.  At the outbreak of the war he was an office worker in Weisenberg, Bavaria. An active reservist, he therefore saw service from the very earliest days of the war.  He was in action from August 1914 in Lorraine, then on the Meuse, at Verdun, the Somme, Arras, Third Ypres, Cambrai, Dixmude and Verdun (1918) to Augu…


26 August 1914 : Lt Sir Robert Cornwallis Maude, 6th Viscount Hawarden

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The first son of Robert Henry Maude, 5th Viscount Hawarden and Caroline Anna Mary (née Ogle). At the time of the 1901 Census the family of three, parents and 7 month old Robert, lived at White Hill Chase, Hants with four domestic servants: cook, parlour maid, house maid and nurse. At the 1911 Census Robert, now 10, was at prep: school - St.Mi…


6 September 1917 : Pte Bertie Howroyd

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Living with his parents, Ephraim and Ellen Howroyd at 93 Clarkson Street, Ravensthorpe, Bertie attended the Wesleyan Church and Sunday School and worked as a percher for Pickering Greaves and Co (a perch is a frame on which cloth is placed for inspection; a percher is the person who inspects the cloth). Bertie was called up in April or May 191…


29 September 1918 : L Cpl John Wade

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John was a warehouseman at Woodward's Mill, Burnley, Lancashire before the war, John was conscripted into service in April 1916, he initially served on the Western Front with the DCLI with whom, as Private 27452, he was wounded three times. After convalescing back in the UK following his third wounding, John was transferred to the 12th Glosters…


27 May 1918 : Pte George Leonard Collins

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His father James died in 1900, his mother Frances Sophia Collins was from Ireland, died in 1912. In 1966, I visited for the first time, the grave of my grandfather, George Leonard Collins, in Vailly-sur-Aisne British Cemetery, France. Image: Grave of Private George Leonard Collins 204071 2nd Battalion East Lancashire Regiment in Vailly-sur-Ai…


'We Too Were Soldiers' by Dr Vivien Newman

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WAAC workers and Chief Ordnance Office Staff, Rouen 1917     ‘We Too Were Soldiers’ 1 By Dr Vivien Newman   Viv Newman's long-standing interest in the Great War led, after many years teaching women's war poetry at A level, to a PhD thesis entitled Songs of Wartime Lives: Women's Poetry of the First World War (2004) University of Essex. The …


Who was Ronald Johnson ? 29 May 1917

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Prologue With the Glazer family takeover of Manchester United Football Club between 2003 and 2005 a group of Manchester United supporters, who were disillusioned at the way that ‘modern' football was being run (and organised in general), decided to form their own, totally democratic, supporter-owned, breakaway club. After much discussion, this new…


Major 'Alastair' Soutar, M.C.

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One of the well known 'classic' accounts of the First World War is 'Twelve Days' published in 1933 (and more recently republished as 'Twelve Days on the Somme') by Sidney Rogerson, an officer on the staff of 23 Infantry Brigade (part of the 8th Division). Less well known is his second book, about his experiences in May 1918 on the Aisne. This accou…


Vera Brittain - The Militant Pacifist: Misconceptions of her Importance in Military History

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  By Dr. Phylomena H. Badsey Originally published by the Journal of the Centre for First World Studies. Posted here with permission. Vera Brittain (1897-1970) is best known to this audience for her sixth book Testament of Youth An Autobiographical Study of the Years 1900-1925, published in 1933 and based on her own war diary, Chronicle of Yout…


Henry May VC : October 1914

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Henry May VC was one of five servicemen to win a VC on the Western Front in October 1914 and will have a commemorative paving stone dedicated to his memory at a ceremony to be held in the City of Glasgow on or around 22 October 2014. His stone will be the second one laid to a Glasgow VC, the one of Capt Harry Sherwood Ranken being the first. Both m…


Corporal Henry I Ingersoll, Company K: 15 September 1918

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Henry's parents were Mr. and Mrs. Oliver W. Ingersoll of 876 Park Place, New York City.  Henry Ingersoll graduated from Erasmus Hall High School and attended Cornell University where he studied civil engineering. After graduating from Cornell in 1916 he was employed with the family business. Henry enlisted with the 7th New York Infantry in A…


The Loss of the Britannic : 21 November 1916

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Some years ago there was much publicity around the 100th anniversary of the loss of the RMS Titanic, which sank in April 1912 after striking an iceberg. What is less well know is that the Titanic’s sister ship, the Britannic was also lost during the course of the First World War on 21 November 1916. Britannic was almost identical to the Titanic, m…


Zeppelins Over Norfolk

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The First World War was a conflict of many firsts. While the Great War saw the debut of mass public recruitment as well as the implementation of tank warfare, it was also the first time heavier-than-air flying machines had been used in a military offensive. As German airships attacked the east coast of Britain in January 1915, it was civilian targe…


The discovery and identification of the Beaucamps Ligny Fifteen : October 1914

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In the autumn of 2009, during excavation work for a building project, human remains were discovered between the villages of Radinghem and Beaucamps Ligny in northern France. The discovery was made near a road junction about four miles southeast of Bois-Grenier and seven miles northeast of La Bassée. This area had fallen into German hands shortly af…


A training exercise goes horribly wrong: The tragedy at Gainsborough, 19 February 1915

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At the turn of the last century the Heavy Woollen area of the West Riding of Yorkshire, centred around Dewsbury, was a hive of industrial activity, specialising in the production of heavyweight cloth. One of the main activities in the town was the production of Shoddy and Mungo - this involved the recycling of wool from rags. In 1860, the adjoining…


Escape from the Desert : October 1915

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This article could almost be taken from a 'Boy's Own' story of Great War adventures. It features a daring raid by one of the world’s richest men to rescue a group of sailors whose ship had been torpedoed and who had been handed over to a group of North African tribesmen, by whom they were held in deplorable conditions for over four months. At the …


The loss of HMS Bulwark : 26 November 1914

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Losses of life in the First World War are more often than not attributed to engagements in battle or enemy action of some sort. However, this is not always the case. One of the most significant events during the early part of the war that caused a major loss of life to military personnel was an accident. HMS Bulwark was part of the 5th Battle Squa…


The (other) man who shot down the Red Baron

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By far the most famous ‘ace’ of the Great War was Manfred Albrecht von Richthofen, popularly known during the war in Germany as Der Rote Kampfflieger (The Red Battle Flyer). Above: Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron.  By late winter of 1917 von Richthofen was already one of the leading German fighter pilots, having shot down no fewer than tw…


The Battle of the Boar's Head

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Lord Kitchener's famous call for volunteers 'Your Country Needs You' resulted in an overwhelming response with hundreds of thousands of men stepping forward. This has often been portrayed as a north of England phenomena. The roots of this misconception may be as a result of the attack made at Serre on 1 July 1916 by 'pals' battalions from Accringto…


Aubers Ridge 9 May 1915: The Unpleasant Truth

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For it appears ridiculous to call it so, the 'battle' of Aubers Ridge fits perfectly the stereotypical vision of the British in the Great War: men cut down in their thousands for little or no gain, with only the bravery of the men offering any kind of distraction from the scale of the disaster. Although largely fought by units of the old pre-war r…


The Easter Rising - Dublin 1916

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The Battles of the First World War took place in many countries and across various continents - from China to Lake Tanganyika in Africa; from off the coast of Chile to the files of France and Flanders. While these battles were being fought overseas, in April 1916 a rebellion broke out in one of the principle cities of the British Isles.  Prior to …


25 March 1918 : Nurse Patricia Irene Byron, US Army Nurse Corps

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  Ms Byron graduated from Hope Hospital, Ft Wayne in 1906. Patricia was appointed Superintendent of the Allen County Tuberculosis Hospital soon afterwards. In the summer of 1917, she volunteered to be an Army nurse and was sent to Camp McArthur in Texas where she died, of tuberculosis, on 25 March 1918.   She is buried in Fullerton, Califor…


27 March 1915 : Sgt John Robert Bannister

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The son of John Bannister, a nut and bolt maker and his wife Mary Ellen, a cotton weaver. At the 1891 there were somehow a family of six, parents and four children and four lodgers (a mother and her three children) in the same dwelling (11 Gresham Place, Burnley).  John had three younger brothers James, Harry, Gilbert and three younger sisters,…


9 April 1917 : Gunner Ewart Doodson

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His adoptive parents were Tyas Wood (a rug and shawl finisher) and Morrennah (née Jagger) whose family, included brother James (born 1890, a boot and clog maker) and Lily (a dressmaker’s apprentice) At the 1911 Census, age 12, Ewart was living at home at 25 Huddersfield Rd, Ravensthorpe (and later of 453 Huddersfield Rd) with his adoptive parent…


11 April 1918 : Pte Jack Whiteley

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Youngest of five children and of three boys: William and Allen and then Jack.  Parents, Fenton (a foreman at a woollen cloth manufacturer) and Ann Elizabeth (née Relsish), at the time of her son’s death his mother was living at 273 Scout Hill, Dewsbury. At the 1911 Census, the family of seven lived in a 4 roomed dwelling in Ravensthorpe. Jack's…


23 April 1916 : Charles Fernand Sylvain van Eleghem

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Charles was living in Brussels when he began his military service in 1905. By 1914, Charles was serving as an officer of the reserve when he was mobilised into service on 1st August 1914 and possibly saw some action during the Battle of Halen. In January 1915 , Charles was serving on the Yser Front with the 2nd company of the newly formed 2e …


18 April 1916: Pte Sam Naylor

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Sam was born in Lancaster in 1877, the son of an agricultural labourer, Sam lived for much of his life in Gargrave, Yorkshire where he worked in a mil or iron foundry.  He was employed in the New Brighton Saw Mills before moving to Accrington, Lancashire where he worked as a moulder at Newbank Works. At the 1911 Census that family lived at 10 …


26 April 1916: 137/15564 Luit. Arthur Pierre Joseph Ghisain Lupsin

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Arthur was an officer of the reserve at the time of the outbreak of war. Luit. Luspin was mobilised on 1 August 1914 and he saw action at the Battle of Halen on 12 August, and the Battle of the Yser before settling into the static warfare on the Yser front from the winter of 1914 through to 1916. Arthur was killed in action after being fata…


28 April 1915: Pierre Scheurer

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Pierre left Thann to engage in his compulsory military training with the French Army at Epinal and became an eleve-officier in 1909. He was severely wounded by a shell explosion at his regimental headquarters on the Hartmannswillerkopf on 26 April 1915 and died of these injuries in Field Ambulance 2/58 at Moosch two days later. He is buried…


30 April 1915: Pte A H Smith

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A coal-carter with the Nelson Co-operative Society pre war (in the town where he lived:7, Cross Street), 21 year old Pte Carter enlisted into the army on 12 September 1914. After getting married whilst on leave in January 1915, he travelled to Weyhill Camp, near Andover to undergo further training. Still at Weyhill in April 1915, he was involved i…


5 May 1915 : Pte Herbert M Wightwick

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Herbert emigrated to Canada where, at the time of the outbreak of war, he was employed as a clerk in Red Deer, Alberta. He enlisted at Red Deer into the Canadian Army and attested at Valcartier on 22 September 1914. With the 5th Bn CEF, Herbert sailed from Quebec on 3 October 1914 and after harbouring at Plymouth, England, disembarked at Devon…


6 May 1918: Pvt Joseph William Welsh

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Joseph enlisted into the US regular army at Greensburg on 16 April 1917 and was sent to Douglas, Arizona where he was assigned to the 18th Infantry Regiment. After being sent overseas in June 1917, he fought at Sommerville, Toul, Cantigny and Chateau-Thierry where he was wounded in action. Joseph died of these wounds on 6 May 1918; he was the…


8 May 1917: Pte Arthur Chatterton

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Arthur was the son of Jabez, an agricultural labourer and Maria (née Brant) Chatteron. He was born into a family of boys: Arthur had four older brothers at the time of his birth. By the 1891 Census, although only 10 years and 9 months old, Arthur, like three of his older brothers, was working as a worsted spinner.  The family lived at 62 Brunsgil…


9 May 1915: Jacques Eugène Valfort

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Jacques was in preparation for his compulsory military service when war broke out in 1914. Called up into the 17th Infantry Regiment at Epinal in September 1914, he was soon serving at the front and, by the end of 1914 was located in the Artois sector where he was to remain for his entire service. Jacques was killed in action during the int…


10 May 1915 : George Bargh

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Parents Isaac Bargh and Helen (née Cumming). At the 1891 Census, George, age 1 was the youngest of Isaac and Hellen's five children: Hannah (11), Samuel (9), Ben (6) and Sibella (4). They lived at Proctor's Farm, Wray with Botton and two servants: a farm and general servant.  George was educated in Halifax and at Reading University. Before th…


11 May 1915: Captain George Clarence Gliddon

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His parents were John Gliddon and Mary née (Baker) A graduate of St Thomas College and the University of Toronto where he studied medicine between 1909 and 1914, he was about to enter practice as a physician in partnership with his brother when war broke out. Enlisting at Valcartier in September 1914. Saint-Gabriel-de-Valcartier is a munici…


12 May 1915: Musk Josef Abberger

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Already a serving soldier at the outbreak of war, he transferred to the newly expanded Lehr Infantry Regiment at Potsdam in early 1914 and first saw action at Namur during the invasion of Belgium in August 1914. After moving to the Eastern Front, Josef fought at the 1st Battle of the Masurian Lakes and the Battle of Lodz before moving to the C…


15 May 1918: L.Sgt John Gregson

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At the 1901 Census John, age 21 was living with his 21 year old wife Gertrude at 1 Hughes Street, Wrexham A decade later he has two children and is living at 1 Mount Street, Wrexham with his wife, son, daughter and father in law. John into his local territorial battalion in the early months of the war, but didn't see overseas service until mid…


24 May 1915: Harold Strachan Price

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Son of Edward Price, the major forestry and paper company  in Canada) and Henrietta.  1891 age 9 Harold lived with his parents, family and domestic staff at 1 Craven Hill, Hyde Park. As well as his 5 siblings and parents there was a nurse, a cook, housemaid, a nursery maid and a kitchen maid. Harold, like the sons of leading Canadian mercha…


26 May 1918: Pte William James Archbold

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William, a farmer, enlisted, age 18 into the Australian Imperial Force on 21 February 1916 and embarked from Sydney (for the UK) on 22 December the same year. Training in the UK at Codford and Bulford, he spent a month in Parkhouse Military Hospital, Bulford. He underwent Field Punishment No 2 for 7 days in March 1917 for a misdemeanour in April.…


Lewes War Memorial by Dr Graham Mayhew

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Erected in 1922, following a design competition judged by the Slade Professor of Fine Art at Cambridge University, Lewes War Memorial stands twenty-seven feet high in the middle of Lewes High Street, at the top of School Hill. Its Portland Stone obelisk is topped by a bronze winged victory looking straight down the hill. At its foot are two more …


8 June 1919: Lt William ‘Billy’ Nichol Wilson

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His father was Twentyman Wilson and mother Sarah were both from Dalston outside Carlisle, Cumberland and had agrarian backgrounds: the Wilsons were blacksmiths and wheelwrights, the Nixons and Nichols on Sarah's side worked a small holding.  Twentyman got work in the then booming industrial town of Consett. Starint out as the head groom he went …


28 May 1917 : Robert Hilary Lockhart Whitelaw

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From Monkland, Nairn, the son of William and Gertrude Whitelaw, their home in 1901 was in Kensington. The Census that April reveals that his mother, then 33 years old, was at home with her four children William, Audrey, Robert and Geoffrey (then 9, 7, 6, 2). They had living with them no fewer than 11 servants: two nurses, three housemaids, a but…


29 May 1916 : Caporal Pierre Jean Victorin Viguier

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Pierre was a farmer before the war.  Pierre was called into service at Rodez in late August 1914 and first saw action with the 173e R.I. at Les Eparges in May 1915 before fighting in the 1915 battles on the Wöevre (Bois de la Grurie) until the end of the year. After a spell on the Champagne front, he moved to take part in the Battle of Verd…


2 June 1917 : L/Cpl James McCoubrey

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His parents were James and Margaret McCoubrey and he was a Protestant.  At the 1901 Census James was at home with his parents and younger brother William. Ten years later he was still at home, 35 Main Street, Ballymoney and working as a painter.  Age 20 he was at home with 12 year old brother William his parents and two boarders.  James mar…


7 June 1917 : L Cpl Fred Latham MM

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  At the 1901 Census, 2 year old Fred was living at Knowles Farm, Roby Mill along with his 32 year old father Frederick, his 67 year old uncle Abraham, a 25 year old cousin Sarah Cliff (a housemaid) and his 72 year old grandmother Alice. His mother Ellen had died in November 1900. His father remarried in 1904 and Fred gained a brother and two sist…


‘Kitchener of Khartoum’ and HMS Hampshire : 5 June 1916

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Within Lyness Royal Naval Cemetery, on the Island of Hoy on the Orkney Islands, is a memorial to the officers and men who were lost on board HMS Hampshire; in addition to the memorial (pictured below) are the graves of 123 men of the Royal Navy who died on 5 June 1916 when the Hampshire went down. For those who regularly visit Commonwealth War Grav…


A Policeman on board : When Lord Kitchener drowned 6 June 1916

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Lord Kitchener, Secretary of State for War, was drowned in HMS Hampshire on 5 June 1916, when it sank just west of the Orkney Islands in Scotland. Kitchener was on his way to a secret meeting with the Russians at Petrograd. This loss was seen as a serious setback to the British war effort. Most people, therefore, failed to notice that amongst the t…


Lewes and the Great War : January Casualties

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By the end of autumn 1914 the German advance on Paris had been halted and both sides had dug in for the winter, creating a system of opposing trenches separated by waste ground known as 'no man’s land', stretching from the Channel coast to the Swiss border. This was what became known as the Western Front. Until the German breakthrough during their …


Lewes and the Great War : February Casualites

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February’s Lewes casualties provide a glimpse of the contrasting life experiences and backgrounds of residents of different Lewes streets, amongst whom three men’s very different stories stand out. Private Daniel Todman of the 9th Royal Sussex Regiment, who died of wounds at a field dressing station near Ypres on 18th February 1916, lived with his…


The Great War and March Casualities from Lewes, East Sussex

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During the early years of the war, March on the Western Front was a time of preparation for the spring offensives both sides knew would come as soon as the ground had dried out sufficiently to make a successful advance a real possibility. As a result there was only one Lewes casualty in March 1915 and two in 1916. March 1917 brought seven fatalitie…


Leonard Maidment: missing, found, now remembered

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As Serjeant Leonard Maidment nervously waited in the pre-dawn gloom of the morning of 20 July 1918 preparing for his first combat on the Western Front, his thoughts would have turned to his family, safe at home in Andover. His father, Edward and mother, Bessie would be oblivious to the fact that Leonard’s battalion, the 2/4th Hampshire Regiment, wa…


The day my family came

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The 20th August 2013 was a hot day. Probably not as hot as the 20th July 1918. Despite these dates being separated by nearly 95 years, the echoes of that day in 1918 resonated loudly down the decades. It was on that day that a soldier’s family returned to Marfaux, near Reims. Leonard Maidment, from Andover, was probably an ordinary soldier. It is …


18 June 1915: L/Cpl. Charles Burrell

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He had served for seven years in the volunteers before the war and attained the rank of sergeant which facilitated his promotion to Lance Corporal in the 5th East Lancs soon after attestation in August 1914. After training in the UK, he embarked for service at Gallipoli in May 1915 and took part in the 3rd Battle of Krithia. He fell ill with dysen…


25 June 1915: Sgt Auguste Louis Jeannin, 175 RI.

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Auguste was a veteran of the Franco-German War of 1870 -71 where he saw action at Orleans and Le Mans. At the time of the outbreak of war in 1914 he was living at 18, Rue Paul Bert, Roanne, Loire. Auguste volunteered in August 1914, Auguste was sent to the 175 RI with which he was to see service at Gallipoli from May 1915. Auguste was kill…


3 July 1918 : Pvt John L Vaughn

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Son of James Clinton (farmer) and Sarah Jane (née Lytle). Vaughn. John was one of 12 children in the family, of whom only four outlived their parents: two died in infancy, another five between the ages of 14 and 39.  John entered service at Lagrange, Indiana on 20 September 1917 and received training at Camp Taylor and Camp Shelby where he w…


7 July 1916 : Pte. William Edward Foster

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At the 1891 Census William, only 1, appears to have been living at his grandmother's house with his mother and older sister Elizabeth. By the 1901 Census, his sister had married and the 10 year old William was living wither her and his brother in law at 23 Ribblesdale Street, Burnley.  At the 1911 Census, William was living with his sister and…


14 July 1915 : Kaiserschütze Rudolf Huber, k.k. Landesschützen-Regiment ‘Bozen’ Nr. 2

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Rudolf was a dairy farm worker from Dornbirn, Austria.  Recalled as a reservist in July 1914, he saw service in Austria and then Poland, taking part in the Battles of Limanowa in December 1914 and Bukowina in March 1915. He was killed in action near Czernowitz, Ukraine on 14 July 1915. His grave location is unrecorded. 14 July 1915 killed in …


15 July 1917 : Fred Crabtree

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His father was Richard Crabtree and mother Margaret. Older siblings John and Susannah.  Fred was employed as a Loom Over-Looker at the Rake Head Shed, Burnley before the war. He married Beatrice Ellen 31 October 1911 and they had a son Harry Whefat  on 28/10/13 Originally serving as 267421 in the Army Service Corps from 11 December 1915 and…


18 July 1916 : L/CPL Eugene Walter Linley

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His father Fred was from Huddersfield; his mother was Ellen Louisa.  At the 1901 Scotland census records show that the 8 year old Eugene was living on Muirfield Road, Inverness with his parents and brothers Frederick Kay [b.1890] and Richard Musgrave [b.1898] and a 19 year old domestic servant Mary Fraser. He enlisted in September 1914.  The 5…


23 July 1917 : Pte George Clement Sutcliffe, 1/4th KOYLI.

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The 49th (West Riding) Division had, following the Battle of the Somme, moved to the Neuve Chapelle area; the division stayed in this sector until 13 July 1917 when it was ordered to proceed to Bethune railway station. After de-training at Dunkirk, the division moved up the coast, taking over the coastal defences at Nieuport on 18 July. The 1/…


Aubers Ridge 9 May 1915

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  At the end of April 1915 the Sussex Express carried a cheering report from one of its former reporters, Private W G Horton of the 5th Royal Sussex. Seated on a straw bale in “glorious sunshine” at a rest billet 10 miles from the Front, he expressed the optimism of Lewes’s territorials on a beautiful spring day, that the war would soon be over an…


Finding Horace: A two minute search of the WFA's Pension Records provides the answer

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The Pension Cards and Ledgers that were saved by The Western Front Association are a valuable resource which will massively assist those undertaking research into aspects of those soldiers who served in the British Army in the First World War. In September 2019 a further set of 1 million records, Soldiers Who were Killed, were published by the WFA…


Street Memorials in South West Rocks, NSW

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South West Rocks is a small town with a population of about 5000 on the mid north coast of New South Wales, about 400 kilometres north of Sydney.  Located where the Macleay River enters the Pacific Ocean at Trial Bay (named after the brig Trial, which was wrecked in the area in 1816 after being seized in Sydney Harbour by escaping convicts), the to…


The Prince and the Pilot

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On a windswept hill overlooking the Yorkshire mill town of Halifax stands the area's most visible landmark: the Wainhouse tower. This is a Victorian-era construction and a 'folly'. It was, theoretically, built as a chimney for a local industrialist's factory, but it was never used as such. Above: The Wainhouse Tower at dusk.  Adjacent to the Wa…


Lewes Casualties : September 1918 and the impact of 'Spanish Flu'

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  September 1918 brought a further 14 Lewes casualties, 10 on the Western Front where the arrival of the Americans had helped change the balance of forces firmly towards the Allied side and four others, one from Baku on the Caspian Sea, one from a submarine attack off Brittany, one the result of tuberculosis and one from influenza. Private Albert…


26 March 1915: Pte Hugh Ching (Alias Hugh William Power)

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He was the only son of Richard Ching (a grocer’s assistant) of 180, Eswyn Road, Tooting and his wife Annie.  He was educated at Stockwell School In 1891, age 4, Hugh was at home with his family, older sisters Mabel (8) and Florence (6) and Aunt Elizabeth Ching (31) on Aytown Road, Brixton  In 1901, age 14, Hugh was living at home in Brixton,…


Ep. 145 – Stories from the Bo’ness War Memorial – Alan Gow & Robert Jardine

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Alan Gow and Robert Jardine about their book (written with Richard Hannah) on the lives and war service of the men who commemorated on the Bo’ness War Memorial, West Lothian.


10 April 1917 : Staff Captain William Forbes Guild

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He was the son of William (farmer) and Anna (née Lumsden) all of Scottish origins.  At the 1891 Census at home with his parents and three other siblings. Ditto 1901.  He was educated Kemnay Public School, Brandon High School, Winnipeg and Winnipeg University. He graduated 1909. First a lawyer with Messrs Campbell, Publado & Co then a bar…


13 April 1917: Major William Milne M.C.

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Parents, James Milne of Mary Island, British Columbia and Henrietta (née Traquaiar) both from Scotland. In 1891, age 3, William lived at Baberton House with his parents, six siblings and five domestic servants.  Educated Edinburgh Academy, Heidelburg, Germany and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. Gazetted December 1908 and stationed i…


14 April 1918: Pte Wade Stubb

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Parents: Wade (a time keeper and store keeper) and Emily (née Rogers, from the Isle of Man) They lived at 38 Walsingham Rd, Coulton Walsey. At the 1901 Census, age 5, Wade was at home with is parents and two siblings.  Education: St. Margaret’s Higher School, Anfield. Wade was a member of the choir, along with his brother Edgar, at St. Ma…


11 April 1917: Lieut. Arthur Pole Godfrey

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He was the only son of Charles Godfrey and Evelyn (née Browne). He was educated at Chigwell School and at a school in France. He was good at  football, cricket and tennis.  Age 20, he went to Ceylon 1899 and eventually became a partner in a Tea Plantation. He joined the Ceylon Rifles and on the outbreak of war returned to England.  Gazetted 1…


29 April 1917 : 2nd Lieut. John Guy Campbell

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Only son of John (an accountant) and Agnes (née Guy) of 48 Granville Park, Blackheath. At the 1901 Census, John and his older sister Annie lived with their parents and aunt.  John was educated at Christ’s Hospital and then worked for the Union Bank of Australia. 5 August 1914 he joined the 2nd County of London Yeomanry (Westminster Dragoons) …


1 May 1918 : Major Ernest Arthur St George Bedbrook

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Ernest was the son of Rear Admiral James Albert Bedbrook R.N. and Matilda. He was one of ten children comprising seven girls and three boys. He was educated at St.George’s College, Wimbledon.   Age 11 Ernest was living with his large family at Haresfields, 64 Blarne Kern Road, Battersea. Having received private tuition in engineering subject…


7 May 1918 : 2nd Lieut. John Leslie Godfrey

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Fourth son of Joseth (a chartered secretary) and Louisa (née William) Godfrey from Finsbury Park. 1901 John was 6, and living at home with his parents, his 4 sisters and 3 brothers and a nursemaid.  1911 now age 16, John was living at home still with his parents, four sisters and four brothers, a visitor and two servants in their 14 roomed ho…


12 May 1917 : Lieut. Philip Martin Blake Collcutt

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He was the youngest son of Thomas (President of the Royal Society of Architects) and Emily Collcutt. At the 1881 and 1891 Census, the Collcutt family lived at 36 Bloomsbury Square. In 1891, Philip, only a few months old, was the youngest of six children. As well as the parents, the household included a private Governess, and three domestic ser…


18 May 1917 : Richard John Grandin

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Parents Elias Grandin and Louise (née Alix). Richard was educated first at Victoria College, Jersey and on the Training Ship Conway and then at the Lycée St. Breuc, France.  At the 1911 Census Richard was at home in Jersey with his now widowed father, older sister and three domestic servants. His mother Louis had died that January 1911.…


20 May 1917 : Pte James Ewart

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His parents were John Ewes of 6 Romilly Road, Cardiff, a jeweller’s manager and Charlotte (née Ireland). James was one of four children. He was educated in Manchester and Wakefield. In 1901 the family lived at 92 Llanfair Road, Cardiff. In 1911, the family lived at 102 Llanfair Road and all three grown up children were working as clerks for …


Ep. 154 – Rugbeians at War – Dan Mclean

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Author Dan Mclean talks about his book on Rugbeians in the Great War, published by Pen and Sword.


21 May 1917 : Capt. John Wilson Tailford M.C.

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His parents were Robert (a Tynemouth Engineer) and Sarah (née Wilson)  Age 8 in 1901 John was at home in North Shields. His mother kept a boarding house. At the time of the census there were his mother, two older sisters, a domestic servant and three boarders in their 60s.  John was educated in West Sussex at Christ’s Hospital, Horsham …


A Tour of Mesopotamian War Cemeteries in 2003

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In the early summer of 2003, fortunately or not, I found myself and the Battalion I was commanding at the time, 7 Air Assault Battalion REME, based just outside of Al-Amarah in what had once been the British front line in Mesopotamia. Wherever I am in the world if there is an opportunity to visit a CWGC site then I will. A quick look on the map and…


1 June 1918 : Captain Hewson Street MC & Bar

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His parents were George Street (the local blacksmith) and Eliza Dixon Street (née Thorpe)  Hewson was raised in Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire.  At the 1901 Census, age 7, Hewson was at home living on Witham Road, Woodhall Spa with his parents, older sister and two younger siblings Gwendoline and Brenda, his grandmother and a blacksmith apprentice …


3 June 1917: Lieutenant Leonard Davies

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His parents were the Reverend Owen Davies of Newly and Alice (née Hollingdrake) He was one of ten children. At the 1891 Census, his parents, ten children, a general servant and nursemaid were living at the Wesleyian Parsonage, Lewisham. A decade later at the 1901 Census, the family were living at 4 Church Street, Southport, Lancashire. Leonard…


5 June 1917 : Gunner Herbert Howard Gandy

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He was the son of John Ripley of Hove and Agnes Elizabeth (née Page) of Brighton. At the 1891 Census the 8 month old Herbert was and at home, 95 Ellen St, Hove, with his mother (a laundress) and five siblings: Ellen 17 (a laundress), Arthur 16, Ripley 12, Frederick 7 and Daisy 2. His father was not at home. Their mother died in 1900 and their fath…


9 June 1917 : Major Chalkley Vivian Gould

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He was the eldest son of Chalkley Gould (a photographer) and Ellen Matilda (née Vivian) and the great great grandson of Commodore Pearce RN who served under Nelson. At the 1881 England Census, only 1, the Gould family lived in Loughton, Essex. Chalkley senior was a stationer and bookseller.  At the 1891 Census, Chalkley, aged 11, was now the …


10 June 1918 : 2nd Lieut Robert Seddon Caldwell

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Robert was the seventh child and third son of parents John Shepperd Caldwell (a colliery manager, mining engineer and surveyor) and Anne (née Seddon)  Siblings: George Seddon Caldwell (1878) Alice Caldwell (1880) John Threlfall Caldwell (1881) William Caldwell (1883) Emily Caldwell (1885) Sarah Caldwell (1888) Elizabeth Caldwell (1890) …


13 June 1917 : Major Alfred Osborn Wraith

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Alfred was the second son of George (Colliery Director, Weardale Steel, Coal and Coke Co. Ltd) and Fanny (née Osborn) He was educated at the North Eastern County School and Barnard Castle School. He served 10 years with the Durham Light Infantry Territorials. He was a keen athlete and played hockey for the County of Durham. Qualified as a …


17 June 1917 : Air Mechanic Frank Waddington

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Parents Isabella Waddington and step-father Barker Greenwood. At the 1901 Census Frank, age 8, lived in Burnley with his grandmother and his five adult cousins, who were all employed as weavers.  At the 1911 Census, after his mother had remarried, Frank was back with his family, the three children (Frank, Victor and Doris) family and their step…


21 June 1917 : Major Henry George Vergottini Adler

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His parents were Wilhelm Heinrich and Cecelia (née Virgottini) of Gloucester Crescent, London.  He was educated at Army House, Neuenheim College, but resigned after 2 years to study mining and metallurgy at the School of Mines, South Kensington. He was a Member of the Institute of Civil Engineers.  In 1897 he married Miss Ruby Escombe at St…


Who was Gordon Shephard? Died 19 January 1918

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My interest in Gordon Shephard stems largely from the fact that his Irish adventures are ignored by the British records1,2, and that he and his First World War adventures are ignored by the Irish, certainly those of a republican leaning. Hence the title of this article, with apologies to Euan Montague for stealing the title of his Second World War …


4 July 1918 : Lord Ian Gawaine Basil Temple-Blackwood

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The fifth child and third son of Frederick Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood the 1st Marquess of Dufferin and Ava, Governor General of Canada, Viceroy of India, Ambassador to Russia, Turkey, Italy and France and his mother Hariot Georgina (née Rowan-Hamilton). Basil was raised on the hereditary Clandeboye Estate.  Basil (or 'BTB' as he was known) …


5 July 1918 : Brevet Lt Col William Bovet, Royal Engineers

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He was the second son and eldest child of five children of Frederick Bovet of London and Shanghai, China Merchant and Mary Love (née Haden).  Educated at Grosvenor School and University College School, Gower Street, London and the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich,  Gazetted 25 July 1893, 1895 Bombay Sappers, Commander, Royal Engineers, Mekran Ope…


11 July 1917 Capt and Flight Commander Henry van Goethem

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Son of the artist Edward Victor Van Goethem and Lucy Beatrice (née Lafone) of Tregarthen, Parkstone, Dorset.  Henry was educated at Lindley Lodge, Nuneaton and Sherborne College (1908-1911), followed by City and Guilds’ College, South Kensington. Henry obtained a commission in the Special Reserve of Officers 28 April 1915. Henry was seriou…


The Five Baldock-Apps brothers from Hurst Green

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Some people will know of the sacrifice of the Souls family from Great Rissington in the Cotswolds. The family's tragedy was recounted by Ian Hislop in the TV series 'Not Forgotten' on First World War memorials in 2005 and told again in a book that supported the series of the same name by Neil Oliver. Annie and William Souls of Hurst Green, Eas…


25 July 1916 : Pte Colin A Arrol

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The only son of Walter Arrol (an army Major then brewer and wine merchant) and Beatrice (née Bateman).  In 1901 age 15, Colin as at home with his family living at Underwood, Broomhaugh, Northumberland. He was educated at Larchfield School, Helensburgh, by a private tutor and at Newcastle-on-Tyne College.  In 1911 age 25 Colin was still livin…


Man Alive! The case of Stoker Joseph Brown

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On 26 July 1917 the obsolete cruiser HMS Ariadne was minelaying in the English Channel, a role for which she had not been designed.  Above: HMS Ariadne.  IWM Q 38161 Ariadne was the seventh (by completion date) of a class of eight similar ships (the Diadem class) that had been designed for trade protection and intended to be "capable of dealing…


The Yorkshire Landings at Suvla

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It is often thought that the first time the volunteers raised by Lord Kitchener went into action was at the Battle of the Somme in July 1916. Whilst this was the first time in the Great War that Kitchener’s men had been used in large numbers, their first action took place nearly a year earlier. The ‘Lancashire Landing’ at Gallipoli is very well kn…


Who was the first British soldier to be killed in the First World War in 1914?

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It is often asserted that the first British soldier to be killed in the war is buried very close to the last soldier to be killed, at St Symphorien Military Cemetery, Belgium. Indeed, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission note that Private John Parr, who was killed on 21 August 1914, is 'Believed to be the first British battle casualty of the war.…


Major John Noble Jephson of 'Jephson's Post' : 29 August 1915

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On 29 August 1915 a Major John Jephson died of his wounds which had been sustained in the fighting at Gallipoli. One of thousands to die in this campaign, he has been remembered by a strong point that was a vital position in the Suvla landings of August. This is just a brief overview of the story. Above: A map of the Kiretch Tepe ridge showing J…


Accidentally killed by one of his own : 5 June 1918

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It won't be a surprise to anyone to know that patrols could be dangerous. We have heard recently about 'Patrolling' in this presentation by Fraser Skirrow: 'Fighting Spirit: Patrolling and Raiding with the West Yorks’.  During the work that is currently being undertaken by a large group of 'Project Alias' and 'Project Hometown' volunteers, the pen…


Francis McLaren, Liberal MP for Spalding : Gallipoli and RFC

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On 30 August 1917, Francis McLaren, who was a Liberal MP for Spalding, was killed in an Avro 504 A which fell into the sea off Montrose. He was on a training flight at the time. Second Lieutenant McLaren was undergoing pilot training with Number 18 Training Squadron (RNVR).  Although rescued by a fishing boat, Francis did not regain consciousnes…


George Peachment: one of the youngest recipients of the Victoria Cross : 25 September 1915

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George Peachment was, when he enlisted, not much different from many other young volunteers in that he lied about his age to try to 'do his bit' for King and Country. His first attempt to enlist was unsuccessful (according to a family member, to try to make him look older, he borrowed his father's bowler hat when he tried to enlist aged 17 years an…


The Three Pannell Brothers - 'The Day Sussex Died'

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The Three Pannell Brothers - 'The Day Sussex Died' The story of the five Souls brothers, who were all killed during the First World War, is very well-known and, earlier this year, we published the similar story of the five Baldock-Apps brothers from Hurst Green. In looking through The Western Front Association pension records as part of Project Al…


The sinking of HMS Hawke : 15 October 1914

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Margaret Lyness died on 10 April 1987 and with her went one of the last connections with a major incident in the early weeks of the war. Margaret was born on 16 March 1915 and christened 'Margaret Hawke'. Her parents were Joyce (an unusual name for a man) and Maggie Power. What is striking is the middle name that was chosen for Margaret. She was na…


Death on the shoreline: The foundering of HMHS Rohilla off Whitby : 30 October 1914

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For the vast majority of members of the British public, the outbreak of the First World War was not something that meant much in the early weeks, Other than crowds of men responding to Kitchener’s call for volunteers, the war was probably something that was only read about in the newspapers. It was obviously different in France and Belgium where mu…


The Aristocrats' Cemetery at Zillebeke

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(This article is taken from Stand To! No 90, published Dec 2010/January 2011. You can receive copies of Stand To! by becoming a member of the WFA.) The author's first visit to the Zillebeke Churchyard Cemetery came about almost by accident. He was driving through the village in February 2006 when his attention was drawn to a small cluster of Commo…


Billy Brewer, the Wiltshire footballer : 13 November 1914

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William Arthur Brewer was born in Chippenham, Wiltshire and was the son of George and Sarah Brewer of 81, Wood Lane, Chippenham. William had worked as a woollen cloth weaver and served in the Territorial Army for three years. On 1 September 1914, a week after the outbreak of the First World War, he re-enlisted in the Wiltshire Regiment in Devizes a…


The loss of Royal Navy monitor 'M-15' : 11 November 1917

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HMS 'M-15' was a First World War Royal Navy M15-class monitor. She was sunk off Gaza by German Submarine UC-38 on 11 November 1917. Above: HMS M-15 November 1917 saw the key battles that allowed British and Australian forces to break through from the Sinai Peninsula and into Palestine. Turkish and German defences extended from the Mediterranean…


Died one day, buried two days later by his father

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On 8 November 1915 a young officer, 2/Lt Kenneth Theodore Dunbar Wilcox, was killed whilst serving in the 8th Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment).Two days later he was buried by his father the chaplain to the forces. Kenneth Wilcox was the only son of Rev. G.A. Wilcox and Mrs H.L. Wilcox. Rev. Wilcox was the vicar of St George’s Battersea Park an…


Two brothers, but in different armies

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It is not unusual to find brothers who were killed in the Great War. It is, however, unusual to find brothers who fought in different national contingents. One example of this is the case of Homer Emmett Smith who died on 10 November 1917 whilst serving in the 20th Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force. His brother Leon also served and was killed…


Lieutenant-Commander Frederick 'Sep' Kelly - Olympic Gold 1908, Performer and Composer

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Frederick 'Sep' ‘Cleg’ Kelly, the Olympic gold medal rower, pianist and officer in the Royal Naval Division who was killed on 13 November 1916 on the opening day of the Battle of the Ancre. The seventh child (and this his name) of a wealthy wool magnate from Australia, 'Sep' along with five of his brothers was sent to England to be educated at E…


SS Laurentic: A story of Gold Bullion, Crime and Intrigue and loss of life that helped change the course of WW1.

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This story begins with an ordinary Pension Card that relates to a 20 year old Royal Marine named Frederick Went. Frederick Arthur Moat Went (CH/18255) served with the Royal Marine Light Infantry on H.M.S. 'Laurentic'. He lost his life on 25 January 1917 when his ship sank. He was the son of Frederick and Eliza Went and is commemorated on the Chath…


Death of a Spy: Charles Simon : 7 June 1915

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‘Project Hometown’ has brought to light many fascinating, tragic and sometimes uncomfortable stories. However, one of the most unusual cards is that of a civilian who received an award for gallantry and whose dependants were granted a military pension. Adam Charles Simon (who preferred to be known as Charles) was born in Bangkok on 4 June 1880…


From Schoolboy to Battalion Commander: Cecil Crichton-Browne : 13 December 1918

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Captain (Acting Major) Cecil Harold Crichton-Browne was aged just 22 when he died on 13 December 1918. At the outbreak of the war he had joined his father’s regiment, the King’s Own Scottish Borderers. In just four years he was promoted from Second Lieutenant to acting Major and briefly commanded the 1st Battalion. This is his story.  Cecil Chri…


A Sobering Aspect of the Christmas Truce : 25 December 1915

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Many of the accounts of the Christmas ‘Truce’ in 1914 focus on the exchange of gifts and the supposed playing of football…but in at least one instance, there was a more serious and sobering aspect to the fraternisation that took place. Above: British and German officers meeting in No-Man's Land during the unofficial truce. (British troops from t…


The First Phosgene Attack on British Troops : 19 December 19015

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The first use of phosgene gas against British troops by the German army took place on 19 December 1915. The gas attack took place north of Ypres where the 49th (West Riding) Division was in the line. This attack had been ‘given away’ when a German prisoner had been interrogated. As a result an artillery barrage on the German trenches was ordered o…


The Loss of HM Yacht Iolaire 1st January 1919

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Hogmanay 1918 and many families in the Western Isles awaited with great anticipation the imminent return of husbands, fathers and sons after four long years of war. Such was the demand to get returning servicemen home, the mailboat ‘Sheila’ could not cope with the demand and therefore the Admiralty drafted in the Yacht Iolaire to assist. But when t…


From cruiseship to armed merchant cruiser and spy catcher….

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The ship that was HMS Viknor was built in 1888 as a passenger liner, the ‘Atrato’, for use on routes between Britain and the West Indies. In 1912, she would be renamed as the ‘Viking’ and was used for cruising. However, on the outbreak of war, she was requisitioned by the British Admiralty, renamed ‘HMS Viknor’ and armed as a merchant cruiser taske…


Eton Street 'Shrine' in Hull and the loss of the Earl

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At the corner of Eton Street and Hessle Road in Hull stood until recently a branch of the Yorkshire Bank. As with most cities, the closure of bank branches has accelerated in recent years leading to further declines in local services. This is nothing new - this area of Hull has been subject to changes and ‘slum clearances’. It was during these c…


The ‘Battle' of May Island January 1917 and K-Class Submarines of the First World War

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This was neither a ‘battle’ nor an engagement of any kind with the enemy, but nonetheless, it left over a hundred families grieving the loss of a loved one in a series of mishaps: yet another tragic chapter in the short history of the ill-fated K Class submarines. Above a Royal Mail commemorative cover (dated 31 January 1993 - being the 75th Ann…


Just because it’s official doesn’t mean it’s right

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'It’s an ill wind …  ' The pandemic has certainly limited options, but at the same time it has focused minds. In my case and that of my collaborator Mick Rowson it concentrated our minds on some of the ‘problem cases’ we had failed to resolve on our roll of honour of Burslem men who were killed in the Great War. Burslem, the Mother Town of the Sta…


Friendly Fire: The Life and Death of Frank Downes

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Paul Brant, who has done splendid work in recording and preserving memory of the Great War in North Staffordshire, recently sent me a photograph of the stained-glass windows war memorial of Longport Methodist Church in Stoke-on-Trent. While Paul was taking the photographs he spotted another memorial stone that had apparently been placed in the chur…


The tale of four lads from Buckie, Banffshire

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The fishing community of Buckie responded enthusiastically to the call for recruits on the outbreak of war in 1914. Although initially it was reported that fishermen were not sure what arm of the British forces in which to enlist, the creation of the Royal Naval Division resulted in more than 100 men enlisting in October 1914. Before leaving on a s…


HM Submarine H5: The Submarine Cover-Up in Caernarfon Bay 2 March 1918.

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HMS H5 was a Royal Navy H-class submarine built by Canadian Vickers, Montreal and launched in June 1915. She was soon in action sinking the German U-boat 51 in July 1916 but was herself sunk after being rammed by the by the British merchantman S.S. Rutherglen when mistaken for a German U-boat on 2 March 1918. Sadly, all on board perished but are co…


'Grandad’s War' by Prof. John Bourne

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Both my grandfathers were born in 1880, both were coal miners and both had large families. My paternal grandfather (and namesake) John Bourne was, according to my father, a very decent man, but I have rarely shown any curiosity about him. My maternal grandfather, Jesse Sheldon, has always been the most intriguing absence in my life. I think my inte…


The Kinmel Park Riot of Canadian Servicemen March 1919

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The events at Kinmel Park in North Wales in March 1919 were the most serious instance of a number of riots or disturbances that took place in the UK involving Canadian servicemen between November 1918 and June 1919. With the Armistice signed on 11 November 1918, many troops eagerly anticipated their repatriation, none more so than Canadians troops…


The 2nd Northants at Neuve Chapelle

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The initial impetus behind this article was research on Lieutenant George Duff Gordon, who hailed from Elgin. During the course of this it became apparent that 2 Northamptonshire Regiment had suffered heavy losses over the period between 10 and 13 March 1915, with the war diary identifying that of 20 officers, 10 were killed, 7 wounded, with one mi…


Sergeant Alexander Edwards VC : 24 March 1918

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Alexander Edwards was born in Lossiemouth on 4 November 1885, the son of Alexander and Jessie Edwards. A cooper, he enlisted in the 6 Seaforth Highlanders in September 1914, going to France with the Battalion on 1 May 1915. Above (top image) Sgt Alexander Edwards, and immediately above: Alexander and his brothers The battalion was in action …


Census 1841 to 2021

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Anyone researching a person who served during the First World War will have some methods in common, and some of their own related to the context and purpose of their search. Over the last five years one of my responsibilities has been to research and refresh those we feature in the daily item ‘Remember On This Day’. This has been running for at lea…


Brothers Buried Together during the First World War

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The Western Front Association’s Pension Record Cards have been very useful in numerous ways – one of these is in being able to identify brothers who were killed – this is because the pension claims by parents detail the two or more sons that they lost in the war. This line of research has led onto the situation of brothers who were killed in the w…


A Family at War

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One of the most persistent and annoying heresies about the past is that it was much simpler than the present. We, the people of now, live complex, challenging lives; they, the people of then, lived simple, uncomplicated lives. There is a word to describe this, but I do not wish to bring the WFA into disrepute by placing it in print.  Perhaps I may …


22 April 1915 : Pte Albert Troughton

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Albert was the son of Nathaniel Troughton (a coal miner) and Ann Elizabeth (née Warner)  At the 1901 Census that family lived at 59 Eden Street, Coventry At the time of the 1911 Census (and of their son’s death) Nathaniel, Ann and other members of the family lived at 14 Ash Grove, Stoney Station Road, Coventry. Albert was one of three boys and …


The Loss of the HMT Transylvania 4 May 1917

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The liner Transylvania was completed just before the outbreak of the First World War and was to have served the Anchor Line, which was a subsidiary of the Cunard Line.  Transylvania was taken over for service as a troop transport on completion and the Admiralty fixed her capacity at 200 officers and 2,860 men plus her crew. On 3 May 1917 she left…


Sir John Edward Fowler – the Last Repatriation from The Western Front in 1915?

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By April 1915 the exhumation of bodies from the Western Front and their repatriation was banned.   Historian Richard van Emden identifies the last ‘official’ case of repatriation of a fallen British soldier to be that of Lieutenant William Gladstone, the grandson of former Prime Minister William Gladstone. This took place in April 1915, nine da…


The Grimson family and the First World War

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As with many spheres of life, the arts suffered many losses as a result of the First World War as exemplified by the Grimson family. Samuel Dean Grimson, described as a Professor of Music in the 1881 Census, and his wife, Maria Bonarius, brought up a musical family in London. All seven children (an eighth child died in infancy) became musicians an…


Captain Thorold A. Stewart-Jones at Aubers Ridge 9 May 1915

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Son of Edward and Emily Pauline Stewart-Jones. (Born 10 July 1873 in Liverpool) A barrister of the Inner Temple, Thorold moved to Lewes in 1908 when his mother had bought Southover Grange. At the 1911 Census, the widowed matriarch Mrs Emily-Pauline Stewart-Jones lived at Southover Grange with son’s family, her daughter-in-law Mrs Eva-Joan Stew…


The Great War Memorials to the Bowlby Brothers

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Captain Geoffrey Bowlby of the Royal Horse Guards (The Blues) was killed leading his squadron in a charge across 1,000 yards of open country north of Bellewarde Farm, during the 2nd Battle of Ypres, on the afternoon of 13 May, 1915. His commanding officer wrote: "I cannot tell you what a loss he is to the Regiment; he was as gallant as he could be…


An Original First World War RAF Hangar and the story of 'RFC Bramham Moor'

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Anyone driving along the A64 dual carriageway between York and Leeds may have noticed at a significant barn-like structure set back in the fields from the road on the York side of Bramham junction. The building that is just visible from the road was an original World War One aircraft hangar and 33 Squadron was the first squadron to be based at the …


From ceremonial duties to First Ypres and beyond: The 1st Life Guards and their single worst day of the war

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This is a brief account of one cavalry regiment's war which reached its nadir in unlikely circumstances whilst they were in a supposedly safe location on the French coast re-training for a new role. The story starts and ends at Etaples Military Cemetery. The cemetery is – as those who have visited it – a vast and (for its size) relatively rarely v…


The Curious Case of Thomas Brown who served as Thomas Smith and the Dewsbury Roll of Honour and War Memorial

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In 2014 a group by the name of Dewsbury Sacrifices was formed with the primary intention of researching the 1053 names in the Dewsbury Roll of Honour and the War Memorial in Crow Nest Park. As these were inaugurated in 1923/24 it meant verifying all the names and endeavouring to find newspaper articles from the war years and later so that photogr…


The Baralong Incident 29 January 1917

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The Baralong was a 'three island' tramp steamer built in 1901 by Armstrong & Whitworth. She was requisitioned by the Navy in 1914 intended as a supply ship but in early 1915 was identified as a potential decoy ship. Modification works to equip her for this role, including the installation of three concealed twelve pounder guns, were carried out…


The R38 disaster 24 August 1921

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At the start of the war, in contrast to Germany, the British had limited experience of airships. Under the Royal Naval Air Service there were only a handful of airships in service but with increasing U-Boat activity and the resultant impact on shipping, the Navy began to further develop its use of airships to counter the U-Boat threat. The R.38 c…


A Century Old 'Thank you' : Frederick Clark KIA 21 March 1918

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The events of World War I have burned themselves into the national consciousness - especially during the past four years, when every battle, every incident, every death has had its 100th anniversary. With the centenary of the end of the war in sight, many are the stories that have been told and are waiting to be told. This is just one. My father […


A short and unequal engagement: HMS Strongbow and HMS Mary Rose

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HMS Mary Rose and HMS Strongbow (two M-class destroyers) were routinely deployed on convoy duties for merchant vessels carrying coal between Scotland and Norway in 1917. The job was usually fairly mundane – described as ‘mail runs’ by one of the survivors ... but the events of 17 October 1917 would change all that. HMS Mary Rose was the seventh su…


The story of Mike Mountain Horse of the Blood Reserve Canada

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Mike was born 1 November 1887, the son of Mountain Horse and Sikski. His mother Sikski belonged to the Holy Women’s Society (Motokix) and his father to the powerful Horn Society.  He went to school as a boarder at St Paul’s and then to a military academy.  By 1914 he was serving as a cadet instructor with the 23rd Alberta Rangers. On 23 S…


The Sinking of the RMS Apapa 28 November 1917

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It was towards 4 o'clock on the morning of 28 November 1917 with a choppy sea running - cold, dark and wintry - that the R.M.S. Apapa, one of the 7,000 ton mail steamers of the Elder Dempster fleet, was steaming a good 13½ knots off Point Lynas, bound to Liverpool from West Africa. Everyone was in bed; no one save the lynx-eyed officers of the w…


Farnham in the Great War by Maurice Hewins

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Printed and bound by Print2Demand Ltd. 17cm x 24cm 202 pages When I was asked to read and review Maurice Hewin's Farnham in the Great War I jumped at the chance. Having struggled myself to produce a history of the men of Rowledge who fell in the Great War, I knew only too well that the source of material for any work relating to that period was …


Frontline or Field ambulance? Where were Chaplains best placed to help?

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On 25th April 1915 Father William Joseph Finn became the first British military chaplain to be killed in action in the First World War. His death ignited a debate that continues to resonate with chaplains who serve the Armed Forces in the present day – where are they best placed to help?   Above: Father William Finn and the cemetery at V Beach at…


Harry Lauder: The World's First Musical Superstar and Broken Parent of the First World War

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“Have you news of my boy Jack?" Not this tide. "When d'you think that he'll come back?" Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.’ Kipling’s poem about his fallen son is one of the most well-known expressions of parental pain of the Great War, but few were more open about their grief at the loss of a child than ‘The World’s First Musical Superstar…


Brothers in Arms: Three Died and Three Survived the First World War

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The First World War resulted in terrible suffering for many families, but the Willis family was among those that paid the highest of prices: six brothers went to war, but only three came home. Of the surviving siblings, one had lost a leg and the other two also left with recurring health problems. The Willis family had travelled from Nottingham to…


28 June 1917 : Jackson Bacon, 11th Bn Essex Regiment

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Jackson's parents were Stephen Bacon (a coachman/groom) and Julia Kate (née Marsh) (a garment finisher). At the 1901 Census the family were living at 85 High St, Haverhill and comprised parents Hilda (10), Jackson (6), Maud (5) and Charles (10 months)  At the 1911 Census, the family living at the same address, Jackson (age 16) was working as a …


19 May 1917 : American Nurses Helen Burnett and Edith Ayne

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On 19 May 1917 two American nurses Helen Burnett and Edith Ayne were killed. They were aboard the transport ship SS Mongolia which was carrying staff and equipment of Base Hospital 12 from New York to France. During target practice on the open sea ordnance fragments struck several people on the promenade decks of the SS Mongolia killed nurses Burne…


Five Sons Lost in the First World War

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For many years, it was thought that only one British family had suffered the loss of five sons during the war. The story of the Souls family was told by Neil Oliver in 2005 in his book ‘Not Forgotten’, which followed the TV series of the same name with Ian Hislop. Two years later, Michael Walsh wrote about the five Beechey brothers in ‘Brothers…


16 July 1916 : Pte John S.S. Huskisson

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The Daily Mail reported that John (one of eleven men to arrive in England from Barbados) had made up his mind to enlist having been inspired by  the song, “Your King and Country Want You”.  John arrived in England on the SS Grenada on 25 June 1915. After training he was sent to France with the 1st Battalion, London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers) …


3 August 1917 : Lieut. Robert Combe VC

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His parents were James and Elizabeth Combe. Robert emigrated to Canada age 26 in 1906 having already completed his schools and qualified in London as a pharmacist. He initially joined the staff of a drug store in Moosomin, Saskatchewan, several years later opening his own store in Melville. After the outbreak of war he continued to work unti…


5 September 1918 : Lieut: Eugenio Da Silva Possolo Air Force (RAF/RFC)

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Brazilian, Eugenio Da Silva Possolo, was attached to 50 Training Depot Station RAF from the Brazilian Navy. He was was killed when the Sopwith Camel (C3294) he was flying collided with another Sopwith Camel (F3207) flown by Second Lieutenant Reginald Horace Sanders, who also died in the accident. At the time of the accident Lieutenant Possolo was…


16 November 1916 : 2nd Lt Theodore Ionides, 2nd Bn, Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.

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He was the son of Alexander Constantine Ionides and his wife Calliope Michael (formerly Zarifi) and they lived at 34 Porchester Terrace, Hyde Park, London. His father was a merchant, engineer, stockbroker and the company director of Ralli Bothers of Manchester. (Emphasizing Britishness, their advertising stated ‘family over 100 years in England’…