Tuesday, January 30, 2007

L7566 Jack Chatfield, Royal Navy

Today marks another first: the first photograph of one of Chailey's mariners.

The man on the right is Jack Chatfield, an officer's steward who served aboard HMS Cochrane and later HMS Amphitrite during WW1 before being invalided out of the service in 1919. Jack was one of four Chailey brothers who served his country during WW1, all four of them surviving.
This is Jack's story:

Jack Chatfield was born on 16th July 1896.  His surviving Naval papers give his place of birth as Lewes although the 1901 census states Newick.  When the census was taken he was living at The Rough, Newick with his family.  The household comprised Alfred Chatfield (aged 42, head of the family, born at Fletching and working as a domestic gardener), his wife Mary Chatfield (aged 42, born in Newick) and their six children: Mabel Chatfield (aged 14, born Fletching), Emily Chatfield (aged 13, born Fletching), Harry Chatfield (aged ten, born Uckfield), Frank Chatfield (aged eight, born Fletching), Jack (aged four, recorded as John) and Thomas Chatfield (aged two, born Newick).

There were other children as well.  The 1891 census shows the family living at Church Street, Uckfield.  Alfred Chatfield (aged eight, born at Fletching) and Alice Mary Chatfield (aged six, born at Fletching) had obviously left the family home by the time the 1901 census was taken.  Harry Chatfield is recorded as “infant Chatfield aged under one month”.

Jack joined the Royal Navy at Portsmouth on 25th October 1915.  He was five feet eight and a half inches tall, had fair hair, blue eyes and a fresh complexion.  It was noted that he had a scar on the back of his left wrist.  He gave his occupation as gardener and was sent to HMS Victory I (a Portsmouth base).  His rating was officer’s steward and his service number was L7566.  His rank and the fact that he had joined the Navy was reported by Chailey Parish Magazine the following month.

In July 1916, the parish magazine reported that Jack had joined HMS Argonaut although there is no mention of this on his naval papers.  HMS Argonaut (a 16 gun cruiser belonging to the Diadem class and launched at Govan in 1898) eventually became a training ship for stokers and was based at Portsmouth and I think it likely that he spent some time on this ship although his record simply states HMS Victory I (Portsmouth)

Between 14th October 1916 and 25th November 1917 Jack Chatfield was serving aboard HMS Cochrane.  This was a large armoured cruiser of the Warrior Class.  The ship was built at Govan by Fairfield, launched on 20th May 1905 and completed in February 1907. She joined the 5th Squadron at the Nore in 1907 and transferred to the 2nd Cruiser squadron in 1909. In 1911 - 1912 her duties were to escort the Royal Yacht Medina. On the outbreak of World war One she joined the Grand Fleet at Scapa Flow and took part in the battle of Jutland. In 1917 she was stationed in North America and the West Indies and then to Archangel in May 1918 until September the same year. On her return she ran aground in the Mersey on the 14th November 1918 and was a total loss. She was finally demolished by June 1919. 

In November 1917, Jack spent a further five months at Portsmouth (HMS Victory I) and then, between 9th April 1918 and 31st March 1919, served aboard HMS Amphitrite. He was finally invalided out of the Royal Navy on 1st April 1919.

Throughout his war service his character was noted as “very good”, with his ability ranging from “moderate” to “satisfactory”.

Jack Chatfield joined the Royal Navy on the same day as Alfred Beard.  Presumably the two men were friends and decided to enlist together.  Six digits separate their service numbers.

Three of Jack’s brothers – Frank Chatfield, Harry Chatfield and Thomas Chatfield - also served their King and Country during the First World War.

I am grateful to David Gordon for sending me this photograph of his relative which I am delighted to add to the growing gallery of Chailey's First World War servicemen and women.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Triptych, St Peter's Church, Chailey

My thanks to Mike Antonof Sussex for the splendid photo of the 1914-1918 triptych inside St Peter's Church, Chailey.

Fifty names appear on the triptych, one more than on the memorial outside on the village green. The additional name inside St Peter's is that of Lt Sigurd Harold Macculloch. The triptych was originally unveiled in 1918 whilst the war was still raging and I am at a loss to understand why Harold Macculloch's name was omitted when the war memorial was erected in 1920.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Silent Heroes - Percy Galloway

Percival Albert Galloway was born at Lydd, Kent in 1885, one of nine children of Albert and Agnes Galloway.

By the time the First World War was declared, he was close to 30 years old, working as a butcher, married and with two children of his own. Nevertheless, he did what thousands of other men were doing and enlisted in the army to serve his King and Country. He attested with the Royal Field Artillery at Bordon, Hampshire on 5th August 1915, giving his address as 1 Chalton Street, Steyning, Sussex.

He was given army number 90415, the rank of gunner and posted to the 23rd Divisional Artillery Column (DAC). His surviving papers record that he was at home until 28th August 1915 and then in France between 29th August 1915 and 7th November 1917.

On 29th September 1915 he was appointed acting bombardier and promoted to full bombardier on 11th November. On 7th February he was promoted corporal. On 10th June 1916 he was posted to No 1 section of the Divisional Artillery Column and on 25th January 1917 appointed acting sergeant. He was confirmed as full sergeant on 10th March 1917.

On 5th May 1917 he was appointed section rough rider and later that year (on 8th November) moved to Italy where he would remain until 27th January 1919. On 10th February his record notes that he ceased to draw additional pay as section rough rider on appointment to acting battery sergeant major. The following day the appointment was confirmed and he assumed duties in his new role.

By 28th May however, he had reverted to the rank of sergeant on the posting of Battery Sergeant Major Parker. He was granted leave between 7th and 21st June and on 13th June a third child, Cecil Alfred Galloway, was born at Chailey. He re-joined his unit in Italy on the 21st June and remained in Italy until 5th January 1919 when he was again granted two weeks’ home leave. He remained in England after his period of leave was up and was discharged on 27th March 1919.

On 21st August 1920 he received the British War Medal at his home address of Appletree Cottage, North Common, Chailey. A year later, in September 1921, he received his Victory Medal at his new address: Elm Cottage, Morris Road, Lewes.

That's all I know of this man; an ordinary man like so many others but one who willingly left his family and his lifestyle behind when his country called him.
My thanks to Percy's niece, Lesley Busby, for sending me the photographs of Percy in later life. Medal index card courtesy of Ancestry.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Chain Blogging

Here's a thing, chain blogging. Unlike some of the more sinister e-mail chains that threaten that all your plants will die unless you forward the wretched mail to fifteen people called Bob within the next half an hour, chain blogging or blog-tagging is a way of you getting to know me and me passing the buck on to five more unsuspecting bloggers. So here goes.

1. I've lived in India since September 2003.
2. I'm originally not from Chailey or Sussex at all. Chelmsford in Essex was where I was born and brought up but Bangalore is my home now.
3. I was born four years before England won the world cup and I'm hoping that I'll see another world cup victory for England before I die (I wonder what odds I'd get on that).
4. I am married and have an eighteenth month old daughter who was born in India.
5. As well as WW1, my other interests include family history and also learning more about SEO, a truly fascinating topic.

So that's me. Thank you Debbie at DVH Design for tagging me and here are my five blogger nominees:

Deepak Shenoy - The Unknown Indian
Matt Cutts - Google Guru
Sue Light - The Happy Hospital
Rand Fishkin - seomoz blog
Dear Miss Griffis

Friday, January 19, 2007

Wounded soldiers at Beechlands

One of several images of wounded soldiers (this group at Beechlands) which I have posted on a separate PHOTOGRAPHS page on this blog.

Beechland House photographs

I've added a new page of wounded soldiers at Beechland House and Hickwells which brings together images from elsewhere on this blog. I'll be adding to it in due course.

I've also been busy on a separate enterprise - my family history. The story so far is told at www.freewebs.com/whellams

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Who are these Chailey nurses?

Does anybody recognise any of the faces in this line up of Chailey's VAD nurses? Please contact me if you do.

My roll-call of Sussex 54 VAD personnel is certainly incomplete and the information I have on some members is sketchy. Again, any assistance in filling in the considerable gaps would be appreciated.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Spts/5368 Pte John Ellis, 11th Royal Fusiliers

I am delighted to have been sent a photograph of 5368 Private John Ellis of the 11th Royal Fusiliers who was killed in action on 10th August 1917 in one of the many actions that would later be classified as "3rd Ypres".

John Ellis was born at Fletching, Sussex and this is his story.

Soldiers Died in the Great War gives his place of birth as "Chelwood Gate" and his birth was registered at Lewes in the September quarter of 1884.  He appears on the 1901 census of England and Wales as an 18 year old farm labourer living with his family at Fletching.  The household in 1901 comprised: Henry Ellis (head, aged 55, born at Nutley and working as a farm labourer), Mary A Ellis (wife, aged 44, born at Lindfield) and their children: Searles Ellis (a 22 year old soldier born at Maresfield), John Ellis and William Ellis aged 15 (born in Chailey and also working as a farm labourer).

The family appears to have lived at Chailey for some time and are noted on the 1891 census living at South Street in the village.  By the time the First World War was declared however, I think the family had moved away from Chailey.  John is not mentioned in the parish magazine (although his brother William is). 
In 1907, John married Florence Eveling Welch. Their union was registered in the Uckfield District in the third quarter of 1907. Their son Jack was born in 1908, followed by daughter Florrie was in 1911, and baby Eveling (date unknown).
John's number belongs to the series issued by the Sportsmen's Battalions (the 23rd and 24th Battalions, Royal Fusiliers, and the 30th (Reserve) Battalion which was a reserve battalion for the 23rd and 24th). It dates to June 1916 and so presumably he initially joined one of these battalions - probably the 30th - and was subsequently posted to the 11th Battalion.

John Ellis was killed in action on 10th August 1917 when the 18th Division attacked towards Glencorse Wood and Inverness Copse during what would later be designated the Third Battle of Ypres or the Battle of Passchendaele.  The following passages are taken from the History of the 18th Division:

“One almost smiles now to recall the programme set the 18th Division on that 10th August.  Gains that needed weeks were expected to be gathered in a few hours.

“If we turn to Glencorse Wood and the 54th Brigade we see that the [7th] Bedfords were asked to take defences in front of the wood, and then to fight their way through it and up to the edge of Nonne Boschen Wood beyond.  That meant crossing a morass littered with derelict, semi-submerged tanks – in one of which a German sniper had been caught the previous day – and dealing with a row of pill-boxes, ten of them, standing up at the south west corner of the wood. The Bedfords, with the Fusiliers on their right, formed up near the Hooge-Menin Road.  The two battalions stretched across a front of about 750 yards.

“At 4.35am the assaulting companies went over the top unobserved by the enemy.  Never have the Bedfords shown finer dash… at 5.13am a message was received at 54th Brigade Headquarters that the Bedfords were on their final objective.”
The 11th Royal Fusiliers however, were “in difficulties”.

“Portions of the two attacking companies reached the objective, but a gap of 300 yards divided the battalion from the Bedfords further north.  The right reached Fitzclarence Farm but could not get in touch with the 55th Brigade.  By 6am all the Fusiliers’ officers had fallen.

“Preceded by parties bombing up Jargon Trench and other trenches between the two woods, the Germans launched a counter attack from Inverness Copse.  Their machine-guns forced the Fusiliers back, and, under orders from the 54th Brigade, the battalion took a line on the ridge in front of Clapham Junction.  The idea was that they should join up with the 55th Brigade then consolidating Green Jacket Ride.  Reinforced by a company of the 12th Middlesex Regiment, the Fusiliers held this line until relieved.”

Five DCMs were awarded to 11th Royal Fusiliers’ NCOs that day for their skill in “shepherding officerless companies and rallying waverers to new and amazing resistance to the weight of the outnumbering Germans.”

Between 31st July and 10th August, the 18th Division lost 244 men killed, 1,106 wounded and 176 missing.  Soldiers Died in The Great War (SDGW) records that 103 Other Ranks from the 11th Royal Fusiliers died this day, to say nothing of those who would die of wounds later.  Officers Died in The Great War records that ten officers from the battalion also fell that day. John's entry on the British war and Victory Medal roll notes "D P 10-8-17" or "Death Presumed" so he was obviously posted as missing initially.

John Ellis is commemorated on the Menin Gate in Ypres.  SDGW states that he enlisted at Uckfield and was living at Piltdown, while The Commonwealth War Graves Commission gives the additional information that he was the son of the late Henry Ellis and the husband of Florence Eveling Ellis, of 2, Stone Croft Cottages, Piltdown, Uckfield, Sussex.
The photos on this page are courtesy of John Ellis's granddaughter Sonia and show John in uniform; also his wife Florence Eveling Ellis and their three children, from left, Florrie, Eveling and Jack.
As well as being commemorated in Belgium, John's name also appears on the war memorial at Fletching.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Albert Padgham and William Padgham

I am thrilled to have been sent photographs of Albert Padgham and William Padgham in their army uniforms. The two brothers were amongst the youngest of Chailey's men to serve their King and Country.

Albert was in khaki probably just before war was declared and would have been seventeen or eighteen years old (it's possible that he joined the Royal Sussex Regiment on his eighteenth birthday). His brother William who was a couple of years younger than Albert, appears to have joined the army in late 1916 and served with the Royal Field Artillery.

Albert (pictured left), died of wounds in 1916 at the age of 19 and is buried in France. His brother William, survived. Today their young faces staring out of sepia tinted photographs recall the sacrifice of their generation.

I am delighted to be able to add Albert's and William's faces to the growing visual roll-call of Chailey's men and women and I am indebted to David Gordon, grandson of another Chailey veteran, Leonard Preston Gordon, for sending me these images and allowing me to reproduce these.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Accidentally Killed in Iraq

Alan Herbert Mainwaring West lost his life on this day eighty nine years ago. He was serving with the 36th Sikhs in Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) when he was accidentally killed by a bomb explosion. He was 21 years old and was buried in Amara cemetery, Iraq.

Alan's older brother Ralph West also served his King and Country and their mother, Ada West, was an active member of Sussex 54 VAD. A photo of her with Sussex 54 VAD appears on the website.

Friday, January 05, 2007

19027 Pte David Gordon, King's Own - Killed on His 21st Birthday

Leonard Preston Gordon mentioned in Chailey's Parish Magazine (see previous post) was one of six serving brothers during the First World War. The Sussex County Herald published photos of the men in May 1918 and also the following article about Private D Gordon. I reproduce the article here in full.


No finer deed of heroism can be recorded than that which culminated in the death of Private D Gordon, King's Own Royal Lancashire [sic] Regiment, one of the six soldier sons of Mr and Mrs Alfred Gordon of Friars Walk, Lewes. On June 16 of last year this gallant young soldier left the safety of his trench to go to the assistance of a German soldier who was making his way, with dificulty, towards our lines. The danger attending the action was not unknown to the lad, for snipers were very busy and his own officer had tried to dissuade him from leaving the trench. Nevertheless with a cheery smile he rushed forward, and that was the last seen of him by his companions.

As night drew on and he did not return it was thought that he might have taken shelter in a shell hole, intending to crawl back after dark - some of his comrades crawled over the parapet and searched about in the darkness in the hope of finding him, but to no purpose. There were many bodies lying on the field - for there had been a stiff fight earlier in the day - bu Private Gordon could not be found and he was in consequence posted as missing.

The parents of the gallant young soldier have this week received an official communication intimating that the Records Office is now regretfully constrained to conclude that he was killed on June 16, the date, by a pathetic coincidence being the 21st birthday of the soldier. With the official intimation was sent the usual message of condolence from the King and Queen.

Private D Gordon who was working at Tunbridge Wells when the war broke out, had been in France since the early days of hostilities and had been twice wounded. He had only just returned to France after a period of convalescence in England when he made his noble sacrifice.

A Patriotic Family

Mr and Mrs Gordon have reason to be proud of their children. Of eight sons, six voluntarily enlisted at the beginning of the war. Five of them survive and are stationed in various parts of the world. The seventh son has just attained the age of 18, and, having received his calling up papers, will shortly proceed to the Colours, while the eighth, who is only sixteen years of age is employed in the telegraph office at the Lewes Railway Station and is therefore in Government employ. One of the daughters of Mr and Mrs Gordon is engaged in war work at Lewes and thus are nine members of this Lewes family doing their "bit" in the country's service.

Photographs of the six soldier sons of Mr Gordon are given on our pictures page.

The remainder of the article has been destroyed and lost. Soldiers Died in The Great War notes that 19027 Private David Gordon was serving with the 8th Battalion at the time of his death and that he was born in Lewes and enisted in London. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission gives the additional information that his middle name was Roland, that he was serving with D Company of the 8th KORL Regiment and that he was the son of Son of Alfred Preston Gordon and Mary Gordon, of 23, Friar's Walk, Lewes, Sussex. He is commemorated on Bay 2 of the Arras Memorial in France.

Leonard Preston Gordon

One of six sons to serve during the First World War, Leonard Preston Gordon appears to be the only brother with Chailey connections. Certainly, he is the only one mentioned in Chailey's parish magazine where he is recorded simply as L P Gordon.

The photograph to the right, which was almost certainly taken before the First World War, was published in the Sussex County Herald in 1918. This, and individual photographs of his five serving brothers, accompanied an article about Pte David Gordon, a brother who was killed whilst attempting to rescue a German soldier from No-Man's Land. Happily, Len Gordon and his other four brothers all survived the Great War.

I am grateful to Len Gordon's grandson David Gordon, for contacting me with the additional information printed here.