Saturday, October 06, 2007

769654 Pte Horace Raymond Martin, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry

Chailey Parish Magazine notes in September 1916 that H Martin is serving with the Grenadier Guards in England.  In December 1916 it notes that he is serving with the 13th Grenadier Guards and this information is then repeated up to and including December 1917.  After this, there are no further references to this man.

According to his attestation papers, Horace was born in Newick on 2nd June 1897.  I think that this is a soldier's "white lie" however and that he was really born in the second half of 1898, his birth registered at Lewes district in the September quarter of that year.  He appears on the 1901 census living at Church Road with his parents and seven siblings.  The household comprised, William John Martin (head, aged 47; a self employed builder), his wife Adela Martin (aged 42) and their eight children.  In age order they are: William Henry Martin (an 18 year old carpenter), Florence Kate Martin (aged 15), Mabel Grace Martin (aged 13), Edith Cicely Martin (aged 11), Alfred Geoffrey Martin (aged ten), John Sidney Martin (aged five), Daisy Evaline Martin (aged four) and Horace (aged two).

There was of course, no “13th Grenadier Guards” but with the wisdom of hindsight and due acknowledgement to Horace’s headmaster at Newick, John Oldaker, it is possible to see how this error arose.

Horace’s brother John served with the 10th Royal Grenadiers, CEF and it appears that the Reverend Jellicoe got this information slightly wrong and then attributed the incorrect regiment to Horace.  In all likelihood both the boys were in Canada when war was declared because both joined Canadian units. 

Horace, who would only have been about 16 when war was declared, enlisted at Toronto on the 4th January 1916 (still under age) and was posted to the 124th Battalion of the CEF.  He was given the number 269654. His attestation papers note that he was born in Newick, Sussex and give his address as 26 McRoberts Avenue, Toronto, Canada. His next of kin is noted as his mother, Adela Martin, also of the same address.  Horace's trade is given as machinist. He was five feet six and a half inches tall, had a fair complexion, blue eyes and black hair.  A scar on his right ankle is also noted.

On 1st January 1917 Horace transferred to Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI)  having already been in France with the 124th Bn CEF since 4th December 1916.  A note in the PPCLI roll of honour records that he was struck off strength on 7th February 1919.

The photograph that appears on this page, plus details of Horace’s enlistment are from John Oldaker’s collection of serving ex pupils from Newick School.  My thanks to Simon Stevens for this information.

Also see this post. Is it the same Horace Martin?

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