Friday, June 27, 2008

I've added some links to on the site. To be honest, I'll get some revenue if people click through and subscribe but apart from that, I think that Ancestry provide an excellent service. Living 5000 miles away from the Public Record office, my research would have been greatly hampered had it not been for the ease of access to archives on line.

When I first started researching Chailey, there was barely any on-line resource available. Indeed, I'm pretty sure the term "on-line" had not even been coined. I still remember, a little later, making several trips from Essex to Kew to go through medal index cards - and that was just for the wounded soldiers at Hickwells and Beechlands. I hadn't even begun to contemplate the 370 odd parishioners who served their country.

Today, medal index cards, service records from WO363 and WO364, not to mention census returns for the years 1841 to 1901 and birth / marriage / death information are all available on Ancestry for around seventy pounds a year. Naval service records, officer records and war diaries, to say nothing of Royal Naval Division service records can all be accessed via the National Archives' site. For somebody like me who has researched well over five hundred people and had access to all the above archives and more, a subscription to Ancestry is not just a luxury, it's an essential.

Anyway, that's enough plugging for Ancestry. If you go to the soldier pages now, you'll see that those men for whom service records exist, have that fact noted against their names (well, names A-L currently but the others will follow). Click on that name and once you're in their biography on my site, you'll be able to access their service record directly - terms and conditions applying of course.

Folow the Chailey's Men A-D link here to see what I mean.

John Basil Lee Jellicoe

Ian Seccombe of Chailey has kindly sent me photographs of the grave of John Basil Lee Jellicoe and his wife, Bethia Theodora, in St Peter's churchyard, Chailey. Basil, as he was known, served briefly in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR) towards the end of the First World War, but it is his campaigning work in the slums of north London that he is - or certainly was - chiefly remembered for.
Like his father, he was a church of England clergyman, but he died at the young age of 36. His wife outlived him by a quarter of a century.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hugo Frederick Grantham

Hugo Frederick Grantham, pictured above, was the son of Frederick William Grantham. Born in April 1895, he was killed in action at Gallipoli on 28th June 1915 whilst serving with the 1st Essex Regiment. The battalion had arrived on the peninsular on 24th April that year.

The following extracts are from various publications, the first from page 77 of J.W. Burrows's, Essex Units in the War 1914 – 1919, Vol. 1, 1st Battalion The Essex Regiment:

The 88th Brigade supported an attack on H12 and H12a by the 156th Brigade of the 52nd (Lowland) Division, which was only partially successful, the casualties being very heavy. At 1 p.m. Essex received orders to co-operate with the 5th Royal Scots in again assaulting H12. It proved a task of insuperable difficulty, for the trenches were blocked with wounded and by the remainder of the 156th Brigade coming back. At 4 p.m. an attempt was made to bomb the enemy out by working up the communication trenches, but the outlets were held by snipers. Although impeded in this operation by the trenches being filled with casualties, a further effort was made, but it proved unsuccessful, the enemy pouring a heavy fire on front line trenches and on “No man’s land,” which stretched for 300 yards at this point. The losses included Capt. E. O. Warden, 3rd Essex, and 2nd Lieuts. C.A.B. Wood and H. F. Grantham, 1st Essex, killed, and other ranks, 11 killed, 49 wounded, and 12 missing, believed killed. In this engagement the attacking force wore pieces of biscuit tins on their backs. These shone like helios and enabled the artillery to control the protective screen of shrapnel. The enemy counter-attacked in considerable force in the early hours of the 30th, but the Essex were not seriously involved.

A little over two weeks later, on Friday 16th July 1915, The Essex Weekly News published the following article.

Yesterday it was announced that Lieut. Hugo Frederick Grantham, 1st Essex, was killed in action on June 28. Deceased was born in April 1895 and was the eldest son of Captain F. W. and Mrs. Grantham of Beeleigh Abbey, and Grandson of the late Mr. Justice Grantham. Educated at Cheltenham and Sandhurst, he was gazetted to the Essex Regiment in February of this year.

This from Wisden's Almanac:

2nd Lieut. Hugo Frederick Grantham, (1st Essex Regiment), grandson of the late Mr. Justice Grantham, was killed in action at the Dardanelles on June 28, aged 20. He was a very useful cricketer, playing for the Witham C.C., but did not obtain a place in the Eleven at Cheltenham.

The Times also published an obituary shortly after he was killed..

SECOND LIEUTENANT HUGO FREDERICK GRANTHAM, 1st Essex Regiment, eldest son of Captain F W Grantham and Mrs F W Grantham of Beeleigh Abbey, Essex and grandson of the late Mr Justice Grantham, who was born on April 15 1985, was killed at the Dardanelles on June 28. He was educated at Cheltenham where he obtained his football colours. He was also a very promising cricketer, making his century at an excellent match at the Whitham [sic. It should be Witham] Cricket Club, and carrying out his bat. He was gazetted in March of this year from Sandhurst, and commended for exceptional gallantry and coolness under most trying conditions in the action on June 4 by his colonel, and the Brigadier mentioned him in his dispatch.

Finally, De Ruvigny's also published Hugo's biography - adding additional snippets of information - next to the portrait photograph I have included on this page:

GRANTHAM, HUGO FREDERICK, 2nd Lieut, 1st Batt (44th Foot) Essex Regt. eldest s. of Captain Frederick William Grantham, who was killed in action 9 May 1915 (q.v.); b London W, 15 April 1895; educ at Cheltenham College (Head of House), and Sandhurst; gazetted 2nd Lieut Essex Regt 17 Feb 1915; served with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force at the Dardanelles from end of May, 1915 and was killed in action there 28 June 1915. He was mentioned in Despatches for leading a bombing party, which evicted the Turks out of some British trenches they had taken, unm.

Hugo is buried in Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery about one kilometre south west of the village of Krithia in Turkey. He and his father are commemorated on the war memorials at Barcombe (Sussex) and Maldon (Essex). The photo below shows a detail from the Maldon War memorial.

Frederick William Grantham

The bad quality photo above is that of Captain Frederick William Grantham who was born in South Norwood, Surrey on 10 July 1870. He was the brother of William Wilson Grantham whose biography is included on the Chailey 1914-1918 website. I have not included the biographies of either Frederick or his son Hugo because they were more connected with Barcombe (just outside the Chailey parish boundaries) and Beeleigh in Essex. Nevertheless, both men made the ultimate sacrifice for their King and Country and deserve our remembrance, albeit in a blog entry.

The following information is taken from De Ruvigny’s roll of honour.

GRANTHAM, Capt. Frederick William 2nd Bn Royal Munster Fusiliers. Died 9th May 1915. Son of Sir William Grantham and Emma Grantham, of 100, Eton Square, S.W. and Barcombe Place, Sussex. Joined the volunteers while at Cambridge in 1890 and afterwards the Post Office Rifles in 1893 and the Munster Militia in 1899. Served in the South African War 1900 with the Imperial Yeomanry. Passed into the reserve of Officers 23rd January 1909 but when the European war began was immediately called up and joined the Royal Munster Fusiliers with the rank of Capt. 6th Aug. 1914. Went to the front in France 22nd Sept 1914 and was killed in action near Richebourg L'Avoue 9th May 1915 leading his men in attack on the German trenches early in the morning of that day. He was for three months reported wounded and missing but his body was found by a patrol in August. Panel 43 and 44. His son 2/Lt. Hugo Frederick Grantham also fell and is buried in Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery, Turkey.

The panels referred to above are those on the Le Touret war memorial in France. Obviously, having been found once, Captain Grantham’s body (which we must presume was buried, having been found) was subsequently lost.

On 27th August 1915, The Essex Review wrote:

Captain Frederick William Grantham, Royal Munster Fusiliers, of Beeleigh Abbey, who has been killed in action, was the second son of the late Justice Grantham. Born in July 1870 he was educated at Harrow and Trinity College, Cambridge, and called to the bar in 1894, being subsequently appointed Clerk of Assize on the Oxford Circuit. He was a great traveller in the Far East and an authority on eastern philosophy. He received the King’s medal for his services in the South African war. On the outbreak of war he rejoined his regiment, the Royal Munster Fusiliers, with his old rank, and had been serving with it in Flanders since September. He was reported wounded and missing on May 9, and is now reported killed in action. His latest commission was dated August 6, 1914. The deceased officer’s eldest son, Lieutenant Hugo Frederick Grantham, fell in the Dardanelles on June 28 last.

The panel below, commemorating both men, was erected in All Saints church in Maldon in January 1917. Again, The Essex Review covered the event.

Maldon:- All Saints. A memorial tablet is erected in the church to the memory of Captain Frederick William Grantham 2nd Royal Munster Fusiliers, killed near Richebourg L’AvouĂ© 9th May 1915 aged 45, and his elder son, Hugo Frederick Grantham 2/1st Essex Regiment, killed on the Gallipoli Peninsula 28th June 1915 aged 20.

Frederick’s name also appears on the Barcombe (Sussex) and Maldon (Essex) war memorials.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Three Cornford Brothers Go to War

The title of this post is taken from a privately published history of the same name which was recently sent to me by Stan Cornford. Stan's father Tom Cornford and his uncles Trayton Cornford and John Henry Cornford all served during the First World War.

Trayton and Tom both appear to have joined the Lancers at Roeheath, Chailey in September 1914, both men subsequently transferring to the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. Trayton was killed near Serre on the Somme in November 1916 but Tom later transferred to the 1/10th Manchesters, winning the Military Medal in 1918. Tragically, he died in 1933 when his son was only three years old. He is buried in St Peter's churchyard, Chailey.

John Henry Cornford, the third brother, was a pre-war regular artilleryman who served time in India and appears to have served right through the Great War only to die in England in 1920. He is buried at Deepcut in Surrey. So three brothers, three premature deaths, and all are now commemorated on the Chailey 1914-1918 website.

My grateful thanks to Stan for some fascinating correspondence and Cornford family information. Incidentally, none of the brothers was mentioned in Reverend Jellicoe's monthly roll call of local serving men. Although Tom had been born at Chailey and his brothers at Plumpton, the family had probably moved out of the area a good while before the First World War began.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Chailey Green - June 2008

I stopped by Chailey Green last week and took some photos on what was, after a grim May Bank Holiday Monday, a pretty fine June day. The war memorial was, of course, the first shot I took. For those who don't know Chailey, that's the new vicarage behind the memorial. The old vicarage, the one that Reverend Jellicoe inhabited and stood in front of for the photograph that I've included on his page, is now a private residence that appears to be undergoing renovation. On the day we were there, a huge Marks and Spencer lorry reversed past us and into the driveway there.

Row of cottages next to the new vicarage. I don't know their original name and would be pleased to hear from anybody who can advise me on this.

This property lies opposite the war memorial and, beyond that, the cottages in the previous image.

A somewhat overgrown churchyard and a pretty standard shot of St Peter's. Unfortunately the church was locked - as most British churches tend to be these days - but I've been inside before and probably could have gone inside again had I called at the vicarage.

The grave of John Cecil Glossop Pownall. I really didn't have a chance to look around the graveyard properly. As I mentioned, it was overgrown and I also had my two year old daughter (below) in tow. I did however spot John Pownall's grave - and also that of Margaret Blencowe - and paid my respects there. John's brother, Lionel Pownall, was killed during the First World War but he emerged unscathed, serving as a captain with the Royal Field Artillery.

Click on any of the images for a larger version.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Ernest Stevens and Alice Pointing

I've added a photo of Ernest Stevens and Alice Pointing (above). The couple were married in 1915 and Ernest would serve with the Salvage Corps after the war had ended. Alice's four brothers all served their King and Country and their mother, also Alice Pointing, worked as a cook with Sussex 54 VAD.