Saturday, February 28, 2009

Chailey School - Cricket Team 1938

This post has tenuous connections with Chailey during World War One, but I write it in the hope that it will be of interest to people with a connection to Chailey (and it also follows on nicely from the Newick cricket team post the other day).

The photo of Chailey School cricket team in 1938 was sent to me a while back by David Gordon. First World War Chailey serviceman Len Gordon was the father of Richard Gordon mentioned below.

Back row, left to right:
Harold Williams (Willie), Richard Gordon, Cecil Muddle, Ray Campbell, Les Green, Roland Gingell, David Munnings

Front row:
Stan Hales, Ivor Short, Dennis Kimmins, Peter Douch, John Tomkin

I also have a photograph of the Chailey school cricket team in 1934 and I'll post that in due course too. My thanks to David Gordon.

Monday, February 23, 2009

John Oldaker's boys

Once in while, completely out of the blue, I am privileged to receive significant additional information concerning the men on the Chailey 1914-1918 site. The photograph I have posted here, certainly falls into this category.

Pictured here are John Oldaker, headmaster of Newick School, and the school cricket team. The photograph was taken in 1909. William Jared Brooks (Will Brooks) is seated second from left and it is his granddaughter who has sent me the photograph.

The photograph on its own is quite a find, but thankfully Will Brooks also wrote the names on the reverse. So, from the back row, reading from left to right: Charlie Hodges, Fred Smith, John Oldaker, Edgar Richards, Unknown. Seated: ? Martin, Will Brooks, Percy Elphick, Jim Reynolds, Sydney Smith, Alf Fuller.

George Brooks, known as Proey, is the boy in the front row.

The boy recorded as "Unknown" is probably the headmaster's son, John Oldaker, and I think that the boy seated to Will Brooks's right is probably Horace Raymond Martin. If it's not him, it would be his brother, John Sidney Martin. Click on the links to see photos of both the brothers in their army uniform during WW1.

Sydney Smith was killed at Gallipoli on 19th August 1915 and Fred Smith was killed at Loos on 26th September the same year. SD/1637 Private Charlie Hodges of the 12th Royal Sussex Regiment was killed at the Boars Head on 30th June 1916.

My sincere thanks to Sally Tinkler for sending me this photograph and additional information about her grandfather, and also to Simon Stevens for his inputs regarding John Oldaker and the boys who later died in the service of their King and Country.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Chailey medal index card

Click on the image above to see the detail more clearly. This is a good example of a medal index card (MIC) with additional detail on the reverse. In my experience of looking at these, officers generally have an address written on the reverse, as do men who, for whatever reason, had a problem with the original issue of their medals.

In this case, George Arthur Kemp's medals were returned; the reason for their return - and it looks as though they were received back on 25th September 1923 - is contained within 1743 King's Regulations. For 1912, these read:

1743. Medals which, at the end of 10 years, still remain unclaimed, will be sent to the India Office (if granted for Indian service), or to the deputy director of ordnance stores, Royal Dockyard (Medal Branch), Woolwich (if granted for other service) to be broken up.

I'm guessing that this particular paragraph had been amended by 1923.

New medals were issued on 8th October 1923 and sent to George at Rock House, Colonel's Bank, Chailey.

The reference number under the column headed "Roll" and the page reference next to that, refer to the original medal rolls which are currently housed at the National Archives but which - one hopes - will be available on line in due course.

It is worth noting that had it not been for the efforts of the Western Front Association (WFA), the First World War medal cards - the majority of which have now been scanned by - would have been destroyed.

The image of George Kemp's MIC reproduced here, is Crown Copyright.

Did your ancestor serve overseas during WW1? Find his medal index card on-line. Click here!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Horns Lodge, South Street, Chailey

George & Ina Stevens, Horns Lodge, Chailey (undated)

There's some interesting information about old Chailey buried in the website for The Horns Lodge Freehouse in South Street. I'm sorry to say that I've never had the opportunity to sample any of the ale there but I was very interested to read about the history of Horns Lodge.

In the list of past publicans, George Arthur Kemp and Mr and Mr George Frederick Stevens are mentioned. George Kemp is certainly a familiar name to me and he appears on the Chailey 1914-1918 website. In 1901 he was a 19 year old gardener living at Horns Lodge and his father, also George Kemp, was the 57 year old "beer house keeper." I presume that it is George Kemp the elder and not his son (who would go on to serve with the RGA during WW1) who is the George Arthur Kemp noted on the Horns Lodge history page.

After George Kemp gave up the tenancy on the pub, it passed to Mr and Mrs Lewry (an unfamiliar name to me) and then to Mr and Mr Stevens. I have two men by the name of G Stevens on the website and I wonder whether George Frederick Stevens (who appears to have been known as Fred) is one of these men. In any event, clicking through a few links on the Horns Lodge page to this man reveals the photo that I have used on this post, and also a partial narrative written by Fred's son, Harry Stevens. George and Ina Stevens (nee Leppard) took over the Horns Lodge in 1946 and there are a few interesting (for me) snippets in Harry Stevens's narrative which I highlight below.

"Dad sold tins and tins of SP Snuff and one character who indulged, was Tommy Tasker. Tommy was a retired roadman and had been gassed in the First World War and I suppose he thought that “snuffing” was a good substitute for smoking. Bill Snelling the son of Arthur who owned the donkey in the stable (more about that later) was also gassed during the First World War, and he kept Tommy company!"

Tommy Tasker is not a familiar name to me, but Bill Snelling is William Snelling who served with the 5th Sussex Regiment during WW1.

"The next door cottage was occupied by a Mr. Smith the cobbler. Next door to Mr & Mrs Smith, lived Mr & Mrs Taylor. They were a nice old couple and Mrs Taylor sometimes helped Mum out with some of the housework. Mrs Taylor was the village “Midwife” I say that in loose terms, as she was not qualified, but her knowledge came from experience over many years of village life. She was also the person who laid you out, if you were unfortunate enough to “Pop your Clogs.” Her husband was a retired roadman, who had kept the verges of the lanes and roads tidy and clipped all around the village. Next door to the Taylors was the stable where I kept my motorbike, although this wasn't the only occupant. Arrangements had been made to house the donkey belonging to old Arthur Snelling. Arthur was the retired landlord of the Five Bells, which was the next pub down the road towards North Chailey. Arthur had a little trap that was also kept at the rear of our pub, and that was his means of transport around the village. Sometime later a Donkey Derby was organised in the village fete, and “our” Donkey was called “Horns Lodge Beauty.” I think it was one of the first Derbys of this kind that had ever been organised."

Mr Taylor was Charlie Taylor and there are photos of him and his wife also buried in the Horns Lodge website. I am assuming - and this might be a wild guess - that he is the Corporal C W Taylor mentioned on my site.

Is this Corporal C W Taylor AVC?

I've dropped Harry Stevens a line, via the Horns Lodge webmaster, but in the meantime I'd appreciate any further information on these individuals.

Does your WW1 ancestor have a surviving service record? Check on-line. Click here!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Charles Frampton - "exceptionally good physique"

As intimated the other week, I have updated Charles Frampton's page on the Chailey 1914-1918 site. Charles was not originally a local man, he was borne in Wimborne, Dorset, but his family appears to have settled in Chailey when Charles was a boy.

Charles joined the ASC in November 1914 and it was at this time that his "exceptionally good physique" was recorded. At just five feet one and a half inches tall, he was under height for the army, a factor though which does not appear to have affected his attestation. He served with the ASC throughout the war and was discharged from the army in December 1918.

Charles lived at Bevernbridge Cottages, South Chailey and I was trying - unsuccessfully on Google - to find a photo of the cottages earlier today. In 1891, they fell under Lewes parish boundaries although today they are in South Chailey. I also wondered, given that Charles's father and a lodger in 1891 worked as brick-makers, whether the cottages were originally specifically earmarked for workers at the local Chailey brickworks.

In 2007 I see, one of the cottages - which I'm guessing is a typical Victorian two-up, two-down affair - sold for around two hundred thousand pounds. Cheap for Chailey generally I suspect, but a fortune compared to what it would have cost to buy in 1891.

Read Charles Frampton's partial service record on-line. Click here!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Joseph Miller

Margaret and Clara Miller were just three years old and one year old when their father, Joseph Charles Miller died of wounds in September 1917. Joseph, who was born in Lewes, was really a Wivelsfield man - he appears on three memorials in that village - but he is also commemorated on Chailey's parish memorial on Chailey Green.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Charles Harrald - three times wounded

Charles Edward Harrald was a patient at Beechlands in Newick in 1917. He joined up with the 21st Northumberland Fusiliers and was then wounded three times: a gunshot wound to his head on 2nd July 1916, a shrapnel wound to his back on 25th September 1916, and finally a gunshot wound to his left foot on 2nd April 1917.

It was this last wound which caused him to be acquainted with Nurse Edith Oliver and Chailey and which, in time would see him discharged from the army. I've just updated his record on the main site having discovered a few of his papers in the WO 364 pension series at the National Archives.

Read Charles Harrald's partial service record on-line. Click here!

Like William Pointing, whom I wrote about yesterday, Charles's final wound was received at Arras - again, possibly fortuitously for him - before the main offensive began.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

William Richard Pointing - wounded at Arras

William Richard Pointing of the 6th Buffs (East Kent Regiment) was wounded twice - on the Somme in 1916 and at Arras in 1917 - and then taken prisoner in November 1917. Although his Arras wound - shrapnel in his hand - rendered his left little finger useless, it quite possibly saved his life as well. On April 9th 1917, while he was in an Arras hospital, British, Canadian and French troops attacked the German positions. British casualties during the battle would ultimately amount to close to 160,000 men.

William's partial service record survives in the WO 364 series at the National Archives in Kew, London and I have quoted from this in the revised biography I have written for him on the main Chailey 1914-1918 site.

Read William Pointing's partial service record on-line with a FREE 14 day trial to - Click here!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

For the Fallen

I was checking in-bound links to the Chailey 1914-1918 website and noticed a couple from the For the Fallen website, a site which commemorates "those British and Commonwealth service personnel who laid down their lives for their countries". I think it's a nice idea and so I'm happy to give the site a plug here and also add another link on the main website.

Soldiers Died in The Great War is now accessible on-line with a FREE 14 day trial to Alternatively, buy a copy from the Naval and Military Press and conduct your own detailed searches, a facility not currently available via Ancestry. I bought my copy a few years ago now and I've found it invaluable. See N&MP link below.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Gassed in the trenches - 21st March 1918

I referred yesterday, to an interview I'd conducted with Harold Shephard of the 1/5th Leicestershire Regiment, and his doctor's opinion (in the 1980s) about the after-effects of gassing, as it affected Harold.

Today, coincidentally, I came across various medical reports relating to 277632 Lance Corporal Joseph Dykes of the 2/7th Manchester Regiment, who was gassed at Peronne, France on 21st March 1918, the day the German Army launched its offensive against the British. Joseph had worked as a bricklayer in Bunbury, Cheshire before joining up.

I quote from various papers below:

Army Form Z.22
Statement as to Disability

Date: March 1919

Give diagnosis and particulars of each disability claimed or discovered: "Breathlessness and tachycardia"
The present condition thereof: [unclear] tachycardia. Breathlessness on exertion. No murmur detected."

Army Form B179A

Medical Report on a soldier Boarded [ie, who has appeared before a Medical Board] prior to discharge or transfer to [various classes] of the Reserve.

[Transfered to the Reserve on 18/02/1919. Previously awarded pension of 8 shillings and threepence per week for 26 weeks.]

Report dated 8th July 1919.

"No documentary evidence but man states that he was gassed in the trenches and taken prisoner by the Germans, sent to a German Military Hospital; from here sent to work in Germany. Repatriated 22/11/18 had two months leave, sent to rejoin his regiment at Tiley [?] where he was demobilized."

Present condition: "There is no organic disease of the heart present in this case."

Discharge as permanently unfit: "No."

Opinion of the Medical Board: "Gas poisoning and [unclear]. Complains of cough, expectoration and shortness of breath. Chest movement good ... OF and OR good. Percussion note normal. No adventitious sounds heard in chest. Heart not enlarged, maximum impulse in normal position... no cardiac murmurs heard..."

How long is the present degree of disablement likely to last: "twelve months."

What is the degree of disablement?: "Less than twenty per cent."

You can read Joseph Dykes's service record on-line with a FREE 14 day trial to - Click here!

In fairness to those medical professionals sitting on Boards, many of the cases they were dealing with must have been unknown quantities. And yet, by 1919, one assumes that gas cases had been presenting since 1915 (albeit the type of gas used was different in 1915), and men gassed in that year would still have been suffering the effects of that gassing four years later.

I have rarely seen reports from Medical Boards where pensions continued for many years. Obviously many did of course, and it may be that later awards have been weeded out of files. Nevertheless, it is also true to say that many men received pensions which were well below what they should have been and which, after a few months or years, were often stopped altogether. The one glaring Chailey-related exception I can think of is Charles Sabourin, who was a patient at Hickwells in 1915 and who was severely wounded on 23rd August 1914. Papers in his files (and he has papers in both the WO 363 and WO 364 series) show that he was receiving a pension certainly as late as 1952. Nevertheless, that pension amounted to under nine shillings a week which would not have gone very far in 1952. Then again, Medical Boards were hardly in a position to refute his claims - he'd had his right leg amputated high at the thigh.

Read Charles Sabourin's partial service record on-line with a FREE 14 day trial to - Click here!

Frank Richards, in Old Soldiers Never Die, has some nice comments about Army Pensions towards the end of his memoir which I quote from below. Frank was a regular soldier who had joined the Royal Welch Fusiliers in 1901, subsequently serving eight years with the colours, seven of these in India and Burma. He rejoined his old battalion in 1914 and served throughout the war, winning the DCM and MM in the process. Demobbed in December 1918 he applied for a Medical Board in August 1921, primarily because he was suffering from haemorrhoids but also rheumatism.

Frank Richards takes up the story:

"I had to go to Newport for my Board and I met a man from my village who was going there for the same purpose. He informed me that he had not served in the War but had been guarding a railway bridge about seven miles from his home and one night while on sentry it had rained and he had got wet. Some days later he had been admitted to hospital where he had spent a week with rheumatism. I sympathized with him and said it was marvellous how he looked so well after what he had been through.

"The doctors who examined me as good as told me that if I didn't agree to have an operation I would not be granted a disability pension... A few weeks later I was notified that the Medical Board had found that I was suffering with haemorrhoids and rheumatism and that the haemorrhoids had been aggravated by my War service: for which I had been awarded a disability pension of eight shillings a week for sixty-five weeks. Before this time expired I would be notified to appear in front of a Medical Board for a further examination. No disability could be awarded for my rheumatism which in their opinion had not been caused or aggravated by War service. If I wished to appeal I could do so.

"I knew it was useless to appeal. I have never been in hospital with rheumatism and the War had now been over two years and nine months. I also knew that Medical Boards went by what hospital service a man had entered on his medical history sheet and not by his front-line service. If a man had only done four weeks' service in England and had been admitted to hospital for a few days he would have a better chance of being awarded a disability pension than a man who had done four years in the firing line and whose medical history sheet was clean...

"I met the man who had got wet guarding the bridge and he informed me that he had been awarded a disability pension of twelve shillings a week for sixty-five weeks and had also been recommended for massage treatment."

Frank had an operation for his haemorrhoids and appeared before another Medical Board where he was "... notified that I had been awarded a final weekly allowance of seven and sixpence for seventy weeks, and the award could not be extended beyond this period."

So much for the "land fit for heroes."

I found the image on this post on a flickr album. It shows Amercian troops in 1917, learning how to use their gas masks.

Chailey's patients

One of the frustrating aspects of trying to research the stories of the men who found themselves at Hickwells and Beechlands is that their entries in Nurse Oliver's autograph album often did not include their army service numbers. Additionally some men just gave an initial rather than a name, or were given only the briefest of mentions in newspaper reports of the time. This means that trying to trace the histories of men like Rifleman F Head, and Drummer Davis (or Gunner Davis for that matter) is a virtually impossible task. I've included their names on the Patients' roll-call because it is feasible, I suppose, that at some future point in time, somebody will send me an e-mail that reads, "My great great uncle was 12345 Rifleman Frank Head and he always spoke about how much he enjoyed being a hospital patient in Chailey..." Well, I live in hope.

Nevertheless, I have spent more time over the past few days, checking names again against medal index cards and service records in the WO 363 and WO 364 series and have identified three more patient service records - those for John Dicks, Ernest Fairbrother and Charles Harrald (or Harrold) - as well as more of Chailey's men. I'll update their pages in due course.

Monday, February 09, 2009

George Pointing

George Pointing and his brother William Pointing both have surviving papers at the National Archives and so I've updated George's page on the Chailey 1914-1918 site for now.

George was a 19 year old shop assistant working for Sainsbury's in the City of London when he joined the Sussex Yeomanry in 1915. He received a bullet in his left knee in March 1918 which finished his war and left him in hospitals in England for six months. Nevertheless, by 1920, doctors found that he had "recovered" and he was awarded a gratuity of five pounds with "no grounds for further awards".

The service papers in the WO 363 and WO 364 series are full of reports similar to those in George's file and you wonder how many men endured years of pain and discomfort and received no further recompense from their country. I recall interviewing First World War veterans over sixty years after the conflict had ended and the majority of these men were still discomforted by wounds incurred in on the Western Front.

Harold Shephard, of the 1/5th Leicesters was one of those men I interviewed. He'd joined the 5th Leicesters a couple of years before the war and saw service with the battalion until invalided out. In his eighties when I met him, he told me how in recent years he'd been in and out of hospital with breathing problems and how he had explained to the doctor that he thought it was as a result of being gassed on the Somme in 1916. "Oh, you don't want to worry about that my lad" the doctor told him, "that's more than sixty years ago."

"That may be so" replied Harold (who always gave the impression of somebody not to be trifled with), "but, I've got it, and you ain't."

You can read the full transcript of my interview with Harold Shephard on my World War 1 Veterans blog. Here's the link.

FIFTH LEICESTERSHIRE. A Record of the 1/5th Battalion the Leicestershire Regiment, TF, during the War 1914-1919

I'd be interested to know whether Harold Shephard gets a mention in the book above. Perhaps I should click on the link and buy it. This is what the Naval & Military Press say about it:

"This battalion history is based essentially on the War Diary supplemented by contributions from various battalion members. It is a far more detailed one than that of the 1/4th. The battalion, which had its HQ in Loughborough, was also in the Lincoln and Leicester Brigade of the 46th (N Midland) Division. It arrived in France on 28 February 1915 and the first few months were spent in the Armentieres sector and the Salient before moving south to the Loos battlefield. During the attack on the Hohenzollern Redoubt, which decimated the 1/4th, the battalion was fortunately in reserve; it was a day that caused 46th Division the highest number of casualties of any day of the war - 3,583.

"There is plenty of meat in this history, detailed accounts of actions and events in and out of the trenches, names of officers and other ranks, list of honours and awards - but again no index. There was a moment of excitement when the division was was ordered to Egypt and began to move at the end of December 1915. The battalion (with 1/4th Battalion) embarked at Marseille on 21 January 1916 in the Cunarder Andania, described as a ‘floating palace,’ only to be told the next morning to disembark; the powers that be had changed their minds and the division went back to the trenches. In the fighting at the approaches to the St Quentin Canal, 2Lt J.C Barrett won the VC for gallantry during the battalion attack on Pontruet on 24 September 1918. By the end of the war the battalion had suffered 440 dead of whom 25 were officers. A good history!"

Friday, February 06, 2009

G/1974 Pte Cecil Edward Matthews, 8th Royal Sussex Regt

Chailey Parish Magazine notes in October 1914 that Cecil Matthews is serving his King and Country.  In October 1915 it adds: Matthews, L-Corpl C, 8th Royal Sussex, France 

In April 1916, the parish magazine notes that Cecil has been invalided and in November 1916 that he has been discharged.  This information is then repeated up to and including March 1917 after which there are no further references to this man.

Surviving papers in WO 364 record that Cecil attested with the Royal Sussex Regiment at Lewes on the 4th September 1914 and was subsequently given the regimental number G/1974. He served overseas between 24th July 1915 and 11th February 1916 and was discharged on 11th September 1916 as no longer physically fit for war service. His entry on the silver war badge roll confirms he was discharged as a result of wounds.

The 1901 census for England and Wales also lists a five year old Cecil E Matthews in Chailey village who is noted as the grandson of the head of the household, Janus C Smith.  The household comprised Janus C Smith (head, married, aged 36, working as a gardener), his wife Mary Ann Smith (aged 53) and three children: William C Smith (aged 21, also working as a gardener), Kate L Smith (aged 16) and Edith B Smith (aged 13).  Frank, aged eight, and born in Charlton, Kent, is noted as a nephew.  The household is completed by Cecil aged five and recorded as a grandson.
Again, this may be the same man who served with the 8th Royal Sussex Regiment and if it is, two other members of the 1901 household – William C Smith and Frank Peacock – also served during the First World War.

Medal index card courtesy of Ancestry.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

William Lansdowne: one handkerchief, one penny coin, one notebook...

When William Lansdowne sailed for France with the 13th King's Royal Rifle Corps in July 1915, his wife May was four months pregnant. When he was killed in action in February 1916, the baby daughter he'd never seen (except perhaps in a photograph) was under two months old.

The month after he was killed, May Lansdowne received a pathetic bundle containing her husband's effects. This contained, " soft helmet, one mouth organ, eleven postcards, one handkerchief, one penny coin, one notebook, one gospel, one tin box and two photos." Reading his service record even now, over ninety years after he was killed, is extremely poignant.

May Lansdowne had connections with Chailey Girls Heritage, probably working there as a servant, and it appears to be her connection with Chailey Heritage which links William, a Londoner, to Chailey.

William does not receive any mention in Chailey Parish Magazine but Soldiers Died in the Great War notes that his place of residence was Chailey at the time he enlisted, and I am pleased to be able to acknowledge, in a tiny way, his sacrifice via this blog and my Chailey 1914-1918 website.

Read William Lansdowne's service record with a FREE 14 day trial to - Click here!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Chailey's Men - updates

I've added additional information to the pages for Ivor Grantham, George Hilton, Thomas Homewood, George Kemp and Wilfred Lockyer. I've also found service records for John William Harmer and William Alfred Lansdowne and I'll be updating their pages shortly.

John Harmer was a long serving Territorial who joined Sussex RGA in 1911 and went on to win the Military Medal.

William Lansdowne was a Londoner who was working as a waiter when he joined the King's Royal Rifles Corps. His wife was working at the Girls' Heritage in Chailey which explains his conection with the parish, although he is not mentioned in Chailey Parish Magazine. He was killed in action in 1916 leaving a three month old daughter.

Read John Harmer's and William Lansdowne's WW1 service records with a FREE 14 day trial to - Click here!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Charles John Frampton - ASC

I've updated a number of records on the Chailey 1914-1918 site including that of Charles John Frampton of the Army Service Corps. He is simply recorded as C Frampton in the Chailey Parish Magazine but a logical process of deduction has revealed not only his full name, but also the fact that he has a surviving service record in the WO 363 series. I've not added that information yet but there is a nice letter in his file from Chailey inn-keeper Sidney Best (who would also go on to join the ASC) confirming that Charles was capable of controlling a pair of horses. I'll update his record fully in due course.

Read Charles Frampton's WW1 service record with a FREE 14 day trial to - Click here!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Arthur Ridger - shot in the face

Londoner Arthur Charles Ridger was 16 years old when he attested with the East Kent Regiment in September 1914. The following July he was in France and only a few weeks later sustained a gunshot wound to his face. That was as long as his war in France lasted, but he was then in and out of hospitals until his discharge from the army in June 1916.

Arthur certainly spent time at Hickwells in Chailey and it was whilst he was there, at around Easter 1916, that he met Nurse Edith Oliver and left his mark in her album.

Arthur Ridger's WW1 service record survives. Read it NOW with a FREE 14 day trial to - Click here!