Tuesday, November 30, 2010

St Peter's School - Honour List

Again, I am grateful to Ian Seccombe for drawing my attention to the photo above which appears on flickr and was taken by Jem Stone. I hope the link will be sufficient acknowledgement.

A number of the names here are familiar to me. Ernest Still served with the Royal Sussex Regiment and later the Labour Corps and would win the Military Medal during the 14-18 War. Henry Avery may be Harry Avery who later served with the 7th Norfolk Regiment. Arthur Carr served as a cadet with the Royal Air Force and Thomas Chatfield may be the same Thomas Chatfield who lost his life whilst serving with the 2/5th Lancashire Fusiliers. Thomas Homewood may also be the same Thomas Homewood who was killed in action with the Royal Field Artillery on the 30th June. A Roll of Honour in more ways than one.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

National Library of Australia - Australia Trove

I was searching for something else on-line earlier when I stumbled across Australia Trove. There's some great information on here and I've only just started to scratch the surface. I did however, find the Heasman brothers mentioned in the newspaper archive section and there's a good account of the 11th Battalion at Pozieres which also makes reference to Gilbert Heasman's recommendation for the MM. There seems to be laiods of good stuff on the site and I'll be digging a little deeper later on.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

43009 Pte Herbert R Barnes, 13th Essex Regt

43009 Private Herbert Richard Barnes was severely wounded in the latter stages of the 1916 Somme battles and left his entry in Nurse Oliver’s album in March 1918. It reads:

43009 Pte H.R. Barnes
13th Essex Regt.

Wounded on the Somme. Nov 13th 1916 & still going strong at Beechlands.

March 18th 1918

Herbert shares this page in the album with 326251 CSM John A C Wilson of the Royal Garrison Artillery, 43262 Private Robert Vinton of the 10th West Yorkshire Regiment and Sergeant J Stewart of the 84th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery.

Herbert was born in Clapton, East London around May 1894, his birth recorded in Hackney district in the September quarter of that year. He appears on the 1901 census living at 68 Goldsmith Road, Leyton with his parents and two sisters. The household comprised: Richard Dean Barnes (head, married, aged 41, running his own French polishing business), his wife Annie P Barnes (aged 38) and their three children: Herbert (aged six), Laura Barnes (aged five) and Florence Barnes (aged three). Richard had been born in Bethnal Green, his wife in Mile End. Herbert and Laura were born in Clapton while Florence was born in Leyton. This suggests the family probably moved from Clapton to Leyton around 1896/1897.

Another household is noted at the same address and presumably the two families lived in a typical Victorian terrace – one family upstairs and the other downstairs. Henry and Lydia Simson are the only members of the other household noted at that address and interestingly Henry’s trade is recorded as a cabinet maker. It seems likely that Henry Simson and Richard Barnes may have also had a business arrangement.

Herbert’s documents survive in a badly burned condition at the National Archives in London (WO 363 series) and from these it is possible to piece together more of his First World War service.

He attested at Lea Lodge, Leyton with the 3/8th (Cyclist) Battalion of the Essex Regiment on 11th August 1915 giving his age as 21 years and three months. He was passed fit and given the regimental number 2207. His enlistment was approved at Colchester three days later and he would remain in England until 30th July 1916.

On 27th April 1916 he was posted, probably to the 1/8th Battalion, and sailed for France on the 31st July 1916. While in France on 1st September 1916 he was transferred, presumably to the 13th Essex Regiment as his album entry (and his medal index card) gives a different number: 43009.

Herbert was wounded in the thigh and right arm on the 13th November 1916 by either shell or gunshot – his surviving records note both at different points – when the 13th Essex launched an attack on a German position known as The Quadrilateral and four lines of trenches south of it. The battalion war diary reports 323 casualties for the 13th November 1916 and in his day-by-day account of action on the Somme in 1916, the author Chris McCarthy has this to say:

“The Division [2nd Division] attacked Redan Ridge with 5 Brigade on the right… On the left, 6 Brigade led with 13th Essex and 2nd South Staffords, with 1st Kings and 17th Middlesex in the rear… The Quadrilateral was the main problem, the wire being mostly intact and because of fog and mud, progress was slow. Some of the Essex and King’s on the right pressed on to the first objective with 5 Brigade. They then formed a block at the junction of Beaumont Trench with Lager Alley… At 7:30am only 5 Brigade was ready to attack their second objective. There were only 120 men from 17th Royal Fusiliers and 2nd Ox and Bucks LI and, on the left, a few Essex and King’s of 6 Brigade. There were not enough to hold any of the footholds but they managed to reach Frankfurt Trench, gradually falling back first to Munich Trench and then Wagon Road and Crater Lane…”

As Herbert himself says, he was a long time in hospital and although his entry is dated 18th March 1918 it would be over a year later (28th March 1919) that his discharge would be approved by the Essex Regiment in Warley, Essex. Even then, right up until the 15th of that month, it appears from what is left of Herbert’s papers that he was still under the care of the Number 2 Eastern General Hospital at Brighton.

Herbert’s discharge papers give his home address as 17 Beaconsfield Road, Leyton, Essex (the same address he had written on his attestation papers nearly four years previously). His next of kin is given as his father – Richard Dean Barnes. Herbert’s character is noted as very good and his length of service in the army is recorded as three years and 230 days.

On 17th April 1919 a Pensions’ Board agreed that Herbert’s degree of disability amounted to 40 per cent, that it was permanent and that it was attributable to war service. The Board members awarded him a pension of 11 shillings per week, effective from 29th March 1919 but to be reviewed in 26 weeks. Herbert’s papers do not give details of subsequent Board meetings but the likelihood is that his award was probably scaled down over the coming years.

Monday, September 20, 2010

3962 Pte Christopher Barclay, 2/10th King's

3962 Private Christopher Barclay was a patient at Beechland House, Newick in July 1916. His entry in Nurse Oliver’s album is a drawing of a rural idyll framed by a maple leaf. The wording reads:

Wishing you Prosperity and Happiness

Signaller Chris Barclay
2/10th Liverpool Scottish
Convalescent Hospital

Newick 14th July 1916

Chris Barclay enlisted with the King’s (Liverpool Regiment) in Liverpool on 6th November 1914. He gave his age as 20 years and nine months and his address as 24 Bowood Street, Dingle, Liverpool. He appears on the 1901 census of England and Wales living with his family at 51 Wallington (or Wellington) Street, Toxteth, Liverpool. The household comprised: William Barclay (head, married, aged 31, a general labourer), his wife Sarah Barclay (aged 28) and two children: Christopher (aged eight) and Marian Barclay (aged five). Also living with them were William Barclay’s 26 year old sister in law Mary Barclay and her two children: Mary (aged six) and Edith Barclay (aged three). All the family members are recorded as having been born in Liverpool.

I know little of Chris Barclay’s military service. The National Archives holds a medal index card for him as 355813 Private Christopher Barclay of the Liverpool Regiment. This number would have been given to him when the Territorials were re-numbered in early 1917. His earlier TF number is not given which suggests that he did not go overseas until after the Territorial Force had been renumbered.

I am unsure why Christopher Barclay was at Beechlands but his album entry dates his time there precisely. The British Red Cross Society (BRCS) archives in London also holds a letter written by him to Nurse Oliver the following month. (The letter was sent to the BRCS by Nurse Oliver’s nephew, Joe Oliver many years later).

Writing on YMCA stationery from 95 Camp, Mytchett. Aldershot and signing himself as Signaller C Barclay, ‘D” Company, 2/10th Liverpool Scottish, he writes:

Dear Nurse

I must thank you very much for your kindness to me whilst at Chailey and Newick. One does not realize at the time what it means to devote one’s time to the sick, it is only when you are blessed with health and strength once more that you begin to realize the sacrifice made by you nurses. I will always remember my days at Chailey and Newick; the fun we had and the patient way in which you stood all our noise. I think you must have had a splitting headache, especially when my melodious voice was singing? Fellows generally have their favourite nurse, and so I especially thank you Nurse Oliver, but you would greatly oblige me if you conveyed my sincerest thanks to all the other nurses who were so kind to me whilst at Convalescent Hospital. I hear you have a number of new faces up at Beechlands (lucky fellows). It will be a ‘grand old war’ for them.

Reference to Chailey and Newick suggests that Pte Barclay may have been a patient at Hickwells when Sussex 54 VAD upped sticks and moved to Beechland House a few hundred yards away. In any event, he continued serving with the 1/10th King’s when the 2/10th was subsumed by it in April 1918 and appears to have survived the war.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

2767 Pte William Barbin, AIF

2767 Private William Barbin of the Australian Imperial Force was a patient at Beechlands between October 1917 and January 1918. His entry in Nurse Oliver’s album reads:

When days are dark and friends are few
Dear friend I will think of you.
Roses may wither flowers may fade.
Some may forget you, but never will I

No 2767 Pte W Barbin
Australian Imperial Force

Barbin shares this page in the album with an entry by 268791 Private Arthur George Whipp of the 2/7th Sherwood Foresters.

William Barbin’s full service record can be viewed at The Australian National Archives. Here's a summary:

He was born in May 1895 and attested at Charleville, Queensland on 12th October 1916 aged 21 years and six months. His given profession was labourer and his next of kin as his father, William Barbin of Finch Hatton, via Mackay, Queensland.

He was posted to the 42nd Battalion of the Australian Imperial Force and left Sydney on the troopship A64 Demosthenes with the 5th Reinforcements to that battalion on 22nd December 1916. During the voyage he fell sick and spent four days in the hospital aboard ship. He arrived in Plymouth, England on 3rd March 1917 and after three months’ training was sent to France, arriving at Rouelles on 26th June 1917. He was taken on strength with the 42nd Battalion (3rd Australian Division) on 13th July.

The Third Division had trained in England for six months and been nurtured in the quiet Armentieres section since February 1917. By the time Barbin arrived in France, the Australians have suffered heavy casualties (3,000 at the First battle of Bullecourt in April 1917 and a further 7,500 at the second battle of Bullecourt in May. The heavy toll of casualties had led to all four Australian divisions involved drawing heavily on their reserves which led directly to the disbandment of the 6th Australian Division forming in England.

In June 1917 the 3rd Division was involved in the battle of Messines. It was the division’s first action and it sustained 4,122 casualties.

William Barbin was wounded on 12th October 1917, the opening day of the Second Battle of Passchendaele. On the night before the attack, the division suffered between 500 and 1000 casualties due to a German gas attack which meant that some battalions went into the assault ten per cent under strength. The official history describes the build-up to the battle and the conditions which it describes as “lamentable”.

“The sodden battleground was littered with wounded who had lain out in the mud among the dead for two days and nights; and the pillbox shelters were overflowing with unattended wounded whilst the dead lay piled outside. A stretcher case required up to sixteen men for the carry back across the mile of mud to the duckboard tracks and the advanced dressing stations. The survivors, in a state of utter exhaustion, with neither food nor ammunition, had been sniped at by Germans on the higher ground throughout the 10th, with increasing casualties.”

“Passchendaele in Perspective” continues in similar vein, describing the assault as even more futile than that at Poelcappelle. Artillery support was inadequate and the weather and muddy terrain had made it almost impossible to move the guns up and get them into their allotted positions. One Australian artilleryman described how the battery’s guns were bogged in the mud for three days and only finally removed with the assistance of 26 horses on each gun which pulled them to the position with the mud up to the horses’ stomachs. On the day of the attack, many guns lay temporarily abandoned or out of action. Those guns that were in position found the supply of shells difficult. When guns did fire, the recoil drove them further into the mud making it impossible to accurately register on the targets. Casualties amongst the artillerymen were also high because they were exposed to counter battery fire and were unable to dig protective pits because of the waterlogged landscape. Guns sank in the mud until they disappeared. Battery positions were dotted with red flags where the guns had sunk from view.

The limited shellfire that the Australian guns did deliver failed to make a mark on either the German artillery, strong points or barbed wire. The creeping barrage was so feeble that it could not be distinguished from the German artillery fire and provided no cover to the advancing infantrymen. This meant that they advanced with no cover. The Australian battalions came under persistent enemy shelling on their way to their jumping-off positions and when the 3rd Australian Division troops advanced through the mud of the Ravebeek valley to take their first objective they were forced back under enfilade fire on their exposed flanks. One patrol managed to reach the village of Passchendaele which it found deserted.

Overall the 3rd Australian Division suffered over 3000 casualties. On their right, the 4th Australian Division suffered 1000 casualties and the New Zealanders on their left advanced straight into a thick belt of uncut wire. Their casualties amounted to 3000 dead and wounded. Men bunching on the firmer ground when they were advancing, made them easier targets for the Germans. The advance was also held up when men stopped to give assistance to those who were sinking in the mud.

Overall the attack on Passchendaele Ridge produced 13000 British casualties, the equivalent of a division of troops, for no significant gain. It totally failed in human terms, the cost to the 3rd Australian Division was 35 men for every yard of ground taken.

On the 13th October Barbin was admitted to the 11th General Hospital at Camiers with gunshot wounds to his fingers but by now, his feet were also in a poor condition. Fifteen days later he embarked for England on the Hospital Ship Newhaven and was admitted to the 2nd Eastern General Hospital at Brighton with Trench Feet. He probably spent a short while at the Dyke Road hospital before transferring to Beechland House in Newick where he remained until the 15th January 1918.

On the 16th he transferred to the 2nd Auxiliary Hospital at Dartford and was also given two weeks’ leave. On 12th March 1918 he rejoined his battalion in France and a little over a month later on 16th April, he was wounded in action for the second time; admitted to the 11th Australian Field Ambulance with gun shot wounds to his right thigh and left hand. The following day he was transferred to the 50th General Hospital at Abbeville and then embarked for England on the Hospital Ship St Andrew on 2nd May.

On 3rd May 1918 he was admitted to Norfolk War Hospital with “gun shot wound right thigh” given as the cause for his admission. On 17th June 1918 he reported to No 1 Command Depot and after spending more time in hospital at Sutton Veny, Wiltshire, was returned to Australia on 23rd September 1918. On 13th December 1918 he was discharged from the army as medically unfit.

The rhyme he includes in Nurse Oliver’s album is a mis-remembered combination of two couplets popular at the time. “When days are dark and friends are few / Remember me as I do you” is the first one. “Roses may wither, leaves fade and die / If others forget you, never will I” is the second.

L/10314 Pte Charles Banks, 1st Bn, Royal Fusiliers

The entry in Nurse Oliver’s album reads:

1st June 1915
C. Banks
1st Royal Fusiliers

C Banks is probably L/10314 Private Charles Banks of the 1st Royal Fusiliers; a regular soldier who enlisted in the army on 14th February 1900 and who arrived in France on 7th September 1914. His medal index card shows that he was entitled to the 1914 Star (with clasp and roses), The British War and Victory Medals and the Silver War Badge. He was discharged from the army on 25th April 1915 due to sickness and so was probably an early casualty in the opening months of the war. C Banks’s entry date in Nurse Oliver’s album certainly marks him as a convalescent and this ties in well with Charles Banks’ discharge date.

When war broke out, the 1st Royal Fusiliers was in Kinsale Ireland and later formed part of the 17th Brigade in the 6th Division.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

23331 Pte William H Baddock, 3rd Bn, Grenadier Guards

Private Baddock is the most prolific entrant in Nurse Oliver’s album with five entries. Unfortunately he never elaborates on his own designation, simply recording himself as “W Baddock” or “Private Baddock”. He writes:

Pte Baddock
3 Grenadier Guards

[drawing of Grenadier Guards cap badge]

Wounded at Neuve Chapelle 1915

This page is shared with entries from G/4780 Lance-Corporal Edward Burnage of the 2nd Royal Sussex Regiment and Private S F Brown of the 2/9th Middlesex Regiment. He elaborates more on the Neuve Chapelle wound in another cartoon entry accompanied by text as follows:

Pte Baddock
3rd Grenadier Guards

Wounded at Neuve Chapelle 1915

I wish the wench who nursed me
The best of luck today
I’ll try to repay her kindness
In a soldier’s humble way


Hit on Dec 24th with Rifle Grenade
Went back to trenches where was bandaged up
Taken to dressing station. Wounds bound and stitched etc.
Finally put on hospital ship for England, Arrived England Dec 29th
Arrived at Dyke Road Hospital, Brighton. Operation performed.


Private W Baddock is 23331 Private William H Baddock who, according to one of his two medal index cards (MIC) held at the National Archives, arrived in France on 20th October 1915. His number indicates that he would have joined the Grenadier Guards between March 4th and March 10th 1915. (This MIC - recording details of his 1914-15 Star - notes his name as W H Baddock, the second - recording the award of the BWN amd VM - notes him, incorrectly, as William H BRADDOCK).

On Thursday 30th December 1915, The Sussex Daily News described the arrival of the hospital train carrying Private Baddock (and Private Burnage)


… There was a greater percentage of ‘cot’ cases than has hitherto been known in a trainload to Brighton. In all, the cases numbered 170, and no fewer than 89 of these required to be transferred by stretcher. They had all come from France and were all Britishers. They landed at Dover and were conveyed by a Great Western Red Cross train via Norwood Junction to Brighton… a large number were sent to the 2nd Eastern General Hospital in Dyke Road where the Christmas decorations will provide a bright and gaily coloured environment.

Baddock and Burnage both receive mentions in The Sussex Daily News of 8th January 1916. Under the headline: WOUNDED AND SICK SOLDIERS - THE LATEST ARRIVALS AT BRIGHTON, Burnage and Baddock are both listed under the “Other Units” section. Baddock’s number is given as A23331 and his regiment, mistakenly, as the 3rd Coldstream Guards.

On Friday 14th January, The Sussex Daily News reported a motor smash at Chailey:


What might have proved an extremely serious accident occurred close to the Chailey Parish Room on Wednesday evening, about 6:30pm, when two motor cars crashed into each other. Owing, probably, to the new lighting regulations, the drivers could not see each other till too late. One car, containing wounded soldiers, was coming from the Lewes direction, and the other was a baker’s car. The bonnets of both met and both cars were smashed, broken glass flying around. One man was thrown into the road, but had a marvellous escape, as did all the occupants. No bones were broken, but, naturally, there were cuts and bruises, and all had a bad shaking. It was altogether an extraordinary escape for everyone concerned.

In the East Sussex News on the same day, a concerned reader had had his letter published by the editor:

Sir. The new order with regard to lights on motor cars and motor cycles has greatly increased the danger on the country roads. The average pedestrian on the country walks in the road, especially at night time and we – for I am one of the average as a rule walk on the wrong side of the road. The danger is therefore great and I am writing to you, as your valuable paper is very widely read in the country districts, so that perhaps we country folk may be warned to keep to the path at night time… W J Wilmshurst, Ringmer.

On the following page, the paper also covered the motor smash at Chailey:


When returning from a concert at Barcombe on Wednesday evening, a motor car, containing several soldiers and driven by Mr Best of Chailey, came into collision with the delivery car of Mr S B Richards of Barcombe, driven by J Elphick. The accident happened on the Chailey Road, near the Parish Room. Both cars were damaged and several of the occupants were injured.

Private Baddock also covered the accident in one of his entries in Nurse Oliver’s album. Quoting from “The Sussex News” he wrote:

Motors Collide At Chailey.

A party of wounded soldiers proceeding from a concert in a motor car, collided with a Bakers car belonging to Richards Barcombe. The men were cut and bruised and one man broke his artificial leg. - Sussex News

Then, underneath the headline, HOW IT APPEARED, ACCORDING TO ACCOUNTS,TO Pte BADDOCK. GRENADIER GUARDS, he drew a cartoon of the event. Named soldiers in the illustration are Private Burnage, Private Lister and Private Savourin [sic] who is saying, “I’ve broke my leg. There’s 19 quid gone. Oh dear!”

On Friday 21st January 1916 Baddock gets a mention in the Sussex Daily News in connection with a concert in aid of blinded soldiers:


In aid of St Dunstans Home, London, for soldiers blinded through the war, an enjoyable concert was held in the Chailey Parish Room on Wednesday evening. The programme was nicely varied… wounded soldiers contributing three items.

… Gunner Davis and Private McCann each had to give a well deserved encore, and Private Baddock, in spite of a badly wounded head, gave some extremely clever ‘lightning sketches’ on the blackboard, illustrating some topics of the day, as for instance, ‘Lord Derby’s Christmas box for the Kaiser’, ‘Bottled up in the Kiel Canal’, ‘A captured British General’ (Omnibus) &c.

This is the last appearance that Private Baddock makes in the Sussex Press and there are too many census possibilities to positively identify him from the initials W H. I assume, as there is no indication of a Silver War Badge on his medal index card, that Private Baddock rejoined his regiment after recuperating from his wounds.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

J Andrew, 2/4th Northants Regt

J Andrew's entry in Nurse Oliver’s album obviously dates him as a patient at Beechlands (although it is conceivable that he could have transferred from Hickwells). His entry, written underneath a cartoon illustration reads:

Pte J Andrew
(4 Res) Northants Regt
Rose Ward

The 4th (Reserve) Northamptonshire Regiment is the 2/4th Battalion which was formed at Northampton on 27th November 1914. He is possibly 2791 Corporal James W Andrew and if this is the same man he transferred (presumably after recovering from whatever sickness had put him into Beechland House) to the Gloucestershire Regiment. The number 2791 dates to October 1914. The National Archives gives two numbers for him with the Gloucestershire Regiment: 5905 and 242112. 5905 dates to post August 1916.

The 1901 census of England and Wales reveals a James W Andrew living at Church Street, Broughton, Northamptonshire with his family. The household comprised: George Andrew (head, married, aged 35, working as a foreman in the boot trade), his wife Sarah A Andrew (aged 35) and their children: Lucy E Andrew (aged nine), Lily G W Andrew (aged eight), George Andrew (aged six) and James (aged five). There is also a 20 year old boarder – Wallace Smith, a "shoie finisher" by trade – living at the house. James’s place of birth is recorded as Broughton.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

John Thomson Allan - Wounded at Houdge

Private John Thomson Allan was a patient at Hickwells in 1915 and 1916 having arrived there after being wounded at The Battle of Loos in September 1915. His entry in Nurse Oliver’s album reads:

Chailey 23rd Oct 1915

[Line drawing of Gordon Highlanders' cap badge]

J T Allan
4th Gordon Hrs

Wounded at Houdge
25th Sept 1915

The National Archives reveals that he was 3246 Private John Thomson Allan, a Territorial Force soldier who arrived in France on 26th March 1915. The 1/4th Gordons was an Aberdeen-based battalion which had disembarked at Havre in February 1915. Looking at my army service numbers database I see that John's number would have been issued either in late November 1914 (3243 was issued on the 28th), or early December 1914 (3250 was issued on the 3rd). The majority of enlistments into the 4th Gordon Highlanders at this time were in the reserve battalion, the 2/4th, so it seems a strong possibility that John Allan was posted to the 2/4th and then subsequently to the 1/4th where he was later wounded at Loos.

On 27th February, the 1/4th Gordons transferred to the 8th Brigade in the 3rd Division (a regular division).

The following extract is taken from Part 11 of The Hospital Way and deals with the action at Hooge in which Private Allan was wounded:

"On 16th June 1915, the 3rd Division had taken part in a disastrous diversionary attack on Bellewaarde Ridge, which aimed to deprive the enemy of observation and at the same time straighten out the British line between Hooge and Railway Wood. Although some ground had been won, and quickly held by battalions of the 8th Brigade following up behind, the cost had been high. Heavy and concentrated German artillery fire, well directed onto lines until recently held by their own troops, cut swathes through the attacking British forces and by the end of the operation the 3rd Division had lost 140 officers and 3,391 men. The 9th Brigade suffered particularly heavily, losing 73 officers out of 96 and 2,012 men out of 3,663. On that occasion the 1/4th Gordons had been spared the brunt of the attack but here they were, just three months later, staring at the same ridge and this time preparing to take part in the main assault of another diversionary attack.

"The British bombardment began at 3.30am on the morning of 25th September and fifty minutes later two mines were exploded under the German trenches facing the 2nd Royal Scots. Two further explosions followed almost immediately and as the debris settled, the attacking troops moved forward. At first, the going was good. The War Diary for the 1/4th Gordons reports that the men reached the German front line trench and met with little loss, finding “many Germans in it, many of whom bolted.” Their success though was to be short-lived. Between 4.50 and 11am the German artillery responded with whizz bangs before collecting north of the Menin Road and launching a counter attack. Their bombs expended, the Gordons were forced to retire to the trenches held by The Royal Scots line, the diary reporting that, “The men of C and D companies who were in the German 3rd line are cut off and missing."

1/4th Gordon Highlander casualties for the 25th September are noted as:

NCOs and ORs

Killed: 23
Died of Wounds: 1
Wounded: 148
Wounded & Missing: 6
Missing: 141

Total: 319


Killed: 1
Wounded: 7
Wounded & Missing: 1
Missing: 6

Total: 15

John Allan’s path back to Britain would have been first to the 2nd Eastern General Hospital at Brighton and then, almost immediately to Hickwells. His wound was severe enough to keep him at Chailey certainly until the beginning of 1916, but not severe enough to prevent him from taking part in various “entertainments” which were reported by the local press.

He gets his first mention in the press however, in The Scotsman. On 15th October 1915 he is one of 169 1/4th Gordon Highlander men mentioned, who have been wounded in action.

On 5th November 1915 he is recorded in The Sussex Express (SE) as having dueted with Corporal Wood in a concert. On the 26th of that month he gets another mention in both the SE and The Sussex Daily News (SDN) as a performer in a concert at the Parish Room. His name appears as Private Allen but I think that this is a mis-spelling of his surname.

On 3rd December he is again noted as a performer by the same publications at a concert at Hickwells and on 7th January SDN mentions him as having proposed three cheers to Mrs Bessemer for arranging concert at The Parish Room.

John Allan recovered sufficiently from his wounds to be posted back to the Gordon Highlanders’ Depot and from there to another battalion. When the territorials were re-numbered in March 1917, he was given the number 292611. This falls within the block allocated to the 1/7th (Deeside Highland) Gordon Highlanders; another territorial battalion which would finish the war as part of the 51st (Highland) Division.

John Allan was disembodied on 8th April 1919 and was entitled to the 1914/15 Star and The British War and Victory Medals which were sent to him in December 1923 and January 1924 respectively.

Sources and Acknowledgements

The National Archives
The Sussex Express
The East Sussex News
The Scotsman
The Long, Long Trail

The photo is of Hickwells on Cinder Hill, Chailey circa 1899.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Stan Collins - Ockham War Memorial

I was in Surrey recently on a very wet and somewhat chilly day, and I took the opportunity to drive over to Ockham and photograph the war memorial there. Rifleman Stan Collins is commemorated on it, the first name on the panel to the right, as you face the front of the memorial.

Afterwards, I drove over to Ockham mill where Stan's father had once worked. The mill has been turned into exclusive properties these days and must be much changed from when Stan and his family lived there. I poresume that the family lived in the cottages to the left of the mill in the picture below.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Horace Martin

I received an intriguing e-mail - and photograph - from Canada recently.

Is the Horace Martin in this photograph, the same Horace Raymond Martin from Newick who served his King and Country with Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry? The man on the left bears a resemblance to the photo of Horace that I have, but I can't be sure. The photo was recently purchased in Washington State, about 300 miles south of the Canadian border.

The same photo has also been re-worked as a painting - SEE HERE - the artist maintaining that the photo was taken in east Texas. If this is the same Horace Martin from Sussex, he'd certainly travelled.

My thanks to Robert Stimmel for the intrigue.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Albert Henry Thompsett

I've just been sent a great photo of Albert Thompsett which must date to 1917 or 1918 and which was almost certainly taken whilst Albert was on leave in England. His mother stands nexr to him and possibly her mother is the lady seated. I'll be updating Albert's page shortly.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wallace SIDNEY Mitchell

There's some additional information on Sidney Mitchell's page on the Chailey 1914-1918 site, thanks to a surviving - but badly water-damaged - service record in the WO 363 series. Sidney was a regular soldier who had joined the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment in June 1913, transferring shortly afterwards to the RGA as a regular soldier. He spent much of his time in Salonica, returning to England in March 1919 and then having a short-lived spell with the Military Foot Police in Dublin.

Interestingly, he also appears to have worked at Chailey Heritage at some point in time, presumably whilst he was also serving with the Special Reserve.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

The story of a hut - a photo dated

Yesterday, I posted a photo of Japanese nurses as Netley in 1914, and thanks to the backdrop in that photo I've been able to date another photograph in my collection (above). Click on it for a clearer picture.

For some reason known only to myself, I'd always assumed that this photo dated to later in the war. The background in this photo though, is almost identical (if not, actually, identical) to the Japanese nurses' photo. This means that it can only date to 1915. See the extract below, from the Tornoto Star of 13th January 1915.

The lady standing second from left on the back row is Frances Isabel Blencowe, a leading light with, and later commandant of, Sussex 54 VAD. The woman sitting third right on the front row is Emily Morris Marshall who would later take up the position of matron at Hickwells and Beechland House.

I'd be delighted if anybody can tell me anything about the ranks (for want of a better term) of any of the ladies pictured, and also what the ribbons on some of their tunics represent. In the meantime I need to update Frances Blencowe's page.

My thanks to Marika for the Toronto Star clipping which appears on the Great War Forum thread I mentioned yesterday.


Oh well, it was a good theory whilst it lasted - about eight hours. My thanks to Sue Light for insightful comments as ever - see comments below.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Netley's Japanese nurses

Francis Isabel Blencowe spent some of her VAD days at the Netley Military Hospital in Hampshire. Photos in her album depict Japanese nurses, and I've just come across a group photo of these ladies on an interesting thread on the Great War forum.

I'm reproducing that photo here, and my thanks to Marika in Canada for posting it on GWF. There is a follow-up to this photo which I'll post in a day or two.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

John Thomson Allan

I've been sent some intriguing information about John Thomson Allan who was a patient at Hickwells in 1915.

Frieda Gardhouse writes:

"John Thomson Allan lied about his age to get into the army after his father, a miner, got him a job in the mine. This lasted for three weeks as he hated it. My aunt, John's daughter, told me he has a South Africa medal, was in the Highland Light Infantry [and] Gordon Highlanders. She also mentioned the Boer War and gave me photos of him in his kilt, and with bagpipes."

By the time John Allan was at Hickwells he was serving with the 4th Gordon Highlanders and, if he was a Boer War veteran, must have re-enlisted as his Gordon's number dates to late November or early December 1914.

John Allan's medal index card courtesy of the National Archives.