Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Albert Still - a Barcombe terrier and conscript

The images from Albert Still's service record that appear on this blog are Crown Copyright and are housed in WO 363 at The National Archives. They are badly water-damaged as can be seen. Nevertheless, what remains is more than what survives for a lot of soldiers and I'll do my best to pick out the key points from each of the surviving pages.

The front page of the four-page attestation form gives basic details and shows that Albert attested at Lewes on the 22nd May 1916 and was called up at Chichester on the 15th May 1917.  At the time of attestation he was nearly 29 years old, married, working as an insurance clerk and living at Barcombe.  The word Norfolk can be seen top right and partial numbers can be seen to the left.  By the time Albert attested, conscription had been introduced and he would have been obliged to attest when he did.  He would have had no choice in the regiment to which he was eventually posted.  It is noted on this form that Albert had no prior military service.

Page two shows details of his next of kin - his wife Mabel whom he had married on the 25th April 1909 at the parish church, Chailey - and two daughters born in June 1914 and April 1916. The campaigns' section of this side shows that he spent his entire service between 15th May 1917 and 6th March 1919, at home in the UK. He would therefore not have been entitled to receive any medals.

Page three is a listing of Albert's army career: the 4th Royal Sussex (15th May 1917) Regiment, followed by an immediate transfer to the the 11th Norfolk Regiment on the same day. On the 20th October 1917 he was transferred to No 684 Agricultural Labour Company, then to 695 Company on the 15th December that year. Subsequent postings are blurred but we can see that he was discharged, no longer physically fit for war service, on the 6th March 1919. Defective vision and vertigo are noted as the disability. Albert's character is noted as good and his home address is recorded as 1 Munster Cottage, Barcombe, Sussex.

A blemish-free service is recorded and there's also a couple of numbers visible top left: 291117 and 429342. We can also see that Albert served with D Company of the 11th Norfolk Regiment.

The letter from the Ministry of Pensions notes that 429342 was Albert's number with the Labour Corps and that he had claimed a pension as a result of a heart condition aggravated by war service, and rheumatism attributable to war service.  He was awarded a weekly pension of five shillings and sixpence for 52 weeks from 7th March 1919 and a weekly allowance of two shillings and fourpence for his two children, effective from the 24th March 1919.  His case was to be reviewed after one year.

Army Form B178 notes that Albert's number with the 4th Royal Sussex Regiment was 1560 and that he had originally joined the Territorial Force on the 16th January 1913.  He was presumably discharged then, as a Time expired Territorial and was subsequently conscripted.  This Army Form also notes service in the Machine Gun Corps and a number 49461.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Chailey Heritage - Kenneth and William Garnett

I know nothing about Kenneth Gordon Garnett or his brother William Hubert Stuart Garnett. Both men are commemorated on a memorial at Chailey Heritage. The cuttings below are taken from De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour, 1914-1918.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Ancient Order of Foresters - St Mary's Church, Barcombe

My thanks to Ian Hilder for sending me this photo of The Ancient Order of Foresters plaque in St Mary's Church, Barcombe, Sussex.

J C Miller is a familiar name to me and I outline his life below.  But first, the roll call as remembered by the Foresters:

G/2228 Pte William Henry Banks, 8th Royal Sussex Regt, KiA 7th February 1916
J E Clark
118775 Gnr Fred Day, RGA, KiA 25th April 1918
48051 Pte Frederick Edwards, 21st Northumberland Fusiliers, KiA 9th September 1917
G/798 L/Cpl George Fred Foord, 7th Royal Sussex Regt, DoW 19th July 1916
E King
90669 Gnr Joseph Charles Miller, RGA, DoW 29th September 1917
SD/538 Pte Cecil Hugh Peckham, 11th Royal Sussex Regt, DoW 19th March 1916
G/8556 Pte Charles William Peckham, 7th Royal Sussex Regt, DoW 11th July 1918
40397 Pte Frederick Stephen Saunders, 2nd Middlesex Regt, KiA 17th November 1916
L/8159 Cpl Herbert Leslie Stevens, 2nd Royal Sussex Regt, KiA 30th October 1914
53650 Gnr Leonard Howard Stevens, RGA, KiA 27th July 1917

F Scrase

At the Going Down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

F Scrase is possibly 6398896 Pte Frederick Henry John Scrase of the 1st Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment who died on the 24th November 1941 in North Africa.  I have yet to identify E King and J E Clark.  The two Peckham boys were the brothers of John Peckham who is counted amongst Chailey's men.  Joseph Miller, alone of the Foresters, is recorded on the Chailey War Memorial.

Joseph Charles Miller
Joseph was born in Lewes, Sussex in 1886. He appears on the 1901 census of England and Wales as a fifteen year old living at Anchor Cottage, Barcombe with his family. The family comprised 53 year old Benjamin Miller (a miller’s carter), his 52 year old wife Harriet (a caretaker) and three sons: William Richard Miller (aged 21; a miller’s carter), Joseph Charles Miller (a carter’s apprentice) and Edgar Stanley Miller (a 12 year old scholar).

There were other children too. Albert Miller, born in Mayfield, appears on the 1891 census as a sixteen year old gardener while Edward Alfred Miller (aged nine) and Alice Jane Miller (aged seven) were scholars. Albert had the middle initial J although this only appears on the 1881 census. By the time the 1901 census was taken, he was living in Mayfield with a young family of his own (and coincidentally living next door to another Albert Miller) and Alice Miller was working as a housemaid at Little Buckingham Farm, Old Shoreham. I can find no trace of Edward.

On the 1881 census there is also another sibling: Elizabeth R Miller, aged three. This is Elizabeth Rosa Miller whose birth was registered at Lewes (the town of her birth) in the June quarter of 1877.

At the time of his enlistment, Joseph Miller was living at Wivelsfield, Sussex and enlisted at Hayward’s Heath. Chailey Parish Magazine first mentions him in July 1916, recording his details as Miller, Gnr J C, RGA, England. In January 1918 it noted that he was “missing” but it was not until July 1918 that he appeared in the parish magazine’s roll of honour. The entry reads: Gnr J C Miller, RGA, killed in action, Sept 18th 1917 in France.

In fact, Joseph Miller had died of wounds on 29th September 1917, a fact recorded by both Soldiers Died In The Great War and The Commonwealth War Graves’ Commission although the latter incorrectly records his name on its roll of honour register as “John C Miller”.

Joseph Miller was 90669 Gunner Miller, serving with 210th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery at the time of his death. He is commemorated on Chailey’s war memorial and is buried at Buffs Road Cemetery, Ypres. His grave stone records his initials, J C, rather than his Christian names.

Three of Joseph’s brothers – William, Edgar and Albert – also served their King and Country during the First World War.