Thursday, October 09, 2014

M/224988 Douglas James Gibbins Uridge, RASC

Chailey Parish Magazine notes between January and April 1916 that Douglas J G Uridge has attested but he gets no further mention in this publication. There is however, more behind this information than meets the eye. In a letter written to the officer in charge of ASC-MT records from his home in Lewes on 21st September 1919, Douglas states:

I joined the 30th BC Horse (Canada) in August 1914 but was discharged on account of injuries to the head from a horse kick before that regiment sailed for England. When recovered I paid my own passage back here and having been rejected nine times I managed to pass the M.O. under the Derby Scheme in March 1916. I was called up and joined the MT ASC on 18th December 1916 and was discharged as being no longer physically fit for war service on 4th October 1917. I am writing to ask you if I am entitled to any gratuity money and if so will you be kind enough to send it to the above address. I believe I am also entitled to a silver war badge which I have at present not received. Yours obediently Pte a/L/Cpl Douglas J G Uridge (OC Cadet) M/224988

Douglas’ story and that of others sharing his surname, has been told in great detail on Teresa Pask’s excellent one-name study website. The following information is taken from there:

Douglas James Gibbins was also known as Douglas James Gibbins Dennison Uridge. 2

Douglas James Gibbins Uridge was born on 18 April 1893 at Lewes, Sussex. 1,4,3,5,2

He was the son of James Isidore URIDGE and Mary Jane Martin 2,3

In the census of 31 March 1901 at "Downside", Kings Henry's Road, St. Johns, Lewes, Sussex, he was listed as the son of James Isidore Uridge; a retired Farmer and Corndealer, living with his wife, two sons and his niece and two servants. 3

Douglas served in World War I. He joined the 30th British Columbia Horse (Canada) in August 1914 and was discharged on account of injuries to the head from a horse kick, before the Regiment sailed for England. When he recovered he paid his own passage back to England. He was rejected nine times before passing the medical examination in March 1916, when he joined the M.T.A.S.C. and was a driver. He was discharged as being no longer physically fit for war service on 4 October 1917. 2,6,7

Douglas married Elsie Muriel Brown on 30 September 1917 at Woolwich, London. 8,4,2

Douglas James Gibbins URIDGE and Elsie Muriel Brown were divorced on 2 July 1923. 2

Douglas married Ethel M. Harrison in 1925. 9,4

Douglas married Joan May Uridge née ?. 10

He was mentioned in his mother Mary Jane Martin’s will made on 8 August 1929. 11

Douglas died on 18 January 1972 at 5 Chapel Road, Warlingham, Surrey, at the age of 78. 5,12,4

The 1972 Will index shows: "URIDGE Douglas James Gibbins of 5 Chapel Road Warlingham Died 18 January 1972 Probate London 9 March £ 753.12 "

Research Note: No marriage was found in the GRO Indexes. Also the death or marriage of Douglas' previous wife Ethel M Harrison was not listed. This is probably because it was indexed incorrectly.

1. GRO Indexes to Births "1893/Q2 Lewes 2b 185."
2. World War I Records, PRO Kew WO 363, U032, U032 Pages 0996 to 1031 inclusive.
3. Image of the 1901 census for Lewes, Sussex: RG13 Piece 579 Folio 158 Page 37.
4. Website Glen E. Carter World Connect ( searched October 20, 2001.
5. GRO Indexes to Deaths "1972/Q1 age 79 DOB 18.04.1893 Surrey SE 5g 1143."
6. Index to Army Medal Office Card Index, c1914-1922.
7. Website British Columbia Archival Information Network ( In 1910, authority was granted to form a cavalry regiment in Vernon, to be known as the 30th BC Horse. Command of the unit was given to Lt. Col. C.L. Bott, a veteran of the South African War. This regiment, with headquarters in Vernon, consisted of "A" Squadron from Lumby and Coldstream, "B" Squadron from Vernon, and "C" Squadron from Armstrong and Enderby. Later, "D" Squadron was formed to encompass Penticton and Kelowna. At the outbreak of war in 1914, the 30th BC Horse was mobilized and brought up to strength. Orders were received in November that the 30th BC Horse would amalgamate with an independent Squadron of Horse in Victoria to form an overseas unit, the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles.
8. GRO Indexes to Marriages "1917/Q3 Woolwich 1d 2433."
9. GRO Indexes to Marriages "1925/Q3 Lewes 2b 451."
10. Jan Uridge "Telephone conversation 20 March 2005".
11. Will of Mary Jane Uridge nee Martin, dated August 8, 1929. 12. Index to Wills, 1860 to 1989.

Douglas’s partial service record survives in the WO 364 pension series at The National Archives in London. His date of discharge on Army Form B.268 is actually given as 3rd October rather than 4th, and his rank noted as private (although he was an unpaid acting lance-corporal at the time). He was discharged from Woolwich Dockyard aged 24 years and six months.

He was a tall man: five feet eleven and three quarter inches, had a sallow complexion, brown eyes and dark brown hair. His intended place of residence was stated as Downside, Lewes, Sussex. On 11th April 1917, in hospital at Woolwich, his report stated: Weak – anaemic – thin and generally gives the impression of a physical unfitness. He is suggestive of tubercule altho’ there are no actual signs. There is a mass of glands in right lumbar region which appears to be calcified on X-ray examination. There is marked tenderness and some [unclear] at the hip joint. Indeed, patient cannot stand upright. He has had stone in the bladder crushed. Directly he does any active work these pains in abdomen return. He has been keen to give his history being British Columbian Horse 01/08/14 to 24/03/15 when he was discharged “unfit”. Re-enlisted 18/12/16 - classed C3 – then C, and then at his own request B2 and has broken down as described above.

On 11th September 1917, still at Woolwich, but this time noted as a cadet, Douglas’s disability was noted as “Inflammation of lymphatic glands”. The report read: Patient was admitted to RHH complaining of acute abdominal pain and inability to walk. On attempting to do so he was doubled up flexing his back and walking on tip toes. There was marked tenderness between umbilicus and [unclear] and some tenderness on deep palpation in upper pelvic and lower abdominal region. X-ray revealed a mass of enlarged glands in the lumbar region… He is thin, weak. Slightly anaemic, narrow chest and poor physique generally.

The Medical Board deemed that his condition was not a result of and not aggravated by military service but nevertheless classified his disability at 50 per cent. It was also noted that he was eligible for a gratuity.

I am not clear about Douglas’s direct connection with Chailey. His father, James Isidore Uridge was born in Chailey in 1861 and this may be the reason that the parish magazine records his name in its list of attested men. However, Douglas’s younger brother, Edgar John Gibbins Uridge receives no mention at all, despite the fact that he served between 1914 and 1917 as a second lieutenant with the Royal Field Artillery and was killed in action on 26th June 1917. A third son, Kingsley Frank Uridge, was born on 9th July 1900 but died one week later and is buried at St Peter’s Church, Chailey.

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