Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Lieutenant William Ivor Grantham, 1/5th Royal Sussex Regt

William Ivor Grantham was born on 14th May 1898 at Cadogan Place, Chelsea, London; his birth registered in the district of Chelsea on 22nd June that year.  His birth certificate notes that his father, William Wilson Grantham, was a Barrister at Law living at 60 Cadogan Place, London. 

He appears on the 1901 census of England and Wales as a two year old living at 17 Cadogan Place, London.  The household comprised William Wilson Grantham (1861-1942), his wife Sybil Grantham (1877-1952) and their two children: William Ivor and Myrtle Irene Grantham aged eight months.  William Wilson, aged 35 and born in South Norwood, had married Sybil de la Rue, twelve years his junior, on 17th July 1897.  Also noted at 17 Cadogan Place are eight domestic servants including a nurse and under nurse employed to look after the two children. 

He was appointed to a commission as second lieutenant with the 6th (Cyclist) Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment on 25th October 1915 and seconded for duty with the 9th Provisional Cyclists’ Company.  Chailey Parish Magazine first mentions him however, in January 1916, noting: Grantham, 2nd Lieutenant I, Royal Sussex Cyclists’ Corps.  The following month it amends that information to: Grantham, 2nd Lieutenant W I, 9th Provisional Cyclist Company. 

In March 1917, Ivor’s records state that he was Restored to Establishment, meaning that his period of secondment to the 9th Provisional Cyclists’ Company came to an end and he returned to the 6th Royal Sussex.  In the same month Chailey Parish Magazine noted that he was serving with the 15th Royal Sussex Regiment.  It seems likely, that the 15th Royal Sussex Regiment is a mis-transcription of the 1/5th Royal Sussex to which he was attached and which Chailey’s parish magazine correctly notes in July 1917. 

It is unclear from his surviving records, exactly when Ivor Grantham proceeded overseas.  He was however, promoted lieutenant on 1st July 1917.  In his unpublished memoirs, written for his niece, he recalls life on the Western Front:

“… a night operation in the front line in the Ypres salient in the autumn of 1917, at the end of which he returned to Battalion Headquarters located in dug-outs stretched along both sides of the Yser Canal.  Wet through, and shivering from the cold he decided to have a really stiff drink of rum before turning in, and knowing that no other member of his Company’s Mess ever touched rum – nor did he usually – he consumed the whole lot of that night’s ration for his fellow members.  To reach his own dug-out to turn in for the rest of that night, your uncle had to cross to the other side of the canal by a narrow plank bridge.  He remembers starting to cross, sitting down on the plank half way over, and then noticing that the sky above him and the water below appeared to be changing places.  His next recollection was being told that the Brigadier had wished to see him at 10 o’clock that morning, but had been pleased to excuse his attendance on learning of the events of the previous night.”

He also remembers a night fatigue in which his platoon was engaged in carrying supplies up to the front line at Ypres through “indescribable mud pitted with shell-holes” along a duck-board track: 

“Suddenly your uncle became conscious of an extraordinary feeling - ahead of him there appeared to be an invisible barrier, which restricted movement in a forward direction.  Following the line of least resistance, he found that he could move to the right, at right-angles to the track.  Although unable to account for this feeling, your uncle decided to act upon it, and word was passed back: “Move to the right in line”.  The line became extremely ragged, and much grumbling could be heard; but all did their best until about fifty yards had been covered.  Then suddenly a salvo of shells exploded upon the duck-board track two or three hundred yards ahead, just where the column would have been if they had continued to move forward along the track.  Your uncle’s reputation for good luck immediately became almost unbearable, as men began volunteering for tasks which it was known would be under his direction ; and it was a distinct relief when a week or two later he found himself knocked out by a stray piece of shell which penetrated a certain part of his anatomy.” 

According to his surviving service record, the “certain part of his anatomy” was his right buttock and the shell wound was sufficiently deep for him to be classified as “very severely wounded”.  He was wounded on 4th October 1917 in the Ypres salient which means that the photo at the top of this post, according to the caption, must have been taken on the 1st October. He was: 

“… carried back to a First Aid Post by stretcher bearers, assisted by his batman, the son of a Lewes picture-frame maker, who kindly wrote to your grandparents [William Wilson and Sybil Grantham] with details of the event.  After a week at the Military Hospital at Rouen your uncle made the journey home, lying on his face, on board a Hospital-ship which took thirty hours sailing down the river and crossing the Channel to Southampton.”

Ivor embarked for England on 9th October and disembarked at Southampton the following day.  He was despatched to The London Hospital at Whitechapel where he would remain for the next year.

While he was recuperating, a photo of Lieutenant Ivor Grantham and his platoon, photographed three days before he was wounded, appeared in a local Sussex newspaper.  The caption noted that his father had visited him in hospital in London that week and found that he was making good progress.

Ivor Grantham spent the next eleven months in hospital, appearing before various Medical Boards during that time, all of which regarded his recovery to a state of A1 fitness, a long way off.  In August 1918, a note on his file states that the “Ministry of Labour requires this officer’s services” but Ivor was still recuperating and on 25th September 1918 a further Medical Board stated: 

“That he is suffering from the effects of a GSW Right Buttock [unclear] a [unclear] [unclear] [unclear] wound with injury [unclear] external [unclear] [unclear] [unclear] [unclear] Great sciatic nerve resulting in right [unclear] drop, sensory loss and wasting of muscles of Right Leg.   

“[Unclear] a special treatment he has regained sensation [unclear] muscle power is slowly returning. 

“Wounds have now completely healed [unclear] he is recommended for transfer to a convalescent home where he can have electrical treatment for two months at the end of which time he would [unclear] probably be fit for sedentary duty.” 

Ivor Grantham takes up the story.

“[I was transferred] to a private Convalescent Home in Hove run by a lady in her own home on the front.  Her “guests” – ten or twelve in number – were individually received by the butler at the front door on their arrival, and were then solemnly announced by rank and name to their hostess as she stood ready to receive them in the drawing room.” 

It was here in Hove that, sitting on the seafront close to the convalescent home, dressed in civilian clothes and with his crutches on the ground, Ivor Grantham was “handed a white feather by a lady with a handful of such feathers” leaving him amused and speechless.  (While he was in France he had also learned from family members that a military escort had arrived at his family residence in Balneath with a warrant for his arrest for failing to report for duty when called up at the age of nineteen a few months earlier.  The corporal and soldier accompanying him were appropriately informed of Ivor Grantham’s current status). 

On 27th January 1919, Lieutenant Grantham assumed duties with the Ministry of Labour, remaining there until he was disembodied at Crystal Palace on 2nd August 1919.  On his discharge certificate, he gave his civil occupation as student and his address as Balneath Manor.  He was medically categorised as C2.  

He then appears to have returned to complete his studies at Cambridge.  A letter written from his tutor at Trinity College and received by the Kitchener Hospital in Brighton on 5th December 1919 states: 

“I hereby certify that Lt W I Grantham, an under graduate of this college, at present in residency, is detained in Cambridge until 10th December by reason of his academic work.  He will have kept his time on that date and will be free to leave.” 

In later life, Ivor married Helen Murray Walker (May 1933) and, after she died, married Anne Ridgeway (October 1973).  There was no issue from either marriage. 

As Chailey resident Mick Pateman remembers, the Grantham family was aristocratic, “property owners like the Blencowes and the Slessors.”  William Wilson Grantham was Lord of the Manor of Balneath and when he died in 1942, his son Ivor inherited the title.  His entry in Burke’s Peerage (circa 1952), under the title, “Grantham of Chailey”, reads as follows: 

“William Ivor Grantham OBE, of Buckle’s Wood, Chailey, Sussex, Lord of the Manors of Camois Court and Balneath, JP (1949) Sussex, Barrister-at-Law, Inner Temple (1922), Royal Sussex Regt (TF) 1915-19, in legal branch RAF 1931-46, W/Cmdr, Deputy Judge Advocate-Gen, Middle East, Iraq and Aden, 1934-36, served in World Wars I and II, O.st.J; b 14 May 1898, educ Harrow and Trin Coll Camb (MA LLB) m. 27 May 1933, Helen, dau of Murray Walker of The Wilderness, Woodbridge, Suffolk.” 

William Ivor Grantham died in Lewes in November 1986 aged 88.  His title of Lord of The Manor passed to his niece.  An obituary published at the time paid tribute to, amongst other things, his work as a Braille transcriber for the National Students’ Library; his efforts in establishing the Arthritis and Rheumatism Council in Lewes, and his abiding interest in the Anglican church.  His father, William Wilson Grantham, also served his King and Country during the First World War. 

Major William Wilson Grantham, 1/6th (Cyclist) Royal Sussex Regt

William Wilson Grantham was born on 7th January 1866 in South Norwood, Surrey.  He was the eldest son of William and Emma Grantham and appears on the 1871 census living with his family in Croydon.  The household comprised William Grantham (head, aged 35, a Lewes-born barrister at law), his wife Emma (aged 28) and four children: William Wilson (aged five), Emma L Grantham (aged three), Constance M Grantham (aged two) and Frederick William Grantham (aged eight months).  Also noted on the census are four servants including a nurse and under nurse to look after the children.  

By the time the 1881 census was taken, William was boarding at Harrow School and a few years later, in December 1885 he began his long association with The Militia (the fore-runner of the Territorial Force).  Surviving service papers held at The National Archives show that between 16th December 1885 and 17th November 1888 he was a lieutenant (and latterly captain) with the Cambridgeshire Regimental Volunteers.

There is then a two and a half year lull in matters military but by 6th May 1891 William was with the 14th Middlesex Regiment Volunteers as a second lieutenant.  He would remain with them until 31st March 1908 being promoted to lieutenant in May 1892 and captain in September 1900.   

In the meantime he had also married Sybil de la Rue on 17th July 1897.  In his booklet, “This and That in Chailey and Barcombe” Edwin Matthias quotes from Barcombe Parish Magazine for August 1897 which rejoices that: 

Mr W Grantham has chosen as his wife one who has already made a favourable impression upon the people of Barcombe and wishes Bride and Bridegroom all happiness and prosperity, and congratulations to Sir William and Lady Grantham on their son’s marriage.  In celebration Barcombe Place [purchased by William Wilson’s grandfather, George Grantham in 1839] opened its gates to offer welcome and hospitality to all.  A temporary ballroom was erected for a ball on Aug 31st; entertainment of the school children on the 1st and a ball for tenants on the 2nd.  The children were presented with Jubilee mugs by “Sir William and Lady Grantham on the marriage of Willie and Sybil”.  A Ladies’ Band provided the music. 

At the time the 1901 census was taken he was heading the household at 17 Cadogan Place, London.  The couple had two children: William Ivor Grantham (aged two) and Myrtle Irene Grantham aged eight months.  The house was also shared with eight domestic servants including a nurse and under nurse employed to look after Ivor and Myrtle.  In time, William and Sybil would have five more sons and two more daughters.   

For William, the Militia appears to have been a dedicated interest but a career with the military seems not to have been an option.  Like his father before him he was earning good money as a barrister. 

Between 1st April 1908 and 27th September 1911 he is noted as a captain at The Inns of Court OTC and from 28th September 1911 until 15th April 1913 as a captain in the Territorial Army on its unattached list.  On 16th April 1913 he joined the 6th Royal Sussex Regiment as a captain and remained with them until 1922.  Although he finished the war as a major, he appears not to have travelled overseas with the battalion.  He would have been 48 years old when war was declared on Germany and was presumably too old for active service.   Nevertheless, Chailey Parish Magazine published his name in its first published roll of honour in October 1914 and would continue to do so every month up until the final published roll call in July 1919. 

Major Grantham appears to have almost single-handedly revived the sport of stoolball during the First World War and there are a number of articles about this on the web. The following extract can be read in its full context here (http://www.sabruk.org/examiner/11/stoolball.html)

Major Grantham was serving on the Military Tribunal. His eldest son had been badly wounded in France, and the Major was moved to provide some sport for the "battered heroes of the war in our military hospitals". Cricket and tennis were deemed to strenuous for those who had lost limbs or otherwise handicapped; stoolball seemed to be the ideal game. A seminal match was played that year on the Sussex County Cricket Ground, between soldiers from the Pavilion Hospital "damaged by wounds" and a team of ancient lawyers, including Major Grantham, "damaged by age". The soldiers won. 

He also brought the game closer to home and there are a number of reports in local Sussex papers of recovering soldiers at Chailey playing games of Stoolball.  On 24th June 1917 The Sussex Express reported a game at “… Balneath Manor, the residence of Major W W Grantham, between officers of the Royal Flying Corps from Brook House, the new convalescent Hospital, and a team from Beechlands Convalescent Hospital.  Those from Brook House were easy winners.  Needless to say, Mrs Grantham entertained the company present to tea.” 

According to the East Sussex News, published five days later, The Royal Flying Corps officers were easy winners by 50 runs.  Major Grantham for his part appears to have taken his revived game on a tour of the county; in September 1917 there is a report of a match between Major Grantham’s team and Miss Norton’s team from Ditchling Red Cross Hospital.  The game also got as far as Lords as reported by www.stoolball.co.uk 

During the 10 years after WWI, Major W.W.Grantham organised, with the permission of the M.C.C. Committee, a series of annual games at Lord's Cricket Ground with the last game on Saturday September 24th 1927 played between Major Grantham's Own XI and the Japanese Embassy; Major Grantham's team won by 53 runs. 

The current National Stoolball Association was … formed to replace the "Stoolball Association for Great Britain" which ceased to function in 1942, possibly due to WWII and the death of Major W.W.Grantham. It was he who founded the original Association in 1923 and was instrumental in the phenomenal upsurge in the popularity of stoolball after WWI. In 1927 there were over 1000 clubs playing stoolball. 

On 19th January 1922, William wrote to the War office from his chambers at 6 Crown Office Row, Temple, London.  “Dear Sir”, he began, “… I was recently informed that I am now entitled to the Territorial Decoration as I have been an efficient volunteer and/or Territorial since, and including 1884.  I received the VD in the spring of 1907 and am told that my War Service from August 4th 1914 to November 1919 (ie five years and three months) counts double service towards the 20 years service for the TD.” 

The following month he received what must have been a disappointing reply.  “… as you have not completed the necessary 40 years qualifying service it is regretted that you are ineligible for the Territorial Decoration.” [He’d completed 37 years and 11 days]

William Wilson Grantham died on 18 Feb 1942.  There are a number of family papers lodged at The East Sussex records office at Lewes and also what is known as the “Grantham Collection of Number Ones” at the Institute of Education, University of London.  According to the university, the collection “consists of the first issues of a variety of journals on all subjects, first published in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was put together by Major William Wilson Grantham (1866-1942), at one time Deputy Chairman of the London County Council, and deposited at County Hall in 1933; it then passed to the Institute of Education, along with other materials from the Inner London Education Authority, in 1990.”

Sybil Grantham died in 1952.  In her will she left a plot of land known as Hoggs Mead upon which she desired houses to be built for elderly gentlewomen in distressed circumstances.  The flats were duly built and today Grantham Close and Nym Close opposite it provide housing for 35 pensioners. 

As previously mentioned, William Wilson’s son Ivor also served his King and Country during the First World War.  His brother, Frederick William Grantham and Frederick’s son Hugo Frederick Grantham were both killed in action during the First World War.  Frederick was killed in action near Richebourg L’Avoue on 9th May 1915.  His son Hugo was killed at Gallipoli a few weeks later on 28th June.

108423 RSM Oliver Godley, Royal Engineers

Oliver Godley first makes an appearance in Chailey Parish Magazine in October 1915 as Godley, Corporal O, RE, England.  By March 1916 it is noted that he is in France and by the following month, that he has been promoted to sergeant.   

In November 1916, the parish magazine notes that he is now quartermaster sergeant and in May 1918, this is further updated with: Godley, Company Quarter Master Sergeant O, MFW, RE.  By July 1919, Oliver had been promoted again, this time to regimental sergeant major.  According to the parish magazine, he still held this rank in July 1919 although his medal card at the National Archives indicates two references: corporal and later warrant officer class 1 (above). He was discharged to Class Z of the Army Reserve in August 1919.

The 1911Census of England and Wales reveals a strong candidate in 32-year-old Oliver Godley, a carpenter and joiner born in Maryhill, Glasgow and living with his 36-year-old wife, Connie, and two children, Thelma Connie (aged six) and Oliver Godley (aged two). The family were living at Warren Cottages, North Common, Chailey. Thelma was born in Brighton but Oliver junior was born in Chailey, suggesting therefore that the family may have moved into the village some time after 1904.

204321 Private Charles Godward, South Staffordshire Regt

According to his surviving Territorial Force attestation papers (Army Form E.501), Charles Godward was born at Southwater, Horsham, Sussex in about January 1893.  I could however, find no evidence of his birth on either the 1901 census return or the England and Wales civil registration index (1837-1983). 

Employed by The Reverend Theodore Harry Lee Jellicoe of Chailey as a groom and gardener, Charles Godward volunteered with the Royal Sussex Regiment at Brighton on 10th August 1914.  He gave his address as North Common, Chailey, stated that he was unmarried and previously belonged to the boy scouts.  He gave his age as 21 years and seven months and it was noted that he was five feet six and a half inches tall, had good vision and good physical development and was considered fit for the army. 

He was embodied in the 1/6th Sussex (Cyclist) Regiment on 10th August 1914 as 595 Private Charles Godward.  This was a territorial unit which had been formed four days previously at Montpelier Place, Brighton and which, between August 1914 and the end of 1915 would be stationed at Norfolk and attached to the 1st Mounted Division.  On joining the battalion, Charles Godward also certified that he was “able and willing to provide myself with a bicycle during my period of service as cyclist in the Cyclist Battalion” 

In October 1914, Chailey Parish Magazine noted that he was serving his King and Country and Charles Godward then spent the next fourteen months with the 1/6th Sussex before being posted to the 2/6th Battalion on 3rd December 1915.   

The 2/6th (Cyclist) Battalion TF had been formed at Brighton in November 1914 and between August and September 1915 it was attached to the 68th Division at Bedford.  In November 1915 it was moved to Chiseldon where it was converted to infantry.  On 4th February 1916 the battalion sailed from Devonport To India with the 1/9th Hampshire Regiment, 1/25th London Regiment and 1/1st Kent Regiment, these four battalions forming a brigade which had originally been intended for East Africa. 

Godward remained in India until 2nd September 1917 when he returned home sick.  He was discharged from the army on 10th November 1917 and issued with silver war badge number 313197 on 16th January 1918.  His total reckoned service amounted to three years and 93 days. 

On his King’s Discharge Certificate, sent on 25th November 1918. Godward’s address is given as The Cottage, Worthing Road, Southwater, Horsham, Sussex and his next of kin given as his mother, Mary Anne Godward, at the same address. 

His cause of discharge was noted as tubercule of the lung; a condition which had been aggravated by his war service. He was awarded a weekly pension of 27 shillings and sixpence. 

At some point, Charles Godward must have transferred to the South Staffordshire Regiment as this detail plus a new number – 204321 – is noted on his discharge certificate and his medal information card held at Kew in London.

George Graham

Next to nothing is known about this man.  He appears once in Chailey Parish Magazine in a report on the village’s peace celebrations in August 1919 where he came first in the 200 yards’ race for soldiers and first in the 100 yards’ hurdles for soldiers. 

There is nobody by the name of Graham listed on the 1901 or 1911 census for Chailey.

Ambrose Gorringe

Ambrose Gorringe appears in a special list of attested men in January 1916 and appears for the last time in the same list in April 1916. 

He appears on the 1901 census as a 21 year old brick yard labourer living at home with his father, Amos Gorringe, at South Common, Chailey.  Amos is noted as the head of the family; a 61 year old widower also working as a brickyard labourer.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Durrants, Chailey c1905

My thanks to Hannah Dennison, a former inhabitant of Durrants on Chailey Green, for sending me this superb photo of Durrants which dates to around 1905. The house behind Durrants has long since disappeared. Does anyone know the name of it or when it was demolished?

Otto Gatland, born in 1847, owned the smithy to the left of Durrants and worked there between 1887 and 1913. He died in 1915. Durrants, now a four-bedroomed property, was last sold in 2013 for £650,000. The photo below appears on the rightmove website.