Sunday, February 12, 2017

Chailey War Memorial

Here's another photo from the unveiling of Chailey's war memorial on the 2nd October 1920. The crop below shows some of the men of the parish, but who are they?

Thomas Deadman is the man on the far right, but what about the other men, and who is the officer? A Blencowe perhaps? Also see my earlier post on the unveiling of Chailey's War Memorial.

10298 Pte Ernest Kelsey, Royal Fusiliers; later SE/31883 AVC

Private Ernest Kelsey was a patient at Beechland House Newick in 1917.  His entry in Nurse Oliver’s album reads:

The happiest hours of my life,
Were spent in the arms of another man’s wife,
My Mother.

Pte E J Kelsey
22 Royal Fusiliers

He shares this page in her album with Sergeant H Hunter and 11066 Band Boy John William Pate, Dragoon Guards.

He is probably the same Private Kelsey who is mentioned in The East Sussex News of Friday June 29th 1917.  The paper reports:

The contestants were Major Grantham’s team of officers of The Royal Flying Corps from Brook House (Chailey) Convalescent Hospital and Miss Cotesworth’s team of NCOs and men from Beechlands (Newick) Convalescent Hospital, and the former gained an easy victory by 50 runs. 

The same match had also been reported on five days earlier in The Sussex Express which said that the event had taken place:

… 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.

Ernest John Kelsey was born in the market town of Bedworth in Warwickshire in about 1882.  He was a hatter by trade and appears on the 1911 census, aged 29, and still living in the family home with his brother and two sisters, all in their twenties.

No service record survives for Ernest but his medal index card gives the number 10298 for The Royal Fusiliers and SE/31883 for the Army Veterinary Corps.  The Royal Fusiliers regimental number dates to December 1914 whilst the AVC number is much later and dates to about the 8th or 9th October 1917, a couple of months after Ernest signed Nurse Oliver's album.  As he was only entitled to the British War and Victory Medal he was presumably wounded - or fell sick - overseas with the Royal Fusiliers, returned to England, transferred to the AVC, and then went back to France. 

Ernest Kelsey survived the war and died in late 1944 or 1945, his death registered at Nuneaton in the first quarter of 1945.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Mothers of the Empire - Mrs James Pointing of Chailey

On Friday 6th April 1917 the Sussex Express published a photograph of Mrs James Pointing of Chailey and her four sons and one son-in law. The digital version of this page is now available on Findmypast and The British Newspaper Library. This particular page, which is probably from old microfilm, has not scanned well and so anyone who desires a better copy is advised to go to the British Library and recall the original paper. There are separate pages on this blog for the men who are reported in the Sussex Express as:

Pte W Pointing, The Buffs
Sgt F Pointing, Royal Flying Corps
Pte G Pointing, Queen's Own
Signaller G Pointing, Sussex Yeomanry
Cpl E F Stephens, Royal Fusiliers

For what it's worth, even though it's a poor copy, I've reproduced the image on this post. Mrs Alice Pointing (who was possibly the cook for Sussex 54 VAD) is pictured below:

Beauty & The Beast

On Friday 9th February the East Sussex News published an article on "an entertainment" - Beauty and The Beast - which took place at The Parish Room, Chailey.  The full cast list was also printed, some of the players also appearing in Nurse Oliver's album.

The article and two subsequent articles are reproduced below.  Over time, I will add links for those men and women who appear in Nurse Oliver's album. For the others who didn't record an entry, all we know for sure is that they were convalescing at Beechlands in February 1917.

An entertainment by the soldiers and staff of The Beechlands Red Cross Hospital, assisted by a few friends, took place at The Parish Room on Wednesday evening.  The proceeds are for The Prisoners of War Fund and, judging by the crowded room, the fund should benefit by a considerable sum.  Beauty and The Beast, a pantomime in three acts, proved very amusing and created roars of laughter.  It was preceded by comic songs by Mr Gus Avery. Songs by Miss Hoather and recitations by Miss Beauchamp Marshall.  The characters in the pantomime were represented as follows: Beauty, Pte Keenan; Beast, Lc-Sgt Croft; Languor, Pte Lucas; Vanity, Rfm Maginnis; Merchant, Lc-Corpl Smith (Canadians); Fairy Godmother, Lc-Corpl McCrorie; Folly, Rfm Hobbs; Commonsense, Gunr Bright; King Cole, Corpl Reynolds; Fiddler, Pte Flynn; Fiddler, S-S Atkinson; Fiddler and Farmer’s Boy, Lc-Corpl Stern; Highlander, Pte McKenzie; Queen of Hearts, Pte Oliver; Knave of Hearts, Pte Hubbard; Knight, Pte Lincoln; Wizard I, Pte Head; Wizard II, Pte Gray; Wizard III, Pte Washbourne; Bo-peep, Pte Proctor; Poppy, Pte Brassington; Bee, Lc-Corpl Smith (Buffs); Firefly I, Pte Robinson; Firefly II, Pte Jennings; Forget-me-not, Pte Hoidge; Fairies, Misses J and K Fenn.

Sunday February 18th 1917 - Chailey [The Sussex Express]
The Parish Room was crowded with a large and appreciative audience on Wednesday evening, when a variety entertainment, organised by Miss Cotesworth, was given.  The first part consisted of song and recitations.  The second half of the programme was composed of a short musical play in three acts written by Miss Hughes, entitled ‘Beauty and The Beast”.  The proceeds will be donated to the Prisoners of War Fund.

February 23rd 1917 [The Sussex Express]

The variety entertainment which was held at the Parish Room a fortnight ago realised £9,17s for the Prisoners of War Fund.

Newspaper roll-call - Hickwells & Beechlands

On my original Chailey 1914-1918 website I included a page of extracts from local newspapers which mentioned convalescent patients and nurses. I am re-publishing that page here. For some of the men noted here, their name-checks is the only information I have.

The men whose names appear in bold, do not appear in Nurse Oliver’s album but from contemporary newspaper reports it is obvious that they were patients at Hickwells or Beechlands.  For the most part, they are referred to only by their rank and surname and it is therefore virtually impossible to research them further.  They do however warrant inclusion on this website and if any further information about any of the men named here comes to light, I will publish it in due course.

Soldiers highlighted in blue did leave an entry in Nurse Oliver’s album and their biographies can be accessed by clicking on their names.  A separate roll-call for men appearing in the February 1917 pantomime, “Beauty and the Beast” can be accessed by following the link.

Sussex Express
November 5th 1915 - Page 12 - Chailey 
CONCERT - A highly successful concert was held at the Parish Room the other evening.  The proceeds were in aid of the building fund and the performers included several wounded soldiers… duets: Corporal Wood and Private Allan; … song “The Sunshine of Your Smile”, Corporal Wood … recitation, “Wreck of the Hesperus”, Private Goldborough… The soldiers were cheered immediately they reached the platform.

Sussex Daily News
Friday November 26th 1915
A successful concert was held in the Chailey Parish Room on Wednesday evening in aid of the building fund.  The programme was composed mostly of items by the soldier patients of Hickwells Relief Hospital and, judging by the vociferous encores, was much appreciated.  A popular contribution seemed to be ‘Hickwells Band’ which, though not very tuneful, was certainly responsible for plenty of fun.  Bombardier Ryan announced the items and gave an excellent comic song with tambourine dance.  Sergeant Sheppard gave some bugle calls of the British Army.  Driver Bradley kept the audience in roars of laughter with his comic songs.  Corporal Nash, Lance-Corporal Smith and Private Allen’s [sic] songs were much appreciated.  The only civilian who took part was Mr Stone, who sang a couple of songs.

Sussex Daily News
Friday December 3rd 1915
The soldiers at Hickwells Relief Hospital at Chailey were ‘at home’ to their friends on Wednesday afternoon and by way of amusing them gave two excellent entertainments - one at 2:30 and the other at 4:30.  The bugle called the performers together and when the screens were withdrawn a nice little group of waxworks was disclosed, Bombardier Ryan shewing off their ‘beauties’ in his usual amusing way.  Corporal Nash (as St George) and Private Allen [sic] sang the ‘Tin Gee Gee’, Private Wise and Sergeant Calvert making two fascinating ‘Little Dolly Girls’.  Rifleman Collins, still on crutches, made a splendid broken doll.  Lance-Corporal Smith was a Japanese Lady, and, later on, although only having the use of one arm, cleverly ‘vamped’ some accompaniments.  While dresses were being changed, Private Hume and Private MacBride sang and danced, and then to the tune of ‘Here We Are Again’, Hickwells’ Pierrot troupe appeared and gave a spirited entertainment.  Driver Bradley and Private Allen [sic] made excellent ‘Corner Men’ and Bombardier Ryan was capital as the ‘Master of Ceremonies’.  The troupe included, besides those already mentioned, Sergeant Calvert, Sergeant Sheppard, Corporal Nash, Lance-Corporal Smith, Privates Wise and Holleran, Driver Cleary and Corporal Dicks, many of whom sang and recited.  Two of the nurses helped at the piano

Sussex Daily News
Monday December 20th 1915
The soldiers at Hickwells’ Relief Hospital gave another entertainment to their friends on Friday evening and had an appreciative and crowded audience.  Corporal Nash made an excellent Master of the Ceremonies.  The performers were in fancy dress, some quite fine ‘ladies’ being among them.  ‘Hickwells’ Famous Band’ opened the proceedings.  Many and various were the instruments, from bells, drums, whistle-pipes and tambourines, while even a brass candlestick was made use of, and last but not least an accordion.  No encores were allowed and two of the nurses helped at the piano.

[There then follows a programme list - omitted here - performed by: Drummer Davis, Private Holyrod, Private Hume, Private Allen [sic], Lance-Corporal Savage, Corporal Nash and Private Wise].  Besides those already mentioned, the band included Sergeant Calvert, Corporal Littler, Driver Cleary, Private Harrison, Private McBride, Private Ladd, Private Dawson and Private Kearton.

Sussex Daily News
Friday January 21st 1916
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.

East Sussex News
Friday October 13th 1916
… the performers consisted of convalescent soldiers from The Beechland Auxiliary Hospital and several ladies, for the most part from Brighton… [Performers mentioned: Private McWilliams, Private Gordon, Private Raynor–Smith, Lance-Corporal Beeching, Private Tomkinson, Lance-Corporal Coates.  Proceeds amounted to £10] “Performers took tea together at the Beechland Hospital, after which the programme was repeated there for the benefit of those who were inacpable of going to hear it at the Reading Room.

East Sussex News
Friday January 26th 1917
[Whist drive reported – soldiers noted are: Private Maginnis, Rifleman Head, Corporal W Reynolds, Private H Proctor, Corporal A E Smith.]

Sussex Express
Friday January 26th 1917
WHIST DRIVE - A whist drive was held in the Reading Room on Wednesday in aid of the Red Cross Hospital ‘Bucklands’, [sic] Newick.  There were 24 ½  tables and the funds will benefit by £2,2s.  The prizes and winners were … Gentlemen … 3rd Private Magginniss, [sic] pipe rack, 170 points; hidden number, Rifleman F Head, money purse, 163 points.  For wounded soldiers only: 1st, Corporal Reynolds (bogey, bogey), 100 cigarettes, 169 points; lowest, Private Proctor, 10 cigarettes, 137 points, hidden number, Corporal Smith (better known as “Canada”), 50 cigarettes, 78 points.  The prizes, which, with the refreshments, and a box of cigars, for wounded soldiers only, the gift of a lady), were given away by Mrs Oldaker, to whom a hearty vote of thanks were recorded…

Sussex Express
March 23rd 1917 - Newick
[Another Whist Drive is reported held on March 22nd - 20 tables - special prizes for wounded soldiers going to Private Warner and Private Jennings.  Note, this may be the same Private Jennings who appeared in the Beauty and The Beast Pantomime held in February 1917.]

East Sussex News
Friday December 28th1917
[whist drive in aid of Reading Room.  Wounded soldiers mentioned: Pte Duffy, Pte Swift, Grenadier Whitwan.]