12 November 2018

GREAT WAR CENTENARY: THE FAMILY RECKONING


So many young lives wasted. 

Finally it was over.  And the leaders started to prepare for a peace treaty which would sow the seeds of discontent, leading ultimately to another war twenty years hence.  In the meantime families were counting the cost…..                                                                                                                                                                                         
In the last four years I have commemorated all the men within my extended family who died and I felt it would now be good to think about the numbers.  At the local war memorial on Sunday the minister told the story of a family of six brothers: after five had died, the local vicar wrote to the Queen and the sixth son was found and returned to his family.  

I cannot claim six brothers serving at once but I did write about the four Pridmore brothers who died, and the three Hills boys who died in consecutive years. 

Then there were the two Blaydon brothers and their cousin.  Two pairs of Culpin brothers, the Free brothers from Australia and the Glew brothers.   And the Steward boys who died within three months of each other, and the Mendhams within three weeks of one another.  Not to mention the Stadens, uncle & nephew, from Bury St Edmunds.  

In all I recorded sixty-eight deaths; the oldest being 40 years old and the youngest aged just 17 years.  Five died on the first day of the Somme; nine in all commemorated on the Thiepval memorial.  Eight on the Menin Gate.  Thirty in total have no known grave.  Young George Culpin, the 17-year-old, drowned at Jutland.

 It was called "The war to end all wars".  History proves otherwise.  Lions led by donkeys?  I struggle to see past the lives thrown away because their leaders wanted them to march in an orderly fashion, line abreast, into barbed wire and machine guns. 

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them.

GREAT WAR CENTENARY: Richard Culpin

Richard Benjamin Culpin was born in Cambridge in 1898, seventh of the eight children of John & Elizabeth (nee Harrison) and their only son to live past his first birthday.  He grew up in the city, enlisted in the Royal Sussex regiment and went to war.  He died of his wounds in Cambridge on 16 December 1918.

The Cambridge Daily News of 23 December 1918 fills in the details:

"MILITARY FUNERAL: Pte. R. B. Culpin. The funeral of the late Pte.  Richard Benjamin Culpin, of the 12th Royal Sussex Regt., took place at the Mill-road Cemetery on Saturday last, the curate of St. Philip's officiating.  The deceased was wounded at the battle of the Somme on November 14th, 1917, and had his leg amputated at the 53rd General Hospital, Wimeru.  He was also wounded in the back and side by shrapnel. He was removed from France to St. George's Hospital; from these to the Atkinson Morley Convalescent Hospital, Wimbledon, and then home to the residence of his father, Mr. John Culpin, 7, Malta-road. Complications arising from the result of shrapnel wounds caused his removal to the 1st Eastern General Hospital for operation, under which he died.  The principal mourners were the father, mother, and five sisters, Miss Priest, and Ptes. Bendall, Newberry, Woollard, Thurman and Warner.  The coffin was elm, with brass furniture, the plate bearing the following inscription: "Richard Benjamin Culpin, died December 16th, 1918, aged 20 years." The coffin, draped with the Union Jack and covered with some beautiful floral tributes, was conveyed to the cemetery on the military wagon, escorted by a detachment of R.A.M.C. "The Last Post" was sounded at the close of the commitment service.  Mr. W. G. Mason carried out the funeral arrangements."

We will remember them.

11 November 2018

GREAT WAR CENTENARY: A catch-up

On this centenary of the Armistice, I will introduce you to a further six members of the extended family who lost their lives.  I discovered these gentlemen too late to remember them on the day of their death but I will make amends now.

George Frank Stanley Coulson, born 1893 in Waterbeach, Cambs, was second of the eight children of Thomas & Janet (nee Drever).  By 1911 the family was living in Bottisham, and George was working as a farm labourer.  Enlisting in Ely, he joined the 11th Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment and, with hundreds of his comrades, died on the first day on the Somme - 1 July 1916.  He has no known grave but is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

Arthur Edward Read was born in Swindon in 1894, second of four children, and only son, of Edward & Annie (nee Cripps).  A boilermaker in 1911, he enlisted in the Duke of Edinburgh's (Wiltshire) Regiment and died on 5 July 1916 on the Somme.  He too is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

Thomas Samuel Rickwood was the son of Harry & Elizabeth and was born in Cambridge in 1884 and married Maud Gravestock in Cambridge in 1908.  He enlisted in he 7th Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment and was killed on 7 July 1916, also on the Somme.  He is also commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

Thomas Errington Sayer was a science master at Earl's Colne grammar school in Essex, who married Hilda Steward in 1916,  Just three months later, on 25 September 1916, as a Captain in the King's Yorkshire Light Infantry, he died on the Sommer.  The Thiepval Memorial also bears his name.

John Ralph Spreckley was born in Islington, London, in 1895, only child of John & Caroline, nee Culpin.  He joined up on 5 September 1914 and went with his battalion, the 6th Bedfordshires, to Gallipoli, taking part in the Suvla Bay landings in August 1915.  Invalided home with dysentery, he was sent to France in November 2016 and was reported missing on 28 April 1917.  It was eventually confirmed that he lost his life on this day and he is commemorated on the Arras Memorial.

Sydney William Large was born in Cambridge in 1888 and married Annie Culpin on 4 April 1911.  He joined the Royal Garrison Artillery and died on 16 September 1918.  He is buried in Peronne Communal Cemetery Extension.

We will remember them.

9 November 2018

GREAT WAR CENTENARY: Horace Hills

Horace Hills was born in Doddington, Cambs, in 1898, ninth of the ten children of George & Naomi (nee Wadelow), and the third of their sons to die in the Great War.

After his father's death in 1904, Naomi remarried at the family moved to Chatteris where, in 1911, Horace was already a farm labourer at the age of just 12.

On 9 September 1914 Horace enlisted in the 9th Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment and was sent out to the Western Front in 1915.  Wounded in the arm, he returned to the front in February 1916  and was wounded again at the Battle of the Somme, and reported missing on 3 July 1916.  Two months later he was listed as a prisoner of war at the Munster camp.

In January 1918 he was medically repatriated and went to the Military Hospital at Basingthorpe.  In April he was discharged from the Army and returned to Chatteris.  He died in the town on 9 November 1918 and was buried in the Chatteris cemetery.

We will remember them.

6 November 2018

GREAT WAR CENTENARY: Ernest Claridge

Ernest William Claridge was born in 1887 in Chatteris, Cambs, the elder of the two children of Samuel & Kate (nee Burrows).  By 1891 the family had moved to St Ives, across the county border in Huntingdonshire and the 1901 census showed the fourteen-year-old Ernest as a baker, living at the White Lion public house.

In 1907 Ernest married Grace King in St Ives and they begat five children in the town over the next ten years.    Enlisted into the Middlesex regiment, 29th Battalion, he was transferred to the Labour Corps.  He died on 6 November 1918 in the Military Hospital in Epsom, and was buried in St Ives Church Cemetery.

We will remember them.

5 November 2018

GREAT WAR CENTENARY: Edward Culpin

Edward Culpin was born in 1897 in Titchmarsh, Northants, eighth of the thirteen children of William & Lizzie (nee Quince), and younger brother of Willie Culpin who died in March 1916.  

Brought up in Titchmarsh, Edward was a fourteen-year-old farm labourer in the 1911 census but a few years later he enlisted in the 7th Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment, having signed-on in Rushden.

One hundred years ago today, Edward died of wounds and was buried at Awoingt British cemetery.

We will remember them.

4 November 2018

GREAT WAR CENTENARY: Francis Steward

Francis Henry Steward was born in the village of Sutton, in Cambridgeshire, youngest of the eleven children of Robert & Lucy (nee Whiting), and brother of James Wilson Steward who died in August 1918.  The family moved to Parsley Beans farm, near Halstead, Essex, by 1911 and then again to Sheepen Farm, Colchester.

Francis was a corporal in the 2nd Battalion, the King's Royal Rifle Corps, when he was killed on 4 November 1918.  He was buried in Le Rejet-de-Bealieu Communal Cemetery.

We will remember them.

27 October 2018

GREAT WAR CENTENARY: Stanley Staden

Stanley Frank Staden, born 21 December 1896 in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, was fourth of the eight children of John & Annie (nee Erswell).  Christened on 19 May 1897 in St John's church, he grew up in Bury St Edmunds and, by 1911, was a butcher's assistant living with his family (his mother died in 1907 and his father had remarried in 1910) at the Unicorn Inn, in Eastgate Street in the town.

When war came he joined up.  On 8th August.  At the age of 17, in the Suffolk Regiment, and was sent to the Western Front the following year.

I have thought a lot about this young man in the last few years.  The way he enlisted straight away, fought all the way through the war, earned the Military Medal; only to be killed 15 days before the Armistice.  I have no words for this short life which still, amongst all the others, has the power to bring me to tears, and leave the final part of this eulogy to others.

Extract from the History of the Suffolk Regiment: 

On the 27th [October 1918] the battalion was ordered to advance and  ascertain the enemy's strength on the river Rhonell, and if possible to  force a passage and form a bridge-head.  The Germans were found in  strength on both banks of the river, especially the north.  "A" Company  got a section over on the left, but these gallant men were all killed  before their success could be exploited, the remainder of the company  being driven back by machine-gun fire with many casualties.  In this  operation Cpl. S.F. Staden, M.M., displayed most conspicuous gallantry.   In the face of close-range fire he led his platoon to the river - which  he himself crossed carrying a Lewis gun - in a vain but heroic attempt to  rush an emplacement.  When the enemy had been driven back the grave of  this corporal was discovered marked with a cross (with his identity disc  fastened thereto) on which was inscribed in German the epitaph, "To a  very brave Englishman".

BURY FREE PRESS, 30th November 1918: 
BURY LAD KILLED BY MACHINE GUN BULLET.  Mr and Mrs J T Staden, of Eastgate Street, Bury St Edmund's, have received official intimation of the death in action, in France, of their second son, Cpl Stanley Frank Staden, 9722, Suffolk Regiment.  In a letter to the bereaved parents, the Chaplain of the battalion writes: "I am very sorry to tell you what you perhaps already know - that your son was killed instantly by a machine-gun bullet through the head during a very gallant attempt to cross the bridge at Maneches on October 27th.  His grave is in the garden of the house on the left-hand side of the road over the bridge coming from Sepnues.  His body was in the hand of the Germans, and I give them the credit for performing the last offices and placing a cross over the grave.  It will be hard for you to bear this sorrow in the midst of universal rejoicings.  May God comfort you and help you to feel that your brave son has given his precious life for the cause best worth living or dying for."

Corpl.Staden enlisted on August 8th, 1914, and was drafted overseas the following July.  He was wounded in February, 1916, his wounds necessitating his return to England for hospital treatment, and after three months was sent back to France.  For bravery in the field he was awarded the Military Medal last summer, and came home on leave last September, returning to duty on October 3rd.  

The deceased lad was only 21 years of age.  He was well known in the borough, and his cheery and lovable nature ensured for him a host of friends wherever he went.  Sincere and heartfelt sympathy is extended to the parents in their sorrow.

He is buried in Cross Roads Cemetery, Fontaine-au-Bois.

We will remember them.

22 October 2018

GREAT WAR CENTENARY: Amos Culpin

Two weeks ago I wrote about Ernest Culpin; today I write about his older brother Amos Culpin, who was born in Littlehampton, in 1885, oldest of the six children of Henry & Charlotte (nee Fielder).  By 1901 he was working as a telegraph messenger and, continuing the link with the outdoors and a bicycle, he became a postman in Oakham by 1911.

In 1912 Amos married Alice Stamp in Oakham and their son Arthur James was born later in the year.  When war came, Amos enlisted in the Army Service Corps, serving in the Balkans.  He died on 22 October 1918 and the Grantham Journal reported it thus:

"Died on active service.  Culpin - At the Detention Hospital Salonika, on 22 October 1918, of broncho-pneumonia following influenza, Amos, the dearly-loved eldest son of Mr & Mrs Culpin, Ashwell-road, Oakham, aged 33 years."

The final word, though, goes to his wife, via the columns of the Grantham Journal:

"In Memoriam:  In loving memory of my dear husband Corpl. Amos Culpin, who died October 23rd. 1918.  Only those who have lost can understand.  From his loving WIFE and JIMMY."

We will remember them.


8 October 2018

GREAT WAR CENTENARY: Ernest Culpin

Ernest Henry Culpin, to give him his full name, was born in Littlehampton, Sussex, in 1886, second of the six children of Henry & Charlotte (nee Fielder).  The family moved to Odell in Bedfordshire in the next year or so and Ernest was shown as a five-year old scholar in the 1891 census.

Ten years later he was in Burton Latimer, Northants, boarding out, and working as a railway clerk, and by 1911 he was working on his grandfather's farm in Egleton, Rutland.  Come the war he enlisted at Oakham into the Northamptonshire Regiment and was sometime transferred to the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

The Grantham Journal  of 26th October 1918 has more detail: 

"Pte E H Culpin, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, of Oakham
The death as the result of being wounded, which necessitated the amputation of an arm, took place at a Casualty Clearing Station, in France, on the 8th October, of Pte. Ernest Hy. Culpin, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, second son of Mr and Mrs Culpin, of 14, Ashwell-road, Oakham.  The usual official notice, from the Infantry Record Office, at Dublin, was preceded by a War Office telegram, notifying Pte. Culpin had died of wounds after the left arm had been amputated, and the following letter has also been received:- “12th CCS, BEF, France.  11/10/18.  Dear Mrs Culpin, I write to express my sincere sympathy with you on the death of your son.  He was admitted to hospital on the 8th and died the same day, at 2.45pm.  I don’t think he suffered much, as he was unconscious most of the time.  I buried him in the British cemetery here.  May he rest in peace, and may God accept the noble sacrifice he has made in the war.  My heart goes out to you poor mothers.  God help you.  Yours truly, H A Griffiths, Chaplain.”  

Pte. Culpin, who was 32 years of age, was home on leave some six weeks ago, after a long absence, during which period he been seen service in Salonica, Egypt, and Palestine, and was one of the first to enter Jerusalem afters its capture, being in the city when General Allenby rode through it on horseback.  He afterwards came to the Western front.  Deceased had been in the Army three years, being previously herdman for Lord Lilford, at Lilford Hall, Northants.  A brother, Corpl. A Culpin, of the MTS, is at the present time attached to the Servian Army, while a brother-in-law, Pte F E Garner, RAMC, of Oakham, died on service two years ago."

Ernest was buried in the Tincourt New British Cemetery.

We will remember them.

21 September 2018

GREAT WAR CENTENARY: Blaydon Pilbrow

Blaydon Edward Pilbrow was born in Hinderclay, Suffolk, on 20 July 1899, the only child of William & Laura (nee Blaydon).  By 1901 he & his parents had moved to Ipswich, where his father was a jobbing gardener; in 1911 they had returned to Hinderlay, to Walvert Tree Farm.

By 1917 Blaydon was a student teacher and at the age of 17 years & 359 days (as shown in his Army records), he enlisted, at Ipswich, in the Middlesex Regiment.  Sent to join the BEF in France on 2 April 1918, he was reported missing just three weeks later.

As a Prisoner of War Blaydon died of paratyphus on 21 September 1918 in a hospital in Metz.  His grave was finally found and its location reported to his parents in 1920.  He was buried in the Chambieres French National Cemetery in Metz.  He was just 19 years old.

We will remember them.


31 August 2018

GREAT WAR CENTENARY: George Pridmore

George Harry Pridmore was a distant cousin of mine and was born in Sheffield in 1896, eleventh of the thirteen children of William Thomas & Sarah Jane (nee Culpin).  By the age of fourteen, he was a chemist's errand boy.  In 1917, George married May Foster.

He and five of his brothers served in the Great War.

The Sheffield Daily Telegraph takes up the story:  "Second-Lieutenant G H Pridmore, of the West Yorkshire Regiment, who was 22 years of age, and lived at Walkley, Sheffield, has been killed in action.  Two of Lieutenant Pridmore's brothers had previously been killed, and one had died of wounds.  There are still two other brothers serving with the forces - an excellent family record.  Writing to Mrs Pridmore, one of Lieutenant Pridmore's officers says: "I know how great your sorrow will be, but you will, I hope, take comfort from the knowledge that he died taking charge of his men, and cheerfully doing his duty."

We will remember them.

22 August 2018

GREAT WAR CENTENARY: James Steward

James Wilson Steward was my third cousin once removed and was born in Sutton, Cambridgeshire in 1895. The ninth of eleven children of Robert Steward & Lucy (née Whiting), I next found James in Halstead working on the family farm in the 1911 census.

The Chelmsford Chronicle tells us that he joined the Royal Horse Artillery in 1914, possibly with three of his brothers, and died of wounds on 22 August 1918. He is buried in St Sever Cemetery in Rouen.

We will remember them.

16 August 2018

GREAT WAR CENTENARY: William Pates

William Henry Pates was my second cousin three times removed, was born in Birkenhead in 1893 and lived the rest of his 'normal' life in Rock Ferry in Cheshire.

The Liverpool Echo Roll of Honour on 2 September 1918 says it better than I can:

"Pates - August 16, Killed in Action, aged 25 years, William Henry Pates, 11th East Lancashire Regiment, the dearly-loved only son of Anne Jane and Thomas Pates, 6 Nelson-road, Rock Ferry."

We will remember them.

6 August 2018

GREAT WAR CENTENARY: Ernest Haddow

Ernest Haddow was born in 1893 in Biggleswade, Beds, second of the five sons of James & Ellen (nee Milton).  Christened in the Parish Church on 1 June that year, he was my half-cousin twice removed.  By 1902 the family had moved to King's Walden in Hertfordshire, moving again before 1911 and ending up in St Albans.

Shortly after this, on 19 December 1911,  Ernest, aged 18 years and 9 months, and a mere 5 feet tall, enlisted in the Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex) Regiment, signing on in Mill Hill.  He served in the UK until 1913 when he was sent out to the East Indies; returning home in November 1914.  The regiment was plainly sent to the Western Front in 1915 and Ernest served in the trenches, barring a few months at home recovering from a gunshot wound, until his death.

He died of wounds on 6 August 1918 and is buried in the Wailly Orchard Cemetery.

We will remember them.



31 July 2018

GREAT WAR CENTENARY: Harry Lowton

Let me introduce you to Harry James Lowton, my second cousin twice removed, who was born in Southwark in 1899, the only son and second of four children of Thomas & Eliza (nee Hinson).  His father died the next year and Harry, together with his mother and siblings, ended up in the St Olave union workhouse when his mother became destitute in 1908.

Discharged after a month, the family returned to live in Magdalen Street in Bermondsey, moving by the time of the 1911 census to Lancaster Street, Southwark.  The next sighting of Harry is in the  Church of England Confirmation Records which show the family back in Magdalen Street again,. Harry was confirmed on 11 March 1915, at the age of 15, at St John's Church, Larcon Street.  Poignantly, there is a Cross drawn by his name with the words "Killed in Action" in the next column.

Harry enlisted in Rotherhithe, presumably when he reached the age of 18 in 1917, in the Rifle Brigade, 2/10th London Regiment, and was killed on 31 July 1918.  He is buried in Dernacourt Communal Cemetery Extension.

We will remember them.

15 July 2018

GREAT WAR CENTENARY: Richard Culpin

Richard Henry (Harry) Culpin was the oldest son, and second of nine children, of Arthur Culpin & Frances (nee Heighton) and was born in Leicester in 1899.  He was not related to me but is one of my "collected" Culpins.  In 1901 the family was living in Wigston Magna, in Leicestershire, and moved to Kegworth, Derbyshire, by 1911.

He enlisted in the Leicestershire Regiment in the name of his brother Reginald, curiously, and was transferred at some point to the Durham Light Infantry.  He was killed on 15 July 1918 and has no known grave.  He is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Cemetery Memorial.

We will remember them.

26 May 2018

GREAT WAR CENTENARY: Samuel Free

Samuel John Free was born in 1893 in Corack, Victoria, Australia, the second child, and older son,of Samuel &, Fanny, nee Shepherd.  My fourth cousin twice removed, he was the older brother of Albert Free who died on 12 October 1917.

Samuel was a farmer in Lalbert, Victoria, who enlisted on 24 July 1916 in the Australian Machine Gun Corps, and was wounded in action taken to the 47th Casualty Clearing Station, he died of his wounds on 26 May 1918.

We will remember them.


8 May 2018

GREAT WAR CENTENARY: Harry Marshall

Harry Marshall, my third cousin once removed, was born in Huntingdon in 1887, second of the ten children of George & Mary Ann (nee Young).  He grew up in Huntingdon and married Elizabeth Warner in 1908 in the town.  In the 1911 census Harry is living with Elizabeth in Royal Oak Passage and he is shown as a brewer's labourer.

Harry enlisted, in Huntingdon, in the Bedfordshire Regiment and was killed in action today in 1918.  He is buried in Kemmel cemetery in France.

We will remember them.

16 April 2018

GREAT WAR CENTENARY: Clarence Culpin

Clarence Howard Culpin, my second cousin three times removed, was born in 1879 in Stoke Newington, fourth of the six children of Millice & Hannah (nee Munsey).  In 1881 the family lived in Church Street, Stoke Newington, and they emigrated to Australia in early 1891, settling in Queensland.

Clarence went to the Central State School in Brisbane and then the Gatton Agricultural College before settling as a farmer, showing up the electoral roll in Eumundi in 1903.

He enlisted in the Australian Infantry on 1st May 1916, at the age of 36, and embarked with the 26th Infantry Brigade on 21 October that year.  He died one hundred years ago today and is buried in Dernacourt Cemetery on the Somme.

The Brisbane Courier describes the honours paid to Clarence and other Eumundi soldiers who fell.

"APPRECIATION OF SOLDIERS.  EUMUNDI, October 8 (1918).
A memorial tree planting ceremony under the auspices of the Eumundi Women's Patriotic Committee was carried out last Saturday, when 12 trees where planted by the nearest relatives of 12 Eumundi heroes who have recently fallen at the Front.  A procession of Boy Scouts, State school pupils, and a batch of returned soldiers marched from the State school to the School  of Arts, where a large crowd had assembled.  The Nambour Town Band was in attendance.  Before the tree planting commenced patriotic speeches were delivered by Messrs R Warren, Jill, Sharry and Chapman (chairmen of the Marrochy and Noosa Shire Councils respectively), Rev. Jas. Moorehouse, Mr W Brookes (Maroochy Shire clerk), and Sergeant Russell.  The Brisbane visitors included Dr Culpin, who planted a tree in memory of his deceased son Clarence.  In the evening a sacred concert was held in the School of Arts, and was well attended.  Eighteen trees in all have now been planted."

We will remember them.

30 March 2018

GREAT WAR CENTENARY: Richard Stocks

Richard Joseph Stocks was a distant relative on my "Culpin-side" and was born in Peterborough, then in Northamptonshire, in 1886, the second child and only son of Joseph and Betsy (nee Culpin).  Joseph was a solicitor's clerk in the town and Richard himself was working as a clerk on the railway by the 1911 census.

He enlisted in the 1st/5th Border regiment and, during his service, was awarded the Military Medal.  He died of wounds on 30 March1918, most likely at the 41st, 50th or 55th Casualty Clearing Stations and is buried in the Namps-au-Val cemetery.

We will remember them.

28 March 2018

GREAT WAR CENTENARY: Bertram Dimock

Bertram Dimock was born in Stretham in 1890 and christened on 28 May in the village church of St James the same year.  Youngest of the four children of Joseph & Rebecca (nee Sennitt), he grew up in the village and in the 1911 census he was listed as a grocer's assistant.

By 1917 Bertram was living in Dalston, possibly tempted to the great metropolis by his brother Herbert who married in West Ham in 1907.  He married Elizabeth Sexton on 14 April that year, at St Philip, Dalston.

Bertram enlisted in the City of London Fusiliers in December 1917, signing up in Stratford, and was sent to France on 29 December that year.  He died on 28 March 1918 and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial.

We will remember them.

23 March 2018

GREAT WAR CENTENARY: Frank Staden

Frank Staden was born in Cambridge in 1898, my second cousin twice removed.  Fifth of the twelve children of Alfred & Catherine (nee Derby), the family moved to the village of Steeple Bumpstead, just over the boundary into Essex,  and was there in the 1901 census where Alfred was a tailor.  Within a few years the family was back in Cambridge and Frank appears as a twelve-year old in the 1911 census. 

In 1915 Frank enlisted, joining the Suffolk Regiment as did so many of the lads from around here.  He served in France and was transferred to the Rifle Brigade and died one hundred years ago today, at the age of  19; later in the century this was to become the average age of US casualties in the Vietnam war, but somehow those who flocked to the colours in the Great War seemed to me to be much younger.

Frank has no known grave but is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial.

We will remember them.

9 March 2018

GREAT WAR CENTENARY: Thomas Mace

Thomas Henry Mace, to give him his full Sunday-best name, was born in 1898 in Mildenhall, Suffolk, fourth of the five children of Charles & Mary Ann (nee Fuller).  He grew up, along with parents and siblings, in Turnpike Road, Barton Mills and enlisted in the Suffolk Yeomanry.

He was transferred to the 5th Suffolks and was killed in action in Palestine one hundred years ago today.  He is buried in the Jerusalem War Cemetery in present-day Israel.

We will remember them.

15 January 2018

GREAT WAR CENTENARY: Percy Beasley

Percy George Beasley was my second cousin twice removed and was born on 19 August 1889 in Aldridge, Staffs, sixth of the seven children of William & Emma (nee Billington).  He grew up in Aldridge and went to work on the railways, following in the footsteps of his station-master father.  In 1915, he married Clara Perry in Wolverhampton.

The Walsall & South Staffs Chronicle takes up the story:

"FOR FREEDOM AND FOR THE SAKE OF THOSE THEY LOVED.
AB Percy George Beasley, youngest son of Mr W Beasley, formerly station master at Aldridge, is reported by a chaplain to have died in France on January 13, after three months active service with the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.  A married man, 28 years of age, his wife resides at Station Road, Norfield, and before joing the Colours, in June last year, he was employed by the Midland Railway Company, at Northfeld.  His parents reside at Station Road, Aldridge, and as a boy he attended the Aldridge Endowed School.  A brother is servving in German East Africa. "

We will remember them.