Three Soldiers

Frederick Edmund Glanville SOUTHWELL was born in 1889, in Rothwell, Lincolnshire. His grandfather, Henry Glanville senior, was vicar there. To the family, he seems always to have been just Edmund. At the age of 21, he was with his widowed mother in Mitford Street, Filey, his occupation given as a Student of Law. The choice to follow his father into the legal profession must have been a difficult one to take. In 1908, Harry Glanville junior, a solicitor in London and estranged from his family, had died from a drug overdose. The coroner’s verdict was “suicide whilst temporarily insane”.

Edmund must have decided the law wasn’t for him and he became a schoolteacher instead. In short order, he found himself the head classics master at, arguably, the best grammar school in Hull. (As a Malet Lambert kid in the 1960s, I bowed the knee.)

It seems he didn’t wait long to answer his country’s call, enlisting in the front line 4th Battalion of the East Yorkshire Regiment, and serving as a Lieutenant.

He may have seen a great deal of action before he was killed on day two of the First Battle of the Scarpe. This engagement was one of several that are subsumed under a longer campaign, and it is “Arras” that can just be made out on the base of the family headstone in St Oswald’s churchyard.

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There is some contextual detail about Edmund’s last battle here. A local newspaper reported some brief details of his life and death.

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Edmund was accepted into the British army as Frederick Edward Granville SOUTHWELL. He is buried at Duisans British Cemetery, Etrun.

Edmund’s brother, Wilfrid, is remembered on the family stone, and on the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres. I will attempt a post about him on the anniversary of his death in June.

The third soldier is Thomas Glaves JOHNSON who died this day, 1918, in “Plugstreet”.  For part of the war, Ploegsteert Wood was a relatively quiet area where wounded soldiers recovered from heavier fighting elsewhere. In April 1918, though, it became a battleground. Thomas served with the 4th Battalion South Staffordshires and you can read the Regiment’s War Diary entry for the 10th April here. More about Plugstreet here.

Over 11,000 soldiers are remembered on the Ploegsteert Memorial and have no known grave. Thomas may be one of very few killed nearby. One has to wonder why his body wasn’t recovered for burial.

He is remembered also on the broken family headstone in St Oswald’s churchyard.

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also THOMAS GLAVES, son of the above T.H. AND M. JOHNSON, killed in the Great War, April 10th 1918, aged 19 years.

The SOUTHWELL brothers and Thomas are all represented on the FamilySearch Tree.

Edmund: LRR1-8K5

Wilfrid: LRR1-NC9

Thomas: L8R4-XHM

 

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