Military Men

There are more than a dozen variants of the GWYNNE coat of arms but most have the “trademark” two swords with a third held aloft below the hilt. The motto of the Trecastle branch is Gogoniant yr clethaf (glory to the sword).

As mentioned yesterday, at least two “unrelated” GWYNNE lines joined genetic forces with another. I haven’t looked too closely to see if one branch was particularly warlike but quite a few Gwynne chaps took the monarch’s shilling and most served in the higher ranks. I have only found one so far that died by the sword – Roderick Thynne Sackville GWYNNE, remembered on a family grave in Filey, but buried in Merville Communal Cemetery in France.

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CWGC Index

Roderick’s life was wasted in the second of two futile attacks near the Aubers Ridge in the Spring of 1915. Accounts of the first mention Bois Grenier, (a village, not a wood), and it took place near Neuve-Chapelle between Wednesday 10th and Saturday 13th March.  A second source, on the Imperial War Museum website, states that he was…

Fatally wounded in a night attack on a German position at Touquet on Sunday morning. When brought to the first aid post, he insisted on his men being attended to first.

Roderick was taken with many other casualties to the hospital at Merville, about twelve miles away, where he died of his wounds almost two weeks later.

By the evening of [Saturday] 9 May the situation was far from promising for the Allies: the groups of soldiers who had managed to reach the German front line were totally isolated and exposed to enemy fire. The chaos on the roads to the front and the communication trenches was such that any thought of relaunching the attack at sundown was abandoned by Haig.

During the night the soldiers established on the German lines (200 to 300 men in all) undertook a perilous retreat across no man’s land.

By the morning of 10 May all hopes of renewing the attack were abandoned because of a lack of shells and, above all, because of the huge numbers of casualties (it took three days to transfer the wounded of 9 May to the field ambulances on the second line). In one single day of fighting the British Army had lost 11,000 men (dead, wounded and lost in action) which was, in relative terms, one of the highest casualty rates of the Great War, in particular for officers.

Yves Le Maner, The Battle of Aubers Ridge

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     Roderick Thynne       Sackville GWYNNE   ©IWM (HU 115590)

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And to his eldest son, RODERICK THYNNE SACKVILLE GWYNNE, 2ND Lieut. K.O.Y.L.I. Born Sept 16th 1893, died of wounds, May 23rd 1915. Buried at Merville (Nord) France.

It is surprising that young Roderick was described in his CWGC Index entry as the son of “late Maj. Roderick Edmund Howe Gwynne”.  The “Major” died on 23 May 1922 at the family home in Southdene. (Roderick the Elder is only a Captain on the gravestone.)

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Sacred to the Memory of RODERICK EDMUND HOWE GWYNNE, Capt. R.W.F., of Breconshire, born Decr. 16th 1858, died May 23rd 1922.

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13, Southdene, Filey, 18 May 2018

Among other Fighting Gwynnes (in no particular order):-

James Hugh born February 1863 (FST: LBR2-STT), Lieut. South Wales Borderers, regular commission 1 Royal Welch Fusiliers, Burmese Expedition 1885-86. Shot in the knee at Yatha. Awarded India General Service Medal and clasp. Second clasp in the Hazara Expedition. Occupation of Crete with 2 RWF 1897-8. China Medal with clasp for the Relief of Pekin.  Reached the rank of substantive Major in 1903; retired August 1906. Died March 1910 as a result of a hunting accident with Bexhill Harriers.

Nadolig Ximenes born 25 December 1832 (MTRS-S1T), 53rd and 85th Regiments, Shropshire Light Infantry, served in the Afghan War and in Sudan; Major-General.

John born 1780, Lieutenant, 14th Dragoons, Peninsular War.

Frederick Ximenes (MTR3-6CX), Colonel, Breconshire Volunteers.

Sackville Henry Frederick born 1778 (MTR3-XGN), Lieut.-Colonel Commandant 1st Carmarthenshire Militia.

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

 

Private Abbott

AbbottGAThe first name on the Filey War Memorial seems to be a mistake. A search on the CWGC website brings a George Alfred, Manchester Regiment, and a gunner with the initials G A who served in the South African Field Artillery. I think the initials should be ‘E A’.

Private Ernest Alfred ABBOTT enlisted in the Huntingdonshire Cyclists when the battalion was formed. Posted to Filey early in 1915, he courted local girl Mary Ann STORK and the couple married on 11th December 1915 at St Oswald’s.

When the Hunts Cyclists were disbanded in 1916 he was transferred to the 683rd Agricultural Company, Army Labour Corps (Service No. 434613). He died in Cambridge Easton General Hospital on 18th November 1918, a week after the Armistice. The exact cause of his death is not known. He is buried in St Oswald’s churchyard.

Dan Eaton, In Flanders Fields…The men of Filey who fought and died during the Great War for Civilization (1914 – 1919)

His birth registration, though, gives his name as Arthur Ernest, and for some records of his short life he omitted the middle name and just answered to Ernest.

When I looked him up on Lives of the First World War, two people were remembering him. A photograph of his headstone has been added but there isn’t much detail about his life.

Filey Genealogy & Connections has very little about Ernest’s origins, and Mary Ann was illegitimate so her pedigree is difficult to research. FamilySearch Tree was more helpful, providing a start with his birth family – a father and eight siblings. The mother was given as “Ann M. ABBOTT” but the GRO quickly supplied her birth name – GAVINS – and four more children. Ernest was the youngest, then, of thirteen. Ernest’s father and eldest brother had the middle name “FAVELL” and it was no surprise that this proved to be the maiden surname of his paternal grandmother.

Most of these Abbotts and their spouses were landed peasantry from a small area of Huntingdonshire. Initially, I had the notion that it had taken a war to push Ernest out of his family heartland but research unearthed an earlier migration of some Abbotts to Yorkshire. Ernest’s Aunt Rebecca married agricultural labourer Joseph ROBINSON in Alconbury cum Weston in the mid-1850s,  and the childless couple moved to the Howden area of East Yorkshire sometime between 1871 and 1881. They both died in 1910 before Ernest was sent to Filey with the Hunts Cyclists. Rebecca departed first, in July, and was buried in Howden. Joseph, in his mid-seventies, had no family to care for him and was dispatched to the workhouse where he died before the year was out.

After Ernest’s death, Mary Ann didn’t fare well. Their only child was two years old and another boy was born in late 1919. Life must have been a great struggle for her and she died in the North Riding Asylum in York in 1924. The Borthwick Institute in York probably has details of her last weeks or months there, and maybe a photograph. I hope she wasn’t certified as a lunatic – and that the Abbott boys did well after their difficult start in life.

Lives of the First World War

I have arrived late to the Imperial War Museum’s Centenary Project but hope to contribute the information I have on Filey People represented in the database before closure sometime next year. (All contributions will then be incorporated into the IWM digital archive and be accessible for, I guess, as long as there is an Open Internet.)

There are over 7 million records waiting for information that will fill gaps in our collective knowledge of those who lived through the “Great War”.

Many soldiers, sailors, and airmen can only be identified by the most basic information extracted by the Museum from their service records but, for the first time, I have some chance of learning what my grand-daddy did in that war. He won’t be easy to find. There seem to be over sixty soldiers called William LOCKETT who returned from the conflict – so there are no names and addresses of bereaved parents or spouses.

All I knew as a child about my granddad’s soldiering was that he had a rifle – his bayonet was given to me after he died! All I have now is one photograph of him in uniform, taken in Barkshire Brothers Studio in Southsea. Glare off his cap badge and “unreadable” shoulder insignia render regiment identification impossible. There is a date clue of sorts. Bill seems to have suffered facial wounds. The scars are not prominent enough to see clearly in the photograph but, if they are real, perhaps he was returning to the Western Front after recovering in Blighty.

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Bill came home with all his appendages but lost three fingers in a machine at his place of work. What was left of his hand fascinated me as a child. I only knew him to be a sick man, propped up in a bed in the living room, reading Tit-Bits. He would pass the magazines on to me to devour. Grandma was about sixty when I arrived on the scene and when I first became aware of her she was almost as wide as she was tall. This photo is such a wonder. I spent a lot of time with Ruth Anna. She taught me how to play gin rummy and once – and only once – gave me tripe for dinner.

If you haven’t visited Lives yet, head over there soon. Your Ancestors Need You! (There is already a St Oswald’s Community, awaiting Filonian contributions.)

Gone For Soldiers, Almost Every One

The 1871 Census found George TAYLOR in Main Street, Seamer, a short distance away from his parents and siblings. He was 16 years old, serving an apprenticeship with Master Boot and Shoemaker John RHODES. About 250 miles away, 14-year-old Ellen TUCKER was enumerated in Philadelphia Terrace, Lambeth, with her mother Elizabeth née HARRIOTT, three sisters and a brother.

Ten years later George and Ellen were in Filey; a shoemaker and a domestic servant. Had they already met? Were they courting? They married in the spring of 1883 and brought six boys into the world. It wasn’t a good time to be a parent in a war-mongering nation.

One boy died before his first birthday, four joined Kitchener’s Army and three were killed.

 

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Photographer unknown, c. 1914, courtesy Keith Taylor

 

Silas, the youngest of the brothers, was the first to be killed – near Auchonvillers in the Somme region of France, on the 3rd February 1917. He was serving with the 2nd Battalion, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.

In the photograph, Silas is standing behind Fred. To his left are William, Herbert, and Ernest.

Herbert, the eldest, didn’t enlist. Perhaps he wanted to but was already married, with a three-year-old son at the start of the ‘Great War’. Perhaps the authorities thought four Taylor boys were enough and gave him a pass. He would live to celebrate his 90th birthday.

Ernest may also have had a stroke of luck – he was captured by the Germans. I don’t know how long he was a prisoner of war but he eventually came back home. At the beginning of the next war, aged 50, he was a salesman down in London, not far from where his mother, Ellen, had been raised. He was married to Lilian, her maiden surname not yet discovered.

The TAYLORs were not on FamilySearchTree. I had to go back to the grandfather of Herbert’s wife, Lily, to pick up an ancestral thread to which they could all be attached.

Ellen, George and their slaughtered lambs are remembered on a headstone in St Oswald’s churchyard.

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In Loving Memory of GEORGE, beloved husband of ELLEN TAYLOR, died Jan 9th 1928, aged 73.

‘He fought a good fight

He kept the faith’

Also of his wife ELLEN TAYLOR, died Jan 16th 1942, aged 85 years.

‘Re-united’

Also FRED, WILLIAM and SILAS, sons of the above who fell in action in France, 1917-1918.

 

A Boy Soldier

William Stewart IRONSIDE took his father’s name and followed him into the military.  William senior, born in Aberdeen, moved about the country at the government’s behest with his wife Hannah ROBERTS. Their first child, Robert Stewart was baptized in 1883 at the church by Hillsborough Barracks in Sheffield. William Stewart arrived in Christchurch, Hampshire in 1886, and then, two years later and half a world away in the East Indies, Maria was born. By 1890 the family was back in the home country and Ada was welcomed into their midst in Trowbridge, Wiltshire.

The father’s death was registered in Tynemouth in 1898 and two years later his widow married William COON there. The following year they were living at the coastguard station in Berwick on Tweed, with William’s four children by his first marriage. Hannah’s step-daughter Maud was the same age as her boy soldier, but young William was enumerated that year as a patient at the Royal Artillery Hospital in Woolwich.

Whatever ailed him failed to halt his rise through the ranks and by the time he was killed in 1918, nine days before the Armistice, he was an acting Major and expected to be gazetted to Colonel in 24 Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. He was awarded the Military Cross in 1915, the Bar to the MC in February 1918, and the Distinguished Service Order the following September, a couple of weeks before he was killed.

Brigadier General DELAFORGE wrote kindly to William’s wife, Ellen Ironside, née RAWSON. He could not give her details of “the event” in which her husband had lost his life but wrote –

I know that just before his death a report had come to the effect that all objectives had been gained in the attack which he was covering with his guns and so he will have died happily.

The Battle of Valenciennes took place on the first two days of November and William’s unit may have been providing artillery support for the infantrymen of the Canadian Expeditionary Force that secured the victory against the retreating German army.

At the beginning of the war, William’s brother Robert Stewart had been killed on the Western Front. On the 11th November 1914, two days after his death, the War Office published a notification that His Majesty the King had approved the granting of Medals for Distinguished Conduct in the Field. Robert’s citation ran –

120th Battery, Royal Field Artillery: Although wounded at St. Ghislain, on 23rd August, he continued to act as No. 1 of his sub-section under heavy gun and rifle fire, and for subsequent valuable work.

Robert’s War Grave details alerted me to his mother’s re-marriage but William’s Index entry doesn’t record any family relationships, which seems odd for someone of high rank.

William was 31 years old and the father of three children, though as he breathed his last he would have thought only of two. Robert Edmund Stewart IRONSIDE was baptized at St Oswald’s, Filey, on 11 May 1919.

I wrote a Looking at Filey post about William and Ellen five years ago, illustrated with photographs of the couple and anecdotal information generously provided by one of the family. Ellen married again in 1924 and I speculated about her second husband – and got things quite wrong. I’m not beating myself up about this – Jesse BROOKSBANK is hardly a common name and neither is Florence WEALTHALL, who I took to be his first wife. In an attempt to make amends I have put both Jesses on FamilySearch Tree.

If you read my old post on Ellen & William you will see that their third child, Robert Edmund, took their grandchildren by daughter Rene/Irene to America “and nothing more was heard of them”. FamilySearch offered a hint that seemed an unlikely match but it proved to be an immigration record for Robert Edmund, aka ‘Pax Pavane Robert Eadmund Fenga Stewart Ironside de Bragança’. (There is just a chance he is approaching one hundred not out  in Brazil so you cannot access his details on the World Tree.)

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Ellen & William: photographers unknown, no dates, courtesy June Gill

Jesse BROOKSBANK born 1881 Barnsley [LY4J-XL6]

Jesse Fenwick Ellis BROOKSBANK born Bramley 1889  [LY4V-RPT]

William Stewart IRONSIDE has a page on the Looking at Filey Wiki. Find him on FamilySearch Tree here.

Suffer Little Children

I wrote about the accident that ended the life of Henry Herbert CAMBRIDGE on Looking at Filey. There is currently a security issue at the UK Web Archive so I’ll copy the 2012 post here rather than give the link to the Wayback Machine.

A Fatal Hesitation

Three days after celebrating his 37th birthday Jonathan Bulmer CAMBRIDGE saw a motor lorry knock down his son in Station Avenue. Herbert Henry, thighs broken and skull fractured, died about an hour later, at 11.45 am. He was two years and five months old.

The Scarborough Mercury of Friday 30th October 1914 carried the story: –

Manoeuvres of the troops at Filey on Monday [26th] were attended by a regrettable fatality, a child being run over by a motor lorry. A full report of the inquest will be found in another part of this paper. Men of the Hunts Cyclists Battalion were called out to proceed to Driffield. Many people in Filey thought they were leaving the town for good, but this was not so, they returned in the evening. Thinking, however, that they were leaving permanently a large number of people gathered, and the motor approached the quarters of the men at the same time. The child ran across the road and was returning when there was shouting, the child hesitated and was knocked down with fatal results. The boy was the only male child of Mr. and Mrs. J. B. Cambridge. The incident was exceedingly distressing, but at the inquest no blame was attached to the driver, who seemed to feel the incident very much.

The driver was Lance Corporal Robert WALTON of Coanwood, Northumberland. After crossing the railway line, heading into town, he was slowing as he approached his destination, traveling at five or six miles an hour. He saw Herbert cross the road in front of him but the child’s  sudden doubling back took him by surprise. Even so, he expected Henry to regain the pavement before he passed by. The shouting of a person or persons in the crowd had, however, confused Henry and caused him to hesitate in the middle of the road. The lorry’s mudguard caught him a glancing blow to the head and he fell under the wheels.

 

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Station Avenue,  2012

 

It appears from witness statements at the inquest that Henry was with his mother at one side of Station Avenue but, seeing his father on the other side, dashed over to be with him. Approaching the opposite pavement, though, he could no longer spot his father’s face in the crowd and so turned back. Perhaps one or two people saw the lorry approaching, sensed the child was in danger and shouted a warning that triggered his fatal hesitation. Herbert Henry CAMBRIDGE may have been killed by kindness.

Blameless Lance Corporal WALTON may not have survived the war. A soldier of the same name and rank serving in the Northumberland Fusiliers was killed on 1st July 1916 and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial. Herbert rests in St Oswald’s churchyard.  (Added note:  This Robert was almost certainly killed at La Boisselle on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.)

Herbert rests in St Oswald’s churchyard.

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In loving memory of HERBERT HENRY, the beloved son of JOHN & ELIZABETH CAMBRIDGE, died Oct 26th 1914 aged two years & 5 months.

Suffer little children to come unto me.

Also ALICE MAY, aged 3 weeks.

(The burial register gives Alice’s age as 14 days.)

Young Herbert has a fairly substantial pedigree on Filey Genealogy & Connections, going back as far as John CAMMISH born 1660. He has fewer forebears on the FamilySearch Tree but I’ve added some today.