Delville Wood

I haven’t been able to establish exactly when and where Tom CHAPMAN sustained the wounds from which he died, on this day 1916. He was serving in the 12th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment and the following extract from a snowdenhouse article places him at Longueval four days earlier.

On the 23rd a joint operation by the 3rd and 5th Divisions was put into action. Both Divisions attacked from the west of Longueval with the 3rd Division on the right and the 5th Division on the left. At 3:40 am the 1st Northumberland Fusiliers advanced followed by the 13th Kings and 12th West Yorks. They made good progress advancing through the northern part of Longueval and into Delville Wood itself, until they came up against heavy machine-gun fire from the front and left. They were forced to fall back at first to Piccadilly Street and then to Pont Street. Two other battalions captured a German strong point close to the Orchard in the north of the village but after being heavy counter attacked they were also forced to retire.

“Piccadilly Street” is the road north out of the village, so I think Tom may have fallen in the area circled on the Google Earth satellite image below.

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He was taken to a nearby casualty receiving station and then, perhaps, moved to a hospital where he died.

The Battle for Delville Wood was a bitterly fought affair and South African units particularly suffered enormous casualties. Graham Leslie McCallum writes about his grandfather’s experiences on the Western Front here. Scroll down until you see photographs of Longueval and Delville, which may change the pictures you have in your mind of a French village and wood in summer.

Tom was buried in La Neuville British Cemetery, Corbie, which is about 30 km west of Longueval. He is remembered on a family grave in St Oswald’s; he has the left-hand kerb and older brother Frank the right.

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Memories of FRANK CHAPMAN, died 28 Dec 1926, aged 38.

And TOM CHAPMAN, died of wounds in France, 27 July 1916, aged 20.

Tom is on the FamilySearch Tree.

Remembering Jenkinson Haxby

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission record states that Jenkinson died on the 7th July 1916. His body was not recovered for burial and he is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial with 1,463 others. I’ve looked carefully down the list and he is the only casualty serving with the 2nd Battalion Yorkshire Regiment.

He is also remembered on the headstone of his grandparents, Matthew and Jane HAXBY in St Oswald’s churchyard but the inscription records his death on the 8th. Only 354 deaths are recorded on the Thiepval Memorial for that day but there are a number of men from the 2nd Bn Yorkshires. I haven’t been able to establish where Jenkinson was killed but after several days of little action in the Battle of Albert the attempt to capture Trônes Wood began on the 8th, so maybe that is where and when he fell with some of his brothers in arms.

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And their beloved grandson L/C JENKINSON HAXBY, 2nd Yorks. Regt., killed in action July 8th 1916, aged 23.

‘Wars bitter cost, a dear one missed.’

(On the Memorial Plaque in St Oswald’s, Jenkinson is among Filey men who died in 1917 and is recorded as serving with the West Yorkshire Regiment.)

I did some work today on his father’s birth family but not enough to put Jenkinson or his mother Elizabeth Ann JENKINSON on the FamilySearch Tree. Grandfather Matthew HAXBY 1834 – 1902.

In Mesopotamia

Eleven British and Commonwealth soldiers buried in Amara War Cemetery, in what is now Iraq, died on this day in 1916. One was Gunner Albert STONEHOUSE, born in Filey in 1883, the fifth of Abraham Waugh Stonehouse and Alice SKELTON’s ten children. He was 32 years old when he succumbed to heatstroke while serving with the Royal Field Artillery, fighting the Turkish Army in Mesopotamia. His unit, 14th Battery, 4th Brigade, was under the command of the  7th Meerut Division of the Indian Army.

In peacetime, Albert had worked in the family business, as a carriage proprietor. He married Elizabeth GASH in 1907 and they saw four children into the world. Their only son, also Albert Charles, would serve as a Navy gunner in the Second World War and be killed in 1942. Two of his uncles, David and Edward GASH, died in the Great War.

The Amara Cemetery was desecrated during the illegal wars that followed 9/11 and only the brave actions of the Cemetery caretaker prevented total destruction of the place. I have plotted the approximate location of Albert’s grave on the 2012 Google Earth satellite image (Source: CWGC).

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Albert was remembered on the GASH family grave in St Oswald’s churchyard, on an additional stone that has now disappeared. The discrepancy between his age at death, 32 calculated from his birth registration and 30 on the missing stone transcription (and in the CWGC Index), can’t be resolved.

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Also of Gunner ALBERT C. STONEHOUSE R.F.A., killed in the Great War Jun 19 1916, aged 30.

Albert is on the FamilySearch Tree and several people have been making contributions to his pedigree in the last few years.

Albert is a nephew of Samuel Stonehouse who killed his wife Maria in 1894. (Some duplicate records need to be merged for this relationship to appear clearly on FST).

Third Battle of the Aisne

George DOUGLAS, 19, went missing on the 29th May 1918, during the German Spring Offensive. His body was not found and he was presumed “killed in action”. He is remembered on the Soissons Memorial and on a granite headstone in St Oswald’s churchyard.

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courtesy Martin Douglas

I have updated George’s page on Looking at Filey Wiki. There are several links to further information, and to his place on the FamilySearch Tree.

I made some progress today with the DOUGLAS family. The male line of this Filey branch goes back a few generations but it is through a “wrong” Alexander Douglas and his wife Frances Ede that progress to royal courts of Europe is made.

George’s maternal side is better represented on Family Genealogy & Connections than on FST.

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