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.

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.

 

2012_StationAveFiley
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.

G668_CAMBRIDGEherbthenry_20171025_fst

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.

 

 

On the First Day

The Battle of the Menin Road Ridge (Third Ypres) began a hundred years ago today. The Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial lists the names of over a thousand men who lost their lives during those 24 hours. Amongst those whose bodies were not recovered was John James TOMBLIN, a Huntingdonshire man who came with that county’s Cyclists to Filey – and found a wife. He married Elizabeth CAMMISH on the 19th April 1916, taking a respectable place in several of the other Old Filey families – Cappleman, Cowling, Haxby, Jenkinson, and Skelton. A son, Jack Crane TOMBLIN, was born on 29th April 1917 and made fatherless five months later.

There is a short but powerful video on YouTube that gives some context to the loss of life from all corners of Empire – there were many Australian and South African casualties – and the last letter written by Captain Reginald Henry GILL of the 28th Battalion AIF is a poignant reminder, if one is needed,  that cannon fodder had loved ones back home.

Many more died in this battle, on this day, but they rest elsewhere in Flanders. G/17480 Private JENNINGS, Wilfred Walter but recorded as Fred, is about five kilometers away at Hooge Crater Cemetery and his story can be found here. A similar distance further east at Tyne Cot there are 2,000 more men remembered for whom this was their last day.

With the help of Kath’s Filey Genealogy and Connections database and some further research, I have added a little to the TOMBLIN pedigree on FamilySearch Tree. If you haven’t done so already, check out John James and Elizabeth’s wedding photo on the Hunts Cyclists website.

TOMBLINjjJ J is remembered on the Filey War Memorial but not on the ‘Honours Board’ in St Oswald’s Church. Peterborough brought him home.