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.

Gravelines

German forces kicked off The Battle of France on 10 May 1940. They muscled their way through the Netherlands and Belgium and on the 20th their forward Panzer units could see the River Somme flowing into the English Channel. Eight days later they had pushed the remnants of the British Expeditionary Force to a small strip of land at Dunkirk.

William BIGGINS, born in Filey in the summer of 1913, was a Lance Corporal with 6th Bn The Green Howards, part of the 23rd Northumbrian Infantry Division under Major General W. N. HERBERT. In the Order of Battle (1940) the Division is listed as a formation “undergoing training and performing labour duties” but, with France falling about their ears, nowhere was safe. William was killed on the 24th.

A kerb inscription in St Oswald’s, recorded by the Crimlisks, revealed that he was killed in action at Gravelines. While Kleist’s 10th Panzers half-circled nearby Calais, Gerd von Rundstedt’s armour attacked Gravelines. I don’t know how many other Allied soldiers lost their lives in this encounter but, towards midnight on the 24th, von Rundstedt asked Kleist to pause the Panzer advance. Hitler gave a “Halt Order” that has long puzzled historians – but it allowed the refuge at Dunkirk to be defended until the armada of small boats arrived.

Without the old kerb source, I may not have discovered William’s whereabouts on his last day. It has been replaced by a new headstone.

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William is buried at Longueness (St Omer) Souvenir Cemetery, about 20 miles south of Gravelines.

His pedigree on FamilySearch Tree isn’t extensive but Filey Genealogy & Connections takes his mother’s line back to the 17th century in Fenland, to Christopher SCOTTOW and Lucretia FISH.

Monchy-le-Preux, 1917

The 8th (Service) Battalion of the East Yorkshire Regiment was formed in Beverley on 22 September 1914. On 16 November 1916, it was transferred to 8th Brigade,3rd Division and at the end of April 1917 was part of Allenby’s Third Army, preparing to throw itself into the Third Battle of the Scarpe.

I don’t know when George COLLING joined the East Yorks or how much fighting he’d experienced on his journey to Monchy-le-Preux. When I wrote yesterday’s post I didn’t know where his life had ended but this morning mentioned his anniversary to Graham, my next door neighbour. When I returned from my walk there was a note in my letterbox giving the following information (the source may be Everard Wyrall’s The East Yorkshire Regiment in the Great War 1914-1918) –

The Third Battle of the Scarpe, 1917, is of special interest to all East Yorkshiremen, for the third Victoria Cross won for the Regiment was gained by a young officer in the terrible struggle for Oppy Wood.

2nd Lieut. John Harrison MC, VC, 11th (S) Bn East Yorkshire Regiment, Oppy, France, 3rd May 1917.

The 8th East Yorkshire Regiment relieved the 1st Royal Scots in the front line on the night of 30th April/ 1st May, 1917. The line taken over was on a north and south line immediately east of Monchy-le-Preux, thence round the south–eastern exits of the village. It was a noisy part of the line and Monchy was heavily shelled intermittently throughout the 1st May.

Continuing the line from south to north, the main objectives of the Third Army were Cherisy, St Rohart Factory, Bois du Vert, Bois du Sart, Plouvain Station, Square Wood.

The Bois du Vert and Bois du Sart, to be attacked by the 8th Brigade, lay east of Monchy. The 2nd Royal Scots (right) and the first Royal Scots Fusiliers (left) were the attacking troops of the Brigade, the 7th King’s Shropshire Light Infantry (right) and 8th East Yorkshire (left) being in support.

The attack began at 3.45 am on 3rd May, the enemy quickly replying with his barrage.

The 8th East Yorkshires were forced up behind the Royal Scots Fusiliers; the 7th KSLI were on the right of the East Yorkshiremen.

From the 4th May the 8th East Yorkshires were in the Brown Line near Monchy taking no active part in the Battle, and at the close of May were billeted in Izel-les-Hameau.

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George was killed on the first day of the battle, the 3rd, and his body not recovered. He is remembered on the Arras Memorial with over 34,000 other casualties. His parents had died before the war began.

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The stone has not worn well and is very difficult to read, let alone photograph successfully.

‘I.H.S.’

In affectionate remembrance of JOHN COLLING, the beloved husband of MARGARET COLLING, who died Dec 24th 1910, aged 59 years.

‘His weary hours and days of pain

His troubled sleepless nights are past

The ever patient worn out frame

Has got eternal rest at last.’

‘With Christ which is far better.’

Also MARGARET COLLING, wife of the above, who died Feb 12th 1913, aged 59 years.

‘Rest on dear mother, your work is o’er,

Your willing hands will toil no more.

A loving mother true and kind

No one on earth like you we find.’

Also of GEORGE COLLING, son of the above, who was killed in action in France, May 3rd 1917, aged 26 years.

‘Though death divides, still memory clings.’

John was a fisherman, as the fine carving of a herring coble in sail on the headstone indicates.

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Find this branch of the COLLINGs on Filey Genealogy & Connections and FamilySearchTree.

Syrian Airstrike

I mentioned yesterday that some reports suggested that UK regime missiles were fired into Syria (from Jordan) a few days ago, causing the 2.6 magnitude “earthquake” explosion. It seems to be accepted now that Israeli F15s delivered the missiles. Why were they not shot down by Syrian or Russian air defense systems? Russia has an agreement with the United States – not to fire upon US planes in Syrian airspace. It appears that the American regime gave Israel transponder codes that fooled Syrian defense that the planes were American F15 “Eagles”. This duplicity puts Ol’ Cryin’ Wolf Netanyahu’s already notorious IRAN LIED Powerpoint presentation in a new light. It also gives Syrian and Russian air defense the green light to shoot down any American planes their systems lock onto in future. Not good. Rusian and Iranian restraint can only stretch so far.

Gas Attack, 1915

The Battle of St. Julien began on the morning of 24th April 1915 with the German army firing chlorine gas canisters at Canadian forces to the west of the village. The shocked allied troops soaked their handkerchiefs in urine and held them to their noses. The bodies of those that died turned black within 15 minutes. The Germans took St. Julien.

The next day, the York and Durham Brigade units of the Northumberland Division counter-attacked but failed to recapture the village. The 5th Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment formed part of the York and Durham Brigade and included a number of young men from the Yorkshire coast who had enlisted in Scarborough shortly after the war began. Local newspapers would identify them as The Scarborough Terriers. (The Northumberland Division was the first Territorial brigade to go into action in the Great War.) The Canadians called them “The Yorkshire Gurkhas” and D Company was known as “Filey Company”.

Amongst their number was Thomas JENKINSON, 19, and during the counter-attack of the 25th, he was killed while attempting to capture an isolated farmhouse to the south-east of St Julien, at Fortuyn, now Fortuinhoek. His regiment had been in France for just one week.

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On the 26th, three battalions of the Northumberland Brigade attacked St Julien and gained a brief foothold before being forced back, having suffered 1,954 casualties.

StOs_JENKINSONtom_1Tom Jenkinson has no known grave and is commemorated at Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial. The plaque in St Oswald’s church (inset) places him with the wrong regiment. (The 5th East Yorks was a Cyclists Battalion that remained in England for the duration of the war, guarding the home front.) The family headstone in the churchyard tells us where he died, and his parents, Thomas Robert and Elizabeth Towse née SHEPHERD, named their house in Mitford Street “Fortuyn”.

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Also Pte. THOMAS JENKINSON 5th Yorks. grandson of the above

killed in action at Fortuyn, France, April 25th 1915, aged 19 years

‘Out in France in an unknown grave

Our dear soldier son lies sleeping

For his King and Country his life he gave

Into his Saviour’s keeping.’

Tom is not yet on FamilySearch Tree but you can find him at Filey Genealogy & Connections. He was a third cousin once removed to Richard Baxter COWLING, lost from Emulator in 1919, (Sunday’s post).

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.

 

Ypres III

The Third Battle of Ypres began on 31st July 1917 and August in Flanders would be the wettest in living memory. The alternative name for this three-month slog through mud is Passchendaele, a village that wouldn’t be fought over until 12th October and, what was left of it, finally taken on 6th November.

Scarborough born Benjamin Watson STORRY traveled just a short distance on this particular road to hell, with B Company, 2nd Battalion South Staffordshires. Dan Eaton records that Ben “enlisted in Beverley, had poor hearing and eyesight but felt that it was his duty to serve, and therefore did not apply to be exempted from military service.” I have no idea how long he served on the Western Front and I’m not really sure where his Company was in the second week of August. Several sources place the 2nd Battalion South Staffs in the Passchendaele campaign so he possibly watched the early August rain fall for several days before, perhaps, taking part in the Capture of  Westhoek on 10th August.

I mentioned yesterday the uncertainty surrounding Ben’s death, “killed in action”. Filey is a small town but even so, I had a remarkable encounter on my early morning walk today. I met my neighbour in Murray Street. He was reading his just-bought newspaper as he walked home. I said, “You must enjoy fairy stories if you’re reading that rag.” He said, “I’m looking at the football results – they’re all true.” I had to concede. “And I’ll tell you what else is true – obituaries.” I said, “Not necessarily…” and told him about Ben’s monumental inscription being at variance with the “official” date of death. My neighbour said, “Neither of those dates is necessarily correct. I have a letter informing his family that he was missing on the 9th, presumed killed.”

We will never know what Ben endured in his last hours – or days. He was 36 years old, a husband and father of four – and my next door neighbour’s great grandfather. I’m hoping my neighbour will find that letter and allow me to share it with you.

I have made a start on updating Ben’s page on the Looking at Filey Wiki. You will find links there to a number of online sources that go some way, I hope, to make him seem a real person and not just another casualty of that particularly horrendous war.  On This Day lists 545 whose deaths are allocated to the 12th August 1917. Nearly all are soldiers, all but one are men. Staff Nurse ROBERTS of Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service is remembered in Danygraig Cemetery Swansea.

Looking down the list I thought it had been a quiet day at sea but eleven seamen died when H M Drifter Dewey was sunk in a collision in the English Channel.

If you scroll down to Gorre British and Indian Cemetery you will see that Ben lost his life (officially) on the same day as  Private DANBY, a 2nd Battalion South Staffordshire brother in arms.

Today’s Image shows that Filey Bay was flat calm this day 2013. It was a “mill pond” this morning too.

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