Brothers in Arms

About fifteen crow-flown miles separate the places where Jabez ARNOLD and William DAY first drew breath, Jabez in Meppershall, Bedfordshire and William in Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire. Their fathers were labourers and their mothers plaited straw. There is no telling if their paths crossed before they enlisted in the 1/89th Regiment of Foot but around 1880 they found themselves posted to Warrington, on the border of Lancashire and Cheshire.

The Orford Barracks, aka Peninsula Barracks, was what we’d describe today as “family friendly”. Jabez married Elizabeth Annie PAYNE on Christmas Day 1880 and their three children were born surrounded by soldiers. The third child, a boy, had only just been conceived when his father died – and was named Jabez.

William DAY married Elizabeth Annie about nineteen months after the death of Jabez senior and provided the three Arnold children with seven siblings. At the 1891 census, only young Jabez was part of the Day household – and he had taken his step-father’s name. On the 1911 census form, William stated that he and Elizabeth Annie had ten children, of whom seven were living. However, when Jabez junior died in 1925 aged 39, he went into the register as  ‘ARNOLD’.

I don’t know how many years William served in the army. In 1891 he was still a Private in the King’s Liverpool  Regiment (the 89th Foot re-named). Ten years later he was working as a Maltsman in Warrington and in 1911 he gave his occupation as ‘Labourer’.

Find the two soldiers on the FamilySearch Tree attached to Elizabeth Annie.

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1915? coloured postcard

In 1891 William gave his birthplace as No Man’s Land, an area of common land where the Yorkists were defeated in the Wars of the Roses,(Second Battle of St Albans), and where artillery trained during the First World War. William going for a soldier was perhaps somehow pre-destined.

Three Soldiers

For three young men with Filey connections, a 30th of May would be their last day.

SpionKopSAStephenson Warcup CAPPLEMAN was born in the town in 1872 and, at the age of 28, found himself in “Zululand” with the King’s Royal Rifles. I’m speculating that he was on Spion Kop and at Ladysmith in January but the inscription on the family headstone in St Oswald’s places him at Vryheid at the end of May. Like so many other British soldiers in the Boer War, he succumbed to the enteric fever. (Regimental history online.)

Stephenson is on FST but the system has given him the wrong mother. FG&C seems to be more reliable.

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In loving memory of JOHN P. CAPPLEMAN, who died Feb 26th 1899, aged 57 years.

Also SUSANNA his wife, who died May 24th 1898, aged 60 years.

‘Kind thoughts shall ever linger

Round the graves where they are laid’

Also STEPHENSON W. CAPPLEMAN their son, late King’s R. Rifles, died of enteric fever at Vryheid, South Africa, May 30 1900 aged 28 years.

‘Oh how hard not a friend of his own to be near

To hear his last sigh or to watch his last tear

No parting, no farewell, no fond word of love

To cheer his last moments or point him above’

Richard Haxby PEARSON was born in Chapel Street, Filey in 1895. He has a quite extensive pedigree on FG&C but has yet to be linked to scattered forebears on FST. In the Great War, he served with the second-line 5th Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment and died before he was sent to France in July 1916. I have not found his service records online and he has a civil death registration. I photographed the modest cross in a grey, damp churchyard this afternoon, with the following inscription (in part):-

In loving memory of RICHARD HAXBY PEARSON, the beloved son of FRANK AND MARY PEARSON, died May 30 1916, aged 20 years.

‘Too dearly loved to be forgotten

Died for his country’

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Harry GRANT completes the trio.

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“With pride we remember son of above” has to be set alongside Harry’s very sparse Index entry at CWGC, given that both parents “fell asleep” in the 1950s.

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The family isn’t recorded on FG&C and initial research suggests that Harry was one of three children born to Tom TOWNEND during Hannah COULSON’s first marriage. On the 1911 Census return, he is given as Sam’s son but named as Harry TOWNEND. His birth was registered, as Henry, in Holbeck in the summer of 1899.  Samuel had two natural children in 1911, James (2) and Edna (newborn). Edna would almost make her century.

Even if you have only a short-term memory, the date of Harry’s death may remind you of George DOUGLAS. The 1st Lincolnshires took part in the Third Battle of the Aisne and  Harry GRANT is remembered on the Soissons Memorial. I wonder if Harry met George and swapped Filey reminiscences.

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.