Summerfield, Walter Ernest. Died 20th Aug 1917

Walter Ernest SUMMERFIELD was born in Clifton, in 1892. The birth was registered in Q2 1892 in Rugby, where they lived at 3 Winfield Street, Rugby. Walter was the son of Frederick Charles and Clara Ellen, née Edwards, Summerfield whose marriage was registered in Lutterworth in Q4 1877. His parents had been born Watford, Northamptonshire and Easenhall, Warwickshire respectively.

In 1901, they were still living at 3 Winfield Street, Rugby; Walter was nine years old, and his father was a ‘railway brakesman’. Walter had four elder and one younger brother, and two elder sisters who were all living at home. The two eldest children had been born at Easenhall, their mother’s home village in Warwickshire, the family had then moved to Clifton, in about 1882.

By 1911, Walter was 19 and a ‘Painters Labourer’, possibly working with two of his elder brothers.  The family was still living in the same house and his parents had now been married 33 years and had had nine children of whom eight had survived. His father was still a ‘Railway Brakesman’.

He seems to have had an army medical inspection on 13 September 1916, when it was noted that he required dental treatment. He was 5ft 8¾ inches tall. He enlisted at Rugby on 19 October 1916, [although a Casualty Form stated that he ‘rejoined the colours’] with his attestation dated 20 October 1916, initially as Private, No.22028, with the 3rd Bn. Royal Warwickshire Regiment [RWR or RWarR] and stationed at Parkhurst from 20 October 1916 to 8 January 1917.

The 3rd (Reserve) Battalion had been raised in August 1914 in Warwick. As a training unit, it remained in UK throughout the war, but moved to Portsmouth in August 1914, and then to the Isle of Wight, where Walter was based at Parkhurst. Walter was thus on ‘home’ service from 19 October to 7 January 1917, a period of 81 days.

He was posted to join the Expeditionary Force in France and Belgium on 8 January – and was there until 13 March 1917 [65 days]. He was posted to the 16th Bn. RWR on 11 January 1917 when he embarked at Southampton, landing at Le Havre on 12 January. The 16th (Service) Battalion (3rd Birmingham) was formed at Birmingham in September 1914 by the Lord Mayor and a local committee and by 26 December 1915 it had transferred to 15th Brigade, 5th Division.

However, on 26 January 1917, a few days after this posting he was again posted, to 2nd/7th Bn. RWR and allocated a new number, No.20600.

The 2/7th Bn. RWR were formed in Coventry in October 1914 as a second line battalion. They became a part of the 2nd Warwickshire Brigade, 2nd South Midland Division. In August 1915 they were redesignated as the 182nd Brigade, 61st (2nd South Midland) Division and had landed in France on 21 May 1916.

A week or so later, on about 5 February 1917, Walter was charged with ‘Falling out on the march without permission’ and given 14 days of Field Punishment No.2. On 1 March 1917 he was given yet another new number, No.268343.

On 5 March he contracted Diarrhoea in ‘the Field’, and there were complications and by 13 March he was at Rouen, presumably at one of the many hospitals there, suffering from ‘Ent. Bac. Dysentery, Flex’. It seems that he was evacuated back to UK for further treatment, as he was on ‘home service’ from 14 March to 10 June 1917 [89 days].

By 20 May 1917 he was back with the 7th Reserve Bn. RWarR, at Hipswell Camp, Catterick, no doubt awaiting a further posting to France.

He returned to France on 11 June 1917, and next day lost one day’s pay for being ‘deficient of kit’, and was posted to the 1st/8th Bn. Later on 28/29 June he was re-posted to 1st/6th Bn. RWarR.

The Battalion Diary[1] records that in late June the 1/8th Battalion was ‘Training’ at Fremicourt, which is in the Somme area.   It received 17 Other Rank reinforcements on 27 or 28 June – one of these was probably Walter. On 30 June, they were relieved by the 7th Shropshire Light Infantry and marched to Gomiecourt. They then marched to Pommier for further training, and on 20 July marched to Halloy, and then on 22 July to Authieule where they entrained – ‘Accomodation will be approximately one Platoon per truck’ – for St Jan-ter-Biezen, in Belgium. Having now had a month’s training, on the night of 30/31 July they marched via Poperinghe, Poperinghe-Elverdinghe Road, and Chemin Militaire, into the Corps Reserve at Camp ‘C’ in Belgium.

In August, a further fortnight’s training followed, with a move of camp on 15 August. The Battalion then moved to Dambre Camp in the St Julian area, and on 16 August ‘Crossed the Iser Canal & moved forward in support to 145 Brigade who attacked East of the Steenbeeke’.   This would have been part of the Battle of Langemarck (16 – 18 August 1917).

From 17 to 20 August the Battalion was ‘in support’, and ‘A & B Coys relieved 1/8 RWarW’. On 20 August they were ‘… relieved by the 1/5 & 1/7 RWarR.’ During the four days the Battalion suffered one officer killed and two wounded, with ‘OR Killed 17, Wounded 65, Missing 1’.

Walter was one of those ‘OR Killed’ in that summary, and died on 20 August 1917 [when his overseas service totalled 71 days]. His body was either never found or not later identified. He is remembered on one of the Panels 23 to 28 and 163A of the Tyne Cot Memorial. The Tyne Cot Memorial is one of four memorials to the missing in Belgian Flanders which cover the area known as the Ypres Salient. Whereas those who died before 16 August 1917 are remembered on the Menin Gate, the United Kingdom servicemen who died after that date are named on the memorial at Tyne Cot. Walter is also commemorated on the Rugby Memorial Gates in Hillmorton Road, Rugby.

On 22 December 1917, Walter’s father, as sole legatee, received £5-1-10d owing to his son, and then a War Gratuity of £3-0-0d on 7 November 1919. On 7 January 1918, his father acknowledged receipt of ‘letters, postcards, cards, & leather pocket book’. On 14 July 1920, Walter’s father was asked if he was still at his address, in order that he could receive Walter’s ‘Plaque and Scroll’. Frederick’s Medal Card and the Medal Roll entry showed that he was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal and that his father received Walter’s medals on 28 January 1922.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

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This article on Walter Ernest SUMMERFIELD was researched and written for the Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the RFHG, June 2017.

[1]       The National Archives, WWI War Diaries (France, Belgium and Germany), 1914-1920, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, 48th Division, Piece 2755/2: 1/6 Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment (1915 Mar – 1917 Oct); also available on www.ancestry.co.uk.

Boyes, Frederick Ernest. Died 16th Aug 1917

Frederick Ernest BOYES’s birth was registered in Q3 1896 in Rugby, he was the son of John Boyes, b.c.1858, in Willoughby or Rugby and Anna (Annie) Marie, née Webb, Boyes, also b.c.1858, in Lawford or Rugby.

He appears to have been baptised twice: first on 2 December 1896 at St. Andrew’s church, Rugby, with the surname spelled ‘Boies’; he was then baptised again on 9 May 1897 also at St Andrew’s with the correct surname ‘Boyes’ entered in the register.

On both baptism dates, the family were living at 11 Worcester Street, Rugby, and his father was an ‘Engine driver’ or an ‘LNWR Driver’. In 1901, they were still living at 11 Worcester Street; Frank was about two and the youngest of six children then at home – his father was still a ‘railway engine driver’.

By 1911, the family had moved to live at 84 Railway Terrace, Rugby.   Frank’s parents had been married 31 years and had had 9 children, of whom eight had survived. His father was still a ‘Railway engine driver’; three sons were still at home, with Frederick, now aged 14 working as a ‘Confectioner’s Errand Boy’.

Frederick Ernest Boyes

The exact date Frederick enlisted is not known but was probably sometime in later 1914 or earlier 1915. He enlisted at Rugby, as a Private, No.11104 in the 6th Bn. Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (‘Ox and Bucks’).

6th (Service) Battalion was formed at Oxford as part of the Second New Army (K2) in September 1914 and then moved to Aldershot to join the 60th Brigade of the 20th Division. In March 1915 they moved to Larkhill, on Salisbury Plain, and then mobilised for war on 22 July 1915 and landed at Boulogne.

Frederick’s Medal Card states that he went to France on 7 August 1915, which was just after the Battalion’s initial mobilisation, and after trench familiarisation and training, the Battalion was in various actions on the Western Front, although none of the major actions in later 1915.  However, in 1916 they were engaged in: the Battle of Mount Sorrel; the Battle of Delville Wood; the Battle of Guillemont; the Battle of Flers-Courcelette; the Battle of Morval and the Battle of Le Transloy.

At some date Frederick was promoted to Lance Corporal. He had already been wounded twice as a later report stated that ‘… Another son, Pte F E Boyes, Oxon & Bucks L.I., has been twice wounded; …’,[1] although it is not known in which actions these had occurred.

In 1917 the Battalion took part in the actions during the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line and the Battle of Langemarck, on the opening date of which, Frederick was killed.

The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The Battle of Langemarck, The Battle of the Menin Road Ridge, The Battle of Polygon Wood, The Cambrai Operations.”

It seems the Battalion was not involved on the first day of the 3rd Battle of Battle Ypres and the Battle of Pilckem Ridge (31 July – 2 August 1917), however, they were involved in the first day of the Battle of Langemarck, (16 – 18 August 1917).

RECORD OF THE 6th (SERVICE) BATTALION.

August 16th

Having placed the units attached to the Battalion and the Battalion itself in position, the C.O. and H.Q. established themselves in a block-house on the bank of the Steenbeek (since known as Jock’s House) and waited for zero hour (4.45 a.m.). ….

All was quiet, with the exception of the usual intermittent bombardment. The enemy had been dropping shells about 200 yards behind the K.S.L.I. off and on all night. He evidently had no idea that the whole front under his very nose was crowded with men. It was a wearing time to go through, as if the enemy chanced to discover how things were situated, he could have converted our entire front into a shambles. However, the luck that followed us right through the operations held on this occasion, and we lost only 5 men wounded during the night.

THE FIGHT FOR LANGEMARCK.

I doubt if there was a single man in the Battalion who did not heave a deep sigh of relief when zero at length came (4.45 a.m.). I know that I did. For about an hour before this our artillery had put up a fairly heavy barrage on all the enemy positions. At 4.45 a.m. it sounded as if someone had been careless about leaving the lid off hell. The scene beggared description. It was just light enough to see one’s way. The first thing that struck me was the immense variety of fireworks that the Hun was sending up. There was every known variety of Very Light, and some that I had not seen before. In fact, the only thing that he did not send up was a set-piece, with a portrait of the Kaiser, and God bless our Home in golden rain.

The 11th R.B.’s put up a smoke barrage, and rushed forward to try conclusions with Au Bon Gite.

Before describing our own movements, I will deal with the work of this company of the 11th R.B., for no account of the Langemarck fight can be complete without justice being done to the bitter struggle for Au Bon Gite. First and last, the passage of the Steenbeek cost the 59th Brigade almost half its number in casualties. This was chiefly due to this Au Bon Gite concrete block-house, xcellently planned for defense, and held grimly by the Germans until surrounded and cut off.

The block-house, which had loopholes for machine guns, was irregular in outline, but wonderfully well sited. Around it were five or six smaller posts, and from it to the stream a barbed-wire entanglement ran diagonally in such a way as to break up any attacking party which should attempt an enveloping movement. With the smaller block-houses in the vicinity, there was formed a kind of triangular position of immense strength, and absolutely impervious to artillery fire.

The capture of Au Bon Gite seemed well nigh impossible; the general advance went on regardless of it, and it was perhaps this fact that upset the calculations of the enemy and caused him to surrender about an hour after the attack had been launched. Captain Slade and his company of the 11th R.B., with the aid of a smoke barrage, succeeded in getting under the walls, and, after much discussion, the defenders agreed to surrender, when 32 Germans were made prisoners and two machine guns captured. Had they stuck to their post they could have absolutely hung up the attack of half our Battalion frontage.

Now for our own proceedings. What struck me most at the start was that everybody with one accord lit a cigarette, and promptly looked at peace with all the world. If the boys did feel bloodthirsty, they concealed the fact to admiration. So great was the revulsion of feeling after the trying night, that they went forward smoking, laughing, and talking as if they had just heard that peace had been declared. Our first wave moved forward with parade-ground precision, getting well up to the barrage, which started just the other side of Au Bon Gite; and the rear platoons came over the bridges with perfect steadiness, taking up their correct dressing, and moving on as they got their distance. I will say here that the whole manoeuvre of crossing the Steenbeek was perfectly carried out. The barrage was splendid all the way through, and the highest praise is due to the gunners.

The 60th M.G. Company put up a barrage which must have been a demoralizing affair to face. The 60th Trench Mortar Battery had not any call on their services during the day, but lost fairly heavily, and must have had a fearful time carrying their mortars through the mud.

Our advance was well and steadily carried out. The two left companies suffered heaviest all the way, due to the fact that Au Bon Gite and other positions were firing on them as they advanced; also they had to advance over very bad ground and mud of the worst description.

I myself, with the Scouts, went forward with the second wave, and having watched the operations against Au Bon Gite for two or three minutes, during which time one of its machine guns did a great deal of firing to the east, though without much effect, we moved on to the block-house on the road (B), which had just surrendered, and was disgorging about a company of Boches. I do not know how many were there, but I saw at least forty come out.

I then established a forward runners’ relay post at Block-house A, to which Colonel Boyle shortly afterwards moved his H.Q.   Colonel Wood, of the 6th K.S.L.I., moved forward with his men, and took up his H.Q. at Alouette Farm later on. It took six men to dig him out of the mud on one occasion, but he had the air of enjoying himself immensely.

The 1st Objective was reached with only a trifling loss of men in the right companies; but, as I have said, the left companies suffered more heavily, C Company having been very badly cut up, and A not much  better. Here we were, I think, slightly behind the barrage.

When the time came to go on to the Green Line (2nd Objective), D Company got there and consolidated up to time. C Company were slightly behind them, but the manoeuvre was at length satisfactorily carried out, and the work of the Battalion in the advance was completed.

It hardly comes within the scope of this account to follow the fortunes of the 7th K.S.L.I, and 12th K.R.R.C.; suffice it to say that they went on and carried their own objective forward in good style. More of them later.

Having seen the Green Line taken and consolidated, I went back to the H.Q. block-house, and made a personal report on the situation to Colonel Boyle. Afterwards I visited the whole of the Blue and Green, Lines to make a review of the situation and to collect reports. I collected the following information:

A Company. 2nd Lieut. Cockshut wounded about the time the Blue Line was captured; shot through the thigh – not severely.

2nd Lieut. Moase in command. He estimated his casualties at about 40 up to that time. Well dug in. Getting badly shelled on left.

B Company. 2nd Lieut. Mitchell still in command; has lost 2nd Lieut. Riley, wounded (not severely), and 17 other ranks killed and wounded. Has 5 Lewis guns (his own and those of the 12th R.B.) under 2nd Lieut. Little, who has lost his two subs, 2nd Lieuts Milner and Wastell.

C Company. Captain Middleditch wounded; 54 other ranks not accounted for, but not believed all killed or wounded.   2nd Lieut. Broke in command. Connected up with Somerset Light Infantry on left.

D Company. Captain Money thought that he had lost 40 other ranks (which turned out about right). Well dug in, and well connected on right with 7th Dorsets.

I returned via Alouette Farm, and found 7th K.S.L.I. H.Q. installed. Colonel Wood told me that a Hun counter-attack was threatening from Poelcappelle, and that whereas he got his objectives, the 12th K.R.R.C. had been obliged to fall back from theirs a matter of 200 yards. The Lancashire Fusiliers, on the right, had not gone forward farther than 200 yards beyond the Green Line. He asked for more men and, the Brigadier having assented, at 9 a.m. Colonel Boyle placed our C Company at his disposal, and sent it up to help out the K.R.R.C., who were having a terrific handling.

The Boche counter-attack crumpled up beneath our artillery and rifle fire. The 12th R.B. threw two companies in on the right flank of the K.S.L.I., and the 10th Welsh put a company into Au Bon Gite. By dark the situation had become less critical, and could be said to be in some measure safe. The enemy shelling kept up all the afternoon and night.

So ended the fight for Langemarck. To the military student the fight itself has no special interest. It was merely the conventional advance well carried out. But as an example of troops forming up under the noses of the enemy without shelter trenches or, indeed, any shelter, and with nothing to guide them, it will, I venture to say, stand for long in military history among the offensives of the war. It is an excellent example of what may be done with well disciplined and well officered troops.

The following messages were received, through the Brigade, from Divisional H.Q. :

‘Corps and Divisional Commanders send warmest congratulations to 60th Infantry Brigade and 61st

Infantry Brigade on capture of Langemarck.’

Following message received from XIVth Corps. Begins. ‘The Corps Commander most heartily thanks 20th Division and 29th Division and all the Artillery for the complete success gained today (16th). He particularly congratulates all the fighting troops on their determination to overcome all difficulties of mud and water as well as the opposition of the enemy, Ends. Addressed all concerned.’

Following message from XIVth Corps. Begins. Commander-in-Chief called on Corps Commander this morning (17th) and ordered him to convey his congratulations to all troops engaged in our operations yesterday. Ends.”

August l7th

The morning passed fairly quietly. We managed to get water and rations to the men.

The forward line being considered unsafe, the 12th R.B. detailed two companies to endeavour to correct it; the K.S.L.I, also cooperated, and the attempt was fairly successful.

At 6.30 p.m. the preparatory barrage opened, and A Company moved up to, and to the north of the Alouette Farm road, behind the Green Line. C Company, it will be remembered, had already gone up to the assistance of Captain Lycett and his BLR.R.C.

At 7 p.m. the R.B. made their attack on the Red Line, losing heavily, though being fairly successful.

During the remainder of the night there was intermittent artillery fire over the whole area.

August 18th

A quiet morning. No change in the situation. Heard with no great grief that we were to be relieved at night by the 14th Welsh in the Blue Line, and by the 10th Welsh in the Green Line.

The relief went well, and the Battalion came back to Malakoff Farm (B.23.a.30), the same camp as before, and nowise sorry to get there.

The total casualties in the Battalion during the operations of 16th-18th were :
Killed, or died of wounds, 38 other ranks;
Wounded, 3 officers and 148 other ranks;
Wounded and missing, 4 other ranks;
Missing, 8 other ranks.[2]

Frederick was one of those Killed in Action on that day. His body was either never found or not identified. He is remembered on one of the panels of the Tyne Cot Memorial. He is also commemorated on the Rugby Memorial Gates in Hillmorton Road, Rugby.

Frederick’s Medal Card and the Medal Roll entry showed that he was awarded the British War Medal, the Victory Medal and the 1914-1915 Star.

The Army Register of Soldiers’ Effects, recorded a payment on 22 November 1917, to his widow, Georgina, of £3-1-5d and then a payment of a war gratuity of £4-0-0d on 10 November 1919.

Mr and Mrs Boyes, of Railway Terrace, Rugby, have received information that nothing further has been heard of their son, Pte F H Boyes, Royal Berkshire Regt, who was reported missing on July 1st, 1916, and it must be presumed he has been killed. Pte Boyes was a drummer in the 1st Rugby Boys’ Brigade before enlisting in March, 1915, when only 16 years of age. He was in France before attaining his 17th birthday. Another son, Pte F E Boyes, Oxon & Bucks L.I., has been twice wounded ; whilst a third son, Pte W J Boyes, 7th Warwicks, has also served.[3]

Lance-Corpl Boyes had two brothers who were also serving: his brother Frank Harold BOYES was in the 2nd Bn. Royal Berkshire Regiment and was reported missing, presumed killed in action, on the first day of the Battle of the Somme on 1 July 1916  The other son Pte W J Boyes, was in the 7th Warwicks, and wrote a letter to the Rugby Advertiser which was published on 23 October 1915 (see also Rugby Remembers).

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

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This article on Frederick Ernest BOYES was researched and written for the Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the RFHG, June 2017.

[1]       Rugby Advertiser, 16 June 1917.

[2]         http://www.lightbobs.com/6-service-bn-oxf–bucks-li-1917-1918.html, transcribed from The National Archives, Document Reference: WO 95/2120/2, War Diary of the 6th Battalion Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, Date: July 1915 – Jan 1918.

[3]       Rugby Advertiser, 16 June 1917.

Deakin, Arol. Died 16th Aug 1917

Arol DEAKIN’s birth was registered in about 1889 in Eccleshall Bierlow RD in the border district of Derbyshire and Yorkshire. He would later state that he had been born in Sheffield. He was the second of three sons of Benjamin Deakin, a rolling-mill labourer(born c.1864, in Sheffield), and his wife,Sarah A, née Horsfield,(born c.1869, also in Sheffield).

In 1891, when Arol was one year old, and his elder brother, Arthur, was four, they were living at 155 Burgoyne Road, Sheffield; his mother’s sister, Martha H Horsfield and a niece were with them.

In 1901, the family were still at that same address in Sheffield. Arol’s father was now an ‘enquiry agent’ and the eldest son, Arthur, now 14, was working as a ‘screw turner’. There was now another younger brother, Benjamin, who was six years old. Arol was enumerated as ‘Ar/nold’ which raises the question of his true name – as this entry would have been by his father and not added by an enumerator or an official. Although he was Arol on most documents, it may be that this was an oral transcription of ‘Arnold’, or indeed ‘Harrold’ without its H or D. We will probably never know, but Arol was the name he used when joining the army and in his short later life.

It seems that on 7 November 1907, Arol’s elder brother, Arthur Deakin emigrated to America on the S.S.Ivernia from Liverpool to Boston, USA. He was 21 and an ‘engineer’. This seems to have been an exploratory visit, as he must have returned, and he then emigrated again on the same ship on 15 June 1909.   He was followed a few months later by their father, Benjamin, who travelled from Liverpool on the S.S.Merion to Philadelphia, in Pennsylvania, USA, arriving on 27 December 1909, whilst his wife remained at 21 Channing Street, Sheffield. His final destination was stated as Boston, USA. In 1911, Arol’s mother was still at 21 Channing Street, Sheffield, with their youngest son, Benjamin, now 16 and an apprentice bricklayer. However, by 1917, Arol’s mother and his younger brother, Benjamin, had also moved to join the family in Ontario, Canada.

Before 1911, Arol had moved to Rugby, presumably for work. On 2 April 1911, although a boarder, Arol filled in and signed the census form for the Wright household at 32 Lawford Road, New Bilton, Rugby.   He was then aged 21 and a ‘stenographer’ working for an ‘electrical engineers’. His landlord, John William Wright was an ‘electrical engineer’, also working for an ‘electrical engineers’. Arol was latterly working in the BTH Contracts Department.

Later, in the 3rd quarter of 1911, Arol’s marriage with Dinah Ethel Wright was registered in Rugby [Rugby, Q3, 1911, 6d, 1078]. They had a daughter, Eileen in 1913, and a son, John Arol in about early 1916.

At some date after war was declared, Arol enlisted in Rugby. He was not awarded the 1915 Star, and there is no date of ‘entry into theatre’ on his Medal Card, so it is unlikely that he joined up early – indeed as he was married, he was probably exempt for a time, and probably went to France in 1916, or even as late as earlier in 1917.

He was initially a Gunner, No.186, in the Territorial Royal Field Artillery, where he was later promoted to the rank of Corporal. He was later renumbered as No.840016 in the Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Field Artillery, and was posted into the 2nd/4th (South Midland) Heavy Trench Mortar Brigade.

Heavy trench mortars provided support to the infantry, and were generally stationed much closer to the front line than much of the artillery. As he died just behind the Ypres salient, it is most likely that he was in action providing support just prior to or during the Battle of Langemarck (16 – 18 August 1917), which was one of the actions of the Third Ypres offensive. He probably came under counter-battery fire from the German artillery and was wounded.   There do not appear to be other members of his unit in the cemetery, but on that same day 87 men of the Royal Field Artillery were killed in action or died of wounds at various points on the front, most of them in the Ypres salient.

It seems likely that Arol was transferred to Mendinghem casualty clearing station, which was about 10 miles north-west of Ypres. He did not recover and died of his wounds on 16 August 1917.   He was buried in the adjacent Mendinghem Military Cemetery in Grave Reference: IV. E. 38.

The Mendinghem Military Cemetery is just beyond the village of Proven. Mendinghem, like Dozinghem and Bandaghem, were the popular names given by the troops to casualty clearing stations in the area during the First World War. In July 1916, the 46th (1st/1st Wessex) Casualty Clearing Station was opened at Proven and this site was chosen for its cemetery. The first burials took place in August 1916. In July 1917, four further clearing stations arrived at Proven in readiness for the forthcoming Allied offensive on this front and three of them, the 46th, 12th and 64th, stayed until 1918.[1]

The Register of Effects[2] confirms Arol’s rank, number and place and date of death. His back pay of £22-2-6d was paid to his widow and sole legatee, Dinah E, on 8 December 1917, and his War Gratuity of £14-10-0d was paid to her on 19 January 1921.

Arol Deakin was awarded the British War and Victory Medals. He is commemorated on the Rugby Memorial Gates in Hillmorton Road, Rugby and also listed on the New Bilton War Memorial.[3] He is listed on the role of BTH Employees who served in the 1914-1918 war, and also as ‘DEAKIN, Arol’, on the BTH War Memorial.[4]

His death was listed as one of the ‘Local Casualties’ by the Sheffield Daily Telegraph in his former home town:   ‘Corpl. Arol Deakin, R.F.A., son Mr. and Mrs. B. and S. A. Deakin, Toronto, Canada, died of wounds August 16th.’[5]

This confirmed that his mother had joined his father, and that they were now living in Toronto, Canada. It seems that his youngest brother went with them, as a Benjamin Deakin, now 30 and a ‘silver polisher’, married with Edith Dickinson, a ‘box maker’, on 26 May 1925 at the Riverdale Methodist church in York, Ontario. His father died aged 58 on 20 August 1918 in York, Ontario, Canada and was buried there at Saint John’s Norway Cemetery.

Arol’s widow, Dinah, remarried with John Edwards in Rugby in 1919; they had three children registered in 1920, 1925 and 1931. After John’s death aged 55 in mid 1932, she married for a third time with Henry Chaplin in mid 1933. Dinah died aged 69 in Rugby in 1960.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

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This article on Arol Deakin was researched and written for the Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the RFHG, August 2017.

[1]       Information edited from: www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/… .

[2]       UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929.

[3]       The war memorial is by the chapel in Croop Hill Cemetery, Addison Road, Rugby.

[4]       This is from a list of the names on the BTH War Memorial when it was unveiled, and is taken from the list published in the Rugby Advertiser, 4 November 1921.

[5]       Sheffield Daily Telegraph, Tuesday, 11 September 1917.

Reynolds, Thomas Henry. Died 12th Aug 1917

Thomas Henry Reynolds was the eldest son of Thomas Henry and Mary Ann (nee Wells), and elder brother of George Ellis Reynolds  who had died on 31 July 1917 at Ypres.

Thomas was born in Rugby in 1879 and baptised at St Andrews Church on 7 December 1883. In the 1881 census he was with his parents and baby sister Mary in the household of his paternal grandmother Sarah and her second husband Thomas Hibbert in Pinders Lane.

In the 1891 Census he was aged 12 and named as Harry Reynolds, living at 14 Pinders Lane Rugby with his parents and 6 siblings. By 1901 Thomas was aged 22, a baker of bread, living at 61 James Street Rugby with his parents and 6 siblings including his younger brother George.

On 10th January 1904 Thomas aged 25 married Emily Perkins age 24 in St. Mary’s Church Clifton Rugby, and by 1911 they had 2 children, Eva Perkins Reynolds who was born in 1908 in Newton near Rugby and Henry Spencer Reynolds born in 1904 in Rugby.

Thomas Henry was a coal cake man and carter working for Ellis & Sons coal merchants, living in Newton in 4 rooms. Emily’s mother ran the Post Office in Newton together with her daughter.

Thomas’s army attestation of 10 May 1916 and his medal card state that he first joined the Royal Warwickshire Regiment as Private No 203552, was transferred to the 5th Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and sent to France on 10 June 1917. He received a severe gunshot wound in the left leg on 28 July for which he was treated in the field, later being admitted to hospital at Etaples where he died on 12 Aug, aged 37. He is buried in Grave XXV M6A in Etaples Military Cemetery.

Thomas is mentioned together with his brother in the Rugby Advertiser of 18 August 1917 as being an Old Murrayan, formerly a clerk at Rugby Station in the goods yard of Ellis & Sons, coal merchants.

He received the British Empire and Victory medals. His widow was granted a pension of £1.2s.11d a week for herself and their two children, as well as his back pay of £2.8s.3d and War Gratuity of £3. Emily continued to run the Post Office on her own after Thomas’s death.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

Hanwell, George Charles. Died 12th Aug 1917

George Charles HANWELL’s birth was registered in Q2 1881 in Rugby.   He was the son of William Hanwell, a railway fireman, and Sarah Maria née Wills. In 1882 they were living in Rugby where George had been born.

George was baptised at Crick on 3 September 1882, when his father was also recorded as a ‘fireman’. By 1891 the family were living at 15 Cambridge Street, Rugby.

In 1901, George was enumerated back in Crick, living with his grandfather, a retired plumber. His uncle was a ‘plumber and painter’ and George was listed similarly.   It seems he was learning the trade, and by 1911 he was enumerated as a house painter.

His marriage with Georgina Worthington, was registered in Rugby in Q3 1906, and by census night 1911 they were living at 1 Caldecott Street, Rugby with their son Henry W who was 7 months old – his birth was registered in Q3 1910. They later had a son, Jesse, whose birth was registered in Q1 1915, but who died very soon afterwards and whose death was registered in Q2 1915.

George enlisted at Rugby and joined up initially as Private No.267297 in the 1/5th Bn. Royal Warwickshire Rifles (RWR) and later at an unknown date was transferred as Private, No.235001 to the 1st Bn. Worcestershire Regiment.

The 1/5th Battalion of the RWR were formed in August 1914 in Thorp Street, Birmingham as part of Warwickshire Brigade, South Midland Division.   They landed at Le Havre on 22 March 1915 and on 13 May 1915 joined the 143rd Brigade, of the 48th (South Midland) Division and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including in 1916: The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bazentin Ridge, The Battle of Pozieres Ridge, The Battle of the Ancre Heights, The Battle of the Ancre; and in 1917, The German Retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The Battle of Langemarck, The Battle of Polygon Wood, The Battle of Broodseinde, and The Battle of Poelcapelle.

The 1st Battalion had been stationed in Cairo, Egypt at the outbreak of war, but by 16 October 1914 had returned to England from Alexandria and arrived at Liverpool to join the 24th Brigade of the 8th Division and moved to Hursley Park, Winchester. They landed at Le Havre in November 1914 for service on the Western Front. The 1st Battalion placed an important role at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle in March 1915 but by December it had lost half its strength due to frostbite as much as combat casualties as well as the commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel E. C. F. Wodehouse, who was killed-in-action.

It is unknown when George joined up or transferred to the 1st Bn., which having fought in the Battle of Aubers Ridge in May 1916, transferred with the 24th Brigade to the 23rd Division on 18 October 1915. During 1916 the Brigade helped to relieve the French 17th Division in the Carency sector and the attack on Contalmaison, and on 15 July 1916 transferred back to the 8th Division, with the Battalion taking over trenches at Cuinchy and then moving back to the front at Somme. During 1917 they were involved with the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The Battle of Pilkem, The Battle of Langemarck, and the Third Battle of Ypres.

It was presumably during the first action of the Third Battle of Ypres that George was wounded.

The War Diary of the 1st Battalion Worcestershire Regiment provides information on their positions and actions in July and August 1917. Prior to George’s death on 12 August, the Battalion was in reserve and under training so it seems likely that he was wounded before August.

This would have been during the Battle of Pilckem Ridge, 31 July – 2 August 1917, which was the opening attack of the Third Battle of Ypres. On 31 July, the Anglo-French armies captured Pilckem Ridge and areas either side, the French attack being a great success. However, heavy rain fell during the afternoon of 31 July, just as German regiments from specialist counter-attack Eingreif divisions intervened. The reserve brigades were forced back and the German counter-attack was stopped by massed artillery and small-arms fire.

The Diary noted that they had made an extensive advance on 31 July near Hooge and onto the Bellewarde Ridge, toward Westhoek, in which action tanks were also used. However, in the later part of the action on 31 July, they experienced heavy shell fire and also machine gun and sniper fire. The description of the day in the War Diary runs to some four pages and although the Battalion captured 70 Germans, as well as inflicting losses on the enemy, they had three officers and 22 other ranks killed and five officers and 157 other ranks wounded, and one officer and 49 other ranks missing.

It is assumed that George Hanwell was among the 157 wounded and he was presumably taken back to an advanced dressing station or a casualty clearing station before being evacuated to one of the hospitals well behind the lines at Rouen, where he later died of his wounds on 12 August 1917.

George was buried in Plot P. II. D. 14B, in the St. Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen. His headstone reads ‘God grant him eternal life’.

The St. Sever Cemetery Extension is located within a large communal cemetery situated on the eastern edge of the southern Rouen suburbs. During the First World War, Commonwealth camps and hospitals were stationed on the southern outskirts of Rouen. Most of the hospitals at Rouen remained there for the whole of the war. They included eight general, five stationary, one British Red Cross and one labour hospital, and No.2 Convalescent Depot. The great majority of the dead were taken to the city cemetery of St. Sever. In September 1916, it was found necessary to begin an extension, where the last burial took place in April 1920.

The Army Register of Soldiers’ Effects, recorded a payment on 22 November 1917, to his widow, Georgina, of £3-1-5d and then a payment of a war gratuity of £4-0-0d on 10 November 1919.

George’s Medal Card and the Medal Roll entry showed that he was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. There was no 1914-1915 Star, which suggests that he did not go to France until at least 1916.

George Hanwell is commemorated on the Rugby Memorial Gates in Hillmorton Road, Rugby.

George’s son Henry Hanwell’s marriage with Phyllis A Mansfield was registered in Rugby in Q2 1936. They had a son, John H Hanwell whose birth was registered in Q2 1936.

 

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This article on George Charles HANWELL was researched and written for the Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the RFHG, June 2017.

Boyce, Arthur Cecil. Died 10th Aug 1917

Arthur Cecil Boyce was not a Rugby lad, although he appears on the Rugby Memorial Gates.

He was born June 1889 in London (Wandsworth), to Arthur and Isabel Boyce. He appears on the census for 1891 and 1901 living with his parents Arthur and Isabel Boyce. On the 1891 Census the family is living in 70 Bellevue Battersea London and in 1901 at 2 Henderson Road Wandsworth London. Arthur’s father was working for the Railways in 1891 as a clerk, in 1901 as an Assistant Railway Superintendent and in 1911 he is a Railway Manager, living at 2 Fitzroy Gardens, Rugby.

Arthur Cecil is not with his parents on the 1911 Census but in at Birkenhead, Cheshire as an Engineering Student at University where he took a first class B.Eng. in 1912 and in the same year was awarded the Burroughs prize for drawing and design.

He went out to Canada as a civil engineer and returned at the outbreak of war as a sapper with the Canadian contingent. He served from February to September 1915 in France and Belgium – in April he was slightly gassed at Ypres, the first time gas was used by the Germans. He came home and was posted with the Royal Engineers at Netley

It was during this time, on 4th January 1916, that he married Kathleen Eve Limrick at St Margaret’s Church, Toxteth Park, in Liverpool. He gave his address as 283 Clifton Road, Rugby, his parents home.

2nd Lieutenant Boyce returned to France with the Royal Engineers and to the Front in July 1916.

He was invalided home from France suffering from an affliction of the throat, nose and teeth. He was on the hospital ship Gloucester Castle which was torpedoed on 31st March 1917 and spent three hours in an open boat.

He returned to Liverpool where he received treatment for his teeth and travelled to Maidenhead for the removal of two troublesome roots. The operation was successful but Arthur collapsed and the attending doctor could not revive him. A later post-mortem discovered his heart had been weakened by the gas and exposure on the open sea

Arthur Cecil Boyce, Lieutenant R.E. 397th Field Coy, died on August 10th 1917. His body was placed on a gun carriage and returned to his home.

The funeral, with full military honours took place at West Norwood Cemetery.

His parents Arthur and Isabel later lived at Malvern, and his wife in Camberwell London.

He left a will and probate was granted to Arthur Boyce, railway district manager at Oxford 29″` September 1917 leaving £47.

A daughter, Joan I K Boyce was born in Liverpool in the second quarter of 1917, She died in Croydon in 1924 at the age of seven. It is not known what happened to his wife.

 

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Daniels, Leonard Gordon. Died 4th Aug 1917

Leonard Gordon Daniels was born in Rugby and baptised on 14th January 1898, together with his twin Joseph Henry. Their parents were Leonard Daniels and Annie Amelia (nee Bench) who had married on 28 March 1897 at St Marks Church, Coventry, although both came from Rugby. Annie gave her age as eighteen, but she had probably just turned sixteen. At the time of the twins’ baptism, their parents were living in Earl St, Rugby and Leonard was a bricklayer.

By 1901 they had moved to 57 Oxford Street and a third child, Robert Cecil, the survivor of another pair of twins born in mid 1900 in Birmingham. the other twin William Sidney died soon after birth. In 1911, when Leonard Gordon was 13, they lived at 9 New Street and his father was still working as a bricklayer.

After leaving Murray School, Leonard became a printing apprentice with Mr G E Over.

When the war started, Leonard Gordon Daniels enlisted immediately, on 19th August 1914. He was only 16, but gave his age as 21yr 1mth. He joined the Army Service Corps (driver T/2/14707). On 12 January 1915 he was discharged as unfit for further service; not because of his age, but on medical grounds – a hernia. His description on discharge was sallow complexion, grey eyes, brown hair. He was 5ft 11in tall.

After an operation he signed up again, this time with the 4th Bn, Grenadier Guards (no.23313) on 11th March 1915. This time he gave his age as 20 yr 1mth (he was actually 17)

For some reason (problems with his age?) the army was unable to find the documentation of his service with the A.S.C. His record contains a large collection of correspondence between different departments on the subject until, in January 1916, the Rugby recruiting office explained that “owing to the rush of recruits on outbreak of war, unable to state how documents were disposed of on enlistment”

It is not known if this delayed his deployment, but he arrived in France in February 1917. The Grenadier Guards had joined the 4th Guards Brigade of the 31st Division and at some point Leonard was promoted to Lance Corporal.

Leonard Gordon Daniels  was wounded on 31st July 1917, the first day of the Battle of Pilckem.

He died on the 4th August 1917 and was buried at Dozinghem Military Cemetery.

Westvleteren was outside the front held by Commonwealth forces in Belgium during the First World War, but in July 1917, in readiness for the forthcoming offensive, groups of casualty clearing stations were placed at three positions called by the troops Mendinghem, Dozinghem and Bandaghem.

The 4th, 47th and 61st Casualty Clearing Stations were posted at Dozinghem and the military cemetery was used by them until early in 1918.

There are 3,174 Commonwealth burials of the First World War in the cemetery and 65 German war graves from this period.

In a letter to his parents, reported in The Rugby Advertiser of 11th August, an officer of the Battalion wrote that

“Corpl Daniels was gallantly leading his Lewis Gun Section into action… I was by his side when he was hit, and I can assure you that everything possible was immediately done for him. I do not think he suffered any pain. I have been his platoon commander ever since he came to France. It was chiefly by my recommendation that he won his stripes, and he has always done his work to my entire satisfaction. He was a great favourite with all the platoon, and he leaves a gap which will, indeed, be hard to fill.

 

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