Hillyard, John. Died 22nd Aug 1918

John Hillyard was born at Long Lawford, Rugby in the last months of 1894.  His parents were Charles William and Sarah Hillyard.  On the 1891 census, before John was born, they had been living at Primrose Cottage, Long Lawford with John’s older brothers Charles, William and George.   By 1901 they are living at 15 Addison Road New Bilton and the family had increased with the births of John’s sisters Kate and Gertrude and the arrival of two more brothers Albert and Ernest.  The family had further increased by the 1911 census with the arrival of Annie, Edith and James.  John was known as Jack, as on the report of his death in the Rugby Advertiser 21st September 1918.

John’s father, Charles was a general labourer and in 1901 he is working at Rugby Cement Works with his eldest son Charles, another son, William, is an apprentice book binder.   John was at school and was being educated at New Bilton Council School.

The 1911 census shows both John and his father both working as labourers at the Cement Works; Brother George is a Butcher’s Assistant, William is a Book Binder, Charles is not at home.

By 1914 John was employed by Mr. J. J. Mckinnell, as a vanman.  Mr J. J. Mckinnell owned a grocery shop in Sheep Street Rugby and eventually became Mayor of Rugby.

John enlisted in October 1914 at New Bilton Rugby and served, as a driver with the Royal Army Service Corps (Service no. T3/024551), which became attached to 126th Army Brigade, Royal Field Artillery.

By August 1918, John had served 3 years 3 months in France and had returned to the front a few weeks before his death. The family were now living at 20 Frederick Street Rugby.  At the time of his death two of John’s brothers had been discharged and three were still in the army.  John was probably involved in the fighting on the Somme when he was killed in action 22nd August 1918, aged 22 years.

Private John Hillyard is buried in France at Duisans British Cemetery, Etrun Reference Plot V. H. 55.

The report of his death is in the list of U.K. Commonwealth War Graves 1914 – 1921.  In the Army Registers of Soldiers Effects John was credited with £4 11s 6d and with a War Gratuity, all of which was sent to his father totalling of £18. 10s 0d. His only memorial, after his headstone in France, is on Rugby’s Memorial Gates.


Rugby Advertiser 21st September 1918:

Local Notes
Driver Jack Hillyard, A.S.C., son of Mr. Charles Hillyard of 20 Frederick Street, Rugby, was killed on August 22nd.  He was 24 years of age, and before joining up in October 1914, he was employed as a vanman by Mr. J. J. McKinnell.  He served three years and three months in France; and only returned to the front a few weeks prior to his death.  He was educated at New Bilton Council School.  At one time Mr. Hillyard has six sons in the Army; two have been discharged, and three are still serving.







Thompson, Frederick Thomas. Died 12th Apr 1918

Frederick Thomas THOMPSON was born in Rugby in late 1881. He was the second son of John Harris Thompson, who was born in Little Houghton, Northamptonshire and whose birth was registered in Hardingstone, Northamptonshire in Q3, 1856, and Elizabeth Charlotte Pool née Goode, Thompson, who was born in New Bilton and whose birth was registered in Rugby in Q2, 1854. Their marriage was in Rugby on 24 January 1879 and registered in Rugby in Q1, 1879.

Frederick was baptised on 19 October 1881 at St. Andrew’s church, Rugby, when the family were living at 5 Clifton Cottages and his father was a ‘fireman’.

In 1891, Frederick’s father’s career had progressed, he was now an ‘engine driver’, and the family were living at 14 Paradise Street, Rugby. Frederick was nine years old and had an elder sister and brother, and two younger sisters.

In 1901 the family were living at 41 Lower Hillmorton Road, Rugby, but Frederick, who would have been 19, was not at home that night and has not been located.

In 1911, Frederick was still single, aged about 29 and working as a ‘chauffeur’ and living at Westfield Cottage, Bilton Road, Rugby. Meanwhile, his parents had moved to 7 Albert Street, Milverton, Leamington Spa, where they would still be living when the CWGC were dealing with cemetery records after the war. His father was an ‘LNWR Engine Driver’.

There are no surviving military Service Records for Frederick. He joined up as a Private, No.M2/156874 in the Army Service Corps (A.S.C.)- probably as he had driving experience as a Chauffeur. His Medal Card does not give any date when he went abroad. He was latterly in the 648th MT Company, A.S.C.

The 648th Company was formed on 9 February 1916. Originally a Water Tank Company [MT] in UK, it then went to East Africa. Tracking other members of the 648th suggests that some, at least, went to East Africa in August 1917 – when a Charles Hutchinson ‘died at sea’ whilst on H. S. Araguaya on 29 August 1917.

The Company’s role in East Africa was as the 4th Auxiliary [MT] Company [maintenance services] Artillery Support. An earlier company 570th, which was formed in September 1915 and also served in East Africa was absorbed into 648th Company in June 1917.

There is no War Diary – but at the outbreak of the First World War Tanzania was the core of German East Africa. On 8 August 1914, the first recorded British action of the war took place here, when HMS Astraea shelled the German wireless station and boarded and disabled two merchant ships – the Konig and the Feldmarschall. From the invasion of April 1915, Commonwealth forces fought a protracted and difficult campaign against a relatively small but highly skilled German force under the command of General von Lettow-Vorbeck. The Royal Navy systematically shelled the city [of Dar-Es-Salaam] from mid August 1916, and on 4 September the deputy burgomaster was received aboard H.M.S. Echo to accept the terms of surrender. Troops, headed by the 129th Baluchis, then entered the city. On 12 September 1916, Divisional GHQ moved to Dar-Es-Salaam, and later No.3 East African Stationary Hospital was stationed there. The town became the chief sea base for movement of supplies and for the evacuation of the sick and wounded.

It seems likely that the 648th Company arrived after these events.

It seems that Frederick became sick and was probably evacuated to the 52nd Casualty Clearing Station, at Mingoyo, in Tanganyika. He was suffering from Dysentry. He died from that disease on 12 April 1918 – and was thus originally buried in grave Ref: 2. A. 2. [originally numbered C2] in the nearby Mingoyo Cemetery.

In the 1960s and 1970s when smaller and outlying cemeteries became too difficult to maintain, his body was ‘concentrated’.[1] It was identified by the ‘Unit A.S.C. on metal cross; on iron cross No. 156874 & unit A.S.C.M.T.’ that had identified his grave at Mingoyo.

Frederick Thomas Thompson was re-buried at the Dar Es Salaam War Cemetery, Tanzania, in grave reference: 5. M. 12.. His family had the inscription ‘Peace Perfect Peace’ added to his memorial stone.

The Dar-Es-Salaam War Cemetery is located on the coastal side of Bagamoyo Road, which heads north-west along the coast from the centre of Dar-Es-Salaam. It is about 5 kilometres from the city centre. The cemetery was created in 1968 when the 660 First World War graves at Dar Es Salaam (Ocean Road) Cemetery had to be moved to facilitate the construction of a new road. … During the early 1970s, a further 1,000 graves were brought into this site from cemeteries all over Tanzania, where maintenance could no longer be assured.

Frederick Thomas THOMPSON was awarded the British War and Victory Medals.   He is also commemorated on the Rugby Memorial Gates in Hillmorton Road, Rugby and on his family’s grave at Plot L80, at the Clifton Road Cemetery, Rugby.

His mother died in 1930, probably in Leamington, her death being registered in Warwick. His father died in Rugby in 1933.



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This article on Frederick Thomas THOMPSON 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, March 2018.


[1]       Individuals who were originally buried in smaller or isolated cemeteries, were, at a later date, exhumed and reburied in main war cemeteries. The concentration of cemeteries allowed otherwise un-maintainable graves to be moved into established war grave cemeteries where the Commission could ensure proper commemoration.


Everett, Frederick Stanley. Died 16th Dec 1917

Frederick Stanley EVERETT was born in 1897 in Daventry, the son of Charles Frederick (born 1869, Marsh Gibbon, Buckinghamshire) and his wife, Edith Annie, née Wall, Everett who were married on 18 July 1895 in Daventry, Northamptonshire. They moved to Narborough in Leicestershire in about 1899 for two or so years, before moving to Rugby at some date before 1901.

In 1901, the family were living at 118 Abbey Street, Rugby, and in 1911 the family were at 42 Claremont Road Rugby, a six room house. Frederick now had six younger siblings and was working as a ‘junior railway clerk’. His father was also a ‘railway clerk’.

Frederick attended the Murray School and in 1909 was highly commended in a competition to make a model dog kennel,[1] and in 1910 when in Form ‘St. VII’ received an Attendance Prize.[2] ‘He was at one time a teacher in the Murray Sunday School and secretary of St Andrew’s Guild Cricket Club. He was also a member of St Peter’s Church Choir, …’[3]

Frederick had been employed as a Goods Clerk by the L & N-W Railway Company at Berkswell and Hampton.[4]

He joined up when he was aged 18 in January 1916,[5] into the Army Service Corps as No.DN2/155017. When he went abroad is unknown, but it was probably after training, later in 1916. He went to Mesopotania and was part of the 971st MT [Motor Transport] Company.   At some date he was promoted to Lance Corporal.

In 1914, Baghdad had been the headquarters of the Turkish Army in Mesopotamia. It was the ultimate objective of the Indian Expeditionary Force ‘D’ and the goal of the force besieged and captured at Kut in 1916. On 11 March 1917, the British entered Baghdad … The British Indian Army played a significant role … but the position was not fully consolidated until the end of April.

Amidst the confusion of the retreat a large part of the Ottoman army (some 15,000 soldiers) was captured.[6] Given the continually depressing news in France and elsewhere, this was a significant and newsworthy achievement. British forces (and Russians, advancing from the north and east) closed in on the Turks throughout the autumn of 1917.[7]  Baghdad became the Expeditionary Force’s advanced base, with two stationary hospitals and three casualty clearing stations.

By 18 November 1917, the distribution of the Mesopotamia Expeditionary Corps,[8] suggested that the No.971 Mechanical Transport Company was equipped with Ford vans and was on the Tigris Front and they were in the Basra or Baghdad Garrison as Army Troops in the 18th Division which had just begun to be formed, although the bulk of the units (most of which were to come from India) had not yet arrived in Mesopotamia on that date.

The supply lines had become overlong and General Maude had died of cholera on 18 November 1917. He was replaced by General William Marshall who halted operations for the winter.

‘… conditions in Mesopotamia defy description.   Extremes of temperature (120 degrees F was common); arid desert and regular flooding; flies, mosquitoes and other vermin: all led to appalling levels of sickness and death through disease.   Under these incredible conditions, units fell short of officers and men, and all too often the reinforcements were half-trained and ill-equipped. Medical arrangements were quite shocking, with wounded men spending up to two weeks on boats before reaching any kind of hospital. These factors, plus of course the unexpectedly determined Turkish resistance, contributed to high casualty rates. …’[9]

11012 killed,
3985 died of wounds,
12678 died of sickness,
13492 missing and prisoners (9000 at Kut),
51836 wounded.’[10]

Frederick Everett died on 16 December 1917, aged 21. He was one of the very many who ‘Died of Sickness’ in the base hospital at Basra. He was buried in the Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery in Plot III. G. 11. His gravestone bears the wording, ‘Father in Thy Gracious Keeping, Leave we now our Dear One Sleeping’. 

Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery is today located in a very sensitive area in the Waziriah Area of the Al-Russafa district of Baghdad. … The North Gate Cemetery was begun in April 1917 and has been greatly enlarged since the end of the First World War by graves brought in from other burial grounds in Baghdad and northern Iraq, and from battlefields and cemeteries in Anatolia where Commonwealth prisoners of war were buried by the Turks.[11]

When news of his death reached Rugby in December 1917, after the service at St Peter’s church on Sunday evening ‘… the ‘Dead March’ in Saul was played to honour his memory.’[12]

Frederick Stanley EVERETT was awarded the British War and Victory Medals, and is also commemorated on the Rugby Memorial Gates in Hillmorton Road, Rugby.



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This article on Frederick Stanley Everett 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, October

[1]       Rugby Advertiser, 6 November 1909.

[2]       Rugby Advertiser, 5 November 1910.

[3]       Rugby Advertiser, 29 December 1917.

[4]       Rugby Advertiser, 29 December 1917; also info. given in Birmingham Daily Post, Friday, 28 December 1917.

[5]       Rugby Advertiser, 29 December 1917; also info. given in Birmingham Daily Post, Friday, 28 December 1917.

[6]         https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesopotamian_campaign.

[7]         http://www.1914-1918.net/mespot.htm.

[8]         http://www.314th.org/Nafziger-Collection-of-Orders-of-Battle/917BKMA.pdf.

[9]         http://www.1914-1918.net/mespot.htm.

[10]     Data from ‘Statistics of the Military Effort of the British Empire’, London: HMSO, 1920.

[11]         https://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/57303/baghdad-(north-gate)-war-cemetery/.

[12]     Rugby Advertiser, 29 December 1917.

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.



Hastings, Edwin George. Died 14th Mar 1917

Edwin George HASTINGS, was born in Kensington, London in late 1886. He was the son of Hammond Hastings, a carpenter, and Eliza née Rowbottom, whom he had married in 1871, of 1 Roseford Gardens, Shepherds Bush, London,

Edwin was educated at Finsbury Technical College, and by 1901, aged 14, he was an Office Boy for an Architect and living at home at 1 Roseford Gardens, with his widowed mother. This may have been an error as in 1911 she was again married to Hammond Hastings and still at that same address!! Indeed, it seems that he lived until he was 75, and did not die, in Islington, until 1923.

Before 1911 and probably in about 1909, Edwin moved to Rugby and in 1911 was lodging at 100 Railway Terrace, Rugby. He was still single and an Electrical Engineer. He worked at BTH, for three years in the Test Department and then for a similar period in the AC Engineers Department, where his brother Hammond Charles Hastings, who had also moved to Rugby, would become Chief Rheostat Engineer.[1]

Edwin enlisted in Birmingham and joined the army as No. M2/118627 in the Mechanical Transport Section in August 1915, and he served in the 283rd Mechanical Transport Company, Army Service Corps and was promoted to [acting] Lance-Corporal.

Edwin’s Medal Card has no indication of when he went to France, but he did not receive the 1915 Star so it was probably not until 1916 at the earliest.

The 283rd Mechanical Transport Company was one of the Army Service Corps Motor Transport Companies attached to the Royal Garrison Artillery as an Ammunition Column. It was formed in March 1915 and was the Ammunition Column for the 19th Brigade RGA [Royal Garrison Artillery].   Although slightly after the date of Edwin’s death, the HQ of 283rd Company was at Boisleux au Mont just south of Arras (from 15 May 1917 and until 31 May). The 283rd were also Corps Troops for the Corps Siege Park. However this was probably the area where he was working, probably moving ammunition ready for the heavy guns during Arras Offensive.[2]

He died in France on 14 March 1917, not in action but from illness, possibly brought by the conditions or gas. According to the ‘Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects’, Edwin was evacuated to 2/1st Northumbrian Casualty Clearing Station at Doullens. He died there of pneumonia and was buried in grave ref: V. E. 70. at Doullens Communal Cemetery Extension No.1.

Doullens is north of Amiens and south-east of Arras. From the summer of 1915 to March 1916, Doullens was a junction between the French Tenth Army on the Arras front and the Commonwealth Third Army on the Somme. The citadel, overlooking the town from the south, was a French military hospital, and the railhead was used by both armies. In March 1916, Commonwealth forces succeeded the French on the Arras front and the 19th Casualty Clearing Station came to Doullens, followed by the 41st, the 35th and the 11th. By the end of 1916, these had given way to the 3rd Canadian Stationary Hospital (which stayed until June 1918) and the 2/1st Northumbrian Casualty Clearing Station which is mentioned on Edwin’s records. From February 1916 to April 1918, these medical units continued to bury in the French extension (No 1) of the communal cemetery.

Probate was granted to his father, ‘Hammond Hastings, carpenter’, who indeed was still alive, on 5 November 1917, in the sum of £375-11-9d. Edwin’s back-pay of 14/11d was paid to his father as Administrator on 14 December 1917 and his gratuity of £6-10s was paid on 17 October 1919.

Edwin was awarded the Victory and British medals, and is listed among the BTH Employees who served in the War and he is remembered on the BTH War Memorial, and on the Rugby Memorial Gates.



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This article on Edwin George HASTINGS was researched and written for a Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the Rugby Family History Group, December 2016.


[1]       General information from obituary notice in the Rugby Advertiser.

[2]         http://www.1914-1918.net/ASC_MT.htm also 7 Corps, TNA ref: WO 95/817 – Corps Troops; WO 95/817/6 – Corps Troops: Corps Siege Park (283 Company A.S.C.).


Lindsay, Courtenay Traice. Died 28th Apr 1916

Courtenay Traice Lindsay was born in Belfast on 11 Dec 1874. His parents were Thomas Mitchener Lindsay and Ruth (nee Traice) who married in Lancashire in 1871. Four children were born in Ireland before the family moved to Rugby where Thomas worked as an artist and drawing teacher at Rugby School.

Courtenay followed his father’s profession and in 1901 was lodging at Sutton, in Cheshire. His occupation is given as Ast. Exam. under Royal College of Art. In 1903 he married Charlotte Editha Wetenhall at Stanwick, Northamptonshire. His occupation and that of both fathers was Gentleman and his address was given as Seafield, Fareham.

In 1911 the couple were living at 143 Beaufort Street, Chelsea with their son Courtenay Traice David  Lindsay aged six months. Courtnay senr’s occupation was Artist Designer.

At the start of the war Courtenay Traice Lindsay was nearly forty years of age but in May 1915 he applied for a commission in the Army Service Corps. His records contain a reference from Mr Dickenson, housemaster at Rugby School and one from Chas B McElwee, Organising Inspector of Drawing, National Education, Ireland. & Inspector in Drawing, the late Royal Indian Engineering College, Coopers Hill.

Courtenay had worked with Mr McElwee at the Board of Education, South Kensington and  McElwee examined the work of his pupils at Seafield Park College, a college teaching engineering to boys for the Indian Public Works Department.He states that:

“Mr Lindsay is an able artist, draughtsman and designer, and his work is always of a very high order indeed. I am satisfied that Mr Lindsay will perform all duties with a zeal and thoroughness that will give every satisfaction.”

He was gazetted Lieutenant on 31st May 1915 and from pencilled notes on his record, he appears that he was sent to Lichfield. This would be the Rugely and Brocton Camps set up on Cannock Chase during winter 1914 and spring 1915 for training the Reserve Battalions of various regiments. The first troops of the Army Service Corps arrived in 1915 followed by many others. It is not known if Lieut Lindsay remained there but he did not serve overseas.

On 28th April 1916 he died at Burnham Abbey, Buckinghamshire. Close to his home at The Holt, Burnham Beeches.

He was buried at Dorney Burial Ground, one of only two war graves in the church graveyard.

War Graves in Dorney Cemetery. Lieut Lindsay's  is on the right (cwgc website)

War Graves in Dorney Cemetery. Lieut Lindsay’s is on the right (cwgc website)

His widow returned to live near relatives at Broughton, Huntingdon.

Gertrude and Paulina Lindsay, Courtenay’s sisters remained in Rugby, working as a Teacher of Art   and Daily Governess respectively. In 1911 they lived at 4 Pennington Street. Presumably the reason their brother was listed on the Rugby Memorial Gates.



Dorman, John Thomas. Died 2nd Dec 1915

John Thomas[1] DORMAN’s birth was registered in early 1885 and he was a native of North Kilworth, Rugby.

His father was William Thomas Dorman, possibly more commonly known as Thomas,[2] who was born in about 1857 in North Kilworth; his mother was Sarah Jane née Robinson, who was born in Newark in 1856.

In 1891, John Dorman was 6 and had two brothers: William Dorman, aged 3, who would become a farm boy in the village before 1901; and Joseph Henry Dorman, aged 1. Their father was an Agricultural Labourer and they lived at 6 Rugby Road, North Kilworth, just down the road from the ‘Shoulder of Mutton’ pub.

In 1901, John Dorman was 16 and a farm labourer, still living in Rugby Road, North Kilworth, with his parents and siblings: Joseph Dorman, now 11; Adlaide Dorman, 8; Mary Dorman, 5; and David Dorman, 1.

In 1911, now calling himself ‘Jack’ Dorman, he was 26, and living in one room at the ‘Stables, 107 Albert Street’, where he was working as a Groom, presumably for John Liddington, the baker and corn dealer at 109 Albert Street next door.

John’s marriage with Mary Violet Hinks was registered in Q3, 1912, in Rugby, and they later lived at 12, King Edward Road, Rugby. She had been born in Rugby, and her father was then a ‘paver’ and they lived in Pinder’s Lane. She was baptised on 19 August 1887 at St Andrew’s, Rugby.   Just over two weeks later, on 11 September, the poet, Rupert Brooke would be baptised there.

It seems that John and Mary had a son, also John Dorman, whose birth was registered in Rugby in Q3, 1913. It may have been John junior whose marriage to Iris S Brooks was registered in Rugby in mid-1939.

It is uncertain when John joined up but he became No.M2/099389, a ‘Driver, Mechanical Transport’ in the Army Service Corps, and he was attached to the 26th Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps.

He went to France on 2 June 1915. The 26th (3rd Wessex) Field Ambulance was attached to the 25th Brigade,[3] in the 8th Division. In 1915, the 8th Division had already been in action at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle and the Battle of Aubers.   John would have arrived in France well before the next major action at Bois Grenier (a diversionary attack on 25 September 1915 coinciding with the Battle of Loos – see Rugby Remembers for that date).   As a driver, John would probably have been transporting injured soldiers, typically back from the various Advanced Dressing Stations, to the General Hospitals further behind the lines.

The 8th Division did not seem to have been in any major actions in later 1915, indeed activity would have probably slowed for the winter. However, routine trench duties as well as hazardous resupply work and training behind the front lines would have carried on, and even during such ‘routine duties’ many soldiers were being killed and injured.

It may have been whilst collecting wounded, or on routine duties, that John was wounded and transported back to base hospital. However, there was also an outbreak of a ‘mysterious respiratory infection at Etaples during the winter of 1915-16’,[4] possibly a pre-curser of the later ‘Spanish Flu’, and he may have been a victim of such an outbreak.

Whatever the circumstances, an entry in the ‘Register of Effects’ shows that John died in Etaples in the ‘No. 7, Canadian General Hospital’[5] on 2 December 1915, aged 32. He was buried in Grave Reference: III. G. 20A., in the nearby Etaples Military Cemetery, which served the many transit camps and hospitals in around Etaples. The Military Cemetery is to the north of the town, on the west side of the road to Boulogne. The cemetery contains 10,771 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, the earliest dating from May 1915.

Etaples is a town about 27 kilometres south of Boulogne. During the First World War, it became the principal depôt and transit camp for the British Expeditionary Force in France and also the point to which the wounded were transported.   The area around Etaples was the scene of immense concentrations of Commonwealth reinforcement camps and hospitals. It was remote from attack, except from aircraft, and accessible by railway from both the northern and the southern battlefields. In 1917, 100,000 troops were camped among the sand dunes. The hospitals, which included eleven general, one stationary, four Red Cross hospitals and a convalescent depot, could deal with 22,000 wounded or sick.

After John’s death, in March and April 1916, sums of £7-8-8d and £9-1-4d were paid to John’s widow and sole legatee, ‘Mary V’, and then in August 1919, a ‘War Gratuity’ of £3-0-0d.

John Dorman was awarded the British War and Victory Medals and the 1915 Star. He is remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gates.

It would appear that John’s widow, Mary, remarried with an Arthur Hinks in Lutterworth in mid-1920.   No other record of him has been found on-line and certificates would have to be purchased to advance any knowledge of him. It will be recalled that Hinks was also Mary’s maiden name, although they do not appear to be obviously related. They had three children, half-siblings for John junior, all registered in Rugby: Joyce D M Hinks in Q2 1923; Matthew A T in Q4, 1925; and Rosemary J in Q4, 1930.



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This summary was prepared for the Rugby Family History Group by John P H Frearson in November 2015.   Thanks are due to other members of the Group for copying data in the local newspaper.




[1]       T for Thomas, not V, as recorded on the Rugby Memorial Gates.

[2]       John’s father was recorded as Thomas rather than William by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

[3]       http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=61854

[4]       Connor, Steve, Flu epidemic traced to Great War transit camp, The Guardian, Saturday, 8 January 2000.

[5]       The handwritten entry is unclear and was transcribed as ‘No 1 Candie Genl Hospl’.   This was probably the No.1 Canadian General Hospital which is listed at Etaples, at http://www.anzacday.org.au/digging/hospitals.html; and which apparently later moved to Trouville.   See also: List of Canadian Hospitals Overseas – War of 1914-1918, in “Three Centuries of Canadian Nursing“, 1947, p.311.