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.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

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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.

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.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

Wingell, Archibald John. Died 31st Jul 1917

Archibald John WINGELL was born in about early 1879 in Leicester. He was the only son of Arthur Wingell, a book-keeper [born c.1855, in Guilsborough, Nothamptonshire], and his wife, Lucy Ann [Fanny], née Ireland, [b.c.1851, who was from Leicester]. Their marriage was registered in Leicester in Q2 1877.

In 1881, when Archibald was two, the family was living at 34 Chestnut Street, Leicester. By 1891 they had moved to Rugby and were living at 34 Bath Street.   Archibald was now 12 and he had a sister, Edith Minnie, who was eight and had been born in Aylestone, Leicestershire. Their father was now a Grocer.   On census night Archibald’s mother’s sister, Martha, a schoolmistress, and his grandmother, Hannah Ireland, were staying with them.

In 1901, the family were still in Rugby, but had moved to 11 Arnold Street. Archibald’s father, Arthur, was a ‘grocer’s clerk’ and Archibald was a ‘tailor’s cutter’.   His sister, Edith Minnie was working at home as a ‘milliner’.

It seems from papers in his effects, that Archibald had become – or perhaps was studying to become – a Mason, although nothing further is known.

It seems that Archibald moved to London and on 2 April 1911 the census noted that he was aged 30 and boarding at 37 Angles Road, Streatham, and still working as a ‘tailor’s cutter’.

Soon afterwards he married Agnes Anne Howse, then a ‘showroom assistant’ on 15 August 1911 at St James’ church, Ramsden, Oxfordshire. She was born in Ramsden in 1885 and her father was a blacksmith. In April 1911 she had been an assistant draper in the High Street, Banbury.

The Electoral Registers for 1914 and 1915 listed him in a ‘dwelling house’ at 78 Harborough Road, Streatham.

Archibald enlisted, aged 36 years and 11 months, on 9 December 1915. He was living at 78 ‘Harbour’ [Harborough] Road, Streatham, Surrey. He was 5ft 8inches tall and had a birth mark on the outside of his right thigh. He joined the Royal Garrison Artillery as a Gunner, No.101045. His Service Record survives, probably because his widow later received a pension and the Pension Records were not affected by the WWII fire.

He was on ‘Home Service’ from 21 June 1916 to 9 July 1917. He was promoted to ‘Lance Rank’ on 19 August 1916 and then to Acting Bombardier on 22 January 1917. He then went to join the British Expeditionary Force in France on 10 July, and on 17 July was posted from ‘base’ to the 23rd Heavy Battery, which had arrived in France, some two years earlier, on 15 September 1915.

Less than three weeks after going to France, he received gunshot wounds to his groin and back whilst he was ‘in action’ and was transferred to the 140th Field Ambulance, which was attached to the 41st Division in France where he died of his wounds on 31 July.

The 41st Division had been involved in the Battle of Messines in June 1917, before Archibald arrived in France. The Division was then involved in the initial action of the Battle of 3rd Ypres – the Battle of Pilckem Ridge which started on 31 July 1917, the day he died.

He was buried near the ‘Great Cross’ in Plot II. A. 3., in the La Clytte Military Cemetery. His gravestone includes the following words from his widow: ‘Adieu until we meet above’.

La Clytte Military Cemetery is located 8 kms west of Ieper [Ypres]. The hamlet of La Clytte was used as Brigade Headquarters, and burials were carried out by Infantry, Artillery and Engineer units (out of 600, 250 are those of Artillery personnel and 66 are those of Engineers).

After the war, his next of kin, his widow, Agnes Anne Wingell, was still living at their home, 78 Harborough Road, Streatham, S.W. 16. On 29 January 1918 she received Archibald’s effects, and it seems that there were a considerable number, probably reflecting that he was behind the lines with the artillery, where his effects could be recovered, rather than in the front line. His effects included:

‘Disc, Letters, (1 Registered open), Photos, small photo-case, Pocket book, Religious Book, 9ct Gold Ring, silver cigarette case, fountain pen & filler, Lodge rules, letter wallet, training card, Ribbon brooch, Cigarette holder, medal ribbons (3 pieces), sundry papers & cards, sundry Masonic papers, eyeglass, key, watch (broken), mirror, tobacco pouch, metal comb, penny stamp’.

The Register of Effects[1] confirms his rank, number and place and date of death. His back pay of £4-15-2d was paid to his widow and sole legatee, Agnes, on 12 January 1918, and his War Gratuity of £4-0-0d was paid to her on 3 December 1919.   Agnes was awarded a pension of 13/9d per week with effect from 18 February 1918.

Archibald John Wingell was awarded the British War and Victory Medals which were received by his widow on 6 October 1921. He is also commemorated on the Rugby Memorial Gates in Hillmorton Road, Rugby.

At the time of Archibald’s marriage in 1911, his father was a ‘Broker’s agent’, but he died in Rugby in 1913, aged 58. After the war, in 1919, his widowed mother, Lucy, was still living in Rugby, at 69 Manor Road. His sister had married in mid-1907 with Augustus Frank Lane, and was now Mrs Edith Lane and they were living at 6 Holbrook Avenue, Rugby.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

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This article on Archibald John WINGELLwas 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, July 2017.

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