Anderson, Charles Edward. Died 20th Jul 1916

The correct Charles Edward ANDERSON, who died in 1916, was only identified in July 2018, after the biography of another soldier of the same names who was killed on 31 August 1918 had been prepared.  That other soldier had no obvious connection with Rugby, although this was also the case for many men who came to Rugby to work between 1911 and 1914.  The correct ‘Rugby connected’ Charles Edward Anderson is now listed, albeit some two years after the centenary of his death.

 

Charles Edward ANDERSON was born in Shanghai, China, on 31 December 1890.  He was the second son of William Henry Anderson, b.c.1846, a merchant in Shanghai, and Anne Rose, née Wood, Anderson, b.c.1859 in Manchester.  They had married on 12 March 1885 at St Wilfred’s church, Northenden, Lancashire.  He was then 39 and the son of an ‘author’; she was 24 and the daughter of an ‘Engineer’.  After their marriage, William and Anne returned to China, where their four children were born: William Rose Wood Anderson, b.c.1886; Barbara Angustine Mary Anderson, b.c. 1888; Charles Edward Anderson, b. 31 December 1890; and Gordon Richard Fabian Anderson, b.c.1892.

It would appear that when the children approached secondary school age, their mother returned to England with them to continue their education.  For the 1901 census, they were in Bedford.

Charles attended Bedford Grammar School, now Bedford School, from 1903-1908.  At about the date that Charles left Bedford School in 1908, it seems that the family moved from Bedford to Rugby.  His father may have returned at some slightly earlier date as in May 1909 he had been in Bedford when he attended the Rugby Territorials Dinner, ‘… Capt. W. H. Anderson of Bedford (late Shanghai Volunteer Corps.), …’.[1]

By May 1909, there are records of the rest of the family being in Rugby, and it seems that when Mrs Anderson opened a sale of work for the New Bilton Parish Room, she was introduced as ‘… niece to the late Mr R H Wood, and the patroness of the living, …’.[2]  It seems that the ‘Advowson’ for New Bilton, together with the Rokeby Estate, was passed in R H Wood’s Will[3] to his Trustees for the use and income of Anne Rose Anderson, in addition to a sum of £10,000 that she had received.  The family moved to Rugby so that she could better perform that role and benefit and live on the Estate.  Her uncle, Mr R H Wood,[4] – and thus Charles Anderson’s great-uncle – had been a considerable benefactor to the town of Rugby and had founded and largely financed the Hospital of St Cross.

After school in Bedford, Charles went on to the Royal Military College, Sandhurst and passed out into the Gordon Highlanders in October 1910.

The family was not listed in the Rugby Advertiser, Rugby Post Office Directory, until 1911, ‘Anderson Mr, The Lodge, North Street.’  The previous year the house had been noted as occupied by Capt. H. H. Dundas.

In fact in early 1911, Charles’ father, William Henry Anderson, had died in Rugby, leaving Charles’ mother a widow.   For the 1911 census, she was living at The Lodge, which was now listed as being in Park Road, Rugby, and it seems that all her children were there, supporting her on census night.

In 1911, the eldest son William was a ‘medical student’.  The medical registers show that he had matriculated in September 1903 in London and was registered on 11 October 1910 and studied at St Bartholomew’s Hospital from 3 October 1910.  He was still living at ‘The Lodge’ in 1912,[5] and joined the Lawrence Sheriffe Lodge of the Masons on 20 February 1912.  During the war he was commissioned, first in the Royal Field Artillery, then transferred as a temporary Captain in the 5th Bn. Royal Warwickshires, and then became a major in the Indian Army Reserve of Officers.  He went to France on 1 April 1915.  He died aged 48 in London in 1928 when resident with his mother at Flore House, Weedon, Northants.

In 1911, the youngest son, Richard Gordon Fabian Anderson, was still at school but would later join the army and also receive a commission in the Royal Welch Fusiliers (RWF).[6]  He went to France on 11 or 13 August 1914 with the 2nd Bn. RWF.  He was wounded 26 October 1914 at La Cordonnerie by a fragment of shrapnel in the head, and this seemed to have had a lasting effect, although he continued to serve in the army.  After the war he studied law at the Inner Temple.  He died in 1975.

The next year, 1912, ‘Mr. Anderson’ was still listed in the Directory, although the address was now given as ‘The Lodge, Park Road’.  In the 1913 edition, he was still listed, but the family had now moved to Rokeby House, Barby Road, Rugby.  It was not until 1917 that the Rugby Almanac had realised that Mr Anderson was dead and listed ‘Anderson, Mrs., Rokeby House, Barby Road, Rugby’.

In 1911, Charles, then aged 20, had been at home on census night and was enumerated as a ‘2nd Lieutenant H M Army’.  In the Army List of 1912, Charles was recorded as having had his first promotion [in June 1912] to Lieutenant in the Gordon Highlanders, and for the Army List of 1915, he had been promoted again [in April 1915] as a Captain in the Gordon Highlanders.  His Army File is available at The National Archives[7] but has not been consulted at present as sufficient information is available for this brief summary.

When at home ‘Captain Anderson was a keen follower to hounds, and when on leave hunted with the Atherstone and North Warwickshire Hounds’.[8]

The 2nd Battalion of the Gordon Highlanders had been in Cairo in August 1914 and Charles Anderson was probably with them.  They returned to England, landing Southampton on 1 October 1914, and then moved to Lyndhurst and came under command of 20th Brigade in 7th Division.  Being already in the army, and with his Battalion, Charles was one of the first to go to France, and a few days later on 7 October 1914, they landed at Zeebrugge.

The Regimental War Diary is available at the National Archives, filed under the 20th Brigade.[9]

‘He was wounded at the first battle of Ypres, in October 1914, and again slightly on 14th July last [1916], but remained on duty, and was killed by a shell on the early morning of 21st.[10]

In later June the Battalion was in trenches in the Bois de Tailis area, preparing for an offensive.  It was very wet and on 30 June they prepared to attack Mametz village, but the attack on 1 July was held up by enemy wire and machine guns.  With reinforcements from 2nd Warwicks, Mametz was taken together with 600 prisoners.  On 6 July the battalion went to Ribemont to reorganise.  On 12 July they marched to Pommiers Redoubt.  On 14 July they moved to Mametz Wood, but the attack by others was successful and they were not required, however an enemy counterattack meant they then had to attack and clear the north-east part of the wood.  There was heavy shellfire and it was possibly then that Charles was ‘wounded slightly’.

On 20 July the Battalion was at Bazentin-le-Grand and at 3.35am they advanced with parts of High Wood as their objectives.  The front line came under heavy rifle and shell fire, and ‘only one officer and five ORs from one platoon returned’.  It seems likely that it was on this evening that Charles Anderson was killed in action.  They were not able to advance and called for reinforcements, and that evening the Battalion was relieved by the 1st West Kents.  They then marched to Dernancourt, where they rested, before marching to Mericourt and entrained for Ailly-sur-Somme.

In the week 14 – 21 July 1916, the Diary noted that two officers were killed and nine wounded.  The two officers are not named in the diary, although ‘asterisks’ suggest they may have been named elsewhere, but at 1am on 21 July, a Captain R D Oxley arrived and took over command.

He would have been replacing in part the two officers who had been killed.  Only two officers from the 2nd Bn. are identified as having been killed in that period.  Captain Charles Edward Anderson was killed on 20 July 1916, aged 20 years, and Lieutenant Colonel Bertrand Gorges Reginald Gordon, D.S.O., Mentioned in Despatches, aged 35, was also killed on 20 July 1916.

Charles was buried at Dernancourt Communal Cemetery, in the Somme, in Grave ref: K.5.  Alongside him, in Grave ref: K4, was buried Lt Col B G R Gordon D.S.O. – also of the 2nd Bn. Gordons who was also killed on 20 July 2016.  One of the photographs on the CWGC site[11] shows the group of five graves which include graves K4 and K5 at the right of the group with Charles’s grave on the furthest right.

‘Dernancourt is a village 3 kilometres south of Albert. … The Communal Cemetery is a little west of the village.  Field ambulances used the Communal Cemetery for Commonwealth burials from September 1915 to August 1916, … The XV Corps Main Dressing Station was formed at Dernancourt in July 1916, when the adjoining Extension was opened.’[12]

Charles’s gravestone has the added family inscription ‘PRO PATRIA’.

His Medal Card showed that he was awarded the British War Medal, the Victory Medal and the 1914 Star with the Mons clasp, recognising his participation in the earliest part of the war.

Charles Edward ANDERSON is also commemorated on the Rugby Memorial Gates in Hillmorton Road, Rugby, and remembered in Bedford, in the Bedford School Chapel, Burnaby Road, Bedford.
‘Charles Edward Anderson 1903-1908 / Captain 2nd Gordon Highlanders / Killed in Action in France 20th July 1916 / Aged 25’.

Probate was to his mother, Ann Rose Anderson, widow, in London on 29 September 1916, which recorded his address as Rokeby House, Rugby.  His ‘effects’ were valued at £8429-8-5d.

His mother seems to have been active in ‘good works’ from her arrival in Rugby and well into the war, she was often assisted or accompanied by her daughter, Barbara, and their joint presence helped to identify these activities.  Although the family is not included in the Directory until 1911, it seems that they had been in Rugby from at least early 1909, and probably soon after Richard Henry Wood’s death in early 1908.

In May 1909, a Grand Bazaar, in aid of the new Parish Room for New Bilton, was opened by the Patroness of the Living, Mrs. Anderson.[13]

In October 1910, ‘Mrs Anderson of the Lodge, the patroness of the living’, gave away the prizes at the St Oswald Church School prize giving and her daughter presented prizes to the infants.[14]  Then in December 1910, the presents to the hospital included [from] … Miss Anderson, The Lodge, Scrapbooks.[15]

In January 1915, Mrs and Miss Anderson were among those at the Christmas Eve celebrations with the Belgian refugees who were staying at Newton House,[16] and they were also present for the tea and entertainments by the New Bilton Branch of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Families’ Association.[17]

In 1916, Mrs Anderson was vice president of the Co-operative Guild which gave an annual treat to the children of the members including those of homes under the management of the Guardians.[18]

In January 1916, ‘Mrs and Miss Anderson, (Rokeby House),’ assisted the Rugby Comforts fund at the Drill Hall, with the gathering for the wives and children of the local territorials.[19]

On 10 July 1917, Mrs Anderson opened the New Bilton Food Economy Canteen.[20]

Rokeby House had been the family home from about 1913 until 1924, although the Directory could have reacted slowly to changes, as seen earlier!  Latterly Charles’s mother moved from Rugby and then before 1928 was at Flore House, Weedon, Northants and either for some short time before, or possibly after that date, she was at Pattishall House, Nr. Towcester, both of which addresses were given for her after the war.

She later moved to Efford Park, near Lymington, Hampshire, where she died on 21 December 1940.  Administration was to her youngest son, Richard, by then a retired major, and her daughter Barbara, who had remained a spinster.  Her effects were valued at £33024-6s-6d.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

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This article on Charles Edward ANDERSON 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, July 2018.

[1]      Rugby Advertiser, 30 October 1909.

[2]      Rugby Advertiser, 22 May 1909.

[3]      See: http://www.rugby-local-history.org/images/rhwooda.pdf.

[4]      Richard Henry Wood was born on 6 February 1820 and died on 8 February 1908.  An illustrated obituary was published in the Rugby Advertiser, 2 May 1908; a piece on his earlier life and riding skills, published in Baily’s Magazine, June 1907, was as quoted in the Rugby Advertiser, Saturday, 8 June 1907.  See also http://www.rugby-local-history.org/index.php/biographies/87-biographies/101-wood-richard-henry, or transcription of RA 2 May 1908 obituary at http://www.rugby-local-history.org/index.php/biographies/87-biographies/107-obituary-of-richard-henry-wood.

[5]      Kelly, Directory of Warwickshire, 1912.

[6]      Fuller details are available at https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/158899-help-rwf-portraits/ and in TNA file ref: WO 339 11095.

[7]      Captain Charles Edward ANDERSON, The Gordon Highlanders, The National Archives, ref: WO 339/7706.

[8]      Rugby Advertiser, Saturday, 5 August 1916.

[9]      WO 95 – 7 DIVISION, WO 95/1656 – 20 Infantry Brigade, 2 Battalion Gordon Highlanders, TNA ref: WO 95/1656/2, 1914 Oct. – 1917 Nov..

[10]     Rugby Advertiser, Saturday, 5 August 1916.

[11]     https://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/2000003/dernancourt-communal-cemetery/.

[12]     Edited from https://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/2000003/dernancourt-communal-cemetery/.

[13]     Rugby Advertiser, 18 May 1909.

[14]     Rugby Advertiser, 15 October 1910.

[15]     Rugby Advertiser, 31 December 1910.

[16]     Rugby Advertiser, 2 January 1915.

[17]     Rugby Advertiser, 9 January 1915.

[18]     Rugby Advertiser, 8 January 1916.

[19]     Rugby Advertiser, 15 January 1916.

[20]     Rugby Advertiser, 14 July 1917.

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Gauld, Douglas. Died 3rd Jul 1916

Omitted from publication on 3rd Jul 2016

Douglas Gauld was born in 1890 in Aigburth in Lancashire and baptised on 6th July at St Anne’s Church there. His parents were John and Margaret (nee Valentine) who married in the same church on 22nd June 1887. John was a gardener at Bromborough Hall, across the Mersey on the Wirrel. In 1891 the family were living in Chester Road, Bromborough. Douglas was then the youngest of three children. Lizzie was three and Gordon 2. Father, John had been born in Scotland.

By 1901 the family had moved to Lutterworth Road, North Kilworth. John was still a domestic gardener and there were four more children, Wallace, John Valentine, Lottie and Joseph. Ten years later they were still living in North Kilworth and Douglas, aged 20 was working as a grocer’s assistant, his brother Wallace was a grocer’s clerk.

By the start of the war, Douglas was employed by the Rugby Co-operative Society in their Cambridge Street stores. His home was in Lutterworth. His father John had died in 1913, at the age of 53.

He must have enlisted early in the war, with the 10th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment, (No. 15525) as his Medal Index card shows he arrived in France on the 19th July 1915. At some point he was promoted from private to Lance Corporal.

The 10th (Service) Battalion, Worcestershire was formed in Sept 1914 at Worcester as part of the Second New Army (K2), then moved to Salisbury Plain and joined the 57th Brigade of the 19th Division. In March 1915 they moved to Tidworth and on 19th July 1915 mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne.

The Division was engaged in various action on the Western Front including;
In 1915, The Action of Pietre, (a diversionary action during the Battle of Loos).
During 1916, The Battle of Albert, The attacks on High Wood, The Battle of Pozieres Ridge, The Battle of the Ancre Heights, The Battle of the Ancre.

The capture of La Boisselle was a British local operation during the Battle of Albert, during the first two weeks of the Battle of the Somme.

According to the War Diaries, the 10th Bn., Worcesteshire Regiment, on 1st July:
…moved into the Assembly Trenches to the North of ALBERT where the day was spent. As the attack had started at 7.30 am Rumours and alarms were frequent.
At 9.15 pm the Battalion was ordered to proceed to our original front line to support an attack. In the communication trenches confusion reigned – Wounded were being brought out – we were trying to get in – carrying parties were trying to go both ways – it was raining & the trench was knee-deep in mud. By about 1 am A, B & C Coy found themselves in the Front Line opposite LA BOISELLE – D Coy was ordered to remain in reserve at USNA REDOUBT. The attack which was due to begin at midnight had to be put off. Leaving the WARWICKSHIRE REGT. To hold the line A, B, & C. Coy made their way back to the USNA – TARA line. Everyone being thoroughly exhausted! The remainder of the day was spent in sleep which was greatly interrupted by the bombardment of LA BOISELLE.

There were various conferences that afternoon and after midnight:
3rd July 1916… the Battalion moved in lines of platoons in fours across country & lay down behind our old Front Line facing LA BOISELLE. The Battalion was seen & a heavy shrapnel fire was opened causing considerable Casualties.
2 am The advance was made in three lines one platoon of each Company being in front. The Battalion want forward with great dash & after a hard fight captured three lines of trenches. Small parties penetrated right through to the village of LA BOISELLE but running short of bombs were forced to retire. Intense fighting with various success continued till about 12 midday when a line was consolidated behind the Church. Coming to our support two companies of the WARWICKSHIRE REGT held the front line while we consolidated a line about 30 yards behind. Casualties were heavy – An appendix is attached.
4 pm Reserve Officers from Transport arrived and took over the Battalion.
Things quietened down considerably & the line was firmly consolidated.
During the night 3 weak bombing attacks by the enemy were easily stopped by Machine Gun fire.

The appendix, dated July 3rd 1916, lists five officers killed, four missing presumed dead, one died of wounds and five wounded. For Other Ranks 44 were killed, 197 wounded and 106 missing.

Douglas Gauld must have been among the 106 missing as he is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, Pier and Face 5 A and 6 C.

The Thiepval memorial commemorates more than 72,000 men of British and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave, the majority of whom died during the Somme offensive of 1916.

On the high ground overlooking the Somme River in France, where some of the heaviest fighting of the First World War took place, stands the Thiepval Memorial. Towering over 45 metres in height, it dominates the landscape for miles around. It is the largest Commonwealth memorial to the missing in the world

His death was reported in the Rugby Advertiser of 15th July 1916:
News was received on Thursday that Douglas Gould (Worcester Regiment), formerly employed at the Cambridge Street Stores of the Rugby Co-operative Society, has died of wounds received in the advance on July 3rd. His home is at Lutterworth.

Douglas Gould, as he was known to the army, received the Victory and British medals as well as the 15 star.

It was this mistake in spelling his name that delayed our identification until after the centenary of his death.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

Brown, Frederick Louis. Died 1st Jul 1916    

We have now discovered that Frederick Louis Brown is not the F L Brown listed on the war memorial. See Frank Lincoln Brown, who died 3rd May 1917

———————————————-

Frederick Louis Brown was somewhat of an enigma.  Recorded on the Rugby Memorial Gate, and remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, he joined the 1/6th Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, was promoted to Sergeant, won the Military Medal, and was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

However, there is no record of him being in Rugby, and with no age at death, it is impossible to be absolutely certain of which of many Frederick Browns he might possibly be.

There was however a Frederick Louis Brown on the Birmingham ‘Roll of Honour’ and also a Frederick L M Brown born in Birmingham in late 1891, and living in Birmingham and aged 9 in 1901.  His family lived at 37 Portland Road, Edgbaston and his father was an agent in the cycle trade.  In 1911 he was aged 19, single and a ‘General Engineer Learning’.  With that background and trade, it is possible that he may have worked later at one of the Rugby engineering works, although he is not on any works memorial.

Assuming the CWGC record is correct Frederick Louis Brown joined the 1st/6th Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, attained the rank of Sergeant, and was probably re-numbered as No:240069.  He also won the Military Medal, presumably in 1916 as the medal was not established until 25 March 1916.

After much searching two Medal Cards were found for Frederick Browns: the first had an early number 1379.  With that low number it is likely that Frederick enlisted very early during the war.  Soldiers’ records found with the numbers between 2199 and 3420 enlisted in November and December 1914 – his lower number suggests that he enlisted very soon after war was declared.

His early enlistment probably gave time for his promotion, and the 1915 Star Medal Roll confirms that Frederick was a Sergeant ‘on disembarkation’ on 22 March 1915.

The 1st/6th Battalion was formed in August 1914 in Thorp Street, Birmingham, and was part of the Warwickshire Brigade, South Midland Division.  It landed at Le Havre on 22 March 1915 and on 13 May 1915, became part of the 143rd Brigade, 48th (South Midland) Division.  The Division was involved in the Serre Sector of the Somme from 1st-12th July 1916.

Frederick Brown went into the French theatre of war on 22 March 1915, so he was with the main brigade landing at Le Havre.  On 1 July 1916, the …

‘… 1/6th Battalion and the 143rd Brigade, 48th (South Midland) Division was attached to the 11th Brigade (4th Division) followed the 1/8th Royal Warwickshires into attack on the Quadrilateral (1/7) – to the left machine gun fire swept advance and, according to the Battalion historian, reduced it to a strength of 2 weak platoons.  Passed through objective and consolidated ground beyond.  Withdrew to Mailly-Maillet during night and from there to Couin.’

The 1/8th Battalion which they followed are recorded as follows – they had 563 casualties …

‘… 1/8th Battalion …  moved forward from Mailly-Maillet (1/7).  Attached to 4th Division for attack at Redan Ridge.  Right of assault took The Quadrilateral, passed through and gained support trench beyond.  On left, German front line entered under heavy fire from Serre.  No further progress made.  Withdrew to Mailly-Maillet.’

Frederick was ‘Killed in Action’ sometime during 1 July 1916, on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.  His body was not found or identified and he is remembered on Pier and Face 9A, 9B and 1 B. of the Thiepval Memorial.

He was awarded the Military Medal for ‘bravery in battle on land’, and his first Medal Card recorded that he was awarded the 1915 Star.  His second Medal Card which has the later 240069 Number, shows that he was also awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

As mentioned he was also listed on the ‘Birmingham Roll of Honour, 1914-1918’, although his rank of Sergeant does not appear to be acknowledged.  He is remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gates – but sadly little is known of the Rugby connection of this brave soldier.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

 

Bicknell, Albert Victor. Died 21st Mar 1918

Albert Victor Bicknell was born in late 1887 to Arthur Bicknell and his wife Sarah Ann née Wright.

Arthur and Sarah were both born in about 1852 in Warwickshire in Bulkington and Barnacle respectively, and their marriage was registered at Foleshill in the last quarter of 1873. In 1881 Arthur was a coal miner and the family including Elizabeth Wright, Arthur’s mother-in-law, was living in Bulkington.

The family then, and certainly later, were much involved with brass bands, and indeed there was a Bicknell Brass Band,[1] founded by Albert’s grandfather, George Bicknell, which would by 1901 become the Bulkington Brass Band.[2]

There were four children: Thomas E was born about 1875 in Barnacle, Warwickshire; Amy was born in 1877; Clara A in 1878; and Albert Victor in 1887. Before early 1891, indeed probably before 1887, the family had moved to live at 60 Oxford Street, Rugby. Albert was baptised on 10 November 1887 at St. Andrew’s church, Rugby; Arthur was now a labourer, and in 1891, Arthur’s mother-in-law who had been with them in Bulkington, was still living with them, as well as some lodgers. They were still in Oxford Street in 1901, when Albert was three years old and his grandmother was 90; the house was now numbered 123, which may represent the Post Office renumbering rather than any change of residence.

Albert’s marriage with Sarah Ellen Beer was registered in Rugby in the second quarter of 1907. She was about a year younger than Albert and had been born in about 1888/89 in New Bilton.

The family had moved to Coventry before 1911, and Albert was a ‘General Labourer, Engineer Machine Works’ and they were then living at 74 Thomas Street. Albert and Sarah already had two children: Elsie, 1908-1954; and [Kathleen] Olive, 1910-1972. George Thomas Arthur, 1912-1965, was born the next year. After a five year gap, some whilst Albert was in France, the youngest child, Frances Lillian, 1917-1991, was born. Her father probably never saw her.

Very soon after war was declared, Albert enlisted in Birmingham as No.8031 in the 10th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. A family photograph showed him looking very young and ‘pink cheeked’. His number suggests that he enlisted in early September 1914, when the 10th (Service) Battalion was raised at Warwick as part of the second of Kitchener’s new armies.

The battalion was assigned to the 57th Brigade in the 19th Division training on Salisbury Plain. In December 1914 the Battalion was in billets for the winter and in March 1915 concentrated with its division around Tidworth. Whilst some records suggest that the Battalion embarked for France and Flanders on 17 May 1915, other records have the division landed in France on 17 July 1915. Albert’s medal card recorded that he went to France on 18 July 1915, which would support the later date.

During the Battle of the Somme in 1916, the Battalion was in the operational area between 1 July and 7 August and between 7 October and until the end of that battle on 18 November 1916.

Family recollections are indeed that he served in the first battle of the Somme in 1916. It would also appear that he had leave in UK – or perhaps he had been wounded – sometime at the end of that year or early in 1917, after the Somme.

A portrait photograph (copyright restricted by owner) can be seen on the Ancestry website.[3] It was said to have been taken ‘after the battle’ in 1916, presumably in the UK.   This tends to be confirmed by the birth of his fourth child the next year on 26 September 1917.

He was promoted to Lance Corporal at some date, possibly after he returned to France.

The history of 19th (Western) Division[4] shows that it was involved in 1917 in the following actions:

The Battle of Messines
The Third Battles of Ypres
  – The Battle of the Menin Road Ridge
  – The Battle of Polygon Wood
– The Battle of Broodseinde
– The Battle of Poelcapelle
– First Battle of Passchendaele
– The Second Battle of Passchendaele

The following year, on 21 March 1918, the Germans launched a major offensive, Operation Michael, against the British Fifth Army, and the right wing of the British Third Army. The artillery bombardment began at 4.40am on 21 March 1918, and hit targets over an area of 150 square miles, the biggest barrage of the entire war. Over 1,100,000 shells were fired in five hours.

The formation for the British order of battle for that period which was also known as the Battle of St Quentin (21-23 March 1918), included 10th Warwickshires which were near St. Quentin with the 19th (Western) Division and the 57th Brigade in the Third Army (under Byng). The Battalion was in action east of Beaumetz facing Doignies.[5]

Because of the intensity of the battle, and as the Germans were moving forward, many of those killed could not be identified. Albert was killed on the first day of the action on 21 March 1918.

The Battalion War Diary for 21 March 1918 includes the following.

– 5am – The Battn. was in rest camp in BARASTRE when the alarm was given by intense artillery fire; orders were given to stand to arms and extra S.A.A., bombs, rifle grenades, rations etc were issued; the Battn was ready to move by 5-45.am. Breakfasts were then served.

– 11.50am – Orders to move to assembly positions were received … The following officers were present … B Coy: A/Capt. H. A. Hewett, in Command. 2nd. Lt. E. T. Wilson[6]

– 3.20am – The Battn. was ordered to move into position for a Brigade counter-attack on DOIGNIES; for this Battn. was in Brigade Reserve …

– 6.40pm – The remainder of the Brigade … launched counter-attack.

– 7.45pm – The line dug roughly followed the 120 contour …

Some three days later the War Diary quoted,

‘Casualties were:- … Other Ranks: killed – 33; Wounded – 191; Missing – 83.’

Albert was one of those killed during the actions on that initial day of the German attack. His body was found and identified and was buried initially in Barastre Communal Cemetery (Extension), row G, E, 5. The cemetery was probably then behind German lines and contained 284 German graves, 46 French, and the graves of 39 from the United Kingdom, four from New Zealand and one from Australia.

Some time after Albert’s death, the allies held the advance which had badly weakened the Germans and their supply lines, and they fought back. The 10th Battalion ended the war in the same formations on 11 November 1918, well to the east, just west of Bavay, France.

The British graves at Barastre were later concentrated [moved] some 10km north to the H.A.C. Cemetery, Ecoust-St Mein. Ecoust-St.Mein is a village between Arras, Cambrai and Bapaume. H.A.C. Cemetery is about 800 metres south of the village on the west side of the D956 road to Beugenatre. Albert was reburied in Plot VIII. C. 26. On the Burial Return[7] his name was spelled ‘Bricknell’, (it was correct on the Barastre Cemetery list) and identification was confirmed by his ‘service dress, G S buttons, boots, cross’. The name was correct on the official memorial stone,5 however, there was no additional wording requested by the family, and no family details appear in the Graves Register.

His Medal Card showed that he was awarded the British War Medal, the Victory Medal, and the 1914-15 Star.

After the war, Sarah E Bicknell remarried with Robert W Knight; the marriage was registered at Rugby [6d, 1457] in the fourth quarter of 1921.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

– – – – – –

 

This article 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 RFHG, January 2015, and updated December 2017 and March 2018.

 

Thanks to Angela Pain who visited the RFHG stand on a Heritage Day, 2014, and provided background information and put the author in contact with her cousin Clive Rodgers who has provided information and images which were posted on the Ancestry website.   In due course, it is intended that an updated – and corrected – version of this biography will be provided by Clive Rodgers, which will hopefully include the presently withheld images.

[1]       The Bicknell Band was founded by George Bicknell and initially only included Bicknell family members from the Bulkington area, Warwickshire. In the 20th Century, the name changed to the Bulkington Silver Band. The last conductor who was a member of the Bicknell family was in charge in the 1970s.

[2]       A photograph can be seen at http://trees.ancestry.co.uk/tree/55005900/person/13871891414/media/8e425e94-3f51-4111-a6a2-6a49c64de6c2?pg=32768&pgpl=pid.

[3]         http://trees.ancestry.co.uk/tree/55005900/person/13871891865.

[4]       Information from ‘The Long Long Trail’.

[5]       Copyright withheld for the present by the family.

[6]       See Rugby Remembers, 23 March 1918.

[7]       Burial Return, 10 February 1926, CWGC. The returns are lists of individuals who have been exhumed from their original burial location and reburied in a particular cemetery. They provide basic details of the individual, but may include information as to their original burial location and occasionally some details of how they were identified. These additional details would have been omitted if the individual was reburied in the same cemetery or identified using normal methods, for example, via a service tag.

Read, Charles George. Died 15th Dec 1916

Charles George Read “joined up” in 1914 aged 19, giving his birth as 1895. His service number was 11383 in the Kings Royal Rifle Corps.

Charles George Read

Charles George Read

The 2nd battalion King’s Royal Rifles took part in most of the Battle of the Somme. The last action was the Battle of Morval which ended on 28th September 1916. Charles George must have died in later shelling, as he has no marked grave.

Charles George Read died on 15th December 1916 and is remembered on the Thiepval Monument.

Charles George Read was born Q2 1894 in Great Bowden, Market Harborough Leicestershire. His parents were Charles John and Minnie Read nee Howarth.

His parents marriage was registered 1893 Q4 Billesdon Leicestershire.

His father Charles John Read and his mother Minnie nee Howarth had 7 children between 1893 and 1911, their first child was Charles George born 1894 Great Bowden Market Harborough, James William born 1895 Great Bowden Market Harborough, Colin Edmund born 1897 Great Bowden Market Harborough, Gladys Maud born 1898 Great Bowden Market Harborough, Herbert born 1901 Great Bowden Market Harborough, Ivy Marion born 1904 Rugby, and Reginald Stanley born 1907 Rugby.

In 1901 UK census Charles J Read age 30 is living 5 Station Road Great Bowden Leicestershire and was a railway engine stoker with his wife Minnie age 31 and 4 children:- Charles G age 6, James W age 5, Colin E aged 3 and Gladys M aged 2.

By 1911 Charles and his family had moved to live at 46 Rokeby Street Rugby, father Charles was still a railway locomotive stoker living with his wife Minnie age 41 and 7 children, Charles George was age 16 and a railway engine cleaner his brother James William aged 15 was a winder in electrical works, his other brother Colin Edmund aged 13 was at school and also a newsboy the 3 additional children all born after 1901 are Herbert born 1901 Great Bowden, Ivy Marion born 1904 Rugby and Reginald Stanley born 1907 Rugby.

Taking a step backwards to 1891 UK census we find his father Charles J Read age 20 single and a lodger who is a Railway Engine Cleaner born North Crawley Buckinghamshire lodging at Station Road Great Bowden the home of Elizabeth Sharpe aged 30 a widow and her family + 3 lodgers a railway carman, a railway shunter and railway engine cleaner.

Going back even further to 1881 UK census we find Charles age 10 living in a shepherds lodge in Castle Ashby Northamptonshire with parents James age 35 and who is a shepherd and his mother Ann Read age 32 and 4 siblings, William age 8, Emma age 6, Herbert aged 4 and George aged 1 + visitor Mary A Smith aged 22 born North Crawley Buckinghamshire. In 1871 UK census Charles John Read aged 3 months living High Street North Crawley Buckinghamshire with parents James age 25 a bricklayers labourer and Ann Read age 22 a lace maker.

And in 1891 UK census Minnie Howarth aged 21 single and a servant born Brighton Sussex living Northampton Road Little Bowden Leicestershire working for William Symington age 81 a widow and coffee merchant and his family.

Going back even further to 1881 UK census we find his mother Minnie Howarth aged 11 living with parents James and Eliza Howarth and sister Maud Eliza Howarth aged10 living Alma Road Reigate Foreign Surrey together with 2 lodgers William Adey age 23 under gardener domestic born Reading Berkshire and Jesse Hawkins aged 24 groom domestic born Nutfield Surrey and a gardener servant Walter Cainfield age 27 born Brighton.

In 1871 UK census Minnie Howarth age 17 months is living North Bruton Mews St. George parish of Hanover Square London with parents James and Eliza Howarth plus her sister Maud E Howarth aged 5 months, her father James is a coachman, we find James Read born abt 1867 Cranfield Bedfordshire his parents are Joel and Ann Read.

The 1939 register tells us that his father Charles J Read was age 69 giving his date of birth as 19th July 1870 and a retired railway engine driver and his wife Minnie aged 70 giving her date of birth as 23rd December 1869 and unpaid household duties and living 46 Rokeby Street Rugby.

His father died in 1946 in Rugby, his mother Minnie in 1954 in Rugby.

Charles George Read’s parents published an announcement in the Rugby Advertiser in 1921. on the anniversary of his death.

In loving memory of Charles George Read, eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Read of 46 Rokeby Street, 2nd K.R.R., who was killed in action in France, Dec. 15th 1916, aged 22 years. “Until the day dawn, and the shadows flee away.” – From his loving Father, Mother, Brothers and Sisters.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

Reynolds, John Henry Gilbert. Died 20th Nov 1916

John Henry Gilbert Reynolds was born in Long Lawford, near Rugby in late 1891. His father was Tom Reynolds and his mother Emma Julia (nee Burnham). They had married in Church Lawford parish church in 30th August 1897. John Henry Gilbert (known as Jack) was the second of four sons. At the time, Tom was a bricklayer living at 3 Burnham Cottage, Long Lawford.

Emma died two years later in 1899, at the age of 33. Tom remarried in 1900 to Maria Bagnall. Together they had three more children, two girls and then another boy.

In 1901 the family were living in Campbell Street, New Bilton. By 1911 they had moved to 18 Dunchurch Road. Tom was a Builder/Bricklayer working on his own account. Jack was not with the family. He was in the Metropolitan Police Force. By the time the war started he was expecting promotion.

It is not known when Jack enlisted, probably early 1915 (he was awarded the 1915 star medal) He was mentioned as “a London policeman, being a corporal in the Grenadier Guards” in an article in the Rugby Advertiser in June 1915. His brother Frank had been reported missing at this time.

According to his Medal Roll card, he arrived in France on 6th November 1915. When he died, just aver a year later he was a Lance Corporal in the 5th Reserve Battalion, Grenadier Guards. This battalion spent the war on home soil, at Chelsea. Perhaps Jack was transferred to the 1st or 2nd Battalion, both of which took part in the final actions of the Battle of the Somme – The Battles of Flers-Courcelette and Morval in September 1916.

On 7th October it was reported that he had been seriously wounded and was in Chichester Hospital. He died there on 20th November and was buried in Clifton Road Cemetery, Rugby.

He is listed in the order of service for service at Westminster Abbey on 17th May 1919 “In Memory of the Officers and Constables of the Metropolitan Police, who in the Great War have laid down their lives for their King and their Country”
He is listed there as P.C. 893 Reynolds J. H. G. of N Division

His brother Frank died in 1915 and Herbert had died only a few weeks before on 5th September 1916. Two cousins also died in the war.

Picture from Rugby Advertiser 10th Mar 1922.

Picture from Rugby Advertiser 10th Mar 1922.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

Bending, Stanley Emberson. Died 18th Nov 1916

Stanley Emberson Bending was born in Chelmsford, Essex. His father, Frank Bending, was born in Somerset. His mother Annie Bansor came from Chelmsford and they must have met in Hastings, where, in 1881, Frank was working as a tailor and Annie was an assistant in a draper’s shop. They married in Chelmsford the following year and Stanley was born there in 1889, the youngest of five children. In 1891 they were living at 5 Critchell Terrace, Rainsford Road in Chelmsford. Frank was a tailor’s cutter. A few years later the family moved to Tunbridge Wells in Kent and two more children had joined the family.

Frank Bending died in 1908 at the age of 54 and in 1911 Annie was still living in Tunbridge Wells, with her daughter and four younger sons. Stanley was aged 21 and a salesman in the boot trade. The oldest son was married and lived nearby; the other, Percy Greenway Bending was also married and living at 16 Plowman Street, Rugby. He was a police constable.

This must have been what brought Stanley Bending to Rugby. When the war started he was a workman at Willans and Robinson and he enlisted at the start of September 1914. He joined the 2nd Battalion, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry No. 23406 and at the time of his death his rank was lance corporal. He arrived in France on 3rd August 1915.

In 1916 the K.O.Y.L.I. took part in the Battle of the Somme and in November, the final stage, the Battle of Ancre.

KOYLI Way Diary.Pagefrom 18th Nov 1916

KOYLI Way Diary. Page from 18th Nov 1916

Transcription

Beaumont-Hamel

18-11-16

At 5.15 am on the 18th inst the battalion was drawn up on an advanced line which had been marked out by the R. E’s. running due North and South and we dug in.

The order was A. B. C. D. from right to left, our right was in touch with the 11th Borders and our left ran towards LARGER TRENCH occupied by the Manchester Regt.

The companies were drawn up in company column. All four battalions of the brigade were in the line, our front originally allotted was 300 yds but it was afterwards reduced to 225 yds. The conditions were bad, it started snowing just before the attack and therefore observation was very difficult, but at zero which was at 6.10am our barrage was intense and apparently very effective, consequently the enemy sent up numbers of very lights this with the white ground lit up all the surroundings. The line advanced with MUNICH TRENCH as their first objective, the left half of the battalion was able to push forward and reach their first objective. but the right half was held up by intense machine gun and rifle fire so they took up a position in a line of shell holes in front of the German wire. Meanwhile our left went on and gained their final objective after heavy fighting and mopping up as they advanced. At this period Capt H. Whitworth O. C. the left company who was wounded and forced to retire / confirmed the report that his company had gained their first objective and were about to advance on to their second. After this we got no definite news of the two left companies, but believing that they must have advanced with their right flan unprotected, all reinforcements that could be found, including a platoon which was extricated after being involved with the 11th Border Regt; were sent to support them and to take up bombs. At about 5-30 pm 2 Lieut H. R. Forde who was O. C. the right company came back to report the situation. Still there was no news of the two left companies so with no line to hold and with their left flank unprotected, and on the right the 11th Borders had retired, the Commanding Officer decided to withdraw to the original line. At about 6-30pm the battalion took up the old line; at that time it consist of the Colonel, Adjutant, Intelligence Officer, 2 Lieut H. R. Forde and about 170 O. R’s

At zero the following were the officers in action. [10 missing, 2 shell shock, 2 wounded]

19-11-16

In the evening at about 10-0 pm the 16th Lancashire Fuss: relieved the battalion in the line, when it retired to billets in MAILLEY-MAILLET

20-11-16

The battalion rested.

This is probably the action in which Stanley Emberson Bending was killed.
He is buried in the Ten Tree Alley Cemetery, Puisieux.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM