Ensor, John Leslie. Died 12th Jul 1917

John was the son of John Charles and Florence (nee Smith) Ensor, born in Rugby in 1896, and baptised at St Andrews Church on 28 August. The family were living at 29 Charlotte Street, his father was a joiner.   His parents were both born in Rugby and married in Rugby district in 1893, but not in the parish church.

The family continued to live at 29 Charlotte Street in 1901 and 1911. They had four children, Claude Moore born 1894, John Leslie (named as Leslie in 1901), Doris Eileen b 1900 and Horace William b 1902. By 1911 Claude was a builder’s clerk and Leslie an errand boy, the other two children were at school.

The grave register of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission notes that he enlisted at Nottingham in September 1914 and was twice wounded, and that his parents were of St Ann’s Street, Nottingham.   It seems as if the family moved to Nottingham before the outbreak of war. Leslie was wounded twice during his service.

Leslie enlisted at Nottingham in September 1914 and joined the 11th Battalion Kings Royal Rifle Corps (KRRC) as Rifleman number R/3748, later being moved to the 2nd Battalion, probably on being sent to the war zone. He embarked to France on 21 July 1915, and the War Diary on Ancestry.com records that the new draft of 58 men and a corporal arrived on 2 August to join the 2nd Battalion at Vermelles near Loos. There was a strong assault on the German lines on 25 September which included the use of gas, but the wind changed direction and blew the gas back into the soldiers badly affecting them. However they reached their objective and the Germans there surrendered at a cost to the KRRC of 81 killed, 193 wounded, 149 missing and 75 gassed.

The war diary also reports that upon inspection of the German defences after the surrender, they were found to be mostly bluff, although the trenches were clean and in good order. “The wire along the communications trenches was made of thistles planted in two rows which at a short distance looked like strong wire”.

During 1916 the KRRC was involved on the Somme in the Battles of Albert, Bazentin, Pozieres,Fleur Courcelette and Morval.

British units returned to the Nieuport sector of the Western Front in June 1917, when the 32nd Division relieved French troops stationed there in preparation for planned Allied landings on German-held territory along the Belgian coast. German marines launched a pre-emptive attack against the British forces on the river Yser in July and the landings, codenamed ‘Operation Hush’, never took place. Over 260 men commemorated on the Nieuport Memorial, which include Leslie Ensor, were killed or mortally wounded during heavy fighting with units of the German Marine-Korps Flandern on 10 July 1917.

Nieuport Memorial

Leslie was awarded the Victory and British War Medals and the 1915 Star.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

Sinclair, Alfred. Died 9th Apr 1917

Alfred SINCLAIR was born in Crewe in late 1885. His parents were very much older, in 1901 they were living in Prince Arthur Street, Monk’s Coppenhall, Crewe. His father, Robert was 72 and still a working blacksmith; his mother, Harriet née Kettle, his father’s second wife whom he married in 1883, was 61, and Alfred was 15 and an ‘Apprentice Cabinet Maker’.   In 1919 when both his father and mother were dead, there were five step-brothers and two step-sisters still living, both Sinclairs and Kettles, with ages which ranged from 20 to 50.

In 1911 Alfred was in lodgings, a ‘visitor’, at the home of the Broadhurst confectioner family at 69 Bradwall Road, Sandbach. He was then a ‘Fitter’s Assistant [deleted], Fitter at Railway Works’. It seems likely that as Crewe was a ‘Railway Town’ he might well have worked for the L&NWR in Crewe and later transferred to Rugby. Prior to the war it seems that he had lived with one of his step-sisters, Mrs Francis Ann, née Kettle, Morgan of 62 Windsor Street, Rugby, whilst he was working at the London and North Western Railway Locomotive Sheds.[1]

Alfred’s Military Service Records survive, and include his Attestation Papers which show that he joined up early in the war on 1 September 1914, as a Rifleman, No.Y/535, in the 5th Battalion of the Kings Royal Rifle Corps. He was aged 29 years and 11 days; 5ft 3½in tall, weighed 142lbs, with fair complexion, blue eyes and dark brown hair. He was at Winchester Depot on 2 September 1914 and posted formally to the 5th (Reserve) Battalion, which had been in Winchester since August, on 3 September 1914. As a Depot and Training unit, they moved on mobilisation to Sheerness and remained in that area throughout the war.

However, Alfred was reposted on 30 October to the 14th (Reserve) Battalion. The 14th Bn. was formed at Sheerness in October 1914 for K4 and came under orders of 92nd Brigade of 31st Division then moved to Westcliff-on-Sea and on 10 April 1915 converted into a reserve battalion.   In May 1915 it moved to Belhus Park and in October to Seaford. Before then, on 3 September 1915, Alfred was posted from the Reserve to the B.E.F. (British Expeditionary Force) and went to France to join the 10th Bn..   This is confirmed by his Medal Card.

The 10th (Service) Battalion had been formed at Winchester on 14 September 1914 as part of K2 and came under orders of 59th Brigade in 20th (Light) Division.   They had moved to Blackdown, and then in February 1915 to Witley and in April to Hamilton Camp (Stonehenge). On 21 July 1915 the 10th Battalion landed at Boulogne and the Division concentrated in the Saint-Omer area. They moved to the Fleurbaix area for trench familiarisation. Alfred would have joined them some six weeks after they had arrived in France, probably in time for some of that familiarisation.

During June 1916 the 10th Bn. were involved in the Battle of Mount Sorrel, in the Ypres area responding to a German attack which attempted to take pressure off the British Somme offensive, which in turn was taking pressure off the German offensive against the French at Verdun. The 10th Bn. would later be posted to the Somme and were involved in the Battle of Delville Wood; the Battle of Guillemont; the Battle of Flers-Courcelette; the Battle of Morval; and the Battle of Le Transloy.

From 1 to 4 July the 10th Bn. were in billets in Poperinge, and later were working near the Prison in Ypres. Whilst there four mules were hit by shelling, but there is no record of casualties among the men. However, whilst with the 10th Bn. at about this date Alfred was wounded[2] and posted to the ‘Depot’ on 5 July 1916. His Military Record shows that he was wounded with a ‘SWLLeg’ – that is a Shell Wound to the Left Leg. He returned to UK for treatment and after his recovery he returned via Southampton to Le Havre, France on 8 December, and was posted to the 2nd Bn. on 9 December and re-posted ‘in the field’ to the 9th Bn. on 9 December 1916.

The French had handed over Arras to Commonwealth forces in the spring of 1916 and the system of tunnels upon which the town is built were used and developed in preparation for the major offensive planned for April 1917.

During April 1917, the 9th Bn. was in the Arras area and preparing for the offensive.   They were held in the caves in the old stone quarries under Arras, which had been much enlarged and provided cover.   The extract from the Ox. and Bucks. Diary[3] – they were in the same Brigade – provided information.

April 5th -7th

At Christchurch Cave supplying working parties.    Attack on the ‘Harp’.

The operations now in course of preparation were to take the form of a combined attack to the south of Lens. Elaborate Secret Orders were issued between the 3rd and 7th April, and from the 3rd to the 5th a heavy bombardment was carried out. At 7a.m. on the 7th the following Operation Orders were issued by the 42nd Infantry Brigade:

… The units of the 42nd Infantry Brigade will be distributed as follows at zero on “Z” day: … 9th K.R.R.C.: In Minnow Trench (250 yards). In Perch Trench (300 yards). In Bream Trench (200 yards). In Rudd Trench (150 yards). Total: 900 yards. … 9th K.R.R.C [leaving] … from Christchurch Cave by Exit No.14.E. (G.34.c.90.63). Battalion to be clear of the Cave by 9p.m. on the 8th inst. Route to Assembly Trenches: Rue de Temple – Arras Way and Hunter Street to Old German Front Line – Telegraph Lane and Fish Lane to Assembly Trenches; 200 yards distance to be maintained between platoons. Battalion to be in Assembly Trenches by 12 midnight 8th/9th inst.

The 9th K.R.R.C. Diary[4] relates that the 9th Bn. were to attack the ‘String’ of the ‘Harp’. Zero hour was 5.30a.m. and their wave set off at about 7.00a.m. under a ‘creeping barrage’. The objectives were successfully gained by about 9.15a.m. However, 6 Officers and 69 men were killed; 17 men were missing; and 4 officers and 118 men were wounded.

Alfred was one of those ‘Killed in Action’ on that Easter Monday, 9 April 1917. His body was not recovered or later identified and he is remembered on a Panel in Bay 7 of the Arras Memorial, located in the Faubourg-d’Amiens Cemetery, to the west of Arras, near the Citadel.

The Arras Memorial commemorates almost 35,000 servicemen from the United Kingdom, South Africa and New Zealand who died in the Arras sector between the spring of 1916 and 7 August 1918, the eve of the Advance to Victory, and have no known grave. The memorial was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

Alfred Sinclair’s Military Records show that his Next of Kin was originally his aunt, Maggie Sinclair, 29 John Street, Crewe, but it seems that his step-sister ‘Francis Ann, née Kettle, Morgan’ at 62 Windsor Street, Rugby, took over the role as she received some unknown ‘effects’ on 7 September 1917 – the record is illegible.   She later received his 1915 Star on 4 March 1919; the British War Medal on 24 January 1921 and his Victory Medal on 9 April 1921.

As well as on the Arras Memorial, Alfred is remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gate and on Rugby Loco Steam Shed Memorial, which is ‘A bronze tablet bearing the names of the dead, mounted on white marble, superimposed on black slate. On either side of the tablet is hung a framed illuminated roll of honour, containing the names of members of the department who served in the forces during the war.’[5]

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

– – – – – –

 

This article on Alfred Sinclair 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]       Information from Rugby Advertiser, 5 May 1917.

[2]       Information also from Rugby Advertiser, 5 May 1917;   He ‘… was wounded in July 1916 and returned to France in the following December.’

[3]    Record of the 5th (Service) Battalion, Oxford and Bucks L.I., 1st July 1916 to 30th June 1917, Compiled by Steve Berridge, http://www.lightbobs.com.

[4]       Available to view at www.ancestry.co.uk [subscription site].

[5]       From a report of the unveiling, Rugby Advertiser, 11 March 1921; see also the Rugby Family History Group website at http://www.rugbyfhg.co.uk/rugby-loco-steam-shed-memorial .

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

Griffith, Llewellyn. Died 18th Sep 1916

Llewellyn Griffith was born in Hillmorton and baptised there on 21st Feb 1897. His parents were John and Sarah Ann (nee Wolfe) who married in Hillmorton Parish Church on 11th Dec 1873. Llewellyn was the youngest of nine children and his father was a railway labourer. Soon after his birth the family moved to 74 South Street, Rugby where John worked on the railway. By 1911 John was employed as a boiler cleaner. Llewellyn, aged 14 was an engine cleaner, like his elder brother Albert. Other members of the family worked for B.T.H including Llewellyn’s sixteen year old sister Lily.

Llewellyn Griffith must have joined the 7th Bn, King’s Royal Rifle Corps (No. R/1651) near the start of the war; perhaps he is the L Griffiths in the list of volunteers from the Locomotive Department of the L & N-W Railway at Rugby published in the Rugby Advertiser of 5th September 1914.

In another report published in October 1915, he writes to Mr Hodges, headmaster of Murray School:
“Rifleman L Griffith, 7th K.R.R Corps, has also written to Mr Hodges, and states that the Rugby boys remaining in the Battalion are quite well. He adds : I am glad to see that the Old Murray Boys have responded well to the call. The Old Boys have not disgraced the school’s name.”
(Rugby Advertiser, 16 October, 1915)

By September 1916 the 7th Bn, Kings Royal Rifle Corps had taken part in many actions, including the Battle of Hooge in 1915, the first division to be attacked with flamethrowers. Now they were at the Somme. At 11.45 pm on 14th September the Battalion “moved up to Delville Wood and took up its position in artillery formation in the front of the wood at 1am” At 6.20 they left their trenches and attacked ” ‘Tanks’

which were used for the first time came up on the Bn’s right flank … but were unable to take their objective owing to M. G. fire on both flanks.” There was confusion on returning to trenches “owing to some of the 42nd IB returning to our trenches and many of the 7th KRR going forward with the 42nd IB.” Heavy shelling continued all day and “they remained until the following evening being shelled the whole time.” At 7 pm they received orders to retire.

Casualties: 12 officers and the Medical officer, other ranks: Killed 21, Wounded 189, Missing 120. “Great Gallantry was shown by all ranks”

This is probably the action in which Rifleman Llewellyn Griffith was injured. He died of wounds on 18th September 1916 at the No 1 New Zealand Hospital and was buried at St Pierre Cemetery, Amiens.

In the Register of Soldiers’ Effects Llewellyn’s sole legatee is named as his sister Lily, perhaps because their father John Griffith had died in 1914. Lily Griffith married John Mawby in 1917. This perhaps led to the confusion in the CWGC record which names Rifleman L Griffith as the son of Mrs Manby, of 74 South Street, Rugby.

He is listed on the Rugby Steam Shed Plaque as well as Rugby Memorial Gates.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

Cleaver, Gregory Joseph. Died 18th Sep 1916

Gregory Joseph Cleaver was born in Rugby in 1890. His father was Thomas Howlett Cleaver and Jemima Mary (nee Vickers). Thomas met his wife in Alton, Staffordshire where her father worked at the stone quarry there. Thomas was a clerk and they married in 1870. By 1881 the family was living in Caldecote, near Nuneaton and Thomas was a Builder’s Agent; a job which involved a lot of travel judging by the birth places of his children. By 1890, when Gregory, their youngest child (of nine, two others had died) was born, they were back in Rugby and in 1901 Thomas was a Builder’s Surveyor living at 51 Victoria Street. Gregory Joseph was aged 11.

Gregory Joseph cannot be found in the 1911 census. He would have been with the army in India. His mother had died and is father was a publican at the Horse and Jockey Inn in Lawford Road.

By the start of the war, Gregory Joseph Cleaver returned to England with the 3rd Bn, Kings Royal Rifle corps. They arrived on 18th November 1914 and as a regular soldier probably helped to train the new recruits. He arrived in France in 2nd Feb 1915, private no 7792 in the 12th Bn KRRC.

He was wounded in two different engagements. Perhaps it was while recovering from one of these that he met and married Agnes Daisy Richardson. They married in the Ipswich registration district in the June quarter of 1915. A daughter Zita A Cleaver (named after Gregory’s sister) was born a year later, but died soon after.

In August/September 1916, the 12th Bn, Kings Royal Rifle Corps was in the trenches of the Somme. From the beginning of September they moved from Carnoy to Guillemont, back to Carnoy, then Corbie and Meaulte. On the 15th Sept they arrived in Carnoy again. At 3am on the morning of the 16th they moved up to Waterlot Farm and on the 18th they were in the front line “in front of Ginchy

The War Diary reports that at 2.30 pm:
“Enemy counter attacked in force. “B” Company forced to give way a little but our being reinforced immediately drove enemy back to his own trenches, inflicting considerable loss.”

It is in this action that Rifleman Gregory Joseph Cleaver must have died.

He is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial.

His death was reported in the Rugby Advertiser of 14th October 1916.

“Rifleman Gregory Cleaver Killed.
Mr T H Cleaver, late of the Horse and Jockey Inn, Rugby, has just received official information that his youngest son, Rifleman Gregory Cleaver, of the King’s Royal Rifles, was killed in action on September 18th. Rifleman Cleaver came from India, where he had served six years, after the War commenced. He had been wounded in two different engagements, and had only returned to the trenches a month   when he was killed.”

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

Green, Frederick John. Died 7th Sep 1916

Frederick John Green was born in 1890 at Headington, Oxford, the oldest of five children of Frederick Green (b 1857 in Oxford) and Louisa Greenfield Green, née Palmer (b 1866, Bowerchalke, Wilts and died 1916 in New Bilton), his wife. Frederick sen. was an iron foundry worker who after several moves around the country, was in 1911 residing at 4, Gladstone Street, New Bilton.

Frederick John Green was educated at St Matthews School, Rugby, and followed his father into the foundry business. He was shown in the 1911 census returns as residing with his father and employed as a bore maker in an iron foundry. However by the the time he joined the army he was working with the Humber Motor Company in Coventry.

Frederick John Green enlisted on 2nd September 1914 in the 12th Battalion, Kings Royal Rifle Corps as a rifleman, regimental no. R/1855, and was sent to France on 23 July 1915. During the 1916 Battles of the Somme, he was sent to the No.21 Casualty Clearing Station at La Neuville where he died of his wounds on 7 September 1916. He was buried at the nearby La Neuville British Cemetery where his grave is one of 866 that is maintained by the CWGC. A single man, he was survived by his father and four siblings.

In addition to being remembered on the Memorial Gates, Whitehall Road, Rugby, he also features on the New Bilton War Memorial.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

Hodge, Percy Henry. Died 24th Aug 1916

Percy was born in 1890 at Stroud in Gloucestershire, the third of the four children of William Henry Hodge and his wife Annie nee Holmes.   The other children, William, Mabel and Elsie, were all born in Bath as was their mother, and in all three censuses listing the family they are living in Bath, on the eastern outskirts at Twerton, south of the river Avon. William Hodge was a steam engine maker/turner in 1891 and living at 32 Brook Street with his family which also included his wife’s sister Fanny Holmes.   Annie’s birth was registered as Hannah Maria, the name under which she married William in 1880 in the Barton Regis registration district which covered St Georges Bristol where they were living in 1881. In 1901 she is named as Anna, and in 1911, when she signs the census form herself, she is called Annie.

William died at the end of 1900, but his family remained in Twerton, although they had moved to 36 Triangle by 1901, and to 54 Ringwood Place by 1911. At this time Percy is an engineer’s pattern maker in an iron foundry, which would probably have been the reason he moved for a greater opportunity to Rugby to work in the pattern shop of British Thomson Houston (BTH) as recorded in the Rugby Advertiser at his death.

According to Soldiers Died in the Great War, he lived in Bath but enlisted in Rugby in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, No A/2811. When he died he was a Corporal in the 8th Battalion which was sent to Boulogne on 15 May 1915, seeing action at Hooge in July 1915 and the second attack on Bellewaarde in the same year. The Battalion was involved in the action at Delville Wood during the Battle of the Somme in July 1915, Percy was killed in action the following month aged 26, and is commemorated on the memorial at Thiepval as well as on the BTH Memorial in Rugby.

The Rugby Advertiser of 23 September records his death among the local casualties, saying that he enlisted at the start of the war when he lived with his brother at 183 Oxford Street. His Commanding Officer wrote “He was in the front line with his squad of bombers preparatory to an attack on German trenches when a big shell landed on the trench killing him and two or three others.   He was buried where he fell.”   The Commonwealth War Graves Commission lists 51 men of the 8th Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps who died on that day and are commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial as well as 79 men from other KRR Battalions.

Percy was awarded the British and Victory medals as well as the 1915 Star, having been drafted to France in May 1915. His effects (£9.16s) and a War Gratuity of £10 were awarded to his mother Annie.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM