Manning, Criss. Died 21st Dec 1914

Omitted from publication on 21st Dec 2014. Published today 104 years after his death

Francis Cris Manning was born in Brington, Northamptonshire in 1883 and baptised there on the 6th May. His parents were George and Selina (nee Tarrey) who had married at Selina’s home parish church of nearby Harlestone on 11th November 1875. George was a labourer in Great Brington – agricultural in 1881, general in 1891 when Francis was aged eight. He then had two brothers Edward aged twelve and Lewis four.

George Manning died later that year at the age of 41 and Selina two years later in 1893 at 48. We have been unable to find Francis Criss in 1901 but information from a family tree on Ancestry shows that he enlisted in the Northamptonshire Regiment in 1899 and served in South Africa. He left in 1908, signing up with the reserves. This is confirmed by his army number of 5992 which was issued in 1899. It also explains the early date of his death in December 1914. Only regular troops and reserves would be fighting at this point.

By 1911 he was lodging with the Cross family at 38 Lower Harlestone. He was working as a wood man on estate and entered under the full name of Francis Christopher Manning.

At the time the war started, he was working for the L & N-W Railway in the Rugby Carriage works. this seems to be his only connection with Rugby.

The 1st Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment was stationed at Blackdown, Aldershot on 4th Aug 1914 as part of the 2nd Brigade of the 1st Division. They were mobilised on the 13th and landed at Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including in 1914;
The Battle of Mons and the subsequent retreat, The Battle of the Marne, The Battle of the Aisne, First Battle of Ypres.

The first few months of the Northants Reg. War Diaries were lost on 17th November during the First Battle of Ypres. The Diary starts again on the 21st December.

Nov 26th 1914 to Dec 20th 1914: The Battalion was resting at Hazebrouck.

Dec 21st 1914: The Battalion left Hazebrouck at 7 AM in motors. Arrived at Zellobes close to Vielle Chapelle at 12 Noon. After refilling with rations & Ammunition, the Battalion was ordered to move to Le Touret. Arrived here sometime about 4 PM. Orders were received that the Battalion in Conjunction with 1st Loyal North Lancashire Regt. Was to make a night attack to recover trenches about ½ mile East of Rue de L’Epinelte & ½ mile South of Rue de Bois. Which had been lost the previous night. The Two Battalions moved to the attack about 7 PM. The Battalion had Two Companies in the front line & Two in support.
1st Northamptonshire R. was on the North 1st L. N. L. on South by 10 PM. The position in front of us had been retaken with slight loss. Most of our Casualties Coming from Artillery fire. Total Casualties killed & wounded. Three Officers – about 60 men.
According to previous orders when the position had been retaken the Battalion was to withdraw & the line to be held by the 1st L. N. L. Regt. We had however to leave One Company D in the line. The rest of the Battalion withdrew back about ½ mile to billets reaching them about 7 AM on Dec 22nd.

It would have been in this “slight loss” that Criss Manning died. His body was not recovered or identified and he is remembered on the Le Touret Memorial.

The Le Touret Memorial commemorates over 13,400 British soldiers who were killed in this sector of the Western Front from the beginning of October 1914 to the eve of the Battle of Loos in late September 1915 and who have no known grave. The Memorial takes the form of a loggia surrounding an open rectangular court. The names of those commemorated are listed on panels set into the walls of the court and the gallery, arranged by regiment, rank and alphabetically by surname within the rank. The memorial was designed by John Reginald Truelove, who had served as an officer with the London Regiment during the war, and unveiled by the British ambassador to France, Lord Tyrrell, on 22 March 1930. Almost all of the men commemorated on the Memorial served with regular or territorial regiments from across the United Kingdom and were killed in actions that took place along a section of the front line that stretched from Estaires in the north to Grenay in the south. This part of the Western Front was the scene of some of the heaviest fighting of the first year of the war.

The only mention of his death in the Rugby press was as one of the railway men who had died.

On the 17th April 1915, the Rugby Advertiser reported:
CASUALTIES AMONG L & N-W RAILWAYMEN.—According to the April number of the “ L & N-W Railway Gazette,” there were 1,058 casualties reported among L & N-W Railway men with the Forces between February 19th and March 15th. The list includes the following :—Killed: H R Barwick, East Anglian Engineers (Wolverton). Died from wounds: T C Tooth, Bucks Territorials (Wolverton); C Manning, Northamptonshire Regiment (Rugby).

And on the 25th September, 1915:
TO COMMEMORATE FALLEN HEROES.
During the service the daily portion from “ The Happy Warrior ” was read by Mr Frank Ward, and the following names of men on the Rugby Railway Mission Roll of Honour, and of local railway men who have fallen in the war were read out:—…C Manning, carriage department

On the L & N-W Roll of Honour, Criss is remembered as C. Manning, Carriage cleaner, Rugby.

He is listed on the Great Brington War Memorial (as Francis C Manning) and the Harlestone War Memorial (as Christopher Manning) On the Rugby Memorial Gates he is C Manning.

He was awarded, under the name of Cross Manning, the British and Victory medals as well as the 1914 star.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

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Osborne, Mark Henry. Died 8th Apr 1916

Omitted from publication on 18th Apr 2016.

Mark Henry Osborne was born on 18th Jun 1889 at Harlestone, Northamptonshire and baptised there on 1st September the same year. He was the fourth child of Mark, a farm labourer and his wife Hannah (nee Goldby). They were married in Harlestone on 12th August 1883 and in 1891, when Mark Henry was a year old, the family were living with Hannah’s parents John and Eliza.

By 1901 they were no longer living with the Goldbys, but there were eight children in the household, including 10 month old Ada, the daughter of Mark Henry’s older sister Eliza, who was not listed with the family. Mark Henry was eleven years old and no occupation was given, his father and older brother John were both farm labourers.

By 1911 Henry, as he was now known, perhaps to distinguish him from his father, was 21 and an estate labourer. His parents had produced eleven children, ten of whom had survived. Only five were still living with the family, plus Ada and another granddaughter, Laura.

By the time the war started Henry Mark was employed by the London & North Western Railway in the Carriage Works in Rugby. He enlisted in Northampton on 1st September 1914, in the 1st Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment, private no. 13045, and after training arrived in France on 27th January 1915.

He would have experienced several battles during 1915 with the Northamptonshire Regiment taking heavy casualties in the attacks at Aubers Ridge and Loos. It was a cold winter and not a lot was happening in March/April 1916. The regiment was near Loos and took part in patrols and repair of trenches, when returned to billets, concerts were mentioned in the war diary. There was regular shelling by the enemy.

It is not known when and how Mark Henry Osborne was wounded, but he died on 8th April 1916 at Bethune. For much of the First World War, Bethune was comparatively free from bombardment and remained an important railway and hospital centre, as well as a corps and divisional headquarters. The 33rd Casualty Clearing Station was in the town until December 1917.

He was buried in the Bethune Town Cemetery. No inscription was added to the stone by his family, whose address is given as 82 New Cottages, Harlestone.

Mark Henry was awarded the Victory and British Medals and the 15 star.

As well as the Rugby Memorial Gates, he is remembered on the Harlestone War Memorial – as Harry Osborne, next to Criss Manning who died in 1914 and also a railway man in Rugby. They are both listed in the L&NM Railway Roll of Honour. M H Osborne was a carriage cleaner.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

Clements, Eustace Edwin. Died 12th Nov 1918

Eustace Edward CLEMENTS was the son of Charles Edwin, [b.c. 19 April 1866 in Wing, Buckinghamshire] and Mary Ellen, née Lee, Clements [b.c. 1865 in Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire], who were married on 28 December 1891 at Saint Andrew’s church, Rugby.

Mary Ellen and her parents – Frederick, who was born in Hillmorton, and Jane Lee – had lived in Rugby at least from 1864 when Mary’s sister, Minnie, was born there and in 1871 and 1881, when they were living at 768 Old Station, Rugby.  In 1881, Mary Ellen was 21.

Mary Ellen returned to Rugby to have her first child, Eustace, whose birth was registered, as Eustace Edwin Clements, in Q1, 1893 in Rugby [Rugby, 6d, 577].  Eustace was baptised in Rugby at St Andrew’s church on 12 March 1893.  His military Service Record though, would later give his birth place as Northampton – his early home – and his second name as Edward – and indeed on one record his religion as Roman Catholic!

In 1901, the family were still living in Roade St. Mary, Buckinghamshire, with their children: Eustace E Clements, 8; Dorothy Clements, 6; Freddy Clements, 3; and Oscar Clements, 2.   In 1919 Sidney and Edwin Clements would be given as the names of his surviving brothers.

Before 1911, the family had moved back to Rugby and in 1911 were living at 33 Winfield Street, Clifton Road, Rugby.  Charles was working as a Railway Signal Fitter for the LNWR.  Eustace, now aged 18 was working, as an ‘engine fitter apprentice’, also with the LNWR.  His younger brother, Frederick, was 13 and still at school,

Eustace Clements. photo by permission of David Boult

There are two sets of surviving Service Records for Eustace – or Eustace Edward or Edward as he was known to the military.  One set of records of five pages, and one set of 23 pages, with some duplications.  There is also a Medal Card and his CWGC entry.  Unfortunately the Service Records are of very poor legibility in many cases, and parts are missing as they were probably recovered from the ‘burnt records’.

Eustace volunteered early for war service and was attested in Rugby on 31 August 1914.  When he enlisted he was 21 years and 232 days old.  He was 5 foot 11½ inches tall; weighed 160 lbs; had grey eyes and light brown hair, and his religion was Church of England.  He was certified ‘Fit for service in the Royal Garrison Artillery, RFA’.  He became a Gunner, No.1679, in the Royal Field Artillery.  His previous trade was listed as ‘fitter’.

From 31 August 1914 to 12 September 1917 one set of records suggest he was on a ‘Home’ posting – which would seem to be in conflict with other records, and omits one of his postings in France!

He was initially in 51st (R) Battery, R. F. A. and had various postings before the end of December 1914 and would later be promoted to Corporal.  On 1 September 1914 he was at Hilsea,[1] then on 9 September 1914 he was posted to ?13 Reserve Brigade, and on 15 December he was at Frome and on 17 December 1914 with ?/111 Battery.

His military career was not faultless.  On 29 March 1915 he was ‘absent without leave from 10pm 29/3/15 until 2pm 30/3/15, 16 hours’ and was admonished and forfeited one day’s pay.  Then at Winchester on 20 May 1915 he was ‘Absent from town piquet’ and was confined to barracks for two days.  On 10 September 1915 at Lille Barracks,[2] he was ‘Absent from base [or ‘leave’?] 12 noon to 4.30 pm, 4½ hrs.’ for which he received 7 days field punishment No 2.

On 28 May 1915 it seems he was posted to the B/113th Brigade, and was vaccinated in July 1915.  Although an alternative record stated that he went to France on 25 September 1915 after ‘home service’ of 1 year and 25 days, however, there is again confusion as Eustace’s Medal Card stated that he went to France on 20 September 1915.  He would, in either case, have been entitled to the 1914-1915 Star.

He served in France until 10 June 1917 [one record stated 1916!] as on 7 June 1917 he was wounded and was evacuated first to 20th General Hospital, Dannes Camiers, and then ‘Home’ by ship on 11 June 1917 and admitted to the Horton War Hospital with ‘Gun S W right forefinger crushed, contusions of leg’.  He was discharged on 17 July 1917, however another report notes ‘Finger healed but distal joint stiff.  Has [morn]ing massage.  Sent to Command Depot’.

Indeed, he was posted to the Command Depot at Rippon on 28 July 1917 and then posted to 56th Reserve Brigade on 31 August 1917 until 12 September 1917.   He was then posted back to France on 13 September 1917 and seems to have been moved to A/307 Brigade from Base on 26 September 1917, and then to A/306 Brigade F. A. on 8 November 1917.

On 12 December 1917 he was wounded again, presumably comparatively slightly as he was discharged on 17 December 1917.

On 9 May 1918 he was wounded yet again and apparently suffered a ‘… Shell wound severe …’ and was evacuated back to England on 10 May 1918.  On arrival ‘Home’ on 11 May 1918, he was initially admitted to Southwark Military Hospital, London S.E.[3] being treated for ‘… ? gas shell poisoning?’ until 16 July 1918, when he was sent to the Convalescence Hospital,  Eastbourne, until 10 August 1918.

On 19 August 1918 he was posted to 60th Reserve Battery, R.F.A. and granted ‘Leave with free warrant’.  Presumably he was now no longer fit for front line service as on 17 October 1918 he had a ‘compulsory transfer into the Labour Corps as Private, No.669461 at Sutton’.  This suggests that he had been medically rated below the ‘A1’ condition needed for front line service.

Being less than fully fit for service, it was perhaps not surprising that he was taken ill again, struck down by the flu epidemic was sweeping the world.  He died, aged 25, in the Horton War Hospital, Epsom, on 12 November 1918, from ‘Acute Bronchio-Pneumonia & Influenza’.

The second page of a telegram on 13 November 1918 confirms ‘F C Labour Corps 1 acute Lobar pneumonia 2 influenza Warspital Epsom’.  Only the name ‘Clements’ can be read on the first page.

After a funeral in Rugby, he was buried in Rugby’s Clifton cemetery in plot, J192, with a CWGC headstone as Gunner Eustace Edwin Clements, Royal Field Artillery,[4] Service Number, 1679.  The CWGC has him as aged 24.

His headstone also remembers his brother Frederick Clements who most probably died in a Prisoner of War camp near to Berlin.  His family’s chosen inscription on Eustace’s headstone reads: ‘Also in Memory of 307487 Corporal F. Clements Royal Warwickshire Regt. 24.10.18.’

Three items were published in the Rugby Advertiser on 23 November,[5] a report on his death and funeral; the family’s announcement of his death; and their ‘Acknowledgement’ and thanks to friends.

Mr C E and Mrs Clements, 33 Winfield Street, have lost their son, Gunner E E Clements, R.F.A. from pneumonia, under sad circumstances, after seeing a lot of service in France.  He worked as a fitter in the L & N-W Railway Sheds, and when war broke out he answered the first call, and joined Kichener’s Army  in August, 1914.  He served three years in France, and was twice badly wounded.  During the big German offensive in May this year he was gassed.  On recovering he returned to his regiment, when he was called out of the ranks and told that he would have his discharge in two days’ time after good service.  On the following day he was struck down with influenza, which developed into pneumonia, to which he succumbed on the 14th inst.  The funeral took place at rugby Cemetery on Saturday last.  He was borne to the grave by six of his former workmates, and a large number of flowers testified to the esteem in which he was held

CLEMENTS. – On the 12th inst., at Horton War Hospital, Epsom, Eustace Edwin, the dearly beloved eldest son of C. E. & M. E. Clements, Gunner, R.F.A., of “flu” and pneumonia; aged 25 years. – Deeply mourned.’

MR & MRS CLEMENTS & FAMILY wish to thank all kind Friends and Neighbours for sympathy shown to them in their bereavement; also for all floral tributes sent.

Eustace is remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gate and also on the Rugby Loco Steam Shed Memorial,[6]

In July 1919 his father filled in the declaration of next of kin, and on 19 September 1919 Eustace’s effects were sent from Nottingham to his father’s solicitors in Rugby.  They included,
‘Correspondence, Wallet, Photos, Badge, Holdall, 3 Razors In Cases, 2 Toothbrushes, 2 Shaving Brushes, Button Stick, Housewife, Meal Cards, Letters, Shaving Soap, Pencil, Disc, Bag, ?Piece Bread Pouch, Cig Papers, Watch Strap, Tin Tablets, 2 Button Brushes, 3 Handkerchiefs, Metal Pins, Hairbrush, Mirror, Wound Stripe, 4 Blue Chevrons, 2 Pocket Books.’

The family were then living at 33 Winfield Street, Rugby.  It seems that his mother received a separation allowance of 5 shillings per week.

Eustace was awarded the Victory and British medals and the 1914-1915 Star which were sent to his father in 1922.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

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This article on Eustace Edwin Clements 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, November 2017.

[1]      Hilsea Lines includes 18th- and 19th-century fortifications built to protect the northern approach to Portsea.

[2]      The Lille Barracks were one of the six barracks in the Aldershot Marlborough Lines which were built in about 1890; the Lille barracks were demolished in 1958.

[3]      St Saviour’s Infirmary in East Dulwich Grove … was built in 1887 by the Guardians of the Poor of the parish of St Saviour’s, Southwark.  The Royal Army Medical Corps took over control of the infirmary in East Dulwich Grove on 11 November 1915, which at the insistence of the guardians was named Southwark Military Hospital.  The hospital was fully equipped for 800 patients … the existing Medical Superintendent Dr A  Bruce was appointed the rank of Major and served as its Officer in charge for most of the three and half years the hospital was used by the military. … Altogether 12,522 wounded and sick servicemen were cared for at Southwark Military Hospital of whom [only] 119 died; a very small percentage of those admitted and a tribute to the skill of the doctors, surgeons and nurses.  See http://www.dulwichsociety.com/2010-summer/532-southwark-military-hospital.

[4]      Whilst Eustace had later been in the Labour Corps, this Corps always suffered from its treatment as something of a second class organization, and the men who died are typically commemorated under their original Regiment, with the Labour Corps being secondary.

[5]      Rugby Advertiser, Saturday, 23 November 1918.

[6]      From a report of the unveiling, Rugby Advertiser, 11 March 1921; see also https://www.rugbyfhg.co.uk/rugby-loco-steam-shed-memorial.

Gibbs, Bertie. Died 5th Nov 1918

Bertie GIBBS was born in Wandsworth, London, in 1895 and his birth was registered in Wandsworth in Q4, 1895.  He was baptised on 6 November 1895 at St Stephen’s church, Clapham Park, Lambeth.  He was the son of William Henry Gibbs, b.c.1870, in Lambeth, and Alice née Tuck, Gibbs, b.c.1871, in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.  Their marriage was registered in Q2, 1892 in Wandsworth.

In November 1893, when Bertie’s elder brother was baptised at St Stephen’s, Wandsworth, they were living at  5 Elizabeth Place, and his father was a ‘Retort Setter’.  1895 the family were still at 5 Elizabeth Place, Clapham, but in 1891, when Bertie was 5, the family was living at 5 Shuckfords Buildings, Great Yarmouth.  His father was still a ‘retort setter, gas works’.  Bertie had an elder brother, William Henry, 7, and sister, Rose May, 6; and a younger brother, Sydney George, 4.

In 1911, when Bertie was 15, the family was living at 45 Tyrolean Square, Great Yarmouth.  Bertie was working as a ‘factory hand’, and now he had another brother, Alfred, who was 7 years old.  His father was not at home on census night, and no further trace of him has been found.

At some date after 1911, Bertie moved to Rugby, and Rugby was recorded as his place of residence when he ‘signed up’.[1]  It seems that he worked before the war in the Rugby Steam Shed, as a ‘B. Gibbs’ is listed on their memorial.[2]

Bertie joined up in Coventry,[3] and his Medal Card showed that he served in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment (R.War.R) as a Private with, at least latterly, the Regimental Number: 42579.  The CWGC confirmed that he finished his service with that number in the 1st/8th Territorial Battalion (Bn.) R.War.R.  There was no date on his Medal Card for when he went to France, and he did not receive the 1914-18 Star, suggesting that he went to France after the end of 1915, possibly some time after he had joined up.

The 1st/8th Bn. R.War.R had mobilised for war and landed at Havre on 22 March 1915 and became part of the 143rd Brigade of the 48th Division and was engaged in many actions on the Western Front.  In later 1917 they were moved to Italy, and remained there in 1918, until they left the Division on 11 September 1918 and moved to back to France, to join the 75th Brigade of the 25th Division.

The 1st/8th Bn. R.War.R. War Diary[4] for their time with 25th Division gives an outline of their actions in the last month or so of Bertie’s life, when they were back in France, and during the Pursuit to and Battle of the Selle (17–25 October 1918), and its immediate aftermath, which were all part of the final ‘Hundred Days Offensive’ of World War I.

8 Oct – The success of the operations of this day brought the battalion into action at SONIA farm, where it held a gap between the 30th American Div. and our 7th Brigade. … moved up to the forming up positions between SERAIN and PREMONT.

9 Oct – Zero was at 5.20 … the battalion advanced and took its objectives beyond MARETZ …

10 Oct – Starting from a point N of HONNECHY …the battalion advanced after heavy fighting to the outskirts of LE CATEAU. … The Americans … had been held up … the positions taken were consolidated and held.

11 Oct – … the battalion marched out to HONNECHY … this was … the heaviest and most continuous fighting which the battalion had met and the battalion came out with fresh laurels added to its reputation. …

12 Oct – The battalion marched to SERAIN to rest.

13-15 Oct – Sunday … services … reorganisation and re-equipment … and training …

16 Oct – … in reserve …for attack … on R. SELLE … moved to HONNECHY.

17-18 Oct – HONNECHY – supporting Gloucesters and Worcesters …

19 Oct – … C&D Coys moved with Worcesters to attack BAZUEL which was taken and held. …

20 Oct – … battalion relieved and marched out to ST BEN[I]N . …

21 Oct – Here the unit rested and reorganised.

22 Oct – … the battalion … moved up to its forming up position along the railway …

23 Oct – POMMEREUIL – The attack commenced at 01.20 hours. … to be used to help mop up POMMEREUIL … owing to heavy fog the attacking units of the first wave became rather mixed up … but on Capt W Mortemons M.C. who was commanding the battalion … going out and taking command … and organising attacks on enemy M.G. nests which had been missed …the situation rapidly cleared and all objectives were gained.

It is known that Bertie was wounded, and it might have been some days before his date of death.  He might have been wounded in this same action at Pommereuil, when a fellow Rugby 1st/8th Bn. soldier, Frank John Garrett,[5] who had only joined the Battalion on 8 October, was ‘killed in action’ on 23 October.

He may, of course, have been wounded later, in early November, and the further actions described in the War Diary are summarised below.  The Battalion carried on training until the end of the month and then,

31 Oct – The Battalion relieved the 11th Sherwood Foresters …

1 Nov – LE FAUX – the Battalion was holding the left sector …

2 Nov – Dispositions remained unchanged, the day was quiet …

3 Nov – Owing to the rainy weather the forward Companies were relieved …

4 Nov – LANDRECIES – At 00.15 the Battalion attacked and after a very severe fight secured its objective which was the line of the River SAMBE at LANDRECIES …

5 Nov – MAROILLES – the Battalion received orders to continue the advance … moved along the LANDRECIES – MAROILLES road … and advanced without opposition … Companies were billeted in houses along the LANDRECIES – MAROILLES road, and rested there the day.

6 Nov – No change, O.O.21., ordering the Battalion to continue the advance received.

7 Nov – … orders to resume the advance … the advance continued from the eastern outskirts of MARBAIX, to the village of ST. HILAIRE SUR HELPE where the vanguard was engaged by strong M.G. nests.  The mainguard was not involved … and on relief, marched out to billets in MARBAIX.

The Casualties in this period of action were 1 officer and 27 OR killed, 2 officers and 106 OR wounded.

It seems more likely that Bertie was wounded in the ‘very severe fight’ against LANDRECIES on 4 November, or possibly during the advance toward MAROILLES on the day of his death, Tuesday, 5 November 1918.

He would have been carried back to a Regimental Aid Post, which was typically within a few hundred yards of the front line, and then on to an Advanced Dressing station [ADS].  As he was doubtless a more serious casualty, he would have been moved next to a Field Ambulance, a mobile front-line medical unit, before he was transferred on to a Casualty Clearing Station [CCS].[6]

The time this would have taken makes it more likely that he was wounded on 4 November, becoming one of the 106 O.R.s wounded in early November.  In Bertie’s case it is likely that he was transferred to one of the Casualty Clearing Stations at Bohain, some 15 miles to the south-west, through which area the Battalion had passed on their advance on 6 October.  Whether he survived that final journey to the CCS is unknown, but he died from his wounds on 5 November 1918.

The CCSs used the neighbouring Premont British Cemetery, some two miles to the north-west of Bohain.  Bertie Gibbs was buried there in grave ref: II. D. 22.

Premont is a village in Aisne, some 19.5 kilometres south-east of Cambrai.  Premont village was captured by the 30th American Division on 8 October 1918.  Premont British Cemetery was made and used by four Casualty Clearing Stations (the 20th, 50th, 55th and 61st), which came to Bohain in October 1918, and it was closed in the following December.

No family inscription was added to his memorial by his family, and there is no next of kin or family name in the CWGC record.  It may be that it was his mother, Alice Gibbs, who died in Yarmouth in Q2, 1915, aged 45 [Yarmouth  4b, 38].  His father, as mentioned, has not been found.  His siblings appear to have remained in Yarmouth, or returned to London, and may well have lost touch.

Bertie Gibb’s Medal Card showed that he was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.  He is also remembered on the Rugby War Memorial Gates in Whitehall Road, and on the Rugby Steam Shed Memorial.

The ‘100 Days’ Advance to Victory’ continued and only six days after Bertie’s death, the War came to an end.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

– – – – – –

 

This article on Bertie GIBBS was researched and written for the Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the RFHG, August 2018.

[1]      UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919.

[2]      Rugby Loco Steam Shed Memorial.  This 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.   (From a report of the unveiling – Rugby Advertiser, 11 March 1921.)

[3]      Also shown in: UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919

[4]      TNA, WWI War Diaries (France, Belgium and Germany), 1914-1920, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, 25th Division, Piece 2251/4: 8 Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment (1918 Sep – 1919 Feb).

[5]      See ‘Rugby Remembers’ for Frank John GARRETT, died 23 October 1918.

[6]      Outline from http://www.qaranc.co.uk/Chain-Evacuation-Wounded-Soldiers-First-World-War.php which provides greater detail of the WWI chain of medical evacuation.

Eyden, Clarence Alfred. Died 18th May 1918

Alfred Eyden and Sarah Eleanor Mewis, the parents of Clarence were married on New Year’s Eve 1889. The Reverend John Murray Rector of St Andrews parish church Rugby, conducted the ceremony, and unusually eight witnesses appear to have witnessed and signed the Register.

Clarence was born on the 4th November 1890. He was baptized at St Andrews parish church Rugby on the 31st December 1890. December was an unusually warm month that year, with the average temperature being four and a half degrees Celsius or forty degrees Fahrenheit. If the day was indeed fairly mild the whole family must have been in good spirits as they walked to church from their home in Clifton Road.

Having qualified for the Lawrence Sheriff Grammar School for boys Clarence was obviously a boy of above average intelligence. The Census for 1911, on which he can be found, reveals that he was twenty years of age and lived at 165, Clifton Road, Rugby. This was most likely a house provided by the London North Western Railway. The other people also in residence were his Grandfather Richard Mewis aged sixty eight, who worked as a Railway engine driver and his wife Sarah, aged seventy, his father Alfred Eyden aged forty nine, Chief Rates Clerk LNWR Rugby, and his wife Sarah, aged forty four. Clarence was next, and worked as an apprentice for the LNWR at Leamington Spa. Maurice, the younger brother of Clarence was aged fourteen and a scholar at Lawrence Sheriff School. Edith Hughes, age eighteen, a general domestic servant, was also living in the house.

Clarence commenced his apprenticeship on May 29th 1905 at Rugby his salary being £20 per annum. From Rugby he moved on to Brandon, Long Buckby and Leamington Spa. His salary in March 1911 was £50 per annum. His employment at Leamington Spa ceased at the end of March, and on April 3rd 1911 he was transferred to the General Manager’s office Euston where he was employed as the private Clerk to the LNWR General Manager.

The family appears to have been musical: on 23 January 1915, at a ‘Concert for soldiers in the Church House’, arranged by the Entertainment Committee of the Conservative Club, songs were given by Mr. Clarence Eyden.  On the next Sunday, 31 January 1915, his mother sang, and was the soloist at a meeting of the Rugby Brotherhood at the Cooperative Hall with the notice, ‘Soldiers heartily welcomed’.[3]

His parents would later move to Northampton, meanwhile, presumably after his concert appearance in early 1915, Clarence joined up in London, as a Sapper, No.88204 in the Royal Engineers.  It was not long before he was sent to France and his Medal Card gives that date as 8 June 1915.  He was later promoted to be an Acting 2nd Corporal, and it was possibly then that he was renumbered, WR/252025 [possibly standing for War Reserve], and with his ten year’s railway experience, it is perhaps not surprising that he became a member of the ‘Railway Traffic [or Transportation] Establishment RE’.

The Establishment for the Railway Traffic Section, R.E. was 25 Officers and 174 Other Ranks.  3 Officers were Deputy Assistant Directors of Railway Traffic and the other 22 Railway Traffic Officers.  The Other Ranks were made up of 1 CSM, 30 Clerks & 56 Checkers (1 Staff Sgt, 4 Sgts & 81 Rank and File), 74 to act as Porters, Goods Guards, Loaders and Train Conductors (1 Sgt with 73 Rank and File).  The remainder of the unit comprised 13 batmen, 4 cooks and 4 men for general duties.[4]

So crucial was transportation that in the last months of the war, despite a shortage of front line soldiers, men with railway experience were being transferred from infantry units to railway operating companies.

Clarence died of wounds, but it is not known when or where he was working when he was wounded.  Because of his burial in St. Omer, he was possibly working in the St. Omer area, dealing with some aspect of railway organisation.

St. Omer had suffered a severe air raid on the night of 18/19 May 1918 when among other damage, a German air raid caused an explosion at an ammunition dump at Arque – some five miles south-east of St. Omer.  Indeed, recovering the wounded took five hours and 18 Military Medals were subsequently awarded to the female medical and transport staff.  On that occasion a number of men from the Chinese Labour Corps were also killed.  ‘A certain number of houses had been hit and some ammunition dumps and petrol stores and part of the railway line, so it was considered the Germans would think they had had a good night.’[5]

Various records state that Clarence both ‘Died in Action’ and ‘Died of Wounds’, however, his Medal Card notes that he ‘Died’ rather than stating ‘KinA’ or ‘DofW’.  This may imply that …

… some time had passed between … being wounded and dying – the next-of-kin were informed that he had ‘died’, rather than ‘died of wounds’.  Exactly how much time had to pass before this distinction was made is not clear.’[6]

From the dates, it is possible that Clarence was one of the casualties of the bombing of St. Omer, possibly when the ‘part of the railway line’ was hit and had reached hospital in St. Omer where he died that night, 18 May 1918, or possibly the following day.[7]  He was 27 year old.

He was buried in Plot: V. B. 9., at the Longuenesse (St. Omer) Souvenir Cemetery.  On his gravestone his family had arranged to be inscribed: ‘In Proudest Memory of One “Who Greatly Loved, Who Greatly Lived and Died Right Mightily”

St. Omer is 45 kilometres south-east of Calais and the cemetery at Longuenesse is on the southern outskirts of St. Omer.  St. Omer was the General Headquarters of the British Expeditionary Force from October 1914 to March 1916.  The town was a considerable hospital centre with the 4th, 10th, 7th Canadian, 9th Canadian and New Zealand Stationary Hospitals, the 7th, 58th (Scottish) and 59th (Northern) General Hospitals, and the 17th, 18th and 1st and 2nd Australian Casualty Clearing Stations all stationed there at some time during the war.  St. Omer suffered air raids in November 1917 and May 1918, with serious loss of life.  The cemetery takes its names from the triangular cemetery of the St. Omer garrison, properly called the Souvenir Cemetery (Cimetiere du Souvenir Francais) which is located next to the War Cemetery.

Clarence Alfred EYDEN is also remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gates; and on the WWI Lawrence Sheriff School Plaque,[8] which reads,

‘In Commemoration of our Brother Laurentians who Fell in The Great War, 1914-1918, Orando Laborando.

His Medal Card and the Medal Roll showed that he was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal, and also the 1914-1915 Star.

His father received his back-pay of £5-11-2d on 16 October 1918 and later his War Gratuity of £15 on 2 December 1919.  Clarences’s parents appear to have left Rugby before 1918, and later in the CWGC record, Clarence is noted as the son of Mr A. Eyden, of 1 St. Pauls Terrace Northampton.

In the year 1921 the following memorial notice appeared in the Rugby Advertiser:
EYDEN. —- To the ever precious memory of Clarence, the dearly beloved and elder son of Alfred and Eleanor Eyden, who fell in the Great War on Whit Sunday, May 18th 1918. —- And the World passeth away, but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.                                                                                                                                            

Clarence’s younger brother Maurice Eyden also joined up.  Reports in the Rugby Advertiser noted.

October 1916 – Maurice Victor Eyden (O.R), younger son of Mr Alfred Eyden, of Northampton, formerly residing in the Clifton Road, Rugby, has been gazetted 2nd Lieutenant, 3rd Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment (Steelbacks), after a course of training in the Inns of Court O.T.C.[9]

July 1917 – Second Lieutenant Maurice V Eyden (son of Mr Alfred Eyden), 2nd Northants Regiment, has been promoted to the rank of First-Lieutenant.[10]

July 1918 – Mr. & Mrs. Alfred Eyden, ‘Denaby’, St. Matthew’s Parade, Northampton, have been advised that their younger son, Lieut Maurice V Eyden, 2nd Northants Regiment, reported missing on May 27th, is a prisoner of war in Germany and quite well.  His only brother (Royal Engineers) was killed in France on May 19, 1918’.[11]

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

– – – – – –

 

This article on Clarence Alfred EYDEN 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, February 2018. Other information by Charles Partington-Tierney

[1]      London and North Western Railway, Salaried staff register [No 2, pages 1613-2092] – Goods Department.

[2]      London and North Western Railway, Salaried staff register [No 2, pages 1613-2092] – Goods Department.

[3]      Rugby Advertiser, Saturday, 30 January 1915.

[4]      Ivor Lee, 8 August 2003, http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/topic/4011-railway-transport-establishment/.

[5]      Diary of the Matron in Chief in France and Flanders, TNA, WO95/3990, http://www.scarletfinders.co.uk/91.html.

[6]      http://www.epitaphsofthegreatwar.com/killed-in-action/.

[7]      The item on his brother in the Rugby Advertiser, 6 July 1918, gave the date of Clarence’s death as 19 May 1918 – the day following the bombing of St. Omer.

[8]      Information from https://www.rugbyfhg.co.uk/lawrence-sheriff-school-plaques.

[9]      Rugby Remembers, https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com/2016/10/28/28th-oct-1916-the-boy-scouts-a-record-of-useful-work/, and Rugby Advertiser, 28 October 1916.

[10]     Rugby Advertiser, 14 July 1917, and Rugby Remembers, https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com/2017/07/14/14th-jul-1917-the-rugby-baking-trade-no-more-men-can-be-spared/.

[11]     Rugby Advertiser, 6 July 1918.

Driver, Charles John. Died 31st Dec 1917

Charles John DRIVER, as in the military records – or John Charles DRIVER in civilian life – was born in late 1897, with his birth registered at Rugby in Q1, 1898. He was baptised as John Charles Driver, on 13 February 1898, at St. Andrew’s church, Rugby. He was the first and only child of Reuben Edward Driver [jnr.], b.c.1869 in Market Harborough, a plate layer of 811 Old Station, and Elizabeth Ann née Beers, Driver who had married on 19 April 1897 at St Andrew’s church, Rugby.

It seems that his mother must have died, when she was aged 27, in childbirth, towards the end of December 1897, as her death was registered in Q4 1897.   Indeed, because of the time allowed for registration, her death would have had to be registered within five days, but the birth did not have to be registered for 42 days – hence the birth being registered in Q1, 1898 – the following year.

It seems that John Charles’s paternal grandmother took on the task of rearing her grandson. His father Reuben Edward Driver [jnr] remarried with Georgina née Hinks, in about 1900, and in 1901 they were living elsewhere although near his parents and enumerated at 855 Old Station, together with Georgina’s widowed mother. By 1911, they had been married 11 years, and had moved to live at 811 Newbold Road, Rugby, but had had no children. He had remained a plate layer over this time, latterly at least for the L&NW Railway.

In 1901, the 3 year old John Charles Driver was enumerated with his grandparents, Reuben E. Driver [sen.] and Caroline Driver at 1002 Old Station, Rugby.   Reuben sen. was a ‘Loco Railway Labourer’. In 1911, John Charles was again at that address, with his widowed 71 year old grandmother and a younger cousin, his grandfather having died in early 1909.

John Charles followed in the family ‘tradition’ and went to work for the railway, and when war broke out, he enlisted in September 1914 and was included on … ‘The following … list of men from the Locomotive Department of the L & N-W Railway at Rugby …, J C Driver, …’.[1]

There are no Service Records to indicate where John Charles may have served, but his final posting was in the Royal Flying Corps, where he became No.92241, and promoted to be a 2nd Class Air Mechanic in the 56th Kite Balloon Section.

At the end of 1917, John Charles, and other members of his Kite Balloon Section were posted to the Middle East, and due to arrive at Alexandria.

In March 1915, the base of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force was transferred to Alexandria from Mudros and the city became a camp and hospital centre for Commonwealth and French troops. Among the medical units established there were the 17th, 19th, 21st, 78th and 87th General Hospitals and No 5 Indian Hospital. After the Gallipoli campaign of 1915, Alexandria remained an important hospital centre during later operations in Egypt and Palestine and the port was much used by hospital ships and troop transports bringing reinforcements and carrying the sick and wounded out of the theatres of war.

John Charles was travelling on the Mercantile Fleet Auxiliary HT Osmanieh when it was struck by a mine on 31 December 1917, when entering the port of Alexandria. 76 officers and men of the Commonwealth forces were lost.

The ship’s loss was not reported until February 1918,
‘… The Mercantile fleet auxiliary Osmanieh, whose loss, with a large number of lives, in the Eastern Mediterranean on 31 December was officially announced the Admiralty on Wednesday, was the vessel commanded by Lieut-com. D. R. Mason, of Tenby, who lost his life on that occasion.’ [2]

John Charles Driver’s death was also reported in a Coventry newspaper; although it is not yet established what his Coventry connection may have been.
‘Roll of Honour, Coventry and District Casualties, … Missing believed Drowned, … Driver, 92241, 2nd Class Air Mechanic J. C., Coventry, R.F.C. …’ [3]

He is remembered with fellow members of his Kite Balloon Section on the Chatby Memorial, which notes that they were ‘… Drowned at Sea [from H T Osmanieh] …’.

Chatby is a district on the eastern side of the city of Alexandria, Egypt.   The Chatby Memorial stands at the eastern end of the Alexandria (Chatby) War Memorial Cemetery and commemorates almost 1,000 Commonwealth servicemen who died during the First World War and have no other grave but the sea. Many of them were lost when hospital ships or transports were sunk in the Mediterranean, sailing to or from Alexandria. Others died of wounds or sickness while aboard such vessels and were buried at sea. More than 700 of those commemorated on the memorial died when the vessels were torpedoed or mined.

John Charles DRIVER was awarded the British War and Victory Medals, and is commemorated – as ‘C J Driver’ – on the Rugby Memorial Gates in Hillmorton Road, Rugby.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM 

– – – – – –

 

This article on Charles John DRIVER 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 2017.

[1]       Rugby Advertiser, 5 September 1914.

[2]       Western Mail, Friday, 1 February 1918.

[3]       Coventry Evening Telegraph, Tuesday, 12 February 1918.

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.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

– – – – – –

 

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.