Barrows, Henry Dester. Died 24th Feb 1919

Henry Dester BARROWS was born in early 1881 in Rugby, and registered there – possibly slightly late – as Harry Dester Barrows, in Q2, 1881.  He was the third son of Edmund Barrows (a tailor and son of a tailor, b.c.1848 in Lutterworth) and Emma, née Emily Warner, Barrows (the daughter of a shoemaker, also b.c.1848 in Lutterworth).   They had married on 13 March 1872 at St Philip’s church, Birmingham.

In the 1874, 1876 and 1880 Rugby Directories,[1] Edmund Barrows was listed as a Tailor, living at 3 Round Street, and this is confirmed by the 1881 census.

On 3 April 1881, Henry was just three months old, suggesting that he was born in late December 1880 or January 1881.  The family were living at 3 Round Street, Rugby.  Henry’s father Edmund was still a Tailor.  In 1881 Edmund’s schoolmistress sister was with them at the house.  In 1884, the family was at an unnumbered property in Bridgett Street.[2]  By 1891, they had moved to live at nearby 2 Oliver Street, Rugby.  Henry’s father Edmund was still a Tailor.  Henry was just 10 and at school – he may have gone to St. Matthew’s School like his elder brother.

By 1901 Henry’s mother was widowed and living with her sister at 7 George Street, Rugby.  Henry was aged 19, single and boarding at 24 Allestree Road, Fulham – where he was a ‘builder’s plasterer’.  In 1911 Harry was enumerated as aged 28, still single, still working as a Plasterer, and boarding at Providence Villa, Fairfield, Leatherhead, Surrey.

His Service Record survives, within the ‘burnt records’, as do his Medal Card and Award Roll, all in the name ‘Harry Barrows’ which show him as a Sapper, in the Royal Engineers, initially as No:(T)3028 and latterly as Sapper No.546617 in J Depot Company, Royal Engineers.

He was attested on 2 October 1915 at 10 Victoria Park Square, London into the 3rd/1st London Field Company, Royal Engineers.  He was 34, 5ft 6½ inches tall and of good physical development.

He gave his address as 16 Bennett Street, Rugby, presumed to now be the home of his widowed mother – but later also noted as the address of his aunt Charlotte, his father’s sister, who was the CWGC contact after Henry’s death.

To summarise his service: he was in UK from 2 October 1915 to 8 April 1916; then in France from 9 April 1916 to 8 July 1916, and then back in UK from 9 July 1916 until his death.

Later in October 1915 he received two anti-typhoid inoculations.  On 9 April 1916 he arrived at No.2 Terr: Base from Eng – on service.  On 13 April 1916, he joined ‘Field Unit from Base’.

On 1 July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, he was wounded, and was admitted to the 2/1st Field Ambulance on 2 July 1916.  His Service Record confirms that he was wounded in action on 1 July 1916, and the CWGC site notes that he was ‘Wounded at Gommecourt, 1 July 1916’.  He was also listed as a casualty in the Rugby Advertiser later that month,
Other Rugby casualties reported recently are: Diver W Elkington (11137) killed ; and F H Warden (2168), F Burberry (275),[3] and Sapper H Barrows, R.E.; Ptes J Varney (Rugby), A Welsby (New Bilton), and T Lee (Swinford), wounded.[4] 

On 8 July the No 16 General Hospital embarked him at Havre for England per H.S. ?Bella, with ‘G.S.W. Back and Buttock’, and the next day, 9 July 1916 he was admitted to a Red Cross hospital, where he remained until ?27 July 1916 with ‘GSW [gunshot wounds] back & chest, Severe lacerated flesh wounds’.

He did not return to France, but was on ‘Home’ duty and posted to Ireland, where on 20 April 1917, now aged 37, it seems he was again hospitalised at Curragh, with a ‘weakness left knee’ and awaiting a ‘surgeons report please’.  The doctor’s Report is not legible but appears to mention his ‘GSW’.

On 27 August 1917 he was posted to 415th Lowland Field Company, Royal Engineers at Oughterard, Co. Galway, Ireland.   A further posting from the 415th Field Company to ‘J Dep: Coy: 94 (2)’ as Sapper No.546617 was noted on 21/22 October 1918 possibly to ?Ballinsaby.

He remained in Ireland, but on 19 February 1919, he was again admitted to hospital … with ‘influenza pneumonia’.  His medical notes – partly burnt – are on his file:

Onset: shivering ….

19/2/19 – On admission T.100 P.88 … Lungs: a few scattered … a few creps at base, no dullness B.B. or sign of ?consclids …

20/2/19 – T.102 R.98 P.100. cough slight, sputum very little. No change … lungs. He has a number of old scars on back the result …

21/2/19 – T.99 R.30. states he feels much better and more comfortable.

22/2/19 – Temp rose 102 this morning. P.120 R.40. it fell slightly in the afternoon. Patient does not complain of feeling ill.

23/2/19 – T.99. P.96 R.28. patient is comfortable and feels better.

24/2/19 – Patient had a bad night in the early part, became worse near morning, he died at 8.20 a.m.  He was not placed on the seriously ill list as he had not any signs of being very ill. 

I think a P.M. should be made as some of the old wounds may have had something to do with his sudden collapse.

(Sd.) M Henry O.S.

He ‘died suddenly’ on 24 February 1919 at the ‘Military Hospital, Belfast from Influenza’.  The CWGC site also confirmed that he ‘Died of Pneumonia, 24 February 1919’.

His body was returned to Rugby, and he was buried in Plot: G. 364. at Rugby (Clifton Road) Cemetery.  The CWGC contact when he was buried was ‘Miss G. Burrows, 16 Bennett Street, Rugby’.

A few days later the Rugby Advertiser reported,
 ‘Deaths – BARROWS. – On Monday, Feb. 24th, at the Military Hospital, Belfast, Sapper HARRY DESTER, R.E., the youngest and dearly beloved son of Mrs. Barrows, 16 Bennett Street, aged 37, Interred at Rugby Cemetery, Saturday, March 1st.’[5]

Henry Dester BARROWS was awarded the British War and Victory Medals and is remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gates.

On 18 July 1919 his mother was sent his effects which she duly acknowledged:
‘Purse, badges, pouch, wallet, photos, tin of tobacco, lanyards, pair of braces, letters and religious books, clasp knife, pair of braces, pocket knife, leather belt, pair of gloves, shaving brush, handkerchiefs, razors, button stick, 2 pipes, pair of slippers, pocket knife, tooth brush.’

His mother, Emma Barrows, received 5/11d per week from 25 August 1919.  Only just over a year later she died; her death was registered in late 1920 in Rugby, she was 73.

Henry’s elder brother, Alfred, also served in WWI as a Private, No:12049 in the 1st and later the 6th Bn. Dorsetshire Regiment.  He went to France on the 13 July 1915 and survived the war, being placed in ‘Class Z’, in case of any need for recall, when he was discharged on 30 April 1919.  He had been wounded during the battle of the Somme and in September 1916, the Rugby Advertiser noted,
ST MATTHEW’S OLD BOYS WOUNDED.
Amongst the casualties in the great advance are … and Pte A Barrows, Dorset Regt, all wounded.[6] 

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

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This article on Henry Dester BARROWS 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, October 2018.

[1]      Kenning, Rugby Almanack, 1874, 1876 and 1880.

[2]      Kenning, Rugby Almanack, 1884.

[3]      Frank Burbury was born in Rugby, joined the 10th Battalion of the Rifle Brigade was taken prisoner in 1918, but survived the war.  His life has been researched and some of his documents and correspondence from WWI are now in Rugby Museum.  His photographs have also been preserved.

[4]      https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com/2016/07/22/22nd-jul-1916-helping-the-prisoners-of-war/; and also see:  Rugby Advertiser, 22 July 1916.

[5]      Rugby Advertiser, Friday, 7 March 1919.

[6]      Rugby Advertiser, 16 September 1916.

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Norton, Bernard George. Died 11th Feb 1919

Bernard George NORTON was born on 29 May 1888 in St. Johns, Deptford, Kent, and baptised on 16 September 1888 at the Greenwich Road Congregational Church in Greenwich, Kent.  He was the eldest of two sons of Rev. George Norton (b.c.1853 in Wandsworth – d.1920) and Clara Ellen, née Dewey, Norton (b.c.1855 in Cheshunt – d.1930).   

In 1891, the family was living at 14 Cliff Terrace, St Paul, Deptford, London.  Bernard was 2 years old and his father was a Congregational Minister. 

By 1901 they had moved to 38 Albert Street, Rugby.  Bernard’s father was still a Congregational Minister and the census return suggests that they were living next to the Congregational Church and the School Room.  Bernard attended Lawrence Sheriff School.

In 1911 the family had moved to Haywards Heath, where Bernard’s father George was still a Congregational Minister, now aged 59 and having been married 25 years.  Bernard’s brother, Clifford John Norton, who was some three years younger than Bernard, had attended Rugby School, and was then studying at Queen’s College, Oxford.  Clifford also joined up, into the 1st/5th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment, and served at Gallipoli and in Palestine, being promoted captain in 1917.[1]  By 1920, their father, George Norton had moved to High Wycombe, where he died.

By 1911, Bernard was 22 and still single.  He was boarding at 57 Grove Street, Leamington where he was working as an Architect.  He was still at the same address, Cumberland House, 57 Grove Street, in 1913.[2]

No Service Record survives, but at some date he signed up as a Sapper, No.91714 in the 213 Army Troops Company, Royal Engineers, which seems to have functioned from March 1916 until December 1919.

The War Diary of the 213 Army Troop[3] begins on 8 March 1916 in Buxton, Derbyshire, when they entrained for Southampton and early the next morning most embarked on SS Princess Victoria, with a fewer number and the Motor transport on SS Inventor, to cross to Havre, disembarking the next morning, marching to the Docks Rest Camp, ready to entrain to Poperinge and then to march six miles to billets near Proven on 12 March.  It is assumed that Bernard was already with them.

Companies took over various tasks from running a sawmill; to revetting trenches; and building a concrete emplacement for a 4.7inch gun.  They were based in the Poperinge area until mid-August with a brief visit to Ypres.

On 18 August 1916, an Officer and six NCOs, who are, unusually, individually named, were sent on a ‘10 day course on Heavy Bridging’ at ‘No.3 Base Park’ – the most junior of the party was ‘91714  L/Cpl Norton B G’.  They returned on 1 September 1916.  The following notes have been abstracted and edited from the War Diary.

September saw the ‘Company employed in Hutting, Water Supply, Sanitation works’ and with ‘general construction’, which continued through to the end of 1916.

In January 1917, one section continued at the sawmill making various structures – huts, sheds, latrine and ablution huts etc; whilst the rest of the company was involved in erecting these.  More men had been sent on the Heavy Bridging course.  Similar activities continued, with a Section dealing with water supply in Ypres in March 1917.  In April the company was again employed on bridging, water supply – along the Yperlee at Ypres, and hutments in connection with the 8th Corps laundry at Blondeques etc. etc..  These activities continued in May with the addition of trench construction in 8th Corps area.

In June 1917, they were attached to 5th Army headquarters for duty and similar work continued with the addition of work at Casualty Clearing Stations [CCSs], aerodromes and general construction work.  In July further areas of work included prisoners’ compounds, ammunition dumps and Army Headquarters.

From 16 to 29 July they were temporarily encamped at Chateau Lovie grounds ‘owing to being shelled out at ‘U’ Camp at L.6.a 8.8.’  They returned to camp on 8 August – a number of huts had been damaged, but there were no casualties.  The saw mill was damaged and the main engine had to be replaced with four petrol engines.  Work continued and included preparing material for CCSs; preparing and extending aerodromes, with Chinese labour; water supplies; tree felling and making furniture for 5th Army HQ.

By the end of October 1917, the 213 Company RE had a total strength of 652 men from various parts of the services – including 72 Belgians and 147 Chinese.

On 15 November they were attached to the 2nd Army ‘viz 5th Army left’.

The December diary section is missing, which is frustrating as on 11 December 1917, Bernard was ‘Mentioned in Dispatches’.  ‘FRIDAY, 14 DECEMBER, 1917.   War Office, 11 December, 1917.  The following is a continuation of Sir Douglas Haig’s Despatch[4] of 7th November, submitting names deserving special mention, published in a Supplement to the London Gazette of Tuesday, 11th December, 1917: … ROYAL ENGINEERS. … Norton, No. 91714 Spr. B. G. …’.[5]

On 1 February 1918, the Company left Poperinge and entrained for Peronne then to Omiecourt by road.  Similar construction activity continued – and in March the Company was engaged in building PoW cages; staging camps; YMCA huts; an ammunition dump; an aerodrome, three Casualty Clearing Stations; dumps; water supply and headquarters buildings.

With the onset of ‘Operation Michael’ on 26 March, the Company was moving to Villers Brettoneurx.  88 men and eight officers moved to trenches east of Hamel, and the Germans were sighted at 4pm on 28 March.  They were under fire until the end of the month, but succeeded in holding up the German advance but with casualties.

By May, having moved to Flixecourt, after the German advance had been halted, ‘routine’ work on building Staging Posts, Hospitals and PoW cages had resumed.  The reports are barely legible for a while!

In September, they were still based at Flixecourt, constructing a rifle range and a sniping school; targets for aircraft bombing practice; a rest camp at Amiens, and infantry and artillery training schools, and further hospital construction.  Meanwhile the HQ had moved to Bartangles and in October after a further move, the Company were building ‘hutting for Tank Corps HQ’; adapting railway carriages to form a train for the army commander and staff; heating was installed at 41 Stationary Hospital at Amiens and various water supply projects completed.

Similar work continued in November – the Armistice did not get a mention!!

In December they moved east to Namur and were again building various facilities including ‘Latrines & ablutions accommodation … at 4th Army released PoW Camp’; also alterations at the Army Cinema.  In January they were in the Cavalry Barracks and undertaking a wide range of remedial work, particularly with water supply.  They also painted the town name on the Namur station roof, so that it could be identified for delivery of ‘aerial post’.

During January a total of 55 ORs were sent to England for demobilisation or for leave during which some others were also able to demobilise.  It seems likely that among them, in about mid January 1919, was Lance Corporal Bernard George Norton.  Whilst he was ‘on demobilisation leave’, he contracted bronchitis and pneumonia, probably the result of the ‘Flu’ and he died at Strathlea, Waltham Cross, on 11 February 1919; he was aged 30.

His death was confirmed by the Register of Soldiers’ Effects which noted that he ‘died of illness whilst on demobilisation leave, Waltham Cross’.

A few days later the Rugby Advertiser reported,
‘Death – Mr Bernard Norton. – The death has occurred at Waltham Cross of Bernard Norton, eldest son of the Rev George Norton, formerly Congregational minister at Rugby.  About three weeks ago Mr Norton returned from France, and contracted bronchitis and pneumonia, from which he died.’[6]

He was buried in Plot: 0.4. BM. in the nearby Cheshunt Burial Ground, Hertfordshire at Bury Green, a little way south-west of the church.  He has a CWGC gravestone but no family inscription was added.

Bernard George Norton was ‘Mentioned in Dispatches’ and was awarded the British War and Victory Medals although it seems that these were returned in 1923.

He is remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gates; on his CWGC gravestone at the Cheshunt Burial Ground; and on the WWI Lawrence Sheriff School Plaque,[7] which reads,
‘In Commemoration of our Brother Laurentians who Fell in The Great War, 1914-1918, Orando Laborando.’   

Probate was awarded on 24 April 1919 in Hertfordshire, to his Executors, his father, George Norton, Dissenting Minister and John Lawrence, Estate Agent.  His Estate was valued at £12,820-9-1d.

His outstanding pay of £10-8-3d was paid to his Executors and his War Gratuity of £18-10-0 appears to have been placed in a ‘P.O.S.B.’ [Post Office Savings Bank].

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM 

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This article on Bernard George NORTON 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, October 2018.

 

[1]      Norton, Sir Clifford John, KCMG, CVO, (1891–1990) had a career as a diplomatist – for a fuller biography see the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography which is available on-line.  Some of his papers are in the Imperial War Museum.

[2]      Spennell, Directory of Leamington, 1913.

[3]      The National Archives, Fourth Army, 213 Army Troop Company Royal Engineers, Ref: WO 95/484.

[4]      The list of names was published in six separate supplements at intervals of a few days.

[5]      13082, Supplement to the London Gazette, 14 December 1917.

[6]      Rugby Advertiser, Friday, 21 February 1919.

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

Thompson, Arthur. Died 25th Feb 1917

The A Thompson on the Rugby Memorial Gates was originally identified as being Arthur Thompson listed on the Willans and Robinson Drawing Office Plaque, who enlisted at the start of the war. However without more information, we were unable to research him and record him on the centenary of his death. We have now been contacted by his grandson, who has provided us with enough information to publish this biography on the anniversary of his marriage in 1916.

Arthur Thompson was born on 25th May 1889 at Margetts Road, Kempston, Bedfordshire. His father was Charles Thompson, a maltster and his mother was Amy (nee Slater). Arthur was the sixth child. By 1901 three more children had arrived. (They had eleven children altogether but two had died by 1911) The family were now living at 24 Howard Avenue, Bedford. Charles was now listed as a grocer, but his eldest son, also Charles (25) was a maltster.

By 1911 several of the children had left home, including Arthur. Charles was still working as a grocer, at the same address, 24 Howard Avenue. (According to Google Street View, the property is still a grocer’s shop.) We have not been able to find Arthur in the 1911 census, but he was probably already living in Rugby.

On 5th September 1914, he was listed in the Rugby Advertiser as having signed up with other members of staff from Willans and Robinson.

WILLANS & ROBINSON, LIMITED.
SUPPLEMENTARY LIST, No. 3.
Staff :  A Thompson, W R Gamble, C Haines, T Campbell, G F Lewis, P W Clark, J Hughes, C H Waugh, H M Packwood, H R Ainsley, J R Hayward, L G Higgs, A Gibson, A L Jenkins, J Miller, and J Pethybridge.

Arthur joined the Royal Engineers, as corporal, number 42242, and arrived in France with 70th Field Coy. on 30th May 1915.

He would have taken part in the Battle of Loos in October 1915. With no surviving service record it is impossible to track his movements, but in June 1916 he was home on leave, or perhaps had been injured. It is not known if he had returned to France in time for the Battle of the Somme. The 70th Field Coy took part in the Battles of:
Albert 1 – 13 Jul 1916,
Poziers Ridge 23 Jul – 7 Aug 1916,
and The Transloy Ridges 1 Oct – 11 Nov 1916

It is known that on the 18 Dec 1916 he was back in Rugby to marry Lilian Walton at Rugby Congregational Church. It is said that Lilian was a tracer in a drawing office. Presumably Arthur had met her at Willans and Robinson. The Walton family came from Crick, but at the time of the marriage she was living at 24 Benn Street, Rugby.

Arthur Thompson at the front, dated 18 Feb 1917

Serjeant Arthur Thompson was Killed in Action on 25th February 1917, near Arras in France. There is no report of any deaths on that day in the war diaries, but the family was told that the artillery was firing over their heads during an advance and a shell fell short and killed him.

He is buried in the Faubourg d’Amiens Cemetery, Arras.

He is remembered on the Willans and Robinson Drawing Office plaque, as well as the Rugby Memorial Gates. He is also remembered on the Bedford, All Saints memorial.

He was awarded the British and Victory medals as well as the 15 Star.

Arthur and Lilian’s son, Aubrey Arthur Thompson was born on 4th March 1917, one week after his father’s death. Lilian later remarried and moved away from the area.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

Note: We wish to thank Clive Thompson, grandson of Arthur, for  the use of family photographs in this biography.

Coleman, Duncan Reginald. Died 11th Nov 1918

Duncan Reginald COLEMAN was born in Wardington, Oxfordshire on 27 August 1894, and baptised there on 2 December 1894.  He was the second son of George Henry Coleman [a plasterer, b.c.1856 in Warmington, Warwickshire] and Emily, née Treadwell, Coleman [b.c.1864 in Wardington, Oxfordshire].

In 1901 the family were living at the ‘Red Lion Beer House’, in Wardington, probably following in part the family trade – as George Henry’s father had been an innkeeper in Milcomb.  George Henry was however still working as a ‘plasterer’.

At some date before 1911, the family moved to Rugby and in 1911 were living at 102 Lawford Road, which seems to have been later defined as 102 Dunsmore Terrace, Lawford Road, Rugby.  George Henry was now 55 and his wife Emily was 45.  They had had nine children, but one had died and it seems that one had already left home.  However, seven children were still living at home: Muriel Blanche Coleman was 24; Mary Olive Coleman, 21; Albert Victor Coleman, 18; Duncan Reginald Coleman, was now 16 and already working as a moulder in an Iron Foundry; Ida Cerise Coleman was 12; Stanley Winston Coleman, 11; and Lena Emily Coleman, was 8.

A somewhat complicated set of Service Records survives for Reginald, as it seems he had a number of postings and was also wounded.  Together with various other surviving documents it is possible to provide an outline of his military career.

In summary he was:                                                                                        Days
Home              17 – 4 – 16 to 15 – 7 – 16                         90
BEF France     16 – 7 – 16 to 10 – 5 – 17                      299
Home              11 – 5 – 17 to 22 – 12 – 17                    226
BEF France     23 – 12 – 17 to 11 – 11 – 18                  324
Total    2 years 209 days

He was living at 102 Lawford Road, Rugby, when he first signed up at Warwick[1] for General Service, posted to the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and then posted on 18 April 1916 as a Private, No.18102 in the 11th Battalion, the Royal Warwickshire Regiment (RWR).  He was 21 years and 7 months (or 210 days!) old, 5ft 6¼ inches tall, single and working as a ‘moulder’.

He was transferred as a Private to the ‘Expeditionary Force France’ on 16 July 1916 and embarked for France on 19 July 1916.  On 24 July 1916 he was posted to 11th Bn. RWR, ‘In the Field’.

He was wounded in action with a ‘GSW chest sev’ [Gun Shot Wound to the Chest Severe] on 23 April 1917, and on 3 May 1917 he was ‘adm 4 Gen H’ [Admitted to 4th General Hospital] at ‘Dannes Camier’.[2]  He was then transferred to England on the ‘HS [Hospital Ship] Cambria’ two days later on 11 May 1917, being transferred to the Home Depot that day.

He was admitted to the Eastern General Hospital, Edmonton for 21 days from 11 May to 1 June 1917 and this was extended for a further 10 days from 1 June to 11 June 1917 for the same ‘GSW Chest’ at the Edmonton Military Hospital – probably the same hospital, but with different stamps!!  After these periods, he was pronounced ‘Cured – No FB prelit? or disability – furlough thence CD’ [probably ‘Command Depot’].

On 22 October 1917, he was posted to the Essex Regiment, and on 28 October 1917, he was re-posted as a Private, No.45263 to the 17th Battalion, Essex Regiment at Dover.  On 22 December 1917 he went overseas again from Weybourne, by way of Folkestone on 23 December, arriving in Boulogne to join the BEF on the 24 December 1917.  On the same day he was transferred ‘in the field’ to the Royal Engineers, as a Pioneer, No.358639 and on 27 February 1918 to the Royal Engineers, No.4 Foreway Company, ‘at RE Rates’ from 28 February 1918.

Later that year, on 19 September 1918, he was ‘temporarily and compulsorily’ transferred to the Railways sub-unit in the Transportation Branch RE and from 20 September became a Pioneer with the 234th Light Railway Field Company and allotted a new regimental number: WR/358639.  The letters ‘WR’ stood for ‘Waterway and Railways’.  The 234th (Forward) Company was formed in France and operated there.

The formation of the RE Light Railway Companies in early 1917 was an innovation that was one of the factors that transformed the operational abilities of the army.  Goods and men could now make the last leg of the journey to the front by light rail.  Until that time, ammunition supply in particular had been subject to delays and required vast numbers of men and horses, and the light railways helped overcome both problems.  Traffic and wear on the roads and tracks leading up to the front was eased, and fewer men were required to repair them. … The Company consisted of approximately 200 men, … Drivers, Brakesmen, Guards, Wagon Repairers, Repair Shop Engineers, Traffic Controllers and Storesmen.   There were few officers among this number … The job … was to run the trains, with the tracks being laid by RE Railway Construction Companies – often with the assistance of whatever Labour Corps Company or ‘resting’ infantry were at hand.[3]

At some stage, presumably in early November, he became unwell and was transferred to No. 29 Casualty Clearing Station, which was then stationed at Delsaux Farm.  It was from there that his death was reported, ‘Died – Influenza – 11.11.1918’.  He died of Pneumonia on ‘Armistice Day’, 11 November 1918, aged 25, at ‘29 CCS’.  A confirmatory report in his Service Record, from the Captain RAMC, Medical Specialist, 29 CC Station, read,
358639 Pnr Colemen DR, 234 Light Forward Railway Co. RE
The a/m man died from Influenza followed by Broncho-Pneumonia & heart failure.
The disease was brought about by exposure whilst on military service in France.

Duncan was first buried in the Beugny Military Cemetery No.18, which had been made by the Germans after their Operation Michael[4] advances in March 1918 near the village crossroads.

Later, the German graves were removed, and in 1920, the British burials were exhumed and reburied at the Delsaux Farm Cemetery, adjacent to the Casualty Clearing Station.  Duncan was reburied  in grave reference: III. A. 17.  His gravestone bears the family message ‘Greater Love Hath No Man’.

A draft and copy of a letter sent to Duncan’s father is with his Service Record.

Royal Engineers, Record Office, Chatham  –  16 June 1920

Sir, 

I beg to inform you that in accordance with the agreement with the French and Belgian Governments to remove all scattered graves, small cemeteries containing less than 40 graves and certain other cemeteries which were situated in places unsuitable for permanent retention, it has been found necessary to exhume bodies buried in certain areas and re-inter them, therefore the body of your late son, No. WR/284262, Pioneer, D. R. Colemen, R. E., has been removed and re-buried in DELSAUX FARM BRITIH CEMETERY, 3 ¾ miles E. of BAPAUME.

The necessity for removal is much regretted but was unavoidable for reasons stated above.

The removal has been undertaken with every measure of care and reverence and special arrangements have been made for the appropriate religious services to be held.

I am, Yours faithfully,          for Colonel i/c R. E. Records.

The cemetery is near the village of Beugny, in Pas de Calais, France, some 19 kilometres south-west of Cambrai.

Delsaux Farm was a point on the German defensive system known as the Beugny-Ytres line, which was reached by Commonwealth troops on 18 March 1917, and passed on the following day. The farm was lost on 23 March 1918 after the gallant defence of Beugny by the 9th Welsh Regiment and their withdrawal, but it was retaken by the 5th Division on 2 September 1918, and on the next day the same division occupied Beugny village.  After their advance in March 1918, the Germans made a cemetery (Beugny Military Cemetery No.18) at the cross-roads, and in it buried 103 Commonwealth and 82 German dead.  The site was extended in October-November 1918 by the 29th and 46th Casualty Clearing Stations, which came to Delsaux Farm and made the present cemetery.  A little later, the German graves of March 1918 were removed and the 103 Commonwealth dead reburied in Plot I, Row J, Plot II, Row A, and Plot III, Rows B, C and D.  The rest of the cemetery was made when graves were later brought in from the battlefield. … The cemetery was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.[5]

Duncan Reginald COLEMAN was awarded the British War and Victory Medals.  He is remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gates and on his CWGC gravestone at Delsaux Farm Cemetery, Beugby. 

Duncan’s outstanding pay of £24-3-8d was paid to his ‘Fa[ther] & Sole Leg[atee] George H’ on 12 April 1919, and note stated that this was ‘Including War Grant £14-10-0’.  On 17 April 1919 his property was returned to the family: ‘Letters; Shaving brush; Badge; Photos; Wallet’.

His elder brother Albert Victor Coleman, signed up on 12 December 1915, and also served initially in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, as No.3098, and later in the Royal Berkshire Regiment as No.44920.  He survived the war.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

– – – – – –

 

This article on Duncan Reginald COLEMAN 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, October 2018.

 

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

[2]      The No 4 General Hospital was at St Nazaire in September 1914; at Versailles from September 1914 to January 1916; at Camiers, when Duncan Coleman was admitted, from January 1916 to April 1919; and at Dunkerque from April 1919 to November 1919.

[3]      https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-corps-of-royal-engineers-in-the-first-world-war/light-railway-operating-companies-of-the-royal-engineers/.

[4]      https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com/2018/03/20/the-1918-spring-offensive-operation-michael/.

[5]      Edited from: https://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/23600/delsaux-farm-cemetery,-beugny/.

Lester, Arthur. Died 17th Aug 1918

Arthur Lester was born in 1878 at Bugbrooke, Northamptonshire to George Henry Lester, born about 1845 at Uppingham, Northamptonshire, a farm labourer and Eliza Lester, née Turland (b1853 – 97). The 1911 census returns show that Arthur was living in Bugbrooke with his father and was single. His father had re-married in 1904 to Georgiana Jane Lester, née Chapman. (b 1845).

In 1915 Arthur Lester married Maude Elizabeth Adcock (b 1892, Stoke Golding, Leicestershire) at Nuneaton. They moved to Rugby where in 1917 they were blessed with a daughter, Edith M.

During WW1 he enlisted in the Royal Engineers, 263rd Railway Coy, service number WR/318002. In February 1918 he was sent to France. On 17 August 1918, with the rank of Lance Corporal, he was killed in action and buried in the Ribemont Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme, where his grave is maintained by the CWGC. Ribemont was on the railway line from Amiens to Albert, and Mericourt-Ribemont Station had been a railhead for the Commonwealth forces from the early summer of 1915.

In the editorial section of the Rugby Advertiser of 5th October 1918, under the heading ‘Local War Notes’, there appears the following:-
“Lance Corpl A Lester, Royal Engineers, 92 South Street, Rugby, killed in action on August 17th. For upwards of 18 years he was employed as a platelayer in Rugby. He had served in France since February last.”

His wife also placed the following notice of his death in the same edition:-
LESTER. — In loving memory of Lance Corpl ARTHUR (DICK), dearly beloved husband of Mrs. Lester, 92 South Street, killed in France on August 17, 1918.
God takes our loved ones from our home,
But never from our heart.
From his sorrowing wife and little daughter.”

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

Angell, William Henry, Died 15th Jun 1918

William Henry Groves ANGELL was born in Deptford, Kent, in late 1889.  He was the second son of John Groves Beasley Angell, who was born in ‘Bow Road’, London City, in about 1862, and Mary, née Sullivan, Angell, who was born in Deptford, Kent and who was also born in about 1862.  

In 1891, the family had just moved to live in Clump Meadow, Queen’s Road, Thames Ditton, Kent.  William was one year old and had an elder brother, John, who was five,[1] and an elder sister.  He would later have another sister, Amy, and a much younger brother, Fred born in 1898.  William’s father was a ‘moulder’.  It seems that both William’s father, and his uncle, had moved to Queen’s Road, Thames Ditton, before the 1891 census, and both must have worked for the Willans Company, as both families moved to Rugby when the Willans Company expanded and moved there in 1897.

So before 1901 the family had moved to live at 43 Victoria Avenue, Bilton, Rugby, and then before 1911, William’s parents and the family had moved to 166 Lawford Road, New Bilton, Rugby.  His father was still an Iron Moulder.  His sister, Katherine, had married, Rugby born, Alfred Glenn, who was a Groom and they were also living with the family.  William was not at home on census night, and has not been found elsewhere at present, unless he was the ‘core maker’ – a somewhat similar trade to that of his father – who was a boarder at 425 Shields Road, East Heaton, Newcastle-on-Tyne.

There are no surviving military Service Records for William.  He joined up in Bristol, initially as a Sapper, No:2168, in the Royal Engineers.  His Medal Card states that he went ‘overseas’ to France/Belgium on 6 June 1915.  He was latterly a Sapper No: 494519 in the 477th South Midlands Field Company, Royal Engineers (R.E.s).

The 2/1st South Midland Field Company, R.E.s was formed in September 1914, and later moved independently to France as the renamed 477th Field Company, R.E.s, and joined 48th Division in June 1915.  William would have gone to France with his Field Company.

A War Diary exists for their period in France/Belgium.[2]  They had entrained for Portsmouth on 6 June and crossed to Le Havre arriving on 7 June and then spent several months with Sections working on different projects in different areas and also training – including the use of pontoons and bridging.

As an example of their work, on 18 May 1916, 9.30am, they started to supervise the digging of trenches,
‘… 915 yds of trench in all & including [two] traverses, 1220 yds of digging. Trench dug 5ft wide at top & 3 ft at bottom, 3ft 6in deep = 14 sq ft.  Strength of digging party 650 & 1 section of Sappers supervising approx 80 cu.ft per man.  19 May – 2pm – Digging complete.

In November 1916, their Field Company typically had a strength of 10 officers and about 220 other ranks.  They would have been working on a variety of construction projects, trenches and strong-points, supporting the 48th Division during the rest of 1916 and for most of 1917.

In May 1915, the Italians had entered the war on the Allied side, declaring war on Austria.  Commonwealth forces were later transferred to the Italian front between November 1917 and November 1918.   48th Division HQ received orders on 10 November 1917 for a move to Italy.  Entrainment began on 21 November and all units had detrained around Legnano (Adige) by 1 December.  The Division then moved north to the area allotted to XI Corps.

In March 1918, XIV Corps (the 7th, 23rd and 48th Divisions) relieved Italian troops on the front line between Asiago and Canove, the front being held by two Divisions, with one Division in reserve on the plain.[3]

The 48th Division relieved 7th Division to hold the front line sector at the Montello between 1 and 16 March.  It then moved west, to the Asiago sector.  The front had been comparatively quiet until the Austrians attacked in force from Grappa to Canove in the Battle of Asiago (15-16 June 1918).  The Division took part in the fighting on the Asiago Plateau.  The Allied line was penetrated to a depth of about 1,000 metres on 15 June, but the lost ground was retaken the next day and the line re-established.[4]

It is likely that William was wounded either just prior to, or during, the Battle of Asiago, and died of wounds during the day at one of the South Midlands Field Ambulances, which were attached to the 48th (South Midland) Division.  Mount Cavalletto was the site of an Advanced Operating Station where urgent cases from the front were treated, as the journey from the mountains to the main hospitals on the plain was long and difficult.

William Henry Angell ‘died of wounds’ on 15 June 1918, and was buried in the nearby Cavalletto British Cemetery, in grave reference: Plot 1. Row E. Grave 11.[5]  His family later had the inscription ‘A Noble Sacrifice for his Country’s Honour’ added to his memorial stone.  The contact for the inscription was ‘Mrs F R Angell, 714 Fishponds Road, Bristol’.  This would appear to be William’s cousin, Florence R Angell, who had married in 1913 and whose husband died in 1918.  She seems to have used her unmarried name for correspondence with the CWGC.  She later re-married.

Cavalletto British Cemetery is one of five Commonwealth cemeteries on the Asiago Plateau containing burials relating to this period.  It contains 100 First World War burials.  It is 12 kilometres south of Asiago (in the province of Vicenza, Veneto region), … and 45 kilometres from Vicenza in the commune of Calven.

In October, the 7th and 23rd Divisions were sent to the Treviso area of the River Piave front. The 48th Division, which remained in the mountains as part of the Italian Sixth Army, later played an important part in the Battle of Vittorio Veneto (24 October-4 November 1918) in which the Austrians were finally defeated.

William Henry Angell was awarded the British War and Victory Medals and the 1914-1915 Star.  He is also commemorated on the Rugby Memorial Gates in Hillmorton Road, Rugby.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

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This article on William Henry ANGELL was researched and written for the Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the RFHG, March 2018.

[1]      His brother John was mentioned in the Rugby Advertiser, on 5 May 1917.  See Rugby Remembers.  ‘2nd Lieut. J P Angell, R.F.C, eldest son of Mr and Mrs J Angell, 166 Lawford Road, has been awarded the French Military Medal for Distinguished Service while he was Sergt. Major, and has received congratulations from His Majesty the King.  Mr Angell has two other sons serving with the Colours.’

[2]      WWI War Diaries (France, Belgium and Germany), 1914-1920, Royal Engineers, 48th Division, TNA Ref: Piece 2751/3: 477 South Midland Field Company Royal Engineers (1915 Jun – 1917 Oct).

[3]      Edited from: https://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/69804/cavalletto-british-cemetery/.

[4]      Edited from: https://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/69804/cavalletto-british-cemetery/.

[5]      Shared by ‘parkgrove1’ on www.ancestry.co.uk on 19 September 2015.

Hickingbotham, William. Died 10th Jun 1918

William jnr (Billy) was born on 18 November 1893[1] in Rugby, but was baptised on 21 January 1894 at Bulkington, Warwickshire.  He was the son of William Hickingbotham who had also been born in Bulkington in about 1868.  In 1894, William senior was a brakesman; in 1901, a Railway Foreman Shunter, and by 1911 was working in the L&NW rail traffic department.  His marriage with Hannah Jane Elizabeth, née Pegg, was registered in Nuneaton Q3, 1891.  She was also born in Bulkington, in about 1872.

The family had presumably moved to Rugby before the end of 1893, and in 1901 and 1911 the family lived at 33 Cambridge Street Rugby.  In 1911, William junior was 17, single and a boot making apprentice.  By then he had three younger sisters and two younger brothers.

William’s Medal Card shows that he was initially in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment as a Private, No.4584, but later transferred to the Royal Engineers as Pioneer, No.130551.  Thirteen pages of William’s Pension Records have survived.

William initially joined the 3/7th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment.  He was first attested on 16 November 1915 and ‘posted’ the same day.  He was discharged on 17 March 1916 and he re-enlisted that day in the Royal Engineers and was re-attested on 19 March 1916, at Clevedon, when he was 22 years and 4 months old.  He was 5 foot 8½ inches tall, a dark complexion, grey eyes and dark brown hair.  His father William was listed at his next of kin.

His Service Record shows that he was on Home Service from 18 to 29 March 1916.  He was posted as a Pioneer on 30 March 1916, and then posted to the British Expeditionary Force from 30 March 1916 to 8 April 1918.

During this period of service, he was ‘Wounded’, this being listed in the Weekly Casualty List in August 1917.[2]  He recovered locally without being sent back to UK, and he was in action again some time in late March or early April 1918, probably during the German assault of Operation Michael, when he was gassed by Mustard Gas.

He was evacuated back to UK on 9 April 1918 and listed as back on Home Service from that date, and posted to the ‘Royal Engineers Spec. Bde. Dept.’.  He had medical examinations regarding his condition and future pension at St Luke’s War Hospital, Halifax, on 13 and 18 April 1918.  He had been ‘Gassed sev …’, and was ‘Permanently excluded from liability for medical re-examination under the Military Service (review of exemptions) Act 1917’.  He was suffering from ‘phthisis’ [pulmonary tuberculosis or a similar progressive wasting disease] and his medical record suggests that ‘Gassed by Mustard Gas, wd. probably be the cause’.  It was suggested that this was ‘70% due to service during the war with Germany’.  Sanatorium treatment was recommended.  At Chatham on 9 May 1918, he was formally ‘Discharged, no longer physically fit for war service’.  He had ‘v.good’ military character and was awarded a ‘v.satisfactory’ character.  He received the Silver War Badge No.361456, when he was invalided out, to show he was not avoiding war service. 

It is not known to which, if any, sanatorium he was sent, however, he died just a month after his discharge, aged 24, on 10 June 1918.  He was buried at Rugby in the Clifton Road Cemetery in plot: J479.  On his CWGC headstone his parents chose to have inscribed ‘In Loving Memory of Billy Eldest Son of Wm. & H.J.E. Hickingbotham – Till We Meet Again’.  The CWGC website confirms that he ‘Died of Wounds [Gas]’.       

    

William is also remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gate and was awarded the Victory and British medals.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

– – – – – –

 

This article on William Hickingbotham 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 2017.

[1]      Information from Military Service Record.

[2]      Weekly Casualty List (War Office & Air Ministry ), Tuesday, 21 August 1917.