Handyside, John Robert. Died 19th May 1917

John Robert HANDYSIDE was born in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1886, the son of John and Jane Handyside.   He was baptised on 15 September 1886 at St Anne’s, Newcastle on Tyne.

In 1901, John’s father was a ‘Blacksmith’s Labourer’ and the family lived at 15 Rippenden Street, Byker, Newcastle upon Tyne. John was then 14 years old and had five younger siblings.

In 1911, John, now 25 and still single, was a labourer in an engineering works and still at home with the family. A family of eight in a three roomed house would have been somewhat crowded.

Sometime between 1911 and 1914 John moved to Rugby to work ‘… at Messrs Willans & Robinson’s, and lodged at the house of Mrs Hayward, 43 Lodge Road, Rugby’.[1]

‘His enlistment was reported in the September 1914, ‘Supplementary List, No. 3.’ from Willans & Robinson Ltd.[2] By January 1916, ‘The employees from Messrs Willans and Robinson’s with the colours consist of 15 officers (including one staff-captain) and 233 men, 248 in all.   Of these, two officers and ten men have already been killed, …’[3]

A later report confirmed that John ‘… enlisted as a gunner on September 3rd, 1914, and has now been promoted to the rank of Corporal.’[4] He enlisted initially as No. 11029 with ‘D’ Battery, 71st Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. 71st Brigade was part of the New Army K2 and its service is summarised below.[5]

‘LXXI Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, made up of 223, 224 and 225 Batteries RFA and the Brigade Ammunition Column served with 15th (Scottish) Division. 15th (Scottish) Division was formed in September 1914, as part of Kitchener’s Second New Army. In February 1915 the three six-gun batteries were reorganised to become four four-gun batteries and were titled as A, B, C and D. 71 Brigade proceeded to France in the second week of July 1915. They were in action in the Battle of Loos in 1915.

In spring 1916, they were involved in the German gas attacks near Hulluch and the defence of the Kink position. On the 22nd May 1916 the Brigade Ammunition Column merged with other columns of the divisional artillery to form the 15th Divisional Ammunition Column. On the 7th of June 1916 D Battery exchanged with C Battery, 73 (Howitzer) Brigade of the same division, each adopting the others name. 71 Brigade were in action during the Battles of the Somme, including the Battle of Pozieres, the Battle of Flers-Courcelette and the capture of Martinpuich, The Battle of Le Transloy and the attacks on the Butte de Warlencourt.   The brigade was reorganised in early December 1916. C Battery was split between A and B Battery to bring them up to six guns each. B Battery, 73 (Howitzer) Brigade joined and was renamed C Battery, 71 Brigade. On the 22nd of January 1917 a section of two howitzers from 532 (Howitzer) Battery, 72 Brigade joined to make D (Howitzer) Battery up to six guns.

In 1917 they were in action in the First and Second Battle of the Scarpe, including the capture of Guemappe during the Arras Offensive. They then moved north to Flanders and were in action during the Battle of Pilckem and the Battle of Langemark.’

One of John’s three Medal Cards shows that he went to France on 8 July 1915, which agrees with the above 71st Brigade history.

During his earlier period in France, a later report mentioned,
‘Bombardier Handyside had been previously brought to notice for coolness and bravery on the 25th September near Loos, when he repeatedly volunteered to repair wires under very heavy fire, although he was suffering from the effect of gas fumes at the time.’[6]

This may have been the occasion when, as a Corporal, another Medal Card noted that he was ‘Mentioned in Dispatches’.[7]

Sometime before the end of November, whilst he was an Acting Bombardier and still in ‘D’ Battery, 71st Brigade, Royal Field Artillery he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) and there were several [similar] reports.

‘ANOTHER RUGBY MAN AWARDED THE D.C.M.
‘Amongst those who have recently been awarded the D.C.M is Bombardier J R Handyside, D Battery, 71st Brigade Royal Field Artillery. He received the distinction for conspicuous gallantry from the 26th September to the 14th October, 1915, during which time his battery was in the open and constantly under a very heavy fire. He frequently volunteered to mend telephone wires under heavy fire, thereby successfully maintaining communications.’[8]

‘11029 Bombardier J. R. Handyside, ‘D’ Battery, 71st Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. For conspicuous gallantry from the 26th September to the 14th October, 1915, during which time his battery was in the open and constantly under a very heavy fire. He frequently volunteered to mend telephone wires under heavy fire, thereby successfully maintaining communications. Bombardier Handyside had been previously brought to notice for coolness and bravery on the 25th September near Loos, when he repeatedly volunteered to repair wires under very heavy fire, although he was suffering from the effect of gas fumes at the time.[9]

In addition, he was also awarded the Medaille Militaire,[10] and was subsequently promoted to Sergeant and it might have been during the reorganisation of the 71st Brigade in early December 1916, that he was promoted to Sergeant and transferred to ‘C’ Battery, 70th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery.

70th Brigade was also part of the New Army K2, and also in the 15th Division, indeed the 70th, 71st and 72nd Brigades were largely working together and in May 1917, were generally in the Feuchy to Tilloy areas to the East of Arras. This was during the aftermath of the Battle of Arras which had been in progress from 9 April to 16 May 1917, with the 70th Brigade in the Tilloy area.

‘C/70 came up into the line’ on 15 May and the 16, 17 and 18 May were ‘quiet all day’ with an attack at 8.20pm on the 18 May which did not gain its objective. On 19 May, the War Diary recorded,
‘Quiet day.   Preparation for attack. A/70 came into the line for the attack.   Attack by the XVII corps.[11] Our batteries assisted by shelling the enemy’s defenses on the Brigade front.’

Some time during this ‘Quiet day …’, 19 May 1917, John Handyside was ‘Killed in Action’.

John was buried in the Faubourg D’Amiens Cemetery, Arras in Grave: V. F. 13.   There was no additional inscription on his headstone.

The Faubourg-d’Amiens Cemetery is the main CWGC cemetery in the western part of the town of Arras. The Commonwealth section of the cemetery was begun in March 1916, behind the French military cemetery established earlier. It continued to be used by field ambulances and fighting units until November 1918.

John R HANDYSIDE was awarded the Victory and British Medals and the 1915 Star. He is remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gates and in St. Philip’s Church, Wood Street, Rugby.
‘The memorial takes the form of a stone tablet framed in light oak, and bears the figures of our Lord, St John, and the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is in the south chancel of the church, and by its side, as a part of the memorial, is another picture of the entombment of our Lord. The Tablet bears the following inscription:- Like as Christ was raised from the dead even so should we also walk in the newness of life.’[12]

His mother as Sole Legatee received John’s outstanding pay of £41-0-11d on 11 September 1917; then a further £1-2-0 on 13 October 1917; and a War Gratuity of £15-10-0 on 24 October 1919. She received a further Gratuity for his D.C.M. of £20-0-0d on 28 September 1921.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

– – – – – –

 

This article on John R HANDYSIDE 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, May 2017.

[1]       Rugby Advertiser, 4 December 1915; as reported in Rugby Remembers, https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com, 4 December 1915.

[2]       Rugby Advertiser, 5 September 1914; as reported in Rugby Remembers, https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com, 5 September 1914.

[3]       Rugby Advertiser, 1 January 1916; as reported in Rugby Remembers, https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com, 1 January 2017.

[4]       Rugby Advertiser, 4 December 1915; as reported in Rugby Remembers, https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com, 4 December 1915.

[5]         http://www.wartimememoriesproject.com/greatwar/allied/fartillery.php?pid=9943.

[6]       Rugby Advertiser, 4 December 1915; as reported in Rugby Remembers, https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com, 4 December 1915.

[7]       The Medal Card mentions ‘London Gazette, 1/1/16 p.19 [or 9]’ although this has not been found.

[8]       Rugby Advertiser, 4 December 1915; as reported in Rugby Remembers, https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com, 4 December 1915.

[9]       The London Gazette, 26 November 1915, Supplement: 29384, Page: 11896; also The Edinburgh Gazette, 1 December 1915, Issue: 12878, Page: 1822; also Rugby Advertiser, Saturday, 1 January 1916.

[10]     Rugby Advertiser, 4 December 1915; as reported in Rugby Remembers, https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com, 4 December 1915; also Rugby Advertiser, Saturday, 1 January 1916.

.

[11]     In April 1917, XVII Corps attacked east of Arras near the River Scarpe, but was bogged down in rain and snow.

[12]     From a report of the unveiling, Rugby Advertiser, 12 November 1920, see http://www.rugbyfhg.co.uk/rugby-st-philips-church. It is not known if the Memorial in St Philip’s Church still exists.

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Dunn, James. Died 13th Feb 1917

James was born in the Registration District of West Bromwich, Staffordshire, to Silas and Maria Dunn, born Ward. They married in Dudley, Staffordshire in the last quarter of 1884. James had an elder brother, Joseph born in 1886.

In the 1891 Census the family are living at 9, Tunnel Road in the Hill Top Ward of West Bromwich, Silas is a General Labourer. Silas died in June 1894 aged 30, in West Bromwich.

In the 1901 Census, Maria is a Boarder, and Charwoman, at 51, Old Meeting Street, West Bromwich, with Rose Harriet Silk as Head of the Household. Joseph, 15 is a General Labourer, James is 12, and a new brother, George is 8.

By 1911 James had moved to Rugby and was working for Willans and Robinson Engineering Works, in Leicester Road, Rugby. He played football for Long Lawford.

He married Clara Sutton in Rugby in December 1914. Clara was the daughter of Amos and Maria Sutton. Her mother was born Maria Burbury. Clara was born in Frankton, Warwickshire in 1889, and baptised at Frankton Parish Church on 13th of October, 1889. . The 1891 Census records Clara living in Frankton with her parents and 4 older siblings. In the 1901 Census, the family are living in Chapel Street, Long Lawford, Amos is a Quarryman at the Rugby Cement Works.

Clara gave birth to a son, Joseph S, his birth is recorded   in the September quarter of 1915, in Rugby.

James’ Service Records have not survived, but information shows that he joined up as a Private in The Royal Warwickshire Regiment service number 20446. The report of his death in The Rugby Advertiser in March 1917 says he signed up for the colours 6 months before his death.

He then transferred to The 196th Company of The Machine Gun Corps (Infantry). Why was this?

At the start of World War 1 each Battalion had 2 machine guns, some were old and unreliable Maxim guns. The Army brought in a programme to change to the Vickers design. And in February 1915 they increased the number to 4 per Battalion. Vickers struggled to meet not only this increase, but the ever-growing number of Territorial Battalions. They agreed to place contracts with American Companies for production under licence.

Following a review of the problems encountered at the First Battle of Ypres, a decision was made to form specialist Machine Gun Battalions. Heavy Machine guns and their crews, four per gun were transferred to the new specialist Battalions, Infantry, Cavalry and Motor. A Vickers Gun could fire 500 rounds per minute, which is the equivalent of 40 trained Riflemen. Concentrating the fire over wide range was copying the technique which had been so devastating to the British Army in the early battles.

To train the Battalion gunners to be part of a much larger Corps of Machine Gunners, a training camp was set up in northern France at Wisques, near to the port of Dunkirk. (In the Second World War a V2 rocket launch platform was sited close to Wisques.)

A team of four were allocated to each gun. It took two men to carry each gun, the gun barrel weighed 28.5 lbs, the water cooled jacket 10lbs and the tripod 20lbs.

A total of 170,500 officers and Men served in the Machine Gun Corps, during the war. 62,049 were killed or wounded. There is a Memorial to the Corps in Hyde Park, London.

The 196th Machine Gun Corps joined the 55th Division on 22nd December 1916.. The Division had relieved the 29th Division in October 1916. For the first half of 1917 the front near Ypres was officially considered to be relatively quiet, if being surrounded on three sides by the enemy can be considered relatively quiet!

In early February 1917 James was wounded and transferred to a French Hospital west of Ypres. He had suffered severe wounds in the leg and was suffering from shock and loss of blood. The surgeon was initially inclined to amputate the leg, but was concerned that the shock of an operation might kill James. He asked for volunteers to donate blood to help James to recover strength. Private T Carter of The Royal Sussex Regiment donated blood. James recovered sufficiently to stand up, but his body had become infected and without modern drugs he died on the 13th of February 1917.

He was buried in The Liyssenthoek Military Cemetery, which is 12 kilometres west of Ypres between Ypres and Poperinge. It is situated between the Allied military base camps and the town of Ypres. The Cemetery has 9,801 graves of men killed in World War 1.

James’ widow, named as Mrs J Dunn was awarded 1s 1d as the value of James’ effects in 1920. She also received his Victory and British War Medals, these were actioned on 25th February 1920.

James’ son, Joseph S Dunn died aged 8 in 1923.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

20th Jan 1917. No Grain for Pheasants

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR.

THE NEW FOOD ORDERS.
NO GRAIN FOR PHEASANTS.

An 81 per cent wheaten loaf will come into existence by order of Lord Davenport, the Food Controller, on January 29.

Unless the loaf be made of wheat milled to the extent of 81 per cent, the flour must be
mixed with oats, maize, barley, or rice up to that percentage.

Other Orders made by Lord Devonport on Thursday last week were :

Wheat must be used only for seed and floor.
No grain food must be given to pheasants or game birds.
Sweet-making must be reduced by half.
No chocolates may be sold dearer than 4s a lb, and no other sweets dearer than 2s 6d a lb.
No sugar-covered or chocolate-covered cakes must be made.
No milk must be used for milk chocolate before April 1st next.
Export of oats from Ireland is prohibited.
The wholesale price of 1916 potatoes (those now in use), will be £8 a ton—i.e, a shade less than [?] a pound.
Prices are fixed for seed potatoes to plant now.
Very soon Lord Devonport will issue Orders as to the control and distribution of bread, meat, sugar, and milk.

PIG KEEPING.

All pig-keepers, notwithstanding the present high price of feeding stuffs, are urged to make every possible effort to maintain the supply of pigs. Sows with access to shelter will pick up a considerable part of the food they require out of doors. Where grass is scarce, a few swedes or mangolds, together with a pound or two of beans or finely-ground palm kernel cake, will serve to carry most sows through till farrowing time. For fattening pigs, 8 pounds of swedes, boiled, are equivalent to one pound of cereal meals or offals. Small or blemished potatoes are twice as valuable as swedes for feeding purposes ; but these should be reserved for the later stages of fattening.

To supplement roots, the cheapest and most suitable foods at the present time are finely ground palm kernel cake, bean meal, maize gluten feed, and dried grain. Later on, clover, sainfoin, and lucerne, will be available in place of roots, and small holders should consider whether they can find space to add these to their crops.

Edible domestic refuse should be reserved as far as possible for pig-feeding. The pig pail should be kept free from brine, lemons, corks, tins, wire, and other injurious substance.

For fuller information and guidance the Board Leaflet No. 298, on Pig Keeping (free by poet on application), should be consulted.

THE L & N.W & ALLOTMENTS.—The L & N.W Railway Company announce that they will consider applications for the use during the present emergency of vacant land both inside and outside the railway fences, subject to a short agreement and the payment of a nominal rent of 1s per annum. Applicants should address their inquires to the nearest station-master.

LOCAL AID FOR ALLIES’ FARMERS.—According to the latest list issued by the Agricultural Relief of Allies Fund (16 Bedford Square, London, W.C) the central counties of England are credited with the following contributions to the fund :—Notts, £2,608 ; Shropshire, £2,581 ; Northants, £1,847 ; Warwickshire, £1,124 ; Leicestershire, £1,092 ; and Worcestershire, £189.

PRESENTATION.—On Friday evening last week, at the Peacock Hotel, Mr F T Lambert was presented with a gold watch, suitably inscribed, by the soldier munition workers (numbering over 100) employed at Messrs Willans & Robinson’s Works, in recognition of services rendered. Gunner Townsend made the presentation, and the recipient suitably replied. The remainder of the evening was spent in harmony.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

Among those mentioned in Sir Douglas Haig’s despatches published was Lieut C H Shaw (Hussars), only son of Mr J F Shaw, of Bourton Hall.

Lieut R C Herron, M.T, A.S.C, son of Mr R Herron, of Great Bowden, and formerly of Rugby, was among the list of names mentioned in Sir Douglas Haig’s recent despatch.

PRISONERS OF WAR.

Two more local men have recently fallen into the hands of the Germans. Private A Goodwin, of Rugby, 1st South Staffordshire Regiment, has been interned at Dulmen, and Private E Rollins, of Newton, Oxford & Bucks L.I., is interned at Wahn. In both cases Mr Barker has made arrangements for the men to receive the regulation food parcels. Goodwin will be “ adopted ” by his Regimental Care Committee and Rollins by the Rugby Committee.

LOCAL CASUALTIES.

Lieut. Geoffery H. T. Wanstall, Dorset Regiment, brother of the Rev H C Wanstall, Vicar of Wollaston, Stourbridge, has been severely wounded in France, and is now in a Red Cross Hospital at Le Touquet.

MR J E COX’S SON WOUNDED

News was received from the War Office (Tuesday) morning that G H Cox, of the Warwickshire Yeomanry, son of Mr and Mrs J E Cox, of Lodge Farm, Lawford, was wounded in Egypt on January 9th. Further particulars are not known.

ANOTHER B.T.H MAN KILLED.

News has been received at the B.T.H this week that Pte C B Crossby, of the 11th Royal Warwickshire Regiment, died on November 16th from wounds received whilst acting as a stretcher-bearer. Before the War Pte Crossby was employed in the Carbon Lamp Department.

SOLDIERS’ GRAVES.

The Cemetery Committee had considered the question of setting apart a portion of the Burial Ground for the interment of Rugby soldiers dying through the war and brought home for interment. They recommended that, owing to the lack of room in the Cemetery, no portion be set apart for such interments, but that a selected grave be provided free in every case.

THE REV. C. T. BERNARD McNULTY ON HIS ARMY EXPERIENCE.
BROTHERHOOD IN THE RANKS.

The Rev C T Bernard McNulty, vicar of Holy Trinity, Leamington, and formerly vicar of Dunchurch, has returned to his parish, after an absence of two years and a half at the front as Territorial Army Chaplain.

Preaching on Sunday, he said that in the ranks there was real brotherhood. Men and officers were liable to the same fear, the same anxieties, and the same sorrows and the officers thought first of the men and the men first of the officers.

“ There is no brotherhood so wonderful as the brotherhood which exists in the Army, and once a man puts on khaki he is admitted into that brotherhood. I have learned this lesson in the last two and a half years : Whether you are rich or whether you are poor ; whether you are high or low Church; whether you are Church of England, Roman Catholic, or Nonconformist, or whether you are orthodox Christian or not, when you come to face death, when you come down to the bedrock of the real thing that matters there is nothing much to choose between any of us.”

“ THE EMPIRE’S FIGHTERS.”

This famous war film, for which Mr B Morris paying the largest fee ever paid by a Rugby Cinema proprietor, is being shown at the Empire this week and on Monday there were full “ houses ” at each show. The photographs were taken by Mr H D Girdwood, B.[?] F.R.G.S, geographer and historical photographer to the Indian Government, in many instances under hostile shell fire. The film gives a very vivid impression of life at the front, and of the excellent work which is being done by the gallant British regiments and their brothers-in-arms from India. English Lancers, Jacob’s Horse, Jodhpur Lancers, King’s Dragoon Guard, Gurkhas, Indian and English Artillery, are all shown together with the necessary but often underestimated work of the A.S.C and the R.A.M.C. Several actual incidents in the firing line are depicted, including capture of a German trench by the Gurkhas and the work of consolidating the position, which is shown to be not the simple process many have imagined. Another striking scene is a charge by the Leicesters, who are seen to fall in all directions, but who doggedly had their way through the barbed wire and capture the position. The film is accompanied by Mr Girdwood and his explanations of the incidents add greatly to the interest. Mr Morris has invited the soldiers at the local Red Cross Hospitals to visit the Empire free of charge, and arrangements have also been made for the children attending the Elementary Schools to see the film.

Bending, Stanley Emberson. Died 18th Nov 1916

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

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

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

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

KOYLI Way Diary.Pagefrom 18th Nov 1916

KOYLI Way Diary. Page from 18th Nov 1916

Transcription

Beaumont-Hamel

18-11-16

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

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

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

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

19-11-16

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

20-11-16

The battalion rested.

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

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

Greenhill, Douglas Stanley. Died 4th Oct 1016

Douglas Greenhill was born on 22nd November 1883 in Rugby. He was the second son and fourth child of Alfred George Greenhill born in Rugby and Ann Hedges born in Rowington, Warwickshire.

In the 1891 Census, Alfred is a Surveyor/ Architect and the family are living at 28th North Street, Rugby.

Two years later Alfred died aged 40 in Rugby.

Douglas attended Rugby Lower School, and in the 1901 Census is living at 30, Princes Street, Rugby, with his widowed mother, Ann. He is a Fitter Apprentice at Willans Works off Leicester Road. His siblings are: Frederick aged 21, Assistant Town Surveyor, Ethel A is 14 and Angela M is 11. He continued to work as an engineer after his apprenticeship. During his leisure time he played football and played for the Northern Counties.

Douglas enlisted in late 1914, in the 4th Battalion Grenadier Guards. After his initial training, he started preparation for service in France. The War Diary does not commence until the 15th of August 1915, when the Battalion had arrived in France. This records a draft of 25 NCO’s and men joining from Base. Over the next 10 days the Diary records Officers going home on leave and returning from leave, including 2nd Lt. Lascelles from Harewood House in Yorkshire.

On 1st September after days of drill, they marched from Wizernes to Wayrans, south west of St. Omer. Wood fighting practice was followed by a route march culminating in a series of marches to Loos, arriving on 27th September, where they occupied the German 2nd Reserve trenches, west of Loos. On the 29th 3 Officers and 59 other ranks were wounded and 2 days later Major Nichol DSO died of wounds.

The first 2 weeks of October, saw heavy shelling by the Germans with 52 casualties. On the 29th, the Brigade moved to billets in Sailly La Bourse and the rest of the month was quiet.

On the 9th November they moved to Merville, between Hazebruck and Bethune. After a steady drill, they entered trenches on 17th, which were very wet, with a great deal of work needed. The rest of the month was quiet.

By the middle of December, the 3rd Guards Brigade were in route march and practice drill daily, and held in reserve. On the 22nd they moved into trenches at Dicentie. Their Christmas dinner was finally held on 3rd January 1916. Their routine until mid-February became 1 day in front line trenches, followed by time in billets and 2 days in reserve trenches.

On 16th February a big change, the Battalion entrained to Calais. Lt. H R The Prince of Wales and Captain Lord C Hamilton joined, and they all marched to camp. 22nd heavy snow prevented drill. On the 26th they moved by train to Kierken Port near Wormhouldt in Belgium.

On the 11th March 30 Officers and 240 OR set to work n the Kaaie Salient, north of Ypres. Captain Viscount Lascelles was slightly wounded by a bomb when instructing the company.

Early September was a quiet time: Divine Service, an Inter-Battalion Regimental Boxing competition, and training. On the 6th they moved to Cernoy where the French had broken through the German line. 8/9th they repaired the road from Cernoy to WEDGE ROAD., under incessant artillery fire.

The 9th saw them move up to Front Line Trenches (FLT) by the 13th they had moved to HAPPY VALLEY in Fricourt. The big attack was launched but was not a success. 48th and 167th Brigades reached their target, the 47th didn’t. They were relieved by the 4th Battalion Grenadier Guards, at Ginchy. Phone communication with HQ was cut by heavy shelling. Active sniping by the enemy kept them from attacking. and whole trenches were obliterated. 3 Officers were killed.

Sargeant Greenhill was wounded on 15th September and died of wounds at No. 21 Casualty Clearing Station. There is no entry for 15th September in the War Diary so we do not know how he was wounded. He is buried in La Neuville British Cemetery, Corbie 11 F 29.

He was awarded the Victory and British War Medals and the 15 Star.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

Lewis, Gerald Stanley. Died 7th Jul 1916

Gerald Stanley Lewis’s is another soldier whose life story is virtually unknown. [He was born in New Zealand – see Comments. There is a picture of him here.] He was probably one of the many who migrated to Rugby to work in the engineering businesses, before the First War, and thus are not recorded in the town for the 1911 census. He is recorded on the Willans and Robinson Drawing Office Memorial Plaque and was no doubt working there before the war.

Whilst known as ‘Gerald Stanley’ on the Willans Memorial, he was ‘Gerald S’ on his Medal Card, and as ‘Gerald Sydney’ on the CWGC records. However, with matching army numbers, it appears that they are the one individual.

Gerald Lewis joined up and served as a Private, No.16365, in the 9th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers. The activities of the Battalion are recorded below:[1]

 9th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) was raised at Hounslow on 21 August 1914 as part of Kitchener’s First New Army and joined 36th Brigade, 12th (Eastern) Division. 36th Brigade underwent training at Colchester then final training was undertaken near Aldershot from 20 February 1915, with the cavalry, motor machine gun battery, sanitary and veterinary sections joining. The Division proceeded to France between 29 May and 1 June 1915 landing at Boulogne, they concentrated near St Omer and by 6 June were in the Meteren-Steenwerck area with Divisional HQ being established at Nieppe.

Gerald S Lewis’s Medal Card shows that he was in France from 20 July 1915, so he crossed over to France some six weeks after his Battalion, possibly he was still under training, but could have arrived in time to take part in the Battle of Loos.

They [the Division] underwent instruction from the more experienced 49th (South Midland) Division and took over a section of the front line at Ploegsteert Wood on 23 June 1915. They were in action in the Battle of Loos from 30 September, taking over the sector from Gun Trench to Hulluch Quarries consolidating the position, under heavy artillery fire. On 9 October they repelled a heavy German infantry attack and on the 13 October took part in the Action of the Hohenzollern Redoubt, capturing Gun Trench and the south western face of the Hulluch Quarries. During this period at Loos, 117 officers and 3237 men of the Division were killed or wounded. By 21 October they moved to Fouquieres-les-Bethune for a short rest then returned to the front line at the Hohenzollern Redoubt until 15 November, when they went into reserve at Lillers. On 9 December, 9th Royal Fusiliers assisted in a round-up of spies and other suspicious characters in the streets of Bethune. On 10 December, the Division took over the front line north of La Bassee canal at Givenchy. On 19 January they began a period of training in Open Warfare at Busnes, then moved back into the front line at Loos on 12 February 1916. In June they moved to Flesselles and carried out a training exercise.

The Battalion was then involved in the Battle of the Somme.

They moved to Baizieux on 30 June and went into the reserve at Hencourt and Millencourt by mid morning on 1 July. They relieved the 9th Division at Ovillers-la-Boisselle that night and attacked at 3.15 the following morning with mixed success. On 7 July they attacked again and despite suffering heavy casualties in the area of Mash Valley, they succeeded in capturing and holding the first and second lines close to Ovillers. They were withdrawn to Contay on 9 July.[2]

It was presumably during the action in Mash Valley that Gerald was ‘Killed in Action’ on 7 July 1916 as recorded on his Medal Card. He is listed as ‘Gerald Sydney Lewis’ by the CWGC, as one of those killed or missing on 7 July 1916 and whose body was not found or identified. He is remembered on Pier and Face 8C, 9A and 16A, of the Thiepval Memorial.

The Thiepval Memorial, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave. Over 90% of those commemorated died between July and November 1916. The memorial, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, was built between 1928 and 1932 and unveiled by the Prince of Wales, in the presence of the President of France, on 1 August 1932.

He is also remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gates, and on the Willans Drawing Office Metal Memorial Plaque.

Gerald Stanley Lewis was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

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This article on Gerald Stanley Lewis 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, June 2016.

[1]         http://www.wartimememoriesproject.com/greatwar/allied/battalion.php?pid=6896

[2]       Edited from: http://www.wartimememoriesproject.com/greatwar/allied/battalion.php?pid=6896

10th Jun 1916. The Great Naval Battle

THE GREAT NAVAL BATTLE.

MORE THAN THREE HUNDRED OFFICERS KILLED.

The Admiralty issued on Sunday night a detailed list of the casualties among the officers serving in the ship which took part in the great fight in the North Sea last week. All those on board the Indefatigable, the Defence, and the Black Prince were lost ; only four of the Queen Mary and two of the Invincible were saved. The list of killed numbers 333 and includes Rear-Admirals Hood and Arbuthnot, whose flags were carried on the Invincible and the Defence respectively. Many representatives of well-known families are to be found in the list, including the Earl of Denbigh’s second son, Lieut-Commander the Hon Hugh R C Feilding, and Sub-Lieut the Hon Algernon W Percy, only son of Lord Algernon Percy, of Guys Cliff, Warwick.

The first official notification of the battle, published in Saturday morning’s papers, caused a feeling of uneasiness throughout the country, especially when read in connection with the German claims of a great victory. But a further statement, issued by the Admiralty on Sunday night, disposed finally of the impudent German pretence. It was made plain that when, after a vigorous engagement between the leading ships of the two fleets, the main body of the British Fleet came up, the German High Seas Fleet turned tail, and ran for home. In this encounter they were severely punished. The pursuit was maintained until the light failed, and after nightfall British destroyers made a further successful attack on the enemy. Having driven the enemy into port, Sir John Jellicoe cruised about the main scene of action in search of disabled vessels until noon next day, when he returned to his bases, and by the evening of June 2nd his fleet was again ready to put to sea. While the enemy’s losses are not exactly determinable, it is certain that the accounts which they have given to the world are false, and that their losses are not only relatively but absolutely heavier than ours.

The enterprise towards the north on which the German ships set out, whatever may have been its immediate object, was a challenge to the British Fleet, Admiral Sir David Beatty (whom Rugby is proud to claim as an erstwhile townsman) deliberately took up the challenge, though he had at his command only a portion, and that not the strongest, of our forces to pit against the whole navy of Germany. With wonderful gallantry and tenacity he fought, and held the enemy until our Grand Fleet could join in the conflict. The German Fleet had their chance to consider conclusions with our main sea forces, and they declined it. Some of the splendid ships and brave men in whom the nation placed a proud trust kept that trust at the last cost, and the enemy slunk away to their ports, leaving at the bottom of the sea at least four of their largest ships. In short, the German Fleet is to-day as tightly bottled up as it was before.

Lieut-Commander the Hon Hugh Cecil Robert Feilding, his Majesty’s ship Defence (killed in the North Sea battle), was the second son of the Earl and Countess of Denbigh. He was torpedo officer of this ship for three and a-half years, and for the last few months had been first lieutenant. Born in December, 1886, he was educated at the Oratory School Edgbaston, and his Majesty’s ship Britannia, whence he passed as midshipman, and obtained the prize for the highest aggregate of marks. He served as midshipman on the Mediterranean and South African Stations in his Majesty’s ships Bacchante and Crescent respectively. He gained the coveted “ Six ones ” in his examinations for lieutenant, as well as the special promotion marks for “ meritorious examination,” which caused him later on to be antedated considerably, his rank as lieutenant dating from within a few days of his twentieth birthday. Commander Feilding was awarded the Beaufort testimonial and the Whartop testimonial with gold medal for highest marks in navigation and pilotage, and also the Ronald Megaw prize and sword for those obtaining highest marks in the examinations for lieutenant. He specialised for torpedo after serving at sea in his Majesty’s ship Queen, and also in his Majesty’s ship Cornwall, when she made an interesting cruise in the Baltic. After passing very high in the advanced course at Greenwich, he served for a time on the Vernon, and was then appointed to the Defence. Commander Feilding was an officer of brilliant abilities and high promise.

Lieut Feilding was very popular with the tenants of the Newnham Paddox Estate, although he did not take any active part in public life there. Before joining the Navy he frequently shot over the farms with much success.

The Earl and Countess of Denbigh will naturally feel deeply grieved by the loss of their gallant son, and sincere sympathy will be extended to them by all ; but they will, no doubt, find comfort and consolation in the fact that he gave his life fighting gloriously in a battle which one may expect will be recorded in history as one of the decisive battles of the world, and perhaps the greatest.

Sub-Lieutenant the Hon Algernon William Percy was the only son of Lord Algernon Malcolm Arthur Percy, of Guys Cliffe, Warwick, and Lady Victoria, eldest daughter of the fourth Earl of Mount Edgcombe, and grandson of the sixth Duke of Northumberland, Lieut Percy held a lieutenant’s commission in the 3rd Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers for seven years. His joined the Royal Naval Reserve in 1914. He was a Magistrate and a member of the County Council for Warwickshire.

Among local men who perished in the battle were the following :-

Harry Cooper, son of Mr John Cooper, and grandson of Mr A Finch, both of 12 Queen Street, was serving as a boy on the Defence, and as no news has been received by them it is presumed that he has been drowned. He was only 17 years of age, and joined the Navy about twelve months ago, previous to which time he was employed at the International Stores. He was an Old Elborow boy.

Gunner W H Brain, nephew of Mrs B King, Old Bilton, and of Mr F Brain, formerly of Birdingbury, and now of Houston road, Brownsover. He was 17 years of age, and joined the Navy on Christmas Day, 1914. After being trained on the Powerful, he was drafted to the Indefatigable at the beginning of the present year.

Amongst those who went down with the Indefatigable was Chief Stoker Walter Wreford, brother of Mr W J Wreford, 18 Wood Street, Rugby. Although he was not a native of Rugby, Stoker Wreford spent most of his long leave in the town, and was well known to a circle of Rugbeians. He completed his 22 years’ service at Christmas, 1913, but volunteered for service in the following August, on the outbreak of War. He was one of the crew of the Camperdown when she collided with and sank the Victoria in the Mediterranean.

NEW BILTON SAILOR KILLED ON H.M.S. “ INVINCIBLE.”

Amongst those lost on H.M.S Invincible was Chief First-Class Petty Officer Mechanician William Josiah Badger, of New Bilton. Mr Badger, who had been in the Royal Navy for thirteen years, and had made remarkably good progress in his profession, was a native of Princethorpe, but went to reside at New Bilton with his parents 17 or 18 years ago. He was 33 years of age and married. His brother, Mr H Badger, lives in Bridle Road, New Bilton.

LORD KITCHENER DROWNED.

THE NATION’S GREAT LOSS.

The whole Empire was shocked on Tuesday at the news that Field-Marshal Lord Kitchener, Secretary of State for War, and one of the foremost military organisers in the world, had lost his life by drowning. On the invitation of the Czar, Lord Kitchener had undertaken a visit to Russia in order to discuss important military and financial questions, when the vessel on which he was travelling, the armoured cruiser Hampshire, was sunk west of the Orkneys, either by a mine or a torpedo. Four boats were seen to leave the sinking ship, but heavy seas were running, and up to Wednesday no news had been received of any survivors, only some bodies and a capsized boat having been found by the search parties which were sent out by sea and land.

Accompanying Lord Kitchener were Brig-Gen W Ellershaw and Mr H J O’Beirne, of the Foreign Office, Sir H F Donaldson, K.C.B, and Mr L S Robertson, of the Ministry of Munitions.

A summary of Admiral Jellicoe’s message conveying the fateful information to the Admiralty appeared in our mid-week edition on Tuesday afternoon, and the distressing news was received with the profoundest regret and dismay. People after eagerly scanning the telegram would ask whether it could possibly be true, and it was with difficulty they could bring themselves to believe that it was. The depressing effect caused in the first instance soon passed away, and gave place to the feeling that the work so well begun by Lord Kitchener would be carried on with still greater determination to a victorious issue.

In a message to the army, the King says :

Lord Kitchener will be mourned by the army as a great soldier who, under conditions of unexampled difficulty, rendered supreme and devoted service both to the Army and the State.

The Admiralty announces that 12 survivors from the crew of the Hampshire have been washed ashore on a raft. So far 75 bodies have been recovered, and there is believed to be a possibility that Lord Kitchener’s body may yet be found.

AN EX-DIRECTOR OF WILLANS & ROBINSON ON THE HAMPSHIRE.

Mr Leslie Robertson, who with Sir Frederick Donaldson was representing the Ministry of Munitions on Lord Kitchener’s Staff, was for many years a Director of Willans & Robinson, Ltd., Rugby, and his death is severely felt by many of the Staff with whom he came in contact. He invariably took a warm interact in the Company’s affairs, and also in the welfare and happiness of those working in the Company’s service.

RUGBY MAN DROWNED WITH LORD KITCHENER.

Walter Gurney, younger son of Mr and Mrs J Gurney, of 67 Cambridge Street, Rugby, was included in Lord Kitchener’s party, which was lost on H.M.S Hampshire. Mr Gurney, who was 26 years of age, and was a native of Catthorpe, was valet to Mr J O’Beirne, C.V.O, C.B, of the Foreign Office, in whose service he had been about five months, during which time he had visited Rome and Paris in connection with the Allies’ Conferences. The death of Mr Gurney, who had been four times rejected for the Army, is rendered the more sad as his parents heard a few weeks ago that his only brother, who had been missing for 13 months, must be presumed to have been killed in action.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

Major Darnley has just arrived in Salonika, and has also been made second in command of his battalion.

Harry Hollowell, an Old Laurentain and youngest son of Mr H Hollowell, 11 Victoria Street, Rugby, has joined the Infantry Division of the H.A.C.

Second-Lieut Eric Pearman, younger son of Mr T Pearman, Manor House, Ryton-on-Dunsmore, has been gazetted lieutenant in the 16th Service Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment.

Surgeon Probationer J. C. Brown, third son of Mr J Brown of North Street, Rugby, was on the leader of the 12th Destroyer Flotilla, which was in action in the naval battle off Jutland from 6 p.m till 5 a.m on June 1st. This flotilla is credited with having sunk, among other vessels, a German Dreadnought.

Capt G H Neville, 1st Somerset Light Infantry (of Dunchurch), came to England on May 26th, and after being invested by the King at Buckingham Palace with the Military Cross for valour in the field returned to duty.

Captain the Rev V F Mason, former curate at St Marie’s, has just completed one year as Chaplain to the Forces. He has been in Belgium, Egypt, and France, and was recently on short leave in England.-Captain the Rev Frederick O’Connor, also formerly of St Marie’s, and at present Chaplain to the Forces, has been twice in Egypt, was the last chaplain to leave the Gallipoli Peninsula, and is now stationed at Salonika.

LIEUT H DUNCAN AWARDED THE MILITARY CROSS.

The many friends of Lieut H Duncan, of the Royal Flying Corps, will be gratified to hear that he has received the Military Cross at the hands of H.M the King. Lieut Duncan was formerly employed in the B.T.H Test Department, and was a prominent member of the Test Rugby XV.

STREET ASHTON.

DRIVER TOM WARD, of the Royal Engineers, has been sent home suffering badly from shell shock and neurasthenia, and is now in hospital for special treatment. He was a reserve man, and was amongst the first troops to go out to France at the beginning of the war in August, 1914. He has been at the front a year and eight months, and fought in numerous battles, in which he has had many narrow escapes. He was in the retreat from Mons, the battles of the Aisne, and seven other places, as well as the first, second, and third engagements at Ypres, and it was in the latter he was finally compelled to give way from shell shock.

CHURCHOVER.

HOME ON FURLOUGH.—First Class Stoker Fred Jones has been home on a three weeks’ furlough. His visit was a great surprise to his wife. He has served over 13 years in the service, and has been on a torpedo boat since the outbreak of the war. He had not been home for three years, and had some thrilling stories to tell of life at sea, and also of a narrow escape he had after being washed overboard, when he managed to cling to the sides of the boat.

MUNITIONS TRIBUNAL.—Several cases from the B.T.H. Rugby, came before the Coventry Munitions Tribunal at Coventry on Friday last week.—Alonza Fothergill, 17 Newland Street, New Bilton, was charged with neglecting his work. It was proved that he was refused admittance to the works because he was intoxicated and a fine of £3 was imposed.—Charges of neglecting their work were also preferred against William Hayes painter, of Grosvenor Road, and W Ashton, foundry hand, Cambridge Street, and fines of £1 were inflicted in each case.

BOOKS & MAGAZINES FOR THE TROOPS.

Since last July, by the generosity of the public, the Post Office has maintained an average supply of about 1,000 bags, containing books and magazines, per week ; but the numbers have recently fallen to about 800 per week, though our Army has greatly increased.

The people of Rugby have done well up to the present. Until about the end of last November only about three sacks a week were being sent. A special appeal was made in the columns of the Advertiser early in December, which resulted in a despatch of 18 or 20 sacks weekly. For months the size of the weekly despatches was fairly well maintained at that level ; but there has recently been a great falling off, not only from this office, but from the country generally—so much so that a special general appeal is being made to every single person to assist, if only by the giving as often as possible of a magazine or illustrated weekly paper, for which he or she has no further use.

The books and magazines should be merely handed in over the counter at any post office, unwrapped and unaddressed. They will be forwarded to the depot in London in due course in separate receptacles.

IN MEMORIAM.

JONES.—In loving Memory of Private Arthur Jones, 10822, 6th Leicestershire Regiment. Died June 6, 1915.
“ He is gone from this world
To the home of the blest,
Released from all sorrow and freed from all pain,
Triumphant for ever with Jesus to reign.”
-From his loving Wife and Daughter.