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April 3, 2020

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1917, war poet Captain Arthur Graeme West, 6th Battalion, the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, was killed in action in France.

The son of a former missionary, he was educated at Highgate School, Blundell’s School and Balliol College, Oxford. When he returned to Oxford in the autumn of 1914 he found that his friends were gone, preparing for war. He had become detached from the world and hardly ever read a newspaper, so he was shaken by the war preparations at Oxford, even though he had belonged to the Officers’ Training Corps. By Christmas the enthusiasm had reached him, and he applied for a commission. Because of his eyesight he was turned down, so in January of 1915 he enlisted as a private in the 16th Battalion (Public Schools) of the Middlesex Regiment, with a sense of duty and feeling patriotic. In November of that year he was sent to France and was soon in the midst of the fighting.

Captain West found that he abhorred army life,...

April 2, 2020

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1917, Private Alexander Petrie, the Army Service Corps, died at home of pulmonary tuberculosis, active service having been shown to exacerbate his condition and contribute to his death.

Private Petrie enlisted in the Army Service Corps on the 4thof March, 1915, at the age of seventeen. From the 12th of April, when he arrived in France, he served as a horse team driver, delivering supplies and ammunition to infantry and artillery personnel.

In February of 1916 he began to suffer from a cough which worsened over several months, yet he was kept on duty until the end of September. Two months later he was medically discharged from the army and sent home, where it was expected he would die. His father and mother having already passed away, his step-mother cared for him as his illness worsened until his death. The army’s medical board’s report documents his condition and its progress, and concludes “Constitutional tendency aggravated by exposure during 18...

March 31, 2020

Remembering the Fallen:  on this day in 1917, Captain the Honourable Charles Thomas Anderson Pollock, Inns of Court Officers’ Training Corps, attached to 1st/4th Battalion, the East Yorkshire Regiment, was killed in action in France.

The son of the 1st Viscount Hanworth, he was educated at Wellington College and Trinity College, Cambridge.  He had joined the Inns of Court Officers’ Training Corps, and at the outbreak of the Great War was commissioned in that corps and served as an instructor.  In 1916, Captain Pollock was sent to France to instruct on the Lewis Gun, and the following year was Mentioned in Despatches.  He was then attached to 1st/4th Battalion, the East Yorkshire Regiment, and in March of 1917 took over command of the battalion after the colonel was wounded. 

In early April Captain Pollock was reported as having been missing since the 31st of March, and it was assumed that he had been taken prisoner.  The details of his death were not known until his servan...

March 29, 2020

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1918, 1,306 members of the British and Commonwealth armed forces lost their lives in the Great War. Among them were:

Top row: Major Harold Frederic Barker, Royal Garrison Artillery; Second Lieutenant Jackson Webster Parr, 2nd/4th Battalion, the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry; Private Richard Hulme, 9th Battalion, the Royal Welsh Fusiliers.

Lower row: Lieutenant Basil Joseph Bernard Butler-Bowdon, the Lancashire Fusiliers; Private Gomer Davies, 7th Battalion, the Royal Welsh Fusiliers; Serjeant William James Fowler, 1st Battalion, the Rifle Brigade.

Major Barker was the son of a solicitor and educated at Gresham’s School in Holt, Norfolk. His brother, Captain Charles Barker M.C., the Durham Light Infantry, had been killed five days earlier. Major Barker qualified as a solicitor a few months before the outbreak of the Great War. He was killed by a shell while at a forward observation post. From Ryehope, Sunderland, he was 27 years old and married.

...

March 28, 2020

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1918, 3,749 members of the British and Commonwealth armed forces lost their lives in the Great War. Among them were: Lieutenant Eric Betley, the Royal Garrison Artillery, attached to 82nd Squadron, the Royal Flying Corps; Corporal Martin William Dodds, 19th Battalion, the Northumberland Fusiliers; Captain Eric Wollaston Rose, the London Regiment (London Rifle Brigade); Second Lieutenant Philip Southwell Preeston, 1st Battalion, the Royal Field Artillery; Lieutenant Joseph Norman Roster, 2nd/7th Battalion, the Manchester Regiment; and Captain Ralph Windsor Parker, 3rd Battalion, the Grenadier Guards.

Lieutenant Betley was educated at Manchester Grammar School, and was Scholar Elect at Hertford College, Oxford. Commissioned in the Royal Garrison Artillery in July, 1916, he was transferred to the Royal Flying Corps as an Observer shortly before his death. Lieutenant Betley’s plane was shot down by the Red Baron and he has no known grave – he is rememb...

March 24, 2020

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1918, Brigadier General Randle Barnett-Barker D.S.O. & Bar, General Officer Commanding 99th Infantry Brigade, and his Staff Captain Edward Inkerman Jordan Bell M.C. & Bar, 17th Battalion (1st Football), Duke of Cambridge’s Own (Middlesex) Regiment, were killed by a shell at Guedecourt on the Somme.

Brigadier General Barnett-Barker received his commission in January of 1891 and served for several years in India before being appointed Adjutant, 1st Royal Fusiliers in October of 1898. In August of 1915 he was appointed Captain in the Reserve of Officers and four months later arrived on the Western Front. Mentioned in Despatches five times, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his actions at Delville Wood in July and August of 1916, and the Bar a year later for leadership and bravery at Arras. He also saw action at Vimy Ridge, Beaumont Hamel, the Ancre advance, Miramont, and the Second Battle of the Somme. In January of 1918 he assume...

March 23, 2020

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1918, war poet Captain Theodore Percival Cameron Wilson, the Sherwood Foresters, was killed in action at Mermies in France during the great German assault.

He was one of six children of the vicar of Christchurch and the grandson of the novelist Reverend Theodore Percival Wilson. Captain Wilson attended Oxford University and then was employed as a teacher at Mount Arlington preparatory school in Hindhead, Surrey. He wrote a novel which was published in 1913, The Friendly Enemy, and went on to write a second novel and poems over the next five years.

After the outbreak of the Great War, Captain Wilson enlisted and served for several months before obtaining a commission in the Sherwood Foresters. He arrived on the Western Front in February of 1916, where what he saw horrified him and resulted in emotional letters home – he said that a man had to be “either a peace-maker or a degenerate”. Later he served for a while as a staff officer before asking to be...

March 22, 2020

R

emembering the Fallen: on this day in 1918, Private William John Chalkley, 11th (Service) Battalion, the Essex Regiment, was killed in action near Bapaume in France.

He had enlisted in January, 1916, at Canning Town, with the Royal West Surrey Regiment. After training and being sent to France, he transferred to the 13th (West Ham) Battalion of the Essex Regiment. Private Chalkley was hospitalised in February of 1917 with trench foot, and later that year was wounded in action and sent home to England to recuperate. In February of 1918 his battalion ceased to exist, so he was transferred to the 11th (Service) Battalion.

On the day of his death, while in the Corps Line north of Morchies, a small village north-west of Bapaume, he and others of his battalion were overwhelmed and killed when German soldiers made a pincer attack. He has no known grave and is remembered on the Arras Memorial at Faubourg D’Amiens Cemetery in France. The photograph was taken when he was home on leave in the autum...

March 21, 2020

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1918, Second Lieutenant Basil Arthur Horsfall V.C., 1st Battalion, the East Lancashire Regiment, was killed in action at Moyenneville in France.

One of eight children of a pioneer in the Ceylon tea and coffee industry, he was educated at St. Thomas’ College in Ceylon and Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School in Buckinghamshire. After leaving school he returned to Ceylon and worked as a rubber planter, an accountant and a civil servant; he also had joined the Civil Service Engineers.

At the outbreak of the Great War, Second Lieutenant Horsfall left his civil appointment, but was not released from the Civil Service Engineers until July of 1916. He was then gazetted into the East Lancashire Regiment. In May of 1917, a few weeks after arriving in France, he was wounded and sent back to England to convalesce.

On the 21st of March, 1918, between Moyenneville and Ablainzevelle in France, Second Lieutenant Horsfall’s centre platoon was attacked and the three...

March 19, 2020

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1918, among those who lost their lives were:

Lance Corporal Peter Beresford, 21st Battalion, the King’s Rifle Corps; Serjeant Edward Rutter, the Machine Gun Corps; Private Thomas Blenkhorn, 19th Battalion, the King's (Liverpool Regiment); Second Lieutenant Henry Burnett Harvey, 13th Battalion, the Gloucestershire Regiment; Second Lieutenant J. S. Colbourne, the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, attached to North Staffordshire Regiment; and Second Lieutenant Wilfred George Lindrea, 4th Battalion, the Gloucestershire Regiment.

Lance Corporal Beresford died of wounds sustained in action in France. One of four children, from the age of fourteen he worked on a farm until the outbreak of the Great War. He is buried in the St. Hilaire Cemetery at Frevent; his headstone contains the words “To memory ever dear”. Peter, from Cowstead, Buxton in Buckinghamshire, was 21 years old.

Serjeant Rutter died in hospital after being sent home from the front with gas poisonin...

March 18, 2020

Remembering the Fallen:  On this day in 1918, Second Lieutenant John Anthony McCudden M.C., the Royal Flying Corps, was killed in action when his plane was shot down near Saint-Souplet, France.

One of five children, he followed his father into the Royal Engineers when he enlisted at Sheerness in 1912, serving at first as a bugler boy.   By May of 1916 he was serving as a dispatch rider when he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps - it was in that month that his older brother William, serving with the R.F.C. was killed in a flying accident.  One of his other brothers, James, would be killed in July of 1918, also in a flying accident, but not until he had distinguished himself by being awarded the Victoria Cross, Distinguished Service Order & Bar, Military Cross & Bar, and the Military Medal.

Second Lieutenant McCudden at first worked on engine repair, and then began pilot training in March of 1917.  He served with 25 Squadron and 84 Squadron, achieving a total of eight vict...

March 17, 2020

Remembering the Fallen:  on this day in 1917, Private William Merry, the Royal Marine Light Infantry, died while in service in Dar es Salaam, German East Africa.

One of seven children of a house painter and a laundry worker, he worked as a carter after leaving school.  In June of 1915, at the age of seventeen, he enlisted in London with the Royal Marine Light Infantry.  His record shows he was 5’7” tall with brown hair, blue eyes and a fresh complexion.

Private Merry served on several ships at Deal and Portsmouth before serving on H.M.S. Hyacinth as part of the East African Expeditionary Force in February of 1916.  He saw action against the Germans in what is now Tanzania, and died there on the 17th of March the following year of blackwater fever.

Private Merry’s father, Spencer Merry, and his two brothers, Joseph and George, served in the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, and all survived the war.  Private Merry is buried in the Dar es Salaam (Sea View) Cemetery in Tan...

March 13, 2020

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1915, Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Percy Uniacke C.B., 2nd Battalion, the Gordon Highlanders, was killed in action during the Battle of Neuve Chapelle.

The eldest son of Captain Turner Uniacke of the 19th Regiment of Foot, who took part in the Charge of the Light Brigade, he joined his regiment from the Militia in 1884. He served with his regiment in the Tirah campaign, during which he was wounded during the storming of the Dargal Heights in October of 1897 and mentioned in despatches. During the South African War Lieutenant-Colonel Uniacke was Adjutant as well as Inspector of Musketry, and for three years commanded the Depot at Aberdeen. In December of 1911 he became Commanding Officer of the 2nd Battalion, bringing them from Cairo at the outbreak of the Great War.

At Ypres, Lieutenant-Colonel Uniake was severely wounded in the head by shrapnel on the 29th of October in 1914, and was not deemed fit to resume command of his battalion until the 26th of J...