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January 20, 2020

Remembering the Fallen:  on this day in 1917, Shoeing Smith Corporal Frank Crowder, 51st Reserve Battery, the Royal Field Artillery, died in hospital in England from injuries received ten days earlier on the Western Front.

The only son of a widow, Corporal Crowder was educated at the Fence and Mill Street day schools, then apprenticed as a farrier and obtained employment with a blacksmith.  He enlisted a week after the outbreak of the Great War, and arrived in France three months later. 

On the 10th of January in 1917 in France, Corporal Crowder and several other soldiers were spending the night in a dug-out.  One of his companions was woken up by a creaking noise and alerted the others to leave for their own safety, but on the way out of the dug-out a beam struck Corporal Crowder, crushing his back and hip.  He was hospitalised in Rouen, then transferred home to England, where ten days later, with his wife by his side, he passed away. 

Corporal Crowder was given a mil...

January 19, 2020

Remembering the Fallen:  on this day in 1918, Sub Lieutenant Derrick Ives, Royal Navy, and Lieutenant Alfred Geoffrey Crummack, Royal Naval Reserve, were among twenty-six men who died when HMS H10, a British H-class submarine, was lost in the North Sea. 

Sub Lieutenant Ives was one of eight children of a father who was a successful restaurateur and an alderman, and a mother who organised fund-raising events and supported the Leeds workhouse.  He attended Leeds Grammar School, and at the age of fifteen began training to become an officer in the Mercantile Navy.  He went on to Osborne and Dartmouth, and was commissioned into the Royal Navy as a midshipman in May of 1914.  Over a year later he was confirmed as a sub lieutenant and assigned to HMS H10.  From Leeds, Derrick was 21 years old. 

One of three children, Lieutenant Crummack was educated at the Royal Masonic School in Bushey, Hertfordshire, and then became an apprentice at the shipbuilding firm, R. Hughes-Jo...

January 18, 2020

Remembering the Fallen:  on this day in 1918, Private Ernest Edward Turner, 2nd/13th (County of London) Princess Louise’s Kensington Battalion, the London Regiment, died in Egypt of wounds sustained earlier.

The battalion had been formed in London in August of 1914 and remained in England until April of 1916 when they were sent to Ireland for security duties following the Easter Rising.  Two months later Private Turner was seeing action on the Western Front until November of that year when the battalion moved to Salonika, later taking part in the Battle of Doiran.  In July of 1917 they arrived in Alexandria.  Private Turner received his injuries towards the end of December and now lies buried in the Port Said War Memorial Cemetery in Egypt.  On his headstone are the words:  “A life devoted with glory gained”.

Ernest, from Tooting in London, was 20 years old.

January 17, 2020

Remembering the Fallen:  on this day in 1915, Captain Robert Edward Michael Pakenham, Reserve of Officers, attached to 2nd Battalion, the Royal Munster Fusiliers, died of wounds received in action on the Western Front.

The eldest of four sons of Major Charles Pakenham of the Royal Bengal Fusiliers, he was educated at Lausanne House School in Worthing and the United Service College in Westward Ho!  He received his commission in March of 1897 and served in the South African Wars, notably the advance on Kimberley and the action at Belmont as well as operations in the Orange Free State and the Orange River Colony. 

Captain Pakenham had retired from military service in March of 1912, but at the outbreak of the Great War he rejoined from the Reserve of Officers.  He saw action in Flanders and France, and on the 22nd of December in 1914 he was grievously wounded as he led his men into action near Bethune in France.  Captain Pakenham was taken to the military hospital at Boulogne before bei...

January 14, 2020

Remembering the Fallen:  on this day in 1916, Rifleman Valentine Joe Strudwick, 8th Battalion, the Rifle Brigade (the Prince Consort’s Own), was killed by a shell at Boezinge in Flanders. 

One of eleven children of a jobbing gardener and a laundress, he was born on the 14th of February, hence being christened Valentine.  He attended St. Paul’s School in Dorking before leaving at an early age to work for his uncle, who was a coal merchant. 

In January of 1915, at the age of fourteen, he enlisted at Lambeth in Surrey, being tall and strong enough to convince the recruiting officer that he was nineteen.  His mother wanted him to wait until he was old enough, but he was determined and could not be swayed.  He received six weeks’ training and then was sent to the fighting in France.  The reality of war was impressed on Rifleman Strudwick early on – two of his close friends were killed instantly beside him, and he himself was badly gassed.  He was sent home t...

January 12, 2020

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1916, Private Harold Forrest Marfleet, 7th Battalion, the North Staffordshire Regiment, died from wounds received in action at Gallipoli.

When he was just a year old his father died, so his mother moved to her parents’ home above their butcher shop. Private Marfleet worked as an assistant at Timmis Drapers in Stoke-on-Trent after leaving school. In 1915 he enlisted with the North Staffordshire Regiment, and in June of that year sailed from Avonmouth for Gallipoli.

Private Marfleet saw action in the battle for Suvla in August of 1915, and then in December at Cape Helles when the Turks attacked the British positions. Thirty-five men of the battalion were killed, including the Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Frank Hercules Walker. Private Marfleet was grievously wounded during the last attack and was evacuated from Cape Helles on the 8th of December. Despite medical attention on board the ship, he could not be saved and was buried at sea between...

January 10, 2020

Remembering the Fallen:  on this day in 1916, Lance Corporal Duncan Druce, 16th (Public Schools) Battalion, the Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge’s Own), was killed on the Western Front.

The battalion was raised on the 1st of September in 1914;  Lance Corporal Druce joined in January of 1915, and after training proceeded to France with them in November of that year.  He was killed in his billet near Cuinchy by enemy shell-fire.

Lance Corporal Druce lies buried in the Cambrin Military Cemetery at Pas-de-Calais in France.  His brother, Private Joseph Melville Druce, of the same battalion, would be killed six months later.

Duncan was born and raised in Hampstead.

January 8, 2020

Remembering the Fallen:  on this day in 1917, Second Lieutenant Eric Leslie Vickers, 8th Battalion, the Rifle Brigade, died from wounds received nearly four months earlier on the Somme.

One of five children of the Reverend Nathanael Vickers, of St. Simon’s Church in Southsea, he had enlisted as a private with the Rifle Brigade at the outbreak of the Great War.  In January of 1916 he was commissioned as a Temporary Second Lieutenant, and  was mentioned in Sir John French’s Despatches.  In September of 1916 his battalion saw action in the battle for Flers and Courcelette during the third main phase of the Battle of the Somme and suffered heavy losses.  This battle saw the first significant use of tanks by the British.  Second Lieutenant Vickers was grievously wounded during the fighting and was hospitalised but passed away from his wounds almost four months later. 

He is buried in the St. Sever Cemetery at Rouen in France, and remembered on the war memorials at Str...

January 5, 2020

Remembering the Fallen:  on this day in 1915, Captain Lightly Harold Birt D.S.O., 1st Battalion, the Royal Berkshire Regiment, was killed in action on the Western Front.

The son of the late Sir William Birt and Lady Birt of Walton-on-the-Naze in Essex, he was educated at Merchant Taylor’s School in Northwood, Hertfordshire.  He served at first with the 1st City of London Volunteer Rifle Brigade, being commissioned in the year 1900.  At the outbreak of the Great War he was serving with the Royal Berkshire Regiment and was created a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order in December of 1914 “For skill and courage at Villers-Cotterets on 1st September and at Metz Farm Valley, 7th September, in holding his position”. 

Captain Birt lies buried in the Le Touret Military Cemetery at Richebourg-L’Avoue in France, and is remembered on the war memorial at Merchant Taylor’s School.  From Hatfield in Hertfordshire, he was 35 years old and newly married.

January 4, 2020

Remembering the Fallen:  on this day in 1917, Lance Corporal Thomas Aloysius Rawcliffe, Military Foot Police, died in service at Le Havre in France.

Lance Corporal Rawcliffe was educated at Preston Catholic College, after which he was employed as a monumental mason for a while before joining the Preston Borough Police.  In May of 1915 he enlisted with the Military Foot Police.  He was described as a strong and fresh-complexioned young man standing 6’2”, many inches above the average height of the Great War soldiers.  At the end of 1916 Lance Corporal Rawcliffe spent long hours on duty in freezing weather, which combined with the unsanitary and harsh conditions most likely exacerbated the health issue of which he may or may not have been aware.  He was taken to hospital on New Year’s Day where he was found to be suffering from tuberculosis, from which he was to die three days later. 

Buried in the Sainte Marie Cemetery at Le Havre, Lance Corporal Rawcliffe is commemora...

January 3, 2020

Remembering the Fallen:  on this day in 1917, Private Archibald William Goodchild, 10th Battalion, Sherwood Foresters ( the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment), was killed in action on the Western Front.

The battalion was raised at Derby in September of 1914.  They had been selected originally for Home Defence duties, but in July of 1915 were sent to France and were soon on the front lines of the Southern Ypres salient.  Private Goodchild saw action at the Bluff on the Comines canal in 1916 before moving to the Somme for the Battle of Albert and the Battle of Delville Wood.  In the days surrounding his death, his company was in the trenches near Combles, ten miles east of Albert and thirty miles north-east of Amiens, repairing trenches and going out on night patrols.  Private Goodchild has no known grave and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme at Picardy in France.

Archibald, from Wareham in Dorset, was 28 years old.

December 30, 2019

Remembering the Fallen:  on this day in 1917, Lieutenant Commander Patrick Houston Shaw-Stewart, 63rd (Royal Naval) Division, was killed in action in France while in temporary command of the Hood Battalion.

The youngest son of Major-General John Heron Maxwell Shaw-Stewart, Royal Engineers, he was educated at Eton and Balliol College, Oxford, where he excelled, winning many academic prizes and gaining first class degrees in Classical Moderations and Greats.   He was offered a fellowship at All Souls College, but instead chose to pursue a career in banking, and became one of the youngest managing directors in the history of Barings Bank.   

Shortly before the outbreak of the Great War, Lieutenant Commander Shaw-Stewart returned from working in the United States to be commissioned into the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.  In February of 1915 he sailed to the Mediterranean, with the war poet Rupert Brooke among his travelling companions.  Two months later he commanded the...

December 29, 2019

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1914, Second Lieutenant Archibald Manaton Farrier, 1st Battalion, the South Wales Borderers, died after being grievously wounded the previous day in Flanders.

Brought up by his aunt, he was educated at Devon County School where he was an exceptional pupil, winning medals and scholarships. He joined the 2nd Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment in 1907 and served in Crete, Malta and Cyprus as a lance-corporal. During that time he obtained a first-class certificate of education and was qualified to teach, among other subjects, English history, map reading and physical exercises. For some time he was Assistant Schoolmaster of his battalion.

On returning to England in August of 1914 he was commissioned into the South Wales Borderers, arrived on the Western Front in November, and six weeks later was grievously wounded. His commanding officer wrote to his family: “Last night he was sent out with a party to dig some trenches, was wounded in three places, an...

December 27, 2019

Remembering the Fallen:  on this day in 1914, Second Lieutenant Robert Hamilton Williamson, 118th Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery, died of wounds received several seven weeks earlier on the Western Front.

The only son of a general practitioner, he was educated at Glenalmond College in Scotland.  In June of 1911 he was gazetted in the 1st Highland Brigade, Royal Field Artillery (Territorial Force), and two years later was promoted to the rank of lieutenant.  In April of 1914 he was successful in the military competitive examination and was then commissioned into the Royal Garrison Artillery. 

In November of 1914 Second Lieutenant Williamson had been in an advanced observation post in a ruined church tower, making observations for his battery, when he received serious head wounds.  Taken at first to hospital in Boulogne, he was later sent back to Scotland where he succumbed to his injuries at home two days after Christmas.  He lies buried in the Allenvale Cemetery in Aberdeen....