Tag: World War 1

Royal Naval Division Memorial in London

The Royal Naval Division Memorial is located on Horse Guards Parade in London, but unfortunately is almost lost in the space as it is such a modest structure. It was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and was unveiled on 25 April 1925.

The Royal Naval Division (RND) was created by Winston Churchill, the First Lord of the Admiralty at the time, and it was manned by sailors, Royal Marines, and naval and marine reservists who were not required at sea.  Although it was a land based division it  was known for its strong maritime traditions, including the use of naval ranks and terminology. After serving in the disastrous Gallipoli Campaign it was deployed to the Western Front in late 1916 until the armistice in 1918. It lost 10,737 officers and men during the war; while 30,892 were wounded.

The Admiralty Citadel partly obscure the poem by Rupert Brooke 1887–1915 which is inscribed on the one side of the memorial. Brooke, a member of the Hood Battalion of the RND, died of disease while en route with the division to Gallipoli in April 1915

Blow out, you bugles, over the rich Dead!

There’s none of these so lonely and poor of old,

But, dying, has made us rarer gifts than gold.

These laid the world away; poured out the red

Sweet wine of youth; gave up the years to be

Of work and joy, and that unhoped serene,

That men call age; and those who would have been,

Their sons, they gave, their immortality.

The memorial was removed from its original site when work was started on the citadel, and it was eventually erected in a number of places before being re-installed in its original site on  13 November 2003. It is designated a grade II listed building.

In my opinion the glowering and overgrown citadel really overshadows the memorial, leaving it to look more like a feature as opposed to a proper memorial. 

DRW 2013-2018. Created 14/10/2018

Updated: 15/10/2018 — 06:07

Cyril Hubert Frisby VC

Cyril Hubert Frisby (17/09/1885 – 10/09/1961) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 27 September 1918 at the Battle of Canal du Nord, near Graincourt, France.

The Citation, recorded on the London Gazette of Supplement: 31034, Page: 14039, reads:

“Gds. (S.R.). attd. 1st Bn.
For most conspicuous bravery, leadership and devotion to duty in action on the 7th September, 1918, across the Canal Du Nord, near Graincourt, when in command of a company detailed to capture the Canal crossing, on the Demicourt-Graincourt road. On reaching the Canal this leading platoon came under annihilating machine-gun fire from a strong machine-gun post under the old iron bridge on the far side of the Canal, and was unable to advance, despite reinforcing waves. Capt. Frisby realised at once
that unless this post was captured the whole advance in this area would fail. Calling for volunteers to follow him, he dashed forward, and, with three other ranks, he climbed down into the Canal under an intense point-blank machine-gun fire and succeeded in capturing the post with two machine guns and twelve men.
By his personal valour and initiative he restored the situation and enabled the attacking companies to continue the advance.
Having reached and consolidated his objective, he gave timely support to the company on his right, which had lost all its officers and sergeants, organised its defences, and beat off a heavy hostile counter-attack.
He was wounded in the leg by a bayonet in the attack on the machine-gun post, but remained at duty throughout, thereby setting a splendid example to all ranks.”

He died on 10th September 1961 aged 75 in Guildford, Surrey and is buried in Brookwood Cemetery, Woking, Surrey.

DRW © 2018. Created 10/08/2018. Image courtesy of Mark Green

Updated: 26/08/2018 — 19:28

William Robert Fountaine Addison VC

Reverand William Robert Fountaine Addison (18/09/1883 – 07/01/1962) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his conspicuous bravery on  9 April 1916 at Sanna-i-Yat, Mesopotamia,

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Supplement: 29765, Page: 9417, reads: 

“Rev. William Robert Fountaine Addison, temp. Chapl. to the Forces, 4th Class, Army Chapl. Dept.
For most conspicuous bravery. He carried a wounded man to the cover of a trench, and assisted several others to the same cover, after binding up their wounds under heavy rifle and machine gun fire.
In addition to these unaided efforts, by his splendid example and utter disregard of personal danger, he encouraged the stretcherbearers to go forward under heavy fire and collect the wounded.”

He died on 7th January 1962, aged 78, in St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, and is buried in Brookwood Cemetery, Woking.

DRW © 2018. Created 10/08/2018. Image courtesy of Mark Green

Updated: 26/08/2018 — 19:28

The Old Contemptibles Plaque (Southampton)

In my meanderings around cemeteries in the UK I sometimes encounter plaques on the graves of the “Old Contemptibles”. Unfortunately they are not that easy to research because it is easier to research a soldier that died in the war than one who survived.

Just what is an Old Contemptible? Legend has it that Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, allegedly issued an order on 19 August 1914 to “exterminate … the treacherous English and walk over General French’s contemptible little army”. Hence, in later years, the survivors of the regular army dubbed themselves “The Old Contemptibles”.

Not too many men from the regular army survived the long slog in the trenches, and the survivors often suffered from the effects of the war for the rest of their lives. The grave markers that I see are from the “Old Contemptibles Association”  that was founded by Captain JP Danny, RA, on 25 June 1925. Membership was limited to veterans of the regular army who had served in the British Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders within range of enemy artillery during the period 5 August to 22 November 1914 and had thus taken part in the desperate early battles and retreats before the advancing German forces, before the tide turned and the allies counterattacked at the Battle of the Marne.  The Association had 178 branches in the UK & 14 overseas branches. It produced its own magazine “The Old Contemptible” & all members were known as “chums”.  The Association’s national organisation was wound up in the 1970s but in London and the South East it continued until 1994. (http://www.surreyinthegreatwar.org.uk/story/the-old-contemptibles-association/)

In Southampton, on the side of the former Docks’ Post Office and Telegraph building at Dock Gate 4, there is a plaque commemorating the men who sailed from the port to make history. Erected on 9 April 1950, it was unveiled by by Admiral Sir Algernon Willis, Naval Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth. 

Former docks post office and telegraph building

 

The poem, by Beatrix Price Miller reads:

OH MIGHTY FORCE THAT STOOD FOR ENGLAND!
THAT, WITH YOUR BODIES FOR A LIVING SHIELD,
GUARDED HER SLOW AWAKING, THAT DEFIED
THE SUDDEN CHALLENGE OF TREMENDOUS ODDS
AND FOUGHT THE RUSHING LEGIONS TO A STAND
THEN STARK GRIM ENDURANCE HELD THE LINE,
OH LITTLE FORCE THAT IN YOUR AGONY
STOOD FAST WHILE ENGLAND GIRT HER ARMOUR ON,
HELD HIGH OUR HONOUR IN YOUR WOUNDED HANDS,
CARRIED OUR HONOUR SAFE WITH BLEEDING FEET
WE HAVE NO GLORY GREAT ENOUGH FOR YOU,
THE VERY SOUL OF BRITAIN KEEPS YOUR DAY!
PROCESSION? – MARCHES FORTH A RACE IN ARMS:
AND FOR THE THUNDER OF A CROWD’S APPLAUSE,
CRASH UPON CRASH THE VOICE OF MONSTROUS GUNS,
FED BY THE SWEAT. SERVED BY THE LIFE OF ENGLAND,
SHOUTING YOUR BATTLE-CRY ACROSS THE WORLD.
OH, LITTLE MIGHTY FORCE YOUR WAY IS OURS,
THIS LAND INVIOLATE YOUR MONUMENT.

Grave markers. 

I have seen some of the markers in the cemeteries I have visited and can only find these in my images, it is possible I have missed seeing more by taking a different path or pausing to look at something else. But, I will keep on looking. Sadly, I expect many of the markers have ended up as scrap metal over the years, so these may be quite rare so many years down the line.

A Bagwell, Gloucester Regt

Gloucester Old Cemetery

E Ellis, Royal Field Artillery

Reading Cemetery

WA Marshall, MM. RVL Berkshire Regt

Reading Cemetery

 

GA Janaway, Royal Hampshire Regt.

Hollybrook Cemetery, Southampton

 

H Betterridge, Royal Fusiliers

Streatham Park Cemetery, London

 

Robert W Smith, Grenadier Guards

Gloucester Old Cemetery

   

DRW © 2018. Created 01/02/2018

Updated: 04/06/2018 — 06:21

Arthur Forbes Gordon Kilby VC

Arthur Forbes Gordon Kilby (03/02/1885 – 25/09/1915) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on the first day of the Battle of Loos.

Arthur Kilby VC

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Supplement: 29527, Page: 3409 reads: 

“Captain Arthur Forbes Gordon Kilby, late 2nd Battalion, The South Staffordshire Regiment. For most conspicuous bravery.

Captain Kilby was specially selected, at his own request, and on account of the gallantry which he had previously displayed on many occasions, to attack with his company a strong enemy redoubt.
The company charged along the narrow tow-path, headed by Captain Kilby, who, though wounded at the outset, continued to lead his men right up to the enemy wire under a devastating machine-gun fire and a shower of bombs. Here he was shot down, but, although his foot had been blown off, he continued to cheer on his men and to use a rifle. 
Captain Kilby has been missing since the date of the performance of this great act of valour, and his death” has now to be presumed.”

Captain Kilby was killed on 25 September 1915, his  heroism was acknowledged by the German defenders who erected a memorial cross at the location of his death. His body was located on 19 February 1929 and interred at Arras Road Cemetery, Roclincourt, 

He is commemorated on a Memorial Stone at the Cheltenham War Memorial.

© DRW 2018. Created 01/01/2018. Reproduction Gallaher cigarette card first issued 1916, reproduced by Card promotions © 2003

Updated: 16/01/2018 — 13:22

Anketel Moutray Read VC

Anketell Moutray Read (27/10/1884 – 25/09/1915 was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 25 September 1915 near Hulluch, France.

Ankettel Read VC

 

The Citation, published in the London Gazette of Supplement: 29371, Page: 11447 reads:

“Captain Anketell Montray Read, 1st Battalion, The Northamptonshire Regiment. 

For most conspicuous bravery during the first attack near Hulluch on the morning of 25th September, 1915.

Although partially gassed, Captain Read went out several times in order to rally parties of different units which were disorganised and retiring. He led them back into the firing line, and, utterly regardless of danger, moved freely about encouraging them under a withering fire. He was mortally wounded while carrying out this gallant work. 

Captain Read had previously shown conspicuous bravery during digging operations on 29th, 30th and 31st August, 1915, and on the night of the 29th-30th July he carried out of action an Officer, who was mortally wounded, under a hot fire from rifles and grenades. “

He is buried in Dud Corner Cemetery, Loos, France. Born in Cheltenham, he is commemorated with a Memorial Stone at the Cheltenham War Memorial.

He is also commemorated on the War Memorial.

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 01/01/2018. Gallaher cigarette card reproduction by Card Promotions © 2003, originally issued 1916. 

Updated: 16/01/2018 — 13:23

Harold Ackroyd VC, MC

Harold Ackroyd (18/07/1877 – 11/08/1917) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions as a temporary captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps attached to the 6th Battalion of the Royal Berkshire Regiment, (Princess Charlotte of Wales`s) during the First World War. 

The Citation, Recorded in the London gazette, of Supplement: 30272 Page: 9259 reads:

“For most conspicuous bravery. During recent operations Capt. Ackroyd displayed the greatest gallantry and devotion to duty. Utterly regardless of danger, he worked continuously for many hours up and down and in front of the line tending the wounded and saving the lives of officers and men. In so doing he had to move across the open under heavy machine-gun, rifle and shell fire. He carried a wounded officer to a place of safety under very heavy fire.

On another occasion he went some way in front of our advanced line and brought in a wounded man under continuous sniping and machine-gun fire. His heroism was the means of saving many lives, and provided a magnificent example of courage, cheerfulness, and determination to the fighting men in whose midst he was carrying out his splendid work. This gallant officer has since been killed in action.”

He was killed in action on  11 August 1917 at Glencorse Wood, Ypres, and is buried at Burr Cross Roads Cemetery, Zillebeke, Belgium. 

 © DRW 2017-2018. Created 24/04/2017. Image courtesy of Mark Green.

Updated: 11/01/2018 — 20:44

Noel Godfrey Chavasse VC*, MC

Noel Godfrey Chavasse (09/11/1884 – 04/08/1917) was first awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 9 August 1916, at Guillemont, France when he attended to the wounded all day under heavy fire.

Reproduction Gallaher cigarette card.

The Citation, Recorded in the London Gazette, issue 29802,  page 10394,  24 October 1916 reads: 

“Captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse, M.C., M.B., Royal Army Medical Corps.

For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty.

During an attack he tended the wounded in the open all day, under heavy fire, frequently in view of the enemy. During the ensuing night he searched for wounded on the ground in front of the enemy’s lines for four hours.

Next day he took one stretcher-bearer to the advanced trenches, and under heavy shell fire carried an urgent case for 500 yards into safety, being wounded in the side by a shell splinter during the journey. The same night he took up a party of twenty volunteers, rescued three wounded men from a shell hole twenty-five yards from the enemy’s trench, buried the bodies of two officers, and collected many identity discs, although fired on by bombs and machine guns.

Altogether he saved the lives of some twenty badly wounded men, besides the ordinary cases which passed through his hands. His courage and self-sacrifice, were beyond praise.”

He was awarded the  Bar to his Victoria Cross for his actions from 31 July to 2 August 1917, at Wieltje, Belgium.

The Citation, recorded in the  London Gazette, issue 30284, page 9531,  14 September 1917 reads:

“His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to approve of the award of a Bar to the Victoria Cross to Capt. Noel Godfrey Chavasse, V.C., M.C., late R.A.M.C., attd. L’pool R.

For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty when in action.

Though severely wounded early in the action whilst carrying a wounded soldier to the Dressing Station, Capt. Chavasse refused to leave his post, and for two days not only continued to perform his duties, but in addition went out repeatedly under heavy fire to search for and attend to the wounded who were lying out.

During these searches, although practically without food during this period, worn with fatigue and faint with his wound, he assisted to carry in a number of badly wounded men, over heavy and difficult ground.

By his extraordinary energy and inspiring example, he was instrumental in rescuing many wounded who would have otherwise undoubtedly succumbed under the bad weather conditions.

This devoted and gallant officer subsequently died of his wounds.”

Captain Noel Chavasse died of his wounds in Brandhoek and is buried at Brandhoek New Military Cemetery, Vlamertinge, Belgium. 

He is the only man to be awarded the Victoria Cross and Bar in the First World War.

In Liverpool, at Abercromby Square, there is a a statue called “Liverpool Heroes” that features Noel Chavasse as its main focus.

He is also commemorated with a bust in Liverpool Cathedral. His father, Francis Chavasse was very instrumental in the building of the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool. The Roll of Honour is also opened on the entry for his name.

Liverpool also has a Chavasse Park in the Liverpool One shopping complex. It is not easy to find a name board unless you know where to look. I was fortunate that I found somebody that was able to assist me in finding the board.

There is a commemorative plaque to him at the National Memorial Arboretum.

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 23/04/2017. Grave image courtesy of Mark Green. Cigarette card reproduction by Card Promotions © 2003. Added Liverpool references 07/06/2018.

Updated: 20/06/2018 — 19:58

William Mariner VC

William Mariner (29/05/1882 – 01/07/1916) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions during the First World War.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of: Supplement: 29202, Page: 6116, reads: 

“No. 2052 Private William Mariner, 2nd Battalion, The King’s Royal Rifle Corps,

During a violent thunderstorm on the night of 22nd May, 1915, he left his trench near Cambrin, and crept out through the German wire entanglements till he reached the emplacement of a German machine gun which had been damaging our parapets and hindering our working parties.

After climbing on the top of the German parapet he threw a bomb in under the roof of the gun emplacement and- heard some groaning and the enemy running away. After about a quarter of an hour he heard some of them coming back again, and climbed up on the other side of the emplacement and threw another bomb among them left-handed. He then lay still while the Germans opened a heavy fire on the wire entanglement behind him, and it was only after about an hour that he was able to crawl back to his own trench.

Before starting out he had requested a serjeant to open fire on the enemy’s trenches as soon as he had thrown his bombs. Rifleman Mariner was out alone for one and a half hours carrying out this gallant work.

He went missing during The Battle of the Somme, and is presumed to been killed in action in France on 1 July 1916.  His name is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing in the Somme in France. Pier 13, Face A-B

Thiepval Memorial to the Missing. Image courtesy of Ralph McLean and the South African War Graves Project

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 01/03/2017. Commemoration Image courtesy of Mark Green, Cigarette card by Card Promotions © 2001, first issued 1915. 

Updated: 11/01/2018 — 20:40

Walter Mills VC

Walter Mills (22/06/1894 – 11/12/1917) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions at Red Dragon Crater near Givenchy, France during the First World War.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of 1Supplement: 30523, Page: 200, reads:

“No. 3T5499 Pte. Walter Mills, late Manch. B. (Oldham).

For most conspicuous bravery and self sacrifice.

When, after an intense gas attack, a strong enemy patrol endeavoured to rush our posts, the garrisons of which had been overcome, and though badly gassed himself, he met the attack single-handed and continued to throw bombs until the arrival of reinforcements, and remained at his post until the enemy’s attacks Had been finally driven off.

While being carried away he died from gas poisoning. It was solely due to his exertions, when his only chance of personal safety lay in remaining motionless, that the enemy was defeated and the line retained intact.” 

He is buried in Gorre British and Indian Cemetery, France, and Commemorated on the Oldham War Memorial

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 28/02/2017. 

Updated: 11/01/2018 — 20:41
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