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Yardley in buried in the Capelle-Beaudignies Road Cemetery where there are only 53 burials, all from a two-week period 21 October to 5 November. More than half the graves relate to the two days 23 and 24 October. Born in King's Norton, Warwickshire, Yardley was his parents' only son, the eldest of their two children. In the father, Charles Yardley, was a 'pianoforte agent' in Sheffield.
This being the case - that the authorities knew where his parents were living - it's strange that Alan Yardley's medals were never delivered. His medal index card just says that they were retained, undisposed. It was not unknown for next-of-kin to refuse to receive medals, scrolls and memorial plaques.
They wanted nothing to do with the authorities who had 'killed' their family member. It looks as though the Yardleys could have been one such family. Charles Yardley signed for his son's inscription. It comes from Byron's poem 'Don Juan'. However, the quotation had a life of its own apart from the poem since it was frequently used as a fatalistic acceptance of what life had thrown at you.
On 10 April the battalion were holding the front line between Wambeke and the Blauwepoortbeek in the Messines Sector. Between the first entry at 2. The rest of the day is also minutely recorded although it is difficult to get a sense of exactly what is happening, just that by the time 9. The battalion were not relieved until the 18 April when the casualties were assessed as 13 officers and other ranks killed, wounded and missing. Private Ernest Bennett was among the missing other ranks. Bennett had been taken prisoner.
The Red Cross records show that he was "taken on He is buried in Niederzwehren Cemetery, Kassel, one of the four permanent British war cemeteries in Germany where those who died as prisoners of war are now buried having been exhumed from sites all over Germany. Bennett's father, Walter Bennett, signed for his inscription, a magnanimous and inclusive inscription for the eldest of his seven children. Albert William Hall was his parents' eldest son. They only had two children.
He lived in Gloucester where his father was a "deal porter" someone who handled baulks of softwood, unloading them from ships and stacking them sometimes 60ft high in warehouses. In , Albert, aged 16, was a telegraph messenger, someone who delivered telegrams. His brother, Walter, aged 14, was a 'Corporation employee'. Albert enlisted soon after the outbreak of war. He served with the 8th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment, which was raised in Bristol in September The battalion went to France on 18 July , the day Albert's medal index card says he arrived in France.
He died of wounds in a Casualty Clearing Station on 31 July Our attack was held up by enfilade machine gun fire and concealed snipers from the right. Our men returned to their original front line at 9. Casualties, Officers killed 8, 3 wounded, 3 missing. The Co Major Thynne was wounded in the body while urging on the second line. Other ranks Nevertheless, it had been an 'expensive' raid in term of casualties.
Albert Hall was most probably one of the wounded; the battalion had not been in the front line for some considerable time before it. Hall's mother, Henrietta Hall, chose his inscription. Whilst there were several hymns that declared Christ "died for me", there are none that say "he died for me and for me only" so it would seem that Mrs Hall was not quoting but giving a piece of her own mind. It's rather an extraordinary inscription. There are plenty that say 'He died for us', 'He died for others', 'He died for you', 'He died for you and me' but I have not come across another one that says 'He died for me and me only'.
Mrs Hall was not going to share her son with anyone else - even his father and his brother. This is such a specific inscription that it is a shame I haven't been able to find out any more details. This records: "28 June Raids on German trenches". These raids were carried out in daylight, in unaccustomed and very difficult circumstances, and in the face of very determined opposition. In spite of these obstacles the results aimed at were successfully obtained and great damage and loss inflicted on the enemy.
The gallantry, devotion, and resolution shown by all ranks was beyond praise, and the Major-General Commanding is proud to be able to congratulate the West Lancashire Division on the discipline and soldierly spirit exhibited - a discipline and spirit which most seasoned troops could not have surpassed. When the opportunity comes of avenging their deaths the Major-General Commanding is confident that the Division will not forget them.
He joined the army soon after the outbreak of war and was in France in on 6 June He was the son of the late Rev. Robert Stephenson, who for over 30 years was vicar of St Jame's, Birkdale. He possessed marked ability as a pianist and frequently gave classical recitals at Southport. Kenneth Ian Somerville was a student at Toronto University when the war broke out. On 15 March the battalion conducted a raid on the German trenches. Somerville, another officer and four soldiers were killed in the action. Somerville was in fact originally badly wounded in the face.
This blinded him. His was being taken back to the front line when he was caught in an enemy barrage and wounded a second time, this time in the left thigh. He was taken to a Casualty Clearing Station but failed to survive an operation the following day. All this is documented on the Veterans Affairs Canada site on which there is also a letter his father, Charles Ross Somerville, wrote to a niece: "My poor Kenneth was killed in France on the 16th March. I should have sent you word sooner but have been all broken up it is such a shock. After about 2 years in the fighting line I had hoped that he would have come through - but it was not God's purpose for my dear boy.
Where did he get this idea from? He outlined his Fourteen Points, setting out what could be the terms on which to base peace. Wilson spelt out how behind everything he proposed was the principle of justice, people's "right to live on equal terms of liberty and safety with one another, whether they be strong or weak". He pledged the people of the United States to maintain this principle, "the moral climax of this, the culminating and final war for human liberty".
Robert Emerson was 21 when he was killed in action on the 2 September in the capture of the Drocourt-Queant Line. Wounded twice, once in the face and once in the arm, he also spent some time in hospital with Scarlet Fever in June His elder brother Warren, who had been badly gassed, returned to Canada to recuperate and was about to be sent back again when the war ended. A younger brother, Frederick, wounded at Passchendaele, had his leg amputated and another brother, Minard, died of influenza. What gave his father, who chose his inscription, the idea that his son had died to uphold world civilization?
It would have been the Allied Victory Medal awarded to all the combatants of every Allied nation with the same agreed wording in the various different languages on the reverse - 'The Great War for Civilisation'. Warren Nickerson and his wife, Jacobine, called their son, born in , Robert Emerson Drocourt Emerson, Warren's brother's names with the addition of the location where he had been killed. He qualified as a pilot and was killed over Cheshire flying a Hurricane which crashed due to a leak of glycol.
He was buried there, with other members of Battalion by a Padre and a cross, a very nice one, was erected. He was a fine little chap. The ground was held. Eye-witness: -No Description:- Dark, thin face, grey eyes, medium height. Home address:- Informant: Byrne. Rannard was giving orders whilst a barrage was on, "I saw him killed by a piece of shrapnel, back of neck, instantly fell back dead in my arms". Rannard's inscription is very much influenced by propaganda: recruiting posters such as - "Take up the Sword of Justice" - and the memorial plaque given to the next-of-kin of all the dead which states that whoever received it had died for 'freedom and honour' , together with numerous pleas in posters and the press for Australians to fight for their King and the Empire.
Richard Rannard was born in Australia and enlisted as a private in September As the centenary draws to an end, I thought it would be interesting to see what some next-of-kin gave as the cause for which they believed their family members had died. Yesterday's casualty, Thomas Scott Brodie, gave his life for the Empire. Ralph Harwood, who served with the 3rd Battalion Australian Infantry and was killed in action in Gallipoli on 30 November , 'died for England'. The son of Ralph Harwood and his wife Mary Frances Buckley, Ralph jnr was born in Liverpool, England and emigrated with his parents to Australia in when he was two.
He enlisted in May when he was 18 and 9 months and embarked for Egypt two months later. He was killed a month before the Allied forces were withdrawn from the peninsula. His mother chose his inscription and filled in the circular for the Roll of Honour of Australia. One of the tragic aspects of John Buckley VC's life is that although he was married three times and fathered eight children, two of his wives died and all eight of his children, some from disease and some killed during the rebellion. Thomas Newton John Buckley also served in the Royal Engineers but it looks very much from this forum as though he was a deserter.
The things you find out. Thomas Scott Brodie was a volunteer - 'his life for the Empire he willingly gave'. On 2 September they landed at Suvla Bay and after three months were evacuated to Egypt on 28 December. This served in Salonika until June when it was posted to France. Brodie was killed in action on 17 October in the crossing of the River Selle. Marie Brodie chose her son's inscription because her husband was dead.
It is a variation of an In Memoriam verse that appeared in various forms in the local newspapers during the war. This is one version: "Somewhere in France", a brave heart beats no more, He has finished his bit, and the tumult is o'er; In the garb of his King, with his feet to the foe, "Somewhere in France," how calmly he sleeps. Blow softly O south winds blow soft o'er his grave, His life for the Empire he willingly gave, And sweetly he rests with the heroes of God. Here is another: Far away from his home and his loved ones, Laid to rest in that far away land; Never more shall are eyes here behold him, Never more will we clasp his dear hand.
Somewhere in France, how calmly he sleeps, While the songbird her singing all the day keeps; Blow softly O south winds, blow softly o'er his grave, His life for the Empire he willingly gave. The south wind is traditionally the wind that brings comfort, refreshment and quietness. His medal card doesn't indicate when he joined the cyclist battalion but it was formed in February Initially used exclusively for home coastal defence, eventually small groups of cyclists were transferred to the Western Front where by late they had become useful for reconnaissance work.
The trench warfare was over; it was now a war of movement and bicycles had become an important means of transport. They were silent, fast and light, the latter meaning that they could be carried over difficult terrain. Bicycles were in effect a form of calvary whose 'steeds' were not so expensive to maintain. Nowell Cooper was the middle of his parents three children. Father was a railway accountant's clerk and the family lived in Dinas Powis in Glamorganshire. It was his father who signed for this very touching inscription - Dear lad, good bye. It was all so simple once - Britain and her allies were in the right and Germany and the Central Powers were in the wrong.
And in the end right had triumphed over wrong as she should. The wife of a coachman, in she, her husband and six children lived in Pitlochry. James had served with the 8th Battalion the Black Watch. There is no date of entry into a theatre of war on his medal index card and he was not entitled to a Star so he was probably not a volunteer. He was killed on 14 October when the battalion attacked towards Winkel-St Eloi. The attack began at B and C companies were ordered to assist and Mogg Farm was cleared.
It had been discovered with three other members of the 8th battalion at map reference F26a. McIntosh had been a casualty of the hold up' at Mogg Farm. It was 28 days before the end of the war. He is said to have been the son of William McMahon but I have not been able to identify either William or James in any of the censuses. James McMahon was a volunteer. He first entered a theatre of war, France, on 22 October serving originally with the Northumberland Fusiliers and then with the York and Lancaster Regiment. He was killed on 13 October in the crossing of the River Selle, east of Cambrai, which had fallen on the 8th.
Whoever Miss N McMahon was she knew her history. Her 'eternal Flanders' is often known as 'the cockpit of Europe', the battleground of numerous campaigns throughout history. McMahon was killed less that 15 miles from Ramillies and Malplaquet, the sites of the Duke of Marlborough's famous victories of and Agincourt, Crecy and Waterloo were themselves only just over 70 miles away. McMahon joined the long line of Englishmen killed in the struggle to keep a strong power out of the Low Countries whether that power was France, Spain or Germany.
Yesterday's casualty died a month later than today's but it took five years for the War Graves Commission to ask Private O'Neill's parents for an inscription as opposed to one year for Private Milner's. Constructing the cemeteries took many years, combing the battlefields, exhuming bodies where necessary, reburying them, acquiring the land, designing the cemeteries - there was no standard style - communicating with the next of kin. In fact it was before the final memorial to the missing was completed.
And then of course the next year was O'Neill was a volunteer from Ballylongford Co. On September 2 the battalion took part in the capture of the Drocourt-Queant line. A week later it went into the support trenches near Moeuvres and spent the 8th to the 12th, according to the war diary, undertaking 'various reconnaissances'. Having survived the attack on the Drocourt-Queant line it would appear that O'Neill was killed in one of the 'various reconnaissances'. His elder brother, Patrick, serving with the 8th Battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers, was killed in action on the Somme on 9 September His body was never recovered and his is one of the 72, names on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing.
William Milner was killed in action in Italy one hundred years ago today. His father chose his inscription. William was one of his parents' twelve children of whom five had died before Mrs Mary Milner, William's mother, died in , as did his twenty-two-year-old brother Harry who died at home in Droitwich.
Florence, his older sister died in Leaving five - four siblings and their father - to mourn William's death. The battalion were part of an Allied contingent sent to help the Italians in the Trentino where it was feared the Austrians were getting the upper hand. Milner was killed on 11 October on the Asiago Plateau during a raid on the Austrian trenches. Italy was a completely different battle front from the flat lands of France and Flanders, and from the desert heat of Palestine and Mesopotamia.
It was rugged, mountainous and inhospitable and the cemetery where Milner is buried is rarely accessible between November and April due to deep snow. For all its inhospitableness it would appear that Barenthal was one of the very first cemeteries to be built. Mr W Milner must have been asked for his choice of inscription in Next-of-kin don't seem to have been asked for this information until the War Graves Commission were ready to build the cemetery as I've seen inscriptions that refer to three, five and even eight years having passed since the soldier died.
There is more to this inscription than meets the eye. What sounds like a simple injunction to never disturb Jones' body is in fact a famous inscription - if you know your American literature. Natty Bumppo, a white boy raised by Indians, is a 'good' white man, a frontiersman who helps people in trouble. At the end of 'The Prairie' , Bumppo dies in the fulness of time and the Indians pay him this tribute: "A valiant, a just, and a wise warrior has gone on the path, which will lead him to the blessed grounds of his people.
By choosing this inscription, Evan Jones' father, William Jones, associated his son with "a valiant, a just, and a wise warrior". Jones served with the first Battalion the King's Shropshire Light Infantry and was killed in action on 8 October when the battalion attacked at 5. The battalion war diary reported a 'great numbers of prisoners soon began to come back, which meant attack was going well'. The attack did go well but nevertheless the battalion suffered over casualties killed and wounded.
However, William Jones had no opportunity to choose an inscription for his younger son because Albert's body was never found. He is commemorated on the Vis-en-Artois memorial to the missing. Evan and Albert were two of his nine children all of whom worked with him on the farm. His wife, Mary died in , his daughter Sarah in and two of his sons in He was educated at Bedford School, had only just joined his squadron, and had been offered an instructorship in England, but made special application for active service abroad.
After qualifying as a pilot he went to France to serve with Squadron. The squadron was based in Dunkirk and flying DH9s on daylight bombing raids. Herbert was killed whilst practicing formation flying; his plane collided in mid-air with another machine and he and his observer were both killed.
Herbert's father chose his inscription, a very masculine tribute from a father to a son but one of total admiration and approval. The first two lines come from 'Hail and Farewell' by the popular poet John Oxenham. They died that we might live,- Hail! That we might live they died,- Hail! Eternal honour give,- Hail!
The second two lines of the inscription are Mr Killick's own words and reflect a popular sentiment of the time: that those who lived on had an obligation to the dead to look after the world and make it a better place, one where such a terrible event would never happen again, a world that would be worthy of the dead. It is a relevant point today, remembrance itself is not enough. If the dead did leave the future in trust to us, that should be the subtext of 'all remembrance mantras - 'Lest we forget' the responsibility they hoped we would assume.
His body was not discovered until December when it was found with five other bodies at map reference 62c. There was no cross on the grave so it hadn't been previously registered. The body was identified by "Clothing, boots, numerals and two paper discs". The form asks "Were any effects forwarded to base? Gold cased watch guaranteed 20 years.
Discs fell to powder after being exposed. See covering letter. This refers to the fact that French and Belgian farmers were paid for each body they discovered to discourage them from failing to report it and just ploughing it back in to the ground. In David Jones was assisting his parents in the business. By the time his body was discovered his father was dead. He immediately took a commission in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and after training went to France in June He was promoted captain that September. In November he was awarded a Military Cross for carrying out "a daring raid against the enemy with great courage and determination".
In November he returned to England for six months home duty before returning to France in May He was killed six months later by a shell whilst leading his Company into action on 28 September Smith's inscription, chosen by his father, George Smith Master of Dulwich College, comes from Robert Browning's poem Rabbi Ben Ezra , a philosophical poem in which Age addresses Youth and tells it, "Grow old along with me the best is yet to be".
This is because in Age we acquire the wisdom and insight that Youth, too concerned with living in the moment, doesn't have. However, these are the very qualities that twenty-two-year-old Smith was admired for. As his Colonel wrote to his parents: "Though young in years, he had an old head, with much discretion.
I could trust any duty to him knowing that it would be well and faithfully carried out". The poem holds that our life on earth is but one step on the journey of our soul, which will continue after death. To his parents, George Smith was setting out "Once more on my adventure brave and new". A volunteer, he joined up as a private and went to France in November A year later he received a commission in the 9th Battalion Royal Fusiliers.
He was killed on 8 August in the capture of the village of Sailly-Laurette on the opening day of the Battle of Amiens. It is based on a Hindu mantra from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, a treatise on the soul composed sometime around the year BC. Lead us from the unreal to the real.
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Lead us from the darkness to the light. Lead us from death to immortality. It is a very unusual inscription from a very unusual source. The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad does not appear to have been well known in Britain. It had been translated into English in but I can't see that either the book or the mantra were widely known so it would be interesting to know how Mr and Mrs Hill came across it. This is such a heartbreaking inscription. I've neither heard of Chute-Erson before nor ever seen this poem.
It's the kind of sentimental verse that the twentieth century rejected but it's the type that must have expressed many a mother's feelings: Yes, I am proud, I shall not weep, my son — Boy of the high, brave spirit, who lies slain, Blent with the earth grown hallowed for the stain Of thy young life-blood. Boy, who on my breast Has lain, so small, so dear, in infant rest; Whose tiny, clinging hands and nestling head Seemed God and life to me - dear son, now dead. Son of the strong, young frame, the fearless heart, Vibrant with life and thought, the coming man Shadowed in graver mood, the finished plan.
My mother-love foresaw and knew content, And when, all youthful fire and courage blent, You said good-bye, I smiled Oh, God! I would not have you stay.
Yes, I am proud, my son, I shall not weep, But, oh! Yes, I am proud, indeed, but - Son, oh, Son! Those three words - 'Son oh son'. For all that the mother has tried to convince herself that she's proud that her son has died 'as we would have you die', and that she is determined that she 'shall not weep', remembering him as a baby and and 'on the verge of manhood' is actually too much for her.
William Stephen was 18 when he was killed in action on the day the 51st Highland Division took Marfaux with very heavy casualties. William London's father chose his inscription. I can only imagine that he is telling his son that his mother and father have been trying to 'call' him through a spiritualist medium. And I can only imagine that they have not had any answer.
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It's rather a haunting inscription. Belief in spiritualism, the belief that it was possible to make contact with the dead beyond the grave, was very popular after the First World War. There were numerous charlatans out there but some people genuinely believed that they were speaking to their dead relations. And not everyone who believed was a gullible innocent. Sir Oliver Lodge, a British physicist who played a key part in the development of radio, firmly believed that he was in touch with his son Raymond who had been killed in action on 14 September William London was the younger of his parents' two children.
He served with the 2nd Battalion Welsh Regiment and was killed in action on 20 July There is a gap in the battalion war diary between the end of June and the beginning of November so it's not possible to tell how he might have died. It comes from Tennyson's poem 'Merlin and the Gleam' where the gleam is a glimmer of the holy grail, that intangible quality that man should attempt to follow in his life: Not of the sunlight, Not of the moonlight, Not of the starlight!
This will have been the source of the inscription but it could have been a second-hand source. The song won and became a YMCA anthem, which is still sung today. Based on Tennyson's poem the song encourages young people to follow the gleam: To knights in the days of old, Keeping watch on the mountain height, Came a vision of Holy Grail And a voice through the waiting night. He finished his flying training and was just about to be sent to France when he had a head-on collision in the air and was killed.
His father, the Revd Horace E Bray chose his inscription.
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His mother had died when his sister was born. Bray's patriotic poetry was included in several Canadian anthologies. This plea for peace was written by Robert Burns in , more than a hundred years before David Herkes repeated it on his son's headstone. Burns' poem, 'On the Seas and Far Away' expresses a parents' yearning for peace so that their sailor son's life might be saved: Bullets, spare my only joy!
Bullets, spare my darling boy! Fate, do with me what you may - Spare but him that's far away. Robert Herkes was 18 when he died of wounds in a base hospital in France. At one time this would have meant that the soldier had his parents' signed permission to be serving abroad, but by this stage of the war more and more eighteen-year-olds were being sent to the front without this. Although Herkes served with the London Regiment he was born and brought up in Leith, Scotland where his father was a dock porter.
From the census it would appear that his mother was dead and that his grandmother, Isabella Herkes, was looking after the family of two children. In this later poem he says: Peace, thy olive wand extend, And bid wild war his ravage end, Man with brother man to meet, And as a brother kindly greet:. This inscription takes us far away from Western Europe to southern Persia, now Iran, where the British had formed the South Persia Rifles in an attempt to counter German influence among the region's tribes.
There was much local hostility to the British and the loyalty of many members of the Rifles had became uncertain. In June the Rifles' garrison at Abadeh mutinied and joined the enemy, laying siege to the town. A small Indian Army detachment had recently joined the fortress to take control of the supplies and ammunition in case of just such an eventuality. On 2 July the enemy succeeded in breaking the bank of the irrigation channel, diverting the water so that it flowed directly towards the mud walls of the garrison fortress. Gwynne-Griffiths went out under heavy fire to mend the breach and was killed.
The breach was eventually mended but Abadeh was not relieved until the 17 July. On 2 August a detachment of troops left Abadeh taking Gwynne-Griffiths body with them back to Shiraz, a journey of miles in the scorching heat. You must be thinking what I'm thinking. How did they keep Gwynne-Griffith's body from being unspeakable. I don't know but they didn't want it left among the hostile local people.
We wouldn't have known about this if his mother hadn't told us via his inscription. His comrades' actions must have brought her great comfort. The battalion diary exists and shows that it was out of the line for most of June It doesn't mention suffering any casualties but it does mention that many of the men had 'three-day fever' and some of them had Spanish Flu and were very ill. Chetkovich died in Pernes, a large Casualty Clearing Station centre two years to the day after he had volunteered.
His father, who still lived in Boan Uskosi, chose his inscription, highlighting the seemingly strange fact that his Serbian son should die in Belgium fighting in the British Army.
Serbia and Britain were therefore on the same side, both fighting Austria-Hungary and her ally Germany. Mrs Kate Scurlock had no misgivings about the cause for which her son had died, unlike yesterday's mother who was obviously deeply against war. It's strange to think how many people passionately believed that their menfolk had died for abstract concepts like 'justice, freedom and for right' when that's not how most people think today.
Yet how things are perceived is how people believe they are - and it's good to think sometimes of how people in a hundred years time might judge our present-day perceptions. Frederick Scurlock was born in Pembroke Dock where his father was a fitter in the dockyard. He worked as a clerk in a timber yard in Haverfordwest until he was called up. Scurlock served with "C" Bty. Leslie Rose died of meningitis whilst a German prisoner of war, his body later exhumed and buried in Valenciennes St Roch Communal Cemetery. The War Graves Commission records this exhumation and the record includes the evidence of identity.
This says, "Plate on coffin". I'm pretty sure that British soldiers were normally buried in ground sheets not coffins yet this is the second time I've come across the mention of the plate on a coffin and that too was of a soldier buried by the Germans. At this time the Germans were so short of some raw materials that shoes and boots were being made out of vegetable matter.
Yet they were burying soldiers, including enemy soldiers, in coffins with coffin plates. Rose's mother chose his inscription. It's a stern rebuke to everyone, she is not blaming the other side she's saying that it takes two to quarrel - "war cannot be on one side". She then follows this statement up with the reference to a passage in Deuteronomy. She's identified it as Deuteronomy but most people would say And what is the quote"?
George Helliwell Harding was the Red Baron's 73rd victim. He had only been with 79 Squadron since 2 March when he became von Richthofen's third kill of the day. Harding was attacking a German fighter when von Richthofen came from behind and shot him down. Harding's plane caught fire and broke up in the air. Two years later, Harding's sister, Ruth, an actress, was in France entertaining American troops. She wanted to identify her brother's grave - the implication being that he had been buried as an unknown airman.
She identified a grave and insisted on the body being exhumed for her to identify the remains. It must have been indescribably gruesome. Her brother would have been horribly burnt and had been in the ground for a year. Just under a month later Manfred von Richthofen was killed. Harding was an American citizen from South Minneapolis, Minnesota. After America's entry into the war he tried to enlist in the American army but so many Americans were volunteering that he became impatient at the delay and crossed the border into Canada to enlist in the Flying Corps.
He arrived in England in August and after further training, he went to France on 2 March. Twenty-five days later he was dead. His father, Mr GF Harding, chose his inscription from Algernon Swinburne's poem 'The Halt Before Rome': Republican Rome, for whom the soldiers in the poem are fighting: She, without shelter or station, She, beyond limit or bar, Urges to slumberless speed Armies that famish, that bleed, Sowing their lives for her seed, That their dust may rebuild her a nation, That their souls may relight her a star.
There's no indication as to why he volunteered, it could have been the sinking of the Lusitania on 7 May in which so many American citizens died, or perhaps the fact that there's a Star of David on his headstone. This sign of his Jewish faith might have been a significant factor. Anti-semitism was rife in certain parts of Germany and within certain sections of German society.
His family could have been refugees. Aaron who died at 30 CCS as the result of an accident while driving Ford Ambulance on duty on the Death resulted on Born in Clapton, London in the first quarter of and educated at Hackney Downs School, Ernest Dunn was just 19 when, according to his medal index card, he went to France in May He was killed the following month. His parents' only child; his father had died in At the time of his death he was attached to the Machine Gun Corps. The Hackney Downs School memorial site , records that Dunn was killed by a shell.
Originally buried where he died, Dunn's body was exhumed and reburied at Orchard Dump Cemetery in March The site of the cemetery was donated to the War Graves Commission by the widow of a Captain in the French 72nd Infantry killed in action in August Mrs Alice Whelan had thirteen children of whom nine survived to adulthood. Widowed before she and her one daughter described their occupations as ironers. Thomas was her eldest child. She says of him in the War Graves Commission records that he had had 15 years military service.
It is likely that this service had come to the end before the war and that he rejoined on the outbreak. He died of wounds in the hospital centre of St Sever on 1 July , the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Thomas was 'the first to fall'. Two years later James Whelan, sixteen years younger than his older brother, died of wounds close to the front line on 26 June Eight of my sons Answered the call You, dear Jim, were the second To fall - sleep on. Stanley Jenkin's inscription comes from Elizabeth Barrett Browning's beautiful, passionate love poem 'How do I love thee?
Let me count the ways'. It was signed for by his father. The battalion was sent first to a quiet part of the line to acclimatise themselves to the trenches before being sent into the front line at Givenchy on 17 February. The next day the British artillery bombarded the German trenches from 8 to 11 pm. The war diary recorded that the enemy's retaliation was 'moderate' and that one soldier was killed.
The next day, the 19th, is described as "Very quiet - nothing unusual happened. In civilian life Jenkins had been an engine driver in a colliery in Ogmore Vale, Glamorganshire. In he was living in Ogmore with his grandmother, Anne Davies, without his parents, as he had been aged 7 in On his attestation form he named his grandmother as his next of kin and left his money to her in his will.
However, by she was dead and it was his parents, Evan and Esther Jenkins of Brodawel, Twyn, Garnant, Carmarthenshire, who received his medals, next-of-kin memorial plaque and scroll. To do this they had to fill in Army Form W. This revealed that all his grandparents were dead and that he had no brothers or sisters.
He was 52 years of age. On the outbreak of war he rejoined the army and was in France by March with the rank of Temporary Lieutenant Colonel, meaning that he would hold the rank for the duration of the war. Harrison was commissioned into the Royal Field Artillery in He came from an army family. His father had served with the Madras Native Infantry and his grand-father had been a major-general in the Royal Artillery. In France he served with the 16th Division Ammunition Column and as the newspaper reported, died of pneumonia.
His wife, Beatrice, chose his inscription. It comes from Robert Louis Stevenson's Requiem, the poem that appears on his own grave in Samoa: Under the wide and starry sky Dig the grave and let me lie: Glad did I live and gladly die, And I laid me down with a will. This be the verse you 'grave for me: Here he lies where he long'd to be; Home is the sailor, home from the sea, And the hunter home from the hill.
Mrs Harrison has contracted the words to read as she wanted them to read. Her husband, after a long career in the army, was lying among his fellow soldiers in the battlefields of France. When relations quoted from this hymn they usually quoted the first three words of the first verse: 'Abide with me', or the last line of the last verse: 'In life in death O Lord abide with me'.
James Dick's parents have quoted from the second verse: Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day; Earth's joys grow dim, its glories pass away; Change and decay in all around I see; O Thou who changest not abide with me! James Dick was a apprentice engineer in Gateshead-on-Tyne when he enlisted in the Durham Light Infantry soon after the outbreak of war.
His medal card shows that he disembarked in France on 20 April He was a private. His military career shows his quality. Over the next two years he was awarded a Military Medal, promoted corporal, then acting sergeant and on 29 May he received a commission. Five months later, almost to the day, he died of wounds in one of the Casualty Clearing Stations at Proven.
He is buried in Mendinghem Military Cemetery. This was one of the humorous names the troops gave to this group of Belgian Casualty Clearing Stations, along with Bandaghem and Dozinghem. The subject of my tweets, blog and books is inscriptions. They come first and the person and their story comes afterwards. What I mean is that I don't look around for a person and then see what their inscription says, it's the other way round. This has led me along some interesting byways from very under age soldiers, men serving under false names, huge family tragedies, examples of incredible fortitude, to suicide and murder.
This inscription has led me nowhere; I could find out even less than I usually can about a soldier and certainly nothing about Lee as a musician. Yet the inscription is one of the most powerful I've come across. This much it says in the War Graves Commission Register but I can't identify him with any certainty in any census. William AJ Lee's medal card does not indicate when he enlisted nor when he arrived in France. We know he served with the 25th Tyneside Irish Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers, that he died of wounds in hospital in Etaples on 3 May and that's it.
Arthur James Lee signed for his son's eloquent inscription - he did well. The words "Don't worry" are in inverted commas, which would suggest that they are the words of the dead man and no, I don't think they mean don't worry that I'm dead because I shall now be alright. I think that brother Edward was fully conscious of the irony of his choice. His brother had gone off to war telling them all not to worry - and look what happened.
Robert Allen had gone off to war in October when he was He had been out at work since he was 14 when he was a door boy in a restaurant. Ernest J Allen was a baker in Battersea and in the family had, Jacob Buss, another baker, living with them. Buss was a naturalised German citizen. There's no indication in the war diary when the wounds might have been received. Edward Wilfred Allen was too young to have served in the war but if you follow up Ernest J Allen, Ernest Jones Allen, he was killed in action on 25 September whilst serving as a driver with the Royal Horse Artillery. Alexander Graham, serving with the 9th Battalion Black Watch, died of gas poisoning in a hospital in Bethune.
The battalion had gone into the front line at Vermelles on 26 April The Germans launched a gas attack on the 27th but the gongs sounded the alert and the men all got their smoke helmets on in good time. Even though the gas was so dense that one could not see more than 8 to 10 feet little harm was done. However, on the 29th the Germans subjected the line to the most intense bombardment using every form of shell including gas shells and lachrymatory shells tear gas. This time casualties were very high probably, it was concluded, because the men had been advised to remove their helmets too soon.
Graham died in hospital the following day. Isabella Graham chose her youngest son's inscription. This poetic translation of the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita, was very popular, especially with Theosophists who were interested in Eastern mysticism. The passage is based on Book 2 "Thou grievest where no grief should be! I have slain a man! I am slain! Life cannot slay. Life is not slain! Never the spirit was born; the spirit shall cease to be never; Never was time it was not; end and beginning are dreams!
Birthless and deathless and changeless remaineth the spirit for ever; Death hath not touched it at all, dead though the house of it seems! William Larkin's sister, Edith, chose his inscription. She was his only living relation their parents having both died by She chose a line from verse 3 of the hymn 'For all the saints'. O may Thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold, Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old And win with them the victor's crown of gold, Alleluia! The siblings had not had an easy life. Father was a groomsman and domestic gardener who died in Their mother was deaf and had been since she was Edith spent two years in the care of the Maidstone Poor Law Union between the ages of five and seven, and aged fourteen was living with her mother's sister.
William doesn't appear in the census but by he was a grocer's assistant in Rottingdean. William Larkin joined the 12th Battalion Sussex Regiment. The battalion were in France by March where they were heavily involved in the Somme campaign. On 8 October they relieved the 14th Battalion in the trenches at Auchonvillers. Enemy retaliated to some extent with TMs and 77 mm shells. Our trenches slightly damaged, but repaired each night.
Enemy appear to have few heavy guns opposite us on this sector. John Tweddell, a stoker, fireman on the railways, embarked from Australia in October to serve with the Australian 1st Field Ambulance. He died of wounds - two fractured lags and laceration of his eye - in the 1st Anzac Main Dressing Station, France, on 6 November His widowed mother chose his inscription and to me it has an echo of the Roman poet Catullus's farewell to his brother.
By ways remote and distant waters sped, Brother, to thy sad grave-side I am come, That I may give the last gifts to the dead, Since she who now bestows and now denies Hath taken thee, hapless brother, from mine eyes. But lo! Hail and Farewell - Ave Atque Vale. Catullus had come a great distance to visit his brother's grave, to salute him and say 'for all time' good-bye'.
Mrs Tweddell sent her inscription from a great distance to say 'for all time' remembrance. It sounds very much like a quotation to me but I can't find it anywhere, only as this inscription. This is Kipling - do you recognise it? If you can keep your head, trust yourself, dream, think This is Kipling's poem 'If', written in Strangely, for all its popularity, I've not come across any reference to the poem in an inscription before. Geoffrey Gidley was the second youngest of George and Annie Gidley's seven children. Some might think he was a man already because he was out at work, as a clerk in a barrister's office, by the time he was 14 in There is no individual mention of his death but the battalion war diary records that, whilst they were being relieved from the front line trenches at Missy au Bois on the 25th, they were subjected to very heavy gas shelling resulting in 9 officers and other ranks being admitted to hospital.
It seems likely that O'Rorke was one of these casualties. There's another version of it that is fairly common as a general 'In Memoriam' inscription: "There came a mist and a blinding rain and life was never the same again". It's a love poem and the quotation comes from the first verse: Alas, how easily things go wrong!
A sigh too much, a kiss too long, And there follows a mist and weeping rain, And life is never the same again. Ralph Hamilton's father signed for his inscription. They were therefore familiar with the land Byron describes: the land of cypress and myrtle of cedar and vine, 'where the flowers ever blossom, the beams ever shine The quotation has an interesting after life. The 'immorality' of his life making him unacceptable to the Abbey authorities. I haven't looked up to see how long the notices kept appearing but it was not until May that Byron got a memorial in Westminster Abbey.
Hamilton's battalion had been brought back from Palestine to meet the German offensive. They had certainly had no experience of gas but the experts sent to train them in fighting with bayonets soon found 'we had not much to learn in that line'. Hamilton was killed on 2 September The battalion successfully attacked across the Canal du Nord when 'murderous machine-gun fire opened up from the left and their rear. In addition to this we were being subjected to very heavy fire on our left flank, which was now completely in the air, and we could actually see their gun teams working the 77's on the crest of the ridge.
The Bosche had paid us the compliment of rushing up his best troops to meet our Division, and certainly the Alpini Corps were most gallant fighters. To advance unsupported was out of the question, and our casualties were by now very heavy, so there was nothing left but to withdraw to the west side of the Canal again and reorganise the remains of the companies. Christian Phillips was born in March His mother died in and his father in leaving him and his older sister and brother, Rachel and Edward, to be brought up by their mother's spinster sisters.
He rejoined his old regiment on the outbreak of war and was in France by 16 January It was a rank he held for ten days. On 10 July the battalion took part in the attack on Mametz Wood and Phillips was killed. Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, The last of life, for which the fire was made: Our times are in His hand Who saith "A whole world I planned, Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid. Mrs Rose Ward's lovely description of the lost past comes from a poem by Frederick W Myers who is better known today as a Spiritualist.
The poem, which doesn't appear to have a title, seems to describe a magical visit to the Lake District near Helvellyn, the memory of which is printed on the poet's mind: Within, without, whate'er hath been, In cosmic deeps the immortal scene Is mirrored and shall last - Live the long looks, the woodland ways. That twilight of enchanted days - The imperishable past. Alfred Ward volunteered soon after the outbreak of war and joined the 61st Field Company Royal Engineers.
His medal index card shows that he went with the regiment to France on 25 May They were based in Belgium - Hooge and Bellewaarde - until the summer of when they moved to the Somme. Ward was killed at Delville Wood where, among all the fighting, the sappers were laying on water supplies, creating tramway trenches, machine gun emplacements and shell-proof shelters.
This has all the hallmarks of a brother's inscription: hearty, blokey and unemotional. And it is a brother's inscription, chosen by William Merrifield's younger brother, Leonard. Their parents were both dead - mother died in , father in and their older sister had died in William Merrifield died on 4 August The war had been over for nearly two years.
Merrifield had served since the outbreak and been in France since 24 June He was 'disembodied' on 15 February ; disembodied is a military term which indicates that Merrifield had been a territorial soldier before the war. The fact that he was disembodied in February would seem to imply that he had survived it unwounded. Yet when he dies in his home town of Newton Abbot just over a year later he is entitled to a military grave. There is no indication as to the cause of Merrifield's death but, if you died before 31 August of any cause where your war service could have been a contributory factor, you were entitled to a war grave.
I said the inscription Leonard chose for his brother was unemotional, but two things: first he chose an inscription, and paid five shillings and sixpence for it, and secondly, he acknowledges his comradeship with his brother. That doesn't come from the use of the word 'Matey' but from the 'Au revoir', the French word for 'good-bye'. Leonard served with the Devonshire Regiment and had been in France since October He was discharged 'Class Z' on 12 November Class Z meant that you were discharged to the reserve and if war broke out again you would be called up.
Ada Green chose her eldest son's inscription, reflecting her own stoical acceptance of the situation. There was nothing she could do except 'smile and wait', wait until her own death when she would meet him in heaven. It was all she had been able to do through the war too. Her husband, also James, an army reservist, rejoined immediately on the outbreak and, if I'm reading his service record correctly, he was in France with the BEF on 24 August