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Four in April. Folkestone Embarkations. #FWW.

All of the four men in this blog embarked from Folkestone during the First World War. Each little biography dates from a different year. There is one from each year soldiers embarked from Folkestone. The only other connection is the month of April.

William Holland may have been the first soldier who embarked from Folkestone to die on the Western Front.

No. 2245 Private William Holland
Killed in Action 8th April 1915

The entry for the 8th April 1915 in the 1st Buckinghamshire, Battalion Oxford shire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, gives the location of it’s companies undergoing training by 12th Brigade 4th Division. A company is undergoing instruction, that night, by the 2nd Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers. B Company, by the 2nd Battalion the Monmouthshire Regiment. C Company by the 2nd Battalion the Essex Regiment. D Company by the 1st Battalion the King’s Own (Lancashire) Regiment in billets and the Royal Engineers in the rear trenches. One man, in D Company, is recorded as being wounded and dying later of his wounds.
There is only one man from the 1st/1st Buckinghamshire Battalion Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry recorded by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as dying that day. He is Private William Holland. William Holland is also thought to be the first soldier who crossed from Folkestone to die on the Western Front in the Great War.. He was the son of Charles and Ann Jemima Holland of 13 Chicheley Street Newport Pagnell Buckinghamshire. Private William Holland is buried in strand Military Cemetery, south of Leper (Ypres), and commemorated on the Newport Pagnell War Memorial. He was awarded the 1914 Star, British War Medal, and the Victory Medal.

Embarked at Folkestone on the 10th April 1916.

Private 27752 James Grant, Royal Scots. James was born at 13 South Street, Grantown-on-Spey, on the 17th June 1886. He worked as a mason. He enlisted on the 7th January 1916. James was part of 15th Reinforcements for the 11th Battalion Royal Scots. While at 9 Infantry Base Depot he is awarded 14 days Field Punishment No.1 and forfeits two days pay for being absent from draft. Joins the (11th?) battalion in the field on the 20th May. Under arrest from the 16th September to the 1st October. He is sentence to two years Hard Labour for using insubordinate language to a superior officer and striking a person in whose custody he was. placed. Sentence suspended by General Officer Commanding 4th Army on the 13th October.. Admitted to 45 casualty Clearing Station on the 18th October with pyrexia of unknown origin. Because of this he is transferred back to England in November. He returns to France in April 1917 as part of the 67th Reinforcement draft to the 2nd Battalion Royal Scots. 3rd May he is wounded in action. Under arrest from 25th August to the 3rd September. On the 4th, he is tried by Field General Courts Martial for a Civil Offence. “That is to say, shooting with intent to do grievous bodily harm feloniously unlawfully discharging a loaded rifle.” He is sentenced to two years Hard Labour. Taken to Prison on the 30th. On the 24th September 1918 he is released and rejoins his battalion. The balance of his sentence suspended. Wounded in action a few days later on the 28th. James the son of William and Jane Grant died of wounds on the 18th October 1918. He is buried at Les Baraques Military Cemetery, Sangatte, Pas de Calais, France. His death was reported in the Strathspey Herald on the 24th October 1918. (as reproduced in Poppies from the Heart of Strathspey)
“Died of Wounds”
“ Mr Wm Grant, mason, South Street, is mourning the loss of another member of his family, his eldest son James, who was in the Royal Scots, having succumbed to wounds. A brother was previously killed in action, another was recently discharged from the Army and the youngest son serving in the Navy. Mr Grant’s son-in-law, Private W. Little, Canadians is reportedly killed in action.”


Embarked on April 5th 1917

Private 2893 Robert Alexander Gamble, Australian Imperial Force. Part of 7th Reinforcements 60th Battalion. Joined 5th Australian Division Base Depot at Etaples on the 7th. Taken on strength 60 Battalion in the Field on the 15th, Born in Washington, USA. Roberts parents are Alexander John and Margaret Jane Gamble, of “Ellersley,” Queen St., Concord West, Sydney, Australia. He is regarded as a Native of Inverell in New South Wales. He enlists on the 25th September 1916. Robert embarks from Sydney on the A19 “Afric” on the 3rd November 1916. Arriving at Plymouth England on the 9th January 1917 and joins the 15th Training Battalion at Hurdcott. While on board ship he is charged with stealing bread and given 7 Days detention. Shortly after joining the 15th Training Battalion he hesitates to obey an order from a NCO and forfeits 4 days pay. After joining the 60th Battalion in July 1917, Robert attend a Pigeon Course for three days. He is wounded in the left leg and right arm on the 25th September and dies of wounds on the 26th. Robert Alexander Gamble is buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium. The epitaph on his gravestone reads.

Embarked 5th April 1918.

Charles Edward Ibbetson
West Yorkshire Regiment

Charles Edward Ibbetson attested just before his 18th birthday on the 7th August 1917. At first he is posted to the reserves and not mobilised until the 13th September 1917. arriving at the 6th Young soldier Battalion at Rugely. On his Army Form B 103 this is recorded as “Posted to 6th T.R.B. Rugely” At Brocton he is transferred to the 51st Graduated Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment, on the 11th February 1918. He is posted to France and embarks from Folkestone on the 5th April 1918. His first week in France is at “E” Infantry Brigade Depot, Etaples. Posted to the 8th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment he joins them in the Field on the 13th. On the 28th July Charles is wounded in action, a Shot Gun Wound to the right thigh. At first he is admitted to 48 Casualty Clearing Station From there he is sent to 8 General Hospital and on the 17th August back to England. Charles Edward Ibbetson is discharged as “No Longer Physically Fit for War Service” on the 28th February 1919.


Australians with American connections who embarked from Folkestone 28th Dec 1916 and 14th May 1917

From my notes with the aim of letter some friends know about the brothers Hass. The dates are the date on which they embarked at Folkestone.

28th December 1916

Private 2166A Charles Lathorp Gray, ex-4th Reinforcements/48th Battalion Australian Infantry, Australian Imperial Force. Crosses to Boulogne on the SS Princess Clementine. He arrives at 4th Australian Division Base Depot the next day. Taken on the Strength of 48th Battalion on the 16th February 1917. Born in Ithica, USA Charles enlisted at Adelaide, Australia on the 27th April 1916. Wounded in action in April 1917. He is medically discharged from the Australian Imperial Force on the 14th January 1918.

Corporal 2517 Walter Theodor Hass, 48th Battalion Australian Infantry, Australian Imperial Force. He is killed in action 12th October, Aged 21. His brother Albert crossed to France from Folkestone on the 14th May 1917.

14th May 1917

Private 3156 Earle Nelson Gates, ex 15th Training Battalion, Australian Imperial Force. Taken on Strength 57th Battalion ex 8th Reinforcements/57th Battalion. Born in Allegahanny City, Pennsylvania USA, enlisted in Broadmeadows, Victoria, Australia on the 17th October 1916.

Private 6948 Albert Fred Hass, ex 3rd Training Battalion, 10th Battalion. Australian Infantry, Australian Imperial Force. The son of Peter Heinrich Hass, of Peterborough, South Australia, and the late Lisette Hass (nee Lohmann). Born in Greenville, Wisconsin, U.S.A. He was killed in action between the 20th and 21st September, Aged 24. and has no known grave. His brother, Walter Theodor Hass also of the Australian Imperial Force was also killed in action. Both have no known grave and are commemorated on the Menin Gate.
They are the sons of Peter Heinrich Hass, of Peterborough, South Australia, and the late Lisette Hass (nee Lohmann). Both were born in Greenville, Wisconsin, USA..

Private 6785 John Charles Marchant, ex 2nd Training Battalion, Australian Imperial Force, he arrived at 1st Australian Division Base Depot the following day. Taken on Strength by 7th Battalion ex 22nd Reserves/7th Battalion on the 28th May. He is killed in action on the 4th October 1917 during an attack on Broodsiende Ridge near Zonnebeke. It is believed that 1st Divisional Burial Party, buried him. His grave can not be found and he is commemorated on the Menin Gate. John’s widow Mrs. Q. U. M. Marchant, lived at 822, Prarie Avenue, Wilmette, Illinois, U.S.A.

Evacuation by Air of Wounded Soldiers reblog from 2014

Scarce heard among the guns. (Blogs about WW1)

Medivac, or Medevac, is now common and, those of my generation or older well remember the opening sequence of the film MASH and, or at least the TV spin-off. For those who are younger http://vimeo.com/57248653. I was not going to mention but not only the best films, but we went to see the best bands too. We have all seen scenes of helicopters evacuating wounded soldiers from Afghanistan, medivac has been part and parcel of military operations since the Korean War,…and earlier.
The first recorded evacuation by air, of a wounded British soldier from the frontline happened at Bir el Hassana on the 17 February 1917. A Lance corporal had injured his ankle. the unit had come under fire from Bedouin Arabs. unable to ride a camel and too far from a casualty clearing stations something else had to be devised or the lance corporal would surely die. When…

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American Shot by Indians, in Singapore. #FWW #WW1 Feb15

Scarce heard among the guns. (Blogs about WW1)

I have no idea who the first American to be killed in the First World War was. Moira Maclean was killed on the 15th of February 1915. Those who keep such things can add Moira to the List. Moira is not listed in The Foreign Burials of American War Dead by Chris Dickon, so that would be a good place to start.

Moira was born in Colorado City, Texas in 1885. Schooled in England at Oundle School  Moira joined the Indian Army in 1900 and served in India for 13 years.  In 1913 now Captain Maclean is placed in command of the Mountain Battery, Malay States Guides. A unit that consists of Sikhs, Pathans, and Punjabi Muslims. They are based in Singapore at Tanglin Barracks. The 5th Light Infantry Regiment of the Indian Army arrives in Singapore in October 1914. Half of the 5th had mutinied during the Indian Mutiny. On the 15th…

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Mrs Reid and the Tanks in Glasgow 1919

Glasgow, January 27th-31st 1919

Scarce heard among the guns. (Blogs about WW1)

The names of heroines of the First World War that are remembered are few, Cavell, Higbee, Rankin, Sandes spring to mind. With prodding, I can come up with quite a few more, Inglis, Moreau-Evrard… prodding me while I’m drinking tea though could start the Third World War so it is not to be contemplated.There is another that I am going to mention. Her name is Mrs Reid.

When the “Battle of George Square” in Glasgow 31 January 1919 is discussed the names of William Gallacher, Kirkwood, Manny Shinwell, and Britain’s only true Communist revolutionary John Maclean, the others were “Parliamentarians” are mentioned, but rarely is Mrs Reid.

So who is Mrs Reid, and why should she be remembered? Apart from a friend of the men mentioned I know one thing about Mrs Reid. She had a flag.

In January 1919 lots of people in the UK had flags, mostly Union Flags…

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2018, that was the year that was. #Folkestone.

Not going to write another blog this year. Thank you all for reading them. It has been a good year.

What to look forward to in this blog in 2019? More on Folkestone Old Cemetery. The once and the still hidden graves in Shorncliffe. More on the Canadians. More on the Americans. Yes there will be one or two well perhaps another 30 blogs on those who embarked from Folkestone. There will also be the oh heck. I ‘ill just blog about this moments.

Thanks again. All the best for 2019.

P.S. If you are in or near Folkestone and want me to share my research. It needs editing, volunteers welcome.


Home by Christmas #FWW

The following all have a connection to the 22nd December. All but one returns home.

Private Samuel Watson 5th Reserve Regiment of Cavalry, joined 20 Infantry Base Depot the following day. Transferred to the Royal Scots and posted to the 17th Battalion Roll on the 22nd December 1916 with the number 40660. He is then posted to the 13th Battalion, also on the 22nd December 1916. (yep two battalions on the one day.)

Embarked from Folkestone on the 22nd December 1916. Private 28401 Peter Anderson,(not me) Durham Light Infantry. On arrival at Boulogne Peter was stationed at 35 Infantry Base depot. From here, the next day, he is posted to the 20th Battalion Durham Light Infantry. A fortnight later Peter is again posted this time to the 14th Battalion. He is reported missing presumed killed on the 20th April 1917 and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial to the Missing.

Embarked from Folkestone in June 1917. Corporal 7227 Alexander James Dean ex-4th Training Battalion Now 24th Reinforcements for 15th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force. Born in Advie, Scotland, Alexander had settled in Australia where he was married with 5 children. He decided to enlist on the 3rd August 1916. Twice wounded in July 1917, the second time self inflicted. Alexander is discharged from the Australian Imperial Force because of defective vision on the 22nd December 1917

Embarked from Folkestone on the 7th December 1917. Private 34595 Thomas George Waller, 3rd Battalion Essex Regiment. Not the first time Thomas has crossed to France. He had crossed on the 22nd December 1916, and before joining the 9th Battalion had joined 15 Infantry Base Depot. Indicating a possible crossing from Folkestone then. This time Thomas arrived at 15 Infantry Base Depot the next day, 8th December 1917. Posted to the 1st Battalion Essex Regiment. Thomas joins them in the Field on the 15th December.

Private 3/11414 William Merral West, Leicestershire Regiment. William enlisted in June 1914 and had already served in France. The first time he joined the 1st Battalion in the field on the 28th April 1915. After becoming sick in June 1915 he was transferred to the 8th Entrenching Battalion. Gassed in August 1915, and admitted to 18 Field Ambulance in December 1915 he was transferred back to England on the 5th January 1916. He is now returning to the front. He joins 12 Infantry Base Depot on the 22nd December 1916 and is posted to the 1st Battalion Leicester Regiment. He joins them in the field on the 9th January. Appointed paid Lance Corporal in May 1917. He will be wounded in action on the 13th March 1918. Gun shot wound to the face, chest, arms and legs, and his left leg fractured. Relinquishing his lance rank on admission to hospital. Transferred back to England on the Hospital Ship Causebrook Castle on the 7th April. He is discharged on the 13th February 1919, No Longer Fit For War Service.

Embarked on the 22nd December 1917. Private 50731 Andrew Buchan Watson, Royal Scots, he joined Scots Base Depot the following day. Posted to 17th Battalion Royal Scots he joins the Battalion in the Field on the 27th December. Wounded in action, gun shot wound to the back and neck on the 6th February 1918. He returns to duty on the 11th March and is wounded in action for the second time on the 24th March.

2nd Lieutenant W. G. R. Murphy
(Chinese) Labour Corps

William Murphy was born in the Parish of Northwood on the Isle of Wight. His father was a Scot from Edinburgh. On his attestation papers his nationality would be listed as “English”. Educated at Northwood and Newport William moved to Shanghai and worked as a Merchant’s assistant in a firm of importers. At Shanghai William and his wife settled down as ex-pats. After the outbreak of war in 1915 William joined the Shanghai volunteers. He remained a member of the volunteers for 2 years before he crossed to Canada on the 22nd December 1916, at his own expense, and attested in the Canadian Army Service Corps in the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force at Vancouver, British Columbia on the 25th January 1917. After basic training in Canada Private W. G. R.. Murphy No. 200222 was posted to Shorncliffe, near Folkestone. Here on the 4h August 1917, William applied for a Commission in the Chinese Labour Corps. On his letter of application he listed his qualifications as follows:

“5 1/2 years business experience in
Shanghai during which period I
personally supervised a large
staff of native workpeople.

2 years Shanghai Military Vol-
unteers through which I frequently
worked with the native company both
on Parades and in camps.

I have a fair knowledge of Mandarin
and am conversant with the best methods
of producing results from these people.”

His certificate of recommendation was signed by Major General steel who was the Major General Commanding Troops, Shorncliffe, on the 17th August 1917. The Certificate of Nomination to a Particular Unit was signed by the Officer in Charge, Chinese Section, Labour Concentration Camp, Folkestone. Upon acceptance William Murphy was to be discharged from the Canadian Expeditionary Force enabling William to take up his commission. He was appointed temporary Second Lieutenant on the General List for employment with the Chinese Labour corps with effect from the 7th of September 1917, and was struck off the strength of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada on his Commission in the Imperial Army on the 8th September 1917. 2nd Lt W. G. R. Murphy first crossed to Boulogne, on the 26th of September 1917, when he was posted to Labour Corps Base Depot at Boulogne. On the 18th December 1917, while at Aberville, William was admitted to hospital with Bronchitis. A long standing perforation of the tympanic membrane, not caused by shell shock was also diagnosed. He was granted leave to an Officer’s Hospital from the 29th December 1917 until the 4th March 1918. He embarked from Le Havre on the 29th of December and disembarked at Southampton on the 30th December 1917. William survived the war and was released from service on the 31st May 1919 and relinquish his commission. He was to retain the rank of Lieutenant. William’s claim for travel expenses, presumably, from and to Shanghai, was deemed time barred in 1919.

There be ‘orces at Shorncliffe #FWW

This is a reminder to myself.

  1. Don’t get hooked up on the one type of horse.
  2. There were light draft horses
  3. Heavy draft horses
  4. Cavalry Horses
  5. Pack horses

All at Shorncliffe.

The Veterinary Hospital at Shorncliffe was No.2 Canadian Veterinary Hospital. So it is fairly safe to assume there was a No.1 somewhere. Le Havre?

Most horses for the Canadians came from the remount centre at Swaythling rather than the remount Centre (Temporary) at Shorncliffe.  Most likely because it was logistically easier to embark large numbers of animals from Southampton. (Double the number of high tides of any other port in the UK, Deep water port, larger docks, etc)

More Horses were killed during the Zeppelin bombing of Otterpool Camp in 1915 than soldiers. The horses were probably rendered rather than buried.

No horses as far as I am aware embarked on ships from Folkestone. The horses from Shorncliffe went to Southampton.

The Canadian Mounted Rifles fought as unmounted infantry. (as far as I am aware)

what else, I know. Ah, They don’t taste like chicken. The horses that is, Infantry taste like pork.