Category Archives: Folkestone

Insanity at #Shorncliffe. #FWW

“May they not take it too seriously! Seein’ as ‘ow the training is all washed out as soon as you turn that narrow street corner at Boulogne, where some watcher with a lantern is always up for English troops arriving, with a “Bon courage” for every man. A year ago today-but that way madness lies.”

(Captain Charles Hamilton Sorley from a letter to the Master of Marlbourgh, in War Letters of Fallen Englishmen, edited by Laurance Houseman, Victor Gollancz Ltd, 1930)

It somewhat surprises me that I can quote from a War Poet, for whenever I’m asked about the War Poets the default answers is “Not a fan”. It is not that I don’t like them. They wrote some of the finest poetry ever written in English. They wrote a lot of crap too, but we won’t dwell on that today. It is just they are shite historians. They are part of the history of the Great War, but they did not write that history. I remember Mr Millinship, one if not the best teacher I ever had reading Dulce et Decorum Est and asking me what I thought of it. Don’t think he was too impressed with my reply, I said something along the lines of. “It took him three years to come up with war is hell. My dad’s a soldier don’t you think I don’t already know that?” I was 11 at the time, an easy going child in a difficult world. Back to Sorley. Sorley was for a time at Shorncliffe but the madness he was writing about was not the madness at Shorncliffe but the madness of war.

Someone who will never be as famous as Owen or Sorley, basically because he wasn’t a War Poet but who dealt with insanity, his own, at Shorncliffe was Private 513212 William Anderson, Canadian Army Service Corps Training Depot. (CASC TD)

William was born in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, England. After serving in the Inniskilling Fusiliers He emigrated to Canada it was here he enlisted at Petawawa, in No.2 CASC TD. he was 37.

William sailed to England on the SS Olympic arriving in England on the 28th December 1916 and is taken on the strength of the CASC TD at Shorncliffe on the 29th. On the 5th May 1917, William was posted to the 7th Reserve Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, (Eastern Ontario Regiment). (PPCLI (EOR). Six months later he is admitted to 44 Casualty Clearing Station suffering from Trench Feet, a condition caused by standing with unprotected or badly protected feet in unsanitary water.  Sent back through the evacuation train to England and the General Military Hospital in Colchester. January 1918 sees William at the Military Convalescent Hospital Epsom and on the 28th at the Manor War Hospital Epsom. May 16th and William is back at Shorncliffe. This time he is at 11 Canadian General Hospital and diagnosed with Dementia Praecox (Schizophrenia). On the 28th May, his diagnoses is changed to Exhaustion Psychosis, which is an abnormal mental state in which the patient is restless, illusional, and has severe communicational problems. At 11:30 pm on the 14th June 1918, William Anderson’s madness ends.

William is buried in Shorncliffe Military Cemetery.

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#Shorncliffe, #Labour_Corps

Recently the Shorncliffe Trust held their annual Light in the Darkest Hour. Hopefully, this years ceremony will encourage people to visit the graves of the Labour Corp in Shorncliffe Military Cemetery. The Closing ceremony was the placing of lanterns at the Chinese Labour Corps graves, (CLC) of which there are six all close together in Shorncliffe Military Cemetery. This was also part of the Big Ideas Company’s Unremembered  (An awful name if they mean “Forgotten” they should just say so.) Project.  Apart from the CLC, there are two men from the South African Native Labour Corps (SANLC) and eleven men from the British Army’s Labour Corps buried in the cemetery.  Photographs of the graves of the SANLC and the Labour Corps men follow.IMG_8384

Piet Malinge of the South African Native Labour Corps. In April 1917 a tented camp was pitched east of Hill Road, Cherry Garden Avenue in Folkestone. Designated the Labour Concentration Camp, it was commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel F. Hopley and could accommodate 2,000 Chinese (Chinese Labour Corps CLC) or South African Native Labourers. (South African Native Labour Corps, SANLC) Opposite on the west side of the road another tented camp was erected. This camp could contain another 2,000 Asian or African Labourers. During the summer of 1917, the CLC built hutments of reinforced concrete and the camp became known as the Cherry Garden Camp. This was really two separate camps with Kitchens and Hospitals. 1,500 men could be housed here. It is likely that Piet was part of the SANLC housed in one of these aforementioned camps. Busalk Mvinjelwa would also have been there.

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Private 331158 H.A. Baker served in the 18th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment before he was transferred to 242nd Works Company Labour Corps.

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Private G/78845 J Baker, 29th Battalion Middlesex Regiment before being transferred to the 389th Home service Employment Company Labour Corps. The 29th (Works) Battalion was formed as a labour battalion hence the (Works) atMill Hill the entire battalion was transferred to the Labour Corps and retitled the 5th Labour Battalion in April 1917. (2)

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Private 76316 R Bedford also served in the 29th Battalion Middlesex Regiment before being transferred to the 389th Home Service Employment Company Labour Corps.

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Private G/78071 George Henry Bloodworth. Another soldier from the 29th Battalion Middlesex Regiment before he was transferred to the 5th Battalion of the Labour Corps. The son of George Henry and Mary Bloodworth of 18 Banstead St Nunhead, London was killed in the Folkestone Air Raid on the 25th May 1917.

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Private 28527 G.W. Graves, the husband of Lilie Gertrude Parkinson (formally Graves) served in the 9th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment before being transferred to the Labour Corps.

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Private 267099 Samuel Beckerleg Hall the son of Mrs Evelina Hall of 21 Church Street, Helston, Cornwall. He served in the 2nd/1st Kent Cyclist Battalion before he was transferred to the 426th Company Labour Corps.

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Private 293210 T Marshall Served in the 2nd/7th Battalion Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) before he was transferred to 342nd Works Company Labour Corps. Marshall died on the 10th November 1918, one day before the war ended.

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Henry Gordon Prince the son of Mrs Charlotte Prince of 3 Evergreens, South Bersted, Bognor, served in the 1st Infantry Labour Company Northamptonshire Regiment.

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Private 37998 A.H. Slater is another soldier who served in the 29th Battalion Middlesex Regiment before being transferred to the 241st Works Company Labour Corps.

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Guardsman 18439 J.W. Taylor served in the Coldstream Guards before being transferred to 437th Company Labour Corps.

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Private 5417 Robert Williams served in the 2nd/6th Battalion Cheshire Regiment before he was transferred to 317th Works Company Labour Corps.

Notes

(1) Soldiers details from the CWGC website.

(2) Details about the 29th Battalion from the Long Long Trail Web site. A website that can not be recommended too highly. If you are even remotely interested in the British Army in the First World War bookmark and use the LongLong Trail website.

 

Annie Spiezer #FWW #WWI #WW1 #Folkestone.

Some of this blog I have posted before. Time has also been spent on working out how to write about Annie. Annie has been hinted at in two previous blogs.  One of London’s spoiled doves and  Annie was one of many, Their stories are seldom told. There are a part of the history of war, just as Annie is a part of Lewis Gedalovitch’s story.

Private 557540 Lewis Gedalovitch

Labour Corps

Lewis Gedalovitch a Russian subject and a Registered Alien. A barber by trade, married Annie Spiezer in the last quarter of December 1915, although his service record gives the date of the marriage as 25th May 1916.

He is brought under escort to enlist on the 21st September 1917, and is called up to serve on the 13th June 1918. Ten days later he is posted to the 8th Labour Battalion. Then, on the 15th July to 102nd Labour Company at Sevenoaks. Posted overseas he embarks from Folkestone on the 4th August 1918 arriving in Boulogne on the same day. Like the wives of all married soldiers Annie is granted a Separation Allowance. This allowance is stopped in August. Form F.S.A. 6 from the Ministry of Pensions dated August 1918, divulges the reason as follows

Sir, I am directed by the Special Grants Committee to inform you that, no further issue of Separation Allowance will be made to Mrs Annie Gedalovitch 12 Saville Street, Tottenham Court Road, the wife of No. 557540 Pte Lewis Gedalovitch, Labour Corps, on account of her conviction on August 15th of being a common prostitute.”

There is a follow up letter in Gedalovitch’s records from the Ministry of pensions dated October 1918. The following is taken from this letter,

…the stoppage of the Separation Allowance was authorised on evidence which satisfied the Special Grants Committee the the woman is unworthy…”

He is granted two weeks leave back to the UK on the 5th October. Before he could return Gedalovitch is admitted to Endell Military Hospital. His leave is extended to the 25th October. Gedalovitch again spends time in hospital. This time from 21st December, rejoining his company on the 11th January 1919. In March he is again sent to Hospital. Posted to the clearing Office on the 23th March 1919. he returns to the UK the following day. The 20th April sees him posted to the 9th Russian Labour Battalion. Gedalovitch was punished by being confined to barracks for three days the first time On the 24th April, the second on the 22nd May. Both times for brief periods of absence. Gedalovitch was punished by being confined to barracks for three days the first time On the 24th April, the second on the 22nd May. Both times for brief periods of absence. While operating a bread cutting machine he cuts off the tip of his left thumb and is admitted to hospital for 24 days on the 30th June 1919.1 He is discharged from A company 9th Russian Labour Battalion on the 1st November 1919 being no longer physically fit for war service.2

He is awarded the British War Medal, The Victory Medal, and the Silver War Badge. 3

1920 Lewis Gedalovitch petitioned for divorce.4

1 Lewis Gedalovitch Pension Record.

2Lewis Gedalovitch Service Record additional details from Pension Record.

3 Medal Card

4 National archives web site.

Notes on crossing from #Folkestone #FWW, #WWI

The 11th Engineers Regiment (Railway) crossed to France from Folkestone in August 1917. Two soldiers from the regiment, Sergeant Matthew Calderwood and Private William Branigan became the first American Army casualties on the Western Front during the First World War. The 11th were working on the railway near Cambrai on the 5th September 1917, when they came under shell fire.  For his part in an action on the 30th November 1917, Lieutenant McCloud of the 11th received the British Military Cross. (1)

Also in August 1917, James McCudden crossed to Boulogne on the SS Victoria. He was to die in a flying accident in July 1918. James was probably the most highly decorated British Ace. He was awarded the Victoria Cross, Distinguished Service Order and Bar, Military Cross and Bar, Military Medal, and the French Croix de Guerre.

At the beginning of August 1918, Lewis Gedalovitch crosses to France from Folkestone. Lewis a Russian subject and a registered alien. Brought under escort to enlist in September 1917, he is called up in June 1918 to serve in the Labour Corps. Just over a year later while serving in the 9th Russian Labour Battalion in 1919, he accidentally cuts off the top of his left thumb. On the 1st of November 1919, he is discharged as being no longer physically fit for war service.

…and a crossing from Boulogne to Folkestone. Not known when exactly this soldier crossed to France, nor when she returned.  Two reasons she deserves a mention though. She was in the trenches, and in her memoirs of the First World War, she mentions the Folkestone Harbour Canteen.  Her name is Dorothy Lawrence. Dorothy desperately wanted to be a journalist and by guile and subterfuge joined a Royal Engineers Tunneling Company at Albert in 1915.

1.http://www.webmatters.net/france/ww1_cambrai_us.htm

#Folkestone #Canadians #FWW #WW1

Currently in Folkestone at the museum is an exhibit about the Canadians in Folkestone during the First World War. Put together by students from various educational establishments in the town with help from Gateways, University of Kent and others. Well with a visit, despite a few dodgy lines of script on one of the display panels.

Some Eighteen or so, Canadian units(1) crossed directly from Folkestone in the First World War, the rest went mostly via Southampton. Ranging from the Royal Canadian Dragoons through Artillery Batteries to Infantry, no horses or heavy equipment, the men carrying only personal kit which included their rifles.

The first Canadian unit to cross was the Royal Canadian Dragoons on the 4th May 1915. They were to serve mostly unmounted not receiving the last of their horses until March 1916.

One of the soldiers who crossed with the Royal Canadian Dragoons had the service number “1” He was No.1 W.O. (Warrant Officer) (Regimental Sergeant Major Dore. Canada’s most senior soldier, as opposed to “Officer”

George William Dore was born at Dennis Park, Stourbridge Worcestershire, England on the 12th October 1872. On the 21st September 1894, he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Dragoons (RCD) as No.633 Private Dore. It is possible that he served with the RCD in the Yukon Territory during the Goldrush and also with them during the wars in South Africa. He rose steadily up through the ranks and re-engaged at three yearly intervals. On the 24th September 1914, he attested into the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force as No.1, Regimental Quarter Master Sargeant George William Dore. He was 42 years and 10 months old. This was also the date he embarked for Europe. The first stop for the RCD was England and they were to remain here until they embarked to France from Folkestone on the 4th May 1915. George was not long in France when he fell and sprained his back. He returned to England on the Hospital Ship “St Andrew” landing at Southampton on the 20th May 1915. From Southampton, he was sent by Ambulance Train to the 1st N (Canadian?) Hospital in Newcastle. He was to remain here until he returned to his unit via Le Havre on the 20th November 1915. On the 18th June 1917 during an authorised leave of absence, he was promoted to Warrant Officer Class 1. The next year on the 29th June 1918 he returned to Canada on furlough he was due to return to France but the Army decided he was to remain in Toronto. On Christmas Eve 1924 while carrying two parcels he slips and fell on the steps of his family home, 279 Westmorland Avenue, Toronto. This fall resulted in the fracture of his right leg and ended his military career. On the 30th April 1925, he was discharged from the Canadian Army. The next day, the 1st May 1915 a Board of Officers met to verify the service towards pension and Conduct of No.1 Regimental Sergeant Major George William Dore, Royal Canadian Dragoons. They verified his service as

RCD 21st September 1894 to 20 years 3 Days
23rd September 1914
CEF 24th September 1914 to 4years 216 Days
29th April 1919
RCD 30th April 1919 to 6 years 1 Day
30th April 1925
He was discharged aged 52 years and 6 months. His service record states on discharge that he has;
Good knowledge of horses and horsemanship, accountancy and clerical work. Sober Reliable and Meticulous, a strict disciplinarian.”
He was awarded the !914-1915 Star, the General Service Medal, the Victory Medal, and the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal. George William Gore died on the 3rd June 1948.(2)

1.Soldiers from other Canadian units also crossed from Folkestone, but the 18 units crossed as a Battalion/Battery/Regiment, not as drafts or individuals.

2.Information gained from the Service Records of George William Dore.

 

 

From #Folkestone July 1915.

July 1915 was a busy month down at the harbour. I have a long list of the units,  and the dates they crossed from Folkestone in the draw. Lack of funding has more or less brought research into the embarkation of Units and soldiers to a halt. More soldiers do get added to the list most days but…. Anyhow I will continue to publish some of these soldiers as and when. These two soldiers both crossed to France from Folkestone on the same day, 9th July 1915. The first died from his wounds in 1927.  The second killed in action in September 1915.

7No. 10618 Lance Corporal Duncan Begg Mackintosh

7th Battalion Queens Own Cameron Highlanders,

Highland Light Infantry, and the Black Watch (Royal Highlanders)

Died of Wounds 21st June 1927.

Duncan Mackintosh was born in Grantown-on-Spey on the 19th November 1883. He was the eldest surviving son of Peter and Margaret Mackintosh of Rosemont, Grantown-on-Spey. Duncan enlisted in Inverness during October 1914 and joined the 7th Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders in Glasgow. He arrived in France with the battalion on the 8th July 1915. Duncan took part in the Battle of Loos in 1915 where on the 25th September 1915 he was wounded in the shoulder. After his recovery, Duncan went on to serve in Mesopotamia, now modern-day Iraq. He was reported in the Strathspey Herald, as being dangerously ill, on the 1st June 1916. During the Battle of San-I-Yat a bullet entered his left lung and exited through his spine. After a tiring journey by boat down the river Tigres he was transported by Hospital Ship to Bombay in India. Here he lost his left lung. Eventually, Duncan returned to Scotland and married Mary Robertson. They lived at 5 Kings Street Coatbridge. Duncan worked as a Master Watchmaker. Eleven years after being shot Duncan Begg Mackintosh died on the 21st June 1927. His death certificate records that he died from “Gunshot Wounds” On the Family Memorial in Inverallan burial ground Duncan is commemorated as “Dying from the effects of wounds received in 1917.” Duncan was awarded the 1915 Star, British War Medal, the Victory Medal, and the Silver War Badge. 8 9

S/6523 John Lawson, “C” Company 8th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders. (Ross-shire Buffs, the Duke of Albany’s)

Killed in action 25th September 1915

John was born in Paisley son of Mr and Mrs L Lawson of Achnahannet Grantown-on-Spey. A brother of Lewis Lawson of 13 South Street Grantown-on-Spey. He worked as a railway porter at Knockando. Arriving in France on the 8th July 1915 he was killed in action on the 25th September. His grave is now lost. He is commemorated on the Loos Memorial, Grammar School Memorial in Grantown-on-Spey and on the Grantown-on-Spey War Memorial.

He fell where fall the dying brave,

Among the noble slain,

Nor Kindly love nor tender care

Could light that couch of pain.

Nor loving hands may kindly tend,

The sod above his breast,

But tender thoughts will ever haunt,

His far off place of rest.

(in Memorium, Strathspey Herald, 27th September 1917 and 26th September 1918)10

John Lawson was awarded the 1915 Star, War Medal, and the Victory Medal.

7 Information reproduced with slight editing, from Poppies from the Heart of Strathspey by, Peter Anderson, 2010

8 Morayshire Roll of Honour 1914-1918

9 Poppies from the Heart of Strathspey, Peter Anderson, 2010.

10Page 60, Poppies from the Heart of Strathspey, Peter Anderson 2010

3 Days in September 1915, 3 soldiers who crossed from #Folkestone.

20th  September 1915


Private 17324 Francis George Miles V.C.. 1/5th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment.

Francis Miles first crossed to France as a private with the 9th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment, leaving Folkestone on the 20th September 1915. Francis was wounded and sent back to England to recover. After his recovery he was posted to the 1/5th Battalion The Gloucestershire Regiment. Francis served with the battalion in Italy. In September 1918 the 1/5th Battalion left the 48th Division in Italy and joined the 25th Division on the Western Front. It was here on the 23rd October 1918 Private F. G. Miles took part in the action for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross. The citation as recorded in, “The 25th Division in France and Flanders” by Lieut-Col. M. Kincaid-Smith, page 391 reads.

The courage, initiative and entire disregard of personal safety shown by this very gallant private soldier, was entirely instrumental in enabling his company to advance at a time when any delay would have seriously jeopardised the whole operation in which it was engaged.

Awarded……….V.C.

Tuesday 21st September 1915

Private 16331 Percival Absolon, 11th (Service) Battalion the Worcestershire Regiment.

 Percival attested in September 1914 crossing to France just over a year later. In 1916 he embarked from France to Salonica were he would be wounded in action. Percival survived the war.17

Wednesday 22nd September 1915

Captain John Macgregor V.C., M.C and Bar. D.C.M.

2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles

Born in Cawdor, in Nairnshire Scotland John Macgregor would have made a worthy thane. His mother still lived at Newlands of Murchang, Cawdor, when John served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Prior to the war He had emigrated to Canada where he worked as a carpenter.20

Macgregor was awarded the D.C.M. For an action on the 8th April 1917 during the preliminaries to the Battle of Vimy. 21

The citation for his Distinguished Conduct Medal (awarded when John was a Sergeant) reads:

116031 Sjt. J. MacGregor, Mounted Rifles. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He single-handed captured an enemy machine gun and shot the crew, thereby undoubtedly saving his company from many casualties.

(Supplement 30204 to The London Gazette 24 July 1917 page 7663)

(Supplement 30845 to The London Gazette, 13 August 1918, page 9569.)

John was awarded his Military Cross for two reconnaissance missions on the 28th December 1917, and for his part in a trench raid on the 12th January 1918. 22

The Citation for his Military Cross reads:

Lt. John Macgregor, D.C.M., Mtd. Rif. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. Whilst he was assembling his men prior to a raid, the enemy bombed the trench. He, however, changing his point of attack, led his men over the wire into the enemy’s trench, and successfully dealt with the garrison of the trench and three concrete dug-outs, himself capturing one prisoner. He then withdrew his party and his prisoner successfully to our trenches. Before the raid, he, together with a serjeant, had made several skilful and daring reconnaissance along the enemy wire, which materially assisted in the success of the enterprise.

The citation for the award of the Victoria Cross:

T./Capt. John MacGregor, M.C., D.C.M., 2nd C.M.R. Bn., 1st Central Ontario Regiment. For most conspicuous bravery, leadership and self-sacrificing devotion to duty near Cambrai from 29th September to 3rd October 1918. He led his company under intense fire, and when the advance was checked by machine guns, although wounded, pushed on and located the enemy guns. He then ran forward in broad daylight, in face of heavy fire from all directions, and. with rifle and bayonet, single-handed, put the enemy crews out of action, killing four and taking eight prisoners. His prompt action saved many casualties and enabled the advance to continue. After reorganising his command under heavy fire he rendered most useful support to neighbouring troops. When the enemy were showing stubborn resistance, he went along the line regardless of danger, organised the platoons, took command of the leading waves, and continued the advance. Later, after a personal daylight reconnaissance under heavy fire, he established his company in Neuville St. Remy, thereby greatly assisting the 

advance into Tilloy. Throughout the operations Capt. MacGregor displayed magnificent bravery and heroic leadership.

(The Edinburgh Gazette .10 January 1919, No. 13384 page 200) 23

The citation for the bar to his Military Cross reads:

For conspicuous gallantry and leadership from 5th to 8th November 1918, at Quievrain and Quievrechain. Through his initiative, the bridges over the Honnelle River were secured. His personal reconnoissances and the information he derived from them were of great use to his commanding officer. His prompt action in seizing the crossings over the river did much -towards the final rout of the enemy.

(Supplement 31680 to the London Gazette, 9 December 1919, page15312)

John Macgregor died in British Columbia on the 9th June 1952.

This blog is an extract from notesI am compiling about the soldiers who crossed from Folkestone to France 1915-1919.

 Miles,  from VC.org.

17 Percival Absolon’s Army Pension Records.

20 John Macgregor’s Service Record.