Category Archives: Heroes

Americans and others #Folkestone May 1917 #FWW

It is known that Americans went to France during the First World War long before America officially joined the fray in April 1917. The American people very often do the right thing long before the American Government gets around to it. Clarence V. Mitchell an American who went to be a volunteer Ambulance Driver. He wrote, With a Military Ambulance in France, which is a collection of letters he sent to his parents. Crossed to France on the SS Sussex in October 1914. Richard Norton the founder of the American Volunteer Motor-Ambulance Corps, also known as the Norton-Harjes Ambulance Corps also crossed from Folkestone in October 1914. At the end of May 1917 America was in the war as an Associate Power fighting along side the British and French.
One of the first US military organisations to embark from Folkestone after the declaration of war was the United States Military Railway Commission to England and France. The commission had travelled down to Folkestone from London by rail and crossed to Boulogne on the SS London. The following day the Commission continued their journey to Paris by motor car. One of the first US Army units to go to France via Folkestone was, No.5 Base Hospital US Army. Not yet known if they went directly to the harbour or if they spent sometime in one of the rest camps. Both the Commission and No.5 Base Hospital crossed towards the end of May.

Soldiers with an American connection who embarked from Folkestone during May include:

Lance-Sergeant 1145 George Joseph Richard Brown M.M., 28th Infantry Battalion, Australian Imperial Force. Returning to the front after being wounded. George joins the Australian General Base Depot the following day. Marched out to 3rd Australian Division Artillery, Rouillers, on the 2nd June. He is taken on Strength, Division Trench Mortars, 6th June. Transferred to, and taken on strength of 28th Infantry Battalion on the 10th August. George is killed in Action on the 4th October 1917. George was the son of George and Mary Brown, born in Concord, Northampshire, USA. He was married to Alice Oliver Brown who lived at, 129 Brighton Road, Surbiton. His Military Medal was Gazetted on the 27th October 1916:
“HIS MAJESTY THE KING has been graciously pleased to award the Military Medal for bravery in the Field to the undermentioned non-commissioned officer:- No. 1145 Corporal GEORGE JOSEPH RICHARD BROWN.” He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Menin Gate.

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 and also has no known grave. Both are commemorated on the Menin Gate. Walter also embarked from Folkestone but not in May 1917.

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.

Other non American or Australian Units and men that crossed from Folkestone in May 1917 include man from an Artillery Brigade.
Mamiel Vincent Uzzell, farm carter and ploughman, he worked with his farther at Lower Barn Farm, Chaddleworth before his enlistment. He enlisted in the Royal Berkshire Regiment on the 12th February 1916. He is posted to the 3rd Reserve Battalion 20th January 1917. After training he is sent to France on the 7th May. The first eleven days in France are spent with 46 Infantry Brigade Depot before being posted to the 1st Battalion. Uzzell is reported missing on the 30th November 1917. He was most likely captured by the Germans on either the 29th or 30th . On the 29th the 1st Battalion is west of Bourlon Wood during an advance of 200 yards by C Company. The next day from about 8:45 am the, Sugar Factory where the Headquarters of 1st Battalion is the centre of a box barrage. During the barrage the Germans attacked the rest of the Battalion along the line Bourlon Villiage Quarry Wood. The attempted breakthrough is stopped by a combination of artillery and Machine Gunfire. Although the Germans continue attacks on the battalion all through the afternoon. For Uzzell the war is over. He is to spend the rest of it as a Prisoner of War. It is not until the 10th December 1918 that he is repatriated to. It will be another 10 months before he is demobilised and transferred to the reserves an the 12th October 1919. Mamiel Vincent Uzzell is awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal

 

Private 90681 Alfred Babbage, Machine Gun Corps. Alfred lived in. Dartford. He first enlisted in the 22nd Battalion London Regiment on the 2nd June 1915. He was then discharged on the 21st January as being “Not likely to make an efficient soldier. On the 18th December 1916 Alfred Babbage is enlisted into the Machine Gun Corps. He is 21 years old. At first he is posted to the Rifle Depot in Winchester. Two months later he is posted to the 5th Battalion Rifle Brigade. A year later on the 3rd April 1917 he is transferred to the Machine Gun Corps. Following this he is posted to France and embarks from Folkestone on the 26th May. After spending just under a fortnight at the Machine Gun Corps base Depot at Camiers he is posted to 152 company in the field. On the 13th July 1917 when cleaning his rifle he “negligently discharged same. Thereby wounding himself.” He is to be tried on the 25th for neglect to the prejudice of good order and military discipline. Before the trial Babbage is sent at first to 61 casualty Clearing Station then 5 days in hospital. Babbage is found guilty at his Field General Courts Martial and sentenced to 60 days Field Punishment No.2. This is commuted to 28 days by the General Officer Commanding 51st Division. On the 5th September he is sent to 35 Field Hospital with an “old” gun shot wound to his left hand. The 8th sees him at 63 Casualty Clearing Station, the 9th at 14th General Hospital and on the 11th he is sent back to England on the Hospital Ship St David. Babbage spends the next two months at the Ontario Military Hospital in Orpington, Kent. His pension record also shows him as been posted from No.1 Northern General Hospital Newcastle to Somewhere on his journey between his unit and his release from hospital the second finger of his left hand is amputated. His last posting appears to be to the Base Depot at Grantham. On the 25th April 1918 he appears before N0.2 TMB (Temporary Medical Board?) Grantham. Apart from the Gunshot wound to his left hand he has some mental problems, described in his records as “mental deficiency” Three months later Babbage is discharged as being physically unfit to be a soldier. Alfred Babbage is awarded the British War Medal, and the Victory Medal.

Plus others. Research is on going and proceeds as fast as funds and mugs of tea allow.

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US Out takes

Due to various reasons, time, dead lappy, cost, etcetera. There is the odd bit of research that has died a death. So this is sort of a what once would have been, and what might be when days of the future are past. They are not enough on their own to blog about individually. Hence the waffle.

Edgar Allan Poe had a brother who is commemorated on the Loos Memorial at Dud Corner. John P Poe, Black Watch. The Poe brothers are related to the Edgar Allan Poe who wrote The Raven. They are also American.

Tired of what about the….  This guy covers American, Australian, Chinese, and died in England. Cadet 2695 Charles Frederick, Australian Flying Corps, died 4th February 1919. His parents lived in Peking, China. Charles was born at Spokane, Washington, U.S.A.

Talk of Anniversaries of trips to the Battle Fields, Henry Williams, not an American, neither was Tarka the Otter, but anyway…  He said that when he returned to Ypres there was also someone else there. There was the Henry Williamson now, but also there was the Henry Williamson who was the soldier who fought there.

First Gold Star Mothers visit. 1930  They went to Paris, laid a wreath at the tomb of the French unknown soldier. Visits to the main American Cemeteries followed, along with a sightseeing trip around Paris.

The American unknown soldier was one of four unknown Americans, one each from the Aisne-Marne. Meuse-Argonne, Somme, and St Mihiel Cemeteries. Their grave details were destroyed before one of the coffins was picked, so no one knows which cemetery the soldier came from. The three who were not selected are buried at Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery. Block “G”, Row 1, graves 1,2,and 3.

One day I might returned to the above, that day is not today.

 

 

Brandhoek Mil. Cem. No3’s Dark Secret #FWW #WWI #WW1

Guides love to tell stories. Stories about the battles places and the soldiers, especially the soldiers. The punchline is in more than a few cases is, “… and here he is.”

So this is where we are, plot II row N, grave number 1. and the story is about Frank J Clute. You can tell I didn’t go to guiding school. Frank was executed. He was killed by a shot from a revolver to the back of the head. His body was then thrown into a ditch. Frank though wasn’t killed in Belgium, not in France, or anywhere on the Western Front. Frank didn’t die in the war. He was killed in 1913 thousands of miles away.No one goes to Brandhoek Military Cemetery Number 3 to visit his grave. Not even me, so why are we here? This is why,  the motive for Frank’s execution on the 1st April 1913 outside Watervliet, New York state, is thought to be robbery.  He was a chauffeur and on the night he was killed his passenger is thought to have robbed him at gunpoint then shot him. He may have been shot first, it doesn’t really matter. A young man was arrested the son of a millionaire.The evidence against the young man, witnesses who met him after the killing say he had muddy shoes, dishevelled clothes and had lost his gloves. A pair of gloves very like the ones owned by the young man were found at the scene of the crime. Some of Frank’s belongings were found at the young man’s lodgings. The weapon used was pawned by someone with the same name as the young man and an identical signature. Then if you were wealthy in the USA you could stack a jury. That is exactly what the young man’s parents did. The trial was declared a mistrial and thrown out. There was a retrial this time the defence had found witnesses who gave the young man an alibi again the trail was declared a mistrial and thrown out. The prosecution believed the young man was guilty. No one else was ever tried for the crime.With the modern techniques of DNA testing and modern forensics, not being available at the time, the young man remains an alleged murderer.   The young man spent a few more years at college. In February 1917 he along with others attested in the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force in Montreal Canada. After basic training in Canada and Shorncliffe, he crossed to France, quite possibly from Folkestone. The timings on his service papers indicate that this was the likely route taken. He refused to make a will why is not known.  He was killed in action at Passchendaele,(3rd Ypres).His name is Gunner 1251785 Malcolm Gifford, KIA 8th November 1917, age 21, 8th Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery. He was the son of Malcolm and Marion Wells Gifford, of 345, Allen St., Hudson, New York. Enlisted at Montreal, 7th February 1917. His parents remained as parents do immensely proud of their son and themselves. The inscription on his headstone reads, “Son of Malcolm & Marion Gifford of Hudson, New York, USA.(1)

And here he is, Plot II, row N, grave number 1. Brandhoek Military Cemetary No3.

1)Commonwealth War Graves Commission website

Sources and references

CWGC

Malcolm Gifford’s Service Record

Atlanta Constitution, 3rd may 1914. Washington Post, 20th April and 2nd July on Fold3 website.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/justice-story/justice-story-slain-chauffeur-article-1.1327376

 

 

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

1 wife, 2 Husbands and, 1 grave #FWW

19970810_10211935516414705_2102724859_nThis is the grave of Albert (Bert) Corporal 9183 of the 2nd Buffs (East Kents). He married Gladys Faircloth in December 1917 in Canterbury, Kent, England. Probably they married in the same church, St Dunstan, where his grave is. It is a pretty little church, better known as the final resting place of St Thomas More’s head than it is for First World War Graves. Of which Albert’s grave is the only one. It is though, an interesting grave and makes an interesting read.

“In Loving Memory of Albert (Bert) Goldsack. Late Cp. of 2nd Buff

Late Cp. of 2nd Buffs

The Dearly Loved Husband of Gladys Goldsack

Who died at Lenham Novr 28th 1918.

Aged 27

Also of

Com Sgt H L Faircloth

7th Sussex Battn

First Husband of The Above

Killed In Action Dec 28th 1915

Age 25

Erected by their sorrowing wife

After their country called them.”

Lenham, where Bert died, was a War Hospital near Ashford. Bert was a wounded soldier being treated there. He had served in France and been given a Silver War Badge.

H. L. (Henry Latham) Faircloth, a Company Quartermaster Sarjeant in the 7th Royal Sussex enlisted in 1908. Henry married Gladys on the 6th March 1915. He crossed from Folkestone with the Battalion at the end of May 1915.  The CWGC  lists his date of death as the 22nd December 1915. The War Diary indicates he was killed on the 28th and his Medal Card records him as being KinA on the 28th. He is buried in Guards Cemetery, Windy Corner, Cuinchy.

Not known if Gladys married again.

 

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

David Sutherland’s Sargeant. #Folkestone #Denton

E.A. Mackintosh, born 4 March 1893

 

In Memoriam,
Private D. Sutherland
killed in Action in the German Trench 16 May 1916,
and the Others who Died.

So you were David’s father,
And he was your only son,
And the new-cut peats are rotting
And the work is left undone,
Because of an old man weeping,
Just an old man in pain,
For David, his son David,
That will not come again.Oh, the letters he wrote you,
And I can see them still,
Not a word of the fighting
But just the sheep on the hill
And how you should get the crops in
Ere the year got stormier,
And the Bosches have got his body,
And I was his officer.

You were only David’s father,
But I had fifty sons
When we went up that evening
Under the arch of the guns,
And we came back at twilight
— O God! I heard them call
To me for help and pity
That could not help at all.

Oh, never will I forget you,
My men that trusted me,
More my sons than your fathers’
For they could only see
The little helpless babies
And the young men in their pride.
They could not see you dying
And hold you while you died.

Happy and young and gallant,
they saw their first born go,
But not the strong limbs broken
And the beautiful men brought low,
The piteous writhing bodies,
They screamed, “Don’t leave me Sir,”
For they were only fathers
But I was your officer.

Another account was written by Ewart Mackintosh and published in

War : the liberator, and other pieces : with a memoir by E A Mackintosh, in 1918

This account describes the death of David.
” I believe we have to leave him” Charles said “He’s a dying man” Charles Macrae looked up with his hand on the boys heart  ” No he isn’t”, he said “he’s dead”. They rose and left him lying there on the German parapet; from the right as they ran for the old trench came the clatter of a machine gun.(2)
The account ends(3)  with
“”Whats up Tagg? ” said the Major
“I’m going back to give those swine hell Major” he yelled, and was knocked sideways by a vigorous clout on the head. “You young fool” said the Major “What you want is drink”and led him down to HQ where his men were already assembled. First of all he went to the dressing station and found there men lying and sitting, to hear from one that he had bayonetted two Germans, from another that he had bombed such dugouts, and to realise that the raid had really succeeded although it was a while before they found out how well.
At HQ was Sgt Godstone sitting on the steps with his head in his hands-it was from his section that the dead had come(4) The Co gave them both strong whiskies…”
Sgt Godstone’s real name was Robert William Goddard MM and Bar.
Robert survived the war. He lived in Denton, near Folkestone,  Kent where he was a farmer. Robert lived to be 90 years old and died in 1982. As far as I know the Goddard’s still have a farm there, near where Robert is buried.
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