Category Archives: Shorncliffe

#Shorncliffe’s other Air Raid Victims #FWW #Folkestone

The story of the bombing on the 25th May 1917 is well known. The burials of the Canadian Soldiers killed led to the Canadian Day Memorial Service now held annually at Shorncliffe Military Cemetery. Not quite as well known is that 13 other Canadian Soldiers all from theCanadian Field Artillery who were killed in an earlier air raid were buried there. I say were because only the remains of 12 still lay buried at Shorncliffe. Sgt 42623 Edward Charles Harris’s remains were repatriated and now rest in St Catherines Cemetery Toronto.

The air raid occurred on the 13th October 1915 at Otterpool Camp. Zepplin L14 dropped four bombs on the camp killing 14. Another soldier 86687 Harry James Rixon died on the 15th, he is buried at Easthamstead. One other soldier 86398 Pringle Borthwick is buried in Wilton Cemetery, Hawick.

The soldiers killed in the air raid on the 13th October 1915 at Otterpool and are buried in Shorncliffe Military Cemetery  are:

IMG_8547.JPGCharles Boeyckens, a Belgian from Antwerp who enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Buried apart from the other soldiers killed, he is buried very close to the Belgium plot in the cemetery in Plot C.123

The others are buried in Plot O numbers O.303-O.313 inclusive. They are:

IMG_853086372 David John Philips. Plot O.303

IMG_853186436 Sydney George Lane who was born in Burgate Hampshire. Plot O.304

IMG_853286503 Ernest William Bayes who hailed from Walthamstow in Essex. Plot O.305.

IMG_853386463 Richard Dyer Simpson. Plot O.306

IMG_853486474 Richard Stewart Truscott. Plot O.307

IMG_853586676 Charles Gordon Peterkin Plot O. 308

IMG_853686658 Wilfred George Harris. Plot O.309.

IMG_853786552 Samuel McKay. Plot O.310.

IMG_853886791 Thomas Dickson. Plot O.311

IMG_853986777 Henry Adrian Horn. Plot O.312. The epitaph reads “Fear not them who can kill the body but are not able to kill the soul.”

IMG_8542400004 Douglas Routledge Johnston. Plot O.313. The epitaph reads “Till the morning breaks and the shadows flee away”.

Sources

Surrey History Forum

Kent History Forum

CommonwealthWar Graves Commission Website

Service Records of Canadian Soldiers WW1

 

Postcard to Mum Down Under From, #Folkestone #FWW #WWI

A dreich morning, it is the only way of describing it. I am cold, wet and miserable standing here by Williams grave. My hands are a ghostly shade of pale. The camera is soaking and I have the shivers. My head is close to the dark place it often haunts. A bad morning and the photo is crap, but the day and I are in paradise compared to William’s last morning ninety-nine years ago today. The morning of the 17th April 1917 was to be William’s last.  An Australian Infantryman he was due to return to France from Folkestone that day.  He had been wounded in action in October 1917. On the 12th April, he had gone A.W.L. from Tattoo for three days. He was to receive 14 days Field Punishment No.2 (F.P.2) and forfeit 17 days pay for this crime. F.P.2  the prisoner was placed in irons or fetters, subjected to hard labour and had to carry out all normal duties. It is during these last few days that William wrote a postcard to his mum.

“Dear Mother The military has sent me over to France to be wilfully murdered as I knew to much for them I gave them the best snye system the world could ever be produced ending up with their ruin writing”

He gave the card to another soldier to send. on the 17th William went to the medical offices at No.3 Rest Camp Earls Avenue Folkestone

Not long after 9 a.m.  on the 17th William went to the medical offices at No.3 Rest Camp, Earls Avenue, Folkestone. Sometime after 9:20 the medical orderly left the room to go into the medical officer’s room next door. The orderly, Lance Corporal Hooke, stated at the inquest “I heard a noise as in a man in a fit. I went back into the room and saw deceased. he was lying down on the bed, his head rather inclined the blankets kicked over part of his face, he was kicking his legs up and throwing his arms about. I saw that he had cut his throat.”IMG_8393

William was given a military funeral at Shorncliffe Military Cemetery. His coffin was draped in a Union Jack. The Canadians provided a firing party and played the Last Post, Australian representatives from the Australian Imperial Force in London were in attendance.

William’s parents were informed by letter, that he had committed suicide while temporarily insane and, that they had buried him on the South side of the garrison church.

Source: William Burn Gemmell’s service record.

#Shorncliffe and the Great #Folkestone Air Raid 25th May 1917. #WW1 #FWW

This blog is only concerned with the burials in Shorncliffe Military Cemetery. Bombs were dropped in various places. One person was killed in Ashford, two in Hythe. Other places throughout Kent were also bombed on the same day.

Six bombs fell on the Army Camp at Shorncliffe. Eighteen people were killed by these bombs. There are five other victims buried in the cemetery there. Two are civilians. May Arnold and Francis Harry Considine, they are included in the list. The people who died were from America, Belgium, Canada and England. The five victims of the bombings elsewhere are; May Arnold(Folkestone), Francis Considine(Cheriton), George Bloodworth(Folkestone), Constante Houdard(Folkestone) and, Hyppolite Verschueren(Folkestone). Houdard and Verschueren are buried in unmarked graves in the Belgium plot in the cemetery.

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An American citizen he was born in Indiana. His attestation papers record he attested at Windsor Ontario on the 22nd December 1916 Injured in the air raid on the 25th May 1917. he died of wounds at 9pm the next day.

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May Alexandra Arnold age 21, the widow of Freddie Arnold a Canadian soldier who was shot at dawn. May was wounded by the bomb that hit her home, 19 Bouverie Road East. Taken to the hospital at Moore Barracks Shorncliffe, May died of her wounds later that day.

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George Henry Bloodworth was born in Lee in Kent. Injured by one of the bombs that fell on Bouverie Road East he died at West Cliff Hospital with injuries to the Head and Heart.(Details are from http://sussexhistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=7293.0;wap2 25/11/2016)

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William Brown. His service record shows he attested on the 18th October 1916. He was taken on strength at Shorncliffe on the 30th April 1917. there does not appear to be a record of his promotion to Sergeant.

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James Alexander Bruce attested on the 5th December 1916 in the Draft Siege and Heavy Artillery. There is a note on his attestation papers that he was too small for the Heavy Artillery. He was awarded the British War Medal.

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Little Frances was killed by the bomb that fell on Cheriton. Buried in Shorncliffe because his father was in the Canadian Army.

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Jules Benjamin Alfred Desaleux was born in London, England. He lived with his wife Alice in Winnipeg Manitoba. Prior to emigrating to Canada Jules had served for a year in the 24th Battalion City of London Royal West Surrey Regiment. He attested on the 8th January 1917 in Winnipeg and he arrived at Schorncliffe on the 22nd April.

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Arthur Doig the son of Andrew and Maggie Murray of Birtle Manitoba, attested on the 7th March 1916. Hee arrived in England on the 4th May and was taken on strength at Shorncliffe on the 15th.

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The Screen Wall at the Belgian Plot at the Cemetery on which Constante Houdard’s name is inscribed.(see Below)

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Houdard C Belgian Soldier no other details are known.

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Oron Alfred Jenner enlisted in the “Bantams” on the 23rd February 1916. On his attestation papers, it is recorded that he had previously served in the Q.O.R (Queens Own Rifles) for five years. Oron arrived at Liverpool on the 29th April 1917 and taken on strength of  the 3rd Reserve Battalion Canadian Infantry at West Sandling on the 30th. He was still on the strength of the 3rd Reserve Battalion when he was killed at Shorncliffe.

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James McArthur. (As of 24/11/2016 service record not yet available online)

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Robert MacDonald attested on the 5th March 1917 at Winnipeg Manitoba.

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Hugh McNair (Records not available 24/11/16)

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James McNulty born in Valley City, North Dakota. He is listed in The Foreign Burial of American War Dead: A History by Chris Dickon. James lived in Edmonton Alberta. Prior to enlisted on the 1st December 1916, he had served with the 101st Edmonton Fusiliers a Militia Unit. The Militia in Canada were traditionally the Canadian Reserve.

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Charlie Marshall was born in London England in 1894. He attested in Crystal City Manitoba on the 8th April 1916. Initially recorded as killed in action May 25th 1917 his service record was altered to died from wounds May 26th 1917. He bequeathed his real estate and personal estate to Miss Nattie Maybe, Port Rowan, Ontario. He arrived at Shorcliffe  on the 30th April. On the 18th May he attended the West Cliff Canadian Eye  and Ear hospital in Folkestone for an eye test. The Senior Medical officer 2nd Canadian Reserve Brigade confirmed on the 25th May that glasses had not been ordered.

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Albert William Merchant was born in Little Oakley in Essex. He attested in Winnipeg where he lived with his wife Lillian, on the 26th March 1916. He arrived at Shorncliff on the 30th April 1917.

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John Miller, the son of Agnes shaw, attested in the 2/4th BattalionSouth Lancashire Regiment on the 22nd March 1916. Just under eleven moths later on the 16th February 1917, he crossed with the battalion to France from Folkestone. On the 31st March, he is admitted to 1 Australian Casualty Clearing Station with Haemorrhage of the Lung. April the 5th and he is on the Hospital Ship “Princess Elizabeth bound for Dover. From Dover, he is transferred to Hospital at Shorncliffe. His discharge papers were signed on the 21st May and he is awarded a Silver War badge. John’s discharge was to be on the 1st of June as being no longer  physically fit for war service.  His British War and  Victory Medals are sent to Mrs Elizabeth Show Lyon Street Warrington on the 1st February 1922.

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Frank Padley was born in Nottingham, England. His parents Harry and Elizabeth Padley, lived in, Carrington, Nottingham, England.  He lived in Antler Saskatchewan where he was a farmer. Frank attested in Winnipeg on the 30th May 1916. He was unmarried.

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Ralph Pelluet was born in London. The family emigrated to Canada as  his father lived in Athabaska in  Alberta. Ralph worked as a bank clerk and lived in North Battleford Saskatchewan. He attested in Winnipeg on the 26th May 1916.

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Jack Sutherland was born in Bradford Ontario and lived at Palmer House Regina in Saskatchewan. He worked as a CPR Checker (Canadian Pacific Railways?) attested in Winnipeg on the 10th April 1916.

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Ernest Tennyson worked as a Lumberman. gave Mansion House Winnipeg as his current address on his attestation papers. Next to “Next of Kin” is the word “None” crossed out J F Davidson is handwritten  “Friend” is also handwritten next to “Relationship to next of kin”. Ernest was 37 when he died.

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Looking across part of the older section of the cemetery to the screen at the Belgian Plot on which Hyppolite Verschueren’s name is inscribed.

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Hyppolite Verschueren resided in sandgate Road. He died as a result of the bombing of Tontine Street, no other details known.

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Lloyd Garfield Yeo was born in St Thomas Ontario in 1898. Prior to being attested into the Canadian Mounted Rifles in October 1915, Lloyd had served a year in the 25th Regiment.

Notes on Sources

Names of Soldiers and some are from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission web site.

Other details where possible were taken from the soldier’s service records

May Arnold and Little Francis Considine’s information came from their gravestones, th free page on ancestry about the Air Raid

Name checks were carried out by referring to the companion volume to A Glint in the Sky by Martin Easdown with Thomas Genth.

All photographs, no matter how bad, were taken by myself, no one else shares any responsibility for them, what so ever.

 

 

#Folkestone American died of wounds received on the Somme 1916 #Somme100

David Gray  an American by marriage. He is listed in The Foreign Burial of American War Dead by Chris Dixon. An American by marriage. He could have stayed out of the war. Like thousands of others, he chooses not to. David’s parents lived in Ontario, Canada. This may have influenced his decision to join. Whatever the reason David attests on the 8th February 1916 at London, Ontario. Born in 1875 he is forty years old. He gives his wife address as London Ontario, although they both lived  in Hinkley Avenue, Detroit. The Ontario address was that of David’s mother so perhaps they were both staying there while David completed his training. Time for the both of them was rapidly running out. David boarded the SS Lapland at Halifax on the 24th April 1916, three days short of his 41st Birthday. He arrives at Liverpool on the 5th May and is transferred to the 39th Reserve Battalion at Shorncliffe. From here he is posted to the Canadian (General?) Base Depot in France

Immediately after  his arrival in France, he is taken on the  strength of the 18th Battalion. Eleven days later on the 29th August, he joins them in the field. Just over two weeks later the 18th Battalion is at the Brickfields and the Battle of Fler-Courcellette it is the 15th September. For such an important battle, part of the wider battle of the Somme. The 18th Battalion’s war Diary gives very little away.

“The Battalion moved in fighting order from Brickfields. Took up position on the right  of frontage allotted to 4th Can Inf Bgde viz 18th right 20th centre 21st left.

6:24 am Battalion attacked German front and second lines to a depth of 1200 yards and held the position gained(both objectives gained)”

David Gray was shot in the head, the bullet entered the right ear and exited the right cheek, another gunshot  resulted in a compound fracture of his right femur.  At first, he is admitted to 13th Stationary Hospital Boulogne. On the 19th October, he is transferred to the Manor Court Hospital in Folkestone. By now David is seriously ill and his condition is deteriorating.

At 4:15 am 23/11/1916 David dies.

He is buried in Shorncliffe Military Cemetery

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He was 41, not 37 when he died.

The Deserter who Attested at Sea.

While busy researching soldiers who embarked for the Western Front from Folkestone. I came across this chap. He is the kinda guy I was looking for. In the Canadian Army. Based for a while at Shorncliffe. I knew he was actually in Folkestone. I knew the day and what he was doing. he even deserted and survived the war. Only I am almost certain he did not leave from Folkestone. Therefore he will not be in my book, and his story or rather, the bits I know will not be told. Never mind.

Oh all right here it is.

Charles James Player, born on November 11th, 1884, in Aldershot. An ex-soldier he had served over six years in the 21st Lancers. He worked as a groom. Before February 1915 he had moved to Canada. On the 24th February 1915, he was heading home on the high seas. We know he was at sea on that day. That is where and when he attested into the Canadian Expeditionary Force, his attestation papers survive. Player was now a gunner in the Canadian Field Artillery. the Medical Officer considered him fit to serve overseas. which was probably just as well.

The next day, the 25th February he was posted to HQ 6th Brigade Staff, Shorncliffe and taken on strength. In May Player went absent for four days. He was reprimanded and lost 4 days pay. 29th August he was involved in a fight in Harbour Street in Folkestone. September Player was again absent without leave. He returned after 13 days, apart from losing pay he is reduced to the ranks. At the end of October, he is admitted to the Tented Hospital on St Martins plain with gonorrhoea. He is promoted Acting Corporal without pay, as a riding instructor on the 13th December 1915. 21st March 1916 he is reduced to the ranks at his own request. A few days later Player embarks for France. 1917 player is in and out of Casualty clearing Stations and hospitals. 20th January Gastritis, 27th January Influenza, 3rd February Gastritis, 29th April Scabies. 9th June “Sick”. On the 10th June, he is invalid back to England. Posted to the Canadian Artillery Regimental  Depot at Shorncliffe he is admitted to the Military Hospital. On the 26th September, he is discharged from the hospital. 26th October 1917 he deserts.  Seven months later he turns himself in and surrenders as a deserter. On the 9th December, he is sentenced to two years detention and to stoppages of pay of 2 shillings and 2 pence. He is held in Wandsworth Detention Barracks until his detention is terminated on 16th May 1919, a fortnight later he is discharged from the Canadian Expeditionary Force.

Observations on the 1st July 1916 #FWW #WW1

IMG_8041There will be plenty written about the 1st of July  on the Somme in 1916. most of it repeated from previous years with the same tales, the same blame game. that is not the purpose of my blog though. There are plenty of books on the subject. plenty of views.  This blog is called Scarce Heard Among the Guns. The views and stories are mine, and hopefully rarely heard. two observations on the Somme, and the 1st July 1916. H ere is the first. The Somme was more than the 1st July 1916, and the dying continued long after the killing  was done. The photo above is the grave of Elliot Hector . He crossed to France from Southampton with the Middlesex Regiment on the 12th of March 1915 as a private. On the 12th May 1916 he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. Wounded in action he died from wounds on the 7th February 1925. He is not commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. As far as I know he is not on any war memorials. He is one of the many forgotten dead of the Some, yet hundreds walk past his grave. 2nd Lt EH Macintosh is buried in Shorncliffe Military Cemetery near Folkestone.

Not only is the Somme is not all about the 1st July 1916, as seen above. My second observation. Despite the  mass killings the nearly 20,000 British dead. The world did not end on that day.

On the 1st of July 1916 the the Grant Arms Hotel, The palace Hotel, and the Strathspey Hotel in Grantown-on-Spey, provided brakes, a type of bus, to take the children of Inverallen on their annual School picnic at Grant Castle.  There were games for the children, and plenty of food. Local accounts mentioned that even the sun managed to shine. At around 7pm the tired happy children were taken home on the brakes that had brought them to the castle.

These children grew up in one of the most exciting periods of history. Some lost fathers in war, a few were killed in war. The majority lived to see the first man on the moon. The age of transatlantic air travel. Free universal health care, a standard of living their parents would not have dreamed of. The dawn of an amazing world. yes the Somme saw an end of a certain predictable self reassured world. For others though their life was only just beginning, it would be an incredible hundred years.

A Folkestone (ish) In a Perfect World, would have been a Love Story

An American boy meets an English girl. He is a few years older and he sweeps her off her feet. A few weeks after he arrives in England they marry. It is now for them a perfect world. Nothing else matters they are young and so much in love. Love that they hoped would last for their forever.

It is straight out of an Imperial Romance novel, it captures everything belief,love, and romance. A belief in a just cause, love between two people, the romance of a wartime encounter.

He was an American, 25 years old and lived in Cleveland, Ohio. The “Buckeye State”, The British Empire was now at War with Imperial Germany. The British had gone to the aid of plucky little Belgium. The cause was good, just and right. So he left his home and enlisted in Canada. In many ways he was just what the Empire was looking for. Ex-US Army he had seen service, a trained soldier. The Empire, of which he now was a part, was sending troops as fast as they could to Britain. He was sent to Salisbury plain. possible on leave, or an a day pass, he met his English Rose in London.

She sees in him the romance of America, a real American from the West. All American heroes are from the American West. Sent by the Empire to save her from the Hun. He would save her, the King, and the Empire. Together they would sail away to their new home in the sun. A perfect world in the midst of a tragic one. They married in Hampstead in December 1914.(1)

In a book there would be a moment of tragedy, the hero would get killed performing a deed of unquestioning valour and glory. Death in his moment of triumph. Glory for King, Empire and his young English wife. She would spend her days in black. Weeping for the loss of her forever love. They would be immortalized and remembered for ever.

In this story the hero does indeed go to France, and dies in a hail of bullets. But it is not a perfect story in a perfect world. It is at times dark, evil, and sickening time.  First to name the hero and heroine. He is Freddie, she is May Alexandra, together they are the Arnold’s.

Freddie, did live in Cleveland USA with his mom. He did serve in the US Army. He also did enlist in the 1st Battery of the Artillery Brigade of the Canadian (Overseas) Expeditionary Force, as a Gunner/Bombardier in 1914. Being in the first contingent it is known he was on Salisbury Plain. After their marriage in December 1914 their address was 100 Risborough Road, Bayswater, London. Freddie did die in a hail of bullets in Belgium. He was shot by firing squad in Boulogne.(2)  Possibly the only American citizen executed by the British Army in the First World War. Between February 1915 and January 1916 Freddie had been admitted to hospital on two occasions as being sick, and once for shell shock. The third stay in hospital was from the 2nd January until the 22nd of May. On discharge he was posted to the Marlborough Details Camp. From here he went absent on the 5th June 1916. Possibly on the 7th June, or maybe on the 27th June Arnold was caught in civilian clothes. He had deserted. Freddie would be tried by Field General Courts Martial on the 5th July 1916. There never is a good time for a deserter to be recaptured. In a perfect world he would not have been tried four days after the start of the Somme offensive. That and to be captured and tried by the British. Freddie ad May’s perfect world was now disappearing With over 19,000 dead on the first day the British were not going to show any mercy. Freddie was executed on the 27th July 1916 at Le Portel.

Life was to become even more cruel. This was not a perfect world. Freddie’s Mom received a letter from the Canadian Record Office.

Madam:-

With deep regret, I have the honour to inform you that a report has been received to the effect that the soldier marginally noted was tried by Field-Martial at Boulogne, France, on the 5th of July, 1916, on the charge of “When on active service deserting His Majesty’s Service” and was sentenced by the court to suffer death by being shot”. The sentence was duly carried out at 4:37 a.m. on the 25th July 1916.

I have the honour to be…”

May had moved to Folkestone by this time and lived at 4 Radnor Park Crescent. Why did May moved to Folkestone? No idea. It might have been to be closer to her husband. Perhaps she had plans to try and get to Boulogne. May might have come from Folkestone. She, for whatever reason, had decided that Folkestone was the place to be. After Freddie had been discharged from the Army  May moved again. This time to number 19 Bouverie Road East. It seems life might settle down in Folkestone. The war was still going on it was now ten months since her husband was executed. Grief never truly ends, it get slightly easier with the passing of time. Ten months had gone by it was not a perfect world but…

That but was to arrive on the 25th May 1917. A German Gotha bomber had dropped a bomb on Tontine Street in Folkestone dozens had died. Another Gotha had dropped a bomb on 19 Bouverie Road East May was seriously injured by this bomb. The medically people in Folkestone were overwhelmed by the Tontine Street explosion and couldn’t cope. May was rushed to Moore Barracks Hospital Shorncliffe. It was here that May died.

Opposite the War Memorial in Folkestone on the cliff top there is a little sign on the railings. This is what it says:-

“After WW1, Folkestone wanted to record the names of its dead and details were requested from relatives. Mrs Butcher replied, believing her son had been killed in action. She received a Municipal Certificate of Glory and his name was inscribed on Folkestone’s War Memorial. I fact private Frederic Butcher of the East Kent Regiment  refused to go over the top he was tried by Court Martial. On 27th August 1918 he was shot by a firing squad. Probably his mother never realised how he died. It may not have been unique for a disgraced soldier to be included on a War Memorial but it was very rare. Today those wronged men have now been given a full pardon and their names are now recorded alongside those of their comrades.”

Crossing over to the War Memorial there is Private F Butcher’s name with his comrades. His name has been there since the memorial panel was inscribed in the early 1920s.

Freddie’s name, the wife of May of 4 Radnor Park Crescent and, on her death in 1917, of 19 Bouverie Road East Folkestone, is not there.

May is not commemorated by name in Folkestone either

(Freddie) C/40124 Bombardier Frederick Stanley Arnold, Canadian Field Artillery is buried in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery.(6)

May Alexandra Arnold is buried in Shorncliffe Military Cemetery.

Sitting at May’s graveside today, chatting away, as you do. Gazing at the other graves it was tempting to be sad and tearful. Then I realised May and Frederick had, in a world of terror death and destruction, had had their day in the sun. May had died so young, 21 years old. Just though, a hundred years ago, fleetingly,  they had found their perfect world.

 

Sources.

  1. Free BDM UK web site
  2. Service Record
  3. Details from, For Freedom and Honour, by A.B. Godefroy
  4. Shot at Dawn, by Julian, Putkowski and Julian Sykes
  5. May Alexandra Arnold Gravestone Shorncliffe Military Cemetery
  6. CWGC web site