Category Archives: World War 1

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

Take 3 Guys, all Conscientous Objectors.

These are three short bits about Conscientious Objectors. One is still sung about in Scotland his name is John Maclean (24 August 1879 – 30 November 1923). Born in Pollockshaws on the outskirts of Glasgow. John was Britain’s only revolutionary communist.  The others of his era, Manny Shinwell, Willie Gallacher and the other leading lights of Red Clydeside were Parliamentarian Communists. Educated at Glasgow University where he obtained an MA. John spent most of his adult life teaching other adults in Glasgow and founded the Scottish Labour College. He was Britains first Bolshevik Consul, although not recognised by the Westminster Government. Imprisoned for his anti-war stance under the provisions of the Defence of the Realm Act (DORA) he went on hunger strike and was released after protests. In April 1918 he was again arrested. At the beginning of December 1918 he was released. An event commemorated in a song by Hamish Henderson.

“Hey Mac did ye see him as ye cam’ doon by Gorgie,
Awa ower the Lammerlaw or North o’ the Tay?
Yon man is comin’ and the haill toon is turnin’ oot:
We’re a’ sure he’ll win back to Glesga the day.
The jiners and hauders-oan are marchin’ frae Clydebank;
Come on noo an hear him – he’ll be ower thrang tae bide.
Turn oot, Jock and Jimmie: leave your cranes and your muckle gantries.

Great John MacLean’s comin’ back tae the Clyde.
Aye, Great John MacLean’s comin’ back tae the Clyde”

John’s health was broken by the harsh treatment he received in prison and he died a few short years later.

The second is buried in a grave now looked after by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.  His name is Alexander Robert Cook, and he is buried in Stow, Selkirkshire.

(Photo by Finches on Find a Grave)

Alexander was a school teacher in the Shetlands. He appeared before a Military Service Tribunal in March 1916 for an exception to military service. The tribunal only granted him an exemption from combat and he was called up for the Non-Combatant Corps. Alexander refused and at the beginning of March 1917 he was arrested and handed over to the Military.  The Army took him to Fort Goerge were because he refused to put on a uniform he was court-martialed and sentenced to 112 days imprisonment in Wormwood Scrubs. Offered the chance to work in the Home Office Scheme, which was basically forced manual labour on war-related projects in the UK, Construction, road building he refused and after his sentence was up he was sent back to his unit. He again disobeyed any and all orders. This time was to be imprisoned in the notorious Bar-L, Barlinnie Prison, Glasgow.  Released back to his unit as unwell. Still refusing to wear a uniform or obey orders he spent the remainder of his life in and out of hospital suffering from both physical and poor mental health he died in Dykebar War Hospital, Paisley, on 13 June 1919.

 

The third and last but by no means, the least of the three is a soldier known only as “Jamie” Not much is known about Jamie. I learnt of him in a letter an officer of the Royal Scots, Lt Murphy sent to his family in WW1. Jamie was a conscientious objector who did not want to be thought of as a coward. So he enlisted. Every time the battalion went into action Jamie went with them. They went over the top, Jamie went over the top.  All Jamie did was unclip his magazine, made sure his rifle was unloaded and put his bayonet back into its sheath. Jamie as a matter of conscience and a devout Christian was not going to kill anyone and made sure he never did. As far as it is known Jamie survived the war.

More on the Great John Maclean and Alexander Cook can be found using Google. Alexander is buried not too far, under a mile, from where an elephant is buried. Sadly apart from one letter in private hands I have been unable to find anything else about Jamie.

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

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.

#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