Tag Archives: First World War

#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.

 

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#Folkestone, #FWW. Next stop France, June 1917

 
Notable crossing to France in June 1917 include Harry Lauder. 1   
Harry is one of many artists of the day who journeyed to the Western Front to entertain the troops. He crossed on deck with the troops rather than in the Officers quarters. Very popular with the soldiers and he remained a popular entertainer until his death in 1950. Hw was the first British entertainer to sell a million records. The journey to the Western Front must have been difficult for hi, his only son had been killed in action in December 1916. Harry wrote many songs including “|Keep Right On to the End of The Road”
Ev’ry road thro’ life is a long, long road,
Fill’d with joys and sorrows too,
As you journey on how your heart will yearn
For the things most dear to you.
With wealth and love ’tis so,
But onward we must go.

The American build-up continued, the first unit had already crossed in May. In June. No.12 Base Hospital U.S Army crossed from Folkestone. This unit did march down Slope Road.2 . After arrival in France, No 12 Base Hospital took over British General Hospital No. 18. Probably the first deaths to occur in an American Army Unit in the first World War were two nurses from No. 12 Base Hospital. Shortly after departing from the US for England on the  20th May 1917 a gunnery accident killed Nurses Helen Wood and Edith Ayres injuring a third nurse. The bodies of Wood and Ayres returned to the US and given military funerals.3

The 13th June and U.S. General “Black” Jack Pershing, along with his aid Colonel Charles Stanton came through Folkestone on their way to France.

Source, Yanks, by John S.|D. Eisenhower, http://www.worldwar1.com/dbc/arrival.htm

Shortly after their arrival, General Pershing’s aide made the following remark, “Nous voila, Lafayette” (Lafayette, we are here!“) Colonel Charles Stanton 4th July 1917 British soldiers continued to cross fro Folkestone too. Perhaps most notably personnel of the 126th Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery. 4 The Brigade consisted of:

2/A Honourable Artillery Company

2/B Honourable Artillery Company

2/1 Warwickshire Royal Horse Artillery.

They crossed on the S. S. Victoria. The end of the month again saw some very important Americans pass through Folkestone on their way to France.Mr Mowry of the American Bolling’s Aronautical Commission to Europe, and 63 men from the Civilian Motor Mechanics Group. The Group were in Europe to study British and French aircraft production techniques.5  

1) A Minstrel in France, by Harry Lauder, unknown edition, page 45.

2)  http://history.amedd.army.mil/booksdocs/wwi/adminamerexp/chapter24.html

3)  https://news.northwestern.edu/stories/2017/may/northwestern-nurse-among-first-casualties-in-ww1/ accessed 21st May 2017

4) http://wetherbywarmemorial.com/id49.html

 5) Gorrell’s History AEF Air Service Sheet 8 History of Bolling’s Mechanics

15/2/15 Singapore #FWW

When the trigger of a rifle is squeezed no one knows how many people will be killed as a result.

Events in Singapore in February 1915 will always be overshadowed by events in Singapore in February 1942. This year being the 75th anniversary of the fall of Singapore the overshadow is even darker.

Just after 3 o’clock in the afternoon on the 15th February 1915 in Alexander Barracks in Singapore Sepoy Ismail Khan squeezed the trigger of his rifle. This shot signalled the start of the mutiny. Here is a list of people who were killed as a result of that single shot. Not included are the names of an estimated 200 mutineers who were killed during the mutiny or executed in its aftermath.

CF Anscombe, JVR Beagley, P. Boyce, EO Butterworth, BC Cameron, J Clarke, HB Collins, H O’Shaughnessey Collins, H Cullimore, JB Dunn, A Drysdale, CV Dyson, NF Edwards,          HS Elliot, AR Evans, RH Galway, F Geddes, PN Gerrard, JC Harper, Hassan Kechil bin Hassan, AJG Holt, FV Izard, Abdul Jabar, Omar bin Ahmad Kaptin, GO Lawson, Lim Eng Wee, AF Legge, WH Leigh, JH Love-Montgomerie, D McGilvray, MFA Maclean, WJ Marshall, Yacob bin Salleh, EF Senftleben, FH Sexton, Sim Soh, C Smith, G Wald, ED Whittle, Mr and Mrs GB Woolcombe, Chinese man name unknown. 23 of the dead are known to be buried in Kranji  War Cemetery.

One of the mutineers known to have been killed by the forces fighting the mutiny was Sepoy Ismail Khan who fired the original shot.

A contemporary report by the Japanese reproduced in Secret Documents on the Singapore Mutiny 1915 by SR Sareen, puts the successful suppression of the mutiny down to the deployment of Japanese marines. It would not be the last time Japanese troops landed at Singapore.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The USA Enters the War. #Folkestone

There is a view that the Americans arrived just in time for the victory parades that followed the First World War, and there is no need to commemorate their arrival this side of the pond. This is not so.

On the 7th May 1915, the Lusitania is sunk by the U-20. 1198 passengers including 139 Americans drown. Two days later the New York Times reports President Wilson sees

On the 7th May 1915, the Lusitania is sunk by the U-20. 1198 passengers including 139 Americans drown. Two days later the New York Times reports President Wilson sees the need of firm and deliberate action.  A day after President Wilson announces that “There is such a thing as a nation being so right that it does not need to convince others by iy force that it is right.” American citizens in increasing numbers join the Canadian army. 24th March 1916 the SS Sussex was crossing the English Channel from Folkestone to Dieppe when she was torpedoed and badly damaged. Some of the Americans on her were injured in the attack. After America protested Germany suspended it’s intensive U-boat campaign.

Americans also volunteered to fly fighter aircraft for France. and on the 20th April 1916, the Escadrille Americaine goes into action. Later on in the war, the squadron changed its name to the Lafayette Escadrille. Their Mess song was

“So stand by your glasses steady.                                                                                                                   The world is a web of lies.                                                                                                                                Then here’s to the dead already,                                                                                                                   And hurrah for the next man that dies.”

Perhaps the most famous American Aces are Captain Edward V. Rickenbacker 26 kills, Second Lieutenant Frank Luke Jnr. 21 Kills, Major Raoul Lufberry 17 kills, First Lieutenant George A Vaughn Jnr 13 Kills, Captain Field E. Kindley 12 kills, First Lieutenant David E Putman   12 kills, Captain Elliot W springs 12 kills, Major Reed G Landis 10 kills and, Captain Jacques Michael Swaab also with 10 kills.

On the 18th December, President Wilson asks the belligerents to agree to a post-war League of Nations.  Almost a month later on the 10th January 1917, the Allies show president Wilson their peace terms. Wilson deems them too harsh. 12 days later Wilson pleads for “Peace Without Victory.”, the Germans reject them. February 1st, 1917 the Kaiser orders the German U-boats to “Sink on sight.”. Two days later America breaks off diplomatic relations with Imperial Germany. On the 25th the RMS Laconia is torpedoed 2 Americans are killed.     The 1st of March see the publication of the Zimmerman Telegram which promised German support for Mexico and an alliance with her if America entered the war and Mexico sided with Germany.

24 days later President Wilson decides on war. The  Steam Ship Aztec is sunk on the 1st April 28 Americans are killed. Wilson calls on congress to declare war on the 3rd April  and a day after America joins the Allies as an “Associate Power.” In June the first American troops arrive in Europe.

11th June No12 US Base Hospital marches down Slope Road in Folkestone and crosses to France. They are one of the few Units from any nation known to have marched down what is now known as The Road of Remembrance in Folkestone. (Source,,http://history.amedd.army.mil/booksdocs/wwi/adminamerexp/chapter24.html)  They are followed by U.S. General “Black” Jack Pershing on the 13th. Shortly after their arrival in France, on the 4th July, Gen. Pershing’s aide Colonel Charles Stanton made the now famous remark “Nous voila Lafayette”. (Lafayette we are here). At the end of June Mr Mowry of the American Boiling’s Aronautical Commission and 63 men from the Civilian Motor Mechanics Group crossed from Folkestone to France. They are in Europe to study British and French aircraft production techniques. (Source, Gorrell’s History AEF Air Service Sheet 8 History of Bolling’s Mechanics).

On the 8th August the U.S. 11th Engineers Regiment, a regiment raised from railway workers crossed to France from Folkestone. They were sent over to help maintain the railways in northern France. Two soldiers from this regiment, Sergeant Matthew Calderwood and Private William Branigan, became the first American Army casualties on the Western Front in the First World War when they were wounded by shell fire on the 5th September 1917.  (Source,  http://www.webmatters.net/france/ww1_cambrai_us.htm)

The First American Division is established on the western Front on the 21st October 1917. 8th January 1918 president Wilson’s peace terms to Germany include Independence for Poland, restoration of Belgium independence, the return of Alsace-Lorraine to France and the formation of the League of Nations. Theodore H Roosevelt in November 1918 described the League of Nations as “A product of men who want everyone to float to heaven on a sloppy sea of universal mush”.

The American Transport ship Tuscania is sunk on the 5th February 1918 and 210 Americans drown.

The Battle of Belleau Wood took place 6th June-26th June this was the first time the U.S Marine Corps went into action in the war. The 4th Brigade attacked over open ground towards the woods capturing and losing the woods over and over before they finally managed to secure the woods. During one of the German counter attacks it was suggested that the marines should retreat, marine Captain Lloyd Williams replied “Retreat? Hell, we just got here.” The U.S. lost 9.500 dead during the battle and the Germans took another 1,600 American prisoners.  Belleau Wood is now known as Bois de Brigade de Marine in honour of the United State Marine Corps.

From the French paper “le Matin Paris”  13th September 1918 The entry into the line of the magnificent American Army must be considered an essential factor in the operation of tomorrow.”

17th September 1918, “America rejects Austrian Peace proposal”, and “Worry Whitens the hair of the Kaiser” both from the Detroit Free press.

23rd September-3rd October The Meuse-Argonne Offensive.  Fifteen American Divisions alongside twenty-two French divisions, it should be noted that an American Division was far larger than its British or French counterpart, took part.  The Argonne region is not the easiest to campaign through and the American Army lacked experience progress was slow and only fifteen miles were taken. The offensive did tie down thirty-six german divisions. during this offensive Private Alvin York was awarded both the US  Medal of Honor and the French Croix de Guerre for killing twenty Germans and capturing another hundred and thirty-two single-handedly.

While this blog is not or intended to be a history of American involvement in the FWW, There are many events not included, hopefully, it does show there was more to US involvement than the Victory parades.

On the 11th November 1918 at 10:59 am. Henry Gunther an American soldier became the last soldier from all the warring nations to be killed in action on the Western Front during the Great War.

 

 

The US Army in FolkestoneRT #FWW #WWI #WW1

There are many reasons for writing a blog, to show off, to entertain, to inform, to alleviate boredom, to share knowledge, to keep my one and only reader happy, plus many other reasons. The reason for this blog is to fish. I’m fishing for more information. The information I’m looking for is about the United States army in Folkestone during the First World War.

This is most of the sum total of my knowledge.

They were here, as opposed to “Over there.” How do I know this? There is a photograph in Folkestone Library. It has appeared in at least one book but, was incorrectly labelled.

There is also a US Army war diary which records the unit, an American Military Hospital, as staying in the rest camp on the Leas. Then marching down  Slopes Road to the ship which will take them to France. At least one other War Diary records their unit staying on the Leas and proceeding to Calais via Dover. Some of the buildings the US Army stayed in still survive.

Are there other War Diaries which record where a unit stayed between arriving at usually Liverpool and heading to France?

US General Jack “Black Jack” Pershing crossed from Folkestone to Boulogne. There is at least one photograph showing him disembarking at Boulogne. Apart from being the US Commander, he is famous to a few people for saying, “Lafayette,  We are here.” Which he never actually said. Colonel Charles E. Stanton also crossed from Folkestone. Charles E Stanton not as well known as Black Jack did say, ” Lafayette, nous voilà ” 

More details will appear in my next book. If I can find an editor and, a publisher.

I for one would like to know more about the Americans in Folkestone during the First World War. So this is very much a “Fishing” blog.

One last thing there is a photo of the cafe on the harbour mole which shows the interior of the cafe. There is an American flag on the wall. 

This is the last blog before Christmas 2016. Thank you for reading. Thank you for the engagement. Have a good Christmas.  Peter.

#FWW Japanese Troops in Singapore

Almost simultaneously with the attacks on the Americans on the 7th December 1941 the Japanese attacked British Malaya. The successful invasion of Malaya led in February 1942 to the fall of Singapore. This was not the first time Japanese troops had been in action in the British colony of Singapore.

27 years earlier the Japanese had helped to quell the Singapore Mutiny. Accounts of how helpful and/or successful the Japanese were vary. There is an account in the book Nasyo Yori, Koji Tsukuda. An extract from this book translated by the Foreign Office appears in Secret Documents on Singapore Mutiny By Dr TR Sareen, parts of which are reproduced below.

The British had asked the Japanese for assistance.

“Up until now slighted both by the British and native and regarded as contemptible in trade, it is now devolved on us to protect the feeble and pitiable British” Around a hundred Japanese volunteers elected to undertake this task.

Two Japanese warships arrived at Singapore. The first the “Otawa” on the 17th February 1915 and the second the “Tshushina” the next day. Two hundred marines disembarked from the two ships. By midday, they had taken over Alexander Barracks.

” At noon on the same day, they were reported to have taken possession of the rebel’s Headquarters i.e. Alexander Barracks. That is to say that our landing party at once broke up the main strength of the enemy and these were able to take possession of their Headquarters”

The British General Staff in Singapore took a not surprisingly different view.  They felt the Japanese volunteers did not do anything and the best thing to do was disband them. The marines according to the GeneralStaff only went to Alexander Barracks after it had been reoccupied by the British.  That all the Japanese did was sit around and indulge in the odd suspected bit of looting. An eyewitness to the handing back of Alexander Barracks by the Japanese to the British recorded in 1927 that when we arrived the Japanese were already drawn up on the parade ground. The British marched on, the Japanese marched off. No words were exchanged. (page 811(1))

A few days later on the 25th February, there was a parade known as the Japanese Parade to thank and honour the Japanese for their assistance. The Governor of Singapore expressed his thanks for the “excellent and valuable work”(2) carried out by the Japanese officers and men. he also mentioned that no Japanese had been killed or wounded. A statement contradicted by the press Bureau in a Reuters Telegram London February 28th that states, “some Japanese were wounded”(1) Reports in the Japanese press do state there were no Japanese wounded.  In closing, the Governor said, “Now, admiral, I again on behalf of this Colony thank you, your officers and men, and I know well that the Colony will always remember the good ships which came to our assistance and will welcome them warmly whenever they may honour us by visiting this port.” (page 830 (1)) What a difference 27 years would make to this feeling.

The Japanese press did report on the mutiny, for example, The Japan Times described the execution of two of the publicly shot mutineers as “A Grim Example” (page 844, (1)

(1) Secret Documents on Singapore Mutiny. Sareen

(2) Strait Settlements Times 26th February, viewed online.

 

David Sutherland’s Sargeant. #Folkestone #Denton

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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