Tag Archives: Folkestone

With a Machine Gun To Boulogne.

While no heavy machine guns were embarked at Folkestone in the First World War. Machine Gunners did embark at the harbour. All the following men were in the Guards Machine Gun Regiment. They all arrived at the Harbour by train. While embarking at Folkestone as a Company they were split up at Camiers. All survived the war.

 

29th March 1918

Private 1971 Joseph Bowerbank, Guards Machine Gun Company. He joined the Machine Gun Corps Base Depot at Camiers on the 30th. Joined a battalion in the field on the 16th April. Twisted both ankles playing football on the 4th October. In hospital and then convalescing 5th October-16th November. Returning to the Base Depot at Camiers on the 17th. He returns to England 4th March 1919.

Private 1000 George Fredrick Warren, No.4 Guards Machine Gun Company. He joined the Machine Gun Corps Base Depot at Camiers on the 30th. Joined his battalion in the Field on the 26th April. This was not the first time George had been to France he had seen service on the Western Front in 1914. This is probably the first time he crossed from Folkestone.

Private 29127 Ewart Bailey Watts, Guards Machine Gun Company. He joined the Base Depot at Camiers on the 30th. Joined a battalion in the field on the 9th of April.

Private 21572 William Weightman, 3 Company, Machine Gun Guards. Joined the Base Depot at Camiers on the 30th. He is qualified as a “1st Class Machine Gunner”. He joined a battalion in the field on the 14th April.

Private 131817 William Henry B Whitney, Machine Gun Corps Infantry. He joins 51 Battalion in the Field on the 4th April. Wounded in action on the 21st July. He is transferred back to England on the 7th of August 1918.

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Charles Hamilton Sorley #FolkestoneRT #FWW

Charles Hamilton Sorley, born 19th May 1895

In May 1915 the 7th (Service) Battalion the Suffolk Regiment. A K1 battalion, in 35th Brigade, 12th Division. Embarked on the S.S. Invicta and the S.S. Queen.

Charles Hamilton Sorley was a soldier with the 7th Battalion the Suffolk Regiment. Charles would be killed in action on the 13th October 1915.

Cast away regret and rue,
Think what you are marching to,
Little give, great pass.
Jesus Christ and Barabbas
Were found the same day.
This died, that, and went his way
So sing with joyful breath.
For why you are going to death.
Teeming earth will surely store
all the gladness that you pour.
(From, Over the Hills and Vales Along, by Charles Hamilton Sorley, June 1915)

Charles did mention the Folkestone-Boulogne crossing. Not in a poem but in prose,

“May they not take it too seriously! Seein’ as ‘ow the training is all washed out as soon as you turn that narrow street corner at Boulogne, where some watcher with a lantern is always up for English troops arriving, with a “Bon courage” for every man.
A year ago today-but that way madness lies.”
(Captain Charles Hamilton Sorley from a letter to the Master of Marlbourgh, in War Letters of Fallen Englishmen, edited by Laurance Houseman, Victor Gollancz Ltd, 1930)

“I hate the growing tendency to think that every man drops overboard his individuality between Folkestone and Boulogne, and becomes on landing either ‘Tommy’ with a character like a nice big fighting pet bear and an incurable yearning and whining for mouth-organs and cheap cigarettes: or the Young Officer with a face like a hero and a silly habit of giggling in the face of death.”
(Charles Hamilton Sorley)

Robert Graves in “Goodbye To All That”, describes Charles Sorley as, “one of the three poets of importance killed during the war. (the other two were Isaac Rosenberg and Wilfred Owen.)

 

#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.

 

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.

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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Folkestone’s “Few” #FWW #WWI

It is a rarely told, not unknown, nor forgotten, part of Folkestone’s First World War history.  Untold and overlooked.  Theses are just some of the few who took part in the air war. The first is from Folkestone’s Old Cemetery and is named on the War Memorial. Not all are on the War Memorial. This is Folkestone and they do things differently here.

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This is the grave of Leslie Cecil Wraight. I went up to the cemetery yesterday to  have a chat with him. A task I found impossible, they are tree clearing and you can’t really shout in a graveyard. I like the inscription on his grave,

“Now peace reigns over the countryside.

Our thanks are to the lads that died.

Clever, and noble, loving and kind.

A beautiful memory left behind.”

This is from the  Folkestone, Hythe, Sandgate & Cheriton Herald – Saturday 22 June 1918. Lieut. Leslie Cecil Wraight, R.A.F., second son of Mr. and Mrs. C. G. Wraight, of 31, Albion-road, Folkestone, formerly of Ashford, has been killed in an aeroplane accident at Lincolnshire. He was the younger brother of Mr. Clarence Wraight, who is well-known in the district as a professional roller skater. In an earlier stage of the war Lieut. Wraight was in the Kent Fortress Royal Engineers. The funeral took place yesterday, the deceased being buried with military honours at Folkestone Cemetery. (As reproduced on the  Sussex History Forum at , http://sussexhistoryforum.co.uk/) As far as I have been able to ascertain there was only one aircraft accident in Lincolnshire on the 17th June 1918. A Sopwith Camel suffered engine failure on take off at RAF Scampton, and crashed killing one.(http://www.bcar.org.uk/world-war-one-incident-logs) This must therefore have been Leslie Wraight.

There is another grave close by where Leslie Barron is buried. Leslie the son of Sydney and Mercy E. Barron, of 12, Beachborough Villas, Folkestone. Served in France, the Dardanelles, and Palestine, before returning to the UK. He died on the 28th July 1918.The inquest into his death was held in Lincoln. Possibly this was near where his flying accident occurred. If so he must have been flying an Avro 504. Two crashed on the same day, but it is not possible to narrow it down to a particular aircraft. Folkestone, Hythe, Sandgate & Cheriton Herald – Saturday 03 August 1918  (As reproduced on the  Sussex History Forum at , http://sussexhistoryforum.co.uk/)

“Second Lieutenant Leslie Barron, R.A.F., son of Mr. S. Barron, of High-street, Folkestone, and 1, High-street, Hythe, was killed whilst flying a new type of machine at an English aerodrome on Sunday. He was 22 years of age… …Lieutenant Barron was buried with full military honours at the Cemetery on Thursday, the first part of the service being held at All Souls’ Church, the Rev. J. W. Davisson officiating. The body, conveyed on a float drawn by a motor, draped with the R.A.F. colours, was followed by a detachment of the Corps to which deceased belonged, including eight pilots. A large number of Canadian soldiers followed also. The chief mourners were deceased’s father and mother, Mrs. Floyd, Mrs. Rowlands, and Miss Rowlands. A party of Canadians fired three volleys over the grave, and the buglers sounded the “Last Post.” There were many wreaths.”

Not buried in Folkestone, but someone who would have known the Old Cemetery is Allen Sandby Coombe. He was the Son of Dr. and Mrs. Sandby Coombe, of “Brownswood,” Cherry Gardens, Folkestone. He was killed in a flying accident possible while flying an Avro 504. He was a probationary Flight Officer, and 504’s were the aircraft they trained on. Coombe died when the plane  he was flying crashed into Chingford Reservoir. Allen Coombe is buried in Chingford Mount Cemetery (from the find a grave web site) He does not appear to be named on the War Memorial.

Another whose name is not on the War Memorial is Folkestone’s “Ace” Dennis Henry Stacey Gilbertson. The son of Albert Stacey and Ethel Hoole Gilbertson,  62 Shorncliffe Rd., Folkestone. Gilbertson was killed in action on the 4th September 1918, and is buried in Villers-Aau-Tertre Communal Cemetery.He was just 21.

Gilbertson scored his first victory on the 30th May 1918 when he shot down an Albatros DV south-east of Albert., a month later he shot down his next, followed by two on the 1st July 1918. His last was a Fokker DVII on the 4th September 1918. Gilbertson was also killed in the same dogfight, although not by the pilot he shot down.

Another pilot, also not named on the War Memorial is Captain Durham Donald George Hall MC. The son of Mrs Hall ( possibly remarried and known as Gaskell), White House, Broadfield Road Folkestone Captain Hall’s MC was gazetted 11th December 1916

” For conspicuous gallantry in  action. He has flown in the worst of weather and often at very low altitudes On one occasion he flew very low and under heavy fire to range our artillery.”

Hall was wounded during a ground attack mission on the 26th March 1918 and died the next day. His death was reported in Flight Magazine 11th April 1918.

Eustace Bertram Low R.F.C., the third son of the Rev. A. E. and Mrs. Low, of St. John’s Vicarage, Folkestone, killed on active service on March, 24th, 1917, aged 18.  His death was reported in Flight Magazine 5th April 1917 as being ” accidently killed on active service”. Eustace Bertram Low doesn’t appear to be on the town’s War Memorial either.

Note on War Memorials.

There was no hard and fast rule about War Memorials-nothing was written in stone, so to speak. Each community decided who and why a name was listed. Some of the reasons included, – there was no one left to put a person’s name forward, no one knew until after a memorial was dedicated that they had died, no one liked the person and therefore saw no reason to put a name forward. 

In Folkestone, if a person was named on a memorial elsewhere in the town, their name was not on the town War Memorial. Not sure if all of the pilots mentioned are named on other memorials in the town.

 

 

 

One of the Survivors

We tend to be embarrassed in the UK about our wounded veterans. Much rather they were dead, or only wheeled out at the relevant anniversary. We remember the dead, those who gave a life, but would rather forget those who gave a limb.  Private 43863 Henry Charles Mabbott.  Wounded in Action

2nd Seaforth Highlanders

Also served in the Cameron Highlanders

Henry Charles Mabbott was born in Inverness but lived at 45 Teviot Street, Poplar, London. He enlisted on the 11th August 1914 and served three years in France. The first time he embarked from Southampton on the 25th August 1914. The ship he crossed to Le Harve on was the S.S. Welshman. Mabbott is in and out of hospital for various reasons until he is posted to H. Q. 1st Army on the 26th July 1915. He also has a few periods of leave. It is not known if he returned home during them. The 9th June 1916 saw Mabbott transferred to the 7th Battalion Cameron Highlanders. The next month sees him undergoing training at 15 Infantry Brigade Depot Etaples before being sent to the front on the 27th July. Mabbott is wounded in action for the first time on 13th September 1916. A gunshot wound to the left leg. Treated at first at a casualty clearing station then No.6 General Hospital he is sent home on the 15th September 1916. Mabbot embarks again for France this time on the 23rd May 1917, and from Folkestone. He arrived at 19 Infantry brigade depot Etaples and was posted to 6th Battalion Cameron Highlanders the next day. On the 10th June 1917 he was posted to the 7th Battalion Cameron Highlanders. A fortnight later he sprained his ankle. Mabbott was making his way to the trenches at night when he fell into a shell hole. He was sent to No. 2 Casualty Clearing Station, and on the 1st August he was transferred to England. Mabbot was promoted unpaid Lance-corporal on the 27th November and with pay on the 18th january 1918. reverting to private on his posting back to France. Mabbott embarked for the last time to France on the 4th April 1918 It is not known from where. He arrived at “F” Infantry Brigade depot and was posted to 6th Battalion Cameron Highlanders the next day. Mabbott was wounded on the 6th May 1918. A gun shot wound fractured his right knee. He was first treated at 23 Casualty Clearing Station then transferred to 18 General Hospital on to 74 General Hospital were his right leg was amputated and he was invalided home on the “Guildford Castle”. He was discharged as being no longer physically fit for war service on the 26th October 1918.1

Private 43863 Henry Charles Mabbott was awarded the 1914 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal, and the Silver War badge.2

1 Private 43863 Henry Charles Mabbott’s Pension Record.

2 Private 43863 Henry Charles Mabbott’s Medal Card.