Tag Archives: History

With the Yanks at Cambrai 1917

On the 8th August 1917, a train pulled into the Harbour Station on the Mole in Folkestone. The soldiers on board detrained and embarked on one of the small ships waiting to take them to France. They were an American unit, the 11th Engineers Regiment (Railway).(1) Two men from the Regiment Sergeant Matthew Calderwood and Private William Branigan, became the first American Army Casualties on the Western Front when they were wounded by shellfire on the 5th September 1917. Also on the train and an officer in the regiment was Lieutenant Paul McLoud.

The regiment was on there way to help maintain, repair and expand the railway system prior to the Battle of Cambrai. The railway was used to bring the tanks forward to the assembly points prior to the attack. On the arrival of the tanks at the railhead the 11th Engineers  helped to assemble them. (2)

On the 3oth November 1917 the 11th were working on the railway line between Villers (Plouich) and Epethy when the Germans broke through. Retreating back to their camp to collect their weapons, a group of men from the 11th under the command of Lt Mcloud fought a fighting retreat and rear guard action near Gouzeaucourt.  For his part in the action Lt Paul Mcloud is awarded the American, Distinguished Service Cross. His citation reads:

Awarded for actions during the World War I

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to First Lieutenant (Corps of Engineers) Paul McLoud, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving with 11th Railway Engineers, A.E.F., at Gouzeaucourt, France, November, 30, 1917, in remaining under shell fire until the escape of his men, who had been caught unarmed by the German attack, was assured. First Lieutenant McLoud then assisted in leading troops to the trenches, directing the procurement and distribution of ammunition, and displaying coolness, and judgment while continually under fire.

General Orders: War Department, General Orders No. 129 (1918)

Action Date: 30-Nov-17

Service: Army

Rank: First Lieutenant

Regiment: 11th Railway Engineers

Division: American Expeditionary Forces (3)

Paul was also awarded the Military Cross from the British for his bravery on the 30th November. Unable to find his citation, but came across this;

paul mcloud(4) Clearly shows Paul Mcloud’s awards.

REFERENCES

  1. Jones, Raymond W, WW1 Officer Experience Reports AEF
  2. http://www.webmatters.net/france/ww1_cambrai_us.htm
  3. http://valor.militarytimes.com/recipient.php?recipientid=13549
  4. The original source for this image was http://www.archives.nysed.gov/. This copy from Fold3. Image url: https://www.fold3.com/image/591030625
    Publication Title: New York, Abstracts of World War I Military Service, 1917-1919
    Content Source: New York State Archives

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Private 61613 William Habberley #Went to France via Folkestone #FWW

Border Regiment

Born in Warrington. He became a plumber before he enlisted in the Army at Liverpool on the 4th February 1913 at the age of 19 years and 2 months. He first joined for duty Joined the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. The same day he is sent to Carlisle. Here he is attached to the Border Regiment at their Depot. 8th February 1913 he is transferred to the Border Regiment at Carlisle. 28th April 1913 he is drunk in barracks this time he is admonished. This is probably due to being posted to the 2nd Battalion at Pembroke Dock the next day.

24th May 1913, Drunk in Barracks he was fined 2/6 and Confined to Barracks for 7 days. It was to be the first of many Confinements to Barracks and fines for drunkenness in his time in the Army. 29th May 1913, Irregular Conduct, 10 Days Confined to Barracks. 6th September 1913 breaking out of barracks after tattoo, being drunk in Water Street at around 10:25 pm, 14 Days Confined to Barracks. 29th November 1913 Posted to 2nd Battalion. Then on the 10th February 1914, he is posted again this time to the 1st Battalion. He embarks on the Troopship Plassy to India. Hebberley arrived in India on the 5th March 1914. Sailing onwards to Rangoon on the Troopship Northbrook. Reaching Rangoon on the 13th March. After Rangoon, the battalion moved to Maymyo where it was based when war broke out. Returning to with the Battalion to Calcutta on the troopship HMT “Novara” on the 21st November 1914 they arrived in Calcutta on the 25th November 1914. Here they spent just over a fortnight before embarking on the Troopship HMT “Corsican” for Rugby via Avonmouth. The 1st battalion arrived at Rugby on the 11th January 1915. While at Rugby, 13th February 1915 Not complying with (an order? Writing on change sheet not clear) and insolence to an NCO, 8 Days Confined to Barracks. 16th February 1915. Drinking in the Globe Public House while on duty.168 hours detention. The battalion was posted to Gallipoli via Egypt and left from England on the 16th March 1915. During his time in the Dardanelles Hebberley continued his low level of insubordination and on the 25th July 1915, he was awarded 7 days FP No.2 for an improper reply to NCO. A month later on the 25th August 1915, he is wounded in action a severe wound in abdomen three weeks later on the 14th September 1915 his father is notified. From Gallipoli, he is sent on the 28th September 1915 to 15th General Hospital Alexandria, and on the 25th October embarked on HMH Mauritania at Alexandria for England. After a stay in hospital he is posted on the 11th November 1915 to the Regimental Depot at Carlisle. 23rd December 1915. he overstayed his furlough from tattoo until 9 pm on the 29th December, (5 days and 23 hours ). He is Confined to Barracks for 7 days.1st January 1916 he is posted to 3rd Battalion. On the 3rd May he embarked from Southampton for France. The first three weeks were spent at 7 Infantry Base Depot Le Havre before being posted to the 2nd Battalion. He joined them in the field on the 25th. On the 1st of July he receives a wound to his left wrist. Evacuated home via 23 Field Ambulance, 38 Casualty Clearing station, 3 Stationary Hospital Rouen, and the Hospital Ship “St Patrick” to England. Reaching on the University Hospital in Gower Street, London on the He will spend 30 days in Hospital before being released on the 3rd August 1916 (posted to Depot) On the 15th September 1916 he is transferred to the 5th Garrison Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers. At Beblington on the 7th October 1916 he is Absent from Tattoo, (until 8th October), and he is again Confined to Barracks for 7 days. Then at Leasowe Castle on the 9th December 1916 he is charged with Absence from Police Duty and Insolence to an NCO. As a result, he was sentenced on the 11th December 1916, to 21 days FP No.2 for misconduct. Later at Aintree on the

17th February 1917 he is Absent from Tattoo for two days. Yet again he is Confined to Barracks for 7 days. 7th May 1917 he is transferred to 3rd Battalion Borders Regiment. In October he is posted to France. He embarked from Folkestone 19th October 1917 arrived Boulogne and joined 25 Infantry Brigade depot at Etaples the same day. He joins the 2nd Battalion in the field on the 30th October 1917. 10 days later the battalion moves to Italy. 11th March 1918 he is admitted to 23 Field Ambulance, then 37th Casualty Clearing Station and on 13th March 1918 11 General Hospital Genoa due to sickness. After which he spent a week at the Convalescent Depot in Genoa before being posted back to the Base Depot at Arquata on the 26th April 1918. Posted to 14 Corps Reinforcement camp on the 5th May. He went absent from his billets on the 30th June 1918 for which he was awarded 7 days FP No.1. 4th August 1918 he is posted to 24th Battalion Manchester Regiment (Pioneer Battalion). Another posting follows on the 14 February 1919 this time to the 22nd Battalion Manchester Regiment. Hebberley unsurprisingly never seemed to have been promoted. That was to change on the 22nd April 1919 when he is appointed unpaid Lance Corporal. Being promoted does not last long. The 6th May 1919 sees him in Egypt still with the 22nd Battalion. On the 12 May 1919 he is deprived of his Lance/Corporal stripe for drunkenness, while on active service, and absent until apprehended by the Military Police. There is a break from the routine duties of being a soldier in Egypt when on the 10th June 1919 he embarked from Alexandria for Constantinople on escort duty. Back to his old ways on the 11th November 1919, fined 7/6 for drunkenness in Cairo. 7 days Confined to Camp. 29th November 1919 Absent in town without a pass while on active service. 14 days confined to barracks. After 7 years in the Army, he embarked at Alexandria for the UK to be demobbed on the “Panama” 3rd March 1919. As far as is known William Habberley survived into the 1970s.

He was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal, and the Victory Medal.

Insanity at #Shorncliffe. #FWW

“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)

It somewhat surprises me that I can quote from a War Poet, for whenever I’m asked about the War Poets the default answers is “Not a fan”. It is not that I don’t like them. They wrote some of the finest poetry ever written in English. They wrote a lot of crap too, but we won’t dwell on that today. It is just they are shite historians. They are part of the history of the Great War, but they did not write that history. I remember Mr Millinship, one if not the best teacher I ever had reading Dulce et Decorum Est and asking me what I thought of it. Don’t think he was too impressed with my reply, I said something along the lines of. “It took him three years to come up with war is hell. My dad’s a soldier don’t you think I don’t already know that?” I was 11 at the time, an easy going child in a difficult world. Back to Sorley. Sorley was for a time at Shorncliffe but the madness he was writing about was not the madness at Shorncliffe but the madness of war.

Someone who will never be as famous as Owen or Sorley, basically because he wasn’t a War Poet but who dealt with insanity, his own, at Shorncliffe was Private 513212 William Anderson, Canadian Army Service Corps Training Depot. (CASC TD)

William was born in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, England. After serving in the Inniskilling Fusiliers He emigrated to Canada it was here he enlisted at Petawawa, in No.2 CASC TD. he was 37.

William sailed to England on the SS Olympic arriving in England on the 28th December 1916 and is taken on the strength of the CASC TD at Shorncliffe on the 29th. On the 5th May 1917, William was posted to the 7th Reserve Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, (Eastern Ontario Regiment). (PPCLI (EOR). Six months later he is admitted to 44 Casualty Clearing Station suffering from Trench Feet, a condition caused by standing with unprotected or badly protected feet in unsanitary water.  Sent back through the evacuation train to England and the General Military Hospital in Colchester. January 1918 sees William at the Military Convalescent Hospital Epsom and on the 28th at the Manor War Hospital Epsom. May 16th and William is back at Shorncliffe. This time he is at 11 Canadian General Hospital and diagnosed with Dementia Praecox (Schizophrenia). On the 28th May, his diagnoses is changed to Exhaustion Psychosis, which is an abnormal mental state in which the patient is restless, illusional, and has severe communicational problems. At 11:30 pm on the 14th June 1918, William Anderson’s madness ends.

William is buried in Shorncliffe Military Cemetery.

Neurasthenia, David Adams and his War. #FWW #CrossedfromFolkestone.

20th April 1917

Private David Adams 4th Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. This is not the first time Private Adams had crossed to France but the first and only date on record of him crossing from Folkestone.

Home Service from the 3rd September 1914 to the 27th July 1915.

3rd September 1914. Enlisted 3rd Battalion Royal Scots.

26th September 1914. Posted 14th Battalion Royal Scots.

21st July 1915. Posted 13th Battalion Royal Scots.

France from the 28th July 1915 to the 30th September 1915.

28th July 1915. France -not known from where he sailed.

29th September 1915.  He receives a Gun Shot Wound to the left thigh.

30th September 1915.   He returns to the UK.

Home Service from the 1st October 1915 to the 1st January 1916.

1st October 1915. Depot Royal Scots.

30th November 1915. Posted to 14th Royal Scots.

1st January 1916. 13th Battalion Royal Scots.

France from the 2nd January 1916 to the 10th April 1917.

2nd January 1916. France, not known from where he sailed.

In March 1916 David was in the Hulluch Sector when he was blown up by a High Explosive Shell he is knocked unconscious and suffers from concussion. On a Medical Report dated 24th April 1918 from Glenlomond War Hospital, it is stated that this is when his Neurasthenia started.

Home Service from the 11th April 1916 to the 18th April 1917.

11th April 1916. Posted for record purposes to the Royal Scots Depot, David is recovering in the Duchess of Connaught’s Canadian Red Cross Hospital, Taplow. He stays at the hospital until the 22nd May 1916.

7th August 1916. Posted to 14th Battalion Royal Scots.

1st September 1916. Transferred to 3rd Reserve Battalion.

20th October 1916. Posted to the Lanarkshire Yeomanry.

2nd December 1916. 10th (Works) Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers.

31st December 1916. Transferred to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

It is known from his Pension Records that David was a patient at the 2nd Scottish General Hospital. Craigleith, Edinburgh from the 9th January until the 24th February 1917.

19th April 1917. Posted to the 10th Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

France from the 20th April 1917 to the 14th July 1917. (Pension Medical Record states 19th April.)

20th April 1917. Leaves Folkestone for France.

21st April 1917. Joined 19 Infantry Base Depot.

Home service from 15th July 1917 until the 10th May 1918.

15th July 1917. Taken on Strength Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Base Depot Sterling.

It is known from his Pension Records that David was a patient at Merryflats War Hospital, Glasgow from the 15th July until the 15th August 1917.

27th August 1917. Posted to 4th Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

3rd November 1917. Posted to 250 Reserve Company Royal Defence Corps.

From his Army Pension Records, we know that David was at Glenlomond War Hospital |Kinross in April 1918.

10th May 1918 Discharged as, “No Longer Physically Fit for War Service”.

15th May 1918 Died.

It is not known where David Adams is buried. Hopefully, he managed to return to the family home at 12th Nile Street, Greenock. David is commemorated on the Broomhill War Memorial.

As well as the 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal David received the Silver War Badge (No. 389532)

Only 14 years old, youngest soldier buried in Shorncliffe Military Cemetery

I really only do the First World War. Can barely afford that, without embarking on another war. So this is less of a blog than just an observation. Often when talking about the FWW the subject gets around to boy soldiers and John Condon. I have no idea of how many 14-year-olds enlisted to fight for the empire in the FWW or indeed the reasons why. I do know that John Condon was at least 18 when he died. The soldier in John Condon’s grave is almost certainly not him either.  That said people do go and pay their respects and the grave is easily found just by looking for a large number of poppies and crosses placed in front of the gravestone.  It is one of the things that is quickly learnt on visits to the Commonwealth war cemeteries. Lots of poppies and or crosses mean it is a VC holder, Shot at Dawn, or a Boy Soldier.  It tends to be something we only think of Over There. I regularly visit Shorncliffe Military Cemetery and get to learn quite a bit from other visitors. Know where the Gurkhas are buried or remembered. Who was killed by the IRA, Military Intelligence failures, died in Afghanistan, Malaya, walk along the wall at the lower end and say “I knew him” or “I worked with him”. I also find the youngest.

In Shorncliffe the youngest soldier buried there is only 14, the same age as John Condon was thought to be. The name of the soldier is Antony B Croucher, (Boy) he died in Winchester on the 20th November 1939. I have no idea how he died. No poppies or crosses on his grave, no bus companies do tours to visit him, very few people arrive to pay their respects. After all, he is not a FWW soldier and we don’t think of Boy Soldiers in the Second World War.

21985652_10155765357189190_903861371_o(Photo, Joni Anderson)

In my haste, I forgot to thank Annie Petrie (@annepetrie6) for letting me know that Antony died in Winchester, and for the time spent trying to find out more for me. Humble apologies, and many thanks.

 

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