Tag Archives: History

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.

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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

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.